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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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.

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.