First Real Signs of Strength = Small Wins

I do not know where it came from, but it’s very welcome.

I think it started with Maggie’s idea to get dressed in workout clothes first thing. And then just one small thing (I charged my Fitbit). Piled on top of Ann’s suggestion to read the book about Habits.

I have a whole day, every day to myself. I could be filling it with many things, but I don’t. The worst usurper of my time is digital. The TV is now relegated to post 6pm only. I’ve had small, barely noticeable tinges of regret for wasting this much time. The feeling is fleeting. The heaviness of emptiness is pervasive. I still feel dark and empty on the inside.

But there is a very small, yet immensely strong soul inside me that refuses to give up. Yea, she’s the same one who never gave up on Tony, too so she’s delusional but when put to good use she is mighty.

I noticed on the first day I convinced myself to exercise it was because I talked myself into sleeping the rest of the day away. I didn’t do that, but the self-talk convinced me I could, should I want to. Based on that inkling of promise, I reframed the amount of time I have to myself and I was able to make some positive steps forward.

Go to bed by 10pm, period. Get up 7:30am consistently to get the kid off to school. Get dressed in workout gear before leaving bedroom (put it out night before so no excuses). Wear the Fitbit (no monitoring steps yet) Then, come home and enjoy a quiet morning scrolling media or reading with my coffee. Finally, Peloton workout. 30 mins is the requirement.

If I can change this one thing, getting dressed and then committing to some exercise for 30 minutes daily, I will not require myself to do more during that day unless necessary.

Nice deal I made with myself, right?

I can do this well before 11am. And, so far when I do, I see the energy to do other important tasks such as work related or finance related items. I won’t force myself to do more, I just seem to be more restless doing nothing after the workout. It’s a bit harder to sit still when I created good energy.

I also know the absolute best way to manage my food intake and stick to my keto macros is to log my food. I have been doing this on and off since surgery but I’m paying more attention now. I have an app that I can scan the UPC code and it makes it super easy to keep track. I’ve also knocked almost all my sugar cravings and have found the right kind of food substitutes. It helps that I don’t go out drinking and eating as often as well!

I realize this isn’t a big commitment. But it’s a start to getting my head screwed back onto my shoulders. I’ve been off the rails for close to a year. By the end of April last year I began to lose the will to live, so time slipped right through my fingers. I don’t think I will be remembering my 51st year with any fondness.

I’ve learned to avoid making morning commitments so I can adhere to my small routine. I still overwhelm easily which is worrisome considering how much I’ve been able to shoulder in the past. I still feel like part of my mind (as well as my soul) is broken and disconnected.

My small win this week has been rewarding. Every day I remind myself I’m doing this for me. I had surgery and lost a ton of weight, no reason I can’t tone up and be strong also. I want to be strong again. So while I’m fragile emotionally, the least I can do for myself is begin to make my body stronger. I’ve misused my body, mind and soul this past year but only I can recover what I’ve given away.

By the time this posts, I will have completed and entire week of routine. Good eating, good sleeping and exercise. Other than pure physical recovery (which was no small feat based on my surgeries) this is the most I’ve accomplished since surgery. I am happy it’s a start.

I’ll take it.

Finding My Way Out of the Dark

Most days are still painstakingly absent of light for me. Even when I find my moments of activity or happiness, I actively look for the next down period. I’ve been reading self-help like a fiend, trying to find alternatives to pull myself out of this pit I’m in, but I cannot find the strength. I know one of the keys is going to be routine and getting back into an established routine, but I break routine as fast as I make them.

I have to talk myself out of bed each morning to drive my youngest to school. Most days I succeed. I get up, brush teeth and hair, cover up (not always getting out of PJs) put on the coffee and empty the dishwasher. Get the boy to school. Some days I even get a bra on. This week I resolved I would set the alarm for earlier than I need to get up so that I made sure I also got dressed.

I can go days without taking a shower, and a week without washing hair. Since I don’t move or do much, it’s not hard to forget I should do it. It’s fallen out of my routine. I don’t shower for myself, I shower if I need to be presentable.

I don’t truly understand how I have motivated myself in the past to move forward from difficulty. Either I thought or believed there was something better on the horizon, or felt I had no alternative but acceptance.

I do not have either of those two feelings right now.

This morning I woke about an hour early and started to obsess over Tony. I tried mind control “if you keep thinking about this, you should get up and exercise instead!” I cannot even actively control my obsessive thoughts.

Strangely enough, I don’t generally nap. But, if I could, I sleep a straight 10-12 hours before feeling actually rested. Is it possible anyone really needs this much sleep?

I’m a seesaw. One moment moving up and feeling the air on my face and a (very small) burst of positivity or energy, and the next moment not just coming down but literally crashing into the ground hard. As if the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I cannot lift, or even try to lift.

My son had his pull up bar out the other night and I jokingly gave it a shot. The way I feel each day is similar to approaching and attempting that pull up bar – I raise my arms, pull myself up, and I am dead weight. No strength, no movement, just nothing.  I literally could not even try, my weight was just too much, my muscles evaporated.

I have seen other people motivate themselves forward and I understand the concept of changing a small, yet important, thing to add up to bigger changes – but I don’t do it.

If there was such a thing as manic-depressive by the hour, I feel like that’s me.

Why This and Not That?

Believe it or not I just finished 10 mins on the Peloton and 10 mins arms, made myself a protein shake and sitting down shaking my head.

How is it I can so adversely hate exercise that my brain can find a million reasons “not to” and I can’t seem to find that same thought when I want to reach out to Tony. It’s the same damn thought “don’t do it” and one actually has a positive outcome while the other has a negative outcome. I feel physically better following any exercise and, if I keep it up, I know I will appreciate the overall results of a toned body and better sleep. I certainly don’t have any of that when it comes to Tony!

Why am I programmed for all this negativity? It’s like I set myself up for more and more pain and don’t even try to help myself out of it. (Oh yes, I know, we’ve seen this bad behavior from me for years now).

What was the one trigger that got me off the couch today? As terrible as this sounds, I convinced myself I could get right back on it and sleep the day away if I just put in the 20 mins. I did it, made the shake and now sitting back on the couch.

Will it work tomorrow or the day after?

It’s not even 10:30 am and I’ve thrown in the towel for the day.

I do acknowledge that until a habit forms, I need to track. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the Keto eating and was over consuming calories and needed to track to ensure I was watching my macros. I haven’t worn my Fitbit in some time because I was tired of it reminding me I needed to move every hour! My brain was able to ignore it enough to say “don’t do it” and eventually remove it.

I am so angry at myself (for a moment, then it passes) for not investing in myself. I went to the trouble of having a surgery for chrissakes and all the pain I endured and I created an amazing foundation for myself, one that I haven’t had in years (being thin).

I read an article about obsession. Obsession drives us equally for better or worse. It’s what makes us successful and it’s what makes us invest in poor choices. People are obsessive about their career and health. Some about family or love. When we are obsessive in the wrong way (not letting go of something), it creates a problem. But when we are obsessive in the right way (staying on schedule, eating well, managing our families or careers) it actually fuels us to continue doing better. Clearly I have an obsessive compulsive disorder which is unhealthy in itself, but I have also used it to my advantage in the past. I don’t know why I can’t be obsessed with myself for a little while: eat well, be healthy and fit, and let go of Tony.

Strangely enough, the short communication with his wife settled me. I gave her enough affair specifics that proves our timeline so he can lie all he wants now. If she’s clever, she will ask the questions before giving up the information. I almost wish I had sent her our text string for a 6 month period. He could say anything he wanted but those text prove how he was leading me to believe there was a life for us. I hadn’t read those text in a long time because they hurt so badly. But, I sat and read all 4000 or so pages in that string. It brought back some really lovely memories and the pain of waiting. It was ok. I didn’t cry or breakdown. I just read. And I had some weird feeling of relief.

Someone mentioned the itch to speak to him is going to come back. I don’t know. When I made up my mind to end Bobby and sent my emails to Ann, I stopped. Somehow I stopped them and somehow I will stop now.

Like the saying “let go and let God.” I’ve given over what I had and it’s their marriage to manage. I don’t think I will hear from either of them ever again.

January Goals

Yes, its February.

I’m still trying to reconcile that I didn’t get to half of my January goals, and new ones seem to come at me almost daily.

Certainly the Tony-textacle threw me off track 2 days.

But, in an effort to log and track…here goes (notice I didn’t add many to February since I was so lax in January)

Work

(J) Review and edit my resume and social profiles: in process, in a much better place

(J) Make a list of contacts and actively begin a search: have not started

(J) Utilize outplacement website and webinars: have completed 3 webinars, scheduled 2 more next week.

(J) Ensure all job search sites are set up properly for my searches: have not completed, needs fine tuning

(F) Commit to Mindfulness and set a clear intent: I took a bulletproof confidence webinar AND I won a free 1:1 consulting session based on my participation.  This is something to look forward to!

 

Personal

(J) Choose an exercise to stick with and develop a routine: I set up my screen sharing, turned on the Peloton service, bought a small weight set and set the room up for success. Now, just to actually exercise.

(J) Learn yoga or meditation: I need to keep reminding myself this is good for me.

(J) Migrate addresses and birthdays to phone: started, not completed.

(F) Fine tune Keto eating by logging and watching macros – I was consuming too many calories.

 

Finance

(F) Remember unemployment Monday’s

(F) Follow up on Bond processing

(F) Sort out parents trust and accounts

 

 

Home

(J) Deep clean: bathroom floors/grout: still haven’t given this a second thought.

(J) Put away Christmas decor: some things were still lingering but got this done yesterday.

(J) Help son re-arrange bedroom: when he’s ready, otherwise, I am not pushing.

(J) Purchase rug for basement and mop floors: haven’t given this a second thought either.

(F) Deep clean couch in living room

(F) Purchase new washer and dryer

(F) Call the handyman for a few necessary repairs.

With about 8 days into February the month will fly by so I need to get my ass in gear.

Who Is That Person?

Slowly, very slowly, I have been easing myself back into the real world and acknowledging I don’t have much longer to subsist on liquid assets and have to earn an income. Oh joy.

My time is running out quickly. March 1st was the internal deadline I set for myself to have a job and start being fit. That gave me a full 6 months of healing. I have done absolutely nothing in the way of fitness and believe me I have all the time in the world as well as an expensive Peloton Bike. I have, however, started the gears going on my job search.

Luckily, I have a good outplacement service paid for by previous employer. I had a slow start as I was confused about how to search for a role that pretty much doesn’t exist anymore. It wasn’t until my resume rewrite was complete that I realized I had to change the way I was thinking about transferable skills as well as what I may want to achieve in my next role.

My resume writer is very strong, definitely better than the one I had in 2014. We speak on the phone and she gives me suggestions about how to finesse my thoughts on my brand (me). I realized through research what was bothering me about my old resume. The resume appeared to say “I did this” and then “I did more of this” and finally “I did a lot more of this” without really highlighting my soft skills that have been quantifiable from my previous role. I was solely focused on my technical skills as I had been in the past, and many of those are actually not transferable skills. But, soft skills are hard to quantify – everyone can state “influential and dynamic” in writing, but I had actually influenced change and created a dynamic process and team – I had quantifiable achievements that can be considered highly valuable in another area.

So we talked through what was on my mind, I made some bullet points for her to use as specifics and a jumping off point to refine and wordsmith to create my brand and we had a blueprint to a new resume focus.

The resume that came back was fascinating! It took me more than a few minutes to digest that it was, perhaps, me. It felt uncomfortable at first. I sent it to a few close peers and received back “sounds just like you, Mads!” Even when I questioned them “isn’t that too over the top? Do I really do these things? do you receive me as a Visionary Leader?” their answers were always “yes, that’s you now.”

Ummmmmm, ok. Humbled.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I haven’t had many moments of true happiness and confidence in 9 months. I got the iceberg in January of 18, but I really didn’t begin to sink until April of 18. Once I took on water, I went down fast from April – September. By September I had given up all hope and just wished for a painless exit. We all know I wasn’t granted my wish, God has a higher purpose for me. I didn’t experience any lasting moments of Joy from April through November, it seemed as if one more difficult, trying or miserable thing just kept happening and I was helpless to affect the outcome.

Regardless if Rob is never apart of my life, the Thanksgiving Football Party with my family, friends and Rob brought me a great deal of happiness for the first time in what had felt like forever. The feeling continued for some time and was the first glimpse that I could move forward. I had another lovely burst of joy around a holiday party with my family, sans a man, but it didn’t have the same lingering effect as the first. My life isn’t entirely devoid of happy moments, they just seem to fade very quickly at this time.

The resume was the second instance of lingering confidence and joy, and this didn’t happen until January. You will all be pleased to note this had nothing to do with a man! Reading the new view of myself elevated my confidence level to the moon and back. But then the doubts crept in – was that really me? Could I do it? Did I want to do it? Do I want to work that had to achieve? Was I presenting an imaginary version of myself?

I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it, but my mind isn’t necessarily in working order these days.

I also know I need to be consistent with positive thoughts and put my statements out into the universe, repeat them and bring the positive energy and light back unto me. I do believe in this, but putting daily mindfulness into practice has always been difficult for me.

I chose to take a webinar about bulletproof confidence. I need to invest in myself and do more mindfulness, but the hours of doing nothing still seem to slip by. The therapist says I will get there, but I’m beginning to get worried that I’m buried in cement as I can’t seem to maintain the effort.

What am I so afraid of?

The glimpses come and they are wonderful and enlightening, but I cannot sustain them. Maybe I am just too afraid of flying high and failing all over again: making promises I can’t actually keep because I’m a fraud?

A failed relationship, a failed career and parenting fails out the whazoo. I’m tired of picking myself up off the ground only to find myself here again, but my total lack of desire to even try this time is frightening, even to me.

Keeping on Track

I set some small goals for January and wanted to check in to see how I was doing:

Work

Review and edit my resume and social profiles: completed, waiting for the final resume from the resume writer

Make a list of contacts and actively begin a search: did not do

Utilize outplacement website and webinars: did not do

Ensure all job search sites are set up properly for my searches: did not do

*Major fail in this area. If I am not working by Mach 1st we have a serious financial issue.

Personal

Choose an exercise to stick with and develop a routine: thought about it every day and did nothing.

Learn yoga or meditation: forgot I even set this as a goal. 

Create 2019 calendar: done. Disconnected from the family calendar so x can no longer see anything of mine unless it specifically affects him/kids.

Migrate addresses and birthdays to phone: started, not completed.

Give Keto eating a try: done.  2 weeks in and working well. I feel an energy boost and added mental clarity.

*Not a lot of improvement. I cannot get the exercise going and believe me I do have 10 minutes a day.

Finance

Remember unemployment Monday’s: I forgot last Monday 😦

Submit bonds for processing: done. Though with the shutdown this may impede and access to funds I was hoping for by February 1st.

Sort out S1 and S2 school immediately: done.

*Somewhat better achievement in this area, except if I don’t sort out the job part soon, money will be a huge concern.

Home

Deep clean: bathroom floors/grout: haven’t given this a second thought.

Put away Christmas decor: done.

Help son rearrange bedroom: when he’s ready, otherwise, I am not pushing.

Purchase rug for basement and mop floors: haven’t given this a second thought either.

*I realize how much I don’t want to care for my home anymore. It feels overwhelming and huge. Every time I look around I see dollar signs. I no longer get the joy from the home I used to, but it is a lovely family home we all feel comfortable in.

At the end of the day, I have zero motivation. Every step I take requires major energy drains. It feels like all the strong has been sucked out of me for good.

I can’t figure out this new me….I can’t find what’s going to give me the push I need.  In 51 years I have never been so wholly unmotivated and directionless.  And, what scares me most is the sense of being devoid of feeling.

Therapy is this week and it will have to be the last session until I’m employed.  I’m going to try to keep writing though.

Buckling Down

My frame of mind is improved, as has my energy since the first iron infusion.  I started a Keto diet and added in some MCT oil to see if that would help with my energy levels.  I also had my monthly B12 shot.  I am doing everything I can, except exercise, to get my self back on track.  I hate exercise, always have, and I have to find a way to make sure I begin again.  The Peloton bike stares at me every time I walk past it.  I have not other excuse except that I just hate exercise.

I’ve noticed my sleep is less disturbed this week, which is helpful.  I’m tired all day but not sleepy. My second infusion is Monday and by the end of the week – at least physiologically – my body should be back on track.

I haven’t gotten a period in 48 days.  I do notice waking a few times during the night being much too hot, taking off the covers and then a minute later (or less) pulling them back on and falling straight back to sleep.  I’ve had hot flashes before and perhaps this is the pre-cursor of peri-menopause because they are definitely not full on hot flashes – I can deal with these!

My weight loss has slowed and I’m close to my first goal.  I was 157 pounds yesterday and I know for a fact I haven’t been that low since my first pregnancy in 1999.  20 years being  technically obese is nothing to joke about.  I feel so much better in the way I can move my body without all that excess weight.  I love being able to cross my legs and keep them crossed or tucked under me all day, when you’re too heavy you can’t do this and its awkward.  This was the 4 month mark for me and the doctor says most people continue to lose through the first year, just more slowly.  If I can hit 145 pounds I would be thrilled.

So health gets a check plus.  My wound is still leaky and irritates me, but its not troublesome.

I’ve gone into credit card debt the first time since divorce and that scares me a bit.  I moved it all to no interest for 12 months, but the debt is large.  I am not used to not having any income at all.  I really don’t know how to buckle down when I need to financially.   I made some edits to some home services to reduce the monthly bill, and I pay a decent mortgage on my home for what I won (meaning way better than rent would  be for 3 or 4 bedrooms).  I have some savings I can use to pay it down, but holding onto that as cash in case I’m out of work beyond March.

I did have to do a little clothes shopping.  All my XXL clothes, including my underwear and bras, were literally falling right off me!  Trying on clothes was actually fun and not frustrating for the first time in my life.  I totally lost my ass, its like a pancake now, but I know if I get my booty moving I can get it back!  My cousin and I had an afternoon of shopping and gossiping and I enjoyed the girl time.  I was thrilled to buy some jeans, T-shirts, bras and panties.  A small fortune but well worth how much better I look and feel with a few pieces of properly sized clothing.  I have a good network for handing down clothes too, which I love because I generally invest in decent clothing and it can last.  So my friends who receive get a wardrobe they would never buy for themselves and they feel good too.    I seriously never realized how loose things could get – my winter coats are like two ton garbage bags on me….so they will go on resale sights due to their cost.  I think I can recoup enough to be able to buy new ones next year.  Getting fitted for a bra was great but, boy, big bras are expensive!  And if you want to look even slightly pretty at my cup size prepare to pay double!

I haven’t done enough in the way of helping myself with work.  I have done some, but no real press for networking.  I am going to have no choice but to force myself forward this week.  I hate that I still don’t feel “ready” to get back to work, but there is no choice.  I have great friends for support who all have great ideas how to eventually move out of my are of expertise and start something new, but I find those conversations daunting when I don’t yet have a steady stream of income.  I was never an entrepreneur and admire those (like you, Maggie!) who can get out there and work for themselves.  I’m terrified.  And probably a bit lazy….corporate world has it perks in its consistency.

I do love spending some quality time with my friends, cousins and sister – which was hard to do when I was working.  I like seeing the kids all day, even when they aggravate me.  I have adjusted to having nothing to do and honestly don’t even know where the time goes during a day.

Boring post, I know, but pretty much where I am at the moment.

The Big City

I had a lot of anxiety prior to heading into the city this week to meet my friend. Honestly, had she not traveled so far to see me or if she wasn’t so important to me, I think I would have bagged it.

As it turned out, once I got going, I was fine. I had no anxiety once I actually got into the car. Then again, I wasn’t heading into work.

I broke the seal, so to speak. I made it back to my city after a full almost 4 month break. That’s the longest I’ve ever stayed away since college.

My friend and I had a fantastic time and I truly needed the girl time with her. She is one of the smartest woman I know and fully gets me. I just wish she lived closer. I don’t have enough friends like her who are working moms, ambitious, brilliant, sexy and kind. Women who really get where I am coming from and have experienced their own highs and lows. Women whose voice and experience I trust implicitly. I’m not complaining about my friends as I have great ones, I just need more like this.

I had text Rob that I was in the city and he stopped by for a quick drink. He was sort of awkward, didn’t have much to say, so I didn’t mind that he didn’t stay. It was sweet he dropped by, but he’s clearly not social out of his comfort zone. If I reach out to him, he always replies. If I don’t, he usually checks in every few days. I would like more, but I’m not going to get it and I have no desire to push for it.

I did eat too much one evening and won’t be doing that again. I watched my alcohol intake.

I did hear from Tony again last week. He asked about my Christmas tree by text. We had a small back and forth and that’s about it. I don’t especially feel one way or the other, but I do know I have a strong feeling about shutting the door on him. So, it remains open. I was honest about this with my therapist as well.

Honestly, if I can motivate myself to begin an exercise regime I think it would really help me to begin to structure myself again. It will also help getting off the last 20 pounds. I know I need to do this and it seems to be as much of a roadblock as job searching is at the moment.

My plans for the weekend and week ahead include a lot of rest – I am truly exhausted after 2 full days and nights of more activity than I’m used to! Making sure I’ve got all my Christmas presents ready to go and, if not, shop for the last bits. Lots of wrapping. Lots of prep for baking and cooking. Plenty to keep me occupied.

I am mostly in a positive mood, but wouldn’t call myself happy. I still feel quite disconnected from most things and, even though I have happy moments, the feeling doesn’t persist.

My eldest son is home from college and that makes me a bit anxious as he’s the most entitled kid of the three. I plan to remain constant with my rules and boundaries with him. Fingers crossed for that.

Adoption

How do I really feel about adoption?

Other than exploring alternative feelings in therapy, I would always say I am very positive about adoption.   I do not truly understand the stigma people feel related to adoption.

I was adopted the day after I was born, because my mother desperately wanted a child. She told me that she wouldn’t have stayed married to my father had they not gotten the call for me so many years ago.  Her family was thrilled for her because she was the beloved only-child in a large family of cousins.  I never felt anything less than wanted growing up, and never, to this day, question who my parents are.  I even get a bit annoyed when people call them my  “adoptive parents.”   There is no need to label my parents other than parents, they raised me, loved me, cared for me and provided for me my entire life. My birthparents need a distinguishing label because they created me, but did not nurture or parent me.   I literally gag when people refer to my birthparents as “your real parents.’  My real parents are the ones who raised me, no one else is more real to me than my parents.

I do get angry when people feel the need to distinguish the people who raised me with any moniker other than parent.

The back story of my adoption is very interesting, but much too long to share (literally deserves a book) so I will provide and edited version:  Hank and Judy met in High School and were from different sides of the tracks, so to speak.  Hank came from a wealthy and social family and Judy from a less-affluent family.   Hank went off to college and during his first  Christmas break, had sex with Judy.  She got pregnant.  I never asked him if they were having regular sex or not – I will have to ask him more details.  It never really crossed my mind.

Just recently, I came across a family photo on Facebook of Judy around April 1967 – which means she was pregnant with me!  The caption under reads “Family photo for Mothers Day 1967” a little bit of irony there, eh?  The family was embarrassed she was pregnant out of wedlock and sent her away to live with an Aunt until she had the baby.  She doesn’t recall much of my birth, because women were fully sedated in 1967, and won’t speak to me about the pregnancy.  I don’t know how depressed she was, or if it was a healthy pregnancy.  I know from our first conversation that I was a full secret to her family, and her parents did not want her to acknowledge me when I finally found her in 1996.  I know she has real issues acknowledging me in general, but every once in a while her curiosity gets the better of her and she will reach out to me with a note on Facebook (though she will not friend me).

When I first found her, I was angry that she wouldn’t acknowledge me.  I was trying to get pregnant and wanted my medical history.  Because of this, I then pursued my birthfather.  Finding Hank was en entirely different story.

Hank and his wife, Debbie, immediately welcomed me into their hearts and home.  Hank and Debbie also had my beloved sister, whom I believe is the real reason all this fell into place at all.  My little sister, Kiki, and I have developed a wonderful relationship over the years and I adore her.  She just got engaged and I will be her maid-of-honor, even though I am 20 years older!  Finding Hank’s family showed me how nature is just as important as nurture.  Anyone who knows me and knows Hank would agree.  I am his child through and through.  I keep close contact with this family to this day, and my children call him Poppa Hank.

Once I found my birthparents the years have provided a more complete idea of my genetics, and maybe there was something in me that was silenced.  Perhaps the intense curiosity of knowing who I was?  Of why I did the things I did, or thought the way I thought?  I don’t recall how I felt at the time I found them except satisfied.  I was unlike my parents in most ways and everyone would always say “where did you come from!” because my mother was so gentle and I was not.  I was a busy, hyperactive, curious child – that was too much of a handful for my parents.  Looking back, I realize my mother carried the full burden of parenting, my father rarely participated in parenting unless it was to hit me for discipline.  In any case, I don’t think I ever felt resentment towards my birthparents for giving me up for adoption because my life was really good.  If my birthparents had kept me, I would have been a child of a single, unhappy mother.  God chose a better path for me placing me into my mothers loving arms.

That’s pretty much my adoption story.  In therapy we are exploring a few topics related to adoption.   The idea that I wasn’t wanted/loved in utero (this one bothers me quite a deal) and the idea that I was abandoned by my birth parents.  Honestly, I prefer to exclude these ideas in favor of the way I was actually parented, and how that affected my behaviors.  While I still struggle with acknowledging anything about my parents parenting style (because my mother is not alive and my father is 82 – whats the point) I do see value in understanding and exploring my inner child and the lengths she went to in order to be seen, heard and loved – and how my needs as a child were not met with my parents parenting style and how that developed into bad coping mechanisms for me.

I am in the process of reading a book on how to re-parent your inner child, and I can’t say I love it.   While I believe in the theory, the exercises feel just plain stupid to me.  Drawing with your left hand (or non dominant hand) your inner child has more of an ability to speak to you.  I can’t draw a straight line with my dominant hand so this exercise feels simply ridiculous to me.  I have tried a few times now and I give up – this type of creative therapy doesn’t resonate for me.  I will have to speak to the therapist today about that as she feels its significant that I can’t do the art therapy.

In my next few posts I plan to explore what I have rediscovered about my childhood.  The memories I prefer to suppress in favor of the really good, positive and nurturing memories.  I don’t know how much posting I will get to this week as I actually have to go back into the city a couple days…which is already causing me great anxiety.

 

Inner Child

Hello Madeline, meet Trixie.

Oh, you know each other already?

Hmmmm….

So work with my therapist has begun on my inner child. Basically, learning how to like and accept that young wounded girl and then learning how to re-parent her.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about this work. I don’t like going back to revisit difficult things and I am a champion at forgetting bad things – also known as my stellar behavior to crucify myself on a daily basis.

A friend said to me: what you have been doing and how you have been doing it isn’t working, why not try another way? Open your mind and listen.

Because this is my nearest and dearest friend whom I trust the most, I agreed to try something different. This also includes a therapist who is also non-secular. I promised, while begging for life in Mexico, that I would try and turn to God. More on this piece to come at a later time.

This post is simply to introduce the idea of my inner child and how she will help me learn why my behaviors, especially my bad behaviors, have become my ultimate coping mechanism.

We spent a little time talking about my childhood and my parents. If you asked me, I would say I had a very good, and happy, childhood. That’s only partly true. I was a very dissatisfied child, worse so when my younger brother came on the scene almost 6 years later. I actually no longer dwelt on the cards I was dealt as a child, I thought – and still think, to some degree – going back to explore these issues doesn’t hold and value on how I choose to live today. I am aware of the things I was uncomfortable with in childhood, but prefer not to dwell. Further, I’ve been taught that it just sounds like privilege complaining. People had it way worse than me in their lives, my parents tried their best, my mother is no longer alive, and my father is nearly 82. What’s the point of reliving painful memories that can stir up old feelings of anger and sadness (amongst many other feelings) when I have moved past all of that?

Or, have I?

I am willing to explore it and think about it. Try to learn what I don’t love about myself that I allow so many others to determine my self-worth. And then learn how to love and accept all of me, so that I may share myself fully with others.

I will start with my adoption. I may have told the story in a past blog somewhere, but I’m going to write again. I will walk through some childhood memories and try to think about why my inner child is so unhappy and feels so unwanted. I think I have many answers already but I want to do the work in writing.

I feel a need to apologize to my mother in heaven before I start this work:

Momma, I love you more than anything and I’m sorry I was never the daughter you needed, but I loved you fully and know you would be so proud of the woman I’ve become. I know you won’t like this….I need to explore what’s making me so unhappy in my womanhood that must be stemming from my childhood. I no longer blame anyone, it’s only a process of realization. I know you didn’t like so many things I’ve done in my life that must have felt like direct attacks on your parenting, but you always, ultimately, supported me in the end. We were always uncomfortable together, you and I. It was never a fully harmonious relationship. We always questioned one another. I wish I understood you sooner so you could have felt more love from me than you did, but believe me, it was always there. You have, and always will be, my first love and number one. Please support this hard work I have to do. I don’t want to remember things that hurt because you are not here with me anymore and I feel it’s unfair, but I believe it can help. Please continue to stay by my side throughout. I love you.