Choosing your life


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Most of my life, fell in my lap.

I stumbled into my job right out of college. I stumbled into relationships. I stumbled into promotions from success. I’ve been good at most things I try. Not number one, but good. My therapist says I need to try guided meditation and envisioning therapy. Like, visualize your goal and you succeeding at it. I’ve never really had a goal. I’ve just been doing. And if I ever had a goal, did I really work that hard to succeed at it? Or did it just come naturally?

I know you are sitting there thinking, wow, think highly of yourself?

I don’t.

We’ve been talking about moving lately. We’ve put it off and put it off for one reason or another. I do well with deadlines, and there is no deadline for moving. There’s no promotion or transfer at work. There’s no lease about to expire. There’s just the need for quality of life improvement. I need to be closer to work. I need to spend less time in my car. Although, on good traffic days, that hour is nice to just sit and ponder over things I don’t have time to wonder about.

We discussed moving the other night and he has been emphatic about this being the natural next step. My perception is that he is quite cavalier about it. Very much taking for granted that this is a choice. For once, we actually can choose. I don’t think people realize that every day they have the choice. Instead we make assumptions about life, and just continue on in our routine never stopping to say, “wait, do I want to keep doing this?” For us there are so many things that make that a scary question no one wants to ask.

Well of course we are going to keep going in this relationship. It would be hard to explain why we aren’t to Peanut. It makes sense to continue. We coexist well together. We help each other. We this, we that. At the end of the day, how many of you can honestly say, “I wake up every morning and choose to be with you”?

I asked this question of both of us, and we discovered some truth here. Neither one of us wakes up everyday and says, “I’m making a choice. I choose you.” With divorce rates in this country at a ridiculous high, no freaking wonder! I read this man’s story about wanting a divorce and started to wonder myself. He asks his wife for a divorce and she makes one demand: he must carry her from their bedroom every morning for one month, then she will agree to a divorce. In the end he falls in love with her again after making the commitment to her every morning. Are we making a commitment every day? I know we are sacrificing. Lord knows, we are challenged and sacrificing on a daily basis. I complain I have no choice, no say, no freedom anymore. This is one choice I can still make everyday. And by waking up and making that choice every morning, I am actively committed. I am actively choosing to stay together. I’m not reacting to the latest round of crap. I’m not doing damage control to piece it together. I am choosing, first thing, to be here, be present, and be a member of this family. Perhaps if I make the choice to be in this family, I can forgive myself for the heartache I’ve brought on myself by being in this family. It is still my choice. Everyday, it is still my choice to be here. So rather than feel trapped by external factors, some days I can feel empowered, I chose this. I’m strong enough, and this was my choice today.


photo credit: <a href=”″>Deepak Chopra No matter what the situation, remind yourself I have a choice</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;

Being My Own Champion


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I discovered that underneath all of my independence, is someone who is dependent on others to validate their work. And underneath all that reliance on others to validate them, is someone who finally knows how to celebrate themselves. Yesterday was a trying day. It was a last minute decision to join a race, rather than cheer and support. I had trained some, mostly inconsistently. But I had trained. I was getting there. Rebounding from illness, times two, and a round of depression that still seems thick on my skin, I was getting there. So when I signed up for yesterday’s race a mere 5 days prior, I was nervous and doubtful. I had no idea how I would perform, let alone finish. I had multiple layers of fear, both rational and irrational. What I didn’t have was my direct support team. I was doing this solo. Don’t get me wrong, I had some of my direct support, but they had their own things to get through.

As race morning was upon us, one member had spent the last 24 hours fretting and pacing, stressed and worrisome over the length and potential performance in the race. I spent much of my morning in silent support. Another member was battling her own demons with an injury that forced her withdrawal from her original race, to a lesser distance: my race. I spent much of my time trying not to be insulted and trying not to speak.

One thing I know to be true; I am the sensitive one. If I have an opinion, that is deemed excessive or too passionate, the natural response is “uh oh, she’s upset again, lets walk on eggshells around her” When in actuality, I’m just expressing an opinion or telling you how you make me feel. So I have a large basket of emotions at 6AM of race day. I’m doing my best to support the other two, as I still don’t believe I belong here, and therefore my fears and concerns about the race or my performance are not valid. I didn’t train as long or as hard as they did. I didn’t sacrifice the time I don’t have like they did. My battle is nowhere near the earned level theirs is. So I kept quiet. I said minimal about my injury. I said nothing about my fears. I tried my best not to retaliate, or even worse, pathetically beg for attention and validation on this cold run morning.

We arrive at our race, and the first runner takes off. We cheer, take pictures, we yell and clap for her and all the other runners. Then a nervous silence descended on the park. We had 3 hours before our race was scheduled to start. I set up to cheer anyone who came through the first checkpoint on. The injured went to sit in warmth. She was angry. She was frustrated. All of her hard work, training, sacrifice, and tears came down to destruction in her eyes. She was not going to run the race she signed up for, and all because part of her body had betrayed her. It wouldn’t function. It gave up. It gave in, and it would barely let her walk. I watched silently as she struggled to process her disappointment. That process, by the way, looks like rageful anger tinged with sarcastic humor. We are very similar creatures, using passive humor to somehow mollify the pain of failure. It wasn’t working. In fact, while not working, it was creating anger and resentment in me. It was pushing my limits of patience and understanding. I was near tears at one point, and considering lashing out in passive angry humor (ok maybe no humor). Here she was, shrouded in her own frustration and mutiny from her limbs, completely unaware of neither the words she was saying or the attitude displayed toward my race.

I accepted much of it. I accepted that my run wasn’t a real run. I accepted that the race I was doing wasn’t for real runners. Why? Because I lacked confidence in me. I lacked belief that I deserved to be here. I didn’t understand that although my race wasn’t the cream of the crop goal of every runner, it was still going to be an unbelievable accomplishment for me. I didn’t accept that I deserved to be here. I deserved to own and earn this accomplishment. I was spending my prep time battling for someone else’s sanity, and I deserved to have someone invest in mine. I was terrified. I didn’t think I could run as far as I had signed up to run! I didn’t think I could do it alone! I didn’t think I would make it. I feared I would be laughed at, walking this trail, by other runners that I’ve always believed were a supportive community.

And then, something changed.

I’d had enough.

I made an internal decision, which had an outward impact. I decided I deserved to be here. I decided my race was important. I decided my race was amazing. I decided I was valued. I decided to be my own champion. I decided I was important.

From that moment on, I was done worrying about others. I was done being an unresponsive emotional punching bag, intended or not. My race mattered.

The start lineup came. We lined up. We made the decision to run our own races. So often runners will unconsciously make the decision that they cannot leave each other behind. They will keep pace with a slower runner out of guilt, even though they may have trained harder than the runner they are pacing. I know from experience. I am the slow runner! I’ve had team members run their crappiest races because they have this internal desire to motivate and lift the entire team. I’ve had my mom make up songs in the middle of the race, just to keep me motivated and going. And she’s a regular marathoner! So we decided to run separate races. We decided based on our own needs, it would be best to do our races and do them for ourselves and on our own.

Best decision made. Injured took off like a bat out of hell. Her strategy was to run, and run fast before her limbs realized what she was doing, and hopefully once her limbs caught on she would be crashing through the finish line many miles later. I had committed to a 14 minute mile pace in advance. Based on the distant and my training, I believed this was a pace I could finish at.

The run was amazing. It was hard. It was trying. I had to stop 3 separate times to stretch out my own injury I was battling. But I never walked. Half the time I didn’t even pick my head up to look around. The scenery was amazing, but I didn’t know it. I was both my own cheerleader and captain. At one point I was babbling to myself through the trail. I called myself my own last name and my sister’s last name to chastise into running faster.

In the end, I sprinted my last 0.3 miles. I sprinted past our cheering team and Injured yelling and cheering me on. I sprinted over the finish line and claimed my medal at an average pace of 12.36 minutes per mile.  I did this. I did this for me. I accomplished something unbelievable, and I did it alone. No one else on my team really knew or acknowledged what it took for me to accomplish this, and it didn’t matter. I am amazing, and I know what I went through to smash this goal.

So in the end, your take away is this: Sometimes you spend your entire life reliant on others to validate your existence, to empathize with your struggle. And in the end, there is only you. In the end, you might be the only one who notices you. And that, needs to be enough. In the end, you are enough.

“The good you do today, may be forgotten tomorrow. Do it anyway…..In the end it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway.” –Mother Theresa

Underpants and Responsibilities


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If you’ve been keeping up with me, this week was rough. Oh who are we kidding, they’re ALL rough! 🙂 Today is a better day, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Let me go back 24…

Emotionally destructive day. Questioning where I fit in and who I belong to and how I stack up in this crazy broken family we have. Emotional outbursts. Unresponsive at work. Just down right down, all day. I came home last night, very late as work went late and there was nothing I could do to motivate my team. There was nothing I could do to motivate me, let alone 25 of them! So we got out pretty late. I drove the hour and a half home without ever turning on my music. I just zoned out. At one point I realized I was confused as to which road I was on! Not that I was falling asleep or not paying attention, just not connected to the present in a normal way. I was safely connected to the road and my steering, but my thoughts were flipping past the days events. I walked in the door to find Peanut was sound asleep like a good little girl (She better be at 10PM!). Bacon gave me a hug hello and just smiled when I said, “I’m gonna go put on sweatpants.” I walked to the bedroom and found a surprise waiting for me.

The thing about this surprise is that it made me cry. I never let anyone take care of me. If you want to take care of me, you pretty much have to ninja your way in there, surprise me or catch me off guard, and just take control and do it. So to have someone just take charge and take care of me in a way that was taking-no-prisoners, was the “straw” so to speak on this overworked over-stressed exhausted camel.

It wasn’t the bubbles in the bath quietly popping and fizzing and emanating a soft sensual smell. It wasn’t the bucket, yes bucket, of my favorite beer on ice stacked on the foot stool next to the fizzing bubble bath. It wasn’t the 100 candles giving off a soft welcoming glow, lighting the room just enough so that I could read my book lovingly set by the bathtub. It wasn’t even the soft ocean sounds playing on the iPad propped up on the sink or the sign on the bathroom door declaring “Night spa”. I started to cry when I saw all of these things, to the point where my nose was so stuffy I couldn’t smell the spa smell anymore. It was after I relaxed in the warmth and quiet for a while. After I had enough time to actually get into my new book and start to attach to it. Once I had (I’ll admit) started in on my second beer. After I could start to feel myself let go of all of my self-judgment and frustration, my insecurities and unfounded fears. It was after all of this that I decided I was ready to get out and rejoin my family (well half of it anyway). And as I went to retrieve my sweatpants and sleepy shirt, lovingly folded and stacked on top of two fresh towels. As I dried myself off and thought, ah I’ll just go commando tonight. It wasn’t all of this swirled together in a little brief ball of love and care and affection in a way I can understand and relate to. No, it wasn’t all of these loving and thoughtful and carefully planned touches to make my evening relaxing that made me feel truly special and loved and taken care of.

It was clean underwear folded in the stack of towels and sweatpants that made me feel truly cared for. That of all these big shows of affection, I fell for the most basic need being thought of, and put out for me before I knew I needed it.

Sometimes I’m so good at all of this stuff. I’m so great at managing multiple schedules in multiple families. Controlling and overseeing a multi-milllion dollar project. Balancing emotions and outburst and inappropriate behavior. Planning meals, shopping for food, managing my own budget while saving for the future.  Stressing and worrying over a misspoken word or a poorly written email. I’m keeping up with everything on a couple of hours of sleep a night. Sometimes, I just need somebody to get my underwear before even realize I need it.

We just communicated effectively


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I really don’t want to be passive aggressive, but I feel sometimes that my opinion might literally kill someone with words. Instead of, “Ya know, I absolutely loathe that you don’t care to pick up dog poop in the yard and assume that I will because I just tend to take care of everything so why should you care you son of a…”


Instead I do this. “Ya know, we’ll get a fine with all that dog poo in the yard. That’s really not a great impression of the Yellers to our neighbors. I picked it all up last time.” Hint Hint. Wink. Wink. Pick up the damn POO you son of a……


So one might say, I’m not the best at expressing my disappointment in things not being taken care of, especially when I have very vaguely and repeatedly directly but not directly asked you to do it. I like to let it fester and build. I like to see it every morning on my way to work and chew on it for the hour and a half drive. Then I like to work my tail off and expend all of my patience and energy at work. Then I like to drive home the hour and a half contemplating whether it will be there to greet me. Then I sit in my car. And stare at it. And think about it. And know in my heart that if one more day goes by….

And that’s how I escalate the poop in my mind.

So the other morning, I was trying to get my stuff together for a race. And of course this was just a typical race, but since the Packers were playing, it instantly became a themed race with lots of flair because I just can’t do anything at a normal pace/state/attire. So I’m searching for my green and gold leg warmers, because it was cold as blazes out and I want to be safe in my running attire. And I knew they were in my bin in the garage. My LABELLED bin in the garage. My LABELLED Packer bin in the garage. My LABELLED Packer bin of flair….in the garage. It’s early. I’m not the nicest in the morning because I don’t get sleep anymore between work and Peanut, and now the damn dog. So I really try not to speak before leaving the house, in general. I asked Bacon to help me get the bin down, because it’s early and I knew struggling with that was probably going to set me off. We go out to the garage to look for my LABELLED bin. And to my horror, we can’t find it. Not just because there are massive piles of BS thrown everywhere in this garage. Piles of xmas lights, boxes, bins, tools, who knows what thrown everywhere in this “shared” space we have. Bags of recycling piled up by the door to the house. Mid-progress projects abandoned in the middle of the floor. Summer clothes piled on top of the bins they should be piled INSIDE of. So I am pretty sure my huffs and puffs were audible at this point, as I am struggling to contain my frustration and not lash out….rationally or not. (Yes I’m aware I have organization/control/panic/lets-just-stop-the-list-now issues) And I finally give up in a boiling angry state of silence. And then I spot it, in the corner of the garage, I’m pretty sure there was a beam of light shining on it, or the light was merely a reflection of the lasers shooting from my eyeballs, but either way, problem solved. He helps me get it down, all nice, all quiet, don’t poke the bear just give it its leg warmers nice. I frantically shove my stuff in a bag, hugs and kisses goodbye, mutter some passive aggressive comment about dog poop and I’m on my way.

My run was, well just awful. Terrible performance on my end, but it was an amazing opportunity for ma and my sister (Whiskey Shots as I like to call her 😉) to really just lift my spirits after a tremendously dark and difficult week. I was happy as headed to work after the race. I was nice to my staff at work after the race. And then Bacon called.

And he asked if I was ok, because I seemed (pause for audible tension in his voice) “edgy” this morning. When I say I had no intention of getting into any sort of serious heartfelt conversation on the phone at work, I mean it. But he asked, and when he asks something, even though he may not totally absorb the answer, he really wants to at least hear it. So I started with some lame calm response that was passive about the garage. But, as we talked more, just talking got me to the root of why the garage bothered me so much. And what it ultimately came down to was an agreement that had been broken. The garage started off as a sacred space for both of us to share, me with my painting and he with his projects. But through lack of care or priority and excuse after excuse, I had been violently shoved out of my space (my own passive aggressive statement of defiance) and was now resentful, bitter, and down right ticked off. (That’s putting it nicely)

So in the end, a timid question, I’m certain he was terrified to hear the answer to, helped me express my honest feelings, that I didn’t even understand until that moment, and helped him understand how to more effectively ease my stress.

And…..there’s no poop in the yard 😉IMG_7575.JPG

Hello God, its me


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Are you there? Of course you are. Have you seen my performance lately? Is it part of something. Of course it is. Will I become a better person because of what I endure now? Probably. If I can pull myself out of this hole. I’m feeling defeated. Which is absurd given the high high I had with the success of this past weekend. Nothing like a work week to kick you in the teeth and make you want to run for the hills with your tail between your legs. My stupidity and frantic brain have cost me trust this week. I’ve been labelled a liar and a thief. All because I couldn’t remember what happened 4 days ago. In the span of 4 days so many things have changed. So many good. Some not so good. Some chaotic and intense. So many things I had to defend myself against. I have electrodes taped to my person monitoring my heart! And I am supposed to remember the chaos of 4 days ago accurately? Of course, by the time I remembered what really happened, it was too late. The tape had been played back. The fat lady sang. And there is nothing I can do or say at this point to force continued faith in me. And I’m angry now. Angry I’ve been betrayed by the people I’ve fought for. Angry that assumptions were made without ever speaking to me. Not that speaking to me helped matters much anyway, clearly as exhibited by my stumbling response of “I’m certain I was here, I think….I’m pretty sure”. Stupid. The unbelievable dedication I’ve had to this project for 8 months now, washed away in a poor review, all because I’ve been sick for 30 days which has affected my performance and my concentration. The sickness broke my defenses and my life just swallowed me whole. I’m feeling judged solely on 30 days out of 180. And that is a crappy place to be.

So here’s your take-away for today. If at any moment in time you could have your entire life, or career, or friendship judged on a single moment or even a single day, no option to explain or defend: do you feel confident you’ll rate well at any given instant?

So you’re tellin me there’s a chance!


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Thank God the holidays are over. As much as I love 5 rounds of Christmas, two new years, and a couple double time birthday parties chucked in at the end; I’m happy to wave goodbye to that round of chaos.

Things escalated quite rapidly around here last week. I believe it was the illness plaguing everyone in our house for the last 30 days, making its rounds from one to the next and then back again, a flu that never really had to retire. Or maybe it was the stress of all of the planning and shopping and wrapping and strategizing and stressing and showering….at least I’m pretty sure I took a couple of showers last month. Regardless of the reason, my typically controlled, stoic, calm facade cracked in two pieces without warning. We went from a calm discussion to me nearly throwing my phone through a front window, only to be followed by a couple of framed pictures shortly after. Imagine the silent thud in the new fallen snow of both communication and history landing together in a perfect juxtaposition to the volume of my voice in that moment. I snapped. I knew in that moment I had snapped, I heard my inner voice frantically pulling back on the leash, flailing about and whispering “no! NO! NO!”. I didn’t care. In that tiny 2 second window of argument between me and me, I won with a simple, “I don’t care, what do we have to lose?!”

So I lost it, in the verbal attack sense. It ended with a demand to face the past and set out some boundaries and ground rules. To apologize and offer insight into history. To smooth the road so that I have a fair chance in this life I’ve chosen. It ended with an ultimatum.

I don’t believe in ultimatums. I don’t believe any true relationship should ever come to that. It should always be give and take, take and give. Never should one have to demand something from the other….or else. It’s not a great moment in our history, but I don’t regret it. In the end, the reason for my snap, my loss of control, my demands and ultimatum, was due to my own insecurity. In a previous post I mentioned how we do not have time for our own work, our own needs, our own insecurities and they pile up behind us. Well, this was the avalanche. My own insecurities won out against sanity and brains and took over. And it turns out…..I was wrong. Damn. I do not like being wrong. I don’t do well with being wrong, BUT I can find the silver lining in being wrong. I was wrong, but look what came of it!

Because of my temporary loss of control over my emotions we are now looking down the barrel of a long life that is just starting to build itself. Their relationship has been taped together through communication and honesty, for the time being. My relationship with her is new, fragile, and uncomfortable for both of us. I feel that we both want to dive in head first and skip all of the steps we need to take to build and establish trust in one another and start swapping recipes and Peanut stories like old chums. My sanity has returned enough to put the leash on this at least. I’ve stopped myself from unnecessary texts to try to force a relationship, but at least for now there are two new key elements to this awkward family dynamic:

1. They can talk to each other honestly, at least for now.

2. She knows now I have no intention of taking her place as Mommy, and will even go so far as to defend her role to people she doesn’t know.

I think that we have a chance. I am caustically optimistic as I’ve been burned by blind faith before. But if nothing else, it’s a start. I’m a good person, and maybe one day she will know me well enough to believe that.

Jealousy, and letting go


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The past is in the past. Unless its your past. Then I want to talk about it. I want to analyze it. I want to stress over it. Cry over it. Wonder why I missed out on the biggest firsts of all time. (At least of my all time) I don’t understand why milestones are so important to me. I know when I was younger I always had this fantasy dream about forever. That it was all cupcakes and roses and freaking teddy bears.

Then life punches you in the throat.

You think you’re smart. You think you learn. You feel like, yea, I’ve made some pretty dumb choices, but they’ve all led me to here, and I’m learning dammit! you hear a song on the radio about all the heartache leading to you and it calms your spirit just a little. You decide, I can muddle through.

In all the patience and dealing and analyzing and reacting that we do as step mothers to manage the chaos of being a step mother, when do we have time for our own regular insecurities that we’ve been working on for decades? When do we get to “freak out” over the stupid stuff again? There’s no time! There’s no room in your brain! And eventually all of that “stupid stuff” you were working on to improve yourself as a functional human in today’s society, gets piled up behind you and starts to blur with today’s “normal step mom stuff” and you really aren’t sure if you’re letting go when you should “Let it gooooooo” or holding on to a mole hill that somehow looks like a freakin mountain. So then it becomes all or nothing.

I’ve been consistently demonstrating multiple attitudes towards all of the drama and chaos. I want to know everything. So I know everything, I’m involved in everything, I do everything. Then that gets too emotionally overwhelming, so I chuck the towel at someone’s head, throw my arms up, yell “Uncle” and bail. Informational blackout. Emotional shut down. I don’t want to know anything, I refuse to plan, be involved, learn, adapt, assist, etc. And then it all goes sideways. So I’m back in like a referee planning, adapting, avoiding, and prepping for doomsday.

Does this sound like a full time salaried job that you work 80 hours a week at? Can I hire an assistant? Can I get an event planner? A judge? Jury? How about someone to just clean the windows and give me a brighter view of the rest of the world. Being a parent is hard, nobody tells you being a step mom with her own issues, her own fears, her own concept of understanding ruling her world, is going to be one hell of a handful on your psyche.

Everyone Breaks


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I am a machine.

Because I don’t know how to stop.

I am indestructible.

Because I was hardened against pain young.

I will always win.

Because I was raised to win.

I am the best. 

Because I know that I am so far from perfect.

I’ve taken 2 sick days from work in the past week. That’s in addition to the 2 scheduled off days. I haven’t called off of work in roughly 7 years. And here I am. Incapacitated. I’ve apparently developed sinus problems, as well as a potential heart problem. Numerous appointments to come. What is making me fall apart?

I informed my doctor that my life is no more stressful than it was 6 months ago, in fact it might be less! That I couldn’t understand why the attacks were escalating. And after being up late into the morning last night, mostly crying and struggling to understand and accept the current round of chaos, that I realized I’m not ok. My life is not less stressful. My life has hit turbo on the insanity button.

There are arguments over the dog. (That I started). Arguments over the schedule (That she started). Arguments over the future (I maintain that it’s hopeless). Bitter snipes about bad decisions in the past. (That I throw like candy at the 4th of July parade). And there are fireworks. And tears. And stress. And pain. And attacks to my heart on an ever escalating scale.

Something has to change. Today, I told him I am out of the process for Xmas. Whatever he comes up with, he manages the fallout. I can’t control this situation, so I will spend the next 8 days finding peace in knowing I can control my acceptance. I can control if I bake the cookies. I can control my preparations for our family Xmas party. I cannot control what happens on Christmas Eve. And really, no matter what, there’s no positive outcome.

So I’m going to rest in bed. And pray. And make my appointments. Everyone else can wait. I need to pray for sanity and strength and peace. (And for this migraine/heart problem/sinus chaos to go away quickly!)

I am tired.

I am loving.

I am weak. 

I am loved.

I think I’m the invisible grinch


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Well this is the stuff of nightmares. I have Christmas lights, we’re going to get our tree, there are stockings hung by the fire with care. And my heart is heavy with anger and sadness. It is overwhelming my favorite type of cheer. I can’t seem to get out from under it. It’s a constant uphill battle and I’m losing. I’m losing badly, not graciously or in some sort of movie star classy way, I am flat-out getting my ass handed to me by anger.
I have logic. My brain knows. My brain says, “you become entrenched in what you scheme about”. And I can’t stop it. I just, I want to knock people off their illusioned pedestals.

And you thought this was about Christmas cheer. Christmas is my number one favorite holiday, and I am struggling through it. This is our first “real” Christmas together, and I already have so much anxiety over how it’s going to get jacked up. Will we have Peanut for Christmas? Will we have enough time to finish making all of her presents for my family and his? Will I be able to get all of the cookies made? Will we have time to shop for our family Christmas party? Yes, the one we are having a week early just to ensure some of my holiday tradition remains steadily intact.  Will we this? Will we that? Will we? Will we? Will we?

Will I?

I recently got to experience my first official “non-existent” moment in this whole step parenting game. Due to circumstances beyond my control I had to leave an event for Peanut early, which resulted in her getting her picture taken with all sides of the families, all the while she was asking where I was. When she got home and I got home we took pictures together to make up for it. It was then that I was informed of the mommy/daddy photo-op that had taken place in my absence. Poof. As though I never existed. Feel free to judge me on this one. I make no excuses for the hurt I felt and that horrible left-out feeling I got from it. I don’t even deny the jealousy that tore through my heart as I realized while I was taking care of everyone else, everyone but Peanut pretended I didn’t exist. I don’t know how to explain the combination of frustration, rage, sadness, and isolation that moment gave me. I keep having these moments, in escalating order, that make me want to throw my hands in the air and call “Uncle”.

I read a well written paper on the dangers of social media which referenced the term FOMO, “feelings of missing out”. The idea is that social media, among other things, has become such an addiction of “staying informed” and “included” that people are having strong reactions to missing out. This was my FOMO moment. As seems to be typical for us, here I was once again running all over God’s creation trying to make sure everything was done, everyone’s needs were met, and I was missing out on something important. I was missing the opportunity to be recognized as an involved human. As a thing that actually exists in this messed up family dynamic we are struggling to develop. And I missed it. Poof. I didn’t exist to anyone in that moment.

Did I need to?

I existed to Peanut. Granted, I disappointed her by not being there in that moment. But I existed to her. I realize that I need to dig deep and be a stronger person, and that much of this anxiety and sadness comes from a lack of confidence in who I am and my place in my world, our world. I should not need to be recognized by everyone. I should not need to be accepted by those who I do not seek a bond with. But I do. And I don’t know another way to be right now. And that’s the simple truth. I’m a different kind of Grinch. My heart isn’t two sizes too small, it’s much too big and trying to love everyone as much as it can. As a result, my heart is over worked and poorly rested and daily conking out on me. How do we fit self-love into all the other loving we need to do? Can I do this in my sleep?


I’m not strong enough


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I’m uncertain as I start this, if there will be a happy finish; if there is to be a moral to the story, or uplifting message in the end. As of yet, I have not intended my writing to go the direction it has gone, it just sort of, happened.

I believe I’ve lost my connection and relationship with God. Not severed or destroyed, just drifted away. I’ve been angry for a long time, and I remember the last two times I was feeling as I have lately, and I had weakened my relationship with God. The first time, I was young and very angry with him. I chose to separate from him. What resulted was a very long and very dark year of my life, that ended in a very harsh and awful lesson. What became of that year, is the strength you see now. I still carry that time with me, ashamed, hurt, guilty, and saddened by it. But, I am incredibly strong and capable because of it.

The second time I lost my way, was not on purpose. It casually slipped away in the chaos of life. I was busy with work, with a home, with family, with friends, with my own emotional turmoil in trying to believe and trust in another human being. I lost my way. What resulted was an inability to trust and communicate with my partner. A passive aggressive relationship that ultimately spiralled downward into its own shrapnel loaded explosion.

And here I am now, feeling hopeless and inadequate. Wondering how do I continue? How do I find my way through this heartbreaking scenario day in and day out for the rest of my life? How do I manage to stay calm, level-headed, and rise above the pettiness of others on a daily basis? How do I accept that things will not improve? They will just change their shape and present in a new format. I cannot change others. I struggle to believe when they say they want to change. I try to have faith in human ability to self improve. I am struggling to believe in the wrong thing first.

I was given advice on a particularly difficult night of stress and frustration with this person. I was told that above all else, as humans, we are called to love. How do you love someone who continues to hurt you? How do you love someone who goes after your family? How do you love someone in spite of everything they’ve become, when you know nothing of who they were? How do you do this for the rest of your life? I’m not strong enough to do this!

And to all of these questions came this response:

You may not be able to love this person yourself, you may struggle to be civil. So love them as God would, because they are one of his own.

This is not easy. It is not easy for me to repair my relationship with God. It is not easy for me to ask anyone for help. So today, as I sipped my coffee and thought about doing nothing really all day at work, unmotivated and uninterested, a thought popped into my head: I should pray and ask for motivation to do what is best today. I sat down at my desk and had a timid conversation with God before starting work. I asked him ultimately for strength to be a better version of me today. I turned on my music and hit shuffle on nearly 600 songs, and this one played the moment I came back in my office and sat down:

“I know I’m not strong enough to be everything I’m supposed to be. I give up. I’m not strong enough. Hands of mercy won’t you cover me. Lord right now I’m asking you to be strong enough, for the both of us.”

I haven’t had a real conversation with Him in a very long time, and without argument or blame or judgement, He responds. Perhaps if I let Him love me, I can learn to love as he does; without expectation.

“Strong Enough” -Matthew West