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For Mzella, from alicenwonderland
August 4, 2008
2:48 pm
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alicenwonderland
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Mz,

Sorry that I was not able to reply to your post before my departure on vacation. I actually thought about your post very much while I was away. I haven’t had time to catch up yet or read the other posts. I hope all is well with you…and everyone else in my absence. I wanted to share this story with you in response to your post.

I awoke particularly early last Tuesday and not wanting to wake my traveling companions, I decided to take a walk on the beach. It was my 35th birthday and my mind was awash with feelings, thoughts, questions, etc as I recalled all the many things that I was suppose to accomplish at this junction in my life. A sadness gripped my heart as I thought of the husband and the children that I was suppose to have and that now at my age my never have. I thought of my career and how much of a change it had been from the career that I had planned and how even now I still was only working to earn a living and not to fulfill my intellectual and professional needs. I thought of my little very meager house and my very practical car, my kitty who is my sole companion, and the fact that I live across from my parents (which I swore I would never do). I was so sad and felt like such a failure at life. Sickened by what I found, I made my way out of the hotel and started down the small path to the beach below.

The ocean was ablaze with hues of orange and gold streaming in brilliant as I stood there for a moment in quiet reflection and loneliness in the early dawn. My heart sat inside my chest like a boulder of granite as the soft morning sun quietly peeked its sleepy eye over the horizon. As I made my way down to the shoreline, my mind continued to wander across my failed relationships and the lack of social activity in my life. The beach was quiet save a few eager fishermen and my feeling of failure felt as big as the ocean before me. My noticed a flurry of sand crabs scuttling across the sand trying to avoid hungry advances of the swooping gulls. I found myself rooting for the crabs feeling very kindred with them in the plight to escape what seemed to be there fate.

I walked down to the edge of the water and looked out over the horizon. The still cool water gently kissed my sand covered toes as the sounds of the waves against the sand found my ears. A feeling of peace surrounded me as I whispered a prayer into the vastness. Water has always been therapy for my soul and as the waves lapped gently at my feet and it seemed that with every rise and fall of the tide, a small part of my sadness was drug from my heart and slipped quietly into the sea. I stood there for a while letting the ocean drink away my feelings of failure and inadequacy and let the peace of my surroundings envelope me. It was a moment of true paradise. My mind began to travel and it found its way to the question you asked me about what I did to get to this point of my journey for recovery. In that moment, I felt very blessed, because a year prior I could not have been standing on there, nor would I have realized the masterpiece that was laid out before me. My loneliness slipped away and I stood there humbled not only at God’s brilliant canvas before me, but at the changes that have occurred in my life over the last year.

I kept thinking about your post and it was in that moment I began to count my blessings and really think about the road that had lead me here. I guess sometimes that we are taking such small baby steps that we don’t realize the distance we have traveled. That was true of me. Your post really made me turn around and look at the distance I have traveled this past year.

A year ago, I was a mess. I had just been dumped by a man who I had really begun to like. He had pursued me. First under the guise of friendship and then as a relationship and despite my better judgement, we began dating. I was still an emotional mess from my previous relationships. He and I (when friends) had many long talks about our pasts and the resulting damage. He betrayed me in the most vile way by cheating on me and not even having the nerve to tell me that he had found someone else. The real betrayal came because above all, I thought he was my friend. A mutual friend saw them at the movies kissing which is how I found out. The friend didn’t know we had been dating so the betrayal felt all the more hurtful. I didn’t love this man, but I was beginning to actually have feelings for him. I had been seriously hurt before and this was the first time I had been interested in a man for many years. My heart was still in shambles even thought I wanted to move on. I always thought that you can’t break what is already broken, but it cuts you to ribbons when someone stomps on the pieces. I was hurt not because of the failed relationship with HIM, but just because once again, I had managed to screw things up with a man. I desperately wanted someone to share my life with, and the failure of yet another relationship sent me into a deep depression. (I was even suicidal.)

I am not yet able to recount the exact thing that brought me into recovery. It is a very long and personal story which is very painful for me to share. For the sake of this post, let’s just say I had a life altering experience which lead me to begin looking at me rather than the world around me. Have you ever had a time in your life where a common theme seems to be leading you in a particular direction? Well, that is exactly what happened to me. My employer sent me to a conference for women and while the focus of the conference was not in any way related to my issues, it made me think about an old book that I used in college during my days as a research assistant. When I flipped the book open, it was like someone had been stalking me and writing my life down on the pages within only I knew that it wasn’t so. The case study could have been my life verbatim. I realized that I had a real problem. I had never been good at asking for help. Mostly because no one ever tried to help me, but I always thought that I was just broken and unfixable. I was invisible and didn’t really matter, but as I read that case study I realized something that changed the course of things for me. I realized that I wasn’t alone and that other people suffered from the same problems as I did. I began reading everything I could get my hands on. I made my way back through my old psychology and counseling texts, I researched things on the net, I even talked to an old professor friend of mine who was delighted to point me in the right direction (and to counseling).

My focus shifted and I simply decided that no one could fix me. It was up to me to fix myself. If I didn’t do it, then no one else was going to. I finally took control of my own life. I have two great assets: . 1.) My relentless desire for knowledge, and 2.) my undaunting Irish stubbornness. I also have two great liabilities: 1.) My relentless desire for knowledge, and 2.) my undaunting Irish stubbornness. I refused to give up. Armed with my assets/liabilities, I dug my heels in and made a decision. I was going to figure this out, even if it killed me in the process. I started looking at every day as a new beginning and began dissecting the parts of my life that I had been trying so hard to forget. I confronted my childhood with an adult’s perspective under the every watchful eye of my therapist and let go of the anger, fear, and years of regret. It was difficult and very hard to relive things that I wanted to never think of again, but it helped because I was finally able to put them in the graveyard where they belonged. Yes, I still have the markers which always reminds me of what lies beneath, but the corpses of my past are no longer sitting around rotting and stinking up the place. The biggest thing, I guess, was learning (and still learning) to forgive myself and to forgive others. Learning to stand up for me, love me, and know that I deserve good things has been an every day battle.

I told a friend that I was standing at the cross roads and the clock said 11:59 pm. I could feel the Devil upon me and it was either stick around and barter for my soul or pick up my baggage and hit the road. The last year, I have just been following where my feet lead me and trying to enjoy the trip. I rest when my feet are tired, I curse when the path is rocky, and I dig in when the climb gets steep. Some days I actually feel overwhelmed at the information coming at me and other days, I feel like I can never get enough. I have good days and bad ones, but I am always looking at one thing…happiness. Only I can make me happy and that is my goal each and every day.

I guess to say what I’ve done to get here…I just refuse to quit searching for the things that help me to be a better me.

Thank you for reminding me to look back and see where I started instead of where I am trying to go.

I really do enjoy your input.

August 5, 2008
3:35 pm
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This is absolutely amazing! I wanna do and experience this!

August 5, 2008
4:03 pm
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MsGuided
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((((aliceinwonderland))))

Beautiful and so true.

you said:"I feel like I can never get enough. I have good days and bad ones, but I am always looking at one thing…happiness. Only I can make me happy and that is my goal each and every day."

Perspective, within, is the key to happiness or contentment.

You showed a change in perspective above and thanks for sharing.

August 6, 2008
9:18 am
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alicenwonderland
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Thanks you so much for your kind words.

August 6, 2008
12:12 pm
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on my way
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alice...

This is so very well written. I could identify with many parts of what you have said here. Thank you for sharing about you, you really wrote this from your heart.

Also, by the way, have you tried writing a book, you write very well!!

August 6, 2008
1:41 pm
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alicenwonderland
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Thank you for the very gracious compliment On my way...

Actually, I do dabble a little and have had a few very minor things published in college. I haven't completed an entire novel yet, but hope someday to do so. I have been thinking lately that I may be ready to get back into that area of my life.

Writing has always been a release for me. I guess that is why I love this site so much is that it gives me the oppoturnity to write away my hurts, fears, and insecurities while celebrating the my successes. I love reading everyone's posts and getting to know them throught the power of their words.

Again, thank you so much for the comments...

August 6, 2008
2:08 pm
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on my way
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alice,

You're welcome! I agree with you AAC is a great place to write and learn about so much.

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