Day 4 – Keeping Score

Hopscotch
Hopscotch (Photo credit: Jan Tik)

When I was little I played games like most kids.  Hopscotch, Tag and Freedom were some of my favorites.  As I got older, I joined a few organized sports like softball and basketball.  I was athletic and while I didn’t particularly enjoy losing, I did it gracefully… sometimes.

Somewhere along the way I learned the awful habit of comparing myself to others.  My looks, my education, my material belongings… all of this and more was never good enough, never small enough, never big enough, never pretty enough; it was never enough and there began my dark spiral into the “not’s” as I call them.

Comparisons are like keeping score and I came up short (the loser) every damn time.

Something I’ve learned in sobriety is to compare myself to myself.  Everything about me I need to compare only to myself because, being a good alcoholic, it is easy for me to tailspin into a dark hole of self-doubt and woe-is-me.

“She’s prettier.” “Her boobs are bigger.” “Oh my gosh!  Look how cute her feet are!  I wish I had feet like that!” I mean, it goes on and on and on!  Ugh… I can go from 100 to 0 in less that thirty seconds when I start keeping score in my head.

Keeping score wears on my self-esteem, it shows on my face and most important it drains me.  Luckily, I love to read self-help books, go to meetings and talk with other women.  I have learned when I start to keep score and am learning how to stop.

  • Say the Serenity Prayer.
  • Realize that everyone is beautiful in their own way (including me).
  • I am better than I was a year ago.
  • I am on my own journey, and it is amazing.
  • Focus on my attributes.

These are some of the ways I deal with my “not’s.”  I’m human, so some days are easier than others.

Progress, not perfection.

Keeping It Real

serenity
serenity (Photo credit: dragonflaiii)

So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing.  “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer.  The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.

Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.

I have always tried to keep it real.  I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis.  And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.

Yeah, pretty messed up stuff.  The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings.  Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.

This leads to:

  • self-doubt
  • self-loathing
  • insecurity
  • feeling less than
  • depression
  • self-sabotage
  • resentment

That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.

Lately, I have been way up in my head.  This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace.  My head is not peaceful.  It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things.  I believe these things.  I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play.  I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings.  Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.

This is why I bought the book.  My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them.  You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think!  My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.

As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense.  It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.

Also, I signed up for 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It is free and looks like a lot of fun.  Check it out!

How do you battle your demons?

That Damn Heart On My Sleeve

Heart on Sleeve!
Heart on Sleeve! (Photo credit: Caro’s Lines)

It’s true.  I am an emotional, loving, caring, forgiving human being who seems to never remember that it is NOT all about me and I should NOT take everything to the life-giving, all loving heart that is in my chest and on my sleeve.

I have a hard time handling any kind of rejection.

You wanna hurt me?  Ignore me.  Pretend I do not matter.  Treat me like one of the rest.  That shit hurts.  It hurts deep.

Maybe I am the “sensitive artist type” or I am just sensitive period.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I love with all my heart and I just reveal myself (the real me) time and again and I get shit on and it hurts.

How do I be someone else?  How do I turn into this magical, mythical creature that never gets angry, hurt, upset, jealous, resentful or bruised?

This is the question I want answered.

Why do I do this?  Why do I pour my heart into everything?  The risk is always there and I know this.  But I give my heart anyway.  Over and over and over again.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel the hurt, the pain, the agony of rejection or dejection.  But then, I remember:

It is good for me to feel these things and sort them out. Because the moment I decide I can no longer handle feeling these feelings is the scary moment I might look to pick up a drink.  After all, not being able to handle my feelings was a huge part in my alcoholism.

So…

  • I journal.
  • I go to a meeting.
  • I talk to my friend, Heather.
  • I pray.
  • I think (this is not good).

The final thing I do is give it to God.  I have so many little papers in my God Box: things I want, things that bother me, people I cannot help.  All kinds of stuff.  I put those little pieces of paper in my God Box and then forget about them.  After I say a prayer and put my written thought in the God Box, I forget about it…

For a little while…

But, me being me with this heart on my sleeve, my head starts to mess with me again.  Sometimes I think wearing my heart on my sleeve is a huge character defect.  However, a lot of people (including my former sponsor) has told me it is an admirable trait.

Hmmmm…

How are you at handling your emotions? 

When Things Don’t Go … Our Way

Tattered and Torn
Tattered and Torn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It will be a short post today.  My lovely internet is down at home.  So yeah, I am posting at the office.  This topic isn’t even in my list! But…

I had a situation happen over the weekend that had potential to turn pretty toxic.  We’ll just call it, “people who can’t let go.”  Anyway, there just comes a time when we have to say GOOD-BYE.

When we try to beat the square peg into the round hole, the square peg becomes worn… tattered… exhausted.  The round hole has moved on and so should probably the square peg.

For whatever reason, sometimes people who really want to be together just cannot be together because the relationship is toxic.  Maybe there is drugs involved, alcoholism, abuse, mistrust… the list goes on as to what could make a relationship toxic.  What makes it worse is when neither party recognizes the toxicity.

What makes it worse than that is when only one person recognizes the disaster masked with the word “love.” One person is desperately trying to hold on while the other is subtly trying to move on.

We will be touching on this topic in the coming months. Have a great week everyone!  Regularly scheduled blog posts will resume tomorrow.

Peace…

 

Ooh Ooh.. Growing Up..

When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything.. I guess most teenagers feel this way. I have a teenage daughter, and I see a lot of myself in her.

Remember when we were fourteen or fifteen and we thought our parents were idiots, totally uncool and basically, had no idea what they were talking about?  Yeah, that’s where I am now.  I find myself repeating a lot of the ideals that were told to me at that fork in the road age.

I remember my first heartbreak.  Ugh.  I was so devastated! I was totally head over heels in love with a boy that lived around the corner.. he was kind of cocky, super cute and really wanted nothing to do with me.. I am not sure why it was this last quality that attracted me most to this boy.  Perhaps it was the fact that my father ignored me for most of my childhood and since I couldn’t get his attention, I could try to get a boy’s attention.

Needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with me.  So I decided to date his older brother.  Yeah, not the best idea.  He was a really nice guy (ack!) and I just didn’t pine for him like I pined for his brother.  Strike one.  I dated the older brother for about three weeks and then the kid I crushed on decided to test my loyalties to his older brother.  He told his brother (I came to find out later) that he was going to flirt with me and that I would ditch older brother.  Younger brother nailed it.   He was pretty smart for a sixteen year old, and I was devastated when he said to me, “I knew you didn’t like my brother, so I tricked you.”  Nice, eh?  However, I did like his older brother.  He was tall and he made me laugh with his Peter Gabriel and Kinks impressions.  But his brother liked me too.

I was so crushed by the “trick” played on me (which was one of a few different boys played on me) that I had enough and decided that it was time to get on with it.  It was time to die.

I went into my room, I put on some Pink Floyd, took the razor blade I got from my dad’s top drawer and slit my wrists.  Extreme, I know.  But no one knew who I was.  No one understood me.  No one got what I was going through.  Certainly not my parents.  They were never really around at that crucial teen stage and it didn’t matter anyway.  I felt it was too late for me. I was screwed.

I still have those scars on my wrists.  They are a haunting reminder of how unhappy I was.  The pictures of me around that time (none of which I am smiling in) are haunting reminders as well. I now use those scars to remind people about depression and suicidal thoughts should they ask.  Not many do.

If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell me that it was all going to be okay.  That I was going to grow up and be a beautiful woman so smart and too wise.  I would tell myself that everyone goes through  a heartbreak or two and that it is the heartbreaks, failures and things that don’t work out that make us wiser and keep us strong.  It is those things that help us to grow into strong, resilient individuals.  I would tell me to have faith, it will all work out.

It always does.

Picture courtesy of www.weheartit.com

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Meditation For Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When we are young we learn about disappointment, hurt and anger.  As we grow most of us learn tools to handle these pains and letdowns.  Those of us who do not learn effective coping tools wind up holding onto resentments that hurt our own well-being.  Holding onto pain from the past hurts our future.

Emotional pain sticks with us longer than physical pain.  If we fall down and skin a knee, we may cry for a moment, but we get up, brush it off and keep on trekking.  However, emotional pain burrows inside of us.  We sit and we dwell and we think of ways to get even or we manifest misdeeds done unto us, letting it damage us continually until we are full of hate.

In the movie American History X, Edward Furlong’s character says, “Hate is baggage.  Life’s too short to be ticked off all the time.”  When I heard that line a light bulb went off in my head. He used a stronger word.. but you get the point.

When we are angry at others, or full of hate, the only ones we hurt are ourselves.  Most of the people we are angry at long forget that we were ever mad at them in the first place.  Others never knew that they had upset us or maybe they did and didn’t care.

So there we sit, in our dimly lit room, or driving our car, stewing over the injustices done to us by careless people.

Get over it.  When you keep your anger, you give away your power.  You are letting the actions or words of others dictate your well-being.  Why would you want to give someone else that kind of control?

If you are so upset that you can’t see straight, write it down, scream at the wall or punch a pillow.  If you feel you really must let the person know how upset you are, write it down first.  It is important that you do this so that you can read it over a few times and let the situation sink in a little.  Often, we realize we are overreacting and wind up tearing the paper up and never saying anything.

If you feel you must say something, it is important that you get it in your head in a way that will be effective in communicating why you are upset.  Calling someone names and rehashing things that have long been talked about can lead to an argument and more resentment.

Meditation for the day:  Letting go of resentment and anger kindles my wellbeing.