I’m Not Her

If you knew me before, you’ll understand.

If you entered my life, post-Mitch, this May be interesting for you.

I’m not the same naive girl I was, before.

I was an angry girl. I was dependent and kind of high strung. I needed to be center of attention, ALWAYS. I didn’t live myself. I hated the way I looked 90% of the time, and I didn’t care enough to take care of my own self, let alone anyone else.

I tried. Understand, that I tried very hard to take care of house and home, and did passably okay. I could have done much better. (can’t we all??)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely different, but I am definitely not that same girl I am still funny, social, and kind, and like surrounding myself with people who share the same interests.

Now, I’ve been shown that shit really can happen to me, and I take that seriously.

I COULD die.

I COULD get really sick.

I COULD be gone tomorrow.

Do I want to be remembered as the mean, hateful human being, that was a negative Nancy? Or, did I want to be the person that everyone could think highly of? A role model for women, girls, or even men and boys around the world? I’d rather set an example of how we can “be a better me today, than I was yesterday,” and leave a happy memory for anyone who has met me, to remember.

I am more of a “throw caution to the wind” yet, still “put on your seatbelt” kind of person.

I’m a “it’s probably okay…” Yet, “doctor time” kind of person.

I’m a “do your homework” but “figure out how to make it fun” kind of person.

I’m still an oversharer, but, I’m pretty sure I am MORE of an oversharer, now. Like, most people at work know when I need to poop or who I am TOTALLY crushing on at any given time.

I am at a point in my life where, if I hurt you, please, just tell me so I can see my errors and fix them. Before Mitch died, I lived by the idea that I could do no wrong. I have no idea why I believed such a moronic thing, but I did.

I love me. Yes, you read that right.

I

Absolutely

Love

ME!

I’m not obsessed with myself or conceited.

I love myself enough to say no.

I love myself enough to skip that slice of pizza.

I love myself enough (even though I’m in a workout rut) to go run before work.

I love myself enough to eat healthy.

I love myself enough to let go of men who don’t take me seriously. I’d rather be single than someone’s second thought.

I love myself enough to get out of bed, every single morning, take myself to work and do the best I can do, at work.

Through finding a self-love, I’ve learned that I’m not here to please everyone. I can be kind and I can be very blunt and truthful. My number one priority, emotionally, is to be happy. If I’m happy, I’m an all around better person.

I am aware that we can’t all be happy all of the time. I’m not that crazy. I am, however very aware of, and capable of, finding happiness in everything. Even if it is so painful. Even if it makes me feel guilty for finding that happiness, amidst the awful circumstances.

Like Rachel Hollis said at a conference she did, if you practice finding the good in every situation, you will be a happier version of you. If you search in the hardest of places, you CAN find the good. That’s not an exact quote as I do not recall the exact quote, but that’s pretty close.

I didn’t do that very much before. I mean, I found silver linings where many didn’t, but not in everything. I look deep sometimes, but the good is there. We just need to bring it into the light.

So, I am different. I am an improved version of my previous self. I am not new, but I am original.

Also, if you haven’t listened ti or Read Girl Wash Your Face, or Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis, do it! Read them. Listen to the books on audible if you have to.

This Isn’t The Life I Chose, But It Is The Life I Live.

This life isn’t for the faint of heart. I’m not saying my life is worse or better than anyone else’s. I’m not here to compare my demons with anyone around me, or one-up the next guy or gal.

I’m simply here, to tell you, that this life, like so many others, is not easy.

Forgive me if I repeat things, that I’ve already touched on before. But here goes:

Family history of mental illness.

Foster care.

Absent father, for most of my early childhood.

A grown man, related to my step dad, caught watching me take a bath… I was 12, in my own home.

Lost virginity at 13.

Ran away at 15, and lived on my own until I was 17 and moved in with my aunt, then back with my mom.

High school drop out.

Mental and sometimes physically abused by my step father.

Child protective services laughed at me when I called them about the bruises.

Mitch’s death.

Losing my job.

Here is how I survived, and how I continue to live a happy life.

I didn’t get any mental illnesses. Celebrate that!

Foster care opened my little baby eyes, and showed me my ability to deal with stress and heartache, Detachment problems, and trust.

I learned that I don’t. NEED a man to support me. I learned that through watching my mom raise us, in her single income.

Finding a man watching me bathe made me NEVER forget to lock a door, while I’m the bathroom. Never.

I lost my virginity, and now, as an adult, I can attest to wishing I’d have waited until I was older. I can explain the feelings to my daughter. I can list out in detail, why I shouldn’t have even been THINKING about sex at that age.

Living on my own, relying on no one but myself, taught me how to stretch $25 to last a whole week.

Dropping out of high school. I understand minimum wage. I understand not making livable wages. I am able to understand and relate, because I was there. It gives me a better, well rounded grasp of living and finances.

Abuse. I learned how to read people and situations. I can remove myself from an abusive situation and not fall victim, because I know the signs. I grew up with them.

Not getting help from child protective services made me realize and understand that our system needs to change. No one is there for the poor kids. I had a bruise the entire length of my hamstring, and they didn’t take me seriously.

Mitch passing far before I planned made me become the person who doesn’t plan too far in advance. Just a bit. It has made me the person who gives my all to everything. It’s made me appreciate who is around me. I see those who help me, even when others don’t see them. My heart has so much love to give, and so much to teach, and so much room to grow. Mitch will always be my greatest love.

Lastly, being fired. I learned that there is better out there. I needed to quit being too afraid, but nothing like a boot to get you rolling on your resume. And the amazing place I landed, surrounded by some amazing (goofy, annoying, and ridiculous) work family. Without being fired, I never would have found them.

So, there you have it. A brief summary of how I find a silver lining, everywhere. Each bad thing had some other good things, but I’m keeping this short.

Tonight, I put my wedding dress on, and it was too big!

It’s Been Too Long

I’ve started about 15 different times, to make a post. Each time I started writing, I fell asleep, or I hated the way the blog sounded as I read it back to myself. There were a couple times that I had a few too many drinks and started writing, and they came off as rants.

That’s not what I was going for. I still have them saved as drafts in my files. Maybe one day I’ll venture there and read them.

I have so much I want to say, but so little I can ACTUALLY get into, publicly, right now.

I’ve been at my current job since December of 2018, and I absolutely LOVE it there. We all know how I’m the annoying bitch who believes whole-heartedly that everything happens for a reason. Well, I have a job that I love, and coworkers who feel like family, and bosses who actually give a shit about their employees. I love that.

Financial Fears

Recently, I’ve lost my motivation to workout, or grocery shop, or do anything remotely adult-like, except work and pay bills. I traveled so much, so close together, and had previously (back in October and November of 2018) ran up my credit cards, and have been struggling to get intimate control.

Well, I’ve figured it out. I’ve taken a loan to pay my minuscule credit card debt, so I no longer feel like I’m drowning.

I’ve been monitoring my credit, pretty closely, since about November of 2016. I was mortified when I checked my credit report and saw how bad my score was. I LITERALLY cried. I told Mitch “Honey, if you left me, I’d be fucking homeless!” When he saw how stressed I was about my credit, and the bills that were in my name that were being ignored, we discussed my student loans, and getting them paid down. Mitch agreed to let me start autopay for my student loans.Ever so slowly, my credit has crept higher and higher, and I’m doing the things the credit companies suggest, to raise my credit score.

I’m on an upward trend. According to the credit monitoring sites (yes, I use multiple TRUSTED free sites) what I just did could potentially bump my credit score up by 76pts! That would be AMAZING! Please, wish me luck, send good vibes, a prayer, juju, or whatever you do, that I keep this up, because I would never forgive myself if I fail.

Family

Meg and I are growing closer as a unit, every day. I’m the “cool mom”, who is still absolutely the mom.

I’ve always been a HUGE advocate of the “choose your battles” advice, and I chose teaching kindness, acceptance, and love, along with school work as a priority. I try and try with the whole “pick up after yourself!” But I always end up letting everything get a complete disaster then make her clean her stuff up. I just wish there were a way to make kids really truly understand how much easier life is, if you pick up after yourself. I’m sure it’s genetic though. I was a messy messy kid. So was her father. Let’s just hope she grows out of it, soon.

Meg starts high school next month. HIGH SCHOOL! When did this happen? What am I going to do with an anxiety-ridden high school student??? We will figure it out. She has a few GREAT friends. All 4 of the kids have dad-probs. 2 have fathers who passed and 2 have dads who are awful to them (according to the kids. I’ve never met the fathers) The kids are great kids, even if they’re all a little weird. I hope they stay this tight knit group, all through high school. They’re very good for each-other.

Dating

I want to ask you, ladies a question. Did you ever have that crush in elementary school, where you wrote “Mrs. *their last name*” as often as you could, like you were practicing for when you were married to them? I remember one boy that I did this with. One. It seriously makes me laugh, because it’s so ridiculous, and weird and just flat out crazy child’s behavior. But wait…

I had stopped dating for a while. I mean, a little while. I decided to focus on myself, and Megan, my work, health and happiness.

When I was on my way to Nashville for one of my closest friend’s bachelorette party, (back in April) I got a Snapchat message from this guy. This guy (I’ll refer to him as Me. M) was the “boy” from elementary school. I was kind-of seeing someone (I’ll call him the Conservative). I was more “hopeful” that I was seeing someone. The Conservative talked to me every day, like we were dating, and at the time Mr. M messaged me, The conservative and I were a new thing, so I wasn’t sure where it was going. It honestly seemed pretty promising, aside from our HUGE political and religious differences. (Forehead slap) Anyway, when Mr. M messaged me, I told him I was seeing someone, currently, but I was really more focused on myself and Meg.

Mr. M texted every day. We snapped pics of what was happening in our day and sent them to each other. He never left. He never stopped talking to me. He was never rude, nor did he ask me out, again. He was (is) consistent. When the Conservative did the magic trick of disappearing, I just kept talking to Mr. M, and soon, I started smiling, every time I got a message from him.

I realized, about Mid-June that I wanted him to ask me on a date. I had a few drinks one evening and sent him a message. I said “Are you ever going to ask me out again, or have you given up?”

I had, previously, given him shit for smoking. I told him “I’ll never kiss a smoker!”

He responded “I thought you’d never date a smoker?”

I lol’ed and he never said anything about a date.

I purchased 4 tickets for a local comedy show, and invited him and a couple of my other friends to join me.

Mr. M was the only one who showed up.

We had fun. We sat outside after the show, and talked and finished our beers. That was June 29th. (Yes, I’m the weird person who remembers shit like the day of a first date. Plus the comedy show is still in my google calendar. Ha!)

We have had at least one date a week, since that night, and all seems to be going well.

But, I have a confession. I’m not sure if we are on the same page or not. I’m not sure if he realizes how I’ve allowed myself to be more vulnerable, with him. I’m not sure if he wants more from me than just dates and sex. I hope so. I don’t k ow how to broach that subject, because I think it’s just silly, sometimes. I like just watching it play out, but I’m also old, and life is short, and I want to KNOW! I don’t know where I stand in his book, but I know where he is in mine.

I’m not sure how this dating thing works. I’m not sure how you determine when you’ve become a “couple” or anything like that. I’m still just living my life, the best way I know how, and trying to share my world with everyone else.

I’m very much the woman who can talk to anyone. I’m very opposite from Mr. M in this area. I don’t mind that he is a private guy who doesn’t like socializing with strangers. I just hope he doesn’t mind that I’m a very open person, who socializes with EVERYONE. I have been this type of person since I was a tiny tot, inviting “drug dealers” or “gang bangers” (I can’t remember what my mom referred to them as) to my house for whatever reasons I would.

Motivation

I mentioned how my motivation has fizzled, above. But I didn’t mention that today, when I was at hill repeats, struggle-bussing my way through that workout, I regained my motivation.

I haven’t been running much at all the last month and a half. It’s really starting to show.

I’ve decided to get off my ass, and get myself back together, on a regular schedule, and keeping it up. I reset all of my alarms back to earlier than the normal human, and will be getting up and going on my morning runs, again. I emptied my refrigerator, deep freezer and cabinets of all crap food and went grocery shopping today, and filled up on healthy options. I’ll be starting my day, tomorrow with an early run, followed by a lot of meal prepping, for the week. I’m done being unmotivated. I need to keep motivated, and to keep motivated, I need to eat healthy, and have the healthy options readily available.

Now, in order for me to get up and go run, I’ll need to end this here.

Remember, it’s okay to get off track once in a while. Just, don’t get too far off that you can’t find your way back.

All The Small Things

There are days where I believe Mitch is walking right next to me, or running with me, or flying alongside. I watch as birds fly right up to me, while I am out for a run, and land, then run the path ahead of me or beside me. Like this morning. I felt Mitch’s presence so strongly, then I was met by a normal brown-bellied bird, on the sidewalk. It looked at me, as it landed, and ran ahead, leading me down the street. He traveled just about a half of a block, and I felt happy. It was weird and amazing and so random.

bird

 

Small things.

All the small things that we miss.

I was running outside, for the first time, in a while, aside from my races, and remembered how lovely it can smell outside early in the morning. The flowers, the grass, the trees, and randomly planted bushes and plants. Just slow down, take a deep breath, and soak it in. Memorize the beauty of everything we are too busy to see.

Appreciate the small things. They’re the things that make up ninety-five percent of your life. And we are missing most of them.

Stop letting life overwhelm you.

Force yourself to slow down.

When your kids talk, do you hear them? Do you REALLY hear them?

Be present. Listen with everything you have, and do not listen to respond, listen to HEAR. Listen to UNDERSTAND! Listen to feel.

Put yourself into the shoes of those who are speaking to you.

This is something I work on, still. I once was a fabulous conversationalist. Now, I feel like I’m lacking in it. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t hear half of what’s being said to me.

As I sit here, in my employee break-room, with about 8 of my coworkers, I have my face in a device, because this is on my mind, so much, that I feel the need to express it, and share with everyone who reads. I could be sitting at the table having a conversation with my work friends, but, I can’t stop thinking about this topic. It’s been weighing on my mind for a couple of days.

conversation cartoon

I know I am guilty of this, and I want to apologize if I have ever done this to you. Chances are, I have.

Cell phones. Text messages, social media messages, etc. They should never take priority over the person standing right in front of you. It’s time to step away from our devices when surrounded by real live people. Get reacquainted with human interactions.

The value of a real, live conversation is so much more than the value of a monotonous text conversation. The expression from real conversation keeps confusion out of the conversation. The feel, the touch, the eye contact. All of that MAKES conversation. The moment you look at your phone, in the middle of a human to human, face to face conversation, you are saying, “this phone, or this social media post is more important than you.”

Stop. We all need to stop.

I’m not on a pedal stool, with this. As I have said before, I am so guilty of this and I am so sorry. I don’t want to devalue my friendships.

Human touch. As a widow, I don’t get “touched” like I did, before my husband died.

Regular hugs, booty grabs, hand holding, being sat on, etc. These things that were taken for granted are things I miss tremendously. I love hugs. Hugs make me happier. I love giving hugs and receiving hugs.

When Mitch was alive, I could snuggle right into his chest and he’d hug me for as long as I needed, at ANY time of our day. Even if I woke him up in the middle of the night, and wanted to be held. He was there.

There are times that I think its human touch that I crave, and not sexual encounters, or anything like that. Just the everyday feeling of love from a source that doesn’t have ulterior motives. The trust. God damn, I miss being able to trust someone with all of my heart. That is the hardest thing about being widowed in this society. I question if good people still exist. I mean, there are good people, and there are good people who are also good at relationships, but they are far and few between.

I also feel like I am a magnet for men who don’t have their shit together, so I avoid those circumstances. I don’t get involved outside of friendship and make it very clear that I don’t want that in my life. I am solo, but I am also straight-up. I have most of my shit together, but I also know that ANYthing can fuck it up. Being stable is a fragile place for a single, middle class mother. One tiny thing could take my stability and throw it out the window on the freeway. So, for any guy who may have asked me out, and I have said no, I apologize, but I am in need of a man who is independent, and who can hold his job. No need to be hurt by that statement. If anything, I hope it motivates you to get your shit together. We are closer to 40 than we are to 30, so, lets just remember that.

quote

I’m aware of my self-worth, so, I am going to be picky as hell about who I let into my life. With that said, I will not try to convince anyone of my worthiness. It will be seen by the people who wish to acknowledge it.

Live your life happy, and love the ones you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with beautiful (on the inside) humans, and build one-another up. Avoid negative behaviors, given or received.

Water

off

the

duck’s

back.

water off a duck's back

 

**I am sorry for the all over, bouncy nature of this post. I hope the point is still there.**

***I blame all of the coffee.***

 

Hey, Mitch.

IMG_2883

 

Johnny got married this past weekend. Hopefully you saw. His bride, Tina,  was stunning. Megan went, and she even wore a dress. She was wearing her Vans, but,  still in a dress and looked gorgeous.

Our OCR group took over the bar area, and served everyone drinks all night, because we can never just sit still, and we always seem to have our hands in everything, helping wherever we can. I wish you were able to meet these people, babe. They’ve become some of my closest friends. They encourage me to keep going, and most of them only knew of you, what I told them, and they all love you, too. You were definitely a keeper, that’s for sure.

I think about how I hit the jackpot with you. I know you always claimed we were like the couple from King Of Queens, “I’m the fat guy with the super hot wife!” I love you. I love how you loved me. I love how we loved each other. It was beautifully meant to be. No question.

I was telling someone yesterday, about how I used to HATE when you shaved, because you would always leave a huge mess with your little red beard hairs all over the bathroom. I loved that red beard.

I followed that up with how I ran out of shaving cream, recently, and decided to use your shave bar, and how I sat on the floor of the shower, as the water blasted me, and cried my eyes out, because your little red beard hairs were still in the shave bar and dish. It smelled like you, and there was a little piece of you right there, like you were still here. But, you’re not. You’re no longer here, in my realm.

I survived that bout of tears, as I will survive many many more. I don’t fear my tears, anymore. I don’t fear crying in front of anyone. I don’t fear the reactions I may receive in the event of crying in the oddest of places. I just do. If someone asks if I am okay, I always tell them “I will be. Give me a minute.”

Race season is coming up, and it’s coming up FAST! I am hosting a workout with a few other KCOCR admins, this Saturday to help the general public get ready for Warrior Dash. It’s so cool, because it’s a free workout, and Warrior Dash posted it on their social media pages to help spread the word! Remember when I would get up at ungodly hours, and go work out at different gyms, with our tiny group? That tiny group is HUGE now. There’s almost 1,000 of us, and now I am one of the moderators, alongside some amazing people.

My strength and conditioning coach got an amazing opportunity to put his degree to use, and make some pretty great money (I am guessing about the money), and will be moving to New York! I’m super happy for him. He’s created a monster in me. HA! I’ve lost weight, built muscle and strength. I haven’t looked this good in decades!

OH!! You won’t believe this! I am down to a size 6! I can even fit in some 4s. It’s crazy! I haven’t been this small since before I got pregnant with Megan.

Speaking of Meg…

I’m at a loss. I can’t get her to clean her room. Her room, sadly, looks just like your basement bedroom always did. Moldy dishes, bottles of drinks all over. Goldfish crushed into the floor. Trash, clothes, and hangers EVERYWHERE!! Towels all over. You get it. You know what your room looked like. That’s what her’s is like, and it’s driving me insane. I mean, I get a little messy sometimes, now, but not dirty messy. Just stuff like a basket with 13 loads of clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away, or dishes after a big meal prepping day. I know. You probably think I’m crazy. I just can’t stand having a messy home anymore. I’m less exhausted this way. I don’t have to think too much about where my things are, and that makes me a happy person.

I also can’t get her to improve her grades. She is, well, lets just say it isn’t looking good.

I wish you were here to help me help her. I try. I try hard.

She is smart. I know she’s smart. She knows she’s smart. But, some stuff, she just doesn’t DO and it’s causing her to get bad grades.

She’ll get it. I know she will. She’ll figure out how badly failing classes will be for her, in the future.

If there is a God, please, tell her I need guidance, because she isn’t listening to me. Or him?

I have decided to attempt actual dating, now. Although I love you with so much vigor, and will always love you, whole heartedly, I have come to realize that there is a growing chamber of my heart that is going to allow me to love another person, some day. I’m not saying anytime soon, and it’ll never be the love that we shared, because that cannot be duplicated. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great love, too. Right? I know you’d want me to be happy, and you wouldn’t want me to be alone forever.

Oh! When I went on a date the other day, I ACTUALLY let him open the truck door for me, and accepted help in and out, like a lady should. Remember when I threw the feminist shit at you? “do NOT open my door for me! I am fully capable!” I’m so sorry. I was so young. I didn’t think about it being a nice gesture, or an act of respect. I’m growing more to understand the things I didn’t know while you were here. In some ways I am so sad that I didn’t figure these things out, while you were still alive. I wonder how I never realized some things. I should have let you be the man you wanted to be for me. I mean, you were definitely the man for me, but I didn’t allow you to be a typical gentleman, from the very beginning. There is so much Love and so much respect for you, that I wanted you to see me for the independent woman I really was.

I wasn’t “independent” then. I mean, sure, I could do this or that by myself, but I had no idea what was happening with bills, the bank account, or anything else, for that matter, for many many years.

Our 16 year wedding anniversary is coming up. It’s crazy to think we would have been married 16 years. Together for 19, come August. If I didn’t live the beautifully tragic love story of us, I wouldn’t believe it. Or I would, but I wouldn’t believe that the widow is still sane, and functioning for every day life. It’s like a story someone made up, so they could sell books or tickets to a movie.

But here I am, babe. You’d be proud, as you ever were, that I am not only an independent woman, raising one hell of an amazing daughter, but, I am helping to run our obstacle course group, working full time, keeping myself in shape and our home under control. I am making more time for friends and family, and I am living this life I was granted.

I miss your beard hair in my sink. I miss all of your nearly gone body wash and shampoo bottles in the shower. I miss the way you smelled after mowing the grass or rolling around on the floor playing with the dogs. I miss the way you would try to lock Megan or myself into a room by tying things to door knobs, or trying to play pranks. I miss all the things that made you who you were.

Forever love is forever, and that’s what we share. No matter the shift I feel within myself, It’s not a change in my love for you, at all. It’s a growing change. An amazing,  unbelievable growth within myself, that I never ever would have thought possible.

Until we meet again,

With all of my heart,

Tabbie

Hopefully the quality of my video is okay. I had to screen-record because I cannot download it. This was at The Life Celebration.

I Used to be a Christian

“The other day, when I was reading something you posted, it hit me. YOU are the writer!”

 

I know, the title is going to get everyone’s panties in a wad.

Chill out.

Read it.

You’ll get it.

I am 36 years old.

I have one HELL of a story to tell.

I’m not sure I’ll make money off of it, but it I do, I’ll have to A: change the names of the people so I don’t have to get their consent to tarnish their names, or B: Get consent from people I love dearly, to drag their names through the mud, because it’s a part of my story.

I remember when I was little. I remember going to church and loving Sunday school. I remember coloring and playing with other kids, praying at night for all of my loved ones and even all the strangers I never met, and never would meet to be safe. I was naive. I believed that if I prayed for EVERYONE, everyone would be safe. Then, one day, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, accepting Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior, as I was dunked into a pool of water in front of a congregation.

I was 7.

I remember, because I remember the look on my dad’s face when I told him I wanted to be baptized. It was a look I craved. A look of acceptance, of love, pride and happiness. I believed that Jesus was good and God loved all of mankind.

The older I got, the more confused I became. It wasn’t because of outside influences. It was because of everything I had read in the Bible.

I’m not going to bash the Bible, or God, or Jesus, or Christians.

I guess, I am writing this to say a few things. I am one of those “think outside the box” types of person. I know. You probably never would have guessed it, am I right? ha!

I have read the Bible. I have read it cover to cover a few times.

It. Makes. NO. Sense. It’s about as contradictory as anything could be.

But that’s okay. MOST of it is good guidelines for how to be a good person.

Jesus was this totally rad dude, who helped poor people, sex addicts, drug addicts, thieves and more! He totally loved them and taught them how to be good people. He proved to them that the choices they were making weren’t the only choices set out for them. He showed them that, although a rough road, a possible road. Right?

Totally cool guy. Loving, accepting, nurturing.

One of those guys you aspire to be like. Right?

Well, you don’t have to BELIEVE the Bible, to believe in the main character. Right?

Either way, my “faith” is different than it was when I was a child.

I have lived. I have observed. I have survived, and have stayed pretty damn level headed in the process.

At the point where one would finally break, I, instead,  keep striving for better. Not to GET something better, but to BE something better.

When I was a child, I believed that I would forever be protected. Nothing bad could happen to cause heartache or sadness, or the things that I have experienced through my 36 years of life.

Boy, was I wrong.

I say something that I know may piss off a lot of people, but I believe it one hundred percent.

Everything happens for a reason.

I’m sure many people who are grieving right now want to reach through their screens and slap the ever-loving shit out of me, right now.

I believe it. You do not have to. But, I do. I always will.

I REALLY met Mitch at a point in my life where I was really ready to call it quits with dating. I honestly never wanted to see another man in a dating manner again. (That was my dramatic teenage mind)

He walked into McDonald’s, smiled his brilliant smile at me, and told me I was coming to his birthday party.

You read that right. He didn’t ask if I’d go. He told me I was going.

“Hey, What are you doing this weekend? Oh? going to my birthday party. Okay, We’ll pick you up at 6!”

I was stunned. I was shocked. I was ALREADY in love with that boy, and he didn’t even know. We were both 17 years old.

He walked into that McDonald’s on the most perfect night, with the best “invite” to a birthday party I had ever received.

I think if God is real, he laughed when I swore to all things holy that I would NEVER name my child Megan, when I was 15 years old…

Que the laughter…

My favorite human, aka my daughter, is Megan. I can’t even imagine her with a different name.

Just as I remember the first time he “asked” me out, I remember our last night together. I remember what he had for dinner. I remember what movie we watched. I remember the words he spoke, as if they were gospel.

I remember his hand as he held mine during that movie.

I remember the next day, when I walked… ran to the doors of the FedEx Hub only to be dragged into an office and told that he was gone. I remember thinking “There’s no way there is a god. There’s no way a god would take such a man from this earth. No way!”

I always joked with Mitch about how I didn’t remember life before him. I think I phrased it wrong. I remembered life before him, but it felt like another lifetime. Like everything was happening as it should .

When he died, I had that same feeling. Everything is falling into place. Everything is exactly as it should be.

I hate it. Megan hates it. Our families hate it.

But that feeling. Gawwwwwd that feeling.

I’ve thought so many times that if anyone knew how I felt, how I felt as thought this is meant to be, I’d be looked at as heartless.

Now, though, I know I am not. I know my family and my friends, my coworkers and my past coworkers know that I am not heartless.

Mitch, I believe, completed his mission here. Whatever his mission was, he completed it, and he did it FAST.

I can tell you that whoever was supposed to learn from him, learned well.

Whatever it was he taught, he taught it without knowing he did.

I feel like I was a part of his mission, but definitely not the whole of it.

He taught me to be kind, even when I didn’t want to be. He taught me to see everyone’s point of view, and not take sides. He taught me that I have the ability to be amazing, I just needed to put forth the effort. (still trying, babe!) He taught me, most of all, that good men did still exist. He taught me that there were really still good fathers. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I could write a book about how much like Jesus Mitch was. He never “laid hands on” and “healed” people like the Bible says Jesus did, but he sure did heal people with his words, his kindness, his acceptance, and his love. He talked to everyone, and he helped everyone.

So, again, I say: I used to be a Christian.

Now, I no longer align myself with any one religion, but, I believe that something is out there. Something is in charge and we are mere pawns in a game.

Am I winning?

Am I losing?

I guess I will only know when I pass on to the next realm.

Until then, I will continue my path of love and acceptance. I will not intentionally harm anyone. I will cherish my family and friends. I will teach kindness, empathy, and happiness through example.

 

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All Out Honesty

Vulnerability.

Openness.

Honesty.

Sharing.

I’ve been holding back. This blog is supposed to be me being straight forward about how I am dealing. So, here goes.

I’ve been holding onto information, again, for fear that I will be judged, ridiculed, etc. (I don’t know why I fear this as it’s never really something that happens.) I think its just a stigma that’s attached to the title “widow”.

I am an oversharer, but I try to be graceful in what I say. TRY being the key word.

I can’t always be graceful.

I have to say, I am participating in the dating scene, however, I am uninterested in the dating apps. I actually met someone, face to face, and we talked for the entire night. Until about 3am.

I took him home.

Yeah. That’s the kind of shit I’ve been holding back on. Yes, I understand that I am a “single” woman, and have the right to do whatever I damn well please. But…

Taking a guy home like that isn’t my game. I don’t do that kind of thing.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, or get all weird, but there was just something truly honest about the guy. (for fuck’s sake, don’t let me be wrong.)

Only time will tell, truthfully.

This leads me to another thing.

Sure, I have OBVIOUSLY slept with men, since I was widowed. That’s not news. It’s just a fact. I’m no whore, by any means, and if I were, that’d be just fine too. (but I’m definitely not.)

With those guys, it was an agreed upon thing, that there were no strings. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to try too hard to make things work, when things wouldn’t work because of how broken I was. I didn’t believe that I was worthy of an actual relationship. I didn’t believe that I was going to have the ability to give as much as I could receive.

I’ve mentioned before that I am sure when it comes to the point where I am ready to be in a relationship, I would know.

I know.

I don’t know if this guy I met is “the guy”. It’s too soon to even think like that. Every person we meet through life, we meet for a reason.

Happenstance? Naw. I don’t really believe in that.

We were both at the same place at the same time, neither of us frequent flyers to that place.

Every single person.

Every single thing.

All of it.

It’s all happening for a reason.

This guy may not be “THE GUY”, but he may very well be one of the ones who has helped make it clear to me that I am ready.

I want to go into so much more detail about everything, but now’s not the time.

I can say, when I woke up the next morning, and he was laying there, we had a conversation, and he told me, as I was taking 3 aleve, that his “heart tries to kill him”. MY heart sank.

I thought, “well fuck. What the fuck did I get myself into?”

I said “Excuse me?” and he repeated himself. I thought maybe, just maybe, I misheard him. He had to get home to take his heart meds.

Okay god, or goddess, or gods of the world. I see your hand. I see your hand, and I’ll play.

I pointed to my husband’s shelf, with our wedding photo, his box, and his seattle Seahawks hat, and replied “So did my husband’s”.

I think he damn near fell off the bed. We chatted a little about what happened, and how we weren’t aware of Mitch’s heart, until after he passed.

But I like the guy.

I like him in a way that I am pretty okay with working a little harder to find time to spend together, even if it’s just to go out for dinner, and talk. I could be wrong about him. I’m prepared for that. Mentally, I am fully prepared to be wrong.

I did get drunk in Nashville, and texted him and asked him if he was a good guy. Yeah. I went there. I’m a little unfiltered at times.

He said he thinks he is.

We will see.

I wasn’t wanting to find myself in a situation like this, if you can even call it a situation, really. Just a thought.

It sounds so weird and super girly “ohhhh ahhhhh” type stuff.

It’s not. It’s just that I am willing to find time in my schedule, to see a person that isn’t family or a friend I’ve known for a while. Those of you who know me know that’s not how I play. My schedule is ridiculously booked all the time. I have to plan way far in advance, if I want to see people. It has to be scheduled. It’s dumb. I know. But I race, and I work, and I train for races, and I take call shifts at work. It’s a thing. It’s a whole big crazy thing.

But I love it. I love what I do. I love the busy life. I love taking Meg to different states and her having people she knows in every state we go to.

I’m very tired, and there is so much more I want to say, so hold on. It’s probably going to get bouncy.

I saw a post yesterday and I just had to take it. It makes me think of how most men react to me. They act like I am fragile.

Guys hear widow, and think they’re going to really hurt me if they don’t want to see me again.

I think it’s so funny. Like hysterical even. If we meet, and you aren’t interested, just be honest. Not being interested is 100% acceptable.

If all you want is a hook-up, be up front and honest about it. I’ll survive.

If you actually want something from me, say so.

it’s not a game. There’s no reason to string someone along, if you have zero intentions of seeing them again. There’s no reason to pretend like you want to keep in touch if all you wanted was a hookup, or if you aren’t actually interested in anything further than sex.

I just don’t understand.

All. Out. Honesty.

I deleted my dating apps.

All of them.

I want to try with him.

Define Yourself

     Sometimes, I sit and I wonder what people think of me. I don’t wonder too deeply on it, but I do think about it from time to time. When it comes to being an “open book”, you can count on me  to be that person. If I hook-up with someone, all of my closest girlfriends know. If I start to like someone, even when I know I shouldn’t, my closest friends know.

     I’m not real keen on keeping my life private. I never really cared about what people know about me. I don’t hide things, I don’t pretend to be someone I am not, and I don’t avoid things. I just live.

So, can you look at yourself in the mirror and define you? List 10 things about yourself, good or bad, and be comfortable telling friends, family, or even a complete stranger?

I want to list 10 things that define me, and tell you why I chose those words. I will list 5 positive things and 5 thins that are possibly negative, depending on your beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

     10 Things That Make Me Me. 

 

  1. Healthy.   I have taken the time, over the last few months, to improve my eating habits and be sure that I am eating Healthy. I have been working on my physical form for a while, because I want my insides to be healthy, as well.
  2. Athlete. I am not elite. I am not the fastest. I am not the strongest. But I am an OCR athlete. I workout so that I can do better at Obstacle course races, as well as be a healthier human.
  3. Talkative. I was blessed with the gift of gab. I promise I can have a conversation with just about any person I come across. I have a bit of life experiences and a little knowledge on a lot of subjects, so I can chat it up. If someone talks about something I don’t know about, I have them talk to me about it. Then, I learn a bit about something new, and store it for the future. My coworkers ask if my and my best friend’s names should be the other way around. “Are you sure you aren’t Gabbi, and she’s Tabbie?” My mom even called me “Gabby Tabby” when I was a small child. When I got my report card, in kindergarten, I had all “Y” grades. My brother told me it meant “yak yak yak!” I talk. I talk a lot sometimes. Sometimes I say really important things, and sometimes I have no idea what’s coming out of my mouth. You never know what is about to be said when I am around. I keep everyone on their toes.
  4. Organized. Everything has it’s place, and it should go there. It drives some people crazy, especially my teenage daughter.
  5. Spontaneously scheduled. You never know what I am going to do, or how I am going to do it. I am trying something new, or going somewhere new, on a regular basis. I’m living my life the best way I know how. I say spontaneously scheduled, because I will decide on a Tuesday to go to Georgia that Friday, then plan it and make it work.
  6. Free Thinker. I don’t conform. I never have, and I never will. I don’t fit into anyone’s box. I am my own person. In a world full of Left and Right, I am dead center, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about that. The world isn’t black and white, it is black and white with a whole lot of grey between, and I make it a point to see the grey in everything.
  7. Optimistic Realist. I’ve gone into deeper detail on this before. I find that silver lining, in any situation, but I also am realistic. I know and see the lines between reality and fantasy. I don’t long for unrealistic things, nor do I let my kid or friends believe they can do impossible things.
  8. Widow. I am a widow, through and through. I can be completely straight faced and talk about my husband one day, and snot cry all over you, saying the same thing, the next. It’s very hit or miss with my emotions, but I don’t fight them. I also don’t allow them to control me. I believe that I am stronger, emotionally, now.
  9. Mom. I am a mother. My daughter is the most important human to me. Period. When it comes to “mothering” you can find me packing snacks for road trips, always having things we are going to need, like paper towels or extra underwear.
  10. Sexual. I am a very sexual human being. I flirt without the goal of actually having sex with people. I have a sexual sense of humor, and feel no shame about it. I am also sexual in the way that if I meet someone, we connect on a sexual level, then I may or may not “hook up” with them. I’m not on the prowl, by any means. If I do meet someone, and sleep with them, I intentionally avoid all passes by other people, and wait to see if anything more comes of that situation. I’m in no hurry.

 

 

There’s my list. I told you some may be things that make you think differently about me. Something may surprise you. Something may piss you off. Something may make you love me more. Something might make you want to hang out with me.

It is what it is. I am sure there are other words that people would use to describe me, but this is about self definition. Self awareness. How I view me. the top 10 things. I could have included things like “spunky, empath, strong, willful, hyper, silly, etc”, but I’ll stick with the 10.

Can you do it? I ask you, throw out 10 words that you feel describe you. I don’t need a description for each, but if you put it, I’ll read it.

I write this entry, because its important to know yourself. You may find you can’t pick 10 words. You may find 400 words.

Who?

Are?

You?

Do you know?

Share your beautiful YOU with the world. (or with my readers and me!)

 

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What Is Life, Without A Little Death?

Here death strikes again.

So many people, such a short time.

It has happened since long before any of us, and will continue with us and way after us.

Death

It’s inevitable.

We all live our lives. We go and go. Some of us are moving so quickly through life, that we are missing out on the things that really are the more important things.

I was guilty of this. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have since figured out a better balance, though.

I love my family.

I love my friends.

I love racing, and birthdays, and listening to my people talk about their lives, and the things that they are passionate about.

I’m not very good at asking the questions, or initiating conversation, but that’s because I will listen to you tell me about your passions, your grief, your day at work.

When Mitch died, in January of 2017, I was confused. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t really wonder why, so much as “What the Fuck?” It wasn’t an angry wtf, so much as a confused, how could this have happened type question. Once we knew the science and biology behind, I stopped asking. I knew.

That question was answered.

You hear people say, all of the time, “god only gives you what he knows you can handle.” If you believe in God, this has to be true.

You may not know you have it in you, until LIFE (or death really), slaps you in the face.

Wednesday, after I ran 10 miles and was in my car, headed to get some food, I received a phone call. My father in law lost his girlfriend. (They might as well had been married. They had that connection, and that unconditional love. They were only missing the legal documentation).

Let me throw out a little back story on this man, without going too deep into details, or anything.

This man was married to my husband’s biological mother. He adopted my husband, and had 2 more children with his wife, Megan.

When Megan was in her early-mid twenties (I don’t want to screw up on the details), she was murdered in a bar, by a crazy man.

This man, Mike, became a widower father to 3 children, one of which was a tiny baby girl.

He did not handle that well. I mean, who could blame him, right? His wife was murdered. What was he supposed to do?

Fast forward through some addictions and runaways, some verbal fights, and a bit of time in jail, a couple of marriages, divorces and a couple more kids, grandbabies and sobriety.

Here we are, he’s the father of 5 now. He’s gotten his head together, he’s trying very hard to be a good man.

His eldest son dies. The son he adopted, when the son was just a boy, and had his mother ripped from him. The father who may have had his problems surviving this life, lost his son.

He had an amazing woman by his side, to help keep him together. She was there to keep him steady, and remind him that he would be okay. He would make it through this.

Fast forward a little over 2 years, and his girlfriend is now with his first wife, and eldest son.

If god is real, and only gives people what they can handle, he sees something heroic in Mike.

I’m so devastated, for him, and can’t even begin to imagine how his mind is processing.

I’ve been told I’ve handled all of my adversity with grace, and I don’t know. It’s what everyone on the outside sees, when my insides are a screaming and tangled and threatening escape.

But death. Death is one thing we are all going to face.

Death is inevitable, and I don’t think we should fear it. I’m not afraid. I don’t want to die, and I’d never do anything to speed up the process, or invite it sooner. I want to live into my old age, maybe meet a second soulmate, and grow old together with them. I want to have grandbabies and a son-in-law (or daughter-in-law. I’m not picky)

I want to watch my daughter grow into a woman, and watch her find her soulmate, fall madly in love, marry, and grow into her adulthood.

I really love living. I think that Mike is realizing that he loves living as well. Even through the grief that seems to keep being added to his plate, he becomes just a little bit stronger, each round.

I wanted to share his story, because many people judge. Many people do not KNOW. People will never truly understand. But, just the briefest summary of the shot hand this man was felt, and he’s still here. He’s still standing. He is STILL putting one foot in front of the other.

The world we are on is still spinning.

The bills still need to be paid.

Our work here isn’t done, yet.

Death: The only thing guaranteed of life.

Live while you can!

Find happiness!

Be who you are!

Never stop saying their name!

Mary. Megan. Mitch. Sandra. Annie. Gramma and Grandpa McAnany.

Only their bodies are gone. We are forever able to remember them through our pictures, and our memories. We have videos, and voices recorded, now.

On the days we miss them the most, I think their spirits are the closest. Our human form cannot process their presence without their human form, so we interpret their spiritual presence as sadness, and yearning, and missing them.

We FEEL them, but we cannot touch or see them.

May all of our loved ones be partying like rock-stars.

Annie.

Has.

Arrived!

We will miss her, of course. But she is definitely in good hands now.

I Want Something Real.

I know I’ve said a million times, before that I’m not interested in relationships, or having a boyfriend or whatever terminology I had used.

My reasoning for not wanting this type of relationship in my life is to avoid the possibility of heartache, that can accompany such a relationship.

Does anyone trust anymore?

Is there anyone out there who still believes that monogamy is important, not only for your mental health, but for your sexual health as well?

I can’t and I can believe how I got myself into feeling like I wasn’t worthy of being a second half of another relationship. “I’m broken.” “It wouldn’t be fair to you, to date me.” Etc etc etc.

To be fair, to myself, I AM worthy. I am more worthy than I have ever given myself credit for. My life experiences have taught me how to care deeper, and love stronger than I ever have. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, and enjoy the happy moments.

The life I was given is one of many, MANY ups and downs. I’m talking about all the back, since I was a small child. Foster care. High school drop out. Mentally and physically abused by my mom’s husband. Always living as if I weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pay the bills. Losing my husband, then losing my job.

Luckily, I have survived, and I have grown, and I am thriving. I am learning.

It’s hard to admit that. It hurts to admit that the horrible, awful things that have happened to me, have all made me a better human. I don’t know why it hurts me to admit it. I feel like, admitting how I’ve grown, is like saying “it’s a good thing all these bad things happened!” And it feels like I’m asking the world to throw me what It’s got, like I’m trying to prove to the world, or to god, or the goddess, or gods that I can’t be broken. And that’s not what I want. I’m not looking for more pain and agony. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone or anything. I just need to keep moving, progressively forward.

I mean, I am a better person today, than I was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 5 years ago.

Being forced to find myself has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

But, finding me, and finding my worth, and knowing what I have to offer makes me like me.

I’m content being alone, and avoiding the people who only want one thing. I’m not sorry that I had my phase of hooking up with people, or having friends with benefits. Without that step in my life, I don’t think I would have realized how much it really does suck to go on, as if I don’t want someone around. Something real. Something with substance.

I do. I want substance. I want all the feels. I want the love that I know I deserve, and I want to find someone who I can trust and fall in love with.

I use the term “find someone” loosely. I’m not looking, but I’m not closed to the idea anymore.

I feel, as I write this, that I am opening myself up to so much criticism, and possibly questions.

I also feel as though, some parts of this may sound like a conceited princess. I get that. But, what I say is true.

I deserve more than hookups and friends with benefits.

Let me get into “friends with benefits” for just a second, while I am thinking about it.

Benefits.

Sex?

What about compassion, and love, and support, and having someone by your side, for the duration?

What about sharing your life?

What benefits are there, when you have sex with a friend?

None. I can tell you this from experience. Someone gets attached, and the other doesn’t. The one who becomes attached, or begins to have expectations ends up hurt, while the other friend just goes on about their life.

It happens.

That doesn’t seem too beneficial to me.

It sounds like the mindset of people who are too afraid to commit and too afraid to get hurt, and too afraid to FEEL!

I know.

I was there.

I’m no longer afraid to feel.

I’m no longer scared of being hurt, scared so deeply that I’d rather not feel the good things, too.

I’m no longer afraid of the things that I once had, and in my mind, I will always have.

Love.

Love is the scariest feeling.

It’s a feeling where you become so vulnerable, and you lay your heart out there, but not just out there. You’re placing your heart into the hands of someone else, and trusting them to keep it going strong.

You’re trusting someone to not drop it, or squeeze it. You’re trusting them to nurture it, and allow it to flourish, to grow and become bigger, and to create this bond, as you, too, hold their heart in the palms of your hands, not crushing or dropping it, also nurturing their heart, allowing it to flourish and become larger and able to take the love between one another and allow it to grow deeper and deeper.

Love is infinite, and unconditional.

Love isn’t on days you pick and choose. It’s on all of the days.

It’s on the days that you are sick or they are sick. It’s on the days when you’re being an asshole or she’s being a bitch.

Love is always.

Love is forever.

Love is work.

Love is pain.

Love is bliss.

Love is the very best of friendships.

Love is something I’m no longer afraid of.

No more fear.