Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Everyone comes with scars, but you can love them away.

A lot of you already know this story, but I'm telling it again.

When I was twenty, I got married. The man I married on August 24th, 1996 is not the man I am married to today.

When I was twenty-one, almost twenty-two, I found out I was pregnant with twins. The biological father of those twins is not the man I am married to today.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1997 the biological father of those twins, the man that I married in 1996, told me he didn't love me. He had never loved me. He didn't want to be married to me. He didn't want to have a family with me. He was done, it was over.

I had just turned twenty-two years old, and it was over. My marriage, my dreams for a family, my life. Everything was over. wasn't.

I was devastated. I do not have the appropriate words to describe how devastated I was. I would have done anything, literally anything, to get this man back.

Don't believe me? Once, I was convinced I had won $25,000 in a contest (I didn't. Did I mention I was twenty-two years old? Not very smart? Not very worldly? I was dumb. It was a scam and I figured it out pretty quickly, but still). For a few brief, shining hours I believed I had an extra $25,000 and instead of paying off my credit card debt or saving it for my children's futures or buying a 4-door vehicle, or securing housing for many years to come, I was going to buy my then-husband a truck. A really nice, big truck. He knew a lot of people who had really nice big trucks and even though he literally had zero need for such a thing I was going to buy it for him, so he would be happy. So he would realize I was good and worthy and he would want to be with me.

Did you get that? I was completely willing to forgo my own happiness, my comfort, and my security so he would be happy.

He wouldn't have been happy anyway. I mean, maybe the truck would have temporarily made him happy, but he wouldn't have been happy with me. He would not have had some magical realization that I was good and worthy. He didn't love me.

It's hard for me to type those words, all of these years later. Twenty-two years later I am still struggling to admit this:


Typing this does not make this less painful. Time does not make this less painful. It's still, and will forever be a hurtful thing that someone that I promised to love, honor, and cherish did not love me back.

People say, they always say, "He just loved in you in his own way!" or "He DID love you, he just didn't know how to show it."


He did not love me.

It's okay to say that he did not love me. We all do asshole things to the people we love from time to time. I'd be embarrassed to recap some of the arguments that Jason and I have had through our many years together and I imagine every single couple out there would say the same. There is a difference in occasionally behaving like an asswhistle to someone you love and not actually loving them. There is a very distinct difference. I promise.

People who love you do not actively  try to destroy you. People who love you do not try to convince you that you are worthless. People who love you do not tell you that no one loves you, that your life has no meaning, that you will never be a good wife, a good mother, or a good human being. That is not love. There is nothing close to love in those statements or those actions.

I was twenty-two and I had to fight for my family.

I lost that fight, but...I won that fight.

What I won? Was so far beyond what I had and what I was trying to fight for.

There was a time that I'm certain I would taken my ex-husband back. I would have "forgiven"  him. Forgiven is in quotes for a reason. Would I have ever been able to trust him again? Probably not. Would I have worried every time he left the house? Probably. Would I be who I am today? ABSOLUTELY. NOT.

Is who I am today better than who I was in 1997? Better is a relative term I guess, but I'm certainly stronger, braver, wiser, more kind and loving, and I 1000% like myself a Hell of a lot better than I did twenty-two years ago.

He did not find me good or worthy, but he was wrong. He thought my happiness, comfort, and security were not important, but he was wrong. He didn't love me, and that's his right. I didn't love me, and that was wrong. I was wrong for accepting less than I deserved. I know that now, and while that lesson came with a lot of pain (some of which I'm still trying to work out, thanks therapy), I get it. My daughter gets it and should she ever have a daughter, that child will likely come out of the womb getting it, and that, my friends, is how I won my family back.

I married Jason on July 12th, 2003. It was miserably hot. I didn't know it on that day, but I had absolutely no idea how to be married. Literally none. As I mentioned, we've had some arguments that bordered on insane over the years (someday I am going to document the "Attractiveness Hierarchy" and every single woman will totally agree with me). He's always loved me. I've always loved him. It's different.

I love me now too and that is also different.

That is also more important, way more important, than I realized in 1997.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Feelings suck

I understand now that how I feel has never mattered much.

It does, but it doesn't.

Feelings make you weak and there is no place for weakness in what I have to do, what I have to conquer.

Feelings are fleeting. Feelings can change.

And yet.

I'm wrapped up in feelings. Mired in them. Turned inside out and upside down, drifting.

Well-meaning people say, "Your feelings are valid. Your feelings count". They do, but not in the ways I need them to. They are valid, they are real. They remind me of past hurts. Of things I've tried so hard to forget.

Actions. I always thought actions were more important than thoughts. Than feelings. Than emotions. Be strong. Be brave. Don't talk about things. No one wants to see your tears, no one wants to hear your fears.

This is fine, I guess, until the feelings come back.

Until you realize, they never went away.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

She'll listen to you tell your story, hold your fear and all your worries...

 There are so many things no one tells you about being a mother.

Probably because, if they did, no one would become a mother.

Or...maybe they would.

The biggest thing that no one told me, was how often I would screw up.

How many times I would look at your sweet faces and think, "You deserve better than me" or, "I wish I was a better mom", or (just once so far), "Jesus God, I've never been so scared of a hurricane in my life".

No one told me how thankful I would be for you or how much you would change my life.

 No one told me how I would want to be better because of you. How I would slay dragons to make your life easier. How I'm 43 and sick of all the crap and rage until my voice is hoarse about building a better world for you to inhabit, because you deserve it.

No one told me that you would be my best friends. My closest confidantes. The two of you know me better than anyone else in the world, and somehow you still love me.

You are the dreams I didn't even dare to dream. My greatest accomplishment, my fondest hope.

It's Mother's Day. A day to celebrate me, but really? You made me who I am today. Every bit of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

What do you do?

If I asked you the question, "What do you do?" what would you say?

If you are like most people, you would tell me the name of your job.

My job isn't me though, and your job is not you. So maybe we should change that conversation.

It's hard. It's so hard, especially for people like me who really put a lot of value on work. I work a lot. I think about work a lot. I struggle to disconnect from work. I spend way too much time thinking about work, even when I'm not "technically" working. I actually love working, I love being productive, and I love earning money. I said many years ago that I would never again allow myself to be in a position where I had to rely on anyone else to pay my bills, and I will do everything in my power to make that so, for as long as I live.

I'm still not my job and even if you agree with everything I just said, you aren't your job either.

So what do I do?

I run slow miles.
I dance like nobody's watching in Zumba class.
I mom really hard.
I make a killer lasagna.
I love, love, love. Wildly, unabashedly, and so, so much.
I write lots of words and sometimes I share them.
I motivate, unintentionally, and only sometimes.
I spend mornings with The Big Guy, talking about what I'm thankful for, what I need, and what the world needs.
I listen and I hear. 
I advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves.
I give and I help.
I volunteer.
I care.

I am more than my job, and so are you. So what do you do?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lessons Learned- 2018

1) Nothing is more important than one's health.

2) Nothing is taken more for granted than one's good health.

3) I am stronger than I thought.

4) Even in the face of utterly crushing disappointment, you have to stay the course. Good things, better things, are coming.

5) Parenting almost twenty-one year old people is not for the weak.

6) There are people who will appreciate the things you do.

7) The number of people who appreciate the things you do is very, very small.

8) Some people will never see the truth, even if it's blatantly, painfully staring them in the face.

9) I will never be worthy to some people, no matter how good I am.

10) Sometimes you love someone a lot and they still hurt you and take advantage of you.

11) People really, really, REALLY do not understand mental illness.

12) There are relationships, feelings, and emotions that I will never get to have. I am still learning how to be okay with this.

13) I am closest to God when I am outside, in nature.

14) I need to be outside in nature more.

15) Most of the time, someone else's actions have absolutely nothing to do with me and worrying about what other people do is a colossal waste of time.

16) I can literally wear whatever I want.

17) I will never, ever be a priority to some people, even if I make them a priority.

18) Those people mentioned in 17? Got to go.

19) Maintaining an over 200lbs weight loss is harder than actually losing the weight in the first place.

20) Dogs don't live nearly long enough and the time you have with them seems impossibly short.

21) No one really cares about your birthday.
22) My heart is capable of more love than I thought.

Here's to 2019 being less of a trainwreck, here's to more books, more writing, more kindness, and more taking care of Stephanie.