Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the one where I become the world's youngest feminist.

Before we moved to the house where my parents currently lived, I lived on a street off of Turner, full of kids who were my age range. We'd go back and forth to each other's houses, riding bikes and making generally poor choices. One of my favorite friends was a boy my age named Johnny.

Johnny and I got along great. We had a lot in common, and they always had good snacks at his house. One of our favorite pastimes was playing with his extensive collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. I was always really fascinated because I didn't own any, but loved them dearly. 

One afternoon we sat in his room playing, and there was the discussion of "who" we'd be. I was really gunning for Donatello, my secret turtle crush (hey, I like smart guys, what can I say?). Moments after picking up Donatello, Johnny took him from my hands and shoved April, clad in her tight yellow jumpsuit, in them instead.

"Wendy, you have to play only girls. You have to be April and I'll be everyone else."

Feeling the injustice of the man bringing me down, I did what any other woman would do. I told him I heard his Mom calling for him, snapped April's legs off, and hid her body.

When Johnny came back and saw me playing with Donatello, with no April in sight, he was confused. And after he discovered her multilated body under a pile of Hot Wheels, he was none the wiser, believing my story of some freak accident. 


I am woman. Hear me roar.

Monday, December 9, 2013

the one where i compete in the x games.

Like every other church, one of the more looked to events is the annual Spring Break ski trip. After weeks of fundraisers, we finally boarded the buses and vans (no blanket sharing and any co-ed seat partners securely in the front three rows) to drive for the hours it takes to get from Arkansas to the Land of Snow. Or anywhere interesting, really.

Because I had never been skiing I joined the other newbies in a half-day ski school where we learned to not completely kill ourselves. After a few short hours, we were left to our own devices. I stuck to the green runs, wedging, leaning, and turning just like I had been taught. After a successful first day, I felt fairly confident to take it up a notch the next morning.

A blue run.

We loaded up on the lifts, and once we reached the top of the mountain, we were off! 

And man, I was getting braver and faster. And faster. After wedging until my legs were almost crossed, I realized that this wasn't going to end well. 

WHERE DID ALL OF THESE PEOPLE COME FROM? The mountain had been empty the day before, and now here I was, doing my best Picabo Street impression at an alarming rate. I was going so fast I was too afraid to fall down as visions of compound fractures and multiple limb amputations raced through my mind. I had no choice but to ride this mother out.

After seeing the lifts on the horizon, I knew that the steepness of the mountain was going to level out, slowing down my momentum. Except that while the steepness declined, my speed stayed steady. Instead of little jumps and other skiers on the slopes, I was now rapidly entering a field of people, totally unaware of the terror that was approaching them.

And then I saw it. Scooter's Ski Shack. Bright green and lined with skis and poles. I couldn't avoid it, and closed my eyes because this wasn't going to end well.

After some kind strangers, eyes filled with tears from laughing so hard, uncovered me from the pile of skis buried me, I limped off like it AIN'T NO THANG.

And promptly spent the majority of the week playing cards in the cabin.


Monday, December 2, 2013

the one where I play Beyoncé loudly in the background.

My pilot light went out on Sunday. And after several failed attempts to relight it, I started to get upset. Actually, I started to get really upset because I knew I'd probably have to call someone, who probably would be male, to come save the day. Yet again.

And that's just the most defeating thing ever. That although I tried my hardest, I still failed. And because I failed, I now had to wait until some MAN could fix it for me. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got. Actually, I got so frustrated that I tried it again tonight.


Bingo. 

When that little flame lit up, it was as if years of repression of the female race flooded through me. I was this close to tossing my bra into it when I realized that while I may want a man, I for sure as hell don't need one. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some celebrating to do.






the one where I lay out my new theme

Last January I felt this urging to have a New Years resolution. I've never done them in the past, but I had this overwhelming need to declare 2013 the year I was going to be kind.

I never really thought myself as unkind to begin with, but for 2013, my goal was to be kinder than I had ever been before. To be kind when it was hard. To be kind when I didn't want to. To be kind to myself. I had no idea that 2013 was going to be the year our lives got turned upside down. But I believe in God's providence.

He knew what He was doing.

So I've been praying for the past month or so for God to lay out what He wanted for me. And last week it hit me.


For 2014, my goal is to be always blooming. To take whatever is handed to me, and bloom. Flourish. Take what is less than desirable and help it grow into something beautiful. To help myself get rooted, and allow myself to transform. 

It means to embrace the life that I have and the people who fill it. To remain kind, yes, but to now also to become strong. 

2014 is another year of firsts for me, and while I'm nervous about what is ahead, I'm ready to bloom.

Monday, November 25, 2013

the one where it's over, so over.

As of 2:28pm, I am divorced. 

It's surprising how quickly it all went. Weddings are so intense, so I was expecting a little more pomp and circumstance. I mean, at least some balloons and the Cupid Shuffle.

I was a little caught off-guard when I realized I had to take the stand. They really don't show this in shows like The People's Court. I could feel my anxiety rising as I walked up to the stand, and that's never good. Because when I'm anxious, I laugh. Loudly and without ceasing. Luckily I refrained from laughing maniacally. 

Instead I just sat there with the biggest tight-lipped smile, trying to keep control of the laughter growing inside.

I'm mature, guys. I swear.

A couple of questions here and there, and we were declared to be "officially single people again". I was okay on the ride to the courthouse, and the ride back to the county clerk's office. Yes. Ride. Because John and I carpool to divorce hearings.

But once I started driving back home, I lost it. It probably didn't help that I got lost and wound up driving through Pea Ridge, but I totally ugly cried the entire way home. And while I changed my clothes. And then on the 45 minute drive to Fayetteville to get the boys. At one stoplight I looked over at the car next to me, and a thirtysomething guy was staring at me with the biggest sad face ever. 

And now I'm back home. Puffy faced and processing it all while soaking in the tub. 

It sucks to fail.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

the one where my childhood is crushed

When you're in second grade, life is getting serious. You're at this stage in life where you're no longer considered a baby, and you're so close to being able to have the salad bar option in the cafeteria that you can't stand it. 

I can remember like it was yesterday. We would spend our recesses playing on now unsafe playground equipment while talking about everything. One day the topic of holiday characters came up. It was getting serious.

The general concensus was that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were fake, but there was a heated discussion on the existence of Santa Claus. I, normally vocal, a stepped back, taking it all in. 

Both sides had such compelling arguments. I mean, we knew that the old guy at the Mall wasn't really Santa, but that was because Santa had helpers to get all of the wishes from the kids around the world. But, the protestors argued, how could one man and right tiny reindeer go to every house in the world?

I took all of this information, processing it as quickly as my 8 year old brain could. I was leaning towards disbelief of the man in red. But I was steadfast in my decision that I would never verbalize my hints of doubt. 

I mean, I didn't want to screw myself out of him giving me presents, right?

The weeks flew by, and soon it was go time. Christmas morning was here! As an only child, my job was being the "elf", you know, the person who passed out all of the gifts. Piles quickly grew for Mom, Dad, and myself...but there wasn't a single gift from Santa.

There's been a mistake. 

I looked a second time, and then a third. Surely there was something from Santa hiding behind the tree. Or the couch. Or in the garage.

But there was nothing. No one had told me that Santa could read our darkest thoughts. Especially when they pertained to him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

the one where I was a con artist.

After a lot of reflection, I've come to realize that I was a weird kid growing up. Not one of those kids that you can take a quick glance at and peg. No, I was one of the other kind. Crack the surface and the oddity just spills out.

I was always a sort of venture capitalist. There was the time I made flyers and handed them to every neighbor on my street, offering myself as cheap, unskilled labor. Or when my friends and I unsuccessfully tried our hands at a real-life Babysitters' Club. But one of my favorite memories was when my friend and I became con artists.

We didn't set out to be con artists, persay. But we were fairly intelligent, overly creative, and bored. And the cure for summer boredom when you're 9?

You con the neighbor kids into paying to have their fortunes read.

We practiced for days. One of us would be the fortune teller, and the other would be strategically hiding underneath the table. Certain code words from the fortune teller would prompt the "spirit" to act appropriately. Lifting the table, knocking, and a gentle shaking were all part of the show.

When we went live, I somehow got stuck under the table for what seemed like hours while Sarah, in her best psychic garb, wowed the neighborhood kids with her powers. You know, after they paid their fifty cents. 

It was going so very well until a leg cramp sent the table flying, exposing my sweaty, red-cheeked, cramping body. 

Needless to say, we gave a refund.




Saturday, November 16, 2013

the one where I live in constant terror

When I was younger, my grandparents lived sort of a ways out from anything considered "in town". We went to their house every Sunday after church. Their neighbors had rows of pines trees lining their driveway, and pinecones would tumble into my grandparents yard. 

My mom is an elementary school teacher, and pinecones are pretty much a staple when it comes to arts and crafts. So one autumn day we gathered boxes of pinecones before loading back up in the minivan and making the 30-40 minute drive back home. As we were driving, my Dad suddenly reaches to the backseat and snatches my beret off my head without saying a word.

Alarmed, my mom looked at him, and he said that there was a spider crawling across my beret, so he had to get it. A little freaked out but thankful for my rescue, I looked down at the pinecones sitting next to me. 

Spiders. 

Dozens of spiders were crawling all over the pinecones. I'm not sure what sort of crappy horror movie we had been written in to, but this wasn't okay. I had watched enough of Arachnophobia to know that this was VERY BAD NEWS.  I unbuckled and crouched the best I could between my parents' seats the rest of the way home, eyes glued to the bastardly pinecones the remainder of the way home.

Cut to today. I'm not sure what we were thinking when we bought our house. You know, the house that's sort of in a wooded area. The one where the backyard looks like this.


You hear about "spider season". At my house, EVERY SEASON IS SPIDER SEASON. I'm constantly shrieking, dry-heaving, and running like Flo Jo to skirt them. It's a season of constant terror and ample stock of long-range insecticide. 

Screw compassion. Self-preservation is where it's at.





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the one where I am overcome by the stench of love

I don't think it's any secret that the main loves on my life are my sons. I'm not any different than any other parent; they're the best part of my world. And there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. 

Except "PlayPlaces". 

The minute you open the door to the door to the secluded, steamed over windows, barefooted cesspool, you are hit in the face with the smell. THAT SMELL. The smell of dirty feet mixed with dirty diapers and sweat. It's gag inducing, and makes me one of those moms that usually lets my kids play alone while I savor every fresh breath of air on the other side of the glass.

When I was little, the coolest place on earth was ShowBiz Pizza. (Go ahead, Wikipedia it. Fayetteville is all up on that.) 

ShowBiz was where the cool kids had their birthday parties. It was where you went when you achieved something really awesome, like all E's on your report card. It was where dreams came true and you stayed clear of the animatronics on stage. ShowBiz was heaven on earth.

There are two types of kids. Those that played games at ShowBiz to get tickets and prizes, and those that played a couple games of skee ball but spent their time in the ballpit.

I was the latter.

I loved the ballpit. I'd make it my personal goal to try to touch each and every plastic balls with some part of my body. I pretended to swim. I'd pretend to float. I'd sink to the bottom like a rock so I could be fully immersed.

Fully immersed in a pit full of germ infested, filthy, oddly sticky plastic balls. 

When I have doubts that anyone out there cares about me, I remember ShowBiz. And the fact that my parents actually let me ride back to the house in their car without getting hosed down first.

The stench of love. 
I can't escape it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

the one where dating confuses me


A friend who is also going through a divorce sent that to me this weekend. After being in a relationship for so long, rejoining the dating world seems like this foreign land. Dating isn't what is was 6 years ago. 

And it sucks. Did you see that? DATING SUCKS.

Don't get me wrong. I've been having a great time meeting new people, re-building my self-confidence, and finding myself again. I've learned how to set boundaries; I'm learning how to show discernment. It's no longer about how someone treats me, but it's now about how they treat me and how they'd treat my sons. Over-eager to meet my kids? Nope. Total lack of caring about my kids? Nope.

I'm a single mom with very limited free time. Making plans with me sucks, I know. But I get really upset when plans fall through, because I had looked forward to them for several days, and probably turned down other offers to do so. It's so incredibly lame that I get upset or cry about something like that because I'm not 16 anymore BUT OMG IT SUCKS AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLAY ALANIS MORISSETTE ON REPEAT AND EAT COOKIE DOUGH.

I wish it was straight forward. Simple. Like Aziz said- you meet someone, you like them, and then you pursue it. No games. No scheduling headaches. No worries because it's clear cut and easy.

I'm enjoying where I'm at right now, though. It's probably the most confused I've been in dating career, and that's okay. While it's frustrating at times to the point where I cry, as long as I can still be myself and be accepted, then I'm okay. 

Even if it does sort of suck.


Friday, November 8, 2013

the one where maggie gyllenhaal is stealing my life

It started out fairly innocently. It was 2006, and I was working at Express.

"Do you know you look like Maggie Gyllenhaal?"

I protested. Then I went home. And saw an altered version of my face when I googled her. Some angles made her look gorgeous. Others, more like Quasimodo. No gray area. Very polarizing. It. Was. Terrifying.

After that initial day, I would literally (and I literally mean literally) would be told this at least twice a day. I began to question every comment. Was this a compliment? Was this a dig? WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN? 

As the years have gone by, it's all but stopped. I dyed my hair blonde, then let it go back to it's natural baby poo color. I grew it out long, and then earlier this year I chopped it off.

And then I saw this.




MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL STRIKES AGAIN. SHE'S STOLEN MY HAIR, MY DIMPLES, AND MY AWKWARD CHEEKS.

It's on, Maggie. It's about to get all sorts of Quasimodo up in here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the one where I'm a foreigner in a foreign land

I've always been slightly socially awkward. And by slightly, I mean that it's bad. I cling to the few others who I can speak freely in front of, make horrible jokes, words come out of my mouth that I can't control, and OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS? 

When I was younger, my Mom liked to dress me to the nines. Which at times included a beret. Now, a lot of kids would see a beret as a fashion challenge. But for me, my beret collection was my armor. 

When forced to interact with kids I didn't know, I would shut down. I'd sit a little to myself, not saying a word but taking it all in. And maybe it's a kid thing. Or maybe it's just the lack of culture in Arkansas in the early 1990s, but if I was wearing a beret, the other kids would assume I was French.

They'd look me over, point, and say loudly, "Excuuuuuse me, little girl. Are you French?" Knowing that at this point it'd be a total disappointment if I busted out my Springdale accent, I'd usually respond, "Oui! Parlez-vous français?"

And after they got wide-eyed and walked away, I'd secretly say a thank you prayer for the hours of Madeline I had watched over the years and my trusty beret.




Friday, October 18, 2013

the one where I can't figure it all out

I've always sort have been an odd duck. I'm sure that you're able to categorize me to fit into this box or into that one, but I've never figured it out. I'm not really sure who I am.

I mean, all of the obvious groupings I get; I overlap the insanely gorgeous/incredibly hilarious/unbelievably intelligent circles easily. And humble. Obviously. But after that, I'm at a loss.

It's always been this way. While other kids might have been playing their organized sports, I was in the front yard playing with my ribbon dancer. Friends were listening to KidBopz while I sang Simon and Garfunkel hits. While other girls were cheerleaders for Halloween, I was Tippi Hedren from The Birds. 

I'd like to present myself as an enigma. But really, I think that it's way more than that. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a sai...well, you get the idea.

We've been working through "telling ourselves the truth" at Vintage in my exco for the past few weeks. And you guys, it's getting deep. It's ugly crying and affirmation. It's understanding and compassion. 

I'm coming to the conclusion that it's okay to not know who I am. I'm constantly evolving, changing who I am while keeping my core values steady. I  think Jesus would approve.

And Meredith Brooks.



the one where I realize I'm aging

My ten year high school reunion was last weekend. I wasn't too panicked about it; I mean, I didn't try to impress my classmates while I was in high school, so why would I try to do that now? But while we were making small talk waiting for the football game to start, all of these little kids were walking around.

And then I realized that they were high school students and OH MY GOD, ONE CALLED ME MA'AM.

I've apparently always had an issue with aging. On my 20th birthday, I met up with some of my childhood friends to celebrate. They asked me if I planned on "going through with it", and I just stared at them blankly, clueless. They reminded me how I had promised that I ever made it to 20 that I was just going to off myself because that was ANCIENT.

When asked how old I am, I usually have to pause and think before I respond. My gut-instinct is to tell them that I'm 26, but after catching myself I manage to get it right most of the time. And with my birthday coming up in less than 2 weeks, it's going to be a whole process of coping BECAUSE OMG I'LL BE 29.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a blow if I hadn't started feeling old. Things are sagging. I can't hear for shit. My eyesight is going down the crapper. My body aches in ways that make a tube of anti-inflammation ointment sound like an aphrodisiac. 

In other words, I'm a sexy, sexy almost middle-aged lady. Bring it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

the one where i don't go to the Olympics

When I was little, Shannon Miller was an icon. Gravity defying flips, incredible balance, and a killer floor routine totally proved why she was a multiple-medal Olympian. After watching her get yet another gold medal, I realized I had found my calling.

I was going to be an Olympic gymnast.

After hours of watching athlete after athlete compete, I felt fairly confident in my ability to rock this. I was destined for greatness, and crafting a floor routine to Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" was going to make it a reality. There was just one hiccup.

I couldn't do a cartwheel, let alone some crazy combination of flips, jumps, and tucks. I got motion sickness from swinging a little to high, so the uneven bars were going to be difficult. But what I lacked in actual skill or coordination I fully compensated for with my charisma. 

Because it's not talent that wins medals. Charisma goes for the gold.

And so I practiced. I practiced at home. I practiced in the front yard. But my very favorite place to practice was the grocery store. 

I'd purposely linger in empty aisles, and when the coast was clear I'd get on my tip toes, run as hard as I could down the aisle, flailing my arms around to mimick how AWESOME  my flips would be, and then the big finish. I'd always stick my landing, making sure to present my outstretched V arms to the imaginary judges.

It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that there were security cameras in grocery stores. And that all of my classic Olympian moves were most likely captured on film.

Nailed it.


the one where holy water is thrown on me

When I was seven we moved from a street that was full of kids to a street where I was the youngest by years. So when a new family moved in across the cul-de-sac, I was more than estatic to find that not only that they were a family of kids, but of girls my age.

After waiting a couple of days for them to settle, I marched myself over to their house to meet my newest BFF's. Anna Grace and I immediately clicked. We spent the next few days no more than inches apart, laughing and talking the entire time.

We had so much in common! Lisa Frank, Saved By The Bell, coordinating windbreakers, and JTT was just the tip of the iceberg.  I had already mentally started designing our matching BEST FRIEND necklaces when she mentioned that her birthday was coming up on November 1st. 

SHUT UP. Just as I was about to tell her that my birthday was on Halloween she said,

"Yeah, my parents were so relieved I wasn't born on Satan's Day! When is your birthday?"

Suddenly my world came crashing down. Visions of exercisms and witch trials flashed like firecrackers in my brain. And like any terror-filled 8 year old would, I replied, 

"November 2nd! Wow! Is that my mom calling for me?! Bye!"

From that point on, I stayed clear of Anna Grace, memories of what could have been slowly drifting out of my mind.

And pretending to be a rhythmic gymnast in my front yard was pretty cool, anyway.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

the one where I almost amputate a finger

I love fashion. I love style. There's nothing more satisfying than creating the perfect outfit, unless you want to count motherhood. THEN WHATEVER. It's a close second.

There's something about being able to change how others perceive you simply by what you wear. Jorts and an oversized sweater project a carefree, casual image. Skinnies with a killer blouse and heels shows confidence and style. Fitted dresses with high necklines are sexy and slightly playful.

But what really makes any outfit shine are what accessories are paired with it. Simple chains, chunky statement necklaces, great earrings, or an arm of bangles all make different statements. Lately I've been a little more than obessessed with midi rings. 

Midi rings are these tiny little rings that you wear on your first knuckle. Some are incredibly elaborate, but I happen to prefer simple gold or silver bands. 

I have long fingers, and they're on the skinnier side. So I wasn't totally shocked when I was putting on a new midi ring and it just slipped all the way down the length of my finger. It didn't hurt or look too tight, so I decided to just wear it as is.

Flash forward to hours later when I was getting ready for bed. My finger has sort of become swollen, and the little midi ring was now tight. Really tight, actually. Uncomfortably tight to the point that I needed it off, and I needed that to happen now.

I tugged. I twisted. I pulled. I wet my finger. I used my teeth. My finger became fatter and fatter, now red from the pressure of the TINIEST RING IN THE WORLD strangling it. WHAT IDIOT DESIGNED A RING SO TINY THAT IT WOULD WANT TO KILL MY FINGER?

I did my usual, you know, keeping cool. 

After lotioning failed, I found a pair of scissors in the drawer. For a minute I contemplated amputating my finger. I mean, if I can survive the Furry Vest Incident of 2012, surely I can handle one less digit. AMIRIGHT?

In the end, the ring just sort of popped off during a last ditch effort. How anticlimatic, right?


Friday, October 4, 2013

on telling yourself the truth

On Tuesday I'll attend my first exco at Vintage Fellowship, titled "Telling Yourself the Truth". 

Can I tell you how excited I am about this group?! I hate getting all preachy, but God really has this providence thing down. I'm just starting on the upswing of some pretty dark moments, and being forced to recognize, hear, and speak the truth about myself seems like the perfect segue into becoming a healthier, whole person.

I'm a kind person. I try to be kind to those that I love. I try to be kind to those I'm around. I try to be kind when it's the last thing I want to do. I try to be kind when extending grace seems impossible. I've mentioned before that prior to knowing how my world would completely change, I had decided that being the kindest version of myself was my resolution for the year.

And I've failed. Not because I get frustrated or angry with others. Not because I cry. Not because I've thought angry thoughts or said hurtful things. I've failed because I've been so very unkind to myself.

So why am I unable to be kind to myself?

I let myself believe lies. What I see in the mirror is something hideous. Unworthy of love. Unworthy of being desired. Unworthy of grace, mercy, and compassion. I hide behind a smile or a quick joke. I'm practically the Queen of Self-Deprication. 

So on Tuesday I am gathering with others who also lie to themselves. Who can't see how incredible they are. And hopefully we'll all see how wonderfully created we are, because we were created in His image. In His likeness. To be like Him.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

twelve

it was just an average tuesday.

early that morning, our junior class had attended the college fair. row after row of college representatives from the surrounding area passed out free pens and t-shirts, trying to get new "recruits".

and so we went, table to table, and gathered all of the free stuff. i mean, i had no intention of attending the college of the ozarks, but hey, a free pencil sharpener never hurt anyone.

after our goodie bags were filled with loot, we all began to part ways, going to our next class. my boyfriend and i walked, hand in hand, plastic bags swaying with each step. he dropped me off at my class, stealing a quick, innocent kiss. and i walked inside, closing the door behind me.

i sat at my computer in my graphic design class, the only girl in the room. it was an ordinary day, creating pretend ads for a class project. one of the boys looked down at his hidden cell phone, and then quickly stood up, walking across the classroom. as he turned on the tv, he interrupted our teacher's reprimand by saying, "we have to watch."

and that's when we saw it.

one of the world trade center towers in NYC had been crashed into by a plane. how tragic! it was obvious that the plane could have no survivors. we commented back and forth of how strange it was that a plane would fly into one of the buildings--there must have been some sort of freak technical accident. the pilot must have had a heart attack. something like that.

while we looked at the screen, we watched the plane hit the tower. but this re-play looked different than the other ones. and then we realized that it was a second plane. hitting the other tower. and that this was no accident at all. 
we watched in silence. we watched as the plumes of smoke stretched across the sky. we watched flames licking the sides of the buildings. and then we watched as each tower crumpled.

it was then that i realized we had all lost our innocence.

the rest of the day was a blur. we went to class after class, lugging around our now oddly heavy bags of college paraphernalia through the halls, with looks of worry and tears on our cheeks. by this time, we had all heard about the third plane hitting the pentagon and the fourth crashing in pennsylvania.

the size of the classes got smaller and smaller through out the day, parents uncertain of what else would come. in some classes we sat and watched the tv in eerie quiet. in others, the tv was muted, and we talked about our feelings of confusion, despair, mourning.

it was then that i realized our lives would never be the same.

it was just an average tuesday.

twelve.

twelve years have passed since that time. you can ask any american, and they can tell you exactly where they were at, what they were doing, who they were with when they heard about the attacks.

twelve. only twelve years.

it seems like yesterday.

Friday, September 6, 2013

okay.

Sometimes all you want is the reassurance that everything will be okay. That regardless of what arbitrary occurrence that you face, that in it end it's going to be okay. That no matter what, the sun will rise the next morning, and it will be okay.



What a crock of shit.

I mean, c'mon. Bad things happen. I went through a four week period where I had five different flat tires. Did you read that? FIVE FLAT TIRES IN FOUR WEEKS. I'm at the end of a separation before my husband files for divorce in two weeks. My bank account is non-existent. My heart has been trampled, rejected, and shattered. I'm taking anti-depressants. I'm fat. And I got a notice today in the mail that there's an urgent recall notice on a part in my car. 

I've come to the realization that not everything will be okay, but that some things will be.


Because there's been good things, too. I've realized that I can make myself happy. That while I don't need a man to be a whole person, it sure is fun to date. That while the sun doesn't come up every morning, the rain is cleansing. My boys giggle and play, and are my best friends. Money isn't important but enjoying the experience of life is. 

Not everything will be okay.
But some things will be.

And that sounds good to me.


  


Sunday, August 4, 2013

beauty

Yesterday I sat around a table with three of my favorite people on earth. Three beautiful women who all know exactly what to say to get the rest short of breath and bring tears to our eyes because we just laugh so hard. Three women who are lifers, friends who I may not see or talk to daily, but can pick up where we left off.

While we ate our pasta and drank our wine, we talked about everything. It's what we do; nothing is off limits. We discussed our relationships, work, finances, and so much more. But like how it sometimes can happen, we sort of began discussing our bodies. Our features we hated the most; what we'd kill to change. How we would give anything to look like we did at 16, 18, or 21.

After ruminating on it for a while, I am just sad about it. Why can't we, as women, just be happy with ourselves? We don't look like Kate Upton. And that's okay.

My self-confidence in my appearance has never been strong, and was all but destroyed in the past few years, especially in the last few months. It's hard to be kind to yourself when your competition is a size two and wears bikinis on stage without a second thought. Slowly though, I'm realizing that I'm not so bad.

My dinner last night was shared with great company. We are beautiful, strong women. We have kind hearts and quick wits. We are intelligent and successful. We are mothers, we fear God, and we matter.

We aren't Kate.

But we're Carole, Sarah, Erin, and Wendy.

And we are beautiful.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why I'm not sure I want to be a 31 Woman

Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, it was drilled into our heads that we, as girls, should only strive for one thing.

To be a 31 Woman.

I'm sure this term is familiar with most of you. For those who are completely lost, Proverbs 31 outlines what a woman "should" be. I've poured over this verse so many times, looking at my downfalls compared to the woman described in Proverbs 31.

And after a lot of thought, I'm not sure I want to be one.

The 31 Woman works non-stop. Her joy comes from working into the early morning hours while her house is asleep, then rising before them to usher in the day.

She runs her own business, and she delights in that. She speaks wisely, helps others in need, and brings respect to her husband by her actions.

Then she works some more.

There is nothing wrong with any of that. Those are all attributes I think that most people, not just Jewish and Christian women, want to have. We all want to be hard workers,  be wise, and bring a level of respect to those we are around.

But there's so much more. It never mentions that she should be prayerful. God fearing yes, but not prayerful. It never mentions how she should spend time reading and studying the Scriptures. 

It doesn't mention that she should be a good steward of her body. While it mentions kindness and aiding the needy, it doesn't mention showing grace to others when you might want to the least.

It doesn't show that she should be aware enough to ask questions. It doesn't mention that she should try to continuously educate herself. To grow as as a valuable person in this world.

It mentions serving her husband, bringing him joy and pride. And it mentions her children. Once.

So I'm not sure I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Not because it's a bad thing. But because I don't want to be limited to trying to fit the whole of my being into eleven verses. 

There's so much more.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mad Scientist

Dating is this experiment where you try to put the best version of yourself out there in hopes that something might click. When your dating pool comes from somewhere like match.com, you're able to get a snapshot of what this person is like. And namely if they can spell.

So when you decide to meet someone for a date after witty banter, the panic sets in. 

I'm not too proud to say that I'm way better in print than I am in person. I'm smarter, funnier, and my muffin top has all but disappeared. And I'm way prettier when all you can see is a snippet of this or that. 

I don't translate well in person. I'm awkward. I either won't talk or won't shut up. I fiddle with my hair, wondering at what point I crossed that fine line from Ginnifer Goodwin to Justin Beiber. I rethink my decision of wearing tall shoes that make my legs look pretty because the man across from me is 5'7", not the 5'10" they described. 

After the awkward conversation, it always leads to WHHHHHHY I'm getting divorced. Which, while I don't mind answering, isn't really what I want to discuss after first meeting someone. And then seeing the puzzled looks after I explain that we get along pretty well, and plan to keep a friendship...well, that's fun.

The whole dating scene reminds me of some sort of mad scientist, mixing chemicals and elements to see what reaction he might get. So far everything has fizzled, but one day I know I'll encounter something mind blowing.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hurt.

Today my four year old made me cry.

It's not that he said anything to hurt my feelings. He didn't physically wound me. He was just being four.

This weekend was a marker of several things. From our wedding anniversary on Friday to marking the end of week 1 of truly being a single parent...I finally hit my wall this afternoon.

Jonas was being non-complainant again, sending me over the edge. The boys have been needy and especially obnoxious all weekend. Everything has been a battle, and a standoff over going to the restroom before nap time just made me crack.

I had hoped for a weekend without the kids since I knew it was probably going to be emotionally draining. Because that couldn't happen, I decided to try to fill every minute doing something so I wouldn't have time to feel.

I'm such a smart girl sometimes.

So that leaves me on Sunday afternoon, crying after apologizing to Jonas for going off on him, and feeling every single emotion that I had suppressed.

It feels good to feel something. And with like everything else the past few months, it's been another lesson to be kind to myself, to treat myself with love and grace.

And to invest in waterproof mascara.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five.

Friday is my fifth wedding anniversary.

I have been so apprehensive about this day; it's the first major milestone day since our separation. What sort of emotions would I feel? Would I be depressed? Angry? Filled with hopelessness?

Right now, at this very minute, I'm glad.

I'm thankful that I got to spend so many years married to a great partner. I'm happy that our marriage produced Jonas and Noah, our favorite short people. I'm proud that we interact with kindness and respect. And I'm hopeful that today will always be a special day for us, because it's when we started our family, even though we are more than slightly non-traditional at this point.

So happy anniversary to us. While I never thought we'd spend it like we are, I'm thankful for it. We will always be family because of the boys.

And that's a great thing.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Game.

I was really wishy washy about when I wanted to start dating again. There were a lot of reasons...What would people think? Was I ready? How could I meet people to even think about dating?

And I slowly began to answer those questions. I am focusing on what's right for me, so I don't care what people think. And yes, I'm beyond ready. The tricky part was how to meet people. I work so much, and then pick up the boys and go home. Even on the nights John would have the boys, my friends are almost only comprised of married moms. Not really the best resource of single men.

So I signed up for match.com.

I know. Trust me, I know.

I've actually been on several dates with people I've met on there, and it's been a lot of fun for the most part! We've always met at whatever coffee shop/restaurant/theater and I'm safe and sound. I make sure to tell someone the persons full name (and I show them their picture) prior to going out as a safety fall-back.

The first date I ever had I was so, so nervous about. I'm pretty sure I came across as completely crazy. And I'm pretty positive it wasn't a love match. But I gained experience (and actually a friend) out of it. I've had a date where I'm actually interested in him; so I'm excited to see what, if anything, comes from that.

And I've had bad dates. Dates who weren't what they stated physically (saying you're 5'8" and actually being closer to 5'6") or who were totally concerned about things like money and how to make more of it. And making sun of my haircut and fingernail polish, too!

The bad dates are just as important to have as the good ones. Dating is about making connections, having experiences, and just putting yourself out there. Will I find the love of my life on match.com?

I have no clue. But it's just as possible as meeting them at the grocery store.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Darkness.

It all started innocently enough.

Isn't that like the most ominous being of a post ever? Next you'll read something like "THE LIGHTS FLICKERED AND WHEN THE POWER CAME BACK ON, EVERYONE WAS DEAD."

But back to the innocent beginning.

It was a couple of weeks ago, the same day tornadoes ravaged Oklahoma. The boys were upstairs sleeping, and I was downstairs watching my shows like any boring person does. Then I heard it.

The tornado sirens.

After a quick text inquiry asking if that was a bad sign, I threw comforters in the downstairs tub and grabbed the boys. Jonas slept through the entire thing, while Noah kept exclaiming "GOOD MORNING!!" We hung out in the tub for like 20 minutes, and seeing that the worst had passed, I put them back to sleep in their rooms.

I went back to my room, and stripped down, deciding to sit on the bed for a minute before grabbing my nightgown from the bathroom.

And then the power went out.

And stayed out.

And stayed out some more.

After about 20 minutes, I decided that I should:

1. Get dressed, and
2. Go to my parents house, the land of electricity.

The only thing was I couldn't see. Like, anything. After being really unsuccessful feeling my way around to collect clothes and toiletries OR A FLASHLIGHT, I remembered the boys PlaySkool lantern.

Oh, you know the one. The one with the yellow button you have to push, and ten it lights up, playing coyote and cricket noises.

And so I went through the house, pushing the damn yellow button every 30 seconds, the sounds of The Call of the Wild bouncing off the walls.

The lesson of this story? Always know where your flashlights are and never get undressed during a storm because the second you do, your power will go out.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

the one where it covers all of me

John and I are currently separated, and will be getting divorced later this year.

It's been a hard few months, and like every life-changing event, it's a process. I'm well into the healing process, even though some of the wounds are still tender and raw. I think that John is in the same place.

It'd be easy to point fingers, to place blame on why our marriage failed. But that's not going to happen. It simply didn't; it is what it is. There isn't any juicy gossip or scandal. There was no fighting or violence.

It just is what it is.

He's almost fully moved into his new apartment, and the boys will start spending about half of their time there next week.

It just is what it is.

A lot of people who have been around us together after hearing about our separation have been surprised about how we interact. We are kind, respectful, and acting the same as we did before. We never had a problem getting along; that was never an issue.

My resolution for 2013 was to be kind. To be kinder than I had ever been before, even when it's hard. I didn't know that this was what was in store for me in 2013, but I've tried my hardest to be as kind as possible. You can't stop situations that are out of your hands, but you can change your attitude and perception. I'm thankful that John has been equally as kind.

Do I still love John? Of course. But that love has changed; it's no longer a romantic interest. He's the father of our children, and will always hold a high place in my heart. I believe that John feels the same.

So thank you. Thank you for your kind words, your offers, your love and support. We both have felt it, and I know that it's been appreciated.

Monday, May 20, 2013

love.

So like I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of junk going on, lots of heaviness that I'm learning to wade through. One thing about me is that I hate asking for help. I want to be able to do it all on my own, keeping others at arms' length. I don't want to burden others with my problems. And who would care enough to want to help me? I just want to simmer in my turmoil.

But I've found that I can't do this alone.

I've been seeing a counselor for the past couple of months who suggested that I was probably depressed. So she referred me to a clinician, and I've started a low dose of anti-depressants. Will I be on them long term? I don't think so. But as they both expressed to me, it's important to use them as a tool to help me get past this dense fog that I'm in.

Besides the help from the pros, I've been overwhelmed with the sense of love and support that has been so graciously covering me. From long talks while eating salads locked outside of our church, sweet texts and emails from lovely friends, and sheer outpourings of love...I've been really blessed.

The meds are kicking in, the days are getting brighter, and I'm getting stronger. I'm like Mike Tyson hyped up on happy pills.

And yes, I can rock a face tattoo.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

freedom.

There's been a lot of changes in my life the past couple of months, and I know that more are quickly coming. When there are so many uncertainties surrounding you, decisions being made that you have no voice in...you feel trapped.

All of these emotions of ring restrained, uncomfortable, and sad sort of manifested into a focus on my hair. My long, long hair. Suddenly looking at my hair brought rage. It was a symbol of being restrained.

And I needed freedom.

So I had it cut off. All of it, save a few inches on the top of my head. My hairdresser cut off at least 12 inches of hair, and I was able to donate 10 inches of it.

And I felt free.

I no longer cared about what this person or that person thought about me as I hid behind a mass of wild hair. I'm more confident in myself, a quality that was lost years ago.

So, come on World. I'm ready to experience you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

the other one.

Jonas is a special kid. His personality, mannerisms, everything sort of mimics me. He's incredibly stubborn, and not always compliant. But he's smart, super funny, and a cutie.

As stubborn as he is, I can remember having to remove him from a public place once because of his behavior. Later that night he threw up a lot and ran a good fever, so I can see why he was upset!

And then there's Noah. Little Noah. The other one. He's sweet; he will cuddle for a bit and give kisses. He will sit and read a book with you. He'll offer bites of his food. But I've had to leave places a couple of times now because of his behavior. Like screaming at the top of his lungs while arching his back and turning his head completely around. Twice.

And so I write this from inside the truck with an incredibly angry 18 month old while the other members of our small family purchase our groceries.

Sigh.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ready.

After a self-imposed hiatus, I'm ready to blog again.

2012 was a big year for our family. From new job roles to news about our future...it was a heavy year.



Jonas turned three in May, and started attending a pre-school program two days a week in September. I am constantly amazed by him. He's such a smart, funny little kid. His vocabulary grows by the minute. He is fascinated by superheroes, namely IronMan and SpiderMan. Don't ask his opinion on Captain America; you may not like his answer. He has become kinder to Noah, although sharing toys isn't always a victory.

Noah turned one in July. He's a bit of a momma's boy, and gets upset if I leave the room. I guess I'm biased, but he's a little smarty, too! He can say most of his larger physical features, and can point to many more. His vocabulary is growing, and can say over 30 words (when his paci isn't in his mouth). He can follow simple commands, and will identify various family members by name or pointing.

In February, I accepted a new role in the office I has been in for over a year. I was in that position from March until October. In November, I accepted and began another position within the company, changing clinics, responsibilities, and my sanity. It's been a difficult transition in ways; I think that any time you have a huge shift in responsibility, there are growing pains. And I've felt (and am feeling) every pinch and stretch of that.

John had a productive year, also changing roles. After a lot of hard work, he graduated from OCS, and is now a 2nd Lt in the National Guard. Which is my lead in for our future.

2013 (and more so 2014) is going to be hard. John will leave in the coming weeks for 3 months of military training on the east coast. And in December of 2013, he is currently scheduled to deploy to the Horn of Africa for a year.

Most of the time I'm okay when discussing it, feigning a smile or nod. And then there are the times it hits me, and I'm gasping for air because my heart hurts just that much.

And that's it, in a nutshell. I'm glad to be back, to use this as an outlet for creativity, to laugh, to cry or yell.

Oh, and we got a cat.