You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

Wow. I’ve never been at this place before and I’m both shocked and horrified. I’ve always been amazing at what I do. I get fantastic letters of reference and wonderful referrals. I’ve been here at this government job for a year and a half and this morning I put most of my personal belongings in a box and am waiting to get fired because I’ve made too many mistakes in the last few weeks. I know it takes a lot to fire a government worker but nonetheless, this job has whopped my butt and peace comes with the thought of leaving. I’m not ready to be without pay and benefits but I have to say that I have been more stressed out since I got this job than with any job or life situation ever before. It’s so detailed that you’re not out of “training” for six months and even then it’s not possible to know everything. I’m good at this kind of work but apparently not good enough. I probably won’t get fired today but I will start looking for another job today and try to leave before they can kick me out. Crazy, I’ve never met a job that got the better of me. Crap.

Advertisements

I am soooooo stressed at this period of my life.  I’ve been having Panic Attacks, stress eating – and therefore gaining weight – sleeping a lot and not doing a very good job at work.  I need to find a Happy Place, right here, right now on my lunch break!  So in the spirit of The Sound of Music, these are a few of my favorite things:

Haribo Gummy Raspberries
Painting
Organizing my cupboards and closets
Roses that smell nice AND are bi-colored
Dr. Pepper
The Princess Bride
My two best friends
My sister
The OCEAN – why didn’t I think of this one first?
Butterflies
Blues & Greens
Soothing music
Falling rain
Ginger Wasabi (from Scentsy – discontinued)
White chocolate
Caramel
Waterfalls
Road trips

…and my lunch is over but I feel a little better already.  Focusing on the positive – I guess it really works!

I was listening to the radio on my way home from work last night and they played a blurb about “Parenting Teenagers”, you know, one of those minute-long speeches that’s supposed to encourage you… Anyway, this guy started off with “Your Boundaries Define You” and I was immediately side-tracked away from parenting my teenagers. My Boundaries Define Me. More specifically he focused on – My Boundaries, that I set for other people not to cross, Define Me. Really. I had never thought of it that way before.

Up until that moment the word “boundaries” has always been more of a negative word meaning places I can’t go, things I can’t do or limitations placed on me by society/other people. I never imagined I could set boundaries on myself for other people to deal with…

So what are healthy boundaries for an almost 40-year-old woman?  What are appropriate boundaries for a husband and wife?  What are good boundaries for the mother of late-high schoolers?  I feel like I need to quick, come up with a boundary just so I have one…

<thoughtful silence>

Nope… nothing…  My mind is completely blank.  Why has it never occurred to me before this that it is OK to have rules about how other people can interact with me?  Maybe assertive people are better about having boundaries – I’ve been trained too long to hold my peace and not to fight for myself.

Hmmm…

This one is going to take some more time, I’m still trying to accept the feeling that it’s OK to have boundaries for myself.  And I’ll probably need to research what other people have as their personal boundaries because I still can’t think of anything, not anything at all except the awe and wonder of the thought that I am worth having a boundary or two of my own…

Rain falls softly in the Garden of Winter
It is ever raining here
Allowing the Stone Angels to weep always
This garden is a place of beauty and solitude
I come here to be alone

And I am, alone
Even when others come to the Garden of Winter
To find solitude
We are each alone here
Always

A place kept secret, always
Everyone needs a place to be alone
I find that place here
In the Garden of Winter
That secret place of solitude

When one needs solitude
One must have it, always
The Garden of Winter
Allows me to be alone
With my thoughts, here

And I can weep with the Stone Angels here
In quiet solitude
When I need to be alone
I cannot always
Go away to the Garden of Winter

So the Garden of Winter
Is here
Inside me always
A corner of solitude
A piece of my heart that will ever stand alone

The Whole “I Love You”… Thing

My teenagers are a sophomore and a junior and I’m noticing that everybody, I mean EVERYBODY in high school, including my two daughters, are saying “I Love You” to everybody else. Everybody else that is, except their sister and parents. What’s all that about, seriously?

Guys say it to girls seemingly regardless of whether or not they are The Girlfriend and I myself have witnessed several studly, 18 year olds shout out “I Love You Man!” to other teenaged guys. These same young men will pack at least one more body onto my sofa than it is designed for and all sit there, jammed in like sardines but grinning like the Cheshire cat and pretending to be just as cozy as can be, some with their arms around the other’s shoulders and sometimes there’ll be one or two guys sitting on another guy’s lap. I see strong indications that the Personal Bubble space has shrunk in this last generation and is all but ready to pop! And thankfully, the message seems to finally getting through that Real Men can hug and say “I Love You” without losing their Man Card, yay!

Today’s teenaged girls seem to be on the same page because they not only say “I Love You” to their girlfriends, they also write it, and sing it and my girls in particular like to shout “I Love You” from the open window of my car at anyone they see and might possibly know (and that’s only a slight exaggeration) as I’m driving them home from a school function. I’ve heard girls say “I Love You” to guys where there is no Girlfriend/Boyfriend relationship there. I hear my daughters say “I Love You” at the end of nearly every phone conversation and in-person goodbyes, IT’S EVERYWHERE! Either this generation is a bunch of first class saps or maybe they’re on to something…

To quote the Princess Bride: “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…” We all know words change in meaning as cultures change, for example to be “gay” used to mean you were happy and now it has a homosexual connotation. So has “I Love You” changed in meaning as well? Or maybe I never learned the true meaning of love in the first place.

I grew up thinking there were two kinds of love – romantic love between a husband and a wife and family love between parents and children. Anything else seemed to be wrong. (Yes, the more I write about my childhood the more I realize it was pretty screwed up and heavily contributes to the mental mess I am today. Thanks Mom.) Needless to say my growing-up years saw very few hugs, kisses or touching of any kind that was not discipline and I’m struggling to remember my mother ever saying “I Love You”. Once I turned 17 my mother seemed to see that something was wrong with me and she started to say “I Love You” and tell me that I was pretty but by then I didn’t believe her.

To have feelings of “love” for my best friend in high school meant, to my mother, that I was on the verge of becoming a lesbian. I don’t think I ever told Mom that sometimes we would hold hands, hug each other or wrap our arms around each other’s waists just to be affectionate. As much as I craved the physical affection and desperately needed it – I felt evil for participating. My best friend from high school is still my best friend now and to this day I have a hard time saying “I Love You” to her in our phone conversations even though she’s always saying it to me. I am so grateful she’s hung in there despite over 20 years of my crazy weirdness in trying to figure myself out. I wasn’t very nice to her sometimes and she just stood back so I could work things out and when I finally looked up she was right there, waiting for me to be ready to be friends again. Girl, I know you’ll be reading this – I Love You!

I have one more best friend, unfortunately I moved 8 hours away from my high school best friend so while we have great phone conversations we don’t get to see her much. My “new” best friend is a gal I used to work with and we’ve been friends now for just over two years…wow it seems like longer than that though! She is only about a half an hour from me and we try to hang out as often as we can. I love her too.

I’m afraid I’ve become far more like my mother than I intended to. I don’t say “I Love You” to my children nearly as much as I should – although I saw it far more than it was said to me. I try to give hugs to them but it still seems so foreign to me, almost wrong, because that’s not how I grew up. All I can do at this point is pray that when they’re parents they do better with their kids than I did with them. I think that’s every parent’s prayer for their kids.

I used to say “I Love You” to my husband all the time, hoping desperately that he would say it back and believing that if I said it enough with my mouth that my heart would start to feel it. Neither happened. The people who say that love is a choice are correct. I have chosen to stay with my husband of almost 19 years because I made a commitment to him at our wedding ceremony and it’s the right thing to do. I choose to love him by staying in this marriage and by trying to make our house a home. I do not have feelings of love for him and as far as I can tell he feels something that he thinks is love for me but cannot properly express it. I’ve always been a good girl and tried to do the right thing and so I will stay with him.

As far as the whole high school fad of saying “I Love You” to anyone and everyone I’m thinking I approve. At least their hearts seem to have something in them and they are getting affection from their peers. May their lives be fuller than mine!

OK, so I went shopping this afternoon while my Sweet Tooth was in high gear…bad news! The old saying “Never Shop Hungry” has once again proved itself to be pretty darn accurate because guess what I walked out of the store with? (Ummm, and that would be for just me – not to share with my family…yes, I’m a bad Mommy.)

From the Bulk Foods section:
About 1 pound of: Skittles, Jelly Bellies and M & Ms
About ½ pound of: Butter Mints, Gummy Grapefruit slices, Orange Cream Drops with Almonds and Lemon Cream Drops with Almonds

From the Chip Aisle:
Carmel Bugles

From the Soda Aisle:
1 Two-liter of generic Dr Pepper

From the little coolers by the checkout stands:
1 Cold 20 oz carbonated Cascade Ice, Mixed Berry flavor

So roughly five pounds of bulk candy, 1 bag of sweet & salty chips, a 2-liter of soda and a 20 oz soda. Hmmm… I think I’m in trouble.

After making my purchases, I then went to church and only had enough time to try 1 Orange Cream Drop with Almonds and 1 Lemon Cream Drop with Almonds. Essentially they are an almond coated with white chocolate with an outer layer of the citrus flavor. They were not too bad but I wished they had a stronger fruit flavor.

Church was a special service to dedicate our newly-remodeled building (during which I drank most of my Cascade Ice, it was more tart than sweet, sad…) followed by finger-foods in the fellowship hall.

Although I have been very proud of myself for losing 35 pounds in the last 14 months I probably gained most of it back tonight, ugh! I ate a Costco roll with a bacon-sized slice of brisket, a second Costco roll plain, about 4 each of celery sticks and cucumber slices, 3 slices of a brown-skinned pear that I’ve never had before, (it had a good flavor but was really crunchy like an apple), a couple of good-sized dollops of a fantastic ranch dressing, about 10 slices (2” x 2”) of cheese, 3 servings of rhubarb crisp and 1 oatmeal raisin cookie.

We came home and I had a handful of the Orange & Lemon Cream Drops with Almonds with one of my daughters. I am content…and full. I think I’ll go to bed now, good night!

Memories are glimpses in the mirror of what is past. My memory feels fractured – I only have bits and pieces that I don’t think about much anymore, some parts of my life I can’t remember at all.  Call it what you will – old age, self-protection or just having an unimpressive childhood but it may be helpful to write them down so here goes:

“I’m at a party, it’s my party – a birthday party!  There were lots of kids there and we played games. But I’m sad because all of the other children got a present..and I didn’t.”  I’ve been told that this party was for my 2nd birthday so that should make it my oldest memory.  I was also told that I received all kinds of presents at that party and the other kids were given some sort of treat bag as they left with a box of crayons inside and probably some candy.  Fascinating what the mind latches on to – I wonder what Freud would make of that memory?

Speaking of parties, my mother used to make fun cakes for my birthday parties – the cake I remember the most was a Raggedy Ann cake, she cut the cake into the shape of a Raggedy Ann doll and then frosted it with the most wonderful frosting and then decorated it with candy to look like the clothing.  I want to say that it was around my 7th birthday that she made that cake – somewhere I may even have a picture of it, but I’ll have to look.

As an early grade-schooler I adored Native Americans, although back then we just called them Indians and nothing disrespectful was meant by it.  I grew up in Montana and I thought their darker skin and black hair made them the most beautiful people I’d ever seen.  We operated a family business and went to Pow Wow’s, selling our wares, and I was able to see the dances and hear the drums beat late into the night, those were some of my favorite times.  In spite of being a tow-head I desperately wanted to be an Indian.  I learned how to walk softly and with the exception of a short period of high school where I wore heels all the time, I really dislike shoes that make a lot of noise with every step.  I checked out books from the library and learned that Indians in California ground up acorns and ate them…so I did too!  They didn’t taste very good though, even after I put salt on the mash.  I learned about beading and traditional clothing, how to make moccasins from deer skin, hunting with a bow and arrow, how to make a fire, tanning hides, how to set up a teepee and as many other things that traditional Indians did as I possibly could.  I refused to have my hair cut more than just a trim and I frequently wore either two long braids hanging over my shoulders or one long braid down my back.  When my two brothers and I would play outside we were constantly playing Cowboys and Indians and I was always the Indian.  We moved to another state before I completed grade school and for years I keenly missed the rustic Montana atmosphere and seeing Indians everywhere.

One Christmas I woke up extra early and went to gaze at the tree with it’s lights glowing softly in the dark living room.  Back then the lights didn’t twinkle or change colors, they just were on or off but I loved to sneak out of my room in the night and sit and stare at the tree…  Anyway, back to my story, I woke up extra early and in my tree-gazing I noticed a piece of paper on the tree.  What?  Why is there paper on the tree?  “It probably needs to be thrown away”, was my first thought so I took it off the tree ad noticed there was writing on it.  It was a note telling me to go look in the silverware drawer…  Very, very quietly I followed all of the notes until they led me to a bicycle under the basement stairs – I was so (quietly) excited!  And then I realized, oh crap, I’ve totally ruined the surprise.  I put as many of the notes back as I could find, I lost one or two somewhere along the way, and snuck back into bed until it was a more decent hour to get up and open Christmas presents.  Then I had to do it all over again, find this note and then that note, go here and go there, and where on earth were all the notes hidden?  I couldn’t remember so I looked in several cupboards and drawers hoping my parents wouldn’t remember where they hid all the slips.  Finally I made it back down to the basement and “found” the bike, yay!  I did not fool my mother, however.  She could tell that I wasn’t as happy or surprised as I should have been and she asked me later if I had found the bicycle before they got up.  I had to tell her yes, because that was the truth, and she was not very pleased.

In that same house we had one of those weight-loss gimmicks, some sort of vibrator belt.  You stood next to the machine and put a thick, canvas-type belt around your waist and backed up enough so that the belt was taut and then you turned it on…and jiggled all over.  My brothers and I thought it was great fun to talk, sing, laugh and what not while we had the bet turned on because it made our voices all funny.  I think we mostly told jokes while we were on the belt.

My brothers didn’t like playing Barbie with me so I usually wound up playing whatever boy game they wanted to play…but sometimes they would play Barbies with me.

I was maybe 10ish and mad at my parents so I thought I would run away, but I didn’t have any money.  My next oldest brother had $10 and I tried to get him to run away with me so we would have that $10, which I thought would be plenty of money get by on, but he wouldn’t do it… he wouldn’t go with me and he wouldn’t loan me the money… so I didn’t run away.

There was an Italian Plum tree in the yard and once they had ripened our mother would tell us to go eat plums if we complained we were hungry and wanted a snack.

Several years in a row I went and spent a whole month each summer with a couple at church who were old enough to be my grandparents.  They had a granddaughter from California that would come spend the summers with them and they brought me over as a playmate.  I don’t remember her name anymore but I remember all the fun we had, going to the creek, reading books, playing games and sleeping outside in mummy bags next to a fire.  Those times hold a very special place in my heart.

Well, that was easier than I thought it would be, and I still have more memories to share!  Enough for tonight, I need to go get my beauty sleep…  Sweet dreams to all and to all a good night!

While on our Christmas travels this year we drove hundreds of miles on the freeway and I couldn’t help but notice all the tumbleweeds caught in the fences that lined the roads. A simple, four strand barbed wire caught so many tumbleweeds that it appeared in places to be a solid wall of tumbleweeds, you couldn’t even see the barbed wire or the posts.

Tumbleweeds are fascinating, although annoying, plants. Oddly enough a tumbleweed is not a specific plant but rather a generic term for any plant that, once mature and dry disengages from the root and is blown about by the wind. So a tumbleweed starts out as a green, living plant but when it dies, it becomes a nearly indestructible nuisance, blown about by the whim of the wind. You can run over a tumbleweed with a car and the darn thing keeps on rolling. They’re tough, wiry, resilient and crazy hard to get rid of.

My thoughts feel like tumbleweeds rolling through my mind – I frequently wonder how do I catch them? How do I stop them? How do I change them? Which thoughts are OK to think? Why are some thoughts OK to think and some aren’t? Who decides what’s OK to think? And on and on it goes…

I think the church we attend is trying to tell us what we should think and say and what we shouldn’t. The pastor of the church we attend gave a sermon this last Sunday that defined its mission as four very Biblical steps: Win, Connect, Disciple and Send, based off of the Great Commission – Go, Make Disciples, Baptize them and Teach them to Obey Jesus’ Commands (Matthew 28:19 – 20). One of the final slides of the PowerPoint was “The Chief Challenges” (to accomplishing these goals). Copied directly from the photo I took of the PowerPoint they are:

“The Obstacle: Unbelief.
UNBELIEF is doubting questions or negativity that destroy faith leads to lost joy and an unfaithful heart.

“The Challenge: Faith.
BIBLICAL FAITH is not being willing to ponder any fact of life or circumstance that opposed the revealed will of God.”

Given those guidelines what on earth can I question or think about then? I feel like any question I might raise to another church member or the church leadership will be seen as doubt or negativity and talking about my actual life circumstances without sugar-coating them will instantly label me as not trusting in God. Does anybody else get that too or is it just me and my desperation to leave this church that is seeing things that aren’t there?

Like the four-strand barbed wire fence caught the tumbleweeds on the highway I need a fence of my own.  Here, I think, are the essential principles of being a Christian and there are more scriptures than what I listed but in effort to keep this post short(er) I’m just going to put forth a few for each category:

Strand One:  BELIEVE.

A)    John 3:16 says:  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
B)     John 20:31 says:  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
C)   Romans 10:9 says:  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
D)    1 Thessalonians 4:14 says:  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again…

Strand Two:  LOVE.

A)   I John 4:8 says: “God is Love”.
1)  I Corinthians 13:4 – 8 says:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not
dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but
rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
B)   Mark 12:30 – 31 says: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”
C)   Matthew 7:12 saysSo in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
D)   Galatians 6:2 says:  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Strand Three:  KNOW PEOPLE BY THEIR FRUIT BUT ONLY JUDGE MYSELF.

A)    Matthew 7:18 says:  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
B)    Matthew 7:20 saysThus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  1. Galatians 5:22 – 23 says:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  2. James 3:17 saysBut the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

C)    Luke 6:37 says:  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
D)    Colossians 2:16 – 19: says:   Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
E)     Corinthians 11:31 says:  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
F)     Romans 2:1 says:  You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Strand Four:  OBEY

A)    John 14:23 says:  Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.
B)     1 John 2:5 says:  But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him.
1)  Titus 2:1 – 10, 12 and 15 says:  …teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of
respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way
they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to
love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their
husbands…  Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you
may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  Teach slaves (or employees) to be subject to their masters (or
bosses) in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be
fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.  …teaches us to say “No” to
ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, …These, then, are the
things you should teach…

2)  Ephesians 5:21 – 22, 25, 28 and 33  says:  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to
your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for
her.  …   In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. … each one of you also must love his wife
as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

And that is the essence of what I found while searching the scriptures today for “rules” on how to live a Christian life.  Nothing about “don’t ask questions”  or “you must sugar-coat all your problems”.  Indeed, how are we to “bear one another’s burdens” if we don’t share what our burdens are with each other?

I don’t pretend that I am a perfect Christian by any means but I do believe in Jesus, I do my best to love the people around me and I try my best to obey what the Bible says.   Can anybody give more than their best?

The older I get the less Being Pretty and Being Comfortable will have anything to do with each other.  It’s like they used to be best of friends and now are becoming mortal enemies over some useless, forgotten argument.

As a teenager Being Comfortable was Being Pretty.  I put on my favorite jeans, cutest shirt and my way cool high-top tennis shoes… and then I did my hair and makeup, put on my floppy cotton hat and the biggest hoop earrings I could find and went off to hang out with my friends.  Frequently I even wore heels instead of my high tops if I wanted to kick the “classy” factor up a notch.  I was cute, casual, cool and comfortable – I totally loved the 80’s!

I’m almost 40 now and my jeans have long ago lost their zippers, buttons and back pockets – and sometimes they have even lost their front pockets too and everything has acquired elastic waistbands.  I’m not even sure the word “jeans” properly applies to what I wear anymore but the fabric is a light-weight denim with a “jean slacks” look that my employer tolerates only on Casual Fridays.

My shirts are now all of a Business High Casual/Low Professional style so thank God for Walmart and thrift stores!  Very few of them qualify as “cute” and the ones that do I probably wear far too often… after all a girl has to be cute as often as she can, eh?

My shoes have gone through several stages, from trendy high-tops to classy high heels to slick-bottomed “smart” shoes.  Once upon a time I told one of my church friends that I liked wearing a particular pair of shoes with pointed toes because they made me feel smarter when I wore them… which then inspired her to demonstrate to me the ROFLMHO technique.  You too, really?  I mean come on, it wasn’t that funny, seriously, enough already!

Fine, keep laughing but for the last 10 years or so my footwear preference is open-toed sandals, which yes, I can wear to work all year round.  I am grateful for a job that allows me to wear sandals in the office, it makes my life sooooooo much easier because when my feet are fully enclosed in shoes they get hot and when they get hot they start to smell (bad) and then I reach a point where I could swear that my feet have burst into flames because they feel so hot and if I don’t take my feet out of my shoes and try to cool them down Right Now I will get nauseous, forcing me to impress people with a dash to the nearest restroom of such speed that it be worthy of an Olympian.  However, if I do take my feet out of my shoes it inspires my co-workers to hold their noses and grab their waste buckets so it’s a lose-lose proposition… trust me, nobody wants to see me wearing anything but sandals!

Top it off with makeup, jewelry and hair products and you have a fairly good description of my “Pretty” clothing.  What I wear to be “Comfortable”, however, is no makeup, no jewelry, my famous “bed-head”, paint-stained sweats, a t-shirt and a knee-length sweater jacket… or I just stay in my jammies.  The very best days are the ones where I can stay in my jammies, stay in bed, watch movies and type all day long – that will be another post though.  Suffice it to say that my Comfortable clothes are Not Pretty, and I like it that way!  I’ve finally become more and more comfortable being in my own skin, regardless of how I appear in my native habitat.  It’s about time, dangit, it shouldn’t have taken so long…

We watched The Hobbit last Friday and the line that really stayed with me was when one of the dwarves is talking about Bilbo and says “He’s been lost ever since he left home” and it got me to thinking – where is it that I’m lost the moment I stray from it?  I’m not sure…  It kind of comes back to the question of “Who Am I, Really?”, except with a twist, “Where is it that I am at home?”

Not in my house, that’s for sure.  I type these blogs in secret, worried that my husband will find them because I don’t feel like I can express myself openly without upsetting him and I’m tired of being “madded at”.  Not tired enough to put my foot down quite yet but that’s probably coming soon.  I feel like I need to figure out who I am first, before I can stand up for myself, otherwise what’s the point?

Not in my car because I don’t have “my own” car anymore.  It was my idea to have my husband trade my car in for his current dream car because mine was starting to have transmission issues and I’d had it for almost five years and was ready for something different.  It turns out that I won’t be getting something different for quite a while due to finances so in the meantime I am stuck with a car that gets great gas mileage and was really nice in its day but it’s not a SUV and I don’t really want it.  Yes, my daughter called me “Goldilocks” when I brought all this up…  Long story short is that I don’t have my own mobile castle anymore and I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.

Not at work, are you kidding me?  I was a receptionist for years and never realized how much privacy I had at the front desk until I “moved up” to my current job.  I now work in a space that is roughly 25 x 15 feet and I share with three other gals.  Also, about a dozen more people walk by our workspace constantly throughout the day so there is no such thing as a private phone call.  The other girls can see my computer screens at all times so I try not to do anything personal with emails or internet at work.  I can’t listen to music during normal business hours like I used to when I was a receptionist and my group doesn’t do a lot of chatting so it can get pretty quiet.  I never thought I would mind the silence until I couldn’t have music!

Not at church, at least not for over a year now anyway.  I have a few differences of opinion with The Way Things Are Done and my husband and I have had multiple discussions about leaving this particular church – I’m for it and he’s against it.  This has proven to be a very difficult subject to compromise on and has a lot to do with our more-than-normally rocky relationship over the last 14 months.

I have a couple of friends whose homes I feel “at home” in.  I can relax, let my guard down and breathe… but I can’t live there.  Well, actually, I’m pretty sure they would take me in if I showed up on their doorstep needing a place to stay but that’s not really a permanent fix for anything.  Also, I don’t feel lost when I leave their houses – it’s more like leaving a vacation to go back into the real world.

So that about covers all the physical places in my life without answering the question of “Where is it that am I lost the moment I stray from it?”  I think the closest answer I have is not a place but an activity – being Creative.  When I can’t journal, write music, draw or paint my world loses color and I am lost in the grey.  I’m not horribly good at any of these things but there’s something about Creating that restores me and makes me whole.  The good news is that I can be creative just about anywhere and am not limited to one place, which multiplies my opportunities to defeat depression and color my world with all the rainbow shades of acrylic paint and colored pencils that WalMart offers…

In the end I am still lost, but not as much as I was for a while there.  I am finding myself in the blues and greens of paint swirled on canvas and in the black and white of words on a page.  I am… Creative.