Friday, September 30, 2011

This space was intentionally left blank....

I have been debating with myself whether or not to write about this. Blogs are typically very personal, or personal to some degree so why all the hesitation? I write as a form of therapy that doesn’t cost a $150 per hour and as a release of all my emotions that wander freely in my heart and mind. I have allowed my emotions to have a field day inside of my head all week. I need to release them here.
I have endured a lot of relationship stuff in the last year or so. The end of relationships, the beginning of new ones, some good, some bad. However, I have discovered that each time one ends, the same sneaky suspicion of failure lurks around leaving me with plenty of unanswered questions and loads of self doubt. I blame human nature on my inability to let go of the HOW, WHEN, WHY mysteries involved. Was it all me? What did I do wrong? How can I fix it? When did we get off track? Why? Similar to when there is a murder, the police bring in CSI to investigate the scene, collect evidence and interview any witnesses, all in hopes to solve the WHO, WHEN, WHY and HOW questions. I am my own CSI unit when it comes to relationships. I comb over every detail in hopes I see something I didn’t see before. I seek advice from those closest to me who I know will be brutally honest. I go over and over the scenario in my head. The results are typical – Inconclusive. So much time is wasted trying to decipher something that is unsolvable.
Recently I had a fall out with one of my dearest friends and it’s been plaguing me on a daily basis. I have been second guessing who I am, who I was and who I want to be, and who I was to them. It’s been a crock-pot recipe of confusion, disappointment, sadness and regret brewing for quite some time.
A close friend asked me a few questions that stopped me in my tracks… I wasn’t sure why these questions took me by surprise. Maybe it was because they were so obvious or maybe my lack of an answer shocked me. She asked, Is this repairable and what are your expectations of a friend?
Well, I ahhh, um, I, well I just um….I don’t know…. That was my answer. At first. We worked through it and determined that what I expect from a friend is just someone who will accept me for the blunt, honest, loud, well intentioned, kind person that I am. Relationships and friendships are about allowing your similarities to bring you close, and not allowing your differences to separate you. It’s about growing together, strengthening one another. Walking together. Sometimes in your walk one’s pace is not the same as the other so one gets ahead and the other is left behind… But the walk isn’t over. It’s okay to have a different pace and rhythm, just as long as you stays on the same path.
Because I rely on God daily for everything, I decided to open the door for a self evaluation in His eyes. I was allowing my self validation to come from others. I lost sight of the only opinion that truly matters. His. So I put my questions down on paper, and I answered them, honestly. Some of what I discovered was unexpected, some things were reassuring and some things need some work. I transitioned through a lot of emotions, but ultimately, my task was about getting my feelings to align with the facts. The fact that God created a perfect version of me and who I am. People have come into my life in His perfect timing to help me become a better version of me with His guidance and seal of approval.  Some chose to stay around, and some don’t. Who we are cannot be measured by other’s choices to stay or leave our lives. If we allow others to hold the power of labeling us, we will eventually be disappointed and hurt… Because the One and only who has the power to truly define you is the One who knew you before you were born.
Psalms 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I trust that His opinion of me is all I need. Not to say that others opinions of me are invalid or inaccurate. Sometimes my actions warrant the opinions people form of me. We are always a constant work in progress and will never be complete until we enter His kingdom. I’m content in this now. I welcome those who choose to accompany me in my walk, accepting me for my good days and bad days. Forgiving me of my short comings, forgetting my mistakes, and loving me for who I am.
God knows us all. I know He loves me and continuously strengthens me as a woman, mother, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, employee and whatever other title I might have. In this fact I find peace in my hurtful season. I trust Him to heal what needs to be healed.

Sorry for the lack of humor. Maybe next week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pluck, Shave and Dye It!

Being a woman is hard stuff. Nothing to mess around with, that’s for sure. I had a horrific incident that changed my life as a woman, probably forever. I discovered, I have a mustache… And not the cool kind…
In addition to my new stache, I have also battled a chin hair for quite some time. As a result of not listening to my mother as a child, (take heed children) I have to pluck an extremely long hair directly from my chin on a bi-weekly basis. When I was younger, I was standing in a rocking chair and refused my mother’s advice to get down… I of course fell and busted my chin wide open… And apparently hair grows from scars… And if that’s a myth or totally untrue, don’t tell me. I feel better having something to blame it on. K? K!
Granted, I’m blonde and so is the stache… But it’s there nonetheless and in the wrong lighting, this can be a disaster. Men are so lucky. They grow wild hair all over the place and display it proudly. Some more than they ought to. Women, we have to pay to have it removed and go to extreme lengths to keep it hidden from the public . We have to shave, pluck and dye everything on our bodies and it’s an exhausting and painful routine that goes completely unnoticed. Men have no idea the depths and efforts that go behind our looks. However if a man did take notice to my stache or the absence of my stache, I would likely be offended… So they really can’t win. Sorry guys.
I was watching Bridesmaids last night and there was a part about the girls bleaching something, and it was not their hair. I wasn’t necessarily shocked by it because I’ve been to a day spa and read the thru the menu of treatments available. But I was just reminded of the length we go to look and feel good about ourselves. We dread our yearly interrogation meeting with the gynecologist, yet for beauty sake, we willingly get on all fours and say, BLEACH IT!  We hate getting blood drawn or shots, but we pluck hairs from our face (and sometimes chin) with roots the size of golf balls without hesitation.  We approach mammograms with tremendous trepidation, but we will drop trou and allow a total stranger to airbrush a fake tan on our bodies.
Boys wait impatiently for the day to see their first chin hair, women await impatiently armed with tweezers. Boys anxiously await the moment to buy and use a razor. Women begin to buy razors in bulk.
I know all women are different and do different things to boost their self esteem and some go further than others. Me personally, I have an appointment to take care of this mustache later today.
This post is somewhat meaningless… What crazy lengths have you gone to beautify yourself?
 - - - - - - COOL Mustache

- - - - - NOT COOL Mustache

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A night to forget!

To say parenting is hard is a vast understatement. I know the rewards far exceed the tribulations. But in this moment, right now, I feel the weight of parenting bearing down on me with relentless ferocity. I love my kids more than I love anything. And the word anything is so inadequate. I mean, literally ANYTHING and EVERYTHING pales in comparison for the love I have for my kids. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I assume that the amount of love we have reflects the amount of frustration we feel when we fail.  
I couldn’t sleep last night after Kylee and I literally bumped heads. The blanket of guilt, what if’s and remorse covered me from head to toe. The blue print for our night didn’t seem very promising from the time I picked them up. We get home, after much screaming and fighting in the car, I said a quick prayer and we headed upstairs. It is my theory that the kids have some type a sensor or radar that notifies them when my back is turned. Logan was particularly moody last night. He is usually my easy child. But last night, being touched was a trigger, being played with was a trigger, oh, and being looked at was a trigger. So basically, Kylee and I had to ignore his existence. About 3 hours of refereeing, because I said so’s, stop touching him’s, No’s, and please stop screaming’s I could physically feel my hair turning gray. I deemed last night worthy of an early bedtime, for Logan at least. Kylee and I cuddled after he went to bed and watched TV together. Sounds effortless enough aye? No, Kylee has this way about her to constantly be on the prowl for a fight, or the opportunity to be right or prove someone wrong. Even when there is nothing to fight about or be right or wrong about. But in her obstinate way, she asks questions that literally have no answer, so in my attempt to provide an answer, she gets frustrated that it wasn’t the right answer. Basically, a lose lose situation. Que frustration!  
Her bed time comes at the same time every night, like…um, CLOCKWORK! Yes that’s it; it comes every night like clockwork. However, also like clockwork comes her fits and tantrums; As if I am springing this alleged bedtime on her for the first time in her 4 years of living. How dare I, as her mother, insist on her sleeping in her own bed?! GASP! How dare I as her mother insist she go to bed at 8:30pm?! GASP! How dare I only allow her 2 additional shows to watch AFTER a night full of Disney Shake it Up?! GASP! What kind of mother AM I?! I am sure these are similar to the dramatics flowing thru her beautiful complex little big brain of hers.
Well as always, I have to remind her that she is a big girl whether she behaves that way or not, that she has a big girl bed of her own and needs to learn to sleep in it, etc, etc, etc. Same routine, same draining argument, same outcome, different day. Isn’t the definition of insanity to do the same things expecting a different result? Well aside from giving into her manipulation and toddler tantrums, I’m at a loss.
Ohh, the guilt! That’s right. I was laying her down in her bed, she began throwing a level 5 tantrum which consists of kicking her legs and other obnoxious crap. I took her by the arms to try and control her body and the volume of her voice she went limp on me and our heads collided together as if there was some magnetic connection insuring the maximum level of pain possible.. I’m sure we both saw stars.
I think it’s safe to say that nothing was accomplished last night, nothing was learned, and I’m certain I didn’t respond in the best of ways to insure a different outcome the next time… But I ended my night with a chick flick and cheetos… I woke up to Kylee saying good morning mommy, I love you… So all is not lost. We live to fight another day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What to expect when you're expecting....?

DISAPPOINTMENT! That is what you can expect when you’re expecting! A wonderful, brilliant, amazingly insightful friend sent me this much needed email. Per my last post, I have a few challenging commitments/promises I have made to myself and I do believe it will be difficult to not break. It is going to take more work on my end than his (not fair). Thankfully I have friends like these who can give me such a refreshing new perspective to help prepare me for the treacherous journey ahead.  A special thanks to my friend Nora for taking the time to write this to me and for loving me enough to send it. It was too brilliant not to share!
Ok here's the background information we need:
We experience new things every single day; new heartbreaks, new joys, new perspectives, etc. Every time we experience a new something, we form an opinion. We either decide that we like something and want it to happen again or we don't like it and don't want it to happen again. These are called pleasures and pains. All of these life experiences and our opinions of them add up with each other to form what we call "expectations." This is a defense mechanism intended to safeguard us from experiencing pain and to increase our chances of experiencing pleasure (and this is the NUMBER ONE driving force behind human behavior...more pleasure, less pain).

And here's what we do:
As soon as we meet someone new, or have any new type of experience for that matter, we compare them to our preconceived expectations. When they fall short, we get disappointed or hurt. When they meet or exceed them, we are happy. Think about it. When we are very young children, we love everyone no matter what. As we get older, we get selective about who we like. This is because we let our prior experiences start building a wall and unfortunately, exactly what this is doing is letting our past control our future. We miss out on things because we are too afraid of getting hurt. This also explains why the older we get, the more bitter/jaded/cynical/hopeless/etc. we get. So that defense mechanism is actually hurting us more than the pain that it was intended to prevent!
This is how our brains process automatically. Some people dwell on the pain and it is constantly in the front of their brains. These are the people who are always angry or mean and constantly disappointed (Group 1). Some people try to actively ignore it by trying extra hard to focus on the positives. These are people like you and me who want the best for ourselves and constantly work toward getting it (Group 2). And some people aren't even aware that their prior experiences are governing all of their decision-making. These people just go wherever life leads them, settling...not looking for better (Group 3).
What this means:
People like you and I are in the right group because we ARE supposed to pursue pleasure! The problem is that we are still trying to run from pain at the same time and this is where we trip ourselves up. Group 2's expectations are higher than any other groups' because we have one foot in and one foot out. Group 1 has both feet out and Group 2 has both feet in--neither of which are healthy, by the way.
This is what we have to do:
The only way to have it all is to lose the expectations! We have to acknowledge past pains as learning experiences, accept them as such, and move forward. It helps to remember that we cannot truly experience pleasure without experiencing pain and that we also cannot fully appreciate good until we've also had bad. So we can look at bad experiences as stepping stones to the great big good ones!

And this is where we need LOTS of God's help:
This is the slap in the face I got from the Lord two weeks ago.--The only way to lose our expectations is to realize that we don't actually have the right to form these expectations of others. God made every single one of us. Who do we think we are to compare these people to OUR expectations? We aren't in charge. God is. He is the only person allowed to compare people to HIS expectations. The only thing we should be doing is working on being the best example of God and His love as we can. Through us, GOD will work on people that HE deems need working on. It's not our place to fix people, no matter how well-intentioned we are when we try. We work on our own faults and be positive support for others once THEY decide they want to work on themselves.
This hit me hard because I have VERY HIGH expectations of people...which I now know is due to all the disappointment, pain, heartache, etc. I experienced as a child. But with God's help, I have already made a lot of progress. I don't even have bad things to say about people anymore because how can I when I'm not judging their actions and forming an opinion as to whether they're good or bad?! I take people as they are, the way God made them and the way He loves them, and life is much prettier now. Now that does NOT mean that I still don't get disappointed. Nor does it mean that I won't ever again. Remember: Gotta have the bad to appreciate the good. And....we are human after all! The key here is that we can still learn that life lesson with only a little bad. We don't have to have it all the time, so the more we can omit from our lives, the more room we have for the good.
Your emotions are most strongly tied to Mike. (Editor’s note: emotions are tied to him because he is tied to my children, that's all) So he is going to be your biggest challenge as well. But it is only until we truly and 100% accept them for exactly who they are, we will never completely be able to control our emotions when it comes to them. And it can happen with everyone. Friends, family, strangers. The guy that just cut you off and made you almost wreck, the retail clerk who was incredibly rude just cause you got in her line....these are angers that happen in the heat of the moment...and these are never completely controllable due to biology. But the more we practice, the easier it gets and the less often we will lose our tempers.
~The more time you spend focusing on the positives, the less time you have to stress about the negatives.~
Again – Big - O – Thanks to Nora for being a genius and willing to share her geniusness with me! (that’s a real word now)

Friday, September 9, 2011

The X Man

If you don’t have anything nice to say, type it in a blog. Yeah well this one has been a LONG time comin’. I genuinely wish I didn’t have this type of stuff to blog about, talk about, obsess about, worry about, stress about, pray about, vent about or cry about. I would love it if my blog were all about the kids and the struggles of being this perfect mommy that I am. (Insert Sarcasm) But the harsh reality is this stuff consumes my every day.  Even when I go through droughts of foolishness, I am still walking on glass wondering what’s next.
I can only speak for myself, but I am honestly and gratefully over my X. Emotionally, mentally and every other ---ally ways. I guess anger and disappointment are emotions, so maybe I am still emotionally dwelling on some things. Our divorce is STILL not final. Earlier this week I decided to write a long overdue letter to my attorney. The Reader’s Digest version of that email was this:
Mr. Fancy Lawyer,
The letter was successful… Or so I think… Or so we’ll see… But it has been over a year now and I have learned to expect the worst and hope for the best.
In addition to the heated email exchange between my lawyer and myself, the X and I also had multiple debates. Nothing major, just the normal disagreements between ex spouses… Me explaining why I don’t think it’s a healthy idea for your newest girlfriend (who is 19 years old – NO JOKE) to spend the night with our children so you can work at a strip club. In his defense, he is working this second job because he anticipates that he will be, and I quote “stiffed on child support.” If you don’t have the latest version of Webster’s Dictionary for X Husbands the word Stiffed is defined as paying the state minimum requirement for child support. Of course, this issue of the GIRL friend spending the night is not a pressing issue at the moment as he is still living at his parent’s home. Rent Free. Utility Free. Groceries Provided. My kids do not have a room of their own or their own beds for that matter. Well to be fair, our almost two year old sleeps in a pack N Play while Kylee sleeps in the bed with him. I know I should be thankful they are under a roof surrounded by people who love them. I am very thankful and blessed that his family is so loving and so willing to be there for their grandkids. It has been a rough road, but I am finally rebuilding that very precious relationship with his mom and hopefully soon his sisters. And I am thankful. Sure, I think my kids deserve their own room, bathroom, space and privacy; which they get very little of at his home because his parents are still raising teenagers of their own. The dynamics are truly unique.
Although the X’s brilliant idea to shack up with this girl in front of our young, impressionable children is still on the stove, I am definitely putting it on the back burner for now. The rumor of him moving out on his own has been circling since February. Basically, I’ll believe it when I see it. However, in addition to that, he also informs me that he is trying to decide which apartment to move into. It’s a toss-up between one in Las Colinas (44 miles from me and the kids), Irving (50 miles from me and the kids) or Bedford (18 miles from me and the kids)
Now please keep in mind, things that seem very obvious to me, are not so obvious to the X. Why do I constantly find myself trying to explain the importance of us living semi close to one another? Why is that not a no brainer? Another priceless justification to living so far away is to be closer to the club he will be forced to work at when he is “stiffed” on child support. I’m sure it’s like pulling teeth. Poor baby. The X feels the need to close every email or text message with how happy he is with his new girlfriend which he “adores.” I wasn’t aware that he was capable of adoring anyone but himself. Another Webster term for the X, Adore is defined as having an increased sensation of lust for someone who is too inexperienced and naive to know what a relationship really consists of. Therefore I must have "adored" him when we first started dating. Live and Learn!!  It doesn’t bother me that he is “happy” with someone else. It bothers me that he is too consumed with pleasing himself, that he allows all of his responsibilities fall by the waist side. It bothers me that I continuously allow myself to be so disappointed in him. Maybe that will never go away. I think to some degree, I will always be waiting for him to mature and have one of those AHA moments where it just hits him between the eyes. Who knows? Dwelling on it, waiting for it and expecting it have led me to a valley of disappointment.
While I was in the middle of drafting this blog last night, I got a new blog post from which I read regularly. It is a little scary how similar her circumstances mirror mine. Her X and my X are one in the same as well. And she wrote a blog that took the words straight out of my heart! This is not the first time this has happened either. I was just telling my good friend Tammy how disappointed I was in myself for allowing him to bait me into these arguments. I read an incredible book called The Bait of Satan. NO, I am not comparing the X to Satan, but the book explains how we allow people to bait us into being offended. I hope my blog friend won’t mind, but she compiled a list of things she will no longer do and I too want to join her in the fight against being baited. Here is the NO NO list she created for herself which I will apply to myself:
I will not let him bait me.
I will not take a cheap shot, even when one is taken at me.
I will not accuse (I will only inquire).
I will not taunt.
I will not discuss his marriage relationship (unless it affects the health, safety, or emotional welfare of our children). (this does not apply to me YET)
I will not engage in text or email wars with him anymore.
I will not call him names.
I will not question his parenting (unless, again, it affects the health, safety, or emotional welfare of our children).
I will not let him take his anger about his self-made situation out on me.
I will not question him about the barbs and complaints and criticisms of me that he makes to the children (and which they relay to me).  I will discuss those with the kids, but not with him.
I will not let him bait me. (Yeah, that’s twice on that one.  But it’s a weak spot of mine so worth repeating.)

This week was an emotional cocktail of disaster. Blended with anger, frustration, disappointment, confusion, sadness, and lots of salt! I drank multiple rounds of it this week. It’s finally out of my bloodstream and I intend to have a wonderful weekend with the kids. No more bait for me!
Thanks for reading!