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2006-12-25 - 3:37 a.m.

Santa's elf here should be wrapping a present.

Instead something dawned on me that
I JUST figured out and I am seeking where I wrote about this years ago...

I am actually really flattered and touched by someone who reached out to me as a friend and did so surreptitiously so I wouldn't really know it.

And I JUST figured that out well over two years later. In passing the good intentioned thing was mentioned by me later and without discussing details, I was told a TOTALLY different thing. One of those moments I hadn't picked up on at the time-- but I basically had a friend who was looking out for me and reached out to me in love and concern but out of respect and true integrity didn't even let me know.

I just recived this marvelous gift of love this Christmas, two years later during an AH HA moment of putting 2 and 2 together while doing dishes after awaking early to be an elf.

Anyway.... I can't find what I want in my old writing related to that but it doesn't matter. Instead I came across something else. This entry totally had me cracking up as I read it as I think it answers one of the questions I have asked myself-

What is it about ME that made me stay in relationship with Westley DESPITE him putting me down and always acting like I was not capable or talented. And perhaps a more important similar question, What is it in me that DREW me to such a relationship in the first place?

I think the answer to the second question has to do with not reconginzing and responding to HEALTHY expressions of interest and opportunities to develop relationships. I think I often just MISS the subtlty of those who reach out to me in HEALTHY ways and only respond to those who are more assertive.

I was thinking of this in relation to the dancer. There is one thing I hadn't written- he literally propositioned me. A few times. SO there was a case of someone I TRUSTED to open up to because he was the one who was comfortable in IGNORING my cues- as I was Dancing with my friend and our "bodyguard", not even aware and responsive to a number of men who tried to dance with me, and then this guy asserively showed up seemingly out of nowhere and took my hand-- and I comforatably reponded.

So what was different about him? He was assertive, confident and self assured which makes me FEEL SECURE and safe... and then he SAID all the right things. And then he ACTED like he was so open to a friendship. But then on the phone he flirted and in fact invited me over, and I declined and then wrote a note making it clear I would be willing to be a platonic friend only. He ACTED like that was fine, but then again flirted and pushed that boundry and then again literally in a not necessarily inappropriate manner expressed interest in a physical relationship. Not necesarilly inappropriate as perhaps I was a woman interested in that and he wouldn't have necessarily known, and when he flattered me and flirted boy was that fun! There was this REAL attraction there and temptation for me which I have the morals and wisdom to temper.

But what I really think is that HE WAS A TRULY intuitive person, and I actually think while a person of integrity- oh yes he was honest, there was another startling thing about him. As he said "You were drawn to your husband in the room."

And there it is. The only person I have been attracted to since Westely is someone so like Westley himself it is scary.

And I was attracted when I was not looking to meet anyone and I am not available, and when the guy asked I said "I am married, separated, but not even filing for divorce yet."

When the guy said he is in a similar situation however "So over it" as its been years, I said
"I am so NOT OVER it, and Not even near."

NOw all that makes me wonder what was it that made me attracted and TRUST and feel SECURE with the one person who approached me to dance that turns out to have the SAME issues that led to the end of his marriage as mine? Heck Westely should have been the one to meet him and strick up a friendship as they have alot in common.

At least the dancer and I both had wisdom to recognize we can't be friends at all!

But where does the unhealthy pattern of relationships begin?

On that dance that first response to the approach of someone who really too note of my self absorption and lack of interest in anyone as I really wasn't there to meet anyone and found that attractive. Why? Did it project a self assuradness, or did he read into my body language a vulerability? A need?

For me the AH HA moment was one of missing an opportunity presented in a healthy non intrusive way for a friendship to grow. My friend and I who were out dancing went out another evening and we chatted with a lovely young woman and commented later that we should have asked her for her #. I left that night with another card and # I tossed from another man who really insisted on handing it to me and walking us to our car-- so similar to the behavior of the dancer when I met him. My girlfriend laughed as that night I had gone out with her after literally wearing the SAME CLOTHES FOR TWO DAYS! in a very driven hyperfocus mode when I really had been doing serious productively studying of law. (For the first time in years! I took some of the last of my Adderall that weekend, and boy does it work for me!)

I was grungy and goodness maybe it was the power of phermones from not having bathed that day... tremendously funny... (I changed socks and underwear mom before going out- just in case of a a car accident HA!)

I mean I couldn't have come acoss in my body language as any more UNINTERESTED and UNAVAILABLE. Yet this guy seemed sweet enough and if I were in the market once again he might be someone I would have passed my # to--

So that makes me wonder about how I have missed HEALTHY CUES of interest over the years and then responded to these men who have ignored naural boundaries of body language and the words I have spoken.

In reading my old paper journals about a month ago I recognized a BUNCH of moments where I read stuff and had an "AH HA" moment as described above where I missed the interest of both men and women to further a friendship or relationship. And then I think of how I initiate relationshis and friendships and wonder at who I choose to initate them with as well. The dancer said it at first seemed "phycho" to get a call at home, but he talked to his friends and he deceided it was OK.

I apoligized, said I don't go out AT ALL so I wasn't really up on social mores and felt it REALLY intrusive to call someone at work. But it is apparently more of a safe zone for people for intial contact. But yet he called me back and still expressed interest when I have realized that I WAS pushing a boundry, albeit unknowingly. I think most people who puch boundries are unaware of it. I think many do have a bit of deficiency at some level of social mores.
In my case I was clueless as to the "rules" (which can be hard to figure out.) But I have learned a few "adult dating rules" now which might come in handy if I ever really WANT to be one of those mid life crisis old fogies out there trying to meet someone. (I tell you it was a riot observing the ridiculous mating behavior on that dance floor of some of these folks trying to pretend they were teenagers. Scary really ...)

1. I won't feel at all badly tossing any # given to me when I say "I won't call. I am not in a position to." Apparently this is socially acceptable and done all the time. What I think is a big red flag I won't ignore in the future is someone INSISTING on thrusting a card at me when I have said "NO"

2. If I ever genuinely have interest in contacting someone I will make it clear THAT I AM NOT COMFORTABLE CALLING THEM AT WORK and therefore they can either give me their home # or not expect me to call. PERIOD

3. People do not correspond by mail! I thought that was a nice, friendly, "safe" manner to initally develop a friendship, but as no one writes anymore it is too seen a Pycho! (WOW! That shocked me!) But heck, I have no shortage of old friends to drop a postcard to!

4. Men lie. When they say they are not interested in SEX they are lying.

5. Women lie. When they say they are not interested in sex they are lying.

6. Either a man or woman who REALLY values and respects you will be open to and enjoy wonderful sex, but will be patient and not make that the most important thing in a relationship. In the right time and place after a foundation has been set... It won't be a deal breaker to continuing or ending a friendship (unless in a healthy way to AVOID that temptation!)

(Only pointed out here as I have a strong sense that had I RESPONDED to the dancer's offer things would have been different in a very fun but unhealthy way! I could have had a paramour and everyone would get hurt in the end....)

The problem is that for women the relationship has to be developed first and for many men good sex develops the relationship. Which makes it hard for us Catholics doesn't it!

This all comes back to my relationship with Westley, both as to how we ended up in relationship and once in it why it was not healthy, wondering why I STAYED in it. (Although I am leaving discussion of sex out of it.)

I recall bringing Westley a job posting to
show him when I was excited by an opportunity. He said "You'll never get that job. You don't have the qualifications"

And then I had to justify to HIM why I DID have the qualifications. HE went through it and pointed each one out (that I had!)

I LOVE TO SING! I LOVE to sing and dance as I am doing dishes. Heres the funny thing, I love show tunes and jazz standards and old rock and roll. I love classsical music. I played a mean Jembe and folks would ask if I was in a band so they could hear me again after our drumming circles with Emile and the other Afro Pop musicians. And I couldn't STAND country music. I loved the dissonance of Stravinsky, but country music made me cringe.

Until now. Now after Westely's influence, when I picked out my FREE CDS I earned from BMG music (ok so called - I had to pay shipping) I ordered myself three country music ones I am enjoying singing along with.
Faith Hill, and a wonderful doing dishes family friendly getting chores done crooner "Three Wooden Crosses", the best of structurally simple poppy country tunes.

The simplicity of that type of music used to not be stimulating enough for my brain and I found it boring and actually irritating.

Back to my question I have asked myself, Why did I stay in this relationship where I was constantly personally attacked and belittled?

I don't regret having stayed. I stayed out of love and out of apprechiation for what gifts Westely did bring to my life- and there were many. I can see how in some areas I have grown and matured as he has so many strengths. I can see where he has been my helper and I his. I can look back and find those entrys of days when I lost my keys and couldn't go anywhere until I found them and thank him for the fact there were not as many of those days when he was with me.

But the thing is, adderall helps me do that.

So why then stay with someone who thwarted my treatment of ADHD which made me healthier and more independent and not NEED his help?

I mean its sad that he couldn't have WANTED me to be all I can be. And as a friend of HIS , one of HIS BEST FRIENDS said years ago "HE revels in your failure. I don't knwo why, but the last thing he wants you to do is pass that BAR Exam"

Westley may not have even consiously recognized that.

But recently when I was sining somewhere and someone heard me they said "You have a GREAT voice! I have to take you out to an open mike."

I said " Thanks. I would love that! The last time I sang anywhere was a blast. I showed up at an open Mike, and my husband had been really sweet and helped me practice the song while he played the Bass at home for a few minutes before I left. Then he had to go out for a gig , and our sitter came and I went out for exactly one hour only. I waited and at 10 of nine it was my turn to sing. I got up to an empty room and I started singing to the few other singers there, and the bar in the other room emptied and suddenly there was a crowd listening. And I had to abruptly run out of there as it was 9pm sharp and I had to be home."

My Cinderella preformance moment. It was awesome and flattering to hear a few guys saying "Wait- when are you going to sing again?"

I hadn't known how correct my answer would be at the time when I laughed and said

I had sung "YOU Don'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS" and sadly this jazz lover can't even recall the name of the artist whose CD I Loved. It was left in NY and I didn't get it back yet.

I remminisce about that in recalling Westely's comments when I sang. Why it brought me to tears when I knew it was not true is what baffles me. I had bounced back quickly and thought I had disregarded his message when he said

"Can you stop singing, you have a horrible voice" TO be accurate he may have use the word AWFUL or TERRIBLE

Its not important though.

But I deceived myself in telling myself it WASN'T important if that was HIS OPINION.

Because I then stopped singing at home.


I gradually stopped doing ALL the things I loved except write. THUS THE INCREASE In this medium. HE criticized my pictures when I took them, he criticized my clothes, he criticized my taste in music and my voice. I used to run evey morning, and when here he acted like it was dangerous and gave me a hard time. I still ran sometimes though- but most often so early it was pitch dark and the moon was up and I ran into blackness on a road I couldn't see hearing the wildlife of the night. I ran when I had to maintain that peace and not argue about whether it safe for me to run or whether it fair to ask him to listen for the baby and consider feeding a bottle. I ran after nursing an infant to sleep in the dead of night soas to avoid an argument over the topic at the dawning of day. But it seemed like a crazy thing to do so I only did so a few times.

But it now seems to me that it was crazier NOT to have run. I SHOULD have run further and faster....

So I constantly ask "WHY didn't I?"

I pick up books on how to love your husband. They all have that same caveat "In the case of abuse this doesn't apply. If you are in a situation of abuse you have to leave to preserve your own self"

But I read on anyway. The latest book was Dr. Joyce Schlesingers. And I read of how I did all the things RIGHT. I read of these immature angry wifes who didn't cherish and appreachiate and VALUE their husbands. I read of how wifes need to swallow their pride and be mature and learn to do things they don't like to please their husbands. And I think of how I cheerfully did have dinner ready every night and how when he complained it wasn't early enough I worked on me to be able to have it consistent. I read how wifes should compliment...and I think of how I did that as well.

ANd I wonder, Why do I over and over again read this stuff as if I could do something better and different and as if MY WORKING ON ME could ever have changed anything? It never did.

HE would still get angry and break my things and over and over again attempt to break me.

He even went so far as punched my jembe in.

I do have one regret.

I regret I gave my damaged drum away.

It was painful to have it sit in the corner with the sking bashed in by his hand and not have the means to spend the money to get a new one put back on.

It was painful to see that drum there thinking how in Ghana where it was carved its maker may have believed that drum has a soul. Silly though that sounds I couldn't let it sit in a soulless place. I thought it was life affirming to pass it on to someone who would play it.

I don't have REGRET at having been so damn stubborn and insistent on staying in our relationship. I do however want to understand WHY I do that! Why do I keep trying over and over again- like taking Latin in college after having failed it in HS technically thanks to my old nun teacher who said "Pray we don't get audited by the Boardof Regents this year") but darn I SHOULD have failed and passed due to my crazy effort and hard work of her tutoring and me REALLY studying multiple summers with her.

So I stink at languages. Therefore in college I then had to ALSO study French and Spanish. Had they Japanese I would then have a squeaked by a D in that as well to further decrease my grade point average which would otherwise have been much higher but for my stubborn insistance on taking those classes I had to try over and over again at. I had a personal goal of "Damnnit
I AM going to learn how to study and retain a language at some point!"

In trying to study again I realize that I am not an inherently self disciplined person. So I try to find a "Carrot" at the end of a stick for myself to be motivated.

I realized this worked for me in college. I would set a goal, and think of whatever the social event was, and then commit to getting my work done I was struggling with and not going out UNTIL DONE.

It worked (to a point.) I was in the "bunker" of the study room in our dorm with the few other workaholics or those challenged with a learning disability that worked our butts off in college moreso than most students. We all had to for SOME reason.

Funny I have been in touch with EACH one of those regular studiers! They are the alum I still call either friends or acquaintances.

But I digress...
I recognize though that a very powerful motivator for me is not the positive reinforcement, but the NEGATIVE input I have received. IF someone puts me down and says "You can't do that" I tend to want to work that much harder to prove my ability. I wonder WHY???

And in reading an old entry

I had this realization that being motivated by someone challenging me through a LACK of belief in my ability actually often compels my best work.

Academically I have SO MANY of those stories of having succeeded after not being believed in.

HEck even artistically, I remember my dance teacher working with a vengance choreagraphing and directing me when the Dean wanted someone else to do this particular solo piece for a preformance.

I never knew whether the dance teacher's zeal was on my behalf after the dean told this other girl she could do the song I had already auditioned and was signed up to do, or if there was some personal war waging in which we students were pawns. It didn't matter as the compromise of having the one girl preform the piece one night and then me do it the next worked for me. And it was satisfying to think of the dean when belting out the lyrics to "Nothing" from some broadway show I can't even recall the name of about broadway hopefuls.

What is ironic is that now I wonder if that dean was just not amazingly brilliant in tapping into what motivated me. That whole darn piece was ABOUT succeeding as an artist despite some teacher telling the girl she had no talent.

I wonder if the dean and dance teacher were not if fact brilliant educators using whatever motivated each student. Nowin hindsight I wonder if they had the Good Cop Bad Cop parenting routine down to a T for students like me. I may have been the very TYPICAL teenager so that technique just may work well for many kids!

But as an adult I just wonder if there is still that need I have of a motivational tool. Its not feasible to use a positive reinforcer of going out socially when one is a parent with children and family responsibilities. And I also recognize that I have always been so frugal that I never ALLOWED MYSELF to spend any money to provide myself any OTHER reinforcers! So was I drawn to the negative reinforcer as the only other alternative I was FAMILIAR with ?

Could that be in part what drew me to Westely in a weird way? That he posed the challenge to me of PROVING MYSELF constantly?

If so I wonder when I ceased being MOTIVATED to not accept the criticism and instead wanted to avoid the trama of violence and conflict so much that I allowed my self to be whittled away with each attack and each time I just gave up actualizing many of my unique talents and gifts.

But moreso, I wonder why I was DRAWN to such a relationship in the first place.

That is something I wish to learn so when I feel I have that understanding and a renewed strong healthy sense of self and have opportunities to develop friendships and relationships in life I find those that nurture rather than stifle growth, both as an individual.

o heck, I am enjoying singing to my CDs while wearing my latest "spluge" of the silly $4.00 stick on nails as a solution to the hideous stubby mess (HA HA! I Actually got a compliment today on what I thought of as my "ghettofabulous" nails! I just had to use that word which cracked my up when my hip urban now offically teenager told me that is what my creative homemade postcards are!I never heard it before. Its a blast when teenagers and their friends teach parents new lingo.)

I realized that there was one reason that I initially had the thought of going to the nail salon in the first place. It was because my hands have been HURTING so much between dry skin and poor circulation. I remembered the marvelous parafin wax treatment!

I wanted that relief of my painful hands and recalled that experience at a nail salon years ago. So I had to CONVINCE myself to go in to get the nails done just so I could get that hand treatment.

The whole point here being that
I have to learn that it is OK to actually SPEND MONEY on things for MY PLEASURE only! Its ok to have those moments of enjoyment and relaxation.

I am learning to do that. As mothers and wifes women are often good at nurturing others. We need to also be good at nurturing ourselves.

I think for me learning that may be a key in avoiding the use of negative reinforcers as a motivational tool!

After lamenting how darn silly it is to throw chemicals on my hands etc... when I had the painful tingling of my nerve endings yesterday and the dry freezing hands I then remembered why I sought that comfort.That pain made me think that for $30 a month to have that relief it just woould be worth it! If I can afford it I would do that again but this time go back and maintain the nails-- not for the nails, but for the relaxation of the hour sitting in the company of woman which I don't often get to do, and for that relief of a very painful hand condition. I could also use that as a reward for achieving a goal... if I could afford to.

A few chemicals will be less damaging than harsh words in the end, mitigated by the nurturing of self.

Santa's elf is now going back to work! Happy Christmas to all!

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