Co-Parenting : Forgiveness Required

I may need to do a search through all the posts on this blog to find it, but sometime back in 2011 I wrote a piece about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness, how and why and the importance of it all. Four years later I can finally report back.

Four years ago I was still rather bitter about getting divorced. Hurt and angry, but I had decided that maybe forgiveness was the approach for me. So, I took a deep breath, said many prayers and chose to forgive my ex husband for his behavior while we were married.

This was not an easy choice.

There is something that happens in a break up that makes everything seem worse. Everyone you know chooses a side. You may think that I mean his side or my side, but I don’t. They decide how each single parent should co-parent when the other party hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain during the marriage.

The most popular among my peers was the one that removed my ex-husband from not just the marriage, but from our life. As though POOF I had two kids and POOF I magically get a check every month to help cover their living expenses.

I was so angry at the time that I do have 100% parental custody. I could fly to China tomorrow without my ex-husbands permission and he would just have to deal with it. I won’t…but I have the ability. Anger makes us do so many things.

Then I thought about simply arranging supervised visitation. Only I was so poor. We were barely scraping by so there was no way to cover the cost of providing supervised visitation. I was quite irrational at this point so I maintained our distance. We saw my ex-husband about once every few months and not for very long, a couple of hours at most.

Then something I found sadder than the possibility of having to see my ex-husband on a more regular basis. It was our sons. They didn’t know him.

As a child of a single family home I know what that is like. My father was not a good person, at least as far as his behavior back in 1985, but we were raised by my mother and maternal grandparents. I had a relatively happy childhood. We had our drama, but what family doesn’t? Perhaps we had more drama than average, but I think we are all more interesting to talk to because of it…anyway. That’s a different story. I didn’t know my father. I knew what other people thought of him. I knew where he was from and what I thought of the people from that place. But I didn’t know him and that is a great cloud over the happy times. All of those times I saw my friends with their dads were sad times for me because I had never known what that was like.

As I became an adult I tried looking for my father to no avail. He didn’t want to be found in the digital age and therefore had no digital footprint. That didn’t mean the sadness was gone. “Who was he?” “How was he?” “Did I have other sisters or brothers?” “Did I have a step mom I didn’t know about?” Always having those questions is sad. I didn’t want that for my kids. Who was I to make that choice for them?

That is what I found to be this sad thing. I was an adult who had lived in a set of circumstances that made me mad. So mad that I thought it a good idea to remove the person that held the other half of their DNA in his genes.

But was I so angry that I couldn’t find it within myself to forgive a man for his behavior? How could I call myself a good person if at the first test of faith I proved to have none? It is no secret that I am a Christian, perhaps a different breed than the ones you read about, but I try to have a simple faith, based on love. In our church we are taught to love and forgive.

I was faced with two options.

One my kids didn’t really remember who this guy was that we sometimes saw really was, so we could just gently fade away and he could become a memory.

Two embrace the pain, and allow them to fully know their father and make the decision for themselves.

To do the first would have been the easiest choice for someone as angry as I had been. He didn’t know where we lived, who we hung out with, where I worked, all I would have had to do was change my phone number and we would have been done. Simple. Clean. Heartbreaking for him and for me. I would be setting my kids up for the same thought process I always had. Always wondering why I wasn’t good enough to be loved by the people who are supposed to love you the most.2015/01/img_2354.jpg

So I embraced the pain. The hardest and easiest choice on so many levels. The cold aloof anger has been replaced by hesitant resolve. Hesitant because everything we went through leaves a mark on the psyche, but resolve because it has turned out to be the right thing to do. My kids are 4 and 8 now. They know their father. They’ve seen where he sleeps and we know how he lives, where he lives, and why he lives.

Over the last four years we have fought and cried and been angry for past ills all over again, but there has been so much forgiveness and contrition. So much of what we have worked through together has made us better people for our next partners. We know more of how each of us failed the other that we will continue to work hard to not make the same mistake. We know that finding that next perfect person for our new selves will be hard, we each have a longer list of must haves…okay at least I do..but I am optimistic about the prospects.

Forgiving him has taught me more about my faith than any pastor could ever tell me. Forgiveness is not something that you do once and it is done, it is something you do every time you wake up and face the day. It’s choosing who you are and not wavering from that path every single morning. Choosing your words and actions before your emotions, and never letting the bad times get the best of you.

It’s also choosing to put the best choice instead of the popular choice.

Special note…A physically abusive spouse should be handled differently. An alcoholic husband or wife who did not exhibit abusive traits is very different from an abusive spouse. Alcoholics tend to only want to inflict pain on themselves though they learn to manipulate what they want out of people to get what they want. That’s how so many nurturing people become enablers. It’s like they can smell your ability to empathize on your sleeve don’t fall for that either.

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Kiev : A Little Over a Week Later

Wasn’t it just a little over a week ago that people were dancing in Kiev’s Independence Square ecstatic that they had the ability to change their stars?

Didn’t they laugh and sing and enjoy being “Happy”?

Kiev Happy

Isn’t it amazing what has followed? Is amazing the right word?? More like astonishing or unbelievable or terrifying…

I keep wondering about the varying storylines. Who is really pulling the strings?

No…Conspiracy theories help no one.

What I get caught in is the politics of intimidation and watching the most powerful political leaders of the world dance. One is leading, one is following, and then they reverse rolls.

During different points of the week you could see where Russia was gathering up the Ukraine and pulling her around the floor. Then the next day the United States would have the Ukraine bound for the other side of the dance floor. This constant back and forth following one then the other all over the dance floor…all the while the audience of watched.

The audience changed depending on who was leading. When it was Putin you could hear the echoes of the people in Crimea chanting their allegiance to a Russia few of us recognize. When Kerry finally took the lead you could hear the people who believe in the possibility of a free Ukraine.

I’ve been watching this incredible event escalate and diminish. I’m just dumfounded by the insanity.

Ukraine is a country. A democratic nation that could and should be free from the trappings of a parent nation. Ukraine does not need to be a state of Russia…or anyone.

What do you need when building a successful nation?

I think it is the same as what you need to build a successful future for a business. You need to know why you want the changes that you do and you need to stand by them. Write out a vision of what you need and want. Live by that vision. There is also a reason for beliefs in tolerance and understanding and an intrinsic openness and transparency.

Maybe this is more about building a nation that will last in this age, the age of Wikileaks and NSA Surveillance. The people that want to ask you to dance are going to know everything about you already, so you may as well be honest about it.

If Putin had simply acknowledged and validated the changes that occurred in the Ukraine instead of having violently restrained outbursts about the changes that will happen, none of these problems would exist.

For a summary of the days events please visit Human Rights Watch for the storify timeline.  http://www.hrw.org/the-day-in-human-rights

I had and still have high hopes that Ukraine is able to become the country that it wants to be. I hope that the Russian government and more pointedly Vladimir Putin realize that times have changed. I hope that “The Western” nations that are helping Ukraine set up for the future do not trap her in the methods and practices that won’t lead to success.

It’s been a week, I said last week that the fight was just beginning, but this is not the fight I had in mind.

candles

Some thoughts on tragedy and grief

Tragedy strikes us all. As an individual or as a family…even as a nation.

1997

There was a drought in the Texas Hill Country, the lake was low, and winter was ending. Every day people would walk past our pier and look out across the cove and pray for water to fill it up.
Pray for rain, our respite from the drought, our savior from the brutal heat of the summer to come.
Water to irrigate gardens and fill wells, water to quench the thirst of our neighborhoods that depended on the health of the lake.
Eventually the water came. It rained for days, storms to usher in the bloom of spring. There is nothing like the Texas Hill Country in the spring. Should you ever get the opportunity you should visit in mid-April. It is just gorgeous.
The lake was regaining its vigor and the drought was ending.
Eventually the clouds parted. The water appealed to two fishermen that I loved more than anything.
They trolled out in a fishing boat on a bright, sunny afternoon, off to catch a few fish for dinner or maybe to add to the freezer. They kept our fridges stocked with fresh fish, and were just going to play.
Before the end of my day at school a storm blew through and made everything glisten as the sun came back out. I stayed for choir practice and went home a little later than usual with a friend.
I knew something was wrong when there was a police car outside our house when we got home, but no one knew anything. They just knew the storm had blown through and the men hadn’t returned home.
Surely they were just on the wrong side of the lake waiting it out on a beach.
One hour past, then four, then it was morning, and then it was 10 am.
We heard nothing except the boats going back and forth on the lake and the occasional shutter of helicopters overhead.
They never came home.

2009
My sister had finally agreed to go to a rock in roll bar with me that I sort of adored to see a band that I had loved since I was a kid. We had friends who were going to meet us and plans for dinner and drinks.
A night of fun.
As the hour drew nearer to our fun evening people cancelled.
I hate when people cancel last minute, but they did, so it was just going to be my sister and me.
We were determined to have a good time. We went to the restaurant upstairs and ordered some food. We watch people tottering in 5 inch stilettos. We laughed at how we were the only two out of I don’t even remember how many that made it to the show.
I don’t even remember who was playing.
We had never had a sisters night out, so we hung out and talked for a while.
Our drinks arrived and so did our food. We talked about our kids and jobs and life.
Then the phones started ringing.
Her husband had been trying to get ahold of her, but she didn’t answer, so he called my phone and I picked up right away.
“Where are you?”
“Scout. Why?”
“Dennis was in an accident. You need to go to Austin.”
“Okay, we will be there as fast as we can.”
We left our food uneaten and rushed from the building. We didn’t know what we were going to see when we got to the hospital, but we knew we had to go.
My sister’s neighbor kept the kids while we were gone.
We drove. A drive that normally took 4 to 5 hours took 3.
Again we waited for a man we loved; only this time his body was with us. It was his soul that was missing.
The life force that made him our father even though we were grown when our parents met.
We waited the night and a day. We waited until the tests were run that said he was coming back to us. We prayed for his soul to find its way home. We held hands and rested our heads on the cold tile of a hospital waiting room floor.
My mother waited in his room. Talked to him. Tried to coax him back. Tried to feel the warmth of his hand in hers for as long as she could.
He never found his way back.

2013
The last two days have brought great grief to the cities of Boston and West. Gut wrenching losses for families who had been having nice normal days. They were out for a run. Home watching TV. Sitting watching the world. They were participating in life.
Some of them were accomplishing dreams. Others were at work.
I was at work Tuesday. I followed the story all afternoon and late into the night. Pausing only while at home and holding my kids just a little tighter. I let them fall asleep in the living room snuggled up that night. There was nothing I wanted more than to hold them and make them safe.
Last night after I put the boys in bed I logged into Facebook and immediately I saw photos of a fire at a plant in Waco. Then I turned on the news and it had exploded.
Not just exploded but ripped a town apart. It will take years for them to come back from that.

DSC_86421

I only have a few words of wisdom when it comes to loss of those you love and rebuilding the life that you know. I don’t know if anyone who has lost in these tragedies will read it, but maybe the people who are reading need to hear it as well.
It takes time to cry. It takes time to feel the loss. It takes time to really understand that they’re gone and never coming back. It takes years, sometimes decades, to move on.
I don’t think we move on really.
I know that in my life the losses just became dull aches that resonate with how I try to appreciate each breath I take.
The losses have taught me to see the effects of my life on others. How one decision can cause a ripple effect that goes on and on and on.
It is easy to get mad and take your grief out on the world, but don’t. I got mad when I was so young and my grandfather got taken from me. I got so mad that I eventually rebelled to the point where nothing mattered but how I felt. I took my grief out on everyone, but no one ever understood that or forced me to deal with it. Don’t do that.
Don’t bottle it up and bury it thinking that everything is okay. You’re here, you’re safe, you’re moving along. You will crumble from the inside and become immobile.
Grieve. Heal. Cry. Get angry, but don’t get mad.
Most importantly love. Love is the most healing of emotions. It creates strength were there may have been none and warmth that lasts through the cold.
I pray that love surround you and that God bless your life with many years of happiness that far overshadow this dark time.

Update – In case you are interested

As this site is supposed to contain a bit of me and my life, and not just facts and figures, I thought I would take a moment to share a little of life right now.

Currently residing on Conundrum Avenue between This Way and That Way.

I made it through the holiday season with nary a scratch. I got gifts and gave a few. I had a great time with my mother. I don’t know if I will ever explain our relationship on this blog, but let’s say it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. Most mother/daughter dynamics are not, but ours was particularly difficult. (I will leave it at that for now.)

My son’s are getting to big for their britches. Elijah is begging for his own iPod touch. He’s five, he gets the hand me down. Michael is walking, running, talking, and still has not discovered fear. Actually neither of them know what fear is, and I hope they never know real fear.

Fear of life, fear of failure, fear of the world.

I fear not being able to raise them fearlessly.

I fear not being there enough for them to know how much I love them. Someday they will understand.

Right now I am in the midst of having to make a few decisions. Decisions that affect not only me, but them as well, so it makes the decisions 1000 times harder. Ugh!

I am trying to make life easier by making enough money to say…buy groceries. Haha! I find that in these efforts I have applied to no less than 100 jobs and I have had 5 interviews. I am scheduled for another interview Monday. Only it’s not in the town I am trying to move to, it’s here…in smoggy, muggy Houston.

Why move? I thought you had decided to tough it out!? To stay?! I thought you could make a freaking decision?!

Ha! Biggest joke ever! Me make a decision and have it remain concrete until it is action. Not likely. As a person who considers, reconsiders, ponders, and researches choices I have to keep all the balls in the air until the perfect union is made between choice and chance. Call it synchronicity, call it psychosis, call it what you will, but when it comes to me and my life I have to pursue all avenues just in case the one that I would really like to have doesn’t pan out.

What is the one I would like to have?

I would like to move on February 5th to a little town and into a little place that I am going to share with my sister for a while. I would like to work at a software consulting firm that I have tested for, but not interviewed at yet, and eventually move downtown…miles from that consulting firm. I would like to solve problems and write my little blog. I would like to send my sons to a TEA recognized Charter school and then onto a professional occupational high school of their choosing – even if that is the Arts high school. I would like to send my kids to Montessori daycare in the mean time and go to a fabulous park on the weekend with hike and bike trails. Possibly buy a boat and cruise around the lake. Definitely try to find lots of place to volunteer within the community.

Less than 10 days left here at the university, I am excited and nervous and can’t wait to see what happens next.

I will either be here or there. It may seem sudden to the boys, but it will be the right choice…whichever choice I make.

The Morning After

The world looked a little brighter this morning. My apartment was clean. My kids were bathing. I even woke up at 6 am without the alarm! Shocking!

Yesterday was a great day. I disabled Facebook and joined the WordPress censorship blackout. I spent the day listening to TED talks and joining various debates and conversations. I took a test for a job that I have applied for and I have no idea if I did a good job or not, but working the math muscles that I haven’t used since I was 12 was fun! (I took the hard math classes in school. Simple fractions and word problems I haven’t done since 1992!)

What was so great about yesterday? 18 Senators revoked their support for the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect IP Act” – this is amazing. Not only that but somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 million people signed petitions to let their voice be heard.

I watched the speech of Clay Shirky at TED yesterday as he explained the dangers of SOPA. Here it is for you to watch.

I watched the Mikko Hypponen speech on the three tyes of online attacks. Stay informed…watch this…

I also watched the video of Larry Lessig from 2007 that covers the topic “Laws that choke creativity”

As well as another speech from Clay Shirky from 2005. Facebook wasn’t even out to the masses yet, it was still a MySpace world. The differences between collaboration and institutions.

These were amazing speeches that covered pretty much this topic.

                “The world is changing, as it changes so must we. We are connected now more than ever before and as time passes we will continue to grow closer together. We must adjust our way of doing things and learn new methods. We must share our research and information and not hoard it. There was a time with idea sharing was difficult, but that is not now.”

Also I watched the UH Professor Brene Brown’s speech on Wholeheartedness. That’s a speech that would make you feel alive…or at least recharge your batteries. Her original research was on human connection. The internal workings that make us human. What is it about us that makes us different from every other species on the planet? We experience vulnerability. It is as we recognize our vulnerability that we are able to take the next step into wholehearted.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that wholehearted is how I live. Heck if you have been reading this blog long enough you know that. I encourage you to look within yourselves and find that place at which you can live with your entire heart.

Yesterday was a great day by all accounts and today is the morning after. I have courageously decided to hand in notice this afternoon…I’m without livable apartment or permanent childcare at the moment and life has reached the tipping point. Either realize my potential or stay here and stagnate and watch the courage to live disappear. Today is going to be a great day. Enjoy it!

Family Ties

Wasn’t Family Ties an awesome show in the 80’s? I don’t really remember it, but I remember how I felt at the end of each episode. No matter what happened during the first 20 minutes of the show the last 10 solved all the problems, and wrapped it up in a nice little bow. It was uplifting, fabulous, and the characters are eternal.

That’s not the family ties I mean though in my title. The family ties I am thinking about are the ones that exist between a woman and the family that was created when she married a man. When you marry, you marry the family. You do not marry one girl, you marry a clan of people all with one goal – make sure she is happy.

I know that part of why I kept returning to my husband, at the core, was that I love his family. I love that my self-confidence has been built by them. I love that no matter what was going on in their lives they took the time to see how I was, took the time to build me up, took the time to listen with non-judgemental ears. They would listen and tell me their experience, but then they would say, “But you do what you feel is right.”

If I didn’t do what they thought I should, that wasn’t a problem for them. They simply accepted it and we moved on. It was never brought up again. It was never beaten down in a spiteful fury. It simply was.

These people are my family now.

I know that I have my mother, my maternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins that have been constants in my life from my mother’s side. We are celebrating the Flores family’s 101st family reunion in a few weeks.

I know where I come from.

I also have my father’s family, my Italian-Irish cousins, a people that I better identify with as I have such pale skin, crazy dark curly hair and eyes that change with my mood. 

These are all my blood relations, but blood is not the only thing that creates family.

Your family is the people who love you, whom you love, who have made unwritten commitments to you.

As anyone knows my divorce is final next week. I am supposedly a single momma with nothing tying me down…save the boys and all. But after talking to the people I consider family…I have come to the conclusion that I am not sure how all of us are going to move on. They love me and support my decision in my divorce, but they still want weekends and holidays with me.

Yesterday was the funeral for my ex husband’s stepfather’s stepmother (try saying that three times fast). While I was with this family it became clear to me that I am just as much a part of their family and life as they are of mine. Today, another phone call this one from my ex husband’s biological fathers family about his paternal grandmother. She is having tests run to determine what type of cancer has formed in her liver. Tomorrow at 7 am.

This is a woman whose couch I have sat on every morning for better than half of the last 11 years. At minimum twice every month since March. Usually I can be found at her house any Saturday morning I am in town. It is my refuge. My place of solace, my home away from home. My permanent address for the last 11 years has been her address.

These are the ties that bind and hold me in limbo. For all my heart I love these people. These are wonderful, amazing individuals and families that have become so much a part of who I am that no matter how I feel about being married to Danny, they are still a part of me.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine; she and I agree that for anyone to accept me and my baggage will have to be a saint. They may not even exist.

How can a man accept this? All of these people that are tied to a former marriage? How can they understand that these people are part of me and part of the deal? These are now my people as much as my blood relations are and in some cases, I go to them first for advice, support, and cherish every moment we have spent together.

Part of me says that if they can’t accept this they are not for me. Then there is another part of me is scared that I will never find someone who does accept them.

What do you think? How is it possible for someone to accept all of this? How is it possible for them to understand the love and ties that bind me to a man that I have divorced? How have you all handled this situation?

 

“Bury that horse in the ground” – Shake it Out

This is my new theme song. Part of what I hope is a happier approach to life.

Have a listen. It’s an awesome song, Shake it Out, but Florence and the Machine.

What is this whole thing about burying the past after yesterday’s lamentation of being stuck there and not being able to move on? Well, it’s two things really.

First, no matter what you’re stuck on the world continues, day turns to night which turns to day, and the dates flick by on the calendar. Even if we feel like we are stuck, we really aren’t, everything around us continues all we have to do is join in.

Second, it’s not really attractive to constantly bring up the past. Something I have learned – it’s a no-no. If you are reconnecting with an old pal and letting them know how your life has been since you have seen them last, that’s one thing. Tell the story, get it out there, and leave it alone. Don’t let it hinder the progress of the friendship. Your trust, commitment, or relationship issues really aren’t their problem, cut them some slack.

If you would, indulge me by reading the lyrics you may better understand why this is my new theme song.

Florence And The Machine
Shake It Out lyrics

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaahAnd it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woahAnd given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a final mess but it’s left me so empty
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

**http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/f/florence_and_the_machine/shake_it_out.html

It’s hard to live if you are constantly thinking about your past. Reflection is natural, but moving forward should be how you cope.

Get out there, have fun, do something with yourself. Find a hobby.

I know that some times this is hard to do. You may not be ready to find someone, but you can find something.

My ladies group and I are starting a charity, I am going to throw myself into that. Helping those who are in need is a great stress reliever. I’m not into dating. I am otherwise busy.

I also need to take a serious inventory of what I am going to be needing for me.

If you are here, where I am, I suggest figuring that out. Make your list and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. My friends keep telling me to do this, but I have lived the saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

When we constantly attach ourselves to the same type of people it is because we know those patterns, we know those behaviors, we are comfortable in our struggle because we don’t expect more. By diverting from that we can run into one of two things, people who exceed our expectations and people we should run from, far away as fast as our feet will carry us.

It’s that second type that make this a scary process. I dated someone who ended up being a complete psycho, so yeah….I ran back to the man I had filed for a divorce from and cancelled the filing. But as Flo says, “I’m going to bury that horse in the ground.”

I am hoping to meet someone who exceeds my expectations. That’s what we all need after all. Someone to cherish us, hold us, and make us feel like we are worth their efforts.

Here’s the trick for some people to learn…be worthy.

Can Men and Women be friends??? Read and Comment

I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know if I should try to explain, but I do know that some things in life are worth looking like an idiot over.

Our kids are one. They make me look like an idiot regularly.

Love is another.

Here’s the deal. I really like someone, could possibly one day love, given the chance. This someone doesn’t seem to feel the same way. I know they don’t feel the same way. There is no hinting around stated facts. But my heart and head aren’t cooperating, so the blog gets to bear the brunt of my emotions.

So, I am trying to not get here…

Cause you see when someone says they like you, they like you enough to want to keep you around regardless of your detachment issues.

Side note: Amidst the turmoil of recent months there have been a few rays of sunshine, and the person I am referring to in the above is one of them.

My ability to shove my foot in my mouth repeatedly or act like a complete moron have pretty much set a precedent though.

Seriously, it’s been bad.

I feel like an utter fool typing this blog, because this was over about the time it got started, so yeah my inability to just let go is also at issue.

That may take some (ACTUAL) therapy to determine the cause there.

Anyway, since that time I have tried to treat said boy as a friend. Yeah, I wanted something that he didn’t, but I can compartmentalize. I realize that the words he said were consistent even if I wasn’t. I would still like to talk, email, get together as I do with the rest of the people who I know.

I feel like my efforts are for not. I wonder if my ability to restrain myself seems to reek of desperation. Or if the boy realizes that I can in fact take a deep breath and would very much like to be a good friend.

I guess I am naive this way.

I think it is possible for men and women to be friends. I think it is possible to have a platonic relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

Then again, I think lots of guys agree with Billy Crystal’s character in When Harry Met Sally

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

All the above being said…what is it about “more than friends” relationships that make it impossible for some in that relationship to just go on to be friends?

Is it possible to be “one of the guys?”

So I am going to leave it to you fine people…what do you think?

And if you’re the boy…

Harry Burns: The fact that you’re not answering leads me to believe you’re either (a) not at home, (b) home but don’t want to talk to me, or (c) home, desperately want to talk to me, but trapped under something heavy. If it’s either (a) or (c), please call me back.

**Quotes courtesy of When Harry Met Sally, by way of IMDb.

A Farmer’s Market Remembers When

Yesterday I bought some raisin bran muffins. I shouldn’t have because I am dieting and these are certainly not diet food, but they just sounded good. This morning as I took my first bite I was taken back in time, nearly 25 years. I was sitting on a bar stool in my grandmothers giant kitchen. Eating her Post Raisin Bran recipe version of a bran muffin and sipping on a glass of milk. I can smell the musty coming from the basement and feel the golden shag carpet beneth my feet.

My grandmother, we call her Mema in true Southern fashion, didn’t think she was a baker. She would play and throw things together, but she didn’t think she was very good at it. Well, I beg to differ. If she had been a bad baker I wouldn’t think these amazing bran muffins could rival hers. Until now I hadn’t had a bran muffin other than hers, so maybe I am just partial and they are not the same.

Isn’t it funny how material things can transform a moment? A muffin, a song, or even a smell.

Any time Alanis Morrisette comes on the radio, it is once again 1994 and I am a freshman in high school – nervous laugh, fuzzy hair, and all. To narrow songs down to “You Learn” I am in the backseat of my friend’s car trying to get back to normal after a “dam” party so that I can take a Spanish final. I don’t remember how the test turned out. I think I passed. I remember Bart’s mom pulling me out of the room and telling me to take it down a level. Thank God a friend of mine’s mom was our sub that day. Whew!

The smell of Curve reminds me of my little sister who wore it for years. So it also reminds me of the bedroom we shared until I graduated high school. Dark wood paneling, old twin beds and a TV that had enough of an NBC signal to sneak episodes of “Friends.” Mal’s scent has evolved over the last decade, but she still keeps a token bottle on her dresser. Perhaps she too gets transported back in time at the smell.

I spent this weekend doing things that I love, but at each turn I was reminded of my marriage and it made me sad. I went to the giant Farmers Market near the Heights, and picked out vegetables and helped one of my best friends find a pinata. The only other person I had ever been there with was my husband and we used to go all the time. I miss lazy Saturday mornings of haggling with the veggie farmers and exploring their most unusual treats. Then the smells in the air. The sounds of the busy street. The people all around yelling in Spanish and Vietnamese. Could it really have been six years ago?

This weekend I sort of longed for the nostalgia. If you read my post from Saturday you know that I haven’t been doing that great, but I will be better. Weekends like this of remembering and recalling the things that make me happy help. I am slowly rebuilding who I am and deciding the things that I need. I know some day every thing will work together and those, “Song remembers when” moments will grow fewer and farther between. I will build new memories with new people. I will forget the bad times. I will be able to tell my kids about all the fun I had with their dad.

If you are in a place of pain, sometimes what you need to do is wallow in it for a minute, allow it to soak in and hold you immobile for a moment. Except you need to remember to let it go, allow it to fall away and move forward. Let the “songs remember when” so that you know that you don’t have to.

The Onion

I am in school. I don’t know if I have told any of the readers that or not, but Monday was the first day of classes. I am going back to school to complete my degree to become a marriage and family therapist.

That should be a fun degree for anyone that I date. Lol…anyway.

Why marriage and family therapy? (I have had people ask this question.)

Here’s the thing, I want to help people like me figure things out. Like Dana said in my post last week, unravel the ball of yarn that is our thoughts and emotions. So, while the technical degree plan is marriage and family therapy, I am going to concentrate on the CoDA set. Yep – Codependance.

If you read my post on agony you know that I have had some experience with addiction. Well, it’s as the wife of an alcoholic. Open a psych textbook and look up codependant and I was the definition. Or should I say am…I don’t know…I am learning. Perhaps like alcoholism you don’t get over it, you just learn new ways to cope and you learn HOW to form boundaries.

As hard as it is for an addict or alcoholic to admit when they have a problem; it is just as hard for the partner in that relationship to admit that they’re a more than a little messed up too. It’s a tourturous dance of abuse and neglect.

Like peeling an onion. Addicts pull back your layers until there is nothing left. Starting with that protective boundary that keeps anything bad from penetrating. Then the thin inner layers, those would be self-respect, self-reliance, and self-confidence. Then instead of continuing to peel they just grab a knife and start hacking away at the rest of you. You know what you are supposed to be, but you’re unrecognizable.

You’re no longer whole.

It’s a pretty pathetic sight to see and even harder to recognize – if you’re the onion.

I have read countless books on becoming whole again. I have read the Courage to Change book from Al-Anon every day. It sits on my coffee table so that when I feel weak I can open it up and soak it in for a while.

Slowly you start to put yourself back together. Grasping shards of who and what you once were and hope that it’s enough to form a whole person.

Clinging to this knowledge, you try to put that outer shell back on, knowing that it is the only thing that will save you. Save you from being hurt. Save you from being tortured. Save you from feeling worthless.

Only you DON’T KNOW HOW. You try repeatedly and you can’t.

Just when I think I have got this figured out. This life post-husband, I realize that I am still trying to put the pieces together. I am not even to the point of finding that outer boundary. That solid form that keeps me whole.

I allow the self-doubt and unexpected confusion to cloud new friendships and relationships by constantly questioning “Why?”

The thing about what I have been through, and anyone else who has been through this knows, is that you never feel good enough about yourself to allow yourself to think you are worth being part of something good, something worth trying. Even if it ends in utter misery you don’t allow yourself the freedom to try.

So, this weekend as I am reading through my weeks assignments and trying to find the pieces of myself. Please, for the love of all that is holy, remember (as I will try) that we may be learning to cope and learning to try, but we will come out the other side. We will some day be whole. Someday we will allow the people that make us feel special to know that we aren’t complete psychopaths for not knowing how to love.

Not yet.