Scar Tissue 

 

 Yesterday I turned a year older. Ladies & Gents, this chick is now THIRTY-FIVE. WOW. It’s so weird to see that sentence. In some ways I feel like I should be shopping for my prom dress, not tap shoes for my daughter. Or batman underwear for my son! That he may or may not keep on. In other ways I feel like I’ve lived enough experiences to be 50 years older. I could say I’m 85 and just look awesome for my age 😉

Luckily, I’ve had enough experiences lived to feel happy to be at this point in my life. I had no idea growing up that I would have experienced any of the things I’ve lived through, especially the bad. I believed the myth that everyone is inherently good and only the good, expected things would happen. I naïvely thought that I would graduate from high school, go to college, meet someone who would sweep me away and love me forever, a baby or 2 would be involved, then that would be it. Smooth sailing ’til the good Lord called me home.  But looking back, that’s what shaped me: the stuff in between, the curve balls, the shat I would have avoided had I known what would happen. Without it, I wouldn’t be a survivor. And I wouldn’t have a voice. A voice I can use to tell others who are living through it now that everything will be ok. Maybe even better than ok.  

Eight years ago, I was turning 27. My daughter was just over a month old. I was living in a small town on the Puget Sound in WA. I had 2 friends close by. That was it. I was an Army wife. My husband was having an affair and at that point not even trying to hide it from me. My parents were 3,000 miles away in Atlanta, GA. My dad was still in the hospital from having a stroke 2 months prior that he wasn’t even supposed to survive. This birthday was the worst birthday I’d ever lived through. It was my country song birthday. Even my family dog died on my birthday that year. Thank God Vicki didn’t go to jail that year. Hear that, mom?  

3 months before, I talked to my dad at least 4 times a day. 3 months before, my dad would end every phone call by asking me if I was ready to come home. He knew something wasn’t right. Parents know. My mom would have been on the next flight if I’d just said the words. But, I’m a stubborn asshole. I got myself and Bella into this mess, I’ll get us out. And I did just that. I knew that eventually things would be ok. But I couldn’t have imagined how much better than ok life would get.

So, here I was with a new baby, thousands of miles away from my family and friends, and a rocked world. I was at a proverbial crossroads. Stay and I would have become dead inside. Years of emotional abuse had taken its toll. The spark that was flickering away would have fully extinguished and never returned. I would have become a victim of circumstances. I had to leave. I was a shell of myself. I didn’t feel loved or wanted or cared for by the one person who promised to protect my heart for the rest of his life. And it pissed me off. That anger would take me down one of two paths. I could have spent the rest of my life in a bitter, black cloud of hate or I could use that energy to drive me forward and come out on the other side much wiser. But also with severe trust issues and a sharper edge. You’re welcome.

The worst part looking back at that birthday was how close I was to allowing someone to break me. There were plenty of moments when I felt broken. Irreparably broken. The things that happened don’t seem believable now. 

For example, I spent my anniversary eight months pregnant and alone that year because my ‘husband at the time’ told me he had to go on a training assignment. He’s a Green Beret so seemed plausible. However, watching him pack, something told me that I wasn’t true. Luckily, he’s too dumb to realize how smart I am. So I pulled our phone records once he left and started calling numbers I didn’t know. Then SHE answered the phone. He was with HER. A few minutes away. On our anniversary. While I was at home alone eight months into a high risk pregnancy. 

When I was 9 months pregnant, my dad had a stroke and wasn’t expected to live. So my then-husband flew home with me in case I had issues. He left me in the ICU with my dying father so he could go out with a friend who ended up being a girl friend who was not the OTHER WOMAN. He showed up to my mom’s house drunk at midnight. Classy. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  

Why didn’t I leave? I felt stuck. Looking back, I wasn’t. But I felt like I was. I had a good job in a high-demand market. I had options. Everyone has options. But I couldn’t see them. Then, one Sunday, I stopped praying for help and started listening for direction. 

I applied for a job in Atlanta, had 2 phone interviews and was hired. The company even helped pay to move me back. It ended up a dream job. I spent a year and a half alone to get to know my baby girl and get us on our feet. We had a beautiful apartment in the perfect location. 

Once my divorce was final I was able to breathe. I started to notice how lonely I was. Something I hadn’t allowed myself to acknowledge before. So, fast forward 8 years… I not only have a husband, I have a partner. I have a best friend. It’s not perfect. But life isn’t perfect! There isn’t a perfect person out there for anyone. How boring would that be?! Instead, I found someone better than perfect. I found someone who is willing to navigate life with me and evolve with me into something better than I thought possible. He promised me the future and has never made me question whether or not that promise might be broken. We respect each other. We celebrate each other’s successes.  

I can show him the wings God gave me and he doesn’t try to clip them. Sometimes they smack him in the face on accident but he just knows I can be clumsy with ma wings. He knows God blessed me with strong, beautiful wings to lift others up, not so I’d fly away. And the deep marks left from the attempts of others to clip my wings… Scar tissue. You don’t like your situation? Unleash those wings and do some damage. The aftermath may be beautiful. 

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Me, Myself, and Aliens

IMG_0506It was a Saturday night. And for the first time in probably eight years, I was alone with nothing to do and it was GLORIOUS!

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me provide a benchmark for what a “normal” Saturday evening entails.

My husband, my 2 love-nuggets, and I spend our entire Saturday going to dance class, running errands, cleaning the house (ok, my husband is usually attacking that first then I feel guilty and do stuff, too), maybe I get to sneak out for an hour or so to work on my fitness, dinner, family movie night.

All day I’m with someone. And I love it. Until I need a “me” break.

“But, E, don’t you get that at the gym?”  You may ask…

Not the same. What I’m talking about when I refer to a “me” break is a string of hours (no, not just one) where I can have my house to myself. I can leave the house if I want. But I don’t HAVE to. I can stay if I want. And binge on Netflix. And no one is there to say, “first we need to…” or “Mommy, I need…” or, my personal favorite, “Mommy, there’s poo…”

As someone who needs alone time to recharge and not hate people, taking time for myself is a big part of caring for my mental health. Since you’re reading this post and have presumably some knowledge of my inner thoughts you are well aware that this doesn’t happen often.

{B.T.Dubs, to those of you who have said I need medication after reading my posts, you are absolutely correct. But I don’t care. Because I’m crazy. And I like it. All creative people are crazy. You’re welcome.}

So what did the night bring me you ask?

I’m about to tell you. But don’t be jealous.

I dropped Bella off at her friends’ for a sleep over at 4:30. By 4:45 I was at the gym. I got in a 5mile elliptical thing in…

{I don’t know, do I consider it a run if it’s on the elliptical? I’m convinced that treadmills are evil living beings that aim to kill us off and take over the world so I don’t use them. I envision myself flying off the back then my long ponytail gets caught in the motor and I get scalped or even worse, my pants leg gets caught and I’m naked from the waist down and then everyone will know why I wear shorts over my running tights. #cameltoe  Speaking of, I’ve heard there’s a surgical procedure for that… ewe.}

Anyway, then I went to Smoothie King convinced that a Lean1 smoothie would be my dinner, went home, let my doggies out, turned on Unsealed: Alien Files, just to see if I’m at risk of being abducted any time soon.

{Turns out, as long as I’m not on Catalina Island I’m safe from the Praying Mantis alien species}

Of course the smoothie didn’t last and I soon found myself hungry for REAL food. The options were endless, really. I mean, it was just me! So I did what any lazy person does… I opened my freezer, took out the Tyson nugget bag and plopped about 10 of those bad boys on a cookie sheet.

But let’s go back to the main event of the night. “Unsealed: Alien Files” deserves some discussion time. Anyone watched one of these “alien” shows before? They’re fanTASTIC.

Here’s the jist of all of these alien shows: aliens are the cause of everything. Why are we smart? Aliens. Why do people disappear? Dam aliens. Why is the government secretive? Effin aliens. Who created the world? Probably those effin aliens. Is God an alien? Mayans? They’re aliens. All of ‘em. Native Americans? Golden children of the aliens. Worm holes? Scientifically speaking, they are portals for aliens.

Why do I watch these shows? BECAUSE THE INTERVIEWS ARE AMAZING! These people are self-proclaimed “UFO experts” otherwise known as “ufologists”. How does one become a “ufologist”? I plan on accomplishing whatever training is required to obtain the rights to use that credential.

Furthermore, the narrator. Does he believe what he is saying? I lean towards “yes” because he speaks with such conviction.

{He’s like the Mariah Carey of narrators. I mean, you BELIEVE because he MAKES you believe. With his commanding voice. I need him to come over and tell my kids that they WANT to clean their rooms.}

But then again, he could just be really good at his job and all the while he’s thinking, “Are these people serious?” I guess we’ll never know. Unless HE gets interviewed… I may work on that. Maybe start a podcast. Have a segment called “interview the narrator of crazy shat”.

Anyway, I watched it for so long that I’ve had to hit “continue watching” 3 times. That’s Netflix’s passive-aggressive way of saying, “You are officially binge watching and we think you need to actively select a button to continue watching so we make sure you’re alive. If not, we won’t bother streaming anymore.” I bet the person who created that feature is southern. No one does passive-aggressive like we do.

Slight tangent alert:

You think Tiger Moms are bad? Y’all, please. They ain’t got nuthin’ on southern moms. Helicopter Moms? Southern moms are their mentors. Ever heard of Catholic guilt? Guess who they learned it from? But that’s a different topic for a different day.

Any who…

My welcomed solitude ended around 10:30. From 4:30 to 10:30 was perfect. Just enough time to realize I was incomplete without my fam but glad I had time to spend with me. Cuz I’m pretty awesome… and so are YOU!

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