Updates Shmupdates

In considering the content of this blog, I have a late New Year's resolution to declare:  In 2014, I will write six focused topic blogs.  Maybe there is a more proper name for these... what I mean, is that instead of just writing the variety of happenings and insights since my last post, I will explore a particular topic in more depth.  Many of you who blog do this, but it's been a rare occurrence for me.  In any case, I want to challenge myself a bit in my blogging, so we will see how I do.

But not today!  Today, I'm going to do the opposite and write a bullet post to catch up on work, ex-boyfriend, leadership program, and other happenings:
  • I'll start with work, since I left off there in my last post.  My class launched successfully!  I feel good about the content I have provided for the students, which has included lots of interactive exercises, an online college resources scavenger hunt, and a PowerPoint, peppered with group discussion and and activity.  And the most of the students haven't even received their books yet.  That's right, I'm not complaining though.  Folks on the East Coast are feeling much worse impact of the stormy weather than delayed books.  I have improvised and made do, and I was told they would arrive on Monday, fingers crossed.  Oh, and my "first big college class" is filled mainly with high school students, albeit more mature than average high school students.  My community college has an imbedded high school, the students of which graduate high school with an Associates degree - a pretty good deal.  So, after hearing a complaint from one of the "real" college students in the class, I've needed to talk to them about the noise level, but I'm happy to report they are adjusting pretty well.
  • My surgery is this Friday.  I found substitute teachers for my classes the week following and, with the help of my kind friend, I'm lining up a few visits and simple meal deliveries.  I'm just not sure how incapacitated I will be.  As mentioned, S will be taking me there and back and spending some time with me afterwards.  The main things I'm worried about are, in this order: Zoey care, food prep/bathroom trips, and pain.  I'm not more worried about pain because I assume I'll be given good pain medication.  Mainly, I hope I'll be able to do the minimum required to take care of necessities for the couple days post-surgery.  If any of you has gone through laparoscopic fibroid surgery, I'm interested to hear about your recovery experience, if you're willing to share.  As I think I mentioned, my fibroid is large - seven to eight mm - and located outside the uterus, near the cervix.
  • S and I have had three further talks now (two in person and one on the phone) and many tears have been coming out, which feels like part of the healing process.  Through some teachings in my leadership program, I've realized that after our fight pattern had had gone on for a while, I went into "faint" mode (out of the model "Flight, Fight, Freeze, or Faint"), which means I checked out or detached to some degree.  At the time, I thought I was being calm or "normal" and not escalating things, but I see now that I was not fully there.  I remember feeling like this "shouldn't be happening" and denying the reality of the situation.  I believe the sadness I'm feeling now is a release of feelings I didn't feel through the last few months, as well as sadness that we stayed stuck in that painful place for so long.  I've said several times to S now that I wish we had broken up instead of going through that for so long.  I wonder what might have happened if I had been able to stay present and express the sadness then?  I think either we would have broken up or something would have shifted in the relationship.  But I really don't think he was ready to shift, so I doubt the latter.  I'll confess that the first time we met, there was some rebound romance energy but not the second time.  I still remain clearly focused on what I want in a relationship, and that he's self-admittedly not capable of that.  I'm glad he will be there to help me around the surgery - it's strange to remember that I was about to get this surgery last Spring but then we lost Cobra coverage and could not go forward.
  • Finally, I had my third Ecology of Leadership retreat weekend (out of six) last weekend, and it was a doozy!  Our activities were primarily focused on "roots work," or looking at blocks or issues that are holding us back, as well as diving deeper into our Project work.  A lot of people shared deep wounds and trauma, such as family member's suicide, eating disorders, being rejected by a loved one, etc.  I shared more and released sadness mentioned above in our small groups and individually during an embodied shaking and tapping (it's hard to explain but it was pretty cool) exercise we did.  I made major progress in my clarity about Project focus on forming a Social Change Performing Arts Troupe that focuses on both inner and outer transformation.  Inner, in terms of the troupe being a safe place for the members of the troupe to look at their own issues, feelings, and perspectives in relation to different topics.  Outer, with regard to us creating performance vehicles we take out into the community to engage, educate, and hopefully transform those in the audience.  Both aspects are important to me.  And, guess what?  I set up a tent and camped for the first time in a decade!  I didn't sleep more than a few hours, but I didn't get too scared and made it through.  I won't be heading for the Alaskan wilderness anytime soon, but I feel it was a good step.
Tomorrow and Monday I need to get a lot of work done towards my class - grading papers, lesson plans for this week, and bigger picture assignment descriptions.  Looks like I might be at the computer a lot over the next 48 hours...


Hitting the Ground Running

My mom received wonderful news yesterday - the three lymph nodes they removed, which were apparently "involved," were all benign.  At first my brother just told me that the three they removed were "involved," and I was quite worried thinking the doctor randomly removed three, all cancerous.  But no, apparently, they use dye in the surgery to see which are "involved" and remove them, and clearly involved doesn't mean what I thought (I still don't know exactly what it means, but I guess somehow connected).  Whew!  Relief.  Now praying the chemotherapy she starts this week goes well.

In other news, I have been stressed off my a$$ about my class, which starts Tuesday.  Not so much about the teaching part, but the preparation, or the "finally-receive-the-book-at-the-very-last-minute, cram-the-planning-process" aspect of the whole thing.  But last night, I finally took a big chunk out of creating my syllabus.  After another several-hour session tonight, I should be in tolerable shape with content.  Then, shine it up and get it printed by Monday.  I also still need to be entered as the instructor for the course so I can access student roster and other needed information, but I am choosing to trust all that will fall into place.  Basically, I won't leave campus on Monday until I have it figured out!

Oh, and I'm also giving a workshop tomorrow at the local bookstore on MBTI and career choice.  Why did I choose to do this right before my class started?  Honestly, I was NOT thinking clearly.  But luckily, I now have all the planning done for that, the workshop is only an hour and a half, and I'm facilitating with a friend which takes some of the pressure off.  I'll try to take a picture if I think of it.

It's just so shocking coming out of the lull of the holiday break into madcap action.  Is anyone else feeling this way?

I can also share that the joys of dating are alive and well... initial nervousness, looking for that spark of attraction, not really finding it, trying to be present for what IS there... which in the case of the second person I went out with in the last couple weeks, was that we had a LOT in common in terms of our education and work.  He was finishing a graduate psychology program with a cohort of folks (I did this a decade or more ago) and had done a lot of growth work, including counseling and 12-$tep, as well as gone through fertility treatments with his ex-wife at the same place S and I last went.

We went out twice, the second time down at Fisherman's Wharf (near the fertility place), which brought up a lot of feelings!  It should have been no shocker, but I just didn't think of it.  S and I going down there several times together - mainly to the Piers but once to the Wharf - and processing the treatments.  Getting in fights.  Or feeling excitement and hope.  In any case, for that reason plus the lack of attraction thing, I decided that would be end of the road for me and this guy.

S and I are supposed to get together now and finally exchange the presents we have for each other.  We haven't communicated at all since texting when I was in Oregon around Christmas.  I feel a little nervous and want to stay grounded in my vision for what I want in a relationship.  In knowing that it will never work with S unless there were a DRAMATIC shift in how we are together, which is unlikely.  I have no idea what, if anything, he has been going through mentally or emotionally.  I just know that he saw the counselor yesterday, and we agreed to get together around this time.  I will keep you posted.

Thank you to everyone for another year of connecting through this blog and through many of yours.  I hope this year brings many dreams to fruition. 

Finally, sending much care to those of you going through difficult times.


Happy New Year 2014! Trip updates and happenings with men...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope you all had a fun and/or meaningful and/or relaxing NYE.  I went to a family-friendly, dress up karaoke party at my friend's house, which ended up being a good time. 

My few days in Oregon went well, but my dad shared some news the first day I was back that gave me, and the rest of my family, a jolt.  You can skip this part if you would prefer not to hear bad news at this time.

Basically, my step-mom recently found out that she has breast cancer.  While it is apparently aggressive, it seems they think it is likely isolated and can be treated with several months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor.  They are doing further testing and will be able to confirm this in the next week or two, so please say a prayer for her to receive positive news (isolated tumor, very treatable, manageable) if you are willing.

My dad seems to be handling things fairly well, as far as I can tell.  He has been thinking about how he can support her in this journey and talking to her about that.  He is obviously afraid but seems present to what is happening and available to help her.  It was moving to me to talk to him about it.  As you might remember, my birth mother died from breast cancer when I was four (I have often said I believe she would have survived if diagnosed today), so this has got to be bring up a lot for him.

It does occur to me that it should bring up a lot for me, too... perhaps it is and I'm not conscious of it yet, but I do think my reaction is influenced by not having a close relationship with her, growing up or now.  I love her and deeply want her to heal from this, but it's from a bit more of a distance than if we were very close, if that makes sense.  In any case, it's a big thing we are going through as a family, and I appreciate your prayers.

Despite this difficult news, my visit there was a good one overall.  Of course, I spent time playing with my awesome niece and nephew, and trying to play with the one-year-old niece, as well, but she is still very attached to her mom and dad.  I was also able to spend time with an older cousin and her three-year-old adopted Korean son.  He is a friendly little guy, and we bonded quickly, as my cousin and I reminisced and shared family secrets.  Since I don't have siblings my age, it's nice to have a cousin I spent time with growing up, including on trips to Japan and Europe (we were sent on these trips by my grandparents in our teens).

Traveling with Zoey for the first time without S went remarkably well.  We stopped and went on walks every couple of hours and she integrated a bit more with the family - not actually running around but being in her crate and going on walks with me and various family members.  My nephew is still fearful of dogs, but I think he is slowly warming up to her and working through his fear; he was very curious and was able to go on walks with her and pet her back.  My niece Jayne loved playing chase with her.

On what might be a surprising note, since returning from Oregon, I have gone on one date (a walk around the lake and coffee) and have another one scheduled for tomorrow evening.  The first one won't likely lead to anything further, as the attraction wasn't really there, but it was quite pleasant.  I have hopes for the second one as he is "deep" - finishing a graduate program in transpersonal counseling - and seems attractive from his pictures.  I will let you know how it goes.

Nothing much to report on with S and our odd break-up... we are meeting again around the 10th to finally exchange Christmas presents.  It frustrated me, as I mentioned, that he told me of that trip he was taking on his way out of town, and then it was further frustrating when he insisted on waiting until after the 10th (following his meeting with the counselor) to exchange presents... but at the same time, perhaps we both really did need space.

Honestly, I have doubts at this point that we will be able to shift our dynamic to one that works for me.  Never say never, but we have been through so much and tried so hard, and something really big would need to change.  These recent experiences remind me of how he thinks and communicates, which feels unpredictable and not supportive of the intimacy I desire.

Today, I am grateful for the relaxed, unplanned time.  I ordered the book for my class and once it gets here - let's hope soon! - I will jump into active planning mode.  My surgery is still scheduled for January 31st, but I am not sure how that will work with my class and needing to take the following week off.  I wrote an email to my new supervisor giving her a heads up and asking how I might handle it.  But today I am pushing all that from my mind and enjoying the free time.  Hope you are, as well!  :-)