Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Happy New Year 2018!

Image credit

2018 started off with the flu (thanks flu shot, for not working this year, lol), but I am so thankful for the holiday season and how much fun the girls and I had.  We baked cookies for Santa, we hung out with our friends, we saw Coco and Jumanji (which was surprisingly more funny and entertaining than we thought it would be), and basically had a blast hanging out.  It was so nice not rushing here nor there, and playing games with each other-- our Christmas presents included “the Game of Life,” as well as “Who, What, Where”— I think we’re instituting “game day” as part of our family life.  Just relaxing, making art from art kits and reading fun books and watching t.v.

The downside is that at the end of the month I have a hearing with my lovely ex hubby that I blogged about here.  Ugh, not looking forward to that, but leaving that up to the attorney.  And as for latest from the ex, he instilled the “fear” of the flu in my daughters; luckily I was better by the time they returned from their winter break visit with him, but they kept asking me why I wouldn’t let them stay with dad, because it wasn’t “safe” to be with me and they would catch my germs.  After asking me several times, I responded that I was fine, that the expert about my being better was my doctor, and I was sorry that they were made to feel like it wasn’t “safe” to come to mom’s house.  /eyeroll.  The pettiness just never ends.

Hubby has been a champ through the flu craziness (running around the house disinfecting everything, as well as breaking down the Christmas tree and decorations, doing twelve loads of laundry, lol), and I’m happy to say that I’m functionally upright and healed from the illness!  Definite gold stars go to hubby!

Of bigger note than anything, my brother and I have been huddling since November about my mom—her health is declining and she’s been in the ICU twice.  I’m on the fence as to what to do; but I think I’ll be heading out to see her as soon as I have more information.  So prayers and wishes of good health needed, please.

When it rains, it pours!

And somehow, I will just make this all work—family, home, ex-family, mom, work.


Jane Thrive

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

All in a Day's Work

Dear World,

Two exciting things happened within the last 24 hours.  First of all, a nationally syndicated television show filmed in my workplace, and I somehow talked them into letting me be an extra, lol!  It was so fun, they even styled my hair, had to get my “wardrobe” approved, lol.  I met all different types of crew members (set, lighting, sound, assistants) who were open and kind and welcoming, with many patiently teaching me all the ins and outs of production.  What I loved the most was how they took care of one another and gave special props to an actress who said essentially one line, and even though her role was “small,” they applauded her for it when she was finished, how cool!  I did get to peek and interact a little bit with some ‘bigger’ TV stars, but all in all, what I loved most about it was how cool I was treated by the crew and how they treated each other.

Secondly, I don’t want to forget what happened today regarding my work environment.  At a meeting, I re-dedicated a commitment with my two managers about creating a safe, trusting, and understanding workplace, especially with one another, so we could emulate that for our staff. 

What did I mean by that?  Well, over the last month or so, one of my managers was struggling with what she perceived were hurtful comments from another manager; that manager was blissfully unaware of the impact of his words.  However, I couched this issue as setting professional goals in 2018—that we had worked with each other for years that had established a wonderful and close relationship of camaraderie.  This relationship also bordered on “too familiar” terms at times, and that I needed their help in re-setting our professional boundaries—including being careful of the language we use when addressing one another.  My managers rose to the occasion, addressing past comments and sharing what they actually meant behind their words (nothing, of course!) and also embracing that words can have seriously unintended meanings and then authentically taking responsibility for the hurt they may have caused, being understanding of one another, and being more careful going forward.  I was so happy that they could have an honest conversation about this (in fact things came up that I hadn’t been informed of), and I guess I’m really proud that I was able to create the safe environment for them to be honest and open about their experiences. 

Heartfelt apologies and a commitment going forward to share with one another thoughts and insights followed …and the meeting ended with a true sense that we are creating a safe space for one another so that we can do so for all our staff.  Also, that this commitment is a journey--it isn’t like we’ll wake up tomorrow morning and be the perfect professional, but that we were here to help each other and share with each other to accomplish this going forward into 2018.  Wow!!  My heart was so happy I was about to burst!  (Having worked in toxic environments before, it means a lot for me to create a place of acceptance.)

And now I’m preparing for time away from the office, to snuggle up with my daughters and prepare for the holiday cheer.  Cookie baking for Santa will begin in earnest on Friday, with a girls’ slumber party to follow, and looking forward to hanging around during the girls’ school break and being lazy.  I love Christmas with all my heart, and even though I’ve been struggling with emotions and anxiety lately, I am grateful and thankful to have made it to another holiday season.  Let the lights shine!  Let love win!  Let our hearts be full of love! 

I’m so happy to be ending the year with an intention for adding love and kindness to the world, not only at home, but at work too.  Hurray!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Anxiety is a rollercoaster

Some days at Chez Survive, Live, Thrive, I’m at the “survive” end of the spectrum.  I’ve had some great moments of strength and confidence over the last month or so, but the last few days, the pendulum is swinging the other way.  Self-doubt, and fear, and good old PTSD rearing up it’s yuckity head.  I’m so thankful to have an outlet and the means to know that I’ll get through this if I just hang in a little longer…

And at the same time, it just hurts so much.  It hurts to see my babies emotionally manipulated.  It hurts to have to wonder—what is he up to next.  It hurts that my stomach knots up in convoluted knots knowing that I’ll be facing him at a hearing next month.  I refuse to let that ruin my holidays, but I’m struggling.

So I guess I’m just reaching out to the world to say that during this time of joy and celebration, of hope and longing for peace in the holiday season, that there are also complications underneath the surface.  People who are walking through life perhaps with some holiday cheer on the outside, are also struggling to just make it through the next step, to the next crosswalk, to the next street.   Maybe loss, maybe fear, maybe pain, maybe hardship that is not apparent, but whatever it is, I just want to say a prayer out to you to hold on a little longer.  And to me, too.  Hold on a little bit more.  It will be okay, I think, I hope, I pray.

Love and kindness to the world.

Monday, December 4, 2017

I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS (And of course a little Ex-drama)

Let’s start with the good—hubby’s family was here visiting for Thanksgiving, and we just laughed our hearts out for 10 days while they were here.  We went surfing, ziplining, eating, laughing, cooking.  Even the hubby got into surfing with us and had a blast, and my brother-in-law forced me out of my comfort zone and I ended up taking him to breaks where I usually don’t go.  Brother-in-law now wants to start a new tradition by bringing the whole family out every Thanksgiving and I couldn’t be happier.  I cooked a yummy Thanksgiving turkey dinner with gravy from scratch, my daughters crushing up pecans as is their yearly tradition in helping with the sweet potato casserole, home made stuffing, green bean casserole, and sister-in-law helped me with the mashed potatoes, everything turned out delicious and yummy.  My heart was so full with them here.  !!  I can still feel the laughter in my belly and the love everywhere, especially seeing my daughters being hugged and read to and just in general enjoying our extended family time together.

After we dropped them off at the airport, DD2 started to cry, so in an effort to cheer her up, we decided it was time to go get our Christmas tree.  Not only did we light it up and decorate it, but we lit up the carport with our holiday lights, baked grandma’s banana bread and gave some to the neighbors, and just generally sent some love out into the world, hurray!

So now the ex-drama:
He was extra ornery with me because he was demanding his make up time for his last minute business trip, which I posted a little about here. Demanding time right when we had visitors was not going to work with me, but we figured out a nice compromise and I thought, okay, finally, now that’s put to rest. 

At the same time, he went ahead and filed for CS modification which I touched briefly earlier at Chez Survive, Live Thrive.  The thing is, I decided not to contest it, even though the figures included half of what I actually pay for the girls childcare/healthcare, but like I said then, it wasn’t worth the numbers to fight it.

Well, while the family was here, I received notice that the Ex has now decided to ask for a hearing.  ????  Ugh.  And after hemming and hawing and even though I’m confident in my information and numbers, the PTSD that’s triggered right now in facing him at a hearing is not worth it to go this alone.  So I’ve retained an attorney to help me make sure the Ts are crossed and the “i”s are dotted.  I know it will cost more $$ than I need it to cost, so I’ve decided to take out a credit card (interest free for first 15 months) and at least get a free airline ticket out of this  (bonus that comes when you spend so much within the first month).  I know I can pay this off in less than a year, so it is what it is.  Now I don’t have to worry about any legal shenanigans on his side and breathe easier.  It still sucks.

And the latest passive-aggressive move?  This past Saturday was a dad week end.  DD1 had a sports tournament, and DD2 was invited to march in a Christmas parade with her girl scouts at the same time.  A couple of weeks prior, I offered to help either take DD2 to the parade or DD1 to  her tournament; when he didn't respond to me, I quietly asked the girl scout moms to reach out to him last week.  He ended up dropping DD2 off to one of the brownie moms instead of responding to me.  (I thanked the brownie moms--and so as not to rock the boat, I would just cheer on the sidelines, because the most important was that DD2 could participate and I really appreciated their help!).  I just feel so bad about the family drama.

Lastly, through his mother, it sounds like he either thinks he "has more time with the girls than mom does" or his mother has interpreted it that way.  (Either way, it’s untrue, le sigh).  His mom mentioned this recently to one of the girl scout moms in DD1’s troop in passing-- so it sounds like there may be some lingering sense of "unfairness" about the outcome of our divorce…which means no, he has not moved on from “losing.”  And which may be the reason why now he’s asking for hearing.  Ugh, I’m tired of the drama.
---------------- (p.s. I don't know why it won't let me change this font size to something more readable, I've tried editing five times.  maybe it's the universe saying, shrink down this drama!! LOL)

I guess this is the life, isn’t it.  Embracing the good things, family, holiday planning (I’ve already been asked by one of DD1’s besties about when we’re having our Christmas cookie baking sleepover, lol), creating care packages for our family far away, holiday shopping and baking for the girls’ teachers and friends.  Vacation planning—we’re not going anywhere, but I’m just taking time off work to hang with them and just in general breathing in a big breath and enjoying this time of year.

And also contending with the aforementioned drama.  Wishing it didn’t exist, sometimes getting frustrated to tears, PTSD-induced anxiety insomnia at times, but it is what it is, and right now I have the strength and means to deal with it.

So love and hugs to the world and to you and your loved ones.  Let’s add love and peace and kindness to the world, because it clearly needs it.  Here’s to hoping for a better world, and for helping ourselves create that world and being the love.  That’s what I’m wishing for.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy Holidays

Love, peace, and kindness to the world!  We definitely need more of it.  In case anyone has been stopping by Chez Survive,  Live, Thrive, I wanted to say we are alive and doing well--had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with the family and are heading into the Christmas season with lots of love in our hearts.

The Exie is pulling his usual shenanigans, more of which I will post later, but for now I am just trying to fill up our little corner with hope and peace for good things to come.

Love and hugs!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

The emotional temperature at Chez Survive-Live-Thrive has swung back to positivity and light and love and laughter.

It’s a kind reminder to accept that emotions—negative, positive, neutral—are not static, that life moves like the ebb and flow of the tides.  It’s okay to embrace the sadness and pain as we have to live through it to get through it.  And it’s more than okay to embrace the love and laughter, because that’s really the icing on the cake of all this life adventure that we’re having.

Halloween came and went with fun-filled trick-or-treating—a last minute rendezvous with DD1’s besties and walking through the neighborhood!  The moms may or may not have carried small thermoses of bubbly along the way to celebrate our festivities and my birthday, lol, and I was so happy my children were surrounded with happiness and laughter.  I think the best part was the great candy swap—where the kids organized their bounty on my living room floor and traded what they wanted and what they didn’t want, lol.  Same time, next year, we said to one another, as we left to take the girls to their dad’s for his time with them.

And in just two short days, my hubby’s family will be here to celebrate Thanksgiving—the girls are beyond excited and I just love my hubby’s fam with all of my heart.  We are going to hang out and play tourists and swim and surf in the ocean and I can’t wait to make my giant Thanksgiving feast for them.  I love watching my hubby and his brother fight over the leftover turkey.

As for holiday dramas with the ex—he is upset because I wasn’t able to swap a week end with him for his business travel that happened the week before last.  And…I emailed him ages ago to start a conversation on how to go about it.  He didn’t reply…for a MONTH…and is now all antsy and demanding about time.  It just is what it is, and hopefully it will all work out soon.

So in the wake of the tragedies of gun violence, sexual violence, our president shooting off on twitter yet again, I’m doing my best to hold my daughters in the love and light that I have for them.  Every night at bedtime, we pray that we can add more love and peace and kindness to the world.  We clearly need it. I’m thankful for this time.  Love and hugs, to the world!

Monday, October 23, 2017

You say it’s your birthday!

So…a birthday is coming up—and not one of my children’s or the hub’s, but mine...  I embraced the big 4-0 a while back with gusto, because I was so grateful to be in a different place than where I was before (getting out of an abusive relationship, single mothering and wondering if I was going to lose my home— and by the big 4-0, all the crazy court stuff was OVER and had been for a while).  That birthday was amazing and I'm so grateful!!

Since then, the mom-birthday has been weirdly anticlimactic, or maybe a little complicated...and not because I don’t love a good birthday celebration, I do.  I really do!!  It's important to celebrate milestones along the way of this crazy journey.  I also think that some of my trepidation is that I’m afraid to believe—really believe, that my life is better.  That maybe I’m so used to being in survival mode, in fight or flight and escape the worst case scenario mode, it’s too scary or weirdly difficult to fully embrace the peace.

I read somewhere that we accept the love we think we deserve.  It was a from an aching coming-of-age novel, the Perks of Being a Wallflower that was made into film.  I resonated with the pain.  I’m still learning to trust the healing.

My normal was living in pain, so it’s difficult to trust with peace.  I get that’s the goal, which is why I started therapy in the first place and why I scratched and scrabbled my way out of an unhealthy marriage into a different world.  And I guess I’m learning that healing takes time, that it needs to come from the inside out and my insides still need a lot of working out.  I’ve made a new life, and yes there are annoyances in place, i.e. Exie’s nitpicking and accusatory bs and emotionally manipulating the girls and the PTSD that comes with dealing with him over every little dang thing.

However, in terms of my home life, the borders of my home, when my babies are within our home, the one we are making that is safe from harm, I have to figure out how to trust that the other shoe is not going to drop.  No one is going to choke the dog.  No one is going to scream and yell and break things and attack and gaslight and make the world a difficult place.  PTSD—I don’t like you.  I’m trying to live without you, I’m trying to heal.  Two steps forward, one step back, I guess.

The point of this entry is—happy birthday to you.  You might not have ever thought you’d make it this far, but you have, despite the bumps and bruises along the way.  Hug the part of you that’s hurting, and soothe the part of you that’s still scared.  Hang in there for another day, and know it’s okay not to be perfect.  There’s a lot of !@#$ going on in the world these days, so make the difference that you can in your own world and if you screw up in one moment due to PTSD, take the next to try and make it better.  My wish is that the peace you are looking for will sink in and eventually replace the familiar pain blanket that has wrapped you up since you were tiny.  One day love will win, it will, even if it doesn’t feel like it today.  One day, normal will not be anxiety and pain, but peace.  I hope.