Out-Numbered’s Click

I’ve been following @OutnumberedIsMe on Twitter for some time now.  I read his blog from time to time and it falls into the category of blogs that make me laugh out loud.  He is a much-loved personality in the blogosphere and Twittersphere so I decided one day to send him a request for a click story.  He quickly replied with a yes and sent me a few links later that day.  This was, to me, the most moving in a personal way of those he sent.  It truly caught the essence of the “click moment.”  So thank you, Mr. Outnumbered, for allowing me to publish this post and for the talent, humor, and generosity you send out into the world.

For my family…

The bathroom in my bedroom has a window right behind the toilet.

This morning I was peeing and staring out into the yard.

I spotted a bumble bee crawling across the roof.

Spring.

The seasons can signify many things. I suppose it depends on who you are.

For most, I would imagine they bring hope, change or inspiration. Perhaps all three.

But not me.

I don’t think I’ve ever needed the Spring as much as I do now.

The sun is like an awakening of sorts. Its bright light can change everything in an instant. There’s something about the warmth, the light, the smell of green.

So I’ve heard.

I’ve needed a change for quite some time. So long, that it’s hard for me to explain. It might be easier for me to speak in metaphors. I’m not quite ready to talk about all of this. But I need to let it go.

Suppose for the past 30 years you had been walking in the cold, gray, Winter. What if you’d watched countless seasons come and go but the Spring had always eluded you?

What if most days seemed as if they were filled with dark clouds and rain? So much rain. Imagine the Winter never left and Spring never came.

What would you do?

What could you do?

I can feel the Spring today. I can feel it for the first time in a long time.

For 30 years, I’ve carried a huge burden with me. I’ve harbored a lot of anger. I’ve tucked years of resentment so far down in my soul that I had forgotten it was even there.

But it was there.

Hardened.

Rotten.

Resentment has been the foundation for a wall I’ve built so high that I couldn’t even see over the top of it.

Concrete. Brick. Mortar. Repeat.

Mom, Dad, Wife, Children, Friends.

All on the other side.

My parents got divorced when I was 9. I remember the night they told me. I think that was the beginning. That night I locked the door to my heart and threw away the key. I wouldn’t ever talk about it again. I wouldn’t bother anyone. I wouldn’t listen to anyone.

I wouldn’t do anything.

I spent the last 30 years avoiding contact. I did whatever it took to stay at an arms length away. I wouldn’t let anyone even remotely close for more than a moment. I was afraid.

What could a 9 year old boy be so afraid of? What could a 39 year old man, with a job, a house and a family, be so scared of?

It’s simple.

I was afraid of being disappointed. I was afraid of being let down. I was afraid that it would happen all over again.

I was angry at my Father for leaving and I resented my Mother for letting him go.

It’s amazing what the mind will do to preserve one’s own sanity. Or maybe it’s just tragic.

I would take care of myself. I would wedge anything and everything between me and anyone who wanted a piece of me.

I would use alcohol, pills, food, whatever it took to numb the pain. I would self medicate for 30 years. I even used this blog. Especially this blog. It’s the perfect form of contact. It’s indirect. It’s not real. It’s safe because you can’t get too close to me…

Until now.

I’m changing.

I can feel it. For the first time, I’m starting to let go. I’m turning over the reins to a power greater than myself. I’m letting the resentment go and I’m inviting the ones that I love back in. I’m putting trust in faith. I’m having faith in trust.

These past few weeks have been hard. But not nearly as hard as all of the weeks prior. Over a thousand weeks gone for good. So much wasted time.

I must do this. I will not waste any more time.

I’ve taken some big steps to make things right. Things I’m not ready to talk about right now. Not here.

Today I felt the Spring for the first time in a long time.

It’s never felt so fucking good…

Stacia’s Click 2

Welcome back Stacia sharing another big moment from her life!

I was married for 10 years, almost 11 including the separation, but I don’t count that. I won’t go into how or why I got myself into the marriage or all of the awful things that occurred during the marriage (that would take another blog post or maybe a book to cover). This is about getting out and the “a-ha” moment I had in the midst of the insanity.

My ex was a vicious, threatening, horrible excuse for a person during much of the separation. He loved feeling like he had the power to screw up my life, even more than he already had. During one particular phone conversation, he was refusing to cooperate with anything that would enable me to take care of myself financially. He had run up debt that was either in both of our names or solely in my name. In fact, his accruing debt behind my back was the straw that broke it all and prompted me to kick him out months earlier. While listening to his booming voice-from-hell threatening to force me out of the house, thereby making me homeless and preventing me from keeping my animals, I went to the zoo! Or maybe I was trying to escape from the zoo. I threw my phone as hard as I could, and bust it into 20 pieces. It didn’t stop there.

I had remained calm and rational during most of the madness. Well, not this day. I went monkey-butt-marble-free! I was suffocating. I couldn’t breathe. I was swallowed by my environment. I couldn’t escape my past. It was staring at me from everywhere I looked and it was taunting me wicked. I looked around and all I could see was one of the same rooms I had shared with him for 9 years… the furniture we had chosen, the art prints and personal items we had acquired together. Meanwhile, he was sharing a new home with his 25 year old girlfriend (he was 42 at the time). He fucked up my life for years and then cleanly moved on and started over. I was left in the same mess… the same debt, the same house… the daily reminders and memories haunting me. I am not exaggerating here… I felt haunted and smothered! Let me be clear, I did NOT want him back. I wanted to be completely free from him.

I proceeded to rip everything off the walls, and throw and bash all of my framed pictures on the floor. I was crazed and I wanted to rip it all down and start over. I wanted my fresh start damn it! I hated everything my surroundings represented and of what they reminded me. I was on a rampage and it had to run its course.

What did I accomplish? A completely trashed room, a broken phone, and other demolished personal possessions. But something WAS accomplished in the end. While I lay on the floor sobbing, I had my “a-ha” moment. Who is going to come to my rescue? Who is going to pick me up off that floor? Who is going to make it all better? Who will make me happy again? I only laid there for a short time before I thought to myself… no one is gonna pick my ass up and make things better… except me.

I peeled myself off the floor and stood up with a refreshed outlook and plan of attack.

In that moment, I let go of anger and regret. The only person those malevolent feelings were consuming and hurting was me. I realized that I had needed that explosion of emotion to get it all out and in the end switch my energy and redirect my focus.

I looked at my situation and decided it was time to get real and take control. I contacted my car loan company, my mortgage company and everyone else I could think of to get the ball rolling to officially separate myself from the monster. I couldn’t wait for him to cooperate and do it with me. There were difficult days ahead. The separation lasted longer than it legally had to because he refused to sign papers. I also knew that his mood changed with the wind and I would eventually catch him on a “less-hateful” day. I had to be patient. I had to play the game to get what I needed and to get out for good.

He thrived on me getting upset. He had his way for the last time. My “a-ha” moment pushed me to research every possibility for taking better care of myself, to keep my home, to keep my animals… and it was also the last time I allowed him to upset me. From that point forward, any time he would act psycho and begin yelling over the phone, I would simply say in a calm, matter-of-fact, manner: “You are now yelling at me, so the conversation is over and I am hanging up now.”

The divorce was eventually finalized and now I can breathe. I can take care of myself. I have control over my life and my happiness.
A-ha!

WTF?!?

It is Wednesday night.  Tomorrow I am posting a beautiful click story from Kim Wencl and on Friday you will read this.  It occurred to me that following Kim’s love-filled post with a sad and angry rant might not be the best idea, but right now I want to put what I feel into words.

It’s been a little over a month since Amy died.  I don’t really get this whole grief thing – I’m new to it.  I’ve been told, much to my dismay, that you don’t really move through the stages of grief evenly as much as you bounce around between them.  I think in the beginning I just skipped anger.

There’s a reason for everything.

We all choose our path and make our contracts before we enter this life.

We are all going to learn and grow because of this.

Amy completed her journey, accomplished her goals, achieved her dreams, and she was ready to go.

Something good will come from this.

This is what I told myself.  This is how I kept from getting angry.  But tonight I sat down to meditate and all that I could think was WHAT THE FUCK?

I want to call my best friend.  There are things I need to tell her.  And yes, I know, she’s with me and she’s listening and she’s sending me signs.  I know this, I really do.  I get the signs (or some of them) and I understand.  But what I really want is to hear her say “I’m proud of you, Les.”  I want to hear her ask me to move back home just one more time.  I want to hear about her big plans to redecorate the house.  I want her to write on my Facebook page about how “Aunt Amy” will play dress-up and put on make-up with Bella and Callee. I want her to be standing in front of me so I can look at her one more time and be in awe at how small and perfectly shaped she is and wonder how the hell she got her hair to grow so long and thick so quickly.

The thing is mostly I’ve gone back to the routine.  I think about Amy as much as I did before she died.  I think about her when her name pops up on Facebook, when I hear or see something that reminds me of her, or when there is something I want to tell her.  Because of the distance she wasn’t a daily part of my life.  I don’t experience the loss as much as others.  So here I am feeling so sad and so lost and then I think of Kristin, Tim, Susie, Brad, and Candie and I just think what the fuck?

From what I have read on Facebook, Gavin came home from the hospital today.  I want Amy to call me and tell me what it’s like to have both of her twin baby boys home.  But then I remember, she’s not going to call.  Christmas day will mark the two month anniversary of her death and Gavin and Brantley’s first Christmas.  What the fuck?  It sucks and tonight I’m angry about it.  For the first time, I’m really angry.  It is just not right.  It is not right that my best friend died without ever seeing or touching her baby boys.  It is not right that her husband, mom, and sister have to hire a nanny to do the job that she was supposed to do.  It’s not right that she doesn’t get to be the matron of honor in Kristin’s wedding.  And it’s not right that I can’t call her and talk to her RIGHT NOW!

So tonight, in this moment, I am totally human and filled with a very sad anger.  Since I can’t call Kristin (we usually cry..I mean talk every week but she’s out of town) and cry in anger with her, I did it while I typed.  Thanks for bearing with me on this one.

Natalye’s Click

I discovered Natalye’s story while reading Jarrett’s blog (Jarrett’s click will post tomorrow).  Her strength and bravery touched me so much that I immediately contacted her on Twitter (@IamPhoReal) and expressed to her how grateful I was that she had shared her powerful story.  After a few days of tweeting back and forth, I asked her if I could post the story, “Damaged,” here on “Waiting for the Click.”  She agreed. Here is her story just as it appeared on Jarrett’s blog.

When asked by my best friend to write something for his blog, I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything of importance that I can write about. I haven’t written anything in so long, I forgot how to even put a paragraph together, much less a piece. I have never written anything that hasn’t been inspired (besides status updates and comments on various subjects, but to me that’s just me vocalizing whatever I feel or like; and I talk TOO much. I feel I’m doing that now! lol). But while I was searching for music to put on my blip.fm account, I came across a song that got me through a very crucial time in my life. One song. One horrible moment in my life. And that one song healed me when not one person in life at the time could. (I know Jarrett that you said it didn’t have to be earthshattering, but I didn’t plan for it to be lol). I don’t want sympathy or pity. I’ve kept something in for a LONG time, and not only because it’s not what you call proper “dinner conversation”, but because I didn’t want anyone thinking I wanted someone to feel sorry for me. I’m a strong person in my eyes, but I also have some emotional damage that I didn’t know, up until a month ago, I still had. And I feel, if I can help just one person with my story, I can help myself with that problem.

In 1995, I was just starting my 2nd year in junior high (8th grade to be exact). I met a guy through one of my friends. Little did I know, that he was 23 years old. I “dated” him for a month before I thought I was ready to lose my virginity. When the chance came, I recoiled. Even though I thought I “loved” him, I just wasn’t ready yet. He was livid. He started yelling that he spent all this time & all this money on me to not get what he wanted. I was beaten.. and then, I was raped. I was left on the couch bleeding; and strong little me didn’t cry. I held myself together, called a friend, and left.

I deserved it, that’s what I believed. I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation, I told myself repeatedly. Months passed by. I was always angry. I got suspended for fighting. I bullied random people. I was arrested for shoplifting. I was lost. It was a classmate’s comment that broke me: “Nan (that was my nickname in jr high), you always made straight A’s. You’re making straight D’s & F’s now. What the hell would make you want to have people look at you like a stupid ass?” After that, I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. I hadn’t cried since before the incident. I went home that day and told my parents. I saw and felt a deluge of pain I thought didn’t exist outside of movies. What the hell do we do?

We decided to report him. To summarize the conversation, they said: It has been months Nan. If you had come forward when it happened, we would’ve had proof. It looks like it’s gonna be your word against his since you say there were no witnesses & you didn’t tell anyone of the incident. But hey, they did offer to have a counselor help me with my “problem” (insert brutal sarcasm here). I died inside after we left. I could even say that I didn’t just lose faith, I had faith in nothing & no one. It was while I was watching a movie that something cracked. It was a song. Not just the song, the lyrics caught my attention:

Healing comes so painfully & it chills to the bone
Will anyone get close to me?
I’m damaged, as I’m sure you know
..
I can’t go back, I must go on…

I listened to that song over, and over for the next month. And each time I listened, I felt more & more like I could feel. I can honestly say, music saved me from suicide. I laughed more easily. I attended a Christian school after. I had a REAL best friend (who is still my bestest friend til this day). Music saved me from a situation that has psychologically damaged TOO many women that it has happened to. I wouldn’t let that happen to me. Over the years, I’ve kept the fact that I was violated to myself. Situations would arise & I would bring it up so that people would understand why I react certain ways in certain situations. Some never understood why I didn’t see a psychiatrist. But to me, singers were my psychiatrists, songs were my prescriptions & lyrics were my painkillers. When I tell people this, they’re just whatever about it. But it’s true. And I’m blessed to have something so common, yet unbelievable, help me through a horrible time.

I know there are more common situations where women that have been raped never heal. I always believed I fully healed, but I’m still pushing people away who get too close to me. And yes, I do see I always do this, even to Brooke & Joni. Hearing that song again made me realize that in some ways I am bruised; but not damaged. I can’t go back, I must go on, I must remember that; Especially when it comes to all my great friends who want to be there for me & want to help me.

And indirectly, Jarrett, you asking me to write something was a blessing in disguise. I always thought telling people that I was raped would leave me raw & vulnerable. But it was a good thing. A great thing if I can help & inspire someone else. I hope whoever reads this sees that just because something bad has happened to them, does not mean in any way, shape, or form that they deserved it! And that with the help of those who love them and those who understand, & some beautiful music, they can heal & fully embrace themselves and bask in it. More easily said than done you may say, but as you can see, it can & has been done.

My life motto: Show Love With No Remorse (RHCP).. I don’t plan to stop now…

Glenn’s Click

This story is written by my dear friend, Glenn Miller

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.  I’ve not heard anyone to date that disputes that they exist, nor do I know anyone that has gone through the grieving process that has not experienced them all (to some degree and with varying durations).  What people do, however, dispute is that the grieving process only applies to stages of their lives when something negative happens, mostly keeping the process of mourning a loss through death.

 

How often do we think of higher levels or “out of the box” translations to the stages of grief?  In the origins of tarot, we see “Death” as the harbinger of change – not necessarily loss. I fell subject to this mentality many times in the past, but the instance that I recall most clearly came about a little over five years ago.

I remember being woken up from heavy dreams many nights in a row. They centered around themes of people that I deemed older and wiser speaking to someone that I saw as representative of someone younger and more rebellious. Just for a second opinion of what the dreams could mean, I spoke to a friend that dabbled in dream interpretation and tarot.  Of course, she did a reading (as was her way) and drew Death (right side up).  The initial knee-jerk reaction hit me, and my brain began racing in random directions of what (or who) around me would be leaving this world – only to be reminded that the reading in full simply was indicating a change in my life.

Now, I don’t put much “faith” in tarot, runes or other readings by themselves, but in this case it struck home more because of the coincidences within my dreams…  Instead of focus on loss, I began to dwell upon how all things must be just coincidental.  I denied that any real changes were coming, who actually could put stock in dreams or stupid readings?  A couple days later, I started to get mad that I had even let myself put any stock in either medium.  I got mad that the cards ever existed, and that I even bothered to talk about my dreams in the first place.  But, the dreams persisted and began to contort into clearer pictures…  I started screaming out to whatever might exist as a “higher power” to make the dreams stop, just letting me have a restful sleep.  I was willing to do whatever I was told to do just to make them stop.  No one would bargain with me…

As the dreams began to get clearer, it took away all peace of mind that I ever felt…  Until I had a particular dream about standing on a hillside and looking out over the sunset as I held a little boy’s hand.  I still remember holding his hand and talking about the clouds, the stars coming up and just the overall peace that started to come forward.  The day after that dream, I found out that my wife and I were pregnant with our first child.  I knew that it must be my son that was in the dreams…  The older person speaking to the rebellious youth in the prior dreams were telling me of upcoming conflict – my adult self telling my younger self to get a grip and grow up…  I spent the remainder of the pregnancy within myself, trying to go through the motions, but never getting a full handle on how to get over my depression.  I put things in motion to try and give my child a better life – searching for a better job, buying a house and just generally trying to nest.  No matter how hard I worked though, I could not seem to make things “real”.

Putting the gorey parts of childbirth from the male perspective to the side, it took the day of my son’s birth to snap me into place as both a man and as a parent.  I had to look into his little blue eyes to really know that things had indeed changed.  I sat and rocked his tiny self next to a window in the birthing suite and looked out into a thunder storm, feeling him sigh as if he felt true peace and knew that things would be different every day.  I accepted the change.

We named my son Chance, and he has become the true purpose of his name – looking at him every day reminds me that this is my chance to do something right.  Every day is a step within change as he grows up, as it is with my daughter, but I wouldn’t miss a step that either of them take on their journey…

Glennandchance

Guilt, Guilt, Guilt

The term “survivor’s guilt” has been mentioned these past two weeks since I lost my dear friend, Amy.  When I hear the term I immediately think of someone feeling guilty for being alive when their loved one has passed on.  I imagine them off in a corner somewhere thinking it should have been me, it should have been me.  I haven’t felt this way.  I had a moment of thinking why do I get to be here and what am I supposed to do, but never thought it should have been me.  Mark and the girls need me.  It would be selfish to think that.

I do believe I am experiencing “survivor’s guilt” in a different way.  Right now, I seem to be drowning in guilt.  I am regretting all of the missed opportunities and the stupid excuses (not just with Amy).  The girls are tired.  The drive is too far.  There are too many people to see.  It’s too hard.  There is not enough time. I feel bad for choosing the wrong words.  Even after apologies are exchanged and accepted, I can’t stop flogging myself for putting them out there in the first place.  I feel guilty for the things I want and the things I don’t want.  I feel wrong for the love I do feel and the love I wish I felt.  I feel like a horrible mother because I am lacking the energy it takes to turn off the TV and talk or play.  I answer Callee’s demands because it’s easier than trying to teach her to ask politely.   I can’t stay on top of the mess in my house and taking one look around makes me more angry at myself.  I feel guilty for some of the things that I have written and for the stuff that just won’t get on the page.

In the last two weeks, I have told a lot of people that I’d call them.  I can’t seem to pick up the phone.  I feel guilty for wanting to crawl into a shell, just when I’ve been reminded how important relationships are.  I feel bad for being attached and detached.  There are relationships in my life that are in desperate need of healing and I’m too tired and angry to do the work.  I feel guilty for how much pain I am experiencing at this loss because I know as much as it hurts there are a number of people that are hurting more.  I feel guilty for almost everything.

Some months ago I had a conversation with a friend about guilt.  We concluded that guilt is a useless emotion and gets us no where.  I believe that now, especially as I am consumed by it.  It is paralyzing me and making it hard to be in my own skin.  I’m writing this now in hopes that by owning it, I can make it to the next step of letting it go.

Be Bold!

I am writing this on Tuesday night.  Today @meganmonique included me in a tweet called #InspirationalWomenTuesday and added that everyone should choose 4 inspirational women and mention them in a tweet.  I quickly jumped on board and chose 4 of my twitter friends.  I chose @meganmonique because at 22-years-old she already knows the secrets to life that I was just being introduced to two years ago.  (If I’d known what Megan knows at 22 maybe I’d been the author of Harry Potter or Twilight…ha, ha, ha.)  I chose @spiritjump because they have built an amazing charity that sends love and support to people going through cancer treatments.  I chose @MelysaS because she is moving courageously through her life after unexpectedly becoming a single mom.  And finally I chose @2MuchPerfection because she is showing me how to be bold (whether she knows it or not) and that is what this post is about.

I am wimpy.  Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.  I’ve always, to my knowledge, tried to keep peace.  I tend to go with the pack, sometimes even ignoring what I really think or want in order not to rock the boat.  I am not the most polite person in the world.  I’ve never been a yes ma’am kind of girl and I’m pretty sure from time to time I forget to say please and thank you, but I definitely watch my language.  Even when I wrote an entire post about the “F” word, I didn’t actually write the word.  I generally don’t tell people when I’m angry.  I simmer.  And when people get mad at me, well, I cry and apologize and let them be right.

Recently, what I’ve discovered is that I’d really like to grow a pair.  I want to be more assertive.  I want to say what I feel and what I mean and what I want without back-pedaling when someone else is put off by it.  I don’t want to spend time in my head preparing “the right thing” to say to someone and then walk away without ever saying it.  I don’t want to stumble over naughty words believing I’m not bold enough or sexy enough to say them.  And most importantly, I don’t want to blow over like a feather in the wind when someone criticizes me.

So each day I go to Twitter and each day @2MuchPerfection reminds me of what that looks like.  Everyday she makes me laugh and makes me think God I wish I had the nerve to say that. She is so fucking awesome (yeah, I said it).  I’ll give you one example before I close and for the rest you will have to visit her blog or follow her on twitter yourself.

Today I tweeted “Someone found my blog by searching “How do I compliment a woman’s boobs” -funny and not sure of the answer unless you know her well….”

@2MuchPerfection re-tweeted my tweet but changed it a bit to: “RT @lesleehorner: Someone found my blog by searching “How do I compliment a woman’s boobs” – “NICE tits!” try that”

So funny and so bold!