Missing You..Year Two

Dearest Andrew,

(Technically, I am a day early but when the words hit, they hit & not sharing them when they are full of emotion seems to defeat the purpose-so I am sharing a few hours early.)

Here I am, another year past without you. Two eternally long years that have gone by in the blink of an eye. People say “You’ve made it so far! You’re so strong!” You & I both know it’s not really been living. It’s more survival, a bleak existence of sorts. When I hear how “strong” I am, how I’m an “inspiration,” I wonder what those same people would say if they were a fly on the wall when I am home. Alone, lying in bed after work because I have no reason to stay up, or crying into the pillow because I’m exhausted from trying to be the survivor they see, the one who still misses her best friend so deeply that every day is such an effort she wonders why she is even bothering.

After two years, I keep waiting for my emotions to catch up to the cliches. “Time heals all wounds.” “Give it time, you’ve been through a trauma.” Time, time, time. I’ve had enough of this time. I’ve had enough of the pain, the tears, the “normalcy” that everyone else but the few of us broken by your loss have been able to return to.

As I lie in bed, still awake, despite being here for hours, my face crusted with salt from crying all day, which is almost a permanent feeling at this point, I remember the memories of that last week. This has been going on like a rerun for weeks now. I occasionally venture back to other days with you. Funny moments. Our arguments, which were heated & filled with passion for our respective opinions. How we were never afraid to be honest, good or bad, happy or sad. Except about how we felt towards each other. We had a deal. We wouldn’t talk about that. Neither of us could handle that at the time. But we spoke every day. Often. We knew everything about each other…good, bad & ugly. We loved each other in spite of all of it, & kept showing up. To nurse old wounds, make each other laugh or just offer dinner. To watch movies, snuggled into the couch. To be the closest friends two crazy people could be. To give each other unconditional love & acceptance because that is what we each needed at the time.

I’m not naive enough to sit here and say we were going to be “besties forever,” but we were perfect for the time we were blessed enough to share for as long as we were blessed to share it.

Perfect.

Well, perfectly messy. Perfectly crazy. Perfectly not perfect. We both had baggage we brought to the table each day. Lots & lots of baggage. So much, I’m surprised there was room for us to be in the same building.

The day you went home to Jesus, you left yours here. I’m so glad you no longer have those heavy burdens. Unfortunately, I now carry more. I wonder if you look down at me with frustration. I wonder if you scream down from heaven “I’M BETTER NOW THAN I”VE EVER BEEN! Let me go, silly girl.” I can picture you shaking your head at me, calling me crazy. I’m reminded of the many times you would open your arms to hug me after I’d had an extra crappy day. That is the memory I rest in.

After all this time, 730 days without you now, I have come so far, yet not moved an inch. I dread the idea of coming out of my grief & functioning like “normal” because then you are officially gone, although my head knows you left 730 days ago. I dread the idea of staying in my grief because every day is torture. I live in a state of purgatory in between. Some days I think I get too distracted & forget to remember you. But I haven’t, you just weren’t at the center of the day. How can I love others so deeply but feel like my heart died with you? My entire existence is an oxymoron.


In these letters I always tell you what’s new in my life. Today, I miss you as much as I did 729 days ago & I suspect will still be the same 729 days from today. At this point, I have learned that being graceful is more than being like Jackie Kennedy & that loving is more than being a parent. They are both more of being like Jesus. And like you were. As hard as you may have tried not to be, you were the heart & hands of Christ in the manner you handled people. I thank you for reviving a place within me that needed to have the passion fueled for His people & for accepting me as I was to be your friend. Thank you for allowing me to walk beside you for the remainder of your days. And I know that despite the expanse between us, you will walk beside me the remainder of mine.

Much love sweet Andrew,

Matilda

Worn Out & Broken Down

One of the things about behaving as if you have your life pulled together, is that the people around you begin to believe you just might. Then the only person left with the truth is-you. You are the one left feeling empty, alone, & isolated, because they see you smiling & participating & working & taking care of yourself in all the ways that we are supposed to: showering, bathing, brushing our teeth. 
They don’t realize that when the doors are shut & the lights are off, you’re left alone with those thoughts that never go away, the trauma that you continue to see over & over, the pain that keeps your heart raw, & the feeling that no one is there for you. And it’s not really that you’re faking during the day because brushing your teeth & showering & going to work & participating in social events are all things that are important & fulfilling & necessary to survive. BUT there is still this wounded side of you that is so beaten & broken that you wonder why you get up in the morning or what IS the purpose of your life? And until we find that answer, we question every morning. We question every interaction. We lack trust. We feel abandoned. And I would love to sit here & tell you that after almost 2 years of introspection & retrospection & seeking God & forcing myself to be with friends & Bible studies & social events, I would love to be able to tell you that looking upward towards the heavens, the answer is instantly right there…but it’s not. God doesn’t send us a text with our purpose or plan. He doesn’t email or call & leave a lovely voicemail. God doesn’t put out a holiday newsletter with what is up for us for the next year so we are left to our own devices, with the ultimate choice being our own (short of a divine interruption) to continue participating in all of these expected behaviors. Do they get us anywhere? As far as I can tell, only to tomorrow. Are we thriving & living a full life. I have no idea, but I don’t feel like I am.

Today is my 2 yr Divorce-iversary!!! Yay me! Life is going so well!!! I am fed up at my job, I haven’t had a date in decades, I spend every evening alone… GO TEAM SINGLE MATILDA!! I spent the day sitting at my desk crying.

I hate this time of year. From dec 20-feb 20, I just want to crawl in a hole. But work has me extra crazy. As much as I like my job, I’m really struggling in there. I have been for over a year so add that to this season & I feel like I’m losing my freaking mind. I try to keep myself optimistic & cheery but inside I’m sad, lonely, scared & crying. Well, today I’m outwardly crying. I don’t like being around myself when I feel like this so I try to minimize exposure for others & try to shut down as much as possible.


One of my friends asked me to seek out what God has to say about my emotional insanity. I argued with her & said it always comes back to me feeling like the child waiting for some attention & then being walked right by. I can stay optimistic for a while. A long freaking while. Months & months. I can play cheerleader for everyone around me & remind them of His plans, His timing, His love & goodness. But every time, I feel like I get overlooked. I don’t want to ask him AGAIN why he ignores me. Why my prayers disappear into an abyss. Why he lets me down. Why he allows me to hurt so deeply that I don’t feel like I will ever feel again. Why I can’t trust because of people he allowed in my life. I just want to be held & taken care of for once. No fighting, no struggles, no worrying about the next step. I’m tired of living in limbo over Dylan & wondering if he will always be wanting to kill me, will I have to watch over my back forever? I’m tired of watching Mark travel the world with the women he let in to break up our marriage. I’m tired of relationships with my sisters being superficial because I can’t trust them to take my safety seriously & not tell my parents what is going on in my life or where I live. I’m tired of not truly being able to trust anyone, even those I’m closest with, even myself. When is it my turn to feel safe and loved?

She then asked why I felt God has let me down. I prayed for Mark and Dylan for years & years. Way before things reached the point of no return. I believed in the power of prayer to heal my precious baby, to remove the baggage his birth mother had left him with. I prayed constantly for the man I loved to recover from depression & anger. Not only did he not heal them, he allowed them to destroy me. I’m left hoping people give two shits enough to spend time with me. I’m left questioning every single relationship because the people I thought would always be safe for me have been ripped away. I live everyday with a lack of security, a lack of love & a lack of trust. Plus that doesn’t even consider my wonderful parents, who would probably have rather aborted me but she was Catholic so they were stuck.

I don’t believe in myself enough to trust that anyone can handle my broken, or would care enough to try. I don’t like feeling unhinged, so I don’t. And then when the dam breaks, I am so unhinged I can’t get back together for a week. So I shut away because everyone expects me to be crazy & silly but that side is shut off & what’s left is negative & overwhelmed. Sometimes I am Thomas. I need proof, I need a miracle, I need a huge display that God is hearing me, is handling things & does actually care about what I’m going through. In case you are curious, today, I’m still waiting.

But surprisingly, I’m still optimistic enough & faithful enough to believe that there is a purpose, & that there is meaning & truth behind the trauma & devastation I have faced. And I believe that one of these days it will be revealed. So until then, I do feel forgotten & abandoned & alone. ALL of the time. But I have faith that one day I won’t.

Just Another Day

Today would have been me & Mark’s 20th anniversary.

Needless to say it did not hold the celebration I had long ago anticipated for us. He did send me a lovely text message that said “20th.. .sorry I didn’t get there.”

There are days when I look back at the 20+ years we spent together & I think of how I’m so lucky to be out of a dysfunctional relationship with that narcissistic man. There are other days when I look back & I think of the silly little girl that fell in love with that goofy boy who made me laugh all the time, protected me & defended me even as the dumb kids we were. How that naive 18 year old girl knew exactly who she was supposed to grow old with. I miss those moments.


I have truly loved two men in my life. Both of them are now gone.
Sure, I have cared about others, but I’ve only really given my heart away twice. As I lay here in a king size bed, filled with pillows & a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse, I wonder if I’ll ever love like I have in the past. I wonder if I will ever trust another that way, in a way that allowed my heart to be shattered. Twice. Will I ever trust myself to not pick the wrong guy? Will I ever ask another man to take on the freight train full of baggage that I feel I carry around behind me every day? Sure, I’m working through most of that, by the grace of God & with a lot of therapy. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not something that he would have to know about, understand, and be willing to deal with in some manner at some point. Will any man with his right mind be willing to take on the potential danger that being in a relationship with me could pose to himself? I mean, I do have a restraining order against my own son.

I don’t have any answers for any of these questions. I don’t even know if I care. Do I get lonely? Yes. But I’m not willing to settle. I feel like at this point in my life I have fought too damn hard just to survive to be willing to fall for the first guy that walks by and smiles at me. Anybody that wants to spend any quality time with me is going to have to be worthy of that time.  He will have big shoes to fill, a heart to handle with gentleness, luggage to help sort, laughs to provide, oh, and most importantly, he must love Jesus because Jesus is the only reason I still breathe.


So while Mark sits in his high-rise apartment in the big city, with his wealthy girlfriend/homewrecker, I spent the day with my church family and my roommate. I had a wonderful service at church, hung out with my baby buddy Huey, gave away a lot of hugs and smiles & received many more. I had lunch with people that have become family. It was long, it was delicious and we laughed until my sides hurt over inappropriate conversations. I watched cheesy Christmas movies & my roommate and I began to put up the tree. So my day was not filled with the celebration of a 20 year marriage with the man that I fell in love with at 18, but it was definitely still filled with love from the people in my life. And for that, I will be forever grateful.


This new chapter of my life has taught me where to find my strength, it has taught me that I am worthy, and it has challenged & rattled me deep into my core. There have been many many days in the last four years where I did not think I had the strength to go on. And I have proven to myself and to many others that I carry an immense amount of strength within me. And I know that I get that strength from my faith. But I also know that it requires me to tap into it. Even on my worst day when I don’t have the energy to shower or interact, I pat myself on the back and say “good job girlie, at least you’re still here.” I’m not the girl that walked away from her husband four years ago. I’m not the girl whose best friend shot himself in front of her two years ago. Not the girl whose son robbed her. I’m not the girl whose mother emotionally abused her for 40 years, I’m not the girl whose father never wanted her, I’m not the girl that was molested by her grandpa, I’m not the girl that feels abandoned all the time. Oh wait, that last one, yes, that I still do. But I’m still a newer, tougher, stronger, more in touch, more alive girl.

So chin up Buttercups. This story isn’t over yet.

29 & Holding

There is this woman I know. She has fluffy white hair. Her cheeks are dimpled. Her eyes squinty from losing her vision. Her back is a little hunched from walking with a walker for several years. Her knees aren’t springy. Her ankles retain water. Her mind alert. Her wit sharp.

I have known and loved this woman since the day I was born.

She is my grandmother.

Two days ago I received a text informing me that she has been hospitalized. She is being treated for a Urinary Tract Infection and Congestive Heart Failure. They expected her to discharge yesterday.

She did not.

Her kidneys are slowing down.

Today the update was that family is flying in from around the country & in the morning her children will meet with hospice.

As my cousins & I sat around her hospital bed this evening, we joked about which one of us was her favorite. Clearly, I was the winner. We told stories of things we remember from our childhood. We laughed at our silliness & the fun we had always had when visiting “ma-maw” & “pa-paw” as children. (Don’t laugh. I told you I was a corn fed mid-Western white girl.)

But what my cousins or aunts or uncles don’t know is the value this woman has in my heart.

Was she perfect? Nope. She is a liar. If you ask her age, she will tell you 29. Since I was a child, this woman has been 29. Lying in that hospital bed tonight was not a 29 year old. Lying there was my 91 and 1/2 year old grandmother. And all I could think about was all the moments I have had with her, and all the moments I wish I could have with her.

When I talk about being sassy or ornery or stubborn, I always say I got it from my grandma. She’s Irish. We don’t have the ginger hair but we have that ornery and sometimes cantankerous wit.

My grandparents house had comic books, (stacks & stacks & stacks!!!) a creek with a bridge over it, blackberry bushes, tons of land and a cement turtle we would ride to wherever we were headed that day. We had adventures every time we were there, catching crawdads in the creek, eating blackberries and hiding from one another. If I was alone I would read comic after comic. I would sort them out so I would remember which ones were read and which I had yet to read. I would organize them so neatly only to have my cousins visit in between me and mess them up.

She had a clear glass cookie jar on the counter we would sneak cookies from. She had teaberry gum. Her bathroom smelled like old lady rose soap, one of my most favorite scents now. They lived just down the street from a natural spring so we would take milk jugs and fill them with water. It was so crisp and cold we would drink as much as possible before leaving.

When I was in junior high, my mother quit speaking to her. When I got my license, I would drive myself to their house and eat lunch or hang out with them. She introduced me to one of my favorite movies, Brigadoon. It’s silly. But now more than ever, it will be special.  I got a job at a mall that backed up to their yard and I would stop by before or after work. I loved visiting with them. Rarely was I alone. Someone else always popped in.

After I moved out of my parents house, I remember she said to me once that she didn’t know how to save me from them. What I didn’t realize at the time…

She had.

Looking back, the fond memories I have in my childhood include my cousins, my aunts & uncles, my grandparents (excluding the child molester), my sisters & friends. Many of those memories happened at her house. My life was hard at home but my grandparents house was my sanctuary. They were my sanctuary.

So ma-maw, my wish is to see your fiery grin, to hear your sharp witted retorts and to kiss your soft cheeks for another 91 years. But if it is time for you to go home, to go see pa-paw, you leave behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. You have deposited bits of your heart & spirit into each of your children, grandchildren & great grandchildren. We will carry on the feisty Irish spunk in your honor. But you will be sorely missed because you have carried us along this journey for the last 91 years.

I love you Ma-maw.

The Car

Have you ever bought a new car?

I have. Several, in fact.

I mean I have been driving for nearly 30 years. Really? Is this possible? (Picture me counting on my fingers here…) Holy cow. Yes. Nearly 30 years. Wowzers. Gross. Ok. Now that my age has caught up with the rest of me, let’s get back to discussing my car.

The car I drive now is a Lexus purchased 8 years ago by my ex husband & I. At the time, it was 4 years old. More math. That makes my car 12 years old. When we bought the car, it was for several reasons. It was safe, it has a great resale value, fit the needs of our family, and was cheaper than a new car from any maker.

So I began to think that maybe it is time to begin looking for a new to me car. I set up an appointment for yesterday after work. The car I was looking at would also be safe, have great resale value and was cheaper than the Lexus 8 years ago. And was a Mercedes. I promise, although it appears it, I am not pretentious. Money doesn’t matter much to me, but shiny things are fun. And I do love a pretty car. And don’t forget, I said it would cost LESS than my current car cost me 8 years ago. I enlisted the assistance of wise counsel. A couple I trust from church was asked to help with the process. He met me there and did the test drive with me, asked the right questions.

I began to falter on my choice at one point. I said “why do I need this car? What about that car?,” pointing to a Malibu. The salesman walked away for a moment and Lance looked at me and said “I have the thought that you are questioning if you deserve this car.” SLAM. Right in the face. Ouch.

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Thus began an hours long mental debate.

Sometimes someone says something to us that smacks of truth. I like to be that person for others. Verbal smacks are kind of my trademark. Just ask the besties. Getting them is a stinger. I wasn’t hurt by his words. I just had never thought of the concept of deserving a new car. I mean, it’s a car. I have to have one. Does it matter if it’s a Malibu or a Mercedes? No. Not really. But by the time I got home several hours later, I was a little crazy inside.

What is my motive for the Mercedes? What am I trying to prove? Who am I proving it to? Why not a less glitzy car? I began this exact conversation with my roomie. I got choked up when I got to the proving something to people part. I realized that buying a Mercedes had several elements involved. Yes, it would last forever. Yes, it would hold its resale value. Yes, it would be very safe. Yes, it has All Wheel Drive, which I prefer for winters. AND it would be my “I CAN survive!” to all the people who have pushed me down, then backed a tank over me to make sure I stayed down.

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Is the Mercedes worth pushing my budget to have? I truly do love the car. Financially, I would be fine. Decisions, Decisions. So I went to bed. It’s where I do my best avoidances.

I woke up this morning. Had a revelation?? Nope. Well, sorta. I realized that whether I drive a Malibu, a Mercedes or a 12-year-old Lexus has no bearing on my worthiness. My self-worth is not tied to a car. My self-worth is not meant to be tied to those horribly broken people who have hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally. My self-worth needs to be cleared of these wounds. I find that as I heal, I am more and more able to identify these triggers. I am able to take the grace I extend towards others & grant myself some of it. It’s not in a cup. I’m not going to run out by giving myself a little.

Now, for a little of my Jesus Freak. I can’t place my self-worth in myself. How’s that for skitchy? I know. My self worth has to come from a place of seeing myself through the eyes of God. Which surprisingly is how I try to see others all the time. Why would I change glasses when looking at myself? Why do I view others through the glasses with hearts, flowers and boundless love but when I look at myself, the glasses are full of disgrace, condemnation, and ugly? Is that what God would want me to do? No. In His eyes, I am perfect, flawless, beautiful and shining bright. Some would think “what a tremendous expectation to try to live up to.” Not at all. What it means is that regardless of my car choice, clothing choice, life choices, He will ALWAYS see me at perfect, flawless, beautiful and shining bright. That is actually freedom. That is embrace-able, it is healing.

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Oh, and about the car? Still not sure. I just know that whatever I do decide will be in MY best interest. Not in the interest of proving jack to anyone else. If you don’t like my car, don’t get in it. If it matters that much to you, it’s probably in your best interest to find another way around anyways.

Don’t get me wrong, some opinions matter. IF I am making a life choice that is dangerous, or planning to switch careers, move across the country, join a cult…seeking the opinions of people with wisdom is always a great idea. However, placing my value in their opinions is a terrible idea. People that love me will value me because I’m me, not because of my stuff. Just like I value them because they are them. Stuff is stuff. It breaks, gets lost and goes away. People are hearts, souls, and irreplaceable. People are precious.

Love your self. Love your peeps. Love the uglies. And give yourself a little grace. It’s a beautiful gift.

Soapboxing

In light of the numerous police shootings that have been happening, I must say, those men & women in uniform show tremendous strength day in & day out just putting on that blue. But, I would also say “strength” is a word that bears no weight in describing a police officer. I grew up with one dad on the fire department. I was exposed to civil service most of my life. I tend to have a great deal of respect for our first responders, their sacrifices. I have also seen the other side of them. I have been the person sitting in an interrogation room for hours while someone I loved was dying in the hospital, only to be lied to about the situation. I have an ex husband that was falsely accused thanks to a manipulative son playing the system. And the local department played right into his hands. This does not diminish the risk these men & women take every single day they get dressed & walk out the door. There are always a few bad apples.


There are people sharing story after story in my Facebook newsfeed about children with cancer, gun control, government ineptitude facing this election & lets not forget those cute dancing puppies or the goats that scream. Daily we face comments about how we need to hate or accept gender reassignment choices, gay marriages, black lives being snuffed out at the hands of police, police lives being snuffed out at the hands of black lives or the decisions our politicians are making. We are filled to our tear filled eye balls with stories about cancer stealing someone too soon, a woman choosing to take her own life rather than suffer the effects of her tumor, & pictures of children holding signs for us to “like” them to show support. Checking Facebook has become an emotionally exhausting process. I am either facing shame for agreeing / disagreeing with something or being tossed into the throes of sadness because another tragedy has happened.

In my humble opinion, we are looking at these stories from several miles away. We stand back where it becomes easy for us because we are judging. We are shaming. We are throwing blame around like monkey’s throw poo or babies throw food. The world, people, our friends, our families, our enemies need none of that. It all boils back down to one thing, what I stated in my original page. Love the uglies. See, if we were all loving the uglies, no matter what our personal opinions were, no matter the situation, so much would be different. Think this through…

How do you feel about yourself when you have committed a wrong doing against someone? This doesn’t have to be someone you love, we know when we are wrong. A little nibble of guilt begins to eat at us. What happens when we are forgiven for that wrong doing? Sure we may beat ourselves up for a little bit, but that forgiveness allows that guilt to eventually go away.

How do you feel when someone shows love or kindness? When someone goes out of their way to give you a hug? Or help you when you are feeling down?

There is an immeasurable change in our lives & hearts when we are shown grace, love, kindness & generosity. There is the same when we show it to others. See, the old phrase “what goes around comes around” usually refers to a negative behavior but it also applies to a positive one. When we show true, genuine love towards another person, we receive some back. Maybe not by that person. Don’t get lost here but that doesn’t matter in that moment.

As I scroll my Facebook feed, it also fills with repost after repost of positive sayings & uplifting encouragements. Some are trite overused cliches, not bad but a bit worn out. Some are peppy. Some are biblical. Some are filled with an underlying edge of bitterness or anger but outwardly demonstrate a push to survive a current burden.

I am left pondering though…do people feel these posts? You know. Do they wake up each morning with the mental mindset that “I don’t care if life hands me lemons, I will just make lemonade!” What happens when the day hands them the first lemon? As Tay-Tay says “Shake it off!”? Sure! And the second lemon of the day? Stand up a little straighter? Probably! Third lemon? Dig in the heels a bit? Maybe. Fourth lemon? Shoulders slouchy but moving forward. Fifth lemon? Throw your hands in the air & wave ’em like you just don’t care. Because at this point, you don’t.

Dang, now I really want some lemonade!

I mentioned this because many of us have days where it feels like everything we touch disintegrates into dust. We drop our coffee. Car runs out of gas. Late to work. Fight with a spouse. Kid fails a class. Traffic jams. Dinner burns. Dog runs away. Insomnia kicks in.


We need to respect the life of the person standing next to us. Maybe that was their day & they are barely holding it together. Showing an ounce of love to this person will propel them in a different direction. It won’t unfail their kid, but it will remind them that love exists.

Be the love the world needs to everyone in the world. So said Jesus, Ghandi & a bunch of other people that show up on my Facebook feed. And me.

Love you all bunches! Be a blessing to others. Love the uglies!

Abandonment Issues?


The thing about trying to be as real as possible when writing a blog is that at times not everyone is a fan of what you have to say. People are never going to love everything I post, but when my truth kicks someone in the gut, it leaves a size 9 welt along with some uncomfortable air between us. Or maybe I didn’t even post something but I know it could result in some confrontation or icky feelings. So my reaction to this ick? Stop blogging. It’s just easier than pissing everyone off. But then I remember what I said a few months ago. I LOVE the written word. I have a voice. And my heart is filled with love, not hate or condemnation, so what I say may hurt but most likely because it’s truth. And we all know that the truth hurts.

When I began this blog, aside from my being several sandwiches short of a picnic, my plan was to be raw & honest even if it hurt me, because my goal was to help another broken heart. So if I give up, I’m assuming all hearts are fixed. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they aren’t. If my words hurt your feelers, check the mirror. There’s a reason. I’m sorry you didn’t realize you were about to be “truthed” but I won’t apologize for my words.

And with that, I’m sure all 12 followers have walked away.

But if you are still hanging around, my truth this week was feeling abandoned. Last month Mark moved to Chicago with his girlfriend. Last week we closed on the sale of our house. Today is his Birthday. Lots of feelings surfaced that I never expected. I thought I was fine & ready for him to move away. Then I realized he has been part of my life since we were 18. Good or bad, 25 years is a long freaking time. So I began to panic at the thought of him being so far away. It’s weird because I don’t call on him for help, we didn’t involve each other in our day to day lives. But he’s moved away so now we can’t even if we want.

When I arrived at my appointment with Josie Tuesday she asked what was going on. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She said abandonment? I began to get teary eyed. I said after all the people that have left me, him moving should be easy.

See though, this is not a practice makes perfect concept to our lives.

This is a hurt.

This is an open wound.

It’s not a game.

This pain is true. Real. Ugly. And brings friends. Like “self preservation.” He’s a wall builder. To keep everyone at arms length so no one reopens the wound. “Distrust” arrived to the party & I went ahead & opened the door for her. I think it was her shiny dress. She likes to make sure that I eyeball all people through glasses filled with flaws, so I can anticipate the hurt. But I love deeply. So anytime a relationship shifts, my heart breaks, maybe a little, maybe a lot. Depends on who you are to me.

I feel abandoned easily because I’m always waiting for it. If you shift our relationship because of a new girlfriend or boyfriend, I assume I don’t matter enough to be put as a priority even for dinner. Sadly, this is usually reinforced. Hey, if I had a boyfriend, I may kick you to the curb too. But most likely I would try to include you with him. Because I want everyone I love to interact together so I can always be with the people in my heart.

Sometimes the shift is caused by something going on in the other person’s life. A personal struggle. Oh how I understand  those! But when it creates a long term distance in our relationship, my brain immediately determines I am unloved.

Once in a while life just causes a rift. Kids, divorce, marriage, school, jobs, etc… While I can certainly understand that things happen and schedules conflict, I really miss the times we were able to hang out. So my belief becomes I am unwanted.

I mention these scenarios, not to force guilt on people for causing my abandonment wounds to abcess but to explain that abandonment runs so deeply in me, likely because it goes back to my conception.

So how do I recover? I meet with Josie every two weeks. I pray that God reveals to me how HE has never left my side. I reach out to my friends & love them unconditionally for as long God lets me keep them.

Does that mean I never feel needy or clingy? Uh, nope! Totally do! Frequently. Today, even. But I’m a work in progress, not a completed work of art. Though a magnificent work in progress, in the eyes of God. So I will take it.


Lovelies, have a beautiful day! Bunches of love!

Sisters, Listen Up!

Dearest Lovely of Lovelies,

Would you like to know how I spend my first few minutes in bed almost each and every night? No, it’s not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter. I spend it fat shaming myself for eating too much or because I didn’t feel motivated to work out-again. I also do it throughout the day. Especially at work because I sit all day and I can feel my stomach rolling over itself or over the top of my pants or my boobs that sag like a basset hounds ears drop down & touch my belly.

Guess what? Even skinny, teeny tiny people have a roll when they fold their bodies in half to sit down. All women with natural boobs of any significance sag with age. Our upper arms get chickeny & flap in the wind like wings, our hips get wide, our butts sag, our face wrinkles, we get facial hair (ps, NOT fair. We have soooo much hair to deal with!!) and frankly, I could go on and on and on.

But this isn’t a lesson on aging.

This is a lesson on love.

I have a friend with an eating disorder. I have friends that get fat shamed. I have friends that get SKINNY shamed (Are you kidding me?? We all want to be skinny! Why are we being such jerks?!?)  I have friends that obsess with working out. I have friends that obsess over the foods they eat. I do not know of one woman on this planet that gets up and loves herself for the beauty that she is in that moment. Instead, we spend our mornings attempting to “perfect” the ugliness before we walk out the door and begin to judge one another on how she looks.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a coworker about her workout routine. She has a baby and a school age son, so rather than sacrifice her time with them, she gets up at 4am & then runs at lunch. She said she views it as something she needs to do for herself. She also told me about an overnight her son had. They had doughnuts for breakfast. Her son ate 3 in one sitting. The friend had one and made fun of her son. Then he came back for another. And another. And another. Totaling 4. She said to him “You made fun of Jason for eating 3 doughnuts. You made him feel bad about himself. But you just ate 4. So I want you to think about that before you say something to someone about what they eat or how much they weigh.” She said the boy’s mom is like that at home.

I have had more conversations about women’s self images lately than I can even begin to count.

See lovelies, our self bullying is not actually only hurting ourselves. Oh, it is. Definitely. But what it is doing is in-breeding a culture of hatred. We see better hair (oh, the dang hair again!) better clothes, better boobs, better butts, better jobs, better cars, better husbands, better kids, bigger houses…everyone is better than us.

We take that self hatred, refuse to see it for what it truly is, and begin to speak negatively about ourselves & others. Our kids see our obsessions, hear our words. ALL OF THEM!! And then we have passed along the curse. So when you comment on the neighbors new car, or her boob job, what are you telling your kids? When you say at the dinner table that you can’t eat dessert because you need to lose 3 pounds-every day, what have they heard?

The culture we have created of needing more stuff, needing to look a certain way, it being the norm that kids are having to be criminally prosecuted for bullying has gotten this way because of us. As much as men may rule the world, women steer it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that being overweight is healthy and we shouldn’t exercise or eat right. What I’m saying is, eat the piece of cake. You will still be beautiful with chocolate in your teeth and icing on your face. I’m saying the zit on my chin, I’m going to own it. Proudly. Those saggy boobs (Do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie ’em in a knot? Can you tie ’em in a bow?) are two squishy trophies I get to carry through life because dang it, I have made it this far. That roll hanging over my pants today? My potato chip dinner. Know why? Because I’m an adult and some nights that’s all the time I have. Some nights I just want them.

We need to work on loving ourselves where we are in this very instant. So put down the phone. Stop looking at Facebook for subliminal self “improvement” hints, or more appropriately-accusations. Once we are able to stop speaking hate over ourselves and begin to fill our hearts & minds with life & love, our entire outlook will change. We will feel beautiful-because WE ARE! Which will in turn change our household. Our families will be happier, healthier and more content. Bullying in the schools will decrease. Suicides will decline. And the world will become a less ugly world.

We need to be a source of strength and encouragement for one another. Tearing each other down & judging one another is destroying us. We are strong. We are fierce. We are mighty. And sometimes we are mean. No One wins when we throw our self hatred at another woman.

So lovelies, listen up closely.

LOVE THE UGLIES!! LOVE who you are. LOVE the woman next to you. You are BOTH absolutely positively BEAUTIFUL!!! Use your words to speak LOVE only.

And if you can’t-keep that beautiful mouth shut. It’s much prettier closed than it is spewing negativity.

I love you all! Have a LOVEly day!

Healing & Growth

I took some time off from blogging. I know. It was more than “some” time. It was a long time. I was facing the holidays, the anniversaries of my robbery, & the loss of Andrew. I just didn’t have the extra strength to put out any further emotional efforts. My most sincere apologies. Shall I catch you up on the last 5 months?

Christmas was very difficult. I missed the surf & turf dinners we made together each year. I missed finding the perfect gift for Andrew & watching him open it with no reaction because he was a man. And an emotionally handicapped one at that. I missed my son. Not that he wanted gifts any more, just cash. But the holidays are a reflection on family. I felt like mine was missing a lot of people this year. So I chose to adopt a couple of teenage kids from a local church & surprise them with Christmas gifts. My church did this as a group & we were able to adopt over 100 kids. Considering that our weekly attendance is just around 225, completely inclusive of everyone, that’s a mighty number. We were able to hand deliver to our kids. We had the opportunity to watch them, interact with them, pray with them. I will continue this new tradition every year. Oh, & I was sick. Blah.

New Year’s Eve was also a hard day. More of not having him. I spent it alone. On my living room floor. Surrounded by pictures, tokens of us, of him, wearing his sweat pants & tshirt. Snuggling my head in the sweatshirt I wore the night he died. Yup. Total & complete crazy. I can admit it. I’m not even going to apologize for it. That was what I needed to do, so I did it. In the morning, I wiped the snot off my face, picked everything up, put it neatly in its place & prepared to face January. Which was fairly uneventful. That story will be saved for a rainy day.

February. Wow. Hard. I took off about 5 days of work. I cried almost every day. I went to the cemetery the day before the actual anniversary because I knew his family & friends would be there the next day. I sat on the cold February ground next to a little white cross, faded flower arrangements & pictures, little motorcycles & Angels people left. And I was sad. Sad for the family who are left with questions. Sad for the friends in pain. Sad for the world that lost such a sweet, ornery, generous man. Sad for me. But I also have something no one else has…his last moments. I was there for the last few hours. I know what his mood was. What plans we were making. What he was planning to have for dinner that night. I was there to hold him. Tell him I loved him. That I needed him to stay with me. To pray for God to save him, body & soul. As hard as those moments were to live through, I’m so grateful I was given them. And so, this February 20th, I spent curled up in bed. Crying. Sleeping. Ignoring everyone, everything. Again, it was what I needed to do. Then all of a sudden it was February 21. My first year was officially over. Did I have a “Ta-Duh moment” where I jumped from the high bars, threw my hands up & yelled “I MADE IT! TAKE THAT WORLD!” Nope. I stayed in my pajamas for a third day. Monday, I re-adulted. Back to work. Back to life.

March found me in court, dealing with Child Support. That my ex & I get to pay to a child that threatened our lives. Again in April because once isn’t nearly enough. This time he was there. It was anticipated. But I handled it with courage because I’m not the same girl he robbed & threatened a year ago. This new girl has lost a lot. She has learned a lot. She has grown stronger roots. She is not willing to be intimidated by bullies. Even if those bullies are her son and her mother. So take that world! 

I needed the time off so I could prepare for February. (Ps… Nothing truly prepared me.) Then I needed more to recover from it. I have sought wise counsel. I have prayed intensely. I have been healed from many hurts. I have discovered that I love the written word for a reason. This. I have a voice. An intelligent & brave voice. I have a life worthy of sharing. Not because I’m hitting all the targets. But because I’m not. I’m a work in progress but more importantly, I’m a child of God. I’m blessed with an abundance of love & gifts. He wants to use me to share my gifts & I am finally ready to be used.

So World, look out! I’m standing up, speaking out, & bringing life back to places & people who have been hiding in the dark!

Friends, YOU are Loved & YOU are Worthy!!
 

Life Change Story

My church is turning 4 next week. I was asked to write a life change story. I figured since I’ve been slacking on my posts, I would share it here…

There is a group of my RLC peeps that have joked for years about needing an RLC commune. Not for crazy Kool-Aid, or rolls of quarters, but because we are at our best together. We fill the needs in each other that may be missing from other friends and family. We had discovered how to worship Christ through our laughter, feeding frenzies (Baconfest), unconditional love and, oh yeah, Francis Chan.

How has my life changed? The more accurate question would be “How hasn’t it?”

Never in my imagination would I have dreamt that 3 + years ago when I walked through that door, tears rolling down my face, that I was just facing the beginning. My family was falling apart and I needed to find God. Fast. I did. In the faces, hugs, prayers, meals and friends shared at RLC.

I had lost my husband, my home, my son. Think Titanic, sinking fast, but all I was able to see was the tip of the iceberg. RLC became my grounding point. I could anchor myself in the friends I had made and know that I was being covered in prayer, that one phone call would net a chain reaction of love, or help, which I would desperately need. God showed up in my life in a huge and powerful way through my RLC life.

I began serving at RLC about 7 months after I walked my crazy through the door. I found a true fit in my position. After 3 years, I still feel honored to find myself part of the First Impressions Team. I look forward to Sunday mornings and greeting each of my peeps with a smile, maybe a hug. I love bending down to face a child and watch them smile at me or explain their week. I think most of all, I love standing back and watching my friends make new friends as connections are made crossing boundaries through commonalities.

Through RLC, I have learned and grown so many ways. I have learned how to play Nertz. I have learned how to sell cheese on Craigslist. I have had the “Summer of Matilda” turn into the “Season of Matilda,” where I refuse to say no, as long as it is moral & legal, pushing my own comfort zone to the enjoyments of Emily, Sara, Kira, Madison, and many others. I gave random stranger hugs, I took myself to new heights, literally terrifying myself. I gave a recorded testimony of my small group experiences. I learned how to seek God in prayer. I learned how to love unconditionally, as Christ loves me. I have learned how to fight against the need in me to repress my pain and work towards true healing. I seek help as needed and no longer allow my pride to try and force me to do it alone. I argued for my faith nose to nose with someone I loved. I cry in public, maybe more than anyone else wants to see but as I find necessary. I have learned to accept love and compliments, as well as see the good within myself. I began a blog (it was my secret. Lol) I may not be sharing it with people yet, but it is out there. I find myself driven to be the Jesus in the lives of everyone around me. I may have epic failures but I just realign and continue on with that quest. And in my darkest moments, I learned that it’s ok to be broken. That God will meet me there. That my heart is His greatest accomplishment in my life. I have learned that no matter how broken and empty I feel, I have love. The greatest of loves.

RLC is so much more than a church. It has become my family. I know that God placed me here to save my life. He placed me at RLC to give me family. He placed me here to give me purpose. I may not know exactly what that purpose is yet, but I can assure you, I can’t wait to find out! And the journey to get there…well, I’m packed and ready!!

Thank You RLC! Thank You PJ & Jen! Thank You God!!