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purposeful journey

7 Feb

winter dawn

The other day, I was on a call one of my colleagues was doing for her community . She mentioned how winter’s harshness can be counterproductive in terms of getting things done with the swiftness that we are often used to.  She talked about how we push ourselves so much to keep going, when in the past winter has been a time for slowing down, resting, closure, and endings.  She used nature to illustrate her point, talking about the end of a year and how it’s symbolized by barren trees, ice and snow.  What she said really resonated with me.  Growing up in Pennsylvania myself, I can see how the transition from one season to the next is the perfect metaphor for life.

As the seasons have come and gone over the past couple of years, they have mirrored the highs and lows of my own life. The infinite cycles of Mother Nature bringing with her the rebirth and growth of spring, the abundance and brightness of summer,  the reflection and acceptance of fall, and the endings and closure of winter.  As we in North America look with anticipation to the thaw and renewal of the coming spring and escaping one of the harshest winters on record, I can’t help but notice the similarities that show up for me.

I’m ready for spring and the end of winter! Proudly admiring the culmination to my labor of self-love:  Me!  🙂  I feel like a brand that’s been remarketed… (read in cheesy TV commercial announcer voice) Jen Halulko!   New and Improved  QSCA Certified formula! Now you get super-charged doses of the qualities you know and love! An Intuitive Life Coach, she’ll teach you how to use your Intuition with the Law of Attraction to deliberately create your life so you can have the love, relationship, and family you desire and deserve!

Aaahhhh.  That felt gooooood!! Like it? I came up with that all by myself!  Hee! 🙂 Seriously though, I’m so excited, and so proud of myself for getting my certification.  I honestly worked my ass off to get it, and it was something I actually wanted to do.  I went back to school for my Bachelor’s Degree because I felt like I had to.  I was working in Corporate America then and to get a decent salary and even be considered for a promotion, I had to have a degree.  Now it’s pretty much a given that one needs a Master’s Degree or higher! I’d started my MBA prior to leaving my job for that reason.  Upon leaving and embarking on the journey of self-discovery that led me here, I abruptly ended that pursuit.  That’s not to say I think poorly of higher education.  For me; however, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do, and for that reason, I stopped doing it.

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of self-confidence to help you notice when you’re doing things out of a sense of obligation or the expectations of others.  So, I went from one day living life just going through the motions, to a complete 180.  Topsy turvy, upside down, sideways, inside out, and back again all in a few months—and it hit me like a ton of bricks—as it would anyone who is used to living to please others rather than themselves. Things happen in life that we aren’t prepared for. 

Things happen in life that we worry might happen and are afraid will happen.  Things happen in life that are extremely painful, but one thing remains consistent through them all.  After we’ve worked through them and come out on the other side, we look back and realize that they were necessary– even required– for us to learn the lessons we needed to learn in order to find our life purpose.

The reason we went through all the struggle and pain in the first place is to get to where we are right now, looking back on those things with fresh eyes, a new perspective, and one of gratitude for the journey.  Painful though it was, we were able to find the reason we are here, the reason we were born, our purpose in life.  Seems crazy, doesn’t it?  I know, it did to me too! But that was before I embraced my gifts or learned about the Law of Attraction.

 

Stay tuned! 🙂  lone woman

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it’s about time…

5 May

Steve jobs on Time

 

 

Where has the time gone??  Imagine my surprise when I logged on and realized how much time had actually elapsed since my last post!  I guess that’s why the saying “time flies” is a saying in the first place.  I’ve been working on some exciting, yet involved projects. I also started doing readings which has been very exciting and rewarding, but I wanted to do more to help the people I’m called to serve.  So, with that intention in mind I finally enrolled in a program to get my life coaching certification.  All that said, a post was long overdue for this blog, and every one of you that show your support for me by reading it were always in my thoughts. 🙂

I published my last post at the end of January and before I knew it, February was in full swing. The month came and went as I handled client appointments, attended classes, created website content, researched material for my teleseminars, recorded meditations, and wrote posts for this blog and my website blog.  All of this was done in my spare time (and I use that term very loosely) while working my “day” job, running my household, and caring for “the Hubs” and 3 kids.  As mundane as the role of wife and mom may sound in comparison to mediumship and life coaching, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

True to it’s name; March arrived and it’s cadence seemed swifter than ever, followed quickly by April.  As I type; and likely before I’m ready, May will give way to June.  That’s how it often goes for us down here on Earth as the sun predictably rises and sets, paying no attention to our ups and downs.  The sun has always predictably shown up to bring me a new day; and a new chance for a fresh start, regardless of whether I chose to take it or not.  Recent years have brought me some of my biggest challenges, and some of the most trying days I’ve ever experienced.  There were days I looked up and saw that cheerful, warm sphere  and swore it was there just to mock me.

This evening as the sun prepares to set like it has on countless others, I can’t help but feel deep gratitude for the sun’s persistent teasing. Because of its tenacity, I rose to greet those days.  As simple as that may sound, it hasn’t always been easy.  There were days I felt I couldn’t face, but on those days I got up and put my “big girl panties” on for 2 reasons:  1. A strong unwillingness to let the people I felt  screwed me over in the past get one bit of satisfaction from my not doing it.  2. I had a responsibility to my husband and kids not to give up.

Sometimes we do things because we want to, and other times we do things because we have to.  It’s when we don’t do the things that we want to because we are worried about others’ opinions or reactions that causes problems.   I have lived my life based on other people’s expectations and you know what?  It didn’t work.  When you are living your life to please everyone else, you are not living your life.  Eventually, it will come back to bite you.  My choice of college, choice of degree, choice of religion, and even the place I chose to live were based upon my desire to please someone else.  I hid from and denied my empathic and sensitive abilities most of my life out of fear of being judged.  It’s one thing to keep going out of a sense of love and responsibility when you’re too weak to motivate yourself.  It’s another thing entirely to live a life built completely on avoiding judgments and pleasing others.  At what point is it okay to live your life according to your values and your standards?  When is it okay to say, “It’s my life and I’ll live it how I like.”  What are the clues that tell you it’s now okay to make your own choices?  When exactly is ‘the right time’? It’s about time. Right now.

 

 

tell me no secrets…

30 Jan

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I had been back to work for a little over a month when all of this happened.  Things had started to get tense almost immediately after I returned to work.  I’m not sure if my aunt was resentful that I had something to do that didn’t involve her, or if she was just bored and lonely.  Whatever the case, I thought going back to work was going to make things easier and reduce everyone’s stress level.  I hadn’t considered that my aunt really did not like being alone and me going back to work was something she would resent.  My husband and I had spent our Saturday off moving my aunt’s things from her storage unit to a shed she’d had placed in our backyard and trying not to tell her off for not helping us.  Some things are best left alone, and I wasn’t in the mood for anymore drama.  I would learn later that  universal law  mandates that what you focus on expands. In the months leading up to this incident, I had been at my wit’s end with my aunt’s moods and unpredictable behavior.  I was so focused on how much I didn’t like what was going on and wanting it to stop.  I didn’t realize at the time that although I wanted everyone to get along and the conflict to stop, I was basically asking the universe to give me more of it.  Vibes are vibes.  Positive or negative, if you’re sending them out, the universe sends them back; no exceptions.  I was focused on all of the negative aspects of the situation, when I should have been focusing on how great it would be when everyone was getting along and happy.

My mom called me earlier that day, and hearing the irritation in my voice asked me what was wrong.  My mom is the first one to admit that she’s not one for keeping her opinions to herself.   Considering, I should have known better than to say anything, but at the time I was angry and I needed to vent.  Later that day, she mentioned what I’d said to my dad.  Compelled by what he was told, he posted his, “Did your aunt ever help today,” question to my daughter’s Facebook timeline.  After my aunt told me what she was so worked up about, I posed what to me seemed an obvious question, “Why are you upset with her for that?  _____ just answered his question.  Seems like you should be upset with my dad, so why don’t you confront him about it?”  My aunt gave me a convoluted answer that went all around the issue, but never really answered my question.  Frustrated, I repeated it.  I still didn’t get an answer that made her reaction make sense to me.  I could understand her anger at the conversation being on Facebook for others to see, to which my aunt emphatically agreed; although she was under the impression that “Everyone can see it!”  I explained that the only people who could see the comments were people who were friends with my daughter and my dad; which is why she could see it.  My explanation only seemed to fuel her fire.  Trying to get back to my point I asked , “Well, whatever your reason, what makes you think it’s OK to talk to my daughter like that? What would possess you? What were you thinking?”  After a few seconds of stunned silence, my aunt proceeded to tell me that my daughter had said “F**k you!” to her first!

Most parents’ knee jerk reaction would be to say, “Not my daughter.  She would never say that,” but not me.  I would have wanted to say that, but after everything we’d been through with our daughter, I would have to check myself.  But, this time I could say,’not my daughter’ knowing I was right.  Thanks to a lack of insulation in most Florida garages, my husband and I heard the entire conversation from our seats outside in our garage.  My aunt and daughter were in our dining room with only a wall separating us.  I stared at my aunt in disbelief.  Even after everything that happened over the past several months, I couldn’t believe she was doing this!  She stood in my dining room indignantly refusing to admit her lie.  My daughter was beside herself.  She was angry about what my aunt said she did, and worried that we might believe it. I finally had to send my daughter to her room to get her away from the situation. Things had escalated to ridiculous proportions with my two younger kids looking on, which was already happening way too often for me.   Later, my youngest daughter would ask me, “Why was auntie being mean to sissy?”  I didn’t know what to say. How do you explain to a 3-year-old about untreated Bipolar Disorder?  What other reason could there be for a woman in her 60’s behaving like she was and blaming a 16-year-old for her behavior? 

During the time before my aunt came to stay with us, we’d spoken on the phone regularly.  During our conversations, I often confided in her about the issues my husband and I had with our oldest.  She was a teenager, but she also had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder which complicated those difficulties exponentially. After 6 years of struggles, things had just started to settle down a few months before my aunt came to live with us. She knew my relationship with my oldest daughter was already strained and why.  I still don’t know why she reacted like she did or felt she needed to lie about it. Maybe it was a desperate attempt to gain my favor over my daughter or a plea for attention.  Maybe it seemed better to her than the alternative of admitting what she did was wrong.  My gut tells me that she lied because she was embarrassed and she really thought I’d believe her.  Whatever her reason, with everything that already happened prior to that night, any respect I had left for my aunt was destroyed.

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don’t tread on me….or….new year’s deja vu?

5 Jan

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I sat down to write my next post entitled “don’t tread on me”numerous times over the past few months.  Something always seemed to stop me.  After months of unemployment, I landed a telecommuting position and then another.  I was working 2 jobs and that meant work obligations, then there were family obligations and then, of course, the holidays came.  I just never seemed to get the time I needed to sit and write it. I really think it was the Universe’s way of showing me that I can’t move forward while continuing to look back.  It’s common sense, really.  I firmly believe; however, that when dealing with matters of personal growth, it is necessary to look back, at least temporarily.  You need to take that time to reflect, face where you made mistakes, see the lessons you were meant to learn in the adversities you faced, and take that knowledge with you moving forward.  Whatever you have been through, the knowledge you have gained from it will guide you as you take that first step into an unknown, better future. In order for me to move forward into my own better future, I have to finish telling the story I began a year ago. The need for closure and finality keeps me motivated, even though the subject matter is far from pleasant and something I will be  both happy and relieved to finish once and for all.

The ironic thing is; as I type this, Auntie has taken up residence with my Mom next door as of New Years Eve.  I was out-of-town visiting my sister and as my husband and I got my kids situated in the cars to head home, I had a feeling of dread as I thought of returning home.  It wasn’t the usual disappointment at facing the end of a vacation, or leaving a loved one and not knowing when you might see them again; but the absolute feeling of dread and that anxious feeling I’ve come to know as my intuitive sense that the proverbial “shit” is about to hit the fan.  I shook it off,  did what I needed to do as always, and concentrated on the tasks at hand.  That’s how it is with intuitives.  A feeling is just that… a “feeling.”  You can’t always articulate or translate what the feeling is right away, so you put it on the back burner and take care of what you know needs get done.

I made the trek home; 12 plus hours with stops to take my youngest potty and stop for snacks–fighting that nagging feeling that for some reason, I just didn’t want to go home.  It was disconcerting as normally when I am returning home from a trip, the thought of pulling into my driveway is a relief.  I arrived home at about 1 am and dutifully texted my sister and mom to let them know we’d all made it home safe and sound.  I fell into bed exhausted, and fell asleep still trying to push the negative feelings out of my mind.

I woke the following day to the same feeling.  I reached over to the nightstand and picked up my cell phone.  My mom had texted me several times while I was sleeping.  I just couldn’t face the thought of getting out of bed; and that was before I read the texts from my mom.  I assumed the reason getting out of bed felt like such a chore was from the trip home, which had been considerably arduous.  It rained continuously and as day turned into night, it became harder and harder to see.  Add the rain to the wind that was whipping the car to and fro like it was nothing; it made for a very stressful, tiring trip.  Then I read the texts from my mom.  I saw nothing of major consequence at first.  Just the usual.  First she asked if I was awake.  When she didn’t get an answer after a while, she texted me again.  Finally, she texted an exacerbated, “Hello????” to which I responded, “Hi.  Got your text ttyl (talk to you later).”  After a while, she texted, “_____ is here.  Didn’t want you to be surprised.”

My mom had mentioned the possibility of her houseguest to me prior to the holidays.  I had told her that it wasn’t really any of my business and that I couldn’t tell her what to do.  I reminded her of how after my aunt had left the way she did last April, it would only be a matter of time before my Aunt would have nowhere to stay.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out with how she’d behaved having lived with me.  During that conversation with my mom, she had offered to tell my aunt she had to apologize to me if she was going to stay with her.  My response was that if my aunt apologized, I wanted her to mean it.  I knew if my mom gave her an ultimatum, she would only apologize out of desperation for a place to stay if she apologized at all, and she wouldn’t really mean it.  Then my mom said she was going to tell my aunt that she had to get treatment for her bipolar disorder if she was going to stay with her.  I told her that was a smart thing to do, but I’d believe it when I saw it.  I knew that someone desperate not to be out on the street would promise anything.  The proof is in the pudding; so to speak, and again–it wasn’t my business.  I’d done all I could in that respect when my aunt was here and she made it perfectly clear at that time that she had no plans to be treated for her bipolar disorder.

At any rate, I never really thought my aunt would show. My mom and I had practically the exact same conversation a couple of months ago.  I figured she’d get back to her home town and then realize she liked it there and decide to stay, and that was what happened…until…she managed to alienate who she was staying with there too.  I had told my mom every time she brought up that my aunt might be coming to stay with her that I wasn’t surprised and that I knew she was would end up alienating everyone she stayed with because of her behavior and end up with nowhere to go, while still refusing to see the issue was hers and not everyone else’s.  I can’t say that I enjoy being right about that.

When my mom brought up the possibility to me again before I went to visit my sister, I told her that she could do what she wanted.  She’d known my aunt longer than I’d been alive, and I could understand the fact that she was her very best friend in the world and her desire to help her.  I’d felt that way once too.  I explained that unlike my aunt; I’d never put her in a position where she felt she had to choose between the two of us.  My mom mentioned being concerned that having my aunt staying with her would hurt our already strained relationship.  So, I gave her some ground rules.  I told her that if she didn’t want my aunt’s staying with her to affect our relationship, then anything she was told about the time my aunt spent staying with me, she needed to take with a grain of salt and keep it to herself.  I didn’t want to know about it or to be questioned about it.  I asked her to take her own advice and remember that my aunt had “issues” and to also remember the daughter she raised, and out of respect for me, not to bring it up.  I told her if she respected my wishes in relation to those things, she shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

As the sun goes down on the first day of my being within 100 feet of my aunt and mom in the same house next door, I can say with gratitude that I have not been affected the least bit.  I won’t lie though.  I’m not at all happy about the prospect of this person being in such close proximity to me or my family again.  I made sure that I let my mom know what boundaries I had and that I expected them to be respected.  If they will continue to be remains to be seen.  I can set all the boundaries I want, but if she doesn’t respect them, it doesn’t matter.  The fact that I live within 100 feet of my mom doesn’t make the situation any easier.  I plan to remedy that as soon as financially feasible for my family and me, and move.  To be honest, it irritates me that I have to resort to moving away; however, I know down to my bones that if I don’t, things with my mom have a very real chance of deteriorating to the point that we have no relationship at all–especially with the additional complication of my aunt living there.

I haven’t spoken to my aunt in the 9 months since she left my home.  Conflict between adults is one thing.  When you attempt to involve innocent children in adult matters to manipulate the situation to your favor, that is where I draw the line and where my story continues…

When Enough is Enough

10 Nov

Before I pick up where I left off, I’d like to tell you all I’m sorry you had to wait so long for this particular post. This post has had approximately 40 revisions, and has been a labor of love for sure! Writing is normally cathartic for me; however, there is something that feels different to me this time, knowing that when I hit “publish” its there for the world to see. This portion of my story still has a sting to it for me. Writing about it, and essentially reliving and processing it all over again has been much more intense than I anticipated. The purpose of starting Soul Posts was to tell my story in hopes it would help others. If reading my posts does that, it’s worth the intensity I go through sometimes to tell it. With that being said..

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I was in an unacceptable living situation, facing the very real possibility of a foreclosure on my mortgage, and my optimism had gone out the window.  I felt hopeless, helpless, and alone.  I was embarrassed that I hadn’t yet found a job, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone; especially the friends I’d realized weren’t really there for me.  The last thing I wanted was for my feelings to be down played, or to be criticized for letting it bother me in the first place.  I’d spent enough time beating myself up over it, I certainly didn’t need any help in that area.  I felt like there were very few supportive people I could count on, and the ones I felt I could, I didn’t want to bother.  My husband was as supportive as always, but he was living it too.  I didn’t want to upset him more, and I knew he would get more frustrated that he couldn’t somehow come to my rescue and fix it. My good friends were only a phone call away, but I felt guilty calling them.  I knew they wouldn’t mind being there for me, but I didn’t want our first live conversation instead of email in months to be about my problems.

So there I was.  I had gotten myself into quite a pickle.  On one hand, I was living with an increasingly unstable house guest, and on the other I had a former friend I hadn’t confronted yet. I woke up one morning and after dealing with yet another of my Aunt’s outbursts, I decided I’d had all I could take.  Enough was enough.  I’d reached my breaking point.   I was tired of being taken for granted and used.  Things had been building up for some time and what had been simmering below the surface started to boil and bubble over.  I made a decision then that if anything was going to change, I needed to take some kind of action.  I could no longer sit silently hoping that things would change on their own.

I have always been inspired by Maya Angelou, both as a writer and as simply an extraordinary person.  I have a site bookmarked on my lap top of her quotes, and I go there when I need a kick in the pants.  Her words give me courage and inspiration to do those things in life that I consider the most unpleasant. Looking for the courage to stand in my power, I found these:

  • “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I don’t really think there really is any right or tactful way to tell someone you feel they’ve used you. I was worried about losing my friend, but I confronted her anyway.  I picked up the phone and dialed.  I got her voice mail.  I drafted an email and let it sit for a couple of days before sending it.  I worded things as carefully and as non confrontational as I could while still getting my point across. Email is never the best method of delivery for this sort of thing, but she wouldn’t pick up her phone, and I had things I needed to say.  I knew she was avoiding me, and I felt I had the right to be heard.  She reacted how I expected her to.  But…instead of denying it or justifying it, she focused on something much more petty that I’d mentioned during our conversation back and forth via email.  I mentioned how she came back into town and visited mutual friends, but never mentioned it, how she’d lied to me about her birthday only to have me find out from pictures posted on Facebook, and how hurt I was by it.  I also told her that I really didn’t care to be around our mutual “friend” anymore.  Every time we had made plans, it was like the two of them were a package deal.  The “other third” was always tagging along, even when I thought I’d made it clear she wasn’t invited.  I explained that the dynamic of the two of them together was unpleasant as they took turns taking pot shots at me and disguising it as kidding.  She defended her right to choose who she spent time with as well as who she chose as her friends.  By the time the conversation was over, she’d managed to use every nasty, vindictive tactic in her repertoire.  My gut had been right yet again and I wasn’t at all happy about it.

I grieved the loss of that friendship for quite some time.  I wondered how I could have allowed myself to be taken for such a fool.  I considered myself an intelligent, intuitive person and I couldn’t see at first how I had managed to get involved in such a toxic friendship.  After pondering it for a while, I had to admit that I’d allowed it to happen.  When I didn’t say anything after the first or even tenth incident, I created the situation.  I had not established any real boundaries in the beginning.  I feel that if I had, I would have discovered a lot sooner exactly what type of friend she really was. After I worked through my feelings and after I’d done my inner work, I was no longer willing to settle for that kind of relationship; whether it was a friend or family member.

The type of relationship I’d had with her and with my Aunt were toxic and depleting.  No wonder I felt alone and unsupported!  Picture yourself with a cup, or any other kind of container or vessel; a lovely, crystal decanter filled with your favorite wine; for example.  Now picture the people you interact with every day.  There are those who deplete you and take your wine, and there are those who support you and replenish your wine.  The goal is to spend most of your time with people who replenish you.  The ones who deplete you should be kept at a distance.   You can’t give anything of value to anyone else, if you yourself are empty.

After all was said and done, I realized the thing that pissed off my ex-friend was the fact that deep down, she knew I was right.  She had used me.  I knew when I confronted her that I wasn’t going to get an admission out of her that she was wrong.  In all the time we’d been friends, over six years, I’d never gotten even one apology from her.  I wasn’t expecting one.  I just knew I had to stand up for myself; otherwise things weren’t ever going to get any better for me.

It amazes me the lengths that some people will go to just to avoid admitting they were wrong.  To them, it’s perfectly fine to end a relationship to avoid admitting a mistake or looking bad. There’s something these types of people should know:  You already look bad! Just because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, made a mistake, or be real with yourself, doesn’t make it any less true! After all, being fallible is a part of being human. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t have to be the end of life as you know it. You don’t have to beat yourself up for it or judge yourself. You can never go back, so why spend so much time looking there? Admit your mistakes and failures, fix what needs to be fixed, and move on. If you’ve hurt someone, do your best to make amends and then get on with living your life. Anyone who cares about you is not going to think less of you if you do!

…next…don’t tread on me…

Choices

13 Sep

depression-1A person with Bipolar Disorder experiences moments of Mania, where they are euphoric, have tremendous energy, and sometimes even feel invincible.  There is also a crash downward into Depression after the Manic episode occurs. Some people experience these shifts a few times a year, others can have symptoms  with shifts as often as several times a day.  It really depends on the person and their chemistry.  Those who experience contrasting moods to the extent that they happen several times a day tend to be very restless and irritable.  Auntie was one of them.  One minute she would be goofing around, having fun playing with the kids, and I’d see a glimpse of the woman I remembered. The next she was annoyed, treating the kids harshly, and stomping off in a snit, leaving my husband and I looking at each other in confusion over what had just happened.  Worse, the kids would be bewildered and ask, “What’d I do?”  The only person in the house who was “safe” from Auntie’s moods; at least directly, was my husband.  Auntie had been through several abusive relationships, and I think she had a fear of men; though she’d never admitted it.  I believe that was probably the only thing that kept my husband out of the line of fire.  She would come to me to complain about him instead.

Over time, I found myself dreading being home with Auntie and would find any excuse to get out by myself for a while. I didn’t recognize this woman, and I grew weary of pointless discussions that went on and on, in circles for hours, with no resolution.  There was a lot of finger-pointing and blaming going on and she took absolutely no responsibility for any part in anything that happened.  In her eyes she was never wrong and to hear her tell it, my husband, kids, and I were mean, horrible people who did things purposely to hurt her!  I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this woman who had known me my entire life was accusing me of acting in ways I just wasn’t capable of.  The things she accused my husband and kids of doing were even worse.  She acted as if she thought everyone had some hidden agenda or ulterior motive.  I was constantly having to defend myself as well as my husband and kids to her and it was getting to be so surreal!  I wondered when she had gotten so bitter and cynical.  After all, Auntie had raised two children.  Surely, she had to have experienced these kinds of things before.  Why was she getting so bent out of shape over “kid stuff”??

I started going to Starbucks every morning after dropping my youngest off at preschool.  I’d get my favorite coffee, pull into the parking lot across the street and sit in the car.  I’d park in front of a small pond at the far end of the parking lot, the furthest away from the all stores and activity, and watch the mama ducks and their ducklings play follow the leader, while enjoying the solitude and my coffee.  It was during these moments that I would try to make sense out of the things that were going on.

After a while of taking time to myself each morning, I decided to have a talk with Auntie.  I couldn’t understand where her behavior was coming from and I wanted to see what we could work out to try to lessen the tension in the house.  The conversation wasn’t going as I’d hoped; we were getting nowhere, and I had decided to drop the subject for the day when Auntie confided in me about her Bipolar Disorder.  In the next breath she told me she didn’t need to be treated for it and she could handle it just fine on her own. She said she had been prescribed medication for her symptoms but was not taking it.  When I asked her why she stopped taking the medication if the doctor felt she needed it, she said she didn’t like how it made her feel.  She said she had only tried the one medication and had never gone for her follow up visit to let the doctor know how it affected her…

…next…choices part 2

 

New Year…New Life

8 Sep

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During the time I was dealing with losing my job and sorting out the issues with my friend, a family friend came back into my life.  She and my mom had been friends since they were kids, I’d known her since birth, and we considered her family.  I’d grown up calling her my Aunt, her children my cousins, and so on.  She and I had always been close and I was very fond of her.   She had always been a unique individual, free-spirited, or what my mother liked to call “flaky”.  It wasn’t unusual for years to go by without hearing from her.  I’d wonder how she was doing  and would eventually track her down.  I had done just that earlier that year in May, a couple of months before losing my job. We talked every few days from then on.

About a month later, I was talking to her during the hour-long drive home in the early morning hours from my ghost tour job in Saint Augustine.  She confided in me that she was in a horrible living situation and desperate to get out, but had nowhere to go. I called her back the next day after talking it over with my husband and invited her to come stay with us. The plan was for her to stay as long as she needed until she had saved enough money to get her own place.  I was excited to have her come and stay, but there was an uneasiness in my gut when I thought about it. Figuring it was just the idea of someone living with us causing it, I made the call anyway and brushed it off.  Unfortunately, like so many times before when I ignored that inner voice; what I now call my soul voice, I made the wrong decision.   I remembered her as a sweet, nurturing presence in my life when I was a kid,  and as someone I could always talk to, no matter what. I felt my kids would benefit from her being around since I intended to return to work full-time when I found another job and she’d be there with them when I couldn’t be.  They’d have another adult with a positive presence in their lives. She’d benefit by getting out of her current living situation and have a place to stay with people who loved and appreciated her, and she could save up the money to start over.  She offered to help out with the kids, cooking, etc., in return for staying with us.  I figured it was a win-win situation for all concerned.

She arrived December 1, 2012.  She’d changed her name over the few years that passed from the last time I’d seen her until I tracked her down and called her in May.  The day she arrived, she asked that we not call her by her former name.  She reasoned that it bothered her because she’d been through hell and having coming out on the other side, she felt that person was long gone.  In hindsight, I can see where the red flag should have gone up for me.  After all, I’d known her all my life as that person.  Chalking it up to one of her many eccentricities, I didn’t give it much thought at the time.  It felt strange and awkward calling her by this new name, but wanting to respect her wishes, I compromised and just called her “Auntie.”  I would find out her name wasn’t the only thing that had changed since I’d seen her last.

…next…new year…new life…part 2