2017-11-25 Grateful for the Not So Great

This past week was supposed to be all about being grateful, which I am. It was supposed to be about giving thanks and acknowledging those people and things in our lives we are fortunate enough to have. I feel like I do that all the time, in a way, so this week was nothing special. I’ve tried before to keep a daily record of what I’m grateful for but it typically fails after a week or two. Strange, because I am so good about writing about everything else in my life, but I don’t question it too much.

When I’m on a walk, like I went on yesterday around MY Walnut creek I always experience something new. Yesterday was so sunny and warm and also incredibly windy at the lake. Looking out over the water as I came around that most familiar bend was like being back at the Ocean. There were white caps it was so windy. For a tiny little lake like, that’s pretty impressive. I was sort of cursing the wind because it was so strong it was taking my breath away and blowing in my eyes so much my eyes were constantly watering, but at the same time, I was grateful to be able to experience that. So yeah, grateful even for things that are not so great.. that’s where it’s at.

Then we (I was with Josh), came around the other bend and I could see people on the little island on the lake that has a tiny bridge out to it and nothing more than a few trees and bushes and a bench. Every time I look at that bench I’m reminded of my history with it. It’s a rich history of deep discussion and contemplation and blossoming love and then in the end, heartbreak.

Growing up I always dreamed of how I might be proposed to, even though I swore I never wanted to be married. It was similar to having the names of my children picked out even though I never wanted to have babies. I imagined some handsome guy getting down on one knee in a romantic setting. Perhaps we were on a vacation at some breathtaking place or at a fancy restaurant. Often I was being picked up in a really nice car and just being driven away. Most of the time, it involved thoughts of rescue or escape from my lonely ordinary life to something extraordinary.

I never dreamed I would be proposed to over the phone from someone 1000 miles away, and drinking (my first husband admitted to being intoxicated when he asked me to marry him many years after the fact). I never dreamed I wouldn’t get to look that person in the eye and say yes and engage in the happiest warm embrace of my life. And I certainly never dreamed, that if that romantic destination and the down on one knee and the heartfelt speech were all together and played out just as I had always imagined that I would ever, in a million years, say “no”.

But that is what happened on that bench. That was a terribly emotional day. I agreed to meet Matt at Walnut for a walk and talk and he brought a pack with water and snacks to share on our island, on our bench. I broke up with him a week before that because things were not good between us and the shallow attempts on both our parts to change were clearly not going to be enough. I agreed to go and listen to him, but steeled myself and vowed to myself to stay strong and not give in to requests to get back together. I had no notion he would propose.

When we got to our bench, he took out a book.. a little blank journal that had a handful of pages filled out. He began to read. It was the story of our history together with words and thoughts he’d never shared with me before. He was shaking as he read it and crying and soon I was crying too. My walls were breaking down and I knew I was going to have a tough time sticking to the vow I’d made to myself earlier in the day. Then he got to the end of the story and did that thing that I did not expect. He reached into the bag and got down on one knee and tried to hand me the box and ask me to marry him.

That’s a moment I will never forget. It was just how I had always imagined, except that in my thoughts, it would be someone who loved me and wanted to marry me and commit to a life together because that is what we both wanted, not as a last attempt to get me back after the relationship was over. No, that’s not why you propose to someone and I realize the who and the why are more important than the where and the when. If I’d have said yes, my life might look a whole lot different now. I’d have that “yes”, but it would always be tainted.

Yesterday as I walked the path and looked out at that bench I was reminded of that day and that moment and that choice. I will always be reminded of it whenever I’m there. The memory of the look on his face and my internal screaming of “no, no, no, no, this is NOT how you propose to a girl, this is not how this is supposed to happen, you ruined it”, which came out in a very kind, “no, please don’t” as I took his hand and the box and urged him to stand back up. I will always remember having to make that choice. And I will always be grateful.

A few days ago, it was thanksgiving and it was a very easy day and I wrote about how easy it is to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. But it’s always easy to be grateful for the good. The trick is mastering gratitude for the hard times, for the tough moments, and for all the things in our lives which are not so great, but none the less, are part of what makes us who we are. I am who I am today partly because of that moment, and all the other tough times that I had to go through to get back to the good. I’m thankful for the opportunity to feel, and keep feeling and keep trying. I want to always try and find the good in the not so good. It’s tough to do until you are on the other side of it, but we should always try.

If we can do that, then, my friends, we have found a true gift.

Always and Forever,
~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-06-13 On Being Grateful

When I was out in Austin two short months ago my friend Rebecca had a Mother’s day celebration and invited all their friends. Mother’s day was just an excuse, it was a good time to get together and celebrate.. life. They have a lot of great friends. One of her close friends is Holly and I’ve not only met Holly before but we’ve been on a girls trip together in Mexico. She’s a lot of fun.

Later in the afternoon at this party Hollie and a few other ladies and I were sitting at the kitchen table and talking about stuff. I think I may have mentioned really struggling in the last year and how my struggles have continued into this year. She empathized with me. I did not go into a ton of detail, but she did offer some advice which sounded very legit, and very much something that I, myself, would come up with. That was taking a few moments every day to write down what you are grateful for.

She said she has done this simple practice before and it has helped her. It does not matter how much you put into it, the benefit is real. It is through recognition of what we have, and the good in our lives, that we find peace with life. Things get so very busy and we spend too much time thinking about what the next thing is or how to meet a goal or have something more that we don’t just stop and look around and admire all there is, right now in this moment. If we take time to do that, we will feel better about where we are. In turn, it will improve the mood of the day. Especially if you do it early in the day or “first thing” she said.

I did not start this journal until January, but I can tell you that back in November when I was in full-on train wreck mode, I used this tactic multiple times to try and get through it. Back then, it was less about having a simple daily practice and more about using this strategy in key moments where I felt so low I did not know how to make it through to the next. Right now, I recognize I am in a much better place, but still struggling somewhat, and could still benefit from a daily ritual.

So starting today (because today is always a good day to start), I am going to recognize and write down something I am grateful for. I am going to try and do this each and every day. It may or may not be here in this forum, but I’m going to give it a shot. We’ll see if that really does give me an extra mood boost or improves my outlook over time.

Stopping to Smell the Roses,
~Miss SugarCookie

P.S. I am grateful for this blog. 😉

2017-03-16 I Will Survive

I survived the Ides and it was a pretty good day. I had meet-ups with three people I adore that I don’t get to see very often. Well, I should not say that about Sam – I work with her so I “see” her all the time but things are always so busy for both of us we barely have time to stop and say hello.

I went to lunch with her and I caught her up on all the drama in my life, of which there are new developments I’ll have to delay divulging here. I talked so much that we barely scratched the surface on her catching me up on her world. Since it was just lunch, we only had about an hour. I felt bad, but it’s just another reason we should meet up again soon. 😃

Then in the evening another friend of mine, Amy, came over to my house. We’ve always met out somewhere so it is the first time she has seen my house. Thankfully I had Z’s party last weekend and things were pretty well still cleaned up from that. I made snacks and she brought snacks and we sat and talked for like two and a half hours. With that amount of time we were both able to catch each other up on current events.

She’s on a healthy eating kick and we very much see eye to eye on that and a lot of other things. Her life is very positive right now and it’s nice to have that kind of energy to be around. She’s been very supportive throughout all my ups and downs with Matt and I’m so grateful.

Sam too for that matter. She’s the one who told me on a very critical day in a very vulnerable moment, “You deserve better”. It made a world of difference to me.

In fact, there are a number of people that, even though for some, we don’t see each other that often, I’m fortunate to have in my life. Last November and December, when I was really train wrecking, I needed these people. My sister Jamie and her support and words of wisdom. Steph and her random lunches and being there for me in another very bad situation. Rebecca and Jeremy and their being my home away from home, my sanctuary for getting away and thinking clearly. Barbie and her lunches and stories and reality check. Leah and her introducing me to Jazzercise. My boss Michelle and her support and flexibility with my work schedule. My other sister Lindsay and my mom and dad and his wife Chris. All the moments with all of these people, and everyone getting me through it.

The third meet up I had yesterday was with Josh, the guy I went to Saint Louis with. We met quite late at the VI for free pie Wednesday. He’s been there this entire time. Before, during, after (if you can call now after). He’s been a true support, listening to everything I had to say and offering logical responses and reminders about historical events our brains like to ignore when they are busy justifying what they think the right answer. I’ve cried on his shoulder a couple of times, and no matter what, he’s responded to every random ping.

We actually talked about the fact that when bad things happen, that is when we realize we need the people in our lives. We proposed the question… if it were not for the bad times, would we really need those other people. Clearly you need people to share the good experiences with, because that makes those times even better, so the answer is yes, people always need people. I guess in those tough times, that is when you need them the most.

So the Ides came and went and at the present moment I’m sort of like this entire week has been an Ides sandwich. I’ve had info bombs dropped on me both the day before and the day after (today) and that’s going to take time to sort out. I’m still processing it all, so it may be a couple of days before I get to it.

My eyes are so heavy right now so that’s another sign I need to call it quits for the day. 2016 happened and I survived. October and November and December happened and I survived. Every minute, day, hour I survived, with a little help from my friends, but I did it and I will keep on doing it.

Eternally Grateful,
Miss SugarCookie