Tag Archives: therapy

A Rising Tide

rising tide

I had an ugly mental moment this morning.  I’ve been cultivating a sense of abundance this week.  Trying to focus on all that I have.  Chanting, “I am enough, I am enough.”  Rowing my little boat and keeping it low in the water, right in the middle of the channel.

This Voice of the Year thing on Friday is a big deal for me.  I’m claiming that.  Some days, I numb myself from the excitement so that I don’t confess that I am thrilled to have wanted something and gone out and gotten it. I’ve been trying to stay in a positive, happy place with it instead of moving straight into “I hope I don’t screw this up” territory.

This is not a left-handed plea for y’all to say, “You’re going to be fine!”  I’m just telling you where my head went because I learned something from it.  I learned that it’s really hard for me to accept attention for doing something well.  I crave that kind of attention.  I seek it out.  But when it comes, I am afraid that the rug will be pulled out from under me.  I am afraid that someone else will come along and take what I wanted so much just because I admitted that I wanted it.  I am afraid that the “You’re OK!” store will be empty by the time I get there.

I am afraid.

That’s the gist of it.  At the heart of perfectionism is fear.  At the heart of my anxiety is fear.  At the heart of my depression is fear.  It’s always fear that I won’t be enough.

I am enough.

And here’s where the ugly mental thing came in.  I saw that another blogger, who’s very creative and clever and funny, will be doing an event the same time I will.  My immediate reaction, instead of, “Oh, wonderful!  I can’t wait to spend some time with her!” was “Seek and destroy.  If you get near her, you will be less.”  Suddenly, I wanted her to fail so that she wouldn’t take any of my success.

What the hell????  I’ve never even met her.

Luckily, I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book, “The Gift of Imperfection.”  I recognized a shame reaction as I was having it.  And even luckier, I had a therapy appointment already scheduled for today!

I made myself sit with the fear.  I checked my evidence and it proved that I have a right to be there, regardless of who else is around me.  I talked it through and realized that this once-in-a-lifetime event is also a big package of every inadequacy trigger I have, all rolled up into one.  People will see that I am old and overweight.  I might cry.  I might get short of breath and look like I’m panicking.  I might not be that good.  I might be good, but not the best.  I might ask for too much.  Maybe it’s arrogant of me to walk out on stage.

I’m reading a story about Richard and it might not be good enough to honor his memory.

These are my triggers.  Maybe they will make me sing and I’ll just black out altogether.

Part of going to therapy is letting these feelings come up.  Sitting with them.  Saying hello, then moving ON.  Even when they are scurrying to catch up to me.

I did my work with my therapist and I came back to the knowledge that there is enough of enough for everyone.  I don’t have to scrap with other writers for a limited number of readers.  I can be good.  She can be good.  You can be good.  We can all be wonderful together.

The creative life is not a competition; it’s a tide.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  When I occupy a space of abundance in my own heart, I can share it with others.  When I’m stuck in fear, I have nothing to give.  I am going to loosen my grasp, let the tide take me.  A rising tide, lifting all boats.

I’m not even going to reread this because I might chicken out on publishing it.  Just remember this:  fear doesn’t have to stop you.  It won’t stop me.

“I” Statements

This morning, I was razzle-frack-a-lackin around (remember the sound Fred Flintstone made when he grumble cussed?) while I got dressed.  There’s this… situation…in my life where I have to bite my tongue, shut up, suck it up and let it go.  Y’know, what we grownups call “a Tuesday.”  The situation is causing me some uncomfortable moments because I’ve spent 12 years in therapy trying to learn to speak up and now I’m practicing the shut up.  It all seems so counterproductive.  

WARNING:  Here comes some language.  Good old fashioned Olde English.  If you don’t like cussing… I suggest you squint until you scroll down to the picture.  

I first started talking to a therapist when Fartbuster and I were splitting up.  After 10 years of keeping the world OK for him, I had surrendered my voice.  Not only did I not speak up for myself, it never dawned on me that I should speak up for myself.  Or that I might have been allowed to expect something out of our relationship.  I bit my tongue.  I shut up.  I sucked it up.  I tried really really hard to let it go.  And that never really took 100% so…therapy YAY!  The first thing my therapist asked was, “So what do you want to learn how to do?”  

Without even thinking, I blurted:  “I want to learn how to say “Fuck you!” if that’s what I’m thinking.”  

She laughed and said, “Oh, we’re going to get along just fine.  I kind of have a reputation for teaching women how to do that!”  It was a solid match.  We’ve made great strides.  If you don’t believe me, well FUCK YOU.  

During that first year of sessions, we worked on me finding my voice as I separated from Fartbuster.  One session right before the holidays, I told my therapist that I was anxious about the people I would be seeing.  This whole speaking up for myself thing was fresh and it was starting to feel a little shaky.  She thought it would be beneficial to practice some of the things I could say to protect myself in uncomfortable situations.  

She asked, “So what is it you REALLY want to say to this person?”  

I snorted.  “What I really want to say is ‘Shut the fuck up.'”  

“True, but they won’t be able to hear something that aggressive.  How about a more polite way to convey that same message?”

 I considered an alternative.  “How about ‘Soooooomebody needs… to shut the fuck up!'”  I wiggled my eyebrows and smirked.  

It was her turn to snort.  “OK, OK.  How about you try expressing this as an ‘I’ statement?”

“Oh!  I think somebody needs to shut the fuck up!”  

Nailed it.  

Maybe that’s why it’s been 12 years?  

My Capstone Project From 12 Years on the Couch.

My Capstone Project From 12 Years on the Couch.

So the razzle-frackin continues, even though Tuesday is in the books.  The only I-statement I can come up with today is “I feel like punching you in the throat when you breathe.  I would like you to shut the fuck up.”  

What’s your I-statement for today?  Share it in the comments!  

Progress, Not Perfection

Yesterday’s post was about practice, and we all know:  

Practice Makes _________

Go ahead, say it:  “Practice Makes Perfect.”

And we alllllll know the very idea of “perfect” is utter bullshit.  But we make ourselves crazy with the pursuit of perfection anyway.  (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.)

So I’ve been trying to think of a new slogan.  Which do you prefer?

  1. Practice Makes Incremental Changes That Will Lead You Toward Your Better Self  (that’s never going to fit on a tshirt–maybe a beach towel)
  2. Practice Makes You a Little Less Awful at That (nope, too negative)
  3. Practice Makes Progress

My perfect life is still buffering…

That’s IT!  Practice makes progress.  My therapist is always saying “Progress, not perfection.”  Chasing progress is a healthy thing; chasing perfection will make you crazy as a betsy bug.  I was going to say “crazy as a shithouse rat” but I am working on my potty mouth and how’s THAT for progress?  Practicing what I’m preaching.

Here’s a funny example of how years of practice can pay off in emotional progress.  Just the other morning, I woke from a dream of Fartbuster.  Now, back in the days of our divorce, I would dream of Fartbuster and inevitably, he would cheat on me in my dream and I would experience feelings of panic and betrayal and confusion.  I would wake with a dark cloud of emotional pain hanging over me and it would stick with me for the day.  Not only had I been dumb enough to fall for his shit…stuff…in real life, but now I was falling for it again in my dreams!  Bad me, bad me, bad me.  I deserved to feel bad.  What was it George W. Bush said?  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice…uh…won’t get fooled again.”

Cut forward through 12 years of therapy, a lot of internal work, some rebuilding and the love of a couple of good men.

So the other night I dreamed about Fartbuster.  We were married and I discovered signs that he was cheating.  Oh, OK, to tell the truth because it was just a dream and it was really funny–the sign was that he was lying in bed next to me and he had athletic tape wrapped around his butt cheeks.  That white kind you use to tape up a twisted ankle?  So I said, “What is THAT?” and he goes, “Oh, that’s for a scene I’m filming.”   Ah.  Aha.  Ahem.

Now, in the dream, what did I do?  Did I rend my sackcloth and coat my hair with ashes?  Did I cry and scream and give him five across the eyes?  Did I roll down the staircase or wail, “Where shall I go?  What shall I do?”

Nope.  I got out of the bed, gathered my things and said, “Yep, that’s just the way he is.  Buh-bye.”  Woke up laughing.

I’ve practiced the Fartbuster scenario a LOT.  Finally, my real life skills are leaking into my dreams, I guess.  Even in my sleep, I’m getting better at saying, “That wasn’t about me.  Better let it go.”  PRACTICE.

Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Nothing makes perfect.  What could perfect be in that scenario…not ever having the dream?  Maybe.  But then I wouldn’t have woken with that laugh.  Athletic tape on his hairy ass–that’s going to smart coming off.  

David Beckham in kinesio tape

Hold up. I may have to rethink my disdain for athletic tape…

What’s your definition of progress?  

Outrunning Crazy

This is an essay I wrote after running my first half marathon in November 2009.  I wrote it for the women in my boot camp group (WoW! Boot Camp) so some of the references are to our little group.  I sure do miss them.  The Atlanta Half is held on Thanksgiving morning and I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of trying a half…earn yer turkey!  

half finish.pngMy girlfriends at work asked for a picture from the Atlanta half marathon.  The only one I had with me was a screen grab from www.marathonfoto.com, so I attached it to an email and sent it out.  Jo replied, “We BELIEVE you ran it…you don’t have to stamp PROOF all over the picture!”  Duh.  We both got a good laugh out of that one.

But that kind of sums up the feelings I’ve had since crossing the finish line—I still need proof.  Marti asked if I had bought a 13.1 sticker for my car and I said, “No, I need to run a couple more before I advertise it on my car.”  I saw some cute shirts at the race expo (“I know I run like a girl—try to keep up.”) but I felt like a fraud about buying one.  I wore my medal to Thanksgiving dinner, but when my father complimented me on the achievement, I said, “Well, yeah, but I finished in a blistering 2:47.”  After my brother said, “I can’t believe you ran 13 miles this morning—that’s awesome!” I answered, “I didn’t run ALL of it; I had to walk up some of the bad hills.”  When the finish line picture arrived, my first thought wasn’t of the joy and pride I felt at that moment.  I didn’t see my smile.  It was more like, “OMG, my boobs look like they are trying to hide in my bellybutton!”

Yes, ladies, this is what a lifetime of Crazy sounds like.  Welcome to the inside of my head!  Anything sound familiar?

I spent $100 for an hour of therapy yesterday and our main topic was the Atlanta half marathon.  WHAT???  Have I honestly reached a point where I need a therapist to tell me that it’s OK to be proud of myself for doing something that was hard?  She reminded me that I have a teensy weensy old habit of thinking that nothing I ever do is good enough.  True.  That it only counts if it’s perfect.  Yeah.  That even if I run 13.1 miles, I didn’t run it quite fast enough, cute enough, smart enough….  OK, maybe she was on to something.  That did sound vaguely familiar, like she was channeling the voice of my first husband.  It’s a very old tape, maybe even an eight-track, that gets triggered in my head whenever I should be proud of myself—“Good job, Ashley, but it could have been better.”  The flip side of the tape plays when I even consider doing something that scares me—“Well, Ashley, don’t do it until you can do it perfectly.  People will know you for a fool.”  The greatest gift I’ve gotten from all those hours of therapy is the ability to hit the STOP button, skip tracks and play a new song.  Like Beyonce.  

So here’s what REALLY happened on race day.

  • I ran the first mile next to a squad of Marines.  Their cadence chant was about looking fine and feeling strong and I could have kissed every one of them on the mouth for getting those words into my head.
  • In the second mile, I talked to a woman who had only been running for two months.  It was her first race ever!  I encouraged her with all the things Michael harps on about running form—chin up, chest open, drive those elbows straight back, bend forward at your ankle, hold the baby bird eggs, in through the nose…
  • By mile three, so many people had passed me that I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was still back there.  I saw THOUSANDS of people and I giggled with glee.
  • Mile four and the towers of downtown Atlanta still looked as far away as the Emerald City at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.  But I had a target.  Just keep running.
  • I reached our hotel at mile five and there were G and Vivi, waiting in the middle of Peachtree Street to give me a hug.  Vivi sang her little song, “Go, Mommy, Go, Mommy, GoGoGo!”  I thought my heart would burst with joy.
  • Mile six, I passed a woman who was running for Leukemia Society’s “Team In Training.”  I thanked her for raising money for LLS and told her that I had lost my husband, Richard, to leukemia four years earlier.
  • Finally, at mile seven, I was starting to get tired!  I ate some of those sport jelly beans (I think the flavor was “Gag”) as I walked up that bitch of a hill in front of Piedmont Hospital.  I thought about popping in to McDonald’s for a large Diet Coke but decided that would be poor form.
  • Downhill for mile eight…whee!
  • Mile nine I heard Tami saying, “Loosey Goosey! Loosey Goosey!” so I flapped my arms over my head like a card-toting lunatic.
  • I slapped the mile marker sign on mile 10.  I had never covered more than 10 miles on training runs, so this was new territory.
  • In mile 11, downtown Atlanta, three women were chugging along in front of me. One moaned, “I can’t do it” and slowed to a walk.  I came up beside her and said, “I think you can.”  Another stranger yelled, “I think you’re already doing it!”  It felt like the way we help each other believe in ourselves in boot camp.  She went back to running.
  • At the start of mile 12, I got really emotional.  The crowds got larger and people cheered, “You’re almost there!”  My quads were screaming and I had to walk up the hill by the capitol.  I followed the course around a sharp left corner then looked up to see a small, dark-haired man standing on the sidewalk by himself.  He was wearing a Leukemia Society Team In Training coach shirt.  He looked a lot like my late husband and I started to cry right there in the middle of the street.  All I could think was:  “I can run.  I am still here.  I am alive.  Running 13 miles is not the scariest thing I’ve done in this life.”  I was grateful for how far I had come and I was filled with hope that I really was going to be able to do this.
  • I could see the 13 mile marker and I dug deep, shuffling my way up that long uphill bridge to Turner Field.  I. Would. Not. Walk.  I crested the hill under the Olympic rings.  The finish line was a few hundred yards away!  For the first time, I saw the clock and it read 2:59:11.  If I busted it, I could finish under three hours!  I took off like I had been shot out of a cannon.  I was running like Tami being chased by April.  My arms were pumping and I may have shoved a couple of people.  I streaked across the finish line at 2:59:21.  I had outrun crazy! 

Jovita reminded me later in the recovery area that I had actually run faster than that.  I forgot about subtracting my start differential!  I finished in 2:46:37, 7697th overall, 3647th for the women’s division and 449th in my age group!!!!!

miracleNow I have satisfied my homework assignment from therapy—I wrote this story.  I hereby own my accomplishment and say I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.  The shirt I should have bought at the expo said, “The miracle is not that I finished, but that I had the courage to start.”  I’m going to go out and buy myself a 13.1 sticker and I WILL put it on my car!

May we all own our victories and talk about them as much as we talk about our mistakes. 

It’s OK to succeed, it’s OK to try and it’s OK to do it imperfectly.  It’s OK to come in 7697th.

Telling the Truth

I must confess that this weekend has left me in a state of Facebook-induced depression.  While I’ve been sleeping off a migraine brought on by Kraft macaroni and cheese (yesterday) or cleaning up fruit punch and cracker kid barf (today), the rest of you have been out there finishing the color run, going to prom, enjoying the beach, walking about in London, putting in gardens, firing up the grill or getting your hair did.  Except for Craig–I saw him at the Kroger, but we didn’t even get a chance to talk because we both had already paid for frozen stuff.  Ding dang it.

It’s not uncommon–this habit of comparing ourselves to others–but I think social media connections make it even easier to compare my outtake reel to everyone else’s highlight film.  We all put on a mask to go out into the wider world.  Now that I have Facebook, the wider world is right there in the den, along with the whining kids and the toy strewn carpet and the yoga pants that are the only comfortable pants I own.  I couldn’t show this on Facebook…it’s too….true.

Photo courtesy Creative Commons.  By Katie Tegtmeyer, 2006.

Photo courtesy Creative Commons. By Katie Tegtmeyer, 2006.

Since I wrote that post called “The Door Mat,” about finding out that my first husband was cheating, I’ve been thinking a lot about telling the truth and how important it is.  Good Lord, when that happened in real life, in real time, I didn’t tell ANYONE.  Now with some distance, I can put it out there for anyone who wants to read it.  It’s the truth and it’s my life and if you are going through something similar, I want you to know that you can tell me.  Or someone else.  It will be OK.  I’ve had many private messages from women who say, “Yep, that’s the same thing that happened to me.”  This is our chance to step into the light.  There is no reason to be ashamed because someone mistreated YOU.  

I felt like a pariah, a failure, an unworthy woman when Fartbuster cheated on me.  How could I have confided in someone???  It was my fault, right?  Good wives don’t have husbands who cheat.  I remember standing in front of a class that I was teaching during this time–I had gone to the whiteboard to write something and as I turned my back to the class, my knees almost collapsed with the fear that someone “could tell” what I was hiding.  I still remember the exact moment and the blue cardigan that I was wearing and the angle of my hand and the color of the marker I was using.  It took everything I had to keep talking normally, to turn back around and go on with the class.  That was the moment when the veil was thinnest–the veil between the image I was trying to maintain and the everyday life I was living.  Have you ever had a secret like that?

When you write a blog post and tag it “infidelity,” you get some heartbreaking links in your “suggested topics” reader.  I read one the other day from a woman who said, “I’m going to cut back on work so I can focus on getting him to value our marriage.”  Oh, honey.  Honey, honey, honey.  There is no way to be married enough for two people.  It’s time to tell the truth.  I read another one from a woman who listed the names of her paramour’s minor children and spurned wife!  That there is “boiling the rabbit” crazy.  The first time I went to see a therapist, she asked why I was there and I said, “Well, my husband wants a divorce.”  She said, “Oh, so you’re getting a divorce.”  I said, “That’s still up in the air…”  “No, you’re getting a divorce.  If one person wants a divorce, you’re getting a divorce,” she said, while looking me right in the eye like it wasn’t the end of the world.  Dang it if she wasn’t RIGHT.

Last weekend, on Easter, I had a gift of a moment that showed me the importance of telling the truth.  I have a beloved person who has struggled with addiction for many many many years.  It was the undiscussed topic for a long time and it stayed in control of her.  Now?  Now she’s telling the truth and it makes my heart believe that she’s going to make it.  She said, “These days (holidays) are my hardest sobriety days.  If I can make it to six o’clock, I’m good.”  She spoke her truth, telling the truth about who she is today (and the implied truth about the shadow of herself that she was all those other days) and it was OK!  I am so proud of her because she’s living in the real world.  It ain’t always pretty and she can’t control every part of it, but she is driving the wagon instead of being dragged behind it.

A simpler example–writing down what you eat leads to losing weight because you finally face all those “well, it’s just one….box of cookies…oh.”  The truth shall set you free because it puts you in charge.  I have learned that I have a limited amount of energy.  I can either spend it maintaining an illusion or I can spend it getting to a healthy place.  Don’t get me wrong–I still maintain plenty of illusions, but I’m a work in progress.

I spent a year feeling embarrassed that my husband cheated on me.  I spent a year feeling like a failure because I was getting a divorce.  My good friend, Andrea, told me that one day in the future, I would quit checking the box on forms for “Divorced” and start marking the one for “Single.”  She was right.  I remember asking Fartbuster, on one of those horrifyingly awkward dinner dates where it was just the two of us (and that other shadow of a woman)–“How is she better than me?  What can I change?”  He said–and I will never forget it because it took me months to understand–“It has nothing to do with you.”  WHAT???  It has EVERYTHING to do with me.  It’s my life that’s being ripped open.  My reality that has to shift to include this storyline.  My fingers that scrub the lipstick out of your shirt.  I finally understood what he meant (with the help of many thousands of dollars worth of therapy from trained professionals)–I wasn’t the cause of his cheating.  I couldn’t have changed it and I couldn’t fix it.

In a very unguarded conversation, after we had spent some time together “putting things back together” but I found a book in his car titled :Should I Stay of Should I Go?,” he said, “I had made such a mess of my life and you kept saving the day.  I just wanted to be the good guy for once.  So I found someone more screwed up than me.”  I think he even used the expression “white knight.”  In a more guarded conversation that showed Fartbuster in his prime, he accused me of being “too supportive.”  Y’know, keeping the mortgage paid and food on the table and stuff.  Pffffft.  What a conniving bitch I was to do that!  There’s a really good reason we call them our EX-HUSBANDS.

This is rambling and disjointed and you know what….it’s the TRUTH!  It’s OK!  It’s me doing my best!  So next time I’ll talk about the one and only phone conversation I had with The Other Woman.  It’s a doozie.  It’s all about owning what you own and not taking on what you don’t own.  For today, I just wanted to talk about telling the truth.  It’s a way to clean the wound.  It all gets better once you start telling the truth.  Because sometimes the truth is, “It’s not your fault.”

The Door Mat

I’ve been thinking about divorce for the last few days.  Settle down, settle down–I’ve been thinking about the one I ALREADY had 10+ years ago.  (Not the one I’m gonna have if someone doesn’t get to the bottom of that sink full of dirty dishes, but that’s a different story for another day.)  

If March is the month that holds a lot of memories of my time with Richard, April is the month that reeks of Fartbuster.    We had an April wedding.  Five years after that, he moved out on April Fools Day.  We signed the divorce papers on the day after what would have been our sixth wedding anniversary.  Oh, and I found out all about his pregnant girlfriend in April, too.  Another story for another day.

eliot meme

This is not Fartbuster. This is T.S. Eliot.

Isn’t it odd that one of my earliest fond memories of him, when we had only been dating a few months, was from a long drive–he read “The Wasteland” to me?  For those of you who went to college in profitable fields, that’s the T.S. Eliot poem with the famous opening lines: “April is the cruelest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain.”  After that trip, he gave me his collection of Eliot poems, even crossed through his name on the inside of the front cover and wrote mine below it.

I’ve got a lot of stories about that marriage (The Engagement Fart), some of which I’ve never written down before.  Like the time I found myself living out the biggest cliche in the book–the night he came home from “working late” with actual lipstick on his collar.  I went to give him a hug and couldn’t NOT see it right there in front of my face.  My whole body went cold and tingly.  I hesitated for a few seconds–TRYING to summon up the strength to explain it away for him before he had to–when my sane brain took over and blurted out, “Is that LIPSTICK?”  He hemmed and hawed then said it must have happened when he gave  a secretary who was quitting a goodbye hug.  I could have accepted that; I could have swallowed the lie.  Instead I said, “That’s hard to believe.”  He froze for a good 20 seconds then admitted that “it was just dinner.”  OH, OK!!!  Psshew!  I thought it was something objectionable!  It’s funny now to recall that my first thought on registering that it was lipstick was that it was a frosty pink color and I couldn’t get past the TACKY.  Jesus, if you’re going to cheat at least pick someone who doesn’t wear Bonnie Belle Lipsmackers.

That was a long night.  We fought it out and hugged it out, I swore a lot and he swore he would change….blah, my hands are tired from just the typing of it.  The next day, I called in sick to work so I could spend a few hours staring out the window and trying to remember how to breathe.  I got it together.  I did the laundry.  I even washed his shirt for him.  The whole time I had that Cowboy Junkies song, “Southern Rain,” going through my mind because there’s a line in it that goes, “Every night there’s lipstick on his collar and every morning I wash it away.”

When Fartbuster came home that evening, he came bearing gifts.  As one does, naturally.  Try to guess what he got me!  A nice pair of “sorry I dated someone other than my wife” diamond earrings?  Nope.  Two tickets to a romantic second honeymoon?  Nuh-uh.  A bouquet of flowers from Kroger at the very least?  Not so much.

eclectic-doormatsA doormat.  The man bought me a DOORMAT.  We had two dachshunds so he bought me a novelty doormat that said “A spoiled rotten dachshund lives here!”  Because if you’ve cheated on your wife, you need to high-tail it to Spencer’s Gifts in the mall to make it up to her.

Here’s my point in telling all this–people will show you who they are.  They will show you what they think of you.  When they do, BELIEVE THEM.  Don’t give any credit to what they SAY, only to what they DO.  I spent a year after this betrayal trying to swallow his bullshit about how much he loved me.  There were many tearful scenes on his part, many professions of fidelity and adoration.  He said, “I want to move back home because I’ve learned that home is wherever you are.”  That was all in the SAY column.  In the DO column?  A doormat.  An apartment in town.  A girlfriend.  Then another one.

If I had wadded up that doormat and shoved it down his throat, then punched him in the gut until he spit it back out, THEN stuck it in his zipper and lit it on fire, I think a jury of other women would have found me not guilty AND given me the Miss Congeniality prize.  

I tell you what–I kept that doormat.  I moved it from our house to my house, to another my house, to another our house, which became another my house then turned back into an our house.  The dachshunds died years ago but that doormat is still in the garage.  Every time I look at it, I remember “When people show you who they are, believe them.”  Then I usually mumble, “Dumbass.”  For the first few years after I figured it all out, I was thinking of myself when I added, “Dumbass,”  Like it was my fault for not seeing through him sooner.  “When people show you who they are, believe them, Dumbass.”  But now that I’ve done the work to get more whole, I can see that his shortcomings were all about him and not anything I was supposed to fix.  I was thinking about the woman who stayed silent while a cheating man gave her a doormat.  Now I say it when I’m thinking about the man who thought that was good enough for me.  Dumbass.  

be nice doormat

The doormat I bought for MY house.


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