Friday, May 4, 2012

What doesn't kill you...

I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at Preschool and mulling over the bizarre realization that, in the past year and a half, I have gone through FIVE divorces of one kind or another. Granted they were each on a slightly different scale as to shock, pain, suffering, and whether or not I ended up in a better place when everything settled down...
1. a real divorce, involving a guy I'd been married to for almost 19 years. (And lived with for 23).
2. a "friend" divorce - my only close friend and one who knew everything about what I had just gone through
3. my publisher - in this case, I played the roll of one of the children and suffered through the chaos and confusion as the Parenting Plan was tweaked.
(3.5. - I'm not going to count the nightmare with the contractor because  that wasn't a long-term relationship).
4. my employees - I'm still not sure how so much hatred and anger could be generated, just by admitting failure.
5. Wingdoodle - I thought I had put it out of its misery last winter. Are there such things as "zombie stores"!!? This one sucks blood too... ohmigosh, I might have a new genre here! (LOL)

So all these thoughts were swirling around in my head, with visuals, and ideas for "what I should have..." and "what I could..." and Kelly Clarkson's song "Stronger" comes on the radio...

"... What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone..."

This is the kind of break-up song that you crank up really loud, sing at the top of your lungs, and shake your fist at the sky. And when it is over... you wonder if it's really true.  I couldn't figure out WHY it only feels right while it's playing.  When I got home, I looked it up on YouTube and I noticed, in the music video, sure enough, lots of people shaking their fists and singing really loud... but always in GROUPS. I think it is so much easier to "stand tall" and be indignant, etc. when you have a posse. That line: "Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone" is the loose link. OK, I can believe that I am a strong person for having gone through all this crap. And then some more crap. And a little more. (Oh, drat, there's another pile!) But what if I DO feel lonely? Does that negate all the other fist-pumping stuff?

The irony is, before I started actually standing up for myself... aka making enemies... I DIDN'T feel lonely when I was by myself. I'm an introvert. I LIKE to be on my own. I truly believed my life would be so much better if I could just unload that one person who was draining my life-energy....

You know how people talk about "thoughts become things" and you can't move on and get new experiences, etc. if you don't unload the old, bad ones... people too...? All that stuff is true. And as I unloaded all these bad people (not always by my own choice), I realized the formula is not exactly one-to-one. ie: One bad person gone = one new good person. Nope. I think it's by weight! One really, really bad person gone = a whole bunch of new people. Seriously. I have met more new, super-cool people in the last year than I had met... EVER. And I started to wonder if maybe I wasn't really as introverted as I had previously thought.

Here's what I discovered: if you have two friends (counting the husband) and they are both "bad" for you, when they aren't around, you feel pretty good, right? Now let's say you have two friends who are fun and creative and like to laugh... when they aren't around, you feel... what?  Yep, lonely.

So, that's where I am right now. I am working on rewiring my thoughts and beliefs. Some of it is very uncomfortable and some (because that's hard-wired into my personailty!) are really EXCITING!

As a parallel to redoing my brain, I am also redoing my website. MobileMe/.Mac/iWeb is all ending next month so my current site will disappear. Of course, I was devastated, then angry, then really annoyed, then... hmmm... I can start over. Do something completely different. Hmmmm....
If you want to see the old site, it's here: www.BeezInkStudio.com and the new site is here: www.SandySteenBartholomew.com. I am still adding content to the site and I would LOVE to know what YOU would like to see there. I will be adding a pop-up shop too. And there will be a sign-up list there so you can download things... what else - help me do my re-write. :-)

19 comments:

  1. Powerful stuff, Sandy!

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  2. Sandy we have to believe change is good...because.....nothing ever stays the same for long....i'am in the midst of alot of changes too. So i feel some of what you are feeling. Although my hubby of 23 years is still here. We just moved from TX to CA and all that entails. WE have been living out of boxes for over 6 months in one tiny apartment after another and i 'am just.......tired....But it will all work out for the best and it will be alright in the end and if its not alright yet then you haven't reached the end....Hugs! deb Stop by anytime and chit chat.

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  3. In body-building, you have to work your muscle until they hurt and beyond. It sounds as though that is what you've done with your life. It does make you stronger, but oh my-it does hurt.

    Love the look of the new site--have you noticed that Beez is all darks- purple and black, while the new site is open and light?

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  4. A relationship isn't necessarily a 'failed' relationship just because it is over. Sometimes it is just over. That doesn't invalidate all of the good parts of it, or mean it is failed. Not every relationship is meant to last forever.
    Good luck with the new Site!

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  5. Sandy - thanks for sharing your process with your followers/friends. I get it. I love, love, love the banner on your new page. Keep the faith - you are going to find even more wonderful friends.
    Janet

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  6. Thanks. :-) Deb- I have been learning that "things" are not as important as I had believed, but I still believe strongly that our "habitats" are important. ie: a dark warehouse filled with every thing you have ever desired is not even close to a perfectly lovely, cheerful, sunny... empty... room. I see one as a dead end and a letdown, the other is full of comfort and possibilities. I would have let the ex take every item in the house before I gave up the actual house... but don't tell him or he may come back for the rest of the china! ;-D (LOL)

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  7. Sandra - Thanks for the insight. I have always hated exercise, NOW i understand why! ;-) I hadn't noticed about the web colors, interesting... although I think I will keep the blog as my "dark side". It reminds me of my Adams Family upbringing. Although.... maybe I should replace the dangly bat with a Bumblebat.... that would be funny!

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  8. There are lots of sayings around, and I think words become sayings for a reason. Mostly because so many people go through similar situations. So, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is around for a reason. Just like, "When one door closes another one opens," and "Every cloud has a silver lining." An old friend used to say, "Each of us has our own cross to bear." You are obviously a strong person or you wouldn't be where you are in life today. You have two great kids (your silver lining), & you are not afraid to open new doors. Life isn't perfect as you know, but it has some rewarding moments that can feel perfect. Here's my saying: "If everything was good all the time, we wouldn't know how to appreciate life. The bad stuff helps us recognize what's good. You may have been an introvert at one time, but knowing all that you've accomplished and all the people you have inspired and who admire you, I think you've moved beyond that. You are loved, Sandy. We get it, and we are all here for you to vent to, to share your new ideas with, and to support you! Hang in there!
    Sally

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  9. Sandy, thanks for being so honest and open.

    I think this is one of the things that makes a woman really strong: daring to be vulnerable and open!!! I recognize a lot of things you write about the divorces, people who let you down, ending things and the loneliness, too. But also about endings and new beginnings.

    An ending doesn't always mean "end of story". It can also mean a new beginning. That can be an unwanted situation, even scary! It gives new chances, but also a lot of uncertain feelings. And it is no shame to speak that out loud.

    You'll be allright, you're strong, as long as you remember it is not a sign of weakness to admit that life is not always nice to you, even when you work hard ;-) That doesn't mean you have to moan 24/7, of course ;-)

    It is good to write your feelings and share them, even if it means you have to write about negative things, because there are many people (like me) who will recognize it and feel less miserable to know they are not the only one.

    Together we will survive! (like Gloria said...! ;-)

    Hugs from the Netherlands!
    Marijke

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  10. This is the difficult time. When you first "do" the divorcing you feel good for about 6 weeks, then you crash.
    I went through a very similar and painful experience about 30 years ago. It puts you through a cleansing by fire in a way. When it finally levels out you will have done a lot of soul searching and will recognize toxic people more quickly and know to stay away from them. Then all kinds of good things and wonderful people just keep coming your way.
    Stay strong. This too will pass, in the mean time I am sending you a big hug.

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  11. Thank you so much for making this post! I feel like you were writing my thoughts. I have done the same, gottten rid of the "bad" hoping the new will come along.....but in the meantime am feeling very lonely. Lonely isn't a very nice feeling and in that lonliness there is some desperation....like am I going to feel this way forever???? I am allowing myself to be open to new experiences and making new friends, but it is a very slow process. Like Renee said "cleansing by fire", that is a good way to think of it. I keep thinking this transformation will miraculously occur, but I am still waiting....in the process I am learning...I am just wondering how much a person has to learn? Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts, it's helpful to know others struggle too. Hugs!!!

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  12. Wow - you are really sad! I received your newsletter just as I was about to write and ask you if you'd do online courses for Zendoodle. If you decide, I have check in hand and would be the first to sign up.

    The big thing between misery and happiness is knowing whether you can support yourself. Nail that and everything else falls in place.

    I've been using a technique that has never failed me. A few pointers: Your word (and thoughts) are your prayer. Formulate the way you speak and think to reflect the way you want your future to be IF EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT. I call it "casting for life" and found that it always works.

    And always look forward, never back. I found that history is only slightly helpful when forging ahead. Soak up current and future trends. Become an expert on them. Inventive people add inches to these trends, not miles. Those inches add up. Once you are on top of a trend that fits your needs, keep looking for the next. There's a boating analogy here related to winds and high waves and getting safely to shore, but I digress.

    I carry your latest book with me almost everywhere and doodle when I get a chance. It has opened the world to me. It's a good adjunct to "Drawing from the Right Side of the Mind." Again, I could go on, but possibly I've said to much already.

    Should you ever need a hand, mine is offered! Karen Little - www.LetsKickScoot.com - karen@littleviews.com

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  13. Sandy, I opened my brand new Fashionista tangling and colouring book and felt like a child with the brand new book and crayons. I absolutely LOVE it. Thank you so much and I hope there will be more. You are so inspiring. It takes so much courage to share such painful stuff and I admire you for that. You Go Girl!!!!!

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  14. Sandy,
    see my blog post of earlier today

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  15. Such an excellent post, it reverberated through my soul. Thank you!

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  16. Sandy, You are talented and strong. You have survived some hard knocks. I am a fan! "You Go Girl!" -pamela.

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  17. Hi Sandy,

    While reading your blog I thought about a poem that I found in the book of a very strong woman Jerri Nielsen. I think the title is in English 'I will survive'.
    Like to 'give' it to you!

    Comes the Dawn

    After a while you learn the subtle difference between
    holding a hand and chaining a soul,
    And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaving,
    And company doesn’t mean security,
    And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts,
    and presents aren’t promises.
    And you begin to accept your defeats with your head
    held high and your eyes wide open, with the grace of
    a woman not the grief of a child.
    You learn to build your roads on today because tomorrow’s
    ground is too uncertain for plans, and futures have a way
    of falling down in mid-flight.
    After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
    So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
    instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
    And you learn that you really can endure, that you really
    are strong and you really do have worth.
    And you learn and learn ... and you learn.
    With every goodbye you learn.

    uit: Ik zal overleven, Jerri Nielsen

    Annemarie Huijts,
    Holland

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  18. Dear Sandy, I've been wondering how you've been doing lately. I'm sorry things are rough--they're not a lot of fun here either. This May marks my third year of unemployment. That said, it's not fair for your employees to be mad at you. They're probably not mad at *you* but at the situation. And they have no one else to take it out on so...
    I remember when I broke up with my first fiance and I thought my life was over. The song that helped me through it was "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John. I never shook my fist to it, but it did make me feel a helluva lot better.
    Sending hugs and good wishes to you,
    The Other Sandi

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  19. Oh you guys have such wonderful advice, quotes... poems!! And, likewise, it helps me to hear your stories too. I keep meeting people who are happily working on their "second life". I like that. What's next?
    As for quotes - there are three that are similar to some that you all have mentioned...
    • Without the rain, there would be no rainbows.
    • A woman is like a tea bag. You don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
    And my personal motto...
    • Experience is what you get, when you don't get what you wanted.
    I have a lot of experience! And rainbows. And I do believe, I will make a cup of tea. ;-)

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