Temporarily Done!

Ten weeks ago I placed a request for some magic dust. I needed the help from someone divine to get me through to the end of the semester. My magic dust arrived in the form of my youngest son. He seemed to know all the right words to say at the time I needed to hear them most. My son knows me and he knows my heart.

During one of our intense conversations, there was a moment of silence…”Are you still there?” I asked. Michael then made a comment which I will never forget. “Mom, I don’t think I’ve heard you say one positive thing about this class since it started.” He wasn’t afraid to tell me that I had best change my attitude or quitting would be my only option.

I can say that I hung up the phone, tucked my tail between my legs and retreated to my dark bedroom to try to muddle through my attitude. I really didn’t like who I had become. I had nothing inside my mind but the horrifying realities that before too long I’d be tested again on things that just don’t come easy to me. Six classes, all expecting more out of a person than it may seem possible at times. Yet, somehow I managed to do it.

Three Saturdays ago, I sat down to compose a research essay. I took the entire day and did my best. I had to include references and quotes from others. It’s not the kind of writing I enjoy. Sunday morning arrived and I was about to put the finishing touches on the last couple pages. I turned my head to the left, looking for my notes, then turned back to my computer which was suddenly a blank screen. The small words written in the center inside of a box read, “pages has unexpectedly quit”… Due to a malfunction in  a computer program, I’d lost a full days work. My heart sank inside to the bottom of my bowels, I screamed a wretched scream that seemed to come from somewhere in another universe. Choking on each word I tried to type, I spent all day Sunday rewriting my once nearly finished essay, and therefore, was forced to put all other studies on the back burner.

The week started out with a swift slap in my face, and continued through to the end without losing a beat. By the weekend I had experienced a tire blow out, and, I was also locked out of my own home. I had to crawl through the attic via the garage, find the trap door in one of the closets inside the house, then maneuver my fifty year old frame down the nine foot drop to the floor without breaking a bone in the process.

Two weeks were left of the semester, and more studying than I knew what to do with. My son and his beautiful Bride stayed with me the night before Mothers day. I was up early studying for my final A&P exam I was to take on Monday morning. Tears continued to fall and I continued to try to concentrate on the insane amount of information I was to be tested on. Mid morning Michael walked past the living room where I sat with my open book. “Good morning…Happy Mothers Day…what’s wrong?”

“I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.”  He walked up to me, gave me a warm and inviting hug, and he said, “Put that book down.” He convinced me that I did not need to pressure myself as much I do. “A”,”B”, and “C”, are only check points. They mean only what you want them to mean.

We spent the afternoon together; we went to Fleet Farm and I purchased forty-eight bags of top soil to fill in sink spots in my yard. He took me to lunch to a nice restaurant, we laughed and I was in seventh heaven. Later on that day I received a call from my oldest boy who was in transit from Florida to Minnesota. I thank God for my boys. Spending quality time with them is actually more therapeutic to me than anything one could ever pay for from a professional in the medical field, if you know what I mean.

Monday morning came, I sat down in the same spot I’d claimed as my own since day one of the semester. With only a pencil in hand, I began to feel the pressure. It was go time, and I did my best using my power of elimination for most of the exam.  I looked over the exam only once after I’d filled in all my chosen answers. I changed nothing, and I reluctantly placed it on the desk at the front of the classroom. I never looked at the instructor, my chin sank to the “superior” portion of my chest. I was done. I was thoroughly and utterly finished, spent, and positive I had failed the exam.

I earned a C, I made it. When all was said and done I had somehow, by the grace of God, earned the final grade of “B” in the hardest class I’d ever taken in my life. I worked harder for that “B”, and lost more sleep over that “B”, and spent more time than humanly possible worrying about that “B”, than anything else…ever. Funny thing, For seventeen weeks that “B” kept me more captivated than my eating disorder.  That damn “B” almost caused me to lose my mind, but it also gave me something to be proud of.

Throughout the semester, I stumbled several times with ED. I stumbled and I cried, and I felt more failure than I have ever felt in a way that I have never experienced before. Yet somehow, someway, I have now come to the conclusion that I am far more capable of attaining a bench mark than I ever knew possible. As far as I can tell, ED will always be there in the shadow of my accomplishments. But I can also say with a gust of fresh air from deep within my soul, that ED will not gain control of the power over the rest of my days.

I am woman, hear me roar…

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And I’m Off And Running

I was certain I had to move back home to the city I grew up in; the city I had left behind ten years earlier. I had left my family. I had left my friends, my home and my career. In a sense, I had given up everything for a man. I had relocated myself to the metropolis of the Twin Cities, whereas by nature, I was just a small town girl who enjoyed growing up in the woods. Over time, I continued to become more unhappy; depression weaved its’ existence into my mind and surrounded me like a warm blanket. I was beginning to find it difficult to resist the negative thoughts, and constant darkness, which snuck into my psyche as an uninvited guest who simply refused to leave.

For the past two years, I had been living in the house of my dreams. Together, we had designed the home that I had planned to live in for the remainder of my life. My feet had taken up root on the property, and I had no intentions of ever leaving my paradise. However, life tends to throw us a curve ball from time to time, whereas we are forced to slowly pick up our feet and move on into a new direction weather we want to or not.

Regardless of all the efforts we put forth to try to save our failing marriage, we agreed to follow through with the plan to end our twelve year relationship once and for all. Hence, I was face to face with the reality of my second divorce. I carried guilt and shame from my failed relationships, yet in the stillness of my heart, I knew I was never happy. I believe that sometimes we look for happiness through other people, instead of first finding it within ourselves. I had to find peace and contentment from within. I needed to be happy with myself before I could be happy with someone else.

I had spent many hours in the house back in my youth. One of my best friends lived there and I always admired everything about her home. We swam in the in-ground swimming pool in the backyard and basked in the hot sun on lawn chairs perched on the concrete patio. At the time, I could only hope that someday I too, could live in a house with a pool just outside the sliding glass patio door. It was by far the coolest house I had ever been in at that time of my life.

As I gazed through the real-estate listings on the Internet, suddenly my eyes popped out of their sockets! There it was in black and white, the home I had admired so much in the past was now for sale. Not only was it up for grabs, it was in my price range and I still had plenty of money left to bring it back. You see, over the years the house had lost its’ glamour. In reality, the home was a natural disaster zone. It was in need of attention, and I was more than willing to restore its’ beauty, after all, if I didn’t do it, who would?

It was May 4, 2012, the day I took possession of my new palace.  Early that morning I left the driveway of my “Home Sweet Home” in Stillwater, Minnesota pulling a trailer loaded with all my boxed up personal belongings. I managed to fit only two patio chairs and an air bed to sleep on, the rest of my furniture would have to wait until my project was finished. As I drove through the darkness of the early hours of the morning, I cried silently to myself. I cried out of fear as to what was to become of my life. Not only was I moving north, I was about to embark on an entirely new lifestyle. In the past, our decision process consisted of, “Which flight should we take?” or “ How many weeks do we care to be gone?” Those days were a part of my past; now I would be starting a new job while living through a major home remodel project, and I was planning on going back to school in the fall to earn the RN degree I had decided against twelve years prior.

The purchase agreement was signed, and I made my way back to my new digs. I sat in the family room just off the kitchen; staying clear of the kitchen cabinets for fear I would run into multiple rodents who had more control over the home than I did. I sat there listening to the sound of the house, and taking in the aroma of musty air, which was all too impossible to disguise. The magnitude of sweat equity that stood before me was too much to comprehend. I cried, and when I was finished, I cried some more.

It was early in the morning when I received the text message from Joel, “Are you up yet? We’re on our way, will be there shortly.” Quickly, I threw on a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt and started to brew my first pot of coffee. Joel entered my house from the garage. While making his way into the kitchen, he noticed the subtle changes, which had taken place over the past few days. I had torn off all the wallpaper, and painted the insides of all the closets. “It’s looking better already.” He said. “I can see what you envisioned here Lori, I think this is going be a great house when we’re finished.” He continued to give direction in an authorative manner, “Dustin, take that chandelier down before someone gets hurt.” He measured windows and doors, he gave me hope and assured me that everything was going to be just fine.

Day 3 brought about the commotion of contractors and sub contractors. It was nice to have life in the house, and I could see that before too long, I really was going to be living in a home I could be proud of, yet at the same time I was beginning to feel like I was camping inside the confines of an old run down shack. My kitchen cabinets were gone, whereas my toaster and my coffee maker were fighting for space on the bathroom vanity with my blow dryer and curling iron. Most all of my clothes were still housed inside plastic bags hanging in the closets, leaving out only a select few articles to wear and re-ware as I didn’t feel it was necessary to coat all my clothing with sheetrock dust.

I had to endure the discomforts of living in the midst of chaos and disarray. I had to try hard to keep my negative thoughts hidden safely inside my mind and make the most out of an uncomfortable situation. I grew to look forward to my text message from Joel each morning telling me they were on their way, as that meant progress. For the better part of two months, I had no kitchen. For a few days inside that period, I had no kitchen floor. It was totally exposed to the crawl space below, which made it difficult to sleep through the night. I’d lay there on my air bed only six inches off the floor wondering if a four legged friend would be making any unplanned visits during my hours of slumber. All the while progress was taking place inside, outside; the pool was under construction along with the tear out of all the old concrete so they could pour new.

In the middle of it all, I started my new job working the graveyard shift at the Care Center seventeen miles from my garage door. I found it incredibly difficult to sleep during the day, but managed to get my rest one way or another. Dustin was quick to hang my new bedroom door first so I was able to close it when they were busy installing all the others. Throughout the summer, Joel and Dustin became my new best friends. We were able to get to know one another on a different level, and they offered their assistance in helping me move all the rest of my furniture home after the carpet installation.

They were waiting for me when I returned home from work at 6:45 am. I took a 2-minute shower and hopped into the back seat of Joel’s king cab pickup truck. We made our way down to the city of Stillwater, filled up the 20-foot trailer with all my furniture and headed back home. I was on borrowed time as I had been awake for the past 36 hours straight. We had a great time, we stopped for lunch at Famous Dave’s, had a few good laughs and a couple of beers. There was a bit of sadness growing inside me, as I knew that my project was winding down. Suddenly, I realized that my new best friends were going to be working elsewhere, there would be no need for them to keep me company anymore, and I was going to miss them.

Multitudes of transformation had taken place since May 4. My home was now finished, like Humpty Dumpty; it was put back together again. I was settled, and I was comfortable. Living among the chaos had taken a toll on me, yet I believe that I would do it all over again if I had to. I found out that I am made of a very strong substance. My roots have been planted in new soil, and my boys have adopted my new home as their home to come back to, where their mom lives, where they can find food and a bed to sleep in if needed.

I started school on August 27, 2012. At the ripe old age of forty-nine I am sharing the classrooms with those who just graduated from high school. I have my work cut out for me, yet I know in the end I will be better off. I needed to find peace within, and each day I am able to accomplish the next task at hand, gives me the satisfaction I seek from myself.  For the first time in my life, I am in charge of making my own decisions. My desire to go back to school and earn my degree has given me more strength from within than I could imagine. I am woman, hear me roar…

Published in: on September 28, 2012 at 8:49 am  Comments (3)  
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One Day, Three Interviews?

My good friend of whom used to be my second husband, drilled into me the fact that when life brings you lemons, you practice the art of making lemonade. For weeks now, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the idea of being single again. I know myself all too well when it comes to being alone in a world that is constantly dishing out stress, confusion, and missed opportunities. I can look at the world with that same attitude of frustration and self-pity, and my life will certainly follow suite. I’ve come to a crossroads that has been more eye-opening than any before. I’ve come to realize that I am able to trust myself more than ever. I’m not as afraid of myself as I used to be.

Life did bring me lemons, and now I’m making lemonade much the same as my ex-husband has been trying to do in his spare time. Instead of dwelling on everything I’ve managed to lose, I’m trying my hardest to make the best out of a poor situation. A few years back, my husband and I went through the process of building our dream home together; only the best of the best would do. We enjoyed the process and had no problems with the unforseen stress that so many people warned us we would encounter. From day one of our project, we breezed through the process unscathed by stress or frustration. We trusted the builder and all the steps he took along the way. At the end, we moved into the most desirable home I could ever imagine…and it was all ours…it was home sweet home.

However, life does give you hic-ups from time to time. Kenny and I experienced a hic-up out of absolute outer space that we were not able to work through. Since then, I’ve had to begin paving a new road on which I travel. In the past, my intentions were always to have become a nurse. The more time flew by, and I continued to age and turn grey, I put the desire to become an RN on the unfinished list. My days are numbered as I’ve reached my forty-ninth year. Am I crazy to believe that I could one day become that RN I’ve always wanted to be? Well, for starters, I earned the CNA title only a short time ago. I put the cart before the horse, so to say, and purchased a fixer-upper in my old hometown. With no job in hand, I signed a purchase agreement and planned to move back home. Suddenly, I was mortified by the fact that it was possible I may never even get a job, people my age are having much difficulty nowadays trying to find employment, not to mention someone who is young and fresh out of college! Had I made the most monumental mistake in life so far? Had I been out of my mind to put that cart before the horse?

Yet, among all the advice I’ve been given over the past few weeks, I listened patiently, and tried to be calm with my response. I had to bite my tongue and keep my cool when I heard people tell me I was making a giant mistake. You see, there has never been a time in my life that I have ever believed in myself as much as I do right now. For most of my life I’ve not had an ounce of self-respect and or self-esteem. I have relied on others to take care of me because I’ve never felt I could take care of myself due to the distorted behaviors of the eating disorder. I never trusted myself for any length of time to be on my own, always needing the guidance of someone at my side to help me better decide my next move. The funny thing about it is even among the closeness of my marriages, ( two failed ) I managed to sneak in the learned behaviors of ED and give them top priority.

Now after months of treatment and therapy, I’ve come to trust myself and the strength I have inside my core. I managed to make some lemonade and become a CNA, prerequisite to RN if I do so wish to pursue it. Something inside me told me if I had faith in myself, everything would eventually fall into place. I did put the cart before the horse, I bought a house without a job in place to cover my monthly expenses. Even still, as I went through the motions, there was a stillness inside my mind, a stillness that gave me a secure feeling when in reality, it looked to everyone else as if I hadn’t an ounce of it to behold. Somehow, I trusted my gut feeling that I was going to be OK. I trusted my instinct and believed that in good time, everything would fall into place.

On May 4th, I will be signing all the necessary papers and paying the final bill on my new home.  I am scheduled for three separate job interviews on the 26th of April. No, I haven’t managed to find a job yet, but I feel my chances are pretty good. One out of three is a fairly good percentage when it comes to odds. I had faith in myself, and I had faith that everything,  in good time, would fall into place…I’m not afraid to be alone anymore, there’s a new force inside my mind that grows stronger each passing day. I believe in me, and it feels good.

Natural Beauty Of Nature

For the past few days I’ve been sitting shotgun in the front passenger seat of the Tahoe, my husband taking the wheel. I’ve witnessed the natural beauty of Gods earth from the Bad Lands of North Dakota to the Rocky Mountains of Glacier National Park in Montana. I can’t help but to revel in the beautiful landscapes that God has created. With each Switchback we both gasped for a bit of new air as we’d have to catch our breath at the new picturesque view before our eyes.

With all the natural beauty of nature, I have to reflect on the fact that he too, made us with his own hands, individually and unique as the lay of the land. He made us in his own image, yet all our own. In the splendor of nature, you will never see any two mountains in identical form. Each one is unique in its own beauty. Just as he’s done with each on of us, we are unique in our own way. As some mountains are spectacularly grand in comparison to another who bears the name of the foothill, we too are made that way. Some of us are grand in hight and girth, some are petite and small. Why then, I ask myself, am I so unhappy with my appearance? Why can’t I be content with my God-given genetics. I should be satisfied with what he provided for me, and I should take good care of it. I should remember always that my body is on loan, I’ll have to turn it in sometime. If I refuse to take care of it, I may not get my deposit back!

I started over with my thirty-day stretch again. I’ve now gone thirteen days straight with no unhealthy coping mechanisms in gear. I will make it this time. If I must go thirty days in order to stop any sort of dependency on any kind of addiction, I will do it now, I’m ready. I feel stronger this time, I feel that I can conquer it this time. My husband is on my side and I guess, so am I. With each day I’m able to stay focused and clear minded, I like myself more. That is a good thing…

Yep, I Think So…Heaven Is For Real…

I’m sitting in my little writing room looking out the windows in front of me. The heat and moisture of the great outdoors is fighting with the air-conditioned coolness of the inside of the house. It’s quite difficult to see anything at this point other than condensation with a hint of green in the background. That makes it all the better to be inside the stillness of my contemplating room pecking away at my story.

I just finished a book that was suggested to me from my stepdaughter, “Heaven Is For Real”. I can’t express enough how powerful this book is when it comes to building faith. There are so many things I’d love to do before I die, I want to be able to bake cookies in my new beautiful kitchen and not be afraid to eat them hot out of the oven. I want to be able to someday have one of my grandchildren perched on a kitchen chair next to me as we experience it together. I want to feel no need to rid my body of something so pure as the pleasure of playing and eating homemade goodies with a grandchild. At this point, I have no grandkids, none of our children are even married yet. Long term, my goal is to be at peace within myself, to feel confident in my own skin and content with my appearance. I want to be happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise. I want to live my life to fullest, regardless of how I’ve wasted so much of the past intermingled with the likes of an eating disorder. In reality according to the book, when I die, there are so many more things I will have to experience.

The past nineteen days have been more successful for me than I’d anticipated. My thirty-day goal is now within reach. It didn’t just happen, I’ve had help. Nothing good happens without the love and support of our great God Almighty. He has made it possible for me to find yet one more tool for my recovery. I have discovered something extraordinary, and yet I feel that I can’t let anyone know what it is until I know for certain it has helped me. Everytime I’ve tried something in the past it has helped for a short while, then it’s back to eating disorder thoughts as usual.

I have high hopes and faith that this new discovery came to me through the Holy Spirit by way of a new acquaintance. Mom always told me, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I believe that with my whole heart, and I believe in divine intervention…. Here’s to good things and healthy relationships. Here’s to old acquaintances who become new to some. Here’s to feeling better about myself so I can in turn be better to those I love.

Writing And Staying Focused

I’ve been working hard the past few days…happy to announce that I’m on day two of my thirty day goal…Here is a glimpse of page 173 of my book.

 Ten months have past since I wrote this last entry. I find it most difficult to put down into words what I myself have done to the person I am. Living my life as I did was one thing, writing it down in the detail that I must do to understand the healing process is yet another animal in itself. I find it embarrassing to actually put on paper how I’ve lived my life. You see, living it, I simply hid the bad stuff from everyone. Therefore, if no one else knew how I spent my free time I never had to face my eating disorder head on. I was able to bottle up the shame and frustration only to continue to make false promises to myself.  But actually putting it on paper makes it real, it’s no longer a secret life; it’s reality.

Do Over…

It’s a new day, therefore I am able to start fresh. The sun continues to shine, and my flowers continue to grow. I have the world in the palm of my hands in comparison to some. I’m going to have to change the date of my massage as I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve stumbled. I so thought that if I opened up my secrets to you, it would help me to stay focused. It’s a new day, it’s a new start…Dear God, catch me before I fall too far.

Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise…someday…

So far, so bumpy… What can I say? I have really had it with the distortions taking control of my psyche. I’m struggling, but I’m doing better, far better, as I’ve not entertained the bulimic monster that’s been trying so hard to persuade me to play. I’ve toyed with the idea of restriction, but faltered because of what the healthy side of myself is trying hard to pound back into my head. I am feeding myself even when I have the chance to starve. I’m having mixed emotions with my choices as I know it would be so easy and so desirable to skip my breakfast and lunch when I’m alone. My time is my own for three days every week, yet I haven’t skipped meals, and more importantly, I haven’t indulged in bulimic behavior.

I’ve been busy writing my book, or should I say “rewriting” my book. Proofreading and rewriting has taken up a great deal of my afternoons spent alone. I’m re-learning the history of myself as I go back and discuss, with myself,  the idiosyncracies of my past. I’m learning more every time dive into the depths of this craziness I’ve led myself to believe, yet, still I want so badly to reunite with the anorexic side of myself more than anything else in the world. I can’t explain why, but I still have the desire and the need to be in control of my body. I have the drive to restrict nourishment, which to me, still seems like an indulgment, not a necessity. I’m fighting myself and at this point, I do feel like I’m (healthy Lori) gaining the strength needed to win the race…at least for the moment.

Planting The Seeds For Inspiration

My desire to write has come to a complete stop. I’ve been trying to figure out if my passion for warmer weather and green grass has anything to do with it. The winter of 2010-2011 had to have been the longest, snowiest, coldest and most dreary winter I’ve experienced in years. I took advantage of my time spent inside the warmth of my home, cheating the frosty winds which constantly blew outside the walls that kept me safe. My writing class was most inspirational and managed to keep my creative mind busy and fresh with new ideas along with a chance to set a date for the completion of my book.

The winter has finally passed, whew! Unfortunately, with winters passing along went my desire to sit in front of my desk pecking away at a story that is becoming more of chore to finish than I care to admit. At times I feel it’s unnecessary to write the ending as I feel I’m not out of the woods yet, nor will I ever be. I’ve tried so hard to discipline myself. I’ve tried diligently to overcome the distorted thoughts that continue to haunt me throughout my days. But I’m afraid that the decades of time which I’ve devoted to the unhealthy thought patterns have been there too long. I’m afraid that they will always be there in the forefront of my mind and I will forever be jumping the hurdles that spring up on a constant basis.

I have learned so much, and I have come so far…I resist the temptations to give in to bulimia behavior, although at times it’s still incredibly difficult, sometimes it’s impossible. Will my book end the same way it begins? I certainly hope not.

As I look out the window of my contemplating room, I watch the birds fly around my back yard. I can hear the sound of the chimes as they sway in the warm breeze, I can see the growth of last years perennials making their spring debut. There is absolutely no place on earth I’d rather be than in the surroundings where Kenny and I have made our home. Keeping that thought in my mind is like seeds of inspiration. I have to plant them every day until they are the routine healthy thought pattern which will one day replace the unhealthy super highway I’ve burned for so long.

Placing one foot in front of the other, I pray to God that he will give me strength…

Insecurities…Will They Ever Go Away?

The weather has been unbelievable, the sun has been shining, the temperature above normal…so why am I feeling like I’m on the way down? There’s a familiar heaviness settling in. I have no reason to be feeling depression, yet each breath I take, I can feel it crawling deeper and deeper inside me.

I stood in front of the podium in my writing class this morning. My hands dripping with warm beads of steaming perspiration as I tried hard not to let anyone see my insecurities. It was obvious to all present that I was out of my element while I read ten pages aloud of my personal manuscript to a sea of scholars.

There were ten of us, all chosen by the instructor by choice, after she reviewed twenty pages of our  submitted manuscripts. She did choose me. I submitted my twenty pages and I had to wait patiently for the call telling me I was accepted. But why? Why was I chosen to be part of a select class of  writers when clearly I was so completely unrefined from all the others. One had been a successful lawyer, another was a college professor. An astrologer, a psychotherapist, and a woman who spent time in Irac writing new government policies.  If that’s not enough to feel insecure, one man was once the Dean  in a quaint little college out East that calls itself  “YALE”.

I was the last to read. As I tried to make eye contact throughout the fifteen minute reading, I observed the faces of all these successful people. The looks of concern and empathy were clear, no words were exchanged at the end. We had very little time before I was either in need of feeding the meter down the street or paying a hefty parking ticket…the choice was mine. I left swiftly choosing not to return. As I was leaving, the former lawyer shook my hand, telling me she was impressed, “It’s a very difficult thing to show your vulnerability, but I have to tell you it’s also very important.”

It’s really the only feedback I received, I didn’t know if it was good or if it was bad. The class has now run its course. Twelve weeks have come and gone, it’s possible I’ll never see those people again. I wish I felt better about sharing my story with a real audience…

It’s nearly impossible for me to look at this situation in a positive fashion; “unacceptable” inside this doubtful mind of mine, is all I see. It’s the way I’ve trained myself to think. The other day my husband said,

“Maybe we’ll hire a cleaning company to come in and get all the nooks and crannies cleaned before summer.”

Most women would raise their glass to that statement, but I, on the other hand, heard something all together different. I heard him say, “Man, you’re an awful excuse for a housekeeper, I’m gonna find someone who can get the job done that you are incapable of doing.”

Obviously, I had to rethink my negative thought pattern. My learned behavior of feeling less than, is still so unbelievably strong inside my mind.

For now, my audience is you…please understand that no response is not necessarily better than negative response. Until I’m able to figure it all out, silence is simply the unknown negative.