Living a double life

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Double life

[Image credit: adamr]

Throughout my life, I’ve known people who I eventually discover aren’t who I thought they were. The kind who allow others to see what they want them to see on the surface, while hiding their genuine self behind a carefully crafted façade. Maybe they’re afraid of what others might think or say about them if they knew the truth. Personally speaking, for the past few years, I’ve been living a double life of sorts—pinning my hopes on a fantasy, rather than facing my reality. As I’ve said countless times, hope is good. And it’s healthy to visualize the life we want for ourselves. However, it becomes self-destructive when our present happiness hinges on the life we desire, rather than the one we’re living. Sometimes we’re lucky and we can have our cake and eat it too, but if we compromise who we are in the process, it’s time to ask ourselves if the sacrifice is really worth it.

In what way are you living a double life?

A brand new ending

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A new ending

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No one can go back and make a brand new start,
however anyone can start from now
and make a brand new ending.

This quote was written on a girlfriend’s Facebook wall, a sentiment that fits the season I’m currently in—one of new beginnings. It gives me hope that I can make the choice to start—making a change or whatever it is—at any time. I need this reassurance as I learn how to be a mom all over again to my daughter. After a falling out a couple of months ago, I think we both realize we cannot go back as if nothing happened to cause the discord between us. But we can strive to meet halfway and get to know each other as the individuals we are Today. Although there is no script, I believe that with open hearts, we’ll find our way to something better than we could possibly imagine.

Have you ever made a brand new ending by starting over … Today?

Moving forward through the grief

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Moving through grief

[Image credit: -Marcus-]

It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.
~ Rose Kennedy

Nearly a month has passed since my family experienced an event that garnered much heartache. One of those situations where you don’t know how you would handle it unless you’ve been there, done that. Even now, I’m not sure how I should feel or react. I’ve found myself going through the various stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and — hopefully one day — acceptance. Or something similar. I have even struggled with guilt. Yet as I move forward and the wounds still linger, the pain continues to lessen. I wish there was a quick fix to ease the transition through each stage. But I’ve been allowing myself to laugh again, while looking for joy in what remains.

What is your secret to moving forward through the grief?

Stop the insanity

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Making a difference

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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
 and expecting different results.
~ Albert Einstein

Ever been in that spot Einstein describes? Or perhaps known someone who complains about life, but continues on the same self-destructive or go-nowhere path? Over the years, I’ve shared some rather strong opinions in love—as well as frustration—with a few close acquaintances to no avail. However, I can’t help but wonder if my words even matter. But as soon as I question the validity or necessity of baring my heart, I know I would not be able to live with myself if I kept silent. What kind of friend, mother, daughter, sister or partner would I be? But I’m also learning it’s best to keep quiet if my words are fueled in anger or won’t build up or edify. And that perhaps I need to take my own advice from time to time. Before the insanity becomes too much.

Do you need someone to tell you to stop the insanity?

Healing a broken heart

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Healing a broken heart

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Time can heal a broken heart
but it can also break a waiting heart.
~ Unknown

The box thing (see Outside of the box) isn’t working so well. It’s just not in my nature to compartmentalize my feelings. In fact, I wear pretty much all my emotions on my sleeve. And now I’m nursing a broken heart. I’ve known heartache over the years, but never at this magnitude. While I wait for time to heal it, it continues to break as it waits — for healing, for dreams to come true, for promises to be kept. For time to pass. In any case, time has slowed to a crawl for this grieving heart. “They” purport that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But what about the part of you that dies as you keep on living? The part no one can see? I wish there was an easy fix, but apparently time is in no hurry and the journey isn’t over.

Has time healed or broken your heart?

Outside of the box

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Outside of the box

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One of my male friends explained to me that guys are better able to compartmentalize their feelings than women are. Apparently they possess the ability to stuff emotions into imaginary boxes and either ignore, or remove them at will. Females, on the other hand, are equipped with a million wires carrying—non-stop—every thought and feeling they’ve ever had. With all I’m currently dealing with, I figured I’d try the box thing. Yes, I know I’m a girl. But if I don’t “shut down,” I end up dwelling on circumstances I cannot change, oftentimes worrying needlessly or jumping to wrong conclusions. Or just thinking too much. Living “outside of the box” allows me to better focus on what I do have control over without getting my wires crossed. And when I need to examine my feelings, I simply repack the appropriate box afterwards. Someday I hope to purge a box or two. But until then, this is my new normal.

How do you keep feelings from becoming distractions?

Throwing in the (proverbial) towel

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Throwing in the towel

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One of my friends said I don’t go looking for drama; drama shows up at my doorstep.  I used to think my life was boring—monotonous even.  And then a tragedy struck my family nine years ago and nothing has been the same since.  Right now, I could really use some monotony.  However, one positive outcome of all the drama is a far-from-empty story coffer.  Because that’s the stuff books are made of—real life accounts that real people can relate to—trials, unrequited love, pain, sorrow, joy, adventure.  Through the characters in the books we read, we can either share similar experiences, live vicariously or even be thankful our daily lives are less scarred or messy.  And as much as I want to throw in the towel at times and declare, “I quit,” I know that one day my stories will be even more believable.  But until I’m published, I’ll simply grab my towel and keep heading to yoga.

What triggers you to throw in the towel?

Getting unplugged

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Unplugged

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Between doctor’s appointments, adult-child drama, work and financial commitments, freelance deadlines, an eight-week yoga challenge, keeping clean clothes in the closet and food on the table, and trying to log in eight hours (not so much) of Zzzzs every night, I’m stretched thin.  The household tasks are going by the wayside and I serve more leftovers than anything else, but life continues.  Albeit with piles of dust bunnies, and laundry that needs folding.  But I’m in serious need of a break.  And so I’ve begun making plans for myself.  I’m calling it my weekend “unplugged.”  For me, that means no social media, including games, no cell phone (except for emergencies only, of course), no email or laptop, no TV or radio.  And no chores or outside commitments.  As soon as my freelance deadlines are buttoned up, I’m running away.  For 24 hours.  I don’t have the details completely worked out yet, but that’s okay.  I know I’ll be traveling light.

When was the last time you got “unplugged?”

I’ll trade you crap

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Wanna trade crap

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

During a recent doctor’s office visit, I said to the receptionist, “You know how everyone has their own crap?”  She responded in the affirmative and I said, “You know how sometimes you wish you could trade your crap for someone else’s?”  Again, she answered yes.  I proceeded to tell her about the “crap” I’d been dealing with lately.  We joked a bit, said that we could make millions producing t-shirts (or tank tops?) with “Wanna trade crap?” printed on the front, and on the back list the many types of crap in people’s lives.  As the medical assistant began to lead me to the exam room, the receptionist called out, “Oh, just for the record, I’m not trading crap.”  I burst into laughter (much better medicine than tears) and realized that, at the end of the day, I probably wouldn’t want to trade my crap either.  It’s about working through it the best we can, write?  And we might even learn something new.

Would you wanna trade crap?

The stuff that goals are made of

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The stuff that goals

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The self-help books are geared toward goal setting.  How to lose five pounds in five days, become a millionaire, fix a relationship, find your purpose in life or locate your pot of gold.  You name it, there’s a book that’s been written with your name on it.  But for some reason, we find ourselves bogged down with scapegoats (see Excuses, excuses) to avoid going after our goals.  I also think we’re making it harder than it needs to be.  Perhaps it’s a matter of writing our goals down and committing to the things that progress us that much closer to achieving them, and eliminating (or saying no to) the things that don’t.  For example, if you want to write a book, playing online games instead of writing won’t make it happen.  But writing a blog or an article—although not a book—is still writing, which lends itself to the practice.  And try starting small rather than not starting at all.

What is one goal you’re setting today?

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