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Empty and Hollow

I know, I know, where the hell have I been lately? The simple answer is that I’ve been hiding…

I haven’t had anything positive or reassuring to say, and I didn’t feel like clogging up the world with more…blah…

I’ve been a person I vaguely recognize and don’t like…and no amount of pep talks, positive thinking, or looking for a silver lining has changed it…I’m sluggish, I’m low-energy, I’m dull (and I don’t mean I’m boring)…I just don’t care…my house is a wreck…my diet is bordering on disgusting…my ass is spreading…and yes, I know, this is “normal,” this is something that other people go through, this is temporary…something feels different…

I tend to live in my head…being single, introverted, and sort of hermit-like (mostly because of circumstances beyond my control), means that I’m in my head more often than not…under normal circumstances my very vivid imagination tends to take over…I’m usually filled with hopes, plans, goals, wants, desires…right now? Nothing…it’s quiet…

I’m not sure when something shifted, but I know how…I know the stages…first I was normal (well, as normal as I get…), then came the overwhelming stress (about the typical stuff), but instead of moving out of it like I usually do, I got stuck…and it deepened…I cried which normally breaks the cycle…I woke up the next day and felt…nothing…numb is the best word I can think of…

I’ve been almost clinical while I’ve tried to figure out what’s wrong…until I just stop caring again…on my way home tonight, I finally figured out how to describe how I feel…empty…hollow…when it gets bad, add in hopeless…when I start thinking about the why, it’s the same damn list it always is, so why bother thinking anymore about it…

Sometimes I feel like my wings have been clipped (yeah, it sounds a little dramatic, I know)…I can’t come and go…and I don’t mean without the boys, this isn’t about needing some time for myself…BBFF had emergency surgery on Monday, and even though I had the time to go, I couldn’t get to him…and as bad as that felt, my mind went immediately to my mom…what if something happened to her? How in the hell would I get to her? Both my mom and BBFF live in the same basic area…it’s a fair comparison…in an emergency what in the hell do I do? I’m not even self-sufficient enough to travel 2 hours…

And the moment I admit that, I feel stupid for considering it a problem…there are so many more people in this world with real problems…why am I complaining, what right do I have? Which starts another ridiculous cycle of negativity…but I’d almost take the negative because it’s something…it’s a feeling, an emotion…

Maybe I’m overwhelmed by own stress…maybe it’s a self-preservation thing…maybe my brain can only take so much…

Big Brother told me I need a plan…I’m afraid to plan, to dream…I can’t imagine how I can achieve it…and then it hurts too much to worry about it…it’s just easier not to…

I miss me…my normal self…I can’t even fake being badass…it takes too much energy…

The worst part is the silence in my own head…normally, I have a million thoughts running through my mind…planning, working, figuring. I hate the silence…it’s crushing…it’s empty and hollow…it’s not the me I like.

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The Will To Change

Everyone probably needs to change something in their lives…I’d love to meet the person who doesn’t need to…I already know plenty who don’t think they need to change…

I can name several things that I’d like to change…my ability to procrastinate on the things I don’t want to deal with…my inability to save any amount of money, even if it’s just $1 a month (I promise that’s about all I can do some months)…my (new) inability to focus on my own health for more than about 5 minutes – it’s new because I spent 3 years losing weight with nothing more than focus, determination, and hard work…

I think I know what I need to get back on track…I need to rest and rejuvenate…I mean, actually rest…get a real break from work and kids…but I live in the real world…not everyone gets the luxury of taking time away from their lives to refocus, so I’m no different from anyone else…so what do I do?

I have to find the will to make the changes necessary to move forward in a more positive way…I need to remember that the quicker I get through the dreaded stuff, the quicker it’s over…and often no where near as bad as I fear it will be…I have to be willing to not run through drive thru and spend $5 when I don’t really have that money to spend and it’s unhealthy…but it feels like a sacrifice…

I recognize the falseness of that thinking…not having the “luxury” of spending a few dollars on crappy food sounds silly…but it’s a mindset I have fallen in to and I don’t know how to change it…I remember growing up broke and being told no, a lot…I remember getting easy credit in college, feeling like I had money, spending it, paying it all off, and then spending it again – ruined my credit for a few years…I remember being pregnant with Aidan and making about $8 an hour (with no income from The Ex)…

I’m not any different from a lot of people…money is tight for most of the world…what I can’t get over is how not spending money (that I don’t have) is a sacrifice…and then I need to find a way to figure out how to be ok with the “sacrifice” if it means that I save a few dollars or I have breathing room, financially or I eat less crap, which is killing my health…

The first step is the will to change…the next step is the first small step of change…either way, for whatever reason, I’m stuck at that first step…which makes me wonder where my focus, determination, and ability to work hard have gone…why can’t I just strong arm my way through this until I make the necessary changes?

Turning Points

I think everyone has numerous turning points in life…I think it’s rare to see a turning point as it’s occuring…

At some point, recently, I experienced a turning point in my life…things that would have stressed me out six months ago, are no big deal now…events that would make me mad or would hurt, are bearable…for the first time in my adult life, the new year really does feel like a fresh start in life, like anything is possible…

I’m not sure what my turning point was, but Big Brother said something today that I hadn’t considered until the moment he said it…we were talking about how much work I churned out in my office last year, during a huge transition period for the company…”Michaela, all the work you did is what got you through the year.” He’s right…I worked through the most stressful period of my life, and even though I burned myself out by the end of the year, I think it’s the only way I survived it all…

My work life and my personal life eased up at almost the exact same moment…and I think that has made the difference…I feel like a survivor of sorts…I fought battles in 2011…and I survived…everything else seems easy in comparison…

The Ex has hit a turning point…and while I don’t know the trigger, the boys and I are the beneficiaries…he is more present…he is more involved…he’s nicer…as someone who has seen karma in action, I think his recent actions have improved his karma…

I can see his life starting to change…I can see his relationship with the boys improving…I can see him changing and improving…make no mistake, I don’t want him back…but it is nice to see someone experience a turning point in life and make a positive change…

Clear Your Mind…

I firmly believe that the mind can only deal with one major issue at a time…well, it can only deal well with one thing at a time…have you ever noticed that once one stressor is dealt with, another begins to weigh more heavily? It happens to me a lot…

I spent so many years stressed about finances, I didn’t deal with a crumbling marriage…once I corrected the money issue (by working a second job), I had room to think about my marriage…and deal with it…

That principle works for everyday life…my biggest project at work each year just finished Saturday night…it’s an all-consuming event that stretches me to my physical and mental limits…now that it’s over, my mind is calm and has room for other stuff…you would think that it might be work-related, right? Nope, the mind doesn’t work that simply…

Today, while sitting at home with a not-sick Sean (thanks to a cautious daycare), I finally had time and space to deal with the fact that I am very tired of living off of drive thru…which is code for “I don’t feel like I have time to cook.” A casual observer would never know this, but I own about 10 cookbooks, and a million years ago, I cooked all the time…my big, elaborate, use every pot, meals were on the weekends, but I cooked nearly every day…

Because I feel pressed for time from the moment I leave work until the moment the boys go to bed, I don’t feel like there’s time to cook…big cop out, I know…and I haven’t had the mental energy or space to deal with it until now…

The plan? The crockpot…yeah, I hear the big “Duh!” from everyone…I have one cookbook that is filled with nothing but crockpot recipes…and I know there are a ton of recipes online…cooking is the only place I’m still “old school.” Give me an actual cookbook, please…with pages to turn…and food stains on old recipes…

I keep trying to convince my mom of the idea that clearing your mind of one issue frees you for new ideas, plans, and goals…I really want her to retire from her current job…she works for a great big box retail company, but after about 26 years, no woman in her 50s should have to work 12 hour days when she’d rather spend that time with her family…she’s fortunate enough to have a fairly secure future in retirement because she’s been smart for the past 20 years…

But her fear is of not knowing what to do next…I keep telling her that once she doesn’t have to worry about waking up at 3 in the morning, working 12 hour days on her feet, dealing with cranky customers, blah blah blah, she’ll have room to figure out what to do next…knowing her, she’ll be working until she’s 80…but I firmly believe she deserves to do something that allows her to live the life she wants…after all these years, she deserves it…

Clear your mind, and you never know what will fill the space…

Feeling Independent?

I’m not sure about the safety of blogging while drinking wine, so this may be interesting…or not…

It has been a while since I have mentioned the new things that come with divorce…there was the treadmill episode (got it home and in the house myself)…there was the carpet episode (ripped it out and hauled it to the curb myself)…but I don’t think there’s been much more…until today…

Today, I hung pictures – complete with tape measure and pencil to make sure it was even and equidistant…in 12 years, I managed to learn ONE thing from The Ex – picture hanging…

And, I changed out the shower head in my bathroom…I’m sorry, but that counts as plumbing!!

Full disclosure, one piece of the shower head is stuck in my wrench because I can’t get the wrench to release…banging it on the counter didn’t help…and the hammer I used for the pictures? Aidan’s toy hammer because the only tool I have is the aforementioned wrench…

Before you lecture me, I had tools at one point, but I think they travelled to MS in the move…MS with The Step…

So while I felt independent for about 30 seconds, even I had to shake my head at the absurdity of the circumstances…I would never consider myself a girly-girl, but I’m definitely no tomboy, either…just a single woman doing her best with the “tools” at hand…and getting the job done – because that’s all that really matters, right?

Some Hard Truths

I guess I’m due for this…probably overdue…Today, for whatever reason, I finally had to face some hard truths about myself…

The move didn’t fix everything: I moved in a month ago, and for the past month, I felt like new life had been breathed into me…like nothing could really bother me…like I had finally moved on…I was wrong…

I’m driving Bubba again…and I hate it…and for the first time in a month, I feel like I did before I moved…defeated, beaten down, hopeless…I had forgotten those feelings…or maybe I just ignored them…Bubba is the biggest reminder of The Ex and his ability to hurt me…or my ability to let him hurt me…

My life will never be “normal”: My relationship with The Ex for 12 years wasn’t typical, why did I ever think I could have a typical divorce? He barely worked while we were together…he didn’t contribute in our marriage…I made all decisions…I took care of everything…why did I think that in divorce he would change? The only difference now is that I don’t run his life or make decisions…but he still isn’t contributing – time or money…I realized today that he has never contributed financially to our children…he was a stay-at-home dad (I use that term loosely, because the parents who have that job work VERY hard…he didn’t), so he never actually had to worry about the money it costs to raise children…and he still doesn’t…

As I explained to my mom today, I’m in “like” with someone…who lives hours away…who has his own busy life…who has his own worries…so the first real man that can handle my insanity comes into my world, and I can’t even go on a freaking date with him like a normal person…

The Ex can still push every button I have, and I let him: WTF? I don’t love him…I don’t like him…I have almost no respect for him…how is he still able to get under my skin? Why do I allow him to push those buttons? And when will I be brave enough to let him try to make good on his threats to just disappear from our lives?

Am I really forcing him to show up and participate for the boys or is it something else? Am I so selfish that I want him to spend time with the boys just as much for me as for them and I’m afraid to lose those few free moments?

I’m facing a possible return to those months when he barely came around and I never got a break…and it scares the crap out of me…what does that say about me? It leads to me to the last hard truth I have to accept…

I am not maternal: I love my boys…would kill and die for them…I am desperate for them to grow up to be better than The Ex…and me…but the more time I spend with them, the more frustrated I become…

I have nothing but admiration for people who say they adore spending time with their children…who can’t wait to be with them…who plan fun activities and vacations…but when I come across those people, I feel like I’m missing something…like I’m listening to someone speak a foreign language…

I’m not creative…and I don’t have extra income for the extracurricular activities that keep most kids busy…so when the weekend comes around, I don’t always know what to do with them…I’m done with the park after about 30 minutes…I don’t want to go to places where toys are sold (whiny children aren’t fun for anyone)…I lack whatever it is that other parents possess that allow them to keep their children occupied on the weekends…money isn’t always necessary, I know…that isn’t my gripe…other than feeding, clothing, disciplining, and loving my boys, I have no clue what to do with them so that all of us keep from going crazy…

I’m sure I have several more truths to face in the future, but these are the ones that hit me like a truck today…

Happy or Less Stressed?

My mom mentioned today that I seem much happier than a year ago…and asked me if I’m happier overall…I don’t really know…I know I’m adjusting to my new life…I know that I’m a less stressed…not because the stress has gone away…I think I’m just handling it better…

I noticed today that I’m a little less intense about things, especially relationships…normally, I’m the type of girl who thinks if you like me, you should be in constant contact with me…I came across this quote in a blog that I adore reading (you know who you are!):

“If he’s not calling you, it’s because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he’s okay with disappointing you. Don’t be with someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do.  If he’s choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn’t respect your feelings and needs. “Busy” is another word for “asshole.” “Asshole” is another word for the guy you’re dating. You deserve a fucking phone call.”    ―      Greg Behrendt

And I agree with about 90% of it…the part that I don’t think I agree with anymore is the very first line…there’s someone on my mind a lot…but I can’t always call him…I’ve got a busy life, he’s got a busy life…not calling isn’t a sign that I don’t care or that he doesn’t care…

But feeling this way is new for me…Music Man didn’t call me for 2 weeks, and I was fine…BBFF calls when he can, I call when I can…it’s ok…a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t feel that way…a couple of weeks ago, a serious lack of contact sent me into turmoil…I wonder what’s changed?

Which brings me back to my mother’s observation today…I don’t necessarily feel happy…I still feel like there are too many obstacles in my path…too many things that I want to be doing that I can’t yet…but I’m not unhappy either…

And that leads me to something else…do I seem different?  Different than the beginning of this blog (for those brave souls who have stuck with me since the beginning)? Different over the past year?  Past several years? Have I changed at all?  It’s hard to see change in yourself sometimes, but outsiders looking in often see something we never see in ourselves…so I guess I’m just curious…what changes does anyone see in me?  Do I seem to be happy, less stressed, or just the same as always?

Life Is Life

Here’s something I know about myself…I take things (and people) very seriously…sometimes too seriously.  One rough day in life, at work, at home, you name it and any feelings of hope or optimism that I felt the day before vanish…today was that day…

As tired as I was yesterday, I still managed to clean, to accomplish things, to make plans, to feel hope about the future – on different levels…today…one rough day later, and I couldn’t even manage a decent conversation with BBFF…I was grumpy, I was anxious, I was mopey…I felt unappreciated…I felt unloved…I felt unimportant…nothing was good enough, nothing was right…life sucked…

Except it really doesn’t, and I know it doesn’t.  Life is life…good, bad, and ugly…when I stepped outside of myself and looked in, I saw how ridiculous I was being…it’s a day…one day…tomorrow will be better…or at least the same…even if it’s bad, it’s still ok…

I have things to look forward to…I have things to make happen…I have plans…I have dreams…I have a life to live.

Cleanliness Is Next To…Craziness?

I know it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted anything…travelling for work does that to me…I focus so much on the work and the people that I don’t have room in my head for other “stuff”…which is refreshing…it makes me want to keep myself busy, busy, busy…

The Ex watched the boys (as a father should do) while I was in Anaheim…yes, Anaheim, California…my first trip to California without The Ex…we went twice while we were married…back to my point…he watched the boys while I was gone…because of craziness in his life, I let him stay in my house…can we say weird?

This is my space…yes, it holds a lot of stuff from our marriage, but the space is mine.  And I let him in it…it was weird for both of us…he respected it, which I appreciated…and it made my absence easier on the boys, which isn’t a bad thing…

I’ve still got a little jet lag…I barely slept the entire time I was gone and last night…I need to be in bed sleeping…but instead I’ve spent the past hour cleaning my house from top to bottom…frantically cleaning…cleaning with a vengeance like I’m really angry at the dirt…

I couldn’t figure out why I would randomly clean my house from top to bottom (well, not completely since I won’t vacuum while the boys are asleep) until it dawned on me…I could still feel The Ex in my home…he didn’t smoke in it – I would have smelled that a mile away…he wasn’t dirty – he didn’t clean up much, though…but I needed the space to be mine again…and somehow cleaning helped me scrub away the vibe…

I still need to finish up the load of laundry from my trip and finish putting away my suitcases…but I’m relaxed again…for the first time since Tuesday night when The Ex arrived…

I know some say cleanliness is next to godliness…not tonight…tonight, it was a trip to crazy town…

What’s In My Head, Desperate To Get Out?

Hell if I know…last night, as I was drifting off to sleep (after walking Aidan back to his bed for the SECOND time because I was sooooo serious that he needed to sleep in his own bed), I started mentally writing – something brilliant, I’m sure, but I don’t remember now…I’ve thought that my writing has been flat for the past several days…which is a big reason why I haven’t had much to say…

And I think I know why…because I’m not writing what’s in my head…I’m writing fluff…I’m not really about fluff…every once in a while, sure, but in this space, it’s not supposed to be about fluff…it’s supposed to be me figuring out life, figuring out myself…

So what’s in my head right now?

I’m worried about love and sex and romance (but not necessarily in that order)…and I don’t think I’m supposed to be worried about that yet because I’ve only been divorced three months…I think I’m supposed to be trying to go out and have fun and attempt to live the single life when I have appropriate childcare (it’s still illegal to leave your child on a shelf while you go out, I checked)…but that’s not me…it is if I’m with people I trust…it is if I’m comfortable with the group I’m with…but you’re not going to find me clubbing or bar-hopping for the most part…

And I refuse to do the online dating thing…I’ve heard horror stories…I have a blogging friend who’s got horror stories…for me to meet someone it has to be through work (which has happened and it’s fun when time allows) or through friends (which makes me nervous because the majority of my friends are my mother’s age…no one wants the person their mother prefers) or…

Or…BBFF…

I’m not sure if I believe in soul mates…The Ex billed himself as my soul mate, and I don’t think I ever completely bought that (and clearly we weren’t if how our relationship ended is any indication)…I’m not sure what I believe in when it comes to romance and love…and that in itself proves to be a problem…because BBFF and I have a strange connection that I don’t understand…we have an understanding about each other that I don’t understand…and that scares the hell out of me…

Am I being smart by saying that I need to live the life of a single woman for a while (even though I have no clue what that even means)? Am I being stupid by slowing down something that feels good and right? Am I over-thinking the whole thing and should just let it all play out, enjoying the moments as they come, and not worry about the future?

I don’t know…guess I need to figure that out…

Oh, and since I don’t have permission from BBFF to blog about BBFF, I’m not going into details…I might not respect my own privacy, but I will respect his and everyone else’s…so you just have to deal with the thoughts that roll around in my head…

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