Who Am I? I am FEARLESS!

I voluntarily jumped out of an airplane. I paid money to strap myself to a total stranger and step out of an airplane at 13,500 feet above the earth. It was INSANE! It was reviving, invigorating. I have never felt so ALIVE!

Was I scared? HELL YEAH (well at first)!! My hands were heavy with sweat during our ascent. I could not tell you which was louder, the pounding of my heart or the thundering of the plane’s engines.

As we ascended higher, my body was getting stiff with nervous energy. I began taking deep belly breaths and felt tension and anxiety loosen their grip and I felt my body become more relaxed. My shoulders dropped and I unclenched my jaw. I felt ready to enjoy my adventure. And then I stepped into air. I took that leap of faith that I was capable to doing something so incredibly awesome. Then, it was me tumbling into the air. AND I LOVED IT!

A nanosecond into free fall and it felt like I could barely breathe. But I was breathing. When I realized that I was breathing too fast; it then it felt like I couldn’t get enough air into me. The surge of me, breaking the otherwise undisturbed air, invaded my nostrils and forced my lips apart to form a smile. But then again, I was smiling. I had to quickly teach myself to manage my breathing. I was thoroughly enjoying this ride.

Since this was my first skydiving adventure I paid extra money to have a photographer capture my journey, a 2.5 mile descent back to earth with video and photographs.

When I look at the video and photos, I am smiling in every shot. I am sure when I talk (gush) to my friends and family about my experience, they feel the exhilaration and thrill.

As I was plummeting at an estimated 100 miles per hour during the free fall, I was in complete awe. I was amazed that I was actually doing this. I was amazed at the scenery that lay beneath me. I usually see landscapes like this out of a 9×12.5 inch window on a plane; which doesn’t give a clear view because the windows are so blurry with thickness and sometimes coated with a layer fog or ice crystals. But now I had a crystal clear, 360 degree view of my world. And it is a beautiful world that I was quickly plummeting toward.

When my skydive instructor pulled the rip cord I was suddenly jerked from my belly first free fall into a vertical position. And then the view was even more majestic. We glided to the left and we glided to the right. It was so serene and peaceful. I had time to appreciate the beauty the landscape had to offer.

My senses were overwhelmed by the beauty and serenity and majesty of this place we call home. Looking down, I had a new perspective on everything.

As we descended, the air was no longer cool and refreshing. It became hotter and thicker with summer humidity. While I did land on my ass, with my legs stretched out in front of me as instructed, it was a soft landing. I was invigorated. I was pumped with adrenaline, but my legs were like jelly. I had trouble trying to stay steady as I tried to stand. The instructor reached out to me and I grabbed his hand as he helped me to my feet. I was buzzing with so much excitement that I was woozy.
About 30 minutes after we landed and I was already in my car driving back home, my stomach began to feel weak. I started to feel slightly nauseous. But I felt invincible and ALIVE.

It has been several months since my leap. And I still sit back and smile and say to myself, “I am my own hero. I jumped out of a plane. And I can’t wait to do it again.”


Gearing Up for A Battle

Our relationship used to be a solid relationship. It was one that was well understood between us and outsiders.

In every relationship there is a balance, and we balanced each other. She was always the rebellious one, while I was the one who could be counted on to always play by the rules. She was the dominant sister while I always placated her whims. While, technically, I am the older sibling, she always acted the part better than I. She was argumentative and always won just about every argument we ever had. She was confrontational, very in-your-face, while I always danced around people’s feelings always neglecting my own to make them feel better. But we had fun together. Always. We cried together, and bailed each other out when life got too serious. But that was the past. I am done sacrificing my wants and needs for the sake of others. I am tired of dancing. It is my turn to be confrontational and in-your-face!

I know that she would not take responsibility for her actions. She never has. She has always played the role of the victim and placed the blame of all of the messes in her life on someone else. I know I have to prepare myself for the onslaught of insults that she might throw my way. I need to build my strength to stand up against her.

After too many anxiety filled months of stressing about confronting my sister, I finally got my defenses ready to deal with her. I have mentally tortured myself with all of the hurtful things that she may throw my way. I have prepared myself for her potential verbal assault on how my husband preyed on her; or how I chose to close my eyes to my husband’s behavior; or that if I had been a better wife, I wouldn’t have a straying husband.

It has been too many months since I found out about their secret. And I have my list of accomplishments and my list of things-to-do.

My accomplishments:

• I stopped crying all the time.

• I have decreased my brooding sessions.

• My anxiety attacks are occurring less frequently.

• I set limits on what I will and will not do.

• I forgave my husband.

• I have learned to be kind to myself.

My list of things-to-do:

• Confront my sister.

Forgiveness versus Trust

Lately, I have been reading a lot of blogs about forgiveness. When is it a good time to forgive? Are you forgiving too soon? Who is worthy of your forgiveness? Why should you forgive? Is forgiveness an act of condoning bad behavior? Excusing it? Is there any act that is unforgivable? How do you forgive when you have been hurt so bad?

Everyone has a lot of questions and everyone is looking to everyone else for answers. The funny thing that I have learned is that the only person who can answer these questions is YOU. The person who is doing the forgiving.

In my experience, I was profoundly wounded by betrayal. I am also guilty of hurting my husband.

I didn’t think that I would heal from the pain that he and my sister caused me and my family.

The truth is, more than two and a half years have passed since my world was turned upside down. And while we are still together and keeping our lives intact, we are not completely healed.

Our marriage was on the brink of disaster. My trust was decimated. As was his. I was left raw, cold, vulnerable and emotionally naked. My faith in anything that mattered and that I loved (with the exception of my children and my parents) was completely stripped away. I was utterly and totally devastated.

While we have worked hard to rebuild some kind of sense of ‘normal’ back into our lives, these last two years have not been easy.

Forgiveness came for me at a time when I thought that I was going to implode. It was almost like a response to the physical stress my emotions was putting my body through. It was almost like an automatic and logical response to relieving the mounting pressure.

In hindsight, I unfairly held my husband to the highest standard I could ever impose on a person. I never thought that he would be human. It never occurred to me that he could be capable of making an epic mistake that would tear away at the seams of our relationship. It seemed inconceivable to me that he would stray. I thought that he was infallible. I put all of my trust into him that he would never break my heart.

I had to bring myself to realize that he is only human and people make mistakes. People make really bad decisions and give in to temptations. I, of all people should know. I held him to a higher standard that what I held myself to. After all, I ended up in the arms of another man.

While I felt a great distance between us in our marriage, I let my guard down and allowed myself, more like availed myself to another man who has professed to loving me for more than 2 decades. He was filling the void and emptiness that I felt in my marriage. While I had enough sense to not let things get hot and heavy between us, I did kiss another man who was not my husband.

It wasn’t until months later that I realize that the disharmony, strife and distance I was feeling in my marriage was a direct result of my husband’s and sister’s relationship. I now realized that I allowed myself to fall into the arms (and lips) of another man because of the lost connection between me and my husband. This does not forgive or excuse my actions.

Two wrongs don’t make things right. And it doesn’t make it even. And it doesn’t make it easier to forgive.

It took a long while for me to be able to wrap my head around the mess we were in. While kissing a man who is not my husband pales in comparison (in my mind) to the lines my husband and sister crossed. Forgiving him was difficult. And I am finding it impossible to forgive her.

Once I was able to say those 3 words “I forgive you” to my husband, I felt a tremendous relief. My body was released of all the pain, tension and anger it was harboring. I relieved myself of a huge burden. I know that he too was relieved.

I’m not going to go on about how much better our marriage is and how much happier we are and all that. Because I don’t know that we are any more happier than what we were before all this madness ensued. We are still working on some of the same issues we had before. I’m more on the messier side; he prefers a less messy house. He worries about money; I find fun ways to spend it. He yearns for more sex, I yearn for more intimacy. We recognize that we are human, and fall short of unrealistic expectations of each other.

There are times when I feel the ghosts of our transgressions haunting us. There are times when I get angry that I gave away a very precious and special part of myself and it was treated like trash by people whom I loved and trusted. But those times are less frequent and felt with less intensity.

Those feelings are replaced by the acts of love and kindness my husband is showing me. There is no doubt that we both felt absolutely shitty about our actions toward each other, ourselves and our marriage. But we are hopeful that we can rebuild our relationship.

But there is the trust issue. If you forgive, but still hurt, how can you trust?

I sincerely don’t think that my husband will betray me with another woman again. But I am afraid that I cannot trust handing my heart to him again. I know that I am holding back, and by holding back it is stalling the healing process, but I am scared to that he will break my heart again. My heart breaking was like a near death experience. It is an experience I do not wish to repeat.

I know that we are not healed from this heartbreak and loss of trust. And that we are trying to work through our pains, but I am scared that maybe the scars run so deep that we cannot trust each other with the other’s heart.

Why do I want to put my heart back into his hands?

Quite simply, he is a good man with a good heart. He has many admirable qualities that friends, acquaintances and new friends pick up on quickly. He is very caring and thoughtful of others. He is good hearted, good natured and sensitive. He is a terrific father and provider. And he can be a wonderful friend.

I love these qualities that my husband possesses. I just have to let go, and trust him again.

A Transcontinental Trip

I am on a transcontinental flight BY MYSELF!  And for the next 3 days I will be BY MYSELF!  No kids, no husband, no family.  One would think I would be lonely. But not me. I am loving the aloneness.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I love and will miss my family, but it is so refreshing to just be responsible for myself. I don’t have to dote on anyone. I don’t have to worry if someone is uncomfortable in one way or another. I have only one person to answer to and to entertain. And that is ME! I am looking forward to having a king size bed all to myself. And having control of the tv. Heck, I am looking forward to having control of the remote control!

 I am looking forward to not hearing my name being call in a hundred different directions “mom, I need you”, “Kate, where’s this?”, “mom, I can’t find…”, ” Kate. Can you do me a favor?” Peace and quiet that’s what I’m looking forward to.  I haven’t had this much alone ‘quiet’ time since, well, I cannot remember when.  And so far it feels LIBERATING!