Frustration, moods, effort, relationships and birthdays

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I’m in a mood today.  And I can’t quite even put my finger on what that mood actually is. I’m frustrated, and antsy, I’m contemplative… really – what it comes down to – I’m craving attention.  A sincere, adult, no ulterior motives, genuine connection with someone. I don’t know… Ever since I decided to take a long ass break away from the dating scene – I’ve discovered that I go through phases.  Sometimes, I’m perfectly content with my social life.  I have a lot of amazing friendships that I cherish and adore.  I get out, I’m also quite busy as a mom and an employee and business owner.  But sometimes… I crave something different.  A real connection with someone, at more than just a surface-deep level. Sometimes I’ll meet someone and think – ooh! There’s something here!  And the moment I give into it, is often the moment they decide they have far more important things to be spending their time on.  Or… they’ll tell me that they are interested in pursuing something with me, but then the communication will lag in such a way that I have no choice but to believe otherwise.  It always seems to be hot or cold for me.  When I DO find someone who’s wanting to put in the effort.. there always seems to be a catch or some very serious red flags.  Perhaps they are an alcoholic, or just got out of a relationship a few months back, or are deep in the throes of working through something serious, like depression or PTSD from American politics and can’t seem to figure out how to move forward from it.   It’s enough to make a woman think she should just stick to being alone.  Maybe the dating world has changed in a way I didn’t expect.  Perhaps the concept of putting in a consistent effort on someone is outdated.

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Effort.  Have we all just become lazy?  Do people not feel like they need to put effort into building and maintaining their relationships anymore?  And I’m not talking about just love relationships here, friendships too.  It was my mentor, who maybe 4 years ago, told me that in order to really network from a business/career standpoint, that any relationships you make, have to be maintained.  Like my garden.  If I neglect those relationships, they’ll go stale.  When a relationship goes stale, it takes even MORE effort to attempt to jump start them.  Her standpoint was that it took less effort to maintain than it did to try and go back and repair them.  I think I took this viewpoint to heart… with all of my relationships.  I’m not saying I’m perfect here… as life happens and sometimes you just have to ride the wave that you’re on and let cards fall where they may.  But it was this advice that led me to really look at the relationships in my life.  Which ones were toxic, or one-sided?  Which ones were weeds that were choking out the rest of my gorgeous garden and what could I do about it?

The ex, his fiance and I have managed to come to a new place in our relationships with each other.  Co-parenting is some seriously tough stuff – and I’m learning more than ever, that just because he is my ex – doesn’t mean he’s not going to continue to be an active participant in my life.  So I’ve really focused on trying to connect with his fiance.  She’s a lovely woman – truly, someone I could be friends with if things weren’t what they are.  For the longest time, she’s been leery of me.  I think she worried that I still wanted to be with the ex.  HA! No thanks!! It’s only in the last month or so, that she’s started to thaw towards me.  I won’t lie, I’ve laid on the charm in order to disarm her a little more and it’s working.  When they drop off my son now, they hang out for a little while and chit chat about the week ahead, and various things going on in their world.  It’s a relief. My ex husband and I will NEVER get back together … this I am absolutely, 100 percent positive on.  BUT… He’s been one of my very best friends for almost half my life.  It’s bothered me a lot in the last 4 years, that that seemed lost.  But lately – I’m seeing it come back – in a new form.  And it’s nice.  I missed him in that way.  And I like her for him.  They seem to be good together.  Is it weird that I can say that?

Overall, it was a good weekend.  This coming weekend is my show at Pottery Barn for my side business.  Then the weekend after that, I’ll be celebrating my birthday with friends. Holy cow I’m officially turning 35 this year!!   My friend J is hosting a party at my house.  She’s invited 100 people!  I know not all will show (THANK GOD!) but it should be really interesting and exciting to see how it all goes!  Then after the party, a smaller group of us are going to go out and sing Karaoke.  Hehe… my friends are such good sports.  I know most of them hate karaoke, but they encourage me to get out and sing.  They know it was once a HUGE part of my life, and I’m grateful that they continue to push and encourage me to not give it up.  My daughter joined choir this year.  She seems to be enjoying it, although she made a comment on Friday that I had to sit and talk to her about.  I guess she’s been nervous to sing around me.  She says I’m intimidating to someone who struggles with pitch, and feels that she’s never going to learn to project her voice.  I offered to help her in any way that I can.  I’d be happy to work through some scales and help her learn to control her diaphragm a bit more.  Lord knows, when I need to be, I can be LOUD.  😀  She seemed to perk up at that one.  She wants to be able to earn a slot for a solo.  It’s funny how it brings me back. As a teenager, I was in every choir, I took professional lessons 3 days a week, I was in as many musicals and music productions I could get my hands on.  I think she’ll find her own on this one.  But I love that my child has yet another common interest as me.  🙂

Well – I better get to working.  Hope you all have a lovely day!  Much love to all of you in Neverland.  Talk soon!

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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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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!

The Rulebook of Life – According to me

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If you were to write a rule book – for life according to you… what would be some of the rules?   Not the obvious ones… as far as always being honest, upholding your own honor, not murdering people and such…

I mean the other things. Guidelines for how we live our lives, that make us unique to who and what we are.  The ones that we all seem to have… although perhaps subconsciously, which would make them challenging to actually pick up on.

A sampling of the Rulebook of Life according to Jen

Rule 97: Fuzzy blankets are required to properly watch a movie or binge TV.

Rule 389: Jen must always have the ability to pull her foot out of the blankets at night in order to maintain the correct body temperature.

Rule 413: When Jen gets home from work – she must be allowed 15-20 minutes to decompress, also known as the “Don’t Ask Mom For Anything” time.

Breaking this rule can lead to potential willpower melt-down and the mass consumption of chocolate or soft cookies from her secret stash.  Note: If you promise never to share knowledge of secret stash – she may just share with you if you’re nice.

Rule 1022:  There are two places that make Jen anxious.  Hospitals and Airports, for very different reasons.  When Jen is anxious, she may need an extra hug, an extra smile, and a little extra patience.  She also may need a swift kick in the ass to make her go to these places.  Use force as deemed appropriate and necessary. Bribes work too.

Rule 1031: Sometimes, Jen just needs a snuggle.  For no reason at all.

LOL.

Yea … I know…

I’m a dork.  But seriously – how cool would it be if you could see other people’s rule books?  I know my best friend R’s would have things like

A sampling of the Rulebook of Life according to R

Rule 124: Must yell at the TV during scary parts of a movie, or during sports.  It is highly recommended to not sit next to R during these times, as it is highly likely that her flailing arms might make contact.  Pillow armor is suggested.

Rule 349: Must always follow something sweet with something savory/salty when snacking.

It must be noted however on R’s Rule 349.  I don’t agree.  I personally prefer to end on the sweet.  🙂

Have a good day everyone!  Much love to ya!

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