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!

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Good Enough

As any of you that have read this blog since the beginning (THANK YOU!) know, my divorce was rough.

You know the marriage was rougher.

Ward and June Cleaver we weren’t, that’s for damn sure.

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

I wasn’t spectacular to him. I’ll take responsibility for my share of blame in the collapse of our marriage. To be sure, he wasn’t spectacular to me. The only honest thing he did before he left with that other woman (I’m working hard at reining in my Bitter Bitch) was to admit that he had spent 16 years emotionally and mentally abusing me.

Yes, he admitted it. Shocking, no?

And, here we are, over two years since the separation and almost two years from the divorce and I’m still dealing with that crap.

hand tiedHow frustrating is that? I know that I can’t expect to be over it immediately. I know that I will feel the effects for years. But I have made so much progress in coming back to life that it is so defeating sometimes to know that I am still trying to untie myself from his definition of who I was.

It is so very hard to recover your self-esteem, your sense of self, when you spent 16 years with the person that you pledged to love and who pledged to love you, trying to do the best you could and it was never enough.

You were never smart enough.

You were never skinny enough.

You were never pretty enough.not good enough

You were never sexy enough.

You were never a good enough mother.

You were never a good enough housekeeper.

You were never…..

Nothing I ever did was good enough for him.

When the man that you have married tells you that you are subpar at every level on a daily basis, you don’t just get over that in a snap.

So, here we are, two years later, and I’ve met this guy. He’s pretty terrific. OK, he’s more than pretty terrific, but we’re not going to go into massive details. Let’s just say that he’s very sexy, very smart, extremely witty, a talented storyteller and so much more *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*.

He’ll tell me that I’m beautiful and sexy and smart. He does so with regularity and ease. You can tell that he means it, that he’s not lying to just get into my pants. I can tell he means it. Truly means these things that he says.

And I want to believe him. I do. I want to see what he sees. I want to feel that I’m beautiful, sexy and smart.

Sometimes, when we talk or when I’m with him, I feel it. I feel like I’m all of those things and more. I feel like Superwoman having a man as great as him think those things about me.

But, when our conversation is done, or I go home, or even sometimes when we are chatting, I wonder what it is that he sees.

I know he can’t be seeing the same woman I see. That woman isn’t smart, nor sexy, nor beautiful. She doesn’t have anything to offer to a great man like him. Why does he still talk to me?

For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t beautiful, sexy or smart. For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t enough. So, how can I be enough for this man who has everything in the world to offer a woman?

And therein, my friends, lies the issue.

I have to stop wondering what I should do to “be enough” for a man in my life and just be me. Be myself in all things.

Good enoughI have to stop trying to be anything for anyone and just be the person that I am.

I have to just be me.

I have to be that woman whose eyebrows are never plucked quite right, whose roots constantly need touching up, whose house is never clean enough, who feeds too many stray cats because she’s a sucker for them. I have to be that dorky lady who laughs too loudly at lousy puns, who thinks science jokes, Doctor Who and Cosmos are pretty awesome. I have to embrace my almost bottomless pit of trivia about nothing that anyone in the world cares about. I have to appreciate my love of all things J.D. Robb, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, and J.K. Rowling. I have to be political and care about what is going on in the world. I have to be all of those things.

Because all of those things make up the person I want to be.

If somewhere along the way I happen to be lucky enough to find someone who is willing to accept me with all of my quirks and my dorkiness and my lame jokes and my obscure passions, and also finds me sexy and beautiful and smart, then that will make me a pretty lucky lady.

It doesn’t mean that I will not ever have periods of self-doubt. Bouncing back from a bad relationship isn’t easy and it takes time.

But I have to stop wondering what he sees in me, why he likes to spend time with me, what the attraction is. Instead of questioning it, I need to just accept it.

It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter what.

All that matters is: He does.

That’s good enough for me.

I am

I am bipolar.  It does not define me, but I do not ignore it.

I am adopted.  The greatest gift my biological mother gave me was to give me to two of the most wonderful parents a girl could ever ask for.

I am the oldest.  I have two younger brothers….one adopted and one that wasn’t.  Guess which one everyone assumed was adopted… LOL

I am a college graduate.  I majored in history and minored in English and graduated last August.

I am a mother.  I have two beautiful children, boys.  Even when they’re being bad, they’re great….well, maybe not in that instant.

I am the proud mother of a special needs child.

I am a working woman.  I have a 9-5 job doing working for people that deserve my undying gratitude.

I am an avid reader.  I love to read and one of my fave books is “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

I am a gatherer of useless trivia.  For example, “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” was originally composed for the glass armonica.

I am an avid movie watcher.  One of my favorites is “Citizen Kane,” and I cannot wait to see “Ted,” by Seth McFarland.

I am 5’7″.

I am a horrible cook, but a pretty good baker.

I am a lover of Tex-Mex food.

I am a horrible housekeeper, cause I hate housework.

I am the woman that loves to work on cars.

I am a smoker, but hope to put “ex-smoker” here soon.

I am a lover of wine, but only in moderation.

I am the person you send your plants to if you want them to die.

I am a lover of animals.  All animals, even scaly ones.  However, this love does not include any kind of arachnid or roach.

I am a military brat.  I have lived in 8 states and 2 countries.

I am well travelled.  Thank you, Dad, for taking us on driving trips every summer.

I am generous, most of the time.  Or, I try to be.

I am a talker.  I’m working on my listening skills.

I am a toucher.  When we talk, I’ll touch you on your arm or hand numerous times.

I am polite.  Everyone I meet is “sir” or “ma’am.”  These will never steer you wrong.

I am a disciplinarian of my children, and yours if you refuse to do so.

I am the person that knows that family is not defined by blood and I have many family members around the world.

I am someone that loves thunderstorms.  Nature’s fury makes me smile.

I am a lover of fighter jets.

I am very empathetic to almost anyone’s situation….as long as it’s not caused by their own stupidity.

I am a romantic at heart.

I am a person that gives her heart fully when she decides to give it.

I am a football fan and can’t wait for the football season to start!

I am more comfortable hanging out with guys than girls.

I am a master at putting my foot in my mouth.  What can I say?  I like the taste!

I am an aggressive driver and scare men when they ride with me.

I am the person you see singing and dancing in the driver’s seat of her car.

I am someone who has finally come to love sex and be comfortable with that.

I am someone who talks to herself.

I am a military veteran.

I am a proud person who understands the value of humility.

I am the person that says “yes” when you ask for help, even when she should say “no.”

I am fascinated by organized religion, but don’t claim any affiliation with one.

I am an absolutely, positively lapsed Catholic.

I am a two-time divorcee.

I am the bearer of scars from past relationships, but still give love freely.

I am the person that will find a silver lining in any situation, no matter how thin that lining is.

I am a night owl.

I am someone who has looked hard at herself and learned some hard truths about who she is.

I am the person that has learned from past mistakes.

I am stronger than I thought I ever could be.

I am single and loving it!

I am almost 40, a number that seemed so old to me just a few years ago.

I am a child at heart.

I am all of these things and more.

I am who I am and I’m alright with that.