for the past few days i’ve been absolutely fixated on a bag of oreos. i bought some off brand the other day and i ate up those delicous crunchy stale bites of sandwich cookie deliciousness. the past couple of days i’ve been more emotional and nervous about everything that’s happening. and so i’ve been fixated on a bag of oreos.
i texted laura to see if i could have them. and ice cream. my dad made me buy chocolate ice cream a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious – i haven’t eaten straight up chocolate ice cream in years. long story short there was a whole lot of banter back and forth with her offering a lesser evil combination or quantity of treats, with me countering with something larger and more decadent. something was stopping me from actually going out to get any oreos. eventually i ate a bowl of cereal and took a nap. triumph is mine!
today on the way home from work i thought i needed those oreos again. i mean just going into deep visualizations about crunching them. i somehow made it home without them. in the back of my mind i know that a bag of oreos is not going to save my life. i came in and fed the cats and gave some love. as i was walking around the house i realized, i don’t need to eat my feelings. i’m sad. my aunt is dying and i’m sure my period will be here any day. it’s ok to just be sad. then i started to tear up. i need to remember that when i have these super strong urges that there’s something underneath that i’m not trying to feel.
as i sat down to write this, i remembered that my uncle rick, my aunt’s husband… before he died, all he would eat were golden oreos.
in the past couple of weeks i’ve hosted my dad, given my grama another manicure and hand massage, and this weekend i will move in with my aunt part-time. i don’t think i’ve ever been anti-caretaking, but it’s a stretch for me. i’ve realized this itchy little piece of me that feels very uncomfortable having people in my space or being forced to spend too much time together. when triggered, i get really defensive, passive-aggressive, and weird. but as i give it time, it passess. what i’m learning about myself is that i need to learn to self-soothe, calm myself down, and feel at peace when i’m with other people. i enjoy my time alone, to be sure. but the best gift i can give myself is to calm down and find that peace. and then carve little pockets of time out for myself.
staying with my aunt won’t be physically challenging or hard. but i’m nervous about moving into this next stage toward death. before, i could spend a chunk of time and go home. the chunk is growing to 3 days stretches. how will it feel? i’ve seen her get sick, i’ve seen her in pain, i’ve now seen her sleep with her eyes wide open. but what will it be like all day and all night? she’s getting closer. i’ve asked the hospice people the questions, i have an idea about where we go from here. this may be slow and gradual, or there may be a drastic downturn when she suddenly can’t get out of bed anymore. what’s that gonna be like?
i’m trying to prepare, mentally. i’ve notified my supervisors, i keep people posted. i just can’t help but think that even with all that preparation, this is going to be so shocking, so much different than i imagine. i will start to imagine different scenarios of death, of the last minutes, but the truth is i have no idea. mostly i stop and run from the visiualization when i feel that feeling of shock and horror that i’ve felt before as i hear someone has died or see their body. that, i know, will come. no sense in pre-thinking it.
so, i’m getting ready to move into my last opportunity to take care of my aunt and i’m scared shitless, i’m wrecked. but i’m gonna put my body in motion and do it.
while looking at an old friend’s posts on facebook, i marvelled at how in this day and age you don’t even have to come out to your friends with a phone call or over dinner. i’ve never talked to her about it, but i know she’s a lesbian because of facebook posts and pics. no judgment, just a funny sign of the times.
no, this is not a blog about being RETIRED from distance running 🙂
so i have this quality where i am determined to learn something. having my dad here, there were many things that i thought i was going to learn from him. there are many things i have learned so far, but what i want to write about today is a small/huge revelation i just had: i don’t have to run away.
i’m totally pro at running away. been doing it forever. if a situation gets hard, if i’m bored, if there’s no clear solution, if a relationship starts to irritate me or become not what i want anymore – i’m out. no clear explanation, i’m just done. and i’m gone.
living with my dad is hard on me. and i notice about myself that i’m bratty and bitter and rough and defiant when things get hard on me. we had a talk the other day about how things are going and it was uncomfortable to be sure, but i stayed with it. i committed to myself to say what i needed to say, to put my feelings, needs, and wants on the table. i gave information that i felt was important for him to be able to understand who i am. i sat through the conversation. it doesn’t feel finished. but at least it feels like we’re acknowledging what’s going on and committing to working on it and getting to know each other better.
it’s hard for me to learn that this will not be a magically complete relationship. i will still feel the loss of not having my dad in my life as i was growing up. i still don’t think he really knows who i am, and i know that i don’t know who he really is. we are getting to know a little bit about each other and that’s all i can expect for now. i really wanted him to be a solution for me. and i think in the past the way i presented that was to project all this excitement, happiness, and good feelings that i felt were expected of me. i’m not doing that now. i’m showing up when that’s all i can do. i’m not running away just because i don’t see the resolution. and that’s big for me. it gives me hope for my capabilities in future relationships.
i’m learning that the follow-up piece to being assertive about my needs and asking for what i want is acknowledging when i get it.
in the past i had gotten so annoyed about people not giving me what i want (magically predicting my needs without having to explicitly/directly tell them). i felt passed over, ignored, not valued. then bitter. then felt entitled to the bitterness. then a martyr.
assertiveness is a major revelation in my life. i’ve learned that this bitter martyr feeling can be educational. it can inform conversations that need to happen. the conversations should happen once i’m calm, not in the heat of rage. state my needs, give the other person a chance to react and give feedback. and then give it some space. that’s for me, not for them. making my needs known in my important relationships is a gift to myself.
i was having a hard time with my dad, my bitter martyr came out hard because i felt he wasn’t showing enough interest in me during this trip. though i was nervous to do it, last week i expressed my feelings even though i understood that he didn’t mean to hurt me. today in a phone conversation he expressed some concern about my aunt and asked how i was coping. we talked for a while about that, and he was supportive. it was nice! and the bitterness melts.
though i can expect and visualize and dream about how things should be, and then be disappointed when it doesn’t match, i must acknowledge when i’ve gotten what i wanted in a slightly different way.
i’m thankful for that today.