Rise and Shine

Yeah, sunshine…I’m talking to you. Wake up.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Or as a friend put it the other day…”They grow a pair”.

When you’re getting it from all sides and you’re about to break…what do you do? That is when you find out what you are really made of.

Some walk away, some point fingers, some cry or get angry, and some? They just try harder.

I experienced something a few days ago that kind of startled me. I hit a wall. I have been racing at an uncontrollable pace, started to lose control and somewhere in the middle of Thursday it all came to a spinning collision. It was at the intersection of confusion and deadlines and suddenly everything I thought I had prepared for took a strange detour and BAM…the wall.

I don’t recommend driving blind. So don’t ask me why in the world they have braille on drive up ATM machines. But sometimes in life – this is exactly what we have to do – drive blind.

Some people call it faith.

Others call it – the struggle for control. Some people believe in the CYA system.

In the end – perhaps it’s a little bit of both.

And even then – in spite of all our best efforts – sometimes there is still the crashing of egos, of self, of spirit, mind, and soul.

There is the initial shock of it all. Hitting a wall is a bit traumatic. Real or hypothetical. I shut down temporarily. Call it self preservation.

But in all honesty – it was surrender. It was surrender of my will.

Again.

Now it’s time to put on my big girl pants and get on with the show. It’s time to stop hiding behind the cover of confusion and information overload, open my eyes and just do it. Time to stop second guessing, fearing stepping on toes, hurting feelings, and just make the best decisions I know how and TCB.

It’s time to rise and shine.

Yes, part of that is the “wake up call”, but what I am really talking about is this – rising above it…and shining.

That is all that is left to do. It is my only option. As a single mom, I don’t have the luxury of being a coward and walking away – from anything really. I mean…I “could”…but personally, when it comes down to it – I’m just not that girl.

You can state your side of the story, you can defend yourself, you can cover your posterior, but somewhere in the middle of it all – you also have to rise above the mediocrity and madness, and find some inner strength that is bigger than yourself and let it shine.

That is what is required here and now. Anything less will result in failure.

Many of you out there know exactly what I mean, as you have been there too.

I do believe in faith, but I am also not so naive anymore and realize – you have to do, what you have to do. That’s a hard balance.

I’m under some immense pressure. It’s just the way it is right now. It won’t last forever. I can handle this – but not alone. And it can’t be ME rising to the occasion and it can’t be MY light shining. It has to be something bigger than me now. And now that I have surrendered, perhaps that real true light might have the chance to shine through me.

So now, the question is not if I will rise to the occasion and shine. I have been giving my all and will continue to make the best of the situation I have been handed. I just keep changing my approach as I learn more and more. The wild card now is: Will it be well-received or am I just being set up for failure. Or perhaps – it will be too late? Will I be another sacrifice as a few others that have gone before me?

Because no matter how hard we try in life – you just can’t control how other people are going to react. That is one lesson I have learned loud and clear. People just don’t always do the right thing. Because apparently “right” is a very crooked line depending on which side of perception you are camping on.

If I am being vague – it is intentional. You don’t need to know the details, or of what aspect of my life I am talking about. It just is what it is right now. And perhaps it leaves this more general and applicable to your own life – of whatever you might be facing right now or in the future as well.

So – knowing this – You cannot control other people, so don’t even try…All you CAN do is fight the good fight. Press on. Persevere. Stay strong.

I had my crashing moment. I had my self pity party with tears and emotion and grasping at straws. Now I am in recovery mode. I waved my white flag, surrendered my illusion of control, and am moving forward in attempts to “restore factory settings”.

So look out world. I’m up.

I’m awakened.

Again.

And this little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine!

To Blog or Not To Blog…

It seems I have a new reader. My ex. And it seems I owe him an apology for the way I have portrayed him in this blog.

First of all, let me be the first to welcome my new subscriber. Thanks so much for taking the time from your very busy and important life to care enough to read my thoughts. I find it a surprising use of your time. That would have been super handy about 3 years ago.

But I know it is not my thoughts that sends this new reader my way. It is self invested egocentric curiosity, research, and potential ammunition to use against me in some form or fashion.

He indicated that my perception is not the truth. I think he was asking me to remove some of the posts that might have reflected him in a negative light. I think he was also asking me to not continue blogging – at least not about him anymore.

This is the same man that bleeds heart and soul…Freedom of speech. Wow. Kinda interesting. I guess he means only for certain people or topics. But he is definitely off limits. He always was the exception to any rule.

I didn’t budge, so he decided to use the kids as a bargaining chip. Something to the effect that it would be terrible for the girls to read all this someday.

When he didn’t get the response he was hoping for, he threw the Bible card at me and started preaching about forgiveness, Christian behavior, and basically tried to guilt me into feeling like a really bad person for attempting to put into words – my side of the story. That if I were really the Christian that I claim to be that I would forgive, forget, take the high road and move on. He also pointed out that spewing negativity in the world is not attractive nor an attribute of love.

And finally the all encompassing “I’m sorry” tactic. I’m sorry, I can’t change the past, I have made my peace with God, etc. Let bygones by bygones, I sincerely hope you are happy, etc.

Granted – I am paraphrasing here – because yes…my memory sucks…and yes…I was in a bit of shock.

I used to be so naive and gullible. I was a golden retriever of spouses…loyal, trusting, trainable, etc. I used to need acceptance and peace so badly that I fell for any kind of manipulation in the disguised form of an oscar award earning performance, I mean apology – used car salesmen style.

I guess maybe it has to do with the lack of sincerity in the tone? Perhaps being lied to repeatedly for so long just brings about a whole new jaded sense of mistrust to my golden retriever personality.

He asked if spilling my guts in this public forum was helpful or useful. Again…with a hint of disgust at my apparent slander, warped perception and possible defamation of his character and reputation.

I have to say I am flattered, in a strange, twisted way. This is just a little blog pushed off to a small corner of the world that a small handful of readers (thanks) happen to make time to read occasionally. I didn’t realize I would create such a stir.

But in all honesty…this is not about him. As much as he thinks it is. He is not a serotinous woman. He happens to be a small part of the picture within this tapestry of many colors. Also – I have never used his name. Unless you know me or him, he gets to remain anonymous. And most people that know me – still don’t know him because he was just never around enough.

If I were to cave in and remove or censor posts that he is referenced in (I will use his own freedom of speech and case against censorship on him)…then where else does that lead? What is next? If I start removing strings from the tapestry…it kind of all starts to unravel. If you remove paint from a canvas…it is no longer the original work of art that it was.

I don’t want to be that scared little rabbit anymore. Running from my fears. Responding to threats or the discomforts of others to the detriment of my own well being.

At the time of the affair – I reached out to everyone I could think of for help. I didn’t realize that I was grasping at straws. My life became a fun house of mirrors, and dead ends. Everything I thought was stable fell out beneath my feet. Not only did I lose a husband, but I lost his parents, a select group of his friends, not to mention my childhood dreams of a stable home – a solid, steady foundation for raising kids.

I wore 5 amazing individuals completely out with my over analyzing, repeated thoughts, snot nosed sob sessions, and rants. But at some point – you have to get it all out and shut up. They are my heroes. The selfless ones that helped me from losing my mind…well…debatable. But I found I still had more to say. A lot more. I had more to say then people had time to listen. I had more to say then I had time to talk.

So has this been helpful and if so…how? And why on earth would I continue to blog?

This is the first place I have ever been so completely honest and open about all of my thoughts, my experiences and my life – ever. By honest – yes, I do mean my perception of things. That is all I do know for sure – my perspective. I think it was his mom that once told me that perception is reality. In this blog I have not knowingly lied or mislead anyone. I have expressed my limited point of view through my filters, broken heart and shattered dreams.

Never before have I ever felt so liberated. I have lived the majority of my life, as a scared little quiet mouse, being victimized from one event to another, not saying a word to anyone…just taking it. I never wanted to make anyone feel uncomfortable, or I was shielding my loved ones from reality. I carried the dark details and burden of rapes and molestations, among many other events all alone.

And when I did let my guard down and tell a few select people – they used it as leverage to hold over my head as they threatened to tell someone about it. Now I have diffused that bomb. I released the truth – the good, bad and ugly. I don’t have any deep dark secrets anymore.

What my ex failed to mention is that I have also been self deprecating, dreadfully honest about my own flaws, admitted my faults and accepted responsibility for my shortcomings as a spouse (as a parent, a sister, and human in general). I continue to admit my weaknesses as I struggle with all kinds of topics from religion to silly things. That is just who I am.

I also need to say that I made a personal pact to myself and readers that I would never blog angry, or immature, Jerry Springer-like tirades (I save that for those 5 special people), or use this platform as a negative venting session about anyone – especially him. Now that is not to say that I have never used not-so-endearing adjectives to describe him in some cases.

Words like opinionated, dominating, controlling, manipulative, unwavering, relentless, driven, compulsive, obsessive, persuasive, convincing…hmm…I think that about covers it. Any of you folks that know him (because apparently a lot of his fan club reads this blog too) – have I missed anything? Some of these words he has even used to describe himself. I think that knowing your weaknesses can actually be a strength, so hats off to him for that.

So his last comment was a disgusted, “All I can do is ask”. I know that tone. I know what is coming. Retaliation. I suspect legal action or at least threats of it, or perhaps a new blog will be appearing in cyber space to tell his side. Because after all…we all have freedom of speech.

The thing is…I think I have already represented his side. 10 Ways To Ensure your Spouse Will Cheat On You is a good example of my candid honesty and my contribution to the demise of our marriage. I am not perfect. I am not a victim. But yes…I was broken, abandoned, and cheated on (in some capacity) while I was pregnant and nursing our child. And that just sucks…anyway you look at it.

If he does attempt a retaliation blog or tactic, the difference will be that I do this out of a passion to write, out of a freedom of speech, out of a need to let all the years of pain out into the light. Because the truth – yes, my truth – does set me free. I am encouraged to keep writing because I have heard from too many readers that found comfort in knowing that they are not alone or perhaps just knowing someone is even more messed up than them.

In spite of his perception, I honestly have tried to make it as fair as I know how at this stage in my progress. I have attempted to approach hard topics with emotional intelligence, insight, honesty, integrity and whenever possible try to find a positive spin on it. If that is not always possible – then I just try to be as open and candid and throw some ridiculous humor in with whatever hard topic I may be talking about as I can.

I have been blogging for nearly a year. It started as an experiment. I had no real preconceived notions or agenda. I didn’t even know if I could sustain it. All I knew was that I had a desire to write it out. A mission to address my silent demons…to bring monsters of the past out into the open to reflect, examine and analyze all different aspects of emotional and psychological impact. The amazing thing I am finding is that the monsters aren’t quite as big and scary when they are brought out into the light. It kind of minimizes their power or stronghold.

But I also get to show the other side of me. The goofy, nerdy part. The twisted sense of humor that people either really love or hate. I am a Nat Geo, science/nature geek at heart. I am sarcastic sometimes to a fault. I have a bit of a warped imagination and have enjoyed being able to share some of those sillier sides of me as well. For instance when I have been subjected to too many kid shows…I start picturing some fairly disturbing inappropriate content in my head…I’m just saying.

Lastly, and ironically – this blog has helped me march towards forgiveness. No I haven’t reached my goal completely. I have had moments of peace, clarity, hope, and progress towards it. He is asking me to do something magically overnight, that I am learning is an honest to God process. Putting a forgiveness bandaid on my forehead for all to see just to make it presentable is not the kind of superficial healing I am seeking. I am seeking deep down, soul changing, honest forgiveness. And I am moving towards it.

Honestly – I didn’t expect anyone to read this blog, let alone keep coming back. It has turned out to be so much more than an experiment. This is my space. I don’t have a million dollar therapist…I have this blog. This blog and this paddle ball game…That’s all I need. This blog, this paddle ball game and this lamp. And that’s all I need.

And this pillow…

OMG it’s late. Good night all my readers – old and new.

The War That Never Ends

I am helping out at children’s church for a few Sundays. I was pretty excited about it because I get to be in my daughter’s class. But the curriculum and message has got me a bit perplexed.

The Bible is a hard book to read. In case you think it is all fluff and stuff…you have another thing coming. It is a complex book of war, torture, oppression, slavery, conquer, victory, surrender, love, lust, sex, relationships…I mean it’s like a bottle of Ragu – It’s in there!. It’s ALL in there.

Let me first of all say that I really like my church. It’s not perfect…but it is real. The pastor is sincere and humble and the staff actually does stuff for the people in the church, the community and abroad. They care. They say they Love God and Love People and so far – it has rung more true than anywhere else I have found. It has been a place of refuge for me these past few years in many ways. I also adore the children’s ministry leaders. They are simply amazing women. They didn’t write this curriculum…it is just a program.

Anyway – This really has nothing to do with with my church or anyone in particular. This is my blog…so forgive me I am a bit egocentric. I’m the only one I am allowed to pick on in this space. This is my therapy, my platform to work things out…so this is all about…me. My perceptions…my struggles and weaknesses. I get to say all the ridiculous things that you may think but never say out loud.

The only reason I bring my church into this post at all is because it was the whole starting place that got me thinking so deeply about the thoughts I have been wrestling with the past 24 hours.

I am teaching 8 and 9 year olds, and we are taking them through the old testament book of Judges that focuses on war, massive destruction, conquering and destroying, and grand scale murder – all in the name of the one true God.

Forgive me. This is hard. I am conflicted.

So here I am, in a suburb in somewhere Ohio…teaching our local children about the glory and blessings that awaited the Israelites when they actually obeyed God and completely and utterly devastated, destroyed, murdered and overtook the peoples that were there worshipping other gods. It was considered a cleansing of the region or something.

Somewhere in a small village in somewhere Pakistan…there is a small group of local children gathered together to hear about the glory of the reward of killing in the name of THEIR true God. It would be considered a cleansing of the region or something.

And to be honest here, we are not 1000’s of miles apart. The reality is that we are just down the street from each other…having these very drastic points of view. It is not just the far removed children in Pakistan…it is children in the same schools as my daughter…or maybe even in a large white house somewhere in DC. Honestly – no one knows what goes on deep inside the soul of a person behind closed doors.

Isn’t that the wonderful and frightful consequence of freedom?

It was about at this point in last’s nights torturous fitful sleep that I realized how sorely under qualified and totally incompetent I am of such a huge responsibility of teaching Sunday school.

We are talking about Holy wars here! This battle has been brewing for thousands of years. It is one of the most powerful, sacred, mysterious, forces of all times.

Yes…I am having a major tripping dilemma. I thought I was just going to do my duty and good thing by trying to give back of myself like so many wonderful and faithful volunteers have done for my children these past 2 years.

Why this curriculum now? Am I the only crack pot thinking this? I mean how is this appropriate 8 year old content? Maybe it is…and I am just an idealist or naive. Not to mention – just the sheer amount of huge 3 to 5 syllable names of tribes and villages alone – kids can’t read them – let alone get any major content out of it after they have read it. It’s like a whole different language.

I think everything has a place in time. These stories are important to tell and know. History is absolutely important. I just don’t feel right about telling it to this age bracket. It’s not something I want to go into detail with my own 8 year old. When do they even start teaching history in schools?

Let me also say that I don’t believe in being condescending, sappy sweet and presenting a Mr. Rogers like message about only goodness and fluff either. I know children are capable of mature content and we sometimes underestimate what they can and should grasp. And, unfortunately, I do believe that they have to know – at least in part that there is evil in this world.

It just gets really really out of focus when you take a few 1000 steps back and look at the whole situation…as if we were all just insects. How do you even know which side is “evil”? Well, for most of us…it is just whatever side we are NOT on. It is reality that we point our crooked unsteady fingers and assume different is wrong.

Looking at it from this confusing M.C.Escher-like perspective it gets REALLY hairy…because no matter which side you are on from this stand point…wouldn’t EVERYONE be created by ONE God? Because each religion would claim “Creation” rights. So, essentially – when instructed to invade and destroy – you are in fact killing the children of your own God in some fashion or form…right? Ugh…brain cramp!

And yes – I do realize that I have traveled into the fringes of the extremists view here. All major world religions have the bell shaped curve with the bulk of believes being the stable, peace loving folks – with their right and left winged factions that warp love into hate. But when reviewing the history and foundation of the old testament…it sounds pretty extreme.

Even the current state of affairs – kids needs to know and respect our veterans and current military members. But do they need to know the gory details of what these amazing men and women have seen and are currently facing everyday?

Do you let your 8 year old watch the details on CNN and local news? Kids should understand the basics of 911, but do they need to see the horrific details? Maybe? Some of you think so. I remind myself of the luxurious far removed life we live, safe from front line war zones (again – Thank you military men and women) that some kids live in today and even some of our grand parents lived through themselves. Sometimes – yes – kids need to know the details.

Is it a case by case basis? I only have girls…and my oldest if a very dramatic, sensitive girl. Maybe my perspective is just all out of whack.

Hell…even the weather report can be a bit precarious around our household. The other day we had tornado warnings and I am here to tell you – I flat out lied to my 8 year old to avoid sheer pandemonium. If I knew we were actually in danger – THEN I would handle the situation…but again…why provoke fear and drama when they really only need to know so much at this age.

I really am at a loss here. A cross roads. Religion is a crazy dichotomy of redemption, saving grace and torture. Depending on which side of the world you live on…we all think we are right.

And no…I don’t subscribe to some Utopian or Orwellian antiseptic society of no religion at all or a sedated, unaware one united world religion. I can’t see how that would ever even be possible without major manipulation, brainwashing, coercion by force or, back to topic…extreme genocide.

It may be safe to say that the only thing that is certain in this world is…war.

Lordy…I need to get a happy post in here soon. I am bumming myself out lately.

May your God be with you…whatever side you are on in this war that never ends. And don’t think you atheists or godless ones are off the hook either, because even if you choose not to decide…you still have made a choice. (that’s for you Rush fans).

Welp…smile. Sleep well little ones. May you dream of sugar plums and hand grenades, blue skies and homeland invasions…all in the obedient loving name of God(s).