All posts by Stifle Me Not

Facing Fears

I hate when I get like this.

By this, I mean, in my head too much.

My kids have been with their dad for the past 24 hours and I’m not feeling well. It’s just a head cold, but it’s holding me back from caring about life.

So I did basic chores that I usually do when they’re gone and I’ve been literally staring at my iPad overthinking life for entirely too long today. If I felt well, I’d go for a walk or go shopping, or even attempt to interact with some of my family members. But it hasn’t happened. I’m still sitting here not feeling well and thinking too much about the shoulda coulda woulda scenarios in life.

But my thoughts are stemming from earlier in the week when I was just mad at my current state of existence. I always feel like I’m in a constant state of trying too hard. And when I don’t try, I feel lazy. And then I over-try not to try too hard. Constant cycle. I annoy myself. Why can’t I just be happy with myself as is?

I’m trying (but trying not to over-try).

I’ve been relishing my new alone life up until recently. I’ve very much needed a lot of alone time to recharge from all of the changes in the past two years.

But now I’m getting lonely.

I don’t want lonely to get confused with desperate and then I do something stupid because I’m lonely. And there I go again overthinking how I’m already a screw-up when I haven’t even had an event to screw up yet.

I really want a new home, but I can’t help but think I’m not ready yet because I’m scared to take care of an entire property on my own. I really don’t want to. I’d rather share it with someone who actually cares about me.

Then I’m all “nooo, you can do it.” And then I think back to my mom when she was just a little younger than me, trying to be a full-time working mom, taking care of the inside and outside of a house and us kids, and everything else that life threw her way… and she was a tired mess. She’s still a tired person because of all of the obligations that she has.

I don’t want that.

I want a partner in life. And I want a home that isn’t going to suck the life out of me so that my kids are left with an empty shell of a mom.

I have limits. I have boundaries. I can’t do it all.

And recognizing and admitting that to myself in the mirror today while trying to put make up on my tear-soaked eyes was terrible realization.

I was lonely in my marriage, I just never admitted it.

I’m lonely out of marriage, but now I’m admitting it. And it feels very real. And uncomfortable. And scary.

Stifle Me Not

Retraining My Brain to Think About Me

Sooooo. I’m bored.

When I get bored, I think too much. When I think too much, I make decisions that I probably wouldn’t make when I’m not bored.

I’m trying to stop the insanity before it starts by trying a simpler approach: Let change roll in rather than pull it in.

I’m a change driver. I always have been. I know how to make things happen. It’s when I force things that it gets complicated.

I’m not saying I’m going go the lazy route and do nothing in my life. It’s the big life decisions I’m talking about. For those changes, I’m choosing to remain on the prowl and pounce during the right timing rather than roam out in the wild trying to make something happen, spinning my wheels, when it would be easier if I just waited it out in the first place.

I’m realizing too, that I’m bored because I’ve finally simplified my life. My ex added “excitement” (see: complications) to every aspect – from how I rushed to and from work, to what was for dinner, to how he judged my reactions to just about anything, to keeping me up late at night when he was out “hanging with the guys”. My life is simpler now, with less worries. I didn’t realize how “full (of shit)” my life was before; therefore, I was never bored with anything. There was always something for me to worry about.

Now I’m like “now what?” There is no urgency to please him, or anyone else. I didn’t realize before how  every response he had to something I did or didn’t do “shaped” (see: forced) all of my decisions. My ex kept me so busy with his shit that now I’m confused on how to live for myself. I suppose recognizing this fact is a first substantial step forward.

Wow, how relieving and bewildering all at the same time.

I realized my life would be simplified when I made the decision to split from him 2 years ago. But it’s 2 years later that I’m actually living my own life for me and not him. It’s 2 years later and I’m “bored” (see: not overwhelmed). I’m constantly having to adjust my perspective so I don’t force unwanted change that’s bad for me.

This lack of overwhelming complications in my life  feels like I’m waiting around for life to happen, but I have to remind myself that I’m really just adjusting my mindset to make the right decisions FOR ME without someone inflicting their agenda on my life.

It’s been difficult for me to make the smallest decisions lately – like my brain is fogged up and doesn’t know how to think for itself. I feel like a dog trained to do things a certain way for someone else, and now I’m on my own and I’m not quite sure how to navigate without watching for his response queues to guide me.

As I was typing this, my 10-year old came up behind me and gave me a hug from the back of me. I flinched. I seriously had a negative “get away” response to a very loving gesture. In my old life, I was so used a hug from behind (from my ex) being a sign of I need to stop what I’m doing and focus on him. If I didn’t comply, he would be be angry and the day would be lost to my simple desire to finish what I was doing – I could be typing an email, putting on make up, trying to pay a bill — anything he had no interest in was not to be confused with “priorities” in life (see: him). I was the selfish one, I was the rude one, I was the one that should look in the mirror and figure myself out for being so “unkind” (see: wanting to finish whatever task I was doing).

Whenever I get caught up in a decision-making cycle, I just have to ask myself: What do I want? 

Gosh, it shouldn’t be this hard. What a simple question that shouldn’t be so confusing. I guess it took me 18 years in a relationship to get this way, so 2 years being out of the relationship isn’t going to be an automatic fix.

So while I wait in boredom for the house of my dreams to surface in this horrible buyer’s market (see: wonderful seller’s market), and continue “not to date” (see: hide) in the process, I will keep retraining my brain.

I know I’ll get there. I’m a work in process for sure. My new life has already begun, I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Stifle Me Not

 

Settle Me Not

My home-buying search has begun.

I forgot how frustrating home-buying can be.

There’s all of the “what-ifs” and “what about this…” or “that”… it’s a game of speculation and daydreaming and giving yourself regular reality checks. I love it and hate it all at the same time. I’m limited to a set amount I can spend. Sure, I can spend more, but then have I learned anything in the past 20 years since I’ve reached adulthood?

No.

And if you don’t learn your damn life lessons, then where does that leave you?

Yep, sure as shit, back at the beginning of the damn lesson. Karma 101.

I’m not sure that my realtor is doing a damn thing. If I send him a property, he’ll act on it and get me in to see it, but it appears he’s not watching the market for me. Maybe he is and the market sucks. It’s hard to tell. Plus it’s fall, so the housing market, well, sucks for buyers. I do what I can to be proactive, but I have this thing called a job that I go to everyday and its sucking the damn life out of  me. Then I have my kids in the evening, and well that’s a whole other form of life-sucking. One kid (the 4 year old) is up my butt half the time – to the point where I’m tripping over him – and the other kid (the 10-year old) hides in her room of filth and I have to pry her out to eat dinner and make sure she’s not turning into a screen time zombie.

I need a house so I can be comfortable in my life again. I’m so sick of being a guest of unwelcome messiness in my dad’s house. But at the same time, the freedom of not having a mortgage is pretty great. Although, I’m strapping myself with continuing to save for my down payment. I just want the cycle to end where I can be in a little budget and live.

I love the crazy self-talk you go through when you start shopping for a house. I saw 3 houses on my first searching day. I crazily thought that it was possible for one of them to be “the one”. Then I anxiously went to see the fourth one. It was nice and I still didn’t like it. That’s when I realized I have more an idea of what I want than I realize. The fifth house was in scary shape. The sixth house was also very nice, but it wasn’t me, and it was too much space to take care of. Yep, six houses, with half of them being pretty nice, and none of them pleased me. I’m going to be a hard one to impress.

But that little nagging voice inside keeps saying “don’t settle. Don’t Settle. DON’T SETTLE!!!!”

I won’t settle for a house I don’t love. And I won’t settle for a man who doesn’t love me.

Not that man-hunting has even been occurring. I peek out from behind the sidelines. I have no desire (other than an occasional side glance out the car window) to do any form of dating. At least with home buying its all about me and my family’s needs. Dating sounds like some kind of journey to another foreign land to me right now.

So I’m going to get some rest and spend another few weeks being hopeful with the housing market. Not sure that I can pull off a house by Christmas, but that’s the hope.

I’ll just keep on going. Not settling sounds like a good goal to have. It’s not like I’ve been overly picky my whole life.

Stifle Me Not

Falling Forward

And just like the wheel is turning forward again. More baby steps into the great unknown…

I gave myself until November 1st to have a down payment ready for a house. After saving my butt off for the past two months, and venting to my sister that I can’t wait for time to speed up one night, she graciously offered me a “gift” of the rest of my down payment (and that I can pay her back as it makes sense).

Uh, what? Just like that my little sis is ready to write me a check. I would have never asked her for money like that ever. She’s the little sister. I’m the big sister. I hinted at it to my mom, and to my dad, but they didn’t bite…but I was simply whining to her, not asking for a hand out.

I took it, with full intention of continuing to save my butt off so that I can pay her back sooner than later. And just like that I was pre-approved this weekend to buy my own adult house.

The house hunting has yet to begin. That likely starts this weekend. I’m full of all kinds of emotions – excited for sure, a little scared (I’ve never owned a home on my own), and just a tiny bit anxious about the market and the pressure and the stress. I’m in a good place with my stress level in life. I want this to be good stress. I don’t want to settle. I want to make a good decision for me and my kids. I’ve been “homeless” (okay, a 40-year old living with her parents) for the past 1 year and 1 month. The time has come.

I’ve come so far. I can’t give up now. “Life’s a journey, not a destination”… yea yea, I know, but getting a nice cozy comfortable home where I can be me (and my kids can be them) is somewhat of a destination for me. It’s a destination of a new beginning. It’ll be proof to myself that I broke the cycle of bad decisions (or lack thereof) and that I’ll be living for myself, finally.

It’s the first day of fall, and I’m falling forward… It’s my own movement that will take me to where I need to be.

Stifle Me Not

Setting Myself Free…Again

I’m so tired of being stuck in other people’s lives. I want my own life.

In high school, I was naive and of course always wanted to be who I wasn’t and who I couldn’t be. I wanted to be like miss popular her or her or her. People liked me just fine for who I was so I just blame that on being young and dumb.

In college, I desperately wanted to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do when I grew up. I settled. I figured out what I didn’t like and settled for what wasn’t terrible to me just so I was comfortable. I didn’t push for what I really wanted.

After college, I moved home with the parents for one year. I spent every weekend an hour away with my then-boyfriend (now-ex). After a year, I moved 5 minutes away from my then-boyfriend (now ex). I have literally been making major life decisions and living my life around his every since then. The night that I kicked him out, I set myself free, and entered a world of uncertainty for the first time because it was all about me and what I wanted.

Or so I thought.

When I moved in with my parents last summer to make sure my kids had a decent roof over their heads and a consistent daily lifestyle, that’s what I got. As well as being inundated with all of their beliefs and habits and patterns. They mean well, but after all of their years on earth, they aren’t about to change now. They know what they like and don’t like. And I try to respect their routines and wishes since I’ve overstayed my welcome here.

But it’s getting old. I went from living one person’s life to living another’s. This is what I was trying to get away from when I moved away the first time. And somehow I managed to do a 360. Right back to the start of the circle. Everything from how I load the dishwasher to how quiet or loud I am when I walk up the stairs is affected by others right now and I just want to be free in my own space and my own skin.

I feel like I’m in therapy with myself. I start to make a decision, and then I overthink it because my perspective of what this person or that person will think overwhelms me. And I keep having to pause and remind myself that I get to choose what I want. I’m 40 years old damnit, I know what I want.

What I want.

I’m trying to move up the plan for starting my house-hunting journey. Wish me luck.

Stifle Me Not

The In Between of What Has Been and What Could Be

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately. I’m not sure why exactly. I can only describe it as missing where I no longer am even though I didn’t like where I was back then, and wishing I was somewhere else.

How stupid is that?

So freakin’ stupid.

I’m simultaneously living in the past and wishing my life away.

It’s like I miss my old life and am excited for a new one all at the same time. And I can’t make the new life come any faster without disrupting the present, and memories of my past just keep flooding back and I have to fight off the urge to sink back into the abyss of what no longer serves me. I keep having to remind myself that I’ve been rebuilding myself from my own personal ground zero for almost 2 years now. I don’t think anyone without super powers loses their own personal everything and just gets right back up again.

I’m (im)patiently trying to save for a house. I have a plan, I’m saving according to my budget. And, I’m bored. I’m so freakin’ BORED!

You’d think boredom would be the least of my worries as a single divorced working mom of two. But the restlessness of what has been and what could be are colliding into a cloud of dust, making it hard to see through what I already know. Even if what I know is that the unknown has more potential to be better than anything I’ve ever known before.

I’ve cut myself off from shopping sprees and filling the grocery cart with whatever goodies I want. Or going out with friends whenever I want (well, I don’t have many friends, so who cares). I’m on a strict budget for the next 8 1/2 weeks. I have a countdown app on my phone. Goal: I’m going to be ready to be pre-approved for my own big girl house by November 1st.

If I can’t save a shit-ton of money in the next 8 1/2 weeks, then I have learned nothing in the past 2 years. I have been forced to live on a minuscule budget on unemployment for months at a time.. I know how shop for the bare minimum and make ends meet with gas and groceries. I know how to forego the extras on my debit card. I know how to be bored and entertain myself with a WIFI connection or even just a pen and paper. I feel like I’ve been training for this speed budget plan all my life and I can’t give up now.

Why now? Why not a few months ago? Well, a few months ago, I finally got a job. I finally got to buy myself some basic clothes that fit me. I finally got to spoil my kids a little bit. I finally got to taste the fruits of my hard labor from switching careers. Now, it’s now or never. I can live with my parents for months and months more and save slowly, or I can speed save and get the f*&k out.

We’re all sick of each other. No one is saying it. No one is at each other’s throats. You can just feel that it’s time. My kids know it’s time. If I can get pre-approved by Nov 1, I could be moved into my own little piece of heaven by Christmas. A girl can dream.

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