Confessions of an Emotional Junkie

If you are over the age of 25 then you have probably noticed patterns in your life.  We all have them, a way of thinking or doing things that we have just assimilated for some reason.  The details of the pattern are really the only difference.  Where mine might herringbone yours might be chevron, or gingham.  I have found a lot of patterns in my life, some are positive ones that I’m glad I have.  Others are negative and end up taking me down a road I don’t want to be again.  It is a slow and agonizing process every time I discover one too.  I would think that there are probably those of us who wake up one morning with perfectly clarity on their pattern but alas, that has yet to happen to me.  It seems like a never-ending path to find the start of a pattern so that I might choose a different road for myself.

One pattern I am beginning to discover is this emotional addiction I seem to have.  It’s weird to think about actually.  How does one have an addition to emotions, but I can’t find a better word to explain it.  I have a need to feel intensely, good, bad or ugly.  And this is not due to an inability to be emotional.  I am actually very empathetic and emotional.  So much so that for most people I turn the emotion button off and they just don’t see that side of me.  It’s too much to be available emotionally like that to everyone.  But man if you are close to me look out because I feel really deep.  And I think I became so used to those feelings (particularly the negative ones) that I started to create situations where I would keep experiencing them.  Cause you know – that was “who I was” or “what I did” or “what my life was like”.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  Does anyone else out there get this?

I became so accustomed to this emotional roller coaster of a life, from my teens on, that I am finding myself on eggshells without it.  I truly almost don’t know how to react to things right now because they are so different.  And the other thing I have discovered is that with the changes in my life that have removed that emotional high I still find myself missing something.  I’m coasting around wondering what am doing and why am doing it.  I have been in this low-grade depression for a while now and the lack of anything to blame it on is what has caused me to stumble onto this pattern in the first place.

My life – is really great.  I have a great job, fabulous kids, a nice home, enough income to be relatively comfortable, companionship and family.  I’m trying to grow a social circle and am active in my church.  Dude – “It’s a Wonderful Life!”.  So then what is causing this feeling of disconnection?

The only thing I have been able to come up with is that without the drama life is sort of boring.  Stable doesn’t necessarily mean exciting.  So I’m missing the emotional roller coaster.  My relationships without it feel different and so I don’t know how to act.  I’m trying to learn to not be a martyr and so I don’t know how to act.  I’m trying to find real intimacy and love and relationship and it is so different from what I believed it to be…so I don’t know how to act.

I’m struggling.  I will have days when I want to pick up on an old pattern and walk down a familiar road just so I will feel something besides this mild indifference.

But I guess those old patterns are being replaced with new ones.  Like crocheting I just haven’t got the rhythm down for the pattern yet so it feels a little awkward.  But with a stable pattern real beauty is created.  With a slow and steady rhythm fewer mistakes are made.  I’ll keep fiddling with it and know that at some point the new will become more comfortable…and I will know how to act.

New Home

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks. The kids and I are very happy to say that we have purchased a home and we moved in the first weekend of October.  The move went really well and I’m very grateful for everyone that was able to help us get settled in.  It’s a small place, a three bedroom townhouse, but Continue reading

My Dog

I have a dog.  Her name is Galaxy.  She is a medium-sized black lab/something mix and we brought her home with us early 2008.  She is crazy…not just crazy, she is neurotic.  She is head shy and doesn’t seem to like men very much.  My guess is she had a heavy-handed male owner for a bit before she was placed for adoption.  She is lazy too.  I have never seen a dog Continue reading

A Visit With Sadness

I had a visit from Sadness today.
I was thinking she would be by soon.

Normally Anger or
Denial meet her at the door.
Today I met her
after the first gentle knock.

She looked tired
like she had just spent time with Fear.
She had one hand wrapped around her middle
The other holding herself up on the door frame.

I’ve never really looked at her so close before.

Her face was tear-stained
Her eyes dark and distance.

I invited her in.

I pulled out a chair for her at the table
Brewed some tea.
It was warm.

We both took a deep breath
Then she began to talk.

She talked about things I had not heard about.
Things I didn’t know.

I cried with her
Held her
Told her I was sorry I hadn’t heard her before.

She left sooner today then she normally does.
I had Love and Joy walk her home.

I know I will see her again.
That will be a good visit too.

Summer Camp

My daughter is off to summer camp today.  We are taking her right after church.  Summer camp….so nostalgic.  She is going with Girl Scouts (not the whole troop, just a few of her friends) and she will spend the week outside.  I am so excited for her.  It has all of the traditional stuff of summer camp; swimming, canoes, hiking, arts and crafts, but this one is special it is a horseback riding camp.  Everyday she will spend time taking care, learning about and riding horses.  My daughter LOVES horses.  She is excited for her.

Yesterday when we started packing it became apparent she was getting a little nervous.  She talked about missing me, and her parakeet ,and the dog, (not her brother) and everything else.  🙂  We talked about it; being away, missing people and things.  She has spent time away from home but it has always been with family, a grandparent or something.  We talked about adrenaline and stress and how her thoughts can make that a good and fun experience, like a roller coaster or a bad and scary experience.  We talked about how she can decide what to think.

Then we spent time talking about when I went away to camp.  I think there were two a girl scout camp and an asthma camp.  I told her about how fun it was and what I did.  It was good conversation with a 9-year-old.

After she finally went to sleep I sat thinking about camp.  The experiences, the learning, the adventure.  I am so excited for her to be having this experience.  To step just a little further out into the world on her own.  I am glad there is a place for her that is (mostly) computer free (they do let us send email back and forth).  I’m glad she will have nights to giggle and cook over a fire.  I’m glad she will learn some skills.  I’m glad she will grow in confidence.

Summer camp can be a magical place an experience that every child should have.  I am grateful I can provide this to her.  Anyone else sending a child to camp this year?  Did you camp as a kid?

Freedom Takes Courage

My children and I spent the fourth of July holiday at the beach this year.  So very different from my Independence Day’s as a child.  What I remember about July 4th growing up are small flags hanging from light posts in a one street downtown area.  There where corn boils in the summer and parades.  I used sparklers and we could see the town fireworks show from our backyard (which by the way, backed into a huge corn field).

This year July 4th was sand and surf.  Small carnival rides like the carousel and Ferris wheel and fireworks on the beach.

We read the Declaration of Independence this year, an idea started from my good friend Andrew Odom, and talked about the meaning behind it.  Why it was important.

All the while the gears in my head are turning and then on church on Sunday our talked focused on how that document can be used as an example of how to make change.  It was very interesting and the impact on my current life was equally interesting.

I imagined what living in that time must have been like.  Not everyone living in the colonies wanted to be separated from England and even those that did, I wonder if they knew what they were in the process of creating?  So many people with different ideas on what to do and after the Declaration was written so many ways to move forward.  The challenges that must have been overcome while something so completely new was brought into manifestation.  It wasn’t just a day of independence or a day of freedom it was a day of courage.

My life is so new…and the challenges that have been overcome to create it are more than I thought myself capable of.  The challenges I still have yet to face, I’m not looking forward to facing them.  Like many colonists, a completely new way of looking at life is staring back at me and I must find the courage to take action to have that life going forward.  I still stand on the brink of something I don’t quite understand.  But I know it is different, so very different I am sometimes afraid of it.  My previous life and ideas stand over me like the King of England and at the same time secret ideas being to gather and make plans for moving forward in a new way.

I think we miss the challenges that must be overcome when change like that happens unless we are living it.  Can you imagine the courage it must have taken to take up that pen and sign your name to a document that said, I will live like this no more?

I am so grateful for that courage in others.  Not only because it brought forth the United States, but also because it inspires me to find that courage within myself.  To take up my own pen (or sword) and say, “I will live like this no more!”.

Go live courageously!

 

Letting Go – A Child’s Perspective

This morning started like any other and I was driving the kids to school, listening to my daughter happily chat behind me.  We have just returned from vacation and this morning start was a little easier than the day before, we are all in a good mood and on time.  🙂  Good times.  Very randomly my daughter asks, “Mom, do you like those little ring toss games?”

“Which games?”  I was fairly certain she wasn’t talking about the games at the fair.

“You know, where you push the button and try to get those tiny little rings into the bucket or basket?”  Ah!  The little handheld water guys!  I understand now.

“Yum, I guess so.  They can be hard but fun sometimes too.”

“Yeah, I love them.  Madison and Kaden have a bowling ball one at their house and I really love it.  They said they don’t play with it much and I didn’t ask but I thought I would  like to have it, I would play with it all the time.”  I’m pretty sure she didn’t breathe through that.

And as she explained this to me I am thinking in my head, sweetie, you don’t like those little things.  If you had one it would sit buried in the bottom of a basket in the back of your closet and you would forget it was there.  And suddenly I was stuck with how easily children let things slip in and out of their lives.  One minute something is there, it is magnificent and wonderful and the greatest thing ever and in 15 minutes they have completely moved onto something else.  How easily they let go of things.

This becomes less true the older we get right?  My 9-year-old isn’t nearly as good at it now as she was at 5.  But my son is masterful.  I have never known anyone who so completely accepts “right now” for whatever “right now” is.  He moves into each moment and finds the most joy in it he can.  When the next moment comes with something else he is perfectly content moving into that next thing with no attachment to what was before.  How easily he let’s go.

Letting go is big for me right now.  I frequently have an image of just opening my hands with the idea of letting go.  I am in some major transitions in my life and I can’t help but wonder how long they will last simply because it is so hard for me to let go, to open my hands and release.  I pray about letting go.  I meditate on it.  I talk about it with family and friends.  I am almost constantly thinking about it.  And in this brief moment my daughter is able to illustrate for me how very simple it can be.  And every time I look at my son I am blessed with another reminder.  How easily we can let go.

I am coming to believe that the secret is Faith in something better on the other side.  And I don’t mean the “grass is greener” kind of better.  I mean a more complete understanding of what we want better.  I truly believe that we learn more about ourselves and our world each day.  And I also know that change is the only unchangeable thing.  Life is change and evolution in some form or another.  So with each new understanding of ourselves we can move closer to what is our best path.  Provided we have Faith it is there and can let go of what was before.

I will continue to work on this, I am sure, for the rest of my life.  It is part of the process.  But this morning, in her gentle and joyful way, my daughter brought a spotlight to it for me and maybe for today, letting go will be easier.