Fathers …and family

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On one hand, it’s been a lovely day.  It’s warm here today – so after taking the hubby to see a movie and out for lunch – celebrating his first father’s day with my daughter.  We had a lovely day – and now we’re all doing our own thing for a bit.  Trying to beat the heat a little.  I had already called my step dad and my father this morning to wish them a wonderful day.  My conversation with my step dad was lovely – made me grateful that I’d called him first.

It’s amazing to me how people who aren’t your blood, can mean more to you than those who are.  My daughter asked me today why I continue to try with certain family members in my life.  I don’t really have much of an answer.  I think somewhere in my head, I can’t help but continue to always try.  To give them everything I have… because somewhere in my brain – I think that’s what family is supposed to do.  And that sometimes, because we’re only human, we make choices and do things that hurt our family.  We may not do it purposefully.  We may not even recognize that we’ve done it.  If I were to quit, to give up on them, when they are perhaps in that state, then I’m not being a loyal family member.  But today… I hit my limit.  It’s a weird feeling.  Definitely freeing to some extent.  But it’s other things too.  Sobering.  Sad.  Frustrating – not because it didn’t go the way I wanted, but because I’ve put in so much time and effort to try and build something, to make something work and it was all for nothing.

Why is today any different then?  What was it this morning that made me say enough and to speak up for myself and say that I wasn’t going to be screamed at and that I wasn’t going to take any more abuse?

It was because of 4 people actually.

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My daughter.  What lesson am I teaching her by continuing to give someone that kind of power over me and my life?  What am I teaching her by taking abuse for the sake of being loyal to blood?  I wouldn’t stand for that behavior from anyone else, why should this be allowed?

My son.  It’s amazing to watch a boy learning how to be a man.  It’s made me more cognizant of the lessons I teach him.  I hope he will learn how to lead a life with honor, and integrity, and strength.  I would never want to demand his loyalty without having earned it.

My husband.  This one affects me, perhaps, most of all.  He has this calm, quiet strength about him.  He often leaves me in awe actually.  I wish I could somehow show him what I see when I look at him.  We’ve only been married for a week now, and I’m blown away at how happy and content I feel about that.  This man is my forever.  I’ve never experienced a feeling quite like it.  I mean it as absolutely no disrespect to my previous relationships.  I learned so much from them, became who I am today partially because of them… I’m grateful for those I loved in my past.  But more than that… I’m grateful for the man who showed me that my future was something I’d never planned or thought would come about.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him.  I don’t know how he does what he does to me… but I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it.  I knew that no matter how bad the conversation went with my father – he would be waiting inside with comforting arms and hugs and promises that no matter what, I’m enough.  I’m perhaps a little grateful that he didn’t hear the conversation.  I’m not sure he would have liked what he heard – and not because of anything I had to say.

My new mom.  🙂  My husband’s mom is … fucking amazing.  Truly.  I absolutely adore her.  And while she was staying the week with us, she shared some of her own personal experiences.  She gave me the courage to really look at what I was allowing in my life.  At what I was keeping around all because of a scared little girl that’s within me who just wanted to feel loved and accepted by her father.  I don’t think i’ll ever truly be able to share how grateful I am to her for sharing her experiences.  For helping me to think about things from a different perspective.  She’s a wise woman.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have her in our lives.  Truly – my cup runneth over.  🙂  And I hope to continue to build a real relationship with her over our lives together.  I feel like there is much I can learn from her, but also – so much love I can bring to her as well.

I don’t think either of them realize what they’ve come to mean to not just me, but also my children.  I’ve loved my exes families in the past, but not like this.  They are now as near and dear to me as my children – my very closest family.  I’d jump in front of a train for them and they have my undying love and loyalty and support.

When I sat down to write this – I thought I’d detail out the morning.  Get some of the things he said to me out of my head and onto paper – in the hopes that perhaps I’d be able to put it out of my head and move forward.  But now that I’ve written what I’ve written above, I don’t want to taint such positivity with such ugly negative details.  And i’m not sure it would really serve me to have a record of that to go and reread later.  So I’m not going to do that.  I don’t need a record of the abuse, as those are simply things that will echo in my mind.  Instead, I’ll simply detail out how I’m feeling right now.  As ultimately – that’s what I need to process through.  And perhaps, over time, the echoes of all that was said by my father today will fade and I’ll forget.

I’m feeling … Love and gratitude.  For what I have.  For the amazing people who’ve so recently entered my life and showed me just what I’ve been missing in all these years.

I’m feeling… sadness and betrayal for the little girl inside me.  Today – she both lost, and won.  She won her freedom.  But she lost the dream she always carried that someday, her family would love and support her the way she did to them.

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I’m feeling … pride.  In myself.  I did it.  I walked away from one of the biggest, most toxic influences in my life.  Something I have been trying to do since I was a teenager.

God – I remember sitting in a counselor’s office as a 17 year old girl with my father on the phone.  We had asked him to come in and talk to me during a session.  To see if we could work through some things.  And he told me no.  I remember feeling then, a little what I feel now.  Let down and disappointed by a man who very obviously never wanted anything to do with me.

But today – I honored that girl.  I finally made her safe.  A place where his toxicity and angry can no longer get to me.  Where his unmet, unrealistic expectations can no longer threaten to trip me up.  Today – we are free.

Goodnight Neverland.

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Love, getting older, and trust

I’ve spent some time with my grandparents within the past month.  Real time.  Where we sat and chat and had no time restraints.  I’m grateful that I’ve been able to take the time to prioritize my family in that way.  I love them with all my heart.

Something that has struck me and left me processing for a bit now, is what I see in their relationship to each other.  They are all they have left, of a life that was rich with friends and loved ones.  They are now at an age, where they watch who’s left of their friends pass away.  Moving on to bigger adventures in the grand circle of life.  It’s a sad, lonely, and quite frankly, a depressing time of one’s life it would seem.  So of course, the love my grandparents share is magnified that much more.  They’ve been through everything together.  They hold hands when they get their hair cut.  They are constantly talking about each other and thinking about each other when they are apart.

It’s left me thinking about my own future a little bit.  For one, I feel this sudden urge to make sure my retirement accounts are healthy – holy moly does that level of care cost a FORTUNE or what?!  But beyond that, I can’t help but wonder what my future as an old lady will be like?  Will I live in a nice assisted living place like my grandparents?  What will I be like when I’m an old lady?  Will I be more cantankerous?  More kooky?  More sweet?  🙂

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Who will be by my side?

Of course, when you start to look ahead, you can’t help but also look behind.  I think about the fact that so much in my life has changed from where I was 10, even 15 years ago.  How young and innocent I was.  Naive to much of what life could, and would throw my way; but I’ve always handled it all.  I’m damn proud of that.  And I don’t think I’d trade anything from it.  EXCEPT one thing.  Well – ok maybe two.  One – I’d love to have my body back from my early twenties.  Uh… yes Please!?!  But two… Somewhere along the lines I’ve lost my ability to trust someone else completely.  And I miss that.

I sat today and tried to pinpoint when I lost it.  Like it was a coin from my pocket that had somehow slipped out and run about loose.  But it wasn’t like that.  I think it was more like how a rocky cliffside will slowly erode away from the ocean waves that pound on it.  The more people I’ve put faith and trust in over the years who’ve let me down, have made it so that I’m a bit leery to be blindly handing out my trust anymore.  And that’s really quite a sad thing.  That’s me changing and adapting due to shitty people.  It’s perfectly normal of course, life experiences teach you, after all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about  weddings and relationships.  I think it’s because of something my grandmother brought up. 70+ years together.  Just Wow.  I was admiring their wedding photo and couldn’t help but think that they both, for sure, upheld their wedding vows.

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I always upheld mine.  That I can say without uncertainty.  When I think about my own future, it’s dawned on me that I’ve never really thought about what I’d want someone to say to me now.  Because of my own experiences – I think I’d want to write them – rather than have someone say them for me.  Because the standard I will love, honor, cherish, obey …. insert the rest of the standard bit here… isn’t quite right for me anymore.

Yes, I would hope to be loved, honored, cherished… i’m pretty sure they cut out obey now… so i won’t get into that one… but I think I’d also want a few other guidelines in there.  Ones I would hope would be a mutually spoken thing of course.

8 Vow additions for a future husband & wife:

I promise to Respect.
I would hope that my future husband would promise to always respect me and our relationship.

I promise to Trust and never do anything to cause that level of trust to falter.

I promise to always put your needs at the same priority level as my own.  If I’m going to be “selfish” it will be for us – not just myself.

I promise to always be stubborn and to never quit trying and putting effort into us and our lives we’re building together.  Even when things get tough or tense.

I promise to always communicate and be transparent. You are the one person I am not allowed to hide anything from.  I will always try and make sure that we are communicating in a healthy manner.

I promise to never judge you.  I will always empathize with you, and try and understand from your perspective.

I promise to always prioritize our sex life.  To be affectionate with you.  To touch you and hug you and love you. Because this is something I will also need and crave.

I also promise to adventure with you, to make you laugh, to sing to you, to lift you up and encourage you to spread your wings.  To be your cheerleader when you need it, and a silent gaming partner when you need that too.

 

Hmm… yea, I suppose that covers quite a bit.  Makes me wonder how people end their vows these days – and yes, I realize I could go search that.  Do they say till death do us part anymore?  Or is it till divorce or death do us part?  LOL.  Ok, ok, I shouldn’t laugh at that – divorce is no laughing matter at all.  As obviously, I speak from personal experience there.  But do people work loopholes into their vows now?

Can you imagine what some of the worst vows out there could be like?  I take you… till death, divorce, sickness, fatness, or a really cute rich guy comes along…

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Ugh.  I would certainly hope that doesn’t happen.  Would seem like a sad state of affairs for the “sanctity of marriage”.

Is it wrong for me to long for this to be a more simple thing?  I suppose there is no such thing.  All you can do is hope for the best.  Hope that the right person will come along and sweep you off your feet.  That they’ll be the one to open your eyes to everything that’s good and wonderful in the world.  And who knows – maybe they’ll even be a master at making grilled cheese.  😉

Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you.

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Expectations, Anxieties & Getting Older

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My friend M would be proud that I’ve decided to write about this.  It’s a topic he’s bringing up to me on a regular basis and really, I’ve yet to talk about it much here.  The art of managing your own expectations.  According to M, expectations lead to unhealthy behaviors; and ultimately, he’s not wrong.  But, life experience, years of instincts, science in general, and being good observers has taught us all to expect certain behaviors or outcomes.  So I often say it’s a losing battle.  In fact, I often tell him that he’s silly for thinking he can even obtain that goal.  But today – I can’t help but wonder if he’s right.  We all build up expectations in our heads.  How we think someone should react or how we think something should go.  Perhaps he’s right – the act of having those expectations in our minds only serves the purpose of disappointing us when things go differently than we’d hoped or anticipated?

I have, on a number of occasions in my life, been disappointed by my expectations going wonky.  Sometimes, it’s when I don’t speak my own needs what I’m thinking and then come to find out that I’m on a different page from someone else.  Sometimes it’s when I think I’ll get a certain reaction about something, and find I’m seeing the opposite.  Either way, I end up disappointed.

So who’s fault is that?  Mine.  Because somehow, somewhere, I took a misstep and either failed to communicate, or failed to listen.  That actually could be the key there, that second bit.  Listening.  How often do we really listen to what someone else is saying.  So often, we’re only “listening” in order to wait for our turn to speak again.  How often can we really say that we listen with the intent to actually HEAR what someone else has to say?  To actually put ourselves in their shoes and understand what they are trying to tell us?  I’d say it’s not very often at all.

I found myself struggling a little tonight, with my expectations of someone else.  Someone I care deeply for.  But I think what I’m coming to process is that my disappointment over their lack of reaction is on me.  I had an expectation that perhaps I didn’t even know that I had… and when they gave me their honest reaction.

It’ll be ok.  It’s always ok.

What’s interesting tho… what triggered me to write this out, is that my anxiety went up as I sat and processed all of this.  As I tried to contain my disappointment and frustration and simply try and understand.  I’m still struggling a little.  Not because I don’t understand their point of view – I actually do.  But because regardless of my level of understanding – it means caving on something that I’m not sure I want to cave on.  It means lowering my own expectations – whether I knew they were there originally or not, and compromising.  And perhaps, on this, I don’t want to compromise.

Funny, my brother and I were talking about anxiety today.  He called me on my way home and was telling me how surprising it is to him that as he gets older, his anxiety gets more pronounced.  He started out in his younger years with little to no anxiety – and now that he’s in his 40’s, he’s finding that he actually struggles with it at times.

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It made me feel better somehow.  I don’t remember being an anxious child or teenager.  Heck, I’m not even sure I’d have said I was anxious in my twenties.  It’s only been as I’ve gotten older that I’ve recognized my own anxieties for what they are.  They are of course, manageable.  No one would likely even know that I have them.  But I do.  They are with me always.  Not sure I’m comforted by that.

Well neverland, thanks for letting me spit this out and process it.  I’m not sure I’ve figured it all out yet, but I’m getting there.  Yay for that.  Although, in truth, I’mnot sure I ever really will.  Goodnight Neverland.  Dream sweet when you get there.

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When dealing with others who are toxic

Do not expect to receive something from someone who doesn’t have what you want.

This quote has been running through my mind all day today.  The things you have to tell yourself after dealing with a particularly toxic member of my family.  I’m hoping that by writing about this, I can get to feeling better about things.  But even I recognize that journaling can only do so much.

I’m faced with kicking my baby brother out of my house.  I’m not looking forward to it, and honestly – it makes me feel like one big giant asshole.  But I cannot do it anymore.  At first, I thought that maybe staying here would be good for him, but the longer this goes on, the less respect I have for him.  It’s time for him to go. He’s barely contributed towards anything, and comes home drunk or highly drugged at all hours of the night, often waking the household.  He leaves food out, and has set off fire alarms, and last night – well – this morning actually… he came home with a completely totalled car.  He’s already had a DUI and I’ve witnessed him coming home from driving completely plastered now a couple of times.  What kind of example are my children getting from all of this?  I told him he couldn’t stay.  That I’ve had enough and that I was calling Dad.  Dad needed to know that his youngest son was doing this, that the car he was still paying for was totalled.  Yea – i know – I totally ratted out of my brother which in most cases, would not be cool.  This feels a bit more life and death tho.

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I was scared to call my Dad.  I knew the messenger would be shot at.  I didn’t expect it to go the way it did.  I didn’t expect to feel whooshed back to the days when I faced that same kind of verbal treatment daily.  I didn’t expect to feel a moment of fight or flight… on the PHONE.  I hung up.  I walked for a few minutes.  And then suddenly I had things I wanted to SAY!  That’s not like me.  My flight instinct is strong with my family – I clam up, go quiet and get the heck out of there. Today – I stood up for myself.  Don’t talk to me like that.  Don’t treat me like this.  I have done nothing to earn this behavior being slung at me in it’s vileness.  It felt good.  It also backfired on me.  Managed to get me in bigger trouble – but whatever.  I don’t really care.  You want to tell me know that i’m not your daughter?  Cuz you’ve said it to me plenty of times in the past.  I don’t care.

This is when the quote runs through my head the most.  My father is simply not capable of giving me the kind of father/daughter relationship that I need.. why?  Because he does not possess the skills to do so.  Never has.  Most likely – never will.  So why do I continue to hope beyond hope that someday something will blossom and we’ll have a closer bond or kind-ship? That’s insanity on my part!

Dad asked me to take in my baby brother, and I did.  And I can honestly say, I’ve given him just over a month here, I’ve really TRIED.  But I can’t work with someone who doesn’t see that what they’re doing is self-destructive.  I can’t help someone who has no desire to help themselves.  And now – all it’s doing is dragging down my family’s ability to live successfully.

I’ve always done the right thing.  I’ve always been the good daughter.  I’ve always strived to do what was asked of me, what was expected of me. But now – I want to show my children that they don’t have to have toxic people in their lives.  I want the people I surround myself with to be people who actually care about me.  People who will put their all into building something healthy and amazing with me – because I’ll happily put in the effort to do the same with them.

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After all the drama – I took a moment to plant some flowers outside.  It made me feel instantly better. I then spent the day with my kids.  We played some Wii sports, and walked to the park.  Enjoyed each other and did what we could to make each other laugh.  I’m grateful for them.  My children.  I’m so lucky to have them in my life.  I swear on the very last breath I take – that I will NEVER give to them, the kind of heartache and pain that my father has given me.  I refuse.  They deserve so much better than that.

Well, I better get some sleep.  Goodnight Neverland.  Happy Sunday to you!

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I’m on vacation!

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There are palm trees around me.  They always make me feel instantly happy!  I think it is because they are such a foreign sight to me.  Like giant lollipops!  We drove down from Seattle to California, staying here a few days before we drive up to Vegas to stay another few days and then we’ll head back home.  It’s lovely and warm, and has provided me with such a needed getaway.  I was definitely ready to disconnect with my world for a bit.

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I was also a little nervous to see how M and I would do on our first long trip together.  Especially stuck in a car together.  But so far, it’s been a lot of fun.  Today I’m getting a little “Me” time.  And I don’t think I’d realized how much I needed it too.  I’d planned to go for a swim, but instead cranked up some music, made a little lunch, and took an extra long shower and just took my time putting myself back together afterwards.

Yesterday, we spent some time at the beach.  Oh how those ocean waves just went on forever.  I don’t care how old I get, I turn into a giant kid when I get to the beach.  Doesn’t matter what I’m wearing or what I’m doing afterwards, I WILL splash in the water, I will look for seashells in the sand (and always return them or leave them where they are so others can have the same pleasure) and just generally lose myself in the sound of the crashing waves and the smell of the salty sea air.  It is truly my favorite thing.  Someday – I’ll live in a spot where I can hear the ocean.  Or who knows – maybe i’ll be able to find a commercial spot near a beach somehow and work next to it.  There’s something incredibly therapeutic about it.  So impactful to me.

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Yesterday, I walked into someone else’s soap shoppe and found tears coming to my eyes.  Never before have I walked into someone else’s business and felt so struck with enviousness and adoration.  It was as if someone had plucked my vision from my imagination of the store I hope to someday build and turned it into reality.  Well – almost.  It wasn’t perfectly my vision of course – it was someone else’s but damn if it didn’t give me a giant boost of hope and inspiration.  I can do this.  If they can do it – I certainly can!  I also bought some soap and things to try – I like to support the small shops.  I was so excited to try them out, but was saddened to discover that I only ended up liking one of the 2 bars I bought.  Ah well – can’t win them all.

Well – I’m going to go enjoy the sun for a bit.  It’s so nice to relax and just enjoy.  I wish you all the very best!  Much love to you Neverland.

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