Cutting Cords with Love

2017 has been full of A LOT of change for a lot of people!  It seems things are coming up to be dealt with that have been dormant for some time for lots of people in my life.  As I enter my birthday week and my personal new year, I am reflecting on where I have been and where I want to go.  It’s been a particularly tumultuous 12 months…  I have divorced, moved twice, got a new full-time office job, lost friends, gained friends, started a band, lost a band, started another band, legally changed my name, lost co-workers, gained co-workers… There’s just been A LOT going on!

My last divorce was finalized in February but my ex husband and I were getting together regularly to watch Dr. Who on Sundays.  When the season ended, so did the 12th doctor (Peter Capaldi … swoon…my favorite actor ever!!!) and so did the last thing my ex husband and I were sharing in our lives…at least for now.  The regeneration of a Doctor is always emotional but the timing of it made it even more so for us.  We both grieved pretty heavily.

A short time after the end of the season, my ex husband packed up the remaining items of mine and asked me to remove them from his house.  He asked that if I didn’t want any of it, I still figure out something to do with it.  Once everything was out, I handed over the key to his home I still had in my possession.  It was a necessary boundary and a necessary stage but it was painful.  It drove home what I already knew but didn’t quite accept… our marriage was really, really over.  I wasn’t going to get away with just abandoning the things I didn’t want to look at; I had to face them and decide what to do.

Last night, I unpacked a painting I had made for him of a tree created on two separate canvases that lined up together to make a complete piece. There was a heart with our initials that spanned the base of the tree and into the roots.  I signed it on the back and wrote “To the most beautiful man I have ever known”.  It hung in our home until, ironically, the year our marriage started to come to a close.  I meant those words when I wrote them.  I still think he’s a beautiful man; I just don’t want to be married to him anymore and he doesn’t want to be married to me.   I also unpacked wedding gifts, souvenirs from our honeymoon taken at our five year anniversary, a piece of artwork he made for me that used to hang in our bedroom, a plaque with the definition of love and engagement photos.  There are more boxes to go through but that was enough for one night!

I am feeling a bit raw today…  I am grateful he loves me truly and deeply enough to let me go.  I am grateful for all the good times we shared.  I am grateful we are both better people now than we were when we got together.  I am grateful to have been with such a beautiful, wise man and always will be.  I am grateful our split was so cooperative and peaceful.  I wish him to find someone who matches him in ways I couldn’t while encouraging him to be the BEST version of himself as I did.

As I think about my failed marriages (yes, I have had 2), I did a lot of things right, I did a lot of things wrong and there’s SO MUCH I want to do better in the future.  I was still a teenager when I got married the first time.  I was trying to make my mark on the world and did what I thought all ‘good’ women did…. get married and have children.  Our incompatibility and my son’s special needs were just too much to bare.  We split when I was 25 but did a pretty smashing job co-parenting.  My second marriage was between two people trying to fill voids within themselves.  Our hurts and strategies for masking those hurts were compatible.  We were/are extremely mentally compatible and polite to each other.  Too polite… So polite we avoided conflict for almost a decade and when it came up, we weren’t committed enough to our marriage to get through it.    I see now I was trying to create a successful 2nd marriage to prove the end of the 1st one ‘wasn’t my fault’…  Yikes!  The truth is, in any relationship, it takes two to make or break it.  If it’s ending, it’s partially due to what I brought, or didn’t bring, to the equation.  The same is true if it’s continuing.

In all my relationships, I am learning how important it is to speak my truth with kindness and respect even if it’s uncomfortable.  I need to express what I am okay and not okay with but not try to control what other people do.  The only things I can control are my thoughts and my actions.  Everything else is outside of me.

I am committed to making this next year one of my best yet!  My home is already the most beautiful place I have ever lived in and I am excited to have a music room to share!  My relationships in my inner circle are strong.  Healing is happening with those that I’ve been apart from for some time.  I am in the process of getting back on track with my eating and exercise habits.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Cheers to the next phase of life!

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

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My Baby is 18 Today

My Facebook feed is currently full of heart warming baby photos. Several of my peers are just starting families. Babies laughing. Babies sleeping. Babies on their tummies. Babies on their backs. Babies doing baby things.

My baby is 18 today. I always wanted to be a mom but I certainly wasn’t ready when I became one. The most common comment I get when I talk about my son is “I didn’t think you were old enough to have an 18 year old”. Watching peers starting families now when mine is almost full grown, I realize nothing can ever fully prepare anyone for for facilitating another human being entering the world. You are never “old enough” to be ready. You get what you get when you get it.

Every child is a gift.

Parenting isn’t all fun and games. In the beginning, my only job was to keep him fed, make sure he got enough sleep, wasn’t too hot or cold and had a clean bottom. Those were the good ‘ol days, and also some of the hardest. I remember being completely exhausted. I remember discovering I put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. My breast leaked. My crotch was sore. My back ached. But the way he looked when he let go of my nipple nursing, his bottom lip still quivering, his arm over his head, eyes closed, completely at peace…. that made it all worth it.

His first belly laugh was inspired by the sound of the zipper on my favorite sleeper of his. I remember it being a blue/turquoise color, thick fleece, full footed with knit trim around the wrists, Carters brand. After a diaper change on the bed, I zipped him up and he giggled. I unzipped and zipped it again and he giggled harder. Again, a little faster…more laughter. Once more, with a dramatic face…Belly busting giggles in response. I don’t know how long we played that game that day but it was the only “first time” he belly laughed that way and I remember it like it happened earlier this week.

When he got to be a toddler, there was no denying he wasn’t developing like his peers. If I wasn’t actively playing with him, he wouldn’t do much other than jump off things repeatedly or run himself into the wall. He started talking in complete phrases he heard from other people or television instead of forming his own sentences. I feared I fucked up my baby….

Much therapy ensued. I feared I would never be able to have a meaningful conversation with my son. I feared for his future, worried he wouldn’t be able to make friends or support himself. It was extremely important to me that he be held to the same standard of behavior as his typical peers. I had watched way too many smart but challenged children get away with poor behavior because they were excused for it instead of being guided to better choices at a level they could handle. I asked all teachers and therapists to help give him tools to succeed instead of dismissing his shortcomings. It was ESPECIALLY important to me that he not be asked questions that weren’t questions (such as “do you need a tissue” while snot is running down his face) and practice asking for the accommodations he needed from the very beginning.

Years went by…. and now I have the honor of being mother to a young man who I am GRATEFUL is very little like most of his peers. He helps me around the house without being asked. He’s a safe, conscientious driver. He’s highly responsible and gets good grades in school because he works until he gets it done, however long it takes. Never have I met a more determined human! He has a job he likes and saves most of his money. The most common comment I get from anyone who works with him is “he’s such a sweet soul”…

I realized I am not nearly as responsible for how he turned out as I wanted to believe I was when he was little. He has a lot of things more together than I ever did at his age. He came to me with his own abilities and gifts. He’s helped me grow. I have done the best I could to help him be a fully functioning member of society and a kind human. It looks like he is off to a great start!

I thought I would feel THRILLED to see him reach this age and be this capable. I didn’t expect tears to fall down my face when I think about him moving out on his own someday. I didn’t expect to be hoping I was a ‘good enough’ mom he will want to keep visiting me once he has. I didn’t expect to miss him as his schedule fills with activities and responsibilities that’s don’t involve me.

I have regrets. I wish I could have been less cross with him. Less critical. More accepting. I wish I could have been happier when I found out I was pregnant and done a better job celebrating all his milestones. I did the very best I could with all I had at the time and I know he knows that. My son has the biggest, most forgiving heart of anyone I know.

He can self soothe. He ‘fact checks’ and doesn’t let other people tell him how to feel. He asks for what he needs assertively and respectfully. He strives to protect the vulnerable from threat. At the end of the day, I couldn’t ask for more.

May his path be ever blessed with safe, supportive people on his journey

Living in Alignment

I have spent most of my life preoccupied with being happy “when _______”… When I have more money.  When I am out of debt.  When I lose weight.  When I have a better job.  When I don’t live here anymore.  When I catch up.  When I get more organized…  If I wasn’t thinking “I’ll be happy when…”, I was thinking I would be happy ‘if only’.  If only that person wasn’t in my life.  If only that person was still in my life.  If only my son didn’t have special needs.  If only I had been born into a different family.  If only I looked like her…

This past year has been one of the most painful and joyous of my life.  Many things have worked out perfectly and many things have felt like they were going terribly wrong.  I’ve faced fear on a level I never knew before.  I’ve also experienced love, acceptance and a sense of belonging on a level I never knew before.  I’ve grown more than I ever knew I needed to.  I’ve felt the greatest joy and the deepest sorrow of my life.  I recognized most of my suffering boiled down to wanting something to be different than it was.  The roller coaster I’ve been on was created by pretending things were the way I wanted them and then being crushed when reality reminded me they weren’t.

Today, I felt something new… I am happy to be here.  HERE… NOW…. The future is full of promise but it’s uncertain.  None of us know how many days we will have breath on this planet.  Everything we think we know can change in an instant.  But none of that has happened yet!

There’s a chant we sing in a women’s circle I regularly attend with the line “now is the only moment”.  Truly… NOW is the only moment.  Happiness isn’t found in the next thing.  Happiness is right here, right now.  Contentment.  Peace.  Being.  Belonging… It’s all RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.   Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”… “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”  I GET IT NOW!

I survived for a long time by suppressing unpleasant feelings.  Distracting myself from them.  Pretending they weren’t there (I’m VERY good at that!).  Sadness, loneliness and anger still aren’t my favorite feelings to feel but I’m learning if I block them, I miss out on a big part of life.  I block my growth and I ultimately sabotage myself from being able to have the life I desire to live.  I keep myself from feeling fully joyful too…

I like to think I have no problem being outspoken or going against the grain.  Sometimes I have been caught being contrary just to prove it to myself (blush).  I am often described as “strong” and “free-spirited” but…. I’ve had trouble speaking my mind in my most intimate relationships.  I didn’t want to risk losing the person I loved.  I thought my last husband and I had it figured out, having difficult conversations instead of avoiding them.  We DID do a good job having tough conversations but… we avoided the toughest one for over a decade.  When we finally had it, we decided to end our marriage.

It’s through our breakup that I realize how much he loves me and how much I love him.  True, pure love.  Not romantic.  Not the kind for selfish interest… The kind that wants the very best for the other person.  Friendship love.  Familial love.  I feel sad thinking about the good times we shared in the past.  We had some really GOOD TIMES… But they are over now.  In a lot of ways, I missed out on all they could be, worried they would end… but when they did, it was for the best.  Go figure!

I was reminded at a recent conference in order to have a healthy life, our hearts, heads and hands need to be in alignment.  If our heads are acting in conflict with our hearts, or vice versa, we experience stress.  If our heads and hearts are in conflict with what we are doing, that’s addiction.  I’ve done all three…

So, friends… I’m working on living in alignment.  My heart is strong and knows exactly what it wants.  My head is smart and watches out for potential trouble but it’s not as wise as my heart.  And my hands will do whatever I choose… May they bring blessings to everyone I touch.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

Creating My Own Space

I started dating my son’s father (first husband) when I was barely past puberty at 17 (he was 27) and married him when I was 19, giving birth exactly 9 months and 3 days later.  We were both in a strict, patriarchal religious system where choices in partners were limited and women only had a voice if they were married.  I was trying to get on the proverbial ‘map’ and really wanted to get laid.

Looking at my son now, who is the age I was when I was writing love letters to his father, I realize how much of a child I was then.  I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my son’s father in Java Joes coffee house when we were on the verge of breaking up forever… I asked him what first attracted him to me and he said “you smiled a lot and had nice boobs”.    Yep…. You can see why that marriage didn’t last.

However, I am grateful we have been able to co-parent for the last decade.  Despite our differences and anger with each other at times, we have always put the well being of our son first.  Our kid is turning out to be a responsible, sweetheart of a person and his father is a big part of that.  When I was nursing my son watching daytime TV, Judge Judy said often “love your children more than you hate each other” and I took that advice to heart.

I was married again within 2 years of my first divorce being final.  I thought I got it right the 2nd time and, in many ways, I did, but we are better as friends than husband and wife.  I am aware the statistical likelihood of future marriages lasting goes exponentially down with every one.  I’ve learned a lot about what destroys relationships and the shadow parts of myself in the past year.  I am hopeful I will find the love I am looking for in a partner but my mission for this next year is to find my voice without one.

It’s requiring me to set and keep emotional boundaries with people in my life.  It’s making me set aside time to be completely alone doing things that connect me with how I understand spirituality now.  I am practicing saying what I think and how I feel with kindness even if it’s not convenient at the time for the other person to hear it.  I am back in the saddle of hosting workshops, enjoying exploring my potential with music, and trying new things with new people.

The trickiest thing about romantic relationships with me is staying true to myself while in one.  I can adapt to anyone but that’s not always good for me.  And if it’s not good for me, it’s not good for ‘us’.  I am a hellava lot more than someone who smiles with nice boobs!  It’s time I prove it to myself, for reals.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading