Friday, May 30, 2014

My Day in Pictures

My friend Wendy's Re-start Graduation.  She was valedictorian of the 2014 class!  

Walking home from Wendy's graduation I ducked into the San Diego Downtown Salvation Army.  Thrift shopping for books, one of my favorite past times.

My friend and I enjoy an evening Americano at Sole Luna Cafe.

The jacaranda that was next to our patio table.

A parting picture of Sole Luna Cafe.

The El Cortez.  Sole Luna Cafe is in front of this historical San Diego building, on Cortez Hill.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Baggage I Carry

Anna Fonte is hosting this week's writing challenge for The Daily Post.  She challenges us to write a list.  This post is a list of the contents in my purse.

The 2 front pockets:

  • Four 4"x4" scratch pieces of paper filled with random thoughts I have scribbled over the last few days.  
  • 3 Q-tips
  • 2 beige hair rubber bands
  • A folded article, torn from a recent issue of Glamor, titled, 'No, I Won't Lean In, Thanks' by Zosia Mamet.  
  • A pair of rubber earbud attachments
  • A dime

Inside the purse:



Monday, May 26, 2014

Bearing the Beams of Love*

As y'all learned in my Not Yet blog post, the statue of limitations, regarding my ex-boyfriend breakup grief, have Not Yet expired.

And yes, I'm fully aware that it's been nine months since I've seen him, AND our 'relationship' should have ended a year before that, but to this day, I still carry a sadness in my heart that screams to me, 'I will NEVER again do another relationship again.'

And, because I am not to be trusted, when it comes to matters of the heart, I've made a conscience decision to stay away from the two social media outlets that I know he participates in - Facebook and LinkedIn.

Back in January, the last time I logged into LinkedIn, I could not stop myself from viewing his profile, but as I shared in my blog post, The Gift of Desperation, I've been part of a Grant Writing internship and, as of last week, I'm now a full-fledged Grant Writing Associate.  Due to my new position, it has been suggested that I update my LinkedIn profile.

While I logged in to LinkedIn, I inhaled deeply and promised myself I would NOT stalk his page.  And because I could not help myself from stalking his page, months ago, his face populated on the right of my screen, where it lists recently viewed profiles.  

 As my eyes went from the peripheral glance to a focused zoom on his new profile picture, my breathing stopped.  He had not updated his profile picture since we first got together, back in October 2010.

First, a thirty-second internal struggle followed and then, probably due to lack of oxygen, I broke the flimsy pledge, made seconds ago, and clicked on his page.

He's now moved from San Diego to the Greater New York Area.  He's employed at a company located in his home state of New Jersey, in a position that allows him to draw on his areas of training and expertise.

A hairball of grief rose from my stomach to the center of my throat.

Minutes before I logged into LinkedIn, I'd been proud about the various ways I'd taught myself to stay safe. In my war to convince him I was worthwhile, I assaulted him with desperate pleas.  The shrapnel of his steady rejection debilitated me.  Out of desperation, I found cover in meditation.  Going within, I realized my only enemy was ME.

I learned that I provoked each and every attack and the only path to peace was through surrendering my desperate need to have him love me.  One day at a time, I stopped contacting him.  After some time, he was no longer was the first thing I thought of when I woke up - where he was, when would I see him, whether he would ever hold me again.  I'd wake up and think about my son.  Foundations I was going to research. Meetings I was going to attend that day.

My meditation practice grew.  I stayed sober and began writing again.  I was asked to participate in a grant writing internship and I'm finally going to be back in my own apartment, in a few weeks.  I've been blessed with consecutive days of knowing I am okay without him.

Then, a new profile picture and all my zen-like knowledge - gone.  I'm sent reeling.  My defenses were leveled.

The distance between San Diego and New York provided me an illusion of safety.

I email him.  Congratulate him on his new job.  Tell him he looks great.  Confess that I still think of him; I still miss him.  I still hope to run into him someday.  Love, liz.

I breathe deeply, press send and remind myself, 'NO EXPECTATIONS.'

The next morning after church -

An email from my ex:
breakfast remains

He politely thanks me for the words of encouragement; congratulates me on having a boss, participating in an internship, and achieving a level of mental stability.

There are a thousand ways  
to interpret
one word.

He reassured me that I wasn't wrong for still thinking about him.  He, too, thinks about me sometimes.  'BUT this DOES NOT mean there is any optimistic hope for our future.'

He hopes my son is OK.  He then encourages me to, 'keep in touch!', and without salutation, he curtly ends with his name.

The tsunami of rejection drowned me.  The scab that had once formed to protect my wound was ripped open, again.  Gasping and bleeding all over, I called my best friend.  She lives over a half hour away and insisted on taking me to dinner that evening.  Midday, a couple of friends, that live in my building, invited me to lunch. They refused to take no for an answer.  These are the ones that love me.  Always have; I think, they always will.  There is nothing to prove to them.  The love I so desperately thought I lacked has always been in my life; in front of my face.

Yesterday, in spite my feelings of rejection, I basked in the beams of love that shine on my life.  Dying of thirst, I consistently kept returning to an empty well.

The art of surrender has opened my eyes to the overflowing cup of love in my life.  Day by day - finally - I'm learning to sip from it.

*Title taken from the William Blake line seen above.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Heartbreak Haiku

An email from my ex:
breakfast remains

There are a thousand ways  
to interpret
one word.

3000 miles away-
he makes sure to remind me 
it's over.

remembering why 
we broke up.

Spring evening: 
our love sinking deeper-
I delete the email.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Photos:

The cabin I stayed at in Idyllwild, CA.

The view from my cabin window.

Pictures from my Idyllwild walks

 Oceanside, CA sunset


Downtown San Diego,CA

Coronado, CA

My Daily Reminder :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Not yet...

A few times a week, in the evening, my friends and I gather, to eat, dinner or dessert, and there's this guy I've noticed for months now.  Each time he walks in my line of sight, I elbow whoever is sitting next to me, and quietly ask, 'isn't he cute?'  The next time I see him, I elbow her again and affirm, yes, he really IS cute.' I'll smile, once in a while, if our eyes happen to meet, and then, I'll get lost, again, in conversation.

Romance, from a distance.

The other day, while laughing with my friends, Mr. Romance, from a Distance, walked over to my table, and made small talk with both my friend and me.  He then turned to me, "So, do you know where to get a good margarita?"

I was taken off guard.

In last few months, male companionship has been the farthest thing from my mind.  Full of regret, the stagger, back to myself, has been taxing. Healing has been a full-time job.                  

In all of my hurrying and hiding, while on the lam, from myself, I, indeed, became lost.  Unwilling to surrender the boyfriend, the addiction, and the old beliefs, I caused a lot of emotional violence, to myself.  The lostness was debilitating and the loneliness was dehumanizing.  

 I was wounded, and in animalistic desperation, I scurried away and sought safe ground.  Finally, discovering a safe den, I remained still, rested, and licked my wounds.  In solitude, I began healing from the trauma, I caused myself.  It took some time, but slowly, I came out of hiding.  My eyes began to adjust to the light of love that remained there, waiting for me.  The actions and voices of others coaxed me, with words, like, "We believe in you." The undying ember of hope, gradually grew, as I lurched out of the darkness.

Fast forward to last week, the dinner table, I'm sober, eating dessert, laughing with friends, three weeks into an apartment search, and half way through a grant writing internship, Mr. Romance, from a distance, enters stage left:

"So, do you know where to get a good margarita?"

"A good margarita?", I ask.  Without waiting for a response, I continue "I don't drink, but I could point you to a killer cup of coffee."

"Oh, okay, coffee sounds great!"

I went on to learn that he just moved to San Diego, from LA. and earlier that day, he had nailed an interview to become a kayak instructor; he was still waiting for a callback.  He suggested, 'I go out on the water with him.'   Oblivious to his overtures, I told him, 'my fingers were crossed for him, to get the call', and with a polite smile, and a, 'see ya later', I closed the conversation.

Walking to the elevator, my girlfriend sidled up to me, bearing a wide grin and a raised eyebrow.
Looking at her, I respond, "What?"
"Don't you see, he's interested in you?"
"What?...No....I'm a mess.  I look like shit."
"Liz, he was trying you ask you out.  Hellooo,...going 'out on the water; a cup of coffee?'  He wants to get to know you!"

For months, I've noticed this guy; seeing him a couple of times a week, always paying attention to his presence in the room.  But it was a fantasy.  A flirtation that only existed in my head.  'He smiles at everybody', I told myself.  Then he initiates a conversation and I dismiss him, as 'just being nice.'  Then, after a while, I became suspicious.  Suspicious of any character that may possibly be attracted to me.

The buzz of old beliefs swarm in my brain:

I'm a mess.
I look like shit.
Who could  be attracted to me?

Later that night, replaying the incident to a girlfriend, exasperated, she snapped, "Just go out with him.  It's not like you're on the rebound now."

"On the rebound now."

I interpret that comment to suggest, in her mind, the statue of limitations, regarding breakup grief, have expired, and I should - finally - be over my ex.  Yes, I'm fully aware that it's been nine months since I've seen him, AND our 'relationship'  should have ended a year before that, but to this day, I still cannot eat Lay's Limon potato chips, without resurrecting his memory and tearing up.

And it's those moments that remind me I have a long way to go.  Although each, and every, estimable act I commit these days continues to contribute to my shattered self-esteem, self-compassion is also in order.

I felt judged, by my friend, and it was at that moment I  internally reassured myself, "it's okay to still 'not be ready', yet.  Just because someone else has an easier time moving on, doesn't mean I am somehow defective.  I have always loved deeply, and I'm taking this time, for myself, to heal, and it's OKAY to wait, until the time is right, FOR ME."

The next night, my friends and I gather, for dinner, at the same spot, to eat meatloaf, and there he is again, Mr, Romance, from a distance.  After a few minutes, he makes eye contact, smiles and approaches me, at my table; in a Scottish accent, he jokes, "Ye can't have any ice-cream (my usual dessert) if ye don't eat yer meat! How can ye have any ice cream if ye don't eat yer meat!"  And would you not believe, I LOVE Pink Floyd.

I giggled and waited until he walked away.  Then I pushed my plate of food, to the center of the table, got up from my seat, and left.

Overwhelmed, by the tremendous amount of pressure of friendly banter, I'm reminded again, I am not ready to date. I mean look, it isn't like this interaction, with Mr. Romance, from a distance, was going to lead to marriage, two kids and a mini-van in the garage, but...just the idea of first date jitters stresses me out.

Instead of a whimsical time of getting to know one another, a date seems like a daunting chore.  The thought, alone, of - FINALLY -shaving my legs, putting on makeup, and having to suck in my stomach all night, had me running from the dinner table.

Opportunities, not of this world, have opened up for me, in the last five months.  The relationships I am focused on building are, with God, myself, my son and my friends.  Meditation, writing, crying, eating, laughing, praying and playing sustain me these days.  I'm focused on building and balancing self-compassion, self-sufficiency, and community, and today, with all my heart, I trust dating will come - eventually.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I have a confession to make.  I have been putting off going to the gym.  Everyday, for WEEKS, I have been promising myself, tomorrow, I will go to the gym.

Tomorrow never comes because, I wake up, and it is, always -today.  

After a cup of coffee, I convince myself, today, I must first buy the perfect outfit, coupled with the perfect yoga mat; then, tomorrow, decked out, in my flashy new digs, I WILL overcome my resistance and get back in the gym. 

Under the florescent lights, at the local box mart, I imagine myself, looking cute and sporty in my new yoga pants, on my new, yellow, eco-friendly, yoga mat.  

Yellow, because this month, after research, I have decided to focus on the solar plexus chakra, since I carry my weight in my mid-section.

Research:  another form of procrastination. 

A kid, pushing his mom's cart, bumps into me, snapping me out of my daydream.  With my new outfit and yoga mat in hand, I head to the register; convinced my investment is a concrete commitment to my fitness.  

 The power of purchase - peters out - before I pull out of the parking lot.

The energy (and money) I pour into each of these distractions tricks me.  I delude myself that, in dedication to my fitness goals, my shopping, research, and self condemnation are committed acts of my will.  

Where is my will to get on the floor and do 20 sit ups? Now that is an investment.  

The other activities are only mental masturbation - without the happy ending.   

Thinking about going to the gym has set me up for failure, every time.

What are the ways in which you procrastinate?

What has helped you to stop thinking, and start doing?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Queen Baby

The babysitting of my mind is a full time job, and I have a lot of growing up to do.  

I now realize my recovery (serenity) depends on a lot more than, just not drinking.   

'His Majesty the Baby’, was the phrase used by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud to describe an attitude that combines inborn egotism with childlike fear and irresponsibility. 

In the quest to always be right, and get their way, Queen Babies display a range of characteristics.  No one has all of these attributes, but again and again, I recognize myself in many of the attitudes listed below: 

  • Often become angry or afraid of authority figures and will attempt to work them against each other in order to get their own way
  • Seek approval and frequently lose their own identities in the process
  • able to make good first impression but unable to follow through
  • have difficulty accepting personal criticism and become threatened and angry when criticized
  • have addictive personalities and are driven to extremes
  • are often immobilized by anger and frustration and are rarely satisfied
  • are usually lonely even when surrounded by people
  • are chronic complainers who blame others for what is wrong in their lives
  • feel unappreciated and think they don't fit
  • see the world as a jungle filled with selfish people who aren't there for them
  • see everything as a catastrophe, a life or death satiation
  • judge life in absolutes: black and white, right and wrong
  • live in the past, fearful of the future
  • have strong feeling of dependence and exaggerated fears of abandonment
  • fear failure and rejections and don't try new things that they might not do well
  • are obsessed with money and material things
  • dream big plans and schemes and have little ability to make them happen
  • cannot tolerate illness in themselves or others
  • prefer to charm superiors and intimidate subordinates
  • believe rules and laws are for others, not for themselves
  • often become addicted to excitement, life in the fast lane
  • hold emotional pain within and lose touch with their feelings

In the last week, I have referred to this list while reflecting on my day to day interactions - um, I mean, annoyances.  After all, I am the common denominator, and maybe, just maybe, the problem starts with me, and my attitudes.  

The good news is, I won't have to wait for the rest of the world to shape up, because if the problem lies within me, the solution lies within me, too. 

Self awareness is the first step.   :)

Recall a recent negative interaction:  

Does your attitude reflect any of the King/Queen Baby traits listed above? 

Where can you take responsibility, and let the person off the hook?

Source:  Cunningham, Tom. King Baby. N.p.: Hazelden, n.d. Print.