When I’m asked about Marriage…

My brother came to visit this weekend.  It was lovely to hang out and not have anything else going on (for once).  To get to sit down, chit chat about everything and nothing, watch a flick, eat some good food… it was needed.  🙂

One of the topics that came up – quite often, actually – was marriage.  His in particular, but also the concept in general.  Would I ever get married again?  I think I’d resigned myself to stop giving advice in regards to marriage about 4-5 years ago.  I think it was the moment my second marriage ended that it dawned on me that perhaps I shouldn’t be giving out advice.  That maybe marriage wasn’t meant for me  😀  But that’s ultimately, selling myself short.

My first marriage – I was young.  I’d been with the man for 6 years and felt that I was making a sound decision.  And – in the scheme of things – had I not married him, I’d not have had my daughter.  So – I can’t say it was all bad.  And how could I have possibly known that marriage would turn the man into someone else?  We were only married for two years – so in general – I don’t typically count it for much.

My second marriage lasted 12 years.  I came into my own.  Grew up.  Really learned what it meant to become a wife… and a mother.  I was good at it.  All of it.  I packed lunches with love notes, I kept a tidy house, always had everyone’s favorite food and beverages stocked on hand… Anything that was asked of me – was handled.  I am naturally quite affectionate and always up for anything – be it adventuring somewhere, or snuggles on a couch.  I was always loyal and never strayed.  Did my best to never do anything that would disrespect myself or my relationship.  It was this relationship that taught me the true meaning behind being a partner.  What it meant to stay … even when everything tumbled around you.  Perhaps I’m an odd duck – I don’t look back at my marriage as a failure at all.  I look back and see it as a stepping stone for me becoming who I am today.  A strong, independent, caring, giving, funny woman.  Someone who always tries to see the good in others or in a situation.  And in many ways – I was always her… but time has helped me in many ways.  I’m more patient now.  I listen better.  I speak up more and try and compromise more.  I’ve also learned that all of those expectations that I had of myself in my marriage … were both not enough – and too much.  You see… I could have never known that we’d have a son.  I’d have never been able to see into the future and see how losing that son would break us all.  What’s interesting tho… we’re not broken anymore.

My ex and I manage to co-parent pretty well.  Of course there are times when we frustrate each other… but don’t we all?  That is the joy of being human.  We work together as a team to provide for our kids in the best way that we can.  And for the most part… I consider myself lucky to have him in my life.  I know that my children will never wonder, as I did, why their dad doesn’t want to be in their life.  He wants it.  He tells them regularly how much he loves them and I’m sure he wishes he had the ability to provide more.  I respect him for that.  And what’s interesting – he makes a point to let me know just how much he respects me for all that I did.  I know his fiance gets uncomfortable when she hears him say how amazing of a wife I was… I wish she understood that him sharing that doesn’t in any way undermine his love and devotion for her.  And it’s not him comparing her and I in any way.  She’s amazing – and we’re all incredibly grateful that she’s in our lives.

Would I marry again?   Yes.  And that’s a resounding YES.  But with lots of caveats and me saying “however and but”.  When it was brought up this weekend, my response was leaning more towards a NO.  It surprised my brother to hear it.  He saw me when I was married.  He knows what kind of partner I am to someone.  My NO wasn’t because I’m scared of it.  I would love to find myself in a situation in the future where I had a partner.  A true partner.  Someone to laugh with and grow old with.  To cook for and travel with.  Someone who actually understands me (as I’m not convinced either of my ex husbands ever really did).  Someone who lets me into the deeper darker regions of their heart – someone who trusts that I would never intentionally hurt them and would lay my life on the line to keep them safe and happy.  Ultimately – someone who feels as I do.  But the thing is… I’d have to be absolutely sure that they reciprocated those thoughts and feelings with me.  I’d have to feel safe again.  Safe enough to allow myself to be vulnerable again.  It’s possible… and ultimately, I know the right man is out there for me.  So who knows… maybe some day.

I think the other thing that doesn’t sit well with me – is what’s the damn rush?  LOL.  I mean – yea – i’m the girl who likes to know where she stands in a relationship.  In fact, I’d say for women like me ,it’s why we ask to put labels on our relationships to begin with – so we understand what’s expected of us.  What role are we to play in this relationship?  Once we know … we get to what I like to call “the coasting stage”.  This stage is bliss.  Where you can spend many years happily coasting along with someone.  To me – this is the zone to aim for.  If things progress from there – cool beans – but if they don’t – i’m ok with that too!  Because at that point – you’re happy in the coasting stage so it doesn’t really matter.

I really AM an odd duck.  Between my buddy M, my brother, and a few other male friends, I’ve had the privilege of seeing what it’s like to date women.  And can I just say – for the record – Women can be NUTS.  Seriously … nuts.  Yea – men can be crazy too – don’t even GET me started on some of the horrendous dates I’ve been on.  But some of the stories I’ve heard – some of the behavior I’ve witness from my fellow ladies… DAMN.  And if that’s what men have been dealing with – then I’d wager that dating me would come as a bit of a shock to the system.  As I’m VERY different.  But then again – they’d probably be more likely to assume I’m just like every other woman out there – and not likely get the chance to show them that I’m not.

So … brother dear… when I don’t give you advice on your new marriage… it’s not because I don’t care, nor is it because I lack advice to actually GIVE.  Marriages… hell – relationships are all about growth and learning.  These tests you face – are yours, and I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines – but I won’t necessarily share with you.  And who knows – maybe someday – i’ll join you in the journey again.  I’m pretty damn happy and content where things are right now, and that’s certainly enough for me.

 

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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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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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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!

I Had An Epiphany Today

There’s something to be said about commuting in a car, it leaves for plenty of time to think.  To decompress and review things in my head.  I certainly don’t do it with everything, but I do find that on occasion, something someone will say or do will get stuck in my head.  It leads me with a need to churn it over a bit and mull on it.  I think it’s because, in the moment, my brain will nod and move along in conversation… but later, it will pop back in my mind and I’ll wonder about that moment – why did I react that way?  Do they really feel that way?  Is that really what they meant?  Perhaps I am simply an over thinker and need to learn to control that side of myself a bit better. Regardless, it is how my brain works.

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Friends and people who learn my story often comment to me about how strong I am.  And while it’s nice to hear, it is in no way a reflection of how I see myself.  I have strength when it comes to my brain.  I’m able to figure out a solution, make a sale, or find a way out of a sticky situation on most occasions.  BUT… when it comes to matters of the heart, and when it comes to matters of sex…. I am a total pansy.  Let me repeat that, because I’ve never admitted that before.  I am a pansy. I wasn’t always like this.  This.. is new.  A new Jen.  One who, now that I see her, I’m not too happy with.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the few times I’ve really opened up and trusted in someone, I’ve ended up highly disappointed and heartbroken over it.  A part of me wants to remind myself that “Hey! That’s life! You win some, ya lose some.” But, because those times have been a bit few and far between – what I usually end up doing is just raising my walls further.  Protect myself from the pain just a little bit more, but of course, the side effect from me doing that is that sometimes, people who’ve been trying to get inside my walls – get hurt.  I shut down and close myself off – and it leaves them hurt.  Which ultimately – is not something I’d ever want to do to those who are close to me.

I’d like to change my goals for the year.

I want to learn to bring those walls down a bit more.  To let someone in.  I suppose… this is my very first step.  Admitting that I can see it, recognize it and want to change it.  I also have to understand that it means letting in some pain.  If I bring down my walls, it’s going to hurt.  I’m scared to hurt.  I’ve felt sadness and hurt and pain for long enough over plenty of things.  The idea of facing pain and sadness scares the shit out of me.  But – I want people to know me.  For people to see me for who I am – and if they don’t like me… it’ll hurt a little.  But this is me.  Who I am on this blog… is me.  And if I ever want to feel like I’m not alone anymore, it means I have to let people in.

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