New Year’s Resolution 2017!

I never make New Year’s Resolutions, but this is the year I will start.  It’s about continuing intentionally through my lifelong transformation.  It’s about finding my gift receipt and returning what I don’t need.

It’s been an eye opening few weeks.  I’ve been trying to be intentional in my self care.  It doesn’t always go well.  But I’m trying.  In the last few weeks at work and life jumping up to surprise me in creative and nasty ways, I have let my situation control how I feel and that is not something I want to do with my life.  In the last month or so, both my Dad and Step Dad have been hospitalized. I’ve noticed their choices and have been able to see something that made parts of myself fall into place and I’m shocked.

My early 70 something year old Dad was hospitalized a few days one week, got released, went to Vegas and came home, then ended up hospitalized again on something unrelated in the very next day.  He’s now planning an exercise regimen from his hospital bed.

My late 70 something year old Step Dad was hospitalized, nearly lost his life, then took the family to Knott’s Berry Farm within days of being released. Seriously.

I had Kid3 in 2006 and within a couple of weeks, spent a weekend walking around Sea World because my ex wanted to take the family.

Less than a month after being hospitalized a month, and having a c-section to deliver surrogate twins in 2012, I was walking around Legoland. I remember being in pain, still leaking from birth, and being miserable even while on serious pain meds both times.

What I did was for the sake of family, but it goes deeper.  I live on a property that has two houses on one lot.  For a while, my sister that is slowly going blind lived right behind my house.  I decided on the day after Christmas, I would put exterior lights up outside to help her see at night because the walkway between houses could be dark.  I climbed up a ladder and strung those lights up without someone to hand me lights, or hold the ladder while my ex stayed in bed watching something on television.

No sense of self preservation, right? No sense of self care or asking for help or suggesting that maybe, space and time to heal and recover would be a great idea.

For the first time in years, I have a New Year’s Resolution.  Self care will be a priority.  I won’t allow work, or family, or obligations to weigh so heavily on me that they control my ability to breathe in peace and feel restored by sunlight. I won’t get so angry that I indulge in road ragey moments of yelling at people that can’t hear me and probably have no idea I’m irked.  I will be in control of how I react and that means I will care for myself like I love myself because I do.

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Anatomy of a Catfish, Day 9

The day I was expecting has finally arrived! I don’t need to feel like a cold harpy that couldn’t give a poor romantic the benefit of the doubt.  The man that has been trying to keep my attention has finally gotten to the point, and here I go, trolling my catfish.

Naughty Bloggess, I know. Someone should consider spanking me. Assuming I’m not creeped out . . . And I’m interested in his conversation . . . And dinner should happen.  Okay, maybe we should skip the spanking.  Apparently I’m asking for way too much.

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I thought the request would involve his phone.  The phone was what he kept complaining about, even though the flight home was something we talked about.  I just assumed he would say he didn’t have enough notice for the flight but he surprised me.

I could understand an account being frozen, but a damaged card still has usable numbers you can read or type into a website.  He’s a New Yorker/Californian/World Traveller, and he should know this. Right?

And if you can recall (I can), this job already paid him half of what he was expecting to get paid for the completion of the job.  Is it possible that with that kind of a payout on a job he flew to Brazil for with a team of about 10 . . . No one else could help him?

I offer a way out when I can. They never take it. The big request was almost anti-climactic, but this is where I start trolling him and I really have fun with it.  Because I’m not always a nice person, right?

If I were a nice person, I would just tell him the reality of what I’m doing on my blog.  But is that really a nice thing to do? To tell them we were playing a partnered game? I wouldn’t take out a loan for myself if I can avoid it because I think of the reality of paying it back.  If you can’t take out a loan at a bank, why should I trust you with my money.  People work at banks and get paid big bucks to make prudent decisions.  I should trust their lead, right?

Yesterday there were a few texts without his odd typos.  It’s like he forgot what he was supposed to be doing.  Commitment to your lies helps sell the story.  Me for example . . .

I am intentionally making myself into a very plump and delicious whale. Maybe I can drag this one out for another 9 days.  Not that I want to bore you with my shenanigans.  I just want to frustrate him. My Kid1 intends to send me the “dankest memes” so I can send those as my send off.  We’ve connected over our web shenanigans.

So it’s now day 10, and he’s been checking in with me more often and trying to see how I’m coming along with his request.  The point of this blog series was to tell you what to look for, so I won’t bother giving you the details of my debauchery and lies unless you really want them.

My reality is I’ve been catfished more often than I want to be.  I don’t bother sharing their pictures or other details because I’m sure most of them are fake.  There’s probably some innocent person out there that gives great massages, loves to cuddle and visit museums and has a really large brain and he has no idea his pictures are being used for someone’s income stream.

I had a job interview for a pharmaceutical company that wanted me to interview through Google Hangouts.  That was the first red flag.  Asking my sex, age, marital status and other illegal details was another.  They asked where I banked to see if they could set up direct deposit.

I met another man Saturday just after I lost my job.  He’s been offering to send me money.  He’s been asking for my checking account and routing numbers but doesn’t understand why I won’t trust him.  He almost seemed angry at my mistrust and gave many excuses as to why he can’t use Western Union, Paypal, Venmo or the Go Fund Me pages I set up when I was trying to take my leadership classes.

We reveal so much in passive conversation.  How old are you? I just had my birthday, when is yours?  Where do you live? Are we close? Are you still married?

No one needs to know where you bank or private details like your bank account.

A birth date can be used for verification.

No one needs your social security number unless they are reporting to the government.

You don’t need to lend money to a person that not even a bank would trust.  Seriously. Don’t take my word for it.  My kids collaborated so I could test their internet savvy.

According to Kid1:

You don’t give out your address, your age, social security number, credit card information, zip code, and never post a picture of your face in your profile. Use a fake name and fake age (because he’s not old enough to have a YouTube). Rule 34, if it exists, there’s a porn of it, don’t test it. Many of my friends have tested it.  I am unfortunately one of those people that tested it. People are very weird.  And there are many places you don’t go on the internet like 8Chan, 2Chan, 4Chan.  They’re all full of edgy people. They will find your internet IP and home address.  Just don’t go.

According to Kid2:

Don’t give out your info. No info at all, except my Nintendo friend code.

Kid3: Not your middle or last name.

Anatomy of a Catfish, Day 8

The weight of my reality gave way to the fact that I overthink everything and I’m really great at that.  And then my catfish was back to his normal  by late evening and it was easier to see clearly.

His typing errors made me believe he was just going to ask for a new phone.

Poor thing fell and hurt his phone.

It amazes me that he would seriously wait days until Christmas to try to book a flight.  There are movies made about those kinds of shenanigans.

I was thinking he was full of it, but clearly I am too, so I said he was sweet instead.

It would have been vengeance worthy if he had asked me to set my kids up for his fall too.  Seriously, who does this kind of thing?

At this point there was genuine suspense.  Was he going to try to show up? Was this part of his game?

What was the laugh? Was it that I wanted to analyze what he said? Was it about the fact that I could find a way to relate to his lies?

And there goes that phone again. Maybe he should do something about it.

Anatomy of a Catfish, Day 7 & Day 8

Day 6 started with me finding out I don’t have my job anymore, but I’m fishing for a catfish so I wasn’t going to let him know.

Day 7 I met a friend and another friend of hers for brunch so we could brainstorm ideas and discuss my career direction. I also needed the connection and support.  I told them about my latest catfish and one of the women at our table told me about the one that forced her off all sites for good. Her situation required a police report. Yikes!

I was still in shock from some of the many turns my life is taking right now, but still super confident that this man talking to me is only lying to me.  He was very missing throughout the day, reaching out to say he missed me and loved me and wanted to leave Brazil and come home to me.

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Of course he encourages the clinginess.  That’s how he knows I would do anything for him.

I was amused by this exchange because nothing can come between us, but his being right back waited several hours.  I was busy, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Day 8 came and I was going through the stages we go through when faced with change in our lives.  Call it grief.  Call it disappointment.  It was stages of exhaustion, frustration, disappointment, and hope.  And in my abnormal weakness, his words penetrated in a way that was unexpected.  I’ll spare you the screenshots.

 Promises of love

The reason I am writing this today is because I can’t stop thinking about you, and I can’t stop myself from imagining how happy we will be. Let this be a promise to you that I will do my best to be the man I want to be for you. I may not yet know all of the difficulties that come with a lifetime commitment, but I have enough relationship experience to know what I want and how I picture my life with the person I will commit to and that is you Yessica.
I promise to do my best to make you beam daily, so count on many surprises. Your smile will be my priority. I get weak knees when anybody smiles, so just imagine the effort I will make to be the source of yours. I promise I will always look at you with the same adoration as I did the moment I realized I loved you.
I promise to try to ignite the same sparkle in your eyes I see when you’re surprised, inspired, motivated or when you are about to lean in to kiss me.
I promise to hold your hand when we’re 80 years old with the same liveliness that I did when I crossed that line to hold yours for the first time. I vow never to let the excitement of dating me die down; I will surprise you with the location, the reason or the activity itself.
I promise to keep you guessing where we’re going next. I promise to do my best always to interest you. I will keep reinventing myself, gaining new hobbies, new knowledge and new interests to keep you and myself entertained.
I promise to kiss you throughout our life do my best to remain physically attractive for you, and I will do my best to be healthy in order to keep up with our kids someone has got to teach them Muay Thai kickboxing..lol…I’ll train you, too; I want you to know how to fight and defend yourself, just don’t use it against me. Lol
I promise to help you to be healthy, both physically and mentally. I will cook and clean for us. Expect the best breakfast: traditional Armenian tomato and pepper omelets, followed by fruit salad with… well, I can’t give all the secrets out.
I promise to strive to be a role model for our children. I want both you and them to see me as a source of motivation. I want to inspire them in the same way that my father inspires me.I promise to do my best to love your family as you love them and to be by their side as much as I am by yours.
I promise to always listen to you when you simply just want to be heard; when you want someone to vent to about something or when you want advice. I will listen to you especially when you don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with anybody else, and to the things you try to tell me when you’re not even speaking. I promise to always listen. During our life together, I promise to make sure that you feel as though you are the center of the household — I know you will be — and I will always try to show my appreciation for you because of that. I promise never to let my guard down in taking care of us. I know you won’t be one to be satisfied with the bare minimum. I promise to do everything that I can for you without taking away from your independence physically, intellectually or emotionally. I promise to create family traditions and to make sure that your legacy lives forever through our children. I promise to encapsulate the moment when I realize that I am in the most magnetic, amorous and erotic love with you, not to let that feeling dissipate to the best of my ability and to relive it with you constantly, always…..I love you Yessica
Please don’t break my heart!!!

And this is where the doubt creeps in. When I got through this I felt a lump in my throat and my mouth went dry.  My heart was beating against my rib cage in a rabitted race. I couldn’t form the words to engage with my son. I couldn’t move because my body was holding me in the moment that called out to my soul. How could he speak so intimately to the many desires of my heart I never knew I could yearn for?  In the hours following, I felt so conflicted.  So much of my right now is up in the air and all that falls around me is the loss of anomie, and he’s here, saying he’ll be the anchor I need.  I had to go back and actually read what I had written since he became the subject of my blog posts. I had to remember that it’s only been 8 days and this is not normal.  This is not okay.  But I didn’t feel anger.  I felt gratitude.  He offered words that invoked feelings I thought were dead.  I thought that part of me had been broken and the times I feel a fluttering, I can only feel gratitude.

I wondered if what I’m doing is wrong.  I wondered if it’s possible that he’s a genuine man that really did fall in love with my smile and maybe he really did picture a forever.  It would have had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fantasy in his head of me, but what if he’s being honest? What if he really is drawn to me?  What if my blog is going to strike again as the destroyer of relationships? It has happened. It will happen. I hope to find a love that doesn’t care what I write.

Then I remember that my feelings and thoughts are valid.  I remember that he really hasn’t convinced me that I want more kids, and if he’s genuine about what he says, he wants a child and I couldn’t at this point offer that.  I have only been talking to him for 8 days.  I’ve never seen him in person and I’ve never heard his voice. This isn’t a relationship but an illusion.

And then I wonder what it would be like if I wasn’t who I am? What if I was the girl I was out of highschool? What if I had my past insecurities? What if I needed to hear what he was selling because I couldn’t see the ways in which I am amazing. Briefly the thought of other women occurs to me.  What about these women that need to hear these things more than I do today? What about the women that would spend thousands on keeping a man happy to keep his affection.  I want to be angry and rage, but I can’t.  In this moment, I let his words wash over me, and pretend for a few more moments that I have no doubts.  I pretend for a bit that we are the picture of love he’s been painting and I indulge in a fantasy because my boys are yelling and his fantasy is so much better than my present reality. And I ignore the fact that aside from tomorrow night and Christmas Eve and some friends that are welcoming me on Christmas Day, lost in his fantasy, I will still be alone.  He hasn’t solved the problem I had in going online to find a date.  I still don’t have a date, even if he promises to be here Christmas Eve to be with me. And it occurs to me that I have nothing to wear because there’s enough doubt that I wonder if he will show up.

Waiting on My Miracle Between Jobs

Everything in life happens exactly as it’s supposed to in the time and manner that it is meant to happen in.

A couple of weeks back, the person taking the company reigns had a town hall meeting.  He encouraged discourse and I asked about the temps.  I asked what was going to be done for the many people that they had invested training in, that they were losing in a company exodus to other companies.  His answer inspired hope, and I emailed my gratitude, and then applied for an open position that I never heard back from.

Fast forward to Thursday when I sat alone at a table during the holiday party.  I was joined by strangers in Sales that told me about a position they were looking to fill.  I was asked for my email, and typed in my work email address, with anticipation and excitement.

Work resumed Friday and I plugged through, with my Dad’s heart surgery on my mind.  Saturday afternoon, I received a catalyzing call.  My contract was terminated and the Friday I had worked was my last shift.  My things would be boxed for me to pick up from the agency.  I would turn in my badge, and I was asked to not contact the company.

I made friends and met people I really respected, and a farewell isn’t a courtesy I can offer in my gratitude.  I only hope showing up authentically was something I did consistently, and that they saw my love and admiration in our interactions.

It’s not even two weeks until Christmas.  I’m a single mom that doesn’t get help from my kid’s Dad.  I get to figure this out.

My first step was to apply for unemployment.

The next was to reach out to friends that may know of an opportunity.

The step after that was to start searching for a job.

The one that came next was to realize the gravity of the gift that I’ve been handed.

I spent the last few months at a company that paid me like they didn’t care to keep me.  I had been passively looking for a better opportunity.  My kids are about to be on vacation from school.  My Dad will need more support since he had surgery, and I will be okay because everything happens the way it’s supposed to at the perfect time for it to.  I will need to be available.  Unemployment won’t cover all of my needs but it will do enough that I will be okay.  And I get to expect to receive better than I had accepted.

I felt gratitude for spending months around people I genuinely liked and powerful business women I admired.  I had a moment of quiet reflection on the men that worked there that gave me pleasant moments of eye candy admiration.  I may even miss those moments of turning a corner to almost crash into Mr. Insanely Tall and Beautiful.  (Really, a girl can’t always handle that much hotness on such short notice.) I felt a little sad that I never told him that his fan club prefers it when he doesn’t shave his face so cleanly.  I appreciated the fact that while it was normal to walk in on someone crying in the bathroom from the stress, it was never me.  I genuinely loved what I did and that’s not something everyone can say.

Day 3 Dawns early with getting my older two off to school.  I get back in bed to snuggle my youngest and breathe in the soft smell of the tear free shampoo we still use.  Waves of anxiety and peace wash over me and the result is an exhaustion that settles over me throughout the day.

I don’t have a job.  My Dad just had heart surgery.  My artistic/autistic son wants me to spend about $200 on 24 gray Copic markers and I choose to do whatever it takes because I want to support his dreams.  Existence is exhausting.

I finally finished decorating my tree and pulling out my little Lemax Christmas village.  I’ve already unwrapped that latest present to myself.  I clear away the tiny snails and algae that was stopping the flow of water in my pond, and I look at the rose bush that hasn’t had the pruning or deadheading I was planning in the spring, but also neglected this fall.  And then there was the sunset.  I worked through the season change in a room without windows to easily look out of, and I was only catching sunset with intention on the weekends.  Today when puttering around the house I’ve neglected for work, I was caught off guard by the sun setting in the west toward Dodger’s Stadium. I stood still and felt my chest rise and fall with my breathing.  I watched the sky shift from yellow to orange and red, then inky blue.  I straightened my posture and the feel of it reminded me that in the last few weeks, I had been slouching again.

I loved what I did, but I was often working through meals and rushing along hallways.  I wasn’t stepping in the authority of who I am, but lost to the movements of a zombie with too much thought in my head to intentionally engage outside of myself. That’s not how I want to live and it’s only now that I’m not, that I can see how I was.

Job hunting has resumed.  I am taking it on like a job, and soon I’ll be back to applying from my phone at the beach or on a trail, or in a museum. Throughout the day I was clenching my fist, to then look at my open palm.  It reminded me that I can’t receive when I refuse to let go, and holding onto nothing only left crescent shaped nail marks in my palm.  You receive nothing new by holding on.  You cause more pain in refusing to release.  I held my palm up, as if waiting to receive. And I expect to find that miracle.  There aren’t any other options.

Anatomy of a Catfish, Day 6 

We get past the good morning texts. The I love you texts.  The I miss you texts.  The what have you eaten and tell me about work texts.  Then we get to the other ways he wants to make his way into my family and life.

He wants to meet my family, and be part of my children’s lives.  He plans to meet them when he’s back on Christmas Eve.  We pretend jet lag doesn’t matter.

Forever is a really long commitment based on a week of communication by text.  I mean, he has no clue if I have halitosis or kill kittens for fun.  Whatever.  In for a penny, you suffer my pound, right? Speaking of, my pictures are all me, but the un-angled real shots are the group ones where I don’t have a mirror to preen into.  You see my soft jiggly marshmallow fluff in those.  That’s authentic.  But he’s only seen my selfies.

I don’t remember, but I also don’t remember when those details were something I would want to share with someone I just met.  The idea that sex would make me feel like a woman is disrespectful to the boobs that sweat for me, the period cramps that can cripple me and body that has birthed 7 babies.  I don’t need a man to make me feel like a woman.  I have a whole body for that.

I like to do these things alone, but I think in general, the point of dating is to discover what you’d like to do together.  Latching onto the idea of the museum we briefly spoke about on the other side of the country with my kids is not my idea of a good time.  My boys hate the idea of leaving the house for a grocery run.  I am not dragging them across country for anything less than a marriage, and even then, I’m not excited about having that letter, talk, and exchange with the ex to be able to do it. Take me to the Huntington Library.  It’s on my list and local.

Ever . . . Recently . . . He’s inspired a few blog posts.  It’s usually only really special men that get my attention and hold it for a while that get to do that.

He wants to prove his love by marrying me, but accidently called me and couldn’t handle that conversation.

A blessing that he couldn’t talk to for free, through Google.  Yeah.  The special feelings are coming at me from everywhere.  It feels like a tingle that raises the hair on the back of my neck.

He wants to marry me? I’m not big on shopping for clothes, but I can do some serious damage on an Amazon account, and I should have looked into stock options for Target considering how many vacations I’ve funded for those shareholders.

Support my blog! Get me more followers and hits.  Oh wait.  He’s so supportive.

I think a two week anniversary of when we first started chatting on Okcupid is the perfect time to shop for engagement rings.  Let’s cherish our forever based on two weeks of the deep conversations we never have!  He’s a keeper.  Totally.

 

How I am My Father’s Daughter

Yesterday I was walking past a Dad with his children.  They were taking turns and jumping onto and swinging from his forearms like he was a living jungle gym.  There was laughter and love and a gentle reprimand to one of his other children to not run through the halls because we were in a building that isn’t really a playground.  In that moment I felt so much tenderness for a person I have never met. He reminded me of my Dad and the times I could run at him like he could take all I could dish.  I thought of the times I was on all fours with my children on my back and wrestling with them the way my Dad used to do with me. I walked away remembering the times I would spar with my Dad and he would teach me to block a punch and his love for “tiger claw,” which was fierce with his long talon like nails.

I remember as a little girl, sitting on the toilet seat and watching my Dad shave his face.  He used to have a mug with soap in it, and use a brush to lather the soap up and slather it on his face.  He would stretch and pull his face in different ways to get a clean shave and I would watch every time.  He would rub Aqua Velva or Old Spice between his hands then slap and smear it on his face and neck.  Then I’d watch him button up his shirt and wrap and tie his tie around his neck.

As I’ve gotten older, the ideal Dad I imagined gave way to the one I have.  I stopped trying to place the image in my head on top of him.  I realised he has always done what he felt was best for us and he’s always shown love, even if it wasn’t in the ways I wanted him to. It was my need to put a premium on the love I gave that dictated the value I saw in what I received.  That sounds vague.

I have learned that the ways in which I saw my Dad as not what I wanted are the ways in which his PTSD have shown up as he’s struggled with it my whole life and I could see the outward expression of his inner demons.  I can no longer hold him accountable for the way his survival looks.

I get my bravery and courage from my Dad.  He has moments of posturing and trying to assert his dominance.  He does it with any man that wants to spend time with the women in our family.  He says it when he feels the need to meet and approve of any men we might be dating.  It shows up as the choices he makes and the ways we live those choices out.

Yesterday he had heart surgery.  In his 7th decade of lapping our sun, it’s his first and he’s doing really well considering how epicurean his tastes are.  I was trying to figure out how to be present for him while also living in my authenticity.  I realised I couldn’t sacrifice myself for him because I wouldn’t be engaged with him.  I would be torn.  I had an office party on Thursday that I went to.  I had a great time.  Once I left, I picked up a few things for my Dad and went to visit him.

He wanted to shave and insisted he could stand over the sink and do it himself.  I saw his gown was stained and helped him change out of it.  He was surprised at my understanding of easing him out of and into a new gown but I reminded him I was hospitalized for a month with the twins I carried as a surrogate mother. I was upside down in the trendelenburg position for a week, eating meals and going to the bathroom in this 45 degree, feet above my head position. Two years later I was hospitalized again for pulmonary embolisms.  I understood his discomfort and how to get him dressed, taking advantage of the way the gowns are created.  I brought him a basin and washcloths and watched him shave.

He relies on a mirror far less than he used to, familiar with the stretch and pull of his face and the ways his skin folds with the wrinkles offered to him through time.  He handed me his razor to swish and shake through the basin of water. He tried washing his hand in the water, and I showed him how effective a damp washcloth could be.  When he was done, I used a fresh, damp washcloth to wipe his face gently.  We talked.  I encouraged him.  He encouraged me.  He wanted donuts but I only carry suckers and I left without one, once I got approval from his nurse. He wanted me to go to work and not wait for him during surgery but visit him after he was out.  He knows my job doesn’t pay me when I’m not there to work and he knows I need to care for his grandsons.

During his surgery I was having a hard time focusing on work.  I was present.  I was engaged, but it was easy to rabbit trail my thoughts else where.  I hoped the boys could have stayed with their Dad so I could spend more time with mine, but they couldn’t and in accepting the situation I was in, I saw that this forced my visit to last exactly as long as it needed to for my Dad’s post op. I checked on my kids, and picked up my sister to go see our Dad.

He was tilted in the way he needed to be.  He was starved and able to eat but only in that position, so I fed him.  Bite by bite, I have to admit it was more satisfying than feeding a baby that is learning with solid foods.  I helped him find his things as he was moved and had no control over where his belongings were. He was on really good drugs and not really aware of his limitations or why he needed to have them. I helped him get situated and after a short while we left.

There was something so humbling about helping him because I have always seen him as a powerful man.  It was a moment of being able to give him my love in a way that was an offering and not a request of his.  It felt like a gift to be able to offer my love through service and have it received so completely.

While life still happens at the speed of existence, I was still able to jump from conversation to conversation with catfish and real men alike.  I was able to paper tiger through work orders and purchase orders in the magic that is my pre-invoice.  Facing and correcting errors created during my training. I was able to be mom and sister and daughter, and I was gifted with being able to support the man who has made me the woman I am today.  I’m often asked how I’m doing because that is how we reach out to others with minimal risk.  It was a great day to be me, and this is what it looks like.