Readjusting

I picked J up on Saturday.  It was good to see him, a little anxiety provoking, but good nonetheless.  Over the weekend, I just tried to keep things very neutral.  He’s got some severe jet lag and it is apparent that we are on two very different planes of communication.  I think this is due in large part to the fact that I have been in individual and group therapy.  So, I didn’t really think it would be productive to delve into relationship issues right away.

To the communication/perception issues, we’ve been having this discussion about him possibly working internationally since we first found it was a possibility in January of last year.  Even then I told him I thought it was a bad idea for a number of reasons, one of the main being that he wanted to start a family but would be gone for a month and back for two weeks.  I told him that wasn’t going to happen and told him why.  He wanted me to consider it.  Now, he has the opportunity to do a rotation in Nigeria.  I know he wants to do it, but I feel that it is a bit unrealistic given the current state of our relationship and the fact that he STILL wants to have kids.

I have worked in higher education for a number of years and prior to coming here, I had to give up an amazing job so that J could take a job with the company that he wanted to work for.  I told him that my former boss called me about a job (not the first time he’s called me) and that we had an interesting conversation that ended in my former boss telling me that he would want me to come work has his Chief of Staff with a tenure-track faculty appointment if/when he gets a presidential appointment (which he will in about a year or two).  Basically all could ever want professionally.  We were talking about this over breakfast on Sunday.  The short of it is that J told me that he doesn’t want to change industries and that he doesn’t want to leave his current job for the next 5 years; basically saying that he isn’t supportive of this opportunity.  He’s supportive if it means he doesn’t have to sacrifice, but if he does, he’s not supportive, you know?  I reminded him of everything I gave up (two orchestra job offers so he could stay in school and didn’t have to transfer and most recently, a job that I loved so that he could take a job he wanted).

I think this just goes to show that we are not thinking on the same plane.  He’s got a lot of work to do in terms of understanding my needs.  I didn’t go to school for 11 years, get a Ph.D. and work my ass off to become a broodmare for someone who thinks it is completely acceptable to leave me for a year/year .5  (one month off, two weeks back) while pregnant or with an infant.  So, we’ve a lot of work to do.  lol.

I’m meeting with my therapist today and am looking forward to it.  J is supposed to meet with him before we meet as a couple, but J doesn’t really like the idea.  I get the impression that he still doesn’t understand that there are some really big issues that need to be addressed.  In his mind, he’d rather just sweep the last few months under the rug and more forward without finding the right way to move forward.

I’m really trying to be open to this and to him so that I can make the best decisions moving forward.  I want to give him the “handicap” since he’s basically just been working and living it up in Europe.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted about how he takes to reality.

~AA

 

Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo…A day that once celebrated Mexico’s defeat of French troops and that has subsequently  been bastardized into a day of drinking and food!  Oh well, I’ll take it.  My girlfriend B is on her way over and we’re going to head to the pool to do a little lounging, drinking, and eating.  I have to say that I am so very blessed to have some really amazing friends.  I don’t know what I’d do without them or where I’d be, honestly!  I think it very likely that I would have been committed without B’s care of me.

The last few months have been very difficult for me.  I feel like I’ve lost, lost, and lost some more and was threatened with the potential loss of one of the most important people in my life… my mom.  While I don’t believe in organized religion or the power of “God” with the capital “G”, I am so very, very thankful that my mom is doing well and I’m thankful for the pain and insight this journey has provided me.

Life, as we all know, is a journey with a lot of twists and turns.  Sometimes there are more and sometimes there are less, but they will always be there.  Life is not intended to be easy.   I believe it is intended to be a journey that transcends our physical bodies.  There is a religious saying that says something to the effect of, “God never gives you more than you can handle”.  I feel that this sentiment is true.  I have been put through the ringer these last few months, but I am stronger for it.  And I know that the next few months will be similarly difficult, but I have greater insight into my needs and myself to get me through this… insight that would not have happened without all the pain, fear, and loss.  One of my favorite sentiments from Buddhism:

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves to annihilation over and over
do we find that within us that is indestructible. 

And now it is time to go celebrate my little life by soaking up the warmth of the sun with a good friend.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

~AA

Group

Every Wednesday I go to group therapy.  I really like it, actually.  These have become people that I really care about and who really care about me.  The group session is run by my therapist and his wife…both Imago therapists.  At pretty much every group session, I’ve had some really great and often painful experiences.  Last night was no different.  It is difficult to pinpoint how these things come up (the topics you talk about), but last night I talked about something that I’ve never told anyone in the world.  It was really difficult to even speak about it, but it was healing (not that I’m 100%) to finally say it out loud.

One of the things about Imago therapy is that your issues today are partly from events that happen in your childhood with your parents, caregivers, or anyone really.  I’m not going to even try to recreate how I decided to talk about this, because I really can’t remember…. I just felt it needed to be spoken about.  I told the group about two things that I’ve never told anyone, not even C.  And the reason I’ve never told anyone is because there is such a great amount of shame, confusion, sorrow, pain, and internal conflict surrounding it.  And as I’m typing, I’m realizing that I’m scared to even put it out there now… which is why I’ve written two paragraphs without saying it.

So… here we go… last night I talked about two events that happened in my life both involving my brother.  When I was 14 or so, I woke up to him standing over me with a large kitchen knife to my throat telling me to apologize for something I said to him earlier that night or else he would kill me as he raised the knife over my chest.  He was about 15/16.  I apologized.  And waited as he stood there for what seemed like an eternity.  He told me not to ever say that again or he’d kill me the next time.  Eventually he left.  I ran out of the house when he went down to his room and was in the driveway crying.  It was late and my parents weren’t home.  Eventually he came out and got me.  He told me that he was sorry and that I needed to get in the house.  I’ve never told them about this night.

The other thing that happened was when I was about 7 or 8, he was about 10.  He wanted to play a game with me where we were both naked.  I got in bed and he was wearing a cape–like a superman cape.  He had me order him around and then he was supposed to order me around, but I knew something was wrong.  I ordered him to get me food from the kitchen.  When it was his turn to order me, I dismissed the game and told him I didn’t want to play anymore.  I got dressed and left.  Again, my parents were not there and don’t know about it.

Why am I talking about this now?  Because these have been very big secrets that I’ve never told anyone.  I’m ashamed of what happened and I do love my brother a great deal.  We are very close today.  I have never told anyone because I don’t want people to think poorly of my brother.  He was dealing with things and was taking it out on me inappropriately.  I don’t hate him for it, but yes… these things did impact me and I think about them every now and then even as an adult.

I shouldn’t be ashamed, but I am.  But I feel just a little better by being honest about what happened.  It was hard.  He was my best friend b/c he was my brother, but wanted to kill me at one point and wanted to touch me at another.  I can admit that and I can admit that it hurt me.

Nothing good comes from silence.  Hopefully if you have things that you need to talk about, you will.

~AA

Mom’s recovery

My mom is now out of the ICU… in only 2 days!  Here surgery (triple bypass) was on Monday, she was walking a bit by Tuesday and out of ICU on Wednesday!  Go mom!  Now we just wait to see how her body responds to the surgery.  Hopefully not too much scar tissue.  I’m going home to see them in May.  It will give her a few weeks to recover and begin cardio-rehab, so we’ll be able to do a few fun things together.  I love her so much.  My dad called me to give me an update and told me that he missed having me there.  It meant so much to me.  I love them.

Good Day

My mom came through the surgery just fine.  She is recovering in the ICU and will be there for a few days.  The doctor said that it was a difficult surgery, but he is happy with the results.  Very tired.  Waited almost 9 hours today from the time we left her to the time we were finally able to talk to the doctor and got to see her.  She was sedated and intubated, so she wasn’t able to talk, but she did open her eyes just for a moment when we said hello.  Very long day.  Very tired.  Hope for more good news tomorrow.  Now we just wait to see if she reacts okay to the surgery.  Hopefully this is it!

Tired

Gosh… dealing with all of this has been more tiring than I thought it would be.  Although, honestly, I didn’t really think about how difficult or tiring this would be, but who does.  I still feel rather scatter-brained, though.  Have been for the last few days.  I feel like I’ve been up for the last week with the exception of last night.  I actually slept pretty well, but I’m still tired!  Sort of this tired, jacked-up feeling.

We went to see my mom at the hospital where she is getting her surgery.  It is on the campus of my undergraduate alma mater.  I loved vising it.  It felt really good.  It is a teaching hospital and has one of the most state-of-the-art cardiology programs in the state.  My dad and I went to get coffee and ran into the doctor that did my mom’s surgery last time.  He told us that he thinks that the issue was actually the technique.  What he means by that is the technique of sewing the arteries to the heart in her first bypass and a possible slight allergic reaction to the stents.  So, this time they are going to do the surgery “old school” which means that they will stop her heart in order to sew the veins/arteries into place while the heart is not pumping.  They cannot, however, remove the stents because there is too much fibrous-tissue growth over them.  Luckily, though, she will be first in line on Monday morning.  After talking to the doctor, I burst into tears and gave him a hug!  I’m sure he’s dealt with more strange things than that, but he was clearly just a little like “okay, thank you”.  I think he realized the importance of what he does, but he seems like such a cool cucumber.  He’s one of the best cardio-thoracic in the state, so I guess I wouldn’t expect him to be any other way.

My mom said that when his team came to her room to discuss the strategy she wanted to ask him for a little anti anxiety meds b/c she has these little moments of panic about all of this.  He said that was fine and then she burst into tears!  lol.  He told her that when his father was informed that he had to have bypass surgery, his father burst into tears and he (the doctor) didn’t completely understand what the big deal was about… but he does.  It’s just that when he is in work mode, he’s really in work mode.  And he does thousands and thousands of these surgeries each year and has for the past 30 years.  So, his perception is so much different than ours.  And in a way, I’m comforted by his confidence in the surgery.

Other than that it was really nice to spend time with my mom and my dad.  My dad was much better today.  He even said that he was starting to feel a little better about all of this.  Clearly, still nervous, but overall I think he is doing much better.  I’m glad that he is able to open up to me on this.  Although he is REALLY hard of hearing! lol.  Thanks goodness we got separate rooms so that we can both decompress and I don’t have to yell at him and he doesn’t have to keep asking me “WHAT!”.  ah… laughing feels good.

Talked via IM with C today.  That was nice.  very helpful.  I don’t know what to expect or what will happen (I seem to say that a lot), but I’m so grateful for the support.  That is what I need most right now.  Support.

~AA

The Shift

The shift from being the child to being the adult is an interesting transition that I was conceptually aware of and had seen glimpses of, but today really came into view.  When I saw my mom I felt like I couldn’t cry because I had to be the strong one.  My mom is scared and I’ve never seen my dad so consumed with anxiety, fear and sadness.  He is terrified of losing my mom, as am I.  I cannot imagine much worse than losing her.  My dad is a very “stoic” man, for lack of a better word.  He’s very vocal about his opinions and rarely, if ever, shows weakness.  So, to see him in such a state is new for me and I’m having to learn very quickly how to interact with him like this.  And it has been a bit “shocking” to my system.  (I apologize in advance for my lack of vocabulary.. my brain is a little fried right now).

This morning my dad had to go to his doctor and asked for some anxiety medication that he started taking.  The two of us went to dinner tonight and he opened up to me in a way that I have never experienced.  He told me how fearful he is of losing her, how he doesn’t know what he will do without her, how he is worried that she will survive the surgery just fine but that the blockage will just come back later (as it has been doing for over a year).  We talked a little about what would happen if she were gone in terms of taking care of her parents (my grandparents).  My dad wants to be here for them until they are gone, but he never thought that he might be the only one taking care of them.  I told him that I would help him with their affairs if she weren’t here to do it.

God, I hate even talking about it.  I cannot imagine life without her.  I have this guilt that I haven’t given her any grand kids.  I know she would really love being a grandmother.  Neither one of my parents have ever pressured me about children, but I know it is something they would love to experience and a gift that I would like to give them (and, yes, I do want children anyway).

I cannot tell you how many times I almost cried over dinner.  I just feel like I have to be strong for my dad right now.  He needs to have someone that he can let it out to.  I have those outlets, support and I do cry, but I really feel like they both need me to care for them a little more than normal.  Please know that doesn’t mean that I don’t show them emotion, because I do.  I just don’t lose it the way I am prone to.

The one saving grace for today is that I talked to C.  It was such a help.  I felt so strung-out from all that has happened this week.  Not talking to him makes me crazy as it is and add all this stuff with my mom and my little complex personal issues and you have a ticking time-bomb.  When I was finally able to talk to him, I felt like I went from really strung-out to only partially strung-out.  I’m fairly confident that I’ve aged a few years in just a few days.  But I guess that is what life is about.  Learning, growing, dealing with the good and the bad.  It is essential that I keep these things in mind.  Perspective is so important.

I just want her to be okay.  You have no idea what a beautiful woman she is.  I’ve spent the majority of my life striving to be like her in terms of compassion, kindness, nurturing others, and grace.  She is amazing.  I’m truly have the most amazing mother in the world and I tell her all the time.  And she is beautiful.  I’ve always thought that the older she gets, the more beautiful she gets.  My dad was showing me some pictures tonight that he took of her and he just kept saying, “isn’t she beautiful.”  She really is.  Inside and out.  I hope to be half the woman she is one day.  She has given everything to her family and I love that about her. I love everything about her.  I’ll keep you posted.

I’m mentally wasted.  Time to try to get some sleep.

~AA

Midnight

As midnight approaches, I’m reminded of graduate school.  I feel like I’m back in graduate school for some reason.  Staying up all night working on something and having to get up early to finish it off.  I used to do that a little more frequently than I’d like to admit.  Stay up until 1:30 a.m. or 2:00 a.m., sleep for a few hours (i.e nap), get up at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. to finish it before a 9:00 a.m. class!  Those were the days, I have to say.  Tonight I just can’t sleep.  I’ve been packing and doing some laundry that I needed to do, but for some reason I don’t feel like sleeping.  I sort of feel like staying up all night for no apparent reason. I’m really tired, mentally especially, but my brain won’t shut off and I have all this nervous energy.

Tonight I went to my group therapy.  It was a good discussion.  One of the things that we talked about was death and our relationship to it.  It came up because of the situation with my mom.  The interesting thing that came up was that those who experienced loss early and/or a good deal of loss, particularly the loss of a close friend or family member, thought more about death than those without such experiences.  For example, two people in our groups who were in their late 30’s said they never think about death.  There were about 4 of us that admitted to thinking about it more frequently.  The two that never thought about it had never experienced loss, those who did think about it had experienced loss early and/or the death of a close friend of relative.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, it just goes to show how a person’s experiences shape their present.  I lost a number of people that I was close to when I was younger.  I have a tendency to have that mentality that says, “Life is too short to sit spinning wheels.  You only live once, you shouldn’t be complacent.”  Conversely, J has never lost anyone close to him, so he doesn’t think in these terms.  He had a rough childhood, that is true, and he lost his mom in the sense that she abandoned him, but she didn’t die.  I have the “I want to experience everything life has to offer, change things up” ambitions and others are more okay with seeking the status-quo.  This is an incongruency that exists in my marriage.  J is seeking the house, wife, kids, soccer practice life while I’m seeking all of that plus growing my business and making an impact in the world.  Whether or not I will be able to achieve those last two things is irrelevant because that does not get rid of those desires.

All in all, I love my life.  I love my family, I love my friends, I enjoy what I do, I’m growing my little business while teaching online in addition to my “day job”, I’m writing more, I read great literature, I can run and dance and play, and I can love.  I am so blessed to have the most amazing friends in the world even if it is only two or three people.  And, yes, C is among those that I still consider my best friends who provide with essential support.  What do I really have to complain about?  I cannot share things with the person that I want to, but that is okay.  I truly feel we have a connection that will never break regardless of what life throws at us.  We are friends first and I think that is how it should be.  I know he is there for me if I need him and I know he will protect me.  I think this is his new role.  He has become my protector.  I like that. (He’s so sexy).

~AA

GRRR….

Wish I could talk to C.  All this stuff with my mom sucks, but I will be okay.  I just wish this would stop happening to her.  I’m glad that I am going home.  My dad sounds really freaked out.  He’s pretending to be okay, but I know he isn’t.  I think it will be good for both of them if I am there.

C and I have really sucked at not communicating.  We’ve emailed a few times.  I think we are both just so used to that support and connection that we cannot help it to some extent.  I had him send me the final version of the novel he wrote for me.  I’m going to edit it.  I want to read and edit it.  It makes me feel close to him even though I cannot talk to him like I used to.

He’s been going to therapy as well. He mentioned that he had a good session yesterday. I’m really happy to hear this.  I hope his therapist will be helpful.  Help him realize that he should not carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He’s a lot like me in this regard.  I naturally feel guilty about almost everything.  Even if there is a natural disaster, I’m not doing enough to help.  What’s that about!?

You know, being faced with mortality really makes you think about things differently.  It is so easy to put things off and to trick yourself into believing something isn’t really wrong when it is.  But when you face the possible loss of someone you love, it helps you realize what is important and makes me question why we waste so much time in unfulfilling relationships and jobs, waste time not loving one another, waste time not appreciating one another, waste time caring about relatively unimportant things. I don’t know why we do this.  Perhaps we are afraid of what might happen if we do what we really need to do.

Yesterday I met with my therapist as well.  We were talking about the issue I have of not having a voice in my marriage.  This came up because I told him that I felt like I had to ask permission from J to fly home for my mom.  How ridiculous is that!  But that is how much control I have given him.  This relationship dynamic we’ve developed happened because of both of us, not just him.  I want that to be clear.  I realize that I had a role to play in how we have developed over time.

So, my therapist asked me, “what is the worst thing that would happen if you weren’t the ‘perfect’ wife and said what you needed to say.”  I said that I was fearful that I wouldn’t meet the goal of being a good wife and that he might leave me.  But when faced with mortality, is that really the worst thing in the world?  Oh well, he left you.  There are a lot of people facing worse things than I.  I need to be thankful for the beauty in my life despite the complexity.  And that is how I think of C.  He was/is a beautiful part of my little complex life.  The worst thing that could have happened would have been not experiencing what we shared.

Life is to short.  I’d rather get hurt loving with everything I have than living safe and guarded.

~AA

My Many Sins

I saw a blog entitled “And I can’t say I’m sorry for my many sins”.  I love that.  I’m not going to apologize for my many sins.  We all have them.  If you don’t, you’re missing out on life.

There is a song by John Mayer that I keep coming back to and I’m happy that to this point, I’ve mostly lived my life this way.  Even more happy that I’ve done this with my parents.  I always tell them how much I love them.

I think it is so important to say what you need to say.  Thank you, C.

Here are the lyrics:

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all your so called problems
Better put ’em in quotations

Say what you need to say
Say what you need to saaaay…

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead

If you could only
Say what you need to say
Say what you need to saaay…

Have no fear
For giving in
Have no fear
For giving over
You better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Then never to say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open… wide…

Say what you need to say
Say what you need to
Say what you need to
Say what you need to say…