Strong in Faith and Weak in Love

Oh how many times will my fingers make love to these keys and speak of the same tender soul…? My guess is that it will happen for as long as I have the strength to type. I am the strongest and yet, most weak person I know, and as far as I can tell, it’s never going to change.

I have to fight hard to not be ruled by my emotions in life. I feel big and it can take over at times. My mind says one thing, but it’s like a whisper. Then my heart says another, and it’s a full on roaring scream. My heart is always louder than my mind, and this gets me into some trouble sometimes.

I don’t know how to be any different. I tell my heart to cool it, but she is stubborn and fierce and a force to be reckoned with all on her own. When I care for someone, I feel it with all of my soul. I feel for their hurts and pain, I feel for their big life moments, I feel for their fears, and I always desire seeing and loving the dark parts they keep hidden from the world. I’m a nurturer and a lover to my core and always just want to love other’s hurts whole. It is somehow intensely in my DNA to love others even though I’m so very much cut from a different cloth emotionally from my biological parents.

When I get close to someone, my emotions take on a snowball effect. I start off small and just have a piqued interest. But as a connection grows stronger, my emotions grow with it. The more emotional intimacy there is, the stronger it is. The more physical intimacy is added to that, then the emotion is even stronger. The snowball grows and I lose control over being able to keep my heart in check. My head whispers for me to stop it, but my heart is screaming about my poets soul and being a hopeless romantic and just imagine  all of the wonderful possibilities…. The heart wins. And sometimes–that means the heart hurts.

Do you want to know the craziest part of this all? I never give up. I’ve been hurt deeply so many times, and I just never give up. I’m made to love and so that is what I do. I have a deep-seated faith that it will pay off one day, and maybe even soon. And when it does, it will make every hurt up to that point worth it. Strong in faith and weak in love…that is me.

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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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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.

Helping Through Hurts

Sometimes we are on the verge of learning a new lesson or changing something big in life and all we need is a gentle nudge in the right direction. This is a huge reason that I write so passionately and honestly. I write in hopes that if I bare my soul, my heart, and even my faults and mistakes, I can maybe have an impact on others. So in that style, here goes…

Many people know, but in case you are not aware, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I have my own personal story of domestic violence and feel blessed to not be in that situation anymore. I would rather be single than to ever have to endure abuse again.

When I was 16, my mother did not like not being able to control what I did with my newborn. When we butted heads when my son was 3 weeks old, my mom kicked me out. Shortly after, I got a call one day saying she wanted to talk to my son’s father and I. When we arrived, she told me that she didn’t want to be legally responsible for me anymore and so she was going to sign for me to get married when I turned 17, “If you want to,” she said. There was never a real choice though, and so wedding planning started.

I was young, I was stupid, and I knew getting married wasn’t the right thing to do, but one week after turning 17, I did it anyway. I got pregnant again right away, when my oldest was just 4 months old. I was terrified but so badly wanted to just live adult life already. We were poor and we struggled in many ways, but it wasn’t so bad at first. My oldest was the easiest, most happy baby in the world. Being his mom meant everything to me, but I had no idea though that life was about to seriously go downhill.

My next child was a difficult baby and I felt like a failure of a mom. I was only 17 and married with a toddler and an inconsolable infant. Life was hard and my husband was not helpful. We were just kids trying to be like grownups, and we didn’t have the life tools yet to be successful. Add a few more years, a few more kids, an opiate addiction and alcohol abuse on his part, and then the death of our youngest… this was the perfect recipe for things to take a turn for the worse.

The abuse started out as mental and emotional. Calling me names, making me scared, telling my kids awful things about me (as they were just toddlers and preschool age). Then I endured ongoing sexual abuse that I won’t lay out the details of. Then he began trapping me in rooms, holding me down, shoving me. I had a few scary moments where I thought he was going to kill me. I’ll never forget scrambling across the rough concrete of my driveway on my hands and knees while drunk as he was turning his truck around in the yard to come after me. It was very rare for me to drink at all in those days, and to be inebriated and suddenly terrified of him was more fear than I would ever wish for anyone to feel.

I was isolated, I had no friends, and no close relationship with my mother or any other family. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. To make matters worse, my now ex-husband lost his job and lost his CDL. We had no way to pay bills, and we were going to lose our house. We were going to have to move an hour away to move in with his family. I didn’t want to. My only option was to ask my mother for help. I was scared because she’d told me when I moved out at 16 that I would never be allowed to move back in. I asked anyway. I told her that he was abusive and that I wanted to get away. I asked if my children and I could move in until I got on my feet. My mother told me, “You’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it.” Despite her being my mother and me asking for help not only for myself, but for my 6, 5, and 3 year old, I was told no. I was absolutely heartbroken and had nowhere else to go. We moved with him into his parents house.

When we moved, life went further downhill. The abuse got worse, the drug use was worse, and I was miserable. I was able to attend community college though and made a friend. I quickly came to trust her and opened up to her. I knew my life was bad and that I was on the verge of disaster. One day, I was sitting on my balcony telling my friend about whatever recent abuse was going on and she said something that would forever have an impact on my life. She said, “If in 20 years, your boys treated their wives like your husband treats you, how would you feel about that? Or what if in 20 years, your daughter’s husband treats her like your husband treats you?” I felt horrified even picturing it. She went on to say, “This is the example of what marriage is to your children. You are teaching them that this is okay.” I knew I had to change it.

This conversation was the beginning of the end. Shortly after, there was another fight. My husband was throwing furniture across the room. I was scared and my kids were scared. I tried to get them into the car to leave, but my husband disabled something in my car so that I couldn’t start it. For the first time, I had the courage to grab the phone. This time, a report was made. Not only was a report made, but the courts put a no contact order into place. I truly believe this saved my life. No matter how much my feelings softened over time apart, and I began to miss the old good stuff and fear being an adult and parent alone, I was not able to have that order dropped. It gave me time to really think and realize that this was my chance, it was time to get away from him.

While there is so much more to this story, the important part is where my friend had the courage to gently and lovingly nudge me in the right direction. I didn’t suddenly change everything that day, but it made an impact on my life and forever changed our lives. If you are enduring abuse, this is me nudging you with my story. It doesn’t get better, abuse only gets worse. Please, seek help. These days, we have Google and there are infinite resources available at your fingertips. Reach out. It gets better when you get away.

Much love,
Moonshine Niki

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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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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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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.