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Filters

I had the privilege to see a lovely Facebook friend of mine today…she’s going through a rough period, and I was happy to see her out and about…as we were talking, she characterized my blog posts as fairly blunt…I chuckled…I couldn’t help it…I admitted, for the first time, that no, I’m not blunt when I write these posts – I actually filter myself a great deal…

I started wondering what would happen if I removed the filter…what would happen if I just didn’t care and let it all hang out? The good, the bad, the ugly…would people think less of me? Would the persona I present to the world have less meaning?  What if I, and others, don’t like the person behind the filter?  What would I say with no filter?

This evening was rough…Friday’s always are…if I have no firm, set plans for the boys, I dread the weekends…when I’m broker than broke, I dread the weekends – I start to feel nauseous and the worry creeps in – what do I do if they need something? how will I keep them occupied? what if an emergency comes up?…if I had the luxury, I would have kept working long after closing time just to avoid starting the weekend…

The Ex and I had a slight confrontation this afternoon…I’ve decided to use the state’s help in getting some amount of child support…he actually had the audacity to ask me if I would call them and ask them to drop it…wait, what?  He’s scared of going to jail, having his wages garnished, whatever…I’m scared of not being able to take care of my children! His fears are not my damn problem!

With that in my head, I drove to pick up Sean while The Ex picked up Aidan…he didn’t offer (don’t be silly)…I told him that Aidan had been missing him, would he please go pick him up? So, on my way to get Sean, I’m sitting at a red light, and I see a movement out of my rearview mirror…I looked closer, and the driver, a man, was sitting next to a little boy, about Aidan’s age, playing, pretending to arm wrestle…they were clearly having a wonderful time…it was sweet…it was touching…I started to cry…that’s what Aidan should have, damn it!  That’s what both Aidan and Sean deserve

Made it home, The Ex was five minutes behind me…Aidan came running in and I sent him back out to help The Ex bring in the groceries he buys each week…I’m trying to teach Aidan to help, to be responsible…The Ex comes in, talks about crap the boys shouldn’t need to hear about (as usual), and wants to know:

My answer is always, “Fine.”

The reality is that my head was pounding because I barely ate today (the downside of keeping myself extremely busy and productive)…I was freaking out because I have just a few dollars between now and payday…I don’t want to go anywhere this weekend because it will use up more gas, and I’m trying to conserve gas until payday, but I cannot be trapped in the house with the boys all weekend – we’ll all go crazy…the only thought that runs through my mind when The Ex is near is, “Go away, go away, goawaygoaway!”

He left to pick up a pizza for the boys and I went upstairs and cried again…I had a pity party…I wanted to be in Mississippi more than anything in that moment…I wanted my mom…I wanted BFF…I wanted This Man…I wanted anything other than what I have here…here is unbearable sometimes…here sucks…here is hard…and I don’t always know how to make it better…I can’t figure out how to fix it…I can’t make it better…I spend every moment of every day worrying…or pretending that I’m not worrying…

I came downstairs, I pulled something together to eat…and the headache dissipated…I started to feel less freaked out…The Ex came…he left…I breathed easier…

This Man called…and I started to smile again…we didn’t talk about anything heavy…I purposely don’t talk about my own feelings much…it’s too hard…it brings people down…it’s not what I want to be associated with or how I want to be remembered…when you can’t see someone too often, the last thing you want is for them to only think of the negative stuff when they think of you…

I got Sean to bed…I let Aidan stay up late (I figured if I can’t afford special little treats or go out much this weekend, I can at least offer him some special treats at home)…and I worked out…I immediately felt more normal again…I felt like I did several days ago…I felt like the Michaela that the world knows…

And I started thinking about filters again…

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The Benjamin Boys Are At It Again

Aidan: Where do babies come from?

Me (gripping the steering wheeler tighter): Um…from a mom’s stomach…

Aidan: How does a baby get in there?

Me: Ummmm….

Aidan: Like an egg?

Me: Yes! If an egg is fertilized, it grows in the mom’s stomach.

Aidan: Like a chicken egg?! Isn’t it hard?

Me: Not quite. Humans are different from chickens.

Aidan: Oh.

Why he didn’t follow up with more obvious questions, I’ll never know. But I am damn grateful the conversation ended there.

*****

Aidan had his first dentist appointment today. He was great! No fear, no hesitation. It was wonderful…which tells me Sean will be the exact opposite…

He does have two cavities…the dental hygenist asked if I wanted to see…this was the moment I realized I hadn’t actually been paying attention to her…

Me: What is that?

A: A cavity…

Me: Oh! I’ve never had one…I didn’t know that’s what they looked like…

Yes, I am 32, and I’ve never had a single cavity…Aidan is 6 and has two…I have a feeling that his dental future is going to be long and rocky…

*****

Sean is at that stage of two that sucks most…he’s closer to turning three and the tantrums are more frequent and definitely louder…his new favorite word is, “NO!”

I walked in to pick him up from daycare and he was sitting in timeout…because he told Hot Daycare Chick, “NO!”

He didn’t even look sorry…

*****

Aidan is now officially a Cub Scout. I had to think long and hard about it, though…

It wasn’t just the cost…Aidan’s on the Grandma Scholarship program…but it was only $10, which ain’t easy, but I made it work…

It wasn’t just the time commitment…eventually I have to let him do something, and everything takes time…

I don’t like to associate with any organization that discriminates against any group of people…and the Boy Scout’s stance on LGBT bothers me…intolerance, bigotry, discrimination – it pisses me off…it’s wrong…

But…

How do you ever effect change if you aren’t in a place to do so? How do I teach him about intolerance if he’s never exposed to it? And why discount all the good an organization does? Maybe he can be the generation that goes through the Scouts and teaches tolerance…maybe it will be his group that demands change…

Oh, and the deciding factor? They brought Boy Scouts in to help with the meeting…they held doors open for people…they said sir and ma’am…they were helpful…and I thought, “Yes, I want that…”

*****

I wish the Cub Scouts would take toddlers…Sean was exasperating tonight…

At one point, I was literally chasing him around the room…I had told him to do something…he used his favorite word: NO!

I had the dilemma of going after him because that was unacceptable behavior (knowing I’d have to chase him) or letting it go, and knowing the other parent’s would think my lack of discipline was the real problem…I chose the chase…

Five minutes later I caught him…I was mortified…I was sweaty…I was pissed…and I just wanted to get the hell out of there…and I was reminded just why I avoid going places with both boys when I have to concentrate on something other than them…

I felt all eyes on me…I wanted to hide in a corner…but I acted like I didn’t see them…I dealt with Sean (in a voice loud enough to show that I do discipline my children)…I paid the registration fee…and got the hell out of Dodge!

Walls All Around Me

I’m a person with walls…not sure how long I’ve been that way…probably my whole life…

Originally my walls were designed to keep people at a distance – because I trust no one…I think I even kept some of those walls up while I was married…sad but true…

Only one person has actually walked right through my walls, like they weren’t even there…and at the time, he acknowledged them, knew they were there, told me to drop them…with This Man, I made a conscious decision to take a chance and let him in…but he was already halfway through by the time I decided to let him in…funny how that works…

I have different walls now…it’s not about trust anymore – even though I still don’t trust people, as a general rule…they’re more of a shield now…

I’m tired of hurting or worrying or stressing…in an act of self-preservation, I slam up a wall between me and whatever is causing me pain…

What I realized today is once the wall is in place, it’s really hard to feel anything…and when the negative feelings manage to worm their way through a crack in my wall, it hurts worse than before…so basically all my stupid walls are doing is numbing me to a reality I just don’t want to deal with…

I know it’s not healthy…but I’m so tired of wanting what I can’t have…I’m tired of worrying all the time…I’m tired of hurting…at least this way I can function a little…

10 Years Ago

If I was still married, today would be my 10th wedding anniversary…

And I don’t know how I feel about that…I feel something, because I’ve thought about this day for the past couple of weeks.  Several of my friends on Facebook have celebrated their 10 year anniversaries in the past couple of months…and it only made me think of my own lost 10 year anniversary…

Please do not think in any way that I wish I was still married to The Ex…oh hell no!

It does make me think of what was supposed to be, what might have been, and what’s still to come…

I had jokingly demanded requested that our 10 year anniversary be the year I finally got a diamond ring – a big one…we had said that on our 10 year anniversary we would take a cruise (I would loooooove to go on a cruise)…we had said so many things…but like a lot of our marriage, it was all talk…it was never going to happen…and somehow that makes me a little sad…

I’m not sad that it’s not going to happen with The Ex…but that I never realized it wasn’t going to happen at all…that I fooled myself into believing that I could will him to do something I wanted…that if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen – come hell or high water…

So what’s to come?  Who the hell knows?

I hope that I get married again one day…I hope I’m smarter about it…I hope that it’s different and that when I hit the 10 year mark, there are no disappointments…I’m filled with hope about my future…and a little sadness about my past…

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

I’m in Washington DC this week for work – and I adore it.  The fact that I’m in DC, the fact that it’s for work (I have an amazing job, y’all), and the fact that it’s a kid-free week.  Yeah, I admit it – I don’t miss them yet.

I do have a great job.  I work in a cool industry.  I see an amazing amount of potential for me right where I’m at right now – and there are things I would love to do and accomplish and become…and yet…

I feel like I’m on the precipice of something…like the entire world is laid out before me, and whatever I can dream up, I can make happen…I can do anything…I can be anything…and the question becomes “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  Everything I’ve done since college was happenstance…I knew someone who loved my work ethic and could get me a job after college…I got tired of that (because I hated it) and found something else…I got laid off from that (budget cuts…the only reason I’ve ever lost a job was because of budget cuts) and found my current employer…none of my career decisions were strategic…none were entered into with fully-planned thoughts for the future…

And I want to change that…I want to work towards something…I want to build something for myself…I want to be in charge of my own destiny…Big Brother told me the other night that I have the ability to work hard for whatever I want in life…true that, Big Brother!  But what I need, according to him, is an ideas person…and I hate to admit it, but he’s right.

Before, it was a problem of not enough ideas…now, I have too many ideas…I want to do this…I want to do that…I could be this…I could be that…and how the hell do I pick?  Which one is the right one?

Here’s my perfect-world circumstances: I’d work for myself…I’d get paid to write…I’d stay in the world of social media, blogging, and whatever else is invented in the next five minutes…are the things I’m good at marketable skills? Would someone pay me to do what I do on their behalf?  I don’t know…but I have to figure out a way to find out…

But first, I have to decide what I want to be when I grow up…

Happy Mother’s Day

I wasn’t going to do the obligatory Mother’s Day post…but I changed my mind…

Mama and The Step came to visit on Saturday and we celebrated Mother’s Day with dinner…dinner with two cranky little boys – of course…

I sort of slept in today…on the couch and I could hear the boys when they woke up and rushed in to see their grandparents…I smiled a little because I was glad it wasn’t me…

I tried to keep sleeping even after everyone came downstairs – be shocked, but it wasn’t possible…

I had the luxury of an uninterrupted shower…and I took advantage of that by staying in the shower for probably 30 minutes, water bill be damned!

By 10am, they were on the road and we were back to normal…except I felt lonely and Sean cried because he hates when his grandparents leave…

I made the mistake of mentioning on Facebook that all I really wanted for Mother’s Day was a day with no meltdowns…I should have known better…Sean had three or four little mini-tantrums…yay.

Aidan surprised me with a handmade card…It had six “x’s” and six “o’s” – Aidan pointed out all the hugs and kisses…the inside was the best part – “You’re the best mom ever. You’ve done great work for me.” All together now, “Awwwwww….” He really is a sweet boy…

I lost an hour somewhere in the day…at one point, I thought it was 6:30pm, and it was really 7:30, and I rushed to get the boys their bath and in bed…

I’m getting ready to go out of town for a week for work…made the gray hair go away, packed (mostly), painted my nails…you know, the important stuff…

So, there you have it…Happy Mother’s Day – to me and all the moms out there in the world…

Wishing and Worrying

I’m a wisher…and I’m a worrier…which means that I often worry that the things I wish would happen, won’t…seriously…

I often wish my life was different…that I had more money…that I had a new car…that I could do more for Aidan and Sean…that I could do more, be more, have more…that I could be with my family, This Man, BFF…

Then I worry…about how to earn more money…what I’ll do if I have car problems…how I’ll deal with whatever the boys need next…that I’ll never be more than I am right now…that I’ll never have more with This Man than I do right now…that I’ll always be alone…

Exhausted yet? Yeah, me too…

But I think I’m moving past some of that…I don’t know if I’m growing up…I don’t know if I’m beginning to accept my life as it is…I don’t know if it’s a change I’m going through…

I don’t longingly wish for things I don’t have…I don’t worry that I can’t handle the next stressor that comes along…

I know that things happen in life when they’re supposed to happen…I know that I can handle just about anything life throws at me…I know that worrying about things that might never happen is a waste of time and energy…I know that hard work, perserverance, imagination, honesty, heart, and love will get me a lot further down this path I’m on than wishing and worrying ever will…

Self-Esteem Issues

I’ve had low self-esteem for most of my life…with my physical appearance…and today The Ex inexplicably touched that raw spot for me…

Because it all relates well with my journey to lose weight, I blogged about it on my other blog…yes, I have more than one…yes, this blogging thing is an addiction…

Instead of telling the same story twice, I figured I’d share my other blog with you…so, take a look, and let me know if I’m as crazy as I think I am…

Am I Really THAT Girl?

I realized today that I’m one of those women that men complain talk about when they say women say yes when they mean no…damn it…

For whatever reason, Mother’s Day has been on my mind a lot…there’s very little I can do for my own mom, but I will do everything I can to make sure she knows she’s loved and appreciated…the boys will do whatever projects the school/daycare offers and it will be very sweet…

But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how The Ex (before he was The Ex) never made any holiday a priority, and especially not Mother’s Day…there were never gifts…there were never projects with the boys to help them make or do something…we didn’t have a lot of money, so sometimes, when I decided to make it clear I wanted something, I would ask for a clean house or dinner – guess how that went…no, go ahead…

And then I remind myself that I’m the one who, when asked, will tell people I don’t need a gift…don’t bother…don’t go to the expense…it’s not important…you name it…and in the moment, when I say that, I really do mean it…because I don’t think I’m worth the extra expense…I know how hard it is to hold onto money, so when asked, I will always demur and say no…

But, I don’t think I really mean it…I do want someone to think that the occasion is special enough that I deserve something…except deserve sounds so damn selfish…I want someone to disregard the no gift is necessary thing…ignore me and get me something anyway…except how can I expect someone to read my mind? And I really don’t like to be ignored…

The fact that I miss something I’ve never had seems to be my own fault…and I’m own worst enemy…

I can hear the advice now…but I don’t think this is just about me being able to ask for what I want…I think it’s also a matter of believing it’s ok for someone to spend money on me, to give me something I didn’t necessarily earn…

Why I’m preoccupied with this now that I’m single and it doesn’t matter, I don’t know…chalk that up to another confusing thing about women, I guess…

My Blog Is One Year Old

I woke up this morning thinking about this post…hell, I was thinking about it when I went to bed last night…sad but true…

The one year anniversary of a blog seems like a big deal to me…Just over 200 posts, nearly 5000 views, and 66 subscribers later, I’m still amazed that people read the stuff that lives in my head…especially since I’m not passing out advice about life, love, or children…what blows me away even more is that there are people who go to their browser, type in the url for my blog, and read my thoughts – on purpose…?! And damn I wish I knew who it is…or maybe I’d rather not know…hmmmm…

I started this blog because I had so much in my head that I couldn’t seem to get out…I thought I was going to explode…I’ve always done better when I talk it all out…for whatever crazy reason, I thought, “Hey, let’s do it in a completely public forum!”

But, I’ve digressed (as usual)…this morning I thought I knew the direction of this post…and then real life intervened…Sean is sick…we spent three hours in immediate care…because this mother of the year still hasn’t found the boys a new pediatrician since we moved six months ago…his eyes were oozing, his nose was oozing, he was slobbery, and he was a little furnace – who promptly fell asleep in my arms…

I felt people glancing at us…feeling sorry for one or both of us, I think (probably the adorable baby in my arms)…the image I presented feels stereotypical, I think…single, harried, stressed out mom with sick child, all alone, no help, blah blah blah…and I thought about how I would have reacted a year ago to a day like today…

I think it would have made me sad…I’m sure I would have stressed out about Sean being sick, me missing work, taking care of a sick child and a hyper, healthy child – you name it…

A lot can change in a year…

No need to feel sorry for myself…I know I can handle days like this – I do it all the time…

Sometimes I don’t think I’ve changed…only that I’ve learned how to fake it…or that I’ve come to accept my life instead of railing against it…so I guess it’s a question better answered by the people who’ve read my crazy thoughts…especially for the people (brave souls that you are) who have read from the beginning…

Am I different? Have I changed in the past year?

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