Tales of a Nearly 49 Year Old Nothing

Listen to me! Think what it is like to have most of your life ahead and be told you are obsolete! Think what it is like to feel attraction, desire, affection toward others, to want to tell them about yourself, to feel that assumption on which self-respect is based, that you are worth something, that if you like someone, surely he will be pleased to know that. To be, in other words, still a living woman, and to be told that everyday, that you are not a person, but a joke. Well, I am a bitter joke. I am bitter, and frustrated, and wasted, but don’t you pretend as you look at me, 43, fat, and looking exactly my age, that I am not as alive as you are, and that I do not suffer from the category into which you are forcing me. Zoe Moss-It Hurts to be Alive and Obsolete: The Ageing Woman

In the conference room, I sat in a chair without arms to accommodate my hips and ass made too large from stress eating. The food I put in my mouth seems to be the only control I have these days. I hate that I have no control, hence the reason I’m sitting in a sterile conference room on a Monday morning, with the HR Manager and my team lead. I was feeling confident about the performance improvement plan that I’d been on for the last sixty days, as my job performance and accuracy had been increasing. That was until they began to speak. I was told that I’d failed it and would be removed from my position immediately. It had been decided by the team lead and her supervisor that there was no way I could continue the momentum of my accuracy rate of 97%. I also wasn’t approving at least 30 reports a day, so they were going to immediately move me another position.

The HR Manager slid a sheet of paper in front of me and ask that we read through it together. This was difficult for me as I was in tears, and trying to digest all of what was being discussed. In summary, the settlement agreement would allow me to stay long enough to be eligible for full retirement from the U, but I could not be hired into the my current placement  ever again. Here I was, almost 49, single, fat, no higher education, a recovering addict, mother of grown children and grandmother, being told, bitch, you got to go!

They sent me home to read the agreement and consult with a lawyer before I signed it. I did that, but I also thought about how I’d gotten here. Part of the reason I was here was because I was an addict that had ruined my work reputation while I was trying to kill myself with drinking and other self destructive behaviors. I also had shown too much of my personality while at my new job. I laughed too loud, I joked too much, and I was too friendly. I didn’t focus enough on the work at hand, and that caused my managers to look at me negatively. I was scrutinized every time I made a mistake, but I owned the errors.

The next day I went back to work. I went back to my old desk and packed up my crap. I was smart when I moved to my new location and didn’t place too many personal items on my desk. I swear, I instinctively knew that I shouldn’t get too comfortable. And I never was…

I was told by the team lead and her manager that I would make the announcement to my colleagues that I was moving. And I did, with a smile on my face and positive lilt to my voice. But, if they could have seen inside of my body while I spoke to them, they would have seen a maze of jangled nerves, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms and racing thoughts skittering around a brain in early recovery from alcoholism.

I took my medicine though, and I walked my chair and box of belongings down to the first floor.

My former supervisor handed me off to my new supervisor. The new supervisor greeted me with such positivity and warmth, I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry. I kept my head down to hide the tears, and went about the task of setting up my new work space. I put up a couple of photos of my grandson, but now that I’ve been in the job a few weeks, I’ve removed them. I’ve decided to keep my work space neutral. To keep the desk space clear of clutter, and to keep focused on learning my new job.

I’ve learned that I’m expendable, because of my personal and work history, and my age. I’m obsolete. I’ve married and divorced. I’ve bore children and raised them. I’ve worked at the U since I was 20 and I’ve worn out my welcome at nearly 49. I’ve nowhere to go from here. I guess what I should say is, I don’t know where to go. I’m so unsure of myself and I wallow in anxiety and depression everyday. I’m not young, but I am not old. I am not book smart but I am not dumb. However, because of previous errors in my life, I will always viewed as not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough. Never enough.

My daughter has told me to buck up and deal with it, but my tender heart continues to be crushed with sadness and fear, every time I try to look into the future. Because honestly, I see no future for me. Tell me, wouldn’t you be scared if that’s what you saw when you looked ahead, was nothing?

I want to feel vibrant and alive again. I want to feel stable. I want to feel hope again! To sparkle. Unfortunately, I don’t even know what to do or where to begin this process.

Actually, I think I’ll start here. I pray that this is my future, and I pray that I find my way home…

 

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To Remember touch More than Thought

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“I remember that feeling of skin. It’s strange to remember touch more than thought. But my fingers still tingle with it.”-Lucy Christopher

My pulse quickened as Matt enclosed his left hand around my right. The intimacy of his actions brought a blush to my cheeks. Confused, I wanted to pull away but I craved the contact. Instead of retreating, I allowed his hand to engulf mine. My mouth went dry, as his thumb repeatedly caressed the palm of my hand.

I yielded to his touch, my heart slowed its thready beat, and I allowed myself to enjoy the closeness of my dear friend. He asked for nothing but my hand. He told me he loved me and how glad he was I came into his life. We grew silent, as his thumb continued to make lazy circles on my palm.

His was the first intimate touch I’d felt since I’d become sober. It wasn’t a sexual touch. I wasn’t sure how to label it, and honestly, I didn’t care to. In that five minutes, I felt more protected and loved than I had in a long time.

With our hands clasped, my friend silently asked nothing of me, but to love every broken, raw and damaged part of him. And in return, I asked him to do the same for me.

A Letter of Forgiveness

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‘Let us be willing to release old hurts.’- Martha Smock

Dear Renee,

The last three years have been especially harrowing, yet you’ve persevered. I always knew you were  a strong woman.

I want you to forgive yourself for the last ten years of drinking. I want you to love and accept yourself and know that you are a beautiful spirit.

You are not your past, and it does not need to define you. Your future and your community are the sober people, the perfectly broken.

Your children love you. The longer you are sober, the more their trust will return.

Do not look for love until you can find it within yourself.

Go to meetings.Work with a sponsor. Keep busy. Dive into work and become a stellar employee again.

Be kind to yourself and know that you alone are enough.

Let go of your past. Let go of love that is not evenly returned and move forward.

Find peace.

Find joy.

Find love from within, and the brilliance of it will flow to everyone you encounter.

Forgive yourself, and put your trust in the future.

Love, Renee

(This is a letter I wrote to myself the last night of my stay at the Brighton Center for Recovery. My addiction counselor told me to save doing this section of my homework after everything else was done. I read it to my community the day I ventured out of the Brighton Bubble into the sunlight of new future. I’ll  share of my journey when the time is right. For now, I have another story brewing about a wheat farmer and his wife. I hope to post it soon. This girl is getting her sparkle back for sure. Thanks for following me on this journey.)

Thoughtful Thursday-J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”
J.R.R. Tolkien

The Waves and George Clooney’s Twin

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I spoke to my sister for a few minutes this morning. She brought me a light bulb that she’d bought me months ago and wine corks that I’m going to do some kind of crafty thing with. We talked about being lonely vs. being alone, and I told her that I’ve finally learned the difference. I’m an extrovert but I’m happy with the quiet and the solitude. I’m happy with ruffling the scruff and scratching the ears of my dog, than spending time with people that talk to much. I’ve let go of toxic people and I’ve let go of the toxicity within myself.

2014 has royally sucked but as it draws to a close, I’m thankful for what I experienced during it. I mean, at least I’m alive to tell the tale. But now it’s time to write the final words and close this chapter.

My friend Bette said in 2015 we deserve to find George Clooney’s twin and have him whisk us away to the Caribbean. He could feed us grapes while we tanned our pale bodies on the deck of his yacht. I told her I wouldn’t care if I had to draw his bathwater and wash his dishes. Hell, I’d swab the poop deck if necessary!

So this morning I will enjoy the coffee cup, the knife, the spoon, things in themselves, and myself in myself.

Have a happy Sunday my lovelies.

A Reunion of Twin Flames

 

‘Maybe I was born with you inside me. Maybe I have always carried you with me. Maybe you are all the wild in me.’ ~ Tyler Knott Gregson 

The inn was packed with men and women dressed in business attire, their heads bent forward while their fingers glided across the glass surface of their cell phones. Bosses and employees continued conversations that had begun in morning meetings, the subjects touching on nothing and everything. Wait staff rushed by with trays full of hot food and cold beverages. The air was filled with the scent of homemade chicken soup and the yeast of warm bread pulled fresh from the oven. Coffee cups clattered as they were refilled and ice cubes clinked in glasses topped off with fresh water. Silverware scratched across empty plates while mundane conversations continued to buzz.

Lauren placed her hands palms side down on the antique oak table. She scrutinized her long fingers and cursed herself for getting a manicure before meeting with her long lost love.  She’d never been what you’d call a high maintenance woman. All she needed to do was apply a little mascara to her sparse eyelashes and coat her berry colored lips with store brand chap stick.

Frank tenderly stroked the stones in the ring on the third finger of her right hand. It tickled as the sensation traveled from her arm and down her spine. With his touch, Lauren felt as though someone had walked across her grave, found out all of her secrets and read all her old love letters. She lifted her hand from the table and wrapped it protectively around his. His hand was course from hard work, but when she touched it she swore it turned to velvet.

His green eyes bore into her as he said, “look at me.”

Lauren did as he requested, and in that moment she couldn’t stop staring at him. He was still beautiful. The man was dark haired, skinny and tall, with a mouth that was perfect for kissing. He looked into her blue eyes and discovered the irises were flecked with gold. Why hadn’t he noticed that when they were young? She smiled, and he swore he saw the sun rise in her eyes. Frank tucked a hand under her chin, leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss.

“My God woman but you are gorgeous.”

“I am not,” Lauren replied. “I am only slightly pretty.”

Frank slid his hands underneath the dress she wore specifically for him and with a low growl replied, ‘If I say you’re gorgeous, you are, because I never lie.”

The restaurant continued to buzz with conversation while the wait staff flurried around them, but the activity was lost on them. Lauren fell into his arms, her desire at its genesis. Frank gave her a gentle kiss on the pulse point of her throat and she moaned right there in the middle of the restaurant. She wondered if anyone had heard her, and then realized she didn’t really care if they did. If Frank was anything like he was when they were young, he was finding pleasure in enticing her with people around them.

Lauren whispered into his ear, “what do you see in me?”

“Your worth”, he replied as he turned and slipped his tongue into her mouth.

She had forgotten how good his kisses were, and it was all she could do not to bite his lips. Frank finally pulled away so that he could continue their conversation and to not attract too much attention from the other restaurant patrons.

‘You my darling, are like me, don’t you see that, after all of the conversations we’ve had?’

Lauren replied, ‘I guess you’re right.’

Their kisses continued, as Frank’s hands roamed underneath her dress. He caressed her plump legs and boldly brushed his fingers across the soft cotton of her panties. Lauren’s body stiffened and it was all she could do to keep from crying out.

Frank we have all the time in the world for this, so let’s wait.

Moving his hands to rest on her knees he kissed her forehead and nodded his agreement. She put her hand in his, and began to talk about their life together. He whispered how much he loved her while Lauren weaved her stories. Frank was enamored with her spirit and wondered what had taken him so long to find her again. He realized that all of his crooked roads had let straight back to her. Sitting here in an inn during a busy lunch hour, he knew that his home was with her. The inn began to empty of the lunch crowd. Bussing staff cleaned and reset tables for the dinner hour.

Frank and Lauren paid the bill for their untouched lunch and drinks. Hand in hand they made their way outside and back to their separate vehicles.

“I promise to see you soon,” Frank told her.

“Don’t make me any promises, just say we’ll meet again.”

“I want you in my life every day.”

“It’ll happen, when you’re ready”, Lauren told him.

“I love you darling.”

With a quick kiss she said, “I know, and that’s what gets me out of bed every day.”

With that Lauren got into her car and drove away. At the stoplight she turned, smiled vibrantly and waved goodbye.

Frank would like to say that their story ended happily. That he and Lauren finally reunited for good and lived together, but that was the last time he saw her. Now every time he drove past the inn, he thought of her and what he should have done. That day he should have brought her flowers. He should have run away with her. He should have made her his wife. But he didn’t do any of those things. He wasn’t sure if it was fear of the future or his past that kept him from her. All he knew was that he would miss her every day until he breathed his last breath.

This Morning

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head… The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.

~Steve Sabol~

Awoke this morning to sloppy puppy kisses on my forehead and a brisk shuffle walk outside. Old coffee was warmed in the microwave while I fed the dog and cat. With cream added to dark roast I sat down and watched the sun rise from my sliding glass door. I accidentally spilled coffee on my chest when Eddie dropped a tennis ball in my lap. Setting the coffee down I did as he silently requested and played fetch. After a few balls were caught in mid air he walked to the door and gave me a pleading look to go back outside. With my coat on, I painfully shuffled out the door and headed down the stairs. I opened the door and walked out into the chilly air to walk my little terror knowing that he was saving me and helping me heal.

**I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. It’s been difficult to be inspired, or when I do write I think the words are trite and utter bullshit. I have to write to get better at it, and I assure you I’ll try. Have a great day and stay warm.**

He Just Thought She Was Crazy

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‘She didn’t belong anywhere and she never really belonged to anyone. And everyone else belonged somewhere and to someone. People thought she was too wonderful. But she only wanted to belong to someone. People always thought she was too wonderful to belong to them or that something too wonderful would hurt too much to lose. And that’s why she liked him–because he just thought she was crazy.’

~ C. JoyBell C.

 

Blessings from my Sister

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Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon. –Practical Magic

Sis and I were never close, but it wasn’t from my lack of trying. We were just too different, she and I. I was the Black Sheep, and she was the perfect one. Sure, I was smart, but she had the drive to get good grades. I was in school for the social aspect of it. Sis ran with the right crowd, but I ran with the wild crowd. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed. Hell, she was even a cheerleader.

Our weddings were within three months of each other. They were over 25 years ago, so I don’t remember much. However, I do recall spilled champagne on my bridesmaids dress, dancing with my future husband and dirty dancing to the song, “Time of my Life”. I remember that Sis looked beautiful, like she always did. Where I was curvy, and what I perceived as ugly,  she was neither of those things. To me she was perfect; athletic, smart, popular, beautiful, driven, and the list goes on and on.

She and I raised our kids differently. I was the free spirited mom that gave my children room, but reigned them in when necessary. She was the stricter mom, that enforced rules and gave lectures. Our children turned out to be pretty damn great adults, so who’s to say which of our parenting skills was better.

Throughout the years, she divorced and remarried. She had a couple more kids while her older two were teenagers. Our oldest ones were all born within a few years of each other and it was fun to watch them all grow and change, and achieve. Sis and I were blood, but we never crossed over to being friends. Then I decided after 24 years of marriage to divorce Roger Darling, and she became my strongest supporter.

I finally let go of what I perceived were our differences, and let her in. Sis has been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. She has gotten my groceries and run my errands while I was laid up from a major car accident last March. She has on more than one occasion yelled at me and told me to get my head on straight now that I’m walking again. We’ve learned we can lean on each other, no matter how different we are.

She’s my sister and now my friend. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to live together, but I’m proud to say she’s one of my loudest cheerleaders. Who knew those skills of hers would come in handy all these years later?

Can love really travel back in time and heal a broken heart? Was it our joined hands that finally lifted Maria’s curse? I’d like to think so. But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.-Practical Magic