Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Airplanes, and Elevators, and Migraines, Oh My!

     When we got out second dog, Kobi, our first dog, Dali, used him as somewhat of a coping mechanism.  She was terrified of most situations outside of the home and even had a hard time letting anyone touch her except for Eric and me.  One of the trainers at the kennel we would take them to when we would go out of town would always say, "You need to send Dali her by herself..." As a dog trainer I knew that was because they wanted to teach Dali to cope on her own.

     Seems she wasn't the only one that needed help in that area.

     I would never typically describe Eric and My's relationship as "co-dependant," but I have to say, and I'm not proud of this, is that for years I have used him as a coping mechanism just like Dali used Kobi.  Anything I feared I did with him and would certainly never do without him.  That option came to a screeching halt last week.  I had to travel to California on business.  Accountants don't travel as a rule unless you are an auditor, then that's a whole different enchilada, but typically your scope is right there in your cube.  I wasn't an accountant anymore, though, I'm now in Sales.  Salespeople travel....and Eric can't go with me.

     You are probably aware from my series last year on fear that there are some key things I'm afraid of, you know, besides sharks.   You may have gathered that I am afraid of flying and elevators, but what you may not have gathered is that I'm afraid of getting sick, particular having the kind of migraine that can send you to the hospital like I did a year and a half ago without Eric being there.  Doing this was completely not going to be easy at all and, I'll be honest, I did a lot of private crying and praying because I was having such a hard time with it all.  I shut down sometimes like I imagine Dali would have if we ever had sent her to the kennel alone all those years.

     Then the day came.  I had to go.  I kissed my husband and dog goodbye and cried halfway to the airport.  I was mad that other people my age didn't have these issues.  In my mind I was marching to my certain death, but no one else seemed to feel that way.  That or they were really good at hiding it.  I couldn't be the only one afraid of flying, could I?  I actually scheduled three of my co-workers, who were also going out there, on the same flight.  I couldn't be a blubbering mess in front of my co-workers.  I'll admit it; potential shame is an awesome fear killer.  It helps as well these people were funny and jokers, and faked screamed and shook my seat as we took off in order to make me laugh.

    Did I just use them to cope, too, like I do my husband?  I mean, Dali would be nice to anybody while staying at their house, then the minute Eric and I would be in the picture, she would turn around and nip them.  True story.  She was survivor.  Only problem was she didn't understand that she didn't need to do that.  She was going to be taken care of and not ever hurt by the person who's house she was staying at.  The only people she ever trusted completely not to hurt her were Eric and myself.  That fear was so ingrained in her very being, she just couldn't see past it...

   ...Oh my God...once again...I was the Bulldog.

   So, honestly, here is what I did before I was even seated, waiting to take off with my co-workers.  When I say this, know I don't care of what faith you are, or aren't, but it helps to have some kind of belief system, even if it's a tremendous faith in yourself, to get beyond a fear this deep.  For me, I prayed until I understood and felt that God was with me and I would be fine.  That took a tremendous amount of praying until I really felt His presence in my gut as if no one could hurt me.  Not this time.  Not this trip.  I don't think I could have gotten to that place if I didn't take the time to be with the issue, process it, roll it over in my mind, then really give it to someone higher than myself.  I wrestled with it for days before I left and somewhere in the airport, before I got on that plane, I made a peace with it.  I declared it done.  Over with.  I made a serious "leap of faith."

     I just knew I was going to be okay.  I weathered take-offs, turbulence, hotel elevators (all alone by myself I might add), and didn't get a single migraine.  I not only made it home okay, but I had a great time out in California.  I'll tell you what though, I hugged Kobi when I got home like I never had before.  I think I was trying to tell him I was sorry for everything with Dali.  The stress it must have been on him to take care of such a fearful companion...

     .....Go on, "Bubba," and relax.  Yours and "Daddy's" work are done.

Happy Fishing!




Monday, January 14, 2013

Apples and Trees

     So, as I've mentioned, I'm trying to take time for myself and offload some of the various activities that keep me way busier than I need to be.  Things are going swimmingly (pardon the pun) well.  I'm the happiest I've been in awhile.  Still a few things that need, let's call it, "fixing," but I am dealing with them better and better everyday.  I am more refreshed and more up to "starfish grabbing" than I've been in awhile.  There is one thing though that I can't completely seem to get away from, and try as I may, it keeps coming back over and over again... 

      ...This thing of which I speak is genetics.

      Okay so maybe not totally genetics.  I don't want to get into the nature vs. nurture argument here, but I can't seem to put my family's past behind me. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know, or at least have been introduced to glimpses of the fact, that I didn't have the best of relationships with my biological mother.  So instead of a few more situational glimpses, I'm going to briefly detail what happened.

     Let me first say that I have forgiveness in my heart for my biological mother.  After spending time examining it, and getting bits and pieces of information from my father, I realized my mother couldn't help who she was.  I don't know if it was all "nature."  I don't know if it was all "nurture."  I would put my money on it that it was a combination of the two, but my mother abused me from the time I was twelve until I left home at age sixteen.  It was verbal abuse at first, but then became physical.  The stories I've told in this blog are all from before that age, but you could see where our relationship was headed.

     I have worked very hard to achieve some sort of "normalcy" to my life.  Anyone who was belittled constantly starts to believe their own unworthiness.  Any one beaten starts to wonder if they deserved it and isn't fit to have better in their lives.  It has taken great amounts of self-examination to function as well as I currently believe I do.  I am grateful that I have a wonderful marriage, in-laws who love me, a decent relationship with my Dad, and that I don't breakdown at the sign of difficulty or become riddled with anger like I used to.  I've cried alot.  I've had to face who I am honestly.  I have had to change my mindset habitually every day until positivity and love truly became part of my thought patterns.  I had to love myself, and my past, for better or worse.  I am fully reconciled with that part of my life...

     ...Now to the point...

     I have a favorite saying as of late.  "The apple didn't fall far from the tree."  See? Genetics...

     I have tried to roll down the hill and into the village below in my best attempt to get away from the tree, and become something greater, like an apple pie....but I digress.  One of the other apples, however, is trying desperately to get me to be part of the bushel again.  Remember how I just said I was fully reconciled with that part of my life?  Maybe I'm just okay with the "tree...."

     ... I hadn't thought about the other apple...

     I was amazed at all the pain this person, uh, "apple" was able to resurrect in my life, but I really shouldn't have been surprised.  I started to see my biological mother in everything this person did.  Over the last year I have relived every single indiscretion taken out upon me as a teenager through watching this person's actions. Sometimes I would even be the recipient of private message insults and threats when to the rest of the world they would come off as a delightful, knowledgeable, and maybe even trustworthy.  Knowing how they behaved, I had tried for so many years to distance myself. Technology has made the world so small, and it's harder than just not answering phone calls any more.  I found myself going back to that bad place in my memories because of the distress that this person was trying to create for me, and even a few others around them.  Every part of the seed of this apple had come directly from the roots of the tree. Much like my biological mother, they just couldn't help themselves...

     ...and then I realized something...

     I am no longer that abused little girl.  I have forgiven the "tree."  I now have to forgive the "apple" because it was born of the "tree" and has never been able to see how to roll down the hill and into the village to become something greater (like the apple pie).  I want to say something most people don't realize about forgiveness.  They think that forgiveness means you have to forget and pretend like nothing ever happened.  Not true.  Forgiveness is for them, but ultimately, it's really for you.  It's an understanding of why that person did what they did so you can move on with your life and realize it wasn't because you were a bad person or you deserved it or any of the things that can hold you back from your life.  The forgiveness process includes, even though you understand why someone is doing what they are doing to you, never letting them have that option again...ever...

     There are some ways to escape technology and to keep others from harassing you. I think I'm figuring out how to do that while continuing with the more peaceful person I've become and life I have.  I've just rolled too far away from the tree to be put back in the bushel. 

     Where's the ice cream?  Say what you want, apple; you can't touch me.  I'm a pie now!

     Happy Fishing!


P.S. - Some of you may wonder why I refer to my mother as my "biological mother."  I don't want her to be confused with the wonderful stepmother I had when I moved in with her and my Dad after leaving home at sixteen.  I have been known to call my stepmother my mother, so that's why the distinction.  I think having that stable home with her, my Dad, and my foster sister aided this "apple" to roll down the hill. For that I will forever be thankful and feel blessed.