Honestly, who knew that what I would need to impose for the period of Lent was self-care and SLOOOWING down, but we're three weeks into this period of Lent and it's been extremely good for my grieving process, renewal, and really just learning how to be settled again.
I just downloaded pictures from my phone to the computer from January until now and in doing so it became apparent to me why my body, soul, and mind just need a break from going a mile a minute. These few weeks of slowing down and distracting less have allowed me to purge much that I didn't even know was locked inside of me and has allowed me to start processing through some of the residual thoughts, hurts, emotions, healing, although that will continue to be an ongoing process. At this point, I'm still loading my calendar with fun (FREE!!) things for this spring term but dependent on how I feel at Easter, I might continue the social media ban. Ironically in the time being, I feel like I'm communicating more and on a better level with many of my closest friends and I'm returning to be more engaged with family.
This weekend while jogging along the beach with the dogs I looked at the shells along the beach and realized that currently I feel like one of those sand dollars that's almost whole but has had it's core broken out of it. That might sound depressing but six months to a year ago, I probably felt more like a sand dollar that was smashed into various pieces and scattered along the shore, and I've come to recognize that I'm okay with allowing my sand dollar to slowly piece itself back together. The quieter I am, the more I feel those mineral deposits building upon each other and at some point I feel like I'll be back to a whole (or almost whole) sand dollar. I'm in the process of re-assessing what used to be important to me, what I wanted out of life, thinking about who I have been (the mistakes and the things I'm proud of life molding me into), and trying to decide who and what I want life to be in the future. So far I'm realizing that much of who and what I want to be is pretty similar to who I was at 26 when I got married. I want to find the same partner that I thought I had found back then and I want to built upon the same or similar values as I was back then, but I'm also trying to figure out how to let go of the hurts that occurred in the interim and how to mold two versions of myself into one.
There's been a lot of grieving in the last few weeks. It had been a while since I'd had all sorts of random tears, but they come at random times these days. During the divorce, I think I grieved somewhat about feeling like I had failed by getting a divorce and the issues of underemployment but then I tried to stuff it all aside to move on. A lot of what seems to be surfacing is grief related to the experience of the actual marriage, the disappointment that it wasn't what I thought and had hoped for, the years that I tried to deny all the sadness that I felt, the loneliness and insecurity. I'm also still processing through the loss of optimism and hope in humanity that occurred by living with the infantry, in the south, in a lie, etc. And those are bigger issues that are going to take more time to weed through. There is also a lot of anger and resentment resurfacing. Anger toward my ex for the choices he made and continues to make, frustration with myself for always letting him back in and for choosing self-suppression. But I have made some progress also. I recognize the marriage itself was a mistake and I have been able to acknowledge that we all do make mistakes throughout life. I look around my home and I love what I do have present in my life, and I'm working on fixing my relationship with God as well. I'm aware of the values I had and I'm trying to figure out how to get back to living out many of them.
And I have to say the naturopath I'm working with has been amazing thus far. The dietary changes are hit and miss but I have started weekly acupuncture appointments and it's nice to just weekly check-in with someone regarding the physical effects of what's going on emotionally with me. What she has to say makes a lot of sense about why I'm massively exhausted, my sleep is hit or miss, and I'm hyper-sensitive to stimulus around me. I just started "clearing treatments" with the acupuncture and yesterday there was that moment during the treatment when things "just clicked and aligned." The feeling doesn't stay forever but it was amazing to feel that again...like when you're tuning the radio and how great it is to hit the exact air wave of a good radio station rather than hear any of the static buzz. Additionally there was a hummingbird floating around the pine trees out the window, and it was nice to just lay there and observe nature doing it's glorious thing.
Some other great things:
--I took almost a full week off of running after running the Shamrock Run. I was really happy with the experience of doing the race (my pace was great, the hill wasn't as bad as I thought, and I smiled almost the whole way). I jogged with the dogs at the beach last weekend and then we did an easy, easy jog last night, but really and truly I've just tried to give my body more rest time.
--Yesterday I got a library card. While this might not seem like a completely joyous thing to some...for me it is. The library is one of those positive childhood comfort items and it felt rewarding to finally get a card after living here for three years. I looked up the items I wanted and then found several other items in the same shelves that sounded like needed and good options.
--I plowed through a novel last week. It was the first one I'd read in months and conquering 400+ pages in about two days was rewarding. The book touched on a lot of the same themes I've been feeling and while a fun read was also good processing material. (No wonder Mom had passed it on to me in the summer....). I also finished another book this weekend that I've been reading over the last few months, and last night I read 100 pages in a book about grief (it's been great and validating thus far...and hopefully will help provide direction for how to move forward).
--Did you catch that it's been a full three years that I've lived in this house? This is the longest I've lived consistently in any one location since high school...and the stability of location and the creation of a true home has been good for me. We'll see what the future holds but at this point, if I could finish out five full years in this house, I'd like that...
--Yesterday I spent the afternoon responding to the seven follow-up questions that were emailed out to second round applicants for the full-time faculty positions. Again, there are so many of us part-time faculty that are applying for these positions that I am not banking on actually getting one of them, but the fact that I was considered for the second round was incredibly rewarding. That in itself is almost enough...although of course, I truly would love the opportunity to be a full-time faculty member.
I do hope to still post some of those updates about hiking and other pictures etc, but we'll see how things progress over the next week or so. :)