I Am A Prize

I was having a discussion today with a friend about dating. While I was getting ready to talk about something I’m excited about in life right now, I said, “Guess what?!” He responded with, “You met someone?!” I laughed at this because it seemed like such an absurd concept to me right now. Then I realized what an accomplishment that feeling is!

I’ve talked about being a serial dater in blogs in my past, but it’s something I’ve strayed away from in the last several years. I’ve done better with taking longer breaks between relationships, and this is a good thing. What is new though is that I’m suddenly truly not focused on that desire to be with someone at all. There are things in my life that I want to accomplish first. So when my friend guessed that I had met someone, I realized that I’m not hoping for that to happen. I told him that I actually WANT some time this time. I’m truly focused on God, on myself, on my writing, and on my kids. I want to get more of my life in order, everything from growing in God, to finances being more straightened out, to increasingly better self-care (I’ve lost 35 pounds since August). I’m busy falling in love with myself all over again. I told my friend that I want to have things so together that when I do meet someone new, I want him to say to himself, “Gosh, this chick has her life so together and is on fire for God. I NEED to make her mine.” I need to be a catch. I don’t want there to be a single ounce of desperation about me. I want to be good all on my own, because eventually when I am dating again, it’s not just for fun. I am looking for and deserving of a husband. That desperation in my past has allowed me to be prey for men that are not good and don’t have the same values, and I’m finally done repeating my past. During conversations with two others recently, I had to admit that I’ve been so heartbroken and hurt for so long, that I have no choice but to to recognize that my own choices are allowing this. It’s time for a completely new game plan.

My self-esteem these days has already soared higher than it’s ever been. I’ve been doing things the “right” way; I’ve been going to church, diving into the Word, taking care of my body, being more present with my children, and more. I refuse to be an easy target again for the weak that hunt the wounded. Realizing today that I don’t just not have my hopes up, but that I actually desire time to heal and work on me is an incredible, monumental, and pivotal moment in my life. I recently said on Facebook that right now appears to be the first time I have ever been succeeding in my struggles instead of succumbing to them. Today was yet another reminder of this.

I feel true happiness right now. I have set new goals and a plan to obtain them. I am feeding my soul and not just my body. I am a prize, and someday in the future, there’s going to be a man so happy to “win” me.

Burning Bridges

“Are we soulmates?” He asked late one night during one of our many deep conversations where we connected heart to heart. I felt my body flush with emotion. I was so happy to have met someone that seemed so much like me. I was filled with so much hope. He was sweet and kind, he read every blog I wrote and told me when he read Dear Future Lover that it was going to make him fall for me. I felt safe to be me. I felt we were kindred spirits.

Over the months of our connection, we progressed in our intimacy. We agreed at the beginning that we were just feeling things out. I was fresh out of a breakup, but that was nothing compared to him being fresh out of a marriage with a woman he’d been with for 17 years. We connected so easily and so quickly though, that even while guarded, I allowed it and had hope. I thought we were moving slowly. We went from having a drink together to sleepovers and coffee in the mornings on the weekends. We talked every day all day. We saw each other every single weekend for months. We spent the holidays together; he came to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I cooked Christmas dinner at his house, and we went out together on New Year’s Eve. We took dozens of photos together, went grocery shopping together, and appeared in public as if we were a couple. While I knew that we were not a couple, I believed heart and soul that we were on our way there.

Before I knew it, I was in love with him. I woke up the day after Thanksgiving knowing it and cried out of fear and just from overwhelming emotion. I’ve written over and over here about my tender heart, how I am lover, a nurturer by nature, and ruled by my emotions. My heart is never that much of a secret. I tried to hold it all in anyway though because I didn’t want to scare him away. I knew that he wasn’t where I was at, and I wanted to give him time. So much pointed to that happening, so I swallowed my love, over and over…until it began to choke the life out of me.

You see, we had a few times where he told me that we were just friends. I am guilty of ignoring that, but he made it so easy to ignore. His words on the subject were so few and far between, and no matter the few times that he told me that, all of his actions pointed to the opposite. There were times I asked for clarity, asked for him to tell me if there was no hope…he would say that we would talk, he would come over, I would cook dinner for him, we would have drinks, and then no talk would happen. We were caught up in feeling happy, in enjoying each other’s company, and the night would end with us in a loving embrace. I knew he was scared, I knew he was confused, and I assumed by reading his actions that it would all be okay. And it was…until it wasn’t.

I felt him pulling away and getting more distant. I ignored it. He was still seeing me every weekend and talking to me every day, so that meant we were okay, right? Wrong. I’ve said many times that I’m the kind of person that you have to just be bluntly honest and tell me what you are thinking because I won’t pick up on hints. This is not entirely true though. One huge problem I’ve realized while contemplating all of this over the last couple of days is that I don’t trust my intuition. I second guess and doubt myself. I lie to myself and tell my own heart that things are fine and I’m overthinking and overreacting. So, when I finally pressed for a real answer while face to face several weeks ago about what we were doing, a big part of me was not shocked to see his face fall when I asked. I knew the answer was not going to be what I wanted. I had spent months in love with a man that a part of me KNEW was using me as a stepping stone woman. His words confirmed my fears.

I couldn’t hold my love inside anymore though. It was eating my heart more and more by the day. I couldn’t handle seeing flirting on Facebook anymore. I couldn’t handle drama that was popping up in his life and where I was beginning to look foolish to others because while I was focused on him, he was very much still acting single in private and people began to assume that we were in a relationship and he was cheating. I had to set my fears aside and face reality. I needed to know where I stood. I couldn’t choke on my love for another day more.

He told me he wasn’t in a place to commit. He was vague. I asked him to just hurt me and tell me there was no hope if there wasn’t any, because we both knew I would just keep hoping without those words. He refused to say that too. I was left without much clarity. I was just as confused as ever, only this time with pain in my heart. We were back to just friends. Only…that didn’t last long either.

*The bigger heartbreak…*

The friendship I so desperately wanted to keep, the friendship I so much cherished appeared to be a farce. So quickly, the contact began to dissipate. The very first weekend after our talk, he was with another woman. It hurt like hell, but I had to be accepting. It was clear we weren’t meant to be lovers. What I was completely unprepared for though was the fallout that was yet to come.

Ignored messages… Read messages going without response… Being unfollowed on Facebook… I suddenly felt like I’d lost my best friend. I was stubborn though and refused to just accept it. As a boundary pusher, I continued to push. My heart was hurting, and there seemed to be more layers of hurt being added by the day. I was accepting of the fact there was no longer a romantic component to our relationship, but I truly thought the connection we had was genuine and worth keeping as just friends. I didn’t just love him in a romantic sense. I truly loved him as my friend. I continued to let the hurt feelings and emotion rule me though, and in true Moonshine Niki stubborn fashion, I continued to push.

When I’m caught up in emotion, when I feel like I have to feel out boundaries instead of being told truths in black and white, I get dramatic. I get intense. I get into a spot where it all feels world-ending. Then, sometimes, I burn bridges just to prevent myself from having to try to feel anything out anymore, to prevent myself from being able to go back to something that is not good. So you can imagine where I’m going here… I pushed about my hurt feelings. I pushed about how I felt we weren’t actually friends. I pushed about how much it hurt my heart to be unfollowed on social media, how I felt he’d completely removed me from his life. I pushed until he snapped at me and blocked me.

I stood staring at my phone in shock. I was hurt, but more than hurt, I was suddenly angry, filled with rage. I thought about all I had invested into our friendship. I thought about all of the ways my feelings were hurt. I thought about how I felt wronged. I cried yet again, and then I took my emotionally drained and exhausted self to bed.

But then, I had an incredible realization the next morning. While I felt wronged in many ways (a list I will not go into here for many reasons, including that I still hold some respect for him), I realized that I played a role in my hurt as well. I chose to ignore the warning signs. I chose to ignore his words telling me that we weren’t more serious than friends. I chose to give my body, and consequently, my heart because the two are very much connected for me to a man that was never committed to me. I chose to believe in the good things, while completely and selfishly disregarding the negative. In my pain and anger, I allowed myself to play the role of the victim and completely take away from my own personal accountability. I realized this is a pattern for myself, and one that has to stop. I can’t always be the victim.

Burning bridges is sometimes empowering. Holding myself accountable though, that’s even more empowering. I am in charge of my choices. I am in charge of what I let in my heart, and I am in charge of what I allow to hurt my heart.

There are positives to all of this too. When this began, I was catapulted into sudden personal growth and life change. When I was busy crying over my broken heart, the heart I had completely given to him, I realized I was pursuing the wrong man and men in general. I need to be pursuing the Lord. All of this made me remember and realize that I need to be more focused on taking loving care of myself so that I can take better care of my family.

Life is tough right now, and I won’t lie, losing my person, losing the friend that was my rock in the middle of an ocean trying to drown me, losing the person I shared my heart and soul with every single day for almost 5 months will hurt for a long time. It’s going to take major time and self-reflection to heal. One thing I know already though is that I’m determined to take on more accountability and stop finger pointing from here on out. It’s time to be more of a grownup.

So while I’ve burned yet another bridge in my life, like the cleansing effect of a wildfire, on this fresh ground, I will now build a new stronger foundation for my future. I have only up to go from here.

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PS If you read this, I will miss your friendship, my dear. Thank you for your part in this eye-opening wake-up call that is going to forever change my life. It hurts, but I know there will come a day where I’m so grateful for it all. Good luck in life, my old friend.

 

 

Erroneously Fallen

It’s funny how we break, we heal, we break again and repeat…
*Repost from an old blog site*

You stole my heart away too quickly,
I tried not to allow it, but I failed.
Your sweet kisses made my stomach flutter,
And all my hopes against falling suddenly sailed.

Then you told me you couldn’t do it,
Couldn’t start something with someone living an hour away.
And ever since, I’ve fought to not bug you,
Fighting to keep my mouth shut every day.

I try hard to keep my feelings to myself,
Though they occasionally slip out no matter what I do.
You ignore those texts and move to the next,
Leaving me frustrated and a little hurt and confused.

I try to remind myself there are others,
That you’re not the only one who could kiss me the amazing way you have.
But it’s just your smiles, sneaking glances, and tender touches,
I seem to still want so bad.

It is what it is, unfortunately.
That’s become my new catch phrase.
But I’d be lying my ass off if I said,
I wasn’t completely captured by your ways.

The feelings will go away, I know.
Things will end up alright.
But for now, it’s not going away quickly,
And it’s you I dream of every night.

Onward and Upward, Baby!

When I sit down to write, I normally have a specific topic and some kind of outline I intend to follow. Every once in a while though, my heart is just full and the only clear path I have is to just actually open the computer and let my fingers go. Today is the latter.

Heartbreak…. Man, oh man, heartbreak. It’s something we all are familiar with, but it’s one of those things that unless you are in the thick of it, it’s easy to forget how difficult it can be. Sadly, for this, I’m also currently experiencing the latter. In. The. Thick. Of. It. The crazy thing about this heartbreak, though, is that it’s a complex mix of emotions. More complex than I have ever experienced before. I didn’t initiate it, but I should have. Things weren’t right, and we both knew it. I’m a sap, though, and loyal to a freakin’ fault. So, out of love, I kept trying.

While he initiated it, even while it stung and hurt and part of me didn’t want it, I still knew it was the right thing. What I did not realize was how much it still would hurt. So what do I do now? My financial situation is up in the air and I need to come up with a plan, and quickly. In fact, everything is up in the air, and it is terrifying. I hate the way it feels, stress constantly tearing my stomach up, nights spent tossing and turning and not being able to sleep deeply for long, and being exhausted, but sleep not easily coming either. I did not want to be here again! And even more than that, I didn’t want my kids to be here again.

So here we are, having a brand new start again. Once again, I’m trying to figure out what will probably end up being a second job, and figuring out what our new normal is. The one thing I know for sure, though, is that I want to be okay by myself. In fact, I want to be happy by myself. I don’t want to live my life looking forward to the someday when I will inevitably meet someone new. I’ve been on a journey of self-love for a little bit now, and I definitely intend to keep that up.

I am worthy of love, self-respect, happiness, stability, and a good life, even if it is alone. These are my current goals. I know we are going to be okay. So for me and my almost grown babies, it’s upward and onward, baby!

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He Comforts Me

As I’m sitting in a waiting room wanting to kill time with a very long wait ahead of me and regretting not having a book in my car, I debate for a while on whether or not I want to blog on my phone (I detest not being able to type with both hands on a keyboard). After reading several others’ posts, I decide to just go for it.

I find comfort in thinking about him, in writing about him, and even in relating to others that are feeling the same with someone else new. As I was reading other writers’ words of dating and love, I wanted to create my own.

He comforts me. He comforts me in ways that are both familiar and unfamiliar. Everyone loves new relationships because the feelings are a rush. We get high on all of the firsts, on the fascination of getting to know one another, on the dopamine rushes flooding the brain with each connection. This is no different with him. It’s a familiar feeling that I have greatly missed.

This man does things that I’m unfamiliar with too though. He uses words I’m not used to. He doesn’t use cookie cutter statements of adoration, but instead, he gives genuine, well thought out, sincere words that make me swoon. Things like:

I’m lucky to have you. You are with me entirely without being over bearing or clingy. It’s like I’m saturated by you and given space at the same time. I love it. I feel balance with you.

Or…

Just know that I want to be there for you, for everything. The way I care about you…

His words are incredible. He’s unlike any man before him and this squeezes my heart. Hard.

He comforts me with those sweet words, tender touches, reminders of being calm in moments of intense stress, and firm hugs to center and ground me. He makes an effort to connect with my children without being pushy or fake. He offers to help. And that smile…oh my goodness, that smile.

I feel intensely for him. We are new and so I cannot call it love. That will come in due time, but what I’m feeling is more than just infatuation. It is strong and grows by leaps and bounds every single day. Well, a couple days ago, we weren’t in a particularly romantic moment, but I was looking at him and just completely overcome by strong emotion. He looked up and gave me that handsome grin and asked, “What?

Nothing,” I blushed, but then I immediately followed up with, “I can’t tell you.

Again, that smile, and he pulled me in close for a kiss and whispered in my ear, “I can’t tell you too.” Can it get any better than this?!

I don’t know where this is going to go, and I’m not looking to try to pin it down any time soon. I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride though, and for the first time in a long time, I’m experiencing (and loving) the butterflies in my heart. As I’m still dealing with all of the same stresses that I have been for months, I’m suddenly much more calm and much more happy.

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The “L word” hasn’t come yet, but I know it will, and when it does…I’m sure there will be a new blog. Until then, I’m going to keep relishing in the butterflies, those gorgeous smiles, and the mischievous twinkle in those dark brown eyes looking at me like I’m the most amazing thing on earth. I am happy, and I deserve this. I can only hope I make him feel the same way, because really, he truly is the most amazing man on earth. He is the comfort in my chaos.

Update: It’s funny how much someone can make him or herself appear to be someone they are not. This all quickly fell apart and you can read the updates in Onward and Upward, Baby!In My Bed, and I Deserve Respect.

 

Baby, It’s Blooming

I have not been quiet about the fact life has been hard for me the last 9 months. I also have not been quiet about the fact that I’ve been filled with hope and faith that things would eventually get better. And you know what? They have.

While I have endured many hard things, everything from lost friendships, to people that have walked out of my life after promising they never would, to financial hardships, to working 6 to 7 days a week and being away from my kids far more often than I would like to, life is getting better. There have been several factors involved in this improvement.

I have become financially stable (obviously the biggest perk of working my buns off). I am even doing a few things to improve my credit right now. I’m finding my groove at my second job and figuring things out. As my skills are improving, so are my tips and my relationships with my coworkers. I’m comfortable there and largely enjoy it. I’m in a better spot financially than I have been in my entire life.

Another positive is that my kids also seem to be finding their groove in our new life. A lot of the issues have smoothed over as they are becoming more settled, and there are less problems. While I do still have one child that is having a difficult time in general, I recently met with the school and came up with a new schedule and plan. I’m filled with hope that he will figure life out for himself and settle down. Until then, I’ll keep advocating on his behalf and trying to help him.

The reason I’ve had so much pep in my step lately though…I’ve met someone. I’ve had several months of healing, of being truly independent, of learning to love myself. I’d gotten comfortable sleeping alone and not depending on anyone else for anything. I finally became okay being single and just living my life…Then this man showed up.

We started as friends—the way it should be. We talked about life, and we related over real life issues as he took an interest in reading my blogs. There became a desire to talk daily. It then got to a point where we decided we needed to get together in person. We scheduled a meeting to hangout and go do an activity together later on my day off, but we couldn’t even wait the couple of days until then.

As I was just getting off of work at my second job on a weekend night, I texted him. “Come pick me up,” he texted back. Since I was looking for a way to wind down from both jobs, it made sense to go ahead and swoop him up to spend some time together. So I went and got him and we decided to go for a drive out into the country. I parked at a spot that I love just outside of town and immediately knew it was perfect. The smell of the fresh air was intoxicating, and I loved that the frogs were so loud and the cloudless sky gave a crystal clear view of the stars that you can’t get in town.

We sat there in the night on the hood of my car and talked about anything and everything. I felt such peace knowing I didn’t have to rush anywhere and the only thing in the world that mattered in that moment was him sitting next to me. I don’t know how long we were out there in the middle of the night, but I eventually stood up in front of him. As the desert air got colder, I leaned into his warmth. As we stood this way talking, I couldn’t really see his face in the dark, but I could feel his desire to kiss me moments before he said he wanted to. As he gently took my face in his hands and pulled me, I melted.

He was sweet and gentle and everything I needed. We didn’t know it yet, but the natural and easy way we had connected before this occasion was an accurate prediction of how good this would be too. He held me tenderly for a long while as we explored those first kisses together. I eventually pulled away, breathless, to say that I was cold and it was late and that we should get back. Neither of us wanted to be apart, but we had to. I took him back home and then I went back to my house. As I crawled into my bed, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so good.

We’ve seen each other every day since. After the last almost year of being single, I feel truly prepared to enter a relationship for the first time in my life. I haven’t rushed, it’s not forced, and I’m not settling. This man amazes me daily with how sweet, selfless, tender, kind, and attractive he is. I’m naturally a little afraid because I’m vulnerable, but I still want to give my all to him. There is trust already in a variety of ways, and I’m willing to put myself out there and allow him into my heart. Letting him in is the only way to know if it will work, and Lord knows, I’m hoping so much for success.

I wrote in a blog post last winter that I felt that my personal life was going to bloom when spring blooms outside. I don’t know where that faith came from, but you know what? Baby, it’s blooming.

I don’t know what happens from here, but my hopes are sky high that maybe, just maybe, this was my last first kiss.

A New Dating Revelation

As I sit here at home on this snowy afternoon, thinking once again about being let down by others, half wanting to purge my heart and half wanting to say nothing at all, I decide to at least try. “Just type,” I tell myself…and so I do.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about dating and relationships and love. It is something that my heart and soul craves deeply. I’ve always known that I’m a lover and so it just feels…unnatural to be alone. It’s lonely. It’s painful. It’s sad.

I had this immediate impatience once I felt ready to date again where I felt that because I’m ready *poof* there should be a man that I meet and we would want to explore a future together. Well, guess what? That’s not how it’s worked.

I’m a self-professed serial dater. Since I was probably 13 or 14, I’ve had a boyfriend (or husband) pretty consistently. I’ve moved on quickly after each breakup, distracting myself from any pain with the excitement of a new boy. As I’ve gotten older, this has changed a bit, especially after my last relationship ended. I’ve spent more time single in the last year and a half than I ever have in my entire life combined.

The thing is, people DO indeed change. I know this because I’ve changed. I’ve changed A LOT over my lifetime. I’ve done much reflection in my dating choices lately and how much I’ve changed. I’ve recently had a handful of people I was previously romantically interested in pop back up. With each person, for various reasons, I am surprised at my own previous interest because of how much I can see how those people are not good choices for me. You know what this personal growth and change means? It means I’m a lot more picky, a lot more aware, and a lot more conscious in my choices.

Back to my recent impatience though… I spent months in pain, knowing I wasn’t a good candidate for someone else to date, and healing. Where I’d previously moved on emotionally rather quickly from each breakup before my most recent, I didn’t this time. I hurt deeply. I took time to feel the pain, to grieve, to process, and to piece myself back together. So once I knew I could look anyone in the eye and honestly say that I was good again, I had a natural desire to be with someone again. The thing is, that’s apparently just not in the cards for me right now.

I’ve gotten my hopes up a few times, and each time, my hopes came crashing down around me. It’s been quite the journey already, and honestly, I’m done. My newest revelation is this; I need to not be looking. I can’t find a life partner just from sheer will in wanting one. I can’t make someone else feel for me, respect me, and desire me just because I have feelings, respect, and desire for them. The only thing I’m doing by trying to seek out a partner is hurting my own heart again. With all that I have going on in life, I can’t keep putting myself through that pain. So, I wait. That is my plan. I will parent my three children, work my two jobs, and live this one crazy busy life until someone else comes bursting in. I will be patient. I will wait. My heart needs this, my children need this, and my own peace of mind needs this.

Someday, there’s going to be a man that will look at me and wonder how any other man ever dared to pass me up. He will see and adore my great qualities and love me despite my flaws. And he will come along without me having to do any searching at all. It is in this faith that I stop seeking and start truly living and being happy again just taking care of me and mine. I believe with all that I am that this is how it’s meant to be. Finally getting to this point though, that is the first of what I believe is many blessings to come.

Stay tuned, my friends. I can promise you that this is not the end of my love story. But while I am waiting, I can also promise that I’ll keep writing, keep sharing my heart, and keep being real. It’s all I know how to do.

I love you all.

Love,
Moonshine Niki

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Dear Future Lover

Dear Future Lover,

I would like for you to know that I don’t expect the world. I don’t expect miracles or moved mountains from you. I realize we live in real life and not fairy tales, so I have realistic expectations. What I want most though, is matched effort. What I want is real. What I want doesn’t leave me lying in bed awake at night wondering what I mean to you.

In a relationship, I wish for humor and silliness to be a part of daily life. I expect to laugh and hope to make you laugh too because laughter is such an important part of life. If we can go to bed at night and giggle in the dark together before sleep sets in, I feel we are winning. It’s important to me. It’s not just a feeling that I want, it’s a joy and peace I want to give you as well.

I expect not your monetary gifts, but the gift or your attention, affection, and time. I’m not a materialistic person, and I do not desire to be showered in presents, expensive dinners, or anything else that throws money at me. I just want you to ask how my day was when I come home after work. I would like for you to listen to me when I want to talk about the things that I am passionate about. I want to know that you desire my attention and affection outside of the bedroom as well as in it. I want to spend time with you and want for you to want to spend time with me.

My future lover, I want and need for you to know that I am a tender spirit. I feel emotions big, whether good, bad, or ugly. I know that we will have moments where we don’t agree or don’t get along. That is a part of normal life. What I need from you though, is to tell me when you are upset. Sit me down and kindly tell me what bothers you and how I can fix it. I don’t need harsh words or yelling to understand you. Because love is so important to me, I will do the same with you. Communication is important and successful relationships are with people who make an honest effort to communicate. I promise to tell you when I am bothered by something and to choose kind words when I talk. I will be gentle with your heart so please be gentle with mine.

I have been through a lot in life and have a genuine appreciation for the little things that so many take for granted. I would love to have a partner that is the same way. You can know and trust that because of all I’ve been through, I will cherish you and be loyal. I will be there for your hard days to uplift and encourage you. I will be there on your good days to celebrate together. I will make you my priority and you’ll never have to doubt what you mean to me. I will be supportive of you and all that you do in life.

Through every hurt I’ve ever been through, I’ve learned about what I want and what I have to give. Please know that your efforts will not be one-sided. I will match you step for step. I will be there for you. I will love you with a fierceness that not everyone is capable of. I will love you completely, wholly, with all that I am capable of.

This is my heart. My dear future lover, I hope that when I meet you and you read this, it will make your heart happy because you desire the same. So, even though we may not have met yet, here’s to our future. May it be all that we both desire.

Sincerely,

Moonshine Niki

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A Woman. A Mother. A True Warrior.

*This following is a submission for a local writing contest.*

Almost three months ago, I felt like my world was coming to an end. The man I loved so much, the first man I’d ever given my heart completely to, the man that I would have bet my life that he was my forever told me he was leaving and that he never loved me. On top of the heartache that threatened my ability to breathe, I knew I was in for a rough ride in many ways. On top of the pain that felt to be shredding my soul, I knew immediately that this meant I was going to have to get a second job.

You see, I am a single mother. I have three children that depend on me to provide for their every need and have no one but me to rely on. Losing my house or my vehicle was not an option. Not feeding the kids was not an option. Giving up clothing, household and hygiene supplies, and school supplies was not an option. I do not receive child support though and I have no one but myself, so I started job hunting on my lunch breaks from my day job. Within a few weeks, I was given a new uniform and learning the ropes of the food industry for the first time in my life.

Since then, I’ve been learning to balance those two jobs along with my “mom life.” Working 6 to 7 days a week has become the new norm and exhaustion has become a growing presence in my life. Sadly, I quickly started to become bogged down with life stress as my heart had no time to ache over the loss of my love.

As he has been posting pictures with his brand new pretty girlfriend on Facebook, I have been trading in my quality time with my children for evening shifts serving pizzas. As he has been out spending his weekends spending money, I have been praying to be blessed with good tips so that I could put gas in my vehicle. As he has been doing God knows what at night, I have been falling into an empty bed and quickly letting exhaustion pull me into the sweet relief of sleep before I have a chance to lie there and think about everything.

For several weeks, life has felt increasingly hard and dark. I’ve been overwhelmed with the worries and felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I had allowed loneliness to start to crowd my good judgment. I began to drown emotionally. I love my children more than I love having air to breathe, but any adult knows that there is an intense innate desire in us all to have the companionship of another adult. Between being lonely, the severe stress, and the lack of time, I started to feel like I was not a woman. I didn’t feel like a human being. I felt more like I was expected to be a robot.

The tears came daily for many weeks. I fought back when I felt it was me against the world, but then started to feel like my fight was fading. Then, just as I was reaching my breaking point, just as I was starting to open up to friends and tell them I’m in a dangerous place, there was a sudden breakthrough.

As I watched a gorgeous sunset with one of my best friends after work one day, I brought up to her how I need a better vehicle. It was in this conversation that a new plan was born. While it will take effort on my part to be controlled with my finances, my friend and I discussed how I am going to rearrange my bills, how I’m going to reduce certain financial obligations, and how exactly I’m going to be able to eventually quit my second job.

I left her house that night with a big smile on my face. Suddenly all the bricks of stress that were adding up and taking away my ability to breathe were lifted. I could see a new light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in a few months. I went to bed that night with a renewed sense of peace in my heart.

Not only was I relieved that night, but I’ve woken up happy again every day since then. I feel like me again. . .and that right there is the biggest gift I could give myself. I’m in a good place again.

While there are things that have happened during this time period that I wish I could take back and that I wish that my children could un-see and un-hear, I am thankful for a few things.

My children have been able to see me get my heart broken and experience a deep pain that was life altering. They have seen me fall apart under stress and heard my sorrowful sobbing through the walls. They have seen me truly exhausted and stop caring about so much that I normally would. But my children have also seen me continue on when I felt I couldn’t. They have seen me sacrifice. They have seen me do what needs to be done so that they can remain stable. They have seen me fight back when life was doing its best to kick my ass. They have also now seen me turn around and become me again during this battle. They have seen the gray skies clear and happiness shine on my face again without any man. I have always said that if it’s me against the world, that’s okay because I’m a fighter. Now, my children have seen that their mother is nothing short of a true warrior. And for this, I am happy.

That night’s stunning sunset
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I Believe In Love

A while back, I was having a conversation with someone and we were discussing how we are both hopeless romantics. I was talking about how hard dating is in today’s times with how our society is and the ease and temptation of cheating. It seems we are purely a “hook up” society and very few people are looking for love and willing to be loyal. I was talking about being discouraged. That was when the other person said, “I believe in love.” That made me sit back and think for a moment. Just four words, yet such a powerful statement. It made me realize that I also believe in love, and no matter what, I’m going to continue to believe in the power of love.

It does seem that my generation and younger has lost what relationships are supposed to be. There are many that are just hooking up or those that don’t respect relationship boundaries and continue to behave inappropriately even while in a relationship. There are cheaters, liars, users, and those that are just looking for a quick physical fix. Here’s the thing though, you can’t make absolute statements for all people. We can’t go around saying things like, “All men are jerks,” or, “All people in today’s society cheat,” because it’s simply not true. There may be many jerks out there, and there may be many people that cheat, but there are those of us out there that are truly loyal and truly want a real relationship and not just a hookup. I’m okay with wading through the current dating cesspool of society while waiting for love. I’m okay with turning down the hookups while waiting for love. I’m okay with being patient and working on me and my own life while waiting for love. True love is powerful, soothing, encouraging, amazing feeling, and worth the wait. So, until my own knight in shining armor, or rather, country boy in dirty boots shows up, I’m okay waiting. You know why? Because I believe in love.

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Image from consciousmagazine.co