Category Archives: My Happy Place

Stepping Stones

Sometimes I’m able to step back and get a view of the larger perspective of my life. Today is one of those days. (Yay!)

In my life, things have had a way of falling into place. Not in the Hollywood way, where I meet the perfect guy and he says the perfect thing and we ride off into the sunset together (obviously), but in a ‘you’re going to be okay’, ‘everything happens for a reason’ kind of way. Some notable examples…

I got pregnant when I was 18, but I was incredibly lucky to have a great baby, support from both families and a ‘baby daddy’ who wanted to make a go of it. Things ultimately didn’t work out between us, but thanks to us staying together for 4 years and our families’ support, we were both able to get our university degrees.

Soon after, I was lucky to get a job in an industry that allowed me to gradually work my way up in a career that paid enough so that I could provide for me and my son, and eventually even start putting some money into savings. As my son started to get ready for his own post-secondary adventure, I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life and, thanks to the money I’d been making all those years doing a well-paying job I didn’t love, I was able to go back to school too.

One month before finishing my program, I was let go from my job (where I’d been for almost 10 years). Although it felt horrible at the time, I was lucky enough to get a job in my new field within 2 months of being let go, which left the bulk of my severance pay to subsidize my new (sorely underpaid) career.

Tonight I went out for a 10k run, and while I was running I thought about how two years ago I didn’t think I could ever be a runner. It was because of narc that I started running. I figured if an out-of-shape, flabby-bellied alcoholic could run 5k, then I could too. Once I started running, it turned out I was actually pretty good at it. In fact, I’m now training for a half marathon, and frankly running has turned out to be a huge blessing – the only really successful coping mechanism I’ve had through all the depression over the last two years.

Life weirdly has given me what I needed when I needed it. Yeah, I let a bad guy into it for a few years, but who knows what greatness he was the stepping stone to. Maybe I had to go through all this crap to end up in a really great place. (My girlfriend actually thinks I’m going to end up with a runner someday – how cool would that be!)

The truth is, this is the first time in my life I’ve felt like I’m not afraid to feel my feelings, and I’m kind of enjoying being alone, doing my own thing. I’m learning so much about myself, and I like feeling like I’m in charge of my life in a really calm, drama-free way.

If I really look at it, my life is actually pretty good, and it’s become this way by going through difficult times that actually ended up getting me to really good places.

So, Life, it turns out you’ve actually got a pretty good track record. I choose to trust you, and I can’t wait to see where that last lumpy, broken stepping stone ends up taking me.

stepping stones

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Signs of Success

I haven’t written in a while because I decided to just hunker down and ride the waves – enjoying the highs, grinding through the lows. But today, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself and wanted to share what I consider to be a personal success. Incidentally, it actually has nothing to do directly with my ex (a nice change!), though indirectly it’s related because it’s about boundaries, and self-love, and making healthy choices.

Two days ago, during my “performance discussion” at work, I was asked to apply for a management position. I work in a small, flat organization where opportunities for advancement don’t come up very often and management opportunities are extremely rare. I was flattered that I was asked, but I told them I wasn’t interested.

They upped the ante.

They asked me why I didn’t want it and offered to tailor the position to me. They asked me to look at the job description and let them know which aspects of the job I would be interested in doing; what changes would need to be made in order for me to accept it. I said I would think about it and promised to get back to them by the end of the week with my thoughts. (I know this sounds almost unbelievable, but this is exactly how it happened. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world to work where I do – they really are this awesomely supportive!)

That night, I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was racing with thoughts. Two years ago, I had worked my butt off to switch from a 15-year career that I hated to something completely different that I could be passionate about. Last year, they custom-made a position for me here that was exactly what I wanted and, for the last year, I have absolutely LOVED my job.

So, with this offer, I was in a conundrum. We’re supposed to want to be successful right? And that means we should be advancing – getting promoted, making more money, having ‘bigger’ titles… right? And aren’t we supposed to seize opportunities when they’re presented to us? And when someone wants to do something nice for us, aren’t we supposed to politely accept because it would be rude to reject an offer of kindness?

I felt terribly conflicted. The old me would have accepted the offer and moved into a position I didn’t love, because I knew everyone else would think it was a really good move for me. The new me didn’t want to make that move, but felt I probably should. In fact, I was should-ing myself to death and starting to feel really guilty about not being ambitious and pouncing on the opportunity to move up this very short career ladder I’m on.

Then I realized, I have spent years – my whole life really – bending myself around other people, trying to do “the right thing”, making choices that will garner other people’s respect and approval. In many ways, I’ve been invisible in my own life. In the months of self-discovery post-narc, I have come to realize and accept that I have to take care of myself; that I’m allowed to make my own choices and to have my own preferences. I’m allowed to say “No”.

So, today I politely declined the offer.

I told my boss that I’ve worked hard and put in a lot of years at a job I didn’t love in order to finally get to do a job that I do love, and I’m just not ready yet for the honeymoon to be over. I know on paper it probably doesn’t work out to be a ‘smart’ decision, but I’m so happy about it and so at peace with it. I’m finally just doing what I want and focusing on what makes me happy, regardless of what anyone else will think of it.  That’s a new kind of success for me, a life-changing success I think.

In fact, at the risk of sounding a little narcy, for the first time in my life I think I’m starting to fall in love with myself a little bit. It feels super great. 🙂

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Happy 3 Month Anniversary to Me!

Three months ago today, my friend’s baby was born and on that same day I started a new life of my own – I broke up with my narcissist. I remember at the time thinking: ‘this is awful now, but you just have to make it through the first 3 months and then you know you’ll be ok.’ Well, here I am! I made it! It has been positively brutal at times and I still have lots of feelings left to work through, but I truly feel the very worst is behind me. I’m starting to feel stronger by the day and increasingly hopeful that there is happiness in my future. How exciting!

In celebration of my 3 months, I’m posting a song that has been on steady play on my ipod for the last couple of weeks, and that powered me through a terrific 10K run this weekend.

The chorus:

I got infinite ammunition
Coming out the Yin Yang
I got limitless stealth positions
Extract the champion

🙂

Video

First Kiss

This video gave me such a huge smile today. I lived vicariously through the pairs of strangers as they awkwardly looked at each other, nervously giggled, tentatively kissed and then passionately connected. It was so beautiful and touching.

That’s something to look forward to after a long and tumultuous relationship – that first kiss. So deliciously lovely. How lucky for me that I get to have at least one of those again in my future. 🙂