Excuses, Excuses!

I’ve been pretty darn happy with myself for getting a post out every week until last week happened. I went back on my word to myself and anyone else that cares. I would normally blame my laziness for missing a week’s post, but that wasn’t it at all. On the contrary. I was too busy last week. It wasn’t a bad busy, just one that kept me from writing because by the time I’d sat down at my computer my mind was numb with exhaustion. What was keeping me so busy that I couldn’t share even a few hundred words with my favorite people? (Meaning you of course.) Here is a peek at my week and my main reasons for the neglect:

Friday: Worked my second job
Saturday: Full Frame Film Festival
Sunday: Food shopped, Cleaned the house, Arbonne spa party at my house
Monday: Frightened Rabbit concert
Tuesday through Thursday: Being a Mom in the evenings
Friday: Worked my second job
Saturday: Yard work, Food shopped, Finished taxes, Cleaned, took the kids to the park
Sunday: Church, worked my Origami Owl business

I didn’t add my full time job, but you get the picture.

I wish I could say these are the ONLY reasons, but alas, there’s more. Truth is I’ve been a bit unmotivated about writing lately. I feel stuck in a rut and I’ve been trying to find my way out. I’ve got nothing so far. When I started this blog I had a clear vision for it that has gotten blurry. It isn’t like I have one specified subject I write about. I have visited plenty of successful blogs that specialize in weddings, or parenting, or fashion…etc. You know what you’re going to get when you visit these sights. I’ve written about all of the above, minus the wedding stuff, plus divorce and relationships. I’m all over the place! My goal is to come up with a unified theme that will encompass all of life while still focusing on one main idea. Please be patient with me as I work through this and regain my vision.

Step one: Go back to the beginning.
When I remember where my heart was at the  start of this blog  my desire was to share my experiences with others in the slight chance that anything I’ve learned might help someone else. That includes surviving a divorce, discovering who I am and liking myself again (or possibly for the first time), understanding the meaning and impact of friendship, adjusting to single parenthood and finding true love. I wanted to be an encouraging voice rather than adding to the abundance of negativity out there.

Step two: Evaluate the title.
Why “Unforgettably Ordinary”? In my self-discovery I learned that although I’ve ALWAYS felt ordinary and talent-less, I have some really great qualities. In the right environment those qualities flourish and become extraordinary making me unforgettable (or at least I hope so). I’m not tooting my own horn here. I believe this can be true for EVERYONE. I wanted to be able to help others discover what makes them extraordinary.

I can’t believe I used the term “tooting my own horn”!

Step three: Think.
Now I need to take some time and think about where to go from here. Do I set a monthly topic to discuss? Do I continue all willy nilly and go with the flow? Do I only focus on one of the above mentioned topics from here on out? How do I get my lovely readers commenting and submitting their own stories?* etc. etc.

I will keep you up to date on the result of all the hard thinking I’ll be doing this week.

AND while I am being so vulnerable, there is one other tiny little confession I need to make. I do have one more reason for not writing…Candy Crush Saga! There! I said it. I’m addicted!

*As my statement suggests, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on all this? Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are more comfortable with email, please email me at unfogettablyordinary@gmail.com. 

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Graphophobia Gives Me Collywobbles

I AM SO EXCITED!!! Today I get to feature my very first guest blogger (something I hope to do much more of). My dear friend,super talented photographer and mother to the sweetest little boy took time in her busy schedule to share a story with us. It is a great example of how growing up sometimes means knowing when to let go. I seriously enjoyed reading it and I know you all will too. Without further ado please welcome Simo…

If you had asked me before my lunch break this afternoon if I would ever write a blog entry my answer would have been unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt, absolutely, NO! However, it would only be Dyana who could coerce me into something that I loathe doing: writing. Thing is, to be quite frank, I am not that deep. I don’t have many “AH HAH!” moments in my life. I have had lots of adventures. I have seen lots of places. But in reality I learn life’s lessons relatively well and come out reasonably unscathed with my emotions intact. Since story telling is what I do, I will tell you all the adventure of a most torrid love affair. I will call it…

Happily Never After

We all have that one first love. I was 12 years old when I saw him standing on the football field in Trexler Middle red and white. I was the typical dingy 7th grader pining for the 8th grade upperclassman. I saw an aura glowing around him and angels singing “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH”. It was a magical moment
when I set my eyes on… let’s just call him…“Jaden” for all intents and purposes. I told myself one day he will be mine.

That one day came my freshman year in high school during football season. I was officially floating on cloud 9. I loved being able to stay out late watching his football games, basketball games, and baseball games. I got to be his homecoming date. I just loved being his little girlfriend. However, those were a short lived 6 months. Just as quickly as he came into my life he was out. All due to a rotten piece of CANDY who gave him something sweet to eat and I didn’t. (Insert tragic crescendo here). But that was ok. I wasn’t that bent out of shape. I realized swiftly we were kids and right now wasn’t our time because he had to “sow his wild oats”.

Throughout the 4 years of high school, though we weren’t dating, there was still something there. An unrelenting magnetism always drawing us together, sneaking kisses, quick make-out sessions, mini dates, etc. Which had me convinced when prom time came around he would ask me to prom, right?

WRONG.

Now, I can say I was officially crushed. I even cried for the first time over him. The girl he took was hideous. I can’t help but laugh though because little did that girl know…I stole kisses from him that night too. This was only the beginning of a sordid 15 year relationship.

Shortly there after he graduated and went off to college. We didn’t talk the entire year. I thought he had forgotten about me, but I never forgot about him. It wasn’t until Christmas of my senior year when I finally saw him again. Do you think I learned my lesson? Nope. I saw him and fell for him all over again. I dove head first into it and then he was gone again like the wind. I didn’t have a number, an address, not a thing. Only the sweet taste of his mouth on mine.

I too graduated and went to college. It was two years before I saw him again at Christmas time. I resolved to act appropriately and not let him get to me this time. Epic fail! I folded up as I always did. He was so cute. Actually, cute was turning into handsome as he was starting to get a feel for the man he was becoming. However, I was still trying to figure out who I was as a woman and he was the only man who had ever made an impression on me that actually meant something. I had dated other guys. I’d traveled the world. But he was always in the back of my mind. So when I saw him that night I just had to ask if he thought of me too. He said he did. He wanted us to be together but our circumstances wouldn’t allow it. There was no way we could have been faithful to each other and we both knew it. He said he would call me and see me from time to time. However, once we went our separate ways he was gone again, just like the wind. It would be 3 years before I talked to him again.

After college I moved to Germany to play professional soccer. I got a Facebook account to reconnect with friends while I was overseas. Guess who was suggested to me as a friend? Well, well if it wasn’t Jaden. Handsome just upgraded to FINE. We chatted casually throughout my year overseas. It was nothing serious just two friends reconnecting. One thing I can say hands down is he was the BEST friend a girl could ever have but the WORST boyfriend material in AMERICA. I won’t say the whole world just yet (wink).

Upon return from my year spent traveling Europe I moved to Raleigh NC. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you but Jaden lived a mere 8 miles away from me in the same city. Of course I had no will power and called him immediately. He helped me move into my first apartment and I almost cried when he walked through my door again after 5 YEARS. He was a very welcome sight for very sore eyes. The boy, now a man, and the girl, now a woman, finally staring each other face to face. You could feel the unresolved tension between us and could cut it with a knife. I’m so glad we were able to play it cool because mom and dad were also at my apartment that day.

That entire year felt like old times and we just picked up were we left off. I called him my daytime boyfriend because he always went home at night. What we had was a friendship not a relationship. We vowed not to cross that line again and just be best-friends. We hung out, watched movies, ate dinner, shopped, worked out, went to bars, etc. Then it happened, the line was blurred. Once again we didn’t know what to call ourselves anymore. We weren’t dating but we were certainly more than “just friends”. We were playing house and saw how happy our lives could be together. He told me he was all in and asked if I was. Was I? For the first time in 13 years I hesitated. The little 12 yr old girl finally got her man 13 yrs later but I was scared. There he was, the man of my dreams. He finally chose me, wanted only me and I couldn’t do it.

I am sure you’re wondering WHY?! Well, I had already been hurt too many times by broken promises. I had been cheated on, forgotten about, stood up, and left behind. I was never a priority and it was hard for me to believe him when he said I would be, though I wanted to with all my heart. My head hit the brakes and I came to a screeching halt. That screeching halt had a name: Deacon.

He was tall, handsome, smart, a gentleman, and someone who put me first from the first time he met me. He always told me the truth even when it meant me being angry with him. My head could really see a real future with him. I was literally trying to figure all this out in a mere few seconds. Deacon or Jaden?

The girl in me would always choose Jaden, but I wasn’t a little girl anymore. The woman I was knew her worth. She was over being hurt and manipulated. Though it broke my heart and I lost my best friend, I knew our time had passed. It still took me 2 more years to push Jaden completely out of my life. I will never forget that last phone call I made before I changed my address, email, and phone number. I told Jaden how he meant everything to me once and I loved him. However, he could not remain in my life or he would ruin what I had with Deacon (our friendship only ever ruins the relationships we are in.) I saw myself marrying Deacon one day. I told him that this would be the last time I would ever talk to him. We are too old to be acting like kids anymore and I would not jeopardize the things God was blessing me with.

Days turned into months, turned into years, and I had all but forgotten about Jaden. Then one day the phone rang and like the wind there he was. He said he had gotten my number from a cousin and he wanted to tell me he was getting married. To my surprise I felt a twinge of sadness followed by overwhelming happiness for him. I was so happy that he was going to have a loving wife as I had a loving husband and son. He said now that I am getting married this means we could be friends again right? I said I wish I could be but our time has passed and that is ok. We didn’t need each other anymore because our lives were already full of people who loved and cared about us enough. He said he understood but I know he didn’t really. After he hung up I wanted to call him back and make him feel better like I always did, but I did not. I instead sat in the rocking chair on my porch and I saw my husband playing with my son through the window while making dinner and it filled me with gladness. I realized that what I had was all a little homeless girl from Bahia could ask for. A beautiful home, a loving husband in Deacon, and the wonderful son he gave me.

THE END!

**Editor’s note: In case you are wondering about the title as I was “Graphophobia” is the fear of writing and “Collywobbles” is pain in the stomach or bowels. I don’t know what she’s talking about though since I think she is as great a story teller in writing as she is in person. If you have an encouraging story you’d like to share please email me at unforgettablyordinary@gmail.com.

When I Grow Up

We’ve all either been asked or have asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Its adorable to hear a 3 year old say a firefighter. Its ambitious when a 6 year old says a professional skateboarder and encouraging when a 12 year old says an architect. It’s highly acceptable when an 18 year old says a doctor. But what about when a 38 year old says “I don’t know”?

I would of course be talking about myself, and I’m sure countless others. As far back as I can remember there hasn’t just been one thing I wanted to be when I grew up. I definitely went through stages starting with a ballerina at about 5 years of age to an astronaut, an author, an anthropologist, a dolphin trainer/oceanographer and finally a psychologist which is what I was on when I graduated high school. So naturally I went to school for Psychology. Hey, it was better than being undeclared. I was SURE that I wanted to be a guidance counselor. That was of course until I graduated and lost the motivation to continue accruing debt by furthering my education. So I did the next best thing: I became a social worker.

I now know that this was not the wisest career choice for me. To be completely honest, the word career never stirred anything in me the way I see it does for others. I couldn’t see myself climbing a ladder to the top of whatever industry I landed on. The drive just wasn’t there. The drive was instead directed at starting a family, which of course begins with finding Mr. Right. (WHY O WHY?!!)

So began my career of stay-at-home mom. It is an amazing career to have and an extremely difficult one. I spent every minute of  every day trying  NOT to ruin my children for the rest of their lives while still trying to be a good wife. It may have been the most exhausting job I’ve had to date. And the one with the least appreciation shown for the work I did. (I think that had more to do with the Mr. Right that wasn’t right for me than anything else, but…) Somehow in the mix of it all I lost my sense of self. The only things I knew about myself were I loved read (perhaps mostly as an escape) and go Latin dancing (a side effect of marrying a Dominican). I was pretty good at both. Add to that an increase to the amount of journaling (which is apparently not a word) I did as a release.

Thanks to those journals I’m able to look back at the horrible state I was in. I truly loved that I was able to be home with my boys, raising them the way I thought was best, but I wasn’t taking care of myself in the process. I was too worried with what other people thought about me than what I thought about myself. Forget what I thought (as in there was no thought) about who I was as an individual in the midst of the life that was happening around me. Wife and mother of 3 who likes to read and dance does not describe ones identity now does it? It’s more of a description found in a personal ad. (Do they even have personal ads in the paper anymore? Does anyone READ a paper anymore?)

What does any of this have to do with what you want to be when you grow up?

I’m glad you asked (even if the “you” I’m referring to is the voice in my head). I say all this to develop a sense of how someone my age can still not know what they want to do. Sometimes life happens and you get pulled by it rather than steering it in the direction you want to go. And once you miss your turn to “Fulfilling Future-land” it can get discouraging retracing your steps to find the correct turn-off again. BUT it’s worth the trip back to get to where you were intended to be in the first place. I can say this with confidence because I am on my way back and getting closer to my destination. And this time I’m steering. It’s as if everything that has happened to me in the last several years has been my about-face. I’ve learned some critical things about myself that are key in determining what I want to be. I know that I love to serve others and that I’m good at it. I know I don’t have to be at the top of the ladder to be fulfilled, and I don’t have to feel bad about that. My best job so far has been as an Administrative Assistant. I woke up actually looking forward to going to work and feeling like I did my best and that my best was appreciated everyday when I left.

So does that mean I want to be an AA when I grow up? Perhaps. If it’s for the right individual/company. There is one other avenue to consider however. What I didn’t mention about my time in college is that I was just shy of having enough credits for a minor in English. Take that, my passion for the written word, the fact that I wanted to be an author as a young person, and my many years of journaling and there may be another path to be taken. It’s at least worth some thought. I wonder if it can all work together somehow. No matter what I’m excited to find out what I’ll finally be when I grow up!

The Divorce That Changed My Life (Part 2)

As promised, here is Part 2 (although some of you may argue that it’s actually Part 3, to which I reply…*that raspberry sound you make at babies to get them to smile*. I just don’t know how to write it. Suggestions are welcomed). Before I begin however, I would like to note that while I was going through my in-house separation experience I came upon this book. It was a HUGE help to me in getting my head right. Just throwing that out there in case it can be a help to anyone else.

Okay. So today I talk about my divorce. You might think that when he told me a second time he wanted a separation I got crazy, out-of-my-head depressed considering all the work I did during that last separation. Strangely enough, I didn’t react the way I (and you all) thought I would. Yeah I was shocked because I thought things were going well, or at least better than they ever had before. I did fight it for a short while because I believe that marriage is a commitment which to me means…well, a commitment. Not one that ends when it’s no longer convenient because THAT ISN’T A COMMITMENT. But who’s counting. I may have actually thought I could talk sense into him. Ha. Or guilt him into staying…for the children. Nope. So in the end I accepted it because I learned during the last separation that I am not responsible for the decisions he or anyone else makes. Only for my own decisions. AND I knew I had done everything in my power to save the marriage and it didn’t work. Can you guess what happened with that acceptance? I had peace! It was something I don’t remember ever feeling while I was with him. It was AMAZING!! It was time to move on.

Moving on for me looked like getting him out of the house for this separation. Thankfully my dear friends opened their home to him until he could find something else, simply to get him out of my house. It also looked like getting a roommate to help with the loss of a combined income. The roommate position was filled by another dear friend who moved in with her child. It was a good fit and we quickly became an new family. Moving on looked like so many things that became a transformation into a life that fit who I was. A life that I found joy in because I wasn’t trying to please someone I wasn’t ever going to please. A life I would not give up again.

How did you deal with the pain that you MUST HAVE felt? All those dreams you had of growing old together? Of your kids always having their parents together and happy?

The reason I spent so much time on the intermission of my marriage in my last blog is because it was really what helped me get through all of the above. I was given that opportunity to learn about myself as an individual. I hadn’t been able to picture myself without my husband prior to then because he had become such a huge part of my identity. (Mistakenly identifying myself as a wife and mother, rather than a woman with ideas and dreams and talents who also happened to be a wife and mother.) I wasn’t able to separate the two. But the intermission gave me the space to do just that. This time I already knew who I was without him involved. I also knew, or discovered, the tools that were available to me. Tools like counseling and DivorceCare. My friends became key in my healing too. I can safely say I have the BEST group of girlfriends ON THE PLANET!! It’s okay to tell your friends you need their support. It’s also a good idea to disperse your venting rather than dumping it all on one friend. This helps to avoid friendship burnout.

I do want to address having children while going through a separation/divorce. This is where Part 1 of my story really ties in. Because I experienced such an ugly divorce as a child, which had a lasting and damaging effect on me, I knew what I DIDN’T want to put my children through the same ordeal. I had learned through experience, research, and just plain ole common sense, healthy ways to help your child(ren) deal with divorce. Thankfully my husband was on board with me (as we usually are when the kids are concerned). We were sure to tell the kids repeatedly that we love them, that what was happening with Mom and Dad had NOTHING to do with them and there was nothing they could do to make it better, and we did not speak ill of one another in front of them. Those were our rules and so far, almost 3 years later, they’ve stuck.  So in a somewhat convoluted way I am thankful that I had the experience of my parent’s divorce to guide me in what not to repeat.

The last and most important key to getting through any hurts you endure at the hands of other people is to practice FORGIVENESS!! I don’t care what your faith is or if you even have one, forgiveness is essential for healing. So many of us think (as I once did) you have to feel it in your heart to forgive. Or that the person who has hurt you needs to ask for forgiveness before you forgive them. This is not true. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person; It is for YOU! You cannot move on free of bitterness until you make a decision to forgive that person. Bitterness becomes a cancer that eats away at you. If you love peace in your life as much as I do please learn to forgive. This book helped me really understand forgiveness.

So the end of Part 2 leads us to the Divorce that changed my life. By the time the divorce finally became official I was more than ready for it to be over with. My EX(smiley face)-husband and I are friends in a very loose definition of the word. We communicate well and mostly only about the children. He is very involved with them and sees them regularly. We are still a parenting team and there are no hard feelings. I am actually grateful that he made the decision to leave since it has opened my life to so many possibilities I didn’t think existed for me. In the end it all worked out!

Disclaimer: I am probably not done with discussing portions of my separations and divorce in future blogs because it’s what started me on my journey to unveil the extraordinary in myself as well as other woman. There’s some really good stuff I learned during these times that I want to share. Hopefully this will not discourage you from continuing to visit my blog. Stay tuned…

The Divorce That Changed My Life (intermission)

I know I promised a Part 2, however I believe an intermission is needed here. Hopefully you will agree.

As I mentioned in my last blog my husband told me he wanted to leave the marriage in about our 7th year. It was not the first time he made this announcement, but it was the first time he meant it to the point of separation. Of course we couldn’t be like normal couples who go through a separation. No. We had to have an in-house separation because frankly he had no where to go. *evil chuckle inserted here…just kidding…no I’m not* As difficult as it was, it was also the best thing that could have happened to me as an individual.

WHHAAAAT?

How could a in-house separation be the best thing that’s happened to anyone? That must have been an ongoing, never ending, every agonizing minute of every agonizing day (get the picture?) state of torture for you!! If these are your thoughts you would be right. But from the worst thing I could have EVER imagined happening to my marriage actually happening, I emerged as a whole person. I emerged as ME in the making.

Without getting into all the boring details of our failing marriage I will tell you that the separation hit me like a ton of bricks. There were some serious “Ah Ha!” moments going on.  And not the kind that examine everything he was doing wrong, which I’d already been doing since the day we got married…maybe even before that. It was a kind of awakening that opened my eyes to what I had been doing wrong in the marriage. Yes. It’s true. I had faults I needed to face. (Don’t worry this isn’t me blaming myself alone for the downward spiral of our relationship. I am fully aware he too contributed rather generously to the cause.) It was as if I could see myself for the first time and I wasn’t liking what I was seeing: An insecure woman who identified herself as being a wife and mother, rather than an individual who was also a wife and mother, which caused her to constantly feel inadequate and lacking because she was never good enough to make everyone happy, especially not her husband, which in turn made her cling to her husband even more by trying to control who he should be and what he should do to make her feel better about herself. AHHH!!! See what I mean?

This is the kind of self revelation that knocks the wind out of a person. The kind that makes a person hibernate in the safety of  her comforter never to see the light of day again. Honestly, if I didn’t have children, that’s probably exactly what I would have done. But I do have children and they needed me to be sane and have the where-with-it-all to provide for their needs. So I had to do something about it, and I did. I went to counseling for myself. I realized that what I had become was a culmination of deeper issues I never really got out and examined. I needed to get to the root of the problem when all I’d been doing for years was dealing with the symptoms. I kept putting band-aids on the boo-boos (<– did I mention I have children) and they kept getting ripped off. And we all know what a bitch that can be.

My Personal “Ah Ha’s”:

1. I was severely insecure
2. I wasn’t sure who I really was
3. I thought that if this separation lead to a divorce I was a failure
4. I was incredibly afraid of failing
5. I had a deep seeded fear of screwing up my kids
6. I got married for the wrong reasons…
…In fact I don’t think I was ever in love with my husband. Rather, I chose to love him…BIG difference (I know this now but back then I still thought “in love with” was the same as “infatuated with” and either didn’t really exist or was a mistaken emotion. Boy was I WRONG!!!)

What Counseling Did For Me:

1. Addressed my insecurities by telling the lies I thought about myself the TRUTH about myself (sometimes over and over again until it became my own truth).
2. Allowed me to pay attention to what I found enjoyment in and what I liked about myself  which in turn aided in my identity development.
3. Made me realize that as long as I did everything within my power to save the marriage I could NOT control the decisions my husband made, nor was i responsible for them! (This may have been the most profound revelation).
4. Gave me an understanding that failing is not the worst thing that can happen and I was going to be okay no matter what.
5. Taught me that as long as I loved my kids and they knew it, they would turn out just fine.
6. Reaffirmed that Yes, I did marry my husband for the wrong reasons and now it was time to try and make it right.

So the moral of today’s blog…get help! It’s okay to NOT have it all figured out. Counseling was the first and necessary step to my healing process. There were many others that followed (as I’m sure I will share with you in future blogs), but counseling opened the door to allow change in my inner, most hidden places.

As a side note: My husband could see the change that was occurring in me and apparently he found it attractive.  After almost a year of  in-house separation he decided he wanted to work on the marriage. SUCCESS!! Or so I thought. We did become closer and for the next few years we had the best marriage WE had ever had. BUT it was still a troubled marriage, and when only one person is making the effort to work on herself and make necessary personal changes, a great marriage it does not make. At some point the other person in the relationship needs to take ownership of his mistakes and his part of the whole that is marriage.

Okay, intermission is over. Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Divorce That Changed My Life. (I really promise this time).