I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Probably not the best thing to do, considering the side effects of having my Lyrica back–I’m getting it in a single double dose, instead the double single dose (in English: I take one pill to get my 300 mg instead of one pill at morning, at 150 mg and one pill at night, same dose). It makes me higher than a kite and if there were filters, they have been completely bypassed.
This thinking comes about as a result of events, conversations and some heavy introspection on my part. So let’s see if I can explain it coherently and without upsetting anyone too much.
I have made choices for my life that have not met with unanimous approval or even much enthusiasm from the people in my life, related or not. I can live without the approval, but the serious lack of enthusiasm bothers me.
The most recent choice I’ve made was the one to move from VA all the way across the country to Northern California; it was not made on a whim, or without a great deal of serious research and comparison to the current standard and style of living. The choice to move was made to improve my life, to get me to a place where I would have a good life for many years, with the hope that I would be able to heal and perhaps regain some of my old vitality (or as some would call it, my old “piss and vinegar”). The choice offers me many advantages over my current living, and several of those advantages are not inconsequential. There is the opportunity for additional medication options that are not available here, options that may prove the best and most natural answer to my ongoing pain management (which is currently covered by Neurontin, Vicodin, Tramadol and over the counter pain meds). Food, the kind of food I need to eat, is cheaper by almost 2/3 and not taxed. So I can eat cheaper and better–not an inconsiderable benefit. Housing costs are cheaper, utility costs are cheaper…with a fixed income, staying in VA becomes a true hardship. I can avoid living in poverty by moving.
I have yet to hear almost anyone say, “That’s great! You’ll do so much better there!” without adding some negative statement about high taxes (which I will not be paying, since that fixed income is too low to require filing) or some other subject, designed to point out the folly of moving “out there”. I have thought this through, carefully and thoroughly; I have done my research, checked out facts and figures and compared all the important stuff to the same stuff in VA. I have considered every aspect of this choice and for me, the end results comes down to this: Everything that is a problem or potential problem in VA is either non-existent or ameliorated in CA. The potential good things that are available in VA are almost none; in CA, almost limitless. As near as I can tell, it all filters down, all ends up with this: the ONLY thing that I will miss from VA is my family and friends.
I’ve invited everyone I know to move with me. Oh, I know that they all can’t just up and go–but I’ve tried to share all the good information, all the possibilities for them, things that would make their lives better…and the majority don’t even give me the courtesy of listening with the intention to really think about it. NO is almost the immediate and universal answer, given in such a way as to make me wonder what they think about my enthusiasm and desire to move–it’s like, almost everyone I know thinks that I should stay right where I am.
The anger that causes in me makes me consider the effect of some of my other recent choices. Like, my choice of husband. I KNOW that the rapidity with which Beloved and I went from just meeting to being together 24 by 7 was, quite literally, breath-taking. It was for me, let alone those around me. It cost BOTH of us our own social circles. People we had been having frequent/occasional interactions with suddenly disappeared. Not a single person ever called/texted/IM’ed me, asking where I was. I KNOW that it looked like we both fell off the face of the Earth, but there was almost NO attempt from either his friends or mine to find out what was going on. And from my side? ALL silent friends…not a word.
I am ashamed to say that when I did try to introduce my Beloved to the dinner group I had been with for almost 5 years, there was no welcome for him, no effort made to make him feel like he belonged to the group because I belonged to the group and he was now a part of my life. In the following couple of years, Beloved and I went through hell in a hand wringer–and back. No one, not a single person that I had called friend, ever stopped by, ever called, ever indicated that they knew we were still alive. Even on Facebook, where he and I both post often enough with statuses (stati?) that indicate we are alive and what’s going on…not one of the “silent friends” spoke up–and in fact, several of the people I thought were my friends…unfriended me without a word.
The only contact he or I had with the people who had been friends before was one or two people who were still (and are still) in contact. But by and large, most of the people we used to know are just names in our contacts list–and will be cleaned out when we get to CA because we’re never going to have interaction with them again. And that makes me sad because some of the people I’m going to have to delete were people I had had a lot of fun with, had done a lot of things with and I don’t know why the change in my marital status should stop that.
I admit, and have admitted loudly and several times, that I know we did kind of fall off the radar. BUT we were not totally incommunicado, our phones could still ring. But they didn’t. And then, when we got sick–he with gout and soon after that, I got my diagnosis of fibromyalgia–it was hard to even maintain a work/sleep life, let alone socializing. We had enough energy to have a meal out–because we lacked the energy to cook–and then it was home and into bed, to get up and face the next day.
And before you know it, a month goes by, then two…then 6 and then it’s been a year. Then it was two. Now it’s 3 years that we’ve been together and here we are, trying to do the best we know how. I cannot imagine life without him, nor can he without me. Either of us, on our own, with the problems that have occurred, would probably have committed suicide by now–we both have considered it but will not leave the other.
Which sort of brings me back around to where I was beginning this: my choices, the changes they have wrought and my chagrin at friends/family reactions to those choices. It feels like it was okay for me to be alone, to have a job and a social life of sorts (which had already had some pretty major changes to it only 5 months before meeting my Beloved), and to more or less be stagnant, no change in my life. I had, in fact, only about 2 weeks before meeting him told one of my friends that I was content to be alone the rest of my life since I was not finding anyone, hadn’t dated in a while, wasn’t meeting anyone–male or female. (Keep the options open for whatever might come along!) Friends and family were perfectly happy with my life staying the same (or at least looking like it was the same, no major changes). At least from my perspective, looking back and considering how things were going then…I could be wrong, but it’s my blog and I’ll write it how I see it.
If you are very lucky, if the Fates (or Karma) or whomever…is very kind to you, you will find your true love, THE ONE for you, in your lifetime. I saw my Beloved and that was it. I KNEW, KNEW that HE was THE ONE. Like the Oracle from the movie “The Matrix”: “You just know, from balls to bone.” I just knew. He IS my only and deepest love, the one I cannot live without but would if he would be happier elsewhere–and the miracle? He feels the same way about me. Neither of us can fully express the joy and wonder that brings us.
BUT I am not stupid; I know how he appears to other people. I know. And I don’t care. He is my love and if they could see him the way that I do, they would not be unkind in thought or words to him. I realize that his appearance might very well be a major impediment for acceptance by many; I just hadn’t thought to count my friends or family in that group. I know what his personality is like and that many find it…overwhelming. Being smart is not always a blessing. And again, I did not think that the people I knew would judge him harshly on that, considering some of our personalities within that social group.
And I would not, not ever, NEVER change my choosing him. No matter what it cost or will cost me. I am slowly coming to realize that I cannot live my life for others–and I thought I had that concept down pretty good. But if my choices lose me friends, if my choices alienate my family, so be it. I don’t make the choices to do that on purpose, but I MUST make choices for ME, decide on what will work, what will benefit, what will be the best thing for ME.
“If you don’t like your life, change your choices” I have told people for years now. I liked my life, but then I got a major choice and I made it–and it changed my life. I now have someone who loves me completely, whose only concern is that I am happy–and I choose to be with him, to ensure that he is happy. So the rest of my choices and the resultant changes will be shared with him. It’s part of being married, this joining of two lives.
I have tried to include everyone I love in my life, insomuch as I am able–and some people still doubt the depth of my illness, still doubt that it’s true and they wonder why I don’t just “push through it”. Well, frankly, I DID “push through it” for years and now I’m paying the price. I CANNOT do the things I need to, like shower regularly, keep my house clean, cook a meal…go to work. I CANNOT do the the things I WANT to, like drive to see people or crochet my grandson’s blanket, or or or…on and on. I am on 4 different pain relievers which serve to put the pain down to a level that I can bear it and it’s not the only thing I can focus on. My fibro meds make me high, so I couldn’t work because I shouldn’t drive like this.
So now Beloved and I have decided to move across the country, understanding that this means we will (most likely) never see our parents, our children, the grandchildren…and all the rest of the people we know here…again. We can use phones, Facebook and Skype, but it’s not the same. A little hard to share dinner through a monitor. BUT we have to do what will work for us and all the evidence points to Eureka.
And I have had to look seriously and without emotion at the reality of my relationships, familial or otherwise. My parents live in Corpus Christi TX. I saw them last in 2009, when my brother and his wife paid for our parents to fly up to Baltimore for their 50th wedding anniversary and to spend time with the family. I haven’t seen them since and probably will NOT see them ever again. On the other hand, I have seen my father a grand total of 8 (that’s EIGHT) times since I left home after joining the USAF. I’ve only seen my mother a couple of times more than that. The reality of that relationship? I love my parents, but have nothing in common with them and no current interactions to provide much of a conversation. I talk to my mother about once a month; my father hands off the phone pretty fast, although I have had more conversations with him in the past 10 years than I had prior to that.
Neither of my children live near me. By near, I mean, “drop in for 15 minutes and then go home” near…it’s a day trip or more, to see either one. And between work schedules (theirs) and a car that is not reliable (mine), it’s hard to actually get together. My house is definitely not set up for small children and I have to admit, albeit with great shame, is not clean enough to have small children in it. It’s not that healthy for larger people either…but I can’t do the cleaning, so there we are. So while it would be nice if they could come see us, I don’t ask for it very often and am not offended when they decline.
And the reality of those relationships? I see my children/grandchildren at the least once a year, at the most 3 or 4 times, if we’ve been lucky. Both of my children have chosen lives that include living away from me, as is their right. And their choice, coupled with circumstance, keeps them at a distance that prevents casual and daily contact. So they have the same relationship with me that I have with my parents.
I cannot live my life waiting for them to show up at my doorstop. I cannot live my life waiting for my friends or his friends or our friends to show up at our doorstep. The only consistent visitor we have is Beloved’s best friend–and he goes to CA 4-5 times a year and likes it there; he also can afford the extra ticket to fly up to Eureka to see us if he chooses. His fiance has told us that he likes CA (they are getting married there) so maybe, just maybe…someday, he might choose to live there as well? So all indications are that he will at least come to see us and bring her with him. And if he doesn’t, well…he makes it out here about 3-4 times a year and we are not living our life for that few a number of visits.
This is the part where my introspection comes in. I think that the relationship I have with other people, family in particular, is actually just a concept of a relationship. It’s not the reality of what is truly going on. It would be awesome to be able to have my family cast as the new “Waltons” on a homestead, all of us together, laughing and singing, doing the chores and generally tripping over each other. But that’s not going to happen, except in my head. And that’s okay. I am okay with it not happening. If it did happen, it would be ME making THEIR choices and that’s not right. But they cannot make my choices. I don’t expect them to, and I don’t think that they are.
But I do feel that the choices I made, and am making, are not being met with the same acceptance and happiness for the results as I have tried to give them. Again, this is just my point of view, could be completely wrong–but we’re talking about feelings here, and there’s no right or wrong with feelings, they just are. And I *feel* that the people who were in my life, who are in my life, don’t agree with my choices–and frankly, that’s just not theirs to do. Lots of people I love made decisions I didn’t agree with, but I never cut them off from my life or refused to listen to why “this was the greatest thing ever” for them. Yes, I am sure that I did try to point out possible problems, but once I was convinced that they really were making this choice for themselves and not because someone else had talked them into doing whatever we were talking about, I was accepting and supportive.
I have welcomed the significant others that my children had/have into the family; I have treated them with love and respect and I have done all I could to make them feel accepted by me, like they were a part of my life because they were a part of my child’s life. I would of course kill them if they ever hurt my child…but in the meantime, part of the family and loved just as much as I love my own kids. It may not have been perceived or received as such, but the effort to initially bring them into the fold was made, and the continuing love and acceptance is there–but will probably be from a distance, over Skype…because the fantasy of my involvement with my children and their children on anything resembling a regular basis just isn’t going to happen, whether I move to CA or not.
And I really don’t even want to talk about the acceptance of my Beloved in this family. Choices were made, attitudes were clear and he has already distanced himself in an effort to reduce the pain of not being accepted just because he was my love–at first, he was so happy to think that he would have children by association, that the grandchildren would be his as well–and then he was smacked down, and not politely or gently. So a choice had to be made there by me as well, and I have made it. I love him, more than life. I love my children, but they are not, cannot BE, my life. I brought my greatest treasure, my dearest love, to my family and had him pushed away, had him cold shouldered out of the family life. By doing this, he was hurt; his being hurt means that I was hurt in a way that will be very hard to heal. So living a great distance away will let me have a semblance of the family fantasy I have held in my head without having to face the reality that my family does not love someone I love beyond all else. There is no limit to what I would do for my family and MY family includes this man I love so fully. I cannot help it if the other parts of the family don’t feel that way. Feelings are what they are.
Choices lead to change and there will be a great change in my life. I am amused that I am returning to CA; my parents lived in Monterey when I was conceived, and I am going to be living within a 4 hour drive of that. Makes me think of the old disco song, “Oooh it’s all right, it’s going on, I’ve got to get right back to where I started from”. Yup, that would be me. Right back where I started. The Wheel goes round. Every change this choice produces seems to have nothing but good consequences, good possibilities. Every new fact, every new piece of information just reinforces that this choice is the right one for us.
I don’t want to leave my friends or my family behind, but I think that we’ve been left behind by most of them a long time ago. It won’t make a real difference in our interaction for us to be on the computer in VA or in CA, since that’s how most of it happens now. The real difference will be in our lives, in the quality of our lives, in the things that we can do that are not possible here. And that’s a choice I want to make. And I accept the changes it will entail…and have NO chagrin that I did not think it through or consider every aspect once that change becomes a reality.