How do you calm your nerves?

There are two days left in my work week. Then I’m off for some surgery and recovery time. I’m nervous and anxious to get it all over and done with. I know it will go just fine – and that I’m likely worked up and worried over nothing… but I’m struggling to contain my anxieties and nervousness this week. I regret setting my week up to where I had to come into work for the first half, as my brain is definitely NOT on my work.

One of the things I had to do this weekend, in prep for my surgery, was to complete an advanced directive and update my will. Such an uncomfortable thing to think about and complete…. even if it IS the responsible thing to do.

The one thing I realized as I was thinking through things – was how small my circle of trust has truly become as I’ve aged. When I was younger – so many people had my trust – people who didn’t deserve it in many cases. Now – there are 2, maybe 3 people whom I trust. That’s it. It’s a strange feeling. I’m happy to know that I, at least, have those few amazing souls in my life. It made me wonder what people do who have no one. No family, no friends, no solid relationships they can trust. How do they know that their children will be cared for if they have no one to entrust them to?

I made my annual homemade kahlua this weekend. It has to steep now until christmas – better yet – new years. I’m excited to give them out as gifts. It’s interesting, I love giving gifts to others, and often put a lot of thought into it. I’ve never been a fan of giving gift cards – they seem so impersonal, and last minute. And the experience a person has while opening a gift card is almost too quick, and anti-climatic. I want to see a person light up when they open something from me. That’s always my goal. To have them feel as if they are cared about, and like the person giving the gift knows or understands them at a deeper level.

Is the day over yet? I’d really like to be done, to go home, snuggle with my pup and a soft blanket and just do what I can to let my anxieties settle down. What do you all do to settle yourself down when you’re nervous? Give me some of your favorite tips and tricks.

Much love to you all in Neverland today. Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend.

Lessons from my life

I thought I was going to write to Ben this morning. I can’t sleep. I woke up early with my mind a buzz of thoughts. 10 years ago today was the last time I held him. The last time I felt his breath or heard him sigh. The last time. The LAST time. It hurts. It hurts more this year than it has in a very long time. And the past few weeks haven’t exactly helped me work my way thru it all. The promises I made to him keep replaying over in my head. I promised to hand out love like it was candy from my pocket.

I’ve been searching my whole life for something… To feel cared about. To feel loved. Not superficially.. but in that genuine, throw your entire self into it kind of love. The little girl who lives deep within me has been seeking for that feeling to be reciprocated for her whole life. She’s been seeking her place of comfort, her home, since she was 4 years old. She’s just wanted someone to pick her up and put her in their pocket. And that’s not something I admit easily. It feels like a weakness. But it’s not.

And this morning – I had a realization. A big one that left me feeling shook to my core. The only person who will love me that way – is me. Everyone else will have some sort of bias, or agenda… or worse, they will be too afraid and scared to open up and embrace the love that is offered to them… and the little girl will end up feeling hurt, let down, and unsafe.

The thing is – I have the courage to change. I have the courage to get cut down, and to still stand tall. I have the courage to walk in my shoes in a different direction… into the unknown. It’s funny – so many people in my life have commented that I am a force of nature. Stubborn and caring, I rarely back down, rarely lose. If I want something – I go after it and work my ass off to get it. I used to think that my courage came from my absolute faith that love is real, that it’s out there, that if you’re a good girl and you do right by people that it will come. I’m not sure that’s true anymore. I think maybe my best friend is partially right… you have to love yourself. Not because it will then allow love to find you – he’s wrong there – but because maybe it’s the only way you’ll have it at all. Sounds bleak, but I don’t mean it to.

I’ve walked a long road on this road of life. And anyone who walks it with me – whether it’s for a short moment, or for a long while will have to understand that I am not the same girl I used to be. I’ve gotten better over the years. I’ve grown and my perspectives have widened. I’ve learned what grief and loss does to a person. I’ve learned what abusive marriages do to a person. I’ve learned how to love with all of who I am. I’ve learned how to choose myself, my happiness and well-being over the destructive or toxic – no matter how normal they may have seemed to me. Growing up with toxic environments or toxic people shifts your perspectives and makes it hard to know what’s healthy or not. I’ve also learned how to channel so much of my vulnerabilities into a new kind of strength and courage. I know what hides in the dark shadows of life. The monsters that used to hide in my closet or under my bed – are still there. But if you shine brightly and give all you’ve got – the shadows will fall back and the monsters will be forced to stay in their shadows. I may not always have blind faith when it comes to God. He and I have our ups and downs since Ben’s death. But when it comes to my ability to take anything on I have absolute blind faith. When it comes to knowing that the goodness, the care, the love I seek is out there…. I’ve always known that too.

I have no doubt that there will always be people in my life who “love” me. But to them, I’m going to want to say a few things… First off – thank you. Thank you for your spoons of energy, thank you for caring in those moments. Know that I love you too, and truly appreciate the love and care you give back to me. But… If I’m just somebody that you’re gonna leave, or if you’re just some habit that I’ll have to break. If you don’t feel something when you look at me…. just let me down slowly – I’ll be ok.

I’ve got a little girl of my own – I say little – but she’s practically all grown up now. But she looks at me. She thinks I’m this courageous, loving, creative badass. That I’m this amazing strong woman. And yes – for her, I will always be. But what she doesn’t always know – is that the little girl in me is still scared of the monsters in my closet. And now here I am, walking down the road of life trying to show her how to be strong and how to face the monsters from her own closet. Sometimes it feels strange to try and teach my children how to do something that I haven’t yet fully figured out. Talk about the blind leading the blind. 🙂

It’s interesting to me… how I can feel both scared and broken and still stand tall and feel like I’m unbreakable. It’s such a strange mix. But all of it is truth. I AM a badass. I AM a force of nature. I AM capable of feeling emotions at a depth that rivals some of the best stories from literature. I am also capable of being hurt, even by the best of intentions. I’m capable of being misled. I make mistakes, errors in judgement, I overshare and often over communicate. In my head – it’s better to blurt everything that you’re feeling out and at least allow people to sort through it – than it is to stay quiet and keep it all in. But even that side of me is starting to change as I age. I’m learning that it’s often safer to sit. To ask questions. To listen. But even that fails me at times. Curiosity can kill the cat, after all. And even with all of my listening – I don’t always see the full story.

I don’t always have all the answers. How I wish life had a magic 8 ball at times. Although with my luck – if it did – I’d shake it, and turn it over, only to be told “Reply Hazy – Try again later”.

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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Since when did people become so scared?

Maybe it’s the aries in me, but if there’s one thing I struggle to empathize with others on, it’s fear.  I can understand and even relate to fear – it’s the inability to move forward when facing fear that bothers me.  When did people become chickens?  It seems as if society runs from things today – commitment, relationships, sex… love.  Especially love.  What the heck is so scary about love?!  Ok – yes, it has the potential to leave you breathless and in pain… but it also has the ability to help someone soar to new heights!  What a thrill!! What an honor!!  Oddly – it’s not looked at like that these days tho.

What seems to be my pattern tho… I find and meet people who are on extreme sides of the pendulum swing, but rarely sit squarely in the middle.  This past year, I dated a little – or at least attempted to.  I was contemplating the past year this morning, when it dawned on me that there’s a pattern to the folks I’ve met that I’ve overlooked.  They are either obsessed with love and their own loneliness – to the point where they almost seem to not care WHO they choose to date or love – ugh, no thanks. These men are the wounded birds who are still struggling with their own demons and truly should NOT be dating people yet OR… they are complete and utter chicken shits where the moment things start to get interesting – they turn and flee with their tail between their legs.  I’m sorry, but what the literal F?!  They’ll say all these lovely things to you, make you feel like you’re special, but when push comes to shove and it’s time to shit or get off the pot – it’s a giant no go.

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I’ve come to a very nice conclusion – I’m not patient enough for that shit.  I’m just not. And if that’s the game that is dating these days – I’m also just not interested.  I barely have time as it is in my day – between my full time job, my side business, my kids, and then trying to maintain the few friendships that mean something to me… Who has time to play games with chicken shit cowards who ultimately just seem to want to play mind games with someone and then move on to play mind games with someone else – all the while – complaining about how hard dating is and how things just aren’t the way they should be.  Hmm… suck it up buttercup!  Perhaps look at the behaviors you’re putting out there and realize that perhaps you’re partially responsible for your own bad luck?!

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I don’t do new years resolutions – but before this morning’s epiphany, I’d have said that one of my goals for the new year is to practice patience… but the more I think about it, maybe that’s where we women have gone wrong.  We’ve been practicing patience with these douchey dudes for FAR too long!!  I say, maybe 2017 is the year that I embrace my inner aries a bit more.  I’ll be patient with my children, with work, and the general public, I’ll practice empathy and understanding with every human being I connect with – however… what I will not do this year – is give empathy and patience to the chicken shits of the world.  If you’re scared – fine, I can respect that – even understand and honor that – but if your solution is to do nothing, to change nothing, to remain stagnant in the same place that you say you abhor… then my only response should be to walk away.  It’s not my job to force someone to move forward.  I’m too busy plowing ahead in my own world!

This year, I have two main focuses that I think I’d like to attempt.  One, is my side business.  My hope is to build it from a side business, to a full-time business and I’m confident that I’ll achieve that goal.  The way I’ve set things up, I know I’ll hit my targets.  (Look out LUSH, I’m totally gonna take you on at some point! Hehe)  The second goal is involving my love life.  It’s time for me to find my person.  A partner in crime, a best friend, a lover… I know – weird subject to make it’s way into my goals.  I’ve lightly dabbled in going on a few dates last year, but ultimately, kept coming to the realization that perhaps I just wasn’t ready.  I didn’t know myself or what I wanted.  After taking a good solid year to explore myself and my desires a bit more in depth – I finally feel good.  I feel ready.  My standards are firmly in place and I feel confident that my person is out there, somewhere. Someone who’ll knock my socks off, and be perfectly at ease with me loving the shit out of them.  🙂  I feel quite hopeful about it all, let’s just hope that sticks around. Hehe.

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And to you, my friends in Neverland… I invite you to join me.  Stand up for what you deserve!  If there’s something you want in your life – reach out and take it!!  Find the courage to strike out and do something a little different!  We only get this one life, so let’s make the absolute most of it this year!  Cheers!!

Fall is here

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I know – not a very imaginative title.  I may or may not change it.  Tonight, I need you Neverland.  I love it here.  It’s a place that I feel safe to let anything out.  Vulnerabilities and all.  I like to posture and say that by sharing my vulnerabilities, it gives me strength.  It’s a bunch of BS tho.  I’m still not very strong.  Today especially.

Today, I feel lost.  Lost in a sea of my own making to some extent, as my life is my own, and the choices I’ve made over my life were mine.  Part of me thinks, well.. Jen, it IS fall.  You always get this way leading up to Ben’s birthday.  But I don’t think this is just a bit of grief.  Not having a job right now is frustrating.  I’m antsy and starting to worry over my financial responsibilities.  It’s a strange feeling – first time in 12 years I’ve been unemployed.  I won’t lie – I’m a little scared.

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Fall is really here.  It’s getting colder, more brisk in the mornings.  The leaves are changing.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  And yet – it’s also a time of year that typically has me feeling anxious, and even a little down.  This is the time of year, that I want to hibernate.  Who knows, maybe I was a bear in another life? 🙂  This is the time of year that I’m often hit with a lot of memories from my past.  I dreamed of Ben the other night.  Grayson asked about him the other day – as we have his picture up on one of the bookshelves in the living room.  I don’t cry very much anymore, but there is still a deep ache.  The kind of ache in the chest that if you dwelled for too long, the tears would well up behind the eyes, the flood threatening to flow down the cheek.  Some wounds are too deep to really heal.

I’ve had some pretty major shakeups with friends and family in the last couple of weeks.  That combined with the kids starting school, healing from my injuries and the lack of work… I can’t lie to myself anymore, I’m on the edge of depression.  And I know I’ll pull out of it – I always do – but the past couple of weeks have been hard.  I’m really proud of me tho.  I’m doing it all.  I’m managing to figure all of this out, slowly but surely.  I have to remind myself that courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid… it means you’re afraid but still take a step forward.

I have to remind myself that it’s ok to take some time for myself right now.  To be quiet and hibernate a little in my home.  It’s ok to feel a little lost and scared and lonely.  I’m lucky really.  I know how good I have it and I know that I’m one tough cookie who’ll find a way to  continue to have it good for a long time yet to come.  I’ve never been a fan of limbo – and that’s all this is.  A strange state where the path that lies ahead of me is a bit hazy and unclear.  It’s ok.  Although – I won’t lie – it would be nice if someone would join me with a flashlight and a map.  🙂

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