Will It NEVER End?!

I thought by now, on the brink of turning 30…haha I mean 40, I wouldn’t have much left to discover about myself only to discover I know nothing!

When I started this blog I was on a mission to unveil the beauty of the ordinary woman because I myself had always felt ordinary, at least until I went through a divorce. It wasn’t until then I realized I had a lot to offer, but I hadn’t been able to see through the dislike I had for myself which was constantly being fueled by the critical nature of my EX. (I don’t put the blame on him for this, his criticalness is his problem, my insecurities were mine. We simply were not a good match.) While I was going through that time of really getting to know myself and discovering things I liked about myself, I thought I had it all figured out. What my strengths were (encouraging, supportive, able to see both sides, diplomatic, administrative),  what role I was supposed to play in my career path (admin/personal assistant) and what limitations I had to deal with (motherhood, indecisiveness, lack of creativity). Just the fact that I have more traits listed under strengths than limitations is a HUGE improvement on my former self perspective. But I wasn’t anywhere close to having it all figured out.

Three years later I look completely different. I still have a lot of the same strengths and admin assistant was a good role for me, the difference is in the realization I am capable of more than I ever imagined. My career has taken a slight turn to Human Resource-ville, which I love (not at all unbelievably since it requires all of the strengths listed above), but I have also become a co-owner of Wrinkled Blanket Media and a videographer! ME! A VIDEOGRAPHER! Who would have thunk it! I have also recently fallen in love with DIY design (see Exhibit A) and recorded my first mini-sode podcast with B! ABOUT A HORROR MOVIE! ME! This is just too much…fun!

EXHIBIT A: A little something I made to hold my jewelry.

Jewelry Bar After

Who am I and what have I done with that oldish mom without creativity?! How can I not have known about my love of design until now? Why did I waste all that money (of which I am still paying) on an education that has nothing to do with my current career nor my future career? Why did I marry someone so wrong for me at such a young age? Why is hind sight so stinking CLEAR?!

None of those questions matter because I can’t change any of that. I can, however, move forward and enjoy the journey. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn and discover about myself. Who knows? One day I may discover I love to write! And you know what? I’m not any more special than anyone else so this experience isn’t limited to me. I just hope when it happens for you it’s early enough to make those student loans worth it!

Interesting fact:
Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18 but a growing body of science says that critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25 or so. 

 

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Mom To The Rescue!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since my last post!! Really I thought it was only 2 and that was bad enough, but 3?! I should be ashamed! And I am. While I have my reasons for the hiatus (as usual) I’ve decided to wait another week to share them with you. Don’t worry, its all good, in fact some of it is super EXCITING!! (EEEE!) In the mean time, I leave you in the very capable hands (and feet?) of MOM who has a refreshingly comical way of looking at potentially disappointing occurrences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

For Sale: Medieval Torture Devices

A few days ago, I did something completely out of character for me. In my older age, I love comfort. Nothing makes me feel more comfortable than a pair of worn flip-flops. Why else would we live in Florida?

We have an EVENT coming up this weekend, which requires something a little more sophisticated than flip-flops; so, I went shopping for some sensible but somewhat attractive shoes. That’s when they caught my eye – the cutest pair of high-heeled sandals — and in MY size. I’m not too old to look tall and elegant, am I? Shakily, I tried them on. They were very good-looking on my pedicured feet. I felt a little pinch on the little toes, but nothing a bandaid or two won’t cure. With glee and a little guilt, I purchased my new high-heeled shoes.

The event is in a few days, so I donned my new shoes to break them in. After six seconds, I put bandaids on my pinkie toes. Ten seconds later, I slapped bandaids on the instep; a few steps later, bandaids on the heels. Now I have mummy feet dressed in cute little shoes. No problem. They just need to be worn awhile to stretch out.

I have no fear of heights. I have stood toe to glass in some of the world’s tallest buildings and looked straight down. I have flown in gliders, small planes, and helicopters. Nothing made me as dizzy as elevating my heels three inches. I walked into the kitchen, hanging on to the walls, with tiny steps and dizzy head. I felt motion sickness coming on, and reached for the Dramamine. By now, I was more determined than ever to BREAK these shoes in and get used to them.

Have you ever done laundry in high heels? Do you know that when you bend down from the added height, you have a lot farther to bend than normal? I held on to the dryer to keep from toppling over. I pulled laundry into the basket one-handed, dizzy-headed, and noticing a slight pain in the Achilles tendons of both legs.

When I straightened up, I saw that my hot-pink-tipped, pedicured toes were dead white. You’d think if they were dead, there would be no feeling. Oh, no! Each mincing step shot lightning bolts of pain into my poor, zombie toes. The pad of my foot spoke LOUDLY in protest. I ignored their accusatory complaints because I am determined to BREAK IN these blankety-blank cute little shoes!

From the kitchen to the bedroom to the living room – I straightened the house, did laundry, fixed breakfast, washed dishes, and finally – FINALLY – sat down at the computer for a much longer stay than I had planned. If I sit through the entire event we’re going to, I should be able to show off my cute little shoes with minimal anguish. Right?

Do you know that as your feet swell, the straps of fancy little sandals do NOT stretch to accommodate the swelling? Now I have FAT dead-looking feet sticking out of these cute little shoes.

I no longer want to break the shoes in before the event. I simply want to BREAK them. Take them off! Soak fat feet in a cold bath! Rip the bandages off and wait for relief, and wriggle my newly freed toes in comfy flip-flops.

Seriously, does anyone want to buy a barely-worn pair of medieval torture devices with cute little restraining straps and three-inch spikes? Size 7 ½ wide, they should fit just fine. Bwaahaaahaaahaaaahaaaaaa.

The Next Step

There are people who hate change. There is a comfort in things staying the same. Knowing what to expect. Nothing to adjust to and no surprises. There have been times in my life when change has caused severe anxiety so I can relate to the notion of hating change. But true to my character I can see the other side as well, the excitement in change. All the possible opportunities, adventures and growth available. The more comfortable I get with myself the more comfortable I get with my ability to accept and deal with change in a positive way. That’s why my next step isn’t wrought with fear, but rather filled with a sense of excitement.

I quit my job last week. Actually, I gave my 2 week notice. It was a very hard thing to do because while I may not hate change,  I HATE confrontation. I was a mess that day. My heart raced way more than it should in a 24 hour period and I felt nauseous. I only ate 2 out of my usual 4 small meals of the day. (For anyone that’s ever worked with me you know that’s HUGE). I don’t know what I expected, maybe anger or disappointment. I had no need to worry. Both my bosses accepted my resignation gracefully. Phew.

I accepted a position at a larger company doing something I’m not sure I’ll enjoy that pays pretty much the same as I’ve been making. So where’s the excitement in that? It’s in working with new people, and learning new software, and finding out if I’m good at Loan Processing and having a little flexibility with my schedule. It’s in knowing that this is only a year contract and I may or may not have another job by then. It’s in the hope that in a year it won’t matter if I have a job or not because my business with B will be flourishing by then and bring me home. It’s in the many many possibilities that may come out of this change in my life right now and I am absolutely excited, and nervous, and curious and anxious to get started!

OMG I Sound Like My Mother!

I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice come out of my mouth. All at once I understood. I was being initiated into a secret society I didn’t remember pledging to and wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of. But it was too late!

My twin toddlers undoubtedly did something that I had told them MANY times not to do and inadvertently opened Mommy’s flood gate of “THAT’S IT”.  If you ask me what those exact words were that formed in my brain and leap off my tongue, I would not be able to tell you. It wasn’t the words exactly, but the way in which they were said. They had her tone of voice all over them. Despite all my pronouncements as an adolescent (as most adolescents do) that I would NOT be like my mom when I grew up, I had indeed inherited some of her traits. And to my surprise it wasn’t as upsetting as I thought it’d be. Quite the opposite actually. In that moment of clarity I finally got her! And with it came a deep sense of appreciation.

For most of my childhood my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Not because she wasn’t a strong-willed independent woman (if you know her at all you’ll know I’m not lying), but I believe it’s what she and my father thought was best. I am so grateful that they did. There was a security that came with my mom always being there. She was able to be involved in our school activities. She made sure we had healthy social lives. She baked…not everyday but there wasn’t a Christmas that went by without our kitchen becoming a cookie factory so she could give trays of cookies away to everyone and their neighbor. She encouraged us creatively with messy projects. She was (and still is) a great story teller. And boy could that woman get mad! And quick! What I didn’t realize then, but do now, is the amount of work and brain drain that goes into being active in your childrens’ school activities, social lives, baking, messy projects and even making up stories. It’s exhausting! No wonder her fuse was short.

There is another side to sounding like my mother. My mom is always ready with an encouraging word. If you ever read the comments on this blog you’ll know what I mean. I don’t think there’s one post she hasn’t commented on, each more encouraging than the last. I love hearing her converse with her grandchildren (which I just got to do last week when she was visiting). There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that she thinks they’re the shiznit! It’s a trait I hope people will see in me as well. That and her compassion for others. She’s always been easy to talk to. She was, and still is, usually volunteering for one organization or another.  And I can’t tell you how many times we had people staying with us for a week or two until they got on their feet. My friends knew they had a place to go and my mom would accept them with open arms. She just had 3 rules: 1. No drugs, 2. No sex and 3. Don’t leave the toilet seat up. I’m pleading the 5th on whether or not those rules were upheld.

It’s funny how we as humans can have a hard time appreciating someone without walking in there shoes. Becoming a mom myself has been an eye opening experience and I know I have still barely scratched the surface. Both my moms have survived adolescent children, whereas I am just beginning that phase, and there are still so many stages yet to come: college, weddings, grandchildren.  I am fully prepared to be amazed by these two incredible women at each stage as I learn to appreciate them and what they’ve been through more and more. So sounding like my mom.. ain’t so bad!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

Confessions of A Recovering Romance Novel Junkie

About 10 years ago I heard a woman talk about romance novels and soap operas as porn for women. While I didn’t care much for soap operas, I was consuming at least one romance novel every two weeks at the time, sometimes even one a week. I didn’t see the harm in them. Most of them weren’t the trashy kind anyway so clearly they couldn’t be considered porn. I just liked reading them because they were quick reads and they made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I would get lost in the intense passion the characters had for each other and the certainty that there was a happily ever after for them. I imagined that was how it really felt to be in love. When I’d finish the book the reality of a passionless marriage and the uncertainty that I was with the right person set in. I couldn’t see a happily ever after in my future. I’d even question if something was wrong with me? Why didn’t I feel that way about my husband? Why hadn’t I ever felt that way about anyone? My belief that being in love was a possibility turned into a theory that there was no way that level of passion could be real in a long term relationship. Of course there is passion and a feeling of infatuation in the beginning of most relationships that’s mistaken for ‘being in love”. This I knew from experience. How many times had I “been in love”  with someone only to lose interest a few months later? It was just something movies and books created and endorsed to sell their products. That perfect love between a man and woman couldn’t really exist!

Regardless, I kept reading and the books turned into an escape from my lacking reality. They made me yearn for something I knew I could never have. They became an addiction. Nothing my husband said or did was as good as what I read. I mean, you know it’s bad when you read a romance novel to get in the mood for your spouse! That’s when it clicked. The reference to romance novels becoming porn for women made sense. And it didn’t stop at novels. I would watch any rom-com I could get my hands on. Anything to give me that borrowed high from another (very fictional) characters completeness in the love they’d found.

Did the addiction to fiction lead to the dissatisfaction of my marriage? NO! There was plenty of that before my one a week habit started. But it didn’t help make my marriage any better either. Instead it intensified the dissatisfaction and created unrealistic expectations for my marriage. There was no way my  husband was ever going to say the right things or act the right way because first, he wasn’t built to talk and act that way since he was a real person, and second, because he wasn’t reading the books and had no frame of reference by which to even understand my misguided ideals.

Do I think all women should stop reading romance novels because they create unrealistic expectations for relationships? No. I think it’s a personal decision. For some, it doesn’t affect them the way it did me. I do think it’s wise to understand that the relationships in books and movies are fictional. If they cause an increased dissatisfaction in your committed relationship, it may be time to set aside the media form you are devouring and pay attention to the work at hand (i.e., your marriage).

That said, my habit is thankfully not an issue anymore. And not just because my unhappily-ever-after marriage is over! The desire to read about/watch the love lives of others, no matter how fake they are, is almost non-existent thanks to the happiness I have in my current relationship and my resolve to live my life. I was given a second chance. I know that’s not the case for everyone. However, I am still a firm believer that two people who are committed and choose to work on their relationship together, can have a stronger more satisfying relationship than any book or movie! My earlier theory has sufficiently been proven wrong by my own experiences.  It may be the only time I’m glad I’m wrong (at least that I’ll admit).

That’s it for my ponderings today. Please add your thoughts on the topic of romance novels/rom-com movies below.