Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scraps of Our Memories

My middle little, the one who is extremely sassy, drama-prone, loud to the nth degree, impressionable, and full of genuine love wanted to go through scrapbooks tonight.  This should have sent alarm bells off in my head the minute I walked back in from my walk/run tonight.  (Yes, I tried to run even with my injury, yes, yes, yes!) I tried every tactic I could think of to deter this.  I made up one condition after another.  It wasn't so much that I didn't want to spend the time with her; I just didn't want to go through those blasted books.  Those books that I poured untold hours, obscene amounts of money, and unmeasurable amounts of love into creating.  I USED to scrapbook.  USED to. You know, back when preserving family memories meant something because forever wasn't supposed to end.

We started off somewhere in the middle of her toddler years.  I was never good at chronological order.  I made that a goal with the littlest little, but I'm like at 8 months.  Yeah, she's 5 1/2.  But, who's counting.  Ha!  There she was with her sweet chubby cheeks, her gorgeous brown eyes that lit up her entire face when she smiled, her insanely crazy sense of fashion, and her general love for life peeping out through the pictures on those pages.  Then, then...we got to the family photos.  The photos that were her and her sister and daddy.  The photos when it was just the four of us, then the five of us.  The ones where we all played and vacationed and familied together.  We weren't perfect, but we were, well, us.

After the books were put away and all three of my beautiful littles were tucked into their beds, the tears came like hot lava flowing down my cheeks.  Buckets full of tears.  And as I sat in my chair, I noticed the screen saver on my laptop had begun its trek down memory lane too.  Picture after picture popping up on my screen of days spent at the beach, at Lego Land, at the park, etc.  The pictures of us, together, as a family.  The ones that had no future past October of last year because for the most part, that is where it ended.  And the tears, they keep flowing.  Now,  yes now, all these months later still.  I can't shut them off.  WHY?

I hurt for my littles.  They don't have a traditional family any more.  And its my fault.  I wasn't good enough.  I wasn't thin enough.  Pretty enough.  Young enough.  Smart enough.  Anything and everything enough to keep him here.  To keep his attentions here.  I simply failed them.  But, someday, I can't say when just yet, I hope to build new scrapbook pages.  New books filled with the things the four of us, me and my littles, have done together.  Because we have.  We've done a lot.  We've kept busy. 

Yet, for now, I will hold off on that because that is just one more thing that has had to change in all of this change.  But, at least we have those books filled with the scraps of our memories.




Closed Doors

We've all heard some variation of the saying, "when one door closes another one opens."  I really hate that saying for many reasons.  I think the biggest reason is that a closing door is often looked at as the goodbye, the end.  The door can be gently closed, slammed shut, pushed in firmly, what have you.  However you look it, it is a severing of something - ties, time, plans, memories, relationships, etc.  But what if we look at it from the other side?  Not as the person on the outside, the one who no longer has access to what ever the thing may be.  What if we look at it from the inside?  Then that closed door could became a symbol of hope, comfort, and happiness. 

I've had a lot of doors closed on me in the past 11 months.  Doors I never thought would.  I have also tried to open doors; doors that just wouldn't budge. As these doors closed, none by choice, until yesterday, but I will get to that later, I crumbled a little bit more.  Each time a bit of me fell away.  Each time I questioned more and more about me, about who I am, about what I am, about what I have to offer.  This all to a point where I questioned my very existence.  Surely I was not put on this Earth to merely become the expert of the closed door.  Then, today, while I was telling a friend about another closed door I got to thinking not only about that one, but also the one from yesterday.

Yesterday, the door, one that had been closed on me, cracked open a small bit.  You know what I did?  I put up a boundary.  Then stated the facts, shared my feelings and CLOSED THAT DOOR!  Yes, I cried.  Yes, it hurt, but today, today I'm not mad at myself.  I'm happy that I did the right thing.  Then today, today where some plans didn't go as anticipated, I gave myself the 15 or so minutes to process it and then, smiled at that closed door.  It too had been one that closed months ago, but kept creeping open from time to time.

Here's the thing.  I will probably always cringe at closed doors, most especially as they swing shut, but I think after some time, like now, I may see that from the inside the closed door isn't such a scary thing.  I may not have the view I had before, but that doesn't mean I won't have a view.  I wonder really if, now, I'm seeing what I was meant to see all along - accepting the defeat, accepting the loss, accepting that my life may just possess more closed doors than open ones -  the hope comfort, and peace I'm meant to have.

Plus, I'm pretty sure the right doors never close.  Until then, I've got some work to do!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It

She wore a baggy hoodie as she shuffled down the sidewalk.  Her face down cast while wisps of light brown hair slipped out from under her hood.  She's trying to run away, like every day before; run until there is no sidewalk left, but it doesn't, it doesn't end.  She can't run away from what's truly following her.  It is relentless.  It is fearless.  It is consuming.

It has chased her for years.  Some years she has felt safe, she has felt it wasn't there and that she had finally outrun it, but she was wrong.  Dead wrong.  Because it was laying dormant.  That's what it does to make one think they have beaten it.  But it is merely waiting for one to let their guard down, and she did.  Now she is struggling to find a safe haven, a place where it can't reach her again.

She'd tasted its sweetly intoxicating vileness before.  She tried to be strong, show others she was big enough to beat it, prove to herself that she didn't need anyone but herself and her own strength. It knew she would think that, because that is what some do when they let their guard down.  It knew her weakness.  It knew she thought she could do it.  That is why she is running from it now.  It got to her again and she didn't even see it until it was too late.

But she can't run away.  Her legs aren't fast enough, her heart isn't strong enough.  The distance, it is too far.  It can not be outrun.  So it surrounds her and taunts her.  It reminds her of what it has done, no, what she has done because she let it.  She faces it head on, from all sides.  It won't let her go.  Her heart, it's beating fast, so very fast.  It has grabbed ahold of her again.  It has taken her and it is destroying her from the inside out.  Tearing at the very fiber of her being.

She longs to break free.  She longs to scream out, "go away!"  "I'm sorry!"  "I shouldn't have let my guard down."  "I'm not strong enough on my own.  I NEED help."  And she is now, she is screaming those words at the top of her lungs, on the inside.  It doesn't matter though, no one else is listening.  They have gone.  Each of them.  All of them.  Pointing and laughing and judging and ridiculing her from afar. And she is running harder and harder to get to where the sidewalk ends, yet the one she is on doesn't end.

So she stops.  She might as well.  It isn't going to stop chasing her.  She has to face it.  Truly look at it.  She has to acknowledge its power over her and her need for someone more powerful.  It has a nemesis.  It can be destroyed.  It isn't her that will do it.  She is too weak.  She can't fight off this beast.  This beast that has drawn her in time and again.  This beast that turns her into someone she is not.  It can only be defeated by the one who's power is made strong in her weakness. And she is there.  Now.  Late, yes.  Damage has been done, but this one, the one made strong in weakness, He rebuilds too.

He forgives.  He gives second chances.  He doesn't make the sidewalk end, but He doesn't let her travel it by herself either.  She slowly lowers the hood that has her head covered.  The breeze ruffles her hair.  She turns her face to the sun and allows it to dry the tears.  She can see it now.  It isn't as big as she thought because He is bigger.  So much bigger.  Why hadn't she noticed that before?  Fear. Fear does that.  Fear keeps one from seeing the bigger picture. 

She's ready for rebuilding.  She's ready to accept the forgiveness.  She's ready to not let it consume her again.  She knows now, that daily, she will have to scream at the top of her lungs to Him for the strength to keep her from it.  She also knows that it won't stop the fight.  It will constantly sit there, in a dormant state or not, waiting for its chance again.  But, she knows what it looks like.  What it feels like.  What it will do.  She isn't going to let it back in.  She isn't going to do it alone any more.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time for the Little Things

They say that healing takes time, that getting over a major life event takes time.  But what manner of time are they talking about?  And who are these elusive "they"? We get time.  We know there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, so on and so forth.  But how do you truly account for the time it takes to "get over" something.  I need to be honest here.  I'm not over it.  I'm not, not completely - really.  I mean I was with him for the better part of 11 years.  Don't get me wrong.  I THOUGHT I was over it.  I THOUGHT my heart was healed.  Actually, I THOUGHT my mind was healed.  But I was more just hiding from it.  I think the true tell is the amount of time I still TALK about it. 

And I do.  A LOT.  Truth, I talk about a lot of things a lot!  Heartache being the biggest one.  I'm going to get back to more lighthearted subject matters.  I know I will.  I'll find my snarky whiticism and have you all in stitches again.  Its still in here, in my head, somewhere.  Right now though it's being blocked by the hurt on my heart.  Just today I started a conversation up with a friend at work and it went a little something like this, "my ex is getting a tattoo with his girlfriend."  She looked at me funny and then asked which ex!?  Giggle worthy for sure, a bit heartbreaking mostly.  See, while I want to be happy, and in the most regard I am, for the ex-Mr I'm just a wee bit saddened by this.

This was something that never would have been done with me.  Now, don't get me wrong I am NOT the kind of girl that digs his and her tats or matching tats or name tats or anything else like that, but I do appreciate nice ink.  I have 4 myself and one that needs to be completed.  All my pieces tell a story.  Each one means something to me.  Something near and dear.  Each one an expression of me.  But I can't seem to let this go.  This thing that he is doing with someone else.  He isn't mine anymore.  He chose to make that a reality.  I get it.  But I think the hard part is things like this.  These little things that don't really mean a whole lot to others, but were at some point uniquely special to me, to us.

It is that point that I want to focus on.  Some friends of mine are going through this battle right now.  They are facing the stark realities of what divorce really means.  It isn't unicorns and rainbows people.  It isn't skipping down the road into the sunset while hand-in-hand with another.  It most certainly is not the joy of making promises to another you cannot keep or even in hopefulness accepting ones that shouldn't have been given to you by another.  It is the reality that you are losing all those little things.  The little things that you didn't think were there while going through the process of ending it.  BUT, the little things are always there if you take the time to look for them.  And, DO!  DO look for them.

I challenge you, those in long-term relationships/marriages, those struggling to keep one, those thinking of ending one, etc, I challenge you to remember the little things.  Oh, don't deny them.  Don't sit there and say there are none, because there are.  I can think of many, right now.  Don't let hindsight be your keeper.  You still have the now.  It isn't over until it's over, and this person you promised your tomorrow's to, they hold so many of your little things. 

Like did they remember that you love bananas chopped up in your pancakes and make them that way just for you.  Did they remember that you love diet Pepsi from the fountain and bring one to you from time to time.  Did they take the kids with them for a trip into town so you could enjoy a few minutes of quiet time.  There are so many, many little things people.  Focus on those.  Smile about those.  Remember them together.  Tell them thank you.  Then, do something little for them.  Write them a little note and put it in their lunch box, send them a random text, make them their favorite dessert.  Just take time for the little things.  It does work.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Making Mistakes

I've done a lot of reading in the past week. I'm finally opening books I received for graduation and ones I bought for myself during bouts of clarity.  All I can say is, wow!  Holy geez people I wish I'd have cracked these puppies open straight away.  But, and here is the kicker, I wouldn't have been receptive to what they are saying.  Nope, not one lick.  That often happens when you turn off your listening ears and put on your own way of doing things.  I think what is most tragic is that over the course of several months I had heard what I knew to be truth, yet kept on keeping on.  We do that, don't we.  We tend to want what we think is best, most especially when it makes us happy and makes our heart smile.  I'm having a hard time now with negating the truth and fully accepting it.  But what I do know is this, I made a mistake.  Hear me out.

We all know I run.  I use my time while running to clear my head and open my mind and heart.  I use it to run from things and at the same time run to the answers.  I use it as the time when I have no distraction other than what is in my head and what I can physically accomplish.  Many times this past summer, on my runs, I sought guidance.  I actually talked to God about what I knew and what I wanted.  I talked to him about where I struggled and where I needed His help. His response - first and foremost, I needed to put the bottle down.  Yes!  I get myself into A LOT of trouble this way.  I can't blame the 'proof' on the choices I made, but I can say it helped me to make them.  (Which was the second thing.)  Alcohol tends to dull the senses and most definitely quiets the "still small voice." 

And that is what I did.  The more I quieted the still small voice the more I did what was against God's will.  The more I did what was against God's will the more I quieted the still small voice.  I literally drank the problems away.  I drank through the wrong which caused an internal hurt.  Then, I drank myself through the hurt.  I sought more and more for what I knew was wrong to fix what I knew was wrong.  I knew!  Bless it all, I KNEW!  And in that knowing I kept on keeping on to justify the knowing.  Now here I sit, in front of my keyboard, telling all of you.  Oh, I don't want  your sympathy, I know you won't give it anyway.  What I want is to help someone else NOT do this same thing. 

We all make mistakes.  We all fail to do the right thing at some point.  We all fail to do God's will perfectly.  Heaven's we are imperfect beings!  But when we purposely rebel against what we know, and refuse to listen to His voice of correction and direction, things can quickly turn into an epic mess!  I got there, people!  I was there!  I spent 3 weeks at the very end of July and beginning of August, running in circles, pulling my hair out, not eating, drinking more, searching more, pushing more, breaking myself more because the mess had finally blown up.  Sadly it wasn't me who made the connection, it wasn't me who was able to listen. But it was me who was left picking up the pieces of my own broken heart because I failed to listen.  Jim Cymbala says in his book The Life God Blesses, "where we see failure, wasted opportunities, and heartaches, is in the fatal flaw of having to have our own way."

And that is what I did.  I had it my own way.  Me.  I stood in the way.  I stopped standing for what I knew was right and gave in.  I caved into the pressure.  I thought I could make it right, but it wasn't.  It wasn't right.  I couldn't drink it away.  I couldn't run it away.  I still can't pray it away.  It happened.  However, what I do know is that God forgives.  He gives second chances.  He makes all things new again.  I know that He doesn't want me to hurt like this and to take on this pain.  I know what He wants more than anything is for me to stop running from Him and stop quieting His voice.  He wants me to run to Him with open arms, open ears, and an open heart.

In another one of the books I'm reading, it shared a statement by John C. Maxwell: "our mistakes have value; we can learn from them." OH.MY.WORD. here people - AM I ever learning!!!  I am learning so much.  I am learning that we can't take back what we've said or done.  I'm learning that forgiving myself is a lot harder than being forgiven by God.  (He actually does that lickity split like when we are truly asking for it in all sincerity.)  I'm learning that my friends were, in their way, telling me all of this then, but what I needed more than their words was perhaps a 2x4 up against my flipping skull.  I'm learning that God is a God of second chances and I pray that someday He will answer the desires of my heart, because the truth of the matter is - no sin is too big and no one can fall too far that God can't pick them up and turn their mistakes into messages.

One last thing from John C. Maxwell, simply because I like what it says:
M - essages that give us feedback about life
I - nterruptions that should cause us to reflect and think
S - ignposts that direct us to the right path
T - ests that push us towards greater maturity
A - wakenings that keep us in the game mentally
K - eys that we can use to unlock the next door of opportunity
E - xplorations that let us journey where we've never been before
S - tatements about our development and progress

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Angry Enough to Fight

Have you ever been angry enough to fight?  Of course you have.   You are human.  Don't deny it.  It's alright.  There is no one here that will judge you.  I'm sure you are curious about why this topic, why now?  I mean I never got angry enough to fight in the whole past year.  That's just it.  I was.  I just didn't act it out in the way most people thought I should.  I didn't allow the hurt to produce the ugly side affects that anger can cause.  But now, now I want to share what I am angry about.  What I think all women should be angry about.  Truthfully, what all people should be angry about - the degradation of marriage.

I will never deny the role I held in the breakdown of my marriage.  Sure, I wanted more than he could give. I wanted him to be someone he simply wasn't.  I wanted him to become a man that God had not created him to be.  It's ok.  I admit that.  I really do wish him happiness in his future relationships and I pray that some day he meets a woman that he can be himself with and they are both happy with the each other they are.  (Disclaimer:  that does not mean that God's work couldn't have made us a couple who, no matter what, stayed together and through that grew into something magnificent.  God can do miraculous things if we let him, but it certainly takes two people willing.)

My point to all of this is, now, 10 months later I'm angry.  No, not at him for his choices.  Honestly, not at me for mine.  What I am angry about is how easy it is to let a marriage go.  How easy it is to let a marriage disintegrate and fall apart.  How easy it is, when  you are not even paying attention, to let someone else in.  I'm angry at how easy "falling out of love" has become.  I'm angry that marriages can't stand the test of feelinglessness (yes I just made that word up).  I'm angry at the way society accepts broken marriages as a rule instead of the exception.  I'm angry at how some people go into marriage with an ace in their pocket - knowing they can make a play to end the game whenever it isn't going their way.  That right there is why I am angry.  I'm angry enough to cry. 

And I have.  A lot.  More than I care to admit.  People I HURT for others in this situation.  I have friends that are starting this journey, in the middle of this journey, nearing the end of this journey, completely through it, and yes, some who have been blessed to not know anything about the pain this journey creates.  Divorce hurts.  It will tear you to shreds.  Don't deny it.  There is a sense of euphoria in the beginning...the moving on newness and its feelings (especially when there is someone there to help bridge the gaps), but it will still rip at the very fabric of your soul. 

I've cried for friends that think this is what they want.  That think this is the best way out of a "crappy" marriage or situation.  It isn't.  I know.  I was there - in 2005.  I wanted out.  I did what I thought I needed to do to find that peace.  It didn't work because when it came down to it, I really did love him and our marriage.  We struggled, we rebuilt, we grew, we became a good couple - you know the kind that have a lot of problems, but also the desire to work them out together.  Yeah, I can say that it took a lot on his part and mine.  But we committed to it, for the kids.  Then in 2012, well, you've all read about it.  You can't run from these things.  I can almost hear the naysayers.  It's ok, you can have your opinion.  I will never take it from you.  Just be polite enough to allow me to have mine.

To the woman out there that is fighting for her marriage, that is fighting against things she shouldn't have to, know that I KNOW  your pain.  Keep up the fight. Do not stop.  Give it what you have, BUT also work at it together...don't cast blame.  There are two sides.  Build it back together, brick by brick.  Fight it with kindness, softness, and a strong spirit.  Fight it with compassion and selflessness.  Fight it with love and perseverance.  Do NOT fight it with malicious words, fists, hatred, and vengeful actions.  Fight it with a heart of forgiveness.  You'll be so much more proud of yourself in the end.  Mostly, I want  you to fight it with God on your side.  He will be there when you seek Him.  He will be your "Mickey." (For those who don't know that is a Rocky reference.  LOVE those movies!)

On that note, my desire is to fight too.  To fight alongside you all.  I want you to know I will pray for you.  You people I don't know and you who I do.  I will pray that you fight the good fight.  But mostly I am going to pray the God can heal broken hearts, hurting hearts, confused hearts.  That he can bring marriage back to what it should be.  That he will strengthen those who need strengthened. 

Marriage should be something we are all angry enough to fight for. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Guarded Heart

I've gone back over a few things that I wrote for myself, those letters during the early months of the ex-Mr's journey elsewhere.  I marvel at the clarity I had during such a tumultuous period of my life.  Seriously, I sounded put together.  I sounded like a woman that really did know what she needed, or rather, where she needed to go.  I looked up and in for those answers.  I sought.  Continuously.  For strength and guidance.  I followed a pattern in those days, the ones between February and a couple weeks ago.  A clear pattern.  Actually, it became all the more earnest until June.  I broke in June. 

I  used to pray people.  Daily.  I scrawled notes in the margins of my Bible, I penned letter after letter, I journaled extensively, all with the same theme - Father, guard my heart.  I knew.  I had been told.  I felt it.  Mostly, I knew especially when I stopped the waterfall of tears and thought would come back. A broken heart is a weak heart and a weak heart must be guarded.  Those were my words, my pleas really, day after day, "Lord, guard my heart.  Lead me.  Protect my heart." 

Tonight at Bible study, during discussion, one of the people there said something that I'd heard a multitude of times before, (and frankly it reminds me of a country song - but almost anything that is said I can relate to a song - I digress) If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.  And that is it.  I didn't stand for what I believed in.  I stopped asking God to do what I knew He alone had to do.  I stopped asking Him to control my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I stopped asking Him to guard my heart and to lead me.  

People, I HATE lessons learned.  I hate the PAIN, the AGONY, the HURT, that lessons like these cause.  I know the best ones will leave scars.  The right ones are those you will never repeat.  The lessons you grow from are the ones you teach from.  I want to let you know that, yes, although I allowed myself to go it my way, I still loved, cared for, and miss epically this person, but...yes, there is always a but...in this case it is the pain, agony, and hurt created.  No, not regrets.  Timing.  (We've already talked about this in an earlier post, I won't revisit it here.) 

I want to challenge you, those in the same place I am, or perhaps not even that, all of you actually.  Guard  your heart.  GUARD IT!  If you can't, then pray for it.  When you long for love, you can be misguided. This is for single and married people alike.  Those who are newly divorced, separated, split up, broken up, or even never been in a relationship before.  Guard your heart.  Protect it.  Now, I'm not saying become a frigid ice queen/king, but stand for something.  KNOW what you stand for.  Your core truths should tell you what this is, if you find yourself unable, then pray.  Because God is certainly able.  Your heart is not something to play around with.  No matter how much  you think  you are ok with it, you aren't.  You will lose a piece of yourself - AGAIN!  You will find more hurt, and not necessarily from more brokenness, but perhaps from realizing the timing was wrong.

In this quest to find me.  The person that perhaps maybe my bestie did have it right and I do know my core beliefs, I already know what to stand for, what I DO stand for.  I also realize that what my head knows and what my heart leads me to can vary.  Not necessarily in a good way.  I know that I need to constantly seek after a guarded heart, because I am weak in this area.  I allow myself to become someone I'm not.  And, IF I give it just the right amount of attention, I can clearly see that true healing will occur once my heart is no longer trumping my mind. 
 

 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Time

Sleep eluded me last night.  It does that when my thoughts take over, when the words won't stop flowing.  I've written so much these past few days.  Some I've shared with you; much I have not.  It isn't that I won't, we all know that at some point I will to a degree, it's just that there are some thoughts that have to fully form.  The ideas have to put themselves together in just the right way.  Then there are those thoughts that no matter how much I care about you, I simply must save for myself.  These are my letters, my words, that I hold.  But, this post isn't about those.

I fell asleep somewhere around 9:30pm with the light on, and my notebook, a pen, and a good book open beside me. I do that often.  I fall asleep in such a manner.  Truth is I have a couple notebooks, several pens, a couple dozen books - all started, none finished - tucked in my headboard.  That doesn't include the basket of running magazines on top of it, my Bible, or my two Kindles.  What can I say?  I find comfort in words.  In fact, right now, these are the only things I have.

Reflection is something that happens when given its course. That time came when I woke up at 1:00am and couldn't get back to sleep. Last night as I laid in bed looking back over the years of my life I was struck by a very bold, very real fact.  This is the first time.  The first time since I was old enough to start dating that I have not been in a relationship or had a guy in my life in some manner or another.  For nearly 20 years I have had someone.  And this is the first time that I have only had me.

I'm sure some of you reading this have been there, or are there, by choice or not. Then there are others who aren't and who never have been.  There is a certain level of exposure that comes from this.  Actually a BIG level. In all honesty, it is at this point where you have to step out and find yourself.  Not the self you are when hiding behind someone, but the self you are when there is no one.  And by having no one I mean not dating, not committed to, not seeing, not talking to, not hanging with, anything to do with a non-family member of the opposite sex.

I started finding this person months ago.  This me that I am.  The things about me that I am ok with, that I know to be true - I shared them.  I didn't hide them.  They were openly received.  It was then, a different first, where I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I'm someone worthy of love.  Yet, it has been even more eye opening to me, this person I am, when I have to stand out on my own.

I was talking to my best friend yesterday, via messenger, and she told me - oh, by the way, your best people, they don't let you wallow in your self pity, self denial, or self betrayal.  They don't let you hold onto your crap either, no matter how badly you want to.  Praise God for people like that, even if it is maddening! - Anyway, she said to me, after a moment of self, ummm, reflection, concerning the fact that I don't know who I am, "I think you very much do.  You like to confuse yourself when a man is around."

Well, of course, me in all of my me-ness refuted her words and asked her to enlighten me.  Another thing I should tell you, when you ASK for this, be prepared for what you will get.  Her response was delivered with the right amount of love and verbal strangling mixed in, because that is also what best people do.  She said, "oh my goodness child.  Read your own blog for insight.  Seriously stop being so melodramatic and remember who you (are). Make it a morning mission to wake up and write down two things you want to find out about yourself that day.  Even if it is as lame as whether or not you like over easy or over hard eggs."

And that is it.  I began finding myself and stopped, perhaps because I found some level of comfort in hiding behind another, but mostly because I got wrapped up in joyfully falling for and loving that person, but now, now it is time.  It is finally time.  It is time for me to be true to myself, to discover just who I really am and what I am really made of, to let God do what he needs to do in my life.  And to let God direct my tomorrows and use my lessons learned.

They say there is a first time for everything.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Between The Holding On & The Letting Go

Have you ever found yourself at that place where the holding on and the letting go are at war with one another? Truth, it's a terrible place to be.  No, seriously, it is.  I've been there a couple of times this past year.  I'd like to tell you that I've mastered this, that I'm the best EVER at taking things as they come and NOT having any thought/emotion/feeling/care about them. But I can't.  I never will, it's part of who I am.  Honestly, I think it is part of who we all are, even if it is just a bit.

You see, I'm the kind of person that gives her all.  When  you are my friend I'll BE your friend.  I'll stick up for you, comfort you, provide for you, be there for you in the best way I can, I'll just be.  On the same note, I appreciate this consideration in return.  I also do this in all my relationships.  Right or wrong.  Some of them teach me that I'm far too giving, hell, many of them do, but again this is part of who I am.  I know that friendships are relationships.  They involve give and take. I also know that there will be times that they, too, are going to have brutal honesty.  Actually, true friendships SHOULD have this, just as true relationships should. In fact, it is in a friendship that this level of truth should flourish, not from the desire to hurt another, but to help them grow. 

People, I've had a rough year! I know I have been hard on my friends.  I have been THAT friend.  *Shudder* I've needed them like never before. I've needed their guidance, advice, hugs, comfort, and most of all prayers. I've needed their truth even when it has not been what I wanted to hear. I've also needed them to listen, to really HEAR me, perhaps not always to side with me, but to know my side. To know that just maybe I hurt too and that some circumstances create no winners, but do grow stronger participants.

I've found myself in a spot where the holding on and the letting go came slamming down on me.  Today.  JUST TODAY! You'd honestly think I'd have this mastered especially since I lost the battle for my marriage earlier this year, but I didn't.  Not quite.  Not even close.  And that is just it.  What is it that we hang on to?  What needs to be let go?  And WHY in both cases.

In this case particularly I was hanging onto promises that shouldn't have been made regardless of their truth when initially uttered.  I was hanging on to the hope that maybe, just maybe, they could still come true. But in all this honesty I was actually only fooling myself. It's amazing, how when we are in pain, we do that to ourselves. I've cried a lot over this for weeks now, and yes, even today, now while I type this out.  This circumstance which I should never have been in, but I cannot deny its truths or its occurrence.

In my mind's eye I'm picturing a strong rope, one made of many strands. Each strand comprised of all the things shared.  It's fastened to the "what was" and dangling from the end of it, grasping tightly, is me.  This rope began fraying weeks ago and the longer I've hung on the more the strands have started to come undone. Today with one more mighty whack given there is but one strand left.  I am seeing, clearly, through tear strained eyes, that letting go is really the only thing I can do.

Memories are good things.  They are blessed things, but they CANNOT create new things.  Holding onto memories removes the possibility for future joys and letting go of that hope, the one the memories have bound you to, will allow you to be free for the future.  The future you are meant to have.  There's hurt in this fact, but there is also an epic level of strength.  Only strong people can admit weakness.  One of mine is this. The spot between the hanging on and the letting go.

And that, friends, the ones who tried to tell me to do just that, to let it go for all involved in the circumstance, I HEAR you.  I HEARD you.  I'm sharing my pain and fault.  I hope you understand that letting go can be, and is at times, a process and if for no other reason but this simple truth - there is fear in the unknown. But what I forgot to remember is that God is always present in the Unknown. He has always been there, he's there now, in that place, for us all.  We just have to trust Him. And had I done that, trusted Him completely thru all this time, none of these words would be penned, because they wouldn't be necessary. Then I think of the growth and honesty  it takes to share this.  People I have nothing left, but God.  Look, I did it my way.  I was wrongI did it all wrong.  But I received a gift in this - I have what I know, what I've done, and what I have learned.

Friend, thank you.  Thank you for being here, supporting, loving, caring, and giving me the brutal truth in love.  For giving me your truth and your advice thru your experience. And most of all, thank you for your compassion to understand that I am just a girl who mucks things up and that sometimes it just all takes time. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Classy Lady

Every year I anxiously await the ACD festival in town.  I know, most of the locals rue this time of year.  Truth, our bustling little burg does grow by an unfortunate number of national and international folks.  But, economy IS economy.  In the end we are all thankful for that.  Yet it is the other reason that I love this time of year.  September has long been one of my most favorite months.  There have been so many reasons to celebrate this month.  School is back in session, fall makes its official appearance, my grandma's birthday, my step-dad's birthday, many of my friends' birthdays, the ACD festival, the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair, and a plethora of other things.  Let's face it September rocks.  Well, until this year. 

This year I have had to face, what is typically the entry to my favorite season, the onset of my favorite month with the cold hard facts - I have had to face it alone.  This has been the first year I have not celebrated the festival as I have in years past - with my family.  Grandma is gone.  This is our first festival without her.  Truth, by the time of the parade she was either too "happy" to remember it, knee deep in some conversation with a random passer-by, or fast asleep on mom's couch, but either way her not being here was, well, just not the same.  Damn I miss her.  Really people - I miss her.  God broke the mold when he made her.  I can only imagine how fun Heaven is right now with her there. 

Then there is the fact that this is the first year I have "celebrated" this holiday weekend without my children, "my" family.  The ex-Mr's weekends have changed, so instead of me having them this weekend he did.  Well, kind of, he had a previously scheduled engagement last night so they were with me while he did that, but he did pick them back up today.  Yeah, we work with each other like that.  I hope they see, that in all things, we are working to make them as happy as possible.  Divorce is not easy for anyone, but our littles really do mean the world to us.  I just don't have my family this weekend, my favorite weekend of the year.

In years past, as well as this year, I have always enjoyed walking the town square admiring all that is in American automotive history, at least as it pertains to our local history.  This year was different.  I didn't have anyone to go with me.  Thankfully my "aunt" Fay volunteered.  I really did love that she cared enough to walk up town with me.  She's a beautiful woman who has had her own share of hardships and heartaches.  We didn't say a lot, but I am blessed by the time she gave me and the companionship she offered.  Sadly, by the time we made it to the square most of the well-maintained old cars had already made their journey onto the next event, but we did see the normal ones, the ones I've taken pictures of year over year.  We saw some amazing artwork done by local artisans and in a moment of pure selfishness I popped into a vintage shop and picked up the most beautiful strand of pearls.  I love my new necklace and MasterCard is going to love my monthly payments.  (OOPS)

However, it is the theme of this year's festival that took me as the most striking.  This year it was the Year of the Auburn.  If any of you enthusiasts, and I doubt many of my readers are, know much about these remarkable cars, then you know the emblem on the Auburn is a lady, a classy lady.  I have taken many pictures of her over the years.  She stands proud and tall for all to see, not at all boastful of her position in life, but confident in where she stands.  I believe you can see her on last year's post, here.  In all of history the most remarkable vessels have had a statue, emblem, or something portraying a woman.  Women are strong.  We can endure a lot of pain, suffering, tears, heartache, hardship, and pretty much anything life can throw at us and we can come out ok.  Yes, we bare scars through those circumstances, but we do make it.  We have stories, memories, and most assuredly, lessons learned.

And that right there is my celebration this holiday weekend.  This one where I spent alone, am still spending alone.  The one where my memories were not the ones I thought they would be, but they were the ones I have.  I ran more than I ever have at one time with my girl, Autumn, yesterday.  I spent time with my Aunt Fay.  I spent A LOT of time alone.  Far too much, and yet, perhaps, just maybe, if I give it the right kind of credit, the correct amount time.  We are rapidly approaching the one year mark and the last of the firsts, but this weekend, the one that has always been my favorite of any all year long, has proven to be the most emotionally wrenching of them all.  I have cried more, been through more Kleenex, wrote more, and felt more pain than in all the weekends prior.  It is, in some sense, the culmination of a year's experiences.

So, lovelies, the ones still speaking to me, and the ones who have decided not to, know that I am making it.  I am struggling and learning. I am heartbroken and learning.  I am crying and learning more.  I am searching and learning even more still.  I am, most of all, discovering who I am when there is no one there.  Mostly I want you to know, I am a classy lady and I miss your friendship.