Category Archives: group

perfect moment monday: 2-in-1

The first perfect moment:  How do you prepare to meet someone who has already read your diary?

There’s no preparing, really, for meeting Lori, aka Lavender Luz, of Weebles Wobblog fame.  She’s lovely, as easy to talk with in either small talk or soul-baring conversations, and I wish she lived here.

We’d exchanged some emails, she knew I lived in the live-music capitol of the world, and so when she was planning a work trip here, she asked if I’d be up for getting together.  If you ever have the same opportunity take it.  It’s kind of like meeting a rock star, albeit a very un-diva-like rock star who blogs.  And likes mojitos in the middle of the afternoon. 😉

The perfect part was when we said goodbye, it felt like the beginning of our IRL friendship, rather than the end of the evening.

(And if you don’t read her blog, you really should remedy that ASAP.)

The second perfect moment:  I’ve finally been feeling ready to start connecting with more people to let more people in.  The trick is how and getting started.

I won’t bore you with a list of the things I’ve been considering.  The moment is last night I received a call from the facilitator of my divorce recovery group, asking me if I would be one of the four volunteer facilitators for the group starting Tuesday.  I talked it over with my closest friend from the class, who is also volunteering, and I decided that, yes, I am ready to do this.  Six or even three months ago I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be ready to do this now, though it was something I might want to do “in the future.”  I suppose the future is now.  It is so amazing to see visible progress in myself.

You can read about other perfect moments here.

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perfect moment monday

Last Tuesday night was the last session of my “When Your Relationship Ends” class (which I’ve referred to as “divorce recovery,” but is not totally accurate as several people in the class were never married to their partners).

I enrolled in the class at the suggestion of my therapist, after I cried about my divorce through the first few sessions with her and couldn’t really talk about much else.  Ahem.  Anyway, I was totally opposed to the idea at first, and then came around to thinking that it would probably be “good for me,” though not something I would necessarily enjoy.  Well, that would probably describe the first couple of weeks, but definitely by week four I was looking forward to seeing the people in the class and to our discussions.  It was a place where we could be real together.

The last night, we did a bit of looking back and a bit of looking forward.  It was a wonderful time to take stock of how much the ten weeks brought to us.

Before our break for dinner (potluck), we were each given two small slips of paper, one white and one gray.  We were told to write what we want to let go of on the gray paper and what we want to hold on to on the white paper.  After everyone had a chance to write, we took turns standing up, reading the gray paper, lighting it on fire with a lit candle (and dropping it into a bowl), reading the white paper, and then returning to our seats to thunderous applause.

Standing up in a room of people who I met just 2½ months ago, letting go of some things best left to the past and seeing them burn to ashes, embracing others that I want to carry with me and hold close, and hearing the applause of my foxhole-mates—pretty darn perfect.

Read some more perfect moments over at Lavender Luz’s.

life of the small intimate gathering

I went to the last session of my divorce recovery class last night (technically, it’s a relationship-ending recovery class—not everyone who takes it was married to their partner).  It was an amazing end to a powerful experience.  I’ll talk more about that another time.

I realized something about myself last night.  Only about 1/2 of the class time was structured.  We had a lot of time to eat and talk—it felt like a party.  After class, it seemed like people stuck around more, as well.  What I realized as I was driving home was this:  I do not like socializing in big groups of people.  Even, it seems, in groups where I like and feel comfortable with everyone present, as was the case last night.  I’ve known for a while that I prefer socializing in smaller groups, but this piece, that I really don’t like big groups was somewhat of a revelation to me.  I think I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed in them.  I end up mostly flitting from conversation to conversation, maybe contributing, but rarely getting deeply involved.  And if there’s one thing I love, it’s deeply involved conversation, just, apparently, not in the midst of a large group.  There have been a few times that I’ve been able to have a great conversation in the midst of a big group, but during those times I’ve been able to get one-on-one with someone, and kind of forget the rest of the people there.  This is not the usual experience, granted.

Now, I’m not going to start turning down all invitations to big events or big get-togethers, but I think this is a good thing to know about myself.  First of all, I can stop feeling like a failure when I don’t have the time of my life at a big party.  I’ve been looking back over past “big group” experiences (including sitting at a big table at a restaurant—I seem to always end up between two conversations and just go back and forth between them) and letting myself off the hook for feeling so out of place.  I have finally come to a point in my life that I know I don’t have to like big groups to be an okay person.  And I do okay in them, I really do.  It’s not like it’s torture; I just have a hard time finding my place in them—it’s so different from how I am in a gathering of two or three other people (a setting in which, frankly, I rock).  So now, the next time I’m in a situation like that, instead of making my discomfort worse and internally berating myself for not being the life of the party (because I don’t have to be), hopefully I’ll remember that this is just a part of who I am, and hopefully, I’ll give myself permission to flit from conversation to conversation without settling down.

Or even permission to just go home early. 🙂

let’s talk about you and me…

It is so hard for me to believe that there is only one more week of my “When Your Relationship Ends” class.  I feel so different than I did when it started, back at the beginning of April.  Granted, a big part of that change is due to finally getting on the right medication, but regardless of the reason, I am looking at so many things in such a different way now.

Last night the topic was “sexuality.”  We divided up into groups by gender and came up with questions for the other group.  Then we got back together and traded questions back and forth.  There were some good questions, some good answers, and some interesting perspectives.  And I am definitely not ready for a new sexual partner, as if there were any doubt.  But I’m thinking about it.

The only strange part of the conversation was that, as I was reading the questions for the women, the men tended to look at me when they were answering.  Somewhat disconcerting, and part of the time I felt like saying, “It’s not my question!  I’m just reading it!”  LOL.

The main thing I was thinking about last night, particularly during the gender-segregated time for some reason, was how awful the sex was with Mr. X.  He was not interested in my pleasure at all.  The whole enterprise was about his getting off, and if I ever asked for something different, he would get so offended that it turned into a thing.  I would then feel obligated to soothe his ego (after all, I had committed the unthinkable act of letting him know he couldn’t read my mind!).  (And then there was the whole, “I’m not attracted to you,”-when-we-were-in-bed-naked-that-time.  Yeah.)  So basically, our sex life was a reflection of the rest of our relationship.  God, I’m so glad I’m out of that.

But (and likely because it was so bad), I’m not quite ready to start it up with someone new, yet, though I can at least imagine that day is coming now.  And it’s gotta be better than it was with the last guy. 😉

to be honest…

I’ve kind of gotten sucked into watching a certain high-octane, high adrenaline show.  I watch it via streaming on Net.flix, which means that there’s ALWAYS another episode ready to watch.  This is not necessarily a good thing for my productivity, and it probably explains, at least in part, why posting has been so darn light.

And it’s a way for me to not be in my head, or maybe, be in my head and not in my body, to not be present.  Though, goodness knows I know no shortage of ways to avoid being present.  This is just one I can point to and name.

And, yes, Kristin, there is eye candy.

In other news, apparently Mother’s day was affecting me more than I thought.  I think I was just feeling an undercurrent of discontent about the whole day that mostly stayed below the surface.  Last night in group, however, I let out a rant about how I felt about the “holiday.”  (To be fair, we were in a conversation about how the day was for people, and I was not the only one displeased with Mother’s day in general.  Ahem.)  This piece by Anne Lamott (which Lavender Luz turned me on to) articulates my feelings about the topic much better than I ever could:

But Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path…I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure.

Oddly enough, despite all that, I actually had a decent day on Sunday with my family.  I think it was more the constant reminders (F-book, commercials, etc. ad nauseum) coming from other places that connected with that place inside me that feels like a failure for not being a mother, and just served to highlight that feeling.

Of course, my conscious self doesn’t believe that I’m a failure.  It’s that pesky place inside that is so hard to reach, and yet so persistent that believes this (among other also problematic things).  Pulling these thoughts and feelings into consciousness is no work for cowards, however.

Which may be why I’ve been watching so much Prison Break.

goodbye, redux

I just clicked the categories for this post.  I usually do that at the end, but for some reason I changed it up today.

Divorce.  Group.  Grief.

Last night at divorce group, we talked about grief.  When the facilitator opened the class and mentioned the topic, some jokes were made about how we needed to have boxes of tissues out.  Little did we know.

The task of the evening was to write a letter saying goodbye to our former partner and the things we miss.

Oh, I thought.  I’m way ahead here.  I’ve already done this.

About two months ago, at the suggestion of my therapist, I wrote a letter of sorts.  It started out as an accounting of the things I miss, but turned into an inventory of the things I don’t miss.  It was helpful at the time, and I thought that, well, I had already done the exercise.  I decided to participate in my “small group” (four participants and a volunteer-leader who has gone through the class before) as a way of being a good sport.  I’m nothing if not a good sport.

I didn’t really think I’d have much to write in the twenty minutes allotted, but somehow I filled up both sides of the paper I had been given.  Somehow.

And this time, it didn’t turn into a listing of what I don’t miss.  Somehow I was able to hold the space, and think of the beautiful moments.  I remembered that many of them were tainted by our dysfunction, either then or later, but somehow I was able to write out my grief for what I had lost, and not shift into protest mode.

The time was up, all of us in a suspended space.  I heard someone in one of the other small groups start to talk.  Then, my group’s leader told us we would then be reading our letters aloud to each other.

Say what?

It was very difficult to read my letter aloud.  I had no idea that what I had been writing was not to be for my eyes only.  Reading the letter, hearing my own voice speak what was in my heart was much more difficult than simply writing it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about letting go.  Mr. X dominated 6 years or so of my life while we were together, and he has dominated this last year since we’ve been apart.  A large part of me is saying “enough already.”  As I wrote last night, and as I read my words aloud, I felt a bit of him slip out of my grasp.

Before we split into our small groups, our facilitator played a song for us.  As soon as I heard the first notes, I recognized it.  In almost any other setting, at almost any other time I might have thought it was too corny for words.  Somehow, last night, it fit.

session two

The second session of my divorce class/group was Tuesday night, which means I had to wait until the following day to watch the new episode of Glee.  Grrrrr.  Looks like Hulu and I will be hanging out for the rest of the Glee-season (Gleason?).  Anyway…

All day Tuesday I found myself getting more and more emotional, leading up to the time for class.  Actually, I didn’t really realize it until I was driving to the guy’s house where we met.  Then it kind of came together—oh, this is what I’m so jumpy about.

The group is still in the awkward stage (“forming” for any group gurus out there).  It was good to hear from other people in the class, which only happened to a minimum the first week.  I found that hearing bits and pieces of people’s stories was very evocative for me, and probably could have burst into tears at any point during the first hour and a half.

There was some laughing along with all the angst.  We were talking about fears and one person articulated what many of us felt at one time or another:  I’m afraid I won’t see my ex again…and I’m afraid I will.  (It came off a little funnier at the moment, I think.)  A couple of people brought up their fears of never finding love again.  One woman asked if it was possible to ever enter in to another marriage again with the full belief that it wouldn’t end in divorce.  One of the volunteers who had been through the class before, and had been married three times, nodded his head insistently and said, “Yes, it is possible.  I did it twice.”

Part of the benefit for me, which I talked about a bit after the first session, is being around people who are in earlier stages of the divorce process.  Some are struggling with attorneys; some aren’t even ready yet to think about the legal side.  As the topic was fear, I realized that the fears I have now are so different that the fears that had me paralyzed seven or eight months ago.  Back then, one of my biggest fears was that the mortgage company would foreclose on the house.  Well, that happened, and I survived.  It’s a crappy situation, but I’m not wracked with fear about the whole thing now.

The fears I have now are broader, less concrete.  What if I’m alone forever?  What if I’m not and it’s bad again?  What if I never get over this?

Part of our “homework” is to do something concrete to address one of our fears.  I had a really hard time with this, until I realized that something I’ve been putting off could help.  I don’t make as much money as I would like to.  I don’t even make as much money as I used to, at the job I really hated (before the big separation and all that).  I have had a general plan to start working on getting my clinical licensure (LCSW—now I’m just an LMSW, if that means anything to you), which, when I get it, could lead to better jobs with better pay.  Basically, I need to find a supervisor for clinical hours, do a bunch of paperwork for the state, etc., and accrue a boatload of hours working under clinical supervision.  Completing the hours will take over two years, I think.  Because of that, it’s been very easy to put off, and off, and off.  In addition, when I interviewed for my current position, it seemed unclear if I could even get clinical hours in my job (because of the kind of work I do on a day-to-day basis, it seemed that the state might not approve the hours I work as “clinical.”).  Well, a couple of weeks ago, my co-worker told me she was just approved by the state to start accruing clinical hours.  Which means…I can do the same.  I’ve just got to get my shit together and start the process.  Luckily, there is someone in my agency who can fill the role of clinical supervisor.  So, part of my homework this week is to talk to that person about how to get started in the process.  Just a little piece, but I’ve been feeling a lot of money stress lately, and at least I will feel like I’m moving in a positive direction for my career.

Starting the whole LCSW process has been on my mind, and on my mental “list” for a while, but if it weren’t for getting challenged in my small group session Tuesday night, I don’t think I would be getting to it anytime soon.

One last thing about group session #2:  I brought up the topic of abuse.  I was definitely not planning to do so, and definitely not in front of the whole group.  We were discussing contact with our exes, and what the best way to do that is, etc.  The conversation went here, there, and everywhere, and apparently I felt the need to speak up.  I said that I didn’t have contact with my ex and don’t foresee that changing, and that I thought that was the healthiest thing for me because there was abuse in our relationship.  Afterward, I felt a bit silly, like I had said too much, like nobody understood or agreed with me, like I had opened myself up more than I was ready to do.

Later, during the break, two of the women who were sitting by me spoke to me about my outburst sharing.  Turns out they both had similar situations and were really grateful I said something.  So there’s that.

Next week we’ll discuss “dumpers and dumpees.”  Should be interesting.

P.S.  I just realized that I don’t think I ever posted here about the “job uncertainty” update.  More money was found, apparently miraculously, and my job is safe.  I have job security for the foreseeable future. 🙂