Where’s Penny Been?

**Long Post Alert** I thank you now for indulging me as I answer the question, “Where’s Penny Been?”

Coming up with a focus word for 2019 was a big challenge. Before I found a word I had to do some soul searching…

…I’ve been absent for a while now. Life became overwhelming and I finally stopped most everything for a bit. I took a few months off to rest and regroup. I stopped participating in anything that wasn’t necessary for me and my spirit. A new year can be a fresh start. I just had to figure out what I needed to restart.

You may or may not know that I have two direct sales businesses as well as a virtual assistant gig. All three are part time while I work a full time job in the retail industry, which quite honestly, is kicking my ass. Having to be on the sales floor two days a week (sometimes more) as a “sales person” is doing me in physically and emotionally. I hate it. It’s a necessary evil so I can enjoy the other part of my job.

The VA work I do has grown to a 10-15 hour a week gig. Add that to a 40 hour a week job and that’s a lot of hours worked. Add to that working two direct sales businesses and that balance thing becomes tricky.

I learned in August that I had let my drivers license lapse, and it took four frustrating months to get the paperwork I I needed to renew it. A stupid accident threw me into a tailspin, and the whole thing was kind of the final straw for me.

Friday, January 11 marked the three year anniversary of my fall from the ladder. If you don’t know the story, I fell from the top of a six foot ladder, through some metal shelving, landing on the cement floor of my garage. My head literally fell 11 feet. Miraculously, I was able to get up off the floor and seek help. My head injury was mis-diagnosed and I spent the next two years recovering. My doc says that I’m actually still recovering, which I can’t wrap my head around.

Life changed in a big way that day.

If you touch my head in the right place, you can feel the now healed skull fracture. I am still afraid to put my head directly on a pillow. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow behind my neck to protect that spot from touching anything. I still feel the tingling in that area now and then, which I’m told is the blood flowing through the uneven area under my skull. I named that sensation Herman, as when it happens, I know it’s going to be a hard day. That damn Herman, messing with my head!

Some days I battle between how things are now and how things used to be. It’s difficult to describe, as the “changes” appear somewhat subtle on the outside looking in.

You can’t see that I can no longer tolerate my beloved spicy food. There is absolutely no medical reason for that. My doctor says it’s a coincidence. But since that day, my body no longer tolerates hot peppers, sriracha, and any form of heavy, spicy, hot goodness. I miss it.

You don’t really notice my inability to multitask as I used to. I will ask you now and then to hold a thought while I try to finish something. Other times you may see me staring at nothing, trying to complete my thought. I still lose my words, but not as often. I keep a lot of notes in notepads, scratch paper and an online to-do list program I found. It’s taken three years, but I finally have a system that works for me.

Most importantly I think, I lost my confidence and I haven’t regained it. I’m not quite the same person I used to be. That bothers me. A lot.

I’m battling lower back pain more and more, and I’ve developed plantar facialitis, both of which leave me drained at the end of the day when they are bad. I am pushing through it. I will happily take a migraine any day of the week than deal with that pain. This makes exercise a challenge, and I finally gave up. Now it’s a catch 22. I need to get back at it, as doing nothing is…doing nothing for me.

2016 also brought the passing of the parental units. I still hold much anger and resentment where they are concerned, though I don’t yell at them as often as I did. The mother’s passing was pure selfishness. The acts of her sister, unforgivable. I try not to let the anger surface too much. I am angry for myself and my brother. We were shortchanged, and I’m thankful we both have people in our lives to help fill that void a bit.

I’ve learned a great deal the last three years about my “other family”, the one I was not allowed to know. Of how the parents went to extremes to ensure no contact, and what I call the miracle of them pulling it off when we lived in a small town. My biological father lived less than seven miles away most of my life. He was best kept secret ever! I’m still amazed that people simply went along with it, never revealing the truth.

It was mostly the mother’s doing, but the father was not blind to what was being done and he supported her in the great cover-up. Choices were made, lives manipulated, lies told. I truly wish I’d known the truth of it decades sooner. I was so blind. That makes me angry.

I recently saw a photo of the grandparents I never met holding me as a baby, the bio father I never knew in the background. It took the wind out of my sails. The people I had heard about were real. They didn’t look like the monsters I was told they were (over and over and over.) They didn’t look like people I should have feared. They were simply…human beings who were also hurt in the crazy that was the mother. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m grateful for an incredibly patient aunt who answers my questions while never saying an unkind word about the parents. She’s helped me fill in many blanks. Maybe one day I will meet more of them. Maybe not. It’s not easy.

I began using a human growth hormone gel about four months ago. I got on an antidepressant around September because my doctor and I decided it couldn’t hurt the exhaustion and edginess I was experiencing. I am feeling “better” these days. That edge is gone. I am calmer, I don’t get my feathers ruffled as easily as I did, and I feel my mood is much more even.

I had no idea how the HGH was helping until I stopped using it. It’s expensive, so I slowed down the use then kinda stopped. But damn! I was SLEEPING at night, and there were other things it was doing for me that complimented the other. The two together had me experiencing a calm I’ve never known. As I lay here on the middle of the night writing this, I miss the sleep part. Yes, I’m “back on the gel” (sounds funny, huh?)

If you can’t yet tell, I’ve been overwhelmed for a while and spinning. What I need to do is find my balance again, as well as my confidence. Develop a plan. Decide what I want out of my businesses and choose a path that I can grow with. Get that balance back. Grow my confidence. Disassemble what’s not working and rebuild.

I enjoy the products I sell. I have struggled with some of the internal things associated with the companies, but I keep those feelings separate. The products are amazing.

I have decided I need to build a business strategy this year and work it. There’s great potential there if I can simply get past all of this. Where will that lead? I don’t know. Will I still have three side gigs this time next year? No idea.

So, what word did I choose?

Metanoia. The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

It’s a word I stumbled upon a few years back. I’ve kept it tucked away, and after weeks of struggling to find the right word or phrase, I stumbled upon it again.

It’s fitting. I need to be consistent, find balance, be brave. In doing so, the other things will fall into place and my path will come into focus.

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