At group yesterday, we did an exercise in feelings. We had that with the person who previously led the group, but I think that I was the only one who remembered. It is a full page, four columns, some positive feelings, others not so much.
One that I was struggling with last time/previous therapist was envy. During that other life I do not remember being particularly envious or jealous of anyone or anything they might have in their lives that I did not have.
Oh, sure, it would have been nice to be loved and to feel safe, but the truth was that my needs and wants were small. I guess there was not any room for desperately wanting more than love and safety.
Now, in my new life, I have lots of stuff, much more than I thought even a few months ago. When I left last year and was in hiding, I had only what I carried with me that day. After three weeks my attorney arranged for me to return to the house to get clothes and medications and shampoo and things like that. My daughter and a couple of friends helped and during those visits, they brought boxes and threw as much of my art stuff into them as possible and put them in storage for me.
After the first divorce hearing, he was ordered out of the house and had a two week deadline to remove anything he wanted. He did so, but through the process of getting rid of everything and preparing the house for sale I found many of his things that he had missed. I made sure that he got them, and then went to work clearing everything out.
As I was doing that it was clear that the two of us had more stuff than any dozen people should have. Family and friends were invited to come and take anything they liked. I kept my bed, some clothes and a wardrobe. I did that because I had no prospects about where to live. I had no money and my ex made it very clear that he was keeping all of our assets. It came as a difficult surprise to find out that when the house sold, that the proceeds went into a trust account, to be divided after the final decree. He asked to withdraw most of what he believed to be his share and I agreed, despite opposition from my attorney.
Frankly, even though it would be a long time before I was comfortable taking that share, I knew that I could not take all of that crap with me or put it in storage or anything. So, I have what I have, and most of that is because I have friends who wanted to help and then did a fine job of doing just that. It is still too much and whilst I am finally going through, tossing and organizing and donating, it is interesting that I feel weird about the process, but that is for another time.
So, anyway I have lots of stuff. I have my life and I am moving strongly, moving-moving-moving. into feelings of safety. The longer the periods between threats, the better. I think that now that everything is settled, the energy on that other side is much less, maybe even fading away completely. I no longer startle when I hear a car door close or slide into a panic attack when someone walks onto the porch.
As all of those feelings regarding safety decrease, there seems to be room for some submerged feelings to surface, and one of them is envy. It is not the only one, but it is around a lot lately.
At first I discounted it, attributing it to gaining control over my depression. New meds were working well, few side-effects and it is increasingly easier to manage even the really challenging days.
It pops up every once in a while and surprises me each time. An example was yesterday. I was exhausted from therapy, group and spending the early afternoon at the laundromat. In that little strip mall there is a regular grocery store. I do all of my food shopping at the two discount markets in town, as well as the dollar stores. And, I do very well at those places. I started home.
But, feeling depleted and dreading the kinds of energy drain that shopping at those markets, brought me back into the strip mall parking lot and I shopped at the regular grocery store.
It was amazing. The place is huge. I had forgotten how really big it is. It is full of the most amazing things. I bought some of them.
Pink Lady apples instead of a bag of non-crunchy no-name apples.
Two small pieces of beef and a rump roast instead of a couple of frozen rolls of ground meat.
Celery and frozen green beans were on sale for the same price they are at the discount markets. Score!!!!
Same thing for butter and a few other items.
There were other things that were way beyond my budget, things I usually buy, and I will get them next week at my usual stores.
I am drinking, right this moment, diet ginger ale that was on sale for a crazy cheap price. Yum.
There is absolutely nothing wrong or missing with the food I usually buy. Being in that large, bright and fancy market was interesting. Mostly in a good way.
It was a period of pure indulgence, and I am glad that I did it. How lame that is. And, it is not that I feel deprived about where I can afford to shop, because I do not. It does not stress me a bit, and it allows me to have money to spend on other things I could not afford otherwise. Like this computer and my monthly fees to connect to the Internet. Not giving that up.
So, here is where envy comes in.
I felt envious about all of the things I could not buy there. Stupid. I know that. I am well fed and very happy with everything, absolutely everything. And, yet, there it was. Regret about having to watch what I was spending. I noticed that I felt nothing about what other people were buying, only the items I was not buying, but sort of, kind of, wanted to put in my cart. Stupid.
Same thing happened last week at group. One of the women was telling about her 214 purses and how difficult it is to organize them. She struggles, receives help and can have as many of anything she likes. I do not particularly like purses, or shoes for that matter, but I felt envy about her purses, handbags, clutches, and pocketbooks. Stupid.
One of the other employees where I do most of my work has the most wonderful and cute assortment of holiday sweaters. Just seeing them, well, I feel happier when she wears them. I feel envy at that abundance, even though I would never wear any of them myself. Stupid.
There are a few more, but I cannot remember any of them, so they were/are probably just as stupid.
Except that it is not dumb. Or really all that stupid.
As I become healthier, as I heal and recover, I have room in my life for all sorts of things, feelings included, and they all are not going to be fun. As much as we might want, it simply cannot be high noon, sun shining, birds singing and unicorns frolicking with the bunnies. Sometimes it is gloomy and it rains or snows and I am alone in the meadow. All I can hear is the wind and the patter of drops on the leaves and feel the water dripping from my hair. The air smell delicious, though I do miss the bunnies.
So it is with my new range of feelings. It was not safe to have them in that other life. They are not only possible now, they are welcome, they are honored and fully experienced, as it is true that there is no light without darkness.