Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Being Kind to Yourself on Father's Day

Hi guys!
     I'm currently on summer break before starting nursing school in the fall. I really hope to bring my own special brand of compassion to the job when I graduate. But that's a blog of a different color.

     This last weekend was father's day. For a lot of people this is a great day to celebrate their father or their own fatherhood. It's full of food, gifts, and smiles. For some of us it is a reminder of something we never had and likely never will. A good portion of us watch from the sidelines on that holiday conflicted and upset.
      Back story my dad was an alcoholic. He wasn't there for a lot of my life and when he was he was lying. He'd promise to come see me on my birthday and not show up. Once he completely disappeared with my half brother and sisters. I had no idea where he went for about two years. When he came back he basically told me he chose the drinking over me.
      When he got sick I was already into my practice. I decided that I was going to forgive him for my own sake. That I needed to be able to have this conversation with him before he was gone and have closure. I got to do that, but there was no magic healing. I guess that's why they call it a practice.
         This year my dad's birthday fell on father's day. I found myself being angry with everyone and everything. I had to step back and forgive myself for that. I tried to be kind to myself all day, but mostly I just felt confused and sad. i have some great friends, though. They kept me honest and  I made it through the day.
           Something you need to understand about people like me is that we don't want to take your happiness or your holiday, but we may not want to participate. It's not you and it's not really us either. Wading through the bog of crappy parents past on a holiday like that is hard. Some of us are in a better place than others. Every journey is different. We're glad you do not know where we are coming from. We just want you to be gentle with us when we need it.


              Now, for any of you out there trying to struggle through these feelings. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is nothing wrong with you. You weren't lacking some quality that would have made your parent love you or respect you more. The fact that you are here and actively trying to not continue the cycle of destruction means you are doing the absolute best you can. The anxiety and depression that this kind of parental relationship leaves as scars is hard to deal with, but if you need help ask. You will find support. It may takes years of soul searching, but it will eventually hurt less.

Be kind to yourself,
Angry Girl

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Slowin It Down

What's up, people?

What's that? It's been a while?

Yes, yes it has.

A few days after my last post my Dad lost his fight with cancer. There was a funeralish pot luck thing, it was really weird. Being the daughter of an alcoholic is what the relationship status "it's complicated" was made for. It was a room full of people who all knew my Dad better than me. It was completely overwhelming. I spent a lot of time outside trying to figure it out and then my husband and I made the two and a half hour drive home with a red solo cup of my Dad in a cup holder. Yea, it was kind of like one of those indie movies.

In the months that followed I meditated, a lot. I reached out to my friends online and was lucky enough to have a friend who knew exactly how I felt. A lot of the right words were said just when I needed to hear them. I'm still confused about all of it, but I'm rolling with it and learning a lot. There really needs to be an honest support group out there for people with some kind of what to expect book.

When was the last time you slowed down and just enjoyed the sun or listened to birds? How can we hope to enjoy life when we rush from one crisis to the next? even when life is getting us down we should always take the time to live in the present and just love shit everywhere. There's some beautiful stuff we're missing out on getting wrapped up in crazy.

In the meantime foot infections and lymph-node infections were had by the husband. His sugar is finally coming under control and that's an amazing thing. Now if we could just get him to stop regrowing bone. You gotta laugh.

I haven't stopped talking about Buddhism or learning. I tell everyone who will listen how I came into this, what books I've read, and I've probably shared the Against the Stream website about a hundred times. I always have to lead with, "This is going to sound really weird, but," which makes me smile.

I went back to school this fall. I may actually get to graduate this spring. Oh I know, who the hell would give me a diploma? I never said they weren't crazy for doing it. I hope to find time to bring my brand of snark and patience back to you all.

In the meantime feel free to peruse the records and share the joint around.

I know you missed me,
Angry Girl

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Haven't Forgotten You

This has very possibly been the most surreal summer of my life. It's been one of those times where you'd like to run from all the truth sprouting up around you, but the truth is not ever something you can deny for long.

Without the major changes I made in my life last fall thanks to Ryan Hurst and his shirt I would probably be going batshit. No lie. I would be ball of anger, regret, hatred, pretty much every negative emotion you can name. It just goes to show you that life has a plan sometimes. Or maybe I just got incredibly lucky, who knows?

My Dad's health has continued to deteriorate. Every life has to end, it is the only certain thing we know. If you are born, you die. No one has a promised amount of time and that is just that. I'd say this is my first, nonprofessional, brush with drawn out death where we have known for sure death was the end game. My mother in law was very sick for a very long time, but she always seemed to bounce back and spit in the face of the stats. She was a tiny, powerful woman. I'm better for having known her.

I think that this is harder, in some ways, the drawn out death. There are so many feelings you have to go through over and over. It wears you down. I have a lot of other circumstances that I can't get into here and they have not helped. Still, I seem to be holding my ground and acknowledging the emotions without letting the run my life. Which is quite a feat considering what an emotionally driven person I am.

Lately, I find myself thinking of everything that has happened to me in the last year. Still I smile when I think of the set of circumstances that led  me to what would change me forever. There is a kind of unspoken debt there that I won't be able to repay, but it's one of those debt you carry happily.

Now that my kids will be heading back to school I will find more time to post here and I promise they won't all be written with a heavy heart.

Angry Girl

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Living Life Through a Different Pair of Glasses

So, I've been trying so hard to delicately navigate the shit storm that is my family over the last couple of months. It hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been the same either. Dealing with a dying parent is not fun, but we all have to do it. I keep reminding myself that we're all dying, eventually. Time is not a hateful thing that loves to rob you of life. It's passive. It stands watch as life flows through it. Though we often try to make it the bad guy, it's not. I've yet to be angry that time is up, but I'm sure that's coming.

In my Angry Without a Cause days I would have dug my heels in and absolutely swore I didn't need to go see my Dad. I'd have been angry that none of my siblings seemed to have time for me. I would have been angry that my Dad was always lying to me. I would have been stuck as that little girl, crying on her front porch, waiting for her Dad to come see her on her birthday. Now, though, I find I can easily forgive. All I want is to spend what time he has left with him and try to get through this.

I know I have to sit with things how they are right now. Every terrible layer of emotion that I can't really control. I have to let them come up, acknowledge them, and let them go. Somehow that makes things easier. I've got other things going on right now too. I told a friend of mine that it's like I walked into a dark room, turned on the light, and all my parents ran away screaming, "Not it!"

Still, I'm not mad. disappointed, sure. Not mad, though. The practice works. Life gets better. You can be better.

Angry Girl

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Forgiveness: Act 4884634985

I was listening to a Dharma talk on forgiveness at the beginning of this path I stumbled upon and I remember Mr. Levine, no not Adam, saying that you often find yourself meditating and find that you are still pissed off about old stuff you though you'd forgiven someone for. I can tell you that's a pretty accurate statement. If we could just sit down and say, "Yep, I forgive that bitch," the world would be a much better place, maybe.

This week I've had a few things going down in my life. One I can't share because, while it involves me, it isn't my place. The other part I can share. I got an IM last Thursday from my aunt. All it said was, "Hey, can you call me. It's about your Dad." Now, you have to understand, my Dad is an alcoholic and has never really been there for me. For a few years he was. He meant well, but ended up doing more damage when he up and disappeared in the middle of the night taking my brother and two sisters with him. I was very angry about that for a long time. Hell, I was angry that he couldn't seem to stop drinking long enough to build some kind of relationship with me. I felt robbed of a relationship I seemed to think I was owed. (Life doesn't owe us anything, but that's another blog)

Early in my adult life I came to terms with he fact that he wasn't ever going to change and I tried to have some kind of relationship with him. Any time I called, I was angry. Even though I was trying to forgive him and get passed it, part of me was clinging to the feelings of betrayal and hurt. He lived in West Virginia so it was pretty easy to put it on the back burner. Fast forward to last week.

My Aunt told me he'd been taken to the ER the night before and his vitals were pretty bad. They also seemed to have found some kind of mass. They thought he may have TB or Cancer and he had pneumonia plus some infection they couldn't identify. He was in isolation and in ICU. That's a lot to process. I was pretty upset about it. I waited for updates the next day, but didn't get any until later in the day. Mentioning this is no slight to my siblings ( in case any of you are reading this) it's hard to remember to update a sister you've seen twice in about 15 years. I get that, it's cool, I don't blame them. That being said, it kind of leaves you feeling like you don't have a place in your own family. There are so many complicated emotions that swirl around this kind of thing. They key is to acknowledge them and let them pass.

Now, back to my point. I called my Dad the other day. My husband is off work for, hopefully, a final surgery and I have no  money with which I could even get to West Virginia, so calling was the best I could do. I talked to my Dad, chatted, conversed. I kept telling myself, there's no point holding on to anger, it doesn't hurt anyone but you. What's the point? And I may end up being angry again at some point, randomly.

Where forgiveness is concerned it is always best to give it for YOU. I don't want to live the rest of my life feeling regret for something I could have had if I had just forgiven my father. I want to have a relationship with my brother and sisters. I don't want to hold MYSELF back anymore.

When we harbor anger, of any kind, all we do is hold ourselves back, cage ourselves, stop our own progress. Who wants that static? Forgiveness is key, people. Key. It's like the Doctor walks up and hands you the key to the TARDIS, but you throw it back in his face. Who does that? Don't you want to journey with the madman in the blue box through time and space? Life should be full of wonder and movement, not anger.

Angry Girl

Friday, May 31, 2013

This is Only a Test

This is a test. This is only a test. If this was an actual emergency I would be in the corner flipping the fuck out.

Oh, wait.

A few weeks ago my husband came out to me about the fact that he had been lying to me about taking his medicine for five months. Despite the fact that he has already lost four toes he still hadn't been taking his insulin or anything else. At first, I screamed. I ranted. I wanted to throw things, but I didn't. Then I was actually able to take a step back and say wait, you know I need to think this through before I say anything else. And that's exactly what I did.

My emotions, for once, did not own me. This is exciting news for me. Of course, the next day he told me he had a bone infection and would have to be off work again. Now, if you remember, this is what made me an Angry Girl to begin with. This time, though, is different because I am different. Through my practice I have been able to step back, most of the time, and not just completely blow up all the time. Let me tell you, that is a small miracle considering some of the anxiety issues I have. I do not like anything to be out of my control or, at least, I didn't.

The last month, though it has been full of hurdles, betrayal, and stress, I've been fine. I've slipped up. I've gotten irritable, but never for long. I am beyond grateful that I have my practice to help me through this. I can honestly say I am a changed person because of Buddhism.

I know this has been a short update, but some of this is still really to raw to type out. I thought you guys would appreciate, though, practice in action, which is exactly what is going on in my life right now. Thank you all for sticking with my blog. I am so honored to help anyone in any way through this modest blog of mine.

Angry Girl, Practicing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why I Have Been Wearing a Watch that Doesn't Work

At the beginning of the month we found a new home and began moving. It was in our kids' school district, an old farm house, and it had no mold. Unfortunately I have had basically no control over the move and that is not something I do well, give up control.

I found a watch that I've had since high school, but the battery is dead. I slipped it on with the intention of just getting it to the new house. Every time I checked to see what time it was I realized it actually served as an important reminder. Control is an illusion and you have to live in the moment and let go. Since then I have continued wearing the watch.

We get so consumed in what we're doing and what we need to get done that we forget to enjoy what's going on at that exact moment. The watch was a great reminder for me to step back and look around me. If you have a hard time remembering to live in the moment, like I do sometimes, I really suggest wearing a watch that doesn't work for a day or two. Clearly you'd have to pick a day where you don't have an important appointment or something, but it gives you a very refreshing reminder about where your attention SHOULD be.

Now that we are finally getting settled in our new home I will be able to blog more often. I've had a lot of trips and stumbles on the path in the last couple of months that I'm really dying to share with you guys.

Nice to be back!
Angry Girl