Saturday, December 31, 2016

45 - Wow!

So today I am 45 years old.   So much has changed.  My kids are grown up and moved out.  I have a 2nd career, Master's Degree and professional Marriage and Family Therapist Licenses in 2 states!

I have had many challenges in my life and many blessings.  I would like to start out this new year on the right foot so I am going to count 45 of my blessings - in no particular order.

1.  I am alive.
2.  I have pretty good health!
3.  I had an amazing electrocardiogram of my heart that showed it is very healthy!
4.  My lab tests are getting closer to normal.
5.  I am walking more and can walk more than 10 miles in a day.
6.  My life is getting calmer and I am learning to enjoy the challenges.
7.  Bipolar - yup it is a blessing - without the ability to live on nearly no sleep - I would not have made it through my Master's program.
8.  My daughter - she challenged me to better myself and be the best person I could be.  This also put me on the path to being a therapist.
9.  Being a therapist.  I am so blessed to work with clients and to finally have a passion for what I do.
10.  My son - he has taught me so much!  He is amazing and watching him become a man really inspires me.  Most of all he taught me to not think I have to stick to whatever "normal" is but to celebrate uniqueness.
11.  My mom - I am so blessed that I still have my mom.  Many of my friend's no longer have their parents.  I am also blessed to have her support.
12.  My dad - aka Nik.  Our start was a rocky one, but he has always been there for me and as a parent, I realize how important that is.
13.  My 1st husband, Mathew - This year especially it has been a blessing to have him in my life.  We almost lost him and that scared me.  I am so glad after 28 years we still  have our solid friendship.
14.  My current husband - 8 years of marriage and 10 years together - he has been my main support, he stayed in my crazy drama filled life even when he didn't have to.  I am so blessed we found each other when we did.
15.  My dad - aka Dave - I am blessed that we seem to have found a common ground to improve our relationship.
16.  Being a Priestess.  I was blessed to find my path as a Priestess and it seems although crazy and challenging, that once I found that path - things seemed to flow better.  I feel more at one with the earth and universe and found my calling.
17.  My priestess sisters - It is so wonderful to have my priestess sisters, being there.  We can be open and honest.  We can fight and then let it go.  We rely on each other and I am a better person because I have them in my life.
18.  I have a roof over my head.  15 years ago, I would have never thought that would have been something I would worry about.  But getting to that point after having so much, seeing how quick things can fall apart, makes me realize how important the simple things are.
19.  Beaker - our Senegal Parrot.  I never thought I would feel blessed about having a dang bird but I do.  She keeps me company, and makes me laugh and is like a perpetual 3 year old.  Amusing and annoying all in one - but makes me feel less lonely and days I am depressed.
20.  My hairdresser Scott.  I know that may sound shallow, but I have hated my thinning hair that has bald spots my whole life.  Then I went in and told this guy I wanted lavender hair streaked with my grey, and he told me not with my hair and then listened to what I wanted and figured out how to do the closest thing to it.  I love my hair and that is a first for me!  And to think if he did what I asked him to, I would have had no hair left.
21.  My son's best friend's family.  I cannot imagine how my life in Sacramento would have gone had my son not gotten his best friend and had such support from the family.  Even getting a call in the middle of the night to pick up my son, they did and took care of him.  
22.  My son's girlfriend.  My son is very special to me, and also an old soul.  He never has handled girl drama well, so it was wonderful to meet such a special woman, who is not filled with drama.  Also I appreciate how much she appreciates and loves him.  I will never forget seeing her put maybe 50 sticky notes on the bathroom mirror with different reasons she loves him - for him to see when he woke up.
23.  My friends  - I am not a party type person, nor do I have hundreds of friends.  The friends I have are select and wonderful.  They would give you the shirt of their backs if you needed it.  I am blessed to have them in my life.
24.  My sister, Sonya. We have lived life at a distance most of the time, but she has always been nice to me (some sisters especial step-sisters are known to be mean or rude especially to younger sisters - but she never was).  Her art is amazing and always seems so deep.  She never told me I should be different or change myself, we actually didn't speak much when I was growing up, but she let me quietly sit watching her draw or paint which I appreciated.  As I realized we had more in common it was nice to know someone like me.
25.  My Grandpa Jake - he is no longer around - but he never seemed to treat me differently than my brother.  He taught me to drive (a stick!).  He taught me how to chop wood, whittle, wood working, and just about anything else he needed to do.  I was blessed to never feel like a girl couldn't do things.
26.  My Grandma Phyllis - she is no longer around either but boy did I learn so much from her.  Many of my creative ideas come from her and knowing just which container left overs will fit in is something I appreciated her trying to teach me.  Amusing too, was that she always thought I was a witch (the good kind) and seemed to control the weather and knew things.  I also will always remember my grandma learning HTML coding in her late 70s.
27.  Privilege - I am blessed with a lot of privilege - I am white, not obviously handicapped, no perceived to be a minority.  My mom owned a home and while times were often very tough - I had more than many of my peers.  My mom is also college educated and made sure we had what we needed for school.  I try to use this blessing to help others who are not as privileged.
28. My office-mate, Gabby.  I still cannot believe how blessed I was, I desperately needed a supervisor and I would have taken pretty much anyone, and I met her because she met my friend at a training.  I walked into her office and we connected.  She has spent her entire professional career (a very long one since she is 77 now) working with traumatized kids, exactly the population I work with.  After I got my license, she allows me to rent her other office by the hour so I don't have too much overhead.  We are able to consult with each other and we are amazing friends.
29.  My 22 year old forest green ford windstar minivan still runs and can haul anything I need to move.  
30.  My extended family.  On my my mother's and my father's side, I have amazing family.  I am so blessed that we don't have huge family rifts and we keep in touch (facebook sure helps).
31.  My magnetic-velcro bras that my mom does.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to be able to have a bra I can put on by myself.  I am blessed that my mom and I could come up with a way to modify my bras.    It gave me my independence back.
32.  I have been blessed to go through many challenges that allowed me to become a better person and have empathy for others going through challenges.
33. Blessed to have finally found a doctor that works WITH me.  AND he also stayed with Sutter after he completed his residency so I could keep seeing him.
34.  Blessed to got to Alaska TWICE!  So beautiful and Amazing!
35.  That I do not get sea sick and neither does my hubby - we LOVE the ocean and even being on small boats.
36.   That we have the ability to take vacations and do not live paycheck to paycheck right now.  It is really a blessing after living where that was not the case.
37.  We live in a country that is not war torn.  Where we live, we can drive to and from work without worrying about mines, and planes dropping bombs.  So many of the people I work with have come from parts of the world, where going to school is just not safe.
38.  We are blessed with enough to help others.
39.  My husband being able to work and having a steady job (hoping that blessing continues)
40.  Blessed that our weather is pretty mild where we live.
41.  Blessed that my son has a wonderful and safe place to live.
42.  Blessed to have wonderful landlords who are quick to respond when we need something but do not try to micromanage.
43.  I am blessed to have a naturally curious personality that keep makes me wanting to learn more.
44.  Blessed to have found a true and deep love with my hubby.
45.  Blessed to have had every experience and person that has come into my life.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolution

Every year I do New Year's Resolutions and every year within days or weeks I fail.  Then I beat myself up for not having stronger will power and though I promise myself that I can just restart, I somehow never get back to those resolutions.  Every year I get more anxious that I will fail quickly which then gives me self-doubt which drives me to sabotage myself so I don't have to be anxious that I will fail.

My birthday is December 31, so it makes it even easier to fall into this repeated cycle.  One year older, one year wiser - yup I should be able to do it THIS time.  But then my anxiety cranks up, I can't fail this time, or I am a failure. 

One year I planned on not making New Year's Resolutions so I wouldn't fall into my normal cycle, but by January 2nd,  I felt I was "being lazy" and "making excuses" not to make New Year's Resolutions so I made them and then within a month "failed".

So this year is going to be different, I am going to make one New Year's Resolution that I can't fail and that is a real honest resolution. 

I resolve that in 2017 I am going to be good to myself. 

So what does this mean?
It means I will eat healthy, exercise, and do things good for my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.
It also means that if I make a mistake or "fall off the wagon" I have to be good to myself.
I cannot obsess about being a failure, or that I wasn't good to myself at that moment, instead I have to focus on being good to myself and realizing that everyone slips up, including me and berating myself is not being good to myself.

So basically I am resolving to forgive myself and continue being good to myself.  The best part is if I do feel like a failure for a bit, I don't have to be upset for feeling that way and decide to be good to myself and let it go and keep working forward.

So here is to a good 2017 that I am good to myself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Allowing myself to grieve

 I was feeling pretty good about Yule, and then suddenly it hit.  It felt like a tidal wave of sadness just crashed over me.  For an hour or so I really felt like I couldn't figure out which way was up.  I cried, searched for signs of my daughter on facebook and the internet.  I hate not being able to talk to her or know if she is ok.  This is the first Yule that I am really disconnected from her.  I love her and yet I know for now I need to let her to go so she can grow up.  I have hindered her for long enough by enabling her.  It was hard but I just allowed myself to grieve knowing it is part of the process.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Being honest without fear of judgement

Since I gave the victim statement to the court for my daughter, I have been slowly working on coming to terms with letting go and allowing myself and my daughter to heal separately.  Then came time to start my annual family newsletter.  Do I just remove her?  That didn't sound right, but what do I do?  Through therapy, I realized I needed to be honest.  I have always been my daughter's PR person so to speak.  Making things sound the best they could so family could see the positive side of her.  I realize that is not my job anymore and I was able to nicely put that she is still struggling and we do not have contact. 

I know some will judge but I am finally becoming honest with myself that I have done everything I can and it is now time for both of us to heal on our own.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Equinox/Autum Begins/Mabon

This year I am really working at making healthy decisions.  Next week I will have foot surgery so that I can walk better and get myself back on track.   I am feeling pretty good about my life at this point in time.  I am working on myself emotionally and professionally.  My husband and I are still in love and I am looking forward to the weather cooling.

Let peace go where we let things go and let everything we let go, leave us with the knowledge and experiences we need for the future.

Friday, September 16, 2016

End of Harvest Full Moon

This is the time we finish reaping our harvest.  Seeing what we actually gained for all of our hard work. Its time to finish bringing in the harvest and start decideing what we are going to do with our harvest.  Will we reinvest it, use it, trade it... so much to decide.  It is also a good time to see if what we harvested was really what we needed or wanted.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Letting Go......

Today I went to court to give my victim's statement re: my daughter's burglary charge from her burglarizing our home. Below is my statement. There is now a 5 year no contact order in place. I hope she gets her life together.
To my daughter Grace,
Nearly 16 years ago you came into my life. I struggled to be the mom that you needed. I know I wasn't perfect and I have made plenty of mistakes. The worst day in my life was when I got the 1:30 am phone call by a man who was torturing you and was going to kill you if I didn't give him the money. 5 hours away, I had never felt so helpless, neither Bakersfield nor Sacramento Sheriff's Department could help me help you. I thought after all of that, things would change, but they didn't.
2 weeks after that horrible night, you broke my heart by breaking into our home. You allowed others to invade our home to party, trash it and steal from us. You stole our car and the credit cards for non-profit groups I volunteered for and drained them. Our home was posted on Redbook and random people were coming and going from it. All the while you were sending me messages of how much you love and appreciate me and how you were working hard to turn your life around.
I worked hard to let go of the anger and to be there for you as a mother, even after you publicly trashed me on Facebook for accusing you of breaking into our home. I paid for many things for you, including sending you to Colorado when you wanted to go. But nothing I could do was working. You were living on the streets and getting worse and worse. My heart broke. When that horrible man came to trial, I tried to find you, to be there for you to testify against him. That is when I felt even more helpless than that night.
I felt like there was nothing I could do. But finally someone followed through on the burglary of our home and put out a warrant. When you called me, I had not even known it had been put out. I needed time to deal with my emotions and despite the no contact order, you kept contacting me. I know you may not understand how a mother can be so conflicted. On one hand I believe in consequences for actions and on the other I feel bad for the life you have lived because of your traumatic beginning and just want to hold you and make it all better. I am torn between anger, frustration, love, forgiveness, sadness and feeling inadequate as a mother.
I was so angry at you for not even following the directions of the no contact order. I was working in therapy to try to deal with things yet you not only called me but sent 4 letters.
Your letters hurt. I don't know if you understand that writing a letter and telling me that a book about an adoptive mother lying and hiding the truth from the child is turning your life around. I don't know if you really think a happy birthday card to your brother that says you remember when you were playing in the pool with your dad is really nice when the last time you guys played in the pool with your dad, your dad became a quadriplegic. I don't know if you realize how much that hurts others or if they are intended to hurt us as much as you feel hurt.
You said you were changing, I really hope so, but not one of your letters said you were actually sorry for hurting our family or breaking into our home.
I have been so frustrated that over and over you beg and plead for help and support, I provide it and when I either cannot afford to continue or say no, or find you another solution that is not what you want you start saying and posting horrible stuff about me and to me. I have also been frustrated that when you have the chance at drug rehab you say you are not addicted and have mental health issues and when you have the chance at rehab that covers drug and mental health, you say you do not need that much help you just need drug rehab. You are so intelligent, creative, and an amazing survivor that you could do anything you want if you applied yourself and didn't try to find a way around the work you need to do.
I love you so much. I know you probably don't believe that, but I do. From the moment I met you, to standing here now - you are and always will be my daughter. I love you so much, I just want you to have the best life possible. You deserve to have a good life and to be happy.
After a lot of therapy, I have been able to forgive you. I know due to the trauma you had early in your life your brain did not develop in some of the areas that would allow you to think out the consequences that will happen. This means it will take more help and support to help you gain the ability to really think out your decisions so you can make positive changes in your life.
It saddens me that I was never able to find a way to help you in the way you needed. I tried many things but none of them were really what you needed. It saddens me that you have not been able to find the happiness and success that you deserve to experience in your life.
I struggle with feeling of being an inadequate mother. We are taught that mothers know what their children need. Sadly, I never knew how to give you what you needed. I love you down to the core of my soul, and sometimes love is just not enough. I honestly did the best I could, and am sorry it was not enough but I love you and always will.
I believe that everyone can change. I believe in second chances. I am hoping that if everything works out, that I helped get you one more chance. One that will give you a chance to change your life for the better. If you are given the option of going to a Rehabilitation program, after you serve your time, please take the option. I believe you can do it, and if you do it, I will know that you did. I want you in my life again, and the only way you can do that is by getting your life together in a good program that will help all parts of you.
Grace, it is not your fault that you need help. Your early years were traumatic and horrific. I wish I could have been there so you never would have had to endure what you did. Those early years messed with your brain. You are fighting a tough battle, one that anyone in your situation would need help to fight. Please, take any option that is given to you to get into a program that will work with all parts of you and help you find your path to a better life. This is the only way I knew to get you off the streets and to hopefully get you the help and support that you need. I love you and I want you find true happiness in this life.
I am forever your mother and I will always believe in you.