Fear? Let’s not.

I am conquering several of my fears in the next few hours.

I will be flying to a tropical destination with one of my best friends and we are both travelling without children. This is the longest either one of us will be away from them and that is terrifying.

It is a goal for both of us. We have both been guilty of planning to do things that never seem to pan out. We made a conscious decision to change that. So Dominican Republic here we come!

Earlier this year, I travelled to Arizona. I was there for four days and my anxiety was under control. I have been psyching myself up for this trip. I have not been on a true vacation for over ten years. It’s time.

I want this to be one of the best trips of both our lives.

We can do this!

I’m in the Uber and I’m more excited than afraid. I think that’s a very good sign. ❤️

32 dates?

Despite my dating history, I have not given up on the possibility that there may be someone special out there for me after all.

Everyone seems to have an opinion. My mother doesn’t want me to date anymore. Like somehow at the age of 43, my romantic life shouldn’t be a priority. My two younger brothers think their gender is a disappointment and have no faith that there are any good men left out there, especially none for me.

If I could have conducted some kind of ‘Weird Science’ experiment and created the ideal man for my sister, it would be her finacé. He couldn’t be a more perfect fit and after her own divorce, she certainly traded way up. They met online, so of course, my fingers are crossed that the process could work for me too. According to her, she went on 32 dates before she found him. I don’t think I had been on 32 dates in my life. If I took the time to count them, maybe I’d come close, but I decided to wipe the slate clean and restart the count just to be sure.

I have dated in every decade. I met my first husband in my late teens and we married in my mid 20s. I was a mother barely two years into my marriage, and a divorcée shortly afterwards.

I didn’t date very much in my 20s, because I met my youngest daughter’s father three years after I left my husband. I felt fortunate to have moved on from my first mistake. It took me eight years to figure out he wasn’t the one.

I split my 30s and the beginning of my 40s torn between a man who couldn’t live without me and a man who couldn’t figure out a way to keep me.

So here I am. Dating in my early 40s. You would think that being more mature and having lived a little more life, the prospects would be more promising.

I have been online since May. I have spaced out the dates. I have met 5 men in person. I have chatted with several others and now that the initial excitement has worn off, I have settled down to the point where I am no longer take things too personally.

Promising conversations have died without warning or explanation and I am told that this is the new norm and to not take it personally. I am nothing if not adaptable. So my ego is bruised when it happens to me, but I have also not responded to messages or blocked a stranger myself. So, tit for tat, I guess.

Dating does force one to grow a thicker skin.

27 dates to go.

I once was a total badass…

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack.

I lost myself again for a while and lost sight of why I began writing again and why I took my life back, but as of 8:32 am this morning, I vowed to get back on track.

I once was a total badass. Not that all my badassiness (I’m making it a fucking thing) has completely disappeared, but I let myself forget that I am a good person and that I am good enough.

I started reading You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero and I am going to stop doubting my greatness and remember that I already have a pretty awesome life.

“Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader, a week before prom night”. This quote appears in Sincero’s introduction. It made me want to start training for a marathon, call 1-800-GOT JUNK to help get rid of the clutter in my house and start a new business.

This happened to me once before. I was inspired by The Happiness Project late last year. I was inspired to start my blog, to do 10 minutes of tidying per day and to read more.

A few months back, I decided to venture into the world of online dating. It is not for the faint of heart or those with thin skin. Although I don’t have scary stories (Whew) or particularly horrendous stories, the callousness and insensitivity of some people used to surprise me. No more.

However, even in the short period of 3 months where I put myself out there in the virtual world, I learned that chatting with someone everyday for almost a month can result in nothing, kisses don’t mean the same to everyone, conversations can end abruptly with no explanation and people still to try to get away with pictures from 10 years ago. I have learned that just because I might be ready to put myself out there in the universe, the universe knows better.

I’ve decided to take a break from chatting for a little while. The timing doesn’t seem to be right and I know that I have other things I can focus my energy on namely, getting my badass on.

I put myself first today. I reminded myself that I fucking matter.

 

 

Hello, it’s me…and I’m tired

It has been a while since I have posted. Truthfully, I have been feeling a little lost. I have been experiencing such a variety of emotions and I realize how much writing helped me process them and how much I missed it.

How can I be feeling lost? I have great kids, amazing friends and family, a career that I can be proud of and the time to do what I want when I want. I’m sitting in Starbucks, uninterrupted, in love with writing and I’m so lucky that I can do this.

I’m tired of being alone.

This post is not being written for sympathy or God forbid pity. It has been more than six months since I made the right decision to end the relationship that was causing more pain than happiness, but now that I have moved on and feel ready to accept someone new into my life, getting myself back out there has been an interesting experience. I have been excited and disappointed and while I understand that this is part of the dating process, I feel like maybe I’m not cut out for it.

I do not have the best taste in men. That is undeniable. Even though I have ‘traded up’ in terms of quality, ‘up’ is a subjective word. I married a man who was a physically abusive adulterer. There was really no way I could do worse. Leaving him was the right decision, but it was humiliating as the marriage lasted less than three years and I couldn’t bear at the time to tell many people the real reason our marriage crumbled. The best thing to come out of that disaster, was my daughter. For her and for everyone who knew me, I put on a brave face. The bruises healed faster than my heart did but I made sure no one ever knew how destroyed I really was.

Years later, I met a man and he was my best friend for almost 8 years. He worked hard for his family and he loved me and my daughter the best way he knew how. He didn’t have the best role models growing up, but I thought I had enough love for him to make up for all of that. He was and is a very high functioning alcoholic. He was supportive and encouraging, but when I got pregnant, his immaturity reared its ugly head. I didn’t need him to be a hands-on father, I could handle all of that. I needed him to be there for me but he didn’t know how. My resentment grew. I felt more alone with him than I did without him. I didn’t want my children growing up in the environment we were creating. So, I decided to leave the house we had built and walked away from the dreams we talked about. He left the country and his daughter. His dreams were no longer my dreams. Although we kept in touch, it wasn’t until my daughter asked about her father did I approach the subject of him being a part of her life. I told him to think hard about what kind of relationship (if any) he wanted to have with her. He missed the first 5 years of her life and I was not willing to let him break the little heart I had worked so hard to keep happy.

In many ways, we are still very good friends. We are still able to talk for hours and he  calls bi-weekly. We have discussed what went wrong in our relationship. Being able to break things down in a mature way after so many years has helped us both tremendously. He is complimentary and thankful for all the work I have done for our daughter and he recognizes that I am a good mother. I do not expect any more from him.

The relationship before my latest break up, was with a very old-fashioned man. He truly did expect me to cook, clean and cater to him. I have no problem doing any of those things. I like doing those things, but because I want to, not because those are the things that are expected of me. Fuck that. He was very much a family man which was what I was thought was lacking in the last relationship. But the price he was asking me to pay was too high. He wanted me to give up my friends and my activities. I chose myself. It took me a while.

When I am stressed about making a decision, it is like my body is trying to tell me to get on with it. Indecision causes my anxiety and my panic attacks to return. I have worked so hard to manage this part of my life. I am anxious, therefore I am.

So here I am. I have been on a couple of dates. Nice people, just not for me. I have been talking to someone for a couple of weeks. I think I made another mistake. I think we waited too long to meet and now the excitement has died down. It’s too bad. We seemed to have such a great connection. Our conversations lasted for hours and we had so much in common. My gut however is telling me that it’s not the same as it once was and to move on from him as well.

The good thing is that I am moving on quicker now and not dwelling on things. I read this:

and it couldn’t be more true.

I am not going to settle for someone who is less than. I have made that resolution. It is much easier said than done because I lead with my heart and not with my head.

As hard as it has been, I would much rather be alone than with someone who doesn’t deserve or appreciate me.

It was definitely worth a try…

I have to give a shout out to my inspirations. Wednesday nights from 7-9, barring the loss of a limb, I attend a writing class. I am now more than halfway through my second session and I’m already sad that it will be over until the fall.

My fellow writers along with our writing teacher have helped me find my voice and have encouraged, shaped and inspired my writing. I wouldn’t have begun this blog, I wouldn’t have entered any writing contests and I would not have rediscovered my creative outlet without each and every one of them. This is my second session with these fine people. Some members have known each other much longer, some of us joined at the same time and we have a couple of new members who have added to the dynamics. Some are accomplished, published writers and some of us are new to the process. The space has always been a safe place and I feel like we are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones because it’s a place where we can let our writing instruments of choice be free. What is written in class, stays in class of course so the generalities I speak of will have to suffice. But trust me, they are all talents in their own right.

Our teacher calls the writing prompts we are assigned each week ‘homeplay’. We are supposed to set our timers for 10 minutes and write. This week, has been a roller coaster of emotions, but fits with the prompt: “It was definitely worth a try”. When my children want to try something new, I tell them to try it.

My oldest daughter came home from school one day and told me she had been approached by a teacher to play rugby. She, up until that point, played volleyball and basketball. I was surprised she was toying with the idea because she had never played a contact sport. My response? Try it. Now, she loves it. She plays for teams both in school and in the community and she is vying for a spot on the provincial team. It was definitely worth a try.

My youngest asked me to print out the lyrics to a One Direction song so she could audition for her school’s talent show.

Little one: Mom, I have my audition. You have to print out the lyrics for me and put the music on a USB.

Me: That’s awesome. When is it?

Little one: (gives me the details) See, Mommy. I’m conquering my fears.

We have tried dance and gymnastics and soccer and piano and guitar. Those activities have not kept her interested, but she continues to try new things.

I have friends that constantly push me to try new things. Years ago, I became a runner because one of my friends was trying it. With her, I learned to run, we ran 5ks together, we have gained weight together, we have tried various methods of losing weight together. We have learned to mediate, line dance, cope and overcome some of our anxieties. We encourage each other to try.

Other friends have introduced me to playing soccer as an adult even though I sprained my ankle playing my best game. Because of her, I start baseball next Monday. I haven’t played baseball since I was in elementary school, but, I’ll try it.

I joined a kickboxing class because I was invited to try it. 8 weeks later, I have lost 18 lbs. Tomorrow I complete a 6 week challenge and I get to find out how many inches I’ve lost. I would never have achieved this if I hadn’t tried.

My bestie at work encouraged me to try online dating. My last post chronicles that experience. It will take me a while to get comfortable in the dating game. I wasn’t really expecting to meet ‘the one’ right out of the gate and feeling the momentum die down definitely didn’t feel all that great, but it was worth the try.

My sister from another mister encourages me every day. She is proud of me and supports me no matter what stupid daily decision I make. She says I inspire her because of how far I’ve come, she needs to know that because I know I have her, I know I have someone in my corner all the time. Even though she knows 9/10 I’ll probably fall on my face and she’ll have to pick up my broken pieces, she supports my tries. I have an excellent support system.

My family, my co-workers and I wish I could thank them all, and maybe I will if I try to write my story one day.

I may not always get what I want, I may get hurt and sometimes even sad, but no matter what, it has definitely been worth a try.

So I dipped my toe in…

It has been a while since my last breakup and of course over 2 years since I’ve been on a first date. I started thinking about it. Then a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. On the advice of a friend, I created a profile on a site that requires the woman to make the first move in terms of beginning a conversation.

At first, it’s exciting. All the potential matches, then the ‘conversations’ begin and one begins to weed out the creepy guys, the secretly married guys and the perverted guys. Being 5’10, height is also a factor not only for me, but for a potential date. I’m not 5’5 looking to date men who are over 6ft tall, it is very much a level of comfort. If a guy is my height, he has to be comfortable with the fact that I rock the heels. My ex husband was 5’9 and it wasn’t until our honeymoon that he questioned my choice of footwear. On our way to a club one night, he looked at my feet and asked if I was going to wear ‘those high shoes’. As to not piss off my new husband, I did not wear them.

I have made so many mistakes in my relationships, but I have learned FINALLY that my partner has to try to make me happy too. Along the way, I forgot that I am my own person. I made my life all about my kids, or my partner’s needs and I forgot about my own.

I have done a lot of growing. I am not the person I was a year ago. I meditate, I work out regularly, I have found my outlet in my writing, I don’t anger as quickly, my anxiety seems under control, and my confidence is growing again.

So after chatting with a few new people, I took one conversation offline. We talked for hours, our first meeting over coffee lasted for hours, ended with a few kisses and I was excited because he was kind and nice and seemingly honest.

We went out again and the wheels fell off. I went into it with walls up and he seemed to understand and appreciate that. I’m not going to overanalyze the second date. I’ve gone through it all over and over. I wouldn’t change a thing. I was honest and open.

Our subsequent conversations have been fluffy, without the substance they usually contain. I gave myself 24 hours to be a little sad about it. He got me excited about the possibility and I’m mad at myself for letting myself get excited so early. I am not the kind of person who invests time in something that I don’t think is going to go anywhere just for the sake of being in a relationship.

As much as I hate being alone, I am not going to settle EVER again.

In the brief time I spoke to him, he did teach me that men can be gentlemen, they can be intuitive, they can be attentive, but they can also lie.

I’m glad I invested hours in this person and not years.

It has been 21 hours. Three more hours and I will erase all traces of him.

I’m a little bummed, but grateful that I found this out early.

But I dipped my pinky toe in the water and it almost felt good.

Stupidity, thy name is…

I was reminded today that I haven’t posted in a while. I don’t have a good excuse, but I do have some interesting stories.

I am in my fourth week of a six week challenge at my kickboxing gym. There is a little less of me as a result and I am trying to be proud of my progress. I am not where I want to be, but I’m getting there, albeit slowly, but I’m getting there. One of the challenges is not only exercise, but a meal plan that requires me to eat at very specific times. I have been working offsite for almost two weeks and it is sometimes so incredibly busy, that I honestly forget to eat. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but I absolutely love food. My body and brain have trained themselves to be cognizant of what I am putting in my mouth. I am resisting many things that in the past would have been difficult. Small, daily victories. Although I did have a small piece of birthday cake, it was for my mom, so I have already forgiven myself.

Something else happened this week, that I am going to have to forgive myself for and although I have tried to rationalize my actions, I did a stupid, stupid thing. So as I am trying to process it. Here is what lead up to it.

Thursday night, the after-school schedule was over-booked. There was tutoring and parent-teacher interviews happening at the same time, so as a family, we had to do some organizing. While I was listening to teacher after teacher rave about my daughter’s academic performances, she did something that will haunt me and scare me for the rest of my life. If I didn’t already have grey hair, it would have all turned white. I promised that I would never repeat what she did, so I am going to respect her privacy, but believe me, dear reader, you don’t have to have a child of your own to understand that what she did was dangerous and could have ended extremely badly. Thankfully, both my children are safe and sound. My oldest daughter was hopefully scared straight and will never put herself in that kind of danger again. She was very lucky this time. I don’t even think she realizes how lucky she was and is, but I do.

That night, I was extremely emotional. I met a friend of mine for tea and I was still reeling. The night before, I received some bad news about a woman I knew who lost her husband. I was reminded that it has been four months since my break up and feeling lonely, I wondered if I had made a mistake.

I have a set of Guardian angel cards that I use to meditate and I kept choosing the ‘Soulmate’ card. In one of my earlier posts, I decided I didn’t need my plan B, so I had already decided that he couldn’t possibly be my soulmate. But what about my ex? Had I made a mistake? At dinner with some friends a couple of weeks ago, one of my friends asked if I was ready to date. I have been thinking about it, and I didn’t think I was. I was trying to figure out why that was. made the decision to break up with my ex. decided that I had had enough of his bullshit. didn’t even want to be with him anymore. So why did I feel like I had to confirm all of this? So in my overly emotional state, I think I wanted to make sure that I had not actually let my potential soulmate go. So stupidly, I called him. Why the fuck did I do it?

One friend suggested that I did it because I needed the closure we never really had and it was almost like I needed to give myself permission to move on by making sure he didn’t hate me too much. He was very surprised to hear from me and as soon as he answered, I knew I shouldn’t have called. But there was no turning back. Fuck. I asked him how he was doing and I acknowledged that it was probably a shock to hear from me. He was cold. No trace of the man I used to love. I don’t know why I expected any different. Was I expecting him to be happy to hear from me?

The conversation lasted 5 minutes and 18 seconds. I made it clear that I was not calling to get back together or anything like that, but that I felt like I needed to apologize for the way we left things. He assured me that I did not have to apologize and that the way we were fighting was not healthy for us. He also acknowledged that his expectations about my level of patience were unfair and the situation he was in that had caused so much turmoil was very much still his reality. Nothing had changed. He is the same person. The same person I loved for as long as I could until my heart that was trying so hard to keep itself together, finally broke. I told him that I appreciated him saying that and I wished that there was something I could say to somehow erase the bad memories. There isn’t, there wasn’t and there never will be. But at least this time, I got to say goodbye forever and I wished him well. I sat in my car after the call and let myself let go of all of the ‘what ifs’. There were a few tears, but I’m not sure if they were all about him or just a release of emotions because of everything that had happened earlier. Whatever the reason, the tears felt right. I don’t cry very often, so there weren’t very many, but enough to make it feel like some kind of weight had been lifted.

I did not let my soulmate go. Even if I never find my soulmate, it was not him.

Before driving home, I checked Instagram. Lo and behold, there is a picture of my Plan B with his new girlfriend with the hashtag #lovemygirl. Poor girl. He said those same words to me less than a month ago. I dodged that bullet.

When I got home, my daughter kept apologizing. She saw that I had been crying. I told her about the phone call I had made. Her response? “It’s okay, Mom. We both did stupid things tonight. Can we forget they ever happened?”

I gave her my phone and asked her to erase any traces of these two men from my phone. Phone numbers? Gone. Voicemails? Gone. Text messages? All gone. I even had her go through my camera roll and erase any potential reminders. Clean slate. No guilt about dating again. No more wondering if I missed something in someone.

The ‘Soulmate’ card is supposed to encourage me to find my truth and seek truth through transformation. It is about choosing freedom and no longer living a lie.

I have been asking the universe to give me a sign. Well, I got two giant flashing ones. It couldn’t be more clear.

I am free.

I took me a while to understand that I have been free for a while, it just took my heart a little time to realize it.