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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.

I have come to realize that I Am Home.

I lived here for several years in grade school and hated leaving Montana when my folks split.  When my mother left my dad we went to Spokane and would make the drive back to see my dad several times.  For years I claimed I could tell, by the sheer feeling alone, when we had crossed the boarder back into Montana.  The skies were bluer, the mountains were taller, the air was sweeter…  For years and years Montana was home and I longed to move back there.  Until I had been away so long I couldn’t feel the change as I crossed over that border and then that memory of “Home” faded into distant memory and I began to feel that home wasn’t anywhere.

I caught glimpses of Home here and there, mostly with people like my best friend from high school, but only in one other place – the Oregon Coast.  Sigh.  I still love it there…

In the month since I officially moved here I have made two trips back to the city I came from, once to get a few more things out of mini storage for my  nail business and once to attend my younger daughter’s high school graduation.  This last trip back I was shocked to find that my old town wasn’t “Home” but simply a place I knew my way around.  That both pleased and concerned me slightly.  I had spent just over 10 years there, my kids had spent almost half their lives there.  Heck, my kids still live there!  I have more friends, good friends, there than I can shake a stick at and enough people who have offered me a place to stay on future visits that I will never, ever need to get a hotel or sleep on my sister’s couch. I have a tiny church there that I hold dear to my heart… but it isn’t home and I’m not sure that I want to live there again like I thought I would before I left.

Huh.

What a fascinating revelation.  I will continue to think on this…

But first a quick review of the graduation.  I was smiling so broadly the term “grinning like an idiot” probably applied but I was sooooo proud of my younger daughter!  She did it!  She actually graduated high school with a diploma and not just a GED.  She got to walk across a stage in her cap and gown and get her picture taken with a school official and she is ready to start the rest of her life.  I am so happy for her!

What was less happy was seeing my former in-laws, ex-husband and his fiance.  Actually let me clarify, seeing the fiance and his father was great.  He and his mother were, still, obviously angry with me and while they were kinder to me than they had been in June at my twin nieces graduation they still rattled me bad enough that I skedaddled out of there as quick as I could after hugging my newly-graduated daughter and telling her I would see her the next day.

Yes, that’s right, somehow he still gets to me so much that I ran away from my own daughter’s graduation as soon as I politely could.

I was talking to my best friend from high school and think I may have figured out (part of) what goes on inside of me whenever I have contact with dear old ex-hubby.  My particular personality type is desperate for two things to be accomplished in the people around me, I want you to be happy and I want you to be comfortable.  If I can’t make you happy and/or comfortable then I have failed and this causes me distress.  A lot of distress.  Sometimes even panic-attack type stress.  I will never be able to make my ex happy OR comfortable, he still has too much anger towards me to allow himself to even smile in my presence.

It occurs to me that when you don’t believe you did anything wrong you can’t change anything about yourself that was – and continues to be – part of the problem and therefore you continue to have a problem where there may not actually be one anymore making (mostly) just yourself miserable.

How do I accept the fact that I will never succeed in my driving need to make this particular person happy and comfortable?  That’s hard and I’m working on it.  Maybe it’s less accepting that fact and more acknowledging that I can’t make it happen and That’s Okay.  It’s Okay.  I can’t make everybody in the whole entire world happy and comfortable and it’s okay.

Yeah.  That one’s still going to take some more work… but I’ll get it.

My older daughter was in Thailand on a missions trip and didn’t get home until midnight of the day that her younger sister graduated.  I texted her, welcoming her home and saying I wanted to meet with her in the next two days before I left town again.  She never responded.  I texted again, at 8:30 pm the night before I left saying sorry I didn’t get to meet with her and she finally responded – sorry I didn’t get back to you, have a nice trip home.

It’s disheartening to know she didn’t want to see me but I wasn’t terribly surprised.  Even though she had just come back from overseas after 3 weeks the whole, entire weekend was mostly about her sister and less about her for both her father and grandparents – and me.  It’s very difficult for a narcissist to deal with not being the center of attention when they think they should be and I get that.

In the end I came Home when I had planned to.  I drove the long hours and came home, listening to an audiobook of Eat. Pray. Love. and finally finishing it about an hour and a half away from Home.

I signed up for an online dating app within an hour of arriving at home, I’ve decided I need to stop hiding my head in the sand and pretending that every man out there is as bad as my ex-husband and at least talk to a few guys and see what happens.  I’m not in a hurry to hitch my star to just anyone’s wagon but it would be nice to be friendly with a guy I could  maybe, possibly see a potential future with.

School is going well, just started week three and we learned how to wrap hair for a perm today… I’m really hoping to get myself a perm here soon, either that or cut my hair short again, it’s driving me nuts, lol!

I’m off to bed, I’m not getting anywhere near enough sleep now that I’m a student again, ugh!  If you pray, pray for me for strength to get through long days of standing on my feet and never getting enough sleep because despite everything I’m still a night owl and can’t sleep when I go to bed early.

Hugs to all of you ❤

I passed the State Boards and am now a licensed Nail Technician!  Whoo hoo!

When I went on the Happy Pills it was partly because I sincerely believed I would be stuck in my call center job for at least another year before I could pay my school bill and be allowed to take the State Boards.  I was able to sell my sole possession of value the morning of the deadline to register for the Boards and had to take an extra half hour lunch to run the money to school one half hour before the deadline closed – I made it by the skin of my teeth and was walking on Sunshine, baby!

Then I got nervous.  The one thing I had never learned to do in school was Silk Wraps and they are a part of the Boards.  My only opportunity to go back to school and practice was 4 days before the Boards and I wound up having about 3 hours there, that was it!  Normally the school will have “Mock Boards” and take several hours and walk you through it one step at a time but because I was working I didn’t have a chance to do any of those.

My nervousness was not from being afraid I might fail the actual tests but rather that I might miss a step due to all the little requirements, regulations and red tape involved…

All my supplies had to be in individual ziplock baggies, one bag for each test.  All the supplies had to fit into a container with a lid that was no more than a certain size.  Sanitizing was key so I had to remember to sanitize my hands – and my plastic practice hand – before each procedure.  If I forgot to put a supply item in the baggie it was needed for it was tough luck because there was no getting back into your supply box once you’ve set up for each test.

I had to bring my plastic practice hand to the Boards with a set of nails already applied to it.  That was a difficult feat in itself because, as I found out the hard way, superglue does not hold the tips to the practice hand.  At. All.  Fortunately for me a quick search of husband’s garage yielded a suitable epoxy type glue that held the nails on very nicely.  In fact, those nails will stay on the practice hand until the end of time because the glue is that good!  So me and my practice hand (I decided to call it Gertrude) went to the State Boards and the first thing I had to do was give Gerty a manicure.  Halfway through the manicure portion I realized that I Had This and my nervousness went away – mostly.  The next test involved gluing a plastic tip onto the plastic tip I had already epoxied to Gertrude’s ring finger.  How hard can it be, right?  Ha!  Supposedly you’re supposed to file the new tip into the natural nail (by hand) so that there are no bumps or ridges at the seam.  (I say supposedly because the girl next to me didn’t seem to blend her tip at all.)  In my zealousness to get it “just right” I over filed my seam and took a big ‘ole chunk out of it.  The tip was still glued to the “natural nail” just fine but my smile line was completely ruined and so I tried to file the rest of the seam to match my over filing and finally had to quit when I realized that if I kept going I would wind up filing the whole darn tip off completely!  But it sure was smooth…  After that we applied the silk wrap to the middle finger, which I felt that I did a good job on, and then we sculpted an acrylic nail on the pointer finger using an odorless acrylic product.  That odorless stuff is weird!  And did I think to practice using it before the State Boards?  Nooooooooo…    However, I did manage to produce a good looking sculpted tip, if I do say so myself.  Finally I had to polish all of Gerty’s nails with a red nail polish.  Of all the tests this is the one that just about killed me.  Why you ask?  Because Gertrude is not real.  If she was her hand would be flexible and soft.  Her fingers would separate and move up and down, I would, in fact, be able to push four of them out of the way while I work on the fifth.  But Gerty, in all her plastic glory, is stiff and unmovable, somewhat like the Rock of Gibraltar, and while I was painting the third of the five fingers I smeared the first one!  And it just got worse from there…  Now each of these tests have a time limit and when the time is up you stop working, done or not, so I’m very frustrated that I keep smearing the best polish job of my life, getting nervous because the time’s running out, which made me smear even more… it was a viscous  circle!  In the end I managed to rescue my polish job and it was almost perfect.   The instructors smiled at me and even though they were not allowed to speak to any of us I felt like they approved and that I had done a good job, which was confirmed three days later when I saw on the website that I had passed, whoo hoo!

I also passed the written score with flying colors and IMMEDIATELY gave my notice to the call center.  That felt Sooooo Good!  Two days ago I started working at a salon and it’s been fun and exciting.  All the other girls who work there seem nice and willing to help me improve my skills so I’m very happy to be there.  This has truly been a Game Changer for me and I’m looking forward to the future!

Okie dokie, so counseling really is paying off this time…

My newest crisis is that although I have finally finished my 600 hours of schooling I need to come up with $1900 to pay my school tuition before they will let me take the state boards to become a Nail Technician.  Since I desperately want to stop working at the call center I am frantically trying to raise the money by selling my artwork, my keyboard and anything I can find around the house to sell….  If I can get the money by May 20th I can take the state boards in June and be working in a salon the very next week – because I have a job in a salon saved for me, all I have to do is get licensed!

My counselor has noticed that I am happier when I am working to accomplish something that I really want to do, lol.

I think it’s hope.

I have HOPE!

Those guys at Red Bull have it wrong, it’s not Red Bull that gives you wings, it’s hope!

So my current plan, raise $1900.  The plan after that, to work in a salon for a year, maybe two and then start my own salon and stop working for other people.  It’s a good plan, I like it!

I Can Do It.

 

Okie dokie, so it’s been just over a month since my last post and I’m not even sure what I’ve blogged about and what I haven’t…  I’ll start with this – I’M DOING GREAT!

I’m not trying to say my life is perfect because it isn’t, but everything is soooo much better, wow!  A little recap:  I lost my job in the beginning of September, was denied unemployment, started beauty school in the middle of September, my car blew up, my appeal for unemployment was successful and I received everything I was owed from the day I lost my job forward, started a full-time job with great benefits in the middle of November, going to school part-time before I go to work, we had friends over for Thanksgiving and this is my last week of orientation at the new job.  Whew!

On top of all that I am completely off all prescription medication – no sleeping pills, no anti-depressants and no anti-anxiety medication anymore for this girl!  Also – no more counseling or psychiatrist visits!  Life has done a one-eighty for me, the only downside being that I have gained 14 pounds since I started my new job almost 5 weeks ago, ugh…

Financially things are still pretty hairy, we’re recovering from six weeks of only one income so all of our monthly bills are behind – including our mortgage which is 3 months past due – and we actually had to open bank accounts somewhere else because we were so far overdrawn in all our accounts…  😦  So, yeah, life is still kind of scary at times when it comes to money BUT I know it’s going to work out and be OK.  I get my second paycheck from the new job this week and the biggest challenge will be sticking to our budget while at the same time trying to entertain my husband’s parents for a week or so during Christmas.  Gotta love family, eh?

My girls seem to be getting along quite nicely, which is fabulous.  My husband got a second job delivering pizzas on the weekends which has been a great source of pocket cash for extra expenses and I’m very proud of him for working so hard for us.

Speaking of “us”, he and I have been steadily improving too.  Last February I gave him an ultimatum and two months to kick his addiction to pornography and get his act together.  I have to say that I honestly did not expect him to pull it off.  I thought that I would be well on my way to being single by now but he really surprised me.  The amount of effort he has put into saving our marriage and becoming a better human being, man, father and husband has truly shocked me, it really has.  I’m so very impressed and wish I had stood up for myself a long time ago, although it may not have had the same results 10 years ago as it did this last year…

And while words can’t really express how pleased and proud of him I am, now we get to the storm cloud of my silver lining – because nobody’s life can be all rainbows and unicorns, eh?  I’ve recently discovered that now my heart has some changing to do.  It was very unflattering to discover exactly how much of me wanted my husband to fail so I could finally get a divorce – be free! – and it would be his fault.  I think (now) that has been the biggest reason I never left, it couldn’t be my fault that my marriage didn’t work.  Twisted logic, I know, but consider my upbringing:  My mom left my dad when I was in grade school and I never thought she should have, I always believed their marriage could have been saved if she had tried harder and the things I learned after I became an adult only supported that belief – making the divorce her fault – and I have done everything I could think of to be as little like my mom as possible.

I think God used my faulty reasoning for good.  If I had left when I “should have”, according to some people, none of this would have happened.  My husband wouldn’t be a nice guy now.  My children wouldn’t have this fun-filled relationship with their father, full of teasing, smiles and laughter and none of us would have experienced how completely God can change a life.  There are still some days that aren’t great but those days are much fewer and farther between than they were even just a year ago.  I KNOW that everything is going to be OK now!

So all in all I am ecstatic to be off my medications…  I’m thrilled with my school and new job…  I am excited about my children’s improved relationship with each other…  I am in shock and awe of the “new man” I have for a husband…  I’m a little nervous about our finances…  and I am trusting in God to complete the work He started.

I think this is a good place to end a year and begin a new one.