Wallowing, Not

img-thingToxicity, I have had that in abundance recently and I have allowed it to color my world, including my view of self.  I have curled into myself, finding my bed and sleep the only place of safety, every place else unwelcoming and downright disturbing.

I believe the term is depression, maybe self-pity.

Here is what I know for certain, I cannot continue this way it is unhealthy and stupid.  Here are the other things I know, the things that have happened in the past 90 days, the things that are affecting my terrible self-doubt:

  1. My husband decided marriage to me was too hard and he would be better served elsewhere, without the burden or responsibilities that go with marriage.
    1. Without notice, he left, without word, without good-bye.  Damn that hurt.
    2. In October of last year, I accepted a full-time job with an organization after years of being independent.  I did this to provide a more stable income since I was the primary breadwinner.  Honestly, I think I knew this was not a good fit, something told me but I ignored my intuition.
      1. The environment was toxic.
      2. I was miserable from the very first week.
      3. I worked with bullies.
      4. December 31, 2013 was my last day.

Now to the rest, could there be more?  Yes, of course, there can be more and certainly, there is always more.  I realize I have been feeling ‘not me’ for a very long time, maybe years.  I have compromised myself, repeatedly for the sake of peace.  Some of those compromises have been small things, some though have been compromises of self and they have spread across my environment creating a true lethal combination of self-doubt and unhappiness.

What are the visible signs?

  1. My environment, where I live is truly a mess, there are layers of dust everywhere, things are not where they belong.  This isn’t the home I want to live in; this isn’t how I use to live.  I would be ashamed to invite friends to visit me and I always feel as if I have to make excuses for the mess I live in.  This was a battle I fought constantly, for help and for compromise.  I lost the battle, even emotionally.
  2. My work, what I do for a living and what I want to do for the next fifteen to twenty years has been compromised in my head.  I was once very sure of myself, of my skill, competency and capability.  I thought I was great at what I did and never sold myself short.  Now?  I don’t know anymore, I have allowed myself to be bullied and undermined, by others and in my own head.  Yes, this is a tough market and yes, this is a hard life especially at my age.  I didn’t choose easy, however, I am good at what I do and have great success at my back so what the hell is wrong with me?

I have never been one sink into dark places and stay there, never been one to dwell in caves without light.  I really despise throwing pity parties lasting for more than a day or two, so what the hell is the problem, why can’t wet_dogI seem to shake this one off like a dog shakes water after a swim?  Is it my age?  Or is it some of these issues have been building up and I didn’t really notice, didn’t pay attention instead allowing them to fester like an untreated wound.

No promises, really they are impossible.  No resolutions, I have never made them and kept them beyond the first week of a new year.  Some simple and easy actions though, things I can achieve to perhaps make things less overwhelming in the short term, make it easier to navigate what I suspect will be the challenging time ahead of me.

Here is what I know needs to happen for me to begin to feel as if I am back in control:

  1. Pick a room, any room and clean it top to bottom.  Throw away what I don’t need, organize what I do need or want to keep, tag anything and everything that can or should be donated.  When the room is done, move onto the next room.
    1. If I find the effort to daunting, hire help, it might just be money well spent.
  2. Spend a minimum of 2 hours per weekday looking for and applying to new opportunities, include both contract positions and full-time.  Reach out to industry contacts, get active on the boards and manage my own career again stop letting others dictate terms.
    1. Set rates and stick to them!
    2. Do a real search for local companies, I really would like to stop traveling and have a real life that includes staying local.
  3. Start doing things!  Do anything once a day (other than going shopping) that gets me out of the house and around people.

That is it; choice is what it really is about isn’t it?  I have a choice to wallow in my hurt, roll about in my misery, reel in my pain or I can start to live again.  So what if living again means I will do most things alone for now, I have traveled for work for the past twenty-two years and this means I have done most things alone five days a week.  Hell this means the reason most of my ‘in real life’ friends don’t live in the same city I live in is because I met them when I was on the road, working in a city I didn’t live in, so just what the hell is my problem now?

I read this great post the other day by Tori Nelson at the Ramblings, she said it all in one word Timshel.  I so appreciated her post I wanted to share it with you.


  1. Gray Dawster says:

    Have you ever seen that movie called ‘Life Stinks’ starring Mel Brooks, well it really does stink but guess what, you are going to be okay my sweet friend because like me, you don’t wallow and instead we get on with what we know is the right way forwards 🙂 Hey life is on the UP so keep smiling and be good, just like me 😉

    Andro xxxx

    • Life my friend, well it simply is what it is. Neither up nor down. Flatlined right now. I simply will move through this fog to some light somewhere at the end of the tunnel.

      Good days
      Horrifyingly bad days

      But every single day I wake up and I am grateful to be awake, grateful for a community of people who care for me, grateful to be uplifted.

      So yes, it will get better eventually won’t it?


      • Gray Dawster says:

        It most certainly will and you are right about our community, I haven’t forgotten your sweet support for me some months ago, you are a lovely young woman, I mean that and such a kind hearted soul 🙂 🙂 You deserve so much more and I know that you will be happy again Val, that is a fact 🙂

        Andro xxxx

  2. Morning lady. Yes, you have a choice. Continue to empower yourself with that very truth. No one is removed from the moods of depression and/or general sadness that comes with life’s changes; however, you have a choice.

    Onward with that purging! Make the time. Go within. Turn that music up (no sappy music though) and get to getting. You’ll see that as you eliminate the stuff, the dust, the old, you will be purging yourself spiritually and emotionally, allowing for more clarity of purpose and gifts. Allow yourself to dance with yourself as you reclaim the essence of you.

    Be Well, Valentine. Clear the space for another chapter. Keep on shaping the narrative that you want to have. You got a lot of life in you yet!!

    I am rooting for you!

  3. Jueseppi B. says:

    If there is anything I can do to help you, let me know.

    • Thanks my friend. I am good right now. Just rest and trying not to fall down. Must get well, I have a Victim Impact Panel on the 14th and I am taking myself to see Leon Russell on the 22nd, I do not have time to be sick. 😉

  4. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    Boots, liquor, Willie Nelson, and the satisfaction of pounding a Nerf bat on a pillow…not that I have any experience with that.

    Re: the job>>>it only takes one. I have faith in you. 🙂

  5. You certainly have been handed enough provocation for curling in the fetal position, but I think your plan of action is better. Concrete and do-able.

    You asked why you can’t seem to shake off depression and I believe it does have something to do with age. I think you’re around the same as me, right? (54). I find despair and doldrums and fetal-curling tendencies sneaking up on me all the time in the last few years and I don’t know how to fight them.

    Just keep slogging along, celebrate your minor victories and give yourself permission to feel crappy sometimes – you’ve earned it.

    • A couple years older actually…so what you are saying is this;

      Hot flashes
      Random pimples
      Stray hairs in random places
      Gray hair in random places
      Depression, with fetal position stiffening

      All that? That is what I get?

      Gheesh, no wonder old age isn’t for wimps.

  6. singleworkingmomswm says:

    You know what I love about your plan? It is basic and practical. It isn’t ridiculous or off the map in the sense of trying to mask what is going on, hide behind some new resolution or idea, or checking out of what needs to be done to help yourself move forward with baby steps. I use my house’s needs as a place to focus much of the time when I’m in a wallowing state. Lord knows it’s a fixer-upper, and while many of the projects are big, many are also small enough for me to handle. Keeping up with the organization and cleanliness being big-time sanity savers, as well! And, “they” say that when you need a job your job is finding one; you got that one pegged. Lastly, getting out of the house and around others-yes! This is the hardest one of all I think because it’s easier to huddle within, but once we make ourselves do it, our bodies take in the fresh air and something rejuvenating happens! XOXO-Kasey

    • It is the tiny little steps to sanity that I need right now! Getting out of the house, it is so cold right now I am reluctant but trying.

      Cleaning? I use to love it but now? It is so daunting, so baby steps to sanity.



  7. I knew you would not wallow for long but sometimes we must give in to the wallowing to get better. And, Val, you did have some reasons to wallow! But it is a new year and you have a plan. You still have much to offer! Keep us posted. P.S. I have a bit of dust in my house too!

    • You must keep your dust my friend I have far too much of my own and a bit of wallowing left to do. I am afraid I am not done yet.

      Planning, executing and even feeling some of the results of my exertions does not mean I feel better. It only means I know I can place one foot ahead of the other and move forward. But move forward I will. Slowly and with intent 🙂

  8. frigginloon says:

    I tried the whole timshel thingy but my guardian angel kicked me in the shins 😦

    • Enough with the kicking already, dang. I like ‘thou mayest’ I like it. I like the entire idea. No more kicking and if you want me to kick the living …. well you know out of your guardian angel, just let me know I am up for a good rumble.

      • frigginloon says:

        Awesome Valentine, might need back up. He/she’s a little devil in disguise. My Timshel is tarnished 😉

  9. Balance …. balance is important … balance between self, intellectual, spiritual, physical, family, and professional. Balance, my friend … balance … and be strong.

    • I think Frank, that entire balance thing it might take a little while. But you know once upon a time the Balance Beam was my second best event; want to know what my first was?

      Yep, you guessed …. the Uneven Bars.

      No that wasn’t a joke, it was the truth. I was the bane of my ballet teacher’s existence because I insisted on participating in gymnastics and I loved the Uneven Bars.

      Strong? I am going for strength training next. 🙂

  10. ~~~~~Dear, Val,

    Where do I begin? I have so much to say


    I will just utter this one thing: ((((You are a POWERHOUSE.)))

    You have an abundance inside you waiting to emerge, to explode, to reveal, to explore….

    And when you do.

    WATCH OUT!! You are being molded into what God desires.

    You. Are. AMAZING.

    & abundantly LOVED. Xxxxx.

    • Surely do wish it wasn’t a sledgehammer being used to mold me my friend. It hurts.

      Okay though I will go with your idea, I will try hard to absorb it and work with it.

      Love back to you, from you I gain strength.

      • ~~~~Val,

        I know. I know. DAMN it. I know.

        I despise being molded.

        It hurts like hell and I get really pissed off…Mad. Drink wine etc…

        but I must think like this, or I would have diminished after Kay’s murder.

        Love you from here…


  11. I have had really mixed emotions reading your posts (out of order sorry) the last few days because last summer I was the one to end my 17 year relationship. It is strange because the circumstances were very very different yet I feel your pain, I have felt some of it myself but also seen it in my ex’s eyes and yet I feel guilt at the pain your separation has caused you knowing mine has brought me peace and contentment. In my case my ex could have changed his destructive behaviours, he could have carried out the promises he made at the counselling sessions we attended, he could have fought as hard as I did for the last five years to save the relationship, instead he chose to carry on and blame everything but the truth. Even after I ended it he had a chance to win me back but instead chose to wallow in his own self pity and pain, so you see how every different in most ways. But in one respect there is something we have in common neither of us wanted this, yours came out of the blue mine form really being left with no other road to take, but you are every bit as strong if not stronger than me. I have spent the last few months refinding me, the person who got pushed aside trying to make others happy, taking care of the home, the kids and putting myself last. I read a few journal entries from this time last year and no longer recognise the miserable defeated creature I was then and you will get there. My ex now begins to understand why I had to go and is beginning the road to change himself, I don’t know what the future holds but we are lucky enough to be able at to be friendly now One day your ex will realise his mistake but I have a feeling by the time he does you will realise he doesn’t deserve you xxx

    • I tried so often, since our last seperation two years ago to get us into counseling he refused. I knew though, we couldn’t fix what was broken between us without help. I knew when we reconciled but followed my heart rather than my head. I think Paula, we are not different at all except in who or how it ultimately ended. I got to happy, to a redefinition of what it meant and what I wanted once before. I will get there again, right now though I simply feel defeated and sad. I wanted, my heart wanted ‘us’ to be okay. I wanted to believe we could fix what was broken. I wanted to believe love was enough, it wasn’t. I know that now and I should have known it two years ago. I will not beat myself up over it. It is enough.

      Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know I am not alone, even in this.

  12. Dear val, as the same time that you’re doing the things that empower you and help you to feel you are achieving clarity in your life – don’t forget to spoil yourself. to be kind and gentle to yourself. The ancient cure for depression or melancholy as it was called, was to be gentle and kind and not to be harsh on yourself.. or critical of yourself. .
    Do unto yourself as I expect you do unto others !!!! Be as nice to yourself as you would to your best friend. You are your best friend !!!

    • So chocolate?

      I have always had a terrible habit of not being very good to myself. it is not something I do well. I will have to learn, I know. My tendency is to muscle through ignorning hurt, this time I haven’t been able to and so I have wallowed instead until I am can’t stand to be around my own self.

      You are right Valerie, I must find that balance. So write more would you? You are one of the ways I spoil myself!

  13. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Magnificent post, Valentine. You are so clear. I can’t imagine you’ve been curling into bed etc – & I regard you’re feeling depression, not self pity. It’s a natural response. I still can’t get over it (myself! from this far away!) that he did it without a single word. That’s pretty cowardly.

    The way you lay things out is very methodical, clear, forward moving. This is just great to read, Valentine. Happy NEW year 🙂
    (and wonderful you gave that job the flick – good luck onward)

    • It is my tendency, to try to muscle through things to try to be pragmatic and lay aside the emotional baggage. Now Noleen I have to stop procrastinating and do it! Uncurl from my bed, get up and do it.

      I agree with you on the job though it is pretty scary, it was still the right thing to do.

  14. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I love that you have a plan, and also that #3 is one part of that plan. I kept waiting for good cheer to come before doing things, then got tired of that and found that doing things led to feeling better. I can’t know what it is like for anyone else, but that is true for me. Rooting for you from here with much love.

    • I am a planner, it is part of my nature, well hell it is also what I do for a living. Project Manager anyone? So I guess I just have to begin Project Managing me. Now I have to get beyond my depression and the tendency to ‘just say no’ right now. I am pushing myself and looking for those things I can do that don’t cost money but have people. Rooting for me? Yeah, I need that.

  15. Writing it down is good therapy. In a way you are fortunate to be able to honestly look at the problems in your life and articulate potential ways to improve your life. Most people with the kind of issues you have had to face can’t do that. I see hope for you as you continue to look within for solutions.

    • I have always found writing to be great therapy, I went from journals to blogging and became clearer with the transition. The community I found here has also taught me so much, I am continually amazed at the talent, the ideas and the support.

      I have no other way but to honestly look hard at what has and is happening. It is all I have, all any of us have.

  16. I can empathize, Val. Last year was one of the worst I’ve ever had. But, we all have to learn to cope with discomforts and tragedies as well as we do with happiness. I think for many of us in the blogging community, writing is one of the best outlets. Please stay with us. Your ex may not need you, but plenty of people do, including your fellow bloggers.

    • Empathy is one of the best emotions Alejandro, thank you. I am not coping well yet, but I am planning for how to cope and how to move forward rather than wallowing here stalled in this terrible place. As I said to Ian, writing is one of the better outlets I have found, whether journals or blogs writing seems to bring out the better part of me. Not going anywhere and not going to change the direction of this blog either, will continue to mix it up.

      • I don’t know you outside of your blog, Val, so forgive me for dipping into your personal business. But, the more I think about your situation, the more it angers me. A number of my friends and relatives have endured similar circumstances. One of my closest friends was madly in love with his first wife, but she left him for an older, wealthier man. He was still in the Air Force and had just returned from Desert Storm, when she dumped him. He only married his second wife because he felt the need to be with someone. But, she put them both in heavy credit card debt. He left her when he found out she’d opened all these credit cards in his name, and because Louisiana – like Texas – is a community property state, he was on the hook for part of that mess.

        One of my aunts has been married 3 times. She was the type of woman who always felt incomplete without a man in her life. After she left her third husband, she told her 3 daughters to shoot her if she ever mentioned marriage again. One of them said she’d be the first to plug her.

        But, such concerns can be more serious. A cousin of mine took her own life 31 years ago this month because she felt she’d failed in her marriage. She’d married some guy who was a drug addict, thinking her presence would cure him of his problem. When it didn’t, she left him and fell into a deep depression. It traumatized our family.

        I don’t know all that happened in your own relationship with “DB,” Val, and I don’t expect you to clarify it. But, if he left you without any warning and returned to his mother, you’re probably better off without him. Besides, you compose some great essays on your blog, and your followers would be upset if they suddenly stopped!

        Stay strong!

        • Also, I love the picture of that shoe! Is it yours and do you have a leather bustier to go with it? 😉

        • Alejandro, it isn’t my first rodeo I just was hoping it would be my last. I am where your Aunt was, no more for me; though I suspect still a romantic at heart I think I am done with this whole marriage thing.

          I am sorry for your family losing a member to sucide, this is always terrible for those left behind. We always wonder, what could we have done or said to save our loved one. We are always left with a hole. You have my deepest sympathy.

          While I suspect I will continue to write to this series (did you notice the name?), I don’t intend to stop my others, my curiousity and interests haven’t died with my marriate. Thanks for that one!

          No the shoe isn’t mine though it would fit well in my closet, it is simply one I lust for. 😉

  17. Sounds like you are getting back up after being down. Cleaning is actually great therapy as well as sorting out stuff. Retail therapy makes things worse, so I applaud your choices. While I was reading them, Tai Chi popped up in my mind. Have you ever done that? For me it was a great way to focus on other things and the fact that you can do it wherever you are (once you know how to do it) is awesome! The suggestion of a writer’s group sounds like a great idea as well.
    Anyway, good luck!

    • I did try Tai Chi once, I think we did not have a good teacher as I was hard pressed to follow. I am not opposed though to trying again. I like the fluidity of motion and think it would not hurt my already stressed joints.

      Cleaning? Yes, it certainly can be good therapy. I am working it that way though right now it is a bit overwhelming. I am getting there.


  18. Excellent choices. And yes, choice is what it is about. I am on the way ❤ I love you. xxx

  19. Oh, Val, I’m so sorry to hear your news. Life can be a bitch. Still, it sounds like you have tons of great perspective.

    Maybe you should reward yourself with a trip to visit us–free place to stay.

    Sorry to have been so out of the loop since Christmas. We had guests from the US and then did some traveling around our new country. Didn’t always have internet. I’m trying now to get back into the swing of things.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • When I truly get my house in order and my work life back on track, you are the first visit I am making! Have to begin hunting my retirement locale don’t you know?

      I don’t know about perspective, I think what I have instead is a need to take control over my world, heart, soul and mind. I cannot continue floundering which I feel like I have been doing for the past couple of years. Waiting for the other shoe to drop isn’t a good way to live. So now the shoe has dropped.

      Hugs back my friend.


  20. Val, every choice you make to move forward is a step in the right direction. Putting your house in order will clear your head and give you light. Congrats and stay focused on your to-do list!

    • I always said my home was a reflection, for years now it was a reflection I simply didn’t realize it reflected my unhappiness. It is sad really, as much as I love my husband I was unhappy. Doesn’t make sense does it? So now I pave a different road, maybe plant some flowers. The important thing is, I have to start ordering my house so it begins to reflect me again. Small steps, I know.

  21. Dust and cobwebs have a way of creeping into our spaces and into our minds. Cleaning is cathartic for me.and never fails to lift my spirits. I have no doubt you will overcome Valentine. Sending positive vibes your way. And lots of hugs 🙂

    • I am hoping this is true, as the bins and bags fill up with donations and debris I think it is true, just slow. It is a matter now of not just cleaning the room, but moving what I find truly out of the house. What I would like to ‘go fast’ I think might be a slower process than I would like, my patience is flakey I must learn this skill. 😉

      Thank you I love so many people have such faith in my when mine is so shaken. It helps.

  22. Thata girl.

  23. Physical activity is great to burn off stress or negative energy. It keeps the mind busy somewhere other than where it wants to go. Think of this as an inch or a foot at a time instead of the whole room. You are taking control of SOMEthing. Work out some of your angry by attacking dust bunnies and do no harm to anyone or yourself either. 🙂

    • You know Tess, that is exactly what I was thinking….working out my angry by attacking my dirt! Taking control of what feels as if it has been out of my control is the other part of equation, I think this will help me. Maybe it won’t be an entire room in one fell swoop, but it will be a start. Might make me crazier before peace descends but that might just be okay. 🙂

    • Val: I so agree with “Let’s CUT the Crap.” I couldn’t have said it better. Living well is the best revenge. Get up! Get healthy! Set your house in order, and do daily exercises that make you sweat while you’re in the midst of it, but clear your mind of all the negativity. (You’ll be amazed at what salvation that will render.) And then make each tiny move toward the future, step by step. That’s the best any of us can do when we’ve been kicked in the gut multiple times–step by step. One day you will wake up and your head will be clear, your heart will be healed, and you’ll be opening the door to a bold and brighter day. You’re in my prayers, my friend.

      • You have my gratitude, truly.

        I cannot tell you how this communities support has made me feel supported and uplifted. It is amazing. I think my next ‘Small Joys’ post will have to be about this.

        As to activity and house cleaning, it is a tough one but I am getting there one small step at a time. You are so very right about living well and that is the plan.

      • *nods*

  24. Your Mind has made a start, and a way to go girl… One room at a time sounds great, and hey now don’t forget to sweep out those cobwebs from the corners of your mind either! .. I only printed off some affirmations for a friend who is going through a tough time, I read through the list I had drawn up with the paragraph which states remember to forgive yourself in all of this too… ( What she says? ) hummm so I thought until i dug deeper… I found i didnt move on until I let go of blaming me for my part in my Mother’s abandonment and non-speaking, and then blamed me for not healing it before she died. We do untold damage with the clutter we hang onto.. So I hope that broom is strong and hardy 🙂 I still need it even now as I give myself a good old shaking every now and again… 🙂 ,,,
    So put on those rubber gloves!, open up those bin sacks, and Charity Shops will be smiling,.. This is all helping clear not only YOUR emotions, but if we ALL did it,, just imagine how much better the world will feel if we ALL did it together! 🙂

    • I don’t love cleaning, only clean. The cobwebs? I know I need to knock them down, little at a time. I can’t take the piece of me back I gave him, I think I am okay with that right now. I can’t change where I am right now, I can change my surroundings though and I can change how I live in them, I think I am okay with that as well.

      Giving in, it isn’t in my nature. Giving though, that is. So good things will come of this and I will maybe take back a piece of me in the process.


  25. Val your list is the perfect pick-me-up. Manageable things that you can control, that you can do and do well. Because someone like you can only be kept down for a time. You will be fine. And soon. You’ve figured out how to get there, and that is the most difficult, I think.

    Are there any writer’s groups near where you live? That might be a great way to “do” things!

    • I am looking for different opportunities Elyse, a writers group is a good idea.

      Fine? Yes, eventually I suspect I will. I just am guessing it will be a long road to spectacular.

  26. I started doing your #1 on your list to a room that I neglected far too long. I procrastinated but finally, one day, I started – it felt good even though I only did it for a short time. I procrastinated again, got back into it, it started to look better, and it’s almost there. I still have to finish it to my satisfaction – but – it will get done, and in the meantime I have been re-invigorated to do other smaller chores here, and there – throughout the house that raise my spirits, it’s a good thing. I know you can do it – I allowed myself to do the amount I could physically do without impacting myself for days – without self-sabotage of guilt.

    You have recognized you need to make some changes to feel better about yourself – first step – well done. You will succeed.

    • You are so right in this, it is a little at time. What I can do, when I can do it and for how long I can do it. Small steps in a direction I need to take to make me feel better.

      Guilt is a killer, I have some of that; for letting things go to far and for too long. Now I simply have to let it go.

      I will get there. Thanks Tao.

  27. Choice is what it really is about – Yes!

    Your list of 3 things to do, looks like a good list, Val.

    All good thoughts, my dear friend, and I add prayers to that,

    • Those three things Eric are the things that are truly within my control. They aren’t things that are overwhelming, nor are they things that somehow say I am not ‘enough’ or ‘good enough’. What they are in truth are things that allow me to take control back of my own environment and life, a little at a time.

      Thank you Eric, thank you for you support, your good thoughts and your prayers. All are most welcome with my gratitude.


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