Yes, you read that correctly. I am taking life by the balls. Finally! I am so done with this idea of simply being happy with what I have. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with all of the many blessings I have in my life. But I want more. And guess what? I write my own story. I create my own future. My whole life I have been a “sit back and wait for things to happen to me” girl. Starting today, 7/14/17 I declare myself a “make it happen” girl. The world is my oyster. No more sitting back. No more waiting. I am a creator. I have a vision. I am grabbing life by the balls and I am becoming. Watch out, Life! You are my bitch now.
Have you met my husband? Eh-hem….Have you met my SECOND husband? Well, neither have I. But I have learned some valuable lessons through dating, heartbreak, and singledom that have made me wiser, stronger, and more prepared for the moment when I finally “exhale.” I am in no rush to meet him (in my convincing-myself voice). I have been cheated on, lied to, heart broken, served papers…you get the idea. I have also had years of butterflies and excitement and visions of weddings and babies. Hell, I have actually had a wedding. And 3 babies! But I have yet to meet the one. Each romantic experience from adolescence through adulthood, be it painful or joyous, has led me closer to this notion of romantic wisdom. I have spent most of my life chasing “unconditional love” and the warm, secure and fuzzy feeling that I imagine comes with it. I have worked really, really hard to convince myself that the man of the moment is the one, and in turn have made excuses for cheating, lying, eye rolling, controlling behaviors, jealousy, you name it, I have put up with it and somehow justified it as unconditional love.
Every broken relationship has taught me something valuable about my second husband and I have a new, simple and improved Must Have list to help me weed through all of the men knocking down my door (sarcasm fully intended). Really- I don’t know who I think I am coming up with such a list when I can’t even remember the last time I was properly asked out on a date, but here it goes, in no particular order.
THE LIST– from now on these items are non-negotiable. Once I determine a suitor does not have one of the following qualities, he is no longer an option. No questions asked, no second guessing myself, no justifying, no, “ but he is so fill-in-the-blank.” If I am going to devote and commit my time, heart, emotions, and body to a person, the following are the bare-minimum requirements. I will not second guess myself. End of story.
- Sense of Humor
Witty, sarcastic, intelligent, pee-my-pants funny. ‘Nuff said.
No need to believe in God per se, but some connection to a power greater than himself-nature, music, vibrational energy, whatever keeps him connected to something spiritual. My second husband must have something that supersedes human expectations and offers him serenity, a sense of belonging and wonder, and a belief that there is more to life than just life.
This is a quality that I admire so very much in others. Humility is best defined through example. When a person who truly possesses humility is in my presence I know it, I feel it, and I appreciate it. No one human is better than the next. Financial status, personal and professional experience, looks, character do not set one human being higher than another. Humility lends itself to compassion, understanding and kindness. It is one of the hardest qualities to come by in adults in today’s world. It is also contagious in a way. Less ego, please. Shirtless gym selfies need not apply.
- No Eye Rolling/ Passive Aggressive Behaviors
Yes, I understand I am asking a lot on this one- but for some reason I always attract the passive aggressive ones. I cannot stand it. I am simply aggressive. I will never understand the need for the passive part. Roll your eyes at me once and we are done. Yes, there is a story or 2 behind this one, but I will not excuse this behavior. Be a man. Use your words.
- He must fully support and understand my sobriety.
I am sober. I do not drink. I go to meetings. God is a huge part of my life. My sobriety is number one and needs to stay there. I am who I am because I am who I am.
So, that is it. That is my list. I will not stray from it, I will not settle and I will not forget these things because now they are forever etched in my blog. Now, back to living life, not rushing to find Mr.-Second-Husband. But, if you happen to meet him, send him my way.
2016 was quite the year. It felt long and drawn out. It certainly was not an easy year… I faced many challenges this year and hit so many different emotional lows. I made bad decisions. Not the “I don’t know any better” bad decisions either. These were the “I know this isn’t the best decision but let’s roll the dice” type decisions. I held on too tightly to people, whom I should have let go, and I let go of things and people that I should have grasped tightly with my heart strings. I gambled with my faith and I overstuffed my ego. I also challenged myself and made it through some rough patches with some newfound life lessons that I would not trade for the world. Everything has unfolded in the most perfect way….I leave 2016 with the following lessons:
- I can do it: Whatever it is- if I want it badly enough, I can, indeed do it. I quit smoking this year. I survived the mice infestation of 2016. I survived heartbreak. I can do it. Whatever it is. I can do it.
- I am not cool anymore. I used to be the cool mom. Not anymore. I now have unwritten rules that I should follow if I know what is good for me. Rules like do not dance. Ever. It used to be “don’t dance in the car” or “mom, not at the hockey rink”- you know when friends are around? But now, dancing in the privacy of my own home somehow embarrasses my teen daughter. And let me tell you-I can dance. So wtf? When did I become a mom mom? I say things like, “Molly, that shirt is OTC.” FYI: OTC means “off the chain” in my world. I think it is clever, cool and a little hood. But my kids… not so much. I am not the cool mom. I am starting to wonder if I ever really was? I am afraid I will always be 28 in my own mind.
- Weight is just a number. I did the atkins diet and bought ketosis strips. I carb-cycled. I attempted to stick to a 1200 calorie diet. I did spinning 4-5 times a week for a few months. I tried everything I possibly could to lose weight. Sometimes my newest fad of a lifestyle would last a month, other times a week, sometimes not even an entire day. For this entire year, I worried, obsessed, struggled with and tried everything to lose weight. I caused myself so much stress, worry, self-hatred, over my weight and these ridiculous diets. And guess what? My weight never fluctuated up or down, more than about 8 pounds. Those times when I would sit and eat an entire box of chocolates after a 3 course dinner at Chili’s three times a week? Still within the 8-pound range. So let it go. Weight is just a number. I am actually defined by my character and my soul, not my physique. It takes a lot of work to undo this obsession with weight, but I am working on it- I look in the mirror and compliment myself on something character-based as a reminder that my looks and weight are not what define me. I want to be and feel healthy, but I do not want to crazy binge diet and obsess over caloric intake for one more day. Because I am still me. And that scale, well, it is hardly moving anyways. 8 pounds up with a steak and potato diet is just fine with me.
- Politics Do NOT Belong in the Work Place. Most people who discuss politics are passionate about their stance. So much of one’s political stance is based on personal beliefs, upbringing, life experiences. Politics were openly discussed at my place of employment this past year. It made for a very uncomfortable and awkward work environment. I did my best to remain neutral or completely absent from any political conversations, but at times it was impossible. I toyed with merely agreeing with what others said for a while and that worked but it felt… wrong. Was I “drinking the kool-aid?” I was lying, I know that much. I was not being true to myself. However, the workplace and politics do NOT mix and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Eventually I let my opinions be known…. I was sick of people coming into my office and unknowingly insulting me. One poor history teacher finally got a mouth full from me and what ensued was a heated, yet fun and intellectual debate about abortion, the death penalty and cold blooded murder. I went into a long, but well-supported and very well-presented (if I do say so myself) argument defending my stance on all of the above. We both somewhat enjoyed the heated discussion as we challenged one another, but it was not professional and it was neither the time nor the place. Politics do not belong in the work place. End of story.
- Life is short. I lost a beloved aunt this year to cancer. She left behind 8 adult children, 8 of the most wonderful and faithful young adults I have known. She was taken too quickly and left a hole in the hearts of many who loved her dearly. The funeral was a beautiful ceremony that ultimately led me back to Sunday mass, but more importantly, awakened in me an awareness of the brevity of life. I also have several friends who were diagnosed with cancer throughout the year. I watched a poignant and heart-warming movie titled “The Heart of Christmas” with my children about a toddler who was given 4 weeks to live. It left us with a new attitude-we wanted to live each day as if we only had 4 weeks to live. Suddenly, I did not care which pants my son wore to Sunday mass, what time they went to sleep, or how long it took them to get settled and buckled in the car. I actually proceeded as if one of us- not even sure which one- had only 4 weeks to live. The pace of my day was slowed. There was more laughter and I love yous and less scolding and no yelling at all! I have started to say out loud to myself and my kids, “4 weeks to live.” That is enough to remind me that our loved ones could be ripped out of our lives without notice. Every second matters. Make it count.
- Get out of God’s Way: Shit, how many times do I have to learn this lesson? I get in His way. A lot. I think I know better. I want what I want when I want it. I am a superb justifier. I manipulate pretty darn good, too. This is the exact reason for me making those gamble-type decisions- the not-so-good even though I know better decisions. Whatever the bad decision, it would somehow, in my mind, bring me -some sort of instant gratification- more money, stress relief of some sort, excitement, more sleep, less work… I took the easy way out. I said let me handle this because God’s way takes too long. When I take over for God, things get messy. I absolutely must get out of His way. The only way to do this is to do the next right thing, pray, and wait…
- God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself: I already knew this, of course, but this past year it hit me- God does this in many ways. That job I didn’t get? That guy I thought was the one that is currently so NOT the one? God took those things off of the table for me-they were not part of His plan for me. If I had it my way, I would have both the boyfriend and the job right now.. I would never have given these things up, but I did not have to. God took care of it. And I have to let Him. These things that hurt me and that do not make sense to my mortal mind? These are all part of His plan. I need to not lose sight of that. I am so lucky to have Him doing for me what I cannot do for myself.
- In Pain There is Growth: So, I hit some emotional lows. Quite a few actually. I cried a lot this past year. I felt alone often. I questioned God and I got angry with Him. I had very little gratitude at times. I wanted to give up. In some ways, I did give up. But what happened? God’s will prevailed. Each emotional low brought me to my knees. Desperation brought me closer to God. The relationships I wrongfully let go of came back to me and were strengthened and now are more honest and loving than ever before. I am stronger than I ever thought I was. I am empowered, yet humbled. I am ready to fight harder than ever, to be more self-aware, to hold myself more accountable and to trust God fully. My job is simple. . . I simply do the next right thing, pray, wait and trust God.
. . . .Here is to 2017. God Bless. If God brings you to it, He will see you through it.
God is real. I have no doubt whatsoever. I am blessed to have a faith that I never thought possible- faith that I did not know was missing from my life. I was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic elementary school, a Franciscan college, church on Sundays. I prayed foxhole prayers. I believed in heaven. I could recite the Beatitudes, The Our Father, Hail Mary, and The Act of Contrition. But I did not have Faith. I lived my life under the pretense that I controlled my own fate. I was in the driver’s seat. My actions, my thoughts, my feelings, my decisions would ultimately decide the outcome of my day, my year, my marriage, career, what have you. I was in charge on my destiny and I could pray to God when I needed something. Period. Any prayers from my lips to God’s ears were requests for things to go MY way. That is it. I had the answers. I simply asked God to give me what I wanted. And if he did not give me what I wanted, I tried harder to get it for myself.
Today, God is not someone I simply pray to. God is my best friend. I communicate with him throughout the day. Sometimes, I laugh with God. Yes, I laugh with God. I have even danced with God. Call me crazy, I don’t care. I have danced with God through deep meditation. I have been in fights with God. I have said things I regret to God. I have apologized to God. I have ignored God. I have pushed God away. But God always brings me back to Him. He always loves me. He always forgives me.
God communicates to me through people, through song, through situations. He never lets me down. Ever. I let me down. The key to my constant communication with God is to let him in to my life, my spirit, and my heart. I do this by living how God wants me to live. If I stray from this path of living right, I can no longer hear God. All I have to do today is live right. Wake up and be the best me I can be and treat others with love as God treats me with love. If I can accomplish that one minute at a time, then I am 100% certain that I do not have to figure anything out. Not one thing. God is working on it for me. He loves me. He has a plan for me. All I have to do is the next right thing, one action at a time. God will take care of the rest. I am so blessed to know this today. Whatever person, place or situation I may face, it is part of God’s plan. “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.” And I love it.
This is a little something I wrote for a contest to win a home. The contest, of course, was cancelled. The instructions were to write in 200 words or less something about why you deserve the home and how you have undergone some sort of transition in your life… . I forget the exact wording of the assignment.. At any rate, 200 or words or less is a challenge for me.. But I love how this turned out. I am happy to report I now have a home. Two homes, actually, but that brings me back to the mice, and I just do not want to go there….
February 2, 2014: Emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. Defeated, broken, hopeless. Life had thrown all it could at me. I was falling apart.
Today: I am whole. My faith gets me through difficulties that come my way. I am the mother I dreamed I could be; the mother I want to be. I have a fulfilling career. I am at peace with my past. I hold no resentments. I am full of gratitude for all my blessings. God fills me with happiness and hope. My insides match my outsides. I am whole. I love to see those words. I am whole.
How did I undergo such a transformation? Desperation evoked a willingness within me, which slowly turned into faith and hope. There was, and still is, constant work. Hard work. Daily inventories of my moral fiber. Prayer. Faith. More Prayer. More Faith. Miracles.
I am whole.
Why, then, am I entering this contest? Molly, Nora and Emmet. My children. Children of divorce. Children who have had to be resilient, courageous, strong. Children who would love a backyard. Children who could truly benefit from a miracle: The miracle of a house, which will become a home, and help them to feel whole.
It has been that kind of a month. Expect the unexpected. Nothing is as it seems. Don’t get too comfortable. Just when I thought I could handle anything that could possibly be thrown my way, I was served a big, thick, slice of humble pie.
I will spare you the details of that which was unexpected, but yes, these unexpected events involved mice and a man. I guess you can say these are two of my biggest weaknesses. It was a month or two of severe stress. Others may have handled these situations with grace and serenity, but not this hot-tempered, stubborn Irish woman. These mice and this man, well, they had the power to destroy me. And for a short time, I let them. I gave them that power. Today, I say screw the mice and screw the man. I am strong. I am happy. And I take back my happiness. I learned some powerful lessons this past month.
My actions affect others.
This theme continues to pop up in my life, particularly this week. I choose not to be the person who rolls her eyes at the store clerk, who is a little too slow for the pace of my life. I choose not to be the person who flips off the ass hole behind me who honks the split second the light turns green. I choose not to be the person who throws away the ex boyfriend’s bathing suit at a gas station as a form of impulsive and childish revenge (ok so I didn’t choose this until today.. sorry, ex boyfriend, I owe you a bathing suit). Point blank, even the smallest actions I choose affect others. A smile can go a long way. A rude and demanding tone or a vengeful act can and will hurt others. Is this the stamp I want to make on the world? Are these the actions I want my children to witness? No. And guess what? I have control over both my actions and my reactions. I better choose wisely.
Good friends are priceless.
I have friends. Female friends. I have never had female friends in my entire adult life. These women saved me this past month. No judgements, no unsolicited advice, these friends listened and sympathized. They made me laugh and loved me when I couldn’t love myself. They gave me hope. They made me believe it will all be okay. This is priceless. Because of these friends, I found my fight, I found my self- respect and I found my self-worth. No man or no mouse will take that away from me. So I must nurture my own emotional and spiritual health daily to keep these friendships alive and to be a good friend in return.
Trust my instincts.
I knew the mice were going to be a problem and I knew the man was going to be a problem. But I fought that. I tried to live with the mice when my gut was telling me to run the other way. I tried to create a healthy relationship with the man, when I knew it just wasn’t possible at this time and place. I ignored my gut instincts. Perhaps, I ignored it, because for so long, my gut instincts were wrong. But fighting my intuition made the month that much more stressful. My instincts told me exactly where the road was leading. But I fought it. Never again. I’m finally, at 38 years old, at a point in my life where I can actually trust my own instincts. I don’t have to ask ten other people what they would do in a particular situation or how they suggest I handle a situation. Guess what? I know the answer that is best for me. That is truly freeing.
God will never turn his back on me.
At times throughout these minute hardships, I turned my back on God. Silly, right? Simple mice and a stupid man caused me to turn my back on God? But it was so much more involved than that, and yes, I did. I spoke the words, “I hate you God.” For the first time in my sober life. Over mice and a man? Yes and no. I was drowning in life. I was hopeless. I blamed Him. But He was with me every step of the way. I know that now. And I love Him now more than ever.
As I sit here with an uncertain future, an uninhabitable home miles away while I live at my parents house once again, I reflect on the past month and feel ashamed of the way I handled some things and proud of others. I am sad. I am hurt. But I trust in God. I learned so much. I feel stronger. I feel love from God. I’m not worried about where I’m going to live or the heartache of knowing the ex boyfriend is on to a newer, younger model. (I mean model as in car reference model, not as in stunning and sexy Gisele-model).
Yesterday, i was full of fear-fear of being alone, fear of mice, fear of not finding a home, fear of not ever being good enough at or for anything or anyone. Those were yesterday’s thoughts, yesterday’s fears and insecurities. I prayed. Hail Mary after Hail Mary. Yesterday’s fears brought me back to God. Thank you, yesterday. Today I choose happiness, gratitude and love. And when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll have the chance to choose the same upon awakening.