Almost literally overnight, fall has arrived here. It was chilly last night, and this morning I woke up to frost on the ground. A light frost, but a frost nonetheless. I really love autumn and all that goes with it-school starting, cooler nights and warm days, soup in the crock pot, pumpkins. The month of September has to be one of my favorites, and also my own personal New Year. Ever since I was a child, the beginning of school was such a huge event in my life, and ever since then, September is when I take stock of my life, look at where I have been in the last year and also where I want to be. It is a time of really recognizing not only my own growth, but my mistakes and things I want to change, and the rest of the year will be spent working on those things which have caught my attention.
I had a couple of insights over the long weekend regarding Steve. He very unexpectedly invited us to go camping-I had thought he was just wanting to take Owen, which would have been fine too, but no, we were all invited (the other three kids didn't want to go, so it ended up being just Steve, Owen and I). I told him that I really couldn't afford to go-usually I at least provide some of the food, especially if all of us are going-but he said for me not to worry about it. So I didn't. He paid for everything, including dinner on the way. "As well he should!' you might all be thinking, and I would agree. But my insight was this: his invitation, as well as his willingness to pay for the trip, was his way of apologizing. He cannot or will not apologize for the fight we got into, he will not ever come right out and say, "I was wrong, I screwed up my money and I took it out on you instead of being mad at myself." He just won't; and while I have always known this about him, it only just occurred to me that this is his pattern; when he has messed up, he tries to make up for it in other ways, even if that isn't what I need from him. I am not excusing his behavior, not at all. He treated me very poorly, of that I am in no doubt. However, the fact that he doesn't come right out and SAY, "I am sorry, I fucked up" does not mean that he doesn't try to show it in other ways. I was able to be much more generous with him than in the past (because believe me, I am really, really good at holding onto a resentment or punishing someone for not doing/being who and what I want them to be. This is a constant battle for me). So one of the things I am going to try to do differently is being aware that while he might not SAY he is sorry, he very often MEANS he is, and even though I feel like I NEED to hear the words, maybe I don't. This very well may bleed over into other areas in my life, too, because I am judgemental, a bitch, and oh-so-rigid. I tend to get slighted once and totally cut people off with my coldness. I don't want to be that way so much this year, so I am going to try to look more at what people do and take into account the fact that just because I say I am sorry and try not to make the same mistake doesn't mean that everyone is the same way. Ha, what a novel concept, right? Something that most people would see as a no-brainer, but something I haven't fully grasped until now.
Another insight I had while on one of our 40 mile ATV rides: I posted about my resentment toward Steve for having parents who will help him pay his bills or help him out in other ways financially, and that really has been a bone of contention with us all along. And in my own defense, they are terrible enablers, and have really tried to protect Steve from the consequences of his choices, despite the fact that he is almost 40. Which has, of course, led him to believe that he CAN escape the consequences-he has thus far, for the most part. What I realized was that I am jealous; insanely, terribly, disgustingly jealous-because I do not have parents who help me out AT ALL. My mom is-well. She likes to be the hero and come in to save us kids when something goes wrong-but if she has to help in any financial way, there is a price. My mom is the last person in the world I would ask for help, because the cost is too high. And my dad-my dad's presence in my life is virtually non-existent (which is partly my fault, too, because I am not what one would consider a model child). So yes, I am horribly jealous, which is just making ME sick-it isn't changing any of their behaviors. So I see that the thing I need to work on AGAIN is accepting that my family is the way they are, and I can either make peace with it or die angry and bitter-which only hurts me. It isn't Steve or his family I am really angry toward, it is my own-and damn it, I thought I was pretty well past this, thought that I had for the most part come to terms with things and accepted them-but apparently there is still more work to be done.
So this year's work begins. Always relationship issues, always family issues, and it seems sometimes that the work is never done. I don't know that I will ever fully heal from my earlier life, and while I don't use it as an excuse for poor behavior, there is no doubt that it affects my life daily. Same with relationship issues; I have to work on resolving the baggage with Steve, take responsibility of my own shit and work on making positive changes for myself. This involves a lot of self-love and forgiveness, which is in short supply a lot of the time. What I do know is that I am too old to go through the same shit I have already been through-and if I don't want to do that, I have to change my belief systems and work on resolving some of this crap. Whether I ultimately end up with Steve or someone else entirely, I have to find a way to get over my belief that I am not deserving or worthy of love, and that men are not ALL entirely assholes.
Looks like I have a long road ahead, but not nearly so long a road as the one behind me. It will be a good year, of that I am confident.