survivingmiddleage

the ups and downs of life

Thoughts & Prayers

It’s days like today that I wonder why I even bother. I open up and actually say what I think and feel and rather than being understood, I am told that what I am feeling is wrong and then I am dismissed.

When this happened, I was so angry. I am someone who cries over a lot of things. But when I cry when I am angry…well that is a whole different level. I am usually so frustrated that I know I should not say anything because I will most likely say something that will be painful to everyone involved.

Today I let someone know a situation that was really troubling me and causing me hardship and rather than really empathizing with me and trying to help with a solution, I was told she would pray for me. She has the ability to at least try to do something. And she is going to pray for me.

I’m all for prayer. Don’t get me wrong. But I am also all for helping someone when you can. And when someone is distressed the last thing you need to do is tell them you’ll pray for them. I will say she did offer a solution to my situation that was so condescending and demeaning that I was stunned. And then the next thing was the offer of prayer.

I couldn’t react in the way I wanted to. I couldn’t say what I wanted to. I was demoralized at that point. It was a good lesson, though. Just don’t trust. I honestly can’t because any time I have, no matter what the situation, it has been nothing but a disappointment. Just don’t trust. Don’t hope. Nothing.

So the woman who gave thoughts and prayers…well…maybe that sounds nice and Christian. It wasn’t. It was condescending, demoralizing and a way to brush off a negative situation she didn’t want to deal with. So she can keep her thoughts and prayers for herself. I don’t want or need them.

Maybe someone who really cares will pray for me. Or maybe one day I will feel like praying for myself. But today is not the day

Dear Mama

Dear Mama,

Fifty years ago you were in the hospital ready to give birth to me. It was your birthday. It turned out to be mine, too. Thank you for sharing your special day with me.

You told me so many times throughout our time together that I was the best birthday present you ever got. You were my best present, too. I have loved many people in my life, but I have never loved anyone like you.

The bond we had was like no other. Often it was codependent, but it also served its purpose. You helped me and I helped you. While boundaries were often blurred, we made things work. We loved hard and fought hard; and, in the end, we always knew, no matter what, we loved each other. I would have walked through fire for you. I often went to battle for you. And while I still have some of the scars, I would do it again.

This birthday of mine is so bittersweet. They all are. But this one…it’s been a hard year, Mama. 49 was just so hard. A lot of people thought I was scared of turning 50. Not at all. I was scared I wouldn’t. I feel like I have held my breath since January 6, 2020. I was hoping and praying I would survive my 49th year. I was so scared history would repeat itself. I was so scared I wouldn’t make it to my 50th just like you didn’t. There were a few times I came close to not making it.

So I am 50. I don’t know how to do 50. I never got to watch you. I will do the best I can. But I wish so much you’d gotten to 50. To 60. To 70. And now to 74. I wish that we were celebrating together. This is our 24th birthday apart. I miss you every single day. I talk about you all the time. You’re never just a memory. You’re more than in my DNA. You’re in my heart and soul. I miss you. A piece of me is missing because you aren’t here.

Remember what I used to ask you?

Me: Do you love me, Mama?

You: Yes, Amy.

Me: How much?

You: Too much, Amy.

Mama, I love you too much. Happy birthday to us!

Love,

amyamy

Christmas 2020

This year has affected many people in a negative way. And this season is often touted to be the most wonderful time of the year. For many it’s not. And especially this year.

The pandemic has brought about depression and a lot of ill-will that many people have never experienced and hopefully never will again. It has brought about economic difficulties. And it has also brought about more loss. And some people are still grieving things from your past.

I fall into the last category. I’m used to the grief and the heartache at this time of year. I am able to pull those feelings out of the box briefly and have my cry and then stuff them back in the box an isolate.

That’s how I deal with grief and pain and rejection and any other negative feeling. I isolate and deal with it. But a lot of people don’t know how to comprehend these feelings much less deal with them. So it’s important this year to be extra careful with people and their feelings. You may not understand what they’re going through or have any idea of their struggle. The best thing to do is show compassion and empathy. Please do not say I understand. You do not. Just like no one understands my situation. I do not understand other people’s situations. The only thing I ever say to people about understanding is I understand pain and my heart goes out to you and if there’s anything I can do let me know. That lets them know that you’re at least trying to understand. Otherwise the words you say can sometimes sound and feel hollow.

Don’t tell them to cheer up. That is such a way to invalidate their feelings. You may be trying to say something that you feel is positive. But telling someone who is depressed to cheer up is like a slap in the face because they just want to say sure I’ll just get on that right now. Most people who are depressed would rather not be and if they knew how to not be then they would. It’s just not that simple.

Have some compassion. And please don’t post all of your pictures of your gifts and things like that on social media. Some people aren’t getting anything for Christmas. At all. And while you may be happy that you received something, bragging about it in such a way is sometimes vulgar. You don’t have to point out everything that you have. There’s a lot of people who are struggling just to keep their lights on. So maybe you don’t need to point out all of the fancy things that you got. It just makes them feel like shit.

And my main point is go to this holiday thoughtfully. Be considerate and kind and compassionate. The year 2020 has been very rough on many people and Lord knows we need some kindness.

Merry Christmas.

2020 Has Taught Me A Lot

There have been a lot of negatives about 2020. A lot. But one thing is I have learned a lot this year. A lot. I have learned a lot about myself and also about others. Some of those things were good and some were really heart breaking. But knowledge is typically always a good thing. It will help you in the long run.

One thing I learned about myself is that while I knew I was an introvert, I can be an absolute hermit and survive. I don’t like being alone as much as I have been but I can handle it. I have learned that total isolation for long stretches does wear on you and can bring about loneliness and makes you knit pick yourself to death, but I would rather look at my own flaws than have others point them out for me. I am able to typically find something to do, whether it is eating, sleeping, reading, watching tv, crazy projects or any number of things to try to keep my mind busy. I miss people. I do. But I have always been self-reliant and I am more so now than ever. I have learned over the years that I am the only person I can ever truly depend on. That was a hard lesson to learn. And it took a lot of painful events to learn it, but I finally got it. It was helpful during isolation.

I have also learned this year that some people do not understand how to disagree like an adult. It has amazed me this year, more than others, at how mean and hateful people are when you disagree with them on anything anymore. I feel like we don’t have to agree on everything but we should do it respectfully. Some people want to pick fights and bully when you disagree. I would rather not. If you can’t have a civil conversation, just shut up. Honestly, there is enough negativity in this world to go around. Just really STFU.

Another thing I have learned is that no matter how smart someone is that they will make stupid choices. They will choose something that makes them miserable over and over because it is “the right thing to do” rather than looking at how they’re being affected daily. If something in life makes you miserable, it is time to reassess the situation. Nothing in this life is worth your happiness, self-worth or love. Nothing. Especially when there is the opportunity for you to live a fulfilling, happier life. The people in your life will love you enough to understand and adjust with you.

I have also learned that no matter how much you love someone that you can’t make them love you. Love can be a one-way street. No matter how much someone may care about you, you can’t make them love you. And at some point you just have to give up. There is no point in running into a brick wall over and over. That wall is never going to break. Sometimes, no matter how painful, it is time to move on. Maybe they’ll figure out what they lost. Maybe not. But you have to realize it’s better to move forward alone than to give your heart to someone who doesn’t want it and doesn’t deserve it. If they can’t see your value, they’re not worthy of you.

I’ve also learned that even though you put in all your efforts and exceed expectations, that someone will find fault in what you do. Every single time. They will also expect more. This happens in relationships and jobs. It doesn’t matter. You can go above and beyond and there will always be a question of “well, why didn’t you do….?” You can’t be Wonder Woman, Super Man or anyone else. You have to just do the best you can and let that be enough. If someone else wants something else done after you have done everything you could do, let them do it. You just smile and say, “That’s a great idea! Why don’t you take care of that!” And move on. Because if you don’t, they will expect you to keep giving until you have nothing left to give. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. Make sure you are giving yourself time to refill yourself.

I have also learned that when you express yourself and what you feel or need that some people will still make it about them. I used to take this personally. I have learned that sometimes people are trying to empathize. Other times they are just insensitive and uncaring. They are people who will never be able to see beyond their own bubble because something will only have affected them, from their perspective. It’s not worth my energy, my anger or anything else. Those people are not worth my time. I have learned that while it can sting and hurt my feelings that I can let it go. I have to usually do some breathing exercises and remind myself they’re incapable of real feelings and whisper “let it go. let it go. let it go,” until my mind and body relax. Most of the time I really don’t express what I need too often because of this very reason, but I have from time to time. And typically this is what I have to do to deal with the aftermath. Maybe I haven’t quite learned that lesson yet after all. I am a work in progress.

Finally, I have learned that there are some really good people in the world. I was so happy that my coworkers pulled together with me to do some charitable things this year to help others. It made my heart so happy to see all the good we did as a group. I really believe in this life it truly takes a village. And I feel like we need that village more now than ever. If you can help others, do. Your heart will thank you. Others will thank you. The goodness that you feel from doing something so positive will motivate you to keep feeling positive. I can’t do a lot but I can do a little with a lot of people. And I can motivate them to help me. And I have been blessed to have a lot of people who care about others the same way I do.

I Am Tired

I am tired. I am mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally tired. This year has drained me. I hear others talk and know I am not the only one who feels drained by this exhausting year. We all feel the toll that 2020 has taken.

I think that this year has done a lot of good and bad. The bad is that it has depleted me of what seems like all my energy. I have less patience. I am weary. I feel quite irritated. Then again, I am older and beginning menopause. So maybe this is just an escalation of my bitchiness. That really could be a fair assessment and if that is the truth then I can accept and own it.

But another aspect of this year is that it has brought about some introspection. I have looked within myself at some healing I need to do and started back on the work that is so hard to do. It’s not easy. It’s often very painful and difficult and reopens wounds that I thought had healed. They never healed properly, though. And they had a calloused scar that often caused a lot of pain when life rubbed it the wrong way. I am working on removing that scar and letting it heal properly.

Over the last couple of months I have cried a lot. I have evaluated my life. I have evaluated the people in my life. I doubt myself. I doubt the people in my life. It is painful and confusing. And I am so tired from it all.

I hope with all of this healing and enlightenment that rest will come. In all forms. I hope that the doubts will go away. In all forms. I hope that peace will replace it all and allow my mind and body to relax and feel the positive energy they deserve rather than the worry, fear and uncertainty of life that seems to be the norm.

In the meantime, I am tired.

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