Magical Thinking

Now that I’m back in the “program”, or at least the self-made version of it that I can handle right now, I’ve decided to continue reading Love is a Choice by Drs. Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth, and Paul Meier. I’ve reread Chapters 1-4 and will pick up my analysis with Chapter 5, which begins to examine the childhood mind of a codependent, rewinding the clock to see just where the twisting of our thoughts originated –

Magic words are not the sole property of fairy godmothers. The child thinks: If I do such-and-so, this-and-that will happen. If I am perfect, Mommy will love me. If I do everything exactly right, Daddy will notice me…

In the child’s eyes anything Mommy and Daddy feel is necessarily generated by the child. “If Mommy is unhappy it must be because of me.” “If I weren’t a pain in the neck, Daddy wouldn’t drink so much.”

“If I do X then Y will happen” Magical thinking. Codependent thinking…

That feeling of responsibility for what happens has a very ugly flip side: “If it doesn’t turn out all right, it’s my fault for not trying harder.”

Cue the floodgates that are my tear ducts now. This is me. If I really choose to introspectively dissect my childhood emotions, I know that I  have always striven to be the “golden child” angel– to never be a problem for my mother so that she wouldn’t leave me like my father did. Because that has to be why he abandoned me, right? I wasn’t good enough to keep his love. So I poured myself into getting the straight A’s, mentally destroying my psyche whenever I achieved anything below a 100%. I never smoked, snuck out, did drugs; I went to church every Wednesday and Sunday, volunteered, and won awards just about each month for both academic and moral character. I secretly promised my mother that I would never, EVER give her cause to leave me. Though not once did she ask for any of these things (verbally or nonverbally), it became my own personal mantra, which has now morphed from the conscious repetitions of a child for the case of remembering to the constant, reiterative of a deeply codependent mind that cannot be turned off.

Fast forward about 20 something years and here I stand now. A few days ago, I went to visit J in the detox facility and as part of his recovery, he opened up to me about just how bad his substance addiction had become. It turns out he wasn’t taking the Sangel-06ubutex as prescribed but was instead abusing it in the worst manner, right under my nose, for more than a year. Hearing this news and subsequent details literally broke me.  How could this happen? I had been careful. had known him, loved him, adored him. I had made sure to be the perfect girlfriend – supported his career even when it meant months apart, put my own needs on pause because “there will be time for that later”, and constantly tried to keep his interest by suggesting activities that catered to his likes . What could I have possibly done wrong? How could he do this to me?

See what I did there? I turned a “J” situation into an “I” situation. It was my initial instinct. The first thing I did when I left the detox was to call his parents and apologize for not catching the warning signs sooner, for being completely unknowledgeable in this area, and for letting this happen to their son. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), they have been here with J multiple times before, so they were quick to reassure me that I played no part in pushing him to where he is. It was completely his own selfish choice, driven by the disease that is addiction. I heard everything they said but it passed through me like an ineffective breeze. It was only after reading Chapter 5 that my self-flagellation began to ease. Even if I was a “better” girlfriend, maybe J would still be checked into a detox, trying to heal. Maybe…just maybe…this really isn’t my fault. Even as I type that, I feel a little piece of weight and responsibility fall of my shoulders, and for an instant it is euphoric. Then rushing forward came the guilt, and it replaced the burden that had just slipped free.

That is what I am wrestling with. I am trying to take the magical thinking of my childhood, which has been tattooed onto the very essence of my being, and morph it using logic, reasoning, and knowledge to fight back against my codependent brain.

tattoo

I am in the midst of war between my head and my heart, my past and my present, and we have yet to see who will win in the end. It is my goal to one day have those competing influences align, but I’m so screwed up that they must stand on opposite sides of the ring for now. So I sit in the struggle, choosing at least to make an effort to dissect, examine, and learn, and that will just have to do.

Baby steps.

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Relapse

drowning

Is it possible to have a codependency relapse? I believe so. And I believe I’m in the dark, convoluted, serpentine midst of it all.

Tomorrow, I will accompany my mother to an appointment that may very well reveal that her cancer is back. I will have to sit and sift through the medical jargon that became a part of my every day life almost exactly 4 years ago, taking in all of the information that slides over her as she retreats quietly into her protective shell. I cannot blame her for shrinking away from the data. Data makes it everything real, and that’s the last thing she wants. Hell, it’s the last thing I want, but I don’t have the privilege of handing over the reigns to anyone else. There is no one else. There is only me, and I must once again rip off my civilian clothing to dawn the suit of “Mother” and protect her.

From there, I will drive directly to visit J in a medical detox facility. God, I don’t even know where to start to begin unpacking that statement. To summarize, he decided to finally get off of Subutex, a transitory prescription drug used to help heroin addicts get sober. He was only supposed to be on it for 2 weeks but instead, wound up in the center of a more socially acceptable dependency that has lasted 3 years. A week ago, he decided enough was enough and took active steps towards becoming completely substance independent. I am so extremely proud of his bravery and support his recovery 100%. I know that this is the best thing for him; however, I cannot deny that  it comes at a really difficult time in my life. But it’s not about me, right? (When is it ever about me?) Thus, I pull on the mask of strength, collectiveness, impermeability, and secure it steadfastly to cover my anxiety, exhaustion, and weakness.

I love these two people with all of my heart, and I would sacrifice every last piece of me to ensure their wellbeing, their happiness, their success…I do. And I do it all with a smile on my face and a comforting word on my tongue. But can I be honest? I’m drowning. Cancer, detox, school, work…my list of responsibilities to fulfill the expectations of the spheres around me is starting to close in, and I can feel my grip on my own sanity slipping. I need to go back to therapy, to group, to yoga and church and meditation…but I don’t have the time (or really the energy). What I can do – and what I’ve decided to do – is start writing again…to take advantage of this little space on the internet that is solely mine, where I can lay down the armor I adorn and just breathe. I know I need to get healthy, to make a change for myself, and be intentional about my own recovery, but now is not that hour. For now, this is enough. This is my first step…the next 12 will come with time.

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Worry

Most people have heard this saying before; at least, I know I have…a multitude of times. Yet somehow, I can’t turn off my brain and simply stop worrying. It doesn’t work that way. So instead of stressing even more about why I can’t be “normal” and just get over my anxiety like some people, I will instead focus on being thankful for all of the awful scenarios in my head that didn’t happen. No use worrying about things I can’t change, right?

For instance, in my previous post I talked about my social worries regarding J’s family and unfamiliar situations. Weeelll…Thanksgiving #2 with his side was absolutely wonderful. I met a sweet aunt and a silent, but kind uncle and their two amazing kiddos; I ate the most delicious, American cultured meal that was extremely different from Thanksgiving #1 with my Filipino family; and I bonded with his sister (who J loves dearly). There were no moments of awkward silences or uncomfortable interactions. It was truly like a big feast with my own kin, and I am so incredibly grateful.

Thanksgiving #1 was also fantastic. My grandmother and I spent the day together cooking, which she hasn’t done in a very long time. Her sharp mind recalled all of her tips and tricks as she passed her knowledge on to me, patiently teaching me her magical ways. Her weathered fingers fumbled, but that’s what I was there for…to open cans, stir pots, and lift the heavy bag of white rice. She was the brain and I was the brawn. Gosh, I never thought I’d say that! My family gathered in her tiny apartment and J had the opportunity to try a traditional Filipino Thanksgiving meal the way I remember it growing up. The whole experience meant a lot to me.

I love Thanksgiving. It really is my favorite holiday. And while some Negative Nancy may look upon the festivities and criticize how Americans need one day to set aside and be grateful, I scoff at her (or him). See, the reality of life is that it is so easy to get blindsided by routine, swept up by business, and turned upside down by every day thoughts and activities. There is no need to deny this fact. Thus, I am so extremely thankful for Thanksgiving because Heaven knows I need the reminder. I need the established holiday that forces me to pause, turn my eyes inward and reflect on all the good things I’ve got goin’ on. Yes, the goal is to make this a part of each day, to be grateful every morning and every evening, but I’m not there yet. I am still roller coasting through life imperfectly. Thus, I am thankful today. I am thankful for Thanksgiving. And I’m not going to stress beyond that.

Now excuse me while I tend to my food baby.
Always,
Freedom

Unraveling (The GOOD Way)

Back when I was in one-on-one therapy, I was given extremely useful insight that has stuck with me to this day…

I had entered my session feeling overly anxious for unknown reasons,scribblehead and I iterated this to my therapist. She said, “Freedom, anxiety in of itself is not a single emotion. It is a mixture and jumble of other emotions that are snowballing into this pit in your stomach.” From there we began to unravel the convoluted hairball that was consuming both my mental and physical wellbeing. Turns out I was worried about my mother’s health, overwhelmed with my caseload at school, and angry at my boyfriend for something or rather. Being able to label exactly why I was feeling the way I was feeling was an emotional breakthrough for me already. Plus, it gave my therapist a starting point for our session that day.

Today,  I am no longer attending therapy (though  I tell myself everyday that I need to go back), but I still use that technique of “peeling the anxiety onion” whenever I feel turned upside down with worry.

What brought this up? Well, I woke today up with an all too familiar feeling in my tummy – churning, gurgling, nausea- and I employed my unraveling tool.

Here is today’s list of anxiety provokers:

  1. Again, I am worried about my mother’s health. She has had 4 episodes in the past few weeks in which she experienced extreme disorientation – forgetting where she was, why she was there, and who the people around her were. Hearing this, my warning bellswarningsign went off, and I immediately encouraged her to make an appointment with her doctor. However, my sweet but sometimes stubborn mother has given me the excuse that she is waiting for insurance yaddah yaddah to come into effect. I am struggling with my Codependency in regards to this…guess its ugly head is just inescapable in my life. I’m not sure if I am supposed to just go on and make the appointment for her like everything in me is screaming to do, or if I simply need to let her go through the process on her own. I go back on forth on this every hour minute second.
  2. As I mentioned yesterday, I have this new job that has an extremely steep learning curve, and I am feeling discouraged after my first week. Though my supervisors and the schIcantool staff I work with have all expressed their deep gratitude for my work, I cannot help but feel that I am in over my head. Trust me, I know that these thoughts are typical for someone starting out in an entirely new field, but the fact is, I still have ’em, and they are NOT nice. I have my first solo session tomorrow with sweet Jack (name has been changed for confidentiality purposes), and I could not be more nervous. Add that the the core of my anxiety mush.
  3. I have to register for school on Monday the 30th, and the main class that I need has only 6 spots left. DARN ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO HAVE JUMPED ONTO THE SPEECH PATHOLOGY TRAIN. PLEASE SWITCH YOUR MAJORS NOW BECAUSE THERE IS NO MORE ROOM FOR YOU AT CSUN. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
    Golemn
  4. Finally, it is the week of Thanksgiving, and I will be thrown into the mix of potentially socially challenging situations. I have discovered lately that I have some form of social anxiety (yes, yes, I know I need to go back to therapy…), and it has caused me some pain in particular settings.While I absolutely ADORE J’s immediate family and feel very comfortable in their presence, I will be meeting an entirely new set of faces that will be in town for the holidays. Pl
    ease be still, my dying heart. I know I’ll get through it, I just pray they like me. Oh, hello again, Codependency…

As you can see, I have quite a bit on my plate, but let me tell you, even just writing it all out has made me feel slightly better. Thank you WordPress for being the silent ear that I need.

What are your anxiety makers today? Go ahead, give the unraveling a shot! Just be warned, once you start pulling, it’s hard to stop. But that’s what blogging is for. So let it go, see what happens. Oh, and if you feel up for it, share your results; it’s freeing! I would know 🙂

unraveling.jpg

 

 

Freedom 2.0

Sigh…

Looking for inspiration

I have sat here with the cursor blinking on a blank WordPress page for about 10 minutes now, just thinking of how to begin this post. Over and over I would type a few words, laugh at my lack of creativity, erase everything and delve in complete mental silence all over again. It is the most frustrating feeling to have all of these thoughts pinging around in your head and to have no inspiring opening lines.

So I guess, I’ll just begin.

I quit my job! Ha, I think I should have just started with that news. I’m not quite sure if I mentioned what exactly I did, but it no longer matters. Just know that it was extremely boring, mindless work that was unchallenging in every way. Now, I have found myself in the midst of the opposite field, one that has a steep learning curve but a dynamic and rewarding payoff. Friends, I am now a Registered (almost) Behavior Technician (a.k.a Behaviorist), specifically working with children with special needs. In the span of 2 days, I went from imputing data into a computer to implementing behavior modification techniques both in home and in school environments to the most amazing kiddos. It is such a promising opportunity that has put me on the ground floor of my future career aspirations as a Speech Pathologist.

Blocks

To be honest, it is this job that has motivated me to pick up blogging once again. Confession time: I am a notorious, serial project-abandoner. Ask any one of my family members or close friends…I sincerely struggle with maintaining and/or finishing the random, creative outlets I take on. I have half-knit blankets, partially written songs, and squeaky clean exercise gear lying around the house. Thus, it is unsurprising to me that I have drifted off of the face of the WordPress planet over the past few months. Please understand that I am not justifying my behavior as a positive attribute, but it is simply a part of me that still needs some serious work.

Anyhoo… after my first week at the new job, I honestly felt so emotionally drained. I had a difficult time adjusting and felt both overwhelmed and disheartened all at once. Overall, I knew I needed an outlet for the pent-up emotions that were brewing (and I’m sure will continue to brew). So here I am. I need to write to keep my sanity. I am working with extremely emotional little people, and being extremely emotional myself, I will need a safe space where I can vent and cry and grow and reflect and learn all at once. From my past experience, blogging is just the perfect medium.

Overwhelmed

For those who have been on this journey with me from the beginning, things are going to look a little different around here. I definitely need to get back to Codependency introspection, but for now, that will be interspersed between my everyday vent fest. I am going to focus on growth and learning in general, and should Codependency topics rear their heads in the midst of that, so be it. Altogether, though, I just want to focus on the new path that I am on (mainly because I am so excited about it), and not be too harsh on myself in the realm of change. Instead of forcing it, I’m just going to let it be and love myself through the new process.

So for now…Freedom has a new face!
Love it or Leave it.

 

 

 

Realignment

HOME

Hello again, my dear WordPress community. It has been quite awhile since I have broken bread with you all in fellowship, but I really needed the space to reevaluate my recovery. While blogging had proven itself to be an amazing outlet for me to discuss both my victories and my failures, it also slowly began to transform itself into a dangerous situation. You see, I began to get sidetracked by this notion that my stories were sparking change in other people. While that, in of itself, is a positive repercussion of this whole experience, it was always supposed to remain just that – a cherry on top of this amazing journey towards a better, more peaceful me. That wasn’t the case, however. This idea of “writing to fix people” started to consume my sense of purpose, and my own ppuzzlerogress was no longer my main priority. So it was time for a break. I simply wanted to recenter myself and redirect this blog towards a more introspective dialogue.

Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t want to continue to encourage sharing and    community…quite the opposite! Those spheres have been nothing but positive influences for me, and I intend to foster the relationships I have built through this medium. I just want to refocus on falling in love with me because let’s be honest, that alone if a full time job. Please continue to comment and interject your thoughts and opinions; they will always, ALWAYS be welcomed and appreciated here.

Here is a quick update on my life as it stands now:

J is off on another adventure. This trip is the longest one yet – 6 weeks in Savannah, GA working for another reality TV show. Let me just tell you that it has been quite the struggle and strain on our relationship, but we are working through it. I am working through it. If you have read any of my past posts regarding this matter, you and I both know that the distance is really difficult for me largely due to Codependency. But it is also growing me. I am learning so much of what it means to be comfortable in “aloneness” and how to cope with all of the doubts and insecurities that plague my mind like an unwanted tape recorder stuck on repeat. Everyday is a new opportunity for me to explore another step of recovery. Some days I win, and some days (most days) I lose, but I am discovering that it isn’t about the end goal right now; it is about the process.crossroads

My family is about to go through a rough time. I can’t delve into too much detail because ofthe sensitivity and confidentiality of the matter, but a storm is coming. I am deeply saddened. My heart weeps at its core for a particular woman in my life who means the world to me. She is faced with the most difficult of situations that is forcing her to choose between her own happiness and the happiness of others. Neither path is an easy one, but I love her enough to support whatever she decides. If anyone understands the importance and responsibility of taking care of oneself, it should be me. But still my heart weeps.

Part of my re-dedication and commitment to myself has involved getting healthy and getting active once again. I have gone back to bikram yoga (hot yoga), and it has really boosted me both physically and emotionally. Not only that, but I am simply trying to get outdoors more. I have been hiking semi-consistently, but really just allowing myself to find harmony with Mother Nature. That, too, has done wonders for my spirit.

Next week, I will be traveling to North Carolina for my best friend’s wedding. I will also be driving down to spend a few days and nights with J as Georgia is only 4 hours away. So I have much to look forward to!

Writing is truly one the best outlets for me to express my thoughts and to reflect upon my life journey. I am so happy to be back and to be at peace with this blogging experience once again.

Thank you for your patience and for continuing to be open ears and open hearts that have helped propel me towards a better place. I hope you all are well!

Namaste,
Freedom

[Reality vs. Codependency] An Intro

With the necessary precursor discussion of Love Languages out of the way (you’ll understand why it’s important in just a minute), I can move on to the next mini-series I have had planned for awhile now. On this recovery adventure that I have been on for the past 2 years, I have discovered something fundamental to my understanding of how I see the world: I have a “Codependency Filter”! It is this distorting mechanism through which I process and analyze situations, and it skews my reality into an irrational, convoluted, and emotional mess.

glasses

So I wanted to start a little sequence of posts that discuss just what this looks like, not only for the purpose of sharing, but also to stimulate deeper conversations and illicit meaningful advice.

The topic up for contemplation today is “the need for Quality Time and Physical Touch”. Ah, here is where my previous post plays in.

Now, this is what reality tells me about my current Love Language situation is like: “J absolutely cares for you. He shows it whenever he buys dinner, cleans up after the dog, checks the liquid levels in the car, opens your door…the list goes on! Surely, you can be more lenient and understanding when it comes to not receiving the exact displays of devotion you were expecting, right? It doesn’t mean he isn’t thoughtful. He just expresses it differently than you are used to. Different doesn’t mean absent. So when he has takes a travel job he cannot refuse, trust that he loves you deeply, and he isn’t doing it to deliberately hurt you. It’s just part of the gig.”

My Codependency Filter takes the information and boop bop beep bop…this is what I hear: “J definitely loves you. You can’t deny that. He just doesn’t care enough about your emotions and feelings to make an effort towards meeting your needs. That’s why it’s so easy for him to take jobs that just whisk him away to the other side of the country for months on end; it isn’t that important to him. YOU aren’t that important to him. Even though he knows that by leaving he is forsaking your needs for Quality Time and Physical Touch completely; he just doesn’t care.”

For a long time, I was oblivious to the fact that I had these distorting blinders on that funneled my vision and focused it onto details that just weren’t true, and I lived a very miserable life. My self-esteem and self-worth were at rock bottom. To this day, I have yet to find a way to get that darn filter off for good (I’m not even sure you really can), but I am now at least able to recognize its effects. Whenever I feel as though my Codependency Filter may be firing, I take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or whatever time frame I need to stop and process what is really going on. I try my best to separate myself from the situation at hand and see the bigger picture for what it really is, not just what I may be perceiving it to be. It has made a difference thus far and has allowed me to better handle my Codependent thoughts.

I am definitely a work i progress, but you gotta start somewhere right?

This was just an introductory look into this series. Stay tuned for more in-depth “decostructive” examinations! I hope you are as excited for this ride as I am.

Bubble Girl

bubble2

Denial. I used to live wrapped up in its hypnotically charged blanket, succumbed into thinking I was safe in my little bubble of “happiness”. But recovery requires the acknowledgment and embracing of truths that can be hurtful, painful to recall, enraging, etc. The second half of Chapter 3 from Love is a Choice discusses this exact point.

“If the effects of codependency are so glaringly obvious, why bother with counseling? After all, surely the sufferer need simply identify with the problem and take steps to resolve it…

Codepdendents with significant unmet emotional needs are masters of denial. It comes built in. For their whole lives, these people have been living a lie – pretending, wishing, yearning that their lives were lovely when in reality they were unbearably painful emotionally and perhaps physically. They can’t stop lying now. If reality sinks in, the wracking past will surface with all its open sores, its pockets of pus and filth. Codependents have spent a lifetime burying that mess. Denial, therefore, becomes a major hurdle to healing. In fact, healing cannot behind until denial dealt with properly.”

This was so much easier said than done for me when I first started on my journey towards a freer place. I had come to love and adore my Denial. It provided a safe place where I could continue to float in a chasm of serenity. But that peace that I thought I was experiencing was all a facade. It was a unit built with cushioned walls of lies that I had told myself so often they became truth. I could no longer distinguish reality from insanity, and I was doing the same things over and over in my relationships expecting different results. So while Denial can definitely provide a temporary state of “happiness”, it ultimately destroyed my willpower and kept me suspended in one place for a long time.

Getting out of that deceptively beautiful bubble was honestly so difficult. When therapy was first suggested to me, I had this negative stigma about mental health that instantly aroused my defenses. However, my life was slowly spinning out of control and I was so tired of keeping up this pretense of being perfect that I was willing to try anything. So I found Nan and I found a CoDA meeting and those two outlets slowly coaxed me from my death grip on Denial. Man, that was a painful process-I had to examine wounds I didn’t even realized existed. But each community wrapped their comforting arms around me and walked with me through my stages of grief.

So, yes, I know how amazing your safe place can be; it keeps all the bad things out of your life. But what you may not realize is that Denial is a darkness within, and if we barricade ourselves from outside harm, we are trapping our hearts in with a different kind of evil. And that will ultimately consume us.

We cannot let that darkness win. It’s time to break out of your cage. Freedom is waiting.

serenityprayer

Fueling Up

flow-like-water

Chapter 3 of Love is a Choice, by Drs. Hemfelt, Minirth, and Meier, is so packed with knowledge that I’ve decided the take it in chunks. The first portion of the text speaks about “Love Tanks”, and this idea lit up so many bulbs for me that I think it is worth pausing and reflecting upon in detail. It reads,

“Imagine being a newborn child possessing a heart-shaped love tank deep inside yourself. Were the tank to have a gas gauge, it would be nudging empty at the beginning.

Now picture above that tank two other tanks, your biological parents. Over the course of years they fill your tank from their own tanks. Fifteen or twenty years later, as you wean yourself from the original family and go forth to build a family of your own, your tank is pretty well filled. Now an adult, you’re primed and ready to fill the tanks of your own children, who in turn will be able to fill the tanks of their children. Thus in a normal, functional family, love is transmitted from generation to generation, poured down from parents to children.”

The authors then go on to explore what happens when your heart tank is not adequately filled due to an absent parent, dysfunctional family relationships, or unhealthy mindsets. What occurs is, you begin to search for things to complete the void, to erase the feelings of emptiness or “lacking”.

Personally, this hits home hard. I grew up without a father since birth. Though my mother, being the amazing woman that she is, raised me in a life where I didn’t want for much, my heart tank was only half full from the beginning. To be honest, it was probably even less than that because my mom grew up without a male figure in her life as well. This totally explains the “emptiness” I’ve felt throughout my life that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

So I tried to substitute my missing parental love with external “love”. I started dating at a young age, thinking a boyfriend would solve all of my problems. The first real relationship I had was with the son of a very prominent figure at the church I was attending. That’s where I first felt like I found my worth. He, the boy who was coveted by all the girls at school and loved by everyone in our religious community, picked me. That had to mean I was special, right? When he finally asked me to be his girlfriend, I was complete. I could die right then and there, and I would feel as though I had accomplished everything in life. So when he broke up with me because God told him that I was a distraction, my whole world crumbled. I felt as though the very air was being sucked from my lungs and there was no point in living another day. I was a mess.

From then on, I bounced from relationship to relationship, terrified of being alone, so much so that I would take almost anyone who passed my way if it meant they would have me. Thus, I found myself in some extremely unhealthy relationships.  I dated men who cheated, lied, were addicted to hard drugs, stole, and were physically aggressive simply because I needed someone to fill my heart tank. But I couldn’t…no, REFUSED…to see that truth in the moment. Recognizing that a relationship could potentially be harmful was a ridiculous notion to me for a long time.

The problem was, all of those guys that I dated clearly had lacking heart tanks as well; theirs were just as empty, if not emptier, than mine was. So, even though they filled my tank for a little bit, they quickly ran out of fuel, and it was just never enough to fully satisfy my need. THAT’S the important thing that I learned after reading this chapter – when you have empty heart tanks, the only person who can fill it is you (with the help of your Higher Power in whatever form you believe). Being aware of the void that has resulted in your heart because of the ugly curve balls life can throw is the first step. After that, it takes intentional steps of recovery and growth to slowly refill one’s tank. Only after you have worked on yourself can you maintain healthy relationships.

This just refueled my fire to “refill my tank”. Even though I am in a commitment right now, I feel like I found a man whose heart is overflowing. Thus, if I’m not careful, I will drain him to complete emptiness with my needs. I want to be able to contribute to his tank just as much as he does mine and hopefully one day, our children’s’ too. But even more than that, I want to feel full. I want that satisfying, lean back and unbutton the top layer of your jeans type satisfaction that comes with knowing I have taken care of myself; I have refilled my tank; and I have finally gotten to a place where I can outpour into the hearts of others who may need a little extra love.

I know it will be a long, intentional journey, but it will be worth it. I am worth it….simply because I am.

How’s your heart tank today?

Back to Baking

cupcakes

Actual picture of my babies!

You know how there are certain things that just make the world a better place? Well, cupcakes are definitely high on that list for me. However, it is more than just the tangy sweetness of a cream cheese frosting done right or the moist decadence of the chocolate cake beneath it that allows me great pleasure, it is the very act of bringing the combination of flavors together that makes my heart go pit-pat.

As I have mentioned in one of my first posts, cooking and baking are two activities that I do solely for me. Yes, yes, other people benefit from the finished product, but first and foremost, the process is for me. Now, I have been so swept away by life lately (who hasn’t) that baking has fallen to the bottom of my to-do list. It has been cast into the shadows, only to be brought up when there are “more hours in the day”. This past weekend, though, I felt like I was never going to smell the sweet scent of batter coming to completion in my oven if I didn’t make time.

So I did.

Simply, I set aside a chunk of my day devoted solely to “me”. Beforehand, I made sure I had all the ingredients necessary and informed J of my plans so he could work around me accordingly. That way, there were no excuses…I was determined to do this. And I did. I baked! I made a classic chocolate cake with a delicious cream cheese frosting…simple, yet satisfying. Let me tell you, my soul never felt more at peace.

Trust me, I know how difficult it is in this day and age to find time for the little things. Between ushering kids to school, work, maintaining a decent living environment, juggling friendships and relationships, etc., it becomes almost impossible to catch a break. But let me remind you today how CRUCIAL it is to do things that set your mind, your body, your spirit at peace. If you are a planner like me, then go ahead and pencil in a little segment to do something, anything that benefits you first and foremost – you will thank yourself for it one day.

I am so proud of myself for intentionally getting back to the things that I love! The things that make me…me. And I feel 100 times more joyful and motivated to tackle the rest of the things on my to-do list.

So friends, be on the look out for more cooking and baking adventures! Because…I’m back.

Love Always,
-Freedom

P.S. For those who would like to know the recipe: click here!

P.S.S. To my book club readers, I will be discussing Chapter 3 on Wednesday! See you then.