Monthly Archives: March 2015

Playing Hooky

I decided not to attend a funeral on Wednesday for an 83-year-old lady who I liked and respected. It felt very weird to not go and pay my respects. But I believe it was the right thing to do in this case.

The notice was in the paper on Monday morning and my natural instinct was to consider attending any services once I found out when they were.

Monday night I received a phone call regarding the death notice. The son of the lady who died had phoned a mutual acquaintance and asked her to call me specifically and let me know when the full obit would be in the paper so that I could attend the services.

For various reasons, this son raises red flags with me and many years ago his mother told me she had said to him that he needed to leave me alone. My gut was right and to be trusted on this thing.

So, basically, she was dead one day, and his first thought was to try and contact me.

This made me very, very angry.

But I still had to fight my beliefs. I have always been one to attend funerals to pay my respects. So I felt guilty for even considering not attending. I turned it over and over in my mind all the way until the middle of the night on Tuesday.

I pictured myself getting dressed in black and parking the car and walking in and having to go through the receiving line and greeting the son and another of his siblings who I used to work with.

I pictured myself having to greet the woman who he had call me and wondering how I would explain why I no longer attend meetings of the organization we are both members of. Then I pictured meeting up with other members of this organization and having them say, “Oh, how have you been? Oh, you’re not working any more? Maybe you have time to come to meetings now!”

All of these people have had a toxic effect on me and I always used my job as a reason for backing away from the organization.

Now my only excuse is, all of you diminish me. It is not your fault. But you have a draining effect on me and I am no longer willing to welcome such people into my circle.

I thought that if I attended in spite of my misgivings, it would give a mixed message. I don’t like it when people send me mixed messages. That’s just wrong. And it would also show the son that his clever manipulation had worked. It would open a door that must stay closed.

And so by Wednesday morning, I was firm in my decision not to attend.

Once it was too late to change my mind, I started to beat myself up about it. How can you not attend a funeral service for such a humble and nice woman? What kind of person does that?

I started to get scared. Maybe people would judge me. Maybe they will give me the cold shoulder in public. What if they retaliate? These are things I have experienced in the past. These are the reasons I have kept myself a hostage to toxic people.

But in the end, I had to shut down those thoughts. I was right to stay home. I was right to be careful with my emotional health. I have never thought I could do that before. My own personal concerns ALWAYS came last. All my life I automatically disregarded my needs at all times. I felt that my needs were not actually worthy compared to the needs of others. Boy, was I brainwashed!!!!!

This was difficult for me. In fact, the rest of my week has been devoted to resting up from the stress this caused me. And it would not surprise me if there were some repercussions to come at some point, though I hope I am wrong about that.

I really hope that by making better decisions, finally, that this will leave room in my life for better people and better experiences.

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Filed under anxiety, decisions, depression, emotional health, self-care, self-respect, stress

My Calendar is Mostly White!

During the last week of February I kept flipping the calendar to March so I could see all the blank dates on it. It was very soothing.

I am still not healed from the ugly and demanding fullness of my days as a worker at the terrible job. The relief of punching out at the end of each day lasted only moments before dread of the coming day took its place.

Every day I had to wake up at a different time. Every day I went home at a different time. None of those times was promised. My schedule could be changed at any moment including the last moment. I couldn’t really count on anything other than being disregarded.

Now the items on the calendar are voluntary for the most part. But even items of my choosing still give me stress. I want absolutely NO OBLIGATIONS WHATSOEVER! That’s really what I want.

For the past several days I have been working out a genealogy project. My mostly blank calendar has allowed me to start a look-up and follow it until I have either found the answer or have found that there is no answer available on this particular website I’m using. I can stop when I’m done rather than when someone or something else whomps on me. What a luxury.

This genealogy is not actually my family. It’s my husband’s family. We are not going to share the information widely because my husband’s family isn’t into things of the past. Especially the tragic parts. One time I had to take down a photo of my father-in-law because he looked too ill and that was considered disturbing. The thing about that photo, though, was it showed my father-in-law with a beard–the first beard he had ever been able to grow in his life. To me, it was a picture of the great story he told about his first beard and not a picture of him dying. But that’s just me.

This family has a very tragic event that occurred in 1965, and we did already know about it, but other than the fact that it exists, this tragedy is not talked about.

How can you heal if you can’t talk about these things? And who am I to decide it should be talked about? Actually, I am nobody when it comes to that. However, I did marry into this family and that probably says something about me and my issues.

It is certainly no accident that I am doing this particular research. It speaks to things that I don’t understand in general. Scrolling through the indexes, there is listing upon listing of community involvement, school performances, family-owned businesses, weddings and other happy days. And then suddenly, “Double Killing in Village”.

I keep thinking, there had to be seeds of this somewhere in the past. This did not happen in a vacuum. I try to read between the lines of the man who said, “I have four children…. they are swell youngsters….” The only thing I have heard those “youngsters” say about him is, “He was a bastard.”

It takes a lot of something out of a person to think about these things. Usually there is just no time for it, not for the people who have really full calendars.

I promised myself a long time ago, that if I ever came to a point in my life that I had the opportunity to figure things out, I would go with it, let myself have that time and not worry too much about accomplishments and have-to. That time did come along and I am just going to go with it until things change back again as I am sure they will.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, family, history, pressure, stress

Share Your World Questions

I love quizzes and questionnaires and usually want to answer them when they come along. I have been this way for as long as I can remember–probably because it is a way to quiet my mind.

Sometimes it is very hard to make things quiet in there. This morning, for example, I woke up with Brad Pitt’s “Oh Yellow Wo” song in my head and it is STILL banging around in there…. hopefully this quiz will shut it off!

Alright, it’s time to begin….

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If I didn’t know any better, I would think I was about 27. That’s less than ten years out of high school and I have noticed that is when people (who have their act together) start to have kids and houses and decent-paying jobs. And it is only just recently that I have felt really ready for any of those things. Of course, I actually did those things a long, long time ago. The kids are long since grown up and moved away, the job went poof a couple years ago, and I’m rather sick of the house and am ready to have a house that feels more like me. This house has been our home for over twenty years but it never quite matched my way of moving and doing things. It was always just a tad off-center. Too many doorways and windows for arranging our furniture around, cupboards too high for such a short girl, not enough closets… just an ever-so-slight awkwardness to the place.

Are you left or right handed?

Most of the time I am left-handed. I have always used scissors with my right hand. Once I began to work, I had to make decisions about handedness. Work stations are always set up for right-handers. Do I make a big stink about it and get everything rearranged for me? No, I never do that. And usually it was impossible anyway. Cash registers are shared and have furniture that is nailed down in place. Computers are often shared and the mouse is always set up on the right side. Everybody else is right-handed. My last workplace was unusual in that several left-handers worked there. Your work station was your own and could actually be adjusted for “handedness” to a certain extent. If I wanted to, I could have done everything left-handed even to the point of being inconsiderate of the next person who came along. But, I just didn’t want to. It was actually easy for me to learn to do things right-handed and that is because I rock!

If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to?

I’ve always been partial to the name Rachel.

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

Fortunately, people rarely come over. However, since I try to keep the place in decent order every day, I don’t have a go-to hiding place for spur of the moment clearing out. This is bothersome to our hoarder-type visitors who would feel better if we were as messy as they are. But we would never pass a white glove test, either, so the neatniks will generally be critical of our house and wish they could clean it up a bit. People make my brain tired. It would be nice not to know what some people wish we would do.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week was busy and I thought I might need several days of down time and extra sleep in which to decompress. But I did pretty good and took it in stride for the most part. So, that was very cool.

This week is extra quiet and that is very cool as well. I feel good which feels weird. But it’s a good weird.

Oh yellow yellow yellow wo, oh yel-low wo….. No, it’s not really stuck anymore. I just like to end each blog a little bit like the way it began.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, questionnaire, quiz, stress

The Cotton Anniversary

When I quit the Terrible Job in 2013, I could not imagine that a day would ever come when I would actually feel good enough to want to celebrate my freedom from that “prison” of a workplace.

At the time, I was devastated. I count the loss of a good-paying job at the age of 51 (almost 52) as one of the lowest moments in my life. That day I was completely overwhelmed with feelings of fear, regret, shame, loss, abandonment and betrayal. I knew that if I stayed there it could very well be the death of me. But giving up and leaving that place and those people felt only a teeny weeny bit better.

As I look back over the past many months, I feel proud that I listened to my gut and followed my instincts about the right way to heal. My instincts have proven to be right. I am getting better. My mental and emotional illness is steadily receding. The real “me” is slowly re-emerging. There is much more work to do. But now it actually feels do-able.

The one year anniversary felt nothing like this. In fact, I felt bad that it had been a whole year and there was so little improvement. Anxiety ruled every single day. Sleep was my best friend. It seemed hopeless. I mean, a whole year!!!! That’s a long time. I’ll NEVER feel good again. I’ll NEVER want to do things or be with people or accomplish anything. My life will ALWAYS suck.

How pleased I am to be wrong! It is not hopeless. I will want to do things again and be with people and accomplish things. My life will not suck after all and now I know this.

My two year anniversary celebration will involve restaurant food, permission to boast, and some kind of reasonably priced gift. I checked in with Hallmark for inspiration and learned that the modern gift for a second wedding anniversary is china.

Yes, I know this isn’t a wedding anniversary but to me it is nearly as important. Quitting the Terrible Job was a similarly life-changing event. Anyway… since china is out of the question, I will attempt to inspire myself with the traditional gift–cotton–which should be challenging. The actual day is about six weeks away so there is plenty of time to come up with something appropriately special. No pressure!

I am really liking this new way of feeling.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, healing, PTSD