Archive for March, 2009

A deep breath

Trying to cope, move on, deal with life. My family’s been great. We’re clinging to each other, that’s for sure.  I’ve taken the last couple of days to myself. I’ve got Bereavement Leave written into my employment contract, so I’ve taken advantage of it.  Yesterday I mostly slept, today: I relaxed, puttered, ran (or attempted to — WINDY).  Tonight, I’ll take care of something on my ‘to do’ list but otherwise, I think I will hang out watch TV and go to bed early.  Get caught up on sleep ready for work tomorrow.

My family members now know my plans are firmed for the future and they are supportive. Though I suspect they may not make the same choice that I have, they are glad for the change because they know how frustrated I’ve been. 20 months. That’s all it will be, then I can go and do what I want, where I want. That will be nice.


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Heart broken

Today’s a day when my heart broke. My grandma died at 4:10am of a massive heart attack. No pain, quite sudden, exactly as she wanted. She was a beautiful, smart, strong, happy, healthy woman, who didn’t want to put her family through the pain and suffering of watching a loved one fail. She was loved by all of us, and she knew it. And we all know how much she loved us too.  She was the type of woman who, if I have half her strength at 70 that she had at almost 90, I will be doing pretty well for myself. If I am half as with it at 70 as she was right to the moment that she passed, I will be lucky indeed. If I can leave behind a family as rich and diverse, as healthy and happy as hers: 4 children + spouses (all of them, still together!), 11 grandchildren + spouses, 15 great-grandchildren (she’s the only one who could ever keep track of the numbers, maybe it’s 14??…), I will have lived a blessed and rich life.

She was the type of woman who told it like it is, but everything was always seen through rose coloured glasses — with a pragmatic edge that made us all love her even more. She was our biggest cheerleader: to hear her speak she has the smartest, most beautiful, successful, loving family on the planet.  She was the type of woman, who last night, complaining of an aching and stiff neck, went to the hospital. She spent a mere 3 hours in the hospital until she passed away due to the heart attack. But 3 hours was all it took for her to fall in love with the staff that was caring for her and for her to impact the staff enough that they too were all were in tears when she passed.

Grandma, I can’t believe you’re gone. I love you and miss you. My heart aches.

My grandma: October 24, 1919 — March 28, 2009, ~4:10am.

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Today was a day when I realized I am starting to feel normal. My usual self.  I went to dance class and laughed and laughed and laughed. I managed to not nap (I tried, but couldn’t fall asleep, actually), got a few things done, laundry, dinner, dishes and then went to bal. I had so much fun. I felt more like myself than I’ve felt in a while.  I think as I process, and as I meet with my counsellor to deal with the core issues that I’m working through, I will feel more and more myself rather than this up and down thing permanently melancholic state I’ve been in.  I think it also helps that I have plans in place. I know what’s happening in the future and it will open more doors for me.  I’ve received confirmation that my plans are a go — I had a nagging concern, but it’s all sorted and I can now just continue to plan for the future. Details will work themselves out as time goes on.

I still have that raw pain that is manifesting itself, but that’s okay, I think it means I need to process the crux of things some more.  But this raw pain is what is allowing me to process, and I think it’s ultimately good. Dealing with the core will deal with the incidental.  And I know my counsellor will help more specifically with that. And that’s good.

I realized that the place that I’m at now parallels a place I was at a long time ago. 9 years ago a relationship ended badly with a guy I loved.  We ended up doing our degrees in the same lab. Yes, that’s right. Desks 8 feet apart, 40 hours/week at the same place. We had to learn to forgive each other. Trust each other. I had to learn to develop the strength to stand and be in the situation — I couldn’t be bitter, angry, and I couldn’t ignore him or cut him out of my life. It was impossible. I had to become a peacemaker.  I had to learn to forgive him for me.  I feel like I’m in the same situation. I’m not in the same place as I was then, in the sense that the guy 9 years ago, I would have married. I loved him. I’m not emotionally there, even if things are more complex than simple — I’m NOT emotionally there.  So I don’t mean to make comments that may cause my friends to jump to inappropriate conclusions regarding my current situation. The parallel is learning to forgive, be a peacemaker, begin to trust and allow whatever relationship is to develop, develop.    This ex moved on, married a former roommate of mine. I had to be around him or drop out of school. I had to learn to forgive him for the wounds and the hurt. Forgive him for the rejection and abandonment that I felt, and felt again when he did get together with my roommate.  Over time, we learned to be around each other. We learned to forgive, be friends, trust again.  Eventually, they became a valued pair of friends. We don’t see each other frequently these days, but we value each other. I was the first person to give their oldest son a bottle and if I ever meet a guy I fall in love with, they are among the people I would want to meet the guy and get their ‘stamp of approval’.  Reconciliation and healing is possible. I know, I’ve been there, done that. I do hate that I have to be there and do that again (the whiny WHY DO  HAVE TO GO DO THIS AGAIN — I’VE LEARNED THAT LESSON??), but I have practice.  If I can heal the crux with my counsellor I will be in a position to offer and accept real friendship on some level again.

I know it’s possible even if it means facing the reality that eventually this situation means I have to accept that moving on may be complete, I have felt the absolute worst, and this is not it.  I know that as I let reconciliation happen, I need to protect myself from being played, toxicity, I need to find those distractions that I need to make sure that my emotions are guarded and directed elsewhere so that I’m guarded and prepared. I realized that if I choose to sever ties, I would have to move away from dancing, and since I delight in dancing that’s not an option, just like it wasn’t before. So I face the realization that this situation is causing me to deal with core issues. That as I deal with the core issues I will find my emotional strength and the confidence that will project out to others so that I will hopefully find a distraction.  As all this happens I am learning more and more how to steel myself against the issues and the toxicity of the past. Hopefully in time fully normal will be reached more consistently, but it was a relief to feel it today.

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Sometimes, dreams hit me. I experience them in detail, remember specifics. It is these dreams that usually mean something significant. I firmly believe that there is either spiritual or psychological significance to these dreams. I don’t think this is necessarily the case for every dream, or for every person. But for me, on the very rare occasion I have a dream that is so detailed and so specific that it usually means something.

Tonight, I got home from work, was tired, so as has been my habit of late, I napped. Usually naps for me are not deep sleep. I am asleep, my mind wanders, doesn’t fix on any one thought, but it does allow some time for decompressing and processing, some time for rest but not that deep night sleep. Today though, my nap was deep, I slept longer than I planned. I dreamed.

I dreamed that my stomach pain (I’ve had on and off stomach pain for years, not serious, more annoying but something I’ve recently discussed with my doctor) was serious and I needed surgery.  I dreamed that I was admitted to a hospital, had forgotten my laptop, and was settling in. It was a Tuesday (heh!) night and I was going to be in the hospital until the following Monday.  I was stressed because I hadn’t informed my supervisor at work that I was going to be in the hospital.  But I couldn’t use my cell phone to call her and had no computer for email.  The nurse came in and put an IV in my right hand.  I heard that a friend (I don’t remember who, just that it was a guy) was also in the hospital, but in the wing across the way. I dragged myself and my IV pole (“Mr. Skinny”), to the other wing, scrambling over a tall baracade with the IV to visit the friend — but didn’t make it. My IV wasn’t taped down securely and came ripping out, leaving a piece in my right hand.  I had to go back to my room to have the IV replaced.  But, since a piece was left in, it had to be taken out before the IV could be replaced in my hand — there was a wound left in that original spot as a result. I don’t remember the new IV being put in.  I woke up.

I’m not really sure what the dream means, it has many parts that are significant. The IV, for example. That’s something that goes back to very early childhood. Some of my earliest memories are when I had surgery. I was around 3 years old and had fairly major surgery on my bladder. I remember being shown the IV pole, and being handed a blue knit doll (called Mr. Skinny), where I got to see the nurse give the doll an IV before I got it. My dad and I nicknamed my IV pole Mr. Skinny.  I remember going into surgery, waking up afterwards, and the healing afterwards.  I’ve had IVs since then, but I still remember that first viceral feeling of getting the IV put into my right hand. I have a tiny dot, a scar, on my hand from the IVs I had as a young child. Looking at the spot right now I can almost feel what it’s like to have an IV put in my hand.

There are many things going on in this dream, I know that. The picture of the IV, of surgery it’s some of my earliest memories. I’m dealing with some pretty core, even primal, issues from early on. I think that this is manefesting itself in a dream that connects quite closely with some of my earliest memories.  I think the surgery and the healing of a longterm issue represents those core issues.  The IV, I’m not sure what it represents.  At a very basic level, an IV is essential for recovery, the sustainment or improvement of life when someone is sick or injured.  I suspect that perhaps I’ve had a metaphorical IV in me my entire life. I suspect that the ripping out of the IV, and the eventual removal of that final piece, is necessary before full healing can occur. Perhaps the reason I awoke before the new IV could be inserted is because that healing means I won’t need the new IV, that I will be healed and fine on my own.

Being unable to reach the friend, I think, is also significant, as is the fact that I was trying to reach this friend, yet I had a vital component (the IV) ripped out. I suspect that this represents situations that have occurred recently. I suspect that these situations are what caused the metaphorical IV to be ripped out. Dealing and processing is what is causing that last piece of the IV to be removed from me and the dealing and processing will also cause this wound to heal making me a healthier and happier – more complete – person.

I have no idea if this analysis is correct, but as I dragged myself off the sofa I went for a run. I couldn’t help but think about it, process what the dream meant.

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The turning of spring. It seems to help with my energy. Always is the case. This winter was tough.  Emotionally, physically. Normally I get into intense running training, but this winter I didn’t.  This weekend was helpful though, bright sunny, lots of time spent outside.  I was still exhausted after work today, though, so I ended up sleeping for ages.  I need to stop that because now it’s 11:30pm and I’m much more awake than I should be! Bad bad habit.

I got up, though, and did some cleaning, and am making spring cleaning plans. I’m starting to feel better. For the moment. I know there are things I need to do over the next several months in order to be ready for the future.  And all of this helps with my emotional state and provides needed distractions (even if it’s not the type of distraction I want, he he). For now though I need to keep working on what’s in front of me so that when day one comes I’m starting on good footing.

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I’ve taken the first initial steps towards my options choice: sent a couple of key emails. I’m at peace with this choice. It’s nice to move forward with a choice and just live my life.

Today we got the weird guy out the door, and then I met a girl friend for lunch. It was delightful. I’ve missed having a traditional lunch (er breakfast) plans set up.  At the end of lunch the lost friend called, so I met up with him and went for a walk. It was nice, normal, casual.  The girl friend I was with knows the whole story. She commented that my voice changes when I talk to the lost friend. I get quiet. Hesitant. Like I have no backbone.  And she’s right. I am quiet and hesitant and I can see many reasons for that. Both our voices change because both of us are unsure. I have trouble believing that he cares about me at all, that if I do or say anything I may be seen in a negative light, though he’s trying really hard to show me that he does, on some level, care.  But that makes me fearful and distrustful because it’s scary to make myself vulnerable and it’s scary to trust his friendship again when he crossed lines badly and, I believe, used me.  Yet, the reality is, I’m not leaving this city. I’m going to be here for at a minimum of 26 more months, for sure, so that means that unless I decide to cut dancing out of my life, so that he’s out of my life, I believe I have to learn to trust.

Recently, what I’ve realized more concretely is that hurt and pain that I’ve been feeling lately with regards to the lost friend are somewhat incidental (at least on one level, certain things aren’t incidental). I would really love to find a distraction to keep my mind off of the past situation and what I lost. The pain I’m feeling is being focused on the lost friend situation because it’s tender and recent, not because it is the core issue, the real issue is something more central to my identity.  There’s much more going on in my world. Bigger things — core issues — that I now realize I need to work through (recently I’ve begun to better understand what these are and how they are affecting me). How I’m responding to this lost friend situation is a result of other things going on in my world. I realize this quite clearly. In order to be a more whole and healthy woman, I believe it’s these bigger things that I need to deal with. So, as a result, I’m going back to my counselor. I don’t really have the money for it. Things are tight as they are, but I realize that I can’t afford not to go.

So today’s been less relaxing than I would like, but it’s generally been a good day. Plans are in motion. The first steps are in place. I hope things are ironed out by the end of this week so I can make more specific plans. What a relief.

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I made myself dance last night. At the main lindy hop night.  I’ve been pretty busy, so it’s been challenging to get there anyways to get there. But, to be honest, I’ve been hesitant to go due to some challenges that I face. So it means I’ve been doing a lot of blues, balboa and travelling to Seattle. But little dancing in Vancouver on Saturday nights. But I decided that I needed to go last night, because if I didn’t, then eventually it would become impossible to go back.

I was pleading with God that last night would be a great night. That I would leave the dance smiling. I was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have a stressful night like the weekend in Portland was stressful.  And it wasn’t.  A brief moment perhaps, but a look stopped the stress and I had a great night overall so it’s pretty easy to leave that behind and focus on the rest of the evening.

I had great dances, fun dances, humorous moments with friends. One ‘friend’, okay, more of an acquaintance, but he’s the best friend of a friend, was there. We had a very awkward dance. This dancer thinks he’s much better than he is, and unfortunately it’s not the ‘beginner who can be developed’ awkward. It’s the social kind. This acquaintance needed a place to crash, so borrowed my sofa. After the awkward dance (very awkward, in the hard wood should only be for the floor sense), I was not comfortable with this.  But I knew he was safe as he’s the best friend of a friend of mine, but I still didn’t want to be alone with him. Fortunately, a close girl friend needed a place to crash too so it wasn’t just me staying at my place.

The rest of the night was filled with awesome dances. There was a steal dance — those are always fun, when I’m the one being stolen I feel very much ‘wanted’ — and I ended up making a wise crack to the lead from whom I was stolen (he didn’t really fight back) ‘thanks for fighting for me’.  In the end we finished the song together (a follow had jumped in to dance with him — she didn’t understand the dynamic of what was going on that it had become a 3 person dance — they did a double steal to switch back to the original), with the lead saying ‘sorry it took so long to get back’. Heh. It was fun.  Another birthday dance was fun because a girl came in to the circle to steal the lead from me (it was the lead’s birthday — so that was normal), and her fiance came in too to grab me away from the lead. Quite funny.

There was one dance with a lead. I always love dancing with him.   We had, an awesome dance. It was fabulous. We finished the song and he gave me a hug and said ‘that was simply beautiful’. It was. It was a beautiful dance. Fabulous.  Beautiful.

So my night was both Beautiful and Weird. But I left smiling. My plead was answered. I had a night that yes, was both Beautiful and Weird. I needed that.

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