Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel Like Fall Around Here

Fall is coming, with its cool temperatures and colorful leaves..I can't wait. At night it is actually kind of cold now, which is wonderful. After living ten years down in hot Florida, I really enjoy the cooler temperatures now, along with fuzzy blankets and clothes. It's almost that time, love it.

My parents showed up at my door a few days ago. I was surprised but sort of happy to see them, after all they're my parents, no matter how frustrating our family dynamics are. They stayed for a half hour or so, and we talked as if nothing had gone wrong. There was no talk of anything negative, just everyday, normal topics. It felt good to talk with them, as I have missed them. I still know that mom is on her good behavior right now, and will revert to her mean side the longer we spend time with one another, but the short visit brought no problems and for that I am very grateful.

I showed them around the house, so they could see how I've decorated and painted it so far. The cats enjoyed being petted by them, and all was good. I feel relieved that we are getting along, no matter how inconsistent things can be, but I'll take any good times I can get with them, since it's not easy being away from people I do love. Things are not back to normal yet between us, but it's a start. I still don't feel like falling into her spider web again, where she tries to dictate what I should or shouldn't do (at their house) so I will be friendly but still fairly detached, for my own safety. Boundaries.

Otherwise, I've been busy working on my website and starting new drawings, since I now have a new computer tablet, bought on Ebay for a fraction of it's original price (yet still brand new). It feels great to be back in the swing of work again, after a very long break to move and settle in the house. My office is more efficient now than it was previously in the old apartment, and in a much better environment. I can watch birds at the birdfeeders as I work.

Soon I plan to put a downpayment on a really beautiful canopy bed at a local store this week. I've been looking long and hard for the right one for awhile now, and finally found this beautiful bed, not cheap but worth getting. I had a canopy bed as a kid, so this one is a major improvement - much bigger and is more intricately carved. It will look beautiful in this house, too. I have to measure the top platform, to make sure it will fit up the stairs, and if it does, then I'm going to get it. My reward to myself for working hard on moving and handling family drama without losing my mind.

The cats are enjoying this cooler weather, both of them have heavy fur coats so it is better for them to not deal with heat or humidity. Beau curls up on my bed with me at night, he loves the fuzzy blanket. Matt likes his kitty house nearby. All is right with the world.

Custom T-Shirts google-site-verification: google7067dc8e96d74570.html The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Late Summer in Rural Geauga County

Living in the country is just awesome. After a lifetime of living in the suburbs and at times, in the city, the peace and slower pace of rural life is just so relaxing to me. It's great because I'm not so far out that I can't get to town fast. The county seat, Chardon, is only a ten minute drive, and crowded suburbia is twenty minutes away, a straight shot down the street that I live on. Love it.

Out here the air is cleaner, there are less lights so the stars are more visible in the sky at night. There is an observatory not far from here, so people who enjoy astronomy meet to see the stars once a month. I went once and it was spectacular, saw a Perseid meteor shower. Someone had a huge telescope set up and we could even see the rings of Saturn from it. Amazing.

Driving down the streets here, there are state parks, farms, fruit stands, a drive-in movie theater, Amish restaurant, an ice cream joint (it seems many rural places always have an ice cream stand someplace close..remember it from going to summer camp as a kid in different country places). There's a golf/country club down the street, a huge reservoir with lilypads all over the lake and horse farms everywhere. It's heaven. Life doesn't get much better than this.

I've been busy decorating the house, finding furniture to compliment it from different antique and other places. I bought a small telephone/side table for $10 recently and refinished it, now it looks like new. It was so easy and only cost me $10 in supplies. Now the table looks like it could sell for $100. I'll be doing this again, now that this was such a success. I love beautiful wooden furniture and there are loads of places around here to find it at, at reasonable prices. With all this room (three bedrooms) space to spread out in, decorating and finding just the right pieces is fun.

My new birdfeeder is beginning to attract birds now! It will get much more use in the winter, which is brutal out here in the Snow belt, but for now I'm just happy to see the few birds that have come - goldfinches, cardinals and mourning doves.

The older I get, the more I crave a less anxious, slower-paced life. After being very social and mobile throughout my younger years, living in other states and dealing with all the activity it took to do that, it feels great to just slow down and take it easy. My values have changed. I still plan on travelling, just not at the same pace as before. I don't have to. My business is established and runs itself. Doing my artwork is my passion, and I can do it from home, and post the designs to my store whenever needed. All these years of planning and building this business has paid off, it is rewarding to see it all take shape and grow like it has. There is always work to be done, of course, but it is less time consuming now, which gives me the ability to pursue other hobbies.

People sometimes ask why I don't bother to go out on dates much anymore. My dating life was full and fun in my twenties and thirties, but in my forties, it got boring and stressful so I just stopped it, with no regrets. I have male friends, of course, but dating drags me down so I just don't do it anymore. The last man I dated was a gold-digger, what a joke. The one before him was an arrogant playboy. I know how to pick 'em..not! The BS just was too much and I love being single and independent, nobody drags me down, there's no drama. Growing up with a colossal "drama queen" for a mother, I seriously hate drama and avoid it like the Plague. I'm not lonely, and enjoy being able to do what I want, when I want, without the need to explain myself to anybody. It works just fine for me. When I want to socialize, I do..but it's great to come home to peace, quiet. My home is my sanctuary.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Peaceful, Ordinary Day

A calm and lovely day. The weather has been sunny, cool and dramatic, here in the country. There are clouds everywhere, but the sky is a rich, bright blue. With weather so perfect, I had to get out and drive around, it was just too nice to stay inside.

In the morning I stopped at a local Amish-run donut store. I rarely get donuts but every now and then a good splurge feels good. There were kindly, older Amish men getting donuts too, they are so polite. I bought a large cup of black coffee and a glazed donut, and a few more glazed to have for breakfast another day or two. Heaven.

At a lovely boutique-like animal feed store I looked at birdfeeders of all kinds. It was quite the selection of all kinds, so it took time to look at the different ones with all their various features and styles. I'm kind of picky about what I buy, wanting something stylish but not hard to clean. A pretty copper one caught my eye, with floral embellishments, so I bought it and went home to hang it from a tree in my front yard.

Now it's all set up and ready for the birds to notice it. The cats are really going to enjoy the view from my living room windows. It's perfect cat TV.

Later I will get a hummingbird feeder as well. I looked at the ones in the store but didn't see any that I wanted so I'll go back and check later, as they said they get new types in all of the time. There are many hummingbirds around here so I know when I find the right one, it will get used for sure!

After working in my garden a little, it was time to come inside and do some work. How easy it is to spend all day out in the sun but chores must be done. I shampooed the carpet upstairs as the cats watched with great interest. My little helpers, always close by, checking out what's going on.
There are cicadas singing in the trees outside as I now work on my computer. The wind is blowing the leaves in the trees, it's so serene and wonderful. In a month or two it will start to cool down, as we approach fall. Until then, I'm enjoying each and every summer day here in this new house. I'm so thrilled to have many windows, for the light to come in here like it does. Such a change from that cramped, dark old apartment I last had. It was stylish and in a trendy part of town but oh, so flawed. This place is perfect for me.

I can't wait to buy peony, rose, hydrangea and other bushes to landscape the front. That will wait for next spring since it's late in the growing season to plant things now. Little by little, this house becomes even more of a home than it already is. Life is good and getting better all of the time. In the grand scheme of things I am a very lucky person and I am thankful for all that I have. When feeling down, I just count my blessings and that helps me to re-center myself. It just goes to show that being in nature, around pets and plants is therapy in itself. Now, if I can just get some birds at that feeder..then all will really be right with the world :D

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Handling Things One Day at a Time

The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

It's a quiet Sunday here at home. I'm working on my computer with Harry Potter movies in the background. The cats are downstairs, blissfully asleep in the kitchen together. They love the kitchen table/benches set I bought recently and sleep on or in it all of the time.

My heart is heavy, as I do miss my parents very much. Contact will only make mom try to dominate me again. She can behave herself here and there but then the urge to control eventually takes over and all Hell breaks loose. Every outburst of hers takes another chunk out of me. I cannot subject myself to this anymore. All the stupid, condescending "advice" (endless, unwarranted) really got to me, too. Normal parents may assist with helping, but they don't talk down to their offspring (especially as an adult) as if they are incapable, less-than or somehow mentally limited. I am none of these things and resented the constant assaults on my character. Other people who give advice are nice about it, and that's ok. I'm not so sensitive that I cannot handle help. But mom knows how to push buttons, and push them all, with a sick sort of inner pleasure that is just wrong on every level.

Mom told me that she "doesn't want to be (my) enemy" when she came up to me at ReStore. Who wants to be enemies, I don't, I just can't take her cruelty. End of story. I told her at that time, "I'm not your enemy, but there has to be mutual respect if there is to be a relationship". She looked at me blankly. It just doesn't register in her that I have a brain, or have my own viable opinions. To her I'm just being "difficult, stubborn or disobiedient."

If I had a dollar for all the times I was called "stubborn" by my parents in a derogatory way, I'd be filthy rich. I'm not stubborn, just persistent in having my own opinions, my own mind and my own way of doing things in a family that does everything to discourage this. Dicouragement came in forms of threatening with abandonment (in more heated arguments) and cruel insults or put-downs (their severity depended upon the the heatedness of our disagreements). I ignored threats of all kinds, as nothing I've ever done was that bad to warrant them. It isn't fair. I get dumped on with all this garbage, and now I am the one who looks like an idiot for needing to separate from my parents while they act like the wounded party for having a daughter do that to them. It's not something I want to do. If I don't, the family insanity will seriously destroy me, no exaggeration. I am only doing this so that I can keep what's left of my sanity. I'm an intelligent, capable person who deserves respectful, kind people in my life. That is NOT too much to ask, but for them, apparently it was. It hurts.

None of us are getting any younger. Who knows how much time we have left iin this world. It hurts that we wasted so much time in life fighting over mom's endless efforts to control me, and that this separation has occurred (even if it is justifiable). I have never taken my parents for granted, but I will never be their whipping post, either. Those who have not lived in a home full of abuse don't know how to react to this, I'm sure. Well, it's not easy walking a tightrope. If I keep relations going and say nothing, I'm a doormat with no brains or life. If I leave, I'm an ungrateful daughter. I cannot win. This is the dilemma of the grown-up child of an abusive mother that has chosen to blame others for her issues instead of getting help for herself. EVERYTHING is loaded onto the adult child to deal with..getting counseling (for damage done by the abusive parent), setting boundaries, walking away if things get too unbearable and devastating. It's undeniably tragic and if there was a way to fix it, I would've done it by now. Because I've spent my entire life trying to. It's just not fixable.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Temporary Detente is Reached..for Now, Anyways

The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

What an eventful morning. It went pretty well, despite some awkward moments. First of all, my new bookshelves were delivered today, and look wonderful up in my bedroom. Also delivered was a small telephone table which I got for a great price but needs to be refinished. I ran to the store and got refinishing solvents, and that project will start immediately.

After the delivery I went to the store I usually go to once a week, to see if any new antiques came in. My parents go there often as well, and to my surprise as I was shopping, mom walked up to me. We haven't spoken since our very unpleasant blow-out fight nearly two weeks ago and I wasn't glad to see her, rather, a bit confused on how to deal with this. Be nice and she will walk all over me again. Being rude isn't an option, I just was kind of stoic, unsure how to respond. She looked at me with sad, droopy eyes, just standing there, waiting for me to tell her everything is going to be ok. I cannot do that, but did tell her, "I don't want to fight". She told me that I "must do as I am told in this family" (fighting words but subdued because she knows I am not putting up with it, and especially not in public). I told her,calmly, "I am not your servant. You cannot control me or order me around like a drill sargeant. There needs to be mutual respect if there is to be a relationship. If you try to control me then I will fight it. You do not own me." Other shoppers walked by so we both stopped and changed the subject. We looked at furniture, superficial chit-chat ensued. That was ok, dealing with her superficially is what therapists always told me to do. "Don't get too deep with her, she can't handle it", they had said long ago. True, very true.

Dad greeted me with open arms. I was so glad to see him and hugged him back, I have no animosity towards him except that he should've stood up for me..but never did. It's who he is. He and I chit-chatted some, it felt good because I truly do love my dad..he is not malicious by nature, just extremely influenced by her bad behavior all the time, which is hard to observe. Therapists always told me that it is his choice to do so, and nothing can be done, it's his life. True. He is happy in his own way, and so that is what matters to me.

They returned to their shopping, I returned to mine, and that was it. No plans to see eachother or anything. But it was a good, civil and polite enough interaction. Maybe I should restrict my seeing them to being in public, because mom won't dare throw tantrums when others are around. I don't know. I'm not ready to go back to spending time hanging out with them, not right now. It will take serious boundaries and I don't think mom is even capable of listening let alone respecting them. But seeing them at the store is better than nothing. They're my parents, and I wish them no harm. Just that they show respect and kindness towards me. I'm not their scapegoat anymore and will not tolerate her trying to get her hooks into me for her purposes. She still wants to, I can tell. It's not easy. I will just take it all one step at a time. Living in this family is like living in a chess game, always waiting for the other person to make their move in order to plan what to do next.

So now I'm home again, feeling pretty good. The crystal glasses I bought are unpacked and put away, and the cats have taken over the cardboard box they came in with great interest. Outside cicadas are singing in the trees. It's peaceful and all is right with the world, at least for now. I stopped and bought a latte on the way home, and am finishing the last of it now, too tired to make lunch.

After getting the mail over at the post office and weeding out the mountain of junk mail, I have a huge stack of cool catalogs in front of me. I'm going to check out what's in them then resume putting books in the new bookshelves. Maybe even start refinishing that little table. A blissfully boring afternoon ahead. That's just fine with me.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Kinder and Gentler Life for Me

The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

The beginning of August is blissfully peaceful and calm, just the way it should be. I am busy ordering new equipment to do a better job on artwork for my business, as well as getting things around the house exactly as I want them. The cable guy came this morning to install a better quality service than I previously had. My other, previous carrier was highly overpriced and new "fees" kept creeping into my bills so I switched. I pray this one is as good as it seems. Anyways, that is done, along with many other chores around the house that needed to be done. I keep as busy as possible to keep my morale high and things running well here.

The split (as far as I am concerned, permanently) with my parents is very hard on me, as they are family, and I do love them, but the facts remain the same, that love is not enough and there must be mutual kindness and respect (which there never has been). It's not good to love people who just are so negative all the time, so controlling, hostile and critical. I have let go and as much as it hurts, it is for the best. My real family are my unrelated friends, who have never been mean, cruel or angry like that. Normal people can discuss disagreements without hysterics, uncontrolled emotions or vindictiveness. It feels good to have peace. It's not the end of the world. I'll be just fine. I've been on my own since the age of 17. My heart is just broken and needs to repair itself, that's all.

I just finished repotting a large Hibiscus tree that I got recently, and it's doing great. With fertilizer, a big flower pot and some pruning, it has begun to flourish and develop many new buds. It has double peach-colored flowers and every day I come out to a few flowers in bloom (the flowers usually only last one day). Maybe later I'll get another with yellow flowers, they will brighten up the house in the winter with their cheery blooms. I had a huge Hibiscus tree before, it grew so beautifully but died when I drove it down in searing heat to Florida. I was so sad that it died, so this tree is going to be as pampered as it was, and grow just as big and strong. I love plants. Now that I'm settled, I plan on getting busy with the garden, maybe planting some bulbs this fall, and really getting landscape work done in the spring. Nothing is more therapeutic than working with plants or pets.
My new therapist is a lovely person, kind and knowledgeable. We're getting to know one another and she's been very helpful so far, in translating my reactions to my parents for me. She says that abuse survivors are strong, and that it takes time and some self-caring to get through trauma like I've been through. I have Post Traumatic Stress from childhood, which seems to be cropping up as I recover from what she says was a trauma of having to deal with the last attack from my mother. How does PTSD show in me? Sleeplessness, I rarely sleep, flashbacks of the incident, anger (inside, nobody sees it but I feel it), temporary blackouts in my mind (holes in my thinking at times). It's annoying. My mood is calm and I never freak out. My stress shows in my stomach, churning, in knots. I'll be so happy when this PTSD goes away again. It doesn't happen all the time, usually just after extremely upsetting events. And it can carry on for awhile.

So, gardening, working on the house, working on my business and going out helps me to work though it all. Life is good. I'm not a victim, just a person in transition. It's a great life, away from my parents. It just takes time to let go of wanting to contact them. Contact brings pain. A relative on my mother's side of the family told me that she had to stop contact with her mother when (same thing) the abusiveness got to be too much. This woman grew up with mom and is a kind and loving person, nothing like my mom. She knew mom and my maternal grandmother (who also was pretty insane) and she knows me. She says I'm level-headed and strong, and that I'll be just fine. It means so much to hear this from her, someone who knows the family dysfunction. She believes in me. I told her that I was very grateful for her input, and she supports me. I'm not alone. My life is wonderful away from family insanity.

When I was 12 and told that I don't have to grow up and be like my mother or grandmother (my biggest fear back then), I did everything in the following years to go to therapy and get help, to make sure of it. All these years later, it's very clear that I'm nothing like my mother, and that is a huge relief. Still, I have issues of my own (especially anger/sadness at not having the kind, emotionally stable parents I so desperately wanted), and so I get help again. Nothing wrong in it. Therapists are like coaches. They are objective and can see things that may be difficult to notice when in the middle of a tough time. Also, they offer alternative ways to handle the situation in a non-judgmental, supportive manner. It's not shoved down my throat, and I am able to choose my own way of dealing with outcomes after weighing all of my options. Therapy is awesome.

The whole goal is a peaceful and wonderful life. I have it..mostly. Inner peace is the hardest to achieve but I'm working on it. Like the song says, let there be peace on earth..and let it begin with me. I'm not mean, I don't hate my parents. I love them with all of my heart. They meant well most of the time but didn't have the ability to show love in a respectful or kind way. It is imperative to have boundaries with a family like this. They never listened or cared about the boundaries (you must not be cruel to me, please respect me, etc). It's hard to understand if you haven't lived in a family full of anger like this one. No more fighting for my emotional wellbeing. It's my life now..as it's been always..I just slipped off track by letting them back in. Now I know better. I'll be ok. They're always ok. A kinder, happier and gentler life, and continued business success, to me, is the best "revenge". There is no need to spend energy on anything else.

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