“I’ve been here sleeping all these years.”

It’s been a dark week.

My brain and body had very few spoons to start with and the slightest little thing seemed to tap them all at once.  I was besieged by unrelenting nightmares, surprised by physical and emotional pain (much of which shouldn’t’ve been surprising), and bombarded with a near constant urge for chocolate to soothe my nerves, however temporarily.

Slowly, I feel it lifting.  Suggestions from friends (force yourself to work on, and therefore through, it) and family (the less politically correct version: suck it up) helped slightly but not as much as I hoped.  One of the most helpful things was actually when a friend resurrected her round robin style of getting a group of her friends to say three things they’re thankful or glad for every single day. Constantly reminding myself of the good, and having other people do the same, reminded me how many blessings are in my life, if only I remember them.

It’s not perfect.  I still feel off, and things take far too many spoons away from me.  But I’m getting somewhere.  I’m getting some of it out in writing, some through reading, and some in just exploring the dark, painful parts and letting them hurt.

Also, music has been a comfort.  Tylan’s song “Wild Awake” sums up the last 14 years of my life, right up to now, fairly well.  The title of this post is a Melissa Etheridge song called “Into the Dark”, which is where I’ve been.  Others that have popped up are “The Morning of the Rain” and “Let There Be Lonely” by Jonathan Jackson, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserablès, “Thank God for My Friends” by Crystal Bowersox, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Celtic Woman and sometimes Elvis, and “Hold On” from The Secret Garden.

So, yeah.  Holdin’ on.  I guess that’s something, right?

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Don’t you sometimes wish your heart was a heart of stone?

Beneath the white fire of the moon
Love’s wings are broken all too soon.
We never learn.
Hurt together, hurt alone.
Don’t you sometimes wish your heart was a heart of stone?

“Heart of Stone” -Cher

Sometimes, yes. Most times, no. It’s been really fucking hard, lately. I know the problem isn’t love itself. The problem comes with what people do do with it, in the name of it, despite it.

Right now, all I can do is focus on setting my life back on a better path. I don’t know yet what all’s going to be on that path, but learning to surrender to that unknown is part of the endeavor. On Thursday, I told my husband I needed some time to myself and I came up with a week and a half. He said it seemed awfully specific and asked what was going on.

Nothing’s “going on”.

Everything’s going on.

I need to figure out my place in it all. A few people have told me to take some time to myself. Days, weeks, months. The time lines vary from person to person. My therapist was the one who simply suggested that perhaps some time (unspecific) without interacting with my husband might help my head and heart from spinning. So I can figure out what I need, want, feel. I chose a week and a half because I needed more time than a weekend, more than a week. Sometimes it’s hard not to talk to him, sometimes it’s easier. I have much to think through, and life keeps going on.

My sister and I went for a belated birthday present spa morning yesterday. There was this scalp massage with coconut oil and a facial. It was nice to be pampered. My neck is still in knots, as I tend to hold a lot of tension there, but my head, hair, and face looked and felt splendid. We finished it up with a trip to the bakery for a small treat and then out to lunch. After a nap, my brother-in-law proved once again how awesome he is and breathed new life into an old computer of his for me, so I have a computer in my room now! Joy and rapture! After getting that set up, the family and I went out for Mexican dinner wherein me and margarita got very well acquainted. Four times. My head protested when I walked from the truck to my room afterward, but I was still able to continue and carry on a conversation with a dear friend. Bringing him through some finer details of the last few months and years of my life that he wasn’t aware of. Sharing perspective. It was good and helpful to articulate some of it. Some of it hurt like hell. Made me feel like a goddamned fool.

I fight that feeling a lot lately. My aunt telling me not to waste time doesn’t help. Feeling pressured to make a decision doesn’t help. What helps is being gentle with myself, which is what my friend advised me from the beginning of this whole painful chapter of life. So I’m working on that. Reading. Writing. Reaching out to people as I’m able to. It’s yielded fairly good results, so far. I had an amazing conversation with a choir friend about life and relationships and stupid pink hazes that women get into relationships in. A student in one of my water fitness classes gave me info for a writing contest and some neat sites for odd jobs and freelancing stuff. My choir director has proven himself fan-friggin-tastic over and over, but the best thing yet was how he handled the way I completely fucked up my part in the trio at the Spring MusicFest.

Cause, man. I fucked it up. But part of the problem was that we weren’t given our starting pitches, which my choir director apologized for later. But from that bad beginning, I just couldn’t get it on track and wound up singing the tenor part, an octave higher. Not the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t the melody, which is what I was supposed to have. I felt like such an incompetent idiot afterward, and emailed my choir director that afternoon to apologize. It was my sister’s birthday, and she was kind enough to come to the concert, but afterward, I didn’t want to sulk through her day. Mentally, I was kicking the hell out of myself while also trying to keep perspective. Even professional singers fuck up, right? I finally let it go after much feeling, yet again, like a fool. A day or so later, my choir director sends a note to the choir praising us for the job we did. But he didn’t ignore mistakes. Here’s part of what he said:

Our performance Sunday was extraordinary. No, it wasn’t perfect. That’s not the goal. Music done right touches people. We created that connection on a very high level. The buzz we created was electric. Karen told me she went out to lunch after our performance and ran into a woman who regularly attends COR. Her enthusiasm and pride were effervescent. That church pride is important. We know we worked hard to reach this level and we earned that personal pride, but to be recognized as an asset worthy of our community pride is something that has meaning for me. Great job.

I’m so glad to be be part of this choir. 🙂

There’s a lot I’m grateful for, being here. The lake, the choir, the church, my family and friends (both the ones who’re here and the ones back in Jersey who love and support me), the Y, my therapist, books, this computer I’m typing on, opportunities to grow.

Now I just need to steer myself forward, continually. I’ve begun writing lists of things I need and want to do. Like sun salutations in the morning. Sleeping more regularly, which will come when I feel less stressed. Exercising more, which I’m doing pretty well at so far. Eating better, which I’m also doing better at. I have my occasional unwise choices, but who doesn’t? The thing to focus on is making better choices more consistently and not beating myself up when I make a poor choice. Developing a deeper connection to my spirituality. Streamlining and simplifying my life. Putting out positive energy through thought, action, and speech. Writing on a daily basis. There are some writing competitions that I feel I should enter, so I’m working on that. Getting a job or many regular freelance jobs so I can get out my sister’s by October.

Heal. That’s a big one.

Because my heart, no matter how much I wish it were sometimes, is not made of stone. And it’s wings have been mangled. It’s bruised and sad and sometimes hopeless that it will ever heal and be happy again. I try to reassure it, but then Amanda Palmer’s song “Astronaut” comes whirling into my head:

Is it enough to have some love?
Small enough to slip inside the cracks.
The pieces don’t fit together so good
with all the breaking and all the gluing back.

Even so, someone said or I read recently that the cracks in a broken heart are what allows the light to shine through. I wish I could remember where or who that came from, but at least the sentiment has stuck with me. Which means right now, I’m taking some time to be gentle with myself. I’m going to play some music, light a few candles in my soul, and create a beautiful new mosaic from the pieces of my heart.

Go for it, Gigi!

For all of my life, people have had trouble spelling and pronouncing my name.  Down here in the South is not really different, just more humorous as people, bless their hearts, try so hard to do it right.  I have respect for people who know their own limits and want to find something that works for them.  One of my water aerobics instructors, Peggy, is like that.  She’s been struggling with my name for a few weeks now and finally asked me if she could call me Gigi.  I said, sure. why not?  She does it with the Zsa Zsa sound and everything, so I’m good.  It makes me smile.  Plus, it’s helped me make more friends because everytime she does it, she explains why she’s doing it, so more people are learning my name and talking to me.  Bonus.

One of those new friends is a consultant for the Body by Vi – 90 day challenge program.  She gave me the whole spiel and a welcome sample packet.  I have yet to try them because I’m afraid I’ll like it.  And I don’t want to pay for protein shakes to lose weight.  I want to learn how to eat normally and get my nutrients that way.  Now I just have to tell her that.

My mother-in-law Maureen keeps telling me to BLOOM and I’m working on it.  Everyday.  For 5-6 times a week, I work out for an hour to an hour and a half.  I’ve joined a church and a choir, and met up with some members of the choir for “unrehearsal dinner.”  I hit a poly meet up and have made a friend through that.  She and I have been texting and emailing for the past two weeks and it’s awesome.  This week, I’ve lost a total of 3.3 lbs!  Even with my period and all the hormonal eating that came with it.  I think my metabolism is finally amped up and ready to go, which is awesome.

I’ve decreased my medication by half, and am trying to see how that will go.  The first week it was fine, but this week, I’ve noticed I’m finally getting angry.  However, it’s not just over the divorce or anything associated with that.  It’s little shit like slow drivers or when my great niece gets that look in her eyes and I just know she’s going to consciously disobey me.  Thankfully, I know what’s going on and have not done anything rash or stupid.  However, looking at it, I think my medication not only kept the anger in check…it made it go away.  And I’m really not comfortable with that.  I need to learn how to deal with it constructively.  So a half dose is my first step towards learning how to better deal with anger.

Tomorrow is the first rehearsal and performance with the “awesome little choir.”  I’m so excited!  It should be a good time.

Singing songs about dreams about hopes about schemes…

Yesterday was quite lovely.  I went to my new church and the service was very poignant and fitting.  It spoke of sacred spaces and how, while they are definitely important, what really makes a place sacred is the connection to the people in it.

I’m really quite happy to have found this church and have even started making friends!  After the service, I introduced myself to the pianist.  She played beautifully during the service and I had to compliment her on that.  While we were talking, I asked about joining the choir.  She said there really isn’t a formal audition process.  They’re very open and welcome anyone who wants to sing and have been very blessed to become known as the “awesome little choir.”  Then she introduced me to a few choir members, who invited me to lunch.  The place we went to was Middle Eastern!  YES!  I found a Shawerma joint!  Whooooo!  Anyway, we talked for a few hours and I wound up driving one of the women home because she lives 5 minutes from me!  This was especially awesome because the church is in Memphis, so finding someone who lives near me in Mississippi was really awesome.  When we got to her place, she invited me in to talk a little.  She reminds me a lot of Maureen, which is also AWESOME.  She told me that the choir has sung songs from Wicked (YES!) and has traveled to Transylvania to sing with our sister church there.  (SO COOL!)  I also learned that she’s part of the book club and knitting circle at church.  HOLY….really?  Awesome.

I’m beginning to rebuild, slowly, slowly.  But still.  Rebuilding is good.  I like it.

 

In omnia paratus.

Today, I auditioned for The Voice.  My sister (god bless her) got up with me at 4am and went with me to the 7am call in Memphis.

My knitting needles got confiscated, because clearly I was a threat.

No callback for me, but then again, not even the chick who nailed “Barracuda” (seriously?  that’s a fucking hard song to sing) got a callback.  It was nice to be in a room this time where two people got a callback, so I could see how it happened and what they did.  I wasn’t a Carrie Underwood clone nor an 18 year old yodeler.  C’est la vie.

It’s all good.  I’m proud that I did it and thought I performed well.  However, the timing obviously isn’t right.  And maybe the gig just isn’t right. The world seems to be opening up to me in ways I never let myself dream about so I refuse to let this one rejection get to me.

On Monday, I have my last knitting class and I’m joining the Y.  Booyah.

Ask and ye shall receive; seek and you shall find.

It’s amazing what happens when you start putting out into the universe what you want.  Of course, it doesn’t really work with specific people, because you can’t control them.  But looking at my growing bucket list and what’s happened in the last few days, I’m pretty astounded.

#11. Learn to knit/crochet – I went to the local yarn store and signed up for a beginners knitting class.  I start on Monday. Also, while I was there, me and the lovely two Southern ladies got to talking and they were suprised that I was from up North because I apparently didn’t sound like I was from the North.  That made me feel good.  I told them that I’ve had vocal training and like to sing, so I’m trying to pick up the accent.  When they heard that, they asked me to sing something, so I did.  It came out pretty good, and they clapped.  It made me very happy.

#40. Relearn to play guitar fluently – About an hour ago, I got an email from my sister.  She had some LivingSocial credit and got me four music lessons!  I get lessons to relearn to play guitar!  I could even get help with songwriting, too, cause they do that, too!  Awesome!

#1. Do a split – I found this site that talks about how stretching is not all you need to know/do to get into “the splits” (can someone tell me why it’s a plural?  It’s like eggplants.  I didn’t know that was supposed to be plural, either, until I saw it on a few menus.  Weird.)  I really want the DVDs, but maybe for Christmas, cause the set is $100.  But I found the site.

I’ve also made some general progress towards losing weight and getting healthier.  Instead of ice cream, I bought sorbet the other night when I went to the store.  And when I decided to start eating cereal again, I got my unsweetened almond coconut milk instead of regular milk.  I’ve been taking my nieces out into the pool the last few days, and I did a LOT of walking yesterday.  The whole So You Think You Can Dance workout series is saved on my Pinterest, so sometime this week, I’m going to start learning the routines to get my body moving more.

So you think you can take baby steps…

Today has been a good day.  I’ve only had about two hours sleep, but after sleeping on and off for about 24 hours from Friday night to Saturday night, I think I’ll be fine with a little less sleep than normal.  Caffeine doesn’t hurt, either.

The day started with my brother-in-law’s homemade biscuits and gravy which is fucking amazing.  Then I came down to my little studio apartment to dive headfirst into going through audition songs for The Voice.  At one point, my niece called down and I thought she was going to tell me to can it, but instead, she asked if she could come down to listen to me rock out.  That made me feel hella good and we went through a few possibilities.  I think I’ve got my ballad, mid tempo, and up tempo songs selected and swing in case I’m feeling ballsy.

After that, I found the So You Think You Can Dance workouts on You Tube and promptly saved them to my Pinterest account so I can easily watch and use them later.  Aw, yeah!

My sister and I put up this small vinyl pool that turned out to be a LOT of fun.  My great niece had a blast with it.  The other great niece didn’t like that it was so cold (even after my sister and great nephew ran down some boiling water to bring up the temp) and face planted the second time she got it.  I think she’ll be fine once it warms up.  I know I had a grand ol’ time.

A nice shower was a pleasant follow up to a lovely day and soon, we’ll have dinner.

I’ve been up and active all day, starting the leg work for a few of my bucket list entries.

This is good stuff right here.