Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just happened to notice...

I love it when I catch random number sequences. It's a little hard to see, but if you click on the picture you can read the odometer... it's at 65,432 miles.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Embracing being single

I've realized I have many things that I need to deal with before I can hope to move into any kind of healthy relationship. So I am working on, as a friend puts it, embracing being single - becoming comfortable with being alone. Having been married most of my adult life, this isn't an easy thing. I've written previously about missing that constant caring presence of having a partner. I still miss that terribly. But I can't allow that longing to drive my feelings about people, or my decisions about relationships. I can't just rush into something, no matter how good it might look on the surface, just because I don't want to be alone.

Somewhere in this great wide world there is someone who is right for me. With any luck, I'll meet them some day. Until then I have two choices... wallow in self-pity about being alone; or learn to be comfortable with myself, and enjoy being on my own. I'm thinking I'll go for option number two.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Want to know how to drive me crazy?

Don't talk to me. Cut off all communication whatsoever, and ignore any attempts I might make at communicating with you. My mind comes up with the worst scenarios, and I pick over every little detail of previous conversations to try to figure out what's wrong.

Of course this only works for people I care about talking to, but it is the worst of torture for me to have someone just stop communicating with me. I'm all about communication, you see. I love talking to my friends, having great conversations... even just saying hi and chatting about the weather for a few moments. Even those littlest moments of contact remind me that I'm not alone, that there are people out there who care about me and think about me. They also give me the chance to check in with those I care about, find out how they're doing, and let them know they're in my thoughts as well.

Electronic communication and the internet makes it so much easier to stay in touch with people, and I am an email and text message junkie for sure. But when you only know someone through electronic communication, it makes it very easy for them to do exactly what bothers me most. With a few clicks of a mouse, an electronic acquaintance can be removed from virtual existence: blocked from IM, filtered out of email, removed from friends lists. The hardest to take is when someone does this without any explanation. It could be for reasons that have nothing to do with you - frequently is I'm sure. But of course, my mind starts mulling and churning, and pretty soon I'm positive I've done something to drive them away.

This ties back to my thoughts on attachment, because the reason why it bothers me so much is attachment. Either my attachment to that person, or the feeling of being cared about, or the desire to know what the problem is, and the often misguided certainty that whatever it is can be fixed. I become attached to a certain outcome, and not being able to bring that outcome about - not even being given the chance to do so - bothers me immensely.

A book I've just started reading, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, Ph.D., talks about the "lens of personal insufficiency" that many of us see our lives through - the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with us - and how it leads us into so many unhealthy behaviors, and robs us of so much joy in our life. I bought the book months ago, and probably could have gone many more months without ever picking it up, but my experiences of the last few months have made it clear to me that I am very much in need of its message right now.

It is this feeling of personal insufficiency that makes me think that I am the problem when someone stops communicating with me. And even though I may know intellectually that's probably not the case, as long as that feeling is there, somewhere in the darkest corners of my heart, I will always believe my deficiencies are the cause.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Recent experiences, conversations with a friend, and my desire to pare down my possessions, have all had me thinking about the nature of attachment.

It is amazing how easily I get attached to things, ideas, habits, people... I've been a walking billboard for the Four Noble Truths lately. I've experienced a lot of suffering in the last several months - last year really. And now I've finally recognized that it is entirely my tendency to attach and obsess that's creating my suffering.

This isn't a new concept for me. I've been studying Buddhist ideas and philosophy on and off for several years now. However, I think this is the first time I've really been able to make the direct connection to my personal experience, rather than it just being a concept.

A situation that might in the past have sent me into a tail-spin of hurt and depression, has instead been the catalyst for a much clearer and more direct understanding of the nature of suffering and its basis in attachment. I've had an epiphany - there's really no other word to describe it. Perhaps the Zen Buddhist stories of instant enlightenment are based on experiences of immediate clarity such as this. It's a wonderful thing actually, and I'm thankful for it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Unearthing the tomb...

I shut myself off for so long to numb the unhappiness of my marriage. My longings, desires, hopes, and dreams were buried under six feet of misery. Now that I've begun to exhume my heart, old demons are clawing their way to the surface as well.

I know them for the monsters they are by the poison they spit into my mind. Insidious stuff, it eats me up from the inside out until I can't think straight, and I begin to believe the most ridiculous things. Sadly, I've been known to sabotage myself time and again because of it.

I refuse to fall into the clutches of these old demons again. I know the taste of their poison well, and I will not allow it to undermine my happiness anymore.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And here I thought I was cured...

The ex came by unannounced last night with his girlfriend - fiancé really - and stayed for a couple of hours. I've gotten fairly comfortable being around them together. There's no jealousy there, or even any animosity toward her - she is stuck with him after all. But it can still be a little awkward at times, so I was glad that most of the evening went smoothly. He mainly wanted to discuss getting his things out of the house and garage, and some financial stuff that still needs to be cleaned up.

We talked quite a bit about those subjects, and then moved onto talking about the dogs. He wants to take Tanka back to New Mexico with him once they find a place to buy. My first instinct is to say no of course... but he and Cassie have been having some dominance struggles since the two males came back, and I'm afraid they're going to escalate. I'd never let him take Bear back - it's too cold for him having the short hair that he does, and I'd miss him too much. But I'm thinking about sending Tanka with him, as long as I see proof he's got a suitable place for him that will be permanent. I've dealt with dogs having dominance issues before, and I was lucky that no one died when it blew up. As it was, there were thousands of dollars in vet bills, and many months of recovery for the loser.

Back to the title of this post though... I thought I was cured of his being able to trigger my insecurities. I was wrong. We had been talking throughout the night about how I understood why he left - mainly because we were both miserable. As they were leaving, his fiancé had gone on ahead outside and it was just the two of us in the house. He told me he wanted me to know that he didn't understand what he wanted until he'd been on his trip for a while, and that it was very important to him that I know he didn't leave me for her - that he didn't leave me for another woman.

With those few words he dredged up a whole mess of emotion that I thought I had excised quite thoroughly. Apparently they were just in remission. And I'm still not certain why it should affect me so much to hear him say that - to know it's important to him that I not believe he left me for someone else. But it does somehow - I'm just not sure exactly how yet. Unfortunately it's brought all of the insecurities, resentment, bitterness, hurt, anger, etc... all to the surface again. Nowhere near as intensely as they've been in the past - but enough to have me dwelling pretty heavily on them.

You'd think I'd be happy to find that out... or at least relieved. You might even think it would banish some insecurities, ease some of the hurt of feeling rejected and unwanted... but it seems as if it's just brought it all back to the surface again. Maybe it's just a short-term resurgence... a last gasp for all that crap. I certainly hope so. Because I really want to be past all this. There are a lot of good things happening in my life right now, and I don't need these feelings muddying the waters.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A new semester, and soon a whole new existence

The spring semester begins tonight, and I'll be taking Asian-American Literature - because that's what I could get to fit my schedule. That describes how most of my class choices have been made throughout my now 14-year-long college career. The choices were much more plentiful in previous years of course, since I had so many more classes I needed to take. But now, it's down to five classes - all of them advanced literature classes. Not so easy to find at nights.

This is why I will be moving to a night shift sometime in May. Besides offering a hefty shift differential (12%), it will also afford me the ability to take classes throughout the day. I've worked deep nights before (the shift will 7pm - 5:30am) so I know I can handle it, but I was much, much younger then. My ultimate hope is that I'll be able to complete my degree by the end of the year by making this change. Now that I've decided I want to go to grad school, I'm eager to finish this chapter of my life so that I can move on to the next.

I'm also very excited about developments in other areas of my life. I've recently begun corresponding and conversing with someone unlike anyone I've ever met before. I eagerly await each new contact, and could spend (have spent) hours at a time talking to him. I generally don't want to hang up each evening from our calls. If it weren't for this pesky need for sleep, I probably wouldn't. The greatest thing is, I know he feels the same way.

He's told me that my blog, and the frank candor with which I write, is the reason he became interested in conversing with me. Which of course peaked my interest as well. But it is his direct and open manner that I find so endearing.

I don't like games - I'm no good at playing them - so I'm usually a fairly direct person. I've been told by almost everyone who spends much time with me that I can be incredibly blunt and to-the-point. I take that as a compliment. I generally don't like to bandy words or dance around a subject. Finding someone else who seems to be as forthright as I am is so refreshing. Finding someone like that with whom I have so much else in common... it's almost enough to make me believe there is a god. Okay, maybe not...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rollercoaster times

Seems like my life has been all highs and lows for the last year. Sometimes both at once - like now.

My cat Han Solo hasn't been home for 4 nights now, and I'm beginning to lose hope that he's going to return. I've wandered my neighborhood a bit looking for him, but there are so many dogs and so much other noise, that I'd never hear him if he was crying - he has such a soft voice.

And yet, other things are happening that have me feeling very happy and positive - almost giddy. I feel a bit guilty for feeling good when Han Solo is missing though. I know moping around about it won't bring him back... but it just seems weird to me to be in such a good mood while he's missing.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Finally, direction...

Now that I've started thinking about grad school, I'm getting pretty psyched and feel very positive about it. Also, it's nice to have direction. I'm already thinking ahead to needing to get rid of a lot of things and pare down to the bare minimums if I'm going to move in a year or so.

So now I have a real motivator to finish the Bachelors by the end of the year, and pay off as much debt as possible. I can do this...

I will do this.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Looking forward

I've been working on getting my Bachelors degree for so long that I never really thought beyond getting the paper. But I need to begin thinking about what I'm going to do with it once I have it. My first thought is take a year off, and then go to grad school for writing. I was looking at UT Austin's MA in Creative Writing today. In truth, if I am going to continue on to grad school, doing it at UT makes the most sense. I have family in the area who would put me up, so I could probably swing going full time and actually get it done in two years. But what then?

I've pretty well drifted through my life up to this point. I've never really had a focus or direction... just wandered into this or that. Which is how I've ended up working in customer service in the financial industry - and I hate it.

The only things that have consistently stayed with me through the years are my dual loves of photography and writing. Recently I've had the urge to use them both in some way to promote veganism, or benefit animal causes, or even just to make people think about their world in a more critical way. I don't have a clear vision of how this might come about, but I'm working on it. If anyone reading this has any ideas...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm determined

I want to be more active with my blogs this year, and try to do some real writing for them, rather than just making them a journal of my every day life. Haven't quite decided what I'm going to do yet, but I'm thinking about it. It'll gel for me eventually - always does.

It's time to really clean house and simplify my life. I have too much stuff cluttering up my home, my life, my mind. I need to pare it all back, find the core of who I am, and who I want to be - keeping only what is essential.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's a new year

Let's hope 2008 is a big improvement on 2007. Not that the year has been all bad. I met some awesome people, and have had a lot of good times. But I've also had some of the lowest points of my life as well. I've learned a lot, including that I have a lot to learn.

This year will be about finishing school and getting out of debt. I've started working out again, now that I'm fully healed from the surgery, and I intend to actually use my many vegan cookbooks and learn to cook healthy meals for myself.

Healthy and happy in 2008! Sounds like a campaign slogan...