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3 years ago today, I opened up this space so I could share my grief, my heartbreak, my sorrow, and my unbelieveably shattered self with anyone out there who would possibly listen. It was cathartic, and still is, when I’m able to find the time to write.
I have a hard time believing where I sat 3 years ago, and where I’m sitting at now. Why does nothing ever turn out as planned? It is never what we imagined or dreamed, and yet, we are incredibly resilient and flexible as change rears it’s head – day in and day out. I am trying to be kinder to myself in all things, and I try hard to remember that I’ve basically kicked ass during these last 3 years, and I did that (mostly) on my own. No matter what is still difficult right now, I’ve seen – and gone through – worse. And if I had to, I could do it again.
So, thank you all, so very much, for all of your constant and unwavering support. Strangers through the interwebs, and now some of you are my real life friends. I am blessed to have you in my life.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve started another blog so that I can share my pictures and stories with a lot of real-life family and friends that I’m not comfortable sharing here. It’s not going to be as sexy as this blog, but at least it’s got pictures : ) I’ve only got a few posts up, but I’m working on it. Check it out, will ya? www.fencingtime.wordpress.com
My knee is feeling so much better. I’ve been skating and practicing, complete with full contact, for the last couple of weeks. I’ve missed it so much. My body missed it. I’m working my ass off to make it on the roster for May’s bout. It’s an away bout in Delaware, which is about an hour or less from Philly / Jersey, so I think a lot of my friends and family will be able to come watch me, for the first time. I’m super psyched. I like having concrete goals and working towards them. And hopefully, achieving them. Do any of you guys live near Delaware? If so, you should come out. Hello road trip!
I leave you with this:
“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.” –Maya Angelou
I really had planned an extensive, thought-provoking entry for my two year blog anniversary, which is today. Obviously that didn’t work out the way I planned it. But yay, two year blog anniversary!!
I watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing. Has anyone seen this show yet? Unbelievable. Obviously, I felt inspired. But not so inspired to be anywhere near as extreme as these people, just a nice chunk of normal saving money inspired. B is the one in charge of the food shopping in this house. She already uses coupons, but I thought, after watching this show, maybe we could step up our game a little. Well, you know what? That shit is hard. You have to devote way more time to the whole process than I realized and way more time than I really want to. But I’m still following it all the way through for this week – tomorrow night I do a little shopping (at 5 different stores!!!) to see if my hard work paid off. And it also inspired me to start a coupon binder, which I’m halfway finished. Even if I end up helping out with the couponing way less than I intended, at least there will be a nice organized way for B to find the coupons : )
It is really, truly SPRINGTIME here. I never really realize how sad the winter makes me until Spring starts popping up everywhere and I find myself just as happy as a clam. The rolling hills turned from brown to green a few weeks ago, and now finally, the trees on the mountains are budding and turning green as well. Finally. We’re getting our hands in the dirt out back and planning for an extension on our patio. I joined the softball team at work. We’re planning camping trips. Ahhh, yes. The signs of good weather. So. Exciting.
I’m so lucky to have this space. Thanks for sticking with me, no matter how long you’ve been reading.
What a rough couple of days for me on the memory scale. Two years ago today, my life took a drastic turn, which I wrote about on my old blog, which you can find here, at the 6 month mark post. The reason for even starting this blog, and especially the inspiration for the name of this space. I went back to the beginning of this blog to read a little bit, the day-to-day ramblings of someone trying to just wake up and get out of bed. The little minute details that was all consuming. It is heart-breaking, going back and reading. The pain is so obvious, so raw. I’m so grateful that I began writing so soon after, and that I have a place where I can look back and remember. There is nothing quite like immediate grief like that.
It is obvious amongst all definitions that the dissolution of my partnership was life-changing for me. In all the general ways that heartbreak is, but then in other ways of which you cannot see until months and years later; that the moment in time that changed you veered you down a different road which you are only now beginning to see, to experience, to understand. I am sitting here, in another state, with a new job and a new partner and a new layer onto my existing life because of that moment two years ago. Yes, I made choices and decisions that brought me here, but I could not have done that without a prerequisite: that I was alone and single. It is that simple. And so when B gets angry and gives me her rant about how much she hates EJ and how fucked up the way she treated me was, and expresses frustration at my willingness to be kind and generous to her, I simply reply that, although I do understand, it was necessary for her to do what she did in order to get me here. To this moment, right now. I don’t condone her treatment of me and at this point in my life I don’t have a desire to be friends. I’d be lying if I said I truly understood the reasoning behind it all, and because of that the forgiveness process is difficult. Sometimes I still miss her, the her that she was before, and that life that existed for us so long ago. Because it was a good life, and that I cannot deny. But more than anything else I love where I’m at right now, and life is generally great. That is more than I could have ever hoped for myself just two short years ago. I am so glad that I set out to overcome my deepest fears and my shattered heart. So glad that I had a wonderful support system to do so. So glad for all of the choices and people that have lead me here. Even this space, where anyone and everyone can read the innermost workings of my heart, a certainly seemingly unlikely place to find comfort and strength, has been a blessing. Life is funny that way.
It is so amazing to just be aware of the process of my evolution. I savor it. It isn’t always easy, but at least I know there’s no getting around it. I’m proud of myself. I am strong. I am so strong to have gotten through the worst of this, to continue to work on the bumps that pop up along the way. I am beautiful, smart, funny, kind, generous, hard-working, and loving, and no partner can ever take that from me. It is empowering to know that at the end of the day, no matter what, I can do it. I have done it. And that? That is divine.
Here’s to always being consciously aware of my evolution, my self-worth, and my strength. I can’t wait to see what else this journey has in store for me.
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. – Maria Robinson
The blog is back to public after a three month stint of being private. I thought maybe I would continue to write during the time I had this thing off-air, but I didn’t really. It was actually a very welcome break. When I had enough time to miss writing, the to-do list kept on rolling, and it wasn’t so bad.
As things start to come together at my new job, my general stress level decreases. I’m not 100% where I need to be in order to feel balanced, feel like I can actually start breathing normal and begin to do my thing, but hopefully that will happen soon. In conjunction with this process, my next hope is that B lands a job that she likes, a job that makes decent enough money so we can get extremely stable. Being the only person working in a household is a stressor that I would like to take off of my list as soon as possible. Once this happens, I’ll be able to let out that long breath I’ve been holding in. These two things getting settled should put me at a much much much lower stress level and much much much higher happiness level. Relief, or dare I say, hope? A small feeling of hope that things are on the right path.
So here’s to a fantastic year. I hope for a year with increased stability and happiness, a year of exploring my new home and finding delights in discovery, of success in my job and health to all of my family and friends. I do not make resolutions at the beginning of the year anymore, not since EJ left and things were left unraveled. If you want to change something, to direct your life to a different path, you do it when it strikes you, when it’s necessary, when it’s possible. And so that’s how I’ve glided into the New Year – full of hope and the possibility of continued evolution.
In the morning, I’m out of the door before the sun is awake. On clear days, as I’m getting on the highway, a slight mixture of pink and blue sit low on the horizon, right above the mountain. When I see this, I know it’ll be a good ride to work. My commute takes me over two mountains, and while they are considered mere hills to the people of the Rockies, they are mountains to me. I am from flat-land covered in trees, so I really wasn’t able to see the morning unfold like this. Driving over the mountains during a sunrise is pure peace in my soul. It never ceases to amaze me once I get to the top and begin to descend down, the pink or orange view of a brand-new day. I like being in an area with different elevations – I am seeing the world in a whole new way. And I suppose this is what life is like when we don’t ask for it; the changes that happen to us, oftentimes unwelcome, give us a new pair of glasses to try on and change our view of, well, anything really.
Life has put me in such a place where I’m really grateful for everything; this appreciativeness is heightened after all of the recent changes in my life, and I know this is a positive thing. It certainly doesn’t mean that everything is always wonderful, or everyone is healthy, or I’m at a place in my life that I really want to be at. No, this isn’t the case. But I’m trying to understand that maybe I’ll never be in the place I’m working towards – how often we make plans for such a life that doesn’t unfold that way. I’m trying to understand that I have a choice to be positive, everyday, because it always can be worse. I try to remember how far I’ve come in rebuilding my life; how far along I am after the disaster that maybe didn’t turn out to be a disaster after all, just a tragedy of the heart that needed to happen to continue my growth. I try to remember how this new opportunity has pushed me forward much quicker and farther in my life than I could have imagined, how it affords me a life that would have taken years to obtain after the ex left. And in recognizing all of this, and being happy right now, right in this very moment, I find pleasures in the smallest of things. Like the sunrise; a set of rolling hills that weave in and out of each other; the feeling of my naked girlfriend pressed up against me at night; a child that loves me calling out my name; the taste of homemade hot chocolate in my belly.
I started volunteering at the local animal shelter. I’m beginning learning how to knit. I’m more deliberate when exploring my photography. We take Sunday drives. We will take hikes in the snow, even when it’s below freezing. I drink wine on random, ordinary days. I’m watching the sunrise. I’m slowing down. I’m living.
- I officially have a new job! Everything is good to go and the offer letter is signed and I’m all set to start in three weeks-ish.
- I got a call this morning that we got the house that we put the application in for, so we should be getting the lease emailed to us today. We’ll move in two weeks, on 10/8.
This has all happened so fast and it’s very difficult to wrap my head around. During this time that I’m moving forward I keep thinking about my past. And remembering.
I’m remembering that a year ago I was in the process of selling my home, the home I was in for five years, the home that I built my life in with EJ. I’m trying to take myself back to that time, to that me that existed a year ago. I’m trying to remember the feelings of happiness and excitement; of pain and loss. The house was our last big thing together, and it was almost 100% of the reason we ever had to talk. And I hated that we had to talk, had to fight, had to have any kind of contact with each other. And the selling of the house would stop this. It would end the contact and allow me to be AWAY from her so I could continue to heal, and heal properly. I remember being happy about that. In the same breath, I remember being sad about that too – sad to the depths of my soul.
I went back and read my journal/blog entries from that time and I was struck by some things I wrote. My heart aches for my 27-year old self, my self a year ago. I wrote, “This is the beginning of the end of my closure. I hope.” Oh Jen. It’s a start, I want to go back and tell her. It’s a start for sure, but these things take time and although time helps, it’s not a guarantee of closure. There is no quick fix.
Or how about this?: “I’m going to miss my home. I hope whatever the future holds makes me look back at this and understand why it all had to happen. But for now, my heart just hurts.” Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to know back then that the future was closer than I imagined?
And then I’m remembering that on Saturday, on September 25, 2010, EJ and I were supposed to get married. Get married! We had places booked and catering booked and a photographer and videographer all set. It is very strange to know that one of life’s big moments was going to happen – that we were looking forward to that day throughout all of our time together. And now that is not my life. Not our life. EJ is getting married herself two weekends from now – just two weeks after she was supposed to get married to me, she’s marrying another woman. Weird and strange. And I’m moving in with my girlfriend in another state. And this Saturday night I’m going to my 10 year high school reunion instead of getting married. That is our life now. Separate. Not connected.
And so I think about the past a little bit before I move on. I think about it because it’s the molecules that helped make my life today. I think about it because it’s necessary for my healing and my recovery and for my evolution.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us” ~ Joseph Campbell
What are little girls made of, made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice.
That’s what little girls are made of.
I’m made of these things that pulse through my blood and through my veins: the sand and the asphalt; the boardwalk pizza and the cheesesteaks; the polluted, smoky atmosphere and the sea-salty air; catholic school uniforms and flip-flops and bathing suits; catching softballs and catching crabs; subway rides and boat rides; the huckster and the ice cream man; the cars clogging the city streets and the cruiser bikes gliding along the shoreline; the family I was born into and the family that I’ve chosen.
Plop me in the middle of any city, anywhere in the world, and I’ll figure out how to navigate it, with it’s millions of people and subway systems and tourist traps. Put me 30 miles from the ocean and I’ll smell my way to the sea, my soul leading the way. Throw me in a pool or the bay or the ocean and I’ll transform into the fish that I am, my body cutting through the water as if I have gills. Drive me into rush hour traffic with five accidents and a car fire and I’ll occupy myself or finish something I’ve been working on, because of course, I know how to be prepared. Lay me in a bed near traffic rushing by and horns beeping, in the middle of bright street lights and the generator from the bar down the street humming, and I’ll go to sleep.
Plop me in the middle of a forest, and I won’t be able to find my way out or be able to identify plants and trees, north or south. Give me a fishing rod and I may catch a fish, but I won’t know how to take it off so it can go quickly and safely back in the water. Flip my kayak over in a brackish lake and I’ll get skeeved out from the unknowings lurking below. Drive me through the country and I might get a little bored and crave the interstate, a place of familiar comfort. Lay me down in a tent in the darkness and the quiet night will keep me awake. Drive me through the mountains and the curvy roads and I’ll feel a little out of place, a visitor amongst the tall oaks stretching into the sky. Give me a gun and I won’t know how to use it, the concept of killing anything foreign to me, the idea of getting my meat anywhere except the grocery store a little ludicrous.
So much of who you are is, perhaps, by chance. The geographical location(s) of where you happen to be birthed, raised, and spent your childhood – this forms what you know as normal and typical – and it’s not until you are old enough for cognitive thought and have had experiences elsewhere that you begin to grasp the enormity of what is out there, outside of the walls that have contained you in your youth.
Roots are a funny thing. I love mine. I wouldn’t trade where I’m from for anything in the world. Like most people, I’m egocentric enough to believe this was the best way to grow up. Intellectually, though, I understand it’s all wonderful enough.
I’m sad to leave this place that helped build me, yet I’m excited to go to a new place that will add to the continuing growth of who I am.
I’m nervous and excited and a bit sad to join the ranks of people who move away from their home. The evolution of myself – it continues to surprise me.
I spoke with the company for my potential job yesterday, so I knew that today I would be receiving my offer letter via email.
And I did.
I haven’t read it entirely yet; I’m still in shock at the salary that is being offered to me, at the responsibility of this position, and at the change that it will bring.
I have to sign it today and send it back because I leave tonight for vacation, where no internet resides, except probably in some McDonald’s 20 miles away from the cabin. I have to figure out how to withdraw from school and give back tuition money. I have to figure out where I’m going to live. I have to figure out if the moving company can pick up my things from two locations. I have to figure out how to say goodbye to all things known and familiar to me. I have to pack and organize. I have to change addresses at a million places and open up new utility accounts. I have to visit with people. I have to finish a million things at work.
First, though, I have to go on vacation.
When I spoke with the people yesterday on the phone I asked about their tuition reimbursement program. They also pay 100%, up to $10k a year, for grad school. That sweetened the deal for me and made my decision a lot easier. So, as long as I pass the background check, I’ll be good to go.
Maryland, here I come.
You’ve got to bet on yourself, now star, ’cause that’s your best bet. - 311, All Mixed Up