What I Felt This Morning

In an email to my fiance, I wrote the following re: a dream that split me in two:
 
“We were traveling to a place with a beach and I carried a heavy dress in my arms while our tour guide took us to all the places along the coast, close to our hotel, that we could visit throughout our trip.

This tour guide then took me aside to say that we had to go on a special trip for the rest of the day.  You would stay behind.

We suddenly were at my grandma’s house, empty of people and stripped of the carpet and any upholstered furniture, but full of new furniture and/or re-imagined pieces of furniture en media reas…We were joined by this man’s (who turned out to be a interior designer) assistant, a woman around the same age as me, and we slowly went through each room.
He pointed out how different the space looked; how beautiful this piano was; how glorious the light hit the hutch in the dining room; how he’d had my dad re-do the organ with stained glass pieces incorporated into not just the sides, but the keys.  Each time he’d press a key, it would glow.
It was quiet and it was life on an alien planet through some wormhole from my past.  I could see myself, as a ten year-old, reading in the smallest bedroom upstairs when we walked by it and I could see myself, as a four year-old, splashing in the tub.  We crept into the master bedroom and I saw the designer and his assistant exchange a look.

It was the bedroom of my grandma’s present.  The old dressers removed, the side tables gone and just a mattress on the floor.  Not even a box spring;  just a mattress, old comforters and mismatched pillows that were sprinkled with stale cookie crumbs.  The sight of that bed made me cry.  At the loneliness of it and the solitude she had to feel each night, going to bed without my grandpa and all of her life–via furniture–in disarray.

Obviously, in that moment, they explained that she was gone.  She was dead and my parents couldn’t bear to tell me or even talk about it.  So, now it was up to me to take care of everything.  To take care of the house, to help this designer and his staff re-model the entire house, including the furniture, and sell it.  If it turned out successfully, the next project would be in Italy.

There was a letter which explained what I was to do and that my grandmother left me this house to start the next chapter of my life.  My life would be the re-creation of space and to literally reorganize my past in order to reflect my present.  That process would develop into my future.

I don’t have to tell you that when I woke up, it took me awhile to adjust to the fact that the day had started.  And I don’t have to tell you that I cried.  Because throughout all of the dream I didn’t feel sad.  I felt that I had a purpose again and that this was a gift from my family to realize that.

So, a friend of mine from Chicago, who has now moved back to NW Ohio and created her own art-related non-profit spoke about fear.  That because she faced the fear in her personal and professional life, she experienced failure, but through that failure, she found a life she was proud of and “how important it is to have someone to push you past your fear because when you have a healthy sense of vulnerability, true happiness can be gained.”

This is probably a dream to use as a lifeline and I know that to include a space somehow for my heart in its potential and creativity to be full again.  My heart is full of you and our life, but I want it to be full of possibility, too, if that makes sense.”
It’s hard to type this at work, surrounded by a corporate specificity, but I felt as though I’d forget this delicate feeling if I didn’t get it out there…A token to keep going, to appreciate what I have and to have confidence in what I will be.
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Tell Me Something Good

There was something that happened over this past weekend with my family–my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law–that has really put me at a standstill with my progress in our relationship.  A point, just a few months ago to be exact, my brother had a breakdown of sorts, and he had to be checked into a psychiatric ward, in which the staff helped him find a better medication and better ways to deal with stress at work and home.  I wasn’t there for that, because they are all two hours away, but my parents and I were in constant contact.  It opened up or at least shed light on a possibility of what our relationship and methods of communication with each other would be; to be more open and honest and to start a dialogue, in the moment, despite how uncomfortable it felt, was the goal.

We promised it had to change.  It did, for a very short and temporary time, but it made it easier to move on in a healthier way for all of us.  Because I’d been in therapy both one-on-one with a counselor and in a new group therapy session for other women with ADHD, it was something that I was constantly aware of and obviously, to be that open made me much more vulnerable to any new and unexpected change.  However, it did not prepare me for things to go back to what they were before; to be quiet and to be as contained and as private as possible (I say as waspy as possible) with everything again.

This bled over into what our wedding next year would mean.  Before this recent revelation–same as it ever was–what we wanted to share with friends and family, in terms of who we were as people, what we meant to one another and what our new family would look like went back to a feeling of uncertainty.  In our minds, a sense of pride and happiness was the ultimate outcome; this would influence our creation of this special event.  I felt a little trepidation, sure, and a little gun-shy about the possibility of a conversation with them about my recent diagnosis with adult ADHD.

The fear was there, only I knew it had to be shared, as it ultimately could create a sense of togetherness moving forward with this whole process.  What it meant to me personally, if they noticed any patterns during childhood, or ways we’ve communicated that made it pretty clear what I had, was something I actually looked forward to, despite how terrifying it felt.  We talked about it in my group in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day weekend.  How to prepare, the talking points, what to share, what to keep back and share later, and what the overall sentiment should be, kept the door open for this conversation.

The week of, in the days after group, there were a couple instances that completely slammed that door shut.  And it was not because I was gun-shy about that particular subject.  I saw so many possibilities arise for miscommunication, and saw moments of passive aggressive behavior about such insignificant details in travel plans, times, the methods of communication, inserted into what they HAD to do because of my disregard.  The framing of all this was the reasoning, “because of your brother” and “well, your brother and ___” to excuse these little slights toward my character. 

I realized again that the opportunity to be open about ADHD would not be received in such a way and it never happened.  The weekend was okay, and I held back many times to just make it easier to get through the rest of the time I had there.  It was nice and I could point out positive things, but when you have something in mind to happen and it’s so important, and you know it isn’t possible, it only makes you feel stunted.

Now, I can’t shake those hurt feelings; the fact a great opportunity was taken away (my decision and it was a good one) to just make things easier for everyone.  That is our standard and it will change at some point, yet it does make you feel like the level of progress you thought you had made in yourself, the forward momentum and the slow building up of the self-esteem, isn’t as much as you thought it was…I am so controlled because I have to be, at certain times and with certain people.  Only, why do I translate that into most other areas of my life?

My work interaction, my professional life, my writing, my Art, contained a hesitation to share completely who I am, what I’ve become, what my goals and dreams were and that was present enough that it made the decision to not share anything with my family so much easier.  That was when it came to me and my life, though.  When it came to my brother, the door opened a couple of years ago with his mental disorder diagnosis and stayed opened.  Jealousy played a part, in that I felt I couldn’t be vulnerable or show a (perceived) weakness.  I had to be in control and confirm who I was to them; their expectations of me remained intact.

What does this mean about my wedding?  What do I mean as an adult to them?  Can I change this in time to be able to talk about this openly at any point in the future before the stress levels kick into high gear and I just won’t be able to deal?  My mom did settle in, at some point over the 24 hours I was up north, and requested for me to “tell her something good.”  What that means needs to change…