Taking Back the Happiness Key


I’m not old by any means, but at thirty-four years of age, I have learned a few things.  Many of them have solidified here in my brain quite recently, but there is no less reason to celebrate, and no other reason to not be joyful that the lessons WERE learned.  I believe that one of the most important lessons I have learned references the above photo, and not letting others hold the key to your happiness.

I spent the majority of my life figuring this one out, and now that it is fairly stuck in my head, I have absolutely no intention on letting it slip back out again.  Not to say that I won’t have moments when I don’t misplace said key or loan it to someone that isn’t worthy, but overall, the key to my own happiness resides within me, and I can’t be any more pleased to have finally figured out this life lesson.

Part of a Rosa problem, is to let the actions (and sometimes inactions) of people around me, bring me down.  Through DBT and individual therapy, and just a whole lot of pondering, I have realized that what other people do or don’t do, is entirely up to them; it is my REACTION only that I control.  If someone acts offensively toward me, I might wonder what that had to do with me, and be very confused (or scared or upset or other negative emotion).

Here recently, I have realized that sometimes people behave badly for no reason (or, no reason to do with something I can control).  I can walk away.  AND, I can walk away with my head held high, because I have learned another lesson the hard way — this is not about me, and not everything IS about me.  I am not the center of most people’s universe, so just because they throw sticks and stones my way, doesn’t mean it is about me.

I wish I could have realized some of these lessons when I was much, much younger.  Growing up in a household where one parent often flew off the handle for (seemingly) no reason, and spending a lot of time thinking that things were my fault — much displaced guilt, shame, fear.

Being in romantic relationships where I was constantly being bullied, although I could never see a *why* in it, but just figured it was something I “had” to take — how I wish I wouldn’t have lingered in those situations so long.  Knowing that I may not have, knowing that I hold the key to my own happiness and it is my reactions to other people (and their behavior) that I am able to control…wow, if I could only have known those things then.

So where to go from here?  I have already stopped taking the bullstuff of others so personally.  When someone around me is having a bad time, I don’t always assume it is because of something I have done.  If I am feeling down or blue or sad or anxious, I have tools that I pull out to make myself feel better.

It doesn’t always work, but it seems that I have learned to better comfort myself, rather than constantly seeking comfort from another person.  Now, I still do seek comfort from others, but I am also now much more likely to do the things I know how to do to comfort myself first.  This makes for better relationships all around, especially if I am not begging someone else (generally QoB or my Dad or LarBear) to comfort me all the time.

comfort myself

via teachingliteracy.tumblr.com




Because Saying “Screw Off” Can Be Hard to Do



Well folks, apparently it is altogether possible that there is an actual meme or photoquote or graphic to describe how I am feeling right now.  And really, leave it to Tupac to set me straight! Things continue on in my world, about as normal as the setting on a washing machine, but again there have been some blips on the radar.

My mom (QoB) and stepdad (Big Dawg) were together for thirty-some years when their divorce was finalized at the beginning of 2015.  Big Dawg did his part (to the best of his ability), in helping my mom raise me.  I won’t say he was perfect, but he wasn’t a demon either.  He was many times there when I needed him, although was just as often in the other room staring at the TV while I cried and fumed and fought and otherwise dealt with the the irascible mental illness within my brain.

He angered easily, although he never struck me or my sister (that I remember), but my clearest memories are of him losing his temper and yelling and doing the lecture-thing far too often.  It was through him that I truly believe I learned some really terrible coping skills and relationship skills, but I don’t hold him to blame for any of that.  It is what it is, it was what it was.

Somewhere between the announcement of the pending divorce and now, I have taken it upon myself to be extra-special-nice to Big Dawg.  Mostly because I feel sorry for him, now quite pathetic and alone.  When he and QoB very first broke up, I do believe (looking back) that he showered me with attention and affection, using me as a pawn to get to my mother.  I do see that clearly now.

What’s difficult, is that the attention he gave me, I had been thirsting after for most of my life, so I didn’t see it as negative at the time.  In fact, it is hard to see it as negative even today.  And maybe tomorrow, it will be difficult, too — I have no way of knowing.

What I do know is that my mind has been playing some fierce tricks on me, and I am at a point where I am on a wire above the city, balancing between giving him more benefit of the doubt, more opportunities, more chances, or just hopping off the wire onto my emergency inflated escape pad and giving absolutely NO MORE of myself.  Now, not no more of myself forever, but for quite some time.

I have a tendency to give too many chances, especially to the men in my life.  Oftentimes, people around me don’t understand it, and wonder why, oh why, is Rosa giving this schmuck another go at her heart and *fragile* psyche.

I have a hard time giving up on people, and I always have.  I can have been completely hurt by someone at age six through thirty, and continue to give more and more chances.  It has worked out in my favor a few times, but mostly it ends me up with heartache.  I don’t want anymore heartache at this point.

I am at a point right now, where I am unsure if I can follow through on current family commitments, nevertheless keep attempting to stoke the fire under a certain person’s ass, praying that they will take notice of me again and give me the time of day.  Praying I won’t always get chosen dead last for every little thing.

I grew up with a romanticized notion of how someone was, deep down, and now that the gold glitter paint is flecking off, I’m at a loss as for what to do.

I will make it through this Thanksgiving because I am tough and LarBear will be at my side, but I am not sure I am going to be able to follow through on anything after that.  I believe everything is going to need to be “up in the air,” and I will take it day by day.

Which, hmph, is what I am supposed to be doing anyway — mindfulness, keep it simple stupid, day by day, minute by minute, stay in wise mind, hug a tree.


This Week in Gratitude

I used to do a link-up that was a 10-things of thankful, and I did quite enjoy doing it every weekend.  The format has changed now, and I can’t find any linkups, so I decided that at the end of every week, I will go out on my own and do a gratitude post.  There are so many things out there to be thankful for, yet it is easy to not bring them to one’s consciousness in a mindful way.  SO, this is part DBT exercise, part because-I-wanna exercise, and mostly because I want to remember the good stuff, for when the time are NOT so good.

Without further adeiu:

  1.  This week, I am thankful for the four-cup coffee pot my mom purchased for me.  I had a huge coffeepot before, and the result was always that I would drink the entire contents every morning, which would leave me sick.  Ok, so yes, no self-control.  To remedy the situation, I gave up caffeine, but have started to miss it oh-so-much, so this is the solution.  The theory — the less coffee that is made, the less I will drink.
  2. LarBear has been a champ this week (well, every week), but especially this week, with helping me get a caffeine fix every morning even when there was no coffee pot.  I’m not sure why a large coffee at McDonald’s must cost $1.95, but it is clear we will be saving money now with brewing it at home.  Oh, and LarBear can avoid going out in 25 degree weather, all for the sake of a cup of coffee.  I think he will appreciate that!
  3. The very small mouse problem that started a couple weeks ago in my basement (this is what happens when you live in the country), is no more, after Mom’s boyfriend hooked us up with some poison.  I placed it carefully where the dogs couldn’t get to it and there has not been one sign of a mouse ever since.
  4. I am thankful that I have found it within myself to continue to work on giving second chances and third chances and fourth chances to people in my life who, well, may not deserve it (from the outside looking in).  It can be really hard to give up on someone who has been around your entire life, although not impossible.
  5. In a related thankfulness/gratitude moment, I am grateful that I can still see the good in most people, even when it is buried very deep below the surface.
  6. I am excited about Thanksgiving plans, getting to see the Big Dawg’s side of the family, and possibly going to see my maternal grandfather’s side of the family a few days after the big Turkey Day.
  7. Somewhat related, I am very grateful that I am *with it* enough to think about doing these things, and being around all of these people (that I am not used to).  Baby steps, Rosa.
  8. I am grateful basketball season is upon us, and I have already made it to two games at the local college.  Go Bods!
  9. I am thankful for interpersonal communication effectiveness skills learned in DBT, as it seems like LarBear and I get clearer with each other every day, and my other relationships continue to improve, as well.
  10. I am grateful/thankful/proud that I have cranked out almost one post every other day for over a week, and don’t feel any signs of slowing down yet.  I am grateful people still read, still comment, still like, and still listen, even after all this time.  Some of my favorite people are my online blog friends, and I am glad I didn’t mess that up too terribly with my extended absence.

What are you grateful for this week?  Making these lists may seem a bit mundane now, but they are very helpful to look back on in the future when things might not be so rosy.  I know they have helped me tremendously!

I Miss Her (and I Take Full Responsibility)

It hasn’t been an exceptionally long time since we’ve talked, has it?  I have started to feel poorly the last few days about not having the privilege to talk to you on the phone or even text back and forth with you, and so I obsessively counted the days since your last incoming call on my phone log.  Six days.  Soon to be seven, because it is 11:30pm and I am almost certain you are asleep.

I can hear you now, saying that isn’t so long.  I know you are busy with a real job, one like which I will never again hold.  I know you have many house projects, most of a sort that I just can’t identify with.  In addition, you have friends that demand your attention, bills that must be paid, cakes to be baked, and super-mom feats to accomplish.  None of those are things that happen in my day-to-day life, and, getting down to brass tacks, most of them never will.

I’m pretty sure, if I asked you, that you would say it’s no big deal…all of these things that you do.  I am the older sister, but you have been my hero for years.  I look up to you, I admire you, sometimes, perhaps more often than I would like to mention, I envy you a little.

I know your life isn’t easy, that there is nothing simple about raising an almost-two-year-old while working full-time and flipping one house and remodeling another and maintaining a relationship with your husband, not even skimming the top of all the other amazing things that you do.

It is completely selfish of me to miss the days when you were easy to get ahold of and I could grab ahold of a little bit of your time and press you close to me and feel like we were breathing the same air — that we had managed to grow up together and not kill each other and still be on speaking terms, even hugging terms.

Some days it breaks my heart when I think of my nephew, and I think that I will never have a bond like you have with any child of my own.  Some days it absolutely kills me.  But when I see you two together, and neither of you are paying any attention to the world around you, the love I see in its purest form blinds me.

That little guy has the best mommy that any child could ask for.  I know with the strongest conviction of my heart because his mommy has always been my sister.  My sister has always shown the bravest love, the most understanding, the highest respect, and the most tempered patience to me.  If she can shine that light a little further, which I know she can, and focus it on him (which I know she does and will and will always), he is going to be even more special than we could ever have imagined.

For right now, I will be a little selfish in my tears, and I’ll think of my sister and look forward to the next time we can have a little chat.  In the meantime, I’ll miss her, because that is just how I operate.  But mostly I think I will sit and smile and keep her in my thoughts, as she is human, like the rest of us, and could maybe use a little sisterly happy-thoughts headed her way.


How Not To Fuel the Fire

I have been a plus-size woman for the majority of my adult life.  Some years bigger than others (ahem…some DECADES bigger than others), but with the exception of a few years here and there, I have carried quite a bit of extra weight.  I have been extremely lucky, in that I have developed very few medical problems this extra weight.

Yes, I have sleep apnea and slightly high blood pressure, but both are easily treatable — one with a CPAP machine that I am devoted to wearing every time I lie down, and the blood pressure with a tiny dose of medication.  I again say, I have been extremely lucky, and I don’t really lose sight of that.  I know things could be much worse for my physical health because of my size (oy, and the smoking), but thanks to good genetics or the moon pulling the tides or what-have-you, I don’t suffer much with physical ills.

When I first started this blog over seven years ago, I was quite overweight, although not nearly to the degree I am now, and I actually DID have some health problems.  I joined Weight Watchers, dropped a bunch of weight, and walked three to ten miles a day (every day).  Unfortunately, I had a knee energy when I (foolishly) decided I was skinny enough to start running, and the scale has been on the uptick ever since.

For the past few months I have been feeling quite miserable physically, and I finally went and saw my primary care provider, who ran a bunch of labs.  It turned out that my fasting glucose was quite high, and she immediately decided that I had diabetes and she needed to prescribe Metformin (a diabetic medication) and all would be well.

Well, hellz no, lady!  With the 19 pills I take every morning and 24 I take every night for mental health issues, I’m not going to just throw another pill on top of things, all willy nilly.  SO, I asked her to test my A1C (it is more of an average of your blood sugar levels over a much longer period of time, rather than just the one instance).

And my A1C was NORMAL and my mononucleosis test came back NEGATIVE and so I am celebrating because…yay…I haven’t totally screwed my body up yet!  Now, of course, this doesn’t explain why I feel so awful physically, but at least I know that most of my labs are normal, so this is great news.

I spoke with my provider’s nurse, and my provider would like me to mostly eliminate carbohydrates and eat more fruits and vegetables.  I am going to take this under consideration, but I don’t want to do anything too extreme as I have a history of eating disorder, including but not limited to extreme preoccupation with food and calories.

I have not participated in *hardly* any eating disorder activity since LarBear and I have been together, and I want to keep it that way.  I don’t want to get really focused on a certain diet that I need to keep, and end up back where I used to be — all-consumed by anything that went into my mouth (and, similarly, that which was purged).  BUT, I do want to be a healthier person and I really do want to feel better physically so I can do more things.

There is the push and pull, now, that I need to lose weight and exercise more, and I do know that.  I am grateful I have yet to eff up the one body that I have been given on this planet (although I have really put it through quite the cycles of abuse) and so I feel very thankful for that.  I don’t want to worsen things, and turn that next A1C that I have to have drawn in two months into a problem number, but as stated before, don’t want to restart the eating disorder cycle (because it is the biggest bitch ever to get out of).

Any constructive thoughts are welcomed, desired, hoped-for, et cetera, ad nauseum!  :D

Love Me A Little Louder

Love me a little louder

Some days are better than others.  That is God’s honest truth, whether you have bipolar disorder or are perfectly mentally healthy.  When I was in therapy with Goddess of Mindfulness (and sometimes QoB does this), it gets said that not all of the struggle in life is because of mental illness.  Some rough stuff is just life.  Life for me, you, the gal down the street, everyone.  Having bipolar disorder doesn’t mean that I hold the monopoly on psychic pain.  Psychic pain is a HUMAN thing.

I feel very fortunate in my life that I have a fairly large support system.  Of course, I have LarBear, but I also have my mom and her significant other, my dad and his significant other, my sister, and the Big Dawg.  Add to that, a smattering of specialists, doctors, therapists, the members of my DBT group, and other interested parties, and there is generally someone that I can turn to at some point in my day, if things are going astray.

My first choice, and this is increasingly true as time goes on, is to seek out LarBear.  He is the person who is always there, always has time (or makes time), and I count on for the majority of matters dealing with me being any sort of upset or sad or depressed or crying or anxious.  The main reason I do that, is because he is most available — we live together, and he knows my comings and goings and the details of our life better than anyone.

The next reason I do that, is because I feel like he really, really *gets* it.  We work hard on our relationship, and none of it is taken for granted.  We both come from pasts where we have been screwed around quite a bit, and we spend a great deal of time working on the relationship that we do have.  Things aren’t perfect, but we learn together and grow together and I can honestly say that every day, things get stronger and better between us…and that is only because we keep talking to each other and working to make things better.

Although I have been feeling better overall for the past while, I still have my ups and downs.  The lack of sunshine and the time change have really messed with my sleep, and the last few days of rain and gloom have not helped matters.  I have found myself feeling somewhat down, or at least until I can motivate to get up and do something and get out.

When I noticed this slight struggle within myself about a week ago, I immediately talked to LarBear about it.  Yes, I talked to some other people too, but more about technical things like whether or not to break out my sun lamp (ya, probably should!) and that sort of thing.  With LarBear, it was simple, and that is part of the beauty of LarBear, is that he does simple like no one else can.

He doesn’t lecture me and he doesn’t use the words shouldn’t and should.  At times he reminds me of a bright-eyed child, so trusting and open and unspoilt.  So when I tell LarBear that I’m having a hard time, he says to me that he will give me more hugs and kisses and any kind of help I need.  He said, we will get through this, we always do.  He says, we’re a team, we help each other.  He gives all of himself to me, and I have never, ever had that.

And then, he follows through on what he had said (which is all too uncommon in my world, it seems), and he does hug me and kiss me more, and check on me more, and go far out of his way to do sweet things for me (just because he can, I guess), and most importantly, he reminds me that I’m going to be ok, just being who I am.

We have been together slightly less than a year, but in many ways, I do get the feeling that I could spend the rest of my life with LarBear and be perfectly happy.  I think he gets that feeling, too.  We don’t dwell on it and we operate day by day, but when I’ve had a hard day, when things are rough, he does love me a little louder, without me even having to ask.  I don’t think there is anything better in the world, than that.

Hand on My Back

It is late, almost 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with terrific nightmares, the sweats, and a pounding heart.  This happens anywhere between once per week, to three or four times per week.  Lately, the nightmares have been getting better.  Of course, they are still there, but they hadn’t been affecting me as much.

So far, I have been able to keep things pretty steady even in the face of the insurmountable nightmares, night terrors, whatever you want to call them.  There are certain things that tend to set me off, however, and there have been no shortage of these *things.”

Many of my dreams are nightmares within which it is the end of the world (quite literally), and I am running to save my life.  Running from being raped, being beaten, frantically searching for a person (usually my sister) or an animal (always Kizzie).  In most cases, my sister or Kizzie are also being beaten, raped, tortured.  I have been through plenty of nasty domestic violence, but these scenes from my sleeping brain are quite vivid.

The dreams share similarities of what I feel in real life, and here lately, with the attacks in Paris and a person in my inner circle who constantly talks about the end of the world (as we know it), I get more and more hyped up into these nightmares.  I have learned to tell the person in my inner circle to not talk about these things around me, but as the world turns, some people have very little filter, or at the very least, not much ability to slap the muzzle on themselves when it comes things they find so very *true.*

So while my body screams out to lay down, my contrary brain shoots messages that all is not well, things are not safe, staying awake (at this point) is necessary.  I have been dealing with this problem for most of my adult life, and even a bit into childhood and adolescence — the bad dreams.  They come and they go, wax and wane, intensify and fade.

At some point, I decide I am safe and release the death grip I have on the computer mouse, ease myself out of my computer chair, and lie down.  At this point in my life, I have LarBear, and I use him as a tool, and snuggle up to him and get extra kisses and fall asleep with his hand in the middle of my back, no doubt with him able to feel the steady thump-thump of my heart.

For every nastiness about Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, and the lot, there is a warm hand on my back, held out from the man I love more on this world than anything, and that, my friends, is something to be ever grateful for.  Nightmares come and go, true love doesn’t fade.