Claiming Power in Life

As I prepare for life outside of university, I have discovered that life is really up to me. Yeah, I know that’s obvious, but hear me out. For the last five years I’ve had my scheduled planned by outside forces, specifically school. I had to arrange all that I do around when my classes and exams were. There was no way to change any of it. What they said was what I had to do if I wanted to pass.

Prior to school, my life was led by my family, specifically my husband and kids. If I wanted to do something on my own, for me, I had to make certain it was okay with everyone else in the house. My name was last on the list. My husband, kids, dogs, all came before me when it came to scheduling ‘free’ time.

Prior to marriage, my life was again controlled by university. Prior to that I was a child.

Now? Now, for the first time in my life I get to choose whether I get up in the morning or not. I get to decide if I want dessert for breakfast, whether I want to take a shower, or laze around in my pajamas all day. I get to decide how and who I want to be.

This is odd. It’s odd because I have no idea who that is. Who is the person who rules my body? Who is the one who controls my thoughts? Is it really me? Weird. Who is responsible if everything fails? Me? Wow. The enormity of it all is breathtaking. The ability to decide how my life will be from here on out?

Yes. I get it. I cannot have a great life if I just sleep all day, never shower, never eat… I know that. But, I have the power to choose. I may have had that power before but I never claimed it. So who do I want to be? How do I want to look? behave? What on earth am I supposed to do? ‘Supposed to?’ What’s that about?

Life. What a rush! Claiming my power has been the absolute hardest, and most rewarding, thing I have ever done. Claim yours. Need help? I’m willing to chat about it.

thank you for reading,

me

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Experimenting with Nightmares

I love my life. I love how I get to choose who I speak to and who I spend time with. I like that my kids want to be with me and I love the opportunity to be with them as they grow up. I even love that I’m in school, loving more that school is almost done. I love it all. My life is amazing. Yet… I still feel the sting, burn, of my past.

I had hoped that I could establish a ‘friendly’ relationship with my ex. I set myself out to be kind, to learn to speak of small things, to chat while waiting for the kids. Two or more times I put myself out there, allowed myself to be just a tad more vulnerable, allowed myself to ignore my feelings of fear, of abandonment, and of abuse. I thought, since all of the legal mumbo jumbo had finally ended, that I’d be able to show a positive forward movement for my kids to see. I want them to have the best in their lives. I don’t want them to see me complaining or whining. I want them to see me strong, brave, and willing to ‘make amends’ for their benefit. I wanted to see if I could handle it, you know, test the waters.

I started to get grouchy, I started having nightmares again, I began to feel tired all of the time. I got sick. I felt overwhelmed, lost, and scared. My old feelings began to resurface and I finally caught on. I wasn’t ready. ‘The way to get over a fear is to immerse yourself in it.’ I believe that’s true. I, however, don’t think I’m going to ever get over the abuse. In fact, I don’t think I’m supposed to. What happened to me in my past has shaped who I am, and I like who I am. I have an empathy for those who have walked similar paths. I care in a way that allows others to grow. By allowing that my past is real, by remembering I didn’t make it up, by knowing that he was plain evil to me, and it wasn’t my imagination; I have the opportunity to be truly who I am meant to be.

I have a habit of slighting myself. I don’t give myself credit for the things I’ve accomplished. I have belittled myself, and spoken words to myself that no one should ever hear. That needs to change. The power I gain by remembering who I am, by being honest to myself, and others; that power is mine for the taking. I am the one who was there. I was the one who packed up the kids to hide. I was the one who collected rent money near midnight alone. I was the one who faced the fury of our neighbors. I was the one who slept with the kids when they were ill. I was the one who manged the house, the bills, the schooling and numerous other things. I was the one who earned the respect of my kids. He was not.

He was the one who pouted when he didn’t get his way, he was the one who whined and who gave up. He was the one who couldn’t decide if he was happy, sad, or angry. He was the one who sat and cleaned his gun, who left in the middle of the night, who left me crying at church. He was the one who went to sleep rather than see that I made it home safe from working an extra serving job. He was the one who didn’t care that I had hit a deer at one in the morning. He was the one who pushed me against the wall, who held me too tight and bruised my arms, who pushed his son into the door, who punched his nephew in the stomach, him.

I spent too much time in his presence. I saw him on Tuesday and came home remembering how awful it was. Although he didn’t touch me, I could still feel the weight of his body and the slime of his skin on me. I could still smell him and it affected me. This isn’t a problem that time is going to fix. What he did while we were together was wrong, always will be wrong. I will not be subjecting myself to making things better again. This new strength and freedom that I have found must be protected. He does not have the right to real estate in my head, let alone my body.

I was snappy, sarcastic, and rude to my family that night. They had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to be the brunt of my emotions. True, I didn’t realize why I felt the way I did, but now I do. In order to protect my family, I need to protect myself; and that includes putting my kids’ dad back into the little box in my head that he belongs. The test of strength, the test to see if I could deal with him? That was a success, not a failure. I have learned, I can be cordial, friendly and kind; but I don’t have to do it unnecessarily. I have a right to protect who I am and who I am becoming. We all have that right.

thank you for reading,

me

Abuse? Freedom? Embracing Who I Really Am

I’ve written a number of blogs on abuse, why do I keep ‘harping’ on it? Because it’s a scar on the soul. It’s something that has shaped who I am. I’m reminded of the broken pottery that is repaired with gold. The pottery is stronger and more beautiful than ever before it was broken.

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The scars are still there, the surface is still changed, no longer smooth. But if it weren’t for the scars the beauty may be missed. Now, the challenge ahead is to take joy in my scars and allow others to see my beauty. For now I am stronger than ever I have been. Without these scars who would I be? I wouldn’t be me. It is when I try to cover my scars, to hide who I am, that I begin to feel lost again. I encourage you to embrace your journey, learn from it, grow from it, but don’t hide from it. My journey is one from abuse to freedom, without the abuse I may have never become free. It is because of my scars that I am me.

thank you for reading,

me

Life On The Other side

I’m looking forward to what life will be like on the other side of this crazy ass divorce. A time where I have my own career and income. A time where I no longer even have to speak with him… two of the kids are still young so that may be a little while longer.

Once in a while I forget a little. I forget little things like having to defend myself or having to walk on egg shells… sometimes I even think, “Hey! Maybe he’s changed!”… Nope. He went and proved that he hasn’t all over again. “Thank you for the reminder!”

I feel sorry for his new girlfriend. She has no idea what she has in store for her! I almost want to warn her but I’ve learned enough already that wouldn’t help anyway. She has to do her own growing. I’ve done a bunch of growing, that’s for sure!

So what will life be like on the other side? I’m hoping for some peace, some bills paid, some fun traveling, and just general being around great people when I want to be around them. I’m hoping the kids grow up knowing they are loved by me and are worth more than anything else in this world to me. (Apparently not to him…)

What am I not looking forward to? My older two having to go through counseling because their father abandoned them. Sure, they haven’t been particularly forthcoming,  but they’re young. Just because you have a spat with your kids doesn’t mean you write them out of your will. Just saying. Just because they don’t worship you like the younger two doesn’t mean you don’t bother with birthday or Christmas presents or whatever…

I used to think he was a good father, despite everything. I know better now. But I do remember when I gave birth to our first child. I remember how he was so ecstatic that he couldn’t even count all of her toes and fingers. I remember how immeasurably happy he seemed to be. How has he forgotten? I don’t think he has forgotten, I think he just never realized they wouldn’t always worship him.

So now, again, I am reminded why I left and why I should never regret it. Today he decided to not have them as beneficiaries to his life insurance nor his investments. I say them, but really? He only wrote out two of his four children. Really? What an ass. I don’t care so much what he has to say to me or about me, but these are my kids (his kids). I don’t get it.

But I must say, thank you for the reminder. And thank you for proving to me, and to others, again, that I made the right decision to leave you. Thank you for providing further confirmation of the type of being you truly are. And, to your new friends and girlfriend, I’m sorry but it’s not my circus anymore. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

thank you for reading,

me

ps. and thank you for continuing to provide the court required health insurance for all of your children. They’re going to need that counseling after all.

Morning Thoughts…

Almost Christmas… My tree is small, my bank account is empty, and I can see the back of my cupboard and freezer… money will come soon but it’s definitely tight right now. I wonder why I put myself here and realize I really didn’t. Life has been difficult for the past several years. The ex has been slow on everything. When I moved out he refused to pay child support (and the mortgage) for three months, so credit cards went crazy high… Then with the kids relying on me for everything (and my inability to say no yet) what money I did have went to them and their lives… No one knew how tight things were and no one understood why I would say no sometimes. I can’t blame them, though. I didn’t tell anyone I was out of money. I didn’t tell anyone that I couldn’t afford to pay for their gas, or their dining out… I paid for the wedding that wasn’t meant to be and now I am stuck with more bills than I can pay.

Now what? I wait. I wait for more student loans to come in, I wait for graduation, and I wait for a job. I remind myself that this time is limited. One day, one day soon, I will be able to pay all of my bills. I will be able to say yes to my kids without worrying. I will be able to live my life on my terms. I look forward to those days.

In the meantime? I still live. I make the most of what we do have. I remember we are extremely well off. We have a roof over our heads, heat, clothes, cars and pets. We are all in good health and are happy. Sure, it would be nice to be able to answer the phone (the bill collectors are beginning to get angry). It would be nice to go out to eat whenever we want. It sure would have been nice to have a big tree this Christmas. My younger two kids just couldn’t quite understand why we had to stay small. That was hard. But, we are all learning. We are learning that things are just things and that it’s OK to eat leftovers and to eat at home. We are learning that the house looks better when we stay home.

I could get upset, and sometimes I do. But I remind myself of the good things and that this life is mine. I remind myself that I don’t mind going home any longer. I remind myself that I have made it the sanctuary that I had only dreamed of. I remind myself that our lives are so much better, happier, safer, than they were a short three years ago. Yes, being broke is hard, annoying, especially around Christmas; but it’s worth it.

thank you for reading,

me

7 Ways to Waste a Perfectly Good Day…

How do you waste a perfectly good day and still have a perfectly good day? I feel like a pro. Let me give you some pointers:

1 – Don’t plan what you’re going to wear the night before. Don’t do anything the night before that will require you to do anything in the morning. This is important. If you plan something it needs to be canceled or you will ruin your perfect chance for a wasting a perfectly good day.

2 – Once you get in bed, stay there. Read something useless until you feel sleepy then let yourself go to sleep. A perfect day really does begin the night before. It’s important that you set yourself up just right or you may ruin your chance for a perfect day.

3 – Finally, morning has arrived, the sun has risen, your eyes have opened of their own accord because they are so used to opening in the morning. Don’t worry, just lay there a few minutes longer. There’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. Lay there, check out your Facebook feed, read some more… anything… just Do Not Get Out Of Bed, not until there is absolutely no chance of falling back to sleep.

4 – The time has come, you’ve gotta pee and you aren’t even the slightest bit sleepy any longer. Good. Go ahead, get up but don’t get dressed. There’s no reason to, not yet. Heck, this is your day, you don’t even have to get dressed unless you just want to.

5 – Now if you must, which of course I did, go to the kitchen and fix yourself a cup of coffee. Stand there, wait, do nothing… watch it brew and just enjoy the anticipation of holding that warm cup and sipping it in peace. Take it to a place to sit comfortably and just let yourself be with your coffee for as long as you need. This is excellent for you… being still and being present to now and nothing else. This is what you’ve been told you need to do more than once. Just be still for a few and let yourself feel or think anything that comes up or nothing at all. You will be better for this, trust me.

6 – As the morning changes to noon to afternoon and then evening just marvel at the fact that you were able to sit still for so long. You are merely thanking your body for all the hard work that it has put forth over the last few weeks. Your body deserves this amazing break and you deserve to enjoy it as well.

7 – As nighttime approaches put a movie on, drink a beer (or a cider like I do), put your feet up and end your day on a positive note. Popcorn might be a good idea but only if it’s not too much work.  Praise yourself for letting yourself rest. You’ve done well.

There are other things that you can do to waste a perfectly good day and still keep it perfectly good but why bother? Wasting the day away is what the goal was and you’ve done well, adding more might just ruin all of your hard work. I have thoroughly enjoyed wasting my perfectly good day. Tomorrow will be different and busy, but today? Today was a perfectly wasted perfectly good day.

thank you for reading,

me

Living MY Life

I woke up early this morning having remembered another dream. I try to write them down before I forget them. I find it interesting how my subconscious works and whenever I get to see a picture of it after a dream I grasp at it in order to learn more about myself. It seems I’ve been on this long trail of discovering who I am since I am no longer being held back by my past… The weirdest thing of all is that when I put my past behind me is that my future became a giant possibility. I literally could become anything or anyone I want to become and it’s weird. I like the word weird… not quite scary, not quite fun… different, weird.

The part of my dream that I was able to capture was like being in a 3D movie as if I was flying a plane off of a cliff and then dipping down and finally leveling off safely ahead. My first impression when I woke up was that I was scared of my future. But I don’t worry about being scared anymore. Fear is healthy, it helps me plan and tests me. Fear is something I follow now so that I can understand me. I’ve discovered that as I follow my fears that I am able to grow and that life on the other side can be amazing.

Last night was the first night I spoke to another person about my intentions of moving, the first time I verbally said that I am going to relocate after I graduate. Up until now I’d say I was thinking about it, not that I actually am going to do it. Words have power. When I said I am moving it became real for me and so fear set in. It’s like jumping off of a cliff and then learning to fly and finally soar.

I’m excited, I’m scared. I’m beginning to create my life as I would have it look and it’s an amazing feeling. Now that I’ve said “I am moving,” I will take action, real action. Whenever I make a final decision followed by action, my results are guaranteed. I sometimes take forever to come to a decision, but once made, things move quickly. And I’m certain things will move quickly now… I graduate in May, pharmacy boards after, and job… I’m less than 6 months from when I plan on moving. Wow! scary… exciting.

Do something scary today, let yourself grow.

thanks for reading,

me