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Saturday, June 21, 2014

What moments in your life (good or bad) have changed you forever?

I posted this comment on my Facebook page to see what kind of response I'd get.

Of course I already knew what I was going to write about, but before I start... I want to pay humble homage to those of you who commented on that Facebook post.  Some of the comments I was not surprised about, but others I was in absolute awe of.  They were all fabulous.  You have amazing strength and heart.  All of you.  Thank you.  Really.  I'm honored that you shared yourselves with me.

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, have you really given thought to the moment(s) in your life that have changed you forever?

It's something I'm totally hung up on.

There's never just one moment, because the moments change.
Life changes.  I look back through my life, and I see the "me" that I was through different decades. I don't even know her anymore.

What defined me?  What changed me?

I can immediately say for certain, that my husband helped to shape the woman I've become over the past almost 15 years.

My childhood and early adulthood made me the very strong, independent woman that I am.  I was someone who had endured more loss than anyone should have, and someone who wasn't very trusting as a result. I totally expected people to check out on me - one way or another, so I learned to do things for myself and didn't get too attached to anyone. That attitude isn't fabulous when you're trying to have a relationship.  It has a way of blocking you from moving forward.

Eventually I learned trust.
More times than I can count, my husband has said to me,
"Relax - why do you think you need to do everything?"
It's a good reminder that it's OK.  I CAN rely on him.
Breaking down my wall and allowing him to take care of me was not an easy thing.  It was something that I really had to work at to change.
To grow.

Just when I started to believe that people don't check out on you, my brother committed suicide.

...another life changing moment.

That loss tore me down and completely changed me, robbing me of everything I finally began to trust.  It's made me hard in ways that I can't explain.  I'm not over it.  I don't know if I'll ever be completely over it. Most people can't see it, because I hide behind a smile.  Only the people really close to me can see it.  Only the people really close to me have all of me.

I really needed my husband's strength and support to get through my brother's death.

His suicide brought my wall back up and made me more distant and on guard than I had ever been.

I, once again, keep people at arms length.  I no longer give people an opportunity to get close enough to hurt me.  I'll make casual acquaintances, but that's it.  I have a few close friends, whom I know I can trust.  For certain - You hurt me, you screw me?  I'm out. I'll forgive once, maybe twice - depending on the offense, but if given a big enough red flag - you can see the flames shooting out the back of my heels as I run away.  Done, over.  As if you'd never known me.

It may not be the best way to handle things, but it's what works for me.
I get to check out first.


I know it's hard to imagine that part of me, here through the web-o-sphere.  Here it's easy.  I can love you all.  I want to take care of you all and make sure you're all happy and lovely and safe. That part, I'm super good at.  Just don't try to take care of me.  I'm good.  I've got this.

I was changed again when my friend Ed died.
This time I felt mortality smack me in the face.  I mean, I was the sick one.  Yeah, I knew he already had one heart attack and yeah, I knew he wasn't the healthiest guy on the planet - but ya know... your friends? They aren't supposed to check out.  Yes, I know - it wasn't his choice.
It was almost as if mortality were saying to me... "Hey listen chick... just because you got over your little health issues doesn't mean you're going to live forever.  Heads up!  Oh, and appreciate what you've got."

For a while, I went on the "life's too short" for whatever the situation happened to be going on at the time. I still feel that way in most situations, but you can't both have your wall up and forgive and forget all the hurts around you.  I took stock of what was important and tried to make things better in some situations - when they weren't better at all. Then I began to think about what's worth fighting for. What's an illusion?  What's real, and what's not?  Is this situation really worth the effort, or should I just chalk it up to illusion?

Living life to its fullest doesn't mean accepting toxic relationships just because you've had them for a long period of time.  It's about being happy about the relationships that you are in.  Realizing what works in your life and what doesn't.

I've changed.  Many times.

For certain, those changes have opened my eyes to things I've chosen to not look at until I had no choice but to see.

Sometimes you need to see.  Like it or not.  Sometimes you need the really awful things to change you, so that you can move toward the really great things ahead.

At times I wish I didn't have to experience certain things that I have. Those moments - but I embrace them for what they are - my past.

A past defining moment that has set me on the path to my future.

So what moments in your life have changed you?

Thank you for reading my blog!


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Friday, June 13, 2014

For the "Other" Dad In My Life

Over they years that I've published Father's Day posts which I'd written about my dad, my step dad, single dads - other dads.

While my dads are the ones who help to shape who I am, I don't feel I've given enough honor to another special dad in my life.  The one who accepts this woman that my dads shaped...

My husband.

I was a single mom when I met my husband.  I didn't want a "boyfriend" and I flat out told him so. I was completely content to be a single mom.  Just me & my son.  That's how it would be.  If I was going to have a "relationship" it was going to be one I didn't have to give too much attention to. Maybe a far away one, or a see ya in a few weeks kinda thing.  I didn't think I was cut out for this whole marriage thing.  I'd given it a shot and it just didn't work out.  I'd been on my own for too long, maybe.  Too independent.  Too unwilling to depend upon someone else, because someone else always lets me down.  I've got this.  No worries.

Then, there was my husband.  Totally "OK" with just being friends. Totally "OK" with my insistence that he doesn't get to meet my son, because I wasn't interested in having him do any potential "daddy interviews."  I was hard.  I was cold.  I was very protective of my son. Until the day that he showed up at my front door, which my dad answered, toy in hand for my son.  "I don't need to meet him, Jenn isn't ready for me to, but could you give this to him?"

That's my husband.
The guy who not only taught me that it's OK to depend upon someone, but the guy who chose us as a package deal, because he wanted to.  The guy who cracked my tough exterior, when others probably would have given up.  The guy who jokes... "well, she said she didn't want a boyfriend, so she got a husband instead."

Without the love of my husband, I know life would be different.

I know my son would have grown into the man he's become, but I wouldn't have my two beautiful girls - who he thinks the sun rises and sets over.

Without the love of my husband, I wouldn't have been able to grow into the mom I've become. The mom I always wanted to be.  I wouldn't have been able to open my home to other children who need love.  I wouldn't have given birth to our daughter or adopted our littlest.  ("the short one")  I wouldn't have the life I'd always wanted, or the girls who brighten his world.

Seeing his glow around our kids makes every day worth while.

On this Father's Day, I want to honor my husband; an AMAZING father, husband, man.

Thank you, honey.

I love you!


Thank you for reading my blog!


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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

You are not less....

A friend of mine talked with me earlier this week about a discussion she'd had with someone in her life. She explained with upset how during this discussion, the person she was speaking with somehow made her feel as if she was not good enough.

I know, I know - no one can make you anything - but it doesn't always feel that way, does it?

I think this happens to all of us from time to time.  Either we're beating ourselves up, or someone else is beating us up to make us feel as though we are less - not good enough.

Sometimes it's hard to get beyond the expectations of others, isn't it?  You want people to be proud of you, to see your shine.

Sadly, those who want to feel superior will always find a way to try to make you feel less. Especially if your shine is a little brighter than theirs.

How can you find your own happy medium?

I used to struggle with that, and sometimes I still do, even though I've come to know who I am, and what I will and will not accept.

There was a time when I was younger and not in such a great situation.  I was regularly beaten down, verbally, mentally, emotionally - whatever. I'm a pretty tough cookie - but I found myself in a situation where I was made to feel less.

Eventually, I sought out mental help.

**Know this**
I sought out mental help because I was told that 
I was crazy, psychotic, in need of mental help.
...and I believed it.

That mental beat down and insistence that I needed mental help 
was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Those counselling sessions opened my eyes 
and made me see what I'd been missing all along.
It wasn't ME that needed the mental help at all.
It was the other person in the situation.  The person who was mentally beating me down because of their own self esteem issues.  They were working to bring me down so that they could feel better about them self.

It finally made sense.  So much sense that when it came at me again, I recognized it.  I was able to feel in control of myself and address it calmly by saying, "just because you're feeling badly about yourself, don't try to drag me down with you."  This comment was met with a snicker.  He knew.  It was the beginning of the end of that journey for me, and an opening to a new start.

I was able to pick myself back up and go on, knowing that I AM worthy.  I AM good.  I AM special and important.  Sometimes we forget that.  Sometimes we get caught up into a bad situation and we lose ourselves.

Don't ever lose yourself.

It wasn't easy to get back to me.  That situation is long behind me now.  I often question myself as to how a reasonably intelligent, strong willed, strong minded woman got there to begin with.

It's the reason why I will no longer accept another person in my life trying to push me lower to raise them self up.  No thanks.  Not playing, but you have fun with that.  When I see it coming, I cut and run.

If you're reading, and this all sounds all too familiar - remember who you are.  Remember that you are good.  You are worthy and you are most definitely NOT LESS!

Thank you for reading my blog!