Hard Times, Harder Fight

This last week has been one of the hardest I have endured in a long time. As I have been fighting hard to make my life better, it seems that for every step forward I take, I am knocked back two. While I’m working hard to keep making forward progress, this last week made me feel like what little light I had going on at the end of the tunnel had been snuffed out.

I have written over and over again about hope, positivity, and choosing to focus on the good in life. I struggled this week though for a variety of reasons. It was like life needed to knock me on my butt, and once I was there, the blows just kept coming.

I got a new full time job. Yay, right?! Wrong. For one, I’m not thrilled to be back to living the two job life. Working 6 to 7 days a week is exhausting. It pretty much takes away any kind of personal life I can have and makes it seem like I just live to work. Two jobs is temporary though, so I can get over that. For the first time in my life though, I’m now in a factory job. The work is hard, the days are long, the rules are extremely strict, and my position is outside in the elements all day. Coming into winter now makes me cringe at the thought of having to spend 40+ hours outside in it each week. I was devastated when I realized my position assignment for this. It was definitely not what I had wanted.

On top of the work stuff, it seems that my entire personal life decided to fall apart at the same time too. While I don’t want to go into much detail because it’s not just my privacy at stake, but many others too, I can say that this week was nothing short of a shitshow. Every single day, life was throwing punches that were pummeling my heart. I cried, I screamed, I yelled, and then I cried some more. I even had a full on meltdown. Let’s just say that life was not kind to me over the last several days. I had several moments where I felt like this is all just too hard, and I wanted to throw in the towel. Exhaustion, adjusting to major new life changes, getting my feelings hurt deeply, dealing with parenting rebellious teenagers, and more all at once was enough to leave me crying like a little baby every single day. It was just an incredibly hard week.

As I’ve been thinking about all of this the last couple of days though, I am reminded of one thing. I can’t change a lot about my life circumstances right now. The one thing I can control though is my attitude. I have a choice in whether or not I crumple to the ground and let my entire world fall apart. I have a choice in whether or not I want to start this new job with a positive outlook. I have a choice in whether or not I want to wallow in miserable self-pity or if I pull myself up by the bootstraps and push forward with a smile on my face.

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It is okay to have those occasional meltdowns, especially when life is throwing the amount of crazy curveballs it has been throwing me lately. It is okay to cry and scream and lose it. Go ahead and meltdown. But then, when you’ve cried it all out, dry your eyes, wash your face, and then get back up! If life is going to throw punches, then throw some punches of your own back! You own your life, you own your reactions and choices, and you own your behavior. Focus on what you can change, and let go of what you cannot. These were the big lessons I was reminded of this week.

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And lastly, if you are struggling to the point that you are considering suicide, please reach out. There are many resources available and you are not alone. Your life is worth living.

Hang in there, my friends. Life is all about seasons and if you are going through an incredibly hard season right now, take comfort in knowing that a good one is coming soon.

Much love,
Moonshine Niki

Finding Peace in the Storm

There is something humbling about being in the midst of big changes in life and being scared. The unknowns can be terrifying. I’m personally dealing with all of this right now. Changes in my career choices, in between relationships, making some new goals, and unsure of what’s going to happen with pretty much everything. I have spent much time over the last couple of months crying and being uncertain and afraid. To be honest, it’s put me in my place a little bit.

As I was sitting in my therapy appointment the other day, I was talking about all of this. I told her that there is a little bit of comfort in the fact that I know that my life can’t be like this forever. There is comfort in knowing that while everything is up in the air right now, soon, it will all settle down. Some of it will be figured out sooner rather than later, but eventually, all of it will be settled again. With this knowledge, there is peace. We have to endure the shaky and hard times in order to truly appreciate the stable and good times. I wrote one day that I firmly believe there are times in life where EVERYTHING gets shaken up so that when the pieces fall and settle, a brand new beautiful life begins. This is where I currently am, and I’m finding peace…

If you feel like life is in limbo right now, I hope you can find peace in these thoughts too. Sometimes life requires a little rain.

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I’m Making Change My B****

*Repost from an old blog site*

Changes.

Man, I’ve never done well or liked change in my life. I remember a story from when I was little that my mom used to tell. I remember her telling me that when I was a very small child (preschool age), my grandma had changed her hair. As soon as I saw her with a different style, I freaked out and was incredibly upset that she no longer looked like the grandma I was used to seeing. And that story pretty much describes how I’ve been with change my entire life.

Lately, there’s been so much change, and I’d be lying if I said I was adapting quickly and easily. It’s been very difficult. It has not been easy adjusting to dealing with every aspect of life completely by myself—cleaning, parenting, car issues, pet issues, cooking, and a million other things. I don’t love having no one by my side, no one texting or calling me because they miss me, no one checking in on me. I don’t love knowing that every single issue there is, I’m the only one responsible. I don’t love that no matter how lonely or sad I feel, there’s no one out there to fix it. I can only fix myself.

It may not be coming easily, but it’s coming though. I’m adapting slowly but surely. I’ve learned a lot about how the only person I can really rely and depend on is me. Only I can save myself. I’m going to be just fine. I will figure out how to not only survive by myself, but I’m going to thrive, baby! I’m strong. I’m independent. I’m smart. I’m passionate. I’m driven. I am woman—hear me roar!!!

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In My Bed

I do a lot more thinking in bed than I would like to, especially lately. Last night, I was lying there wishing for sleep but experiencing some pretty intense back pain from work that left sleep elusive for a long time. This time though, while I was lying there, this blog idea came to me.

I laid there last night thinking about beds. As an adult and a parent, so much happens in bed. It’s the place that lovers make love. It’s the place that moms comfort sick children. It’s often where laundry gets folded, where we take reprieve from stress in the middle of the day, even if only for a moment, and where exhausted people fall in at night in hopes of good sleep.

A lot happens in bed as grownups, and I know that for many of us, it’s our favorite place. When I have a lover, my favorite time of day is when I get to set aside life’s stress and cuddle up to the man I love. I love those few moments of talking, winding down, and snuggling up. I love to lie my head on his chest and just listen to the heart I love beat. If I’m lucky, in those moments before sleep, I get to use my body to show him just how I feel, but even if I don’t, I’m still so happy to breathe in his scent and feel his breathing with mine as we drift off to sleep.

As a single person, I know bed is still my favorite place, just obviously for different reasons. Lately, it’s because my bed is my sanctuary. I get up every day with a determination that I’m going to give my all into making a good life for myself and my kids with just us. I’m making specific effort into not using any of my old Band-Aids to temporarily ease pain. I have a history of turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms to mask hurts, and I’m hell bent on not turning to those this time. There’s no men that aren’t special to me. No slamming whiskey doubles home alone while I feel sorry for myself. No pot smoking while indulging in high calorie, high fat, high sugar foods to stuff my feelings down.  So instead, I take care of my adult responsibilities each day. I get up, I clean, I do laundry, I take care of the animals, I do all the mommy things (oh my gosh, single parenting is tough work), I keep up with my self-care (which is going to be revealed in depth in a later blog), and I go to work.

Coming home from work, I know I get to still set aside life’s stress and fall into my favorite place, bed. I may be alone in it now, but I get to relax, I get to rest my weary and aching body, I get to just be still. No more stress for the day, no more “adulting,” and no more effort into tackling the world. I get to just breathe.

I feel more peace now than I have in a quite a while. The stress can be high, but there is so much relief in doing things the right way. I’m loving this new me. I’m still the same strong, feisty, sassy woman, but I’m also the woman that for the first time in her entire life, is proudly standing tall in her choices, knowing that she couldn’t be doing any better. So, here’s to my new life, here’s to late night thinking and creativity, and here’s to my bed!

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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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God Bless This Mess

In the middle of life chaos recently, I heard this beautiful song that hit me instantly because I could relate. “Here’s to the brokens… The misfits and wannabes… The part of you that’s just like me…” The lyrics floated out of my speakers and right into my heart. Music has always been a big thing for me and I can feel intensely for songs I can’t even personally relate to. These days though, life has been….different, full, busy, emotional, so when a song comes on that I CAN relate to, then I feel even more intensely. “The wildflowers and holier than thou’s… The diamonds that are never gonna leave the rough… The rolling stones that are always stuck… The all-nighters and the lost I’ve never found…” The song continued as my very full heart started to do backflips of emotion as I heard every note. Driving to work, I let the song serenade me. “God bless this mess… If this is as good as it’s gonna get… I’m gonna hold you like I know it’s gonna be okay again… I got a hurricane in my heart… Keeps on rattling the gooder part… And honestly, I’m just an honest wreck… But I’m trying my best… God bless this mess, oh, God bless this mess.”

What hardworking single mom with a life full of mistakes couldn’t relate to this?! As of late, the struggles have been intense. I had begun to be filled with misery going to my day job every day. I was filled with dread every morning walking through the door, but also felt trapped for so many reasons. The inner struggle over what to do was strangling me. I felt like a failure for being unable to make it work, for being unable to make any of the others in the office be able to understand my heart, for beginning to resent how set apart I was. I was suffocating.

On top of the work issues, the ongoing disconnect from my family has been very difficult for me to accept and make peace with. Not only has there been zero contact for a couple months now, but social media has rubbed salt into the wound in ways I didn’t expect. I’ll take an order of insult to injury please! I miss them. I especially miss my sister whom I have felt was my only ally ever with them. It’s been painful. I have felt this alone very few times in my life.

“Here’s to the waiting… All the waiting that we have to do… The dreams we make that never come true… And all the hurting that comes without warning… Here’s to the view from the tile of the bathroom floor… Ain’t we all been there before… And the hell bent sun that’s gonna come up the next morning…”

Amidst many other stressors, hurts, and normal life issues, I have just felt burdened. I have so much on my plate and so little in the way of relief, support, and resources. Music has been one of my biggest comforts. So, listening to this song, I decided; screw it. I quit. I wrote a short and sweet email and turned in my resignation from the job that I once loved, but ended up despising. Immediate relief.

I don’t really know what happens from here, but one thing I know, I’ll keep asking for God to bless this mess.

“Most the time I forget to pray… But when I close my eyes, I just say… God bless this mess…”
God Bless This Mess

The link is below. Check it out as this post doesn’t do the beauty of the song justice. *I do not own the music, nor did I make the video*

Much love,
Moonshine Niki

Do I Deserve Love?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love. I’ve been thinking not just about romantic love, but many kinds. . . the love between family, the love a mother is supposed to have for her children, and even self-love. You see, my life has definitely lacked love in places where there should have been much, much more.

I was a child bride and had a husband that loved drugs and alcohol, he loved humiliating me and hurting me, but he didn’t love me. I have a family that isn’t close and doesn’t show love at all towards one another. Way more “f**k you’s” are thrown out between each other than “I love you’s.” Hugs don’t happen with my family, and support is virtually non-existent. The biggest pain with that is that there is more love and support shown for some of us from my mother than others. Growing up feeling like I was somehow flawed (because I must be if my own mother can’t like me but clearly loves my siblings, right?!) has made me not love myself. If the easiest love to come in the world (the love of a mother for her child) isn’t there, and then my own husband couldn’t love me, then I must be truly broken and unlovable. That was my thinking for a long time anyway.

I’ve written several times about how women are harsh to judge and judge ourselves more than anyone else. We have constant media in our faces telling us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, slim enough. It makes self-love incredibly difficult. Then, when you add in abusive people, absent or hurtful parents, or other issues and incidences that cause pain, self-love becomes even harder.

For me, I had the lack of bonding with my mother as my foundation in life. Then, I got married as a teen and had 4 children back to back with an abusive man. I didn’t take good care of myself through those hard times in my life (thank you, depression), and so of course, I gained a ton of baby weight and didn’t lose it. I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t have any family there for me, and I was living through an abusive marriage with no idea that I deserved any better. I did not love me. In fact, I didn’t just not love myself, I downright hated myself.

Now, we can fast forward several years where I have been away from that man for a long time, have lost some of that weight, have made many achievements and advancements in life, and had much personal growth. I’ve struggled still with self-love though. I’ve struggled feeling worthy, and as I’ve recently had a falling out with my family and have endured some other tough events, I’ve been thinking even more about love.

I realized recently that I’ve spent a long time hating myself. I’ve hated my tender heart, I’ve hated my body and the weight I’ve struggled with since I started having children almost 18 years ago, I’ve hated how easily I cry, I’ve hated my lack of self-control in so many areas, and the list goes on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked my face in the mirror and told myself ugly, hateful things because I felt I deserved it. If I exercised, I would think those horrible things to myself out of frustration that I ever let my body get this out of control. I just have been truly disgusted with myself, and so I punished myself with hate.

Well, several days ago, I suddenly had an epiphany. I’ve battled my weight for a long time. I’ve also battled many emotional issues for a long time. While I have continued to try to fight against these issues, I’ve tried using the same methods and with the same self-loathing I have always had. What’s that saying about insanity…trying the same way over and over again while expecting different results? That’s what I have been doing. I have decided that no matter what is going on with my family, no matter what man I do or don’t have in my life, and no matter how my body looks, I need to love myself anyway. No matter what, I am deserving of self-love. So now, as I do my daily squats, I’m telling myself in my head, “Look at you go! One. Good job getting active! Two. You are beautiful! Three. You deserve love! Four. Look at you empowering yourself! Five. . .” You get the idea.

If hating myself has gotten me nowhere, then there’s an entire world of possibilities if I love myself instead. It’s been easy to be negative for a long time, so I’m not going to assume that it’s suddenly going to be much easier to be kind to myself, but I can promise that I’m going to keep trying. I am worthy of that much.

This new journey of self-love is important because it’s not only for me, it’s for my children, for my friends, for my coworkers, and for everyone else around me. The better I feel inside, the better mom, friend, and employee I can be. It’s a win for everyone. So, here’s to my new journey. . .

Signing off with a smile and love,
Moonshine Niki

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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.