Lessons from Solitaire

solitaire

I’ve been playing a lot of Solitaire lately, not with actual cards but on my phone. I don’t think I’ve owned a deck of cards in years. When I play, I lose more than I win. Every four to five games that I lose, I win maybe one or two.

I always know which ones I’m going to lose as soon as they’re dealt. The ones I do win are a complete surprise and I really don’t know how I even won them. Very few hands are easy and won quickly. Mostly when I win, I’ve had to stack them one by one; number by number, suit by suit until I can even get to the few cards left face down. I have had to fold with only a few cards left unturned but sometimes that happens.

Solitaire has kept me from thinking constantly and it’s given me a break from the ever persistent task of healing. It has been over a year since my last post and everything has changed yet the same undercurrents remain. I’m still dealing with the after-effects of a traumatic childhood. New (old) things come up. Every big life change brings about a fresh wave of feelings and memories and challenges me to deal with them.

Since May 6, 2016, I’ve had two jobs and I’m moving into a third one in a week. I started dating someone, Ian, who I am now living with and engaged to as of this past April. My sister and I filmed a web series which is being edited right now and will premiere on YouTube any day now.

This past month has been trying. I’ve been very miserable at my current job which has been full of triggers.  It is emotionally and physically draining. Taking such a huge step with Ian and just plain trying to figure out my life and what I want next has caused insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and bouts of depression.

I stumbled upon Marie Kondo’s book “The Magic of Tidying” and assumed a life of minimalism (mostly thanks to The Minimalists). I purged my home of probably 80% of my stuff since March. Letting go of sentimental items that I kept hanging onto primarily because of guilt and obligation, released me from a lot of things I didn’t realize I was holding onto. I also dredged up many repressed emotions, memories, and ingrained beliefs.

Despite some turmoil, I feel like I’m taking even more control of my life by letting go. I feel raw and real; exposed and vulnerable. What I’m risking, what I’m showing to others, and the decisions I am making, are things I never thought I would do. I’m allowing myself to be genuinely loved and in a relationship which challenges me in all the right ways (even if they are painful and terrifying). I’m trusting someone for the first time and becoming more and more authentically me. For the first time, I have someone in my life who has allowed me the safe space to do so.

My current job was a mad dash for money and I knew in my gut from the get-go, it wasn’t right for me. However, I am glad I took it. It is yet another situation which shows me what I don’t want and where I don’t want to be.

Soon, I will be working and living in Gallatin, which is 25 minutes outside of Nashville. I’ve been wanting to get away from the city for a long time and since Ian and I are not in a position to move out of the state of Tennessee right now, moving further from the center at least, will help for the time being.

Solitaire (or any card game in general) is a lot like life. Every card I move, either conscious or unconscious, leads me to the next one. I may get this close to the perceived end and have to fold. I may move a card and regret it. I may randomly choose and have everything else fall into place. It may take me three minutes to complete one game then 30 minutes for the next. I may know I’m going to lose at the onset but play anyway and see how far I can go. But often enough (which keeps me playing) I am always pleased to win one, either easily and quickly or slowly and hard earned. And much like life, a card game is full of chance and playing the odds. We may lose but we can always start over and play again, hoping to win when we can.

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