The most epic of epic updates

Hello my dearest of dear readers. I realize it’s been quite literally more than half the year since I’ve written in this blog. But – I think perhaps you’ll forgive me when you learn a bit more about what I’ve been up to. I think i’ll just start where I left off…

I was struggling – with work, with myself, with trying to figure out what to do next in my world. So I did the unimaginable. I quit my job as Director and decided to do some serious traveling. I made two trips down to the caribbean – US Virgin Islands. In February and again in April.

There is something so healing about those blue waters, I get lost in them. I have always been a water baby… but there is something magical about an ocean that I can swim in without fear of hypothermia. I would literally spend 8 hours at a time just swimming and exploring. At some point – I’ll detail out all the fun travel stories – and believe me, there were MANY.

When I returned home, I worked for a short couple of months in a temporary position…. cuz dollar bills y’all…. and then realized I wasn’t done traveling. I booked a camper van for an entire month and decided to whisk me, my two children and my two dogs away on an adventure of a lifetime. We plotted our course – the goal was to make it all the way to the coast of texas and back. We would look at properties along the way – as I had it in my head that I wanted a vacation property – something I could enjoy once the kids were grown and off living their own lives (which for one of my kids is happening right now – the other still has a good 9 years to go).

It truly was the trip of a lifetime -for all of us in different ways. I think in some ways – that trip pushed me to learn new things about myself, and what I’m capable of as a single woman, as a mom, and as a friend.

There’s more to say there – but I promise they will become blog posts all on their own.

So far, this year, I’ve worn bikinis, I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve rescued a group of tourists and taught another group how to kayak. I saved a woman from drowning and held her in my arms as she had a seizure. I danced in the rain, and sang to the sea. I made friends at every turn and opened my heart to new experiences, new perspectives and new adventures at EVERY SINGLE TURN.

While in St Croix, I made a new friend had to go visit her in Dallas when I returned from my crazy road trip adventure.

Dallas was another level – and just added to the learnings I had while traveling. This time, I went as just me, no pets or kids. We went shopping and I danced around the store when I learned I was down 5 sizes from what I thought I was.

Everywhere I go – I’m learning that my energy is magnetic. It pulls people to it. ūüôā And it’s incredible.

When I returned home, I realized that purchasing property far away just didn’t make sense. So I decided to invest in myself instead. I’ve leased a commercial building and spent a couple of months turning it into a studio space. And now- here I sit in a space that feels INCREDIBLE. We will be doing a photoshoot so that I can properly show it off to the world – but i’m working on my books (yes – plural! 2 comic books!!)

Life is fricken fantastic. It’s been a LONG time since i’ve been able to say that. I’m living my BEST life and feel DAMN proud of every single second. I’m doing well still with my weight loss – but more than that – I know my worth. I see myself as a beautiful woman with a lot to offer the world. I no longer need to question whether or not I’m worthy. I KNOW it.

And it’s fucking amazing. ūüôā

So, to those of you who still read this blog – please know that i’m going to be updating a hell of a lot more often. I’m going to show you the studio and share some travel stories and even share my comics because I’m fiercely proud of them and they’re BADASS! ūüėÄ hehe.

Much love, dear readers. I hope you’re still holding on and that the pandemic and quarantine haven’t completely broken your spirit. If you’re close – and barely holding on – just know – I’m here for you. You aren’t alone. And if I can do it – we can do it with you together too. ūüôā

A unique perspective on parenting a teenager

I was talking with an old friend today and it dawned on me that I haven’t written much about my new perspective on raising a teenage girl.¬† In fact, I don’t think I’ve shared much about that experience at all.¬† Maybe a few hints here and there in some of my updates.¬† So here it goes.¬† I suppose I should say – trigger warning – this will be a rough story involving some very touchy subjects.¬† I won’t go into great detail – but they are kind of necessary to understand the catalysts behind things.

***** Read above first please *****

It’s been almost 3 years since my daughter attempted suicide.¬† My girl… my baby… I’ll never forget the phone call from my ex husband.¬† It was late.¬† I was to meet them at the ER.¬† She was ok, physically, but she was not ok.¬† I was shocked.¬† I didn’t know it was coming – not by a long shot.¬† I climbed into that hospital bed and didn’t leave her side.¬† Quit my job.¬† Spent a year off just to get her to a healthy place again.¬† We got therapy for her.. and me.¬† We talked.¬† And talked.¬† And talked some more.¬† I learned more than I wanted to learn – but wouldn’t change it for anything.¬† She had her reasons – and while I won’t share any more of her end of that story – suffice it to say that these reasons were valid and justified and horrifying and nearly ripped my heart from my chest when I finally heard them.

Since then… we’ve built a new type of relationship.

We share absolutely everything.¬† I am transparent with her about absolutely everything.¬† So long as she asks.¬† There is no topic off limits, and no topic where I won’t give her a very straight up, very real answer to.¬† Even when it’s uncomfortable for me. I swear, the first time she asked me about masturbation and sex toys I damn near fell over!¬† But, over time, it’s become easier and quite frankly it feels more natural.¬† Sometimes I’ll preface things I say to her with “I’m telling you this because I’m being transparent, but I want so badly to shield you from it…” kind of statement.¬† Or I’ll say “I’m going to put my foot in my mouth about this…” and then share.

So many who meet us – think I’m nuts.¬† That i’m too open about things.¬† Too real.¬† But she’s going to be a full fledged legal adult in 2.5 years.¬† And she’s already been exposed to a lot of very grown up situations, as much as I would have wished otherwise.¬† At this point, the only thing to do, is to be real with her.¬† To break down and dissect the world around her, and make sure that home is safe, and that the people I let into my world are safe for her too.

And can I say – this whole experiment…because that’s essentially what it is – I am in unknown territory and am just trying to find my way through experimentation… has been eye opening.¬† I’m glad I went about it.¬† And I don’t believe it works for EVERY kid.¬† But I will say, it’s working for her.¬† She’s blooming.¬† She feels safe.¬† She’s making healthier emotional choices and seems to have healthier relationships now because of it.¬† She’s looking bigger picture and not getting so wrapped up in petty high school drama.¬† It’s inspiring to watch.¬†The people in our world, who know her, and what she’s been through, have all commented that they see a change in her.¬† That she seems happy now.¬† She’s thriving and I’m so proud of the woman she’s become and is still becoming.¬† When she was born – I remember whispering to her that she was “the greatest thing I ever did”.¬† And even now – she’s one of 3 of “the greatest things I ever did.”

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The Rulebook of Life – According to me

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If you were to write a rule book – for life according to you… what would be some of the rules? ¬† Not the obvious ones… as far as always being honest, upholding your own honor,¬†not murdering people and such…

I mean the other things. Guidelines for how we live our lives, that make us unique to who and what we are.¬† The ones that we all seem to have… although perhaps subconsciously, which would make them challenging to actually pick up on.

A sampling of the Rulebook of Life according to Jen

Rule 13:  Coffee is a requirement for Jen, if she is to be expected to use her brain in a capacity that is more than her normal morning autopilot is programmed for.

Rule 97: Fuzzy blankets are required to properly watch a movie or binge TV.

Rule 389: Jen must always have the ability to pull her foot out of the blankets at night in order to maintain the correct body temperature.

Rule 413:¬†When Jen gets home from work – she must be allowed 15-20 minutes to¬†decompress, also known as the “Don’t Ask Mom For Anything” time.

Breaking this rule can lead to potential willpower melt-down and the mass consumption of chocolate or soft cookies from her secret stash.  Note: If you promise to never share knowledge of this secret stash Рshe may just share with you.

Rule 1022:  There are two places that make Jen anxious.  Hospitals and Airports, for very different reasons.  When Jen is anxious, she may need an extra hug, an extra smile, and a little extra patience.  She also may need a swift kick in the ass to make her go to these places.  Use force as deemed appropriate and necessary. Bribes work too.

Rule 1031: Sometimes, Jen just needs a snuggle.  For no reason at all.

LOL.

Yea … I know…

I’m a dork. ¬†But seriously – how cool would it be if you could see other people’s rule books? ¬†I know my friend Ray’s would have things like

A sampling of the Rulebook of Life according to Ray

Rule 124: One must yell at the TV during scary parts of a movie, or during sports.  It is highly recommended to not sit next to Ray during these times, as it is highly likely that her flailing arms might make contact.  Pillow armor is suggested.

Rule 213:  If in debate about what to wear on a date night Рalways err to the side of showing too much boob.  LOL.

Rule 349: Must always follow something sweet with something savory/salty when snacking.

It must be noted however on Ray’s Rule 349. ¬†I don’t agree. ¬†I personally prefer to end on the sweet. ¬†ūüôā

Have a good day everyone!  Much love to ya!

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A lesson about movies

I went to see a movie today. ¬†I needed to get out of my own head and my own stresses and step into someone else’s for awhile. ¬†I didn’t plan, I just went. ¬†I picked the¬†movie at random, Girl on a Train, because nothing really looked inspiring and went in. ¬†The theater was practically empty – what do you expect at noon on a thursday?

Woman Crying in Empty Movie Theater

Lesson learned… always watch a preview before sitting through a movie, especially when the movie touches hard hitting subjects for me. ¬†Abuse, alcoholism, the accidental death of a baby… gah! ¬†I managed to get through it, but I’m not sure I accomplished my goal AT ALL.

So… I suppose I’ll just spew my anxieties here instead.

Teenagers! ¬†That one word should strike fear in the hearts parents everywhere. ¬†It really should. ¬†My teenager is a good girl.. a good kid… 85% of the time. ¬†But those 15%… she takes “go big or go home” to heart I guess. ¬†Yesterday I informed her that at this time, she is grounded for life, with the potential for early parole¬†in her 30’s if she behaves herself. It’s a strange place to be in… I brag about my little girl. ¬†When people meet her, they often remark on what a nice girl she is. ¬†And generally – I’d agree… but she’s started lying.. and manipulating people! ¬†Something that I think is absolutely disgraceful and disgusting to do to people. ¬†I’m absolutely flabbergasted with this whole situation. ¬†And it’s moments like these when I feel like I’ve failed.

I got home from the movie and the ex husband called me asking if I would lie to the government and say that he has my son 50% of the time so that he can get food stamps. ¬†I was so pissed. ¬†I tried to explain to him that it is THESE types of behaviors that have given our children the idea that it’s ok to be dishonest! ¬†To manipulate a situation to get your way! ¬†I told him No. ¬†That I wouldn’t lie for him and hung up. ¬†I’m still shaking.

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I know my kids need a good father figure in their life.. and I always thought that they had one. ¬†But lately – I’m realizing that perhaps I was wrong. ¬†Perhaps the father figure they have had has actually taught them lessons and habits that are completely opposite from my own. ¬†It’s hard for me to understand and relate to things that are so far outside my own moral compass. ¬†Sigh… I’m doing my best tho. ¬†It’s going to have to be good enough. ¬†I have to remind myself that the choices my children make aren’t necessarily a reflection on the choices that I would make – they are their own people with their own paths to walk. But damn is it hard to let them.

Cheers.  Goodnight neverland.  XXO

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Dear Ben…

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Dear Ben…

I miss you.¬† I think about you… Every. Single. Day.¬† I don’t think that will ever change.¬† Some days, it’s just a quiet note in the back of my mind, and other days, it’s heavy and thick, a cloud (not necessarily a bad one) that hovers at the forefront of my thoughts.

6 years ago, you died in my arms, and it would be honest of me to admit that a part of me died that day too.¬† I’m ok now.¬† I don’t often come to tears about all that happened anymore.¬† And that’s not what this post is about… it’s about something else.

You see, I made a promise to you.¬† I promised that I would get happy and healthy and on track.¬† And in many, many ways, I have done just that.¬† But sometimes, I feel like it’s not enough.¬† That I just don’t measure up to my own expectations… or anyone else’s.¬† I know, logically, that that is not the truth.¬† That any outsider looking into my life would call “Bollocks!” on me.¬† I have a good life, a nice house, a car, great kids, great friends.¬† I’m losing weight steadily.¬† Doing all the things I promised to do.

Where I’m lacking … is really just in one place.¬† My love life.¬† And for the most part, I do a pretty good job of not focusing on it and instead staying involved in a bazillion other things.¬† Hobbies are good!¬† Heck, there are definitely times when I enjoy being single, with no strings attached to anyone. But every so often… I can’t help but think…

“What’s wrong with me?”¬† “Why do I struggle to find the right person for me?”

I get feedback all the time from a variety of people that I’m a cool chick.¬† Good with conversation, kind, sweet, smart, funny, pretty… so what’s the deal?¬† I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps it’s just not the right time.¬† That things happen when they are supposed to.¬† Who knows… maybe I’ve had my happiness?¬† I guess I could be ok with that, but it certainly feels off to me.

I know that you’re with me.¬† As odd as it may sound, sometimes, I swear I feel your presence with me.¬† It’s these moments that I wish I could talk to you.¬† You show up in my dreams sometimes… not as a little boy – but a grown man.¬†¬† In my dreams, I know you’re dead, but we still have these amazing conversations.¬† Somehow, I know you would have been an amazing man to be around.¬† I see it in Grayson sometimes too.¬† I know he’s going to be a good man.¬† Someone who is both ambitious and patient and loving.¬† I’m lucky in the kids department.¬† My daughter is growing up to be a woman that I’d want to be friends with, someone I’d admire.¬† Yea, she has areas she’s going to struggle with, and lessons she needs to learn that will also help change and guide her down her path, but I see it.¬† A glimmer of who she will become.

I regret that I won’t get to see that in you.¬† Some people say that it’s the brightest lights that get called to return home.¬† Maybe that’s why you weren’t long for this world… but I certainly long for you.

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I don’t pray to god anymore.¬† I haven’t in 6 years.¬† Oddly – I pray to you.¬† My Ben.¬† And right now – I’m putting this little prayer into writing.¬† I’d like some help finding peace with the idea that perhaps I’m not meant to find another relationship.¬† Perhaps my path leads me somewhere entirely different.¬† And more than anything, I’d like to come to place where I’m content with that.

I miss you.¬† I will always miss you.¬† And if I haven’t said it yet today – I love you.¬† Mommy always will.

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