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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…

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How a Sad Life Change Can Make You Extraordinary or Why Crying With Dan Fogelberg Is a Good Thing

It’s New Year’s Eve 2011, the last time we gather to celebrate as a nuclear family. My soon to be ex-husband hangs out in the study.  The kids alternate between their  Lego creations and banal shows on the Disney Channel.  I scurry around the kitchen trying to put together a festive meal of appetizers.  I love to cook but I don’t love tonight. I am under the gun. Our middle son, Josh, wants to get to his friend’s house by 7:15PM. When are you going to make the fondue Mom?  

Intermittently, I ask for help (something I’ve become better at doing). The kids and my husband each reluctantly take a turn helping with a task and then immediately return to their respective corners. The meal is a hodgepodge of separate snacks and entrees, yummy and tantalizing, but as disconnected as our family celebration.

Really, That’s It?

Midnight eastern time draws near.  Josh is at his friend’s house.  Bryce (12) and Anna (8) and I watch the festivities unfold in Times Square on television.  A few minutes to twelve in NYC (eleven o’clock Minnesota time) we start to look for Jeff (husband>wasband).  He’s not in the study anymore. ??  The kids find him asleep in the bedroom.  They wake him up and he joins us.  We all sit on the couch and watch the sparkly ball descend.  I’m already in the doghouse because I forgot to buy crackers, the English popping party favors with a small gift inside.  The ball hits bottom and the clock strikes midnight.  We shout, Happy New Year!, and then sort of pat and smile at each other. No kissing or enthusiastic embracing.  It’s as anticlimactic as Chevy Chase and his family staring at the Grand Canyon in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The ball dropped and so did all the couple/family dreams and plans we had carefully constructed over the past decade and a half.

2012 is a whole new existence without a plan or a partner.

Existing Without a Future Plan

Jeff went back to bed, but Anna, Bryce and I stay up until the real Minnesota midnight.  I think we are afraid to go to sleep into nothingness.  We don’t feel like we are done yet.  We can’t say what excites us about 2012.

I hop on the computer and post my favorite New Year’s song – Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg.  I do this every year.  This year I cry as quietly as possible as it plays on my laptop.  I can’t shake the melancholy.

Dan Fogelberg

I’m disappointed in myself as I’ve anticipated the end of my marriage and a sense of liberation for quite a while.  Jeff and I have not made travel plans together or scheduled date nights for months.  This is not new information.  I’ve already experienced the vague dull loss of NOT looking forward to something with a partner. I know everything changes and we should not cling to the familiar so, why am I falling apart?

Confusion can be an incredible teacher.  How can you learn if you already had it all figured out? ~ Julie Peters

I guess it’s that little thing called suffering that we all must do in order to be completely cracked open like a rib cage during open heart surgery.  Open heart – that is what suffering is all about.  Apparently, my head knows there is no such thing as permanence but my heart is lollygagging back there in Expectation Land.  It has not fully mourned all the old ways but IS lying fully exposed and broken on the surgical table of life.

According to Julie Peters in her article, Why Lying Broken in a Pile on Your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea, this broken vulnerable heart is more powerful than ever. At the moment when you find yourself crying at your laptop over a dissolved future and a Dan Fogelberg song, you are at your most glorious.  Know why?  Because you are open and flowing in a different direction.  Expectations have flown the coop. You are in flux and it sucks but it is how you jump the rut of toxic routines.  Opportunities are considered rather than ignored. This is the time to re-arrange the pieces and build yourself anew.

Before going to bed on New Year’s Eve I decide to meditate, a practice I want to return to in 2012.  I rest my hands in my lap, palms up and open to external feedback.  The house is quiet and my heart feels lighter.

For Auld Lang Syne means for old times’ sake.  This year the old times feel bittersweet and the future is unknown.  I’ll live in the transitory present and be open to the power of possibilities.

When was the last time you put the pieces back together in a different way?  In hindsight, can you see how loss or suffering cleared you of obstacles?  Can you imagine living without a future plan?

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  1. Mike November 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Just want you to know I’m a 53 y/o introverted man and I really learn a lot here. I’m very impressed and appreciate all that you say here. Thanks for having this blog. It has really helped me understand so much about my introverstion.

    • Brenda Knowles November 14, 2013 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Thank you for letting me know how you connected with space2live. I’m so happy you learned more about yourself. May space2live be your safe introvert home.:)

  2. Divorced Kat (@1stYrDivorce) April 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    I so relate to this post. I didn’t tell anyone at the time, but I made a New Year’s Eve 2011: I was giving my marriage one more year to get better. If I remember correctly, it was yet another night of my marriage that I cried myself to sleep. I filed for divorce that October.

    • brennagee April 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      I gave my marriage one more year to get better, four years in a row.;) It’s so hard to break that vow, security, lifestyle, partnership. At some point, you get tired of crying. We started our divorce process in October too. It was actually a relief to take action.

      Thanks again for a thoughtful comment.

  3. dale May 21, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Somehow a LinkedIn discussion led to another blog, which brought me to this post. Glad I got here and took the time to read some of your other writings. Very thoughtful and very worthy of reflection. Then I got to New Year’s piece where you were listening to Same Old Lang Syne and was stumped; always loved Dan Fogelberg’s music, but couldn’t place the song, until i went to YouTube. The video had the lyrics in text and it all came back, along with a tear or two. Thanks for providing a nice mental launchpad for this day, Brenna.

    • brennagee May 21, 2012 at 11:48 am - Reply

      It’s amazing when twists and turns lead us to exactly what we needed. I so appreciate the time you took to sift through my writing and the kind words you left in your comment. I LOVE Same Old Lang Syne, the lyrics and sentimentality speak to me. Happy you found it.

  4. Page not found | space2livedotnet February 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    […] How a Sad Life Change Can Make You Extraordinary or Why Crying With Dan Fogelberg Is a Good Thi… […]

  5. Debbi January 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed reading your piece and see how it has helped you. I’ve seen it help me in the past though I don’t remember the last time when. Lately, pain and loss cause more floundering than looking at a new light. Even when I think I have a new light in the future, it seems to be diffused. I’m hoping to get to a point where your point reigns true, but, as of late, it does not. I am thankful, however, for the things arise to take care of me for the moment…in the present. I believe that for most people in most situations, however, that what you stated is trued.

    • brennagee January 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      I think we have to flounder for a while, to get down to the point where we can only go up. Struggling gives us time to figure out what we are supposed to learn. Have to breakdown in order to breakthrough. It took me a long time to get the strength to make a move. I certainly don’t have all the answers now but I do know more about what I don’t want and what makes me feel most alive. I know Jeff and I are making the right decision. I have a feeling you are on the verge of your breakthrough Debbi. It’s hard to see the important bejeweled wisdom when you are in the middle of the battle. Keep looking at the possibilities. You are loved! Thanks so much for reading.

  6. Jill January 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Brenda Sue, I also wept. I felt that I needed to share it with my roommate/partner and found I became unintelligible. Indeed, although our minds know that certain steps are good our hearts ache. It does become easier, but just like mourning a loved one, we never “get over” the loss, we just learn to deal with it. I soooo wish I was nearby to hug you. I thought about you at midnight your time (11 AZ time), but thought you have everything so together and planned out that out didnt need a call. I am sorry to not have listened to my instincts. You are a beautiful writer, this blog would make the stoic crumble! Continue with your exploration of life and teach the rest of us how to embrace the divorce process! Love love love love love you!

    • brennagee January 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Oh Jill, my sister in AZ.:) Thank you for thinking of me. I think our hearts and energy are on the same wavelength. You are very much in my thoughts and heart too. All of this change/sadness/fear is necessary for growth – like a forest fire begets new saplings and blossoms.:) I am so looking forward to blooming in the near future!:)

  7. BeccaFetz January 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Oh Bren..this made me weep..I feel you sweet girl!! Thanks so much for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable, open and honest enough to share some really personal feelings and emotions. Change and the unknown are also very difficult for me..its been programmed in us I think to fear change and to cling to the familiar to feel safe and secure. I know just how hard this past year has been for you and your family. You are one of the bravest and truly genuine “real” person that I have been lucky enough to meet. Much love sent your way and here is to new beginnings and a bright new future that lays ahead.

    • brennagee January 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Becca! I know you feel me, as you are a sensitive soul too.:) I know the pain of this transition serves a purpose. Lessons are presenting themselves. I’m excited to put the pieces back together in a wiser more compassionate manner. Maybe my vulnerability will be the next person’s courage. It’s all good in the end.:)

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