Category Archives: Taking Charge

Falling Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not

The In Between of What Has Been and What Could Be

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

How stupid is that?

So freakin’ stupid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not

 

 

 

Gifts Coming Full Circle

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

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

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

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not

Fretting No Longer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not.

Confident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confident.

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

The possibilities are endless.

Stifle Me Not

Identity Renewal

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

Productive June so far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stifle Me Not

 

 

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

Picking Up the Pace

It’s been a week since I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and pick up the pace of my life.

I enrolled in a certification course to expand my career a little.

I revised my resume.

I applied to more jobs.

I started a workout routine.

I got an oil change.

I visited my mom.

And I’ve been thinking about how I can divorce this husband of mine without causing too much grief for my kids. They’re adjusting to the move and their new schools. They seem to be happy and healthy – they are a lot of work but they reward me with big smiles and joyous laughter everyday. I’ve established a routine for all of us and they talk to and visit their dad regularly. I’ve done all the work I need to do to make sure others are situated and comfortable.

Now I need to take the formal steps to get out of this marriage and move on with life. I need to do this for myself. I’m so unhappy being legally tied to this untrustworthy man. Next month it will be a year that I told him to leave our home after discovering the evidence of dishonestly on his phone.

I’ll be making some decisions about how to proceed this week.

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

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