What I Woke Up Thinking About

We want so much to be sure. . . of the right decision, of the correct path, of our relationships and our work and our place in life. I want that certainty so much that it is too often my solitary focus. My vision narrows and it’s as though I see my life through the wrong side of a telescope.

I keep returning to this truth: There are no guarantees.

Sometimes when I feel like I am losing (people, moments, dreams) my impulse is to cling. I clutch so tightly that I choke the life right out of them. The whole time thinking, “Stay. Stay. Stay. Don’t go.” It is in these moments that I remember my father and how I lost him twice- once to the bottle and again to cancer- and how from that experience a pattern was born. And how each time I lose something special to me, I lose it and my dad all over again. While intellectually understanding the correlation, what my brain understands is not often what my heart knows.

My heart makes one decision while my brain makes another.

I’m struggling right now to figure it out. How to move forward. How to let go. How to trust that it’s all going to be okay even when it hurts. How to have faith in myself and the unknown. All I can really do is get up every morning and be grateful that a new day is unfolding- yet unwritten and open with possibility.

And go to therapy.


41 thoughts on “What I Woke Up Thinking About

  1. I’m no stranger to the heart not knowing what the brain does. I’m trying to accept things in my heart, to trust my decisions, and move forward, just as you are.

    So I know. I know what it’s like.

  2. It’s bad enough when you have heavy stuff you’re going thru — when it causes you to revisit old heavy stuff as well? That’s the worst. It sounds like you are getting there – getting to that ‘good place’ – but just remember you’re not alone. We’re here to help you along your journey.

    Hugs. Big ‘uns.

  3. Big hugs, Sizz. I know what you mean. On the bright side, it sounds like you found a therapist you like–that’s great!

  4. This is something I feel like I could have written. I think you and I are very similar, so it isn’t a surprise that we seem to approach things similarly. I need to go to therapy!

  5. People usually say follow your heart and you’ll be fine, but more often than not it’s our egos, insecurities and hang-ups which speak the loudest. Once we are able to rid ourselves of all of that, then the heart can truly be heard. Not an easy task, at least I know I’m far from mastering it.
    Sending hugs your way.

  6. A lot of times I find myself expecting that moving forward will dull or even erase things only to be reminded that we have to carry some things with us no matter what. If they can’t just go away, here’s to us learning to manage them better.
    And hugs. Many hugs.

  7. I know these struggles. My mother always suggests alanon…
    Good luck, it’s a hard path to navigate. I’d like to think I am better at it now, but I just think my life is more stable now. I don’t get as much practice.

  8. Keep up that faith in yourself, Sizzle. Use your intuition. Live YOUR truth. Be true to YOU. You cannot go wrong when you’re true to yourself.

    And thank goodness for therapy, right? Best thing ever. I hope it helps you through this tough time. I know it helped me when I needed it.

    One day at a time, sister.

  9. Maybe you could perform some kind of physical act as a way of letting go like….

    write a letter to your dad and then burn it. Ceremoniously.

    Put the letter in a bottle and cast it off.

    Attach it to a ballon and LET GO.

    You are such a wonderful person to let hang ups control you. What are you holding on to the past for? Why hold on to hurt when you could experience more of life’s pleasures and laugh? I know it’s easier said than done. I try to live in the now. Only way I know.

  10. Wow, couldn’t have said it better myself. You inspire me to put my thoughts out there but not all that brave enough yet. I too, lost the pops to the bottle, then to cancer, and now miss him every day. This may not make sense, but it makes me to feel better, that other people think the same way – and in this case, on the same day. Thanks for sharing, you keep me going.

  11. I get it.

    Holding on has kept me in some truly unfortunate situations…

    Hopefully I can break the pattern soon. I have a great marriage, but I need a great job.

  12. I think getting up every morning and just continuing to live life is all you can do. It’s hard to say from one day to the next what will be the proper path to follow. Circumstances dictate that we make decisions on an as-needed basis. But if you ever need help “in the moment,” as it were, you know where to find us.

    I hope this helps.

  13. I just love you. I cling when I’m afraid to lose, too. Or I act aloof and pretend that I don’t care if I lose, only because I’m scared to cling for fear that the other person will let go while I’m striving to hold on so tightly.

    And now on total accident I have Bob Marley in my head, and so I’m singing to you what he’s singing to me. “Every little thing is gonna be alright.”

  14. I hope therapy helps you, as it helped me when I was going through my divorce. It helped me to maintain my sanity and make some good decisions for myself.

  15. The mornings/nights/days following the aftermath of a relationship are ones that continue to make me hesitate about getting back on the proverbial horse. I wonder how long I’ll be single or if I’ll ever let someone in again.

    I can relate and that’s all I can say (besides ‘Boogers!’, but only to be funny).

  16. Hugs.
    Sweetie, for what it’s worth, you’re a smart funny sassy chick — I think I’d like you less if you didn’t take your life so much to heart. I live with an alcoholic, I think one of the hardest things was learning to forgive myself and allow myself to make mistakes… big and small. So I get where you’re coming from, it’ll be ok in the end.

  17. Sometimes when I feel like I am losing (people, moments, dreams) my impulse is to cling. I clutch so tightly that I choke the life right out of them.

    I thought I might be the only one.

  18. I started reading your blog through Sandra and have to admit, I’m a bit hooked. Mainly because I enjoy your outlook on life – it is very similar to mine a lot of times 🙂

    I am not a regular meditator by any means, but I tried it once. The teacher (are they called teachers?) told us to sit there and focus on our breath. I had no clue what that meant. While I was contemplating my breath, I remembered I was out of gum (I think the leap came from bad breath?). So then I was mentally making a shopping list. I was 6 items in when I was like “shoot, I’m not supposed to be thinking about this” so I went back to “thinking about my breath.” During that half hour I veered off of the topic of my breath maybe a few hundred times. It was like mental tug-o-war – breath, errands, breath, dinner, breath, weekend. After class the teacher approached me and asked who I had liked my first class. I said “I really don’t think meditating is for me. My brain wondered off the topic of my breath every 30 seconds!” She just smiled and said “that’s great – you noticed and brought your attention back to the topic on hand every 30 seconds! Maybe next week it will be every 29 seconds.” I hadn’t thought about it like that.

    The moral is noticing our reactions is the first step in changing a behavior. The more we notice, the more we will notice. Correlating all loss with your dad is not going to go away over night. But maybe every time you catch yourself going there, just acknowledge it. Instead of fully giving into the emotion, remind yourself this is a different situation with a different outcome. Maybe every so often you may begin to believe that for a few seconds at a time – because your conscious mind is being tuned to look for that behavior and queue up the intellectual side. A few seconds of believing may eventually turn into a few minutes, etc.

    I have tried meditating a few more times, and although it still isn’t my thing, I can notice immediately now when my mind wanders. It no longer sneaks up and immerses me, which allows me to be control of how I react to it. Might work for you, too?

  19. Wow, this one hit home. This is something I could have written last year. I was in a very similar position. You’ve already realized that there are no guarantees in life. That took me a long time to figure out. A long time.

    I also realized that you can’t stay on a certain path just because it’s familiar and “safe”. In many respects I think it takes a leap of faith to take another unfamiliar path. Sure it’s scary, but at the same time I’ve found it rewarding beyond my expectations. I’ll look back on 2008 as my year of self discovery that’s for sure.

    And look, you’ll get idiots like me saying “it will get better” and you’ll think “oh just fu** off”. Because that’s what I was told, and that’s exactly what I thought in response. But they were right, it did get better.

    Of any blog post I read today, none had me nodding my head more than this one.

  20. I am reminded of a line from a poem from Edna St. Vincent Millay: “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn/ What the swift mind beholds at every turn.”

    I used it as my quote in my high school senior yearbook.

  21. “My heart makes one decision while my brain makes another.”
    No truer words were spoken!
    I’m so sorry that you’re having a tough time and I really wish I could give you a big hug and pour you an enormous glass of wine.
    Lots of love xx

  22. Letting go is something we do gradually I think. It doesn’t happy all at once. I hope things ease up and you can breath a little easier soon. You deserve all sorts of happiness.

  23. I understand. More than understand. I personally know how you feel. I think letting go is hard because somewhere deep inside we know it’s the only truthful action we can take. The only one that’s not steeped in the falseness of permanency. That realization is way easier to come upon in the intellectual sense… to readily accept it promises a lot of pain. Still, I hear the other side of that is bliss. Hang in there. We’ll figure it out.

  24. My brain and my heart always argue, leaving my gut to make my decisions. The only thing that helps is therapy because it keeps me in check. I understand what you’re saying because I too am the exact same way.

  25. “I clutch so tightly that I choke the life right out of them.”

    I do the same thing. I need to relearn my grip when it comes to relationships. It is a process, it will come. Have faith.


  26. I understand exactly how you feel and have a hard time distinguishing between feeling and logic.. I am trying to figure it all out too and the best thing that I do is wake up every day grateful for my health – my family and my life… That for me puts things in perspective and keeps me moving forward. Faith is so amazing and provides incredible comfort. You are not alone in your struggles… Hugs!

  27. I had a conversation with someone who had to decide whether or not to take his mother off life support. Even after all the advice and information he received, in the end, he still couldn’t be sure he was making the right decision.

    So many of our choices and decisions in life are like that. We can never be 100% sure that we are making the right choice. We simply have to do the best we can and, as you say, learn to let it go, to have a little grace with ourselves.

    Plus, have a couple of beers.

  28. On the holding-on topic…yeah.
    I grew up feeling that if we were tenacious enough, and committed enough, we could outlast any bad behavior or troubled times. When I felt people slipping away, I thought that if I loved them more, or tried “harder” it would make a difference somehow. It doesn’t. That was a real blow, to have to accept that sometimes people are beyond our control,and we have to accept what it is. Seems a losing proposition, you know?

    When I lost my Dad, it left this big hole in me, that I didn’t even realize I had, until I found it in sideways behaviors. You can’t help but be affected by, and miss, a figure like that in life. Maybe we will always miss them, and feel like a hole needs patching there.
    Just don;t let your sorrow over what is gone make you gyp yourself of good things in the Now. Your Dad (and mine) would want us to be happy. 🙂 Life is a feast, and most poor sonsabitches are starving to death!

  29. You’re doing what works for you and that’s what’s important, to figure out what works for you and keep doing it. I’ve never lost a parent, but I can’t imagine the pain that must surround that event. The wounds must be so deep and painful. You are a strong woman and while I know you are hurting, I also know you will come out the other side of this solidly with your feet on the ground.

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