February 14

G came over and held space for me while I vented (heavily with my ego). And for a minute I felt relief, but after he left, I was still stuck… and alone… with my very alive abandonment wound. So, I’ve decided to stop focusing on all that G could do to be a better friend to me, lover to S, and person in the world, and only focus on myself. (This new idea came from an Evolving Man podcast with Shealeana Aiyana.)

It’s time. This is the Universe watching me choose. There is only one right path here: inward. I feel my wound throwing a tantrum – scraping my insides, kicking and screaming and I’m having to be conscious about not turning to my phone or any of my other distractions. While I’m already exhausted, I appreciate that the Universe is moving rapidly in these tests lately. Hopefully that means more practice and gentler experiences to come.

So today I tried to feel and connect with my inner child and love on her, witnessing her pain, but it took me a while to remember to do that. Then I did it. I remember feeling alone A LOT as a little girl – no one to talk to, play with, explore and experience things with. I remember huddling in different closets, many different times, bawling my eyes out; feeling like no one saw me, knew me… or loved me. And that led to me remembering the deep abandonment I’ve felt from my parents not being reliable sources of protection and safe love for me. Growing up, it felt like they would cast me aside, leave me  “hung out to dry”, forget about me, or play tricky games about love and showing up.

I think now I can start to resolve they were all doing the best they could, and I can begin to provide safety, security, unconditional, free-flowing love for my inner little girl. She is safe. I am committed to witnessing her, listening to her, and paying attention when she feels scared, unloved, or unwanted. It’s no one else’s job, nor could anyone else even do that for me. I choose to accept that responsibility and role for myself and walk toward healing.

It’s heavy, painful, and it grieves my heart to feel these things again, but I also see how this wound has been directing all of my romantic relationships from the age of 15. I’ve been asking everyone else: Do I belong with you? If shit goes down, will I be taken care of, loved, kept or will you leave me behind and discard my love?

I’ve never felt like I belong or have a home safe to hide me in storms so I will create my own safe home within my soul. I’m ready to do the work now – to get what I’ve always wanted.

Whew! This is notttttt easy. It’s so natural and easy to play the blame game. I have all these memories of moments when G said things and I think, “I should have known! He was hiding secret feelings for her all along! He should have told me!” (Like when I brought up if S was still holding out hope for getting back together with him – when he knew she was pushing to “talk things out” with him), but then I stop myself and think, “But I wasn’t taking care of my own heart in those moments. I was just carelessly leaving that in his hands, denying my intuition, and not standing/sharing my boundaries/desires/needs to feel safe and cared for.” So, in reality, it’s on ME!

Still trying to swallow and own that though. It’s a very new idea for me.

This all requires so much from me–being a bigger person and all. Baby steps. I’m claiming new ground, taking a machete to new terrain here. I’m preparing a new garden for myself, for receiving love, for knowing, caring, loving and holding myself. Because even when the little girl inside screams otherwise–I am loved, safe, cared for. I belong and I am chosen, accepted, and wanted. I am worthy of receiving love and giving love to those around me.

February 15

I’ve always been a clover picker. At seven years old, I sat in a clover patch and searched tirelessly for four attached leaves. When it was clear my four leaf clover would come another day, I laid down on my back, arms open and marveled at the vastness of the sky. Clouds have always entertained me and entranced me – their many shapes and wind-filled wings captured my floating heart from childhood.

Whew, I was just replaying everything that went down with G to Z and all of the sudden I got so angry. I was so mean to my kids and felt like screaming my head off. Here’s the trigger:

When G told S he would be in mine and the kids’ lives for as long and as much as I want and she will need to respect that if they are going to date again, it immediately sounded so wonderful and felt so awful in my gut at the same time. I didn’t understand why until tonight. Two reasons:

  1. I suspect he’s keeping me (and the kids) on the back burner, flip-flopping me and S from front to back. And, more importantly…
  2. I think he’s using us as a power play in his relationship with S. It’s an easy and convenient way for him to test her right out the gate to see if she’s going to let him call the shots and play dysfunctional games.

This infuriates me. I’ve heard the line said, “You’re never upset for the reason you think you are,” so I dig a little deeper to familiar feelings in my childhood. So many familiar feelings. My mom seemed to be so beautifully Christian but I felt so mistreated by her. My stepdad using me to help him get to L. All my ideas about the church being pure and looking out for my best but turning out to be the opposite. And many more like these. I was born a “Clover-Picker” (not paying attention to what was happening around me) and never learned to take care of my own heart, so when other people/organizations claimed to be doing me a favor only to find out I was a pawn in their grander, self-satisfying scheme, it enrages me. I mean, steam out my ear holes kind of rage. Don’t even get me started on involving my kids as a part of this.

I’m trying not to focus on what I want to do about G moving forward, but this idea has me wanting to say he can hang out with us when he’s ready to let S know us too. I have ignored my gut so many times with him (and others) because I want to trust and give the benefit of the doubt, but I feel he was extremely misleading and secretive about S throughout our relationship and even since we broke up. So, I am heavily leaning into my gut this time. However, I don’t know how much of that I need or will actually share with him because I don’t want to try to “fix” him or manipulate their relationship. It would be a boundary that protects me and my kids from becoming part of his game; diffusing the mystery and secrecy. If he doesn’t respect the boundary, I’d have to be prepared to walk away.

We’ll see in time what I end up learning through my work. But I’ll tell you, even imagining this boundary helps me feel calm, safe, and loved. So surprising and interesting! I thought my anger just now was a slip up – which taking out on my kids definitely was – but I’m thinking the anger is part of guiding me through the work and clarifying healthy boundaries maybe?

When he said maybe we could meet S in a year or two, I was just like, “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL?” Such a game. And also, no.

Anyways, back to focusing on my Inner Child. Sheesh, I’ve been tuning in close to her today. Wind, clouds, kites, and the outdoors soothe her well. So much peace in a clover patch for me. A lot of reassurance today that I’m paying attention now and leaning in. She’s loved. She’s safe. She’s wanted. And she belongs.

I’ve had a virus (low fever and loss of appetite) this week that started two days before the S news but got a lot worse after. I am an emotional feeler!! My body keeps track (emotional nausea) and doesn’t let me forget when I’m not in alignment – Inner (child), body, soul, mind, spirit. And now I’m realizing nausea is my Inner Girl screaming from abandonment wound pain. LISTEN!

All the times I was sick about things with G for days, then we’d talk and all of the sudden I’m totally better. Sheesh! No wonder I never chose to break up with him or set any boundaries – I was too afraid to leave – I didn’t want this nausea to take over! It subsided substantially after talking with H today about G. She just listened and didn’t share any advice. She just said she’s proud of me and confident I’m on the right path. It was perfect! Because for the first time, I don’t want to hear what everyone else thinks I should do. I want to study myself, listen to the voice within, and draw my boundaries to protect my Inner all on my own!

Whoop! Ok, in this moment… I feel empowered and I’m enjoying “the work.” What a crazy road this new path is! Yeehaw! Here we go!

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane and Peter

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
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