Category Archives: Perspective Shift

The Date That Never Was

After surviving the drunk vampire date last month, I hopped back on the dating app this past weekend. Mostly out of boredom and curiosity. Plus it was time to dust off and get back out there. I reactivated my account, and a number of “likes” and “smiles” came through. It’s interesting to see how people describe themselves in their profiles. I’ve become more of an observer lately rather than getting too emotionally attached to possible outcomes. It’s quite interesting to see how someone describes himself and then, if you respond, see how he ends up communicating.

Communication is key. If they can’t communicate well, it doesn’t go very far. My brain can’t handle prolonged communication with someone who is not confident, awkward, or just plain not smart. I give them a chance, but my patience wears thin after awhile.

I ended up messaging with two guys. One guy didn’t make it far. He took the negative route too soon, and I wasn’t about to go there. The other guy kept conversation going at a decent pace, had a splash of interesting, and was attractive. He also had a decent job, lived nearby, and was involved in his own interests/activities. We kept messaging to the point where he asked for my number and we kept texting outside of the dating app. Good start.

Somehow we got on the topic if ice cream, and he asked me out to ice cream on Sunday night. Since my kids were away, I agreed and figured a harmless ice cream date was just what I needed after my date debacle last month. As Sunday afternoon rolled around, I let him know I was available and going shopping for a little bit – I told him to let me know a time and place, and I could meet him after I was done shopping. I asked if it was too soon because I didn’t want to rush him and asked if he was busy now or if we should meet later. This was around 5 pm, so it wasn’t too early or late. He kept responding as if he was ready to meet soon. Then his responses got more and more delayed. I was done shopping and needed to either go back home, or have him answer so I could go meet up with him. I was sick of waiting in a parking lot for an answer on if he was ready, and where we would meet.

He finally responded that he was running behind and was about an hour and a half away helping out family. An hour and a half away? What? Why continue to message me that you’re picking a spot to meet at soon, knowing I’m only 20 minutes away? Why not mention sooner that you’re out of town?

I was so confused.

That’s when I stopped. I wasn’t going to make excuses for this guy. If I’m confused, there’s a problem. I’m smart, educated, and have a decent level of social and emotional intelligence. If I’m confused, I’m either missing valuable information or the other person is being an idiot.

I drove home in a confusion fog, and I started to get angry. This is the same type of feeling I used to feel when my ex would make me “confused”. He always seemed so well-intentioned and convincing, but what he was really doing was manipulating the situation to fit his own agenda. It can be intentional, or not, but it is what it is, and I don’t like it.

I got home, mad. I was more mad at myself for having wasted time waiting around in a parking lot when I should’ve given up. I told him we should reschedule and he could call me later. I needed at least a phone conversation for my sanity to see if this guy was legitimately interested or blowing smoke.

He called around 8 pm. I don’t know about you all, but 8 pm on a Sunday night is getting near by bed time since I wake up at 6 am on Monday morning. He asked if I still wanted to meet up.

Uh, no.

I said no thanks, and we continued chatting about work and other stuff. I was feeling defensive, but trying to just learn what was going on. Suddenly, he had to take another call that was coming in and said he would call me right back. I honestly didn’t care if he called me back, but I was curious if he would or if it was a tactic to get off the phone. I went and did some chores for awhile. When I returned to my phone, I saw that he called back, left a voicemail, and also texted. Alright then.

I had no energy to call him back. I called my friend instead. While I’m talking to her, he texts “Let me take you to dinner tomorrow.” I didn’t respond and asked my friend’s opinion. This didn’t seem worth it since I was already frustrated and hadn’t even met him yet. She said “Eh, what else do you have to do? Just go and see what happens.”

I waited until about 10 pm (when I was about to go to sleep) and texted him back that dinner would be nice. He responded right away and let me know that he would be home from work by 6 pm. Okay fine, I figured dinner would be good after all that confusion.

The next day comes and goes. We texted throughout the day, but he never said anything about a time or place for dinner allllll day. When I was leaving the office at 5 pm, I sent him a message asking what he was thinking for dinner, where and when?

He asks if I want to meet after work or after a workout about 8 pm. I say after work because I have a bed time. He says he has a bed time too. And continues to NOT answer the question.

This was similar to the day before, where he wouldn’t fully answer or would respond to my questions with a question. I pointed out that he was dodging the question. He asks “How?”.

How? How?? By not answering the actual question!

He didn’t even say the classic line “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” to give me a chance to pick a spot (if the case was that he was having decision anxiety). He quite simply was not answering me, or responding with more questions.

There I was again, back in confusion land. And that was the nail in the coffin for this date that never was. I simply responded that I was no longer interested in meeting up with him.

I did get a response from him that he still wanted to take me out. The problem is, if you can’t figure out where you want to go, you can’t go on a date. It’s actually quite simple.

Stifle Me Not

Uphill Battles Aren’t for Me

I was invited to a friend’s event this past weekend. It was a commitment ceremony. They didn’t want to go through the legal process of being hitched again, and they both aren’t religious, but they wanted to celebrate their new start together. I was happy to support them.

For some reason this day had me all in a personal debacle. Call me old-fashioned, but I guess I had a set of expectations and it just didn’t match up with the reality of the day.

To start, the invitation said no gifts. I’m of Italian heritage so, no matter what, you show up with at least a small meatball to offer as a sign of thanks or congratulations for attending. This gave me angst until I gave in and went to a local winery to buy some wine and “his and hers” wine tumblers. I figured I’d call it a house-warming treat if she resisted.

Next, the invitation said “parking can be tricky” and there was a link to click for more information. I suspected a map would open. Nope. It was a video of her fiancé driving the route of the entrance of the neighborhood to their home. It was roughly a minute and a half of him instructing guests not to park on the main road, not to park on their road, and not to park in the driveway. He points out one possible side road along the way where we “could” park.

This gave me instant parking anxiety. I watched the video like five times. My anxiety worsened each time I watched it. I gave myself the ol’ self-talk of “you’ll figure it out when you get there”. Deep down though, somehow I knew it would be a problem.

I left for this event at what I thought was a decent amount of time to arrive on time, or possibly fashionably late. The time on the invitation said 4:00. I pulled into her neighborhood at 4:05 and thought about parking at a nearby park, but the route to her house was uphill and about a quarter of a mile up the street. I decided to forge ahead to find the side street that he pointed out in the video. I turned on that road, and there were no cars parked on the street at all. [insert wide-eyed emoji here]. I was so confused and was now driving around the block trying to find a any spot to park that wouldn’t cause me to be towed.

And my friend starts texting me, asking if I’m still coming…

Oh my gosh. How many people are attending? Is she waiting for me to start? I was mortified.

I finally found a row of cars parked on the street at opposite end of the street (it seemed near her house, but it was just as much of an uphill walk), so I just parked and hopped out, started hiking uphill and forgetting about the gift I brought.

She texts me again! She asks if I need help. I say no and I’m walking up to the house. OMG

Her fiancé’s son greets me at the end of the very long and steep driveway. Meanwhile, I’m doing some serious work hiking up this hill, and starting to lose my breath (and I’m in decent shape). The son, who appears to be in his early 20s, claims that his dad is an idiot and should have planned for better parking. Ya think?

As I reach the top of her very steep driveway, she opens the front door and greets me.

What the hell? Why am I the one holding up their ceremony? I want to die: 1) from hiking up the hill and 2) from embarrassment.

She greets me excitedly with a hug and ushers me through the house to the back deck where there was a canopy and about 40 people seated, waiting for the ceremony to begin. I slid into a back row, greeted one of my old work friends, and proceeded to catch my breath — wishing that I was already sipping chardonnay.

The ceremony was cute, and short, and made me feel a little sad for myself. Weddings do that. I’m glad I haven’t been to any lately. But it also gave me hope, as she was once in my single shoes and found her second chance at love. So I observed with an open heart and happiness for her new start.

Next was social time, drinks, and food. I was happy to catch up with my old work buddy and her husband. We drank and ate together. After a while her husband wanted to go, and I was sad to see them leave. I didn’t feel like making new friends with strangers. Sometimes I can do this with no problem, but the uphill battle to get here (all puns intended) had already gotten the best of me. I was longing for home and comfy couch. I stayed a little while longer, while they cut the cake, and then I bid my farewell. I felt a little guilty for leaving so soon, I thought she may have seemed disappointed when I left. Maybe not, but I just felt the need to go.

As I walked out the front door, I realized I’d have to walk down the steep driveway, and then down the steep road to my car. And I remembered that I never brought the gift. I made the journey downhill to my car. I was then full of every bit of reluctance to retreat back uphill with the gift. Even if I drove up the driveway, the maneuvering I’d have to do to get back out of the driveway would have been a spectacle.

So I did something I’d normally never do, and I gave up. I left. I did not go back with the gift. I gave up early and in complete relief. I reminded myself that the invitation specifically said “No Gifts Please”. My mind started circling on how I could meet up with her later and give her the gift, and then I just stopped. I put the windows down and I turned up my music and cruised home.

There are just some things that aren’t worth it, that includes going uphill twice for no gain of my own.

Stifle Me Not

Dating Revelation

I think I’ve finally figured out, with actual words, why dating has been so hard for me. I’m a goal-oriented person. I’m used to working toward trying to achieve something, toward meeting a goal. At least that’s how I am in my work life. Throw me into a dating pool and I try too hard. Even if the other person doesn’t catch on that I’m trying too hard, I’m on overload with what the final result will be. I’m used to trying to achieve something, not focused on myself.

When dating, each person you meet is not the goal. I am the goal. Me finding the fit for me is the goal. This is not rocket science, so why is this such a revelation to me? While I practically know this, I ultimately fail (in my own ideals) because I’m not playing the game the way it’s designed. I’ve been playing by my rules instead of based on how it really is.

I recently heard some memorable advice: Don’t attach yourself to the outcome. Date and have fun, but don’t have an outcome in mind. You’ll know the outcome once you get there. If you visualize a certain outcome with dating, you’ll just set yourself up for disappointment.

So I logged back into the dating app with that mindset. No expectations, no attachment to the outcome. No chatting with someone and working toward a goal. Just be. Just play for the sake of playing, not the end goal. Take it all in and decide what’s good for me, leave the rest behind. I even reminded myself not to get excited when the dopamine rush kicks in from a “like” or a comment. Clear the mind, and wade through pool floating on a ducky.

At first I was looking at matches on my dating app and throwing them away right and left because of one criteria or another. Too far. No kids. Single vs. Divorced. Etc.

Finally, I expanded my search properties and took my hands off the wheel. There were a couple of guys I noticed (but didn’t reach out or remove) from the list. Without talking to these guys, it seemed like a logical move to dismiss them already. Then one of them reached out to me.

I hesitated. Like I always do. But I recited my new found advice and responded to this man, without attachment to the outcome. Just have fun, just have fun… If you don’t like him, you can run.

He responded back rather quickly. This was followed by a flow of discussion into the night, and into the next day. And then we started talking on the phone the old fashioned way.

It’s too early to tell anything yet. I’m still not attaching myself to the outcome. I know how quickly things can go sideways. But I find it funny that when I finally opened up my perspective just a little bit, the sun shined through just a little bit brighter.

To be continued I guess…Just have fun, just have fun… If you don’t like him, you can run.

Stifle Me Not

3.0

When I first started this blog, it was an outlet to help me cope with the newness of my divorce and the many challenges that followed. One challenge included a surprise case of head lice. Fast forward 4 years and we’ve come a long way. However, my daughter’s head is apparently still a hot spot for critters. When my 13 year old daughter started itching her head a lot on vacation a few weeks ago, the first thing I did was check her head and neck for nits and bugs.

I saw nothing of concern. However, my vision is… horrible. She kept claiming her head was just oily, or dry, or this, or that . I checked her head again at least twice more, even used a lice comb. I almost went to get lice shampoo because I couldn’t understand what else it could be. She swore up and down that it had nothing to do with bugs. She said she had combed her head for them too. She’s 13 and takes care of herself way better these days, so I had no real reason not to believe her.

We got home from vacation, and two weeks later she was still itching. I took her to the doctor because I’m beyond confused at this point. And low and behold: he points out nits. Hello hair bugs 3.0. We were both horrified and confused all at the same time. How had I checked her multiple times and missed this?

We both knew what to do. I started mentally preparing myself for the long haul of weeks of combing. The doctor knew the enormity of this task as he surveyed her beautiful, thick mane of hair, and he quickly called in a double prescription of “the” shampoo.

I dropped her off at home and went to get the prescription. My son was instructed to stay in his own area, I fed him, and let him play on his tablet. He was fine. My daughter started stripping bedsheets and doing laundry as she prepared her mind for the long haul as well.

To my surprise, she didn’t want me to help comb her hair. I gave her some instructions about the shampoo, she asked a few questions, and went to work while I cleaned the house. There was an unspoken team effort. I checked my head and her brother’s head, and by some miracle from the God-Sent Sanity Fairy, we were good. I have checked our heads regularly every night since. I put sheets on all of the couches and assigned seats for the next few weeks. Everyone agreed, and we’ve been living in harmony for the past week.

All is stabilizing, but I’m still on edge.

I kept thinking “where did I go wrong? why did I let my guard down? I know better, I know better…” My past came back to haunt me, and it occurred to me that I was beating myself up for something that could happen to anyone. I was looking for someone (me or another) to blame to make sense of it all.

I wanted to cry, but all I could think was “this too shall pass.” Because it will. We’ve been through it before, we’ll get through it again. And this time I was let off the hook from combing, so I’m thankful for that. I’m so very proud of my girl.

After she got done combing out her hair that first night, she calmly came to me and said “How did you do that when I was little, mom? How did you comb my hair out for me for weeks the two different times that I had it?” And I simply shrugged and said “Who else was going to do it? I did it because it had to be done.” And she gave me air hugs from across the room.

I’ve been looking for the lesson in all of this. From challenges come great lessons. And I think this lesson was more for my daughter than for myself. I have learned, I have grown, I have tried to pass on my knowledge, but some things she must learn on her own no matter how many times I try to tell her or show her. That thought made me sad. I can only help her to a point. All I can do is be her support system.

This too shall pass.

Stifle Me Not

Seeing Clearly (Sucks)

Yesterday was an interesting day. It was a tiring but very necessary day. It was my daughter’s birthday – that should have been the main event. What I didn’t expect was the ending to the day. My daughter sat on the couch with me that evening and began venting. She does this often, but she’s usually ranting about her friends or teachers or something she wants to buy. But this time, it was about her father.

Let me back up to provide better context. Ever since I found out that my ex-husband was, in fact, a certified covert narcissist and lying manipulative cheater, I have not shared any of the fun facts about the divorce with my children. Anything has been on a need-to-know basis. For many reasons, but mostly because 1) they’re too young and it isn’t appropriate, 2) they still very much needed a father to parent them, and 3) my parents shared entirely too much information during their divorce and it just wasn’t necessary.

I’ve never lied to my kids, but I haven’t given them a bunch of unnecessary details either. They know I’m not a fan of their dad, but I always tell them he loves them and focus on shared parenting as much as possible. As my daughter has gotten older, she regularly asks me “Why did you and daddy really break up?” I tell her she’ll understand by the time she’s in her 30s. I believe she even thought I was at fault for breaking up the family at one point, and she’s challenged me numerous times about being the reason for all of the upheaval in her life.

I guess her dad recently told her his version and actually confessed to being a cheater. I’m not stupid enough to think he truly owned it, I’m sure I was made out to be a villian in some way. Ever since then, she seemed to observe him more closely. One day she told me she knew why we split, but I still kept quiet. No point in rehashing the past or adding fuel to a fire that is already out in my mind. She didn’t seem mad at him, but I’ve noticed that she picks up on many more of his personality traits and habits lately. She is observant anyhow, but this new fact has her very fixated on his behavior lately. It started out with her noticing small things he does or says. Until last night when it all snowballed into one big realization that her dad is not the person she has idealized her whole life.

I didn’t say too much, except to acknowledge that I understood what she was referring to when she described the situation she was frustrated about. She was telling me about how he was responding to (aka manipulating) her opinion about something. As she was talking, it’s like I was forced back through a time warp when I was with him and he had me doubting and questioning my reality over and over and over. It was a personal hell of mine, to have to do that on a daily basis to the point of detaching myself from my own reality just to survive. It is not a place I want to go back to, nor do I want her to live in that world.

My daughter was experiencing the madness of communicating with her narcistic father. I always wondered if it was just me, or if he would end up treating the kids similarly to me. I guess I got my answer. My daughter sees it for what it is right now, because she’s 13. At 13, you see things clearly. It may be confusing but she’s seeing it play out in real time – It’s not too late for her yet. I will calmly support her without aggravating the situation to the best of my ability. The good news is she has already been talking to a counselor regularly, and said she wants to talk to the counselor about her father. I am hopeful that she will not relive the past I went through with her father. I really hope she can have a relationship with him and not be manipulated by him. I don’t know. It worries me, but I’m confident in her.

It really sucks to find out that a parent is not who you thought they were.

After a lot of venting and some tears, my sweet daughter fell asleep on my lap as I pet her hair. She laid there peacefully for about 15 minutes and then hugged me and went to bed. I was so proud of her for owning her feelings, facing her doubts, and being honest about her realization.

And I have never felt so validated in my life. It’s taken almost a decade, and last night was the first time I could breathe in a long time. More challenges always await, but I can see so much clearly now.

Stifle Me Not

Energy Reset

I underestimated the amount of time it takes to recover energy back from someone else absorbing it.

It took me years to want to date after getting divorced. I was fully depleted of any energy to do more than basic life things — eat, sleep, work, take care of my children. Even exercise was not part of my equation for a long time. I’ve slowly integrated that back into my routine in the last year or so. After getting divorced, it made sense that it would take years to actually want to date.

When I dated a guy earlier this year for about 3 months, it took me about 2 months to want to date again after that. The guy I most recently dated only lasted about 3 weeks, and it has taken me about 2 weeks to get through that post-dating slump. And it’s not like I’m this emotional crying wreck that is sad and desperately missing the guy. I don’t mope around, I’m just energetically drained and lack motivation after a break-up. I’m crystal clear that I don’t want anything more to do with these guys, yet somehow it exhausts spirit. I need to reset my energy every single time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I wanted to date in the first place if I don’t even regularly hang out with friends? There are the obvious reasons of course (like the initial rush of attraction, etc.), but why do I truly want to spend my precious time and energy finding another person that I don’t know so that they may or may not work out?

I don’t want to be so negative, but the recovery period after dating someone is so exhausting. It knocks the wind out of me. And I don’t go into each relationship thinking it’s doomed or is going to last forever. I feel like I’m pretty realistic about being flexible with my expectations.

I don’t think dating is very good for me. I think it’s bad for me.

I’m not sure it’s worth it. I think people often date “just to have fun” or “as a distraction until meeting the one”… but aren’t they so tired? And I’m not sure there is a “the ONE”. I think there are lots of people you could be compatible if you crossed paths. If someone is going to exhaust me, stay off of my path please.

I’m focusing on my peace.

Stifle Me Not

Breathing a New Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not

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

 

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