If You’re Still Hurting

A time of pain from many months ago recently reminded me that it was still sore. I thought I was over it. I thought I was moving on and then a friend casually mentioned that a certain situation was of course difficult because I was still hurting. I didn’t correct her, just went about my way. Later that night, as I was crying her words rang true for me. I thought I had moved on, but it appears that is not the case.

I felt so disappointed in myself. I had done the journaling and the forgiveness meditations and lots of pacing and the avoiding. I had done all the things so why wasn’t I all better. My mother’s words of wisdom were especially helpful here. She said I wasn’t being fair to myself. “Time heals,” she said. I knew she was right and her words gave me a sense of permission. It’s ok to be still hurting, especially because I am doing the work and I am moving forward.

Later my brilliant writing partner, Anjulee shared something. She said that when she thinks about recovering after being hurt there are really two people who need to get over things. The first being your emotional side and the second your rational side. Then she said that it was the rational side that usually took longer. Of course the rational side would hold things up because forgiveness and atonement don’t always make rational sense. After speaking with her I realized that my rational side is represented by a second grade Eichelle. Children are the protectors of fairness and justice after all. I could see her so clearly sitting stubbornly not wanting to budge. “It’s not fair,” she says with a pout.

Then finally today during my morning journaling, I don’t know gave me wings. For the past several months, I have struggled with, I don’t know. It’s a space where I am not usually comfortable. I am a planner and a fixer and a doer. There is nothing to be done with I don’t know or so I thought. A main part of my lingering hurt was that I didn’t and still don’t know what is next for me.

My dream job stabbed me in the back and kicked me to the curb. If I am brutally honest, I’ve never had a dream job so that statement is not fully true. Also I left a bad situation, I wasn’t necessarily kicked out. And yes the job beat me thoroughly and caused me great pain, but through those wounds and bruises I have learned and I have grown.

As I wrote this morning my fear and discomfort of I don’t know turned. I realized that I don’t know is not a place with nothing to be done but the birth place where anything and everything can be done. The potential from this place is infinite. I love potential. The death of potential hurts worsts of all for me. So to discover that a place I have been fearful in and fearful of for many months is really a place of dreams was magic.

So now I sit happily on my red couch, no more with fear and discomfort but instead ready. Ready to start dreaming again and see what my most recent I don’t know becomes.

If you dear reader are hurting for whatever reason, I hope you’ll be fair to yourself. I hope you’ll be patient with your own rational second grader. And most of all I hope that you’ll dream big so that your I don’t know might blossom into something magical.

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No Heroes or Villains

I awoke from a dream where I got to tell the person who hurt me everything she did wrong. It felt really good. She understood how she had wronged me and seemed somewhat apologetic as I walked away, vindicated and triumphant. It was a beautiful dream.

I have only been deeply hurt a few times in my life. Realizing that just now, I realize how lucky I am. I think there are a few reasons why this is true.

  1. I have learned recently through my shrink that as far as relationships go I only have three camps: stranger, acquaintance, and intimate. There is one more past those; but only one person has ever made it past intimate and that’s my husband.
  2. If someone upsets me I think through it deeply. Why did they do this? What did I do to contribute to the situation? And on and on and on.
  3. I can’t stand unresolved anything. If I have wronged someone or someone has wronged me I would rather it be addressed as quickly as possible.

All of this means that if someone upsets me I talk to them quickly depending on what camp they’re in. If they’re a stranger, I will generally go through the thinking process just a little and then it’s resolved, for me at least. If they’re in acquaintance camp, I may not care one way or the other if the relationship ends. That would suck but life is short and I don’t like having unresolved stuff in my life.

So, for something to deeply hurt me a person has to be in a position where I don’t feel comfortable confronting them directly or close enough that I don’t just cut them out of my life when they are unwilling or unable to change the behavior causing me hurt.

This describes the only two people who have ever deeply hurt me. The first is my mother. We are great now, but that took a lot of time and therapy.

The second person is also a woman who is old enough to be my mother. Although her behavior often lacked that level of maturity and I don’t think she has any love for me in her heart. Of late, I’ve been struggling to forgive her. Hence the dream. She essentially bullied me out of my job. That may give her too much credit, but she’s the reason I left.

With my mom it was easy to forgive. She begged for it. Although she could never really know how she hurt me at least she wanted to make things right.

With the other woman, I don’t think she cares. The dream was wonderful because I got what I wanted. In the dream, she understood how she had hurt me and felt bad.

I find myself wanting to paint her as evil. She was the villain in my story. And although my shrink is helping me to see that most likely her actions had very little to do with me and everything to do with her; that doesn’t stop me from wanting to slay the dragon or melt the witch.

We are programmed to desire justice. Of course when everyone sees themselves as the hero of the story things get complicated. Who’s justice?

It would be so much easier if the woman who hurt me was truly evil, but that is not the case. For her, she was the hero and I the dragon or more likely simply a peasant who became collateral damage.

A few days ago I watched this movie, Radio Rebel. It’s a Disney TV movie but was enjoyable. There was only one person who was painted with one note, the principle. She relished in the agony of her students and once defeated quickly leaves the story. Maybe this is because in order for there to be a hero we can’t feel for the villain.

So where does this leave me and my dream?

I guess I have to acknowledge that maybe for this situation there are no heroes or villains. Just people doing the best they can. She was doing the best she could and that just happened to be the worst for me.

Unrequited Like

I live in North Dakota. I am not white or a farmer or of Nordic heritage. This week I realized something. I like it here. It’s cold, the people are xenophobic, I have had more health problems here than any place I have ever lived (I am a former military brat). All this, but I like it here. Then why I am sad and bitter and frustrated? The simple truth is North Dakota doesn’t like me.

I haven’t been in serious like with something/someone with no reciprocation since middle school so it took me awhile to realize what was going on. I can’t ignore the tell tell signs anymore though. When I ask North Dakota how it’s doing it just says “Fine” and scurries away to avoid further conversation. I don’t get invited to any of North Dakota’s party’s; they are reserved for Norwegians and Lutherans or Catholics. Even the land is trying to kill me slowly. I am in my late twenties and my knees ache from the cold.

It sucks knowing the place where I currently live truly doesn’t like me and won’t anytime soon. Feeling this I can’t imagine how people from here feel. I have encountered a few who are different: feminist, brown, atheist, childless by choice. These people stuck out like a beacon of hope. For a while, I thought well there are a few others who stick out like me, maybe it’ll be ok. Sadly that is not the case. If you are different here the waterfall of sameness will slowly try to erode away the pieces of you that aren’t like them. Slowly and painfully you lose your will and desire to try to change this place. Why try for people and a place that doesn’t appreciate your work and will fight you every step of the way?

If these wonderful people who are different are lucky they will get out. I have realized that is the only option. It makes me sad. We could have been great North Dakota. Sadly it was not meant to be, but just like the unrequited crushes I had in middle school this pain too shall pass.

Reformed Codependency

It is Thanksgiving. I feel like some sort of supernatural being just punched my gut and reached into my chest and ripped out my heart. Somehow I am not in the fetal position on the floor.

Things you should know: 1. My mother is a recovering alcoholic 2. I have spent almost the past decade trying to work through my feelings about this and gain a healthy relationship with her 3. Lots of therapy 4. We are in a good place 5. A really good place

Today I will celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful mom. About an hour ago I called her to see if she saved the giblets from the turkey. I need them to make gravy. She said she had and seemed really flustered on the phone. She asked me if I could come over early, I couldn’t. I still had a pie in the oven and cornbread that needed to go in. She sounded disappointed but politely said she had to go. I leapt into action, quickly giving instructions to my husband so I could head over and help my mom.

In the car on the way over I was happy, everything was going to be fine. If I am honest as I charged into my mom’s apartment I felt like a superhero, “Here to save the day”.

I helped some, then my mom’s friend Lori arrived. I turned to my mom and said, “She’s early.” I didn’t understand. Then I realized, my mom had asked her to show up early to help. Her friend not me was the true hero.

I could tell my mom felt bad, she didn’t want to hurt me. As quickly and politely as I could I grabbed what I needed and said goodbye.

This doesn’t make any sense. She used someone else instead of me. I should be shooting through the moon with joy. I have been trying to get to this point for a little under half my life span. And here is the moment. We are no longer connected in the deathly way we have been for most of my life. But I feel sad and my heart hurts.

I imagine the way I feel is most similar to how most parents feel when their children leave the nest.

For most of my life, starting at about 13, I have been the parent in the relationship. I have been responsible. I have thought ahead. I have planned. I have cleaned up messes. This is not how things should have been but it is how they were.

Today for the first time, I received the clearest sign that this time is over. From this day forward I am free. It is as though an invisible thread tangling my mother and me has broken.

Yet, I feel sad. She doesn’t need me anymore. We are no longer linked in the spiral toward oblivion. We now walk on separate paths. It is the end of a journey.

My Friend is Dead

My friend is dead. This fact sits in the air that surrounds me. It’s hard to write about because its everywhere. I’m not sure how to feel or how to describe what I am feeling. I know this is an odd thing to post about. My first blog post and this is what I want to write about but can’t.

My friend is dead. I feel like a leech because the entire time he was dying I kept getting ideas. I am a writer. Sadly I am inspired all the time in all circumstances. My writing partner and I are working on a piece involving death. His death gave me many ideas this felt weird and wrong.

My friend is dead. I don’t like using phrases like “past on” or “at rest”. He died of cancer. There was nothing peaceful about it. Nothing sweet or nice. And now he’s gone. Dead. He’s family was from a different state so I won’t get to go to a funeral. It’s hard to realize that he’s really gone. I keep passing his desk. It feels unreal because other than a calendar that stops in November it looks as he left it. The theatre where he worked and I work on occasion will be hiring someone to fill his position soon. I am certain I will like this person but terrified of them sitting in that desk.

My friend is dead. I didn’t know him that well but it hurts. I feel like the middle-eastern tradition of wailing is the only honest way to address a death of a loved one. I am Native American and at funerals there are specific things that everyone does. Roles to be filled. There is crying but only for a time. At the one white funeral I have attended everyone was so composed. The family members sat quietly crying. I want to wail.

My friend is dead. No matter how hard I try to talk about it, about him, it feels off. I feel like I’m talking around the subject. About me. About large societal expectations. About greater philosophical questions. Eventually I will run out of things and all that will be left is the simple fact.

My friend is dead.