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Things are going well!  A bit of an overview:

I’m just over halfway done with “Back Class” at school, where it’s all book work and hand-on practice with a mannequin head and no working on paying customers.  So far we’ve learned everything except the actual cutting of hair, which the teacher said she will show us just before we get on the floor.

I made the decision to give up my nail booth at the salon I’ve been at because I just can’t afford it.  I’ve paid $800 for ten weeks of booth rent and have made less than half of it back.  The day I gave the salon owner my notice, planning to vacate the premises this week but she reminded me that I signed a contract requiring me to give two weeks notice so now I owe for two more weeks and I’m out of money…  I cried all morning – not only am I giving up something that is really important to me but now I owe for two more weeks and my only source of income currently is donating plasma.  Ugh.  Turns out that one of my instructors is opening her own salon in May and is willing to rent to me so that’s one option.  I’ve checked with another salon about only working on Saturdays and am waiting to hear back from them so that’s another option…  I’ve also applied at the local movie theater for a part-time, evening job because I love going to movies and I think the hours would be a good fit.  I have an interview Wednesday evening, yay!  And then on Monday I am planning to go to the home health agency my dad works at and apply there as well – I could easily be a personal care aid and do light housekeeping, meal prep, laundry and companionship.  I had a CNA license 15 years ago but I let it expire so I would only be able to do non-licensed care right now but that’s OK, I like helping people.

I did the online dating thing for a month but was over it and cancelled after the first two weeks – since I paid for a month it stayed on for the full month though and those last few days were filled with prayers that nobody would try and contact me, lol!  However, I feel like I made progress, I chatted online with 4 guys AND had one date, a vast improvement over last year when I tried online dating three separate times and only talked to one guy each time with no dates.  Baby steps.  What I find hilarious is the worship leader at church, and possibly the pastor as well, seem to think I’m being “impatient”, lol.  I don’t think they realize that my actual goal in online dating is not so much to get married tomorrow  (and it’s definitely not to get laid) as it is to get comfortable communicating with someone of the male species who just might possibly have an interest in taking me to dinner.  I know I’m damaged in this area and I also know that if I don’t actively work on getting better, the part of my life that deals with romance and intimacy will never ever improve.  At All.  And since I am the ONLY single person in my church and the two guys at school are both married – and one is gay – I don’t have any chance of meeting a single man at either place I spend most of my time, regardless of whether or not he would be interested in buying me food and staring deeply into my eyes… hence the online dating.  And the random, possibly desperate sounding jokes about needing a boyfriend that may be the reason my pastor and worship leader think I’m being impatient.  I’m just trying to get over being petrified but they don’t know me well enough to see beyond what those words would mean coming from an undamaged women’s mouth.

Men are so weird!  😉  Oh and the more Keanu Reeves movies I watch the more I fall in love with him… somehow it’s just easier for me to love men that I know will never love me back, lol, which probably means I’ll be single the rest of my life but now that I’ve survived a loveless marriage I know I’ll be fine, just occasionally whiny about it, ha, ha.

I bought my father a birthday present today, his birthday is in a couple of weeks and I always have the hardest time knowing what to get him because he’s so quiet about what he wants but I think I did pretty good this time!  He plays the guitar and has said a couple of times that he wishes he had a lighter case for his 12-string acoustical guitar – the one he has weighs more than the guitar does all by itself!  So I found the local music store, they had one in stock and I bought it!  Now I just have to find a place to keep it until Dad’s birthday…

Speaking of places to keep things – I am still living with my folks, sleeping on a couch in my Dad’s downstairs office, with just enough floor space next to the couch to keep my two suitcases, two totes and a small storage box.  On top of the totes is my CPAP machine and all the assorted bits of paraphernalia that goes along with everyday life – contact lens solution and cases, the small travel jewelry case that contains a few pieces I brought here with me, gum, cough drops, books, notebooks, pens, a bag I put all of my receipts into, charging cables and the like.  It’s virtually an open “junk drawer” and irritates me to look at it because, somewhat miraculously, I have become a neat and tidy person in my middle aged singleness.  Let me stress that I am soooooo very grateful that my folks let me stay here and haven’t asked for a dime.  I would have been living in my car without their graciousness in housing me and I try my hardest to leave a tiny footprint in their life.  I cart around a laundry basket of food in the trunk of my car to make my school lunches out of and try not leave a mess in the house at any time.  I can tell that it means a lot to my dad to have me here and I love finding bits of time to talk with him and just be around him, I feel like we’re really, finally, starting to connect with each other in a deeper way.  So I feel bad for missing my stuff and my own space… but I do.  I’m ready to find my own place to rent – except that I can’t afford it until I get a job.  <sigh>  My financial aid covers all of my bills like my car payment, insurance, phone, Netflix, etc, but there’s not enough extra to pay for housing so without the kindness of my folks letting me stay with them I would be a dirty, homeless bum right begging showers off the YMCA right now.  This is just another set of dominoes that need to fall in order and everything will be fine in God’s timing…

On a fun note, I’m working my way through Grey’s Anatomy I think that if someone would make a spoof on the show using cosmetologists instead of surgeons it would be super-funny!  But seriously, I think the show is so popular because Patrick Dempsey can do the Man In Romantic Agony face really well and I think deep down every girl wishes a guy would be in Romantic Agony at the thought of not being able to spend his life with her.  I’m only at the beginning of Season 3 and most of Season 2 was spent with Derick and Meredith struggling with their feelings for each other in spite of his decision to “do the right thing” and make it work with his wife.  So far the show has nearly as much sleeping around as Friends did but it addresses some more serious life choice issues as well as some fascinating medical cases.  I’m really enjoying it.

This part of Montana is finally warming up and the falling precipitation has all been rain instead of snow, something I am very thankful for.  The tires on my car were wearing down and I had a noticeable bald spot on the center column of tread on my front tires, something my brother said was an indicator of over-inflation even though they were inflated to what the tire said it should be.  Hmmm…  I had taken a trip to see my best friend from high school and buy nail supplies in her (bigger) city, that was where I had my date that I posted about, and on the trip I was able to see both of my brothers who lived within an hour of my friend and my next older brother and his wife actually bought me a set of four tires from Costco!  I was shocked, amazed and overwhelmed.  I didn’t ask them to do that, I didn’t even hint.  They just offered and I am so grateful!

God is always good and takes excellent care of me through many different people.

What else?  I think that’s about it.  Being on the worship team is going well, school is going well, dating is still non-existent but I’m thinking kinder thoughts about it. My car is running fine, my health is okay, my hair color is no longer the fun magenta that bled all over every piece of fabric it came in contact with and is now a responsible, adult reddish color albeit with some nice black fading on the tips that nobody notices.  The gay guy at school seems to try and find ways for me to touch him by getting pedicures and manicures from me and occasionally touching my shoulder in the hallway and he gives me broad smiles with mischievous winks here and there – and then he ignores me all together.  Did I say men are weird?  They are.  Oh, and I put acrylic on my toenails so I can finally start wearing sandals and not be embarrassed about my toes.  There, now you’re all caught up!

For the very first time ever I went back and re-read every single blog post I have written here, it was very interesting to see where I’ve changed, remember things I had forgotten and make a few realizations about myself…

The very first thought that popped into my head when I had finished was “I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am!” Ha, Ha!  Oh well, it’s not going to stop me from being me, eventually somebody will think I’m funnier than I do 😉

The next thought I had was “Why have I worked so hard to keep this blog and my identity a secret?  Good grief, there’s really not any juicy details in here at all!”  But the truth of the matter is that if my ex had read this blog while I was still married he would have been so angry with me and I would have lost my safe place to express my feelings.

I feel like I should clarify that he never hit me (or our children) or abused me physically.  I wish he would have because then I would have felt free to leave him much earlier but his abuse was far subtler and took me years of seeing counselors here and there to realize he really was abusive.  Anyway…

Back to this blog – before we were married he found my diary and asked if he could read it.  Stupidly I said yes, believing that we shouldn’t have any secrets between us and after he read it he was upset that I wrote about having feelings for someone else BEFORE I MET HIM.  I should have known then that this wasn’t going to work out but I was incredibly young, dumb and naive… so instead I burned my diary and never kept another paper one because I realized he would always find them and read them if he could.

Dear God, I should write a book about who not to date or marry…

I am not a great writer but it is very therapeutic for me to write things down and get them out of my system, eventually I always come back to some form of writing despite the dangers of it being discovered.

I’ve decided that I’m still going to keep most of my details vague, I’ve given access to this blog to a few of my closest friends but it makes me feel better to think that it’s still “anonymous” even though I know that true privacy is a fairy tale in this day and age.  (The Machine is real!  Where’s Jim Caviezel when I need him?)  Also, just because of who I am, I have no desire to make my ex-husband look bad by airing his dirty laundry in public, that would just be rude.  And I suspect he has not changed enough to pull off another marriage so the truth will come out in it’s own good time…  was that mean?  Probably.  Oh well…

Oh, another thing I realized is that I think I know why my former mother-in-law is so upset with me… In the letter I sent to my family – and his – trying to explain why I left him I said that my ex was just like my mother.  Which is very true.  It is also something I had told him several times so it was not news to him but it probably was new information to his mother and his mom was not a big fan of my mom.  I really should have had someone read that letter before I sent it, it was far too long and went places there was no need to go <sigh>.  Oh well, it is what it is and I can’t change it now but her icy coldness to me makes a little more sense now.

I also realized that I never wrote about my Las Vegas trip!  That will have to be it’s own blog, it’s funny now that I’m a good six months away from it…

Speaking of being positive, I also felt like a great many of my posts had a forced sense of optimism to them, which surprised me.  I think I am a fairly positive person and always try to see the upside of things but it felt more like I was making desperate grabs at something I wanted to feel but didn’t or maybe that I was attempting to cover up how bad it really was by focusing on my faith that things would get better.  Well then.  I’ll have to think about that for a bit longer…

Today, I’m healthy physically and emotionally – I haven’t been on any medication for depression, anxiety, insomnia or my thyroid for an entire year now.  I’ve gained a bit of weight, OK – a lot of weight, since the hysterectomy last year but I guess that’s normal and I’m going to have to fight even harder to lose weight from now on than I did before.  Oh goodie…

Mentally and emotionally I’m stronger – I’ve learned how to deal with angry people and be confident in my own self and the skills that I have.  I’ve learned how to walk away from people who are toxic to me and love them from a distance where they can’t wound me anymore and I’ve even been able to stand up for myself on multiple occasions.  Practice makes perfect, eh?  (Please Lord, stop giving me opportunities to practice…)

Spiritually I feel bigger?  I’m not sure of the right word for that one.  I’ve simplified my list of do’s and don’ts and that has strengthened my faith considerably.  In October I started going to a little church near where I used to work and I love it.  It’s a tiny  little congregation, maybe 20 people on any given Sunday but they worship for most of an hour and it’s so real there.  Some days the service is a beautiful disaster.  People, both on the stage and off, are completely genuine and there is no show there.  The messages are spoken, not preached, with input welcomed from the congregation so frequently it feels like a group discussion more than a lecture.  I’ve learned a lot this year about God and His goodness, He has taken such good care of me and I know He will continue to do so during this next step in my journey.

If sharing my journey helps you then I’m glad and if you’re in a life like mine don’t give up!  If you want to be friends then say so in the comments, we’ll figure something out.  If you want to donate to the cause my PayPal address is… no, just kidding.  If you want to help go find someone in  your own life who is lonely or sad a lot of the time.  Find someone you suspect is being abused in some way and go be their friend.  Help them.  There’s a lot of us out there with stories like mine and more people out there with stories worse than mine.  Just go make a difference in one life, it will be worth it, I promise.

And Dear God, if somebody out there is friends with Keanu Reeves please have them introduce me… He is such a handsome man and everything I’ve read about him says he’s a nice guy too. It would be so niced to meet a nice guy… <sigh> 😀