Dear 60 Year Old Me,

Letter to my 60 year old self. A letter from ME.

Dear 60-Year-Old Me,

I want to take a moment to talk to you about how amazing you must be for all that you have come through. I find it hard to think about who you must be, where in the world you have gone, and how amazing life must be. Who did you meet?  What adventures have taken you places I haven’t been yet?

This is so me.I thought 40 was a big moment when I was 20.  I couldn’t imagine all that would be when I was just struggling to keep afloat. I just needed to get through another day, pay the bills and pray that I wasn’t screwing my boys up for life. But life is really pretty nice and I hope that 60 is even better.

In the last 40 years, I have been a child, a teen, a grown-up. I have been afraid of the dark and grown to love its peaceful solitude. I’ve learned to eat my vegetables so much that I have become a vegetarian. I learned how to ride a bike and learned that as you get older the idea of falling off keeps me from doing it. I’ve held in my arms dozens of furry friends and cherished the moments with my canine best friends almost as much as a human.  Letting go of Arwyn, my dog was actually harder than losing any human, because it was MY choice to let her take her last breath as I sat on that cold floor next to her. Soon after, learning how to trust another cold nose was both welcomed and difficult. But Wynter has been my best-girl ever since she brought the October snow.

I’ve become someone I never imagined I would become, not just a Mother but a friend, a wife, a writer (still not published anywhere but I am a fantastic blogger). I have my own small business that keeps me both on edge and proud that it’s mine. I volunteer when I can to my synagogue and enjoy occasional Girl’s lunches with my friends. I’ve learned to let go of petty people and accept that I can’t ever make everyone happy all of the time, but it feels really nice to make my husband and children happy as much as possible.

I’ve watched as my babies took their first breaths, learned to walk, talk, and headed off to school. I’ve stood proud as they made new friends, brought some home to live, fell in love and broke some hearts. I wonder now if soon I will see my middle one ask his true love to be his wife, while the oldests are still trying to figure out what’s next for them. The baby isn’t so much of a baby anymore.  Her dark rimmed lashes painted silver and gold, hair tied up in strands of blue and green, she’s still in middle school and learning now how hard growing up can be.

I’ve fallen in love, lost it, sat bitterly until I was ready to move on, took chances to love again and allowed myself the best 14 years of my life with Michael.  He’s been my rock, stood solid when I felt like I could crumble. He’s taught me about forgiveness and when to face the fact that some people will never change and you just have to move on away from them. He has helped me to see that not every fight has to be fought and walking away is really hard to do when someone knows how to press all of your buttons. His quiet has taught me how to shut up and listen and yet I am still no good at keeping quiet when something is just wrong.

I have settled down, no longer moving from place to place searching for some elusive sense of home and figured out that home isn’t a place but a feeling that you know where you are and it feels good to be there. Sometimes home is in the house we have built as a family and sometimes home is where the family is.  I have found a home in odd places, sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle overlooking the Sound or rolling over in a strange hotel bed to the warmth of Michael’s arm opening up to bring me closer. Home is where I can relax and recharge not a place at all.  I travel often from East to West and many places in between. Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, New York,  big cities and small, quiet place and loud. I love the exploration of new streets, adventures hiding in coffee shops and museums, and best of all meeting up with friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I would like.

I wonder often who you are and if you would like me at all. Would you tell me that I have wasted away my life and accomplished nothing or would you be happy that I have found peace after searching for it for so long?  Do you think that I have done the right thing by making promises to myself about friendships, loyalty, and not allowing anyone the right or privilege to make me feel bad about myself?  I’ve had to face myself in the mirror and ask if I have done the right thing, read the hate-filled letters and swallowed back tears when haunted by her words. I lost my best friend to death, but made it mean something by not letting our promise fade away because of grief.  I wonder if it still hurts to miss him as much as I do right now or have others gone after him and taught me more about grief and pain.

I hope you never stop wanting to dance in the kitchen, snuggle late on Sunday mornings, or give up writing because something else is more important. I hope you have explored the world and not just our little corner of it.  I hope you have danced at the weddings of the children who love you as their Mother and hopefully cradled at least one grandchild close and whispered sweet lullabies as I did long ago. I hope you have actually started to keep track of all of those family stories so that they won’t be lost once your gone and never stopped enjoying the life you have been blessed with.

Dear 60-year-old me, I am so glad we made it.

~ Crysta at 40 ~

Written January 2013

Challenge:

Write a letter today to your future self. Lock it away for a few years, and see how much you love how your life has blossomed and changed in the time between. 

 

 

Honoring and Acknowledging Grief for a Parent You Hated

I always had a rocky relationship with the woman I refer to as my Birth Mother. From the instant I was born, I didn’t belong to her. I belonged to my adopted family who loved me, wanted me, and taught me how to love back. My Birth Mother wasn’t any of those things. When she died, I went through a vast range of emotions, but until recently I doubted any of them were actually grief.

Our story isn't uplifting. It's harsh, real, and I share it only for those who, like myself, struggle with knowing how to feel.  We are told over and over that we should love our parents, forgive people, move on.  When relationships don't go well, knowing how to feel is difficult and nobody talks about it.  This article is my story.

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We fought like warring countries.

My adoptive parents were family members. This was common back when I was born when someone was unable to care for a baby you just pass them off to the next family member willing to take your cast off kid. At the time I was born she wasn’t even sure who my father was, she’d done a crap ton of drugs, and was in no place to care for a baby. That’s when my Gram and Pop stepped in became my parents.

I knew her, I knew what she was to me. But I never bonded with her. And that pissed her off.

My Gram and Pop were in their late 60’s when I was born. They were my Great-Grandparents. My Pop died of a hospital accident when I was 3. Granny, who also lived with my parents and I ( My great-great grandmother) and I shared a room until she died. My world as a small child was of old people and dying. It was very matter of fact. People die.

Off and on, my birth mother came into my world. She came when she was “UP” and was a whirlwind of over-exaggeration. Everything was loud when she was there. I remember moments of her, of her trying to make me see how great she was and the best Mom. But thinking that I preferred the quiet of my Gram, the simplicity of life without her. She hated that bond that I shared with my Gram and violently acted out against it.

“I should have had an abortion with you like I did the others. I hate you.”

Abortion was one of my earliest linking words to her. And she made sure I knew what it meant and how much she regretted trying to trap her True Love with the announcement that he’d gotten her pregnant. Even though she was married to someone else, just like the intended True Love. I was the kid who was almost aborted, and whose birth mother wished out loud that it could be retroactive.

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“Pull the fucking plug!”

Those were the words that I said on the last day of her life to the hospital in charge of keeping her alive. I hated the taste of the words in my mouth, the rage in my heart, the pure shock that I actually felt something at that moment.

And like that, it was finally over. 40+ years of a war that could never be resolved was, at last, coming to a close.

I remember that moment, standing in front of friends and my family, none of them knowing what was going on. We were leaving a movie, I got the call. It was the same ridiculous call that I’d actually gotten many times before.

“She’s dying. This is it.”

3 years that shit went on. The time before had been the worst. It involved a fake doctor, a manipulative lie, tears, and regret. No more, I wasn’t going to fall for it again. I shouted into the phone and hung up. Then she died.

I walked around in a haze for days, maybe even weeks. Mostly, I pretended that everything was okay. I did not grieve.

About a year later I was going down the road, listening to the radio, and for no reason, tears filled my eyes, and that stinging feeling came over my sinuses. You know, the feeling where you are about to really lose your shit, and you are trying to hold it back. I pulled into a parking lot and emotions ran out of me… all of them. I choked on my tears, gagged on the thoughts.

This was ridiculous. I had never felt much for her other than frustration, pity, sometimes a friendship, but more often it was only tolerance. I pushed it down, blamed hormones, stress, and bad timing and moved on.

Why now?

A few months ago I was sitting with a friend who’s estranged father was very ill. We were talking about the passing of parents who were not honestly parents to us. She ached to have a bond with this dying man out of the fear that soon it would be too late. I struggled to understand why she’d let go of her distance and walls she’d formed around herself to allow someone who once tried to murder her mother and herself.

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It was then that I started to think more of my loss, of what truly transpired. And it ripped me apart.

Until recently I refused to acknowledge my grief and honor my feelings. I hid behind anger. I chose to remember the time that she tried to burn the house down with my infant son and myself trapped in the attic, instead of facing the fact that there would be no more dramatic holiday outbursts because she died.

She wasn’t going to call me up ever again and scream into the phone in sobs and gasps that she loved me and it wasn’t fair that I didn’t love her back.

I simply refused to be a part of the grieving for her. I refused to accept that it was okay for me to grieve her loss. Because I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

In the later years, I was cold and indifferent.

I stood there through the name calling, spitting, and vulgar threats. In ways, I was preparing myself for this day. When one day it would be over and perhaps in a few years I would actually wish that I could pick up the phone and call my Mom and hear her tell me about that crazy thing she’d heard on some weird ass TV show.

Softly I’ve allowed myself to honor the grief that I deserve to feel the loss of not just my birth mother, but for someone monumental in my life. She carved out my jagged edges, toughened me to the world, taught me about mental illnesses and addiction.

Through this grief, I see that most of all I need to embrace forgiveness. To say not only to myself, but to the world that it is okay to grieve for the loss of a parent who spent YOUR life, not loving you as you deserve to be loved, but teaching you about hate and negativity.

It’s okay to grieve for that loss because it proves your humanity and kindness still exists.

There are moments that I feel the sadness wash over me, hot and cold at the same time. Anger and sadness mix together and it can’t be ignored.

Today was one of those days. For no reason at all, standing in my kitchen and planning my day, I felt the grief and pain pinch at the joy that I promised myself to be a part of. The pain cuts through me, and instead of pushing it aside and not honoring it for the sincerity, I allowed it to come front and center.

It’s okay.

It’s truly okay to sometimes be a little sad.

She died. She died, and now I am more aware than ever that I have daily opportunities to show up, be present, and make each day better than the day before because I know how short this life is. I know that today I have a choice to live better, to eat better so that I don’t die at 62 of liver problems caused by a lifetime of abusing my body and giving in to the desires. I know that I have one more day to tell my children that I love them and no matter how frustrated they make me, that they are valued in my life.

That nightmare is over, and I have the right to wake up. I have the power to pause my day, to understand that I am going through something and to make peace with it. And then move forward.

I forgive her for not being the mother to me that I deserved to have. Then I thank her for being kind enough not to abort me and to allow me to have the best childhood with my adoptive parents. I forgive her for scaring the hell out of me and making me cry myself to sleep under my bed when she would force her way back into our lives.

I forgive myself for hating her and screaming into the phone…

pull the fucking plug.

 

The 9’s

I know I am comfortable with my life these days, more than I have ever been. I still ask myself if I am sure there isn’t  someone who will one day wake me up from my dream and tell me it’s time to go back to chaos. But for now, it’s my world and I am happy here. I look back at the last 40 something years and see that the dragons that stood in my path have always been about the 9's.

Let me go back, I should tell you what exactly the 9’s are.  The 9’s are 19,29,39,49 ect…  that year before the big change in your life.  That year when you try to wrap it all up and make it look like the last 9 years you spent doing something lasting and memorable, those are the 9’s.

When I was 9, I was still in the 3rd grade. I was a child, small and fragile. Yet already I had known about death, loss, betrayal, and longed to run away from it all. 9 was when I would wander away from home, wait until almost dark, and dance wild and free with the fireflies. I found an abandoned house deep in the woods, climbed inside and considered making this my home instead of returning to the house that I had ran from. I wanted to be a lost girl, alone in a lost house.  I would dance naked with the wild beasts, free from shame.

19 was big, I wasn’t going to get away with being a child anymore. I was finished with high school and looking to college.  I didn’t have the ability to put on the breaks and turn around and run back to my childhood.  I was going to have to embrace the fact that I was no longer going to be a teen and I was going to have to accept that responsibility with my head held high and my fears pushed behind me.

I had to face a small town that didn’t know what to do with me and in trade pushed me into the darkness.  I suppose that the choices I had made the previous 19 years had also put me in a different position that the other 19 year olds around me. I cried tears of longing for my old friends and ways, missing their laughter and coolness in the summer heat.

In my world, 19 was more about letting go of my teenage hurt and Fidget Cubetears and moving on with my life.  It also was taking a deep breath and knowing that I wasn’t just a 19 year old, I was also a mother of two.  My boys were counting on me not to screw this up.  Each day was one step at a time towards the 20’s.

 29 came fast.  I was just starting to enjoy my 20’s when before I knew it they were over. Darn it I wanted them back!  I wanted to have the time to dance under the moon and howl with the others in my pack.

I didn’t want to face 29 that asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my life and how I was going to work being a mother, a wife, and so much more.  I found my dance, free as a wild bird and I really didn’t plan on giving that up without a good fight.  I was surprised when 29 came at how many things had changed and how many things were just beginning. I was ready for the big changes in my life as the 20’s ended, yet reluctant and scared of them at the same time.

 My 20’s  gave me the greatest blessings in life that are still most important to me now.  I left the life that I was afraid of as child and a teen, learned how to be alone, grew sad at the way life can quickly become so stale, and uneasy about the future.  I started college and finished new adventures there. I had my heart broken and found friends who became my angels to mend it. I learned not to be afraid of my past, to embrace it for who it was making me into. I found that sometimes I hid behind walls and I was terrified of change.  I took risks and accepted the consequences, then took bigger risks and loved the results.

 

I was hurt deeply by some I trusted, I hurt some who trusted me, and I tried my hardest to keep both from never happening again. By the time 29 came, I had married my knight, gave birth to an incredible daughter, watched my sons grow to be strong and brave, and learned to accept myself for who I was becoming.  I left behind family who never really wanted me in their pack and rebelled against a family who was so different from my own that I didn’t know how to be a part of them and pulled away.

 39 came and I didn’t master any great skill or win any big award.  But I did raise 3 incredible sons who have left now to become their own men and tackle the world on their own.  I hope that I have given them as much wisdom as I could to make their lives better, enough love to keep their hearts warm and gentle, enough strength so that they will also know the world and be brave enough to stand strong in it.

I can still snuggle my little girl, but only for a short time as she’s growing into her own independence now that she’s crossed her own 9 and inches close to the next.

I learned to give up my fear, the safety of my own little shelter was comforting and hid me away from the rest of the world. My fear of leaving home and traveling was great for a while, now I pack my bags for another adventure.  My husband reminds me of my strength and encourage me to take more chances to explore. I love the adventure of exploring new places, excited by what I might find around the next corner. Each trip becomes easier and I learn to relax a bit faster.

Though I still long to discover a lost house in the woods and claim it as my own, to dance naked and wild with fireflies in the comfort of the night. Perhaps when I am 49 I will.

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How to know when your blog is real

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There are a lot of blogs out there. Mommy blogs, Review blogs, make-up and photography blogs pop up every day.  Some make it, some have great content and gain readers.  Some don't.. the writer gets bored and eventually walks away. I love to write, I always have.  It was a great way to cope with life and stress.  I loved writing in diaries and little notebooks. All were filled with notes about life as I saw it.

I actually had to laugh as I was cleaning out some old boxes recently and came across a few of my old journals.  I loved how I was so passionate about my day-to-day events. There were song lyrics that stood out, cartoons that I drew, flower petals pressed into the pages. All of it took me back to those places in time. They were REAL.. meaning they didn't hold back, they captured the intense feelings that I was going through at the moment.

“I know I can do this. But life feels so hard right now.”

Being a blogger means you need to write, often, daily even. And sometimes it feels like you are doing this balance act of what you think the readers want to read about and what you actually want to write about. Sometimes you get into a routine of basics, reviews are easy because you have a platform to jump from, tutorials are pretty smooth because you just need to tell people how to do something cool.  But writing to be REAL is something completely different.

fear1For me these posts are both therapeutic and intensely painful to share. There is a need.. a deep throbbing need to write from the soul. But that is often held back by the voices that say ” What does that say about YOU?” or even worse…” If you write this, people will know.”

The other reason that I have a difficult time writing about some of the more personal things in my life, is that there is always going to be that one damned stalker that likes to sit there waiting for the moment that you write something personal so they can jump up and write a rant about how THEY feel and how mean and ugly I am.

Just recently a pathetic piece of trash got her sticky panties in a bunch and decided that trolling me would be fun. What she failed to realize is that I don't give a crap about her opinion. And we bloggers have the ability to auto-delete trolls. You don't have to leave bullshit on your blog.  Because trolls just want to see you upset. So kick their asses out in the snow and move on my friends.

That happens.  It's part of being a blogger, you are taking a risk with your personal pieces and sharing them with your readers.. you will be judged.  You won't always like the things they have to say.  It will sometimes feel like an attack. However, you aren't writing for the trolls, you write for those who want to enjoy your writing.  Some of your writing might make people uncomfortable, but that is also okay.  You don't have to please all of the people all of the time.

But when I feel like I am writing at my best, I am deeply real. I dance with the devil in the song of my words.  I rip off the coverings and show my scars. I do my best not to attack, that isn't who I am. Instead I expose the tender parts, knowing that some of my readers want.. and or need to see that they are not alone.

I have wonderful people from around the world who read this blog and comment.

“I really needed this.” Or people read the blog and want to share it. ” I have to show this to someone I know who is going through something similar, thank you for sharing.”

This is how I know when my blog is REAL.  These are the people who push me to ignore the crazy people and the stalkers and write about what I know best.

No. My blog isn't going to win awards or make me millions.  But if it helps one person out there to be brave and know that life does get better, then it is worth the drama.

Thank you all for reading, sharing, and being the drive I need to keep going and to push further than ever before.

~ Crysta ~

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Making peace and saying good-bye

 

 

I wrote this August 5th 2015… after being told AGAIN that my mother was on her deathbed. She had a habit of “dying” and after a few years of going through hell with the emotional roller coaster, I stopped getting on the ride. It took me a while to stop looking back to see if I had done the right thing and a lot of tears when I wasn't sure.

The sad thing is that this sort of drama went on for years until recently when she actually did pass and nobody believed it.  We had grieved for longer than anyone should and when the wolves cried again, there were few there to listen.

I am sad that she left behind a daughter who did love her very much, who will now have to figure out who she is without the drama that followed her around. But the strange thing that I learned from grief is that once you make peace with it, once you've said what YOU feel you need to let go of, it is over and the healing begins.

So here is my story of making peace and saying good-bye

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I got the call. I’ve been expecting it. My cousin doesn’t call much, usually with updates about family drama. My family is especially dramatic. I knew by the sound of her voice that this one was going go a little different from the other times. My mother is dying.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this call. It’s been a while, but every time feels like a punch to the gut. This time I actually hope isn’t bullshit. I’m tired, so mentally exhausted from all the stress that I don’t even feel like I know what life was like before sitting on death watch.

To be clear, I am not close to my mother. We aren’t good for each other. Some people are like that. They can be really decent and good people. But together, they bring out the worst parts of your personality. I really don’t like who I am when we were trying to fake a relationship. It was a good thing for us both to go our separate ways. There was no big ugly fight. No threats or nastiness. Really nothing to be sorry for, it was just time to let go.

So now I sit here, the echoes of well-meaning voices telling me that I should call and say “good-bye” and make peace still sinking into my brain. Everyone says they don’t blame me for not wanting to call, they understand my reasons. Hell, everyone has said they won’t judge either way. But everyone judges. That’s life.

My brother called. He needed to call and hear it for himself. I respect that. He’s still young, still pissed off that not everyone gets parents that sit down for family dinners at night, pose for funny group photos, or actually like each other. We bond over that dream, mold ourselves into the images of who and what we think adults are supposed to look like. We both have long lists of what we will and won’t do, lists written from our safe rooms and quiet corners. For the most part, even though I struggled. I hold pretty close to my list of what kind of parent I will be… except for the elephants. My kids are not riding elephants to school.

When he called me back, he didn’t sound like someone who actually made peace. In fact he sounded like shit. This is what they want me to feel like? They want me to call her and sit on the other end of the phone listening to her dying and me sitting there feeling like shit? That is not making peace.

“Do you feel better?” I asked. I honestly wanted to know if speaking to her, telling her that he loves her and forgives her actually made him feel better. That’s the point. Getting that chance to tell someone that their life matters to you, even after they leave it is supposed to be the reason you want to say good-bye.

“No. I feel worse and now there is nothing I can do about it.”

This is bullshit. That’s what I want to say. My brother, who is a damned good person and would do anything for someone else is sitting alone in his room crying and feeling miserable and I can’t do a damned thing about it. This ridiculous sense of “right and wrong” about the dying is the reason he and I both feel like crap. F that.

My Gram died. She was truly amazing and wonderful and everything a grandmother should be. Soft rosy cheeks and cold hands, my memories of my Gram, my great-grandmother and my best friend are vanilla scented and probably sugar-coated with the years and acceptance of her passing. I didn't say good-bye to her either. We spoke about a week before she passed peacefully in the garden of her nursing home. We talked about our fun times together, about knowing when to let go, and her wanting me to think only of good things to carry me through. When she let go, I wasn’t left with hearing her voice frail and discolored with fear of dying. Instead I had a smile, relief, thankfulness that the voice I have still with me was strong, funny, and authentically her.

My best friend died a couple of years ago in a motorcycle accident. The call came to me at midnight, over-dramatic and typical for the man he was. He loved being the center of attention, the loudest laugh in the room, and the one nobody could ever forget. So the call was fitting for announcing his death. When the crying stopped, my first impulse was to regret not getting to say good-bye. That want is imprinted upon just about everyone who is old enough to understand fictional guilt. It’s fictional because we shouldn’t have to feel bad for not doing something that we didn’t know we needed to do in the first place. But, I did have remorse because I had been sick that week and hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, whereas usually we spoke every afternoon.

“I should have called him more.” I said as I tried to come to grips with the reality that he and I were never going to call, text, or see each other again. But, I love the memory of his last voicemail to me. It was actually one of the best moments we ever shared with each other.

“Hey girl, where’ve you been? I miss you. Call me. I want to talk to you. Show me some love! Okay… call me. I love you. Bye.”   That’s what he said to me.

I called him, he was already on his way to the accident that would be the end of our phone tag. “I’m here. I’ve been sick. But I do love you and I always want to know what you have to say. So now it’s your turn. Love you. Bye.” Those were my last words to him.

I am glad my thoughts of him aren’t of someone holding a phone up to his ear and me crying as I try to choke out that I love him and I don’t want to be in this world without him. I am okay with not sitting thousands of miles away begging for a miracle, for him to know how much he meant to me. I am okay with knowing that my memories of him will always be funny, loud, and thinking of him as an asshole… the one that loved me just as much as I loved him.

So why in the hell would I want to call and sit here, gasping for air as I try to manage to say something that doesn’t sound heartless and meaningless? There is no peace in making peace! We said everything we needed to say and probably a whole lot more when were strong and full of fire. Why place this pressure to somehow say something that will make dying easier? Screw that! Dying isn’t easy. Dying SUCKS! You live, you do the best thing you can do and don’t go out of your way to screw it up, and then you die. That’s it. So now eyes are on me, waiting to see what I will do. And I’ve got nothing.

I won’t call. My voice will fail to say the thing that I know I need to say.  Instead I will say this, here… the way I know best how to be.
Paulo Coelho said in his works “Warrior of the Light

“However good we are, however correctly we seek to lead our lives, tragedies do occur. We can blame others, look for justification, imagine how our lives would have been different without them. But none of that matters: they have happened, and that is that. From this point on, it is necessary that we review our own lives, overcome fear, and begin the process of reconstruction.”

This is what I want to say to her.  What I would if I had the nerve.

I want to say that I know and understand the desire to have one more moment, something that is supposed to bring comfort in the days ahead. But we don’t need that.  We had moments, both very good and very bad.  There is no more reason to say I’m sorry.  That’s been done before and there is no reason to rise up bad memories again. Instead let’s move forward on to the next life with clarity and leave no ties of guilt or anger holding on to what cannot be.

As each of us move towards our next destination, know that I am truly grateful for the gift of life that I was given because of you.  I embrace each day knowing what both love and hate feels like, and fight from dawn til dusk to be a part of the light, to be good and loving, and especially real.  I have known the darkest heart breaks, the heaviness of grief, and fear that is a prison. This life is what you make of it, your reality, your kingdom.  So as you take your next steps towards the light, know that I am there and I love you for who I will one day know you to be.

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I’m Sorry We Can’t Be Friends

I’m sorry we can’t be friends.

I know you have tried to say you are sorry. I get it. But the fact is that you are who you are and we are not compatible. I am letting go of the past, it’s over.

I had a lot of hurt that finally burst out of me, burning hot and melting everything in it’s path. But that mountain of pain has settled, ashes blown away, and I am ready for regrowth. I am stronger now, the layers of emotions taught me how to be a better person. Even anger can be a force of creation when you know when to let it go.

But we cannot be friends. You are destructive and unhealthy for me. I am not your mother, not your advisor, not your savior. I don’t have to harden myself so that I can be strong for when your life starts to meltdown again, and it will.

It’s over. The ash storm of memories has blown away and I am no longer avoiding your existence, but I am not seeking it out either. No matter how many pretty words you want to plant around me, accuse me of ignoring, declaring your pain and wearing it around like a badge of honor, we are not friends and never will be again.

So bring peace to yourself with knowing that I forgive you. But we are done and will never ever be close again. There is nothing you can say that will make me come back, trust me… if I haven’t fallen for your other bullshit traps I won’t fall for any new ones. Leave me alone, let me go away without your constant reminders that you are still watching me in hopes that one day I’ll be weak enough to let you close to me again. I won’t.

I am sorry we can’t be friends.

Work Wives

Today I had a really interesting conversation with a dear friend about and article we both read today.  And I wanted to expand on that a bit here and post my thoughts about it.  Feel free to chime in with your own.

Dear Prudence,
My wife is planning to attend a professional conference in a few months in a warm location while I stay at home with our two young boys. In years past I have gone with her, but this year one son is in school. As much as I'll be frazzled by five days alone with them, I'm happy that my wife is able to build her reputation. But she will be attending the conference with a guy I don't care for, because he acts like he's my wife's best friend. They worked together for several years, and he was essentially her “work husband”—lunches together, drinks after work with their co-workers, texts and calls at home, inside jokes, birthday presents. I've tried to explain my belief that a man should not be “buddies” with another man's wife, but my wife doesn't see it and says they’re just pals. At the conference my wife will essentially be “dating” this guy for five days. I do trust my wife completely. But this guy is single and would, I'm sure, like to get involved if the opportunity were available. I’m annoyed that I will be home with the boys while she is on vacation with another man. I can't ask her not to go, and I can't join her. What can I do?

—Convention Dissension

Dear Convention,
What you shouldn’t do, once you tuck in the kids, is watch the movie Cedar Rapids. In that convention story, the insurance agent played by Anne Heche looks forward to the annual blowout so she can get away from her dutiful marriage, swim naked in the hotel pool, and get laid. Poor you, five days alone with your own sons, while your wife goes someplace warm (the nerve!), sees old colleagues, makes professional connections, and has some fun (bad Mommy!). One paragraph of your self-pity and bluster makes me want to pull up a lounge chair, order a pitcher of mojitos, and drown out the lectures on proper relations with the opposite sex. You’re right that some people have office spouses. This can be tricky because while it doesn’t offer conjugal privileges, it also doesn’t include such romance killers as wiping the kids’ noses and hauling the groceries. But you say you trust your wife completely, and during the years she worked with her office husband, they did not have an affair. I agree that if her relationship with her former colleague had been intruding on your time together, you would have been justified in asking for fewer happy hours and a moratorium on home phone calls—but they’re not even co-workers anymore. Stop harping on this conference, which is months away. When it rolls around, wish her a great trip and say you and the boys will enjoy doing guy stuff. That way, instead of thinking about what a relief it is to get away from her jealous prig, she will feel that no office husband measures up to the real thing.

—Prudie

So I personally agreed with Prudie, even though most of the time I think she is pretty clueless. This time however, I could relate and had my own feelings about the post. There are a lot of issues in that relationship that have little do with the “Work Husband” and that couple needs to address them for their children.

However my friend didn't agree.  And I totally understand and respect her point of view.  Her thoughts were that she didn't feel comfortable with the situation and wasn't sure she could feel as confidant in letting the one she loves have that type of friendship with a member of the opposite sex.

But I saw something in the letter from the husband that drew my attention. The situation is only from the husband's point of view. He uses words that draw emotion from the reader. He wants sympathy and wants to point our that he's upset that he is the one to be home with HIS children. So sad for him.. to have to spend time with his own kids.

My hubby travels A LOT. He travels everywhere, including warm sunny areas and leaves me home in the cold winterland.. but really, it's NOT a vacation for him. Even though I tend to tease him about leaving his cares and flying off to somewhere warm, I know he's not happy about it. I know there are lots of beautiful women who also have to travel and are at the events that he is at. But honestly, if you are going to be with someone you have to give up having know where they are night and day. Everyone is entitled to some private time and nobody should have the right to judge them for who they choose to have as a friend.
I think there is a different mentality when you are married to someone who has a job that requires them to travel and a corporate setting. My husband has always worked equally with both men and women and to be honest, at first I was pretty jealous when he would stay after work and go out for dinner and drinks with co-workers, especially when one of them is a very pretty and smart woman with lots of charm. I gave him hell all the time for spending more time with them than I felt he was with me while I was home “stuck” with the kids and not feeling good about myself and I took it out on him. I was the one who started a lot of fights and really damaged our marriage. I was wicked mean, I said terrible things.  But really it was my own ugly inner voice that I had allowed to take charge of my life and tell me lies.
I didn't see was that I was actually the one hurting my marriage with my own imagination. When he started traveling, I resented being left behind. I didn't see that he was miserable having to eat alone in restaurants and would often skip meals or eat in his room while talking to me. I didn't ever want to hurt him, but I did when I accused him of not loving me enough to stay faithful and not being able to control himself if I wasn't watching over him
.
The article says the wife “worked” with the man who the husband was jealous of.. it doesn't say that the guy doesn't still work in the same line of work maybe in a different role. Michael has had many different roles and he keeps his connections with everyone because at a corporate level those connections are very important. You never know when you will have to be gone 1,2, or even 3 weeks away from home and knowing someone else that you like makes those long trips away from home a little easier.. maybe you won't have to eat alone, maybe you won't be the wallflower at the meet and drink.
 The fact that this woman has found a friend who she can laugh with and probably vent about her jealous husband who obviously has a problem with her career. Having a friend of the opposite sex isn't a sin, a crime, or a good enough reason to be jealous. I have  guy friends, this doesn't mean I am having sex with them. We laugh, we have jokes that make sense to only us because we were together when something was funny, we call and text each other because we are friends… that's what friends do. It's not stupid to believe that my husband is entitled to have a good time on his work trips with people he calls his friends, even his “WorkWife” who is a lovely woman who I really enjoy spending time with as well.  And it's just as not stupid for me to be able to enjoy having dinner with my friends and love the fact that I am happily married and I know that my husband trusts me to keep my lady parts to myself. I am not some animal who can't control her impulses and neither is that poor woman.
And it's true that not everyone has a relationship like mine.  But that didn't come easily and I know it.  I've been in a few relationships that sadly ended in cheating. The one thing that I had to learn the hard way was that I am responsible for ME, my fears, my trust, my part in the relationship. You can't control anyone else with either fear of punishment, abuse, or manipulation. I can't demand that my spouse will have sex with only me. I can't demand that he will always love me. I can't set down rules with implied punishments. I can control only me and accept only my own rules for myself. I can have an open conversation with my spouse about how I would feel if he chose to have a sexual relationship with someone else, how it would hurt, how it would make me doubt our commitment to each other and our family, how I would take a serious hit to my own self-esteem. But ultimately, it's up to my husband to live his own life.I've been cheated on. And the one thing that I can see only now is that those relationships were never healthy before the cheating ever started.  But if I want to trust the people in my life not to hurt me, then I have to be willing to give them a chance first.
( reposted from Feb 23, 2012)

Blog of the Week – A New Perspective Perhaps

blogger of the week

IMG_4563-1300x866This week's Blogger comes to us from A New Perspective Perhaps and in her blog and talking with her through comments, I have come to realize I have found a new friend.  She's very down to earth and very cool, and through her blog posts about her life I have come to find that even though we come from different places we are so much alike.

From her love of comforting coffee shops and dreams of running her own, raising her own drama queen,  to trying to manage to keep control of home and family as well as being a creative person, this blog is full of wit and wisdom.

For all of you out there who want to find a blog that makes you laugh and nod your head as you relate to her story, check out A New Perspective Perhaps.

You won’t win

You couldn’t just let me have that perfect day.  You had to creep in and screw it up.  You sat there whispering in my ear and wouldn’t let me just enjoy the cool breeze. I hate you… I always have.  I’ve never ever liked you, and yet there you are every time I think I have gotten away.

You are a monster, you know that?  You have ruined some of the most amazing memories because I didn’t know how to push you off. Damned you!  But you won’t win, not today.

You were there when I was a child, trying to figure out how to be liked by other children. You laughed at me and pointed out my stupid laugh, my ugly teeth, and my boney knees.  You reminded me that I was always the new kid, nobody liked the new kid.  You pulled me away from everyone else and sat with me alone on the playground swings while the other kids all laughed and talked about the weird girl.

When I was older you were that popular girl with all of the friends who got great grades and knew how pretty she was.  You were the one who made sure I knew I wasn’t wanted there either and pointed out that I didn’t know the answers to the questions, didn’t know how to say the right thing, and just how pathetic I was.

You thought you had the best of me a few times. You thought you had me so close to taking that final step and ending it all, but I proved you wrong! You failed, you had the right opportunities and you didn’t push hard enough and I pulled out of it.  I didn’t turn to drugs, I didn’t drink myself into stupidity, and I didn’t let you win.

But I am stronger than you think.  I was stronger than even I knew.  When he cheated and left, and I was all alone trying to figure out what to do with my life and you were there telling me that nobody would ever love me again.  I proved you wrong and someone does love me, more than I ever thought I was worth loving.   When she went crazy again and again and told me it was all my fault and that I was a bad daughter, you tried to make me think that I had to do something about it. But I didn’t, I didn’t have to take the weight of everyone else’s world on my shoulders.  I just had to know that I did what I could and that doesn’t make me a bad daughter, it makes me a better mother and wife for not dragging my family under the water trying to save someone who was never happy to begin with.

You are always going to be there.  You aren’t going away and I am glad.  Because without you I wouldn’t be so thankful for the good days, the healthy days, the days when I can sit outside with nothing else to do but to think.  Even though you are there, I have learned how to manage you and take away your power.  Some days, it’s harder than others and you try to beat me up.  But I’ve got help, a loving family, wonderful friends, and no matter what you try to throw at me I know that I can take one step at a time and always come out better than you.

You can start a war, make me sick, and take away my best friends.  But you can’t turn me into someone I don’t want to become.  So listen up stress… you can take the day off, I am too busy being happy today.

http://fireflydance.net/2013/07/26/weekly-writing-challenge-stress/

~ C. ~