Figuring it out again…..

It has been a long time since I posted last. The last two years have been probably the hardest of my entire life. I have lost two very important people in my life to drugs and suicide. Through these experiences I have realized just how alone I am when it comes to people in my life that truly are on my side and would be there for me. That has been one hell of a wakeup call. It definitely makes one feel very alone in the universe. I lost my biological mother and my soul mate both within a short time of each other. Then realized that my adopted family didn’t really understand me nor did they really want to. I played a role in their family, and when I needed them they weren’t there. When I stood up for myself I upset the balance by taking on a role I had not previously played.

So here I am… standing more alone then I ever have been in my entire life.

Barely standing…….

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Photo by Leo Babauta

What does my future look like now?

I once dreamed of a house, children, fulfilling career, and doting husband. That fantasy never came true. I had pieces and parts but they never all came together. Now I am 40 years old, and have just ended yet another relationship. I am looking for a new place to live, and I am starting over once again.

Should I travel?

Should I become a hermit?

Will I ever love again?

Only time and antidepressants will determine my fate at this point. Here is hoping there is joy after this crazy searing pain that has been the last two years of my life.

 

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Advice for Men on Dating Profiles

I was sitting with a friend watching her flip through dating profiles on a popular dating app and I noticed a very disturbing trend. There were many guys on the site that got themselves ruled out with the first glance at their picture. Now this had nothing to do with them being attractive or not. It was simply the type of picture they had chosen to post. So after giggling about a few of them I really started to feel bad and figured I would offer some advice instead.

Disclaimer: The following views are mine personally and I imagine they are not all universally true for every woman. Also this advice is for those men that want to find someone to actually date and not just have a one night stand. That is a whole different post.

Rule #1 No shirtless pics. I don’t care how ripped you are, we want a little left to the imagination.

Rule #2 No pictures with your kids. Yes they are adorable but it isn’t the same as taking a picture with a puppy. It is not that we won’t date a man with kids, but it says you probably ¬†introduce your kids to everyone you date because you have already plastered their sweet little faces all over a dating site. (The ex may not appreciate that either.)

Rule #3 Post at least one picture where we can see all of you. Don’t worry about being judged. It is better to have someone look at your profile and not contact you because they don’t find you attractive then to have them¬†pissed when you show up to the first date 50 lbs heavier. There is nothing wrong with a larger guy, but their is a problem with someone that is intentionally trying to lie.

Rule #4 Be honest in your profile. Looking for someone to date casually DOES NOT mean the same thing as friends with benefits. If that is what you want then state it loud and clear. You will get many more positive responses to what you are looking for if you are up front.

Rule #5 Post a picture period. Witty quotes are cute but you will never get someone to return a message from you if we don’t know what you look like. See Rule #3.

Rule #6 Don’t post pictures with other women. They might be your sister, your cousin, or just a friend but we will automatically look at them and wonder if they are the ex-girlfriend. Also it should go without saying – No pictures with the ex. Not even with her face blacked out….just don’t.

Rule #7 Smile! There were so many pictures of men trying to look hard and have this “I’m about to kick your ass” look going on. Smiling is so much more attractive on a guy. Smiles say you are fun and sexy. It doesn’t make you any less macho to smile.

Rule#8 The shooting from the hip camera angle is no one’s friend. No one.

Rule #9 Your profile is not the place to get on a soap box about how no one is responding to your messages and you are getting frustrated with the site. That makes you sound like the guy that sends pics of your junk after texting a girl for 5 minutes and wonders why she doesn’t text back. There might be a reason you aren’t getting any responses.

One last piece of advice, if you are looking for a girl to see more than once, you probably should put some effort into your first message to her. Here are some phrases not to use unless you are looking for just a hookup:

“Hey sexy”, “Fun size”, “hello” (only and nothing else), “Hey cutie”, “wanna have some fun?”

All of these indicate you are ready to jump into bed, or can’t be more creative and actually ask them a question about something you may have read on their profile. This means you will have to make an effort here if you really want a response.

I hope this helps a few of you. I am sure I will have offended some and that is fine, then this advice is not for you. Keep holding your phone at your hip staring into the camera with your meanest face and taking pictures of your shirtless body and I truly hope you find a girl that you can bring home to mama, but I doubt it.

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Stages

They say that divorce has emotional stages. I believe this is true however I think it is possible to flow back and forth between them. It isn’t necessarily a hard sequence of events. Sometimes it takes awhile of banging your head against a brick wall to compose yourself, take a step back and look at it for what it is; an unchanging barrier to the place you once were. No matter how many times you bang your head it just keeps standing there obstinately standing in your way. You can’t beg or plead with a brick wall but you try anyway. Rational though doesn’t exist in this head space. When you finally do step back and look at it you at first become frustrated. Why won’t it change into a door?! Why does it keep hurting you?! Then comes the self doubt of maybe I’m not good enough or strong enough to get past this wall. If I had just been a stronger person, if I had just banged my head a little longer maybe it would let me past.

I think my anger is returning. My heart has started to develop that hard outer shell that is meant to block out pain and empathy alike. This is the armor I will need to get through the reality of lawyers and court dates and financial hardship. I am beginning to remember who I was before all of this. I am still fighting the urge to feel stupid for not ending this sooner, but then again my eternal hope and optimism is part of who I am. I wouldn’t want that to change. I have been told I have no compassion but I know that isn’t true. I have been told I am money hungry but all I ask is for fairness. I am not one to go for the jugular.

So it’s time to build a new wall around the garden, sit it in for awhile and take stock of the beauty that I know exists. I will find my peace there….. eventually.

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Life Changes

I never dreamed that right after I wrote a post about helping others with marriage I would be ending mine. I purposely don’t get too personal with daily life as I have been told that isn’t polite. However, this one is going to be extremely personal. As I admitted in a previous post this is not my first go around, but I have to say this is the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. It feels like my body is filled with concrete and each heavy and painful step leads to the inevitable end to a six year marriage to a man that I started loving at 14 years old. There is anger, love, tears, resentment and all the feelings that go along with this. In times like this I usually can rally, get things done, and then let myself fall apart after everything is finished.

This time it is different.

This time it is debilitating. I have family and friends around me that are being very supportive. They are saying and doing all the right things to help me. Somehow this hurt is too deep to reach with kind words and hugs. There is a finality to this that makes my body ache and my breath shallow. There is an unfairness about it that is maddening as the phrase, “If he would just….” that keeps ringing in my ears. My head tells me to focus on my goals and keep moving. Usually it can get my heart kick started in the right direction. But again, that is different this time too. Something has severed the cord that sends rational thought to soothe the heart.

This one may have finally broken me.

What They Don’t Teach You About Marraige

First I have to admit I have been married 4 times. I know that sounds awful and you can judge me if you want. However you would have to know my story to understand how that number came to be. I don’t intent in this post to lay out my life story, but I hope to share some wisdom I have gained throughout my experiences. I grew up in a loving home with a Mother, Father, and two older siblings. My Mother stayed home with us and my Father worked to support the family. We went on family vacations together, celebrated birthdays, had cookouts etc. All the trappings of normal family life. When I was young that was what I though marriage should be.

I have to preface the rest of this post by saying that I am no angel and I made my fair share of mistakes. For any of my exes that might be reading this…. This is in no way me blaming you for how things happened. After all it takes two to tango……

When I was married the first time we had been dating for a few years. Our relationship was an on again off again kind of relationship. In hind sight I was young and dumb. We both worked, however I worked two jobs. I would come home exhausted to find piles of soda cans, dirty laundry and all the food gone. I would nag and nag and nag my husband and yell at him for not doing anything. When that didn’t get my anywhere I complained to his Mother, and anyone else that would listen.

Mistake #1 & 2. Never yell and nag someone. The more you do this, the less likely you are going to get the result you want. Also never complain to other people about your spouse’s lack of domestic participation especially to their Mother. This will also get you nowhere.

My second marriage was to a man that was 10 years older than me. We fought all the time and it was rocky even in the best of times. He once ended our relationship because the apartment complex we were about to move into wouldn’t change the fan direction of the fan on the vaulted ceiling fan. He had a famous phrase of “You just don’t get it do you?” I really thought I did, but I really didn’t. There were red flags all over the place and pretended they were all just yellow.

Mistake #3 & 4. There really is a big difference between 20 (me) and 30 (him) and it does make a difference. I am not saying all relationships with major age differences fail, but it didn’t work for me. I ignored all the warning signs and the DO NOT PASS GO signals and thought that marriage would make him feel more secure and not worry so much. Let’s just say I was very wrong.

My third marriage was to a man from a different culture. For all of you groaning that was not what ended our relationship. There is a big difference between 20 (him) and 25 (me). See mistake #3. I rushed into this one without getting to know this person as well as I should have. I learned so much about his culture. His family and friends welcomed me with open arms and I will forever have a wonderful extended group of lovely people that I will always be grateful are/were in my life. Our fights were terrible and usually ended up with one of us screaming and a few broken items in the house.

Mistake #4 Screaming gets you nowhere and breaking things only makes you upset all over again when you realize you really didn’t want to break said thing. There are more constructive ways to communicate with one another. Also make sure the person you are committing the rest of your life to is truly ready to make that commitment to you. Do not lower your self esteem so much that you are willing to accept less than desirable situations.

Now, my current marriage… I will not talk about mistakes per se, but I will share what I have learned in the 6 years we have been married. Being a Stepmom is hard. Really hard. This has more to do with not being on the same parenting page and not the child themselves. Get a support group. Find other people in your same situation that can help provide support and love when it becomes unbearable. Learn where your boundaries are and demand that they are respected not just by your spouse, but by in-laws, the Ex, ect. Also it is important to understand that marriage is not always 50/50. It’s a daily give and take that sometimes will be 70/30 or even 100/0. You have to be willing to put in extra effort when your spouse is holding down two jobs and going to classes. On the flip side they need to be willing to step up and return that favor when they can. I am not suggesting you keep tabs, but if we wake up everyday asking our spouse how we can help them be the best person they can be, and they do the same for us, it will prevent those quiet resentments from happening that destroy marriages.

So I don’t claim to be a marriage expert, but if I can help someone learn something without the associated pain and consequences than great. As I continue through this journey of life, All I can do is hope that I will continue to learn more about how to coexist with another human in close proximity and not repeat mistakes of my past. If at first you don’t succeed…..try and try again.

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Spring is Here!

Oh how I love Spring! I love watching all the baby plants popping out of the ground and the baby squirrels running around in the trees! The vinca is blooming, the tulip leaves are already 7 inches tall and the sun is shining! I wish I could find a place on Earth that was in perpetual Spring. I am sitting at the dog park in my small little town enjoying feeling the sun on my face and hearing the birds chirp. For the moment we are alone, just my little dog and I. The breeze is a little chilly but I find myself in a place of zen. I am happy and at peace.This is exactly what I needed. Working and going to school both full-time is no joke, especially when you are taking 17 credit hours. It’s moments like this that renew me in a way that no other activity can. So as you hurry about your day make sure to find little moments of zen. Find your happy place and visit it often. There is solace in nature.

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Win Win Business and a Merry Christmas

Lately I have been full of ideas and no motivation to start my own business. So my holiday gift to all of you is my latest big idea. I currently work in a job where I manage people that work through a temp agency. They do work in an automotive plant and it is a low wage job. One of the challenges I face is people just not showing up for work, or not showing up on time. As I begin to get to know them I am learning what challenges they face. For some it is the cost of transportation. We do not have good public transportation and the cost of a car, insurance and gas might as well cost as much as a movie star’s mansion. Many of them are struggling just to eat and can’t even begin to think of taking on the cost of a car. Some of them have children but can’t afford reliable child care. Some of them get sick and can’t afford to go to a doctor. When I start telling them about the many resources offered in our city to help them with these issues they are usually unaware.

So here is the big idea:

Work with people that are in poverty to help them overcome the obstacles they face to employment by connecting them with the resources they need that are offered by the many non-profits in the community. Work up a contract with them about what they will be willing to do if you help them with these obstacles. For example, they agree to show up to work everyday, call ahead if they can not make it, be professional, and perform all tasks asked of them to best of their ability while at work. Then partner with the temp agencies and companies that use lower wage workers. Convince them that you can improve the quality of their employees. Show them how you can help reduce attendance problems. Companies would pay a fee to you for “employee improvement”. You would use attendance and performance reviews as metrics to justify the fee. Then branch out into training for those people to develop additional skills that are needed and/or help them enroll and stay in college while working.

It is a win/win situation because you are helping improve the lives of those in poverty and companies get a better quality workforce.

So there you go, Merry Christmas for those of you that have more motivation than me.

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