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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

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