Friday, November 9, 2012

Hotel California

eat my scabs; how to change your life
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When I was 20 I lived in Hotel California.  It was a dingy apartment complex that felt like I could check out anytime I liked but I could never leave.

It was dim, as if the sun forgot to shine.  My life was being played out in this fuzzy, dusky Hotel and I felt like a stranger in my own skin.

"Was this my life?"

I'd left for a trip and when I came, my "friend" was camped out in my bedroom!  He'd moved in.  His clothes in my drawers, his incense burning on my bedside table and three full length mirrors attached to the ceiling above my bed.  Without a word,  I walked out leaving most things behind.

I walked out and into another dim apartment down the hall.  I could check out but I could never leave.

There were 2 roommates, 2 guy roommates.   The sink was piled with dishes, it smelled of dude, video games, bad t.v. and there was always a spare "roommate" greasing up the couch.

His name was Kevin.  He was a friend of a friend who didn't have a place to stay.  That couch became his permanent sleeping arrangement. His legs were short and his torso uncommonly long, which made him walk in a strange way-- Dick Van Dyke penguin legs.  I would watch him shuffle from the sofa to the sink full of smelling, rotting, half-eaten bowls of Marshmallow Mates then back to the sofa.  Kevin grew a pot garden in the coat closet and somehow managed to gain the affections of two beautiful girls.  Too many tears and fights broke out because of this guy with Dick Van Dyke penguin legs and a closet pot garden.

I rode a red scooter and worked at a gas station.  I ate gas station donuts, sold cigarettes and snickers bars.  I even witnessed a first time driver intend to gas up their car but instead pointed the pump into the air like a pistol and fired, spewing gasoline through the air spilling onto the cars and people around her.  It was a disaster.

Just like my life felt.
Just like my Hotel California.

Like I was dogie-paddling and soon to drown in an endless sinking, dark, bucket of poo.

My choices had taken me to a place where i lived with stinky roommates, flighty friends and gas station donuts for breakfast.  I felt stuck.  I felt alone.  I felt I was in the wrong place.

So, I made a plan.  I bought the biggest, heftiest black plastic garbage sack.  I sacked up all my belongings.  I purged.  CD's, clothes, furniture...I asked myself, "Do I need this?  Do I want it in my new life?"

Most things I didn't want.  

This was my right of passage, my acknowledgement that I could swim in that choppy sea beyond the Hotel California, the unknown.  I could trust myself.  I could change my life.

The next day, with a scooter, a backpack and a duffle bag, I left.

I reached out for a new kind of life.  I made new friends.  I made new choices.

I spent a year changing my course, navigating the choppy sea.  Leaving behind what I had known.   At the end of the that year I boarded a plane with my backpack and duffle bag.  I flew across the Pacific Ocean.  To a place where I was a stranger, where I ate fish for breakfast, washed my clothes by hand and showered out of a bucket.  I was scared to death but this was the fruit of my fuller, more honest, happier changed life.

The thing about change is that no one will do it for you.  You have to get your own black garbage sack and purge the things you don't want in your new life.


  1. You amaze me girl! I am in awe by your depth and strength.

    I love the whole post, but this last line really spoke to me...

    "The thing about change is that no one will do it for you. You have to get your own black garbage sack and purge the things you don't want in your new life."

    Reminds me of when I was young my mother hated the fact that I would never clean my room. One day she decided to bring a big black garbage bag into my room and pack up all of my stuff. I couldn't get my stuff back until I kept my room clean.

    Same thing with life. I can't get my life back in order until I clean out all of the garbage (negative thoughts, emotions, behaviors...aka co-dependency).

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. haha! I had the exact same kind of dirty kid bedroom. and when i was forced to clean it I'd shove all the junk in the closet and under the bed. oops!

      It so easy to feel trapped and lost and little bit like we can't even budge, but really, when it comes down to it all we have to do is "take out the trash".

  2. Thinking back on my own “black garbage sack” moments – I’ve had a few! Important to remind myself “I’ve done it. I can do it again!” because so often during this nightmare I have found myself feeling unable to wake from it. I’ve only just recently owned the idea that I am not stuck in this monstrosity -- I only need to redirect my focus from controlling his addiction to defining my sense of self and my life direction.

    Thank for posting this! Hail to the Hefty Bag!

  3. Change is about courage isn't it? Courage to do things different. I like it.

    1. i think you're right. it does take courage to dive out into the unknown.

  4. As usual you are spot on. I actually at the moment have a lot of physical junk to clear out of my home, toxic people to clear out of my life and negativity to clear out of my head. As I sit here procrastinating and second guessing myself I think I was lucky to read this post. Thanks for the reinforcement.

    1. as my yoga teacher always says...get rid of things that don't server you and make room for things that do.

    2. She has a good point, but sometimes a lot more is involved than just doing that. Throwing away 50 yrs. at the age of 69 takes some thinking if it's the right thing to do. If he had just had the A at this age, their wouldn't even be a question, but for something that happened 25 yrs. ago, it's a little harder. I'm scared to do anything, so I give you credit for having the guts to make a decision. Best of luck to you.

  5. Shawn was right, your post are very enlighten and I enjoy reading them. I need one of those large garbage bags to either throw my things in it and leave or put myself in it and tie it up and just get some peace, quietness, sleep and every from everything that is eating me up inside. Maybe I'm the garbage that needs to be put in there until I get myself together?

    1. Linda T, you could never be the garbage. It's the other stuff. :)

    2. I understand and your right, but I do feel like the garbage for not being honest with myself and not having the courage to leave this 50 yrs. marriage that I've worked so hard to salvage after what he did 25 yrs. ago. I could have my own site and believe me, their would be enough to fill it up. But between your great and wonderfully written site and Shawn's, you guys are way to good at putting it as good as you do. Now he has decided after 50 yrs. of marriage for the past 9 months to try and be a better person. The A has all come back to me after his past 3 yrs. of being emotionally detached due to stock market, daughter owing a lot of money and not paying it back, he had no libido due to hormones, supposedly, but not sure when that came about. Just know he never loved me but about every 3 months, drank to much and didn't give me emotional support. It just brought it all back again and I never got the answers to his 3 yr. A, wether it was EA or SA also. That haunts me to this day and would leave if it was a SA. I would have 25 yrs. ago if I had known then also but can't get the truth from either of them and he's going to lie as he knows what I will do. So, bottom line is everything has made me question, why am I still here? It's hard to throw away a 50 yr. marriage, it was a 3 yr. A and I did forgive him years ago and decided to love him again, but after these past 3 yrs. I feel that he has killed what is left and the feelings don't seem to be there anymore. I hate living this way, in limbo, tried different counselors and haven't found the right one. He's willing to go to therapy as he wants it to work, but is tired of talking about what happened 25 yrs. ago and gets upset if we keep doing it. But I feel their are still lies, like when it ended, if their was sex on their 2 weekends together (we got married at 18 and had never been with anyone else and for him, that was a boundary he couldn't cross, so why get in bed with her?) and maybe he didn't, I just don't know. I'm tired of being haunted by all of this, but I can't believe anything he says. My 2 married daughters are also putting pressure on me to get out of the house and I won't think of it so much. They are blaming me for breaking up the marriage, making their Dad miserable and breaking up the whole family unit, which I think is unfair. They have even suggested going on an anti-depressant to get a jump start and maybe I wouldn't be depressed and that would help. I don't want to do it because if I can laugh around others and be happy, why do I need a pill to live with my husband? So, I feel guilty about everything and that's why I said, "Maybe I'm the garbage that needs to be put in there until I get myself together." Sorry for telling my life story, but thanks for listening.

    3. Dear Linda T.

      I have thought about you so much the past few days since you posted this comment. 50 years of marriage! That's something. :) I think you have asked one of the ultimate questions that we all ask---why am i still here?

      I'm sorry about the haunting and unanswered questions and doubt and confusion and fear. I really am. I'm currently unearthing some new fears of my own.

      Today I was listening to a story on npr about the worlds "blue zones". these are the places in the world where people tend to live longer---researchers study the way they eat, exercise, live and love----

      one key was their sense of purpose. In fact, in some countries they have a phrase for "waking up with your purpose." It means to wake up each day with your core purpose in mind. I suppose this include your core identity. Who are we and what is our purpose? I love this and want to explore this idea more.

      But I wanted to share it with you. Because i think the answers to those two questions can help you sort out the mess of "i don't know what to do, or feel, or say or want" you find yourself in. That we all find ourselves in.

      Who are YOU Linda T? And what is YOUR purpose? your real, genuine, deep down purpose?

      sending my love to you

    4. p.s. here's the link to the blue zones npr show:

    5. Scabs, I wrote you the longest post thanking you and when I hit "Publish" it went away. So, I'll have to write it again later as I have such a headache. It's been a horrible few days and just need to get to bed. I thank you for sending the link and will definitely read it. I'm sure that I will get a lot from it, I sure hope so as I'm at the end of my rope right now and so is he. We aren't even speaking and we have 2 more days in a hotel while we are here visiting my 92 yrs. old Dad. The hotel room, which we haven't done alone since the triggers started a yr. ago hit me when we checked in. I didn't say anything until I had asked if he would go back to the car and get my medication as I wasn't dressed. He didn't want to do it and made some comments about me getting dressed and doing it, even though he was still dressed. I got mad and told him, "You know I wasn't going to say anything, but just coming in this room was very hard for me as I thought of you bringing her into a hotel room and I will guarantee you if she had asked you to do the same thing you would have broke your neck to please her." But I don't deserve the same treatment and I'm your wife? He then said, "She wouldn't have asked, she would have probably got dressed and went and got what she needed herself." I said, Right, like you wouldn't have jumped up and did it for her, so of course it was and has been downhill from there.

      So, things are really bad, he's tired of dealing with the whole situation of this past yr. and it's only getting worse. I left to at least be with my Dad as he said he wasn't going anywhere. I came back and it hasn't been any better. So we have 2 days of misery in front of us. Plus my daughter called and he shared everything with her and my 2 daughters are siding with that Dad that I shouldn't be bringing up something that happened 25 yrs. ago and that he should just leave. They even suggested that he get in the car and drive to Gainesville and have Thanksgiving with our 3 grandson's, forget my Dad who thinks the world of him. I was so angry when I heard that, as I have told him that they should not be involved in our problems and giving out advice, especially since it's two sided.

      So, thank you for sending me the link, I'll definitely read it and pray that it helps me as I don't think I can deal with this any longer.

      Thank you,
      Linda T.

  6. I love learning more about you Scabs. You are amazing to me! You got your shit together once, you're doing it again, and I suppose life requires us to do it periodically forever.

    1. did you just say 'shit'!!! haha! i love it.

      thanks for being there Linds. You are a solid friend.



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