Saying Goodbye

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and this blog post began forming in my brain, seemingly out of nowhere. I’m not sure if I dreamed this, or if my subconscious gave me a nudge, but here I am, putting down my thoughts on my trusty blog.

I’ve been a blogger for about a decade. Not always here – in different places at first, before this one finally came together. I’ve shared most of the last eight years of my life here. Single motherhood, reuniting with CBG, our years of being in a long distance relationship, parenting, engagement, marriage, step parenting, friendships, relationship strife, marriage bliss, personal growth.

I woke up at 3:00 am knowing that it’s time. I’ve been letting go of other aspects of my life, and it’s become clear to me that this is one of them. As time goes on there has been far less to write about. I feel guarded about continuing to write my own story; this city is far too small and there are people with access to these words that I would prefer didn’t have it. Some things I could ignore — like my ex husband having his mother read and copy my posts in case I said anything incriminating that could be used against me in a potential custody battle should one ever arise; to former friends hell bent on convincing themselves and the rest of their cult (yes, a literal CULT) that I was mentally ill, or at the very least miserable without them, simply because I saw through the lies and no longer wished to live it. There’s also the friend who blasted me when CBG made the decision to move here to be with me — I guess reading my blog made her feel like she had permission to pass judgement on my life, when hers wasn’t  exactly perfect either. Hell, I even had CBG’s EX WIFE reading at one point. I used to not care about all of this. But now I just don’t want to give people access to information about me.

So no more writing about me.

I no longer feel comfortable writing about my daughters, now that they’re older. They’ve got their own stories now, that are theirs to tell, or not tell. It felt different when they were little; they were a part of me. But now I need to give them some privacy, as well as the freedom to make their own choices and fly off into the world.

So no more writing about my daughters.

And then we come to my marriage. Time has shown me that we all just end up sitting on the couch watching bad tv, wondering what happened to the person you fell in love with all those years ago. Maybe there are no great love stories after all.

So no more writing about my marriage.

And so, that leaves me with nothing, really. Stories about my cats will only take me so far. So the time has come to say goodbye. Perhaps I’ll write again, in a different space with new stories. Maybe stories filled with optimism. With wit and clever tales. Maybe I’ll fill my readers with useful, life changing information. Or hell, maybe I’ll write those cat stories after all.

Or then again, maybe I won’t.

2017: A Year to Evolve

Like a lot of people, at the start of a new year, I like to choose a word that I want to define myself and my life for the upcoming 365 days. In 2016 it was “Joy”. And even through all the not-so-good things that happened throughout the year, there was also an awful lot of joy, too. I made an effort to focus on seeing the joy in life as much as possible, and it made a big difference. Because that’s the thing about joy – its often pretty easy to find, once you get out there looking for it.

A few weeks ago I started thinking ahead to 2017 and what word spoke to me. What word I wanted to define my life for the coming year. I was out running as I was mulling this over, and out of nowhere, a word came to me.

Evolve.

The last couple of years a lot of my time and energy has been about either just holding my own, or rebuilding after a big change. Now that we’re in a more settled place, I feel that this upcoming year needs to be about change. Doing better. Growth. Evolution. I’m not sure what this is exactly going to look like. I’ll be honest, it kind of scares the crap out of me. Growth, change, evolving – all those things mean busting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself. And as we all know, comfort zones are just so dang comfy.

So that’s where I’m at, and that’s where I’m headed for 2017. It’s my year to evolve.

 

Fifteen

It’s weird how certain dates stick with us, no matter what. Even if we don’t want them to.

September 1st is a date I will always remember. It was the day I married my ex husband – fifteen years ago. Every year when the date rolls around, I wonder if maybe I’ll forget it, if perhaps I won’t be flooded with conflicting thoughts and emotions, but it never seems to happen.

This day always makes me wonder about life. About what my life would look like if we’d never gotten married to begin with. Or what my life would be if we had stayed together. I guess it’s natural to think about those things.

Mostly, though, this day reminds me of how far I’ve come in the past fifteen years. I’ve learned what true happiness is – both in and out of a relationship. I’ve learned how to be independent and strong – how to stand up for myself and for my daughters. I’ve learned the importance of letting go of toxic people. I’ve grown and changed in so many positive ways – growth and change that never would have happened, had we stayed together.

I’m grateful to my ex husband. For our daughters, mostly, but also for teaching me what I’m made of. I don’t know if I would have discovered that, had my life taken a different turn. I guess I’ll never know.

So today I celebrate, just a little – and feel deeply grateful that it’s not my wedding anniversary after all.

Death of a Marriage

It’s not often that a marriage dies all at once, it one swift motion. Rather, it dies slowly, one small action — or inaction — at a time. It slowly decays from the inside out…you know it’s happening long before it becomes apparent to the outside world.

Sometimes you’re able to rescue it before it goes too far, and other times, all you’re capable of doing is standing helplessly by, watching it all crumble down around you while you hopelessly wonder what it was all built on to begin with for it to collapse so easily.

You wonder, too, if it’s collapsing, or just shaking a little right now under the burden of life. The only way to find out is to wait and see if it’s still there tomorrow …and the day after that, and the day after that. You wonder about everything, in fact — going back to the very foundation, wondering if it was ever built on anything more than hopes and dreams.

The truth is, we’re all so fragile underneath it all.

When Life Gets in the Way

A good friend lost her husband recently. The news came out of nowhere and I’m not going to lie, it shook me to the core. Another one of those stark reminders of the impermanence of life. And the unfairness of it all. And how at any moment, everything could come crashing down. It’s one of those things I can’t allow myself to think about for too long; otherwise the anxiety overtakes me and it’s incredibly difficult to function.

This gaping hole in my friend’s life got me thinking about my own life, and how, despite our vows to NOT allow it to happen, CBG and I have gotten a little bit complacent in our marriage. It’s easy to blame it on current circumstances — stress of my new job, CBG’s lack of job, our less-than-ideal financial situation. Stupid Seasonal Affective Disorder sucking the life out of me.

The real truth is that we’ve gotten lazy and complacent with each other. We’ve even – dare I say it – been taking one another for granted, just a little bit. But my friend’s husband’s passing has reminded me that there are no guarantees in this life, and honestly, we have no idea how much more time we have together. We could have 40 years…or a single day. But even though we’re relatively certain we have tomorrow, that doesn’t mean that we should waste today. We can come up with all kinds of excuses — lack of money, lack of time, lack of energy — if we want to. But by allowing those excuses to get in the way we’re doing each other and our marriage a huge disservice.

CBG and I sat down last weekend and had a long argument talk about our current situation. I won’t lie, it wasn’t pretty. But it brought us to a place where we needed to be — and gave us both the kick in the ass that we very much needed. No, we don’t have a lot of money right now. And I’m seriously lacking in my usual get-up-and-go. And yeah, CBG’s unemployment is dragging him down mentally and emotionally. But we’re determined to not let those excuses keep dragging us down. All we have is here and now, and dammit, we need to make the most of it.

Tricky Parts of Marriage

I’ve written about this before, I’m sure. About how marriage is just plain hard some days. I firmly believe that it’s supposed to be hard sometimes, though. I mean…why wouldn’t it be? Marriage is about sharing your life with someone. It’s about compromise and getting along and sometimes doing things that you don’t really want to do. To me, that’s work. I know that not everyone agrees with that perspective. But even if you don’t agree with my definition of “work”, you can at least agree that marriage requires effort sometimes, yes?

I’ve been thinking this week about balance in marriage. About how a good marriage is a bit of a balancing act. That depending on what’s happening, sometimes the marriage is more focused on one partner than the other. Nothing wrong with that, as long as the pendulum swings back at some point, so that the other partner gets some of that focus at some point as well.

I think one of the trickiest parts of all in a marriage is figuring out when it’s time to be completely giving and unselfish, and when it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and be totally selfish. In a well-balanced relationship there’s comfortably room for both; but again, only when there is a give-and-take and both partners feel that everything works out fair in the end.

One of the things wrong with my first marriage was that I gave and gave and gave – and my ex took and took and took – until I was completely drained…not to mention pretty dang resentful. I grew up thinking that if you loved someone you should give everything to them…and that anything else was selfish and well…just plain bad. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot since those days, and I realize that we’re all selfish sometimes and not only is that okay…but it’s actually healthy. It’s good to sometimes put our own wants and needs ahead of others. Because honestly, sometimes that’s the only way those needs will get taken care of.

But you know what’s kind of shitty? Some days I still have that little voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m a kinda crappy wife. Old habits die hard I guess…and old inner monologues die even harder.

Remembering the Good Stuff

I started a photo album on my Facebook page this summer where I’ve been making an effort to post lots of pictures from the summer. I’m sure that some of my friends are getting kind of sick of these photos, like I’m in a constant state of bragging about how lovely my life is. We all know those people on the Facebook. The braggers. <insert eyeroll here>

The truth is that these past several months have been a struggle on a number of different levels. An ADHD diagnosis for my CBG. Job stuff. Financial struggles and setbacks. Health issues for me.

And so so so much stress.

Ah, stress, the one common glittery golden thread sewing all of these things together.

Some of these things I can’t change. Others are being worked on, but the exact timeline is out of my control. What I’m doing my best to focus on right now are the things I can control.

The greatest of these is my own attitude. It’s a challenge, I won’t lie. But one thing I always tell my girls is that the things we pay the most attention to in our lives are the things that seem most important. When we focus on the negative/stressful things in our lives, they seem to eclipse everything else.

Well guess what? Same goes with the positives. This is why I’m working so hard on just enjoying life as it is right now. Hence, the Facebook photo album of the silly moments and fun adventures I’m having with my family this summer. Some day, in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to look back at all of this remember that sure, it was a rotten summer for many reasons but guess what else? It was a whole lot of fun, too. And as time goes on, things will get better. And those rotten, stressful memories will become just a hazy blur and we’ll be left with all the good stuff that I made a point of recording…because they’re things we paid attention to the most through all of this.

So, dear Facebook friends, about all those photos: sorry NOT sorry.

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