I Don’t Think So!

This is going to be a different kind of post for me… its pretty reactive but I just can’t get it outta my “craw.”

I was reading one of those articles where one writes in for advice and the so-called expert chimes in. In this particular instance, a husband and wife were going to be returning to their hometown and she wants to hang out with old college friends,which includes an ex…. someone she was only with for a few weeks but with whom she had an intimate relationship. And apparently she feels obligated to include/see him since they share mutual friends.

The husband is uncomfortable with her hanging around the ex and though he knows this guy (he came to their wedding!) he has tried on numerous occasions to share his feelings with his wife… to which she replies “get over it.”

The question he asked the advice columnist–Was it OK for him to ask his wife not to see this guy because it caused him so much anxiety, or should he listen to his wife and just deal with his feelings of anxiousness. This so-called advice columnist told him that he needed to be open to his wife spending time with the group, including this guy, and that he should -and I quote, “…for goodness sake, be cool about it.

Are you KIDDING me?! How many of us look back and wish we had trusted our gut? I remember telling M that I knew something was going on, I was just trying to sort out the pieces. It’s a weird feeling but when you feel something isn’t right – most of the time something isn’t right. And for this “advice expert” to tell this husband that his feelings aren’t justified or valid and that he should be perfectly fine knowing that his wife was only trying the guy on for size before she met her now husband…. give me a flippin’ break!

I’m by no means qualified to give this guy advice, but if he asked me, I would tell him that if his wife can’t acknowledge the present emotional stress that she puts on her husband and marriage by maintaining this link to her past, then its time to reconsider the future.

Ok, rant managed.

 

 

 

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Reservation for Two, Table for One

Since M is no longer a part of my life, I’ve been to movies, concerts, restaurants, and local events by myself. That’s nothing new for me – I was doing all of these before I met M and immediately after the craziness that was my life in 2014, I did things by myself primarily because I needed the escape from my own life.

I still go to movies and concerts and out to dinner and local events but now I prefer to share these moments with others.  Recently, I purchased two tickets to see one of my favorite songwriters, Matisyahu.  I had always purchased multiple tickets and I was always fortunate enough to find someone with the time and money to go – that is until now. For weeks, I asked everyone I knew and the answer was always no thank you, can’t make it, I don’t know that artist, nope.

Now mind you, money is still not the easiest for me to come by, so having $80 wrapped up in a ticket that I was going to have to suck up really hurt.  Just because I was willing to spend $80 on a ticket didn’t mean anyone else was willing to spend $80 on a ticket.  In the end, I called a friend at the last minute and said that either I could go by myself or find someone who enjoys all kinds of music even if they didn’t know this particular artist. And in turn, she drove and paid for dinner so for me that was a win/win.

Yet somehow, this became yet another reminder that at the end of the day, it is just me – a table for one. When I pause and remember to put it all in perspective, I’m realizing I’m in good company since after all…

Just one sun lights the sky.
Just one moon turns the tide.
A man can change the world with just one thought.
One promise made can last forever
Just one rock will bend a river
One God up in heaven is all we’ve got        

yup… sometimes one can be a lot

One Can be Alot – Blackjack Billie

Technically, it’s Not Illegal

That’s what the police officer said to me a few weeks ago.

I met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite spots. We had finished our lunch and were getting ready to start our discussion of the Bible Study we were doing when the manager discretely came over and said to us, “Did you know the guy sitting at the table next to you?”  Neither of us did and the manager continued on to say that one of his employees, while delivering food to another table, noticed that person recording on his phone. To which my friend, K says “he was recording our conversation?” and the manager said, “No, he was recording you” (making that statement directly to me.)

Of course, we were full of questions and probably asked the same one over and over again, trying to find out what the heck he could have been filming or even why… going so far as to even ask the manager if he was sure.  Yes, the employee has the same phone and was positive the phone was in the record mode. The manager said that he observed the guy leave, followed him out and then provided me with the license plate number and the model of the car as well as a general description of the guy.

As the conversation went on I got more and more shaky and uncomfortable. K and I wrapped up the conversation with the manager and I headed to the police station to file a report.  After giving the details of the incident, which mind you included the time, place, location, description and plate number of the car, and description of the individual I was told that technically what he did wasn’t illegal.  Wait, what?!?!  Nope, it’s not illegal for someone to electronically violate your sense of “assumed privacy” (my word not theirs) in a public place.  So aside from being mindful of what’s going on around me, and reporting anything suspicious there wasn’t anything they could (or were going to) do.

That restaurant is still one of my favorites and the few people that know what happened that day ask me why I still go back. Honestly, why wouldn’t I? The manager has proven that he’s got my back. I talked to him not too long ago and told him how much I appreciated what he did. He said he was torn that day. He didn’t know if he should have confronted the guy or even tell me not knowing how I might react. I told him I appreciated the fact that he acted as if I could have been his sister/mother/ aunt –getting me the information and talking to the police after I filed the report.

There are moments when having M around would have made me feel safer just because of his presence, but the reality is that M isn’t here anymore.  In the past couple of years men in my life have stepped up to the plate to watch out for me: my father, my brother, my pastor, my friends, and now a stranger who had no idea about my past but thought enough of me as an individual to consider my future.

Old Habits Die Hard

Its amazing how I still go through the motions of a relationship that doesn’t exist any longer. I opened up a new tube of toothpaste today to discover that I had purchased the gel type. I almost got upset until I remembered that for most of my life up until I met M, I used gel toothpaste. He didn’t like it so we always bought the paste. Was there any reason that we couldn’t each have our own toothpaste in the marriage? No, but it was just something that I adopted from his life.  I also realized that I used to use two big fluffy towels after a shower, one specifically to wrap my hair. M told me that I used too many big towels…so I started using just one towel and a hand towel creatively wrapped and secured to hold my wet hair.

Two years after he’s gone, I’m still following that same routine. I can’t believe I didn’t realize it before but somehow it took the shocking neon blue color of the toothpaste to bring it to light. Thanks Colgate – you’ve brightened my smile and my future.

I See You

I’ve seen lots of comments about eating better, exercising more, and becoming financially stable. All of this seems reasonable as it is the start of a new year. As I look back on the past couple of years, 2015 was my year of acknowledging the craziness of the prior year, 2016 was the year of Z- where I chose not to accept any new obligations, I withdrew from existing obligations, and I embraced what my pastor’s wife taught me, “No thank you is a complete sentence.”

I own the mistakes I’ve made and that I make. Realizing that brings me back to August 2014 after M told me what he did.  At the encouragement of a friend, I started talking to a counselor specializing in affair recovery. What I remember now is that in the conversation, part of the counselor’s advice was that I was too passive and that I needed to take more of a stronger stance. That doing so would show M that I wasn’t a pushover and that M would find that attractive and see that he didn’t want to leave me after all.  I did my best to do what the counselor told me to do, but if I were having that conversation today I would tell him “Bullsh*t – why is it my fault?”

I was labeled and blamed for a lot of things that year, some I assumed on my own…some given by M, and some by others who didn’t know better.  I know what it’s like to feel like you have no place you belong. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. I know what it’s like to feel like somehow it’s all your fault and I know what it’s like to be told that it is.

My goal for 2017 is to figure out how to take my experiences and help others. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I’m willing to see it through. Some days I still feel broken but I know I’m mended, and now I want to help mend others. I’m grateful that during the craziness of infidelity/divorce/suicide that I had friends who saw “me” not just the circumstances that were mine at that time. I’d like to be able to do that for someone who doesn’t have the support system in place like I did/do.  I’d like to show them that there is peace on the other side, that it’s not their fault, and that there are people that can see them for more than the circumstances that surround them. I see you, friend, I see you.

Barely Discernable

2015 was a blur– kind of a going-through-the-motions sort of year, and to be honest, I really don’t remember much. I acknowledged all the appropriate anniversaries and grieved unapologetically. But 2016 had promise and I was able to start seeing light again… until….

Mid-June I lost my taste and my smell, and eventually a whole host of other things that after two MRIs, a spinal tap, and a whole lot of blood work led to a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. A disease in which there is no family history, no obvious reason that made me a candidate for the disease, but nonetheless, I was given the diagnosis.

I found an MS website that indicated that nutrition played a key factor in keeping the symptoms at bay. I started meeting with a nutritionist that I knew from Arizona.  We began by taking out things that are known to cause inflammation in my body. Gradually I reduced from my daily diet things like saturated fat, processed foods, sugar, and dairy.  The goal was to create an environment that would allow my body to heal and recover. I never denied having the disease, but I wanted to do everything I could to be proactive for my own future.

I also started “speaking life” (for lack of a better way to say it) to myself. Each morning I would state the things I was thankful for and I would remind myself of who I am in Christ. I started meeting with a friend through work who teaches balance to aging seniors. Twice a month she would come to my office and we would work on strengthening my balance — little things like shifting my weight to eventually being able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, then 15 seconds, 30 seconds, then a minute+.

I also faithfully scheduled and kept my monthly massage appointments (I know… so tough!) And I started to really embrace what my pastor’s wife always says, “No thank you is a complete sentence.” I had to take care of me and I couldn’t feel badly about withdrawing from obligations, and not committing to everything that came across my desk.

The end of August, I had my three-month follow up with my neurologist. He wanted me to start taking maintenance drugs. He was not a fan of me following a holistic approach and in no uncertain terms told me that my markers were such that I was going to have another episode from which I would not fully come back from and that each episode would get progressively worse. That I would eventually end up with limited mobility and have a degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer’s.  I told him that I was not denying that I had the disease but I asked to hold off until December — that if in three months, the then 6-month MRI showed active or additional lesions that I would revisit the drug recommendation. He said, that sounded reasonable and I carried on with my plan of guided self-care.

Fast forward to mid-December, now six months after the initial symptoms. I get both a brain and c-spine MRI and go for some additional blood work. I was no sooner out of the MRI appointment when I get a call from the neurologist’s office letting me know that they had the results and asking to see me the next day. Of course, it’s rarely good news when they call you that quickly and amongst all the emotions, all I could say to myself was “but I feel better.”  I arrived at the office a bundle of nerves. Dr. E asked me if I had seen my report. I said I had not and he gave me a thumbs up and said, “it’s good news.” As he read the report to me, phrases like “improved white matter disease, no new lesions, and my favorite ‘the area of abnormal signal and contract enhancement (etc…yada yada yada) has shown marked improvement, barely discernible at this time'” flooded my heart and I couldn’t help but ask if I could hug him.

So, now two weeks later, I’m set to enter another new year. One that yet again is completely different than anything I’ve experienced before. I’m keeping on with my plan of self-care and nutrition and while the lesions may be barely discernible, that will not be the case with my joy. Bring it on 2017 – your girl is ready for you!