Riddle me this…

Why is it when you get really sad, things that usually bring you comfort just make you sadder? Ex: I can’t listen to music or watch videos that normally lift my spirits when I’m like this. It’s too painful. WTF?!? They lift my spirits so why in the ever living fudge does it hurt to see/hear them?

If you know the answer, I’d really like to know.

We are Pando, not friend furniture

I just had one of those “ah ha” moments and I felt I needed to write it down. So here comes my sloppy thoughts spilled out all over this blog.

I have too often worried that in order to be a good friend I must be available, kind, generous and unimposing. I have thought that what the world wants from me is to be there but in the way a chair is there, useful without being in the way. There have been times when I tried to be more than just a useful chair, times when I tried to be something, to mean something to my friends. And those efforts have not always been met with kindness. More than once I’ve been put back in my place.

I’ve been rewatching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix and I just finished season 5, episode 14 – Life Is A Cabaret and revelation struck as I watched Emily Hampshire who plays Stevie Budd sing Maybe This Time. You see, Stevie Budd’s character goes through a bit of a transformation over the course of the series. She’s presented as a bit of a loner in the first season. And as the series progresses and she spends time with the Roses, we see her putting herself out there more and more, in relationships, in her job and even taking the role of Sally Bowles in the small town production of Cabaret. She overcomes her fears and gives a strong performance that leaves one misty eyed.

Watching Stevie playing Sally sing a hopeful song about the possibility of finding love hit me hard. Stevie’s life had changed so much since the start of the show. I doubt she had ever given any thought to being in a musical, let alone starring in one. And, yet, here she was, doing something she never thought she’d do. I felt the parallels to my own life at the moment.

The show obviously focuses on the way the Rose family changes and evolves over the course of the six seasons it aired. We see all four Roses overcome obstacles and character defects as they come to grips with their new reality. We’re meant to watch as the people of the tiny town of Schitt’s Creek influence the once affluent Roses and help them on their evolutionary climb. But what I noticed this time around was the way the Roses impacted those around them as well, especially Stevie.

Watching Stevie sing I thought, “We all come into each other’s lives for a reason.” I worry so much sometimes that I will lose another friend by just being myself. I worry a lot about being too much for other people. But the truth is, we all come into each other’s lives for a reason. Stevie might never have played the role of Sally Bowles if Moira Rose hadn’t “encouraged” her to do so. Moira wasn’t worried about being too much for Stevie. Being too much is Moira’s whole personality. And, yet, it works.

If I’m in your life and you are in mine, we are going to have influence over each other. That is how life works. None of us are meant to be friend furniture and anyone who expects us to be friend furniture for them isn’t really a friend. We come into each other’s life for a reason. What that reason is, who can say. I can think of a few people who came into my life to show me how NOT to treat people. I carry those lessons with me and I use what I’ve learned in order to be a kinder, wiser, more patient person.

Yes, I can be a lot for some people. And, yes, some people would prefer it if I were just friend furniture for them, a useful chair they can sit on but that isn’t in their way. But others? They like me just the way I am. I can tell by the way they smile at certain things I say or how I know one particular friend will probably be the first one to read this. For them, they embrace the influence I have over them. And I, in turn, embrace the influence they have over me.

We are meant to inspire each other. We’re meant to show each other what a kinder, more caring and compassionate world can look like. We’re meant to hold each other in the bad times AND the good times. No person is an island. We’re all aspens, like Pando, believed to be the largest living organism on the planet. Pando is not a grove of individual aspen trees. It is a single organism with an interconnected root system that sprouts new aspen clones. Looking at Pando, you’d think it was a forest of individual trees but it is, in fact, just one single organism. That is us. We think we are individuals when were are, in fact, all interconnected, dependent on each other.

Pando, the Trembling Giant – Richfield, Utah - Atlas Obscura

I may be a lot but to some I am perfect the way I am. And to those who want friend furniture, they will have to look elsewhere. I will be channeling my inner Moira from now on, inspiring my inner Stevie every step of the way. I came into your life for a reason and you came into mine for a reason as well. We don’t have to figure out what the reason is. We just have to lean into the idea that we can all learn from each other. And we must remember we are more interconnected than we know. No one is friend furniture. We are all Pando.

Love you.

Anyway, I love you all.

It’s hard to explain where my brain is at these days. Every day is such a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. But I’m hoping I can explain a little of the outward chaos everyone is witnessing on the daily. (There is also inner chaos. Don’t get it twisted.)

Some of you know that my husband of 21 years and I separated at the beginning of August. I will not go into the details. I will only say that the separation is the reason for my chaos.

Every day since we separated has become a struggle between the dark and the light. Some days the dark takes me over and I cannot get out of bed, I become convinced that I am the worst person alive. All the mean things I’ve worked so hard for years to stop saying to myself coming flooding back and I have little strength to silence them. Those days, I sleep a lot, I cry a lot, I don’t eat.

Other days, I walk in the light. I’m able to see the good in me, the beauty, the kindness, the humor. Those days I post a lot on Facebook because I have joy and I need to spread it, I get a lot done, I get outside and ride my bike or take a walk.

But most days are a mix of both. Today, for instance, I took a wonderful, short hike in the woods at Bray Conservation. Driving home, a memory hit me from the day of my wedding. It was such a good memory and I realized I still have love in my heart for my soon to be ex. This made me incredibly sad because I know we will not be able to resolve our differences. I then spiraled into a thought pattern about no one ever wanting me again. I was in so much pain just after having such a wonderful, inspiring hike. So I went and bought a punching bag. And putting that punching bag together brought me back to a sort of ok place.

I probably seem really unstable right now to most people observing my life. And maybe that’s because I don’t know how to feel or what to think from one moment to the next. My entire world crumbled when he left and I’ve been trying to put the pieces back together ever since.

I’m trying hard to find balance now between the light and the dark, trying to be the steady person I’ve slowly become over the years. And every day I cringe at something else I’ve done or said or thought. I’m not entirely who I want to be right now. I can see her, she’s right there. I just can’t quite reach her yet.

I feel like a strange imposter is living in my skin saying and doing things I wouldn’t say or do. She moved in and I’m not sure how to get rid of her. But I know learning to love myself again is key to her ousting and to the return of the girl I feel I truly am.

A huge part of me wants to isolate from society so I can just work on myself privately and stop behaving like a yo-yo. But another big part needs the love and support of my friends right now and spending time with them, laughing and talking about anything other than my life is so important to my mental health.

And so I swim in the chaos of light and dark, of isolation and socializing. I rabbit back and forth between being overly loquacious and being utterly silent. I constantly assume I’m annoying everyone and I probably am.

I don’t know how long I will be like this. Know that I find myself every bit as chaotic and annoying as the rest of you do. But know, too, that I am working on myself daily. I am working to see my worth and beauty. I am working to see my good and humor. I am working to be ok with potentially being alone for the rest of my life. Being alone is very hard for me but one of my goals is to learn to be ok with it.

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully understand a little better why I am so chaotic right now. I am a little terrified that my emotional roller coaster will scare my friends away. It hasn’t happened so far so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t.

Thank you to everyone who has loved me through this difficult time in my life. Thank you for the hugs and shoulders to cry on and the gifts and laughter. Thank you for all the YouTube and TikTok videos. Thank you for the music and the books. Thank you for your smiles.

Lastly, if you read this and you are hoping to contact me to talk about this, I would like to politely ask you not to. I’m sorry. I just can’t talk about it anymore. I appreciate the thought though. And I thank you for wanting to reach out. I know it comes from a place of love and kindness.

I don’t know how long I’ll leave this up. I might delete it right away. Sometimes I just need an outlet and I’ve used this blog as such for a long time.

Anyway, I love you all.

Joy

A friend recently recommended the song Joy Invincible to me by Switchfoot. So when I pulled up to the Audubon Society Trail near my house, I slammed my airpods into my ears and let it play on repeat as I took off on the 1 mile forested trail. I have always had a special love for nature. When I was a kid, my family moved into an apartment complex for about a year that had a forested area, presumably for walking trails but since the movie Hook had just come out, I assumed it was actually for me to live out my Neverland fantasies. It was there that I discovered my love for all things forest. And, though, there are times when I haven’t been able to spend as much time with her as I’d like, I always end up back in the arms of my Mother Nature.

As I walked the trail today, I tried to let the words of the song wash over me and at the same time, I tried to let my Mother do her work in my heart. The two intertwined around my broken little, crumbling, blood pumping organ like vines forming a latticed cage. “It’s ok,” they said to me, “We’re here, my darling.” I pulled out my phone and opened the notes app to write down a few thoughts as I walked. I snapped some pictures. I sobbed loudly and I breathed deeply. Music and nature can’t fix everything but they can certainly help hold me together for a while.

So here are my notes from my walk and a few pics, also the song. The words “Hold to what’s real, everything heals” hit me deep every time.

My notes while walking:

Nature is brutal and cruel and merciless and beautiful and spectacular and kind. She takes but she also gives and gives so generously. And she doesn’t lie. Oh, she’s a selfish bitch but she’ll never lie to you. She doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not. And when I’m questioning everything, she doesn’t have answers, she has arms. And sometimes her embrace is all I need. Here, it doesn’t need to make sense. I don’t need to be right. They don’t need to be wrong. I come to her weeping and she simply gives joy.