Saturday, November 1, 2008


Warning-the following entry may be long and ramble a bit, but I've been going through some things and just keeping them hidden, bottled up. I do that. But I have to start talking about them now.

There may be some major changes in my life soon. It has me worried, I'm so unsure of myself right now. My emotions have been all over the place lately, and I've got to get a handle on them. I have some huge decisions to make. Actually, I KNOW what my decisions have to be, but I dread the day I have to voice them. These decisions will, without a doubt, sever my relationship with my brother. But I will have to do this for myself.

Some quick background. When I came back to Michigan, after my husband died and the house was foreclosed(long before the housing mess now), the idea was that since my brother was divorced, I was widowed, we should share expenses, rent together. Okay, cool.

Things went well, we stayed with friends till I got on my feet, we found a house(with the option to buy) and stayed there for 2 years. He hurt his elbow, was off work, was behind in the rent, didn't try to get a mortgage set up before the lease expired, so we moved to this trailer. That was Aug. 2007. Okay, the rent is cheaper, my nephew was living with us, supposedly helping out with the bills, I'm paying $350-$400 a month(actually about 1/2 of what the total should be) life goes on. In May, I find out we're $1200 behind in rent. I'm in shock, increase my share by $100 a month, paid directly to the landlady. Bro is handling the utilities, adding $100-$200 to the rent each month. We're getting caught up slow but sure, life goes on.

He gets laid off in mid-October, tells me it's going to be till the end of the month before he gets his unemployment started, can't pay the utilities, will have to catch them up later. Okay, things will be tight, but we'll be alright. He did some cash work for his boss, got his first check last week, says he's got to catch up some on the utilities, so won't have any to contribute to rent. Well, we'll be okay, we've made good progress, it'll just take longer to get up to date. We have a very nice landlady. He was complaining about the cable bill being so high. Our introductory rate had expired, it's jumped $25 a month. Okay, cancel cable, I'll find internet access on my own.

He's not cancelling it, it's getting shut off! I can't believe how naive I've been about things. How gullible and trusting, how stupid. What a fool! He didn't want to show me the cable bill, said it was in his room, he'd get it out later so I could see it. Hoping I'd forget to ask. Now, I'm not the type of person to snoop into other people's things, their mail, or whatever. But I was curious, the bills were right here on the kitchen table, so I looked. Not only has it gone up $25 a month, it's a month behind. So I continued to snoop. The electric bill is 3 months behind, the natural gas bill is 2. I'm angry!!!

More background-his take home pay was at least $1200 a month plus overtime. Mine $900-$1000. No credit cards, car payments, or loans for either one. I'm paying half of my monthly income in rent and storage unit. He isn't even paying a third of his. I'm more angry!!

I've gone without things, my car needs work, I've done everything I can to make this situation better. He's just skating...

This next part is hard for me to explain. Since my mother died when I was 12, I haven't really had anyone in my life I could depend on. My dad got remarried, his new family took priority, I moved out on my own. When I got married, I thought I'd be part of a family again-that didn't happen(a long story), when I came home I thought finally-family I can depend on. Wrong again.

Back to the decisions. I have to decide whether to just ride this out till the utilities get shut off, or we get the eviction notice, or cut my losses now. If I go now, it will be a real struggle financially for me. My options are limited. A motel room here in town that rents by the month, will let me make weekly payments(utilities included). $350 a month. Or a studio apartment that a friend has(about 20 miles away), that would be less expensive, but a little more driving to and from work. I haven't talked to her about it yet, I want to be more coherent in my thoughts and have my financial picture more in focus. That's about it. If I ride this out, it could be a couple months before things fall apart. I need to get my car fixed, and I could put a little money aside to be more prepared. But in the meantime, I could wake up one morning to no heat or lights.

Whenever it is that I tell Bro that I'm going to live by myself and that I can't worry about him anymore, there will be (guaranteed) a huge arguement, very ugly. He has a tendency to hold heavy grudges-for a very long time. He still trashes his ex-wife(6 years later) on a regular basis. Essentially, my family will decrease to one-Son-400 miles away. Aunt and Uncle, cousins, that aren't really all that close(family ties) but live nearby. I'll be alone, but this area is home, so I'll be staying around here.

Right now it hurts to think about this situation. So, I've been distracting myself with umpteen different projects and not using my time the way I should(packing up for the inevitable). I guess, by finally putting this into words here, I'm taking a step in the right direction. I need to sit down with pen and paper, get my thoughts organized, my things packed up and out to my(seperate) storage unit. I need to take the responsibility to do what I need to for myself. In a way, I'm as bad as he is...not facing things, just letting the situation slide.

But right now, it just hurts. I'm nervous about being out on my own, living alone, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Welcome to my new home~

As you can see, I've got the basics taken care of. I still have a few boxes laying around, may rearrange things again, well you know how it is.
It'll be time to get back to work here, soon. As I go through the process of adding the finishing touches, I'll be working on some rough drafts and forming my scattered thoughts and emotions into some cohesive entries. I'm looking forward to it.
It's funny, well maybe not funny, how about cathartic-that being thrust into the melee of having to move my journals has awakened my desires to start writing again. Maybe with a more concentrated desire than I've had in quite awhile. I've even taken to carrying a notebook with me to work, to jot down thoughts that race through my head while I do mindless tasks. You don't really have to focus on mopping the floor, now do you?
Change is a very unsettling state for me to be in. My fears raise their ugly heads: but you don't know how to do that, what if you screw this up, you don't want to look stupid, awkward, you haven't bothered to take the time to learn enough of this yet, why haven't you?
My demons! My inner critic, my insecurities, have a habit of making themselves prominent in my mind. I am learning how to talk back to them-"Oh Yeah? Well maybe it's time I did learn, what if I do screw this up, I can try again". And it goes on.
I've got some catching up to do, so I'm closing this entry for now.
<3 Leigh

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts Swirling~

Yet, I can't seem to transform them into journal entries of any kind.  A record of the kaleidoscope of my emotions escapes me.  All the colors of my thoughts, the varied shades of feeling just drift, with no canvas to be painted on, for future perusal.

When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with a mild form of depression-chronic dysthymia.  This condition assaults me a couple times a year, lasting from a few weeks to months.  During these "flare-ups" my inner life comes to a standstill.  I've devoloped the skills to get through the basics of life, go to work, eat, sleep, function normally to all appearances.  But activities with any kind of meaning, anything productive in my life, are beyond my abilities.

Logically, I know when I'm depressed-emotionally, I can't drag myself out of it.  My mind becomes a maze of negativity and emptiness, that doesn't seem to have an exit.  I wander through this maze in an awareness of it, but no map to lead me to the open spaces beyond.

The frustrating thing is that I can feel life slipping by, and yet do nothing to grasp it, nothing to lead to a feeling of accomplishment, progress, evolvement, involvement. 

This particular period has left me bereft of the words to express it, to move it along and get past it.  It's a new twist.  Words have never deserted me this way before.  One of the things I've always been able to do is write, sometimes over and over, about my feelings of uselessness during these bouts.  I have notebooks with pages and pages full of self-flagellation to prove it.  My own worst critic has never been at a loss for words, still running rampant through my head, even as I write this. 

Yet this time, till now, I haven't been able to capture them on a page.  I'm chaining myself to this venue of expression to write this.  My hopes are that, like a pinhole in a dam, these few words will erode the wall, particle by particle, opening a channel for these swirling thoughts to begin flowing again, onto the pages of my life.

I've wasted some beautiful late summer and early fall days in this maze of depression.  I regret that.  I mourn the fact that they're escaping into the past without my having left a memory on them.  Just an emptiness that I haven't been able to fill.

Today is the last nice day, in the forecast, for now.  It's turning colder and cloudy at the beginning of the week.  I'm going to make an effort to get past the inertia I'm feeling.  Take a lunch, blank notebook and pen, to the lake and see if I can't find the words to express some of these swirling thoughts.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Question-What are you Passionate about?  What makes your world rock?  I'm not necessarily talking about sex here, but deep abiding passions.  Things in your life that mean "everything".

The definitions that apply, when I looked it up: intense, driving or overmastering feeling or conviction.  A strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.  An object of desire or deep interest. 

I've been reading journals, news articles, and witnessing the passionate way some express their views and beliefs in regard to politics.  Politics doesn't do it for me.  I won't even talk about it with anyone, in depth.  In fact, I get downright disgusted by the way politicians attack and belittle each other, twisting the other's words around to look like they mean something completely different.  In a very broad sense they lie about each other.  Don't I have any opinions about the issues?  Of course, I do.  I just don't feel a driving need to express them.  Truthfully, I don't feel that my opinion would make that much of a difference, or that my actions would make any more than a teeny tiny ripple in the grand scheme of things.  (Yes, a tiny ripple is action that leads to more action- in the right places.)  But my tiny ripple is confined to a very small area that reaches the shore and just smoothes out.

My son shows great passion in the things he believes, and I envy him that.  I hope that he can fulfill his dreams of making a difference in the things he believes so strongly in.  I'm discovering that he is becoming a man who thinks outside the box, that cares, that is doing things to change his little corner of the world.  I'm very proud of him for that.

I've witnessed the passion for family.  The love and devotion to do absolutely everything that it takes for others.  Do I have that kind of passion?  No.  Sadly.  At least I don't seem to have it.  Yes, I do love my son, brother, etc.  But I have actually walked away before.  My brother and I were estranged for over 25 years.  There are extenuating circumstances and convoluted explanations for why it lasted so long, but are not for this entry.

I spent the day, yesterday, distracting myself with unimportant, useless activities.  I just couldn't muster up the physical or emotional energy to do the things I should have and wanted to.  So I just piddled the day away.  I wrote an entry in I Was Thinking about my day, my life, how quiet and uninteresting it all is.  That bothered me and ate at my brain.

Still this morning, it's there.  Making a list of things I enjoy, things I might have a passion for las left me with this realization.  There just isn't anything that I am that passionate about.  It really bothers me.  Why?  Why isn't there something in my life that means the "all"?

Oh, I have alot of things that I enjoy: reading, watching sports, swimming, crafts(many different things), learning to use the computer.  I'm not even passionate about my health, doing everything I can to ensure that I remain as active and strong as I can, for as long as I can.

I've got some real exploring to do here, to try and figure out why.  The more digging I do into my life and feelings, the more questions I have and the more elusive the answers become.  And honestly, I'm not very proud of the person I am. 

If life were ideal, I'd have the time and space and knowledge to be able to figure this all out and change it. A retreat, an extended vacation, a camping trip alone, surrounded by nature. 

Maybe I'm spreading myself too thinly, trying to do too many things, keeping an interest in too many things at one time to truly devote myself to what would be most important to me.  And I can't even define what that is, other than trying to figure myself out.

                                                   ::Sigh::       <3  Leigh

Monday, August 25, 2008

Reactions and Emotions

I was actually looking for puzzled in the moods box, but irritated is close enough.

I was in an "almost" car accident last night.  I'm okay and so is the car.  There's only a dirty spot on the bumper where the car and pick-up truck kind of gently slid together.

I'll explain.  I was following the truck into town, reducing speed to the posted 35 mph.  The truck put on his left turn signal and started to slow down and enter the turn lane.  Then suddenly he veered back into my lane and proceeded to turn to the right, into a side street and driveway for the drug store.  I hit the brakes and steered to the right to avoid him, but speed and distance being what they were, he cut me off and the front left bumper of my car kind of rubbed with the rear right panel of the truck.  I managed to stop and avoid a collision, he slid right on by and into the parking lot.  I sat there for a few seconds-one of the good things about small towns is the lack of traffic-then proceeded to pull around the corner and off to the side of the road to compose myself.  I was pretty shaken up. 

The guy that was driving the truck came over to the car, knocked on the window, adding to my already shaky condition, as I hadn't seen him.  He asked if I was alright and apologized profusely.  Several times.  Claimed he hadn't seen me in his rearview as I was in his blind spot.  Said he didn't think we'd made contact, glanced at my left front panel, and kept apologizing.  I just sat there.  I couldn't even talk to him.  Couldn't even look him in the eye.  No damage, no cops, no increase in insurance rates.  He finally left.

I sat there a couple minutes and proceeded down the side street to take the back way home.  Promptly made a pot of coffee and poured a shot of Southern Comfort into the first couple of cups.  And began to analyze my reactions to the whole situation. 

I was very Pissed.  The jerk was 'So' in the wrong.  But I was pissed at myself, too.  I had just sat there and held my anger, not expressed the way I felt, not given him a piece of my mind.  Why?  Why couldn't I even yell at someone who definitely deserved it? 

Fear.  Fear of being in the wrong, of losing my temper, of showing my true emotions to someone who didn't even matter in the grand scheme of my life.  Fear of confrontation. 

Logically, there wouldn't have been any point in exploding.  No one was hurt, no damage was done to either vehicle.  Other than him being an unobservant asshole, there just wasn't any point.  But I remember thinking to myself, while he stood there and apologized, just keep your cool, don't say anything you'll regret.  Just get him away from the car as quickly as possible.  Before you do say something. 

And now I'm ashamed to admit that I walk through life with so much fear of it.  Fear of rejection, of creating negative feelings, even from a total stranger.  I would rather just go through life as unobtrusively as possible,  just be an "extra" in the background.  I don't want attention focused on me, for any reason. Because of the fear of living life and expressing myself. 

I recently read an article in "Yoga Journal" about accepting responsibility for what you bring to each moment and the power of the truth.  I've got to go back and reread that article.  There's a message in there for me. 

I've also started reading "Wherever You Go There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Mindfulness meditation in everyday life.  I own this book, picked it up at the thrift store for a quarter.  It may be the best quarter I've ever spent.

In this cyber existence, I feel that I can be more myself.  The anonymity of online communication is perfect for me, I can be here-yet hide.  I can express things that I would never have the courage to say to someones face.  

Fear.  There will be more entries about fear in the days to come.  It plays a major role in my personal make-up. 


After Marc's comment, I need to add that I did let him know that I was okay, just shaken up, and did accept his first apology.  But after that, I just wanted him to go away.  I seem to have a "me and my actions and reactions" complex right now.  And honestly, I wasn't concerned about whether he was okay or not.  Something else to think about here.  Thanks, Marc.             <3

Saturday, August 16, 2008

As Time Flies By

Holey Crap!  Yes, I know that it's spelled wrong, that was intentional.  And it seems to be one of my favorite sayings right now-I dunno why.  Anyway, it's in reference to time slipping through my fingers lately.  I haven't written much recently, even in my paper journals, like my day journal-what I did today, etc.

I have been spending all the time I can with books, haunting the local libraries, waiting for ILL(inter-library loan) books to arrive, going repeatedly to Amazon and a few other sites to see how much some of them(books) will cost, and reading voraciously.  Some of the books, I only read a few sections till I discover that they're not what I'm looking for, and there are some that I will have to renew, just to get all I can out of them until I can order them online.  Being small town and kinda broke right now-sucks!!  And being small town also means that there aren't alot of outlets available to me for inspiration and guidance, except for those books.  I can live with that, as it also means that I have to be more self-directed in what I'm doing and that is a lesson in and of itself.  Holy Crap!  I feel like I'm back in school! lol

A couple of the books are 'the only guide you'll ever need to conquer low self-esteem'(not), but do have some ideas that I've taken and reworked to suit my purposes.  One that I've been working on is to choose one word, like fear.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, and just begin writing whatever comes into your head regarding this word as it relates to your own life.  You don't really have the time to edit, pick and choose the just right words, so more of the honest emotions come through.  I've gotten some very interesting insights as a result of this exercise. 

There are the intellectual and logical ways to approach things and then there are my emotional thoughts that interfere or override those logical thoughts.  For example sending an e-mail or making a phone call to share a thought. 

Logical way of thinking:  Oh, I should e-mail so and so, or I'd like to call whoever.

Emotional self:  Well, I'm sure they're busy and I don't want to interrupt their day.  I don't want to bother them with something that really isn't that important.

As a result of listening to that little inner voice(emotional self) I've become very inept socially.  I sit in the background and just keep quiet and watch others.  I've become very withdrawn.  I don't know how to be in the middle of things and feel that I have anything to contribute.  I doubt myself, don't want to embarrass myself or others.

I know there are several things that factor into my problems and that it will take me quite awhile to work through all of it, but I feel like I'm on the right track.  I'm actually becoming involved in doing a few other things as well,  I'm learning to meditate-deep meditation, mindfulness meditation.  Yep, got a book for that. 

I'm reading about yoga, actually already have a mat, but never started to practice.  I'd like to take a couple classes-they do offer that at the community center-if I can fit it into my work schedule, or rearrange it for this fall, get a DVD or 2. 

I'm trying to make more time to exercise, walk, eat healthier.  I let myself go, because the inner voice says-"nobody's going to notice, so why bother?"  See, I know better, but it's(the emotional thoughts) been listened to for so long, that it has a very strong influence.  I have to learn to not listen, to rebel-to make the effort, if for no one but myself.  I think this may one of those uphill parts of the journey, simply because I have to convince myself of that self-worth, that doing things for "me" is OKAY.  As I bring myself to a better physical place, I'm hoping that the emotional voice will follow, once it sees that I'm not listening quite as intently, it'll cut me some slack.

Well, this entry is getting too long.  So, I'll close it for now, and will try to come back alittle more often so that I don't feel like writing a book length entry when I am here.  :)

                                                                        <3  Leigh 



Sunday, August 3, 2008

It Seems So Quiet...

::sigh::  Alerts are still down.  Bummer.  I'll have alot of catching up to do.  If you visit here and have posted, Please leave your link so I can stop by.  I haven't put any journal links in my sidebars, but I will now.  If you'd like my to add yours, just leave a comment. :)  Just so that I can get there from here when AOL is AWOL.  ;(~

   Being in this community has really become an integral part of my days.  It seems kind of odd to open only a few e-mails instead of 20 or so.  I miss you guys.  I've been visiting the blogs page and trying to open some tabs with partial journal addresses, so I'm not completely out of touch. 

   I'd like to thank everyone who has visited and commented.  I can't express how much it's meant to me-all the encouragement.  I was very nervous about starting this journal.  Thought maybe it was just TMI for a public forum(is that what you'd call journals?)  But then, I figured out that if I'm going to change my attitudes about who I am, build up a feeling that I can be part of the world as more than I have felt worthy of, I have to "confess" my feelings to others.  It has to be more than just writing on pages that noone else will ever read, more than hidden secrets.  It isn't going to mean much if I write to myself that I wish there were more people in the world that would look beyond the physicalities to the person inside.  I already know that, and it's just not as effective to say to myself that "I know" that I am worth so much more than my looks.  I let what I envision as my appearance to others color my self-worth.  And yes, I do know intellectually that I shouldn't do that, but telling my inner insecurities that, is a whole different story.

   An example:  I have silver hair.  In my family you either go premature gray or bald.  Thankfully, I got the gray.  I found my first gray hairs at the age of 16, spent the next 25 years depending on those little brown bottles of fantasy hair. 

   As my husband required more and more care, and I became more tired, and hopeless, I got more and more careless about my looks.  I couldn't see the point of going through the routine when noone else cared how I looked.  So why should I?  We hardly ever went out in public and when we did, the attention was all on Mike.  I just sat quietly in the background and waited for him to need something.

   But then, when I was about 50% silver, a clerk at the drivethru asked me where I got my hair frosted.  They thought I had paid to have this done to my hair on purpose-imagine that.  Shortly after that, I took my son for  his haircut, and the stylist commented on how lucky I was to have that shade, instead of the ugly battleship gray color.  She gave me some silver treatment shampoo to enhance the color even more.  So I did take care of it a little more than I had before. 

   Now, years later, I'm about 80% silver, and worried about it making me look older.  I still get occasional comments on how nice it looks, and have no intentions of going back to the bottles.  But, in a world obsessed with youth, it's just one more thing that labels me "less than".  I want the world to look at me as someone who can be authentic enough to show off my "true colors".  Silver hair, wrinkles from the sun and all!  There are other things that I'm self-conscious about, but I'll save them for another entry.  This one's long enough for now.

   Let's hope that alerts are back on soon.  I'm going through some withdrawals here. 

                                                               <3  Leigh


Friday, August 1, 2008

Some Simple Things

I watched the Solar Eclipse this morning, online.  What an amazing sight!  Something that doesn't happen very often, yet one of the most spectacular events of the natural world.

It all started me pondering on some simple things that I'd like to do.  None of them are very involved, or expensive, yet I don't think of trying to work them into my life.

One, is to go to the State Park early in the morning, walk, and just sit on the beach to watch the world wake up.  The beach doesn't actually open till 8am, but that's still early enough to experience the peace and quiet.  And I think there's a little park on the West side of the lake where I could go even earlier.  I'll have to check on that.  

I'd like to learn to kayak, and go on trips down the river-alone.  No hurry, the current flows about 4 miles an hour, and that's plenty fast enough to really enjoy the sights-the flora and fauna.  To just be one with nature, a quiet observer just passing through.  But first, I have to go downriver with someone else a few times.  The canoe livery won't rent a kayak to a beginner going alone.  I'll have to tag some of my tax refund next year for a used kayak.  For a fee, they'll pick you up with your own gear, if they're not too busy.

I'd like to take a drive, just explore some of the towns near here.  One, Gaylord, had grown alot since I lived there in the mid-70's.  Lots of little shops to explore downtown.

Spend the day at Hartwick Pines.  It's a State Park now, so there'd be no fee to get in(I have a year sticker).  They have bike and walking trails that you can spend the day on.  It's a beautiful area, and a favorite hangout for Bald Eagles.

I just have to get up the courage to do some of these things.  Courage you ask?  How much courage could it take to just get in the car and drive someplace to visit?  Well, more than I've had.  It's one of the things I'm trying to improve.  I have to screw up my courage to just walk into a little shop and look around.  I'm too conscious of what others think when they look at me.  I have this desire to be as invisible as possible.  Take up as little space as possible, in public.  Shy, timid, whatever you want to call it, I am. 

Yesterday, I did get up the courage to visit a new place in town.  It's a small art gallery that displays the artwork of some of our local artists.  I was actually looking for some handmade beads, for a necklace I'm making.  The woman that was working was so nice, giving my a tour and even showing me how to make earrings.  So, now, I will become a member when I drop off my yearly dues.  She even commented on the beaded necklace I had on and suggested that maybe I'd like to display and sell some of my work.  Okay-deep breath.  Wow!  I don't think of myself as an artist.  Just someone who does crafts.  I never expected some thing like that.  And yes, I will think about it.  I've done a few designs that I didn't see anything like in there so-maybe.  They also offer oil painting and water color classes.  They're on days, at times when I'm scheduled to work, but maybe I can schedule some days off to fit this schedule, this fall.  I'm excited about that possibility, too.  Again, I'll have to work on my courage.  Oh, and go bead shopping again!   

                                                              <3  Leigh


Monday, July 28, 2008

Roads Not Travelled

A meme to try your hand at.  Marc asked us to think about roads not travelled.  What 5 things would you have wanted to do-be?

Here's my list-finally!

1. As I have never passed up books for sale-from stores full of them, to a small pile at a yard sale, I'd have the premier book store that carries everything from the latest thriller to the dustiest tomes. Complete with a fireplace nook to peruse your potential purchase, and have a little snack and cup of specially blended coffee(of course).

2. I would spend my days plucking weeds and picking flowers and sprigs from my herb and flower beds at my organic farm, "Demeter's Gifts".  From homemade soaps, sachets and bouquets, to tea blends, candles, and crystals, the gift shop carries everything for the natural witch in all of us. 

3. My art quilts grace the walls of my shop "A Stitchin' Time".  The workroom in back is busy with chatter, the sound of scissors and sewing machines, as students and masters alike come to share ideas, skills, patterns and the latest gossip.  And (of course) a cup of specially blended coffee!

4. Having won the lottery and invested wisely(maybe in Specially-blended coffees!), my days are spent living in a motor home, cruising the back highways of the NorthEastern U.S. looking for the perfect scene to capture in watercolors and photos, for my small arts and crafts gallery in Northern Michigan. (Where I also sell those Specially-blended coffees)

5. While my 9 year old self dug a hole in the yard to plant flowers for my ill  mother to see out her window, I discovered a pottery shard.(this part is actually true)   It turns out to be a piece of a bowl from a long-lost ancient tribe, the yard becomes an archeological dig and my love for anthropology is born.  I travel the world from dig to dig, but my book writing and down time is spent in my lakefront home on Higgins Lake.  The true part- the pottery shard was just that.  The original owner of the farm grew an experimental apple orchard to test southern varieties in our northern climate, and gardened.

  Well, this is interesting.  Once the wheels started turning, I had no trouble at all picturing myself in any of these scenarios.  It was alot of fun, too, to do a bit of daydreaming.

  I don't know if anyone noticed, but in this and the last entry, I did the hyper-link thing!  It took  me awhile to figure it out this morning.  I kept trying to do it backwards.  I've had my laptop for a couple months now, but have managed to put off learning how to do different things that I need to learn.  So this morning, knowing I needed to do it, I gritted my teeth and gave it a shot-or 5 actually!  I am SO proud of myself. 

                                                          <3  Leigh

That's an Order!

   I started this as a private journal while I debated whether I had my own best interests at heart.  I wroted, deleted, changed the colors and quote, and wrote some more.  Finally ready for a preview, I asked Marc to read my first entry and the following is the comment he left for me.  As it would automatically be deleted when I made this public, I copied it down so that I could share it.  This is what he wrote: 

   What a great chapter 1 to the rest of your journal!  Let me tell you a little secret:  People love authenticity.  They sense when you're trying to represent a version of yourself, and they will usually respond with their corresponding public persona.  So you got alot of suportive but generic responses that made you feel like "gee, these people don't know me or care about me, because if they did they'd see the truth about me is much darker."  Well, you can't really resent them for believeing the facade especially on the internet, when it's hard to tell what's true and what's representation.

   The only thing that's different about me is that I have a partuclar talent for reading between the lines, and I know that people in pain desperately want someone to break past their defenses.  I also don't worry about being liked, I worry about being authentic.  Sometimes it gets me in trouble, the people think I've trod on their boundaries, but in your case, I'm very happy indeed.

   Remember feelings are not facts, and the truth will not kill you.  And anytime you need to share a secret, I promise I can top you in the badness department.  And you don't see me walking around with my head hung low!  My mistakes do not define me.  As for you, I know for sure that you are incredibly kind, and that is the most important thing that anyone can be.  Now be kind to yourself.  That's an order.

   So, here I am, I'm just following orders.  :)   I have a lot of thinking, reading and writing ahead of me.  This means changing some of my longest held beliefs.  Marc's recommended a book for me to read, and I've found a few others that look very promising.  I'm spending time thinking about and making notes on what I'm reading.  I'm spending time on my "self".  Maybe that's why my schedule is down right now-to give me that time.  I'll close with this quote, which really resonated with the way I'm feeling right now.  Although, I'm not sure of the exact wording on this or the author, as I got it from someone else.

   Life is too short to wake up with regrets.  So love the people who treat you right.  Forget about those who don't.  Believe everything happens for a reason.  If you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

                                                           by Michael Gartner(I think) 


Monday, July 21, 2008

The First Step

    Would you take a walk with me?  It's a beautiful day and I've just discovered a path that I'd like to explore.  Of course, I could go alone, but I've walked alone for so long, and I'd like to share my discoveries with you.  Along this path there will be potholes that need filled and dark alleys to be explored.  There may even be some slippery hills where I'll slide back down and want to just give up trying to climb.  This may be one of the most important journeys of my life, and by sharing it with you, I won't have to walk it alone.

    This journal is about honesty.  About who I "really" am.  Things in my life haven't been going the way I had planned at all.  My hours at work are down to a little more than half.   The plans I had made, have been canceled.  My reactions to these problems echoed strongly of the way I felt when I thought the future was fairly hopeless, when I lived with a fairly dim view of a future of caring for a disabled husband with little hope of finding any enjoyment in life.  Emotions that I learned to hide, build walls around and pretend they weren't there. They are not how I want to live and who I want to be.

    I haven't written in a while, and a journal friend e-mailed, asking if I was okay.  No, not really.  That and the ensuing e-mails are what prompted me to truly think about myself, the deeper self and the person that I present to the world.  There are things about myself, that I've never revealed in my journal, things that I was(am) embarrassed to discuss.  Emotions that I've kept locked deep down.  It's become difficult to write about some of the things I want to, because I have to hide my true "self".  I couldn't express myself without saying "too much". 

    I know that other journalers struggle with similar issues about expressing themselves and I've commented many times, "It's your journal, write what you want/need to."  It's time for me to take my own advice.  Writing in a journal has always been freeing for me-except in mypublic journal, where I rephrased, omitted and edited, in an effort to present myself as someone who has got it together a whole lot more than I really do.  Time to be more open and honest about myself than I have been, using my writing here as a sort of clearinghouse of self-defeating emotions.  Wise advice from my friend was that I could talk with them, it was safe.  But that wouldn't put the public face to rest in favor of the real person inside.  Safe is what I've always sought, safety in hiding behind a partial picture of me.  I need to tear down the walls that I've built around my insecurities and low self-esteem, face myself honestly.  And in the process, express who I really am, because then I can write about whatever I'm feeling without editing out the true emotions.  Maybe by sharing these feelings, I'll realize that I can grow past them, heal myself by being who I am. 

   I've got a first honest confession to make here.  I am so nervous about doing this.  So afraid that others won't like the real me, will turn away and leave me where I've felt myself for a long time, alone with my sad thoughts.  Regardless of other's opinions, I am going to start examining my feelings here.  I have to find the respect for myself by not hiding behind a mask, as I learn to accept the imperfections for what they are, and not the worthlessness that I view them.  I have to LIKE myself as an evolving, changing, spiritual, human being.

    I promise that it'll be an interesting walk, as I don't even know what lies past the next curve.  Or for that matter, which turns and detours I may decide to take.  I do know that I'll be walking with my eyes, heart, and mind, open.