On Triumphs

I know.  It’s been a while.  I’d like to say that I will write now with more consistency, but if life has taught me anything, it’s that being honest with myself is just as important as being honest with everyone else.  So, I am going to try and write more often as it’s cathartic for me, but not because I am obligated to do so.

A lot has changed since my last post in October 2017.

I posted that I planned on buying a modular home.  I did just that.  A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home on a 3.25 acre slice of earth.  It’s mine.  For the first time in my conscious life, I finally feel like I have a home.  My childhood home was lost in a move, the home of my youth was lost in someone else’s decision, my marital home—I gave up.  None of those places ever felt like home, but this place?  This place that I call my own, actually does feel like home.  My home.  There’s something to be said for speaking your desires into the universe.

I wrote down a list of things I wanted to work on.  My short-term bucket list of sorts.  How am I doing?  Let’s revisit them briefly.

  1. Lose like 100 lbs, but 1 lb at a time. –> I am Actively working on this. It’s a slower process than I want it to be— forward progress is being made nonetheless.
  2. Ace both of my classes this semester –> Failed this, but I will take an A and a B.  Humility is good.
  3. Save up to buy a house of some sort –>Completed!
  4. Make meaningful friendships –> My relationships with my sisters have gotten better.  As far as other humans? There is one, but that’s another story to tell.
  5. Spend more time playing with my kids –> I do my best with this every day.
  6. Cook more –> Yes! In fact, with the help of aforementioned friend, we cooked two amazing meals this weekend. It felt so good.
  7. Do things by myself à I do most things by myself, but I get things done.
  8. Sleep well –> I go to bed earlier now, usually.  I take sick days when I am sick and take better care of myself than I have been.
  9. Find new music to love à I listen to new music every day.   Thank goodness.
  10. Daydream about what aforementioned house of some sort will look like –> My daydream became a reality.
  11. Walk daily at work –> K.  I accept failure here.
  12. Live better –> I am living a life I feel like I can be proud of now.
  13. Live an honest life à This has been incredibly difficult.  There is something to be said for complete honesty, not only with the people in one’s life, but importantly, with one’s self. I am consciously aware of this and while I have been wholly honest, I know it’s something I have to remain aware of.

I bought the house less than a month after my divorce was final.  My kids love it.  So do I.  Speaking of divorce, that relationship is mending.  Both of our hearts are still raw, but they are finally healing.  We have both moved on and there isn’t that heavy tension between us when we talk.  I can drive by my old house now and not want to curl up in a ball and die.  In fact, I was in it the other day when both of our kids had the stomach flu and I had to pick them up to watch them for him for the day.  I was terrified, but I knew I needed to take that step.

It was strange seeing the things I had gotten him still on the walls.  It was strange seeing the things I had decorated and painted still on the walls.  The house still smelled of unkempt dogs and cigarettes, but I drew in a deep breath anyway and thanked God I had gotten out of that hellhole.  Harsh, maybe, but I am not here to express how I should feel or how I think the world thinks I should feel, I am simply here to put how I actually feel to paper.

I guess exposure therapy works.  I just had to do it on my own out of necessity.

In other news, I have decided to permanently shut down my erotica blog.  It simply isn’t the sort of writer I want to be.  I feel like, for the first time in my life, I have a lot more to offer the world than sex.  Not that there is anything wrong with that being one’s only thing to offer; it simply isn’t mine.

I think I discovered my self-worth somewhere along the last 6 months.  It didn’t come announcing itself with a marching band like I had expected.  It came in quietly stammering.  It tip-toed in on the silent shadows of a single word.  “No.”

“No,” is something I have struggled with my entire life.  Rather than consider my own happiness, my own wants, needs, desires, dreams—I yielded to everyone else’s.  The story to my whispered “no”, isn’t one I am particularly proud of; it’s not one I think anyone else would consider a milestone, but it’s my milestone.

Shortly after my last blog post, a friend of mine asked if I would join him as his guest to an NA meeting as he was celebrating 5 years of sobriety.  I gladly obliged in honor of my wanting to develop meaningful friendships (see #4).  It was when we were on the way back to his house that I realized what his intention actually was.  He wanted to celebrate his sobriety with one thing and I was expected to give him said thing.  Looking back, I missed all the signs.  I can be oblivious.  Naively so.  I think that I am partly responsible for that.  Sometimes it’s easier to ignore the signs than to recognize them and get out.  People will disagree, but I am okay with that.

It was when he put his hand on my thigh and told me that he had been fantasizing about being with me that, for the first time in my life, I felt physically ill from the idea of being with a man.  It wasn’t because he was unattractive, by all accounts he was certainly that; tall, tattooed, glasses.  The truth is that in that moment what turned my stomach was that I genuinely didn’t want to engage with him and I knew myself well enough to know that I would anyway.  I wasn’t disgusted with him.  I was disgusted with myself because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to tell him no.  I felt like I was obligated to engage with him.  I tried to test the waters to see if I could get out of it somehow, but when I mentioned how late it was he said, “You mean you won’t be coming inside to celebrate with me?  I thought that was why you came?”

“Well, I mean, yes, but it’s just a bit later than I thought it would be.” I stumbled on my words, feeling guilty.

“Just for a little while, please?  We don’t have to do anything, just hang out for a bit.” He said with a Cheshire smile.  They always just wanted to hang out.  They always feigned their innocent intentions.

When we pulled up to his house, I didn’t shut off the car.  He opened his door and started to get out, but looked at me concerned (for himself and his loins, of course).  “You coming?”

I squeezed the steering wheel tightly and inhaled sharply, trying to muster the courage to use my own voice. “N-no,” I stammered.  “Listen, [man’s name], I think you’re a really nice guy and all, but I am just not in a place in my life where I am okay with going down this path.”

I held my breath as I waited on his response.

“But, you said…” he started.

“It was great seeing you again and congrats on your sobriety,” I cut him off.

He slammed the door.

I drove away.

I finally released the breath I had been holding and with it came the tears of dozens of yeses that I wanted to be noes.  The quiet tears turned into breathless sobs, but those sobs slowly gave way to laughter.  I had done it.  I spoke my truth.  I finally understood that I was only responsible for my feelings and actions, not anyone else’s.  Though, with that, meant that I was also responsible for accepting liability for my feelings and actions.

I am a beautiful work in progress.  I love myself now more than I ever have before.  Since that evening, I have had a hundred more triumphs.  I will have a hundred more.

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