Saturday, December 03, 2005

Not Your Normal Blogaversary Post

Or: It's My Blogavesary and I'll Cry If I Want To...

WARNING: This is not my usual "look on the bright side" post.

I saw this on the back cover of a notebook my son brought home from rehab (I added the Bible verse). I was clearing things out and I threw the notebook away, but I decided to keep this example of marking time.

When I first took my son in to see a substance abuse counselor, the man painted a very dim picture of my son's future. And I listened politely (stubbornly), thinking "no, our story will be different". After a few more years had passed, I was forced to admit the guy's assessment was fairly accurate. I spent a little time being angry at the messenger, and wondering why he did not insist right then that I pack my son up and get him into a rehabilitation program that very day. But the messenger knew what I did not yet know. It has been one of the most bitter realizations I have come to in this past year, that I cannot force change on anyone, no matter how much I love them, no matter how badly I wish things were different.

(What I truly resent is the fact that the treatment center will never mention how important the client's willingness to participate is to the process. They will take your money that you have sold your soul to the devil to get to pay for their sevices while they are talking their smooth talk of strengthening families and turning lives around. But that is a whole "nother subject.)

And I'm not bashing my son. No one can force change on me either. I am in my own little tangle, and there are things I need to do, can do, to help myself. Some of them are simple things. I don't sit and make hash (no pun intended) marks on a notebook marking the days till I can get out. I sit around counting the days till I can be rescued from my tangle. It all comes down to the same thing, doesn't it? An unwillingness to expend the energy that is necessary to change the things that could be changed to help ourselves.

It hurts to run into the mother of one of my son's friends and hear how well that young man is doing, that he has completed the very same program my son began last year and then quit. It hurts to know that several of my young friends from school are all set to graduate this semester, and I quit two semesters away from finishing. It hurts to know that last year looked like it was going to be the year of healing for my family and it wasn't.
I hurt.

(He's doing all right, BTW, my son. He is in town, but not living with us. I believe he is progressing, but it is painstakingly slow. I miss him, but at the same time, we have to have a little distance, for the sake of both of us. Otherwise, I will give him far too much and that is not what he needs from me. I feel a great sadness about that, but I also have come to accept that I am part of the problem.)

I don’t know “how many days I been in this place” but I made my first post about a year ago. Last year things looked so hopeful. This year, the whole idea of naming this blog “New Life Rising” seems a bit of a stretch. Things looked so ripe with promise then. Things look so bleak now. Seems like I should have named the place "Observations From the Dung Heap".

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since last year. Some of it I have written about. Some of it I have kept to myself. I can’t point to any one thing that has me whipped down. I think it is just the accumulation of a bunch of things, and the constant, ongoing stress in my life.

Speaking metaphorically, I think one of the things that hurts the worst is the realization that my pretty yellow dress does not hide any of my flaws. For so long, I have secretly wanted to qualify for “Saint of the Year” (and I thought I had a chance) but I know now that I will never even make the runner-up list. Sure, it looks bright from a distance. If you do not get too close, things look great. I have a husband and three children who are physically healthy. I have a home to live in. I have a job that is okay. I am able to work. But if you dig much deeper, there are major cracks and flaws in my life. Something has to be done. Something has needed to be done for some time now. And I have been in a fog.

I have given up on a lot of the ideals I used to long for (can't reach them anyway). I'm not sure what to put in place of the idealistic visions I once held. Right now, I’m just enduring life. And I guess the honest truth (even when it is ugly, even when it is painful) is just as good a thing as any to put in the place of idealism.

I know that I sound bleak today. I know that I will see brighter days. Sometimes I struggle with how honest I want to be in this place. I don't really like being this honest, but on some days, I just can't continue churning out the cheese.

It's been a tough year, a disappointing year. I don't expect the next one to be any easier.

But, on the bright side, I really like being in this place, and it's good to air out bad feelings every once in a while. My mood has lifted somewhat, thanks to a Christmas parade, a haircut and a visit to church Sunday morning. I am posting the Christmas parade photos and commentary right after this in hopes that my darkness will not dominate this place.


  1. Freaking blogger.........I wrote a nice long note to you and it got lost............kill me now.........

  2. I worry about you so much at times. I worry if you have a good support system. I worry if you take care of yourself. You have had a sucky year. I am so sorry. If you could do anything different right now, what would it be. Not change anything but start doing something...what would that be?

  3. Oh Annie. I have a clue what you're going through (my college age daughter is challenging). I will pray for your family and you.

  4. Here's my second crack at posting a comment to this, if this one gets lost, we know it wasn't meant to be!
    I gotta bring up the age thing....oh, stop cringing, I know you want to smack me, just go ahead and do it and get it over with! From my own mid-life experience, I think we do tend to start looking around ourselves, and in some bad case of overload, we (overly so) re-evaluate, analyze, then analyze again, and it goes on. We get redundant, in a manner of speaking. "where am I going?, Where have I been?, where am I now?" Oh boy, do I ever know........this from someone who (meaning me) is used to running her life full steam ahead, in control, and always with a end goal in mind......very constructed and rigid. The hardest thing in life to do, (for me) was relinquish control to something much larger than myself. And to realize, that at this point, some things just don't matter. I had to admit I dont' control everything, and frankly, what a relief, when I realized that. You sort of let yourself off the hook, but in a good way. It isn't about becoming self-centered, but more of a re-centering of your "self". The end.........for now

  5. Its not darkness that dominates this post, but wisdom. You seem to have gained a lot of wisdom in the last year or so - and none of it easily.

    You seem to be realistic about the future - it is not bright and shining just around the bend. But there is always hope. And I think I hear that twinge of hope behind and alongside your words.

    Keep growing, keep creating, keep writing.


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