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Location: Wisconsin, United States

"There is a secret set within each of our hearts...It is simply the desire for life as it was meant to be... Seasons may pass until it surfaces again. And though it seems to taunt us, and may at times cause us great pain, we know when it returns that it is priceless. For if we could recover this desire, unearth it from beneath all other distractions, and embrace it as our deepest treasure, we would discover the secret of our existance." -John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Relationship That Never Was

The morning sun rises
Murky clouds cover sunlight
While birds sing praise, another day dawns.

I rise, drive the rug rats. Load the dishes.
Prepare for my vocation.
Freedom and hurt accompany me all the while.

Two years of struggle.
Being wrong, saying wrong, acting wrong.
Yet love existed in the 10 years passed.

He believes I am something I am not.
And I must go because of it.
He believes this not because of me, but because of him.
The ensuing games disruptive.

I tried. I know that I tried.
But to continue to try alone: not my responsibility.

I look to the future and fool myself
I am not ready for someone new.

I remember thinking once before
That I would never want someone else.
I was wrong. I wanted him.
It will come when God wills it.
I will remain open to it.

He yammers about 90 days.
All his rules. Even in his absence he wishes
For me to follow his RULES –
In his eyes I fail.
In my heart I do not.
90 days. Silly man.

Who can put a time frame on emotions?
Who can say, “In 90 days I will be done grieving.”
I cannot fool myself any longer.
I have much to grieve. Much I have not grieved before.

In the slowness of the morning light
With birdsong as my theme
I face the sadness with hope.
Maybe in the depths of hurt
There will be healing.
If I heal, there may be a future
Unlike my past.

I turn to the other, in my mind.
The loss of my best friend,
What would have been my lifetime companion.
Face his marriage next week.
And I know that what was between
This man and I was nothing comparatively.
Physical attraction does not really compete.

I have been wandering in the wilderness
Not understanding why I was lost.
Cleaving to whatever I could.
I am ok alone.

The boy has grown and marries a new wife.
I am left alone.
This is what God wants.
This is God’s will.
God is just and good and provides for all things.
I trust.

I am attractive and could easily have someone new.
I know this well.
But I want what I had before – only different.
I want to be known. I miss being known.
The spouse, though he railed against responsibility,
Knew me.
He was a boy. It is difficult to stay angry with a boy.
I want him to be free and happy. I love him. I have always loved him.

Love can be a confusing thing.
I am not in love with the boy. I do not want him HERE.
I miss him being HERE, to be sure. In what once was our home.
With our children. Being a family. I miss that.
I miss his sense of humor and his drive. His alertness and intelligence.
His ability to communicate. And the way we knew what the other was thinking
Even when separated by thousands of miles.

But in my world, he never became a man.
He knows it, I know it.
I grieve. Finally.

The man, he never knew me.
His own prejudices blocking him from intimacy.
I expected that he would learn, would look, would see.
Would offer himself up so openly that I would know his heart and mind.
He did not. He could not.
In the end, I walk away knowing that I did not have what I wanted.

But it is a loss anyway.
Not so hard to let go of as the other loss. Not so difficult.
Still painful. Unrealized dreams. Unnecessary hurts.

I think about the new one. The possibility with the adorable smile.
And I think perhaps when my grief is somewhat abated, I will call.

I know what I want in a much clearer way.
I know what to look for.
I was so sure that faith in a man would make him good.
But we are all human. All struggling.
You can’t always trust the man with the fish on his trunk.
This possibility – in hope let me describe him:
Tall. Dark wavy hair – worn short, but not too short.
Intelligent looking. Funny. Confident. Outgoing. Active. Lanky.
Funny. An ego that appears to be healthy and normal. Successful.
A good communicator in both spoken and written word.

That is all I know. My conversations have not been lengthy.
I rebuffed him. Turned him down for the sake of the relationship which never was.
When I am further healed, I will intentionally display signals. Interest.

But I am not healed yet. It will take some time.
I am tired. Exhausted. Not emotionally available.
I know this without a doubt.
It is good to know there are possibilities. A future.
But I cannot move now.
Now I must face the pain, the hurt, the grief.
Walk right into it. So they tell me.

The sun, fully risen now, leaks through the clouds.
I am not happy. But I am not unhappy.
The day begins.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Monday

Monday morning. I am on the road later this morning but am in the mean time enjoying peace and quiet.

I began reading the Bible this morning. There was a suggestion made this morning that one read the Bible like a book - for the stories. So I started. It's interesting. Thus far I am not liking the treatment of women, but I suppose culture dicated much of that. But it is making me angry. Go figure. I find it hard to read because of that one fact.

I began with Genesis and am about half way through. I have studied the Bible based on themes - seeking out verses, etc, but have never read it in its entirety. I would like to do this so I have a better understanding of how things relate within the book itself. So I begin.

Mr. Boyfriend

This morning I am feeling sad about Mr. Boyfriend. I am feeling hurt. Disapointed. Angry. Looking backwards on my blog, it is not hard to understand why things ended the way that they did - or even predict that they WOULD end the way they did. But an eleven year friendship is gone.

How is it that I feel about Mr. Boyfriend? I love him. I think he is a wonderful man with some serious self-asteem issues. Co-dependency issues. It is hard for me to point a finger at him as I realize I am the same way.

But I am feeling hurt about large moments in my life where he was completely consumed with himself, when the focus should have been caring about me. Valentines day two years ago - nasty flashback. I ended up taking care of him. When my oldest was in the hospital a few months ago- I could NOT take care of him and he was horrid and mean. A few weeks ago - another flashback, set off by his own words - and he hasn't stopped yet. He only cares about himself. I do not believe asking one to care under these circumstances is asking too much.

In the last two weeks he has requested that I meet him out twice and rekindle things. I refuse. I feel bad about refusing because I hate to hurt him. But I simply cannot put myself in harms way anymore. He is a bulldozer. I guess I am angry because I had hopes and dreams surrounding him, but because he would not address his own garbage, my dreams went up in smoke. I'm mad because he had my fidelity and never recognized it. It was wasted on him. I'm mad because we were never able to move into true intimacy because he has so many walls up that he'd create problems anytime there was the slightest closeness. I'm hurt and I'm angry.

I realize that it is my own dependency issues that created a situation where I fed into his behavior. I had no boundaries from the beginning. I would accept his emotions as accurate and try to fix things, even if inside I was extremely uncomfortable.

A year and a half ago I met a gentleman named Mr. Friend. Mr. Friend was dating my then soon to be divorced sister-in-law who lives about an hour and a half from me. That was my then connection to Mr. Friend. Mr. Friend is seven or eight years younger than my father. He's a lot of fun, down to earth, compassionate, out going and extremely energetic. Some say he is very good-looking. I have always viewed him as family because of how I came to be connected to him so I have never looked at him in that way. He's simply my friend.

Well, as Mr. Boyfriend went on his ups and downs and I began the roller coaster rides of break-ups, I hung out with Mr. Friend and his friends - all of whom were a lot older than me. I had only a couple female friends - all of whom were married and had other things going on during the weekends I had free. I am an extrovert. I wanted to go out and be around people. Mr. Boyfriend would pitch a fit about whatever it was he felt like pitching a fit about at the time - to create, drama, chaos, intensity...whatever, and off I'd go with Mr. Friend. Mr. Boyfriend was jealous.

To be honest, I was in a no win situation. Mr. Boyfriend had a way of making whatever I did wrong. I am angry about this. If I went out with Mr. Friend, it was wrong. If I went out by myself, I was lying. Later as I developed female friends, if I went out with THEM, I was out trolling for men. I literally could not win. The only way I was in good stead with Mr. Boyfrined was if I was with HIM, and he would cause problems so that I could not be. And then HE would go out by himself, tell me he only talked to men, and be all self-rightous.

I realize now what a crock of shit this is. But I got caught in it anyway. And as time moved on and our break-ups lasted longer, my co-dependency/self-asteem issues seriously reared their ugly head. And I began to talk to other men in a way which was not strictly friendship. Mr. Friend was never one of these people. I collected a few cards.

Through therapy I realized that by doing this I was accepting Mr. Boyfriends rejection of myself, of my feelings, as gospel. I would pass judgement on my own feelings for him based on what he said they were worth. I was not valuing myself. I would call my feelings junk - BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE SAID- and try to throw them out and move on. I could never do so, not really.

But I tried. Once I realized what I was doing - and this was through therapy - I quit. This change was wasted on Mr. Boyfriend. He continued to break-up, accuse me of cheating, be obsessed with other men. So afraid of getting hurt that he hurt himself continually. I endured this, believing somehow that I was a better person because I was waiting for him to "get better".

Until one day I realized that it isn't my responsibility to wait for him. And I asked myself what I was getting out of waiting for him - self worth? Self asteem? What? And it was. I believed it showed integrity. Then I realized what bull-shit that was. I am to waste my life waiting for someone who so obviously does not want to get healthy because of my integrity? At some point, I need to be important to me. I obviously wasn't important to HIM, What the hell was I doing? Why was I again sacrificing myself for my "integrity"? What was integrity anyway? Isn't there integrity in taking care of yourself?

Why, yes. Yes, there is. And off I went. I began to let go. One of the counselors asked me what my life was going to look like now that Mr. Boyfriend wasn't in it. I said that it was pretty much going to look the same. I developed numerous friends despite him. I could renew my friendship with Mr. Friend - as it had bothered Mr. Boyfriend so much that I had stayed away from him. I'm not doing that anymore. Mr. Friend is in for keeps. Period. Because Mr. Friend has always been my friend and Mr. Boyfriend quite obviously is NOT. He does not even behave as if I'm human.

I am angry at him. He played games. Messed with my head. And yes, damnit. I allowed it. And no, I don't think he knows how to do anything different - and YES, his thought process and behavior are very BIZARRE. But when we began he was my friend. When we switched from friendship to dating he changed. Women are evil, you know. They cheat and lie and can't be trusted. Weird and strange. But real for him. Constantly compared to some imaginary perfect woman, I failed to measure up. I ALLOWED THIS. My need for validation from him was so strong that I allowed this and stayed waiting for the crumbs of external validation he might hand me now and again.

And then I began to validate myself. I learned, through my friendships with my female friends what true friendship is. That it can be work. That it is a two way street. That it isn't attacking and ripping and tearing apart each other - instead it is nurturing and loving and supporting and communicating. Being respectful.

And Mr. Boyfriends crap became more ridiculous - less tolerable.

Until one day, his horrid words sent me into a flashback from the ex - it lasted four hours and was absolutely horrible. And I realized that he was not going to care for me. He was incapable of being my friend. I realized that I had better damn well be my own friend and protect myself. And I put up walls between he and I. I have seen him one time since, where he was nice, but within an hour of leaving me he was all turned around again. It's impossible to keep up with his emotional hysteria and I completely quit trying. And I do not want to be on the receiving end of it anymore.

And so I enjoy my children, my job, my friends. I enjoy all that God has given me. I move forward. I have learned a great deal and I will continue with therapy and hope for a better relationship next time - because I will LEARN what my role is in all of this. I will learn to treat myself better, with more repect. To think of myelf as valuable in and of myself - not strictly based on what others think.

My faith, again, has played a role in this. God doesn't make junk. Someone treating me like junk is an insult to God. It makes him angry. He doesn't like it. He expects me to respect that and make sure that those around me care for me in a way in which he would approve. He understands that we are human and screw up. But overall, we must care for each other - and that is not simply that I should care for others, but that I should accept no less than that from other people.

And so it goes. These things have been heavy on my mind today. Now I am off to work.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Flower Power

I have had a wonderful holiday weekend. Shall I share? Friday I took off from work early and mowed the lawn. Two of my children had camping trips with friends and thus were gone most of the weekend. Mowing the lawn was good because it's a chore that I needed to do before the rain. Friday night I had a couple of friends over for drinks and smores around a bonfire. Was in bed early...so that I could get up early and clean my house.

I had to clean the house because several girlfriends elected to have a get together HERE and it was dirty and messy. We had some snacks, some tequila and good conversation. Then we met up with several other friends - both female and male - and danced. They all went home. I ended up hooking up with an old friend whom every several years I hang out with. She now lives not far from me and we shared a cab ride home. I had "macaroni pizza" for the first time - something my children know all about, but I had never heard of - and would have assumed was icky. It was yummy. Who would think to put macaroni on pizza? I certainly would not have tried it if I had not been with Shannon. She is someone I would not think to connect with, but I imagine would be a lot of fun. Funny you can know someone for so many years and not think of them as a friend.

Sunday I woke up and went to Church - another girlfriend accompanied me. This was nice - I usually sit alone. We went out to lunch afterward and visited. Later she came over and we cleaned up my backyard. Two friends of mine are renewing their vows and have decided to do it in my yard. Good incentive to get things done around here. So she came over and we went to town. As reward, we made cornish hens, potatos and green beans for dinner. With a margarita on my porch, no less. I was exhausted and went to bed early.

Today I slept in and woke to a leisurely cup of coffee on the porch. I swapped a few text messages with Mr. Boyfriend only to find him still talking about the same thing. Other men. He just don't get it! I had to run children to the other side of town and decided to take the plunge...I bought three flats of flowers and planted the first bed. Two girlfriends came over to gab and another friend of mine came over (at my request) to repair a wooden stair in the backyard - which we need to be stable for the little wedding ceremony. I threw brats on the grill and the four of us sat and laughed and goofed off. Eventually everyone left and I spent some time with my son - who missed me and talked a mile a minute for over an hour.

My house is clean. My backyard is on it's way. One flower bed is planted. I got to play in the dirt, play with my friends, have spiritual time with my friends and enjoy my kids. Hot damn. This is my life? When did it get to be so very cool?? The friend that fixed the step offered to put a waterfall in for me - that would be neat. I just adore him. I could not be friends with him while with Mr. Boyfriend due, of course, to jealousy. What Mr. Boyfriend missed was the possibility of having a good friend himself. That is so dumb. Had he made my friends his friends his life might have been that much richer. Silly man. People surely limit themselves with their paranoia.

But I will not be limited anymore by other people's paranoia. Not at all. Never, ever again. God has blessed me with SO much. Two years ago I wanted to fill my house with laughter and friends and love. I wanted to hear my children laugh and give them the example of a happy house and a happy mom. God has given that very thing to me. I have a wealth of friends. And I am working on being happy.

And I was serious about the relationship part of me. I am resting. I am going to keep myself open, continue to meet people. But I know I do not have much to give anyone. I need to know myself. I need to be as happy OUT of a relationship as IN. And so I am simply going to enjoy my life as it is. I am going to be free and be happy...for the first time in a long time. Working to be enough only for myself. And oh...my....gosh....does that ever feel good.

And Mr. Boyfriend? I miss him. But I realized today when my friends were over that there was a strong likelihood that he would have gone away mad tonight for SOMETHING. Because I laughed at the wrong time, didn't give him credit for something, talked too long or too much to a male friend...who knows what. That's no way to live. I just wanted to be happy. I want to be accepted for who I am. Who I am is okeedokee.

And now, at ten thirty at night, I am signing off. Tomorrow I go to work - and I am fortunate that I have a job I love very much. It just gets better and better. I am so very blessed.


There has never been a time in my life where I have been mature enough to recognize that the gaping hole inside of me is not one that someone else can fill. Until now. Over the course of the last six months I have had some intense counseling. At first this counseling was an effort to fix whatever was wrong between myself and Mr. Boyfriend. This is something I have done a million times in the past - counseling to fix a relationship. He stopped going. I kept going because I felt something being touched there, something growing there. Strength. Self-awareness.

Often times, Ed, the counseling guru, pushes me to talk about my feelings in areas I tend to ignore. I change the subject, but leave there aware that I did it and that probably means I am seriously avoiding something that hurt very much in the past. And then I end up dealing with it.

What I know is this: I have never been just me before. I don't even know who that is, really. When I was twenty, I absolutely abandoned myself. Not all of me, but the essence of myself that is so important and vital. The part of me that will allow me to have a healthy, happy life. And that part of me was new, and fresh and just beginning to grow. I had moved three and a half hours from my home town and was beginning to develop as an adult.

I spoke recently with the ex about this - he has had similar counseling in the last year. He told me that for 15 years I was married to someone with the maturity of a 19 year old. Part of him stopped growing. I think he was right. And I think I was somewhat the same.

I expected that with Mr. Boyfriend I would be able to develop this part of myself in conjunction with our relationship - because we knew each other and because we had been friends for so many years. Not so. Whether because he has his own issues or because it is impossible to be truly emotionally available when our insides are undeveloped is really irrelevant. I simply couldn't do it and I stayed in pain because of it.

He assumes that I am out looking for another man. Another person to fill this hole where I am undeveloped, not truly myself. I am not. That is not where the answer lies. Not only THAT, but after what amounts to 17 years of struggle, I am well and truly exhausted in that area. I need rest. I had hoped that he and I would be able to support each other on our journey - I see many of his issues as congruent with mine. But he is so determined (out of his own unhealthiness) that I am out to find another man, he can't even see me anymore. If he ever could. I don't know. I am not angry at him about this, I simply accept it. It's just the way it was. It doesn't matter who's fault it is - and in reality it is probably both of ours.

In the end though, the accusations and constant abandonment, became too much for me. Why? It hurt, that's for sure. But I also felt those things holding me back. I was continuing with counseling, continuing to explore the parts of me I had shelved, beginning to deal with the things I could not deal with before because I was so overloaded on pain, and the constant upheaval made it impossible to focus on the things I needed to focus on.

So another relationship? No. Dear God, no. I miss him something feirce. I do. But every time I try to talk to him he continues to bring up other men and the conversation goes no where. He believes that is why we ended. That is his stuff. We ended because of what I have outlined above. Because I am 37 and want to finally overcome the things that have made me feel rotten for so many years. Our relationship was keeping me in that place.

The only thing I blame him for is his unwillingness to keep working on him self. Had he done that, he might have been able to give me the freedom to do the same. He didn't and therefore couldn't. And if he heard that statement he would probably believe I meant the freedom to date other men. As you've heard, that so isn't what I was after. I just want peace. I need peace to grow. And if his focus was on himself and furthering his own growth, it probably wouldn't have been a problem.

At the same time, I had to learn to be ok no matter what he did - if he broke up with me, I had to learn to find peace. If he accused me of things and I found myself crumbling, I had to pay attention and work through my feelings until I found where I was abandoning myself for the sake of our relationship. I had to find a way to stand up for myself and not just the relationship. I had to face the fear of losing him permanantly and I had to believe that I deserved reasonable treatment and trust.

In reality, I am going a little crazy. Losing him combined with feeling like a twenty old has been a little overwhelming. I take it day by day. God has truly blessed me with a couple of good girlfriends. There is freedom in my female friends. Laughter and understanding and acceptance. I can tell them who I am without them judging me. They listen when I tell them who I am and accept that it is truth. It is so good for me.

Bizarrely enough, my ex did this. And when we talk he continues to do this. It's painful. That was part of our relationship which I LIKED. We allowed each other to grow, to BE, to become. What we did not know is that we had abandoned ourselves to do what we though was the "right thing". Obviously, God intended something more for me, something different. Obviously I cannot have it yet. It's not time. He has given me everything I need, including my children - because I absolutely love having a family. They are the center of my life, my world, and have been for 16 years. But it is time to quit trying to be enough for everyone else. It is time to believe that I am enough. Because I am exhausted from trying to be enough.

My history, outside of or inclusive of the abuse I have tolerated, goes like this. I found myself pregnant. For whatever reason (and I know the reasons) I did what I thought was the right thing. I got married. I did not want to. When I walked down the isle I left myself in the dressing room. And I felt it happen. I remember the exact moment. From that time on I worked very hard at being enough. Being a good mom according to others rules and my own. Being a student and getting my degree because that is what would impress my father. Doing the right thing. Making my marriage work so that I would not become a statistic. Making good on all the decisions I had made whether they were working or not. I swam upstream with shear determination.

And when my spouse had an affair, it only got worse. I redoubled my efforts to do the right thing. The original goal in mind - success. I directed our recovery from that, but worked twice as hard to be enough. Suddenly I found that as a woman I was not what he wanted - and so I worked to become that. Hard. It was insidious. I didn't know it was happening. For years I saw this other woman in the mirror next to me and compared myself to her. I was angry about it. Very angry.

And this last time that he had an affair I was STILL determined to make it work even though he was not. He knew there was no recovery. He had done too much, gone to far and I would never really forgive him nor move beyond that. He was correct. I could not have. I would have tried though, in my own unhealthiness, I would have worked and worked and worked at it and buried myself even further down so that I might never have come out again.

Divorce was a huge failure. I had failed. I had not been enough. Everything I had worked so very hard at was gone. It was smoke and mirrors - or so I thought at the time. But it wasn't, not really.

From there, I went into a relationship with Mr. Boyfriend. I have yet to sort that one out. I only know that from the beginning I was not enough. I tried. But there was not the push from within that there was with the ex - because the kids were not tied up in it. My faith was growing again. I have thought a million times over the last two years - "I simply cannot be that flawed". And I am not. Confused and befuddled, yes. But then, so is he. But I cannot organize his life or fill the hole inside of him or be the perfect woman for him in whatever way he sees the perfect woman.

I am finally at a point where I know that I am enough. Someone will see me and think I am a terrific person. Not just someone to sleep with. But a wonderful friend. Someday. But I am not going to worry about that right now. Right now I am going to work hard at being my own best friend. At lightening up on the self-judgement and recriminations. At accepting myself. It's hard work. But only in doing this work will I emerge.

And I so know that I have a sign on my forhead that says "Hey, I'm screwed up. If you are screwed up, I'm the girl for you." I have not taken that sign off yet, but I'm working on it. I can at least turn the damn lights off on it. And that is what I have done. My energy, my time, my focus, is on getting healthy. For the first time in 17 years. I do not have the energy for a relationship which requires me to hear all the ways I am wrong, all the things I do and say that are wrong, all the ways I am not enough. It squelches me. I hurt inside when I exist in that place. And I can't do it anymore. Literally. I have found I cannot do it anymore. I shut down. I shut off. There is a healthy part of me that says "Nope. Not having that conversation. Not listening to it. Not going there. This is not good for me, hearing this. I am enough."

And though I miss Mr. Boyfriend, every conversation we have goes in this direction. It hurts. It reinforces the final break-up. Another man? Not hardly. Just me, listening to my insides for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Friday, May 25, 2007

He Keeps Showing Up

God. I'm referencing God.

There are days I realize that He has handed me what I need. He keeps opening doors for me.

A decade ago I wrote a poem (long since lost when a computer crashed) about someday standing on a ledge without an abusive male standing over me and holding me back. I am there.

What a strange thing to realize that the power to stand on that ledge was always within me. THEY weren't holding me back, I was. I stood there and took it - out of duty, out of some imagined guilt, out of low self asteem. Out of the need for validation from another human, particularly a male.

There is a growing part of me that is saying NO MORE. There is such peace in having a life without that stuff. God wants that for me. Obviously - because he keeps opening doors for me. He keeps taking care of me so that I can learn and grow and stand on my own two feet.

Today I made a decision. I am going to give myself the summer. A gift. I deserve a gift. I am going to take this summer and enjoy my kids, my friends, my hobbies. I am going to - for the first time do whatever it is I want to do. Take off. Stay home. Talk to whomever I want to talk to. Do things that I want to do. Not consult with someone about what is ok or not ok - except me. I am going to experiment and fly. For the first time in my life.

Mr. Boyfriend is gone. I have cut the apron string. I can not have that in my life anymore. The ups and downs and ins and outs and blaming and controling and accusations. I just can't do it anymore. My tolerance level broke a while back - he said something which triggered a nasty flashback and that was the absolute end of it for me. He has sent me emails since then, text messages, voice mails - absolutely without regard to the fact that when he did this crap before it kicked off a flashback - he doesn't care. Who I am, what I have been through, these things don't matter to him. All that matters is that he continues down the same road he has been going down for years. I was simply the vehicle by which he stayed the same. And I suppose he was that for me. I continued to feel bad about myself, continued to feel "not good enough".

Well, I want to be happy. God wants me to be happy. God knows what I have been through, what I have faced, how hard I have worked to do the right thing (which was the wrong thing, really). God wants me to be free to fly, to be truly in His image. I cannot do that mirred in shame and blame and living in a box.

So He keeps opening the box for me and handing me the tools with which to climb out and stay out. It's a process. A process I will tell you about as I go.

It has been since November that I have been without Internet access. Tomorrow I should be up and running again. I will blog again because it was such a wonderful thing before and I have missed it. Much has happened. Much has changed.

I am on my way.