Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First of December

This morning over breakfast, RJ sang to me, "Now the first of December was covered with snow, And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston." For those of you who are music buffs, you probably already know the name of the song and who sings it before you even finish reading this sentence. I, unfortunately, am not well versed in music, but am healthfully envious of anyone who is. (Click here for the answer.)

But I can't think of a better way to start a new month and what I feel as the beginning of winter--the first snow. It was a steady fluttering of flakes with a whisper of accumulation. While the sky was a white gray, the reflected morning light from those snowflakes poured a cool warmth through the kitchen windows. I love the morning light when it is snowing. There is a fresh brightness and a hint of something clean and new.

And after coming in from the cold from an early errand, I settled into some reading with a hot cup of apple cider. That is another thing that I love on cold day, is to feel the warmth radiating from a nice, hot cup of something warm and comforting as I hold it in my hands. I love to take it all in--the way it smells with a full breath--and the way it feels tingly hot as the cup comes up to my lips. My usual is tea or hot chocolate, but I just picked up the apple cider the day before thinking that I needed one last fill of fall before the seasons fully change.

I feel as though I am in transition--a start of a new chapter--completely in my new space.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Had the Courage...

to say those three little words.


And he said them back!


~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bad, Bad Blogger...For Good Reason!

I have had every intention of writing other blogs, but I have been a busy lady.
  1. I am in the middle of the semester with papers and projects piling up all around me. As a matter of fact, I am in the library typing this blog right now.
  2. I went to San Diego for a conference for the Association for the Education of Children with Medical Needs (AECMN). It was an excellent conference and I met a lot of great people in the educational field in a children's hospital setting. And I got to visit with some of my family who live in San Diego! I really need to post about this trip and add in the pictures...so more to come on that one.
  3. I am still moving/settling into my new apartment. I know, that was a month ago. I move at turtle speed. My goal is to have my pictures hung up by Thanksgiving and then I will feel more officially settled.
  4. I have been making a better effort to get back into running. Got to sign up for the Turkey Trot!
  5. I've been on Cloud Nine with you know who...New Guy! And it is great to feel that he is right up there with me, too. (I really should come up with another name for him in my blog...Hmmm?)

Yep, I've regressed to toddler mode and it has been about me, me, and me in this short, little post. :P

Monday, November 8, 2010

All Too Much, But Moving Forward in Time

I hit a wall this past weekend. There have just been little things that have been adding up along the way. It came to a head when I was mapquesting directions on how to get to my godson's first birthday party.

It started with a short conversation that came up at dinner with a few of my unmarried girlfriends. One of the girls asked if she would need to be getting any new friends soon if we were going to leave her and all have kids. She has had a bunch of married friends that have recently become pregnant and one couple adopted. I don't think she is planning on having a family, but I think she still feels the pressure of feeling left behind as some people take a different path in their life. Children change lives and relationships. There are plenty of people who can feel sad by the changes in life as friends grow families, even if they haven't experienced IF. The conversation turned to us all having friends who have gotten pregnant and even lapped more than once. What hit me was thinking about the handful of friends of mine who are done growing their families. Not only have I been lapped, but I have friends who I try to support as they confront how their children are growing and will never be babies again and there will be no more babies to follow. That is sad. And life is not without sadness, babies or not.

Then at a party a guy happened to ask, "Dude is it normal to have pictures of other people's babies on your fridge?" Wake up man, we are not getting any younger and we are getting to that point in our lives that there are a lot of married people and they have their share of children. I felt sad for one of the ladies in the room who had a look of hurt. It seemed that maybe she, like me, hopes to have one of her own on some one's fridge someday.

And I wonder if anyone judges me in that I had been married once and "had my chance." It is a double edge sword to be divorced. I wonder if those who have not been married judge me in that "at least I got to be married." But I have a feeling that anyone who has known someone who has gone through divorce, has some insight on the pain and the vast reach of its destruction. But I try to be sensitive of those who are my age who have not been married and would very much like to share that with someone special.

Then New Guy and I went to a gathering for an out of town friend of his. I was not sure what all I was in for, but told myself, relax and no expectations--meaning no negative expectations. His friend is pregnant with twins and handling it with strength, gratefulness and grace. I was thankful for the evening not to include pregnant people complaining about being pregnant. And even though her parent's house was full of babies and small, energetic children, I handled it pretty well. It was nice to feel kind of normal, no impulses to go running through a wall--Kool-Aid Man style. Had I known New Guy's friends a little better, I would have asked one of the couples if I could have held their two-month old. But I know new parents can sometimes be a little weird, let alone with me being a stranger, so I didn't ask.

Then Sunday rolled around. I was originally going to go to Cleveland on Saturday, but I was just kept prolonging on when I would go on the trip. I wasn't sure why. But it hit me once I finished mapquesting the directions from my parent's house. My closest friends in Cleveland are married and have kids. I feel so left behind. I feel left behind from those friends with whom I have had the longest relationships in my life. As I was gathering my stuff to go, I welled up with tears. My dad asked what was wrong and took a few guesses--boyfriend, school or my move. The answer was clearly no on all of those and I told him that sometimes it is just really hard to be around babies or small children. My dad was sad with me and hugged me. He sighed. Then he said, that I would need to pull it together and be happy for my friend. I knew that and told him so. I just needed to let myself feel sad so that I could regather my composure and be in a place to be happy for my friend and my godson. And I felt incredibly guilty for this to be the moment to crumble. I am very happy for my friend and honored to be his godmother.

Sometimes I can be fine and sometimes I just fall apart. And while I have many more times in which I am fine verses the times that I am not, I just can't predict when those bad times will be. I guess in one way I have gotten to a healthier place in that I don't worry so much about my reaction around children or feel like I have to be on guard in regards to my reaction if I am around children. I try to take one moment at a time and deal with my emotions as they come. I think I was on a bit of baby-over-load/feeling left behind. It just all added up to be too much. And I realize there are still triggers out there for me. But I also feel that once I come across those triggers and understand why they cause the stir of pain within me, I am able to let those triggers go more easily or in time.

For example, the sight of a baby carrier that can be used as a car seat used to make me cry. But once I realized how that was connected to my loss of my future identity as a mother (shortly after everything fell apart with my ex), I was able to move beyond it. I had once been in a place where my identity was driven in the direction of motherhood. And when my relationship with my ex fell apart, I had to let go that I was not going to be a mother. I had to reform my identity and once I accepted the changes in my life, the car seat no longer had the same effect on me. Granted, I may one day still have the chance to be a mother, but that possibility is so far off the map for me right now. I have a lot more I have yet to do in my life before that could even begin to be a possibility again. I accept that, but it doesn't make it is easy sometimes.

Also, on a side note, I have had a recent rash of grandparents telling me all about their grandkids. It has been a bunch of random strangers in small talk and somehow grandchildren seem to come up. I don't know why this has been happening lately. And they tend to be the ones that are the happy complainers--we finally have grandchildren or those grandkids just wear me out. Thanks for sharing, I just feel like I've been sucker punched in the gut. They don't know me or my past, so I can't really be upset with them. But it still hurts.

Yep, I think grandparents are my new trigger. But I have been thinking about that one and I think it is related to feeling sad for my parents. My mom and dad had always been supportive when it came to the decision to have children when I was with my ex. It was not something they pushed and they respected the decision to have children is an important decision for the couple. They also said that if we wanted children, there was no pressure to rush and we should enjoy our time together--that children would come when they are supposed to come. When my ex and I shared that we were going to start trying, I just remember how happy they both were for us. I could see the excitement and twinkle in their eyes. Then with my divorce, I felt like my parents were teased with the prospect of having grandchildren. It was a loss for them, too--to be so close and to have it disappear. And my parents have never made me feel badly for it. I just feel sad when I think about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Musings

A few things hit me on my walk back to my car after class tonight:
  • The crisp, clear, beautiful fall night could not feel more refreshing. I feel like tonight is just the beginning of ushering in impending burst of all of the colors, tastes, smells and feelings of fall. And I am ready to take in them all.
  • I feel so happy to be in my new apartment. I might not have everything settled in and exactly in its place, but there is a lot that has been done and it is all manageable. I still have a few things in my old place, but I feel confident in getting it done. I don't feel a burdensome pressure about this move. Things will happen as they need to happen as I eventually close out the other place.
  • Tonight is another one of those nights where I feel really good about my life right now. I would have never imagined it to be this way right now, but there is so much good right now to seize and enjoy. I feel like my life is full--full of people who appreciate me for me, full of wonderful experiences and full of opportunities to seize today. I feel like I am really awake and living a more fulfilling life that is so much more rich and satisfying.
Just had to get these thoughts down so that I can remember them and hold onto them as I keep moving forward. And where does this forward movement go? I don't know. But I also know that I don't worry about that so much anymore. I'm just enjoying the journey along the way, where ever it takes me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Moving Day

Tomorrow my parents are coming into town to help me move into my new apartment this weekend. I am moving into the city and will be closer to school and some of my friends, oh and New Guy. It is a move that I am ready to do.

Life is different in the burbs and there is more opportunity for me in the city. I will be bummed that I will not be as close to my friends in the suburbs, but I am not in that place in my life--not married, no children. And I know that I will have no problem driving out to see them when they are not busy doing their thing.

My apartment was a good place for me after moving out of my house and I will be grateful that I had it at that time in my life. It was a place of security in that I could easily get to the turnpike if I needed or wanted to drive back to Cleveland to see my family. I could have tried finding a place in the city then, but I wasn't entirely sure which neighborhood I would want to live. Some had too many memories from the first time I lived in the city with my ex and others were unknown about the safety factor. It is one thing to visit a place and it is another thing to live there. Pittsburgh is not a majorly crime ridden area, but I think it is important for a woman to be extra aware of her surroundings. I felt safe and comfortable in that first apartment and it was what I needed at the time when I was starting my life living on my own.

Now I am ready for a change. It will be good to be in a new place in a new season and at a time when my life is so very different than it was a year ago. While my old apartment was a source of comfort, it also holds the memories of when I was first really living entirely on my own. I realize that I had been living by myself for nearly a year while still in the house. But this place was my first home that had no connection, ties or memories with my ex. With the dark of winter fast approaching, I sometimes remember those lonely and confusing days. I felt unsure of myself in my confidence and in my future. It was a lot of living one moment at a time and exploring the world as a single woman. It felt foreign to me and I was so unsure of myself and where I belonged. I felt like I was discovering a whole new world that made me feel both frightened and excited. It was like every step that I was taking was somehow a new experience for me.

I feel so very far away from that old me and I would like to think of my new apartment as my fresh-fresh start. It is like starting a new chapter on more solid grounding in knowing who I am and what I want. While I am still learning about myself, I hope that I am growing. Although, it is difficult to admit, I wonder if I might be running away from my old self and the memories. Or is it that I am truly making this change for me to grow in a positive direction? I guess time will only tell.

But I think the move coincides with this recent feeling of needing to downscale and make my life simpler. I want less stuff. I don't want it all weighing me down. And I feel that it is time to let go of some of the stuff that has been sitting in boxes in my apartment. I have no regrets in waiting because I know that it is time and I will feel no regret in giving away or selling some of the things that still hold memories of my old life with my ex. I didn't want to part with too much too fast and feel that I could have made a mistake or if that I wasn't ready.

For example, I had a moment this week with the dumpster. I just could not bare it any longer and had this overwhelming need to expunge and free myself from a few things. It is like they had this building power that was just leaking a haunted sadness into my life. So, with that I brought these items down to the dumpster and said my final good-bye to them.

  1. My Wedding Invitations--I don't know why I have held onto the extra wedding invitations for this long. I couldn't understand it when I was married. These boxes have been packed and repacked and have traveled with me to four different homes. It just seemed so wasteful to throw them away. I kept thinking of just picking out a few to save for our (hoped) children. But instead I kept them all. Before I tossed them into the trash, I opened each of the boxes one last time and said my good-bye. I remember looking at the silver font and subtle scrolling pearled boarder. I used to love the simplicity of them. But now, I felt nothing. The cards bearing my name felt empty and I was surprised at the detachment that I felt. It was surprisingly easy to toss them away.
  2. An Anne Geddes Baby Puzzle--Yes, you remember all of her famed photographs with posed babies. I found this puzzle shortly after getting married on clearance and thought it was just too cute. Looking at this puzzle now made me feel angry and sad and frustrated. My ex had always made fun of the puzzle and could not understand why I would buy such a thing. I don't know, it was cute at the time. But then I realized that he never valued my deep wanting to share in having child of our own together. He thought of babies as ugly, boring blobs that did nothing. He never appreciated the life of a child and the experiences they have right from birth. Babies are people who are actively taking in the world from the start. I am amazed by the complexity of child development--it is what my Master's program is all about. I guess the puzzle makes me angry because my ex never appreciated or valued what was important to me. I didn't just see a cute baby. I saw the beauty and wonder of watching a child explore and discover what they can do in this world as they grow up.
  3. A Booklet of House Plans--It was one of the books that we had gotten in deciding which model we wanted to build for our new home. This brought the strongest reaction from within me. At first glance, flipping through the pages made me happy as I was thinking back to the time when we were dreaming about our dream home. This was it. It was exactly all of what we ever wanted and talked about throughout our marriage. And it was finally before us in print and could not have been more perfect for us. I thought about our trip to New York City between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had planned the trip to enjoy the magic of the city and had brought the booklet with us because we would need to make our final decisions shortly after returning from the trip. It was not a chore and was a source of fun for us. I remember laying on the bed looking at the floor plans and list of upgrade options after a long day of sight seeing. It was a lovely way to end our day and we were just too giddy about it all. With those thoughts running in my mind, I remembered how sadly it all came crashing down. Gone was the house, gone were the dreams, gone were the possibilities that that house was supposed to hold for us in our life together. It makes me sad for the me in New York City at Christmas time, not knowing what was all going to happen. The sorrow gripped me. I thought how silly for this of all things to be so difficult to throw away. I had already moved out of the house and all that was left was this booklet. But then, I realized this was an artifact of a really big loss. And it is okay for me to feel however I feel about it. I said my last good-bye and tossed it into the dumpster.

So, now I am at the beginning of another new chapter. We will see what it will hold for me. Perhaps after I spend some time with my good-byes, I should remember to have some time with some hellos.

In fact, that is just what I am going to do. I have an amazing man waiting for me to help with some painting of my new place. Time to go back out into the world and really live in it. Time to dream some new dreams.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

It may seem a bit odd to say, but I have been overwhelmed by the level of support and caring as shown by all of the people who came out to celebrate my birthday. I am not used to being the center of attention and I am much more of an observer or wallflower at times. I was unsure as to who would want to celebrate my birthday with me outside of my family. (Thanks Mom & Dad for the card and necklace in the mail! They like to send something for me to be able to open on the day of my birthday when I won't be able to be with them on the actual day.) I know it sounds crazy--I can't believe I questioned it.

First, I want to say that I did something that I think was quite brave of myself. I decided to send out an email to a bunch of people to invite them out to join me in celebrating my birthday. I titled the email, "I'm going to have my cake and eat it, too..." Then upon opening it, I said I was going out for cheesecake and to feel free to join me. This took a lot of courage on my part because I didn't know what the response would be. I need to realize that I am deserving of love and attention from those who share in my life. And why should I question that they would want to spend time with me?

It was a fun dinner and awesome cheesecake. But what was even more special was that my friends and New Guy came out to spend the evening with me. I had a few people from different circles of my life meeting. I wasn't sure how it would go and I really hoped that people would like each other and have a good time. But I reminded myself to go with the flow and relax and enjoy the evening. When they brought out the cheesecake and everyone started singing, I just felt so special and happy. I was so touched and felt so loved. It was awesome.

Then backing up a bit, earlier in the day, New Guy took me to lunch. We went and had home made perogies at his grandma's church. It gave us chance to talk, talk in that way where you share some very personal things. It felt to me like a moment of not holding back and taking that risk to be disclosive about oneself. I so appreciated New Guy opening up to me and trusting me in telling me some of the things that he shared.

We also stopped by his dad's work to drop off some of the perogies for his parents. They surprised me with cake and a present. I had not expected that! The time and thought that they put into it is moving and has significance. It was just so unexpected, but so appreciated.

Then, we stopped by New Guy's grandma's. She was not able to be at the church because she had injured her back and was at home resting. She was just so sweet and just kept laughing. I felt badly because it hurt her back to laugh, but then I found it inspiring because she just couldn't help herself. Even with not feeling at her best, she still focused on the good and the humor in her life. And it was then, as I looked over at New Guy and he was laughing with his grandma that I thought, so, that is where he gets it. Watching them laugh together with a twinkle in their eyes made me realize again one of the things I love about him. He lives with enthusiasm, an energy that is contagious and amplified when he is able to share it with those around him.

Finally, New Guy planned a birthday barbecue for me on Sunday. It was so very special for me because no one has thrown a birthday party for me other than my parents. And again, I was surprised by how people came to share in the celebration. I was overwhelmed by all of this birthday celebrating and focus on me. For the first part of the party, I think there were times that I was in the moment and enjoying myself. But then I started to feel an overload and overwhelmed by it all that I started to withdraw and was quiet.

To give a little history that may also shed some light on my experiences with birthdays, it is important to know my 30th birthday was a disaster. I had been bold then in planning a birthday party for me and my ex since we were both turning 30 only days apart. He seemed a bit reluctant and even untrusting in my ability to pull it off. But we had planned the party and I was excited to give it my best effort. Then the night before, my ex told me that our party wouldn't be a birthday party and it would be a football party because his uncle was going to throw a surprise birthday party for his aunt. His uncle would use our birthday as a ploy to get her to the location without her knowing it a few weeks later. I don't know why I didn't speak up and tell him to tell his mother and uncle that they would have to come up with another plan. I was just so taken aback by the whole thing, that I just didn't know what to do. What resulted was opening presents on the sly and unceremoniously cutting the cake so that his aunt wouldn't notice it was a birthday cake. (The cake was decorated half in Browns colors and half in Steelers colors, so it lent itself to being a football themed cake as we were watching the Browns play the Steelers.) The experience has left me feeling hurt and broken about my birthday.

I don't know why I question why people would want to spend time with me. I have to value and trust in myself as being a worthy person. This is admitting to a lot of insecurity and makes me feel very vulnerable. I feel silly and somewhat angry at myself for even questioning my value as a human being. I just hope that I did not come off as ungrateful or uncaring. I guess I worry and hope that people had a good time. It is when I fall into these thoughts that I drop the ball and unintentionally remove myself from the situation and stop living in the moment. I'm glad that I am realizing it more when I am doing it, but I want to figure out how to get myself out of it.

New Guy, thank you for all of your planning and effort and participation in my birthday! I really am grateful and so happy to have you to share in my life. I do not want to take for granted what you did for me for my birthday. It was a very special birthday for me and one that I have not had in a long time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Songs That Move Me--A Bit of Romance

Taking a page from another blog, I wanted to share my new favorite song...



Glitter In The Air
Songwriters: Mann, Billy; Moore, Alecia;

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight? Tonight

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Do I Hold On? What Am I Holding Onto?

Over the weekend I took my wedding ring to the jewelry store to be cleaned. I have been contemplating selling it along with a few other things my ex had given me. The ring has been sitting in my closet for almost a year (and off of my finger for much longer) next to my wedding photos in a box.

Recently, I have asked myself what am I going to do with all of the photos? I am at a loss as far as what to do with my wedding photos and all of the other pictures of me with my ex. I just talked to my counselor about this recently. He said life is like a kaleidoscope and that your life is always rearranging and never stays the same. Some things that you may have may come to hold a different meaning for you or that you feel you no longer need some of that stuff. I told him that I get that, about the stuff. And I am glad that I did hold onto a few things until I was ready to let them go without any doubts. It is freeing in selling or giving some of the stuff away. But I told him that I struggle with the photos because those are different. I don't want them anymore, but I just don't want to throw them out either. I feel like it would be throwing a part of me away or leaving some kind of giant hole in my past. It was an investment in time and building a life that seems to have resulted in nothing. And I am grappling with how to tell my life history in moving forward. What do I want to keep? How do I put it in a context that doesn't seem like a big waste of time? How do I give that part of my life meaning or show its value? It is like I feel like I have to rationalize or explain that part of my life and that it wasn't a giant oops. I know there are lessons learned and all of my experiences build on who I am today. My life would not be where it is right now had not all of those events happened. I just find it difficult for those to understand who have not been through divorce. My life mattered, it all mattered--even if there is a lot of crap--it is still me in there somewhere--and I am tired of feeling like I have to justify it.

Then on Saturday morning, I took my wedding ring to be cleaned. I figured I may as well get it looking its best before I hock it, well that is if I go through with it. As I was walking out of the store and out to my car, I was looking at the diamond's familiar brilliance and symbol of promise. It brought me right back to the night that he proposed, a chilly March night under the stars in a cornfield we would frequent when looking for a place to be alone away from campus. I started to get a little teary and wanted to push it away. I got into the car, turned the ignition and felt myself getting further distracted while still holding the ring. Someone wanted my parking spot, so I pulled out. In my fog I was starting to realize the song Wonderwall by Oasis was playing on the radio, a song that brings me back to the beginning of my college days and when I knew I was falling in love with my ex. That is when I decided to give into my feelings and I pulled into another spot at the end of the parking lot with no people around.

I sat there letting the music wash over me as I stared at my ring. I thought about the happiness we shared and what we were supposed to share forever. I slipped the ring onto my finger, wondering if it was a mistake. It was like a test to see if I could do this and not cry, that it may be a sign that I was ready to let it go without regret. I cried less than the last time that I had put it on.

And then in another moment if felt strangely familiar and like it was supposed to be there, but with a complete disconnect from my former husband. I sat there curious as to why I felt that way. I think it is because it represented the strong connection to my past identity as a married woman. I was comfortable being a married woman--I loved being married. So then I took the ring off from my finger, still puzzling. Another moment passed and I cried a little bit more as the song was ending. I put it back into its box and drove away.

Thinking on it throughout the weekend, I have realized my past marriage will always be a part of who I am. But I know that is a past me. I also don't think there will ever be a day that I will be able to look at that ring or that diamond and not cry, but that is okay. It doesn't stop me to hope that one day I will get married again, to a person who loves and respects me.

So, why do I hold onto the ring? What am I holding onto?

First, I've held onto the ring because I do not want to face feelings of regret or loss once it is out of my possession for good. There is some finality in once again having to admit that my marriage is over, it failed. But I know I do not want to keep the ring, this I am certain. I do not want to melt it down and make it into something new. I have no child with him that I would want to pass along the stone. I just want to come to a day that I feel brave enough to sell it.

Second, I think I am trying to hold onto my identity, my whole identity. For so long, I was a married woman. I don't want to throw that away. But I think there may be a way for me to reconcile it all with myself. I can hold onto that identity as it relates to my past me, but acknowledging it is not the current me. I should not be ashamed of my past. And I think the more that I am okay with the current me and allow the future me to dream, the more I will be ready to let it go. And it is okay to cry, knowing that there may always be a trace of hurt which only shows I am human and allow my heart to feel. And if my heart is still open to feel, it will be open to love once again.



Wonderwall by Oasis


Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now

Backbeat the word was on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I'm sure you've heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don't believe that anybody feels
The way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

Today was gonna be the day?
But they'll never throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you're not to do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now

And all the roads that lead to you were winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
I don't know how

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after an
You're my wonderwall

Said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living Up the Last of Summer--Quick Updates

I have spent time away from my blog because I have just been so crazy busy living life! And that is not such a bad reason for not having posted in a bit. But I do want to touch on a few things as August comes to a close and the school year kicks it into high gear.

  1. Summer Reading Program--I pitched an idea to support literacy development for children receiving long-term care at the children's hospital. And with some continued talk, I got hired to create and implement an eight week pilot summer reading program! One part involves sharing fabulous children's literature by featuring three books each week in a read aloud/booktalk. These were done in the library at the hospital and at bedside. If the child liked the book, they got to keep it. (If it was not of their taste, then I had a stash of other books from which to choose.) The second part was to encourage the kids to spend a certain amount of time reading independently to earn fabulous, cheesy prizes. It has been an awesome job! I am basically like a book fairy. I get the kids excited to read and then surprise them with getting to keep books for free. Some of the parents have gotten just as much into listening to me read as the kids. Do not underestimate how much people of all ages love to listen to some read aloud. And it is something that I will be able to get some grad credits for some of the evaluation work that I do with it this fall!
  2. Kickball--Our team was crazy good in the spring--second place in the play-offs. But then with a few roster changes this summer, our team was terrible. We won only the last game of the season. But we still rocked our bubble gum pink t-shirts and enjoyed in a ton of laughs. This season was a little more fun for me because my finger finally healed enough that I was able to be moved to playing second base instead of catcher.
  3. Pool Time/Girl Time--August has gone by so quickly that I think I actually spent more time swimming in July than I did in August. But what I will say about pool time in August is that I have had some good girlfriend time there. I've enjoyed lounging around the pool and having that time to have some meaningful girl talk, both with new friends and old friends. It is like the water just has a way of freeing you, to let you be more open for things to drift out. It is then that you realize you are caught up in something deeper than you might have expected and learn something new about the other person. And I have had some great girl time away from the pool, too. I am just so happy to be blessed with some great friendships. The best times are when you walk away feeling that rich connection and you just feel so good about yourself. It feels awesome when you know that friendship is being reciprocated and that you are able to give back to your friend.
  4. New Guy--Yep, we're still dating and I am enjoying that! We have been spending more time together and he makes me smile. It is the little things that tickle me and really start to add up. And it is fun to know that you are being thought of during the moments away. It is not to say that we haven't had a few ups and downs, but I think we make an effort to talk about things openly and honestly. My favorite times are the trips to Home Depot, walking around in his neighborhood of the city--Little Italy, and cooking together. Life still feels like being on an adventure with him (i.e. caught my first trout last weekend) and he has a touch of a romantic in him that I love to observe in his ways.
  5. Fall Classes at Pitt Begin--This time around I will be a full-time student! I am excited and nervous. But when I start to get nervous, I just focus on what a wonderful opportunity I have at hand and to take it one step at a time. I really love what I am studying and grad school is so much more fulfilling, deeper, and richer than undergrad. I think having time and experience from which to draw upon make the classes more meaningful. I just really want to make the most of my experience while I am back at school.
I know there is more and I know there is a greater depth that some of these things deserve. But for now, this is what I have. I also want to thank a friend who gave me some good advise in that I don't have to publish all of my posts and that some can just be for me. I am really glad that I did that because sometimes it is just about getting the thoughts out of your head so that you can look at them better. And in another blog, I carefully read some good advise to be mindful of respecting other people who may appear in my blog so as not to over share about them. Some things need to be kept to myself, both out of respect and for a little mystery.

I wonder what the fall will bring. I have not wanted summer to end, but I think I am in a better place to accept some of the changes and to remind myself to go with the flow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A True Friend

I have to say that yesterday could have been a terrible day. It was a day with sadness and hurt of the past, but I let myself feel it and then carry on with my day. I did not fight the thoughts that passed in and out of my mind.

But one of the big things that helped most was a phone call that I got from one of my dearest best friends. Karen called me in the morning. I had an essay to write and I thought for a moment of not picking up the phone because I was in a good writing groove and the thoughts of what would have been my ten year anniversary were looming in my head. But then I thought, no, pick up the phone.

As Karen and I were talking, I asked her why she called and she said, "Just because."

She asked how I was feeling and then I stopped. I told her not so good and I asked her, "Did you call because you knew it was my anniversary?"

She said, "Yes, I figured today would be a hard day for you."

With that I teared up and out poured all of what I had been feeling about the day. And I told Karen about it and she just listened. And then I cried some more because it was so incredibly sensitive and insightful for her to call me on this day to check on me. Not many people remember anniversaries, or at least it seems like something more celebrated by the couple. And I would think the dates would easily slip out of some one's mind once the marriage is over. I was so touched that she not only remembered, but that she was also brave and supportive enough to call. It was exactly what I needed--to be heard and to be understood. I didn't even fully realize it until the end of the day. Karen allowed me to say out loud what I had been feeling so that it could escape from my reeling unconscious. It freed me to let the day be whatever it was to be. And actually, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Thank you, Karen! You were my maid of honor and you certainly have never wavered in our long friendship. You are like a sister to me and know me so very well. You amaze me. You are a dear, sweet friend with a heart as big as the moon! I love you, girl!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago I got married to a man who I thought I would spend the rest of my life. This was the anniversary I wondered about in what we would have done and accomplished in our lives together. I looked forward to making it to ten with a house, children, satisfaction in our careers, rich with family memories, and still being madly in love. I looked forward to that milestone and thinking that we would still be pretty young and being set to enjoy the prime of our lives. Not that I wanted to skip all of the years between, but I could really envision a future with him.

I am so very sad and hurt today, on what would have been our wedding anniversary. I don't want to be with him anymore. But today just really sucks. I am angry that he cheated on me. I am angry that I am thinking about my past with him. The loss of the happy memories makes me feel sad. I feel so mixed up and I would rather just forget about today.

Part of me wants to just curl up in bed and stay there all day. Part of me wants to treat the day as any other. But ten years just seems like too much to ignore. I thought last year would be difficult and it was. But I thought this year might have been easier and it is not. I am tired of hurting. I am tired of this day haunting me. It is too big for me, I want to give up this burden and to be free.

Another Crappy Thing...

I am mad and frustrated. It seems that there can be a misalignment in the progression of my life and how it may be perceived by others in my life. It is kind of like having a distant relative that always seems to think of you as the six year old you and not the adult you. It does not give credit to the time and experiences you have had since being six years old and that you are a different person.

So as I have written before, I have been dating. I may tell some of my family and friends about some of what has happened, but I may not get into a ton of detail. This is particularly true for the guys I dated in the spring. I understood it was new and did not carry expectations that it would go very far. I slowly let it leak out that I was starting to date so that my family and friends could get used to the idea that I was taking this step in my life. It seems so odd to have to let other people get used to the idea of me dating when it was not something that I was jumping into or doing as a way to prove my worth as a woman to myself or anyone. I really believe that when I started dating, I was really ready. And I know this from how I have felt about my experiences. It was not too soon or forced or rushed. I spent a lot of time thinking things through and was patient with myself to wait and to heal.

So it ticks me off when I feel like I am being judged about dating, whether it is too soon or if I would really be ready to see someone more exclusively. It is like some of my family and friends do not trust my own judgment on if I really know what I am doing or if I have any business in a relationship right now. But this isn't about if they are comfortable with me seeing someone exclusive. Guess what? I am ready and I want to enjoy the experience. It makes me mad when someone cannot share in my happiness.

I guess these feelings are amplified because I met this really great guy and I want to introduce him to the important people in my life. Since he is the first guy I have seen exclusively, I think some of my family and friends have been hard on him. And I don't believe it has anything to do with him and that this reaction would be the same if I inserted another guy. But to tell you the truth, by questioning my readiness for dating, they are missing out on a great person in my life. I feel badly for him to have to be the first and be put through this crap.

I should also say that most of my family and long-time friends are out of state. So they do not see me from day-to-day and cannot fully appreciate the changes in me. It is like there is this version of me that is stuck in their mind and I have to wait for them to realize that is not the current me. It is like I have to take these extra steps to prep them before introducing them to my new guy.

I am just thankful that my friends who are local are happy for me. I think they have a better idea of the current me. They have seen me at my lowest, but they have also seen me as I have picked myself back up in real-time. They have trust in me and that is so important. And I would have to say that is true of my BBC friends, too. These ladies have been reading and writing with me every step of the way. I am so grateful for their support, as well.

New guy, I am sorry you are being put through a lot. It is not a reflection on you and it is not fair. But please know that I think you are awesome, full of positive energy, and I am happy that you are sharing in my life and that I get to share in yours.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting on or off the F Train?

So, I guess maybe I should have followed a bit of my own advise. Or maybe not. Maybe it is sometimes better not to say anything.

There have been several occasions when I have read or heard about a friend being in a situation where they just felt uncomfortable and held themselves back because they were trying to be polite. Or it could have been that by saying something in that moment was just too much because it involves disclosing a large part of your personal history that you would rather not get into or share with a stranger or new acquaintance. I am usually encouraging people to speak their minds, especially if it really bothers them or to help someone understand their (hopefully unintended) hurtful words. It is about maybe expanding other people's perspectives and asking for compassion. It upsets me to see or hear about a friend suffering in silence because they do not want to upset the social balance.

But this weekend I sat uncomfortably silent, hoping for the moment to pass.

I was at a friend's for a birthday party for her son who was turning one. It was just a smaller gathering of family and a few last minute invites of friends that morning. I was very happy and honored that my friend thought of me and invited me to share in the special day with her family. This was an important birthday for my friend because this was for her youngest of six children and they are not planning on any more. She said it is always sad for her to see her babies turn one because they are no longer babies. This was a particularly emotional day because he is their last baby. She is so proud of her children and of all of their accomplishments, but they grow up so fast. My heart went out to my friend who was taking in all of the happy and sad feelings of the day.

That was not the moment.

The moment came when we were eating dinner with a conversation that seemed to turn into a runaway train, building in speed and intensity. Her family asked if I had any children. I said no. Then they asked if I was married and I said no. Then they asked if I wanted any children and I said someday. Then (with the train busting loose...) came the flurry of comments that I had better hurry up if I was ever going to catch up with my friend. Six babies is a lot and time is running out. And then they asked how old I was and that I am not getting any younger. And I had better find myself a husband because that is going to take time. And once I do, I had better get cracking. Nope, better not wait because, once again, I am not getting any younger. But then again (with the train jumping the track), there are so many people who have children who are not married these days...so maybe I don't really have to wait.

And on that final uncomfortable note, my friend was fortunately able to divert the conversation in another direction, after quickly interjecting with conviction and compassion that I have time and it will happen someday. I don't entirely remember what we started to talk about next, but it may have been about sweet corn or wondering when would be a good time to start desert.

My friend knows about my struggles with infertility and divorce. She has been an amazing source of support, strength, and love. The conversation all happened so fast and spun completely out of control. As it really got rolling, all I could do was look to my friend for help with my mouth gaping open while politely trying to smile. I felt so lost and as if drowning in a sea of comments coming at me rapid fire. (My train must have landed in a river or lake or something...)

And it didn't stop there, a few of the relatives in separate conversations came right back to how I should really think about having children before it is too late. Seriously? I just tried to evade the topic and politely maneuver around it. I know it was well intended, but I really, really did not feel like getting into my personal history with them because that would have been really awkward. I didn't feel like pointing out what they were saying was actually hurtful. I didn't want to take away from the focus of the party, the birthday boy. And I just didn't want to deal with whatever the reaction would have been and dealing with those comments.

So, I kept my mouth shut. Was it the right thing to do? I don't know. But what I do know is that I have a dear friend who did her best to protect my heart while maintaining that she still has sincere hope for me. She understands that I have to live my life right now and whatever happens is meant to be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sweet Pickle

Every now and again, I babysit for a couple friend of mine. I enjoy the energy, silliness, and inquisitiveness of their two children. Today, their little princess, Bear, had a play date. So, it was just me and Pickle.

Pickle is not quite two and a half years old and he is just talking up a storm. He also hit a little bit of a growth spurt, so he has gotten noticeably taller. I should also mention he looks like a little man and has such a sweet, serious face. He always seems to be observing and thinking. When I walked in today, Pickle was in the middle of eating his lunch. He jumped down from the kitchen chair and came running over to greet me with a flirty smile and a hug. So sweet!

I was only going to babysit for about two hours. The schedule was lunch, books, and bed for a nap. Pickle is usually a big eater, but today he seemed distracted. Instead, I listened to him talk and it was a happy, slow lunch. He started getting a tired look and I asked him if he was done eating. He said yes and with that I suggested that he pick out some books. Pickle ran off to his room and carefully picked out the books. He brought them out to show me. Such a big boy! We went back to his room and he scurried up into his bed. As we slouched together, I read the books and he helped turn the pages and read along with his favorite parts.

The last book was a bit wordy, but I think he just liked listening to the rhythm of me reading the passage aloud. Then he reached up with his tiny hand, ever so gently, and patted my hair. He looked at me with his deep, big eyes and said in his high, little boy voice, "Jamie, I love your hair." He seemed fascinated by the curly waves as he brushed away a few of the stray wisps that came free from the bobby pin holding back my bangs. I teared up a little, but they were soft, happy tears from the tenderness of the moment.

Someone told me there are other ways to experience motherhood. And within, I know that is true, as I have felt it with the children in my classroom or some of the children I have met through volunteering at the hospital. While motherhood is frequently defined as the state of being a mother, which references having a child. Motherhood can also be defined as the qualities or spirit of a mother. I'm just glad that I could experience the second definition of motherhood today and for it not to be something sad. So often these kinds of moments have felt bittersweet, leaving me wonder if it will always hurt. But today, there was no heavy sadness. Instead, I was able to embrace the moment.

Thank you, Pickle. I told my friends about it when they got home and they thought it was sweet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Award!


I received this award from Katie, who can be found at Once Upon a Time. Katie is a mother of twins who are absolutely adorable. She is a fellow teacher and the first person who I became close friends with on the BBC. She introduced me to a group there for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Katie, for honoring me with my first blogging award!

Award Rule # 1 Share 7 things about myself
  1. I can wiggle my ears. I can wiggle them independently or together at once. I discovered this talent while I was bored one day during my ninth grade English class. Sorry, Mr. Bascone!
  2. I LOVE doughnuts. They are my ultimate weakness. I love the ones filled with cream and covered in powdered sugar...or the cream filled ones covered in chocolate...or the chocolate covered ones with sprinkles. A jelly filled one, especially raspberry, can hit the spot every now and then. You can't go wrong with a traditional glaze, either. But a rare find are the buttery, glazed crescent shaped ones. Seriously, I know I have a problem which is why I must quickly walk past the bakery in any grocery store.
  3. I really enjoy being active, whether it is playing sports or doing stuff outside. I like to run and swim and walk around in the woods (which I didn't realize was hiking...hiking just sounds so official). Yoga is fantastic! And I am so glad that a friend told me about the PSL! Every city should have something like this.
  4. When I was seventeen, I had received a Silver Key Award in photography in Ohio's state wide art competition for high school students. It is the equivalent of winning second place at state in sports, but for art.
  5. I enjoy baking. Cookies are my favorite to make. My pumpkin-chip cookies are the best! Although, I do make some mean zucchini bread, courtesy of my Aunt Kim's recipe.
  6. Halloween kind of freaks me out. I think it is the masks or the dramatic face make-up. There is something about hearing someone's voice that I know, but not really being able to see their face that gives me the creeps. And the person doesn't have to be all gruesome either. I just don't understand why some adults really get into dressing up, but I will play along. I could easily skip the holiday and it would not bother me in the least.
  7. If I wasn't a teacher or studying applied developmental psychology, I think I would want to be pilot. Part of me really wishes I would have taken the twelve credits to learn how to fly in college...but I decided on the extra classes to get my kindergarten endorsement.
Award Rule #2 Nominate 15 others for this award

I don't know fifteen other bloggers, so I will nominate the lovely ladies that I do follow (and have not gotten the award yet). The list is in ABC order because I am a teacher and I don't want to play favorites.

Babies or Not

Banking On It

It's Only Life

Melissa's Thoughts and Realizations

Party of Five

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reclaiming Summer

It has been HOT! We have had a spell of temperatures in the nineties and I could not be enjoying it more. Call me crazy, but I have been enjoying feeling the heat of the summer. I have not felt more alive in a long time!

To give some insight into my thought process, I should take you back to my summer experiences growing up. When I was a child, I grew up in a town on the west side of Cleveland. It was on Lake Erie, so summers were hot and humid. Granted, it is not as humid as many places in the South where you can feel like you are swimming in the air, but there is a certain amount of humidity that comes with living along one of the Great Lakes. It can easily get into the eighties and nineties in the Cleveland area during the summer. I say this because I've had many people express surprise in this who have not been to the northern part of Ohio.

Any who, I grew up without air conditioning and surprisingly survived with fans! My family did not install air conditioning until after I had finished college and I had moved out. Upon getting married, my ex loved air conditioning and would crank it up during the summer. I also lived in Hotlanta for four years and everywhere I went was blasting with cool air--so much so, that I wore more pants and carried sweatshirts with me everywhere because I would be freezing. It actually made me more uncomfortable going from the extreme heat to extreme, unnaturally cool air inside the buildings. Sorry, but I'd rather deal with one steady temperature instead of the influx and the absurdity of packing layers--in the summer. It just feels wrong to me.

So, this year I have been trying not to turn on my air conditioning in my apartment. I was more motivated in trying to save some money, but as the days passed I realized I liked having the air conditioning off. I love having the windows open and breathing fresh air. I love the feel of a summer breeze and the sounds of the birds in the tree by my balcony. It makes me feel so much more alive and connected to the world. I realize how quiet and isolating closing up your home can be when using the air conditioning. By closing everything up, I miss hearing the soft sounds of life, the smells of flowers or barbecues, and the certainty that what you feel and see are in sync with each other. And as odd as this may sound, I missed feeling the hot summer sweat--not the kind that makes me feel completely uncomfortable and slimy gross--the kind that is lightly sticky, but reminds me of the warmth that it is truly summer.

I haven't experienced summer my way, the way that I had for most of my life in a really long time. And it is completely awesome to be able to to return to living and experiencing summer my way. Swimming in the cool of the pool is that much more satisfying. Watermelon dripping off my chin tastes that much more sweet. And going for a walk on a warm summer night with my man is that much more intoxicating. I love, LOVE summer!

Friday, July 9, 2010

From a Tiny Seed, Come Big Dreams

I have some big news, some really big news! After volunteering at the hospital and steadily having conversations with a few people here and there, something big for me has evolved. My proposal for a pilot summer reading program has been accepted!!! It will be an eight week project and it is related to my graduate studies. It will be a great experience and falls right in line with what I will need to do for my final project to complete my program. If all goes well, this could be really fantastic for me!

And thinking on it, the whole progression puts me back to when I was in some of my darkest moments in my life, both on the heels of facing infertility and soon after in coping with my divorce. I had volunteered at other hospitals and I was looking forward to continuing it once I settled in Pennsylvania. I have heard from several sources that when you are feeling down and at your worst, sometimes that is the best time to give back. It helped to take the focus off of myself and allowed me to put my energy towards making someone's life better. It was a much needed break from outside of my own head and to feel purposeful. I did not realize it until I was able to step back. As the old hospital was closing and the new one was opening, everyone was invited to write on the walls in the hospital--patients, families, nurses, doctors, staff, and volunteers. My message reflecting my experience was deeply personal and at that moment I felt forever grateful for having an outlet from my pain. And I continue to feel grateful.

It was also around the time when I was reading Joel Osteen's book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. One thing that was mentioned in the book is the importance of planting little seeds. It is when you start doing good in whatever form and continue to cultivate it, good and unexpected things can happen. And that is exactly how this whole proposal came to be. About two and a half years ago I started volunteering at the hospital. I felt very motivated to speak up and share from my heart in promoting education for children receiving long-term care. I formed some wonderful relationships with people with genuine energy, passion, and vision. My time at the hospital also lead me to my current professional development path in working towards my Master's. And now I am blessed with an opportunity to promote my passions in literacy, tie it into my studies in applied developmental psychology, and expand my experiences at the hospital.

Two and a half years ago I felt so lost and broken. My identity continued to tumble and crash. As I was trying to figure out how I was going to put my life back together and move forward, I was blessed that my ex was flexible to allow me to continue my volunteer work and backhandedly supported my thoughts on going back to school. I say this because I don't think he thought I could really get into graduate school. His words were the right thing to say, but they were empty and hollow. He told me with a quiet sigh, "Jamie, you don't have to climb mountains." He thought my efforts to try to improve the school program and to promote educational rights of hospitalized children was too big for me. Glad to say he was wrong!

So now the real work begins! I am excited and nervous and in awe. It will be a lot to do, but so worth it. I want to make every moment count. I have a post-it from my adviser, who is ridiculously awesome, and it has become my new mantra.

GET TO WORK--You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.

It is awesome to have dreams. It is even better when you can make them happen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Enter...New Guy

I am on cloud nine.

Whenever I talk about my new guy, I can't help but smile. As a matter of fact, while I was telling one of my friends about him, she giggled and asked me, "Are you smiling?!" I paused and then I realized...yes, I am from ear to ear! It is great that I don't even realize it when I am doing it!

So, he has this great energy where everything he does in life seems like an adventure. It's great when his eyes light up and he starts with, "How awesome would (fill-in the blank) be right now? Yea, let's do that!" It is fantastic how when we spend time together that things just seem to flow from one thing to the next.

He is an amazing cook and has an urban garden. He planted cherry tomatoes in it just for me. He plays guitar and sings. He laughs often and when he smiles, he smiles with his whole face. And once he starts laughing, I can't help but laugh with him. He loves to be active with sports and doing outdoor activities. He is driven and creative and loves to work on house projects. He has traveled all over the place and loves to read.

And the development of our relationship happened very organically. It's happened pretty quickly, but it feels so right. We just seemed to notice each other at just the right time and things fell into place. It went from little conversations during our kickball games to a couple of Memorial Day cookouts to spending a weekend together that you could not have planned if you tried. There was a picnic in the park and karaoke down the street, breakfasts in diners and dinners at home--both with a group and just us, and watching movies and not watching movies. We roamed around yard sales, shopped at the Home Depot to pick out paint colors, and fixed up his entryway. And there was talking...the kind of talking where you really get to know someone. Neither one of us could get enough of the other during that weekend. We had a fabulous time doing the dating things and the mundane.

It has been fast forward in our dating experience together and I try to keep in mind to just go with the flow. I was doing that well at first. Then came a period where I started to worry if it was too much too soon or wondering if he is as into me as I am into him. But then I remind myself to relax, have no expectations, and observe. And there are some pretty big signs that he really likes me. I've met many of his friends and family. And he added me on as a user on his movie rental membership!

I really, really, REALLY like this guy! And I am incredibly happy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Whirlwind Dating from the Spring

So, I haven't posted in a bit and I have reason. Up until recently, my dance card has been full as I was dating several guys during the spring. I didn't intend to date so many guys at once. It just happened to work out that way and I decided to go with the flow and enjoy it. It was fun while it lasted because it gave me a chance to meet a bunch of different people and to try some new things. I think it was important for me to have these experiences without settling down with just one guy. I needed the freedom and the space to explore what it is that I am looking for in a relationship. From each person I was definitely able to learn something about myself and how I want to go forward in my dating life.
  1. Stick with the honesty thing, it works for me. I am the kind of person that what you see is pretty much what you get. I don't play games. The truth is better in the long run and I'd rather be direct, albeit with care and kindness.
  2. Listen to my inner voice. If something doesn't feel right, listen and think. I have to do what is best for me and know when to walk away--whether it is just to be friends or to let that relationship go entirely. For me, this is difficult because I so want to please. So, to fully voice my opinion when it may feel like it could cause conflict is huge for me.
  3. Easy-breezy, go with the flow, and no expectations. I like to have answers and a plan. But I find that with dating, it works better to relax and not over think everything. Let things unfold and live in the moment. Be observant and I'll know what I need to know when I know it.
  4. Remember to have fun, laugh, and smile. I don't want to take for granted the time spent with each date. It may not last and I want to make it count. I need to allow myself to open up more and not hold back. Reciprocated sharing with both people is important.
In the end, I was sad to see one guy go and I hope one guy will stick around to be a friend. The others will probably disappear into the history of my life. It got to be a bit crazy dating them all at once and I am ready to walk away from that for a bit. While these experiences are valuable, I also found it difficult to truly get into that next level with any of them. It was like I was stretching myself too thin to be able to give in the way of being more disclosive about myself. This will take trust. Trusting the other person and trusting myself. As my dating wave was ending, I was looking forward to maybe just dating one person so that I could have an opportunity to get to a deeper dating relationship.

And as it turns out, there was someone very promising just kind of hanging out there! He is also the kind of guy that I would not want to throw into a dating mix. He's one that is worth the time and effort to get to know all by himself. I really like him and I will just have to see where this adventure goes!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Building Crap-o-la

After I received an email from a friend, I realized that I have been too quiet about my current feelings about my divorce. Her email referenced that sometimes it is best not to say anything if you don't know what to say. Which that is true and can help to avoid the word vomit. But on the flip side, it is also important not to let those feelings stay bottled up and fester. She said there is a time to speak, as well, so that you can feel heard and understood. It also opens you up to be able to have someone empathize with what you are going through. Suffering in silence is not an answer, which was my friend's point and the same can be said for me.

I think that has been my problem lately. I just want to leave the mess of divorce behind, but this divorce stuff just resurfaces. Trying to ignore it and carry on with my life is not working. I've been realizing that this cloud that is divorce can creep in every once in a while and ambush me. I have to give myself permission to revisit and reflect when needed.

I didn't know why, but I have been feeling sad and just tired lately. I am tired of feeling broken. I am tired of it feeling like there are all of these happy couples my age enjoying all that was supposed to have been for me--a loving and respectful husband, a house, kids, and being completely engrossed with all that comes with it.

But no, I am angry because I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines. Starting over is so very difficult sometimes. I feel like I am so far behind with my life goals and dreams and wonder if they will ever come true. Facebook is not helping with seeing the profile pics that pop up in the friend suggestions. I see so many elementary, high school, and college friends and acquaintances that have what was supposed to be mine now. It is a streak of jealousy and I hate it. I loath the sick feeling I get sometimes when seeing happy married couples or people holding their cute kids. Ugh...time is not my friend right now. I wonder if I will find a man who will love and respect all of me, let alone have time to do the other stuff.

I am angry that my ex quickly and carelessly tossed aside all that was our past, as if it never happened or meant anything. I feel used up and like he took some of the prime years of my life that could have been spent with someone who would have valued them. He said he didn't really love me and was just going along with what he thought was expected of him. If that is really how he felt, why couldn't he just let me go? Did he really just string me along for 14 years? Or can he not admit to his mistakes and tells me this lie? I don't get how something that seemed so right could go so wrong so fast. I don't think I will ever know if he just didn't love me as much as I loved him from the beginning or if it is pride that will not allow him to admit that any part of our past relationship was true and real so that he can justify cheating on me.

Someone asked me this past weekend the "what happened?" after nine years of marriage. The length of our 9 to 14 years together seems to say that it wasn't just a young fling, that there must have been something substantial there. He said he knew of others who he was in shock of in getting divorced and he wondered if it was just a front with being the model couple. I hate when people say that kind of thing, and I felt badly for his friends that he put on a pedestal. It's like, yep thanks for making me feel even worse for disappointing you that my marriage fell apart. Here, let me hold your hand. It's not like it sucked the big one for me. It makes me want to scream. No this is not what I wanted! I did not choose this for myself and no, I was not faking the relationship. I feel like some people just want to know what was wrong so they don't "catch it." Ugh...

Hopefully, this will help to get some of this negativity out because I'd much rather focus on the good stuff in my life. And there have been some really good things mixed in with some really good moments when I feel like I am on top of the world and can hardly recognize my life--in the good kind of way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Memories in the Moment of Teaching

Since the spring semester ended at Pitt, it has left me more time to pick up substitute teaching jobs before the end of the school year. I was in for a friend of mine that I met in one of my ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. Then I found out that she was going to be out for several weeks and I was asked to cover her class teaching ESL! It has been a wonderful experience, especially since I just finished my training to teach ESL. It has felt like having my own class again by teaching the same group of kids for a consistent period of time. The kids are very sweet, hard working, and quite humorous. And I love that my friend trusts me with her kids to do the planning and teaching my way while she is away. We talk on the phone and I give her updates. Her stories are also ten times funnier because now I have gotten to know her kids and can appreciate it more. It has been a dream to be in her classroom with her sweeties and I love that it is how I will spend most of my time closing out the school year.

Highlights:
  • Making a class book about animals. It has been a sort of research/writing project and the kids have taken it to the next level with their high interest and effort. Tomorrow we will read the finished project and hopefully the principal will pop in to see it, as well.
  • Getting to know the kids better to be able to have fun with them by listening to their stories and joking around with them. It is good to let them see you laugh. And it is great to see them open up, too.
  • Allowing room for the kids to be able to guide the direction of instruction by using their interests and suggestions. It is lovely when kids can be part of the process in their own learning. We have done this with the animal book project, recreating a book we've been reading into pop-up sets and puppets to practice the sequencing of events, and individualized book reports.
  • Smiling faces that greet me by name, sprinkled with hugs. As a sub, I can sometimes feel like I'm just another person coming and going. You need time to develop rapport with the kids.
  • Teachable moments--that individualized connection to learning that makes it so deliciously meaningful and magical. It is having a trusting relationship with the children to allow you to take them on a journey of learning--to be in that moment of thinking and creativity!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not-So-Happy Mother's Day

I feel like crap and totally selfish. I was absolutely miserable on Mother's Day and wanted to crawl into a hole. It was worse than Valentine's Day. And I put off calling my own mother until the afternoon, which I felt completely guilty about because I love my mom dearly and she has been nothing but supportive...especially with enduring all of the crap that has been my life these past few years. She deserves more and she deserves better.

But I guess I just felt ticked off at the world with feeling like I was being dictated on when I should be expressing loving and heartfelt thank you's to mothers. I wanted to be stubborn, not have some day tell me when to share my appreciation to all the mothers out there and joining in the skipping rainbows and gushy moms are the best thing ever stuff surrounded by pink fluff and sweet flowery goodness. I even had someone wish me a happy mother's day on Friday as I left work. WTF? The first time I am wished a happy mother's day in my life and I am not even one year out of my divorce. Instead I was numb and just closed myself off.

When I talked to my mom, I wanted to tell her how I really felt on the inside. I wanted to tell her how much I appreciate her strength and unwavering support as I have gone through some of the very crappiest things in my life. I just wanted to get off of the phone because I knew I was doing a poor job of expressing any kind of genuine sentiment. I was so disappointed in myself.

And I felt crappy again when a friend of mine called to share in how terrible it was for her to deal with Mother's Day. I'm sorry, darling. I was numb and not doing a good job of supporting you in the way that I wanted. My heart aches for those who are not mothers and who so want to be mothers on this day. It is not even like Valentine's Day where you can be somewhat open about your anger. Who wants to be the jerk to openly vent about Mother's Day? It is again, one of those unspoken pains that many women carry as a burden for more reasons than I could imagine.

It wasn't until I talked to my mom today that I was able to really tell her how I feel. I told her when she comes into town that I would want celebrate her own Mother's Day. I told her I was sorry that I couldn't bring myself to really celebrate and thank her properly. She said she knew and it was why she called earlier in the week before Mother's Day. My mom had already thought it would be a real possibility the weekend could be difficult for me this year. She wanted to know how I was doing and if I was okay. (Humbly, with a gulp.) Wow. That's why I love my mom because she never stops loving me and she so often seems to be so aware and thoughtful. I don't know how she does it.

As much as I hate to admit it, this Mother's Day was just another reminder that I am not a mother and so very far away from that dream. It is just another reminder that I don't even have that someone special to share my life with to even begin to dream that dream again.

Which, that brings me to a little green sleeper and two teddy bear onesies.

I knew I was ready to give away the adoption books I had when I could look at them an not cry. I felt ready when I threw away all of the informational pamphlets from the various adoption agencies. With a deep breath and courage I knew it was time when I put the paperwork I completed from the chosen agency into the shredder. Although, I did cry when I returned the rest of the baby things I bought from the store. I was grateful for the lady behind the counter when she stopped herself from asking the reason for the returns or if there was anything wrong with the merchandise.

But I could not bring myself to return the little green sleeper and the two teddy bear onesies. I don't bring them out to look at them much. And with each rare time that I do, it hurts less. But for some reason I just cannot let them go just yet. I almost feel like if I give them up, that I am giving up on my dream of one day being a mother. When I bought them, I imagined putting them on my own Jamie baby and holding my little one. They almost represent a kind of hope, and it is a hope I am not ready to let go of yet.

But I also know that if I ever did have a child, I would not want to dress my child in those items. I know that one day I will donate them to someone in need. And maybe I will be able to detach my hope from them without having to give up on the dream. Sometimes it feels so foolish and silly to dream for a child when I don't even have the relationship to share in the dream. (And please do not tell me that I can be a mother without a husband...I don't want to do the single mother thing.)

Pittsburgh Half-Marathon


Okay, this post is running a little late, but it is because I wanted to upload a photo to go along with my accomplishment!

So, I am very proud of myself for having run in the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon. I had started my training in January with the help of a friend from volunteering at the hospital, Becca. She suggested the race and I was a little nervous to do it wondering if I could be ready in time. But then I thought, why wait? When would I have another opportunity to plunge into this before my classes get more intense? Becca was great in giving me her training schedule so that I could mesh it with the one I had to make something work for me. We ran together on a couple of weekends, but it was mostly checking in with each other to hold ourselves accountable to reach the goal. Now I can say that I have run in a 5K, 10K, and now a half-marathon. I can't wait to run another one or to try for a full marathon! I love running and it is even better when training for a race.

As for race day, I was not able to run with Becca. We tried to meet up, but I should have known better when there were 16,000 people in the race! Even leading up to the day of the Marathon, someone commented that it seemed like everyone in Pittsburgh or someone they knew was running in the race. My friend, Michele (in the photo above), drove down with me to the race, leaving my place around 5:45 am. It was great to run with Michele and as I was driving there, she had looked at the race map for the first time. She giggled in awe, "Oh my gosh, Jamie, this is a really long course!" I agreed and said that I didn't realize just how long 13.1 miles could be either. I had been training with running twice around a small lake* and then a little more. But when it was mapped out over the city, it looked a lot longer! The course started downtown by the Heinz Historical Center. Then it went into the Strip District and back up again and across the 16th Street Bridge. Then it went down East Ohio Street and did a loop before coming across the West End Bridge and along Station Square. From there it continued into part of the Southside on Carson Street before looping back into downtown. It was a great run through the city and across so many bridges!

As Michele and I found our starting spot around 7:00 am, we were both feeling nervous and excited. The energy from the crowd was great as there was this feeling of unity before undertaking something big. Runners were full of happy chatter and smiling ear to ear with the excitement of it all. Then we listened to someone sing the national anthem and waited for the signal for the race to start. It took us five minutes to get to the starting line once the race had officially began. It was crowed for the first two miles or so as runners fell into their pace. There was a bit of a drizzle just as we finished the first mile, which made the air humid and heavy. Then it began to rain fairly heavily for the second and part of the third mile, which made it difficult to see. But it didn't matter because everyone was just so pumped up with energy and there were so many people lining the streets to cheer on the runners. And there were bands playing music all along the route of the race. It was better than running with an MP3 player! Slowly, the rain tapered off to a steady light rain. If it was going to rain, this was the best kind of rain to be running in, at least. Michele and I kept in check with each other to see how the other was doing. Michele lead the way when it was time to pass other runners and I kept a watch out for the clocks along the course to calculate our pace to keep us on track for our goal. Running with the rain could be tough, mostly because my shoes got wet and made them heavier for running. Around half-way through the course, I was feeling the challenge of the slow incline up the West End Bridge as it was kicking my arse--in more ways than one. But just as it was getting tough, there would be a crowd of people cheering on the runners with such positive support or the can-do music of a band or a pace leader yelling words of encouragement. And I just kept telling myself, "You can do this James!" It was amazing to see so many people running, especially from certain vantage points where you could see the seemingly endless stream of runners ahead packing the streets. I told Michele, "So this is what 16,000 people running looks like!" At this point in the race, the marathon runners were going to continue up Carson Street and the half-marathon runners were turning back into the city. There was no easy mile for me in this race, as I had to keep focused and give it my all, but I also did it with a big old smile. When running a race of this distance, it is not a matter of just running, it becomes a mental challenge to endure and come out on the other side.

As I crossed the finish line, I had a great feeling of accomplishment with a huge payout of personal satisfaction after four months of intense training. It wasn't until after the race that I could really step back and appreciate the hard work and dedication I put towards building to this moment. To top it off, I got a finisher's medal! That was a fun surprise--not to mention, that we were also given Gatorade, bananas, and smiley cookies!

Goals Accomplished: run the whole half-marathon, keep at a 10 minute mile pace or less, have fun, and be awesome

Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes, 12 seconds

(*small lake--I say this with a slight eye-roll. In Pittsburgh, people consider the "lake" at North Park, well, a lake. I think of it as a large pond. Having grown up in Cleveland along one of the Great Lakes, a lake is not something you can see across to the other side, let alone be able to run completely around in an hour. I am a lake snob.)

Rotten Tomatoes

In another installment of my boy crazy life...

I can greater appreciate patience and allowing for life to unfold so that it may reveal certain truths. So, there was another guy that I had been dating, nicknamed by a dear friend as Ruben from the movie Along Came Polly. Although, he isn't like the character in the movie. But when I mention his job, several people have jumped at asking me if it is the same as the dude from that movie. Any who...not the point.

I really liked this guy. I felt like we had several things in common, similarities in our background, and the more I learned about him, the more I liked. He is tall and has a presence in a crowed room that gets noticed--an understated confidence. And each time he kissed me, it felt like magic.

Sounds great...but I noticed some distancing and was not sure what it was about. It felt like he was guarded and there is only so much you can share with a person who is so protective of themselves before you are stuck and can't get to a deeper level. I wondered if he noticed this, too. I didn't know if he just was not aware or shy or maybe a quiet player. The last time we went out to dinner, he brought up this very thing, wondering if we click or fit. Long story short, it turns out that he is not in an emotional place to be dating right now. He needs some time to heal his heart. I give him credit for being open and honest about his situation. It makes me sad because I saw so much potential and I am not ready to say good-bye. But I will be respectful of his need for space and maybe when the time is right, he will know where to find me.

Just when I was about to write him off as a player, he finally opened up.

Did I mention he is a really good kisser??? (Sigh)