Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes I'm so social I'm anti-social

Wow, this week has been a doozy! I've had several personal and business appointments all week. I've been running around like crazy and then, when I'm not, I'm building blogs for friends and writing posts for other things...

Being so active socially has left me a bit anti-social here, hasn't it?

I'll give a quick rundown on things so ya'll don't think I'm as depressed as my previous posts sound.

***

First of all, I'm thrilled to have so many things going. I feel so good when I'm busy and people care what I have to say. As someone who, as a child, didn't feel listened to, it is nice to feel as if my thoughts and opinions are recognized as important.

The downside to that is after a while, I won't want to talk to ANYBODY. I will feel a bit drained by Sunday evening, of this I'm sure!

Why Sunday evening?

Well, my boys are coming in this weekend in celebration of Gentleman Jack's birthday. There will be cake, more than likely this recipe. Because really, who DOESN'T like chocolate sheet cake?

Photo from Pioneer Woman's recipe


I'm not sure what sort of fun we'll have this weekend. The weather's supposed to be nice. Perhaps we'll grill out. Maybe we'll go to the park. Maybe we'll hit an arcade and bowling alley. The options are limitless...



I also took care of the birth control option this week - deciding on the Mirena IUD. I canceled the Essure appointment a few weeks ago (mostly because the Essure plan B is a full hysterectomy if it has to be removed). I'd had the Mirena before with no problems so I decided to go for it again - despite the hormones. Who knows? Maybe it'll help with my hormonal issues too. *fingers crossed*

Something so small makes such a big difference.

I do know this for certain. Momma's gonna be gettin all kinds of naughty with my man this weekend! There's something to be said for carefree naughtiness too. Just sayin'!

Just because it's funny

I've kicked my fitness back into gear too with the triathlon training. I'm running a 5K in a few weeks and hoping to add a few cycling events this summer. I'd forgotten how I managed to magically squeeze in training workouts into my day. The kids are getting more self-sufficient too, which definitely helps. It's about time to begin my lunch-time swim training again too.

Ya know you want to.

The kids are excited about the warmer temperatures as well. Warmer temperatures means school's almost out! It's hard to believe that it'll be just a few more months til summer vacation.

Our vacation this year won't be here. *sad face*
But here! *happy face*

So for now, I'm back to being everywhere and doing everything and so far, holding it together nicely.

Check with me again on Sunday night.

zzzzzzz...

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Strength in the Stillness

Last week I enjoyed lunch with one of my best friends. She and I are at a similar stage in our "spiritual journeys" and discussed that we should consider writing a book together.

The next morning, after not putting much thought into it, I awoke to the book practically writing itself in my mind. I quickly dove out of bed and typed the free flow of information into an email to my friend. Right in the middle of the book writing, I heard another voice:

"And this message is for Gentleman Jack, tell him that he needs to...."

Duly noted. Then the book information kept flowing from my mind to my fingers rapidly typing on the keyboard.

Later, on the drive to work, I called my Gentleman and passed the message to him. I had to laugh because I know it sounds funny to say, "I have a message for you" and then proceed to tell him what a voice in my head said. Thankfully, he knows me. He trusts me. He has also told me more than once that I have some sort of "cosmic connection to the Universe." He trusted the message though he couldn't see it clearly.

On our evening phone call, he told me of all matter of things that transpired since receiving the message. All sorts of "coincidences" and "just happened to's".

"Stop thinking those things happened by chance," I told him.

He's almost there.

***

Truthfully, there is nothing special about this voice in my head. We all have it. It's that "still, small voice" that is mentioned in the Bible, A Course in Miracles and just about every spiritual or religious text that exists.

I've blogged previously about hearing it when I was nearly fired from my job... and when I was worried about Soldier's return from war... and more obviously a conversation between my ego and Spirit. I've hesitated calling it a voice because I'm sure it sounds a bit woo-woo to some. Now, eh... it is what it is. It is very clearly a voice.

I've heard this guiding voice on many other occasions in my life. I've even passed on messages to others; often times the message is, "I have a picture in my head of you with this book." Sometimes, the voice isn't in my head but in a song lyric. Or in a book. Or on a billboard. Or in a conversation with a friend. It is always there. I just don't always choose to hear it.

And other times, I will downright fight with it. You know how we'd rather be right than happy! I do know that when I listen, even if it's reluctantly, it has never steered me wrong.

***

I heard more news last night about a family member who is going through a difficult time. As is the norm in my family, the question seems to be, "What's T going to do about it?"

I have a love/hate relationship with being the perceived strong and balanced one.

Pfft. That's so not me. It's who I try to be, no doubt.

Then I have to remember, it is not ME with the answers. If it were ME, I'd be fighting or trying to kick some ass or hiding from the question altogether. It is not MY strength or MY voice or MY answer.

When the question comes to me to resolve, or when I feel as if something needs to be fixed, or when I witness the struggle in those I love, I have to know that they have the same access to the same voice.

"You just need to find your center again," my Gentleman reassured me on the phone last night, "You know you are the most helpful when you're helping yourself."

Yes. Exactly.

Peace.

Be still.

Find your answer.


"Conscience is that still, small voice that is sometimes too loud for comfort."
~ Bert Murray

"The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

"...the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake; And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
~ I Kings 19: 11-12 (KJV)

"The still, small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego's raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it. Perception is a choice and not a fact. ... For on the voice you choose to hear, and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are."
~A Course in Miracles

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cool. Stylish. Blogs.


Thanks to Two Kids and a Fish for bestowing this awesome award to me.

I am not really good at receiving these types of things because, honestly, I'm not really good at giving them either. If I think you're awesome, I add you to the Most Excellent Blogroll over there on the right. -------------------------------->

But in the spirit of the award, I'll play along and list seven things about myself that you may or may not already know.

  1. I am currently training for another triathlon in August. It will have been 2 years since my last triathlon. Training is slow but moving. I also have a triathlon training blog that I'm writing with a few high school friends who have never done a single race before.

  2. I can't drink soda. I don't really drink soda anyway. I usually drink gallons of water. My body is affected by soda in a bad way. Caffeine gives me a headache and keeps me up at night. Too much sugar makes my stomach hurt. And in general, when I drink it more than once in a blue moon, I will get a urinary tract infection. TMI, I know. 

  3. I am really sensitive. Yes, emotionally but physically too. (See #2.) I'm allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen and some antibiotics. This is why I love natural medicine.

  4. I've been studying my family tree. I also found out that my family, on both sides, is DEEPLY rooted in both Louisiana and Texas history. And that I'm pure Latin. I just LOOK like a white girl so watch out!

  5. Speaking of trees, I have an affinity for them. In fact, one such tree that I planted at the first house I owned with my husband actually came to me in a dream after we sold the house. The tree was begging me for water, telling me it was dying. A few weeks later, we went by that house to visit a neighbor and sure enough, found that my tree had burnt to a crisp in the Texas summer heat. The new owners hadn't watered it at all.

  6. Both my ex-husband and my Gentleman shield my eyes at any sign of animals being hurt. My ex-husband used to do it if he spotted an animal on the road that could get hit by a car. My Gentleman does it if he's watching a hunting show and I happen to walk into the room. Hmmm, did I say I'm sensitive?

  7. I am the only person in my family with a college degree.


Now, again because I'm not good at giving out these awards, I'm not going to "designate" that the following peeps have to pass it on either. I will, however, list some new-ish blogs I've been reading if you've neglected to find them on the blog roll. (And they are not in any sort of order.)

  1. Chopper Papa - I love CP for his love of his Queen, his kiddos and his wisdom. He's also helped me figure out some things I'm still learning about men. 

  2. J.R.'s Journey - You may know J.R. from his Sex & the Single Dad blog. I personally loved his crude humor on the original blog but he's showing more of his softer side on J.R.'s Journey. He writes about his own journey as a single dad of a daughter. Check him out.

  3. Two Kids and a Fish - Love her! And not just because she gave me this award! She's going through her own divorce and start as a single mom. She writes funny and sometimes poignant posts. I'm still hurting with her most recent post about a friend of her daughter's.

  4. Beauty in the Breakdown - Jen rocks. From her gorgeous photography to her rants about doing right by her two daughters, she is honest and true in her words. Sometimes her posts take my breath away.

I think many of you who read here also read just about everywhere else I read. I hope you'll check out these 4 awesome peeps too.

Is there anyone else you'd recommend to me? I always love discovering new blogs.

Have a great week, ya'll.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leave a Light On

When I was a teenager and I was feeling especially alone in the world, I would pull out a Duran Duran album, put needle to vinyl and pour all of myself into the music blaring into my ears from my father's giant headphones. I'm not sure if it was the otherworldly lyrics, the harmonies or the melodies but their music always swept me away from my worries.

I'd do the same if I had headaches. It's funny to think about but yes, instead of aspirin, I'd listen to Duran Duran. The music just.... made me happy.

So last night, when my man was doing himself more harm than good (in my opinion) while in his man cave, I felt sick to my stomach with worry. I know, I need to step back. And Twitter brought my answer with a much needed distraction.

I'd forgotten that director David Lynch and Duran Duran were putting on a live concert via youtube. It was being tweeted and retweeted to me by various fans and the band's own Twitter stream. I tuned in.

Again, their music transported me past my worries, allowed me to feel my emotion and soon I was dancing with my laptop.

Ok, so I can't help my man. But I can still appreciate a band that's brought me joy since I was 12 years old.

***

One such song I especially connected with is off their brand new album, All You Need is Now (great title and great new album). The song is called Leave a Light On and yeah, it fits. It helped me to remember what I should do... and how much it means.

(Unofficial but BEAUTIFUL video to go with the beautiful track)



"Leave A Light On"

So come the evening
I'm out on the dunes
Looking for a token, something to prove
All I remember is more than a flame
In my fantasy, fire

Whatever I've done to receive
Whatever I need to redeem
Whatever you say
Even if I wait a lifetime

I know, I swear
If you leave a light on, if you leave a light on for me
I'll come there
You can leave a light on for me

In comes the morning
I'm stood in my track
Looking at the reasons for me to head back
So unexpected, the kindness you've shown
That I will not forget it

Whatever I've done to receive
Whatever I need to redeem
Whatever you say
Even if I wait a lifetime

I know, I swear
If you leave a light on, if you leave a light on for me
I'll come there
You can leave a light on for me

You breathe the will into the weak
And coach the cage bird to fly free
You ease the lost cause out of me
With your sweet hand to bring me home
I'm not alone, oh, oh, oh

I know, I swear
If you leave a light on, if you leave a light on for me
I'll come there
You can leave a light on for me


***

Though we didn't talk much last night, and it may sound cheesy but yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing. It's all I CAN do.

I'm stepping away from the man cave, stepping back inside my home, and leaving a light on for him. Thankfully, he knows I'm not going away and I hope it gives him much needed strength.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pacing outside the Man Cave

As mentioned last week, my Gentleman suffered a devastating loss in his business. I felt helpless as I listened to his struggles over the phone last Monday evening. Then, over this past weekend together, he seemed fine and we enjoyed our mini-vacation to southern Louisiana.

Saturday night, however, he retreated. Perhaps it wouldn't have been noticeable if we were together all the time. Maybe I would've felt comfortable with his faraway looks and extra worry-lines in his forehead. Maybe I'd be okay with doing my own thing while he mulled over things in his man cave.

This, however, is a long distance relationship. Our rare time together is filled with adoration and attention. We're stealing precious time to focus on each other and leave our worries behind.

Reality. It always crashes the party, doesn't it?

We talked about it Saturday night and I gave him some space. He, of course, continued to caress, snuggle and *ahem* please me into the next day when I had to drive back to Texas. He didn't want to talk about it and I didn't force it.

Monday morning, however, he was off in his mind again. That evening, he was texting me from the cave:

"I love you so very much. I hate that I'm such a burden these days. I KNOW I will reward your efforts, compassion, perseverance and strength!"

***

First of all, I HATE that he believes he's a burden. He is a giver, he told me yesterday, and the fact that he has to "take" so much hurts him. What is he taking exactly? My love? My concern? The fact that I paid for a few things this past weekend?

Secondly, I love that he wants to be and give so much. I appreciate that he appreciates me.

In the meanwhile, I'm pacing around outside the man cave while he prepares for some sort of battle to rescue... I don't need rescued but he likes to be my warrior. He wants to be "the man that I deserve". He wants to give me everything. He wants to be the strength, perseverance and compassion that he sees in me.

I can't focus. I feel scared. I am angry. I want to help.

I'm also learning. I'm allowing. I'm giving him the space he needs and letting him have his reaction. (Thanks to ChopperPapa for covering this topic too!)

***

Coincidentally, on the drive there and back, I was listening to the audiobook, "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul" by John Eldridge. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will notice a trend in the books I've read the past few years. My focus has been to be a better partner, to better understand men and create healthier relationships.

I am not finished with the book yet but more than halfway through it, I have a clearer understanding what Gentleman Jack is facing. I understand the control he feels he must have over his career. I can appreciate, even more now, his desire to be the outdoorsy guy that he is. I also have a stronger comprehension of how I, as his partner, can affect or not affect the choices he makes in his life.

"...in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue."

"Even if he can’t put it into words, every man is haunted by the question, “Am I really a man? Have I got what it takes…when it counts?""
~ John Eldridge, Wild at Heart

***

I'm still pacing restlessly outside of his man cave but I know I must redirect my attention. He will feel better to know I'm enjoying my life, focusing on my kids, keeping things status quo while he fights his fight.

I also have to have faith in him, as a man, to take care of things. I could take care of some things for him. I could help him. But what I'm learning is A MAN NEEDS TO FIGHT HIS OWN BATTLES. He doesn't want to be rescued; it would feel emasculating to him.

More importantly than that, I must have faith that Someone Stronger is looking out for him too. He has his own path, his own lessons, his own teachers. It is not up to me to control.

I'm praying that instead of making God his co-pilot, he'll move aside to the passenger seat for a little while.

Will you send him good vibes and prayers too?

"God requires a new set of questions: What are you trying to teach me here? What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this? What is it you want me to see? What are you asking me to let go of?"

"Yes. True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own."
~ John Eldredge, Wild at Heart

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Open Letter to my Daddy

Hi Dad,

I sure do miss you.

I really wasn't completely aware how much I would miss you. It's been 3 1/2 years now and sometimes, I just want to sit with you and have a good conversation. A "keep it real" conversation with no bull shit, ya know?

I've been working on our family tree on Ancestry.com the past several days. You remember it was something I always wanted to do but since your grandfather's last name wasn't recorded correctly off the boat from Italy, well, I've always hit a road block.

Then add to that the whole confusion about who your real parents were anyway...

I've had some help from Papa and all that he remembers in his 94 years of life. I'm still amazed at the story as I'm tracing it through census, immigration records and the like. I'm hoping to find others along our tree that know more.

Last  night, I sent all of this historic information to my siblings. Sister reminded me of her own confusion about who her real parents are anyway...

****

Daddy, I never understood how you went through life owning your victimhood, angry at the world.

Was it you who decided you were a victim and life followed through on your thought? Or was it the other way around? In my spiritual studies, it is said that 'action follows thought'. After all, you decided to believe the world was against you, didn't you? And I couldn't stand that about you.

Yet here I am. Face-to-face with rectangles and lines all connected together to build for me some semblance of "my family". The way our family truly is, I'm not sure I can get the flow chart to work that way.

Looking at it, trying to go back, trying to decide what was really happening in the lives of my ancestors, I wonder: what was the truth?

Reading over the email from my sister, I have to do the same thing... and ask the same question.

Then there's you. Somehow stuck in the middle of it, indignant as ever.

***

Well, I don't know what to think about any of it. All I know is that I grew up with a daddy, a mommy, a sister and a brother. I had a grandmother and grandfather who lived down the road. That was my FAMILY.

Knowing all the other stuff doesn't change much, does it?

Ok, admittedly, it does change one thing, for me.

It allows me to see the choices that were made by you. The choice to BE a daddy, despite what life handed to you. And you know what? YOUR daddy made that same choice.

Maybe neither of you were the best daddies in the world but you did your best. You gave what you could give, victim or not. Anger at the world... or not.

All of this time, I've wondered about the stability of relationships with men. I've, ironically, made myself a victim of YOU and how YOU were raised. Now I see the beauty, the strength, and the love of the men of my heritage.

For that, I thank you.

I'm also sorry.

I'm sorry I never got to tell you this while you were alive. I'm sorry that I can't sit with you and share all that has come to light. I'm sorry that I can't feel the security of my daddy's arms.

I love you. More than likely, I love you more now than I ever did. 

I hate I can't tell you that.

Thank you for being my Daddy. And thank you for being my teacher.

Love always,

Me #1

Monday, March 21, 2011

Random thoughts on a....ugggghhhh... Monday

I knew when my oldest child, my early riser, climbed in my bed and burrowed beneath the covers this morning that we'd be SLOW moving today.

It's the Monday after Spring Break. We've all been going since last Thursday. They spent the weekend camping with their dad and I went back to Louisiana. We only returned to the house last night with enough time to work on a few loads of laundry and get ready for bed. I'm still exhausted this morning.

With that said, I'll just give a few random thoughts from the past few days:

  • Gentleman Jack and I traveled to South Louisiana this weekend for a friend's wedding. The reception was held at a Louisiana plantation home right on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Gorgeous. Kinda made me crave a mint julep.

  • My man and I have fun together. Even 4.5 hours in a car.

  • Spanish moss makes me happy.


  • Mmmmm.... Creole Food, crawfish, fresh Louisiana strawberries and frozen daiquiris!

  • We both clean up pretty nice. And we both agreed that men's ties and women's high heels are stupid but necessary.

  • Because of a one person's confusion during a single introduction, I was known as "fiancĂ©e" all night and to everyone we encountered. (Which was perfectly fine with us.)

  • It was very old South romantic to stand on a veranda in the full moonlight, overlooking the mighty river, holding hands with my southern gentleman fiancĂ©.

  • Old cemeteries are way cool.

  • I wonder what stories those ancient oak trees could tell.

  • On the drive back, we took the old highway. The scenic route through my home state was beautiful and had us both curious about the history, including the Civil War. We followed the Mississippi River levee for a majority of the ride. We saw lots of amazing bridges, oxbow lakes and homes with prime lakefront property, and many impoverished areas too.

  • I think we both heard banjos at one point. Heh.

  • 4.5 hours in a car doesn't stop us from feelin' frisky.

  • Wow, I'm not sure I ever considered the beauty of my home state before. Maybe it took me leaving there to appreciate it?

  • Have I mentioned it's crawfish season?

  • Apparently, I don't sleep so well in other beds than my own. I felt bad for waking my man but selfishly enjoyed the middle-of-the-night back rubs that eased my discomfort and lulled me back to sleep.

  • Mmmmm.... mint Oreo blizzard on the drive back to Texas.

  • My kids were worn out from the weekend. It sounded like they had a fun time with their dad.

  • My bed was really lonely last night. I miss my Gentleman and PMS is a bitch.
That's all for now. Once I can put on my big girl panties and get back into the swing of things, I'm sure there will be more to come.

I'm also reading 2 books that are making my head spin. More to come on that too.

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Springtime Blooms & Family Fun

It's Spring Break in Texas so I'm taking tomorrow off to spend a day with my daughters. The choices of things to do in this area this time of year are completely mind-boggling. I think I've finally narrowed it down to a few things. Now to decide what we feel like...

The weather will be a comfortable 80 or so degrees so there will be plenty of opportunity to play or picnic outside. We have lovely arboretums nearby that are in full bloom:



Or we could spend the outdoors on horseback. My kids would LOVE this.


We could just as easily hit one of our favorite (and SUPERCOOL) restaurants, see a movie and grab some yummy gelato after.




I guess we'll get up in the morning and see what we feel like. The next few days of the weekend, they'll be camping with their dad and I'll be joining my man for a mini-vacay in Louisiana.

***

P.S. Thanks for the comments on yesterday's post. My man had a great evening and was exceptionally kind & loving last night.

I realized, yet again, that much of that post came from my own past fears. Knowing that, I had a domino affect of other realizations as well. I'm learning, growing, blooming and BEcoming all the time and with every awakening.

Now... I think I'll just be present with those I love for the rest of this beautiful week.

Anybody else have any fun spring plans?

Am I the only one who's thrilled to see Springtime?!

Have you seen Rango yet?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feeling Helpless, Day 3

Oy.

This weekend, after sitting with a friend who is trying to recover from an unhealthy relationship, I wrote a post addressed to her (myself and many others who apparently related). We'd already had a discussion but I felt the need to put into words what I learned about myself, her, and relationships in general. I felt powerless to help her and will more than likely recite the words from that post to her again.

Then yesterday, I wrote a post about the helplessness I feel for Japan. I hate all that's happening over there and I'm frightened of how it affects them and the rest of the world. I chose to view hope as a way to nurture both the people affected and my aching heart at watching others suffer.

Today, I've again had to sit and watch helplessly as Gentleman Jack's business suffered a huge loss. As a single father of two sons, he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders. I can relate. I'd be terrified if I were in his position. I also know that I'd find a way to channel that fear, that anger, that absolute feeling of defeat.

I usually find faith when I'm broken and on my knees.

In my eyes, and what I've said to him countless times before, I couldn't do what he does. He takes financial risks every single day. Not me. I have to KNOW what my paycheck is going to be and exactly when it'll hit my account.

Me = NOT a risk taker when it comes to money.

So when he called me this afternoon to share the news, I listened, as always. I love that he still shares his ups and downs with me. I sometimes second guess what to say or how to react in these situations, however. I don't want his "sharing" to stop because I've said something that turns him away.

Hello baggage claim? Could you please take this 50lb bag of past fear away? Kthanksbai.

***

Here's the thing that I've learned from watching men in my life:

...when men feel pissed/defeated in life, self-destructive behavior kicks in.

I immediately started to fear that he would do something stupid. Like what if he takes his last $20 and decides to take a chance at one of the many casinos nearby? Or, what if he comes home to a lazy teenager and lays all of his frustration out on his kid? Or, what if he decides to grab a case of beer and drink the night away?

Ok, I recognize that none of that is especially destructive. I do know him though. And he will feel like crap if he does ANY of those things. It's like... I'm trying to shield him from hurt that hasn't even happened yet!

I took my assumption to Twitter and received a few responses:


T: As a positive thinker AND a girlfriend, what should I do when my man is pissed off about something life-wise? Stay positive? Get upset too?

The thing I've learned about when men feel pissed/defeated in life, self-destructive behavior kicks in. Please tell me I'm wrong! Men?!?


@Dadonymous replied: Self-destructive yes. If things aren't going right for us, they aren't going to go right for anybody, dangit! ;)


@Coachdad chimed in: let me put this beer down real quick to respond... Sounds about right. Better than dealing with the issue head on.

(This was very tongue-in-cheek as Coachdad is a recovering alcoholic.)


Dadonymous went on to say:

"Too much positiveness makes us mad. Too much joining in makes us mad. Being neutral is usually (for me) best. Let me rant."

"Although I guess it depends on HOW self destructive. Obviously if it's TOO bad you need to intervene."

Coachdad encouraged me:

"call him out... Wished someone would have with me sooner than they did."

Some women even agreed that their experience with men was the same. It sounds like, as women, many of us feel helpless when our men are hurting.

***

I sent him a text shortly after this exchange asking him to channel his anger CONstructively rather than DEstructively.

He seemed a little perturbed that I would assume he'd do something "irrational".

Whatever.

I spoke my mind and sent him love. I allowed him to vent and be upset, even validating his reasons for being angry. I went on to positively build him back up, telling him that I had faith in him because he'd made it this far. Then, I left him alone.

If he's mad at me for the way I handled it, then I have to allow that too.

(Ah the beauty of the long distance relationship; the ability to stay out of the way...)

Maybe that's the secret of not feeling helpless, allowing each person their own path, their own pain, their own anger, their own feelings?

Eh. Who knows.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whispers of Hope

vi.sualize.us

Watching the events unfold in Japan has left me with such a feeling of helplessness. I tend to avoid news on television but with the aid of Twitter and other social media streams, I was face-to-face with the horror of the past few days.

It reminded me of trying to focus on my fresh-out-of-the-womb newborn just days after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. It reminded me of the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, the Haiti earthquake, and so many other horrifying world catastrophes where we can only give so much and then stand by filled with prayer that something helped. I don't like feeling helpless. This is why I write open letters to those that are hurting in my life.

It makes my heart hurt too.

Then today, I read this post at Improvised Life. Then I read the latest blog post at Pulchritudinous Disorder.

Both posts made me not only look at these events differently, but also go back and look at my own life differently.

***

If you go to any blog on my most excellent blog roll, you will find story after story of things gone wrong. You will also find story after story of overcoming those things, strength, resilience and the faith that things ALWAYS get better. Of course there are things that we cannot control. Of course there are things that flat out bite the big one. It always seems dark, hopeless and never-ending when the tides turn for the worst (pun intended).

I remember feeling that I would never recover from many extraordinary and painful situations that seemed to be thrust upon me unexpectedly. I also remember very wise words from a friend:

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

***

Hope.

Hope is wishing. Hope helps us keep going. Hope propels us forward. Hope leads us to faith. Faith leads us to miraculous and amazing grace.

Hope is what leads us from divorce to living on our own. Hope is what helps us find forgiveness. Hope is what reminds us that "this too shall pass." Baby steps and hope take us further than we ever expected.

I may not have the money or the words to save all of those who are hurting right now in Japan or other affected areas. I may not have the strength to stop civil war in Libya or any other countries we hear about in the news. I may not have the political power to heal the world.

But I DO have the power of hope. I DO have faith. I DO believe in grace.

Sending positive, healing and loving energy to those places lifts them from their darkness. This world is one body and these incidents prove it. When one part of our "body" is hurting, the rest of the body is affected as well.

I have seen the miraculous power of hope. I may not be able to do much physically but sending thoughts of resilience, miracles and strength is more powerful than sending thoughts of helplessness.

It is all that I can do when I wish to do so much more.

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible."
~ Christopher Reeve

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Open letter to Someone Who Won't Let Go

My sweet, BEAUTIFUL, strong, independent friend...

Please stop beating yourself up. Please stop telling yourself that you're not over him. Please stop telling yourself you'll never move on because you compare everyone to him.

It's been a very long time now and you say you're finally ready.

I believe you were ready the first time you walked out his door.

I understand that you're still getting over it. Believe me, I get it. And I know that you hang on by talking to him and being with him when you can... You say you KNOW that isn't healthy behavior if you indeed want to move on. So you question yourself. You fight with yourself. You ask, "Am I really moving on?"

There is a reason you left him. There is a reason you hang up the phone in frustration when you talk to him. There is a reason your voice and your entire body changes when you talk to him. You are OVER IT.

You are disappointed. You are angry at him. Yet, you claim you are not letting go because you can't imagine a life without him.

Let me tell you what I notice:

You have him in your heart. Yes indeed. You always will. I get this. It is okay.

He let you down. In so many ways. You are still angry at him.

You are deeply disappointed in the amount of time you gave him and the future that you didn't get. I understand that you imagined your life differently than where you are right now. It was an investment that didn't pay off.

It is not HIM that you are not letting go of. It is the pain, the anger, the feeling of unworthiness. You are giving all of your energy away to something that no longer exists.

Why could he not choose a path that includes you? Why must he beg, plead, cry and act as if he would change the world for you but he couldn't give up the one single thing that pried you two apart? Weren't you worth it?

You are afraid to put your hope in someone else. What if THEY let you down as well? You loved so much about him but you're personifying all of those lovely qualities as if HE is the only man on the planet who has them. If someone just like him came into your life, you would pick them apart, from where you stand now. You wouldn't see the good qualities but every single painful reminder of why you left him in the first place.

STOP WISHING HE WOULD CHANGE.

If you indeed wish to be with him, accept him and the life you had together. Go back to the life that you claim made you miserable and find happiness there. You said he made you feel safe. You say you miss the safety.

OR

Take all of the traits and qualities that you loved about him and put them on a blank slate. Stop saying HE was like this and I loved this about HIM. Instead, give yourself a blank page with these great qualities and allow someone else to not only meet those qualities, but to also fill in the gaps with new and wonderful traits that you never expected. You want to feel safe? Then ALLOW yourself to be vulnerable to someone new. How will you ever give someone a chance to surprise you if you turn your face away from everyone who isn't him?

It isn't him you haven't let go of. You are holding on to a thin cloud of who you thought he'd be. You are in mourning of a life that never came to be. You are wondering how anyone will ever love you and give you what you need since he didn't. You feel as if he failed you and you are now SCARED OUT OF YOUR MIND.

The way that you see him, he does nothing more than confirm, over and over again, an untrue core belief: That you are not worthy of being loved.

Let's try something else. The next time someone new wants to get to know you, do not pick him apart. Rather, when your mind begins with "Well this one's not HIM" or "What if this one lets me down as well", allow your heart to remind you that you are only frightened. Breathe into the fear. Nurture and give YOURSELF safety. When you realize that YOU have to power to give yourself security, then it will be easier to be vulnerable because you know you will always recover. In being vulnerable, you are taking a chance, yes. But that chance could lead to a greater feeling of safety than you ever had with him.

The love and the safety comes from you, starts from you, and reflects in your life.

Now look again at the person standing right in front of you. Is there anything there that makes you smile?

Start with that. Love yourself. Understand your fear. Take back your energy from expecting the worst or expecting the impossible from him. Hope for better. Then take a leap of faith that what you ask for is, quite possibly, right in front of you. If you'd only recognize what you saw...

I love you.

You will make someone, one day, an extremely lucky man.

T

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things I would never have done if I were still married

This post is nothing more than assumptions based on the status of my marriage the last few years before we separated. I do believe it is possible to find yourself and continue to grow WHILE married, but both partners must be willing to work, accept, and love through it. My marriage, however, didn't work out that way.


It is 5 years this month that my ex-husband and I decided to divorce and begin our separation. Two years later, almost to the day, we filed for divorce. Since that time, WOW, has my life changed. Here is a brief list of things I believe wouldn't have happened, had I stayed married:


I've learned about life.

From dating in my late 30's/early 40's to buying a house on my own, I've learned much about things I wouldn't have if I were still married. Some of these things I knew about or had brief experiences with, before marriage, and had to revisit them. Sometimes, it was a struggle but with each step, I felt stronger and more independent.

(And all of it is documented on this blog!)


I've learned how to cook.

I am, by no means, a gourmet but I was once married to one. The kitchen was his domain and since I was never taught to cook, I stayed out of the way. Or at the very least, worked as sous chef. Since living on my own again, I've had to learn lots of kitchen skills. What I found is that I actually can be quite gourmet if everyone stays out of my way. I learned a lot by watching the ex.

(For the record, Gentleman Jack thinks my cooking rocks!)


I've kicked up my health and fitness.

I was already on a path to a healthier body during the last few years of our marriage. I was getting down to a healthier weight. I'd discovered natural medicines and weaned myself from anti-depressants. I'd started practicing yoga. Since the separation and divorce, I've participated in runs, triathlons and long-distance cycling events. Even my ex-husband is surprised to see me turn into the athlete I am today.


And now...

I'm getting permanent birth control.

When I was married, I wanted to have one more child. Maybe because I come from a family of 3 and my ex-husband has a large family. Once we had our first child, I knew I wanted more.

That was something else I mourned during the downfall of our marriage.

I'm ok with it now. I'll be 42 years old this year. My daughters are healthy, happy, well-rounded, intelligent, kind, loving. My ex-husband and I are working together to build a solid foundation, even if it involves 2 houses, to springboard them into their beautiful futures.

I am happy with the growing independence we are all experiencing as they get older. I don't want to start over again.

So tomorrow, I will have the Essure permanent birth control procedure. I'm nervous and excited about it all at the same time. The doctor asked me, in my pre-op appointment, if I had doubts about wanting more children. I don't. But I am worried about the pain and discomfort. (I was told I will be given Valium, Vicodin, a pain shot AND a local for the in-office procedure. Gentleman Jack, knowing I'm a lightweight, said, "You'll be out for a week!")

I'm also hoping it works! (Compared to my previous experience with birth control.)

Besides the fact that, well.... I'll let this short video give another REAL reason I'm moving forward with this procedure:



(Because come on! That's funny! And kudos to you guys with the "balls" to do it!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So many reasons...

This past weekend was a fabulous time with my Gentleman. I was nervous because he's been a bit depressed and then I had a rough end to my week too.

I knew I'd be especially tender and quite possibly, read into things. I'd just had my trust broken. (Well, admittedly, the trust was broken a while back and the recent revelation just confirmed it.) I knew that I'd start projecting all of that fear on to him. And what if he was especially sensitive too?

Instead, I did my best to step outside the fear and look at him through the eyes of love.

Here are a few reasons I am in love with this man:

He cooks.

When I arrived, he'd been cleaning house and marinating his famous bacon-wrapped ducks for the grill. He also had a glass of red wine waiting for me.

He looks good wet.

Since he's usually been cleaning/preparing for my arrival, I always seem to find him in the shower when I get there. NEVER a bad thing. #justsayin

He's always happy to see me.

Heh.

Seriously though, the man wraps me all up, kisses me again and again, staring into my eyes in disbelief that I'm actually there and never takes his hands off of me the entire time I'm with him. Oh to be touched like that... sooooo nice.

Reunion sex.

Again, #justsayin.

And what he says to me during reunion sex. Tssssssssssssss..... hot stuff!

He's so thoughtful.

Just little things he does... from setting a water bottle on my bedside table before bed to making me a smoothie in the morning while I'm cooking breakfast.

He listens to me.

I finally broke down and talked to him about what I went through last week. He knows I will always love those I've loved before. And he's ok with that. He understands how my heart works. He knows that I believe that people are inherently good. So he advised me to continue to believe what I needed to believe about my ex. He advised me to continue to love like I do, as long as it brought me peace.

Then he took me in his arms, right there in his bathroom where I was crying and blowing my nose over and over again.

He held me close, comforting me, loving me and allowing me to feel whatever I needed to feel.

As I stood on my tiptoes, arms wrapped around his neck, my face buried in his shoulder, he caught a glimpse of us in the mirror.

"Damn," he said, "would you look at that fine ass?"

Heh.

He finds me irresistibly sexy.

What's not to love about that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Challenge: Love & Honor

Thanks again to all of you for the most awesome comments on last week's post. That sent me into a tailspin, for sure.

But it was a tailspin filled with awareness too.

***

First of all, I realized why it made me so sad. I wanted to have FAITH in him. I wanted to BELIEVE in him. I don't like to think he's an ass or carry around anger. I honestly do wish him well. I am well beyond the reasons we didn't work out. I was just stunned at the realization. I completely disregarded so many clues along the way. I even overlooked things he actually said because I wanted to believe differently.

Call me naive, I guess.

Then I read Baggage Reclaim today and, once again, her post rang so familiar. He *was* a Fast Forwarder when we initially began dating. He was about to go to war. He'd waited 22 years for me.

He was also a Future Faker. He did have grandiose ideas and plans. I don't think he was trying to pull one over on me. I think he really does want those things. I am just not sure he's capable of achieving them the way he's going through life. He'd be the first one to tell you that. He believes the Army has fucked up any chance at a decent relationship. Sadly, many of you told me similar soldier stories... so he may be right in blaming it on the Army.

Then again, I think a man of honor is a man of honor. No matter the circumstances.

***

Perhaps I AM naive.

Even among the sick and twisted, dark, selfish things in the world. Like some of the scenes in this list of the most disturbing films ever made.

Or this example of how kids are finding more and more ways to be hateful to each other.

(Both of these stories came to my attention last week as I struggled to believe that people are inherently good.)

Me? I tend to shield myself from cruelty and hate. I can't watch the news. I have to turn away from violence. I wrote about why I analyze so much in my life last week, also admitting that I attempt to protect my emotional and delicate psyche.

Perhaps this latest realization with my ex is nothing more than a challenge of my faith in humankind.

I mean, I've cheated too. I know what that's like. I also know that he made a habit of "relationship stacking" out of pure fear of being alone. He HAS no faith in humankind. For that reason, I must send him love.

***

I have a friend who is an amazingly calm and gentle yoga teacher. She used to tell me that her teacher would have classes outside in India, in a public park, among the chaos of cars, people walking by and city noise. Her teacher would say "it's easy to find peace in a quiet classroom. The real challenge is to find peace among the chaos."

I suppose this is my challenge. Can I still find love in a place of hate? Can I still believe in the inherent good of man despite the ugliness and selfish nature we all display in our ego-centric lives? Can I see the fear in another's eyes and allow them to lead their life of "quiet desperation" without taking it personally?

Can I love them through it?


I believe so. I believe I can. But that doesn't mean I have to allow him into my life or my emotional and delicate psyche anymore.

I have to honor myself too.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"You make me feel like a man."

My Gentleman said that to me last night. Quite possibly, to me, the best compliment a man could give a woman... Again proving that I'm exactly where I should be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bittersweet Closure

*deep breath*

....

This is a toughie. This... is going to be one of those tear-stained posts that may take me a while to put together....

I would normally wait to publish this in the morning because I already have published one post today.

This can't wait, though.

Ok, here goes.


For those of you who've been reading a while, you will recall the story of Soldier. Long story short:

He was a good friend from high school who crushed on me. I didn't know he had feelings for me until we parted ways for college. Over the years he would contact me here and there to say hello and check my marital status. We finally re-connected after my 20th high school reunion. Began dating. Fell in love REALLY quickly. He departed for Iraq. I started this blog...

I waited a year for him, documenting everything, every emotion, email, phone call, all here on the blog. We planned a future together. I sent care packages. He returned for a quick R & R, wasn't the same person, broke my heart into a million pieces, and went back to Iraq for 3 more months. Then he kept calling and trying to get back in with me but claimed he "wasn't ready for a relationship". I agreed to be friends but he wouldn't relent that he wanted "more" but not "everything". We finally ended after I caught him in a lie. I last heard from him 2 years ago, this month. His last words were incoherent screaming at me on the phone... My last words were, "I'm so sorry, honey. This isn't going to work out..."

Since I began this blog, I have tried to figure out if we'd have a future. We were in love but he struggled with his deployment and feelings. I hung on for both of us. Then, I realized I wanted something palpable after our breakup. I WAS ready for a relationship. I couldn't wait anymore. I beat myself up thinking I was being unfair. Even since our breakup, I'd wondered many times if I'd screwed up... that maybe I put pressure on a wounded man. I've struggled with the pain of his narcissism that was exacerbated by post-traumatic-stress-disorder. I've made up every excuse in the book in order to save a small place in my heart for him. That's what I do. I refuse to believe he could be as ugly as it appeared. I've struggled with the loss of him, his friendship, and even fighting with myself about whether or not to mention him in the blog anymore.

I've begged the Universe, God, and all that was mighty for closure.

****

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that he uploaded a recent photo to a social networking site. We're "connected" on this site, per his initiation last fall. Any attempts I've made to contact him, as a friend, and wish him well were left without a reply. I put him out of my mind. This small connection was more than enough for me - just to know that he was ok, on U.S. soil, healthy and happy.

I saw the picture last night and he, once again, took my breath away. He is still stunningly beautiful to me. I've been angry at myself for 24 hours because of the very physical reaction I still have to seeing his face. It doesn't matter that my heart knows better. I doesn't matter that my mind knows better. My body still responded. I cried myself to sleep that night, again, begging for closure.

****

I have most excellent investigative skillz.

I used them today to find out what is going on with him. He was so in my head today that I mistakenly called a few people, "David", his name. I had to resolve it. Wipe it clean.

Well, to all of you who stood by me as I waited for my soldier to return home from war.... to all of you who read my posts and held me up while I mourned the loss of him... to all of you who understood why he was still haunting me... and all those questions about the future we should have had...

Today, I found out that he has a girlfriend. A sweet, adorable, loving girlfriend who not only has the same interests as him (which is fantastic!) but she is also young enough to bear him the children that I wasn't going to.

I also found out...

That she was in his battalion in Iraq. She was deployed with him. She was with him the entire time he was at war. She came home with him. More than likely, they fell in love while in Iraq.

Now I know why he didn't want me to greet him when his plane landed after the 15 month deployment. Now I know why he pulled away. Now I know why it felt as if he was hiding things and keeping secrets those last 6 months of being "together". Now I know why it felt like something shifted... why he was able to hurt me so easily... why he felt so guilty... why he kept apologizing....


It was all a LIE.


A mother-fucking, stab-me-in-the-heart, in your face LIE.

He could have been brave with me. He was facing gun fire, bombs, IED's, death at every turn...BUT he was too damn chicken-shit to tell me the truth.

I would have understood. Hey, in those circumstances, I would think it easy to fall in love with someone. Absolutely. But no, he wasn't honest. He wasn't even honest with her about me. Somehow I went from the "22 year long love of his life" to his "personal porn star".

I'm happy that he's happy. I really am. I'm so glad they fit together so perfectly. That brings me so much peace.

But to know that it was a lie? That hurtssssssssssssss

That hurts really REALLY REALLY REALLY bad.

I'm considering deleting every post that has to do with him. I know it is part of my history and a HUGE portion of this blog... but it is not the truth.

Not. The. Truth.

The good news is... now when I see that new picture, I see nothing at all.

And now, tomorrow night, I will crawl into my man's arms again. A REAL MAN. A man who is honest and true. A man who tells me he loves me over and over again. A man who hasn't faced enemy gunfire but would fight an entire war for me.

That is the love of MY life.

Baby teeth

Yesterday, my ex-husband and I took our oldest daughter to the dentist to have some baby teeth pulled. She had one that was hanging on for dear life, though it's been loose for some time. There was another, one of the last baby teeth that came through in the front, finally showing up in her smile around age 4. That one wasn't even loose yet. The dentist insisted that the adult tooth was there but unable to push through until this one baby tooth was extracted.

Uggggg.... talk about traumatic. For BOTH of us. And she's loved the dentist up until this point.

Earlier in the day while at work, I stopped to stare at the desktop background on my computer screen. It's a photo of my daughters, from nearly 2 years ago, dressed up to go to a luau at their pre-school. I've removed the pic a few times but, for some odd reason, it keeps showing up again on my background. I don't mind it's outdatedness but simply prefer a solid black background for presentations at work. Apparently, my computer can't let it go.

That picture keeps hanging on. Kind of like those baby teeth.

As I looked at the picture yesterday, I realized that in that photo, both of my daughters still had all of their baby teeth. They looked so sweet, young and... oh how my heart rushed with love to think of their snuggles and innocence.

My youngest daughter hasn't begun losing her baby teeth yet. I'm enjoying her cherub face and the perfect little white chiclets. I've seen my oldest daughter go from "cherub" to "kid" with each tooth that left her little mouth. The new teeth looked awkward at first and then, as her mouth and face grew, they began to fit better. She may need some help getting them straight, eventually, but until then, I'm watching her mature... right before my very eyes.

I stared at that picture all day long, until I had to leave for the dentist appointment. It made me wistful to realize that they're growing, moving up and away from me in every moment. Some moments I notice. Others happen without recognition. Am I going to turn around and have 2 gorgeous teenagers in high school before I know it?!?

Maybe it's me that's hanging on, if only for a moment.

Kinda like those baby teeth.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Battles

I know that many of you don't watch the videos in blogs because you're at work or don't have much time. But, if you get a chance, can you watch this short 4 minute one?



I saw this video yesterday and I was like, "YES! This is how I try to see the world much of the time!" There are other times, when I act like the guy in the beginning of the video. Awareness kicks in somewhere and I'm then able to "put on my glasses" again.

Whew. I can't even watch it without tears in my eyes.

When I wrote about "why I analyze", this video explains why! This is the world I'm trying to see. This brings me back so that I can stop feeling like a victim, so that I can see we're all the same, wanting love, feeling need.

Sometimes, we don't see others' want and need. We only see "our" wants and needs. We all have moments when "it's all about me!" We get angry because the world isn't serving US. We forget... We need to put on our "glasses"... And we could stand to remember that others may have forgotten their "glasses" as well.

Maybe it appears the world isn't serving us because we are not serving the world.

We only get what we give away...

Anyway, I had to share because of what I've been writing lately. We all have our battles, Gentleman Jack, me, the rest of the world. We can pick which ones to stand up for and which ones really don't matter. We can also choose to be cognizant of others and what they may be feeling as well. It *could* change the world, a single encounter at a time.

Or at least... this is how I choose to "see".

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
~ Plato