Archive for August, 2014

I like how it’s becoming a trend for me to arrive early to counseling and finding time to post here. How very fortuitous for me.

I’ve always known that I’m a hyper-emotional person. I feel my emotions in high def 1080p, both good and bad. I have long since accepted it for what it is and have adjusted accordingly. This last couple of weeks have brought my thoughts to this topic more than once though, in both positive and negative ways.

I suppose to begin with I was feeling pretty heavy last week because I hadn’t heard from my husband in a while and I was missing him, for many reasons. At the forefront of that was my ‘homework’ assignment from my counselor for last Thursday’s session (which ended up being canceled.) She asked me to write a letter to my assailant for her, to give her an opportunity to see into my feelings on the matter. She instructed me to wait until Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon to write it, so that I wouldn’t have to suffer in the mindset all week long. This made sense to me because I have excellent coping skills in place. I don’t have time to fall apart, so the less time I spent on the thought process, the better. Unfortunately that is a good idea in theory only. The prospect of completing the task loomed over me basically the entire week. Just the idea of performing the task caused me a great deal more anxiety than I had anticipated. I was in a pretty somber mood all week long. Naturally, no mail from my husband, my best friend, my soulmate, definitely didn’t help matters.

Thursday afternoon, I dutifully put pen to paper on my lunch break and wrote the letter. I was a great deal angrier than I’d realized, and managed to scribble down three pages before I felt sufficiently vented. Within an hour or so before I was due to leave the office for my appointment, my counselor canceled. She offered to reschedule apologetically but being as busy as I am, I opted to wait until this Thursday, so I wouldn’t have to reshuffle my days. I strive to keep a very organized schedule. (Possibly yet another of my myriad of coping skills… control thing? I feel like I am very together when I have plans in place. Who knows?)

I left at the same time anyway, feeling pretty loaded down with the anger brought to the surface by the letter. I stewed in it some. I cleaned my home repeatedly, cooked as usual but opted to treat myself more than I usually would.. I have the mother of all sweet teeth. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I comfort eat… since moving to Texas, I’ve shed more than 100 lbs and am proud of that fact. I recognize the dangers of comfort eating in regards to keeping that weight off. I don’t deny myself little treats now and then though. I always found that I would eat more if I denied myself and then broke under the inward facing resentment. So I never deny myself. Anyway, I made it through the remainder of the week and got to visit my husband on Saturday. That was nice, but brought up a few unrelated stresses, which I promptly vented in inmate mail on Sunday. I learned on Saturday that he had written the letter I’d requested and put it in the mail Wednesday or Thursday and that it should be arriving any day now. I was hopeful it would be waiting for me when I got home Saturday – not so. That fouled my mood further. The letter I wrote Sunday definitely reflected the discontented nature of my mood.. it’s fortunate he knows me as well as he does. I’m sure it would be a great deal more distressing otherwise.

Well, here comes Monday… back to the grind and as stressful as work is sometimes, I’m still grateful for it. Performing my duties keeps me out of my head and keeps me busy. Time passes much more quickly and productively when I’m working. At quitting time on Monday, I hurry home, thinking the letter MUST be there today, surely. Not so. I almost fall apart this time. I cry for the first time in months. And really it’s silly. I just saw him Saturday. It’s really a very little thing. I’m so ate up by my mood and emotions though that it may as well be the end of the world.

I struggle through the work day Tuesday, in an awful mood and just generally displeased with the world. I head home at the end of the day and try not to be too hopeful about the letter, my reasoning being that if I don’t get my hopes up, I won’t be so upset if it isn’t there. Well apparently that worked. There was my inmate mail waiting for me when I got home. I was elated.. almost walking on sunshine. Scrawled across the front of the envelope in an unfamiliar hand was a note that said it had been delivered to the wrong address and to please redeliver. Now in my mood the previous week, I would have been all hellfire and brimstone over the screw up by the postman, as naturally I checked the address and my husband hadn’t erred. But instead all I felt was an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the accidental recipient of my letter for taking the time to write this and then put it back into the mail. I’d probably hug this person if I knew who they were.

Isn’t it funny how such little things can mean everything? That little gesture of selflessness by the hand of a stranger helped to completely alleviate my funk. Don’t get me wrong… my anger and general stress brought on by various aspects of life is still here. I still carry it. But it’s not a defining factor in who I am right now. It’s just something I do… not who I am. Moments like these where I am in tune with these little gems also make me feel like I really have it together. If that makes me crazy, so be it. I’m crazy. I’ll graciously accept that title and many others provided I keep getting to (and more importantly, remembering to) celebrate these little victories.

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Well here I am, an hour early for therapy again. Tonight is group expression through art therapy. I am blessedly in much better headspace than I was last week. Seeing my inmate this past weekend may have had something to do with that. Or maybe it’s the continuously renewing revelation that I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazing people with such a rare and profound understanding for those things that are out of the ordinary. I truly am blessed, in spite of the card hand I’m still working on getting rid of. One day at a time. I do get better every day.

I mentioned some things last week that I’ve mulled over more than a few times since I wrote them down. I’d like to revisit them again, from this more positive headspace. I had said I’d accomplished many things on my own in spite of circumstances. There have been many questions and criticisms over the last year, some more positive than others. One of the most common ones “why don’t you just come home?” I am home. The actions of one sad, sick man cannot drive me away from my home. I arrived here following an uncertain path, true… but it was, and is, my path. I will follow it through until the end. My nature will allow nothing less.

Following the incident last year, I went through something of an identity crisis. My compassion and kindness were some of the factors that created an impossible and horrific situation. I struggled with the fact that I’ve always strived to be true to myself – to the person I knew myself to be. But how could I rationally maintain that mentality when key components of the person I knew myself to be had nearly gotten me killed? It scared me to think, that if I forced myself to toughen up and evolve my nature, that I may not recognize nor like the person I would become. Furthermore, I feared that my inmate might not love the person I would become. Those were very dark days. I finally resolved myself to the mentality that my choices – the act of kindness and compassion – were a reflection of me. It was a reflection of a good person in a world where there were very few good people, whereas what he did to me was a reflection of him. I decided I had to stay true to my convictions, because I had worked hard and endured trials throughout my life that molded the person I am. I earned the right to be me. No one can take that from me.

 

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Another line of questioning I hear a lot of has to do with my inmate. Why wait around? Why struggle through this? There are plenty of fish in the sea. To this I have answered a great many ways, primarily among which was: not for me. If you read the first couple of entries in this blog, you will glimpse the history between my inmate & I. I truly believe with every fiber of my being that we are destined to be. I am a spiritual woman by nature… a healthy skeptic of things I cannot see and explain. But I see Design in us. I believe forces beyond my understanding have orchestrated everything that has transpired our entire lives to bring us to where we are. How can I possibly walk away from that? I may as well carve out my own heart for all the good it would do.

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Life is hard for everyone. We all have our own trials and roadblocks and tests. They may look different but so do we. We are all products of our own environments and experiences. It only makes sense that the obstacle courses of each of our lives are different. I choose to press on. Knowing myself how I do, I can’t imagine doing anything else. How do you go back to black & white when you’ve been living in Technicolor HD?

I am forever changed, and that’s okay. Tomorrow is another day with new opportunities for personal growth and repair. I wonder sometimes if I’m broken. I don’t think I am. I might be a little chipped, with a few pieces to put back together, but I am far from shattered. Frankly I don’t have time to be shattered. There is too much to do: too much rebuilding of my life and a life for my inmate to come home to. I have no time to sit and cry in the corner.

 

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I feel I’ve gotten a little bolder since I learned that my assailant is in federal holding a few hours away, not due to be released until fall of 2017. I’ve been spending more time in public, less fearful of everything that moves. I’m no longer afraid that he’s going to jump out from behind every corner. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath and just now, months later, I’m able to breathe again. It’s a very good feeling. I get a little better every day.

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