Friday, November 26, 2010

Retracing Seventeen-The Epilogue

You could've promised me tomorrow, but you didn't. A dance of glancing eyes and gestures left to imagination's interpretation. A feathered touch across the knee in some sort of sympathetic understanding attempt at comfort left me questioning your intent. You spoke of your presence as if it were powerful enough to entice others into some sort of magical compliance. A man aware of the effect he had on the opposite sex-golden hair and blue eyes.

A world I didn't ask for, but I fell into anyway. A world of pretend built upon what we think we can touch. A world reflected on the stage, in the screen, on a painter's canvas, and in the words of a book or a script ready to be visualized by another's interpretation. A world colored by English rock bands, angry female guitarists, subtitled films that left your brain on speed dial, giant Downtown Denver bookstores, Colorado's version of Los Angeles, Impressionists, colored sticks of incense, a pack of illegally bought smokes, Sylvia Plath and Diane Wakoski. Writing of poets that you said reminded you of mine.

You could've said I was lost-a seventeen year old girl on a path of youthful discovery. I would've said it was the last time I felt alive. Yet, nothing that intensely good lasts forever. The delusion of promise can only be savored until it escapes into the forgotten plume of leftover ashes.

So you went your way and I went mine. You said you loved her, but you weren't in love with her. It was something that took me seventeen years to understand-a concept that became a shadowed reflection in the aftermath of chance.

I feel nothing for you now, as though our paths never crossed. As though words were never spoken and an eraser has taken to that corner of a young girl's heart. Still in this circled journey, I must credit those blue eyes with a piece of my existence.

The only problem is that I don't really feel the need to see why. The rose's petals were already wilted before it was time to say goodbye.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Two Mattresses

The two most comfortable beds I've ever slept on in my entire life haven't been my own.  One of them was in the boutique hotel I stayed at in L.A. about six months back.  Kind of strange because you wouldn't think it would be that soft and inviting to sleep in by glancing at it.  Not to mention I've stayed in slightly swankier places, but all the decorative fluff of those top rated hotels couldn't hold a candle to whatever type of mattress this place uses.  It was really hard to motivate myself to get up each morning-to go work out or even walk next door to the coffee shop for some breakfast.  If it wasn't for all those school appointments, personal mini-adventures, and knowledge of how long it takes to navigate through big city traffic, I probably wouldn't have.

The second is a little more complicated than the first-it's the mattress that belongs to my ex.  I'm sure he still has it because sleeping on that bed gives you the same experience that lying on a big fluffy cloud might.  Soft like a big pile of Charmin toilet paper, yet supportive enough so you don't fall through.  The man knew his mattresses.  He co-owns a local chain of furniture stores so he'd have to.  After one night on that baby I knew why he complained about mine.     

So why am I blogging about sleeping on really comfortable mattresses on a site that's supposed to be about high sensitivity and other thought-provoking stuff?  Simple-sometimes even hsps get tired of being so serious all the time.  Especially if you've got a high sensation seeker streak within your veins.  I'm sure I'll find a way to write a meaningful line or two somewhere in this post, so if that's what you're looking for today keep reading.

The real reason that I'm blogging about these super comfortable mattresses of course is because tonight I thought of him.  I mean seriously thought of him.  The kind of thoughts that make you almost pick up the phone and dial one of those numbers that you didn't program into your new cell phone, but that are still burned in your memory.  You almost call because you miss the friendship that you thought would always be there, no matter what.  You almost call because despite going six months without talking, he's still the one person on this planet that knows you the best and that you used to be able to talk to about anything.  You end up not calling because you realize that you no longer want everything that came along with that friendship and that it would be too easy to fall right back into it.

Then your thoughts drift to your former home-the warm weather, the lush green landscapes that don't turn brown in the winter, the later sunsets since you're on the end of the time zone not the beginning of it, the oceans, the white sands, an actual nightlife, and so on.  For a moment you consider the possibility of going back.  Then you open your eyes back up and see what's in front of you.  A beautiful home that you own, not rent.  A home that you've loved since you were 31 and still do.  You remember the battles that you fought to get here.  You realize that you're living with the results of your former hard work and choices.  You realize that you're comfortable, content, and happy.  You know how much stress you would have to endure if you ended up leaving, realizing that a part of you would rather stay put.

It would be kind of like staying in the world of those two mattresses.  So comfortable, so cushioning, so protective.  But a mattress is only meant to help you rejuvenate the strength that you need to conquer your daily battles.  You can't spend your entire life lying on it.  If you did, you wouldn't really be a part of existence.

Destiny would remain a vision, self-discovery a forgotten dream, and life an isolated delusion.     


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You're Very Normal (for a Sensitive)

"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold."-Helen Keller

Finally I have an answer.  After a few phone calls and voice mails to my doctor's office, his assistant left me a voicemail this afternoon confirming what I already suspected-"all your results were very normal."  No under active thyroid, no diabetes, no nothing.  Kind of a miracle considering how horrible I felt and the symptoms I was experiencing.  Maybe it really was nothing but stress combined with the heightened awareness that sensitives have regarding any minor changes in their bodies.  It could've all been a by-product of the fact that, like it or not, sensitivity means we just can't handle as many of life's demands in the same way that the rest of the world can. 

It took a lot of courage for me to go to that doctor.  I was scared.  I almost didn't go.  But something within me was convincing enough to have me put aside my fears and get an answer.  So, now I have it.  "N" was right.  It was probably just the stress of an MBA program on top of 50-60 hour work weeks. 

I'm lucky this time.  I still have a green light and the opportunity to keep living my "normal" life.  The only reminder is the $185 dollars that my insurance didn't cover because I haven't met my $700 annual deductible.  Thankfully my company's medical expense reimbursement account picked up the tab.  I'm not complaining.  I have a piece of intangible freedom in the form of a second chance.

A second chance that I've decided I'm not going to gamble with.  Destiny may be a choice, an achievement, and determined by the manifestation of our thoughts, but that doesn't mean it can't stand to be revised.  No more pushing.  No more striving beyond the limits of what my sensitivity tells me I can handle from day to day, month to month, or year to year.  No more ignoring the warning signs and telling myself to "toughen up" or "get through it somehow."

Tomorrow I begin another re-write, as I've done a few times before.  I might have to rip out a few of the draft's pages, let the wind carry away a few others, and add a few unplanned scenes.  Danger and uncertainty exist whether we choose to face it or ignore it. 

One relinquishes control and the other leads you to the creation of what you wish to see.  And the only thing I wish to see is a life that I don't have to look back on and wonder where it went.  

THE END (for now)..........

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Truth Behind Confessions

This week I discovered a great story in the form of a randomly chosen Lifetime movie.  Completely chick like I realize, but sometimes I find it amazing how our intuition can reveal the answers to our inner struggles through artistic expressions.  On the surface, Confessions of a Go Go Girl doesn't seem like a film with a viable message.  The title can give the impression that it's just another producer's chance to make a quick name (and buck) by highlighting the economy's best self-selling money maker: sex, or at least the promise of it.

Confessions is a meaningful surprise however, much in the same way that Jerry Bruckheimer's Coyote Ugly was.  The heroines are remarkably similar in some ways-both artists with a dream who become someone they're not in order to pay the bills while they pursue it.  In the process of becoming someone they're not they discover their true selves and grow an innate skill that they need to help them accomplish their dreams.  Violet is from a blue collar background who uses her sense of self-sufficiency and ambitious drive to take a leap of faith, eventually winning the support of her father.  Jane is from a background of privilege, who suddenly finds herself without the support of her family once she decides to pursue a career that they feel is impractical.

Both of these characters soon find themselves in worlds beyond their previous comfort zones.  They begin to hide the new persona they're becoming from those individuals in their lives who would find it shocking and unimaginable.  But more importantly they begin to use those new personas as an excuse to hide the truth from themselves, as those alternate identities become crutches that prevent them from becoming who they really want to be.  Violet and Jane could be any one of us.  We all use something to hide from ourselves.  We take on a new identity that is the complete opposite of the script that we've followed for so long in order to free a piece of our soul that can't seem to speak the lines.

Sometimes we end up losing ourselves in that "pretend" persona.  We forget why we tried it on for size in the first place.  We're no longer just pretending.  We are that image because it gives us a sense of something that we somehow couldn't give our former self.  That's when we're forced to be honest.  We have to sit down, look ourselves in the mirror, and ask why we created that persona in the first place.

For me the truth behind that confession isn't that hard to discover.  It probably isn't for many of us, once we take the time to take a look at the reflection we've been ignoring for so long.  I chose not to believe in myself because I placed more value in the opinion of someone else who said I shouldn't.  I created my persona and then became it in order to have a surefire means of achieving "success" so that I wouldn't have to face the possibility of failure.

But the person I failed was my true self.  Belief in who you are doesn't come from what others think you should be or the kind of life they think you should be living.  You'll be chasing after the wind forever if you think that's where your answers are going to come from.  You'll continue to sacrifice your potential in exchange for placing more value on what you'll never grasp.  Success by anyone's definition but your own feels exactly like failure.  It's empty and meaningless-a downward spiral that turns you into a dishonest performer.

Becoming who you should be starts with one decision and only one decision.  The decision that says I believe in the inner reflection that someday others will get to see. 



Sunday, November 7, 2010

2 am and Dutch Apple Pie

Last night I couldn't sleep.  This isn't anything new, especially for someone whose mind likes to keep thinking even when it's time to turn out the lights.  One of my good friends from the company I worked for before "Chips 'R Us"-a breast cancer survivor-is back in town.  She decided to communicate via her niece on Facebook that she wanted to meet at one of the watering holes we used to frequent.  Well, I got the message too late of course, but said that I would love to meet for lunch or "something" before she leaves.  It was 2 am.  Unfortunately in the backwoods the bars close by 1. 

Part of being a sexual assault survivor means that you have a tendency to develop an unhealthy relationship with food at times.  Earlier in the day I had baked a dutch apple pie for the upcoming week's possible dessert consumption and had left it to cool on the stove top.  I knew better to touch it, especially in the middle of the night, but I was bored and feeling empty so I ate a piece.  Or was it two?  It was good, but it wasn't the type of satisfaction I was really looking for.

This friend of mine, she's a fighter.  Courageous.  Funny.  Obnoxious at times.  We used to call ourselves "The Outlaws," along with another lady we became friends with.  "B," "S," and I were there for each other-through the difficulties we faced at our jobs, the difficulties we faced once we punched out each day, and through the life changes we would soon face.  We had fun making each other laugh, staying up late at each others' houses knocking back a few drinks, watching obscure movies, and gossiping about the people in our lives.  We even came up with names for all the bosses at our job-"Sponge Bob," "Toby Keith," "Stuart Little," and my personal fave, "Peppermint Patty."  We were a triad of smart, sassy, playful trouble and we didn't care.  The one thing we did care about was each other-something that hasn't really evaporated between the numerous moves and separations.

It's been almost three weeks and the doctor's office hasn't called yet.  Either the results of my lab tests came back inconclusive/negative or they're retesting my vials just to make sure.  I'm feeling a lot better.  No more exhaustive fatigue, only a slight chest pain every now and then when I get upset, and the hair is starting to stay put.  As "N" said a week ago when I told her, "oh, that's just stress.  It's good to go (to the doctor), but you've been doing too much with work and school.  C'mon you're active."  I hope she's right.  I think she is.  I'm leaving a message with the office to make sure, but I've learned to have faith in the judgment of strong intuition over logical reason.

Still I can't help but wonder.  Especially at 2 am with my slices of temporary comfort.  2010 has been a mysterious year.  A year mostly marked by a lot of reunions and a return of things I once cherished.  Some of those returns have revealed new mysteries, confirmed old truths, reflected what I've forgotten, and served as arrows towards a synchronized direction. 

"B" and "S" have returned for some reason.  Signs of change, "spiritual aid," and "endings" have been popping up all over lately.  I miss the carefree aspect of our former closeness, but I know these ladies are strong.  They know how to maneuver themselves through adversity and come out more than "ok."  Change may be inevitable, but you don't have to let it destroy your potential to become something more than what you were.

Support can always be felt, even if it's just a set of vibes that somehow wakes you up in the middle of the night, craving a few slices of dutch apple pie.            

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dealing With the Dark Side of Empathy

Empathy opens the door for a variety of energy.  A lot of it could be classified as "negative."  When I say "negative," I mean in the sense that an empath often notices and even attracts the suffering of others.  They often get people they know and even complete strangers opening up to them about what they think is wrong in the world or the complaints they have about their current situation(s).  We want to help and offer support and compassion.  Happiness usually doesn't need that.  It's already achieved what it needs to. Its feet have long since jumped from the springboard of support it once gathered inspiration from.

There are times that I still get frustrated when I hear nothing but "problems" or let myself be affected by the sorrows of the universe.  A majority of the time I don't though.  I actually find myself wanting to hear what's really going on beneath the masks of pretend.  If anything, I can at least listen, nod in sympathy and feel that the other person has somehow been comforted by just being able to express themselves.  Part of the frustration sometimes is feeling like you can't do or say anything that's going to make everything all right.  I think it's important to realize that you can't control someone else's destiny.  The important thing is to just be there-silent or not so silent-the same way that the sun always finds a way to keep rising and setting each day. 

Sometimes you don't realize that the energy that you're picking up or receiving isn't from you.  You don't know how to separate yourself from it, and so you internalize it as if you were going through the same exact pain.  You can begin to wallow in the negative, thinking that you are somehow a "bad person," have a "doomed existence," or can never achieve a real state of being thankful for your life. 

A few things I've learned to do is talk myself through those feelings, take a few deep breaths (sometimes only in my imagination), and find a way to release or shield the energy.  At one of my accounts, I have an Assistant Manager who is on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.  She's a single mom, with three kids who have some medical problems of their own.  To say that she's the happiest, emotionally steady person on this planet would be a lie.  She's a good person underneath all that, who's trying really hard to make her life work.  I can read her uneasiness, tension, and emotional instability each time I see her.  She talks to me a lot.  The energy from her words and her voice is pretty strong.  It's the kind of "negative" energy that can make you feel as though you've been thrown up against a wall.  It's the kind that makes you feel as though your strong sense of self has somehow vanished and any voice you can muster is completely inadequate.

Sometimes she appears to be in lighter spirits, but seeing as how I have a "knack" for bringing out the "real" in people, she's usually on a complaining soap box during most of our encounters.  That energy can make me feel uncomfortable.  A few times it's caused me to be in a bad mood afterwards.  A few times it's made me wonder if she liked me and made me feel as though I was doing something wrong.  Those feelings are still there, but they're not as inwardly strong as they used to be.  I realized that I was picking up on her "negative" energy before she started expressing what she felt.  That energy wasn't me.  It had nothing to do with me.  It was hers. 

When she talks, I listen.  My eyes and facial expressions probably get sympathetic and understanding.  The few words I do get in might be encouraging or supportive.  I might be the only one she feels like she can talk to when she needs to.  I might be one of many.  To me it doesn't matter.  In my mind I've put up a self-made shield that allows me to still feel that "negative" energy, but to associate it with its source, not its destination.  That energy is still internalized, but only while it's attached to her words.  Then it's gone because I choose to release it.  I know in my mind and in my heart that I can relate to what she's feeling-to her energy-but not allow myself to become it.  After all, I'm not playing her in a theatrical production or an on-screen version of her life.  And even if I was, I would only become that energy while "in character."

Empathy is far from a curse.  No one who has made a difference has had it easy.  If that were the case, we wouldn't need kindness, compassion, or understanding at all.  Support and community would be non-existent. 

Without empathy, we wouldn't feel.  We wouldn't discover what is real and change things into what they need to be.  We wouldn't be capable of becoming the unspoken whispers of our hearts.