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

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.

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. 

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.


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.

Friday, November 4, 2016


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.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


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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