Monday, May 13, 2013

A Squeezing of the Heart

A Squeezing of the Heart

For much of my life I was alone. Yes, I had a family growing up but I was not like any of them..or they were not like me. Not sure which is more relevant or if it matters. What matters is that I wasn't very connected with them and so spent much of my time alone...and by alone I don't actually mean physically alone, since that was rather impossible, but more emotionally alone or mentally alone. I spent more time inside my head then out of it...if that makes sense. 

When I married things didn't really change all that much. I really had no connection to my ex, who never read a book, never thought too deeply about anything important, and never understood why I did. I spent more time alone then with him...both physically and mentally. 

I couldn't really make friends either. Mostly because he didn't allow me to be with people, for the most part, but even when I was I didn't really know how to foster friendships and maintain either he broke them up or my inability to be properly sociable did. Either way, I was alone more often than not. I was alone a lot in my life. I could say I was use to it but that wouldn't be true. Choosing to be alone is one thing...having it forced on you is something else.

And then I met someone who changed all that. 

This person was (is) everything I thought I would never have in my life. Something I thought I never deserved to have in my life.

 I was taught from a young age that I was worthless, useless, a waste of space and not very good at anything. Not a good daughter, sister, wife, mother, Muslim, friend, girl friend...etc.. Even though my I.Q. was higher than most children my age (I was tested and skipped grades blah blah blah), I was made to feel stupid and never encouraged to build or make something of my intelligence. My father couldn't be bothered to allow me to see just how smart I was. He refused to send me to college...hell, he refused to pay for SAT to get into college. I couldn't take them because I had no money of my own. I took the free ASVAB and went into the military. Not what I wanted in my life but the choice was not mine at the time....and see where that got me.

My ex spent 20 years destroying what little self worth I had left. He degraded everything there was to degrade in me..both physically and mentally. We both knew I was smarter than him...yet he made it a point to attack me in every way possible so that my intelligence was never a weapon I could use against him. I was too busy trying to get through each after day...trying to be a better wife, mother, Muslim etc. so that the words and abuse would stop. If I could be better...he would be nicer. Didn't work with my dad but it might with the ex.

It didn't work but we all know now that it never would have. Abusers don't care. Period. No amount of fixing yourself will fix them....since they are the ones who are truly fucked up. 

At any rate, by the time this person entered my life...I was about as low as one could go and not actually be under ground in a grave. That all a point.

There is something about being loved by another human being that changes you. To see how he or she looks at you to the exclusion of anyone else in the room. The way he or she softens their voice to speak just to you...softens their touch just for your skin. The way they sit closer to make sure their body has some kind of contact with you. The way the sound of his voice causes a  reaction in you...or the way her gaze focused on you makes goosebumps crawl up and down your arms. That reaction your body experiences just because that person is near...or if they are not near...just thinking about them can do things to you that nobody else can. The way they go out of their way to make sure YOU know how important you are in their life. How special you are. How loved and appreciated you are just for being you. It's like your existence suddenly makes exist for the soul purpose to be loved by that someone special. 

Now it is one thing to have someone fall in love with you, quite another for you to believe believe you are worthy to have such a love given to you when you have been made to believe that you are unlovable, unable to generate any emotion other than disgust, hate, or worse, indifference, in others. To have someone open a door and enter your life that knows none of your history, none of your emotional hangups and can't see the scars you have on the inside that are far worse than the ones on the outside...and just loves you because of YOU...not only is that hard to is hard to understand. 

There is obviously something wrong with me...for my entire life people have been detailing exactly all that is wrong with me. They can't all be wrong...can they? So how is it you can't see what they see? How is it you can see my intelligence? My sense of humor. My blue ocean eyes that sparks a shiver inside you when I look at you with that intensity that you love so well. How is it that my touch, which has always been described as cold and unwelcoming, is suddenly, not only welcomed but longed for? Who is this person you see when you look at me that nobody else can see because it seems you are looking at a stranger. Someone I certainly don't recognize and have never heard of. Since there is something obviously wrong with me...yet you find me desirable, lovable, and all things good...then there must also be something wrong with you. Yes...that is how my mind has been working during the course of this relationship.

Of all the things I have had to work on within anger, my self esteem, my sense of purpose and worth...believing I am worthy of another person's love has to be the one that has come hardest to me. People who professed to love me have been leaving me all my life...and usually after doing something  truly horrible to me (so better they left really but still painful), and those that stayed in my life made sure I understood they were the ones suffering from my existence because I was more work then I was worth. It is hard to get past a life time of that sort of conditioning. It doesn't happen over night and not just because someone enters your life and tells you that you are loved. 

It doesn't work like that. Believe me. 

No matter how much that person will express his or her love. How much they might go to pains to show you, prove it, live it every day of your life. No matter how much you want to believe it..there is always that little voice in the back of your mind saying, it's only a matter of time before he or she discovers that same person everyone else was aware of, that unlovable person, and do what they all did...either leave or stay and suffer from your existence. 

So because that voice is the voice of the demon that lives in your head and has lived in there since you were old enough to know that a demon lived in your is the voice that dominates much of your thoughts, your choices, your life. No amount of love from another human being can silence the voice of the demon that assures you that no matter what that person are not worth being loved. Period. 

So you hear the words, love and enjoy how that person makes you feel, how they touch your heart, your mind, your body...while the whole time the demon is negating it all in your head. It is a constant war going on that never ceases. There are lulls, there are retreats now and then but it is a full scale war going on and the casualties are constantly piling up. Of course the casualties are the moments you let pass, the choices you made believing they were the right choices, the harm you did to your relationship because the demon dominated your thoughts. Created anger and doubt and suspicion where none existed...but existed in your head none the less. Demons are powerful things. So powerful that sometimes even love cannot conquer them. 

My personal demon was anger, of course. All the years of abuse from every corner of my life caused such an all consuming anger in me that in the end, I had very nearly destroyed not only myself...but the one relationship...the one love that was given to me freely and unconditionally. 

It is not that I don't love this person. I do beyond words. Beyond expression. It is just that I couldn't believe in myself, find worth in myself, find anything in myself to deserve what I was being given so much of. I was letting the anger and self doubt destroy even the little bit of good I had in my life. I was allowing that anger and self doubt to make choices for me that were not good choices but of which I had no power NOT to make because the voice in my head, my demon...was the most powerful force in my life up until then. Not even the greatest love I have ever had the honor of being given could quiet the voice of my own personal demon. 

I had to fall very hard and very fast and all the way to the goddamn bottom almost (almost) before I learned that the demon was alive and well because I fed it, nurtured it, and gave it everything it needed to survive. It needed my anger, my self doubt, my self loathing to live comfortably in my needed everything negative I had within me...and I had a lot...and so it grew and grew and became louder and louder...until every other voice was drowned out (even my own). Even the voice of my love. 

So I made choices. Bad choices. Choices that were bad for me, for my children and for this relationship that was the best thing I have ever had in my life. At the time, of course, I thought they were the right choices but then that was the lying little demon convincing me they were. And I listened...and lost a lot. 

As my previous post indicated, I had an epiphany of sorts. Realized that I needed to just Let Things Go if I was going to survive my life. Survive with any sense of peace and happiness. I'm 44 years old and not getting any younger (so sad) and all I can say is better late than never that I was finally able to drown out that terrible horrible little voice that has been my constant companion since I was a child. Of course I still have moments of doubt, moments of in which I have to mentally catch myself from falling into bad habits of self destruction...but I'm coming along quite well for the most part. 

However, I have learned that just because I am healing myself...working on myself and doing what I can to ensure I am a mentally healthy person...that doesn't mean the damage all that anger created isn't still being felt by those that are closest to me and suffered the most from it. Most especially by the one person that loved me when no other person on this planet could find one reason to do so (not including my children here of course...that is a different kind of love). I damaged this relationship a lot by making choices that hurt us both. I thought they were the right choices at the time...but they were choices made in anger so obviously were not going to turn out well. Unfortunately, fortune telling is not one of my skills...and I'm worse off because of it. 

So now that I have let the anger go (mostly, still working on some issues) and have gained a lot in my life because of it (inner peace, happy thoughts, better choices made with a clearer mind and losing weight), I find that now this relationship is in danger of coming to an end. Not because the love is gone, it isn't. Still as strong as ever. Not because the desire to be together is gone. Still there...but because my anger has been a very real part of this relationship even when we both tried to ignore it or excuse it. My decisions and choices were made from anger and they turned out very bad for all concerned...and so this person is use to being hurt because of my anger and the resulting fall out. Hard to convince someone that it's no longer an issue when it always has been before. Sort of like convincing myself I am worthy of being loved...even when everything in my life convinced me that I wasn't. 

I am so afraid now. More afraid than at any time in my life. More afraid then when I thought my father was going to actually kill me. More afraid then when I thought I was going to actually kill my husband. More afraid then when I thought I was going to die at various times in my life. None of those moments of fear can measure up to the this overwhelming fear that now consumes me that NOW...when I have finally gotten my life on a good track. When I have accomplished so much mentally, physically and the point where I can feel actual happiness is within my when I believe that this relationship can actually be better than it has ever been before because NOW I won't be busy destroying it with anger and self doubts is when it will finally succumb to all the pain it has had to endure over the years. 

Now....when it has the best possible chance of when it will fall apart. 

Irony...Karma...which ever it are a bitch.  

I am fearful that my vanquished demon will return with a vengeance because even though the anger is is being replaced with fear of abandonment once again. I cannot blame this person for leaving me...lord knows I did my share of pushing away...but I cannot seem to find the right words to convince that all will be better now.

Words have abandoned me, it seems....and without the power of my words...what do I have left to convince with? Words are all I have ever had to truly express myself. To make people listen up and pay attention to me when most of the time I am invisible and ignored. 

I have accomplished so much within myself this past 5 months or so...but my greatest fear is that it is simply too late. I will end up losing the one thing that kept me going when nothing within myself could do that. And for that reason...I am terrified. 

It is hard to remain positive and moving forward towards happiness when that very source of my happiness seems intent on moving further away no matter what I do. I cannot blame anyone but me for this. Which is ironic considering I have been blamed for all the failures my abusers had within themselves but pushed off on me all my life...I didn't deserve those blames...but this one I actually do...and I am afraid it will send me free falling back into the black that I have worked so hard to pull myself out of. 

I have dealt with abuse, with neglect, with anger and self doubt. I have lived through soul destroying loneliness and unhappiness. I have survived when my abusers have died alone or continue to live but are alone having lost everything. I survived all of that for better or worse...but I am not sure I can survive this person leaving me (or worse yet, becoming indifferent). 

It will be one leaving too many. 

All I can say is that I love you. Need you. Want you and that I am so sorry for my past mistakes. I have no excuse other than that I am a work in progress. I cannot undo in such a short time what 40 plus years has had time to create in me. Have a little more patience with me and I promise it will all be worth it. I am trying so hard. Please don't give up on me. 


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Grandma awesome is that?

 Maya Rashid AlJuma March 24, 2013

During my long absence my oldest daughter had the nerve to make me a grandmother without so much as asking me. As I said...what nerve. She was due around March 23 and thus I made it my goal to be with her during one of the most terrifying wondrous moments of her life. I was alone for the birth of all 5 of my babies so I know what it feels like to not have a hand to hold or someone to calm me down...I didn't want her to feel that way even for a moment. 

Of course I told her I wouldn't be able to make it because I simply didn't have the money for such an expensive ticket. She believed gullible.

I got busy on my side, ensuring I had a month off from work (all my coworkers seemed as excited as I was by the prospect of me becoming a gramma...ancient jokes were in abundance) and I waited impatiently for my tax return to show up. It was the only way I could afford to go but it was taking it's damn sweet time and time was running out on me if I was going to make it there before she delivered. 

Now here is the thing. Other than my kids over here...and coworkers of course...I told nobody that I was going to Bahrain...not even my best friend there. The only person I did tell was someone I knew who wouldn't spill the he could pick me up at the airport. (well that didn't work out as well as I hoped but what to do?)

My daughter constantly made comments about wanting me there and how she was getting so nervous and worried. I told myself if she really did start to freak out I would ensure her I was coming to calm her down...but that point never arrived so all was good. The day I left I constantly texted her and everyone over there all the way across the U.S. until I lost contact in the air. By this time my best friend sort of had a clue of my intentions as I would see in all the texts back and forth later...but she wasn't positive. 

I arrived in Bahrain after a torturous 23 hour flight all together. I was exhausted...and to make matters expected ride was no where to be found. My phone had discharged at this point so I couldn't even see his number to call him. I still wanted to surprise my daughter but wasn't sure what to do at this point. My plan wasn't working out...grrr.

I ended up waiting about an hour before I decided he wasn't coming (I was the only red head in a sea of dark haired people..he wasn't there or he would have seen me) so I decided to take a taxi to best friends house. Surprise her...then go to daughter's house and let the party begin. 

By the time I got to best friends house it was fairly late..and she wasn't there. I spoke with her housemaid who ensured me she would be coming I hid in her ladies salon where I could see when she arrived. Unfortunately, her housemaid wasn't very good at keeping secrets and sort of let the cat out of the bag as soon as best friend arrived. So much for surprises...grrr. 

She was surprised, to a point, but had a feeling I was coming over and so expected me as well. By this time it was quite late and since my daughter was late stage pregnancy and didn't need middle of the night surprises...I decided to wait until morning to spring my awesome self on her. I spent the night at best friend's house and anticipated the morning's adventures. 

A little bit of back story at this point. I had told my daughter previously that I bought a lot of baby things for her...but would mail a box to her and hopefully it would arrive on a certain date (my arrival date no less). She was constantly asking me if I had mailed the box and I told her be patient. So the next morning my best friend calls her and tells her SHE had the I had actually mailed it to her...not my daughter. My daughter was sort of miffed at that but was happy just to know it arrived..and told best friend to bring it over. 

When we arrived at daughter's friend knocked on door and indicated that the box was so big a man from the street was carrying it for her to the door. As I sprung around the daughter was standing there with a very skeptical look on her face at this point...but it immediately dissolved into a pool of tears as soon as she saw me. I quickly realized how relieved she was to have me there..and I was very happy that I had decided to come despite the crazy cost of the ticket. 

After celebrating we got down to the business of waiting for baby to arrive. She still had about a week to incubate so we shopped, and readied baby room and just enjoyed the next few days while baby was still on the inside (always the best place for them). 

During prenatal visits the doctor kept mentioning C-sections and epidurals as choices my daughter  could consider and I was rather irritated by that. Why not promote natural birth first and foremost...why even bring those up unless the need was very apparent? By this point baby was being just a tad stubborn and delayed her arrival by a few days so induction was talked about. My daughter decided March 24th would be the day to get baby moving. We waited for that day to arrive with bated breath and mixed feelings of Fear and Finally it would be over with. 

The morning of the Big Day we arrived at the hospital very early in the morning and daughter was settled in and prepped for an I.V. etc. to begin the process. She was scared but I could also see that she was very relieved to have me there..along with her husband. I might add at this point that her husband is a wonderful man and was there every step of the way with her (as much as he could be). Always attending her prenatal visits...always very interested in what she was going through and doing whatever he could to ensure her comfort and calm state of mind. They chose a private hospital that would allow him to be with her during the whole birth process as well and he was with her every moment. I like him a lot. 

When her doctor arrived...she still brought up a possible C-section and epidural..even though my daughter was doing fine up to this point. Yes she was experiencing pain but she was handling it what the hell? I talked with my daughter and advised her to do what she thought was best but that natural birth was the best choice unless something warranted such actions. She seemed intent on doing it the natural way...which didn't seem to please her doctor for some reason.

My best friend arrived at some point and we all spent the morning listening to the fetal monitor, getting my daughter whatever she needed..and counting the minutes down. She was very slow in dilating, was experiencing more and more contraction pain, but was doing OK. Once again the doctor came in and advised her to consider a C-section or epidural. Her comment was that she didn't think my daughter could handle the pain...which was odd considering that's exactly what she was doing up until this point. My daughter told her...I'm fine right now. Give me a chance to do it this way. 

Shortly before noon, as we were all gathered around, my daughter (while suffering through more intense contractions at this point) suddenly demanded we get the nurse. It seemed the urge to push had just arrived. The nurse came and did a pelvic check and was surprised to learn that my daughter had went from barely 2 cm over several hours to 7 cm in no time flat. Suddenly things got serious and nurses came in preparing to take her to the delivery room. 

Best friend and I waited just outside the delivery room for awhile...alternating between crying and excitement...waiting impatiently for good news. Her doctor came out at one point and said we could go in if we wanted. Wow...that was awesome. I didn't think I would be able to be with her..just near that point. We put on gowns and hurried into the room. 

Daughter was concentrating on her moment in the limelight...SIL was holding her hand and doing his part to keep her calm...and the nurses were running around like those last few minutes before the curtain was drawn and the show began was at hand. 

Best friend and I elected to stand just behind the curtain since it was close enough to offer support but not in the way of all the activity. We shouted encouragement to her every step of the way..until we eventually heard what we had all been waiting anxiously for 9 months to hear...the indignant cries of a new life brought into the world. 

We were all crying, excited, and overwhelmed...but not too overwhelmed that we didn't record the moment when new baby Maya was brought over to the table for her first check up. It's an awesome video that I would have loved to have with any one of my own children. Oh well..sign of how things are changing in Bahrain from the 80's. For the better in some regards. 

At some point my daughter looked at her doctor and told her...see, I did it without drugs or anything. I proved you wrong. That's my girl. Don't let the doctors bully you into unneeded procedures unless it's absolutely necessary. Everything and everyone came through with flying colors. 

And  I was a new grandma. Grandma Coolred. How awesome is that?

I spent the next two weeks helping daughter with whatever she needed but she assured me that she had a perfect example on motherhood due to her own mother. She had this. Very cool. A million pictures and a hundred videos later...I was sad to see my day of departure arrive. I had to say goodbye to my two kids, my new granddaughter, SIL, and best friend that I love so much. It was the first time I had ever found it hard to leave Bahrain. Imagine that. All it took was a new little baby to make that happen...well not just that...but more on that later. 

So little Maya is well over a month old now...thriving and keeping her parents on their toes. I get lots of daily pics and videos still and share them with everyone who doesn't run away at this point. My daughter is planning a trip here so her siblings can see their new niece and her husband can visit the states for the first time. I can't wait to see them. 

I will make an effort to be in Maya's life because my own children did not have that sort of connection with their own grandmother (thought hind sight tells me they didn't miss out on much but at the time it was very hurtful to me) I have so many things to teach this precious little girl. Sarcasm and a sharp tongue being top of the self defense against the Stupids of the world.

 It's the least I can do.