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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Losing My Religion?

Tears…I’ve cried so many tears lately that I should probably drink an extra bottle of water just to combat dehydration. Seriously though, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m an emotional human being and it’s just not something I can change. When you take that combined with my deceased daughter’s birthday, being disconnected from my family, and several other personal issues, I’ve done much crying.

Part of what has been very difficult in the past several months is my questioning of my faith. Once I was questioning it, suddenly my entire foundation in life seemed to be sand. I’ve been struggling for months with whether or not I even believed there was a God. Lately though, I’ve realized how much desperation I feel if I am not a believer.

If there’s no God, then I feel like life has lost purpose. Hope has lost purpose. Pain has lost purpose. There’s no path then or greater purpose. There’s nothing bigger than me to place my hurts, hopes, and fears. I didn’t realize it, but this had become this crazy heavy rock in my chest all the time. The craziest part about that too is that I can’t even remember what made me start to doubt, other than being angry that life feels hard for me. In my own stubborn nature, I lashed out as if I could hurt God’s feelings by my doubt. I began to believe my own rebellion and question everything I’ve ever had faith in.

The Turning Point

In the last couple of days, I’ve listened to more Christian music than I’ve listened to in a long time. I allowed myself to feel comfort in it. I was driving this morning, and suddenly it hit me how much I have gotten in my own way. I may not have the answers, but God is there. It’s only been in my own stubbornness that I’ve held my own heart back. I realized I’m safe to have faith and hope. I’m safe to believe that I’m not alone. I have a safety net. I can allow myself to take comfort in Him and His presence. All of this came at once, and I just wept. Then I laughed. Out of nowhere, driving by myself, with tears streaming, I laughed so hard. I felt joy and peace in my heart knowing I’m okay. As I’m continuing to fight battles in my personal life, I’m comforted allowing myself to lean on Christ again.

I still have questions, and I am not a perfect Christian, but it’s time for me to build that relationship again. I need that faith and it will be what I cling to now. God never ran from me. I ran from God. And now, I’m running right back.
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Healing Hurts

I’ve been thinking a lot about deep hurts lately. The kind that cut deep into one’s soul and make one’s heart bleed for a long time. These hurts…these hurts that steal one’s breath, these hurts that cause body shaking, soul quaking sobbing crying…these hurts, I’m familiar with.

Today, I told someone about a memory of my oldest and youngest child together. It is probably my only clear and specific memory of these two children together since my youngest’s life was stolen from us way too early. The memory is a fond one, but after I mentioned it, I felt a familiar and yet horrible pain that I wish my heart had never known. The pain of grief…the kind of grief that you could never know unless you are a parent that has held your dead child.

It doesn’t matter how long has passed, there will forever be moments where intense grief sneaks up and squeezes my heart so hard it feels like I won’t be able to catch my breath again. Now, admittedly, these moments are rare now (thank God), but they happen at random and will happen forever. I can talk about my daughter without crying, and I do this frequently, but there are just those times where it is painful again like back at the beginning when she was first gone.

I’m certain that today’s pain was a byproduct of other intense hurts I’ve been feeling lately. It’s like having a fresh scab that gets bumped. While that bump wasn’t much, the wound is fresh, so it bleeds easily. That is my heart these days. I can only handle so much before I’m bleeding all over the place, and lately, baby, I’m bleeding.

I get told frequently in life that I am strong, and this is true. I continue to wake up each day with a smile and fresh hope, but it doesn’t make what I endure any easier. In fact, I don’t even know anymore that this is necessarily a good thing. It just is what it is. I personally don’t feel like it’s anything that I have a choice in—it’s just who I am.

So lately, while so much is searing my heart, while I continue to wake each day filled with hope, while each day something hurts deeply and I smile anyway, please know that doesn’t mean any of it is easy. I’m human and I hurt. Like so many others out there, I’m just trying to get through life. I’m trying to not just survive, but thrive. I have no choice but to believe that while there is so much that hurts today, there can be so much that feels amazing tomorrow. It is in this hope that I find healing. A healing that lets me keep going. So in the midst of pain tonight, I smile knowing that once again, I will be up in the morning with the world’s biggest hopes, and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow the hurts will be healed.

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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Is She Crying Again?

“Is she crying again?”

“She is just being emotional.”

“Man up.”

“Boys don’t cry.”

When I think of being emotional and crying, these are some of the responses that pop into my head. I think of my family ridiculing me for being emotional. I think of all hurts being swept under the rug or boxed tightly inside for fear of someone seeing tears fall. I think of little boys being told they need to be manly and that men don’t cry. In fact, everything I think of when I think of crying is negative. It is ingrained in us not to be “sissies” or worse. In our culture, crying is seen as weak. It is a deep-rooted belief that starts get drilled into us when we are young.

I was having lunch with a friend recently when she told me her mother suggested she go see a doctor.

“Why?” I asked as I looked at her across the table.

“Because I’m so emotional,” she said with tears welling up in her eyes.

What? Seriously?! Aside from more stress recently and the struggles of enduring a long, cold winter without enough sun, what problem did her mother think was causing tears that a doctor was going to fix? This astounded me as my friend is a well-adjusted, loving, strong woman. Why is her feeling emotional lately a problem worthy of going to the doctor? Why does crying need to be cured?

I had another (male) friend tell me that he feels men aren’t allowed to feel emotions, and they are definitely not allowed to cry. So my friend walks through life enduring hardship, hurts, and stress and stuffing all these feelings down, fearing crying even in private. He and other men feel that it is never okay to just breakdown and let it out.

I’ve written over and over about being an emotional person and so you could accurately assume that this means I am also a crier. It’s true, I am. I cry when I feel sorrow, I cry when I become overstimulated, I cry when I’m happy. It’s just how I am. This was something I was ashamed of when I was younger and I used to get so angry with myself when I cried and couldn’t control it. I’ve been thinking lately though, why does our culture so staunchly dislike crying?

Crying is cleansing. It’s a great release and relief of emotions. It’s almost like pushing a reset button. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace the need to cry and the emotional relief it brings me once I’ve done so. Because of this, I often encourage others to let it out. As we fear crying, I almost don’t understand why. Think about this; once it starts, no matter how hard you cry, it always comes to an end within moments. You feel better. You feel some relief. Then you can dry your eyes, wash your face, and you’re set to take on the world again.

As a lover of human beings, as a mother, as a nurturer by nature, I encourage you all to be supportive of those around you that need to let it out. I encourage you to allow your boys to cry when they need to. I encourage you to allow your girls to cry. I encourage you to be supportive of humans and the need to cry in general. We naturally feel like we can’t change the world, but we actually can. By changing ourselves, we change the world for those around us. This is how we change the stigma that goes along with crying in our culture.

May peace be with you all this week.

Love,
Moonshine Niki

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I Am

When your soul is intertwined with another, magic can happen. Here is a collaboration piece written together with my best friend. Him in blue, me in pink. We can be the devil or we can be the angel, but always, we are there for the other.

You are my rock, my sunshine, the one that keeps me laughing. I love you, my friend. This is for you. 

Am


I am the devil,
And I am the light.
I am the dawn,
And I am the night.

I am the shimmer on the water,
And I the disturbance of the calm.
I am the world’s destruction,
And I am the world in your palm.

I am the fall breeze coming down,
And I am the warm sun on your face.
I am the thunder that makes you shudder,
And I am your comforting, safe place.

I am the restless that keeps you awake,
And I am the lulling sweet, sleepy feeling.
I am the tide that washes you away,
The stunning moments in life that keep you reeling.

I am the current that drags you down,
But I am the miraculous energy to keep you afloat.
I am the storm that blows you from shore,
But I am the rescue boat.

I am the rain on your fire,
But I am the perfect breeze to stoke your flame.
I am the spirit running wild,
I am the calm and the tame.

I am the soothing salve to your soul,
I am the fire to burn the world down.
I am the highway that leads you to nowhere,
And I am the safety of a tiny nowhere town.

I am the beat in your heart,
And I am the life to course through your veins.
I am the eye of the storm,
And I am the wind of the hurricane.

The fresh morning dew on green leaves.
I am the clear sky after the storm.
I am the tree that gives you shade,
But I am the heat to keep you warm.

I am the rock that you cling to,
The safety to be free.
I am the mountain that watches you conquer,
The strength beneath my feet.

I am the words that you cannot say.
Just when life has gotten hard.
You’re the safety of a new way,
The magic that lightens where I’m scarred.

I am the evil under your sleep,
But I am the angel for which you pray.
I am the darkest of night.
And I am the brightest of day.

I am the kisses to soothe your hurts,
I am the scars that remind.
That I am the toughest of all,
And I can leave the past behind.

A Loving Spanking

Friendship is an important aspect of life. We all need the companionship of others and all that comes with it. We need support, we need connectivity, we need affection, and we need to know we are cared about. I think most of us are aware of these needs and how close friends fulfill them. Another aspect of friendship that is much less talked about though is being held accountable; and that is focus of this blog.

Have you ever had a friend tell you you’re messing up? Have you had a friend look you in the face and tell you that you are making mistakes? How about, have you ever had a friend say, “I love you, but you’re wrong about this,” while talking? These are important moments.

No one likes to be told what they are doing is wrong. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty uncomfortable. The thing about this though, is the friends that love you the most are the ones that are willing to lovingly correct you. Fair-weather friends are not going to care enough to point it out when you’re headed in the wrong direction. To them, it’s not worth the risk of upset to call you out, so they don’t.

I have two very good friends in mind as I write this. One is my best female friend that has been in my life since the summer before high school. The other is my “boy bestie” that I have an intense relationship with. No one knows me better than these two do and I’ve written of both several times here before. My girlfriend has seen me at the ugliest moment of my entire life and loved me anyway. My boy bestie and I have spent more time on the phone together than me and any other person combined since the invention of instant messaging and text. I love these two like family. They love me back. This also means that sometimes, they call me out on my own shit.

I’ve made so many mistakes over the last 6 months that you’d think I was trying to set a new personal record. Drinks, men, and many other topics come to mind here. I don’t like writing this stuff out for the world to judge, but as always, if it takes putting my own life on blast to help others with an example, I’ll do it. One thing I can say through all of this is that I’ve been able to talk to my friends about it all. I let them see the ugly parts of me in the faith that they will love me anyway, and they do. But they also love me enough to bring up sensitive issues and correct me when I’m wrong. They do this because they have my best interest in mind.

When I’m getting ready to make the same mistake for like the 100th time, my buddy will tell me, “Niki, don’t do it. Just don’t.” He doesn’t mince his words, nor does he hold back. My girlfriend, being a woman, is a little more gentle with it, but she will do the exact same thing. She will point out when I’m on the wrong path. I won’t lie, there have been times that I’ve been angered by this, but in the end, I always appreciate it. I appreciate that there are those that love me enough to correct me when I’m wrong. I joke that it is a loving spanking, because while correction can hurt, it ultimately does good and is out of love.

These two friends bless my life immensely and I would do anything for them. I appreciate both of them for the unique ways that make them both wonderful. And I deeply appreciate the one big thing they have in common…they have my back.

I encourage you all to be this type of friend to those close to you too. You never know what kind of heartaches you can help prevent by being present, being supportive, but also being honest. How does that saying go…if you can’t find good in the world, BE the good in the world.

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