melancholy of the forgotten things

The last few months has been a study in the discovery of self as I’m having a lot of deep thoughts™ on a near daily basis. Nearly every single winner of those races tend to steer me towards my (ir)relevancy and (lack of) mark in the world. There is a toss-up if I am thinking such things because it is winter and depressing as hell outside or that my 45th birthday is in six months.
Maybe it’s both.
It is depressing, as a feeling not as a state. I do not feel as if I’m going to harm myself, do some damage to others or any of that sort but I am feeling a bit helpless and confused, and questioning where I’m going. Even during and shortly after the case came to a conclusion, I felt as if I was on a very clear path. Now that path is muddled and I’m at a loss of what to do and where to go.
To be sure my physical self is fine: I have a place to live (living with TEH where the south meets the midwest), food in my belly, my bills are taken care of, for now, thanks to unemployment. I do not want for material things and I am extremely grateful for what I have. I’ve taken to donating time / money when I can, even if it’s only a few dollars. I want to pay forward all the help I was given and while these gestures may seem small, it’s something.


I have been able to procure a talking therapist last month and we’re meeting on a near weekly basis. I have not worked with a talking therapist in over six months and it is such a relief to word vomit everything from my head with no fear of judgment and repercussion. Like many, I have a wonderful support network of people who will listen but they are not a neutral party to this conversation.
My talking therapist keeps drilling, tho I have a hard time believing, the importance of self-care and self-soothing. It’s not that unusual, really, to have these thoughts and they are not owned by those with short-circuited brains like mine. They are just thoughts, we need to accept them and let them go. We don’t have to act on them or be fearful of them. The talking therapist posited what kind of society are we if taking time out for ourselves makes us selfish bitches? Being able to take care of one’s self does a world of wonder for our lives.
We do not have to do all the things.
We need to remember to put ourselves first– a concept I rationally understand but have a literal difficulty in implementing.
Yesterday I found myself in a state over something I couldn’t control but was desperately attempting to. I took to my meditation app and I could not concentrate for fuck all. It was a struggle to keep focused on my zen buddha nature as my mind kept wandering over to that particularly riddled state and other things that were not important enough to give as much currency as I was giving them. Too fast for my liking, the 15 minutes are over and Andy from the app is back soothing me with his subtle British accent.
I do not feel better. I am now frustrated because I could not complete the simple task of sitting still for 15 minutes and being present.


An example of a daily frustration: I worked in the state of New York when I was living on the east coast this summer and since I worked long enough to garner unemployment, this is who is feeding me each week. The conditions tho are bit long and can get tiresome of what I need to report every week in my job search. I have to, and I do, track everything from job searching and profesh website1 updates to interviews and rejections. I have to work on job searching three days a week. Many of you may remember when I was heavily job hunting for librarian gigs I was searching every fucking day.
My medicating therapist spoke on the influx number of jobs coming to the area. Sure, if you’re into light industrial and retail. Several websites put my earning power at $93K. I have never earned that much, and while I’m glad for their hopefulness, it gets a bit irritating that the jobs they send pay in the $15/hr range. If that. Most jobs are paying in the $8-10/hr range.
I’m going to be a pretentious, over privileged asshole. I worked hard for my degrees. I made $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea so I have settled for $ReasonableAmount – which is significantly less than $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea. I’m finding a lot of jobs that require at least a college degree paying $10K less than my $ReasonableAmount.
I would gladly settle for a retail job at my favorite stores but the pay there starts at $9/hr. I calculated working 40 hours a week, which would be impossible, the gross would be $30 less a week than what unemployment brings. If I work a day, I will not make close to what that day would bring me on unemployment. Retail jobs are out. Tutoring jobs, which pay between $18-22/hr, would be ideal but I would have to hustle to find work and those gigs are not guaranteed source of income. Tutoring jobs are out. I’ve been rejected from positions I’ve interviewed for, with a $10K a year less salary than my $ReasonableAmount, for being overly educated. My resume is in front of your face. What on earth would have changed from submission to the interview?
I have removed degrees, modified what I did at jobs, cut my resume from six pages (academic) to two (standard). I have resumes for different fields. I have placed a variety of my resumes on eight job boards, including a state and city sponsored ones. I call staffing agencies and specialty recruiters. I have emailed recruiters that I have worked with in the past. It is not as if I’m not looking for a gig, but I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable given my education, employment history, and skillset, asking for $ReasonableAmount is not, in fact, unreasonable.
And for the love of all that is holy, do not take this as an invention to email me your suggestions on how to find a job. My interview rate per number of job applications (1 in 5) is better than the norm (1 in 10), so obviously I have that down pat — it’s a matter of actually getting someone to hire me.


What was the point of that angrily worded section? To give you an idea of a daily frustration. Instead of stepping back, coloring or knitting or working on something else to self-soothe/self-care, I stew. Fuck the man and all that has and will potentially happen because I’m getting nowhere.


My talking therapist is an optimist. The right thing will happen at the right time, she says. She believes it too. She tells me I’ve got options. I’m starting an extensive front end web development program in January. If I get off my arse, I can start selling my writing. There are other things I can throw in the fire. I am not, by any means, out of ways to improve my standings but it just might take a bit longer. Take a bit of work.
Work hurts.
I have to remember, as my talking therapist keeps telling me, things, no matter how much I want them to, will not change overnight. Every small fucking step I’ve done this year, even if it feels like I’m spinning my wheels, is an improvement over before. I need to think of 2016 as a year of growth rather than a year of nothing. Because I did do work. I did make some ground.
But the work hurts. It is painful and maddening and slow.
Talking therapist said that’s okay, it will hurt. By being here, acknowledging on being present, you’re slowly changing something. It’s new and unknown. That is okay.
That is okay.
1. I’m consolidating my librarian website (lisa.rabey.net) with my writing one (lisarabey.com). Choose your own adventure, motherfuckers.

Gratitudes: April 25 – May 1, 2016

epbab-baseheader-racingstripes-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
Another short week because the world seems overwhelming good right now with a job in hand. I count the small pleasures in life as things start to shift into focus. I am truly happy in this space.
gratitude

  1. I may have said this before but I am beyond grateful for TheExHusband. He has been there and taken care of me when I was at my worst and has cheered me when I am at my best. I am extremely lucky to have him in my life. There are a lot of things in my world that would not have happened without his love and support. He is probably, if not literally, the best human on the planet
  2. The internet for allowing me to connect to zillions of people across the world
  3. For not having to look for another mother fucking job

happy

  1. Cold pressed coffee
  2. Adventures
  3. Hockey
  4. EPL football (Go WestHam!)
  5. Paper planners and journals
  6. Stew Leonard’s

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2014, 2012

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Gratitudes: April 18 – April 24, 2016

epbab-baseheader-racingstripes-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
gratitude
I have been an extended an offer and I am now officially employed. Right now I’m just grateful for everything in the world, the universe, the stars, the air we breathe – just everything.
Thank you.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013, 1997

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Gratitudes: April 11 – April 17, 2016

epbab-baseheader-racingstripes-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
This marks the 11th consecutive week these lists have been and thus far I’ve posted a total of 99 things I am grateful for and 100 things that make me happy. Click here if you want inspiration or want to see the lists in full.
gratitude

  1. For looking for inspiration in everything for anything
  2. Falling in love with everything and everyone I meet (Yes, even you.)
  3. For my organizational skills and making lists. Without those skills, this list wouldn’t exist
  4. For the opportunities as they become available
  5. For keeping track of my life story via journals and memories
  6. For people who I’ve forgiven and those who have forgiven me
  7. For stories that have influenced or changed my life
  8. The things I love about myself, and the things I am not so fond of, as they make me, well, me
  9. Everything that I have yet to learn
  10. I am grateful for the sun, moon, and stars that are there when when I want to dream about all the possible (and impossible) things

happy

  1. Pushing Daisies
  2. Luna and Larry’s vegan ice cream
  3. Meditating
  4. Elephants
  5. Shoes — specifically Mary Janes
  6. Tattoos
  7. Swimming
  8. Swinging on swings
  9. Music
  10. Beaches

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2000

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shut the fuck up and be happy

Shut the fuck up and be happy
Dear Internet,
When you’ve been friends for a fairly long time with someone, you organically create your own schticks. As TheExHusband and I have known each other for 20 years (!), we have many schticks of which one is where we create songs and dances using melodies from popular songs except with our own lyrics. I have, for example, a dance and song routine when I get ready to shower.
Recently I created a song while waiting for my breakfast to heat up, TEH chimes in with his own lyrics and I start, as one does during these instances, laughing. It was, however, not the canned laughter we typically do when we find something to be funny, which comes and goes as if it was never there in the first place. No, this was genuine laughter that came from my belly and it felt authentic (as much as I fucking hate that fucking word, it applies here). My peripheral vision, my face mirrored on the microwave door, reflected a broad smile.
The days when I found my body beautiful are getting closer together. The return of myself in the mirror showed a face not so much glowing but perhaps calmer. More relaxed. (Except for the greys that are creeping up again (TIme for a new dye job!), I’m pretty satiated with my looks.)
Is this happiness?
The more I yoga, I find my day feels more complete. There is a hop to my step and a harmony to my life, even if  I am working from home. Days away from doing yoga don’t feel right. Something is missing. I have a routine in the morning and that routine I must stick to. I like knowing my body can now do some flexible things. When I started back a few months ago, I could only lean half way down in bound angle pose but this week I’ve been able to almost get the girls to touch the floor. Slight change, sure, but it is still something.
Is this what joy feels like?


“Happiness,” “mindfulness,” “gratitude,” “self-care,” “humility,” and another 44 descriptors1 I could come up with in a short amount of time are the hot trends in our lives. A reporter recently asked, When ‘mindful’ is a mayo, a diet, a mantra, does it actually mean anything? and I found myself asking that very same question of my own practice. Is what I’m doing — the meditation, the yoga, the journaling, the being mindful as much as possible — really working or is it some kind of placebo thin band-aid covering up my real (chemically imbalanced) ills? Perhaps it is the drugs and I’m just placing woo-woo around it to make it more palatable to others and myself?
But the real question we should asking ourselves, no matter where it comes from, is doing these things make us happy regardless of what other people think? I can certainly answer with a resounding yes. DBT, which is the science backed set of techniques to make one mindful, works. Yoga keeps me centered and lets me push my body into ways I didn’t think it could — see the aforementioned getting the girls to the floor. The little changes in my life that keep me going strong: the continual exercise (no matter how minute), the quitting smoking, the journaling, the meditation, and for the everything else that is important to me continues to push forward. I have a proven track record of making these things work in the past and I am determined to make them continue on that path. So for me, whether or not someone “gets it” is not important. It’s not important what others think. What is important is how and what I feel as I move my life forward in my own beautiful and fucked up way.
Is this being blissful?


A good friend, C., flashed a comment on Twitter recently about her gentleman caller. Piqued, I wrote her a note2 with only the words, “Who is this gentleman caller??” A week or so later, we gossiped online, though privately, about her new love life. He was a local to her boy. He had pursued her for some time, they met, fireworks occurred, and now they are a couple.
I was thrilled for her. C. is one of those people you KNOW is going to get snapped up by some lucky person and it finally happened. I am a nosey wench so I poked and prodded about their love life, how they were doing, any future plans, that kind of thing. C. and I may both be in our 40s, but it is never too old to gossip about lovers like we did in high school. (There are a lot of things we never grow out or tired of.)
Form C.’s side, there was a lot of swoony hearts emoji when the gentleman caller did something to win her affections. I loved and still love talking to her about him because her happiness is so infectious. C. never struck me as a person who needed others to make her happy but with a new lover, I needed sunglasses from her thousands of miles away glow.
But this is not about that story.
What struck me, and got me thinking the most about these new developments, was C.’s discussion of at least one of her local friends seemed to be getting tired of C.’s delight in talking about C.’s gentleman caller. We’ve all been there – we meet someone we think is the bee’s knees, everything they do is perfection personified, and all we want to do is talk about them. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, everyone who has ever been romantically involved has done it.3 And we all know of that one person or maybe several who get tired of our nattering and want us to quietly shut the fuck up. The reasons for our friend’s behaviour can range from general annoyance or bitterness at their own life.
Just like gushing about our new lovers when we meet them, we are bitter cynics when the relationship ends. We are done for; relationships are terrible; love is a joke and so on. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, everyone who has ever been romantically involved has done it. (See 3 below.)
I totally got where this friend was coming from — hell, I’ve been in that position recently myself and one could argue I’m still there. The last 18 months have been both the most wonderful and the worst in my life. I can still taste the heady high when TheBassist and I found each other again and I can still feel the deepening well of pain when we split. I’ve seen both sides of the coin in such a short amount of time, I could commiserate.
As C. and I talked about her gentleman caller, I mulled over the info she dropped about her cynical friend. I cannot lie and say I didn’t feel these feelings myself at that very moment — I fucking totally did. But a new thought came into my head as we talked: Was C. happy? Yes. Was her happiness important to me? Also yes. Why was I letting my own bitter heart take away her moment? I was being selfish and laying my own heartache to dampen C.’s excitement for gentlemen lover. Was that fair? Fuck no. So then I stopped.
Seriously, I just stopped thinking bitter and cynical things about my own life in comparison to hers. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. Was I bitter and angry at my own les amours? Yep. Was regret hanging out somewhere there too? Probably.
But this wasn’t about me, it was about C. Making it about me was one of the worst things I could do for her and it needed to be about her. I was also mindful this was not some kind of manipulation on my own part about the situation. I didn’t tell her what was running through my head, I didn’t give her lip service about her dating life, I just let her be and encouraged her to tell me more about her gentleman caller because it made her happy.
Is this humility?


Back to the posited statement and also a question: How does one just shut the fuck up and be happy? As you’ve probably get the gist of my thoughts on these topics lately, I hate, HATE, websites and authors and etc who slap on a one size fits all balm on what makes someone happy, grateful, or whatever. We’re told over and over again happiness and the 48 other terms are ours for a short step away. Do this thing. Buy that thing. Wear that thing. But our happiness is not one size fits all. What makes C. happy doesn’t necessarily make me happy and vice versa. We can be supportive of that person’s happiness but we are under no obligation to replicate what makes them happy in our own lives.
What these gurus also fail to tell you is happiness is hard work. It’s fucking really hard work and it will never fucking end. It will be painful and you’re going to want to smack people in the head. There will be times when jealousy reigns supreme or envy takes over your heart. You’re going to be spitting nails at your lover or willing your boss into a cave deep in the mountains.
And you know what? This is normal. Happiness is not a 24/7 thing. We’re human. We’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fall down. A lot. You’re going to have days of glory. A lot. But what you do with what you learned, like me figuring out C.’s happiness in that moment was number one thing, is what’s going to make all the difference in the world.
And remember we are not perfect.
No matter what that guru tells you, we are not perfect. But do look for the times when small joys, no matter how  silly they may seem, make you smile. That is happiness. Whether it’s the smile of the stranger, the look of a lover, or the smell of freshly cut grass. The goal is to bridge more of these small things into larger and longer things. Look for those moments because they are everywhere.
And that right there, is the big fucking key.
And if you need a reminder, just learn to:
let that shit go


When TheBassist and I began again, he kept talking about coming to fetch me from Michigan to East Coast because that is what he does. I thought it charming and enduring but as the time moved forward, I could see his frustration. I kept leaving and he kept fetching me. The cycle was never ending.
I kept leaving and he kept fetching.
When the relationship ended, I remember he commented he needed to advocate for himself. Now, six months later, I understand what he meant. In that time since then, I held strong to the belief that it was I who needed to fetch him. Even if he kept leaving, I would always fetch him.
Today as I was running errands, a thought occurred to me that it was not one fetching the other. No, it was me fetching myself. He couldn’t do it. My therapists couldn’t do it. I had to do it on my own.
In that second I smiled and I was happy.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2000, 1997


1. I am not joking. I have a piece of paper with 49 descriptors in that same vein on those related topics. And I’m sure there is more.
2. By “wrote her a note” I mean I put pen to a notecard, put the notecard into an envelope, added a stamp, and tossed it into a mailbox to wing its way to her. Not only is she an online BFF, she’s also one of my penpals.
3. If someone has taken a lover at some point in their life and has not bragged near and far about their partner, they are lying through their fucking teeth.
4. While I have been diagnosed by at least four separate doctors over 25 years I am bipolar, ADHD, borderline, and have general anxiety, what sets me apart from others with my gifts is I don’t exhibit traditional destructive behaviours. I don’t drink, do drugs, have wontan sex partners, or anything construed to dangerous. This is why I am a science experiment.

 

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Gratitudes: April 4 – April 10, 2016

epbab-baseheader-racingstripes-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
This marks the 10th consecutive week of gratitudes and things that make me happy. Who knew I could come up with so many different things!
gratitude

  1. For recognizing and respecting my limitations
  2. Being mindful of other people’s feelings
  3. Using self-care when needed to keep me mentally and physically happy
  4. Being kind to myself
  5. For the ability to laugh at myself
  6. For being a dreamer and full of passion
  7. To tell people how grateful I am for them
  8. For my strength to keep moving forward
  9. For the opportunities that have come to me
  10. For second chances

happy

  1. Chocolate chip cookies
  2. Knitting
  3. Historical books and TV shows
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Bridget Jones’ Diary 
  6. Graphic novels
  7. Coloring
  8. Nordic and medieval history
  9. For believing anything is possible
  10. Teddy

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011, 2011, 2007, 2004, 2004, 2003

 

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learning to breathe / projection

Dear Internet,
Cake cures everything. True facts.
The last couple of days are ones filled with frustrations. A few rejections came in, my healthy body plan wasn’t going anywhere, and it’s been raining. After a week, week and a half, of doing yoga every day, I took yesterday and today off. Maybe that is what is giving me the temporary blues? Who knows. I know of several others who are having a rough week
Every time a post on meditation, gratitudes, and becoming mentally healthy goes live, one or two people contact me privately to either tell me a shared experience or to ask for help. (And I’m always grateful for the shared experiences as it confirms what I often desperately need: I am not alone.)
Let’s make the elephant in the room obnoxiously loud: I cannot help them. Sure, I can give advice, website and book recommendations, and the ever helpful tips, but in the end, I can’t help them.
And it’s not about they really want, need, or if they can or cannot pull themselves up by their boot staps. (Though I believe these things do factor into some degree.)
It’s because I have no idea their previous experiences, their medical histories, or what therapies have tried. I’m also not medically trained or certified. What I chronicle is my own personal experiences and how I have dealt with them. My experiences tend to be atypical for various reasons (being beyond sensitive to SSRIs and most bipolar drugs is one), the flipping mania and depression at a faster than light speed and the co-morbidity of being bipolar with adhd and being borderline. When the gods struck my brain in a fury they were not kidding.
Lastly, I do not know their needs.
(Though I will implore you to NOT diagnose yourself on the internet. You’re not a trained professional and there is a lot more to figuring out what you may or may not be than a checklist. Plus diagnosing yourself will either lead you to believe you have cancer or are dying this very second. Stop fucking doing that.)
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2001

 

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Gratitudes: March 28 – April 3, 2016

epbab-baseheader-racingstripes-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
gratitude

  1. For living in an area that has much to offer
  2. That change is always constant
  3. For the amazing world we live in
  4. DBSA, the 12 step program for bipolars
  5. For the ability to have seen the world when I can
  6. For vegan versions of dairy products so I can have butter, ice cream, and milk
  7. For my body allowing me to feel and understand its power
  8. For not having an addictive personality
  9. For not being afraid to jump in with both feet
  10. For listening and often believing in myself

happy

  1. My cardigan collection
  2. My tshirt collection
  3. Fresh cut apples
  4. Powerpuff Girls
  5. Polaroids
  6. TheZelda game series
  7. First flowers of spring
  8. The first leaves of fall
  9. Yoga
  10. Long walks

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2000

 

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Gratitudes: March 21 – March 27, 2016

epbab-header-gratitude
Dear Internet,
Gratitudes and things that make me happy are a part of my carding coursework, and I track them everyday and I’ll post them here every Sunday. (And I also acknowledge this is going to take me a few weeks to go beyond “I have killer hair.”) You can also find the a list of all my gratitudes here.
gratitude

  1. For having an in-building washer and dryer. While I enjoy doing laundry (the smell! the neat piles of folded items!), not having to schelp it out someplace else is a delight
  2. Spring is finally here. It may flare up my allergies but I love the change from one season to another
  3. Friends who send you random presents! (Especially ones who send you fresh baked cookies!)
  4. Wellbutrin continues to work its magic. Let’s all bless science!
  5. The ability to spend time with friends at mini-vacations
  6. New glasses so I can see the world clearer and in focus
  7. For my tattoos, as each one tells a story
  8. For TEH trading days when to walk the dog so neither of us are getting up everyday when the sun rises
  9. I was not the same person I was yesterday, last week, or six months ago. I’ve grown
  10. For music to help express my moods.

happy

  1. Peeps!
  2. Carbonated water
  3. Pita chips and hummus
  4. 1/2 off easter (and halloween) candy
  5. C2E2!
  6. Begrudgingly Daredevil
  7. Pops!
  8. Fluffer nutters
  9. Trader Joe’s speculoos + cocoa swirl paired with pretzels
  10. A new tattoo!

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2001

 

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what the eff does it mean to “let it go”?

Dear Internet,
I woke up feeling particularly sassy this morning so be prepared for lots of salty language.


I’ve been musing about the concept of letting go as of late. But what frustrates me when I go searching for examples is the lack of real world examples. If you tell me X, what does X really look like? Yes, I get everyone’s path is different but what did you do, specifically, to achieve X? The response tends to be some mystical patchouli method, which are slightly helpful but in the end, kind of pointless.
Here is my explanation.


Hate your neighbor? Let it go. Terrible breakup? Let it go. Fighting with your friends? Let it go. Conflict with a colleague? Let it go.
And on, and on, like the repetition of the Disney song of the same name, does it go on for every painful act in your life, the kneejerk response is, let it go.
But what does this mean? How does one let it go? Out comes vague and jargon filled explanation with the zen conduit of non-attachment. The idea here is that if you remove yourself from something, be it a person or an object or situation that is causing you misery, you will gain better clarity and mindfulness into your own life. Viola, you’ve let it go.
But they always forget you to tell you the following is part of the process:

  • What they don’t tell you is while you’re busy simmering in the feelings of fear, pain, and regret, and letting them wash over you, is how fucking painful that process is
  • What they don’t tell you is it’s a long ass process; not something that goes away with a snap of one’s fingers
  • What they don’t tell you is while banging on how this only works when you make the conscious decision of what to or not accept, you’re going to go through a hundred permutations before finding the right combinations and you’re going to be in a lot of pain while you do it
  • What they don’t tell you is how you let go of something varies from person to person and situation to situation, it is not a one stop shop for everyone.
  • What they don’t tell you is that you’re going cycle through these emotions over and over again. One day you’re going to accept that the thing/person/whatever is done/gone and then you’re going to be wailing in grief another day. When the time between those days gets longer, then you are letting go
  • What they don’t tell you is you’ll be working on this, and yourself, for the rest of your life

I beg you once again: What does this look like in real life?


Most of the populace knows about the breakup between TheBassist and I. I was in a fuck ton of emotional pain and to be fair, it was not just about him but also everything about my life up to that moment finally tipped over when he cut the cord. Side step: I’ve said this a zillion times here and on various other places that I have much gratitude for the break up. Without it happening, my life would be a lot worse right now.
Back to the two step.
If you have been a steady reader since October, you have seen the anguish of the break-up. You’ve watched me writhe in pain because I had to write in pain. Moving on, or you know letting go, wasn’t going to happen unless I accepted what had happened was real and when you’re in emotional pain, you’re nowhere near the state of accepting it, hence the attachment.
It had to run its course.
It wasn’t just the online writing where I was writhing in pain, I writhed in real time, wailing and beating my fist against my chest calling mea culpa, mea culpa. Okay, not really — I chain smoked cigarettes, ate a lot of sweets, and cried obtusely on the couch while watching Pride and Prejudice over and over.
I also have a written diary I started right after the break that has 100 pages, at least, solely dedicated to him / us / break up / related. It’s insane, pitiful, and heartbreaking to read. I have only gone back to read it once and I probably won’t do it again. (The remaining 75 or so pages, which brings up to current, moves away from the break-up and more about what’s happening in my life.)
The grieving was everywhere and I, and only me, had to go down this path alone.
In the beginning I was brave and talked about I had already let him go.
But you know, and I know, that was some self-defense mechanism right there. By telling the world I was fine and everything was copacetic, I was moving on with life.
But I wasn’t. I knew I wasn’t but I was tired of people giving me a fixed timetable of when to stop the pain. “Well, it’s been three months, Lisa. Time to get the fuck on.”
In February I said,

Based upon friend’s reactions these last few months, it’s expected I should be discoing my way to someone else. As time marches on, this round of break up many feel I have already said all there is to say about him, the relationship, and the ending. What more could there possibly be? (A lot apparently.)
I spend most days without TheBassist’s presence hovering on the peripheral and then something benign reminds me he hasn’t been thought of and fuck, there he is!
God dammit.
Every couple of therapy sessions there is at least a brief mention of this occurring, how it pisses me off, and how my heart has ghosts of the devastation, which pisses me off even more.
There is no exorcism to dispatch a broken heart.

and

There is no arbitrary time when one person heals from emotional pain. There is no one fits all recipe. We’re assholes when we try to force the thought of, “Well. It’s been x months. Let them go and move the fuck on.” No one can really explain what “moving the fuck on” really entails or means no matter how much they want to. This is my interpretation of healing. This is how I work. This is what I do.
I’ve said it a million times before: If it takes me writing about it, talking with my shrink about it, or just plain thinking about to get to the point I can be freely undistracted (or triggered) by what happened, at my own pace, then that is totally okay. Fuck the haters.
(We are all changed, even a tiny bit, by the people important in our lives. To attempt to eradicate them emotionally and mentally is fucking impossible, unless you are a psychopath but that is not here nor there.)
These are some of the things I need to remember when the time comes to meet and accept someone or I will not have learned a fucking thing.

Friends always think they are trying to be helpful but to me, to you, in the end we want to punch them in the throat.


The letting go process started in December, when someone in his circle said unto thee,

TheBassist loves me and he always will, but I was a 24/7 flight risk. TheBassist broke down Borderline Personality Disorder and how I was sabotaging my life. He would never say never, but now? No.
It was in that moment when a switch flipped in my brain and everything changed. Something about the explanation of BPD TheBassist gave to the friend was that click. TheBassist knew, he’s always known.

When you end things with someone, doesn’t matter who does it, one of you wants to desperately talk to the other. About what? Doesn’t fucking matter; there is just this urgent need to talk. This is part of the attachment, if we don’t let go then it doesn’t end and if it doesn’t end, then there is hope. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a zillion types of pain because you still have something to hold on to.
So when the friend tells me the above, whatever burning need I had to talk to TheBassist dissipated. Poof. Just like that. This was the first hurdle that I sorely, desperately, needed to start letting him go.
The second hurdle came later which is the day I realised I was okay with the idea of dating again. I wasn’t holding myself to this impossible position of waiting until he came back, if he came back. If he did, great. If he didn’t, also great.  If not him, there would be others. I would seriously deep like again (I’m still doubtful of the whole “falling in love” business) and there would be  future lovers; a girl has needs. I had also accepted, without too much heartache, he is or will be dating again. In the end I just wanted him to be happy and if it wasn’t me, then I had to accept he would be happier with someone else.
All I have ever wanted was for him to be happy.
The third hurdle came when a few weeks ago my therapist noted TheBassist was no longer on my top five list of things to talk about. I was barely mentioning him other than an aside. “I found a present he gave me and I put it in his box”; that kind of thing. Most of my conversations these days were of the “Okay, this is what I want to fix” variety rather than some diatribe about TheBassist or related.
The fourth hurdle came a week or so ago when I came to the realization that other than the occasional mention in passing, he wasn’t dominating my thoughts or actions anymore. I was doing things for me and only for me.
The fifth hurdle, which has been ongoing, has been me not trying to put my hand back in the fire. I do not stalk his FB (or related) pages (truly); I do not read his Twitter; I do not read past emails or messages from him.  I’ve mentioned him on my public FB timeline once, a couple of week ago, as an example for a point I was making. I have told mutual friends I do not want to know if he’s dating. I am still friendly with all of his friends that FB BFF’d me in the beginning of it all, but he is never the topic or alluded to in conversation. Last week was the first time since October I asked a mutual friend how TheBassist was doing. Oh, I knew he was fine and kicking ass all over the place, but I wanted the confirmation, which I got. I asked if TheBassist asked about me and the answer, which I already knew, was “no.”
I wasn’t surprised and I wasn’t upset. I just accepted it at face value.
I do not put myself in positions where I feel I may get hurt or triggered. I have let it go.
There will be more hurdles, I’m sure, coming down my way but the hard parts are over. The next series will be smaller and easier. I have learned much and this will be the guide I need to continue moving on.


A couple of years ago, I wrote about a belief where I believe (truly) when treetops sway, the gods are talking to me. I always feel better, especially when I’ve been at Throbbing Cabin, sitting peacefully outside listening to the world around me and especially to the gods.
As time moved on, when TheBassist and I started getting more involved, I could always feel him around me when we were apart and when the treetops swayed. I would marvel, sitting on the front porch of Throbbing Manor, watching the sky streak from daylight to sunset, cigarette in my mouth, how close he felt to me, I could feel his arms around me. No matter where I was, if the treetops were swaying and we were apart, I could feel his physicality against me, his chest to my back, chin on my head, I would wrap my arms around myself and smile, knowing wherever he was, he was thinking of me and that he loved me.
When I told TheBassist this a few months into our relationship, and told him dates and times, he responded he was missing / thinking / loving me at those times. I don’t know if he humoured me because he liked this world I had created or if he truly believed it, but nevertheless, I always felt better to believe that it to be true.
But the crazier I got, the more I was out of control, the treetops stopped swaying and I could no longer feel him. Maybe I should I have listened to the gods all those months ago.
I was outside a week or so ago, walking Thursday as you do, when the wind picked up an the treetops swayed. I hadn’t thought about that otherworldly feeling of him around me in months at least since the break-up. But here we are, me standing in the middle of the grassy knoll, Thursday chasing the wind, and the treetops are swaying like mad. And here he was, around me, nothing said and everything understood. It may seem silly, or too woo-woo, or even you may believe JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, LISA you just broken down the method of letting go and you end with woo-woo and gods and treetops swaying. What in thee fuck?
I think that’s the biggest things these gurus and experts and the woo-woo purveyors also forget to tell us is: We carry our experiences with us, no matter what or who they are and no matter what has happened. We’re shaped and influenced by them, they are a part of us. To dismiss it is to dismiss respect of me or you and who I am or who you are. We’re not going to have the same experiences, or the same interpretation of the experiences, or the same outcomes — but that doesn’t make them any less valid! (That is what also pisses me off — a lot of these explanations are treated as one size fits all. NOT EVERYTHING WORKS FOR EVERYBODY.)
I do not read meaning into the treetop swaying woo-woo or the feeling of him around me, but it does give me comfort that no matter how wide the gulf of us may be, there will always another time and place where for a brief second, our worlds were together and they were perfect.
The regret I carry, and is of mine alone, is the wish I had been less crazy when we got together. Different decisions would be made and of course the outcomes would have not been the same. Even if we still broke it off under different reasons I would do it all over again.
But as we know, me most of all, this is not what happened and I cannot change the past no matter what kind of deals I make with the devil. This is where we are and tomorrow is going to be different but in these times in between, I am letting him go.
(And now I do some fucking yoga.)
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011

 

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