From one strong woman to another

Dear J,

I know that life is hurting right now. Every waking breath you take hurts. You hurt for what you have lost, for what you will never have. For the dreams that you held and then watched slip away from you because of someone else’s decision.

You feel out of control, like you can’t put the pieces back together. That maybe you were meant to be stuck where you are right now, because that’s where he put you with his choice.

That you can’t go back and you aren’t strong enough to move forward.

But you are and you will.

He left, true. But he left because of a deficit in him. Whether it was a restless soul, a lack of being able to commit, a want for something that he didn’t think that he had where he was.

But, the bottom line here is that he left because of a fault of his. Because he couldn’t hack it where he was and he decided to leave.

I know that you loved him and that your future seems so dull without him. I know that it hurts you when you wake up in that bed and realize that he is not lying there beside you. I know that it feels weird to do things around your house with no expectations thrust upon you by another person.

All of those things make you feel lost. All of those things, maybe, make you feel weak because you wonder what he would think about the new curtains that you hung, or the dust catcher that you bought.

I understand. I understand all of what you are feeling and what you are going through. I know how hard it is to stand on your own without that idea, that feeling, of someone being there at your back. I get it. It makes you think that you aren’t strong enough to stand on your own.

But you are.

You are strong enough. You can stand on your own.

Look at you! You’re already doing it. You’re doing it and didn’t even realize that you are.

He left and you didn’t fall down in a ball on the ground and die. You lived! You chose to live without him. You chose to have a life that didn’t include him. You are strong.

You are strong enough to get up every day. You are strong enough to do the things that need to be done: go to work, shop for groceries, do the laundry, take a shower, shave your legs (never underestimate the power of a smoothly shaven leg. They do wonders!).

You are strong enough that you make plans with your friends for the future. You are strong enough that you plan a menu for the month, to start shopping for Christmas gifts in June, what you want to do for your summer vacation.

You are strong enough that you are looking to YOUR future. Where you want to go, what road you want to take, things that you want to experience.

And here’s the cool thing about that: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to do these things with you. You can do them on your own.

You can take those cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, the dance classes you thought would be cool, the water aerobics class that you’ve been eyeing for months.

You can do all of these things. Why?

Because you are strong.

Strength is not about being bold and flashy. That kind of strength is fleeting, forgotten as quickly as it came.

Your kind of strength is the strength that moves mountains. It is quiet, fluid. Like water, it may not work quickly, but it is powerful, carving valleys out of solid rock. Your strength is the kind of strength that everyone wishes they had because it will carry you through all of your days. It will flag, sometimes, this is true. But it will come back, stronger than ever.

Nothing can hold you back. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Keep getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shaving your legs. Keep doing these small things. They are the foundation upon which your strength will stand and assert itself. Sometimes when you least expect it to.

That quiet strength will take you through the rest of your life, with no room to look backwards because your future is taking all of your energy and concentration.

You are strong. You inspire me, and everyone around you, with your strength.

Don’t ever doubt it.

Sincerely,

Miss Independent (formerly The Forgotten Wife)

PS: Demi Lovato has a great song called “Skyscraper” that I think pretty much sums it up. And with a much prettier singing voice than I could ever have. I’ve included it here for you. I hope you like it and that it helps strengthen your resolve. Listen to the words. You are a skyscraper. Don’t forget it!

Loneliness

loneliness

the road is so dark
the destination unclear
I travel alone
Gloria Gaynor in my ear
“I will survive,” she says
and I will, I realize
the heart break and hurt that came before,
have nothing on the Loneliness that I have come to abhor
the all consuming voiceless quiet that fills my days
the words unsaid could fill a book of essays
but conversations are nowhere to be found
only silence abounds
the exchange of opinions, jokes, ideas
these are my dreams, desires, needs
to connect
to belong
to be a part of something
anything!
but until the day comes where I find myself a part of the human race
Gloria and I will put on a brave face
we will journey together down that dark, lonely road
and know, in our heart of hearts, that we are strong enough to shoulder our load
Loneliness is but a place we pass through
on our journey into the dark blue
because though the road is dark, it is never black
and when we pass through Loneliness, we will never look back
the past is the past, nothing there for us
ahead is our future, a glorious address
where we will find friendship, family and peace at last
and Loneliness will be found only in the past

Do you want some cheese with that whine?

If you’ve read any of my posts prior to this new me blog, then you know that this is not where I expected to be. I never expected to be a divorcee. I never thought that I would be restarting my life at age 40. This is not what I planned.

But I’ve learned something in the past couple of years:

Life doesn’t give a shit what you planned. At all.

I think John Lennon said it best:

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Smart and talented.  Only the good die young, right?

Smart and talented. Only the good die young, right?

I had a plan. I knew that I was going to be married to the same man (not happily, but still), and we were going to see it through to his retirement. We were going to buy a house and settle into a neighborhood and make friends and be happy. Life was going to take us to where we were planning on going. I was going to teach and he was going to do something with his degree (that was vague because he didn’t even know what he wanted to do) and we were going to see our kids off to college and live there the rest of our lives.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, life got in the way.

Life is rarely, if ever, smooth or nice or predictable. Things happen. People happen. People change and make your life different because of it.

helping get up with textIt does no good to whine about it, or throw a pity party or to be unwilling to make the best of the hand you were dealt.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He is a perfect example of being somewhere he never expected to be, ever. A good man, he is, one of the best. He made a mistake and now he’s sitting in jail because of it. He made a mistake and he’s paying the piper for what he did.

Some time before he got into trouble, his marriage fell apart. He likes to take most of the blame, but I told him that it takes two to work at a marriage and neither of them were willing to work hard enough. As his marriage was falling apart, he was sent to Afghanistan for a tour of duty there. While he was there, he met a woman.

Love at first sight is wonderful!

Love at first sight is wonderful!

I asked him if it was love at first sight. He said, completely without irony, that it was. He stated that they tried to ignore it, that he was going to try to fix what was going wrong at home. But then his ex-wife left, taking the kids and most of their possessions, and there was nothing left to save.

He decided to give it a go with this “once-in-a-lifetime” woman that he had chanced to meet while at war.

Fast forward and he’s in jail and she’s retired from the military. She moved to a town to be closer to where he is incarcerated and has been having a hard time of it for the past year or so. Things haven’t worked out the way that she expected and it’s harder on her to have him where he can’t physically support her while she’s out there.

He told me that he spoke to her the other day and she said, “If things don’t change soon, we’re going to be homeless!”

Now, this upset me on a couple of levels. First, your love is in jail. This is a shitty place to be. He doesn’t need thelove behind bars extra stress that your whining creates. Also, delivering that last line with a good dose of, “It’s your fault that I’m here!” really sucks. I mean, seriously? Secondly, I asked if she was working. He stated, “No, she’s not. She expected to be with me at my next duty station and be a stay-at-home-mom.”

Um, WHAT?

Seriously? I didn’t expect to be a 40-year-old divorcee living in a damn trailer in the northeast with frozen pipes and no money in my bank account.

But what you expect and what you get are very often two different things.

I’m not ragging on stay-at-home mom’s at all. Don’t get me wrong. But what the hell is wrong with this woman that she has decided that she would rather lament what should have been rather than rolling with the punches and standing up on her own two feet? This woman retired as a senior enlisted from the military. She’s obviously a capable person, who commanded troops. Get off your damn ass and get a job!

And, honestly, making the man that you proclaim to love feel even more guilty about where he is is not fair to him in the least. Stop whining and be a capable woman and take care of yourself.

I just don’t understand that at all. I mean, my situation right now is pretty crappy. Hell, it’s been a pretty cruddy couple of years.

But I don’t have the luxury to sit around and lament my situation. I have to get up and change it. I have to keep soldiering on. If for no other reason than my kids.

pooSometimes, life is big, steaming pile of poo poo. You can either sit there in the fumes and complain about the smell or you can move upwind.

The choice is always up to you. Always.

Sometimes, moving upwind is a lot harder than sitting there in the stench. But if life were easy, it wouldn’t really be

I'll take that mulligan now, thanks!

I’ll take that mulligan now, thanks!

life, would it? It would be some kind of game where you could call “Mulligan!” whenever you screwed up.

But life isn’t a golf game. You can’t sit there and play, “What if?” with you life. Correction: you could. But what would it gain you? How is that moving your life forward?

How is that making you a better, stronger person than the one you are today?

You have a choice. You can sit there in the stench or you can pick yourself up and chose to move forward. Away from that which is toxic, away from things and people that do nothing to help you become a better person.

Remember, the choice is always yours.

Personally, I don’t know of anyone’s poo that actually smells like roses.

Would you like to join me in moving upwind?

Honesty to the extreme

I read an article on the Daily Mail UK by a woman who said that the biggest regret of her life was having her children. She was very honest and forthright about the fact that she disliked the children taking up her alone time and that she never felt any bond with them as they were growing up. Quite paradoxically, she devoted her life to them. Her feeling was that if she had children she was going to raise them and not have nannies or other caretakers do the job for her. Having decided to have them, she was going to be the best mother she could be.

Not that she was demonstrative, but they were well cared for and wanted for nothing. She always knew that she didn’t want children, but her husband did and she decided that it would be selfish to deny him of that opportunity. They worked out a life that worked for them and her children grew up to be productive and loving adults. Somewhat ironically, her daughter was struck by MS in her 20’s and has had to return back home where her mother must tend her every day. But, as she states, she would take on that tragedy from her daughter if she could. Because she is her mother and that is her job.

The comments under the article are as rude and horrible as you would think. Some call the woman selfish, self-centered, horrible, awful.

But I don’t see it that way.

This was a woman who seriously thought about what she was doing before she did it. She knew that she would not bond with the children the way that other mothers would. Was she a demonstrative mother? Absolutely not. But she was nothing more than fully attentive and giving to her children.

She states:

“I cannot understand mothers who insist they want children, then race back to work at the earliest opportunity after giving birth, leaving the vital job of caring for them to strangers. Why have them at all if you don’t want to bring them up, or can’t afford to? And why pretend you wanted them if you have no intention of raising them? This hypocrisy is, in my view, far more pernicious and difficult to fathom than my own admission that my life would have been better without children.”

I have to admit, I was one of those mothers. Or would have been if the opportunity had been afforded to me. When my oldest was 2, and my youngest was just born, we lived in a foreign country where I couldn’t get a job due to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). If I could have, I would have run off to have a job and left my children with strangers to raise them.

Why? Because I was miserable. I was not hardwired to have small children around. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I do. I get more enjoyment out of them now that they are grown a bit. But when they were little, I was absolutely miserable. I missed my alone time, I missed my time with my own thoughts. I missed having a name, instead being known as “A’s mom” or “J’s mom.”

Even now, while I love to coo over babies, I love, even more, to hand them back to their mothers when I leave. I appreciate that I am not the one that has to give that amount of time to them that they require. I appreciate my independence, what little I have, now that my children are older.

I wouldn’t say that they are the biggest regret of my life, because THEY ARE NOT. I love my children and I am proud of them each and every day.

I guess I am saying that I understand, partially, where this woman is coming from. And I appreciate her honesty, with herself, her husband, her children and the world. I also appreciate her single-minded objective of raising her children, giving herself to them fully when they needed her. I appreciate that her and her husband worked out a way of life that worked for them, with the husband being fully attentive to the children when he was around instead of it all falling to her.

I’ll admit, and always have, that I cannot wait for my children to grow up. When my youngest started school full-time, I remember standing there with the other parents, dutifully waiting for school to start. Giving my son kisses and hugs and telling him that he was going to have a great time. I meant every kiss and every hug, from the bottom of my heart. I wanted him to succeed in school. As he turned the corner with his class and walked out of sight, I actually let out a whoop of joy. All of the other parents were crying and upset that their babies were growing up. For me, it was a sign that there was light at the end of the tunnel. That I would, eventually, have my life back.

Does it make me a horrible person to say these things? Maybe. I have enjoyed every milestone that my children have reached. I have fought hard for my oldest and I have worked hard with my youngest, to make sure that they have every opportunity that can be afforded to them. I love them and hug them and give them kisses and support. Because I do love them. I do support them.

But I don’t think that I could characterize my parenthood as a labor of love. More a labor of responsibility. I have said many times, and will say it many times again: I chose to bring these children into the world and I have a responsibility to mold them into productive members of society. I have a responsibility to make sure that they are polite and well socialized. This is my responsibility.

My heart bursts with pride when someone tells me that my children are polite and very sweet. It means that I have done a good job. My children say “please,” and “thank you.” They call ladies, “ma’am,” and men, “sir.” They do well in school. They have friends. They can read and write and do ‘rithmetic.

But I am counting down the days until my youngest graduates. I want to go live my life while I am still young. I will always be there for them. I will love any grandchildren that they bring me. But I won’t ache for it. I won’t itch for it. I won’t be that mother that continually asks them when they are going to have a child. I won’t be that grandmother that hopes she can babysit all the time. I just won’t.

To be honest, I don’t think there is anything wrong with anything I have said here. Will it sit well with everyone that reads it. Absolutely not. Will there be some that will think I’m a horrible person? Yup. Will there be some that think that I’m selfish. Oh, hell, yes.

But I don’t see it that way. I don’t see myself as selfish. I see myself as someone that has two children, whom I love, that has sacrificed and given, and continues to give, to make sure that they have a top notch education and want for absolutely nothing. Are my children spoiled? Mildly. But they also understand the word, “no,” and that mom uses it liberally.

I do love my children. I don’t regret my children. They have enriched my life in ways that it could not have been enriched without them. Do I want them to grow up and am I looking forward to that day? Absolutely.

But I can understand where the author of the article is coming from. I can sympathize, and even empathize, with her. I don’t think she is a bad mother. I don’t think she is a bad person.

Any more than I think those things about myself.

Any more than my children think those things about me.

Am I good mother? I think so. Whether or not you agree with me actually doesn’t matter. Time will tell how good of a mother I was. I think it already does.

I think I have two terrific kids who light up my life. But…..I still can’t wait for them to grow up! 🙂

How did a booty call turn so bad?

I don’t have a dating life.  I don’t date. 

I have sex.

I have sex with people I find attractive or funny or smart.  I don’t sleep around, per se, but I’m also not monogamous.

Because I’m single and I enjoy having fun.  I mean, I spent 16 years eating really bad vanilla….time to taste what other great flavors are out there!

So, there’s this one guy that I have a standing sex date with at least once a week.  I wish it were more, but our schedules are such that we can only usually manage once a week.  I look forward to it every week.  I never, ever miss a sex appointment with this guy.  EVER.  Why? Because he’s funny and smart and AMAZING in bed.  Very, very amazing in bed.

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy being with this man in bed.

He lives a half hour away, but I gladly make the drive to his house at least once a week (at his invitation…a lady never goes where she isn’t invited) so that we can have racous, yelling, screaming, moaning, orgasmic sex.

And because I won’t have him in my house with the kids there because that’s a complication I don’t want or need.  Just cause mama wants to have fun, doesn’t mean she has to tell her kids about it.

I also don’t have him over when my kids are there because I am, quite simply, ahem….vocal during sex.

Very vocal.

Anyhoo…..

To get to this gentlemen’s house, I have to drive 30 minutes along some very back roads in New Jersey.  I’m talking “don’t stop for hitchikers cause they’re almost certainly axe murderers” back roads.  The kind that the movie producers look for when creating Scream XX or whatever number they’re up to now.

The road I take follows the perimeter line of a military installation through an area that the locals call the Pine Barrens.  I follow the permiter line for a goodly amount of time on my left when I’m heading out to his house, and on my right when I’m coming home.  I also find that I ride nearer to the center line when I’m driving to his house, because I think it will buy me a little bit more reaction time if a deer comes bounding out of the woods to my right when I’m headed out to him. 

Last night, I was driving out for my weekly sex appointment (it’s like an apple a day….good for the body and soul) and I noticed that a car pulled out behind me from my left.  Now, I figured that this was a cop and it wasn’t a big deal because I don’t speed on this road at night.  I have horrid night vision and my depth perception is almost nil at night, so I only do the speed limit.  My car is in good repair, with all tail lights and everything working so I wasn’t worried about the cop behind me.

However, I was smoking a cigarette in my car (no, haven’t quit yet….yes, I know) and I thought to myself, “Do I really want to toss the lit butt out the window with a cop behind me in the Pine Barrens?”

See, a couple of years ago there was a huge fire up in the Pine Barrens that had been caused by a cigarette being thrown out the window of a car.  I figured I’d play it safe and I would put the butt out in a water bottle.  So, I reached behind my seat and grabbed a half empty water bottle to put the butt in.  When I looked up from completing my task, I noticed that I had gone just a smidge over the center line and I pulled myself back into my lane with little fuss.

About two miles later, I make my left turn to head over to Amazing Guy’s place.  That’s when the cop flips on the lights.  Well, sheeeeeeeit….

He walks up to the window, just polite as can be, “Ma’am, license and registration, please.”

I say, “Sure, Officer,” and start digging in my large purse for my wallet.

He says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

I say, “Was it because I went over the center line a little bit?  I was putting my cigarette butt in the water bottle here because I didn’t want to start a wildfire.”

He says, “I appreciate that,” and then goes on to explain that he thought I was a drunk driver and had turned on his camera a ways back so that he could tape me driving. 

The whole time he is talking, I’m digging in my purse for my wallet.

No wallet.

No license, no identification, no nothing.

Well, damn. I look at the officer with a shocked look on my face and tell him that I left it at home, about 4 towns over.  I then hand him my registration and write my address (which is not the same address on my driver’s license….hadn’t changed it yet) on the back of the registration so that he can look me up.

He takes my stuff back to his car and comes back in about 5 minutes.  During those 5 minutes, I contact Amazing Guy and tell him I’m gonna be a few minutes late.  No worries, I’ll maybe get a ticket for not having my driver’s license on me.  Money I can’t really afford, but I’ll take it cause I should have it on me.

Oh, no.  That’s not what happened at all.

My registration had expired in July and I had never gotten the notice because I hadn’t changed the damn address on my license!  The officer tells me that he can impound my car (OH SHIT!) for this, but he’s feeling a bit benevolent and allows me to park it in the Wawa parking lot about 50 yards from where he pulled me over.  He then goes on to list the tickets he could give me:

1) Driving an unregistered car (impound offense)

2) Driving without my license (points offense)

3) Failure to maintain lane (points offense)

4) Failure to change address on driver’s license (points offense)

There were two more he could have given me tickets for, but he only gave me the one for having an unregistered car.  Thank goodness!  I absolutely shook his hand when he handed me the ticket cause he was nice enough to save me a butt load of money and hassle.

I contacted Amazing Guy and had him come pick me up and take me back to his place for some “stress relief.”  Then, he had to give me a ride to my friend’s house because she (amazing woman that she is) agreed to loan me her car today……

All in all, that was about a $250 booty call.

And I don’t get my car back until Friday cause it’s two days before payday and I can’t afford to get my car back on the road until then.

At least the sex was awesome! 🙂

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

 

Friday Fictioneers July 20, 2012

I have been horrible about participating in this terrific exercise in wordsmithing the past few weeks.  I swear, the heat has totally sucked every single creative juice I have.  But, thank goodness, the heat broke yesterday….and so did my writer’s block!

I am talking about Friday Fictioneers run by Madison Woods from her wonderful, new website.  I have missed being here!  Y’all should hop on over and take a look at the other wonderful offerings by so many talented writers out there that participate.  Then, YOU should go give it a shot!

So, here’s the prompt and my offering for this week’s Friday Fictioneers:

Grapevines

We come from different bushes

One growing in sun and light

The other in night and shadows

Our lives so different

But we chose to come together

Intertwining our branches

Marrying our fates together

Becoming stronger in ourselves

As we bring strength to each other

Sometimes we tangle each other,

Stunt growth, break a branch

But, in reality, we are pruning that which we don’t need

Making our bushes stronger, robust

Able to withstand every storm that comes

No longer separate

But one, strong tree.

T-minus 4 days and counting

I have to go back to Court on Monday.

No, it’s not an actual hearing.  It’s a mediation session where we try to work out the issues of our divorce without going to court.

I’m not looking forward to it.

I dislike confrontation.  Truly.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t run from a fight (unless someone pulls a knife – then Flash will wonder what the hell just passed him), but I dislike walking into one.

And I don’t want to see the asshole.

I don’t like seeing him when he comes to pick up/drop off the kids.  I don’t like talking to him on the phone.  I don’t like interacting with him at all.

On Monday, I’ll have to sit in a waiting room with him and then go into chambers with him.

Yuck.

I spend most of my days pretending he doesn’t exist and just spending his money.  I wish I could just go on like that.

I’m not going to let the idea of Monday ruin my weekend, but it’s always there just waiting to pop up and remind me.

Kind of like my lawyer bill 🙂

I think that Tums and I will become great friends this weekend…..