Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ups and Downs

I've felt buffeted by life this week.   Last weekend I got thrown off course, and since then I haven't been able to get back on track.  I'm getting there, but slowly.

I saw my step-dad on Saturday.  As most of you will already know, he left my mom in January.  Since then, he's been commuting between Toronto, where he's lived for the past 30+ years, and California, the home of his new girlfriend.  He's been spending a lot more time down there than up here.

When he first moved out, he told me that he was planning to keep a small home here.  He wanted to spend winters mostly down south, but live in Toronto during the summer.  I expected that he would be in the market for a condo, and had already given him the contact information for my real estate agent.

This summer came and went, and he didn't get around to looking for a place in Toronto.  However, I thought he was just putting it off, waiting for the divorce settlement to be finalized so that he knew what kind of price he could afford.

Ken and I have been packing up his stuff at my mom's house for him, as he's been too busy travelling to attend to it himself, and my mom wants it out a.s.a.p.  I mentioned to him that I could arrange for a self-storage facility to house the boxes until he got his living situation ironed out.  

"Oh," he said, "you may as well just ship them all down to [girlfriend]'s place.  Just pick whichever courier can send them cheapest by ground."

That's how I found out that he's not planning on living here anymore.  He's moving in with her for keeps.  He'll be in Toronto on business for one week out of every month, during which time he'll be so busy that I'll be lucky if I get to spend any time with him.

Even though I might not have seen him much more if he was technically living here, it was still a blow.  I mean, he's the dad I grew up with.  And he's moving across the continent.  In fact, he's already effectively moved away; it's just a matter of shipping his stuff to him.  And he never even talked about it with me, let alone trying to break it to me gently.  When the realization hit, it was like a punch in the heart.  I didn't sleep much that night.

That's the downs.  What are the ups?

I have faith to carry me through.  Previously, the kind of sleepless night I spent last Saturday would have been a miserable eternity of emotional torture.  I could get myself into a state of mind where merely existing was unbearable.  Prayer makes a world of difference.  I didn't feel alone, or hopeless, or desperate, just very sad.  I knew I had to feel the feelings until I was done, and then I'd be OK again.  And that's what happened.

I have people who care about me.  Since I've connected with God's love, I've been much more able to accept love from everyone else.  I used to describe myself as an emotional anorexic, able to sit in front of an all-you-can eat love buffet with my lips pressed together, starving to death.  The most well-meaning people could not get through to me once I put up my walls.

Now when I need love, I go and get it.  A dear friend let me bend her ear on Tuesday night, pouring out my story over sushi.  My adorable sister joined me last night for dinner, lighting up my heart with her smile.  Ken has been amazing, caring for me with devotion.  And the best part is that I can actually take in the love, and be sustained by it.

I will always remember 2008 as the year I turned from an introvert into an extrovert.  If you'd known me all my loner life, you'd know just how amazing that transformation is.   Not to insult introverts in general.  My introversion wasn't a product of my inborn personality, but came about as a result of hurts and fear.  I feel like I'm finally getting a chance to be the me I was always meant to be, and I'm completely grateful.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Fine! At the next introvert meeting I will have them remove your name from the members list!!! Ummm... the only problem is we really don't meet that much... actually I don't think there has ever been a formal meeting, but still you're in big trouble! :)

Sorry you dad is being so callous and insensitive to you all. Sort of a selfish outlook on his part. {{HUGS}} Don't forget to come out her for some bloggy love too.

unsigned said...

Intro to Extro is Goodo!

Keera Ann Fox said...

It's possible to be introverted and still social. It's not whether or not you talk to people but why you talk to them. What I hear you saying is that you're learning to trust again, and also allowing letting others see you be weak (rather than always strong and silent). This is how faith should work: Freeing us from our limitations and letting us discover who we are when fears no longer cloud the issue. It confirms that you have made the right choice for yourself.

Now, about your (step)dad… But he seems pretty clueless about the hurt he's causing, in general.

Karen said...

I am sorry about your step dad. He is going through some sort of selfish phase it seems.

I have never understood introverted people. We are social creatures by nature. We need to socialize to be complete.

Dianne said...

I'm sorry about the way your Dad is handling these changes, sounds like he's pretty uncomfortable and not aware of how he's making you feel.

Meanwhile you sound so hopeful and uplifted, and that is wonderful.

Sabrae said...

Sounds like mid life crisis to me :) It sucks as he is the only dad you have known :( My step dad to is the only real dad i ever known and he only talks to me when I go to him! Hang in there! You will pull thru

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: Thanks! I know I can count on my blogland buddies for warm and heartfelt long-distance hugs. :-)

Unsigned: Yup, you said it.

Keera: Yeah, my stepdad is sadly clueless. He tries his best, but sometimes his best sucks.
I'm calling myself an extrovert now because when I feel drained and need to recharge, I seek out people to help me instead of seeking solitude. That's how I conceive of the difference.

Karen: My step-dad is constitutionally odd. In some ways he is overwhelmingly generous, and in other ways he is obliviously selfish. He's always been like that, and probably always will.
I agree that it's important to be social. It was always painful to me when I couldn't bear social situations. I'm so glad to finally be able to be with people without tension.

Dianne: I do feel hopeful, even in the midst of all my personal junk and all the whacky madness going on in the global economy. Prayer has amazing power to lift up my heart.

Sabrae: It's a shame that he couldn't have just bought himself an expensive sportscar for his midlife crisis... Families are never simple, and often we get our hearts tangled up with people who don't fit the traditional relationships of family. Step or no, it's the love that counts.

San said...

The behavior of your step-dad is hurtful. I'm sorry.

But I'm glad your faith is sustaining you, Spark. Thank you for the reminder about prayer. It does make a huge difference and I haven't been making enough time for it of late.

Anonymous said...

men... even fathers.. they Just dont seem to entirely grasp it (truthful convo, etc)


trinity67 said...

Good for you! I envy you...

trinity67 said...

Ooh let me clarify - I envy your strength to deal and overcome.