Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year. New Perspective.

Before Christmas I attended my friend's A Course in Miracles study group where I sadly admitted to him that I hadn't picked up the book in weeks.

"You're in that space of resistance," he reminded me, "where you know too much to go back but you're too scared to go forward."

Yep, and I've been there before.

"You need to PUSH through that!"

Ok, but how?

***

Gentleman Jack's mother is a spiritual seeker, like I am. She's been on her own path that she's excitedly shared with me from time to time.

One of her friends, who is also studying the same course, became a client of Jack's a few weeks ago. She too began sharing some information with him. Later that night, he and I talked about it. He showed interest in it and noted especially that this lady reminded him of me and how "inspired" and "assured" she was in her life.

I blew it off. My resistance to spiritual surrender has been strong lately, as obvious by my angry rants and pissy moods.

Something, though, has to be said about embracing that pissiness. I'm so glad I did. I feel SO much lighter than I was just a few days ago. Then in the shower yesterday, where I frequently receive my cosmic guidance, I remembered this course that Jack's mother and friend were taking.

The course is very similar to A Course in Miracles and helps to put the concepts into practice in your daily life. I've looked into some of the materials since yesterday. I've spoken to Jack's mom, Jack and his mom's friend in the past 24 hours and I'm beginning to see some light again. I don't know if this is the path for me but I'm open to being inspired again. I've been fighting it so much these past few weeks.

Maybe it's time to allow myself to grow again. Maybe *I am* pushing through the fear.

***

I also want to thank all of you for essentially being on the same wavelength in the comments to yesterday's post about taking a break. (Yet even more proof that blogging is so damn good for me.)

I knew there was another way of looking at things but dang, when you're in it, it's hard to see the forest, ya know? You're right. I get so wrapped up in what I want our relationship to look like that I forget to love it for what it is. And the same can be said for my man too.

As I talked to my Gentleman's momma last night, I told her about his depression and how I wanted to help him.

"Ok, but let's start with you first." she said.

What a great reminder.

***

All in all, it does start with me. I'd love to share my life, my world, my spiritual path, my everything with him but I can't give ME up in the meanwhile. Then what would there be to share?!

Ya'll know that I know that, right?

This life is a constant choosing to allow. It is also a choice to see things differently than before if I allowed them to disturb my peace of mind. You readers helped me to see things differently and you've helped me all year long.

2010, well, I could go back and highlight the year in review but I don't want to. What's passed is past. I could also make a whole list of things I'd LIKE to do in 2011. I'd rather not. I'd rather set an intention to live my life with a gentle smile on my face, love in my heart and peace in my mind.

"In the Mind of God, there is a fully created image of you at your most creative. abundant and joyful. And there is a divine blueprint by which this image would take form in your life. It is not something you can MAKE happen, but it is something you can ALLOW to happen, by making the softening of your heart your primary goal. This is the meaning of spiritual surrender."
~ Marianne Williamson

I choose to go into the new year embracing all that I am at every moment, but also recognizing that I can choose again. The choice never goes away. The peace is always available, when I stop resisting and allow it.

2011, for me, will be about spiritual surrender.

God help me to let go of this idea of control and force. Help me to be aware of my power instead.

Help me to accept things that I cannot change and give me courage to change the things that I can.

Guide me along this path that I'm so resistant to. Thank you for never leaving my side. Help me to allow the divine footprint that you have planned for me.


Happy New Year, my friends.

Thanks for accepting me exactly the way I am.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Man, Depression and "Should we take a break?"

One of my girlfriends took me to dinner last night for my birthday and I found myself, after a really strong drink or two, spewing my guts all over her.

I explained my bitter, resentful mood. I also told her that nothing she could say was going to change it. I told her of my irritation at myself for not being honest about my feelings. I told her of my frustration with what I perceive as unrealistic expectations on me from friends, family, the world in general. Then... I found myself spilling all sorts of frustrations about Gentleman Jack.

That's what girlfriends are supposed to be for, right?

I don't like confessing that my love isn't perfect. I don't like bitching that I want some things to change. I don't want the judgments of protective girlfriends to cloud-over the parts of our relationship that only WE can attest to. She, thankfully, knows him pretty darn well and is really good about pointing out his side of things and what he's more than likely feeling.

We came to the conclusion that he's depressed.

Everything that we've done in the past few months has been over-shadowed by his financial frustration. I'm not that shallow of a girlfriend that I demand top-notch dinners and expensive gifts. I think you can use your heart and imagination to touch someone even deeper than you can with money.

"He's a guy, though," she said, "He wants to give you things. He wants to take care of you. He wants to take you to do fun things."

Yeah but we're a family of 6! It gets expensive!

I will admit that I try to get us to do fun things, especially as a family. I try to find the least expensive options for fun. I pay 1/2 most of the time unless he's insisting to cover it. I even pay full sometimes when he's having a hard time.

I get tired of being in the house. I'm in the house ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME. When we're together, I wanna go DO something.

(This reeks of one of the issues in my marriage and a husband who was gone all the time and didn't want to do anything when he was home.)

So, yeah, maybe I'm part of the problem. But I'm not demanding anything. And we only see each other twice a month. Then there's the cost of gas to visit each other...

Being in a long distance relationship comes with its own financial challenges.

He's depressed. Ok. That would explain the drinking more often and the over-sensitivity and the drop in self-esteem and the lack of motivation to workout or do anything....

Ok, so what can I do to help? Maybe that's part of my pissiness. I can't do a DAMN thing, other than win the lottery, to help him! I have my own issues that I need to deal with but, as I do, I've put ME on the back burner to care for HIM. And I'm resenting the HELL out of it.

***

When I talked to him last night, I wasn't going to address these things... yet. He was still talking quietly and sounding down. But when he snapped at me for something I said, I let it all out.

I told him that I knew he was depressed. I knew that he was feeling worthless and sad and frustrated and that, since I could do nothing to help, I felt even MORE worthless and sad and frustrated.

Boy, THAT'LL definitely help his depression, won't it?

Then I felt like a selfish person for pointing out that his depression was affecting me. I knew, and I told him, that I need to focus on me. I knew that I should allow him to fight his own battle and take care of my own. Then, that would be helpful to him. Then, he wouldn't feel responsible for my sadness.

The problem is that I end up feeling guilty for pursuing fun and financial freedom when he's over there feeling bad about his own entrapment in his "house like a prison." I find myself resisting good things for me so that he won't feel even more sad.

"I don't want this... what I'm about to say," he began, "Do you want a break from me? Will that help you to focus on you, without me bringing you down?"

*sniff* I can't even type that....

God, NO! How could I give up on him, right now? How could I bow out when he needs someone strong to lean on? How could I not be there for him when he's telling me over and over again how much he loves that I am? And what does that even mean?!?

But I've been thinking about it. What else can I do?

I need to focus on me. For us. Can I do it and still feel the downward spiral of his sadness? Can I stop allowing it to bother me?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Embracing my inner bitch for my birthday

My birthday celebration turned out to be pretty damn awesome after all.

I'd decided that I was going to spend the day at a local Korean sauna and mentioned to friends that they could join me, if they felt like it. No pressure. One friend had already tried to engage me in a conversation after my last post but I'd have none of it. I'd purged it on the blog. I didn't want to talk about it anymore.

When I realized my resistance to discussing it, I also realized the core of my own emotional unavailability. I've known for a few years now (and especially since dating my honest and emotionally raw Gentleman) of my attraction to unavailable men. I knew it meant that I was that too. Like attracts like. I couldn't, however, for the life of me imagine how I, Miss Emo, could be emotionally unavailable.

But there it is.

Instead of sharing my feelings, my hurts, my fears with those who want me to share, I bottle it up. I put on a happy face. I write it out in a journal, diary, song, poem or... blog.

The most ironic part of all of that is that I still want to be heard... just not addressed face-to-face. My daughter does this too by writing notes when she's upset about something.

A close group of friends showed up at the sauna and we had a great girls' day. That day included yummy Korean food, sweating our asses off, impromptu silly conversations, getting my skin scrubbed off and my muscles pounded into submission by a Korean therapist, karaoke and a much needed girl-talk on the drive home. That was followed by a conversation with my man who was out with a large group of our high school friends, who then passed the phone around one-by-one and wished me happiness on my birthday.

By the end of the day, though, I still felt pissy and angry with the world. And again, I didn't want to talk about it, putting on my happy face, yet again, for my man during our end-of-the-day phone call.

***

All over Facebook were birthday messages. Most people called me beautiful and positive and always happy and uplifting.

Pfft. What a crock of shit.

Everybody sees what I allow them to see. I don't post when I'm pissy. Or if I do, I post stuff that I need to cheer me up. I'm almost tempted to put up a post that says, "Ya'll have no friggin' idea who I am."

This is ME, embracing my pissiness.

The worst thing, for me when I feel this way, is to tell anyone about it. The first reaction of others (and I do it too) is to point out that "things aren't really so bad" and "you are loved and so fortunate" and "you know you can see this another way"... ad nauseum.

No shit, Sherlock.

I KNOW all of that. I really freakin' do! I'm usually the one telling YOU that stuff. So, no, it's not like I've suddenly forgotten or something. I'm CHOOSING NOT TO SEE IT. I'm absolutely, purposely, choosing to be angry at life right now. And ya know what? It feels really good!

I feel like... I don't know... that I'm actually allowing myself to be a hater. Everyone else gets free reign at Hatersville and I'm always the tour operator for Loveland trying to convince everyone to see things like I do. No one's listening to me. I've been singing praises of love forever and no one gives a flying fuck about it. So hell, if you can't beat 'em...

Again, I'd like to apologize for the rants and anger and four-letter words that I've been using lately. I'd LIKE to. But I won't. I always apologize for not being nice. I always think about what I *should* feel instead of just feeling what I'm feeling.

Today, and perhaps for the next few days, I'm embracing my inner pissy bitch. I also know that when I allow myself to fully feel, it passes faster. It DOES pass, just like they say. Apparently, I've done this before, like in this post from the week before Gentleman Jack came into my life.

In other words, I know I'll be better soon. But I'm not sure I'll be the same. Maybe. Maybe not. I have to stop doing what no longer serves me.

Now, ya'll practice saying this, "I am sorry you're feeling this way..." because that's what I'll be saying the next time you're feeling pissy. It isn't me trying to cheer up anyone... it's me validating feelings the way I wish mine were too.

Here's to embracing all that you are in every moment.

*clink clink*

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas/Birthday Bitch/Rant

I'm going to do my damnedest to make sure this post isn't too ungrateful. Ungrateful, though, is how I've been feeling since last week.

So, um, if you want a happy post? You may want to skip this one... I have no idea where it will lead.

I'm not sure if it's a hormonal thing (as it shouldn't be according to my fertility calendar) or if I'm just affected by things, overly sensitive or whatever. It just feels like I'm struggling through this holiday.

Now, I have a tough time blogging when I feel like this because so many of you tell me how my posts are so inspirational and stuff. I simply write all the busy-ness in my brain and it seems to create clarity (for me at least) by the end of the post, in most cases. Writing is how I figure out things, I suppose.

OK... here goes:

.....

Over the holiday, I was blessed to spend my first Christmas actually with my man. I was completely depressed before he even arrived on Christmas Eve. Of course, with him feeling me in this state, he wasn't in too much of a hurry to get here (or so it seemed to me). Who could blame him?

My brother, thankfully, arrived and promptly started liquoring me up so that my mood would improve. It helped. But over the course of the night, my mood declined again as I drank more water instead of booze. My man, however, proceeded to drink til he was downright giddy.

He's been... in a state lately. He's having major financial difficulties and, as men frequently do, he's withdrawn and depressed and frustrated. His job is to provide and that, I think to most men, is how he loves. With it being the holidays and the expectation is to give gifts, he wasn't looking forward to Christmas.

When he gets this way, I stay upbeat. I feel like I carry him with my own good mood and happy thoughts. Then, as we've both noticed, when he finally does get relief, his mood improves and I collapse in a state of exhaustion and neediness. He finally received commission a few days before Christmas and, as expected, the depression set in on me.

When *I* get in this state, I want him to carry me. And he tries. But then he gets frustrated, after a bit, because he's finally happy and he wants me to be too. I can't explain this ebb and flow we have. It's a strange push and pull that seems to occur in all of my relationships... with friends too.

So, I went into this holiday feeling down and watched his drunken silliness and fun with my brother from an outsider's perspective. It felt good to have him here to celebrate the holiday. I was mad at myself, however, for not being able to put on my fuckin' big girl panties and enjoy him.

The next morning was no better. Christmas was fun watching the kids open their gifts and be so excited about a visit from Santa. I gave my man a very inexpensive but very thoughtful gift from me. It was a calendar for 2011 that included pictures of our "family" for every week of the year. It had taken me over a week to pull all the pictures together and sort them out by months. I also gave him two other photos of me in a frame that were his favorites from this year. He was in tears. Then he felt awful that his last minute gift for me wasn't thoughtful enough. And then I felt bad that my thoughtfulness made him feel bad.

That's the thing about me and giving.... I listen really closely. I pay attention all year so that when it's time to give, I can reach right out and touch your heart. Not many people, in my experience, do that. So to have the expectation that someone would give like I do? Well, it's always a let down so I try not to expect much.

Perhaps that sounds ungrateful? I wrote the previous post last week and I've still not gained clarity about whose needs or feelings are more important: the giver or the receiver.

He started drinking again so, in order to head him off at the pass and make sure that it didn't bother me, I started doing shots about mid-day. (They were tasty too!) I drank enough to put on a smile and feel good. (I do not drink until I'm out of control. Hence one of the reasons I usually have problems with people who do.) He stopped drinking and we really enjoyed the rest of the day. I did notice a few times that I was overly sensitive but I played it off.

By that evening, I'd made him feel worse again (or so it seemed to me) by beating him at a card game. Now, that may sound silly to you all but I never win at anything BUT this particular card game. He was convinced that he could beat me and couldn't. He was so frustrated that he left the table. I was angry at him for being a sore loser and then mad at myself for feeling bad about winning. What's with the childishness?!

He stated that he was simply frustrated at himself. I took it personally...as I was doing with EVERYTHING during the weekend. I kept holding it all in though, every time my feelings were hurt, I'd just bite my tongue and keep on going. What happens when I do that? Well, eventually, I have to have some sort of emotional release.

And I did.

We had a very long discussion about things and I did realize that I was feeling heavy and needy. He was feeling like he was giving all that he could and it wasn't good enough. Maybe it wasn't. When I'm feeling needy, nothing but another emotional connection will help me. He didn't want to feel emotional. He wanted to enjoy the escape before heading back off to "war" trying to make ends meet.

I also realized that I'd not spoken up at all when my feelings were hurt. Even as I write this, you'll notice I use the word "seemed" a lot. I know it's MY choice how I react to things. I know I wasn't in a good state of mind. Knowing that then, I tend to keep my feelings to myself because I know they are not "real". I know that he will get defensive and then I'll feel bad for making him feel bad. It's ridiculous, ya'll. Fucking ridiculous that I CANNOT allow my feelings, no matter HOW much they make sense at the time, be heard. Instead I hold them in, call myself irrational and kick my own ass.

"But I don't know HOW to do this!" I told him yesterday. "How do you be honest when you know your feelings are going to be defended against? How can I say to you, 'I feel like THIS when you do THAT' and not feel bad that you're ALREADY going through a hard time and I'm only making it worse by being an overly sensitive GIRL?!"

He finally told me that I should always speak my mind, no matter if he agrees with me or not. He said I should always look out for myself first, no matter who doesn't agree with it.

I don't know HOW to do that though! I've lived my whole life wanting everybody else to feel good, wanting everybody else to think of me as kind, thoughtful, giving, loving and unselfish. Now I'm realizing that I HATE living like that. I HATE feeling like I do so much for so many other people and NO ONE will ever be that way with me. EVERYBODY LIVES FOR THEMSELF. Why can't I do it?

And is it how I'm supposed to be? I don't know. I don't know what will make me feel better. It seems like people are just selfish. People don't listen. People live in a constant state of self-protection and self-preservation and no one gives a damn who they hurt to get there.

Like driving behind a guy in the fast lane and he's only going 50 mph. In your head, you're thinking, "surely it can't be comfortable for this person that I'm riding his ass in a big truck." but he won't get in the right lane. He'd rather be right in claiming his space on the freeway than to allow you to pass him. What the fuck is wrong with us?!?

Even me, in this blaming, ungrateful and frustrating post, I'M being selfish. I'm yelling to the world, "WHY CAN'T YOU BE LIKE ME?!?" like I'm the best person in the whole world. Maybe I do the things I do so that I can say, "See? Look at what an ANGEL I am. Nanee nanee boo boo! You'll NEVER be as perfect as I am!"

I've lost the gratitude for the good things. Yes, I have love. Yes, I have a healthy family. Yes, I have a job and wonderful things in my life. Friends who love me. Family who cares.

But I'm so damn lost right now. I'm so damn ready to tell Spirit to take this so called "faith" and shove it.

I'm sad and selfish. I'm angry and pissed. I want to run away from all of it just to prove some sort of point like the guy on the freeway.

Maybe it's because we don't EVER get to spend ANY fucking time alone. Maybe it's because MONEY has me stressed out too. Maybe it's because I'm still pissed at my family and how much drama there is there... or with my friends. I've just been a complete bitter bitch lately.

Am I supposed to be?

Anyway, no such luck on the clarity. I guess I just needed a place to bitch. Seemed like my "space" in blogworld felt like the safest place.

Sorry.

Happy Fucking Birthday to me.

Think I'll go do another shot.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Giving

I'm sitting at home in my office, listening as the puppy gnaws endlessly on a meaty bone I gave her. I'm trying to think of what to write. What to write about "giving"?

I had a frustrating experience yesterday with another friend. A friend whom I asked a favor several months ago. That favor was followed through and I appreciated it. Then, however, I forgot about it. Yesterday, this friend admitted that they never wanted to do the favor in the first place. That they felt very resentful that I'd even asked.

Of course, my first response was to say, "well, nevermind!" and "please forget I asked". And then I felt resentful too.

Then, of course, they felt bad for saying anything and then I felt bad for asking and the spiral continued downward....

What I realized, later on in the day (thanks to my amazing FB friends), was that I hadn't allowed my friend to say, "no".

***

If there's anything I've learned about myself, I do know that I have a tough time asking for help. I have difficulty asking for what I need. I especially don't like to burden others.

What I learned yesterday was that if I *do* ask for something, I assume the answer will be yes. After all, I so rarely ask for anything!

This is why my friend felt obligated and resentful. This is why I get so frustrated with my friends who aren't always available when I am. (Well, ONE of the reasons I get frustrated with them...)

It's all about ME, people!!

***

Surely there is a balance in there somewhere. Surely there is a way for me to feel better about asking. A way for me to ask more so that when the answer is "no", it doesn't bother me so much.

What does this have to do with "giving", you might ask?

Well... I was thinking about what I asked for, from this friend. And I was thinking about Christmases past, when my sister would ask me what I wanted for Christmas. When I would tell her to get me a gift certificate at a bike shop or sports store, her answer would be, "That's boring!" or "That's impersonal!" and she'd end up buying me something I didn't need at all.

What do you do with that?

How will others know what I want if I don't TELL them?

And if I don't tell them, and they never give me what I really need, then how will they know? Don't they WANT to know what I'd REALLY like or is it all about THEM too?

And if I tell them, and they get resentful because I asked and because it's not what THEY WANT to give me, then neither of us feels good.

This whole "giving" thing has me perplexed. Is the whole point to giving and receiving just accepting what you get? Never speaking up to ask for what you want?

Or as my daughters like to say, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

I'm still working through that one...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am not a nice person

I think something has crawled up my ass lately. I've been more than a little short and irate with friends in my life.

Back in October, I wrote how I missed my girlfriends. And I do. I really do. Nothing beats girl talk over a glass of wine or a good chick flick with a good chick.

Lately, however, I've been examining my friendships. I wrote another never-before-published post several months ago about this examination. I found that many of my friends are airy, creative people:

As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the arts. I stand in awe at extraordinary creativity in regular, ordinary people.

I also find myself inexplicably drawn to creative friends and their ability to suffer for their art. I relate. I absolutely relate because I, too, have the creative side of me. I, too, write poetry, prose, lyrics, music... I too have dabbled in photography and mixed media artistry.

However, as I established on this blog previously, I am also practical, logical, a technically established former systems engineer and programmer. I use both sides of my brain. Therefore, not only can I relate to the suffering, flighty nature of my creative friends... it also frustrates the hell out of me.

I feel like trying to spend time with my friends is like trying to chase down a butterfly.

I'm not sure why I've been so frustrated lately. Perhaps it's the lack of "me" time that I have. Between being a full-time working single mom of two children, a homeowner and in a long distance relationship, my minutes of precious time just for me are few and far between. When I do have a weekend to myself, I've sacrificed alone time with my man to get it.

And when I do have a weekend or time to myself, I want to be alone... most of the time. I crave quiet. I love a good, focused workout or time to get other things done that I don't get done with kids or my man around. Then I like to schedule a little girl time in there, but not so much that it encompasses my entire weekend.

So... what that means is that when I CAN see my girlfriends, I need them to come through for me. And I DON'T need a guilt trip if I can't make more and more time for them. I don't want to feel bad if my obligations, my kids or my man or myself come first.

I KNOW THAT SOUNDS SELFISH.

I'm not sure how else to put it.

I don't mean to be short, hateful or rude. I don't mean to be selfish. I feel simply overwhelmed by yet another demand on my time.

Maybe they can't relate because they're married and work from home or not at all. Maybe they don't understand the mountain of obligations I *already* have that they share with their spouse. Maybe we can't relate to each other anymore. Maybe who I was when we became friends isn't who I am anymore. Maybe they need more from me than I can give or am willing to give. Maybe I need less... or more... from them. I don't know.

And don't EVEN let me get started on my immediate family and what I feel THEY expect from me...

I have a few people who get it. I have a few people who ask nothing of me and reach out to enjoy whatever time I can offer, with no obligation. That is what I need right now. Maybe it'll change one day, but for now, I'm a selfish friend.

I need a rock.

I think this is what has drawn me to the men I've chosen in my life. I have never dated a creative person, per se. No. If there is a spectrum of creativity, the men I've dated would certainly be on the opposite end. Steady. Conservative. Stable.

I often wonder if I choose them because I too can be volatile and unbalanced at times. I too require someone to pull me from the skies as I drift from this to that.

Perhaps that is the attraction... and the most puzzling thing about my relationships.

I am drawn to the suffering, the dramatic, the imaginative, the brilliance and fickle nature of the creative people in my life that I call friends. But for a partner, I will also always cling to the invariable, the solid, the calm, the rock that keeps me grounded.

Lately, I'm craving the earth more than the air.


My man may never write me a love song or poem, something I've always desired. But when I lean back, he will be there... something I'm getting used to but still have difficulty trusting...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Frightened people are vicious"

Last night in my A Course in Miracles study group, my friend D mentioned this line, the title of this post, and a line in ACIM.

On the drive home, I thought about a post I never published from nearly a year ago. It was a night that my sweet Gentleman got scared. Really freakin' scared. And because of that fear and way too much alcohol, he did get vicious.

Here are a few excerpts from that never-before-published post:

As I mentioned before, alcohol is a big trigger of fear with me. I generally react when I sense alcohol is pushing a person I love out of their own control.

Jack hasn't shown me that side. He has a few beers and calls it a night. But this weekend, in the safety of his own backyard, surrounded by friends he hadn't seen in ages, he drank more. And more. And *sigh* more.

I was trying to roll with it. But I began seeing the side of him that I didn't know. Even more sensitive. Old wounds rising to the surface. A friend who was also drinking began to antagonize him. He got very upset. I got in the way. Things turned ugly.

All the while, I knew it wasn't him. I know alcohol brings out the worst in people. I didn't react. I stayed very calm.

What really happened that triggered the fear doesn't matter. What I will say is this: BOTH of our most worrisome fears were triggered that night. He was especially furious at me. He told me to leave. He begged me to stay. He yelled at me to leave, pushing me away. He fell to his knees in tears pleading for me to stay.

That happened over and over again for what seemed like an eternity. I was confused and done. I was ready to go, gladly. He said we were through. I'd already packed my suitcase while he watched. He would hand me my things to pack and then taunt me for "giving up on him so easily." I would get in my car after he'd tell me to go and then he'd stand at the window and tell me to stay. I was baffled. Frustrated. Stunned.

Then... something switched in me.

I gave it over to God.

Whether you believe in God or a higher Self or the Universe or whatever, I gave it over to SOMETHING more powerful than me. I began to see him... not as a vicious, horrible, hateful person who was angry, yelling, slamming his hands into the walls, saying hurtful words... I saw him as a frightened child. This man who is twice my size was scared out of his wits. Something in my mind said, "He is scared and now YOU have to be the strong one."

And even now, I know it wasn't him but I still feel the rawness of the things I saw and heard. I know those were his wounds raw and out there for everyone to see.

I guess I needed to see that. I needed to see how I would react. I needed to see him at his ugliest, perhaps, to know if it would scare me away.

Suddenly, with every furious, ugly word that left his mouth, all that I heard from him was "Help me. Love me."

I went to him. I TOLD him that I wasn't leaving. I very calmly made him come inside, lie down next to me, all the while he was fighting, angrily telling me to leave, that he didn't want to be near me and then, crying, telling me how he loved me, how I was the best thing that's ever happened to him... until he finally went to sleep.

That night... CHANGED us. It, ironically, brought us closer. We saw each other at our most vulnerable and learned to trust MORE. It was like... we went through HELL together and came through it unscathed. We broke through some sort of barrier and came out stronger.

He STILL beats himself up over that night. He still tears up when he remembers the bits and pieces of it. He still says to me over and over again how sorry he is and how he will always be amazed at my strength that night.

But, it wasn't MY strength. In fact, I feel like I wasn't even there. It was so surreal, so otherworldly that I truly believe an angel held both of us that night.

Because, you see, I'd seen viciousness before. I remember how my previous relationship ended. He was vicious too. He was terribly frightened too.

The difference was this: my Gentleman Jack allowed me to hold his heart - no matter HOW scared he was - no matter HOW alone he felt - no matter HOW MUCH he was convinced that I'd hurt him deeper than ever - no matter HOW angrily he told me to go - he allowed me in, still. He trusted me, still. He loved me still.

I just got out of the way and allowed love to hold us together.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pretend Proposals

The kids were having a Christmas gift shop in the library at school all last week. They enjoyed going in and choosing gifts and spending their own money.

My oldest daughter came to me later in the week and told me of a boy in her grade that bought a ring in the gift shop for a friend of hers.

"Mommy, she just told me a few weeks ago that she liked him. Then he said he liked her too. And NOW! NOW he's bought her a ring and they say they love each other! Isn't that fast?!"

Oh how cute! I tried to explain to her that it was doubtful they could get married in elementary school. I also told her that this is when I had my first boyfriend. It's more like testing the waters to see what a relationship feels like than really deep "engagement" love.

Later that night, she asked if she could speak with me privately. My youngest daughter shuffled off to bed, reluctantly, as my oldest child shyly began to speak.

"I feel sad, Mom," she began, "I'm jealous that my friend has a boyfriend."

My goodness, those feelings are so normal. I told her that jealousy happens when it seems that someone has something that you don't.

She began to tear up, "It just doesn't seem fair. I want a boyfriend too. I feel so... lonely!"

*sigh*

Oh my goodness! What do I do with THAT?!? My sweet girl wants to grow up so fast. I explained to her that she should be happy for her friend. When you're happy for the person who has what you want, when you send love and blessings to them, when you thank God for showing you something so amazing that you want it too, that sends off fireworks into the abundance available to you. When you're grateful for what you have, when you're thankful for another's blessings, that's when you get more of what you desire.

She said she was happy for her friend. And she shared her feelings of jealousy with her friend. She still couldn't wait, though, for the day that she, too, had a boyfriend.

"Baby girl, stick with your girlfriends, for now. Have fun with them. You'll have plenty of boyfriends in your life."

Trust me.

***

My little one, with the few dollars that she had to spend, bought a ring as well.

As I picked them up from school that day, I was greeted with my youngest daughter, down on one knee, with a red heart-shaped box holding a beautiful solitaire "diamond" ring.

"Mommy, will you marry me?" she asked sweetly while batting those long dark eyelashes at me.

"Wow baby! That diamond is huge!"

"I know!" she exclaimed, "See how much I care for you?!"

Well, how could I refuse?!


My Gentleman said he's prepared to fight her for me!

*giggle*

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snapshot of my Life


I won't post any photos of myself or my children for the sake of anonymity but I thought it would be fun to randomly post pictures from my life.

Like this one, for instance. Similar to my bookshelf post from over a year ago, you can tell a lot about a person by what's in their house, right?

This is the view that guests have while standing in my kitchen. Yes, that's Sting in my kitchen.

What? You mean other people don't have Sting in their kitchen?

Ya see, I've been a fan of the man, Mr. Sting, for well over 2 decades now. And during his Brand New Day tour, I met him. *drool* He's pretty damn charismatic and charming in real life. Called me a "good Texas girl" and planted a kiss on my cheek after a good long hug.

*fans self*

Anyway, I went on ebay and found this giant subway poster and ordered it for my house. My husband, bless his heart, didn't have a problem with it at all. I had it mounted on corkboard (which sadly it's peeling away from now) and put it in the upstairs bonus room at my old home. I loved visiting it when I was up there, which was rarely.

When I sold my old home and moved into this smaller home, I was sadly prepared to part with my Sting. But my sister, who was helping me paint and move in, noticed the vaulted ceilings in my kitchen and said, "Nope, Sting is staying."

Who was I to argue with that?! Oh and it made me smile on that exhausting day too...

Sting is resting comfortably above my bar cabinet which holds beautiful wine and cocktail glasses, bartending tools, bottles of wine and liquor. The cabinet was the last gift from my ex-husband for our anniversary/Christmas/my birthday before we split up. I thought it was nice of him to let me keep it and it comes in handy at parties.

On top of the cabinet are my picnic basket which I love to use in the spring time, wine bottle gift boxes that others have given me, a chip/dip tray that I use when entertaining, a candy dish and a sunflower vase given to me by my friend Rachel.

Sometimes, when the house is quiet, the kids are with their dad, and I'm pouring myself a glass of wine, I smile up at Sting and give a little toast.

God knows I've earned it.

(what's playing in my head today)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who's financing this relationship anyway?

"You're lucky my financial situation isn't where I'd like it to be..." my Gentleman told me last weekend, "Because if it was, if I knew I could give you and this family all that I'm planning on providing, I'd be putting pressure on you to move back to Louisiana."

I love that he wants to take care of me. I love that his goal is to make sure I want for nothing and that he can take care of everything.

I don't TRUST it though.

I tried to trust that my ex-husband could take care of us when I became a stay-at-home mother after years of being a major breadwinner in our marriage. It felt good to me to take a break. But soon, I was learning of reckless hidden spending.... not to mention the history of debt we'd just paid off. I felt like I had to babysit our money. It was tirelessly frustrating.

Then we separated and I had to find work once again, this time with an added limitation of a career that required NO travel since I now have 2 children that I parent (mostly) alone.

My ex-husband and I agreed early in our marriage never to fight about money. We knew that financial issues were one of the primary causes of divorce. We actually avoided the topic of money so well that it is STILL difficult to talk to him about it to this day.

Gentleman Jack, on the other hand, is very comfortable telling me about his expenses, what he brings home from his business, how much debt he has...

I keep reminding myself, "Hey, at least he's being honest." My ex didn't inform me of his debt until 6 months into our marriage. That announcement was a shock to me as I had just quit work to go back to school. We struggled for years before I began bringing in mucho dinero to pay everything off. He supported me financially during my college days but I still didn't feel like I could trust him with the checkbook. We didn't talk about it. I just took over and made sure we'd be ok.

Jack has his own financial issues and this time I'm determined to stay out of it. I still have a desire to want to "fix" things and help him get it all sorted - like I did in my marriage. He isn't asking for that and, in fact, insists that I allow him to figure things out for himself. But when I see how it upsets him or he loses sleep over it... it is very difficult to remain outside of it.

Talking about money with him still makes me feel very uncomfortable.

Why is that?

***

Early on in our relationship, I noticed my irritation at Gentleman Jack's desire to talk about money, debt and each of our financial issues. I've also discovered that when I have a strong emotional reaction to something or someone's actions about something, it must mean that it's a problem for ME.

I have to look at the issues I have surrounding money. 

Why?

Resentment.

I'm starting to resent that I don't have more of it!

***

It began innocently enough....

I started resenting the fact that we couldn't go out more, do things more, travel more.... Why couldn't he afford me?!?!

Hello?! *smack upside the head*

"If I believe anything about relationships," Jack always says, "I definitely believe in FAIR."

Why on earth was I expecting him, a single father of two with ZERO financial help supporting his children, to pay for MY fun?

What sort of belief was stuck in my psyche about who should pay for what?

We're both independent, single parents of two children with mortgages, utilities, childcare costs and credit cards. We both have to drive 3 hours to visit each other. We both want to have fun, travel and eat out. We both want to take our children to do all the family friendly places in my big town.

And so we began splitting things, sharing the expense of things (though he insists on paying more often and/or helping)....and then I began to realize that I wanted MORE dollars to do MORE with him.

Initially post-divorce, I felt a simple life with little means was a perfect life for me and my daughters. I feel that's no longer true. I want more. I want to DO more. I want to provide for ME and not depend on someone else. As much as I'd love to be taken care of, I'm not sure I could relax enough to enjoy it. Could I trust it?

***

I will continue to delve into this issue more as revelations occur.

What about you?

Do you have an opinion on who should pay for whom? When dating? In a relationship?

Do you have difficulty discussing money with your partner?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The man wants respect

So, have I told you guys about my oldest daughter?

She's head-strong (read: hardheaded), set in her ways, highly intelligent, clever (read: sometimes manipulative), bossy, comedic, statuesque and beautiful, multi-talented, creative, intuitive, brilliant.

She draws, sings, has an eye for fashion, writes stories and poetry. She loves a good story and will absolutely talk your ear off. She's a deep thinker, ever-curious, emotional, loves animals and the earth. She refuses to eat meat already... and is very opinionated about any food she eats. She's outgoing and shy, all at once. In fact, I have to force her to order her own food at restaurants because she'll claim she's too shy to talk to the waitstaff. She's almost cynical in how she doesn't trust easily. As a toddler, she called out a magician at a 2-year old friend's birthday party.

She's built like me, thinks like me, reacts like me. She's a mini-me if there ever was one.

It's very frustrating.

I now see why my father and I butted heads so much. He and I were a lot alike too. He was eternally frustrated with me because he wanted so much more than what he saw in me. He didn't like seeing himself.

My oldest daughter, whom I call "Funny Bunny" because she keeps her sister and I in stitches, has been fighting me on EVERYTHING since she was born. She is the most persistent child I know. God love her, she will rule the world one day.

***

Now... let's add in someone else who's very much like me and her in stubbornness and persistence. Gentleman Jack.

My Gentleman and my oldest child have an interesting relationship. He claimed she liked him from the get-go. I told him that it takes A LOT more to win her affections than it does my little one, my "Snuggle Bunny" who loves everybody and never meets a stranger. But when I saw that they were indeed bonded, I believed him.

I wasn't sure if she'd treat him the same as her own father. Her dad is a silly court jester. He's never had the hard hand of discipline in our co-parenting. I've already voiced concerns over how her non-respect of her father would translate into her relationships with other boys/men.

Jack isn't like her father. He is a single parent of boys. He is a definite disciplinarian. We're both softies with our kids but we're both strict in other ways as well.

And this weekend, Jack lost it. He felt that he'd gone above and beyond for my daughters and they weren't even acknowledging him for it. He was also getting annoyed that my oldest child was pushing the envelope when he'd ask her to do or not to do something. She wasn't being very respectful and I... sadly... didn't even notice.

I've previously written about the differences in how he raises his sons vs how I raise my daughters. I am only really just learning how to respect a man. Honestly, I often wonder if a man prefers respect to love. My daughters do love Jack, and they also love their father. They just don't know how to respect them.

I'm working on it too. This whole thing is new for me. I felt awful to see the hurt and frustration on my man's face. The conversation was uncomfortable. I didn't realize what was happening and how it was making him feel. I'm glad he spoke up. I, in turn, spoke to my girls and my stoic oldest child broke down. I know she doesn't mean to disappoint... it's just all she knows how to be.

***

I feel awful that I almost have to break her spirit to get her to acknowledge others. As a child, the ego structure and how you relate to the world is just being built. I understand that in her eyes, she believes life is truly "all about me". I don't like, however, that she's so headstrong that she'll challenge me on every thing I ask her to do. I don't like that she uses shyness as a crutch when others think she is rude for not speaking to/practically ignoring them.

I know her heart. I know she loves. I know how sensitive she is and how she believes that many people don't like her. I am trying to raise her to BE WHO SHE IS but at the same time, RESPECT OTHERS. It is a delicate balance.

I allow her to be emotional and then she'll apologize for losing it. I allow her to make mistakes and then she'll come to me for advice. I allow her to be the strong one, a role she stepped into early when her father and I split up and we had an infant to care for. I also try to remember to allow her to be my baby, my child. She worries about life way too much already.

But now, I have to bring an awareness to her, as she's getting older and being taken more seriously, that she MUST consider others first.

***

My Gentleman captures my heart every time he wishes to work through these difficulties instead of giving up. He realizes he cannot force my daughters, me or women in general to respect him and thus, he feels helpless.

I now not only have to mind the actions I demonstrate towards him but also how my children are with him. They've always treated the men in their lives, my male friends included, more like "friends" or someone to be silly with than another adult who makes rules and should be listened to. They're much more respectful to female friends and adults. I have to be more wary of this.

Bottom line: It bothers both of us when our children are being disrespectful... to their own parent or to each other.

Blending families and co-parenting is a challenge. I'm thankful he's still holding my hand.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Johnny be DAMN good.



I can't wait to see this movie. Because a) it's fun. And b) *drool* I so love me some Johnny Depp.

I can't help it. I've adored him since 21 Jump Street, back in tha day. I've always had it bad for deep chocolate eyes and great hair and kissable lips and quiet, modest confidence. *sawoon*


I love his bohemian ways and ability to be any of the oddest characters he's played on film. I love that he loves his woman and children so much. I love that he randomly appears at children's hospitals or schools as Captain Jack Sparrow. I love that he's a musician. He's just .... damn swoonworthy.








Ahhhhh... it's just something that made me smile today so I thought I'd share.



Pics taken from all over the internet... the best ones were from Flixster

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend Festivities

I have been taking herbs to help me with the adrenal fatigue diagnosis. My face is healing but I'm still breaking out.

*sigh*

Whatev.

What I am noticing, however, is that I'm handling stressful situations much better.

For instance, I went to Louisiana during the week of Thanksgiving to spend more quality time with my Gentleman. I packed a week's worth of stuff for myself, two little girls and a puppy and I didn't lose my shit. That's huge, ya'll. I get WAY stressed when packing... too much to think about! I put my bike rack on my vehicle, not the easiest thing to do, and carried my bike and workout clothes for both cycling, yoga and the gym. I was humming to myself and being so patient, even with the puppy freaking out like I was going to leave her behind.

I surprised myself.

I went back to Louisiana this past weekend with the kids again. I wanted to take my girls, my man and his kids to a Christmas festival that my family has enjoyed for 4 generations now!



Since Friday, I have been in the car and driven 12 hours from here to there and to the festival and back there and back home and then to the other side of town and back here.... the whole trip, I've been calm, patient, present...

But today. Dudes. Today, I'm friggin' TIRED.

Another thing I've noticed, since being on these herbs, is that I'm not sleeping worth a damn. I'm having a TON of weird-ass dreams and waking up all night long. I've been having this pain between my shoulder blades that feels very uncomfortable too.

Ugh, if it's not one thing...

My sweet man massaged me on Saturday night and found a lot of painful areas in my shoulder area (where I carry stress). I wonder what's happening? Am I still stressing out but now it's showing up in my body as pain and not just breakouts?

What.the.hell?

So, I'm feeling a bit out of body today. Trying to catch up again.

***

In other news, I had a job interview this morning that would offer great bonuses but the work hours/life make me appreciate what I'm currently doing more.

Somethings money just can't buy, ya know?


I still feel like I'm having some sort of career identity crisis....

***

Lots more things to write about regarding co-parenting with my man and another issue that I've been ready to write about for a while now.

Once my brain catches up with where my body is, I will definitely put words to e-paper (as it were).

What did ya'll do this weekend? Is everyone in a holiday spirit?!? Christmas shopping done?


Can The King get you in the mood?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Note to Self

I hear it from so many in my life:

I should be better with my budget

I hate that I smoke

I wish I could lose weight

I know I shouldn't gamble but...

I hear them so clearly because I do it too. I must remember:

If it meant anything to you, if you actually DID mean those words, you'd do it. You just have to remember that you are not a victim to these habits. You are the only one in control of what you do.

Stop saying can't.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Taking responsibility vs Playing victim to Circumstance

On my monitor at work. To remind me how I want to feel.


The other day, the CEO at work came into my office and nonchalantly asked,

"So... when are you going to buy into the company?"

I was insulted and casually said, "When you guys pay me enough money to do so. Or at least pay my bills for me."

I've been in a rut about this job recently. I'm not feeling valued. I'm no longer enjoying what I do... feeling way overqualified for this job and better suited for other jobs that would be appreciated more than this thankless position.

But after a few more discussions with the other female co-worker (who IS planning on buying in), I realized something:

Part of the reason I'm unhappy here is because I haven't bought in. Mentally, emotionally or otherwise. And his asking me to "buy in" in all of those ways means they really do want me here.

***

I realized this as I listened to an interview I did this summer with sex-activist Susie Bright.

My 15 minute interview, on one of Susie's In Bed with Susie Bright podcasts, was a part of a series of featured discussions with listeners willing to discuss their thoughts about sex.

Well, I'll discuss 'em with whomever will listen!

In the beginning of the interview, I mentioned to her that I was talking to her from work. And that my boss had just left. And that he knew I was about to give an interview about sex.

She was stunned!

"What a cool place to work!" she exclaimed.

After listening to that part of the interview, I realized: She's right. It really is.

There are lots of perks to being here, including the fact that these guys accept me for who I am. I could almost be called an entrepreneur, since it is such a small business. We all love each other like family. I can come and go when I please. I can bring my kids and hell, I've even brought the puppy to work. I've been really, REALLY taking these things for granted.

***

I was listening to another interview yesterday, on the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Lennon, who was 40 at the time of his death - and that is my age now, recalls his history, the lessons he's learned, how he sees life now, what he hopes for his future...

He talks about seeing the illusory nature of being a celebrity, and even being human! He mentioned still believing in love and peace. He also admitted that looking at yourself is the hardest part of life. He said when he was younger, he felt like a victim. He believed that the world was "doing it to me" or that "the world owed me something".

Now, he realizes that he's part of the problem. Screaming about it doesn't change it. Blaming doesn't change it. He had to find out personally that he was responsible for it all too. He had to look at himself and deal with how he handled life.

***

I'm realizing the same thing. In relation to my job, my financial situation, my single parenthood challenges, my friendships, my relationship with my man.

I have to "buy in" or engage fully in order to see HOW I CAN CHANGE THINGS... instead of feeling like I'm stuck or I'm not getting respect or I'm not feeling valued or I'm not making enough money.

I'm not sure I have fully engaged in life in quite some time, now that I think about it. I know for a fact that I've never bought into this job. I'll admit that sometimes it's tiring to think about taking responsibility for who and where I am. It actually seems much easier to scream about it, pout or feel victim. It appears the simpler solution to demand that I deserve to be treated better. Ironically, these past few years, I've put myself in this very position by only seeing these things in my life as a means to an end instead of actually living and driving my life.

My motivation comes and goes. Sometimes I'm resistant to it. Taking responsibility is quite a task but it also empowers me. I also must realize that I may or may not be able to change things externally but I am in charge of the internal. Who knows? Maybe a changed attitude or more engaging productive T could bring in more company success? Or perhaps the extra work will look good on my resume.

I will not be a victim of circumstance.

What can I do to shift things the other direction? How can I allow my worth here and in the other challenges in my life?

This is where I find myself now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Footprints

My friend, Jim Everson (aka Depot Dad) passed away in September...

Gosh has it been almost 3 months already?!?!?

... and every time I get on Facebook, I still see his face.

If you scroll to the end of this page, you will see my tribute, the flame, that burns for his memory. I put that there to remind me of him. I put that there to prove that his light couldn't be extinguished.

What I didn't know, however, was that the Universe (or the Facebook gods and their "photo memory" suggestions) would continue to remind me of him. I didn't realize that so many, not just me, would continue to visit his page or his blog with the naive hope that there'd be something new there. I didn't know that I would continue to see his face every day and my heart would fill again with love for that guy.

SUCH a great man.

Facebook also introduced, with their new profile layout, the ability to look at the history of your friendship with a FB friend. (After upgrading to the new layout, go to a friend's page, click on "Friendship" in the top right corner.)

I went through all of our FB correspondence, his posts on my page, my posts on his, and I just felt heavier and heavier.

*sad face*

Yeah, yeah, I know I've written enough about him here with endless posts... but ugh, my heart still hurts.

And I'm still mad at him for asking that I not visit before he passed away.

And I still wanna cry when I say that.

Guess it's true what that poem says - he definitely left footprints on my heart.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Value: Deserving or Worthy?

I've been putting much focus lately on my value. My value at work, at home, in my relationships with friends or my man.

I have a different feeling about being "valued" than I did before. I'm actually allowing myself to feel "worthy" rather than feeling "deserving".

Maybe to most people, those two words mean the same thing. Perhaps it's only to me, and where I am on my spiritual journey, that they seem so drastically different.

***

Deserving

When I hear this word, the first thought that comes to mind is Veruca Salt. The name may not sound familiar but I bet this image will:


Remember she was the spoiled brat in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who felt she "deserved" everything she decided she wanted? She finally got what she deserved in the movie. Heh.

Now, I've been her on occasion, and even still! I've even used the word "deserve" when I meant something far deeper. But I think that sometimes, we feel like we've been given the short end of the stick in life... and we DESERVE better.... and we won't ACCEPT less!

*stomp*

*pout*

Deserving sounds to me like a sense of entitlement bred from guilt. I know all about this with my newly realized martyr complex. Perhaps that is what differentiated these two words for me.

It just feels to me that the word "deserve" is so weak, spiteful and filled with hate. And hate comes from fear. And fear.... fear is nothing more than a belief in lack.

Unfortunately, we all go there sometimes. I hope to be more aware of it when I do... so I can let it go already!

***

Worthy

Worth, ah! Now worth means really realizing the quiet, peaceful, contented blessing that is YOU.

Worth means recognizing your TRUE spirit, your beautiful nature, beyond mistakes and imperfections. Worth means you realize you chose wrongly and no, you don't DESERVE more, you're WORTHY of choosing again!

Worth, to me, seems much more humble. It doesn't mean standing down from what you believe in, or demanding that you deserve more. It's more of a state of acceptance. It feels more like... allowing what is and then choosing not to engage if it doesn't suit you. Worth recognizes value from a place deep inside you and isn't affected by outside influences. Worth doesn't have to speak up... rather it silently emanates from you when you enter a room.

All rights reserved: Morten Prom


Worth takes your breath away when you see the ocean. Worth is how you felt when your child was placed into your arms for the first time. Worth makes you moan out loud when you finally succumb to orgasm. Worth gives gratitude for the touch of another human spirit. Worth marvels at the perfection of lessons learned. Worth is how you feel when spooning with your lover. Worth is that feeling in the calm of Christmas morning, right before the kids get up, when all is right with the world. Worth is stillness vibrating with an energy so powerful that abundance is drawn to it.

Worth is a quiet confidence, security, humility, and is bred of compassion, deep spiritual connection and love.

The way I see it, I most definitely choose worth over deserving.

***

I am thankful to recognize my value to those in my life. I am thankful to also realize my worth that comes from the steady calm within. When I greet life feeling worthy, I notice reminders in every interaction of a value that I didn't recognize before.

The best gifts are those we choose to see right in front of us.


"Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, "you owe me." Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky." ~ Hafiz

Sunday, December 5, 2010

They're real... and they're spectacular

I didn't feel like dressing up that day so I put on a pair of jeans and a white tank top. Since I wanted to look more decent than casual, I tied a crocheted wrap around my shoulders. I left my hair straight, put on a light dusting of makeup and threw on some hoop earrings. Quick and easy.

I could literally see the drool at his lips.

"Oh my God. You look the hottest EVER in that."

Um... really?

***

I use the above example to prove the very obvious point:

Most men and women have very different ideas about what looks sexy.

You see? As girls, we think we look hot when we're all dolled up - hair done, flawless makeup, nails painted, jewelry, higher than Mt. Everest heels.

We feel tall, statuesque, perfect.

Guys notice. Of course they do. But if you asked most of those guys what they'd rather see you in (other than naked), they'd tell you something a whole lot different than what you're wearing. More than likely it will be a whole lot simpler and less flashy than what we think.

So...who are we dressing up for?

I'm positive I've written about this topic before. I truly think that women dress to look better than other women. It may not even be a conscientious thought but if a guy would rather see us in a baseball cap, t-shirt and jeans, why do we try so hard to do more than that??

***

I watched Teri Hatcher on Oprah last week discussing a very important topic: Aging in women.

She shared a video of what she looks like upon waking and the transformation to look like the stunning girl-next-door character, Susan, on Desperate Housewives. Teri, who turns 46 this week, opened up the topic after posting photos of herself, fresh out of the bathtub with no makeup, on her Facebook fan page. She wanted people to see the real her, not the glamorous person she plays on TV.

In listening to her and the other famous guests, I remembered a FB status update I posted last week:

Compassion, I'm learning, also starts with me. If I'm not compassionate with myself, then I'm more than likely holding those in my life up to the same ridiculous standards as I hold myself. We should all be allowed to simply BE.

That means mistakes, imperfections and all.

Yes, *I* had that realization. Me. Who kicks my own ass consistently on this blog for my mistakes and imperfections. Can I learn to be compassionate with myself?

***

If we, as women and a society as a whole, are not compassionate with ourselves, if we have trouble remembering our value, if we feel incompetent in our beauty, our bodies, our aging, then that would explain how we propagate this feeling to each other.

How will we ever learn to accept each other if we cannot accept ourselves?

***

Now, let's go back to men. And let's take this further into the sexual sense.

When a woman is with a man in a sexual sense and she is self-conscious, more than likely she wants to be perfect, alluring, sexy, statuesque... Just as we mentioned above. She's trying too hard.

A man... hell, a man is just happy that you're naked, am I right? He isn't asking for perfect. And yet, we keep thinking that is what he wants and so, we feel less than. We aren't comfortable. We can't relax.

Now, let's take the same scenario with a woman who is self-compassionate, who feels her worth as a whole beautiful light, who accepts her aging, her mistakes, her imperfections but knows they don't define her, and who realizes that her man is fully present and engaged, wouldn't the sexual experience be so much more?

For both the man and the woman?

Now, you can let your guard down. You can allow yourself to be worshipped by your lover. You will allow yourself to be adored. Your perfect and ageless light will reveal a sexiness that rivals the most beautiful of women. The body then relaxes into the feeling of being touched, caressed, and savored because you allow it.

***

I already have a pretty rockin' sex life but I'm realizing, as I turn 41 this month, that with age comes change. Physically, I will not look like this forever. But spiritually, mentally, emotionally, I just may be the sexiest I've ever been.

I'll let Teri complete this post...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanks for Thanksgiving

During my visit, it became much more apparent that Gentleman Jack and I are two different people with four different children with distinct personalities they inherited from us and their other parents. We were all together in a house last week. Food needed to be prepared. Chores accomplished. Kids nurtured. Our own needs and the needs of each other nurtured too!

Every time I was frustrated, I tried to remember what it was like when the ex-husband and I were initially living together. We fought over everything from how the toilet paper was hung to how oatmeal was made. I remember very distinctly throwing oatmeal and a grapefruit half out into the driveway and yelling at him, "There's your fucking breakfast! Go get it!"

Ah yes, good times.

And now that I've blogged about the challenges of my visit, I want to take the time to remember, most importantly, all that was great about the Thanksgiving holiday with my Gentleman Jack.

Touch: I love how he has to be touching me all the time. No matter what we're doing, he's holding my hand or snuggling up to me. Thanksgiving night, he went with the teenage boys to see one movie and I took the little ones to see another movie. He texted me during the movie to see if I wanted to come out to the lobby and snuggle while he was buying popcorn. I couldn't because I had little kids but the thought made me smile.

Sleeping together: Yes. Sex was available to me anytime I wanted it. (That is, when I could get outta my head.) Even beyond that, though, was having someone to warm me up on those cold nights. Someone to reach for in the middle of the night. Someone to wake up to. Someone whose foot was there when I slid my foot across the sheets to find warmth. Someone to kiss my bare shoulders or spoon with me. Yes, sleeping together is good. Very very good.

Family time: We definitely had our hands full all week but ya know what? That's what holidays are all about. The kids and I were able to enjoy movies and games and good time together. One night, we even brought out Rock Band and all 6 of us had a blast. It was strange not being around my mom, sister or brother but hopefully Christmas will be different. I did get to spend time with my dad's wife and my grandfather. The kids and I really enjoyed that.

Food: I love Louisiana food. I enjoyed gumbo, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, venison stew, muffalettas... and that doesn't even include the scrumptiousness of our Thanksgiving day meal!

Being spoiled: The man loves to take care of me. From pulling out extra blankets for me to making me smoothies in the morning to pulling me into his lap every time he sits down. He also makes the best vodka tonics ever! (my fave!) He went out of his way to make sure I not only had my favorite vodka at his house, but his mother's house as well. One evening, I was curled up on his couch in my Snuggie (*giggle*), munching on a snack and watching a James Bond movie. His teen son walked by and called me 'spoiled'. Damn straight I am. 

Gym Time: We were able to get to his gym while I was there. I liked looking up from my treadmill to see him pumping iron across the gym. I especially liked that he came over and gave me sweaty kisses! And post-workout sex? The. BEST. sex. of. all!

Football: It is ALWAYS good to be in Saints territory. I was able to watch two Saints games (and two LSU games) during my time with Jack. The Saints won both games! Geaux!

 
Saints fans are bred from birth in Louisiana.

Normal everyday stuff: Ok yeah, it was difficult sometimes to deal with normal everyday stuff but I'm glad I was able to do those things with him. He was right there, loving me, supporting me, helping me through all of my moodiness and co-dependence and parenting struggles. He sort of guides me through things, like they're nothing at all to him. We had to have a few discussions but we spoke honestly, we allowed, we compromised. He says I'm teaching him all the time but wow, I'm learning so much!

Hugs and kisses: I realize that I've already said touch but seriously, my man is just so lovable. Knowing the physical and emotional pain I've felt with my skin problems, he caresses and kisses me all over my healing face. He loves his hugs and he wraps himself all up on me when he hugs me. Case and point, this photo was taken while we were out with some fellow high school classmates. He pulled me into a hug in the middle of the evening for no reason at all.



We were so oblivious to our friend with the camera phone that, once we let go of each other, my man actually turned RED when he realized our picture was being taken.

Life gets a little blurry when I'm wrapped up like that.

That is something to be thankful for.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Co-parenting and "Step" kiddos

Soul stirring aside, this visit with my man was challenging.

It's one thing to spend a week with my man, it's another thing altogether to spend a week with my man and all 4 of our children.

We're both single parents of 2 kids. We're both working and trying to make ends meet. We're both homeowners and car owners and trying to make sure our kids do well in school and are healthy and strong. We're both trying to take care of ourselves and still find room in there to have a healthy, solid relationship with each other.

Though we have lots in common, we do things differently. And other things, we do the same. These things became much more apparent over our visit this time.

***

One of my Gentleman's children accidentally hurt one of my children. They literally ran into each other right in front of me.

Let's take 2 single parents of 2 children and throw in a challenge of a hurt child and wow, all sorts of feelings come out.

I was surprised how naturally I fell to the needs of my hurt child. I was equally surprised to feel the defensiveness of Jack and his child. We all witnessed it. We all knew it was an accident. I didn't feel like anyone was to blame. But there I was, holding my child, and having an instant "us-against-them" feeling.

I didn't like that feeling.

Of course, I would expect it. I've been parenting my children from the womb. I've only now-and-then parented his children for the past 18 months. But still, I didn't want to convey a feeling of distrust to his child. Or to him.

But there it was. In that instant.

***

I'd also been challenged, during that visit, with watching his teenage son's daily routine.

Every day, I listened as my man would instruct his son on chores to do while he was at work. Every day, I kissed my man goodbye and watched his son plop down on the couch and turn on a video game. Every day, I suggested, bribed and cajoled his son to actually do the things his dad had asked. And every evening, I watched as my man yelled at his son for getting nothing done.

*sigh*

I guess I'm not a good mom of a teenage boy. It's probably not my business but it crawled all up on me and irritated me.

I can't tell if I was irritated more with his son, or at him, for allowing his son to get away with doing the same thing over and over again with little repercussions. I think my sweet man allows that single parent guilt to dictate what his son can get away with.

And yes, I do the same thing with my own kids.

***

My Gentleman and I had to have discussions around these things. I guess that was the good thing about them happening. These challenges opened up some great conversations for us.

He trusts me to say what I need to say to his children. He agrees with how I raise mine. He knows the type of parent I am and expects his children to show me some respect too.

It feels like a fine line with me though. I am NOT their parents. It is NOT my responsibility to make sure his son gets his chores done or doesn't get in trouble. Jack realizes this and isn't asking me to step in. I can't help it when it's right in front of me though.

I realized that I have a MAJOR problem with sloth. I can't stand the fact that his son wanted to do nothing but be lazy all day. I hated that he disrespected his father EVERY DAY and didn't care that he would get reprimanded at the end of the day.

But then my child got hurt. It was then I realized that I am going to be judgmental of Jack's children. Much more judgmental than my own, of course. I raised my own. They're in no way perfect children but they know what I expect from them.

I suppose at some point, maybe I will learn to accept the differences. My man is continually challenging me to accept others, accept things I find frustrating, accept the things I cannot change....

Love means acceptance. Perhaps also, when it comes to accepting "step" children and my partner's parenting of them, love takes time too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What HE says about ME

Gentleman Jack does not read this blog but he is very aware of what I write.

He used to ask me about it, curious of everyone's comments. Now, he looks at it more like my "support group". He doesn't ask but allows me to talk about it when I feel the need.

For instance, he is very aware that I am still processing last week. He knows that I am writing about the lessons I learned and how I feel that he is so present, calm, patient and accepting of me.

He doesn't see himself that way.

He realizes that last week was very intense for me, as I felt that I had to look in a mirror of past relationship patterns and mistakes all week. I am hoping to do better in this one but it doesn't make the discomfort of that ugly reflection go away.

Then last night, on the phone, he said to me, "I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit."

***

He went on to say that it was ME who was strong enough to look at myself and take responsibility for the things that I do or have done.

"As cliche as it sounds," he said, "You DO make me want to be a better man."

He said it is ME who is the calming force in his life. He's never felt more heard or more respected than he does with me.

It is ME who blesses him by seeing him past his faults and his own perceived ugliness and loves him anyway.

It is ME who handles him with such tenderness and grace and patience.

He said he always thought a relationship like ours was possible but it hadn't happened. He had given up. Now he feels so happy, so content and he doesn't believe that it's HIM that's creating that serenity.

"WE are good together. Period." was his final conclusion.

***

I was *swooning* to hear my sweet man, who was still sniffling from the cold I gave him, say such words of appreciation.

After getting off the phone, I remembered a misunderstanding we had about a month ago. I was angry at him for something I thought he was saying.... something about not sticking around if things got too difficult or one of us were seriously ill. I thought he was telling me that he'd give up on us. He wasn't saying that at all. He was only marveling at how others survive such a loss. He weakly admitted he'd go down with me if something fatal were to happen to me.

Again, when I looked at it... again, when I really dove deep into my reaction, I realized that out of the two of us, it would be ME who'd give up. When I told him this, he didn't believe me. He doesn't see me that way at all.

*sigh*

My fears got the best of me in that misunderstanding and for a week or so after. My fears are the cause of all of these judgments and frustrations and irritations. My fears are the root of my hesitancy at the prospect of marriage to this man. My fears tell me not to jump in with both feet because it could end or not work out or "but he's not what I expected" or "what if something DID happen to one of us???"

Fear is completely irrational. I have learned, on this journey of lessons, that getting the irrationality out of my head makes me see it so much clearer. I have to be aware of the obstacles and fears. I have to LOOK at them to see... they make no sense at all.

He thinks I'm not judging him but I am and I have.

He thinks I'm calm and tender but sometimes I'm downright insane and hateful.

He thinks I accept him but it is truly HE who accepts ME and is teaching me everyday to be more accepting of every single person in my life from my best friend to my sister to my ex-husband.... to MYSELF.

He, quite simply, stirs my soul.

Perhaps the stirring of my soul challenges me, knocks me around, makes me reexamine everything I thought I knew? Maybe that's where these irrational fears are brought to light?

Because the rest of it? The differences in how we lead our lives or what he does on a daily basis or the surface issues that give me pause or make me step back and give thanks that we live 200 miles apart... all of that stuff? Well, it's just STUFF.

When someone moves your soul, like he does mine.... when someone teaches you, every day, that you CAN be the person you strive to be... when someone is that patient and sublime and way down deep exactly what I need in my life right now.... the other STUFF becomes really fuzzy.

Our souls sought each other out, if you believe in that sort of thing, and are healing to each other. I really don't feel like we have much say in the matter. I may not be the person he thought he would be with and vice versa but we are where we're supposed to be, plain and simple.

If I could only listen to my soul and allow the STUFF to remain fuzzy, maybe it would fade... all of the crap and the obstacles and the fear. Maybe it wouldn't matter at all.

Maybe it doesn't matter now.

If I can stay in the Now.

I am loved if only I'll allow it.