Inspiration, Life, Love, Relationships, Spirituality, Women, Writing

Hey! Over Here!

OlivettiLong before Social Media, people found their tribes online through chat rooms, online forums and blogging.  And while sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have their place in my life, blogging is still my first love… even if, as with my RL relationship, I don’t spend enough time doing it.

I THINK about it a lot though.  Jeez, I’m a thinker.  An over-thinker, really.  Like other writers, I have a constant stream of dialogue running through my mind. Experiences, quotes, books, animals….everything seems to set off the typewriter in my head to rap-tap-tapping.

Social Media only exasperates this, and not in a good way.  In fact, one of the things I enjoyed the most about my April FB hiatus was that the Voices in my head quieted to a gentle roar.  They were silent, even, at times.  I’m not sure I’d be back there now if it hadn’t been a requirement of my new Habitat For Humanity gig.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t be. After I went through a wee bit of withdrawal, I absolutely loved the quiet.

Learning to ignore distractions has been an ongoing thing for me.  My default, especially during stressful times, is to Check Out in some form or another.  Back in the day, it was drugs, alcohol, sex and spending money.  Oh, and a TON of romance novels – sometimes several a week. (Thank you, Nora Roberts!)

These days, checking out looks more like spending WAY too much time playing some silly game or cruising the Web (aptly named, I’ve always thought, for it’s tendency to snag and trap me).

It’s frightening how much time can be wasted checking email, checking all the Social Media outlets, playing this,  You Tubing that.  Before I know it, an entire morning is gone and I’ve gained what?  A bit of mindlessness and a whole lot of crap in my head?

Time is SO precious!  TOO precious to waste, especially on things and people who don’t matter in the long run.

Whether it’s patience, love, or focus, it seems the only way to master a thing is to be placed in situations where you have to practice it, over and over again – sometimes kicking and screaming.  Forming good habits is like building muscle.  Muscle takes time, persistence and resistance to grow (just ask my wings).

But before that, there has to be a desire to grow.  A willingness to do what it takes.  And, in my case, I have to acknowledge there may be is a little problem.

A decade or so ago, using the Serenity Prayer and the 12-Steps helped me overcome the sex and drug addiction.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess, because today – rather than admit I’m powerless over substances – I really need to admit I have ADD:  I am Addicted To Digital Distractions.

Like a person needing to overcome a food addiction while still able to eat in a healthy manner, I need help to overcome ADD and still be able to function in the Digital Age.  I am, after all, a writer and in marketing.  Social Media is an important tool in both fields.

It’s time for some real soul-searching.  Time to uncover the WHAT of it all:  What am I avoiding?  What is the payoff for checking out?  What am I giving up in order to do this?  What I am afraid of?

And – most important of all – what do I need to do to silence the one Voice inside my head that is constantly nagging me to

WRITE THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY

Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.

– Adam Hochschild

Daily Inspiration

Oh, What A Tangle

Spider WebWhile out for a walk yesterday, I spotted this spider web from across the street strung and had to go check it out.   Strung up over a neighbor’s unused back gate, it was HUGE – 2 feet tall at its widest point – and, from the looks of it, it’s been there awhile.  While I shudder to think about how BIG the spider might be that made this, it would totally make a great prop for a haunted house.

Nature is already decorating for Halloween and I’m digging it!

The web holds a certain beauty for me.  A certain fascination.  There’s the obvious hole where, perhaps, a bird flew through it or a rock was thrown.  There are the thin sections tightly strung and precisely uniform, and then there are others that look like Mama decided to get busy after a few dirty martinis with the girls.

Something to remember: Friends Don’t Let Friends Spin Drunk.

Friends…. a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.     This breast cancer journey I’m on A couple of love bombshas taught me SO much about friendships.  I’m a Facebooker, and it’s been miraculous and astounding how my friends – some who I’ve never met in person, and others that I haven’t seen in years – have circled around me with support, encouragement and love.  I am still, 9 months after my diagnosis, periodically receiving cards and gifts in the mail – the latest one just a few days ago.  I like to call them Love Bombs and they always show up right when I need a boost.  Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am if it weren’t for these people.  They hold space for me like I’ve never experienced, and I don’t know how I can ever repay them – except to be strong. battle on and help as many others as I can along the way.

But it’s not all been Love and Light.   I now have an Ex “Bestie”.  Yeah, that happened a month ago.  But it wasn’t a complete surprise.  I’ve known something was afoot for months …since April, in fact.  It began after it turned out HomeGirl wasn’t going to be there for my first surgery due to vacation plans with her kids.  The same thing happened for my second surgery a month later.  And even though I told her I understood,  she swore she would “be there for me 24/7” when I started the hardest part of a hard journey, the chemotherapy.  She wasn’t.   So, I made other arrangements.

Anyway, back in April I felt her pulling away from me. We never did talk on the phone much  (something I particularly dislike about the Texting age), and so when her texts started to come less frequently, and her interactions on my Facebook page all but vanished, and our visits grew farther apart, I just “knew”. A huge Red Flag went off inside of me when she was 30 minutes late for a lunch date – something that never happened before in all the years I’ve known her.  It wasn’t a matter of a busy schedule – it was her day off and she was at home.  It’s just that she just didn’t leave her house in time to be on time, and THAT spoke volumes!

HomeGirl stopped sharing important moments in her life in that “you’re the first to know!!” way we once had, and what texts I did get were shorter and shorter.  The last one – in response to my lengthy apology for having to cancel our visit for the next day because I was feeling too sick from Round 3 – was all of two words long.  Two.  “OK, thanks!”

And I haven’t heard from her since.

My daughter and husband have borne witness to my tears and my confusion over the last several months as I tried to deal with her “withholding”.  I remember early on thinking, “She’s going to find some “issue” to get pissed about so that she can feel justified in ending our friendship.”  And sure enough, that is exactly what happened.  Maybe I didn’t make my journey enough about her.

Guilt does funny things to a person.  So does jealously, insecurity and resentment.  She broke up with me once before, as some who are long time readers here might remember.  It was about 6 years ago.  But unlike last time (which was also without warning), this time I won’t go after her.  Last time, I would periodically email her to see if I could find out what had happened so we could work things out.  This went on for 3 years.  Not once did she tell me why she ended things.  When we did finally reunite about 2 years ago, she said – both of us with tears in our eyes – that she couldn’t remember, and swore we would NEVER break up again.

Today, after being the victim of her Scorpion sting for a second time, I’m calling BULL SHIT.  What kind of person ends a sister-like friendship, pushing away all attempts at reconciliation, over something so unimportant they can’t remember it? For THREE years?

Sheesh!  I’m laughing at myself here. Wake up, Grace! Why I didn’t see this before, I’m not sure.  I do know that – in the past – I’ve tried for too long, giving up too much, to make certain relationships work.  I don’t hold grudges, and I am a huge believer in Second Chances.  But not today.  Not any more.

I am changed in ways I am only now seeing.  Why would I WANT someone like this as a friend?  Why would I go after someone who intentionally tries to hurt me with the things she says, as seen in some recent Instagram posts (thank the Social Media Gods for the “UNFOLLOW” button!)

The truth is, I don’t.  Someone like that doesn’t belong in my circle.  We obviously don’t Vibe in the same frequency any more.  After looking a little deeper at “us”, I realize we don’t really share much in common any more, and it’s possible that much of what was holding our friendship together was “What Was”, not “What Is”.

Come to find out, after doing a little Googling around, that there are other women out there who have lost a Bestie while fighting breast cancer.  Who knew?  One would think that at a time like this, relationships would grow closer…that these BFFs would step up like never before.  But sometimes, unfortunately, they don’t…and they bail. Who knows why this happens. Maybe the Bestie is scared or can’t cope, or feels left behind in the whirlwind of surgery, treatment and doctors appointments.   Whatever the reason, it happens and it can be devastating.  The cancer patient feels abandoned in their time of greatest need.  Betrayed and let down.

Most of all, they feel unloved.

Thankfully, I know – and can feel – the great circle of love around me.  I’ve never gone without support and concern.  Turns out there is always someone waiting in the wings to help me.  These people are in my life at this time because they are the Right Ones for Right Now, and I am so grateful for their presence.

Another lesson learned: What is REAL will last and everyone who is meant to be in my life is still here, with more friends added all the time.