Category Archives: New and Unknown

A Day of Endings

In the last 24 hours I:

  • Resigned from my current job
  • Found out my dissolution court date
  • Went to a funeral

It’s been a day of very final endings. Changes are happening very quickly. It’s funny how when you’re waiting for something, it can seem like an eternity. But in an instant, everything can change – for better or worse.

In my case, the first two are for the better. I’ve resigned from my current job to move onto the next chapter of my career. I’m very excited for this; however, in the moments leading up to when I actually verbalized that I’d accepted another employment offer, I felt like an anxious mess. That’s when I realized that I’m  not a quitter. I hate quitting things – even if it isn’t something that isn’t best for me, I always try my hardest. Quitting isn’t in my nature, and so I suffer a little when I’m the one that brings the end to something.

I don’t like to quit on people and disappoint anyone, but I’ve lived up to that a little too much. I’ve forgotten that I’m harming myself when I put too much effort in for others. After quitting my job, I felt great. Renewed. I can now move on.

Soon after quitting my job, I got a text from my ex about our court date. Funny how my lawyer is so slow that I haven’t heard it from her yet, but whatever, at least I know. I swear every time I quit or surrender or just plain stop beating my damn head against the wall, I finally get some good news.

I give up, here you go.

I quit, here you go.

I”m not trying anymore, it’s alllll yours. 

Life is so weird.

Over the weekend I found out that a distant cousin of mine passed away. Today was the funeral. He was my age. We weren’t close, but I know he was kind. And he was struggling. I’m not sure how his life ended, but I know his death impacted many. No matter what happened, his death was a reminder that life is precious and it can be gone in an instant. His time was up without warning.

I’m enjoying all of my new endings that will lead to new beginnings, but I’m well aware that any of it and anyone can be taken from me at any time.

It’s time to move on, and savor each moment. I plan to enjoy what I can and deal with whatever isn’t so enjoyable.

Stifle Me Not

The Next Chapter is Unfolding

This week has been a roller coaster.

I signed my dissolution papers last Friday (Good Friday). Easter came and went. And by Monday and Tuesday, I was just annoyed with life. Annoyed with everything and everyone.

By Wednesday, after work, I got in my car and tears of frustration spewed out of my eyeballs. I haven’t cried in a very long time. I was just sobbing (the big choke on your own tears kind of sobbing) and screaming at the universe while driving (and tried to hide my rage and alligator tears under my big sun glasses when I stopped at red lights).

Like something had to give! I signed dissolution papers for crying out loud! I’m cutting the tie! I’ve been so patient! 1 1/2 years of living in limbo! I’m taking care of my kids! And taking care of myself! Where’s my happy prize? Where the f#$^&! is my happy prize!? I’ve prayed and hoped and tried to stay positive. I asked for a sign, or hell, multiple signs. I’m paying attention – my eyes and heart are wide open – where are my career opportunities!? Why am I getting blocked right and left every time I can see a goal????

Clearly I’ve been trying too hard for over a year, and whenever I surrender to not having a death grip on something, I’ve been getting better results than not. So I cried, and just laid low.

The next afternoon (Thursday), my friend, who is a president of a local company texted me that I could put in my notice at my current part-time job. Uh, what? We already had a scheduled meeting for lunch on Friday. Just a little background on this friend – he reached out to me when I first moved back to my hometown. We met up a few times because he said “I need to pick your brain on some HR and training stuff.”We were pretty good friends in high school. Never dated (he dated my friends and I found him to be nice, but immature). Over the past six months we met up a couple of times, would catch up, and talk his work stuff where I’d offer him some perspectives or ideas to think about. The End.

He’d claim I was helping him a lot, and I couldn’t see how for the life of me, but whatever, I got free lunch. I was certain he wasn’t interested in me – he was married with two kids and there’s no chemistry there – never has been, never will be. Earlier this year, he asked me to apply to an HR job at his company and I declined – it was very administrative and not what I was looking for for my next job hop. The next time I changed jobs, it had to be for the right fit.

Well, on Thursday night he kept texting me about meeting some of his work colleagues when we met on Friday. Then I realized this “meet-up” was turning into an interview process. So I went, we all hit it off, this newer opportunity sounded like a good fit, and they seemed to like me. He genuinely needed me to help him take this company to the next level. He’s interested  in my skills and talents. He took me to lunch and we negotiated numbers on a napkin. By Saturday night he emailed me a job offer that was exactly what I had in mind.

I accepted, asked for a delayed start date so I can figure out child care… and by June I’m going to have a real adult job again!

Let’s break this down again (because I think it’s funny):

  • Friday (Good Friday) – Signed dissolution papers
  • Saturday – I’m confused by life in general
  • Sunday (Easter) – I ate too much and drank wine all day
  • Monday – Ugh Day
  • Tuesday – Ugh Day
  • Wednesday – Scream and cry at universe b/c I’ve had it
  • Thursday – Magical texts that claim I can quit my job – new job on the horizon
  • Friday – Meet with potential new employer / Job offer negotiations
  • Saturday – Job offer / I accept a new job

It’s either a coincidence or, if you scream at the universe in your car, you get results. I dunno, but I do know that I’m excited and actually looking forward to this job switch. It wasn’t hard either. I gave up trying so hard, and it came to me.

Okay then, let the next chapter unfold.

Stifle Me Not

Door Closed, Next Please

Okay. I’m paying attention. If there was ever a time when I was clear, it is now.

Sometimes when you try too hard for something for too long, there must be a reason. It may seem completely ridiculous, but there MUST be a reason.

While others may have seen this long ago, I’m just now figuring it out for myself. Why? Because I’m stubborn. I do not give up easily, and apparently this past year has been one big hard lesson about how I can try all I want, but there are going to be stops around every corner just to, well, stop me… from myself.

I was laid off last February 2018. It has now been well over a year and I have tried everything in my power (well, I did at first and then I slowed down out of shear exhaustion) to try to get a job where my old home was, closer to my kid’s dad. The only job I have been able to get is the part-time gig  in my childhood hometown. This job I have now  is affording me the opportunity to make ends meet and keep my wits about me with two kids. My head is currently above water. I’m not drowning – I’m certainly not floating around in the sunshine with a cocktail on a floaty, but I’m not drowning, and for that I am thankful.

My eyes were opened a little more in the past month when I tried for yet another job closer to my ex. It was a county job, so it required two rounds of civil servicing testing before even getting to the interview part. I passed both rounds and made the list. Then I was invited for an interview. Over the past month I had been reading different articles about the organization that weren’t very favorable. I continued anyway – the promise of a stable salary kept me going. I then read something about the head of their HR team that wasn’t too great. I had the feeling of not wanting to go further each time the process progressed. I did anyway. Because that’s what I do. Then I made the list. I was the last one on the list, just barely making the cut. I felt accomplished that I made it that far, but hesitant that I could really go all the way. Finally came the biggest clue – the interview invite provided more information about the reality of the job. They had disguised the job as an attractive management job, when in reality it was a very gritty and unfavorable job. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but working for an organization that has obvious clues of corruption and then discovering it’s recruiting process is a lie is where I draw the line.

I declined to go to the interview. I removed myself from the list. Once again, getting a job in that area, although it was my own choice this time, was not a reality. And who’s to say I would’ve made it through the interview process? Maybe I would’ve been stopped again. But realizing that I had a really good chance this time, and that I might have had some control in the decision gave me the power to opt out. The idea of actually getting the job and starting over again where I had finally broken free from was overwhelming.

I’m no longer moving forward with purpose of relocating to make it easier to exchange children with my ex for visitations. We’re all doing just fine as is. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but it’s working. And I need to focus on my career for  me, not for making anything easier for him and saying it’s just making it easier for the kids. My kids are seriously doing great. It took me a year to realize that. It took me a year to realize that all of these big stops, and all of this waiting, are for my own good. If I found another job and moved closer to my ex, I would have no family support and be at the bottom of a wine bottle more frequently than not.

Letting go of an old normal is hard, but necessary. I have no freakin’ clue what is next. But I’m going to take my next steps for me. Gosh, what the heck? Why is this such a foreign concept to me? I feel like I just wiped the sleep from my eyes and cleaned my glasses all at the same time. I woke up. Now I have to decide what to wear, for my own comfort, not to impress anyone else.

Another lesson learned. Can I have my key to the next door now?

Stifle Me Not, Me

Hurry Up and Wait

I’ve been hurrying up and waiting my entire life. And this week feels like the longest waiting ever. I’m waiting for signatures to start the clock ticking forward.

Once my dissolution paperwork is signed by my almost-ex-husband, I feel like I’ll need to hustle. We talked, made some verbal agreements (or so I think, you never know with him), and now I’m waiting for his lawyer to return from vacation to finalize some things.

I’ve been hiding out at my parents house, taking care of my kids, in a part-time job for the past 7 months. I can’t stay here forever, nor do I want to. I feel like everything is up in the air. I do not feel settled. I want some stability and to feel settled. I don’t even care where, I just want to have a place that I call home for the long haul and where I have set doctors and schools and stores and restaurants and people that I know. I have that here and I have that where my last home was, but making any future plans these days is a pain in the ass.

I succumbed to getting a pediatrician and a dentist in my new temporary mode of living. I do not have a doctor. I do not know if I should register my kids for their current schools for next year or not. I do not know if I should look for a house or apartment in one area or another. So I move forward while waiting. I’ve registered them for their schools and I live like I live here permanently, but the back of my head always has a “what if”.

If, last Fall, you would’ve asked me if I would be in the state of living in waiting still this Spring, I would’ve laughed and said hell no.

Yet here I am. I’ve stood my ground on what I want in the dissolution paperwork and I just need signatures. You’d think that the career progression wouldn’t be related at all to my marriage, but it is. I’ve seen the first hand how each time I set a boundary with my almost-ex that my career encounters a new positive opportunity. I don’t know if this is some sick game the universe is playing or if I made that up in my head and it just seems to be working out that way.

This week I’m moving on in the second round of a job opportunity. It is near my old home an hour away. It’s a good opportunity with benefits and long term potential. It’s closer to my ex, which is great for my kids well-being, but it’s farther from my family, which may not be the best for my own well-being. They are my support system. If I move with the kids back to being closer to their dad, I have no support system.

I’ve been really working on myself these days with setting boundaries and not trying to make decisions involving others in spite of myself, but when it comes to my kids, obviously I want what is best for them. But I realized the other day though that they’re actually really doing great. They don’t see their dad daily, but we do our best to accommodate each other’s schedules, even at a distance, and they seem to be happy and healthy and thriving. They both love their schools. They are sleeping soundly and wake up with smiles on their faces. They are loving and they are loved.

So I don’t think I can really make a bad decision. I get hung up on what if this happens or that happens and OMG, yes, what if??? Guess what, the worst has already happened (okay, no one died, but close enough). My marriage and career died all in the same year and I’m still standing. It can only get better from here, right?

Stifle Me Not

Withdrawal from My Old Motivation

It’s like I was super hooked on a drug and I’m still having withdrawal. I don’t even want the drug anymore, I was just used to it. It was my way of living. It became who I am, and so I just accepted my life that way. Now I’m lost and confused and lonely, and even though I don’t want that drug anymore, I’m not quite sure what else to do.

I’ve never been on drugs before, but I know reason for dependency on a substance is to go after the feeling that the drug gives you.

At first, I was going to make this analogy about my almost ex-husband. Then I realized it applies to my career. But I really think it applies overall to the way I’ve been feeling, or wanting to feel, for the last 15 years.

I have been a hooked on a feeling. A fleeting feeling.

I am driven not by who I am, or what I really want, but what I can do for people. I have been caught up in the stress of imbalance between doing what is best for myself and using that energy to make others happy – in my marriage, in my career, and even when I was a little kid.

I have been hooked on doing well in life to help others, to make others happy and proud. I went to college, I acquired skills, and I have always done well at nearly everything that I do in my career. The same thing in my marriage. I paid attention and strove to be the best wife I knew how to be for my husband (no matter how much he’ll say that I did not). If he wasn’t happy, I’d overcompensate or corrected my behavior the best I knew how. We wouldn’t fail, we would prevail despite the bills and the stress of raising a family. I could make this work. “I”.

I am of the “pleaser” variety. I get honest joy out of making others happy. It’s not bullshit, I’m not making it up. I didn’t fully realize the extent to which I like this until it was too late and I had served so many others in spite of myself.

I have served others in spite of myself.

And I lacked the boundaries to look out for my own well-being.

Others do not question it. Why shouldn’t they? They aren’t responsible for my boundaries. I am nice. Nice, and smart, and oh wait, I’m pretty too. I’m “perfect”. I take these compliments and I accept them because I like feeling like I did something good and I helped someone else. I like the approval, even if it doesn’t last long.

It feels strange getting to know this person that I am in this 39-year old body. I start to have regrets about what I could’ve done, should’ve done, would’ve done in my 20s or early 30s… but I’m recognizing the same “mistakes” in others as I’ve made. Who’s to say it’s a mistake? I’m the only one saying that. I’m trying not to beat myself up and label everything I did or didn’t do that led me to this place as a mistake… because at the end of the day, I’m learning from it.

If you learn from it, it’s not a mistake. It’s a lesson. Learn, move on, and do something different the next time is what I keep telling myself.

So here I am, having an eerily similar feeling to when I was 18 and first on my own at college. I didn’t know who I was – I was just out in the world trying to “make it”. However I’ve learned that if you don’t recognize your own wants and needs, your own purpose, you can wander aimlessly and stumble into serving the purposes of others instead of your own. That happened to me. I let that happen.

I’ve been cautiously taking each step like its the first time. I’m paying attention to my feelings. MY feelings. I’m trying not to discount the reason for my feelings – that is what they are for. If I begin to feel similar to before and don’t like it (fearful, anxious, unhappy, etc.), I’m trying to take a new direction… set a boundary – even if that means straying from the comfort of known territory. What I once was is no more – I can’t be that person anymore or I will be miserable. I can’t use those drugs, the happiness of pleasing others can’t be my reason for existence. I have to find what makes me want to live on my own without pleasing others as my primary motivation.

I’m searching for my new motivation. I buried it within me long ago and it’s just taking time to emerge. I suppose it will surface when I’m ready.

Stifle Me Not

 

I Did It

I did it. I finally did it.

After 7 long months and 1 week, I finally got a job.

It’s the part time job that I referred to in my previous post. It’s not a lot of money, but it is perfect for my current situation. You’d think I’d be screaming my head off with excitement that I don’t have to go on food stamps (and oh my gosh, yes, I am elated), but it’s like I already knew it was mine.

The funny thing is, I’ve had this nagging feeling for quite a while that if I just moved forward with divorcing my husband, I would finally get a job. That inner voice kept saying, “Respect yourself, let him go, and other good stuff will come in.” I heard it, and I ignored it for quite awhile. I made excuses against it.

Earlier in September I started pressuring him to settle on some terms for a dissolution. He mocked me. He threw empty threats at me that I knew better than to take seriously. I continued to delay.

This Wednesday he closed on his new house. He needed my signature to close on his house since we’re still married. I also signed the doc that waives my right to his house once we are divorced. What he didn’t realize is that while we’re still married, even though I’m not on the mortgage, I’m on the title. I own the house too. The look on his face was priceless when he had this realization at the closing table.

After his closing, I called him. I gave him an ultimatum. He had until the end of the week to agree to the terms of a dissolution or I move forward the old fashioned divorce way. His ego didn’t like that. By Friday, he reluctantly agreed to draft docs and review them.

Yes, he bought a new house while his wife and two kids live with family an hour away. He is a selfish man with little integrity. He knows how to make himself appear grand and is a social joy to be around. He thrives on attention and wants to be the center of everyone’s universe. He was the center of mine for a long time. Until I realized that I was never the center of his. And never would be. Ever. He used my precious energy to make himself feel whole. He depleted me daily until I was an empty shell of a human.

I am slowly coming back to life. Yesterday I spoke to my lawyer and she’s drafting up the second and last round of dissolution documents. He has once last chance to agree to my terms or I told my lawyer she can “go full bore”. I have tried for a full year not to hurt him. Not to enrage him. Not to cause more grief than was needed. I don’t want my kids to go through that. But there is a limit to personal anguish. My kids will understand one day no matter what I do. They are too young now, but eventually you grow up and ask questions.

Isn’t it odd that I give him an ultimatum and the next day I get a job offer after so long?

I am feeling confident and happy right now. I partially started my new job on Friday and I look forward to learning more this week. It’s time for a change all around.

Today is also my 11th anniversary with my almost ex. I thought it would be a super sad day. It was not. I thought of it briefly in the morning, but didn’t let it get me down. I’m dead inside these days when it comes to that kind of sadness. I’ve been too sad for too long and I want to move on finally

I’m finally letting myself move on.

Stifle Me Not

Rot Me Not / Life Reset Blog Challenge

I’ve doing a lot of thinking and sulking and day-dreaming and procrastinating lately. You name it, I’ve been doing it. I’ve been at my parents house for 2 weeks now. I’ve been telling myself to stop overthinking and just do something. Anything. But yet, I can’t seem to figure out what direction I want to take. It’s like there are 101 paths laid out before me and I can’t make myself go down any one road.

And so, since my kids are now in school, I’ve been doing just anything – cleaning, making lists of things to do, grocery shopping, job-hunting, etc. Just keeping busy. Yesterday I went running. Afterward I was like “why don’t I run more often?”. I’ve been so focused on “keeping the peace” with my not-yet-ex-husband that I forgot what it was like to live for myself. Now that I don’t see him everyday to suck my energy dry, I’ve become a lost person. How stupid is that? Tiptoeing my life around him was obviously not healthy, but it was part of my identity. Now I’m forced to get to know myself again. It’s liberating and scary all at the same time.

I woke up from a disturbing dream this morning and it got my motivational wheels turning. In my dream, my not-yet-ex-husband was “cleaning” stuff out in the house I just moved out of in real life, but he wasn’t really doing much but making a mess. There was stuff strewn everywhere and I was frustrated and just picking up things around me. This pretty much sums up my marriage. He would just do things (whatever he wanted really) and I would be the clean-up crew behind him (in many aspects of life). Anyways, back to my dream –> The heels of my feet started itching. I go to scratch my feet and discover that I have a big hole in each heel and maggots are falling out. I’m watching this in disbelief and kicking maggots off of my feet. But in my dream I am not surprised at this, I’m just dealing with it. I’m frustrated but not freaking out.

I woke up, quite disturbed, and did a search online for “dream about maggots”. I find multiple search results that say something similar to this:

To see maggots in your dream represent your anxieties about death. It may also be indicative of some issue or problem that you have been rejecting and it is now “eating away” at you. You need to confront it for it is destroying your sense of harmony and balance.

The one that really got me was in this one though:

Possible need to cleanse body of toxins or infection, or a sense of disease emotionally in that area of self; something, like a fear or resentment, eating away at one. It could also indicate a decay or part of you lacking life, something ‘eating away at you’. Remember that maggots only live on rotting things.

Oh my GAWD. Yes, maggots only live on rotting things. And that is how I’ve been feeling lately – like I’m worthless. Existing, and rotting here all day with no real sense of purpose.

So today, the 1st of September, is a new day of a new month and I’m not going to rot away and have disturbing dreams about my rotting life. Rot me Not. I have to make the second half of my lifetime count. I’m better than my doubtful thoughts that creep in and sabotage my happiness (or lack thereof).

I contacted a local college about some certification courses I could take to expand my career. And I reached out to a mentor for some career advice. I’m also going to stick to a running routine while I’m not working and focus on things that make ME happy. I clearly need to retrain my brain to live for me.

So today is the start of a my Rot Me Not / Life Reset Blog Challenge for September and October. I’ll try to write often the next couple of months about:

  • “What did I do lately that is for me?”
  • “How am I resetting my thoughts, attitude, dreams, etc.?”
  • In other words, “What have I been doing to Stifle Me Not?”

 

Stifle Me Not

Adjusting

I made it to the other side. The move was successful. We all got situated this past week. We’re all slowly figuring out our new normal. My daughter started school last week and my son started preschool today. There have been some frustrations of course, but things could always be worse.

I now find myself in a quiet house drinking decaf and wondering if I should continue to go down the path that hasn’t been working for me (trying to search for a job in my current career field) or try a new path. I’m considering some certification programs at a nearby college. I’m educated, but I may need something new to move me forward. I don’t want to make any hasty decisions, but I also don’t want to be sitting here drinking decaf by myself 6 months from now.

It’s been a little challenging trying to adjust to living under someone else’s roof and rules. I very much miss having my own space and being the one to call the shots. I feel like a child again having to adjust to / tip toe around some of my dad’s rules, ways, beliefs, etc. And I feel intrusive that my children and I have taken over the place. It’s not horrible, but I know my dad and stepmom aren’t in their quiet happy bubble of joy that they’re used to.

So I guess I’ll take the next few days to figure out what the heck I should do with my future. The rat race has ended and now I have all of this time. Once upon a time, I wished for nothing but more TIME, and here I have it. I must use it wisely.

Stifle Me Not

Preparing for the Great Unknown

Today appeared to be a normal day of errands, but it was not. It was a preparation day for future days of a new life.

In one week my life will change forever. My kids and I are moving back to my childhood city (which is about one hour south of my current home). Today I drove down there and registered them at their new schools. My daughter will be going to a school that I once went to. I felt like I entered some weird time warp when we walked into the school. We turned in her registration paperwork and she got a tour from the dean. She looked so relieved after the tour. She could see that it wasn’t so scary after all.

After registering her, I registered my son for his first year of preschool. He didn’t care. He whined the whole time about how he wanted to go out to the playground. I’m glad he won’t remember most of this life transition since he’s only three.

Somehow, after six months of trying my ass off, I still do not have a job. Let me be clear that I have come so close. I have made it to all but being the final pick. And almost weekly I have prospects. Right now I am juggling 3. So as much as I feel like an unemployed loser, I know I’m trying. Sometimes I feel like I’m not trying hard enough, but that’s my life story. I always feel like I’m not doing enough, and then I wind up exhausted. I’m trying to balance “trying hard” vs. “beating myself up”.

So after next Saturday, my home will be mostly empty. I will stare at the empty rooms and try not to cry that my first home ended like this. I’m not moving to a newer, bigger home in the suburbs with my husband and kids. I’m moving in with my parents and my kids, without my soon-to-be-ex-husband, so that I can reset and recharge and rediscover who I used to be and who I still can be. I’m going to be surrounded by my support system of family and not feel alone like I have been for the past 10 months. I’m going to ask for help when I need it and know that I’m loved unconditionally by them.

My husband and I didn’t work out, and it’s now transitioning 4 human lives and 2 dog lives. This is hard. This is very hard.

My soon-to-be-ex-husband is buying a new house. I have mixed feelings about this. I almost feel like I should be in it. How weird is that? I don’t want to be with him, yet I feel abandoned that he’ll have a new house and I have no home. Of course my parents will tell me over and over again that their home is my home. But it isn’t MY home. While I’m sad that we’re moving on like this, he will take our furry pups. My neighbor has graciously offered to care for our dogs in between leaving this current house and until he closes on his house in the fall. I’ll be very worried about my dogs while they are temporarily not with either of us. But I’m happy to know that they’ll have a new forever home. I’m unable to bring them to my parents house. It breaks my heart that I can’t have my dogs, but I have the kids, so I’m over the moon thankful for that.

I feel like this is the first giant step of many to come, but the alternative is to freeze up and stay stranded in a sea of unhappiness and self loathing. That doesn’t sound appealing. So this week I will finish packing and prepping for the great unknown.

They say that when one door closes another one opens. I feel like this is a giant damn door that is taking forever to close. It’s like it has been stuck open and I haven’t been able to fully close it yet. Like strong winds keep blowing it blown open. As motivated as I may be to close it and as hard as I try, it has just been a long time coming. Next weekend I will close that damn door. Although I don’t know what lies behind the next door, I feel like it has to be a whole hell of a lot better than the last 10 months.

Wish me luck.

Stifle Me Not

It’s Been a Surprising Day

Today I accepted an offer on my house.

For $15K above asking price.

Uh, let me be clear that there must be some larger force at play here because there is no way I ever thought it would sell for the original asking price let alone for that much over.

I am still in shock. I signed the papers to accept the offer. I am dumbfounded. The buyer even wrote a letter that stated why he wanted the house so bad.

Not only did he put in an offer that high, but another buyer put in an offer for $10K above asking price.

Apparently the housing market is really really good these days? I knew it was good, but I didn’t realize it was going to be so fabulous that it would leave me speechless.

Today I also got a call to be interviewed on Thursday. It’s just for a contract job, but I don’t have room to be picky these days since I have to find a place to live in the next four weeks. Let’s hope my luck in the job market is as good as in the housing market.

Things are looking up. There are still a lot of unknowns, but I’m still standing so I guess I’ll keep moving forward.

Stifle Me Not