Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Part Two!  This one is long.
When I was a little girl, our family had a lake house down on Cedar Creek Lake.  It was my favorite place to be when I was a child.  Of course I didn't know to appreciate it the way I would now.  It was just there, a part of things, part of our "normal" and a part of our lives.  We'd go down there for a weekend getaway when we had no money to go on a vacation.  We'd go down there to escape and just be together as a family.  We'd go down there for spring and summer holidays.  We had the best times down there.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are there.  I bonded the most with my Grandad while down there.  I have a memory of being an itty bitty child, sleeping on the cot that was placed in between the two full sized beds, with Mema and Grandad in one bed.  I'd wake up in the morning and Grandad would be awake too.  He would reach out his foot to grab my foot with his long toes.  We'd squeeze eachother's toes and I remember that it kind of hurt, but I never stopped.  I would play toes with Grandad while the rest of the house was asleep.  Another Grandad memory I have is when I was getting dressed to go swimming.  I was putting on my one piece yellow Cookie Monster swimsuit.  The straps on my shoulders were all bunched up and twisted, and I would become so frustrated with them that I would throw a tantrum.  I was probably 4 years old and as we all know, a 4 year old will become impatient and frustrated with these little things.  I was ready to go SWIMMING and that urgency that I may get left behind took over any rational thought.  I cried.  I ran outside in a tantrum, raced down the stairs and straight to my Grandad, my hero.  He so calmly and patiently untwisted my straps like it was no big deal, which just reassured me that all was right in the world.  It's funny how that memory stands out so much for me, and as luck would have it, Mom has a picture of that moment.  I need to borrow her photo album to scan that picture.  It's one of my favorite pictures out of all of my childhood pictures.  I wish I could say that I have a whole lifetime of memories with my Grandad.  But I don't.  He died during the winter of 1977.  My hero was taken from me way too soon. 

When I was about 10 years old, Mema sold the lake house.  I was very confused about how that made me feel because it was a new emotion for me all together.  Sadness, depression, and mourning.  A deep sadness that made me have actual physical symptoms.  I had never dealt with that before this.  It was our last weekend to be at the lake house.  The drive down there from Arlington usually took two hours, which was an eternity to a child.  We kids never got carsick, but this time I felt carsick.  I felt headachy and tired and Mom sent me to go lie down in the bedroom with the twin beds.  My sister, Heather, was lying down in the twin bed beside me.  As we were laying there, I started to cry.  I didn't want Mema to sell the lake house.  She went to tell Mom, and then Mema and my aunt Valera laughed about me crying over that.  Like "How silly!"  But I don't think they realized how important that place was to me.  I don't think that *I* even realized how important that place was to me at the young age of 10.  Maybe deep inside I knew.  But I think it felt like we were leaving Grandad behind.  Because to this very day, I feel like Grandad is there, waiting for us to return to him.  I was "home" there.  It was where I always felt like I belonged.  I have never gotten over the loss of that beloved place.

The next year, the summer that I was 11, Mema took me to my great aunt Mary's house on Holly Lake.  She lived on a smaller pond that was just near Holly Lake, and her grandsons Michael and Richard would come and spend the week.  We had the most fun out there.  I was where I belonged, in the muddy water, playing, feeling carefree, leaving my stresses and worries behind, laughing, being a child, catching bugs, catching frogs, fishing, swimming, getting sunburned, and bonding with my cousins.  I feel like Mema gave me this gift because I was the youngest grandchild and had the fewest years to spend at our Cedar Creek lake house.  I will always be grateful to Mema for giving me this most precious gift.  I got to know Michael and Richard more than my first cousins ever did, and I got to bond with Aunt Mary in a way that my sister and first cousins never got to.  They had more years with Grandad than I did, and more years at Cedar Creek Lake than I did.  Mema took me back to aunt Mary's house the next summer, when I was 12, so that we could spend a week once again with them.  What a blast we had.  I grew to absolutely adore Michael and Richard and hated that I only got to see them at the reunions and during these summer visits.  To this day, I feel a strong bond and connection with the two of them.  Life has taken them so far away from me, not necessarily in miles but in spirit.  They have jobs, lives, families, and very little time for that annoying cousin Melody.  But I would drop everything for them if they ever needed me.  I have tears in my eyes as I type this.  They mean the whole world to me.  Growing up the youngest sibling, the youngest cousin, and the misfit in school and amongst friends, I was not always accepted or included, even as a child.  Actually it was most often as a child.  I had my Suzanne to grow up with and be at my side through everything, but I grew up always feeling like the bratty, tag-along little sister or cousin that was dorky, silly, awkward, the social misfit, and annoying in every way.  But I never felt that way with Michael and Richard.  They accepted me and we were a team.  It was such a short time, but that short time stands out so vividly in my mind and is most cherished and dear to my heart.  If I could ever revisit times of my childhood it would be during those visits with them.  Or those weekends at Cedar Creek Lake.  I belonged at the lake.  I was home there. 

But it wasn't long after that that Mary sold her house and there were no more visits to Holly Lake.  But luck was on my side!  Suzanne's Dad had met and married Cathy, and Cathy's brother had a place on Possum Kingdom Lake.  Suzanne and her siblings had every other weekend with their father, and I was "one of them" since the age of 4 so they would always bring me with them.  And during the spring and summertime, we'd go to Possum Kingdom Lake.  I don't know for sure what age I was, I think it was the summer I was 14 and the summer I was 15.  This was my time with Suzanne.  We spent the most time together out there, bonding, swimming, getting burnt to a crisp, laughing, we slept in the back of the pick up truck once when a lot of family came to spend the weekend.  I think this was the 4th of July weekend.  We slept under the stars!  There was also the night that Suzanne and I went to a neighbors dock and just sat in the dark and talked, for hours and hours it seems like.  We made our way back to the house and the adults were still up, playing cards and laughing.  Those were the best times.  Once again, my fondest memories were spent at the lake.  I don't know what happened after that, I think Cathy's brother sold the place or he moved, but we didn't go back.  Maybe they did, but I have never been back.  Suzanne and I grew into those high school years and later had boyfriends, who we both later married, and life pulled us in so many different directions.  But, once again, those memories are near and dear to my heart and they are mine to keep forever.  I felt like I was home at that lake. 

The years have flown by, but for as long as I can remember, my dream has been to have my own lakehouse.  Life has other plans and the finances just don't allow for it.  I did get to live in Corpus Christi for six months, in an apartment complex on a bay.  I could stand in my front doorway and see the water in the bay.  Cayo Del Oso bay, I believe it was called.  A bay inside of a bay.  It was beautiful!  Almost a dream come true.  We spent our weekends at the beach, swimming in the ocean, getting sunburned, I got stung by a Portuguese man of war and was afraid to swim in the ocean for a long time after that.  But I was living near the water!  I just wasn't happy.  My ex husband was not kind to me at all and I spent that summer praying about what I was supposed to do.  I feel God led me to leave and return "home" to Arlington and start my life over there.  So I did. 
There were a few vacations over the years to visit the ocean, and I am so drawn to the ocean.  I'd love to live there, but it isn't my home.  It's what I desire, but it isn't my home.  The lake is my home and I've felt it down to my bones for as long as I can remember. 

One year, on our anniversary, Jim and I drove down to Cedar Creek Lake so I could see the old lakehouse.  I had really missed it over the years.  I hadn't seen it since I was 10 years old and I wanted to see it again.  We followed the map and drove down, but I had no idea how to find that street.  I just remembered landmarks and bridges.  We drove around for what seems like HOURS.  It wasn't to be found anywhere.  Back and forth, this way and that.  I was having a meltdown and I said out loud "Okay, Grandad!  Show me where it is!"  And then we just happened to find the street.  I said "this might be it, go down this street."  I continued to talk to Grandad in my mind and as we drove, I suddenly yelled out "Stop!  That's IT!!!"  And there we were!  There was the lake house.  All cute, blue, and still as I remembered it.  (just a different color, and no Stanley sign on the outside.)  Thank you, Grandad.  I wrote down the address and stared a little bit more, then we were on our way.  This was in 1999.  That next week at work, I typed up a letter and sent it to that address and told the owners of the house that if they ever wanted to sell it, please contact me.  I think the letter came back undelivered because the address wasn't a mailing address at that time.  I assumed it wasn't meant to be, but my dream never went away. 

So, almost a month ago, I suddenly had the urge to go down there again.  We've been living in Palmer for ten years now, which is about halfway to Cedar Creek Lake from my childhood home in Arlington.  I had been confined to my couch for a week, in pain, and was so stir crazy that I couldn't stand it anymore.  I was hit with a horrible wave of depression and loneliness that happens with every spring flare-up.  I couldn't take it anymore.  When I have moments like this, I am desperately trying to find things that I can do to relieve the emotional pain.  And I was suddenly remembering my most cherished childhood memories.  I wanted to go where my happiest times were spent to help cure the blues.  I wanted to drive down to see the lake house again.  It was pulling me there like the strongest magnet in the world.  I simply had to get down there right away, so we drove down there.  This time we had a better idea of where to go.  I'd been looking at Google maps and knew right where to go.  It took some time, and we even had to pull over to make sure we were on the right path, but we were.  And this time we found it with much more ease and there it was!  My pretty lake house, blue and whole, same as it ever was.  There were a few changes underneath the front of the place, and the boat house wasn't there anymore, and it appeared that they use the area between the two docks for swimming.  We never swam in that spot as children due to the big ugly stump that was in the water.  I was terrified of that stump!  But that stump wasn't there anymore.  The water was very low since we're in a little bit of a drought.  But I totally trespassed and walked down to the waters edge and I shed a few tears as I remembered my times with Grandad, and the summertimes spent at that wonderful place.  This is my home.  I belong there.  No doubt about that.  I have never felt more sure of anything that I can remember.  I belong there. 

Well, since that day I have been obsessing about lake front property in the Cedar Creek Lake area.  It has taken over my life the last few weeks.  I now have a picture of our old lake house on my desktop and on my phone.  I stare at the pictures every single day and visualize Jim and I living in that house.  It's small, maybe smaller than my own house, but I feel like I belong there.  Maybe I don't belong in that same place but I belong on that lake.  I look at available property every single day and I have been doing so for nearly a month now.  Life has thrown us some curve balls this year and we struggle to make ends meet as we try to pay off the expenses we have recently had to charge on credit cards.  We've had to give up a lot of things and cut our grocery budget in half, and some months we can barely scrape by.  Yet here I sit, dreaming of how we can purchase our lake house.  I cannot remember ever wanting something so badly in my whole life.  This is something I've been dreaming about and wanting since I was a little girl, that's a long time!  And why now?  Why now when we are having such a difficult time?  I told Jim that I would be willing to sell off every single one of my collectibles if I could have my lake house.  And I meant that.  I have closets full of Barbie dolls, Hallmark ornaments, other figurines and collectibles.  They aren't worth a whole lot individually but if I sold off a great deal of what I have, we might be able to put a dent into the debt.  But I don't see it buying us a lake house.  I've started looking at jobs.  I don't know what I would qualify for with my pain levels and limitations.  I don't feel like I am completely disabled, my body is able to do a lot of things that most fibromyalgia sufferers aren't able to do, but I do have some really bad days where I cannot put forth 100%.  I have a guilty conscience and if someone is paying me to do a great job on something, I will put forth 100% and then suffer through the pain later on when I'm alone.  But if I were to go back to work full time, I wouldn't be able to spend the next day recuperating on the couch.  Right now my muscles still feel the burn from this last spring flare up.  Yes, it's summertime now, but I'm still recovering from that flare up.  I'm back in therapy and going to my every other week chiro visits.  It's just taking its sweet time putting me back to where I consider my "normal."  I just don't know what I can do to bring in enough of an income to make my dreams come true.  If you read my last blog, you'll see where I talked about how incredibly hard Jim works at his job.  Ten hour days, plus he checks his work emails in the evenings and weekends.  He doesn't have anything left in him to work a second job, so it's all up to me.  I just don't know where to begin.  I feel like this is something that is meant to be, I am feeling this pull that is stronger than ever and it feels so right.  It feels like it's so close I can touch it.  It feels like my meant to be.  It feels like there is nothing that is going to stop this from happening.  But there is.  There are a lot of things standing in my way.  So I sit here feeling anxious and antsy, like I need to start working towards my goal.  I have been praying every day for the answers as to how it is going to happen.  I feel so strongly that God is leading me, guiding me, shoving me in that direction.  And I know from experience that when God has a plan, His plan will follow through.  If He is guiding me in a direction, He will give me the tools, I am just opening my heart and mind to receive the answers He is giving me on how to make this happen.  Because it is happening.  There is no doubt about that.  I have never been more sure of anything.  This is going to be my reality.  It is my reality.  My lake house is finally coming back to me. 

So now that I've shown the world that I'm completely loony tunes, I hope you won't think so when I am proud owner of a lake house and you are welcome to come visit me there.  :)
Well, it's almost been a week since my last blog. I can't sit and type up blogs the way I used to be able to due to pain levels.  It's easier for me to sit on the couch and use my laptop, but probably better posture to use the computer room desktop computer. 

Last week I was feeling a bit down and poured my heart out in my blog.  I felt very exposed after that and had dreams where I was back working at CompUSA again, but had no clothes on either.  Very exposed, very unprotected, very vulnerable.  Sharing a blog is a huge step for me because of how exposed it makes me feel.  I've lost people in my life before, due to blogging.  People made judgments and assumptions about me that just weren't true.  I always feel like I'm trying to prove myself, like I'm trying to convince others that I am worth their time, worth liking, worth knowing, worth anything.  Why should it matter?  Part of me thinks that if a person doesn't like me just as I am, there are thousands of others in this great big world who just might.  But I feel compelled to go chasing after the one person who doesn't.  Why would I even want to waste my time?  Because when someone makes up their mind about me, chances are pretty high that there isn't a damn thing I can do to change it.  I have spent a very long time trying to learn to be OK with me, just as I am, but sometimes I'm not.  There is always room for improvement.  I have a lot of growing to do.  I'm nowhere near being finished growing.  This is my year of changes and it's time for me to let go of anyone who just can't love me or accept me the way I am. 

Family is so important to me.  Right now my family is Jim.  He is the person I share my life with and my every single day with.  But we do not have children.  I think that life had other plans for us and we're happy and blessed in other ways rather than being parents to children.  But there are times I would love to be a part of a big family.  I know God's plan for us at this time is to be Aunt, Uncle, Godparents and Petparents.  I trust God's plan.  But I sometimes miss those family vacations, family weekends, family cookouts.  Summertime is reminding me of all of those times as a child where we are surrounded by people and family.  But because we don't raise our own children, my family is Jim and I am his family.  We have eachother.  Even as a child I would try to join other families.  I tagged along with Suzanne and her family every chance I got.  I was at every birthday party for her, her siblings and her cousins.  I grew up thinking I was one of them and feeling like one of them.  But they are all grown now and I never get to see any of them, the cousins don't even talk to me anymore.  As an adult, I've bonded with a lot of people whom I now consider my family.  Many of them have children and I would love to join them with their family events, family vacations, family cookouts, to watch children play, grow, and to see children doing all of the things I used to do as a child.  But I am not a part of anyone else's family.  Not really, not like that.  Summertime makes me long for that.  I want to go camping with friends and their children.  I want to go to the lake with families, to the beach with families.  Sissie and I talked about going to Destin, FL and I got so excited about the idea of taking a family vacation with her and her family!  Last summer when my sister and her family were in town, she and I got to take the boys places and I was so very happy!  I loved seeing these things through their eyes.  But everyone goes back home and it's just Jim and I.  He's my family and our kids are covered in fur.  I think this is one of the reasons I've longed for a lake house.  That way I can invite my friends and their families to come out and enjoy the weekend.  Then I can be a part of a family vacation since Jim and I don't have our own family.  Sounds silly but one thing I learned growing up in a non traditional family is that families are not always blood related.  When we become adults, we get to choose our families.  I've had a lot of people call me their family in my lifetime, but then when it came time for a "family" event, I wasn't allowed to be there.  But when I call someone my family, I mean that.  I invite them to family events, family reunions, etc.  When I say family I mean it. 

Anyhow...just rambling.

My dear friend Tracey and her daughter Meaghan came out to see me on Thursday. :)  I love my Tracey!  She gets me.  She gets me in a way that a lot of people don't because she knows what it's like to struggle with chronic issues that may keep her feeling isolated and alone.  She and I have a little arrangement:  We include eachother.  We both know what it's like to feel excluded due to our issues, how sometimes people may not even extend an invitation because we may not feel like attending.  I have always included her in anything we have going on, even if she can't make it.  I don't get discouraged if/when she can't make it and I would never stop inviting her, I always invite her no matter what!  I know that she feels the way I do, that even if we may not feel up to it, even if we may not have the money to make the drive or go to the public place or even if we have other plans, we still want to be included and invited.  And when we have to say "no" today, we want the opportunity to say yes tomorrow.  When I was going to go to Arlington to hang out with friends, I was going to invite Tracey.  I invited her to go to my high school reunion last October.  She came and attended, and we had a ton of fun!  I felt safe having Tracey at my side.  I always feel safe, comfortable and at ease if I have a friend with me who accepts me just as I am.  It helps me not have those anxious feelings when I think people may judge me.  With Tracey, it's just comfortable.  I can act stupid, I can say MEATBALLS, I can vent about stupid shit that has me feeling down, I can have a drink and get tipsy and make a fool of myself and laugh, I can pour out my whole heart and life story and she doesn't judge me, ridicule me, make me feel stupid, less than, or childish.  She gets me.  Pure and simple.  She doesn't notice the flaws in my house or my dust bunnies, or my clutter.  She doesn't judge my time spent on the computer during a fibro flare up because she may be spending the same amount of time on hers if it's infusion week or if she's suffering her own symptoms.  We laugh when we're together.  I can be me.  She doesn't give me attitude and then go talk shit behind my back.  She is loyal.  She gets me.  And I get her.  Too bad she's in Arlington.  I'd never feel lonely with Miss Tracey out here!  I think she'd like moving out here, unless she doesn't want to feel lonesome too.  But if we have eachother, then we'll never feel alone. 

After my Tracey time, I feel my battery was recharged and I was pumped up and excited as I approached the weekend.  My confidence was a bit higher and I was ready to be social, connect with people, step outside of my comfort zone and go forward!  But then my poor sweet honey had a migraine on Friday, so we spent Friday evening at home, chilling, trying to get him to feel better.  Saturday he was a little bit better, we bathed the dogs and did our grocery shopping, then sat outside on the back deck that evening to watch the fireflies and have a drink, and just enjoy the summer evening.  The best part of the day during the summertime heat is the evening as the sun is going down.  :)  Sunday brought us 104 degrees.  Jim got out there to do some weed-eating but he got a bit overheated and had to come in early.  It was HOT!  We both felt lousy all day Sunday and I don't know if the heat was making us feel bad, or if we just felt bad and the heat was making us feel worse.  But the weekend came to a close and it was a pretty blah weekend overall.  I'm hoping next weekend will be better. 

So....onto part two.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

OK so I just posted the blog I wrote in April, recapping the year before. I copied and pasted it from my Livejournal account.  At the end of that blog I was supposed to continue, but I never did because I couldn't figure out which blog to use that day.  What I meant to write about was the mini-tornado we had in April.  The storms were rolling in that night and I tried to stay up and wait for them, just in case I needed to wake Jim up and get us into our bathroom for shelter.  But my eyes refused to stay open and I assumed the storm was taking its sweet ass time arriving, so I went to sleep.  It wasn't an hour later that rain and hail were pounding on the window so loudly that it woke us up.  I was so delirious and groggy that I couldn't form words right, but the adrenaline kicked in and I was very awake.  The wind was like nothing I had ever heard before.  It did indeed sound like a freight train.  I kept pacing the living room saying "Omg, the wind! OMG the wind!" I didn't know what to do!  Then I heard a noise.  I didn't know what that was, maybe a thud with a scrapey sound and I said "what was that???"  Jim said he didn't know.  The Bradford Pear out front was being blown all crazy like and I was too scared to stand close to the window for fear of glass flying at me.  Then, everything got really still.  I got down on my knees in front of the window and looked out, trying to see what damage had occurred.  Then the lightning flashed and I saw it: Our tree.  Our pretty, precious Bradford Pear Tree was split right in half.  The wind ripped it in half.  I started to cry and say "My tree!  My pretty tree!"  Jim just rubbed my back, saying "I know, baby, I know."  He was speechless.  I was numb.  My pretty tree was gone as far as I knew.  The storm was slowing down at that point so I did go outside and take some pictures of it.  My heart was broken.

Life has gone on, we have since gotten a new roof out of the deal, and the remaining half of Mr. Tree still stands with tiny little sprouts coming out of the bare spot.  But I am still heart broken about that tree.  I know it sounds silly, but that tree was our most photographed tree in ten years of living here.  We have 14 mulberry trees, three crape myrtles, a few other seedlings here and there, but ONE Bradford Pear.  Every year on my birthday, Jim would take a picture of me with that tree.  Every fall it would turn yellow, orange and red.  Every Spring, it would explode in gorgeous white blossoms and bees would swarm all over it.  Every summer, it would shade our front window, porch, and a good portion of the yard and the front flower bed.  Every winter, the cardinals would spend their time on this tree, eating at the feeder, eating the berries.  And that scary summer of 2008, the leaves formed a design on my blinds as the sun shone through them and it formed the shape of an angel that was for my eyes only.  It came just at the right time.  I'll never forget that.  So for me to have lost half of that tree was upsetting to say the least.  I loved that tree.

We've since planted a few more saplings in pots to see what we can get to grow.  But nothing can replace that tree. We've watched it grow in ten years.  I miss that half.  Every time I go outside, I will stop and stare at my tree.  I stare at the bald area on the trunk.  I stare at the sky where there used to be tree.  I stare at how awkward it now looks, missing half of it's canopy, but how it seems to want to live despite losing its half.  Very symbolic if you ask me.  A fighter, that tree is.  It kind of reminds me of life.  How sometimes we lose ourselves, we lose our faith, we lose our self esteem, so half of us feels gone.  But the other half remains and we have to just keep going and keep fighting to live.  

We had a few other storms that scared the heck out of me, gave us tornado warnings and scary afternoons and evenings.  We've lucked out and been spared, even when the same storms went on to Alabama to drop deadly tornadoes onto them.  It's so sad.  
And now I'm begging for rain.  I don't know if we can even afford to run the sprinklers this year, so I am relying on Mother Nature to water the yard.  We have some bald spots and scorched looking spots where there used to be shade and now the sun bares down on the yard.  I hate seeing my yard looking all thirsty.  But, well, we have to eat and all that.

OK that was the other part of April that I meant to share.
Just an FYI for anyone here reading these posts - I used to blog at livejournal, my link is http://melodyanna121.livejournal.com/.  All of the things that happened during that summer of 2007 were shared on livejournal and myspace.  I only double posted a few here, just to try it out.  But have been away from this blog from 2007 until here recently.  I'm trying to find the right blog to use that is more user friendly with Facebook.  If this one continues to be difficult, I'll go back to livejournal.
I have social phobia.

"Social phobia -Social phobia is a persistent and irrational fear of situations that may involve scrutiny or judgment by others, such as parties and other social events."

I have dealt with this most of my adult life but it gets worse through time and after repeated situations where I am judged for being who I am. I'm now at an age where I am working harder to not care so much what others think of me, but for some reason I still do. And for some reason people still want to judge me.

I don't know how to be who they want me to be, I only know how to be ME. God made me, but for some reason that just isn't enough. I have never quite been good enough for others. The result of my inadequacy has been a lot of loneliness. I'm lonely because we fled to this little town ten years ago, running away from people we felt no longer wanted us anymore. Running away from the crowds of Arlington, running to a quiet little town where we could have some peace and quiet and where we could make a fresh start. But running to people we thought loved us unconditionally, only to be heartbroken. In ten years we've spent a lot of time alone. I've filled my house with animals to bring me joy and companionship. People have come and gone, but very few stick around. I have tried everything under the sun to connect with others, but the feeling was rarely reciprocated. I wasn't good enough. I have built up some really thick walls to protect my heart. People don't realize that you can get your heart broken by others, not just in a romantic situation but in life. In any social situation, anyone can get their heart broken.

I'm inadequate. I have always felt inadequate. I live inside this body that doesn't allow me to do all the things I want to do, and who would want me? I live a life of pain and people just don't want much to do with me because I cannot participate in the things I desperately wish I could. I wish I could join you in all the things that you do. I wish I could be like you and everyone else. I don't choose this or want this, but this is what I have been dealt. I am excluded all the time because of this. People just "assume" I will be in pain so I don't receive many invitations. Please don't assume. Assuming is the worst. Then when I do get invited, I stress and obsess over what the situation is going to be like, will they judge me, will I fit in, will they even like me? And then I end up with a stomach ache over it. So I end up missing an event all together. It's just too much trouble sometimes. Why should I bother putting myself out there when all I seem to do is get hurt? Who would even want me? Who wants a friend who cannot be the kind of friend I want? Would I be friends with me? Lately, I'm not so sure. My self esteem seems to be struggling pretty hard lately. I do have a lot of love in my heart for those dear to me, but that's all I can even offer at this point. I love to give but when making ends meet becomes this difficult, how can I give? What is there left to give? I have such a difficult time putting myself out there because of a lifetime of rejection and feeling not good enough, so I sometimes don't even try. When I do try, I end up making this huge fool of myself and then end up hiding in my house for a month so as to avoid the embarrassment of facing those I exposed my heart to.

Being alone seems to be my life theme. Sometimes I do cherish my alone time, but I reach out to my friends online. I feel like I can be myself with many of you I have met online. You accept me just as I am, and don't criticize, judge, or ridicule the life I lead. My life isn't an easy life. And yes, there are many out there who are SO much worse, trust me I know this. But living in this body has been very challenging. Today I may hurt, tomorrow I may feel a little better. I have no way of knowing what tomorrow is going to bring, so I do what I can today. And if I have less pain, I do what I can. Sometimes that's tending to my beloved animals. Sometimes that's cleaning the hummingbird feeders. Sometimes that's vacuuming the house or cleaning the kitchen or doing a load of laundry. I do what I can with what God has given me. I'm not a miracle worker. But then there may be a day when it feels like I've been beaten me with a baseball bat. I don't want pity or sympathy, but sometimes I just need my friends and family to reassure me that they do still love me, anyway. That they still love me even though I am not whole. Even though I'm not as good as others. Even though I cannot perform every day miracles. Despite all of my inadequacies, you still love me. Sometimes I just need to know that because deep inside, I really don't know. I need the reassurance. During a flare-up, I am suddenly all alone and people in my life pull away from me. What else am I supposed to think but that they don't love me or want me anymore? Then when the flare up is over, I wonder where everyone went. I don't reach out for help when I am struggling. I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to be a bother. But I am always shown what I mean to people when I flare. Like that post going around FB says: "If you cannot love me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best."
And sometimes I feel like I'm worthless and a nobody. I don't know who still loves me, even when I flare. Because I can always count on a spring time flare. I can sometimes be confined to my couch on and off for about a month. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it has been happening every spring since 1999. Without fail. Every single year. So it shouldn't be a surprise to those who know me. It shouldn't be a shock when I spend a month feeling alone and depressed, not acting quite like myself. It's been this way for years and years.

When new people come into my life, they think I'm this lazy ass person who sits here on the computer all day. What I must say here is try to imagine what it must be like to be all alone and in pain, with nobody to lean on and nobody to reassure me. All alone. Except the amazing friends I like to call Angels who live in my computer. They are THERE for me. They offer me kind words, they offer me support. They play facebook games with me and send me gifts, help me complete my tasks, and I bring joy to them when I post an animal or tree that they can use for their game. Sounds kind of silly but when you live in MY body, it's those little things that mean the world to me. Try to imagine what it must feel like to be in bad pain, all alone, for about a month. And the only thing that keeps my sanity and brings me a smile is this laptop computer. Oh, people love to judge my life and the time I spend online. But you simply have no idea what life is like living inside this body.

I like to believe that I am a strong, fierce fighter. I fight this every single day. I work out, I go to therapy, I go see a chiropractor, I take vitamins and supplements, I'm improving my diet and eating a few more organic foods than I used to. I'm switching to healthier alternatives to my guilty pleasures. I am gradually eliminating some of the things that may contribute to pain. But all I can do is take life one day at a time. And trust in God. I know He has a plan for me.

I am a tough case, I admit it. I will tell anyone and everyone that I am. I even told Jim before we even dated that he didn't want to get involved with me. I'm a mess, I told him. You don't want me. He disagreed, and was willing to take on this tough case because he was already experiencing unconditional love towards me. I don't think anyone has any idea all that he does for me. He has made all of my dreams come true and then some. He works so hard for me and our fur-family. There isn't anything that he wouldn't do for me. But he is lonely, too. He has a lot of heart and would give the shirt off of his back to those he loves. But he is very protective over me. He has held me when I shed tears over rejection and heartbreak. He has always been there for me, each and every time someone walked out of my life. He has always been in my corner and on my side. He supports me in every decision I make. He lifts me up when I am down, reassures me when I am discouraged, convinces me I am worthy when I feel like I am not. He always puts me first, extends me more respect than anyone in the whole world, and has never said an unkind thing to me. He has never, ever disrespected me in any way! He helps me with some of the basic chores that may be a little bit too difficult on certain days. He is patient when I become overly frustrated with a task that is just pissing me off. He tolerates me when I am stubborn and hard headed and when I snap "I can do it myself!" He knows that when I scrub the floors that I'll be paying for it later. He tries to step in and do the job for me, but he knows I want to do it myself. He knows that when I'm determined to do something, I do it. And he knows not to try and stop me, even though I'll pay for it later. Because he knows I cannot stand feeling like a worthless waste of space. He encouraged me to leave my job in 2000 when I was struggling with the pain at work. He is loving and patient even though we cannot afford to buy all the luxuries that everyone else has. And there are always going to be the braggers in life who love to go on and on about how many things they bought and how great life is and how expensive this or that was, and Jim never complains. Ever. He never has a melt down about how our tv may not be as GREAT as everyone else's. He doesn't flip out about how we don't have all the game systems that everyone else has. He doesn't ask for anything at all! He is the most giving person I know. When a neighbor needs help with their computer, he drops everything to help them. Because that is just who he is! When my family needs help with something, we'll drive 45 minutes away so he can help them. He drives 45 minutes to work one way, every day, and he never tires of it. He never complains about it.

But here is what is sad. Because he is married to me, he is just as lonely sometimes. He doesn't have many male friends who accept him. He puts me first. He has always put me first. Males don't want anything to do with a guy who puts his wife first. So his best friends are my girlfriends. I never realized how lonely he was until he told me last fall. I just assumed he wasn't because he has interaction at work each day. But he's lost a lot of friends over the years, too.

We are both guilty of shutting people out sometimes. It's us against the world. It's always been just us. We open our doors and hearts to anyone who would want us, but here we sit alone, day in and day out. People exclude us from things because Jim works ten hour days, gets home exhausted and then spends his evenings either helping me, helping friends, or if he's lucky he'll get to put his feet up and relax for a few minutes before we have to do our night time routine. He's TIRED, and understandably so. People don't come see us. Our house is not good enough. We used to have neighbors pop in on us at Chestnut Ridge on any day of the week, they'd just show up we'd just talk about anything and everything, laugh, share, visit, just hang out. But it's just so different out here. He's so busy and too tired for people to want anything to do with him. Or too married. And I'm too much of an annoyance and too much of a burden on others. So we lean on eachother and our bond continues to strengthen, even after 15+ years together. Because most of the time, all we really have is eachother. He's my whole world, and I'm his. He deserves the whole world. He works harder than anyone I know. He goes above and beyond at his job, day in and day out. Then he comes home to help me with anything I need or help our friends with anything they need. I can't think of when he makes any time to do anything for himself. Sometimes he'll play Wii but he's been too tired to even do THAT anymore.
He has a lot to offer anyone who would have him, but because he is so busy taking care of his wife and home, and so busy working to keep us in this house, people don't want him. He's not good enough for them. Well I think it's the opposite. He is a true Gem. An extremely talented, hard working, intelligent, loving, loyal man is a true gem in this world and better than anyone else I know. Sure, he makes mistakes. Sure, he may say the wrong things. But who doesn't? Nobody is perfect, but I think my husband is about the best person I know. And people just don't know what they are missing out on. I have never, ever known anyone who is such a giver. He doesn't have a selfish bone in his body.

And then, here I am with all my issues and problems. I'm a tough case. I'm not worth someone's time and effort so they split, or I shut them out. I am tired of the hurt. Tired of rejection and feeling alone. I have tried to open up my heart and I have tried to put myself out there, but here I am once again, wanting to just be a hermit and hide out in my house. It's safe here. My animals would never hurt me the way people have. I have my laptop and my online world. Judge me if you will, but you have no idea what life is like living in this body. No idea.

I have a lot of heart and love to give those who will have me. But the result of having a big heart is that I also get hurt. If you want to hurt me and you say something with the intention of hurting me, you'll get what you want. I feel the pain with much more intensity than those who don't have big hearts. Those of us who love with all of our hearts also get hurt the most easily. I cannot change who I am just to fit in with those who are hard hearted. I've tried.
All I can do is be me. And one of these days, THAT will be enough for others. Just me, just as I am.
And Jim will be good enough for others, just as he is. Which is the most amazing individual I know.

It is time for a change. I am trying to figure out where God is leading me. I can feel it in my heart and soul that we are being led somewhere, but I just don't know where. One of my Mother's favorite sayings is "Stop doing what doesn't work." Big changes are coming and I'm scared and excited at the same time. For those of you who have stood by me through the bad times, called me when I was crying, sent me a an email when I was down, bless you and I love you for it. And thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your love and kindness means the whole world to me. There are no words that can express what you mean to me. My life is better because you are in it.