Thursday, October 29, 2009

Learning to love my ugly



After writing the tear-laden post last night, Gentleman Jack called, as he normally does.

I was feeling better, after venting all of those ugly feelings, and he was in a very good mood. He was sharing his thoughts about a member of his family and how thankful he was to have me in his life. Again, he reminded me how much of a positive influence I am.

I started bawling.

I confessed everything I wrote in yesterday's post. How could I let him go on about my strength and beauty when I felt so ugly?

"I knew something was wrong!" (Grrr... he always knows. I can't hide from him!)

Then he soothed me, "Baby, you are human. Nobody expects you to be strong all the time. My mind makes up shit about you too when I don't hear from you! Its normal that doubt will creep in. The difference is that I make an ass out of myself by asking you questions about it. Even though I know everything is all right, hearing you say it makes it all better."

Funny. He sees himself as an ass when I think its amazing that he can be so open.

So... maybe its not so ugly after all? As Love Coach Rinatta reminded me in yesterday's comments, I need to look at those fears and soothe the little girl that's throwing the tantrum instead of getting in her face and calling her ugly. How can expect him to love those parts of myself if I don't? And how can I ever fully love him if I don't fully love me?

I also realized that if I hide those fears from him, then I am shutting him out and I don't want to do that. I don't want to hurt him that way. He deserves more of me with every day that he gives so much to me. Part of what keeps us so close is that we share so much of ourselves with each other.

Mutual vulnerability creates intimacy.


"I can't say that I won't get defensive if you're doing that," he confessed, "Because, I am human too. I'm not perfect. But baby, we always talk through it. We always get past it. That honesty and communication is what makes our relationship so amazing! We can get through anything as long as we keep doing that."

I can barely type that without the tears welling up again. Damn I love that man. Seriously... he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

"I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle, but if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best."
~ Marilyn Monroe

And he deserves the best of me because he handles my worst so well.


---

Thank you all for stepping up in the comments to that last post. What an insightful group you are! You all teach me so much.

Mostly, you teach me that I am not alone and that speaks volumes! Thank you for helping me to heal.

---

Happy Halloween!







Some of my fave Halloween couples...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ugly in the Silence

I can be so ugly at times.

*sigh*

One of the challenges I've noticed with a long distance relationship is how Gentleman Jack and I both react to silence.

We text in the mornings or share silly Facebook exchanges before work. During work, one of us will generally text the other just to check in, say hello, see how the day is going or whatever. At the end of the work day, we'll text each other with our evening plans and then we'll talk again at bedtime.

It works for us.

Sometimes, however, those exchanges get interrupted by life. Meetings at work, text messages that get lost in the cosmos only to show up 5 hours later, the needs of our children... you get the general idea.

Most of the time, when there's silence on the other end of our precious communication devices, we get it. We both lead the normal busy lives of single parents. Sometimes, however, that silence gets misread and that's when it can get ugly.

Except...

My Gentleman doesn't make it ugly. He will be the first one to tell me that he's feeling disconnected or he's worried about me or he wishes he could just put his hands on me to know that I'm OK or he feels sad that he hasn't heard from me. I love it. I adore his complete raw honesty and humble words. It always brings me closer to him.

But me?

I make it ugly.

I don't know if it is years of passive aggressive behavior practice or if its fears from the loss of trust in previous relationships or if its because I'm actually certifiably insane.

I hate it. I hate the horrible thoughts that creep into my imagination when I don't hear from him. I hate the anger I feel. I hate the assumptions I make. I hate the tears that well up when I pick up my phone only to see the photo background and 0 text messages. I hate when I say out loud, "Fine then! Who needs you!"

I hate how ugly I get.

Mostly because unlike Gentleman Jack, I don't share those thoughts with him. I won't reach out and humbly say, "Hello? Are you ok? I miss you!"

He admires my strength so much that I refuse to show him my weakness.

No, instead I go into my head. I become aware that I am only shadow-boxing again. I realize all of those ugly thoughts are mine alone. I am fighting all the demons of my "its all about ME" ego. And it feels so ugly, so ridiculous, so unlike the girl that he loves that I refuse to share it with him.

Sort of like putting on makeup before he wakes up in the morning.... except I don't even do that!!

No, instead, in my struggle, I will ignore when he finally does call me. I will play these silly little avoidance games until I can get my head on straight. I do this because he can read me way too well. He flat out KNOWS when something is bothering me and no amount of denial helps.

Then again, part of me wonders if I also do this as some sort of immature passive-aggressive way of punishing him for torturing me with his silence.

Except that he has done nothing wrong!!!!


By the time I do actually answer the phone, I am usually over it, for the most part, and can fake my way back to being fine again. He will be hesitant - completely convinced that something has me upset. Then he'll eventually let it go during the call because hearing his voice WILL soothe me. It always does. And then I'm OK again.

I hate it. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT!!

I am so aware that I do this and I want to change it!

But I'm scared. I'm so scared that he will see this ugliness in me and lose some sort of respect for me or trust for me. I'm scared that he will feel pressure to try even harder to contact me during my self-imposed reactionary silence. I'm scared that he will get more worried and not want to hurt me and then call the whole thing off.

I hate this. Why can't I be honest about this and let him see my weakness? Why can't I share my vulnerability like he can?

I hate being ugly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going private

Next week will be the 2nd anniversary of this blog.

In that time, I have read and written many blog posts, followed some of my favorite bloggers as they switched domains or blogs, met some of my favorite bloggers, made wonderful new friends from around the world and sadly, watched some of my favorite bloggers stop blogging.

I bet you didn't think I could use the word 'blog' so much in one sentence, did you?

Well, another of my favorite bloggers, Depot Dad, has decided to call it quits.

Many of you read about Jim's battle with cancer over the past year or so. Well, he's finally kickin' that cancer's ass and as part of the celebration of his new lease on life, he's going private.

I am beside myself with happiness about his recovery. The man is one of the most special men I have in my life. I can't say enough good things about him that I haven't already said before.

We'll miss your words, Jimbo. Thank you for sharing your journey.

---

Rachel over at Single Mom Seeking, was apologizing yesterday that her blog has changed.

It seems that she is feeling a bit guilty for putting up ads or for her sponsored blog posts.

She's a professional writer. She does this for a living. I would expect an ad or sponsored blog post here and there.

But yeah, I have noticed that she doesn't blog too much about her personal life anymore. She's in a long term relationship with a man who prefers privacy. Of course, she will naturally become more private. Her goal was to inspire other single mothers and share her dating stories. Now, she's focusing on making a new life with her man.

I would assume that her readership will change and evolve, as her blog does, as her life does.

That's not a bad thing, is it?

---

I love blogging as a document of all that I've been through these past few years. There are times when I go back and read some of my blog posts and I'm inspired. There are other times that I'll read and I cannot even relate. And there are yet other times that I can't even believe I wrote that!

I also wonder, as time goes on, if I will eventually go private or more quiet. I have kept journals since I was 7 years old. I can't imagine that I would stop journalling... but would I share it with the world?

Sometimes, there are nights when I have nothing to say and then... a post simply writes itself.

There are other times when I have 10 posts started and not enough time to finish all of them!

Life evolves, changes, moves and my blog will do that as well. Many of you have said that you never know what I may write about from day to day and honestly, I don't either! I do know that at this point, I still view this as mostly a journal where I sort out feelings and thoughts and learn more and more about myself.

I've spent two years and almost 600 posts writing about whatever comes to mind. After all the friends I've made, all the love that I feel from comments and as much as I adore blogging, I don't know if I could go private.

I guess I'll know when I know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who I am/Who I was

Saturday night, I attended a good ole fashioned country cook out with Gentleman Jack and his boys. The cook out was hosted by a few of GJ's hunting buddies at a home out in the middle of nowhere.

We ate all sorts of things you can't find just anywhere: frog legs, fried catfish, doves, boudin, ribs... I ate so much food that I couldn't see straight. Then we stood around a big bonfire or went inside to watch our fave Louisiana college football team on TV. (Geaux Tigers!)

Right before we left, I was summoned out on to the car port where several couples were sipping Patron and dancing to Johnny Cash on the radio.

It was awesome.

I don't know if it was slow dancing in the moonlight with my man or staring at the kajillion stars I could see on the drive back to town but I was inspired. I felt like the world was perfection in those moments.

---

Gentleman Jack and I snuggled up with some relationship pillow talk on Friday night. He pointed out to me that he was happy to see me happy.

"And what I really love about you," he continued, "is that you're accepting so many things that have always been a part of you. I think you rebelled against them for most of your adult life."

He was right.

I grew up in that town where he lives. All seven of my mom's brothers hunted and I fished with my paternal grandfather every weekend in the summers. I always enjoyed a good fish fry, camping out by a lake or river, making s'mores in the light of a campfire, and in general, simply being outside.

I guess Jack assumed I was a big city girl since I moved to Big D. I clean up nice. I like "artsy fartsy" stuff like big band concerts in the garden, strolling in a museum or spending hours in a bookstore. I enjoy a good martini and a gourmet meal. I love a Broadway show or opera. I usually have my head in a book rather than in the TV.

I am also learning to accept that I am all those things PLUS all the stuff I grew up with.

I grew up watching football but rebelled against it and TV because my ex-husband spent HOURS watching it. Now, I savor those moments snuggled up in GJ's arms watching football on TV.

I rebelled against the killing of animals as a teenager and young adult. All of my uncles picked on me with their hunting stories only to watch me squirm. Now, I've found a whole new appreciation for the good ole boys and their crazy hunting stories. I now see the balance provided by those that hunt to eat.

I rebelled against the classic cars that my father obsessed over - repairing, fixing up, polishing, showing off. Now, I've found that I practically drool when I see one driving down the road. My friend J has one that I love to ride in - it smells just like my daddy.

I rebelled against small town life where I was raised and got out of there as quickly as I could. But walking down the dirt trail back to GJ's truck that night, I looked up in the dark through the tall trees and saw millions of stars. I saw more stars than I'll ever see in Big D because there was no artificial light source stealing their brightness.

I breathed in fresh air and felt... at home.*

---

Perhaps the loss of my father two years ago has made me sentimental about how I was raised. There are moments when Gentleman Jack is talking to me that I'd swear he was channeling my father.

Not channeling my father like my ex-husband. My ex-husband was a good model of all the "issues" I had with my father. It was because of my ex that I was able to learn to love and forgive my dad. Now, I have a new respect for who my dad was that I didn't have back then. No, he channels all that I loved about my dad.

So, I guess "who I am" is always changing. I'm also learning that "who I was" has never left me. I can rock a good pair of jeans and boots AND I can work a sexy dress with stilettos. I tell my Gentleman, "You can take the girl out of Louisiana but you can't take the Louisiana out of the girl."

Heh.

Apparently, I'm a lil bit country AND a lil bit rock and roll.


* And no, I am not planning on moving back to Louisiana.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

High School ain't like it used to be...

My sister was heading back to Louisiana over the weekend to reunite with some old friends from school so I tagged along. Its always nice to have yet another excuse to go visit my man.

As I waited for my sister to finish packing her car, my mom and I began giggling again about Rose's new friend. Mom then began telling me what she sees when picking up my niece who's a freshman in high school.

"I am sitting there watching all the kids, and this couple of kids comes out of school. You can't tell if it's one or two people walking, they are so close and wrapped up, just kissing like crazy. And I can also see the stairs on the 2nd floor, big windows, where a couple of kids have stopped, and oh my! I think they are going to take off each others' clothes. WHERE ARE THE TEACHERS?????????? DO THEY DO THIS NOW???????????

In my day, that would have been a good reason to be EXPELLED. I just can't believe what I am seeing, and when (my niece) gets in the car and I tell her about it, she says it goes on all the time, in the hallways, and in school."

Now, my sister lives in a very good school district in the family oriented suburbs of Dallas. I am shocked to hear that this happens and that the students get away with it.

Then again, I have also heard stories about kids being spoiled, given healthy allowances and allowed to do what they please in these upper-middle class areas.

Thankfully, my 14-year old niece has a good head on her shoulders.

Then my mother proceeded to tell me how, when my brother was in high school (mid-late 90's), there was a childhood nursery/daycare in the high school.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

I'm still in shock over that one. So... let's throw a big hissy fit about talking to our teens about safe sex. Let's all get our panties in a wad for making condoms readily available to teenagers. Let's get all judgmental when teens decide to make a vow of celibacy as a group.

But we're gonna enable them by providing daycare for the children they're having???

Yes, I know teenage pregnancy happens. Believe me, this was a subject that I too had to deal with in high school - not me personally but a couple of girls REALLY close to me.

I know it happens. But where in there does the school decide, "Oh well, may as well provide daycare for them..."?

I'm sorry. I can usually see both sides of an argument but this one sent me over the edge.

Does this happen everywhere? Is this a good thing and I'm just not seeing it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Um...Apple... tree

Last night when the girls and I came home from after school care, we had a message on our answering machine. A sweet little voice said,

"Um, hello? This is Michael, from Rose's class. I just wanted to talk to her."

My eyes like saucers, I turned to her and asked her if she gave him our telephone number. She shrugged and said, "Well, he asked for it."

*sigh*

And so it begins.

I dialed his phone number and gave her the phone. She walked around the house, phone to ear, as her little sister trailed behind her. I heard giggles. I heard whispering. I heard frustration at her tag-a-long sibling.

She walked in the kitchen as I was making dinner, put her hand over the receiver and said, "Mom, can you get Grace to stop following me around? I'm trying to talk here!"

Can you say 8 going on 15?


Bah!

Little Michael had to go because his grandma told him to. Rose put the phone back and walked around swooning.

"Hey Rose," I asked her, "So... who is this boy?"

"Oh Mom, he's a boy in my class who has a crush on me."

"Do you like him?"

"I used to have a crush on him too," she paused, "OK, yeah I still do."

*yet another grey hair sprouts on my head*


Then... THEN!!! The little Casanova called back! Again, she wandered the house in giggles and hushed tones. Again, Grace followed her from room to room. Again, she was upset at the lack of privacy.

(Um yeah. Now she knows how Mommy feels!)

I finally put dinner on the table and made her get off the phone. Grace, bless her heart, always assumes that Rose's friends are her friends too. So, naturally, she was asking Rose all about him and said, "I can't wait til he calls us back."

*sigh*

Rose didn't want to divulge too much information about her little suitor. "Mom, its embarrassing. I really don't want to talk about it."

What?

*Boing. Grey hair. Head.*

And she doesn't want me to talk to her dad about it either. Too late. I texted him during the first phone call. Now she's asking me for some sort of mother-daughter confidentiality agreement. She won't talk to me about him unless I promise not to tell her dad about him.

Seriously?!

As we ate dinner, the phone rang yet again.... and 5 more times after that. I finally called him back and told his big sister to pass on the message that 1 call per night is more than sufficient for an 8 year old.

After dinner, Rose was supposed to work on homework. She was unfocused and frustrated because she wanted to talk to him again.

Ok, are you kidding me? Is this what I look like when I can't talk to my Gentleman?!

Oy. Oy freakin' vey.

The frightening part is that I had my first boyfriend at age 8 too. Even weirder than that is that he looked very similar to this little boy who has my daughter all smiles.

And even MORE worrisome is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


Yikes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Relationship Phases

Gentleman Jack and I are nearing 6 months since he first contacted me on Facebook.

In those months, we've gone from getting to know each other to my breaking it off to his confused feelings to let's see what happens to declaring ourselves lovers  to both of us reacting to our fears to finally falling in love.

Whew. What a ride!

---

I can tell that we are moving into another phase of our relationship. The first phase was filled with fear and resisting the "falling in love" thing, while at the same time, both of us trying to fit into each others' lives. The sex was phenomenal in that fun, lusty way and our only focus was pleasing each other. Though we were being honest and keeping it real, there is a natural tendency, in the beginning to be as perfect as possible.

Now, we're not fearful anymore, we've fallen for each other and the sex is... well, the sex is fuckin' awesome and getting better all the time.

*ahem*

But we are now redirecting our focus back to our lives and our families. When we've been together lately, one of us will usually have our kids. We don't do PDA with the kids around. We're spending time doing family-oriented things now. We talk at more depth about ongoing issues with being a single parent, employee, somebody's ex, etc. We're noticing more things that we don't want to compromise on - little things like my wanting the toilet paper a certain way or his wanting to watch college football or golf on Saturdays.

We're getting back to a "new" normal: A normal life, as we each had before, but with another person added in.

---

I've found these relationship phases fascinating, mostly because I don't remember these during the courting/dating phase with my ex-husband. That was 20 years ago! I have a much different awareness now than I did then.

Even after my separation/divorce, it has been a while since I've experienced the normal phases of a relationship. (I can't say that anything about my last relationship was normal.)

I found a few articles - some quite funny - about relationship phases. This article in particular mentions 3 phases:

  1. The "There's Only You" Phase.
  2. The Me/Us Phase.
  3. The Companionship Phase.

We are exactly in the "Me/Us" phase.

I've noticed my analyzing how we're opposites and how I react to his life struggles. We've experienced an imperfect weekend together where neither of us were feeling well. We're both figuring out that the other person isn't perfect and both of us are, in effect, saying, "This is the real me."

It is during this phase that one or both of us could look at the other person and wonder, "Am I with the right person?"


Recently, I was worrying on whether or not I could actually "call it" if I felt my Gentleman wasn't the right person. What if I was just settling?

Our relationship is wonderful but that legitimate fear was there. According to my friends, I should have called off my last relationship WAY earlier than I did. Could I trust myself to know when I should end it?

That's when I finally realized that yes, I certainly could. I called the end of my marriage and I called the end of my last relationship. Only I know my breaking point and when it hits, I am able to pull from a deep inner strength to end things. Facing that fear gave me comfort. Now I can trust myself again. Now I can give my heart and know that I will be OK.


I am happy to be tuned into these phases. I am glad to know that each little struggle or change is perfectly healthy in creating a long term relationship. I am thankful that each time one of us has a fear or hurt, we're able to talk about it. That trust and honesty keeps us close.

For now, we'll keep loving and growing.

---

Maxim Magazine did their own hilarious version of the 5 Stages of Most Relationships. As someone who was married for 13 years and now divorced, I had to laugh at these. Too funny not to share:


 
 

 


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wellness Arsenal

As you can see from my bookshelf, I have a major interest in homeopathy. This leads to an interest in all things natural medicine related. And this leads to many phone calls from family and friends asking my advice on what to do when they're ill.

I am not a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV.

However, I'd prefer to be proactive rather than reactive. Thus I offer the things that I do so that the kids and I stay healthy - especially during flu season. *




Humidifer

I run a humidifier all winter season in both mine and the girls' bedrooms. Winter air or the heater in our house dries out mucous membranes. Germs can attach and hold on easier to dry membranes.

 
Neti Pot

I LOVE my Neti Pot. I can't say enough good things about it. During allergy season or otherwise, it flushes out the sinuses of germs and allergens. I haven't tried it with my daughters yet but for them I use a saline spray.


 
 Oil of Oregano

When I do begin to feel congested, I will begin taking Oil of Oregano to prevent infection. I also consult with my homeopath about which remedy to take to clear out the congestion. Thankfully, Oil of Oregano and homeopathy have saved me from needing antibiotics for quite some time.



 

Oscillococcinum

A homeopathic remedy that helps if anyone in my house begins to show signs of the flu: body aches, fever, chills. If any of us begin to feel flu-ish, I will also give this remedy to the rest of us as a preventative.



 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another great natural remedy for a ton of different uses. When I feel a sore throat coming on, I will add a little apple cider vinegar in water and gargle. Apple Cider Vinegar kills bacteria in the throat. Also, if I feel achy from too much exercise or being flu-ish, I will add 2 cups of ACV to a hot bath and soak for 20 minutes or more. It helps to pull toxins from the body. Love this stuff.



 
Sambucol

Sambucol is black elderberry syrup. Lately, I've noticed more generic elderberry syrups at the store. One of my favorite remedies, Sambucol was written up in an article on WebMD about how it fights the flu. Sometimes, I add it to smoothies or I add other dark berries (blueberries, acai, pomegranate) and other fruits high in antioxidants. (Love Welch's black cherry grape juice. Yum.)

I have given this remedy at the first sign of a cold in my daughters and it chases it away. A few sneezes + a few doses of Sambucol = COLD BE GONE! I will rely on a Sambucol/Oscillococcinum protocol should the flu make an appearance in our house this year.



Emergen-C

I use this all year long. My homeopath told me that one way to fight allergies is healthy doses of vitamin C. I also drink lots of extra water when I'm taking extra vitamin C.

I make sure all of us take a multivitamin and fish oils (omegas). I take extra vitamin D and a calcium/magnesium supplement. We drink Kefir or take acidophilus pearls to keep our digestive systems functioning well. A healthy digestive system goes a long way!

I saw on The Dirt Doctor (local organic gardening expert)'s website that "Drinking warm liquids... wash(es) off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm." So hot tea or hot lemonade with honey is definitely in order this winter season too!

I do what I can to keep our immune systems strong so that we are less likely to be down for long if any one of us does fall ill. If these items don't help, I have a homeopath and wonderful doctor that we love! Our homeopath is a long time friend whom I met while studying homeopathy. And our medical doctor also studies homeopathy so... we get each other. I am blessed to have both of them in my arsenal.

The girls and I hug, love, eat balanced meals, eat sweets in moderation, laugh, snuggle and play to stay healthy too! Gotta stay strong!

Because when a single parent falls ill, who's gonna take care of us??



*Note: these are tried and true remedies that I use at home. Please check with your doctor if you may possibly have allergies or reactions to any of the above items.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Haunted memories; Lessons learned

Last week, I heard the new Kelly Clarkson song, Already Gone. The lyrics reminded me of how I felt at the end of my marriage.

After we separated, I felt stripped of everything. I couldn't let go of the future we'd planned. I also couldn't let go of the past we'd had.

It was only when I could stay in the NOW that I felt OK. I had to take each moment one at a time until... there I was. Actually OK.

When I realized that I needn't regret my past? When I let go of what I thought was going to happen? That's when I found my peace.

This song is a great reminder that I survived something I thought I couldn't.


Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Already Gone

Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories they're haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye

Even with our fists held high
It never would've worked out right
We were never meant for do or die

I didn't want us to burn out
I didn't come here to hold you, now I can't stop

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

Looking at you makes it harder
But I know that you'll find another
That doesn't always make you want to cry

Started with a perfect kiss then we could feel the poison set in
Perfect couldn't keep this love alive
You know that I love you so, I love you enough to let you go

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

I'm already gone, already gone
You can't make it feel right when you know that it's wrong
I'm already gone, already gone
There's no moving on so I'm already gone

Already gone, already gone, already gone
Already gone, already gone, already gone, yeah

Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories they're haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

I'm already gone, already gone
You can't make it feel right when you know that it's wrong
I'm already gone, already gone
There's no moving on so I'm already gone

Sunday, October 18, 2009

HOT Curves



As an admirer of women, I immediately fell in love with this photo. These are the new "plus size" models as featured in Glamour magazine. Each of the women in the above photograph wears anywhere from a size 12 to a size 16.... and they're all GORGEOUS.

---

Over the weekend, while fall cleaning, I found my size 14 shorts. As I held them up to me, Rose commented, "Mommy, did you wear those when you were pregnant?"

Heh. No. I actually wore them when I wasn't pregnant.

Often, when people remark about my current weight, I find myself defending that I'm thin. No one, even my children, can imagine me as heavy as I was.


But yes. I was.


Very much so.





Why do I defend?

I don't know really. Its not like I deserve any kind of medal for losing weight when people are trying to do it all the time. I guess I want to share my story and relate to the struggle in some way. I want to let people know that I worked hard to get to this place.

And no, I can't lie. I did feel blessed when I was measured at the gym last week. I'm 5'5", 124 lbs and have 16% body fat.

When the trainer told me, quite frankly, I was downright giddy. I am excited to see my workouts and eating habits leading to a healthy, fit body.

The trainer at the gym pulled up my previous assessment from 2005 when I was 15 lbs heavier. Prior to 2005, I was even 35 lbs heavier, coming down from a pregnancy where I had gestational diabetes and my cholesterol was too high.

At my last physical, a few months ago, I was told that my blood screen numbers were amazing. I now know being thinner is healthier for me.

(It was Weight Watchers that taught me how to eat better (moderation & more often).)

Though it is painful to look at these photos of me, I also remember that men found me attractive. Though my weight was not healthy for me, I still felt sexy and carried myself in a confident, flirtatious way.

It was when I was around others who look like I do now, that I also remember hopelessness and despair. Perhaps I am still projecting that on those who comment about my current weight.

Comparing is NEVER a good thing.

I guess I need to look at these old photos differently and not judge myself. I mean, if anything, the women in the above photo prove that curves are beautiful. I guess I just wondered sometimes if they looked beautiful on me.

---

Now, I am athletic and thin but I am still a naturally curvy girl. My guy friends joke that I swish the air around with my hips and ass when I walk by. I like having full breasts.

And I like seeing curvy women too.

Some of these girls were former "regular" models who starved themselves to stay thin. There was this model who claims she was recently fired for being fat. (No effin way! Yep. Way.)

Hey, if you're not built that way, don't freakin' force it.


Be what keeps you healthy and makes you feel good.

I know from experience that there are men that like curves and soft flesh. I know there are men that feel a woman is more feminine when she's not bony. I say HOORAY for Glamour and Dove for recognizing that curves are sexy.

(Dove is also campaigning that growing older is beautiful too. And they now have self-esteem workshops for young girls. I think someone should do this for boys too.)

Maybe the new acceptance of curves will help me to look at those old photos and smile. Maybe I can, instead, learn to accept myself for what I looked like then.

And stop defending what I look like now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where the Wild Things... Cry?



I took my daughters to see Where the Wild Things Are movie tonight.

We've enjoyed the book and the trailer looked fun, so we were all looking forward to seeing it. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how anyone could take what's virtually a 10 sentence book and make it into a 90 minute film.

The movie centers around Max, as does the book, however the movie takes you further into Max's story. Max is the youngest child of a single mother. He is imaginative, adventurous, lonely and seemingly misunderstood. In a fit of anger he escapes and winds up on the island of the wild things.

I won't say much more about the storyline for those of you who want to see it.

I found the movie to be very melancholy. So melancholy, in fact, that both my 4 year old and my 8 year old girls were crying the last 15 minutes of the film.

Let me rephrase that: my 4 year old was downright bawling, clinging, hugging and a little pissy after the movie. It probably didn't help that it was bedtime but still. She wasn't scared of anything, just really, overwhelmingly sad.

I had to explain that the general theme of the movie was LOVE. I know it seemed sad. People are sad when they don't think they're loved. I understood this theme, I think, a little better than they did.

Yes, I had tears in my eyes too.


The cinematography reminded me of The Piano. Gosh I loved that movie. I loved that it drew you into its moods with its bluish tint and gorgeous scenery. This movie drew me in the same way. The entire movie was colored by the scenery, whether it was early morning, sunset, or nighttime.

The costumes were perfect. It matched the book exactly. Max Records is the young boy who portrays Max in the movie. Again, that kid won me over much like Anna Paquin did in The Piano - and she won an Oscar for that performance.

I was also very pleased that the main "Wild Thing" Carol, was voiced by the most perfect actor for that role. You'll be able to pick him out, especially towards the end of the movie.

The music is moody, ethereal, awesome. It goes perfectly with the scenery. I knew from the very first trailer that I would love the soundtrack of the movie. The entire soundtrack is the work of Karen O and the Kids. Karen O is the vocalist for the indie rock band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Overall, I was wondering if the moodiness of the movie was too much for my girls. Surprisingly, most of the theater audience tonight was adults. The movie is rated PG and I only heard one pretty innocent curse word. Some scenes are a little crazy - wild things do like a "wild rumpus".

My girls are exhausted in their beds and sleeping soundly. They did ask me, before they went to bed, if we could buy the DVD when it comes out. They both said they thought it was a "such a great movie".

See for yourself. And don't get eaten up!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bookshelf

Apparently, you can tell quite a bit about a person by what's on their bookshelf.

Though my camera isn't near as pro as RE's, I took some pics of my books too.

I can't say this is a complete representation. I have yet to unpack boxes of art books, old journals, biographies and fictional works that I've read in the past. But alas, these are the ones I've referred to or read in the past year and a half.





From right to left:

- Clitoral Kiss: A Fun Guide to Oral Sex
- 101 Nights of Great Romance
- Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems
- 2 CPR training guides
- Skywriting by Word of Mouth - John Lennon
- PADI Open Water Dive Manual
- Dictionary
- Thesaurus
- Remembrance of God
- My Bible from my first Communion
- Journal from my last vacation
- My childhood Bible
- Ayurveda
- 365 Deployment Days
- Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know
- God Loves Laughter - William Sears
- Forgiveness and Jesus - Kenneth Wapnick




From r to l (Starting with big blue plastic binder):

- My scuba diving journal
- The New Jerusalem Bible - given by my mother in law when I married her son
- An Introduction to the Buddha and his Teachings
- The Celestine Prophecy
- Conversations with God, Book 1
- Conversations with God, Book 2
- Conversations with God, Book 3
- The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
- 4 of my elementary school yearbooks
- Holy Bible King James Version - given by my mother when I got married
- (on top) Rose's Bible



From r to l:

- Repertory of Homeopathic Materia Medica
- The Complete Homeopathy Handbook
- The Alchemist - Pablo Coehlo
- A Course in Miracles
- Grace's Bible
- The Shack - William P. Young
- Manslations - Jeff Mac
- Ending our Resistance to Love - Wapnick
- I Am That - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
- Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines
- A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
- Single Mom Seeking - Rachel Sarah




From r to l:

- New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory - William Boericke
- The American Institute of Homeopathy Handbook for Parents
- Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants
- The Homeopathic Emergency Guide
- The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines
- Booklet on the uses of Tea Tree Oil
- 2 of my journals: one from high school & one from my early 30's
- Its Called a Breakup because Its Broken - by Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
- Your Children Will Raise You
- Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You'll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself! - Marie Forleo
- A Course in Love: A Self-Discovery Guide for Finding Your Soulmate
- Form Versus Content: Sex and Money - Wapnick
- 2 Spanish to English dictionaries
- Absence from Felicity : The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles - Wapnick





From top to bottom:

- Prescription for Nutritional Healing
- Naked Babies (art book)
- Mothers (art book)
- George Rodrigue: A Cajun Artist (art book)
- Photo Album
- Stack of magazines on Natural Healing and Homeopathy


Not pictured are the other books from around the house:

- Age is just a Number - Dara Torres
- Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women - Tristan Taormino
- Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion
- Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman
- Walden - Thoreau
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book
- Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself
- Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick
- The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality
- The Kama Sutra


So... did you learn anything about me? Questions? Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Enabler no more

Gentleman Jack's nickname for me is "Angel".

He says one of the reasons he's drawn to me is because of my strength, positive nature, forgiving and loving attitude towards all people.

Well, sometimes.... I don't feel like that person.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I was a healer in a past life. I do feel good when I can get "T" out of the way and let healing words come through me. My friends also call me for uplifting thoughts or perspective.

However on occasion, I just don't have it in me.

I try but I have moments where I'm focused more on my HUMANess instead of any sort of ANGELic nature.

Sometimes my weakness blocks all of my strength.

---

Jack and I both have our low moments. As single parents, we each experience overwhelming times and feeling like you can't keep up. Usually when one of us is low, the other one steps up to help right the emotional ship. Well, with all of my overthinking last week, I wasn't able to help him emotionally.

During last week, I had the most interesting revelation. Though I continued to be supportive and loving in my words and actions...

I had no desire to fix it for him.

My natural tendency is to want to make it better. I remember when my ex-husband would have issues related to money, family, whatever, I would step up and take care of it for him. Then I would resent him for it later when my own needs weren't met.

But I do feel hurt when someone else hurts. I have always been an empathetic person. However, I think I've learned that being empathetic doesn't mean solving the problem for them.

What lesson does that offer the other person? And how much more exhausting is that for me?

Doesn't my wanting to fix it for him basically imply that I have little faith that he can do it himself? Wouldn't it be better for me, instead, to empower him, focus on his strength and remind him that he can do whatever he sets his mind to?

Still, when I see his struggle, when I feel that I could just do this tiny thing to help alleviate some of the stress in his life, even though it would cause me exponentially more stress, it hurts me. I want to help. I want to tell him, "Just allow me to take on that stress for you."

I have to remember that it is HIS LIFE. They are HIS CHOICES.

My choice is not to be an enabler.

As A Course in Miracles reminds me, I cannot teach behavior. I can only demonstrate.

And so, I must focus on my thoughts and my perspective and my stresses. I don't depend on him to fix the challenges in my life. I tend to lean on my faith for my peace of mind. I try to trust that things will work out as they've always done.

I know that he can do this too. I don't have anything any more "special" about me than he does. I don't know any particular trick to get life to work for me.

I just pray. A LOT.

He can do this too.

Maybe then he will become inspired to take on those challenges with a different attitude. Maybe then he can see that I'm no more of an "angel" than he is.

Maybe then he will see that he inspires me too.


When you are in alignment with who-you-really-are, you cannot help but uplift those with whom you come into contact. Your value to those around you hinges upon only one thing: your personal alignment with Source. And the only thing you have to give to another is an example of that alignment—which they may observe, then desire, and then work to achieve—but you cannot give it to them. Everyone is responsible for the thoughts they think and the things that they choose as their objects of attention.
~ Abraham-Hicks

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This, that and feelin' my age

I went to the U2 concert last night at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. Damn, that place is IMPRESSIVE. I'd swear there was a mile distance from my seat to the top back row! Wow!

My seat, by the way, was 6 rows up from the floor. Woohoo! I took this picture with my phone as they were getting the stage ready for the band. Unfortunately, I didn't think to bring my camera to my very first U2 concert.

Yep, that's right. As a fan for well over 20 years, this was my very first show. What a show it was!

*Kicking myself that I missed so many great tours prior to this*

Youtube already has lots of videos from the show: U2 360 Tour Dallas 10/12/2009

Including this One:





---

I met with a fellow military supporter/blogger for lunch today.

I wrote about Hope last week when I realized that some still consider me a voice in the military community.

Looking at her blog, we have quite a bit in common... but its the troops that we talked about during lunch. I was reminded how much fun it was to put together care packages. I was also reminded how you have to hold your shit together to support a man at war.

And she wanted to hear about Gentleman Jack too!

Go check her out and donate what you can to keep those soldiers happy!

---

While at Jack's over the weekend, I hogged his computer all day Saturday to keep track of the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. It was so inspiring to see the female champion break the course record.

There were so many other amazing stories of athletes competing in this event after overcoming obstacles of all kinds - cancer, stroke, losing limbs!

The inspiration isn't lost on me as I am still trying to get back to my pre-surgery athleticism again. The biking feels good to me. The running I'm getting used to. But the swimming... feels like someone has set my abdomen on fire.

---

Reflecting on that, how much I aged while supporting a soldier and my aching neck from last night's concert, my body is reminding me that in 2 1/2 months, I will be a 40 year old woman.

Eesh.

That's ok. I'm just feeling my age today. Look out world when I get back to feeling like my usual age 20-something 30-something self.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Change happens

Today as I was catching up with my co-workers, I told them about my trip back to Louisiana to visit Gentleman Jack this past weekend.

Friday night, Jack and I spent a nice evening, just the two of us. On Saturday, he had both of his boys. Saturday evening was spent watching the LSU/Florida game with Jack, his boys and his mom.

I noticed my co-workers' look of shock as I told them this.

"What?! You've met his family already?!"

Already? Yes. We've been seeing each other for 5 months. I've actually met his ex-wife, her boyfriend, his mother and both of his children already.

Then I recalled my own fears from last week. I was nervous too about my girls spending more quality time with GJ. What if they fall in love with him?

My girls DO love my Gentleman. His mother thinks I hung the moon. His sons (and their daddy) were practically glued to my legs as I tried to leave yesterday. His ex gives me hugs and tells me that she trusts me to "be around (her) babies."

I can't predict the future but as with anything, I'm doing my best with what I know now.

---

This seems to be a hot topic among the single parent blogosphere:

How soon do you introduce the kids to the person you're dating?

Some people says 3 months. Some say 6 months.

I find that funny because my daughters want to know what I'm doing and with whom I'm spending my time ANYTIME I'm not with them. Of course, I reserve the right to say, "Nunya" but... as I've said before, the children of single parents get exposed to things that other kids don't.

I am quite sure my daughters are more "up in my stuff" than other children are with their 2 parent families.

Why do we worry so much about introducing our children to someone that they may actually like? Are we worried that they might get attached?

Then it occurred to me: People come and go.

Isn't this a good lesson for them to learn?

---

I had a nanny the first 6 months of Rose's life. She spent more quality time with her than I did. She still shows up now and again with little gifts.

Since then there have been numerous teachers that both Rose and Grace have grown attached to. Some of those teachers have moved on or found other jobs.

They have friends that they spend every day of the school year with... only to find that friend is moving away or going to another school the next year.

Sure they get sad about this. Change is sad. Period.

But it happens ALL THE TIME!

Why would we try to hide that from our children?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Overthinkers Anonymous

Do you worry all the time?

Do you find yourself constantly wondering the "hows" of your future?

Do you replay past moments over and over in your mind and wonder if you could have acted differently?

Is analyzing what someone said or did something that you find yourself doing when you're supposed to be working, relaxing or spending time with your family?

Is your partner frequently asking you, "What's wrong now?"

Then you too could be an "overthinker".

Its OK. You are not alone. There are many overthinkers out there, just like you. That is why we've founded:

Overthinkers Anonymous


It is easy to spot an overthinker. Overthinkers are those that have frown lines, a furrowed brow and are frequently found staring off into space. They may be biting their nails, chewing on their lips or some other really annoying nervous habit.

Sometimes, you may even find smoke coming from an overthinker's ears.

You can usually tell when you or someone you know is overthinking because at the slightest touch, tears begin to well up in their eyes.

The overthinker may also react with rage or frustration when you try to break their concentrated overthinking.

Is this you?

You take everything personally, don't you? Everything those around you says or does sets you off on some emotional tailspin.

You may not even realize that your heart is pounding.

Your face is turning blue because aren't even breathing normally.

Are you questioning everything and every question begins with the word "should"?

Stop "shoulding" yourself! Your overthinking can be controlled.

The first step is to admit that you have a problem.

The second step is to stop judging yourself for overthinking.

The third step is.... well hell, when you find out, will you come tell me? I've been thinking so hard about it that my head hurts!!


Once you realize that you have the control, you will find that smile forming once again across your lips.

No more will you bite the head off of those around you.

Finally you can look at the people around you, loving you, supporting you, and not attacking you, and feel gratitude for their patience with you.

You can "turn that frown upside down" and breathe deeply again.




And as far as the frown lines and furrowed brow? Well, they make Botox for that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

For my daughters: A Good Man

My children have fallen in love with Gentleman Jack.

I mean, who can blame them? I certainly get it. He's good people. He treats them with respect and gives them boundaries.

Not many of my friends or family give them boundaries. Most of the time, my girls' cuteness overrules any sort of boundary with other people. They can usually get away with murder and my friends will say, "Oh its no big deal! They're so darn cute!"

Its terribly exhausting. My kids don't act like that with me.

GJ is silly and listens and plays and redirects their boundless energy. He allows me to step back and relax instead of being a hovering mother trying to protect my friend from two wild children. He enjoys them at their level but continues to maintain adult authority.

I love that. I can actually breathe.

After he left on Sunday, Rose walked around the house swooning and asked me, "Mommy, don't you just feel so lonely when Jack isn't here?"

Wow.

---

A few days ago, I was browsing some other journals and things I've written. I found this...

A list of questions for my daughters to ask themselves before they get married.

I wrote this shortly after separating from my ex-husband.

I feel good reading it because, well, it tells me even more that I'm with the right man. And that my children have yet another great example, other than their dad, of what a good man should be.



Here are some things I would like you to look for in a husband/partner:

  • Does he treat you, your family, your friends and the things you care about with respect and love?
  • Does he love you so much that you feel wonderful or are you always trying to get him to love you more?
  • Does he have a good relationship with God?
  • Does he know himself, his limitations and strengths and accept himself for who he is?
  • Does he accept you for who you are or is he trying to change you?
  • Do you accept him for who he is or do you think you will change him?
  • Is he responsible enough to take care of his own finances and is in good financial standing? (He doesn’t have to be rich, just know how to budget and handle wisely the money he does make or have.)
  • Are you willing to love him through thick and thin? Is this someone you will always cherish?
  • Can you love this person even if they may do something that hurts you deeper than you’ve ever been hurt? Is this someone you could forgive anything?
  • Is this person willing to grow with you as you discover your path in life?
  • Are you willing to do the same?
  • Is this someone you can talk to about any subject at all? Even the things that might be a bit uncomfortable for you, him or both of you.
  • Do you fight with listening ears and without calling each other names?
  • Is he strong enough to admit when he is weak? Is this a man who could actually seek help when he needs it?
  • Are you strong enough to let him be the man?
  • Can you be weak, say you’re sorry and know that you are still loved?
  • Has he ALWAYS been honest with you – no matter what the situation is?
  • Are you able to ALWAYS be honest with him?

With all that you've learned about life and relationships, is there anything you'd add?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Perfect imperfection

I didn't mean to exhaust everyone with my over-thinking from the past few days. Believe me... you couldn't have been as near exhausted as I was. Sheesh.

Even Gentleman Jack remarked, "You know this whole thing goes a lot better when you aren't thinking so much."

Heh.

I guess you all have figured out by now that this past weekend with Jack was less-than-perfect. But less-than-perfect doesn't mean "bad".

I need to remember that.

---

Last week, I was in a weird place, physically and emotionally. Allergies were wearing me out and I was trying my damnedest to stay healthy.

Subconsciously and emotionally, I think I had declared this time of year as "breakup season". After all, I suffered a break up two years ago and then last year around this same time. Isn't it funny how we allow our memories to damage the perfection of now?

Because of that, I was also worried about spending the weekend with Jack and my kids. My girls have met Jack before, however this was going to be much more quality time. I was feeling very gun shy.

*What if??? What if??*

Yeah. You get the idea.

Friday night was especially difficult for us. We'd been physically apart for 3 weeks - weeks that felt like torture for me. I'm not sure I could handle more than that length of time apart. I missed him more than I expected.

He had resigned himself to the time apart and was handling it better than I was. I read into his resignation. He read into my weakness...

*What if??? What if??*

He sat in Dallas' Friday 5 o'clock traffic (a.k.a. "hell") for a while growing more and more impatient that he couldn't get to me. Then he could sense my emotional unrest (darn him for being so clued into me!) and thought that I was less-than-happy to see him.

We reacted to each other. We were both snippy and irate and couldn't connect.... though we tried. My goodness did we try!! Over and over again til we were both spent.

Thankfully, Saturday morning brought a clearer mind and a sunshiny day. We picked up the kids from my friend Gem's place and set about our day. After a pumpkin patch and a movie, my Gentleman began admitting that he too was feeling physically unwell. We spent the rest of the day at the house, me babying him and the girls putting on a karaoke show for us.

The next morning, we enjoyed a restaurant breakfast before he headed out of town. He was still not 100% well. The drive through pouring rain and a few more nasty traffic jams had him burning up my phone with irritated texts.

I felt bad. Maybe he didn't enjoy coming to see me this time. Maybe this is it.

*sigh*

*What if??? What if??*

That Sunday night on the phone, he could hear the fear in my voice. I didn't want to talk about it but as usual, he insisted.

"Are you worried," he asked, "because we didn't have a perfect weekend? All of our weekends have been perfect so far, baby. We're allowed to have one that isn't."

But me? I can't stand it. I get fatalistic. I feel as if I've disappointed. I worry that it is surely the beginning of the end.

GJ responded, "Not me! Perfect makes me nervous. It is in the imperfect times that you really see the strengths or weaknesses. That's when you get all of the answers you are looking for."

God help me, I love that man for all that he is teaching me.
 

---

And your comments on this post have helped so much! Thank you for inspiring me with your comments and your posts!


Enjoying the Precious Moments

Almost Love

Mr Man

The Woo Factor

Life of Imagined Misfortune

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fork in the Blog

A reader directed me to one of my favorite quotes after yesterday's worrisome post. From another A Course in Miracles student and teacher Marianne Williamson:

"We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life or you can focus on what's right."

She is right of course. I do know that every moment I am choosing between heaven and hell. In every "now", I am choosing between the ego and my Spirit - the angel on my shoulder or the devil.

And so I present to you, dear reader, a fork in the blog.

I wrote two blog posts: one from fear and the other from love.

Which teacher do you choose?

  • Do you choose the ego who teaches fear, the what if's, the past and the future? The ego who analyzes and separates and divides? The ego who convinces you to doubt, worry and defend? The ego who throws tantrums and screams loudly, "What about ME???"

  • Or do you choose your True Self? Your Spirit who rests quietly in the certainty of this moment? The divine You who knows that all is well and you are always surrounded by love? The quiet and gentle laughter of God who waits patiently for you to listen beyond your screaming ego?
  • I do that too. Unfortunately, not often enough. When I chose to listen to Spirit, I wrote this post: The Cure for Paranoia

As always, in every moment, it is your choice.


"The ego analyzes; the Holy Spirit accepts."
~A Course in Miracles

The Cure for Paranoia

All of your comments on yesterday's post all said basically the same thing. I am over-thinking. I am worrying too much. It becomes a spiraling effect. I actually have to get it out before I realize that I'm doing it.

Once I do that, then everything begins to point me in the right direction.


Last night I went to my A Course in Miracles study group. I realize that the group, as well as the blue book that we read from, are all but symbols in my mind that point me back to God. All I know is that when I'm there, I am in such a state of peace, joy and love.

My friend D hosts the group and, since he's been my friend for well over 20 years, knows me well. He could tell that I was struggling. It's not only the relationship situation either... I am still having difficulty with my vision board. When I wrote of creating another vision board at the beginning of September, I thought for sure it'd be done by now.

Nope.

Just as with my relationship with my Gentleman, I am struggling with many questions about my future.

What do I want?

Where do I want to be?

What if... WHAT IF???

"Start with the content of what you want," my friend D told me. "Isn't it peace that you want? Isn't it love? Now go ahead. Set material goals. But remember the content and purpose behind every one of them.

What's outside of you will not make you happy. You have to choose to be happy NOW."

Then I came home and snuggled up in my bed to watch the end of Grey's Anatomy on my DVR. The voice over was speaking directly to me....

"It's pointless in the end. Because all the worrying and all the making of plans for things that could or could not happen.... it only makes things worse.

So walk your dog or take a nap. Just whatever you do, stop worrying.

You need to stop thinking about what is going to happen and you need to focus on what is right in front of you.

Because the only cure for paranoia is to BE."


Then this morning's Note from the Universe:

"Tell you what, T: If you can get happy right now, in spite of any problems, challenges, and circumstances that now seem to taunt you, I'll take care of those problems, challenges, and circumstances, as well as "ever-after."

I have to laugh. The message is coming through loud and clear.

Thank you.

Foundation cracks and settling

"I am not one of those who dates for the sake of dating."

I have said that through my entire dating life. If we don't *click*, if there isn't a *connection*, then we simply will not date anymore. Generally, its a gradual fade because both people can tell that the chemistry just isn't there.

What I've found, therefore, is that when there *is* a connection, I will do whatever it takes to make the relationship work.

  • Let's talk about it.
  • Let's figure out where we're going.
  • Let's work through our issues.
  • Let us bond to one another to get through times, good and bad.

Isn't that what you're supposed to do?

---

I ask that question because I read the blogs of other single people. I read blogs of people who will dump the guy or girl, despite the connection, because that person doesn't fit their idea of who they thought they should be with. I hear stories about people who find a partner that seems wonderful but this partner or situation isn't as ideal as they'd prefer.

I hear all the time, especially from divorced men and women, that they shouldn't have to "settle."

At this point in my life, every single one of us has some sort of baggage or past fears. I do believe that a big deciding factor is how the aforementioned baggage is carried. None of us is without our cracks.

What happens, however, if you get far enough in to build a foundation with someone and find those cracks? Are you supposed to call the whole thing off because of a tiny crack or two?

I also don't know if I could end things with someone because the entire package or situation isn't perfect.

Does that mean that I'm settling?

Because if that's the case, then I've "settled" with every relationship I've had thus far. OK, no, maybe those relationships didn't last but they fit me just fine AT THE TIME.

I mean, when I feel a connection, I am CONNECTED. I feel that there is a chance of a future and I want to get to that place. TOGETHER.

As long as the other person is willing to work for that, then you should work on it, right?

At what point do you say, "we are not made for each other" versus "let's work through this and continue on a path together"?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Post Traumatic

I remember talking with a long time friend shortly after the separation from my ex-husband. My husband was my first love and I was trying to have hope that I could love like that again.

"Oh no, you won't." she told me, "You will never give your heart like that again. You won't ever be that naive again. Its sad, really."

Those words drained the life from me that day. However I kept my chin up and I kept hoping.

---

My next major relationship was with Soldier. I was surprised, frankly, at how quickly I did give my heart to him. I thought I proved her wrong!

During that relationship, however, I did notice many times that I would react to something he said or did because of a past experience with my ex-husband. I didn't realize the effect that a failed marriage would have on me. It occurred to me, in fact, that perhaps I wasn't as naive and hopeful as I thought.

After yet another failed relationship, I am attempting love again. I am trying to allow myself to fall madly and completely like I've done before. Perhaps this time I can get it right?

Poor Jack.

I still find myself reacting. I still overthink. I am still cautious. I am still fearful. It is taking me longer to trust.

I am too frightened to give my heart like I did the first time.

As a matter of fact, I am realizing more than ever that I don't trust my own judgment anymore.

---

I know I'm reacting to fears from my past. I know that, sadly, I am expecting the same results. I also know that my fear will end up creating the result I am expecting.

I remind myself that everyone is different. I remind myself that the situation is different. I watch myself react. I hear the doubts in my head. And there are the few naysayers warning me that maybe I've got my hopes up yet again... and that maybe I will be let down yet again.

I don't regret my past relationships. I needed them at the time. I have learned from them. It is the pain of those wounds that I am still reacting to. Little bumps and bruises along the path that I don't want to feel again.

I have to allow this to unfold and not project my fear upon it.

Gentleman Jack is not my ex-husband. Jack is not Soldier.

But still...

When I married my husband, I thought I'd be married for the rest of my life. Then, I thought Soldier was the one I would marry next. Now, I am in a relationship with a wonderful man and....

Ugh!

This is a man who loves me like I've never been loved before. This is a man who has me in his thoughts all the time and tells me so. This is a man who wants to do whatever I need to bring a smile to my face. This is a man who sees right through any facade I might attempt because he truly wants to know me. This is a man who shares himself completely and deeply with me. This is a man who has children and, when he's around my children, is such a positive, loving figure.

My children adore him. My friends adore him. I adore him.

In fact, I am crazy about him. Yes we are different in many ways. I am still learning to be treated like a lady by the gentleman he is. And yes, he lives a state away.

But I love him so very, very much.

So why am I questioning it? Why am I so frightened? Why don't I feel comfortable completely giving in to these feelings and thoughts of a future together? Is it too early? Am I simply thinking too much? Is this just a place holder for yet another relationship in my future? Am I even able to be in another relationship?

Am I doubting because there's some intuition guiding me that Jack isn't the one? Or am I just frightened? Am I listening to my head instead of my heart? Am I just frustrated because I can't figure out a future with him when our lives are a 3 hours' drive from each other?

Is it even possible to love again, after failed relationships and especially as a single parent, without having a single doubt or worry in your mind?

What do I know?

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I've written many times about dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and relationships. My last relationship disintegrated because of PTSD after Soldier came home from war.

Wikipedia describes PTSD as "severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma".

It seems to me that heartbreak can be an "extreme psychological trauma."  Wouldn't you agree?

Here I am with the battle wounds of past failed relationships. Here I am with the paranoia that it could happen again at any time....

All this time I've written about PTSD, I never once considered that I too could be suffering from it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Voice in the community?

Last week when I wrote about Grey's Anatomy and the Army surgeon suffering from PTSD, I mentioned on Facebook that it reminded me of Soldier. I received a comment from Love Coach Rinatta:

"You know I was going to tell you - did you know EFT (emotional freedom technique) addresses ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder) really well? I am not saying it so that you could fix HIM. But I know you have a voice in the veteran community. Take a look at some of the studies listed here: http://www.emofree.com/articlesCat.aspx?id=22."

I'm all about alternative ways to heal so I was interested in the link she sent. What interested me the most, however, was her calling me out on being a "voice in the veteran community."

Really?

I do love me some soldiers. I spent a year and a half of my life supporting one through a deployment. But I never considered myself a "voice". I'm just an American girl who was in love with an Army guy.

I put that out of my mind until a few days later, when I received an email from a reader who shared another blog with me. This blog is written by Sarah Shay, a runner. Sarah is running in memory of her brother to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Sarah's brother was a marathon runner who died running the Men's Marathon Olympic Trials in New York City on November 3, 2007. He was only 28 years old.

In my the email from my blog reader, she said:
"Once I saw the blog I immediately thought of you."

Was it because Sarah's a runner or because she's supporting the soldiers who have come back from war wounded?

Either way, it was yet another strange coincidence.

You see, Soldier ran the New York City marathon the very next day after this blogger's brother died. I remember hearing about her brother. I even remembered his name. I was very tuned into the events of that weekend.

So I have to give a shout out to Sarah Shay and her goal to run the Austin Marathon in February 2010. I give her props for following in her brother's footsteps and for raising money to support our wounded warriors.

Oh and did I mention that she's a single mom too?

Go girl!

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And if I am truly a "voice in the veteran community", then I need to speak up more. I've been slacking, haven't I?

Support our Soldiers ya'll. Even if you don't support the war.


To donate to Sarah's Cause:

Ryan Shay Memorial Campaign  (click on Sarah Shay)


To support our soldiers:

Wounded Warrior Project
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Letters to Leathernecks (I LOVE Hope. She sends care packages and generally adopts these guys for life.)