Forgiveness (Part 4)

Friends, it’s been a long week.  I don’t know why, but I have had a hard time sleeping or staying asleep.  I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be wide-awake for almost an hour before I can get back to rest.  What is keeping me up at night?

I’ve tried meditation, stretching, writing in my journal… and nothing is helping.

So, I’ll share a little something off-topic.  Earlier this year, I had my very first mammogram.  The OBGYN warned me that, since it’s my first, they have to determine a “baseline” so they might have me come back for another follow-up.  And that’s what they did.  They called me back and I was prepared.  But as they did the second one, there was discharge and she immediately asked if I normally have discharge.  I thought it was normal!  Minutes after I left the imaging office, I got a call from the OBGYN stating they saw something and want to follow-up for a 3rd time!  I opted to wait 6 months because I rationalized it all in my head that “they’re just trying to get more of my money” “it’s nothing, I don’t feel anything unusual”.  Then COVID happened… and I totally forgot about it.  But a couple weeks ago, I noticed a mole started to develop on the same breast…and my skin started looking funny… among other weird things, so I called my OBGYN.  Friends, the first thing she said when she saw my breast was “oh that doesn’t look good”.  So, I have a appointment in a couple weeks for a 3rd mammogram/ultrasound and possible biopsy.

I am not well.

I want to cry, I want to scream.  I am very good at not sharing my feelings with others until I burst into larger-than-life emotion.  I just don’t know what to do.

Anyway, I wanted to try to finish my “series” on Forgiveness because I needed to finish what I started here, and move on.  The final question from my initial post was

“How do I forgive when I really don’t want to?”

So, COVID really puts things into perspective.  I haven’t been able to visit my parents during my usual summer vacation and probably won’t be able to see them in the fall.  But, I have been able to video-chat with them.  As we talk, I noticed my dad’s mind start to wander.  My dad was once very sharp, he is the smartest man I know.. my personal hero.  And I don’t get to spend his last years with him. Instead I have to video chat with him for minutes and then let him go.

During the last months of my marriage, I gave my then husband a list of reasons why I wanted to move back.  First, being I needed help because I was just diagnosed with Epilepsy.  Secondly, because my parents were getting older and I wanted to spend that time with them.  I asked if he could come with me.  Instead of supporting my decision (even just for a few years until my parents passed), he moved out and served me with divorce papers specifically stating that I couldn’t move out of the state.  In communication he said he liked his (new) job – which he lost or left shortly after.  He said I had several chances to move before I met him.

How would I have known I was going to be in the situation my epilepsy 10 years prior?

In my self-centered mid-twenties, how would I have known how much I’d yearn to spend my parents’ last days close to them?

So, every time I chat with my parents I feel that burning feeling within me…. my mind goes “I will NEVER forgive ______ for not being able to capture my parents’ last moments with them”.

And now, with the situation of my health, it makes my anger more relentless towards my ex.

So now…. how can I forgive someone when I don’t want to? Honestly…. I Do Not Want To.

Right now, my human nature does not want to forgive my ex because if I forgive him, in my mind it would give him a pass, a “good guy card”, for leaving me at the time I needed support the most, THEN (with the MSA) putting the restrictions on allowing my son to even live with me part-time if I chose to move closer to my parents. And if I left, I’d have to leave my son…

Right here, right now… I don’t have an answer.  I was on the right track in my last 2 posts…. but for the nature of this blog, I’m going to leave this here.  I don’t want to.

I’m not giving up on me, nor my journey to forgiveness… but today as it stands, I am not ready.  And, if any of you “divorcees” aren’t either, in my book that’s totally OK..

Forgiveness (Part 3)

Faith has always been a big part of my life.  My family is rooted in Catholicism.  However, my aunt would take me to Charismatic-Catholic conferences and introduced me to spirit-filled services… speaking in tongues.  Raising our hands in worship.  Experiences that were not regularly part of a traditional Mass.

At the age of 13, I met my high-school-sweetheart (well, almost since we were in middle school).  He introduced me to the Pentecostal church. At the time (mid-90’s), they were talking about Revival.  We would stay up late reading the bible and attend church almost every day.   Services were filled with words like “repent”, “sacrifice”, and “forgive”.

“YES!” I thought, I was ready to repent & sacrifice!  I brought all my tapes (yes, cassette tapes) to the alter.  I just knew that if I gave up secular music and media, I would be that much closer to God…. to fulfillment.  *Queue the dramatic effects* In fact, this started what I call my “5-year hiatus”.  Until now, there are songs, shows, and movies I’ve never heard of.  In my mind, I “sacrificed” through the age of boy-bands, Team Britney or Team Christina… and so much more.  But, during that time, I didn’t feel happy.  It’s been more than 20 years since…. in retrospect, I was more judgmental than ever.

Internally, I demanded others to follow suit.  And if they didn’t, I wanted no parts.  Obviously, that caused many broken bridges.  But, in my mind those who didn’t change were at fault… not me!  Never me!

These petty offerings placed at the alter 5 years prior brought me towards anger, resentment, and hatred towards those who did not do the same!  ….For goodness sake, it was just music!

CMB

Well, yeah maybe I shouldn’t have been listening to this LOL

After my “hiatus”, I took a good look at myself…..  it was VERY sobering… my first husband and I divorced and he moved back to our hometown (across the country).  I was left alone with 2 children… and everything was a whirlwind.  I blamed him so much for leaving us!  Not only did he leave me… he stopped communicating with the children.  All 3 of us were left traumatized..

So, here is my past post on forgiveness… in that post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote down, answering the first one here

But, my 2nd question was:

  • How do I know if it’s a person or circumstance (or even multiple people) I need to forgive?

In this scenario (my first divorce), I wasn’t looking for a “sorry.”  I was the one who initiated it, so I felt like I got what I deserved.  But, I was still angry.  I knew it wasn’t healthy to live with the anger… but how else could I feel?

As years passed, I couldn’t pin-point who I was angry at…. was it anyone at all?  Again, it was a chain of events set-off by my own choices… was it my circumstance?

So, I tucked that bit of anger in my back-pocket and carried it along with me from relationship to relationship….and over time, little hurts accumulated until my “pocket-sized anger” outgrew my pants!

Now, present-day…. different divorce, different scenario…. but, it’s FINALLY time to cleanse myself of the anger and pain that I most-likely initiated years-ago on my own!

Do I really need to look externally to forgive?  Not always.  I may be dealing with extreme hurt from my recent divorce.  But, it might have been our own set of misdealings (separate and together, before and/or during our marriage) that lead us to the separation.  Not just him… and not just me.

In this case, I need to forgive all of the above:

A person = me.

Multiple people = us.

Circumstances = the divorce.

 

 

Forgiveness (Part 2)

I have been doing a lot of self-work since my divorce.  It’s been almost 2 years and by now, you’d think I’d be over it, right?  At least that is what I expected of myself.  I’ve always considered myself strong & resilient….

 

Tattoo

My tattoo showing the word “Lakas” meaning Strength in Filipino (Tagalog).

You know the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?

I remember early after my divorce, I would sit in the dark, crying to God…. “I’m not that strong!” “You test the strong ones, I’m not the one!”  And I would lay there, weeping, pleading for the pain to stop….

Not only did my husband leave me.  He barred me from living close to the support I needed. (here is my past post when I was diagnosed with epilepsy and unable to drive). 

But, as I started to live with the pain and carry-on with the pain… the pain became my strength and my reason for many decisions.  Some terrible decisions, but also some great decisions (more on that later).

Now back to my previous post on forgiveness…. why am I even pushing myself through this process?  Well, a new man has come into my life.  He is incredible.  I don’t know where this relationship will go or how long it will last, but I am SO happy with him.  Currently, I feel like I still have a wall up…. and I’ve learned that wall was built by the pain and hurt of my divorce.

How do I let go of the pain?

This channel and video by Master Sri Akarshana was perfect for me about Letting Go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCcX2IDoIjU

I’ve watched videos, listened to podcasts, read books, prayed, meditated ….. anything and everything to find an answer…. and many sources point to “forgiveness”

In my previous post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote in my journal about forgiveness… the first one was: How do I forgive someone who is not sorry?

So, I took a week to think about this….. as a parent, when one brother got hurt by the other, I would sit down and go, “ok son, say you’re sorry”… the culprit would huff and puff then say “I’m sorry” under his breath…. then it would take twice as much effort for the hurt one to say “I forgive you”.  Sometimes I would have to sternly instruct my son, “say, ‘I forgive you’!”  Because I knew in my head that if you say out loud “I forgive you” the heart would somehow start that process…..  In that very real example, we already knew the “offender” may not have been sorry at all but was merely instructed to say “I’m sorry”…. so whether he said it or not wasn’t the point…. my goal as a parent, was to get the hurt son to forgive so he can move on (with or without his brother) and get back to having a good day.

Now, I am neither a boy nor a child.  I’m a 40-ish year-old woman with baggage, who is a Cancer.  And I’m a highly emotional being.

My ex-husband did say he was sorry…. “sorry it didn’t work out” (insert eye-roll here).  To me, that was not the sorry I needed.  I wanted him to say sorry for what he put me through.  Sorry that he took away the future I thought we would have together  ……OR, maybe the “sorry” I wanted was not really that… what my heart wanted was “I wanted us to work out” “I really did love you”…

And, let’s say, if he even did offer those words, what would it have lead to?  A conversation, an understanding, maybe my heart would open again, definitely the hurt would open… and the agonizing cycle would continue…

So, how do I forgive someone who is not sorry?  OR, better yet….. did not say the sorry that I wanted?

I feel like sorry isn’t what is needed anymore.  Like I said in my example as a parent, whether he said sorry or not is not the point…. I need to forgive so I can go on and live my life.  Maybe….. open my heart back up (carefully) so I can REALLY appreciate the amazing guy that WAS brought into my life.  Who’s birthday, by the way, is today 🙂

 

Forgiveness (Part 1)

Since the separation, I did a LOT of soul searching.

Let me step back a bit…. while we were married, I became pretty numb.  The hurt of miscommunication, feeling of defeat, feeling of worthlessness started to beat down on me to the point where I stopped feeling all together.  It got to the point where I couldn’t even cry when the inside of my face felt like it was going to explode with tears (has anyone else had that feeling?).    Something happened after he left…. every night I would sit in the dark, in silence.  Sometimes I would light a candle or play soft music.  But, I would just sit and wait till an emotion, any emotion, came out.  Sometimes it was anger – REALLY deep-rooted anger.  Sometimes it was sadness, fear, resentment, trauma…. But, it always started with hurt.  My entire presence hurt when we separated.

I’m sure anyone who has gone through a divorce, separation, or any loss can relate

I felt like my soul was dying.

Then shortly after he left, the week prior to Mother’s Day, I was served with divorce papers.

Once again, the numbness came.  I couldn’t allow myself to feel.  I needed to keep my guard up to get through it.  And as months passed, I kept myself going – not feeling – just existing.  (I’m not going to share the details now, but I also got pregnant. I made a decision I am completely responsible for – the day after our mediation).

I remained numb and had a few “fun” relationships.  But several months ago, I met someone incredible.  When I mean incredible, I mean perfect for me.  If there was anyone I could ask for, He. Is. It.  But, still part of me has kept a wall up.  I went into it ready for only a casual relationship. Everything is pointing to him being perfect, and I do care for him SO much… but what is blocking me from reciprocating the same feelings?

In reflection, it feels as if I am treating him the way my ex treated me.  And he really doesn’t deserve that..

Now, to the point of this blog entry….. while reading and studying on relationships, I have learned that in order to make way for something amazing, you have to let go.  And after much soul-searching I have learned that deep down inside, there is still a part of me that yearns for my ex-husband to love me.  But, the catcher is… It’s not him.  It’s because he didn’t love me, my heart feels like I’ll never be loved.  In order to make way for someone amazing, I need to let go of the pain or loss I felt with my ex-husband.

So, this is where forgiveness kicks in.  To let go of a certain source of pain, forgiveness is key.  A few days ago I wrote 3 things in my journal:

  • How do I forgive someone who is not sorry?
  • How do I know if it’s a person or circumstance (or even multiple people) I need to forgive?
  • How do I forgive when I really don’t want to?

So, that’s what I am working through now.  That last question was the truth…. how do I forgive when I don’t want to?  ……He hurt me to the core, doesn’t it feel good to walk around knowing I did everything I knew what was right to do and he was the one who hurt me?  Doesn’t it??  The answer is no.  Time to move on….

1 1/2 Years Post-Divorce

It’s been 1 1/2 years since my divorce.  2-3 years post separation.  We separated, reunited, then separated ending in divorce.

So, I know I started this blog during a troubling time dealing with TTC.  This blog was really a safe-place for me to express some of my deepest emotions with an intimate group of anonymous people.  However, I’ve made a few online friends along the way…

I took a break from blogging, changed my ID/website and disconnected.  So, I’m assuming a lot of followers have unfollowed.  And those who knew me as “1Suburbanchic” then, won’t be able to find me now.

I’m opening myself back up for the following reasons: (1) hopefully to be able to express myself freely with like-minded people (2) follow others with similar situations, and (3) start this new chapter in growth and move on.

 

I already knew my marriage was doomed from the beginning.  We didn’t build it on a strong foundation.  More along the lines of a promise that was ultimately not kept.

Not long after my beautiful babe was born, my best friend passed away.  A part of me died along with her.

I want to start by saying, I started out loving my ex-husband with my entire heart.  I gave everything I had into my marriage.  I had so much hope in our relationship.  It wasn’t perfect, neither of us were.  Our story was certainly not a fairy-tale.  But, I knew, just KNEW… if I put in the work and stayed focused we could accomplish anything ‘Til Death Do Us Part!  I would have never gotten into a marriage, prayed for a baby, taken on IVF for a man I didn’t love entirely.

Here are some things I LOVED about being married:

  • I had someone to share some important moments in my life.
  • I was “Mrs. ___” I felt extremely proud being “Mrs. ___”.
  • While I was frantic, his personality brought me down to a state of calmness.

Then some things fell apart:

  • I was alone in much of my struggles.
  • I started to realize he wasn’t proud of being a “Mr. ___”
  • I realized I was so focused on wanting him to love me that, along the way, I lost myself.

As time passed and truths were exposed, love turned into pain and then it all became numb.  I became sick with Lupus and Epilepsy.  The support I thought I could have in my husband was dwindling and I no longer had my best friend close by…. and my family was (is) across the country.

I actually got pregnant (on birth control) not long after my separation…. it was THE hardest decision of my life (if you’ve followed my previous post, you would know it was not my first).

Then I spent a year to myself.  So, here I am.  I plan to share my healing here… what I have done, what I am doing…. and grow from here..

Following this post, I want to start with forgiveness.

 

 

2am

It seems like every night at 2am, I get up for my nighttime wee (sorry TMI).  But what I choose to do after that determines the rest of my night, and possibly the next day.  I could go back to bed, close my eyes and go to sleep.  I could (usually) get up, grab a snack (usually something I couldn’t eat around my todder like Coca Crispies or chips)…. eat, scroll thru my phone, watch tv and 2 hours later, fall back asleep.  It’s 3:25am…. so, you can probably guess what I chose to do tonight.

Loyalty

Thoughts on loyalty….

I came to this realization not too long ago that helped me put relationships into perspective. This may or may not pertain to me, personally, but it’s something to think about. Think about the state of sports fans. Men I know who are die-hard fans of teams who’s players don’t even know them personally. But these men will not miss a game, rain or shine.. Or funeral. They wouldn’t miss one game. If someone (friend, acquaintance, family member)  talked negatively about their team these men are quick to respond.. Even fighting words, curse words.. They defend their team to the end.. That team could be the losing team. They’ll let you down game after game. Loss after loss. No matter what flaws that team has, these fans have so much faith in their team. In the next season, so much loyalty to a team who knows not even his name.

But when you think about this same fan, and look at his family.. Would he defend his wife as quickly as he does his team? With the same emphasis as he does for his team?  Get up and go, at a moments notice for his wife? When she fails or is lacking would he stay loyal as much as he does for his team? Would he embrace her background and honor her beliefs as much as he proudly displays his team colors and logos? Just thoughts…

This can go both ways. Loyalty is not complicated. But I believe it affects Love. I believe loyalty is the most important aspect of love. Others may have different values. But these are my thoughts..

The Rat Race is Tiring

Hi, its been a while. And I know it seems like I only log into my blog to vent. Its my fault, really. I dont keep a diary. I have prayed & talked it out with my husband. But I still need to get it out. And where else than to my tiny, semi-anonymous circle of blogger-friends. So…. I am just here to say, the Rat Race is Tiresome. I have been at my company for 15 years. Fresh out of high school, I started as a temp. Then worked my way up, for 3 positions. Then came to a plateau. I stayed in my last position for 9 years and had to make a decision. I was offered a level-up at a different division (within the company) and a level-up within my current team.  Hesitant and afraid of change, i stayed within my team.. and boy, does it feel like a mistake. Little did I know the company was going to lay off thousands of people the week i come back from maternity leave. And they added 2 more people to our team. My hopes to move up have quickly gotten pushed back. The newbies are getting more recognition than I ever received.  And now i feel under-rated, under-paid, & under-appreciated. Some things I dont seem right, but I feel like I’d be risking my job if i say anything. I want to move up and move out. But I’ve been with this company so long.. the benefits are great. Not to mention, with my tenure, I’ve earned 4 weeks of vacation a year…. is it worth the risk to look elsewhere?  Because it’s a large corporation, should i stick it out?? All these questions. And its just so irritating.  I want more. But i feel like its not going to happen.

The thing is, I’ve never been a real extrovert. I’m a little awkward, socially. My voice sounds childish and I’m a bit petite. I have been around so long that i think its too late to reinvent myself. Honestly, i think my mentor (work sponsor) even feels like our new team addition is a better fit than me. And if I changed up now, everyone would know (or think) its an act. But something needs to change. What I’ve been doing all along is NOT working.  And i don’t want to change WHO i am. I just want to change my circumstances. But how? And which path should i take?

 

Im going to keep this one post as my “work vent”. This post will change and grow over time…. and hopefully be deleted one day…  

Closure

In the past year, I haven’t had much time to really sort out my thoughts. Perhaps I just didn’t take the time. I also noticed that my way of thinking has been jumbled lately. My sentences don’t make much sense. I’m easily angered… not angered, more aggravated. But I’m sitting here in the airport with nothing but time… and I need to write this out.

In the past year, I lost a friend… a neighbor whom I grew to adore. She was older, but my boys respected her. She tutored them. And we could confide in each other. She was an alcoholic. I took a week-long vacation. Towards the end of my vacation, she called me constantly. It annoyed me, so I didn’t pick up. Next thing I hear, she passed away from alcohol poisoning. I felt responsible for not being there at her point of desperation. I was annoyed while she tried to reach out. Sincere folks tried to tell me not to feel responsible.  But I know if I had the chance to talk to her now, she would probably tell me I should have answered the phone.  I miss her laugh.  She had an incredible laugh.  My teenagers loved her dry sense of humor.  I loved her sincere heart.

Since then, I tried to stay in contact with those around me. Priorities shifted to people first, then tasks. I visited my best friend in Atlanta. It worked out so conveniently because I often had to travel there for work. So, I got to see her regularly. She was not just a regular person. She had a big personality, so friendly and outgoing. She would tell people exactly what she thought… about anything. She didn’t sugar coat – but the way she said things, drew people towards her. She was opposite of shy, quiet me. I was proud to call her my best friend. She had some medical issues, but nothing serious. But, one day, her fiancé called to say she needed me. She was sick and recovering from surgery. That same day I flew up to surprise her. I took care of her that night and morning. We talked a little. She hugged my baby. We talked about her baby. And then I flew back home. We didn’t know that a few weeks later, she’d be gone. I told her I’d see her in a few weeks. But I didn’t. She had cancer. And the cancer spread faster than I could fly back up to see her. It’s been 5 months. And I still cry. I can’t think of a day when I don’t think of her or hear her singing my name. Or when a song comes on we used to sing in the hallways of Kennedy High School. My heart hurts as I desperately relive all our memories in my head, so I’ll never forget. Sometimes I have dreams and she’s right there. I hug her, feel her arm. And it’s like she’s really here. Then I wake up feeling revived. Then a couple days pass…. And today I’m back to missing her.

Some people never say “good bye”. They always say “see you later”. That’s what I said to my 2 friends. I told my neighbor, “See you in a week“. I told my best friend, “See you in a few weeks”. But my heart hurts I wished I could have said goodbye. I wished I could have told them how much they meant to me. I wish I could have hugged them one more time.

Typecasting the Black Sheep

I feel like I’ve written this blog post before.  If I have, I apologize… or perhaps it’s a recurring circumstance in which I cannot escape. 

I’ve lived in Orlando for 15 years, born and raised in Seattle.  A long way from home.  What brought me here?  Well, I usually give 1 of 2 answers: To most, I give the generic “we had an awesome Disney World vacation and decided to stay” and for the chosen few (and you, my dear readers) I explain how I was a young mom who married her drug-dealing, illegal-alien, teenage-crush and needed a fresh new start.  In a nutshell.

Both stories are versions of the truth. The fact that I’ve moved across the county, away from family, a full support system, and stable life has defined me in ways I’d never dreamed of as an antsy teenager.  Never mind the daddy issues.  I will never deny that I am ‘one of them’.  But, there’s something to be said of the 15 years I’ve worked, sweated, strained, cried, and fought to get to where I am – a normal suburban mom.

Still.

Whenever, I visit home – Every time I visit Seattle.  I can’t escape my typecast: The Black Sheep

I try to see my family once a year, at first, it was OK.  I gave into my label.  I knew I made mistakes and work had to be done.  Of course, I was in my early twenties, so I was also very naive and yielding.

As years passed, I made steps in my career, got married, bought and built a stable home.  And today, 15 years later, my visit is still plagued with comments such as “your sister tells her sons not to end up like you” and “you’ve made so many bad choices, it’s impressive your boys are so good.”  To all of these remarks, I smile and nod.  I politely agree, “yes I don’t want them to end up like me.” Because, of course, that is how a good Asian daughter responds, right?

But, I just want to be normal – like I feel when I’m home – in Orlando.  I want my parents to hug and smile at me the way they do my sisters.  I don’t want them to have to question my decisions.  I want so badly for them to trust that I’m normal.  Despite the hard work, I’m here… Now.  I’m a normal suburban chic.  Just like my sisters.  Just like they intended to raise me.