A Window Into My Life

Right now is a time of transformation for me, and I’m already feeling lonely. The time has come, or so it seems, for me to find a new community of friends, and I don’t know yet where or how I’ll find this community, given that I’m not moving into a new place yet. In August I graduate, though after that I won’t automatically be a nutritionist, so I’ll have to decide if I want to stay in Maryland and get my extra 700 or so hours of supervised clinical time in so that I can become certified in this state, or I can move somewhere else and follow whatever that state’s requirements are. The cost of living here is so ridiculously high, because all the politicians live here, that I can’t imagine staying. I was all gung ho on moving to Arizona, since my best friend expressed a desire to go there, and it seemed like a sign. There’s nowhere else I can think of where I’d have a reason to go. Although now that I think of it, I suppose I could move closer to my sister in New Mexico. I’m not crossing Arizona off the list, but I will say after reading this blog about how it’s 120 degrees and scorpions sleep in your bed with you, I got scared.

Back to the present time, since I do have at least eight more months in this state, and I want to make them the best eight months I can. I broke up with my boyfriend last week, which means I need to find a new community of friends. We’d made friends who I was having a lot of fun with, but it’s the kind of situation in which they’ve known him for longer, and it feels less comfortable asking them to hang out with just me. We only dated for four months, and prior to that I had my own group of friends who’ve since all gone their separate ways, and due to two of them forming their own relationship, and one of those having been interested in me while the feeling wasn’t mutual, there’s no chance of that group getting back together. Oddly, the two who are in a relationship are going to see me as a student nutritionist in clinic, so it’s not like they dislike me, but it’s not like it could go back to the way it was either.

I don’t know that I’d want it to go back to how it was anyway. I’ll have to exercise the law of attraction and manifest a group of like-minded friends who have similar interests, who want to be healthier and more positive, and a desire to live a more spiritual life. The problem is that then I have to take the action, and being in grad school I don’t have much time to develop much of a social life. The easiest thing to do is go to AA meetings, a welcoming environment where it’s easier to find people who like to be social. But if I truly want to meet like-minded people with similar interests, I’m probably going to have to move to a trendier, more expensive part of the city, like Takoma Park in DC, or whatever the hipster part of town is in Baltimore. There are yoga studios everywhere, including one near my house, which I can’t afford, and my former friends go there anyway. There’s meditation in Bethesda which I tried already, and no one ever talks to you, plus the traffic is too much there. Also, it’s Buddhist meditation, and I’m moving away from Buddhism, though I believe in the philosophy of mindfulness, acceptance, and being present.

I can’t say I’ve ever considered myself a full-fledged Buddhist, but I guess I’d say I take beliefs from different traditions, and meld them into my own. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of guided meditation during which I envision my spirit guides and ask them to help me, and I bought crystals and tarot cards to help guide me. It’s uncanny how the right tarot card appears when I ask a question. For example, a few days ago I asked the question: What can I learn from my love life? and I got the card “Caught in Ruins,” a card with a picture of a man and woman inside a prison, which made me laugh out loud and want to cry at the same time. But after reading the card, it turns out that there’s no roof over the prison, that the limiting thoughts and behaviors are self-imposed, that I have the power to change and stop perpetuating my old beliefs and patterns. I’m just not sure exactly how to do that yet, though I’m focused on honesty.

The problem I have with relationships is that so far, about every five years, I go through a transformation, and whoever I’m dating or married to at the time no longer fits my life. I find it hard to grow with this other person in my life. I feel constricted, suffocated, like they’re somehow holding me back, and I feel as though they don’t understand me. The path they’re on seems uninteresting to me especially because it’s often unexplored, dated, conventional. The key is to find someone I can grow with, and I just haven’t found that person yet.

Back to the tarot cards, another good example happened the same night, when I asked the cards what I needed to learn about my career path, and I drew the card, “Wishes Fulfilled,” which was a good feeling. Last night I asked the cards what I needed to learn right now, in this moment, while feeling lonely and wondering where I’ll find a new community, and lo and behold, I drew the card, “Sangha-Community,” which read that I need to find a new community. Too bad the cards don’t tell me where to find this community. I think ultimately the idea around the cards (and meditation for that matter) for me is to use my intuition, to follow my gut and do what I know in my heart is right.

By the way, the tarot cards are the Akashic Tarot Cards from Sharon Anne Klinger and Sandra Anne Taylor. Lately I’ve been drawing a lot of cards to do with writing and publishing, which has always been my dream. The problem with my writing is that it doesn’t offer help to anyone else; I’m just offering you a window into my life. Yesterday I listened to a podcast interview that Oprah did with Sue Monk Kidd, and Sue Monk Kidd said something along the lines of—or rather, this is my interpretation of what she said—which was that it took her being vulnerable and honest to put her writing out there. And that is MUCH harder than it may sound, for me. Kidd’s first book was a memoir, decades before she published The Secret Life of Bees… So maybe the ticket for her was to write fiction, which some may say is thinly disguised memoir.

That being said, I’m not going to not become a nutritionist, although I will say I’m already becoming discouraged. When I started, I’d gone to the orientation in which they told us there were all kinds of jobs everywhere, and you could make $95k, etc. But last semester I was sitting at lunch with some of my classmates, one of whom casually mentioned in passing that this wasn’t a career path you follow for the money. Then last night someone posted on our private Facebook page that she talked to an RD (registered dietician) who told her she’d never heard of a CNS (certified nutrition specialist), and that basically it’s much harder to find a job for a CNS than an RD. A lot of comments followed that revealed this is not the easy career path I thought I’d chosen.

So I may end up writing about nutrition at some point. Whatever I do, I find it hard to imagine balancing a relationship, career, social life, and physical exercise all in one life, since I’m imagining myself spending all my free time writing a nutrition blog. But this is not exactly how manifesting the life you want works. Haha!

One thing I’ve learned is that the idea is to follow actions that come smoothly. Not without action or work, but to explore different avenues, and when doors open, they’re meant to be. If I have to force something, it’s probably not meant to be. I just have to remember to take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and try not to project into some unknown future. My biggest fear may be coming true: that I’ve chosen the wrong career path, again, and now I’m even deeper in debt than before, six figures this time. It could be that I tried to force something instead of following my passion to become a writer. But on the other hand, if my biggest fear is coming true, it’s because I’m making it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do love nutrition, and have already been spending way too much time on my first two clients, out of sheer interest, so that’s worth something, right? My deepest interest lies in spiritual matters and finding one’s purpose, so maybe I can somehow tie that in with writing and nutrition… Everything happens for a reason, so it could be that I needed to take this winding path to come back to my origin, and maybe I can somehow tie these things all in together.

I really have no idea how I’m going to do that. But then I guess that’s what life’s all about.

PS: I feel that it would make more sense to separate this into three different posts: one about career, one about relationships, and one about community. In each post I’d explore each topic in more depth. But, I have homework, and then work, so I’m going to publish this meandering post as is.

 

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Surfing and Crying

If anyone can be in a bad mood while on vacation in Hawaii, it’s me.

The time that I look forward to is early morning when the sun’s rising, and I sit alone on the balcony of the 27th floor of this time share right in Honolulu, in Waikiki Beach, and I look out at the vast city buildings, and the even more vast sea and sky beyond that, and I do my meditation to connect with my spirit guides, and I close my eyes and pretend that it’s a crystal city, that light’s pouring into my crown chakra from the outer reaches of the atmosphere, and orangey-red lighted roots extending up from the core of the earth into my root chakra, and that my arms are outstretched, creating electric static lights to the outer reaches of the universe, like one of those old glass spheres that makes squiggly lights run through it while simultaneously running along the outside of the sphere. I imagine I’m flying out over the city and to the sea, and I pretend that there’s not the occasional ambulance siren going off, no motors from city buses, no buzzing from the window unit behind me, and that I’m okay with not going back to the north shore, which is where I’d rather be.

The only people at the north shore are rich hippies, or well-to-do people with more interesting taste, judging by the minimal and quaint cottage-y local shops and art studios, and best of all, the beach is bare. The water is too rough this time of year, and I don’t swim anyway, so I’d rather be walking there. Waikiki, where I’m staying, is lined with shops ranging from Forever 21 to Rolex, and so many people on the beach you can barely walk. I have never seen so many people on one beach.

This morning when I woke up, I decided I will look into surfing lessons. My boyfriend mentioned it last night, and I immediately said no, because the truth is, I’m scared of the water. He’s more of an adventurer, which I admire, but I’m also fearful. Water over my head just scares me. I don’t like it in my ears and eyes, and especially not in my nose.

Last night we met a surfing instructor, a guy at an AA meeting we decided to check out. Last night I had a dream about this (good-looking, dark-haired, ex-military) guy, that he was my boyfriend, and I was being unfaithful to him, with another surfer who I know from Maryland, a tall and beautiful dreadlocked, half-white, half-black young musician who moved to the Outer Banks, but not before giving me a beaded bracelet and ring that he made, which have an eye on the center beads, and I wear them all the time.

That’s what I like about my current boyfriend. He’s fun and he likes people, and people like him. But being alone with him for this long of a time period is driving me nuts.

Every little thing he does lately annoys me, and when I find myself internally criticizing, trying so hard and unsuccessfully oftentimes, I don’t like myself for it. Why can’t I just let someone be themselves? Do I not love myself enough to let other people have their own journey? But the way he chews and talks with his mouth open, or loudly exclaims at the price of something while shopping, or beams at the Starbucks across the street, or complains that the moderate hike is too hard for him, I want to scream. I feel like a teenager, and he’s my embarrassing parent, hindering my personal growth and freedom of self-expression.

Being with the same person 24/7 is not easy, especially in a studio apartment without the personal time and space that I crave so much. The thing is, I’m going through another stage of spiritual growth, and history has shown that I don’t stay in relationships when that happens. Which means I may never be able to stay in a relationship… but I won’t worry about forever and never today. What I will say is that my beliefs are changing, and I have yet to find a way to stay with the same person when that happens, when the beliefs are fundamentally different, and I find it intolerable to stay with someone whose beliefs are radically different from my own, or who’s on a different path. The thing is, how often do we find those who are on our same path? For me it has been rare, though I wonder if it’s just because I simply haven’t been in an area among people whose views are more aligned with my own. On the other hand, everyone has their own journey, and it’s impossible to be on the same one with someone else, at least all of the time… isn’t it? There are only two people I can think of in my life who I’ve been on a similar journey with, and that’s just a similar journey and not the exact same path at the same time.

I want to write so much more but my laptop battery is dying and I don’t want to wake my boyfriend, who’s pretending to sleep in the bedroom so I can have space out here on the balcony where there’s no outlet to plug in the laptop. The good news is that we’ve decided to relax on the beach today, a beach we found where there are hardly any people further north from here though not quite at the north shore where the waters are too rough. So far we’ve been running around trying to fit everything in and we are exhausted.

Maybe today I’ll gather the courage to try surfing, and allow my boyfriend to be his own Southern, dad-like self, and I’ll… well, I’ll just try to be nice.

Coincidences, Numbers and Pi Day

Little things have been happening lately that seem too random to be coincidental, but at the same time, my skeptical mind questions them. From what I hear, that voice of doubt is just the ego, trying to rationalize and basically darken my beautiful experience of becoming more aware of the interconnectedness of the universe and my existence in it. Here are a few things that have happened:

This one is completely random, and I don’t know what it means, but my friend mentioned Saskatchewan during a conversation, and about 10 or so minutes later, someone on a game show playing on his tv had the answer of Saskatchewan.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to a podcast, and had a thought of my mom. A few minutes later, the podcast speaker mentioned an owl, and my mom loved owls. A minute or so later, I found myself on a road that sounds just like her first name, and I wasn’t on this road on purpose. I had turned onto this road because I drive down a country road to work, and if someone gets behind me, I’ve taken to turning off to a side road and letting them pass. So I went down a side road with the intention of turning around in someone’s driveway, but then deciding to just drive into the neighborhood. Then I look up and I’m on this road that always reminds me of her, which I’ve never even been on before but have often passed.

The aforementioned road I only noticed a few weeks ago when I was thinking of Mom, and then I looked up and saw the road, which reminded me of her. I like to think it’s her, telling me she’s with me. The funny thing is, the name of the road is Ednor, and her first name was Edna, which she hated. Ednor, in my head, is pronounced like Edner, which sounds like something an old Southern lady would say, and it makes me laugh. It’s something Mom and my sisters and I would totally make fun of.

Another bizarre moment came when I went to post my business card and brochure up at a local organic grocery store. The bulletin board is in the café area located above a single table, so if you want to post anything and someone’s sitting there, you have to lean over them. So I go in to do this, and this guy, this young man of about 25, who I used to work with at a different organic grocery store than this one, is sitting there. In this area you don’t run into people you know very often, not unless I was in my own little town. I’d worked with him in a different town, and this was another area, we didn’t live in the same town, and I haven’t seen him in ages. He’s moving to Portland in a few days, he said. I can’t even remember his name, but he looks like a young Leonardo DiCaprio, so every time I’d see him, I’d think of Leonardo DiCaprio, specifically in “Basketball Diaries.” That movie, which I think is based on a memoir, is so dark, and the main character spirals into such an abyss of addiction, but he’s so young and innocent and had so much potential and opportunity that just went down the drain. After giving it a lot of thought as to what my running into him at that spot like that might mean, I surmised that it reflects my own recovery, and how far I’ve come. Often these days I forget to appreciate and honor that because I’m only looking forward. But for me to have lived such an unhealthy lifestyle, from consuming so much alcohol every single night, to be less than a year from graduating with a master’s degree in science for nutrition, that’s a huge accomplishment that I haven’t really given myself credit for. I went from downing a bottle or two of wine every night, often crying myself into oblivion, to now, with eight and a half years of sobriety, posting my business card as an intern nutritionist at the local grocery store. Instead of being grateful for that, I’ve been worrying about how I’ll ever make it in this new career.

But back to the signs. To solidify the message, one of my classmates who I haven’t seen in a long time came into the store and talked to me for a while, and it turns out we’ll be graduating at the same time. I told her I didn’t know if I would walk, and she was surprised. Why wouldn’t I participate in this celebration, this acknowledgement of accomplishment? I hadn’t done it as an undergraduate, because at the time I was more focused on leaving and starting over, but none of it in a healthy way. I had tried to commit suicide a few months before that, and I left for London soon after, presumably to become a new person, and write a memoir, but instead I consumed lots of alcohol and ecstasy and stayed mired in depression for many more years, until I was 33. I went from that to today, where I’m working in an organic grocery store in the supplements department, studying nutrition. How miraculous is that? It seemed so impossible to me at the time. I thought I would never get sober or feel happy. Mom would be so proud. And she was proud. Maybe this is her message to me, to let me know how proud she is.

Lately I’ve been noticing different numbers and their possible significance. For one, I got sober at 33, and that number has so much significance I will just defer to this article. The most significant to me is Kuan Yin, who undergoes 33 transformations to attain salvation. Her image is depicted on one of my favorite Goddess Guidance cards from Doreen Virtue, and I used these cards through a few difficult times in my life, including after Mom died, even though I wasn’t sure if using them was doing anything other than giving me something for me to do during a time that I could not speak or write, and I didn’t want to listen to words. And weirdly, just now I looked off to the distance to collect my thoughts, and there’s now a clock there (I’m at my boyfriend’s house), which showed 9:33.

Another significant number is my sobriety date, and I don’t ever want to have to change it. This morning I googled the number and discovered that it’s the same as the zip code of the city where I took my last drink. It’s a city I hadn’t been to in a long time, and haven’t been back since: Savannah, Georgia. It’s also a city where a new friend of mine is from. She’s sober, doesn’t have a Southern accent (she dropped hers as a young child, I dropped mine in high school), has lived in London before… My sobriety date is the same as pi: 3/14, if you’re American, like me. If you’re English, or military, then it’s 14/3. But I’m American, and I got sober in 2010, so I had 5 years sober on 3.14.15, which are the first five digits of pi.

Last night I had a dream in which I had been drinking all along, and had been lying to everyone about my sobriety. It was so real that when I woke and realized it was a dream, I was so incredibly grateful.

I didn’t plan to get sober at 33, nor did I plan to get sober on Pi Day, but it seems significant that I did. That being said, I don’t think this significance is any more amazing than what your numbers or dates are for you. Everyone has their own journey, and mine is amazing for me just as yours can be amazing for you. This is what I’m learning, and we each need to give ourselves credit for our own journey.

This blog is expiring soon, and I can’t decide if I want to keep it up or not. I’m paranoid about having so much personal information about myself out there, especially as I’m getting closer to a real career for myself. At the same time, I feel like my soul will die if I don’t write. And for some reason, I can’t just write in my own personal journal that no one reads. For some reason, I want to put this out there, even though most of you don’t know me, nor I you.

So if you don’t see another post, or this link doesn’t work next time you come here, that is why. But I will be around. I just don’t know where or how yet, but I will continue to write and speak and learn my truth, and I hope you all will too.

Peace, love, and namaste,

TCH

Snowflakes, Unicorns and Angels

Lately I’ve been feeling like something is missing but I can’t pinpoint exactly what. It’s not exactly a lack of inspiration, but it’s a need for a stronger connection to my higher power, Spirit, or God, or whatever you want to call this energy source that’s stronger than my human power, or any human power. So every day I’ve been meditating, finally, for the first time, and I hope I can keep it up, especially after the semester starts. It will be my second to last semester in grad school for nutrition, and I’ll be starting clinic, meaning in a few weeks I’ll be working directly with clients on their nutrition needs, and I do not feel at all prepared.

It’s important for me to find meaning in life. Everything has meaning – we just don’t always know what that meaning is. For example, I don’t know what the meaning of me spending four months with a guy who I had zero interest in other than physically, and even then, the attraction was surface-level. Maybe it was just to say looks aren’t everything. And after that I had a brief stint as a “unicorn,” in which I was the third in two different couples’ threesomes, at their request. I just re-read that last sentence and it makes me lol. It is hilarious, so feel free to laugh. I’ve always been experimental, for whatever reason. It would’ve been fun to continue, though perhaps not necessarily emotionally healthy, especially with the one particular couple who I really connected with on more than a physical level. And there are still other experiences I want to try. But it’s not meant to be at this point in time, because soon after my unicorn stint I met my current boyfriend, who is a wonderful man.

This wonderful man I’ll call Mac, short for Matthew McConaughey because he’s a good-looking Southern guy, and he’s actually old enough to be my father. Matthew McConaughey is probably only about five or 10 years older than me, but you get the gist. Anyway, I have so much fun with Mac and we have tons in common, but that extra spark is just… not there. It’s not that there’s no chemistry, because there is. Almost everything lines up perfectly except for that one thing I can’t put my finger on. There are only two things I can think of that really bother me, and one is that he has terrible table manners, and the other is that I am dying to have my own space.

My soul yearns for my own home, and it feels like forever before that will happen. Even though I graduate in August, which still seems a long time from now, I won’t be a certified nutritionist in the state of Maryland until after I get 700 more clinic hours, and that could take another year. It’s so expensive to live in this area I have doubts that I’ll be able to get my own place during that time. After I get all of those hours and become certified, my certification will be useless in certain states, where you don’t even need a certification to practice as a nutritionist. Now that I’ve decided it’s unlikely I’ll stay in Maryland due to the high cost of living, all this money I just borrowed for grad school is starting to feel like a waste. And that’s exactly what happened to me after I graduated from my first grad school after which I got a useless master’s degree in creative writing. That being said, I want to move away from negative thinking, and exercise the law of attraction, and manifest more positivity in my life. Maybe I’ll come back to that one day. Maybe it’ll come in handy, and I’ll become the writer that I always wanted to be, that I already am.

My latest thing is opening myself up to the messages that the universe/multiverse or spirit guides have for me. Last night a woman came into the store to return all of her items so that she could buy them back on her membership discount, because she’d forgotten to give her membership card at checkout. The old me would’ve been really annoyed and judged her for not having her shit together, and for the cashier for not remembering to ask for her card, but last night was different. We all forget things, especially me. Is that so bad? What stood out to me was that she noticed that her total came out to $123.41, and she took a picture of it, saying that she saw numbers like that all the time. So we talked about numbers and signs while my co-worker, who probably thought we were nuts, returned her merchandise. The same kinds of things have been happening to me. When I was driving to work, I looked up and saw 1010 on a mailbox. I was born at 10:10am. The other night I awoke at 4:44am, and later that same day when I looked at the time, it was 4:44pm. One could argue that I look at the clock and street signs hundreds of other times and all those times I don’t see repeating or chronological numbers, and that’s true. But I choose to believe they’re signs from angels and I find this a comfort. This morning I was listening to Ashley Wood’s Manifest This podcast and in an interview with Jenna Zoe she mentioned how we are each snowflakes, that we’re each unique, but when you throw us all into a pile of snow we’re not so different, or you can’t tell that we’re so different. Jenna Zoe said that her best friend had just said the same thing to her earlier that day, and maybe a minute or two later, as I was cleaning out my closet I pulled out some jewelry that had belonged to my mom, or had been given to me by either her or my grandma, and right on top was a snowflake broach. Are all these events really just coincidence?

One of the loudest messages I’ve been hearing is just that everyone has their own journey. This is something I knew intellectually, but in my heart and soul I wasn’t accepting it. For example, my dad, who is a dry drunk, was recently abandoned by his bipolar, drug-addicted wife, which at first seemed like the best thing for him. As always, I had a hope that he’d change his life, maybe move to the beach and find God. But nope. The wife has regained her senses and is weaseling her way back into my dad’s life. And maybe that is what’s best for him, for them. It’s not for me to say. It makes me sad to see that’s their journey because they seem so spiritually sick and oblivious. But who am I to judge?

Getting back to the woman who came to me in the store, her name was the same as a famous female musician, which I won’t write here to protect her anonymity. She told me that she had gotten chills a couple of times throughout the conversation, and I ended up telling her my mom had passed two years ago. She almost started crying, and she took my hand and squeezed it, saying my mom is all around me, that she loves me so much. I have another friend like this, who would come into my work from time to time, an older woman who I know from AA. After Mom died she would come into my work and while we were talking she’d say, I have chills! That’s your mom. She’d tell me all the time that my mom was there with me, that angels are all around us. I believed that she believed it, and maybe that’s what gave her chills, and I didn’t not believe my mom wasn’t with me, but at the same time I’ve always been skeptical. Something’s happening, and I don’t know what it is, nor do I know if anyone else knows. But it’s there and we can choose to believe it or not.

I think I’ll go ahead and choose to believe it.

Peace, love, and namaste,

TCH

Pink Roses and Pennies from Heaven

Right now I can feel that I’m on the cusp of a spiritual awakening, or shift in perspective, or beliefs, and I don’t know what they are, or what will happen, but I can feel it. It all started with two events: 1) looking up my birth chart and finding that it was uncannily accurate, and 2) my dad’s allusion to my mother’s possible infidelity at the end of their marriage. The birth chart idea came up when my co-worker suggested it, as she had done many times, as I’d dismissed many times, thinking it’s too new-agey, too woowoo. But then for some reason I decided I’d see what it said. I’m sure I’ve done it before, in high school, when I was very into analyzing my dreams, reading Edgar Cayce books, and had learned to lucid dream. My best friend was and still is into astrology and crystals and chakras and everything new age, and now she practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine which I know very little about. I want scientific explanations, and I don’t think Western science has all the answers, and in fact I think there’s so much more out there that we/I have yet to learn, or re-learn, and I have an interest in learning more about quantum physics. Anyway, my birth chart is amazingly accurate, so I looked up my sisters’, my boyfriend’s, and parents’, and they all seemed accurate enough that if you were to switch them up without knowing they’d been switched, you might suspect they’d been switched. You’d say they were wrong. But I only felt like that on this one website. I haven’t tried but one other website, which didn’t seem accurate.

This whole birth chart review along with thinking about who my mom was as a person has led me to thinking about mediums. A couple years ago my hairdresser had mentioned that she’d seen one who knew details no one else could know, and that she and all her friends had seen her, so I finally decided to set up an appointment with her. And I don’t know who the medium reached, if anyone, but it couldn’t have been my mother.

First off, she sensed someone who’d died of heart or lung problems, and my mom had a stroke. She did say that the way it worked was someone would come forward and then she’d ask them to get my mom. So it could’ve been my mom’s mom, who’d had lung cancer, or her grandma, who’d died of a heart attack. It seemed to me that anyone could guess heart or lungs – that’s not uncommon. The medium described my mom as a reserved, kind-hearted, and charming person. Mom was kind-hearted but not reserved and she sure didn’t try to charm anyone. She was a tell-it-like-it-is kind of a person. She said that she saw water, and my mom lived near a lake, but she also said my mom loved water. My mom’s father drowned when she was six months old, and she was afraid of water for most of her life. She didn’t learn how to swim until she was in her 30s. Then the medium mentioned the color pink, that Mom was surrounded in pink, and she sensed pink roses. It’s true that when I think of Mom I imagine her wearing pale pink pajamas because she loved pajamas and she had some very pale pink pajamas, but she did not like the color pink. The medium said that Mom’s advice to me was to be frugal and that she was sending me pennies from heaven. This isn’t really anything Mom would say to me. She did worry about money but she never told me to be frugal. She thought I made a lot of money and never worried about me, but I’m actually in debt and sometimes spend beyond my means. So that does make me wonder. It makes me wonder if now she knows I was doing that to prove my independence, so she wouldn’t worry about me, so she’d think I was strong. She wouldn’t say she was sending pennies from heaven.

Two nights later I was walking out of a meeting and someone looked down and said, “Whoa there’s a pile of pennies here on the floor!” and I thought to myself, Now every time I see pennies I’ll wonder if it’s my mom. And you know what? Maybe it’s not, but I’m going to choose to believe it is. I find it a comfort. Maybe the medium was full of shit, and maybe it was a waste of my money, but I still found it comforting. I’d have liked it better had she mentioned owls, lavender, reading, politics, Mom’s feisty nature. Something specific to Mom. Or something random like something about Dolly Parton, because Mom and I went to see “9 to 5,” a play showing at her local theater, just before she died. Then I’d have been blown away.

The weird thing that happened about 20 minutes before the call was that I was straightening my hair in the bathroom, alone in the house, and the mirror fell. I was trying to hurry so that I could meditate before the call, and first the earbuds I’d hung on the towel rack fell. I picked them up, thinking it was probably a coincidence, and then a couple minutes later the entire mirror fell. It did not break, but rather, it was wedged between the walls. A 50-pound mirror that’s been hanging since 1983, which I know because that’s the date on the back of the mirror, I later found out (August 1 or August 10, I forget which now), and probably when this house was built. I hadn’t been moving much, no one had banged on the wall, nothing had provoked the mirror at all, and it just fell. So I got the hell out of there, went downstairs and meditated.

I want to write so much more, but I have to get ready for work, and I want to pray and meditate beforehand, so more on all of this later.

Oh and I forgot to say that after my call with the medium, I went into the dining room and there were pink roses on the table. So that was weird. My roommate apparently had brought them home the night before.

This is going to be a journey.

Men and Relationships: My Favorite Addiction

This is the time of my life in which I’m single. I hope. I can’t make any promises, y’all, because you know how I am. The first good-looking, interesting guy who catches my attention I’ll be imagining how we’ll live together. Men are like a drug to me; relationships are an addiction for me. If Mark texted me today to see if I wanted to get together, you better believe I’ll be there. I’ll say it’s better this way, I can live my life and he can live his, we don’t have to get married, we’ll just see each other on occasion…

But if I play the tape the whole way through, as they tell us in recovery to do, it doesn’t end well. It can go one of two ways. Either he comes back to me or he doesn’t. Let’s say I get what I want. Guess what? I won’t want it anymore. Oh I’ll play the game for a while, years even. We may even get married. And then I start feeling trapped. You mean I have to stay with this guy for the rest of my life? Eventually someone appears on the fringes who seems much better, who I have much more in common with, who I wish I was married to instead. Secretly I’ll pine over that guy, or I’ll create some persona of who I think that guy is, and I’ll feel like a fraud, living a double life, knowing in my bones and in my heart I don’t want to be married to this guy anymore, pretending that I do. Wishing I was single. Free.

How about being grateful for what I have today?

Yesterday I woke up so grateful not to have the flu, which has been going around, literally killing people. At work our immune support section looks post-apocalyptic, empty, signs up that the manufacturer is out of stock. I’ve been taking so many supplements I don’t even need to eat food (JUST KIDDING—everyone needs to eat food, y’all, and that whole breathatarian bullshit is a dangerous lie). But I’ve been taking a lot of herbs and vitamins, and washing my hands like a mad woman. I’d gone home the night before not feeling great, paranoid and convinced I’d wake up with the flu.

But then I woke up feeling SO happy, and so grateful to be well. That’s a blessing that not everyone gets. For example, one of my friends has rheumatoid arthritis which has no cure and causes her so much pain she can’t work. And I’m over here worrying about my silly boyfriends? I mean, come on. Now’s the time I can embrace this moment.

Last night I went to a women’s meeting, which I love because rarely does anyone talk about drinking, which I don’t care to talk about so much anymore. Even though I’m an alcoholic, drinking is just not something I think about very often anymore (which is a miracle because for 20 years the obsession dominated my life). In March I’ll have eight years of sobriety, and I thank God for that.

At this women’s meeting I go to we usually talk more about what’s going on in our lives today and how to live a spiritual life, how to find peace and gratitude without using alcohol or drugs to escape. It was so nice to be in a room full of supportive women talking about our lives and how to live better. We all laughed a lot, and I got them laughing too which always makes me happy, and a few women came up to me afterwards to chat. It’s so comforting and welcoming. A few of us even talked about the culture we live in, the families we grew up in, how we’ve grown up with low self-esteem as a result of being taught that getting married (and to marry well) is a sign of success, or that we’re not as smart as men, or just not smart enough or good enough.

When I was in Georgia visiting my dad, he asked me what he often asks when we see each other, which is why my oldest sister and I don’t have good jobs. He couldn’t understand her especially because she has such a high IQ. I’m his dumb, pretty daughter, so I guess it makes more sense for me, and plus I still have a chance to get rescued by a husband. (That last sentence was meant facetiously; I feel like it makes the writing worse if I have to explain that but I would rather have y’all understand me.) I explained to him that Sherry had a good job as a director at an animal sanctuary, and now she’s searching for something new, and we’re happy anyway. Then I tried something new and I asked him, out of curiosity, “Are you disappointed in us?”

That surprised him. He said that he was just baffled, because he’d gotten a job out of college on the air force base working as a chemist, got promoted several times, and retired with a pension. Today is a different day, I explained. If we could have that, or if I could, I’d take it (IF I liked the job, which I probably wouldn’t, lol, but no need to tell him that part). I asked him what was it that makes Tracy, my other sister, better than us? She didn’t work for many years. She got married and raised kids (and she’s an excellent mother and has done a great job, btw, so I’m not knocking stay-at-home moms).

“Well, that’s something,” he replied.

Wow.

Don’t get me wrong. If I’d had a good head on my shoulders like Tracy has always had, I’d have found a good man as she did when I was younger, and maybe I’d have had kids (but knowing me, probably not). I’d love to not work, and have free time to do something fun or rewarding such as volunteer work or taking a painting class. And it’s not that I can’t do those things now, but my time is limited right now while I’m in school. And I’m not saying that’s how she spends her time because it isn’t—she’s actively involved in her kids’ lives which takes a lot of work and time, which I couldn’t have done when I was younger, given my alcoholism. To prepare a little human being to become a good, responsible adult is a huge task I don’t think I could undertake. She also got a part time job and has been working to get her CPA. So it’s not like she does nothing; that’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is, when have I ever gotten credit for my independence?

All through college I didn’t ask my parents for money, I took out student loans, I worked part-time. I got married and paid half of the mortgage and bills (my ex-husband did buy my alcohol and food which was ridiculously expensive so I’m not saying I was a saint). The second time I married I paid half the bills, maybe more. I told my dad this, just the part about the husbands and paying half, and he said, “Well they should’ve paid more.”

That’s not the point. The point is I did this all on my own. And am still doing it on my own, working while in grad school. And no one gives a shit.

And honestly, why should they? This is my life, not theirs. And am I going to be on my deathbed one day feeling glad I paid for all of my stuff? Will people be at my funeral talking about how financially independent I was? God, I would hope that wouldn’t be the most important thing anyone could say about me. I just wanted my dad’s approval, is all.

He must’ve thought about it, because lately he’s been sending my sister and me emails talking about how much I helped him with nutrition advice, that I gave good advice that his doctor corroborated. He really is sweet—he’s become much sweeter lately, since he quit drinking a year ago. He’s the person I remember from childhood, who I’d forgotten, to be honest. But he’s a product of his generation, the baby boomers, and his goal in life for my sisters and me is for us to get married so a man can support us. He just wants us to be okay, to be taken care of. But that idea is not helpful for me. My subconscious has been ingrained to believe that I need a man to complete me, and it’s just not true.

As independent as I pride myself on being, which is my ego talking, I’m not really independent as long as I keep looking for a man to “fix” me. I can take care of myself. Today I have God in my life, and for that I’m truly grateful.

No promises that I won’t go back to Mark if he asks, but I’m not reaching out to him, and today I’m not reactivating my online dating memberships. And that’s a start. I really, really want to try to stay single for a while this time. And I will probably go back to Codependents Anonymous meetings.

Here’s a song I love by my new favorite, Taylor Swift. She’s been around for years but at the time I snubbed pop music and country-pop before that. As a side note, I like what she says in the beginning. She’s funny and human, and it makes me glad not to be famous, not to be criticized for my life choices by a public who doesn’t even know me as a person. I love the line, “Oh my God / Look at that face / You look like / my next mistake.” Oh man can I relate.

Peace and love,

TCH

My Most Embarrassing Post to Date

This morning it was a toss-up between “relaxing” (if you could call this relaxing) and writing for therapeutic purposes or cleaning my messy room with its piles of (clean) laundry, my half un-packed bag from staying at Mark’s, and way too many bottles of supplements, each one designed to “fix” me in one way or another. And don’t forget the books: textbooks, books that people have given me, self-help books, books on spirituality, and a stack of books that belonged to my mom, which I grabbed at the last minute just before I left her house the last time I visited my stepdad. It was one of those moments of I may never see this stuff again and I want to know everything she read. I just try not to think too much about how badly I want my own place where I have a laundry room to keep my laundry and a pantry for my supplements and some bookshelves for my books. Be grateful for what I have and not upset about what I don’t have. And my room is so cozy and warm, and it’s painted a beautiful grayish shade of lavender, known as Benjamin Moore piano concerto.

School will be out in a few weeks and I’ll have a long break to finally go through my boxes and get rid of what I don’t need or use, and I cannot wait. I am so looking forward to de-cluttering. Once I do, I hope to keep it that way. I’m going to have to tell people to stop buying me things on birthdays and Christmas. No more stuff!

I’m stressed out, in case you can’t tell.

School is out in a few weeks, and I’ve registered for next semester, and all of my classes are preparing for clinic. I do not feel ready for clinic. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. I’ve been just scraping by each semester. How am I going to work with clients? And if I can’t work with clients, I can’t take care of myself, and if I can’t take care of myself, I may as well work in a grocery store forever, living in the bedroom of someone’s townhouse with no personal space of my own, racking up more and more student loan and credit card debt.

As you can see, I’m spiraling out of control. Projecting into the future. Forgetting to live in the moment. What can I do today to work towards my goal? I have class later today, so I will study for my quiz, and I will talk to my professor after class about my schedule next semester. I hadn’t planned on taking the clinic classes yet, but all the other classes I wanted were full.

I have too many other distractions going on to focus on school. I often have to pass up social opportunities which make me feel like I’m missing out on life. For the past month I’ve been spending more time with Mark, who, by the way, is possibly an ex now.

And this is where I finally get to the embarrassing part, my most uncomfortable post yet.

Friday night after work I got to Mark’s house and I’m talking to him and he’s like what did you eat for lunch. I had binged on some flavored (Gluten free! Organic and non-GMO! Healthy!) pretzels I saw in the breakroom after several weeks of not eating any carbs except what’s in vegetables and Granny Smith apples, and I had not brushed my teeth before going over there, figuring I’d brush them when I got there. The pretzels had some sort of delicious seasoning on them, and were super unhealthy but I’ve been eating like a piece of spinach every day for a month now and I’m starving so I scarfed those things down like they were my last meal, and now my breath wasn’t smelling so great, which Mark informed me as gently as he could. And it turns out, in fact, this has been an ongoing problem for the entire month we’ve been together. Bad breath. Me. I have bad breath.

I had no idea.

No one has ever told me this before.

Then I remembered. There was that one time my ex told me, but at the time I had some weird dry sinus issue that resolved itself and he claimed it went away and I believed him. At the time I bought a tongue scraper and mouthwash and flossed more, but I didn’t keep doing the tongue scraping because he said it was gone and I felt like maybe that was overkill, and they’re always talking in school about how we as a culture overdo it with cleanliness so much so that we don’t have healthy microbiomes anymore and we’re resistant to antibiotics when really we need to just get dirty sometimes and let our immune systems build resistance to the antigens in our environments.

Well. Clearly that is the worst advice I’ve ever followed since apparently I’ve been walking around with rancid breath all this time and NO ONE has told me.

So I texted everyone close to me: Do I have bad breath?

What??!!

Luckily that is the response I got from most people, including sisters, best friend, co-workers, who all said no way.

But then one co-worker said she’d noticed it once when we first started working together two years ago. Then Kevin said he’d noticed it before and assumed it’s just because I eat healthy. After I replied to him with shock and horror, he tried to reassure me that my perfume overpowers it, and it’s not all the time. That does help a little, but seriously? Who wants bad breath? Some people told me that everyone has bad breath at some point. Which is true. No one wakes up with pleasant breath. You can’t drink coffee and have the breath of roses. And I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately, which doesn’t help (and is just making my anxiety worse). I do eat a lot of garlicky kale nearly every day, so that’s not going to happen anymore, I promise you that. I have taken fish oil supplements here and there but not every day, especially since one day they made my stomach hurt so bad I thought I’d have to get my gallbladder removed. So that’s definitely out now. Which means I have digestive problems, btw. Which I already knew. Which Mark suggested may be the reason for the bad breath (so the cat was out of the bag on that one too—Surprise! I have digestive problems! Isn’t that sexy?). I had some hyaluronic acid mints but they had sorbitol in them which cause bloating so those are out. I had been eating a lot of (sustainably caught) tuna, and that’s definitely out too. Sorry but I am just going to have to get my omega-3’s some other way. Flax seeds.

I brush my teeth at least three times a day and I floss each night but I use all natural products made with tea tree oil, mint, cinnamon, and clove. Mark doesn’t believe in these products and prefers what I think of as carcinogenic products like Listerine and Crest. But you better believe my ass went out and bought some Listerine, another tongue scraper (can’t find the old one), some cinnamon toothpicks, some chlorophyll (an internal cleanser, also acts as an internal deodorant), mint floss, and yes, folks, I will probably get some Crest. I’ve been using various toothpastes from Nature’s Gate to Dr. Bronner’s and honestly my teeth don’t feel as clean afterwards. Oh, and I am overdue for a teeth cleaning, so that appointment will be made Monday.

Before we met in person we asked each other what the other’s deal breakers were, and one of Mark’s was bad breath. I remembered that, and I remember thinking what an odd thing to say, of course that’s gross, and not something I have to worry about, and not something I’d think of because I’m thinking more along the lines of bipolar disorder (based on previous experience in case you’re new to this blog) or grudge holders. Never did I think I had better step up my dental hygiene because I thought mine was already better than most, along with all my other personal hygiene habits. I have more kinds of specialized soaps and lotions for all the various body parts than anyone else I know.

That happened Friday night before bed. Saturday I was supposed to meet his family. I’ve been dating this guy for a month. It seemed too soon to meet his family but I’d decided I would do it because I thought it was cool he wanted me to meet them, and what could it hurt. Meeting them would not change whether or not we stay together so why not.

But after the Bad Breath Incident I thought, How the hell am I going to meet his family? What if they think I have bad breath too? Does his mom also have OCD with germs? Because he has that (diagnosed), and that may be why he finds my breath bad, because I went to work the next day and had my co-workers smell my breath to which they said it smelled like nothing.

I did not feel confident. Or attractive. I felt like who will ever want someone with bad breath? I remembered he’d said it was a deal breaker, so the next morning I decided to gather all my things I’d left at his house and just go home. This is clearly over, and I don’t see how he’d want to be with me, he’d already said it was a deal breaker in the beginning, and what if he never thinks it’s good? What if I really have bad breath and cannot resolve it?

I spiraled out of control yesterday, thinking I may as well become a crazy cat lady now, especially what with the night sweats that I’ve also been experiencing for quite some time now, which has to be perimenopause because I don’t know why else that would happen. Except I’ll be a goat lady instead, which is perfect because that can just add to my pleasant smell.

When he woke up and saw that I’d packed all my stuff, I told him, Listen I should just go. And he was like, Okay. And that was it.

On my way home he called me: What’s going on?

I don’t see how this can work; you’d said that’s a deal breaker.

That was before I’d met you. Clearly there’s more going on.

I don’t feel attractive. I don’t know how I can meet your family. I had no idea I had this problem.

You’re trying to punish me.

I’m trying to protect myself.

Well I gave this a chance. You’ve made up your mind.

I don’t want to break up. I just think things are moving too fast.

Well you decided to leave. You made up your mind.

I’m telling you now that I haven’t.

That is the gist of it though more words were used, but then we got cut off, and I tried calling back but he didn’t answer. I left a message that I’d like to work through it but he didn’t answer. When I got home I saw that he’d unfriended me from Facebook. I talked to my sponsor who told me I overreacted and owed him an amends, that he’d made himself vulnerable and had been honest with me, and I had punished him for it, when in reality that’s what I want from a relationship: for someone to be honest and vulnerable with. I agreed and called him back and he still didn’t answer so I left a voice mail making my amends in which I admitted my wrongdoing, asked how I could make it right, voiced that I could see how he felt that it was punishment (though between you and me I did not intend that at all), that I want the kind of relationship in which we can be open and honest with each other, and I don’t want to be the kind of partner who just leaves like that, that I’d still like to meet his family.

A couple hours later he sent me a text saying, You meeting my family is not going to happen.

Did you listen to my voice mail?

Yes.

I was wrong and I’m sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?

No reply for hours, and then finally: I need to think about things.

I understand. Thank you.

Maybe I should go back to CODA?

This is supposedly the right thing to do, but it feels like groveling, and I have PTSD from my ex, and how he’d hold grudges for the entire relationship, storing them for a rainy day, to spring something on me out of nowhere about how I’d done something wrong that I had no idea about. It’s enough to make me want to run, to be single forever, to get my tiny house and go live on my friend’s property.

So that’s where that is, my friends.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m an alcoholic, but relationships feel so impossible to me at times. One of the things they tell us in AA is that we have an inability to form a true partnership with another person until we can live our lives in a more spiritual manner. My sponsor told me what I did was out of self-centered fear, which is true. For some of us, when we’ve lived our life being/feeling abandoned by everyone at some time or another, sometimes we become a rolling stone. And that is exactly what I’ve become: a rolling stone. After my ex I almost don’t care anymore.

Almost.

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