My Epiphany

I was at work, finishing some candles for the store and thinking. We got an email yesterday stating they’ve decided to hire another person for the store. It’s a good move and we have needed help. The boss interviewed someone on Friday already. Turns out she’s mid 30’s, divorced, starting over in a new town with her kids and living with family. Her situation sounds not too different from my current situation, minus having younger kids. I’m told she’s and extrovert and very enthusiastic about the store and gushed to the owners about how wonderful everything was.

My brain immediately felt threatened by this new person. So much so that it went to a dark, weird place. I thought, “I bet she’s better than me. She’s extroverted, like the bosses want, she’s younger than me. She could probably still can have kids if she wanted…..I be the fella who dumped me would even like her better than me….he wants kids. He probably would think she’s prettier than me….”

I had to slap stop and slap myself. What the actual fuck was happening?? What on earth was I thinking?! Where was all of this bullshit coming from?! I haven’t even met this woman. She might be something completely different! So what if she and the fella I dated were both from New York?! Like, for real, brain?

I had an epiphany as I finished the candles. I realized, I have zero self worth unless it’s tied to how valuable others think I am. I have no self worth when I have no job. I have no self worth when I don’t have a partner. I have no independent, stand alone self worth. Period. If I can’t feel useful or feel like I contribute to make someone else’s life better, I cannot see myself as valuable. I do not see myself as valuable, just because I exist and suck in air. As a baby, I didn’t contribute! I just existed, yet I was cared for and thought to be important because there was potential for me to become something , in the future. Now, as an adult, if I am not giving in some capacity, I cannot see myself as having any value. I don’t see myself as having any potential to achieve much at all either. I cannot figure out why nor can I figure out when my self worth became tied to other people’s opinions of me.

I have always had “giving” jobs. I worked in healthcare for 12 years. I went to massage school and graduated last year. I have a nursing assistant licence. I am a mom. I have only known how to give to others. I suck at receiving too. It makes me feel guilty. When I can’t give in some capacity, it messes with my mental state. I am realizing this is actually quite a serious problem. Somewhere along the way, I’ve been conditioned to feel “selfish” if I allow myself to receive help or love or anything from others.

I am separated (soon to be officially divorced), my children are grown, I currently am fighting anxiety and cannot work as a massage therapist right now. I was dumped a month ago. All of that change, both slow and abrupt, has been challenging. All of my usual giving opportunities have been removed recently

This year’s dating escapades were a good distraction from myself and my mind. After the most recent breakup, I realized I am actually quite depressed and am kind of a train wreck as far as my mental health. I realized that I am depressed, primarily because I do not have any self worth. Oddly, after having this realization, I had better day. One better than I’ve had in a while. Finally, I had connected a few more dots to the miserable puzzle that is me. I remember working on this very thing in therapy the last time I was there. I was told to do things that I enjoyed, do things that made me happy. And I was doing that stuff, but I still had people around me who needed me or who I felt needed me. It was different then. Not at all how it is now. I am literally all alone right now. No family close by. The only friends I have are the people I work with. I don’t hang out with anyone since I got dumped. I work, I come home and I wake up and do it all over again the next day.

Right now, I am pretty scared. I don’t want to date anyone at all. Not for a good long while. The last one really, really hurt. My focus has been on getting my legal things in order (divorce, address change, ID updated, ect). I have been planning on how I’ll fix my dad’s house while I’m staying here. I am signing up for mental health services again. I am not going to give into the booty calling “friends” that have been texting. I am going to make a real effort to get my head back on straight, pull myself out of the pit and start working toward some new goals. People have been telling me to just focus on myself, and I finally am. I had to go through all of that other stuff first, probably because I tend to do things the hard way, but also because there were lessons to be learned along the way too. There were definitely good things that happened amongst the sadness. I finally have no distractions now and it really sucks, because I am forced to finally face myself.

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My Spiritual Consultation

This week, I booked a spiritual consultation with Chris Fleming who is a psychic medium. Why would a girl raised in a strict religious household, with clergymen in the family do something like this?? Because in my gut, it felt right and it felt like it was finally the right time.

I have gone through a lot of changes the past two years. It has been a rough go but everything, I feel, has happened because it was supposed to. I will refrain from recapping life’s events. If you’ve read past posts, you’ll have an idea.

In my reading, some very interesting things were mentioned. Confirmation and clarity are blessings for someone who feels like a ship without an anchor, which is how I’ve felt for some time now. The biggest portion of what was said had to do with relationships, most significantly the one with myself and how I see myself. I was told that the reason my past relationships have not lasted is because I was not being my true self. I was being a version of myself that I thought the other person wanted. Naturally, this prompted lots of introspection, especially today. I noticed today, I’ve been especially out of sorts because I have been trying to think about who I really am.

Why do I chameleon around other people? I know I do it. It seems like other people bring out a side of me that I am comfortable showing them. I haven’t ever felt like I was being fake. I try my best to show and say what I am thinking and feeling. With my last relationship that ended recently, I realized that while I wasn’t being fake, but I was definitely holding back some of myself to preserve the other person.

The man I was dating has depression, anxiety and chronic pain. I realized that I was holding back my negative side from him. I always tried to be positive and supportive to him but that’s not how I always felt. Sometimes, I was tired or I’m in pain and I’d get grumpy as a result. Sometimes, I didn’t want to hear about his pain or his problems, I wanted him to listen to me instead. I minimized myself and my own pain because he shared so much of his. I felt like I was a whiner for even mentioning when I was struggling. I never mentioned to him that I was sad on my mom’s birthday or that I  wanted to visit her grave but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, because it felt too hard on the day. I never mentioned any of this because he was telling me about how sad he was during his trip to New York, watching everyone with their kids and family and perfect looking lives. I realized I wasn’t sharing any of that with him and it probably made my life look really peachy, when it wasn’t. I wasn’t giving him any opportunity to show that he could be supportive of me, like I was of him. I wasn’t showing him my true self, all the unflattering angles. I held back to “save him” from that side of me and I realize I’ve done that with pretty much everyone who knows me. Not many people have seen me angry. Not many people have seen me really depressed or seen how I am when I’m anxious. Not many have seen me like how I’ve felt lately.

Today, in my grumpy state, I got to thinking rather negatively. This was something I was warned about. In my reading, I was told to keep those negative thoughts in check, because they tend to multiply and strengthen when one is already down and emotional.

Here are a few core beliefs which feeds the negativity about myself. I’ve always felt like I was really dull and boring. I have always been self conscious about my intelligence, because I never finished college and I don’t have a degree in anything. I have certifications, that’s it. I’ve also always felt like the real me must be incredibly annoying, because when I let it show in my younger years, I got a bad response.

After some more thought, I decided I probably am not so boring to the right person.

Here are a few things about me: I am an introvert and my idea of a fun night is spending it with someone I care about, watching a movie and eating snacks. Or going to a movie with someone I care about. Maybe going for a walk with someone I care about. You get the idea…. no crowds, no clubs, no noisy restaurants. Sometimes the noisy stuff is fun, but in small doses. Staying in, hanging out, eating food, enjoy each other’s company and talk about real stuff….that’s what I typically prefer. Some of the best nights I had with the fella I was dating, we did exactly this. Nothing fancy, just hanging out and being together. That’s what I enjoy most. I enjoy deep conversations too. I enjoy smart people who listen, don’t judge and who teach me things. I enjoy learning about new ideas or discussing psychology or music I’ve never heard. I enjoy talking about different cultures and travel. This world is a big place, I want to explore more of it someday. I want to talk about people’s fears or joys or how they felt during a difficult or significant point in their life. I want to talk about the weird things or kooky things or kinky things people might be afraid to share. I want to know those things about someone and I want to share those things about me with them. I want to be supported the way I support a partner. I want to feel deeply loved when I love someone deeply.

My negative traits include impatience, especially while driving. Anger, especially when I am already depressed (little things just annoy the hell out of me when I’m down). I tend to “mother” people and it’s something I’m trying my best to stop (because people find it very annoying and patronizing after a while). I care much too deeply about other’s lives, often at the expense of myself. I have shit boundary keeping skills at times. As a former people pleaser, and someone who grew up in a house where the best face was always put forth, it’s hard to break those ingrained patterns. I have a lot of self doubt in general, more so when I am feeling anxious or depressed, despite the fact that people see me as a very strong person. I need reassurance when I don’t feel strong, which is more often than I’d like to admit. I am insecure about my looks, especially in comparison to other women. I don’t really feel attractive unless I am getting positive reinforcement from a partner. I am anxious, especially around new people. Social anxiety is a real thing and it’s intensity fluctuates depending on the situation. I hate when someone is angry with me. It is almost as bad as a physical wound in that it bothers me so deeply. I will try whatever I can do to make the situation “right”. Also, I tend to apologize when I don’t need to or when I’ve done nothing wrong.

So, there you have it. The good and the bad. I’m trying to work on the shortcomings and be very honest about them. I am trying to not get down on myself because of them, because I really can beat myself up for being human. The remainder of this year is going to involve me trying to figure out who I am, with no hiding and no chameleon -ing. I am looking at more change next year but I’m not sure how it’s all going to come together. All I will say is, I’m due a fresh start.

 

I survived my CRAVE session

This past Thursday, I did my Crave photo shoot in Flagstaff at R2 Studios. My makeup was done by Ceci, Emmy did my hair, Robin took the pictures and Liz helped coach me through the session and poses. Renee checked in on us to see if we needed anything. They’re an amazing group of women and so lovely, each one of them.

I am not used to being the center of attention. It’s actually a very nerve wracking place to be, thanks to social anxiety. I had to push down my discomfort and just dive in. Five outfit changes and several hours later and it was over. All my nervousness was gone and I walked out dazed, still in disbelief that I did it. I go back to Flagstaff Sept 20th to see the final pictures and pick out what I want. I am excited to see how they turn out. Robin was excited with the shots. I know she’s madly talented and whatever she gets will be amazing. I almost didn’t recognize myself after Ceci and Emmy got finished with me. I said “Wow!” when I saw myself in the mirror. I asked if my hair could be bigger and if my eye makeup could be a little bit darker. After the touch ups, we got cracking.

I originally went into this shoot thinking of all the people I’d show these pictures to. I wanted the praise and admiration. About a week before my session, I had a bit of a break down and canceled. I realized I was going into it for all the wrong reasons and this need for other’s approval was a pattern I’d played out many times before. After some more thought and talking to close friends, I decided to keep my appointment. Robin also called, reassuring me and we discussed a different direction for the session. I am wearing more clothes in my pictures than most folks have, I think. Nothing wrong with that. I went into it with a new mindset of doing this shoot for myself. Not for anyone else. Not for the admiration or praise from anyone. I honestly may not show that many people my pictures. Just a select few. We’ll see. Either way, I hope I can finally see myself the way other people do. I’ve been called “strong” and “confident”. I do not feel either of those things inside, much of the time. I feel uncertain and nervous on most days. Apparently I can hide it well. I want to be able to see the good in me and I hope these photos can show me some of that.

Temporary

I think back to the days when my children were new. Those sleepless nights felt endless. I felt I’d never get through. The insomnia, the anxiety about what I’d gotten myself into? It was temporary.

Now that my kids are grown, I wonder where all the time has gone. I sit here on my bed reflecting, alone. Past pain and the stresses, the good times we try not to forget. The memories, both good and bad. This and all of the rest. It was temporary.

Forty four years have passed in a flash. I’m not sure how many years I’ll have left. To be quite honest, with my genetics, it’s anyone’s guess. All I do know is, it’s temporary.

So what can I do with the rest of my time? I tried to seek guidance from the divine, which felt like a waste of time. Grasping at air is how it feels, but I know this sensation is temporary.

I don’t have any real answers and I have no advice to give, except; love all that you can, take everything in, hug everyone more than twice and don’t be afraid of new beginnings. Because everything in this life is temporary.

Damn you…..

I do love you, I do

But, I don’t think you know it

You’re just some writer, biker-poet

Dark poetry and pain pours from your soul

Poured out on paper, as it has nowhere else to go

You have the most beautifully tormented mind

I love you despite your wounds and scars inside

Not all scars are external, most are within

Your pain is so vast, I don’t know when it began

Timid rabbit, I love you, but I’m afraid to fully show it

I say “I love you” in other ways, so hopefully you’ll know it

I say “You’re special to me” and tell you “I care”

Also texting, “I appreciate you” when we are not near

I don’t know the future but you’ve captured my heart

Love makes me long for you when we are apart.

 

 

 

 

The Shopaholic

There once was a wench, who was full of lust

An insatiable lust for shopping

Wasn’t due to need, nor due to greed

Her driving force was boredom

Her parcels from Amazon, stacked

Her nest egg, now thoroughly cracked

Counting down the days ’til her next paycheck

Bills are left unpaid

Creditors come a knockin’

This pattern won’t change until she hits rock bottom

Sitting in her castle, surrounded by things

The adrenaline rush slowly wanes

Reality sets in

And the itch begins again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRAVE next month

My CRAVE photo shoot is getting closer. It’s been on my mind a lot recently and I’ve been saving items for my ideas on Amazon. My wish list is an eclectic mix of sexy clothing, lingerie, TV show box sets and massage related items. Everything in balance, right?

I have been thinking a lot this year about who I am and how I see myself. Seems like the real me got lost somewhere along the way amongst the mom/wife duties and expectations of the past. The steamy, sexy vixen I fancy myself to be, in my head, got lost and hidden. I’m in the CRAVE Facebook group, which consists of people who have done a photo shoot already and those who have them coming up. It’s the best, most supportive group of women. The ones who have done their photo shoots already share their stories and tell of what prompted them to take the leap.

Most recently was a story from a gal who said she struggled to love herself and see herself as beautiful. I could really relate to what she was saying and feeling. I have caught myself (when planning my outfits) thinking, “I’m not going to look amazing. I’m going to look exactly as I expect I do….fat, old, strong and manly and not sexy at all. This shoot is just going to prove me right about how I see myself.” To say I have a few insecurities about my body is an understatement. I’m the most critical person of myself, in any room. I want to see myself as the tough but soft, sexy siren because that’s who I feel I truly am on the inside. I despise being called “cute” and I get annoyed when men think I’m nothing but wholesome, sweet innocence.  It’s nice when they stick around after the truth comes out, but that hasn’t been the case recently. So goes dating life.

I want to be proven wrong which this photo shoot. I can’t erase the images that were taken of me by a different photographer back in March of last year. I was trying to be brave and overcome my body issues then and I hated nearly every photo. I even did topless photos, just to prove I could. In every picture, I felt like I looked fat, unintelligent and not even remotely sexy. I also hated being told to smile….or “smirk”.  I wanted to shout, “Focus on my eyes, please! Not my naturally awkward and derpy smile!” I want these negative thoughts I have about myself to evaporate when I see my CRAVE pictures. I know that’s a tall order for a photo shoot but I need a different perspective. I need to have a different image of myself. Different than the one I see in the mirror, because I think the mirror lies. Or maybe my mind lies. Not sure which.