Sunday, May 31, 2015

The final day in the month that contains Mother's Day...

I truly have no issue with May, although from my last few posts and the title of this one it seems that I do.  This was just a hard May for me, and full of events that put me in a place of introspection.  Although I often state that some wounds do not need to be reopened in order for a body (and figuratively… mind) to heal, opened they were. 

The weekend of Mother’s Day I attended a retirement party for a woman I have known professionally for nearly 16 years, and the last year as a member of her Board of Directors.  I was part of the CEO search, and another person I know from the organization was selected, someone I have also known for the same amount of time.  It was an unusual event to say the least, irreverent and quirky, and honestly I would expect little else. 

Since it was the evening prior to MD, many folks brought their mothers.  The incoming CEO was one.  I had the pleasure of sitting with her, and another senior member of management that brought her mother as well.  The woman who was the incoming CEO emceed a good portion of the event, and the outgoing CEO recognized her for her work, her loyalty, and her new position.  The new CEO spoke about her early days, the mentoring she received from many in the room, and spoke to the large role her mother played in inspiring her, putting her on the path to where she was, and her mother’s selfless service to others as a public health professional.  I watched her mother’s eyes well up with pride, and the happy tears.  I watched the other mothers in the room, and saw their appreciation of, and pride in, their daughter’s achievements.  I was so happy for them all.  And I also wondered what it must feel like to have that kind of unconditional love…  Especially as an adult.  I enjoyed chatting with the folks and the mothers, and I drove away in the warm evening air. 

I dropped the windows and opened the sun roof to let in the warm air… I drove my little sports sedan, I thought of achievements I had worked so hard for.  I thought of school achievements such as recognition for grades, science achievements, scholarships, and the like.  And how most of those I attended alone.  I never experienced the selfless pride, the love I saw that night.  I thought about working my way up from direct service to professional staff, to management, to executive management, and to the position I am in now as a CEO.  I thought of earning my Master’s Degree, and the other recognition that folks had kindly bestowed upon me in the past several years. Very seldom had I had someone there with me.  My earning of my Master’s was unacknowledged by anyone.  Even running a half marathon, which I had to overcome huge and overwhelming obstacles, was not something she found worthy of saying ‘well done’ or expressing any sort of pride.

Now, in previous years, and posts… This was fodder to be as sad as I allow myself to get.  Not tonight.  It was not happy, but I just recognized it for what it was.  It is my reality.  As I often quip, I am like the Green Day song… Boulevard of Broken Dreams where the refrain is “I walk alone…”

There are worse things in the is life.  I have experienced MANY.  And I survived and overcame.  This is one of those curious things that arises from those circumstances, and I take this as the learning experience that it is.

We have had a couple of lovely and exciting things happen at my job.  My agency was recognized and nominated for an award, and we managed to secure a large grant for a huge unmet need, and we did not expect to succeed.  When I mentioned it to my hoarding mother, her response was “Why?  Why did they pick you?”  She immediately launched into her tired collection of petty annoyances and overblown misunderstandings, and has not mentioned either the award nomination nor the grant award since.  Her depth of narcissism is so sad.  And the saddest thing is her decision to do NOTHING to address her issues will have lifelong reverberations for everyone around her.  Unlike her, I choose to use these experiences as a springboard to learn, to evolve, and to move forward.   As I have said many times, to her life is a small, frightening and limited place.  She operates from a place of ‘opportunity lost’.  I refuse to do that. 

So the point of this blog?  I am continuing to make the life I want, and I continue to choose to be happy.  Just in the next few weeks I am doing several things that I have wanted to do for a while, and for circumstances beyond my control, was unable to do.  Well, they are happening in the next few weeks.  In two weeks from today I am skydiving.  It is scheduled and paid for.  Three weeks from today I am taking a Segway Tour of a nearby historic community with friends.  In a week I am going horseback riding.  I am in the process of scheduling a zip-line excursion, and am hosting or co-hosting two parties. 

Life is meant to be lived at full volume, and live it I shall.  I am also training for a full marathon in the fall.  I have taken some steps back, but sometimes it is like the analogy often promulgated on Facebook, before an arrow can fly, it must first be drawn back.

I am ready to fly.  And folks can either support me, or clear the way, because either way, I will not accept defeat.  If there is a positive to what I have experienced, it is that. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Okay folks, it is time for From the Mouth of a Hoarder!

Today's FTMOAH is a doozy... 

In the US many high schools and universities put out cards that have a local contact that is part of the Alumni contact, but is basically a multi-class directory that is then sold to folks.  I had thought those had gone by the wayside like many publications of that sort, displaced by social networking media and the internet.

Nope.  I received three, one for my high school, one for the university I attended for undergraduate and one for my graduate school.  The cards immediately went into shred folder, not because I am secretive, but because folks who know me are already connected via social networking sites, and I am wise to how this particular scenario plays out.  Nothing bad, and for some, quite enjoyable.  

My hoarding mother got one.  And she went simply ballistic... Calling the 1-800 number and demanding to 'be removed from the list NOW!' and telling the hapless call center person her dramatic and sad story...  A story that I have heard nearly 5 million times that includes:

  • She was not allowed to go to parties or to socialize so why would she now?
  • All she did was go to class and then go to work.  
  • She did not have any friends in school, so she does not know or care about 'those people'.
  • A long, drawn out story about someone who came into her cake and candy supply shop in the basement of her home in the early 80s who told her they told the reunion committee for her class her address and she went absolutely batsh^t crazy on that person, screaming 'Why?  WHY? I do not want anything from them!' and similar sentiments.
  • How she has never attended a reunion and does not intend to start now.
She planned to go into the local Alumni contact's office, who happens to be our former insurance agent, and she loathes him.  She planned to go in and demanding that her information not be included, and telling him what she thinks...

You get the idea.  Another person I should send flowers to when she is gone.  It is just so sad.  Granted, I took the 'geographical solution' and 'poofed' on many folks from high school, and I own that behavior, and I know I have hurt many folks I did not mean to, I just needed to be able to live and do so from outside the shadow of the hoard, or her toxicity.

I feel I had little choice... but the friendships, both consistently maintained and rediscovered are precious.  It saddens me that my mother makes the choices she does.  And as we all know, choices wreak consequences, both positive and negative, as well as natural and contrived.

Have a good one, and thank you for reading.  And please keep our former insurance agent in your positive thoughts.  He may need them!  

Hoarding... No one wins.  NO ONE.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flying monkeys, wonderful strangers, and a whole helping of guilt for Lisabeth....

I received this last night about 9pm. Yesterday was a supremely craptastic day at work, and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and I got this via social media.  I was so angry that I was trembling like I was freezing to death in subzero temperatures.  I was very triggered, and felt waves of anger, frustration, guilt, shame, you-name-it.  I cried and scared my cats.

The person sending this graduated from high school with me in my hometown 7 hours away. She is my mother's chiropractor, and her longest running 'wonderful stranger' and now, applicant to be a 'flying monkey' in Narcissistic Mother speak...

I was nearby to my NM in early April, and my mother could not be anything but a problem to any solution and, long-story-short... Declined to see me.

She has not seen me since April of 2013, three months before I nearly died and required 2 major surgeries in 10 months, (the first I was not expected to survive). In the 16 years I have lived in the state that is now my home she has never visited, and besides her toxicity, gaslighting, emotional abuse with  all the pleasant features of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, she is a level 4/5 hoarder, ergo this blog. It is not physically nor emotionally safe to be near her. As those who have read this blog over the past couple of years know, I have been extremely low contact for years.

Today is my birthday, and so far no acknowledgement of it from NM. (Not that I want a princess cake and a bouncy castle, but a timely card and a Happy Birthday call would be, well, motherly.)
Did I mention I loathe all the Mother's Day pathos?

Thanks for reading my vent. I treated myself to a new runner watch/GPS/fitness tracker that I have been looking at for a few months.  I had a lovely morning run in the May sunshine.  I am having a great work day, and plan on a lovely evening. I am over this...  

I did respond to 'Dr. Wednesday'.  My response was as follows:  

I appreciate your honesty and your kind care of her. She thinks the world of you. I tried to see her last month, and she declined. Our relationship is very complicated, and as much as I love her, she will not allow me to be a part of her life in the way that I would like to be or to do anything helpful for her. It breaks my heart, but she is the only one that can change it, and she just can't. If you would like to talk to me my number is ....

I know that Dr. Wednesday is close to her family and may not have a frame of reference.  I also do not believe the timing of this (the evening before my birthday and midweek prior to Mother's Day in the US) is coincidental.  My hoarding mother had a chiro visit with her yesterday.  

Such a little thing, and the maelstrom it awakened in me made me realize that although I have progressed by leaps and bounds, I have to accept that I have been impacted by the abuse I survived, and the craziness I still navigate now as a middle aged adult.  
It (the hoarding, the abuse, the gaslighting) is not who I am, but it has shaped me.  I have to continue to honor and resolve that, like any other human being.

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week.