6 months of change

Six months are how long it has been since I have posted. Six months of complete change, but yet everything is still the same. Six months of that roller coaster ride of life that has now become so familiar to me. Six months of everything. rolled into nothing that would be meaningless at this point to share. Sure, I have many blogs rolling through this overactive brain at 1 a.m. tonight: but to be honest with you, I am here for one reason, one blog, one heartbreak I am struggling to overcome.

Last week, my youngest son came home for a visit, it was difficult enough given that I have not laid eyes on him in 10 months, but to make it even more difficult, he felt the need to visit my ex husband while he was in town. It is easy to understand why, this man was his step father for 12 years of his life. We separated a week before my son left for basic training, he came home for two weeks last year and has not been home since. In his mind, he has not seen or have any knowledge of the interactions and heartbreak between his ex stepfather and myself. I have hidden from him the tears, the loss of self, and the heartbreak of a failed marriage, for fear of destroying his hopes and dreams of any future for himself. After all, this is the same kid, who when his father and I separated when he was 5 reacted by ripping the skin off of his lips, pulling out all of his eyebrows and peeing in his bed until his early teens. The psychologist told us what we already knew, it was in response to the stress created by our separation and divorce. I was careful in my single years after my first divorce of who the kids met and how much they knew of my “single” lifestyle because of his self determent and torture. When my ex and I met, fell in love and married, it was for life. He was to be the surrogate father of my kids and we had many discussions before we married on what his role as step father was to be and how protective I was of my kids feeling heartbreak. The year before my son left for the US Air force, he and my ex become the closest they had been in years. With all of this knowledge under my belt, when my son asked if he should call my ex and request a visit, my stomach turned with nausea. I didn’t know how to respond, my first instinct was to ask if he was crazy! Why would he want to see a man who had made no attempts to contact him in the one year and a half we had been separated and had no outside appearances of being damage at all by our separation/divorce, I wanted to ask if he realized how many hours his mother had spent lost, dazed and confused, crying with bouts of anger, depression and the horrid feeling of losing myself and having no one to blame but me. How painful it was when the man I had married sent my kids and I packing and never looked back? How painful it was that he depleted every picture, memory, emotion that we had ever shared out of his heart and his home in one short weekend and walked away with full composure? I couldn’t ask him these things, because he wasn’t aware of any of them because of my protection of his heart. So I answered as calmly and maturely as I could by telling him he was a 21 one year old grown man, if he felt he needed to see his ex step father, then he needed to make that decision for himself.

The only time I have laid eyes on my ex since our separation was in February of this year. Keith and I were attending a hunting banquet/fundraiser for a local charity. My ex has never hunted a day in his life, never had a desire to, so imagine my surprise when he walks through the door with his brother and a young blonde in tow. How could I be jealous? I was with my new beau of over 4 months, but I found myself angry and feelings of rejection washed over me. In August, just before my 40th birthday and on our 10 year anniversary, I had composed a heart-felt email, begging for forgiveness for the affair, asking for a chance to make things better and a simple request to “talk” about it. He never responded. It was in that moment that I knew it was over and I wasn’t sure if I was hurt or relieved. The pain of him not responding, the jealousy of knowing in my heart he had met someone else only four short months after our separation was overshadowed by the guilt of my affair and the loss of self-esteem at wondering if I had made a fatal mistake. To see him walk in the room with his new girlfriend only brought about more feelings of confusion. I had been miserable, he was cold-hearted, mean and narcissistic during our entire marriage, but I was overcome with doubt ,fear and anger. I watched them uncontrollably at every chance I could glance that was without Keith or the ex realizing it. The comfort between them confirmed this was not a new relationship, the affection the ex brother-in-law showered on her told me that they had been together over the holidays and she knew the family well. I wasn’t jealous, I was hurt at being replaced so quickly: but how could I confirm these feelings when I was the one who had an affair and had ultimately chosen the path that ended our marriage?

The night passed, time moved forward and in April (my last post) I was anxiously looking forward to receiving the divorce papers in the mail. In my mind, it would be over. Signing those papers would end the heart-break, the despair, the frustration of feeling that I will never be the same. I was dismayed when the papers arrived in May announcing my 30 days to contest the divorce before a court date would be set. 30 days, seriously? We had been separated over a year, property disputes were settled ( I had signed a quick claim to relinquish it all to him) and now our lovely court system was informing me it would be another six weeks due to the “process”. I had nothing more to do than to move on with me life.

In May, financially falling to pieces and unable to pay my bills and maintain my lifestyle, I reluctantly agreed to accept Keith’s offer to move in with him for a while. It was against my will, better judgment and all I stood for, but I honestly had no choice but to be grateful I had this man in my life who was willing to open his doors to help me out. To add to the mixture of the feelings of heartbreak I was still experiencing from the affair and divorce, I now had the humiliation and embarrassment of failing to support myself and depending on another, something I swore I would never do again. This made a huge dent in my progress to overcome the horrid story my life had become in the last year. I put my big girl britches on, smiled through the tumultuous battle and trudged on.

July 18th was our court date, it was a Wednesday. I had images months before of the day being a celebration. I had false Posadas of a huge divorce party, with cheers of hurrah and surroundings of family and beloved friends telling me how happy they were that I was out of this mans clenches and proud of the woman I was today. Instead, I awoke to drive to the beach (in moving in with Keith I gave up my island life and returned to the mainland) and cried for hours at the same spot I had cried for hours the day I packed my bags and left. In my heart and my mind, I was no further along than I had been on that same day. I was still lost, dazed, empty, scared and alone, only now, I had a piece of paper to prove I was OFFICIALLY alone!

One week after our divorce was final, I opened our local newspaper to be dealt another blow. During our marriage, we both attended college and entered the same career field. It was our dream to begin our own family business and build it to pass on to my kids. We had both spent hours upon years pouring over statistics and gathering the information needed to create our dream. My accounting background in check, I had spilt blood in putting together the perfect business plan and we both had sacrificed much time in presenting this plan to banks, schools, grant and loan companies, etc. in pursuit of our dream. Seven short days after our divorce was final, I open an email from an old friend and colleague enquiring about my ex’s new business venture. She informed me he had quit his position with the company he had been with for 10 years and had opened a new business in our town: in that day’s paper, there it was in black and white. HIs smiling face, in front of his new sign with the logo I had created and the business I had helped form the image of. I was devastated. What should have been proof of this mans cold, narcissistic ego: only broke my heart more and damaged my self worth all over again. I have wondered on countless occasions how long this had been in the works and the obviousness of nothing being releases until after the ink was on the paper, only answers that question.

The embarrassment of losing my career over my affair with my co-worker, the humiliation and self contempt of opening my heart to a stranger who devastated not only my life but my soul as well: mixed with the realization of the uncompassionate, cold-hearted nature of my ex has only made me weaker. I felt like I am my own worst enemy and no matter what choices I make, the fates are against me. The pursuit of a new career field, the accomplishments and accolades I have achieved in that field since last January have been overshadowed and lost by feelings of abandonment, self loath and an over all feeling of failure.

That day was July 25th. Since then, I have once again pulled my pants up to my chin, refused to allow any of this to bring me down and made life changing decisions. I relinquished my position at the communication’s center and accepted a part-time on call status with them. I applied and received a year scholarship to return to school and pursue my Criminal Justice degree. I enrolled for five full-time classes for the fall quarter, accepted a full-time waitressing position and have continued to work at the call center 5-10 days a month. It’s not necessarily ambition that is driving me, its more of an obsession to bring my life to some level of normalcy. I have built my savings account, paid off/down several bills and recently had my eye on a new condo in the same complex I left in June. My relationship with Keith adequate enough to make it through, my hearts desire is to be back on my own two feet and not dependent upon another.

With all that in place, I was excited to learn that my son would be home for a few days before he deploys in a few months to Saudi Arabia. My protective nature kicked in, he has never met Keith, though he knows of his existence, I did not want it to be uncomfortable for him to return to yet another home, another man, a life for his mom that he did not recognize. So I rented the new condo for  two days (my lease does not begin until Nov 1). We were at the pool, enjoying a beautiful sunny day, when he asked the question of contacting the ex. Before the air had passed my lips in answer to his question he had his phone in hand dialing the number. I don’t think I breathed for the entire three minute conversation. He disconnected the line and seemed excited that Chris wanted to see him to and was happy to hear from him. My son was set to leave the next morning to visit his dad for  few days and on his way out of town he was stopping by our old townhouse for lunch with the ex. He was excited to see the “old home” and was anxious to see our mini daschund that I brought home as a gift for my husband before we were even ever married. Jake was his name and to date I would guess him to be 13 years old now. My kids have not seen our family pet since the day we drove off in disarray, April 22, 2012. His excitement only made me more nervous to what he would find on his visit. I knew from out side sources the ex had moved all of our belongings out the weekend after we separated and repainted thw hole town house, I was in fear for how stressful this meeting may be. I never once dreamt of the phone call I would receive from my son after his visit ended.

He had left our old home, en route to his fathers when he called to tell me about meeting my ex’s new wife. A week after our divorce was final , the ex released the news of his new business: two weeks after it was final, he remarried in a small intimate ceremony….at the same church we had been married. Least I fail to mention, their marital date is two days shy of our anniversary of August 17th. That call came in six days ago and I have not been able to move past it. I have cried, cried and cried: my appetite has waned, all I want to do is sleep and my heart has hurt as much as it did the day I realized it was over. The hurt is overwhelming and I embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. Again, I feel stupid, how do I explain to anyone that I was the one who had an affair, I was the one who didn’t fight for my marriage, but I am the one who is experiencing complete devastation. And that in itself is the statement of the year. How can he not hurt? How could he pack my kids and my items, move us out in one short week, repaint his home and move on with his life? He packed all of our photos in my hope chest, he gave back the two wedding bands I had purchased and he never looked back. He never asked how we were! If we were financially struggling, never called the kids, or appeared to miss any aspect of our life. All the while, I am struggling. I cannot move forward. While he is sitting in the home we owned, with a new spouse: I am living in a rented room in my lovers home. I own nothing, not a couch, not a bed, nothing. All the while, my son tells me of the new furniture in the home, the surround sound TV, the new hardwood floors. I am struggling to find my place in life with a new career: while has taken our dream and opened his own business with the business plan that I created. I am trying to find faith in the human race, specifically the male species while knowing in my heart I will probably never love again, Keith and I have an amicable relationship in that we have both been hurt and destroyed by marriage and we share a respect for each others space, basically we are friends with benefits: while he has a new wife, to replace me, obviously his trust in marriage was not wavered by any of our experiences in the last 12 years.

I am deeply hurt, lost and angry that this hurts! I have no knowledge how to move through it. I feel that I take 2 steps forward and 3 back most of the time. Are there any others with the same experience? Feelings? if so, how have you made it through or what is helping you battle the struggle?

Almost divorced

Divorce in dictionary

In 11 short days, I will be divorced. That brown manila envelope will arrive in the mail any day now. The one that includes the “official” papers that the government requires to announce to the world that I made a mistake and my marriage failed. I will open it with tearful eyes and hope the attorney doesn’t notice the little wet stains that remain by my signature when I send it back. I haven’t driven to check my PO box in days. The heaviness and fear in my heart forces my hands to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction and run for the hills.I find that reaction interesting, considering I have anxiously been wanting it all to be over. That is what scares me, it will actually be over.

From the first day, April 21 2012, that I fearfully packed two tiny bags of clothing, filled my car with the “important” things and hunkered in a motel room: to this morning, waking up to sunshine, birds chirping and a man who loves me laying by my side, it has been a journey. One that began with heart-break, desperation, loneliness and despair and will end with regret and fear but filled with a hope for a new tomorrow.

I made breakfast for my love this morning, shared a cup of coffee with him on the balcony, and watched with sadness as he drove away on his motorcycle heading to work. I haven’t shared with him the desperation that is in my soul, he knows nothing of the loneliness that I feel in my heart. It has nothing to do with him nor does he need to know. It has everything to do with the emotions and pathways that divorce carries you through. Those emotions, though felt by many, can only be understood by the ones experiencing them in the present.

When a person exits your life, its human nature to want to forget the bad memories and cherish the good. As time passes and the memories begin to fade, we tend to cling to the good emotions that were shared with that person, sometimes we clutch to tightly to the good memories and create a fictionalized character instead of remembering the person as they were. Once I was alone this morning, I stood on my balcony and I cried for the loss of my marriage. I felt guilty in participating in this new love in my life and I was overcome with fear, loneliness and a feeling of desperation: will these emotions ever end, was all that kept going through my mind. Will I ever stop crying?

As I sat there, overcome with emotions, a memory rushed into my mind of a similar day. My ex and I were in our fifth year of marriage. We had the perfect home, the perfect careers and the perfect little family, on the exterior: on the interior, my heart was filled with sadness, loneliness and isolation. The hubby was off to work, the kids were off to school and as I walked around my perfect little house, my heart desperately wanted to flee. I was over the passive aggressive nature of my husband, I was tired of the insults, the let downs and the control he had forced into my life. I dreamt of the day I could be out of his clutches, free to make my own decisions, trudge my way through life, and never have to feel the sting of his insults and coldness again. I sat on our front porch and I cried. I cried over the love I had dreamt of us having, the laughter and happiness I thought we were going to share, and the disappointment I felt in the emptiness in my heart. I watched the world go by and I longed for freedom. I longed to be the person I knew I was, the person who was not afraid to tackle the world.

I sat on my balcony today and I cried for many of the same reasons. The irony is, I have that freedom now, but long for that old known comfort of yesterday. It’s not so much that I miss him, but more that I miss the memories and comforts of having a life together. I watch couples together and I long for that comfort of knowing each other. The kind where you have been together long enough to know the favorite foods, favorite activities and moods of the other person. The kind where words don’t have to be spoken, it’s just being together that matters.

The last details of our 12 years together are drawing near and will soon be at the end. Where will I go from here? Who will I be now? Will I be strong enough to make it?

3redhearts

As we finish our property distribution, I clean out the storage unit that we shared together, and I mail the keys to our homes and cars to his attorney, I realize that its like burying the person you were and becoming a new person, one that you are meant to be. There is sadness, shock, isolation, and fear of watching that someone you loved, die. You stand idly by and feel the emptiness in knowing you will never see that person again, all that is left are memories.

Overcoming those feelings, looking to the future and seeing the doors and paths that have opened in front of you is the hard part. My wish for finality is coming true in a very short time. As I move forward in my life, making the way for a new love and new memories, I vow to not forget the person that I was. After all, it’s the person that I was that has made me the person I am today: a woman with hope, strength and most of all, love.

Holidays and Divorce: Will I ever enjoy them again?

It is Easter Sunday morning and my heart is full of sadness. I didn’t expect Easter to be hard. After all, I trudged through my 40th birthday, our 10 year anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines Day alone, what is one more day? I was wrong, it is just as hard as it was the first special event that I faced alone. To explain my feelings to you: I feel empty, lonely, sad, isolated and ALONE! More than anything, I feel forgotten, not worth fighting for and I wonder if anything I ever did in my last 40 years meant a thing to anyone. To add more depth to that statement, I am not suicidal: I am pouty and feeling more than a little sorry for myself.

As a kid, all of my holidays were spent with family. Though my parents divorced when I was 5, my Grandparents (maternal and paternal) more than adequately filled the void that a child may feel living in a one parent home. My mother was not a “holiday” person, for as long as I remember she was Bah Humbug about everything. My Grandmother’s (plural) were of a different sort. Holidays meant pre holiday evenings spent in the kitchen, making all the men and grandchildren favorite recipes: the day of the holiday was filled with food, laughter and family love. My Grandmothers birthday was 5 days after mine, every year, our family would gather at my Grandmothers house and have a huge birthday pig picking, Thanksgiving was the same, Christmas meant going to both sets of Grandparents and enjoying different traditions with each. My maternal Grandmother made a nummy nummy sweet potato pie and my paternal grandmother would can cinnamon pickles. The memories of my childhood holidays are filled with warmth, love and laughter. As I began to grow into womanhood, I knew in my heart, this was the feeling and memories that I wanted to share with my husband and children. In my first marriage, my MIL was a traditional woman who spent every holiday in the kitchen. I was elated the first Christmas she invited me into her kitchen to help her cook. A tradition was began and every holiday after I could be found with my apron on and my hip bone permanently planted in front of her stove. Age set in, illness and time passed and eventually I took the traditions into my home. As my kids grew, I would be that excited Mom, looking forward to placing flour paw prints on our floor Easter morning, placing baskets filled with their favorites at their door and smelling the aroma of ham, green bean casserole and fresh-baked bread fill our home. After the excitement of all the Easter candy, we would make our way to church in our little pastel outfits, to return home and devour our meal. Easter afternoon was spent in the recliner, on the couch or in the bed, napping off all those carbs, but there was not a person in my home who was not wearing a smile.

Once the first husband and I divorced I refused to give up my traditions. My kids were still young and holidays were still celebrated in our home, just without the presence of a male role. My second husband and I met and I remember the excitement in showing him my cooking skills our first Thanksgiving together. He loved the way I cherished the holidays and I would see excitement on his face every year too. As my kids grew older, found a life of their own and were sometimes not present at our holiday luncheons, I stood my ground and still refused to give them up. I remember it only being my husband, daughter and myself for a few holidays in the most recent years. Though my heart hurt looking at the empty seats at my dining table, I was mature enough to accept life goes on and children grow, and I was proud that the hubby and I had not forgotten or gave up on our traditions.

This last year has been so different.

The first special day was our 10 year anniversary in August. I did not get out of bed all day and I never stopped crying for 2 days. My 40th birthday was lots of fun and filled with great friends but there was that emptiness of not having that special someone by my side, celebrating my life. Thanksgiving and Christmas were horrid. In divorce, the public has a common misconception: they believe divorce is an option (whether you were for it or not) and they tend to not realize the emptiness and loneliness that divorce leaves on a soul. In my circumstance, once the holidays were over, I received many phone calls asking about my holidays. Once they discovered I was alone all day, each day, they gave a heart-felt apology and the common statement “Oh, I just assumed you’d be with your family for the holidays or I would have asked you over!” was offered. What they fail to realize, I lost my entire family in one short year. My two sons are 22 and 21 and both left for Air Force Basic Training in Jan and May respectively. My youngest son is in GA, 9 hours away and though my oldest son is based here in NC, the military rotates holidays. That are not going to always have holidays off and even if they do, they may not have the time available to make it home. My daughter moved out in November, is enjoying her life as an 18-year-old and honestly has no interest in holidays with mom. Need I remind anyone, in 21 short days, I will be officially divorced.

Christmas 2011 was filled with the sounds of my three children running down the stairs in anticipation of what was under the tree, the smells of turkey and gravy simmering in the oven, the sight of ripped Christmas paper all over the living room, my husband spread out on the couch snoring and the overwhelming amount of dirty dishes in the sink. That was the last holiday we were together and I am beginning to believe, it will be the last holiday I ever really want to remember.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and now Easter: there are no sounds of children in my condo, there is no smell of ham or turkey wafting through my home: there are no colored eggs, purple peeps, or chocolate bunnies in sight. I woke this morning, wanting to attend the sunrise service, but simply could not muster the energy to drive there alone, sing alone and celebrate alone. I knew it would only make me cry.

I joined a web based divorce support group that sends daily divorce care emails. In the email I receieved today, the topic was loneliness and isolation. The email encouraged you to force yourself out your front door, join in some public activity and fight your way through the loneliness. Honestly, I don’t have the strength. More than anything, I want to be driving to church in my easter green dress, hearing my kids whine about being up so early. I want to return home, rush to change, make sure all the food is warmed and the table set. I want to watch my sons tear into the ham like they are starving, fight my daughter for the last boiled egg and feel upset when everyone is too full to eat the dessert I spent two hours making.

My heart misses those days! I don’t think they will ever be the same!

Finding peace

Its been quite awhile since my last blog. I can gratefully blame my absence on my new job, my relationship with Keith and day-to-day life. As time is moving forward, things are coming together. Time has changed to move forward: the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and I am excited to say that I am able to take my super long beach walks again. (Its time to battle off those 6 pounds gained this winter!) On those days where the turf beckons, I put in place my ear buds, hit the button for slacker radio on my cell phone, and trudge through the sand finding myself lost in the salt air and the sounds of the waves hitting the shore. It’s during those beach walks that life philosophy rushes through my mind. It is easy for my mind to stray and become consumed in any random thoughts of its chosing.My beaten walking path.

During my walk yesterday, it dawned on me, in just over 30 days I will be divorced. It’s hard to believe that it has been almost one year ago since that fateful day that my marriage ended. My mind began to return to memories that I would have rather forgotten at a certain point in my life: but ones that I am now at ease with and can gladly allow myself to return to from time to time. The randomness of my own internal conversation is one that I will not share with you, for fear that I might prove myself as crazy, but the topic is one that has lingered in my thoughts throughout the weekend.

I allowed my mind to roam over the 11 years that C. and I were married. For probably the 100th time since last April, I dotted from the first night we met, to the first few years filled with happiness, the years that I forced myself to believe it was acceptable to be unhappy because I was married, and the heartbreak of the last few years of our marriage as I watched it crumble out of my control. For the 101th time, I wondered why it took so long for freedom to find me and how I ever rationalized and convinced myself it was ok to be sad and lonely. For some reason I cannot explain, I began to think about an old co-worker. We had both been hired with the same company on the same day in 2005. We went through a lot of training together and we eventually came to know each other pretty well. He was an unattractive, ill-mannered, honorary sort of person, that made you wonder if there was ever anything in life that made him smile. His outlook was always pessimistic, his sarcasm flowed to the point of annoyance and his wife was exactly like him. They would go on vacations to exotic places and he would bring in photos filled with them on the beach, on cruises, at nice restaurants. etc. Not one of those pictures ever included a smile, hand holding, or their arms around each other. My manager and I would rudely talk about their relationship behind his back. The company moved him to our sister site ,just 15 miles down the road from us and the office rejoiced in knowing that his negativity and bad attitude were gone. For him, he welcomed the move. The place was a satellite office, he was the only person on staff and he welcomed not having to be around people. He and his wife shared the same mentality, they had no friends, partook in no social activities and lived in their own miserable isolation. Fate intervened, unfortunately, during St. Patty’s day weekend in 2008 when his wife died of a massive heart attack in her sleep. He was devastated. His world collapsed and many of us wondered if he would survive. As the months moved forward, we all took turns taking him out to lunch, bringing meals to his home, inviting him to social activities. At first, he refused our offers and appeared doomed to a life of isolation. As time moved forward, not only would you find his door open when you visited his home but we all began to notice his heart open as well. He began sharing his life story with us: from his mother dying when he was a very young age, to his father dying a year before his wife and his brother-in-law committing suicide just a few short months after his wife passed. He shared meeting his wife in NY at a very young age, not one of us ever knew that she was 15 years older than him. When they met, she was settled into her teaching career and he was just a lad not quite sure what he wanted to do with life. His wife convinced him to move in with her, she enrolled him into college without his permission or consent and slowly began to take control of his life. I have to assume, loosing his mother at such a young age, conjured up feelings of inadequacy in his heart and meeting an older woman, willing to take him in, guide him down the path of life and share her maternal instincts with him was very appealing at his young age. He was 17 and she was 32 when they married. At one point in his life, he had been happy, vibrant and full of life: he shared old photo albums with us and I almost fell out of my chair at the pictures of him smiling and having a good time. As we all became closer to him, we began to edge him on to go out to dinner, we put together on online dating profile for him, we convinced him to sell his fathers house and when he was ready, we all drove to his home and helped him box his wifes belongings. Over the last two years of my employment with our company, he became a very close friend of mine and my ex husbands. It was amazing to watch him transform into a man who I never imagined possible. As the years of our friendship moved forward, he shared stories of he and his wife’s life together, and we all began to realize just how controlling of a woman she had been. In the early years of their marriage, she had layed the groundwork for how they would lead their life, and she gave him the option of an early out if it was a life he did not feel he wanted. She did not like parties, church, festivals, basically any activity that involved having to be around people. She would work, pay half of the bills, clean and cook and in return, she expected him to work, pay half the bills and remain faithful. I was shocked to know, the last 10 years of their marriage, they slept in separate rooms. They were married 30+ years when she died.

In the beginning, I watched him mourn. He flowed through the patterns like clock work. He lost weight, he cried at the drop of a hat, he felt sorry for himself, he hated going home, he would not move anything in the house: for the first year after her death, he refused to sleep in the bed, he would sleep on the couch where she died. He carried photos of her in his pocket, in his car, on his desk; photos that had not been there before her death. It broke my heart to watch him in those first stages, he genuinely was devastated. That first Christmas, we literally yanked him by his ear, tied him into the backseat of the car and forced him into a Christmas social at the local Catholic Church. That night, I saw a spark ignite. It was wonderful to watch him excitedly begin to relish in a new life he had never known. He became a whole new man. He began to date, his social calendar was NEVER empty. Heck, sometimes we would go a month and not hear from him, only to find he had been on vacation for a week in Bermuda, met a woman there and brought her back to the States. Eventually, he began to date a woman who had no traits or comparisons to his deceased wife. She was vivacious, full of life, laughed all the time and feel head over heels in love with him. They became engaged, he sold his house and the last time I talked to him, they were living in Virginia near her son and he was enjoying being called Granddad. (he never had children)

I began to wonder why his heart led him to lead a life of isolation for so many years, denying himself the life he longed for. What made him be accepting of existing and spending his days brimming with unhappiness and negativity? Why would you spend over ten years of your marriage, never touching each other, sleeping in separate rooms? Did he ever long for laughter, a soft touch from his wife, a tender hug or that look of passion that you share with someone who knows your soul? How many days did he spend, convincing himself it was ok and acceptable , just because he had found a life of daily routine and a comfort that he was afraid of losing? It took almost two years to convince him to break that comfort zone, but once he did, you cannot imagine the differences in him.

I look at the differences in myself since a year ago. I remember the loneliness, emptiness and just plain sadness that I carried in my heart for years. I remember feeling unloved when my husband would berate me, I remember feeling unworthy when he would aggressively insult me and I remember wondering what I had to do to make him love me. I changed everything about myself for him and he still never loved me like I needed him to. I changed my friends, my beliefs, my appearance, my daily activities, etc. By the time I realized the err of my ways, there was a comfort in the sadness. I could depend on being lonely, I was not let down anymore at the rejection it had become my crutch. I convinced myself because he did not physically hit me, cheat on me, do drugs or drink to excess that I would be a fool to leave. Because he could present himself in the public as such an upstanding person, he had a great job, and we could afford things I could never have on my own, I bowed my head and accepted my life. I accepted my fate and I learned to live with all of it.

As I was returning home, ironically, I passed a gentleman walking his dog that carried many resemblances to my old co-worker. I came in the condo, logged onto my Facebook and searched his name. As I was scrolling through hundreds of profiles looking for a familiar face, there he was. His face stretched in a “possum eating” grin, happiness radiated through the computer. His arms wrapped tightly around his new wife, hers around him and they looked happy.

I have no regrets. My life has led me to a great place of peace and I may not be here if I could go back in time and change anything. I am a work in progress but I have pride in myself. I know who I am and the things I want and I am willing to work hard and honestly to get them. I have made mistakes, I have made bad choices, but bottom line, I forgive myself. I have to. I am loveable, deserving and human and I will accept no more than what makes me happy.

I , by no means, am comparing myself to someone who has lost a loved on in death. Instead, I have revisited too many times the death of my marriage. I have mourned, I have cried, I have carried guilt and anger. Now its my time for happiness. I forgive myself and I open my heart to the many wonders of the world that I have yet to experience. In honor of my friend, whose radiance I envy, I trust myself enough to carry me through my future. I can do this!

Try – My anaology of a song.

My favorite song, at the present moment, is Pink’s – Try. I’ve loved Pink for many years, even when she was struggling to become the kick ass singer she is today. Her songs are real, heartfelt and lots of times, speak about moments and feelings that I have experienced in life. Try makes sense to me; I always think of R., our affair, the ending of my marriage and my present relationships…through the few words of Pink, I find a bit of peace knowing someone out there may understand.
“Ever wonder about what he’s doing, How it all turned to lies, Sometimes I think that it’s better to never ask why”

I wonder what “he” is doing a lot. I think about R. often still, just not every day like I used to. I wonder where he is working, what his daily routine is and if he is happy. My heart is mending from the damage he caused but I am not sure if I will ever forget him. Time has put a distance between us, Feb. 26th will be a year from the date we started the affair. May 8th will be a year since he left my life. I always wonder what happened to make him decide to flee my presence. What words were said, conversations held or ideas ran through his mind that I will never know about. Then again, I don’t want to know. I will never understand the promises he made, the life visions that he gave me, and the love I thought “we” felt, and how quickly he forgot it all. If I knew why, it may just break my heart all over again.

Chorus
“Where there is desire, There is gonna be a flame, Where there is a flame, Someone’s bound to get burned, But just because it burns, Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die, You’ve gotta get up and try try try”
I’m not sure I will ever believe in love again. This statement is more profound to me than anyone can know. The truth is, when the heart is involved, it’s a promise that someone is going to get hurt. There is no perfect relationship, no perfect marriage, and even those that spend their lives together experience that heartbreak when the other dies. It takes effort, after having your heart broken, to put yourself back out there again. To place your faith in someone and trust they have your best interests at heart. For me, it’s a day to day process still. I have to remind myself, it’s not my first heart break, surely will not be my last, but my heart is not prepared to be hurt again, let down or disappointed.

“Funny how the heart can be deceiving, More than just a couple times. Why do we fall in love so easy, Even when it’s not right.”

Can I get an Amen? I fell in love with my husband, though the red flags were blowing in the wind. Things fell apart, but I didn’t want to let go, for fear of failure. By the time I met R., I was desperate and longing for affection. He was willing to give it, I opened my heart and fell head over heels, though we were both married and talked many times about the consequences if we were caught. Not even a year later, I am dating a man that I am telling “I love you.” I care deeply about him, but I’m not sure I LOVE him.

Chorus

“Ever worried that it might be ruined, And does it make you wanna cry? When you’re out there doing what you’re doing, Are you just getting by? Tell me are you just getting by”

More days than I want to admit, I think my life is ruined. I never expected my life to be like this at 40. I had pictured myself working hard at my career, owning my own home, enjoying the empty nest with my husband, planning exotic vacations, having BBQ’s and poker nights with our friends and simply enjoying the fruits of my labor. Instead, I find myself struggling to pay the bills, facing having to work two jobs this spring to get ahead, and there is no prospect in the future to be in my own home. I do not even own a bed or a couch, thank God for fully furnished rentals. Every day is a struggle. I am grateful for the advancements that I have made, but there is no relief on the horizon. I’ve been projected into a whole new world of solo responsibility and sometimes, I miss who I used to be, I miss the me I thought I would be today.

I am finally reaching a point of being able to hold my head up again. So many days I was embarrassed and ashamed of the affair with R. Everyone in my old work industry knew about it, my ex made it a point to tell as many as he could in the community and my life had been ruined over it. When I was in public, I would hang my head low if someone was around that had knowledge of it. Sometimes, I would feel so ashamed, I would come home and cry for hours. I wasn’t sure I would ever get over the guilt, but as time is passing, it is not so much of a burden to bear.
I have been afraid of love and emotions. So many times I have convinced myself I am not worthy of love that I am sure I have missed many opportunities to be happy. I also am fearful of trusting again. I don’t know if I can, I include myself in that equation. My heart continues to make mistakes, mistakes that cost me more and more as time goes on. How do I know I can be faithful to someone? Am I strong enough to make it when things begin to falter or damage myself by following my heart? I am not so sure it needs to be released into the wild, ever again.

I ran into my ex-husband Friday night, for the first time since our separation. K. and I went to a hunters banquet, we were sitting at the table and “poof” there he is. He is walking in the door with his new girlfriend. At first, it was awkward. I moved to the opposite side of the table and made a point to not be in the same area as him at any given time. Then it dawned on me, I was feeling NOTHING. Actually, I was feeling something, grateful that it was her and not me sitting by his side. I watched as he carried on his politicking around the room. Smiling, shaking hands, making her walk behind him as he put on his pretenses: and I felt free. He never held her hand, never walked beside her, and many times, left her awkwardly sitting at the table while he did what he wanted. I realized, though my affair was admittedly wrong and should have never happened, everything happens for a reason. A good friend told me after the separation and R.’s disappearance that maybe R. was destined to be in my life for long enough to give me a reason to leave my marriage. Maybe fate never meant for us to be together for more than we were, the end result was to guide me out of years of unhappiness that I had locked myself into. As my eyes grazed over my ex and his new girl, I focused on K. walking behind them. He was laughing with his friends as he was filling a plate with desserts for us to share. There were no pretenses, fake presentations or passive aggressive gestures with his actions. There was only my simple redneck boyfriend, bringing his girl some dessert, and having fun with his friends by simply being himself.

As my ex passed me by, he sarcastically looked right at me, with hopes of making me uncomfortable,  in his true passive/aggressive demeanor; he spoke and asked me how I was. I caught him off guard when I smiled a heartfelt smile and answered honestly “I’m doing great, thanks for asking.” The anger showed in his eyes, his cheeks turned red and in that moment, I think he realized he no longer held any power over me.

Maybe Pink’s words are true. I’ve experienced deep heartbreak, but I am still here. Maybe, soon enough, my heart will be willing, who knows, maybe K. and I will find “love” or maybe I will be in the right place at the right time and some non-expecting gentleman will give me a reason to get up and try. Time will tell, for now, my only regret is not looking at the new girlfriend Friday night and telling her “Good luck with that.” Life choices rid me of that unhappiness…..

Dating: Why do we do it?

A young ex coworker of mine forwarded a letter to me yesterday that made me begin to think about dating, between the age groups and in general. This young  is a ripe old 24 years of age. When she was 16 she met the love of her life. (hopefully there is more life ahead for her to change that.) They dated steady for 6 years, until she caught him with another woman two years ago. She broke it off, as she should have, and is now heartbroken that this man is now in a heavy relationship with is lover, they are engaged and they have opened a successful restaurant in our area. I have spent hours with her, seeing her heartbreak and her struggle to move forward with her life. She did the wise thing and she took a break from dating, she made only one mistake, she worked three jobs to occupy her time and never did much for herself. Once she began to throw herself back into the dating world 9 months ago, she did it with a vengeance. She posted many profiles on more dating web sites than I care to mention. She has a record of living in 4 week relationships, she will meet a guy on a dating site, sleep with him immediately, change her relationship status on her facebook page, and post an obnoxious amount of posts on her sweet boyfriend and their activities. It doesn’t matter who the current boyfriend is, it’s the same cycle for her every time. She then grows tired of them, for one reason or another, and way too fast for me to keep up with, she is off and running with the next. About a month ago, she began to post pictures and comments on her new “boy”. (that is probably a HUGE problem there, even twenty years olds do not want to be referred to as boy.) I noticed a difference with this one, she looked really happy. On valentines day, she texted me that he had purchased them a couples massage and had purchased some of her favorite french chocolates on the internet and they were delivered to her work. She was over the moon and I was happy for her.

In one short 24 hour period, it all changed. After their loving cupid day together, her sweet boy sent her an email the next day that included the following:

“I need to part ways with you, not want, need. The reason is simple, I can’t see a future that includes marrying you. For a Christian man, dating without the purpose of marriage is honestly pointless and sinful.”

Now, just to add my opinion, this is a 25-year-old kid who just wasn’t that into her. He wasn’t very Christian when he slept with her on the first night and you should have seen some of the photos she posted of them partying together. With that said though, is it ever ok to date without the purpose of marriage and if you do, are you leading on the other person who may not feel the same as you.

My life is totally different at my ripe old 40 years. I refuse to post anymore singles ads, the two I posted last summer attracted no takers and I really was insulted by that! I do not believe in one night stands anymore, I have had two in my lifetime and they always ended with me being disgusted with myself and no matter if my intentions were to just have sex, I felt nasty afterwards. I have absolutely NO intentions of ever getting married again, two strikes and I am out.

With these feelings on dating and relationships, I’ll update you on my current “relationship”. K. and I have been seeing each other almost 6 months now. After I spent New Years alone, I had full intentions of breaking off our once a week meetings and moving on. He returned home from his holidays with his family a totally different man. What was before once a week sex sessions has advanced to my having to fight him off with a stick. The three weeks he spent away with his family made him realize he was in “love” and after the third week of January, he found enough nerve to tell me so. Time moved on and a few weeks ago, I told him I love you back. We spend the majority of our free time together, my new job is dominating most of my life now. More times than not, I enjoy his company and our time together, but the above question has been on my mind recently.

I see no potential of a future with K. As ashamed as I am to say this, the negatives outweigh the positives, and that is a deal breaker. He is a good hearted man and he treats me well, but he is also a mama’s boy who has yet to slice that umbilical cord. He lives in his own home, that he built adjacent to his parents property. IN the mornings he walks over and eats the breakfast his mom cooked for him, in the evenings, its dinner. His mom still does his laundry and helps him clean his house. Not the future I would hope for myself.

He is also a mans man, a southern redneck who loves his Nascar, hunting and beer. He is not big on emotions and really has no clue how to treat a lady. By the last statement, I mean, he is not a romantic. For an example: last night it snowed for the first time this year. In eastern NC, we rarely ever see snow, so it was a rare treat to watch the snowfall last night. I stayed at his home so we coudl enjoy it together. At one point, it was snowing really heavy and was just beautiful. I was standing at the window, feeling so peaceful and relaxed. In my mind, I envisioned him coming behind me, wrapping his arms around me and standing quietly enjoying the moment with me. I tenderly looked his way, asked him to come watch the snow with me, to which he replied “I can see it from here hun, the race is on.” I stood by myself and watched the beauty of nature, as loneliness washed over my heart.

 

What I was craving

What I was craving

I no longer am willing to simply accept someone in my life because I am lonely, I want to feel loved. There is so much I want from this life and some days, I wonder why I am wasting my time. So what am I doing in this relationship? I care deeply for him, but I have already stated, there is no future for us. Is it ok for me to continue us spending time together even though I have these feelings? We both have agreed we never plan to marry again but I am a little nervous, he has been making references lately on my moving in with him and that is a no go. At what point do I send him that email that says “I need to part ways”? When is ok to date, when you know there is no future? Any and all input would be appreciated.

What I received

What I received

Pride vs. neccessity

 

“Pride is a personal commitent. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity.”

 
There comes times in all of our lives that we are forced to ignore our initial instincts and allow survival mode to guide through a trying time. My survival mode kicked in immediately after my ex locked us out of our home. I knew, as a newly single mother, I had to make everything right for my daughter, regardless of what it took.

After I was terminated from my place with the company R. and I were employed with, I was terrified. I cannot explain to you just how terrified. In less than two weeks, I had left my home, my marriage, and was now awaking to a new life, in a 6 week rented condo, with no hopes of an income in the future.

We all are aware of the present economy and unemployment statistics and many of us know that a new job is not landed overnight. With that said, I had no choice but to hit the streets, putting in applications at the local restaurants for waitressing positions. The timing of my separation and unemployment could not have been better, tourism season kicks in just before memorial day, so the popular restaurants begin to up their staffing numbers around May. I cannot complain, I was employed within the first week: but my morale was low and I could not find happiness in being a 39-year-old waitress. At the age of 31, I had put myself through college and worked hard to earn the degree that was now taking up space on my living room wall. I had been in my current career field for 8 years: it was a field of nobility, notoriety and stature: here I was, now tying on my black apron and carrying around my order book every day, with embarrassment and shame. (don’t misunderstand that analogy, I do not carry disdain for anyone that works as a bartender or server: for me, it was a huge step down from the suits and heels and five figure income I was used to) ID_no1_6722

In my current state of mind, I think the shock and numbness of the trauma I had suffered was enough to distract me from the harshness of reality and that was probably a good thing. It wasn’t until the end of July, when the distraction began to wear off, that I realized how extreme my situation had become. I was surrounded by everything that I had never agreed with. My co workers were young, average 20’s, enjoying a lifestyle full of drugs, alcohol and, the majority of them, welfare fraud. They all came from varying backgrounds but shared the same mentality for life: if you can’t drink it, smoke it or have sex with it. it’s not worth your time. I isolated myself from them, by not allowing myself much interaction kept me safe and far away from the drama that surrounded their daily work environment. Eventually, my quietness became an appellant for them and the drama was carrying over into my life.

Just before I quit my job at the first restaurant, there was a situation involving a 22-year-old waitress that I never did like. In mid July a close friend of mine was coming for a week’s visit. In casual conversation with this chick, I mentioned my friend would be in town soon and I planned on getting some much needed “Girl” time. I saw no harm in releasing that information, if I participated in a conversation randomly, I was able to camouflage myself more easily. A few days later, I’m not sure if it was nerves or a stomach bug, I called in sick. I had been up all night hugging the toilet and there was no way I was making it in that day. The next day, I returned to work and was confronted by the head waitress. She explained that the 22 year old had heard my call when I let them know I was sick and had spent the day telling everyone she could find that I was not sick, but hung over. She said I had bragged a few days before about hitting the town with my company and getting “crunk”.  I still have no freaking idea what she meant by “Crunk” so that is definitely NOT a term in my vocabulary and I explained that to the head waitress. I had a doctor’s note in my pocket book, I left my supervisor standing on the second story, I marched myself downstairs, found my doctor’s note, walked straight up to the 22 year old, put it in her face, and let her know, the next time she had something to say, to get her facts straight. You should have seen the looks on her 20 year old friends faces….it was a priceless moment, regardless, in that moment, I knew I could not carry on that daily process anymore. My friend did arrive the next week for her stay and over the course of the week she could sense my distress in my employment situation. It was only a week later when I submitted my resignation and quit. It was a tough decision to make, there was still 6 good weeks left in the tourist season, which meant a great income for another month, but ultimately, my morals and pride took over and I simply could not put myself in that situation anymore.

It was the middle of July when I began seriously submitting resumes to anyone and everyone. I applied for every professional position you can think of: administrative, accounting, law enforcement, health care. It was my goal to not have to wait tables in more and return to being proud of myself and my career. ultimately, it wasn’t in the cards at that period in my life and I reluctantly began to send applications to restaurants again. It was in August that I was hired with the second restaurant.

I carried high hopes walking into that job. It was a higher scale restaurant than the previous bar I worked in, the client’s was one of a professional nature and my co workers were older and more mature. At first, I felt content and accepting of where life had led me. There was not much drama associated with my employers and I felt comfortable in my environment. I still carried the hope of returning to professional setting and carried on with submitting resumes to potential employers, but I did not feel the desperation that I had before. At least I never felt that desperation, until mid October, when the owner of the second restaurant returned to run the establishment.

She was in her 50’s: she and her “Boyfriend” had purchased the restaurant together 16 years ago and through the rumor mill, I knew she had a history of alcohol abuse. Currently, her 32-year-old daughter had been helping the boyfriend run the establishment. John was a laid back man, quiet and easy to get along with. He oversaw the kitchen part of everything. He was essentially in the kitchen with his crew all the time and he allowed Michelle to run the restaurant and patron part of everything. Michelle’s mom, Carla, had been in the hospital since July with pancreatic failure and kidney issues. For the first few weeks of my employment, they had not expected her to survive, but here she was, in the middle of October returning to work and man, was she hell on wheels. An alcoholic for over 30 years, you can only imagine how unhappy she was at being told by her doctors to never drink again. She was vile, pessimistic and she created much more drama than you would ever expect from a 50 year old woman. Within two weeks of her return, 4 of our staff quit, which left only myself, Michelle, the bartender and the kitchen crew. Her focus became making my life hell. She would cut my hours, send my home without warning and more than a few times, I caught her pocketing my tip money. I was frustrated, angry and everything felt hopeless. For months I had sent out resumes and my friends had asked everyone they knew, with no responses. After my daughter moved in with her Dad, I even began sending resumes to job openings in cities hours away. At that point, if it was in my destiny to move to a new town, then so be it.

All seemed hopeless. December came, my mentality was at its lowest. My daughter had been out of my home for a few weeks, my heartbreak was still fresh and though time was moving forward, I was still feeling “lost”. I made the decision to take a months break on the job hunt, I could not take the stress anymore. I had spent hours upon days upon months browsing the internet – Craigslist, indeed.com, LinkedIn, meetup, etc. to no avail. I was done, simply put. I reached a point where I decided to hang my head low, keep my mouth shut and do my job. Every fiber of my brain wanted more than anything to drive to work and tell Ms. alcoholic bi-polar bosslady to shove it where the sun didn’t shine, but I was at no point financially to do that. I simply had to accept what was my present fate. Then, everything changed.

It was a cold rainy day in December. I had driven to my girlfriends house to sit in front of the fire-place, sip some white zifandel and forget the world for a bit. We were having a heated discussing over the Home Networks “flip it” when my cell phone rang. It was a number I did not recognize and I almost did not answer it. Something in my belly twitched and my heart fluttered so I answered the call. It was a local law enforcement agency phoning about a position open with our county as a tele communicator. In mid August, I had forwarded my résumé to them, at the same time, their HR Department was transferred from their old office across town into a new office, and here it was December, and they were just now finding my résumé. They offered me an interview for two days later that I EAGERLY accepted. I could not believe my luck! I was ecstatic. Two days passed, I entered the interview with confidence and nailed it. They phoned the beginning of the next week and offered me the job. I did not hesitate to accept, I did not care if they saw how excited and happy I was, for once EVERYTHING FELT RIGHT!

It was week before Christmas, my new job set to start mid January, when I reported to work and informed my boss of my new job. I offered to stay with the restaurant until New Years, but when I informed my boss fbba8ff3-6896-4d3f-8eb0-e9ad9ff5d34dI would not be working New Years Eve, she not so nicely told me that was a deal breaker. Then began the rant of innuendos and insults that I had endured for the two months since she had returned. I quietly put on my jacket, grabbed my purse, and walked out the door.  I have no regrets about that.My Grandmother raised me to treat others as you wish to be treated, but sometimes, after you have taken more punishment than you deserve, you reach a point where you just don’t care. The necessity for the job was not there anymore, my pride took over. I was no longer in a position to be treaded on, mistreated and used. I walked out the door of that restaurant with an unfriendly, go (bleep) yourself, gave myself my Christmas in GA with my son, welcomed in 2013 in a calm, settled environment and allowed myself to know, this year was going to bring changes. I walked into the new year, hopeful for a renewed peace and content in my life, I have earned it!