Author Archives: Abby T

Just Brush It Off

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Well, it’s been another chunk of time since I’ve updated this blog…..I’ve had things I’ve wanted to say, but life has gotten in the way and things have just been busy and non-stop. Stress is at an all-time high at this point. And as I’ve been navigating the stressful waters of life I’ve come to a startling realization.

I am impatient  to a fault and I seriously lack compassion.

Now hear me out. I know that several of you that are reading this have known me for quite a while, some are new to me and my life, some have been around here and there over time. But to the naked eye, I think that many would disagree with my above statement. I feel that I am very giving (of my time, and energy, and various resources dependent upon the need) and I think others would agree. I will go out of my way to help people and make things more accommodating for their life. So much so, that my time and energy is stripped from my own well-being at times.

Then there are the times where I am outright rude and lack any shred of compassion to my fellow-man. I am selfish, I have a low tolerance and threshold for ignorance. I am impatient and do not deal with when other people are not on the same mindset as I am with that.

I am impatient with my kids. This is something I struggle with a lot. I’ve always said that I love my kids with every ounce of my being, but I could not be around other kids for extended periods of time, i.e. working in a daycare or being a teacher would be totally out of the question. I don’t have the patience to deal with children to that extent. I barely have the patience to deal with my own kids at times, especially when it’s the 4th time I’ve had to tell them to pick up their dirty clothes off the floor or have explained to them the rules of the day.

As for where compassion for others (and even sometimes myself) comes into play, let me explain.

I’m a single mom to two amazing boys. I do everything. I work full-time, I am the room mom for my younger son so I have to coordinate school parties, I am constantly on the go. I don’t have time to be sick, or to take time off for myself. I may be sick as a dog, but I’m still pushing forward, because I have to. I have no tolerance for people who barely have a sniffle and can barely function. I’m of the mindset of, “Well, I don’t get to have a sick day, and I’m still expected to make dinner, do dishes, do the laundry, make school lunches, drop the kids off at school, do the grocery shopping, make the beds and clean, etc etc. Why should anyone else get to have slack with this?”

Sounds like I’m a, well, Bitch.

I’m just tired at this point. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally and every aspect in between. I want so much to have my load lifted, but I know that will never happen, and for some reason or another, I feel that it’s my load to carry and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So many times I feel like I’m just barely breathing and hanging on to what’s left of my existence by a thread. I feel like I’ll never get “ahead” or that I’ll always be stuck in this barely there existence. It’s SO very hard to see so many people in my life moving forward and flourishing and having the happiness that we all crave and desire and want in our own lives.

Full disclosure and this is very hard to talk about….I am so jealous every time I see one of my friends get engaged or married. Even seeing people I DON’T know personally get engaged gets the best of me. People that were divorced after me, so many people who I’ve known and some even gone out with in my past have all gotten engaged and/or married.

Heck, I can barely watch a tv show or movie where someone gets engaged or married without crying…either silently or big ugly tears streaming down my face cry-fests! I KNOW I should be happy for them, and honestly, I am. It’s just really hard to see it happening to everyone else. And there’s another area where I feel like I lack major compassion. Happiness and sincere joy for the good fortune of others.

Instead, I smile on the outside and cry on the inside, keeping it bottled up. It’s just easier that way. Showing emotion can be hard for me. Yes, I can show love unconditionally and keep that outpouring of THAT emotion going strong. But any OTHER emotion is very hard for me to show. Can’t be weak. Can’t let people know I’m struggling just to survive daily.

It’s not in me to ask for help. I feel like people should be more OPEN to seeing the needs around them. I don’t want to ask for help. I want to be able to do things on my own. But in doing EVERYTHING on my own, I get worn down and weary, really fast. I lose sight of my own needs and neglect them for the sake of doing everything for everyone else. I’m compassionate towards others at times, just not myself I suppose.

All this to say this. I need help. I’m asking for your help. Not that anyone is actually reading this because I know so many people ignore anything I write or even sometimes that things I say…it’s a fact of life I suppose. But even if just ONE person decides to actually lay their eyes on this long-forsaken blog, it’s a start.

I HATE, absolutely hate with a passion asking for anything from anyone. I am stubborn and strong-willed and just have come to a realization that no one is going to reach out to me to offer anything in the way of help or encouragement if I’m always blocking them out. I’m at the point where I can’t just brush off the hurt and the pain. I have to become vulnerable to my needs and put it out there.

It might be the only way I’m going to be able to survive this rough time in my life. It just might be the one way that is going to get me to be a better person that I strive to be continually. Not only for everyone around me, but more importantly, for me.

 

What the Funk?

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I have been in a downward spiral of a funk for a while now. I haven’t felt like myself. I don’t feel creative. I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I’ve been having writer’s block, bad. I just am not sure what to do.

I wouldn’t call it full-fledged depression. I’ve been there, multiple times. I’ve been medicated, I’ve been in therapy, the works. This is not the same kind of feeling. And maybe it’s just hitting me in a different way.

The holidays started the downward deviation from my “normal” self (although, what REALLY is normal these days?!) I think being away from family is always difficult, but especially during the holidays and special occasions. So, that absolutely comes into play in my present WTF scenario.

Strained relationships, misunderstandings as well as cruel words spoken also play a part in this. I’ve heard all the cliché’s and I’ve probably posted them on my various social media accounts, partially as a reminder that not all days are perfect and not all scenarios in life are played out like they are in the movies.

You know, like the one that says, “Just because you are angry doesn’t give you the right to be cruel.” Anger is one thing, and we all experience that one time or another. But that doesn’t give ANYONE the right to treat someone badly or hurl hurtful sentiments their way. This happened recently.

Or another one that says, “The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.” Just because someone has disrespected me and made snide remarks about my parenting, does not mean I’m a bad parent (even if that is a constant battle I have with myself). When someone makes a jab at me and/or something about me, does not mean that jab is accurate or even truthful. I have to make my own reality and truth. The offending party does not get to determine this about me.

Or finally, this quote, “Never respond to rudeness. When people are rude to you, they reveal who they are, not who you are. Don’t take it personally, be silent.” Again, this one is much easier said than done! It’s hard for me to not take rude comments and remarks personally. It’s difficult to remain silent because my first instinct is to defend myself and show the person how wrong they are. I admittedly need to grow a “thicker skin” so as to not take everything to heart. But that’s so hard when a person like me, with a heart that cares too much, hears insults hurled my way.

So basically my 2017 has not been going in the direction I would like it to go. Honestly, the last part of 2016 leading into 2017 has been pretty much hell. I’ve cried more in the last 3 weeks than I have in a long time. And maybe that’s a good thing because the release of emotions like that can always be cathartic. BUT, it also means that multiple things have caused the tears to flow, easier than they have in previous times.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel so deeply. I wish that I didn’t have a big heart that took things so personally. I wish that I could have a more carefree, caring less attitude, but then that wouldn’t be me. I am the person I am today, because of my heart. It’s not something that’s going to change overnight.

Going forward, I can only be me. I can wake up each morning, resolving to stay true to myself. I can continue to be the caring person that most people know me to be. I can’t live each day trying to please everyone, because that’s only going to end up in a miserable heap of failure. I can only continue to keep on keeping on, and leave the world a slightly better place then the day before. It’s all that I can do. And everyone needs to realize, including myself, that’s all that I can do.

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Silence is Golden?

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So I just looked and realized that I haven’t posted in a little over a month. And while that isn’t a huge deal to some,  I guess to me, in a round about way, it just seems like a long time. And of course, there’s always a time of busyness around the holidays and my work schedule has been insane and wonky, and overall, life has just been insanely sucky.

Yeah, I said it. Life sucks right now. And yes, please don’t lecture me about people being worse off. I know they are and I will never begrudge that. I’ve been worse off than where I am now. But sometimes, we all just have to let things out of our system and have oral diarrhea for a few and then move on. Maybe that’s what I’ve been needing but again, the guilt of thinking of other people worse off than me overtakes me.

Maybe part of it is because I second guess myself. Does what I have to say even matter? Do the words that come to my mind and the thoughts that I want to share even matter to anyone? I mean, let’s face it. I don’t have a huge readership. I don’t have a huge following. My blogs are posted on my social medias when I publish (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), but who cares? Does anyone even take the time to read it or bother to care what I have to say?

I really don’t have anything special to say.
My words don’t hold any significant importance.
I have no words of wisdom or bright ideas that need to be brought to your attention.
I’m far from political (for the most part).
I’m not going to share some amazing parenting moment that will change your life.

But sometimes, I just need to speak what’s on my mind, what’s weighing on my heart, and put ideas and thoughts out there for the “masses” to see/read.

MAYBE something I say is what you needed to read.
MAYBE something I bring to light is an opinion you hadn’t thought of.
MAYBE something  touch on could be a turning point for you.
MAYBE something I’m struggling with is the very thing you have recently conquered.
MAYBE I just want to “talk” but feel like I’m not being heard.

I’m not a fabulous writer. I’m not an award-winning author or up and coming blogger or even author in the making! I just like to talk about things, and for me to get my peace out about what’s important to me.

And if you’re still reading, then kudos to you because I’ve recently discovered that some people who I thought would take interesting in my reading didn’t bother to read what I have to say. Some of the things I say really need to be heard, but if there’s no interest, or even acknowledgement, what’s the point?

I guess, again, life is hitting me hard on the sucky scale. And yes, I could have things worse. Yes, I could be worse off and in a far darker place. Yes, I have it “good” for all intents and purposes.

But sometimes, I just need to scream from the rooftops. I need to scream that I want to be heard and I want to be valued for what I have to say and I want to be accepted, no matter what. I want to feel like I matter. I need to know that things I say mean something, in one way or another, or that you even SEE and READ what I write.

Because, maybe they don’t matter to you. Maybe they don’t affect you personally. But it affects me and it’s very real to me and it’s personal to me.

Maybe I just need to zip the lip (my famous line I say to my kids a lot these days lol). But really, it’s not going to stop me. Sometimes a little shake up helps. Maybe that’s what this is a prelude for. My life is already crazy and about to get even more crazy in the next month. But hopefully you’ll still be along for the ride. I know I’m not going anywhere! Silence or not……

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A Letter to my Children’s Step-Mother

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Today, on the Cincinnati Moms Blog my newest piece is published titled A Letter to My Children’s Step-Mother. Here’s a snippet for you to read:

“I’m not going to lie. When I first found out that my boys would have a step-mother, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I mean, I knew that this day would come at some point. But I also didn’t want another person in their lives. I had a difficult time seeing another “mother” who would help raise my children. I never had a close relationship with my step-mother, and I think that relationship clouded my vision. You truly care about my boys and love them. A hard pill to swallow at first, but easier now, as time has progressed.

It’s not easy sharing my amazing boys with anyone else. But I’m sure by now, after being in their lives the past 2 years, you are well aware of how amazing they are. You know first hand how intelligent they are, how loving and caring they can be, and how genuine they are.”

This took me a lot of time to finally put pen to paper on this topic. I went through several periods of grief, pain, hurt, jealousy, sadness, you name them. But just as any other writer would attest to you, putting down all those feelings on paper opens the floodgates of emotions, which eventually, at least in my case, will lead to some semblance of closures.

Co-parenting and dealing with step-families is not for the faint of heart some days. It’s obviously not something I would wish upon my kids or myself, but it’s the reality of our lives. So for my own sanity and those around me, I choose to make it positive. I choose to make it work. I choose to be thankful for everything that it could be and isn’t, and grateful for all that it is.

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Now You See Me…..

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For me, in a sea of unknown faces I can hide. I can be alone with my thoughts. My thoughts wander. Realities become blurred. I can sit back and imagine all the possibilities. In this time of pondering, I’m able to reach out and grasp the untouchables. The elite. The hidden. It is then that I realize that even in crowds of people, I see that I’m only a speck, just a blip on the radar of life.

There has to be something that I can grasp, something tangible that I can feel, just like sand flowing through my fingers while sitting on a beach. There’s such a disillusion of what companionship really is. It can be something I can feel. Something I can know. Something that is in my presence. But yet, it’s not there. It’s hiding. It’s distant and I want so much to be able to be there, in constant communication.

I get beat down. I get the wind knocked out of me. Words are so powerful. Thoughts can get you in a place you don’t want to be. You can be lifted up. Or you can be torn down. How am I supposed to handle this? How should I respond when these words and actions are thrown my direction? What am I supposed to do in order to triumph over my demons? The demons that try to send me to my demise. The demons that tell me I am worthless, that I am beneath those around me, that I am just a space filler here on this earth. How can I push those demons off the proverbial cliff of life?

Wise decisions need to be made. When those decisions aren’t made in timely fashion or in the correct mindset, I get bombarded with empty feelings. With thoughts that get me nowhere and leave me hanging over the edge. And yet again, I’m alone. I’m hiding in the sea of unknown faces. Wherever I go, I’m alone. I’m reaching out, only to find a black hole with no end in sight. I’m trying to grasp for just one hand to lift me out, and there’s nothing. No one. Again, I’m alone.

I’m trying to be resilient and push my way through the struggles, but sometimes the struggle is stronger than me. Stronger than my thoughts. Stronger than my heart can handle. What then? What am I supposed to do? I’m lost. I’m alone, with no guidance, no direction. I’m misunderstood. I’m a rebel. I’m a loner. I’m not what you think I am, nor what you want me to be. But what does that matter? I’m me. This is who I am and no amount of pushing or prodding is going to change that. Ever.

So for now, what do I do? What can I grasp to lift me up? Where can I go where I am just more than a blank face in a crowd? Where can I reside where I’m not alone while surrounded by the world? I can only push. Push through the obstacles. Push through the bullies that are standing there mocking me, demeaning me, pushing me away. I’m strong. I have an indescribable amount of strength within me that I just haven’t been able to bring to the surface. It’s in there, I’m confident of that. Now it’s going to be like a treasure hunt to find it.

Follow the map to find it. No. That won’t work with me. There is no set path that I can take. There isn’t a dotted line that I can follow. I have to go by instinct. I must rely on my intuition. I’ll find it. It’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of being patient until the time is right and the unknown is revealed to me. So for now, I just wait and try to see my way through the sea of unknown faces and try to recognize someone, anyone. I just need to find my way.

More Than Words……Silence Speaks Volumes

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I’ve been keeping somewhat quiet on social media and in general about everything going on with the election. I will be the first to tell you that I am NOT a very politically minded person. I don’t know a lot about politics (much to the chagrin of my politically charged boyfriend lol) and I’m ok with that honestly. I know enough to make an informed decision and what I don’t know, I research and track down appropriate information so that I am more aware of the issues and what possible concerns there are.

BUT, with all that being said, in light of all the news surrounding Donald Trump and his recent recording that has been released and now the subsequent number of women coming forward to prove that what he SAID in that recording are much more than “just” words, but it’s proving to be ACTIONS. I think what is bothering me most, actually, what I KNOW that’s bothering me most, is how people, men AND women, are casting doubt on and shifting blame to the women that are coming forward with their harrowing tales of being sexually assaulted and molested by Donald Trump.

I am APPALLED that anyone would do this. I’m also not ignorant and am fully cognoscente of the fact that rape culture is alive and real, and harmful as all get out. Now, so many conservatives (a group I once aligned myself too adamantly) deny that rape culture exists. They cast a shadow over the whole concept of rape culture. I grew up in this mindset surrounding me and it’s destroying so many people around us.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook the other day and even now, it makes me upset!

Rape Culture doesn’t always equal the specific act of rape. Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.

This is all I’m going to say about Trump’s words and actions that have come to light from 10+ years ago. And if you are going to comment and defend him or excuse his words and actions as “typical locker room banter”, don’t bother because this is my page and I’m saying how I feel about it. Like it, love it, hate it, I don’t care.

As a survivor of sexual assault, rape, I can say without question that his words are very much part of rape culture. No, what he said and his conversation did not specifically state that he raped anyone. That’s not the point that I’m getting at. And while I may be more “sensitive” to his words and actions based on my history, it’s in no way lessening what he said and in all honesty, is creating a culture that has become desensitized to such terrible behavior.

What his words DO say to me is that it’s OK for men to treat women like a piece of meat. It’s OK for men to dominate women and “take what they want” regardless of what a woman says. It’s OK to use any public clout or professional standing to take advantage of a woman. It’s OK to repeatedly chase married women and use money and gifts and whatever other means they have to physically use them.

What he said is lewd and awful and very much degrading to females. Sure, guys talk crass. Women talk crass. No one is exempt from lousy behavior and saying things that they probably shouldn’t. But his words of abusive actions and sexual predator type behavior is unacceptable, for anyone to say, let alone someone who is supposed to be an example of what the USA stands for as a president.

Yes, I know past presidents have done worse. I know that Bill Clinton was impeached based on his sexual actions while in the White House. I’m not excluding him from this either. BUT, he’s also not running for president. Yes, his wife is, and I know that she’s done some pretty terrible things in her political lifespan, but when it comes down to it, Trump is the one under the microscope. Trump is the one that said such lewd and crass things that absolutely perpetuate rape culture. He might not have raped any of these women he so loosely talked about with no thought of a conscience (which I honestly doubt he has) but he sure as hell is contributing to the current downward spiral of our present day rape culture.

So please, stop excusing his words and actions. Stop saying it’s just normal for men to talk like that, because if that’s the type of company you keep, you need to take a deep look inside yourself to examine your associations. If a boy or man was saying this about YOUR daughter or wife or sister or cousin or ANYONE, would you excuse it? Would you give him a pass because that’s “normal” conversations? I should hope not! If my sons EVER said anything remotely like what Trump said, you better believe we’d be having a major heart to heart, no matter how old they are.

Why would you defend this man and give him a pass on this morally degrading conversation that he so freely had without even pause? Rape culture is real. Rape culture has taken over our country and it needs to stop. It needs to come to the forefront of our country and not be excused, ever. When are we going to take a stand to destroy this awful behavior? God help us.

As a survivor of rape, and one that was not able to come forward about what happened to me for some time, I can fully understand why this is coming out now. Yes, there could be some politically motivated angst in the delay in coming forward with their stories, but as a survivor myself, there is a time and a place to vet out the stories. Flat out refusing to believe a woman about their assault or rape is downplaying anything that happened to them. It’s victim blaming and shaming and it needs to stop.

My story was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on January 29,2016. You can read the article in its entirety HERE – Breaking My Silence: A Rape Survivor’s Story. But here’s a few excerpts that are really bringing it home for me:

“I was ashamed of what happened to me. I was afraid of what others would say. I was sure that my family and friends would stonewall me. I distanced myself from my strict upbringing because I thought there would be no support. When I needed it most, I was sure it would fail me as it had others before.”

Exactly this…women do not come forward because of the fact that in some circles, more circles it seems like these days, the women will be blamed for allowing it to happen, or for causing the man to stumble, or for tempting the man, etc.

“Maybe all these women finally found a support system that builds them up and embraces them, instead of tearing them down and belittling them regardless of what may have occurred. Maybe these women have finally found their strength to come forward, because they now have an avenue to voice their secret. Regardless of their reasoning, their silence does not in any way negate the circumstances or their story.

I can only speak for myself and what I know without a doubt, that in the midst of the pain and awful turmoil and the hurt, I found a voice that I didn’t know existed. I found the strength and courage to speak out against this depraved act that was carried out against me. I discovered that I was not alone and that there were others out there that could relate to and support me.

No amount of time or silence could change what happened to me. I pray that no one ever has to go through what I went through – what many millions of others have gone through. I can only hope that the women who have been unable to speak of these actions will finally find their voice and the healing that comes from breaking the silence.”

Silence speaks volumes sometimes, as we are finding out now with all these stories coming out now.

So many comments on several social media platforms are making my blood boil this morning and there is no excuse for Donald Trumps words and his now apparent actions. This isn’t locker room banter. This isn’t just words or guy talk. This is far beyond that and it’s perpetuating sexual assault and attempting to normalize it and brush it off. I for one, will not stand for this, and neither should anyone else. Quit dismissing it and blaming the women or the “Liberals” for being sensitive. Yes, I’m sensitive about this (I’m not categorizing myself as a Liberal either) because as a woman, no, not just as a woman but as a HUMAN BEING, we should not be subjected to this type of behavior, ever, by anyone.

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To Everything There is a Season

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Three years ago today, I embarked on a journey of epic proportions. I started a new life. I was out in the world on my own. I was scared. I was weak. I was alone.

Three years ago today, I moved out of my home and became a single mom.

The last three years have been, to be blunt, mostly hell. Of course there have been highlights along the way. There has been a learning curve for life lessons and some failing grades as I’ve moved along through all the stages of this transformation. The financial struggles and trials and mishaps have been the most difficult adjustment. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle since the day I moved. And maybe that’s how it’s always going to be, but I’d like to remain hopeful that one day it won’t be this hard.

I’ve been dealt the blow of losing family and friends over the years due to the decision that’s been made. But when it comes down to it, if you can’t support me, or heck, even acknowledge me in my time of change, grief, solitude, whatever you want to call it, then I don’t need that in my life. I need only positive reinforcements backing me up every step of the way. I’d rather be alone and KNOW that I’m doing the right thing and happy with my situation, then surrounded by mediocre friendships and back-biting relatives that are only out to serve their own selfish purposes.

It’s been three years of hell coming to grips that I only see my children half the time now. Their father and I have shared custody and while that’s honestly the most amicable solution, and only fair to the boys, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with over these last 1,096 days. My kids are my life, they are my everything, they are why I exist. I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children, and after miscarrying twins, they are my miracles, and I don’t take that lightly. Time with them is precious so I value every single second with them.

It’s been three years of struggling to date again. This has been one of the harder aspects of “starting over.” I never dated all that much growing up, in high school or college or after college. I was (and am still) quite awkward in dating scenarios. My ex and I got engaged 2 weeks after we met and married 2 months later (yes, I know, a recipe for disaster as it were). I was never one to get asked out much and it was just always a crapshoot.

I do have to say that my foray into dating again did allow me to pursue a dream of mine that I wasn’t able to pursue much while I was married. I love to write (as I hope is evident in my blog) and I love to explore meanings and reasons of why things happen and really like to work on what I need to learn from all my experiences in life, good and bad! Maybe I like to write to warn people, “Don’t Do What I Did!” or maybe just to enlighten people to things that they might be totally unaware of in their given state of being.

Regardless, all my mishaps in life have opened up several doors to explore my writing, on a continued and consistent basis, with aspirations of more down the road. It all started in February of 2015 with my first OpEd being published in the Cincinnati Enquirer (Where Are Good Guys?). This led to me being on two local radio programs (Kidd Chris on 102.7 WEBN and Jeff and Jenn on Q102). That in and of itself was an interesting time!  But through that initial article I wrote, I was able to write 6 more articles for the Cincinnati Enquirer and now am a contributing writer for the Cincinnati Moms Blog HERE. So many doors have been opened because of my “struggles” that I was able to laugh at and find some humor in amongst the pain.

Next stop…..writing my first children’s book with my own illustrations that I draw for the boys….and as always, they are my inspiration for just about everything!!

But the last three years hasn’t all been filled with hurt and pain and struggles and depression. SURE! I’ve had my moments of constant “fill in the blank” problems and issues, but I’m TRYING (trying being the crucial word) to find the positives, despite everything working against me. Some days, it’s really hard. I mean, almost impossible, and that’s to be expected. I was starting over again. Starting over in pretty much every aspect of life: Social, Economical, Spiritual, Physical, Relational and the list goes on and on!

I’ve found out who TRULY is in “Camp Abby” and who is just a wishy-washy friend and relative. I have lost several “friends” over the changes in my life, but I just have to keep reminding myself that a true friend would have stuck around no matter what. They would have been by my side through all the trials and tribulations. No, they don’t have to agree with me, or my ex, or either. That’s not what is at the core of this all. A true friend is one that is going to stick by you and support you, regardless if they agree with you or not. They are going to be an advocate for you despite what is thrown your way or theirs. That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. And sadly, several family members have chosen to not support me, regardless.

Blood, my friends, is NOT thicker than water. I have some pretty amazing friends that have been supporting me, regardless, and have stuck around, and been strong for me when my supposed supportive family have all been knocked to the wayside. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t need that in my life, and I’m not going to let those people determine my self-worth or bring me down. Yes, it’s a work in progress, but it’s something I’ve been slowly becoming more and more comfortable with over the years.

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I rediscovered my love for baseball. Now this might seem trivial to some, but it’s been an amazing thing for me and my boys as well. We have something that is unique to us. Something that we can share as a family and something that I can instill into my boys’ lives. This has made a huge impact in our lives, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything (despite the losing seasons we’ve experienced)! I was even fortunate enough to have an article printed during the All-Star games last year in Cincinnati that you can read HERE. This tradition has been reestablished in my life and I wouldn’t want that any other way!

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I’ve discovered that money is NOT everything. My marriage had a lot of financial difficulties. Difficulties that I’m still paying for, literally, three years later. The lure of materialistic gain and prosperity won out over practicality and living simply. For that reason, we went through a bankruptcy. Because of that, I’m still paying that off (Chapter 13 repayment) and cannot currently get a car loan, credit cards, rent a car, or even a mortgage (if I ever wanted to go that route again which I really don’t think I want to!).

BUT, despite those financial hardships, I have learned to be more frugal, I have been able to teach my children the value of money and the thrill of saving up for something you really want and paying for it in full. I’ve also learned the drawbacks of my situation.

  • I don’t have the nicest, newest vehicle. Heck, my jeep is 13 years old with almost 170,000 miles on it!
  • I don’t have brand name clothing or shoes or the most expensive handbag. I shop at Goodwill on a consistent basis.
  • I am not able to attend all the cultural, theatrical and artistic events I did once before.
  • I can’t travel to the extent that I would like nor have much hope for a “regular” vacation like other families.
  • And to be honest, if I get the opportunity to remarry, I don’t see myself being able to afford any type of wedding.

And over the last three years, I have learned a valuable lesson in letting things go. And while I am nowhere near where I need to be in this area, I’d like to think that I am a LITTLE bit better. I’ve had to deal and learn and “get over” so many things. So many more things than people can even imagine. I’m not going to sound petty, and please don’t think I’m judging anyone, because I’m the last person that wants to judge someone, but there are some people who have NO idea. There are people who cannot even begin to fathom everything that I’ve been through the last three years, and I wouldn’t want to wish this on anyone. But it’s not been a cake walk, and moving out and taking the route that I did has been anything but easy. It’s been quite the opposite, and now three years later, I still find myself “suffering” at times and trying to pick up the pieces from what destroyed me in the past.

  • I’ve had to see my kids going to Disney with their father and new family. That was the family vacation we planned while I was still married and was something we were going to do one day.
  • I’ve had to see my children’s father get remarried and have a wedding (which he didn’t want to have with me) and reception. It’s something I always wanted.
  • I’ve had to see my children gain a step-mother and two step-sisters and a whole other extended family.
  • I’ve had to cash out my 401K just to be able to get a reliable vehicle and am slowly rebuilding my retirement funds.
  • I’ve had to eat green beans from a can for meals just so that I can make sure my kids are fed and taken care of.
  • I’ve had to borrow money from my mother just so that I don’t “go under” some months. This is a humbling scenario since I am very proud and hate asking for any kind of help.
  • I’ve had to tell my children no on so many occasions when it comes to them asking for something. It kills me that with me, my children have to go without sometimes, unlike when they are with their father.
  • I’ve had to literally cash in pennies so that I could “cushion” my bank account so that I don’t go into the negatives.

All of these things would put to shame so many people who think “they have it rough” because they can’t get the newest Coach purse or have to wait on the newest phone upgrade for 6 months or that they have to get a “used car” that is from 2014. To those people I just want to say, “SHUT UP!!” Not really, but kind of. I just want to encourage people to put things into perspective when it comes to all of these things.

I can only hope that I can encourage others that might be going through a similar situation or know someone who is through my writing and my example. Through my trials and pain and hurt over the last several years, if just one person could be helped or encouraged to just keep going forward and do what you need to do to be in a better situation, then I can consider it a positive. It may take a year, it may take five it may take a decade. But don’t ever give up!!

And I’d be remiss to not mention a part of my life that has been one of the most positive things…and of course, who doesn’t like an upbeat, happy conclusion?! I did meet someone, a man, who I am deeply in love with and am happy and content with. I had to have my heart broken many times in order to find the one who would heal and work on sealing the cracks that almost destroyed my heart over the last three years. And I will be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect. I’ll also be the first to tell you that my boyfriend is not perfect, and that our relationship is not perfect. But I will tell you that it’s been worth it. The best relationships are those that come when you least expect it. They happen to those that work at it. Relationships are not easy, as evident in my three year journey. But when you work as a team, constantly trying to better yourselves, better each other, and lift each other up and encourage each other to be the best person they can be, then that right there is your perfection.

The last three years have been rough. It’s been painful. It’s been a learning experience that I’m not sure I would ever want to repeat. But in the end, the last three years have made me into the person I am today, and while I know that sounds cliché, it’s absolutely true. And while I still have a ways to go in all honesty, I’m much further along in my journey than I ever thought possible. I’m stronger than I ever believed myself to be. And if it took those three years of heartache and pain and constant growing, then it’s worth it in the end. It is what it is, and I can only push forward, making myself a better me with each passing day.

And maybe the next three years won’t be as bad. Maybe the next three years will bring only positive and enlightened paths for me to follow. And if that’s the case, I will follow that path and take each new day in stride and push forward without any regrets or misgivings.

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