It’s Independence Day, indeed

Warning: I wrote the poem below a few months ago when I was feeling particularly saucy and there is excessive use of foul language. I just don’t think the point would have been quite as punctuated without it! If you don’t think you’ll like it then, please, don’t read it!

So, in honor if Independence Day, I’m sharing the sassiest, most assertive poem that I’ve ever written:

Stronger

Stronger, wiser, tougher.
You bet your ass, sir;
I’m like fucking alabaster.

Stronger, like titanium.
I can withstand any blast;
Don’t think I can’t fucking last.

Stronger, I’ll survive longer.
Don’t you even doubt;
I’m too fucking smart to pout.

Stronger, just watch me rise.
I’ll double-time up that ladder;
See how much you don’t fucking matter?

Stronger, I’m not going to cry.
You go find your own corner;
I’m so fucking done being a mourner.

Stronger, wiser, tougher.
You can kiss my ass, sir.
You’re no longer my master.

Happy Independence Day!

XOXO,

Stef

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I’m bringing sassy back

I am sick & tired of feeling sad, bad & mad! I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not.

I tried so hard but things just didn’t work out as I thought and hoped they would. Acceptance comes in waves, but I’m tired of waiting for it, dammit. At some point you just have to say, hey, this is my life now and it’s not that bad, comparatively, and I’m going to survive & thrive. Even be abso-fucking-lutely happy. Because it’s my life, and I have the ability to choose my state of mind.

Man, seriously, what have I got to be sad about? We’re healthy, I have a great job that’s moving along on a good trajectory, I have a house, a car, and all those little material things we get to make our lives more comfy. So I think it’s time I stopped bitchin’ & cryin’ and started accepting and living!

I was recently told that I was “the whole package” and when I jokingly responded with, “you mean I’m a catch?” The response I got was, “no, Stef, you’re the catch.” My goodness, do you know how that feels? Do you know how that feels . . . after seeing your estranged husband driving around with his girlfriend? Well, if you don’t, it feels damn good. For my worth to not only be recognized but valued as well. Isn’t that incredible?

And, dammit, I am a catch. First and foremost, I’m a warm, loving, touchy-feely mom. I like to do things with my kids. Explore. Go on adventures. Or just have our Friday night movie nights. Second, I like to cook & take care of my people. I’m a nurturer. Maybe too much so, but it’s just because I care. Third, I kick-ass at my job. I manage a team and I’ve found I like nurturing my team members but in a way that will help them grow. Fourth, and completely unrelated to the third, I like sex! (Please, God, don’t let my dad read this).

Plus, the other minor shit that I think are pluses – I bathe (mostly) daily, I don’t wear patchouli, I keep a somewhat tidy house (no white gloves, please) that I think has a bit of charm to it, I pay most of my bills on time, I know how to laugh & cry mostly at appropriate times & I’m a pretty strong, independent woman. I travel by myself regularly. Dine by myself. I don’t feel the need to hide my aloneness from others because being alone does not equate to being lonely.

Maybe I AM a catch!?!? Damn right, I am! For the right person and at the right point in time.

I believe in intersections of time & growth & space. What may have been right at one time possibly isn’t right down the road – where there’s been an element of growth & space that’s shifted things.

So this is the thing – it’s time to get off the mat. It’s time to get up and be happy and proud and thankful for all that I do have. It’s time to forgive those who have hurt me because, though I thought so at the time, those people aren’t my destiny. They aren’t where I belong right now, at this time. They served their purpose in my life and for that I want to just be grateful.

Stop the badness, madness & sadness. It’s time to embrace love and laughter and life again. It’s time to be me! To bring sassy, smart, sexy, shy/not shy, smiley ME back. And I will!!

All my love,

Stef

Pain? Try prison

Her coffee is getting cold,
as she waits for him to miss her.
While his cigarettes are running one after another, trying to forget her.

It’s after midnight here, my lovelies, my sweets.

It’s after midnight and my eyelids are heavy and my body is drooping, but my tummy is rumbling with unease – just enough to keep me awake past the witching hour. An hour that hurts, because it takes me through another painful day.

Oh, you wouldn’t see it anymore; it’s all cleverly hidden. And, of course, I’m busy. So busy. I may not think about it for a hours altogether … and then I look at the clock and I think oh man, it’s too late. Or too early. And the pain is there.

A prison of my own making. Locked inside and I can’t find my way out. It consumes me, day and night; an obsession I can’t walk away from. Whenever I try it comes trickling back, enveloping me like great grey foggy arms, pulling me in until I give up. Submission.

Myself the warden, guard & gate. Pain.

And I’m so angry with myself.

-Stef

 

P.S. Challenge: The title of this blog post is a quote from an 80’s movie. Name that movie & the actor who said it – without using the internet.

Recent Inspirations, part deux

Hello my lovelies!! Happy Sunday! Happy Spring Break! Happy vacation!

I’m feeling a little giddy because I have the next week off and I’m looking forward to fun, fun, fun with my little men.

I’ve had a lovely weekend and, honestly, I’m feeling much stronger than I have recently. I’m so thankful for the support I get from friends in both small & large ways; you never know what a difference a quick text, FB message, blog comment or a hug can do. Just having that support, YOUR support, makes all the difference!!

Here are a few awesome things I’ve seen recently that I loved:

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I hope these nuggets of wisdom help you like they have me. It may seem small, and even silly, but the reminders are so helpful to me.

Be kind to one another. We need more kindness and less pain & misunderstandings. I wake up everyday with good intentions and the desire to give & get love in return. I hope most of us wake up and say, “what good thing can I do today?”

Love,
Stef

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A dark poem

Wrong, wrong, wrong
March 18, 2014

Everything I knew is wrong;
There’s no end in sight.
The road is long;
Dullness, stupidity, like night.

Up, down, right, left;
Nothing where it should be.
Dammit, so bereft;
Don’t you know me?

Run away then, old friend!
Act like it’s not real.
Don’t expect me to bend;
I didn’t break that seal.

Ha, I did it right, as always!
Smug little bitch, I am.
Now stumbling through this daze;
Who are you? Ma’am?

Open up the wine;
Consume it all.
Overindulge & dine!
But don’t bother to call.

That’s enough, like she said:
Crumpled up piece of paper.
Help me, I feel like lead;
Lift me up out of this labor.

Head down, mewling.
Didn’t I do it right?
Right is wrong, soothing.
Hell no; trampled in the night

Struggling

I’m reclining in my bed, drinking a delicious mix of Alka-Seltzer cold medicine & Emergen-C while my boys are in the living room apparently trying to bring the house down around us.

I’ve been sick with an off/on cold since the day after Christmas. So, essentially, for 2 months.

As I’m laying here, in the dark, I wonder if this sickness is a reflection of the illness in my soul. I’m struck with so much unhappiness right now. So much strife and negativity. So much sadness. So much parting of ways.

I hate this.

I’m a lover. Of people. Of good feelings. Of good conversations. Long kisses. Meetings of minds & souls. Sipping Starbucks together. Going on adventures together. With my friends. With my lovers (using that term loosely to mean people I love).

This ickness has invaded my heart & my soul. I was so hopeful last year. I felt that through, and after, all the pain we would, all of us, find joy and peace. A niche where we fit, where we figured it out. Where we made our own love & happiness. But through blow after blow I have just grown so weary, so sad. So bereft.

I wish finding the joy everyday wasn’t so hard.

I have some wonderful people around me who I’m so grateful for because, without them, I can’t imagine where I’d be now. I can’t imagine the pain if I didn’t have the relief they provide.

Laughter really is the best medicine. Smiling is a balm for the soul.

I am a very strong woman. I know that, and I’m so very glad for it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel “all the feels.” That doesn’t mean I’m strong enough to will the heartache away. I’m just strong enough to know right from wrong and stay on the right path as much as I can.

All the sad songs on the radio are for me. Not you, or you, or you – just me. Just a Fool, Drink You Away, Say Something, All I Want – these are the songs fueling my heart & soul right now. Sometimes I can’t bear it and turn on Gold Rush or White Walls just to get out of my own head. But the other part of me says, “yes, feel that pain. Let it permeate throughout your soul so that you know how this loss truly feels; when you come out on the other side you’ll be all the better for it.”

I loved so hard. Sometimes I think I won’t recover from it. The rational me says I will. My heart, though, is weeping over that gaping hole.

My, that was melodramatic! True, though, it feels. Thank goodness I’m not *just* a romantic.

Logical mind, please take over –

{{mental slap & a good shake}}.

It’s a 3 day weekend, my lovelies! Let’s go have an adventure and bury this heartache as much as possible, shall we?

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All my love,
Stef

Sayonara 2013!

Adios! Hasta pasta! Bon voyage! 2013 can go suck an egg!

I say that with some disdain, with some negativity. I say it with a heavy sigh. But, in all honesty, 2013 can only be described as bittersweet.

The hardest year of my life has also brought out my greatest strengths. I fell to the deepest depths of my despair. I hit my point of no return. I got to numb and went past it. But without this strife, without the hard decisions I had to make, I wouldn’t be bravely standing here today. For that, I have to be grateful for the journey.

New Year’s Eve 2012 was the worst I ever experienced. A year later I’m in amazement at how significantly my life has been altered. Through pain, peace.

But since making those hard decisions I have experienced amazing joy & hope & satisfaction. A peace in my soul amid the chaos still rolling around me.

Through all that pain I experienced I have no anger left in me. Sometimes exasperation, frustration, but no anger.

I am still very sad. I still love my husband. Not in that first-romance-roll-in-the-hay way, but in a father-of-my-children and former-best-friend way. I miss that companionship sometimes very much.

It’s been a year of firsts. Or firsts, again, if that makes sense. I haven’t lived on my own in 15 years! I’ve never been separated with a likely divorce looming ahead. I’ve never had to really imagine or experience being “single” at this age, and with children. Not to mention with a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, wifi complications, cell phones, instant messaging, Facebook, data packages, middle school fundraisers, 4th grade school parties, soccer registration, business trips, and the insane and constant desire to just be on my couch, in my jammies watching NCIS reruns.

Side note: I hear so many divorced women say they never date, never meet anyone, etc., but I have to say that I think it’s just because they are exhausted!! And I don’t blame them! Jammies. Couch. Blankie. Remote in hand. Oh yeah, baby. Sometimes that’s all I need to bring my anxiety to its knees. Jammies, a blankie & a diet Pepsi: the modern mother’s anxiety-armor. (Substitute wine where needed!)

Some days I need more. Some days I crave more. And I know it exists. There will be love & romance again one day. But, hey, that’s a post for another day & another time.

For now, let me just say: I’m stronger today than I was yesterday. I’m sadder, yes – because something broke that I never wanted to break and all the glue can’t fix it – but I’m oh so much wiser too.

2013 – you had your place & time. Buh-bye!

C’mon, 2014! Let’s do this. It’s our year.

All my love,

Stef

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Grief is a tricky little bitch

One minute you’re driving along, everything is cool & moving forward and then – BAM – you get smacked in some unexpected way that knocks you on your ass. Before you know it you’re bawling, sobbing, full-on Niagara Falls, at an airport while the manager of the rental car place is giving you a hug. Don’t laugh, because that totally happened to me.

It’s over the oddest things too. Little remembrances that make you or break you; fortify your decision or make you crumble into despair.

That stupid saved water bottle sitting by the sink. The absence of the expected creak in floorboards when your partner usually comes to bed. Curtains with memories. T-shirts with smells. Stumbled upon receipts. So many pictures. So many words.

All memories shared. Memories thrown away. Memories that have lost their emotional value. At what point in the grieving process do those memories become valuable for the experience itself rather than the emotion that was inevitably present? I’m waiting.

Yours, in love,
Stef

The evolution of break-up grieving

Some days I look like this:

Working, kicking butt, taking names. The usual.
Working, kicking butt, taking names. The usual.

I would say most days I’m content, working, doing my job and being a mom. I have friends, I have family, I have support. I can take the hard stuff in stride, I think, most of the time. But sometimes I wonder if I’m just faking it. I wonder if I’m putting on the “I’m getting by” face and it’s really masking the grief stages.

I think a break-up is very much like mourning the death of something. The death of a dream? Losing that love, that support, that unconditional “someone is there, even if it’s not perfect” quality that we all get in a long relationship. That “hi honey, how was your day?” greeting. That “it will be okay” hug. That “I’m there for you even though I’m really mad at your stinky ass” support.

Today I look like this:

This is sadness.
This is sadness.
This is mourning.
This is mourning.
This is grief.
This is grief.

Some days, like today, I look like this:

This is heartbreak.
This is heartbreak.

Some days, like today, it feels like it will never stop, never get better, never be okay.

Will I ever look like that girl at the top again?

Logically, yes, I know I will. I will pull it together. I will get over this heartache. That’s what my head is telling me.

My heart . . . my heart is stupid. My heart can’t be trusted. My heart is grounded until further notice.

The 7 stages of a break-up are very similar to the 5 stages of grief. I’m reproducing some good points from an article here (without permission, I should add):

1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Shock is the body’s natural protection against pain. And when your relationship first ends, you just might not want to deal with what’s coming next. It may be too scary, too lonely, too confusing.

  • Do prescribe yourself calming cures like meditation or long walks.
  • Do not freak out. You will make sense of all of this!

2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Denial is rejection of reality and a storage of feelings. The thinking is that, if you don’t accept the heartbreak, then it didn’t really happen, thus leaving hope for reunion.

  • Do open up to a journal or trusted friend to begin unleashing fears, identifying unreasonable thoughts and more.
  • Do not minimize the situation. Pretending your breakup doesn’t have to be dealt with will lead to emotional numbness and leave you stuck.

3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Dealing with the dissolution of the relationship. You may replay the relationship over and over in your mind. Your thoughts may feel very scattered and disorganized. You may draw your blinds and not even want to leave the house. Sitting in darkness feels better than going outside and admitting to the world that, yes, it’s over.

  • Do take regular showers and create reasons to face the day (work, social activities).
  • Do not indulge in self-pity by letting irrational thoughts like “No one will ever love me again” take over.

4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

In this stage, your heart goes from sad to raging mad. It becomes fueled with anger towards your ex for whatever his part in the breakup was, and/or toward yourself for your part. The deeper desire here is often to place blame.

  • Do feel, write or talk about your anger.
  • Do not act on it.

5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him back?”

Sometimes involving prayers, this stage is often about getting your ex back. Desperate to negotiate with yourself or your ex, you may go to extreme measures to make deals or become something else (thinner, less jealous, etc.) to make amends — when in truth, it is just about making the current pain go away.

  • Do create a self-love list complete with what makes you happy and things you want for your future.
  • Do not include wanting your ex back in the above list!

6. Depression: “I will never get over him.”

You realize the magnitude of your loss in this stage of grief, and it can feel all too overwhelming. You may wind up in a state of deep sadness that can even resemble mild depression. At this point, recalling what your life was like prior to your relationship or what it could be like now can be hard

  • Do surround yourself with positive people and lots of sunshine.
  • Do not fall victim to unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating or drinking.

7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The acceptance stage of a breakup makes all the other really tough ones worth it. The sun begins to shine, and you begin to feel like yourself again, ready to move onward and upward.

  • Do celebrate getting through your breakup.
  • Do not be surprised if you still feel moments of sadness from time to time; it’s normal. Just keep on your positive path!

With love, sadness & pain,

Stef

P.S. I’m trying to remember these things today; maybe you should too:

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I’ve been holding my tongue

Because I don’t know how to say it. I don’t want to say it. It’s distasteful to say or write. I have said it but I haven’t really written it. There is a difference. There’s a finality.

I am not naturally brave.

This decision. The depth of my sadness, my despair, my fear – it was vast and deep and all-consuming. What could possibly make me break the hearts of the people I hold so very dear to me? What could drive me there? What would make me stand up and do this horrible thing that I vowed to never do?

13 years and 2 months ago when I stood up in front of our family & friends and declared (gulp) divorce was not an option for me I whole-heartedly believed it. With the knowledge I had then. I didn’t know what would happen. I couldn’t imagine.

I could write a long diatribe about how I feel I’m the injured party. How I feel the decision I’ve made is the right one – not only for me, but for him, and the kids. I could explain that in detail; but what would be the point?

For the record: I have very good reasons. I have reasons that a lesser woman would have succumbed to long ago. But there really is no point in delineating each of those reasons. There is always going to be two sides to every story. We are always going to see a situation from our own perspectives – indeed, how could we not? – and when those perspectives are misaligned there simply is no agreement to be found.

All I ask is this – if you ever loved me or trusted me or thought I had a good head on my shoulders then, please, take a moment to understand what level of unhappiness would drive me to make this awful, painful, hurtful decision. This . . . this is never what I wanted. How did THIS become the lesser of two miseries?

Realize, please, that you have not walked in my shoes. You don’t know. Nobody can know how I felt or feel. Nobody can understand. All you can do is trust the ME that you do know and realize that my logical head isn’t going to let me randomly, without thought or worry, make a decision such as this.

Don’t forget that I’m still here. The person you know and love – I’m still here and I am still me. The love I have in my heart for the people I have called family for 14 years is still here. It’s unfailing. I hold no anger or resentment to them. I am, most of all, so very, very sad.

To him, though, I have such a mix of feelings. Sadness. Confusion. Anger. Resentment.

Yes, those feelings all have a time & place. I think it’s time to let them go now. They have no place in my future. I’m tired of their companionship and I bid them farewell.

*sigh*  And still it must be said:

Several months ago I asked my husband of 13 years for a separation. He has recently come back and pushed for a divorce. We are in a holding pattern for now. I’m hoping that we can do the best by our kids, given the circumstances. They, and their well-being, are my priority.

With love,

Stef