“Staying in your lane”

My sister says this to people. A lot. And sometimes I agree with her, and other times, not so much. You see, if I had “stayed in my lane” my entire life, then I wouldn’t be where I am. In fact, I’d wager, had she said that to me long ago – i’d have found a way to kindly tell her to go fuck herself because you can’t stay in one lane when you own the pool. 😀 But I digress. I get why she says it – it’s to help someone know when they are slipping from their path – or losing focus. It is a signal, to reel it in and double check yourself. How often do people even DO that anymore? I find that I do it often – and perhaps maybe need to just let it loose a little more. Granted – that does beg the question – what happens if you don’t know what lane you’re even in? Maybe you’re actually swimming diagonally across the pool?! Maybe you don’t believe in lanes! 😀 Hehe.

This week – I really need to stay in my lane when it comes to work focus. I’ve got lots to do, both for my day job and for my comic. I also just generally need to recover from a full weekend of shenanigans. The sister and I went to Portland for a short overnight getaway. The weekend was filled with a mix of things – shopping, self care, good food, strippers!, new friends, old friends… you name it. And while I had fun – a blast actually during most of it – I’m feeling a bit overly crispy around the edges today. Like – stick a fork in me already – i’m done. I may take a bit of a nap later and see if it re-energizes me.

My comic work is coming about slowly and steadily. At least on “Bar Tales”. My Mom book however I’m still stuck on. I need to just suck it up and start drawing the main character and not stop until i can do her consistently. But the problem is – she is me. And i’m still learning to see myself. It’s hard. My view of myself changes constantly – perhaps that’s why I feel like I own the pool rather than a single lane. I’ve written about this in the past and it still feels true today – we wear a lot of masks in society – and I’m not entirely convinced that all of us have figured out who we are without them.

Well, I better get back to my work morning – but here’s me wishing you a happy week!

Good morning Neverland!

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”.

And just like that… everything changed.

 

I’m not even sure if I will be brave enough to post this. But I need to let it out somewhere all the same. I’m so ashamed. So hurt. My whole world has come crashing down in the course of just 36 hours. It started with a message from someone I didn’t know. She was reaching out because I seemed sweet, and she felt I deserved to know the truth.

My husband was cheating on me. And she had proof.

From there, it was a fall down the rabbit hole. And I’m beyond devastated. I rather stupidly thought I’d be capable of going to work today. I think I made it about 15 minutes before I broke down into gut wrenching sobs and just lost it. I’m grateful for the couple of coworkers who were there to offer comfort and consoling as I poured my heart out and recounted the past 18 hours.

So many lies. So much that I didn’t know. Stuff that I don’t fully know how to wrap my head around. And I am truly trying to. And now, this evening, after a day of struggling to even clear my head from the dark clouds that have taken over, he shared that he was frustrated because he’d said he was sorry and he’s done a bunch of what I’d asked for in order for me to feel more comfortable and yet I was still upset. Well excuse ME! Just because I was calm and quiet for the first 5 hours of me learning everything doesn’t mean the storm wasn’t going to come. I have never lied to him. I’ve never been unfaithful or disrespectful. I’ve never done anything to deserve all that has been laid at my feet in the past couple days. I’ve been a good wife. A good person.

I wasn’t angry when I found out…. a few small outbursts in that first hour or so, but overall – I just haven’t been angry. I’ve experienced shock, hurt, shame, disappointment, and now… after learning that he’s frustrated with me, I am now Furious!

Are you kidding me right now?!

He’s seen me suffering all day – came home from work early…crying, talking to my counselor…crying. I went to bed after saying something along the lines of “You cannot tell me that you love me, if you did, this wouldn’t have been going on since the beginning. You don’t love me.” You know what his response was? “Not the whole time!” and then he went silent for a good 5 minutes or so. This upset me and is when he shared his frustration. I had to clarify with him to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood his meaning, to which he confirmed that he had said he was sorry – what more did I want?

And he didn’t even finish doing the things we’d agreed to do to help me feel comfortable. He’s working on it – but his progress is slower than it should be for someone who says they’re going to work on things. I got out of bed after I handed him my wedding ring.

And now I’m sitting on my couch in the dark. Writing this with music playing softly. The dog is snoring in her crate.

There are no more tears. I know what I’m worth… and this is not it.

Love, getting older, and trust

I’ve spent some time with my grandparents within the past month.  Real time.  Where we sat and chat and had no time restraints.  I’m grateful that I’ve been able to take the time to prioritize my family in that way.  I love them with all my heart.

Something that has struck me and left me processing for a bit now, is what I see in their relationship to each other.  They are all they have left, of a life that was rich with friends and loved ones.  They are now at an age, where they watch who’s left of their friends pass away.  Moving on to bigger adventures in the grand circle of life.  It’s a sad, lonely, and quite frankly, a depressing time of one’s life it would seem.  So of course, the love my grandparents share is magnified that much more.  They’ve been through everything together.  They hold hands when they get their hair cut.  They are constantly talking about each other and thinking about each other when they are apart.

It’s left me thinking about my own future a little bit.  For one, I feel this sudden urge to make sure my retirement accounts are healthy – holy moly does that level of care cost a FORTUNE or what?!  But beyond that, I can’t help but wonder what my future as an old lady will be like?  Will I live in a nice assisted living place like my grandparents?  What will I be like when I’m an old lady?  Will I be more cantankerous?  More kooky?  More sweet?  🙂

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 9.00.33 PM

Who will be by my side?

Of course, when you start to look ahead, you can’t help but also look behind.  I think about the fact that so much in my life has changed from where I was 10, even 15 years ago.  How young and innocent I was.  Naive to much of what life could, and would throw my way; but I’ve always handled it all.  I’m damn proud of that.  And I don’t think I’d trade anything from it.  EXCEPT one thing.  Well – ok maybe two.  One – I’d love to have my body back from my early twenties.  Uh… yes Please!?!  But two… Somewhere along the lines I’ve lost my ability to trust someone else completely.  And I miss that.

I sat today and tried to pinpoint when I lost it.  Like it was a coin from my pocket that had somehow slipped out and run about loose.  But it wasn’t like that.  I think it was more like how a rocky cliffside will slowly erode away from the ocean waves that pound on it.  The more people I’ve put faith and trust in over the years who’ve let me down, have made it so that I’m a bit leery to be blindly handing out my trust anymore.  And that’s really quite a sad thing.  That’s me changing and adapting due to shitty people.  It’s perfectly normal of course, life experiences teach you, after all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about  weddings and relationships.  I think it’s because of something my grandmother brought up. 70+ years together.  Just Wow.  I was admiring their wedding photo and couldn’t help but think that they both, for sure, upheld their wedding vows.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 9.03.26 PM

I always upheld mine.  That I can say without uncertainty.  When I think about my own future, it’s dawned on me that I’ve never really thought about what I’d want someone to say to me now.  Because of my own experiences – I think I’d want to write them – rather than have someone say them for me.  Because the standard I will love, honor, cherish, obey …. insert the rest of the standard bit here… isn’t quite right for me anymore.

Yes, I would hope to be loved, honored, cherished… i’m pretty sure they cut out obey now… so i won’t get into that one… but I think I’d also want a few other guidelines in there.  Ones I would hope would be a mutually spoken thing of course.

8 Vow additions for a future husband & wife:

I promise to Respect.
I would hope that my future husband would promise to always respect me and our relationship.

I promise to Trust and never do anything to cause that level of trust to falter.

I promise to always put your needs at the same priority level as my own.  If I’m going to be “selfish” it will be for us – not just myself.

I promise to always be stubborn and to never quit trying and putting effort into us and our lives we’re building together.  Even when things get tough or tense.

I promise to always communicate and be transparent. You are the one person I am not allowed to hide anything from.  I will always try and make sure that we are communicating in a healthy manner.

I promise to never judge you.  I will always empathize with you, and try and understand from your perspective.

I promise to always prioritize our sex life.  To be affectionate with you.  To touch you and hug you and love you. Because this is something I will also need and crave.

I also promise to adventure with you, to make you laugh, to sing to you, to lift you up and encourage you to spread your wings.  To be your cheerleader when you need it, and a silent gaming partner when you need that too.

 

Hmm… yea, I suppose that covers quite a bit.  Makes me wonder how people end their vows these days – and yes, I realize I could go search that.  Do they say till death do us part anymore?  Or is it till divorce or death do us part?  LOL.  Ok, ok, I shouldn’t laugh at that – divorce is no laughing matter at all.  As obviously, I speak from personal experience there.  But do people work loopholes into their vows now?

Can you imagine what some of the worst vows out there could be like?  I take you… till death, divorce, sickness, fatness, or a really cute rich guy comes along…

funny-marriage-cartoon

Ugh.  I would certainly hope that doesn’t happen.  Would seem like a sad state of affairs for the “sanctity of marriage”.

Is it wrong for me to long for this to be a more simple thing?  I suppose there is no such thing.  All you can do is hope for the best.  Hope that the right person will come along and sweep you off your feet.  That they’ll be the one to open your eyes to everything that’s good and wonderful in the world.  And who knows – maybe they’ll even be a master at making grilled cheese.  😉

Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you.

lipstick kiss

 

When dealing with others who are toxic

Do not expect to receive something from someone who doesn’t have what you want.

This quote has been running through my mind all day today. The things you have to tell yourself after dealing with a particularly toxic member of my family. I’m hoping that by writing about this, I can get to feeling better about things. But even I recognize that journaling can only do so much.

I’m faced with kicking my baby brother out of my house. I’m not looking forward to it, and honestly – it makes me feel like one big giant asshole. But I cannot do it anymore. At first, I thought that maybe staying here would be good for him, but the longer this goes on, the less respect I have for him. It’s time for him to go. He’s barely contributed towards anything, and comes home drunk or highly drugged at all hours of the night, often waking the household. He leaves food out, and has set off fire alarms, and last night – well – this morning actually… he came home with a completely totalled car. He’s already had a DUI and I’ve witnessed him coming home from driving completely plastered now a couple of times. What kind of example are my children getting from all of this? I told him he couldn’t stay. That I’ve had enough and that I was calling Dad. Dad needed to know that his youngest son was doing this, that the car he was still paying for was totalled. Yea – i know – I totally ratted out of my brother which in most cases, would not be cool. This feels a bit more life and death tho.

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.28.29 PM

I was scared to call my Dad. I knew the messenger would be shot at. I didn’t expect it to go the way it did. I didn’t expect to feel whooshed back to the days when I faced that same kind of verbal treatment daily. I didn’t expect to feel a moment of fight or flight… on the PHONE. I hung up. I walked for a few minutes. And then suddenly I had things I wanted to SAY! That’s not like me. My flight instinct is strong with my family – I clam up, go quiet and get the heck out of there. Today – I stood up for myself. Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t treat me like this. I have done nothing to earn this behavior being slung at me in it’s vileness. It felt good. It also backfired on me. Managed to get me in bigger trouble – but whatever. I don’t really care. You want to tell me now that i’m not your daughter? Cuz you’ve said it to me plenty of times in the past. I don’t care.

This is when the quote runs through my head the most. My father is simply not capable of giving me the kind of father/daughter relationship that I need.. why? Because he does not possess the skills to do so. Never has. Most likely – never will. So why do I continue to hope beyond hope that someday something will blossom and we’ll have a closer bond or kin-ship? That’s insanity on my part!

Dad asked me to take in my baby brother, and I did. And I can honestly say, I’ve given him just over a month here, I’ve really TRIED. But I can’t work with someone who doesn’t see that what they’re doing is self-destructive. I can’t help someone who has no desire to help themselves. And now – all it’s doing is dragging down my family’s ability to live successfully.

I’ve always done the right thing. I’ve always been the good daughter. I’ve always strived to do what was asked of me, what was expected of me. But now – I want to show my children that they don’t have to have toxic people in their lives. I want the people I surround myself with to be people who actually care about me. People who will put their all into building something healthy and amazing with me – because I’ll happily put in the effort to do the same with them.

planting-flowers-07

After all the drama – I took a moment to plant some flowers outside. It made me feel instantly better. I then spent the day with my kids. We played some Wii sports, and walked to the park. Enjoyed each other and did what we could to make each other laugh. I’m grateful for them. My children. I’m so lucky to have them in my life. I swear on the very last breath I take – that I will NEVER give to them, the kind of heartache and pain that my father has given me. I refuse. They deserve so much better than that.

Well, I better get some sleep. Goodnight Neverland. Happy Sunday to you!

lipstick kiss