Gonna just go ahead and feel that.

I have this gift of rational optimism. I can rationalize what’s good or at least ok about a situation and why a situation shouldn’t feel bad. I can turn pains into learning opportunities. I can turn anger into awareness and constructive criticism. I can turn grieving into gratitude. Gosh, it’s almost like turning water into wine sometimes.

Oh and bootstraps? Yeah, I got ’em… and I can pull ’em like no other with my special boot strap pulling gloves… just check out these guns… you can’t keep this down! Up I go via boot.strap.pulling… Oh hell yes I’m a survivor. I was born to overcome adversity, yes sir!  Yeah. I do the “be strong” thing well also.

These have been great coping mechanisms for not letting some of life’s woes get me down…

Shattered dreams of getting married just once, til death do us part, raising a sweet little family. Thank goodness I finally caught him in his lies. It was a get out of jail free card!

Then that 5-year relationship I really believed would last forever, until it didn’t. Well, that’s a bummer, but I deserve better and you know what? That long distance thing isn’t for me anyway.

Busted hopes of reconciliation via pictures of newfound happiness on facebook. At the end of the day, this is ok. All I really want is for him to be happy and he looks happier and healthier with her. If there’s someone better out there for him, then there is someone better out there for me. I’ve moved on before and I can move on again… over and over until I get it right.

Frustration over doing the ‘family’ thing, just my daughter and I still, going to my brother’s wedding solo, and sharing lots of thoughts I saw mentioned on this blog and this one as I stumbled upon them today; that fear of not finding someone to share my life with. It’s not a reflection of my value in society or my worth or my character that I’m not with someone. I’m surrounded by great people who love me and who I love. I am thankful for that network. I can be happy without a husband in spite of what society might say. There’s upside to doing this on my own and I’m doing just fine. If He has a match for me, I’m sure I’ll find that person at some point and actually it’s totally fine if I don’t.

Disappointment and strife in family relationships. You know what, it’s really fine that my dad and I don’t have a relationship. What’s important is that he was there for my sister because she needed it more.

Illness and death of loved ones. I’m just glad they’re not suffering anymore; Maybe going through this health situation will change their outlook on life; I’m just thankful I had so many years with him. Etc.

Financial hardships. Professional struggles. That feeling of “I just can’t catch a break.” This too shall pass. Another F’ing Growth Opportunity.

And the prespectives I offer others in their times of trial are usually appreciated as somewhat fresh, uplifting. The ‘strength’ people see when they perceive me ‘beating the odds’ and ‘rising through the ashes’… I guess they find it admirable and maybe they find it serves as an example of being strong in their own lives. Well, if we’re being honest here, and why wouldn’t we… I don’t do it for anybody but me… and of course my little girl. It’s pretty selfish, though… Perhaps I forget that putting that brave face on and taking it all in stride might make others feel like they need to do that too.

I suppose that’s all well and good in some ways… but these days… I think a lot about the drawbacks.

Drawbacks to being strong and optimistic and rational, you ask? Well, friends… there are two sides to every coin. No rainbow comes without rain. The sun only rises after darkness. No benefit comes without its costs. And no strength comes without its complimentary weakness… even an overused strength is often a weakness itself.  In my case, i do strong, optimistic, rational so well that sometimes I am really weak at brave and vulnerable and real.  You see, none of those responses and rationalizations up there are wrong, per se… but I slap them on over gaping wounds like a bandage and go about my business. How about some antiseptic? Does that wound need stitches? Would this particular wound benefit from aloe vera or even just fresh air? Might we check the surroundings to be sure we don’t inflict these same wounds over and over? Has that wound been opened before and not healed? Is there a systemic issue? I don’t stop to ask questions and in doing so, just feel the situation and validate the feeling and respect the emotion that comes from the situation. I get right to the ‘dealing with the issue’ part, on the double.

On the outside, that might look really efficient. At the end of the day, it’s kind of like cleaning the house 5 minutes before company comes. That stack of mail, books, toys, etc I throw in a box and stuff into the closet today becomes a box of expired opportunities, dusty, broken goods, and “I was wondering where that was” months down the road when I’m doing the real work.  And I can’t deny that my eagerness to jump to resolution also makes it pretty tough to remember to just shut up and listen to the people I care about who actually are taking the time to honor their emotions through a situation.

So today, these past couple weeks really, here I sit with a box of stuffed away experiences I find myself tripping over. I find myself frustrated with these issues I thought I had so deftly dealt with months and years ago. Going through a box of stuffed away clutter I might mutter “What? I thought I paid this parking ticket!” “Crap! we missed that birthday party.” “Aw nuts… I never sent this get well card.” “Geez, I was so excited to send this to the new baby and now it’s too small.” In this case, I’m unpacking tidbits of life and can’t deny my irritation when those wounds are reopened… “wait a minute… I’ve already decided this was ok. This is dealt with. It’s not supposed to hurt anymore”… but it does… oh how it does.

Like He always does… I find placed before me agents of healing… some in the form of dreams of things to come. some in the form of friends. some in the form of crazy coincidences that open opportunities and gentle nudges to take steps, to do things just a little bit differently. some in the form of bloggers like her and her, eerily struggling with some of my very same hurts, just a little more bravely and boldly.

And so, I’m gratefully inspired…

I’m gonna try something new. maybe not right now. maybe not all at once.
I’m gonna just go ahead and let myself be sad that my daughter’s father and my father really aren’t that different and she’ll know many of the same hurts I knew, despite my efforts to make it not so. 
I have my permission to be sad that my dad and I have lost many years of real father daughter relationship (partly because of those rational bandages)… regardless of the fact that I’m glad he was there for my sister.
I’m gonna let myself be a little bummed out that a very special man in my life has moved on, that there probably isn’t another time for us, and that I’m disappointed he won’t be the man in my daughter and my family, as I always hoped he would be, regardless of the fact that I’m deeply happy for and proud of him.
I’m gonna allow myself to be frustrated, disappointed, and tired of being a single mom at 33. I give myself permission to dabble in the loneliness, the anger, the self doubt, maybe even a little pouting and worrying and fear.
It’s gonna be ok to ask God my unanswerable questions and be mad at him just a little bit for not seeing things my way and hookin’ a sister up. It’s gonna be ok to be sad and disapopinted and bummed out and angry – at myself, at others.
It’s gonna be just fine to allow myself to feel the full range of emotions connected to and caused by things that I’m not happy about.
No matter how fine the overall situation may be, in spite of how otherwise beautifully blessed as I truly am… Feelings about situations that are not ideal deserve to be felt and don’t need to be rationalized.
 
And yes, all of that is gonna hurt.like.hell… There are a number of old crusty bandages to rip off. I’ll be tempted to cope in my old ways and tug those boot straps and slap on more bandages. But this is a skill I’ll practice, a new pair of shoes to break in. At the end of it all, I’ll more than likely still arrive at the same rational, optimistic conclusions and redress the wounds in faith, optimisim, and gratefulness… but this time, these wounds might be wrapped for real healing.
 
My infinite thanks to those friends and bloggers and Him who have helped me see it this way today. Love.
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2 responses to “Gonna just go ahead and feel that.”

  1. Michael says :

    Dearest Friend,
    “,,, that fear of not finding someone to share my life with.” Those words struck a cord in me and I quickly realized what it was. My experience is that I have come to know, in a very personal way, that we are never, ever alone. God is always there, wanting to share our lives with us.

    So, you see, He is always there and you are never alone. Just because your husband made a terrible decision to satisfy himself in the wrong way, and to damage his family’s lives, you will be okay on your own. Because you will never be.

    • smcgintysd says :

      Michael,
      Thanks so much for your kind words. For sure I agree with you… and most days when I find myself pondering why I can’t find the kind of partnership and “my own family” that I seek, I find myself surrounded by some of His greatest gifts to me as a wonderful reminder that I am never alone. 🙂

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