Monday, August 13, 2012

There is no destination. Just the incredible and unpredictable life changing journey.

The last few weeks have been an emotional ball buster.

We got married. It was perfect and amazing and everything I dreamed about. Our good friend officiated the ceremony and our family was all there. The kids were all involved and our family feels complete. I am so so grateful to the mother of my step-kids for trusting me in her children's lives. I love my in-laws and new sisters, cousins, neices and nephews. It is right. It is good.

Then Chicago and IOCDF convention filled me with so many ideas and passion and encouragement and determination to make a difference for the OCD community around me. The people are fantastic. The ideas are exciting and I can't wait to keep working together to make a difference for those people who still are trapped in their illnesses. It gets better. It gets fantastic.

And then life was all "Hey guess what...KICK IN THE VAGINA!" Fuck. I've been struggling. I know rationally that it is just circumstances. It's life that I must get used to. It's inconveniences like the air conditioner going out and the truck breaking down. It's changes in the landscape of my normal. It's realizing that another woman...THAT woman...is spending time with my kids that I don't get to. It's being sad that she gets to watch them grow and change and have fun and that because of her, half of my time with them is gone. I want her to appreciate every second she gets that I don't get. It's that I want them to love her and I know she loves them which makes me happy but also very confused. It's that I want the best for her and I thank her for taking care of my babies but I don't think she will ever truly understand the pain it causes me. And its the fact that I still have to be OK with that. Because it is reality. And I'm trying. God I am trying. The two people that betrayed and lied and belittled and emotionally raped me and destroyed any chance of true trust I ever had and even affected my current relationship with my amazing husband because I will never be able to fully open that hardened and burned and damaged part of me to him and they who crushed me worse than I ever thought possible get to spend 50% of their time with my kids and I miss them. And I don't think they will ever understand how badly they hurt me. But it's also that I truly want the best for her because my kids love her and that is enough for me. And she gave me the opportunity to rise from the ashes. And that is enough for me. That is a gift to me.

So in the last several days as I lay crying and cursing and trying to get my pain under control and regaining my drive and determination, I recall our wedding and our vows. As we sit together, my husband and I, and he doesn't tell me that it all gets better and that it eventually stops hurtuing; he doesn't patronize my emotional journey but instead he stands with me as I travel it. He knows that i must feel the hurt so that I can feel the triumph and he stands right next to me as I fight. He tells me that he won't let me quit. He doesn't try to take away the hurt and confusion because he knows that it makes me stronger and better and that it gives me the ability to empathize with others like me. It gives me the chance to forgive. I have to feel it so that I can rise above it as a better person. And he knows that. And he is wiser and more patient than me. And he is that way becasuse he went through his own journey.

All that to say, I want to share with you the vows I wrote to him on our wedding day. He wrote his to me as well and they were perfect and touching and I will remember them always. But those are his to share. This is what I promised to him:

I remember the first time I met you. I had no intention of meeting anyone. But you have incredible persistence. And an unbelievable ability to catch me off guard and make me entirely surprised at myself. In a good way, I mean.

And still today and every day you catch me off guard by doing exactly the opposite of what I expect. In a good way, I mean. I expect frustration and I get patience. Limitless patience. I expect anger and I get laughter. I expect ramen noodles and you give me amazing penne with garlic Alfredo and all the colors of bell peppers which, do in fact taste different. And then you clean the kitchen.
I expect you to run. And that you do. But you run in the opposite direction of my expectation. I prepare myself for you to run away and I even push you to run away because I expect that. And you run. You run right to me. And you hold on. You run to me and you encourage me and inspire me and challenge me and run right beside me. Never ahead and never behind. Right beside me through the mud and hay and cargo nets and ice baths. Right beside me as my partner. An equal. I never expected that.

So, I love you because you make me desire to be better. To do better. To stop settling and keep growing. And you make me want to do this for you, but more importantly you make me want to do it for me. I promise to keep growing and I promise to do my best to encourage you and stay right beside you as a partner.
I promise to love you even when we are broke or when we are rich and famous.

I promise to love you and be your best friend when we are young and healthy and super sexy until we are old and saggy and we know that we see still ourselves as sexy even though everyone thinks we are old and saggy.
I promise to dance with you even when I step on your feet and trip over your boots. I promise to learn how to do laundry the correct way or at least try. I promise to always sit by the lake or by the fire or on the porch and drink beer and watch the sun go down. And when we are old and saggy we will drink coffee and watch the sun come up. Because old people like to get up super early and do that kind of thing.
I promise to love you when things are good and when things are not so good. I promise to be there when things get broken and when they get fixed.

I promise to laugh at your jokes. Even the not super funny ones that I don’t understand.
Mostly I promise to try. I’ll keep trying for you every day. Until we don’t have any more days.  Thank you for being you. I love you.

So I've been having some shit days this last week. But I promise to try and turn it around. Because I have so much good to be thankful for. And I will turn it around and I will keep trying until I don't have any more days. Because the time I do have is short. And I plan to soak up every minute.

things i appreciate 31-37. And it's an odd number!

I think I started this like about 14 years ago. Or maybe its been like 6 weeks. Either way, I have managed to turn this project as well as the other 30 day blog project into marathon events. Just think of it like how you had to wait after the second Back to the Future movie for like 6 months before they could finally go back to the past. Or like how when you really really want something you ordered to hurry up and arrive and it seems to take forEVER and then you forget all about it so when the UPS guys knocks on the door you pee just a little and grab a knife but then realize that he just left a package on the door and isn't rape-y, but it could be a mail bomb because people do that crap all the time for like NO reason at all and maybe you might deserve it a little, so then you debate for a few hours with your dogs about if you should bring it inside or call the police because what if it isn't a bomb but like an abandoned infant or something and you could be either a hero or an awful person for letting an abandoned baby sit in a box on your porch, then finally you bring it in and carefully open it only to find all kinds of wonderful things that Amazon had on sale and its like Christmas or your birthday unless you have had a birthday where your present actually WAS a mail bomb in which case this is way way better. So you are welcome.

31) Online Shopping

I blame my rampant agoraphobia for introducing me to this outlet. When you can't leave your house or go in public, you turn to the only source of the outside world you can find. And I am GOOD at it. I am like a pro online shopper. You know how there are those coupon people who buy like 40 shampoos and get all excited about it and put the shampoos on display but don't ever actually use any of it because dammit look at all the shampoo I got! I do that with online shopping. I don't but massive amounts of one thing, but I have discovered some fairly awesome things. Cheap clothes, shoes, jewelry and just general collections of odd ass stuff from eBay and craigslist and random sites I found by total accident/abnormal google searches. It is the best therapy and I could do it all day. Plus I don't spend as much as all you store walking chumps. So there.

32) Drive

Again, you never realize all of the things that normal people take for granted. I used to watch people get in their cars and just go places. I was so jealous. I would make up my excuses as to why I couldn't meet someone someplace, then I would watch them just get in their car and just go there. It was devastating to me. It was like a prison that I created myself. I could usually make up excuses to get someone to pick me up and take me somewhere if needed. But even then I had to spend an agonizing car ride pretending that I wasn't terrified that at any moment my being in the car was going to cause us to loose control and injure or kill all the other drivers around us. I would grip the door handle with white knuckles and bite the inside of my mouth, all the while trying to look normal and carry on a conversation. Stifled screams needed excuses...I thought there was a bug on me...I just coughed a little...it was a hiccup.

So now that I can get in the car and just go anywhere I want...no consideration of weather or time of day or clouds or sunshine or positive or negative thoughts or repetitive behavior to get the car going...I can just go and I NEVER take it for granted. Every time I drive I feel so lucky and so free and I refuse to let myself forget how hard I worked to get there. And I refuse to go back. I am free now. Remember that the next time you drive. You are free.

33) Beaches

I love the sun. I love the heat. I love the sweat and the warmth and the detoxifying. I love the Vitamin D. I love the sand and the smell and the sound of the water. I love being on the edge of the water where the other end of that water is another world. An adventure. A new culture. I love the drinks and the peace and the breeze. I love the waves and the power of the water. I love that I can get out of my house and still have a safe place. I love that exhausted feeling after swimming and walking and eating on the sand and in the waves. I love the seashells that are god knows how old or how young or simply bits of debris from man made events. I love that all of my senses are working at the same time. I love the sun.

34) Google Maps

OK. So I'm not the most directionally gifted person that ever lived. I blame all the years I lived in the same neighborhood and in those later years how I never drove anywhere. Google maps is always there for me. Not just telling me where to go, but showing that reassuring little blue dot that gives me my location in real time. It's like a big satellite in the sky looking down over me saying "Don't worry, Angela. I've got you on the dot. Just follow the dot." Sometimes that dot tries to trick me and take me in a wildly circuitous route to where ever I'm headed, but I think that it's just the google god teaching me a lesson. Trust the dot. Or end up in ghetto town.

35) Handwriting

I'm fascinated by handwriting. I always have been. I stare at other peoples handwriting all the time. I try to figure out who they are and how they made the writing on the page. Were they in a hurry? Do they like their own writing? Is it uniform or sloppy or a carbon copy of someone elses hand writing? It says a lot about a person. Fun Fact: Whenever I see a letter or a marking or a certain stylistic way of writing, I practice it and often incorporate it into my own writing. I create my own fonts and change how I write quite often. Depending on mood or context, I have been known to use different writing. I like to think its creative and not so much crazy like some people would like to think. It's artistic dammit!

36) Dialects

I am also fascinated by the intricacies of variation within the same general language. I like to find the subtle variances from different regions. English and Italian and German languages as well. British and Australian have some neat sounds. I like to try and imitate the shape and the placement of the words and vowels. The pressure and length of the consonants. The words and phrases unique to different regions. So, to recap...I constantly copy people's handwriting and practice saying their words. All I need now is a mask of their skin.

37) DVR

I don't even have any concept of when shows actually come on TV anymore. I just don't know because DVR has them there all ready and waiting for me. Not that I ever have time to get all the way through anything. But DVR is like an old friend that's all "Here you go Angela...I recorded this for you." My biggest mistake was teaching my kids how to record. Because now I have about 24 episodes of my little pony at any given moment. At least they aren't assimilating other people's personalities.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm having a pity party. Or bi polar. Not sure which.

The IOCDF conference was one of those emotionally high moments in my life. This coming right on the heels of my marriage to a man I love and my kids love made it that much more incredible. I left Chicago encouraged and motivated and proud of my successes and of so many of us who have worked so hard to overcome our OCD.

This is why I shouldn't be surprised that the 10 days or so since returning home have been a total kick in the balls. Bad news followed by bad news followed by tragedy, disappointment, confusion, frustration, and has left me questioning my faith in people in general. Excluding my husband of course.  I am lucky enough to have found the man who understands exactly what I have been through in so many scenarios because he's been there too. Divorced, only having your kids part time by no choice of your own, fears and failures and regrets and still holding onto peace and hope.

Vaguely I will just say that I have been trying to run up the down escalator for the past week and in exhausted and I'm still not getting anywhere. I'm tired and I feel defeated. I know it won't last forever because I refuse to let it. But in the name of honesty, this is mentally and physically where I am right now. I am fucking ass kicked.

Tomorrow this is over. I gave myself tonight to wallow around In it and lay in bed. Tomorrow that shit has no room in my plans. Those people have no more right to fill my brain space up with hurting. It's not going to get suddenly easier but it will stop feeling sorry and hopeless. Tomorrow I have exciting things to accomplish and I gave set goals for myself. Tonight I feel my feelings. Tomorrow I wake up and take control of my happiness and do good things for myself and the people around me.