Just watched Welcome to Marwen…

See the movie trailer here

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for awhile, and I’m on a mini vacation all by myself, so I finally did. It is based on a true story, though I didn’t realize that till it was over. Anyway, it’s the story of a man who suffered a huge trauma, and he retreats into a make believe world, creating artistic works as he moves through the complicated process of healing.

See the trailer for the actual documentary here

Here’s what struck me about the movie, the story, really…(spoiler alert)

  • He sees women as fierce protectors, warriors, safety and security providers, as sex objects as well, but that’s not what resonated with me.
  • He was brave enough to be himself, to be vulnerable and real, even after being beaten for being different.
  • Healing won’t happen until it’s time, and it isn’t something that can be done for you.
  • There is no wrong way to work through trauma, the right way is whatever helps a person move through the feelings.
  • Each person who comes into our life has the power to leave behind a trace of themselves in our minds, on our hearts, in our dreams, and deep down in our bones. We each have the capacity to allow or disallow those traces to impact our daily life. When Mark made his statement to the court, he said his attackers could no longer hurt him no matter the sentence they were given. And conversely, he extends the name of his make believe land to Marwencol to reflect the impact his neighbor had on him.

This last bit is what really struck me because of what I’ve been trying to do with my overthinking brain. I have to choose what I allow to influence my thoughts, actions, and attitudes. I can carry the heavy burdens or I can let them go. I can instead pick up the flecks of gold left behind by those that flutter in and out of my life…Today, I’m this moment, I choose to be rich in gold, rather than suffer with a backache.

A beautiful snowy morning…

It’s my birthday today, and as I was out walking with a friend and then shoveling my driveway, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude. It was so quiet and beautiful, so I decided to make a cup of tea and sit on my front stoop for a bit before getting ready for work.

Just a couple of years ago, this scenario would have exhausted and overwhelmed me…just the thought of having to shovel and then do my work…EXHAUSTING. That’s the thing about depression, though. It makes everything harder than it has to be.

So today I am grateful for good friends, dedicated family, but mostly for my mental health and continuing recovery from depression. This life is a privilege, one denied to so many, and while my behaviors and attitudes could still use some improvement, I choose to enjoy this snowy morning. I choose to be grateful that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a lovely life.

*and to those of you who have shown me kindness, thank you. You know who you are.

Big News

After all my months and months of pain and heartache and joy and love and reflection and…

My therapist told she is proud of all the work I accomplished and said she didn’t think I needed to come back, I could always call if I need her, but she thinks I’m going to be alright.

I know I still have so much work to do, I just feel like I’ve got a handle on it now. A good friend of mine just came over, right after my appointment, and telling her about this news made me so happy so I’m sharing it with all of you!

I hope all of you keep reading me, and learning and growing, and struggling and…remember to incorporate gratitude as well…I feel like it has been so valuable to my recovery, even though it was a little late to the party…

Watching The Bucket list…

See the trailer here

Love this movie-it’s hilarious and thought provoking. Though my bucket list is for when my husband kicks the bucket, which I know is terrible, but that’s how I cope with his continuous unhealthy choices despite his family’s history of strokes and heart attacks. It’s too painful otherwise, so I make jokes saying, “When my hubby kicks the bucket…”. Anyway, when he kicks the bucket, I will get a big fluffy dog, a real Christmas tree for the holidays, and…that’s all I want to share for now.

In the movie, Carter asks Edward to answer these questions, and it got me thinking…

Have you found joy in your life?

Have you brought joy to others?

These two questions are my bucket list for my own life…I want to make sure that I’ve found and brought joy. It’s tough to measure, and a process…

I also view my work with children, families, and colleagues as my legacy, my mark left on the world.

And then there’s my son. I’m the voice in his head, the smile on his face and I’m those rolling eyes!

And of course…this blog. I hope it helps just one person…of course, it has helped me which has made me a better mom, wife, daughter, friend…so I guess I’ve achieved that goal at least!

…I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open.

-Carter Chambers

…I’m deeply proud that this man found it worth his while to know me.

-Edward Perewin Cole

The New Year…2020

As a new decade begins, I’m leaving some things behind:

  • depression,
  • my best friend (and her death),
  • my sister (and the hurt and anger that comes with her),
  • my dear friend michael (and the roller coaster that came with him),
  • my ridiculous sense of insecurity and worry.

As a new decade begins, I’m carrying bits and pieces of the above mentioned with me:

  • Gratitude, for good days and better times
  • Gratitude, for the lessons learned
  • Gratitude, for letting go
  • Gratitude, for feeling seen and heard and valued
  • Gratitude, for becoming me, and accepting myself just as I am.

In this new year, I will be myself. Nothing more, nothing less…just me.

I was wrong. It hurt both of us. And now…

So my dear friend, the one who kickstarted my unraveling, whose kindness rekindled that fire in my soul, who can’t be in my life anymore…I thought he crafted a scenario to hurt me. I was wrong. I hurt him with my assumption and he hurt me with his insensitivity.

Here’s the thing…in the midst of one of my down periods, this was happening. At that time, I had been begging my dear friend to come see me, give me an opportunity for closure. There were some unresolved things, and as mentioned in previous posts, I like to peck at things. Anyway, he typically shuts down and just moves onto the next thing.

But just weeks later, he finally agreed to see me. We had a chance to talk out a few things, catch up a little, and honor our friendship for the authentic and inspirational experience that it was. We parted as friends, with a smile and a wave. And now I feel like I can finally let him go. I know that he will always carry me with him as he navigates relationships, parenting, and struggles. I know he will be alright.

(And yes, I say love, because there are many kinds of love…friendship is love)

Parents…

So I’ve been watching my mom bloom…trying new things, working on her mental health, taking time for herself, and changing her frame of mind on matters that require some hard work. She’s doing amazingly well after all sorts of trauma and drama…and not to toot my own horn…well actually 🎺 …I helped get the ball rolling, and I’m so proud of both of us.

My father on the other hand…not my step dad, he’s great, but my father is a whole other story…I spent a couple hours with him last week and it took all of my energy just to be in his presence. He has always been odd, and remains just so…

He says things like, “I will just go along with what you’re doing,” or “I don’t want to disrupt your routines,”. But his awkwardness and his capacity, or lack thereof, inhibit the time we spend together.

I reminded myself a hundred times that he’s only capable of so much, he’s not equipped for more…he’s limited, and I need to accept it. That’s how I’ve dealt with the neglect and abandonment I’ve felt over the years.

It just stinks that he isn’t really evolving, partly for my own selfish reasons, but also for his sake…I wish he could grow and learn and be better…though he seems content enough with his simple life.

*And on a side note, having felt rejected for so many years, when he was late arriving at our house, the feelings of inadequacy just came rolling back as if they’d never left…I’d like that to stop too.

Feeling Free…

So after pecking at a problem like a hungry chicken yesterday, and well…poking the bear, I woke up feeling surprisingly FREE!!

I allowed myself to poke the bear, stir the pot, push buttons…and though I fought it for months, and shouldn’t have done it for the sake of the other party…it was what I needed to do in order to move forward and let go…not sure I really understand it though.

The other party created a situation that pushed my buttons and I reacted as expected…whether or not it was intentional, that person used me to cement me as a villain and themselves as a victim.

I will not be used. I will not be the villain. I will not sacrifice my self respect.

I WILL BE ME.

That is all, no more, no less.

I’m just another hungry chicken…

So I have this need to finish things sometimes, emotional things…and when I can’t, it’s incredibly frustrating and I get stuck. Really stuck. I want to keep trying and I end up pecking at the situation like a hungry chicken…but I just end up making things worse because the other person either isn’t able, isn’t willing or just doesn’t understand or care about my need to peck at the problem.

I know I should just walk away and let it go, but if I feel like we could leave things in a better place after getting through the hard stuff, I think it’s worth going there! You have to work through shit to get to the good stuff…and anything worth doing is hard…I’m willing to put in the work and when the other party wants to just shut down and be angry, I just don’t know what to do with all that!

I know I can lead a horse to water but I can’t make him drink…I just feel like I have to offer the opportunity. Is that so wrong?

Sometimes, I feel like the people on tv are talking to ME!

Don’t worry, I’m not hallucinating…just sometimes, the content in a show strikes right where I’m at and feels so…relevant to me. Awhile back, after my best friend had died, I was up late watching tv and The Outsiders was on, the part when Ponyboy reads the poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay. In that moment, it hit me that Laura was that beautiful gold in my life that I couldn’t keep.

And it’s so true…I’ve been going through a lot, and though I’m doing better, I find myself once again all cozied up with that fleeting feeling. When I began to recover from my unraveling, I felt so alive and energetic and vibrant! It was very much connected to my dear friend who was kind to me for no reason. He’s not in my life anymore, and I feel like I have not been able to recapture that surge of healing and colorful energy. Maybe I never will, though I also feel like I have to grieve that loss, not like my friend who passed, just in its own way.

I got to this point of viewing the friendship loss, and ultimately the grief, after watching tv and feeling like the characters were talking to me…after a memorial service one character was referring to “…ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” and it made him think of something the other character had once written himself:

“Nothing lasts forever, (that) people we love sometimes leave our lives, but what stays is how they (have) forever changed us.”

I needed to hear that. Really needed to hear that. Laura definitely forever changed me, in countless ways, small and huge. Michael definitely forever changed me, in countless ways, small and huge. There have been others too, and hopefully I’ve told them who they are…I will eventually, don’t worry! These two relationships are more present, painful even, for me because of their brevity and the degree to which I’ve been changed by them, and the fact that I didn’t, and wouldn’t, choose to walk away from either of them…the choice was not within our control on both counts.

Anyway, I’m reminded of the poem, because after all, “nothing gold can stay“. All I can do is hold onto the gold flecks left behind on my heart and soul. The gifts both Laura and Michael shared with me will stay, and for that, I am and will be forever grateful.

*I’m also reminding myself that it’s not so much that they changed me; it’s that they provided a nurturing and safe friendship in which I could grow and change myself.