Game I Love (a revival post)

I am welcoming myself back to blogging this week. I joined a group on FaceBook to try to get myself going on posting blog posts again. It’s been a very long time since I posted. 


So the theme of this week is “Game I Love”

Well, there are so many stupid little games I play online. Candy Crush Saga, Solitaire Blitz, a crossword one, etc, ad infinitum. I love them all for a few months and then I get tired of them and move on to the next one. Usually there are plenty of my friends playing it so I never have to pay a dime to facebook to continue to enjoy my games. It feeds my obsessive self and I can sit and do a mindless game and drift off into zen land. They help me relax after a long day with 2 very intense kids.

I don’t really play offline games, unless the children ask me. Sophia makes me play Fluxx every so often, and honestly, I can’t stand the game, and she loves it. So that’s not really a game I love. 

If we see sports as games…Soccer Game, Football Game, etc., there are plenty of those I really enjoy watching. Specifically Soccer and Football, but also say, The Olympic Games…sometimes i like to watch those, too. Can I play any of those? Not really. But I do love watching, so that’s a bunch of Games I Love.

When I was a little girl, I loved lots of board games. We used to have game night a lot when I was a teenager, and I really enjoyed Uno, and Monopoly, and Risk. Those were the greats. I don’t love them now, but I sure did as a kid.

So there you have it. A short post about Games. I love a lot of them. Way to get started!


Single Mom of Two Grown ups and Two little ones…what’s that about?

I was sitting at my computer today relishing that it’s the first day of summer vacation and going through all the things in my head I have to get to doing. first of course is a washing machine..I really need one, I can’t take the laundromat anymore or I’ll go bonkers. 

I got to thinking what is different about this 2nd experience of single parenting that I am going through. I was sitting there wondering why my daughter doesn’t make great choices in men, and realized something. I learned from my mother just like she learned from hers. Now, my mother would NOT want me writing about her or judging her in any way, which I have to say is pretty ironic since she was a very judgemental person in my mind. However, she started her parenting journey by getting pregnant out of wedlock by a man she barely knew. She was rebounding from a long relationship. So, in the 60s, people got pregnant and most of the time, they got married. So they did. I am not sure if either one of them had time to contemplate whether they were happy with what they chose. They were only 21 and 23 years of age. That is terribly young to have a child, let alone with someone you hardly know. But that’s how it was done.

The inevitable end was another child and then divorce when I was 9 years old. My mother jumped right into another relationship almost immediately. She was married very quickly to her 2nd husband. There was no alone with mom time there. That ended in divorce very quickly thanks to domestic violence. That’s as much detail as I want to go into on that one. Then, very soon after that, it seems to me, she was involved again, this time with the man she stayed with for the rest of her life. The point I’m getting at is my mother was not really a very SINGLE parent. So I had no example of a single adult as a parent. My dad was in and out of many small relationships and then got married, but we didn’t live with him full time so I am not counting him as an example. I am my mother’s daughter. I really am, whether I like to admit that or not.

Point is, I followed very closely in the same pattern. I never got hit, but I got verbally/emotionally abused by my 2nd husband and it was a very short marriage. I jumped too fast into number 3 relationship and before I knew it we were having some kids and married. Now, in my mind, I’d settled down. This was IT for me, just like my mom. I don’t know how to be a single adult with kids as a result. I didn’t expect the marriage to break up, I really didn’t. I know, how naive I was!!

So, now, I’m doing something different than my mother, and I find myself really experiencing a lot of difficulty with it. When your kid doesn’t have the example, they don’t know how to do it. So, in one way, I’m sad not to be married and happy, but in another way, I’m happy I get to provide the example to my youngers, that it is entirely OK to be a single adult, not married, not looking for a relationship, not dating, just enjoying life as a single mom. It is so very new to me and I go back and forth a lot questioning my choice to remain single for as long as I need to. I figure when the time is right, if ever, a nice guy will show up in my life and it will work out like normal relationships do. None of this desperate not to be alone stuff, because by then, I will have been alone and happy for a while.

Also, whenever I hear my friends talking about their relationships I feel a big mixture of things too. I feel sad because I miss having a partner sometimes. I feel relieved that I don’t have to tend to another adult’s needs when I’m only just learning what mine are. I miss the physical portion of a relationship a lot. I miss romance. But I don’t NEED it any longer, which is the huge difference. I am rather happy being on my own and just dealing with my own messed up issues. I can go ahead and be fat and be annoyed and not worry about whether or not my partner finds me attractive enough. Since I’m not trying to get a man, I can truly concentrate on handling my own stuff without trying to help someone else handle his stuff. I can really grow up and heal and be and honor my own journey.

So, I am grateful to be alone. I think it’s a lesson that is not only good for me, but good for my young daughter, Sophia. She will see that people can be happy alone, that we don’t HAVE to be involved with someone to feel validated. This is a good thing.

Weekends when my kids aren’t home

Well, just to be honest, I am super lazy when they aren’t around. This is going to be a boring post about my non-life, really. Sorry.

Yesterday I arranged for the kids to go with their dad early so I could head for the beach for the day. Only it was a super rainy day at the beaches in Florida that are closest to us. I had to deal with my disappointment again. Because at first I’d arranged that so I could go on a trip with my bestie to the panhandle for a whole weekend at the beach. She had to work and couldn’t go so we went for a day. I couldn’t take my kids because they are finishing at their school and I didn’t want them to miss good byes and parties on friday. They will both be in a new school next year so it’s especially important to have time to say good bye. Especially for Eli who is going to have everything change next year. New school, new teacher. In a way that’s good because he needs to know that changing is part of life, but in a way it’s scary too. His current teacher has had him for 3 years of his 5 years in school so it will be hard.

But I digress. I was disappointed with not being able to have a proper beach day. We’ve rescheduled for monday now, and we will go thursday too if the weather is nice, so there will be plenty of beach time. The following week will begin my job taking care of my friends little girl and summer school for Eli as well as the curriculum my little girl and her friend designed to do over the summer. I am pretty excited about that. We will go to the library this week to get several books to help us along with our fun.

Back to the weekend, though. They aren’t here. I miss them because I didn’t have a good afternoon without them yesterday. I missed my normal time with them that leads to me being relieved for a time that I’m catching a break. So I’m a bit out of sorts myself. I am trying to be compassionate with myself and understand my feelings and just in general forgive me and let myself be a lazy bum if I want to be. I didn’t get up until 9:30 and I woke up with a great idea for a novel which is fading as we speak. This happens to me a lot. I spent about 15 minutes after I woke up trying to flesh it out. It’s about a girl who is human and meets a bunch of magic using fairies who pass as human and falls for a half evil one who is ready to turn good just to have her but gets thwarted by his family over and over again.

Again, I digress. This is what I do on these weekends if I don’t have anything fun scheduled. I sit and think too much and play stupid games and just get more and more frustrated that the children are not here. I know if they were here we wouldn’t be doing anything special or fun. We’d be home, with the TV blaring, and my daughter begging for junk food and to go play with her friend. I’d probably take her over there to play and swim and just jabber with my bestie. We’d come home and have supper, TV blaring, Eli bouncing around the house with joy at being able to do whatever he likes. I have figured out how to get him swimming again. Using his favorite sodas as reward really helps. I have to figure out what else he can do.

At any rate…I’m bored. This is a boring blog post. Such is life. I am not complaining. I am trying to go ahead and relish the quiet time, be jazzed over laundry that needs doing, relax and enjoy being alone and quiet. It’s not very easy. I seem to prefer the chaos and normality that is having my children at home. With the first set of kids, I was never alone when they were gone. I was always in another relationship. This is really quite nice, having alone time that I never got when I was younger due to my jumping into every relationship too fast and never letting myself live alone due to fear.

I like being alone, here with my thoughts and hopes and dreams. I think I know what direction to take my life, even. At least today I do! When I’m back in my chaos with kids, I will be busy with them instead.

I know many people don’t get it, but being a mom is a full time, all consuming, fun job. I love doing it and I’m going to be sad when these younger ones grow up and move out for good. Wait, Eli will probably always be here, or close by, so maybe not so sad after all. I miss the noise, but I am doing my best. Relish life.

Relish the quiet times. Enjoy the smells and sounds of silence.

Sounds good on computer paper…not so much in reality.

My speech about autism and my son, given at UUFG today

This is my speech as I originally wrote it. It was edited down a bit for the speech in the service today, but I like it as I wrote it so I’m going to publish that version. If you are from UUFG and you are reading this, thank you so much for your kindness and care for our family and for letting me have an opportunity to talk to you about my son and autism.

Hi Everyone! First I’d like to introduce myself to you all, in case you don’t know me or you are a visitor today. My name is Meg Jobes and I am a mom of 4 extraordinary people. I’ve been a member here for a bout a year now.  The reason I am talking to you today is that my little son, Elijah, has Autism.


I just found out last month that now 1 in 88 children is being diagnosed with autism. Yet, so many other people have no idea what that means now, or why it’s going up so dramatically. Well, it’s going up so dramatically because every year we understand more about this disorder and what it really is. Many things that we used in the past to classify children with special needs are really no longer being used or are being correctly diagnosed as autism. An example of this is mental retardation. Most kids with autism are not actually mentally retarded, they just think differently and learn differently than other kids. They are not the rain man or savants in general, but they do take longer to show their skills in some areas. Elijah could “read” when he was just a baby, this is known as hyperlexia. What he was really doing was memorizing all his books.


So, what the heck IS autism?  Autism Spectrum Disorder is basically an inability to understand social rules, sometimes an inability to verbalize, and seems to contain another disorder as part of it known as Sensory Processing Disorder, or Sensory Integration Disorder. In other words, there’s a lot going on with these kids, and it’s different for each and every one of them, but they have a few things in common. In Eli’s case, he cannot understand how to do basic things like read an expression on a face and assess what the person might be feeling at that time. I might feel angry, but it is impossible for him to understand the look on my face or the tone of my voice as angry.


He’s a sweet guy, my son.  But because he senses the world in a completely different way than you and I do, he doesn’t act the same way. When he’s sitting here in the congregation, he might find the lights too bright, or the noises too loud or too soft. He might feel the air is strange on his skin or that the smell in the air is unbearable. He can’t express his thoughts and feelings like others. He is lucky if he can manage to use words to ask for help or to tell me he needs the bathroom. He has developmental delays so that he may look 9 years old, but he acts anywhere from 2 to 9 years old, depending on the situation.  He is not undisciplined or intentionally trying to disrupt or be annoying, he simply cannot control the way his senses process information so sometimes he jerks or claps or makes a noise so he can cope with the environment better. Imagine sitting in your chair and an overwhelming light envelops you while discordant noises assault your ears and funny smells assault your nose all at the same time. So you clap, because that can make you focus on only the clap and not the overwhelming amount of information coming in. That’s what we think he and other children with autism are going through every day.


You know what? Eli wants to be here. He asks to come. Some vibe in the air, some feeling of normal he gets here makes him want to be here, despite how hard it can be.


Lastly, I want to give you guys an idea. We talk a lot in our fellowship about diversity. We’d like diversity of religion, race, emotions, you name it. But we haven’t talked about neurodiversity. This is a concept where we realize that everyone has a different brain, and it works differently than ours. My other children would be called neurotypical because their brains work the way we expect them to, at least for now. Who knows if any one of them will be assailed with challenges such as depression or adhd? All of these are things that we know makes our brain just a little different than typical. Well, autistic persons have different brains. We have yet to understand all the strange and unusual ways their brains work, and how to utilize this in our future, but the fact is, 1 in 88 children are currently being diagnosed with a form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and we, as a society, are going to have to figure out how to make those kids a part of an adult world that doesn’t work for them right now. Definitely something to think about. For our congregation, and others in the world, we need to look at any person with understanding and acceptance and strive to understand who they are. Eli is autistic. I learn from him every day, and I hope that you can learn from him, too. Understand that little boy or girl who cannot sit still, who seems to be the biggest brat you ever saw, may be facing challenges you can’t see. He or she may look like other children, but she isn’t like other children. Her parents are probably exhausted, stressed, scared, embarrassed and ashamed. But they are also proud, loving and stronger than almost anyone.

Dealing with pain from the past and now

Yesterday, my little girl came to me after school and told me she had a rough day and that she didn’t want to talk about it. Long story short, I didn’t react well and eventually we did talk about it, but I learned a few better ways to handle things next time, too.


However, I realized this brought home a LOT of past pain for me. I relate to my little girl a lot because she is very much like I was at her age. She’s so bright, hopeful, open, sensitive, huge imagination, just so beautiful it makes me cry. She is amazing and I adore her. And she is teaching me so many things about myself. I was a very unhappy child because these good qualities that I had also, were basically repressed by every one I knew. I was bullied and made fun of in school and told at home that I should not have feelings and I should grow up and so on, so forth. So, she teaches me through being herself, about myself and how to overcome those horrible childhood scars. I want to protect her innocence, her beauty, her sensitivity, her creativity at all costs. I don’t want her to get HURT like I was. I can’t protect her from everything, but I can be her safe haven and I can find ways to minimize the pain.

So, then I heard the song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera today and I burst into tears. I realized that I am still in so much pain from those days that I have never, ever really loved myself for exactly who I am. Intellectually I tell myself that I’m a good person, that I do my best, etc. but I do not really believe that these things are true. I don’t really believe I’m worth of love. I know there have been so many people in my life that have said to me that I’m worthy and have done their best, but the bottom line is, I hate myself. I hate that I’m all those good things and that I am not what I perceive to be normal. I hate that I don’t like to be girly, I hate that I’m not perfect and I never will be. I am ashamed that I can’t figure out my life effectively most days. I know that I’m a good mom, but I hate that I make mistakes at parenting and I feel shame. 

I hate being fat and uncomfortable. I am convinced no one would ever be attracted to me because of it. I am in pain. I don’t want to hate myself and I don’t know how to really change this. I don’t want it to come from outside of me, I want it to come from the inside. I want to really feel OK with who I am, with my body, with my life. Even if I lose some weight right now, I don’t think I’m going to be 100 percent OK. I can’t live up to my own standards and I am so tired of trying. I want to change and I just don’t know how. I’ve been struggling to change this for a couple of years now and I’m not making any progress yet. Just accepting things, thoughts and feelings, no matter what they are, is truly helping. Feelings just are, right? I am still inviting them in, even today, while I weep uncontrollably because I believe that I am not beautiful.

I am terrified about putting this stuff out there, I am terrified of speaking this weekend. My innermost wish seems to be a need to be liked, to be approved of, and I worry every day about it. So when I put the negativity out there, people won’t love me and that scares me. I need it and shun it at the same time.

Pain sucks. I really do want to feel beautiful for the person I am inside, and radiate that out. I want to be liked and approved of, by my own self. 

I am Beautiful, no matter what they say, words won’t bring me down…I need to repeat this to myself all the time. But also, I want my sweet little girl to believe this about herself, way down deep, where no one can ever dislodge it. I don’t know how to make that happen for her, I’ve just got to hope I can keep celebrating the amazing little person she is while she grows into an amazing young woman. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, yes, and whatever it takes to foster that feeling of love inside herself. And hopefully that will teach me to do it for myself along the way. Just seeing her beauty, her joie de vivre, her amazing personhood, is a reminder that she is MY daughter and she is just like I was and she doesn’t have to ever be crushed by me so she has a good chance, way better than I ever had.

I am hurting today. I invite it in, I will weep, I will try to turn the page on this pain a little more today by remembering that I am beautiful. Just for today I will not be self-effacing. Just for today I will not call myself names or bully myself.

Just for today


What happens when you invite emotions to stay a while…



I’m not sure it’s OK to spend so much time processing. But, I have tried to listen to myself and honor myself and give myself empathy.


Weirdly, I have been watching Glee, the first season on Netflix. This show began around the same time that my X left me. Well, it started just before, but he hated it, so I barely enjoyed it. Then he left, and Glee was the way to express my pain. Every song was like a way for me to cry.


So, here I sit, watching season 1 over again, and I am still crying at those songs, only I’m not nearly as upset as I was, it’s more like memory crying. It’s helping me remember the real pain I was going through, and to give myself empathy for that pain. I don’t think my X will ever understand love, and what it really is. I’m not sure I do, but I sure loved who I thought he was. And I was crushed when I found out he wasn’t that person. I really wanted him to be that person. I wanted him to be the man I loved, with all my heart.


2 years later, I know he wasn’t that person. I loved an illusion. He is still pretty messed up and still probably lies about me and who he perceives me to be. But, I don’t really care anymore. Or, rather, it’s the only thing left that bothers me, if I’m going to be honest. I wish, often, that I’d like to talk to the girlfriend and his friends that he’s made, so they will know who I am. I’ve been coming to an acceptance that will never happen the way I imagine it. In the spirit of inviting my feelings in, I’ve been exploring those feelings. I talk to these women in my head, K and E, and tell them my side. I agree that this is stupid and a waste of time, but I am honoring this need and conducting these talks as if they were really happening, so I can process it and get over it. It goes like this:


K: So, I want to know why your marriage didn’t work out, he’s such a great guy, we’re amazing friends and I really don’t get how you can let a guy like that go.

Me: Well, there’s more to the story. I am not sure what he has told you about me.

K: It’s not important. He says he felt unloved all the time.

Me: I highly doubt that since he never tried. He just kept finding other relationships instead of actually talking to me about his issues. He cheated and blamed me for it. Bottom line.

K: Well, I agree that married people shouldn’t cheat but..

Me: But what? Would you have dated him knowing he was married and living at home? Apparently lots of women will do that. I guess men, too, what do I know? All I know is I was doing my very best and going through a LOT of crises, but instead of being there for me, he was fucking other people. Nothing pretty or good about that, and there is NO excuse for it. I am not telling you he is a bad person. I won’t say that. I am telling you what happened. One day I caught him again, and he left, saying that he chose to leave anyway. He said he was in love with her and he left. He told my daughter she’d like it better there and she could go with him!! He and I said a lot of nasty things, too. My daughter is still pretty traumatized.

K: But why did he cheat so often. What did you do that made him?

Me: You don’t make choices for other people. I was not to blame for what he did. He chose to find other women through our whole marriage rather than actually be with me. He has a pattern. He sleeps with someone and decides he is in love with them. When the flush of new wears off, he gets sick of it and realizes he’s not in love. The only reason I lasted is because I had his children in a vain attempt to keep him. I should have known when I asked him early on if he’d leave me if I didn’t get pregnant and he didn’t really answer it. He would have. The charm had worn off, but he wanted children more than me. So he was willing to get those kids at the price of my happiness, and his own.

K: So, he says you kept seeing each other for months afterward.

Me: We were both very confused. I wanted him to love me, but he wanted sex.

K: So he used you? That isn’t like him.

Me: Yeah, actually, it is like him. That is him. He uses and leaves. E is doing the right thing, not getting more involved or living with him. I think if she did, he’d sleep with other women.

K: He’s a great friend though. He’s so good to me and the kids.

Me: I’m sure he is. I am not telling you anything but what you wanted to know. He asked me once if we could be friends. I decided we can’t be. Maybe when the kids are grown up we can get along, but I am not interested in being friends with anyone who could cheat on his wife and walk away from children who needed a family, most especially Eli. So as good as he might be as a friend to you, he was not a good friend to me and he hurt our children so much, and me so much. He was cold, heartless and mean. And he hates to know that about himself, but what he did makes me never want him as a friend. It would be one thing to realize after trying and counseling that your relationship is not working, but to fuck other people, tell them you loved them, etc, and knowingly leaving your children who need you, especially your autistic kid. It just makes him scum in my book. I’m glad he has friends, and I don’t begrudge you that relationship, but I can’t be and will never be a friend to a person like him.


I know, it’s not a real conversation, and it will never happen. But for now, it satisfies a part of me to tlak that out. I can fulfill a wish without actually hurting anyone and help to heal myself


K nor E will ever ask me. They think I’m the bad guy, and that’s OK. My children will prove that I’m not a bad person in any way. If they’d like to talk to me someday, fine. If they never do, fine too. It does bother me that a friend of his that I was once friends with too, thinks there is something wrong with me, but you know what? Again, not my issue..she doesn’t have to like me for me to like myself. This is a very important thing for me to get. It’s OK to honor my feelings of wishing to impart the information from my side. I know that it would not help anything to do so, and no one needs me stepping in and telling them how life is. They can live their own, and I will live mine. I’ll figure this out.


I invited the feeling in, I have been playing with it all. It does indeed help.

I like taking care of these emotions, it clears stuff out, it makes me more open to the world again and a lot less sitting inside myself freaking out about not being able to talk to these people and defend myself some how. I don’t need to, really. I just need to work it out for myself and get past things. It frustrates me at times that it takes me so very long to work through things, but you know what? I’m doing that instead of pushing it aside and moving on with all my baggage.


The other thing that I had to invite in this week is my feeling of resentment that men can walk away from their kids at age 47 or whatever, and have NO problems finding a relationship because they don’t spend all that much time with their kids. Most women don’t really mind a couple of young kids because they know that they don’t have to parent them or even see them if they don’t want to. But this is not the case for me. I’m 46, fat, and I have young kids, one of whom has autism so won’t be moving out, ever. Men at my age don’t want to date me. I have too much baggage (this term bugs me too..they are children). A man believes that I wouldn’t have time for him, plus they barely look at a woman who is fat in the first place, not to mention that my autistic kid is intimidating to them. I don’t look at dating as a commitment, but I don’t really know how men see it. I may be totally wrong about this since I haven’t really tried to date for a long while, though.


Luckily, I don’t want to date right now. Every so often I wish I could be held and rocked a bit when I am emotional, but I’m not really in a place where dating would work for me…I still have work to do on who I am and where I want to go and I’m not altogether sure how to date since I spend 80 percent of my time with my kids. I don’t know much, huh? Oh well!! I am learning to live happy alone. I think this is a necessary skill everyone should learn. I wish I had when I was younger, but better late than never!


So that’s the result of letting those feelings in and hanging out with them.  You should try it sometime!

Musings, explanations, and so on.

So, I promised a blog post. I truly thought I was going to write it on my “favorite” cause, Autism awareness, but I changed my mind while I was in the shower because I was contemplating the concept of Empathy. I just finished reading the chapter on it in my Non-Violent Communication book in order to begin preparation for monday’s discussion group, and it struck me that I needed to read that chapter exactly when I did. Relating it back to autism, one of the hardest things I have to do is make an attempt to empathize with my son on a daily basis. He really can’t tell me what he is feeling or what his needs are unless they are immediate basics like food or drink or bathroom, etc. So I have to play the deciphering game every day. I imagine I’ll be playing it for the rest of my life, really. 

Then it struck me, aren’t we all really playing that game? Is this why my higher power sent me the messages it did this week? I had been praying to get past some resentment and anger that I’ve been experiencing. I got some amazing advice yesterday and the last group of NVC and now today from the book itself. 

1st, last week, my other group folks at the discussion group said to me, “Have you tried empathizing?” and I said basically, “I am angry, I don’t want to empathize with that jerk”. Well, I’ve been contemplating this all week and my mind just kept repeating that, “I don’t want to empathize with him, I don’t like him, he’s a jerk, he did this and that to me, he hurt my family, he’s a bad man” etc, ad infinitum for a while. So, a long time ago someone told me that an effective way to get rid of these bad thoughts is praying for the other person and/or praying from relief from bad thinking. But when I thought about this, it really meant, try empathy. Try it on yourself and try it on him and see if that helps you.

So I was trying, but not really understanding it, not really DOing it, when I had a meeting with my pastor yesterday at UU to discuss the talk I am going to give about autism and my son. Now, my pastor, as all good pastors usually are, is an amazing listener, and has great skills in empathy and non-violent communication. His wife is trained in NVC as well. He did what a good empathizer does and asked me if I wanted some advice on a new way to think about how to handle these negative emotions and I, very eagerly, replied, Oh yes! because no matter what I was doing in my inner dialogues and prayers, nothing was really relieving me of the bad thinking and I was beginning to feel upset with myself for my inability to “get over it” as it were.

So, his advice was basically, “Invite the emotion in like a house guest. Recognize it, talk to it, treat it like a welcome friend who has something to teach you.” (I am paraphrasing naturally). I was, quite frankly, blown away by this. He took down a beautiful poem by Rumi that he’d posted on his door and read it to me, which basically stated in an extremely beautiful way, the same concept. Why, goodness, I could actually LEARN something?? This spoke to me, the eternal learning person, as something I could recognize and do. So, all day yesterday I contemplated the emotions that were hanging about in my “house” without trying to understand them or banish them or do something about them. I felt pretty calm all day, but not perfect, of course.

However, this calmness really helped me in dealing with my son deciding he couldn’t sleep well. Like any child, he was excited about spending the day with his father today at Take Your Child to Work day and was a bit too over excited to sleep well. He came in, naked, at 5am, looking for some help getting dressed for the day, then promptly fell asleep as soon as I did that. Meanwhile, I was wide awake. I tried reading some fantasy novel that I’ve taken out of the library. I tried tossing and turning, but my brain was awake and wanted the rest of my body out of bed and drinking coffee, so I got up.

Long about 7am, I was getting a bit bored waiting for the kids’ dad to come get them and decided to read my chapter on empathy. I had been putting it off, see above, because, like a little kid, I was mentally stamping my foot “I don’t want to empathize with that bloody bastard, nyah”. So, I just started reading it, and like the sunrise, I felt myself dawning with understanding of what empathy really is. And how necessary this message was for me today. I learned some stuff and I will have to work at putting it into practice, but I marveled at how, when we ask our higher power for help, if we are not listening, we might actually miss the information it is throwing in our faces! I had my group, then my friends, then a pastor, then a book all giving me the same messages. EMPATHY. Recognize your emotions and accept them. Recognize that other people have emotions, they have needs, you can listen for them and recognize them. 

Whoa!!! Ok, I think I got this!! When I am contemplating alone, like today, and learning to welcome the anger, resentment, annoyance, frustration, etc. While I welcome these emotions and examine them, I will probably have some insights into what the need is that is not being fulfilled and see if I can do something about that. In the meanwhile, I am not throwing emotions down into a black hole to be handled later, but I am handling them. I am empathizing with myself. This is a pretty important skill when you are a single person. There aren’t that many people in your life that have the time, the knowledge, or the inclination to spend time figuring out your emotions and helping you fix them. Most of us have to pay someone to do that. But if you can figure out this skill on your own, you can do a lot of work and grow and change and get healthier.

More importantly, all those people you encounter, even the ones that bring you negative emotions, you can turn it around by actively hearing them and learning to recognize their emotion and need. When my X is 20 minutes late getting the children, instead of being really angry with him, I can wonder how he is feeling. Maybe he is trying to tell me by his words, “I’m sorry I’m so late, the traffic was bad, or I had something I had to finish at work and couldn’t get away in time.” He is trying to say, “I feel bad about being late and not calling/messaging” or “When I call you, I know you will feel angry with me, so I am afraid to call and hear the anger since I know I cannot fulfill your need for promptness and I don’t want you to be angry with me”. I can hear that he really needs to be empathized with. I can say, “That must have really been frustrating, trying to get done so you can be with your kids!”. Instead of getting accusatory as I am wont to do at these times because I am upset and am not having a need filled. By empathizing with him and finding out what he needs, I take the focus off of my anger, my frustration, and you know what? By the time I get done empathizing, I am no longer upset. I’ve gained an understanding, I’ve had my need for explanation fulfilled, I’ve had my need for peaceful interaction fulfilled, and I feel better without ever even having expressed my own irritation where it wasn’t needed. Maybe the next time, he won’t be afraid to call because he knows I understand how upset he is? Maybe. Time will tell.

I have so far to go, and so much practice to do. But thank you, higher power, for giving me the messages I needed. Ask and ye shall receive.