June Bug

Wow where has the time flown?  Recently I’ve been feeling the clock ticking really loudly in my brain.  Part of it is that lots of things come up this time of year besides flowers.  Some things relate to my past life, and others to events that happened after I came home.  In a few weeks it will be 4 years since my Grandma Donna passed away and then exactly a month after that will it will be 4 years since my Grandma Darlene passed.  Then add into the mix that every time the clock ticks off a second I am that much closer to the end of my 3rd decade of existence.    This lead to a minor panic attack and break down earlier this week.   I managed with the support of my mom, sisters, and cousins (who are the equivalent of two more sisters).  I am thankful every day for the family I was born into.

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1991 – I think…

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2015 – after the funerals, Hurlbut/Sheffield Family (just missing a couple husbands and kids)

Part of my coping when I come into these extremely stressful periods is to just write whatever is coming to my mind.  Now one thing I want to add in, is that I am not one who usually has such a tough time with anxiety and depression.  It’s always been diagnosed as “mild”, however, last October/November I was put on Cymbalta because I was struggling to get out of bed most days and not really enjoying much stuff.  A was able to journal during that period and found that really I just felt crappy with headaches, and body aches, and bed was warm and comfy and physically made me feel better.  At the beginning of this year I decided that I didn’t like the way I felt on Cymbalta.  I felt like the faucet of my emotions had been turned off.  For awhile it was nice, I was able to really work through some stuff from my past life that I probably would have found too emotionally painful to face, but, I like to feel my emotions on a regular basis.  Call me crazy, but if something is sad, I want to feel the sorrow.  If something is happy, I want to feel the ecstasy.  If something warrants being upset or angry, I want to feel the rage even if I never freely throw that around.  If something is dangerous, I want to be able to feel the fear.  Now that I am almost completely weened off the medication – I can say that if I had known what the withdrawal of the medication was like I never would have taken it to start with.  Dysphoria to the point that I cry for no reason – I’ve never had that before.  Headaches and vertigo are no stranger to me, but not for days at a time.  If you google Cybmalta Withdrawal Syndrome it is truly a scary thing, and I felt like I had been broke to the point that maybe I would need medication for the rest of my life because I had NEVER experienced ANYTHING like those symptoms before, even before I tried medication.  So, earlier this week when I was feeling a bit off, I decided to go sit and pull weeds and indulge in some Vitamin G because that always lifts my spirit.  All it did this time was send me in an anxious spiral that started with worrying who was going to die next, I wasn’t ready to face losing a parent or any one of their generation, heaven forbid it be me or my sisters or my cousins.  I have no legacy, no children of my own, thus will never have grand children (I do hope to have a family one day).  I will be 40 in November, I already have greying hair – I’m going to be an old woman in the blink of the eye and be left wondering where my life went.  My ex wanted a divorce before we even had our 2nd anniversary and I could have been free way back then sparing myself a lot of pain.  I could have remarried and had children and not be having half the freak out panics about things that I was worrying about at that moment…. The list kept going on and on and on to the point that I just planted the herbs that I wanted to and went inside to try to calm myself down.  I have never been much of one to let myself get worked up over things that I can’t control.  It was really worrisome to me because I had never had an episode quite like that before and I really don’t ever want to again.

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The next day I wrote out my thoughts on what had lead up to the divorce desire of my ex in 1999, and I remembered that I was ready to call it quits then too.  I was so miserable that I was ready to leave.  I was working a part time job and going to school full time.  I hate confrontations and he thrived on them.  I remember sitting with him one Sunday after church and telling him I wanted to leave.  He asked if I thought we could make it work.  I told him yes, but I didn’t know if we should.  I told him it would take both of us trying.  We talked a bit more about things I no longer remember and we continued playing Gin Rummy.  We never discussed me leaving again really until I left in 2014.  Looking back from where I stand now and knowing what I do now about him and our time together, I am fairly certain that he spent time considering everything I did and what he’d have to start doing on his own; dishes, laundry, finances, shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc.  All things that he never really did for himself.  There was quite a bit his parents still did for him that probably didn’t help right up until we got married (he was in his mid 20’s).  I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided that the logical choice was to do whatever he could to keep me from leaving at that point.  Then as the years progressed, he got tired of trying, and while we did have a few good years where I think he was actually happy, he eventually got tired of the charade and realized he could do things for himself.  I also realized another thing while I wrote this all out.  I don’t really care any more, what changed between 1999 and 2014.  I don’t care what was going through his head.  I don’t care that I could have “got out” before it got bad.  What I do care about, is how I grew in that time.  If you look up healing from narcissist abuse, there are several stages that a person goes through.  Most of the resources talk about those healing steps taking place after the victim has left the situation.  I can see my growth in those healing steps, but 99% of them took place while I was still in the situation without me even being aware of it.  I will never regret or truly wish to rewind and redo my past life because I found friends that have become family that I would not trade for anything in the world.  They know who they are.  I would do it all over again to have them in my life and nothing can change that.

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Being able to look at things from another perspective, even if it’s just looking back behind my life’s timeline, is extremely therapeutic.  Sometimes I have a hard time reconciling who I was before I got married, who I became while married, and who I am becoming after getting unmarried.  I wish there was a clear dividing point like my wedding anniversary and divorce anniversary.  There can’t be though, can there, because I’m still her.  I’m still who I was before I was married, while I was married, and the person I am becoming now is all of me.  I am me, and everything that I am is made from all of who I used to be.  Now I am learning to not be at war with myself.  My internal self is not a battle of three armies.  It isn’t a battle at all.  I think, at least for me, that is a good portion of what I am working through.

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When I am writing a book, often after a draft or two, I have so many ideas that cross all the various drafts, that I stack them to the side, open a new word document, and start over from scratch.  Periodically I will take a scene or two from one of the drafts, but I usually just start over and take what I learned writing the previous drafts to begin again.  You can’t really do that with life, unless, I don’t know, the government gives you a whole new identity and you go somewhere where you have never been and nobody knows you.  Each day is a new day, but you are still you and can build from yourself up.  Too much time is spent tearing ourselves down with the belief that we will remove all the ugly moments and be able to start fresh as if the ugly never existed. But tearing yourself down is exhausting and painful.  Find the beauty in the broken and ugly levels.  Build yourself up right in the current moment, not tomorrow, not Monday (because everything starts on Monday right?), not next month; right now.  When I look at my Snap Dragons that are just now starting to bloom, they build their buds and get taller, and when the flowers start, they start blooming at the top and each day another round of flowers have opened going down.  Even taking my Hollyhocks as a slightly different example – they bloom from the bottom up.  It takes days or weeks for all the flowers to open.  I never look at those flowers and think, what a pity that not all the flowers are open at once.  If the flowers all opened at the same time, I’d only get to enjoy the beauty of the blooms for a short time, but by staggering their show of color over days and weeks, I get to enjoy their presence for much longer.  Once I had the words out of my head and onto paper I felt so much better because I gained so much on the path that I’ve traveled, that I wouldn’t want to give it up, no matter what another path may have held for me.  I also cherish the year and a half I had with my grandmothers.  While I wish I had spent more time in the years between with them, I would not give up the last months I had with them.   Some days this next bit is hard to find words for, but I would not give up the me I have become for anything.  I’m not perfect, never have been, never really will be, but I am enough.  I like who I have become.  Yes, I probably would like who I would have become on another path too, but the point is, that path is so far gone that it’s a waste of time to dwell on it.  There is no reverse in life to go back and catch a turn off.  To hate the path taken is to hate the person I’ve become and I can’t do that.  That’s part of the war that rages inside that I am currently working at brokering a peace.   I’ve always tried to be myself, sometimes it’s harder than others, but figuring out who I am and being her is sometimes also just as hard.  04944b2ce1aa662bd15e919411b6a9ba

Now – on the fun side – ever hear the saying “Cute as a June Bug?”  I had heard it so many times growing up, even though it’s more of a Southern United States saying.  I had never actually seen a June Bug, rather, if I had I didn’t know what I was looking at was a June Bug.  In my imagination I as picturing something cute and fuzzy and absolutely adorable.  Yeah – that’s not what a June Bug looks like.  They are kinda ugly, but at the same time, they are really pretty with their green iridescence.

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Now – I have some raised garden beds to get made – I hope.  If they turn out maybe I’ll share them on here.  If not, next time it will probably be chickens… chickens are good – I haven’t shared a chicken post in awhile. 🙂 Hope everyone has a good June and that what I have to share is helpful.

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Two of my unnamed 8 week old pullets (and me).

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Vitamin G

My favorite time of year is late spring early summer.  I love the feeling of the warmth of the sun and the scent of the flowers that are blooming.  My back yard at dusk is just a bit of heaven.  Lilacs are in full bloom and my Iris are starting to ramp up their unfurling as well.  My favorite perfume of nature.  My lower lot between the chicken area and my vegetable garden is turning in to a painting of bright orange poppies and soon the rambling yellow roses will start opening as well.  I love it.  It is what my soul sings for during the coldest winter days.

All the gorgeous flowers don’t come without work though.  The Iris are low maintenance for sure, but everything needs watered.  Grass seems to grow best in flower beds instead of the lawn.  There is always something more to do outside, and the window of time is narrow.  It is easy to find yourself scrambling to squeeze in a little weed pulling or lawn mowing and it is even easier to feel bothered and stressed out by it all.   Once upon a time a certain someone from my past life decided that one of the main reasons he didn’t want to own his own home was because he didn’t want to have to mess with the lawn or flowers or anything like that.  There are times I can see his point of view.  It very easily turns into one more thing that has to be done in an already busy schedule.

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Five years ago when I first moved home, I had a lot of free time on my hands.  I had no job, I lived with Mom, Dad, and Grandma Donna, and was collecting unemployment.  I spent several days worth of hours crocheting ruffled scarves as part of my divorce therapy.  I got pretty good at it too – one episode of NCIS or Criminal Minds and I was cranking out a scarf per episode.   I got tired of sitting though.  So I started to help out in the garden.  I pulled a lot of weeds.  I mowed a lot as well down at Grandma Darlene’s.  I worked on a few flower beds as well that hadn’t had a lot of attention.  I started to really enjoy my time in the dirt.  I learned something I had forgotten about myself.  I LOVE playing in the dirt!

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-And you get to stab things with a shovel.

Skip to 2016 when I had moved into Grandma Darlene’s as started my own garden.  I was starting to really process the abuse and everything that I had gone through in my past life, and I was willing to do pretty much anything to avoid sitting in the house and missing my grandma.   I spent hours, music playing in my ears, sitting in the dirt pulling weeds.  My mind was processing everything else.  Pull a weed; digest a situation I had been in years before.  Dig a weed; imagine grandma and grandpa sitting there pulling weeds with me.  Plant a seed; think of a plot line for a story.  Adjust my gloves, and repeat. 1840ad5a45e63b3526b279b103e36d24

My neighbor always hesitated to approach me while I was in weeding mode, she said it looked like I was always in deep thought; which was true, but I always have time for neighbors.  I loved the feeling of accomplishment of looking at back and seeing the weeds gone and the beautiful rich dirt ready for tilling or planting.

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Weeds before me (and rhubarb)

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Dirt behind me

 

It is one of the most peaceful feelings I have ever experienced, letting everything go, and connecting with nature.  It’s more than just the dirt.  This is the area where my grandpa had his garden many years ago.  I dig in the dirt that he once dug in.  I’m killing plants where he once killed plants (honestly i don’t think he ever killed any plants, he was magic).  I have had to resort to a tall fence to provide protection from the herds of deer that meander through the lot, but it is still the same place.  I lost grandpa in 1996 to cancer and have missed him more than I realized.  Now that grandma is with him, I feel like the garden not only has given me a place to bury my troubles, but it also connects me to them in a way that I never expected.  I can sit on the rock wall in the back and inhale the warm fragrant air and almost hear them talking in the breeze.  While I live alone, I don’t often actually feel alone.  34b464ef0d5217aec5c49433d6689596There are many things I probably shouldn’t have done during the early stages of my healing (looking at you online shopping), but gardening is not one of those things (well, maybe not all the ‘clearance’ plants at Walmart…).  I have found peace and grounding.  Perhaps that’s the reason that I have plants in all rooms of my house.  Gardening of any kind makes me feel connected.  I can’t garden year round in the way that is most therapeutic, so I must do it in any way that I can.   I highly recommend anyone who has anxiety to find a garden plot full of weeds and set to work, one weed at a time.  It narrows your focus down onto one task and you can do more than you realize.  It’s also a really good way to avoid house work.   Vitamin G cannot be overdosed and is best in high volumes.