It’s so funny. I really thought that when Barry passed, I would hit the ground running. I had waited for it for so long. He demise had been so slow and painful for both of us.
I tried to go back to work too soon and every rejection felt like God having it in for me. It was awful.
I found work. First wit a nice guy with not the best judgment. I still like him and can use him as a reference. (He went off to Maryland for military training.) But he got me involved with a business that didn’t want to actually pay their employees for their work. They wanted w2 loyalty for independent contractor wages. Not on the up-and-up.
Then I found Goodwill. I am doing work that a high school dropout could do, but I am working 32 hours a week and am respected for my efforts, a giant leap forward from the last employer.
A fellow employee started telling me that if I want to go back to office work, that I need to have a makeover. All the old issues came up: the shame, not feeling good enough, nobody likes me the way I am, etc. She means well. She is in her mid-60s and her husband (also named Barry!) died two years ago. I went into immediate emotional tailspin.
I talked to my shrink about it and she said not to even think about goals of any kind until February. This is still the year of firsts. And January 12th is the anniversary of his death.
Everything still reminds me of Barry and I can’t imagine it not.
How will I ever know if and when I am ready?
I’ve realized that I need more than ordinary assistance. I need a new way of approaching everything.
I need to find a way of avoiding being chronically overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed creates a slew of problems. I mentioned last post that I lost my apartment keys. I forgot to mention that I managed to lose my gym bag. How in hell did I do that? I contacted the gym and told them about it (beige with cats all over it). I should still probably go there to see if someone didn’t just shove it into a locker after it sat around all day.
Other issues from being overwhelmed include physical and emotional. Physically, I don’t want to make myself vulnerable to all sorts of illness ending in “-itis” (swelling or inflammation of _______). Emotionally, I basically lost it the other day being paranoid about a problem at work. I was right on the edge to begin with and that just pushed me right over the edge.
Today is thanksgiving for normal people. I am actually going to two different celebrations. However, for me, it is the thirtieth anniversary with Barry. We were married 11/22/88. We were married for 29 years. Yet it still feels good to go somewhere, anywhere, so I am not alone all day. It sounds crazy, but I am actually glad I work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Another hazard of being overwhelmed is projecting my emotional crap onto others because I do not have the mental space to discern the difference between my stuff and other people’s. Hard not to do.
What am I going to do today? Breathe a lot and prepare for Black Friday.
Same lessons, different players.
My life is crazy. That is nothing new. What is new is the suddenness of the overwhelm. I really didn’t see it coming. Perhaps I was not paying sufficient attention.
Overwhelm can even come from good things. For example, I decided on the couch I wanted. I mail-ordered it and it arrived, extraordinarily quickly. When I ordered it (it came from California), the Couchbed website said it would take maybe 8-10 days. My concern was the apartment management people having to sign for it and me having to pick it up from the rental office. Well, about four or five days later, I went into the hall to get my mail and, voila, there’s the package sitting in front of my apartment door. I am sure the mail person had no problem with it because it only weighed 50 pounds. It was big and bulky, but not heavy in the least. I let it sit in my apartment untouched for a couple days. I was afraid that opening it would allow it to expand in an out-of-control fashion, like a self-inflating pontoon. I was not ready for that.
The previous week, I had lost my apartment keys that had the mail key on it. I still had Barry’s keys in the glove box of my car, but sans the mail key. I had to call the apartment people to see if they had one. They did. So I picked it up and made 2 copies of everything. I made sure they all worked in the proper locks and threw one set in the glove box and gave the other spare set to a friend. I only lose things when I am overwhelmed. Over the years, I have lost almost everything important at some time or another.
Also, I screwed up my spare phone somehow. It is like I erased everything. I don’t even know if it rings. The screen is mostly blank with a few icons on it. WTF. I will have to take it to Wal-Mart to see if there is anything I can do about it. Zap.
Then, a couple days ago, my laptop stopped working. I could turn it on, but it would not go to a useful screen. I would have a blank screen with a cursor. I just got it back today. The issue with the computer is that it is my lifeline to my ability to do my Duolingo Spanish and Greek, check my email, and basically do my OCD stuff. Needless to say, I no longer have a 140-day streak going in my languages. Zap.
And yesterday, I had a meltdown at work. I was putting away clothing from the racks coming out, when a manager and another employee pulled me over to show how there were a lot of women’s pants in the men’s section and that someone was putting away the clothes improperly. My assumption, of course, was that it was me. I still have a hard time telling the difference between men’s and women’s jeans. It is easy if there is a size (something x something is always men’s, whereas women’s sizes are like 10, 12, 18, etc.), but not all pants have that. I started to cry.
I was assured that it was not me. How could it be? I have been there two months and this problem was less than two-weeks old. When I put stuff away from the racks, the men’s and women’s clothing are separated. My mistake would have been caught a very long time ago. This does not mean I never ever put a pair of jeans in the wrong area, but this is clearly not a chronic issue on my part. This issue is not mine. They just wanted me to check the pants, one pair at a time so the women’s could be taken to their proper place.
Part of my vulnerability is my being alone. I need this job. Or at least a job. But it is all on me. I am not part of a couple anymore.
Thursday is Thanksgiving, but it is also Barry’s and my anniversary. 11/22/88 was our wedding day. This would have been thirty years. Everything bothers me right now.
So what have I been doing? Projecting my overwhelm on my friend that I recommended the intuition books to. When I last saw her, she had that look in her eyes that I recognized in myself a few times. That look where, if someone had informed me my house was on fire, I would have said, “And your point is?” There is a point where you (maybe just me?) are simply incapable of caring about anything anymore. Fear is for people who have the energy to care. So I called her another time this past weekend. She has not called me back and I am not initiating contact again. When her academic term is up, perhaps she will call me.
My concern for her is that I know what being overwhelmed feels like and it can take years to recover. We are not in our twenties, thirties, or even forties anymore. I’ve seen how quickly a person’s body can deteriorate. Two days before Barry died, it took two people (an in-home health aide and myself) to move him from his chair to the couch. He fought. Here was a man who probably weighed all of 135 pounds being freakishly strong. And two days later he was dead. I am still trying to recover from caretaker burnout.
My point, in regards to my friend, is that I want her to slow down while she still has a choice. It’s kind of like smoking: everyone quits eventually, even if it is the undertaker that removes that one last cigarette from the person’s cold, dead hand. I don’t want her grave marker to say, “She finally slowed down.” I would like to preserve her health for a few more years. But I’ve had this conversation with her repeatedly, the one where I tell her to slow down and she gives me every excuse as to why she can’t. On the other hand, what I saw in her a few weeks ago, I’ve never seen before. I feel like I’ve been where she is headed. And, trust me, she does not want to go there. This is different.
Worse yet, I am almost there again now. Life has ways of kicking my ass until I slow down and take care of myself. Lately, life has been screaming at me. Losing access to my laptop actually forced me to listen. How many other devices can I stop from working? I do not want to find out.
My life is getting better, I think, but I am not in control.
I have a friend I would love to help, but there is just no way. Her life is crazy busy. She is married and her husband is planning to retire from the military in a couple of years. She is going to school full-time. She needs to evict her sister from her mother’s house. She is still struggling with a traumatic brain injury (chronic headaches). And I believe she is struggling with some serious empathic distress.
She is one of those people that knows who is calling when the phone rings (pre-caller-ID). She seems to be attracting people with pressing problems. I believe she is an empath with no control over her abilities.
So what do I do? I tell her about two books: “Dodging Energy Vampires” by Christaine Northrup and “The Empath Survival Guide” by Judith Orloff. Then I order them for her from Amazon. I got an email from them couple of days ago saying that they had a delivery failure. My friend and her husband have a house in Eaton Rapids (where I sent the books) and an apartment in Mount Pleasant (where he works and she goes to school at CMU). I can’t even ensure the books get to her. I can’t help. I can just wish her well, I guess.
I like my job at Goodwill, but my feet don’t like working four days in a row. Usually I don’t have to, but when I do, it’s hard. I am not in charge of the schedule. They like me and want me at certain times. I am negotiating with a manager that does the scheduling. They like me working four days a week, but do they all need to be in a row? I actually have a job I like and don’t want to come off as whiny, especially to a manager that just worked for two weeks straight due to their being three managers short (they just hired one last week). (Tiny violin playing for my pity party.)
I got rid of some furniture. VOA came and took it last week. Now I have actual space to put a couch in. I assumed I wanted a futon for extra person sleeping purposes. But my brain was not coming up with anything. I assumed for years that when Barry passed, I would have years and years of pent-up desires waiting to be indulged. Nope. I have never gotten furniture just for myself. I have no idea what I want for the most part. Not a clue.
A different friend emailed me a link to a site that sells couches that fold out to beds. I might get one. What a super-cool idea. But now we are talking about mail order furniture. I have never done that. Will I have to take time off from work? If I am not home, will the apartment office take it? Surely this is not a unique situation for them.
I don’t know what I am doing, but what else is new?
The other day, two friends I have not spoken to in months called me. Out of nowhere. Within hours of each other. Huh?
I had let go of them. I had reached out to them, gotten no response, and moved on with my life.
When I thought about them all the time, nobody was calling. The silence was deafening. I think that they intuitively started sensing nothing from me and subconsciously filled the void themselves by reaching out.
Then there is the furniture issue. My ultimate goal is to only have a one-bedroom-apartment’s worth of stuff. I got rid of the couch and Barry’s chair when he passed. The couch was thirty years old and had no cushioning left and Barry’s chair always put me to sleep when I sat in it within the first five minutes. No matter the time of day or how caffeinated I was. I assert the chair had a spirit of sleep attached to it.
Now I want a futon for my living room. But I am not getting one until Volunteers of America comes and takes the cedar chest, a dresser, and an end table. To add a piece of furniture and simultaneously reduce the total amount of furniture requires that I get rid of more than I acquire. So first the VoA, then Art Van. One thing at a time.
I am doing pretty well. I like my job at Goodwill. I am getting more hours than I even want, but I am adjusting.
This past week, the guy I had been working for told me he was basically closing up shop and doing a National Guard stint for six month in Maryland. He realized that the company he was working for and that he had me come “on board” as an independent contractor. I found another job when the head lady said in an email that “Cindy is wasting her time on our dime.”
Part of the issue is that I would talk to four different people and get four extremely different versions of reality. That means there is a lie somewhere or, at the very least, an uncorrected mis-assumption. Something was not kosher.
Then there was Jim, supposedly making $60k per year and having me run him $100 a week in payroll. It turned out that they had given him one check in two months. Something literally was not adding up.
I would have been extremely pissed at Jim if I had counted on him merging the companies so I would be a real w2 employee. I was not even slightly surprised.
I questioned my judgment. What if I was bowing out of the greatest opportunity of my life thus far? Was I panicking needlessly?
No. My judgment is sound. I saw things accurately. I covered my butt. My judgment has been validated, verified, and vindicated. It is funny how the people in my past who have called me “judgmental” have had the worst judgment ever. Having common sense is deeply offensive to people that want to take advantage of you or that want to live in fantasy worlds. I have no problem with people living in fantasy worlds. The problems in my relationships occur when they expect my unconditional affirmation of their delusion and then expect my permanent residence in their fantasy worlds. My attitude is simple: Good luck with that!
I just listened to an Abraham/Hicks Youtube video. What struck me was the quote, “Anything intentional affects anything that isn’t.”
That sounds obvious, right? But it’s right where I am at. I have been dealing with weird work issue for a couple months now. The bottom-line issue was that everyone in charge was waiting for someone else to make the first move. Meanwhile, my status was in terminal limbo and I was getting screwed over. The solution? I found another job. Period. I took the initiative out of all their hands altogether. Now they can all react to me. It is that simple. I had to take care of myself and that meant taking responsibility for myself. I took my own needs seriously once I realized that they simply did not care.
The video talked about The Secret and structured water and other semi-esoteric things. But “esoteric” means “secret” and the whole point of The Secret is just how open and obvious some of these things really are. Just how secret is the idea that intentions have an impact on our life? What is new knowledge is that intentions affect everything, including water, which makes up most of our body and planet.
Part of my point is that the paranormal is just another level of ordinary reality that we don’t realize we are affecting or being affected by. Structured water feels different. We walk into a building and can feel the different energies of the rooms and not understand why we feel the way we do in one room versus another.
A major theme of my life has been learning to not be any longer a “good little victim.” My personality drives my routines, kind of like Sheldon. I am very structured in general and do things consistently until something in the routine no longer works for me. If I do something once and it works, I have a habit. Perhaps this is the definition of an “addictive personality.” I don’t know. But I generally have to be shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that something no longer works before I stop doing it. In other words, I tend to stay too long in things that no longer work. This includes churches, jobs, friendships, you name it.
I would like to be more sensitive to those energies and to be more intentional in every area of my life. If I don’t, my sanity may suffer. And my financial well-being to boot.