Category Archives: Perspective Shift

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

Staying Strong as the Seasons Change

Well, so much for committing to blog more regularly. Of all the things to happen, the hinge on my laptop is broken and I had to take it in to get repaired. It’s going to be a week or so before I get it back. In the meantime, I found another computer to log into and will try to keep up as life continues to throw curve balls at me, just like anyone else.

I attended the first class of my HR certification course. I forgot what it was like to read and study. It makes me feel young again. I have all of this experience to apply it to so I I’m retaining more than I would have if I took the course sooner than now.

No job prospects this week. I’ve applied to some and no response…

I reached out to a past manager of mine to see if he wants to have lunch – not to beg for my old job back, but to catch up and see if there are any possible opportunities that he might be able to influence. I left on good terms (this wasn’t the company where I was laid off from). Other than him being disappointed that I chose to leave, I don’t think I made an major faux pas during my departure from that company (other than the departure itself). I figure it’s worth a shot. I won’t know if I don’t try. I’m waiting to hear back from him on what date works for him to meet. It’s been a few days now, so I hope he’s not ghosting me.

I’m in the 3rd season of my unemployment. When I drove out of my past employer’s parking lot with tears in my eyes and relief in my heart, the bright sun was deceptively shining through the freezing cold mid-morning air. I enthusiastically began networking, applied for unemployment benefits, and optimistically jumped into job searching. I quickly answered phone calls from unknown numbers and honestly thought I would have a job in no time. It was still winter at the beginning of this journey. When I saw that my benefits would expire in September, I did not fathom that it would ever take me so long to get a job. I figured I would have this all “figured out” by early summer at the latest.

Spring and warm weather were a relief. It was great to go outside and not just be indoors all day. I did not give up hope that I would definitely snag a new job opportunity in no time. I had phone interviews and call-backs to show for it. Progress was being made. I was putting in the effort and have a great resume. Surely some lucky employer would give me an offer. I just needed to get some live interviews. That was the key, right?

Spring turned into summer. It was getting hot. I was still talking to different companies about opportunities almost weekly and I finally secured some in-person interviews. That was it, that’s all I needed. People like me, and I have the experience and professional stories to back up what I know I can do.

Rejection after rejection after rejection. Or no response at all. The cowards do not dare reject formally. They simply do not respond.

Then the reality become clear that I’m not who I used to be and my personal life has taken more of a toll on me than I ever realized. No matter what efforts I’ve tried to ensure that my professional and personal life stay separate – I am one person and they are major parts of who I am. I think employers see right through my facade of being able to keep it all together. As I casually answer interview questions in the best way I know how, I’m giving off the vibe of a shell of a person that has nothing left. I’ve not been a whole confident person this entire year, so why would you want to hire someone like that?

Starting my new certification course has been eye-opening. I need to keep learning professionally without interruption until I retire and beyond. Um, my blog is all about learning new things each day, am I blind or what? But seriously, I’ve been in Learning & Development for so long that it’s almost like I was too focused on learning for others and neglected my own interests. I would then race home to tend to the needs of my family and that left no time for my own development.

Now that I’m reading and learning again, I feel like a hungry animal that has come out of hibernation after far too long. I LIKE it. Where did I go for so many years?

So now summer is ending, and the leaves are turning colors, and fall is a week away. I’ve learned so much this year, including that I cannot stop learning in any area of my life. I can’t neglect the things that make me whole. I can’t neglect myself.

I recently had another disturbing dream. I went to visit my past employer – the one that laid me off. I entered the building and some people were glad to see me and others were new and had no idea who I was. Someone whispered that I must leave quickly and without anyone seeing me because a senior leader had implemented guards with rifles. I got out of the building and ran into the parking lot. It was raining hard and there were puddles everywhere. I jumped through a giant puddle to get to my car and was quickly swept away by a flash flood. I wasn’t drowning, I was swimming hard, so very hard. I almost gave up, but told myself if I could just ride out a wave of flood that was coming, I could make it and it would drop me off on the pavement ahead. And that was what happened. I made it to my car, the water receded, and I woke up.

I can’t give up, that is not an option. I’ve come so close and I can feel the right opportunity right around the corner. Here’s to continuing to be hopeful and positive while doing the things that keep me strong.

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

The Intriguing Awareness of “Perspective Shifting”

I knew one day I’d look back a the “old me” with a new lens, but I didn’t think I’d witness the actual shift of old me to newer me.

At first, I didn’t think I learned much today, but I think it’s because it’s all happening right before my eyes, and it all relates to how my perspective is shifting on so many things.

Perspective Shift #1

I took my kids to the zoo today. For anyone that lives in my county, you can get free admission to the zoo on Mondays. I used to avoid the zoo like the plague on Mondays. A zoo crowded with poor people. No thanks.

Guess what? It’s Monday. My kids are already going stir crazy from being home together. And its a lovely sunny day. Oh, and we’re currently the poorest we’ve ever been, well, ever. So I took my kids to the free zoo. We ran into my son’s babysitter, and she made a comment about the crowded zoo “on a Monday.” Which meant: “the crowded zoo full of poor questionable walks of life”.

I had no words. I normally would have nodded with her in agreement and laughed. Not today. Today I was speechless because I was one of those people and I wasn’t the type of person I thought of when it came to Free Zoo Mondays. I now saw this as an opportunity rather than an annoyance.

Perspective Shift #2

Tomorrow is bulk trash day around here in the city. I never used to pay much attention to it. I’ve always known you can put out extra trash once a month, and I’ve taken advantage of it here and there, but I’ve been looking forward to it lately. I’ve had more time on my hands to clean out old stuff, and I can’t help but want to purge crap that has been in my way for more than 10 years.

I’ve had a half broken table and four chairs (from the 1970s) in my basement collecting dust for more than a decade. The table and chairs aren’t even mine – they were given to me from a roommate I lived with right after college. I didn’t have a table and chairs when I moved out, so she just let me take it. They are so ugly, but they were functional and I was broke.

They followed me to my “adult” house after I got married. I used the table to fold laundry on in the basement, and the chairs sometimes served as drying racks back in the day when I used to buy clothes that were in no way tumble dry friendly.

As I lugged the chairs out to the curb, a nosy neighbor lady asked me why I was getting rid of the chairs. She said “What if you have people over and need extra seating?”

Um, no. I have plenty of seating. In fact, I have too much.

I used to get annoyed by this lady. In the past, I may have just answered “No,” and then been agitated about her questioning me. Today I smiled and offered her first dibs on the chairs if she wanted them. She declined. That is what I thought. I went about my business disposing of the broken garden hose wheel that has been uselessly laying in my driveway.

I now actually love that she is nosy – her nosiness once scared off some people attempting to break into my garage. I’ve embraced her nosiness as a gift ever since.

Perspective Shift #3

As I rolled out the recycle bin to the curb, the trash pickers appeared. These folks cherish the night before bulk trash day like Christmas Eve. They make their rounds in their rickety old pick-up trucks and they have no shame. I used to be both perplexed and annoyed by the trash pickers. Like why in the hell would anyone want to pick up someone else’s garbage off the street?

I now love these guys. You know why? 1) They are creative souls that will figure out how to either sell or reuse whatever it is that they pick up, and 2) They enable me to put out more extra trash than the city allows. You get to set out up to three extra items. If they pick up even one of those items, I can get rid of more of my junk!

Those trash pickers picked up all four chairs within five minutes and they were off. I thanked them. I got to thank them! Thank you for taking my junk!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. 

This whole day went by and I didn’t I didn’t think I learned anything. But I’m realizing that my whole perspective is shifting in a different direction on many things right in front of me.

New perspectives are like little lights that go off and you see more of what you couldn’t before. It’s very intriguing.

Stifle Me Not