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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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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About love… and neighbors.

It’s been a lovely day.  I woke up to children snuggling in bed with me.  We spent the morning laughing and chasing each other around the house, took a few silly selfies and just spent time genuinely enjoying each others company.  My daughter made breakfast and even brought me coffee.  I’m lucky to have such amazing lights filling my life.

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This afternoon, I was sitting on my front porch enjoying some sunshine and writing in my journal when my retired neighbor walked over.  He’s a hoot.  In his mid eighties and he tells some of the coolest stories about the history from around here.  Every time I see him, I’m struck by what a cool, definitely eccentric old dude he is.  He’s a hoarder, and his yard definitely reflects it… but the more I get to know him, the more I see past what others likely judge him for, into the character of the man he is deep down.  Today, he thanked me… and my family… for being a good neighbor.  For my kindness and conversation and laughter at his jokes.  I asked him questions… some related to the conversation, and others that I had simply been mulling over in my journal.  I shared with him that since moving in here, this is the first time I’ve ever lived on my own.  The challenges and the joys of it.  He lives alone, and was kind enough to share his thoughts on relationships and life and what it’s like to live it as a loner.  He shared a story of the one who got away… it was sweet and sad.

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The longer I am single, the more I realize that it’s fine with me if I remain that way.  Who knows… maybe I’ve had my happiness in regards to love/sexual relationships… maybe we are presented with opportunities to find our matches… and the direction or paths that we choose determine whether we’ll have those opportunities again or just be alone.

 

Love is a complicated bitch.  It really is.  And so often has so many layers to it.  Looking back, I’d say I’ve been “full on” in Love – with complete and utter devotion, commitment and loyalty 3 times in my life.  Two of those relationships absolutely gutted me.  And since then… I’ve tasted the beginnings of what could have grown to that level only a couple of times.

One was simply not ready for me… in so many ways.  But this post is not about him.

Let me tell you a story… this was a few years ago.

Five months ‘fresh’ from ending a rebound relationship, after ending a very long marriage and I decided to dip my toe into the world of online dating. I’d been dreaming of finding “Mr. Right” since I was a girl.   And suddenly – he messaged me.  This man was everything I’d ever told myself I’d wanted.  We met, and went out on a few amazing dates.  I felt adored.  Wanted.  Everything I’d ever wanted to feel.  I felt safe, which for me, is a rare feeling.  He told me he loved me.  And although I felt it too, I paused.  It was moving too fast.  I hadn’t even really come up for air from the last relationship I was in.  And then I panicked.  And this is where the story goes wrong… because not only did I break up with him, but I jumped into something else.  Something that was wrong to begin with.  It gutted him, and became one of the few things in my life that I’ve regretted.

The friends who met him all adored him… and here’s the kicker… they STILL bring him up.  It’s a whole new ballgame when your friends recognize that you screwed up and call you out on it, even years later.

I regretted it because in no way could I go back and redo or try again with this man.  As much as I wished I could.  I let him down and broke his trust when I walked away.  And there is no amount of apology or explanation that could ever take that away.  He deserved so much better than that.  What I didn’t know then, was that I wasn’t in a place to even recognize that I was on a downward spiral.  He broke every relationship pattern and mold I’d ever had and because it was foreign and uncomfortable for me to feel the beginnings of a “healthy” relationship, I panicked.

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The thing is… this has been a defining moment in my life… So many life lessons packed into one lost opportunity.  I suppose that everyone goes through it… at some point in all of our lives … we have to experience “the one who got away”.  I suppose this is my story of mine.

Much love to you all Neverland.  I’ll ramble again soon.

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Dear Ben…

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Dear Ben…

I miss you.  I think about you… Every. Single. Day.  I don’t think that will ever change.  Some days, it’s just a quiet note in the back of my mind, and other days, it’s heavy and thick, a cloud (not necessarily a bad one) that hovers at the forefront of my thoughts.

6 years ago, you died in my arms, and it would be honest of me to admit that a part of me died that day too.  I’m ok now.  I don’t often come to tears about all that happened anymore.  And that’s not what this post is about… it’s about something else.

You see, I made a promise to you.  I promised that I would get happy and healthy and on track.  And in many, many ways, I have done just that.  But sometimes, I feel like it’s not enough.  That I just don’t measure up to my own expectations… or anyone else’s.  I know, logically, that that is not the truth.  That any outsider looking into my life would call “Bollocks!” on me.  I have a good life, a nice house, a car, great kids, great friends.  I’m losing weight steadily.  Doing all the things I promised to do.

Where I’m lacking … is really just in one place.  My love life.  And for the most part, I do a pretty good job of not focusing on it and instead staying involved in a bazillion other things.  Hobbies are good!  Heck, there are definitely times when I enjoy being single, with no strings attached to anyone. But every so often… I can’t help but think…

“What’s wrong with me?”  “Why do I struggle to find the right person for me?”

I get feedback all the time from a variety of people that I’m a cool chick.  Good with conversation, kind, sweet, smart, funny, pretty… so what’s the deal?  I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps it’s just not the right time.  That things happen when they are supposed to.  Who knows… maybe I’ve had my happiness?  I guess I could be ok with that, but it certainly feels off to me.

I know that you’re with me.  As odd as it may sound, sometimes, I swear I feel your presence with me.  It’s these moments that I wish I could talk to you.  You show up in my dreams sometimes… not as a little boy – but a grown man.   In my dreams, I know you’re dead, but we still have these amazing conversations.  Somehow, I know you would have been an amazing man to be around.  I see it in Grayson sometimes too.  I know he’s going to be a good man.  Someone who is both ambitious and patient and loving.  I’m lucky in the kids department.  My daughter is growing up to be a woman that I’d want to be friends with, someone I’d admire.  Yea, she has areas she’s going to struggle with, and lessons she needs to learn that will also help change and guide her down her path, but I see it.  A glimmer of who she will become.

I regret that I won’t get to see that in you.  Some people say that it’s the brightest lights that get called to return home.  Maybe that’s why you weren’t long for this world… but I certainly long for you.

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I don’t pray to god anymore.  I haven’t in 6 years.  Oddly – I pray to you.  My Ben.  And right now – I’m putting this little prayer into writing.  I’d like some help finding peace with the idea that perhaps I’m not meant to find another relationship.  Perhaps my path leads me somewhere entirely different.  And more than anything, I’d like to come to place where I’m content with that.

I miss you.  I will always miss you.  And if I haven’t said it yet today – I love you.  Mommy always will.

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F That Noise!

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Not going to lie… I’m frustrated.  More frustrated than I’ve been in a while.  You would think that I would get used to feeling frustrated, especially when my family is involved… and yet, here I am, feeling a bit blindsided once again.

So it’s been a busy week.  I’ve had a few phone interviews, all materializing into in person ones next week.  On the “Find Jen a new Job” front… things are moving along.  But I also got a letter from unemployment this week.  They are reviewing my application and it could take 3-5 weeks to be completed.  So until then… no money for me.  And my severance money from my previous job will not be mailed out until the end of august.  That money will be a good chunk of money to keep me going until spring should I so desire.

Thankfully, I saved some for a rainy day.  It’s enough to cover my house payment.  Which – obviously means it’s not enough – but at least I had that.  I’ve never been out of work for very long, and I am confident that I’ll land one of these jobs.  But I’m frustrated with this strange place of finding myself in a bind.

This morning, I sucked up my pride and I called my dad.  Perhaps he could loan me a little in order to float until I get my severance.  Hell – charge me interest I don’t care.  He wasn’t available to talk to and I put it out of my head.  This evening, I got an earful.  A guilt trip piled on extra thick.  He even ended it with pressuring me to sell the house.

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I’m sorry what?!

… FUCK that!

I’ve come too far… I’ve fought too long and too hard… that is absolute BULLSHIT right there.  And where the hell is the faith Dad?!  I’ve been out of work once in 12 years.  And that one time… it took me approximately 45 days to land a job that made 40K more than the one I’d lost.  If only I had my severance right now… but it’s coming!  I’m not a TOTAL loser here!!  Why does it always feel like my family thinks the absolute worst of me?  What the hell do I have to do to prove to these people that I’m not a fuck up?  I may screw up here and there, but overall… I’m more often than not on a solid positive track in the right direction.

I came home, pouted and cried a little… paced and stewed a little… and figured I’d let some of it out here.  I don’t know, maybe this is my dad’s form of tough love, but honestly, between him and my mom – I’ve had all the tough love I can possibly stand.  I’d just like some real, genuine love for a little bit.  Is that too much to ask?  Some support, a kind word of encouragement and the faith to know that I’ve got this handled… ok so yea, maybe there’s a small blip in things thanks to our government right now… but damn it… I’ve got this.  Ok?!

Goodnight Neverland.  🙂