Out with the Ass, in with the New

It was one week until move day, when he woke me up at dawn and said this isn’t working. I’m sorry I hurt you. I have to leave.” And he did. As I sat up, I wondered if what had just happened actually just happened.

Did he really just leave a week before I was to pick up my life and move to Texas with him? And three weeks before my lease is up? Did he really just do that? Yes indeed.

No conversation about it, no telling me what was wrong, no discussing how to handle the arrangements I had made to move with him.

This morning there was a text. Could I send him all the Christmas presents I bought his 4 children? He would make sure he wrapped them and let his kids know that they were from me.

And then I went in to brush my teeth. Except there was brown gunk all over my toothbrush. Yep. He used it to scrub something nasty. Who does that?

I helped this man get and stay sober. I encouraged him to accept a position where he could move and be closer to his children. I bought Christmas present for all 4 of his kids and talked to him about making plans to get his entire family together for the holidays.

You know, I am a nice person up to a point. When you push a good loyal woman, you just deserve what you get.

So after a little therapeutic “purging” I will be busy packing and getting ready to move somewhere…And celebrating “in with the new” just in time for the new year.

It will be a new place, a new man, and a new year.

 

A Thanksgiving

Hi Mom and Dad,

It’s me. Thanksgiving just happened and This is the first year that I have been happy. I still really miss you and always wish you were here. But it feels good to be happy to be happy again. It feels good to enjoy the holidays again. Life finally feels good again.

I went to the cousins and it was great. I introduced my plus one and told then of our plans. I think they were a bit shocked as it seems so sudden to them, but this has been over a year in the making. And I need a change. It is time to move forward with life and build. I cannot stay in grief forever. And I know that you guys understand. You probably think it is silly that I have grieved this long.. But I will never stop grieving losing you, it will never be normal to not have you here and I will never stop missing you.

But it this was the first Thanksgiving that I did not cry. And that is wonderful. I can actually breath during the holidays and not always be sad. I can put the Christmas tree up and listen to the holiday music and smile. Because I have something to look forward to. And you taught me to ber stronger than anything that happens in life.

There will still be hard moments, I know that. Because ti will never be OK that you are gone during the holidays. But life f=goes on and I must go with it. And I know that is how you would want it to be. We have plans. But if those plans don;t work, I know you made me st5rong enough to be OK with that too. I guess after you have gone through the worst, the rest of life is not as hard.

And so here I am, miss and loving you guys, but doing well. I am happy Mom and Dad. I am smiling. And mom, for the first time since you passed away, I am looking forward to Christmas.

Love you guys always. Please visit me in my dreams.

The Difference of a Year

We often hear about what a difference a year makes…or a day or a week or an hour. But does it truly resonate when we hear that expression? Most of the time i think it goes in one ear and out the other as we understand the meaning but not the point. I think if this time last year. I was weary and still shattered, soul tired and just trying to keep my emotional head above water.

The compound was still under repair, though that was getting closer to completion. I had argued with the insurance company that they had indeed made a $10,000 mistake in their favor. And eventually they had to admit that they had. I was broke from paying for everything and and felt utterly, completely, unmistakably alone. I once saw a picture of a tree, alone standing in the storm, and I felt exactly like that. Ugly, broke and beyond exhausted. I knew I deserved love, but who in the world was left? There was no one. Or so I thought. But I could not have been more wrong.

Feeling completely alone, so alone that not even God could find you is a hard place to be. But it was not to last long. The start of the love was Thanksgiving, when I took my cousin up on her offer to spend the holiday at her house. And so I did. And there, in the middle of their home, in the middle of this small town, in the middle of the holiday dinner, I found more love than I knew existed. There were open arms and hugs and smiles and laughs and conversations.

And for the first time in over two years, I did not feel alone. For the first time in over two yers, I felt loved.

And from that love that was given to me, a small hope was borne. A rejuvenation of sorts. It is amazing what a little love can do. It can bring a broken soul back to life. And so it did. In that house, with my cousins, I found my light again. I found my smile. I found the Sun. And I grew, from that day on, knowing that I was not alone, and that there was more love out there in the world for me that I could possibly imagine. And it was my job to find and courage that love into a beautiful life.

But it all started a year ago. And like putting fire to gasoline, it caught and spread. And nowm that love light that was lit on that day, burns a warm flame at my hearth. And I have them to thank.

Life is short. Never underestimate what a little bit if love can do, And never underestimate the miracles and growth that can happen in a year.

Year in Motion

We celebrated a year yesterday. It had been a year and so much has been covered. IT is amazing how fast life happens, yet it seems almost normal in the moment.

We saw each other for the first time since high school a year ago. Our first date, and my last first date. I was a little nervous when we met that night, not sure what to expect. Would there be awkward moments? Would we have any thing in common? But the night went great. He was a formidable match.

A year later…jeeze. It has been a lot of ups and downs, and I think we are both still healing from the downs. But we are strong and happy with each other and where we are in our relationship. It is amazing to me that you can live with someone and still discover new things about them almost every day.

In this year we have laughed, cried, loved, despised, disappointed, inspired, hurt, uplifted and more. We have traveled many trips and had even more meals together. I have met his family and he has met my friends. And here we are.

A million miles can be traveled in a year. And a milliion more this next one coming.

And then here we are, getting a house together, planning a huge future, doing the whole forever thing.

And it is quite exciting. It

The Weight of Nine

That time of year that I love the most is approaching. It is the wonderful holidays. Thanksgiving is coming which means that Christmas and New Years are not that far away.

But it this time of year means something profoundly different for those who have lost loved ones. The holidays can be a hard it me. And indeed they are, more so than any other time of the year. Because from here until the end of the year, there are not only 3 major holidays, but 1 anniversary and 3 family birthdays. Ugh.

But this year is still set out to be the best Christmas so far, because this year so many people will be added. My boyfriend and his family. I am moving to another state and in with him. And he has 4 kids and both parents. I will decorate and cook like crazy to make sure that the togetherness is great.

But they are not my family, they are his, a fact of which I am acutely aware. His children already have a mother, and his parents don’t need another child. Bit in life we have choices, and we can choose to make the best of a situation – a situation I am blessed to have .

But the pain of missing my family will still be there. Loosing 9 family members in less than a year would humble anyone. Those are 9 people who I will not see or speak to this Christmas. Nine people for whom I will not buy gifts. Nine. And the weight of nine is heavy.

This move is digging up all kinds of pain that I have neatly catalogued and put away, or buried rather, so as not to disturb my life. But the truth is, it is incredible painful to not tell my sister about the move, about the why, and the who and the where. Because I want my sister to tell my sister, more than anything. Yes she is still alive, but loss can take many forms.

In my minds fantasy, she comes over and helps me pack. We laugh and giggle and things and memories. We pack and drink wine, tell stories and share. We enjoy being sisters. And we plan visits to see each other. And we make promises of phone calls. But the reality is that if she knew I was moving, there would be nothing but hateful drama and demands of entitlement. Because the fact of the matter is, I am only a means to an end for her.

The truth is that I have tried not to love her my own sister. That would be so much easier. I have prayed that God take away the love and replace it with indifference. I have prayed, but yet the love is still their so it is obviously not going anywhere. I love her and her children no matter what. I can’t stop it.

And that kind of love is very painful when they hate you. It is the beautiful deep love for a sibling and the torture of still loving them no matter what. That is the amazing beauty and brilliant curse of the human condition. I wish I didn’t love her, but I do. And there is no way to stop it so there is also no way of stopping the pain of the situation of not being able to share with her. I will never get used to that.

However, life is a series of choices, and so I can choose to let this pain destroy my joy and make me miserable, or I can choose to rise anyway. I I choose to rise. So this Christmas, this entire holiday season, I will concentrate on what I have and not what I don’t. And what I have is a wonderful man who loves me and friends who are my family who love me better than anyone else. I have my wonderful life of love that I have created and I will continue to curate my life.

And in carrying the weight of nine, I shall find my strength. We all have pain to bear in this life. Ands there will still be moments this season, and many more, that are hard. We we don’t have to stay there, in the dark. Some people do and they turn bitter. But not I. I will never let that happen.

Life is short. Acknowledge and work through the pain, but don’t live there. Find the joy and follow it. Because life is huge and there is enough spacve for everything.

The Speed of Happy

So I have been keeping a secret. A delicious, happy, juicy secret. Only a few people in my life know about this secret. Until now.

My landlord recently let me know that they are not going to renew the lease. Which means I need to move at the end of the year. At first I as panicked about this. I mean on the verge of tears and ugly cry kind of verge. I did not want to move, again. I wanted to stay put right where I am comfortable. But when God has plans for you, he will place you where you need to be, and take you away from where you don’t. And obvioously I am not supposed to be here.

And that is when things really started getting interesting. My on again boyfriend was given an opportunity that he could not turn down – keep your job but do it remotely. From Texas – his home and where all of his family currently lives. He took it in a heartbeat.

And then I am offered a contract where I can work mostly remote. And the landlords will not renew. And I can go anywhere. So I might have to go to Texas.

The truth is that I have been talking about getting out of my current state and having a fresh start someplace new now for years. Now that it is a possibility, it is scary. As in about to have a panic attack scary. Not in a bad way, in a holy crap, it could actually happen kind of way. And why is that? Why do we panic when there is a possibility of getting exactly what we want and for which we have been praying? I mean the man, the love, the new start, the new life? It is all right there, in front of me…

And I am incredibly happy. I have been laughing and smiling more this last few months than I have been in several years. And it is wonderful. An amazing. So why am I so terrified of getting what I want?

Life is short. Go after what you want. And maybe if your dreams don’t scare you, then you truly aren’t dreaming big enough. Maybe it is time to step out of my comfort zone and got for it, fast. That way you can catch up to the speed of happiness.

The Empath’s Path

There have been many scientific studies about empaths and how they take on and absorb the feelings of others. It is also well known that empaths notice certain things about people that may be others do not quite pick up on. Empths tend to be more noticing of someone’s energy and their mood. And typically empaths are very nurturing by Nature, they are very giving and I love taking care of the people they love.

The first time I read about the characteristics of an empath with several years ago, and it immediately struck a chord. That is when I recognized that I am to an empath. And so I started to guard myself against toxic people, and people with a lot of negative energy. Now everyone goes through a tough time in their life, and I’m not talking about those people. I mean the kind of people who suck the life and light out of every situation and any room that they happen to be in. I think it is exhausting to deal with people like that in the first place, but if you are an empath it’s even worse.

Because empaths are naturally giving people, it is also very easy for them to,be taken adventage of. And this indeed is something I’ve had to watch out for in my life too. Now, because I know that this naturally nurturing characteristics makes me easy prey, I guard against it and make sure the person I am giving doesn’t mind reciprocating. Because weather in a romantic relationship, a family relationship, or even co-workers and friendships, it is important that the relationship be mutually beneficial.

The other thing that I have have read and had to guard against, is the seeming attraction between a narcissist and an empath. A narcissist will destroy anyone and anything that is in their path, and especially someone who is willing to give, with a seemingly endless supply. My last relationship was with a narcissist, and indeed if I gave an inch he insisted on two miles.

At this point in my life as an empath, I want to take care of those I love without all the drama. I want a peaceful, loving home where there is no yelling and fighting. I want dinners eaten around the family dinner table, with laughter and talk of the days events. I want someone who supports me and who is kind. Someone with endless amount empathy and compassion. Basically, I want another empath.

Because it seems the best relationship is one where you support and help each other. So if you take two givers and put them together, each of the functioning to take care of the other, then wouldn’t that be the ideal? Instead of one taking and using, both are nurturing.

I want that 1950s life with a loving partner. I want to serve my partner, because I love him. I want to be submissive (gasp!). I want to celebrate taking care of each other and buildibg a beautiful, intricate life where burdens are shared. I want to truly celebrate being an empath instead of having to be weary of being used for it.

In this day and age of everyone being so independant and unwilling to give, is that even possible? Yes, I think so. At least I hope so. But it takes a very strong man to handle an independant woman who chooses to be submissive. Because submission does not mean being controlled or ordered around. It means you do for the other because you love. And when you are allowed to love that way, both flourish. My Mom explained that to me a long time ago. You take care of and cherish each other.

And so that is the path and intention I want in my life moving forward, at least for my personal life.

Life is short. Be kind, be supportive, be loving. Because in the end, all we have is the love that is shared and gow we treated people who,will remember us. And you can’t take all that love with you, so give it away as much as you can. Just make sure it’s tobthe right people. And that is the empaths path.

The Big D

Everyone at some some point will get depressed or a little down.There could be so many different reasons – a death, loss of job, loss of a relationship, or a thousand different things. And this is perfectly normal. I think it is a fallacy in life that we should never feel anything but happy and shiny Because that just is not realistic. And who says it is bad to feel bad sometimes?

Sometimes feeling down can motivate us to make much needed changes in our lives. Because depression is a place to visit not a place to live And eventually we will get sick and tired of being sick and tired. The problem is once we are in a funk, how do we get out of it? Especially when the funk makes it hard to get off the couch, much less be motivated to be a mover and shaker in your own life.

But that is indeed what we need to be. And sometimes getting a root canal seems easier than getting motivated. But you just have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. But how?

I really don’t know exactly, but I do now what worked for me. First, you have to get very quiet, and go deep where the heart meets the soul and you listen. At first you may not hear anything, but eventually you will. That is God’s voice, your gut instinct, your intuition. Remember what brought you joy before, and concentrate on that, and on following that inner voice.

When I was 19, I went through an extremely difficult time. And when I did not feel like getting out of bed, I would decide every single morning that I would find something to be happy about. I would decide on a winter day that I would search for a flower, or look for children playing happily in a puddle on a rainy summer afternoon. Sounds stupid or silly? It probably is. But those little goals are what would get me out of bed.

And every day there would be a goal, and I promised myself that I would smile once completed. I also made a decision, every single day, to find moments to specifically enjoy on purpose. If life was terrible, I would at least find solace in a sunny day, or in the three minutes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

When I got older and lost the rest my family, even those goals were hard, so I cried a lot. And then there were no more tears. I started having a few moments of not being in a funk…and then the moments would last a little longer. I put up a goal board, and I refused to watch depressing or sad movies, and I watched funny TV shows and I made sure that I was around good, positive people who were supportive. And anyone who wasn’t supportive was cut out of my life.

I also decided every morning hat I was going to be happy that day – maybe for only a few minutes, but I was going to find some kind of happy. And I wrote things (affirmations, if you will) around the house to help keep my positive mindset. “I am stronger than the grief.” I am stronger that the depression.” “I can and I will”

And eventually, slowly the clouds started to break and the sun would shine. But it starts with you. Because it is easy to get into the habit of depression, especially if you are alone. And that is where your will power comes in. It takes a lot of strength, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or pull others in. Even when you are tired, ask a friend to come over. They don’t have to go and do anything big. Because your friends can help dust off the cobwebs and help you smile…maybe even laugh.

There are many who say that you have to find it all within yourself. But I disagree. Yes, you yourself have to be committed to getting out of the funk, but that doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers or face the challenge alone. Those who love and care for your will be more than happy to help.

It may be a long road but it is not impossible. Take baby steps, and soon your will look back and see you have traveled miles. Each heartbeat gets you that much closer. And in the space between the seconds, you will find the inspiration to hold on.

Life is short. Make a decision every single day to make the best of it. Most people think that happiness is easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work, every single day, to be and stay happy. And some days are easier than others. But we can do it together, holding hands as we cross paths and share time in this life.

A Care on Your shoulder

It is often said that to have a good and happy life, you must take care of yourself first. And yet, we seem to find is so hard to do. It seems like self care and self awareness would be second nature to us by now. We can walk on the moon, edit DNA so diseased chromosomes are deleted, create the internet where the world’s information is in the palm of you hand…yet we still cannot master the art of self care.

And I wonder why that is exactly. And I don’t mean just pampering yourself. I mean Real self care, where we take care of our hearts, our emotions, our mental state and our resilience. Self care were we recognize the importance of making sure we are OK, really Ok, in this world.

When we do not tend to our mental and emotional health, we become bitter, angry, dysfunctional shells of our former selves. I have met people like that. The last man I dated was exactly that. Run from those kinds of people, those who are wounded and bleed all over you. Run because many of them are not only attached to their emotional wounds, but they have no intention of ever healing them. Why would someone choose to stay wounded? Because it takes tremendous strength to look yourself in the mirror, admit what is wrong and actually fix it. Many do mot have that kind of intestinal fortitude.

I have not been taking care of myself lately. I have been giving my time and self to other things and people. And it shows. My life is good, but I am tired and ragged because I have made the mistake of putting others before myself. One of my friends noticed this and chastised me. She reminded me that with both my parents being gone, if I fall apart there is no one to help put me back together. So I must not only take extra care of myself, but extra care in who I let into my world…I need to make sure my house, my heart, my home, my emotions, my life is all good, and then give to others. Not the other way around. And my friend is right.

And so it shall be, and already is. I am exercising again. Meditating, prayer, laughing with dear friends, eating healthy, some pampering, cleaning and organizing the house as the Great Purge of 2019 continues. But the purge is not only about things, it is about bad habits and people as well. I am taking positive steps to complete my own transformation that will take my life to the next level of wonderful.

Self care isn’t easy, because there are those who will criticize you and call you selfish when you are no longer doing what they want you to do. Don’t listen to those people, because anyone who loves you will understand and encourage you.

Self care is so important in this day and age of the more stress the better. It seems people wear their stress as a status symbol saying “look how important I am, I am so stressed.” Well, they can die an early death from that stress. Don’t let that be you. Take the time to enjoy those little things in life. Take the time to be grateful for what you have, and don’t concentrate on what you don’t. It will make a difference…small at first, but building momentum.

And slowly you will transform your life to what you want. But you have to have the energy to follow those dreams, make them materialize. We have the power to make our lives whatever we want…so what will you life be? Start with yourself, Taking care of yourself, being quiet and listening to the voice of God and your own voice within. reach deep down, where the heart meets the soul, where you hide when it is dark and quiet…it’s all there.

What I seek is happiness, purpose and of course, love. But a love that does not deplete me or tear me down. Love should feel good, it shouldn’t hurt. Love should energize you, not make you exhausted. And so, with a happy heart – because that is a decision too – I will go in search of. And when we find each other, not only will we take care of ourselves as we need to, but we will take care of each other as well. Until then, I will take care of my self one heartbeat at a time, until the life and love I want is right here.

Life is short. So take care of yourself.

A Hike in the Woods

It is Father’s Day, and it is not a day to sit around the house. Just because my father is gone does not mean I have to mope. So I went up to my favorite hiking place – Amacalola Falls. It was the perfect day for to be out in the woods, where I feel centered and safe.

The woods has always had that affect on me, which is why I hike when needing to clear my thoughts and heart. And there has been a lot to think about lately. The hiking trails were filled with families and a lot of kids. And father’s with their sons or daughters.

I miss having a family and I’m struggling to find my purpose not having one. For almost 10 years my life revolved around taking care of them. And I think not having a purpose is making easy prey for those do not have my best interest at heart. And when you’re searching we can easily find the wrong way.

And so I prayed to God at this beautiful waterfall. He made this beautiful place, these beautiful rocks, and with the beautiful water, on this beautiful planet. Surely He can help me find a purpose.

And then I talked to a friend of mine, who is in a similar place. And she reminded me not to come from this from a place of loss, but from a place of abundance. What does that mean?

That means stop coming from a place of stress. Instead of saying I have no purpose and I have to hurry up and find my purpose, why not recognize that my purpose will come to me? If I calm myself and relax I can free my mind and my emotions up for the what good is coming to me. There’s no rush, there’s no hurry. This isn’t the Life’s Purpose Olympics where somebody a golf medal for coming in first. There’s no time limit. I can slow down, and I can take my time, and I can let life unfold to me in it’s time and be open to what life shows me my purpose should be

And I want a purpose it’s meaningful and fulfilling, where I can help others and there’s something larger for myself, but doesn’t completely deplete me of all time, and energy, and resources. I want a purpose gives energy, and love, and meaning. I want a purpose that generates energy and recharges my spirit. This whole notion where we have to give to the point of depletion is a fallacy. We should be able to have a meaningful life without at sucking life out of us. There’s no Romanticism in being a martyr to the point of self-destruction.

Big changes are coming, because I am relaxing and praying and being centered. I am letting life show me what it wants me to see, and going with the current for once Yes, I believe in making the life you want, but you also cannot force it. I am figuring out the next, so I will relax and enjoy the now.

I will no longer stress because I don’t have it figured out. Instead I will focus in on me, and be centered. I will laugh and have fun. I will travel a bit, and clean a bit and work a bit and and pray a lot, and have faith a lot and love a lot. And in that, purpose will come.

Playing it Straight

It is amazing the how different life is when you are an adult than when you thought it would be as a child. As a child, you don’t understand things like working, or managing money, or getting up early, or even things like laundry. If you are lucky, these things seem to just magically happen.

And there are things that you assume will happen when you are adult that really doesn’t. For example, No one has died from falling in quicksand, or being eaten by a giant snake. I have not made millions from discovering a new kind of metal that could replace everything. And my parents did not live forever.

When I was younger, and even up until a few years ago, I thought healing was a straight line. I thought everything worked in a straight line – love, career, playing, shopping, figuring out what you wanted to do, making decisions, even being happy. But as an adult you learn that nothing is a straight line. Because we are different, and we have paths on which to meander and learn. There on some paths which we are supposed to only visit, some where we learn valuable, maybe painful lessons, and some that delivery us away from danger. After all, it’s a jungle out there.

And then there is the path of healing, which I also thought would be a straight line. I was wrong. what I have learned, is that this path too meanders. There are good days and bad days, or weeks or even months. There are waves. Sometimes those waves come crashing down and you feel like you were drowning even though you thought you were on solid ground. And sometimes you have days where you feel like all of it is done, and you are great. And in time, those stretches get longer and longer…but still there is no straight line.

And that is OK, because there is no timeline on healing. And who said it has to be a straight line anyway? I think that is a myth, just like quicksand. The problem comes when you try to force it, and deny that any more healing needs to be done.

Let’s face it, life a series of paths we must take. Some of those paths are better or more enjoyable than others. But would we want it any other way? The easy answer is yes, but really how deep of as faceted of a life would that be? An easy life would be easy, but we would miss so much depth and width of the person we were meant to be. And while the easy answer would be to have a compass in the great journey of life, would it really help? And would you actually want to use it? Because some of the unplanned paths we take, make our lives so much more rich, even if they require some care and healing afterwards.

So don’t play it straight. Go on those twists and turns. Give yourself the permission to take as much time, and as many paths as it takes to heal. It’s ok. Don’t fight the current, just ride the wave.

Life is short and straight lines are boring.

The Sob in the Process

Life is basically a mixed bag of whatever it is you get. there will be the good, and and the ugly and everything in between. As a whole, life is good. I have a great job in a great career, I have the best friends in the world, I have a roof over my head, and am reasonably happy.

But the last few weeks have been especially hard. And that is the thing about life, it is cyclical. I remember reading a book called The Prophet when I was 19. It changed my life. It was rich in truth and perspective. It challenged me and made me think in a way that I had never before. And in that book there was a passage about joy and sorrow:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. 
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. 
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

There is an urban rumor in this world that you are never supposed to be sad, or depressed, or angry, or melancholy, or anything other than positive and happy. There is a myth that these feelings are wrong and that there is something wrong with us if we do feel these emotions, because of the law of attraction…and of course we attract what we feel and where we are emotionally, right? WRONG.

You must feel those emotions in order to work through them in a healthy way and to get to what is waiting on the other side. If we do not allow ourselves to feel our feelings, even those that we perceive to be negative, then we will not work through the process and we will end up emotionally muted and unable to grow. If we do not deal with those negative emotions then they will cause us to be bitter. Whoever said we are not ever supposed to be uncomfortable in any way in life, or that we must get rid of negative emotions immediately was probably emotionally stunted himself.

And I will never allow myself to be a bitter shell of a human being. So, I have been crying, actually I have been sobbing to get all of he pain out. The last few weeks has been excruciating. And I live alone. So I must grieve alone, which is exhausting. Grief is exhausting enough, but to do it alone is exceptionally tiring.

So last night, I grabbed my biggest stuffed animal Ricky, sat on my bed, held him tightly as all the pain poured out of my eyes onto my cheeks. I buried my face in his soft polyester fur and let out audible sobs, barely able to breath at a few points. Time stood still as i just cried and cried. I have been through three family deaths and the death of three friends…alone. By now I should be a pro at this, but I am not.

The latest death has brought up all the pain of the last. A grief counselor suggested I have PTSD from my parents death, and all the events before and after. Indeed, you can have it from physical attacks, war, or extremely emotionally traumatic events. And if that is the case, the latest death and all the ugliness surrounding it has been a trigger. And so I must process and deal with it.

And one day, maybe I will have a partner with whom I can share this burden. Because it is hard to handle all of the bad by ones self, and being strong is exhausting. And then I can also share all the wonderful things too. I look forward to that day, I look forward to not having to shoulder all of my world alone. It is a heavy load.

Until then, I turn up the music to drown out the sobs, grab Ricky and cry my heart out. Actually cry the pain out. I look forward to the day that there are no tears. I look forward to truly being able to live in joy once more. It is coming…

What Dating a Good Man Teaches you

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 but ended up going on my fist date 3 months before my birthday. This was because the guy was moving out of state and my parents reluctantly allowed me to go. I am 42 now and have never been married. That’s a lot of dating. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of relationships. And I have learned a lot over the years.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He doesn’t play games. He actually puts forth the effort and tells me, on a daily basis, that I am beautiful and amazing and totally worth it. I am thriving under the light of his wonderful attention and affection.  I wonder how I forgot that this is what dating is supposed to be, that this is how I am supposed to be treated? My current relationship is teaching me things that I didn’t realize I had forgotten. Like how I should be treated.

Somewhere along the way, dating became more of a game than a pleasure.  It seems that it’s about getting all that you can, when you can, while putting forth as little effort as you can.  When we women have men with this attitude from which to choose, we get discouraged by the lack of options and try to choose the lessor of many evils.

Ladies, Steve Harvey has it right – when a man really wants you, there will be no question. I think back to all those guys that used to drive me crazy making me wonder if they were really interested. Or that I was doing something wrong. Maybe that was the reason why they weren’t calling like they said they would, or didn’t seem interested, or would make an ambiguous date, then never follow through.

Stop wondering. Because if you have to wonder if he is interested, then the answer is No.  It doesn’t matter if you call or text him.  If he wanted to be with you, he would have already set up the date.

Easier said than done, right?  Because we are taught that if we have these high expectations, then we are demanding, and bitchy, and manipulative. No, we just know our worth.

I have had men who would text me (first of all, call the woman) and ask me to go out lunch that day…when I would accept and ask where…they wouldn’t respond. Until a few weeks later when it’s the same thing all over again. No, he didn’t get too busy, his phone didn’t break, he wasn’t sucked into a vortex where no communication was possible.  He just wasn’t really interested. So why text at all?  Who knows.  Maybe he wanted to keep that door open, or wanted an ego boost. He definitely didn’t want to go to lunch.

The guy I dated before my current boyfriend actually made me feel guilty if I even thought about asking him to help me with anything – He was healing from a woman who used him 3 years ago, so he couldn’t do anything for me.  I made the mistake of saying he could use my boat anytime he wanted if he would let me use his truck to pull my boat to the marina. I was promptly accused of making my boat and all maintenance his responsibility. If a man in interested in you, there will no excuses or strange accusations. If a man is interested, he will want to spend time with you, and he will care enough to help out when you need it.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He sees projects that I cannot do myself, and he fixes them. I don’t even have to ask.  He just rented a Rug Doctor and cleaned the carpets in my house because my family is coming to visit.  And because he said I “should live in pretty.” Wow, what a difference.

I have dated men who refused to introduce me to any friends and family, while telling me how much they liked and cared for me.  My current boyfriend has introduced me to all of his friends and family. Because he wants me in his life, because he wants me to see from who and where comes. And he is interested in meeting my friends and family too. He wants to know my people. And a man who is truly  interested in you, will want to know your world and your people too.

There was a man who made a date on Easter with me….and was a no show.  Contacted me a few weeks later like everything was fine.  Then there are the guys who just wanted me to “come over and hang out”, but were never willing to drive to see me, or take me out.  Stay away from them, they are lazy and place no value on you or your time.

I think back on all the times I questioned if I was doing something wrong?  Women are taught that if you keep getting disappointed in dating, you are the one common factor.  So take a look in the mirror and find your fault. Well, it wasn’t me, it was them. Mostly. The only thing I wasn’t doing, in my worn and weary and discourage mindset, was remembering my worth. Because I didn’t want to seem demanding, or high maintenance, or bitchy, or unreasonable.

The man I am with now, expects me to know my worth, because he sees it every time he looks at me. And he makes sure I know how lucky he feels. And I am lucky too. Because finally, here is a man who sees what I didn’t see in myself for a long time. Dating a good man has reminded me that first and foremost, I am worth it.

Every day I am so very grateful that this wonderful man found his way into my life.

Because I am demanding, and high maintenance and bitchy and unreasonable…But only to those men who are not interested enough to do anything but put forth the least amount of effort possible.

And that is what dating a good man can teach you.

Where the Magic Happens

Home is where it happens. All the magic of life and family.  And this year I am counting on that magic to add to the wonderfulness of the holiday season.  This year I am hosting the family for Thanksgiving.  We all have our firsts in life, and this is one of mine.

To some this may not seem like a big deal, but to my large and very eclectic family its pretty big.  This is the first year that my parents are healthy and not suffering from cancer.  And this year everyone is in close proximity.  This is also probably the last year my nephews will be local. My oldest nephew is graduating college next month and who knows where he will end up.  The other two are going to school and working as well, but they all have off for the holidays this year.

It is the first time that the family will be gathering at my house.  In the past, we have all made it to our parents house.  But they are getting older and it is a lot of work for them to do all the cooking, cleaning and general preparation for such a family event.  I am hoping that it is a success, that everyone has a good time, even though it will be quite the adventure.  To understand the overtures of this undertaking, let me explain:

My parents are quite set in their ways.  They are great, wonderful, honest, hard working, loyal people.  But they can be extremely difficult to please.  And they both cannot be happy and comfortable at the same time.  You will go crazy trying to make that happen, trust this, I know. I have actually told them to choose each day of the visit who gets to be happy and comfortable, that way there is not constant complaining.  It works.

In the past visits, there have been complaints that the house is too cold (Dad likes the temp at 84-86), too hot (Mom likes it between 74-76) and neither of them like ANY air circulation, so no fans or such. The food is too spicy or too bland. And I live out in Egypt, s where I live is too far, from everything (I actually have the same complaint).

My mother smokes, but she hates smoking outside, mainly because it’s cold in the winter and she doesn’t like to be cold.  Once, in the House of Mold, she smoked on the screened-in-porch. When she got cold she insisted I bring her the warmest coat I owned…which happened to be a mink coat.  So there she is, sitting out in a screened-in-porch, in her pink fuzzy warm house slippers….smoking….in a mink coat. I would have taken a picture if I had not feared death. So I have set up a wonderful sitting area in the garage…along with 2 large, large room heaters, that each one would heat the small garage for most. There will be tables, chairs and a soft couch from which to choose.

My father, on his last visit, complained that he felt some small amount of air moving across his face. This air was coming from a closed air vent in his bedroom that was very suspect.  The threatened to sleep in the garage.  Instead I fixed a separate place for him upstairs in my office.  This time the bed in his room will be moved far away from that evil vent, thus avoiding the problem altogether.

Add to the mix my wonderful sister and her 2 sons.  Nothing much will happen with any of them, as they will be face-deep in their phones.  I will have to make a rule that there are no electronic devices at the table. My sister and Dad do speak the same language, sometimes I swear they have the same brain even. My youngest nephew smokes as well, so he will be in the garage with his grandmother, while we will try to keep the oldest from getting into a political discussion with my mother.  Liberal college kid views do not go over well with her  conservative mindset, and he is too young to be able to keep up with her quick wit (not kidding). I would prefer to save the fireworks for July 4th.

And everyone loves coffee. And wine. And food in general. And we can all gather next to the warm fireplace, when we are not out in the garage, hanging out with the smokers.  Or decorating the Christmas. Or asleep in our food comas.

And this weekend will be the flurry of getting the last bit ready…the deep cleaning (but not too deep, because my mother will need something to clean while she visits).  There will be dusting of things and cleaning of baseboards. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping.  The cupboards are full of snacks and such, the throw blankets and sheets have all been swashed and are fresh and soft. There is music that has been picked out for the occasion.  It may be hard but it will be worth it.  Much laughter, love, great moments, memories and pictures.  And I will hug them just a little bit tighter, just a little bit longer.  This year, a year of so many wonderful things in our lives, and so many miracles.  And so much heartbreak and terror in the world.  Nothing like watching the news to make you hold your loves ones just a little closer.

And in those hugs, those moment and those memories, that is where the magic happens.

The Happy Coupledom

I’ve entered into a land which i have never been. The happy coupledom. Dint get me wrong have dated, even fallen madly in love, but this…this is new, this feeling is new.

We were binge watching The Blacklist on Netflix, the best TV on TV. When we realized we were hungr6. He created some egg dish in the microwave while I created a fusion of Chinese and Mexican by combining broccoli beef, Mexican cheese and sour cream in a burrito.

And as we ate our almost-middle-of-the-night, lets-raid-the-kitchen-hurried-dinner, I sat on the kitchen counter and he stood next to me. Both of us smacking and chewing, talking and laughing with our mouths full, not in the least bit self-conscience.

We ate and enjoyed every last bit….and when we were done, I rinsed the dishes as he stepped outside to smoke. And I did the happy dance, right there in the middle of my messy kitchen. And my heart was full. Welcome to happy coupledom.

Good Night Sweet Boy

He was a great cat, and pet.  The vet said there was not a lot of time, and I knew what it meant when he became more listless and tired.  Ragged breathing and not much appetite, if any.

And so it was, in the early morning hours, that he came to pass not long after I sat down next to him for the final time.  And I am glad that I was there with him, the first of my pets to pass. It truly seemed that he waited until  his human was with him. Glad I stroked his fur during his transition. He had a good life after being rescued, and he was well loved. And he loved his human in return.  Goodnight sweet BoJack.

Sitcom Moments: The Dark Crazy Family Comedy

One thing almost everyone has to deal with in their lifetime is aging parents and health issues that come along with them.  It’s no secret that my parents have faced their share of health issues  – my mother diagnosed 15 years ago with stage 4+ Ovarian cancer, my father with liver cancer.  Bother of them are in remission.   Obviously I come from very strong stock.

One of the many reasons my parents have beat the odds (the first reason being a lot of faith and prayer), is the fact they are simply stubborn as he-ell. Notice the hyphen in there…that’s two syllables, because one syllable isn’t enough to describe that level of stubborn. And I think it increases with age.

Another thing that everyone must deal with is the fact that their family is crazy. Yes, including yours.  At some point in our lives, we must come to the realization that our families are insane.  And there is no shame in it, because we are all in the same boat, paddling up Crazy Creek with a broken paddle. My family is crazy. Just take a deep breath, repeat that statement and let it wash over you. I’ll wait.

My mother can relax now that my father’s cancer is in remission in theory. If only she would.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her with all my heart, but she is 5’3”, 80lbs of pure, unadulterated stubborn. And she will argue with you that she is not stubborn all day long…and into the night. And the next morning. And next week. And next year….

So now that she is getting older and has some health issues, life is interesting.  I do my best to keep in mind that she is very old school southern, very proud, very private and can take care of herself, THANKYOUVERYMUCH (all caps on purpose). It’s like a dark and twisted comedy, because there are many moments that you cannot believe are actually happening.

She is only 80lbs because she doesn’t eat…and seems to like it.  Conversations usually go something like this:

{I can see this conversation happening on Modern Family or Raising Grace, or similar show, where the characters are so over the top that it’s funny. Welcome to my world.}

Me: So what did you eat today, Mom?

Mom: I ate an egg with cheese and toast, like I do every morning, had an energy shake for lunch and  then your dad and I ate pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner. I eat like that every day.

Me: That’s a great day of food Mom. How much do you weigh?

Mom: 82 lbs.

ME: Mom, you’ve lost 4 pounds in 1 week…so you are either not telling the truth about how much you are eating, or you are very sick and we need to get you to the doctor right away…

CLICK

The reason for the hang up? Because you are not allowed to say that your mother might not be telling the truth. Oh yes, I received a firm scolding on respecting the woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months, endured a painful birth, and sat with my in the hospital as I was so sick as a baby. Yes, Ma’am.  But I still say if you were eating the way you say you are you would be gaining weight…CLICK.

She has a very bad back – spinal stenosis. Excruciating pain.  There is a doctor who will do laser surgery on her back, but she won’t go.  Too busy, she says. Same thing with getting her cataracts fixed.  So here she is, hobbling, wobbling along, feisty and stubborn as he-ell, not really able to see, but can still see well enough to point a finger at you to say mind your own damn business! I’m your mother, you don’t have the right to tell me what to do.

We went to talk with a cancer counselor at the hospital about how Dad’s cancer has affected the family.  I explained that it has been very stressful, since we nearly lost him 10 times in the past 4 years. Once the doctors even telling Mom that they were sending him home to die and he would be more comfortable at home. I cannot even imagine what that was like.  After I described, in detail, all of the family issues, the counselor looks at my mother and asks what her how does she feel?

Mom: “I’m fine, not stressed at all. This has not been hard on me, I’m fine. I don’t need therapy. But she does (meaning me).  If she wants, I will go to therapy with her to discuss anything that she wants, if that will help her.  Because she needs LOTS of therapy.”

I nearly fainted.

Me to Mom:  You mean taking care of Dad when the doctors said he was dying and nursing him back to health was not stressful, at all?

Mom: No.

Me to Dr:  Yes, I need therapy. Lot’s of therapy. Can we set something up, immediately?

Welcome to my crazy family. Grab a cup of coffee, or even better, a glass of wine.

Sitcom Moment #857: Life is a Bathrobe

You should always make sure there are no escape routes for house cat to escape, or you might end up chasing said cat all over yard  – in your flimsy bathrobe,  on a windy morning.

Went out to feed the little stray that has been staying around the house when my cat jumped and ran outside.  This is not good, as I had to leave in about 20 minutes so I had to get him.  But I was in my little bathrobe (was feeding stray in garage where neighbors could not see).

Had to jump out, on the lawn, on a windy morning. In my little bathrobe, calling this cat trying to get him to come to me.  Running around chasing this cat, who thinks it a fun game to run from his human, while holding my bathrobe closed in the wind….

I felt like a was trapped in an I Love Lucy episode. Because my life is a sitcom.

Yes, I can hear you laughing.

Sitcom Moment #2,594: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

It was a regular morning, just like any other.  I crawled out of bed, put on some pants and drank a delicious cup of coffee. Little did I know it would soon be a sitcom kind of moment day.

I got ready to take my car down to the dealership for it’s regular maintenance and my sister was picking me up from the dealership. The plan was to grab a quick bite at the donut shop across the street and head back home to hang out and catch up.

It was on my way to the dealership that I realized what had happened…in my half asleep haze and hurry to get to the coffee pot, I slipped on my yoga pants…with no underwear.  Not a big deal one might say. Except that, not being a morning person, and my brain not being fully functional early on a Saturday morning, it did not occur to me until it was too late to turn around and go back home to fix this commando faux pas.

Oh well, I am just going to the dealership and the donut shop drive through…no real big deal, right.  Except my sister wanted to stay and eat at the donut shop. OK, we’ll go home from there.  Nope.  Then, while waiting to hear back about my car, she suggested we go thrifting.  Yay!  I love thrifting.  And it’s not like you have to get dressed p to go to thrift stores, so it should be ok.

And then she saw some cute pants for me to try on.  OK, here is where I had to draw the line.  One simply cannot try on thrift shop pants sans the proper dress, so to speak. So I had to confess.

Me: I can’t try them on today…because (in almost a whisper) iamnotwaeringpanties…

Sis: {small pause} Bahahahahahahahahaha!  My sisters laugh could be heard throughout the store…How can you forget to put on underwear??

Me: Well, I was half asleep and just needed enough clothing on to get to the coffee pot without flashing the neighbors…and then I was still kind of asleep when I left. And I just forgot.  Then realized on the  way to drop off the car…oh shit!  But we were going back home right after the donuts, so didn’t hink it wold be a big deal…

Again she laughed…and was thoroughly entertained the rest of the morning and afternoon, as she picked out more activities to be done before heading home. Indeed, I negotiated trading in my car at the dealership after my next oil change. Then there was the bead shop, where it was everything in the world of beading and making your own jewelry.  Then it was several antique shops, and buying some small pieces of jewelry for new outfits.  And last but not least, there was the wine tasting…and tasting and tasting.

I mean, if I had known all of that was going to happen I would have worn pant(ie)s!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of letting the lady breath and be free just as much as anyone.  But a bit of planning is unusually involved.  There is nothing quite like an accidental day of commando.

Yes my life is a sitcom…or an SNL skit.  I can hear you laughing.

The Life in the TImes

For the first time in many years I can truly say that I love my life.  Right now, at this moment, I have everything for which I have prayeed.  True, I have worked my ass of, but I could not have anything without the blessing which I have been given.  And it feels so very good to be here, in this place, where life is again wonderful and where laughter knows no limits.  Where smiles are lasting and my heart is light.

That being said, I still do not have a=everything together at all.  I thin kit is an illusion that people, anyone really, has there life completely together.  We are all a mess, somewhere, in some way, in our lives.

I am doing great work, loving life…and yet I seemed to have gained that other 5 (Ok, maybe 8) pounds that I lost.  So now I need to loose 15lbs before going to the wedding next month.  Oh, I can do, but I’ll have to give up a lot of chocolate…one of my many vices and addictions.  And believe me, chocolate is both a vice and an addiction in my life and world.  Trust me.

I managed to fold all the laundry, mostly, but the floor need to be mopped, I need to exercise, there are about 100 blogs and such that are buzzing around in my head that need to be written down and out of my thoughts.  There is dusting to be done, my book to keep getting together, Mom’s book to promote…and lets not forget about the lawn.  I have given up mowing it, so finally reached a yard guy today.  Yippie.

And I wonder, in this day and age of instant everything, more communication than we can shake a stick at and 24 hours news channels, why can we not et it all done and have it all together?  With all the modern conveniences, we should be able to just Get it done…or maybe not.

I think that is the wonderful, beautiful, messy and imperfect thing about being human. We will never have it all together. And either will anyone else, no matter how together they look. Trust me, there is a closet someone in their house that is a total mess, or they secretly have a fear of… sponges that no one knows about, or they don’t recycle. Or they are horribly clumsy (or maybe that’s just me?). Something, there will always be something that we are trying to get done, accomplish, improve, reach, or try.  And we will never have it done.  Because we are human and it is not in our nature to be perfect.

So stop trying.  And if we ever got it together completely, maybe we would.