On Connection, And Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was my last full day in the clinic. All that was left for me to do was to see my psychiatrist and the psychologist I’ve been seeing here this morning.

I woke up late yesterday morning, and felt somewhat disconnected from everyone and everything the entire day. My stomach had also been giving me issues, so didn’t feel too great physically either.

My time there was filled with anger, tears, anxiety, frustration, melt downs (both mine and some others), hard work, and drama. But it was also filled with care, support, friendship, connection, laughter, and silly fun. I learned a lot, and feel as though I have grown.

Coming into the clinic I didn’t want to connect with anyone. I had this almost defiant attitude. I was tired of connecting, attaching, loving, then losing. Of course, that intention didn’t last. When you spend so much time with people in an intimate and healing setting, you can’t help forming bonds with some people. Besides, it was exhausting trying to keep up that “distance” attitude.

The intensity of my connection to these people isn’t as intense as my connections usually are. I think I managed to strike a good balance. I made sure to spend time alone and give myself space from time to time, instead of my pattern of sticking way too close to a person or group of people, afraid that I’ll be rejected or forgotten about if I’m not with them the entire time. There are a couple of people I’ve met here, like my two roommates for example, who I hope to stay in contact with. I’d like to continue building these relationships. But I’m not as emotionally invested in it as I usually would be. Meaning, I know it might not happen. That we might lose touch. That it might not work out. But even though that wouldn’t feel good, I’m actually okay with that too.

Over this past week, I was hit with a revelation. It’s nothing I haven’t known before, but until this week it had just been head knowledge. People are going to come into my life. It’s okay to connect. It’s okay to form attachments. It’s a beautiful part of life. It’s also okay if things don’t work out. Yes, it hurts when people leave and relationships end. But I’ve been through enough “abandonment” and endings to know that I’ll survive. Boycotting connection is even more harmful. As humans, we thrive on connection. We’re built for it. It’s a basic human need.

I felt good when I woke up this morning. I was ready to leave and come back home. The goodbye’s were sad, but I also felt so grateful to these people who have been a part of my life over these past two weeks. I took a piece of each of them away with me. They inspired me.

It’s strange being back at home. I don’t quite feel like I belong here. I miss the clinic, but not too much either. I feel a little lost, but I guess that’s normal. I have to adjust to life outside that sheltered and safe place again. I’m not entirely sure how I feel. How I’ve felt since I left the clinic. But that’s okay. I’m going to read a chapter of a novel I’m busy reading, and make it an early night.

It’s the best thing I can do for myself right now.

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Grateful

I’m sitting on the balcony of my lovely lady’s place, surveying the beauty around me. In front of me I see the landmark mountain in all it’s glory.

Elizabeth is still asleep. I’m tired, as we haven’t had much sleep over the past three days. But for some reason I had this desire to make myself a cup of coffee and come sit outside for a while. Will climb back into bed with her when I’m done with this post. The strangest thing for me is that I usually struggle to sleep with someone so close to me. But with her I sleep deeply, even when she’s holding me or I’m holding her. It’s just so comfortable and perfect. We just fit in so many ways.

I’m going back to my place later today. We went to an event on Thursday, which ended really late, and went to her best friend’s birthday party on Friday evening, which is why we decided it would be better if I stayed over. I took the day off work on Friday. My work was done by Thursday late morning anyway.

She met one of my friends on Thursday, who came with us. My friend was only going to stay for an hour, as she had to work the next day, but she ended up staying with us the entire time. She loved Elizabeth, and vice versa. We all had a blast. We “collected” people as we walked from art gallery to art gallery, and went bar hopping (we didn’t over-do the drinking). We were walking through the city with plastic glasses of wine (the one evening that it’s legal to walk around in public with alcohol) and it was raining. Elizabeth had an umbrella, but the wind here makes the umbrella irrelevant. So we spent most of the time with wet hair and clothes.

I had a great time at her best friend’s party as well. Her friend’s are just as crazy as mine. The same kind of people who allow their inner children to come out and play, and just be silly. I love it!

I feel so at home at her place. More so than my own. It’s comfortable.

On Friday and Saturday when Elizabeth was working (she works from home), I caught up on some reading and writing. I also took the opportunity to take walks through the city, getting lost plenty of times and having to use Google Maps and ask strangers for directions. I love that! Just being free without having a fixed destination. I found a lovely little coffee shop that I’ll go to every time I go for a walk when I’m here. They have the most amazing cappuccino’s and croissant’s. I haven’t walked this much in years! I feel so good!

I’m going home later today, and will probably only see Elizabeth for a few hours on Wednesday.

I’m so grateful for my life, and never thought I’d ever feel as happy as I have been feeling. I’m living in one of the most amazing places in the world, and I have the most beautiful, amazing girlfriend. I feel so content.

At Peace

I wrote a post earlier today, which got me thinking more about the situation I’m currently in with Elizabeth and Jasmine. I realized that I make things more complicated for myself than they actually are. I see a crisis where there isn’t one.

I was sitting outside a few minutes ago, and saw a shooting star. The biggest, brightest, and longest lasting one I’ve ever seen. Wow! What an incredible, beautiful experience. That one little star lit up the whole night sky, as I was focused on that light, so could no longer see the darkness surrounding it. Such a great metaphor for life, isn’t it?

My relationships are precious to me. I value them. But I can’t control them. There are two people in every relationship, and I can only focus on my part. So I’ve decided that I’m going to give Jasmine the space she needs. I’ve done all I can do for now. I hope that she comes around sometime, but it’s out of my hands.

I’m going to continue giving my all to my relationship with Elizabeth, and allow myself to just go with the flow, and be myself. Express myself without fear, or worrying about what anyone else thinks. I can’t be responsible for other’s thoughts, feelings, and decisions.

Worrying about what may or may not happen only serves to take my focus away from all the good in my life, and from being mindful in each moment. When I first learned of mindfulness, I thought it was a bunch of Buddhist nonsense. But I’ve since discovered just how powerful this practice actually is. It has the potential to change our entire life. It’s already slowly changing mine.

So, I choose to focus on that star, not the darkness surrounding it, and be present for each moment in my life. There’s a time and place for everything. If being present means sitting with painful emotions and letting the darkness be experienced, then that’s what’s needed during that moment. Tomorrow is tomorrow. But right here, right now, I’m exactly where I need to be.

And I feel at peace.

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The World In Colour

Today,
The world is bathed in vivid, splendid colour
Colours I have never seen before
But want to see forever

Powerless against this force
I get lost in the beauty all around
My heart fills with life energy
Every part of me overflowing

The ocean understands my soul
She feels as I feel
She breathes and flows
With sheer power and intensity

The intensity of these feelings
Just might kill me, and if it does
I can’t think of a better way
For my life to end

To the one who stole my heart…
Thank you for colouring my world.

 

“That little kiss you stole
It held my heart and soul
And like a ghost in the silence I disappear”

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Safe Travels – Part One

On Wednesday I got back from my week-long trip to see my mom and sisters. Annoyingly, I’m still recuperating from it.

I had been looking forward to this trip since it was booked. I was counting down the days. Sometimes even the hours. Last Tuesday, after coming back from group, I started to feel unsettled. “Tomorrow is the day”. I don’t know why I had shifted into that almost panicked mode.

Packing for a vacation always overwhelms me for some reason. That Tuesday, it seemed even worse. I was so anxious, and even emotional. I cried through most of it. What was going on? I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was. In our session on Monday my therapist told me that she’ll let her other clients get away with “I don’t know”, but not me. Apparently I’m insightful. But sometimes I really don’t know. And this was one of those times. Maybe it will come to me at some point. That happens quite often, so maybe I can’t get away with “I don’t know” after all.

I hate airports. I despise them. Even more than I do crowded shopping malls (I try to go during the week when most people are at work). Those are places where I’m most likely to get panic attacks (lasting either from a few minutes to over 20 minutes sometimes). So, in preparation, I took one of my magic anxiety killing pills, and after that, I felt so much better. I had used some mindfulness and breathing exercises before taking it though, hoping that it would be enough. But it wasn’t. I lasted 20 minutes with that. But at least I tried. I got through the whole airport and flying thing pretty smoothly. I used to love flying. But when I got into a relationship with my ex, I started becoming as anxious and paranoid as she was every time we had to step foot on a plane. But this time, and alone, my old love of flying was back! My favourite part is the take off and landing. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush.

On my way from the airport to my mom’s place, I had to go pick up my youngest half-sister, who lives quite a while away from my mom. She was going to be spending a few days with us. I also popped in to see my eldest younger half-sister, who was at work, so I couldn’t spend much time with her. To me they’re just my sisters (there’s no half in there for me). By the time I got to my mom’s place, I was exhausted. As I walked through the door, my mom was busy with something. She looked up and saw me, and her eyes just lit up. She also seemed to do a double take, not sure whether I was real. I hugged her tighter than I ever had before. She looked so happy!

Throughout my stay there, I slept on a small blow up mattress, and my youngest sister slept on the couch. Sleeping in the same room with any one of my sisters is a crazy experience. My mom’s place only has one bedroom, so we slept in the lounge. I didn’t get much sleep while I was there. I struggle to sleep in a new environment, and add to that a young sister who doesn’t get the value of sleep. I’m a very light sleeper. After having her try to keep me awake as long as possible, I would finally go to sleep. But she’s so noisy, and every time she moved, the couch creaked way too loud, in my opinion. The curtains also couldn’t close, so it was too bright in there with all the street lights. Not a very good environment for inducing sleep. But I survived. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, I like waking up to peace and quiet in the mornings, while I drink my coffee. There was no chance of that happening here. Imagine being semi-asleep and having your mom and sister yelling at one another before you can even get your eyes open. Those two can’t be together for more than a day, or they’re at each other’s throats. They know exactly how to push one another’s buttons. Now here I was, stuck with this for four days. Burying my head under the pillow never sounded (and felt) so good.

A lot happened during the time with my mom. The unfortunate thing is that I barely got one moment alone with her. Both my mom and sister vying for my attention. I didn’t know which way to go. Which way is up? It was exhausting. My mom’s 23-year-old boyfriend (I called him daddy, that had him laughing for a while), was there in the evenings and the weekend, so we were never entirely alone. The only uninterrupted time my mom and I had was an hour before I went to bed on my last night there. I had taken my youngest sister home by that time. I adore my sisters, but the youngest one is a handful! We had our own “salon day” at my mom’s place though. She coloured and styled my hair, and we even played around with make-up. That was a nice bonding experience.

It was a busy week. Driving back and forth to go see my eldest younger sister, and a bunch of other outings that made me so sick of driving. But I don’t see my family every day, and it was nice to be able to do those things for, and with, them, so it was worth it. I struggled a lot that week with disconnection though. I “felt” numb quite often.

On the Saturday evening, we went out for dinner with my aunt (my mother’s sister) and uncle. He’s Greek, she’s Portuguese. They’re constantly fighting, and it’s fascinating (and extremely funny) listening to them, as they switch between English and each of their languages! It makes my head spin just thinking about it. It’s always fun spending time with them though. Oh, and they took me to a bookstore, and bought me two new books! I’m obsessed with books. I got “Into the Heart of Mindfulness” and “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion”. The first one was recommended to me by my former OT, so when I saw it I just knew I had to get it.

My mom was emotional and cried a lot during my stay. Sometimes over small things (sound familiar?). As far as I can remember, I’ve only seen her cry twice in my life. And now suddenly it’s almost a daily thing. Apparently it’s been like this for months already, so I’m worried about her. I wanted to hug or hold her during those times, but it’s like there’s an invisible wall between us, and I can’t get myself to do that. The most I could do was put my hand on her shoulder or back for a few seconds, and even that felt awkward. I can’t remember her ever holding me either. Of course hugging her hello and goodbye is easy. But other than those times, that’s not the case. It’s still a great source of sadness for me. I don’t know why it’s so hard with her, when I find it so easy to be that shoulder when someone else needs it, including my sisters.

I still have more to write about this trip, but I’ll rather split it up into two parts. I don’t want to write anymore tonight. Writing has been hard for me lately. Wanting to write, but not able to start. An internal battle of sorts. But now it seems like I’ve broken through that wall.

Adult Children

I had another great night’s rest. I’m constantly tired (the story of my life), but for most of the day, much less than usual. Wow, I really needed all the sleep I’ve been getting. So I was in a good, healthy mood this morning. I had a few not so good moments, but they were bearable.

After work I met up with my business partner (let’s call her Kim) and Jasmine (who helps us with our marketing) to take some photo’s of ourselves for our new website and Facebook page. We had such an amazing time. Kim took photo’s of me, I of her, and Jasmine took some of the two of us together. I set my camera to auto mode for her, and gave her a quick tutorial on how to work it, as well as some composition tips. She took some good shots, and seemed to be having fun. She was just snapping away, even when Kim and I were fooling around in between our “professional mode”. We were running around, semi-climbing the trees. Just being big children. I felt happy. I was having fun, and it felt so damn good. I’m at my happiest when playing with children. My inner child feels free during those moments. I connect better with children than I do adults. I’m that person who you’ll see running around with the kids at an event or party, instead of sitting at the “adult’s table”. Kim, who is young at heart, is also a real adult child. I tell her that all the time, and she loves hearing it!

She’s 58, which I found out today! There’s no way! I thought she was 50! She’s one of those happy, full of energy, extroverted, and confident people. I always enjoy spending time with her and Jasmine. Even when we have our meetings over a cup of coffee, we have fun. It’s laid back and easy. Jokes abound. I’ll give you an example of what a character she is. She has these white sneakers that flash different colours when she walks. She wears them often, even in crowded shopping malls, restaurants, etc. She certainly draws attention. The first time she wore them when we went for dinner, I freaked out when I saw them. But she made it seem cool! Seriously! The next time we went for lunch and she was wearing those shoes, one of them stopped flashing (apparently it was flat- shoes going flat? Who knew). When we got to the restaurant, I asked the waitress whether they have a charger lying around so my friend could charge her shoe. Jasmine went bright red. But Kim and I (and the waitress of course) just laughed. Now that’s the effect Kim has on me. When I’m around her, I feel confident and couldn’t care less about what people think. Her energy is contagious. After a couple of hours with her, I’m left feeling happy, but exhausted.

I’m coming off that high now. I don’t have any of the strong feel good emotions I had earlier, but I’m not feeling bad either. Just tired.

It was a good day, and I’m so grateful for that.

A (Little) Light In The Dark

My posts lately have been dark and depressing. A representation of the space my internal life has been occupying. Sometimes, even during the darkest of moments, something or someone may come along that brings a little bit of light that pierces through that dark, heavy cloud, if only for a moment. It’s during these times that it’s so much more powerful.

Today, that light came in the form of a 3 or 4 year old little boy, while I was at work. I usually work in the back office with the people I unfortunately also live with, but I’ve been spending as little time as possible in there for the past two weeks. Since they own the business and I’m “family”, I pretty much do what I want, where I want (my work always gets done, even if I sit outside doing it). Today I was sitting at the front counter doing some filing, when a mother came into the store with her young son. After noticing them (I check that it’s not some dodgy, potentially dangerous person entering the shop) I got back to my work.

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching you? I felt that. When I looked to the side, I found the little man staring at me. I love children, so naturally, I smiled at him and said hello. He didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and what came next melted my heart.

Our very brief conversation:
“Are you a angel?”
“Maybe I am an angel. What do you think?”
“I think you are.”

#DAY.MADE

Quite the little charmer, isn’t he?

That kid will never know just how much he touched someone who was in desperate need of a little sunshine in her life.

He was my own little angel today.

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