Me: [mee] - pronoun

native Seattle girl . 34 years old . blissfully married . city girl . wanderluster . interior designer . travel writer . cockeyed optimist . coloratura soprano . theatre enthusiast . proud police wife . zumba addict . architecture fiend . hopeless Anglophile . committed Christian . politically moderate . history nut . Starbucks addict . bookworm . wordsmith . filmophile . music geek . museum rat . not-so-closet shopaholic . student of drawing, dance, cooking, photography and languages . value life experience far above financial worth . appreciative of living healthy, but not at the expense of chocolate . never want to stop learning, laughing and seeing the beauty in all that is around me.

For more on that aforementioned wanderlust problem, click here.

21 October 2014

Vulnerability update: lunch

I realize all situations are different, but the primary thing I’m left with after meeting my ex for lunch last week is that EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS.

Was there open-armed running to each other in slow motion on a beach with grand music playing? Of course not. In fact, it was awkward and terrifying and very surreal. But there were also confessions and forgiveness and healing. It’s been a complete mind trip, and it has taken days just to organize my thoughts into something cohesive. But now that I’m putting the pieces together, I feel like I’m finally free. It’s a very foreign and much appreciated sense of peace.

I’ve forgiven myself.  I’ve forgiven him.  I’ve forgiven his wife.  Why?  Because I get it. I see now that a lot of my hurt was from stuff I unnecessarily internalized all those years ago. A lot of the rejection I’ve carried with me didn’t actually come from him; it came from me.  From my issues with low self-esteem misinterpreting what was really going on. Yes, we were all messed up.  The situation was messed up.  But such is life.  And now, I get what happened, and I get why.  I get where the anger and mistrust came from.  And most importantly, I get why it doesn’t matter anymore.

Every day, I recall more memories with surprising clarity and plug them into the new big picture. It all makes such perfect sense now; I’m astounded at how many misconceptions I carried for so many years. To be given an opportunity to peek back into something that affected me so dramatically, armed with the clarity of 15 years of maturity….I’m just so unbelievably grateful - for my path, my life, my husband, my own growth - to the level of sometimes getting overwhelmed with emotion.  Sure, we have struggles, but overall, I am so blessed.

Finding that letter six months ago took away the old anger, leaving me a little lost.  Over the last few days, that lost feeling has been replaced by healing. Understanding. Freedom.  A genuine desire for their happiness.  Even his wife, which still surprises me.  I’m actually rooting for them now.  And not just because I think I'm supposed to, but because I sincerely want it for them.

It’s a completely bizarre sensation.

I confess part of me is grieving, and that has been hard.  As it turns out, his picture-perfect life hasn't been all the rainbows and unicorn farts I'd always assumed it had. As a result, the 20-year old friend I missed so much is buried under a lot of wounds, bolstered instead by 15 years of bitterness. But he’s also hurting, and I think he knows I can see that. There were a few very brief moments he actually opened up, admissions in which he couldn’t even look straight at me. To watch a friend so angry at themselves while on a personal journey of self-forgiveness?  It’s especially hard and hurts to see, but I understand now that it’s not my job to fix it.  Support when sought out?  In a heartbeat.  But chasing someone that doesn’t want to be found?  Not anymore.

This journey is far from over. I think He and I will probably keep in better contact from now on. We’ve cracked open that wall that we had built between us. We’ve put our armor down. The freedom to reach out is there now. We’ll never return to the old BFFs we used to be, but that's a good thing: those two teenagers were lost and dysfunctional.  Now, as adults, we can find a new, healthy dynamic.

I have a lot of internal, personal work to do, as well, and on an almost hourly basis, too.  Just because you forgive someone and yourself for something in your past doesn’t mean your old thought patterns and bad habits simply disappear. It’s a completely foreign concept to no longer have to weigh every decision I make against how it would be received by these people I thought always judged me.  I realize now those thoughts came from a hole in me, an incorrect way I was thinking about myself.  Time to dig in, change my thinking, learn new habits. It can be emotionally exhausting. But I know it’s worth it.

Yes, I was valid. Yes, I am valid. And most importantly, my validity has absolutely nothing to do with the opinion of others.

God, that feels good to not only say, but actually believe.

15 October 2014

Vulnerablity, an update

((gulp)) We're having lunch tomorrow.

After months of praying and pondering whether or not I should reach out, I made a very Lisa-esque decision, pulling my phone out in the middle of the produce department at the grocery store and just doing it without thinking. Catch up over lunch? Clear the air? I realized it was a holiday; he'd be out of the office, and I'd have a whole day before a response.

He answered within an hour anyway. "That would be great..."

It was at that point I realized it was going to be just the two of us for the first time in a long while. No spouses, friends, or coworkers monitoring every surface-level, socially acceptable lip service that comes out of our mouths. Our first opportunity in a very long time to be painfully honest. On one hand, it feels totally natural. I have a strange sense of peace. This is someone with whom I've had a lot of these sorts of conversations. Been there, done that many times before.

But every once and awhile, I'm hit with the realization that I'm allowing myself to be once again vulnerable with the one person on this planet who has hurt me more deeply than any other. The thought terrifies me so much, I get physically nauseated.

(Oh, and did I mention I also realized after hitting send that I'm pretty sure I sent that email on his anniversary? Mmm, hmm. Yep. Perfect, Lisa. Well done. 364 other days to choose from, and you inadvertently pick that one. Somewhere, Sigmund Freud is laughing his pants off...)

If I'm honest, his positive response to my email alone healed some stuff. He had absolutely no obligation to do this; he could've very easily avoided it. He chose, instead - and rather quickly - to jump right in. Progress. This could be a very, very good thing. Healing. Closing the door on the past. Moving on. Letting go.

He's going to meet a stronger Lisa than He is accustomed to, that's for sure. I've grown and matured a lot in 15 years. But still, I have to remind myself not to hide my flaws or revert to old, bad habits. I will be authentically me, even after feeling such enormous rejection. I will celebrate myself, honor myself, including my areas of weakness. Time to take that self esteem I so vehemently preach out for a real test drive.

Translation: My God, I'm absolutely petrified.

The thing that scares me the most about tomorrow is a collision of both worlds. This is someone with whom I frequently discussed the future; specifically kids. He is the father of six; my miscarriages will come up. I can handle looks of heartbreak and pity from pretty much anyone; bounce them right off that crusty exterior I've built. But Him? He's way too close; I'm not going to be able to ping his response off so easily. It could very possibly break me right in half. ::insert emotional breakdown here::

Oh, good. This was a great idea, Lisa...

Mad props to my husband, by the way. You should've seen his face when I told him I needed to meet with Him to talk. "WHY?!?!?" I was honest; we had a long talk about good, old-fashioned Daddy Issues, what that first guy means to a woman who never had a strong male figure in her formative life, and why I need to come to terms with all of that. "I need to forgive. I need to heal. And I need that corner of my heart back, because it belongs to you." For the first time ever, I think he saw a parallel between my relationship with Him and his own relationship with his ex. He's since stopped making cynical comments about her, and he's no longer as knee-jerk angry at Him. Growth! After admitting he doesn't necessarily understand why we need to meet in person, he trusts me, and he's okay with me doing whatever I need to do.

My husband - my trusting marriage - makes me one insanely proud wife. No matter what happens at lunch tomorrow, I still come home to that wonderful guy. I've already won.

So, here's to personal growth. ((deep breath)) I can do this. Right?