Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye, 2013. So Happy to See You Go.

In the past, I hated New Year's Eves. I found them depressing. It was the end of the holiday season, which meant dead trees on the curbside and dark streets that were just lit up with twinkle lights a few days prior. It meant finality on another year of great memories. It was a reminder of how fast time flies and how I'm older than I feel.

This year, however, I couldn't be happier to toast at midnight.

I don't want the holiday season to end, but I can't wait to close the door on the very worst and most painful year of my life. A year in which I was so mentally whacked that I packed up my family and emptied out my house to move out of the country with a man who had just betrayed me. A year in which I lived with strangers for two months while we were without a home. A year in which I lost so much weight that you could see every vertebrae in my back. A year in which I was dying on the inside but yet accomplished things that most people would consider to be great feats.

Truthfully, I'm relieved to be alive, in my home, with my kids tucked in their beds safe and happy on this eve of 2014. I'm relieved that I didn't become anorexic or alcoholic - both of which could have been a reality if I had let it. I'm relieved I got through the worst of this journey without hurting myself, my family, or another person's family. I'm relieved that I didn't let revenge get the best of me and rob me of my integrity. I'm still me, bruised and battered - but I'm whole. It's nothing short of a miracle.

I believe that 2014 will be a pivotal year for me. It will have its ugliness, I'm sure - but I'm not going to settle for anything less than fabulous for myself or my kids. 2014, I hope you kick 2013's ass!

Friday, December 20, 2013

YAY for a Positive Post!

I don't know if it's simply the magic of Christmas, but it has been a really great holiday season. I was so worried that I was going to miss yet another Christmas because I'd be checked out emotionally, but instead I feel more present than ever.

See, I'm BIG on Christmas. I start early. I put trees in every room. I have Christmas music playing constantly. I watch Home Alone and other classics all year long with my kids. I make it as magical as possible for my family. And last year I don't even remember it. Well this year, I feel like the old me. I think it's going to be a great Christmas.

I only hope that this feeling lasts after the holidays are over and the decorations are boxed up and put away. I hope that 2014 brings positive change within me. That's all I want for Christmas: a healed heart.

I couldn't help but share this awesome Christmas manifesto from the Hands Free Mama:

This year, I will view holiday experiences through the eyes of my child so my eyes can twinkle at the sight of marshmallows in cocoa and spontaneous snowball fights. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will... worry less about how much money I spend and focus more on investments of time and presence that will endure beyond my lifetime. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will savor every bite of my family’s favorite recipes instead of concerning myself with table decorations, fat grams, or how soon I can clean up the mess. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will listen to the memories of my relatives shared across the dinner table instead of being sidetracked by updates of those I barely know on a digital screen. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will swallow words of criticism before they leave my mouth and replace them with words of kindness and appreciation for those around me and myself. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will stop being a moving target that my family cannot hold. This year, I will not multi-task the moments away. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will not get upset when things don’t go as planned. This year, I will see inconveniences as a chance to acknowledge all that is good in my life. This year, I’m letting go to grasp what really matters.

This year, I will remember my loved ones are constantly growing and changing and things may be different next year. This year, I am going Hands Free so I can fully embrace every bit of my perfectly imperfect life.

© Rachel Macy Stafford 2010

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tonight's Trigger is Brought to you by...A Complete Stranger

We went out for a date night last night. It's been good - like really, really good - for almost two weeks now. So we were very excited about this date night, since we haven't had a good date night (without things going south) in a very long time.

It started out magically. He met me at a trendy restaurant, and I was already sitting at the table when he arrived. I watched him walk by the windows and even had that flutter in my stomach. He looked so good, and for once I wasn't thinking about him being taken from me - I was thinking about how he's MINE and is coming to meet ME.

We ordered a bottle of wine and some food, and the conversation was light and happy. Then the food runner came with our meal. She had "her" hair, similar eyes, and similar body type. I tried to brush it off and enjoy the food. We continued, and I was fine. Then I saw her talking to her co-worker buddy, who also had similar features. I don't know if it was just the wine, but I just lost it. I said to him, "Why do all the employees here look like her?!" He immediately said, "Don't do this. I'm here with you." I said, "It doesn't matter. I know what she looked like, so anyone who looks similar is a threat to me." He got angry. Quiet. Put up his walls. All I wanted him to do is reach and grab my hand, or come over to my side of the table and hold me. But no, he just pulled away.

Why does he do this? Why doesn't he get it by now? Every time he puts up his walls when I get sad/angry/depressed, he says that "next time" he is going to handle it better. But he doesn't.

So we continued the date and did some shopping. He continued to be quiet. I reached out to him a few times - I even apologized! - yet he never came around. Even this morning, when things had softened a bit, he didn't apologize or acknowledge how poorly he handled the night.

I understand. He was disappointed that yet ANOTHER date night went south. We have so many restaurants that are now "ruined" because we've ended an evening fighting at the table.

But give me a break, this is how it goes! He should know it by now! I'm sorry, but if I had an affair with a 6'4" blonde man, my husband would feel a little insecure - or at least be reminded of the pain - every time he saw a tall blonde man. That's the way it goes. I'm guessing for a really long time.

I don't even know how to handle dates anymore. Sometimes we say that we should give up on dating because the expectations are just too unrealistic. But then we have good days and decide to capitalize on the good, so we go for it. But EVERY time it ends in a fight.

Movies are out; all of them have affairs or new romance in them. Restaurants are out; your server could look like the other woman. Basically all places with other people are a gamble, because you never know when you're going to come across someone or something that triggers the pain. For example, I was out with my sister at an outdoor movie the other night and there was a couple in front of us making out. Where did my mind go? You guessed it.

When will the general public not be a threat to my fragile heart?

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