Monday, December 29, 2014

It's time for a new plan

I need a new plan. Whatever has been happening the last four years isn't working. I end up exhausted and in the same dark place.  There are definitely times where I see joy in every corner and then there are times I can't find hope no matter how hard I look. This is one of those times.

I was already sliding into a bad place starting a few weeks ago, then after a blowout with my mom I felt really depressed over Christmas. Very disconnected and alone (although I think Christmas can leave people feeling that way even under normal circumstances.)  I squinted as hard as I could and just couldn't find hope anywhere.  Then a good friend told me "the hope is for forgiveness....the hope is for finding joy in each moment" and I thought "yeah, I can hope for that!!"

After Christmas, my ex took Grace to his parents house for a 48 hour visit.  When they arrived home today, he emailed me to say he also took his girlfriend.  Record scratch - what?!? You took my daughter on an overnight trip with some girl I didn't even know existed?

Here are the details: She is 25 (he is 35) and they slept in the same bed. When Grace asked why they slept in the same bed, her father responded "because there weren't enough beds so we had to share one". I guess it didn't occur to him to share a bed with Grace and not the girlfriend.

During the time Grace was gone, I had a date scheduled with a Yale MBA candidate. After emailing for an entire month, we set a date and he texted "looking forward to tomorrow!".  On the day of, I emailed to let him know what time I would be free and never heard back. I tried again a few hours later, no reply.  He just disappeared.  What kind of person could be so thoughtless?

Bring on the full-on-second-momma-sized-meltdown last night.  Aching for Grace, feeling like possibly the world's biggest loser, I deleted Tinder, called my Dad for help on how to move forward from here.

I am going to spend my new year's eve at home, with Grace. And when she goes to bed, I will spend the evening writing out my plan - how I'm going to take care of myself and of Grace and our dog - and let everything else fall away.  Only us, only joy for 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas thoughts ala David Sedaris style

Well, it's Christmas time again. As I observe all of the merriment and cheer, I wonder how much an airline ticket out of here might cost :)  I walk around contemplating the guys that treated me like I didn't matter and wondering if my mom even likes me.  How did I go from being so overwhelmingly thankful at Thanksgiving to feeling so blue at Christmas. I blame the merriment....and facebook.

Back on December 1, Christmas seemed like such a great idea. I couldn't listen to enough carols and took great care to buy gifts that would bring unlimited amounts of cheer to my loved ones. I over-splurged on my daughter again, but why should she have a sparse Christmas when she can be inundated by every form of toy a child could possibly own?

Three weeks later my ears start to twitch when more Christmas music comes on and I'm wishing someone would leave me alone with a pile of chocolate chip cookies and presents...along with a bottle of champagne.

Don't get my wrong, I will love watching my daughter open her presents and relish in her new found treasures. And, I love the way her eyes light up when she sees her family (she's still young enough that her eyes light up when she sees family, give it another 10 years and her eyes will be glazed over with teenage angst from family events).

Perhaps that best part of Christmas is my dog. More than any human, he loves unwrapping presents. But the brilliant thing about him is that he doesn't care what's inside, he just wants to unwrap. This year I think I'll wrap up a nice, new, empty box for him. I'll use extra paper to really get him excited.

I would hope for next year to get better but that seems like the old trick of setting expectations too high so I will hope instead that my ticker keeps ticking and my daughter keeps smiling and that will be enough for me.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Rest Period

It's been 4 years....4 years of putting myself out there and 4 years of taking hits that no individual deserves. The way that girls and guys are treat each other like people are disposable is really disheartening. 

So going into the New Year, it is time that I take care of myself.  Even prize fighters take some time to heal from the hits they sustain on a regular basis.

People say that when you stop trying, that's when you meet someone. But that isn't true, life doesn't just hand you what you want because you close your eyes and wish for it. You have to try.  But I don't think that 'stop trying' is what people mean, I think they mean 'when you stop looking' - the definition of which is stop looking for someone to be your answer, to make your life better, to make you complete. When you realize that a companion is a nice-to-have and not a must-have in your life, that is when you are ready to meet someone and that seems to be when they appear.

I thought I was close to being at that place. But the truth is, I worry that if I let someone see me, they will see what a mess life has been and how scared I still am.  So I have a wall up to prevent anyone from coming too close.

That is a pretty clear sign that I need a rest period. So going into 2015, it will be a time to take care of myself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Single-Girl Shiner & A Momma-Sized Meltdown

The last week was painful!  Talk about a "Single-Girl Shiner", 2 Tinder dates left me with a virtual black eye. The first texted me for an entire month. Every day, usually frequently. We finally made plans to meet up last Tuesday, but then I didn't hear from him after Sunday. I arranged for someone to watch Grace & all - and he just never got in touch again!

Then I was emailing with what seemed to be a lovely guy who is a couple hours away in grad school but who's family lives about 15 mins from me. He already asked to meet for a drink when we came home on Christmas break. When I finally did my Google-due-dillegence on him, I turned up a girl on Facebook who has a profile picture of the 2 of them & her status says she is engaged to him!  I asked him if he was engaged and he said he was and it didn't work out but it wasn't that long ago. Her profile pic was from 2 weeks ago!  Ouch!!!

Taking hits on the personal side combined with 9 days straight of Grace meltdowns, tantrums and constant stream of demands (even when I'm doing one thing for me, she's crying for me to do something else for her at the same time!) - I finally had my own momma-sized meltdown. I curled up in my bed, in my same on shame-filled ball, and cried and cried. I informed my own mother that I would understand if she wanted nothing further to do with me since I've been on my own for 4 years and still unable to pull it altogether.

I had to go to a meeting on the Rwanda trip an hour later where I confided in a friend who is going that I felt like I was falling apart and failing as a mom and she said - welcome to being a mom, everyone does!  She validated all of my stress, frustration and fears and said it was ok.  What a relief - as Anne Lamott said - to hear those healing words of "me too".  One of the other moms there told me she thinks I'm one of the most together people she knows -- I felt bad for misleading her :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Season of Hope

My 'Dark Day' passed on December 6th. This was the day that my ex informed me he was going to continue his relationship with his girlfriend was not going to work on the marriage. This was the same night I kicked him out of the house for good.  As the story goes, I woke up the next morning sick as a dog from some type of physical reaction that my body had to the marriage split & my best friend came over and literally saved my life until my mom could come and help take care of Grace and I for the next few weeks. That story normally moves me to tears. I still repeat it because part of me can't believe it really happened. And every year around this time as I relieve the days leading up to the marriage ending (all 3 days notice that I had), I am usually pretty emotional and a little blue.

This year - I felt nothing!  I had a perfectly lovely say on December 6 and although it crossed my mind that it was my Dark Day, I didn't feel dark at all! 

Advent is called the season of hope. I used to think that a marriage ending with a newborn involved right before Christmas was just cruel punishment. Now I look at the timing as maybe more meaningful - the end of my marriage gave me hope for a new, better life.  A life lived out of love, not fear. Surrounded by support, not criticism.  Confidence replacing where shame once lived.

Cheer to enjoying the season of hope!

Thursday, December 4, 2014 last!

So lately I’ve been tearing up at random, unexpected times.  Little things pull at my heart strings and trigger emotion.  I knew something was sitting right under the surface but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve felt lighter and better overall, so why was all of this emotion bubbling up to the surface?

It turns out - I’m grieving!  Apparently you have to get to a safe enough place to grieve. The increasing lightness inside has made room to grieve and, in turn, grieving creates more space for lightness.

I’m so happy to be grieving!  Each time something is triggered and I tear up, I can feel a piece of my grief break off and release. There is more space after.  I’ve wanted to let go so badly but it wasn’t happening - and it turns out grieving is how we let go. And as a culture, we try to do anything to prevent grief - but that’s the key to moving forward.  Piece by piece breaking off and being released.  Piece by piece….

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WHAT? Next!

Last week I went out with yet another college professor. This time a PhD in behavioral analytics. After we finished arguing over determinism vs. free will (I, of course, believe in free will - afterall, where is the fun if you don’t get to chose who you are from one moment to the next?) - he told me that while in school he learned to shoot a gun. No big deal, I thught, I’m from the countryside and shooting is a pasttime of many.

Then he told me that he carries a gun when he feels he is in an unsafe area - record scratch WHAT!?  I can’t date someone who carries a gun! I don’t want that around me or my daughter.


Monday, December 1, 2014


Today my team at work & I served lunch at a soup kitchen in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.  We prepped (read: chopped 50 pounds of onion and them some..) and served lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm.

Now I am someone who is used to snacking all day.  By the time noon rolls around, I’ve mentally checked out of whatever I’m doing and am only thinking about where I will get lunch from and what it will include.

Here is a wake up call: serve lunch to those who are perpetually hungry...while you are hungry yourself. The same people you walk by on the street and don’t interact with, the ones you feel pity for in your stomach but feel helpless to actually help - those are the people we served today. And I don’t mean served ala buffet serving line, I mean they sat down and we served them a three course meal and beverages and gave them supplies to wrap up any leftovers they may not have finished.

I get panicky if I don’t eat when I’m hungry - and I put my needs first, I stop whatever I’m doing and find at least a snack, if not a full meal. These people live day to day, hour to hour wondering where their next meal will come from - because no one is putting their needs first. It felt good to give them the attention and respect that they deserve. And in return, they were significantly more polite and respectful than any shopper in line at a store on black friday.