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emotional gangster

tales of a recovering drama queen

Following My Heart

fyhI can’t remember a time I didn’t.  It seems as though I’ve always chosen love when given the option.  Shit, even when it wasn’t.  I think this is what sets me apart from the young women in my life.  They chart, plan and adjust accordingly.  I follow my bliss and hope it all works out for the best.

This picture is from a new space I’ve created in my house.  This space is long overdue and I’m so fortunate to have the means and ability to make this need come to life.  I’ve laid claim to the guest bedroom and finally, selfishly, explained to my Husband that I need a hiding place – a place to write, read, meditate and just BE.  It’s going to be my new quiet place where I can indulge the 16 year old girl inside me, petulantly waiting to be indulged.

If it were up to my Husband, we’d be within arms reach at all times.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it and searched for a man like that since as far back as I could remember, but I’m also a dramatic soul prone to bouts of melancholy and a strong longing for solitude.

At work I have no privacy and it’s a non stop flurry of everyone needing me all the time.  In between never ending conversations, emails and phone calls, I’m always fielding texts and calls from either my teenage son or soon to be 101-year old Grampa.

These things are all blessings but damn …. sometimes I need a time out.

The point of this post is to create another starting point.  A catch up, if you will and an indicator of things to come.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with a personal trainer and I’m about to embark on another plan to shed the unwanted and dreaded extra pounds on my curvy frame.

I’ll be turning 40 years old in 3 weeks.  I’m lightweight freaking out because guess what makes low self esteem and poor body image even worse?

AGING.

So once again I’m following my heart.  Not in a romantic way like usual.  No, this time I’m following my heart down a path that hopefully cultivates self acceptance and love.

I’m following my heart back to me.

Thief of Joy

All I can really do is stay calm when everything around me feels like it’s coming undone.

I’ve been walking around my little life moving from one fire to the next at a steady clip. It’s only when I’m still do I realize just how far off track I’ve gone.

Work has been intense and I’m navigating some pretty awkward and necessary transitions.  My anxiety has been pretty full-tilt through it all but I’m managing to hold it all together.

Home has been tough.  And by tough I mean, dreadful at times.  I’m wound up really tightly and have very little patience.  My husband suffers from anxiety & depression and we’re in the throws of a very intense bout.

Have you ever lived with someone suffering from depression?  It’s like a dark cloud that hangs over your home and there’s no reason or person to blame.  Depression robs your loved one of their joy and they become this sad, critical and lifeless shell of who they used to be and the whole time you know that their real self is in there, but locked away behind the bars of their chemical imbalance.  Every scenario I face right now seems to have only two outcomes  – they either make my husband angry, or they make him feel like a failure.

He is focused on surviving and I am focused on a solution.  Meanwhile he is lost and feeling like a burden and ashamed of who he is and I’m getting resentful and lonely and tired.

But we can’t give up or give in.  If we let it, depression can destroy us, individually and as a family.  I refuse to give up.

Self care is essential and therapy is a huge part of that.  Exercise, alone time and maximizing on those little moments when the clouds break and the depression lifts a little bit, are key to surviving.

Unfortunately, this isn’t my first tangle with depression.  My first husband suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder and my Grandmother battled with it until she took her own life at 83 years old.

Even with all this practice, I still feel incapable of understanding it.  I just know that I’m tired of it rearing its ugly head.

Lost Highway

August 27, 2012

I sent him a text at 10:30am with a proposal.

Meet me at the Double Tree off the 99 tonight.  I’ll be there waiting for you, bring nothing with you, just that crooked smile.

Thirty minutes later his response was the complete opposite of everything about and around this man,

See you there.

Still, I hesitated to believe that it might actually happen this time.  We had been here before and Charlie had always chickened out.  He was like a deer caught in headlights around me, always acutely aware that one move and he would be free-falling down the hole of “in too deep” with me.  He knew once he crossed over that tiny, thin line, that pulling the ripcord on this thing we shared would be next to impossible.  Charlie never leaves anyone he loves.

I had a few hours before it was time to hit the road and make the trek to meet him.  Charlie lived an hour and 15 mins from me on the weekends, so I had selected a hotel that was exactly halfway for both of us.

Up until tonight our relationship was mostly emotional.  We had shared some passionate stolen moments at the office and some heavy make-out sessions in the back of my car but due to our “circumstances” we were unable to go beyond that.  So instead we spent every single day talking and sharing the stories of our lives.  We fell in love almost immediately and tonight was going to be the night we broke right through that damn thin line.

I picked up his favorite bottle of booze, packed an overnight bag, a speaker, some candles and hit the road.

As I sat in the hotel room I fantasized about all the things I was going to do to him.  I wanted to take him all in, taste him and make him feel like a man.  Our chemistry was insane.  Everything about him set me off …. He knew exactly how to get me going and I was lost in him.

I stood in front of the mirror and stared.   I wanted to see myself how he saw me.  At 35 years old I was in the best shape of my life.  I was a size 12, full breasts and hips, tanned skin.  The silky black nightie I was wearing showed off all the curves of my Sicilian/Mexican frame.  My hair was jet black, thick and cascaded down my back.  I felt really good about myself and I couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when I opened the door, glass of whiskey in hand.

Charlie was older, 13 years my senior.  He was an accomplished professional, the son of a former U.S. Senator.  He was tall, salt & pepper colored hair, with a square jaw that perfectly framed his mischievous, crooked smile.  His southern accent was thick and he had the swagger of a cowboy.  He lived his life in the public eye, donning a suit most days of the week but privately he was someone else and I felt lucky to know that side of him.

If his life hadn’t already been mapped out by the time he was 5 years old, he would have spent his days drinking whiskey, listening to country music and playing poker with a pretty lady on his arm.

Instead – he was driving the 99, making his way to a Double Tree hotel in the late evening, leaving his family and “perfect” wife behind to think he was headed to an award ceremony in another state.  Charlie chose to bargain and carve out a tiny space where he could be himself and leave the mask behind. He told himself he was allowed this experience with me because everything else in his life was lived for everyone else.

I heard the quiet knock.  I looked out the peep hole and saw Charlie standing there.  Big jacket on, casually dressed with a baseball cap pulled down low as to try to hide his face from the public.  I knew not to leave him standing there very long, everything about this scenario was risky.  I opened the door and we both felt the impact of being face to face. I had to catch my breath; his smile …. his smell was intoxicating and he drank me all in with his eyes and his breathing slowed and became heavy.

We were already drunk and hadn’t even had a sip of alcohol yet.

 

Okay, maybe I’m just bossy.

I’m pretty sure I’ve pissed off a few people lately.  I’ve always prided myself on being honest and direct.  It seems that lately I’ve lost my filter and I’ve been a tad self-righteous in my truth telling.

I know I was too honest with a colleague and even though he agreed with me, it was hard for him to hear and I certainly didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  I wanted him to understand how he was creating an obstacle for himself and thwarting his possibility of a promotion.  I could have achieved that without hurting his feelings …..

I also recently unleashed my truth dragon on a fellow blogger after reading her posts for over a year now, religiously.  No other blogger has sparked my focus in this way.  I think I relate to her more than I realized – her tales of finding her way through a bad marriage, subsequent divorce and now through the rocky terrain of dating, resonate loudly with me.

I’m a strong, intelligent Latina.  I have spent almost 20 years working in politics.  I’ve had an affair with a politician & candidate for high office.  I’ve known some of the most famous people you could imagine and I’ve lived this life while desperately trying to simultaneously empower and derail myself.

So here I am, finally living a healthy lifestyle – finally practicing what I preach and for the first time in my life, I can look myself in the mirror.  I am not my stories or my past.

In my enthusiasm for being honest with myself, I’ve gone overboard with those around me.  Not everyone needs a huge helping of “let me tell you about yourself.”

Each of us are on their own path and must come to our realizations on our own.  Sometimes you can love people too much and end up butting your nose where it doesn’t belong and push people away instead of comforting them.

Lesson learned.

I’ve also decided to start writing more and sharing my journey with anyone who cares enough to read it.  I’ll be writing about my past and how it relates to my present.  So if you want to hear about a little scandal and a whole lot of honesty – stay tuned.

I think I’m a Hater.

jayne

Admitting that I’m a Hater might be the hardest confession I’ve ever made.  I think it would be easier to say I like shoving gerbils up my ass than to really believe that I’m your basic Hater.

Professionally, I support all the women around me.  Intelligent, strong women in positions of power inspire my admiration and respect.  Women of integrity who lead authentic lives motivate me to do the same.  But let a chick lose a bunch of weight and all of the sudden I turn into a catty, jealous, angry bitch.

If you look at my closest female relationships you’ll see a pattern.  My best friends tend to be on the quiet side, a tad reserved and they all admire my outgoing personality, my ability to portray a public confidence, to act out sexually & romantically.  They have all been overweight and when given the chance to talk about their feelings, they’ve opted not to.  Each of these friendships have been a dance between opposites and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy always having the spotlight.

I cared deeply for each friend and we shared some amazing times but inevitably there seems to be the same ending.  The “sidekick” always tires of her role and either starts to distance herself or begins making changes in her life so get some of her own spotlight.  Usually this comes in the form of weight loss.  And this is when I find a reason to leave the friendship.

Instead of being happy for her and supporting her, I grow bitter and resentful.  It is painful to watch someone accomplish something that evades me.  I want the world to be fat so that I feel normal.  Their success shines a beacon of light onto my failure.  Sadly, this is my truth.

I’m tired of this story.  I have lost a couple of friendships with wonderfully beautiful women and I miss them every day.  I hurt them when I distanced myself for no apparent reason.  I’m on the verge of losing another and if I’m not careful, history will repeat itself.  In the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize this cycle and I’m determined to stop it.  I don’t want to be that shitty girl hidden beneath the mask of a confident woman.  At some point, I have to snatch the reigns from that broken school-age girl and show her the right way to handle such insecurities.

This realization leaves me questioning each friendship.  Did i intentionally befriend these women because they fit this profile; the same way I’ve chosen men who met my wounded psychological needs?  Or is it simply a case of opposites attracting?  I’ll admit that my longest friendship is with a woman who is seemingly more my equal.  She is strong, fiery, outgoing and intelligent.  She and I share the spotlight and I would do anything to keep her friendship.  She knows I’m an asshole and she sticks around anyways.

I don’t want to be a hater.  I want to be inspired, not threatened by my friends’ successes. I want to support their efforts and comfort them when they struggle.  There’s more to life than being consumed by my self-loathing.  Perhaps in being a better friend to them, I’ll learn to be a better friend to myself.

Home is Where the Heart Is.

As I type this I’ve got a lasagna (my signature dish) in the oven and any minute now my Hubby will come home.  Today is an interesting one filled with a handful of significant moments.  I started my day with some fitness.  My step-son and I have been lifting weights and doing cardio together for a few weeks.  My workout was great and I’ve kicked things up a notch since discovering the Skyfit app.  If you haven’t heard of it – check it out.  It’s literally taken my cardio to a whole other level and I’m sweating for the first time on those damn machines.

I’ve also had the task of driving my Papa to my niece’s 5th birthday party.  This is the daughter of the brother that doesn’t speak to me; the niece I’m not allowed to see because her father is angry with me.  I dropped my Papa off at my brother’s house with a bottle of wine and a gift for my niece.  When I pulled up, I could see my family inside celebrating.  I think I might have muttered the word “assholes” as I drove up and let my Gramps out of the car.  Believe me when I say that this reaction is progress.  A year ago I would have driven up and away leaving a trail of tears behind me.

The other major development today is that my step-daughter moved out.  In fact, she just left with her final car load and is headed to her Grandmother’s house where she will be living from here on out.  This is a major change and one that I think it best for all parties involved.  “A” is going to be turning 25 years old this coming November.  She has a full time job and a full time commitment to her church, as well as her boyfriend.  She has the full life of an adult but lives at home with her parents.  If I were her mother, I’m sure things would be different, but I’m not.  In fact, I’m only 15 years older than her and we’ve been more like roommates than Mother/Daughter.  Although I feel a sense of responsibility and loyalty towards her; a protectiveness that I only reserve for my offspring, we’re still two Alpha females living under one roof and we’ve both exerted a lot of energy in order to maintain a peaceful relationship despite so many differences between the two of us.  So today she moved out and it feels immediately like a tension has been relieved and I really feel like a point of contention has been removed from my marriage.

So I’ll leave it at that for today.  My lasagna is in the oven and I’ve got some Real Housewives episodes to catch up on.  It’s been an idyllic Sunday with the added bonus of knowing I have tomorrow off.

Namaste xo

Bitch Sesh

gangster
Bruce Gilden – Mafia Funeral

I’ve been staring at this screen and thinking about what I need to get off my chest for weeks now.  I’m fairly certain I’ve put way too much thought into it and so I decided to just start writing.

I’ve come to this decision because I’ve felt so much today.  There have been a handful of heavy thoughts and feelings I’ve wrestled with and I think it best to just write it out.

Some information about me …. I’m 39 years old and I am married to my second husband and we have yet to hit our 1 year anniversary.  We’ve been together two years.  Together, we have three kids – his are 25 and 21 (they still reside with us full time) and mine is 16 years old and with us 50% of the time.

I’m learning a lot right now.  Sometimes – learning is uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful.  I’m learning to co-parent with my Husband.  I’m learning to parent two adult stepchildren.  I’m learning how to parent a teenage son without suffering heartache every time he snaps at me or rolls his eyes in response to whatever kind thing I’ve said.

While all this learning is happening, I’m trying to keep up with my work life, trying to be a good friend, caring for my 100 year old Grampa and working to put myself first.  My health specifically.

I don’t feel good right now.  I feel heavy and like I’ve lost some of my “shine”.  I look back at pictures from over 2 years ago and I marvel at how pretty I used to look.  I can’t help but wonder if my use of filters and photo editing software has distorted my view of the past.  Did I really look that fresh-faced and skinny?  Or did I just do a great job at editing?

I have no relationship with my Mother or Brother.  I have recently repaired my relationship with my younger sister and that has had a healing effect but I still struggle with feelings of rejection and sadness when I think of my immediate family.  It’s been over a year since we severed ties.  It took me around 6 months to stop crying, another 2 to not feel a weight of sadness each day.  Up until a week ago, I was feeling pretty good. Lately, I’ve felt the familiar pangs return.  I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I’ve seen my brother twice in two weeks.  Each time I avoided eye contact and acted as though I didn’t see him.  It’s been a month full of birthdays which has contributed to the heaviness in my heart.  My mom – my son – my deceased father – my ex boyfriend – my ex fiance – my close friend (we’re no longer friends) – my brother’s wife – they all celebrated birthdays in the past 3 weeks.

Except for my ex-fiance.  He isn’t alive anymore.

Intellectually, I know I’m surrounded by love.  But the self-conscience and insecure part of me feels nothing but rejection.  Something as simple as seeing my husband’s ex-wife on Facebook causes me to feel shitty, which leads to self-doubt and inevitably results in some very mean words directed towards myself.

She has long hair.  You just cut yours.  Her teeth don’t look as bad as you remember them.  She actually looks pretty.  She’s skinny and you’re not.  You don’t measure up.

No matter how many self help books I read, or therapy sessions I attend, I still can’t figure out why my mind goes to these types of thoughts.  They are horrible.  Whose words are those?  Where did this voice come from and why is it so mean?  I know they are mine.  I know I have control over them but I feel powerless.

My husband and a couple others have pointed out lately that I’m very competitive.  I’ve always known this but they’ve pointed it out in a way that questions the motivation behind my competitive behavior.  My husband was right when he suggested  that perhaps it comes from not thinking very highly of myself, its roots firmly planted in my constant need to prove my worthiness.

I wonder if my inability to lose weight has anything to do with my static emotional health?  Is my physical weight a representation of the emotional weight I’m unable to shed?  I’ve tried everything and the scale stays the same or rises.  And with every pound, my psyche suffers and takes my hope right along with it.  Every single time I attempt a different approach to weight loss, I wind up heavier than when I started and I’m now staring down the barrel of  truth – I’m the heaviest I’ve been in over 5 years and there’s no end in sight.

 

Fighting

It’s happening again.  The familiar fight that goes on inside my head.

I just celebrated a birthday.  Thirty-nine years of life I’ve lived so far.

I had a low-key weekend and spent Sunday at the spa with one of my dearest friends.  During my massage I started thinking of all the ways my husband spoiled me.  And instead of relaxing and feeling grateful, I could only think of how much I don’t deserve it.  This voice in my head told me that I’m not a good person, that the things I do each day are nothing special and that I have fooled everyone into thinking I deserve good things.

I just wanted to cry.

This morning I woke up and as I’m laying in his arms, the voice started again.  It told me that I’ve destroyed every single man who has ever loved me.  It said that I’m bad and that I will only hurt him too; that everything my family has said and done to me is because they know the real me.

I waited for Mark to go take a shower and I sat on the bed and cried.

I’m tired.

I just want the voice to stop.

Positive Vibes 

  

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