8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

February 8

Wow. Great headspace today. Wrote a short story and cataloged the major milestones of abandonment in my relationship with Tyrel. It was healing and freeing. Then I listened to the Evolving Man podcast with Sheleana Aiyana on Codependency and Conscious Relationships. Encouraged about my own journey and even dating again when the time is right and I find someone I’m in alignment with. Got to practice holding space for Jane today after school when she was angry and didn’t know why. I invited her to my room then let her be alone in her room. She came in a few minutes later still mad and I bear-hugged her, wrapping my legs around her and we worked through the “feelings cake”: Anger is the icing and Hurt Unfairness Fear Frustration (HUFF) is the cake. She was frustrated that Peter didn’t want to play with her. I reminded her that that doesn’t say or mean anything about her and that he has different needs and that’s OK, and she’s OK even if/when he chooses not to play with her, it’s not a reflection of her value. She was so loving and relaxed the rest of the evening – AMAZING! This shit WORKS! Can’t wait to do it for myself!! 

February 9

Good day. Getting super into learning about moon cycles! Rising Woman literally satisfies ALL of my questions about myself that started in December!

February 10

I listened to Shay and Ben’s podcasts on Evolving Man about conscious relationships and codependency this week. WOAH! I learned SO much about myself and the way I am in relationships. I am excited to continue to do the work and practice holding space for myself (and my kids)! It’s actually really fun and it works SO well!

I think it’s important to note a few things I became aware of in my past relationships:

  1. I have a solid abandonment wound from Tyrel. I wrote “Honeymoon Buoy” to help lay it all out in one place. It was healing to get it out of the sticky corners of my mind, but there’s a lingering pit in my stomach of LOSS and unfairness. I need to hold space and move through it still.
  2. I recognize that while I wasn’t necessarily codependent with Tyrel’s addiction, I very much was with him relationally. I complied because I was afraid of being rejected or abandoned (because he said that’s what would happen – he would leave me) if I brought my actual needs and desires to him. But moreso, I did not know how to hold space for myself or value my own needs so I basically asked him to do it (which he was clearly incapable of doing) and it became a space of deep wounding for me.
  3. I carried over much of that codependency into my relationship with G. We had the anxious/avoidance partner dynamic going strong and very much unconsciously. I still couldn’t hold space for myself and became frustrated when he couldn’t do it for me either. But what I’ve realized is that even as I’m starting to do the work and look at my shadows, it wouldn’t have worked with G because he was never two feet-in the relationship with me. He never has been/was. And there was no hope of having a conscious relationship without both partners being two feet in.

With all of this new awareness, I have, of course, wondered if G and I would ever get back together and here’s where I am today: No matter if it’s G or some new guy – I don’t want a fling, something casual or even a boyfriend. I want a conscious relationship with a partner in life. So, when I feel an aligned connection (which will be so fun and educational to experience), I will remember that I am worthy of asking and waiting for what I want. I love doing the work and I know I will love doing the work in a relationship. I want someone who will feel the same. 

My moon sign describes my ultimate fulfillment coming from true, deep intimacy and that couldn’t be more true. I finally feel like I’m on the right track to receiving that as I learn to give myself love and care! It’s all very exciting and the more time I get to practice without any relational distractions, the more confident I feel in all of this:)

My moon sign also says I have impeccable intuition and I can always get a read for what’s beneath the surface – damn, is that true or what?! (That’s why I’ll never stifle my gut feeling again!) Anyways, I have been sensing (through G’s flip-flopping from being super involved with the kids and basically hardly speaking to me at all) that he is in turmoil – perhaps about me and the kids or maybe just about his relational choices and patterns. I feel for him, but I know I cannot help him find his way through this. I just hope he sees the work, leans into it, and finds everything he didn’t even know he wanted in life.

February 12

Oops! Two nights ago I was swarming in inspiration from Rising Woman (via Evolving Man podcasts) and last night I was a little under the weather. Both days were slow and peaceful for me with a bit of anxiety driving in the rain with the kids yesterday. Nothing major. The kids have been so peaceful and responsive to me lately.

Man, I’m really looking forward to the day G isn’t on my mind during nearly every passive thought! 

Today I listened to Evolving Man’s podcast with Shay about the disconnect in masculinity/femininity and (just like all of their podcasts together) I get ALL the answers as to why me and G weren’t making it work. Of course there are so many things, but today’s podcast was answering all the questions I’ve heard G ask about himself. I want to call and tell him and discuss it all with him so badly, but we don’t have that openness anymore, which is healthy I guess, but I wish it wasn’t that way. In fact, I don’t think it’s necessarily that it’s healthy, it’s that way between us now (distant and strained) because G is in an avoidant pull, but just about himself and life. He’s approaching 40 in a couple weeks so I’m sure there’s some introspection happening there.

Anyways, my point is this – today I thought about opening a door to G (maybe “one last time”) before I let him go – or whatever mental closure I’m still searching for – and inviting him to consider listening to all these Evolving Man podcasts and maybe see what “we” could be if we restructure our relationship, but then immediately I thought: 

No. Because something is off about that. Me asking him to join me when he’s already said he’s out. Me entertaining a reunion in a way that perfectly satisfies ALL of my needs and desires for a relationship. Me asking him to change to fit me better.

Clearly, I’m having a difficult time – although not in actual communication with him, that’s been somewhat easy to transition out of – it’s letting go of the idea and hope of what we could be or have been. It’s really hard for me to let it go. I don’t want to live with regret so I guess I’m trying to fight for things that aren’t actually there with tools I haven’t actually acquired yet JUST in case 10 years down the road I figure out this is what I really wanted or it was my best chance or I never found anything closer to a match to me than him.

The thing about me and G is that although we’re both still pretty emotionally unintelligent, we were made to be extremely emotionally intelligent. But neither of us is there yet and there is no guarantee we will feed that potential in the future (I mean, obviously I will, but there’s no guarantee with him)!

The truth that is still settling in, is this:

This is the beginning of this emotional intelligence journey for me. I attract what I’m ready for. As more time passes, I will learn to recognize men I am in alignment with and make sound decisions based on emotional health and not a desperation to feel accepted. This is new territory and allowing myself time and space to journey through it without fear of regret will be a gift I can give to myself.

So, I will lean into my desperate attempts to rationalize begging for G to take me back. I will make space for myself and let my inner child know she is loved and accepted no matter what G chooses his journey. I will fight to have an intimate connection with me. And eventually, I will attract someone who can hold just as much space for me as I can hold for myself. 

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

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.
8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

7 MBK Memoir: How to clear a path for your Authentic Self

February 1

It was a good day – spent it writing which fed my soul. I woke up this morning feeling unbelievably accomplished and proud – just for submitting 4-5 pieces this week. I was made for writing. It’s like when a race horse gets to race – just watch me RUN! 

Feeling great all day. Empowered with writing, loving my friends (brunch with hos and Warm Place Family night), and my mind is calm. It’s just wonderful and all I’ve wanted for… my whole life. Dreams really do come true – when you do the work and make the choice: Self Love and Self Care. It’s a state of mind!

February 2

Just pondering how I’ve lived my new lifestyle for a month – my separation from my phone alone has been transformative. I’m so thankful. I binged on Rising Woman material this morning. I am so ready to discover and embrace myself as a woman. I remember just a month ago how clouded my mind was and torn my heart was with duplicitous emotions and anguish. This is the most peace I’ve EVER felt during the ovulation moon phase I think!

February 5

Oops! I’ve lost track of time and days! I’ve been super busy – (Rodeo) late night, Super Bowl the day before that… it’s been fun, but I’m wiped. However, I have been feeling extremely solid. I’m full of powerful and positive thoughts about myself, like, “I CAN… I AM…” type of things. I’ve been seeing things (mostly with G) all around me in a different light – like I love them, but they don’t tell me who I am or determine my value! Crazy good!

February 6

Today has been good – very busy, but I feel a hovering of uncertainty. I think it could be feeling frustrated with how G reacted to Peter head-butting him on accident at the rodeo the other night, or maybe I’ve been too busy. I will sit and feel and make space to recognize this tonight.

As I thought about it more, I realized the heavy feelings came after the Safe Haven (domestic violence shelter) volunteer interview this morning. I think my body is feeling the transition from my past to my New Self and it’s heavy… and remarkable. I am no longer that girl – young, naive, broken, victim, empty, alone, ignorant – I am informed, capable, strong, loved, and full of compassion and love to give. It’s the ending of an era and the beginning of a new one!

I feel a little unsettled today, not bad, but enough to know I need to lean into something. 

It started when I left my volunteer interview for the Safe Haven today. It’s like I felt myself peeling away from my “old life”. As if it’s truly become my past and I am now living in a different portion in time. Which is a GOOD thing, but this moment of transition deserves some conscious attention and honor, I think. Every step of my journey has led me to the wholeness I’m now living in and that is worthy of recognition and respect.

I also think I’m still upset about the way G responded to Peter when he accidentally head-butted him the other day at the rodeo. He and I had just had a conversation earlier that day about his escalation and emotional reactions to Peter’s behavior/emotions. But he just left Peter with the guilt and shame without sorting it out with him that night. Then he sent a video the next day to release him from guilt after I had suggested he let Peter off the hook. Not the end of the world, but it made me see how G’s inability to recognize and lean into pivotal moments of connection can potentially hurt my kids too. I need to figure out if I should talk with him about it. 

Also today, after working with C for a while, we went to his house and chatted with D a little (about G) and C said, “Yeah, he’s definitely keeping one foot in, one foot out with you and the kids in case he feels like dipping back in or in case you start seeing someone else. There’s a reason he’s staying so involved with the kids still.” Then I left feeling kind of pissed (frustrated, really) that G might be using me and my kids to fill his need for companionship or connection. So selfish. The feeling of being used is sickening… although, I am using him (babysitting, companionship) just the same… We may need to talk about this.

This heavy feeling is interesting. I’m beginning a new era of MaryBeth. One where I am not down-trodden, weak, feeble, empty and broken, damaged or wounded, but one where I am rising strong, healing wounds, embracing the pain of my story, acknowledging the woman inside who’s been there all along. I am capable of surviving tragedy and chaos and creating a life full of joy, peace and abundance! I am compassionate and I am drawn to people who understand pain and resilience.

For the last couple of days I have been reminded of when I was 18 and about to leave for college (could be the warm Texas weather we’ve had lately), but it’s a sense of freedom and a new beginning where the possibilities are endless and I have so many options and choices on what I want to do and who I want to be. I was beginning my adult life back then and now I am beginning a new chapter.

It’s incredible. I feel humbled and honored to be active and alive and awake in this moment. I am so thankful I’m paying attention and I’m so excited for today and for what is to come. Gratitude is overwhelming me. Goodness, I feel the sweetness of life.

February 7

It was a beautiful birthday for my 7 year old boy! Busy day but needed to create some space to feel out my stress and emotions today. Exploring self pleasure – it was nice to feel in touch with myself. But maybe that wasn’t the best way to self-soothe. Learning a lot from Evolving Man and Rising Woman. Thankful for the path of enlightenment unfolding before me. Feeling solid and comfortable in my own skin today.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day celebrating my best boy’s 7th birthday! Very busy and feeling a tinge of stress, so I tried to self-soothe and create space to feel and acknowledge the feeling.

I’m becoming obsessed with Evolving Man and Rising Woman podcasts and blogs.

Today I contemplate G differently – sympathetically. I acted out of my abandonment wound and focused mostly on him instead of myself. It’s unfortunate, but I understand it more now. All I can do is keep working on myself and align myself. It makes me curious about how my life will unfold. I am ready to hold space for myself next time I feel unstable. I want to soothe my inner child and stop acting out of abandonment (projecting what I feel and making it other people’s “fault” or needing someone else to reassure me when I feel insecure). I am absolutely FLOORED at how this enlightenment is just unfolding everyday before me lately. I am so excited to see what lies ahead for me. I feel like I’m healing the parts of me I’ve always felt have plagued me.

How lucky am I? And I get to learn how to hold space for my kids… and teach them how to do the same!

I want a conscious romantic relationship next time – and every time from this point on. In fact, I may want to do this work for the rest of my life – after I do more work of my own for a while, then help others live in conscious healing.

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

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.
8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

6 MBK Memoir: How to consciously connect with yourself

January 26

(Watching Beautiful Boy with Steve Carrell)

Strung out.

Cold, sticky tiles I lay on.

I am separate from my body.

I am two parts: broken and ruined.

Drained of worth, short of purpose.

Whether in or out,

No matter here or there.

Be it with or alone,

If I’m empty or full.

It never stops.

Always questioning,

Always with no answer.

Am I, just as I am, enough?

Without it, I’m undone.

The panic eats me from the inside.

It’s all I know and all I have

My way outside the black soot of my soul.

This.

This is all I have.

You can’t set me free.

You can’t even see me bleed.

Alone I lie.

Cold, on stained, sticky tiles.

And alone I die.

In vain self-denial.

Sometimes I have more ideas than I think I can handle, but this one’s worth writing down.

Towards the end of Beautiful Boy, when he’s in the diner alone writing, he leaves his notebook to go shoot up in the bathroom, I had a thought:

What if everywhere I go – coffee shops, diners, out to eat, even bars–I write a short poem or ode of inspiration, date it and tag my IG?

If I encourage, touch, or inspire one person, it would be worth it to me. I leave it in the hands of fate and move along. Maybe I snap a pic and post it on my IG before or maybe not. It’s all about human connection and energy – feeling alive and seen, knowing someone left something maybe JUST so you’d pick it up.

I hope I remember to do this.

It went perfectly (Book of Mormon at Bass Hall with G). He’s keeping his boundaries and it helps me stay true to what I know is best for me. We enjoyed each other’s company and the night without leading each other on, flirting, or crossing any lines. I feel solid and empowered by all of it and hopeful for my growth and future love story (with myself and life partner). Tired af. But feeling stable and settled in my mind and heart today.

January 26

Long day. Peter’s party was today. Some of Tyre’s family came up – it was difficult, but not as bad as it’s been before. G was with us most of the day – getting balloons for me, helping with the kids, etc. He had a bunch of his favorite people show up. It was wonderful being with them. I felt very loved having all of them loving Peter. I’m completely wiped though.

January 28

Light cloud looming – Tyrel’s 37th birthday today. Just relaxed tonight. Still feeling solid.

January 29

Solid. Actually, really happy. Volunteered today and it was wonderful. I’m getting more comfortable there. Had wine with dinner. G came over.

January 30

Feeling a little stressed – but for no particular reason. Other than that, I feel really good. I’m happy. My own happy. I’m focusing on my body, my feelings toward myself and loving ME. I’m not my own enemy. With everyday that passes, I see a little more why G and I are not together. I love him, but I’m growing strong and finding myself and I’m BIG. Our relationship was small.

February 1

I’ve fallen in love with @risingwoman on the gram. Everything they post is exactly what I’m learning about myself right now. I am learning how to have a conscious relationship connection with myself and open my mind to the possibility of a conscious relationship one day. I see how a mother wound or abandonment issue has left me feeling unworthy of love and seeking validation from others – men, friends, female role models – so many people. Even things like social media. But I truly am loving who I am… just as I am.

Every time I have a “negative” or “positive” emotion – mostly when they’re BIG – I try to take a moment to consciously open myself up and make space for that feeling. It’s been nothing less than revolutionary for my mind. I still think about G daily, but from a different stance – more loving and less insecure. And with each day, I become less interested in him (and the idea of anyone) and his emotional unavailability. It’s fascinating!

I also find myself actually thinking it might be EXCITING to get to know someone new down the road and let someone get to know me – the REAL me – whole and calm. Usually the beginning of relationships are fun for the flirting and chemistry, but extremely anxiety-ridden for me because I haven’t built enough trust and I’m so damned afraid they’re going to betray me or leave me or something.

But I know. I really really know now that I can trust myself to heal after heartache, disappointments, tragedy. I trust ME so I think I’ll be a lot more free to enjoy the moments of getting to know someone next time.

Oh, heart, you are healing and in doing so, calming my mind.

February 5

First of all, FUCK work for taking away my journal time! Haha

Second, I am BEAT every time I volunteer at the horse ranch and I’m realizing how much physical exhaustion helps slow my mind and calm the overthinking down. I used to say, ”I don’t have the patience/energy/time or anything to give to volunteering or helping others,” but today I noticed that volunteering and connecting/loving on others HELPS me to be more tender and compassionate to my littles and myself. It was very sweet and extremely fulfilling. I’m addicted.

Third, people are starting to notice I haven’t been on my phone as much. I feel like I’m losing touch, but I know I just need to set a new rhythm/pace for my socializing.

Fourth, woah, Nelly! The clarity of mind is coming fast! I have felt so solid and framed in a way I’ve never been towards myself! I love things and people and G, but they don’t say anything about who I am anymore, and they don’t tell me who I am either. They don’t give me value or validate me. And… the biggest part – I don’t ask them to. 

I don’t ask my kids to behave so I can look like I have my shit together. I don’t drink or not drink according to who I’m with but rather by what I feel is best for ME at that moment. I don’t serve food, time or flattery so people will see that I bring value to the world, I do it because I want to. And on and on…

Last night I felt – even in silly banter – I was able to communicate my true heart and self to G more clearly than I used to be able to. I didn’t stumble over my words or lose my thoughts because my feelings and fears were clouding the moment. I chose to speak. It was so satisfying! And I don’t crave attention, verification or acknowledgement to know that I AM ENOUGH everyday anymore. I feel like an oak tree has taken over my core and I am strong, solid, and old in so many different areas.

I am proud of who I am, how far I’ve come and my choices to love, stabilize and lean into myself and family.

XO

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

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.
8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

5 MBK Memoir: How to do hard things

January 20

Ok the story I wrote last night really cleared my head. I feel SO MUCH better today. I even have a clear head and good space about G today (regarding the audacity on his part and my honoring of us having a “part-time” relationship – aka seeing each other 2-3 days per week – and what absolute bullshit that is)! Although I am still finding him stalking my thoughts… 

January 21

I went to Al Anon for the first time today. It was overwhelming and somehow, a home I’ve never known before. I have to go back. I was pretty solid today from waking until now (just before bed). I think having my phone docked in the bathroom from the kid’s bed time until morning helps me unwind and relax more. I feel capable and realistic today. Al Anon felt like confirmation from the Universe that I’m on the right path. Great day with the kids today. Spent 1:1 time with both, just playing together.

This day. Wow. I’ll start from the beginning. Feeling at peace and at home with myself. Felt a little unsure of seeing G for the first time in almost a week (he came to watch the kids while I met with Jimmy’s mom and went to Al Anon). He was distant, but fine. 

Al Anon. Woah. I think I found my people. I was so overwhelmed – overcome with waves of emotion. Today just knocked on the door of that dark closeted vortex of all my headaches and pain from being married to Tyrel. I am starting to see how much his illness shaped who I became during my 20’s.

I’m ready. This is my year. But I’m shakin’ in my boots, scared as hell. I don’t even know what demons are waiting to see my face behind that door. But here I go! Watch me do this!

G went rock climbing with us – SO FUN! On the way home, I said, “Thanks for coming with us.” And he said, “Thanks for inviting me!” Then he looked me in the eye with a side smile and said, “It’s nice to be invited to do stuff with you guys every now and then!” I laughed and said, “Oh… yeah…” I guess he feels the distance/change lately. I don’t want him to feel lesser than what he is to us, but I just can’t do more right now. It’s just too much still. I’m a Petty Betty still and that needs work… and time… As much as it takes. I feel very resolved and in touch with the goal today. I am working on ME and I am committed to learning about myself.

Today I thought about how fucking back and forth I can be and thought, “Man, it’s not just because of Tyrel, G, my kids, my hormones, my mom, in-laws, or other people’s problems. I FEEL DEEPLY… ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It’s just who I am. But I don’t have to let it RULE me. I can learn new outlets to help and skills to process better instead of mulling and obsessing until I wear myself into the ground.”

I think I have some heavy, hard days before me, but I can do hard things. And I’m believing this will give me a different story in the future – for peace, for love, and for my family. And THAT is more than worth the discomfort that’s coming my way.

January 22

Feeling calm and empowered today. I have a lot of peace about working to provide for my family as I remain committed to my creative inspiration and writing (Big Magic influence). Had fluttering glimpses of hope for my future love story – just having a partner who is fully in tune to me as I am to him.

Kids were good. Filling their love tanks over the weekend is paying off.

Peaceful today. Felt solid about my feelings toward G: I love him dearly but I want someone who WANTS and LOVES me AND my kids 24/7, not every couple of days. I want affection, all-in, rock-my-world, life-changing commitment. Not “I’ll take you when I feel like it” kind of love. But I’m also excited to be open to this idea of letting him love us how he can and wants and remain in our lives, potentially always. I love doing stuff with him, and the kids’ love for him is so precious too. I hope I can settle out soon so he and I can find a good friendship rhythm.

Feeling confident about working with C, continuing to write and chip away at my dreams to get published, buy a house with property on the lake and get two goldendoodles!:)

I’m thankful. So thankful for my family, our health, and this life I’ve been given. 

January 23

Solid. All day. Great time connecting with kids. I worked, lunch with a friend, worked more, wrote, dinner with G, we all went to Peter’s basketball practice (G too), then peaceful bed time and Facetime with L. G didn’t stay, which was perfect. He misses us. We love him. It was a sweet time. I felt fine and stable about it all mentally. We’ve been keeping in touch the last week about Jimmy (he’s not doing well).

I am happy and hopeful about my choices and the journey I’m on and life.

My mind was running a little too hot last night–couldn’t sleep for an hour thinking about this:

I think I have only been able to love (G, in particular) and receive love one-dimensionally. Meaning, if it didn’t fit my preconceived idea about what it should look like, I would self-implode. If he loved me in a different way, I wouldn’t know where to store that or how to absorb it. And if he needed love in a different way, I would feel like he doesn’t see/understand me and is asking me to compromise who I am and my sense of peace.

I could be wrong here, but it seems to fit pretty accurately. I need time to myself to expand my understanding of love and reign in some fanatical (fantasy-based) ideas about love, partnership, and commitment. Because really, I can’t deny how steadily G has shown love to me and the kids for two solid years – storing my storage at his house, time, fun family dates, wrestling, recitals, birthdays, holidays… the man shows up. And that MEANS something. I just don’t know what yet.

And also, I realize now how my hasty breakup recovery over the summer was such a slap in the face. G was collateral damage of my Dating Rep (aka mixed up sense of self) habits. He deserves an apology for that one!

Two days till Book of Mormon at Bass Hall with him!

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

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.
8 MBK Memoir: How to stop chasing belonging and start choosing YOURSELF

4 MBK Memoir: How to withdrawal from toxic emotional cycles

January 15

Good (with moments of overstimulation). I’m proud of myself. I find myself drifting into “neutral” thoughts – not about G or other relationships. I missed Tyrel – the sweet, good man. I feel such a fondness for him. I guess that will never leave. Worked with C a little today for the first time. 

Learning new things can be so annoying sometimes, like the kind of recipe that requires an immersion blender or food processor. Maybe you have all the right ingredients and tools, but you’ve never actually used them and there’s an entire cookbook full of recipes you’ve avoided/ignored simply because they require you to actually learn how to use your tools to create a new culinary masterpiece. And week after month after year that you ignore those recipes and tools… well, they just become all the more annoying and burdensome in the back of your mind, looming over you, lurking in the unknown with all that unmet potential. This same idea could be applied to new workouts at the gym, pursuing further education, implementing new techniques at work, and of course, RELATIONSHIPS!

This is me cleaning up my mind. I’ve always asked other people to clean it up for me. For the first time, I actually WANT to do it myself. It’s strange and foreign to not be asking G to assist me or look out for me during this breakup. I (keep reminding myself) don’t need him to make any concessions or gestures to make me feel secure. I’ve already mapped my plan according to what is best for my mind and heart and his choices don’t affect that. IT’S SO FREEING! It’s empowering to (keep reminding myself) know that I am worth more – time, affection, tenderness, etc. Also, writing in these journals has helped me not feel the compulsion to TALK so much… to anyone who will listen. I usually say more than I’d really like and now I am able to temper that almost effortlessly. Magic!

We all just want to belong and fit in – maybe not with everyone but with someone. Think of the last time you walked into a party or a function where you weren’t familiar with the location or you didn’t know anyone there. Finding ONE soul you can connect with (aka cling to) means so much!

January 16

Another very good mental day:) I felt overstimulated several times throughout the day, but realized it and turned music off or took deep breaths. Worked with C some and got a leg workout in at the gym. I enjoy life on my own – today at least. So I’ll take that! 

I’m so happy when I have glimpses of how this healing of my mind is going to help change my future. I get excited to think how I will behave differently in a relationship than I have previously. But then right after the feeling of excitement, I panic. “I’m not ready yet. I need at least two, six, eight more months!” I just don’t feel like I’ve nailed “this” down yet or practiced it enough. But really, I just need more time to get to know ME! I’m almost jealous for this time. Now THAT’s a full one-eighty! I wish I could have gone through this transformation in my 20’s, but I guess better late than never.

I think it was there all along, just waiting for me to make space for it and want it enough to let it come take over.

Today, “Thank You, Next” by Ariana Grande came on and the kids said, “G told us what this song means!” And I thought, “How ironic… because this is the song L sent me when he broke up with me.” But I solidified his explanation by giving them the example of he and I then quickly clarifying with, “But I didn’t say that to him and I like that Ariana talks about how she is spending time with herself…” THEN I went to text G but didn’t really feel like talking to him today (he slept over last night and was just so quiet and distant. I wonder sometimes if we’re even friends who know about each other’s lives anymore. Or maybe he just has NOTHING to report and doesn’t care to ask about my life. Whatever. IDC). So, I decided instead to put the little story in a note on my phone to send another day and after I wrote it all out, I thought, “Wow. That sounds awful. And mean. Almost cruel. Which is not my intention. Why did I seriously think sending that would be funny? OMG.” The note saved me! I deleted it and threw out the whole idea. 

Wow, putting myself through a quick filter (a note in my phone) might be a game-changing tip for me! I still can’t believe how awesome I thought that would be to text, when really, at best, it would be like, “why the fuck did I spend ANY amount of time typing that?!” Yikes… learning a lot about myself.

January 17

Watched a stupid Netflix show about people trying to give it another shot with their exes and I had a pit in my stomach the whole time thinking that’s how me and G will feel in three, 10, 20 years. Or maybe we won’t. I feel wonky and uncertain. Can’t shake the sinking feeling in my gut. Started bleeding today. Took the morning to rest and write and allow my body to relax. First half of the day was great, then I sat down to work and I watched that show. Dammit.

Cleaning up my head… 

I don’t know my natural hair color. Not only do I not know my true natural hair color, it turns out, there’s a lot more I don’t know about myself. This is very off-putting to me. Almost insulting. Because I take pride in how observant I am of “my people”. I know my friends inside out–their idiosyncrasies, bents, insecurities, deepest fears, tendencies, and patterns (even when THEY don’t). I know and love that I channel my way through their unintentional fronts or walls and I love them deeper and closer to their true selves.

But for myself? Well, I was under the impression that I instinctually ran the same tabs on myself, but I have become aware that this is sadly not the case. I have masqueraded behind some artfully picturesque versions of myself for most, if not all, of my adult life. Not to say I wasn’t really ME, it was just a less-of-a-mess, more “acceptable” version of me. I call this living with or through a Representative.

I had many Reps over the years, the strongest being my Dating Rep. This Rep stole the show, got many marriage proposals (but only accepted one), and caused me to live only a piece of my full true self for I guess it’s been 20 years now.

So, here I am, 35 years old and I’ve cleared out all the Representatives and I’ve committed to spending the rest of my life as an “observer”. I’ve decided to make space to spend time alone. Now I invite myself to learn more about ME, to pay attention and even take notes on my patterns, hangups and habits. I have promised not to judge, criticize or even ask “why” anymore. (As a natural self-critic, “why” can be categorically disastrous on the mind). I’ve got my sight set on ME this time for literally the first time in my life.

In order to be true to this process, I have eliminated and reduced the things I now understand I have used as crutches (my phone, alcohol, socializing, and… dating). The point is not to have a bunch of restrictions, but whatever I’m doing, I want it to be supportive of me observing myself and truly creating space for me to be the MOST authentic version of myself as I possibly can be.

I am so freaking excited, I can hardly stand it! I already sleep WAY better. I’m less stressed. I have more energy during the day, and most of all… I have peace. Peace in my home. Peace with my family. Peace in my relationships. AND PEACE OF MIND! My mind has been a battlefield for as long as I can remember, so to be able to live in a habitual place of mental peace would be one of my greatest wins. I’m on my way!

As my hair begins to grow out and my natural hair color is revealed to me and the world, so it will be with my true self. This is not a box to check, a New Year’s resolution, or a conquest. This is the beginning of the next 35 years for me.

Wooooowieeee!

That stupid Netflix show… It’s so difficult today. I miss my friend and companion–that feeling of closeness and being touched. But I still want more for myself than what he G’s able to give.

I’m feeling the withdrawals hard today. I am not allowing myself to invite him over tonight and it’s like I’m refusing to call my dealer. It’s taking everything in me to remember why I decided to get clear: I want more for myself and my kids. I want security in knowing how my partner feels about me. I want intimacy. I’m worth fighting for, making compromises with, and the work it takes to create a fulfilling relationship, damnit!

But I just miss talking with him and cozying up to him and relaxing in his arms. I miss showing him how much I love him and letting him use my body as his expression of love. All that I’m holding out for (and he is holding out for) is hypothetical… but HE is real. How does one continue to resist what is in front of them in hopes of a successful search for more?

I sure as hell don’t know, and today I’m fumbling through it. I hope I make it to tomorrow without trying to get a fix. I know if I did reach out to try to get him to covertly answer a question for me – Am I still important to you? Do you miss me too? Do you want me? Do you love me? – I would only have to start the process from square one (where I was on December 30th), and I DO NOT want to go back there. Those are dark feelings and horrible lows. At least now I’m nearly 3 weeks clean.

I think I’m actually getting nervous about next Friday (January 25th) because we’re going to Bass Hall for the Book of Mormon Show, dinner before and maybe coffee after? What will we talk about? Does he even want to know me anymore? Is he going to share anything about his actual life with me? Or will it be clear he’s locking me out of his heart – keeping me from getting too personal or too close? Which would only confirm that he is mostly here (still engaging with me) to remain in the kids’ lives. Aggh! It’s maddening today!

It’s only 5:00pm and I’m ready for bed. I’m stuck in my head. I think I’ll try to write a short story tonight to escape myself.

January 18

I need AA. I’m a fixer.

I went mental today with Jimmy today. He looked the same as Tyrel did the last day I saw him, and my head started storming. I felt like I alone needed to fight/plead/beg for him to keep living. I was so overly emotional–it was weird in hindsight. What snapped me out of my egocentric power trip (as if I have the ability to keep someone I hardly even know from continuing to use drugs or from killing himself), was a phone call to an AA lady to inquire about Al Anon for me (and Jimmy’s mom). She said, “Ok, you don’t need to get dragged into this. You need to just stay focused on your own journey and bring his mom to meetings with you.”

It was a reality check. First, that I go mental when I feel like I’m about to lose someone (Mitchell) or something (my relationship, boyfriend, whatever). I throw all my cards down in an attempt to save something/someone. It’s a dramatic and unnecessary display. I am beginning to suspect there are more sound, mature ways to approach these things. Second, I need to go to Al Anon. I need to address, feel, and heal from a 15 year life alongside an alcoholic/addict. Today triggered me BIG time. And I now see how I’ve never actually healed or acknowledged the world of addiction he (yrel) dragged me into. I’m ready. I go to my first meeting on Monday.

Wow. Unexpected day. Ended with a movie and wine with Mercy at my house. Thankful for the path unfolding before me as I commit to cleaning up my mind. Very grateful.

January 19

I’m trying to focus on allowing different kinds of love into my life – like allowing G to be what he is to my family and who he is and appreciate it for all that it is instead of wishing it was more or something different.

Also, I’m concentrating on being present in today – my moments of rest or play or time with the kids. Instead of fearing the future or regretting the past.

Today I’ve felt very stressed about everything and nothing. I’m just tossing my mind back and forth from the past and the future which makes me anxious.

Breathe. Recognize the moment. Be in it. 

Better headspace today. I do feel that I’ve allowed G to become a stalker in my mind though. He’s not always on the forefront, but he seems to almost always be lurking just around the breakfast we just ate or the plans we’re making for the day – ”What if he came with us? What would be different? How much more fun would it be?” But I simply cannot get past the sinking feeling that could – and would most likely – occur if he didn’t come upon my invitation (utter disappointment). So, I swat that thought bubble away and move along my day.

I long for the day when he’s no longer lingering in my mind. And I am so very thankful I rarely have thoughts or images of him with other women. I try to just pretend he already IS fucking someone else or in a relationship with someone else and treat him/approach him that way.

Did I mention how I moved ¾ of the way for a snuggle last week when he came over? He froze and a few minutes later moved further away from me. Now I understand that when he jokes and pretends he doesn’t like me invading his space, that means he actually really doesn’t want me in his space and his silence means, “No.”

We haven’t seen each other since and have hardly talked. If I allowed it, the curiosity would consume me – is it me? Is it him? Someone else? Does he love me too much or not anymore? It could be anything! And that questioning could easily go both ways too–I’ve never behaved the way I have the last month.

Who the fuck even knows what’s happening? 

Upward and onward!

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

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 pain-stakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
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