Let the Dating Chapter Begin…

The dating chapter has begun.

In mid-April, I flipped the switch on a dating app and by the next weekend I was out on a first date. To my surprise, that first date has led to many other dates with the same guy. I already deleted the dating app, and so has he. And this is all so very eerily… comfortable? I thought I’d either end up on a dating spree, or I’d have one or two bad dates, get discouraged, and take a break from the app immediately. I did take a break from the app, but not for the reasons I thought I would.

This guy is very normal, and kind, and attractive, and hard-working. He is ALL the things I’d list out if I had to. I actually really like him. And he likes me. And it all seems so…dare I say, easy? My mind has been in overdrive “what’s-the-catch” mode for weeks now. I’m beginning to realize that maybe there is no catch. I’ve put in the self-work and so has he. We’ve both had our ups and downs (and down downs), and we’ve learned and grown. Now we’re getting to know each other. And it’s refreshingly nice to just get to know someone and not be afraid of their expectations of me.

I tip-toed on eggshells for so long with my ex, that being around a nice man (who isn’t intent on manipulating me) is a strange (but good) place for me to be in.

I didn’t realize what a dark place I was in until I arrived to this lighter place in my life. I didn’t fathom someone would like me just for me and not just for what I could do for them. It’s all so sad really. I’ve left the dark place, but it still haunts me. I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to be anxious about it. I’m trying to just enjoy the here and now.

There’s no guarantees with how this new relationship will turn out, but for it now it feels like a nice change from the last three and a half years. I’m curious about the journey, and look forward to it.

Stifle Me Not

Change for the Better

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted anything. Life has been one thing after another, but overall it’s been mostly good days with little spurts of some crap days in between. The bad days make all of the other days look like sunshine.

My outlook and perspective on the world has changed so drastically in the past year. The pandemic caused me to stop watching mainstream media, avoid fear-based everything, and not believe everything I see and hear. My political beliefs have done a literal 180. I went down a rabbit hole of questioning many things, and came out the other end wondering where the hell I’ve been for this entire lifetime. I’ve become more selective and critical about what I experience these days, whether it be people, work, music, social media … the list is endless. We’re not on this earth for very long, so I choose not to live a life I’m not loving.

Over the last year I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs and quirks about my house. It isn’t that old, but it’s on the first phase of needing extra attention after 25 years. I’ve had to call a plumber and electrician here and there. I’m finally familiar with what plants are growing in my flower beds, I’ve sprayed for spiders regularly, I have a routine for mowing the lawn, and I’m now familiar with the regular noises of my home. I’ve painted many of the rooms and tried to make it as cozy as I can. I even had a new kitchen floor installed. The next phase is a kitchen cabinet/counter top makeover along with new appliances, but I’m hoarding my money until I’m sure about what I want.

I have a good routine going with work and having two kids in school. I cook a “real” meal about twice a week and we survive on leftovers or PB&J the other days. The kids are in good spirits about regular visits with their dad. He is still the “fun” one, while I’m the one who ensures their safety and well being above all else… but I’ve become more fun as I’m no longer plagued by anxieties of my past life. I’m learning to enjoy my quiet time when they’re away and not just using all \that time to prepare for their return. In fact, they are going on vacation with their dad during Spring Break, and I’ve scheduled my own little Spring Break vacation with my sister.

I’ve started eating healthier, walking at lunch time when I’m at work, and doing yoga. Last year the pandemic started near Easter … which meant chocolate peanut butter eggs were in the house. That phase lasted through the Christmas Cookie phase at Christmas. I then saw my max weight before my eyes one morning and my inner health nut woke up.

I’ve finally acquired all of the necessary health providers – primary doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. I have a regular place to take my car for an oil change. And I no longer need to put on the GPS when I’m going to a store or restaurant. This area was once my home long ago has now become my home again.

Last, but not least, after more than 3 years, I feel like I’ve come full circle with the terms of being single – “single working mom with two kids”. I am enjoying who I am and doing what I want, but I’m slowly becoming open to the possibility of dating.

I don’t want to do serial dating to find “the one”. This is no longer a race of the biological clock ticking like it was in my 20s. This is a selective marathon to enjoy someone who runs my pace, is trustworthy to be around my kids, and will be considerate of my time and efforts. I’m not foolish enough to think that someone will truly put me first, because I likely won’t do the same. By the time you’re over 40, the baggage is there whether we like it or not. The question is not who can I find without lots of baggage, but rather who will support me while I carry mine? And who is worth it for me to return the favor?

I logged into WordPress to cancel my account because I haven’t written anything in so long. And somehow I just magically started typing. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I’m sure it will be good – likely a change for the better.

Stifle Me Not

Racking Up the Mom Points

Today is Mother’s Day.

Today was hard. Challenging.

I hadn’t had my kids for about a week because their dad had some vacation time. So for a week I went to work, ate what I wanted, did what I wanted when I wanted, and got used to silence. I unknowingly became used to a calm and quiet house. I certainly missed them, but I relished the quiet. I also do not sleep well when they are away, so I did not like the quiet at night when I was laying in bed. Even if they are sound asleep, there is still a sound of quiet breathing that can’t be heard when they’re not here.

I missed them. And they returned. And the first day with them back is always great. I hang onto every word and expression that they make. I take in their every emotion and eat up their stories. By day 3, which was today, I apparently missed the silence. A few things added up to break me down today.

  1. I was trying to talk to my own mom, and both of my children would not stop interrupting. I rarely talk to my mom. Having a conversation with her is valuable these days, and my kids were taking that away from me. I started out with patience and landed with complete annoyance with the by the end of the phone call. Even after trying to let them talk to her, I was just irritated by the lack of privacy.
  2. The end of my phone call was caused by a call by my ex husband. I took the call because he was trying to schedule what time to pick them up today. As I’m talking to him about how bad our 4 year old has been lately (and trying to come up with some realistic solutions), he says that his girlfriend wants to talk to me. UH, what the fuck? And before I know it she’s on the phone wishing me happy fucking mother’s day. I was nice to her. I wished her happy mother’s day back, but it quickly turned to awkward silence and he took the phone back.
  3. I finally decided to start cleaning. And in an effort to occupy my very energetic son, I asked him to help me clean. The kid was in heaven getting to vacuum and dust. He loved it. He even stopped mid-way through to go potty (instead of poop his pants). Mom win! And he continued to help and be excited. As I finished up cleaning, I heard his sister ask him to play. I was so excited that I could have little “break” just to clean in silence while they played. Nope. Before I knew it he was in “annoying little brother” mode and she was yelling at him to get out of her room. He really was being unreasonable, so I had to physically pick him up and put him in his room while he kicked and screamed and cried. After a couple of minutes he calmed down, and I tried to talk to him. He was distracted by playing with some toys in his room. I left him alone and finished up my cleaning. I heard a small noise, but didn’t think anything of it. Next thing I know he’s crying and coming down the stairs with blood everywhere. He had a bloody face and hands, blood dripping on his shirt and all over the wooden steps. It took me a minute to comprehend the scene and start helping him. I got him up to the bathroom as he wailed and cleaned him up. I feared the worst – that he had jacked up something inside his mouth and hurt his gum or teeth. After cleaning him up I realized he had just busted his lip and it was just continuously bleeding. I consoled him, cleaned him up, and took him downstairs for a cold popsicle. I put on the TV for him and he spaced out. Okay then.
  4. After the commotion was over, I put his bloody clothes and mattress cover in the washing machine. Now there’s a little quirk with our washer – it has an error code almost every time it is started. It beeps within 5 to 10 minutes of starting it, and it won’t stop until you go repress Start on it. So as I am helping son, my daughter appears and says “why didn’t the washer drain the water?” Huh? Well, when the washer is done washing, it also beeps. She thought it was done, even though it had only been on for 5 minutes, and she put the soaking wet soapy load into the dryer and then wondered why it was so “wet”. There was water everywhere – floor, dryer, still in washer…. lord. I lost my mind. I just started yelling about how she KNOWS about the error code and the DAMN STORES JUST AREN’T OPEN YET FROM THE PANDEMIC TO ORDER A DAMN NEW WASHER YET. I was shaking, yelling, freaking out. I’d had it. It wasn’t a fun mother’s day. Today sucked. Then my daughter, after cleaning up the water and restarting the washer, comes out the living room where I’m sitting, and looks me square in the eyes and says “Why do you have to overreact and cry mother” … she proceeds to tell me that “Daddy will be in here in half an hour.”

For fucks sake.

Their dad showed up and away they went. And I still miss them. I miss them terribly. It is now dark and their little beds are dark and I will be able to hear every noise again tonight when I try to fall asleep. Sure, I got to eat dinner in peace and quiet, talk to some family members, and drink some wine, but miss them. I miss the good and the bad and just want them to be safe and healthy and loved, no matter what a pain in the ass they are.

I feel like I earned more points on my mom card today. I get them back tomorrow. No time to get used to the silence. We’ll see how I’m doing this time next week.

Stifle Me Not.

Little Shards of Glass Everywhere

I have been going with the flow on this whole pandemic. I used to be of the variety of people that had anxiety about everything I couldn’t control. Thanks to a divorce, an unplanned career change, and being temporarily homeless, I feel like I can handle staying home, working at home, ordering groceries online, and washing my hands frequently. Sounds quite simple compared to the last few years actually.

With that being said, I’m grateful and thankful, and everything in between. In times like these, I’m so happy to be working in a much-needed department for an essential business. I’m working remotely. I am getting a paycheck and staying busy while the rest of the world is becoming unemployed and losing their minds.

On that topic, working at home with two kids is a bit challenging. My 11 year old daughter is the impromptu interrupter, like right when I’m starting a web conference call. And my 4 year old wakes up soaked in his on pee while I’m on a work call, then proceeds to shart himself three times throughout the morning while I try to answer emails and calls,  wipe kid butt, clean shitty underwear, do laundry, and wash my hands 500 million times so I can simultaneously avoid coronavirus and rubbing poop in my eye.

But I’m employed, I like my job, and I love my kids. I am very lucky to be in this situation.

After a full day of multitasking today, my kids were entertaining themselves while I started dinner. I was planning to make some breaded chicken tenders. I heated up the oven, prepped the breadcrumbs, and then decided I should also prepare the rice. I got out a glass Pyrex dish right after turning on a burner to heat the water for the rice. I placed the Pyrex dish on the stove, purposely on the cool burner.

The next thing I knew, the 9 x 13 glass Pyrex dish exploded all over my entire kitchen. I screamed one of those stupid delayed horror movie screams. I realized what had happened, but my adrenaline wasn’t aware of that. My daughter tromped down the stairs to see “‘who died?” and my son, in his socks, tried to make his way into the kitchen to see what was happening. Everyone got yelled out to just “GO AWAY!” as I sadly realized that I had turned on the wrong burner for the rice. Instead, the burner was on that I placed the glass dish on, causing it to explode.

My heart was racing. My brain was on overload, And I was mad that I had just lost one of my favorite dishes, wasted food (because most of it now had shards of glass in it), and the clean up effort was going to take some time.

And that it did. It took me about 45 minutes to throw way the big pieces of glass, sweep, vacuum, vacuum again, clean off the counter tops and stove top, wipe everything down, clean dirty dishes and pans barely used because they’d been filled with pieces of glass, and then I had to continuously use a wet paper towel on the floor to attempt to pick up any remaining shards of glass.

And all I could think was that this process is how eliminating coronavirus could be. No matter how hard and long we try, there may always be that one lingering shard of glass that can catch your bare foot when you least expect it. And that always causes the most unexpected bloody mess.

Let’s hope I got every shard. I damn well tried. And let’s pray that this virus only has to last long enough to teach us a lesson; change our mindset on our appreciation for life and each other. But let’s pray it doesn’t break us. Each of us must try. Every shard counts.

Stifle Me Not

Adapting to the Change

The world has quite literally changed for me, and the rest of the world, in the last month.

I moved into my new house on March 5th. Everything went smoothly. I’ve been enjoying every last drop, from unpacking boxes to buying little odds and ends for the house to getting rooms painted. Then there was the experience of  sleeping here the first night. That’s always an adjustment – new home noises. It took me a few nights to realize what was the refrigerator vs. the furnace vs. the siding being rattled a little by the wind outside. I’m enjoying each noise as they become more familiar.

What I never expected (nor did anyone else), was that I’d move into my new house and within ten days would be part of a global pandemic.

Although this is a horrible situation, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere better than in my own at this time.

I physically went into the office to work up until schools closed.  That first Monday of school closing, I worked remotely with my kids at home. It was hard, but I couldn’t bring myself to take my son to day care even though it was open. And my daughter wasn’t feeling well. She actually had me worried because she had flu-like symptoms, but she’s been improving throughout the week. The kids both went with their dad on Tuesday. I went to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and finally decided it was best to work at home going forward. No one disagreed and so I’ve been pretty much social distancing myself from the world as much as possible.

I’ve been ordering my groceries online and trying not to watch too much news. I ordered my lawnmower and hedge trimmer online. That was delivered the other day. I have a feeling I’m going to be in my yard a lot this spring and summer. Might as well have the right tools to take care of it. I’m trying keep busy during the day. It’s easy when I’m working because I can just focus on my work, but I was a bit of a slug this Saturday morning and finally gave myself a little kick start so I don’t just sit here and atrophy into the crevices of my sofa.

I went on about a mile walk around the neighborhood. I painted some primer in my first floor half bath. And then I started peeling some wallpaper in my kitchen, so I’m ready to paint it when the rest of the world is open for business again.

When the rest of the world is open…

I feel so calm. I feel like this is all happening for a reason. I feel like it’s about damn time life is about caring about others. This is all horrible, but I do think there’s a reason. It’s like everyone just woke up after 20 years of being in an individualistic me-me-me reality, hiding behind smart phones and make up. The sad part it all of the death. Hopefully everyone begins to realize, sooner than later, that each person’s actions and lack of action, impact others. There is an inevitable chain reaction. Hopefully everyone begins to care.

And so, when the world is open again, as this new normal is upon us, I will go back out into the world, and be grateful to still be here and for those around me.

Stifle Me Not

 

Breathing a New Life

It’s been seven days since I’ve put an offer on a house. Luckily I’ve worked in the mortgage industry, and recently sold a house, so nothing was a shock when I went through the inspection process. In fact, it all made complete sense to me. I expected a few small challenges, and oh, there were some. We’re still working through them. I don’t have a scheduled closing date yet, but I know it’s right around the corner.

Now the seller was a little more than shocked. She’s been living in the same house for the past 25 years. She wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster ride like I was. My life has been nothing but a series of ups and downs the past two years, so this is just a another few pages in a very long chapter to me.

Today was a productive day. I got an oil change for my car, got my taxes done, and did a little furniture shopping. I’m in full force moving prep mode. As soon as I get that closing date scheduled, I’m going to get everything lined up — new carpet, new furniture, calling all utility companies, and get movers scheduled.

I’m feeling good about this place in my life right now. When I was getting my taxes done, the tax lady was asking me the tax standard questions. I explained to her that I’m divorced and the agreement for claiming dependents was that I claim one child and my ex claims the other. She continued to do her job, but she was visibly bothered by the “D” word. A little bit further into the tax prep, she asks more questions, where she comes to the realization that I’m newly divorced. I say yes, it was last year.  Her face looked sad and hopeless for me. I simply responded that everything is good. With concerned eyes, she asked me if he hurt me.

That was a very real and loaded question that I was not expecting. I just smiled at her and said “no, not physically.” She asked if it was all better now. Ha! Two loaded questions in a row… it took me a a few seconds to respond as it was occurring to me that the tax lady was caring about a little more than just the taxes. I said “yes, things are working out well.”

And things are working out well. Maybe not as quickly as I’d like, but I’m sure there’s a reason for that.

I look back to when I was moving all of my crap out of my old house, and all I wanted was out. All I wanted was a new start. My new start has taken so long, but it has been a necessary healing process. There is no beginning or end. It’s been a process. No one tells you that about life. There are all of these expectations about starting and ending. But the in between is where you get stuff done. The in between is what makes or breaks you. The in between is the challenge that transforms you to get to the end. And the end is just a new start, not a true end.

What a damn game of figuring shit out this has all been. Realizing that I can’t have everything I want NOW because other things about to happen first for good reasons – to grow my mindset, to develop my patience, to adjust my perspective, to transform me into someone I could never be without the challenge – has been one of the greatest lessons.

And now I all I see around me in others are many people in a pre-now-me state. I want to help them, but I can’t. It has to be done on your own. Like breathing.

Stifle Me Not

One step backward, a giant leap forward – FINALLY!

After my disappointing real estate loss last weekend, I reconsidered another house I had seen.

I thought about how I initially liked that first house. It was practical and fairly updated. In fact, if I hadn’t seen the next one, I probably would’ve put an offer on it. It was smaller, but manageable. The driveway was flat, so no hill for the kids to worry about when playing basketball or challenges when clearing snow. It had vaulted ceilings, so even though it was smaller, it was more open. It has a few cosmetic fixes, but overall it had good bones. And it had the main features I wanted in a house: Attached garage, deck,  3 bedrooms,  2 1/2 baths, lots of storage space, and first floor laundry. And a manageable yard. By Wednesday I was convinced that if I didn’t go back to look at it, I might regret it and it’d be gone by the next weekend. So on Thursday I asked my realtor if I could see it again, and I brought in the wolf pack – my family.

I took my kids and my parents. When we walked in, and I felt like I unleashed the wolf pack to sniff the territory and report back. They did just that, and I watched every reaction I could. I knew deep down this was a good house. I just needed some reassurance after doubting myself for so many years.

Then we stood in the kitchen and made an offer plan together. I wasn’t in this alone like I was on the last house. I felt very sure of this move. We left and went to dinner. By the time I got home, I signed all of the purchase agreement documents and I sat and waited. It was about 8:30 PM and I had no idea if I’d ever sleep that night. A little after 9 PM, the seller came back with a small counter offer, and it made sense. I accepted.

And just like that, I bought a house.

I have been living with my parents for a year and a half. I almost never thought this day would come. Not only is it a great house, but it is in the same school district, so my daughter will not have to change schools. And my son will start elementary school in the fall in a school district that I know and love. I will be 5 minutes from my dad and my brother. I am 5 minutes from the grocery store. My work is about 25 minutes away. This is all new and exciting, yet I have a my comfort zone not too far away.

Throughout the night of excitement of buying a house, my stepmom asked about several items that were left in the house – shelves, tools, some small furniture items, a trash can, etc. The realtor said that it will all go. But after checking with the seller, it turns out that she is out of state and she intended to leave all of these useful items behind to the buyer. Me.

While many people may not need things like tools, or shelves… I was elated. I am starting from scratch. When I move, I have to buy new furniture – I don’t have a good couch or even beds, and many other items that I can’t even think of right now. I have a small storage unit that has been full for over a year, and once that is unloaded, that is all that I have.

That night I went to bed in awe, with a smile on my face, and a warm heart. Things that are meant to be are easy. This house was easy to get because it made more sense for me. The other house I thought I wanted would’ve been too much work for me to take care of. Things are working out in certain ways for a reason. I’m trying to trust the process.

Tomorrow is the home inspection. And after that I wait for my closing date to be scheduled.

The possibilities are endless and I cannot wait to get started on this new journey.

Stifle Me Not

 

Moving Forward… Stalled

Argh. I’m trying to initiate some life changes and it’s not working. Try, try again.

Before I talk about that, let me first stay that my Crush Attack from my previous post has been my own personal roller coaster ride that has gone something like this:

He’s cute. I wonder if he likes me. I bet he thinks I’m cute. He’s never been married. He doesn’t have kids. He must be immature. He sucks. I’m stupid for even thinking about him like that. We work together. He called me today and sounded cute. Maybe we’ll live together some day. How stupid is that? I wonder if he’s selfish? Maybe he’s actually a nice guy? I wonder if his family is nice. This is never gonna work.

Am I 15 again or what?

Jeezuz, make the thoughts just stop. This has been going on for a month now and I haven’t seen him since the company Christmas party. How stupid.

Anyhow, onto other life developments… I put an offer on a house today. There was another offer. I lost. I countered. I lost that one too.

Frustration at its finest.

This house was great. It was move-in ready. I am move-in ready. We’d go great together.

My real estate agent sucks. I know this. I went to see 4 houses with him today and I wanted to ditch him at each one. He is not the proactive variety and he moves at the pace of a snail. The offer process on this house went something like this:

Initial Offer

Him: The original offer was a “strong” offer. Let’s offer $XX, which amounted to $100 over asking.

Me: No, let’s offer at least $1,000 to $2,000 over asking.

Him (after submitting offer): They took the other offer.

Me thinking: No shit.

Counter Offer

Me: I’ll go up $4,000 plus pay half of the closing costs.

Him: Okay

Him (after submitting offer): It’s not high enough. Do you want to go up by $5K more?

Me: NO!

_______________

Then he came back and wanted to know if I wanted to put an offer on a previous house that I looked at earlier in the day. I told him to get me the one I wanted.

No, he’s not getting guaranteed commission today by defaulting me to second best. He failed. I need a new realtor. I’ve had him since September and not once has he proactively sent me any properties. He’ll send me properties after I’ve sent him some that I like. Then he’ll say “what about this one too?”

Bare minimum effort. I’m done with that.

If something falls through with this house that I put an offer on, I’ll have to use him if I want it.

Otherwise, I need to think through my next move. The current state of my real estate situation is not working. I am not doing this.

Stifle Me Not

Crush Attack

It’s been a busy month: Holiday shows for the kids, Christmas shopping, attending my own work holiday party, and just very nonstop each day at work. It’s all been a good kind of busy. Productive. Fun.

I’m still living with the parents and keeping my eye out for the right home to buy. In a weird way, I’m content. Just going about my business and enjoying life for what it is.

I haven’t given dating much thought the last few months. I think about it as this big future-based event that may not happen for a very long time. I don’t even have any guys that are a crush target. That all came to a screeching halt after attending my work holiday party.

Of course I notice people that strike me as attractive, but I don’t make the move to do anything about it. Meaning, I don’t even make much eye contact so that they are comfortable enough to do something about it either. I have committed myself to looking for houses, not boyfriends. My priorities have been me and my kids. “Me” being a key one here. I have a history of putting everyone else above me, so stopping to consider “What do I really want?” whether it be how I spend my time, what I choose to eat, what I want to read, etc. is a big deal for me. It’s been all about me as I make sure my kids are well taken care of.

So I attended my work holiday party without a date last weekend. Not sure who I would’ve considered taking – no options anyhow. Going alone allowed me the freedom to mingle as I pleased. It was a nice event. The owners are very giving. As the night went on, I ended up next to one of the directors. He’s single, just a few years younger than me, attractive, nice, and has an intriguing personality. I’ve interacted with him quite a bit since working at this company and had a thought or two about him, but nothing that took over my brain much. Just fleeting thoughts.

As the drinks kept flowing, so did conversation, and I found myself drawn to him. And caught him looking at me too throughout the night. Of course I was at a work event, so I was maintaining a professional composure no matter how relaxed I was feeling from the many vodka-sodas. Eventually he headed back to his hotel room (at a neighboring hotel) with his team. I hung out for a little while longer as I ignored the loudness of the intoxicated inappropriateness that was unfolding as the clock moved past midnight. By 12:30, I gave one of the bosses a high five and quietly headed out of the party to my hotel room.

My hotel room was my safe spot to kick off my shoes, hydrate, and pass out. I had a complete plan to sleep in since my kids were with grandma and grandpa for the night and morning. That didn’t happen.

I woke up around 5:30 am and thoughts started swirling around my brain. I never fell back to sleep. I was thinking about my co-worker like a stupid crushing teenager. I was feeling both excited and fully annoyed with myself. Ugh, no.

I finally decided sleeping in was not an option. I got out of bed by 7:30 and packed up my stuff. I checked out of my hotel room about 8 and managed to only encounter two other co-workers on my way out. I couldn’t interact with humans that I worked with anymore. I headed home in a fog as a slew of crush what-ifs sabotaged the content little world I have been in for the past few months.

By Monday morning at work, I had already self-talked myself out of my little crush by then. I was proud of myself. I don’t need anyone. I don’t need a younger guy sweeping in … he doesn’t have any kids, he wouldn’t possibly know how to interact with my kids. I need to be all about me and my kids. My self-talk convinced me to just stop overthinking.

Later Monday morning, my work phone rings. And I see my 24-hour crush’s name appear on the caller ID. Heart skips a beat. I’m 15 years old again. Damnit.

I answer as I usually would. We small talk as we usually would, and he proceeds by paying me a compliment about how I handled a scenario with one of his employees. I thank him for sharing the good news and we hang up. And all I can think to myself is that he used it as a reason to call me. But I don’t care, it was nice to hear, and … nice to hear his voice.

Damnit.

Before I know it, it’s mid-afternoon and I’m engrossed in a spreadsheet. My work phone rings…it rings all day, so that’s nothing usual. What is unusual is he’s calling me again. Twice in one day? He’s calling me to ask me about a work event that’s happening the next night. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to his question but direct him to who does… and that person reports to… him. So, he should’ve known to call that person, right? I sense discomfort in his voice as he thanks me and we hang up.

And now I know he made up a second reason to call me.

And I’m excited about it.

Damnit.

I’ve got myself a good old fashioned crush attack.

Stifle Me Not

Forever Thankful

Today was a typical Thanksgiving in my family. My stepmom and my dad buy all the food, do all the meal prep, and cook everything. I stay on stand-by to help where I can, chopping up vegetables for the veggie tray, setting the table, and getting last minute things done before visitors arrive. In between, I try to distract my 4 year old with toys and cartoons and fend off the attitude of the 10 year old.

The parents like to do the cooking, and so they do. I could do it. I have done it in the past. But for now, I will just relish the fact that they are here and healthy and doing what they love to do, even if it wears them out. This is how they show their love. I just clean as many dishes as I can at the end of the day.

Last weekend, a close family friend passed away. She was in her mid-50s, had cancer, and is one of the most memorable people I’ve encountered in my life. She was very real, and very giving. I know my parents are hurting. She is the 4th person close to this family to have passed away in the past year since I’ve been living here. I feel like it’s been an ongoing grief train around here. It’s all so sad, yet it makes you stop and think, and appreciate life much more. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

And with that, I look at my life and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud that I’ve advanced my career so much this year, and I’m doing well with raising my kids, and I’m healthy. Tonight, I was looking at some past photos I had posted online from about 6 years ago. Originally, I just wanted to see how much my little girl has grown and wanted to soak in the memories of when she was little, but a flood of anxiety washed over me with each photo I encountered with my ex-husband in them. We “looked” so happy, and he “looked” sincere, and I was there and feel like it was an out of body experience that I was ever in that space at that time trusting that man. Knowing what I know now and the timeline of his infidelity, I became disgusted by each smiling photo of us. Of course I didn’t know then. But I did. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right, and even when I spoke up, I backed down in doubt of myself if the conflict I faced from him was too great. He didn’t beat me, he didn’t even directly verbally abuse me, he just manipulated each opportunity he had to ensure I doubted myself in his favor. And it worked.

I am thankful today that I have faced my self-doubt and anxiety over the years, and I’ve stopped giving my power away. With all the death that has happened this year, the best death of all was that of my self-doubt. Death makes you appreciate life; however, in life many fear death. I am forever thankful for this life and intend to live it using the gifts and talents that I know I have. The woman that passed away last week, she used to enter a room like a bright ray of sunshine. She owned who she was and she positively influenced others around her. I can still feel her energy and hear her voice – she was so sincere.

I want to raise my kids to know this lesson I’ve learned as a basic life truth. Self-doubt is destructive to the life we want. It is a silent killer of the sweetness of life.

I’ve slowly become my own ray of sunshine. It has taken weeks, months, years, but I’m living in my own best interest these days and it feels good. I’m forever thankful that I’m in a better place this November than last year. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Stifle Me Not