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Everybody needs a little forgiveness

7 Apr

My beautiful mother, sisters, and I

This time last week, I was in Corpus Christi visiting two of my sisters and our mother.  She drove down from Charlotte and we all had a wonderful Easter together.  It was the first time in years that we weren’t brought together by tragedy.  I am so incredibly grateful that we have all made it through the wilderness of those dark times and seem to all be doing well for once!  It was probably the happiest time we’ve all had together.

I was pretty nervous before my trip.  The few times I’ve been back to Corpus Christi since my separation were short trips when my aunt was put into hospice and then for her memorial.  The last time I went, this past September, was another short trip to move my sister and cousin back.  That’s when my ex-husband decided to show up and turn my life upside down again.

This was my first real trip back since my divorce.  I wondered how I was going to feel spending an extended amount of time in the place that didn’t feel like home until he came along.  I worried I might run into him or his family.  I thought I might find myself looking for him everywhere we went.  But that didn’t happen.

On my last day there, we were running around doing some shopping.  I was zoned out as we drove down a busy street.  I snapped out of it and realized I was starting at a blue truck.  Then I thought, that kinda looks like his truck.  It wasn’t his, but I realized that I hadn’t been looking for him at all.

Another night, after family pictures, my step-dad wanted to take us all to dinner.  The restaurant he chose was the location of my first date with him.  I mentioned it at dinner and I could tell my family was concerned that I was upset, but I was surprised to realize that it wasn’t upsetting at all.

I’m so glad that I’m finally getting to this point.  I’m letting go.  I”m moving on.

You know what I think it is?  I’m finally forgiving myself.  I forgave him long ago, but I have felt so much anger toward myself.  Especially for letting him back in this last time.  I’ve been working on repentance through my church and I can feel my heart getting lighter and lighter.  It’s amazing what a little forgiveness can do.


Escape Artist

8 Mar
Escape Artist

Photo credit: Street Inc.


I’ve had an idea forming in my mind for some time now.  A sense that this next stage is my life is about me being alone.  I’ve fought the idea tooth and nail because, quite frankly, I don’t like it.

In fact, I pretty much hate it.

I want a family more than anything.  I’m 32 and feel like time is running out.  I just went through a divorce and spent the last part of it very lonely, why would I want more of that?  I don’t want to rush into anything, but I feel like I have to get out there and try to find someone before it’s too late.  I don’t want to end up alone.

Those are the subconscious thoughts running through my head all the time…  Yikes.

That kind of mentality is not going to find me something healthy and stable and ultimately what I really want!  I need to be okay inside of me if I’m going to find a relationship that will be fulfilling.  I want to be worthy of a great partner, be able to recognize someone as such, and be in the right place to provide them with a great partner/relationship in return!

Which is the real reason I need to be alone right now.

When I love people, I put their needs before my own.  It’s just my nature.  I think in many ways, I do it on purpose.  I do it to avoid myself and my issues.  I don’t just do it with my significant other.  I’ve been known to do it with my siblings, family and sometimes friends.  I can’t do that right now.

This season is about me.  And that makes me feel uneasy.  I’m purposely putting myself in a position where I have no escape.  I’m forcing myself to deal with myself.  Gosh, that sounds really crazy to me…  But it really, actually, totally makes sense.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way!

The Right of Way

16 Jun

I had a little epiphany the other day driving to work.  I find myself to be a yielding kind of person- aware of my surroundings, considerate of those around me, but mostly cautious.  Not everyone is like this.  Some people refuse to yield to anyone except maybe in imminent danger.  This is a fascinating concept to me.  I don’t necessarily want to be that type of person, but maybe there is some kind of balance to strike?

Some recent events in my life have left me feeling totally powerless- at the mercy of those in my life.  Why do I let that happen?  I’m sad to have to admit that it’s mostly fear.  And honestly, that makes me kind of angry with myself.  Why am I giving away all of the control?  Why am I not making my dreams come true?  Why am I compromising EVERYTHING.

It has to stop.  I can’t do this anymore.  I’m going to try something new and maybe I will finally see the change that I’ve wanted for so long.  I’ll fake it til I make it.


13 May

A few days ago, I allowed myself to pose a question on Facebook that had been bothering me for days:

“Does it make me a bad person that I’m wary of anyone who claims to have a perfect life? Maybe I’ve just seen too much to believe that’s even possible. I don’t allow myself to believe that anything will ever be “perfect” but life can still be good… and it is!”

It was out of the norm for me to post something like that, and I wasn’t expecting so many people to respond to it.  What started out pretty much a “brain dump” for me actually ended up causing me to ponder and evaluate the whole idea of perfection.

And here’s what I’ve decided:

  • First and foremost, I don’t need to be worried about whether or not someone thinks their life is perfect.  It doesn’t matter!  If I am worried about it, that means I’m being judgmental.  And I don’t want to be judgmental.
  • My propensity to cringe when I hear someone call their life “perfect” actually has nothing to do with them (whether or not I think their life is perfect) and more to do with me and my perfection issues.  I spent most of my life trying to be perfect to please other people.  It’s taken therapy, the Gospel, and good old effort on my part to stop focusing on the need to be perfect.  It is still a struggle daily to fight that urge.  But it’s getting easier.
  • I’m not perfect, but in the same way- I am perfect.  It’s all in the way you look at it.  After reading some scriptures and consulting talks on the LDS website, I think it all boils down to this:  Humans are NOT perfect and we won’t achieve perfection in this life.  However, we should continually strive to be Christ-like (perfect) eventhough we know we will never fully achieve this while we’re alive.  At the same time, we are God’s children and we are perfectly designed.  Whatever we are and whatever we do is a part of the plan for us and thus it is perfect.  Does that make sense?

So, I guess it all boils down to this:  I am grateful for what I am and what I have in my life at this time.  I am grateful for even the few bumps that I experience (eventhough they are few and far between these days) because they have a purpose.  I can look in the mirror and say:  You are beautiful.  You are a child of God.  You are exactly as you should be today.  And eventhough those voices want to chime in and say, “But what about…” I’m finding it easier and easier to quiet them.

This is how I know that I’m ready.  Because it’s not about looking in the mirror and crying anymore.  It’s not about trying to fit in some mold of what I should look like.  It’s about being a temple.  It’s about my Heavenly Father and my family.

The process won’t be perfect.  I know that and I haven’t even started yet.  I don’t have any unrealistic expectations.  But I’m not going to give up.  I will do what it takes!

Chillin’ Like A…

5 May
I’ve been meaning to get on here for a week now and update you on my “mission”.  I have to say that it was a complete success!  YAY!  I didn’t get to do everything that I would have liked to, but by the end of the 5 days, I had a clean and straightened home.  I had also finished some projects that had been on the backburner for a long time.
And thanks to some honest commentary from friends (Thank you so much by the way!), I also emerged with a new attitude and perspective.  I’m ready to admit that I have been way too hard on myself which is the main reason things get so bad to begin with!  I let things get backed up a little bit, then start beating myself up about it, which in turn keeps me from doing what I need to do, which only leads to the problem getting worse…  UGH, get me off this crazy rollercoaster!
So, I decided to take a chill pill.  Yes, I still don’t think I have any excuse to not stay on top of things (no kids), but beating myself up about it is counter productive.  I am doing what I can when I can and I’m not freaking out about what is going left unfinished.  I’ve managed to stay sane all week!  Aren’t you proud of me?!
There’s so much more I want to tell you about!  Some big stuff is coming so stay tuned!
But in the mean time, tell me- What’s your hangup?  Is there something you’re proned to beat yourself up about?  Let me know I’m not a weirdo out here being hard on myself!

A Lesson in Gratitude

12 Apr

I think it’s safe to say that I am pretty much completely pathologically unable to be satisfied with my life- with myself.  I can sit here and try to explain why, but it really doesn’t matter.  The point is that it’s time to change.

High expectations are good.  Unrealistic expectations are not.  Having an eye on the future and improving are good unless it keeps you from seeing the here and now.  You cannot expect to receive blessings if you can’t appreciate the ones you already have.

The issue is mine and mine alone.

And, it’s time.

What Comes Next?

10 Dec

I wish my life were like this-

But it’s a lot more like this-

I’ve got to stop repeating this pattern. I’ve got to be able to hit stumbling blocks without it becoming a catastrophe. I’ve got to be able to move forward, but truly to do that I’ve got to forgive myself for being human and imperfect. I’ve got to stop telling myself what I’ve got to do.
Let it go, Brandi. Accept yourself. Love yourself. It’s ok.

Better Late than Never!

18 Nov

So, I know… You’ve been dying for an update! 🙂 And I must apologize immensely for my lack of desire to do so. I’ve been stuck in my own little world lately- thanks to a crazy couple of weeks- and I’ve quite enjoyed it, thank you! But it’s time to come back out and live in the real world with my real friends who have been quite patient with me. What a lucky gal I am!
By the way, aren’t we cute? That’s my “mother-in-law” and I at her grandfather’s 80th birthday party. Yes, we are about the same age. Long story.
Anyway. I will be posting a blog about my trip up North and some other stuff very soon, but first I need to return to these blog roots and tell you all about how my personal journey is coming.
First of all, therapy is amazing. I am working with someone that I’ve really connected with. We are really getting down to the nitty gritty and eventhough it gets really tough at times, I can feel the progress. So, I want to share two things I’ve learned in the past few months:
1. I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. My therapist gave me that book at our very first session and I’ve had to digest it slowly because I am having my mind blown with each and every page. I would recommend it to anyone who delt with substance abusing parents growing up (no matter how functional or not).
2. I have a Dissociate Disorder. There are 4 of them, but I clearly fall into one category. Now, I don’t know if I have been formally diagnosed, but it has been mentioned more than once by my therapist. So, I decided to check it out, and this is what I read on the wikipedia-

“Depersonalization disorder (DSM-IV Codes 300.6[2]) – periods of detachment
from self or surrounding which may be experienced as “unreal” (lacking in
control of or “outside of” self) while retaining awareness that this is only a
feeling and not a reality.”

This so perfectly describes how I feel most of the time that I don’t need to be formally diagnosed to know that’s exactly what is going on with me. In laments terms, I basically live in la la land. It’s a defense mechanism that started a LONG time ago to protect me from all of the stress.

So, what does that all mean? I have some work to do. I am going to start attending Al-Anon meetings. I am going to continue therapy. I am going to stop being so hard on myself (a typical trait for ACOAs). I am going to work on being present, aware, purposeful, conscious, etc. That includes starting to recognize when I am in the present and when I’m not- which is really hard for me right now, but I discovered one thing:

When I’m driving and it’s sunny and quiet, I sort of “wake up” and realize all of a sudden that everything is real. I’ve even said to Havie before, “Wow. You’re really real?” And then I have to touch him just to make sure. I know he’s real, but most of the time it doesn’t feel like he’s real. Can you wrap your head around this? LOL…

I know… I’m crazy. But knowing is the first step.

Whatever Cayce Wants, Cayce Gets!

16 Oct

I was totally imagining that song “Whatever Lola Wants” as I typed the title… lol. But seriously, thanks for calling me out Cayce- an update is WAY overdue! So, here we go!

First and foremost- things are looking up. I just want to get that out there right off the bat because eventhough my life isn’t where I want it to be, I have to remember that it’s so much better and I am truly blessed.

Before I delve into a relationship update, I want to give you a personal update. I started counseling about a month ago, and I am working super hard and it shows. I’ve had therapy in the past successfully, so it’s really allowing me to get in there deep. I am finally dealing with some deeper issues and it gives me hope that I won’t be stuck here forever.

What comes with doing that hard work is that it stirs up alot of emotion within me that I’ve had swept into the corners. The way I deal with uncomfortable emotions is by eating- so needless to say, I’ve been “off the wagon” for about two weeks now. I am getting back on, but I’m also allowing myself to go through this right now because I’m tired of beating myself up. I’m not gaining and I’m not binge eating.

I really have to stop right here and explain something before I move on. I worry that it may come across that I’m being self-centered right now and that I’m only concerned with myself. And maybe for now that is the case, but I’ve come to realize that I HAVE to put myself first. I have to be ok in order for me to care for anyone else. My grandmother used to always tell me, “Take care of yourself because no one else will.” I’d like to change that last word to can. We are all trying to find someone to take care of us, but the truth is that they will always fail because we are the only ones who can care for ourselves. (stepping off the soapbox now)

So, as for the husband and I… We are making it. I am flying in less than two weeks to visit him for about 5 days for our 3rd Anniversary. I am excited, nervous, scared, and about a million other things. I haven’t seen him in about 3 months and I feel like there is a lot riding on this visit. That is too much pressure, so I’m just trying to focus on each day as it comes and be purposeful about the goals I want to achieve. Plus, it is going to be COLD up there… Like 0 degrees… lol

Then he will turn around and be here for about 5 days for Thanksgiving. It’s hard to tell right now, but it’s looking like we will be apart for Christmas. I am not happy about it, but I am just praying that something else comes along. The jobs are few and far between these days folks. For me, no amount of money is worth all of this loneliness and pain, but he doesn’t feel the same way.

I don’t know where this road is leading, and only time will tell. But I am devoted to myself and to my marriage. I will do whatever it takes. This is a defining moment for me. I can feel it with every fiber of my being. Life will never be the same from this point forward, and that’s a good thing.

P.S. I know this is random, but as much as I love the Fall, I have to wonder how I ended up living somewhere that only has two seasons: hot and hotter… What’s with the 112 heat indexes this week? Sheesh!

The Journey

16 Sep
By: Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting their bad advice-
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles.
“Mend my life!” each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with it’s stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough,
and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do-
determined to save the only life that you could save.