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Friday, January 28, 2011

Steadying the Ladder

 

I do not need you to climb up the ladder to save me from my isolated tower. However, steadying the ladder during my downward descent would be most helpful.

Of course, meeting me halfway up the ladder could also work. I just do not want to have to rely on you to save me from some big bad scary dragon, errant nobleman with dubious intentions, and/or my own lack of self-worth.

I have relied on a Prince before to my detriment, I might add. Now, I am making the conscious decision to keep my reliance on them down to a bare minimum.




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revoked

 


The notice came in the mail yesterday. It is not really a big surprise to me.
Basically, I am banned from performing any heroic acts until my hearing in two weeks. Someone reported me to the Board of Bad A** Women for enabling and codependent behaviors. They performed an investigation and deemed that the charges leveled against me are valid enough to revoke my license pending the outcome of my hearing.

These are baseless charges and I cannot wait to tell the Board my side of the story. I never enabled him per se, I just provided a stable environment and perhaps carried a lot of the relationship load. But, surely every couple goes through a period in which one partner has to carry the load of the other. Sheesh!

I think that I can beat the enabling rap. However, the Board really takes a dim view on Codependent behaviors in general. It goes against the very core of what the Board will tolerate from one of its certified Bad A** Women.




What This Fight is Really About

 


We are having our first fight and it is scary. I am thrown off, because it came out of nowhere. My mind has gone into quick analysis mode and it keeps coming up with the same answer. This argument has nothing to do with us as a couple.It is all about his painful past which I have not been privy to. I am an outsider in the argument. He is lashing out at the world whilst battling his own inner demons.

The air is thick with unresolved issues and the sickeningly sweet aroma of overwrought nostalgia. I have a feeling that this is a defense mechanism which has kept others at arm's length.

My first instinct is to warn him about setting up camp in the dusky corridors of the past. I know from first-hand experience that this can only end badly for him. Alas, he is determined to play out this drama. I have no choice but, to sit on the couch and watch the demise of our relationship.





Monday, January 24, 2011

This Dark Night of the Soul: Lesson #3


 


Lesson #3-Being in a relationship with a wounded person can take a lot out of you. Learn to love them for who they are and do not try to "save" them for the sake of the relationship.

Loving a wounded man has been one of the most difficult things that I have endured in the past few years. Yet, I would not change the circumstances and everything that has occurred since we parted ways. I learned a lot about a recurring pattern which I need to break free of. I thought that if I could get him onto a higher level that it would equal me breaking this pattern of "saving" the men in my relationships.

But, my ploy backfired on me, thankfully. By trying so hard to make the relationship work, I was ultimately disrespecting his journey. It is up to an individual to change of their own volition. Either they will rise to the occasion or they will not. It is up to them to decide.

My ego, (which I am happy to say is crumbling as we speak), demanded that he forsake what I viewed as a less than healthy past for a better future with me. While, our future together would have been different from his past, it may not have necessarily been better. Especially, if he felt as though he had pushed into making the decision.

I have made the conscious choice at this time to let him go and love him from afar.




The Cave

 

Sometimes, we isolate ourselves to get a better perspective on the course in which our lives are taking. Perhaps, we are deciding whether to relocate, end a relationship, change careers, or lose weight.

We know that we cannot stay in the cave forever. Eventually, we will have to come out and face the world. Facing the world after being in the cave, is disconcerting to say the least. We will have to explain to loved ones that our absence had nothing to do with them.

They may or may not believe us, but we cannot focus on their feelings. We have to concentrate on working things out in our own minds.




Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scapegoat

 

It is my fault. That is what he told me. I listen intently not believing a word of his diatribe, but curious to see how far he will go with it.

He is blaming me for his lack of career advancement and the fact that his co-workers do not like him. If only, I were more attractive or held a better job. Then, he would be able to move up. But, it is all my fault that his life is currently in the crapper.

He is casting about for a scapegoat and I am it. I have been since the second month of our relationship. We are now in month seven and the diatribes are getting more and more vitriolic. I will probably have to leave this relationship in a few weeks. It has become too emotionally painful to sit around and be his scapegoat.

When, I tell him that it's over. He is shocked and angry, but not saddened about the break up. He knows that within a few days, he will be able to find a new candidate for his girlfriend, er, I mean scapegoat.





Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who was Gonna Teach Us?

 

We want to love in earnest, but we never learned how to do so.

Who was gonna teach us?

In our world, dysfunctional emotional attachments are often equal love.

Emotional attachments urge us to keep the peace for the sake of not being alone.

We do not dare reveal our true selves to significant others.

It is way too risky. Our significant other may become overwhelmed and run away from us.

How could we possibly know that real love is unafraid to be sincere in its emotion?

No one ever told us.

We do not know that love's shining light offers up healing and an opportunity to grow.

Instead, we seek to keep our significant other placated and numbed to reality.

How could we know that true love is based more in reality than fantasy?

Who was gonna teach us?





Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Rescue Scenario

 

Rescuing can gives us such a rush of power. There we are flexing our strength to the less fortunate. The look of appreciation and gratitude from the Rescuee is priceless. Everyone wins...for a time. Until , the Rescuee becomes overly dependent on our heroics and we begin to view their helplessness as a ploy to control us.
Or we continue to make sure that the Rescuee stays overly dependent on us so that we can make ourselves feel more powerful.

In our role as Rescuee, we may associate each "rescue" as a display of love towards us. The Rescuee fears that a main source of love will be snatched away from them. Therefore, we create situations in which we will need to be rescued to sustain the feelings of being loved. The Rescuer eventually burns out on this scenario and begins to avoid the Rescuee.

In our role as Rescuer, we are constantly on the lookout for someone to "save".
Sometimes, we focus our attention on just one person to constantly rescue. We befriend them or enter a relationship with them to keep them nearby. Next, we set up situations in which we will be the hero and everyone will see how awesome we are.

Whenever, our Rescuee tries to stand on their own or becomes to much too handle we get rid of them and find someone else to rescue.

The Rescuer and Rescuee scenario, prevents the people involved it from connecting as individuals. Perhaps, the Rescuee wants the respect of the Rescuer but, knows that it is impossible because of the nature of their past association. The Rescuee just kind of resigns themselves to staying within the paradigms of the scenario.

Maybe, the Rescuer would love the Rescuee to step up to the plate and be more responsible. However, they know that the Rescuee is unlikely to do so.

So, both parties stay within the confines of the scenario until one of them breaks free for good. Neither party is growing as an individual and their friendship/relationship becomes stagnant.

I have been both a Rescuer and a Rescuee. In my role as Rescuer, I believe that I had good intentions. Those good intentions, paved the road to near financial ruin for myself and years of wasted time that I will never get back. In addition, my Rescuees did not benefit from my help in the long run.

As a Rescuee, I found that each time I tried to stand on my own two feet my Rescuer would find away to manipulate me into accepting help. Sadly, I did not see the pattern until I noticed the cold way in which my "Rescuer" treated me once I got back on my feet. I knew that at point I would have to leave the relationship, because they did not want me to grow out my role as Rescuee.

This scenario is not always easy to break free of, however, staying in it too long guarantees misery and stagnation for both parties involved.





Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Savior

 

He is determined to save me from myself. He is going show me the world in a whole new way. Someone as pedestrian as myself should be honored that he desires to become my self-appointed Savior.

I go along with it to humor him. Why should I complain? Most women, would kill to have a man willing to drop everything and help them. The first two months of the relationship are pure bliss.

He moves in with me and insists on paying all of my bills. For the first time in my life, I feel taken care of and truly loved.

Pretty soon, my bliss turns into a nightmare. He insists that we have to start hanging out with his married friends and their wives.

They hate me on sight. Oh sure, they are polite enough. But, I know that they think that I am not good enough for him. My community college paralegal certificate is not a good enough pedigree for their social set.

Time spent with his friends means that I will sit in silence as they make fun of people from "lesser backgrounds". Knowing all the while, that their verbal jabs are really meant for me.

My boyfriend says nothing to divert these conversations. He does not even offer up a gentle chiding or squeeze my hand under the table. He sits apart from me and does not make eye contact.

My Sir Galahad does not defend my honor and it hurts the hell out of me. How can he be so tender when we are alone and then so cold to me in the presence of others?

I want to call up my sister or my best friend to vent, but I already know that they will not be sympathetic to me plight. In their eyes, I should be grateful that Sir Galahad is paying all of my bills. So what if his friends do not treat me with any respect whatsoever?





Sunday, January 16, 2011

Choking on Nostalgia


 
We sit across the table from one another, romantic electricity is sparking all over the place. This could be the time in which we are finally going to turn this undercurrent of emotion into a more tangible relationship.

We swap anecdotes about our shared past together. Hours pass and we do not even notice that the bright Southwestern sunshine has been exchanged for a denim-colored dusk. Outside of the restaurant there are couples holding hands and smiling at one another. We follow their lead. It feels great to be strolling down the street with him.

Our shared history crackles between us.

*************************************************************

We are married a few years ago in a simple lake side ceremony. Nostalgia ushered us down the aisle and on to the path of life. Our marriage has not been an easy one.
The first year was absolute bliss, better than I could have imagined it. We spent most of it jetting around and visiting old friends.
Then, we bought house that we could not really afford. So, I took a higher paying job which required me to commute an hour away. Our cozy suppers were replaced with take out cartons and pizza boxes.

He is upset because the cheerful and svelte woman whom he married has been replaced with a snarky out of shape battle axe. I am upset with him, because he insisted that we buy this behemoth of house so that he could keep up his Big Man on Campus image.
We are barely speaking to one another. We put on a good show for family and friends, but it is definitely not the same.
Sometimes, I think that the only thing holding us together our the shared memories and we both know it.
We decide that the best way to save our marriage is to draw on the good times. We go to all of our old college hang outs and reminisce about our shared history.
However, our relationship has been tainted with long harbored resentments and anger. I can barely stand to hear another recounting of our Taos trip from 10 years ago. He rolls his eyes as I recite the anecdote about our outing to White Sands.
It becomes apparent that nostalgia is not enough anymore to hold our relationship together. Still, we battle on trying to save our marriage. Then, we go the baby route and everything falls apart that much faster.
*****************************************

Our divorce becomes final right before our daughter starts the fifth grade. She begs for us to stay together, but in the end she senses that her parents are better off apart.
Another year passes and I enter the dating scene which has changed radically since my days as a grad school student. Still, life moves on and I sign up for online dating websites, allow friends and family to set me up on blind dates, and meet potential suitors for Saturday afternoon coffee dates.

He has begun seeing a woman, but I do not know much about her.
My friend ran into them at the mall and she became tight-lipped when I tried to pump her for additional details.
Uh-oh, I think. He must be serious about her and my friend does not want to hurt my feelings.
A few more months pass by and I am still not having any luck on the dating scene.
However, my ex has called me to let me know that he wants our daughter to meet his significant other this weekend. My first instinct is to scream "Hell, no", but it has been almost two years since our divorce.

"Sure." I reply cheerily.

Saturday arrives and we all meet for lunch at the mall. I decide to bring my sister along to referee. It is worse than I thought. Physical contact with my ex has been limited to polite front porch exchanges and curt nods at our daughter's school functions.
My ex looks amazingly content and satisfied with life. It probably has to do with the petite attractive woman standing next to him. He makes introductions all the way around. I am surprised to see how much she does not look like me.
I am tall and lanky with chin length black hair. I am a jeans and t shirt kind of gal. She is petite with thick brown wavy hair cut slightly passed her shoulders. She is one of those fashionable dressers whom actually follows trends.
Back in the day, my ex used to make fun of women like her. Perhaps, that was a ruse and he secretly preferred women like this.

They met when she conducted CPR classes at the engineering firm where he works.

Through conversation, I find out that she is a nurse practitioner for one of the local hospital's. Which means that she makes way more money than I do. Plus, she is employed in a healing profession.

*************************************************
Six months ago, my ex got remarried and it hurt like hell. How dare he move on before me? It is not fair, if he had not insisted on buying that stupid house I would not have had to commute. I would not have packed on weight. I would not have become so snarky. He killed our marriage and then he moved on. The worst part of it is that my daughter really likes her. Apparently, my replacement comes from a blended family and so she really makes an effort to be a good stepmom.

Now, my replacement is pregnant with twins and my daughter is so excited to be a big sister. She chatters about it non-stop. Then, she casually mentions to me that perhaps I should start dating again and have another child as well. So much for kids wanting their parents to be together.
*********************************************************
The twins were born last night and it has been utter chaos. My sister and I are helping my replacement and it is not as awkward as I had feared. We deliver our casseroles and help organize the baby gear for my replacement. She is so gracious to us as though it is natural for her current husband's ex-wife and ex sister-in-law to be assisting her. Yet, it does feel natural. My sister grudgingly admits that she really likes my replacement and how lucky my daughter is to have a great step-mom.

She is right of course, but it still stings. Probably because the relationship that my ex-husband has with his new wife is based on something more tangible than what we ever had. My ex and me had a friendship which caught fire, but our relationship was based on the fear of moving onto the next stage in life. We clung to nostalgia and one another for as long as possible. But, the truth is that once life got rocky, the fragile gossamer strings of nostalgia were not enough to hold our marriage together.
*****************************************
Epilogue
Sometimes, I stop into one of our old college hang outs and my throat catches. I see the college couples holding hands and making plans much in the same that my ex did. I have to stop myself from rushing over to their tables to warn them about the dangers of staying together for the sake of nostalgia.



Grasping for Who and What We Know

 

Sometimes, our pasts can scar us so badly that we are unable to truly move forward with our lives. We keep going back to that fateful day, in which we discovered that life does not always provide a storybook ending for us.

Our parents neglected our emotional and physical needs. A trusted friend betrays us or a significant other disappoints us in the worst way possible. These events become transfixed in our minds and we can mistakenly allow them to stop us from going forward.

We throw our guard way up against the possibility of being hurt. All of the good people whom subsequently encounter us after we have been hurt are pushed away. Our focus remains on those people from our past.

We waste a lot of time trying to work out things in our minds. If we could just go back to that time and fix everything, maybe the outcome would have been different.

We seek out others with similar characteristics of those from our pasts, so that we can reenact situations. All of this is done in the hopes of finding closure of some type. But, the resolution never occurs. So, we continuing grasping for who and what we know in hopes of healing the broken parts of ourselves.

Even though, we know that the best way to mend is to make peace with the past and move on with our lives.





Saturday, January 15, 2011

Battling One's Demons

 

It has been one thing after another.

A break up and then an unexpected but, nevertheless catastrophic loss. By all rights, I should be on the floor crying my eyes out and unable to function.

No one would blame me if I took an unexpected detour to "Crazy Lady" land.

However, past experience with adversity has trained me to walk through pain with my eyes wide open for the lessons that it will inevitably provide.

This time the lessons are proving to be a lot harder to implement into my life. My previous adversity had manifested itself in external circumstances such as: finding a career path, starting over in a new city, and surviving in a Recession.

As difficult as my life was ten years ago, I find myself somewhat longing for my financially strapped days in which my struggles were external. I can fight an outside enemy.

But, how do I fight my own inner demons?

I am sure that these inner demons have always been with me. Yet, I ignored them because at the time my dire external circumstances had to take first priority.

For this battle, I will leave my armor and sword at home. Instead, I will put on my surgical gear and pick up a scalpel to perform a very delicate procedure on my soul.

When commencing to battle one's demons, the trick is to remove them without harming the good parts of oneself.




Love Don't Look Like That


 


"I love you." He says pulling me into a gentle hug.

I quickly step out of the hug.

"Yeah, you love me so much that you have lied to me at every turn, hacked into my email account, snooped through my cell phone, given our mutual friends a sob story about how you want to be a "better man" for me, and chased away all of my potential suitors. Love don't look like that."

His eyes grow large at my unexpected diatribe. He starts to speak and then stops himself.

I continue my tirade.

"Oh, you thought that I did not know the game you've been playing for the past five years. Surprise. I have been onto you for awhile, but for some reason I could not bear to let you go. However, now I am looking for a true partnership and not just the fairy dust of romantic feelings. No hard feelings. "

I offer out my hand in a friendly gesture. He ignores it.

I withdraw my hand and walk away.




Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change Becomes Necessary

 

The past few months have taught me a lot about the importance of moving on to the next phase of life. It's important to do so otherwise you run the risk of staying stuck in moment in which you can never escape.

Can you imagine every day being so caught up in the past that the present passes you by?

I have been stuck there a few times. Fortunately, I have great friends whom will tug me out of my melancholic reveries. They remind me that the past is already spoken for and that there is no use in constantly staying there.

How many times did I throw good relationships in favor of an ex whom could never live up to the memories which I had of him? Or stayed rooted to a toxic friendship because I had spent so many years in it?

All the while my heart and soul are crying out for me to move on to the next phase.

The toxic ex, the former friend, the dead end job what ever it is that has stunted my growth in the past can no longer do so.

Where I am headed the past will only hold me back.





Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bougie Girl In The Kitchen: Ginger Beef Strips with Mushrooms and Scallions

Earlier today, I was craving panko crumbs. I had planned to integrate panko crumbs into this evening's supper. However, I was unable to find any at the supermarket. They were probably sitting in plain sight. However, I was exhausted and I truly had no desire to sashay down each aisle looking for them.

I scrapped my plans for panko crumbs and decided to improvise with the ingredients which I had on hand.

Here's what you will need:

2 pieces of Sandwich Steak cut into thin strips
1/4 cup of chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 tablespoon of chopped Scallions
1 tablespoon of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup of Ginger tea
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lime Wedge
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar

1. Place the sliced uncooked Sandwich Steak into a bowl of tepid Ginger Tea.
2. Squeeze the juice from the Lime Wedge into the Ginger Tea.
3. Soak the beef in the Ginger Tea for about 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Pour the Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a small saucepan and heat on a low flame for 2 minutes.
5. Place the chopped Mushrooms and Scallions into the small saucepan. Pour in the Balsamic Vinegar. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Pour the Ginger Tea and Sandwich Steak strips into a medium saucepan over a low flame. Place a cover over the saucepan and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
7. After the Sandwich Steak has finished cooking, place it on a medium plate.
8. Add the Mushrooms and Scallions on top of the Sandwich Steak.
9. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top.
10. Enjoy.

This dish satisfied my hunger without weighing me down. It is simple to make and it is versatile.




Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bougie Girl In The Kitchen: A Quick Pick-Me-Up Supper


 

This evening, I arrived home exhausted from a hectic day at work.

Additionally, my 45 minute commute home did nothing to boost my overall energy level.

It did however, inspire my hunger.

Although, I am hungry, I do not want to get loaded down by a heavy meal.

Luckily, I have some already cooked and peppered pork cutlets in the refrigerator along with a few other odds and ends.

I opt to slice the pork cutlet into seven pieces. I squeeze a wedge of lime onto the meat and then drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar. I place the sliced pork cutlet onto a plate and microwave it for about 2 minutes. Once the 2 minutes are up, I place the plate on the counter to cool.

Next, I slice Vermont cheddar cheese into about seven pieces.

Five minutes later, I am enjoying a yummy simple to make food ensemble.

Alas, I was not able to snap a picture of this tasty meal because, hunger got the better of me!