The journey

The last 16 months has been a lot for me to work through and understand. In the process I have hurt people, but I’ve also been hurt. However, there comes a time when we have to look passed our hurts and rise above all of the things that have tried to tear us down. Walking away from an unhealthy relationship can be a culture shock for just about anyone. When you’ve been out of the game for as long as I have been, dating can be quite shocking as well. Working through getting to know one another can be a tedious process. Unfortunately, learning how to function in a healthy relationship can take time.

Based on my own personal experience, it is going to take a lot longer than 16 months for me to figure myself out. Some days are much worse than others, but for the most part, at least lately, I’ve tried to enter each day with a better attitude. I want to be better. I want to find myself. I want to be healthy. Wanting and doing can be difficult.

Cutting certain people out of your life is almost a must. Loyalty means a lot to me, and when I feel like someone has betrayed me it is really difficult for me to find trust in them again. I’m not mean, but my ability to fully believe or have faith in anything that comes out of their mouths is challenging. Although I don’t believe this is something I should or even need to let go of, I do believe that I must make strides to forgive and move forward. I think that’s the hardest thing: forgiveness. I have found that the hardest person to forgive is myself.

I pity the folks who have watched me torment myself for the last year and a half. It has had to be an excruciating process. I have hated myself for so long, I don’t know how to do anything but that. Nonetheless, I am learning that I am can be strong. I am learning that I am worthy of love and peace. I am intelligent and hard working. I have raised a great son, and I have so much to be thankful for. I think in trying to become a better, more centered person focusing on my blessings is the best way to go. It takes the emphasis off of feeling sorry for myself and puts the focus on all of the wonderful things in my life. It assists in an attitude change.

It is perfectly okay to take the time to get to know yourself again. That is exactly what I intend to do!

Thankful Challenge: Day 14

The Open Mind, Open Heart Concept

openmind-openheartToday I’m thankful for an ability to be open-minded and have an open heart. I wasn’t always like that. I was obtuse and completely close up. In 2012 an event changed me. More recently, I’ve come to understand so much more. It’s because I’ve started to understand the importance of an open heart, that I’ve been able to embrace forgiveness more readily and understand opposing points of view with love.

As I’ve said before, no one agrees 100% of the time. Everyone experiences times of challenge. When our belief systems are challenged, that is when we can often be hateful and unfeeling. Additionally, political viewpoints can often start some arguments.

My best friend and I are on opposing sides politically, but our love for one another will not allow us to argue about things. We refute one another, but that is completely different from a full-blown disagreement.

I have come to understand that forgiveness is within my power. I held so much hate in my heart for so long, especially after what happened to me in 2014. I know I keep mentioning 2012 and 2014 a lot, but those two years were pivotal in my life. 2016 has been as well, but I believe 2016 is the culmination of the two years I’ve focused on for this November challenge.

Forgiveness isn’t without our human repertoire. It comes from a deeper, more divine source. I’ve learned to listen and adhere to that source. I’ve also learned to have an open heart and mind. Things aren’t black and white. Situations, and people, are filled with gray areas. So, it’s up to us to look at the entire picture before we make a judgement call.

Our Story (Warning, it’s a long blog today)

Hi there. I just wanted to pop in and say hello and good-bye. For the next eight days, I am going dark. It is time for my long awaited honeymoon cruise. We depart today at 4 p.m. We have been on the road since Wednesday, but our adventure truly begins today and I am more than ready!

This has been a long time coming. If anyone listened to THINGS THAT MATTER at the beginning of the month, you got a little insight into my journey with my husband. Furthermore, if you’ve followed my blog, then you know what we have gone through and, thankfully, that is all behind us now. Still, I wanted to share as much of our entire story as I could one last time. For this trip marks a celebration for us; a gesture to put our pasts behind us.

1656074_10206306402372789_985281072061195673_nWe have been together since April 2006. We split up for a little bit in January 2007 and got back together in March 2007. We moved from Southern Ohio in May 2007 and found ourselves in Southwestern Ohio until the fall of 2010. We moved back to Southern Ohio and have been there ever since. We certainly had our fair share of disharmony and in April 2012 things seemed to resolve and we got married. But, by January 2014 we did a disillusionment. It was the beginning of the end in my mind. I was tired of being last  on the list and it always seemed that material things and money were at the top of the priority list. It was a tough realization for me. Then when I lost my job in April 2014, I was left to suffer alone even though we were still a couple, and I use that phrase loosely. We never seemed to be on the same page… ever. With the compounding bitterness on my part and the continued feeling of neglect, in September, I threw my hands up and quit. I was done hurting. I was finished crying. I was tired of feeling like an option. Little did I know, I wasn’t the only one hurting.

After a major final separation in September, I went on my way. I did my best to start life over. I found myself angry and feeling betrayed. All of those years of feeling worthless and optional compounded. I swore I would have nothing to do with him ever again. As hard as I tried to stand by that, something always caused us to talk. My trust in him was gone though. All of the times we broke up and got back together, his behavior would just revert back and no change ever occurred. He never saw the need to be someone else because he never saw fault with himself. It was always my issue and my fault. I kept all of that in the front of my mind and did my best to move forward.

I was struggling. Trying to find a job was stressful enough in itself. I was working as a Home Health Aide and at our local YMCA. I was getting ready to take on a third job at CVS Pharmacy. When I realized there just wasn’t enough of me to go around, I focused entirely on CVS. So, on top of our break up, I was stressed about losing my home, putting food on the table, and not losing everything I’d worked my entire life for. I had a son to support all on my own now (again) and I was battling intense depression in addition to all of the other challenges that had presented themselves in 2014.

There was one thing that was new on the front of my ended relationship, however. Never before had I heard that man cry. He had never regretted or pleaded. The friends of his that had blatantly disrespected me and tried to do horrible, unacceptable things to me, finally found themselves on the cut list. It was about time, but still, it was too late. I felt like it was an act; another feeble attempt to come back into my life. And, I’ll be brutally honest, I felt like it was his turn to hurt. I had no sympathy for his pain and had no intentions of ever seeing him again. All of the pain I felt and all of the horrible things I felt about what he’d put me through… hurting was the least he could do.

Still, the few times we did talk on the phone, I felt torn. It was like I was talking to my best friend, as strange as that sounds. I still told him everything about what was going on in my life. I even talked to him about the guy I was dating. I asked advice and sought his experience in order to make decisions about things. But, when we’d talk, I got off of the phone feeling emotionally drained. This served as another reason why I had no business even entertaining reconciliation with him.

Via text, I told him off time and time again. Via phone calls, I told him how horrible he made me feel and how angry I was with him and despite his apologies, it meant nothing. How many times had he apologized before and he ended up being the same person he always was: selfish and arrogant? Why would that change? What would cause that to change? In my mind, nothing.

What was worse is that the guy I was dating made me feel the exact same way: less than. I saw the familiar selfishness I just got rid of. That entire situation was coming quickly to an end. Too much ego for me to compete with and too much interest in other flavors. I was never nor would I ever be the only one there. I was getting the feeling I was better off alone and that is the route I was heading. I was tired of constantly feeling like I had to be someone else and vow for his attention, especially, when deep down, I didn’t really care if I had it.

At the beginning of November, I walked in from a movie with my son. In fact, we had just been out with the guy I had been dating. My son came out to the car and said, “Mom, I think Chance peed all over the floor.” I asked if the dog was okay and my son said he was. My dog had been diagnosed with cancer in August and uncontrolled urination was something we were supposed to be watching for.

When I walked in, there was standing water in the kitchen coming from underneath the cabinet closest to the fridge. So, who did I call? You guessed it. I called my ex-husband. He told me how to turn off the water. I could tell in his tone he was very angry with me. Next phone call I made was to the guy I had been dating. He agreed to come up the next morning to figure out what was going on. He did. And he told me that it was likely a broken pipe in the concrete slab, a job that would be at least $10,000. Keep in mind, I was working a job for minimum wage and had nothing in savings because my law suit with my former employer hadn’t come through yet.

I called a plummer who couldn’t get there until Thursday and this was Monday. As I sat in my chair, sick to my stomach with worry, my son came in and sat on the couch. He looked at me and said, “Just call him.” I knew what he meant. I worried that bringing my ex back into my life would make my son feel like he didn’t matter. My son and my ex never got along for good reason. I was doing all I could to make up for it with my son, so to entertain bringing him back into our lives was frightening, even if it was friendship. My son insisted that I call my ex. So, I did and without question, he dropped what he was doing and came to my house.

11102866_10205718923046173_6123137873190985240_nWhen my ex walked through the door he looked like a totally different person. Eyes hollowed out, dark underneath. His physical condition was even worse. He was skin and bones. I worried he was ill and just hadn’t told me. He walked in the door and assured me he would fix whatever was wrong. It was a metaphor. He did intend to fix everything. Within fifteen minutes, he found the issue; an elbow in the pipe had started leaking. A $17.00 fix as opposed to the previous estimate of $10,000.

So, we drove to Lowe’s and talked. I was still very angry with him and was frightened, most of all. Had the pattern really changed? Had he really changed? He started to cry a little and I told him I didn’t want to hear it. So, I was still done, no doubt.

When we got back he fixed the pipe. My son got his shower and my ex sat down with me on the couch. That’s when the talking started. And it lasted into the next day. Apologies to my son happened; heartfelt apologies. Tears were cried. There were no raised voices. No ill spoke words. I just remember uttering, “You left me. You just left me,” as he held my shuttering body, broken from years of hurt. “When I needed you most, you just left me.” When he said, “I know and I am so sorry. I won’t ever do it again,” his voice choked by emotion, I knew he was sincere.

I went to work the next day and came home to him crying at my kitchen table. My son went through the door first and by the time I entered the house, he was clutched to my son sobbing. My ex’s mom had a massive stroke. He said something about going to Florida and I told him I couldn’t. I had to work. I still had the responsibility of providing for my son and myself.

When my son went to sleep, we talked about taking the weekend, since I didn’t have to work, and going away. Hocking Hills was the place we would retreat to because I had a long weekend. He was told to wait on Florida because there was nothing he could do for his mom, so to get some distance, we took off on Friday morning. On the way there, we stopped in Chillicothe. We went to the jewelry store and he said, “Pick what you want.” I looked at him blankly. It took a few moments for the words to sink in. He was asking me to marry him again. I shook my head, unsure. My heart still pulled toward him even though my brain had millions of doubts and questions. I couldn’t deny that I wanted to be with him, but only if he truly changed. So, I stepped out in faith and we picked out our rings. That is when this honeymoon trip was planned. The jewelry store was running a special and offered to pay for a three-day cruise.

We spent the weekend with one another, no distractions. We didn’t have cell service, wi-fi, or even television signal. We watched movies, talked, cried, smiled, laughed, and made decisions. There were outside influences that kept trying to pop through. People that didn’t want to see us reunite. Individuals that felt like they had lost some sort of game. Others vying for his attention, not thinking we were back in each other’s lives. All of that, however, went to voicemail and was lost until we resurfaced after the weekend. It was time to start damage control after that and we have been working on that for a while.

The date was set for us to marry again. I was encouraged to quit my job and I put in a three week notice. I was going to be his business partner for his rental business and would be able to write full time. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom and a substitute teacher. He came in on a white steed, lifted me up out of a pit, and place me behind him, assuring me that the suffering was over. We were in this together. He saved me, even when I thought I wasn’t worth saving and was completely beyond repair.

My son and he have had to work through some problems, but my husband has really stepped up as a stepfather, which is something he never did before. He took an interest in my son. He began taking him to school and picking him up. When someone does my son wrong, he gets more aggravated than I do. He takes it personal, just as a father should.

10849824_365837986923929_2902787034172429948_nI miscarried a child in December of 2006, so to ease the pain of loss, we had gotten the dog.  Chance was more than happy to have his daddy back in November. If he was nicer, I am sure he would have wanted to attend our wedding (LOL).

I’ve changed, too. I’ve opened my whole heart to him. I held back before, fear driven based on his behavior. That is a faint memory. I have given all. I have never been that open in any relationship. I never thought I was capable of this kind of forgiveness; capable of this kind of love. But, alas, I am. I love my son more than anything in the world and that comes with motherhood, but loving someone created from another source… that is divine. It is the true meaning of human connection.

I was a skeptic. I did not believe in soulmates. I didn’t believe that there was another person out there who matched me; who was made for me. Thankfully, I have been proven wrong. Until I found this man, this new man, that is my husband, I didn’t know the true meaning of family. I didn’t know what it meant to have an open heart. I didn’t know what it was to love another person with all that I am capable of. My son is a given because he is part of my flesh. Of course, I love my husband differently. He is my mate. He is the person that will stand with me when the flood comes. He is the person I will walk with throughout what’s left of this life. I belong to him, in every way a person can belong to another human being. We are truly one. Together, I believe, we are an unstoppable force; a force to be reckoned with. I know there are people out there with opinions as to why we are together and people that do not like the fact that we were able to overcome the obstacles at us. They want what we have instead of feeling happy for us. At the risk of sounding hateful and conceited, they are jealous. There will always be haters and that’s okay because that doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that we found ourselves on the same page, finally. We are writing the same story now and we are going to live right up the hill, drinking up every single moment together.

2014120695153035So, why did I tell you all of this? Because I believe in helping people. I believe in sharing stories to assist others. There is much to learn from the experiences of someone else. I promise you there is love out there. If you don’t think you have the ability to forgive, think again. Deep within you, there is a human element that crosses over into the divine; a part of yourself that is not of this world that drives us forward in our quest to find love and acceptance. So, never give up! Always be open to possibilities. ALWAYS!