Being a Mom

13 Oct

My gorgeous baby boy was born on June 21st, about two and a half weeks early.  We went in for an induction because I developed gestational hypertension at 36 weeks, and my blood pressure kept spiking.  After more than 24 hours of labor, I ended up having a c-section because he just wouldn’t drop and he was facing the wrong direction.

I am very thankful for modern medicine because when they went in the cord was wrapped around his neck and body several times, so a natural delivery would have been extremely dangerous for him.  The goal was to have a happy, healthy baby, and that’s exactly what happened.  He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and measured 20.5 inches long.  He had a full head of hair and the most beautiful blue-gray eyes.

Being a mom is an amazing experience.  I used to wonder if I had what it took because I have never been someone who’s only desire was to raise children.  I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted a kid until I met my husband.  Making the decision to get pregnant was easier than I thought it would be, but also very scary because of all of the unknown.  It’s funny how much motherhood has changed everything and nothing at the same time.

How can that be?  Obviously, my entire routine is different.  Caring for another human dictates so much of my life.  My body is providing the only nutrition for a little person. That’s an awesome responsibility and a great bonding experience.  Now that I have to pump all of the time at work it has lost some of the “magic,” but it’s still really cool that I am helping him grow and develop.  Seeing him change every day and watching him experience new things has brought wonder and joy into every day.

The first few weeks were really tough, of course, but not as difficult as people would have me believe.  Learning to breastfeed was a challenge, feeding every 2-3 hours through the night was exhausting, and there were definitely moments when I wondered how anyone does this with more than one.  Baby snuggles are priceless, though, and seeing his little face made it worth it.  Even running on barely any sleep, one look at him would give me the strength and energy I needed to push through.  We’ve got an exceptionally good baby, too…  Seriously, he’s amazing.  Not only is he the cutest thing in the entire world (despite my obvious bias, I still maintain that this fellow is ridiculously handsome), but he barely ever cries unless it is clear what he needs and he’s been sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches at night for months.

I am definitely a different person now.  I take a million pictures and only ever post about him on social media.  I am an expert in things like baby wearing and what different color poop means and how to sanitize bottles.  I track exactly how much he eats and sleeps, and I have become extremely organized (at least in his room).  I have learned that cute outfits are overrated, footie pajamas are fantastic, and it is possible for a baby to projectile poop over 2 feet.  Speaking of poop, I have been pooped on, peed on, puked on, drooled on, and been bit, poked, scratched, and even punched.  Motherhood is so glamorous…  Still, I feel like a piece of me is left behind every time I walk out of the door to go to work.

At the same time, I am still me.  I haven’t lost myself in a new identity of “mom” like I was afraid I might.  Now that I’m back at work, I still have that identity as a boss and employee.  I get to have at least one meal a day where I can take my time and not eat around a baby’s head.  I still enjoy the things I enjoyed before and listen to and watch the same things I did.  I’m sure I’ll have to listen to annoying kids music and watch Sesame Street a million times later, but for now my son watches Game of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy with me and seems to love rap (he’s wearing a Wu-Tang onesie today).

My relationship with my husband didn’t suffer. If anything, it has gotten stronger.  He held our son while I was shaking and puking from low blood pressure for three hours after the delivery.  He swaddled and changed him more in the first few weeks than I did.  He was awake and helping during those long nights, bringing him to me to nurse and handling everything else.  Seeing him being nurturing and loving and a wonderful Dad only deepened the love I have for him.  I am grateful every day to have such an amazing, supportive, handsome, caring husband.

Being a good parent is sexy, so having a baby hasn’t negatively impacted our sex life too much, either.  If something is important, you prioritize it, and my relationship with him is the foundation of our family.  I refuse to let that get ignored or pushed to the side.  Certainly, if the baby is crying and needs something immediately, we take care of it, but babies sleep.  It helps that even when I’m exhausted I find my husband irresistible, and being in his arms recharges me.

That first cuddle on the hard hospital bench after days of pain and stress is one of my favorite moments.  I could feel everything else melt away -it didn’t matter that my c-section site hurt, we hadn’t eaten a decent meal or slept more than an hour and a half at a stretch in days, my nipples ached, or that we had to spend an extra day in the hospital because the baby was jaundiced and my blood pressure was still too high…  Everything was perfect and right in the world because he was there with me, and we were getting through it all together.  Just thinking about that makes me relax and tear up a little.

So, I’m a different version of the same person.  I have a stronger appreciation for my husband.  I have a new perspective on life.  I have the cutest, sweetest, happiest son.  I also have a pile of laundry to do, a house that needs to be cleaned, and a permanent case of sleep deprivation.  But it’s all okay.  More than okay…  Wonderful.  I wouldn’t trade this version of me or my life for anything.


Another Happy Update

20 Mar


I don’t post here very much anymore because the main topics aren’t relevant to my life anymore. I still read and reply to comments. I still get emails from people going through hell. I continue keeping the blog open because I know what it’s like to feel stuck in an unhealthy relationship. I know how reading other people’s experiences can turn in a light bulb or feel like the first breath of fresh air in ages. I understand needing to hear that what’s happening is not okay and things can (and do) get better when you stop accepting less than.

Those realities are distant memories to me now, though. The person I was when I started this is not the person I am now.  That portion of my life feels more like a bad dream than something that really happened. It did happen, though, and this blog serves as a reminder that life is what you allow it to be. I can’t control everything, but controlling the things I can and letting go of the rest can result in pretty amazing things.

So I don’t post often, largely because dwelling in the past doesn’t do anything for me in the present. I will occasionally check in with little updates on where I am and what’s happening. It’s nice for me to celebrate the good that came from all of the bad.  This is one of those updates.

I am 24 weeks pregnant. We’re having a little boy who is healthy and active and already immensely loved. I couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter of my life.

That’s something I couldnt have imagined in the depths of financially supporting an immature, cheating partner. It’s something I couldn’t have done while I was codependent and putting my needs last.  I had to learn how to be emotionally healthy. I had to choose a partner who is a partner and be a good one in return.

So, although I don’t check in frequently, know that I’m doing great. I’m still imperfect and a bit of a mess, but it’s a different kind of mess. Soon, it’ll be the kind covered in baby vomit, surrounded by a pile of dirty diapers. And I couldn’t be happier.


Last Name

11 Oct

I never get tired of my new last name. It’s great.

I love the way it sounds, the way it’s spelled, the way it fits with my first name.

Most of all, I love that it’s his.

That he gave it to me.

On our second date we walked into a restaurant and had to give a name so they could call us when our table was ready. He gave his last name. I recall thinking that could be my last name one day.

Now it is.

Now it’s the name I give when I’m waiting for a table.

It’s the name I sign on the bottom of my pottery.

It’s the name our babies will have.

The name I’ll live with until I die.

It’s a good name, and I’m honored and happy and still excited that it’s mine.

Married <3

10 Jun

On May 29, 2015 I married the love of my life.  It was a perfect ceremony.  His uncle signed the marriage license, and we slipped the wedding bands on each other’s fingers.  We’ll have a little party for family in August.

It’s amazing how much different my life is now from when I first started this blog.  I can’t imagine being happier than I am right now.

Why Divorce is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

11 Mar

I never wanted to be divorced. I meant my vows. I wanted my marriage to be for life. I pulled from every ounce of strength I had to try to make it work. But there is a point of no return where none of that matters anymore, even if you want it to. Instead of being “until death,” my marriage barely lasted two years.

How does that happen? Unfortunately, there are many ways. This isn’t the story of my failed marriage. That is laid out in the rest of this blog, which serves as a journal that chronicles the unraveling of an unhealthy relationship. This is a post about making the decision that I never thought I would make, and how it changed everything.

I’m not proud of being divorced. Even though it was the best decision I could have made, the only healthy choice, and the reason I am now happy, it still weighs on me. I never wanted to be that person. The one who gives up. I have come to accept that admitting defeat isn’t a bad thing when it means acknowledging your failings and learning from them. Still, I wish I hadn’t gotten myself into that situation.

I am writing this from the couch of the beautiful home where I live with my fiancé.  The perfect ring on my left hand keeps catching the light.

I wish that the marriage I’m about to enter into was my first.

It isn’t, though. To get to where I am, I had to come from where I was. That sounds silly when I write it out, but it’s true. Going through those things taught me a lot about myself, about relationships, about what I do and don’t want, and about what’s really important.

I have moments where I wish that everything was different, though. I wish that this relationship with this man was the one I’d waited for. That I had never married my ex. Never put on a big show for hundreds of people where I declared that he was my mate for life. Never tried to force myself to believe he was as good as it was going to get. I wish I hadn’t cheated myself out of the experience I should have had.

People have emailed me to ask, “How do you get past the stigma of divorce?” I want to say, “Easily.” I handle it matter-of-factly.  I was straight-forward about my divorce in my dating profile, mentioning it right in the first paragraph.  When the new IT guy asked about my previous name, I casually answered with the facts.  Instances like that have come up over and over again since my divorce.  I can be flippant about it, even make jokes.

It’s not actually that easy, though.

It’s not so much society that holds onto the stigma. It’s me.  The end of my bad marriage manages to occupy the spot as both the best and the worst thing.

I want to be able to say it’s just the best thing. Because that is partially true. Getting away from him is the best decision I could’ve made for my future happiness. Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship was as necessary as air to my well-being. I had to get out of a marriage where I felt unloved and unwanted by the person who was supposed to love me more than anyone else. I couldn’t handle the lack of intimacy, trust, sex, respect, and all of the other things that are vital to a healthy partnership. So yes, leaving was the best choice I could have made in a shitty situation.

But that shitty situation was the worst. It was really awful. And the worst part of it all is that I put myself there. The stigma for me isn’t so much the end of the marriage, but the fact that I entered into it to begin with. That’s the decision that haunts me sometimes. That I’m not married to him anymore is great. That I ever was is one of my biggest regrets.

The truly terrifying part is that I didn’t have any doubts on my wedding day.

None.  At all.  Which is ridiculous because there were so many red flags and major issues with our relationship, including the fact that he had cheated on me at least once that I knew of at the time.  We weren’t compatible sexually, we had completely different work ethics, values, and views on things like drug use.  I could never envision having children with him (which I justified by saying I wasn’t interested in children rather than face that I couldn’t have children with him because I couldn’t count on him).

Despite all of those glaring issues, I was able to bury my head in the sand, pretend like everything was perfect, and have the big church wedding I let him pressure me into (I was never interested in any of that since I’m an introverted atheist).

I won’t say that my fiancé is perfect because he’s not.  No one is, and certainly no relationship can be.  That’s something I wish I had accepted before.  Trying to be the perfect, happy, vision of what I thought an engaged couple should be is one of the things that enabled me to push aside all of the things that I would have recognized as deal-breakers if I had looked at my relationship honestly.  Admitting imperfections in myself and my partner has allowed me to examine them, address them, and determine how they can be worked out (if at all).

This time around I am being honest with myself. Neither of us is perfect, but he is amazing for me and I’m amazing for him. We have fights and issues, but we work them out together. I trust him completely.  I don’t doubt for one second that we can and will have a lasting marriage that will be the cornerstone of our future family.  I know that because we’re both committed to it, we love each other through all of our imperfections, and we can laugh at each other and ourselves when we make mistakes, then apologize as necessary.

I don’t think I will ever stop wishing that I hadn’t married the wrong person first.  But I am glad that I found the strength to divorce.  I’m also grateful that I used that experience to learn.  It prepared me for the marriage that I will be in for the rest of my life.  All things considered, that mistake got me to where I am today, and for that I’m incredibly thankful.


29 Oct

On October 25th around 2:00 am I got engaged to the love of my life.  He woke me up with an air horn.  My first thought was “that is a terrible sound for a fire alarm.”  Then he flipped on the light and blew it again.  I was already laughing.  He started walking over to the bed with a box in his hand, and I knew what was happening.  He said, “I wanted to give you this.”  I opened it up and saw the most beautiful piece of jewelry that I’ve ever put my eyes on.

Still in a daze from being woken up suddenly to a loud noise, light, and sooo much sparkle, I jumped out of bed and ran over to my closet.  I fumbled with my hamper, trying to get behind it to where I’d hidden the watch I got him as an engagement gift.  I asked him if he could blow the horn again.  He did, and I handed him the bad and told him “I wanted to give you this.”  I think I hugged him, but I can’t even recall.

What I do remember clearly is telling him that I had to go make sure that Buddy, my 11-year-old cocker spaniel, hadn’t had a heart attack.  I couldn’t stop laughing, but I managed to get the dog soothed and outside.  He came into the living room, and I left the kitchen to meet him, still laughing.  That’s when I do finally remember giving him a huge hug and kiss.

He opened the watch a few minutes later while we were sitting in bed together.  Once my pulse got back to normal and the laughing stopped, it hit me that I get to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man.  The tears only came after we snapped a picture of both engagement pieces and snuggled up together.  They were happy tears.  I knew it was coming, but the reality was even better than I imagined.

A few weeks ago while we were cuddled on the couch, he kissed me and asked, “Do you want to get married?”  I said, “Yes.”  He said, “Want to look at engagement rings?”  I said, “Sure.”  That started the process of becoming engaged to be married.  We looked at settings together, got my finger sized, and became intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of diamonds.  I got him to accept that I have been wanting to get him a watch for our engagement since I started thinking about it, months and months ago.  He placed an order, and I called a jewelry store to get the watch he told me he wanted.  Less than two weeks later I was getting woken up in the middle of the night and an air horn.  🙂

The proposal was perfect because it is so him.  It is so us.  We constantly laugh together.  I love that it wasn’t some cheesy, cliché thing.  It was simple, fun, and original.  I can hardly wait to be his wife.  We’ve already discussed that we both want something small and simple when the weather is nice.  We’ll figure out the rest later.  What matters to me is the commitment we’ve made to one another.

Here are a few pictures of my amazing ring that I just can’t stop staring at (and a few smiling pictures of me showing it off this morning).  It still doesn’t quite seem real that my life can be so wonderful, but I’m embracing it.  I’m thankful for every single person who listened to me, reached out to me, and helped me realize that I am worth it.

Love is Not Enough – Mark Manson

4 Sep

This is well worth the read, especially for anyone who has ignored red flags and compatibility issues because of “love.”

Love is Not Enough – Mark Manson.

When the Right the One Comes Along

7 Aug

I recently saw this performed at the Grand Ole Opry, and the words are exactly right.  When the right person comes into your life, you just know.   I’m nearing a year with Tony, and it’s unlike any relationship I’ve ever had.  Unlike any connection I’ve had with anyone.  I knew he was the right one fairly early on, and that feeling just gets stronger the longer we’re together.

There’s no music, no confetti
Crowds don’t cheer, and bells don’t ring
But you’ll know it, I can guarantee
When the right one comes along

What they’re thinkin’, what you’re feelin’
You no longer have to guess
All these questions are finally put to rest
When the right one comes along

Every single broken heart will lead you to the truth
You think you know what you’re lookin’ for
‘Til what you’re lookin’ for finds you

In a cold world, it’s a warm place
Where you know that you’re supposed to be
A million moments full of sweet relief
When the right one comes along

Every single broken heart will lead you to the truth
You think you know what you’re lookin’ for
‘Til what you’re lookin’ for finds you

It’s so easy, nothin’ to it
Though you may not believe me now
But I promise that you’ll find out
When the right one comes along

All that changes is only everything
When the right one comes along

Guest Post: Breaking The Low Mood Cycle

1 Jul

This is fantastic! ☺

Image: a cheerful orange blob monster is chatting to a friend using a speech bubble containing a question mark and exclamation mark. The friend is a grumpy grey blob monster who looks away expressing grumpiness. Its speech bubble contains a grey scribble.

Hello friends! It’s Elodie Under Glass here with a guest post on Low Moods.

I particularly want to thank Quisty, Kellis Amberlee and TheOtherAlice  for their kindly help in reading and editing this piece. It would not have existed without their care, support, compassion, and wonderful editorial abilities. They are truly remarkable humans! (edited: And thanks to the radiant and patient NessieMonster, who let me come to her city and follow her around, burbling insensibly about this post, for far longer than most people would have.)

So recently, I went on a Stress and Mood Management course, and I thought that you all might enjoy sharing what I’ve learned.

This post is something of a correction/update to Adulthood is a Scary Horse, a post for the Captain which I was never quite satisfied with. It really crystallized for me on this course, in our…

View original post 3,458 more words

How I gave the key to my Life to a narcissist

22 Jun

This is a very honest self-reflection that I can relate to.

Living in the Now

6 Jun

It seems like I blinked and this year is already halfway over.  I suppose that’s a good sign, though, because when things aren’t going well time seems to drag on endlessly.  I’ve been keeping busy with school and work and living life in general.  I’m just a few classes away from getting my MBA, which will be so great to have done.  I’m happy to report that I’ve kept up my 4.0 GPA while maintaining a sometimes hectic work schedule.  I’m also moving forward into the final stages of getting my house sold.  That will be a nice weight off of my shoulders.

Buddy has also moved in with us.  He’s been there almost a week, and he’s adjusting fine.  I did have to get the procedure done on his other eye, so he is now completely blind.  The good part about that is that he can’t have any more painful pressure spikes.  All of his vets say he’s in great shape and health, and he doesn’t seem distressed at all.  His eye specialist told me that dogs transition into being blind much better than humans because dogs live in the moment.  They don’t think about the past or the future.  They just accept the reality they are in and learn to adapt to it.

That is a really beautiful sentiment that has popped into my mind more than once since then.  When I think of all the time I spend thinking about the past or worrying about the future, it makes me stop and consider how much effort I’m giving to the now.  How often am I completely present in the moment?  Sadly, not very often.  The amount of time I spend thinking about things that have already happened or things that I need to do is staggering.  It’s also mostly pointless.

So I’ve started trying to notice more of the things that are great about right now.  When I’m in the car, I roll the windows down to feel the wind in my hair and turn the music up.  I think about the words and the listen to the rhythm and instruments.  At work it’s harder, but I’m trying to focus on one thing at a time.  At home I know Tony has caught me just looking at him and smiling more than once.  I want to memorize his facial expressions and notice the things that make him break out in a big grin.  Those little moments are some of the best parts of life, and I don’t want to miss out on them.

Other than that, there’s not a lot to report.  Most days I’m so ridiculously happy it’s sickening.  When I’m not, it’s because I’ve gotten lost in my head.  I’ve got a new therapist who is wonderful, and I feel like I’m actually working toward something again instead of just chatting with a friend.  All in all, life is fantastic.  I can’t think of a time when I’ve felt more content and fulfilled and loved.

The Cinderella Complex

14 May

This was my reality for so long. I am slowly getting past it, but it is such a difficult thing to unravel from your psyche.

Letter from a Reader: Leaving a Cheater

30 Apr

Why You Should Leave a Cheater remains my most popular post.  I continue to get at least one or two emails a week, often more, from people who are dealing with similar situations.  The stories are always sad, heartfelt, and usually inspiring.   There are always a lot of emotions involved.  This is an issue that far too many people struggle with, sometimes after years of having the same negative behavior repeated by their partner.

They are all different, yet very much the same.  Men and women are both affected, and reach out to me in fairly even proportions.  None of them expected to be where they are.  Some of them try to hang on and fight for their relationship, others are struggling to make up their minds or seeking support and reinforcement for a decision they’ve already made to cut the cheater out of their lives.

Despite my strong personal feelings on the subject and the decisive wording of my article, I try to be an ear more than a giver of advice.  Every situation has its own complications, and I am not a trained therapist.  What I do think is that everyone should listen to their inner voice, be very cautious with someone who has already lied and cheated, and not settle for a bad partner out of fear and complacency.

Today I was contacted by a woman who very eloquently shared her story and what brought her to my blog.  I requested permission to share her story because it resonated with me.  Her story sounds like mine.  Maybe it sounds like yours.  There are many common threads in relationships where cheating is involved.  There is also power in hearing other people’s experiences.   She was kind enough to allow me to share in the hopes that someone could benefit from reading it.  Here is her personal story of leaving a cheater:

“I am a young woman from Ireland who has just discovered your blog. I just wanted to send you an email to say that your post ‘Why You Should Leave a Cheater’ is probably, no, most definitely, the best piece of advice I ever could have read.

Recently I’ve gone through a very rough patch with my partner of 1.5 years. I would consider myself a strong, confident, ambitious woman but because of him, I felt like nothing more than a few pieces of broken glass. He completely tore me apart as a person, and still, I stayed with him because ‘he needed my help’ to sort out his mess of a head. My family and friends hated him, but I thought that love conquers all, excuse the cliche.

After all my attempts to keep both of our heads above the water, I discovered he cheated on me, not physically but emotionally. Although there was no physical contact, I have no doubt that I will never feel pain comparable to that of seeing filthy pictures and messages exchanged between my partner and a woman from his past. I broke things off, and just as you described in your post, his tears started streaming, nose running, condemning himself for what he had put me through and the exclamations of how he couldn’t live with himself. And also, just like you, I felt so sorry for him. Look at this poor guy, he made a mistake, one stupid mistake and surely people deserve a second, third, fourth or fifth chance? How glad I am that I never offered that chance.

My partner was an emotionally abusive partner and it took me too long to acknowledge, accept and realise this. When I broke it off with him, I felt like I had been let out of a cage for the first time in months. I felt so free. I’m no expert, but I don’t think many people feel like that when they leave a relationship. So I was moving on, discovering new and amazing people, learning that there ARE people out there that I deserve, and yes, I do deserve better than the love he gave me. As I was moving onwards and upwards, we bumped into each other on a night out. We talked and he broke down in tears, exclaiming how losing me had opened up his eyes and changed him, making him see that he didn’t want to be THAT person. He begged me to consider giving him the chance to prove himself, and to prove that I could trust him.

After a few days consideration, it was last night that I told him I simply could not allow him the chance to regain my trust, as I had not yet accepted or moved past the hurt he caused me. Oh, and the fact that I didn’t, in the slightest, deserve any of it. Looking into his red,puffy eyes as he promised me he had been snapped into reality, and that he had changed for the better, I really did think ‘what if that is true’? He said it with such conviction that it made me think, ‘if he has changed, we could have the most perfect relationship out there’. I considered that maybe, just for the fact that he seemed so genuine about changing, we could actually be great together.

But I took a step back from my emotionally clouded judgement, and remembered the moment I found those pictures and filthy messages. I remembered the time he squared up to me and backed me into a corner. I remembered the time he told me I looked like a slut in my new top that I loved. I remembered the time he threatened to drive away in my car if I didn’t get back in it. I remembered the time he didn’t defend me when his friend called me fat. I remembered every little time that my heart twinged with pain. I looked into his eyes and told him I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t give him that next chance, because I wanted to grow and rebuild every part of me that he knocked down.

This morning, I had slight doubts and googled, ‘Have I made the right decision to leave my boyfriend’? That’s when your blog post popped up. And thank God for that. It’s so, so refreshing to know that someone ‘gets it’. Although I wish you and I had never gone through that pain, in a way, I now feel ready to offer helpful advice to others in a similar situation. I know that if my daughter one day goes through something similar, I’ll know exactly what to say and why.

Break ups, no matter what the reason, can be excruciating, especially when you feel like you’re not leaving just one person, but their whole family too. You’re cutting off what was your livelihood, love and passion for years. But when I doubt myself, and I read posts like the one you wrote, it makes me think I’m not the only one who has had to make these decisions. Thank you for taking the time to write that, because it really has cemented in my mind that this is what I want to do, this is the right decision. So thank you.

I read a quote recently that said ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’, and it’s very true. Right now, I’m certain that I deserve more, so why settle for shade when I can have sunlight?”

I hope anyone who reads her words will think about the type of love that you deserve and not accept less.


A Walk Down Memory Lane

3 Apr

Today I came across the receipt for the ring and journal I bought on my visit to the museum with my Mom.  When I looked at the date, I was surprised that it was before my separation from Mr. Mess. I remember that day as a defining moment of sorts.  I did something that I enjoyed, just for myself.  I spent hours talking with my Mom and immersing myself in history.  I laughed freely.  I recall that the weather was beautiful.  We sat in the sun and ate lunch.  I was happy.  Truly, simply happy.

Maybe that’s why I thought I was already separated.  In the warm, fuzzy memory I have of that day, everything was right with the world.  I actually had to come to my blog and look up the post to convince myself the date was correct.  Re-reading my words made me realize that I may as well have been separated by then.  I was already emotionally divorcing myself from the lies and drama.  Suddenly, I had an urge to write that I haven’t for a while.  I started an “update” on the post itself, but decided instead that a new post was in order.

Now that I’m here, writing for you all again after months of silence, I realize that I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say.  I still have the ring.  I don’t wear it that much because it is big and girlish and rather gaudy.  I love it, though.  When I look at it, I smile.  I let myself be gaudy and girlish.  I run my fingers over the cool stones that form petals on a white flower with pearls in the center.  I think of the sun, of laughter, of art and history and time with my Mom.  He doesn’t even enter my mind.  The memory of the pain and hurt and betrayal and emotional manipulation isn’t lingering there in the corner at all.

Maybe that is the important thing I have to say: the pain goes away.  Moments of true happiness were rare for years.  I carried the weight of that unhealthy relationship around, dragging it behind me when it got too heavy.  The burden became so commonplace that I was sure I’d have it with me forever.  That day I didn’t, though, even if only for a few hours.  Now I’ve left it so far behind that it doesn’t cross my mind unless some small reminder jumps out and jogs a memory.  When that happens, instead of being painful it makes me smile.  It reminds me of the considerable distance I’ve put between that version of myself and the one I am today.

These days I have happy moments all the time.  I have warm, fuzzy days full of laughter.  I am watching great movies, classics that I never saw and newer films by excellent directors I never heard of before.  I am learning about craft beer and “real” watches and designer shoes.  I actually cook, and sometimes what I cook is really quite good.  I’m going to have a herb garden soon (I’m going to a class with my Mom on Monday).  I am happy.  Truly, simply happy, more often than not.  I smile and sing and love the life I’m living.  Today I have on the perfect outfit for that big, gaudy, girly ring.  I wish I had put it on this morning.  I suppose I’ll have to wear the sentiment it evokes in me instead.

2013 In Review & An Update

2 Jan

Even though I’ve mostly ended this blog, I couldn’t help but look when I got my annual report from WordPress. I’m honored to see that folks are still reading about my mess and gaining insight, inspiration, or entertainment. At the very least, people have passed some time reading my words. If you’re interested in my stats at all, here they are:

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I also want to give everyone a mini update while I’m here. 2014 has started off quite well, even if we are just 2 days in. Since my last post I’ve settled into my new home. Not a lot else has changed. I’m still blissful, in love, and a bit of a mess, in a good way.

Christmas was wonderful. We cut down our own tree at a tree farm, and decorated it together. Tony indulged my love of crappy Christmas music. On the actual day, we had our own little Christmas morning, complete with stockings. Then we went to his parent’s house, my Mom’s house, and back to his parent’s place for the extended family gathering. It was a day full of food, laughter, games, and lots of love.

Tony got me an amazing pair of diamond earrings that haven’t left my ears since I got them, a tablet (which I’m using now), and a bunch of great stocking stuffers (I’m not ashamed to admit that I get ridiculously excited about the little things). Truly the best gift of all is waking up next to him and falling asleep in his arms every night. I’ll never turn down flawless diamonds set in platinum, though. 😉

I’m excited to be starting a new year. I’ve got a feeling that 2014 will have a lot of great things in store for me. 2013 was a year full of transitions, growth, and figuring out what I want. I still have plenty of growing to do, and I’m certain that there will be more changes in my future. But I have come a long way in knowing what I want and not settling for less. That has brought me a lot of contentment, peace, and happiness. It’s a nice place to be.

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