Full moons & Promises

Do you ever sit back and and really look at your life to see if you are living it in keeping with your core values? My pastor would call it the “growing edges.” Are we recognizing those spaces where we could have done better? Where we can learn from it? Or where we have improved?

Do you think about the little adjustments you can make to improve your life or do you just make sweeping changes that end up failing later? I have a suspicion the little changes will adhere better for the long term.

I’ve been thinking of the full moon tonight. I read that in my sign, Libra, it’s recommended to embrace change. Let endings end and new beginnings start. Embrace the small changes.

I believe there are things that exist in this world that I cannot see and I cannot prove. I believe there is magic & mysticism & spirituality that most of us will never witness. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. I believe in deja vu and no such thing as coincidences and I talk to my deceased grandparents, my sister, and a dear dead friend. They hover over my bed, their disembodied souls, and they listen to me talk when I need to talk to God, and they feel me cry when I need to get it out, and they see every side of me and they love me. I have no proof except the peace I gain from that conversation. That I not only “give it to God” but I rest it in the hands of those who love me.

Since my marital separation I have fallen for two men. I have wrestled with these loves, these broken hearts, for far too long. No more. It’s time to forgive them the hurt they caused and to let go of the burden of bad decisions I made. Forgive them, and forgive myself.

One of these men helped me immensely during such a hard, desolate, confusing time. He was patient when I held him at arms length. When I was confused & careless with his feelings he just stayed there, steady, waiting. It wasn’t until I fell for him that he backed away. He left me hanging and never explained why. I stumbled across his online profile the other day and realized he’s been in a committed relationship for awhile now. I am happy for him; it does appear she is probably a better fit. More outdoorsy than I am. But I have never stopped wondering what I did wrong to lose such a loving & good man. I must have pushed him away. I was such a mess then; still learning who I was going to be. I feel like I constantly owe him an apology and, at the same time, I’m constantly sad & hurt by him too. I am letting him go tonight. I honor that he was in my life for a purpose; a season of learning and growing. You will always be special to me, SJL. I wish you every happiness. Thank you for the love you gave to me.

The second is complicated, but not, and stupid, but not, and, fresh, but not. I fell for someone inappropriate; someone who doesn’t value me, who doesn’t love me, and who doesn’t want to be with me. Except when he wants to. It’s been going on for multiple years and it has to stop. I’m stopping it. In fact, I’m making the little adjustments I need to further build that gap. I will be strong. I will conquer this. I am deserving of love. I have so much to give and I want to give it to someone who equally cares for me. Help me to cut off this power, this obsessive, controlling mindfuck, so I can move on and find the joy I deserve. Help me be strong. To be the badass I know I am and walk away from this undeserving man and stop listening to the BS he feeds me every time he feels me pulling away from his chains. I will not be his to manipulate anymore. Goodbye SJW.

As I stand in the full moon tonight and admire the beauty & grace it gives, I also relinquish these painful ties upon my soul. You are forgiven and released to live your lives in the way best suited for you. I will do the same. My grandma and grandpa and my sister and my dear friend all hold my hands and help me, lords of my silent prayers, every day to find my way.

I will be true to my true nature.

I will love unabashedly but with caution.

I will not be fearful. I will take chances.

I will learn to be more diplomatic but still a force to be reckoned with (a fine line if ever there was one).

I will be strong & capable.

I will not be negative; negativity serves no one.

I will honor my body and what it needs.

I will love myself first so I can then give that love to others.

Do all things with love, my friends. We only have ONE life. One. It’s ebbing away every single day. Love as much as you can. Do not hate. Hate kills your soul. Offer forgiveness. Extend a comforting hand of love to those who are struggling. But honor yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on so you can assist others.

Give yourself grace to be human and move forward from a place of joy & contentment.

I am a good person. I may not ever find romantic love again but I will continue to open my heart and be there if & when it does come. I will operate with integrity, mindfully, going forward.

I’m here, Cupid! Wtf are you?

Happy New You, my friends.

Xoxo,

Stef

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Just livin’

It’s a deplorable state of affairs in our nation, isn’t it?

I find myself wanting to immerse myself in the news, in writing my lawmakers, in sharing all the details that I’m so scared people won’t see and assimilate. They need to SEE IT ALL. If they do then they will understand. They will see how horrible it all is. They’ll see the hypocrisy. The cruelty. My goodness, they’ll see it, right? They’ll see the blatant crimes against humanity. They’ll stop accepting the lies. They’ll RISE THE FUCK UP and fight this disgusting monster making a mockery of our government.

That’s what I want to do. But I can’t. It sickens my soul to wade into the disgusting morass. People are so polarized. Listening to and believing sound bites. Tweets. Partial truths or full-on lies. What have we become? I feel like a foster child with abusive foster parents.

It’s just SO HARD to be real right now. So hard to face it all. At the same time, we have to keep living, working, raising our kids, and trying to eke out some enjoyment in life. We have to. For our sanity.

I’m trying to live my best life. I’m working. I have wonderful sons. I can watch NCIS reruns when I need normalcy & predictability. It’s a comfort. I’ve been re-reading my favorite book series. It’s a comfort too.

Remember when I was like, hey, I’m 42 and that’s a magical number, the answer to the universe and everything? Well it’s been a year of intentional change. Sold my house and bought another. By myself. BAM. I got a meaningful tattoo. BAM. I bought myself a car. BAM.

There were a couple other things I wanted to happen in my 42nd year and, with 3 months left, I’m not sure that’s going to happen but I think that’s okay. I think it’s going to be all right, no matter the outcome.

I’m working on my health. My age is starting to raise a hand and say, hey, recognize me and do something about it.

I’m enjoying my sons. They are so big, maturing like crazy, smarter than they should be, and wonderful. My oldest started his first job. My youngest started shaving. Wtf.

I love so many people. I just love them. I love so much. I love them whether or not they love me. It sucks sometimes. But I’d rather love than not. I’d rather feel love than hate. Yes I get walked on, taken advantage of, and sometimes discarded. But, dammit, what is this life if you can’t lead with love & trust & good intentions? I would rather feel it all than be safe – when safe means lonely, distrusting, and too cautious.

I’m still loving live music. I’m still writing poetry. I’m still trying to be the best me, and be faithful to myself and my heart. I hope you are too.

Here’s a sample of our last few months:

Turned over 100k. And promptly started worrying me with its oil consumption.
Oh hey Redfish Lake!
The new hot & sexy ride

5K for Dravet! It was a family affair
One school year. ONE.
At Live & Counting Crows!!

Let’s just keep lovin’ and livin’ and voting and writing or calling our lawmakers and let’s do it all with balance. To live and survive and thrive with a clean conscience. If I’m doing my part then I feel better. If I’m reading my book before bed every night I feel better. If I hug the people I love I feel better.

DO ALL THINGS WITH LOVE. Intentionally.

Xoxo,

Stef

BAD. ASS. ♥️

I got a tattoo! My first.

On my hip, and it hurt like a mother forker!!

But it means a lot to me, for a variety of reasons that are close to my heart. The pain was momentary, and worth it!

I chose my hip because this tattoo is for me, and me alone. I want it as a daily reminder of who I am; I don’t want to forget what I can do, how strong I am, or how worthy I am.

Also, in regard to the divisional matchups this weekend: GO EAGLES! #flyeaglesfly

Xoxo,

Stef

What kind of year has it been part 2

I tried this a couple weeks ago and it went off the rails in one particular direction. Oh dear. Let’s take romance, or lack thereof, out of the equation.

You know how football teams have rebuild years? That was this year for me. It was all about transition and growth this year. Acceptance. Hard truths. Change. Gearing up and preparing for what comes next.

What does come next?

Well, a new job, I think, inshallah. I’m working on my resume right now. 12 years later and I feel like I don’t know how to characterize what I’ve done in that time.

My youngest will be 14 here in a second. My oldest will be 16 soon. He’s getting his driver’s permit in a few weeks.

I need to figure out how to continue the workouts regime I had started last year. My wonderful trainer isn’t offering regular classes anymore and since the move started this past summer everything had just dropped off. I’ve only worked out haphazardly but, truly, I love the classes. They help me so much.

Job first though. I don’t know how to solve for two life-altering problems at one time. I truly do not.

But – this is the big one – I need to fix my mind. My outlook.

I am so cautious. So afraid. So scared that I will make a mistake. It paralyzes me sometimes from making necessary decisions.

When I was young my aunt said I was fearless. I want to be be fearless again. I want to be undaunted. I want be that woman that when she wakes the devil says, “uh-oh, she’s up!”

How do I become a badass again?

I said I wasn’t going to talk about romance but I have a quick thought: what I thought I wanted was false. What I want is yet to be found, but I feel like it will scare me and intrigue me and lighten my soul when it does happen.

I am so worthy of love. And I do want to give that love in return. I have too much to give for someone not to gravitate to my heart & my arms eventually. I need to hold that faith hard and focus on making myself the best version of me that I can possibly be.

I’m so scared as I step into 2018 but I’m trying desperately to shake off that mantle and step bravely ahead. I know there’s joy & contentment there if I just put a little elbow grease into it.

Dear heavenly creator, thank you for this day! Thank you that I woke up, all my loved ones awoke, and they thrived in their joys. I laid in bed this morning feeling gratitude for the shelter over my head, my warm blankets, and my health, and the health of the people I love so dearly. Please continue to provide loving perspective to their actions and help guide them to their joy and happiness. Please help me to be humble, loving, compassionate, inspired, and unselfish in my desires. I want to be proud of everything I do.

AMEN.

I wish this all for you too. I love you, as I love the stranger sitting next to me at this bar (as I sip my chocolate martini and listen the the gorgeousness that is Blaze & Kelly strumming at their guitars and crooning into their microphones) and I wish each of you joy, success, and love in 2018.

If this is a rebuild year for you then please know you WILL get through this.

If you are stuck in your life please explore your joy. You’re not a tree.

And if you’re somewhere in-between, you have my support. Make your decisions with good, measured balance and you will come out ahead.

All my love, and all the light I can possibly muster!

Xoxo,

Stef

What kind of year has it been?

I could easily make this post about the atrocious politics we’ve witnessed in the U.S. this year. I’ve never experienced a time when the daily news cycle affected me so completely.

But I can’t think about that for the purpose of this. I need to reach within and find how I feel. That’s hard for me. I fluctuate between survival mode & joy. Survival mode is when emotion gets squelched as much as possible. It’s not that I don’t feel, but I consciously minimize it and reduce my reaction to it. Joy is when I’m so content I can’t find the negative. Or I choose not to see the negative. On second thought maybe that’s part of survival mode too.

But that’s not healthy. I have so much self-doubt. I have such a fear of making the wrong decision. This year has been, and is still, pushing me way beyond my comfort zone. I sold my house of 12 years and bought a new one. Was that the right decision? How do I know? How do I even quantify that answer?

I was so sad to leave the old house. So sad to walk away from the memories and the feeling of Home that house always gave me. I just have to keep telling myself it was the right thing to do. It was. It was, it was, it was.

***

I don’t talk about my work here very much and I’ll keep this brief: soon I very likely will not have a job. I am starting to look for a new one. After 12 years.

Man, when I turned 42 and I took that quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and adopted it as my motto for this year, I had no idea all THIS would happen. The ultimate answer to life, the universe & everything is 42. I had no idea that would mean a new house and, hopefully a new job/career.

If you pray, please pray. If you chant, meditate, or send positive vibes, please do so. Light a candle for me. I’m a single mom with only one source of income. I don’t get child support; I pay it. I just bought a new house. I’m still paying all the joint bills from my marriage. I need to not be out of a job and I’m so scared every single day right now I feel paralyzed. Note: Being paralyzed is not how to find a new job.

***

And with all this would it shock you to find out I’m still looking for love? I don’t know why I haven’t given up. I just need to believe that I am lovable. That someone will come along and see through my facade of bravado, see all my little broken pieces, and love me anyway.

He will:

  • When first meeting me, he will approach me with respect. He will feel compelled to meet me.
  • He will ask for my number. He will try to learn about me. He will be interested in the words that come from my mouth.
  • He will call or text when he says he’s going to. And before we sign off talking he will tell me when next I’ll hear from him. He’ll take the lead. He’ll tell me about his life. He’ll want me to know all the things that make him who he is.
  • He will be kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart, creative, thoughtful, loving, funny and generally a pretty happy and content person. A positive person.
  • When he asks me on a date, he’ll plan it or at least give me options. He’ll take my comfort & safety into account. If he brings me flowers I guarantee to be impressed and happy.
  • He’ll try to open my doors for me and he will good-naturedly roll with it when I open my own doors because I’m an independent woman, dammit. But he will keep trying. I secretly love that.
  • If we walk down the street he’ll make sure he’s closer to the curb. If I’m wearing heels he’ll offer his arm.
  • He’ll ask me when he can see me again before we even end the first date, and he’ll text me good night when he gets home.
  • When he meets my sons, which he will want to do, he’ll be inclined to love them because they’re mine, and because they’re wonderful.
  • He’ll love Friday night family movie nights, with pizza & popcorn.
  • He’ll call me on Saturdays at 8 AM and say get dressed, let’s go to breakfast & the Saturday market. Or get the boys and let’s go on an adventure! Let’s go find a hot spring! Or on a Saturday night, let’s go find a great spot in the country to look at stars, listen to music & kiss.
  • And he’ll want to walk with me in public, and hold my hand, and be proud to call me his partner.
  • And when I’m upset or sad or mad, he’ll tell me everything will be alright and we’ll get through this together. He’ll understand my mad is usually frustration. My sad is usually unresolved pain. My upset is usually a hurt. He’ll want to mend me because he doesn’t like seeing my frustration, pain or hurt.
  • He will be independent, strong, capable, and he will be good with fixing things because I think people who fix things don’t throw away value.

Does he exist?

I think he must. I know it’s a long list but, honestly, the things I want to be for him, to reciprocate, is an even longer list. I’m so eager to love & be loved it permeates my thoughts.

I wish I had him to talk about my work struggles with, or to share my concerns about our government, or to just try a new restaurant. I want him to know that I don’t like onions on my burgers unless it’s haystack onions, and I like my steaks medium rare. I’ll know that he doesn’t like tomatoes. He’ll know that my favorite type of frozen yogurt is Dole pineapple mixed with coconut. He’ll know that scary movies are no bueno, and that Eagles football is life Sept-Dec.

I want a partner.

And, as Frida says, I want to take a lover that looks at me like maybe I’m magic.

***

I moved my home. I’m about to change jobs/careers. I CAN do hard things. Alone. I can do hard things alone. I’m just tired & sad that I have to.

My marriage has been over for at least 4 1/2 years. I’m a good person. I’m a good woman. Where is he?

I wish all of you love & light & joy & stability in your life.

Xoxo,

Stef

42

Today is my birthday. I don’t much mind the birthday itself. I think 42 is going to be a fantastic age, and a grand year in almost all respects. 

A dear friend once told me his philosophy on life. He said life is like a pie. It’s cut into 6 or 8 pieces and all of those pieces represent different parts of your life. One piece is for joy & satisfaction from your children. Another is job satisfaction. Another is spiritual peace. Another is sex. And so on. One is romantic love: the satisfaction, joy, & contentment from knowing you love someone with your whole being & they unequivocally love you back. That you are their person. 

He contended that as long as most of the pieces of the pie were full or mostly full then that made up for the pieces that were only half full, or a quarter full. I think, though, there are some pieces that are WORTH more. That instead of being evenly divided the pie was lop-sided. That having only a quarter of a big piece was more impactful than a quarter of a smaller piece because then you still had more of the whole. 

How much can we affect the value of each piece? Can I tell myself that I don’t need romantic love and convince myself to make that piece smaller? What about sex? Sure, I can get sex if I really want it but do I want to waste my joy & vulnerability on someone that I don’t have a heart connection with? No, I don’t. I think those two pieces are woven together tightly. They should be, at least. 

So as I sit here on my 42nd birthday, the year that will provide me the answer to life, the universe, and everything, I wonder what I can do to fill up my pie more in the other areas while lacking in the love & sex pieces. Because I don’t want to dither anymore. I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t want to keep hoping for what isn’t there. I’m 42. I’m strong. Dammit, I’m a badass. (At least I was told that once or twice). 

I’m not going to settle for less than I deserve. I’m not going to settle. Period. 

My darling dearest, you come at me with love, respect, and an open heart and I’ll be here. Until then, I’m going to rebuild, strengthen, and increase every other piece of my life until I am surrounded by peace & love & hard-earned prosperity. And then, my friend, you will wish you had me to hold. You will wish you saw this power radiating in me through your narrow vision before it was too late. I will not let you oppress me. 

I have it all within me. I just need to believe it, own it, and focus. I will not be swayed. 

This is 42. This is me. 

Xoxo,

Stef 

I have cobwebs on my ceiling

Warning: expressive, explicit language. 

Sometimes I sit in my living room and look up at the cobwebs on my 20 foot ceilings and I think, man, I should clean that. I must be a terrible housekeeper. That must mean I sort of universally suck, right? Then I remember I don’t have a telescoping ladder and I feel even further defeated. How the fuck am I supposed to clean the ceiling now?

I recently fell in love with “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Mostly it makes me laugh & smile, but sometimes … when the love is so real, so heartfelt … it makes me cry.

Sometimes the loneliness is palpable. And when the kids are gone, and some lady on tv is glowing with love, I think, man, is this it for me? Is this my life now? Alone, with dirty ceilings and no mechanism to make them better.

The boys have been with their dad all weekend. I miss their voices when they’re gone. I did have a lovely weekend, though, and I even had a date(ish thing) recently, but … then I get to Sunday night.

My house is quiet. My phone isn’t making the sounds I desire to hear. The walls are closing in. The cobwebs mock me. The full to bursting gutters, the hole in the wall, the loose faucet .… they haunt me. And I think, what am I doing? I can’t do this. I can’t manage this on my own. Then I remember that I AM actually alone, and likely will be for the rest of my life.

So this is what’s going through my head, and then it gets worse.

Because I’m short & chubby, with terrible legs and I snore, and my big boobs point down rather than out, and I’m stubborn and a control-freak and I always feel like I have to be right, and I have to do right, and live right, because if I screw up then I’m a fuck up and a failure.

So that’s what I am, right?

Because look at those damned cobwebs and my short, fat legs and how the fuck can I be good at anything if I can’t keep my ceiling clean? Nobody is going to love me. In fact, the man I thought could love me decided, nah, not going to do it. And why would he? I can’t even figure out how to clean the ceiling in my own house.

So it’s Sunday night and I’m folding laundry. I’m watching a miserably sappy movie about love, faith, and doing the right thing. I’m sad. And my phone is stubbornly fucking quiet and I think, you pathetic moron, what does it even fucking matter because your time has come and gone. Get used to this, fat ass. Fold your damn laundry and just focus on being a mom because you don’t deserve shit.

Then I turn on a recorded episode of “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Lori & Monte are packing up to go to a bride’s home. That’s unusual. Then we get the story. The bride recently lost her 8 year old son to cancer. Her mother & family conspired to put together a wedding & surprise the bride with a dress. The family is still so deep in their grief. For their son, and grandson. The bride doesn’t feel like she has the right to be happy with her son gone.

Well don’t I feel like a jackass?  Sitting over here being a crybaby because of a hole in the wall (that can be fixed) or some full gutters (that can be emptied) or the fact that I feel universally unloveable (which ebbs & flows). But what is that in comparison? That’s nothing to her pain.

I have two amazing sons. I have a good, challenging job. I have a home, cobwebs & all, that keeps us warm & dry. I have my family & a few friends I love dearly. I wouldn’t trade what I have for all the clean ceilings in the world.

Sometimes life hands us these little reminders so that we will shut the hell up and stop brooding over what we can’t control. Just a little kick in the ass.

Know better; do better. (And buy a telescoping ladder).

Xoxo,

Stef

An Inspired Season

Inspiration is a funny thing. A snippet of overheard conversation, a picture or painting, a feeling from someone or something. I was inspired recently by several things and they are coalescing into something quite peaceful, I think. I hope.

Here are some examples:

A parents’ love for their child in the face of a difficult diagnosis, and the entire community/family supporting them.

IMG_1207.JPGPictures of Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the snow.

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I mother losing a battle but surrounded by the purest and most bountiful love as she transitions.

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Precious joy on a child’s face from the true spirit & belief in a magical Christmas.

Wonderful, generous donations of money, toys and food to help our fellow humans by wealthy philanthropists, police officers, and a regular ole Joe Schmo with a few bucks to spare if he cuts back his Starbucks intake.

IMG_1172.JPG Romance, recognized.

The pain of separation. The healing. The peacefulness that can come with acceptance & forgiveness.

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Songs that make me cry in the shower (currently: “I Choose You” by Sara Barielles); songs that make me dance in the shower (“Shake it off” anyone?)

IMG_1206.JPG An iconic tableau.

The hurt of betrayal. Whether my own or what some of my friends have been going through – that abject pain can be a beautiful thing as it transforms & heals the bearer into someone so much stronger. Like a Phoenix rising.

IMG_1146.JPG Silliness with Santa/Dad instead of pain and harsh words.

All these things have come to me. They’ve been hitting me the last couple of weeks, bam, bam, one after another. I’m not positive, but if I was a betting (wo)man, I’d say someone was trying to tell me something.

Inspire me.

Teach me a lesson about love, appreciation, gratitude, recognition of my blessings, love for humanity, and the necessary joy that comes with pure bliss. Help me realize that we, every single one of us, are in this thing together. We aren’t coming out alive so we better make the best of it, right?

Our lives are not perfect, nor are they intended to be. We’re humans – messy, emotional, prone to make mistakes humans. We love; we grieve. Sometimes we’re too scared and other times we leap.

The one lesson I have learned the most in my 39 years is that nothing, nothing, is black & white. We are walking opinions; we are brains & hearts & gut reactions. We are human paradoxical enigmas.

This Christmas I am trying my best to be kind. To be gentle. To have joy. To release stress. To be generous. To remember those less fortunate.

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May all the light & love from the spirit of Christmas be with you today and throughout this season, and beyond. If we could all be as kind in January, April, August & October as we are in December then I think we could maybe increase our collective gratitude & generosity for others. Just a thought.

XOXO,
Stef