not this

(Reprinted from the Elizabeth Gilbert Facebook Page)

Dear Ones –

Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.

Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.

This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it’s usually terrifying.

I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.

Because sometimes that’s all you know, at such a moment.

All you know is: NOT THIS.

Sometimes that’s all you CAN know.

All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won’t be silenced.

Your body is saying: NOT THIS.

Your heart is saying: NOT THIS.

Your soul is saying: NOT THIS.

But your brain can’t bring itself to say “NOT THIS”, because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don’t have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, “It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options.” You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…

So your brain says: “WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE.”

But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS…NOT THIS…NOT THIS.

I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, “NOT THIS” outloud — even before they had an alternative plan.

People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon.

People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, “I don’t know what my life is supposed to be…but it’s NOT THIS.” And then they just…left.

I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, “If he’s not good enough for you, who will be?” She didn’t know. She didn’t know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.

I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially…and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.

I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.

I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.

I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS.

I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she’d had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn’t be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn’t know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out.

Rationally, it’s crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.

And yet….

And yet.

If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don’t know what to do, instead…you may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.

You don’t need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.

The bravest thing to say can be these two words.

What comes next?

I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is…? It’s NOT THIS.

ONWARD,
LG

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and so we meet again

So, here I am, back on the blog. I don’t even know where to begin since the last time I wrote.

In December, DS6 and I took a vacation to Mexico with my brother, sister-in-law, their kids, and another family. We had a blast and I can’t tell you how nice it was to be on vacation and not worrying about STBXAH’s drinking. The end of December was a bit of a whirlwind because once we got back, we celebrated Christmas and I was left with the task fo catching up on work.

The new year began and started off with DD2 getting sick, which led to me getting sicker than I have been in years. Honestly, it was probably a good 4 weeks before I actually felt 100% healthy again.

February came. Back in June of last year, when I decided to start taking on some family law cases, I took on a pro bono case. I had always thought the case would settle. After a failed attempt at mediation, it started to look like the case was headed to trial, which was set for March. So, I began furiously working my way through preparing for trial, which was difficult, because I had no idea what I was doing! Luckily, I had a co-counsel and a mentor who were helping me along the way.

February was also the month that STBXAH had decided to take a trip to Thailand for a week. Mind you, he booked this trip in December, without even consulting me on the dates first. So, with prepping for my first trial and having the kids for 11 days straight, I was stressed to the max. February also marked one year since I had told STBXAH that I wanted a divorce.

On March 4, I turned 36 years old, which was pretty uneventful.

So, here I am today. I just finished up my trial yesterday and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for it to be over. It was definitely an amazing experience, and one I am grateful for, but most likely, will be the last time I take on a pro bono trial. It was hours and hours of work!

Sometime in February, I decided I was tired of being stressed out about work because I never seemed to get things done and always felt disorganized and overwhelmed. I took some time to re-read Getting Things Done and started using Remember The Milk and was able to finally implement a system of productivity. (Which I plan to outline in a future post.)

I’ve been re-reading Codependent No More and, even though I’ve read it 2-3 times before, this time it really seems to be sinking in. Maybe it’s because I’ve had time to reflect in the past year…I’m not really sure why.  (Again, I’ll write more about this in a future post.)

STBXAH moved into a larger apartment last week. In a couple of weeks, we will be starting our new schedule for the kids, which will be fabulous.

Overall, life is going well. I’m slowly accepting my divorce. STBXAH has the kids all weekend, so I’m looking forward to being productive. I’m also looking forward to being back in this space regularly.