Saturday, June 26, 2010

Introducing Jane

The last few months, I've spent quite a bit of time job hunting. Hence, my travel and conversations seem to have quite a bit of job hunting tones to them. It was going from point "A" to point "B" on my never ending job quest that I encountered this woman.

This is Jane. She has four children and a husband that she seems to love dearly. She was out picking up a few things for her husband who currently lives in some remote part of Alaska.

You see, Jane has been unemployed for two years. Her husband was unemployed for a year. They currently live in supplemented housing and when her husband faced the choice of moving to Alaska for work, they decided to have Jane and her children stay in Washington because of the schools and housing.

I couldn't help wonder how hard it must be since she hasn't seen her husband in a year. He faithfully sends her his money and they live for webcam "visits".

Still, Jane had the most beautiful, contented smile. It was as if she just didn't have a care or worry in the world. She was peaceful.

I am not peaceful. I have been unemployed only ten months. I still have my family whole and intact. I moan and groan too much. Jane put me to shame. Not intentionally mind you.

She made me feel better about my circumstances. She was so encouraging and happy. She could only say nice things about her husband and circumstances.

I'm so very glad that for a half an hour, I could visit with Jane.

(all images and stories used with permission)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Introducing Neal

Sometimes I meet people that fascinate me. I enjoy chatting with them and listening to the WAY they think as much as to WHAT they think.

That’s how I feel about Neal.

Neal is a security guard and quite frankly, I would have no problem trusting him to do the right thing in any given scary situation. He’s tall and carries himself with confidence. He knows what he needs to do and he does it.

He works the night shift and yet always seems downright perky when I see him in the morning. He is usually headed home as I am headed to work.

Neal is a part of our little think-tank group that rides my early morning bus. Before the sun is up, we can be found chatting about anything from politics to a good place to eat to our families of origin and the dysfunction therein.

What makes Neal so interesting is that he is so smart. He remembers details more than anyone I’ve ever known. At the same time, he can spout statistics and while I think I’m a fairly smart person, he will use terms I’ve never heard of which often leads me to ask what it means.

Neal has been diagnosed with Asperger's. It’s a form of Autism.

Doesn’t seem to hold him back in the least and I appreciate that. I reflect on myself as an educated, high functioning person and I can’t tell you how many times my issues have held me back in life.

I board the bus a couple of stops before Neal, when he climbs in, he always greets me by name. I like that. It’s important to everyone on this planet to be known and valued. Being called by name has been shown to be the single most respectful thing that you can do for another person.

Neal has taught me that people have value. He’s taught me that regardless of what you have been told as a child or what your perceived issues are, you have value and can go far with a bit of determination.

I appreciate Neal and am very glad to have met him.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Introducing Granger

I see him all over my town. He seems to always be out and about.

Mr. Granger lives about three blocks from me so we are on the same bus quite a lot. He moves at the speed of a snail and often people on the various buses get cranky because he takes so long getting on and off.

He yells when he talks. Hearing problem. But still, he always makes me smile when I chat with him. He's friendly and he has stories to tell. I love listening to them.

Last night, I asked him how old he was. He'll be 83 next summer. Then he said, "I'm finally getting old".

He broke his hip last year. He's been using a walker ever since. And yet, he told me last night if he can get the transfer from the 7 Bus to the 3 Bus down, he'll be able to stay out later.

I asked him how late he'd be staying out and he said, "Nine or ten".

"Where would you go?"

He didn't answer. He uses his hearing issue selectively I think.

Last night our mutual bus was late.

As we sat in the cool evening air, he shared that he would like to ride the train before he died but that he wouldn't be able to get up the steps with his walker.

I shared that I ride the train every day and that they have ramps and will hold the doors open for him until he is on. His eyes lit up so big, it made mine fill with tears.

He wants to go east for the day. Take the train across the mountains and then have lunch and come back. He said he wanted to do it at the end of April and would call the trains and make plans.

I like Mr. Granger. He's an entertainment. He also shows me that hopes and dreams are exciting at any age.

Till Next Time,


(all images and stories used with permission)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Coming out of a narcissistic relationship is exhausting. If you haven’t been there, may I recommend that you never go “there”.

Once you are out of the fog created by these relationships, it becomes apparent that it is really hard to actually connect with people. Distance has a level of safety about it.

After the initial trauma of the discard, I did really well to go to work and look after my children. It was all I could do as I tried to find the person I once was. I never made eye contact with anyone less they destroy me further. The brutal manipulation that these types of relationships foist upon people leads to a painful recovery indeed.

The recovery is difficult because one must ponder secrets left by our family of origin to find out the how’s and why’s that lead us to be open to abuse in the first place.

When I finally lifted my head and took a deep breath, I decided that I would begin to reach out, smile at strangers, and begin conversations. I literally had to force myself to be friendly.

I am pretty sure I will never be in an actual relationship again, but I also don’t think that being alone is a bad thing. Everywhere I go now, the Universe and I believe God, opens doors. I’ve met the most interesting people just by being willing to listen to their stories.

I am going to post these encounters here as a reminder that there is life after narcissistic abuse and that good people can be found any place if we are willing to be open.