Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Falling Slowly

The last couple of weeks have been an interesting journey. My move went relatively smoothly; I thought I would be afraid to be alone, but I'm actually enjoying it. My own space, with a few new things thrown in, sleeping pretty well, it's been good.

It's been a bit of an adjustment, too. I miss my son terribly, seeing him every day, packing his lunch, making sure that he takes his meds were things that I took a little for granted. He's been doing fine and we talk on the phone often. It's not the same, but I pretend like he went away to college.

I miss my husband. I miss our daily interaction and the thought of having someone to go to if I need help. There's a little bit of me that looks at our past relationship with rose colored glasses. We will always be family; we have children who will have children. He will always be my friend. I'm taking care of things on my own, but old habits are hard to break. This has been a learning curve for us all.

I thought I was past all of the emotionality of this venture; I was wrong. Friends have asked if there is anything my husband or I could do to keep our marriage going or to fix things. There really isn't. The relationship that was our marriage is over; we both know that. Moving forward in any type of relationship is going to take some work. How much work and what kind of relationship isn't something we have control of. We'll have to see where time and space takes us both as individuals.

I have been spending some of my newly acquired free time to think about relationships in general. Marriages, friendships, lovers, family, they each have their own group of dynamics that have some similarities but are also different in so many ways. Both should be embraced and considered when we are making any sort of decision regarding any particular relationship.

Some are extremely emotional, like the swinging of a pendulum from one side to the other. Others are comfortable, easy, and relaxed. Some relationships are a struggle to maintain and hard to let go of. Others were built on a foundation that was a bit crumbly and are completely falling apart.

There are changes happening in our everyday lives and the world we live in that aren't predictable. Why would we think that we can map out or count on situations that are meant to ebb and flow? We only have control over ourselves and our own feelings. No one can MAKE you feel a particular way; you ALLOW your feelings, good or bad, to direct your actions.

Sometimes, we fight with ourselves to maintain a balance in our life and with our relationships that might not be there. Once in a while, we might feel out of sync with a friend or a loved one. Maybe there is an underlying issue that needs to be sorted out. Perhaps words that were spoken "in the moment" need to be reconsidered, examined. There might be an apology or a reconciliation or a tune-up that needs to be taken care of.

I guess the bottom line is that in all things we need to raise our hopeful voices and remember that we have a choice. When you feel that you have given enough of yourself to a relationship, be patient. When you feel that your feelings have been hurt, be forgiving. When you have hurt someone's feelings, be considerate. If a relationship is meant to be, it will be...good, bad, happy, sad, mean and loving all at different times. It's a balancing act. Remember that you are worthy of goodness...With love...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In The End

Here are some personal facts: I am going to turn 51 this year. I have 2 children, a girl (30) and a boy (18). I have been married for 31+ years. We are coming to the end of our marriage. I’ve made peace with that and I’m happy about it.
I am not necessarily trying to be “self-helpy.” If something that I have experienced can motivate conversation, awareness or the sharing of ideas and information, that’s great. This posting will include some things that I believe other women in similar situations will strongly identify with.
My writing is my own opinion and observation on my life, my point of view. I am writing honestly and openly. I am not looking to lay blame or to judge. This posting will be about me personally and it’s going to be a long one.
I had a turbulent childhood. I’m not saying that it was terrible, just unsettled. I never really had a steady or sure footing. The majority was pleasant, but some of the experiences were not. In addition to the pre-determined physical traits that we are born with, certain personality characteristics are inherited from generations before us. Our personal path is forming with these traits and characteristics while we are growing up.
I’m not sure when I decided this, but the goal or purpose of my life was to finish school, get a job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. This seemed like a neat, organized plan; working through life to get to that happy place. I graduated high school at 17, got a job and went out with my friends. I didn’t date much, but I was looking for someone who would fit into my plan. I got married at 19 to a man who was in a similar situation; turbulent and unsettled childhood. We met, started dating, moved in together, got married and became parents in a 2-year period. We were both looking for the same things at the time. We were looking for stability, first and foremost. We loved each other.
So there I am, wife, mom, working a full-time job, moving from used cars to new ones, an apartment to a house, all steps forward to the happy place. Not that I’m unhappy on this journey, my daughter is smart and talented, my husband is hardworking, my job is secure and I’m learning.  I’m feeling happy and accomplished.  We are blessed with a second child at, what seems to be, the right time to encourage our daughter to spread her wings a bit. My friends and family are both supportive and surprised that I have this bundle of boy-joy.  One of the things I can tell you is that we didn’t know how much our lives missed this child until he came into it. I will also say that at this moment in my marriage, the rumblings of unsettlement were there. When my son came along I had a renewed sense of purpose on my way to the happy place.
I am a caretaker. I took the kids where they needed to go. I juggled the bills, I robbed Peter to pay Paul, I went to work, I shopped for groceries, I took care of the house, and I did the laundry. These are not complaints, but statements of fact. I was running the household while working and taking care of the kids. It’s become my job because I made it my job. Because of the unsettled feeling of my pre-adult years, I needed the management control of my life. I was going to steer us in the right direction. I was hoping that I knew what that was, but I wasn’t sure. All I did know is that I wanted me and my kids to do a little better then the generations before me.
The thought process that I had was that while this is hard and stressful, once my kids were raised, my husband and I will finally make it to the happy place. This state of being that will be more relaxed, settled; a state of mind where I would look back on the hard road with a smile and appreciate the calm. I didn’t expect THE CHANGE.
I’m not talking about the change that happens to women of a certain age. I’m also not talking about the event that made me appreciate my life more, although it was a contributor. I’m talking about this unexpected sense of thinking that the happy place that I had envisioned all this time might not be the place where I should end up. I was suddenly filled with an uneasiness or feeling of being trapped in a situation that didn’t seem right for me anymore.
I spent most of my adult life taking care of those around me. While it gave me a sense of fulfillment, I was tired. When was I going to feel taken care of? When was it going to feel like a partnership, where I wasn’t in charge for a little while? When was I going to feel like someone would take the reins for awhile if I let them? Would I feel safe or settled enough to let him? I realize that wasn’t the norm; it wasn’t how things were supposed to turn out or how I steered them. But I was changing; myself, my thought process, the rules of this journey, my journey.  I was changing, I couldn’t help it, I wanted to embrace it, but the guilt was overwhelming. I did the majority of the changing in this relationship and I will own it. I changed the rules and adjusted to suit myself and what I wanted. Was that fair? Probably not, but I have discovered, sometimes, life isn’t fair.
While your kids are yours forever, I am coming to the time of my life where the day to day caretaking won’t be necessary. I thought that MY life was going to really start when I was through raising my kids, basking in the happiness in the happy place. The end of the raising kids part has come up fast and personal happiness seemed a million miles away.
I started communicating to my partner a really, LONG time ago that I was unhappy and disillusioned; that we were heading for trouble instead of the happy ever after. I told him that I while I loved him I wasn’t thrilled with our relationship. He would say things like, “when these kids are out of here, it’s just you and me!” It would strike fear in my heart and I wanted to run. He never took what I said seriously.
There’s a line in one of my favorite songs, “Need some action, all you get is talk.” Well, that sentence could accurately describe me. I talked, I complained, I screamed, I yelled, I didn’t DO anything; I just said how it could all be better. So, I imagine, that what my husband has heard all this time was– wah, wah, wah. Blather. Threats. Nothing really to worry about.
Something clicked. I’m not really sure when, I’m not really sure how. I’m certain that my friends around me who had been listening to me where waiting for the day I would find my real voice. I put a plan in motion. My daughter got married. My son turned 18, he is graduating high school. I wanted an exit strategy that would be painless. I have since learned there is no such thing. No nice neat little package tied with a bow and everyone will be happy. There will be pain, but its part of the process.
We have grown into two completely different individuals that want different things from this life. You can’t change who you are to satisfy someone else, no matter how long your relationship has been. We grew apart. I know that sounds a bit cliché, but it’s true. We want different things in our lives and that doesn’t make us bad people. I’m letting myself off the hook and releasing the bad feelings I have had for my partner. We both deserve more happiness and satisfaction from this life.
I’m moving on. I am moving out of my home into a space of my own. I have never been on my own. I went from my family to moving in with my husband. This will be completely new and different. I am excited. I am terrified. I am elated. I am confident. I am sad; this is a death that I have mourned for too long. It’s time to put it behind me. It’s a job well done, but it’s time to find a new job.
There will be those who will be surprised. There will be those who could see from the outside that this was where I was headed. There are those who are completely supportive of my decisions and my continuing journey. In the end, it’s what I want that counts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – self-preservation is not selfish. Living a life you like is a concept we should all embrace. With love…

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Southern Cross

I grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The farthest south I was aware of until I was about 14 years old was Grand Avenue and that was “way far south, almost downtown!” There might as well have been a void south of downtown; somewhere I would never dream of venturing.
I was a Girl Scout early on. I transferred to a new school in the 4th grade and scouting was something that was offered at our parish. I loved our campouts; we would sell boxes and boxes of cookies so that I could go. As I got older, I sold the cookies so that I could go to residence camp in Wisconsin for 2-3 weeks during the summer. I applied for the “counselor in training” program at Camp Juniper Knoll the summer I turned 15. 4 weeks of life at camp, plus counselor privileges. This way, when I went away to college and needed a summer job, I could work at camp all summer. Excellent!
My neighborhood friends weren’t interested in going, but I was going anyway. There I was, dropped off on a Sunday afternoon in June, in the Adler Planetarium parking lot, to catch the bus to Elkhorn, WI. Whoopee, this was going to be a great summer! One of my favorite counselors was coming back and she was on our bus! She could play a mean guitar at our campfires and I loved the singing. Little did I know that her younger sister was on the bus that day too and that she would become one of my best friends.
Those of you, who know me, know I’m not afraid to talk to anyone, about anything. I struck up a conversation with my new friend during that bus ride. She was a little shy at first, but had a wicked sense of humor. I’m certain at the time she was being forced to go to camp with her sister. At the very least I am thinking that while going to camp sounded like a great idea at first, it was not so much when it was actually happening.
We had a blast during the time we were together at camp. One of the interesting things was that she lived in Alsip. Alsip? Where the heck was Alsip? So far south, I was sure it was another state. Me, I lived on the North Side. The scary North Side where people from the South Side rarely ventured. We weren’t even sure our parents would let us out to see each other. What were two new besties to do?
Talk on the phone. We called each other often and had lengthy conversations. We did travel to see each other; she was able to drive to pick me up at the train station. I think that first year we did that once or twice. We couldn’t wait until the next summer to go back to camp, freedom and escape from our boring, restricted lives at home. I remember talking to her on the phone the night before we were leaving for camp that next summer. I couldn’t wait to see her again.
We had a ball that second summer; we stuck together. Transportation after we got home wasn’t so problematic; she drove, I had friends who drove, our lives meshed, friends intermingled. The great divide between the North and South sides didn’t seem so far anymore. When there was a will, there was a way.  I especially remember a couple of near death rides on the Dan Ryan in their yellow VW.
As the next few years went by we had so much fun. We got into a lot of trouble, but man, we had a ball. We spent time going to “The Point” down by the lake, hanging out with the neighborhood guys who had a fondness for somewhat fluffy girls, nursing our youthful hangovers at the beach, at the rocks the next day. Me and the South Side sisters, we had us a blast! I’m certain our parents braced themselves for my visits there or their visits here; never a dull moment. We fell in like and love with boys from each side of the tracks. We were girls just wanting to have fun. We had jobs, we had friends, we had a little money, we had a lot of nerve and we had each other.
We started to grow up. She went off to college after all; I got married and had a baby. Our lives started going in different directions, but we still kept in touch. More and more distance came between our phone calls and while we didn’t give up completely, years had gone by since we had seen each other. When we got to our late 20s and early 30s we reconnected a little more. She got married, started having kids, still living on the South Side; we visited a little more often. I think our friends and family were surprised at our sustainability.
We talked on the phone, catching up as often as we could. She had 4 boys, I had my son; we were working, managing the household, trying to calm our whirring brains. After talking on the phone for while we would both say that we would call more often, but really, who had the time?
We both had life changing events; I would go as far as to say that she had more than her share of life changing events. Things that scare the bejeezus out of you and you hope you can get past it with a little sanity. We talked to each other on the phone, cried, yelled, listened, consoled, counseled and laughed, especially laughed, about everything that we could. I started writing my blog. She would call after reading my post like she was reading my mind, she still does.
I just had lunch with her the other day. Her sister came along for the visit. We met about half way, but I have no fear making the cross to the South Side anymore. We talked for about 3-1/2 hours and we could have sat there longer and never run out of things to say. We are beautiful women who are starting to decide that maybe our time has come. Perhaps it’s time to take better care of ourselves and our psyche because it had been put on the back burner. Our visit was like sitting under a warm blanket, easy and comfortable. I promised myself that I would make time to spend time. Her strength and intelligence fuels mine and I’ll be forever grateful.
This blog posting is dedicated to you, my friend. My love is an anchor tied to you with a silver chain; long, unbreakable, but a little tarnished from years of wear. Here’s to our growing together on this lifelong journey. With love…

Friday, February 15, 2013


I Kicked The Habit. The habit of always seeing things in the "dark." The self-pity wallowing that could have taken over my entire life. There are days where I will have a really good, 10 minute, ugly, sniffling, snuffling sob fest. I get it over with and move on as best I can. Today, I am angry. I am angry at the pain and suffering that good people have to go through. I am angry at different diseases like heart disease, Hashimoto's disease, neuromuscular diseases and the big daddy of them all, cancer. I wish I could take care of everyone, but I can't. That's another habit I have to kick. Not so easy. I will get over this anger, I will. But today, just for a little while, I'm going to be angry, especially at cancer and its effect on those that I care about.

I Shed My Skin. I am who I am. I am beautiful inside and out. We all are. There are some of us who have ugly in them and I feel bad for those folks. I am hoping that it doesn't take a tragedy or a serious downfall for them to learn the lessons of faith and beauty in your fellow man or woman, whatever the case may be. It's really what's inside that counts. If there are those who still judge a book by its cover, they are probably very lonely and small on the inside. Here's hoping for their growth.

This Is The New Stuff. There are those that I have known for a long time that are probably skeptical of the changes I am making. They actually ridicule my writing and talk of love, or don't bother to read at all. I believe it's fear of change; too bad for them. I love different people for different reasons. They feed a number of needs inside of me. There are relationships that I am having to back away from, which makes me sad. But how many times can your feelings get hurt because people are too busy or don't have time to contact you or can't keep up with everything - but only when it comes to their relationship with you? Quantity doesn't always equal quality. Just because you have had someone in your life for most of it, doesn't mean they get continue to be a part of it if they hurt you. Especially when there are those who want to spend time with me and understand the life I am embracing.

I'm Gonna Build That Power. The power of positive thinking. The power of life with more optimism. The power of a healthier, prosperous future. The power of waking up each day. It's better to build on that power than to worry about what I can't control.

I Go Dancing In. Into my future, where I am surrounded by friendship and love that's overflowing. Where bad things happen to good people and they survive. Where communication is important to help us grow and learn. Into a life that I am building on a solid foundation. There is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel that I have traveled through. It's bright and beautiful, and there to remind me that I have a gift of this life. I'm going to live it to the fullest. With love...

Friday, February 1, 2013

I've Got This Friend

I've got this friend. She's hardworking, loyal and dependable. She has a big heart and is very giving. She takes on the problems of the world in stride, with only minor mishaps at times. She loves to talk and listen too. She'll hold your hand, give you a hug or slap you upside the head, separately or all at the same time, if necessary. She is living her life the best that she can.

I've got this friend. She's scared of the world. She puts on a brave face, she swears a lot, demands a lot of attention, says things for shock value that can be off-puting instead of relaxing in a social situation. She doesn't keep or sustain many relationships, seemingly only the ones she might need in the future. She demands loyalty, but offers none. She's looking for something in all the wrong places. She is living her life the best that she can.

I've got this friend. He's a loner. He's not very social, but very smart. He has spent a lot of time and thought on regrets. He starting to realize that alone means lonely. He's coming out into the world and releasing the fear that had him hiding in a shell. He's funny, talented and worth more to others than he realizes. He is living his life the best that he can.

I've got this friend. She's scrappy. She takes up the causes of those who can't speak or fight for themselves. She is a toughie with a marshmallow center. She says that she does just fine on her own. She can be either your biggest champion or your worst enemy. She cuts people out before she realizes that she might really need them, or how much they need her. She will help you in your time of need, like burying the body of someone who hurts you. She is living her life the best that she can.

I've got this friend. He's a working man. He just wants to get up and go to work every day. His world around him has been crumbling for a while and he's starting to pay attention, hoping it's not too late. He doesn't make many friends and he really doesn't mind that. He isn't sure how to take care of things on his own. Communication is difficult for him, but he tries. He is learning the hard way to stand on his own two feet. He is living his life the best that he can.

I've got this friend. She hates change. Whether it's in her life or the lives of those around her, it makes her skittish. She is extremely intelligent, social and loves those in her life fiercely. New friendships are frightening and don't interest her at all. Old friendships are loving, sustained and comfortable. You can speak your mind and hear hers too, without any repercussion. She has an old soul. There's been some shakeups recently but she is trying to roll through the changes with grace and strength. She is living her life the best that she can.

Just so you know, I'm certain I will have friends reading my blog who will try to figure out which friend THEY are. These friends I am referring to are truthfully no one in particular, but a composite of those in my life whom I love.

The point of this entry is that we all are living our lives the best we can. Whether there are good things or bad things going on in your life right now, it's helpful to know that you have a variety of friends with strengths and attributes that can help you on your journey. With love...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Pretender

2013 has blown in with its challenges, same as always. Maybe not the same challenges, per se, but with a whole set of new ones to face, head on, moving forward.

Did I expect things to be different? To be easier? To be gifted with a "clean" slate. Not really, but I hoped that life in general would take things a bit more gently with me and those around me that I love and care about. So far? Not so much.

It takes a very conscious effort to work through each day, no matter what happens, with a positive attitude and outlook. Some days it's definitely easier; I adopt a "devil may care" attitude. That doesn't mean that I don't care, it just means that I can't solve every problem or situation that comes my way and I accept that, albeit kicking and screaming.

Some days it's almost impossible; I feel a great amount of sadness and despair. For things that have happened, for decisions that I should have made, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah! I say almost impossible because it's not the whole day. It's part of the day where I may rant and rave like a total lunatic, either out loud or in my head. It's part of the day that I might cry like a baby, with or without the lunacy.

After that part is over, with a sweaty brow and/or red eyes, I push through. I put a smile on my face or I just get quiet and move along. I will put some music on, depending on my mood, and just listen and breathe. I work it out.

Whether I am posting on Facebook, writing my blog, composing an e-mail or even sending a text, I try to be truthful and compassionate, even when I'm crabby. I am not a pretender, I'm just someone who hopes that if I can help myself with the words that I write, they might make a difference to those who read them. We can identify with each other. Maybe share a laugh or a smile. I see the good. I want the good for myself and everyone around me.

A smile can be hiding a whole load of problems that don't necessarily have to be shared, and that's OK. We are very different from each other, but share similiarities. We need to be nicer to each other. We don't know what's happening in the lives of those we care about all the time. We are all working on just living each day with a sense of gratitude and survival.

I am unique, not like the others. I will never surrender; that means giving up and that's not happening. We help each other or at least we should, to grow, to learn, to enjoy and LIVE this life that is so short. They say you only live once, don't you think we should do our best to make it count? With love...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Whole New World

Happy 2013! It's a brand new year and a fresh start or restart for us all. I hope that 2013 has been a bit kinder to you so far and that any resolutions you have decided to make aren't too harsh. It's early yet.

I myself have decided to take a 30-day challenge and go gluten free. I have been doing some research, along with the advice of my brilliant daughter, and found that there are some benefits of doing this that will help all that ails me.

It's not been as difficult as I thought it would be. There are many products and resources out there now, it's been relatively easy, so far. I'm trying new vegetables and ways to cook them. It should clear up some of the symptoms of my various problems/diseases and help me feel even better.

It's a simple change that can't hurt me; have you decided to make a simple change in the new year? I would like to say that if you smoke cigarettes, you should really try to quit. It damages so many things in your beautiful body and snuffs out oxygen that should be pumping through your blood stream. I know it's not easy; I struggle with it to this day. However, it's probably the best thing you could do for your health and well-being.

Simple changes mean a lot more than you think they do. Exercise your body and your brain. Experience and embrace this opportunity that you have been given in the form of a new year to step in the right direction. That would be whatever direction you choose and that makes you happy and content. A little knowledge can open a whole new world of information that you never knew you were missing. Free your mind, the rest will follow...With love...