Tag Archives: challenges

Letter to an Ex X

Dear X,

If I had known what I know now, we wouldn’t have gotten married. We wouldn’t have had an amazing child together. I wouldn’t have stopped trusting so openly and without cause. I wouldn’t have been carrying around baggage. I wouldn’t question myself on every single decision. It’s likely that I wouldn’t have sold the family business. I wouldn’t question my mind.

But it happened. You conned me. You fooled me, my mom, my family, and your step-son. When it comes down to it, you felt unworthy. You started using more routinely. Because, I believe you were already using. You decided that you couldn’t do it without superhuman characteristics. So you sold your soul, and your wife, your ‘sons’, your dreams, for something that made you feel so good at the time.

I have a hard time understanding, because I haven’t been there. I won’t even take antibiotics. But I have been addicted to things. I ‘needed’ cigarettes for many years, and diet coke, and sugar. So that makes me just as ‘bad’, even though I manage to hold a job, pay my bills, pay for our child’s holidays, birthdays, school functions, soccer, karate, church functions, and playdates.

I have accepted that you will never be a part of anything financial in our child’s life. That you will forever disappoint him because you cannot test clean. I’ve watched every episode of Intervention. So has my boyfriend. We have talked in great length and depth about how we will never unburden ourselves or Ethan from this massive web of destruction you have casted upon our lives. I have had nightmares about what you are doing to destroy your life, and how that affects our son. He loves you, but he accepts that you are not here. You cannot be there for yourself, let alone him.

You talk as though everything wrong you have ever done is in the past, yet you have zero proof that you are any closer to that next milestone of where you ‘should’ be. You have clued me into how you cheated on your lab tests. How you used until 3 days prior, and then switched to suboxone – the very drug that now, people are getting hooked on. The very drug that could kill someone like me. I didn’t deserve this, but no one that lives through the cleaning up of an addict does. Why should I be immune?

I shouldn’t. That’s the truth. It was God’s plan for me, and God will continue to see me through. Losing our home, my car, your job, your income, your support, is not the worst of it. In truth, the worst of all of this rests in something much deeper.

Our child has learned that he can only depend upon one of us. Now, he is happy to lean on anyone else. This creates the gang-mentality that I will likely have to always combat. I always dreamed of having the family I didn’t have. That will likley never happen because of the environment your addiction has created within our lives. But as a Christian, I am supposed to forgive you, accept you, and turn the other cheek. And this is the worst part. I hate myself for not being able to do any of that.

You have ruined my life. You have ruined our child’s life. Instead of starting from the bottom and working our way up, I am forced to start in the trenches. Our son is 8. Your addiction, you say, began when I was 5 months pregnant. You are repeating what you knew. I am a workaholic, repeating what she knew.

You had a horrible childhood. Your parents both had serious issues, and were heavily medicated. They spent most of your childhood unemployed because of it. Guess who gets lost in the shuffle?

I refuse to disappoint our child. He deserves a family who shows him love, who teaches him how to love unconditionally. I may not be able to reconcile what you have done, but I can work to improve the future of our child. And while I may have spent the bulk of my life believing that I don’t deserve more, I believe that I absolutely do.

So my plea to you is this – please work on you. With everything you are, and everything you ever wanted, work on you. Make strides in that direction. Go to meetings. Make valuable friendships, based on trust and clean living. Pray. Listen to what God has to offer. Earn a living. Be a grown-up. Show our child what it’s like to be a man.

We will take your recovery seriously when you do the same. When you’re finished with the lies, the manipulation, and the fiction. Our son wants his dad back. You told him the truth. Now live the promise. I refuse to assist in the lying, in the promises, in the fairytale. The work is yours to do. Whether you do it or not, our child will feel loved, with or without you. It’s your call. I cannot do it for you, and I cannot help you anymore.

If anyone out there is contemplating destroying their lives, consider this. When you were a child, you had those lucid, beautiful moments. You will continue to experience those, but not if you are leaning on substances. Those are lies. BE YOU. Naked. Truthful. Genuine. And vulnerable. Beauty is found in solace and serenity. Not in substance.

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Apples and Purples

I think I’m pretty strong. Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m just pretty foolish, like when I start comparing my life to the lives of those around me. I know better. First of all, there are plenty of people out there who dream of having my life. I have two healthy boys, an incredible boyfriend, lots of very loyal and loving friends and family members. I’m in good health, have lots of hair, and even have achieved white girl Michelle Obama arms. I live in a free country, can workout any time I want, go grocery shopping when I’m out of toilet paper, sing Karaoke if I choose, and travel down any road without feeling the threat of passing soldiers or overhead bombings. Instead of paying attention to any of that however, whenever I spend too long in my own skull, I begin digressing into that old-school pity party where I used to live in high school.That place where no one understood the troubles I’ve seen. No one can see my sorrows.

That’s a shade of grey I wish would stay away. It’s so controlling and abusive. I never signed up for it, but the moment I let my guard down…

Conversations that have taken place over the last few days start replaying in my head. For instance, I hear Doug and his mom discussing how much they all need each other and how good they are for each other. That’s absolute truth! But now, in my lowly mood, what I hear is ‘you have no one, Heather’, ‘You’re an orphan, Heather’. When I think of the differences between Doug and I, I wonder if I am worthy – just like I used to – or if, in reality, I simply have too much baggage & I’m just too pitiful for him & threaten to bring his world down. Has he ever said this? Um. No. It’s all in my ridiculous thoughts.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s 2015 and I really really really want to be his wife someday, but know that it will be at least a couple more years because I cannot get married next year. And maybe it’s because every time I hop onto Facebook, someone else is signing off for the night to curl up with their husband to watch a movie before bed, and I don’t remember what it’s like to take that for granted.

My life is what it is. God has a plan and I believe that with everything I am. I just wish that it was a plan I liked this time around, and I’m scared to death that it isn’t turning out to be all that.

But I still like apples and purples over oranges. I still have my own two feet firmly planted on the ground, holding up this abusive little mind that still loves mornings and decaf and hates night time mindful meanderings that lead to nightmares and loneliness. And if I could only find a way to fast forward through that part of my day that happens just after my kids’ bed time, and just before my alarm goes off the next day, I would be a very happy only indeed.

Because beginnings are full of hope, and endings are full of sorry.

Reflection on the mirror

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a reflection worth? For most of my life, I would’ve answered ‘about five cents’. I never gave much credit to my own reflection. She was too short, too stout, with chunky cone-shaped legs, a muffin top, and sagging breasts. In fact, this dialogue had gone on so long inside of my own head that I had grown quite comfortable with the discomfort of myself within my own skin. Apparently, and to my surprise, many of those around me have had the same struggle. It was always easy to accept the inside of me, to even ‘love’ myself internally without ever ‘accepting’ myself externally. When we are self-aware, we become pros at this dynamic – loving one part, and rejecting the other. 

The problem is that if we do not accept and embrace our complete selves, then can we really ever ‘love’ ourselves? When we fall in love with someone, we generally love them completely, or at least – that’s how we should love. 

We all have a choice in this. If we do not love some part of ourselves, we have an opportunity each and every day to change that part for the better, and if we focus on what we want to become – I truly believe that is what we will become. But we cannot settle for our own excuses, and that my friends, is difficult. 

As for my own story, I have been putting in the work for a few years now, the fix what was broken inside of me that caused me to linger on the negatives I saw in my reflection. That work began on the inside, the spirtitual, the psychological, the emotional, and eventually transcended to the outside once I felt stable enough to add that work. I have always worked out in some way – yoga, pilates, kickboxing, running – but I never could achieve that ‘number’ – size, weight, measurements, that I so desparately wanted….until now. I had to get to that place in my mind where the voice pushed me farther when I wanted to quit. I had to delve deep down into my ‘hunger’, into my relationship with food, to understand why my choices were sabatoging my journey. 

In our society, food is largely accepted as its own reward. We socialize around food, comfort with food, and reward with food. But food isn’t really the problem here, anymore than a gun without an operator kills. We need to fully understand our thought process, question our own ‘hunger’, and most of all, we need to stop telling ourselves that eating healthy means we are depriving ourselves of the very happiness that others around us have the joy of receiving. When we make choices, they only effect our own bodies.

I am not perfect, by any means. And as my boyfriend would tell you, I still have slight mood swings when I eat foods that are unhealthy because I still battle the guilt of those choices. But for the most part, I make good choices now because I am motivated by this new feeling of acceptance that I have for – not just the inside of me – but for the outside as well. It has taken me almost 38 years, but for the first time in my life, I believe that a reflection is worth a gazillion words, and not just pretty words, but words of strength and self-awareness. I have a deep-seeded need to help others get here, not for reasons of vanity but for reasons of acceptance and self-love, because in all reality, if we stop battling ourselves, we also stop battling everyone around us who love us. We cannot change our reality by excusing ourselves. We can only change our reality by accepting ourselves. Acceptance and self-love ripples from us and into our relationships by transforming self-doubt into self-love, which also just happens to make happinesss a little more contagious.

Orbiting Onlies

What happens when two onlies date? Studies show that it’s not a good idea. How could two ‘onlies’ be compatible, afterall, when we’re so self-absorbed and self-reliant? How could two people raised in separate families where they didn’t have to compete for attention, didn’t have to share their toys with anyone, didn’t have to share their rooms or beds with anyone learn to get along with each other? Sounds logical enough, but only if you also subscribe to the idea that only children will never marry, will never actively participate in a successful relationship with anyone. Period.

In my experience, other only children truly ‘get’ me in a way that others do not. I’m a sharer to a fault, and maybe  because I’m told by the world that I’m not supposed to be. I have an incredible relationship with a man that is also an only, and is exactly the same way. He is thoughtful beyond anyone I’ve ever known. My best friend is also an only. She has become like a ‘soul sister’ to me in our sixteen year friendship. There is  nothing she can say or do that will change that. We’ve been through our hard times only to learn that nothing can penetrate our bond.  Over the years, I have built relationships with other onlies who I have also had the pleasure of getting to know, and truthfully, I’ve never felt quite as accepted as I have with other only children.

My boyfriend and I have known each other for 20 years, but only have grown to truly know each other for the past two. We spent that time in other relationships, while at the same time building our own friendship based on an understanding that we had this one huge thing in common. As onlies, we have discussed the possibility of starting an ‘only’ support group because we have felt misunderstood at times, and everyone needs a place of refuge. When people have siblings, they have someone that shares memories of their childhood from a perspective very different from that of our parents, whereas as onlies we ‘only’ have our parents with which to share those stories.

My mom was my best friend for many years before her passing last year. She and my stepdad were my world outside of my two sons. I took solace in them when the world seemed to sit squarely on my shoulders. I always knew they had my back, and I could relate to them as well as confide. Now, as an ‘orphan’ I have felt lost at times. No one on the planet remembers my whole life anymore, which makes me feel a little more lonely than I did. So having other onlies that I’m already close to makes the loneliness a little less pronounced, because of one beautiful word: Acceptance.

When I become weird, which I often do, about things like numbers, dates, emotional triggers, I don’t worry about whether or not I will be patronized or that my concerns will be belittled. In reality, I have a huge family of other onlies that share in my struggles and relate to my challenges. I have a built-in support group quite similar to what siblings have. All that I have to do is keep the lines of communication open enough to receive that support. And really, isn’t that all any of us needs to do?

This world can feel lonely, whether we’re onlies or not. All it truly takes is a little bit of trust and sharing to find that none of us are lonely after all.

Good Genesis

gen·e·sis  (jn-ss)

n. pl. gen·e·ses (-sz)

1. The coming into being of something; the origin. See Synonyms at beginning.
2. Genesis Abbr. Gen. or Gn See Table at Bible.
The coming into being of something; the beginning. What thoughts come to mind when you hear that? What emotions ensue?
There are so many for me, none of which includes boredom or complacency. It’s fresh and exciting; new and invigorating. That’s the beginning of anything, because the beginning of anything is the first step into the unknown. When you begin a trip, you may know where you want to end up, but you have no idea what adventures you’ll encounter along the way. When life begins, a baby is born, you have an idea that there will be many sleepless nights. You can assume the baby will grow, need baths, drink milk, learn to smile & giggle, but it’s all so exciting to see this little being that is just a seed of what it will sprout into and become.
Mondays, the most dreaded day of the week for most, are even exciting. A new week is a new possibility for growth and beginnings. Even January, which is the coldest month of the year for many, is riddled with possibility at the start of a new year. Everyone makes resolutions, commits to change and improvement, and hopes for the best year ever.
This year is particularly exciting for me, probably because last year was so bad that this year almost has to be better. I truly have no doubt that it will be the best year I’ve had in a very long time. While I’m starting the year without my mom, I’m also starting without the dread of her becoming more sick or worrying that the Cancer will finally win its battle. It already did. But I have every reason to believe that my mom was the true victor, as she is now pain-free and blissfully happy.
Which brings me to the ever-so-anticipated, post-grieving epiphany.
I am happy. Almost exactly 6 months after my mom’s death, my mind has returned to its full splendor. She told me not to make any big decisions before 6 months was up. And while I heard her, and even quoted her ad nauseam, i did not listen. I made tons of mistakes, lots of bad choices, had some glitches and even some explosions as I acted and reacted to every challenge out of impulse and emotional erraticism. But…and here’s the moral….I survived it, and so did everyone around me that had to put up with my insanity.
When it comes down to it, beginnings are chances. And chances are good. In a sense, they put you back in the driver’s seat, where you’re in control, at least for a little while. If you’re lucky, you may even stay there. There will be bumps & mountains along the way, sure, but if you stay focused on the hopes that drove you in the first place – in the beginning, it’s easier to stay the course, and remain on that journey to fulfillment.
My resolution for this year is to do just that – fulfill without distraction. It’s ‘easy’ to give up hope, and cling to complacency. It’s more difficult to focus your sights on fulfillment and tread through the struggles to reach that goal. But, in the end, fulfillment brings happiness where complacency gives life to apathy and ultimately…emptiness.  So in this new year, I challenge you to ‘fill’r’up’ with consistent and persistent hope. Don’t settle. Live to dream. If you want something out of life, you first have to see it. Find the means. To every means, there is an end, and to every end, there is a beginning.