I feel boring today. There are things I need and want to do including getting ready for the rummage sale that I still don't know if we should have since the housing situation is still in limbo. Yesterday my aunt called. She might come out to visit on Wednesday, I'm looking forward to seeing her again even if it means I have to share the day with my sister who also might stop by. We need to get some yard work done today. We've been putting it off and of course it's gotten worse with the rain we've had lately. Today I feel very detached, as if everything is surreal and I'm watching a movie of these people instead of being one of the active participants in my own life. I don't feel like I've forgiven anyone, but I can't summon any of the old anger. I think this is growth, but I'm kind of afraid I'm not facing some of the things I should. I finished my ADD book so I'm continuing with my study of Boundaries which means I'm reading the words knowing that I'm just scratching the surface. I've gone through boundaries in a marriage, boundaries with friends, and I'm onto the section about boundaries with children. When my sister was over she said that I had a lot of self help books. I pick them up at the thrift stores when I go and I rarely regret these purchases although the finance books I started reading last night were slightly disappointing.
Boredom is a very rare thing for me. Normally I feel so overwhelmed and agitated that I spin in useless circles. These past few days I've done things and not done others. Reading about boundaries is like being in a class that's teaching high level concepts at a fourth grade level. The book is very easy to read, but the behavior changing is going to take an immense effort. The book is just a place to start that offers some guidelines and illustrations of what healthy relationships look like. A friend of mine said that others were there to encourage and support. They shouldn't be telling me what to do even if that's the very thing that I need to be doing. They wouldn't appreciate someone else telling them what to do and they have boundary issues of their own if they can't respect my right to live with the consequences of my own decisions and choices. It was really good to read the part about how to get more support and encouragement from sources like a therapist, groups, and religious leaders. The book cautions people who are learning these new concepts from rushing out and trying to establish better boundaries on their own which was funny because that's exactly what I wanted to do.
Before yesterday I was worried about what the girls were going to do all summer without any classes or programs. It was rejuvenating to see them playing outside with each other. Right now my youngest is in the bathroom doing her hair and makeup while my oldest is playing with her new phone. My husband took them out last night. He was going to take them to do the condo to help get some things cleaned up over there, instead they went to Wal-Mart and bought the new phone along with some candy. In the book I read about people turning toward members of the opposite sex when they're hurting and wounded, but the book is very clear that those relationships are there to help people determine if they want to eventually marry someone else, and healing should take place outside of the romantic arena. I never understood that earlier, it was very freeing and helpful to read that. I don't need to go out with someone else to help me get better. I can get better using the relationships and resources I have already. It isn't fair to stick a new guy with my drama and I certainly am not interested in taking on anything new in the drama department if he has baggage he should have dropped off earlier. I was talking to a friend of mine about going out with someone else, he was funny about it which really helped. It's easier to joke about a power ranking system for guys I want to go out with than it is to face some of these unpleasant realities here at home.
Since I can't control what others do, I have to choose what I'm willing to do or put up with, I really like how the book frames it and I wish I could remember how they suggest phrasing things. I wouldn't have thought it would make that much difference, but when I read their statements, I can see that the protagonist is accepting and owning their feelings instead of blaming the other person. I'm listening to old country music and it's really bringing up feelings I would rather not be feeling right now. I set out a snack for the girls after they had been outside for a while. The girls are old enough to grab things from the fridge or pantry, but they aren't very good about getting carbs, protein, and fat into a snack or meal so I'm trying to set out things that illustrate what a balanced meal or snack looks like. That's something I'm willing to do for them. I'm looking back at years of my dad and husband being critical of meals and remembering me and my mom taking that very personally when really, it was our job to get the food to the table, and their job to get their own meals if they didn't like what had been prepared. For years I tried making his favorite foods even when they were things that I didn't particularly like or care for. I made him an apple pie that he didn't take a single bite out of and since I don't care for pie and I was saving it for him I left it on the counter until it grew mold.
He didn't like the way that I did laundry or folded his shirts. There were so many boundary violations that I didn't challenge because I thought that I was not being a good wife. My dad didn't like most of the things that my mom did so it didn't occur to me that this was behavior that needed to be nipped in the bud. I should have told him that he could do his own laundry if he didn't care for the way that I was doing it. My sister told me about a fight she had with her husband about laundry. She was mad that he threw his dirty clothes on the floor so he said he would do his own laundry citing that it was a very intimate occupation that she shouldn't have to do for him. That set off all sorts of red flags in my mind, but she seems to think that this fight is just about laundry instead of something broader. I knew my marriage was in trouble when my husband started wanting to do his own laundry. Nobody voluntarily takes on more work that will make their lives more hectic so there must be something that's prompting them to take on more responsibility. One day I had his clothes downstairs and found a pack of pills in his back pocket. I confronted him about them and I still don't think I have the truth about them so that's another conversation for my therapist.
When my aunt and I were talking she said she didn't think I was in love with him anymore. I said that I don't think I was ever in love with him because I've never trusted him to tell me the truth. I loved him, but I guarded my heart and put up walls to try and protect myself. It's not good when you can't trust your partner and if that's the case, you need to get some help, and possibly out of that relationship. I read a piece about features of a healthy relationship and that list was eye opening when I ticked off how many things that I haven't had in many of my relationships. I read the section on gift giving and realized that I don't know how to give gifts that are expectation free. I can give small gifts like a notebook or flowers, but I guess I must be expecting something in return when I give larger gifts. I think this goes back to when I was a kid. I knew I was probably going to get to keep gifts of art supplies or other smaller things, but getting attached to a larger nicer gift was only going to lead to heartache when it disappeared or got broken or damaged by my siblings or friends. I remember being in high school and a girlfriend stopping by my house. She had gotten her period and wanted to know if I had a pair of underwear she could borrow. She was in a car full of guys and I handed over a pair of underwear that I had never worn that night. She thanked me, but she didn't invite me out with her and her male friends. I'm better off for that now, but I should have viewed that encounter as proof that I was in her life for what I could do for her.
Another friend of mine frequently borrowed money and wanted me to go hang out with her and her boyfriend on the far side of town. I didn't mind the guy she was dating, I actually kind of liked playing cards with him and his brother. One night she had a lot to drink so I drove her car home. I had taken my shoes off so I scrambled to put them on when I got pulled over by a state trooper. I ended up getting a speeding ticket for being the kind of friend who was willing to drive her drunk friend home when she was a nineteen year old underage drinker. I hadn't had a sip of anything although the trooper was reluctant to believe that when he stopped me. He asked whose car it was and mentioned that there were reports of a stolen car in the area which is why he pulled me over when I drove by in excess of the posted speed limit. It was forty-five through that stretch, I thought it was fifty-five, I had been going fifty-three and that ticket rankled. But it was my fault for not being assertive and it taught me a lesson about transportation and relying on friends for rides. Another girlfriend of mine got dropped off on the side of the road when she refused to have sex with the guys she was with so now she drives herself everywhere. The 'friend' who borrowed the underwear from me went home with a guy she hadn't ridden down with and since she was our ride back another 'friend' of mine said she needed the keys so we could get back to their place. I went out with these people on New Year's and had to stay with them when my husband wouldn't come and pick me up that night.
I've shared the story about my friend getting dumped on the side of the road and I'll probably pass along some of these other experiences to the girls not to terrify them or make them paranoid, but to use them as conversation starters since I know what can happen when boys and girls and sex and drugs and alcohol start mixing in a private or party setting. I'm going to tell them my own part in these relationships and ask them what they think I should have done when these circumstances presented themselves. Jill has therapy in a bit, she wants me to watch her cartwheels, I told her I could as soon as I was done typing this even though I do want to spend that time with her because this is my time to write and I hold it dear. If I abandon my writing for interruptions it breaks up my train of thought and I want her to learn that I mean what I say so she stops begging and whining. I feel like I signed up for a very hard class, but I'll put in the work, make a few mistakes, and learn some wonderful and life long lessons that I will treasure as I age. She's still playing with her phone so I'm going to have to set some limits there. She wants my attention, she deserves some of it so I'm going to set this aside and go watch her outside for a while.