All Aboard the Crazy Train

Fasten your seat belts people. You’re in for bumpy ride. For those of you that have recently gone through a bad break-up, a divorce or any type of loss, I wish I could tell you it will get better after a year…even two, but the truth is it doesn’t always work out that way.  There is no magic number or pill you can take to make things feel better again, you just have to buckle up and ride the crazy train.

The process of healing from heartbreak can take years, but the good news is that it’s not all bad, there are ups and downs…good days and bad days.  One day you’re feeling free and inspired to reinvent yourself and the next day you’re feeling sad and depressed curled up in a ball binge watching stupid love stories while balling your eyes out. You just never know.

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There are times when you think you’re losing your f’in mind because you thought things were going well until something smacks you in the face and you find yourself in a downward spiral again. Like when you see your ex profess his love for his new girlfriend on Facebook or your dishwasher springs a leak or your car breaks down and suddenly you lose your shit because emotionally you can’t take another bad thing happening.    I know…I get it.  We’ve all been there and we will be there again, because the truth is, life doesn’t automatically get better just because you find someone new, drop 20 pounds or you get a big raise at work. Life is full of painful experiences and in every painful experience there is a lesson to learn and an opportunity to grow.  If everything went smoothly all the time, we would never reach our full potential or have compassion for others. We would never appreciate the good times and see the blessings in our life.  As bad as things may seem right now, I know you can count at least 3 things you’re truly grateful for in your life.  Go ahead…name 3 things.

Mine are easy; my beautiful kids, my amazingly supportive family and friends that I love and make me laugh through all the bad times.  Knowing that makes me recognize that I have more going right for me than all that may be going wrong. That’s all that really matters to me and that’s what keeps me strong.

The important thing to know is that it is completely normal to feel the ups and downs from time to time especially during the holidays and the milestones in life. It’s also important to feel those feeling and not push them away or mask them with things that numb the pain like booze, sex, shopping or food. Trust me, I’ve used them all and they don’t work.  In fact, they can make it much worse because it just leads to a hangover, being used by a dirt bag, maxed out credit cards and getting fat. That’s not going to help you feel better…that’s just a temporary fix that has negative side effects.

Find more positive ways to cope with the pain, like going for a long walk, reading a good book, talking to a trusted friend or if you’re like me, write it all down on paper. Remembering that there is a purpose to this long journey and it allows you to see the blessings underneath all the pain.

Don’t believe me? Are you rolling your eyes thinking that I’m full of shit? Then I want you to close your eyes and envision yourself a few years ago, in the relationship that brought you all that pain. Do you want to go back there? Do you want to be that person who allowed someone to treat you so badly? I’m guessing the answer is “no”. That is the proof to understand that you needed to move on and get out of a toxic relationship. That is the proof that you are becoming a stronger and happier person.

If you had stayed you would have continued to die a little more each day. Your spirit couldn’t grow and become the person you are meant to be. You’re not meant to be miserable and unhappy. You’re meant to grow and flourish. You’re meant to learn from the past, so that the pattern is not repeated.  We may not be able to see it right now, because we still have some lessons to learn, but we are right on the precipice of jumping off that crazy train and looking back on the experience as a journey that we needed to take to find the person we are today.

Years later, I’m not where I hoped I would be. I thought by now I would have found a great guy and I’d be building a new career as a published writer, but instead I’m still single after 5 years and forced to sell my home because I’m still in a financial hole after losing my job. I’m probably in the worst position I’ve ever been in and it feels really shitty. There are days I just cry myself to sleep. There are days I want to give up, but I don’t. I will never let my circumstances define me because I remember those 3 blessings that keep me fighting and keep me full of hope. I remember that God has big plans for me and I am on the verge of things turning around for me. This journey wasn’t just bad luck. This journey happened so that I could find true and honest love. This journey happened so that losing my job would unlock a love of writing that I never knew I had. This journey happened so that I could understand and help others that feel the same. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is a mistake. Every form of pain has a purpose that is designed to help us find our purpose.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Top 10 Reasons You’re Still Single

After five years of being single following a twenty-year marriage, I’ve had plenty of time to date and reflect on the reasons why I am still single. The longest relationship I have had was barely four months and I’m convinced I was only dating the guy because I needed a distraction from the trauma of losing my job after 14-years of being dedicated to my career.  Sure, he was a decent guy that wined and dined me, but I quickly realized he wasn’t going to make the cut.  He set off some major triggers when he flirted with a “friend” right in front of me.  I knew he had to go, because I vowed to myself that I would never be with a man I couldn’t trust. This qualification has now significantly reduced my dating pool by about 80% and that’s being generous. Okay, maybe that’s part of my problem…if I hold the belief that only 20% of single men in my age bracket that live in a 40 mile radius are trustworthy, then perhaps that is the reason why I am still single.

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I realized that I had to check my negative beliefs about men since becoming a lesbian was not my thing.  This is a hard and laborious process. You see my experience with men and dating has solidified a long standing false belief that all men are assholes.  Notice I said “FALSE” belief?  I don’t want to insult ALL men with such a sexist erroneous statement. I know plenty of men who are good, faithful husbands including my father who set a pretty high bar when it comes to having integrity.  How I ended up marrying a habitual liar makes no sense to me other than the fact that I was very young and extremely naive. Now that I’m older, wiser and extremely jaded; I have to reprogram myself to unlearn these negative beliefs. Believe me, sometimes it’s a full-time job especially with the losers I’ve encountered over the past several years. (Reference previous blog “Dating for Dummies” and pretty much any article I’ve written after that.)

In my process of reprogramming and self-analysis, I have recognized that there are 10 top reasons why women might still be single post-divorce:

#1. You live in fear that you will have your heart broken again and to avoid that pain you shut out all potential prospects.

#2. You are jaded and bitter towards men and hold false beliefs that all men are bad and are going to hurt you. (This is a side effect of #1 “fear”)

#3. You are suffering from low self-esteem and don’t believe you are pretty enough, skinny enough, valuable enough to deserve a good man so you continue to date assholes.

#4. You fear introducing someone new into your life and the lives of your children.

#5. You have unrealistic expectations of what you want in a partner and no one will ever live up to your 5-page list of criteria. (Get real honey!)

#6. You’re looking for love in all the wrong places. You think you can change them and ignore the red flags when guys only treat you like a booty call. (Booty call, meet Wake-up call.)

#7. Your negative beliefs are attracting negative people. (This is an important one so check yourself!)

#8. You haven’t learned your lesson the first time and you are still attracted to assholes even when you know they’re assholes.

#9. You’ve watch too many Rom-com’s and you’re a hopeless romantic waiting for prince charming to ride in on his white horse and sweep you off your feet. (Wake up girl…that only happens in the movies.)

#10. You have a serious case of “resting bitch face” (RBF) and no decent guy is going to come near you with a ten-foot pole.

There are many others but these are definitely my Top 10. Do you see yourself in any of these?  I do! In fact, I see myself in most of them.  The bottom line is that you are single because you aren’t in the right frame of mind to be in a healthy relationship.  You are single because you need time to work through these false beliefs in order to attract the right partner.  After heartbreak, you must spend some time being self-reflective and truly honest with yourself. That is when your soul mate will show up. I had to admit to myself that I really wasn’t ready to be in a relationship prior to this moment in time.  I was finding every excuse in the book to push it away when in reality I was just scared…scared of having my heart broken again…scared of letting go of my independence and strength…scared of opening my heart and feeling vulnerable again. Honestly, that never goes away. Everyone has fear when it comes to loving someone and being loved. What finally helped me let go of all that fear is when I realized it is much scarier being alone.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Current State of Affairs

I feel compelled to write about the results of the election even though it goes off topic from my usual message about healing after divorce.  I woke up on November 9th expecting to turn on the news to see that Hillary Clinton was our new president elect. I knew before I went to bed the night before that the race was unsettlingly close, but I thought there is no way Americans would allow a man like Donald Trump to lead our country.

My reaction to the reality that flashed upon the TV screen was one of shock, disbelief, disappointment, anger, despair, and fear.  I was so confused and disillusioned. How could this happen? Who could vote for a man like him? I got ready for work and called my sister to try to make sense of what had just happened to our country. She and I are very close and very like-minded on many things, but she is less interested in politics and consciously chooses to not watch or listen to the news media.  I totally respect that and I’m somewhere in the middle of a political junkie and a person that is slightly informed. She quickly wanted to accept the outcome and move past it, while I wanted to form a protest and possibly riot in the streets. (I’m kidding of course…maybe).  I knew she was right not to let it upset me to the point of rage and anger, but she understood my need and the countries need to feel what we are feeling.

As I was driving to work, I felt like the world had shifted somehow. I felt a weight, a feeling of loss.  Even though the trees that were there yesterday were as beautiful in their fall splendor as today, there was a dullness that covered my view.  I passed by the same “We support Trump” sign that I’ve been wanting to run over with my car for weeks and now it had American flags surrounding it and it felt as though our country had been taken over by a foreign leadership that we were powerless against. I walked into the school where I work and I thought about the children in this world and how this would impact them and their future. Our school is the most beautiful display of color and ethnicity and filled with love and respect. I have only been there two months but it feels like family the moment you walk in the door. What sets it apart from other schools that I have worked in is the diversity of the staff.  With the leadership of a kind, caring African-American woman, she has created an environment of love and acceptance.  It is my utopia. A place where people of all races, religions, and sexual orientation, teach children how to be kind citizens. I wish our entire country looked like this school.

I sat at my desk and had a strange lump in my throat. I just couldn’t concentrate and shake this awful feeling of dread.  I reached in to my lunch bag to grab my water and remembered I had never taken the eggs I was boiling for my salad off the stove. Shit! I left the stove on!  Oh my God, my poor dog could be in a burning house right now. I ran out of the building and cursed at everyone in my way on the road. Then it occurred to me…don’t be like them. Don’t be full of hate and anger, treating everyone with disrespect. I was referring to “they” as Trump supporters. I finally arrived home to find eggs that exploded all over my stove top, but the house and my handsome pup were fine. I couldn’t believe I was so careless, but I was so upset and in a fog that I wasn’t functioning, I was numb.

I spent the rest of the day trying to process my emotions and spoke to my staff and co-workers about how it felt as though we were morning a great loss…like someone had died.  For some, it was because they wanted to see the first woman president, for others it was that they were fearful about what kind of damage Trump may do in office.  For me, I was upset and disappointed in the number of people in our country that could elect a man to lead our country that has done nothing but demoralize and further marginalize women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, the LGBT community and anyone else that isn’t a white male. He went as far as to make fun of disabled person, insulted an honored veteran, and brag about sexually assaulting women and still got elected? How does this happen?  It happens because of the kind of people that are breading ignorance and hate. It happens because Trump supporters who claim not to be racist, passively accept and ignore it’s existence.  It happens because there are people in our country that aren’t taught compassion and acceptance of all people and believe they are somehow better than everyone else. This disgrace to our nation happened because the racism and bigotry that has been bubbling under the surface for generations intensified when a black man became president, now it has risen to the top and Trump has made it socially acceptable for them to spew their hate with visceral words and attacks on fellow citizens. This is racism and sexism… and all the other fucking” isms” rearing its ugly head.

It terrifies me. It makes me feel frustrated and powerless to change people’s views.  I feel a personal responsibility to make change, not just for the sake of my own bi-racial children, but for all children. I want the fear and ignorance to end. If you call yourself a Christian or a person of God and you hold fear, anger or hate towards any group of people, then you are not a Christian…you are not a person of God. God loves all of his people and you are no better than anyone just because you were born with the privilege of being white. Last time I checked white people sin just as much as the rest of them.

Later that evening, I ended up meeting some friends out that night after work and everyone was sitting around the bar watching CNN report the news on the protesting in the streets of seven major cities throughout the country. This made some of my frustration and sadness dissipate. I felt relieved that others in America felt as strongly as I do.  I felt hope that young educated people where moved to action and exercise their right to protest under our constitution. They did what was right and good. They care about their fellow citizens and will raise their children to respect all people.” There is hope,” I thought.

Until I starting noticing that people in the bar weren’t happy about the protests and definitely looked like they voted for the orange baboon. I happened to be sitting next to an older gentleman that we have seen there before and he asked if we were surprised about the results this morning.  I answered that I was devastated.  I could quickly see that he was not upset about the outcome, so I asked him if he voted for Trump.  He said, “Yes, I did but I didn’t think he would win”.  I turned to him and respectfully asked him why he wanted to vote for Trump.  He said the main reason was because of the gun laws that Hillary proposed. He explained that he was a proud NRA supporter and gun carrier and that he’s been shooting since he was 8 years old.  I just nodded and let him continue. He said the gun laws are so strict now that it’s ridiculous.  I said, “Shouldn’t it be difficult for people to buy a gun given what has happened with gun violence in our country?”  He replied that the bad guys already have guns illegally and the laws just make it harder for good guys like me to buy guns. I understand that the illegal market to buy guns is a bigger problem, but I stated that having mental health screening for gun buyers should be important to all of us given what happened in Sandy Hook, CT  just 45 minutes away. He came up with a stupid excuse for that, so I asked a few more questions just out of curiosity knowing this guy was not the most open-minded individual. Then my friend asked what about all the sexist, racist things Trump has said?  He just shook his head and said, “Oh, I don’t care about those things.”  So my friend and I got up and walked away saying, “And that’s the problem.”  Sometimes you just can’t argue with stupid.

Listen, I don’t want to be like them and clump all Trump supports together. I won’t generalize and say that most of them are red-neck, under-educated, bigots who hold on to archaic beliefs and hatred. That would make me just as bad as them.  I will say that it tells me a great deal about your character as a human being if you could support a man who continually insults and violates women, incites violence, openly expresses racist, homophobic rhetoric  and lies about just about everything.  I don’t care if you agree with his policies. He is a horrible man and doesn’t deserve to lead our beautiful country. If you support him then I already know all I need to know about you and you will never earn my respect, but I will always listen to your point of view and respect that.

Our country must come together and have thoughtful conversations about the problems we face. This has divided us as a people and we must heal what has been an opened wound since the first visitors step foot on this land. We can come together if we are willing to listen and understand. We have to stop believing the lies that the media portrays and come together face to face to see that we aren’t as different as we think we are…we just have to see past the skin color, the gender, the religious beliefs and all the things that we use as labels to divide us.  We are ONE. United by love. That is my American dream.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?

We’ve all heard this phrase before and I wonder if it’s entirely true.  This is one of those gray areas that always has an exception to the rule and isn’t so black and white.  I think if a man or woman has the propensity to cheat, then it is a pattern of behavior and self-sabotage that will continue throughout their life no matter who they are with.  Why men cheat is very different than why women cheat, yet both share similarities.

Both men and women that have a propensity to cheat, have a deep seeded need to feel desired by other people, due to some form of insecurity deeply rooted in their psyche. For men, sometimes it is an insatiable compulsion to feel as though they’ve conquered the forbidden.  Men that tend to go outside of their marriage to seek attention from multiple women, have a selfish need to be in a committed relationship, but have a compulsion to be secretive and seek out flirtatious relationships with other women to feed their ego. This appetite can never be filled and the compulsion will always need to be fed. Then there are the men that cheat because their needs aren’t being met or the relationship with their wife is on shaky ground.  Up until this point, they were faithful, loyal men who never thought they would be tempted to cheat on their wife, but they turn to someone at the office for attention and friendship…and the next thing they know, they’re in a full-blown affair.

This is typically why women cheat. I don’t want to sound bias or sexist, but women usually cheat because the marriage has been in trouble for some time and they feel like their husband doesn’t desire them or appreciate them anymore. All it takes is for one decent looking guy to show them the attention they’ve been craving and she finds herself intoxicated by desire. I suppose there are women who may be habitual cheaters that also have an insatiable appetite for sex, but you must admit– it’s very rare.  Biologically, women are not as driven by sexual desire for other partners when they are in a committed relationship.

Women are conditioned to desire stability, protection and the need to be with one partner. The end goal for most women is to settle down and raise a family.  For most men, settling down with one woman for the rest of their lives is either extremely scary or a death sentence. The phrase, “the old ball and chain” never applies to husbands and you damn well know it.  Women don’t stand around at a bachelorette party lamenting about how this is it for the rest of your life and getting one more cheap thrill in with a stripper before the nuptials, but men tend to treat marriage as the end of their life as they know it.  No more fun, no more women, just boring sex with the same woman every two weeks if you’re lucky.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Women can be just as damaged as the men who feel the need to cheat. Which brings me to a level of compassion for both genders who never fully love or trust in anyone. They will never be content with the one they are with and will spend their entire lives lost in the lie of adultery.  I use to demonize people who are perpetual cheaters, but now I just pity them.  What kind of life will they lead if they are always searching for something more, someone different?  How sad it must be to spend your entire life not realizing that the person who loves you is enough.  Love is so precious and at times, hard to find.  To value sex more than love and being loved by your family is a lonely shallow place to be. You will never know true love. You will never feel good about yourself because you are constantly chasing a fantasy that isn’t real.

There are always situations when you just married the wrong person. I can understand how someone who is deeply unhappy in their marriage can fall into the arms of another person, wanting to escape and end up forming very real feelings for that person. Unfortunately, the fairy tale happy ending rarely applies in these situations.  On the flip side, I have seen cases where someone has met a person that makes them truly happy and they risk everything to be close to that person.  Love is a powerful force that can make good people do things they never thought they were capable of doing. The trick is not to confuse lust for love.  Lust is just as powerful and even more deceiving than what you thought was love. It’s hard to decipher when you’re caught up in the passion and irresistible attraction to someone new.  This is how families get destroyed and hearts get broken.  I suppose if couples were more honest and communicative about what they need and want, these affairs may not happen, but once the damage is done, there’s no going back.

This brings us to the question of “what is considered cheating?” Now, this is a tough one and the lines are blurry for some. My personal definition is that if you do something your spouse would feel hurt or betrayed by…. it’s cheating.  In this age of “virtual sex” or “cybersex” people try to justify that if they haven’t “actually” touched the person, then it isn’t considered cheating.  Really? Would your spouse be happy with the fact that your talking dirty to another person online and masturbating in front of a web cam? Would your spouse be okay with you sending dick pics or nudes to someone they know nothing about? I think not. So, don’t tell me that isn’t cheating. What about emotional affairs that never get physical? Still cheating? Would you tell your spouse about it? Then yes, I hate to tell you… it’s cheating.

I’m not sure which is worse. A one night fling or an ongoing emotional affair? I always thought it would be easier to get over a fling that doesn’t mean anything, but honestly it isn’t. I’ve experience both in my sorry excuse of a marriage and I couldn’t get over either one.  The trust was broken. Once the trust is broken…it’s over.  Plain and simple. I know of people that try and work through it. Believe me, I spent 3 years trying to forgive my ex for cheating when he was overseas serving in the military. I told myself that being deployed for a year and a half was a long time to go without having sex for a man.  I tried to forgive him. I really tried.  I just kept coming back to the fact that it wasn’t hard for me to stay faithful…cheating never even crossed my mind. I was too busy raising our three children and managing the house while he was overseas “serving our country”…turns out he was serving a lot of other things too. He was always a habitual liar and was extremely secretive. I never had proof, but there was always suspicion that he was up to no good.  Even when things between us were great.  He is the kind of man that has deep seeded insecurities and lacks the ability to share true intimacy with anyone. In this case “once a cheater always a cheater” may apply.  I feel bad for anyone who gives their heart to someone who doesn’t have the capacity to be loyal and honest.

Listen, temptation is real for everyone. What you chose to do with it defines your integrity as a human being. Don’t let the illusion and seduction of someone new, cloud your ability to see through the facade. It won’t fill the void; it will only make you feel less of yourself if you give in to it. The stupid saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” are simple words to live by. The next relationship won’t be any better than the last if you don’t take a good long look in the mirror and recognize what you need to do to be a better partner and an honest person. If they’ve done that, then yes, maybe a cheater isn’t always going to be a cheater. There is always hope for someone to transform their life, but just be leery of entering a relationship with someone that has been a cheater in their past, because sometimes a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Find out what it means to me…just a little respect is all Aretha and women really want. Is that too much to ask? Seriously fellas, I feel bad for the guys who get a bad rap because of all the disgusting men like Donald Trump out there.  I don’t want to get all political or come across as an angry feminist, but the latest incident with another pig of a man has me all fired up.

Last weekend, I was at a Halloween party with some old colleagues that I used to work with and we’re all having a great time guessing who’s who and picking out our favorite costumes, when this guy tries on a creepy scarecrow mask and proceeds to walk towards me and grabs my chest and then reaches around and grabs my ass! I removed his slimy paws immediately and yelled, “what the hell!?” and walked away wanting to kick this guy in the balls. Luckily I didn’t because this guy was a cop and I might have been thrown in jail for assaulting an officer. (I’m sorry, but I would never date a cop and this is one of the reasons why…most of them think their above the law). Last time I checked, that was considered sexual assault and yet he seems to think it was okay.

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I went over to a group of my friends and they could see that I was pissed, so they asked me what happened.  Now, two of them were guys and they just stood there with their mouths wide open in shock.  One of them said, “I can’t believe anyone would do that” and the other said, “I don’t care how drunk he is, a man should never put his hands on any woman like that.”  This made me feel a little calmer and validated my reaction to this unwanted advance.  Hell, I don’t care if the guy looked like Brad Pitt; no woman wants to be groped like that!  Hold that thought…yes….sadly, there are woman who allow men to act like that and that’s the damn problem!

We live in a world of contradiction. On one side we have self-respecting women who are completely turned off by misogynist creeps like Trump (and many others like him) and then on the other side you have women who are so desperate for attention from men that they welcome these sleazy advances or do nothing to stop them.  Are men the problem or the women who allow it? If women were clear and consistent about being treated with respect and not like sexual objects for men to fondle whenever they feel like it, then perhaps we would have a lot less douche bags in the world grabbing a woman’s body without permission!

The guy ended up coming up to me again and I just put up my hand to him and said, “You can stay right there.”  He had the nerve to put his hand on my knee and say, “Aw, I was just joking around.”  I just gave him a look and said, “NOT funny!”  His face turned serious when he realized I was upset and he quickly apologized.  He proceeded to apologize several more times throughout the evening and I could tell he was sincere. I don’t know this guy well, but I always thought he was a nice enough guy.  Guess not.  This led to further discussion of another incident that happened with another cop with someone else and we wondered if the environment they work in breads this kind of behavior? Are certain vocations that are dominated by men a breeding ground for knuckle dragging Neanderthals? I’m not just picking on cops, by the way, there are plenty of other industries where this happens as well. For example, my daughter is an engineer for a manufacturing company and she gets hit on all the time. Not only hit on, but has had men, suggest that if a woman can run one of the machines she is training them on then anyone can do it. That is the kind of bullshit that women put up with every day. That misogynistic sexism that makes women like me wonder if there are more of “them” and less of the “good guys”.

I have to say that most of the men I know are not like that…at least in front of me anyway. I don’t want to chastise all men. What I really want is for women to have more R.E.S.P.E.C.T for themselves.  Men are constantly getting mixed signals from society and I think they have forgotten that women should always be treated like ladies, even though some industries perpetuate the objectification and sexual exploitation of women.  You know I love me some Beyoncé, but she shakes her ass and humps the floor just like a stripper on a pole and makes millions doing it. I’d rather my daughter and all the young women out there emulate Alicia Keys who never sells her body on stage because she has too much self-worth than that.  She is a true artist that is sending a message to all young girls to love themselves for who they are as strong intelligent women and not cheap imitations.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. I know some of you might be rolling their eyes thinking I need to chill out with all that feminist shit, but some of you are yelling “HELL YEA!”  Those are the kind of ladies I respect and so do men…good men.  Just think about it.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Joy and Pain

It’s been two weeks since I’ve written my last post and it’s been an eventful two weeks to say the least. I’m finally back to work doing what I love to do, which is running enrichment programs for kids at a local school. I’m very grateful to be back to work and the people I work with are so great, but unfortunately the salary is not enough for me to live on and it certainly doesn’t reflect my skills and experience. I guess there is always joy and pain in every transition in life. Especially when it comes to divorce.

I find myself in a constant state of limbo over the last several years. Like that reoccurring dream when you’re stuck in quicksand and you think you’re almost out, but something happens to suck you back in. That has been my experience up until now at least. I try and stay in a place of gratitude and joy, but then my car breaks down for the second time in two months and I come up short with the mortgage payment (yet again), I find myself sinking and powerless. I feel like I just can’t catch a break and I’m stuck between the joy of being free from a miserable marriage and the pain of having to make impossible decisions that will affect my future and my kids.

A perfect example of this is that I recently interviewed for a big job that would pay me a six-figure salary and would allow me to be financially free for the first time in my life. If I get the position, I give up doing what I love and would have to take on a potentially high stress job. The other factor is that if I accept the position, I will have to move to the city within 6 months. It would be a big change and a stressful one, but I’m open to what a new life has to offer.  This could be the opportunity of a lifetime or the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, but I just have to trust my gut and listen to that little voice that always guides me in the right direction. I can feel that I am on the precipice of having a real breakthrough and having a positive change in my life. It’s right there in front of me and I can almost reach it.

The biggest thing that is keeping me stuck in the quicksand is my damn house.  If I sell it, I will lose quite a bit of money on it and I will be in even more debt. If I don’t sell, I’ll probably end up in foreclosure.  Just the thought of that gives me major anxiety. I constantly ask myself, how the hell I got into this mess and the answer always points back to one person….my fucking ex-husband.  Now, I know I have written a lot about finding forgiveness and letting go of anger and bitterness, but let’s just be real for a second; you tell me if it’s at all fair that for the sake of having an amicable divorce, I took on half the debt that he accrued (without my knowledge) and a house that’s under water to keep my children in their home?

Meanwhile, he gets to walk away– making double what he was making at the time of the divorce and pays nothing more in child support. I’m stuck with managing the house and taking care of the kids, while he goes on expensive European vacations with his new wife. That son of a bitch had the nerve to bark orders at me telling me to sell the house so it doesn’t affect his credit and suggested that I’m not taking this seriously.  Really dude???!!! I’m the one taking care of EVERYTHING and he has the fucking nerve to tell me I’m not taking this seriously??  I’m the one lying awake at night worrying. I’m the one taking care of the kids and the house all on my own. I’m the one fighting back the tears everyday trying to stay strong…and you have the fucking nerve to tell me what I should be doing while all your worried about is your next vacation to Mexico?!  Boy BYE!

When I saw this condescending text, my blood started to boil and I hit my breaking point. I decided I was not going to allow this man to place all the burden on me and get away with this shit anymore. I picked up my phone and as I’m finally giving him a piece of my mind and telling him he’s a selfish bastard, my heart is racing and I can feel the heat rise in my cheeks. My hands are shaking as I hesitantly press….send. This was the first time since we went through the divorced that I cussed him out and told him how I really feel and it felt AMAZING! I sat there after sending it and cried. Not out of sadness or fear, but out of relief.  I felt like all that pent-up anger and resentment had been released and I could feel my body relax for the first time in a long time. All those years of swallowing my true feelings for the sake of “getting along” with my ex—all those years of letting him off the hook because I didn’t want to rock the boat were finally over. I felt free. I felt powerful. I felt like I found my voice again.

For all those years, I was so concerned with keeping things cordial between us that I didn’t realize I was suppressing my real feelings and allowing him to get off the hook.  Sure, he was willing to help me here and there, but it was always on his terms. I was sinking in quicksand and he was flying above me feeding me scraps.  Well, I’m done! The gloves are off and I’m not going to carry this burden alone. If I have to, I will take him back to court for the back child support he owes me and ask that he pay for what we may lose on the house. My mama didn’t raise a push over, that’s for damn sure.

I ask myself, what kind of man buys himself a new Jaguar, a motorcycle, expensive watches and travels all over the world on fancy vacations while the mother of his children struggles to pay the mortgage on the home where his children live? What kind of man abandons his children and doesn’t care to spend time with them or barely calls them? Not a man that deserves my respect or my kindness.

What I thought was finding peace and harmony having a “conscious uncoupling” approach to divorce was just me taking all the shit he left behind and letting him get off scot-free. Well, screw that …the bitch is back and I’m not taking sole responsibility of our children anymore. Time to ante up and take some responsibility!

If you’re in a similar situation, please find your voice. Don’t allow your ex to continue to walk all over you. If you swallow your feelings because you don’t want to make waves, you’re only allowing them to manipulate and control you. Suppressing your truth only makes you internalize thoughts of helplessness and pain which will eventually cause you to suffer emotionally and even physically with illness or fatigue.

All these writers or “divorce coaches” that tell you to approach everything with joy and love are full of shit. Not everything can be brushed off. Divorce can’t always be loving and accepting like many people would have you believe. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes things will need to be said that are uncomfortable, but as long as it’s coming from a place of truth and fairness and not bitterness and anger, it will always bring you that much closer to healing.

Never swallow your truth to avoid releasing your pain. Hopefully you can work it out like mature adults, but if you’re the one in the divorce that is always getting the short end of the stick, you have to stop allowing it.  That is the lesson in all of this. Finding the balance between feeling your pain and finding your joy is absolutely necessary to get through divorce. There’s no easy button. There’s no way around it. You have to face it head on and find the blessing in every lesson that you learn along the way.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

 

Listening

I recently read an amazing book titled “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton.  The premise of the book is about her journey overcoming bulimia and abusing alcohol in her twenties and now she is bringing her readers through her journey of heartbreak when she learns her husband has been unfaithful throughout their entire marriage.

I related so deeply to her story because it was much like my own. Her and her husband lacked true intimacy and connectedness partly due to his addiction to pornography and the secrets he carried with a compulsive need to sleep with other women. Yet, he was completely in love with his wife and did whatever it took to piece their marriage back together. These lines from the book when she was struggling to make the decision to leave her husband really resonated with me…

Day after day, the still, small voice insists that the next right thing is to stay away. I do not want this to be true. I want the voice to let us off the hook. But when I am quiet, my deepest wisdom insists that leaving him means staying with God and truth and light. Going back to him—using the security of our relationship to avoid my fear and loneliness—would be abandoning my-self. Self-betrayal is allowing fear to overrule the still, small voice of truth.

I remember so vividly feeling this way. I remember how frightening the thought of leaving my twenty-year marriage was, but I also remember how staying with him and losing a part of my soul was even more frightening. I knew he was saying everything I wanted to hear, but that little voice kept taping me on the shoulder reminding me that he would never change…the damage was done. There was no going back.

I think we all have heard that little voice.  Some call it our conscious, telling us what’s right and wrong. Some call it guilt or fear. No matter how you define it, that little voice is “truth”. No matter how hard our situation is, no matter how hard we try to cover it up with drinking, or shopping, or sex…or whatever your vice of choice may be…that voice is always there telling us what we need to hear.

The story of this woman’s journey taught me a lot. It made me understand my own choices and have compassion for choices that are not my own. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s pain is their own cross to bear. We can’t stand in judgement and try to fix another person’s pain.  We can’t help them fast forward through the hard parts. We can’t get them to the place of realization where they see their vices are a way to cover up the pain. They have to walk their own path. They have to make their own long journey down that road in order to come out of the darkness themselves. No one can do that for you. The lessons we have to learn along the way are uniquely ours. They are the parts of us that are broken and the lies about ourselves that we have been led to believe. The truth will reveal itself when you are ready to hear it and not a moment sooner.

Some people have to play the victim for a while longer. Some people have to justify their own actions even when it feels wrong. Some people have to build a protective wall around themselves in order to feel safe. Others may live in complete denial and  try to move on as if nothing has happened. How ever you deal with heartbreak and pain is neither right nor wrong. It is simply your own journey to teach you the lessons you needed to learn. The real tragedy is if you never listen to them.

I’ve given out a lot of advice in this area and now I realize that I need to shut the hell up. The only advice I will ever give to a person dealing with pain, is to be still and listen to that little voice. It will always tell you the truth. It will never steer you wrong. It never judges you, but it will tell you the truth. It always wants what is best for you because that voice is pure love.  Whatever you want to call it, faith, God, the universe, Jesus, consciousness, inner voice…whatever you use to label it…it is truth and love.  It is the message you need to hear in order to heal those wounds. All you have to do is listen. Once you hear it, it’s hard to ignore. We may continue to make the same mistakes or sabotage our happiness, but we will be reminded of the truth over and over again until we get it.

I’ve had many vices over the course of my journey. I’m still battling some of them.  No one goes through this shit perfectly. No one. It’s difficult, confusing, painful, sensitive, shameful, destructive and enlightening all at the same time. I just had to figure out that all of these self-destructive behaviors were only contributing to my pain. I had to get real with myself and follow the path to my real happiness and not be seduced by the temporary happiness that wine, sex and a new pair of shoes gave me. Those things only made me happy for less than a day…sometimes less than an hour.

I had to dig deep and understand what will make me happier in the long term.  Loving myself is the biggest one. Not letting my shitty circumstances define my entire life and look at them as a training camp for gaining strength. Not allowing things I can’t control make me a victim or a negative person. Not letting men use me and not using men to fill a lonely night. Not using alcohol as a way to escape. Letting down the wall I’ve built up around myself to protect myself from pain. You name it, I’ve done it. We all have in some form or another because it’s part of the personal journey we must take in order to get to the other side.  Just be sure to listen to that little voice along the way. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go organize all these damn shoes that I’ve bought! 😉

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Embracing the Shadows

finding love

There you are again. Lurking behind me like a shadow that I can’t escape. Even on my brightest days…there you are again. I want to embrace you like a shy little child that hides behind her mother and tell her it’s okay—there’s nothing to be scared of little one. I feel my little shadow hiding behind my shoulder every once in a while. It’s loneliness. It’s that little reminder that tells me that your Facebook page may make you look like you’re having the time of your life, but we both know the truth. The truth is you’re trying to embrace your loneliness, but you can never quite capture that little shadow of doubt and fear. It’s always there even when your surrounded by friends and family who love you. It’s even there when you think you love your solitude watching your favorite show, with no one to take your remote. It taps me on the shoulder and whispers…remember what it felt like to share this with someone?

That annoying little shadow. I just wish it would go away. I tried to ignore it for years, covering it up with a glass of wine (or two…or three). I tried to keep busy and make fun plans every weekend to avoid that little shit, but it just wouldn’t go away. I read all the inspirational quotes and practice gratitude for all that I have, but there’s always one thing missing. That one thing that all humans crave, that connection and commitment to the person that is supposed to make you feel whole. We are divinely created to be in love and without that we feel like there’s something lacking. You can have everything in the world; nice clothes, nice cars and big house with nice things, but ultimately those things will never make you happy until you’re in a relationship that makes you absolutely miserable, yet complete. Ironic isn’t it?

Let’s face it…being in a relationship is not all rainbows and unicorns. Even in the beginning when you’re falling in love, you are filled with doubt and fear that this person may not feel as deeply as you do. You worry if they don’t call you or hold your hand or want to spend every waking minute of their lives spooning you. It’s a rollercoaster ride of euphoria and deep insecurity wondering if they feel the same.

Yet, it’s magical and exhilarating and something we all crave……desperately. Until we have it that is. You finally think you found the one and then ten years in– you’re completely sick of this person. It’s life’s little sick joke played on us humans. It’s restlessness. It’s discontentment at its finest. The fact is we never feel content and whole no matter where we are in life, so just accept it the way it is.

This is the first time in my life I haven’t been with someone. I’ve always had a boyfriend. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did break up with my high school sweetheart in our senior year, but I met my husband a few months after graduation and have been married up until four years ago. Funny how I think that being single for only four years is such a long time, yet twenty years went by in a blink of an eye.

Here’s another truth…I felt just as lonely in my marriage most of the time. How’s that for irony? If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we are never really satisfied. We always crave more. That’s why I’ve tried to embrace my loneliness. I’m not like most women who need a man. I’ve just come to a point in my life where I want an equal partner. Not someone who I need to fix. Not someone who thinks they have to fix me. Just a companion that wants to take long walks on the beach, have picnics at the park, or go on a wine tasting tour at a local vineyard.  You know, all that gushy stuff women love to do. I think I’m finally ready to let my guard down, but I won’t know for sure until I’m in it.

I’m ready to fall, but I’m also strong enough to stand alone. That’s the true sign of healing.

You can’t be afraid to be alone and be healed. You also can’t be afraid to fall in love. Trust is the hardest thing to repair after a painful break-up. Trusting that you won’t be blind-sided, lied to or cheated on.  Trusting someone not to hurt you again. That fear will paralyze you. It will keep you bitter and broken. Don’t let fear rule you. Embrace it. Allow it in and invite it to sit down right next to your little shadow of loneliness. After all loneliness and fear are best friends and they would love nothing more than you to stay with them and keep you trapped inside your own head. Quiet your mind. Thoughts will only confuse you and keep you lost in doubt. Open your heart and let that voice be the only voice you listen to. You’re not alone. We’re all here. Feeling the same way. You’re strong enough to heal…just give it time. The wounds will close and the scars will be there to remind you to listen to your heart. If you really listen, it will never steer you wrong. It will tell you when trouble is knocking on your door. It will tell you that they are no good for you…I know because I’ve been listening. I’ve been embracing that little shadow. I hope you will too.

With Faith, Hope, and Love

~Teresa

Loser Magnet

It has only been a month since I went on a date and I’m starting to feel the urge to pick up the pipe again and try a different approach to online dating. I’m not sure why. It didn’t go too well the last time. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment? Maybe I’m just bored…or maybe just maybe I truly believe love is possible…even online. My question is, which site do I use?  There are so many these days it’s hard to choose which one is right for me. Case in point:

Match: Been there done that. I only get hit on by 20-year-old boys or creepy 70-year-old men.

Tinder: If you’ve read my blogs…need I say more? Scratch that one off the list!

eHarmony: No one is on eHarmony anymore except for fat old accountants named Herb or sex offenders like the guy I met in Newport…remember that story?? If not, reference blog post from 6/22/16 “Raising the White Flag”. What a nightmare!

Plenty of Fish: You mean plenty of bottom dwellers?! I was on this site for one day and all I got were married guys, swingers, guys into S&M, and guys that were 5 foot 4”.

OK Cupid: Just okay? What a stupid name. Who wants cupid to set them up with someone that’s just okay? Dumb.

Christian Mingle: Yea, just what I need…some bible banger judging me because I swear too much or believe in gay marriage. That’s one site where I don’t belong. They would probably ban me.

Black People Meet: Um, don’t think I haven’t thought about it. One problem…I’m not black, but I heard white girls have the nerve to join this site. Call me crazy, but it just seems wrong. I’ll just leave it at that Becky. :/

Zoosk: This seems like a title to a children’s store, therefore I feel that pedophiles feel the same. Your creepy uncle is definitely on that site!

Our Time: Dating for senior citizens. I will definitely give it a try if I’m still single 20 years from now.

JDate: This one’s new!  Never dated a Jew before…I’m open to it. The only question is; would I have to convert to Judaism? Not sure I’m down with that…I wonder if there is a “MDate” for the Muslim community or BDate for Buddhist looking for a hook up? Hope I didn’t offend anyone’s religion. These are just jokes people…just jokes. I could care less about religion. Praise whomever you want! Peace be with you. 🙂

Singleparents.com: Where single people go to talk about their kids the entire time…no thanks.

Elite Singles: Where workaholics go to talk about work the entire time…not for me.

SugarDaddy.com: Now you’re talkin’!!! Oh wait…I’m not a 20-year-old super model…nevermind.

Fitness Singles: Haaa! Don’t think they allow curvy girls that barely work out twice a week on that site. That’s out!

LargeFriends.com: What a stupid name! I’d respect it more if they called it “Chubby Chasers” or “Love Large”. I might have to gain a few pounds to be allowed on there, so that’s not happening.

Coffee Meets Bagel: Seriously? I don’t even eat bagels! Too many carbs. Maybe I should create my own dating site call “Eggs Meet Turkey Bacon” or “Peanut butter Meets Jelly”. Wait, how about “Peas Meet Carrots” or better yet, “Box of Chocolates” online blind dates and the slogan could be “you never know what you’re gonna get”. I think that’s brilliant! Of course I would design the algorithms to make sure you’re not matched up with Forest Gump.

Sorry, I digress. So, those are my choices? Guess that answers that! I’m staying off the grid. In fact, I announced to a friend who asked me if I was still online dating that I was “happily celibate.”

Just last night we were at my friends 40th birthday party and I was talking to this guy who came up to me and my friend. It was very apparent that this guy had a little too much to drink, especially when he decided it was okay to thrust his hips into my side making lude noises. Yes, I’m dead serious! Believe me, I wish I was kidding, but it really happened!  I was just talking to the guy and I turned around to get a napkin and the next thing I know he’s air humping me like a dog in heat. My friend’s jaw was hanging open in shock when she saw this. When I proceeded to tell him that it was completely inappropriate and asked him what the hell he doing, he proceeded to slur something to the effect of “when you see something you like you just gotta touch it.” I could feel my blood starting to boil and I said, “who in the hell gave you the right or the permission to touch me in such a lude inappropriate way?!” He proceeded to slur something stupid, so I just walk away before I decked the creep.  When I returned back to my group of friends they just couldn’t believe anyone would do that. Shit like this only seems to happen to me! I really think I have some sort of tracking device or a magnet that attracts the biggest creeps on the planet. Their suggestion was that I should try dying my hair brown to see if I am less likely to attract assholes. I laughed and said, “Oh yea, that will change everything as I point to the creep groping a brunette across the room.”

These are the very same creeps online! In fact, he’s probably on Tinder right now! This is the pool of losers I have to choose from. Which is exactly why I chose to stay celibate thank you. If I get desperate enough for a date I think I might just lurk in the isles of a hard ware store and take my chances. Being single is looking better and better every day.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Chemistry

Remember that feeling you got the first time you met someone that you had instant chemistry with? Your palms sweat, your heart beats a little faster… you try to remain cool, but you can’t stop smiling in their presence and you stumble over your words. Ahh, it’s the best feeling in the world isn’t it? It’s intoxicating and you find yourself wanting more and more. You don’t know exactly what it is about that person that brings you to complete ecstasy, but you think it’s just love at first sight.

Scientist have tried to explain “chemistry” in terms of hormonal reactions in our body that give off pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which are attributed to sexual attraction. Oxytocin and vasopressin promote bonding with a particular partner. That sounds like a powerful mixture.  I understand that is what happens in the body when you are physically attracted to someone, but I like to believe there’s an energetic connection between two people that we can’t explain. Something universal.

It really is unpredictable. I’ve been physically attracted to someone that definitely had hormones racing through my body, but I’ve also felt chemistry with someone that I didn’t find all that attractive, but he stimulated me intellectually and I felt that instant connection. For me, you can be the hottest guy on the planet, but if you’re dumb as a stump or arrogant, I’m immediately turned off. Conversely, if a man is intelligent, confident and has a great sense of humor but just “average looking” I will be way more attracted to them than the hottie that looks like he just walked off the cover of GQ.

I’ve always been intrigued by what makes people drawn to certain “types”. One person may like tall, dark and handsome and others may like the more rugged type. Me, personally…I love a tall guy in a suit, but I find myself attracted to all types of guys especially if they can make me laugh. My “type” is kind of all over the place. My celebrity crushes are Idris Elba and Leonardo DiCaprio (yummy).  In the real world you just never know what is going to draw you in. Most of the people I know who are in healthy long-term relationships will say they weren’t instantly attracted to their partners. Those same people will also say that they knew very quickly that they were “the one”. So what roll does chemistry play?

my-brain-gets-angry

Physical attraction is important, but it certainly doesn’t sustain a relationship. You may have an overwhelming attraction to someone who you later find out is a complete asshole. What good is chemistry then? I’m so in-tune with making sure I don’t fall for another asshole. Perhaps my resting bitch face when I meet a hot guy is attractive to them? I can’t seem to figure it out, but what I do know is that I’m not going to let chemistry and a pretty face fool me. They may be nice to look at for a while, but they are not “life partner” material.  I want someone solid, trustworthy, and someone I can have fun with…that’s the most important thing to me.

I think chemistry is overrated. After all, the butterflies fade fast and then you’re left with someone you may not even be compatible with. They may not share the same views, like the same activities or want the same things in life. Then what? Just great sex? Nope, not necessarily. I met someone I had amazing chemistry with and the sex wasn’t that good. That blows that theory! (sorry, poor choice of words).

All I’m saying is be very clear with what you want in a partner. I wrote down all the specific attributes I am looking for and created a vision board of what I want to see manifest in my life. I know it sounds hokey, but it is a great exercise to do when you’re feeling hurt and confused after a loss. Trust me it’s very therapeutic.

When I meet someone and they’re not in line with my needs and wants, then I’m not going to waste my time or theirs. For example, if I date a guy who maybe younger and he wants to get married and have kids, then he’s not for me. I’m too damn old to have more kids and I really don’t ever want to get married again. I want a committed life partner, but I don’t necessarily believe in getting married again. I want to be like Oprah and Stedman or Goldie and Kurt Russell. They seem way happier than most married couples who end up divorced. I feel like marriage changes a relationship and it’s just a form of legal ownership versus choosing to stay with a person forever because you love them.  Don’t get me wrong I believe in marriage when you’re younger and raising a family, but for me there’s no point to getting legally married again. It just makes things complicated and messy. With that said, if I fell in love with someone who really really wanted to get married, I would consider it. That wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but I would rather say our vows to commit to one another on a beach somewhere and make it between us and God.

Then again, if my dream man happens to be rich…then that’s another story! I’ll be flying to Vegas in a hot second! Lol!  (Just kidding…not really) :p

My advice is to write down the qualities you want in a partner and maybe create your own vision board. It allows you to become centered and clear about what you really want in a relationship and helps you avoid the pitfalls that caused your past relationships to fail. Clarity is the key to finding true happiness not chemistry.

With Faith, Hope, and Love,

~Teresa