The Tide is Turning

Things are turning around. 

In the past few months, I’ve posted about my problems finding a job as well as the stress of having two cats who (suddenly) don’t get along. The latter was due to what’s known as “displaced aggression.” One of my cats, Mimi, saw something that upset her, and she took it out on her brother, Walter.

Well, I’m thrilled to say that’s changed. While Mimi still might growl a little if Walter gets too close, they’re almost back to their old selves. I can’t begin to express what a relief this is. For the past few months, any reminder of my cats brought about feelings of guilt and frustration. I had to separate them, and to do that, one was locked in a bedroom while the other had the run of the place. Then I’d switch.

As you can imagine, that gets a little tricky when you’ve got obligations outside the home. There were times when one of them had to be locked up for eight hours, and that killed me.

Now I even can leave my bedroom door open at night without fear there will be fighting. They’ve worked this out between themselves. Mimi stays with me and Walter goes to the living room. As much as I’d like to have Walter snuggle up to me at night, if that works for them, I’m not interfering.

On the job front, again, good news. I’ve got a freelance writing gig that looks like it will continue for several, perhaps even many, months. Like any new job I’m learning my way, but I believe I’ll be able to do it and do it well.

Thanks to all of you for the encouraging words. For so long it seemed like nothing was going to change, and even though I know that’s not the way life works, it was difficult pushing through it at times.

I’d like to get back to my blogging again, so I hope to see more of all of you soon!

Walter and Mimi are more than willing to help me with my blogging.

Image credit: (c) geosap — stock.adobe.com

Advertisements

Help in an Abyss

A woman I worked with is being abused by her boyfriend. I can’t help her.

She came into work with an injured wrist and a bruised face. She laughed off the injuries with semi-plausible instructions, but when I saw her today, she had no excuse for her two black eyes.

“I’m worried about you,” I told her.

“I’m okay,” she said.

But she’s not okay. She has an infant son along with two pre-schoolers and struggles financially even with her boyfriend’s help. I’m guessing she feels trapped.

I don’t know if she’s someone who needs a man in her life, or if she simply longs for a happy family. Along with her three little ones, he brings two older children, and she loves all of them.

She is a good person who is allowing someone to beat her for reasons I can only guess. I want her to go to school, even if it’s just to get a certificate in some marketable skill. I want her to break away from this abusive man and find someone who will treasure her.

It hurts. I can’t help her, but I can be her friend, and stand by her when she decides she’s not going to take it any more. I hope soon she finds the strength to believe there is a way out of this abyss in which she’s trapped. I pray soon she seeks the help she needs.


Image Credit:  © Bigstock

 

moving slowly

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
― Confucius

I’ve been moving slowly for a very long time. But, I’ve been moving.

The clock dawdles, or so it seems, when you’re waiting for change. If you’re watching and waiting, it may be times are hard and you’re looking for a better situation. Something that makes you happy to wake up in the morning.

At times the challenges may be so overwhelming you need time to recuperate. Recovering from an unfamiliar and frightening situation can be difficult, to say the least. We seek safety and comfort first, and change second.

That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I found myself overwhelmed by circumstances over which I truly had no control. I wasn’t sure who my friends were, and out of fear they’d all deserted me, I avoided everyone.

Eventually things began to right themselves.

A close friend reached out to me and told me the truth about what others were thinking. It was good. I found new friends, a new job, and for the first time in 15 years, I bought a new car.

I learned something through all of this. Before we can truly move forward, we need a level of security. Simply finding that solid strength within ourselves can be moving forward, despite how a lack of change in circumstances may appear to others.

There were those in my life frustrated by my slow recovery. Thankfully, others recognized how lost I was and how much healing I really needed.

If you’re struggling,

sunrise in savanna_

whatever your situation, allow time to restore your energies, and forgive yourself for not bouncing back like a child’s punching toy clown. Some things aren’t meant to be rushed. The smallest step is enough.

When times are hard, our hope is in anticipation of a promising future. It’s there, waiting for us. Life works that way. Can I guarantee that for everyone? No, that’s not within my power. But it’s what I’ve seen in the lives of those closest to me, especially friends I’ve known for decades.

Every move forward, now matter how slow, is taking you where you want to go. And really, we don’t always know how far we’re going to have to go anyway. The next step may surprise us with unexpected joy.


Image Credit:(top) hourglass © Alexey Klementiev; sky © Pakhnyushchyy; lights © mehmetcanturkei; background © averroe — All, stock.adobe.com. (Bottom) © GraphicStock.com

Over You

“You’re going to leave me alone at Christmas…”

“You’ll be okay. You said you had to work that day. You’ll be too busy to notice I’m gone.”

That’s not exactly how it would work, and we both knew it. I’d had it. I had gone out of my way to get you really thoughtful birthday gifts just a week before, even though you’d been treating me like crap. I’d been doing everything I could to make this work. All of the effort was on my part, and now you were flying back home for Christmas and leaving me alone in a new city, a new state to fend for myself.

“Go to church. Lots of people go to church on Christmas.”

You went on with your plans. “I’ll be back January 3rd. We’re going out New Year’s Eve so I want a couple of days to recover.” Oh, great.

I began to think how wise I’d been not to move in with you. It’s not that I was such a conservative give-me-the-ring kind of person. It’s that I wasn’t sure of you. This move had been good for me, but not because of us. I’d never been able to explain that to you. I’d needed to leave home, to get away from the place I’d lived all my life and experience something new.

We celebrated our Christmas the Saturday before you left. You were disappointed with the gifts I got you, and said so. “You did so good with my birthday gifts…” Not that your gifts to me were anything to brag about, but you couldn’t — or wouldn’t — see that. I didn’t say anything.

I drove you to the airport the next morning and dropped you off at the terminal. “See you January 3rd!” you said cheerily.

“No,” I said firmly. “That’s it. It’s over. I’ll take care of your house while you’re gone, feed your cat like I promised, but I’m done.” You looked at me quizzically and left. I knew you didn’t believe me.

Not one phone call for nearly the entire three weeks, but you had an excuse: I’d broken up with you. Finally, New Year’s Eve day, you called. I didn’t answer, but you left a message. “I’m coming home early. My flight gets in at 10:00 p.m.”

I’m not picking you up. I had no plans, but I turned all the lights out about 9:45, just in case you were early. I knew you’d have a hard time getting a cab home to your place, you lived so far from the city limits. I knew you’d head to my apartment. You did.

Pounding on my door. I didn’t answer. Swearing.

The next day around noon you called. I still didn’t answer. I put your key in a padded envelope and mailed it to you.

You called again.”What the hell are you doing mailing my house key to me? Anybody could’ve gotten it and broken into my house.”

This time I returned your call. “It’s over.” I said. “Got it? It’s over.” Silence. You hang up.

You tried calling a few more times, but I’m done. I’m over you.

Sad love heart symbol background

Photo Credits: (swan) © Indiloo Designs – Fotolia; (heart in window) © robsonphoto — Fotolia

New Magic

A million thoughts — a thousand regrets — a dozen things I’d change today to bring back the magic. Do you ever think of me?

I dreamed of you the other night, and you were kind to me. I suppose I’m healing.

And moving on. I’m dreaming about someone else these days, but scared to let him know, to open the door to heartache.

A dozen ways to bring back the magic. Maybe not with you, no, I know, never with you.

New magic.


Image Credit: (Girl) Sophie Anderson (public domain); (Background, Light Rays and Light Dust) © Roman Dekan — Fotolia

Don’t Pull that Thread!

I know the warning signs.

I know when I’m on the edge and about to explode — or implode — emotionally. I’m close to that point now and doing everything I can to ward it off. It’s part of being bipolar, I suppose, and it’s not a fun part.

bigstock-concerned-woman-retro-clipar-34339379-convertedThe good news is I’m aware of what’s happening and I know what steps to take to help myself. It’s not a perfect system, and I’m still at risk of losing it. But it’s better than it used to be.

My job isn’t helping the situation. I’m working as a tax preparer, and of course, this week is crunch week. The deadline for filing this year is April 18 (the 15th is on Saturday and Monday the 17th is a holiday in Washington D.C.), so I’m pushing my limits everyday except Sunday (we have Easter off) for the next week. It’s not a good thing when you have a mental illness.

My co-workers are great; the other woman in the office I’m assigned to is just about the perfect co-worker, and my supervisor somehow has managed to keep her cool and a good sense of humor despite the fact she’s worked every day since December. Without that, I don’t know if I’d be doing as well.

But there’s always a thread that might cause everything to unravel, and that thread was pulled today.

It started last Thursday, when the local trash collectors picked up my garbage can for alleged non-payment, and I very nearly lost it. I had paid my bill two weeks before, well before the due date. The lady in customer service, who was very nice and professional, did her best to get the container back to me by yesterday, so I’d have it for trash pick-up today.

Trash ContainerIt’s important to note here that the garbage company provides the trash cans, and we’re required to use them. No personal cans allowed.

They didn’t deliver. Heather, the customer service lady, had told me I could use my own container, so I thought, at least there’s a way they’ll pick up the garbage. I was forced to drag out my old, personal trash can from under the back porch in my townhouse, and haul it up a very steep hill, where I slipped more than once, sending that container down the slope. I was frustrated and angry and doing my best to keep it together.

But events conspired against me, or so it seemed in my agitated state. One team from the garbage collection agency dropped off my seized garbage can today at 1:55. My personal garbage can had already been placed out front for collection, and I wasn’t about to transfer all my trash from one can to the other.

So the pick-up team shows up at 1:58, and refuses to pick up my garbage because I did have one of their assigned containers, which we are in general required to use, but I hadn’t used it.

Are you kidding me?

I called customer service again, and thankfully, Heather answered my call. First, I apologized for directing my anger toward her the week before.  Then, because I knew the thread was being pulled, I (relatively calmly) told her I was even angrier today. That acknowledgment helped me keep it together with her.

If you think things got better after that, you are sadly mistaken, but I have already written too much about my garbage. Suffice to say, that garbage collection company is on my list.

AdobeStock_106268046 Young Woman Retro SmBut here’s the thing: I’ve been taking care of myself by getting enough sleep & exercise, as well as employing little tricks I’ve learned that help me keep my cool. I didn’t completely fall apart. I’m still feeling on the edge, but I just might make it.

It takes more than one pulled thread to make me unravel these days.


Unravel


Image Credits: (weaving) courtesy of Pixabay; (Retro Woman, Garbage Can, Retro Happy Woman) © Bigstock.

Help or Hindrance

While living in my last apartment, I got to know an amazing variety of people, most poor, and several with stories that oftentimes seemed unbelievable. One of these woman was Cecilia, a bright lady with a distorted view of her role in the world.

bird-1048269_1920She had twin daughters, Chantal and Sabra, who had just turned 18, but were both emotionally much younger. Chantal was the cherished child; as a result of her mother’s difficult pregnancy she had mild cerebral palsy, and every accomplishment was heralded by Cecilia as a miracle. When I say every accomplishment, I mean each one, no matter how mundane, routine, or handily achieved.

I believe in helping those with disabilities deal with their disabilities.

That is the fair and decent thing to do, to give everyone a chance to live a decent life and fulfill their dreams. But it ends there. Children with cerebral palsy are not angels. They are children.  Yes, they have special needs that must be cared for, emotionally and practically. Beyond that, they have the same mix of good and bad every child has, and need to be treated with love and discipline.

Chantal had been taught that because of her cerebral palsy, she was the angel child, entitled to whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it. In the months after I met her, I began to get calls at all hours asking me to take her to the store and buy her treats, DVDs, games or anything else she desired at that moment. It never daunted her to ask me to spend my limited funds — and limited time — on this child I barely knew. When I refused her, she very nearly got violent in telling me off.

Sabra, healthy, smart and beautiful, was, in Cecilia’s mind, the demon child. Never mind that the girl was obedient and disciplined, she not only could do nothing right, but as she grew older her mother began to accuse her “evil” daughter of beating both her and Chantal. Cecelia showed up at my door one day and pointed to her cheek, saying, “See what Sabra did this time?!”

Hummingbirds FightingI could see nothing amiss. Cecelia asked me to come over and help her care for Chantal, whom she claimed had been beaten with a wooden spoon and thrown repeatedly to the floor by Sabra. I had my doubts. I’d caught this woman in a number of lies before, and I’d figured out the family dynamics. Still, I was concerned about Chantal. Even if Sabra had done nothing, I was beginning to wonder what her mother was capable of doing simply to get a little attention.

Chantal was stationed in front of the television, watching cartoons and eating cookies. She greeted me with surprise, and when I asked how she was doing, said, “okay, I guess, but my favorite DVD is broken and no one will buy me a new one.”

I knew that story.

“Where’s Sabra?” I asked, ignoring her attempts to manipulate me.

“I dunno.” Just at that moment, a sleepy Sabra emerged from the girl’s bedroom.

In the meantime,

Cecelia was calling 911, once again claiming one daughter had beaten the other and smacked her around as well. Since Cecelia was a good six inches and 100 pounds bigger than either girl, it was hard to believe she couldn’t have overpowered Sabra. But that was only a small part of my doubt.

The ambulance and police showed up a few minutes later. “Hi, Cecelia,” the first officer through the door said. “What’s going on today?” He sounded weary and as skeptical about the situation as I was, and asked some very pointed questions clearly meant to poke holes in the woman’s story.

It turns out Cecelia made this accusation, or one similar, on almost a weekly basis. At her insistence, Chantal was always taken to the hospital, and would return home within two hours. Charges were never pressed against Sabra.

canary-20522_1920Until a month later. I never did find out whether or not she actually struck Cecelia (at some point I figured the girl would break), but Sabra ended up in jail for two days before appearing in court, where the judge dropped the charges and advised her to move out of her mother’s home. She did just that, and within a few weeks, Cecelia and Chantal left their apartment in the middle of the night.

Two years later,

I ran into Sabra while shopping at Walgreen’s. She gave me a big hug, and when I asked how she was doing, told me in great detail about the good things in her life. Her boyfriend, her apartment, her job…it all seemed good. I knew she had a lot to overcome, but she seemed genuinely happy. Relaxed.

“Do you ever see your mom?” I asked.

Bee eater BirdThe smile faded a bit. “Never,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again.” She paused. “They removed Chantal from her home. I want to see her, but she thinks I was the one who took her away from our mom.”

I decided not to ask if she had anything to do with it. “I think that’s the best thing for her,” I said. “And I don’t think you should see your mom either, at least not right now. Maybe someday.”

I hope the day comes when Sabra can see her mother again without falling back into the emotional abyss she had to be living in. This woman raised both daughters in such a manner the courts took action, but she is still their mother.

Help or hindrance, they will always need their mother. Just not the one they got while they were growing up.

Photo Credits: (birds in nests) and (bird in cage) courtesy of Pixabay; (fighting hummingbirds) and (bee-eaters) © Adobe Stock