Monday, December 19, 2016

I Became Braver This Year

Driving home in the dark, my eyes are so tired. I don't get enough sleep. I spend time staring at screens too much. I need to make an appointment with the eye doctor. I probably need a new prescription. But here I am, driving home in the dark from an evening that just included myself and my words. Coffee was thrown in there somewhere too. I left my glasses at home again. I'm distracted.

I was never the girl that people described as sweet. I mean, I'm nice to people. I'm compassionate. But I'm not a sugar-coated gal that gives cheeky grins and has a genuine lightness about her. Put me in a lineup with several other ladies and that's just not the adjective that would be pinned to my shirt. What words could be used though? According to my friends: unapologetically caring, committed, vivacious, sparkling, dynamic, intelligent, unique, loving, bold, authentic, resilient, confident, loyal and brave. You see there? Not a "sweet" to be found. I'm sticking with brave though. Because I became braver this year.

2016 is winding down, and it's hard not to be part of the cliché bunch that shares their Facebook "Year in Review," except this time mine is different. It included big, sad, terrible things. I've never cried so much in a year. I've never felt truly heartbroken, devastated, blindsided, or cheated before this year. I've never questioned myself so much, or questioned my worth more than I did this year. Thinking about it all, it's a bit pathetic actually. Because aside from all of the times I laid in bed crying my way into the changing seasons, there were some unbelievable moments too. There were times that I surprised myself. There were moments I never thought I would have. I changed, I grew, and I found myself again. I didn't become new but rather I became old. I reverted back to everything I loved.

"Hello Grace. It's nice to see you again," is an unspoken thought that I have more often than not when I look in the mirror these days.

I'm more confident in that too. I have round, green eyes that strike a nerve with some. There's a wrinkle above my nose that made an appearance when I was pregnant and never left. I wear jeans again, most days actually. And heels, and odd lipstick shades, and a lot of the time I walk out of the house with half my hair still wet but that's okay because those insane locks are messy perfection. I like myself, and I'll openly admit it now.

But most of all, I became braver. I used to place my anxiety into a ball, gently drop it in my purse, and carry it around with me everywhere I went. It stopped me from experiencing things, and jumping into thing, and having days that were a little brighter. Now, that anxiety has been placed elsewhere. It's not gone, instead it holds steady around Claire and our future - wishing that we're left alone to grow and heal and share life together without turmoil. The progress I've made in this corner of my life has made the biggest impact though. It's paved the way for a heartier spirit and adventure.

I never thought I would ever have to walk into a lawyer's office, suck up my pride, and file for divorce. I never thought I'd have to get an STD test. I never thought I'd be a single mom. I never thought I would shimmy into spandex and hit up a spin class alone - and love it. I never thought I'd learn to kickbox either. I never thought I'd have to pack up his things with my friends. I never thought I'd actually get more tattoos. I never thought I'd kiss anyone else ever again let alone some strangers. I never thought I'd be throwing a couch out the front door alone. I never thought I'd be driving in and around Nashville so much, at night and in the rain, without feeling anxious. I never thought I'd take a sip of a beer. I never thought I would demand respect from those who failed to show me any. I never thought I'd be selling so many memories right out of this home. I never thought I would go to a therapist. And I certainly never thought I'd be writing a book about my personal life, and willingly want to share it with everyone, everywhere. But I did all of those things. I became braver this year because I had no choice.
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's Not Loaded

He looked liked someone I had known before. It just wasn't him. He stood beside me as I shook hands and made agreements with all of these important, new people. He'd squeeze my leg under the table as a way to reassure me that I was saying the right things and making the right decisions. He knew without me even batting an eyelash when I was stressed. He didn't even have to hear it in my voice. 

He was so comforting. I didn't understand why he came with me. And I would giggle under my breath when he introduced himself as my manager. I could see his chest puff up a little when the words would come out of his mouth. But I ate it up. I really couldn't think of a better person to have alongside me during this experience. 

His beard was too long. It covered up a gorgeous face and left him looking about five years older and three levels less sophisticated. I was beating a dead horse though, always picking on his facial hair decisions. I loved to annoy him or poke at him. Probably because it was my only way to relay my affection that I had wrapped up inside me. I had this man placed high on a pedestal for a large portion of my life. I should have been using him as an example of trust and consistency all along. 

Then we were driving. We had rented a black car that didn't quite fit people that stood above 5'2. My knees hit the dashboard with every bump on the road. And he told me he'd shave after we checked into the hotel. 

"Are you happy now," he screamed as he stumbled out of the bathroom.

I left my Anne Klein boots right outside of the door, and he had tripped over them only making his frustration with me peak. My back was toward him though, and I hid my giggles. 

"I know you're laughing," he said sternly.

I turned around and sucked in my smile. His face was clean, and he looked like my best friend again. I knew he wasn't that man anymore though. And that was okay, he was happy. He was settled. But at first glance, my stomach dropped a bit, and I felt goosebumps on my arm. Why didn't I ever tell him how handsome I thought he was? 

I didn't allow myself to tell him now though.

"Go put on a shirt. No one wants to see that," I countered.

 His mood let out a bit then. "Yeah, yeah," he sighed, and sauntered back to the bathroom. 

Fast forward a few weeks and we were back in my house. He had my manuscript in his hand, and I could tell he was genuinely proud of me. He was proud of me for a lot of things. And I loved feeling that. Mainly because there was a part of me that always thought our friendship was based on him not wanting to hurt my feelings. There was a self-consciousness that was palpable within me that said, "He's humoring you Grace." 

This proved otherwise though. He was always actively supportive. He read my work when I didn't ask him to. He believed in me before he knew that I needed the push. I followed him back to my bedroom. Why this didn't feel wrong I can't tell you. He was supposed to be leaving. He was supposed to take the manuscript, and finish editing it at home, and then bring me back all of the abrasive notes the next day. Instead he climbed into my bed with it. I turned off the lights and muted the television. 

"How about I give you the notes as they come," he asked me.

 I nodded in agreement.

Something told me not to argue with anything. I let him read while I took a quick shower and changed my clothes. I stayed in the bathroom as long as I could because he was making me nervous. That wasn't necessarily something new. He's had that ability all along. I just looked passed it most of the time. There was no reason to feel it. 

I opened the door and lingered in the doorway. I was staring at him while he scribbled in the margins. I loved seeing this side of him. He was more creative than you'd believe at first glance, or even after your first conversation with him. 

Finally he looked up and smiled at me.

"It's really, really good Grace," he said. 

I questioned him, "Why do you sound so surprised this time?" 

"Because you're always acting like it's all in your head. This talent you have, you've got to own it," he urged.  

That's when things get a bit fuzzy. He pulled out a gun from his bag. He took it apart. Put it back together. All the while I knew he could feel my uneasiness. 

"Don't even think about giving me any lip Grace," he demanded without turning his head to look at me. 

Annoyed, I responded, "Well, what the hell do you think you're doing?" 

"It's not loaded. You love metaphors so listen to me," he explained. 

He patted the spot beside him and threw over the blankets to make room for me. I climbed in leaving a good amount of space between us. 

"No," is all he said as he took his arm and pulled me next to him by the waist. 

"All of that negative energy. All of those negative thoughts you have swirling around inside of you. We're getting rid in them tonight," he said. 

"Okay. And how do we do that," I asked. 

"We're gonna shoot em."
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Did I Just Become A "Cool" Mom?

Picture this.

Claire and I are under the covers. The door to the bedroom is shut and locked because that's how we sleep every night. I can't have it open, gaping into the unlit hallway. My imagination runs wild enough without a black hole to stare at throughout the dark hours. 

She's asking for her milk every two seconds because she's fighting sleep. My hair is freed from those black ponytail holders that never come undone without a fight. It smells a bit like vanilla inside the room. Both from the body wash I used in the shower, and the spray I used after I threw on one of my oldest Victoria's Secret tees and black pajama pants that I just pulled from the dryer. 

We slept in late, like we have been for several days, because we can. Because my schedule allows it, and I could honestly give zero shits who judges the fact that we wake up at 9:30 am most days, and lay there counting, singing out the ABC's, and doing little dances until 10. 

I was hoping she would fall asleep though, so I could sneak out and wrap up some gifts. I'll have to put together some of her toys too, and most nights I'll need to finish up posts and articles instead of hole up in my office with a load of tape and sparkly, Santa-covered paper. This was my chance though, a weekend night without a deadline in sight! 

It was nearing midnight though and little girl was still chatting away watching The Land Before Time - a movie that rounds out my childhood quite nicely, but if I could slap Little Foot in the face I would. Okay, okay, I wouldn't slap Little Foot, that's a bit harsh, but I'd rather not watch it again for about ten years. 

My phone was buzzing every few minutes. Texts, snaps, Facebook messages - everyone was awake and asking questions, wanting to chat, and be flirty. Was there a full moon I didn't know about?

Finally I just gave in. I threw up a "f*ck this" to the plan I had in my head, and gave Claire a kiss on the cheek. I went into the kitchen, and popped some popcorn, her favorite, grabbed a movie I snagged on Black Friday, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and went back into the bedroom. How harshly are you judging me now?

I have never eaten in bed before. I was worried about the crumbs. My obsessive behavior was creeping up my neck in a way that I immediately started regretting the decision. But when Claire sat up, wide-eyed still, and yelled for her "sack," which is "snack," I melted. Give the baby what she wants and let the mom relax a bit. 

I plugged my phone in to charge and laid it on the nightstand. I ignored every vibration from there on out.

About ten minutes into the movie Claire yelled, "Stop!"

Her little hands were in the air, ever-so-dramatically and she was staring at me. I didn't understand but I pressed paused and asked, "What's wrong baby?"

Then she laid down. And told me to lay down. I cleaned up, and obeyed my tiny, almost-two year old. Snuggled up with our noses touching, she grabbed her pacifier, shoved it in her mouth, and took my face in her hands. She let out a little giggle and said, "Night Night Mommy," before rolling over and closing her eyes. She was asleep within minutes. That moment was worth the late night. It also made all questioning of my parenting skills go right out the window. 

Did I just become a "cool" mom? I think I did, and these memories aren't just mine but they're hers too. I hope she looks back and remembers them fondly because I'm not forgetting a single bit. 

She fell asleep a few minutes before 9 pm on Sunday night though. So, I'm not a terribly irresponsible mother. Instead, I'm just continuing to solidify the fact that we are the real-life Gilmore Girls, just switch out the Gilmore with Fleming and voila .. you've got us. In a few years we can swap out the popcorn for pizza and the milk for coffee and maybe we'll get our own show. 

I doubt myself a lot when it comes to being a single mom. I feel very guilty all of the time that she's not getting the life that I had imagined or thought I had promised her. But then there are nights like this that I realize are ending up to be so much better than what I had planned. These real minutes together are so much better than ones that are forced or fake. She'll come out stronger from all of this too. I won't allow it to go any other way.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

I Tried To Relax, I'm A Handful

It's 12:47 am, and I am so tired that I'm completely awake. The television is off. This side of the house is filled with street lights creeping passed the sides of the dining room curtains, and the kitchen clock is ticking away. It's all so surreal. It's all so loud.

Do you ever have an out of body experience where you start questioning your reality so much that you freak yourself out just a little? Or maybe just an "out of mind" experience? Am I alive or just a character in someone else's story?

When did I become two months away from being 28? Has it really been almost a year now? My name is Grace. Have you ever sat and said your name so many times out loud that it starts sounding like a word you've never heard before?

I have a daughter. I am someone's mother. I am someone's sole provider, caretaker, and confidant. She's asleep in my bed right now. She's under the covers, and when I go in there to lay down she'll curl up right next to me, and stick those tiny fit under my back, and she may even say "thank you," which comes out more like "dank you," under her breath.

I really hate that wrinkle right above my nose. That's the only true sign of my age. If not, I could still pass as a carefree gal in my early twenties without a mark of real life on her. My hands show it a bit too.

Have you ever watched a video of yourself talking? Pay attention to the way your mouth moves as it forms the words. It's strange isn't it? That's you. And someone could see that, you talking or laughing or smirking, and they could fall in love with that.

My house is changing. It actually feels really good to sit here. It feels more like me rather than a part of the history. Which is so good, because it's progress. It's movement. Although I'm not used to staying put. I'm not used to non-movement. But sometimes through all of the progress it's nice to enjoy the change.

They tell me that I can be a handful. Because of my way with words or all of the thoughts in my head that end up pouring out. There isn't a simplicity in my process other than the fact that I tell the truth. I'll never be simple. So maybe they're right. I can be a handful. And if you're not willing to use both hands, let's not talk.

You see, I tried to relax tonight. I tried to revel in my new sofa. The sofa that I so proudly put together myself after throwing the old piece of shit out the door into the front lawn with just these two lonely, old hands. But instead, to relax and truly clear my head, I did this. I wasn't settled until this mix of musings were typed right into my phone, and sent to my e-mail, and copied into my blog for you to read.

And some of you will be like, "Yep, totally been there with these thoughts."

Others will be like, "She's insane."

Then there will be a select few who will tell me, "Hey Grace, I got it," and I won't even be surprised when they tell me they did.

I hope they tell me. It'll make me feel a little less psychotic and just plain weird instead
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't Respond, Just Write

Don't respond, just write, Grace.

That's my new mantra.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.

I'm more than a checkmark on the snap you decide to send out to a handful of girls seeking attention or validation. I'm more than entertainment for a boring night when you can't decide if you want out of your current situation or not. I'm more than someone to live vicariously through. And so are you. You're more than flirty texting and getting empty promises from someone who already knows that he or she doesn't want your kind of life. You're more than a novelty. You're more than a passing flavor.

Goodness, if there's one thing anyone knows about me, even if it's just a little bit, it's that I'm consistent. I keep my word. I won't break plans with you last minute. I respond to texts and calls. That's not because my time is free of, well, life. It's because I put value on your time. It's because I put value on you as a person. And I am so tired of not being shown the same amount of respect. I am even more tired of watching my friends deal with the tinkering of feelings and game playing.

Putting those non-actions aside, I've realized that I don't need to respond when I'm hyper-emotional about a current situation. Instead, I need to write about it. I need to breathe, and come back to it later, and sort through my thoughts, and pinpoint the correct words that value both my own time and the other person's.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.

"Hey girl," is something I received a couple weeks after a random, late-night meetup. I already said, "Hi," to you once, and you respond a couple weeks later. Why? Because you're bored. Pass.

Then there's the smooth one, who thinks he's getting something over on me with his out-of-the-blue texts and snaps. I was into it for a bit. But I'm bored now and I'm out of caring. I'm out of trying to get to know you. You can do your best to convince me otherwise. I pass here as well.

The one that I love is a hard one too. I don't know how to respond to you because I know everything I want to say or joke about, but it's not the right thing to do. And all I want to do is respond to you. I don't want to pass, but I have no choice.

Maybe it's time for a clean slate. My best writing comes from when I'm in a super feely, sensitive space. But my rule is that I don't write until it's over. I've been tricked before. But this time I'm not getting sucked back into the game. I'm going to tell the story and hit the save button. Then I get to start anew for myself, and all of those future books with Grace Lynne Fleming in bold print on the front cover.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

I Do Regret One Thing

Before he walked out of the door without a glance back in our direction, he got into bed with me one more time. Thinking about sharing the blankets with him that night makes me nauseous and angry.

After the revelation that he wanted to leave. After the revelation that he drove home intoxicated. After the revelation that he had been looking up divorce behind my back for six months without so much as a peep of dissatisfaction. After the revelation that he'd been hiding alcohol and cigars in the car. After the revelation that he had been staying after work with college students instead of, at the very least, coming home to scoop up his baby girl in his arms, he told me, "We're fine." 

He coaxed me into the shower, and gave me a hug before I got in. My tears were uncontrollable. I never thought that crying could physically hurt, but it can. It hurts even worse when those tears aren't wiped away but just looked at like a bother. He didn't even have the strength to finish a conversation or make a plan of action for our family that night. He was on the verge of passing out. I still have no idea what he drank before he came home. I know he kept screaming that he wanted more and I know how scared I was. 

But I listened to him. He told me we were going to be fine. I took a shower. I checked on Claire. And I climbed into bed next to him. I was uncomfortable though, especially when he came up behind me for another hug. He kissed me on the cheek and said, "Love you," like it was any other night of the week. He stayed next to me acting as though he was about to become the big spoon, and I'd melt right into him. Instead I asked, "What are you doing?"

"What," he replied as though he was confused.

"You sure aren't acting like someone who wants a divorce," I snapped.

He could barely keep his eyes open. His breath still permeated the space between us with the stench of stale liquor. But we were going to be fine, because that's what he said. We'd wake up in the morning and we'd fix this. I was in denial.

The tears were still streaming down my face. I could barely catch my breath. My voice was catching too, and every time I tried to speak all that I could muster up was a sad, guttural whine that I didn't recognize. He was snoring before I could calm myself down. Because that's what I realized that I always did. When I was upset or angry, whether at him or any other situation outside of our relationship, I comforted myself. I ended up making myself feel better.

And once I did calm down, I buried my head in my pillow. I thought maybe I could hide. I thought maybe this was just the worst nightmare I had ever experienced and I would wake up and be warmly welcomed with relief. I would be able to turn over in bed and tell him about all of those horrible feelings as I recalled the dream. But that never came true. My hardest trials were just beginning. 

Eventually, I turned on my back, still trying to slow my breathing. I said out loud, "I would rather die than have you leave us."

He never heard this. But I can still hear it loudly in my own ears. And it terrifies me. I regret saying it. I regret allowing him to make me feel that small. 

I don't want to have that type of weakness come over me ever again. I never want to regret my words. I also never want to regret my lack of words. I may say a lot. And that may annoy plenty, but I'd rather let it all hang out, so to speak. I never want to be suppressed in my own thoughts ever again. I never want to be pushed to the point where I feel that hopeless. I never want to feel like I need to apologize for expecting to be heard. 
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Have Power, It's A Struggle

I had an epiphany. Although, maybe I already secretly knew it.

Out to dinner with an old friend, it struck me. I have the power. Sometimes I need the reminder though. Other times, I need to remember to believe it.

Here's what I love now: I love being with a man and watching him get a little squirmy as he's overcome with the realization that I may write about him. I hold back a little to observe. I just dip my toes in at first. I like to test the waters. I want to see what he'll do. And before he realizes it, I've already written it all down in my head. It's a new kind of super power that I have.

It's a game. It's a challenge for him to get me to notice. Or to chat. Or to come over. After the coaxing ends, and when I get comfortable enough to just dive in, he wins. But he doesn't really win. Because I'm not giving up too much that first time. I'm experimenting without realizing it. Besides, he loves the thrill. Once he's in it though, once the thought washes over him that he could be tangled up in my words, and blasted out for the world to read, he gets a little scared. 

Should I be flattered or offended? I think it's a bit laughable that there's an assumption that I would write about him - any of the him's. They already find themselves so important, so memorable, so worth writing about. I have rules. No names. No writing until it's over. No writing until it's worth it.  

But I also have a power in my actions. A text. A snap. A phone call. I can do whatever I want and not feel stupid or dumb or rejected. I can just be. I can ask. I can live my life like a free woman, and not give any man power enough over me to make me feel anything less than I am. And, of course, that whole other bag of cards I hold. The writing, the knowing, and the words; the ones worth having fun with or fooling around with or starting a relationship with won't get scared or finicky about what I do. Instead, they'll embrace it. They'll actively support it.

But then comes the struggle. The power of my words holds a lot of weight. Sometimes there's a secret or two that, once released, could hurt someone. It could make them feel weird. It could change their way of thinking about me or someone else. That's a consequence of what I'm doing but I also have to be authentic in my stories.

I recently wrote about an experience that is too good not to share. It's complicated and out of left field and a little hilarious too. I want to publish it, and let you read it, and laugh, and blush, and feel a little dirty as you follow the rhythm of the words. But there's a new element to this one. It could come with a consequence that I haven't dealt with yet. It could hurt someone that I care for deeply. Or, at the very least, our bond would be a bit tarnished. I've been wrapping my head around it, keeping it in forever, or continuing to follow this path I've set out for myself.

"Sex and the Country," they keep telling me, that's what I need to rename the blog as I sort out my Carrie Bradshaw alter ego.

I've decided to follow the path. I'll stay genuine and continue to be an open book. I'll continue to share all the embarrassing things. I'll continue to share all of the wonderful things too. But this thing, this great thing I wrote over the weekend that I've reread, and allowed my friends to read ,and gush a bit over, that's being saved for the book because it's just too good.

In the meantime, these snippets shall hold you:

"She threw over a piece of bubblegum, "It's all I got," she said. It tasted like it was from 1997 but was better than nothing since I had no toothbrush in sight."

"But when his Insta name came across my phone notifying me of a new "like," the mood struck and I felt a little gutsy."

"We hugged and we both said how good it was to see each other. I was taken aback by his height and his strength though."

"His face was in the side of my neck when he said, "But I like control."

"I knew I was in trouble with that statement. His new nickname is now "trouble."

"He has nice hands. They felt good. Actually, they felt so good that I wouldn't let him turn up my sweater anymore because I knew if I felt them on my bare skin that I'd lose all inhibitions. So I stopped it. He told me I was tense. I agreed."

"And then we were kissing again and he whispered in my ear, "Kiss my neck. Then you can write."

"He's not really an asshole though. He just has a tough shell and it's coated in sarcasm and sexy eyes. Again, his hands aren't bad either."

What's hilarious about all of this, I'll probably get a few texts or questions about those above snippets. One may have it right. Most will have it wrong. That's my power, and for now, I'm just going to embrace it and laugh at the ones that are too scared to continue the fun.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

F*ck Apologies

Some of my most inspired moments are when I'm driving at night running through all of the new possibilities my life has now. I turn the radio up, and I'm able to feel relief without being snapped back into a chokehold. I haven't sang this much since I was 16-years old. I haven't danced with this much joy since I was the same age. I have a certain type of freedom that I've never experienced before.

But I've also gotten over a big hurdle. Or at least I'm getting there. I don't have to please others. I don't have to apologize for my choices if they aren't a society standard or what my neighbor deems fit. I get to do whatever the hell I want to do and f*ck apologizing for it. And thanks to JoJo and Wiz Kahlifa, I can have the volume up high and scream about it with them too.

I've never felt lighter. My home has never felt cozier. I can wear shoes that I was once criticized for. I can buy food that I actually want to eat. I can spend the extra money I was wasting on men's pomade and throw it in the savings for a future trip. As long as Claire is secure and settled, Grace - this new, freer, wilder, independent, powerful Grace, can do as she pleases for herself, her future, her career, and her goals. I like that. I am reveling in it all.

And with this newfound freedom and no-apologies attitude, I have to learn to loosen up. I've been such a tense person for so long that I've evolved into someone that never knows how to relax and just enjoy the moments. I am tense and tight in my thoughts, and if you touch my shoulders you'll feel it too. I want people around me that will help with that. Teach me how to relax and have fun without worrying, apologizing, or planning. I welcome that into my life.

Obviously, I'm not talking about irresponsibility or forgetting that I'm a parent, but I'm 27-years-old and handed over a large portion of my life to someone that threw it away. I deserve the fun. I deserve the spontaneity. I deserve people that want to be a part of that. My life, my career, my dreams; none of that has been erased because my ex-husband made bad choices, or that I'm committed to being a full-time, single parent. That isn't the definition of Grace, it's a part of my growth, and I don't have to defend myself for any of my actions moving forward.

Traveling alone. Finishing a drink. Kissing strangers. Tattooing my skin. Writing about my personal life. Wearing offbeat prints. I forgot about a lot of things that I loved while I was unknowingly being molded into someone that 18-year-old Grace would have gagged at the thought of.

Sometimes I don't even recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I'll get out of the shower and catch myself as I'm brushing my teeth and I think, "Well damn, who is this?" Because I like her so much. My stomach turns at the thought of what my life might have been like if I allowed things to continue as they were.

I like to wear mismatched clothes sometimes. I like to flirt a lot. I like to fill every room of the house with music. I have no apologies to give out for being a bit weird anymore. Not to my ex-husband, whom I apologized to multiple times a day for years without realizing it. Not to my past. Not to my future. And certainly not to anyone in my present. But if you're someone that wants to help me loosen up a bit. Teach me how to live in pure moments, I welcome you. I need you, actually.
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Unfiltered

He told me that the crease down the center of my bottom lip is sexy.

He's not scared of my reactions. He doesn't criticize my passions. And he certainly isn't playing a confusing game of "who's in control." 

He's never belittled my feelings. He puts in effort. He knows me, but he wants to know more. He's working to win me over. To make me feel something. He finishes conversations. 

He's a man. And when you hug him you feel both a comforting warmth, and his strength. He's a big guy. There's security in his arms, both kinds. He's not scared to be vulnerable. He has no qualms about my writing. 

He gives beard burn. Or stubble rub. Whatever you like to call it. There's a bit of gray in there already too, but he's not quite 30 yet. 

He doesn't make me feel like I need to walk on eggshells to talk to him or use a strainer on my thoughts. I'm never scared of what he'll say to me. I'm never worried that he'll freak out and become abrasive. 

He pays attention to details too. From his shirt and pants to the lines of my face, he notices everything. And he makes me feel good about myself, infusing me with a new sense of freshness and outlook. 

He saw this snap yesterday.

It's a terrible photo. My crooked nose, the chub in my cheeks, the wrinkle between my eyes and the messed up mascara, they're easily seen. And without a filter, you can also see all the light freckles that come and go on my face throughout the changing of the seasons. I blame it on all the years of time spent on the ball field catching up to me. He saw the photo though. He immediately told me I was beautiful and looked like the same girl sitting on the floor of his college dorm room trying to fit the entire chapter of our history books on the one tiny notecard we were allowed to use as cheat sheets on our exams. That's a perfect example of both his memory and his subtle flattery. 

I like that I can be unfiltered with him in all ways and he still sees the good stuff. But most importantly, he's not ashamed or afraid to say the good stuff out loud. That's a man. That's a man with confidence. That's a man that isn't playing a game. That's a man that doesn't have me on the back burner. That's a man that can't tell the future, and has no idea if we could or would work out, but is still putting his hat in the ring and trying.  
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guilty


We're literally all guilty of it. Have you ever stalked someone online so hard that you actually become embarrassed of yourself? Whether you tell anyone or not, there's a line that gets crossed and you sit there and think, "What the hell am I doing right now?" Sometimes you do tell someone though, and your friends start helping. And then an hour goes by and you make yourself blush with humiliation and think, "I am seriously wasting my life." 

I've been on both sides of the situation. Actually, I've been on all sides of the situation. I've been stalked. I've helped a friend stalk. And recently, like this past week, I stalked the ever-loving crap out of someone. The biggest issue in this particular stalking escapade was the fact that I only know his first name, the first letter of his last name, and that we're the same age. Okay, I also know where he works, but I'm not hopping over the crazy line completely and calling the company to ask. At least not yet. 

Now, have you ever met someone and felt an instant connection? You don't even have to speak. You just see them or, in my case, you open the door and, in my case again, you blurt out, "Well, hey there," slightly creepily.

This man knows me. He knows my family too. He knows about my "ex-husband," which still leaves a weird taste in my mouth to say, but he brings him up delicately and with concern. That instantaneous feeling, which has happened twice now, is my excuse for the cyber stalking. 

I'm contemplating breaking something in my house so he can come to the rescue. He lingered longer than necessary on Monday. And I allowed him. He's kind, and he does him job well, and I want to know more about him. He got down at eye level with Claire, multiple times, and had a conversation with her. I liked that. It wasn't necessary to do. It wasn't necessary to talk about his mom either. I liked that too. Which is why I want to know more. I'd much rather him tell me than the Internet but what's a gal to do? I probably should have found him by now if he was even in the social media world. Or maybe my skills are severely lacking, there's a 50/50 chance of that too. 

Although I get embarrassed of myself for myself, I'm not embarrassed even a little bit to admit this awful habit we all have. How many of you have scrolled so hard that you're back in 2011 on someone's Facebook feed before you even realize it? You've literally all done it. So, shut up right now. You do it on Insta too. You sift so hard that you're looking at photos of an ex's sister's new boyfriend that you come to realize you've dated too. Then you screenshot it all and send it to your friends. And they do their own digging. This usually happens in bed, at night, alone, quite late, but it happens. You know it happens.  

The worst part of this entire stalking process is that it usually gets really heavy after rejection. That one person who was a little mean to us, they're the ones that get all of our attention, time, and effort. And we stalk them too, and their friends, and whoever that one random person was that commented on their page and it's all downhill from there. It's pathetic, and that's where the true waste of time comes in. Cyber stalking isn't going away anytime soon but I'd much rather spend my time scrounging up information on someone that could actually be worth it rather than an asshole who is, well, an asshole. We like people who reject us, which makes no sense. It becomes some sort of weird challenge, and instead of coming out victorious, we constantly end up feeling terrible about ourselves and questioning our worth. 

Word to the wise: If someone makes you feel shitty and they don't change it. Be done. Don't work at something that isn't worth working at. Instead, follow the instantaneous feelings. Follow the ones that continue to make you feel good. Even if a little Facebook trolling is involved. 

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Monday, October 24, 2016

We Didn't Quite Fit

I knew he liked me. A lot. But that didn’t make me feel any less self-conscious. He’d touch my leg under the table in an innocent, yet lustful, way and the only reason I’d ever pull back was so that he didn’t feel the cellulite high up on my thigh.

I knew he was nervous too. I didn’t want him to feel like I didn’t want him, because I did. This entire experience was new and exciting. But also very scary. I felt like at any minute he would take a look around at someone else and realize he was with the wrong woman. I just didn’t fit with him. I usually didn’t fit with anyone. But once he got me alone in a corner, he went for it.

Subtle lips kissed me like they’d been waiting to since the moment he walked in the door. My hands tangled into his bleach blonde hair, and the butterflies in my stomach tried to keep up with the pace of my heart. My insecurities started to vanish once he began whispering into my ear to stop worrying. “You’re beautiful. There’s nowhere else I want to be looking,” he said under his breath.

...

That was the first time I ever felt complimented by him. My confidence had already been shaken but his ways always made me question myself a little more than I should have. The reassurance was warmly welcomed. It’s not that I needed constant ego boosts, if that was the case every sweet word he threw my way would lose its meaning. But sometimes I needed him to soften and give me some slack, and in the moment he did our relationship changed a little. We were on an even playing field with a new sense of security.

We would always find ways to tuck ourselves away in a nook somewhere, hidden from a world we were constantly complaining about or analyzing. He’d then run his fingers through my hair saying, “Damn, it’s soft too.” Or he’d kiss my nose and tell me not to worry about its slight bend from when I was 12 and got smacked in the face with a Dixie Youth softball.

He was too sweet sometimes. And at other times he was too much of an ass. He was late a lot, and he wanted to change plans fifteen minutes before we were supposed to step out the door. I didn’t want a high maintenance man. And he could never find a balance that made me feel completely comfortable. Which is why I knew I’d never quite fit. There was a short period of time I thought about running to him from my almost three-year relationship though. He could have been the distraction I needed from when I was almost 20 and feeling a bit suffocated.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

I Think I'm Done

Freshly showered, I grabbed some sweats and threw them on to run out the door. He was waiting in the driveway. I didn't care about my hair. I didn't care about wearing any makeup. I may have sprayed some Love Spell on before I walked out though, at least smelling attractive was something I could try to pull off in those five minutes. 

I hadn't heard from him in a few weeks. Instead, he just decided to call and tell me he was on his way to pick me up. And I've been weak. I haven't argued or challenged him, instead I've just been doing what he wants, when he wants it, and that's not me. It's also not what I deserve. But I was giving him this chance. 

 "Get in," he shouted at me through the window. 

 I hopped in the passenger seat. I slammed the door. And I turned to look at him.  

"What," I asked. 

He creeped closer, but I scooted away. He grabbed the collar of my shirt, and pulled me closer. Then he slid his hand to the back of my neck, a spot it frequented. 

 "Stop being stubborn," he said.

I rolled my eyes, and he kissed me. This time it wasn't a soft start or a question. His mouth moved to my neck, and all I could think about was how the stubble on his chin tickled or gave me chills when he hit the right spot. I found the strength to push him away though. 

"You're one to talk. I haven't heard from you, and I have no idea why," I nearly yelled. 

Sitting up straighter in his seat, he smoothed out his hair, "It's hard to explain." 

I asked, "Do you want to try?"

He didn't answer me right away. He put on his seatbelt and started driving.

I sat with my arms crossed for a while until I realized where we were heading. That same church parking lot he broke down a bit with me before; we pulled into it and stopped. 

He broke the silence, "We were talking about furthering things." 

"Yes, so you decided to ignore me," I asked. 

He didn't answer me though, he just looked at me. He ran his hands through his hair, and stared out the windshield.

"You were the one that initiated all of that though," I said confused.

He smirked and let out a sarcastic laugh, "No, that wasn't how it went at all." 

"Oh really, because it sure seemed that way to me," I replied.

He was stern, "Grace, don't for one second play it off like you weren't going towards the same thing I was." 

I sat there a bit stunned and feeling like I was living in some form of the twilight zone. This was the person that flipped all of my preconceived notions and put effort into getting to know me. He put effort into showing me that age didn't have to matter. He put effort into proving me wrong about small, worrisome doubts that kept me from opening up. Of course I was going towards the same thing he was. But that was my point, he was going towards them too.

I turned to him, "I'm confused. You either want me around or not. You either want to talk to me or not. But popping in and out without rhyme or reason isn't going to work for me." 

And then he started driving again, and it was silent, and it was uncomfortable, and I was frustrated and hopelessly torn. What happened to the mature man I was talking to? What happened to the one who made me laugh and gave me an excited feeling I couldn't pinpoint ever feeling before? 

My arms were crossed, and my eyes were closed once we pulled back into my driveway. He was still silent. 

"Are you going to say anything to me at all," I asked.

Silence. He was present, but he wasn't present anymore. There was nothing. The entire situation was nonsensical. In that hour this two-way street became a complete waste of time. The chemistry between two strangers, the right amount that could really ignite a spark was minimized to nothing. 

But then he took off his seatbelt and let up the console. He pulled me over to him by tugging at my thigh and started kissing me again. I denied him at first, that's what I'm best at. I gave in though. I gave in completely. 

Then the silence started creeping in to my mind. Why wasn't I worth an answer or a conversation? I stopped him. No matter how good his hands around my waist felt. No matter how good his fingers tracing my spine felt. No matter how much more I wanted from him when he pulled at the drawstring of those awful Gap sweatpants I decided to slip into before I flew out the front door, I couldn't continue this with a silent person. 

I stopped him. 

"I think I'm done," I said.

He just looked at me.

So I gathered my things and I got out of the car. I silently hope he would follow me. I would have let him in, and gave him the night. But he didn't. Instead, he waited until I got inside and shut the door. And then he left.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Teacher

“Why can’t we just travel and have fun?”

That question always lingered in the back of my head since the day he asked it. Because that’s what I knew was next in my life; all of the traveling that I wouldn’t have gotten to do otherwise. And there he was, a person beside me to make all of those experiences even more exciting.


My response was simple and confident, “We totally could.”

So when the day finally came when it was time to actually take a trip with him, low and behold, I was nervous again. That excitement and anxiousness around him hadn’t faded yet. And I didn’t want it to because when I become too comfortable, I become bored, and I never wanted to be bored again.

This time it was my car. There wasn’t a carseat or dolls thrown around in the back. I didn’t have my little pal singing along or dancing with me as we drove to and from my house and my parents’, instead I was given the freedom to figure out what was happening between me and the unlikeliest of partners. A weekend completely alone with someone that intrigued me more than anyone else I had ever met. But I was over the mystery of it, he was here, and now it was time to crack some codes.

He stole my keys and went to start the car. I grabbed some bottles of water out of the fridge, locked up the front, and strolled out to the passenger seat. The trunk was packed. And he was messing with the stereo. I opened the car door and slid in as he turned up the volume. When I recognized the song, Sittin’ At a Bar by Rehab, I gave him a quick side glance.

“Lose the attitude, we haven’t even pulled out of the driveway yet,” he demanded.

“Whatever.”

“Okay baby, let’s go,” he said with his signature smirk as he turned out onto the road.

I gave him another funny look. He never used pet names. It was rare. He knew what I was thinking, “Don’t get all giddy now that I called you baby. Keep your panties on.”

“Oh yeah, I just cannot contain myself right now,” I replied.

He was grabbing my thigh again and he turned to look at me, “It’s easy to get drunk off my words Grace.”

I laughed obnoxiously, “Leave the metaphors to me.”

“I get an A for that one, it was good."

“Maybe you get an A for effort but that’s about it,” I snapped back.

He was glaring at me, stalled on my road, “This isn’t new age curriculum. You don’t get an A just for effort.”

I was too quick for him though, “You do when I’m the teacher.”

He laughed a bit and I felt his hand traveling farther up my leg, “Stop, you’re turning me on.”

“Everything turns you on. Now drive.”

...

He would stop at the most random spots. And buy the most random bits to remember the moment. A seashell wind chime that cost too much and served zero purpose, a copy of his favorite Stephen King novel from a gas station in the middle of nowhere, because it had cover art he'd never seen before, and postcards for me after recalling a time when I told him about my saved collection. I loved this part of him.

I didn't know exactly where we were going. He kept it all a secret. I didn't care. It was enough to just be with him and soak in what that was like. His terrible taste in music and food, for example. But I was learning to ache for his hands, because he always found a way to touch me. Even when he was being a smart ass or giving me a hard time, reassurance came with a hand on my hip or a squeeze  of my arm. He consciously suppressed his affection or romantic parts, but they'd surface in ways he didn't realize like in the way he handled me or in the intense way he would talk.

Check-in at the hotel came and went, and we were back in bed again with a flashback to that first night. My things were everywhere; clothes hanging out of the suitcase, lotion on the counter, and my computer charging in the corner. His things were neat and tidy on the chair as if they'd been untouched. But that's kind of a metaphor for the two of us. I'm a bit disheveled at all times and he's precise ... crisp even.

"Get in," Another demand from him.

"Yes sir," I nodded as I started to climb under the sheets.

He laughed, "Correct answer."

"Oh shove off," I joked and turned away from him.

He rolled over. He was close because I could feel his breath on my neck, and his hands sliding up my leg. He was laughing again.

"That's really not how this is going to work. And don't for a second pretend like you want it to be any way other than what we've been going towards," he growled.

Sometimes he would get a little stubborn. Sometimes he would come off as grouchy and cold, when I would even "for a second" harden up. He needed it though, even when it was a joke or something lighthearted like this. He needed to make just as much effort as I was.

I started giggling this time and turned over to face him. And he was staring at me, like he was always staring at me in both real life and in my dreams. He would stare with intent, and with focus, and it would knock the breath out of me, just like it did in this moment.

"Stop," I said calmly, "stop trying to be a hard ass all of the time. Because there's not one second that will go by when I would pretend to not be in this or make you feel stupid for it."

He was holding onto my side, those hands I love were going back and forth between the curve of my waist and slope of my hip. And he continued to stare. And then he did something else he always did, he put his forehead to mine.

"This isn't a time to argue or whatever the hell we're always doing."

"Then what is it a time for," I asked.

"Ha," he laughed, "you're the teacher remember? You tell me."
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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fight You Through It


I traced the lines of his tattoo while he drove. I don't know anything about it other than the fact that I can obviously see what it is. I have no idea if there's a meaning to it or it covers something else. I just know that I really like having an excuse to touch him at all.

He was driving a bit fast. That didn't surprise me. His car had an earthy smell, but it was highlighted by something else lighter. Maybe it was peppermint or maybe it was his cologne, but it was warm and inviting, to which he was neither.

He's always been quite cold actually. I could tell when he was softening a little, and if I tried to crack anything open further he would ball up and put his armor back on. He had a soldier's spirit, that was obvious. With me, he would melt, just slightly, at times. But if he caught himself doing it, that was it. Silence. He didn't have to be a hard ass all of the time. And I don't think he necessarily wanted to be, it was just a pattern, and it was his protection. It was his comfort zone.

I had it out with him before we ever had this meeting. Before I was sitting comfortable in the passenger seat becoming a babbling idiot right in front of him, I was a babbling idiot on the phone out of sheer frustration. I'm not the woman you string along while you toy with options. I was determined to not have my time wasted no matter how I felt. So I consistently called him out on his shortcomings until he decided to do something about it. Stop dipping your toes in, and either give me a shot or go away. I don't juggle men, I put effort where I'm interested and see where the chips fall. Fortunately, in this new universe, they fell in my favor.

We're still arguing, but he's become consistent again. If I ask a question, I'll get some type of answer even when I don't want to hear what comes out of his mouth. If he says he's going to do something, he does it. And that's why I trust him. That's why when he's questioning me with a kiss I give in. That's why I let him tug on the lace straps that peek out from the neck of my dress. That's why I'm comfortable enough to lay next to someone brand new. At least in this series. In this universe.

I must have zoned out completely. I was hypnotized by the lines, still tracing.

"Grace," he shouted.

I jumped, "What?"

"Are we really doing this," he asked me.

I looked up from his arm, "Doing what," I asked.

"Me and you. What about all of that stuff?"

I sighed, a bit annoyed, "I don't know how much clearer I can be. I just don't care."

He pulled over into a church parking lot. My stomach dropped a little. There were no butterflies, more like a full on  fleet of hummingbirds. It wasn't even that excited nervousness that was happening. I was panicking. He was completely unpredictable.

Was he about to just drop me off here and make me find a way home? Was he about to try and screw me in the back seat? Because, let's be honest, I cannot fit back there comfortably enough to do it right. We're both too tall and my hips are too wide for that mess. Was he about to finally open up and tell me how he felt? Obviously he liked me. But what was he thinking? That's the million dollar question.

We parked. And I waited. I turned my head away. I felt like I was intruding on some sort of private moment that he was having. Staring off into the distance, I could barely even hear him breathe. My hands were clasped because I didn't know what else to do with them. I was probably holding my jaw so tight that you could hear my teeth grind. But then I heard his seatbelt unbuckle. Then I felt him inch closer. And then he was gripping my thigh. His other hand was at the back of my neck.

"Look at me," he said, a little softer than the norm. So I did.

"Grace, remember when I told you that you couldn't think about things so much? That you just have to live your life and in time things will come together?"

I nodded.

"I think I was scared of that myself. That when things came together for me then I would just have to live with them falling apart. Because they always fall apart."

I stopped him, "But you also told me that if you never take a chance you'll never know. And from that moment on I listened to you. I took a chance and fought you through it. Now we're here."

His smirk came back "You're right. I'm here. So I guess you're going to have to fight me through the rest of it too."

"Gladly."

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shut up. You Talk Too Much.

I wore that blush dress again. Different man, same dress. This time I didn't wear the sneakers. I wore the boots. 

It was already dark out because that's what happens when the season changes into autumn. The night falls early and everything is so much more inspired and mysterious and romantic, just like he is. 

I was leaning up against the columns in my dining room, waiting. I can't sit when I'm nervous. I can't eat when I'm nervous. Just about the only thing I can do when I'm nervous is talk. So I just leaned and tried to compose myself. 

He knocked on the door. And then he rang the doorbell. And then he knocked on the door again. Because he's also obnoxious. I smiled and walked over slowly, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair was bouncy ... messy ... huge. I was good to go. 

"Took ya long enough," I squeaked as I opened the door.

He smirked, his infamous smirk, "I'm here aren't I? Lose the attitude."

"Are we already going to start arguing," I returned.

He threw his hands up and started backing down the stairs, "If I'm already going to get verbally abused, I'm out."

I rushed out the door and grabbed his arm to pull him back. He giggled and wrapped his arms around my waist forcing me back into the house. He closed the door with his foot and there I was, leaning against the column again taking him all in. Thick eyebrows, blue eyes that have too many secrets and not enough time to share them all, crooked ears, a shadow on his chin, I was nervous again. Because he makes me nervous. His face makes me nervous. The way his eyes always look like their focused on something far passed me makes me nervous. That damn smirk makes me want to lose my mind. 

We weren't even talking. We were just giggling. His hand rested above my head on the column, and his other arm still circled my waist while he buried his face in my neck. I was just enjoying the moment. He was here. I could feel him. I could smell him. And now I could maybe, possibly figure all of this out. Whatever this is.

"If you're not going to kiss me can we leave?" I blurted.

He grabbed my face in his hands, "Shut up. You talk too much." 

His kisses never start off strong. I've learned that now. They're soft and questioning. He would never ask for permission with his words, instead he does it like this. Are you ready? Do you want to go further? I can read it all with one touch. I have no idea why he's still doing it though, I've never turned him down before and it's not likely in the future. 

He stopped though and touched his forehead to mine. Staring down at what seemed to be the floor. "What are you doing," I asked. 

"I'm trying to see down your shirt. Show me your tattoo."

I laughed, "If you're a good boy, maybe later."

He tugged on the lace straps peeking out from the neck of my dress, and I slapped them away. I grabbed my purse and headed to the door without him. 

"I like my coffee black, just so you know," he said. 
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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Then I Wait

Black and white. The room was dark. It was a bit blurry, and we were teasing each other. He wasn't blurry though. He was clear, precise, intimidating...almost.

He was already in bed, giving me a hard time. My friend found a drawer full of phone numbers he had and Claire was giggling in the corner. But she got the hint and took her home.

"Burn them," he said as she walked towards the door. She took them and nodded.

I gave him the paper he had asked me to complete. It had one question on it. I asked him, "Are you seriously making me fill out a worksheet right now?"

"Yes, I've got to make sure you're worthy," he answered.

"That's not how it works though. I have to make sure that you're worthy," I replied.

He smirked, "Isn't that what we've been doing to each other for months now?"

I rolled my eyes. I was curled up at the foot of the bed. There was a mirror in the corner catching the back of my legs and the slant of my back. He kept glancing in that direction thinking he was smooth enough to look without me knowing.

It was finally just us, and he was giving me that damn smirk again. I got up on my knees and went to him. I slid under the blankets and fit perfectly right beside where he lay.

He's so tall and so lean and my soft curves were warmly welcomed. I felt as much. My head rested in the crook of shoulder and as I looked up at him, he was giggling at me once again. His arm was around me and his hand was grazing the back of my shorts.

Finally he bent down and gave me the softest kiss. But I wanted more. I needed more and stretched to him. Nothing about it was awkward. There was no time needed to find the perfect rhythm. It happened instantaneously as if it was meant to all along, and we had been working too hard against fate.

My hands were in his hair and then stroking his back. His hands were gripping my hips and tugging at my shorts. It was comfortable but passionate, what I had been missing for so long.

"I'm not going to be back for long," he whispered.

"I knew that already."

He sighed, "And what happens when I leave?"

"Then I wait for you to come back."

"Don't be a smartass. Women can't handle it," he replied.

Annoyed, I climbed on top of him and made him sit up to look me straight in the eyes.

"How many times must I prove to you that I am not most women? I waited until you got here. I"ll wait until you're back again," I said without a doubt or a dip in my tone.

He grabbed the back of my neck and kissed me again. 

_____________________________
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Let's Not Waste Time

I don’t like wasting time. That’s probably why I can be easily frustrated. It’s also probably why my to-do lists are always raging, and I take on more work than I should. I want it all, I want it done, and I want it now. 

That doesn’t mean I’m super spontaneous. It doesn’t mean that I don’t juggle the outcomes and make the right decisions. It does mean that I don’t pussyfoot around issues. I feel like a lot of my life – my time – was already stolen from me. 

I’m going to see the places that I want to see. I’m going to allow Claire to do and try all the things. I’m going to get the tattoos. I’m going to talk and be and experience things with people that challenge me. And I don’t have to get permission or validation from anyone else for any of those decisions. The opinions of those that don’t support me, us, my goals, Claire’s dreams … they can ever-so-eloquently suck it. 

I’ve always went after the impossible. Not in a literal sense and that could be me being a little dramatic, but in terms of what others thought were realistic or practical … that’s never been my “thing.” For example, I have a B.A. in Communication. And I distinctly remember being a semester away from graduation, visiting home sitting inside my high school’s front office listening to one of the administrators – whom I love dearly – talk about how someone we both know was “wasting his time” working on a marketing and communication degree.

"He won’t be able to support his family," he said.

"He won’t be able to do anything with that," he said.

I smiled coyly and shrugged, I wasn’t about to argue because I knew there could be some truth to that. But I was different, I'd prove them wrong. 

I’m coming up on six years of working as a freelance writer, I haven’t gone a day without work within that time. I’ve lost jobs. I’ve gained better ones. I started making only $35 a week and now I can pay our bills on my own with wriggle room. Could that change tomorrow? Yes, but it’s so worth it. The impossible and all. 

That impossible way trickles over into other parts of my life as well. I've said already that I won't be bringing a pen and paper to my next relationship. I may have a list of what I'm looking for but that doesn't include a particular job, pay scale, age, or amount of education. You can have a college degree and be a complete asshole. You can be 21 and be more of a man than the near 30 year-old I spent a decade with. You can have an amazing job and be the laziest person I've ever met. You can make money that supports your family, but not really care about your family much at all. 

Instead, if I meet a man that has never read a book and can't string together a grammatically correct text to save his life but he's kind and warm, I'll notice. Instead, if I meet a man that by society's standard is too young to handle me, but he proves otherwise by his conversation and insight, I'll notice. I'm just not looking for things that can be tangibly measured. Ambition, drive, passion, consistency, communication; instead, I'll be going by the immeasurable. 

What does all of this have to do with wasting time? Well, when you're living your life by impossibilities, every second counts. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I'm not working toward my goals of publication. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I lay numb to inspiration. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I forget to infuse life into Claire's day. And there shouldn't be a day that goes by that I forget about people who matter. On the other hand, I ask that you not waste my time either. 

Recently, I again feel like my time was wasted. Reeled in and then cast aside, being single is rough. "Welcome," Cherry says. She's so in tune with how I'm feeling right now. Watching men make an effort as you brush them off and then finally when you soften a little, they're done. It's really easy to get attention, it's easy to keep that attention but it's hard to sustain the truth. 

Talking everyday. Warming up. Letting guards down. Effort shown. Shutting down. Ghosting. Ignoring. 

The pattern is confusing. It's hurtful and disappointing too when you expect more of someone. Let's not waste each other's time. I've come to learn that every minute of my life is precious and I'm tired of using it on people that don't find me worth theirs. 

Now, let's go make some pumpkin cookies.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

It just hurts



I had to hold myself back from jumping out of the car. But I am too tired of being the one who cares. I cried today. I am crying today. And I haven't done that in a while.

This is an entirely new feeling. It's so new that I don't even know what to call it yet. I am relieved. I am confused. I am still heartbroken. Not because of the marriage but because of the person. The person I had put on a pedestal and the person that has a face that I used to love so completely, he didn't even say goodbye. He didn't find me deserving of a goodbye, let alone an explanation to all of this. I didn't get final words. I didn't get any effort. I shouldn't be surprised, and I'm not. But I am hurting.

He may have been upset when he walked away. But he's never been too upset to change or to say something differently. I wanted him so badly to get back out of that car and apologize. I wanted him so badly to get back out of that car and say anything. He could have just said "sorry," or "bye," or "if you need something I'll still be here" or "you're doing a great job." He didn't.

This year was cliche because it's easily been referred to as a rollercoaster. But I also dubbed it the "Shit Storm of 2016," because that's exactly what it's been. I've been weighed down so heavily. He left, he's partying, he's forgotten about us, he wouldn't bring us milk, he lost his job, he didn't tell me, he hid from me, he spent more time and money at the bars, he refused to keep up with part-time work and then, he enlists in the army

"I'll see you later," he says to Claire. 

We're on the best terms that we possibly can be. I still haven't gotten my questions answered. I still haven't gotten to have my say or truly stand up for myself. But I do believe that he doesn't want to make anything harder for us, he knows how terrible his actions not only have been but still are. He knows how thankful I am for that, for at the very least, not pushing the knife in further.

In the meantime, I am still on my own in every sense of the word and at the same time expected to succumb to the wishes of others when it's truly not in my nor Claire's best interest. Give us space. Give us time. Please stop expecting me to do so much and try putting yourselves in my shoes, just once. When you're mad about the situation, know that I am well aware of how it has affected not only myself and Claire but those around us. And if that bothers you, take it up with him. He's proud of the fact that he wanted this, that's how he explains it to people.

"I asked for a divorce," he tells others. 

And that's a good enough answer in his eyes. But for those wondering, I was never asked. I was told. I was forced, and I was given no choice. I fought for two solid months, every day. I was going to compromise beliefs and promises made to me. But in the end, when I realized how much disrespect we were receiving, I did what any good woman and good mother would do. I put our lives in my hands and took them out of the ones that had betrayed us. I positioned us to succeed rather than self-destruct along with someone that was digging very deep holes. I didn't allow him to watch us fail alongside him. He doesn't blame me for any of it, so I wish others would stop. 

A few weeks ago, I was upset because the divorce wasn't finalized on the day I had anticipated. I told him, "I'm upset because I don't want to be married to you anymore." That's about as strong as I've been through this, I had come to that point. I was done and okay with it. In fact, I reveled in it. I could find someone better for me, eventually better for Claire too. I had come to the realization that I would rather be alone than be living with a stranger, someone living a life outside the home he liked better than the one with his family. I never want to feel that again, I feel it over and over again when I see him.

And now, I don't know if I'll ever see him again. This could be his escape from what's he's done. Leaving me in his wake and knowing I'll take care of all the important things. Then again, I may see him in a few months. I won't be surprised either way. It hurts me nonetheless, but not in a way that makes me crave what we used to be. I need something better than that, something different. It just hurts, plain and simple. 

I don't have any closure. It's all just left hanging open.
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