A bane to humanity

Have you ever seen a potential red flag in a relationship with someone and just felt an overwhelming sense of annoyance and frustration at having seen it?  That was me tonight.  I’m not frustrated with the person, but I’m frustrated at the sight of a potential problem in the future.  Although – the concept of “red flags” in people doesn’t work well when you actively try not to future trip.

Today I had a session with my counselor.  We’re dropping down to once a week and that makes me feel immensely better.  🙂  Today’s topics included my mother, we touched a little on nana, and we talked about gifts and generosity and money.  I’m glad I get to type instead of talk because I think if I had to speak those words, they’d taste a little bitter on the tongue right now.

Money.  Such a bane to humanity.  I’ve been dirt poor, I’ve been middle of the road, and I’ve been comfortable.  Certainly never been rich, but I feel like I at least have a grasp on understanding the reality of a wide spectrum of financial security (or lack of it) with in social economics.  When you’re poor, you think having money will fix a lot of problems, and when you’re no longer poor, you realize there may be other new problems to face. I remember feeling like people would look down on us if they knew how poor we were.  That somehow, other people would judge because of my finances.  What I didn’t know was that when you’re on the flip side of the coin, there’s still judgment.    Only it’s a new, different kind.  Either people assume that you just buy everything without putting a thought into it, or they think that everything is easy and was handed to you; or they resent that you have it and they don’t.

As a woman, there have been many times, where I’ve been pressured to stay at home, be a mom to my kids and play that role.  Heck, I WAS a stay at home for 6 years.  And then I went back to work and became the bread winner, the guilt in subtle comments I’d get from others was often obnoxious.

I have been the “bread winner” now for 6 years.  I made more than my spouse could so it just made sense.  And men, they have this pressure to provide.  To shoulder the financial stress.  You’d think we could let go of some of the old 50’s ideals – it has been 60+ years. A partnership or team shouldn’t be in competition.  You are a team.  Together as a couple, you should be thinking as one.

Hmm is that old fashioned?

I don’t think so, it just seems like logic to me.  If you’ve pledged to spend your life as a team with someone, then it seems as if showing your appreciation for your mate is that much more important…not just your appreciation for the team you’ve created and what you are working towards, but for them, personally.

But how do you do that without the other person feeling off about it.  What is considered small and thoughtful, vs extravagant and on who’s budget? When I was dating, the fact that I made what I do was often seen as  threat.  It intimidated a lot of men.  I’ve read that a woman making more than a man emasculates them.

What I wish I could help men realize is that if it doesn’t bother us, it shouldn’t bother you.  It means we are big girls who can take care of ourselves and if we chose you – then you can feel safe and comforted knowing we chose you for you – not for what you have or what you could provide.  But for YOU.  That silly dude that we chose who’s grumbly in the morning, who makes faces and silly dances and puddle jumps in the rain with us.  Our best friend.

Goodnight Neverland. Sleep well.

What a ride life can be…

I received an email from my landlord this week. The owners we4re moving back and we need to be out by May 31st…and honestly…I am seriously stressed over it.  I’m handling the stress pretty dang well, all things considered.  Tonight I took inventory of the stuff in the house.  Wow. First off, I have a LOT of stuff.  The ex took a lot with him when he left, and still has more to come and take, and I STILL have a lot of stuff.  Funny, when you walk around my current house – it’s oddly sparse and empty – but it’s a 5000 square foot house.  The bro tried to make me feel better about all of it…”It’s a house worth of stuff.”  And yea, he’s right, but what really struck me was that it was a life’s worth.  A family’s worth.  Please don’t misunderstand.  It wasn’t sadness or longing that struck me.  I have absolutely NO desire to go back to that life.  I was so unhappy.  My kids were so unhappy.  What struck me was acceptance.  Trying to go through it all and decide what to keep and what to donate or sell.  Half the time I’d look through a pile of stuff or a collection of furniture and say “Chuck it all!”  Ok maybe it’s spring cleaning?  Out of an entire garage worth of stuff, I found maybe 3 boxes (and my scooter) that I want to keep.  That’s it!  I guess that should make moving a breeze.

Money.  God I hate it.  Have I ever said that? 😉  I do pretty well for myself – most of the time. Hence why I bought a car recently.  I was expecting to renew my lease another 6 months before thinking about moving.  Then the garnishment caught up with me. 25% of every paycheck and can I just say – DAMN that’s enough to really feel it.  But it’s only for 60 days.  I can ride that out.  Now, add up the cost of moving, first month’s rent, deposit money, plus the rent I’ll still have to pay at the old place up through May.  I know there’s a likelihood that folks will be willing to work with me a little.  I have a solid rental history.  Clear background.  Solid references and steady job history.  But my credit – always makes them do something mean like double the asking deposit…and I just don’t have it.

My mom gave me a bunch of grief about not having enough in savings. Actually – that’s not quite right – she assumed I had nothing in savings, which just burned me up a bit.  First off – none of her business.  And to prove that – I said “Mom – ok you tell me how much YOU have in savings.”  She of course wouldn’t answer that.  I have savings.  But it’s not enough to cover all of this.   She and the step dad also advised me not to ask the grandparents.  And they had valid reasons for it.  But that was going to be my next step.  Once I receive the deposit from the house i’m in now (20 days after I move out) … I can cover it all.

I’m going to go have dinner with my real dad.  Going to see if he has any side work I can do.  It takes a lot of me sucking up my own pride to go see my dad.  And it’s a weird mixed emotional bag…. part of me is excited to see him.  He’s my dad.  I’ll see my bro and I really like my dad’s new wife.  They are fun to hang out with.  But I also hate the fakeness of it all.  I hate the ache that I get when I see my dad interact with his kids.  He didn’t ever want to interact with me in that sense.  I hate the judging that happens.  I see this man maybe once a year… and everytime I do, it’s both lovely and wonderful and weird and awkward and awful and painful all at the same time.  He gets very affectionate – which throws me off… I don’t need a grown man I don’t know or trust to be all kissy kissy and tell me how much he loves me.  If that were true – we wouldn’t have the relationship we do.  Be real with me!  You had no qualms with telling me to my face that I was not good enough growing up.  That I’m overweight and can’t do what others do because of it.  That I am not at all a part of him, just my mother’s twin.  I know the lecture I’m going to get.  I know that you will do everything in your power to make me feel inferior, maybe not on purpose – but that’s how I will feel.  I know that I will have to sit and grin and bear it while I am in your home.  And I will.  I’m polite that way.  I know that you will get nosy and try and get details on every single aspect that is my life, and point out everywhere I’ve gone wrong…as if you were perfect.  Mister I cheated on every woman I’ve been with (hoping not the new wife tho, cuz honestly, she’s a gem and I adore her) and didn’t even have the decency to tell your daughter and family and that you had another child until he was 12 years old.  Or how about the guy who didn’t even call me when my grandmother passed away… or invite me to her memorial. Yea – you have every right to sit back and judge me.  The worst crime I’ve done is be overweight.  OOOOOHHHH…. lock me up and throw away the f-ing key.  I’m down a LOT of weight – and I know you’ll point it out.  I’m sure you’ll pretend to root for me and then lay on your lectures about how I need to live my life. I love the man… very much – but I also feel so conflicted about it all. Ugh – can you tell I’m looking forward to this visit?  NOT!  I look forward to seeing everyone else – But him.  I know I’m going to need some serious hugs and kisses and love when I leave.  A sanity check.

I will look at finding freelance work too, as much as I don’t want to.  In the past, freelance has always gotten me out of the occasional pinch.  I looked into tapping into my 401K but I REALLY, REALLY don’t want to do that.  It’ll be my very last resort.

I don’t even know where we’re going to move to.  I have some appointments set for this weekend.  But that scares me too.  $$ for application fees, credit checks, then they’ll want a deposit right there to hold the place and Bam! I lose the house.

I’ve gone back and forth with myself on whether to go on this mini vacation next weekend.  Whether it’s responsible with all that’s going on…but every time, I come back to the same conclusion.  Quite frankly, I need the get away.  I need a chance to recharge, unwind, quiet the mind a little.  I’ve spent 4 months effectively trying to drink from the fire hose at work.  I’m doing it for the most part.  The mind has been trying to soak everything up and it is a daunting task.  Bigger and more complicated than 10 times anything I’ve ever taken on before.  I love it.  Although the learning curve has given me a few moments here and there where I just felt awkward and dumb. I’ll get there.

 

Happy Friday Y’all!

Just some thoughts…

ImageI’ve been up since 5.  That’s joy of having a two year old.  He woke up and wanted nothing more than to take over my bed and watch the Magic School Bus.  Tonight he’s going to go stay with Grandma for an overnight.  Should be fun, I hope.  I’ve had a bunch of thoughts running through my head this morning.  Random ones, but I’d thought I’d share.

I am uncomfortable with people spending money on me.  Funny, when you think about the fact that one of my “love languages” is gifts.  I like to spoil others.  If I’m spoiling myself, I like to include others.  If I’ve given a gift, I like reciprocation.  BUT … I don’t like it when someone spends more on me than what I feel I deserve.  Maybe it’s because I make what I do.  I like to go out for a fancy dinner every now and then, but I get awkward and uncomfortable when someone tries to pay for it for me. Why is that?  Why isn’t someone else entitled do spoil me the way I do to others?  Why does it freak me out so much?

Love.  It’s complex.  There are varying levels of it.  I love my cat, I love my kids, I love my bro.  Those are some levels.  When I love a man – there are varying stages there too.  The first stage for me is interesting.  It slowly creeps up on you – and dawns on you that the person you’re with is someone who, if they were to walk out of your life, you’d be hurt by it.  That’s typically when I know that I feel love towards a person.  Then it grows … or doesn’t… from there.  Sex is not something that I take lightly or give openly, unless there is that definite and real possibility that love is there or will be.  Sex is the next stage.  Women are known for getting more emotionally attached after sex, and this rings true for me as well.  It is one of the reasons I am careful about sex.  For me, I give a small piece of me to a man; and hope to receive a small piece of him in return.  Reciprocation is a big key there.

The bro has a date tonight.  I’m excited for him.  I hope it goes well and is a huge success.  We spent a bunch of time talking about the what if’s last night.  What if she’s “the one”?  What if she’s not?  It’s certainly been interesting, with both of us single.  We both have very different approaches, and very different “end goals”.  He wants a wife and a family; having never experienced those for himself.  I can’t imagine being a wife again.  And yet, it’s kind of all I know.  I was good at it. I don’t think I ever want to get married again.  I want love, I want companionship, I want a best friend and an amazing sex life… but I no longer believe that marriage is one of the checkpoints on the list.  I can’t have any more children, so that’s obviously another that’s not on my checklist.  I should say this…I dream of finding that one person. I dream that they’ll ask my step dad permission (no one ever has). I dream that I’ll find that amazing love that will allow me to feel safe with the idea of marriage again…but, I don’t know that it’s realistic of me to dream like that.

Marriage is a piece of paper.  You can have love and commitment and comfort and joy without that little piece of paper.  It no longer means what it used to mean.  When I married my first husband, I was 19.  We were high school sweethearts.  Being young and naive, I truly believed that your first should be your last.  And he and I shared many firsts.  I believed that love alone could conquer.  It was so very different from what I had pictured in my head.  I handled the abuse quite well, but when it spread to my new 1 month old daughter, we got out.  After being together for 6 years, we got divorced.  Waged war.  I won.  This state favors women.  I gave him opportunities to prove he could get control of himself and be a dad, he chose not to.  His loss.

With my last ex… I still believed in the absolute power of love alone.  I thought love and my stubborn determination could help to change and improve the man for the better.  I knew when I married him that he was a raging alcoholic, and I truly thought I could help him get better.  That he’d choose love and a family over a lousy bottle of beer.  10 years.  Ten years of telling myself every day that “someday, he’ll wake up and we’ll just have everything we wanted”.  Ten years of ME working towards the things we wanted alone, while he would try and hide his habits and mistakes.

Love is not enough.  The power of it, while fantastic and amazing… is not enough.  There is so much more to factor into a relationship.

Compatibility, which also has a ton of layers to it.  I can handle anyone for a short amount of time, even a few days.  But what about over time?  A year?  eh – even that seems easy.  When the two major relationships in your life were both longer term ones, it seems like a short one would be a cinch.

Compromise.  Every relationship requires it.

Trust.  This is a duh, or it damn well should be.

Openness.  This is something I value.  Be willing and able to share the thoughts I see cross your face, because lord knows, I’m going to ask.  🙂

Play.  Whether with each other, games, with kids.  There has to be a time for laughter and joy and play.

Alignment in Priorities.  Whether these are life goals, or just feeling similar about how often to spend time together…priorities are important.  How much of a priority to do you make each other?  Myself, I have NO desire to be a man’s #1 priority.  I like my space and independence too much.  But I know I need to be a priority in some way to feel like I’m wanted and needed.  I should rank in the top 5-6 hehe.  If a crisis pops up in life, I want to know about it and not be the last to find out.

Affection.  I’m affectionate.  I like hugs and cuddles.  I like to touch a person..as appropriate for the person of course.

Sexual Compatibility.  This one’s a little tricky. Or at least it has the potential to be.  And there’s a lot that factors in here too.  Some say you either are compatible here or you aren’t.  Others think it grows over time.  I kind of find myself smack in the middle on this one.  There damn well should be some spark there or what’s the point?! But the ability to always be successful … eh … I could see there being situations where 2 people, still kinda new to each other are going to fumble a little here and there.  So that could take practice over time.   Although when I say that – if you were to ask me how much time… I’d have NO clue.

Communication.  This one is tricky too.  How much is too much?  How much is too little?  What forms of communication are being used?  Obviously in-person communication trumps all.  I’ve never been much of a fan of phone calls.  And lately, even texts drive me a little crazy.  There’s too much room open for interpretation with them.  Things get misread, or misunderstood.

Sigh.  Well I obviously don’t have all the answers.  But at least I understand the ingredients.