Right now, at 5:30 AM as I begin to type this post, I feel tremendously incompetent. First of all, I am sleep deprived. And I'm hungry, and there is no real food in the house. Both of these contribute to an increase in emotional response.
I feel like I've dug myself into a hole and I can't get out. And it's ridiculous. It is completely ridiculous. Anyone on the real life side can tell you easily what steps I should take on some of these big items. *I* can tell you what steps I need to take, but I can't seem to take them.
It's been three years, and I am still stuck in this hole.
The reality is, even once I do start taking those positive steps, I'll still be in this hole for awhile. There is no easy fix.
To be clear there are some very concrete issues that are keeping me in this place. And by place, I mean the hole, not simply here or even specifically here in this small town.
As I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking about my ideal solution to get my life in order, and to move forward. What is it that I would need to pull myself together and get past this survival mode into a mode where I thrive.
And the answer that is abundantly clear and yet absurdly impossible and unrealistic to find is a very, very patient partner / coach. Someone who will subtly train me while I'm not paying attention into developing better habits and better skills for managing my day-to-day life. Much like I'm teaching the girls soccer even while we play other games. Someone who will start out the day - preferably by jumping on the bed and wagging their tail, but that's a different memory - ready and excited with a plan for the day. Someone who will start my day by saying, "Here's what we're doing today!"
The key word is "we". You can give me a plan. You can tell me this is what I need to do for the day. And I might even get several of the items done. And believe me, having a regular plan is a big start. Huge start. Big improvement over what I'm able to manage for myself. But what I really need is someone by my side holding my hand until I learn how to do it myself.
The person would have to have a lot of patience. The person would probably have to love me very much to tolerate me and my stubbornness. The person would have to recognize that even if I teasingly resist, I will relent. If that person is there to do it with me - whatever it is - I'll do it.
But I can't seem to manage on my own. I can't seem to do this alone.
My life, outwardly, is a mess. For example, the yard is unruly and jungle-like. After the poison ivy, any desire I had to clean it up and risk repeated rash was long gone. I do try and spend a few minutes every so often - but today, for instance, I started to itch and stopped and scrubbed myself with poison ivy oil remover.
I have GREAT reasons / excuses for a lot of what I do and don't do. But for some things, I have no explanation at all other than I just can't. I don't know why I can't. There's no rational reasonable explanation - and believe me I've searched high and low for it. ADD is part of it - and perhaps it's a big part of it. I kinda want it to be the reason because then at least I'd have a reason. And given that so many other limitations I've found over my life can sometimes be traced back to ADD (an inability whatsoever, for example, to read a non-fiction book unless it's telling a story). Then, in theory, if I managed to fix the ADD - or manage its symptoms - then maybe I'd finally be able to fix everything else.
But maybe I am too scared to thrive....
In my adolescent years, my family experienced what is now fairly typical drama and turmoil, but at the time, with all those adolescent hormones enhancing emotions, it was a hard time. I learned early on - even before the family drama - how to "survive". I am GREAT at surviving. That was my motto during my junior high and high school years - one I repeated often to my adult mentor - "I will survive" - and I have. And I do.
It wasn't until I had been with my ex-wife for a year or so that I begun to do more than just survive. That I began to do more than just provide for the basic necessities for myself. I was in a safe and secure relationship - this woman and I pledged to spend our lives together. She seemed to love me unconditionally - and I do, even still, believe that. With her, I was finally able to dream, to think about what it was that I wanted out of life, and that gave me the courage and the strength to take some risks and try something new that was ultimately in many ways quite rewarding, despite the concerns others expressed over the potential folly of my choices.
When I was with her, I finally felt free to thrive, safe to thrive. And it was glorious. I only have one wish in this world, frankly, and that is to be in a place in life, again, where I can thrive. Where I can feel safe and secure to hope for more than just the necessities in my life.
I learned long ago that the best way to avoid disappointment and being hurt was to keep your expectations reasonable. In fact, screw reasonable, keep your expectations low and then you may just be pleasantly surprised.
Thriving is about striving for more than what is reasonable and safe and expected. It's about taking chances and recognizing there may be disappointments on the path, but that overall things are good. Overall, the path I am on is leading me some place I want to go, and some place that I will enjoy when I get there - and I will enjoy both the journey and the destination.
Thriving is something like that.
With the ex, I tried something crazy and embarked in a different direction in my life. The road I had been on was a good one - a secure one. There was nothing wrong with the road I was on before that. But I wanted to try this different road. Many people thought I was nuts, including my family. But it was a good road, and I enjoyed the journey while I was on it, and just as I was beginning to hit my stride, she got scared. Scared that this new path might lead me away from her. And over time, slowly but surely, she began to put big boulders on this path. Until at one point, much like a Wile E. Coyote / Roadrunner cartoon, she took the Acme dynamite and just blew up the road altogether.
Now to be clear, I am not abdicating my responsibility for my relationship or my contribution towards its demise. Anyone who knows the full story or who has heard me tell it will tell you that I take full responsibility for my actions, my inactions, my contribution to the situation imploding. But most who watched it unfold also realized that my wife was not well, and that frankly, there was a lot about the situation that was completely out of my control and also completely not about me, even though I suffered heavily from the shrapnel.
But it makes me wonder if maybe despite how much I want to thrive, I am too scared to thrive. I am too scared to want, to hope, to dream of something more in my life. Because the more you have, the more that can be taken away from you.
That if I continue to live in this abject poverty, measured not simply by normal financial standards of "wealth" but with the asceticism physically and emotionally I have in my life, then there isn't much to take away from me. (Asceticism may not be the best word, DEARTH might be a good word).
When I first began to heal from the wounds inflicted by the Acme dynamite, I had a good friend there to hold my hand. Who had a surprisingly significant capacity of patience for me. Who loved me very deeply. Who would come downstairs on Saturday mornings during the ever so brief (it seems, but wasn't at the same time) period I lived with her and would jump on my bed to get me up and going and wag her tail excited to start the weekend and set with the plans for us to do.
She moved away, unfortunately, and left me here behind. The two things were separate, and the latter was not deliberate - I think if she could have stayed, without taking Acme dynamite to HER life, she might have. And I miss her tremendously.
When she was here, fitness was important to her. And at one point, she trained for a long distance endurance event, and I was her training buddy. We worked out nine times a week for twenty weeks to prepare her for an awesome race. And I lost about as many pounds. Working out was a breeze. It didn't feel like working out because it was time spent together enjoying each other's company. It was time to catch up on the day. It was fun setting the plan and preparing the schedule for the week together. And I was in the best shape of my life.
And now I look at pictures of myself - when I take a picture of more than just a head shot - and I recognize that I am now in the worst shape of my life. Again, I briefly allowed myself to thrive a little, to trust and depend upon someone, and they're gone and with it they took a part of my security and stability. (To be clear I have a very strong sense of self, and a very strong core being. This was about something more than that. This was about life gravy - not basic survival. Lest you think I'm too unhealthy... ;) )
ADD often makes a bad situation worse - it makes you feel like your stuck in quicksand. Apparently the best thing to do if you get stuck in quicksand is not to struggle and flail about - it will only make you sink faster. But instead to be calm, still. I'm not sure, exactly, how it is you get yourself out once you are calm and still - I only know what makes it worse, to be frank. The one time I stepped in it, I stepped out of it quite quickly, too...
But with the ADD it feels like even when I make an effort, even when I try to get out of this hole, this pit of quicksand, that my efforts only land me more securely stuck here.
So logic says just stay still. But I don't know, once I stop making it worse (IF I'm stopping making it worse) how to get out of here, anyway. I feel incompetent.
I need someone to help me. To train me. To teach me the skills I need. To apply some structure - not rigid, but still structure - to my life. So that I know on Saturday I do x chores, and on such and such an evening I do such and such errands and on Friday nights I go out for Happy Hour! And I need to be a wee bit more financially secure so that I *can* do more things. Frankly one of the reasons I don't like to go grocery shopping is that I can't afford the cost. And yet, I can't really afford not to eat, either, now can I? Kind of a Catch-22 there.
So, if you know anyone who is willing to stand on stable ground and help pull me out of the quicksand, have them drop me a line. I'm trainable. Quite trainable. But that someone will need patience. And love. And preferably if they're a cute available secure dyke, well, that won't hurt, either.
Because even if I am scared, I still want to thrive. I want to get out of this quicksand. And as I think about it more - as I write about it here - I think that is the answer as to how someone gets out of literal quicksand, someone else, standing on secure ground helps pull them out... Just stick around a little longer and, again, have lots of patience. It won't be easy... but it will be worthwhile. That I can promise.