New Year

So, New Years Eve. I really can’t say that I’m sorry to see 2009 come to an end. This has been an incredibly hard year. When I was thinking about writing this post, phrases like “the worst year of my life”. or “the year of a million mistakes” immediately popped into my head. As I thought about it, though, I realized that isn’t entirely true. Yes, I have made mistakes this year, it’s a side effect of being human. Yes, some mistakes I made over and over again, it’s a side effect of being a forgiving person. There have been things this year that I am proud of, things I am so grateful for, and next year holds more promise than any year I can remember.

This year I took a long, hard look at myself, and my life. I realized that only I could change the way my life was going, and the deep unhappiness that I had lived with for so long. I found love in a completely unexpected way, and took a chance. I handled this the completely wrong way, and the relationship that I started was completely inappropriate, but it was what I needed at that time. I hurt people, and I was hurt. I learned to love in a whole new way.

My first grandchild was born this year. I had no knowledge or warning that he was coming, and I think I handled it pretty well. I was there for my daughter, without exception. I watched her give birth to this beautiful, healthy baby boy, and I will forever be grateful for that experience. He is a joy, and a blessing to everyone who knows him.

I met and loved an amazing person who helped me see that I was stronger than I ever knew. I was able to leave an unhappy marriage and stand on my own(with the help of amazing friends). I learned how to trust myself, to rely on myself, and to stand up for myself for the first time in my adult life.

I have learned to be more careful in choosing who to love. I no longer feel the need to cling to the first person who says I love you. Better yet, I learned that it’s ok if no one says that for a while. I like being on my own. I like being “me” as opposed to “us”.

2010 holds a lot of uncertainty, to be sure. I know that there will be a lot of challenges, and there will be times that i want to craw into a hole and hide, rather than face obstacles as I am faced with them. I also know that I have an amazing group of friends who will continue to be there for me, and support me every step of the way in this journey, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Venting

Ok, so I am really, truly, very angry right now. At a lot of people. About a lot of things. I was planning on posting today a sort of holiday recap, but now, now people have gotten on my last nerve, so I am venting.

I love online social networking. I really, truly love it. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, got ’em all. I have met amazing people because of these and other sites, people I would have never met otherwise. I have reconnected with dear friends I haven’t seen in over 20 years. These things are invaluable to me. Here is my problem. People don’t understand online etiquette. I am about to give a crash course, pay attention.

1. If I have ever slept with you, either for one night, one month, or one lifetime, it is perfectly ok with me if you read my blog. I want you to read my blog, you may just understand me better. Tell your friends to read my blog! All readers are welcome here. You can not, under any circumstances question me about the contents of my blogs, tweets, facebook updates, etc. These are my thoughts, shared with whomever may choose to read them. Leave a comment if you would like (I LOVE comments!) DO NOT call me, text me, e mail me or contact me any other way to inquire what something means, if it is about you, etc.

2. If I have ever been married to you, again, feel free to read on. Comment away, with the knowledge that I reserve the right to delete your comment if you feel the need to be a douche cake. Your girlfriend is welcome too. She has already proven herself to be a douche cake however, and her comments will continue to be deleted until she learns how to handle herself like a lady.

3. While we are on the subject, if you happen to be dating someone I was married to, keep my childrens’ names out of your mouth, and for the love of all things Holy, never, EVER disrespect one of my babies again if you value your life at all. Really? Get some class and grow the hell up, ok?

Un edited honesty

My husband called me a liar last night. In and of itself, that is not surprising, he has called me a liar a thousand times over the last 9 months. I don’t know what made this time different, but it stuck with me, and the more I think about it, the more I think he may be right. Maybe I am a liar. The particular thing he accused me of lying about wasn’t true, I really wasn’t lying about it, but maybe I have been lying to myself. So here, in my safe little corner of the universe, I am going to be truthful. With myself, for myself.

Part of me always has and always will love my husband. There are times that I miss him desperately. I miss my best friend, my partner. There was a time when he was my rock, my anchor. I would look to him to gauge what my reaction should be to a situation. I miss that. I miss being a “we”, one half of a whole. I haven’t had that in quite a while, long before I left, and I am only now beginning the process of mourning the loss.

I absolutely and unequivocally hate that I hurt him, and even more that I hurt my children. I can not find the words to convey how much I regret that, somehow “sorry” seems the most inappropriate word in the English language right about now. I handled a bad situation in the worst possible way, and I know it. How can I ever explain my thoughts, my feelings during that time, when I’m not even sure I understand myself? How do I explain that for all the taboo, all the wrong-ness, there really wasn’t any other choice for me. That if it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else, because once I allowed myself to acknowledge my true feelings, there was no turning back. Can I make them understand the burning need awakened by examining those feelings? I don’t think so. If anyone does understand, I really would love for them to explain it to me, because I sure as hell don’t.

Although I know that leaving was something that I had to do, something I should have done a long time before I did, at least once a day I worry that I have made the biggest mistake of my entire life. I wake up in a cold sweat, fear clutching at my throat, doubt whispering in my ear. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. I don’t want to watch the people I love more than life itself walk away from me forever because of what I have done. Sometimes I think that it took incredible bravery to walk away from everything I know and love, and sometimes I think it took an absolute idiot. I’m not sure which is right.

I don’t like the person I am today. I have no emotions, no feelings. I can feel a wall around my heart, and it gets bigger and stronger daily. A person I genuinely care about has told me things lately that ordinarily would have killed me. This time, as I read the words in text messages, I waited for the knife in my heart. I braced myself for the tightening in my chest, making breathing difficult and painful. It didn’t come. I spent a sleepless night last night, willing those feelings, and the shock that they didn’t, that they won’t, still hasn’t worn off. This disturbs me. I don’t want to be a cold unfeeling bitch. In the name of un edited honesty though, is that what I have become?

Things I know for sure

I absolutely love Oprah. I think she is amazing. I love that she is a strong, powerful, successful woman. I love that she works so hard at truly knowing herself,and being the best person she can be. In her magazine,she does a feature every month called things I know for sure. This blog is my attempt to decide what I know for sure.

I know that I love my children, regardless of what they do or say. I can think of nothing that could ever change that. I would walk away from just about anyone else in my life, but never them, no matter what. They are aware of this, and as teenagers, don’t always like it. I hope that one day they will appreciate it for what it is. Unconditional love.

I know that I am a strong person. Much stronger than most people give me credit for. My ex has always loved to tell me I am weak, that I can’t handle life on my own, but I think if he were honest with himself he would see that any situation we were ever in, when our backs were to the wall, when all hope seemed lost, he went ballistic, and I went to work. I have learned that tears are not a sign of weakness, and it is the strongest people among us who can look at their true feelings, really feel them, and move on.

I know that I have spent too many years of my life trying to be the person other people wanted me to be. For years I have been terrified by the thought of someone, anyone not liking me. The danger here is that when you work so hard to be someone you aren’t, you tend to forget who you are. For the first time in my life, I am finding out who I am. The good, the bad, the ugly. I like the person I am today enough that it’s ok if someone else doesn’t like me. That is a great feeling. The important people, the people who stay no matter what, like me in spite of my flaws, and the rest? Well, I guess the rest of the people don’t really matter, do they?

I know that loving someone, really being in love with another human being, never makes you sad. It doesn’t hurt. In fact, it feels really, really good. The intensity of some of my recent relationships was amazing, intoxicating, and ultimately painful. That isn’t love. I know that to have a great relationship, both people have to know the difference, and have to be ready to work really hard to protect that love, no matter what. That relationship is out there for everyone, and it is worth the wait, I know that for sure.

Hope

This post is inspired by Blog Nosh magazine’s Loads of Hope campaign.

So, this Christmas will be very, very different. I keep trying to tell myself that “different” does not have to be synonymous with “bad”, but it is difficult. The different Christmases have been bad in my experience. The year my son Daniel died was “different” and an air of sadness and despair hung about us, so close and thick we could taste it. The year my father left home was “different” and his absence was ever present, despite the addition of my first child. So while I fight daily to muster Christmas spirit in myself, and my children, the difference is there, making itself known, intruding into our happy thoughts, putting a damper on otherwise happy shopping trips.

This Christmas will be my first in 17 years as a single mother. My oldest daughter, now involved in her own life in Florida will be unable to be with us, my mother and sister will not be here. That is a LOT of different. With everything in me, I want this to be the best Christmas ever for my children, one they will look back on and remember fondly when they are adults, facing their own years of trials and adjustments. I want them to remember that this was the Christmas where there was no fighting, no strained silences. I want this to be remembered as the year there was no reason to monitor what they say, to monitor their tone of voice. I want this to be the Christmas of laughter, of joy, of hope.

Next Christmas will be different as well. to be sure. Next Christmas we will have the familiarity of new traditions, hesitantly formed this year, in a fumbling, tentative dance of trial and error. Next year will be easier. This year, as I look at my childrens’ unsure, anxious faces, I am filled with hope. Hope for our future, hope for their happiness, hope for this magical time of year, differences and all.

Beginnings

So I think Ive been looking at things entirely the wrong way lately. For months I have been sad and depressed, thinking about all of the endings that have been occurring at an alarming pace lately. I have listed and mourned all of my losses, bitterly regretted each one, and lived every day with an emptiness in my very being that comes with loss. However, if I know nothing else about myself, I know for sure that I am a survivor, and be assured, I have survived far worse than this. So in my disgustingly optimistic way, I have realized that there is a flip side to all of this, a mirror image, if you will. I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beginnings that are occurring.

1. My roommates are here. All the time. They aren’t always here at the same time, but they are always here some of the time. The thing is this, they are here for me, no matter what. They are dysfunctional, they are loud, they can be obnoxious. They listen, they support, they care. They are my family, and I love them more than I could ever say or express.

2. For the first time in 4 decades, I am on my own. I pay my own bills, I make my own decisions. I live my life on my own terms, and make my own mistakes as I go. Its scary as hell, but I love it, and it feels right.

3. I am finally figuring out who my I am, really. In the words of Oprah, my authentic self. Living authentically is hard and takes real courage, but I would really like to think that I have courage. I really believe that the outcome will be worth it.

4. Probably most importantly, I have discovered who my real friends are. People who will tell you that you are wrong, and then let you find out for yourself. People that support you in your wrong-ness. People that cheer your right-ness. These are the people everyone needs in their life, and my gratitude is deep and eternal.

So for all the miserable, depressing blogs to come, I can now look back and see, for all of the endings, I am blessed beyond what I deserve.