Friday, October 29, 2010

The blog as you know it is going away...

... to a more private location.

The blog will stay public for the next week. I hope to collect email addresses from all of you who wish to continue reading. I will be writing as I always do and maybe even offer a few surprises.

Please send me an email with your email address. I will add you to the list of invitees when the blog goes private on the 3 Year Anniversary of this blog, Monday, Nov 8.

Thanks ya'll. I really hope to keep things as close to normal as possible. Hope you all will be supportive in the meanwhile.

Feel free to email me if you have questions.

Thanks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Public Service Announcement for Partners of Hormonal Females

Plain and simple: It sucks to be you.

I don't really have any good advice for you. When you ask, "What can I do?", I really don't know.

Hormonal issues don't ALWAYS mean depression. It doesn't mean a death spiral into months of suicide watch or anything. It just means ... hey, I'm temporarily sad. I'll get over it.

There's no need to get frustrated and feel helpless. Sadness isn't something you can talk into submission. It just IS. There's no logic or rationale behind it, especially where hormones are involved.

You can talk to me logically and rationally all that you want but I'm emotional.

Emotional <> Logical

That doesn't mean the logical person that you know is completely gone. It doesn't mean that I don't KNOW that I'm allowing this bad feeling right now. It doesn't mean that I don't REALIZE I'm not being rational.

But at the moment, the grown-up in me is tersely looking down at the 3-year old who's throwing a temper tantrum inside of me.

If I've learned anything from being a mom, sometimes, those temper tantrums are better left ignored and allowed to run their course. Just wait patiently and I will be back to normal soon.

Just like always...

I had no idea that getting a little bit of extra love and nurturing from my daughters (who lovingly and instinctively know what to do when Mommy feels like this) would make me feel better. Maybe I just need my girlfriends. Maybe I need my mom.

Yes, I know that men can't get away with feeling sad for more than a day. I realize that other guys would say, "Get over it" to each other. I'm sorry. It's a little different for us girls. I'm sorry if it doesn't seem fair.

And to my man in particular (or any other long distance partners out there), I KNOW that if you were with me, YOU would be doing the nurturing, the holding, the loving adoration. Which is yet another reason why this is so hard for me and you. You can't. You aren't here.

*stomp*

Which brings out even more of the tantrum.

*pout*

I CAN tell you this, my sweet love:

If you will continue to be patient and understanding, if you will stop talking when I ask you to (since right now, any and everything you say will and can be used against you), if you will continue to check in on me, try to make me laugh, let me know you're thinking of me (even when I know I'm irritating the crap outta you)...

if you keep doing THAT...

...the next time I see you I will suck your dick so good that your head will spin.

Promise.

*wink*

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome


Or PCOS.

That's the diagnosis, probably. I am still waiting on results. For now, however, I am in hiding.

***

When I was in my early 20's, I started to break out in cystic acne. I rarely broke out as a teenager (lucky me!) so this came as a surprise to me as a young adult.

I started to feel so insecure about the inability to go make-up free and how my face looked that I fell into a deep depression. My husband talked me into going to a dermatologist for treatment. The dermatologist put me on a really harsh and powerful drug called Accutane.

I had to swear within an inch of my life and sign all sorts of documents promising that I would not get pregnant while taking Accutane. It causes fetal deformities. Yikes.

I also had to stay out of the sun all during that summer as I could easily fry to a crisp in moments.

But it worked and I was happy.

***

In the meanwhile, I was on the birth control pill for years, controlling hormones in my body.

I was already showing signs of PCOS while trying to get pregnant. It actually took a few years before it finally happened. I was thankful for that, at the time. I was definitely in no place to have a child.

***

Within a year of my separation and two years of giving birth to my youngest child, I began losing my hair.

I have very thick hair and it's always been that way. My hair normally falls out but suddenly, it was coming out in handfuls. Even my friends began asking, "Are you sick?" when they saw my quickly thinning hair.

The doctors could find nothing wrong with me and attributed it to stress. Thankfully, my homeopath was able to get on top of it with a remedy that stopped the thinning.

Hormonally, I was no longer on birth control pills but on an IUD. My estrogen/testosterone levels were not being regulated.

***

Six months later, in 2008, the cystic acne came back.

I was depressed, trying to get out on my own and seal the deal on my divorce. I was in love with a soldier who was actively deployed to Iraq. I was overwhelmed and it was taking a toll on my body.

I began seeing an aesthetician who treated me with microdermabrasion and harsh chemical peels. It was a slow and not-always pain free experience but it did work.

It's never been completely under control but it looked MUCH better than it did before.

***

Well... over time, it has gotten worse.

I'm falling into yet another depression and finding that I want to hide out at home. I don't want to wear make-up, my skin literally aches, I can barely look at myself in the mirror without crying...

Just writing this post feels like I'm going out in public for all to see the flaws. I'm tired of fighting it. I'm tired of denying it.

I've tried EVERYTHING. If it's out there, I've tried it. From natural to medical grade. Even my daughters, who catch a few shows on Teen Nick and see all of the acne commercials, ask me if I've tried this or that.

It hurts when your 5 year old says, "Mommy, why don't you try ProActiv?"

This time it was Gentleman Jack who asked that I take it a step further. He remembers the problems I had with the IUD I had previously and the one I tried and had removed. He knows how I get so down, so hormonal that I cannot get out of it. Yet, I'm fully aware that it's not how I'm feeling truthfully, I just can't seem to stop the downward spiral.

"Go get your hormones checked."

Between the PMS, acne, very high sex drive, depression and other less than fun hormonal side effects, I knew he had a point. But it was when my aesthetician pointed out to me that (1) I take really good care of myself, eat healthy, workout, etc. and (2) that I have the cleanest face on the planet with how well I take care of my skin... that I realized there must be another reason for it. She, too, recommended that I get my hormones checked.

***

I've now given at least 10 vials of blood.

Yes, the hormones are effed up. Yes, they point to PCOS. Thankfully, my doctor is now testing for issues with the organs and glands that are supposed to regulate these levels, instead of throwing fake hormones at the problem.

And thankfully, my doctor believes in diet, supplements and other natural ways of handling such issues.

I'm ready to fix this. Once and for all.

***

In the meanwhile, I'm hiding in my office hoping my co-workers will stay away. I've had yet another harsh treatment on my face and cannot put on make-up yet.

The skin on my face is numb from the treatment and I'm to expect more tenderness and pain this evening.

I can't talk to Gentleman Jack about it without crying. I can't even type this without crying.

I don't want anyone to see me. I find myself staring at everyone else's face and admiring blemish-free skin.

Call me vain but I want to feel beautiful again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sappy primetime relationship heroes

I have to admit to a few longtime guilty pleasures: Grey's Anatomy and Army Wives

I've been a fan of these shows for a few years now, watching them while on my bike trainer instead of the comfort of my couch.

Gentleman Jack is helping me to learn to STOP and actually sit still when I watch TV. Not an easy task for me!

These shows, as sappy as it sounds, actually helped me to define what I wanted in a relationship.

***

Take, for instance, the beautiful relationship between Claudia Joy and General Michael Holden from the show, Army Wives.

He is an Army General and she is his loving, supportive wife. Where he could easily come home and command her around as he does his soldiers, he instead adores her, honors her. He strongly believes in the adage, "Behind every strong man is an even stronger woman."

He is just as loving and supportive as she is, even with close to 20 years of marriage. They treat each other with respect and admiration. Here's an example of one of their discussions:



I can't tell you the number of times that I would watch how they love each other, *swoon* and think, "I want THAT."

***

There's also Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy.

He was so very patient and loving as he convinced her to trust him, allowing their relationship to thrive. I mean, look at how he looks at her!!!



I wanted THAT too!

***

And it was then that I decided what I wanted my relationship to look like. In observing these two couples, swooning and feeling genuinely happy for their love (in that TV drama kind of way), I created my own desire to the universe.

Now, I smile because these things that I loved, these two examples, even these two youtube videos(!), look just like my relationship with Gentleman Jack.

He's as loving, supportive, admiring and respectful as General Holden to Claudia Joy. He's humble and sensitive, despite the tough guy exterior he shows the world. He observes me, loves me and takes the time to tell me so.

He's patient and stubborn in his love for me, despite my over-thinking and fearful thoughts, like Derek is with Meredith. He touches my face that way, exposing his vulnerabilities in his blue eyes. "I am yours," he tells me, whether I ask for him to be or not.

Now, as I watch these primetime shows, I swoon and fall even more in love with my man. (And not in a TV drama, kind of way.)

What about you? Are there real/TV/movie couples that inspire you? Can you send gratitude to them for showing up as an example to you? 

That is YOUR wish to the universe too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Powerful Intentions

I believe that once you open your eyes to see something differently, once your mind is willing to let go of current judgments, once you are willing to say, "I don't know", things happen.

I remember declaring "I don't know" back in February of 2009. I wasn't happy in my failing relationship, knew I deserved more and declared it so.

I declared it with my job recently as well. Not knowing what my future held but realizing that I was out-growing my current position.

To me, "I don't know" are very powerful words meaning:

"I surrender to what is and I'm malleable enough to accept what is to come."

***

With the recent revelation and declaration about my career crisis, I went with a co-worker to a women's seminar. There I met with inspiring and powerful women who began their journeys as single mothers too.

Between that seminar and discussions with Gentleman Jack, I realized that I was shutting myself off, limiting myself because I am a single mother. Yet, when I think about it, all that I've encountered recently are powerful and amazing single mothers! From attending Rachel's wedding and meeting her tight-knit group of single mother friends (who lovingly surrounded her after her child's father disappeared) to the women at the seminar.

Why do I have such a limited view of my own single parenthood when I've seen the very definition of powerful?!

Plain and simple, I'm not nearly as career driven as I was before children. I desire balance in my life, between work and home. I desire balance of me time and their time. Balance is good. And I absolutely believe that it IS possible.

And perhaps, I need these single mothers in my life as friends... just for the simple fact of understanding.

Since changing my mind and declaring "I don't know", I've had a job interview that showed up out of nowhere. I've met amazing and powerful women who invigorate my opinion of myself and what I CAN do. There have been many coincidences and divine interventions...

No resolution on anything, just yet... but I feel it coming. Soon.

Now, if I can only keep remembering that I'm worth it.

Aren't all of us worthy of divine wondrousness?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

With Friends

I've had this weekend to myself, which is rare. I had a really great Friday night (Go Texas Rangers!!) and Saturday. I like this. I enjoy spending time alone or with friends.

With friends....

I told Gentleman Jack about mid-week that I really wish I could plan some time with my girlfriends. Problem is, most of their husbands wouldn't allow them to spend time alone with me. Not even to just go out to dinner and have a glass a wine. They don't trust me. Or maybe they don't trust their wives.

Then I have a few single girlfriends who have busy lives of their own. And I wonder if they just don't want to hear me talk about my Gentleman. Or perhaps I can't relate to their need to go out and party.

I don't know.

All I know is that I miss girl time. I miss chick flicks and emotional discussions and Cosmopolitan martini's and support. I miss feeling sisterhood, with the one I grew up with and the ones I adopted along the way.

It's still important to me. It still means something to me to have that estrogen-filled presence in my life.

The really REALLY sad part of it is that instead of picking up the phone to call anyone, I'll sit here and assume...

They have families to spend time with.

They have husbands to watch Sunday football with or go to church with.

They have they're own independent Sunday schedules that don't involve me.

Or maybe I won't call because I have such a small amount of time available to spend with girlfriends that I feel guilty for assuming that my one day, out of months of unavailability, would be important enough for them to put their lives on hold for me.
 
You have to BE a friend in order to HAVE a friend, you know...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Note to Self

Gentleman Jack has it right. Mark had it right.

In order to feel valued, I have to think of myself as VALUABLE. Period.

When I believe that my ex-husband's relationship with our daughters needs help, I need to be strong enough and clear enough in MY OWN VOICE to speak up and say something to him. He respects what I have to say. He doesn't realize the value of his presence in their lives. He wasn't even aware of the value of his presence in MY life until I told him how much he was missed, he didn't believe me and bowed out anyway.

Maybe he doesn't realize his own value either?

When I feel that I have no value at a job that seems to take advantage of me, I have to remember that I'm allowing these things to happen. I haven't valued my job either... because I'm qualified for so much more. But that doesn't mean that the job doesn't have any value. More than likely what it means is that if I were doing something else and another person was in this position, I wouldn't value the position either. I need to remember that I AM making a difference.

I must empower MYSELF.

My time has value. My abilities have value. My voice has value. My feelings have value. My ideas have value.

No more excuses or apologies for who I am or whom I'm supposed to be. No more victimhood. Time to take this bull by the balls.

I am worth this blessed life I lead and the abundance that is always available to me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Feeling Valued

I believe there are telling moments in a relationship, where you realize your value.

I remember on my 5th wedding anniversary, when my husband treated it as an after-thought, I felt very unvalued.

Gentleman Jack reminds me often how valuable I am to him. This weekend, for instance, when he emotionally expressed that I was as precious and rare as the oxblood lily that appears in his yard every fall.

I understand that much of these feelings and expressions of value must concur with my love language. Otherwise, I may not recognize them. Thankfully, I hear Jack loud and clear!

Unfortunately, one of those "telling moments" happened at work recently.

***

I work for a really small company of 10 people. We have a lot of fun and are very much like a family. Just as with family, however, people do get their feelings hurt, fights are fought, some get along better than others, decisions are taken personally.

It has been quite a new experience for me these past 3 1/2 years. Prior to this job and a few part time jobs while I was a stay-at-home mom, I only worked for extremely large corporations. I wasn't used to this.

When I started working here, I'd only been separated from my ex-husband for 6 months. I was feeling very undesirable, lost and unvalued. I NEEDED a job and this one seemed perfect for me at the time.

*Like attracts like.*

I KNOW that my job is a valuable position. I understand that no one else does what I do. I realize that I am making a difference.

I'm not feeling it from everyone else though. There are a few, who realize the contribution I make. Others... not so much.

Like, for instance, the person who decided that everyone in the company PLUS their spouses PLUS the older teenage children of these employees would get an upgraded 4G phone. And I, sadly, wasn't even offered one.

As a matter of fact, I was told well over a year ago, to get my own plan and get off the company's phone plan because they were cutting back and I didn't use my phone for much business use anyway. So, I went on a really cheap plan with a really cheap phone.

This, my friends, was like a kick in the head.

***

I don't really have a job title. I do.... well.... everything. When they told me I'd 'wear many hats', they weren't kidding.

The guys jokingly refer to me as their 'office wife'.

I take care of them. I even take care of the other female in the office. It is almost like being married. Some appreciate it. Others take it for granted.

And lately I've been feeling uninspired.

They're asking for more. Always asking for more. Without any more compensation. Without any more respect. Without any more value.

I've been going along with it, all this time. The girl they hired is different than who I am now, though. I'm starting to resent it. Starting to resist wanting to work there anymore, despite the lenient hours, fun happy hours, silly days and good things I like about my job. I'm feeling undervalued and taken advantage of.

As my Gentleman pointed out to me recently: Unless you vehemently say 'no', silence or any other non-answer always means 'yes'.


I suppose, just as with my marriage, I have a choice here:

  • I can say no, much more often. I can begin to put down boundaries and learn to see MY OWN VALUE in my job and what I provide to this company. I can get angry, decide that I want to face these issues and show them my worth.
  • Or I can simply find another job with the things I love about my current one PLUS added value and compensation.

Divorce is a little more devastating than leaving a company. Just sayin'...


"In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way."
~Yoda

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Showing love, in spite of

When Gentleman Jack and I initially began communicating, he told me of a great relationship with his ex-wife, mother of his 5 year old son, Fireball.

He still cared for her and her well-being. We shared many wishes for our exes, including wanting them to find happiness in the lessons learned, as we were. I was a tad jealous, at first. I think he was too. We talked about our feelings and both agreed that our exes were people we'd imagined spending the rest of our lives with so of COURSE some feelings were still there.

Sadly, over the course of our relationship, I've learned countless reasons why they're NOT together.

To me, she seems insecure, a perfectionist, a righteous, argumentative, high stress, blaming person who, I believe, still carries a grudge that their marriage didn't work out. I think she hates herself for it and likes to remind him that she should have never married him. She now lives with her boyfriend but seems very unhappy. It is very sad to me because she is also a beautiful, brilliant woman with a wonderful career.

I do realize that she and Gentleman Jack have a history that I'm not privy to. However, I have overheard phone calls where she loudly talked down to him or acted demanding or called him names. I've also witnessed her ungratefulness, first hand, when I've helped her with their son.

Gentleman Jack is no angel himself, and he'd be the first to tell you so. He is trying to break the pattern that destroyed their marriage, though, and build a healthy co-parenting relationship. He only communicates with her via text or email now. When he does talk to her on the phone, he calls me after to discuss what was said and asks if he handled it correctly. I am trying to help him to see her through her unhappiness and not allow himself to fall prey to her angry projections.

Not always an easy task to be objective.

So yesterday, when he told me of this story, my heart once again grew three sizes.

***

It is her week with their son. Gentleman Jack was at a client dinner and his phone rang. It was his ex-wife's boyfriend.

Gentleman Jack excused himself to take the call, expecting the worst. The boyfriend said, "We need you to talk to your son."

Both she and her boyfriend were at the grocery store with Fireball and he was throwing a tantrum in the aisle. Neither of them could calm him down so they chose to call Gentleman Jack.

Gentleman Jack's amazing and beautiful response was to talk to his ex-wife first.

"I thought that she must be frazzled. He's five. She couldn't get a handle on him? So I did what I thought was best. I listened to her and tried to calm her. Then I encouraged her. I built her back up. I did what I could to empower her so that she could catch her breath and convince her that she COULD handle this. Apparently, she is hurting and our son is taking advantage of that."

(I know this. He encourages me the same way all the time.)

He spoke with his son, talking him down and reminding him that he would never even try acting like that with his daddy.

"Then I told him to calm down, hug his momma and tell her that he loved her."

(Forget it. I was moved to tears by the time he'd said that last line.)

He's not even received a 'thank you' from her and as he said, "I probably won't. And that's OK. My boy needed me."

He's offering to take Fireball for the rest of the week so that she can get her bearings back.

***

Ya'll, please pardon me while I *swoon* some more.

I guess I was so moved by this story because as of yesterday, my girls hadn't heard from their father in over a week. I feel like I almost have to force the issue of his spending time with his daughters. I know he loves them, I do know this. I know he's busy traveling with work and then holing himself away from the world when he's not. Sometimes... he just lets ME down.

Gentleman Jack sharing this story reminded me again why I love my man. Dear lord, I love him so. And every day, I love him some more.

THIS is why I choose him day after day after day....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bloggy Rolls and Yoda Wisdom

In the past month, two of the single mom bloggers that I read have gotten re-married.

Yes, they will more than likely always refer to themselves as "single parents" because, really, isn't it true? They may have someone to be intimate with every night or to share finances and household responsibilities with but their children are THEIR children. Doesn't that still give them a right to be called single parents?

*Or did I just step in some stinky doo?*

Anyway, I'm looking at my blog roll and I see these gals under my "Single Moms and Dads" list. Then I have other lists for "Singles" and "More Moms and Dads" who are not single. And who knows, these "singles" may get married soon and won't be single any longer so....

ANYWAY!

I've been thinking about changing up the blog rolls a bit. From some of the comments I received on why you read, many of you come here for the most excellent blog roll of most excellent bloggers. I certainly don't want to hinder things too much by changing it up so I thought I'd ask for opinions again.

Should I change the blog roll lists to "Gals" and "Guys" to include both singles, single parents, marrieds, and marrieds with kids? Or should I make it one big blog roll?

I read so many that I like it broken down somehow.

What about the sexy blog roll or the athletic inspirational blogs or the other inspirational blogs or the military blogs? Should I keep all of those separate from the regular blogs?

Thanks for your awesome bloggy advice!

***

On a completely different note, the kids and I have been watching all 6 Star Wars movies (thanks to my Gentleman for giving them to Rose for her birthday!). My girls are HOOKED!

I'd forgotten how much I adore the spiritual master, Yoda (duh) and all of his wisdom.

So, if you'll oblige me, I may be giving you some Yoda quotes over the next few weeks. That little green guy is BRILLIANT!

*smile*

Hope you're having a great week!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Who would you be without your story?*

I said something hurtful to Gentleman Jack.

It was something I'm quite sure I said to my ex-husband numerous times when we were married, without thought of how I would feel if he were to say it to me. The difference is that Gentleman Jack expresses hurt and my ex-husband didn't.

As I've been learning since divorcing my ex, I honestly believe he felt hurt... but simply never expressed it. Maybe it was due to being the baby of the family and then going on to marry a strong-willed, dominant, first-born, Capricorn woman! He still doesn't speak up for himself, even beyond the end of our marriage. He will act out passive-aggressively or gripe about things he agreed to after the fact.

Now that I think about it, perhaps that is why he didn't feel comfortable with me expressing myself or my hurt... or for the things I decided upon because he didn't speak up.

Initially, when Gentleman Jack has spoken up about hurt feelings, I've felt annoyed. I still do sometimes! Then I stop and ask myself how I would feel if I were in his shoes.

I've learned to be thankful for Gentleman Jack's honesty. And because he feels allowed to voice his opinion, speak up for himself and express pain, he allows me that too.

***

I wonder if there is much tenderness hidden deep in these men that have been in my life.

Perhaps there is love hidden beneath born identity, environment, experiences, learned behaviors and beliefs. On top of that tender place, we all have our stories. Story after story, we become victims or heroes. We start to identify with those stories and cloud over the tenderness that is our true identity.

Even with narcissistic behavior, as I witnessed in my previous relationship, there is a core belief in abandonment. Soldier would fight me in defense of his story, believing so completely in that fear of abandonment that he actually forced the fear to play out.

I eventually tried to see him beyond his story and he hated me for it. I also hated myself for believing his story of victimhood for so long. But I believed it about myself too, up to that point. Maybe that was what attracted us to each other.

All of us fight for our stories. This is how we identify ourselves. This is who we believe that we are. In choosing to see ourselves this way, all that we see are witnesses to these beliefs. All that we attract are those who will believe our stories too. As we begin to question our stories, we become aware of those who question with us.

Then, we are challenged to grow. Some will continue the path of growth. Some will grow tired of the fight.

Gentleman Jack and I try to remember and remind each other that we're NOT our stories. We each have to be willing to let our own personal stories go. We also have to be aware of each others' stories, beliefs and fears. If we both agree to do this and see beyond the false beliefs to the tender place that lies beneath, then that is what we will appeal to - in ourselves and in the other.

How could this create anything other than a beautiful relationship?!

***

I still feel bad for the hurt I caused in my marriage. I feel bad for the hurt I cause Gentleman Jack.

Then I wonder that maybe we HAVE to hurt each other though, in order to be aware that what we do or say CAN hurt. Maybe it makes us aware of the power of our words and actions. More than that, maybe it makes us aware of the power of our thoughts!

How am I seeing this person? How am I seeing myself?

Maybe Gentleman Jack's admittance to feeling hurt is nothing more than his saying, "I have this fear or belief about myself. Please be aware of it but see me beyond it."

Maybe my initial annoyance to his admitting is my saying, "This is not my normal experience. Please be aware of my past experience but see me beyond it."

Maybe pain, anger and annoyance is nothing more than a reminder of each others' stories so that we can learn to see our true identities. Maybe they remind us to see through them into the heart of love.



* Post title from The Work of Byron Katie... examining false beliefs to lead to a happier life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

He knows the right things to say

It's late and I'm lying in bed with Gentleman Jack. I can' t see him because I've taken out my contact lenses for the night. He's talking to me but I can't hear him clearly because my right ear, my "good" ear, is in the pillow. I start to laugh...

"Oh baby, I'm going to be such a crotchety old broad. Are you sure you won't trade me in for a younger model at some point in the future?"

"Nah," he laughs, "we'll just update our parts as we grow old together."

*giggle*

Good answer, my love.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Note to Self

For the first time in my life, I'm learning how to take compliments. Instead of brushing them aside or denying them, they humble me and render me speechless.

Thank you all for your kind words on yesterday's post.

It does feel good to start the weekend with a smile!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why do you read?

I received an email this morning from a longtime reader/lurker. I love when I receive those. I do feel a bit validated that this blog means something to someone other than myself.

Sometimes I stop to fully appreciate why I blog.

I have great friends that were discovered through blogging. I blog for support. I blog to get the crazy out of my head. I blog to share my stories. Or I blog because I simply want my voice heard.

Sometimes, I want to ask you, the reader: Why do you read?

I see the number of visits to this blog on a daily basis and I wonder who you all are. Compared to the number of comments, it appears that many of you just read or lurk and move on. I often wonder why? What are you taking away when you drop by? Is any of this, my deepest thoughts and ramblings, helpful to you? Is it simply nice to escape into someone else's space for a while?

Are you relating to my experience?

A few of my friends read and comment rarely. One friend even said to me, "I feel like I'm outside of the little group of regular commenters."

I'm not sure what that means. I understand that sometimes what you have to say has already been said. But still, I want to know you. I want to know why you come here. What brought you here? Why do you keep coming back?

Maybe it's the marketing career that leads me to ask these questions...

Your comments also drive me to keep writing. For those of you who do not comment, but instead send me personal emails sharing your stories, I thank you. Seriously. From the bottom of my heart. I keep everyone of those emails and smile or cry when I read them. You all inspire me!

I think as a blogger, we all want to be heard. Thank you for listening.

As a reader, I want to hear you too! I know you have stories too. Please share.


Feel free to comment anonymously.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What are YOU going to be for Halloween?


I was approached by Lingerie.com to review one of their sexy Halloween costumes. There were so many to choose from that I honestly couldn't decide.

I decided to let Gentleman Jack decide for me.

He's a hunter. He saw camouflage. He got weak in the knees.

Ok, so it's not hunting camo but the man did enjoy seeing me in a tight spandex outfit. Hello?!

I guess it's my own way of supporting the troops too, right?

Drop and gimme 20! 20 licks, Soldier! Right there... that's it... you just might get a medal for that...

*ahem*

The cool thing about this outfit is that the skirt zips down the upper thigh area so that it's a fitted all-camo look, or you can unzip it to reveal the black flirty skirt underneath.

Gentleman Jack's only request was that I didn't actually wear this without a bra because apparently my man has x-ray vision. He said he could see through it. Once I reassured him that I was only wearing it for him, he felt better. And then enjoyed the costume with a different state of mind.

Sergeant Sassy didn't stay around for long. I'm just sayin'.

Check out the sexy Halloween costumes at Lingerie.com for the spooky holiday or just for play.

Cause the trick or treating can always stay INDOORS, you know...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living a life of Authenticity

Since Gentleman Jack has been in my life, I feel more certain than ever that I want to live an authentic life.

GJ and I are honest, as often and as much as we can be. I'm sure there are things we may not say but this is definitely the most consensually honest relationship I've ever had.

Unfortunately, not all relationships are like that... for instance, my marriage. I have to remind myself of that now and again. Maybe at some future point, Jack and I could stop communicating the way we do. It all remains to be seen.

I say all of that because recently, a girlfriend, with whom I've been intimate, is having difficulties in her marriage.

If you visit past blog posts, you will see that I experimented sexually with women over the past few years. So much so, that I do actually consider myself bisexual. I am still attracted to both sexes. Just as being heterosexual, however, I do not choose to have sexual encounters with either sex outside of my relationship.

Some of these sexual encounters were with married girlfriends who wanted to experience something new outside of their marriage. In most cases, their husbands consented to this experimentation. In some cases, not. In all of those cases, surprisingly, both the husbands that did know and those that didn't know NOW consider any such experimentation as cheating. Sadly, these husbands now do not trust their wives, my friends, to have any sort of alone time with me. They do not trust me - as a single person or as a bisexual person.

Yet another reason not to get involved with someone who's married, male or female.

*sigh* I know all of this NOW.

This one particular girlfriend has recently suggested that she would like to have sex with me again.

I turned her down.

I can sense restlessness in her. I know it isn't me, in particular, that she feels like she is missing. She wants to play more. She is feeling stuck, yet refuses to discuss these anxious feelings with her husband out of fear.

It didn't surprise me at all, later, when she told me of other women who seemed to be coming on to her. She is, unknowingly or not, putting out the "vibe" that she is willing to "go there".

I know this. I did it too. I actually have to be aware of this.

She hasn't admitted it to me but I believe now that she has taken on another female lover. And her husband, who senses her restlessness, is fearfully assuming that she's spending time with me. And that could... lead to other things...

She's using me as her alibi.

Ya know, I'm just trying to shine my light. I'm trying to humbly live a life of lessons learned. I'm doing my best not to judge others' mistakes that invariably seem so familiar. I'm trying to live authentically.

But the past comes back to us, doesn't it? Some people don't choose to be honest and there's nothing I can do about that except to offer some version of tough love. I cannot and will not be an enabler to someone who chooses to live a lie.

I love her. I really do. I can't help but notice that she isn't the first of those in my life who have asked me to aid in their deceit (especially this year!).

If I choose not to, does that make me judgmental?

If I choose to continue to be honest, does that make me 'holier than thou'?

If I choose to shine my light, when others are afraid of their own, does that make me a bad friend?

I'm trying to understand...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Living a life of Vitality

I realized, as I was in mile 22 of my 30 mile bike ride yesterday, that I'm generally inspired when my body is being challenged with some other activity. I can break through a writer's block or problem solving when I'm in yoga or even while sleeping. So, it was no surprise to me that this blog post came through as I was cycling in my charity event.

Vitality, defined by Webster is:

  1. (a ): the peculiarity distinguishing the living from the nonliving   (b) : capacity to live and develop; also : physical or mental vigor especially when highly developed 
  2. (a) : power of enduring   (b) : lively and animated character

This word has been circling in my brain for the past several days.

***

As I mentioned last week, I have been feeling rather stifled in my career. I've been looking for inspiration... something to set me on fire again.

Vitality

A female co-worker invited me to attend a women's seminar on Thursday afternoon. I agreed to go but dreaded it. I don't usually get along with other women, which is why I work in a technical career with mostly men. Very rarely have I been inspired by other women, with the exception of the past few years of blogging.

Perhaps now I am more open to it?

Two women spoke at this event. Two multi-millionaires. Two women who began their upward financial journeys as single mothers. I had goosebumps through the entire event. I felt like my entire being was vibrating in admiration of their vitality.

***

Yesterday, as I prepared with other cyclists to journey into our miles for charity (and later, streamed the Ironman championship triathlon on the computer), I felt the same vibration. I looked at the other athletes, attracted to something I couldn't quite put my finger on...

Vitality

I noticed this same spirit when I was in Europe. Everyone bikes or walks in the small German town I visited or all around Amsterdam. Everyone's energy pulsed at a level that was practically palpable. I felt alive there. I get this same feeling in towns like Austin, San Francisco, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Everyone shining their light.

***

The following quote is on this blog more than any other:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~ Marianne Williamson

I think I've misunderstood this quote at times. "Letting your light shine" doesn't mean stomping out others' lights in order to be better than you are now. Shining your light means being vital in the lives of others. Shining your light means inviting others to join you in your light, inspiring them to shine their own.

To be vital is to be invigorated, renewed, refreshed, animated and necessary for the maintenance of life!

***

What is vital to your life?

If you want to be athletic but long for inspiration, go to Active.com, find a local charity bike ride or run and volunteer. Bring your kids to volunteer too! They're ALWAYS looking for volunteers at these events. Allow the athletes' light to encourage your own strengths!

If you want to change or improve your career, home life or finances, go to Meetup.com or Linkedin.com and look for workshops or seminars (often at no cost) to listen to other inspirational stories, much like your own!

Some people will feel uncomfortable when you shine. It is their OWN FEAR of their own light. Don't let it discourage you, as I have done over and over again.

Be you. Shine on!

Isn't that what we're here for?


Happy 70th birthday to John Lennon, who encouraged us all to shine on!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Note to Self

All of those goals you want to accomplish? All of those plans and visions and grand ideas? They are accomplishable.

But you have to let go of the excuse you always use. You know the one: "... but I'm a single mom..."

Yeah. Let it go and watch your life soar!

Your kids will thank you for it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Murder, Suicide and... our kids?

Yesterday, on the drive home from school, Rose was once again discussing a little boy in her class who "gets really mad all the time."

She's mentioned him since school began. This little boy can't seem to control his temper... so much so that he frequently throws things and/or flips his desk in the middle of class.

I've been impressed with Rose's teacher so far. She told us at "Meet the Teacher" night that she uses Love and Logic for disciplining children in her class. Bless her heart, this child has challenged her patience since school began!

Apparently, during class yesterday, the boy disrupted class again by threatening to kill someone.

When the teacher asked him about it, he, in front of the entire class, very coldly announced that he would most certainly do it... and didn't care if he got in trouble for it.

Rose said he was then permanently removed from her class.

I'm still in shock over this! This is an 8 year old in a third grade class! I kept wondering, "What in the world sort of life has this child led to be this way?" or "Is it a psychiatric or neurological thing?" (Don't even get me started on what we feed our children.)

I've never been a fan of giving children drugs. In fact, sadly, it has been reported that some medications only make things worse.

There were many articles last week about the teen suicide problem getting worse and worse.

I don't know what to say or think about this 8 year old child who has scared the wits out of my daughter's 3rd grade class. I don't know what to say or think about kids killing themselves.

What do we do about this?

Just when we thought talking about sex with our children was scary enough...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Run, T, RUN!



Lately, I've been in a bit of a career crisis.

You see, I'm a bit like Forrest Gump in the scene above. When I find something that interests me (music, information technology, stay-at-home-motherhood, natural medicine, spirituality, triathlons), I pursue it hard, fast and true. Like Forrest, I run and I run, without stopping. I learn. I challenge myself. I research. I grow.

And just like Forrest, when I get to a certain point, I simply stop running.

I'm done.

That's a bit how I'm feeling at my job lately. I'm feeling stifled and pigeon-holed. I have no passion for what I'm doing. I even stopped teaching my A Course in Miracles study group recently. It occurred to me one day that I didn't want to do it anymore. So I stopped.

The funny thing about me is, though it may seem that I have a short attention span when it comes to things that interest me, I do have continued interest and will continue learning... more than likely at a normal pace (instead of hurried and furious). I also know that there is no way to predict what will set me on fire next.

I've asked for it. I've put it "out there" to help me find a career path that will bring that passion back. One that suits my strengths. One that fits my lifestyle. One that inspires me to keep running.

I know it will present itself to me, as it has in the past. I have to get out of the way, have faith and let it.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Raising sons, daughters and co-parents

Gentleman Jack and I had all of our kids together this weekend for the first time in a long time.

Gentleman Jack's teenage son, Carbon Copy (CC), was in summer camp when the rest of us, including Rose, Grace and GJ's younger son, Fireball, enjoyed a week's vacation together in Mexico in July. Prior to that, it had been a few months since the four kids were together.

Now you add to that the female puppy that I've acquired in my household and Gentleman Jack's older male dog... it makes for quite the party!

He has a house full of competitive, rowdy, endlessly energetic and hungry, testosterone-filled boys. My home is filled with mostly gentle, compromising, somewhat quiet, laid-back, tiny, estrogen-filled girls. It is ALWAYS interesting when we all get together!

First of all, Lilli (the puppy) ADORES Gentleman Jack's dog. They play continuously until we separate them so they'll sleep. The kids immediately begin some sort of game when they all get together. Or they'll sit together in front of the TV and watch Looney Tunes cartoons.

But occasionally, they begin to get on each others' nerves.

Things are said. People get their feelings hurt. Fights ensue. My girls pair up against one or both of Gentleman Jack's boys.

The reason for yesterday's post was because I'm honestly learning as much about men by watching Gentleman Jack raise his sons as I did my entire married/dating life so far!

***

Boys (and men) want attention. They want to feel respect and honor. They don't always know how to gain those things, however, and some of their methods fail on the female gender.

For instance: a man/boy can brag to another man/boy about his toys or feats of physical strength. The other man/boy will be impressed and/or challenge the man/boy with his own toys or feats of physical strength.

When a man/boy attempts this same impression on a woman/girl, she (in most cases) isn't impressed AT ALL. In fact, she may even look the other way and/or ignore the man/boy.

*sigh* This is what I've been teaching my children so far. When a boy is bugging you, ignore him. Gentleman Jack has been teaching me differently.

What I'm learning, in fact, is that when you ignore a boy, it completely throws him off. It hurts his ego. He gets angry and acts out.

Men do the same thing, except his acting out may appear as withdrawing.

Women/girls want attention too. However, they impress each other with creativity, beauty, occasional feats of strength or stamina, sharing laughter, stories and emotion. Women/girls tend to support each other and frankly, push men/boys out. It honestly takes quite a man/boy to impress and get in the inner circle of a bunch of women/girls.

Amiright?

How do I explain this to these boys? They have the best intentions. They just want the girls to like them, think they are the coolest boys around and want to include them in their playtime.

How do I explain this to my girls? They think the boys brag too much or are too rough. They can't handle the boys' constant need to compete with them or each other.

***

The best part about parenting with Gentleman Jack is that we're alike when it counts and different in the best ways.

He's able to point out when my girls are simply expressing a fleeting frustration with the boys. I tend to take it personally as if I'm forcing my daughters to be with kids they don't like. Gentleman Jack helps me to remember that these disagreements are so short-lived!

I'm able to take a gentler hand in enabling discussion amongst the children, explaining hurt feelings and how to better get along.

After all, they spend such a short time together and not often at all. We''d like them to learn to tolerate and accept each other, at the very least. We''d like them to realize how important this is as a life lesson and to realize that they cannot dismiss each other as temporary annoyances. Because if Gentleman Jack and I have our way, these kids will be like brothers and sisters for a very long time.

***

Wow! This co-parenting thing is a challenge! I'm glad I have such a great partner with whom to share the responsibility.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Raising sons and daughters




The CEO at work and I always seem to have very interesting conversations. I couldn't even tell you how they begin but they always lead to some revelation for one or both of us.

Today, we somehow made our way into a conversation about male chauvinists.

Wikipedia states:
"Male chauvinism is a term used to describe the belief that men are superior to women. The term was widely used by the feminist movement in the 1960s to describe men who believe or display an attitude that women are inferior to men, speak to women as inferiors, or treat women negatively based solely upon their gender.Female chauvinism is a less commonly used term used to describe the symmetrical attitude that women are superior to men."

CEO stated that he believed that a woman who will generally call a man a male chauvinist is usually a female chauvinist.

I told him that I believed the term came from feminists (and according to Wiki, I was correct).

But really, let's think about this...


As little girls, we're usually raised:

1) to be completely dependent on a man - i.e. Disney princesses and riding off into the sunset with a prince to live happily ever after.

OR

2) to be completely independent from men - i.e. told that men are worthless and if you want anything done right, you have to do it yourself.


As little boys (in my experience from being southern born and bred), I'm assuming, you're raised:

1) to be a gentleman - i.e. you always open car doors, you never hit a woman and you treat a woman with respect.

(The above are all assumptions based on my experience. Usually if a man is not raised this way, I believe it is generally because of his past hurts with his mother or he is modeling his father's own unfortunate dysfunctional past with women.) 

So, let's say you have a independent woman trying to be with a man who was raised to be a gentleman, and this woman doesn't allow a man to open her doors, hits him and doesn't treat a man with respect. Wouldn't you think that a man would be confused and, in his defensiveness, put on an air of chauvinism?

What if you have a woman who was raised to be dependent and a man who was raised to be a gentleman? I think this would work for a while... until the woman realized that she couldn't depend on the man to be her everything. Who could stand that pressure? So then she begins to have less and less respect for the man because he's not fulfilling her completely, then he begins to shut down emotionally...

Now they're both hurting.

Moving forward, both the man and the woman have been hurt in past relationships. The trust of the opposite sex is usually destroyed in that hurt. Suddenly, the opposite sex seems like the enemy and huge generalizations are made.

All men are pigs.

All men cheat.

Men are assholes.

Men should be used only for sex and money.

Women are bitches.

Women are drama queens.

All women cheat.

Women use men for money and they're only good for sex.

*sigh*

Subsequently, we become independent feminist women, even if we were completely dependent on a man before. Men become narcissistic and unable to be trusted.

OR SO IT WOULD SEEM...

These are all defense mechanisms. Somehow we're convinced that we will have superpowers by putting up walls or hurting someone before they hurt us.

I believe that women are not really independent feminists - we just think we have to be in response to what we think men are.

I also believe that men aren't generally raised to be all for themselves and use women at their will. They're just responding to what THEY think WE are.

Honestly? I think we all should have some level of interdependence on each other.

Wikipedia defines interdependence:

"...a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with, others. Interdependence recognizes the truth in each position and weaves them together."

If we recognize the truth in each other, if we recognize that neither of us can be everything to each other, that our happiness depends on ourselves, that our giving love and respect to each other can be a beautiful coupling, then a relationship can grow, be long lasting and satisfying.

Then again, I could be wrong. I'm only raising girls. But to watch the dynamic of Gentleman Jack raising his sons compared to how I raise my daughters... and to see the dynamic of two sisters with two brothers, I can easily see how relationships and the dating scene can be so complicated...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Note to Self

I have nothing but respect for a man who realizes what he has in his woman... so much that he pledges to hold on to her as long as she allows him. There's nothing more attractive about a man than that!!

(That one was inspired by Rachel's Lucky Guy and my Gentleman!)