An anxious moment

Man oh man, I don’t know what set me off today – but my anxiety got sky high this afternoon.  It’s taken me a good hour just to get it to a level of better control.  No fun.  I’m trying to think about what’s churning around in the ol’ head that would make me feel this way.  And what’s frustrating, there isn’t a single thing that tipped me in this direction.  I think maybe it was just a combination of a few things that did me in.  But … that’s not like me.

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I hate to think of anxiety like a weakness – but sometimes, it is.  I’m simply saying what is… at least for me.  I won’t judge others – but I will judge the heck out of me.  And I’m being a little judgemental on myself right now in saying that this “new” weakness of mine is just plain ol’ annoying!  And I suppose what is even more annoying, is that I don’t know if my anxiety is new, or if I’ve simply learned to recognize it for what it is.  It’s been 3-4 years now, as recognizing it was something I learned through therapy.  And I’ve learned various methods to work through it and manage.  I’d like to say to control it – but I don’t think anyone ever REALLY has control over it.  Who knows, maybe I’m wrong.  What I hate is that for the most part – and I mean 85-90% of the time – I have a great sense of awareness about my emotional wellbeing, and can use the tools that therapy and schooling and experience has taught me to ensure that I maintain that inner calm… but it’s that 10-15% of the time that I struggle.  Today, being one of them. So – perhaps by writing, I’ll get out whatever is pushing me to that point.

Communication in relationships.  All relationships – not just romantic ones.  For the most part, I think I’m a good communicator.  I am very good at empathizing and understanding someone else’s perspective without judgement or getting offended.  I am also very good at reading people… so often, when someone shows they are a certain emotion, I pick up on it, even when they don’t think they’ve shown anything. I respect people to know that what they speak is their perspective.  But as good as a communicator that I am, I also recognize that others are not.  I think somehow, in my quest to become better at communication – I may have lost sight of the very real fact that not everyone is striving for the same thing as I am.  Not everyone will be comfortable sharing their perspectives and truths with me. At least not right away – and sometimes not ever.  Not everyone is striving to be an emotionally healthy communicator.  And because of that – not everyone is ready for it when I present it to them. I think where I get stuck on that tho – is then what? When someone I’m communicating with isn’t on the same page or emotional level as I am, it creates the opportunity for a few outcomes.  1.  The person hears me, I hear them, and one or both of us grow because of it.  2. The person doesn’t hear me, or I don’t hear them, and then they shut down and healthy communication cannot continue until things get back on track.  This is often when unkind words can get spoken or someone can get unintentionally hurt.  And personally – I’m not a fan of any of that, for anyone.  So what’s interesting to me, is now, knowing this – helps me see full circle, why I became a horrible communicator to begin with.  It was because I wanted to avoid that second option.  Interesting double edged sword there!

Upcoming Vacations! So my vacation time is getting closer and closer!  16 work days to be exact.  WOW!  Putting it that way – holy cow!  I’m excited.  Some real time off.  I’m also a little bit nervous.  For a few reasons.

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It’ll be my new car’s first big trip.  Kind of exciting, I’m excited to see how it does! This will be my first longer stay with M. And I am actually not worried about that bit of it – but meeting his friends and family will be interesting and has me nervous – although I don’t know why.  I’m good at meeting others, and I have yet to meet someone’s parents and have them not like me.  BUT… i’m still nervous all the same. I think it’s because I’ve never quite measured up to my own family’s expectations – so it always makes me hesitate to put myself out there to try and meet the expectations of someone else’s family! Ha. Sad I know.

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Grilled Cheese. I can’t believe I’m adding this in here – but it just came up.  M knows how to make a proper grilled cheese.  Can I just say how happy that makes me?!  He butters both sides and gets a golden brown – just the way it SHOULD be, and has the perfect bread to cheese ratio.  I’ve never understood those people who only butter one side.  They say it’s less greasy – um.. hello?!  It’s GRILLED CHEESE!!!  What on earth do you expect?!  If you want less grease – go eat a salad for goodness sake!  Mmm.  I will say, eating a grilled cheese sammich in bed is the perfect antidote to a stressful moment.  🙂  Even if it isn’t diet-friendly.  It’s ok tho – I did quite a bit of exercise today – so I highly doubt this indulgent is going to set me back.

Trust.  Sigh.  Let’s just say that there are plenty in my life who’ve pushed me to my limits when it comes to trust.  Some are still active participants in my life – others, not so much. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m terrible – I often give way more chances and opportunities than are deserved.  Sometimes, my friends give me shit for this – and sometimes, it’s why they love me.  I spoke to a friend today who has recently broken my trust.  I don’t know if I want to remain friends in the future or not.  I really don’t.  But at the same time, I care about this person and want happiness for them in their future.  So I suppose from an outsider’s perspective, this is me giving them another chance – but it’s not.  In my head – as the trust erodes away – even in small baby chunks, it opens up room for doubt.  And doubt, my friends, is the silent ninja killer.  It really is.  The moment you introduce doubt into a relationship – it’s doomed.  I suppose I could say that perhaps it’s possible to earn back the trust – because it is.  But I’d also wager that it would take twice as long to remove the doubt.

Well – I think that’s it for now… writing in here, plus the grilled cheese… I’m a lot better than when I started.  Going to go hop in the shower and get back to being me again!

Much love Neverland!  Talk to you again soon!

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A unique perspective on parenting a teenager

I was talking with an old friend today and it dawned on me that I haven’t written much about my new perspective on raising a teenage girl.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve shared much about that experience at all.  Maybe a few hints here and there in some of my updates.  So here it goes.  I suppose I should say – trigger warning – this will be a rough story involving some very touchy subjects.  I won’t go into great detail – but they are kind of necessary to understand the catalysts behind things.

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It’s been almost 3 years since my daughter attempted suicide.  My girl… my baby… I’ll never forget the phone call from my ex husband.  It was late.  I was to meet them at the ER.  She was ok, physically, but she was not ok.  I was shocked.  I didn’t know it was coming – not by a long shot.  I climbed into that hospital bed and didn’t leave her side.  Quit my job.  Spent a year off just to get her to a healthy place again.  We got therapy for her.. and me.  We talked.  And talked.  And talked some more.  I learned more than I wanted to learn – but wouldn’t change it for anything.  She had her reasons – and while I won’t share any more of her end of that story – suffice it to say that these reasons were valid and justified and horrifying and nearly ripped my heart from my chest when I finally heard them.

Since then… we’ve built a new type of relationship.

We share absolutely everything.  I am transparent with her about absolutely everything.  So long as she asks.  There is no topic off limits, and no topic where I won’t give her a very straight up, very real answer to.  Even when it’s uncomfortable for me. I swear, the first time she asked me about masturbation and sex toys I damn near fell over!  But, over time, it’s become easier and quite frankly it feels more natural.  Sometimes I’ll preface things I say to her with “I’m telling you this because I’m being transparent, but I want so badly to shield you from it…” kind of statement.  Or I’ll say “I’m going to put my foot in my mouth about this…” and then share.

So many who meet us – think I’m nuts.  That i’m too open about things.  Too real.  But she’s going to be a full fledged legal adult in 2.5 years.  And she’s already been exposed to a lot of very grown up situations, as much as I would have wished otherwise.  At this point, the only thing to do, is to be real with her.  To break down and dissect the world around her, and make sure that home is safe, and that the people I let into my world are safe for her too.

And can I say – this whole experiment…because that’s essentially what it is – I am in unknown territory and am just trying to find my way through experimentation… has been eye opening.  I’m glad I went about it.  And I don’t believe it works for EVERY kid.  But I will say, it’s working for her.  She’s blooming.  She feels safe.  She’s making healthier emotional choices and seems to have healthier relationships now because of it.  She’s looking bigger picture and not getting so wrapped up in petty high school drama.  It’s inspiring to watch. The people in our world, who know her, and what she’s been through, have all commented that they see a change in her.  That she seems happy now.  She’s thriving and I’m so proud of the woman she’s become and is still becoming.  When she was born – I remember whispering to her that she was “the greatest thing I ever did”.  And even now – she’s one of 3 of “the greatest things I ever did.”

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Sometimes, weird evenings are the best

I typically write my blog post before I write a title for it.  I often wonder if other bloggers do this too, but perhaps the way I write is unusual.  For me, it’s journal-style.  Where I can easily spill my thoughts, as fragmented as they sometimes are, onto a page and then go back and make sense of them.  Group them, and fix any errors, and then come up with a title.  I’m sure I have quite a few drafts of posts that I never finished… untitled… just sitting there waiting to be completed – and yet – I never come back to them. Each blog post is fresh.  Why can I not just delete them?  I guess there are just some thoughts I don’t want to finish.

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I’m having a weird evening.  I finished tidying up the living room and locking up the house, was heading to take a shower.  Then I figured I’d do a little writing.  Went to grab my laptop, got distracted by a messy kitchen, tidied it a little bit and here I am… finally writing, with no shower.  Time has completely escaped me this evening because when I look at the clock – it’s getting late.  Can I just say – sometimes, as a single mom, it’s hard to keep up.  I don’t feel good – I think I’ve got a kidney stone.  I’ve had them before.  You range from uncomfortable to downright misery for a few days and then everything returns to normal.  Well – at least, in my case.  But because I’m uncomfortable, it’s making me a little slower, with a lot less energy.  I’m looking around my messy house – God, I need a maid. And a vacation.

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It’s R’s last week with us here, and we spent some time chatting this evening.  I will miss our chats.  We’ve learned how to communicate with each other – which means we can communicate about just about anything without upsetting or offending the other person.  We’ve had some very interesting conversations about things like racism, religion, the after life, as well as things like the perfect burger or what we’d do if a zombie walked randomly down the street.  She made me promise I’d call her.  DUH woman! 🙂  But I think we’re both kind of feeling a weird sadness over the incoming goodbye.

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Well – it’s now an hour later than when I started this… and I still need to shower and prep for my early morning.  But I couldn’t help myself… I just had to say that I’m so grateful for my life – my crazy world and everyone I surround myself with.  My village of friends and family.  The people I love.  It was thoughts, many inspired by them – that I write in this blog.  Much love to you neverland.  Goodnight.

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When you decide to give in to hope

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Hope is a funny thing.  It’s just a desire or a want.  And when you decide to just give in to it, you throw your hands in the air and just wait for whatever is going to happen to actually happen.  A person’s hopes and dreams are ever changing. morphing as you age and experience more of life.  It almost makes you wonder how anyone is supposed to keep up.

When I look into my future… I’m hopeful over so many things:  Success for my side business, Happiness and health for my children, Continued success in my day job.  I’m hopeful that I will continue to learn and grow.  That someday, I’ll master the art of healthy communication, and find myself surrounded in healthy relationships.  I’ve learned so much – thanks to counseling and reflection, but I’d be kidding myself if I thought that was enough.  Now it all comes down to continued practice and learning. And sure, I could stress about it, worry over it, try and find a way to gain some sense of control over it all – or I could just throw my hands into the air and give in.  Give my all.  and just be patient.  It’s not something I do well.  Patience isn’t a virtue I possess typically – but maybe that’s the point of this lesson.

I’ve got some christmas music playing, and I’m snuggled under a blanket on my couch as I write this post.  The kids aren’t home for the day yet and I’m enjoying some quiet time.  I should be down in the lab… I still have quite a bit on my to-do list to tackle before my event at the Pottery Barn on Sunday, but I think I needed to take a moment and just let my thoughts flow first.

I love the labspace for my business.  It’s taken over the downstairs of my home.  Stainless steel tables, melters, shelves full of bottles and barrels of all sizes, jars of colors lining a wall.  It always smells different in there.  Yesterday it smelled like apple cinnamon… today it’s a white sage – very clean smell.  Of course, the smells change based on what I’m making or packaging or curing at the moment.  It’s become my playroom for art projects and fun experiments.  I have a new experiment brewing in my head that I can’t wait to attempt.  It’s funny to think that this time last year, the lab didn’t exist downstairs.  I was just messing around in my kitchen.  How far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.  It’s funny – I get so impatient with my progress – the business is not (yet) where I thought it would be.  BUT… then I think back to the days I started and ran JW.  It took me 3 years to build that company up enough to be stable and consistent.  And in my first 2 years, I made a couple decent flubs of mistakes…. learning curves!  So I’m trying to cut myself some slack this time around.  But it’s hard.  Damn that aries impatience.  🙂

But we’ll get there… once again – this is something I just have to give in to hope on.  Keep busting my butt …. it’ll come about in it’s own time.  And when it does – this dream will be a reality.  The dream of having my own shop.  To leave the tech world for a while, work the shop, write a book… maybe consult here and there on those special projects the tech world needs me for.  I’ll get there.  Just keep swimming…

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I need to get some of this out

I’ve been hiding from my phone for the past couple of days.  Ok, maybe not hiding, but I plug it in and walk away from it.  I don’t want to be near it.  Families… weddings… I swear, weddings, funerals and babies bring out the crazy in people.  And typically – when the crazy comes out – someone gets hurt.

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I guess this time… that person is me.  I’m hurt.  Reeling actually.  I feel as if I’ve been singed and cut by someone I never thought I’d have to fear.

My “bro”.  He’s not related to me by blood, but we call each other “brother” and “sister”.  We met 13 years ago, he was my neighbor who lived with his then-girlfriend across the hall.  I swear, the first time I met him, I knew he was my brother from another mother. LOL.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we were always there for each other.  He’s always been there for me.

I knew, as his wedding day approached that our friendship was about to change in a big way.  Ideally, I’d gain a cool sister out of the deal.  But she has never seemed to have much interest in that, we don’t share a lot of the same ideals, so I get it. Actually – I wish she understood exactly just how much I get it.  The Bro’s life is about to change in a pretty serious way.  His life now must be with her.  Up until recently, I’ve been excited to think about what is in store for their future… moving in together, babies, eventually buying a house, doing all the things that I know he wants to accomplish.  And I knew that our friendship would move to the very back… like nosebleed seats.  And I’m cool with that – hell – I’ve been pushing him in this direction.  I guess I figured we’d get through his wedding day first.  I was wrong.  And truly, I’m not sure our friendship can recover from this.  And if I’m honest, After all that was said, I’m not entirely sure I want it to.

I won’t spill all the details here… but I will say that I wish I could help some people see how much their words can damage.  How their tone and the way they approach other people will directly impact how their words are received.  I will also say that it takes a very brave and yet rather stupid man to judge another.  My bro laid out many of the decisions I’d made over the course of my life … pointing out my mistakes, effectively rubbing my nose in the areas he felt I didn’t measure up.  Not just in my past, but even now.  But he did all of this, only knowing bits and pieces of the story.  He judged me… and it came across with anger, disdain, disappointment and shame. His soon to be wife even joined in the “fun”.  She’d verbally attacked me prior to my bro letting me have it.  Screamed at me and said I was a horrible “best man”.  Ironic she did that when I was putting finishing touches on some bachelor party related stuff earlier that evening.  It was a hard hitting 1-2 verbal sucker punch from them as a couple.

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I won’t lie, that first 24 hours after they both let me have it… I was a wreck.  I broke down.  I bawled and went quiet.  I crawled inside my world and licked my wounds.  I wasn’t even angry, I was self-reflective.  I had to check myself… make sure that what he’d said wasn’t true.  I guess because I’ve been actively working on self-improvement, I had to really take a good look and make sure that there weren’t areas of his feedback that I needed to consider.  The next day, we spoke again and he apologized and tried to sweep it under the rug.  Even tried to deny some of what he’d said the night before.  I thanked him for the apology but stated that for me to feel comfortable attending the wedding and the festivities, that I would like an apology from his fiance/soon to be wife.    He agreed that I deserved it, but warned that I might not get it from her right away.  He laid out various reasons and excuses for why I should just let it go.  About 15 minutes after he said he’d talk to her and get back to me, my phone rang.  It was her, and I answered it pleasantly, as I didn’t want to start things off on the wrong foot.  She immediately started yelling – even yelled an apology.  Yea – cuz THAT feels totally sincere.  I hung up on her, and texted her that perhaps it would be better to move to text.  Honestly, I just didn’t want to be yelled at anymore.  We texted a little – but I pretty quickly gave up on that too.  So here I sit, no sincere apology and still feeling incredibly upset and uneasy a few days later.

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Yes, I could back down… I could suck it up and be there for him on his wedding day.  And likely – I will do this.  More for me than him.  I don’t want to feel guilty 10 years from now for not showing up.  And I’ll go into it knowing there’s the potential for drama, or daggers being thrown at me, there will be the potential for awkward uncomfortable silences, and even worse, a high chance that I will end up feeling used or insulted by the end of all of this.  I will suck it up, BUT… I’m done.  Or at least I think I am.  I’m going to just keep going down my own life’s path… because I’m dying to see what happens in the next chapters of my life.  To get thru this, i’m going to keep telling myself that it’s not my circus, and not my monkeys.

I’m a grown woman who’s made a successful, full and happy life for herself.  I’m a woman who has good, sweet, smart children who may stumble or struggle in their life in places, but who know without a shadow of a doubt that their momma loves them and would do anything to see that they are safe and well cared for.  I don’t deserve to be talked to or treated in that manner.  Especially when what is being said isn’t true.  At least I had that going for me, I knew, deep down in my heart that nothing they said was true about me… that it was being said out of spite and anger and jealousy.  But here’s the thing, even knowing that… it still hurt.  It was a different hurt tho.  This hurt came from knowing that the someone I trusted over the years is now throwing daggers… they are no longer worthy of my trust.  That perhaps I’d misjudged him all along.

So … because of all of this… I’ve been avoiding my phone. I’ve been staying off social media and just kind of hiding in my world.  I’ve had some shifts in a few friendships in the last few months… each of them shook me to my core for various reasons.  This one is no different.  What is interesting to me is that when I promised myself that I’d get healthy, even if that meant cutting toxic situations out of my life… I guess I didn’t realize how many of my relationships had toxic layers woven into them.  Maybe living on my own and staying single for a while truly WAS the best thing I could have done for myself.  I’m so glad I’ve done it up to this point.  I’ll have to watch myself moving forward… I’m putting up my walls with everyone – unintentionally.  And I don’t mean to.  I am just unsure on who to trust, vs. who will judge me or hurt me.  Easier to just put up the walls a bit.

I had an interview today – it went quite well.  I felt confident, for the first time in months actually.  A genuine confidence, not the kind where you fake it till you hopefully make it.  Maybe being shaken to my core this weekend was good for me.  Helped remind me who I am.  Where I’ve been, and more importantly, where I am headed.

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