The ocean has always been my happy place, since the moment I saw it in my early teenage years I was filled with awe at the roaring of the waves, wonder at the beauty of the water and calmed by the wind kissing my face.  The rain relaxes me and makes me want to be outside when normally I am an indoor sort of girl.  I love it here!

Normally when I come to the ocean my best friend from high school comes with me but this time she couldn’t make it so I decided I would still come by myself.  It’s the very first trip of any sort that I’ve ever done entirely alone – no friends, no kids, no plans of even meeting anyone I knew.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was excited and a little nervous at the same time.

My inward contemplation during this trip alone has been about my self-image: I have realized that probably the biggest reason I dislike my body is because it is virtually identical to my mother’s. My face, my chubby belly, all of me is more or less a cloned copy of her body at my age.  Possibly a big reason I keep my hair a different style and a fashionable color as well… Hmmm…

Much to my shame now, I never thought my mother was pretty, or beautiful, or even good looking.  She was always trying to cover up – or hide – her belly with control panel undergarments and pants that had too small a waist.  She was always trying to diet and prayed a lot about why she couldn’t lose weight… at one point she said that God told her her shape was so that she could comfort people better as a nurse because it made her look more like a mother and grandmother.  Looking back at pictures, my mother was definitely attractive and was very happy in most of her pictures but not in a movie-star, front-cover-of-a-magazine kind of way.  She didn’t meet the worlds standard of beauty and therefore I didn’t think she was beautiful…

…and neither do I meet those standards or think that I am beautiful.

I should also say that my mother never told me I was beautiful or pretty or anything flattering as a child.  She didn’t say anything negative about my appearance but she purposefully didn’t complement me either because she didn’t want me to get a big head.  I know this because she told me so later in life, along with an apology and many comments about how beautiful I was that I never believed.

When I got married I was 120 pounds and thought I was fat.  My husband so rarely said I was beautiful… or pretty… or even that I looked good that it might as well have been never.  Fifteen months after getting married I had my first child and have never weighed below 170 pounds since.  In fact, I would kill (not really) to weigh 170 pounds again as right now I’m at 205.  My legs aren’t big, my arms are normal sized and I only have the bare beginning of a double chin, lol.  My weight is 95% in my belly, just like my mother.  Add to that the fact that I never learned to hold my stomach in as a child – somehow I keep finding myself actively pushing my stomach out, like it’s something I need to do to keep my pants up – so I’ve been asked more than once if I was pregnant when I wasn’t.

I don’t like to look at myself in mirrors, I don’t like to be in pictures – even though I take a fair amount of selfies they’re always from above and only show my face – I frequently use a filter to make my skin look better. My friends tell me I’m beautiful and most people guess I’m around 10 years younger than I am – now that I’m single, when I was married most folks thought I was at least 10 years older, lol.  But I don’t feel beautiful and while I’ve learned to say thank you with sincerity it’s because I know you believe I’m beautiful but I don’t.

I’m still a little messed up in my head…

This is the issue I’ve been wrestling with here at the ocean, liking my own body.  Alone in my hotel room I’ve practiced walking from the shower to the suitcase at the foot of the bed naked and not shying away from seeing myself in the mirror.  It’s hard for me to tell myself I’m beautiful because I don’t believe it and one of the things that I define myself by is that I don’t lie… so to tell myself that I am beautiful is lying to myself.

Why does it have to be so hard to be me?  lol

I guess I need to find words I can agree with.  I am… pretty??  I have beautiful eyes, I’ll agree to that.  Some days I think I look good, I can say that on those days.

The other thing I struggle with is eating healthy and exercising.  Since I became single I have worked 55+ hours a week, worked 2 and three jobs while attending school full time and now I’m back to working three jobs again, totaling about 55 – 60 hours a week again.  I don’t have the time or the energy to exercise and I don’t feel like eating most of the time so I wind up eating an actual meal once a day, frequently fast food, and snacking at midnight after I get home from work… how do I fit exercise into my crazy busy schedule?  And how do I eat healthy when I’m never home to cook and don’t have time to eat when I waitress at night?

Maybe I’ll just win the lottery…

Tomorrow I leave the ocean, wishing I had been able to afford one more night at the hotel but feeling like my soul is less frantic about life.  There was no rush of overwhelming joy at being here like I expected – or maybe just hoped – that I would have but instead my wanderings on the beach and in the small town shops have taken my mind off my normal daily stresses and given me some small measure of strength to go on.

I can finish my journey, visit my older daughter and endure the disapproval she will ooze at me through our dinner that she will attend out of obligation.  I can go back to Montana, where my father and step-mom aren’t happy to see me and never really were.  I can live and sleep in my little trailer that is just a beautiful slice of white-trash heaven.  And I go back to working three jobs to not only pay my bills but hopefully start to get ahead and save some money… finally… so that I can move here, to the Oregon Coast.

Living here won’t guarantee my happiness, I know that, but it will be a second fresh start in a place of my choosing – to live somewhere for myself this time, not for someone else.

Tina also wants to move to Oregon and Sean has said he will follow RJ and Tina wherever they go soooo we are all planning on moving here by the time RJ is 5 or 6 at the  latest because Tina’s goal is to keep RJ in the same school district from 1st – 12th grade.  I think that’s a bit unrealistic but it’s important to her because she hated that we kept moving while she was growing up and she had to go to 7 different schools, never knowing anyone at the new school and unable to stay in touch with friends she had made at the previous schools.  I get it, we all try to fix the mistakes our parents made with us in raising our own kids.  She may come to realize that all the moving around wasn’t done for the fun of it, our moves were necessary – usually for her father’s job or because we grew out of the housing we were in – and moving during RJ’s schooling may become necessary for her as well but I hope she can give RJ a life that she views as more stable than what she had and I would be happy to help her achieve that.

So within the next 5 years we should all live within an hour of the ocean.  I am very excited for that, please God, let it happen…

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As I write this I am sitting in my hotel room in Lincoln City, OR with the window open, listening to the sound of the ocean…

Bliss, pure bliss.

I arrived after sundown so I won’t get to see the ocean tonight but I will tomorrow, oh yes I will!  The ocean is my happy place, a very large part of me wished I had moved here instead of to Montana to be closer to my dad – because that worked out so well <she said sarcastically> – but if I hadn’t moved to Montana I wouldn’t be a glamma now and little RJ needed to be born.  Soooo I am still planning to move to the Oregon Coast but it’s going to be about 5 years from now, I would guess.  Part of what I’m planning to do here is look into what it would take to transfer my cosmetology license here and what not.

For the first time since I’ve become single – and actually in my whole life – I took an entire week off completely and entirely for myself.  I have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights here and then will go to  the town I moved from for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to visit with my older daughter, sister and some friends. I am super excited!

When I get back life will be super busy again – I have taken up another job/career… sort of on accident.  My salon is next door to a dog grooming salon and the owner, Carol, has been my nail client for the last year and we have become friends.  She has had 3 employees quit unexpectedly on her in the last 6 months and I have lots of time during the day (since I don’t have very  many salon customers) and I sure could use the extra money right now while Tina is on maternity leave so I offered to help her out.  Turns out I’m pretty darn good at bathing and drying dogs and not half bad at doing the actual haircuts either!  And Carol is a great boss, easy to get along with and very generous – I’m going to enjoy working with her.  So once I get back from my vacation I’ll be working for her 4 days a week, working at the restaurant 4 to 5 days a week and taking whatever salon customers I can.  It puts off the urgency – and even the ability – to pursue more salon customers but with the extra money I’ll be making it also makes it unnecessary.

Also, I traded in my car!  It only had about 1,400 miles of warranty left and was starting to make some noises and vibrating at highway speeds so that I was starting to get concerned… so now I have a 2016 Dodge Charger, a beautiful metallic blue color, fully certified mechanically with 53,000 miles of warranty left AND it gets better gas mileage than my jeep!  Yay!  Plus it’s tons of fun to drive, I’m really enjoying the keyless bit, lol.

Oh, a side note – my sister and her girlfriend are back together and planning to get married next summer.  I wish them the best, I really do

Last Friday morning my daughter, Tina, gave birth to  a healthy baby girl, RJ, at the same time as the dawn came.  She had about 7 hours of productive contractions and 45 minutes of actual pushing with the doctor present.  Sean was there the whole time and I thought he was amazing – he was supportive, he wasn’t pushy but he did anything she or the doctor asked him to do, I was so proud of him.

When the baby came he cut the cord and then they laid RJ on Tina’s chest and they both cried happy tears of joy.  After the delivery Tina looked over at him and said a coupe of different times “Look what we made!” and then later she said “You get to carry the next one” to which he agreed if it were possible, lol.

I hold some small, tiny hope that they may get back together yet…

RJ was 7 lbs, 14 oz, so a nice size – not too small and not too big. She doesn’t cry too much and has large, dark blue eyes presently that look around at everything as though she’s seen it before.  I think that she is a very old soul indeed and I look forward to getting to know her as she grows older.

Tina and RJ got to come home from the hospital Sunday afternoon and Sean came with them.  I was a little worried I would wind up doing a lot of the care for little RJ but they are doing quite well together.  He sleeps on the couch and holds her as much as he can, helps Tina as needed and now that she’s started pumping and storing breast milk he is able to feed her now as well, which I think he really enjoys.  They get up at night and do all of the holding and rocking when she fusses and I get to sleep all night long, it’s fabulous!

A fly in the ointment – Tina is still legally married and Montana state law says that the husband is legally and financially responsible for any children the wife has while they are married, whether it’s his or not.  That means that legally they won’t put Sean’s name on the birth certificate and wanted to put Tina’s husband’s name there.  That’s a big nope.  She wouldn’t even give them his name so right now RJ’s birth certificate has a blank spot where the father’s name is, granting her (at least legally) immaculate conception status.  Someday that will be funny…  But right now it’s absolutely devastated Sean and Tina is completely shocked, blindsided and feeling horrible for not doing the divorce paperwork sooner like she was supposed to.  I’m grieving for Sean’s deep wounding and angry with Tina for not getting it done in the last 10 months that she’s had the paperwork but in the end it doesn’t have anything to do with me, I can’t change it or control it and so I’m trying to separate myself from the emotions of the situation and let them figure it out like the kinda sorta adults they are.  Hopefully it can be fixed with a minimum of effort but ultimately, we all know that Sean is RJ’s father and the birth certificate is just a (freakishly important) piece of paper.

One more sad thing is connected with RJ’s birth.  My sister came up to be here with us for a couple of days right after RJ was born and when she got home she discovered her girlfriend had moved out of her apartment and broke up with her right when my sister got back from visiting us.  Unbelievably rude.  Apparently they were talking and texting all lovey-dovey the whole trip – while the girlfriend was packing – and then my sister gets home to find her moved out and she’s all of a sudden single again. As my gay best friend, Kyle would say “Lesbians!”  But I feel super bad for my sister, she’s emotionally been run over by a semi and trying to sort through that now, bless her heart.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be lots more about the baby to come but it’s just so nice to be on the other side of a safe, relatively easy delivery and little RJ is just the sweetest girl ever.  I’m so happy to be a Glamma!

So this has been a great self-help book and I’m only up to chapter 4, lol! A friend both recommended it to me and bought it for me, which I really appreciated.

Side note – I don’t think I’ve written about this friend and it’s one of the stranger friendships I’ve ever had, I’ll call him Tom.  Back in March he responded to one of my posts on FetLife where I was asking for help finding a counselor that could deal with sexual issues and recommended this workbook to me.  We continued chatting through the FetLife site and then moved to email letters.  Tom is in his 60’s and a retired attorney who lives about 4 hours away from me.  Bear in mind he didn’t approach me with the intent to date, nor I him – FetLife isn’t actually a dating sight, just a place where kinky people can share about what they’re into.  I wasn’t at all interested in him romantically but I enjoyed our “talks” and over the course of the next 7 weeks I began to think that maybe I would be OK with the age difference since he seemed like such a nice guy.  We talked about a lot of things in my life – some of them very personal – and very few things about his life but it was clear that he was interested in getting to know me better.  So I started to ask him about himself and one of my questions was “How long have you been single?”

Turns out he was NOT single.  At all.  He has been married to the same woman for years and years and years…

I immediately friend-zoned him.

But he had the most insightful advice… so I said that we could still be friends if he wanted.  He accepted the whole thing rather gracefully and we have continued chatting ever since, roughly once every week to two weeks for the last 7 months.  We’ve never met and it’s possible we never will meet but he’s given me a good outsider’s perspective on what I’m going through more than once, which makes him a good friend and I’ll keep him.  Oh, and by the way, I have a PO Box so his having the workbook sent to me did not let him know where I live, for all those concerned for my safety, lol.

But back to the workbook.  It’s terribly in-depth and doesn’t shy away from using all of the technical terms in explaining different diagnoses relating to phobias and anxiety so it’s hard for me to read straight through, I’ve had to take it in small chunks at a time but the first three chapters were mostly helping to identify which particular problems a person has.  I have generalized anxiety and a mild-to-medium phobia of sexual intercourse.  I need to go back and re-read a bit of the diagnosis chapters but I feel like the book was saying that depression is actually a symptom of the anxiety and not it’s own thing…

Chapter four starts explaining the process of recovery.  I’m not even all the way through it but what I have gleaned so far is that I haven’t been taking very good care of myself.  Self-Care is all the rage nowadays but it’s evolved into a way to justify selfishness.  The things the workbook talks about is getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, stretching, meditation, taking time away from work regularly, reducing stress and the like.  This led me to develop a daily schedule that gives me 8 hours of sleep every night, three set meal times a day and a regular bedtime.

I have not yet been able to stick to the schedule, lol.  Although with the baby coming, life has been more than a little crazy and once the baby is here (in four days) I probably won’t be able to stick to the schedule until baby is month old or so…  but the schedule is doable and I intend to make it work. The goal is to be living according to the schedule – or an adjusted schedule – by January 1st.

The part of the workbook that talks about taking time away from work regularly states that one should allot themselves one hour a day, one day a week and one week every 16 – 18 weeks where you do not do any sort of work and just relax.  I have started setting aside one day a week that I do not work at the restaurant and blocking it out at the salon as well to have one entire day free to do as I please.  It has made a difference for sure, I have a day to look forward to now, I can stay in my jammies all day if I want to or go to the bigger city and run errands and shop, I can paint or read or…  it’s been lovely! Additionally I have planned a vacation to the Oregon Coast in October and I’m very excited about it!  I’ve reserved a room in Lincoln City for 4 nights/3days and I’ve been saving all of my coins for most of the last year and I anticipate being able to pay for the gas and hotel completely out of the coins, leaving me just food and fun to pay out of pocket.  Normally my best friend from high school goes to the ocean with me but she doesn’t think she can make it this time so this will be my very first vacation completely by myself and I’m really looking forward to it!

Tom was a divorce attorney and said that for the people who couldn’t afford a counselor but were willing to do the work of going through this workbook and putting the changes the book recommends into practice in their lives – those people he saw a real difference in his contact with them from start to finish of the divorce process.  I can see that he was not exaggerating because just doing a few of the things the book recommends has made a big difference in my life and I’m looking forward to completing the book and seeing how far I’ve come.

So last Thursday was supposed to be my 8th date since I’ve become single, but we’ll get to that in a minute.  All of the dates have been in the last 18 months and I’m starting to lose track of the admittedly unremarkable guys in my head so I thought I should write them all down so that it’s OK to forget them completely, ha, ha.

  1.  Jamie.  Jamie was good-looking, close to my age, former military and talked like he had big plans although he left his fast-food-type job to be a secretary in another city.  Hmmm…  He considered himself a “finder” as he has been able to locate several things in his life that would normally be consider impossible to find the specific item he located.  He lived in the same town in Montana as I did but we both happened to find ourselves in a bigger city 4 hours away at the same time and had our first/only date there.  We were supposed to meet at a Spaghetti Factory for lunch but when we arrived they were closed.  Apparently they only did dinner, lol.  We decided to go to another Italian restaurant nearby – which was closed forever – and finally wound up at a third Italian restaurant nearby.   We sat in the bar at a high table and he spent most of the time talking about himself.  A couple of different times he seemed to abruptly realize he was monopolizing the conversation and would ask me a question, let me get a short response out and then resume talking about himself.  He did not offer to pay for my meal, did not open the doors for me, walked ahead of me and let me walk on the street side of the sidewalk… So a pretty definite nope.  He accepted the secretary position in that city we met in and sent me a nice text saying he couldn’t see me anymore since he was moving so far away, saving me from sending a nice text saying we just weren’t right for each other 😛
  2. Will.  Will and I met at the halfway point between our towns at a tiny little cafe so it was about a half hour drive for each of us.  He held the door, paid for my dinner and even though he was shy he put a lot of effort into making conversation with me.  He was sweet with a long beard and I enjoyed my dinner with him.  After dinner he asked if I’d like to do it again and I said yes.  In the parking lot he looked at my car (a deer hit me and he owns an auto body shop) and said he might be able to plunger it out the next time we got together.  The next day I texted him, thanking him for the dinner and said I was looking forward to our next date.  No response.  I sent another text a day or two later, again, nothing.  Huh.
  3. Jerry.  Jerry was maybe 10 – 13 years older than me and our first date was a movie.  He was super sweet and probably just a tad simple.  He paid for the movie and offered to pay for snacks but I declined.  He was concerned I was cold in the theater and was a perfect gentleman.  After the movie we were going to go to Dairy Queen but they were closed so we went to the restaurant I work at and had a soda while we chatted.  We then arranged for him to come to my salon and get a pedicure the following Saturday.  I realized that I had no attraction to him whatsoever but would be happy being his movie buddy – and I could pay for myself –  if he wanted that and so I told him as gently as I could after his pedicure was finished.  I’m pretty sure he cried once he got out to his car and I felt like a horrible human being but I didn’t want to lead him on and take advantage of his generosity in paying for our outings.
  4. Terry.  Terry was a fascinating man.  Tall, strong and a giant teddy bear – he had a great big long beard that I bought some Viking Rune beads to braid into.  He was both a beekeeper and a licensed medical marijuana provider, making him the perfect choice to irritate my ex-husband and former in-laws at future family gatherings, lol.  Our first date he drove about 2 hours to come down to my town and we went to a famous burger joint.  I, ahem, did not know that all of the toppings were extra and so when the girl asked “do you want mushrooms, onions, avacado” and a couple more things on there I said “yes!”  Oh lordy, it turned out to be a $20 burger…  Terry, bless his heart, did not bat an eye and just handed over the money.  I genuinely had a good time on this date and walked away starry eyed. We made plans to have another date in a different town about halfway between us and texted daily until that date.
  5. Todd.  Todd was a friend of a friend who tried to hook me up with a couple of her friends and kept pestering me to go out with Todd so I finally agreed.  We were both in the same small town I live in and met at a local mom-and-pop restaurant.  Todd, bless his heart, had never been married, no kids, former military, around 10 years older than me and a nice, nice guy.  He paid for my food and held the door and was a great guy but relationally awkward.  He didn’t know what to talk about and so spent the entire time talking about himself, I don’t think he asked me more than a couple of questions about myself.  Super nice guy but I wasn’t attracted to him and felt bad we had both been pushed into the date by our mutual friend.
  6. Terry – 2nd date.  I felt really bad, I was still in beauty school and was exhausted the night of this date.  The restaurant he wanted to go to was closed so we went to a Chinese place and then wandered around the mall for a bit, spending most of our time in the forgotten service hallways that housed the black-and-white photos of the town from ages past.  I kept standing very close to him but I could feel his interest slipping away and I didn’t know why.  We made plans to meet up for a third date but when I texted him to confirm we were still on he said he forgot and then stopped responding to me.  I was kind of bummed but apparently I wasn’t his type.
  7. Cory.  Cory was a random friend request on Facebook that I decided to accept on an impulse.  He then started messaging me instantly and before I had a chance to read his profile and I accepted a date request.  I regretted that after I had a chance to read his profile, all his posts were about being the victim in life, nobody ever does him right, etc.  Also, in our messaging he didn’t want to get caught up in “an expensive date” and wanted to just go for a walk and visit at a picnic table.  Ummm… I’m not going for a walk in the woods with a total stranger so I suggested a public restaurant and we wound up at the same place as I had my date with Todd at.  He only ordered water so I ordered a soda, which he did not offer to pay for.  He walked to the restaurant because he didn’t have a car and kept checking his phone throughout the date until he finally announced “My sister’s in town to see me, I’ve got to go.” and he stood up and left.  OK then…  I was surprised at how much we had in common but relieved when he blocked me on Facebook a week later.
  8. Geoff.  Geoff sends me this amazing message on the dating app we were both on.  We text, things are going swimmingly and then he stops responding for a couple of days.  I text to confirm our set date and get back this message:  “Oh I’m sorry, I found someone else and am getting off the dating site. Good luck in your search.”  So no date that night…

So there it is, my dating history since I’ve become single.  Not very promising.  Men are just weird and maybe my life is better without them, lol.  Regardless though, my grand baby is coming this week and I will be too busy to date for some time.  😀

So I totally thought I posted an update in August, my bad, sorry!  Let’s try to catch up…

I was freaking out about my job and trying to find a new one in July.  I put a couple of applications in and the next thing I know I am no longer afraid of the restaurant owner.  Curious that.  Because I had the mindset of “I’m leaving” I lost my fear of him.

To be fair, he’s actually a pretty decent boss, he even gave everyone a crisp $100 bill in our paychecks last week as a bonus!  The only reasons I was afraid of him is: 1. He looks angry all the time.  His Resting Bitch Face is more of a Resting Volcano Face and I spent 21 years married to a man who oozed anger so I’m more than a little ill-at-ease around angry men now.  Unfortunately it’s still a trigger for me.  So I avoided the owner as much as possible without looking like I was avoiding him.  2.  He fired a cook and my daughter, Tina, within a month or so of each other and no real reason given to either one.  After that I, and a few other employees, lived in fear of being fired over any/every tiny mistake I made or that he might think I made.  This job pays the bills and the stress of thinking “what if I get fired” was eating me up inside.  But when I took steps to work elsewhere those fears vanished like magic!

And when I stopped being afraid I realized that I actually have a very good job.  My co-workers are wonderful, we are like family.  I also asked the manager/scheduling waitress to please give me more hours and if she couldn’t do something about it I was going to have to do something about it.  She jumped right on that and added two more days of work to my schedule on the next week and every week after that she has given me the hours I need.  That made me feel really good, like I was wanted there.  AND my request to go work in the casino has been approved and I will be starting there sometime this month after a couple of people get back from vacation which will be a huge blessing.  In the casino it will be more one-on-one interaction with the customers and no more carrying heavy food trays but still getting tips – and the possibility of getting two or three more times the tips that I can do in a night of waitressingSo all in all the work issue has been resolved, I grew a spine and confronted my fears as well as stood up for myself in asking for more hours and a change of job duties.  Oh, and I started using colored pens at work and for some strange reason that helps me enjoy my job more as well Yay me!

August 12th was my daughter’s baby shower and Sean’s mom and I co-hosted it. Let me be clear, I do like Sean’s mom but she has a very strong personality and tends to focus on the negative – of everything – first.  It makes it difficult for me to really be friends with her, she drags me down quickly when I am with her.  She is so strongly opinionated and I am so non-confrontational that it probably really good for me to hang out with her but less fun, lol.  Her ideas for the shower were very close to mine so even though she ran over me and just took control of the party planning I let her because she pretty much did what I would have done anyway.  We’ve had two road trips together before the shower, just her and I, and even though I like her more and more after each trip I really don’t want to plan another party with her.  Ever.

The shower itself went really well, we expected 45 people and had about 35 people attend (it was co-ed/family so we had lots of couples and a few kids there as well).  My ex husband, his wife and my oldest daughter made the trip up to come and I was really happy they did.  I wasn’t sure he would want to be there since I obviously was going to be there but he came to support Tina so I was very thankful for that.  His dad also came and one of my brothers and 4 of my nieces/nephews so that was really nice to see everyone! (My brother brought me a kitten!  She’s soooo much fun!)

The ex’s wife, KC, seems to be a really nice person and I like her.  I thanked them both for coming, she gave me a big hug and said “Thank you for inviting us, I know it’s hard for you to have us here”.

<blank stare> What the hell?  Why would she even think that?

A little background – I’ve been trying to be her friend for almost two years now, I started by passing a message through my older daughter to her saying I would like to be her friend.  My ex responded to that with an angry phone call, telling me there was no reason for me to talk to her, why did I want to be her friend?

Obviously to tell her all the horrible things I think about him, duh…. Oh wait, that’s what he’s thinking and I keep forgetting, he doesn’t know me at all – and never has, if I’m being honest.

In that angry phone call two years ago I told my ex I would like to be her friend because she was another mom to my girls and we should at least be friendly.  He grudgingly agreed to introduce us at Tina’s HS graduation.  I was genuinely happy to meet her the graduation so all I can guess is that she’s only gets information from him and my older daughter so what are they saying?

So back to the shower:  I caught myself starting that automatic agreement, “Oh no it’s fine, really…” but I stopped myself before I said a single word, looked her in the eye and said “But it’s not, it’s not hard for me at all to have you here.  I’m really glad you came and I’m truly happy for you both.”  I think – I hope – she believed me.  I also told her, to her face, finally, “I would like to be your friend.  I don’t need to be your best friend but I think we should be friendly.”  She seemed OK with that statement and said “Well now you have my number” because she had texted me their RSVP to the shower.  So hopefully this is the beginning of some good communication with her.  I have, since the shower, texted her about an ultrasound that Tina had (all good/normal) and she responded to that so I’ll start with basic communication for now.

At the shower I also thanked the ex for coming and he looked startled and said “Thank you for inviting us” like he was surprised to even have been invited.  He’s so strange.  I don’t hate him, I just don’t have any reason to stay in touch with him and he seems to think that my not reaching out to him is a “refusal to have anything to do with him” and also means I hate him and can’t stand him.

Yes, life is still all about him… <rolling my eyes>  always has been, probably always will be.

After the shower I was emotionally and physically wiped out.  Sadly, I had a good amount of salon appointments the next week and if I had been thinking I would have scheduled all of them for the afternoons but noooo, I had to be at the shop at 11 am every day that week on top of waitressing until 11:30 at night.  The next week I didn’t have hardly any appointments so I did a lot of sleeping in, which really helped me recover my energy.

The week after that was my birthday.  My 45th birthday.  I was NOT excited about it.  There was no party and the only person available to do anything with me on my birthday was my daughter, Tina.  All of my friends here are from work and they were, well, working.  Sean didn’t even ask for the day off (I asked for his birthday off) and I was slightly afraid that I would wind up at dinner with me, Tina and Sean’s mom – not my idea of a good time for my birthday. My parent’s hadn’t contacted me since right after the shower and I didn’t feel like driving to their town and hoping they would have the time to have dinner with me on my birthday. I was going to try to ignore it and just stay home all day but Tina wasn’t having it so at 10 pm the night before I decided to go sapphire hunting.

We live a couple of hours from a sapphire mine so it was a nice day trip and it made spending the day with my daughter my choice instead of my last resort/only option.  We drove over some crazy roads, found 43+ carats of sapphires in our bucket of dirt, had BBQ lunch and visited 2 amazing candy stores and stopped at a couple of waterfalls on the way home.  I had a lot more fun than I expected to and the grumpy mood that I woke up with turned into a fairly cheery disposition.  When we got back to the town we live in she took me to a local restaurant where I consumed 2, count them t-w-o, alcoholic beverages and a couple of appetizers.  The drinks were in pint glasses.  I have never drank so much at one time in my entire life but I still did not get drunk, was not even tipsy and I didn’t even feel buzzed.  But I did let her drive home since she’s preggers and can’t drink anyway.  It was the safe thing to do and I’m all about safety.

I’m beginning to wonder how high my alcohol tolerance is, this could be a fun experiment…

In the end I received lots of birthday greetings on Facebook and some by text message but my father, who I moved to Montana to be closer to, did not wish me a happy birthday at all on the day or anytime after.  Since my step-mother did text me a happy birthday that means that she either told him and he chose not to message me or she didn’t tell him and he forgot.  Either way, it made me sad.

And that pretty much ended August.  Stay tuned for the next post where we talk about me getting back into online dating, waiting on Kevin Costner, my upcoming ocean vacation, the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook and new insights about Sean.  😀

Someone once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. I’ve been doing the same thing for a while now, hoping things would get better… but they’re not.

The restaurant I’m working at is a good place to work. The owner scares me because he always looks like a volcano ready to explode but he’s a good man. He pays the full minimum hourly wage instead of just a token hourly wage and I’ve seen him keep dishwashers employed long past when I would have fired them for poor work performance. I love my co-workers very much, we’re like a family there and I will miss them terribly. They actually make up the bulk of my friends, which is kind of sad, come to think about it…

I’ve definitely gotten better at waitressing since I started there 10 months ago although I’ll probably never get as good as the girls who have been there forever – and I’m OK with that, lol.

Since I started no one else has been hired and stayed, I’ve seen lots of new hires come and go and it’s probably 50/50 that they quit or get fired. But everybody else has been there for years and it’s their career, their only source of income and they’re not going anywhere. Which means I’m never moving up in the serving ladder. There’s an upstairs and a downstairs dining area and the new people always get the downstairs. When customers come in they usually sit at the first available booths or tables upstairs and slowly trickle downstairs. Sean has been working there for several years and only once have I ever seen him put on Section One, the best section, and frequently he’s downstairs with me because there’s so many other girls that have been there longer than him and they get the better sections.

Summer is always busier and I thought I would make more money but they also hired new girls to cover the busy season so I’m getting less hours and still making about the same.

The schedule is also very unpredictable and it only comes out a few days ahead of time for the next week. Some weeks I work 5 days, some I work 3. It’s very hard to budget and hard to plan to go anywhere out of town.

Sometimes it gets busy, like slammed, every table in the restaurant is full. Those days are hard because I CAN’T give anyone good service. I’ll have 9 tables and most of them have 4 people but some of them will have 8. Frequently I’ll have 3 or 4 tables sit down at the exact same time. It is not humanly possible to get 12 people in three different groups their drinks in a timely fashion while also trying to help the 4 other tables I’ve been working with their side of ranch, another round of drinks, extra napkins and A1 sauce. So tips those days are bad. As in 10% or less. It’s a lot of work for not nearly enough money.

Last night it became clear to me that I need a different job. This job physically exhausts me and the stress from never knowing the schedule and what I can budget on drains me emotionally and mentally.

I’ve been doing the same thing over and over again expecting things to change.

I have to make things change. They don’t change on their own.

Dammit.

I still don’t have enough salon customers to pay the bills so I need a second job to make sure everything gets covered. I’m thinking I will apply for jobs as a casino attendant. They still get tips but the pace is never as frantic as serving can get and hopefully the schedules at the chain casinos are more set and come out further ahead of time.

The hard part will be telling Sean, the father of my grandbaby, that I’m not going to work with him anymore. It will eliminate 98% of our time together and all of his secondhand connection with my dauhter. I will miss being around him and it’s not my intention to deprive him of that extra little connection to my daughter, and eventually his daughter as well, but I have to do what I can to stay on top of the bills and keep my sanity, or at least as much of it as possible.

I had this great post written out and then I lost it… so long story short – I’m doing well now.  I wrote my last post towards the end of a really bad depression spiral and had a really horrible, nasty day a few days latter and then I snapped out of it and now I’m fine.  Most days really, truly are good for me, I just tend to write more when I’m in the depths of a depression episode because it’s therapeutic.  Lucky you.

I am currently not interested in dating anyone anymore.  Not sure why but it does make life easier and I am at peace, lol.  I was all twitterpated for about three weeks over my 26 year old former co-worker but that disappeared overnight and although I have no clue why my romantic feelings towards him are gone I am completely OK with it.  He doesn’t communicate enough to make a relationship with me work and I see that now – after I finally looked away from the bright light of Possibly Not Being Alone Anymore…

My nephew’s graduation turned out great, the ex didn’t show, although his parents did, and I wound up having a really nice chat with them.  Tina and I stayed at my best friend’s house and had a good time.

I’m going to try and specialize in facials, body waxing and eyelash extensions since there are tons of hair stylists in this tiny town I live in but very few people offering any of those three services.  Besides, hair isn’t my favorite anyway and I just don’t feel like I’m that great at it either, ha, ha…

Waitressing is still going well, tips are getting better and I’ve even lost some more weight, yay!  I’ve lost 13 pounds since I started this job last September but I’m hoping to lose another 30 in the next year.  I just set up my Wii and have the Zumba disc, hopefully that will help 😀

I’ve started reading books again, partly because our internet here at the house absolutely sucks but also because I’ve tired of always having something on the television.  It’s been probably 5 years since I’ve really sat down to read a book, I forgot how much I enjoy it!

A co-worker invited me to lunch a week or so ago and it was a lot of fun, I think it’s a good start to an away-from-work friendship and the beginning of a social life so woo hoo!

Overall, everything is back to normal and going well.  I’ve had almost all good days in the last couple of weeks.  I’m not panicking about giving up my life for my daughter and/or her baby anymore.  Life isn’t scary and I’m not feeling stuck here any more.

I can breathe again.  It was just the depression, kicking my butt for a short time.

I’m going to be OK.

My laptop has been trying to die and therefore blogging has been difficult so I will try to catch up since Easter in a brief and succinct fashion… to be brief and amazing, so to speak, ha, ha…

It took almost 6 weeks to get my cosmetology license, after 4 weeks I emailed the state to find out what was taking so long and they replied with “oh, we need more information”.  Apparently they needed confirmation – again – of my Idaho nail license, the same one they already verified to give me my Montana nail license 2 years ago.  Sooo frustrating…  but I requested the information that they required and my license was emailed to me the next day so all’s well that ends well I guess, right?

The day I got my license I started getting sick, which turned out to be the B strain of the flu virus – the worst strain, this year – and kept me out of working both of my jobs for a week – AND – I gave the flu to my pregnant daughter.  That was terrifying for me, the thought that harm may come to her and the baby because of me but she was diagnosed early enough in the course of it that she could take the Tamiflu whereas I was stubborn about going to the doctor and waited too long so I could only tough it out.  I have never been so sick in my life and I feel a wee bit lied to.  I didn’t throw up once so how could it have possibly been the flu?  That’s why I didn’t go to the doctor right away, I thought I just had a bad cold… ugh.  An unfortunate side-effect of having the flu and being out of work for a week was that I could not afford to go to my oldest daughter’s graduation from the little college her church has.  I really wanted to be there to show her that I was there for her, that I am willing to travel and spend the time and money to be as much a part of her life as she will let me and because of a virus she probably thinks that I just didn’t want to go and made up being sick to get out of it.

This whole month of May has been very defeating for me overall…

I’ve gotten better at waitressing and as much as it is NOT the job I want for the rest of my life I have accepted that it pays the bills and is a necessary part of my life for the foreseeable future.  It is also very much like going to the gym and getting paid for being there as it is more exercise than I will ever get cutting hair or doing nails, lol.  The shift in my mindset seems to have improved my service at the restaurant and the managing waitresses have noticed so that is good and tips have been better too so that’s one for the plus side!

Tina and Sean will probably never get back together, that is becoming more and more clear.  Sean seems to have stopped gambling and has cut back his drinking again to focus more on his music and creative endeavors.  They both go to the doctor appointments together and the ultrasounds – she’s having a girl, by the way, I’m so excited! – and they’re getting along fairly well.

Sean and I, on the other hand, have become fairly close.  We communicate almost every day and we are there for each other in life’s little ups and downs.  It bothers Tina something fierce and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it.  He has become a dear friend – nothing more and nothing less – but I don’t want to give that up just to make her feel better.  We all have to get along for the rest of our lives because of the baby, why not get along well?  She is the only one who struggles with he and I getting along.  His mom and I are starting to be friends as well and Tina definitely struggles to have a relationship with Sean’s mom, she is a very black-and-white sort of person and I think it reminds her too much of her father and sister.

I haven’t gone back to FetLife for a while but the Montana man and I have continued emailing.  I found out, after 7 weeks of emailing him, that he was married.  I was starting to think we could be more than friends and so when I found out I immediately friend-zoned him, which he accepted fairly graciously and we have continued to email back and forth several times a week.  I do enjoy having a simple, normal conversation with him – even though he would still like it if we could meet up and “cuddle” – but he is not pushy about it so that’s probably as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

Tina and I were invited, at the last minute, to my father’s birthday dinner and it was nice to see him, my step-mother and my step-sister along with her son and finance.  My step-mother paid for everyone’s meals but ours and then texted me the next day apologizing for the fiance who talked non-stop about the wedding that Tina and I aren’t invited to.  It was a crazy dinner and they all had obviously given my father his gifts earlier, at his home, without us.  I’m sorry I ever moved to Montana to get to know my dad.  He was happy to see Tina and me at his dinner but nobody else was and I cannot get closer to him without his suffering repercussions from his wife so I have less of a relationship with him than ever.  I should have moved to the Oregon Coast like I wanted to, dammit.

But if I had never moved here I would not be having a granddaughter and everything inside me screams that it is very important she exists.  I believe she is going to change the world.  But how?

I am also enjoying living just a few hours from my best friend, instead of the 8 hour drive it was before I moved to Montana.  She still lives in the same city we both moved to after graduating high school and even though I swore to never live there again it has become a tempting thought to me to go back just to be closer to her and other friends from high school, I could have a social life and girlfriends again, maybe even find someone to date…

The beginning of June Tina and I are going to attend my nephew’s high schoo graduation and spend time with my best friend. Also in attendance will be my ex-husband, his wife and my former in-laws. I am not expecting to have a good time at the graduation – or at the BBQ at my own brother’s house afterwards – because of them.  Hopefully I am wrong…

Forgive me, I am not in bright spirits right now.

I signed up on Match.com and it’s been the weirdest thing – when I was on the free dating sites I received  many messages and quite a bit of interest from the men there.  The minute I pay for a membership at a site with a better reputation every little bit of interest dried up like I was suddenly in the middle of the salt flats of Utah.  I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and initiated contact with 5 men.  One of them sent a polite “no thank you” and one responded, we had a coffee date and then he sent me a message saying that we were not a good match.  The other three did not respond at all.

There is a slim chance that a nice man I used to work with likes me.  I feel like he likes me and I have become very fond of him.  He is tall and handsome, a gentle soul, kind of introverted – like me – and a man of few words.  I could love him easily.  The catch is that he is only 26 and I suspect that no matter how much he may like – or love – me, it is not enough to overcome the 18 years of difference between us, something I have been considering in depth recently and have decided that I don’t care about an age gap anymore.  If a man is of a character that I would date him then it doesn’t matter what age he is.

I’m feeling tired, worn out with no end in sight and very, very alone.  Forever alone…

I’m in a tiny town with hardly any chance of meeting anyone new, male or female, for dating or for friendship.  My purpose in moving to Montana has been defeated by my father’s wife.  What’s best for me would to be closer to my support network of my best friend and high school friends but if I move I either lose the closeness I’ve gained with Tina and will miss out on being a part of her daughter’s life – OR – she moves with me, I am never have space of my own again and Sean misses out on being a part of his daughter’s life.  There is no win-win here.  My leaving to better my own life costs other people. My staying costs me but would make sure my daughter has help and support with her infant after delivery will also ensure that the child will be safe and taken care of in spite of the fact that my daughter has little to no experience with children, especially infants.  Both Tina and Sean like to drink and smoke pot.  Tina has not drank a drop since she learned she was pregnant but she continues to smoke cigarettes, although less of them, and she still smokes pot, but again, less of it than before she was pregnant.  Will she go back to these things once she delivers?  Probably.  Will Sean be safe to leave his child in his care or will he drink and smoke pot while he has her?  I firmly believe that he would never purposefully endanger his child but I also wonder if he might think that his taking a hit here, a drink there wouldn’t affect her.

I don’t know and the not knowing is eating away at me.  It traps me here and I am entering another round of depression and hopelessness.  How can I leave and risk my grandchild’s well-being?  Staying feels like I would be, once again, devoting my entire life to another person and, in exchange, giving up any rights to a life of my own.  Somewhat like being trapped in my marriage again.  I don’t want to go back to that place in my head, in my heart again.  But if I don’t what happens to the child?  Tina’s getting pregnant has changed everything.

Everything.

And now everything is about the child. I have to keep her safe.

It has been far too long since I had the time and energy to blog and a lot has happened so I’ll try to summarize…

I graduated beauty school! I finished the required hours and walked out of school a free lady on March 15th. It was such a relief to be finished, truly, the 13 1/2 months I was there was the hardest time in my life. It was easier to leave my marriage! Ugh. But it’s over and with it came the end of 7 months of 14 hour days, between 4 – 6 days a week. I’ve never been more exhausted. I’ve taken these last two weeks to do as little as possible and rest as much as I can and I’ve noticed already that I’m feeling better. This next week I’ll start to focus on drumming up more nail business and in a month or so when I finally get my hair license I’ll work on getting hair customers as well.

I’m still waitressing to pay the bills until my chosen profession can support me and while it’s going well I’m tired of it. I do my best and the other servers are getting good tips – 15% – 20% on a regular basis but I seem to be stuck in averaging 10% – !5%. I’m not sure what else I can be doing to give better service and, therefore, better tips but it’s really frustrating and I’ve been taking it personally, which I need to stop doing. There’s always something to work on, isn’t there? Lol.

Tina and Sean are not back together yet and honestly I don’t know what is going to happen. Sean is revealing a side of himself that I hadn’t seen before, it would appear that he has a bigger issue with alcohol than he had let on before, or at least than he’s had for a while. He had said he used to be a really bad alcoholic and stopped drinking when he moved from California to Montana so that’s something Tina and I both knew about but it looks like he is struggling with it again. Also, he has started gambling more often… although it’s probably all in response to all the pressures of loosing his father, gaining and then losing the love of his life and becoming a father with a person who has rejected him completely as their life partner. Can’t say as I blame him but this is not a good direction for him… More prayers needed please…

Tina’s pregnancy is going well, she’s about 16 weeks right now and there have been no problems, yay! I think at her next appointment she’ll be able to find out the baby’s sex, I’m so excited about it!

For myself, I’ve started trying to find out more information about sexuality and more specifically, my own. I’ve tried all the conventional methods I’ve been able to think of and haven’t gotten anywhere so when a friend suggested I try Fetlife.com I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

Fetlife – as in Fetish Life…

Yep. Apparently it’s a Facebook-type site for the BDSM community, which means there are erotic postings in every format – written, photos and videos. Every. Format. But I learned so much there from the things people wrote. Apparently there’s “rules” for sex. Important rules like mutual consent for everything. Rules about physical safety and germ safety. There’s a lot of respect between the parties and they call what they do acting out a “scene” like it’s theater. I thought I was probably Asexual, someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction to others but I read a list of definitions and then took a test. It said that I’m 99% Vanilla, someone who doesn’t want anything other than “normal” sex – no shocker there – but I’m also something called a Demi-Sexual, someone who is only sexually attracted to someone they are strongly emotionally connected to.

Hmmm… no wonder I was never sexually attracted to my ex-husband, we never emotionally connected.

Anyway, it’s a very arousing website, with all that, well, basically, porn, floating around… but I decided to write a bit of my story and I stated that I was open to feedback and/or advice. One of the things I was specifically looking for was how to find a counselor who could help me deal with my sexual issues and I got lots of good feedback on that. But the best response I received was from a man in Scotland. He had a lot of good advice and we chatted for most of a month before he lost interest but he was very kind and encouraging. There’s another man, from somewhere else here in Montana that responded to what I wrote and we’ve been chatting on email as just friends. I don’t actually spend a lot of time on FetLife. I basically read a bunch of what people write, step back and turn it over in my mind, do additional online research if needed and wait until I’m curious about something again before I get back onto it. But just being able to identify a few things has been really encouraging. To understand that I’m not the only one out there who has a low sex drive and there’s a reason I’m not sexually attracted to hardly anyone – and why I was never sexually attracted to my ex-husband – is very freeing. I’ve only slept with one man my entire life, I’m not at all in a hurry to make it two and I’d like to stop at two as well.

Today is Easter and marks the second holiday Tina and I were not invited to my dad and step-mom’s house to celebrate, the first being Christmas. This coming Thursday is my dad’s birthday and we have not yet received an invitation for that either. I’m hoping that we will be invited to his birthday dinner but my step-mom has been upset with me since before Thanksgiving, as far as I can tell. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, especially just before Christmas when it got very obvious, but she just brushed it off and wouldn’t talk to me about it, wouldn’t even hardly listen to me apologize for hurting her feelings, she didn’t want to discuss it at all… I don’t know what else to do so I just text each of them a “Hi, I love you” every once in a while. So much for moving to Montana to be closer to them…

For now I’m going to stay in Tinyville Montana and try to build a business and see how it goes. Tina would like to have her own place, and I have to say I wouldn’t mind having space to myself either but everything is so expensive here neither of us can afford it – and I don’t see that changing after the baby is born – but who knows, right?

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