Wednesday, October 04, 2006

So how's that workin' for ya?

I hate Dr. Phil and everything he stands for. BUT, he has this phrase that I have carted around with me since I heard it...

So how's that workin' for ya?

Loosely translated into non-annoying-Texan-speak, it says, "Quit complaining, get off your ass, and DO something. You can bitch and bitch, but it's not going to accomplish anything. The only way to create change is to create change."

So how's that workin' for ya?

Since Alex died, I have been thrown into a tailspin. It's not just the grief and sadness that have caused chaos in my life. It's the complete change in philosophy that came with it. No longer do I control my life...Suddenly, things just happen TO me. Nonsensical things that happen without so much as a warning.

I guess I have always realized that this was the case. But I stuffed it down, refusing to allow it to surface and bring with it all the fear of uncertainty that I knew it would bring. But when Alex died (and again when Travis died), I had no choice but to confront it and acknowledge it. Which I thought I did quite well each time. But the truth of the matter is that I didn't do it well at all. I let it consume me. Suddenly, my ENTIRE LIFE was something that just happened TO me. I surrendered it all and gave up trying to find my own path. I stopped communicating with friends, I stopped participating in hobbies, I quit cleaning my get the picture. And no, it wasn't depression. I was never depressed in the clinical sense of the term. It was, in its own way, a form of control. I deliberately gave it all away so I wouldn't have to experience the disappointment when "it" didn't go according to plan. I knew what I was doing and I almost relished the release. I let everything happen TO me. I didn't even want to drive for four months, instead preferring to suffer an insane waste of time each day in order to be shuttled around. It was easier.

But it's not workin' for me anymore. I'm coasting through my life and I miss the looking forward to things. Simple things...AND more complex things.

I think doing our house project has, in some strange way, helped me see that my way isn't working anymore. I watch the house get torn apart...and get put back together...and I wasn't even excited about it. Sure, it was neat to watch, but someone commented, "You must be getting so excited," and I was perplexed by that because I wasn't getting so excited. I felt nothing.

The planning, the shopping, the demolition, and the reconstruction have all been serving merely as I didn't have to face my lack of surrendering of caring one way or the other. I was ok with that, because I hoped that even if I was never able to look forward with hope, I would at least be able to live within the end result that we had created in wood and plaster.

Then last night we were standing in what will soon be our new bedroom, and I felt it...that excitement...that looking forward. It's going to be beautiful...and it's something we planned from beginning to end. And yes, there were some pretty tough obstacles along the path. But we dealt with them.

I know a house can't compare to beings who graced my life for a woefully inadequate length of time. But attitude isn't workin' for me anymore.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about an argument she was having with her husband. My point to her, so easily rattled off, was that being angry is silly if there is no resolution or solution. You can't spend your whole life angry. You have to decide what you are going TO DO about it.

Voila! I hope you won't think less of me if I tell you that the revelation wasn't even instantaneous. It wasn't until this morning that I thought, "Well duh! When are you going to take your own advice?"

The most painful posts I have written here on this blog have been those that contemplate moving forward into the future. I have arrived in a place where I accept the sadness of the past. But I am only now coming to a place where I can even think about my role in the uncertainty of my future. It's not working, giving up control entirely. No...not control exactly. It's not working, giving up effort. I need to make SOME EFFORT.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst. I think that might work much better for me. At least it will get me out of neutral and deliberately moving forward again.


lauralu said...

congratulations on the return of hope.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see some hope returning for you. I know first hand how hard it can be to make positive steps forward when everything seems to suck. Your new outlook seems realistic and positive -- not a bad feat!

serenity said...

Catherine - I have been lurking on your blog for many months now but never had much beyond "I'm so sorry" to offer you. And I didn't want you to hear those empty words from me.

But I want to de-lurk now and tell you that I am so heartened to see a spark of hope again in your writing. I truly hope that you are closer to finding peace.

Much love to you. I have wished you happiness and healing since I first started reading your blog.

JMB said...

It's great to see you ready to move forward, with anticipation. There is still a lot for you to do-and getting that dream bedroom is just the start! I truly believe that making the decision to make positive change, to really committ to it, is the hardest thing to do.

sillyhummingbird said...

Hmm...I get via email "daily inspirations" and today's seem to fit your post:

"Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence."
– Lin Yutang

Just thought I'd share it and let you know that I second what was written above-so great to witness the spark of hope in you.

kate said...

Sounds like a plan!

I do believe that whatever works, is what you should do...and i also think that we would all be better off if we took our own advice ;)

kate said...

ps. are you actually getting real plaster? Yes, i can be relied on to ask about the most irrelevant thing....

Holley said...


And good for you.

V said...

Thank you for writing about this. I found myself coping quite well before but lately there is just this nothingness. I hope I can also find that glimmer of hope somewhere. But you are right, one has to put a bit of effort into it. We are also planning to renovate soon, maybe that will help me too!

Dana said...

awwww kate! that just makes my heart happy. good for you! :)