Tag Archives: love

tequila and heartbreak

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I have written several posts in the past few months and then not published them or deleted them all together.  Because…shame.  It’s been present off and on in heavy doses because I’m making some major life changes and I have extra stress right now.  I’m also fighting feelings of failure. 

Maybe I’ll publish some of the posts that I kept, or maybe I’ll just keep them for myself.  But this one I am writing today because I don’t like keeping this secret inside that reduces me to feelings of shame and failure.  And I really do believe that speaking my experiences has been an enormous help to me in getting through the negative and feeling free to heal. 

I have been called a crazy dog lady many times.  I have an enormous, deep, and unconditional love for all the dogs I have ever had in my life.  I have an immediate love for most dogs I meet.  I would do anything to ensure my dogs feel safe and loved.  And I spare no expense on their health. 

I have been uncharacteristically quiet for the last several months about my dogs.  And that is because I was feeling like a complete failure.  Unworthy of having them.  Full of shame that I was going to have to face a decision I have judged people for many times. 

I am heartbroken still as I write this because I had to return my Tequila to her foster home last week.  

I’m taking a very deep breath as I feel the weight of what some of you will think as you read that.  And because I still cry every single time I think of her and what had to happen.  I don’t have any idea how to stop hurting over the loss I’m feeling not having Tequila in my home where I felt she belonged. 

My dogs were together 4 months before they fought for the first time.  It was terrifying and I didn’t know what to do or if it was an immediate reason they couldn’t be together.  But thankfully, I have great dog-loving people in my life and many great connections from volunteering for the rescue both Fiesta and Tequila came from when I adopted each of them.

I was quickly connected with a great trainer who worked with us in my home in order to bring harmony back to all of us.  And I had my dogs examined by their fabulous vet to ensure there were no medical issues going on that could be causing the aggression.  Their vet is someone I have relied on for many years now and I am so thankful for his expertise, advice, and support. 

I was so relieved that my home quickly became a house of beagle love again.  For awhile. 

Unfortunately, the fighting kept coming back and in the last few months it escalated to the point where I had to face the fact that they may not be able to both be safe in my home.

Then, one day a few weeks ago I put both dogs in the car to go to the park.  And just as I parked the car, a fight broke out in the backseat.  Before I could even understand what was happening, there was blood and I no longer remained calm as I yelled and tried other things that in the past had worked to prevent or stop fights.  In a split second of panicking and not thinking, I reached to grab a collar and got in the middle of them fighting in the way a person never should. 

With my hand.  

I felt the pain immediately and froze in hopes that my dog would let go, which she did.  And then they went right back to fighting with each other as my wrist started bleeding everywhere and I continued to struggle to stop them. 

Eventually, I was able to stop the fight and keep them separate in the car to get home.  They went into their crates and I headed to urgent care.  I was confused and hurt, both emotionally and physically. 

I still have pain and bruising, and it’s been a few weeks. But I was lucky I wasn’t bitten in a way that caused permanent damage.  

The damage to my heart is not healing as quickly. 

I tried to reunite them several times with no luck before I admitted to myself that this recent fight was the moment I knew that I couldn’t keep them together.  Everything I tried to make a safe home for them both has failed. 

I failed.  At least that’s how I felt at that time. 

I know I made the right decision to separate them, but it has been really awful. 

I will say again, I have great dog-loving people in my life.  I reached out to a few and received so much understanding, support, and love.  And I am so, SO thankful to each of you who were there for me in the last few weeks.  You know who you are and I just can’t thank you enough. 

Facing the fact that I couldn’t give both of my dogs the home they deserve is one of the worst things I have ever had to face.  

I know in my heart and my gut I did what was best for both of them.  Tequila is doing great in a place where she feels safe and loved.  She will be cared for by a rescue I respect that will protect her best interests and make sure she finds a great new home.  And Fiesta is relaxed, playful, and happy in a way she hasn’t been in a very long time.  That is good.  That is what they both deserve.

I helped my Tequila girl get through illness and reach her healthy weight.  And that’s success, not failure.  

I’ll have to hold onto that since I can no longer hold her little paws or rub her soft ears.  She won’t be with me, but she will always be in my heart as my dog. 

Miss you, Teq.  Soooooooo much. 

KK  
 

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WILD

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**This post discusses the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  I wasn’t able to include page numbers to completely give credit to each quote because I have only a digital copy of the book and so that won’t be the same as pages in the actual book.  But I made sure to use quotes and it is not at all my intention to try and claim any of her awesomeness as my own.

This book means a lot to me.  I don’t remember why I picked it up or how I heard about the book.  But I am so thankful I did.  I just saw the movie this week and I loved that too.  Not nearly as much as the book, but the movie had all the parts I had hoped to see and all the feelings the book had me feeling.

The book was in my life at exactly the right time and reading it gave me exactly the validation I needed to make some final decisions.  To understand what I needed to do to more forward in my life.

The first big moment for me in the book was her discussion of why she chose a new name after getting her divorce.  The weekend I read the book I was alone at a cabin with just my dogs.  Silence and beauty all around me as I sat by the fire and in the cute cabin and read her story.  She says she knew if she got divorced she couldn’t stay her married name, but “I couldn’t go back to having the name I had had in high school and be the girl I used to be.”  And as I read that I knew that it had described exactly how I was feeling.

I had filed for divorce that same year and had been living alone for only a few weeks short of one year.  I was beginning to think a lot about my name and the choice I had to make in keeping the married name or “restoring” my maiden name.  To me, keeping my married name was never a valid choice.  I don’t mean it to sound as harsh as it likely will, but I just didn’t want to keep that connection to him.  It is who I became because I married him and I wanted a full disconnection from who I had allowed myself to become in our marriage.  However, going back to my maiden name seemed like going back to the girl in the corner.  The girl I didn’t like or accept.  And the girl who was sexually assaulted.  It felt unsafe and just not at all who I wanted to be again.  It was difficult for me to accept that because I also have very warm connections to that name.  I am close to my father, I was very close to my grandfather, and my maiden name is both the middle name for myself and for my son.

When I read that part of the book where she decided to choose her own name, I put the book down and just sat with those feelings.  And very quickly I decided that I would do that myself.  I would choose my own name.  I would decide later if I would keep my maiden name as my middle name, but I spent the next few minutes sitting by the fire thinking about what my last name should be once I was single.  I didn’t expect to come to a decision so quickly, and I won’t describe the personal moments that led me to my name, but it was a completely clear moment.  One of those moments that takes your breath away because it is so perfect.  I knew sitting by that fire who I would become.  And then I laughed and said right out loud to my dogs and the horses nearby, “that.  is.  awesome.  and that’s what i am going to do.”

Cheryl Strayed’s description of her feelings about divorce just hit exactly on the types of things I was feeling and had been feeling while deciding to move out and then go forward with divorce.  Reading her story validated my feelings and allowed me to give myself a much needed break from punishing myself for my decisions.

She wrote “as close as we’d been when we were together, we were closer in our unraveling, telling each other everything at last” and I understood that feeling in a personal way.  My husband and I had been close in some ways for many years, but never quite the way I needed.  I wanted a best friend to come home to and I never felt comfortable sharing my whole self and my whole, true feelings with him.  But after I moved out, a really strange thing happened for awhile.  I did feel closer to him and him to me.  We had long discussions and said things we should have been saying all along.  I felt closer to him than I had felt for years.  Which led to a period of us accepting separation as an option when we had always said if we couldn’t live together, there was no point to staying married.  So for the next 8 months, we lived separately and we talked and got together often to see if we could fix what was broken in our relationship.  We didn’t succeed, but I’m thankful for the time with him because feeling close to him then allowed us to move forward and not go through an angry, hateful divorce.  We were able to talk and be with our kids and treat each other with respect.

As I moved forward in living alone, I referenced the book often. I read parts of it over again and looked back at my favorite quotes a lot. I liked living alone and I still do. Cheryl Strayed wrote “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” I like that because to me that is one of the best things in the world…being alone. And I’m thankful that I can be alone and be comfortable and happy. I’ve not always been good at it because I didn’t like myself. It’s one of the best benefits I’ve received from therapy. I know now that I can be alone and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I want to be completely alone all the time or forever, but when I am I know that I’m still with a person who’s pretty great.

I lived alone for about a year and a half before the day of my divorce arrived. And even though it was the day my marriage would be ended, I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel happy or relieved or angry or scared. I just felt like it was what was necessary to do what we had already done in separating ourselves and agreeing that although we loved each other, we just didn’t work the same way we once had and that wasn’t enough for me. I kept thinking of this quote from the very same book, “I didn’t feel sad or happy. I didn’t feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right.” And no matter what else I was feeling, that day I just knew I had made the right decisions for me.

In moving forward now in my life, I still think of Cheryl Strayed and her story often. I’ll probably read the book again someday. There are a lot more quotes I read and think about on an almost daily basis.

Although our experiences in life were not the same, I understand the enormity of the quote ”what if I forgave myself?” Her quote goes on, but that’s the part I cling to because that’s what I have left to do with the girl in the corner. I must find a way to forgive her. And to accept that she is a part of me. A part of me who deserves forgiveness and love.

Thank you, Cheryl Strayed, for being brave enough to share your story. It has played a large part in my healing and my ability to move forward each day to rediscovering me.

KK

A New Year and a Look Back

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A lot can change in a year. And for me, 2014 was a really big year for change.

I started 2014 with many conflicting emotions and a rather high level of anxiety. I didn’t trust myself and I felt trapped by many of my own thoughts. I was thinking about buying a house or trying to decide on continuing to rent, and I had all of the stress that went with those decisions. I was getting ready to start my 12-week group which was one of the scariest things I have ever faced. I was at the end of a divorce that I agonized over for way too many years. I was helping my teenage daughter cope with the change of living in two homes and helping us both deal with the fact that my now adult son was living out on his own and not in our daily lives.

That’s a lot of stuff. And really those things were just daily life from January to April, which left a lot of year left to live.

Thankfully, 2014 started out a bit full of stress, but became a year of fabulous positive change as well.

I bought my house on May 27 and they only considered my income and credit.  ONLY ME.  I did it all on my own and that felt awesome.  Moving is always stressful, but this was a lot more fun because as I moved in all the decisions were up to me.  I could put colorful things and things that mean the world to me everywhere I wanted and that makes me feel comfy and good.  One of my greatest friends got to visit this summer and helped me settle in even more and decorate my sunroom, which is a really awesome space.

Spring and early summer was also a time for a lot of excitement, a bit of giggling, and a dash of anxiety as I began a positive new relationship and experienced a first date for the first time since 1995!  Scott and I went to high school together and reconnecting with him all these years later has been really, really great.  He and I reconnected at a time when I least expected to be taking any time for dating, especially any dates that would lead to an actual relationship.  I was in the middle of my therapy group, just a week divorced, and kind of a mess of feelings.  But from our first messages to each other, we have never stopped talking and he has very quickly become the best friend a girl could hope to have by her side through whatever comes our way.  In just 8 months together we have had many of the best times I could imagine ever having and we have also faced a lot of challenges…and whenever I feel like my “stuff” is just going to be too much for him, he is right there to tell me that I’m worth it.  He has listened to me scream, yell, doubt myself, doubt him, be stubborn as a mule, and cry my eyes out.  Scott is thoughtful, understanding, spontaneous, dedicated to who and what he loves, smart, respectful, a great listener, charming, trustworthy, a great father, a fabulous dancer, and makes me laugh each and every day.  I love you, Scott.  Thanks for being you and being in my life.

Going through summer was fun not only because of my new love, but because I got to become more and more settled in my home and finished up the first and most difficult therapy group after 12 long weeks.  Being a part of that group with the other terrific women I met and grew to care about so much was more rewarding than I imagined it would be when it started.  Disclosing my sexual assault experience was liberating and began a healing process that I had buried and ignored for a very long time.  I feel very fortunate to have met the people who helped me go through that process.

I have continued my individual therapy and it has brought with it some new challenges that I can now manage with better coping skills.  And I love that. Fall brought some personal challenges, some a surprise and some things that were just buried under the more obvious things I have faced that are now ready to come out.  I like that therapy place where I can say anything and get an unbiased opinion on how to handle it, when I could have done something differently, and when I really did a great job of communicating and maintaining my personal boundaries.

I also love that no matter what happens to me each day, the first person I think of to tell is Scott.  I always sold myself short on that part of my relationships.  I always felt my girlfriends were the people who should be there for that stuff.  I love that Scott has become my best friend.  I still value the love and friendship of my best gals, but I adore knowing that my partner in love has my back and loves me no matter what ridiculous thing I do or say.

This fall, I wrote a post about Thanksgiving being difficult for me.  And I love that I could get to Alaska for Thanksgiving.  Spending time with my friend there is like a reset button for me, she and I have known each other for so long there is a complete relaxation to being together.  I love her family, and being around her just makes the crazy in my head easier to bear.

Looking at December and the end of 2014 seemed SO far away just a minute ago.  But all of a sudden, there it was right in front of me.  And as years go, it was a really great one even though it started out a little tough.  Letting go of my marriage was difficult, but we have maintained a relationship that allows us to continue to love and parent our kids the best way possible and I am proud of that.  Celebrating the holidays with my kids has always been a favorite thing for me and this year was no different.  The way our family looks has changed, but the love we share is still the thing that puts a spring in my step and can bring a smile to my face anytime I think of it.

2015 has started off better than any year for quite a long time.  I look forward to the new and exciting things ahead and the continued healing I will explore in my therapy and in a new group I will be starting soon.

I hope your year will be great too.  You deserve it!

KK

Love

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Love.

It’s all around you if you just believe in yourself and let it happen. If you take the time to really examine who you are, to feel comfortable with yourself, love will come to you. Love comes along when you least expect it. True love is being married to your best friend. Love is never giving up on the other person.

I used to hate reading those things. Especially the last one. Like if you “give up” on your love and/or marriage you are a terrible person. That’s just not true.

Sometimes love changes. Sometimes people change, but don’t change together or change in a way that isn’t able to be accepted by the other person. And I don’t think that makes either person terrible. Just too different to remain in love with each other. Too different in goals and dreams and desires to continue without losing part of who they are inside. People grow up, stop pretending to be something they aren’t anymore or maybe never were. People get tired of not being accepted for all their quirks, for their core.

What I do believe is that there is a lot of love in the world and it really does seem to come out of nowhere sometimes. Suddenly. Completely unexpected. Often at the wrong time. Other times at exactly the right time.

Like now.

I am me again now and for the last 19-20 months I have explored who that is to the point where I feel completely comfortable being alone and content. I began to imagine a life of me and my children, family, friends, and/or dogs traveling, exploring, and having fun doing wherever we want. I started to tell myself I don’t need to share that with anyone else because I’m so happy to finally be understanding myself and I won’t sacrifice or modify any of that for another person ever again.

And I won’t.

It seems I now have an awesome opportunity to truly understand and accept myself. And that makes me exactly the right person for someone else. At the right time for both of us to be open to it.

And that feels good. Ridiculously good. It took me by surprise when the friendship began awhile back, but then all at once I just let my walls down and the feelings came flooding in and took over. And as we both said just who we are and prepared for the other person to run the other way, something really awesome happened.

Complete acceptance. For the good, the not so great, the crazy, the weird, and the truly awesome depth of who we are as individuals.

People will say it’s crazy, too soon, too fast, and maybe other things too. But I don’t care.

I’m totally in love.

One definition reads like this — in love: inspired by affection.

I feel inspired. And I feel affection. I feel inspired by that affection. I looked those words up too. And they’re completely accurate words for what I feel.

This love feels way too good to hide it. So I won’t. And I’m so glad to have it that I wake up each day with a feeling of knowing why all the things that have happened so far in my life had to happen.

To prepare me for the love I have for myself and who I truly am. And to prepare me to be able to accept love from another person. To see it for all the things that love can be for us. And to get me to understand what it means for me to love someone else for exactly who they are inside and out.

I feel lucky. I feel grateful. I feel beautiful just the way that I am. I feel ready. And that’s amazing. I love that!

I’m in love. And I won’t try to stop that. Not today. Not ever. I’m just going to let it happen.

KK