Staying Optimistic When All My Brain Wants to do is Look at How I Have Failed…

Keeping a positive mindset used to come so easily for me. I was once a fearless, fun, adventurous, happy gal…

…Then I met my ex husband and that changed for a while.

I am mindful that it takes two people to have a happy, fulfilling marriage. Three if you put God at the center of your marriage.  I rarely speak ill of my ex-husband because he isn’t a bad guy; he was just bad for me.

The man I fell in love with appeared to enjoy (and appreciate) my presence in his life, he seemed to be financially intelligent, a hard worker, and loved his mom. I ignored red flags that would pop up (or make excuses for them) and focused on the outward appearances.

SHOCKER-Some of those appearances were just that; appearances. By the time I asked for a divorce I was sad, fearful, anxious, and felt like a failure (to name a few).

I’ve come so far in the last three years.  I’ve found some confidence, I’ve rediscovered my playfulness, I’ve grown spiritually and emotionally, and I am finding that everything I want I can have. I’m am very happy with my life and grateful for the abundance of all I have.

But three years later I am still guarded with my happiness, fearful, anxious, and feel like a failure as it pertains to relationships.  Communication is one area in my life I need to work on but when I am around men, potential dates, I clam up.  I feel like what I have to say isn’t important and it doesn’t help that small talk is not my forte.  My biggest hurdle as it pertains to relationships is that I have little faith that someone can (and will) love and appreciate me for who I am.

I don’t know how to release these fears.  It seems so much easier to live in my own little world and avoid dating. But living this way can sometimes feel lonely.

I’ve tried speed dating and an online dating site.  Seems so unnatural and like I am trying to force a connection for the most part.  Attempting to be myself while engaging another in a conversation. Attempting to find common interests while holding on to my individuality.  So much more challenging now in my late 40’s.

I wish I could just put wanting a companion out of my mind and completely appreciate where I am in life.  Continue to explore life and all the opportunities available to me. When wanting hits I try to stay optimistic. I remind myself the that there is someone for everyone and that my time will come. And that he will be as grateful as I that we found each other.

 

Acknowledging Emotions As They Come

I love to read. While I love a good suspense or romance, lately I’ve been reading mostly self-help.

I want to be a better person. I can’t be a better version of myself if I continue to live in the past, do as I have done in the past.  Albert Einstein said it best when he stated something to the affect that doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome each time is the definition of insanity.

We all have a story to tell. And as I’m learning many share similar stories as mine. Hard, challenging upbringing; Traumatic events that left scaring; Emotional responses that we are taught to suppress.  Suppressing anything is not good and fixes nothing.

The most recent books I have read talk about acknowledging emotions as they come up. Facing the demons rather than pushing them back in or worse, chiding yourself for the demons.  So today when I had another crying spell I asked myself what was bringing this on, what emotion was surfacing.

I identified today’s emotion as grief.

The last five years have been extremely challenging. My father was diagnosed with (and died from) cancer. While helping to care and support him, a friend committed suicide. While supporting my mom and friend (whose husband died due to suicide) I divorced my husband.  While “dealing” with the divorce I was attempting to learn balance and find my “place” in the world. Just when I thought I was learning balance I sold my house and bought a new house. Then my mom was diagnosed with (and died due to) cancer.

Before mom passed I remember telling my friend that I needed space, that with all that has happened I had not had time to grieve my dads or her husbands death. I was so busy being everyone else’s cheerleader that I wasn’t being there for me. And I needed that.

Since January I’ve had so much free time. It’s the first time in years where I can focus solely on my well being and not have to “save a portion” for someone else.  Up until January, every other weekend (for the majority of the last four years) was spent traveling home to be with my mom. Those weekends with mom were the best. While helping her heal I was healing too.

Tears have come so often since she passed.  I haven’t cried this much in 23 yrs. I don’t even think I cried this much when my dad died (probably because I felt in necessary to be the “strong one”).

I was brought up to believe that crying is a sign of weakness. Anytime I would want to cry, I would force myself to suppress the tears. I would even call myself names if I cried.

But not today, not since January. The second greatest woman in the world died and took another part of me with her. Today when I cried I acknowledged that I still grieve for her. I acknowledged that with her passing I felt as if I was “all alone again”.

Yes, I know this time that I am not all alone. I have an amazing support system grieving with me, rooting for me as I continue to be the best version of myself.

Love of Life

I don’t know where to start…I’m uncertain of what to do.  Continuously striving for more. But more of what? No longer content on merely “existing” but again; what to do?

I’ve done a lot of reflecting, especially lately. The last four and a half years have been challenging with (up until six months ago) very little time focus on my life. Hell, for the last 16 years I’ve allowed others needs/desires to dictate my actions with my life decisions if I’m going to be honest.

And now I’m alone.

With no others around to care for I’m finding I have a lot of time on my hands.  Thank heavens I love my own company! But more often than not I find myself asking questions.  What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What is my passion? What can I do today that will help alleviate my occasional feeling of “just existing”?

Life is short, who the hell simply wants to just exist? Pre marriage I was a doer, take life by the balls and run kinda gal.  And now, not so much.  These days I feel limited. My confidence has been shaken to the core. As diligently as I am working to be and become a better version of me, some days I still struggle. I feel as if I still can’t get off this island.

I can’t blame “well I have two dogs to consider…can’t just leave them home alone while I go do whatever.” And truthfully laying blame is fruitless.  Life just doesn’t seem the same as it once was. And honestly life is NOT the same as it once was. I have different life questions. Different life circumstances. Different desires.

Gone are the days of working up the corporate latter. Gone are the days of raising my own family. Gone are the days of wanting to be like the Jone’s.

Life now is about being happy, healthy, confident, fun, fearless, simple, drama free: to name a few. I want to express myself artistically; to be a better version of myself so that I can spread joy, compassion, understanding to others; to each night as i drift off to sleep be at peace knowing I am doing the best I can for my life (because me being at peace with my life helps bring peace to all those I come in contact with).

But a lot of my brain activity is about how badly I want “him” (and “us”). How I want to share this amazing journey with “him”.

To feel that magical connection with him that can’t be explained. To have those endless, often philosophical, conversations with him about what feels important to each of us. To laugh together at those corny jokes that only we understand. To experience that “fills my body and soul with so much love for another” feeling. To know the comfort of waking in the middle of the night (like most pre menapausal women do) and seeing the love of my life peacefully sleeping NEXT TO ME.

If you are one to believe in Law of Attraction you would agree that putting too much focus on what you want AND the feeling of the void of not having it, keeps it at bay.

But I don’t know how to stop thinking of the void, to let “void” go, and let “him” come to me?

So funny because couple of years ago (2016) my mantra was “happy, healthy, confident” (HHC); which is who I have become. Not much thought into that because I would (and still) do each day something positive to lead me down that road.  Last year (2017) I added “fun and fearless” (FF) to that mantra. And I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to add that to who I am.

But him. While pursuing a HHCFF life best I can, I too often wonder where the FUCK is he? LOL

Life is funny…

Life is funny you know…

just as you pick yourself up

and dust off

whammmmmmmmmmmmm

I pray that my brothers tumor is an “easy fix”….The doctors are optimistic that all will be fine. I pray that all IS fine and that I don’t have to grieve another life lost to cancer.

Remember folks, life is short.   Say what you gotta say, do what you gotta do.  Live with as few regrets as possible.  I really have no regrets (unless it has to do with Mr. Friendly LOL). I am who I am. From the things I’ve experienced, by the choices I’ve made, by the outcomes of the things I’ve done. They have all made me who I am.

And I am a wonderful person despite my errors. Despite my flaws. I AM deserving of great things-even love.

Sure I’ve made my share of mistakes. And I’ve asked for forgiveness where needed.  And recently I forgave myself. My mistakes, my life experiences…they don’t define me. They’ve molded me and are helping me to be the best version of myself that I can be.

And I will no longer apologize for who I am.

Love me or leave me I don’t care. I love ME. That matters!

 

A Romantic Weekend Getaway…

What do these four things have in common; Weekend reservations at a really nice hotel; a romantic dinner at a swanky restaurant; a day tour along the bourbon trail; and sightseeing around an old city.

Well…if you’re like me you think it’s a wonderful idea for a romantic weekend getaway. A weekend just for two. No kids, no pets, no responsibilities.  Just the two love birds giving each other their undivided attention.   I’ve been planning this trip for months.  Years actually.  Just me and “that special someone”.

But things don’t always go as we hope for (or plan) and with the gentle reminder of how short life is, I made plans to head to Louisville.

Romantic weekend for one please!

 

So much has happened over the last four years to really shake my foundation. Feelings of loss, inadequacies, worthiness, strength, confusion; you name it I felt it.  I’ve stumbled, tripped, and picked myself back up. Of course I had a great sounding board/mentor.  But when things came to a head end of 2017, my light bulb went from barely blinking to shining bright.

Life is SO short. Life is precious. Life IS meant to be lived fully until God calls us home. What am I waiting for?

So sorry “that special someone”, I couldn’t wait any longer.

After dropping my pups off at the doggie staycation place I drove the four hours to Louisville. It rained the entire time. I guess the powers that be wanted me to listen to Abraham Hicks instead of having the windows down 🙂 I arrived in Louisville about 3:30 pm Thursday.  Traffic was fine getting into town and the hotel was right off the interstate in down town.

I stayed at the Galt House.  This hotel is HUGE! The hotel seems to be a bit older and had a lot of charm. The hotel staff was pleasant and the room a nice size. The view from my room was part other side of the hotel and part river view.  I chose it because a lot of the things I wanted to do were close to the hotel and me being a responsible adult relished at the thought that I could walk rather than drive (news flash-Louisville is known for their whiskey and bourbon). It’s not a bad hotel (a smidge pricey BUT I was right down town) but consider yourself warned…the bed was extra firm, pillows way too soft, and water pressure in the shower sucks (and not in a fun, good way).

Thursday night I had reservations at Jeff and Ruby’s Steakhouse.  The restaurant is attached to the hotel but a bit confusing to get to. Thankfully one of the hotel staff pointed my in the right direction.  I LOVED the decor of the restaurant. Had I not been so nervous (social anxiety) I would have stayed longer.  I was promptly seated and moments later my waiter (John) arrived to welcome me.  I mentioned that it was the first time being there and he kindly gave me the run down and went over menu with me.  I had looked at the menu prior to going (in an attempt to keep my nerves calmer) and wanted to try a warm cider whiskey drink but it was no longer available. So I ordered the tried and true Long Island Ice Tea; it did NOT disappoint.

While waiting for John to come back I observed my surroundings. Again, I can not express well enough just how charming this restaurant is.  It is decorated with the speak easy theme. Lighting was just perfect- a touch of romance without leaving you guessing where your glass was. What a great place for a romantic date!!  I ordered Oyster Rockefeller, Filet Mignon, Petite Lobster, and Asparagus. It was DELICIOUS! Pricey, but delicious. And I’m worth it! As a bonus I did see my future self and “that special someone” and that warmed my heart (they held hands walking in, sat next to each other at the table, and she wrapped her arm over his shoulder at the table. She drank whiskey, him wine)!

Friday’s agenda was the Mint Julep Tours bourbon trail bus tour. The tour took off from the hotel. Mindy was our guide and Tracy was our bus driver. Mindy was very knowledgeable and shared some wonderful stories while Tracy was a great driver and made sure our buzzed butts made it everywhere safely! 🙂  We stopped at Barton’s Distillery, a cute lil restaurant in Bardstown (sorry-I don’t remember the name but the gals there are super sweet and is located near My Old Kentucky Home), Limestone Distillery, and Maker’s Mark Distillery.  Barton’s has some WONDERFUL Chocolate Bourbon Ball that you can only get from there (needless to say I WILL go back for that); Limestone had a GREAT guide (think Forest Gump meets Matthew Mcconaughey); and Maker’s Mark had a beautiful establishment (their guide was good but NO comparison to Limestone’s guide).

Saturday’s agenda was a free for all. As a solo tourist I don’t recommend free for all’s. There are a LOT of distillery’s on Main, with scheduled tour times that you need tickets for, that sell out quickly. After walking around for a bit I stopped in at Art Eatables to buy some bourbon truffles (OMG SO GOOD) and the guys there recommended Bristol Bar & Grille for a bite to eat. I had a wonderful omelet followed by a delightful piece of Derby Pie. After chatting with waiter about things to do, I opted to try the Evans Williams Experience since it was right there. What a wonderful experience! Informative, fun (and the bourbons weren’t bad either!!) and in a prohibition style pub!

While my romantic weekend wasn’t “ideal”, I did have fun.  I was able to mark a few things off my “that sounds like fun” list and able to acknowledge emotions bottled up at the moments they hit. I left Louisville not only embracing who I am, but who I am becoming.  Not surprising (as mom would say) I not only love her but see a bright, wonderful, adventurous future with her.

And THAT excites me!

No Longer waiting for…

Words are stuck in my head. A jumbled mess.

All the things I’m tired of waiting for.  Feeling emotionally inadequate from the thought “Oh! That will be so much fun to do with the love of my life!” Exhausted mentally from the wanting of “that special someone to share my journey, who WANTS to be on my journey.”

Life is WAY too short. Want Want Want…Wait Wait Wait.

No more waiting.  Curbing the wanting. Mr. Someone Special can catch up. Or better yet, meet me there; his choice!

For as long as I remember I’ve listened to what others wanted and quite often did what they wanted/expected of me, in hopes of pleasing them. Some of those times it was needed for me to put their needs in front of mine. But not always.  Not when it put my happiness and emotional state in the toilet.

Since my divorce it’s been a wonderful, amazing (slow) journey. I’ve come to realize that I AM allowed to be happy, I AM allowed to have fun, I AM allowed to make the choices that are best suited for my life. And I remembered that it’s OK to do them alone.

You see, in my younger years (pre marriage) I LOVED road trips.  It was nothing for me to get off work Friday night and say “I’m going to go see Gram in Philly this weekend!” Whenever the urge hit I would run home, grab clothes and hit the road.  Back pre marriage I did things I wanted to do, when I wanted to, with whom I wanted to.

Granted back then I wished for that special someone ALL THE TIME too. But I was SO shy and figured “eventually” I’d meet that special someone to share the journey with; why let being alone stop me from what I wanted in other areas of life.  And no matter how shy I felt, I made myself do things “out of my comfort zone.” Of course, there was also a lot of alcohol involved back then.

So I’ve taken that page out of my own story book. Making myself do things out of my comfort zone.  Hitting the road as often as possible (these days it takes a lil planning ahead then before LOL).  One weekend I went to a charity whiskey tasting. I knew NO one. Yes, alcohol was involved however I knew my limits 🙂 .   In May I have a gal pal trip scheduled for the tropics.  And just this last weekend I took my first solo road trip in 15 years!

To be continued….Learning to Date Myself

 

One Day at a Time…

I vaguely remember a time when I wouldn’t shut up. I’d just chat away at whatever was on my brain, to whomever was willing to listen, for hours on end.  But lately I’ve had a loss for words.  When there are words, they are a jumbled mess and I struggle to make a complete, coherent sentence.

I imagine some of the “issue” is age.  I’m at a point in my life where it’s “say what you need to and move on”.  Some of the “issue” is depression. Who wouldn’t be sad when the one person you/I confided EVERYTHING to has passed? Someone who can’t be replaced nor do I have a desire to try and replace. She was my end all be all; my ride or die buddy.

But gratefully life goes on. One day at a time. Maybe God will grant me a new, different ride or die buddy?

Anyhow, I recently made a secret vow to the universe to always do my best to make her proud. It isn’t that my birth parents don’t deserve that “vow”; it’s just that my step mom was “the one”. I so wish I could communicate correctly the difference. Maybe I can…if you’re willing to bare with me.

My 1st mom (birth mom) died when I was 25.  I was “just” becoming an adult. Just “gettin it”; the adulting thing. Growing up I always knew my mom was an amazing being. Patient, kind, fair, beautiful…just to name a few. I could talk to her about small things but not the nitty gritty of what was going on in my brain. I never got to the “point” where I felt comfortable really opening up with her. When we lost her I was devastated on so many levels.  I also knew we would never get to “that” place (a place like mom 2 ad I found) and carried that guilt for years.

My father and I had a challenging relationship.  Growing up he was the disciplinary, the iron fist, the military drill instructor.  He also had an issue with alcohol and anger.  Fond memories were sparse. After my 1st mom passed we still struggled but had a relationship because I put forth the effort. Although visits to his and my 2nd moms house would start with anxiety, they would end with ease. My 2nd mom had a lot to do with that.  When dad was diagnosed with cancer our relationship grew strong and I am sure he was as grateful for our time together as I was. He was able to grasp how much like him I was, what a great woman I was becoming.  I was able to forgive and understand that he did the best parenting job he could, with the tools he had.  Both my parents did.

For the last 3 1/2 years after dad passed it was just 2nd mom and I.  Each visit I spent mainly with her, rarely with step family.  This was by choice. I knew I wouldn’t have her forever and wanted her all to myself. I wanted to comfort her, nurture her, love her, spoil her. Call me selfish but I do NOT regret my decision.

After my divorce (1 1/2 yrs after dad passed) she was my rock.  We would have the most amazing talks; often just me talking to her about life.  She would listen and share wisdom. When we weren’t chatting we were laughing at our Hallmark movie or napping. I swear it was the best time ever!!

I NEVER felt judged by my 2nd mom.  I KNEW she loved me as I was.  She saw past I what I felt were flaws and rarely got after me when I was groucie (She was ALWAYS happy-just like mom 1). I beacme comfortable in my own skin with her. She would write the most wonderful notes in her cards to me…notes about what a blessing I was to her and how grateful she was to have me.  I was grateful too and showed her my gratitude best I could. I don’t have to guess whether or not she knew how much I loved her like I felt I had to guess with mom 1 and my dad; I know she knows how much I loved her.

And maybe that’s why it’s so important to me to vow to continue to make her proud? To not sit at home ALL the time, to occasionally go out and socialize a lil bit.  To continue nurturing my relationships with me step family (amazing peeps by the way; AMAZING). To remember my strengths rather that what I view as faults.

Love you mom!!

49 DJR 17

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