The Gut Tool / Use It Often

During these confusing times, I’ve learned that what might work for others, might not work for me.

I know that my friends and family love and support me, but sometimes their pressure is too much. It might be easy for them, since they’re not the ones crossing the bridge. I thank and respect their feedback but let’s get real: I have my own pace and my own decisions to make.

A few days ago, a good friend was very firm with me: “This is what you have to do, and if you don’t do it, forgive me, but you don’t care about yourself. I’ve just wasted fifty one minutes talking to you, while I could be reading or taking a nap; so please, do as I tell you or you’ll regret it.”

As we hung up I felt guilt and stupidity, two things that weigh too much to bring along while I cross my bridge. I stopped myself for a moment and reviewed her life. Once I was finished, I reviewed mine, and understood that we both have diferent ways of dealing with life.

Today I had the opportunity to do what she told me I had to do. I took a deep breath and did what I wanted to do.

 

If you ask me: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” I will proudly say it was today.

Happiness-1, Regrets-0.

 

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One Way Street

I didn’t have a good night’s sleep. I woke up early, had some watermelon, packed my things and left my friend’s house. Wish I could’ve stayed longer but his girlfriend was arriving today.

I drove very slowly and as the distance shortened to Banana Town, my anxiety grew. I cried sporadically, and finally, there it was, the welcome sign I never pay attention to, remembering me I was back.

Once I was in town, I drove to a friend’s office. I rang the doorbell hoping he wouldn’t be there —I was in no shape to hold back the tears if he hugged me. Thankfully he wasn’t there, I just left the keys of my friend’s apartment with an employee, and left.

I was done. Nothing else to do but crawl back into bed and cry. Then I remembered the rent was due and that I had no food at home. I was about to delay the safety box and the grocery store for tomorrow but I stopped myself right on my tracks: “you need money and you need food, you can’t neglect your needs because you’re afraid to bump into The Burning Man”. I looked at my dog and he smiled. I new what the smile meant, “let’s do this, I don’t mind the heat, I’ll wait in the car, just don’t take too long”.

 

I was about one block from my house, when I saw his car parked on my street. I new he was inside, watching and waiting. I kept on driving as if I hadn’t seen him and turned right. I wanted to escape and I had only two options: keep on driving through the one way street and stumble into him, or park asap and make a run to my house. I went for the second option.

I barged into my house with my suitcase, the groceries and a beach hat I never wear. I was about to close the door but my dog wasn’t with me. Shit. I had to go outside for him. He was taking his time, pissing here and there while I needed to avoid the damn street. I called him, he didn’t come —obviously, he’s deaf. I walked up to him and grabbed him by his collar.

Once we were finally inside, I closed the damn door and took a deep breath. I felt something on the floor and saw some fuel vouchers and a brown kraft coin envelope with his writing on it.

I started to cry. I couldn’t help it, I felt gratitude, compassion and sadness.

I stayed at home, ate sushi and read. I turned off my phone and slept while the eclipse did it’s thing. I woke up for my yoga class;  it was raining when I walked to the studio and when I came back home. I fed my dog and completed my three meals with broccoli and cheese.

The envelope he slid underneath my door is still there, unsealed.

Feeling The Pain

It’s been four days since I arrived here. After the stalking incident with The Burning Man, I didn’t feel safe at home. I called a friend and he offered me his home for a few days.

I brought my dog, my pillow, groceries and a book. The solitude of the apartment has  landed me in unknown territory. I am actually living the sadness instead of covering it up and escaping it. For the first time in my life, I gave myself permission to do whatever I felt like doing without feeling guilty about it.

I’ve been sleeping. A lot. That’s been my more consistent activity. I walk my dog three times a day and feed him while I cook something for myself. I read to keep my mind off the negative thoughts.

If I felt like I normally do, I would be in the ocean the whole time, but I am not myself lately. Both times I’ve tried to enjoy the ocean, I’ve started to cry. The tears just kept on coming with that pain, the one that comes from the soul.

 

From Jobless to Currently on Vacation

I was holding on so tightly to my job and my ex, that I didn’t realize I was strangling myself. I believed that at my age, there was no possibility of finding a better job than the one I had.

I don’t know what the future brings, but I know I made the right move. Quitting the job and the relationship has placed me in a new scenario. Even though its unknown and scary, its also new and challenging.

Since the detachment I’ve had much more good moments than bad ones. I was so afraid to be where I am, and suddenly I’m here. Still breathing and making my way through the other side.

As of today, I will change the word “unemployed” to “currently on vacation”. I am done with the guilt of not being productive. I will find a job or start an entrepreneur project soon, but first, I will give myself the gift of a well-deserved vacation.

 

Final Closure

My best friend has been up to date with everything that has been going on. She told her friend about it, the friend told her husband about it and suddenly on Monday I am sitting at a Starbucks with a renown CEO. The interview went well and I’ll be probably flying to Austin for a second interview.

Even though I was thankful for the endorsement and happy with the interview, I felt sad and empty. I slept all afternoon and skipped my yoga class.

On Tuesday, I felt the same. I missed my job and the employees. Having so much time for myself drives me bonkers. I have been cleaning my house so many times this week, that there’s nothing else to clean. Fortunately I had lunch with a friend and afterwards I went to play a paddle tennis match, which I lost.

When I was done, the Pro Shop clerk told me that my boyfriend —who is no longer my boyfriend— had been there earlier, buying some grips. He asked him if I was currently playing in the club…

The news punched me straight in the stomach. The club is my space. He buys grips in other sports stores. The intrusion made me angry and the stalking made me scared.

I left the club around 10:30 pm. I made a pit stop at the 7-Eleven for some milk and when I returned to my car, The Burning Man was parked right beside me. I wanted to disappear. He said hi. I said hello and got into my car. I started the engine and drove. He followed me home. I went for my dog and as soon as they saw each other, this big feast began between them. I felt happy because they love each other so much, but this wasn’t the right timing, we were over. I saw his sad eyes and felt the sweetness in his words. I wanted to hold him so much, but I kept my distance and my position.

Once he asked why did I leave that way, I told him the bold truth: I am tired of your marital status, if I were a priority in your life, you would’ve been divorced by now. But instead, your wife takes a nice vacation in Banana Town with extra money she doesn’t deserve, while I haven’t had a vacation in two years. I am sick of working my ass off to earn less than your free rider wife does. “When is she going to work for Christ’s sake? It’s been seven years since you left her. Are we supposed to support her until she dies?”

I am also sick of your anger, your screaming, your monologues and your humilliations. I am sick of your ingratitude and your negativity. You don’t see me, you don’t hear me, everything is always about you.

I asked for a raise, because I deserve one. I have made you richer by obstructing employee cash theft, by decreasing costs, by bringing clients and by pushing you to a money savings lifestyle. You didn’t agree with the raise, you offered me to leave the company and find another job so I could earn more money while you would still pay my salary. What am I? You’re hooker?

He found the right answer for all the facts. Blaming me for each one. Turning things around like he usually does. He didn’t scream though, he was calm and working a constructive negotiation. He asked me to dinner or lunch during the week so we could talk, I said no. I don’t believe in his words, I believe in actions. It’s been two years and we’re still having the same discussions with no results.

I told him we could be friends in the future. I thanked him for all the nice things he did for me and apologized for leaving the job without previous notice. Before he left, he said he was about to lose a lot of money beacuse no one was taking care of my client accounts. I was expecting the guilt card, and there it was.  I said I would go and solve the problem —which I would love to do because I love my work— but I was lying, I just wanted him to leave. He asked if I could unblock him from my phone. I said yes, but I was also lying. I needed to protect myself and no contact means no contact, even though it breaks my heart.

He left. I didn’t cry. It’s over. I miss him. I miss us.

🐢

My Happy Place

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean. It took many years to fulfill that dream.

I remember I was sitting at my door steps. I had just closed my restaurant, just divorced, had no kids, no job and didn’t own a house. Then it it hit me, there was no reason to hold back my dream, I could finally move to a place near the ocean.

I chose Banana Town because it has the most beautiful sea of my country. Even though I’ve never lived by the ocean, I felt like a turtle when she returns back to the shores where she was born.

At first, I used to go to the ocean on a weekly basis. I enjoyed snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. Scuba diving scared me, but it also seduced me. I followed my fear and completed my PADI course. Since then, the ocean has become my sacred place.

During my relationship with The Burning Man, I forgot about the sea. I forgot about my dream and I forgot about myself.

This past weekend I went scuba diving. I was a little scared but the happiness and the peace of my holy place was bigger. I had forgotten the basic steps but a good friend came along.

Once I was in the water, I felt at home. There was no fear, no uncertainty, no sadness and no vulnerability. I listened to the soothing sound of my breathing and felt the joy of the under world.

I saw several Parrotfish, a pair of Squids —which I’ve never seen before—, a Fairy Basslet, Giant Barrel Sponges, Sea Fan Corals, Blue Chromis and Tangs —my favorites.

For the first time in my life, I saw a Seahorse. Its curled monkey tail grasped to a branch of Sea Rod. He was by himself. I had read that they’re always in couples and practice monogamy. Not true. Or maybe, as my friend said, the lady Seahorse had gone out to do some grocery shopping.

Sadly, the time ran up very quickly and we had to emerge back to the surface. During our safety stop I laid horizontally facing the sky. I remained still and saw the waves from underneath. Suddenly, the sun made it through the ocean and blinded my eyes with its light for a few seconds. It was God. He was smiling at me.

When Does it End?

I will write as many posts as I need until I heal. I thought leaving The Burning Man and quitting my job were going to be my huge step towards the other side of the river. They weren’t. I still have to keep on crossing this unknown and fragile bridge on my own.

Four days have gone by and I haven’t felt like crying. Today I did.

Being a workaholic and quitting my job from one day to the next has left me with a lot of free time, and I am having trouble with that. My head keeps overthinking all the things that have happened and when it does, I lose my balance, I feel the fear, the sadness, the loneliness and the uncertainty of the future.

I was living in hell, I should feel safe and happy by now. How come I feel so vulnerable?

 

Day Seventeen / I Did It

I woke up early, The Clown beside me. I didn’t give it too much thought, I was determined to do it.

I didn’t shower, I grabbed a top and got into my jeans and flip flops. My dog came with me to support and witness the closure. Together we drove to the office before everyone else arrived.

I gathered my things, printed the updated account status of the money I used to manage on a weekly basis and left to the safety box I accessed every week.

Once I got to the security box, I left the updated account status of the money in the safety box, as well as a post-it note attached to a copy of my credit card account status. The post-it note was short: “I took the money you owe me for the gifts I bought for last december’s company party, as well as the plane ticket for one of your mechanics and my July cell phone bill.”

We drove back to the office and parked outside while I placed the security box key in an envelope, as well as the office keys, the electric garage control and the keys to his house.

In another envelope, I placed the money I weekly send to his wife. The previous day I tried to wire it twice with no luck. The daughter advised that since her Mom was in Banana Town I should hand the money back to her Dad. I left a message on the envelope: “I couldn’t wire your wife’s money yesterday. Your daughter told me to hand it back to you so you can personally hand it to her”.

Once I was finished sealing the envelopes, I called one of my coworkers so he could come out for them. I told him I was in a hurry to see a client (which was a lie) and that The Burning Man needed the envelopes.

I left as quick as I could and once I was far away, I parked and blocked The Burning Man from my phone.

It was unbelievable easy. I was strong and felt happy about leaving him.

Later on I went to my therapist and we both celebrated my graduation on completing my task: leaving The Burning Man.

I had lunch with my girlfriend and was overwhelmed with her love and support.

At night I drove to the Paddle Tennis Club to play a new tournament. I lost 4-6, 2-6 on the mixed doubles and won the women’s match 6-1, 6-2 with my loving new partner from Argentina.

Throughout the day I received comforting calls and messages from my tribe. Friends and family that care for me and have always been there through the tough times. I felt so lucky, so blessed and so thankful.

🙏🏼

Day Sixteen / I am Done

Today has been a terrible day. My no sex policy has The Burning Man in a furious mode.

I went to work as I usually do. I needed him for decision making. I called seven times, he never took my call. I messaged and he didn’t message back. The silent treatment is on.

The wife is still in Banana Town, at her best friend’s house. They say you shouldn’t jump into conclusions, but I know he needs narc supply and he knows where to get it.

So what know? Obviously I haven’t found a job. I wanted to work for him until I had a new job but things have not turned out like I wanted.

The passive aggresiveness has been much more than I can take. For the last weeks I felt strong and able to play along with my plans, today I feel weak and terrified. My legs are shivering, my hands are sweating ice cold and the fear is growing in my tummy as I write. I am all alone and no one is going to come over and save me, I have to do it by myself.

This will be a long text. I won’t stop writing until I make it through this horrible sensation and understand the blessing that’s been handed to me in disguise.

I don’t love the man. He doesn’t care about me and he never will. He’ll never feel gratitude for all the beautiful things I’ve brought to his life and to his company. Today I give up.

I am giving up on his anger, on his humiliations, on his gaslighting, on his yelling and his sick soul. I am giving up on his lies and on his cheating. I am giving up on his monologues and his tendency to depreciate my value. I am giving up on his disrespect and the power he had over me.

Today I can stop lying. Today I don’t need to make up excuses to avoid him. Today I can block his phone number and never return to his office. My life is at risk and no money is worth the emotional abuse I’ve been dealing with for so long.

I thank the Lord I never moved in with him. I have my own home and I am safe. I will heal.

My biggest fear is being jobless, but ready or not, I am facing that fear. God is on my side and I will work hard to blossom again. I know he’ll do the rest.

Thank you for this terrible day. Thank you because it’s the end of an agonizing experience and the entrance door to a new beginning.

 

“You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now fly”.

—Rumi

 

Day Fifteen

I need more individual space with every passing day. I am getting used to the joy of having him far away from me.

I’ve recovered my laughter. I feel good around my loving friends and also when I’m by myself. I am excited about the progress I see in every paddle tennis match I play.

During these hard times, I have developed much more empathy towards people that are going through tough times. It seems that even though I’m not where I want to be, I am making the best out of it.

Today I left the office early. I had a match to play. I lost but I won in so many ways. I won because I didn’t feel guilty to leave work undone. I won because I enjoyed myself and my new partner, a funny woman from Argentina.

The Burning Man asked if he could borrow my dog. I said yes and he thought that would mean I would sleepover at his place. Wrong. I finished my matches and drove straight home, savouring a cold shower and a healthy dinner. He asked at what time I would get there, I told him I wouldn’t go. This time I used a new creative excuse, too much play and the high temperature had given me a heat exhaustion. He blackmailed me, but I didn’t engage.

He mentioned his wife had just arrived to Banana Town. I knew something was up when he wired her extra money today. Imagine how I feel when she earns what I earn without doing any work at all. A free-rider shop-addict with paid vacations. And then there’s me, a working woman that works her ass off everyday while The Greedy Burning Man won’t even give her a raise.

Very soon I will have a new job or an entrepreneur project going on. I am going to be delighted to dump him and quit the job with no anticipation at all. Until then, I’ll work less, increase my savings and have more time to enjoy all the wonderful things that life is throwing at me.

Someone once told me that turtles have three gifts: patience, wisdom and the ability to find their way back home, no matter how lost or far they are.

🐢