I Choose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt has been a strange year for me a year full of lessons learned and introspection. I have taken time to look what I wanted from life and what I have been doing with life to now, whether because I thought it was the right thing, out of obligation or because it was simply my nature. I suspect some choices we make will always be born out of our inherent natural instincts, others will be our history combined with our natural instincts; that is how we have inhabited the world through our history. If we have had trauma in our lives and who hasn’t, we will be changed and thus how we interact with the world.

One thing I know after this past several months, anger and bitterness is counter-productive. I made real choices in December of last year, they were scary as Hell but they were right for me and without them, I don’t believe I could have found peace for myself or been open to the opportunities that have been laid at my feet.

When my husband left without word, at first I was devastated, crushed by the blow. In retrospect, what I found was not a broken heart but fear and fury. Fear for myself, that I would be bitter, that I would not find a way through my anger to a loving heart, that I did not know how to love or be loved and so many other terrible fears, mostly fear that all he had said to me would manifest and I truly wasn’t worthy of being loved.

Fury that I could be convinced or convince myself that doing what was right equaled happiness or that life could be lived without joy. I was wrong, thankfully and happily I was wrong.

The next decision I made was not to work for toxic people who made me miserable. I have worked as an independent IT Project Manager in one of the most competitive markets for twenty-three years. In December I made the decision I no longer wanted live the life of a Road Warrior. I love my work, but 100% travel was killing my body and soul. I wanted the chance at a real life, with friends and maybe someday in the future at love. Being gone four to five days a week didn’t lend itself to this. I quit the job I was working and took a hiatus, I will grant you I didn’t intend it to be a six-month hiatus, but that is simply how it turned out.

Monday morning I start a new job with a great company (good reputation) that has promised 30% travel or less doing work I am good at and enjoy. This will certainly be a change, no more lazing about doing whatever the hell I feel like doing!

Cowgirls have To-Do Lists

Cowgirls have To-Do Lists

Now, let’s get to what I really want to say. I decided I am worthy of love. This one didn’t come quite so quickly, in fact it snuck up on me. I decided I have value and I can reach out and claim love when it is offered, I don’t have to be afraid, I don’t have to run and I don’t have slam doors. I decided not every single person wants to devalue me or my history, some of them simply want me just as I am. Sometimes people can be taken at face value, what they show you is what they are you can choose or not to accept them into your heart just as they can choose to accept you.

There are times I can be surprised, by myself and by others. I would guess most of you who read me regularly would be shocked to know I am still in many ways very naïve, sometimes shy and quite often a bit restrained. Though I have told much of my story here, there are many parts of my world and my life I have never told, a history that makes me what I am a history that created the complete me. Breaking down my many walls can be hard work, laying claim to a heart stilled by years of ‘doing the right thing’ rather than the joyful thing, this can be heroic work.

For many months a hero has been giving me lessons on what it means to be a grown assed man or for that matter a grown woman and to fully realize just how worthy of love I was. It began to dawn on me what I was missing as we talked through email, when he first told me this in response to an answer I gave about recognizing love:

You’d better get educated to what love is, and teach yourself to alertly recognize love when it does eventually come ringing your front doorbell ……….

As we continued to talk over many months, I knew I had found someone who did know me and was patiently helping me to discover myself through our discussions.

I know you. You and I have met and loved before. I know your soul and your heart. I know you and sometimes I remember.

There is more to these, more between these small statements, why they are important is they were the pein hammer knocking against a frozen heart, causing cracks to let light in and a few real blushes now and then. Through thousands of lines in e-mail, through longer and longer phone calls in the early mornings and late at night, through storytelling, through banter in various forums both private and public I was learning to be joyful, self-forgiving and more importantly self-accepting.

I was learning to claim myself, my whole and complete self and doing this I was learning I had the right to expect love, to claim it for myself. I was learning to choose for myself what I wanted and what I needed from love and for love. I was also learning to speak up, to say clearly “I choose” and “Mine” without stepping back from those statements afraid of being forward or pushing too hard.

Is this lesson complete? Not by any stretch of any imagination, I have a very long ways to go I think. I was caught unaware and am still stunned by the depth of emotions, yet and still, ‘Mine I choose’.

Some might say, too soon. Even I might say that using my pragmatic brain instead of a heart frozen and in stasis for far too long; yet and still I would say, ‘Mine I choose’.

I choose, because it is the only thing I am able to do with an unfrozen heart turned toward life and that wants love for as long as it is offered to me. I choose, because it is far better to live with joy than to live without it. I choose, because as he said we have met and loved before, I am his rib and he does indeed know my heart and soul.

So now you know my secret and you know my muse. Well you don’t know my muse, only that there has been one for the past few months as I write some of my musings, especially my poetry. Life has been interesting; it has offered me choices, different paths. I could have chosen anything and I chose, we will I think see where it leads.


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.

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