The Sun Keeps Rising

Grief is a strange process. Especially when you avoid it at any cost. I make posts on social media and occasionally I may verbally say “I miss my daddy,” but any expression that requires depth, I avoid. It’s a defense mechanism I guess. I have to keep going, keep living. I don’t want to be the sad girl. It’s approaching two years and I don’t want pity. I don’t want judgement. However, I have not properly dealt with my grief. I sit in my regular therapy sessions and I discuss my mother or romantic relationships, and even my relationships with friends. Rarely do I talk about my daddy or my grief. I don’t talk about him. Not really. I don’t explore my hurt. I don’t explore his absence.

A few months ago, I went through a bout of depression. I had the desire only to lie in my bed and binge watch Blue Bloods. Blue Bloods is a show that my daddy called “our show” because of the father/daughter relationship between two of the main characters. One day I realized that I was watching this show because I missed my daddy. It was my subconscious way of dealing with my grief. After years of sacrifice and consecutive tragic life events, I moved into my first apartment in Houston. It was joyful and stressful. Particularly because my car required a series of expensive repairs around the time of my move. Even though I always have consulted my mom and not my dad about my car troubles, I found myself feeling and saying “I miss my daddy.” The day I picked up the keys to my apartment, my mom was on the phone with someone sharing my news (as she often does because she suffers from verbal diarrhea) and I said to her, out of my mouth, “Who is that, daddy?” I immediately bursted into tears in the leasing office. A couple days later I was driving back to Houston from Dallas and my car wheel was giving me some trouble and I said to my cousin after I couldn’t gain assistance from my mom and others, “I’ll just call my daddy.” Even though something similar happened days before, I still shocked myself.

I’m so happy to start this new chapter, yet there is a damper. There is something missing…my daddy. (I just realized as I typed that sentence and my eyes swelled with tears that THIS is why I have been so moody) I have been depressed, needy, lonely, moody, and simply unpleasant. And I have been in my bed in my new apartment, alone, binge watching Mad Men. The main character and his life reminds me of my daddy. Watching the shows that have connections to my daddy have been unintentional but makes sense. Subconsciously, I’m looking for ways to be close to him, to fill the void that is impossible to fill. My daddy would be so happy for me and taking this step, living my life for me. Even with that being true, I can’t be happy. I can’t help but wonder if every life event that is to come will be challenged but this dark gloom of my father’s absence. I’d like to believe that when I stop avoiding and actually deal with my grief, I will handle life events in a more healthy manner. For now, I am up at 3 am watching Mad Men, feeling every bit of my daddy’s absence and it hurts like hell.

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Vulnerbility

I am skilled at putting people in boxes. The issue is the more I shut myself off from those people, the thicker the wall I’ve built between my emotions and the rest of the word becomes. Everything in life is geared with a transaction, an exchange, a risk. I hold on to my end of the exchange as tight as I can. I have a lot of pride and self-protection which makes it difficult for me to release power and show vulnerability. This becomes a challenge because how can you grow with someone if you never let them in? This becomes for complicated for me, because you cannot truly let someone in without showing vulnerability. So I walk around life acting and believing that if you have not crossed some arbitrary line with me, you are disposable. A guy that I dated constantly told me “you have to stop acting like the people in your life are disposable, that’s not how life works.” Another guy I dated told me on the regular basis that he felt like he was always one mistake away from my blocked list. (Truth of the matter is that he was correct) Instead of spending energy on what seems to be a bad investment, I like to cut my losses early.

Now, I never said that this makes me a good person. This post is actually very critical of my coping mechanisms and the purpose is to dissect my challenges with relationships, both friendly and intimate. Through experiences during my high school and college years, I have grown to become extremely protective of my vulnerability. In adulthood, the few instances that I have allowed myself to be vulnerable, have been in vain. So how do I accept that with vulnerability comes disappointment and that I should not allow that to prevent me from being vulnerable; while maintaining that everyone is not deserving of your vulnerability? (Yes, being an adult and actually dealing with your mess is complicated)

Everything with me is an exchange of power. This can cause me to be very petty. A couple weeks ago, my ex called me, very friendly conversation, not uncomfortable, totally cool…I cut the conversation short so I would be the one to end the conversation and not him so I could keep the power. (Yes I realize there is something wrong with me) Maybe I did this because I lost so much power in that relationship, so I try to reclaim it in any way that I can.  The “I’m going to get you before you get me” mentality is not mature, productive, or healthy. I am aware! That doesn’t prevent me from being on a constant power trip. “Noted” and “Ok” are my constant states of mind. I don’t rebuttal or share when I’ve been hurt because I don’t want to reveal my true feelings. I avoid confrontation by taking note and removing myself from that situation, a lot of the time this results in me removing myself from a person’s life prematurely. So I put that person in a box and add another layer to the wall.

**It is difficult for me to end the post here because I have not resolved the issue that has been presented. There is more to come. I need to explore, how this causes me to sabotage healthy relationships. Truth is, this is not a solution based post, I am literally analyzing myself. I don’t have the resolution yet, but when I get it, I will definitely share. I plan on working through these challenges here, (www.ChristinaCornelius.com) I hope if you have the same struggles that you attempt to work through yours as well. If you’d like to share your journey, please email me at Christina@ChristinaDCornelius.com (Yes that is a different domain, I’m working on cleaning this up)

-Christina

me trying to date

Timehop

So I check Timehop and Facebook Memories daily. It often provides me with little jewels of my daddy. Today’s timehop was a sad but real moment for me. My dad lived over a year past the video I will be sharing today. Moving forward, time to time I will be sharing some memories provided by Timehop and Facebook.

Numb.

I use to be a very emotional person. I expressed everything I felt. I cried a lot. I mingled with my feelings. As life’s experiences grew more complex, my relationship with my emotions grew more distant. I cant say that I don’t feel, but my way of coping is to keep it moving and not deal with the issues. I know, it doesn’t sound healthy. I can’t say that it is healthy. I am able to cry, just not in response to my personal feelings. I can cry for my loved ones struggle. I can cry at Grey’s Anatomy. (and other emotional entertainment, but MOSTLY Grey’s lol) but I cannot cry from my own hurt, disappointment, or frustration.

I explored this revelation when my mother came in my room an emotional mess (which is more common than not with her) about my grandmother’s mental condition. My grandmother is 89 years old and up to this point has been as sharp as a tack with a very sassy and direct personality. Recently, she has been having hallucinations. It has become difficult for her to decipher what is reality and imaginary. It breaks my mother’s heart, mine too. I just can’t express it. I also cannot help my mom work through her emotions (probably because I haven’t worked out mine). I am grateful for the 87+ good years my grandmother has had. To be celebrating her 90th birthday this year is a blessing. My mom sometimes sees other elderly people who can get around well and gets sad saying she wish that my grandmother could do so as well. I have to remind her that my grandmother lived on her own for years and that she is old. (cruel but honest). I often come off cold to her because I cannot effectively relieve her emotional storms. She doesn’t understand that I cannot relieve my own emotional storms.

When I was a little girl I never understood how someone could cut themselves. I didn’t understand the point. It is not something, even to this day I am capable of doing but I sometimes pinch myself to be able to feel. I think I maybe afraid to feel, afraid to love, afraid to be vulnerable. To allow myself to do any of those things, I will have to deal with the stuff I have kept bottled up for the past few years. I can’t work through my dad’s diagnosis, my Uncle Larry’s death (which is still unreal to me), and the other painful events that have transpired in my life. My way of analyzing: I do not have the time to spare for a breakdown and if I do break, who would help put me back together again. I isolate myself (others isolate me as well). I don’t care to talk about how I feel and why I feel that way, I just keep moving and hope that things will get better with time. “You are so strong”….I have no other choice, so I numb myself.

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Time.

Can you imagine knowing the exact moment that would be your last on earth in advance? When we face deadly diagnosis we often ask “how much time do I have?” The truth of the matter is the answer we are given causes more anxiety than peace. We all know that we will die one day, but most people generally do not wake up thinking, “Will today be the day that I die or will it be tomorrow?” Having a numeric time stamp placed on your life, puts a dark cloud over everyday. As much as you attempt to live your limited days to the fullest, in the back of your mind is that clock that is running out time. That is no way to live. Even with world-class training, doctors are only human and can be wrong. And they often are. They did not create life, therefore their estimation on when life will end is not definite. We all know the clichés “Live life to the fullest”, “Spend everyday as if it were your last”, “Carpe Diem”, blah, blah, blah… Lets be real, while we would like to believe that we are all extreme optimists, many of us spend most days looking forward to sleep. We carry around baggage, resentment, and frustration from day-to-day. Many of us are not making every moment count. I am not going to say change who you are and become happy-go-lucky, but I will share what my Daddy has told me time and time again and what I find myself often repeating: “Time is your most valuable asset, because it’s the only thing you can never get back.” That has become more real than ever at this moment in my life. No one knows how much time we have, not the infant who was born this very moment and not the hospice patient who has been given a few days. We all will have frustration and disappointment. Take a moment, acknowledge your feelings, and realize there are so many other things in life that are a million times more important. Spend your time in a way that is satisfying for you and that you will have peace with when the time comes for you to take your last breath.

 

-Chris

Why Now?

In 2010, God planted a seed within me. In 2014, that seed blossomed into WomenExceeding.com. After hearing a post I wrote on rejection for Women Exceeding, my father made me promise to begin to nurture my passion of writing. I have found therapy in writing since I was a young girl. In fact, I am published. (Not a detail I share often) I began writing daily, as I promised my father, on December 31st, 2014.

On January 1st, 2015, my father shared that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. This diagnosis made me further realize the wonder of God. I made so many plans between 2012 and 2014, specifically for 2015. “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” Well he is definitely getting a kick out of the plans that I had set for myself. Every year I establish goals and strategize on how I would achieve them. In 2014, I did not meet some goals that it appeared I should have easily achieved. I believe God was teaching me a couple lessons: 1. Stay Humble and 2. Trust His Timing.

Going into 2015 I decided to try something new, just go with the flow. (Something super difficult for a control freak like me) Everything came full circle on New Year’s Day. I understood why I was afforded a promotion that I struggled in, why I was not accepted in two programs I applied to, why circumstances forced me to push my start in my Graduate Studies. Everything became clear: I was needed in this moment to be on my father’s side. It would have required an extreme change in my life, if I were in New York like my heart desired. My struggles in my new role prevented that move. If I had been accepted into the program to which I applied, I would have been completing this rigorous curriculum concurrent with pursuing my Master’s Degree, which would have been extremely overwhelming. For this moment in my life, I needed no other obligations or distractions. I just needed to be available. So I am.

Late on a January night, I was given the vision for this website. To share who I am with the world as well as my thoughts. I never considered myself a blogger, in fact my vision for this site was more of a professional reference than a blog. However, I think it is appropriate to combine each surface of myself to paint a complete picture. In the future, the concept may change, but for now this is it!

daddy