A New/Old Idea

Happy Friday!  The corner has definitely been turned heading into the holiday season...

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving - both the gathering I now have planned with a few friends to eat, play board games, and watch a movie - and having extra time off.  I think I'm going to get a Christmas tree this year, so I'll probably put it up that weekend after Thanksgiving to allow three weeks of enjoyment before I head off to Oregon.  And eggnog coffee is already bringing holiday joy to my mornings. :)

Regarding my last post and "the void" that was left by not focusing on fertility and ttc (and not being in a relationship - and that I'm now noticing more since I'm settled after finding a place and moving): I talked to my new Ecology of Leadership (EOL) phone buddy, and she suggested putting it out to the larger EOL group.  I did this and heard back from two or three people who said they were available for phone calls and would like to get together.  I have a lunch date for next week.  This is all good but has helped me realize that the "void" is definitely more about day-to-day connection, not as much having events planned on the calendar.  Phone calls may help if I can get in the habit of reaching out.  Pursuing a creative project may also bring meaning and focus.  But I think the core of it really gets back to my longing for family.  Along these lines, C asked me about another possibility I haven't focused on in a while...

Guess I need to backtrack first and say that BBBS rejected me.  I was surprised but noticed that I felt some relief.  The woman said policy prevents her from telling me the exact reason, but that I have a lot to offer a child and she hopes I find another avenue to connect with one.  So, it didn't seem to have anything to do with my character but might have had to do with what I shared in the interview about trying to have a child for quite a while and that I wanted ideally to have a positive connection with a child who was able to "attach" (I have worked with youth who have attachment disorders).  She may have felt I had too high of expectations for the experience, and they really emphasize having little to no expectations.  In any case, I have come to think it is for the best, and the relief I felt was about the recognition that I don't think a big sister relationship would likely fulfill much of my desire to be mother.  I was "settling" for that choice, which isn't a good place to be coming from.

Back to the other possibility C asked about... She brought up foster parenting and adoption.  I actually completed a foster parent adoption training when I lived in San Luis Obispo, but then my organization closed doors and I didn't feel I could move forward while unemployed.  I'm still not earning what I feel I should be ideally, but I'm stable and employed.  When she asked about it, I felt excitement and energy to investigate what would be required in this county, so I plan to do that in the coming weeks.  Even if I don't move forward right now, it will be good to have the information.  One obstacle could be that I live in a two-bedroom house.  J is never home but the other room is still "his" room.  Maybe that would limit me to fostering younger children, which is what I would like anyway.  Much to learn.  What do you think of this plan at this point?  Am I being overly optimistic that I might qualify?

It's raining here today, so I am going to have a cozy day working on another full-time counseling application, grading papers, and refining my agenda for Tuesday's class - only one class to plan for this week - yay!  And I have a couple Netflix movies to watch later.  Hope you are keeping warm and cozy, too.


Filling the Void

Happy Hump Day!  "Hump" makes me think of "The Hump Bar" now, which is an establishment on the show "Army Wives"... yes, I have been spending far too much time watching this show.

I had what I thought was a semi-deep thought about TV watching while talking to a couple friends after my InterPlay theatre group last night.  One friend had just returned from two weeks hiking with her family in Nepal (she was not near the avalanche, thank goodness) and was describing how, during the entire trip, she was surrounded by family and other community, including porters who constantly watched her and anticipated her every need.  After returning to her regular life, she felt unhappy with it and depressed that she was returning to watching a lot of TV for relaxation and down time.  She missed the attention and ongoing connection with others.

I responded with sympathy (as I have shared here, I have TV-watching patterns that I question) and also the thought that a "void" wants to be filled.  When something is missing or goes away, other things will flow in to fill the space.  It makes sense.  So, continuing that thought now, it's not necessarily about trying to stop TV watching but about considering other choices that fill the needs for relaxation and connection.  And when you live alone, the connection options are fairly limited, especially when you are an introvert and worn out from the day.  Even introverts, though, need to be seen and heard - need attention and loving on a regular basis.

My work gives me contact with people, but I am in the "giving" mode when it comes to attention and care.  I provide the counseling for the students, and I enjoy doing it.  AND I need, if not counseling, then opportunities to express myself and receive care.  In my last living situation, my housemate, K, and I had meals together on a regular basis; maybe not every day, but at least every two or three days and sometimes more.  Now, somehow, while seeking a "community" living situation, I have created a very similar similar living situation to my prior one, with even LESS connection!

How did this happen?  I think, in part, because it's hard to find the "right" living situation with others, but also because I do need down time by myself to recharge.  I don't think living in a full or "bustling" household would work for me.  I just want one or maybe two other people to connect with at least once a day for meaningful conversation.

In the past, when I was in a 12-Step program, this need for meaningful connection was met through meetings.  When I am in relationship, this need is met through my partner... at least when the relationship is functioning in a healthy way.  When I attend my dance and theatre groups, this need is sometimes met, but often not fully, as group conversation tends to stay on the surface (these groups definitely meet my need for movement and creative expression, however!)  Going out to eat afterwards brings more opportunities, but that generally only happens once a week at the most.  Talking to my brother feels good in terms of connection, but he is busy with his own family and we only talk every two or three weeks.  I have a couple of friends with whom I can talk on that level, but again, we get together every couple/few weeks.

Sooo, in the interim, day-to-day, there is a void, and I fill it with TV.  So shoot me. :) I'm going to cut myself more slack around that, as well as try and create those reflective spaces around it, in which I can consider other choices - journaling/blogging or talking things through out loud into my video phone (to feel more "heard"); maybe a collage or art project (Christmas is coming up), or maybe, when I can afford it, going to see an NVC counselor that could provide empathy.  Maybe I could look at joining another NVC practice group.

Thanks for listening to my reflection and brainstorming around this topic.  It was helpful!  As I wait to be matched with a "little sister," I think it is good timing to recognize I could use more support myself.  I think when I get more support, then I can provide better support for others...

AND, I will try and have compassion for myself around my (sometimes excessive) TV watching.