Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Season

I look at my life and am amazed at the changes the past 7 months have brought my way.  They are changes I longed for, but couldn't really fathom existed.  I look forward to coming home now.  I used to count down the minutes at work to hang with my friends, or bum a meal from my family, or to check in on my niece.  I can now be found rushing home to cook dinner, or going to hockey games or ball games or to her karate classes.  When home, we are either helping with homework, watching family TV, or working on various home projects.  Those nights we are not bound to obligations are uncommon and glorious.  My closest friends have found relationships as well, and we joke we are all married off and have to find time to get together now, comparing work and home schedules to plan to right time to meet for dinner and a drink. 

There are Christmas lights on the house for the first time in years, and lights inside the house for the first time ever.  The Christmas tree was erected a month ago, out of excitement for a new family to share the holiday with.  As I type, he is asleep, the cat is nuzzled on the sofa, the hamster is running in his squeaky wheel, and the dog is cozied up on her cushion.  This is a peaceful home.  Sure, with a growing young lady in the home, there is drama with hormones, strong wills, and exes.  But it is full of love, and he finds no joy in drama.  And so, the peaceful home I grew up in has managed to creep into the house I've inhabited for 9 years.   That has been my dream.

I look forward to the day we can sell this house and move to a nicer, larger home.  So much must be done to this one first.  But he has the will and the drive to make this everything we want it to be for now.   His ability to adapt to this tiny, rickety house has amazed me. 

He has the endurance and commitment I need in a man.  I don't need touchy feely--I need to know he is content in this relationship, and he is willing to make it work.  Love that lasts takes work--it's not magic.   I am not exciting and I cannot fake it--God didn't give me that charisma that allows me to misrepresent myself with a clear conscience.  I need a man that can be content with who I am, and not try to make me more trendy.  I don't need a trendy man--I need a man who longs for stability as much as I.  I need authenticity, and I need to be authentic.  I don't care about the material part of a man--his job, his income, his vehicle, or his ability to take care of me.  I care about the heart.  If I'm not sure where I stand in a relationship, then I will suffocate in it. 

I have found myself in a true commitment, and it's liberating and comforting all at once.  He is the man I wasn't sure still existed.  He was worth the wait.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Minerva

Her beauty entrances all who gaze upon her. Her milky skin belies her hardness. I too was smitten. Her stature is to be marvelled, as she towers over terrazzo with her gaze through blank eyes.   Her dancing waters calmed me. Her mosaics entertained me. Her smooth features welcomed me each morning.  She is a beauty to behold, for sure.  She is not from around here and it shows.

Over time however, her beauty no longer lures me. My initial gaze of admiration has become a glance of frustration.  Her pedestal is worn, and her waters no longer dance for me, but seep onto the terrazo and stain my patience.   She is never satisfied.

A man asked me about her the other day....his admiration for her had waned as well.  We have tried to help her, I explained. We have spent time and money and had specialists in to see her....all left baffled.  We tip toe around her these days, making every effort to placate her, so that newcomers are still smitten by her gaze.  Instead of recognizing our efforts, she mocks us.

I now wonder if she holds power.  Has she hexed us with her presence? Or has she merely aged and lost her strength? If so her beauty still hides her age. I believe she holds power over her location. I believe she is surrounded by spirits. Now there is talk of banishing her.

I am torn.  I love her, yet I hate her.  I will miss her beauty, but will welcome the calmness of her absence. 

To her new employer--good luck.  You will need it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Conjoined Bitches

I looked in the mirror, and I saw a tiny blister. For me, a blister only means one of two things: stress or sickness. Well, this chica isn’t sick. So I began to analyze my stressors: work has been very hectic, my relationships, my house, finances. And then it hit me how stressed I really am. Stress has slowly, gradually, overwhelmed me. I forgot what it was like to not have it. I have become desensitized to the things that used to cause me stress, and they no longer bother me. But these new things, I am learning to cope with.


And that’s when it hit me.

My depression is linked to my stress—they are conjoined bitches. I have struggled with depression since I was 10. I felt the burden of the world on my shoulders as just a kid, as I worried about God, my parents dying, my parents’ finances, my sister kicking my ass, my mom’s disapproval, getting good grades, etc. I was always a deep thinker and a bit of an old soul. As I aged, my fretting seemed to worsen, until I finally found myself independent and desperately needing coping skills. And so, I have managed to face many fears, take a few light meds, change my outlook, and prove to myself that I can rise above so much of what life gives you. There is no longer a welcome mat on my door, inviting depression into my heart.

But lately, I have had waves of depression anyway—almost out of nowhere. Sometimes it hits during the day, sometimes at night. Sometimes it lingers for a few days, and sometimes not. But the truth is, I feel different physically when it hits. And this stupid blister brought me clarity since it hit when I was trying to analyze this latest depressive state---My depression is directly connected to my stress.

When I reduce my stress, I reduce my depression. So how do I do that? I have no clue. Not at this point. I can only do so much on my own. I can only afford so much, I can only give so much, and I can only be so much. My whole life, I have felt like “not enough” for anyone, any job, and any situation. Being with a man and his daughter, that “not enough” fear drowns me at times. It stresses me. It scares me.

I think getting my house in order will help. Physical chaos brings me mental chaos. And right now, my house is killing me. The disorder, the boxes, the aura, it’s all very chaotic.

Have I mentioned I’m a virgo? I like structure. I need it. It fuels me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In It to the Finish

All I could think of was avoidance. I will go to a movie, find a friend to hang with, or go shopping with no money. Anything had to be better than going home. I was spent. I am not a fan of fairs. The proximity to weirdos, the con artistry, and the craziness of the pricing is not my idea of a good time. But the experience was terrible. I was not prepared for the tears, the anger, the frustration of a little girl. I told him, “Next year, go without me. Oktoberfest? Go without me. I can’t do this again. ” But he felt the same. He wanted to crawl in a hole as much as I did. The emotional demands and battles are the reason I always said I wanted boys. I always pictured myself giving birth to 2 boys. That was my dream, knowing that girls are emotional and manipulative nightmares. But here I am, muddling my way through this step-parent territory, with a female preteen.

The next day, I sat at work and dreaded going home. I could not handle round 2 of that emotional roller coaster, not without a decent break. I told him, “I’m going to a movie after work.” He was not angry, and he seemed to understand. It was very overwhelming to me, the thought of going home and biting my tongue yet again. Anything had to be better than watching a child manipulate her father and a situation, and feel powerless to intervene. What I would have said at the fair would not have been received well. I have given up financial freedom, time freedom, and emotional freedom for this relationship and this child. Would she ever understand and appreciate any of it? Does he grasp the stress it brings me? Will he ever stop making excuses for her and put his foot down?

The more I thought of getting away to a movie—an escape-- the more I remembered how spent he was as well. He was almost as frustrated as I had been. But it’s his child, not mine. He helped create the problem, so it’s his to fix. I am not the one who gave her so much control. I’m not the one who actively brought her into this world, knowing she could inherit her mom’s emotional instabilities. My heart ached as I sat at my desk, pondering my evening. Do I face the inevitible drama filled night, or go to a movie and leave him to deal with it?

What message am I sending if I run every time it gets hard? The truth is, I’m in this with him. My heart is not detaching or running—my mind is trying to find a quiet place for a while. But will he assume I’m detaching when I do this? I think he will, or it will make him wonder where my heart is at. Then came his text, “I hope you don’t lose faith in us.”

After deliberation, I realized that I am sending the wrong message by running away. If I am in this until the finish, then I need to buck up and face even the shitty nights. I called off my night of leisure. I knew he needed one as much as I. And even though she is his child, and he helped create the mess, if I’m really committed to him, then I’m committed to THEM.

The evening was actually very good. Rules were set and enforced. I hemmed jeans, repaired stuffed animals, and let her give me a makeover.   It was a good night, and I was thankful I had not missed it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cat Fever

It seemed as if her purr was amplified early this morning, and it was soothing. The purr was guttural. She rubbed her sweet face on my chin, gently pawed at my hand when I stopped petting, and wrapped her tail around my arm. Every movement was gentle and calculated. This is my sweet Zoey time. When I pet her fur, rub her face, and massage her neck, she repays me with gentle, rough-tongued licks and nudges.

I was never a cat person. Being around cats typically left me wheezing, snotting, and itching. Dander is present on the furniture and in the carpet of any home with a cat, even if the cat was locked away. When I planned to visit someone’s home for the first time, my first question was simply, “Do you own a cat?” In addition to the allergies, however, there was also the mystery that I didn’t like. Cats do their own thing, are not predictable, and have razor sharp claws. Dogs are needy, and look at you as if to say, “I love you, momma.” Cats look at you as if to say, “What are you looking at?” Also adding to my distrust of felines was that my uncle contracted a staph infection from his own house cat’s claws—cat scratch fever. “What is the allure of a cat?”, I would question.

For whatever reason, be it mmune system changes or heavy doses of zyrtec over the past few years, I have no problems being around Zoey. She is gentle, laid back, and loves attention. She moves through the room with grace and stealth. She gets mad and turns her butt to you. She loves to snuggle. And if she’s feeling exceptionally loving—and this is rare—she will lay in your lap. My dog fears Zoey, and avoids eye contact. But Zoey is never aggressive with the dog. She simply stands her ground, hisses, and then sits back down as if it was all a big bother to her nap schedule.

I love her independence. I love her gentleness and size. I love that her poop and pee is confined to a box. I love the way she saunters from room to room, rarely in a hurry, and always with purpose.

She has changed my opinion of cats. For the first time ever, I love a cat.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Confessions of a Step-mom

Some friendships don’t withstand the changes our lives bring. One that I was sure would end due to vast changes has actually become stronger. Michelle and I were divorced and partying, knowing kids were not in the future and trying to enjoy our lives. She now has 1 baby of her own and 2 step kids that live with her full time, along with a man she loves. What a difference a year makes.


This friendship has proven to be helpful to us both. We went from party girls to mother-types. We have both entered into a world with kids that are not ours. We love the kids as if they were ours—which is what is expected and hoped for-- but we have a boundary that cannot be crossed because we are not the real parents. We see the manipulations, we swallow our thoughts, we hide our hurts, and we push through. We love the men in our lives with all of our hearts—and the children as well-- and we do it for them. But at times, we get overwhelmed. We feel as if we are supposed to fill a role and provide as much love as possible to everyone, but not cross an invisible boundary of discipline. Even as we near it, the father gets defensive. So we quickly learn that we are expected to act in all motherly roles EXCEPT in that one. We haven’t earned that role because we didn’t birth the child. We will never earn that role.

It’s a slippery slope, folks. We see the kids playing their dads, and their dads being OK with it.  Oh, the things guilt will do to us. The kids are more defiant around their fathers than with us, but we sit in silence because our input may not be taken the way it’s intended. We have given up all of our freedoms for these people we love with all of our hearts, but the kids make sure we never feel completely at ease in our roles with comments they seem to make at just the right time. “You’re not my mom.” “I’ll get my daddy to do it.” “My dad will always put me first.” “Does it bother you that my dad loves me more than you?” "I need more time with my dad."   Those comments hurt, and sometimes I think they are made with ignorance of its effect, and others I think it’s very intentional.

I became overwhelmed the past few nights. The first night, I felt like there was not enough of me to go around. I was trying to do some chores, but kept getting interrupted to look at this, explain that, think about this, or help with that, both with him and with her. I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide, because I couldn’t even complete a thought of my own without being interrupted, and no one seemed to realize how busy I was.  I guess that’s motherhood. Last night I felt mentally stripped, and I retreated to a hot bath to find a moment to myself. The manipulations are not constant, but they seem to occur in clusters, and last night I struggled to keep my mouth shut. A hot bath was just what I needed.

As a child, I never felt significant. I never felt appreciated. We tend to repeat patterns. I married a man who made me feel very insignificant. I chose a career where I struggled to prove my significance in a world of men. I thought I had stopped trying to prove anything a few years ago, and had created my own sense of significance after much introspection and analysis. However, I have found myself in that same, desperate mindset that leaves me feeling overwhelmed. It leaves me wondering, “Does anyone see what I’m giving here? Does anyone see what I’ve given up? Does anyone care that I have needs that are being overlooked? Will I ever be significant? Will I ever finish a sentence without being interrupted by a little girl, a computer game, or anything else? Will I ever be able to be completely heard? Will I ever be #1 to anyone?”  I'm coming to terms with this role and its sacrifices.

I don’t regret my situation, and I love this child and her father with all my heart. I want the best for them both. But I now see the real struggle of any woman in a step role. I’m confessing my thoughts and hurts. Michelle knows what I’ve felt. She understands the inner turmoil that this brings. We are nurturers, so we naturally are not exclusionary with our love. If we are given a gift, we want the whole package, not some of it—yet we are given the care of a gift, we are given the responsibility of it, but we cannot truly enjoy all the benefits of it.  We are living up to an expectation of what the father and child need, and our own needs get pushed aside.

It’s a slippery slope. I have a whole new appreciation for any woman who has taken on this role. It’s challenging in ways I never expected.   If you have a stepmother.  Hug her.  She deserves it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dream: Basement Windows

I found myself in a back yard cookout at a certain house. I remembered touring this house after it had been remodeled a few years ago, before it was sold to the current occupants. Had I toured it as part of a class I had taken ? I couldn’t remember. But I remembered loving the house. I had envisioned it as a home that would be sold for a lot of money, well maintained, manicured lawn, in a white collar neighborhood. But as I looked at its current state, I realized the family now living in it did not fit this image. They had already let the house fall into disrepair, with paint peeling and cracking, the siding rotting. It hardly looked like the same house. They were not trashy people, but not wealthy either. Blue Collar, and rough around the edges. I wondered how they qualified for a house this size in the first place.  Were they trapped in it financially?  I wondered. 

The grill was fired up, the man was playing catch, and the woman was traipsing in and out of the back door with items for the picnic table. She looked stressed, haggard. I sat in my lawn chair, surveying the scene, wondering how I ended up at this cookout to begin with since I didn’t know the owners . Then my eyes became fixated—the large windows to the basement were opened, airing it out. There was light shining in the basement, and it looked as though the family had made it a work room or project room.
I suddenly  remembered being in that room at night just a few years before. The air was dark and dank and suffocating. No air movement at all. The windows were the only respite from the stillness. I was with a group, on a tour at night . . .a ghost tour.

“Is this house haunted? I heard it is.” Someone from the present asked, and it brought me out of my memory. I answered before the owners could, “Yes it is. That’s how I know this house. I came here looking for the spirits with a group of people, and we found them.” The family froze, tired eyes glaring at me, as if I uncovered a dark secret. They lived in this haunting, and likely were unable to financially get out of it. They were prisoners to this place. They had no idea at purchase what they were getting.

I have been in a dark, dank place in my own mind before. It’s a bit of a basement, and it’s full of ghosts. It’s full of fear and sadness. It’s a deep, dark depression. But I have also emerged from it and don’t care to go back. I have tiptoed around it since, looking into the darkness with curiosity, sometimes drawn to it. But the fear and memories pull me back to reality. The ghosts in that basement can damage a person, age them, destroy them layer by layer. Even the most beautiful and talented person, who was meant for great things, could be worn down quickly by their own demons, lurking in their mind. Who put the demons there? Experiences? Genetics? Abuse? All of the above? I don’t know.

Once you dwell in that darkness, your eyes and body adjusts to the surroundings. You get used to the atmosphere. An outsider can walk in and immediately lose their breath, but a dweller will feel at home. But even the dweller can get a glimpse of life outside the window and realize it’s time for some fresh air. Maybe they have a moment of clarity and open the windows and shades on their own, and maybe a visitor throws them open in disgust. But those moments of clarity are not constant, because the windows will eventually close again, and the fresh air will turn stagnant again.

Sadly, some people are trapped for whatever reason, and never escape the darkness. Sometimes it’s because they never change their surroundings, and stay in the myre. They refuse to walk away from relationships, jobs, and homes, even if harmful, simply out of familiarity. I think I escaped because of a moment of divine intervention—a moment where an opportunity arose to grow emotionally, and I was mentally ready to deal with the past. I took the first step, and followed through to the 2nd step. Instead of blaming the world, I blamed myself. So I was able to seek help for myself. Those that blame the world, generally refuse help, because they don’t think they need it. They are the most difficult to reach.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Am I "Right"?

My divorce decree is in a file for safe keeping. There was a time I felt like I was glued to it. I had to pull it out at random times as I changed my name, purchased my home, etc. I remember feeling like it was proof of my failure and yet, proof of my freedom. I wondered if I would ever be able to go a few months without pulling it out as verification of my single status. It has now sat in that file for probably 6 or 7 years, untouched. It has lost its power over me.


I was lucky. Because I had no kids, the divorce was swift, the anger was minimized, and the ties were cut. Finished.

I look at divorces that involve kids, and I now realize the way that one document can both protect and damn a parent. It is the lifeline of the divorced parents. It holds tremendous power. It doesn’t just give custody, it dictates money, rules of engagement, dating, holidays, expenses, and activities. It was created to protect the child’s best interests, but it does not have the ability to foresee the future. Jobs change, emotional states change, kids grow, and life is both cruel and gracious. But the document remains, attempting to keep a steady, straight road for the child, so that they are least affected by the chaos that may surround their parents. But as life evolves, it does not.

It is sad that we need a document to be civil--to prevent us from gigging our exes for selfish reasons. Money is usually the source of the anger and the division. It becomes less about the child’s needs, and more about the parent’s desires.

All this talk about this “Christian society” is ridiculous when you see a divorced couple leverage for money and time with their children—and one or both is a Christian. Wouldn’t a true Christian be willing to not only be the best parent he/she can be, but also allow the other parent to do the same without making efforts to debase or hinder them? But the truth is, even Christians suffer emotional problems, greed, and discord. Even Christians can be subpar parents, can stunt a child’s emotional growth from their actions, and can be as evil in action as any non-Christian. Yet, as Christians, we like to think we have God on our side, no matter what. I don’t care how much you go to church, if you are a card carrying church member, how much you pray, or how much you talk religious jargon, doing so doesn’t make you a better parent, a better person, or “right. It defaces Christianity—and God-- when you act in greed and selfishly, and yet claim you have God on your side.

I don’t believe God picks sides. I see one athlete thanking God for a touchdown, and yet I wonder how many men on the opposing team prayed before that same game. I don’t think God cares about touchdowns.

Can we all stop pretending that because we have Jesus in our hearts, that we are the “right” people or the “right” parents?



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Challenges

4 months ago, I ran my dishwasher once every 2 weeks. I had gone 6 months without turning on my oven or stovetop. I did laundry once a week—2 loads.  I had money in savings. I had a cruise booked, a new gun to shoot, and went to the bars regularly with my friends to watch ridiculous shows and drink red bull. I worked out a few times a week at the gym, and pretty much did what I pleased.

Now, I’m drinking Xenergy for pep, running the dishwasher, cooking, and doing laundry DAILY.  I have canceled the cruise, depleted the savings, avoided the gym, and haven’t taken the time to shoot my gun even once. When I think about home repairs, refinancing, bills, birthdays, and extracurricular activities, groceries, and school clothes, I’m thankful for the simplicity I functioned in for so long. The merging of our households has been peaceful, albeit expensive at the onset. Even in the increased responsibility I have faced, I have still found my home to be stable.   

But at times, I get overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s because the presence of a child brings huge responsibility and even greater patience. I know a young girl’s mind is both na├»ve and manipulative, and sorting through her words to decipher motive can be difficult for anyone. Sometimes it’s when I’m looking at the unfinished remodel work, or the uneven settling that has occurred with the house. I know that fixing it up and selling it is not going to happen soon--and that was on my list of things to accomplish quickly. Sometimes it’s when I’m at work and trying to plan out my bills, knowing that we have birthdays, Christmas, and other activities arising that cost money.
But all of this is my choosing.  I do not regret or bemoan it. I love them.  I have made sacrifices specifically for them, because I believe what we share is truly great.

My biggest problem will be with myself. I know how my mind works….I will worry and toil over others until I am neglected. Then I will become frustrated. My expectation is that others will see my contributions and reward me for them without my demanding it be so. Isn’t that how it should be?  Yes, but life doesn’t work like that. People get used to the status quo. And they overlook the obvious among the chaos.

So the money, the house, the chores….none of those things are real challenges. The challenge will be within myself. I must remember to make time for myself. I must provide for myself as much as I do others and not play the martyr role. I must allow them to be as involved in my life as I am in theirs. And I must be willing to retain my own identity.


Monday, August 8, 2011

A house is not a home


I look forward to walking into the house I’ve had for 9 years—a house I’ve never felt completely settled into—and cooking, doing laundry, and relaxing with my family.

9 years of projects on this house, and none of them finished. Every project was an attempt to make it feel more like home to me. If the floors were this, if the walls were that, if I tear this out…….then it will feel more like home. No project was finished, because I quickly learned that it wasn’t the house that made the home---it was the heart. And a lonely heart dwells in a lonely house. Not a home. So my house has felt lonely to me on a very basic level since I purchased it—more of a jail than a home. Laundry, showers, and rest are the only things I used it for.

Right now, my house is full of exposed sheetrock, uninstalled lights, and unfinished paint jobs. But it is suddenly home. I have reason to be there, with people and things to look forward to. I have hope again. He has given me hope. She has opened my eyes.

I am thankful for the house now, after years of cursing it. I am thankful for the stability it has provided me, even as I tore into its walls, certain to make it change to fit my personality. In the end, it wasn’t about the layout, the finishes, the lights, or any of that cosmetic stuff. It was about my heart. The house is still the house it has always been. But my change of heart, and the presence of “their” hearts, has made it home.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Confessions

Being childless has brought as much freedom to me as it has heartache. But I still have my moments where my heart breaks a little. At times, I see my boyfriend with his daughter, and I find myself jealous that he has something so precious that I will never have. He has that connection with a child that cannot be fabricated. She will always be first in his heart, and I will never rise above 2nd, even though my circumstances let me put him first. I will never have anything that is a piece of me like that—not him, not a child. It’s a fleeting feeling that rarely lasts more than a minute, thank goodness. In those moments, I feel sad and jilted, because I was not given an opportunity to have my own child, when so many others have been that (in my mind) are not deserving.

I have researched being in a relationship with a man who has a child, and how to be “good” in this role. I want to do this right because I love them both. I guess there is no handbook on how to walk into a ready-made family, where you are the outsider that must do most of the adjusting, and yet must be content staying in the background. Let me clarify—all parties have made adjustments and sacrifices, but I’m an adult who has lived my life a certain way, knowing I cannot have kids. And now I’m changing not just my home to make room for a child (physically), but my routines, my goals, and my whole sense of identity. Although I welcome this new role, it can weigh heavy on me knowing my house went from me in power to me being 3rd.

I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be this child’s friend, but not disrespected. I want to be there for her, but not her servant. I want to provide her happiness, but not spoil her. Since my role is very limited, I can easily step on toes of her parents by standing up for what I feel is right. It can be a helpless feeling, not knowing where my boundaries are in my own home. Over time, they will reveal themselves, through trial and error.   Hopefully not too much error.

Since I have no children, my input and advice can easily be ignored, and I pray that I am taken seriously and not dismissed due to my “inexperience”. Children or no children, I can see behaviors and gauge their long term effects. I remember my own reactions to my parents, my own turmoil as a child, and I remember the discipline that was brought to me—both good and bad.

So these are my deepest, darkest thoughts as of late. I pray for wisdom. I have had all of these fragmented thoughts whirling in my head at different times these past 2 weeks, and I finally think I may have pulled them together now so I understand them better. I don’t want to sound overly selfish or negative, but I don’t want to deny my honest feelings either.

I believe he is worth this, and so is she.  I'm counting on it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Right Reasons

“Are you ready for this?” Allen asked me with his smartassy look. It was just the 2 of us, and he can read me like an open book. “Um, yeah, I think I am," I replied.   He just grinned and said, “You may as well be. You’re already in it!” We both laughed, knowing he spoke the truth. So, why am I in it? Why have I made this commitment? Why him, and why now?


I can give you the logical explanations for being “in it”. Financially, sharing a home with someone else is a cost saving thing, because rent and utilities are split. Physically, having a man in the house means less work for me. I’m not the sole muscle behind repairs, chores, and mowing. Mentally, having a man around provides a sense of security. Emotionally, having a man around brings conversation, attention, and hope.

All of those are good, logical reasons. They are all true, but none have been enough reason in the past to share my home permanently with anyone. No man has had me willing to call my house, “our” house. No man has had me willing to open up the contents and chaos of my home to him in such a vulnerable way. I’m not afraid of being alone, so seclusion is actually the easiest option for me. Giving up my space and freedom is quite a sacrifice.


So why then? Because:

...my heart has said it’s OK to trust him.

…for the first time, I am ready: I’m more settled physically and emotionally than I’ve ever been.

…I’ve found in him a common moral compass, and character.

… being with him makes me more comfortable than being alone. (Never had that one before.)

…he is open and honest, but without the brutality that some bring with it. In turn, I can be honest with him.

…he has my heart and I find him to be irresistible.

…I know that he truly does love me, as much as I love him.

…I have peace.


As you can see, it’s not because I need him. It’s because I want him.   I want to support his decisions, his parenting, his life.  I want to wake up next to him and share life with him.    I have been preparing myself, whether intentionally or not, for his presence in my life.  And now that he's finally here, I want to make the most of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just in Time

I'm taking a breather from cleaning.  I've downsized my crap into managable and findable places.  I've visited Goodwill enough I should be on a first name basis with the collections men.  I've been a thorn in the side of my trash men, as they have picked up countless bags from my curb in the last few weeks.  I've downsized my pets as well, leaving me with Sidney and the house is so much more peaceful.  I'm making room for a family.

It's all in preparation for an exciting new time in my life.  I am preparing this old house to be a home for the first time in 9 years.  I'm throwing away pieces of the past to make room for the future.  I'm more hopeful than I've been in a very long time.

I have been caught off guard by a man and his daughter.  I didn't think I could find anyone like this.  I didn't think I could fall in love with a man AND his child.  I didn't think I could be this comfortable with a man, this at peace with a relationship.  And it reminds me that there is a God who has my best interests at heart.   They make me laugh, they make me proud, and they make me thankful.  They both fill a desire I've had my whole life.  I am not so naive as to think I will be the child's mother--she has one that loves her dearly.  But it is a chance to be a positive influence and to take on a motherly role with a willing child, and to support an amazing man as he goes through the ups and downs of raising a daughter.  It is a chance to love a man with all of this experience and devotion that I've been building all these years.  It's a chance to be the woman my parents taught me to be.  It's also a chance for me to allow a man to love me and to accept me. 

The move has already begun.  My house has already begun evolving into what it was meant to be when I purchased it 9 years ago--OUR home. 

And so, the transition continues.  This time next week, I will be sharing this home permanently with 2 amazing people, a dog, a cat, a hamster, and dozens of stuffed animals.  I will be fulfilling the role I always longed for.

My dad always said that God is never early and never late:  He's always right on time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Walking a Tightrope

I am unique. I have no children. I‘m 38. I cannot have kids and that is definite. And I’m single. I’ve dated men in recent years who had grown or nearly grown kids. The teenagers have presented a challenge, because they considered me to be a threat. And the child always comes first. I recognize that, and try to be patient. But not all kids are willing to have their parent date. If the kids are not ready for the father to date, then the dating will never last. It’s only been an issue for me this past year, as I’ve dated men with daughters still at home.


I have heard the endless horror stories from divorced mothers at work--the “bitch” the ex married and the things she does or says to her step kids. I have heard stories from teens about their lack of respect for their step moms, as well. I’ve heard the jealousy, the bitterness, the hurt. I’ve vowed to never be “that woman”.

Now that I am in a relationship with a man who has a daughter, I find that it’s a very tough balancing act--a very underrated, misunderstood position to be in. How does he keep his daughter first without spoiling her and overlooking me? I can easily put him first, but I will never be first in his life--am I OK with this? How do I obtain respect from her, when she is clearly ahead of me in the food chain and knows it? How do I play this role of potential mother figure, when there are definite limitations on my input? How do I support him and her 100%, and still not lose my own self in the process? How do I do this the right way, and not hurt anyone or get hurt in the process?

Soon, we will function more as a family unit. I’m excited, I’m thrilled, and I’m scared. I cannot let this relationship swallow my sense of self until I don‘t recognize it anymore. I have to be willing to pursue my own interests at the same time I’m giving them the freedom and support to pursue theirs. I am going to attempt to balance family time with friend time with hobby time with kid time with work time with home chores and boyfriend time. Up until now, my home projects were easily put on hold, because time with friends and family was first. My home must be a kid friendly safe zone, not a place to crash until the next morning (as it has been for 9 years). I have to make time for my friends now, where before they WERE my time away from work. I must consider my boyfriend and his daughter in all future decisions and plans. I’m basically going from single, independent woman who calls her own shots to ready-made family.

I am willing to do all of this. I’m up for it. But I know it will involve some growing pains. It will involve some serious balancing on everyone’s part. I am a giver by nature, and must be strong enough to know when I’ve compromised myself too much, and when it’s time to raise my patience levels to accommodate the changes that are going to occur. My friends and family will always be my safety net, as long as I keep them close. I ask God for wisdom in this process.

He is worth it, this man. He is worth the risk I’m taking, the freedom I am willingly relinquishing. So is she. They have taken my heart and given me something I’ve longed for. I don’t want to let them down, and am scared at the same time of being let down as well.

But living is about taking risks, and they are worth the risk.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Winds of Change

Change once again looms. It hovers over me. Sometimes, I sense change before it happens—I feel it in my spirit. I will tell my dad, "The winds of change are blowing" long before they occur, and he realizes that I'm feeling an anxiousness about something that I cannot explain.  Other times, life surprises me. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by life over the past year, as changes swept in and altered my world. 38 has been a good year for me. Some of the change was internal, and some was external—some chosen, and some not. Much of the time, change just happens, and we adapt to it. Life throws us opportunities that are both toilsome and freeing. Some of the changes over the past year were difficult, but they were for my best. Sometimes I don’t see the positive in situations until years later—I can look back and say, “I’m glad it happened, even though it hurt at the time.” But the changes this past year had immediate effects in my life. They led to greater growth and happiness at a fast pace.


The upcoming changes have been looming in my mind as an option for a different future for myself and others. I had hoped for a transition.  Maybe not exactly this way, but “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. True?  This time change hasn’t begun with anxiousness in my spirit or keen senses on my part, it’s a change that I have had to initiate and to want to happen. I have taken the first step, and feel at peace.

I am nervous. I am excited. I am planning and scheming and mulling over the preparations. I feel as if so much of the past few years have led up to this time in my life. The personal growth, the job security, the house, the stability, the family, the friends—it has all been for purposes outside of my own personal fulfillment.

I am embracing this change, and it has me full of anticipation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Reflections


Circa 1973 -  Mom and Dad were 23
 When my father was my age, 38, I was 16.  I saw him as wise, strong, stable.  I saw my parents as old, and wondered who I would be and where I would be at their age.  Oh, the naivety of youth.

I realize now that my dad was likely just holding on.  He was making life work, not having all the answers, but faking his way through it anyway.  I have found a new stability in the past year and a half, and I wonder if he had found that yet.  I have no children, and although part of me still feels 18, I appreciate the wisdom that has come with age.  I wouldn't relive any of my past, because life was hard enough the first 38 years.  But those experiences made me stronger.  Having 16 and 17 year old daughters, did my dad feel 18?  Likely not.  Did he have it as together as I assumed?  Likely not.  But I believed in him.  I knew he would make everything OK.  As long as I had my dad, things would work out.

I now see my dad's white hair, his tired eyes, and the scar on his chest.  One day he will not be here, and I will still be OK.   He has taught me well.  I can take care of myself.  He has seen me through financial, relationship, workplace, and religious caverns.  Because of my dad's consistent love, devotion, care, and respect, I have learned to be the strong woman he had hoped I would become.   His example has shown me what integrity is, what devotion is, what respect is. 

Me and Dad around 1995
I needed my dad at 16 for financial, emotional, and religious reasons.  Now, I need him for wisdom.  I gleen what I can from him.  My favorite times with him are when we are alone, visiting, going over our hopes, our disappointments, our dreams, our failures.  We analyze each others' dreams and each others' experiences.  His knowledge is vast.  Yet he is willing to listen to my take on things.  At these times, our relationship is not just father/daughter.  It's friendship. 

My dad made mistakes.  He wasn't perfect.  But his devotion to us--his family--overrides all of those errors.  His consistency in my life has been priceless.  He believed in me when I didn't believe in me.  He prayed for me when I told him not to waste his time.  He doesn't have to be harsh with us, because we know him well enough to see when we have disappointed him.  That is punishment enough.

I am blessed to have a father I respect.  I am blessed to have his example in my life.  I only hope I can one day be such an example in the life of a child.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Hope

When I was young, I was going to conquer the world.  I was going to prove something--to myself, to my family, to the world.  Then life happened.  And I continued, but held onto those dreams.  I was meant for great things.  I was going to do something BIG one day.  But slowly, life took twists and turns, and waiting for this or that opportunity to arise became lost in the day to day grind of survival, finding myself, and growing.  And as I entered my mid thirties, my dreams had completely changed.  I was no longer expecting to be great--I just wanted to survive.  My expectations lowered, my joy was drowned.

I now realize that doing great things or being a great person can happen, small moment by small moment.  I will not be President.  I will not change the world.  But I can change my own world.  I can change the world for others through my own willingness to help, to love, to be the person I was made to be.  That is as great as any wealthy, powerful person.

I am now seeing how many of my hardships have built my character.  They have prepared me for this moment.  They have calmed me, solidified my values, and led me to my current path.

I am not rich.  I am not going to make the "most beautiful" list.  I am not going to bare a child.  I may never win the lottery.  But I do have a new hope.  But a different hope from my youth.  A hope for the future that involves stability, companionship, and love.  I am able to use the gifts and the experience of my past to be the person I need to be at this moment in time, for those people around me who mean the most to me.

I am blessed. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wall Clouds

I was raised in Tornado Alley. I have vivid memories of being a very young child, sitting in a hallway, bathroom, or closet (depending on where we lived), with a radio giving weather updates, the beeping of the national weather service coming out of the small radio and the deep voiced warning, a flashlight in hand, and blankets. Our family hovered together, listening, waiting, until Dad gave the OK to go back to life as usual. I have seen trees whipped to the side in unnatural ways, wall clouds, green and orange skies, and even dust devils that mimicked tornadoes—albeit miniature versions. I don’t fear the looming threat of tornadoes. It’s a way of life here, and when the season hits, you simply brace for it. The aftermath of tornados is always shocking no matter how long you’ve lived here. Trees uprooted, homes missing, cars squashed, and yet, some things completely untouched.

Life is full of tornadoes. How quickly they come in—sometimes we sense it in the air with the thickness of the humidity, the off-color skies, and the eeriness. Sometimes, they come without warning.

I can survive. If I lose everything, I can continue. My family has lost nearly everything before to circumstance. My friends have had homes burn to the ground. I know that life does continue. And so I don’t fear the doom. I know each day, each event, it is merely a blip in the radar of life. So much happens before and after major events, that they only define you as much as you allow them to.

The winds of change have been blowing. Not just in the air in tornado alley, but in my life. I look around every now and then and marvel at the difference a year can make, a month can make, and sometimes even a few hours can make. We touch the lives of everyone around us in some way. And our character becomes apparent to all around us, eventually.

I am thankful for the foundation my parents gave me. I am not afraid of change. I am not easily shaken by it. I have learned when it’s time to heed the warnings, hunker down, and hold on tight. But I’ve also learned there is a time to leave the bunkers and bask in the beauty of life, and not hold onto the drama of the bunker and carry it with me everywhere. I know some people who hang onto the drama of impending doom, and they let it define them and their actions. They are too afraid to face life. And over time, they attract doom. They attract doomsday followers. They create their own hell.

And so, I am thankful for the magnitude of life, of God. I am thankful for the strength to face life head on, and not cower from it. I am thankful for such grounded parents who made sure I was a pillar and not a sapling that easily bends. I am thankful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Metamorphosis

Life is in a constant state of metamorphosis. I look at my niece, and change is imminent. We saw her as a baby, and wondered what she would sound like when she talked, what she would look like as she aged, what her personality would be. Now, we struggle to remember her infancy, as she tells us stories, draws, dances, and entertains us. We couldn’t rush the growth process, so we enjoyed every second as it unfolded. Life should be approached the same way.

In dating, I am used to being childishly teased, manipulated. I am used to men approaching me with arrogance, bragging on their prowess, and challenging my thinking and reasoning. Men have had no problem standing up to me, but they cannot stand up to their own kids (that makes a parent look like a complete puss in my mind).

I am dating again. And this time, it’s very normal. We are comfortable with each other, and he is very straight forward. I have caught myself ready to defend my past actions or inactions, ready to prove my own strengths, only to realize I need not work myself up. He doesn’t care about competing with me or comparing with me. We are not trying to force answers about the other being “the one”. Such things manage to reveal themselves rather quickly, in my experience. I’m enjoying the normalcy, stability, and company of a wonderful man. We are in an adult relationship, and it’s what I’ve been wanting.

Even with all of this respect, honesty, and openness, I can say he’s more of a “man’s man” than any guy I’ve ever dated. Manly men are irresistibly sexy to me.

So, we have this chrysalis, and we are nurturing it to see if it turns into the butterfly we both have longed for. If not, well, we’ll add it to our list of “lessons learned”. Until then, we are enjoying the process.



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Controlled Chaos

The responsibilities of life have all been muddled in chaos as of late—controlled chaos. But I love it. I work best and most efficiently under pressure. It has come at a good time—when my mind needed a shift. And so, I find myself relishing this time. I had been in an emotional cage, my mind stuck in a constant loop of frustration, and becoming disjointed. My friends were my saviors, not allowing me to sink too far in the mire, opening those cage doors and reminding me that I am free to do and be whomever I please. Now, I’m too busy to get weighed down by the drama of the past. I haven’t the time I had previously for emotional dissection and re-assemblage.

As I age, I find it much easier to pick up my pieces and move forward. It’s rewarding to look back and see where I was and where I’ve come. It’s empowering to know I can do it again, if the need arises. There is strength in experience. There is always hope. I do grow weary of these “growth spurts” that begin with hurt and end with empowerment. But they are part of life. And I am a much stronger woman for each of them.

And so, I am finding comfort and purpose and walking through new doors once again. It’s very liberating.

It has reminded me what is important in life----living. Not just existing, not walking with a blindfold in order to continue in denial, and not living vicariously through others. It’s being alive, appreciating it, and living your life knowing it’s your only shot to get it right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Waste of a Gorgeous Man


I have been doing some research, some delving into my own mind and heart. I have accused the last guy I dated of being a Narcissist, and so I began researching the disorder. The answers I never got from him, I believe I found in my articles. Here is a series of funny but serious quotes on Narcissists:

http://narcissistic.co/narcissistic-quotes-quotations-sayings.html

Narcissists are all about being adored and looked up to. They have a commanding demeanor, and they are charming. But they are also very insecure and need constant adoration. They suck in their prey with grace and charm, but once that prey shows her intelligence and any signs of strength--that she is not going to be a complete subordinate--she is dropped for another. The narcissist cannot stand for anyone to see him for who he truly is. If she is unfortunate enough to be kept around, he will cheat on her, use her, and control her. She will be so horrifically codependent that leaving will eventualy seem impossible. Those like me who were shut out without reason are left to wonder WTF happened. And the truth is, the Narcissist said love, but he didn't mean it. He said a lot of things he didn't mean. He really has no idea how to love anyone but himself. I believe he even loathes himself, but has a huge self-preservation part of him that stems from life's traumas. Narcissists are manipulators. They don't show much guilt or shame, because they are above that.

I believe he stormed into my walls and saw my heart and realized it was too strong to tolerate the likes of him for long. Maybe he found another person who suited his fancy. That's OK, because history shows she will fall victim to his cruelty as well. If not, I pity her for the abuse she will endure.

I do not hate this man, and sadly I do still love who I thought he was. But I do see that his love for me was false. I also see that he needs serious therapy.

It's such a waste of such a good looking specimen, to have a head so fucked up. But it is what it is.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Pistols are awesome

I have desired to learn to use a gun for a while. I live alone. I have 2 dogs who are decent watch dogs, but if someone wanted to get in my house they could, and if the person carried a gun, my dogs would be little defense. I asked my brother in law to take me to a gun range. He was as excited as I was. He showed me his various guns beforehand. We went to the range, and I admit I was a little nervous. I purchased everything he recommended--targets, hearing protection, and safety goggles. We went to an outdoor range he's a member at, and he showed me the basics.

The first few shots he fired had me jump each time. It was just the shock of it. But I soon became used to the shells flying around, the pops of the bullets exploding from the barrel. And I LOVED IT. it was empowering. I shot a Kimber 1911 and a Sig 9mm, and we also shot his AR-15. John is a great teacher, full of patience, and he wants you to know the right way to grip a gun, the rules of handling a gun, the proper stance to ensure a strong frame, and how to use the safety. My coworker Kimberly came as well, and we were like kids in a candy store.

We had a blast, shooting at targets, shooting canteloupe, and cheering each other on. I am now going to purchase my own pistol. I want to take a class with some friends, so we can all learn some basics and get more comfortable with the art of shooting.

I feel like I've accomplished something great, here. I'm dying to do it again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Advice to Men

It has been a crazy few weeks, as I've struggled to find me again, to move on, to not think of him. Just when I'm moving forward, something edges back into my mind and I think of him. I mourn the loss of him as I struggle with the knowledge that I was not important to him. I found this amazing connection with a man, and he chose to ignore me for days. I am not a hook-up that you call when you need something. I am a human being--a viable person. I deserve more than that. I'm not a whore you call when you are alone and bored or need some attention. So I go between anger at him for brushing me aside so easily after claiming my heart, and the love I still hold for him. I wish in some ways he would call and answer my questions and tell me it was a mistake or a misunderstanding. But I wonder if that would be enough--he would have to prove to me he loves me. I don't think he knows how to do that.

Growing up, I struggled to feel important. The focus was always on my dad's job, my mom's stress, my sister's sports. I was always in the background, the good girl, the peacemaker. I tried hard to earn a little attention, but rarely got it. When I dated, I found myself with smart men who were not only controlling but very self absorbed. My husband gave me no attention at all. It's as if I continued my hell with my choices. When I met this man recently, I felt important for the first time ever. I felt wanted for the first time. But then after a few weeks, I was again unwanted, unimportant.

Cheating on me and ignoring me are the 2 worst things a man can do to me. I'd rather be hit than ignored, because at least you care enough to hit.

I want a man who wants me, and isn't afraid to tell me. I want a man who is willing to fit me into his life somehow. Even if it means some random scheduling due to his kids--if he makes an effort to see me and to talk to me, that's priceless. I want a man to say partnership and love, and to be willing to show it to me and not just talk about it. I want a man who is as interested in what I have to say as what he has to say. I want a man who wants to be a part of my life--not just expecting me to fit into his.

I have yet to find this man. and it hurts like hell, because this man talked the talk, but he couldn't walk the walk.

My advice for men:

Don't say LOVE unless you MEAN it.

Don't talk it if you can't walk it.

Don't be too cowardly to be open. If she wants to talk, and needs to talk, and needs something, LISTEN. Show her you care--don't just say it.

Don't leave without a reason.

If you truly love her, involve yourself in her world. Don't make it all about yours.

Listen to her. Ask her questions, and really listen to the answers. Respect her answers.

Don't jump into a good woman's heart, and then run like hell.

If you miss her, tell her.

If you can't do these things, stick to your hook-ups and stay out of the real world of stable, good women.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Screen Doors

Close friends know that I have dreams that have meaning to me. Some dreams are recurring. Some are the result of imagination. But every now and then I have one that strikes me as being more than just a moment of stupidity in my psyche. These dreams are usually very vivid, and randomly haunt me throughout my day.

This morning when I awoke, I remembered a very vivid dream. I dismmissed it as I prepared for my day. But randomly, that dream continued to pop into my head. Finally, this evening, I called my sister and told her about it.

I was repairing a screen door that was framed in wood. There was no solid door in this opening. It was simply a screen door that separated inside from outside. The door looked as if it had been nearly ripped off its hinges and the frame was loose. The walls were made of concrete, so they were solid. But the concrete edges had been chipped away at the door opening. I also remember seeing cracks in the wall near the door. My goal was to better secure the door and frame, and to caulk and seal any gaps. It would not look new when I finished, but it would be solid and sealed enough for use. I put a nail in the door frame to secure it to the wall, and then opened the screen door to see how stable it was. It was not stable at all, and that's when I realized the frame had been nearly ripped out of the openeing. This would require a lot more fasteners. But I had plenty, and I had the time, so I was just going to do it.

Having taught on boundaries, I know that I have nice, thick, concrete walls to protect myself from others. But every wall has a door at some point. If the house in the dream is me, then I had a screen door for an opening. That's not so bad. We are supposed to have boundaries with others, but healthy boundaries are like chain link fences--where people can see in and out, and air can move in and out, but lines are clearly marked.

Someone must have torn through that door with such force that they nearly removed the frame out of concrete. That would take a lot of force, a lot of determination, and a complete lack of respect. It was going to take extra time and work to mend it. But I knew how to fix it.

Doors are for entry and exit, and are how we connect with others. A man recently blasted through my door, took what he wanted, and was gone as quickly as he arrived. It happened so fast and with such determination on his part, that he damaged not just my door but my framework. He had no respect for me. He is a predator. He found my one vulnerable entry, and he bashed it.

This is two fold--I hate to believe that someone I trusted was truly a predator, but I now believe he was. He has some amazing gifts that he has chosen to use for his own personal gain, and intentionally hurting others. I see how he damaged the door to my heart. However, on the up side, I have had to repair the door to my heart before. I know what it takes. I can and will do this.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Girl Power!!!

At the beginning of this year, I decided that this was MY year to get outside my box. Alas, I was doing so well. And then I fell for a guy that I shouldn't have. It ended so abruptly, yet left me with more questions than answers. And so I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on that, and more importantly, on me.

This weekend I had a hair appointment, and my stylist is my age, and we are a lot alike. Not only did she give me some great insight into myself and what I deserve and should expect, but she also reminded me who I am and where I was mentally before dating the jerk. I left her little salon empowered. I bought new clothes, went out with friends to a few straight bars, and was hit on by random strangers, and was given the evil eye by a black woman because her man was checking me out. (Cracked me up! She needed to give HIM the evil eye, because I was not interested in her man.)

So, after a good weekend and some thinking, I went ahead and booked a cruise. I'm going to the Western Carribean in late August--right around my birthday. I will be gone for a week, basking in the sun, drinking until I'm stupid, dancing, and letting loose. I can't wait. I'm going with some cousins on my mom's side, and they are a partying bunch. This should be interesting. :-)

I sat down with my brother in law and we began discussing guns. I've never shot one. But I'm a woman who lives alone in a fairly questionable area. I want one to keep in my house.....just in case. John has several guns and is going to take me and some friends to the range to let me get a feel for different types that he has--glocks, cigs, revolvers, etc. He's going to show us the basics. I'm excited to do this. I have a feeling I'm going to love it. My hair stylist told me it's fun and empowering. My goal is to purchase a gun this summer.

I'm going to make an effort to go to different bars. I have been a faithful friend to my gays, and I'm wearing thin on the gay club scene. I doubt my best friends will be willing to expand their own horizons to join me, but it's something I have to do for myself.

I'm done with online dating. I've decided that the men online are either gross or predators. I don't have to peruse dating websites for a hook up. I can get one at my local QT, apparently. (Anyone who knows me knows I don't hook up with strangers, FYI--to many diseases and a complete lack of self respect.) I've also realized that any man who is on one site is likely on 3 others, so he may not be perusing the one he met you on, but he's likely perusing others as you are dating. Predatorial. That's all I have to say about that.

So, I'm feeling good. Mercury is coming out of retrograde at the end of this week. I have a cruise to look forward to, the last of my weight to lose, and some bar hopping and gun toting on the horizon.

Now I just need the motivation to do some spring cleaning. Ugh!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FRIENDS

I am very fortunate. I have some amazing friends. I wasn't always this fortunate. I used to be such a loner that I didn't make friends easily. A few weeks ago, one of my friends told me, "people come into our lives for a reason, and either a season or a lifetime. I hope you are a lifetime friend." I was so touched. For someone who is rather elusive, that made me feel good. He has a loner spirit in him, so it meant a lot to me. But maybe we connect because I understand where that comes from. It's easier to be alone than to get hurt.


Tonight, I chatted with a friend on facebook. She lived with me for a time, and it nearly ruined our friendship. We were instant friends when we met. But by the time she moved out, there was a lot of awkwardness and frustration between us. We have chatted a few times since, but never anything in depth. Tonight, we chatted and it's like that frustration didn't happen. We picked up the friendship where it should have left off. We have both had a rough month, and we were able to swap stories, share advice, and we remembered what the whole friendship was for to begin with.


I have had another friend since I was 5. She and I rarely see each other. She lives in Texas and so our friendship continues through very random emails. Yet, I consider her a very dear friend. I can tell her anything. We can talk about any subject. And it's as if, each time, we had been talking daily all along. Even though she is married with kids and very involved in her church (can we say opposite me?) we still connect on a very personal level. We have a history.


I also have some male friends who have been with me for about 2 years who could not be more opposite me. Yet, we text daily, we cry with each other, and we allow each other to vent. We play devil's advocate, and yet we don't get too angry. We know each other so well, that we understand the others' intentions. Even in our disgust with each other, we drop it by the next day and move forward as if it didn't happen. My parents have met and love these friends, because they understand that it's more of a sibling relationship than an acquaintance.


And there are the new friends. The coworkers, the people I've finally allowed into my world. They are just as priceless, and they help me get through hard times on the job that others may not understand. But it's more than just a job friend--it's a true friend. I'm skeptical of work friendships, so letting a coworker in is a big step for me. I'm glad I've learned to let a few in.

I have friends in all age ranges. 20's to 50's. All income levels, colors, and sexes. Having such eclectic friends enriches my life.

My dad pointed out the other night that he is so amazed at my friendships. He told me that relying on my friends has been so amazing, because they are always there for me. And he noted how good it is as a father to know that your daughter has people she can rely on, even when others in her life let her down.


The other day, I called my sister. She asked, "What's up?" I started tearing up, and said, "I need my big sister." I hadn't said that in many years. And she was there for me. I learned years ago that my friendship with my sister was a model for any other relationship. We had to make our connection work, for the sake of the greater good. And so, no matter how badly we fought, we knew we loved each other and would eventually make up and be close again. That is how I have to view my friends. If I truly love them, I will let go of the hurts and make it work. I am so glad I've been able to see that. Because I do love my friends, and we have helped each other through break-ups, family feuds, drunken stupors, and life changes.


Thank you to my friends. Young and old. No matter how long we've known each other or how far apart we live. You all make my life more interesting, more fulfilling, and more amazing than it could ever be alone.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Narcissists are Cowards

There is an excitement in a new love. In a new relationship. This time, I fell fast and hard. Why? He reached past the walls that I so adamantly built. He didn't even acknowledge them. He had me admit to thoughts and emotions that I wasn't prepared to admit, by seeing them and questioning them. It was very surreal. It was very scary. And he sucked me in with his voice, with his looks, but more than that, with his amazing gifts and skills. I was awestruck. I fell hard and fast---and I've NEVER fallen that hard and fast for any guy. The things he said, the personal stories he shared, it was all very intimate. He pushed love, the lasting kind of love. About commitment. Said he wished he had been a better man in his youth to deserve me. That he hoped I held on for the ride. That he loved me, and was in love with me. And then, as abruptly as it started, it stopped. I was suddenly left in the dark. I was merely fit into his busy (really? I don't think so!) schedule. Maybe it was the thrill of the hunt he liked, and when he had me it was no longer interesting. Maybe it was that I was too stable and too normal. Maybe I was one of several women he was doing this to at once. Some things that would have been red flags early on were not revealed until after I was sucked in. By then, it didn't matter so much, because I had already made a commitment to him.


Suddenly, it was this realization that I wasn't fitting into his world. I was not a consideration. The man who pushed commitment, suddenly had none for me. I did what I could--I gave, and I gave. And yet, it was futile. His excuses, in hindsight, are ridiculous. His drama is of his own doing. His willingness to suck me in and then discard me was pretty fuckin amazing and manipulative. He is a player. He is a user. He is a taker. He is NOT a giver. I got very, very little out of it past the first few weeks. If it wasn't about him and his greatness, then it didn't exist. And I didn't exist. I wonder how many women he has played this way. I am sad that I was sucked in. I am angry at him for being so selfish. I am really not angry at myself for once, because this was so atypical. It caught me off guard. It seemed too good to be true initially, and it was.


I am strong and resilient. This is not my first rodeo. I'm not this sad, naive, needy child that will hang on for months on end to a man who toys with me. I will let go, and I did. I sent an email expressing my disdain. Did he read it? Likely not, because if it's not uplifting to himself, then he's not interested. But I put in writing my feelings. I explained my hurt. And I told the truth--he is a coward. He would not answer my calls or texts. He could not face me in any way. He showed that his narcissistic personality is so huge, that I don't even deserve an explanation. I really don't think he had one. I think he does this en masse with women. What a lonely, pathetic man he will be one day, when his looks fail him and his reputation precedes him. He could have had an amazing woman with me. He has no idea the level of committment I am willing to give a man, the lengths that I would go to for the right person. But he will never know.


I am a fighter. I am a good person. I am not going to roll over and let a man shit on me repeatedly. I deserve better. I have a lot to offer. I am self sufficient. I don't need a man, I just want one. All I ask from a man is a little attention. That's not a lot, folks. I am a giver, and I will take care of a man who is willing to be there for me. Unfortunately, this man either found me to be not dumb enough, not blond enough, or just too normal. I'd rather be too normal than so messed up that I hang onto a narcissist for years on end, waiting for my turn to get acknowledgement. My parents didn't raise a fool, so I'm not that girl.


And you know what? I'm OK. When I made the decision to cut that cord, I went from sick to my stomach to peace within minutes. Sure, I have a lot of unanswered questions. But I have so much to offer that it's not like I'm going to sit in my room crying for days. I will never get the answers to those questions, and I know this. My divorce taught me that lesson.


So, I move forward. And I have this amazing appreciation for the following songs:


"Oh you probably won't remember me. It's probably ancient history. I'm one of the chosen few who went ahead and fell for you. I'm out of vogue. I'm out of touch. I fell to fast. I feel too much. I thought that you might have some advice to give on how to be insensitive." Insensitive by Jann Arden


"And who do you think you are, running around leaving scars, collecting your jar of hearts, and tearing love apart? You're gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul." Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby Dreams

Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve been dreaming again. For a long time, I didn’t enter REM due to my weight. However, since I’ve lost weight, I sleep better and dream again. Very few dreams stay with me longer than a few minutes after I wake, and those that do only last about an hour in my head before drifting off into oblivion.

I awoke yesterday from a very vivid dream. One of those dreams where you are not sure when you awaken what is reality. I dreamed I was pregnant—something I’ve never dreamed before.

I had just found out I was pregnant—verified by a doctor. I knew it was not possible, because I had no uterus. But for whatever reason, it was true. It rather embarrassed me, because I knew people wouldn’t believe I could be pregnant, and they would wonder who I had slept with (knowing I have no boyfriend, they would assume it was a one night stand). I had been nauseated (which I swore I could feel in the dream), and I knew I was 8 weeks pregnant. I realized that my whole life had to be rearranged for this child—I was going to be a single mom. So I had to consider a baby room, daycare, recovery time, etc.

Now, I am a believer that our dreams can have meaning, or even be foretelling. But I also believe they can just be our emotions coming out as we sleep.

The dream was both really cool, and really weird considering my situation. I told it to my sister, who asked, “What are you about to birth in your life?”

So, it’s either a way of my mind saying to prepare for what’s to come, or I had to poop while I was asleep. I’m betting on the latter.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Babies, Shmabies

My cousin posted this on facebook, "Praying very hard! My sister has a doctor appt today . . . .I just want them to finally experience the joy and the love that many of us have found when we had our little babies. They deserve it sooooooooooo much!"
    She posted it a few weeks ago, and it immediately annoyed me. I know her sister has had a miscarriage, and I know her sister is young. But the things that annoy me are . . . ."pray" and "deserve". Last I checked, not everyone that can procreate deserves to, and not everyone that deserves a child can procreate. And from my experience, praying doesn't solve the biggest issues of my life.

    A girl I went to college with is pregnant and has been posting pics of her ultrasounds. It's her first. And I am happy for these people. I really am. But it reopens wounds when I hear about praying and God's will and deserving. My sister tried for many years to have my niece, and she's tried for years after for another. She is an excellent mom. Do they think we haven't prayed for another child for her? that I hadn't prayed for a decent guy or for my uterus to be saved? I have learned a hard lesson. Life is hard and we shove God into the crevices of our minds--into what we desire. If it works to our favor, then it's God's blessings. If it doesn't work to our favor, then "you can always adopt" is the canned (and very unhelpful) retort.

    I played by the rules provided me by the church. So did my sister. And my marriage still failed. Even bigger to me, my uterus is gone. And hearing about God and his will is very unrealistic in my mind. So much of what I've been taught and believed previously has been proven wrong. So where does that leave me? Trying to just get through life, day by day, and enjoy the time with friends. And not think too much about all I've lost. Not think too much about the false teachings. Not think too much about God.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Phoenix Tattoo



    A Phoenix is a mythical bird with a fire spirit. It lives every 500 to 1000 years, then ignites and burns to ashes. From the ashes, the phoenix is then reborn.


    Several years back, I read the story of the mythological Phoenix. I identified with the necessity of the Phoenix to reinvent itself in order to continue in this world. At that time, I remember thinking that would be an awesome tattoo--something very personal and rather rare. Then I looked online and found out that it is really a very popular tattoo. Ha! But it didn't stop me from wanting one. I considered size, location, and design for years. But a tattoo is permanent.

    After last year's health issues, I finally decided to do it. I got the tattoo. Events in life have left me at many a crossroads, where I could choose to continue with the status quo, or I could follow a new path. I have usually chosen the new path, and each time, that has led me to a new realization of self and desire. Each has forced me to redefine myself in order to continue. And so, I identify with this mythological creature. I'm not the person I was 4 years ago, much less the person I was 20 years ago.

    Life is full of change, triumphs, defeats, and a million other emotions. But I intend to see it through to the end. No matter how many times I must be reborn. There was a time I wasn't willing to do that--I wanted to either die or just exist until someone plucked me from my personal hell. But not anymore. I will survive, if I have to do it alone, then so be it.