Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I Am Here.

Photo found here- great, isn't it?

Hello Friends.

I've been having such a difficult time putting posts together. This breaking up thing is really hard. Every time I start stringing thoughts together to share with you, I begin to edit myself. I edit myself down to nothing. But I don't want to do that. I am trying to break out of a pattern of ...what? Perfectionism, maybe? There is a part of me that doesn't want to come to the table without a perfect dish to share. I am learning, however, that when I do that, I starve! I love blogging. I love reading blogs and I've grown as a result of reading other people's blogs. It helps us all, I think, when we can reach out and share our experiences with each other.

I also know that ideally, that kind of sharing works best when it is done face-to-face, but long before I got connected with other women in a helping kind of environment, I had the internet. And it really can be a community. There is a difference between communicating individually and communicating in a group. Synergy is an over-used word, but it really applies here, in my opinion. A group creates a body that is more than the sum of its parts. A blog can become a "group" and function as the "minutes" of that group at the same time!

Even if this blog becomes nothing more than me, regurgitating what I am learning as I am learning it, it will still be a help to me in acting as a place to keep all my thoughts together. I do hope that I can bring something worthwhile to the table. Something that, while possibly imperfect, may still have some value to somebody else.

Francis is showing you my newest thrift treasure- a lemon teapot! I am, at my table. Or lemonade stand!

I don't want to go into all the details that have led to me ending my marriage because, after all, there is another person involved here. That has been the other part of me editing my posts down to nothing! Since all I can control is myself, I will do my best to limit my sharing here to MY experiences.

What I feel inspired to share today isn't even my own work! I found this wonderful article in the comments at Tracey's blog, Notes from A Cottage Industry. The article is called The Emotions of Grief During a Breakup and is on this blog, Getting Past Your Past ( by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. which looks to me like a good resource to tap into often-- like everyday! It is really a great article. All of the phases that the author speaks of are so familiar to me! I love the way the author talks about "cycling" through the emotions of grief repeatedly. When my children were little I read some parenting books by Louise Bates Ames and she talked about the "cycle" process too in terms of child develoment. Also, if you look at nature, you know that growth occurs in cycles with the seasons. I have often thought that all growth is like this. We know from experience that we don't grow in a linear fashion. After all, the phrase "Two steps forward, one step back" must come from somewhere!

I think that personal growth is like a spiral. We know that we want to get to the top, but as we follow the coil, we can sometimes lose sight of where we are going and sometimes we lose sight of where we've been. Sometimes we have to go in the same circles repeatedly before we find our way again. (If you've read to the last book in The Narnian Chronicles, you may remember the end when all our heroes were going higher and higher or in the song, Circle Up by Chris Rice- aahhh, the journey's end!) I feel that the last year has helped me to find my path to a way of living that is authentic and true. Lies that I used to accept as truth (because I didn't know any other way of getting my needs met), I can no longer tolerate. I used co-dependent behaviors for a long time as a way of not feeling or owning my feelings. Once I opened my eyes and was able to behave in more healthy ways, I stopped condoning behaviors that are destructive.

The biggest issue for me has been coming to terms with the fact that I made a mistake in 1995 and I have been punishing myself ever since. Punishing is probably too harsh. Okay, I will back up. When my husband, Jerry, died in April 1995, I was hurting a lot. Instead of allowing myself plenty of time to grieve and surrounding myself with a good support system, I ran away from my feelings and tried to be strong for my children, Carmen and Eric, who were four and one years old at the time. I went back to school to get my bachelor's degree and found a bachelor instead. One who thought I was attractive and didn't treat me like I was broken which is how I felt most people treated me at the time. Granted, I was rather broken, but I didn't like being treated like I was! Long story short, I got pregnant seven months after being widowed and tried to make it "right" for the next thirteen years.

Now, was I punishing myself? If a dear friend were telling me this story, I would tell her that she had spent thirteen years trying to do the right thing. The problem was that E and I are completely wrong for each other. That was true then and it's true now. I told my friend Sandra that it's like taking off a poorly fitting shoe after suffering with it for SO long. The last thing you want to do is put it on again!

This blog is not my "divorce" blog. I hope it will be my "life" blog. As I got closer to the end of my marriage, I felt increasingly fragmented with my blog. Tender Arts has always been primarily about dollmaking and crafting. I know now that those activities were part of a coping strategy for me. There was very little about my life that I felt I had control over. In happier days, family and homemaking were a bigger part of my life. As my life became more chaotic, my dollies and crafts were one area where I knew I had complete control.

I hope now that I have a better respect for myself and that I can integrate all the aspects of my life and share them with you. Let's take the bitter and make it sweet- like lemonade!



Amanda said...

I'm sorry, Bettsi. It does sounds like you did what's best. Sending gentle thoughts your way...

Bettsi said...

Amanda, you are very dear to read all the way to the end! Thank you, my friend.

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

I was "this close" to sending you over to Tracey from "Notes from a Cottage Industry" then I read that you've already been there! I've been following her story for a long time and she has lots of wisdom to share! Glad you visited me today, and thank you for sharing your heart!

Anonymous said...

Yes, breaking up is hard, hard, hard to do. I applaud you for working on your co-dependent tendencies. It's work! Loss of any kind is a sad process. Your have my thoughts and prayers. I too am in the process of ending a marriage. While we may be making the healthy decision, it still can be painful. Take care of yourself.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bettsi,
I may have found you through dolls & craft, but it was your warmth and kindness that shone out to me. And that is why I'm visiting-for the person you are.

If anyone can make lemonade now-I'm sure that you can.

One day I hope to blog again, but in an honest way as you inspire me to.


Hooked on Houses said...

I think this is beautifully said. I just read an article (wish I could remember where now--Newsweek, maybe?) that talked about how therapeutic blogging is for a lot of people, and how some counselors are even advising patients to start blogs. I would've thought that was a little crazy before I had a blog myself. Now I'm convinced there's something to it!

We're all rooting for you. -Julia :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know how hard this is and I just had to comment... I went through a divorce 4 years ago, after 10 years of marriage, and it was sooooo painful. It still is, really!!! I wasted a lot of time feeling hurt/ angry, but then I realized I was becoming one of "those" bitter divorced women, who complain to everyone who will pretend to listen!!! And then I learned to (most of the time) try to make lemonade, too. =)You will get through this!!