Tag Archives: dating

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.

Evil Ego

Between two loving beings, there is no room for ego. There is no room for impatience, nor fear. There is no room for doubt, or hurt. But inevitably, in every relationship or friendship, the closer we become, the more likely it is that the ego will try butting in and messing everything up that you’ve worked so hard to build. Why does this happen?

In my very humble, very human opinion, it happens because the bigger the love grows,  the bigger God becomes and the more the ego feels threatened.

You may have heard people say that the devil is trying to win someone over. The ego is the devil. He can destroy the strongest of castles, harden the softest of hearts, and possess the humblest of people. What he can’t do is continue to exist in the shadow of love. We have to recognize the evil ego and stop his flames before they destroy us. It’s an every day battle, and then sometimes it’s not. But when couples have been married for decades they say (and they always do), ‘it hasn’t always been easy’, this is what I feel it boils down to.

There is no reason to feel attacked by those negative feelings when the ego gets out of control. No. We should recognize what’s happening and understand that the love we feel, the glue that holds us together, must be strong and wonderful stuff if the evil ego wants so badly to destroy it. We should feel flattered.

So, be flattered, and then destroy it. Every last bit. We can’t control the behavior of others, but we can control our own. We can choose to feed that ego with anger and watch it overtake our lives and relationships, or we can choose to feed that love with tenderness and devotion and watch God grow instead. We have that choice.

As for me…

This month, it will be four years that I’ve been the only adult in my home. That’s the longest I’ve ever been ‘head of household’. Ever. Right now, as I’m interviewing for jobs, there is on consistent theme going on in my conversations. I am Robin. I am the sidekick. I am not Batman. I may be at home, but I don’t want to be full-time, all the time, day-in and day-out Batman. I just don’t have it in me to be the happy boss lady. My mom was the boss. I was the minion. And maybe I wasn’t okay with that until she passed away, until I HAD to be Batman and was forced out of my sidekick flip-flops and into my superhero boots. Still, that has been my epiphany. Some people are born leaders, and admittedly, I always thought I was one of those. Maybe in a way, I still think I am – on an emotional intelligence level but NOT on a business level. 

I am the girl who will give everything away if it’s up to her, and no one is telling her to do otherwise. I am the girl who understands people’s hardships a little too well, and will cave in to their sob stories. And guess what? I don’t want to change a thing. I could’ve become hardened by now. By the grace of God, I haven’t. Have I grown wiser? Yes. At least I hope so. Have I stopped caring so much what others think? Yes. That sort of ended with the passing of my mom. So what’s a girl with sidekick talent and no live-in superhero to do? 

Wait for it.

That’s all. Don’t dive in. Don’t rush things. Just wait until his time is right. Can I get an Amen?!

After two divorces, the absolute LAST thing I want in my life is a husband who is NOT ready to be married, or be committed, or say ‘forever’. Robin is Batman’s sidekick because he respects his superhero and his superhero is respectable and committed as well. Robin didn’t just start following Batman around one day in hope’s that maybe…just maybe he would be accepted. There’s is a mutual friendship, and a mutual commitment. That’s how it should be. That’s how a marriage should be as well.

I don’t know, but I’m pretty certain that Robin could handle his household just fine without Batman. He could pay bills, do laundry, handle the kids’ fighting, keep the yard tidy, shop for the groceries, get the mail – he could do all of that perfectly fine without Batman. Batman could do all of that without Robin. 

But no man (or woman) was created to be ‘a rock’ as Simon and Garfunkel would say. We were made for each other, in our own time, when we’re both ready. Because while both Batman and Robin are perfectly fine alone, together they save the world.

We will also save the world, in our own little way. Until then, we have daydreams and roadtrips. We have weekends and long talks. We have time to savor. Time together, until we have all the time we are given  and we are ready to fly as one. 

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.

For What I’m Worth

We’ve all had those relationships. The ones that begin with fireworks, passion, crazy butterflies and the warmest of explosions. We think that because of those goosebumps, because of those daydreams, and because of those kisses, this one is ‘special’. Maybe the relationship grows, becomes exclusive. Maybe we relate ourselves to that other person and give him the title. He’s ‘mine’. She’s ‘it’. Hopefully, it works out. Oftentimes though, it doesn’t. Where is the line between ‘it’ and ‘isn’t’?

For one of my really good, long term friends, this has been a years-long struggle. She became involved with a man in California, and he had two boys from a previous marriage. He pursued her at a time in her life when she seemed quite capable of standing on her own two feet. He convinced her that he was worth her time, until she believed him. They ended up dating, living together, and eventually she became a mother to his sons, though they never married. 

Three years ago, she made the choice to move back home because of her mother’s illness. At that point, she probably should’ve severed ties with this man. As it were, she had fallen in love with his children, and had accepted them as her own. She could not break free from the three of them, even though she now lived 3,000 miles away. She has had many relationships since, but has kept the ‘dad’ on the back burner all along. A part of me has always encouraged her in this, as I believed if their love was strong enough to survive the distance, maybe it was truly ‘meant to be’. In reality though, the only reason this relationship has endured the distance, the arguments, and the hurts is because of one lone factor. My friend does not feel ‘worthy’ of anything more than this man has to offer.

When she lived with him, she was injured on the job, which led to physical inactivity, which led to weight gain. My friend’s boyfriend ridiculed her, calling her fat and lazy, even though she had become the sole caretaker, maid, cook, and financial planner for their household during her recovery. He became psychologically, emotionally, and even physically abusive. She put up with it because she believed herself unworthy of anything more. She had been raised in a similar environment, and like many people in her position, was doomed to keep repeating the cycle…all because she didn’t know any better. She’s worthy, she just needs to believe that about herself.

Until she does, her path will remain unchanged.

I was just like her. I also believed myself unworthy of full acceptance and support. I wasn’t raised in that environment, though. I was loved and accepted by my parents. There was no abuse or neglect. But I had pretty severe self-esteem issues from an early age, resulting from being a ‘chubby’ child, and getting bullied by neighbor boys & stuck-up classmates. I didn’t get asked to prom, barely dated, and never saw myself as anything beyond a reclusive ’emo-before-it-was-a-thing’ nerd. Even though I was intelligent, well-educated, and somewhat attractive. I had a mother, best friends, and lots of family who constantly told me what I ‘deserved’. It didn’t matter. Until I saw it, believed it, and asked for it, I would never get what I ‘deserved’. And while I always say, ‘deserve has nothing to do with it’ – deeming yourself ‘worthy’ has everything to do with what you actually receive.

My point is this; you will get out of life and out of relationships exactly what you look to find. If you do not see yourself as ‘worthy’, you will receive far less than yourself. If that’s what you want – fine. That’s probably not going to make you happy for very long. All you need is a little bit of vision, a great bit of confidence, and a whole lot of ‘worthy’. Only then will you get your heart’s worth.Image 

 

 

Common chameleon

If you’re an only child, you may have had a relationship or two in your life where you felt a little more like a chameleon and a little less like yourself. Don’t get me wrong, this can happen whether you’re an only or not, I’m sure. But I think it may just be commonplace amongst singletons. There’s a reason for this….

There is endless chatter, rumors, and misconceptions that an only child is self-absorbed, narcissistic, even bossy. I’ve spent a great deal of my life practicing the opposite approach, maybe even in an effort to deflect such evil stereotypes. I’ve been expending so much energy into  that other direction in fact, that some of my biggest flaws include (but are in no way limited to) being under-assertive, passive, and self-sacrificial.

Having been married and divorced twice and also having just ended a difficult relationship has shown me – finally – the err of my ways. I recently told a close friend that I felt like some kind of a universal soul mate because guys tend to see me as the ‘marrying type’, and believe that I must be their magical one. I don’t say this out of vanity, rather I say it out of sheer embarrassment. See, I think that different people bring out different sides of me…to a fault.

While we all feel comforted by relating to one another, I find that everything about me shifts in the direction of ‘him’. So much so that I end up feeling like an over-worked piece of play dough, that after so long of being molded, played with & left out in the cold, finally dries out and breaks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with compromise in a relationship. Just as there is nothing wrong with some sacrificing. But there is a fine line between sacrificing some of one’s self and sacrificing all in an attempt to ‘be loved’ or ‘be accepted’, or even ‘be adored’.

I fully believe that two souls can be inexplicably drawn toward one another, even when there’s very little compatibility, and that those two people can still have a loving relationship as long as one of them caves in. Ultimately, though, that’s not going to work. The caver feels trapped in an image that she herself created, and the powerful leader in the relationship is left feeling confused because he was leading the dance the whole time and she never stepped on his toes. Not once. Everything was perfectly synced! What changed?

What changed is that this ‘strong-willed’ only child became not only a follower, but a martyr as well.  What good is an only if they become a nobody because they’re only self is acting like somebody else?

So my own challenge for this time of solo-spiritual-growth is to become strong enough to let my self-awareness shine; to speak up for what I want; to have a voice in what I do; and to be a full-out ‘only’ – not the vicious meany that everyone expects from a singleton – but a watered down version that also derives happiness from giving to others from a place of strength…. not desperation.

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