All posts by Stifle Me Not

Gifts Coming Full Circle

This week I talked to a mortgage broker and we made a plan for when it realistically makes sense for me to get pre-approved to buy a home. I could do it now, but I have a few more things to clean up before I go that route. The daily life of living at my parents’ house has not been unbearable. I have the patience and the will power to hold out a bit longer. I have a feeling the payoff will be rewarding. That feeling usually serves me well.

In the meantime, I refinanced my car this week. I asked the mortgage broker to refer me to someone that does car loans. He referred me to a friend of his at a local bank to refinance my car at a good rate. I had to get my ex’s name off of my car loan. When I scheduled the meeting to go sign the closing paperwork, I found out that my first payment isn’t until mid-November (more money to save for a house!) and I got a YETI cooler as a gift. I had no idea about these perks, but it was a welcome surprise.

Now, I’m not here being paid to endorse YETI, but as an owner of this brand’s coffee cup, I will say that I am a fan. I love keeping my hot drinks hot and my cold drinks cold. This brand figured it out and makes quality products in my opinion.

But this situation with the YETI cooler is a bit ironic.

Let me explain.

After being together for 18 years, and married for 11, I found myself becoming increasingly stressed when it came to birthdays, Father’s day, and Christmas gifts for my ex. I have a problem with giving, and over-giving. I give too much of myself and never expect  anything in return. Even if I do expect it, I don’t express my disappointment if I don’t get it. I make excuses for others and go about my business secretly unhappy. My ex knew that. I just figured it out in the last few years. Smart manipulating guy. Naive me (I was too busy thinking of others)… but not anymore.

So one of the last time’s I was stressing about getting him a gift (I think it was his birthday in 2017), I considered getting him the exact YETI cooler (that I just received as a gift for my car loan). Giving big nice gifts had become my thing. I felt like every year I was trying to outdo the last gift that I gave. But each time I would surprise myself and think of something even grander that he would love. And he did, he loved all of it. Well that year I looked into buying him a YETI cooler, and I was about to buy it. I had it picked out and was about to buy it online. But I didn’t. Something was off. I just thought  I shouldn’t spend so much money that year for some reason. Again, a little later I was at a sporting goods store and had the YETI right in front of me and almost bought it. Again, something was off. I don’t remember what gift I ended up getting him, but it wasn’t that. And I wasn’t excited by his reaction when he opened whatever it was that I bought, but I didn’t care for some reason.

I remember thinking later that I’d wished I had gotten the cooler because I wanted it. But whatever, I figured I’d just saved some money and moved on with life.

So now here I am in present day, and I’m relieved that I didn’t buy that damn cooler and listened to my gut. That small little whisper that says “hey, you, what are you doing?”… that little nagging thought that is surrounded by question marks and a weird feeling in your belly…

I recently listened to it again when that asshole was trying to talk me out of buying a home where I’m presently looking. And instead of giving into my frets about him trying to sway my decisions, I called a mortgage broker, which led me to the place where I refinanced my car, which led to my own free YETI cooler and more money for me to save toward my future home.

I’m going to buy a great home, and I’m going to throw a house-warming party with lots of ice and drinks in my YETI cooler.

I’d say this wasn’t just some coincidence. I see you God and your universe angels, quietly looking out for me. My eyes are wide open.

Thank for these gifts that promise cold drinks and peace of mind.

Stifle Me Not

Fretting No Longer

I’ve been fretting a little bit. It’s my own fault. I fret… due to others. It’s this problem of mine that I’ve been trying to rid myself of for quite some time. It’s why my life had to get worse before it got better.

My ex must be bored and overthinking himself to death because he’s slowly surfaced (outside of when he’s interfacing with the kids) and managed to worm his way into an unprotected part of my brain. I’ve been working on this brain of mine. I really have. It’s just that, when I least expect it, old habits die hard and I let that muther-effer get the best of a mini part of my brain. That is all it takes, and it has quite honestly ruined my week.

It’s like he knows when I’m even thinking about doing something different. We’re connected in that way. I always used to know what he was thinking or about to do or say before he did. It was endearing and annoying and quite sabotaging all at the same time.

I’ve been in my parents house with my kids for almost a year now. They are healthy and happy and love their schools. We’ve started seeing new doctors here. I’ve established myself into my new career and job. I don’t think it’s a toxic work environment and it’s certainly not a dead end job of the past. We now live here. Happily.

So with this promise of future income, I’ve been “unofficially” searching for homes the past few weeks, which consists of browsing realtor.com and doing a drive-by when time allows. But lately I’ve had the urge to make the leap to mortgage land.

Earlier this week, my ex sends me a text that he’d like to “talk” to me before I shop for a new home. I text back that nothing is official yet and I’m just browsing. He responds again that he just wants to “talk”.

Do you know what that’s code for? That’s code for he wants to talk me out of buying a house that isn’t conveniently located near him to access the kids whenever he damn well pleases.

I have no support system up north by him. He is a firefighter, so when he’s working (which is often), I have no one to help out me and my kids. He has as much access to our kids as he wants right now – no matter the hour distance. We each drive half-way to meet up when we exchange the kids. Post-divorce control mechanisms have no part in my life now, or ever. However, he apparently thinks that he can even pull it off.

I simply responded to his text, “ok”… and in my head I was a wreck for the rest of the week. I’ve been waiting for him to text back and demand talking to me. I’ve been dreading this damn talk. I’ve been trying to come up with what words I’d say and not say so that I wouldn’t piss him off.

His text was on Tuesday. Today is Sunday. It took me more than 5 days to realize that I don’t have to talk to him about my future living arrangements. It’s not like I’m trying to move out of the country. I’m in the same area I’ve always been, it would just be in my own home. And that kills him. He doesn’t want me to succeed. He wants to control me.

I’m my own person, with my own thoughts, and my own free will. I’m not a bad person. I’m not insane (as I’ve told time and time again for years and years … “you’re insane!”). I’m doing what’s best for my kids. They aren’t being put into bad situations and they see their dad regularly. This is better for them than me living with him and ending up mentally ill from not being able to acknowledge the reality of being in a painful relationship with him. I’m doing what’s right and good. He’s trying to control me. He’s a narcissist. He’s gas-lighting me as he’s done dozens upon dozens of times before.

So I have not talked to him. I sent an email to a mortgage broker instead. 

Stifle Me Not.

Good-bye Old Patterns

I’m 40 and I’m finally somewhat happy.

I say “somewhat” because I feel like I have a new life that is just beginning. There’s more to come. But I’m pretty freakin’ happy considering how my life was since October 2017. I’m in a whole new world and I like it. It’ a little scary at times, but I welcome it.

I find that my path right now is to continue taking care of my family the best way I know how while continuing to be honest with myself. To not repeat old patterns and push through past mistakes. Don’t repeat the past. If it didn’t work the first 500 times, it won’t work now.

Because I’m finally single, my mind naturally drifts to a thought of “who will I be with next?”

And that is quickly followed up with “ugh, is anyone really worth it?” I get very anxious when I think of different guys and how our lives might “fit” together. Because “fit” in my mind ends up with me accommodating someone… and I’m over that old pattern.

I recently had a friend ask me if I was dating. I said I was open to it. But what she meant was am I online dating. No, no I’m not. And no, I have no desire to match myself online with random strangers at this time. It’s bad enough getting to know a semi-stranger in person let alone online. I actually missed the online dating boat by a few years. It didn’t become popular until I was already dating my ex. Then we moved on to get married. I never had the opportunity to do the online dating thing.

Now it’s normal. But I’m not there yet. I’m not comfortable or even remotely interested in it.

My friend’s response to me was “Well,  you’re just gonna have to get over that.”

Do I really?

I’m loving life right now. I don’t think I need a perfect stranger to get in the way of that.

Stifle Me Not

 

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 40th birthday.

Apparently I had it in my head that I was going to have some kind of big birthday celebration all year leading up to today. And when it didn’t happen, I wasn’t surprised, but I guess I was a little disappointed. But I don’t really know why, because I’m not really sure who would have thrown me a party or baked me a cake. I have no husband, or boyfriend for that matter. My friends all live far away. And my family is wrapped up in many other things these days.

Unfortunately, when I woke up today. I found out that my stepmom’s father had to go into hospice. It will only be a matter of days and he will leave this life. It put a little bit of a damper on the day. Here I want to celebrate my 40 years on earth and someone else is about to take his last breath. It’s heartbreaking, and unfair, and very real.

My parents took me out to eat last night and that was nice. I got a few cards and flower arrangements in the mail and that was nice. I spent the day swimming with my kids and listening to them laugh. That was great. At the end of the day, I made my own quesadilla and did a load of laundry.

Today may not have been the best day ever for a birthday celebration, but I’m alive and healthy and about to start a new decade. And for that I am grateful.

Happy Birthday to Me

Stifle Me Not

 

Irreplaceable Me

My name is changed. I’ve financially stabilized myself. My kids and I are getting in a routine of back and forth visits with their dad. Everyone appears to be healthy and happy (until it’s bed time, and then let the grumbles roll). And just as we’ve finally adjusted to this new normal, to something stable and familiar, my ex decides to complicate things – this is what he does.

This week he sent me a text message saying he’s “been seeing someone” and he planned to have her over and introduce the kids to her. All of the emotions came in waves – worry about my kids’ well-being, anger that he’s choosing someone that isn’t me, and relief that he’s moving on… all the feelings wrapped up into a tangled web of past memories and future hopes and dreams. My savor thought was “you got rid of him, you told him to leave and didn’t want to put up with his shit”. Oh yea, I did.

His text came later in the afternoon when I was at work on Tuesday. I simply replied “Ok” and moved on about my day. I didn’t have the time or energy to dwell on that new development while at work. After work, I got in my car and drove off, as the tears streamed down… but only for about 5 minutes. It was weird. I thought I might be a mess. I might cry all night. But I couldn’t really cry. It was an initial shock wave of tears that just… stopped. Because, other than being concerned that this new woman will treat my kids well, I just didn’t care.

Haha, I just don’t CARE! And oh my gosh that is a great and freeing feeling.

My daughter was confused as to why I wasn’t upset when she told me about the evening that they had dinner and hung out with their dad’s new friend (aka victim). I let her know that as long as this person is kind and treats them well, it’s all okay. My daughter feels as though her dad is replacing me. He is, in his own way,  for his own selfish needs. It isn’t really about me – he really can’t ever replace me.

I always knew this day would come – when I’d have to face the fact that he’s choosing someone else over  me , but I’m irreplaceable. I assured my daughter that everything is going to be okay, and even told her that I’m “irreplaceable” as their mom. She looked at me with wide eyes, surprised at my optimism.

Knowing this man that I spent 18 years of my life with, I know that he does not change. His basic human nature is ego-driven, always, and this poor woman is now in the center of his world, which is a self-filled mess of his needs. And I am free.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

Confident

I’m proud of myself lately. I don’t know who I’ve become, but I’m way better off than in previous years.

2 years ago, something seemed off, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Little did I know that I was going to have a “Life Overhaul” within the next six months.

1.5 years ago, I was literally in despair and consumed in a world of confusion and chaos.

1 year ago, I was about to sell my house and dive into the great unknown. No job, no relationship, no home as I knew it – no clarity whatsoever.

6 months ago, I was working a part-time job without benefits and just barely making ends meet.

Today, the possibilities seem endless. I’ve come a long way.

Lately, if I think it, I make it come true.

I’m not afraid to make things happen. If I want it, I go get it. I was never like this before.

Example: I’ve been at my job for a month now. I was told by my boss, when I first started, that I there would be an out of town meeting that I would have to go to. It was very early in the morning, meaning I’d have to go out of town the evening before, and stay at a hotel to be there in time. I knew full well that it was a good idea to go and begin forming relationships with people that I’ll be constantly working with.

I silently fretted about this because of my kids, but quickly made child care arrangements so that I could go.

So this week rolls around and my boss informs me that I don’t have to go for the full meeting. Just about 2 hours of it. What? He was trying to be nice. He was trying to be considerate that I have kids and not make me drive down the night before. I was disappointed because I wanted to meet these new people I’ll be working with. And I was annoyed because I already went to great lengths to adjust my schedule.

Old me would’ve been mad and just listened to my boss and only gone for the 2 hours I was told. All while silently resenting the fact that I should be there the whole time.

New me waited a day, voiced her opinion that it would probably better for the long term if I went for the full meeting. As it turns out, the boss was happy to get me a hotel room and have me come for the whole meeting.

This may not sound like a big deal, but in old me vs. new me land, it is. I used to let people and situations intimidate me. It would wear me out. And then I would wonder why I was so unhappy.

I just don’t feel so afraid of, well, life, anymore.

I hear myself talking to family, friends, co-workers.. and I sound confident.

Confident.

I’m happy with my job. I’m happy with my kids. I’m happy that I’m me. I’m so thankful for this feeling. It is amazing.

The possibilities are endless.

Stifle Me Not

Identity Renewal

The last two weeks have been a rat race. I basically started working full time again after 1.5 years, continued to care for my awesome children (without losing my mind), and somehow squeezed in a divorce and a name change.

Productive June so far.

When I look at it that way, it’s no wonder that a  couple of days ago I was so drained I could barely function to work or drive. I took some ibuprofen and drank some fluids, hoping it would just get me to the end of the day. It did. Barely. I usually have some sort of dinner plan for my kids, even if its peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I just like to make sure they’re fed and bathed every night. Sometimes we hang out, sometimes we go out to eat, sometimes we play or snuggle, and other times we each do our own thing. This was a “we each do our own thing” kind of night.

On this day that I didn’t feel well, I fed my  son (the 3-year old) as soon as we walked in the door, and I told the 10-year old she was on her own to find something to eat. I then proceeded to lay in my bed and fell asleep by 8:30 PM. I got up briefly to tuck everyone in and called it a night. Not mom of the year, but this mama had to do some serious resting. And they were fine. Thanks to Netflix.

The exhaustion is real. It’s physical and mental. I’ve been doing my best to ramp up at my new job in these first few weeks, and by the end of the day it takes its toll on me. I’m thoroughly exhausted by 5 pm, and then I have an evening of single-mothering ahead of me. Luckily we have a pretty consistent schedule down and the kids pretty much just go with it.

Today I was supposed to take my kids to a family thing I committed to a few weeks ago. By the end of the day I was toast, my daughter wasn’t feeling well, and my son was, well, himself being the 3-year old (so challenging as usual). I threw up my hands and threw in the towel – we didn’t go. I couldn’t bear to make me or my kids have to do something that we didn’t want to do after a long day and then end up getting home late that evening. I just gave up and said sorry, not sorry. And we had a delightful little quiet evening of pizza and cartoons. Sometimes it pays off to hermit.

Also today, my updated Social Security Card came in the mail. I felt like it was a little prize to help me keep going. It has the name that I was born with and the name I’m going back to. It’s all mine. This weekend I’m going to get my driver’s license updated. Then, name change complete.

Last June I was frantically looking for a new job and deciding if I should sell my house to make ends meet. This June I’m changing my name, working my ass off, and moving forward faster than I would have ever imagined. In the past year, I’ve changed my living situation, relationship, career, and my name. What’s most refreshing is that I have a renewed outlook on life and I feel like I’ve renewed myself – my entire identity has grown, and keeps on evolving.

Damn, it was a hard, but it sure feels good to see the sunlight.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

An Uplifting Ending

Today was the day. The day I’ve been waiting for since I walked into my lawyer’s office on October 30, 2017.

Divorce Day.

Okay, it was Dissolution Day. Not as dramatic, but still a milestone in my book.

My mom accompanied me on my little journey up north. It was an hour drive. I dropped my son off at daycare, then flew home to put chicken in the crock pot (because that’s apparently what you do on Divorce Day – you worry about dinner and putting chicken in the crock pot). By 7:30 AM, my mom was outside waiting in the car, and I was hugging my daughter goodbye, pawning her off on grandma for the day.

My mom and I started out toward a Starbucks’s drive-thru, only to find out that it was closed because the parking lot was getting repaved. All I wanted was coffee and a smooth ride to the courthouse. I made my way toward the highway with the vision of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop on the corner. There was a drive thru line, but it was steadily moving. I sucked up the 5-minute anxious wait in line to get each of us a coffee and finally moved toward the highway. I was feeling a little behind, but we left early on purpose, so we were actually right on time.

The drive was fine. When we got off the highway up north in the busy part of the city, my mom got anxious in the passenger’s seat. I finally made it to a nearby parking garage where we drove around for eternity looking for a spot, and almost was driven into head on by a careless man in a sports car. I pointed at him and scolded him to slow down as he mouthed “I’m sorry” from his driver’s seat. Idiot. All I could think was that this dissolution must be meant to be for us to not have hit each other.

I dragged my mom to the correct court building, made our way through the security line, and up to the 3rd floor. I located the correct court room and spotted my soon to be ex husband at the same time. He was sitting there with his lawyer. I walked up to him and said that my lawyer was picking up some file and on her way. I was relieved to have made it on time, still anxious from the parking garage, and numb to the fact that I was about to get divorced. He pointed out that I should go check in with the bailiff, and so I did. I then sat with my mom on a nearby bench as she chattered at me about her dogs and other things that didn’t register fully. I was slightly annoyed that my lawyer was late (even though she really wasn’t). I just wanted it all to be over.

I finally saw my lawyer happily strolling down the hall toward me. This was only the second time I’d met with her in person. The first time was October 30, 2017. The second time now on June 4, 2019. She had the required paperwork with her, her and my ex’s lawyer conversed, and she had me review and sign a few papers.

Then we waited some more. I’m now an expert at waiting after the past year and a half.

Finally we were called into the courtroom. My lawyer and I sat together on a bench behind my ex and his lawyer. We basically watched as two other couple’s got their dissolution before us. It was weird.

And then it was our turn. Our turn to terminate our marriage. It was fairly quick. Maybe 5 minutes. We each had to answer a series of questions. I went first. Then I held my breath as he was asked the same questions. I almost thought he was going to protest something, but he didn’t. He didn’t. He hasn’t. He never once in the whole year and a half try to save any of it. And so that was why I was there — because he didn’t try.

At the end, the judge told us something that surprised me. She said we should be proud of ourselves for getting a dissolution and not putting our kids through a divorce. And I was proud. It was a long crappy road, but I think we did do a great thing for our kids.

Before I knew it, we were ushered out of the court room and on our way to get certified copies of divorce decrees. We waited there, together, with our lawyers and my mom. It was awkward. Nothing like waiting around in a records office with your ex and some divorce lawyers. My lawyer chattered about a bird she had saved a few days ago. How were we talking about a bird?

Once I walked out of the court house and into the sunshine, I felt a weight lift. I felt very free. The drive home was smooth. My mom and I chit chatted the whole way. I wished I had taken the day off, but since I just started my new job, I didn’t want to miss a whole day already. I dropped my mom off at her car, got some lunch, and headed into work. No one in the office knew where I had been, but I felt good and just wanted to get some work done.

Leading up to this day I kept thinking that I’d feel bad somehow. I kept thinking this would be a negative experience. The whole process sucked, but this ending is not bad. It is good. It is me being honest with myself and living a life that isn’t suppressing my spirit.

Today was an uplifting ending to the start of what could not be if today never was.

Stifle Me Not

 

Appreciating My New Little World

I started my new job last week. I like it. There’s a lot to learn, but I don’t care, I’ll get there. I know it takes a good 6 months to get comfortable in a new job. I’ve done this before, I’ll do it again. What’s most refreshing is the atmosphere. The people are nice. It seems like they just want to get their jobs done – imagine that. They seem to be craving the stability of a long term Human Resources professional, just like I’m craving the stability of, well, anything in life. We’re a match right now. I’m happy to be the one they picked. I appreciate this job.

On Friday my kids went with their dad for a couple of days. And I went shopping. It was fabulous. No one to follow me around whining, and no one impatiently waiting for me at home. I wasn’t on anyone’s timeline except my own. I shopped my ass off. And apparently the clothes were waiting for me, because the majority of what I tried on just fit. I was long overdue to buy a few things that fit and make me feel good.

Last night I went to see a stand up comic with my sister and her girlfriend. It was so nice to slow down, go out to eat, and go to see some entertainment. I even wore a cute dress. My sister bought the tickets as an early birthday present for me (even though my birthday isn’t until July), but I was the third wheel straight girl.  I couldn’t help but watch all the couples. It was fascinating. They didn’t all look that happy. They looked comfortable. The girls looked dressed up for their guys, and the guys looked compliant to their girls. I felt like I was watching a pre-show before the show.

For once I had dressed up for myself and not my ex or anyone else. I’m so over getting ready for someone else. I wasn’t too fancy – it was just a comfortable black racer back t-shirt dress with flip flops, but since my hair wasn’t a mess and I had on make up and earrings, I could’ve gone to the beach or a nightclub. My goal for the night was comfort (for myself) and confidence, not “hey, look at me, I’m single, take me home now.” I chose the cute flip flops, whereas my ex would’ve begged me to wear the uncomfortable wedges. No, just no. I can’t walk in them and it looks like I’m wobbling on stilts every time I get up from a chair.

And so, I watched as different couples interacted and the girls struggled in their pretty shoes and snug dresses. Then the show started and it was hilarious. Laughter was just what a I needed. I love literally laughing out loud uncontrollably – it’s one of my favorite things. We had front row tickets and I was a little star struck being that close. It was just an all around fun time.

My original plan for the night was to go to my sister’s house and pre-drink, take an Uber out to eat and drink with dinner, then take an Uber to the show and have some drinks, and then who knows where the night would take us…

Well, apparently we (I) don’t do that anymore. The drinks didn’t flow. No pre-drinking because there wasn’t enough time. One drink with dinner, and one drink before the show. After the show, we were all yawning as we waited for the Uber to go home. That was it, and I didn’t mind one bit.

I was grateful for the lack of drinks and to be able to drive home to my comfortable bed (rather than sleeping on my sister’s couch with her cats staring at me all night).

I was grateful for no hangover this morning when I woke up.

I was grateful for not doing anything to accommodate someone else.

I discovered quite a while ago that binge drinking wasn’t fun anymore, but my ex wouldn’t let it go. He loves being out and is a social butterfly – he’s an attention whore. The only way to connect with him was to keep up with him. Now that I don’t have to do that anymore, I feel nothing but relief.

Big sigh of relief.

I like the new calm little world I’ve created for myself. I’m not living life for anyone else right now and it feels good.

New job in progress. Successful shopping trip. Comedy show with some much needed laughter. I’ve had a good weekend so far. I think I’ll keep this goodness going.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

Bad Vibes Suck

It’s amazing how you can try your hardest, and some people just cannot be pleased.

But that’s not my purpose in life, is it? My purpose is to learn each day and not repeat the same mistakes so I’m living my own best life. Not in a selfish way, but if selfish is what it takes to prevent me from sabotaging myself, then so be it.

That is what I’ve learned lately.

I resigned from my job on April 30th. Since it wasn’t a Friday or a Monday, and there was a big initiative that would’ve suffered had I left sooner, I made my last day be May 17th (this Friday). Apparently, I’m not well-liked right now by my immediate circle there. I haven’t let one thing drop since I’ve resigned. All I sense is jealousy and annoyance. I understand it, but I’m annoyed by the lack of emotional intelligence surrounding it.

I learned that I should’ve just done what I had to do, given the 2 weeks notice, and moved on. But no. I hold on. I’m too loyal. I work too hard all the time.

And guess what? It gets me no where more often than not. It’s not worth it. And no one cares.

I have three days left and all I want to do is walk out.

I’ve always been careful not to burn bridges. That is what I was trying to do, but it is apparent that me looking out for myself has ticked off some people and the haters are hatin’.

I will never do this again. I will look out for myself only from now on.  If someone has gained my trust and has a reason to be worth my effort, then I may consider it, but more often than not, that is not the case.

In other news, which is horrible news, my 6-year old dog passed away. We had to put him down over the weekend because of an aggressive tumor in his leg. It was an awful weekend. When my last dog died, I cried for days, weeks. And I realized that life is too short and you have to make the most of each day. When this dog died, I did cry, but rather than carry on for days on end, I’m simply reminded of what the last pup taught me when he departed this earth – live each day to its fullest.

So my current job can suck it. My new job is ready for me to be there and they value my skills. I choose to surround myself with positive vibes. Bad vibes suck.

Stifle Me Not