Tag Archives: choices

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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how this only prevents the lonelies

I remember as a child, sitting in the room of our little basement rancher playing paper dolls for hours on end.   My parents would be doing their thing. Typically, dad would be down in the basement building go-carts, or out in the carport waxing his super cool Knight Rider Trans-Am. Mom would be downstairs as well doing 6 loads of laundry that had accumulated through the week. I didn’t know what boredom was. I’ve never known the meaning of boredom.

Today was the ultimate only day. My boyfriend is gone on vacation, both of my boys are at their other homes, and my Hayley dog and I have had the day completely to ourselves. The only exception was that I watched my youngest play in a heartbreaking soccer game this morning, so I was afforded the pleasure of mingling with my parent friends & running up and down the field yelling for just one more goal. At that point, I had already had breakfast, worked out, showered, and succesfully landed myself at the start of the game with minutes to spare. That’s very unusual for this fashionably late little lady..

After the game, I stopped by the car wash, scrubbed and detailed my Sante Fe that I hadn’t driven in over a year, making sure to finger nail all of the nooks and crannies for french fry crumbs & other funky unmentionables that had gathered in inconvenient cracks and crevices. I came home, ate lunch, felt sleepy, and proceeded to change into my swimsuit for a sunbathing siesta. Why not? Time has been my friend today afterall. Time was my buffet, my smorgasboard to fill however I chose. After about 30 minutes of laying there upon awakening, trying to decide if moving my tired muscles in order to arouse them back into production was really worth it, the workaholic part of me won out. So I got up, mulched, and pulled, and tugged, and weeded out in my three small flower beds until sweat was dripping, and my face had turned a brighter shade of apple.

That would have probably been enough, but not for me. I was on a roll. I came back inside, folded two loads of laundry, and worked out yet again. I finished the day with shorts shopping and a visit to Earthfare. In between some of that, I talked to my boyfriend’s mom, who had called to tease me about picking up Doug. We had our usual banter over who would get the privelege, but I finally won out. The call from her pretty much made my day.

I wouldn’t want to be alone every day of my life. I have a strong belief that we all need people. But having this day by myself was refreshing. There was no tv watching, although there was lots and lots of music. Hayley got more than her fair share of dog walks, and my own thoughts never failed to keep me entertained. I miss my boys. I miss my man. But what I learn on days like these is that I also miss myself sometimes. It feels good to be reunited with me.

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.

‘The only time it’s a good idea to repeat pattern is when we’re trying to learn a new concept. And I repeat. The only time it’s a good idea to repeat a pattern is when we’re trying to learn a new concept.’ -me

We all know this, because most of us have lived it in at least one area of our lives. We’ve heard that ‘the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results’. We’ve heard it more times than we should have to hear it, and that in and of itself is ironic. Obviously, if we need to keep hearing it, there must be an underlying white elephant wearing rose-colored glasses within these four walls that can’t talk because there are no flies on the wall. Cliches are like patterns, because patterns become so routine that they disappear, and this is bad. Very bad. If we can no longer see them, we are doomed to continue such patterns…of patterns.

How many times have you gone to the grocery store hungry? You know better. You’re going to overspend. This is a universal truth, maybe even a universal pattern. Still, if you’re not mindfully avoiding that pattern, it’s bound to happen again. I’m hungry. I have no food at home. I should replenish food at home. I shall go buy food. I want everything I see. I’m hungry. Notice the whole ending-up-where-we-began thing that just happened there? It happens in every aspect of life.

This ‘repetition rule’ is especially true in relationships. For instance, a woman who has been abused as a child will either be the first person to walk out of an abusive relationship (because she recognizes the pattern and refuses to repeat it), or she will actually seek out abusive partners because she believes she can change her pattern or because she has missed the pattern altogether. Men are just as likely to repeat patterns. If a man has grown up with an enabling mom, he tends to seek out an enabler in his relationships. Similarly, if a man has been raised with a more dominant mother, he will seek out a dominate woman. He understands his roles in either of these situations. If he chooses to live within his comfort zone, he also chooses to repeat his patterns.That’s really not so much comfortable as it is ignorant.

These examples are cliche. They are the subject of countless talk shows, soap operas, sitcoms, Hollywood movies, and reality TV shows. They show up within our families, within our own lives, within the lives of our children, friends, neighbors, pastors – really anyone and everyone. Whether or not we choose to repeat patterns depends primarily on one thing; our willingness to change – change our thinking, change our self-images, and change our roles in relationships. Like all concepts, until someone recognizes the pattern, ‘gets it’, and understands that they are only self-destructing by repeating such patterns, nothing will change.

Try eating before you go grocery shopping. Your spending will decrease. If you’ve survived a string of failed relationships, try dating someone completely different. Your appetite for filling your heart up with wrongs will dissipate. What will replace the ‘wrongs’ may surprise you, because you’ve never before experienced a winning relationship. The trick is to make a change. As strange and uncomfortable as that may seem, it’s certainly more rewarding than remaining where you were – disappointed, abandoned, and hopeless. Change is never easy, but for the sake of sanity, it’s worth trying. And hey, at worst, you will have at least learned a new concept in trying something new.

So step out of the box. Look back inside of your own patterns. If you thought you were happy in there, but ended up realizing you were really just stuck inside of your own patterns, constantly complaining about playing the same unhappy roles, make a change. Any change will be for the better. Promise.

Take it or leave it

My greatest strength and lowest weakness are the same. I am loyal. As I said in last night’s post, I will give all of me until I’m at negative 100% and failing. I had no idea that my ex would be reading that the next day (today). I had no clue that a simple little blog post would create so much turmoil, but also so much dialogue. But one always needs to cut through the brush to reach his destination, and so it goes. No hold’s bared. No stone left unturned. No rock can remain buried.

I re-read my post through his eyes, and was shocked by his shock, hurt by his unknowing, and sickened by his lack of awareness, so much so that I am posting yet again.

I fell in love because of his words. He learned why I left because of my words, uninhibited. We’re both writers. We both create. We both dramatize. We both need attention, and we both need to be loved. In truth, I never planned on falling in love again for a long, long, ridiculously long time. I wanted to be at least 50 when that happened. By that point, both kids would be grown and I would have a far stronger grasp on who I was and where I was going. And I wouldn’t need to parent a third child.

But I did. I fell in love. My soul attached itself to his in it’s all-inclusive way. So much so that I had no say in the timing of it all. He is easy to love, but also easy to anger. For a person, like myself, who fears anger, that is threatening. But I can’t let go. Yet again, I cannot walk away. Because I still have love, and love…. breeds hope. Take it or leave it. It just does. Especially when his words are exactly what I need, and when his heart is as true and pure and vulnerable as I need it to be.

If you’re heart is broken, and the one who broke it is standing there with the superglue, it’s hard to walk away, no matter how much your brain tries to convince you. So, take it or leave it. That is the question. That is the dilemma.

And so with my stand, and with my permeable heart, I question everything. My mind disagrees with my heart which also disagrees with my gut. I only wish they could all, just for once, come to one single agreement.

I need a billboard. I need Faith and resolution. This time, I need certainty.