Flashbacks and Reminders, part 2

(I meant to write part 2 right away, but life got busy… So here you go.)

When my ex accidentally sent me a friend request on Facebook, I sort of freaked out. It’s been 3 years since I broke up with him, yet he will never get the point. So, I’ve given up and just ignore when he tries to shove himself into my life.

This time, though, I don’t know, I got so angry. And then my mom found out and started messaging me all about him and his continuously expanding arrest record. She was trying to help, but she doesn’t understand. I NEED TO KEEP THAT PART OF MY LIFE AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit weakness, but even after all this time,  there are parts of me that I struggle to regain control of. Recently,  that’s been my guilt. And the sudden reminders of the past brought it on strong.

I grew up with the guilty treatment being used against me. I was never the most rebellious or independent-acting person because I would inevitably end up feeling guilty about it. By the time I met my ex, I was just used to it.

He used this tactic on me so many times, I just started accepting the blame for everything. He was tired? My fault for running late at work. He stood me up?  My fault for assuming that, after checking 3 times, we were still going out. He got hooked on drugs?  My fault for stressing him out/not telling him not to/being a snob/insert more ridiculous reasons here.

Anyways, I eventually learned that nothing that was happening was really my fault at all. They were HIS decisions and HIS actions. That was a big weight off of me that helped me leave. It’s not something I learned from society… They tend to think differently. Blame-shifting runs just as rampant as always.

Fast forward to this year. Somehow, my guilt complex decided it wanted to come out and play. After hearing about all of his arrests, my guilt started saying, “Maybe he was right. Maybe you gave up on him too quickly. Maybe he wouldn’t be where he is if you had stayed. Maybe he is only doing this cause he has nothing to live for anymore.”

I really had no answer to this. I’m very good at torturing myself with maybes. It wasn’t that I wanted to go back to that at all. It was just me wanting to prevent bad things from happening.

Then I realized… Every single one of these doubts was a condemnation he had used against me when we were still together. These weren’t creations of my over-active imagination; these were inventions of someone who wanted nothing more than to own me.

I can’t feel guilty because I didn’t cause any of this. In fact, I was pretty darn close to the perfect girlfriend. I NEVER said no.

So, I’ve taken ownership of my guilt again. It’s freeing really. No more what-ifs. No more allowing others to control me through guilt. No one is allowed to have that kind of power over me. I’m not perfect, and I’m not really good at not feeling guilty about everything, but I’m trying. And sometimes, that’s all any of us can do.

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Flashbacks and Reminders

So, this week has been…um… interesting? I’ve noticed that the more I’m stressed with work, life, etc. the more I tend to have flashbacks and guilt. And the last few weeks have been STRESSFUL! Also, I have had really strange dreams for the last several weeks, and I’m exhausted. I don’t know if the stress is causing the dreams, or the dreams are making me stressed. It’s the chicken and the egg conundrum I guess.

Anyways, my town has movies in the park in May, so I decided to go to the first one. I’ve been going to these for 3 years now. Unfortunately, this time, I ended up waiting for the movie to start for over an hour and then leaving as soon as it started.

I had been waiting for half an hour when these two messy-looking guys came and sat in front of me. One of them was quiet, and the other one wouldn’t stop talking.

The loud one’s behavior started to seem eerily familiar. Then I realized that he was acting EXACTLY like my ex. Loud, boisterous, overly friendly, overly talkative, and making threats disguised as jokes. I immediately realized that, like my ex, he was completely high on at least one drug.

And then I couldn’t get the past out of my head. And I felt my anxiety start rising.

So I checked to see where the event cop was and tried to mind my own business.

Then Loudmouth started drinking. Someone told him he wasn’t allowed to drink without a wristband. Loudmouth started a nonsensical fuss about food stamps, and the guy left him alone.

Loudmouth got louder. Then he brought out the cigarettes…also not allowed. He told his buddy that if the cop came up, he would “bust his skull open.” And then he put his lit cigarette in his nose and stood up in the crowd. He spun around, basically challenging anyone to do anything. Of course no one did.

Anxiety turned to fight-or-flight response.

Loudmouth got louder. His companion even left. So Loudmouth started talking to himself instead. He was even yelling about how he wasn’t dead yet and he couldn’t believe he was gonna do it.

Folks, I’ve seen this many times before. I can guarantee you that right before he sat down in front of me, he took something. He had no teeth – maybe it was meth. Could have been heroine. Could have been a mixture of prescription drugs. All I know is he had a spoon, with his keys, on a necklace. He was freaking WEARING the spoon he uses for injecting himself!

So here we are… me sitting alone with a drunk, wasted addict in his high point… 10 feet away from me.

And I couldn’t find the cop. Anywhere.

And I know better than to rat out someone like that in front of them. Five years of fear knocked that right out of me. So I left. I messaged the facebook page for the group so they could remove the guy, but I wasn’t sticking around. I didn’t even see the first 5 minutes of the movie.

Anyways, it was a learning experience for me. I learned that I can still spot a user in 5 minutes or less. I learned that that kind of behavior causes flashbacks. I learned that I have no patience with that crap (that’s a good thing). And I learned that the rage is still there…I actually visualized hurting the guy. That’s part of the reason I left tonight.

Everyone else noticed Loudmouth and looked away. I couldn’t. It was too much. I want to say that I’m all better. That it’s been almost 3 years, and I’ve completely moved on. In many ways I have moved on, but sometimes, the past hits me hard.

To be continued…

Just Hmmph…

Today. Is. Monday.

Today, my work computer won’t stay online for more than 10 minutes. Today, the printer will only print the top inch of anything I try to print. Today, people annoy me. Today, I feel like I have no purpose. Today, I feel like I don’t belong. Today, I feel out of focus and almost numb.

And if I talk about it, the listener would say, “Why?” And I would have to say that it is for no reason in particular. Because sometimes, a bunch of little things can come together and create a problem.

What little things? Well, I’m coming down from a really fun weekend. My hormones are starting to go into PMS stage. My ex tried to add me on Facebook. Technology hates me. And I took OTC sleep medicine last night (depressant/antihistamine + April = all messed up in the feels). I really do want to run away somewhere and sleep.

Hopefully, the effects of the medicine will wear off, and I’ll feel better tomorrow. Today, I’m just gonna draw a smile on my face and take it one step at a time. Because that’s what I am…I’m persistent.

 

 

 

A Pigeon Story

The strangest things can help you in ways you’d never realize. If someone had told me before last night that a pigeon would help me face my fears, I would have laughed. But knowing my life, I should just expect these things.

You see, last week I started following a wildlife rescue called Izzie’s Pond (they do great work. Check them out!). Last night, they reached out to see if anyone could transport a pigeon to their home. Long story short, I didn’t have too much to do anyways and ended up volunteering.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The town where the pigeon was is the very same place I avoid like the plague because that’s where my ex lives. And I do whatever it takes to avoid him even realizing I still exist. This made me a little nervous. But I had that picture of that sad little hungry bird, and I just had to go anyways. But who knew that the pigeon would be located off the same road I drove almost daily for over 4 years to get to that same ex’s house. And I did this ALONE! In the DARK!

Granted, I did play it as safe as I possibly could. But I was afraid to get out of my car, not because I was meeting a stranger to pick up a bird in a box, but because of where I was. I DID get out of my car though (pretty sure pigeons can’t open doors by themselves, lol). And then I high-tailed it out of there 20 mph above the speed limit. But still, I did it. By myself. I needed that. I’ve gotten so tired of anxiety. It will probably always be there. But I do not have to live my life in fear.

And you know what? That pigeon will never have to live in fear again either. What I didn’t tell you was that he is a racing pigeon. Like me, he was “owned” and controlled by someone who didn’t really care about him. The poor thing is emaciated. But somehow, he got free, found some people with half a heart, and will live out the rest of his life fat and happy. And that’s a great ending, don’t you think?

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Over Thinking All the Time

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I’m a very analytical person. Which pretty much means my mind won’t stop over thinking all the time.  I joke that I’m morbid because I come up with the worst case scenarios for every situation. Panic attack before vacation? Of course! Thankfully,  I’m too restless to live in a bubble (besides, bad things can happen if you do that — I’ve thought about it).

But some days are worse than others. If I’m relaxed, the over thinking lets up a ton. But when I’m stressed or sleep deprived, it gets pretty bad. This week I’m both. Between having too much to do at work and my lovely friend pms, I’m shot. I got to the point today at work where I just shut down.

I NEED A VACATION!!!

My big question tonight for over thinking?  What if I’m not doing enough with my life?  Am I a failure because I’m 30 years old and have done nothing significant?  Day in, day out work is not meaningful for me. So it’s not that satisfying. I’m not saving money by any means. I’m not broke, but I’m not far from it though. I need ideas on how to change this.

I mean, I did basically have to start from scratch a few years ago, but I’m impatient!  I know I lost my ability to verbally commit to anything,  and that’s part of the problem. Stupid what-ifs.

Thankfully, writing out my rambling brain helps it calm down, so maybe I can sleep now.

What Stereotypical Married Women Need to Know about Their Unmarried Former Friends

Soapbox warning: THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO ALL MARRIED WOMEN. However…

1. We aren’t “doing whatever we want” all the time. We have jobs. When we’re off work, we’re being responsible adults. You know, cooking, cleaning, taking care of others, paying bills, repairing stuff. Handling everything on our OWN for the most part.
2. Yes, some of us do want to get married one day. But we’re not settling just to get a ring. And we’re certainly not worshiping your “higher/more blessed by God” status.
3. No, we don’t want to steal your husband.

4. We understand married life is busy. We’re busy too. Say hi every once in a while. It’s not like we see our single friends that often either.

5. We felt it when you dropped us as soon as there weren’t any more showers to be held for you. (You’re welcome, by the way.)

6. We really would have been incredibly flexible just to spend a little bit of time catching up with you.
7. We don’t just want to be your babysitter. But we do enjoy the opportunity to spend time with kids.
8. Pretty much the only thing that changed between us was marital status.
9. We noticed when you unfriended us.
10. We may have seen a lot more of life than you think we have. We don’t think you’re wiser just for saying “I do.”
11. We are good with your [insert product here] sales parties. But we notice when we’re only invited to meet your guest quota. Also, we’re probably tight on money (see #1 above), so don’t expect too much.
12. We like who we are. We are strong, independent women. However, we may lack the self-confidence to reach out. Being well into adulthood and single means we’ve dealt with a lot of rejection.
13. We found out that not all married people treat single people like this… We’re friends with them now.
14. We will ALWAYS be grateful for the friends that didn’t walk down the aisle and immediately forget we exist. You guys are awesome! 🙂