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I am Having Trouble...

With life. With finances. With men, one in particular. With my son. With my daughter who keeps taking my shit without asking and then it is gone forever. I am having trouble with my father’s mental decline and the strain it is putting on my mom. Her life time being consumed to aide his. Seems unfair since she has been doing this for almost 56 years now. I am having trouble with my friend waiting the imminent death of her beloved father, the last of her remaining parents. That she will be surrounded by love and family and friends, but she will grieve forever her now orphan status. I know, I know perhaps that is a bit over the top, she is 49, but I do not think the feeling of being orphaned is changed because of your numerical age. You come into the world with the promise of two, and when those two leave, either by death, addiction or abandonment, the feeling has to be similar. I do not know, I am not there yet. But I have talked to so many people who have described this feeling, and all of them have been adult in years. So it is my, perhaps erroneous conclusion, that orphan status and the attendant feelings that accompany it are pervasive, real and leveling regardless of age.

I am having trouble with myself. I am sure you already figured that out given my above described tirade, when I am on a rant, it is always only me that is the commonality, the glue, if you will, that keeps the whole facade going.

I am having trouble staying put and not running away. I have so much responsibility and to be honest, I don’t really want any of it. Like any of it. I want to buy a Sprinter Van and take off with my daughter and pets and see the world. I want to continue to help people through their divorces but I want to do that from the edge of the Grand Canyon or a dense forested floor surrounded by redwoods. I mean why do I have to do it from my office in Ojai. Maybe I would do my job better if I was granted a daily change of scenery...grand, banal or extravagant scenery.

I am having trouble loving myself. There I said it. I have done so much work and have gained so much wisdom but I still have this perversion of needing someone to be in the role of disapproving father in my life. Someone who will continue to let me down and fail to show up for me repeatedly. Someone who will make grand promises and then deliver none. And it is me that insists this person and role is constantly fulfilled in my life. And when I finally summon up the courage to rid myself of one, I find another, and another, and another. It isn’t just romantic relationships, no, that would be too stayed and cliché, really anyone will do.

My sponsor asked me awhile ago what my life would look like if there wasn’t someone there to abuse me in some manner.

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe she said it. But then her words sank into my skin, etching their way, beneath the veneer that separates outside from inside me. They seeped into the sinew and bone and came to rest lodge against my loudly beating heart. And there they sit to this day, kind of a telltale heart if you will, asking me that same menacing question all the time, with every heart beat I hear that question and I can’t unhear it. It thuds against my insides and feels like shrapnel, soul debris that is attempting to find a way to coexist peacefully with my insides when I know that is just not possible.

The question is there and begs an answer and it is in that answering that I can reclaim myself. When exactly will I stop needing someone to not need me, take me for granted, lie to me, not show up for me, make me feel unimportant and unseen? When the fuck will I stop putting up with all the less I get from people?

So I am having trouble existing with myself. I want to check out in all my habitual ways: food, Netflix, exercise, hiking, hyper busyness, shopping. But I have COVID so really all I have been able to do is sit in my proverbial shit and fucking feel it. And there has been more than one time in the past few days that I have felt like I was going to lose it all: myself, my sanity, my recovery, my tenuous grasp on reality.

But I won’t. Here is why - I am tenacious. I am fierce. I have overcome way too much to give up now. I have worked so very hard to get to this place where it feels like it is all falling apart, AGAIN! I know why I do it. I know the origins and the machinations. And that actually helps. Two months ago I didn’t know either of those things. So I am learning, perhaps too slowly for some of you more casual voyauers to my life, but I am learning.

I am having all this trouble because it is my becoming. I know this and it doesn’t make it painless. In fact, it really doesn’t do anything to change the pain. The pain sucks ass and the knowledge helps me little to nothing in my fight to stand my ground and conquer all this trouble I have been having of late.

I am being asked, tasked really, with life on life’s terms. And it isn’t pretty, I am sad intermittently all the time and I do not do sad as a rule. I will do anything, seriously almost anything, to avoid feeling...mostly especially sad.

I see how my thinking keeps me safe. It removes me from the feeling realm and places me above the fray. In my thoughts I can create so many different situations so that I am always one thought in front of a feeling. And I use doing to support my thinking habit. Keep busy, no idle time, keep fucking moving so that those fucker feelings never catch you...

So with all this trouble I have been having lately, I have kind of been a mess. I have withdrawn, I have felt alone and I have wondered what the fuck is the use of all this fucking work if I am just going to get more fucking work for my efforts? Can’t I just be fucking done already?

No. The unequivocal and resounding answer from the universe is NO!~

So I am accepting the trouble and doing what I can. I can pray for all the people who vex me and abuse me while taking as many steps as I need to move myself further and further from their reach. I can pray for my parents and my children while I hold my boundaries so that my needs are met so that I may better attend to theirs. I pray for my friend and her imminent orphan status and endeavor to love her a little less selfishly and with more compassion than I have to date. And I can pray for myself, that this is just a time of great upheaval and that is as it should be. I can pray for strength and courage to allow all the feeling I keep running from to just come and do what it will. I mean, I haven’t been taken out so far and I gave death a run for its money quite a few times before...and I persist.

I am having trouble because trouble is part of life, but it is only one part of life. With all this swirling trouble, I tend to lose my balance and am prone to thinking that throwing in the towel is my only option. It is not. I can give myself permission to withdraw until it feels safer to engage. I do not trust myself so trusting the great many of you feels like too much right now. I can share my wisdom with those on the path who are seeking to heal themselves and create a better life for themselves. I can show up, listen and give what I can.

I am having trouble with life. I don’t like my current troubles and even as I write that I know that there are likely a million people who would trade me my troubles without further thought. Regardless, I still really think it should be going differently and because of this stubborn belief I suffer more than I perhaps is required to move me in the direction I seem to be heading.

Trouble comes and trouble goes...

No one has more trouble than the person who claims to have no trouble at all... Taiichi Ohno.

So that is where I am landing in all this trouble...I am claiming it, it is mine, and I have a lot of really big feelings about it that I do not know how to own, process or really even feel. But I am doing it anyway, slowly, badly and illogically...but I am meeting trouble where I find it and claiming it as a friend, come to teach me that which I do not know and would never, ever attempt to learn if not for trouble standing in my way...taking up all the space I have, lodging splintered echoes within my flesh with every single beat of my heart.

And so it is with don’t have to drag me down, I descend...(Shawn Colvin)

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