The Ghosts of Friendships Past

As I have said before, when in recovery or just trying to better oneself, there are certain people, places and things that need to be left behind in order to be successful. I have had to make that call more than a few times and was able to do so (or so I thought). Like a zombie that just won’t stay dead, one old “friend” in particular keeps coming back from the past to haunt me. Not directly most of the time, but through friends we both shared. Just a few weeks ago, I had yet another “friend” try to contact me after over 5 years. Really? Five years later? Did you not understand after five years that I had no interest in stepping into the swirling mass of dysfunction that is your world? Or maybe you thought my life didn’t have enough misery or that my recovery was “just a phase” perhaps. Well, to set the record straight, I have no desire to fall back and regress; I feel as the only things missing in my current life are narcissistic people who are all about themselves and married men who don’t have enough balls to leave their wives and instead want to have the benefits of a whore without actually having to pay. They want to choose from a group of people they and their wives call friends. I guess it’s just easier for them. Well, I am ashamed to say I was one of those women who for lack of self-respect and desperation to feel something resembling love, gave the best parts of myself away and received in return immeasurable guilt, more loss of self and buckets of shame. I WAS. I am no longer that poor, pathetic creature. I understand my worth, I value those best parts of myself and like precious stones, I treasure them and hold onto them until I meet someone worthy.
In this world of social media, it is not easy to remove someone completely but it is not impossible. I bear no ill will to these ghosts but I will not invite them back into my life, as I have far too much to lose. I will pray for them (and pray they will eventually move on to new prey) that they will find whatever it is they are looking for and also that karma will find them. It’s not my place to cast judgement or to seek them out and return tenfold the pain and hurt they inflicted upon me, but the very human, flawed side of me wants that badly. Bloodlust and long-stored anger are my constant companions and are much like a dormant volcano until these ghosts appear and their names invoked. I know that I will not heal holding onto these old hurts and feelings of betrayal but I also don’t know yet how to exorcise them. I will keep trying to find a way to move beyond it all and be mindful of those friends that feel the need to rip open the wounds and speak of those who I would much rather lay to rest under a mountain of dirt in a crypt so far down, they will be warmed by the fires of Hell. I do not wish to lose myself in the bloodlust or the need for retribution; I just want to move forward, learn from my lessons and continue on the path I’ve chosen.

There’s No Place Like Home

I’ve enjoyed my time in Scotland very much and have met some very kind people who were strangers when we met and friends by the time we parted. The one thing about leaving home and going out into the world is that it provides a different view of life, of how one views oneself. Away from the comfort and familiar of home, we tend to find out not only what we are capable of when we break away and stretch our proverbial wings, but we also realize what means the most to us and it usually ends up being something other than our big screen TV or California King bed or even favorite restaurant; it’s the people that make our lives richer, more meaningful and give us a reason to believe that we are important, relevant and cherished. That is why I believe Dorothy had it right when she said, “There’s no place like home”.
On the last night of my first visit to Scotland I want to thank all of the people I’ve met on this trip for their kindness, their willingness to open their hearts to me and give me that feeling of home as well as my friends and family who encouraged me to take this trip and discover myself. I treasure and value you all.

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On Ye Way Lassie

Dec 16, 2014
Love Horoscope for Sagittarius
There’s never a bad time to travel, Sagittarius. Your wanderlust may awaken as innovative Mercury sets sail through your sophisticated second house. This is no time to plan a weekend roughing it at a budget campsite. Instead, think of how enticing cuddling by a fire at a swanky ski lodge would feel, or imagine ringing in the New Year with a belly full of a five-star restaurant’s finest delicacies. Single? To meet a quality mate, you’ll have to frequent quality hot spots—skip the dive bars for a while.

Tomorrow I take off for my first international solo travel adventure and my horoscope (or the creative genius that writes it) sounds as though it is right on track for what I have planned or not planned, as it were. More than a few people have asked me why I’m going alone and why I chose Scotland. I’ll answer the easier of the two first – Scotland is where my father’s family originally came from, so I already feel a connection to it. After reading the Outlander series, I was inspired even more to see the land that held such fascination for me (let’s be honest here – the thought of meeting my own Jamie Fraser held a very strong appeal to me, although Liam will always be first in my heart). As to why I’m traveling alone, I feel as though this is my Vision Quest; my time to go out in the world alone, discover not only new lands and meet new people, but more so to discover myself, who I am when I’m not in the comfort of my everyday world. I want to stretch my wings, test their strength and go beyond what is comfortable, familiar and safe. As far as love goes, it would be nice to meet the man of my dreams, move to Scotland and live out the rest of my days in wedded bliss. But it would be equally nice to just meet a lot of really nice people, trade stories and enjoy the sights, the freedom and spontaneity that comes with no real agenda, other than to enjoy the experience and to grow.

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Xanadu

I’ve had a few rough (emotionally & mentally) days the last couple of days and whenever that happens, I tend to focus on things that I have no control over (I’ve posted on this many times) so when I found myself in that situation yesterday, I felt that desperate measures were required to get me out of the Rut of Negativity and Disenchantment, otherwise known as the State of Bleh. I turned my focus to my upcoming trip, to flights of fancy (Liam meeting me at the airport and sweeping me off my feet into a great big bear hug) and just being away from the day to day injustices and unfairness of Everyday Life in the Imperfect World that we live in. These daydreams (or whatever you choose to call them) were an integral part of my childhood and in my teens, I switched from daydreams to outright escape from reality, courtesy of my friends Drink and Drugs. Now that I am no longer a patron of these ne’er do wells, I have reactivated the creative, non-logical free spirited portion of my mind to allow the daydreams, the hopes, the wishes and the flights of fancy to once again stretch their gossamer wings and take flight, taking my burdens, cares and troubles with them. It worked so well when I was a child and now that I have a much more varied catalog of experiences, places and people, it works even better still.

So, Dear Liam, I am thankful for your easy smile, your height which makes me think of a giant oak, strong and protecting, providing shade from sun and shelter from storms. I think your arms must be like branches on those trees, cradling gently but with a strength that is unbreakable; even though none of these things may be true about you, I believe them, as I see these traits reflected in your roles, in your eyes and in who you are. So therefore, you are my Xanadu, my place beyond time and space, where I can be safe, loved, protected and adored. Thank you for that, Liam and thank you for not taking out a restraining order on me (yet!)

Kubla Khan
BY SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

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Love, Loss and Learning to Loving Again

“We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so helplessly unhappy as when we have lost our loved object or its love.”
-Sigmund Freud

I love Freud. His name was the one that I look upon as being the holder of the keys to a magic porthole to the fascinating world of The Human Condition. My father spoke frequently of him and always with great respect. I believe my dad was also one of those people who are driven to answer the questions that an intelligent, troubled mind manifests when whirling and tossing thoughts about, crashing against each other – why? Why can’t I just…. Why am I failing? Why can’t I understand him/her/them/it? Why on Earth did I do/say that?

Free will is available to us, yet often it seems as though we are helpless to choose in certain situations; the relationship is toxic, but the feeling of love and need is greater than the intellectual knowledge that there is an element of danger to oneself. Why is that? What is that part of the mind that over rides even self-preservation? Why would an otherwise sane person choose to marry someone sight unseen? Or engage in a relationship with another that goes directly against their moral/ethical code?

I was raised on a steady diet of the importance of education, the power of intelligence and the responsibility that goes along with such great power (shout out to Spider-Man and Stan Lee) as well as some other not so healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms, but none of those schools could ever prepare me for the Arrival of Love’s First Kiss, First Loss and First Heartache. To be clear, it didn’t help with the first nor all the others afterwards. But here’s the best part – the Hopeless Romantic remembers only the best of those times; she edits out everything unpleasant and retains only the memories that capture the Best of Love. The Cynic remembers only the bad ending and holds that hurt in case Danger (Love) presents itself again. Nothing like an unfiltered flow of remembered pain and heartbreak to give one pause. The Intellect remembers it all, without the coloring of emotion to confuse it; the good, the bad; the laughter, the tears; the lessons learned and the losses born, the beginning, the middle and the ending. These three parts of my mind have been working under an uneasy truce for years now and I have made half hearted attempts to dip a big toe in the waters of the Lake of Love, I have had to understand that if I believe that I cannot really love another until I understand what love really is, I will never love another. Love is not to be understood, taken apart and analyzed; it is to be accepted, valued and celebrated for the complex mystery it is. It works well with Faith, as it is another powerful unseen force at work and it is as essential as the air we breathe and the nourishment we ingest to truly live. I have opened my mind to the possibility of love, I’ve brought forth a few of the Best of Love’s best moments and I’ve put away some of the darker, more painful memories and unhappy endings, as I believe they have been out and in the forefront of my mind for too long. My hands are empty, I’ve set free the resentments and old hurts I’d held onto for years and now they can hold whatever gifts are offered to me. I have stopped looking back and fretting and ruminating about what I had done/didn’t do and now face forward, eyes to the horizon, ready to move forward and begin again.
Photo credit: sidewalk in downtown Sacramento; artist unknown

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