Processing… Please hold.

I got into a conversation with someone this morning, they were telling me of a conversation they had with my daughter.  Apparently there were things she didn’t want to talk to me about, simply because she worries that when I am stressed, I may not be able to handle it.  It surprised me to hear.  There is something strange and unsettling to hear that your child thinks you’re weak.  Or at the very least, sees a weakness that perhaps you don’t.  I don’t quite know how to fully process that.  But I know that I will.

It led to me thinking through all that I’ve been through.  My brain immediately went back to Ben.  The night we knew something was wrong and raced him, in the dead of the night, to the hospital. That drive will forever be etched into my brain.  The songs that played quietly on the radio, The ex’s steady calm.  Funny, the man would occasionally drive me crazy with his immaturities and lack of self control, but when everything fell apart… when the hour was dire… and we stood on the edge of a very scary storm… he was someone else.  Someone I respected.  I don’t think I ever told him that.  I don’t think I ever told him how, even now, after all this time… I trust him more than I trust myself.  That deep in my heart, he was my very best friend.  I wish I could help him understand how much I loved him.  I don’t think he ever really knew.  And telling him now would be taken weirdly.  I guess I can’t take back the words I never said.  We both had to take on and face the scariest thing we could have possibly imagined.  A situation where we had no control, we were completely helpless – our heart’s were in the doctor’s hands.  Doctors we trusted, because of an ideal in our heads – that somehow – doctor’s were infallible.  Oh how I regret feeling that way. I’ve never felt so ill-prepared when we learned of their mistakes.  And we were both hurt in the most unimaginable ways by it all. Scarred from the pain in many ways.

I thought back to the many days and nights where I would work and work and work… not because I’m a strange person who doesn’t want to have a life or free time… but because I knew it would put food on the table or give me the ability to get the kids gifts for christmas.  Those were the years when the ex and I would eat ramen or spaghetti o’s so the kids could have balanced meals. These were times when we had so much debt over our heads that we would have to ignore a ringing phone. There was always a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that the world would crash down around us because we couldn’t pay a bill.

I thought back to days when depression and stress rang so loudly inside my head that I couldn’t even see myself within the cloud I was in.  When I would lay in bed and hide from the world, because it seemed smarter than going out and being hurt by it. When a person loses sight of who they are, and it takes them as long as I have to re-find yourself… there tends to be some disconnects.   I’ve changed in big ways since I last saw myself.  So it’s sometimes hard to trust my own intuition. Thankfully, In many ways, those changes were good.  I love myself now, and I know I didn’t before. I’m more laid back about so many things.  Life is going to happen… you can stress about it, or you can try and find a way to enjoy it.  And now, more than ever before, I’m aware of how strong I really am.  I’m sure most people have no idea the amount of fortitude and strength they actually possess.

It’s interesting, the stages you go through in life.  For every stage of stress or hell, there seems to be an opposing, equally joyous time to remember.  I suppose my knowing that is what keeps me going, keeps me strong.  Because, you see… I can’t give up.  I won’t give up.  It won’t happen on my watch!  I want to see what happens at the end of the story – and we’re not there yet.  Not even half way.

I suppose it’s also why I’m upset to hear that my child thinks I cannot handle hearing whatever detail she’s working through.  Please child… I’ve walked through hell – I think I can handle a little teenage highschool drama.

Have a great day Neverland!

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Single parenthood is not for the weak

I’m struggling with my child this month.  I don’t admit that easily.  She’s taken a giant leap into teenagehood and I’m not exactly thrilled about it.  I never realized how much can be affected by teenage drama.  I was so exhausted by it all this morning that I decided it was best to work from home.

I think what’s hit me hardest this morning, is simply how alone I feel in all of this.  I know that I’m not alone.  I have a fairly large support network.  I know that I’m luckier than a lot of folks.  But going through this, having to try and fill the role of both mother and father… trying to set an example and guide my child to find some sense of normalcy within her relationships… lately, these things scare the crap out of me.  Mainly because I’m the first to admit that I haven’t always been successful in those endeavors myself.

This past week has left me feeling drained.  I’ve cried, yelled, lectured, been exasperated.  I still don’t fully know what I’m going to do to bring life back to normal here at home… heck – maybe there is no such thing as “normal” when your life includes a teenage girl?  I certainly don’t feel like I’m able to have much of a life on my own at this point.  If I’m not working, I’m home dealing with her stuff; and the few times I’ve made plans in the last few weeks, something has come up to interrupt or ruin them.  It’s frustrating – not that I expect to have all THAT big of a social life – but I do try and get out.  Everyone needs a break occasionally.  My son sees his dad a few weekends a month, but my daughter… she’s with me 100 percent of the time.  Her drama has me desperately seeking peace and harmony.  And by seeking out those harmonious and peaceful moments – I’m also coming to the conclusion at how lonely it all is.  I’m in this by myself.  And it was me, who put myself here to begin with.  My step dad says maybe it’s my own karma from my actions as a teenager.  But that seems harsh… seeing as I wasn’t necessarily a difficult teen.  I didn’t party, do drugs, sneak out, I wasn’t out having sex or doing things that skirt that morally ethical line.  I argued with my parents, loved the art of debate in general, and my hormones at that age had me looking for and provoking fights.  But that’s it!  I stayed home, played video games and had my best friend over for sleep overs where we played loud music and talked about boys.  We would call the radio stations and request songs.  We’d drive to the mall on weekends or explore the local downtown area.  Trouble and drama was something I didn’t bring a lot into my life.  So I suppose I’m struggling to relate to my child just a little bit.

What I wish she could see – was the impact that she has on everyone else.  How, everytime she takes a slide backwards or veers off on an unsafe path – it is me, and her brother, who have to ride the waves she creates.  It is we… who have to survive the tornado that she creates, and no matter how much I lie to myself and think we’re through the tough stuff… I know it’s just the eye of a storm that I can’t control.

To all you single parents out there… I may be exhausted and drained and frustrated…. but I’m not defeated.  I stand with you.  We are the real super heros.

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Some thoughts before bed…

It’s been a long day.  Overall, a good one, but still.. a long one.

I’m bundled up all cozy, fresh from a long soak in a hot bath.  One kid is in bed, the other is watching a movie and doing teenager things on her phone.  Me?  I craved a little soft music, some candle light, and to just let my fingers fly over the keyboard.

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I had a moment of absolute frustration and annoyance this morning.  It’s not like me to get so grumpy.  I had good reason… but I had to take a moment and reset myself.  I like to call it an attitude adjustment.  🙂  And I’m grateful for it, because the rest of the day was lovely.  I got some good work done, and then after my day job’s work was complete, I finished up all the bath bombs I needed to make to take to my event in 2 weeks.  I now have all my stock for lotions, bath bombs, and bubble bars.

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I’m 90% of the way there with candles and 50% there with sugar soaps.  Then … the show will be here!  Then a month later – we’ll have a second show – at the Pottery Barn! 🙂  I’m so excited.  There’s so much to do and plan! It’s crazy to think about how quickly this has all gone down.  I started exploring this path in October… and now it’s February and things are exploding!

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We had a snow day yesterday and today, and I get to work from home the rest of the week. The nanny had some personal business out of state to attend to, so I had to arrange to be home for the kids.  I’m aware of how lucky I am with my job.  They are pretty dang good to me.  🙂  I’ve enjoyed being home with the kitties.  Music going, fuzzy blankets, purring cats, and no commute… yes please!  Why can’t every day include those things?!

Have you all been following what’s going on in this country?  What am I saying – you can’t get away from it these days..so of COURSE you are to some degree.  Truthfully, I’ve tried to stick my head in the sand and just try and get through the next four years… but the more that happens, the more anxious I feel about everything.  What is going on in this world that I call home?  Maybe I’m the strange one, but I believe in honor, integrity, and love.  I’d rather lift up my fellow human beings that also occupy the same planet that I do.  I don’t give a rats ass if someone is black, white, green, muslim, christian, or even if you worship BACON! Who CARES?!  I think for the first time in my life, I worry for my children.  I worry for my friends, for coworkers who are here on visas and are just as much my family as the folks who share my DNA.  Hate doesn’t flow thru me.  I don’t have some sense of entitlement that says I should be given X,Y, or Z.  That’s not how life works!  You work, you earn it.  You find a way.  You honor those around you, you give respect to be given it.  I’ve seen more hate.. more anger, more willful ignorance in the last 6 months than I’ve seen in my 34 years.

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My dad said he voted for trump because he hoped that he’d shake up the government, and we’d be forced as a society to re-think the way our government works.  Interesting approach.  And maybe – with all the protests and everyone talking – maybe that’s where we will be headed.  But I just don’t know.  I was not a trump supporter during the campaign, and I’m not a fan now, but I still – oddly – have hope.  Hope that maybe we – the people – can somehow come together.  Embrace the fact that we all have at least one thing in common with everyone else.  We are all human.  Maybe that has to be enough.  Maybe if we start there – we can figure out a way towards peace and prosperity for all. Maybe if we start there – Love can prevail.

Goodnight neverland.  Much love to you and yours tonight.

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What is beauty really?

It’s dark. I’m at the park.  The sun will be popping its head over the hills within the next 30 minutes or so.  Puget Sound stretches in front of me.  The lights of a boat quietly makes its way along the shore; I think it’s a tug, but it is still too dark to properly see.

A small factory is nearby and I get caught up watching the steam billow from the single chimney  I sip from the coffee I brought with me.  I have music playing from my phone – a song that I seem to play a lot lately.  And I mean… A. LOT.

Scars to your beautiful

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
‘Cause cover girls don’t cry after their face is made

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, cover girls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything
What’s a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

These lyrics, the words bounce around in my head.  I suppose they strike a chord.

Beauty.

Beauty is something so fleeting… so changeable, and yet so many of us strive to embody it. But what is it really?

We have this image in our heads and hearts of what the perfect version of ourselves would look like, and yet…

In nature – it is often the unique…

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the renegade…

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the inner play of co-existing dualities that are some of the most beautiful.

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Beauty can be simple and can be complex.

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For too many years now, I have looked at myself as not beautiful. I’d turn such critical eye to my perceived faults instead of celebrating that which makes me beautiful and unique.

Enough is enough.  Maybe it’s the state that the world is in lately, maybe it’s just a strange burst of frustration mixed with heartbreak and hope … but damn!  If I can’t love myself, how can I possibly expect the people in the world around me to spread love? Enough with the hate.  Enough with the judgements.  Today… I celebrate myself.  Today – I will celebrate you, your neighbor, your mother, your friend.  For today – and every day to come, I will find a reason to spread a smile, and lift someone else up.  The world must change. Let’s put away our walls.  Love yourself, and love others.

Thanks for sharing a moment with me.  Off to work now!  Much Love!

I Had An Epiphany Today

There’s something to be said about commuting in a car, it leaves for plenty of time to think.  To decompress and review things in my head.  I certainly don’t do it with everything, but I do find that on occasion, something someone will say or do will get stuck in my head.  It leads me with a need to churn it over a bit and mull on it.  I think it’s because, in the moment, my brain will nod and move along in conversation… but later, it will pop back in my mind and I’ll wonder about that moment – why did I react that way?  Do they really feel that way?  Is that really what they meant?  Perhaps I am simply an over thinker and need to learn to control that side of myself a bit better. Regardless, it is how my brain works.

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Friends and people who learn my story often comment to me about how strong I am.  And while it’s nice to hear, it is in no way a reflection of how I see myself.  I have strength when it comes to my brain.  I’m able to figure out a solution, make a sale, or find a way out of a sticky situation on most occasions.  BUT… when it comes to matters of the heart, and when it comes to matters of sex…. I am a total pansy.  Let me repeat that, because I’ve never admitted that before.  I am a pansy. I wasn’t always like this.  This.. is new.  A new Jen.  One who, now that I see her, I’m not too happy with.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the few times I’ve really opened up and trusted in someone, I’ve ended up highly disappointed and heartbroken over it.  A part of me wants to remind myself that “Hey! That’s life! You win some, ya lose some.” But, because those times have been a bit few and far between – what I usually end up doing is just raising my walls further.  Protect myself from the pain just a little bit more, but of course, the side effect from me doing that is that sometimes, people who’ve been trying to get inside my walls – get hurt.  I shut down and close myself off – and it leaves them hurt.  Which ultimately – is not something I’d ever want to do to those who are close to me.

I’d like to change my goals for the year.

I want to learn to bring those walls down a bit more.  To let someone in.  I suppose… this is my very first step.  Admitting that I can see it, recognize it and want to change it.  I also have to understand that it means letting in some pain.  If I bring down my walls, it’s going to hurt.  I’m scared to hurt.  I’ve felt sadness and hurt and pain for long enough over plenty of things.  The idea of facing pain and sadness scares the shit out of me.  But – I want people to know me.  For people to see me for who I am – and if they don’t like me… it’ll hurt a little.  But this is me.  Who I am on this blog… is me.  And if I ever want to feel like I’m not alone anymore, it means I have to let people in.

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