Question of the Day: Personal Olympics

Today’s question is:

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

I really would make this easier on myself if I picked questions that I could answer without too much introspection.

If it didn’t have to be an activity, I would pick resilience because I have gotten back on my metaphorical feet more times than I can count, but the question asks specifically for an activity.

Hmm.

Seriously, it’s like, 10 minutes later and I’m still thinking about this.

Part of the problem is that I’m determined not to pick something that’s a veiled put down. I’m not going to go for the quick and dirty ones like “napping” or “procrastination” or some other thing that isn’t really a skill. (Although I wish I had the ability to really nap instead of cat nap.)

I want to pick something I’m actually good at, because I do have talents and I deserve to pat myself on the back for them.

I have a hard time with that concept.

I spend far too much time putting myself down and belittling my strengths.

Oooooh, I’ve got it!

Being a homemaker.

I could win an Olympic medal for being a homemaker.

But not because I have the cleanest house (believe me, I don’t, it’s a cluttered clusterfuck most of the time), or because dinner is like something from a 5 star restaurant, or because the laundry baskets are always empty.

I could win a medal because I enjoy it and because I’m always striving to take care of the people I love through taking care of our environment, and feeding us amazing food, and making sure we have clean clothes to wear.

I could win a medal because it’s the way I show love, and I have so much love to show.

Awwww, I got all mushy-gushy lovey-dovey.

So, what about you? Think outside of the box and try not to put yourself down.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

 

Two plus one

At one point yesterday I told Wonder Woman, “I’m ready to get this day over with so I can start looking forward to the next date.”  This major one is over and the next one is a happy one, the day I met Wonder Woman online.  I jump from date to date in my life, a whole list of them stacked up.  I _know_ that need to learn mindfulness and it’s something I’m working on, and in ways I’m succeeding, but also, going from one date to the next has been a survival mechanism for so long, that unfortunately old habits die hard.

When you are constantly fighting suicidal thoughts, as each major milestone passes, you are looking for the next one, and when traumas start happening, those dates, unfortunately, get added in there too.

But mindfulness is happening as well.  Driving to the beach yesterday I started thinking about and talking about some string of things that needed to happen and mid spiral I stopped and said that that would stress me out so I just didn’t go there.  That’s something that’s hard for me because I need to have my plans and my lists and my ways of knowing that I have everything taken care of to make it to that next major date without everything falling apart.

And why wouldn’t I need, or at least feel like I need, all of those things in order?  I mean, in reality we have very limited control, but the feeling of control is what keeps us moving forward.  If we had no control we would throw our hands up and give up when things get hard.

Self Saving Warrior Princess does all of the things, but learning how to do them and not try to over think and think ahead of every spin and twist and turn is a big difference.  Staying present right now but still keep on top of what has to be done, and let go of what I can’t handle . . .

That’s some serenity prayer shit right there.

And even twelve step programs count how long it’s been since you last relapsed, even they fluctuate between one moment at a time, and focusing on how far you’ve come.

Two years plus one day since I last saw her.  And maybe now I can focus on counting something else for awhile.

Maybe.

And if not, that’s okay too, I’m working towards accepting me where I am.  It’s so damn helpful that I have a lot of other people doing the same.

All Paths . . .

Probably a long post ahead . . .suicide widow post, things I’ve learned, things I forgot, things that I remembered, how things changed . . blah blah . . .

One of the things about being a suicide widow . . maybe a widow in general but definitely my experience as a suicide widow is that my perception of my relationship with Parker constantly morphs and changes.

I loved her. I love her. Anyone who knew us couldn’t deny how much damn love there was and is and will always be.

And everyone knows how much I will stand up and scream from the rooftops about mental health and the wording used around suicide and stigma and all of the everything’s about speaking your story, etc etc.

But, the fact is, no matter what I know logically, emotionally there are so many layers of what has to be processed when both the victim and the person who caused the death are both within the same body.

That’s the long way of saying that one day I see hearts and roses and love, and the next day I see an abusive dynamic that was completely unhealthy, and the fact is, it was somewhere in the middle and at times it was both. We went through a lot of shit, and our way of coping was not always healthy.

That’s the long winded way of bringing me to a memory of the early part of our relationship, and just how much we worked together to meet in the middle of so many things. And how much trauma had changed that part of us.

This Mother’s Day at brunch we started talking about churches somehow and I remembered how when we first met, Parker mentioned how she went to church every weekend with her family.

I actually said out loud. Oh, that’s a deal breaker.

Before that we had talked on the phone around the clock for almost a week. Hanging up the house phones when batteries died to call back on cell phones. But on the mention of church I was ready to walk away because I believed in a lot of things, and that all paths were equally valid . . .but Christianity was one thing I was NOT going anywhere near cause I did not need to be tolerated, been there, done that. I wanted more than that.

Fuck That.

And then we talked more about beliefs and over the next few hours I realized that we had similar beliefs actually. And the first time I went out to Gainesville I went with her to her family’s church. And I felt tolerated.

I told her, I’ll go to church with you, but only when we find one where we are accepted, not just tolerated. And so when we moved to Gainesville I got on the internet and found the website gaychurch.org and we went to a few different churches and eventually I found one that we fell in love with. We were completely accepted there. Kidlet loved it, I got involved, we even helped with the summer program and volunteered on Sundays and were involved with the young adult groups.

When we moved back to Palm Coast I did the same thing and we visited at least a dozen different churches together until we found one that we were both comfortable at. We ended up driving over an hour each way to go to FirstCoast MCC in St. Augustine. We got involved.

Church was important to her. I found a way to make it work for me and she understood my need to find the ‘right church’ even though that meant I researched and we visited a dozen different ones to find the right one. I found the one where we fit, the one that wanted us as part of their family as much as we wanted to be there. Church became important to me. I enjoyed the family and also the insights I gained from the sermons.

When she first said church, I could have just stuck with “That’s a deal breaker.” But instead I looked for the common ground.

I’m glad I didn’t, but I’m sorry that she’d spent so long being tolerated before finding places that accepted her.

This post has nothing to do with church or religion. I don’t want responses to this about how I need to find God again, or how happy people are that she brought me to the church, this isn’t about that. I’m still the same, “All paths are equally valid” person that I was when I met her.

The Mighty – Why We Must Discuss Suicide Openly

This article from The Mighty, along with a bit of my own insight below, is your 8th of the month post.

Why We Must Discuss Suicide Openly

“It’s unfortunate that when an individual tries to express their suicidal thoughts, they are quickly labeled as crazy, psychotic or attention-seeking. Yet once the individual actually takes their own life, they are labeled again as selfish. “They could have sought help” is often heard. What could be worse than saying someone is selfish because they died by suicide, having never known what they were feeling?”

 I have this bridge as both a suicide survivor and someone who has survived my own attempts and fights my own thoughts.

So many of the things talked about in this article are true. The way we talk about those who died vs the way we talk about and to those who are struggling . . .

And I hear and heard both because of who I am. And often the things that were said that are supposed to make me feel better about her losing her battle, make it harder to fight my own. And the things that are said to guilt me into fighting harder make her look like a horrible person because she couldn’t fight hard enough.

And the fact is, we just need to be allowed and encouraged to talk openly. I was able to go to derby this weekend because I knew I had a supportive group around me and if it got bad I could say I needed a break. I even had people asking if I was okay without trying to push me out of what I was doing.

I was able to email my boss and say I’m stepping down hours cause my mental health is slipping and she thanked me for my openness and asked how she could best support me.

This isn’t any different than diabetes or heart disease or cancer. It requires treatment and management and follow ups. And we need to be able to talk about it.

If someone dies from suicide, those left behind need meal trains, and support and comfort, not hushed whispers and “she shouldn’t be saying her wife died like that” ( true story).

I don’t post my struggles for pity. I post it each time it gets bad for 2 reasons. Because for one, it helps me to type it out and be heard.

And for two, I keep hearing how it helps others to see me be vocal. People who didn’t know it could look like this, people who are afraid to speak up. People who are afraid to ask for help.

Parker was the quiet one.

Parker is why we must discuss suicide openly.

23 Months

Widow post , Grief post,

Today is 23 months since Parker died.

We met on 8-8-2008 and were together for two months shy of 8 years, 3 of those were married.

On May 8th 2016 I had no idea that it would be the last time an 8th of the month would make me smile in the same way.

Eventually I’ll stop noticing them, I don’t actually try to notice the date.

I am kind of amazed at how much I don’t remember from two years ago. And also how many things blur.

“Was that before Parker or After . . . . ”

And as a cute side story to that . . . . One of my favorite memories of Parker, Kidlet and I was when we had been together for 3 years or so . . . . it was actually the winter before we gifted her the title of Mother (I know because I remember the house we lived in) and we were discussing something and Kidlet said . . . . “That was Before Parker, so it doesn’t count . .. nothing happened BP, before Parker . . the only things that count are things that happened AP”

Its amazing how much the memory blurs in 2 years. How much you realize doesn’t matter, and what actually does.

I’m actually okay today . . .more okay than I have been in a few weeks.

I miss Parker. I love her and as much as I love my life now, and do not want who I was back, I miss her light in this world.

What Doesn’t Kill

So, here’s the deal. I’m not going to be one of those people that say God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. Because, seriously . . look at my life.

However, I was one that said this phrase, a lot. But, each one of these things that kept hitting me, kept making me more of the me I was meant to be. And then, after I recovered from each major thing I would look back and say I wouldn’t change a thing because it put me where I am today, and I’m right where I am meant to be.

Now, before I say this next phrase, please realize.

I Want Parker Back. I want my wife back. There is NO denying that.

However. That situation made me who I am and put me where I am right this second. So no, a year ago, I wasn’t already strong enough, because I wasn’t who I was meant to be yet. If everything would not have happened I would not be where I am this second.

And I’m right where I am meant to be.

And I love me. And that, is an amazing feeling.