So I’ve been doing really good, I haven’t had a seriously bad day for a long time and today, Christmas Day 2018, is not the worst by far but I thought I’d share how it went for someone who suffers from depression.

My daughter, Tina, and I had invited probably 20 people to our house for an 11 am breakfast this morning.  Seven people told me they would come and three people told my daughter they would come so we were expecting 10. One of my friends asked if she could come over in her jammies and I said sure and she asked if I would be in my jammies and I said sure.  Sean came over Christmas Eve and helped us get ready and we all went to bed about 2:30 am.  We woke up at 9 am because my daughter told Sean’s Mom to be at our house at 9:30 to be there when we open our presents (she mostly wanted to see the baby and watch the kids open the presents she got the baby…).  I had told them to tell her to be at our house at 10 am but noooo… Tina says 9:30 so my day is off to an earlier start than I expected it to be.

First thing that set the day off kilter.

Next are the messages that people –  my people – can’t come.  Nobody my daughter invited let her know they wouldn’t be there, they just didn’t show up.  Suddenly we’re down to two, my jammie friend and her son – and they’re going to be late.

Now I don’t normally let people see me in my jammies so I have carefully chosen them the night before.  My daughter and Sean are wearing the equivalent of Ugly Sweater Outfits, my daughter is doing it just for fun because she does that every Christmas but Sean seems to be going along with it to connect with her but also make me feel better about wearing my jammies in front of other people.  Bless that boy, I love him.  So when my friend walks through the door I notice immediately that she is NOT wearing her jammies like she said she was going to.

Now I’m uncomfortable in my clothes in my own house but I can’t change into my regular clothes because of Sean and my daughter.

My friend and her son stay for only three hours, we had breakfast, played some games and I think they had a good time and my daughter and Sean seemed to have a good time.  I tried really hard to have a good time and I think everyone else thought I had a good time but I hit a wall right after we ate.  Stick a fork in me because I was done – but the party was still going so I couldn’t be done.  I was tired from not enough sleep.  Upset that Sean’s mom was told to come early. Sad because only two people came.  Uncomfortable because I’m in my jammies.  And annoyed that I made so much food that will probably be wasted now.

After they left my daughter, baby and I tried to nap for almost an hour but I never fell asleep before we had to get back up and get ready to go to dinner at Sean’s mom’s house.  I really wanted to “call in sick” and not go but that would hurt her feelings and I’m trying to build a good friendship with her since we are now related forever through baby RJ.  The plus side is that I could wear my normal clothes instead of jammies, yay!  On my way to her house I planned on stopping at McDonalds for some Dr Pepper since I had none at home – and they were closed.  Duh, it’s Christmas.  I live in a tiny town and only the gas stations were open today.

Side note:  I used to think that I would appreciate it if businesses shut down for the big holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving but now that I live in a small town that actually does shut down on holidays I’m much more grateful for those who do work on holidays…

But now I’m tired, upset, sad, annoyed and slightly frantic at the thought of not getting any caffeine to bolster my energy and get me through this dinner.

The house was full, all together Sean’s mom has 7 other family members and 1 best friend over for all her big events – holidays, birthdays, etc.  Add myself and my daughter and she needs seating for 11 people.  She only set the table for 9… but we didn’t discover it until everyone was seated except for her daughter and son-in-law.  Now I’m back to feeling uncomfortable because I’m the least/newest family but I have a seat and they don’t. They get that sorted by sending the teenaged boys to the couch with their food, which they probably preferred if I’m honest.  Also, everyone is very loud.  Every Single One of them.  They talk loud, they laugh loud, they interrupt each other and their speech patterns are very abrasive, at least to me.  With the way I was already feeling it was very hard to take, being a much more quiet, gentle, reserved person but I tried my best to smile and laugh when it was appropriate.

Oh, and I forgot.  One of her grandsons/Sean’s nephews, about 16 I think, has a form of high-functioning autism.  Super nice boy, very blunt and not terribly politically correct most of the time and you generally expect an odd comment or two from him.  Picky eater, that sort of thing… When we first entered he called my daughter “An abomination” and “Everything that Christmas shouldn’t be”.  All efforts to get him to apologize were refused.  He wasn’t trying to be mean, but what he thinks he says and this is the first time that he said something hurtful to one of us and Tina took it pretty hard even though she tried not to show it.

In the middle of dinner I wanted to say I didn’t feel good and just get up and go home.  There was just so much going on.  I was so overwhelmed.

We had planned to go to a movie, Aquaman, after dinner and everybody bailed except Sean’s mom, Tina and me.  Sean first says that I could leave the baby while we go to the movie since he wasn’t going to go and then changed his mind and said he wanted to go to bed instead so we took the baby to the movie.  She’s actually great in movie theaters, I think this is the 4th or 5th one she’s been to.  She doesn’t fuss and does really well.  But it was frustrating to be offered an option and then have it taken away.

On the way to the movie theater I started crying.  It just wasn’t a wonderful Christmas for me.  I didn’t think I had expectations but apparently I did because they definitely weren’t met.  It was a lot of work – and expense – for what was supposed to be a fun day with friends and family and I was really, really overwhelmed by the people at Sean’s house.  I had so many emotions going on inside me… I think I personally would have had a happier day if I had just stayed in bed but that would have made other people unhappy, which would have made me unhappy in the end so this was a no-win situation.

The farther away I get from it the better it will be.  We had a successful. if small, party.  I felt good about the gifts I gave and I received some nicer. more thoughtful ones than I expected.  The dinner was nice and I have been accepted into a new family.  The movie was good and going to a theater always helps reset my mood.  I came home, got back into my jammies, watched a couple episodes of Dr. Who, wrote this blog post and next I’ll head to bed.  It was a fine day, just hard emotionally and a little bit physically because of not enough sleep.

So please be kind to the people in your life that suffer from even a touch of depression.  Even if they’re doing great they can still cry, still have a bad day here and there and they just need love and a little space.

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There comes a time when you just have to lay all your cards on the table and acknowledge reality for what it is. This is me, my self-assessment, so to speak.

I go by Blue now – I have blue hair, blue eyes, wear a lot of blue clothes and I even have a blue car.  A friend at work gave me the nickname because there is another girl there with the same name as me and I have come to embrace it.

I am a list person.  I like to think things through and make plans.  When I have repetitive tasks I try to do them in a certain order so that I don’t forget anything.  Mostly I do seemingly random things for a reason.  I would guess that 80 percent of the time if you ask me why I do something a certain way I can give you a logical reason for it.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do anything spontaneously – I can and do. But I have a better time when I’ve planned things out and know that the important things are taken care of.

And while I may be quite logical in my planning and daily life I normally make decisions with my heart and not my head.  Quite the conundrum I am… Relationships are the most important thing to me and so I chose to keep the peace over standing up for myself.  Chose to please others over my own happiness.  I have a need – so strong that right or wrong I have come to define myself by it – to make others in my life comfortable and happy. And I use my planning and logic strengths to make that happen, lol.  But seriously, if you are the least bit important to me and you are uncomfortable in my presence I want to fix it.  I have to fix it.  Whether you are too cold, too hot, hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable with what’s playing on the radio or television, disturbed by the presence of another person in the room… I will know and do my best to fix it until you are comfortable again.  It is one of the most common complements I get – “your house is so peaceful”, “I feel so at home here”, “it’s so comfortable here”,, “you’re so easy to talk to”.  I. Need. You. To. Be. OK. Otherwise I am not OK and my soul writhes until either you are OK or we part ways.  I would like to find a man who feels the same way about me…

When I say I know how you feel when you are uncomfortable I mean it – I Know Things. (Wooooooo…)  These past few years I have read books and done research and I have come to believe that I have empathic tenancies.  My counselor had a different name for it, tracking maybe?  She said it was a survival skill developed from a traumatic childhood.  That I totally believe as I am best at sensing when people are dangerous, angry, uncomfortable or unhappy.  Sensing when others are happy is not as strong a feeling for me and never has been.  I would like to learn more about being an empath and learn how to hone my skills to feel more and be more accurate with sensing all emotions, not just the negative ones.  Someday, when I have more time, I will find a teacher.

Which leads me to speak of how I feel like I hardly have time to breathe, lol.  Because I am a responsible adult (dammit) I have found myself currently working 3 jobs, leaving me no real time to cook, or clean – or even make a mess at home, really – lol.  I get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep, which is enough to keep me going but not enough to feel rested so I cherish those rare days off from my morning job when I can sleep in and will frequently sleep 12 – 14 hours.  I awake feeling better but still have no time to have a life.  My goal for 2019 is to find a job – Just One Job – that will pay the bills and let me have a life.  And then maybe I can start to date seriously and – hopefully – find my soulmate and live Happily Ever After. Ha, ha, ha, ha…

As to why I am single – I was married for almost 21 years.  I have two daughters, both in their early 20’s  now, and I left him after the younger one was out of high school because he was a bully.  He didn’t hit me or the children, he didn’t yell and scream at us, but I became depressed because of our relationship and reached a point where I knew if I did not divorce him I would commit suicide so I chose to live. It was not easy and I walked away with hardly anything.  I was homeless, sleeping on my sister’s couch for 5 months.  He didn’t think there was anything wrong with our relationship and seemed to feel that I just up and walked out for no reason.  In the last almost 4 years I have stopped taking my anti-depressants because I don’t need them any more.  I have found myself – someone I never dared to be before.  I have never looked back and never regretted leaving him but I would like to experience a good relationship, to have my love returned and live peacefully with someone I care for.  I have only gone on 9 dates and have chatted with probably that same number of men online since I became single.  I know that’s not very many but I’ve come to realize that I would rather be lonely than be with someone just so that I’m not alone.  I think that is called maturity 😀

Even though I married the third man I dated and have only dated a relatively few times since I became single I have “fallen in love” several times in my life and no, none of the times was with my husband.  I know, he deserved better but so did I.  Research suggests I am demi-sexual, which a quick Google search defines as:  “A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form an emotional connection. It’s more commonly seen in, but by no means confined, to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being “halfway between” sexual and asexual.”  That has always been the case for me although let me clarify that I also have an exceptionally low sex drive so “falling in love” for me does NOT include wanting to sleep that person.  I want affection and cuddling for the most part, kind words and loving smiles.  If I like you enough to love you then I will tell you I love you often – and I love easily.  If I hug you then I am more comfortable with you and I trust you.  If I  kiss your neck or your cheek – or allow you to kiss mine – then I love you deeply and consider you at the very least family.  IF I love you enough to actually fall in love with you then I would like to touch you often – your face, your chest and back, hugs, random kisses of affection here and there, hold hands, wrap my arm around your waist with yours around mine, sit close enough to touch, sit with my legs over yours, rest my head on your chest or yours on mine, spooning… all manner of affection.  Give me oodles of affection and you will have my heart completely and I will want to make love with you.

Alas, no man I have ever fallen in love with has fallen in love with me so that’s essentially my fairy tale… but it’s never actually happened.  I have slept with one man my entire 45 years and it was never good.  I might never find my soul mate and I’ve stopped searching so hard for him but if he happens to find me, well then… yes please.

Ah, “yes please”… something else about me, I’m polite.  And kind.  And I’m probably on a poster somewhere for Good Girls R Us…  Having standards, a good work ethic, being responsible and keeping my word are very important to me.  I love to laugh but not at the expense of others.  I love to help people.  I swear a little bit but mostly to myself and rarely around others.  I don’t judge others – or at least I try very hard not to, I suppose there’s no stopping it completely as there is no trust without some measure of judging.  Being “good”, doing the right thing – these things are another way I define myself.

I’m reserved when I first meet people.  I’ve spent most of my life hiding who I am so I still stay quiet and observe before I open up too much but I am but I am getting better about letting people see the real me sooner than later.  Lucky them?

A few things I dislike about myself:  I snore.  Loudly.  I, in fact, have sleep apnea so I wear a CPAP machine to bed, giving me the delightful appearance of an elephant/alien hybrid gone wrong and causing me to sound like Darth Vader is breathing beside you all night long, yep, gunna be single forever…  Also, I am not a terribly good cook.  I used to think I was so perhaps I have completely lost my touch since I became single or it’s entirely possible I never had the touch in the first place…  As far as looks go, this body has had two children and a lot of donuts with no regrets…  making my 5’3″ frame look far too much like Shreck’s – my legs are fine and my head’s pretty normal but I’ve got a bit of a belly on me, lol.  Add to that the fact I never learned how to hold my stomach in as a child and and all I would need to do is have green skin to complete my ogre bod.  While I’m working on pulling my stomach in now it requires a degree of focus that I haven’t quite mastered yet and for some reason I catch myself actively pushing my belly out, as though I’m trying to hold up pants that are too big for me – very counterproductive, ugh.  So in combination with trying to suck the gut in I am also trying to love my body just the way it is… uh huh.  Another work in progress.

All in all my life is good.  Fairly difficult at the moment but good.  I may or may not find love and I’m learning to be OK with the “may not” part of that.  I’m not amazing nor am I horrible.  I am myself, which is someone I’m still discovering and getting to know.  I still have faith in God, I do my best every day and I know that everything will be OK.

It amazes me that when I start to write things like this out I usually begin in some degree of despair, trying to force myself to accept that this is how it is and nothing will ever change.  Yet in the process of setting who I am on paper I realize that I have changed and I will change again.  Nothing is as bad out in the air as it was in my head – oxygen does wonders for worries.  And so I keep writing 🙂

 

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…

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.

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