And just like that… everything changed.

 

I’m not even sure if I will be brave enough to post this. But I need to let it out somewhere all the same. I’m so ashamed. So hurt. My whole world has come crashing down in the course of just 36 hours. It started with a message from someone I didn’t know. She was reaching out because I seemed sweet, and she felt I deserved to know the truth.

My husband was cheating on me. And she had proof.

From there, it was a fall down the rabbit hole. And I’m beyond devastated. I rather stupidly thought I’d be capable of going to work today. I think I made it about 15 minutes before I broke down into gut wrenching sobs and just lost it. I’m grateful for the couple of coworkers who were there to offer comfort and consoling as I poured my heart out and recounted the past 18 hours.

So many lies. So much that I didn’t know. Stuff that I don’t fully know how to wrap my head around. And I am truly trying to. And now, this evening, after a day of struggling to even clear my head from the dark clouds that have taken over, he shared that he was frustrated because he’d said he was sorry and he’s done a bunch of what I’d asked for in order for me to feel more comfortable and yet I was still upset. Well excuse ME! Just because I was calm and quiet for the first 5 hours of me learning everything doesn’t mean the storm wasn’t going to come. I have never lied to him. I’ve never been unfaithful or disrespectful. I’ve never done anything to deserve all that has been laid at my feet in the past couple days. I’ve been a good wife. A good person.

I wasn’t angry when I found out…. a few small outbursts in that first hour or so, but overall – I just haven’t been angry. I’ve experienced shock, hurt, shame, disappointment, and now… after learning that he’s frustrated with me, I am now Furious!

Are you kidding me right now?!

He’s seen me suffering all day – came home from work early…crying, talking to my counselor…crying. I went to bed after saying something along the lines of “You cannot tell me that you love me, if you did, this wouldn’t have been going on since the beginning. You don’t love me.” You know what his response was? “Not the whole time!” and then he went silent for a good 5 minutes or so. This upset me and is when he shared his frustration. I had to clarify with him to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood his meaning, to which he confirmed that he had said he was sorry – what more did I want?

And he didn’t even finish doing the things we’d agreed to do to help me feel comfortable. He’s working on it – but his progress is slower than it should be for someone who says they’re going to work on things. I got out of bed after I handed him my wedding ring.

And now I’m sitting on my couch in the dark. Writing this with music playing softly. The dog is snoring in her crate.

There are no more tears. I know what I’m worth… and this is not it.

Fall is here

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I know – not a very imaginative title.  I may or may not change it.  Tonight, I need you Neverland.  I love it here.  It’s a place that I feel safe to let anything out.  Vulnerabilities and all.  I like to posture and say that by sharing my vulnerabilities, it gives me strength.  It’s a bunch of BS tho.  I’m still not very strong.  Today especially.

Today, I feel lost.  Lost in a sea of my own making to some extent, as my life is my own, and the choices I’ve made over my life were mine.  Part of me thinks, well.. Jen, it IS fall.  You always get this way leading up to Ben’s birthday.  But I don’t think this is just a bit of grief.  Not having a job right now is frustrating.  I’m antsy and starting to worry over my financial responsibilities.  It’s a strange feeling – first time in 12 years I’ve been unemployed.  I won’t lie – I’m a little scared.

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Fall is really here.  It’s getting colder, more brisk in the mornings.  The leaves are changing.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  And yet – it’s also a time of year that typically has me feeling anxious, and even a little down.  This is the time of year, that I want to hibernate.  Who knows, maybe I was a bear in another life? 🙂  This is the time of year that I’m often hit with a lot of memories from my past.  I dreamed of Ben the other night.  Grayson asked about him the other day – as we have his picture up on one of the bookshelves in the living room.  I don’t cry very much anymore, but there is still a deep ache.  The kind of ache in the chest that if you dwelled for too long, the tears would well up behind the eyes, the flood threatening to flow down the cheek.  Some wounds are too deep to really heal.

I’ve had some pretty major shakeups with friends and family in the last couple of weeks.  That combined with the kids starting school, healing from my injuries and the lack of work… I can’t lie to myself anymore, I’m on the edge of depression.  And I know I’ll pull out of it – I always do – but the past couple of weeks have been hard.  I’m really proud of me tho.  I’m doing it all.  I’m managing to figure all of this out, slowly but surely.  I have to remind myself that courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid… it means you’re afraid but still take a step forward.

I have to remind myself that it’s ok to take some time for myself right now.  To be quiet and hibernate a little in my home.  It’s ok to feel a little lost and scared and lonely.  I’m lucky really.  I know how good I have it and I know that I’m one tough cookie who’ll find a way to  continue to have it good for a long time yet to come.  I’ve never been a fan of limbo – and that’s all this is.  A strange state where the path that lies ahead of me is a bit hazy and unclear.  It’s ok.  Although – I won’t lie – it would be nice if someone would join me with a flashlight and a map.  🙂

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Sunday night thoughts

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Tonight I spent some time quietly just sitting and reflecting.  Truthfully, I don’t do this enough.  It has been a busy weekend.  We had friends and their children stay the weekend with us.  I don’t think the house has ever had that many people in it, let alone sleeping in it.  It was a lovely weekend, high in energy.  Today, some friends came over for a visit, we watched movies and played Uno.  It was a lovely way to finish out the busy weekend, but I think what really helped to calm and center me was simply to light a few candles and sit cross-legged on my couch and just be in the moment.

It’s interesting, society spends so much time trying to distract themselves from living in the moment.  Movies, video games, social media, food, alcohol, drugs…. all of these things we use to disappear into.  Trying desperately to fill a hole in their lives that they may not even fully realize is there, let alone have the know-how on filling it.  It would be a lie to say that I’m not one of those people.  But every now and then, typically after I’ve had a loud, overstimulating few days, I have to just stop everything and just breathe.

I think I know how to fill it.  I think it comes with time and age, and just learning to understand who you are at the core of your being.  And accepting it for what is. But I’m also good at trying to fill a void.  🙂  And there are a few for me… more than a few.  I have a rich and full life.  A wonderfully large family, whom I see often, a variety of friends who are as near and dear to me as family should be, I have my children who I have very close relationships with… even loving pets whom I adore.   And yet, sometimes, I’m lonely.  It’s silly really – as I rarely have alone time, so how on earth can one feel lonely… but it’s the honest truth.

I spent some time thinking about that too tonight.  Why do we desire to share our lives with someone else… especially when we think about the fact that the journey we each walk down is ours and ours alone.  So logically, if that’s the case, then you will never truly be able to share your life with someone.  OR… I suppose you could look at it the other way – you share your life with anyone and everyone who touches it… to what degree and the depth that you share will vary and depend on a variety of variables.  My god I sound like an engineer.  I know, I overthink everything! 🙂

I’ve been in the new house almost 3 months now.  It’s amazing how time flies.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here so much longer than that, and other times, it feels like it was just yesterday that we moved in.  I think a part of that is just because of the swirl of other tests life has thrown at me since we got here.  I’m so proud to be here.  To own my own place.  I have a solid plan in motion on getting it paid off, and in a few years, I intend to invest in something additional – either property or business-wise.  It’s fun, knowing that those goals are not only in front of me, but very much attainable.  🙂

I’m looking forward to the summer.  Between my little garden (next year’s will be bigger if I have anything to say about it), my art, my children, my work and my new kayaks… I think the summer days will be quite filled with a lot of fun.

I’m building a full on art studio in my house.  It’s been quite a thrill so far to start putting together.  When I’m finished, I think I will finally have my dream studio space.  It’ll take me a couple of years to really get it where I want to, but I will get there.  🙂  I’m even making one of the rooms a photography studio – something I’ve been dreaming of having for about 5 years now.

Little pieces of my life, long-loved interests and hobbies are all finally starting to come together and find a place in my life.  It’s interesting to me.  I’d never have guessed that it would take me risking everything and breaking out on my own in order to find confidence in being myself.  At my core, I always saw myself as being fairly confident… but it’s only the last 5 months or so that I really feel like I’ve come into my own.  I see myself now.  All of me.  Not just the good parts and not just the bad.  I care about my own well-being.  Funny, I think I’d stopped.  Maybe I had given up?  Maybe losing Ben and my husband and my family and my friends did more to me than I gave it credit for.

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In the last few weeks, I feel a bit like Andy, from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”; when he climbs out of the sewer pipe and strips himself from the final rags from the prison and just stands in the pouring rain, drinking it all in.  Living life, even with all the scary parts, with all the pain, or insecurities, the grief, … is a spectacular thing.  I wouldn’t give up a single moment of it.  And I refuse to be one of those people who sit by and just accept the monotonous daily grind… especially when adventures can begin anywhere with anything.

My daughter is learning about gardening this year.  She has a few plants that she is growing all on her own, and even something as simple as a strawberry plant… watching it grow from seed to plant, growing and tending it, and now… the joy of the first few berries… has been an adventure for us all.  Researching a new subject for a painting or cartoon is an adventure.  Going on a weekend to explore a new city is an adventure.  Exploring the nearby lakes with my new kayak, all the wildlife and amazing scenery – these are all the adventures I’ve got going on in my world these days.  And it’s these types of adventures… that continue to fuel me and bring me so much happiness.

So to you, Neverland, go have an adventure this week.  I know I will.  🙂

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Anger

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I’m angry this evening.  A dear friend passed away.  Her family called me to come and say my goodbyes.  It was very hard to do.  What do you say?  I kept trying to get her to wake up.

“Tia, your cupcakes suck, wake up and tell me to go to hell!”

“Tia, the nurses are going to turn you over, wake up and yell at them to leave you be.”

“Tia, wake up and look out the window, there’s such a pretty view from here.”

Nothing I did worked.  She had similar machines to Ben.  A bank of IV’s, tons of cords and wires, a machine down her throat to help her breathe.  It’s that machine that I hate.  The air moving in and out makes it seem like the patient is just sleeping peacefully.  The tape to keep the tube in place makes the skin a bit puffy over time and their eyes end up being partially open.  It’s unnerving.  And for me, it flooded me with so many memories.  Her hand was cool to the touch.  She has babies, and now they will have to grow up with only the memories they have of their mother.

I just don’t understand death.  Not realizing that it made me angry, I’ve managed to bite the head off of my best friend today.  I feel bad.  I know I should go and apologize and try and mend things, but truthfully, I don’t trust my own ability to open my mouth today.  I might say something I don’t mean.

I’m so angry at the world.  I’m angry that someone so beautiful and special just left it and only a few of us seem to know.  I’m angry that she never realized how special and amazing and strong and beautiful that she was.  I’m angry that I’ve been in similar shoes as she is, and truthfully, we both deserved better.

I’m angry that so many people are selfish and feel entitled these days.  I’m angry that … well… I’m just angry.  It’s not fair.  And I know – better than most – that life is not fair.  But this came as a bit of a shock.  This has rocked me to my core and stirred loose some memories and feelings that I’d buried long ago.  So many questions running through my head.  Why?  Why do things happen the way they do?  Why do we plan things when life will always find a way to change those plans?  For good and for bad.  Why do we as humans struggle to see the bigger picture …. because if we could – perhaps these things wouldn’t be so very painful.  Why does it hurt so much?  I assume because it’s love, and it’s real?

I’ll get through it.  It will be ok.  I’ll go for a walk or turn on some comedy.  Do something to bring myself away from the anger and to a better place.  I just need to take a deep breath.  Or ten.

Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you.

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Learning life lessons

It has been an interesting few days.  I’ve had 4 days off from work, and I won’t lie, they were most welcome.  Stress has been building up for me lately, and the few days off to sleep in, play games, eat good food, and hibernate were much appreciated.

Thursday, the plan was to do nothing.  Boring, I know.  But I have been boycotting Thanksgiving for 6 years now.  Ben died 2 days after thanksgiving and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. So I plan nothing.  Sometimes, I’ll get a hotel room, other times I’ll just binge watch movies.  The kids go to enjoy thanksgiving with the ex in-laws.  So it’s usually just me.  Around 10 am, my phone rang.  It was my brother and my father asking if maybe I’d like to come join them for turkey.

And this year – oddly enough – I said thank you and that yes – I’d love to.  You see, I’ve never had a thanksgiving with my real father.  They were always spent with my mom and step dad.  And they were lovely growing up.  But I always had wondered what it would be like to spend that day with my dad.  I got ready, grabbed a bottle of wine from my collection as an offering for the table and drove up to his house.  I was nervous.  I don’t know my father very well, he is still someone I am getting to know.

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It was lovely.  Relaxed and casual, lots of chatter and play, dad would sing whatever song was in his head… I have always loved my dad’s voice.  Smooth, deep, country… I swear – he could have made a career with that voice.  He laughs when I say that.  To him, he’s just playing around with it.

It dawned on me while I was heading over there.  I’m not angry any more.  The past 6 years.  I’ve been so angry and didn’t even know it.  I was angry with thanksgiving.  Angry at my family.  Angry at my ex.  Angry with the doctors.  Angry with fate.  Angry with God.  I was just… Angry.  And yet – no one knew.  Not even myself.   This year was different.  I didn’t want to boycott.  Suddenly, more than ever before, I just wanted my family.  I wanted to surround myself with the people I feel comfortable with.  The people who I know have my back – always.  Dad wanted me to spend the night… oh how I wanted to.  He and I chatted about all sorts of things.  Life, love, politics, human nature, psychology … some of our topics were light, while others were deep and full of emotions.

Friday, I decided I wanted to cook.  So I cooked a full feast, from scratch.  No canned goods, no canned soups, no pre-packaged stuff.  It was incredible.  T, R and I cooked and feasted and made merry.

Yesterday, I had a song stuck in my head.  It was still early and I found myself humming outside.  I’m not typically much of a hummer.  This song was playing insistently in my head to the point where I had to go look it up and just play it.  I found it on youTube.  A song I hadn’t heard in at least 8 years.  The lyrics had me instantly in tears.

I ugly cried.  I bawled and bawled and bawled.  Apparently, once the flood gates opened, there was no stopping it, because I literally spent the entire day in bed.  I still can’t get over what that felt like yesterday.  I’m sure to others I must sound strange.  It was just overwhelming sadness.  And to anyone else, they’d probably say “So?  Haven’t you been sad this whole time?”  My answer to that would be both – yes and no.

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I’ve appeared sad.  I’ve acted sad.  And on some levels, I’ve felt sad.  But really – I don’t think I understood what the sad part of grief looked like until now.

I wish there was an answer book for life.  Is this normal?  No way is it normal.  I realize grief is different for everyone, but shit.  To spend 6 years and not really get to this part of the cycle seems a bit – drawn out.

I don’t want to be angry any more.  And I have been – for a very long time.  Stubborn, Angry, Strong… and maybe I was scared to allow myself to feel sadness to it’s full extent because I was scared that it would somehow make me weak.  And if I was weak – that perhaps it would break me.  So I shoved it aside.  I forced myself to keep my head held high and square my shoulders and just keep moving.  Never allowing myself to really feel.  This weekend – I felt.  I allowed myself to swim in it.  Every time someone would try and cheer me up – I’d go with whatever my heart wanted.  If that meant I’d giggle or laugh for an hour – cool – and if it meant that suddenly a wave of sadness would take over and I’d snuggle under the comforters and just cry and cry – that was ok too.

Oddly – allowing myself to do that has been the most freeing thing I think I’ve ever done.  I don’t think that even I fully realize how often I don’t allow myself to really feel an emotion in the moment.  Perhaps, it is time to allow myself the freedom to practice that.

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I went and visited my Mom today.  We haven’t been as close lately and I’ll fully admit to and take the blame on that one.  I’ve needed some space.  But I was feeling a bit guilty over my silence and decided to drop in.  I’m glad I did.  My mom and I may butt heads, but really, it’s only because we are so alike.  She knows that I will always love her and be there for her anytime she needs it.  And I know I have the same from her.  We’re a family.  Perhaps a bit dysfunctional at times – but we love each other all the same.

Tomorrow, I will return to work.  I’m not ready – my game face isn’t on yet and my energy levels aren’t quite where I’d hoped they would be by now – but oh well.  It is what it is.  I’m about to go into “hell month”.  A month long crazy ride of long hours, short deadlines and lots of work.  🙂  But then January will come, and things will settle down a bit.  I may even get to take a vacation.  Lord knows, I’ll need it.

Much love to you all tonight.  Goodnight.

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