Feeling Raw

I feel pretty raw lately. I’ve been trying so hard to climb out of the funk I’ve been in, but I seem to only be sliding further down into it. I feel lonely. I feel misunderstood. I feel like I’m the source of others’ frustrations. I feel like I’m not supported. I feel stretched thin. And did I mention I feel lonely?

This funk has been tough on those around me. I would say it’s also probably accurate that it’s pushed others away. I feel so lost and unsure of how to find myself again. I have been living a hard life for a long time and while it’s hard, I think that people tend to continue with what is hard because it is familiar and change is hard too. It’s hard and scary.

Sometimes all I want is for those closest to me to hug me tight and just remind me of their love and support. Lately, that seems to be in short supply, and the more I want it, the more I notice the absence of it. I just want to feel connected to others. I want to feel that I truly matter. I want to know that someone looks at my face and thinks, “Gosh, I sure am lucky to have her in my life.” I want these things because at the moment, I just feel like life is slapping me across the face every time I turn around.

I need to figure out what to do to help me. I have to figure out what changes need to be made and figure out a plan for them. I have to figure out how to let go of the negative forces—whatever they may be. And mostly, I have to figure out how not to forget that no matter who has let me down or hurt me, that’s not my fault and doesn’t affect my worth. I ~am~ worthy.

Him <3

I’m feeling pretty good today. I’ve had a lot of up and down lately which has been pretty chaotic inside for me. Raising teenagers, man, let me tell ya…it is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. And of course, money stress is always…well…stressful. But all of that aside, I’ve had some really big blessings lately and I feel pretty damn lucky to be where I’m at.

When I was a scared 17 year old kid walking down the aisle to say “I do,” I knew it was a mistake. When I was immediately upset afterwards and didn’t want to leave with my new husband, I knew I’d made a bad choice. With all that I endured in the years after, I totally understood the joke about why divorce is so expensive (because it’s worth it, duh!).

divorce

I had many ups and downs in the years following and endured a few bad relationships that left me with little hope about finding “the one.” I thought that I would never get the amazing relationship I’d always hoped for.

When thinking of relationships, I always dreamed of feeling like a princess. I had dreamed of being with a man that said sweet things to me, a man that didn’t raise his voice to me (or worse), a man that connected with my children in ways that made them feel the broken inside of them was being healed, a man that would hold me tight and scare away my demons, a man that made me feel that no matter how I look, I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, a man that would show me I was worthy of being loved, a man that would make me feel safe in every way. This seemed like the impossible, but I still kept trying… And then something truly amazing happened—I met Him.

*Please know that everything I say after this point may sound like a bunch of clichés strewn together, but I truly mean every word.*

Never before had I clicked so instantly and so well and on so many levels as I did with Him. He made me feel amazing from the start. His sense of humor stood out immediately upon meeting him. He clearly marches to the beat of his own drum and I’ve always loved that. He’s not afraid to be goofy and silly and for me, being the kind of person that is mostly serious and takes everything at face value, it was the total opposite of who I am. You know how they say opposites attract? That is us. There are so many things about us where we are extremely alike and there are others where we are total opposites. We complement each other well.

He also was the first to be so tender with me physically and with my heart. Of course being a man, he brought up typical flirty “man-like” topics, but he did so in a way that never made me feel belittled or like he was just hoping to hop straight into bed. On our first date, he very sweetly took my hand as we talked. He didn’t rush me, he listened to me, and at just the right moment, he leaned over and sweetly kissed me. I felt like a school girl with a crush; I was all full of butterflies inside. It was a great date, and from that night on, we were inseparable.

Let’s face it though, all relationships are good in the beginning or they wouldn’t start at all. Even for the beginning though, things with him were better than any other beginning I’d ever had. But you know what is even more awesome? Now that the honeymoon phase is fading and real life is setting in, things are still amazing.

In a relationship, you have to learn about the other person, and I don’t mean their favorite food or movie. I mean the things that you learn a little later on, like what makes him or her tick. When he or she is angry or upset, what does he or she need most? Close comfort? Space? Time? These are the things one starts to really learn once the honeymoon phase is over. This is where he and I are at right now. He is busy learning that if we have had a disagreement, I don’t care how upset either of us are, I still want kissed and hugged and told “I love you” and “goodnight” before we go to sleep. I’m busy learning what upsets him about the way I talk during a disagreement and that he needs space when frustrated and that it’s nothing personal against me. These things are important. And while no one likes to argue or have uncomfortable moments, I find much comfort in knowing that we have been together long enough that there are no facades. We are well aware that we each are not perfect. He knows that I get overwhelmed by noise and can’t even fake being okay when I’m overstimulated. I know that he gets overwhelmed sometimes by my constant desire to be “mushy” and intimate and needs a break from my emotional intensity. He knows that I need quiet time in my room to destress often and I know that he needs time to visit his family frequently. We are learning each other in ways that only time together can teach.

While living busy lives, both working, both having children, and both being exhausted regularly, we truly enjoy and appreciate each other. This is also a new concept for me. Never before have I felt in the middle of real life, after the honeymoon has ended, that I have been so connected to another. His smile, his eyes, his humor, his tender touch, his goofy dancing, and so much more—I can’t get enough. For the first time in my entire dating life, there are no red flags, no little nagging feelings of “is this really right?” going on in my heart and head that I’m choosing to ignore. For the first time ever, I don’t want anyone else in any way, shape, or fashion. He is everything. Everything I need, everything I want, everything I intend to keep. Forever. It’s all about Him.

Thrivin’ Survivor, That Is Me

*Repost from old blog site*

You’d think that knowing that I am strong, plus surviving some of the hardest things one could experience in life would automatically make me fearless, right? Wrong.

I’m facing a breakup. Lord knows that isn’t easy. After almost 3 years of dedication, 2 sets of children, and 1 combined household, I’m pretty much dreading “the talk” happening. How is that though? How is that so scary when I have been through so much—and survived?!

I’ve been sexually abused multiple times since I was a kid. I have had children as a teenager, gotten married a week after I turned 17 to a man that turned into a raging, abusive drug addict, and endured several years of mental, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse during that marriage. I have watched my then husband overdose, almost die, and recuperate—only to watch it happen all over again. I have battled chronic pain more than half my life that is at times crippling. I have held my infant daughter as her life support was turned off and she took her last breath, battled CPS, and pieced my life back together after meth. I have gotten through being homeless, jobless, and broke. I have battled court systems. I have battled people that wish me harm. And I have battled my own inner demons.

Nothing quite feels as terrifying as one’s husband hitting her in a rage, making her fear and know her life is in danger. Nothing feels as heartbreaking as laying one’s child on a hospital bed and turning away knowing one will never get to pick her baby up again and smell her scent, feel her warmth, nurture her at her breast, or hear her sweet cry again. Nothing is as hard as having to fight for one’s children against a government agency with a vendetta. And yet, I’ve been through all of that and survived and come out on top. I’ve not just survived, but I have thrived!

Even with that being the short list, I’m reading back over it and now sitting here wondering, how the hell am I afraid of a little breakup??? I need to just face it head on. Ready, set, go. 3, 2, 1, takeoff. Get it done, woman. There’s no way in hell that this is what suddenly breaks me! I am STRONG! I am powerful! I am woman—HEAR ME ROAR!!

Growing Pains

What do you do when life gets a little messy and you start to fall apart and that starts to have an impact on the people around you…? Well, if you’re like me, you start to write. So here I am, ready to ramble because I feel if I don’t let it all out, I might explode. Or implode. Either way, the consequences of that can be devastating.

 

I have a lot on my plate in life. Those that know me personally know that. Those that know me intimately know that sometimes I don’t handle it very well. But what can I say, I’m human. I work full time (out of town, so add travel time to my full plate), I have 3 teenage children that can be a handful as they struggle with some normal issues and some extreme issues depending on the kid we talk about, I have a shit ton of bills and financial stress, I have an ex-husband that doesn’t pay a penny in child support and I honestly don’t think he ever will, I lack a support system from my family (though, side note, the support from those I do have close to me is pretty freaking amazing, especially since they choose their relationship with me), I struggle with anxiety and depression frequently, and a hundred other things I could list here. My point is, sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I’m overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m needy. Sometimes I’m emotional. Sometimes I require more love and attention from those close to me.

 

I seem to be in a growth spurt lately, and let me tell ya, I feel the growing pains. Like a child, it hurts, I cry, I accomplish, I laugh, I fall down, I get up, and it all repeats. Growing is hard. I’ve learned many important life lessons in the last year and a half and I’ve lost many “friends” and have had my heart stung through these lessons and losses. I’ve been used. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been treated badly. I’ve felt the crushing weight of stress. I’ve been scared. And through all of this, I’ve had to learn how to care for myself. I cannot put others’ needs before my own needs. I definitely cannot allow the poor choices of others to impact me to the point of me breaking. I’ve had to learn to depend on myself, even for emotional support. It’s been intense. It’s been painful. And in some ways, it’s been fulfilling. I’ve been learning and I’m still breathing and I keep moving forward. I’m succeeding, even through the changes. That’s what life is all about anyway, right?

“Man, I just love…”

I laid in bed at 11 o’clock last Saturday night and listened to the wind howl outside. I’ve always been soothed by storms and listening to it that night reminded me of an early memory from my childhood.

 

I must have been about 3 years old and I was awake in the early morning before my mom was. It was windy outside and as I sat on the couch with my face in the window, I was trying to figure out how it was that I could hear that wind howling through the house. I remember feeling a twinge of fear at how big the weather was and how small it made me seem. More than fear though, I felt comfort deep in my soul. That feeling has stayed with me even now in my 30’s. There’s something about the chaos of storms that soothes whatever chaos I have going on inside me. To me, storms are a reminder that I’m in control of so little in this world, I’m like a speck of sand in the desert, and that reminder calms me.

 

Lying in bed that night, with the wind in one ear and the soft snoring of my love in the other, I felt total peace in my heart. I felt an overwhelming calm, happiness, and contentedness. So much in my life right now is falling into place. Knowing all the children were cozy, sleeping in their beds, knowing I had no stress to worry about in that moment, being soothed by the wind storm outside, and enjoying that delicious feeling of comfort at the warmth of my sweetheart next to me, I knew I would later sit down to write a blog post about all the happy things going on right now.

 

*****

 

He finally said it. He said those 3 magic words I’ve been waiting almost 5 months to hear from him. As the days have turned into weeks and the weeks have turned into months, I’ve yearned for him to acknowledge love in his heart for me. I was totally head over heels, crazy in love by the time we were a few weeks in, but he was not. His pain was still fresh and his guard was high. This was something I totally understood, but it didn’t make me feel any less anxious for it. As time went on, I would have moments that would stop me in my tracks and I would be so filled with love and think to myself, “Man, I just love him so much.” This made me a little fearful that I was so completely in and yet I was unsure of what was going on in his head. I became fearful that I was going to get my heart broken.

 

You see, I’ve never in my entire life been in a relationship where it just felt so right. He made it so damn easy to fall for him and when I got scared, I started wondering if I was going to have to prepare for the heartache of a lifetime. I was so confused. He wasn’t telling me he loves me, but his actions definitely were. B is more sweet and tender with me than I’ve ever experienced in a romantic relationship in my entire life. The moments he would look lovingly tuck my hair behind my ear, or the way he would caress my skin without thinking while we were watching a movie, or even just the way I would look up and catch him looking at me–all of it screamed love. The only thing that didn’t was his own mouth. I allowed myself to become fearful despite that whole “actions speak louder than words” thing that should have given me reassurance. But let’s face it, anyone who knows me personally and anyone who reads these blogs knows that I am an animal driven by emotion and words. I can’t just feel things, I have to tell people what I feel. Constantly.

 

A couple weeks ago, B and I had a misunderstanding that hurt my feelings. Not because he was mean or intentionally hurtful, but once again, because of my own emotional intensity. I panicked and suddenly was thinking of all the worst case scenarios. I sat at work and wrote out an email to him that explained that I know I’m intense and I know that he cares and I will work on trying to relax a little. Instead of being annoyed with my sensitivity, he reminded me that he’s not going anywhere, that he likes me being me and doesn’t want me to try to change my need to talk about my feelings, and he gave me reassurance in general. He was kind and sweet and once again, made me sit back and think, “Man, I just love him so much.”

 

That conversation helped me to greatly relax. It was the reassurance that I needed to know he may not be proclaiming love to me, but he’s not going anywhere. We’ve had several tender moments since then, a fabulous date day, and two weekends in a row of amazing-ness. The most amazing part though, was waking up early on a Friday morning to get ready for work just like any other normal weekday. There was nothing special about this day, or at least there wasn’t until I got a text from him…

 

“Moonshine Niki…”

 

“Yes?” I asked, and then pretty much held my breath somehow knowing what was coming next.

 

“I love you, I really do.”

 

I sat there staring at my phone dumbfounded at the random revelation. I didn’t know what to say. We’ve had moments in the past where I’ve told him I don’t want him to feel pressured, but I can’t always hold it inside, and I confess my love for him. He always would smile sweetly and wrap me tightly in his arms and kiss me. But suddenly in that moment, I just couldn’t say I love you too. I was at a loss for words (something that is ~extremely~ rare for me) and I just smiled at my phone with what I’m sure was a ridiculous grin. I was filled with joy and happiness. We fell back into our regular texting after that, but I was on an intense high the entire day from it. I told him I’m anxious to be wrapped in his arms and have him look me in the eye and tell me in person. He promised it would happen soon.

 

*****

 

This last weekend was a “Littles Weekend” meaning that B had his children for the weekend. I call them the Littles because my children are teenagers and his are small. It’s a cute, affectionate name for them that distinguishes which kids I’m referring to without claiming “mine” or “yours”.

 

Anyone that has ever had (or even been around) a blended family knows that dating as single parents is not easy. There have been tough moments as far as all of the children go and we never really know what we’re going to get. But every Littles Weekend that happens, we bond more and more and we have fun. This last weekend was no different.

 

On Saturday morning, we did projects and then went to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for lunch. After loading the children and the groceries up to leave, it was in that parking lot as we were getting ready to leave that B randomly leaned in, hugged me, and said “I love you” out of the blue. Nothing else about that moment was romantic. It was just normal, everyday life stuff, and he suddenly made it magical. My heart soared.

 

I spent the weekend on Cloud 9 and was truly happy. There was lots of fun had and I enjoyed the little moments of silliness and laughter. Everything from painting projects, to snuggling a sleepy little one as he wakes up from nap, to just watching the Littles play, I felt full of bliss. I wanted the weekend to continue forever.

 

As we drove home from the kid swap on Sunday, I already was thinking of what we could do on the next Littles Weekend. I now find my heart missing them when they are with their mom. For the first time since B and I started dating, the Littles are on my mind all the time, every day.

 

I sat in my car on my lunch break yesterday and suddenly realized how much I have feelings growing in my heart for those babies. I’ve been guarded with my feelings for them because of the previous uncertainty with B. We’ve always had fun and done projects, they’ve always had stability and consistency with me, and I’ve always been interactive with them, but I’ve worked hard to keep my emotions in check with them. Watching the clouds cross the sky yesterday as I pondered all of the recent changes, I realized that B finally professing love for me subconsciously gave me permission to love his children.

 

In that moment, I thought to myself, “Man, I just love them so much…”

 

I Live my Life in Song Lyrics

I sit here at my newly delivered dining room table—with its beautiful finish, bar height, 8 chairs, and gorgeous 7 feet in length to write this blog. This impressive, brand new lovely wood warmth feels great to sit at, but that’s as good as the feelings get tonight. I sit here with a heavy heart. I sit here with a mind going a million miles an hour with hurt. I sit here ready to purge.

It’s funny how blogs give way to brutal honesty. Anonymity is incredibly freeing. It’s often truth telling honesty, poured freely from anonymous bleeders like myself because of its freedom. This freedom from pressure to constantly look, perform, and sound like I have my shit together 100% gives me the allowance to unashamedly tell my story. So here goes…

It was at this brand new table that my family was able to comfortably sit for a dinner together in this house for the first time. I was so excited coming home, knowing we were able to pay off our 90 day layaway just in the nick of time, to know we were going to have actual conversation over dinner together tonight. I was in high spirits. For a moment, life felt good. But it didn’t take long for it to be destroyed.

The entire mood of the house soured quickly in the instant Mr. Man decided he was going to throw a tantrum—something that happens with about as much regularity as I need to change my clothes. The tantrums have gotten old and so frequent that the mood of the entire house dims once it starts.

I move away out of sight from it all to allow my face a moment to adjust to my frustration (to not look as annoyed as I feel). I swallow hard, take a few deep breaths, and intentionally relax the tale telling muscles in my face. But it doesn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmed. Feeling like I’m walking through cement and am tired because I’ve done this same stretch of trudging for I don’t even know how many days in a row.

The TV gets turned off and some light 80’s and 90’s country plays on Pandora as we gather at the new table set for dinner. The kids are talking but I feel the tension. I feel tired. Am I really going through this again? Am I watching my relationship unravel before my eyes? Am I continuing to fight for something that is crumbling away despite my efforts?

I quietly eat my food as Faith Hill’s voice begins over the speakers, ♪“Baby, tell me where’d you ever learn to fight without sayin’ a word…”♪

I feel tears sting my eyes.

♪“Then waltz back into my life like it’s all gonna be alright, don’t you know how much it hurts?” ♪

I focus on relaxing my facial expressions.

♪ “When we don’t talk, when we don’t touch, when it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love…it matters to me.”♪

I blink back hot tears as I see the disconnect between me and Mr. Man. I see it in this moment. I see it every day.

♪“When I don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do, don’t know if it really even matters to you.”♪

He doesn’t even look my direction as I sit there in silence, choking down the food that my stomach has no desire to take in.

♪“Maybe I still don’t understand the distance between a woman and a man. So tell me how far it is, and how you can love like this, ‘cause I’m not sure I can…”♪

I am barely in control of my emotions and the song seemingly speaks about my life.

My children start in with going around the table and asking what the best part of everyone’s day was. This is a game I started when they were little just to get them to communicate with me and show them that I am interested in their days. My daughter’s big brown eyes look up at me as it’s my turn.

“Mommy, what was the best part of your day?”

I ponder for a moment and tell her, the best part of my day was when I was coming home. I was excited to be off work. I was thrilled that the new table was coming and that we could finally eat together as a family. I was excited to know my new country CD had arrived and was looking forward to just relaxing and being with my loves. I left out how my happiness and good spirits came to a screeching halt when the grown up tantrums began. My answers pleased her though and I was relieved when the focus was off of me and on to the next person at the table. My heart was being squeezed. It is hard to hide my pain from my children. It’s hard to feel that pain period.

I feel intense pressure to make everything okay all the time. I fear letting down my babies after I’ve already put them through so much in life. My bright, caring, beautiful children are depending on me for their stability and yet I can’t seem to keep it all together. It is the weight of the entire world on my shoulders as I smile through the hurt at them.

I sat there contemplating all that is my life currently…

Are we going to end? Are we going to survive? Am I fighting the inevitable? It’s the pong that goes on in my mind daily lately. When is it worth fighting for? When is it worth giving up? Am I lying to myself?

The country music continues with George Strait and I feel some relief when the mood relaxes at the table and the kids talk happily amongst themselves.

I think it’s going to be okay, I tell myself…

♪”…And if you’ll buy that, I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.”♪

Back to Where I Began From

I’ve had a love of writing for almost as long as I’ve know how to. Journaling, poetry, and essays have kept me sane. It only makes sense for me to start my first blog. Whether anyone reads it or not, I feel an overwhelming need to purge my soul by putting my written words out into the universe.

But where do I begin? How do I choose what to write about? What is currently on my heart…..?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. I always knew I would have children. What I did not know was how I would have so many, so young.

In 1999, at 15 years old, I struggled with my self-esteem. I struggled with knowing who I was and what my place was in the world. I was lonely, hurting, and confused. Of course, I knew a baby would just fix all of that for me. Even with that insane desire, I was shocked when the woman entered the Planned Parenting office room at the end of that September day and said my test was positive. She must have thought I was crazy because I have a face that cannot lie and my emotions are always clearly written in my expressions. She must have known I was happy about this result.

I left with some pamphlets and booklets and proof of pregnancy in hand. I’m sure I was beaming. I didn’t think about how I didn’t even live at home (since I’d been kicked out several weeks prior). I didn’t think about how my teacher that I was living with would react. I didn’t think about how in that one instant, my entire life, my path, my future, my everything was suddenly altered. All I thought about was the little life growing inside of me and how more than anything, I wanted to be a good mommy to my baby. I just didn’t know yet how hard that would be.

So two weeks before my 16th birthday, I announced to those around me that I was with child and that no matter what anyone said or did, I was keeping it. I dreamed of baby names, cute baby clothes, and snuggling a delicious smelling newborn that was all mine. What I did NOT think about was everything beyond that. I didn’t think about school struggles. I didn’t think about puberty. I didn’t think about teenage attitude and defiance. I didn’t think about those things, but I am now living smack dab in the middle of them anyway.

I worry about my son. I worry that I set my child (and other children) up for hard lives of their own because of my own choices. They have lived through poverty and very young parents that didn’t know what they were doing. They have seen their father abuse their mother, and they have seen their father under the influence of a variety of drugs and alcohol. They have endured horrific circumstances that I’m not yet ready to write about. They have endured their parents’ divorce, moving, and starting life over from scratch.

Until now, we made do with what we had and my children have been fairly well adjusted and happy souls. Then enters puberty and extreme hormones. My son, C, has made troubles for himself. Failing in school, becoming violent at home, ending up court involved, and taking off after school and doing who knows what for hours on end when he’s supposed to be home. It’s hard to deal with as a parent. I cry. I try to talk to him about his choices now can affect his entire life. I continue to push him to follow the rules and to do his school work, but ultimately, I have no control over his choices. So I worry, I stress, and I grieve. I feel extreme guilt over how my choices impacted his life. I fear for where he is headed. I hurt for what I learned too little too late and cannot fix. I cry hot tears into my pillow and lay awake for hours at night thinking of where I have gone wrong and how badly I wish I could go back in time and change it.

For those that say they wouldn’t change anything in the past in life because it makes one who he or she is today, I call bullshit. There is so much that I would change if I could. Because now, my heart aches Every. Single. Day.