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

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Watch Me Shine

I’m sitting here tonight with swollen eyelids from the massive amount of crying I’ve done today and feeling like a scolded child because, to add insult to injury on top of my already really bad day, I got in trouble at work. After an almost 2 hour meeting going over issues from several days ago, I was sent home on suspension for the day. Let me tell you, nothing sucks worse about being in a really bad spot financially like losing out on 5 hours of tip making. It’s just been a genuinely terrible, stressful, hard to handle day.

After this day of tears and frustrations, I’m left thinking about a conversation a dear friend of mine and I had on Sunday. I had opened up and was telling him some intensely private information about my past. The stuff that I was telling him about is some of the hardest times I’ve ever endured in my life. As I told him my story, I told him about how this is why I write to reach out to others. I want to lift others up that feel broken by life because I’ve been there. I also talked about how when I go through hard times now, I reflect back on how hard my life was then and remember that I got through it even though I felt I wouldn’t. It lets me know I can make it through anything now. Then…it was like life had to challenge this statement with today’s issues.

In Where Are My Happy Memories?, I talked about how negativity has had a major impact on my life, and why my brain automatically moves to negative thinking. I’m in a position lately though, that I need to make this change. It is having a negative impact on my personal life and my professional life. And frankly, I’m tired of it. Others notice negativity, from potential romantic partners, to friends, to employers and coworkers. Yesterday was quite eye opening for me in this realization.

We can be our own harshest critics. I know this is true for many, and it’s definitely true for me. Lately though, I’ve realized I’m not only hard on myself, but others too. I want to nip this in the bud now. I want for being harsh and being negative to no longer have a solid place in my life. As I was encouraged by my friend yesterday in my steps to being more positive, I realized and told him, “This is my chance to shine.” It’s true. This is my chance to make serious and noticeable changes. This is my chance to prove to others and myself that I can be successful and get through this on the up side. This is my chance to make change and be different.

So, with this new knowledge and motivation, I’ll begin working on me again. I know that I will get through this current hard stuff. I also know that I can be positive. I know that this can be life changing. So, my friends, watch me shine.

And With Music, The Chapter Closes

I had a revelation a today.

I’m over it.

I’m over him.

Finally.

You see, for months, I’ve been healing slowly, one piece at a time. A little more every day my heart has formed scars where scabs once where. Every day, my soul has been bleeding less and less for him. Until today when I realized. . .it’s done.

It’s been months of tears, anger, more tears, and more intense anger. I’ve cried, screamed, sobbed, made poor choices, and repeated the cycle. But now, I get to sit and write this blog about finally being here.

* * *

I sat down and wrote those words several weeks ago, and then my computer died. My life is ~that~ busy. It took me probably about a month to find my laptop charger, have the time, and have the motivation to sit down and write at the end of a hectic day. In that time, I’ve thought of this blog every single day. Not only did I feel an intense desire to just write, I had so many thoughts I wanted to get out. I also wanted to get this blog out and then close that chapter for the rest of my life. And as always, I feel this crazy need to purge.

When I had this revelation, I was driving in the dark on my commute home from my day job. What started out as drive time that I hated when I first got this job has turned into “me time” and cherished.  During this drive home every night, I let my mind wander to wherever it wants to go. This has not always been a good thing. I can’t even begin to guess at how many of those drives home, my mind has gone to “him” or our breakup. I’d always felt this was a waste of valuable time, emotion, and energy, but now. . .now I feel like this was constructive.

I took months to process. To mull over every single aspect of every area of our relationship and our relationship’s demise. The in’s and the out’s and the up’s and the down’s. And in all of that time spent turning it over in my mind, I really, truly processed. In processing, I finally healed.

I came upon this revelation because of a song. Those that know me know that I am big into music and it’s always on. I had a love-hate relationship with music after my breakup though because so much hurt and tore me up to hear. That pain got easier each day, and I pushed through because there was no way I was going to let a man ruin music for me. There were definitely songs I avoided at times and even other times I intentionally listened to songs I knew would hurt, all as a part of my grieving process.

That day that I was driving though, I realized something. Those painful songs were no longer painful. I realized that no songs were painful anymore for me when it comes to him. I realized, when I can listen to any song in the world now without getting choked up at all, that’s when I know I’m finally over him.

In that healing, I also realized that I was no longer angry. The anger I’d felt for months was suddenly gone without a trace. I no longer feel any strong emotion connected to him. So now, I can reflect on happy memories with a smile and let the not so great memories go. I don’t feel upset anymore. I don’t feel animosity towards him, his family that doesn’t like me, or his girlfriend. I wish nothing but happiness for him and his children. I hope that his girlfriend is everything that he and his children need, because I still care and want them all to be happy.

For me, I was recently talking with a friend about how difficult life has been since August. For one, I’m so busy that I feel like it was August, and then I blinked, and now it’s suddenly January. For two, it’s been a hard winter. It’s been extremely cold here this year and my house feels a lot cold and a little lonely. On the flip side of that though, for the first time in months, I realized I was picturing a future again. I told a different friend a few months ago that I can’t picture the next season in my life at all, both figuratively and literally. So for me to suddenly be picturing spring. . .that’s a pretty big deal. I told her that I feel like I’m meant to endure this long, cold winter, but that my personal life is going to bloom when spring blooms outside. I don’t know why I feel this way, just a gut feeling I suppose, but it’s a new faith that has me smiling these days.

I don’t know what is around the corner for me next in life, but what I do know is that I’m going to keep fighting, I’m going to keep working, and I’m going to keep listening to music—for she is my therapist. And with music, this chapter is finally closed for good.

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This is the final chapter of my history with B. If you wish to read the entire story of the end in order, the links are:

Shattered. Simply Shattered.
I Lost Him, But I Found Me
I Did It!
Here’s to a New Chapter

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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Connectedness

How have we as a society lost the connection with others so much while we also live in the time of convenience to be connected? We have phone calls, texting, email, instant messenger, Facebook, and a variety of other forms of social media—and yet, we seem to be less social than ever before. How is it that there are people on my Facebook friend list that would also walk by me as if I was a stranger in the grocery store? I feel like we are headed downhill as far as personal connections go and I’m often just as guilty as the next person. I tell people I miss them, I say we should get together and hangout soon, and then I often don’t follow through and actually make plans.

I woke up thinking about this stuff this morning. I think that as soon as my feet were hitting the floor, my mind was going 90 MPH thinking about such deep subject matter. I don’t know where it came from or even why really, I just suddenly felt like I should be talking about something real on Facebook. My feed every day is filled with selfies, memes, people complaining, and other content that lacks in substance. If we are going to be so “connected” through social media, I want to be as connected as possible with realness. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing people post pictures of their families and share happy or funny memes, but there’s only so many pictures of people’s dinners, vain selfies, and Vaguebooker statuses I can handle before thinking that Facebook is really only a tool for narcissism and not a tool of connectivity.

Let me give an example of my own personal needs. Last night I had to do a quick run to Walmart for a few things before I could make dinner. I was a little stressed and in a big hurry, but as I was waiting to check out, I saw a Facebook friend of mine. I know that she works, goes to college, has a handful of children, and has many busy similarities to my life. She looked like she was in a hurry too and probably had a lot on her mind. But you know what she did? She walked over to me. She said hello, she asked how I am, and she hugged me. While to many, this may not seem like a big deal, to me it absolutely was! She could have just walked by and gotten away with a wave as she passed and I wouldn’t have judged her at all. We are busy. But the fact that she took that moment to personally say hello and to reach out and hug me had an impact. It made me feel good. I loved that she cared enough to make that personal connection, especially when I know her and her family have been going through so much lately that no one could blame her if she’d just kept walking. It made me truly realize just how much I don’t just want personal time with my friends and loved ones, my heart ~needs~ that.

I don’t want to ramble forever here, I just wanted to share some of those thoughts. Normally I would put this into a blog, but my blog is fairly anonymous and I wanted those “around” me to read this and know these thoughts. If nothing else, can y’all do me a favor? Reach out to at least one person this weekend, stop by and have a cup of coffee, make time for a backyard BBQ, or call someone you love that isn’t nearby. Do something. Just please make a personal connection that has nothing to do with Facebook or any other social media. If even just one of you does that, that will make my heart happy.   

**This was adapted from a long Facebook post I wrote a few months ago. I left it unedited because I felt it should be whole for y’all to really understand, even though my blog is no longer anonymous like this post states.**