Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

It may seem a bit odd to say, but I have been overwhelmed by the level of support and caring as shown by all of the people who came out to celebrate my birthday. I am not used to being the center of attention and I am much more of an observer or wallflower at times. I was unsure as to who would want to celebrate my birthday with me outside of my family. (Thanks Mom & Dad for the card and necklace in the mail! They like to send something for me to be able to open on the day of my birthday when I won't be able to be with them on the actual day.) I know it sounds crazy--I can't believe I questioned it.

First, I want to say that I did something that I think was quite brave of myself. I decided to send out an email to a bunch of people to invite them out to join me in celebrating my birthday. I titled the email, "I'm going to have my cake and eat it, too..." Then upon opening it, I said I was going out for cheesecake and to feel free to join me. This took a lot of courage on my part because I didn't know what the response would be. I need to realize that I am deserving of love and attention from those who share in my life. And why should I question that they would want to spend time with me?

It was a fun dinner and awesome cheesecake. But what was even more special was that my friends and New Guy came out to spend the evening with me. I had a few people from different circles of my life meeting. I wasn't sure how it would go and I really hoped that people would like each other and have a good time. But I reminded myself to go with the flow and relax and enjoy the evening. When they brought out the cheesecake and everyone started singing, I just felt so special and happy. I was so touched and felt so loved. It was awesome.

Then backing up a bit, earlier in the day, New Guy took me to lunch. We went and had home made perogies at his grandma's church. It gave us chance to talk, talk in that way where you share some very personal things. It felt to me like a moment of not holding back and taking that risk to be disclosive about oneself. I so appreciated New Guy opening up to me and trusting me in telling me some of the things that he shared.

We also stopped by his dad's work to drop off some of the perogies for his parents. They surprised me with cake and a present. I had not expected that! The time and thought that they put into it is moving and has significance. It was just so unexpected, but so appreciated.

Then, we stopped by New Guy's grandma's. She was not able to be at the church because she had injured her back and was at home resting. She was just so sweet and just kept laughing. I felt badly because it hurt her back to laugh, but then I found it inspiring because she just couldn't help herself. Even with not feeling at her best, she still focused on the good and the humor in her life. And it was then, as I looked over at New Guy and he was laughing with his grandma that I thought, so, that is where he gets it. Watching them laugh together with a twinkle in their eyes made me realize again one of the things I love about him. He lives with enthusiasm, an energy that is contagious and amplified when he is able to share it with those around him.

Finally, New Guy planned a birthday barbecue for me on Sunday. It was so very special for me because no one has thrown a birthday party for me other than my parents. And again, I was surprised by how people came to share in the celebration. I was overwhelmed by all of this birthday celebrating and focus on me. For the first part of the party, I think there were times that I was in the moment and enjoying myself. But then I started to feel an overload and overwhelmed by it all that I started to withdraw and was quiet.

To give a little history that may also shed some light on my experiences with birthdays, it is important to know my 30th birthday was a disaster. I had been bold then in planning a birthday party for me and my ex since we were both turning 30 only days apart. He seemed a bit reluctant and even untrusting in my ability to pull it off. But we had planned the party and I was excited to give it my best effort. Then the night before, my ex told me that our party wouldn't be a birthday party and it would be a football party because his uncle was going to throw a surprise birthday party for his aunt. His uncle would use our birthday as a ploy to get her to the location without her knowing it a few weeks later. I don't know why I didn't speak up and tell him to tell his mother and uncle that they would have to come up with another plan. I was just so taken aback by the whole thing, that I just didn't know what to do. What resulted was opening presents on the sly and unceremoniously cutting the cake so that his aunt wouldn't notice it was a birthday cake. (The cake was decorated half in Browns colors and half in Steelers colors, so it lent itself to being a football themed cake as we were watching the Browns play the Steelers.) The experience has left me feeling hurt and broken about my birthday.

I don't know why I question why people would want to spend time with me. I have to value and trust in myself as being a worthy person. This is admitting to a lot of insecurity and makes me feel very vulnerable. I feel silly and somewhat angry at myself for even questioning my value as a human being. I just hope that I did not come off as ungrateful or uncaring. I guess I worry and hope that people had a good time. It is when I fall into these thoughts that I drop the ball and unintentionally remove myself from the situation and stop living in the moment. I'm glad that I am realizing it more when I am doing it, but I want to figure out how to get myself out of it.

New Guy, thank you for all of your planning and effort and participation in my birthday! I really am grateful and so happy to have you to share in my life. I do not want to take for granted what you did for me for my birthday. It was a very special birthday for me and one that I have not had in a long time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Songs That Move Me--A Bit of Romance

Taking a page from another blog, I wanted to share my new favorite song...

Glitter In The Air
Songwriters: Mann, Billy; Moore, Alecia;

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight? Tonight

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Do I Hold On? What Am I Holding Onto?

Over the weekend I took my wedding ring to the jewelry store to be cleaned. I have been contemplating selling it along with a few other things my ex had given me. The ring has been sitting in my closet for almost a year (and off of my finger for much longer) next to my wedding photos in a box.

Recently, I have asked myself what am I going to do with all of the photos? I am at a loss as far as what to do with my wedding photos and all of the other pictures of me with my ex. I just talked to my counselor about this recently. He said life is like a kaleidoscope and that your life is always rearranging and never stays the same. Some things that you may have may come to hold a different meaning for you or that you feel you no longer need some of that stuff. I told him that I get that, about the stuff. And I am glad that I did hold onto a few things until I was ready to let them go without any doubts. It is freeing in selling or giving some of the stuff away. But I told him that I struggle with the photos because those are different. I don't want them anymore, but I just don't want to throw them out either. I feel like it would be throwing a part of me away or leaving some kind of giant hole in my past. It was an investment in time and building a life that seems to have resulted in nothing. And I am grappling with how to tell my life history in moving forward. What do I want to keep? How do I put it in a context that doesn't seem like a big waste of time? How do I give that part of my life meaning or show its value? It is like I feel like I have to rationalize or explain that part of my life and that it wasn't a giant oops. I know there are lessons learned and all of my experiences build on who I am today. My life would not be where it is right now had not all of those events happened. I just find it difficult for those to understand who have not been through divorce. My life mattered, it all mattered--even if there is a lot of crap--it is still me in there somewhere--and I am tired of feeling like I have to justify it.

Then on Saturday morning, I took my wedding ring to be cleaned. I figured I may as well get it looking its best before I hock it, well that is if I go through with it. As I was walking out of the store and out to my car, I was looking at the diamond's familiar brilliance and symbol of promise. It brought me right back to the night that he proposed, a chilly March night under the stars in a cornfield we would frequent when looking for a place to be alone away from campus. I started to get a little teary and wanted to push it away. I got into the car, turned the ignition and felt myself getting further distracted while still holding the ring. Someone wanted my parking spot, so I pulled out. In my fog I was starting to realize the song Wonderwall by Oasis was playing on the radio, a song that brings me back to the beginning of my college days and when I knew I was falling in love with my ex. That is when I decided to give into my feelings and I pulled into another spot at the end of the parking lot with no people around.

I sat there letting the music wash over me as I stared at my ring. I thought about the happiness we shared and what we were supposed to share forever. I slipped the ring onto my finger, wondering if it was a mistake. It was like a test to see if I could do this and not cry, that it may be a sign that I was ready to let it go without regret. I cried less than the last time that I had put it on.

And then in another moment if felt strangely familiar and like it was supposed to be there, but with a complete disconnect from my former husband. I sat there curious as to why I felt that way. I think it is because it represented the strong connection to my past identity as a married woman. I was comfortable being a married woman--I loved being married. So then I took the ring off from my finger, still puzzling. Another moment passed and I cried a little bit more as the song was ending. I put it back into its box and drove away.

Thinking on it throughout the weekend, I have realized my past marriage will always be a part of who I am. But I know that is a past me. I also don't think there will ever be a day that I will be able to look at that ring or that diamond and not cry, but that is okay. It doesn't stop me to hope that one day I will get married again, to a person who loves and respects me.

So, why do I hold onto the ring? What am I holding onto?

First, I've held onto the ring because I do not want to face feelings of regret or loss once it is out of my possession for good. There is some finality in once again having to admit that my marriage is over, it failed. But I know I do not want to keep the ring, this I am certain. I do not want to melt it down and make it into something new. I have no child with him that I would want to pass along the stone. I just want to come to a day that I feel brave enough to sell it.

Second, I think I am trying to hold onto my identity, my whole identity. For so long, I was a married woman. I don't want to throw that away. But I think there may be a way for me to reconcile it all with myself. I can hold onto that identity as it relates to my past me, but acknowledging it is not the current me. I should not be ashamed of my past. And I think the more that I am okay with the current me and allow the future me to dream, the more I will be ready to let it go. And it is okay to cry, knowing that there may always be a trace of hurt which only shows I am human and allow my heart to feel. And if my heart is still open to feel, it will be open to love once again.

Wonderwall by Oasis

Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now

Backbeat the word was on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I'm sure you've heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don't believe that anybody feels
The way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

Today was gonna be the day?
But they'll never throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you're not to do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now

And all the roads that lead to you were winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
I don't know how

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after an
You're my wonderwall

Said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me