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.

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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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

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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My Sunshine Is Coming

I have been so incredibly busy. I have 3 teenagers, 2 jobs, and 1 very hectic life. I’m constantly on the go and when I do have downtime, all I want to do is get into my cozy clothes and hangout on my couch. One thing I greatly miss about having more time though is writing, of course.

I went back and re-read a blog yesterday that I’d written a couple months ago and the yearning in my heart to write was so overwhelming. I have had tons of blog ideas lately, but just haven’t been able to get them out. I sometimes start, but then get sidetracked or overwhelmed with other things. Reading that blog though, I needed it. I needed it to fan the flames inside of me. I needed to be set back on track. While I still don’t think I have time today to bang out anything spectacular, it was important to me that I sit down and at least write a couple hundred words about anything in general.

I’m treading water in this current storm as fast and hard as I can. Lately, I’m working 7 days a week and still barely keeping my face out of the water. My kids miss me and I miss them. Sometimes I get bogged down with memories of my old life and it feels hard. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I full on body shaking, soul quaking sob. But each and every day, I get back up with a heart full of hope and a soul full of determination. Each day, I get ready and get the kids to the bus stop and go to work. Each day, I battle exhaustion and chronic pain and I do what I have to do. I’m strong. I get told that a lot, and it is true. But the thing is, I don’t have a choice. I can’t not pay my bills. I can’t not feed my children. I can’t not go to work. So I trudge on.

I’ve been on a few dates lately and have conflicted emotions about this. It’s nice to be reminded that I am a woman and desired, but I also don’t want to waste time. I’m not looking for random hook-ups or someone to just kill time with. I’m also unwilling to settle and know that I deserve a hell of a man. I deserve someone who has just as much drive in life as I do. I deserve loyalty and dedication. I deserve tenderness and sweetness. I deserve intelligence and thoughtfulness. And finding a man in today’s times with all of this is well, sadly, a hard feat. I don’t hold out much hope that some man is going to swoop in and sweep me off my feet and make it so that my life isn’t so lonely and hard, but let’s face it, I’m a hopeless romantic. I do have a giant faith that my “forever” is somewhere out there and will someday present himself. I just don’t think it’ll be any time soon, and that’s okay.

For now, most of my focus and energy goes into just surviving each day. I’m just trying to maintain. I know that life can’t be like this forever and it won’t be. I also know that some of the brightest days happen after a storm. So for the time being, I’m patiently enduring the rain knowing my sunshine is coming.

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*Photo from Google*