Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fusion

I love my chiropractor. She's helped me through so much, not only physically but emotionally as well. Every time I visit her (and it's been since 2006), she gives me my "word" or "question" of the moment. Today my word was "fusion".

(I'll write more about my question in the next post.)

Fusion

What a fitting title for today's post.

I wanted to write about my Thanksgiving holiday with Gentleman Jack and the kids. I wanted to share with all of you how perfectly we fit together.

As an example, each of us stepped in to assist the other with parenting over the weekend. We usually do. It typically takes me a little bit to let go, though. When you're used to doing everything, that's hard to stop, you know? Then, after an hour or so (or a good glass of wine), I'll allow him to step in and take care of me... and my girls. He's a great dad that way.

This past weekend, however, was a bit more of a challenge. My girls had been with their dad for the 5 days prior to our trip to Louisiana. I literally picked them up from his house and continued on down the road for 3 hours to Jack's house. My oldest daughter had been texting me while at her dad's. She missed me. A lot. She was not ready to give up any of my attention to Gentleman Jack after being without me for 5 days.

So on one particular day, when I wouldn't allow her to get her way, she threw a fit. I mean an all out hissy like she used to throw when she didn't get her way at age 2 or 3. I dealt with her to the point that I couldn't deal with her anymore. And that's when my man stepped in for me. She was an angel after that. I'm not sure what he said to her or how he connected with her, as bonded as they are, but she was my sweet little girl afterward. She had lots of love for him too and I had to battle her for his hugs in the days that followed!

He also had a difficult time with his teenaged son. After a really frustrating incident, his son locked himself in his room and refused to speak to anyone. Except me. I spent 2 hours in his room listening to his anger, frustration and sadness about things that all teenagers get angry, frustrated and sad about. He felt like he was the only person in the world. Oh my how my inner teenager could relate! Once he felt ready to greet the rest of the family, he was so sweet and generous. He told his dad, after we left to go back home, "I really love when Ms. T is here. She lights up the whole house."

***

I'd packed with the hope that Jack's mom could capture a great picture of me and my girls to use for a Christmas card.

On the drive to her house Thanksgiving day, I mentioned to Jack my plans for a photo opportunity. As soon as the words left my lips, I wondered to myself, "Is it time for us to do a joint family photo?"

No sooner did I think it, he said it out loud.

Thus, we'll have a Gentleman Jack/T Christmas photo card this year. We know the questions will be coming. We're prepared to tell them what a great family we are. We're ready to explain how we support and love each other. We'll both share how we respect each other as parents, individuals and partners.

Fusion.

Perfect fit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Imagining Your Happy Dream

When presented with the question, "What does YOUR dream look like?", I was (and many of you were) stumped.

Personally, I know why I was stumped. I was limiting myself. I could barely see myself past my front door much less into some imagined future life for myself and my children. I think I used to daydream about remarrying and having a "whole, intact family" again but that went away with a post-divorce heartbreak. Sad, right?

I never pictured that family scenario with Gentleman Jack and yet when we're all together... or even apart... we're more like a family than I pretended we were in my previous relationship.

I imagined sharing financial and household responsibilities with a husband who loved his job and loved providing for his family even more. I don't really share those responsibilities with my Gentleman and yet, in many ways, I still do.

The point I'm trying to make is: I sort of have what I imagined... it just looks DIFFERENT than I imagined it.

So, how could I tell someone how I pictured a future when I didn't predict where I am now in my present?

***

I'm trying to move beyond limits.

I heard a famous person say, "Don't try to imagine yourself as me. Imagine yourself as the best YOU you can be."

Isn't that awesome? Imagining myself as someone else limits me too. I certainly can't reinvent the wheel and be a new "Famous Person" or "Well Known Author" or "Inspirational to Millions Life Coach". I can only be me. I can only follow my own guides and calling. If I continue to follow what makes ME a better ME, then how beautiful is life? How amazing and inspirational will THAT be?

I'm also learning to change my mind about what I "think" will "make me happy". I can't say "more money will fix everything". What needs to be fixed is my relationship with money. I can't say, "I'll be happy if my body looks like this". What need to be fixed is how I see my body. I can't say "I'll be happy when Gentleman Jack and I are together all the time". I can only choose to be happy now.  I know all of this but life challenges and societal questions tends to push all of that aside and I forget.

I can't say "I want my future to look like this, with this house or this car or this job". What I CAN say is that I choose happy. I choose balance and happy and health and love.

What do YOU choose? Are you giving gratitude for the "happy" in your life?

John Lennon's mom was on to something, ya know?

Monday, November 21, 2011

What does YOUR dream look like?

I know I've been slacking when it comes to blogging (and even Tweeting) lately. It's all good though. I'm building my dream.

You've probably picked up on the fact that I'm trying to make a career change. It's not really a change so much as I'm SOLIDIFYING something that feels more like me than the job I currently hold. The solidification (is that a word?) process is very exciting and overwhelming at the same time. And, as with anything that's a little different than before, I've had moments of doubt and complete fear.

It turns out that when I pondered my value as more than a mother and decided that I am indeed "driven", the Universe decided to test me. I had a moment, one evening, alone at my office and after a rather frustrating day, when I asked out loud,

"Okay, I can't take this anymore. I give up trying to create something I'm not sure of.... and I give up on trying to make this job into something I love. Give me a clue. Anything! What do I do next?"

A beautiful thing happens when you completely surrender to what is, whether you like it or not, and you're willing and open to see something else clearly. Within minutes of me making this statement out loud to no one in particular, a car pulled up outside of the office. Getting out of the car was a woman that had inspired me nearly a year to the day before and I'd recently been trying to get our company to do business with her. When she walked into our empty office (it was well beyond closing time), I asked her why she stopped by. Her response was telling:

"I have no idea. I happened to be driving past your street and something told me to turn!"

Can you say kismet?

I've been fighting this very obvious sign, however, because working with her was not what I imagined my "career change" would be. Then, her name kept coming up amongst other people that I didn't know knew her. One of the guys at work, impressed with her business and skills, suggested I "hitch myself to her wagon" because he saw clearly what I didn't. Her business was a perfect fit for me, my interests and my personality.

Yet, much like I did when I began a new relationship with Gentleman Jack, I kept resisting. Isn't it funny when you say you're ready for something and then you get it but you're still freaked out by it at the same time?

Her business fits me.

I fit her business.

She and the rest of her executives love me and want me to work with them.



But I still resisted... even up until her vice president asked me, "What do you want your future to look like? What is your dream job? What does YOUR dream look like? Let us help you make it happen."

I was stumped. It was like being presented with a big sheet of blank paper and being told to color in my future. I had some ideas but... all of this was so new to me. This power... this empowerment... this... blank slate that I could make into anything I want? Really?!?

I'm still timid but they're allowing me to take it slowly. I'm still working my old job but finding a new perspective for it. I'm actually wanting to be a better employee while creating my... MY... beautiful future and present and DREAM on the side.

I'm falling in love with a new and exciting chapter of my life. I can't wait to share it and celebrate it and be in it fully.

Baby steps for now.

If someone were to ask you that question, what would you tell them YOUR dream looks like?

I think deciding it puts you on the path of making it come true. (Much like I did when deciding what I wanted in a partner.)

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moments After He is Gone...

My cell phone battery is completely drained.

After ignoring my phone all weekend (thankfully because he was HERE...
and not THERE), I've forgotten to plug it in.

Now it is charging and the "I miss you" texts
start to pour in again.

A half-full bottle of wine remains on the kitchen counter.

After he poured each of us a glass (me to ease my frazzled mind 
after preparing all day for his visit), 
the bottle sits, reminding me.

I want to finish it... but it's "our" favorite
and it's meant to be shared.

Upon entering my bedroom, his scent is all I smell.

He sprays his cologne on my pillows...
leaves a few t-shirts behind for my comfort.

I fall into the bed and wrap his t-shirt in his arms,
physically aching at the emptiness of it.

His towel is hanging in the bathroom...

His toothbrush is still wet...

His comb, razor and shaving kit are
still on the counter.

My dog is exhausted from playing with his dog all weekend.

My kids are dying to watch the movies he brings us (every time).

The lingering feel of his arms around me is fading.

I am not the only one who misses him when his presence is still so fresh. 

My kids miss him. My dog misses him.

My bed misses him. My couch misses him. My floors, my ceilings, my walls, my clothes, my tables, my chairs, my plates, my glasses, my silverware, my shower, my towels, my sheets, my car (with his cologne still lingering on the seat belt), my front porch chairs, my back porch hammock, my air, my heart, my body, my soul...

9 more days.

Let the countdown begin.

Again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guest Post Update: Ashamed No More

In July, CoachDad wrote a guest post admitting that he was sexually abused as a small child. It was brave and sad and left us all praying for his healing. I am happy to publish an update but saddened by the circumstances that prompted it. Thank you again, CoachDad, for your courageous voice for those who haven't spoken up.

It has been a little over four months since T was nice enough to allow me to use her blog to share a story that I had only shared with a handful of people. For nearly 35 years, I thought I had fully overcome the terrible things done to me by a then 19-year-old neighbor by simply not dealing with it.

But, by never talking about it, never asking for help, and never confronting my parents with questions of why they failed me when I needed them the most, what I really had done was continue to be a victim. Just like he did all those years ago, this man still had control over me.

Sure, I looked like I had my shit together. College graduate, high school teacher, semi-successful football and basketball coach, and a pretty damn good single father. However, in a lot ways, when things in my life didn’t go the way I thought they should, I was still a five-year-old kid.

By burying the part of my life when I was sexually abused as a five-year-old, what I now know is that I only released my anger, pain and complete sadness during adversity. Things like being transferred to a different school after teaching at the same site for 17 years made me turn to alcohol, attack the ones that I loved with verbal assaults, and a feeble attempts to take my life.

During one of my last alcohol-induced rages in the summer, it finally came out. After hours of screaming and yelling at the woman that I loved because she didn’t understand the pain I felt about the change in my job, I broke down and told her every detail of what had happened to me as a child.

With that one tearful conversation, I finally began to heal.

Since then, I have gone to therapy and have given everything possible to overcome the pain that I didn’t know existed inside me. It hasn’t been easy opening that chapter in my life, but it has helped and has changed how I view that time.

In the past when thoughts of my attacker came to me in a dream, I would wake terrified and would have troubles falling back to sleep. Now, however, my therapist has taught me to look at it differently.

I no longer look at it as if I am the victim. Instead when he or a memory of the many incidents come back to me, I now take pride in the fact that I survived that. Despite all that he did to me and that no one was there to stop him and that I never got help for 35 years, I survived and became a success career-wise and in my personal relationships.

There is much more we have worked on and still more to come, but I have turned the page.

Everything you hear about people who were abused as children feeling shame about what happened to them, or their concerns about what others will think of them after hearing what had happened, and the anger they feel about not being able to prevent what happened to them are real. I felt all that and more. And this is no doubt a big reason why I kept quiet for so long.

I feel none of that now.

From time to time since my post was on T’s blog, I have received an email from her politely asking me if I would be kind enough to write an update for her and the readers who read my story. Each time, I said I would as soon as I was ready.

I became ready this week with the news out of Penn State. In fact, this week has impacted me so much, that I am compelled to do more than just write on T’s blog. I am compelled to not only tell my story to people I don’t know personally, but I need to share what happened to me to my own readers, friends, and in the appropriate setting, to my students.

I can’t help it. I am heartbroken over what happened to the eight victims (any intelligent person knows there are more to come) from the hands of a football coach. A man whose number one job was not to win football games, but rather, to protect kids by providing a safe environment for them. And, while his victims may not have been his players, his moral obligations were to protect all kids he came in contact with during his career.

What sickens me more than him being a football coach or what he did to numerous kids, has been the reaction of a large portion of the Penn State student body and the national media. Instead of focusing on the victims and what needs to be done for them, the media has focused on students protesting and rioting over the firing of their head coach who had some (if not a lot) knowledge of what kind of predator his former assistant coach was in 2002.

2002.

Nine years ago and as of last week, this former coach was still on the Penn State campus using the football weight room.

I don’t care to which supervisor this head coach reported what he knew back in 2002. I know who he didn’t report the information to… the police. And, because of it, there were more victims.

More kids who will live like I had to if they don’t get help. More kids who will never know who they can trust. More kids who will forever look at their parents and in the back in their mind will wonder why Mom and/or Dad did not protect them. More kids who will wonder what it was about them that made them victims. More kids who will walk on egg shells in their relationships… worried what is thought of them because they were victimized.

No, quite frankly, I don’t care how many great calls the beloved coach made en route to winning 409 football games. The only call I will remember from this coach is the one he didn’t make.

And, because of it, I am ready to talk. Ready to fight for the victims.

Ready to do anything I can to prevent any other victim to have to wait 35 years to stop being a victim.

(If you or anyone you know have been victimized and would like to talk, feel free to email me at bpape0430@gmail.com. )

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meditate or Masturbate

When I originally started this blog and filled out the "about me" section (located to your left there), I wrote that phrase: "...I don't know whether to meditate or masturbate..."

It's true. Sometimes, I feel so restless and unfocused that it seems like one or the other will help me. One or the other, if done often enough, will offer me some sort of clarity or peace. A healthy dose of engaging in spiritual upkeep or sexual fulfillment will stop the chatter of demons in my mind.

I'm feeling that way now.

On the one hand, I know if I pull out my A Course in Miracles book and read nothing more than a few lines (I mean really... how hard is that??) every morning and evening, I find that I handle life better and with a smile on my face. And yet, I find myself resisting it. I'm resistant to something I KNOW will work and won't take but a few moments of my day. I'm actively CHOOSING to remain miserable and restless - (which, ironically, is what the book is about too).

Seems a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? I mean, if you ran into me today or even yesterday, you'd have no idea that I was feeling some sort of struggle or that my internal dialogue sounds like a discombobulated choir of groans and mumbles about where I am in my life. I'm good at putting on a happy face.

Nope, instead of nurturing myself, I'm restlessly fantasizing about seeing my man this weekend. Yes, I saw him a few weeks ago after 5 weeks apart but it wasn't nearly enough. We were driving most of the weekend and around people the other times. We didn't get a healthy "catching up" out of our systems. So about the only self-nurturing I've been doing lately is focusing on the external *ahem* stimulation that soothes me temporarily and almost as much as meditation. Almost. Mostly it just leaves me longing for him more. It's like he put some sort of love spell on me and I can't even concentrate.

In the meanwhile, I could focus on working out but I'm still shaking off an illness that started last Thursday. Which is probably why I sound so damn whiny right now. I COULD focus on a number of things but instead all I can think about is being naked and skin-to-skin with the man of my dreams, the man that I (fortunately) get to call my own.

Is it just me or do any of you ever get this restless feeling? 

What do YOU do to get past it?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Survive a Divorce... with Children (part 4)

part 1
part 2
part 3

.... oh, who am I kidding?

I'm not fit to dole out some advice on how to survive divorce. I'm STILL surviving it... 5 1/2 years after my marriage ended.

It's been difficult for me to continue this series - which I began because a reader asked me the question and it's too much to answer in one post. It's a process, blah, blah, blah. It takes time, blah, blah, blah.

I have no idea what I'm doing. At this point, I feel less than qualified to call myself a "survivor of divorce".

I'm not sure why I ever told Mandy that Divorce isn't a failure. Intellectually, I know that but at a very deep level, I don't believe it. I DO feel like I failed.

I feel as if I failed my husband... with my affair, with my selfishness, with my relationship immaturity. Forget the fact that he chose to retaliate, when he didn't have to (then again, I take responsibility for that too). I ignore HIS relationship immaturity, his refusal to show emotion, his role in the disconnect and demise of our marriage. We've never resolved the issues we had in our marriage, we just ran away from them. Just like we did during the marriage, we continued that into our divorce. Our divorce was never a closure for me... it was a looking away from the issues we had.

I feel as if I failed my children... because they have to see my insecurities, my struggles, my emotional roller coaster that lead me to my (thankfully) current healthy relationship with my Gentleman. They have to see me lose my shit when I can't do everything I want to do for them. They don't always get all of me because I'm too busy trying to create comfort or experience for them. Forget the fact that I'm solidly happier in this relationship than I was in my marriage. I ignore that I've grown, pushed myself further than I ever did before or that I'm modeling for them strength and independence. I feel like they want to nurture and take care of me sometimes, however, and that just doesn't seem fair to me.

I feel as if I failed those that loved us. My ex's family is begging to spend time with me over the holidays even though he's engaged to someone else. They all still love me and want me in their lives... even though it could potentially cause even more strain on his new relationship. We have friends who choose to be around neither of us because it still feels awkward to them. I may even be failing those that love me because I still carry around this pain... long past claiming I'd forgiven myself and him.

I feel as if I failed myself. I knew myself as a go-getter, someone who never let anything or anyone stop me from being who I wanted to be. I feel as if the Universe thought I was too big for my britches and put me firmly in my place, humbled and broken. Nothing feels as easy as it was when I was married, with a partner I could depend on (in some ways), with a new career and focus on exactly where I wanted to go. Nothing is as clear anymore. Everything is so damn complicated. I'm simply not the same person that I once was... I'm more cautious in ways that I wasn't before. I have more faith, for sure, but in many ways, I'm terrified even still.

I realized last night, after yet another awkward evening of picking up the kids from the ex and his fiance, that the only reason I feel so angry (and I do, I have so many things I could rant about with that) is because it feels better to be upset out here (*points into the air around me*) than it does to really look at these "failures" that I feel in here (*points to my chest*).

That doesn't make me the right person to go to for advice on how to survive divorce. Sure, I know it takes baby steps to rise up from this. I know it's possible to forgive, love again, move forward, be happy, become... a better YOU than you were during divorce. I know all of that and I can write posts about it but it's just not where I am, in this moment.

And in that, I guess I'm failing you guys too.

Ok, I don't really feel that. I think sometimes that this blog holds me up because YOU ALL understand where I'm coming from, don't you? Do you all expect me to have all the answers? Does it appear that I know what I'm doing or that I know what the hell I'm talking about?

I'm human, just like all of you. I let this stuff get to me. On the other hand, I also know this is a temporary feeling that will pass soon. I also know this is a deep cleansing of my soul. This is me, digging down even deeper to the pain I felt during the ending of my marriage, down deep into the dark recesses of bloody emotional ugliness, using a dull blade to saw all of that stuff out of me. Once it's gone, once it's no longer festering and putting up limits or obstacles to the breadth of pure joy available to me, I know I'll be better. I know the only way is up. I just have to pull out this thorn and not allow it to fester anymore. I will not let this "failure" decide my future or who I allow myself to be.

It's not a pretty process and it hurts like FUCK but it is necessary to my growth as the human BEING that I choose to represent to those I feel like I failed.

Thank you for listening... and most importantly, understanding.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checking in with just a few bullet points...

  • I've started writing posts to continue my How to Survive Divorce series but none of them are ready to publish. This guy enjoyed my series so much so far that he wrote about it.

  • I've stepped up to the challenge (since no one else was going to) of planning and organizing our high school reunion. I've been living and breathing hotel room blocks, caterers, event insurance, social media promoting, etc for weeks now. It is FUN for me. If I could do it for a living and get paid well, I would. As it stands now, I'm planning an awesome party and my pay is... an awesome party.

  • And yes, Soldier is solid registered for the reunion too. Which should be interesting...

  • Strangely, my brain has been overwhelmed so much that I cannot even seem to function normally. For instance, this id me trying totyoe a sentince without correcting or backdpacing over my mistakes. <<- Seriously? So, blogging is out right now lest I drive myself crazy.

  • I've not been sleeping well lately. Lots of crazy, weird dreams. 

  • Because even though the planning and organizing is fun, I still have to work a full time job and be a full time mommy. And ALLLLLL that entails. Then there's taking care of me, being a good girlfriend and spending time with those that do love me. Which equals not enough of me to go around.

  • Halloween was fun. The kids enjoyed it and amazed me with their imaginative costumes. Candy is everywhere.

  • I have ZERO plans for the holidays because my family has lost its mind. I may just go see my man, curl up in his arms and chow on some ramen for Thanksgiving. I told my kids that we may not have a turkey but we'd have love. They said they're okay with that.

  • I've not even made time to read other blogs. I'm sorry I've been a bad bloggy friend right now.

  • My head hurts and I may be coming down with a sinus infection. *sigh* Still so much to do and so little time.
How are all of YOU doing?