Wine & Cheese – 29th Serving

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect; it means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections and enjoy every day ;)

 

Welcome to Wine & Cheese, my weekly, Wednesday whine session.

Every week on Wednesday I devote a blog to whining. Despite being a really happy, positive person, I do have things that annoy me at times.

I never let anything grate on my nerves for long but thought it would be fun to vent them periodically in my blogs.

I also feel that good things, the cheese in life, should be acknowledged as well.

I’m even going to throw in a bit of dessert, a piece of virtual chocolate, something that made me laugh or smile just a bit more than normal.

If you’d like to read the past editions of Wine & Cheese just click HERE for all of the past postings.

Sit back and join me now for the 29th serving of some wine and cheese!

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WHINE = :(

CHEESE = :)

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:( Still unemployed and job hunting.

:)  I have decided to look into providing childcare at home and selling Avon, allowing me to ‘work at home’ so to speak.  Looking at some other at-home options as well, and open to ideas.

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:(  The delightful, warm weather we have been having this week, that has enabled us to open windows for the past few days, is coming to an end and we’re headed back down into the 40’s.

:)  The trees are budding and flowers starting to poke out and bloom – Spring IS here and there are more warm days ahead!!!

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:(  Life is far from perfect, and there have been a series of disappointments over the past 14 months, some horribly painful.

:)  “Imperfections make every day interesting and exciting” *, I embrace the day and live in the moment!!

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DESSERT

wonders….if a turtle lost it shell, would it be naked or homeless??

*reply to my Facebook status by my future sister-in-law, Angie.

Learning To LIVE Again

Recently I came across Andy Rooney’s I’ve Learned – The Art Of Happiness.  2 things really stood out to me (okay the whole thing stands out to me but due to a personal, internal struggle, 2 of them really jumped out at me).

“I’ve learned that…LOVE, not time heals all wounds.”

and…

“I’ve learned that…under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.”

I’ve really been struggling lately regarding relationships and exactly what it is that I want in one.  Friends with benefits works well in theory but there is no way that two people can spend time together as friends without some type of bond forming.  We have control over our emotions to some degree, but I don’t believe that we can make ourselves love or not love someone else.  Therefore we must chose wisely who we spend time with, flirt with, and share with knowing that the possibility is always there.  How committed we are and how much we love someone has little bearing on what can happen with another that we get too close too.  We can chose to walk away when we sense that feelings are developing but we cannot control the chemistry that happens between two people.  Add sexual intimacy to the mix and I do not believe it will remain void of emotion.

I was never one to flirt around outside of my marriage beyond a surface level.  I knew all too well that chemistry happens and when the right mix occurs between any man and woman, sparks can fly.  I only flirted within safe boundaries, with those I didn’t feel a real attraction towards, that way I could keep it fun.  Of course that too is playing with fire in that I had no way of knowing how the object of my attention might react.  Attraction is often one sided.  I also know that men rarely think with their hearts or their larger heads, so a little flirting can get a girl in a heap of trouble.  Guys are weak, and thrive on female attention.  Any female with half a brain picks up on this early in life and plays the flirt card to her advantage.  It may get  your tire changed on the road side, or free drinks all night at a bar.  It is also a power game when you can persuade an otherwise faithful man to your bed for the night even though he may have a beautiful, adoring wife at home (trust me 26yrs ago I played this game).  Men are just pigs enough that they never seem to catch on that they are being used by the flirty little tart as part of a game to make herself feel powerful.  She might even play that game a long time before setting her prey free to face the consequences of his actions.  For some such women it isn’t a win until he has left his wife and all that was important behind, only to be dumped soon after.  Men are pigs, women are vicious she devils.  Make no mistake about it.

Not all men are complete pigs and certainly not all women are demonic creatures, but we do carry those less desirable traits to our over all characters.  For me, finding the man that was a more ‘cultured swine‘ was the goal in life.  And for a long time I certainly believed I had found it.  But even he fell victim too easily to the games of the more wicked of women now and then.

After such a long time and so much of me invested in my marriage, when the end came I encased my heart and determined I was NOT going to love anyone again.  Friends with benefits was the answer to preventing pain from ever touching me.  I honestly didn’t believe I could mentally stand that kind of hurt another time without landing in a padded cell wearing a straight jacket.

Enter Pixel Kitten.  My sister’s birthday gift to me, an adorable, 5 week old, orphaned kitten that NEEDED someone to love her.  I carried her around that first weekend from Friday afternoon until I had to leave for work on Monday morning, caring for her every need and doing something I didn’t even realize was happening….FEELING.  My wounded, well protected heart was wrapping around this helpless little kitten that clung to me like I was her mama.  She slept against my chest or my face, wasn’t happy unless she was being held, and began to breathe life back into my heart.  In the first few weeks she gently helped my heart off of life support and out of ICU.  I thought it was because time had passed since I found out my marriage was over, that I finally was HEALING.  And then when I read the quote, “I’ve learned that…LOVE, not time heals all wounds.” I realized that in fact it was love the healed my heart.  I poured all that pain into loving that little bundle and without even realizing it I was feeling again, thanks to my 4-legged heart band-aid. By allowing my heart to feel love again, it healed.

Even in my favorite movie, Always, the truth was right in front of me.  It wasn’t until Dorinda allowed her heart to FEEL love again that she began to heal from the loss of Pete.  The pain I carried wasn’t going to go away until I filled that void with love, first for Pixel, and now who knows, but loving is the healing balm on the wounds of my heart, no doubt about it.

All this time I had thought I would do better to NOT feel love again, that I’d heal from my wounds and move past the pain by shutting out any and all emotional involvement with anyone.  And in my friends with benefits style relationships, it almost works.  Except that in order to NOT feel for these so called friends, the only communication that could pass between us would be arranging for the hook up and the sex itself.  No pillow talk, no sharing, just the sex and be gone.  How cold.  I’m not that type, I’m not inflatable.  No that is not at all what I want, but in order to be truly friends with anyone there is sharing which leads to caring, which leaves the heart vulnerable.  So the question is how far can I safely let down my protective walls around my heart?  “I’ve learned that…under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.” And this IS true, deep inside of every human is the basic need to be loved and with that love appreciated.   But it means allowing someone to get inside the barriers we build when we’ve been hurt.  Sometimes it is circumstances, life, fate, or people, but the pain inflicted is real and the protective walls mean to shield from future suffering.  But without love we do not heal those wounds, they simply fester beneath the surface making us unable to trust or exist beyond our self imposed exile.  We move about as an island in the world not allowing anyone close to us.  This is NOT living, this is existing.

I know that I do not want to merely exist in this life, moving through it watching others but never letting anyone get close to me.  Trusting someone to hold my heart means yes, I will hurt again, yes I will cry again, but it means I WILL be able to love again.  And love will heal the past hurts.  Not everyone I share my heart with is going to purposely hurt me, some will be unintentional.  The one I chose to give it wholly to in the future will hurt me at times, it goes with being in a relationship.  But that same person, can love the pain away and heal whatever harm is done.  It will mean being willing to be vulnerable, and take a chance on LIVING again, not just going through the motions.  Taking down the wall a brick at a time, and taking baby steps forward.

I want to walk the sandy beaches of life in a relationship again, allowing the waters of love to wash over me, feel the sun, breezes, and sometimes the necessary storms of emotions that come with opening up my heart again.  I want to LIVE life.

Some Life Lessons On Boo-Boos

I didn’t get to be 47 years old and not learn a few things along the way.  Some are fun lessons, some funny, and of course there are some that are out right painful.  Some lessons are a direct result of our own actions, often in the form of unpleasant consequences while others are served up without pre-ordering, they are just a part of living life.  Within all of these is the ability to learn, be shaped and emerge a better person or we can walk away from what we were taught and carry grudges and bitterness that eat at the heart and soul, making us mean, ugly, hateful beings.

Long ago as a child I believed that if I fell down and skinned my knee, a band-aid and a kiss from mom would make the boo-boo all better.  The reality is the boo-boo was not all better, the injury was still there under the bandage,  covered and hidden.  Mom’s kiss was love but it couldn’t heal the hurt on it’s own.

Bandages come in all shapes, sizes and designs.  There is a band-aid for just about every taste, even casts for broken limbs now come in colors, seasonal designs or with sport team emblems on them.  The dressings over the wounds served to keep them covered and safe, aiding in the healing process that was taking place underneath the covering.

Some boo-boos healed quickly and were forgotten, other lacerations were slow to heal and could be easily bumped and reopened to bleed and continue to cause pain.  Some of the cuts will leave scars that can be tender for a long time, reminders of the physical trauma that was suffered.

Injuries to our hearts are no different than those to our bodies.  Of course I do not mean the physical, blood pumping heart, but that part of us that FEELS emotion.  It is interesting to me that something we cannot locate within the body, that has no apparent physical substance, can feel pain so intense that it is often experienced on a physical level.  The bandages for our hearts also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, people, events…it is endless what will help cover the brokenness and start the process to healing.

I knew that the day would come when I would suffer the loss of my husband.  His job carries that risk every time he is on duty.  I always knew in the back of my mind that one day my worst fears would be faced and he would be gone from my life, I just always assumed it would be through his death not by his choice to end our marriage.  While I could only imagine what the pain of that loss would feel like, nothing could have prepared me for anything so intense.  At times it was so bad I could hardly breathe and I wanted to die just to make it stop.  I cried more in those first few months than I think I have in my entire lifetime.  In that time I learned there is pain so incredible that you cannot even describe it in words.  I also learned that it is very similar in it’s healing process to that of losing someone to death, all stages of grief will be experienced.

Broken hearts are the worst kind of boo-boo we can suffer.  Those breaks come in all levels of severity from scraps to shatters that are seemingly beyond repair.  Some hurts will heal without leaving a mark, others will have deep scars that will fade only ever so slightly.  And if you have your mom around, count on her to be the first to put a band-aid on it, kiss it, and try to make it all better.   I learned several important lessons in healing this broken heart, that a shattered one requires a LOT of bandages, and probably hundreds of changes to those dressings.

Like a serious physical injury, those first few weeks the best thing you can do is NOTHING.  Try not to use that injured heart, just cover it and try not to further bump or bruise it, time and rest are what is required.  The initial bandages are strictly protective in nature, wrapping it and keeping it safe.  Family and close friends are often those very band-aids, as they wrap you in love, allowing you to fight the bacteria that threatens to infect the open sore.  Love and support are the antibiotics in the earliest stages of the healing process, hugs, shoulders to cry on, ears that listen even when you aren’t making a bit of sense.  The people that love you dress those wounds, protecting you while you lash out irrationally and try like hell to make sense of it all and put the pieces back together.  They are your ICU team while your heart is on life support.

As time passes all the stages of grief are a given, I’ve been through all 5 stages, a few more than once.  Only recently has acceptance hit.  Anger,  bargaining, denial and depression have tapered off, anger being the last to finally shrink away.  As I went through those in the process, many people and things continued to be the applied bandages that brought about the healing, things I’ve covered in detail in previous  blogs.  The key to getting from where I was to where I am, I believe, was allowing myself to FEEL it all, experience the pain and the laughter, the memories, to ask the questions that have no answers, to vent, cry, scream, be mad, deny, get depressed, feel better and finally, accept.  It cannot be changed so just ACCEPTING it all.   Many firsts have come and gone, with many more on the road ahead.  My heart has gone from being wrapped tightly in a full covering of bandages to just a small band-aid or two in particularly raw places.

In this whole process I re-learned many things that I knew but needed a good refresher course to truly understand.

Emotions are powerful forces, driving us to do and say things we never dreamed ourselves capable, both good and bad.  Not all of those things will be wise and rational, often they will be knee jerk reactions with long reaching consequences.  Love is the ultimate medication in the arsenal against infection in a wounded heart.  Pain causes anger, and anger left to fester becomes hate, and that is an infection to the heart.  Like bacteria in the wounds of our flesh, hate eats away at the good, spreading itself like a cancer until the heart becomes dark with rot and decay.  Forgiveness is the antibiotic that attacks the hateful, bitter decay, and with that love both given and received,  it will heal the heart and help make it whole again.  Scars are left behind but with daily doses of on going forgiveness and love, those don’t have to be so tender.  Both love and hate are contagious in nature and we must chose which we want to spread around.  The choice will either bring forth a healthy, happy heart, or an ugly, nasty mess.

Late last night while my 4-legged band-aid was curled up against my cheek, purring as she fell asleep, I was mentally picking at the scab still on my heart.  I was thinking a lot about my daughter and conversations I’ve had with her of late, blogs I have written and things I have been feeling.  While I had let most all of it go, accepted it and was moving forward, I was hanging on to a little bit of the anger.  Nothing severe, just something to toy with because sometimes it is easier to be mad than let hurt be felt.   But that anger can be as cancerous as hate if not dealt with and it was time to let it go.  One of the best ways I could think of was to go back and focus on the good things about my marriage.  There was a LOT of good, 90% of it was good per Pete himself.  And he is right, though I’d even say 95%.  I walked away a far better woman than I was 23 years ago.  In many ways I don’t know the man I see right now, but then I don’t know all of what is in his head and heart either.  But I don’t need to know or understand, just to forgive him and love him, and let him work through his own issues.  No more calling him loser, Lord Voldemort, etc.  Focusing on positives, and forgiving him,  allowed me to remove the scab  leaving a tender scar beneath it.

I will always have a special place in my heart for him, we fought a lot of uphill battles as a team.  We shared a lot of love and a lot of tears through the years, and we raised two awesome kids into incredible adults.  In ending my marriage I learned a very important lesson about happiness.  I lived for so long to make him happy, that I forgot to put me and my happiness at least on par with what I did for him, if not first at times.  Perhaps that is what is so liberating lately in the many things I’ve done for me, finally taking care of me, my wants, desires, goals….MY happiness.  I woke up this morning with a huge weight off my shoulders, I had finally dropped that boulder I was carrying when I forgave, and now I am able to walk with even more of a skip in my step and a song in my heart.

It struck me that perhaps it is no accident that our emotional heart is felt in the same location as the one pumping our life blood through our bodies.  Without that life blood, we die.  Without a healthy emotional heart that is happy, seeks to live and love, we become an angry, bitter, hateful people.  We can chose to be happy or chose to hang on to grudges, bitterness and anger.  My choice was to live.

My heart is still tender, and will remain in that protective box where no one can harm it again, but it is off life support, out of ICU, in fact it is checked out of the hospital and is getting better every day.