Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘hugs’

What Else Leaves When Your Nest Empties?

Our Nest Empties of More than Our Kids

Although my kids moved out years ago (has it really been that long?) I’m starting to notice things I no longer keep in the house. I don’t mean the obvious like piles of laundry, messy rooms, and a sink full of dishes I didn’t use. No, I mean the more subtle things. The products I no longer use and the foods I no longer eat, the occupation of my space.

Here are a few things which moved out when my kids left the nest:

  • Ketchup
  • Goldfish (the kind you eat)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Random animals (guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards other than the suicidal ones I see once in awhile…)
  • Bagel bites
  • Games
  • Encyclopedias
  • Clutter
  • Constant noise of some kind
  • Arguments
  • Tension
  • Companionship

What Fills the Empty Space

I could go on, and it will vary from person to person. But what about what moved in when the kids flew the coop? Here are a few things, years later I’m still discovering and loving:

  • An entire house all for me
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Silence
  • Clear space everywhere
  • A clean kitchen every night
  • Healthy food in my refrigerator and freezer
  • Keeping my own crazy hours without worrying about disturbing anyone
  • All the cats sleep with me

Adjusting to What’s Missing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrStill, it isn’t all wine and roses. There are and always will be downsides to living alone. The biggest for me is being alone when I’d rather not be. I’m basically an introvert, so I’m not likely to just go out by myself to a place where I don’t know people to avoid being alone on a Friday night.

Most of my friends still work outside their homes and often need a quiet Friday night to relax and detox. As I’ve been working from home and only seeing people when I wanted to, I’m usually in a pretty mellow state by Friday and wouldn’t mind some company of my own choosing. Nevertheless, most Friday nights I spend alone.

Other areas where living alone can be hard are:

  • No one there if you fall in the shower and can’t get up or even reach the phone
  • No one to hold you when you’re sad or lonely
  • No one to take you to the doctor or go get you soup if you’re sick
  • No one there if you need an extra set of hands
  • No one to help with the chores
  • No one to talk to when you don’t feel like being alone
  • Dinner in front of the TV or at your desk gets old after awhile
  • Cooking for one (need I say more?)
Empty Nest: A Blessing and a Curse

Needless to say, adjusting to the pros and cons once the kids move out for all us single parents out there definitely has its highs and lows. We learn to adjust to the lows and fill our lives with enough activity to keep us from wallowing. We learn how much alone is enough, and where it becomes too much to bear. Of course, pets are a huge benefit. Without them, I know I’d have crashed and burned a few times when life threw too many tough things at me, or gave me too much time alone.

You could say people who are extroverted have an easier time of it, but do they really? I have extroverted friends who struggle over the same things I do. Maybe they manage them differently, but you can only go out alone so often, even to crowded places without finding yourself in “lonely town” in spite of the crowds.

Sure, we chit chat on social media or talk to our pets. We may private message or text back and forth. But it’s not the same as human contact. It’s definitely not the same as having someone around at least part of the time who cares how you’re feeling, how your day went, and what’s making you feel anxious at times. Nor will it ever replace a good, old-fashioned, heartfelt hug that’s made especially for you.

The Beauty of Human Contact

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy social circle; my friends are real huggers. We hug hello. We hug good-bye. We hug because we know someone needs it, or because we know they’re having a tough time. We hug for joy when someone has wonderful news. We hug for no reason at all. Still, there is the hug from someone who believes you are their moon, sun, and stars. It’s the most special kind of hug, and one I haven’t felt in a very long time.

How can you miss something that’s so far in the past as to have been forgotten or so distant as to be more a dream than a memory? Some things embed themselves into the very fiber of our being. We don’t need to remember. It’s just there. And it’s the single most unpleasant part of always being alone; of putting the key in the lock, knowing only the cats will be waiting behind those doors. Of getting ready for bed every night knowing you’ll fall asleep alone, get up alone, and maybe not even talk to a single soul all day long.

Wondering if Anyone Would Notice

Too many times when I’m feeling especially low, I’ll ask myself “if I fell and hit my head, how many days would go by before someone even thought to check and see why I was so quiet? How many days would I be off social media before someone thought to ask why I hadn’t made a single peep?” If the times I’ve been sick for a few days, or simply boycotting social media are any indication, it could be a while.

My daughter is used to me not answering her at times. She knows I get busy with my writing and thinks nothing of radio silence for a few days. At least I’m pretty sure she does. I have yet to get panic calls or texts asking why I haven’t been responding when I’ve been out of touch for a few days.

Lest you think I spend all my days having a pity party, it’s really not so. I have created an active social life with some pretty amazing friends. But that doesn’t mean there are times I wish I wasn’t so alone whenever the door closed and the lights went out. It’s human nature to be connected. Much as I proclaim my love of solitude as an Introvert, there is such a thing as too much alone time. There are times I miss the clutter, the tension, and having to wipe the ketchup off the counter because someone was too lazy to clean it up.

I miss having someone there if I were to fall and hit my head.

Finding Gratitude at Every Turn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my amazing, loving friends.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who keep me company no matter what, and love me unconditionally.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to be more social.
  4. I am grateful I have an amazing gift in my writing which allows me to express things instead of burying them deep inside to fester and grow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hugs, inspiration, joy, dancing, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Completing the Circle: Suicide’s Forgotten Victims

Remembering the Forgotten

I see a lot of posts lately about how people get depressed and contemplate suicide around the holidays. They’re typically followed by a number for the Suicide Hotline.

What I don’t see is any reference to those of us who may have lost someone to suicide during the holidays. I want to stand up and shout “Hey, we’re still here, and it still hurts, even 10, 20, 30 years later. What about us?”

There’s no hotline for survivors of suicide. No outpouring of love and concern. No admonitions to care more, love more, or give extra attention to suicide survivors. But in my opinion, there should be.

Suicide is Tragic, No Matter Which Side of the Fence You’re On, but it Doesn’t End with a Death

I’m not trying to minimize the fact that suicides and suicide attempts do increase during the holidays. If you’re already sad and depressed, all of the exhortations to be happy and joyful and to buy presents you might not be able to afford are certainly enough to drive one over the edge. What I am trying to do is raise awareness for those of us who didn’t recognize that sadness in someone we loved until it was too late.

What I am trying to say is that we who have lost someone to suicide, especially during the holidays suffer whenever we see one of those community service style posts. We suffer because we didn’t see the signs; because we didn’t call a hotline to help prevent our loved one’s act. But more, because we know first-hand that even if we had, it might not have helped.

Left Behind Should Never Mean Isolated

Someone who commits suicide during the holidays, especially an adult, is probably not new to the idea. The idea of ending it all doesn’t just pop into their head on a whim. Chances are, they’ve been feeling sad and unwanted or unneeded for a long time. The forced jollity of the holidays is simply the final straw, eliminating any second thoughts they might have had that they still have a purpose. It doesn’t matter what the people around them think. They feel extraneous, and they are in charge of the actions they take based on those feelings.

But those who are left behind, whether they found the lifeless body or simply dealt with the feelings of helplessness, guilt, and grief afterwards must revisit the death year after year. The holidays are just another reminder of someone who is no longer around to share the joys, the sorrows, and everything in between. They’re a reminder that we didn’t or couldn’t do enough to make someone feel they needed to hang around a little longer.

Opening Hearts to Suicide’s Forgotten Victims

Please, while you’re offering avenues to prevent suicide, also open your hearts to those who lost someone to suicide during the holidays; the most wonderful time of the year. You might not even know who we are as many won’t talk about it. If they do, they won’t open up unless they know someone who has suffered the same loss.

I suggest we make the holidays a time of more hugs, more compassion, greater understanding. Most of all, make it a time of paying more attention to the people around you. Notice when their smiles don’t reach their eyes. Notice when they seem to move more slowly. Notice when they retreat to a corner during celebrations and don’t seem to be getting into all of the joy and happiness we’re supposed to be feeling.

Give heartfelt hugs whenever you can. Not those almost embarrassed kind of hugs with the back patting you’d give a fussy child. A real hug where you hold someone, heart to heart, giving and receiving warmth. A hug that says “I may not know what you’re going through, but I care and I’m here for you, even if all I can offer is this hug.”

Remembering the Value of Family, Warts and All

I learned a lot this weekend when I saw my family for the first time in 20 years. I learned that even though they know my sister and I no longer have a relationship, they’re not judging, simply trying to understand. I learned that in many ways, my parents’ suicides will always be the elephant in the room, but we can still love each other in spite of it. I learned to appreciate how much my parents spared me as I watched cousins dealing with a mother whose mind is very child-like now, and a father who is crouched and bent and likely in a great deal of pain much of the time. I also learned how much it saddens me that my parents didn’t get to share the girls’ milestones and accomplishments.

The biggest thing I learned, though, was that my family is still there after all these years. For some, being around me might be awkward and uncomfortable but they’re willing to make the effort. For others, I truly believe they don’t hold me responsible for my parents’ actions, nor do those actions make it difficult for them to be near me. I don’t seem to serve as the constant and unwelcome reminder of their own loss I believed I did. And I met extended family who were warm and welcoming without prejudice.

Yet, I still feel sad that my parents aren’t here to share the holidays with us, with their granddaughters. Perhaps I always will. I have learned to fill my heart with love, my home with friends and my time with activity. Most of all, I express my gratitude for all of the blessings in my life right now, and still to come. I am here for a reason. I have a purpose. Most of all, I am worthy of love, success, and fulfillment.

Part of that fulfillment is being a haven for those who’ve lost someone to suicide. Won’t you help me extend that haven this holiday season?

Gratitude, the Greatest Healer

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I am able to help other forgotten victims of suicide and that so many have reached out to me in the last few years.
  2. I am grateful to be able to raise awareness of the struggles suicide survivors endure.
  3. I am grateful to have reconnected with my family. There are some seriously amazing people in my clan!
  4. I am grateful for the ability to express myself in writing and perhaps raise awareness where awareness is lacking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, family, hugs, compassion, kindness, sharing, caring, peace, harmony, success, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Ricardo Moraleida via Flickr

February 1, 2015 And a Super Time was Had by All

Take several dozen dance friends, a smorgasbord of food, football banners, posters and pennants, three TV’s and a barbecue: what do you get?

Once again, a large chunk of the dance crowd gathered at Bill’s for his (almost) annual Super Bowl Party. My day was especially nice as I got an unexpected visit from my daughter and grand puppy. which only made the party that much better! It was a day filled with laughter, eating too much and actually getting to talk to people instead of running onto the dance floor for a line dance or two step or trying to shout over the music. Oh, yes, there was actually a football game on the three tv’s, should anyone be interested in watching.

I look forward to Super Bowl Sunday every year, not for the game, but for the friendship, the fun, the food and the chance to actually talk to people. Yes, we dancers are a bit crazy when it comes to the music and the dance floor. We’ll literally stop mid-sentence to go out and dance. The conversation may be taken up again later, but in my experience, that happens rarely. We are there to dance. The chatting is certainly a part of the experience, but frankly, we are there to dance. I’d try to explain, but only another dance fanatic will understand. Fortunately, I know just where to find them.

As is true each year, there were people I had never met before and others I hadn’t seen in awhile. No matter. Everyone is friendly and we talk as if we’ve known each other forever. This time, it was such a delight to intertwine the mostly country dance crowd with the mostly WCS crowd. Many of us know each other, but don’t cross paths as often since our schedules and venues don’t always mesh. But dancers are dancers, and unless you’re one who thinks we’re not serious enough about our dancing (yes, there are some, but then, every crowd has a couple, but I guess someone has to take themselves too seriously), it’s easy to just fit in with everyone. We’re an easy crowd to love. After all, how can you not love people who say hello and goodbye with a hug?

Of course, seeing the people I’ve met at WCS events reminds me that I need to get off of my tush and do some more of it. I enjoy it when there are enough guys to keep the girls dancing, and love the “hijacking” aspect of the dance. You can play a lot more with your partner in WCS (not that we don’t play off of each other during line dances), and it really is fun to learn something new. I know so little, pattern-wise, in WCS that one move could increase my repertoire by at least 20%. The people are just as friendly and welcoming as the country crowd, after all!

What do you mean, you only dance two nights a week? Are your legs broken?

Not too long ago, I danced five or six nights a week, but that was when I frequented a small local bar which has a live band 7 nights a week. These days, my club of choice only has country dancing twice a week, not counting the Wednesday two-step lessons and college country night. This means I have to actually drag my tush to another dance venue or dance on nights which do something other than two-step and line dances.

My writer friends will understand how easy it is to get caught up in our writing, or reading or reading about writing and lose track of time. I can’t tell you how many times a Tuesday evening rolls around and I look at the clock to find it’s after 6 and I’m still in my sweaty workout clothes. The WCS lessons start at 7 and are, without traffic, a 30 minute drive. Adding in time to get cleaned up and make myself presentable means that it is impossible to arrive on time, so, once again, I stay in my sweaty workout clothes, reading, writing or reading about writing. In this case, the body is willing but the mind is miles away.

Making a promise to myself I hope I can keep.

Yet, after seeing some of the WCS crowd today, I’m going to go out on a limb and promise to at least try to get to a WCS dance at least once a week. I can even use the rationale I’ve discovered recently: I need to watch people to gain insight into my characters and I won’t find people to watch by sitting at home, writing, reading or reading about writing. Do you sense a pattern here?

Stay tuned. I’ll share my progress on this new mission to dance more and become less of a hermit (or maybe a hermit crab as I can become very crabby at times!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the fun and friendship at the annual Super Bowl Party for the dancers and others.
2. I am grateful for an unexpected visit from my daughter, even if it was short.
3. I am grateful to my friend Bill for opening his house again for all of us to pig out, chat, hug and enjoy, especially as his grandson decided to arrive early, leaving his grandfather somewhat sleep deprived.
4. I am grateful for the quiet of my own little abode after a day of noise and people.
5. I am grateful for the time I have to read, write and read about writing.
6. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, health, happiness, laughter, joy, connections, inspiration, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be

Please welcome Ms. Heather Hewes to the blogging community. She will be sharing her travels and travails in the Culinary Arts program here—> https://heathersculinaryadventures.wordpress.com/
I also invite you to check out my new website: http://www.shericonaway.com and my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. Leave a message, say hello, or just like the pages. I’d love to have you visit.

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