Filling Out Forms

I’m doing it.  I’ve started this before.  There were many befores, but I’m doing it.

The first before was because I was angry and I had no options.  I excused that away because I decided I wouldn’t finish what he started and I never wanted.  I stopped.

Another before was started and then stopped when I decided I wouldn’t be the person he wanted to make me into. I would be the wife I wanted to be, no matter what kind of husband he was being.  That lasted 11 months.  I tried. I won’t say I failed.  I allowed another dream to replace the one that no longer served me.

There were plenty befores when I felt rage or pain or loss and I didn’t know what else to do.  The action I took was no action.  I wouldn’t allow a feeling to force my hand. Feelings come and go, but a choice I make is one I get to live with.

This moment right now will not become a before.

I’m not angry.  There’s no pain. Last night I learned something that was shocking and could have been painful but it was more irritating.  How dare a husband of mine disrespect me on such a visceral level?  It wasn’t even about him, but the label I gave him when I gave him my hand and the disgust I felt.  At the end of the day, I chose to make that boy my husband.

This is not about the person I’m dating. I’m not actually dating anyone special. There hasn’t been anyone on a date with me that was blog worthy for a while. It’s not that serious. Only one man has made it to a third actual date and he didn’t get number four because by then, his really sexy Italian accent wasn’t as hard to comprehend.  I started to actually understand what he was saying and I couldn’t continue dating him. Just no and ewwww.   No one else has made it past a first date, and my crushes were just crushes and wonderful for what they were. Would I have ever introduced either one of those boys to my kids? No.  It was never even considered.

Six days ago I imagined a perfect day. For the first time, I was able to imagine being at a river with someone else.  I thought about the shimmer of the sun reflected on flowing water and radiating painfully in my eyes.  I could smell the sunblock and feel the warmth of the sun.  I could hear laughter and imagined being in a place I’ve never been, surrounded by people and not on my own.  I imagined waking up with someone, and bumping around a kitchen to make breakfast together.  I pictured a hike with someone and sharing an afternoon and sunset on the pier with someone, followed by walking along the sand in deep conversation under a bright and full moon.  I could hear the crackle and smell the burning wood while cuddled under a blanket around a beach fire pit.  In all of this, I wasn’t imagining being on my own, but with someone special.  It’s time.  I’m ready for my divorce now.

I won’t lie, I’ve been putting it off all week.  Every time I sat to fill out the forms, it didn’t feel right.  I had things on my mind at work, and couldn’t get it done on my lunch.  I had homework to help with and things I needed to do that became more important throughout the week.  I’m doing it now.  I’m filling out forms.  I have two more to bang out before I start drafting that motion.  What makes it right in this moment is I have my boys with me.  My older two are happy and gaming, and I can hear the music from their games and the occasional geek out.  My little one is playing and running to me to share whatever new thought crosses his mind.  A house full of my babies, and the sounds of who we have become are what have been missing.

I’m excited about the next phase in my life.  I have been sitting in this moment and fully appreciating what it means.  I want more intention in this moment than there was on my wedding day when I thought, “shit, am I really doing this?  What the hell, let’s do it.” There may one day be another wedding.  If there is, it will include my family and not just three people, with one of them objecting.  I chose to marry him, and even though it wasn’t my desire, I took his name.  I am the only woman to marry into his family that has his name.  I may  be the only woman in his family with his name.  I’m not sure what his sister and cousin did when they married their husbands, but I don’t really care either.  I get to reclaim my birth name.  I am the only person on this planet with the power and ability to divorce him.  I get to divorce my husband and as his wife, it is the last mess of his I will ever have to clean up.  Whatever children he decides to have won’t fall under the shame of my broken marriage.  He always wanted a daughter and I never wanted to give him another child. I don’t have to live with what he felt for the surrogate daughters I carried for another family. I can be at peace with what I did with my body. When I’m asked about my marital status, I will no longer be in marriage purgatory and separated without a legal separation.  I will be divorced and I will be single and I’ll only be connected by our boys.

I feel peace.  I feel empowered.  I feel joy.  I feel alive.  I feel hopeful.

It’s a great night to be me.  I’m going to finish filling these forms out before bed and I anticipate pleasant dreams.

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Open Wounds

There was blood on the floor from the gash gaping gore

Licking the edges itchy with healing

tang of salted copper pennies

Bite of flesh digging deeper in rage lust vengeance

I want to feel what I need to inflict

Anger angst apathetic vices

you are full of fire and cold embering flames

expired heat and disgust replaced desire

Wrath lashes through dull warm beer haze

And I spit with spite at the little bitch you’ve become

Washing hands clean

scalding boil of lye and fat

scraping remnants of memories to clear away the decay of your existence

leaving gone and still going

And I call your name one last time

Pussy

Unringing the Bell

Sometimes it would be amazing to unhear or unsee something.  A chance at a do-over is the stuff of great novels and daydreams.  We all want to take something back and start over.  Sometimes it’s impossible.  Sometimes you can use the point where it all fell apart as a launch pad for something new and deeper.

The devastation I felt when my husband left me was traumatic but there is value in it.  I have learned so much about myself and I have found true joy in who I am.  There was a cost but I didn’t expect the payout to touch so many various areas of my life in such a ginormous and beautiful way.

In 2012 I was hospitalized with my last surrogate pregnancy for about a month.  At 25 weeks gestation, a regular check up with the neonatologist showed that my cervix started funneling and the twins were trying to come out. Well, more like my body wanted to force an eviction. I’ve always been blessed with fairly easy pregnancies and contractions I couldn’t feel until I was about ready to push. Why else would I be willing to be pregnant 6 times? I was planning a pedicure and Target trip that day but I was told to head straight to the emergency room. I couldn’t stop at home for my laptop or Kindle or even extra panties.  I was in a hospital bed from week 25 until week 29 when they were born.  They eventually left the hospital and then the country.  During that time I was on complete and total bedrest, and allowed to take one 5-minute timed shower while sitting.  The rest of the time I was stuck having nurses give me bed baths, and I spent a week in the trendelenburg position.  This means my bed was tilted so I was laying upside down at a 45 degree angle to keep gravity from doing what is natural.  I will always feel like I could have done things a little differently to keep them in longer and give them a stronger start in life.  I can see most would imagine I did enough, but believing there is always more to do and that I could do a better job is just who I am. I deal with it.  You should too.

This time of being forced away from my family reset things for me.  It gave me a do over. I realized that motherhood was a gift I was squandering in superficial ideals of what I should do and what I should be while my kids suffered my short temper because I couldn’t possibly do it all and be happy about it at the same time.  I came home and things changed.  I decided I would be the mother my children deserved, rather than the mother I wanted to be. I started putting their needs ahead of mine and the desire to whine about it settled into a version of peace for me.  I stopped feeling defeated because I felt what it was like to not be able to sleep with my kids near me and steal random hugs whenever I felt son sick and needed a refill.  I never imagined it as preparation for shared custody.  I saw it as patience when I needed it and compassion when they did.

In 2005, my oldest was 4 years old and nonverbal.  His pediatrician with too many letters behind her name told me he would talk when he was ready.  At the time I was a teacher’s aide at an elementary school and had a friendship with a speech therapist.  She suggested I ask the school district for an assessment.  His assessment was the same day as his first IEP.  I took him for the appointment and the team asked me to come back in a few hours and bring the whole family.

A few hours later I was there with the ex and our two boys.  They psychologist played with our kids on the floor while the rest of the team explained what autism is and that it was in our home.  They explained the characteristics to us and I right away made the connection that they were describing everything Kid2 does as well.  From the floor, the psychologist told us that in her professional opinion, Kid2 was also on the spectrum and his characteristics were more severe than Kid1.  Kid2 was still 2 years old and an official diagnosis wouldn’t come until later. Autism spectrum disorders can often look like normal toddler behavior and while it may seem like everyone has autism through some sort of connection, they really don’t like to hand out labels unless they have to.

My emotions were swiftly all over the place.  Before I left that meeting, I had cycled through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression) and I was at acceptance. Every thought and action for the next few years became, “But how do I help my boys?” I had to field the questions from family, making them feel better about what it was like for me to raise special needs kids because somehow the stigma affected them even though I was the one dealing with meltdowns and being a bad mother in the eyes of everyone around me.  It was a long time before I allowed myself to mourn the loss of expectations that were born with my kids and died in that meeting.  I would deny myself the freedom to revisit those stages and emotions because it wasn’t productive.  I would instead go through a moment of sensory integration messes like poopy painting on the walls and floor and beg others to envy me in snark and frustration, not realizing that there really are women that would give anything for the work I faced in place of the grief they felt.

There are fewer expectations and more pleasant surprises. I was told my middle son would never even say, “Mom.” I smile when he has long conversations about Nintendo or tells me how loved he feels.

My boys are still autistic.  That doesn’t go away or fade into the background.  It’s in our face with meltdowns from time to time. We do our part to make others autism aware, it just doesn’t look like stickers and ribbons.  I’m usually good at knowing where their limits are but I constantly remind them that they need to communicate their needs.  I don’t mind cutting a day short, but I mind knowing they pushed through a day of torture because they felt my needs were more important than theirs. I will always run the risk of a total melt down with violence if I try to change routines too drastically without plenty of warning and coaching along the way. The difference is they have learned ways to regulate how they feel and they have learned how they are expected to behave in society.  It’s not a perfect formula but it’s one we have all learned to work with.  At the same time, I am at peace with the idea that they prefer to be home at all times because it’s a routine they can predict.  It’s structure they crave and when they are calm, we all have peace.  That is until Kid3 has a meltdown. He doesn’t understand he’s not capable of competing with what his brothers have already done before he was born and the part of me he is poking with a stick has long since been broken and looks at him with pity and amusement.

Would I ever unring this bell?  Probably not.  Of course I’m Mom and would love to protect my children from every moment of suffering.  The reality is they are often blessedly oblivious to most social slights. I’m the one that sees more than I should and I may or may not have wanted to cut a kid because of it.

There are things about being a special needs mom I would never give up.  I’m an advocate.  I know how to fight for my kids.  I have.  I’ve won.  Fighting Like a Girl and Pulling Punches is all about what my kids have taught me. It has made me grow in patience and empathy.  I’m the person that won’t judge the mom with the crying child in a grocery store because I know that child is probably hungry, tired, uncomfortable and bored. I know that parent has been doing all they can think of to do for their children while doing what they need to do in order to take care of themselves and be the parents they want to be.  We all try to do what we think is best for our kids.   Being an autism mom has made me an optimist.  I will always look out for the best in a bad situation and find the silver lining because that is a necessity in the life we get to live.  We have to stay positive because it’s not just our joy on the line, but that of the children we are blessed with.  Their peace and sense of self comes from me.  I’m responsible for the inner voice that I’ve helped shape from their infancy. I’m responsible for their ability to navigate the world outside of our home and the thickness of skin that protects them from discrimination and aggression.

As for Kid1, he has the ability to see the world with a fresh perspective that takes each part separately and examines it carefully before putting it all back together.  He has a gift for art that is detailed because one of his superpower characteristics is to fixate on one thing to the point of mastery.  He amazes me with how he sees things and the specific diction with which he describes things.  One of his loves is my mashed potatoes.  He’s always called them “smashed potatoes” because that is what I’m doing when I make them.  (Not much in my kitchen came out of a box until recent months.)

Kid2 is completely guileless.  While he would love to lie, he’s often incapable of it. He has an open appreciation for affection.  He understands the value of a great big hug and snuggles that hold you up and together. He loves video games and will research and obsess over them. He’s passionate.  He will have moments of joy and laughter and moments of rage.  The only times he is apathetic is when he is experiencing a sensory overload and needs to reset with hugs, and a calming routine. Or when he’s being affectionate.

I’ve heard some lines about special needs parents being chosen.  I call BS on that.  The learning curve has been sharp for all of us, and we haven’t quit or died trying, so we’re doing okay.  But we’re far from the saintly.  We know how to live on call every moment and know that an emergency is seconds away at any given time.  We’ve been judged for our parenting and had our instincts go against professional opinions and we’ve been right. Given true respite where someone we trust has our kids, we can let loose and party harder than the average parent.  We know how to accept a break when it’s offered and we trust the person that has our kids.  At the same time, not everyone is trusted with our kids.  We’re not magical or unicorns, but we learn to choose our battles and let the small stuff slide.  The big stuff will be a bigger battle than you could imagine trying to bargain for.

Right now this first draft is being written with 9 year old Kid3 having a tantrum because I won’t allow him to eat Funyuns in my bed.  It’s been about an hour of crying, throwing things and slamming doors.  It’s part of his fallout when transitions between houses gets to him.  I’m at peace and ignoring him, except when he calms himself enough to talk clearly.  I respond calmly and talk to him at his level while speaking slightly lower than he does until he has begun to calm his voice.  I wouldn’t unring this bell.

Jealous Much?

I once read a Maya Angelou book that I loved into worn and dog eared pages. It was weighted with the pleasures of words that resounded deeply in the wistful and angsty corners of my heart.  The most profound (to me) thought she shared was on jealousy.

“Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening”

The beauty of online dating is the ability to hide certain details like where exactly I live and work.  That’s the benefit of hiding behind a keyboard.  I let potential suitors know I’m available when custody shifts to their capable Dad, and I usually have a couple of offers lined up for Wednesday because that’s my first kid free opportunity.  Last week and again this week, I was asked to meet at the California Pizza Kitchen in Burbank.  I work in Burbank and that seems to be the solid choice because it’s across from Ikea and everyone seems to know how to get there.

For years it was our place.  My ex and I went there for date nights, and we shared many family meals there.  I went there last week with a lanky guitarist/skateboarder and learned from the staff that still remembers me that it’s still my ex’s favorite place with the new woman in his life.  I was surrounded by scent memories and nostalgia in a restaurant that has slowly shifted into something new and trendy in shades of my favorite colors.

My date probably had first date nerves, but I wasn’t so into him that sharing a first meal with him mattered to me.  He relaxed into the evening when he realized I really don’t bite. He had yet to impress upon me the benefit of his presence.  As cocky as that sounds, I am picky.  I’m on four dating sites, and have swiped left enough times that I’ve exhausted both Clover and Bumble’s list of potentials because I’ve narrowed my criteria and rejected as many as they had for me.  I like a clean shave because that’s a preference.  I like fair skin and light eyes with a solid jawline.  At the end of the day, he has to be doing better in life than I am, and not feel like dating is the same as a sex interview and that’s where they tend to crash and burn.  I’m very interested in not having to take care of anyone else, and I refuse to date younger men.  As of right now, I have 237 likes on Clover in the past 3 days and 90% of them are still in their 20’s. It’s a cougar’s market.

“No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.”

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I’m meeting someone else at that same restaurant this week.  I hear his insecurities when he brings up my ex.  He wants to compare and contrast but that’s not a game I’m interested in. I can hear his need when he tells me how carefree my smile is and that I have a magnetic charm he has wanted to get to know for some time and then he talks about his insomnia.  He thinks he needs what I have but I don’t know how to share it.  It’s who I am.  He’s a bit jealous of the ex and I don’t think he can tell I don’t care to see that.

I have jealous moments, but it’s not for the man my (still) husband has become, but the life we used to have.  It’s gone.  We’ve both changed too much for that history to become a future. I have moments in the bustle of a busy restaurant with friendly smiles and fresh yeasty bread with a crackling crust and the aroma of fresh pizza sauce that catch me by surprise in memories of spilled soda and laughter and even a bit of hand holding when we shared each other’s rings. I’m sometimes jealous for the life we shared before this last year changed who I am and forced choices I never imagined I would have to make.  I’m no longer jealous of the woman that called me a horrible mother, an ugly woman and that I deserve how my husband treated me as she spent long nights and days texting my husband and sharing family moments with her children and mine in restaurants and at their workplace, replacing me at my children’s birthday parties that are now separate celebrations.  I’m no longer jealous of the in laws that treat her like family and told me I was no longer family because I was thrown away.  I was thrown away.

I think of the ignorance and joy of a life as a wife that never imagined a “what if” or “when . . . I will” because I once had a marriage that didn’t have a contingency plan. Our future was camping trips and growing old together and it doesn’t look like that anymore.  I’m jealous of the certainty of that.

Worth the Effort

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I had a birthday party for a friend Saturday night.  I won’t get a sitter when I have a date.  That’s what shared custody is for.  But I had a party to attend.  It was a party with Persian food and it was full of vegetarian yum and the beautiful art of kabob that satisfied the carnivore in me.  It came at a cost.

My son didn’t want to go to Grandma’s house, but he agreed if I would make him macarons.  He loves macarons.  He requested orange blossom.  They’re a complicated piece of work with very few ingredients.

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Granulated sugar, powdered sugar, almond meal, cream of tartar and gel food coloring.

I usually use fewer dishes, but I wanted to take pictures.

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Sifted powdered sugar and almond meal being folded into the meringue.

At this point, the egg whites have sugar added and a bit of cream of tartar.  I had stiff peaks that stayed put when the bowl was flipped upside down.  The powdered sugar and almond meal were sifted together, then folded into the egg whites.

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Orange blossom water and gel food coloring. 

Orange blossom water added the flavor and the gel food coloring made it pretty.

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ribbonning off my spatula

This stream of yum is ready to be put in a piping bag.

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Silpat mats and parchment

I use silpat mats with parchment over it.  It keeps the bottom from browning too quickly.

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Piped and banged on the counter

I’m horrible at piping things with a bag. I bang the pan on the counter to release air bubbles. They rest a bit until the top is no longer sticky.

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Pretty little feet

They’ve baked and have cute little feet from released steam.

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Buttercream frosting because ganache is too sweet. Um, it’s all too sweet. 

I eyeball my buttercream.  Butter, powdered sugar, more orange blossom water and gel food coloring.  Normally the cookies would rest but my boys don’t allow that.  I already had one thieved away as soon as the cookies were taken out.

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Finished macarons

The cookies were made and gone by morning.  (I asked them to save some for Kid3 who thinks they’re too sweet.)

The point is the work involved is where you find the love.  I was texting someone last night. It’s the new form of dating I’m not sure I like.  Even in casual dating, people want to get to know you and I feel that’s the point of going out for coffee and dinner.  I rely too heavily on nonverbal communication and body language to be comfortable with texting.  It skeeves me out when I’m texting someone that says he’s willing to relocate from Dallas to Los Angeles for love or when you can’t judge the tone of a conversation because it is something that pops up when you are in the middle of living.

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I think this might have been flirting in a not so flirtatious way. 

I wholeheartedly believe that if the juice is worth the squeeze, it’s not work but anticipation.

My kids have on and off freak outs about my dating.  They are okay and then the anxiety kicks in and they are not. For the most part I keep it away from them.  They won’t meet anyone I’m dating unless he’s really special and we’re talking long term and progressing toward cohabitation or marriage.  I’m still legally married and not at all interested in that right now.  I’m also not into “Netflix and Chill,” now that I know what that means. (Yikes!) I try not to piss in my own pool, (to put it in the most vulgar form I can), but that means I’m not eager to date someone that knows my family.  That just feels like descabbing the scars our family faced last year when I was a sobbing mess shattered by a false friendship and deep betrayal. This morning I had a heart to heart with Kid3.  He’s worried about a replacement Daddy. I assured him that he has only one Daddy and Mom is just going out to have fun.  He’s special to me and someone has to be really special to earn the right to meet him.  He felt better about that.  He was curious about the many alerts and likes I get because my phone goes off all the time and I showed him a couple and pointed out that Mommy can’t date the many 20 year olds that like me because that would be creepy. He started laughing with me and we both felt better.

This juice is worth the squeeze but I’m waiting for the wine glass to shine before I pour this mimosa.

Beautiful Sunsets 

 

Friday was a good day at work.  I did a bit of a run around scavenger hunt for toner and was surprised that my security badge got me into places I didn’t know I could go.  I learned new things, and I am really digging finance.  I left work and drove to Santa Monica for another glorious sunset.  I live a blessed life.

I walked the pier and saw that friendly photographer that once offered me a free picture and still offers a warm hug and a hot beverage.  He kept offering hot tea and I accepted. I watched people on the pier land small mackerel.  I looked for the seal that appears to prefer warmer weather.  I even watched a man toss back a crab he caught, accidently knocking his drink into the ocean.

I answered a call last night that carried a redemptive value I never thought I’d see. It was a shift I didn’t know was coming and it arrived long after I gave up on it. The freedom it brings comes with a weighted burden of the heartache that came as a cost to the person bringing my vindication. After being accused of insecurity and jealousy over a friendship, I was told that yes, my ex left me for another man’s wife, and there is something wrong with what the two of them did and continue to do to my family, with blessings from those I once called my family. Being right doesn’t always feel good.

I spoke about the ex for the first time in months and it wasn’t painful. It was more a dull history lesson with angry highlights.  I’m moving forward and experiencing many beautiful first times in a long time. It tastes like freedom. It smells like aftershave and feels like facial hair and solid muscles.  I waited a long time for that conversation and last night I realized it didn’t matter anymore. I don’t feel happy about it.  I feel pity.  It sat on my shoulders and as the wind whipped through my hair, I couldn’t toss back the weight of disappointment that this woman felt.

I made a last stubborn walk through forceful winds to look for the gamboling seal that often cheers me up, then headed to the parking lot.  I stood in front of Pier Burger and while I felt that dinner should be had, my appetite was gone. I met Patrick with beautiful and haunting blue eyes. He was searching for dinner in the trash in front of the restaurant and I offered him a hot meal instead. I looked in his eyes and addressed him by name.  In his uncertain smile I found the cloying weight was a layer of shame that I was feeling and I let go of that weight long ago.  I could see it in the way he looked at me, that the weight I was starting to shoulder was no longer my burden to carry.  In the glimmer of hope shining in his icy blue eyes, I found my anchor in joy.

Healing, Growing and Helping Others

Lately the power of “no” has been an elusive friend.  She watches me from her corner booth with a dry vodka martini in hand and the solitary light of an inhaled ember that is a beacon in her ephemeral haze of cigarette smoke.  I can hear her laughter cutting into me like a slap across the face that is kissed into tenderness.  My life has been vacuuming away my choices, so I can only see decisions.  These decisions have a heavier weight to them.  There’s an honest clarity that we can’t always coat in confectioner’s sugar and the independence of a choice is shackled in duty when it becomes a decision.  We must do what is right, even if it is not easy.  Especially when we know it doesn’t feel good.

It’s the stress of the last couple of weeks that has had me blogging less, but it’s not so much about being busy or distracted as much as I’ve been holding the choice to be a dutiful “person to ______” as more important than the choice to be selfish for myself.  Right now that means I’m taking on a little too much and processing it all just before falling asleep and the meaning escapes me in dreams but I wake up with hopeful anticipation. Stress relief looks late late night flirting into early morning hours because I can and a nap is never not an option. I’m reminded fairly often that I need to take care of myself first and this late morning while still in bed is me doing just that.

I am mother before I allow myself to be me. It has been a few days of frustration, disappointment, powerlessness, and when I wait patiently, I can even see Grace.  Yesterday Facebook reminded me of what I went through “On This Day” last year. I’m editing out a few names, but essentially I wrote:

May 20, 2015 at 4:29 PM

It’s been a rough few months.  I’m not ashamed.  It is part of life.  Alone with the kids at bedtime last night, I was feeling too low to want to read to them.  Kid3 had a tantrum, so I went ahead and started reading.  I keep telling them that giving them less than what they deserve because I might not be happy is a choice and they need to call me on it when I do that.  Kid1 called me on it. It’s not their fault life is unfriendly to me right now, and I won’t punish them for it.  So I started reading, and as I’m reading, the tears start and so do the sniffles.  My throat gets tighter and the words struggle free and choke with emotion.  They didn’t say a word.  They listened quietly and said thank you with goodnight kisses when I got to the end of the chapter.  Their hugs were loving and gave as much as was received.  It’s a new day and looking at last night, it encouraged me and right now it’s lifting me up a bit. I have great boys.  I want the world to know how great my boys are.

Kid2 is going through a rough patch right now and last night Kid3 blamed their Dad.  It wasn’t until after I defended him that I realized how well I’m doing.  At first I was devastated.  I was happy in my marriage and blindsided that he wasn’t.  I’ve found there is true joy in my daily life now that I am single.  There’s so much joy that even when situations are out of my control, I can find peace and laughter if I dig deep enough.  I’m learning how to deal with what life hands me in a way that lets me react in making difficult choices and tough decisions without selfishness and greed.  I can hear my son blame his Dad for the family falling apart and I can hear the pain when he feels hopeless in helping his brother.  Hearing his concerns allowed me to comfort him and remind him that I have fallen apart myself and it’s a choice to decide you want to get back up.  I reminded him that his Dad is much happier now.  I told him that I’ve found ways to be happier now and we all just need to find ways to move with what life looks like to us.  I felt the weight of truth in stating that this situation with Kid2 really isn’t anyone’s fault and that we just need to find a way to help each other feel better and be better.

I saw my cousin and sister late last night and he shared some of the pain from his break up.  I told him I’ve found my joy in crashing waves and smiling at strangers. I love matching bra and panty sets.  My sister asked who is going to see them and I pointed out I see them in the mirror every day.  I showed them my latest tattoo which is over a year old and we talked about online dating.  In the end, there is good with the bad, and I am having fun with it.  I’ve found fun on one site and I can let go of the other one.  We made tentative plans to go to Florentine Gardens because that was a club we all went to when we were fledgling adults and it would be fun to revisit.  Mainly we talked healing.

I love my cousin. He is beautiful and feminine and so full of deep love.  I reminded my cousin that he was born at a certain level and lowered himself to be with his ex.  I told him he keeps entertaining his ex to offer another opportunity to get kicked. I did it too. If he stops looking below him, he’ll see all of the many beautiful men at his level and above.  He needs to stop looking down and back and look forward.  I told him he may never find closure for the relationship but he will one day find closure for why he thought he needed to allow someone below him to act as if he was above. He wanted to know why his ex would enter another relationship right away and accept an obvious downgrade with worse treatment.  I told him that his ex sees him as better than he deserved which is why he’s often the object of aggression.  Say “have a nice day” and hang up. I do.  He looks at what he has and knows it’s a downgrade.  He takes whatever he’s dished because he’s afraid to look lower.

I told my cousin about the many great men I’ve been meeting and he started to say that I would find someone better than my ex. I don’t look to compare him to anyone. Not anymore. He’s a good Dad.  He does what he thinks is best for our kids, as far as he can see. We’re just no longer together. I compare these beautiful and intelligent men to me. Can we hold a meaningful conversation? I have goals, does he? I’m taking care of myself, is he doing better than I am?  Things are looking better from this vantage point.

I went home and realised the pedestal we place our loved ones on are designed for us.  We just need to look around, up or down, but we’ll eventually see where the people we love are placed, and we will eventually see that we don’t need to put them in our place because they won’t always be willing to set us on their pedestal and their pedestal doesn’t always lead us forward. If we’re lucky, we can hop from stand to stand, side by side and not feel like one needs to be displaced for the other. And sometimes it’s not worth it to date a charity case.  Letting them go and washing off their sticky insecurities can be a little exhausting. That really doesn’t refer to the ex.  We’re happier apart, and I’m happy with casual dating.