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I took a quick look back over my posts so far this year and realized that I haven’t said much, if anything about Beauty School and it’s become such an important part of my life!  So here’s an overview from the beginning:

I walked into school for the very first time right after I moved to Montana.  A man was at the front desk, (later I learn his name is Rayalf), and he called one of the teachers up (who turned out to be Kammi).  While I’m waiting for Kammi I notice a tall man with blue hair – that was Kyle, who turns out to be my Cwtch…

Kammi takes me back to her office and tells me a little bit about the school, introduces me to the owner, Misty, as “the girl with the nail hours”, assures me I am all set to start with the next class.

The school is much smaller than I expected it to be, in the bigger city I left I used to go to beauty schools all the time to get my hair done and this school is barely a quarter of the size of any of those and yet there’s between 30 and 40 students and three instructors, hmm, this could be interesting…

Fast forward about 3 weeks, I show up to the school and meet my 8 other classmates.  All nice girls and we range in age from 18 to me at 43.  The girl who was in her 30’s dropped out after a couple of months so now it’s just me and the younger ones, lol.  We spent roughly 8 weeks in the back room doing book work and practicing on mannequin heads before we were allowed to move to the front and work on the public.

Just writing this out I realize that none of this is the important part.  The people there, the other students and the instructors are what has made this experience so life-changing for me.

There’s lots of swearing, even from the instructors.  Anything that can be turned into a sexual innuendo is done so with a vengeance and everybody laughs like it’s the funniest thing in the world.  Rayalf, in particular, loves practical jokes and almost everyone affectionately calls each other Bitch or Dude, depending on the mood they’re in.  It’s a circus of chaos and craziness.  But here’s the thing – these people are a family.  They’re real.  In spite of the bickering and the arguing they get along most of the time.  They share their supplies and food with each other.  They listen to each other’s stories,  empathize and hug.  And aside from their moral standards being vastly different than my own they have a much healthier outlook on sex and sexuality than I do.  Granted, probably 99% of all people out there have a healthier view of sex than I do but these people are open and honest about it while at the same time being accepting of me and my beliefs, encouraging me to heal but not pushing me to go outside my moral boundaries.

Some days are hard because I can get overwhelmed with all of the emotions that go on in a building of 30 women and 2 men ranging from 17 – 60.  Even though everyone is always nice to me I can still be affected by the people around me being negative and petty to each other.  I have gone outside and cried many times.  I’ve even gone back on the happy pills because school can be so stressful.  I don’t like being on the happy pills again, I was very proud of myself for having gotten off them but I’m realizing that my body doesn’t handle stress yet the way it should.  It handles stress better than it did when I was married, way better, but it’s still not back to completely healthy… so happy pills it is.  I even stayed home one day as a “mental health” day and it was totally worth it.  I plan to take three days off a month to help preserve my sanity even though it will lengthen my time at school and cost me about $1400 in overages at the end.  Ugh.

In the end though, it is a crazy, insane kind of world and ultimately I love it.  My hair is blue with purple roots and for the first time in my life I have shaped eyebrows and fake eyelashes.  At school I have friends who love me and hug me and care about me and tell me I’m beautiful and that they’re glad I’m there.  I’ve been able to share my past with some of them and they empathize with me and are very supportive.  My favorite teacher, Kammi, just offered to rent me her spare room and be a part of her family, which I think will be lots of fun.

This group of people – this group of unchurched, largely immoral, profanity professionals loves, respects and accepts me more than any other group I’ve ever been a part of and none of them require me to become like them before being willing to give me their love and affection.

Being around these people both destroys me and builds me back up, but they build me up far more often than they make me cry.

I know I am who and where I am supposed to be.  I know I am doing what I am supposed to do.  Sometimes the being and the doing is hard but the knowing, the knowing makes it all worth it.

 

 

Well then, I have been in beauty school for three months now and will have accumulated 500 hours in about 2 weeks, yay!  I was able to start working on real people (instead of just mannequin heads) at 300 hours, which was the beginning of April, and so far have done 2 perms and about 4 haircuts.  It’s been fun and a little overwhelming at the same time, mostly because they don’t really teach the way I learn, so I’m trying to figure out a lot of things on my own that they may or may not have told me already, lol.  But the customers have been nice and so far they’ve all been happy with the way they look when I leave so that’s a big plus.

I’ve made new friends!  Well, I’m friendly with everyone, that’s just who I am, but some people you connect with easier than others and I’ve found someone I’ve “clicked” with.  Kyle is one of the two guys at school, about 10 years younger than me, tall, good looking and while you wouldn’t know by just looking at him he is happily engaged to his boyfriend and they are getting married in July. I would have never expected that out of everyone at school he would be my closest friend at school and yet he is!

Kyle was the one to put the first “fun” color in my hair back in February – magenta pink with black tips which I absolutely loved – and he accidentally got a lot of the pink dye on my forehead and it wouldn’t come off.  He felt really bad and kept apologizing until I finally just grabbed him and gave him a quick hug and told him not to worry about it and that I loved my hair.

I was a little nervous about hugging him but in the last couple of years since I became single I realized that if I’m going to experience any kind of human touch at all I will have to have to initiate most of it so I became a hugger.  I hugged my Asian family and my friends back in the town I came from as much as I could but I don’t have anybody to hug here in Montana – except my folks and for some reason family doesn’t really count for things like this.  So I made a quick decision to give him a hug and was really relieved that he didn’t look upset afterwards.

Fast forward a few weeks to a Really Bad Day.  I was super stressed out, Beauty School, having mostly late teen and early twenty-something girls is FULL of drama, people talking loudly and lots of high emotions flying around all over the place.  Add to that the fact that I’ve been couch-surfing since October and was struggling with a bit of depression again along with trying to adjust to my new life here in Montana and it was just a really bad day.  I made it through school feeling fragile and ready to cry at the drop of a hat.  After school I posted something on Facebook to my friends about please hug everyone you know, often and randomly because you don’t know when someone is having a hard day and most people really don’t get enough physical affection.

The next morning I walked in the back door to school, which opens into the break room.  Everyone goes there first thing in the morning to put their things in their locker, their lunch in the fridge and hang their coats on the hooks so it was full of girls.  Kyle sees me and in front of  God and everybody he wraps me in a giant bear hug.  He held me for much longer than an “normal” hug, let me go and we separated enough for him to see that I was trying not to cry so he pulled me close and hugged me again, long but not quite as long as the first one.

All of the girls at school were staring at us, apparently this is not how he hugs everyone else and he does a fair amount of hugging because he’s a very friendly guy and just about everybody loves him – or is in love with him, ha, ha.  He is also quite handsome, most of the girls would like to sleep with him and tell him so to his face regularly – but besides not being interested in girls he is committed to his partner of 6 years and just laughs.

I wrote him a little note telling him how much I appreciated – and needed – the hug and that I noticed how he helps other students and the teachers, just a little encouraging note that said I was proud of him for being such a nice guy.  I’ve done similar things before and the recipients usually (not always) say thank you and it’s never mentioned again.  Kyle seemed to go around and show just about everyone important to him.  I know for sure that he showed the owner of the school – who told me later what a nice thing I did in writing the note –  and then Kyle told me that he showed it to his boyfriend and it made him cry.

I’ve never had anyone share my notes with other people before, that was pretty cool.  Because of his reaction to my note I’ve written three more to other students and while they each said thank you and really appreciated the notes it didn’t enable a connection between me and that student like it did with me and Kyle.  I don’t know if it was because they were girls or because Kyle and I have just clicked and I don’t connect as well with them… regardless I’m going to keep writing those encouraging notes and try to write one for everyone by the time I’m done with school

Ever since then he hugs me regularly, pretty much daily and sometimes often more than once a day.  I have become the envy of all the girls who swoon over him, which is entirely a new feeling for me that I’m torn between enjoying and feeling bad about, I’ve never been the girl that other girls are jealous of because of a boy!  And Kyle gives the best hugs, ever.  Even when I was married I never got a hug like Kyle’s from my husband.  Kyle hugs me long and tight, he holds on until I start to pull away.  There is absolutely nothing sexual about his hugs and I feel completely safe in his arms.  He talks to me sometimes and shares stories about his past, his childhood, what was going on in his life when he became homosexual, how some of his family reacted and a few other things that I doubt he tells very many other people.  Sometimes when we hug he tells me he loves me and I say I love him back but again, it’s not at all romantic.

I think that maybe he has never had anyone offer him friendship and affection without strings or sexual joking attached so he probably needs the hugs as much as I do.

We’ve even started messaging each other outside of school occasionally and Kyle said he would go to a movie with me.  I asked if his boyfriend would be okay with that and he laughed and said it was cute that I asked.  He says he’s looking for a boyfriend for me but that it will have to be someone super-special.  The feelings I have for Kyle are pretty much the same kind of love that I have for my best friend from high school.  Deeper than family or marital love; a total, unconditional love between friends.  Kyle’s hugs and friendship have changed my life and made every day at school a little brighter and the hard days easier and I hope that I make his hard days easier too.

I found a word, Cwtch.  It’s Welsh and it means:  A hug that feels like a safe haven.  It’s pronounced like “crutch” except without the “r” so say “cutch”.  Kyle is my Cwtch.  I wish everybody had one and he has inspired me to hug even more people because I know I’m not the only one suffering from lack of physical affection, even in my small sphere of influence.

So I’m going to encourage you too – Go Hug People!  Go be somebody’s Cwtch.  You may never know the difference your hug can make, the life you may actually save by reaching out and touching someone, by hugging them with affection regardless of how “good” of friends you are.  People need to be touched so become a hugger!  Hug hello and hug goodbye.  Tell people you love them, it means you care about them and it doesn’t have to mean anything else.  Be a safe haven for people.  The world needs more Cwtch’s.

It’s already November and I must admit that I’m getting excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time in a long time.  I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t the “Christmas Magic” I had lost, it was hope – and I have my hope back now!

Things at home are changed a little bit but it’s a good change.  I don’t know if I’ve said this or not yet but my daughter’s best friend from high school, I’ll call her Mandy, is also living with us now – partly because she needed a place to live, partly because she’s a great kid and partly because she’s going to live there to help Tina keep up on the utility payments and what not on my trailer while I’m in Montana.  Starting this month they are each paying a third of everything to get them prepared for paying fifty percent of everything when I go. Mandy is a no-nonsense kind of girl and very helpful in corralling Tina when needed because she’ll say things that need to be said bluntly and Tina will take it from her when she wouldn’t taken the same thing, kindly phrased, from me.  Kids!  All in all though, my home is a very happy place.  Both girls bring their friends over and sometimes their friends bring friends.  My home is a safe place for them all and everyone calls me Mom, which makes me very happy.  We laugh, smile, hang out together and have lots of fun together – I really love my life right now!

The trailer itself is another matter entirely, ugh.  There’s something seriously wrong with the electrical wiring throughout.  In July the outlets in the tip-out tripped and the breaker would not reset no matter how many times I flipped it so a friend’s husband took it out for me so I could get another one.  Lo and Behold, it’s so old they don’t make them anymore so I can’t simply replace it.  That’s two outlets gone and a empty space in my fuse box.  Come the end of October and I bought space heaters because my friend’s husband informed me that the duct-work of the furnace wasn’t connected properly and I didn’t have the money to have a professional look at it.  We plugged the largest space heater in, the one with a thermostat to keep the temperature steady… and it trips a breaker.  Many tripped breakers later we discover that if we leave the thermostat off and let the heater run on Low then it doesn’t trip any more breakers.  Fabulous.  I now have one space heater in the bathroom that keeps that tiny room at around 80 degrees – which is absolutely amazing in the chilly mornings we’ve been having – and I’m afraid to move it or touch it in case adjusting it in any way will trip more breakers – and another space heater for the rest of the trailer that only works on Low.  Needless to say we’re all wearing lots of sweaters and I’ve been buying blankets at the thrift stores like mad.

And the timer on the dryer broke.  I found that out when it ran allllll night one night.  God was gracious and kept the dryer from catching on fire and burning us alive while we slept.  So we can still use it – if we set a timer to go check it after 30 to 45 minutes – but can’t turn it on and leave it running while we leave the house or go to sleep because stuff like that is a leading cause of house fires.

Oh yes, one more thing, the cherry on top, so to speak.  I bought a waterbed off of Craigslist and got it home, put it all together by myself… and it leaks.  Turns out they forgot to unplug the heater while they were draining it and they melted the liner to the heater which must have also made a tiny hole or two in the water bladder because I woke up wet this morning.  I had already moved my old mattress to my daughter’s room because she didn’t have a bed so tonight I’ve kicked her to the couch and I’m sleeping in her room.

To sum it all up, I have two outlets that don’t work at all, a dryer that shouldn’t be operated without supervision, one space heater on low for the majority of the house, no stove to cook or bake with (thank God for the microwave!) and a bed I can’t sleep in tonight.  I feel like I should qualify to be on one of those extreme home makeover shows where they do nice things for people with sad stories – except that they don’t do trailers, lol.  It’s OK.  Everything will work out in the end.  I’ll go buy a new bladder for my bed tomorrow and then I will work on saving up for an electrician.  Not sure what I’m going to do about the stove though…

But it’s not all bad, on a very positive note, my older daughter consented to talk with me last month.  We met at a local bookstore and talked for about a half an hour, which was all she could handle.  She walked in very unhappy and displeased to be there but she asked me some questions which I tried to answer as factually and unemotionally as possible (because facts and logic are what she relates to the best) and I felt like she walked out a little more at peace so that’s a great start to building a new relationship with her.

I’ve told my sister that I’m moving and my older daughter already knew when we met at the bookstore so at this point everyone but my bosses know that I’m moving to Montana.  While that bothers me and I really want to tell them Right Now – I’m going to stick with my decision to not tell them until after my surgery at the very soonest and at the latest, two months before I go – because I want them to have plenty of time to replace me before the busy season starts.  Mostly I’m waiting because I’m 90% certain that Todd will be quite upset and give me guilt trips from the time I tell him until the time I go.  He’s a great deal like my ex husband in a lot of things, especially stuff like that, and I just don’t want to deal with it any longer than I have to.  I will miss them all so very, very much.  They’ve taken me in as a part of their family and while I know this is going to hurt them my father is more important right now. Fortunately family is a big deal in the Vietnamese culture so I’m hoping they’ll understand and not be too mad at me for leaving them.

My hysterectomy should be scheduled for sometime in December so I’ll probably be down and out for Christmas, boo!  I should find out the exact date next week when I meet with the doctor.

Except for the material household stuff things really are going well for me and life is good!  Smile, hug someone and show love to others today 🙂

There is nothing like admitting your painfully embarrassing secrets to make them go away, ha, ha.  The whole Junior High crush thing has subsided to an entirely manageable level and life is making more sense again, yay!  Oh, and I think my boss Todd does like me – at least a little bit – because I keep getting little displays of mild jealousy from him.  He keeps making a big deal out of the “Honey” joke and said today that his brother and I should hold hands and go to a movie tomorrow when the shop is closed.  Men.

I have the next four days off but after that I will probably be working 7 days a week for a while because the non-related owner has gone to Vietnam for several months, leaving us short-handed in our busy season.  If I didn’t adore these people I would stick to my guns and keep my day off but as it is I have nothing better to do – except maybe sleep – so a working I will be. Darn it!  Besides, working all day keeps me from spending money (and electricity at home) so hopefully by the end of the summer I will have saved a nice little nest egg for winter when things slow down.

My younger brother is coming down next week and will spend a day with me.  It hit me as I was telling my bosses that I MUST have Tuesday off to spend time with him, that my brother is actually coming down because my ex-husband invited him and he’s not specifically coming to see me but because I’m here I get to spend time with him too.  Hmmm…  I’m not entirely sure how to feel about that but in the end it doesn’t matter.  He’s coming down and I will have a chance to show him my life now.  I have no intention of bashing my ex and would really like to not talk about the past 20 years at all if I can help it but hopefully my brother will see the change in me now that I’m on my own and realize there really was something wrong all those years.

Tomorrow I’m going to a local water park with two friends and their kids.  They’ve both left their husbands recently – one said she found the courage to leave because I did – and while I’m really sad to know that my actions helped set another divorce in motion I also know that it would have happened eventually without my influence.  I fully expect to come out of it looking like a lobster in spite of the gallons of sunblock I will be applying but I’m looking forward to hearing their stories and sharing some of mine.

Sunday I invited my local best friend and her husband over for lunch and then he’s going to fix some things around my house.  They are such good friends!

Monday I’m having blood work done and an ultrasound of my gall bladder as I’m having trouble properly digesting under cooked meat (I love it hot and pink!) and fatty/greasy foods.  And maybe I’ll get together with a friend in the afternoon for lunch.

Tuesday will be spent hanging out with my brother and his daughter.  I’m planning to take them to lunch and see if we can find something fun to do that doesn’t involve him fixing anything in my house, car or life.  We’ll see how that goes…

I’m afraid I’m going to try and pack too much into my days off when I should be resting but there’s so much to do!

Today after work I was invited to one of my bosses homes for dinner and then we played cards afterwards.  I attempted to display my mad chopsticking skills at dinner but was immediately handed a fork… guess I still need to work on those, ha, ha.

There was a total of six of us and it was sooo much fun!  I’ve played Texas Holdem before but that is the sum total of my poker experience and they either weren’t interested or didn’t know it.  They tried to teach me 13 card something or other but between me not knowing much about card games and not understanding Vietnamese they gave up and we settled on Blackjack.

The typical bet was $1 a round and I am NOT a fast counter so I’m grateful they’re so honest, lol!  There was lots of Vietnamese chatter that I didn’t understand a lick of but, thankfully, laughter is a universal language and we roared with it while I grinned like an idiot through the entire game.  When it was all over I had only lost a grand total of four dollars and it was worth every penny.

Add to that the bed and kitchen table I got free from the shelter program were delivered today and I will start living in my new place tomorrow.

I love my life now, God is so good to me!

Oh the joys of being me!  Here’s the roller coaster ride of feelings I  had today:

Overwhelmed
A Failure
Anger
Weary to the bone
Incapable
Suicidal
Hopeless
Unworthy
Faith-less (as in having no faith, not as in being unfaithful)
Rejected
Doubt
Alone
Zero endurance
Panic

OK, so that’s not really a roller coaster ride, that’s a gravity drop ride…

Today was horrible.  The fourth ten-hour work day in a row is always hard on me but this particular Monday at the call center there was non-stop calls from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, just back-to-back-to-back, with a much higher than average ratio of mean customers than normal.  Seriously people, it’s not my fault you don’t open and/or read your statements and therefore “forget” to pay your bills on time or get interest charges from failing to pay off your promotional financing offers before they expire!

I started my day tired, cried off and on throughout the day because of my customers attitudes and comments and ended the day exhausted and yet, obviously, unable to sleep.  During my shift today I wrote several “Goodbye World” notes in my head – trying to decide what to put on Facebook to make the appropriate people feel guilty and how could I contact my youngest daughters only nice ex-boyfriend to ask him to look in on her when I’m gone.  At some point I realized my thinking was pretty messed up, which only made it worse because then the feelings of “I have no business being a parent” kicked in and only made the urge to off myself stronger.  I really began to feel like I would be doing the world – and especially my children – a favor by not being here.  Towards the end of my workday the calls slowed down and I became a little more rational.  Yes, stop freaking out, I am going to call my doctor tomorrow to get back on some form of anti-depressant because there really is something terribly wrong with me.  (I’m sure that someday this blog will wind up in a clinical textbook about depression and I’ll be reduced to nothing more than a case study, although that’s probably all I am to some of you anyway…)  I fantasize that my doctor will place me on disability because my jobs stress me out so much, but that is just one more fairy tale that will never come true.

I contemplated my faith, or current lack thereof, today.  As a child I loved God with all my heart.  As a teenager I was desperate for the peace my church promised I would have if only I followed God faithfully and did my very best to be a Good Girl.  After high school I began to see that reality was not the life I was told it would be as a Christian.  As a young married wife I slipped further and further away from believing the Christian ideal and now I’m wondering if God would even notice all that much if I cut that last thread and left Him altogether.  But if I don’t believe in God what’s left to believe in?

I have a jewelry open house this Saturday, trying to raise money to pay my school tuition and although I created a Facebook event and invited 50 of my Facebook “friends” to it I haven’t had a single response, yea or nay.  Which leads me to doubt that any of them will come because when everything shakes out I really don’t have “friends”, I have acquaintances.  Lots and lots of acquaintances.  I’ve chased most all the people who might have considered being my friend away by virtue of being mentally disturbed, distrustful and insecure.  I feel so alone, like there’s no one who will help me get out of this hole I’m in and I don’t think I can get out of it myself but I keep trying.  I really want to delete all my so-called friends and actually be as alone as I feel I am but I know I will regret it in the future.  I’m not sure why I’ll regret it but I just know that at some point I will…

My husband, who does woodworking, is all excited for my open house and has been making hand-crafted wooden pens this last week for me to take and try to sell at my fundraiser.  Not to help me get my tuition paid but to get him money to buy more wood because he wants to start a woodworking business from home.

A friend made sure to point out that her contribution to my efforts was limited to prayer.  Good grief, I’m not asking for charity – although standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for donations will probably make me more money than all my efforts to actually earn it will so I may do that soon too – but I wasn’t trying to guilt her into buying anything from me either.  It’s probably me just reading between lines that aren’t there again.  With her it seems like it’s always me reading between those damn invisible lines, I’m always wrong about something.

And that’s the core of what I always come back to.  It’s not you, it’s me.  It’s always something wrong with me.  I’m broken, I’m damaged, I’m wrong, wrong, wrong.  I can’t do anything right.  It’s true, that is my mother’s voice!  She has so much to answer for – although being dead she probably has answered for it by now…  Unfortunately I’m still sorting through all the crap she instilled in me growing up.  I’m 40 and finally realizing that most of it IS crap but I feel like the old dog you can’t teach new tricks to – how do I change the way I think?  The way I feel?  The way I respond to life?  The easier way out is death but honestly I’m a coward.  Too scared to die, not brave enough to live.  Clinging to the mushroom life because the evil that I know is easier than the good that I don’t know.

People in my church avoid me – and to be fair I avoid them now too.  The few that used to speak to me don’t any more and I feel like I’ve been given up as “lost”.  That I’m not worth their efforts anymore.  That I’m beyond “saving”.  That I could change if I would just decide to change.  My suicide would only cause them to “tsk, tsk, tsk” and think in their hearts that they were right.  My staying alive is the only way I would possibly dare to spit in their eye – and that’s pretty good motivation right now.

The next step is to get out of this job and start being a Nail Tech.  Right now I can’t deal with more than one goal.  Raise $1900 to pay my school bill, pass the state boards and start working as a Nail Tech.  After that, who knows?  Maybe reaching one goal will give me the courage to accomplish another goal, like leaving this church with or without my husband.

Today was the first day of my bi-weekly four-day-weekend and I didn’t feel good so I stayed home from school and slept in a little bit.  It was nice and relaxing although I definitely fighting a sinus infection that wants to move into my head – boo!

My husband had the day off of work (a very rare occurrence) so he and I went out for lunch and had something called Vampire Fries.  When we asked the waitress what they were she replied “garlic fries” and we both said “yes please”… but they were terrible!  Basically it was big spoonfuls of that diced garlic that comes from a jar with a little bit of something green (parsley? cilantro?) and chopped fine mixed in that was just globbed onto the top of normal french fries.  Not at all what we were thinking, definitely not visually appealing, and the flavor was such that neither one of us could finish them.  But the burgers were yummy and it was nice to have a little “date”.

Tonight I am spending the night at one of my two best friend’s houses because I am helping her family move.  I probably should have stayed home to avoid aggravating this sinus infection but she needs me and that’s what friends are for, right?  I arrived about 6 pm with ice cream bars and cookies to give us all a much needed sugar rush and then I helped pack some boxes, moved boxes around, folded laundry and brought boxes to the guy loading the horse trailer…  yes, I did say horse trailer, a co-worker lent it to my friend to use in her move – who knew they could hold so much?  U-Haul aint got nothing on us, lol!

Anyway, I didn’t really do all that much even though I felt like I had and by 10 pm I was feeling absolutely exhausted so I went to bed about 10:30… and then I couldn’t sleep.  Now it’s almost 1 am and here I am, typing another blog post for y’all to read.  I almost said for y’all to “enjoy” but I’m not really sure my blog is all that enjoyable.  Realistic, yes.  Enjoyable, probably not.  Sorry.

Tomorrow (or I guess it’s actually today) my husband and teenagers will be here at 8:30 am so I really should get some sleep but my internal clock is saying I still have another hour before bedtime, lol!  Once they arrive we will load up whatever vehicles show up with as much as we can and head to the new house, a good half hour away from her current house and an extra hour away from my house <so sad 😦 > with the goal of getting the majority of the house moved.  The rest of the move will have to be done in little trips so we’re trying to get all the big stuff taken care of this weekend.

My children are good friends with both of my best friends too and tonight I found out that my younger daughter, the one who JUST turned 17, confided in this friend that her current boyfriend has got her started on smoking vapor.  OK, so I’m Not Happy, that’s a given but what do I do about it?  I suppose that’s the real reason I couldn’t sleep…  I looked the boyfriend up on Facebook.  I think I had done that before at the beginning of their relationship but didn’t look very far into his posts.  Lo and behold, tonight I found a short video of the lad sucking on a bong and then blowing a massive amount of smoke out of his mouth.  I knew I didn’t like him!  I’d been uncomfortable with him from the start but was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, guess I should have listened to my gut after all…  On Monday while she is at school I think I will search this daughter’s bedroom on the pretense of looking for a movie, because she likes to hoard movies in her room, and hopefully I will find something then that I can initiate a candid conversation with but at the very least I can approach my her from the angle of having seen his video on FB rather than let her know that my friend told me what was going on.  Ugh!  Teenagers!  Bad Words, Bad Words!  Grrr…

Yep, that was my day today.   Hopefully that’s reassuring to you because I tend to only post the Freak Out moments of my life.  I’m a pretty normal, ordinary gal with the same issues as most people to one degree or another.   The only “bad” things about today was knowing I’m getting sick and finding out what my daughter is up to…but when it comes right down to it I’d rather know about that kind of stuff right now, when there’s a possibility her father and I can nip this habit in the bud (and hopefully this relationship too), than in another six months.  So God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.

As always, I’ll keep you posted…

I think deep down inside every woman wants a magazine-perfect home – Picture this:  You walk in the front door and smell a light fragrance that reminds you of spring and burning candles at the same time. Soft light floods each room, revealing the sparkling clean that is everywhere.  In the bedrooms, sheets match the comforters, pillows, bed-skirts, curtains and the area rug.  Bathrooms are painted in soft aqua tones with shells and ocean accents with fluffy towels folded neatly into baskets and smelling as nice as the day you pulled them out of the dryer.  In the Kitchen there are never any dishes in the sink and the refrigerator is full of good, wholesome food that looks  amazing and tastes fabulous. The counter tops are covered in glorious mounds of baked goods that are sinfully calorie laden, created with the express purpose of soliciting complements about what a clever cook you must be to make such exquisite pastries.  Throughout the house are lush carpets with no traffic wear patterns and never need vacuuming, hard-wood floors that never need sweeping yet they are waxed and polished to the point of reflecting your face like a mirror.  All you have to do is float from room to room enjoying the picturesque perfectness and never cast a care to how it actually stays that way because you’re in a magazine home.  This is the modern woman’s fairy tale, eh?

<pause and reflect on what a life might be like if you lived in a magazine-perfect home…okay, that’s enough, now come back to reality>

Real Life is full of my spouse, children and pets making messes everywhere.  Especially messes that smell bad, really bad.  Real Life means the sink – and counter tops – are covered in dirty dishes, the inside of the microwave has spots from things exploding and the bottom of the oven is full of burnt offerings to the gods.  The ‘fridge may be full but everything is sticky from a frozen can of orange juice that leaked all over the shelves and no one ever bothered to wipe up. Also, something has gone horribly wrong in the bottom ‘fridge drawer, aka, the cool box,  and you’ve resigned yourself to waiting for the government to come and clean up the toxic waste.  Until then, nobody in the house is going to touch it for lack of proper gloves and radiation suits.

Real Life means that there is dog hair everywhere and if you are lucky(?) enough to have a large, prone-to-drool dog like we do, there is dog drool everywhere as well.  Dog drool on the walls from when he shakes his head, dog drool on your shoes because he likes to carry them around and dog drool on just about any soft, fluffy thing he can carry around the house with him… and he’s a big dog, there’s not much he can’t wrap his mouth around and cart all over, ugh!

Real Life means that the kitchen table is not used for eating at but for the storage of things like magazines, the mail, a citrus juicer, body lotion, reading books, your daughter’s latest sewing project, a motorcycle helmet, TV remote controls, an old rotary-dial telephone that’s missing its handset, electrical power cords, scissors, a wireless mouse and a set of super-old Tupperware popsicle makers.

Real Life means that there is a huge dog crate in the middle of my kitchen area for a week because we dog-sat for a friend who went on vacation.

Real Life means that we are renting our guest room to a nice, single young woman from church who has her own dog and we find out that neither her dog nor our own recently acquired, super-large dog are entirely house trained.  <rolling my eyes as I wipe up dog pee with one hand and hold my nose with the other>

Real Life means that my home normally operates in Disaster Mode but that it’s always open to others, just as it is.  Those courageous few that dare venture into our home usually leave saying they felt relaxed and at ease with us and they look forward to coming back.

Real Life means that we live with the disaster, the dog hair, the junk food and the cluttered table but we LIVE.  We laugh and play games, watch movies and just enjoy each other company.  We make terrible messes in the kitchen trying out various recipes, most of them completely delicious and therefore bad for us, and when we finally feel like it, we clean the mess up – unless we have company coming over and then we do the famous “Company Clean” dance all around the house, it’s both good exercise and good for our housekeeping!

Real Life means that we’re not perfect and our home will never grace the pages of a magazine but it’s our home and we don’t encourage any OCD behavior by making (housekeeping) perfection a low, low priority.  Our goals are to live and be a happy family together.  There are some people who can do that AND have amazing housekeeping skills but we are not those people.  We are ourselves.  You be yourself too.  Be Real!

I am beginning to learn that being whole is not found in being alone.  Wholeness is found in being open, not closed.  In being one tile in a mosaic, not a single art piece unto myself.  I need other people, friends, my family.  But I’ve kept myself separate and alone for so long out of self-defense that it’s very hard to let anybody in…  Did it really have to take until I am almost 40 to realize how important it is to connect with other people? <sigh>

Just as I am discovering that there are many facets to Who I Am, it is becoming apparent that each of these facets are tile pieces that fit in many different mosaics.  I have a tile that completes my Family mosaic, tiles that compliment my Best Friends’ tiles, a tile that fits in pretty well at work and a tile that, dare I say it, is improved by connecting with my husband’s tile and improves his tile in return.  Being Whole is giving away parts of yourself to other people who need them and being willing to receive parts of others who need to share.

Knowing this and living it are two different things and one comes far easier than the other.  Learning to trust my husband again is the first and biggest step… and it is not entirely up to me.  He has to prove himself trustworthy to be trusted.  He brought up a very good point that because I don’t trust him (and haven’t for years) that lack of trust has bled over into not trusting other authorities in my life – the church leadership and my bosses at work, as examples.  The more I think about it I believe he’s right but that will have to be another blog.

Tomorrow will be 20 days since I confronted him with his addiction, so far he has been Prince Charming and I’m really enjoying our new relationship… but I’m not ending the 2 months early either.  In fact, I kind of wish I had asked for 6 months instead of just 2.  I’ve lived through 19 years of life being all about him and I want to KNOW for sure that this change is real, that his putting our children and family first above his wants and desires is a permanent change and not something he’s doing just long enough to get me to agree to stay in this marriage and then go back to who he has always been.

Aside from my relationship with my husband being a Whole Person is sharing my friend’s burdens, rejoicing with them when they rejoice and weeping with them when they weep.  It’s supporting my children and encouraging their dreams, helping them to become adults.  Being a Whole Person is being part of a team at work and sharing the load when things get hectic. Being Whole is not actually completing yourself with only yourself.  It is fragmenting yourself to complete others and allowing others fragments to complete you.  How completely backwards from today’s world that teaches us, especially women, that we don’t need anybody else, that we are fully capable of being independent and that we are strongest when we are on our own, that we don’t need anything or anyone to complete us.

And there’s one more part to becoming a Whole Person – God.  I can have a tile in my mosaic from everybody I know but without God’s tile being in the center of the masterpiece that is me I will always feel empty and incomplete.  I am learning that too.  The faith I had as a child died years ago but a seed remained and I can feel it sprouting once again.  I can feel a change coming and soon, I believe I will be a Whole Person – for the very first time!

 

In their most recent effort to be more friendly and interactive Facebook is constantly asking me “How do you feel?”  Seriously?  A computer program wants to know how I feel?  Hey Devs, this isn’t the Matrix…  Does that mean I’m “unplugged” and living in the real world while all the people who are sucked into thinking that Facebook actually cares about how their feeling are still trapped in the system?  Lol.

But on a more serious note, to have emotions, to have stirrings… maybe even all the way up to “feelings” (to summarize Johnny Depp in the last Pirates movie) is something that I built a wall against a long time ago.  I used to have dreams and passions.  I wanted to:

Be the Worship Leader at church
Have a non-profit business and host regular retreats for women who need to relax and recharge
Become a music teacher
Start a home for crisis pregnancies and provide education in both life and job skills
Own my own business
Become a Certified Counselor and help people with their problems
Build myself a house on the Oregon Coast
Go to Hawaii
Be a professional event coordinator/party planner
Have my own band
Have a free soup kitchen for anybody – not just the homeless
Become an architect
Build a community of like-minded people and live off the grid in the middle of nowhere

And I’m sure there were more but those are the ones I can think of right now.

None of these things have happened and over the years my dreams have slowly died, withered, shriveled, crumbled, faded and blown away.  It was kind of hard to even remember most of these to write them down, wow.

The Bible says that “without a vision the people will perish”.  What do you do when you lose your passion for reaching the stars?  When you realize that you can’t help anybody because you’re simply existing and don’t have anything extra to give anymore.  You pack up your emotions, your feelings, dreams and desires into little, tiny boxes and hide them someplace no one will ever think to look.  And then you build a wall around your boxes and plant a thorny bush at the base of the walls.  Your boxes are safe there, nobody can touch them or hurt them.  After a while you forget where you put them and they become safe from you too.

How do I find my missing boxes of emotion?  How do I feel again?  How do I start dreaming once more?  God help me but some days I feel like I’m a Terminator – living flesh on the outside but nothing human on the inside, just a bunch of gadgets and gizmos that keep everything running.

This is depressing – I meant to write something happy today!  All right, here’s the happy part – I’m going to pick something on the list and do it!  Unfortunately Hawaii is not an option right now  😦   However, I think I can pull off a retreat for a dozen ladies and then if everything goes well maybe form a non-profit to continue it.  There’s several rental houses (with hot tubs!) in the mountains not far from here that would hold 12 – 14 ladies and I think the cost would be about $150 per lady for 2 nights and 3 days (that’s lodging, food, supplies, everything).  Is that unreasonable?  Oooohhh… I’m getting excited now, planning things makes me happy!  Now to find a dozen women who want to get away for a weekend with no husbands, no kids, just God and Girlfriends…  Wish me luck!