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Finding Center

She was a princess and duchess. She lived in the palace with the Queen of England. She had her prince. She had a fairytale life.

Sarah Margaret Ferguson seemed to have it all. But she lost it and for the past 15 years she’s known more for scandal than being royal – topless photos, a divorce from her prince, ballooning and shrinking weight, amassing large amounts of debt, and trying to sell access to her former husband, Prince Andrew.

How could that happen? How could someone squander away their royalty, be so gullible, lost and seemingly crazy? It doesn’t make sense.

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Processing Life

These past few weeks have been difficult.

I’m interviewing for two different jobs. My dad is moving to a new house, so I’ve been helping him pack. I’ve also been traveling 4 hours back and forth from OH to IN to be with my aunt during chemo. Not to mention watching my nephews thrown in along with prepping for a big craft fair this Saturday both by making chocolate for my dad and jewelry for my mom. Oh and my dad had knee surgery today, so I sat at the hospital all day.

I’m exhausted. Emotionally drained. Physically tired. Soul weary.

The weather is turning cold. The skies are grey. The trees are naked and I feel like it all matches my mood right now. I’m on edge. Little things are bugging the crap out of me.

I’m not hopeless. I’m not freaking out about anything. Life is just stressful right now. I also realize that some of this is part of the aftermath of my parent’s divorce. As the oldest child I am now called on to stand in the gap, a lot. There are needs to be met. There are things that need to be done.

I’m also realizing how much of a team married couples are. When one of those people is removed from the equation there is a giant hole. With the move my mom would have packed, organized and transferred all services. My dad is responsible for finding the heavy lifters and getting it all moved. My dad didn’t stop to think about the things my mom usually does. This is just one example of many. As I step in to help I am hit with a wall of sadness and grief. There is a pain in realizing they are no longer a unit.

I could say no. I could walk away. I could draw harsh boundaries but I want to help. I want to encourage. I want to be involved. I just haven’t figured out how to do that and still take care of me yet.

I realize I need more me time. I know I need to find space to rest emotionally and spiritually. It’s just hard right now. I’m shuttling back and forth between my mom’s house and my dad’s house. I’m hoping that if I get the job I want it will buy me some space.

I especially feel responsible because my brother has removed himself completely. That is how he is choosing to cope. To me that is unacceptable. I can’t do that. Perhaps that is because I’m the firstborn and we naturally assume these roles. We naturally feel obligated. We are used to taking the reigns.

So it’s a whole bag of emotions. I need to get them out. I need to release them. Crying is part of it, but I also need to be creative. I think that’s why I’m so irritated right now. I haven’t had the time I want to focus on this show. I have had zero time to take photos. I haven’t been to a museum in a while. There have been no festivals to enjoy. I am also on people overload. As an introvert I need time alone. I have no space to be by myself. I have no space to call my own. I miss all my stuff that has been in boxes for almost two years.

So there’s a lot going on. It’s not life or death and I feel like I should insert some positive thing right here, but I can’t. It would be insincere. It’s not that I don’t feel positive. I can see lots of evidence of God moving in our lives. I feel settled into my skin more now than I ever have before.

It’s just hard right now. I’m jonesing for a trip to CA. I need to be with my peeps. I’m hoping it will work out that I can go for my 35th birthday. We’ll see.

Lessons Learned from Tori Spelling

Preamble – First of all I have to say that I am addicted to Tori & Dean Home Sweet Hollywood. I have watched since season one and will watch til the last episode. I think she’s fascinating. Maybe its the poor little rich girl thing, but Tori’s so real about who she is. She isn’t ashamed of her flaws. She embraces who she is. I love it.

Now onto the real blog post.

Last week was the season finale of Tori& Dean Home Sweet Hollywood, with Stella’s one-year birthday party. The big question was, will Candy, Tori’s mom show up? You knew she wasn’t. She said it was because of the cameras and she didn’t want to be on the tv show. I think that’s crap. If you want to be in your daughter’s life, for real, you do whatever it takes. There are no strings. There are no conditions. There is no question. You show up. You’re there, regardless.

So, when she didn’t show up Tori was devastated, again. She was crying. Dean was frustrated. But in the end, during one of the last interviews of the season Tori finally got it. She finally had a way to deal with her mother and it started with her. She realized that she had to stop being a victim. She was in a position to be hurt because she put herself there. She had unrealistic expectations. It was time to own it and deal with it privately. No one could stop the cycle but her. She had to stand up for herself and her family.

OOoohhhh! That’s it. A light went off for me. This so related to my life. I have to stand up and take responsibility for my life. I can’t keep waiting here in Ohio for my family to be a family. I”m here because I made the choice to come. I have to step up and take my life back. They are who they are. They are going to keep trucking down their road and I need to get on mine.  Now to figure out how and what and where.

Another benefit is that by owning my actions and emotions it helps avoid anger, bitterness and resentment. It doesn’t mean I’m not hurt, but it makes me step back and analyze where I put myself in an unhealthy situation. I have to draw better boundaries. I have to be true to me. I have to stand up for me. UGH! All of that is much harder than I thought. I still want them to love me so I hesitate everytime I need to say something. Baby steps. See because love is conditional you don’t have the freedom to say no, it comes with great consequences. So, learning to stand up for yourself and say, in the immortal words of Baby in Dirty Dancing, “this is my dance space and that is your dance space.”

Now, for some this is a no brainer. But when you grow up in a dysfunctional family where love is conditional and often manipulative it’s not so cut and dried. You have to learn on your own, with therapy and through the friends that become like family, how to be a functional, healthy adult. These things do not come naturally. We have to be told not to give until you’re depleted. We have to learn that co-dependence does not mean they love you. It takes time to figure out that even though we change and work through our junk, they may continue in the same crap that you drug yourself out of, it’s called denial.

So thank you Tori Spelling for sharing your ephiphany with us and allowing me one of my own. See God will use any means necessary to speak into our lives, even through Tori Spelling.

Realizations in California

I had a fantastic time in California. It was awesome to be in the sun, with friends, eating delicious food and just no pressure. There was no where I had to be, nothing I had to do and no responsibility whatsoever, who wouldn’t love that? I was living life as I used to know it. LOL. Which sounds a bit odd, but it’s true.

Living near family requires a different mindset. There are certain responsibilities you have simply because you’re a part of the family. After living away for 15 years it’s been an adjustment to get used to being an aunt, a sister, a niece and a daughter again.

I struggle drawing healthy boundaries in the family scenario. We all slip back into the roles established when were seven. It’s like being a Disney star, you are locked into your contract for life. This process is hard.

When I left for CA I was so overwhelmed, feeling like I was responsible for fixing what was wrong in my family. I am the peacemaker. I make sure everyone is ok. It is the role I have played my entire life, one that I felt was required of me. That is a heavy burden to bear. Is exhausting, stressful and enfuriating. When I left I felt smothered, lost and I couldn’t think. As I flew west I could literally feel the weight fall off me. I had to reconnect with who I am and what I want.

In CA, through the help of friends I realized it’s not my job to fix my family. Ta dah. It’s that simple. I have to let myself off the hook. I don’t have to carry the burden of the family, to make sure we’re all ok. That ephiphany set me free. When I realized this I could let go. I can let go of them. I can let go of the problems. I am only responsible for me. Phew. I’m enough trouble all on my own. LOL. I need a new definition of who I am with them.

Now, I have to move forward in my life. I’m trying to decide if I want to move back to California or can I find my own life in Ohio? I’ve also decided I’m going to finish my licensure to become a therapist. I’m only a year away and it feels like something undone in my life. Whether I pursue my PhD after that who knows.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. LOL