Thursday, July 28, 2016

Intimacy

"I hope you felt at home here with us".

That was said to me this evening as I left a meeting, a very small meeting of just 4 people. The group rep said that to me. I think that's the loveliest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. It's a small group, and I know they need me to attend. But she was so genuine in her tone, she really meant it. I was at home there and I will be back. I felt a warm sense of intimacy with them. Small meetings typically radiate that. Well, small groups filled with love, that is.

We talked about intimacy tonight. I am finding that I miss having that in my relationships here in Atlanta. Probably because I have few friendships, and most of the people I've come to meet here are men. Thanks to online dating. Men outside of the fellowship are difficult to develop intimacy with, including men I may be dating. Into-me-I-see - Intimacy. Having the moment of connectedness, vulnerable openess, going deep into the subject being discussed and being OK with expressing a feeling or emotion. Those are the things that bring people together. Create a bond. That bond is the fortification of God.

I miss that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My relationship with men

I miss Evan. Again. In a conversation with Keith yesterday I was lamenting my amazing ability to become incredibly self-centered and totally disregard the feelings of men. Because it is very difficult for me to understand and remember that men, too, have feelings. I wish I could say I was being facetious, but I am not. I truly do not associate men with being emotional, feeling, vulnerable creatures. I don't. That part of me was damaged decades ago. Like a chip in a computer, it's not configurated for that function. For some men, the men who I have come to know and trust over the years in my groups, the men who have sponsored me and perhaps one man I've dated, I can have the capacity to understand their emotions and feelings. That's why I've always been so incredibly grateful for the few close men-friends I have in our fellowship. They teach me that men DO feel, ARE emotional beings and are not evil.

I grew up with 5 older brothers, 1 older sister - so I was reliant on these people, plus Mom and Dad, to teach me who people are. What I observed was men are closed down, angry and violent volcano's and I mustn't ever get close to one. Once in a while, they were loving, but that occurrence was inconsistent and untrustworthy. I was never daddy's princess or the cute little sister of these 5 very tall and over-powering men. I did not know what it felt like to be protected and loved unconditionally. From a man, at least. That did come from my mother. Wow, in writing this out I can see why I've needed therapy! And, I can see why I miss Evan so much. He was the brother, the father....the male figure in my life who I came to trust and love whole-heartedly. My Evan almighty.

Evan not only validated my feelings, he guided my behavior, called my on my inappropriate behavior and, perhaps most important of all, he expressed his feelings openly and vulnerably with me. There were times in our work together that he would become tearful. Feeling his own feelings about the topic or perhaps, his feelings for me. I was very aware that I always wanted his respect and even, his love. I knew I had transferred my need for a father-daughter relationship onto him. That's what happens in therapy, right? If I had his love and respect then maybe, just maybe, I could know that I was fully loveable and respectable by my own father. And that just because my dad wasn't able to demonstrate that to me, doesn't mean it was my fault. My fault. So many children of emotionally distant parents internalize the lack of feeling loved and wanted as being something they did. It was never about me. But, how does a 5 year old come to believe that? By going into therapy when they're 50. I suppose that's why letting go of Evan when I left Miami was so hard. He was the one male in my life that loved and respected me unconditionally. And who wants to leave that kind of relationship?

A therapeutic relationship isn't supposed to take the place of a loving relationship of  'inter-being' with a man, a partner. Evan has helped me to heal, helped me to prepare for the next relationship, which I hope, will be my last. I so dislike dating. It's so old and exhausting. But I am not giving up, and I do work to maintain my joy in all things in life, including dating and getting to know men. I am making progress in my communication. Little by little. I have had opportunities to express myself in uncomfortable ways, to assert myself and my needs. I have not come to regret that, and the outcome has been fortunate. I always get the feeling most men don't know what to do with me when I am open and assert myself. One man I dated several weeks ago seemed to fall in love with my assertiveness and wanted to date exclusively almost immediately. I had to decline. The feeling wasn't there for me. I couldn't help think that here was a good guy, who put me pretty high on a pedestal, offering me exclusivity. Everything I (and my ego) desire. But he wasn't the one I want to be silly with. He wasn't the one I could have deep, philosophical conversations with. He wasn't the one who could take my breath away.

And I won't settle for less than that.

I thank Al-Anon and Evan for that. For knowing my worth, my value - what I have to offer to a partner is a commodity so incredibly valuable. I won't waste it on settling for someone who doesn't give the same to me.

And so it is. And so it shall be.

I just miss Evan today. 



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The importance of smile

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? 

Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Who am I, really?

A friend suggested to me during conversation a few days ago that I was being 'inauthentic' for with-holding my recovery from men with whom I may date. I was surprised at how well I took that assertion. Especially since it came from a new man I am dating. LOL. Or, not dating. I'm not sure what we're doing but we did meet initially while dating. If you're confused by all this, take heart, so am I.

I shared with him that I have chosen to not share my relationship with Al-Anon early on with men because my experience has been that men become intimidated by my recovery. Even recovered alcoholics have trouble with my recovery. As Keith says, I'm a "9th degree black-belt" Al-Anon. Even my ex-husband seems to have an opinion. He once offered to speak to any potential mate of mine to 'prepare' him for what he was in for with me. Awww, isn't that sweet? He said the one thing he'd tell someone was this: "Do what you say you're going to do". What he means is that I hold people responsible for their word. I hold myself responsible for mine. It's a matter of congruent behavior. And being an alcoholic, he hardly ever was congruent with his word so he got the tail end of my bitch stick. But that was then, this is now. I don't lash out anymore. I just go silent. I pause. I allow the breath of God to whisper for me. People tend to hear better that way, I have found. I learned a lot of this from my one, awful emotional meltdown with William. One was all it took to end the relationship. So I learned. I learned well.

What's interesting is many men I have known will endure a relationship with a woman who is 'crazy', emotionally unstable, more-so than with a woman who is emotionally responsible. Or, as a friend says, emotionally intelligent. Ha, I received that compliment a few weeks ago from him, saying I had a high level of emotional intelligence. Hmmm, now that I think about it, could that term be the reason why some men have chosen to discontinue dating me? Because they think they are not as emotionally intelligent as I?

A few years ago I dated a man who I adored. Completely and totally, and he adored me right back. He was a newly sober alcoholic (10 years in and out of AA) so there was my first mistake. He was quite hard to resist, he treated me very well. The day came where we had our first disagreement. It ended with me saying it takes me time to trust a man, and he saying if I could not give him my trust right then and there, it was over. Hind sight taught me he was very co-dependently attached to women and needed to be in a clinging relationship.  He didn't understand that time takes time and it felt like an addict saying 'gimme my drug now or gtfo". He has since had several other relationships end. And sadly, he is no longer in AA. Though I don't know if he has relapsed or not.

But he taught me a lot. For once, to stay true to what my gut told me. Not to force feel something that wasn't there. Even if it meant the relationship had to end. I see now that my emotional maturity - or intelligence - had grown to a level that was serving me quite well. But does it serve the men I date?
Will I, or have I, met someone who is on the same level as I with regards to my emotional abilities? I don't mean this post to imply that I am at the highest level of emotional maturity, I know for sure I am not. But I do know I have done the work, I have "uncovered, discovered and discarded" most of what has held me hostage for so many years. I am free from the bondage of my emotions and all that has captured my soul. Well, one day at a time, anyhow, right?

So, my new man friend said this to me - directly and with no apology. On another day in the past, I may have taken exception to him and gotten my panties all in a twist for saying such a thing. Who ME....inauthentic? Now that I have thought about it for a few days, I realize he was right. I was altering a large part of who I am out of fear a man may run. Because others have run before him. I guess I should rather let them, let him, let whomever, run. So that the one who accepts me for who I am to run into their space. Run to me, instead of run away from me. For who and what I am.

Which just happens to be someone I really love today.

:)-



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Here

Here I sit in a McDonalds in Athens, Ga enjoying my own self. Went to my morning meeting, where I finally opened my mouth and shared. Something that has been a challenge for me. Starting to talk to people there, trying to become a part of. A good feeling indeed

Afterwards, I decided to take a day trip to Athens, a charming college town. Actually the university of Georgia which was Jackson's first choice school. He auditioned and applied here and was totally shut out at the time. A disappointment for him, then. But part of God's plan. Because he want on to the niversity of Miami - which was to his great fortune. God always knows, doesn't he?

I had a lovely date last night with S, my friend. We went to the High museum on Atlanta. The Sneaker exhibition. Something different with someone different. Someone like me which is different for me. He's funny, like me. He's spiritual, like me. He's open, like me. I like that.

Maybe because I like me. I like who I've become. The self loathing is gone. The confidence is here. I like me is a big deal. Today, I reached out to 3 people via text. Just sending love. The line from the Beatles song "The End" keeps ruminating on my head...

"The love you take is equal to the love you make"

I believe that to be true. That's what service is. That's what sending a simple text is. Loving people. And in return God blesses me with a whole lot of love.  Make it, take it. A good thing.