I don’t know where I belong, I don’t know where I went wrong, but I can write a song

My music selections lately have been incredibly important to me.

I’ve felt a sort of levity in choosing my songs. I should take it more seriously, when I look back at how music has affected me in the past.

Blink 182 comes on and I’m 17 again, starting at a new school with about 9 times as many kids, and my only solace is that two of the members of this band graduated from the same high school I was on track to graduate from. I’m sitting in the sun in our tiny backyard, trying to tan and listening to my Walkman with real cheap headphones.

Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun brings me back to being 10 and lounging by the pool. I’m still not sure if my bathing suit is turning my skin white or if the sun is making my skin dark, but I love diving and swimming and my goal is to reach a higher level in swim lessons than my older sister did at my age.

I can almost smell the cigarette smoke from the Spring/Summer I drove around in my car with my best friend Brittany, experimenting with smoking and stalking boys and blaring the stereo when any song from Kelly Clarkson’s first two albums comes on. I know I’m imagining the nasty mix of tobacco and Dr. Pepper in my mouth, but it feels real.

Any song embraced by the RockBand fad reminds me of the one really good patch my marriage had; the patch where we found something we both enjoyed together. That game can take full responsibility for my son’s ability to sleep through loud noises- our drumming and singing could not have been quiet, especially when we enjoyed a few beers together with it.

I bought a Hoobastank CD before a road trip with Brittany to see our other friend Sally when she was attending college in Idaho and we listened to it the whole 6 hour drive each way. I hear The Reason and it’s like we’re speeding down 84 in my Dodge Neon again, talking about making out with my boss and whether or not she should keep dating a total jerk I ended up dating a year later.

Bob Marley and I’m on the jerk’s older brother’s boat, learning to wakeboard, jumping off bridges and feeling pretty full of myself. Turn on Weezer and I’m driving down the 101, headed to the beach with my high school boyfriend (who ironically was unbeknownst to me stoned as he sang along with hash pipe). Everlong by the Foo Fighters is still one of the most unusually romantic songs, and along with Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication made me fall in love with music videos.

Tom Petty and I’m enjoying a special date with my daddy, enjoying my first concert at age 10 and still sure Mary Jane is only a girl’s name.

98 Degrees and I’m on a stretcher, shaking hands with the band members backstage at their show in an incredibly twisted version of every 15 year old girl’s fantasy.

So many moments and stages of my life are so strongly associated with a song or band and it’s so truly representative and indicative of who I was at that time. You can see my naivety, or confusion, sadness or anger. The last six months I let sad, lonely songs define my mood.

And it’s freeing to not take myself so seriously for once.

I’ve been mulling over these thoughts in my head for weeks. And tonight I laughed out loud when I realized ironically, the song that feels the most fitting right now is the one I most often complain about having stuck in my head.

So I will let it go, let it go. I won’t hold it back anymore. To be fair- the cold does kinda bother me. But I’m ready to let go.

And I’ll go where you will lead me, Lord

I’m a jumbled ugly ball of emotions today.

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts today and they are ugly.

Hideous. Disgusting. Unfriendly. Unkind.

Two years ago today, my thoughts were less confusing and equally ugly.

I knew exactly what to do, and I did it.

I chose to give up.

It wasn’t an easy decision, or even the right one.

I swallowed bottles of pills.

Once, when sharing my story, I described the amount of medicine I ingested and a PA was in the room and noticeably cringed.

I don’t know why I’m alive today, or why I’ve been given life to be sitting on my couch in an old white tank top and sweats typing this right now.

I couldn’t give you any reason why I survived.

I do believe that God is the reason I’m still here. I believe He wanted me here, in this world, still, for some reason.

Others speak of near death experiences and can tell you about light, or a vision of Jesus, or something beautiful. All I remember is black. I remember voices of friends, real or imagined, but I couldn’t tell you what anyone said.

And I’m confused today.

I don’t at all doubt that God saved me.

I don’t understand why.

I am not changing anyone’s life, or making anything better.

Maybe I feel like I should do more with the gift I’ve been given.

I don’t know how.

I fall into pieces

A chocolate milkshake was in order tonight.

I don’t understand myself sometimes. I do things and I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything bad, or wrong, or sinful. But I did find myself wondering if I somehow enjoy pain.

Ironic, that I wonder that, when I used to willingly cut open my own flesh and watch myself bleed so that I could feel something other than sad.

I didn’t cry though.

I thought I might, for a moment, at the spot in the road where the tears usually began.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I drove on. Stopped through the drive through at McDonald’s and treated myself to a chocolate milkshake.

Apparently, part of my healing process involves pouring stinging alcohol onto partially healed wounds. At least now, I know how to start stitching myself back up.

Money don’t grow on trees. . .

Last night was nothing special, just dinner and a trip to the grocery store.

We needed fresh stuff.

Fruits, veggies, eggs, yogurt.

No big deal.

And I picked up a pack of grapes to examine them and felt nothing.

Big deal.

See, I used to be so stressed out that I may purchase a small bunch of grapes that has bad grapes that I wouldn’t even buy them.

I used to fear the lecture I would receive about wasted money on rotten or sour grapes.

Especially if they were over our recommended 99 cents a pound.  Our guideline for buying vegetables was to keep it as close to 99 cents as possible. These grapes were $1.49 for pete’s sake!

No panic.

No stress.

No wasted money.

No husband at home to lecture me on my lack of ‘picking out fruits and vegetable’ skills.

Big deal.

Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?

The other day, someone touched my arm and remarked on the softness of my skin.

It was very affirming, this direct result of an emotionally healthy behavior.  Putting on lotion every day is a great but easy way for me to take care of myself.  Nothing huge, but I still gave myself a mental pat on the back, and envisioned myself high-fiving myself in a fun 70’s style sequence reminiscent of two Bradys greeting each other.

And today I smelled bad.  Not awful, but still, bad.  I took a shower and sat down, singing along with Bono as I applied my lotion to my legs, arms, stomach and back.

But, see, I found this spot on my back. 

A spot I keep missing.

The very spot that is the reason for spray on sunscreen, and dare I say, companions to the beach before that.

My hair covers it and nobody will ever see it.

I didn’t notice it, and nobody else pays any depth of attention to me so it doesn’t matter.

Yet it stuck out to me as a reminder that I’m always going to miss something.  As strong as I can be, I can never be strong enough to do it all alone.

While I did cry for a few minutes, wondering and despairing if anyone would ever deem me important enough to rub lotion onto the one spot below my neck I just can’t reach, to itch or otherwise, what stuck out was that I can’t try to do it alone.

I’m not talking about my back anymore.

Excuses

I’m tired and I feel huge.

I’ve been working hard.  I love my new job.  I’m making new friends there.  I even like the tasks I do, not just the people.  I feel lucky there but I have to an extent allowed some of my training to consume me as of late.

And then the food.

Every time a sales rep trains you on their product, they come with food.  I know that’s pretty standard, having been married to the sales guy for years.  And I’ve just been eating.

Not over eating by anyone’s standards but mine.  Just really eating about three meals a day and still snacks.  I may have ate more than my share of birthday cake the other day on my boss’s birthday, but that’s one day.

I used to manage to roll lunch and dinner into one meal for the most part, and skip breakfast altogether, or balance that all out one way or another.  Two full meals a day is still a lot for me.

I know it’s a sign of contentment in my soul but it causes discontent in my body.  I will work out twice as hard because I feel like I’ve gained a million pounds (when reality is I doubt I have gained any).  I will skip a few meals, feign lost appetite, maybe even take something to help me fall asleep early if I feel hungry from missing a dinner.

And I haven’t written much from my heart in a week.  I’ve been writing copy, texting new friends, and I’ve been pushing myself to go from early in the morning until about ten at night when I crash.  I have a million excuses: my daughter’s outpatient surgery this week, the training, the fact that the stress of surgery and dealing with my ex led to an excess of coffee this week when I was trying to abstain, but it all boils down to shame.

I’m ashamed I haven’t lasted long fasting from coffee.  Ashamed that I intend to whittle down my meals for the next week or two until I balance it back out with exercise.  Ashamed because I still don’t feel I deserve to be this happy.

I hope I have something more eloquent or pretty to say soon. 

Unbroken heart

I used to have all these reminders on my calendar.

And well, let’s be honest, I still have like a million reminders it feels like every week.

But these were unique.  Instead of being strong and having healthy boundaries I needed constant reminders not to text him.

And now they just remind me that I used to be much more broken and messy and I am going to delete them.  Rather than encouraging me, they are just reminding me of how weak I used to behave.

So at 2:30 I will no longer receive a reminder not to text him.  At 7:30 if my phone buzzes it’s because I’m trying to rekindle the friendships I pushed away for so long because I deemed myself unworthy of friends.  If my phone goes off at 9:30, I may already be asleep and if the noise wakes me up it will be because I want to know which of my new or old friends wants to talk.

I still feel sad.  Sometimes.  I don’t feel massively extremely sad.  I don’t remember the last time I was hysterical.  Honestly.  Ages.  I’ve been keeping my temper just fine and reacting appropriately to my children and kittens.

I’m finding I’m capable again of being open and honest with others and I’m not so afraid of being hurt getting to know someone new.  And I’m making new friends!  I didn’t know that skill was still in me.

So I will keep the reminders of doctor’s appointments and my gentle bible verses reminding me of Who loves me most.  But I don’t need reminded anymore of my pain that is actually fading.

In you no thread will ever break, this hope is ours forever

My heart aches in an unusual way this evening.

It is not empty of joy, as it has been at times.  And yet it aches nonetheless.

I am hopeful that this is not a sign of getting worse again.  I still, somehow, feel I have the strength to be above the pain.  I don’t feel it will control me.

But that old familiar sting comes back uninvited some nights.

I have hope.  Truly, I do.  I know all is not lost and I have a future and can survive anything.  I shouldn’t’ be alive with the overdose I survived and God brought me through that.  By human standards I have every right to be consumed with anger and hatred at those who have hurt me, particularly with the depth and severity of some of those wounds; wounds which are mostly emotionally as the physical have long since healed.

His peace, God’s love and grace, is what consumes me however.

No, I’m not particularly happy this evening.

I don’t feel like giving up though.

It’s something.

Defined

There are certain things in my life which describe me and others which define me.  I’m working hard to discern which is which.

My children can be used to describe me.

My faith in Jesus can define me.

My relationships to others can only describe me and will never again define me.

My diagnoses, medical and mental, should only be used in my description and not my definition.

I am wonderful at describing words and terrible at defining them.

I do think some fine-tuning is in order.

I’m determined to get better at this.

If I do nothing else of value, I hope I can do this.  If I pass on nothing else to my children, I would want it to be this differentiation in their own lives.

My son is described as my son.  But he is not defined by me or my actions or who I am.  He has his own definition completely independent of me and I only pray I can help him discover it and learn to tell the difference.

Open Book

I throw around the words “I am an open book,” foolishly.

I suppose it’s true, I am.

But reader beware.

Many of the pages are tearstained.

Some are written on the backs of receipts.

A few are napkins.

Many have been ripped from whatever journal I shoved into my purse to jot thoughts down.

The pages don’t match and what they hold is not always beautiful but it is always my truth.

Sometimes it would seem I was writing in gibberish.

The handwriting is often barely legible.

But I’m worth discovering and experiencing and enjoying.

I’m worth finding out more.

Definitely worth the read.