My Fairytale: 1 Year in the Making of Happily Ever After.
This is going to be emotional and mushy and ooey.gooey.gross. Maybe even cheesy and make people want to vomit, but I don’t care. I talk enough about the real life drama of my threefold and I. It’s time for the prettier side of our lives. A happier side. A life with promises of happily ever after afters, fairytales and magic. It’s not make believe, it’s all real and sometimes I can’t believe it either. I’m happy and head over heels in love! Love is magical and the most beautiful part of life. It’s what I believe it’s all about. The reason. There are so many types of love and I have experienced them all – parental love, first love, friend love, toxic love, familial love, painful love, and then there is true love. That’s my focus today and that’s exactly what I have found.
In the beginning I was scared. I was weary of anyone with pretty words and big promises. I was coming out of a fifteen year toxic, narcissistic, abusive marriage. I’m 37. I have three kids and I have a lot of damage and baggage. Not sure why anyone would want to get into anything more than a little fun with me. My confidence and my identity was nearly nonexistent. I felt I was good at faking it. Inside I was unhappy and unfulfilled in many areas of my life. Why in the world was THIS man pursuing me? That answer is still lost on me. He is attractive, positive, works hard, funny and unapologetically him. I was so attracted to that energy. He made everything fun and was complimentary. He spoke well of others and was committed in everything he did. He gives his all into everything he does. I was intrigued by a person who seemed so happy, confident and at ease. I resisted at first, the advances, only showing my interest by flirting back and forth. I threw away his phone number but I’m a person who remembers things and his was too easy for me to just forget. I held off and didn’t text him. I didn’t save it in my phone. Weeks went by and he just wouldn’t give up. Finally on a Sunday afternoon I texted him. We texted for hours. The texts began daily and then started my day. I was like a teenage girl full of exhilarated by the easy conversation and very quickly realized that we were a lot alike. He had been divorced for a long time and was coming out of a rather toxic relationship with a long time girlfriend. He has a daughter, just one that’s right in the middle of the two oldest of my threefold. He was sweet and considerate. I found myself having fun again and learning new things about myself and what I wanted in a relationship eventually.
Text messages turned to stolen kisses and sneaky hot make out sessions. Meet up arrangements were served for lunch or after work just to have a quick kiss before heading back to the real world of life. We kept our kids in the dark and didn’t want to get them involved immediately. We kept work professional and kept friends hidden away. We were each other’s secret that we kept from the world around us. It was easy and we didn’t commit to anything more than a few nights of walking in a neighborhood, sitting in parking lots and window shopping. In the easy, I was comfortable, open but still highly guarded. I was allowed to decide how much of myself I wanted to give or to show.
I found out his birthday was rolling around and I wanted to do something big! I got excited and nervous, not sure how it would work out. I was realizing I had either rebounded and tricked myself into believing we would be more when we were both ready or I was actually starting to fall for this guy despite of my attempts to not go there at the time. I had an appointment out of town on the day after his birthday. I didn’t have much time to plan so I decided to ask him if he wanted to go to the beach with me that weekend. We hadn’t done anything intimate and I was scared to death that I was moving too fast. After all, my divorce wasn’t final and even though I was firm in my decision to leave my husband at that time and knew that our marriage had been over for a long time, I was scared I could be making a decision that could cost me in court. I gave in to the desire to see if this man who had begun to take up a big chunk of my time when I didn’t have my threefold was worth the risk I was continuing to take. I was terrified at what he would say or that he would flake out last minute even after he agreed. He took time off from work and decided to spend 2 nights with me and 16 hours in a car round trip for his birthday. I was nervous, excited, anxious, and completely ready to see what would unfold in those 2 uninterrupted days where we had nothing to focus on but each other. It was more than I could’ve imagined it would be and if I was unsure before then what I found on that trip was assurance that I was right about this one. He was falling for me and I was falling for him. I was more scared and more on cloud nine than I had ever been in my life. I wasn’t ready, not even a little bit, but ready or not it happened.
In the months to follow we continued in secret but began being more involved from a distance. We were committed to one another, but due to where we were in our lives, and especially where I was in mine we decided it was best to remain safe in our secrecy. Very few people knew this man existed in my life. Then seemingly all at once I decided it had been long enough. We did an informal meeting with the kids, his and mine, at a Halloween party. It went as smoothly as possible. Though my youngest two were reluctant and didn’t really feel ready for me to have a friend who was a male. I was patient with them. I understood their position. I continued to see him in secret and we had “ninja night” and our own special secret rendezvous plans while I began to slowly incorporate that I was going to date him into my threefolds’ minds. By Thanksgiving everyone knew even if we didn’t say it out loud. We began having outings together with our children included. It was going great and seemed to be exactly what it needed to be and at the pace they were comfortable with. I was happy and they could see that, maybe for the first time.
Then my world fell apart and my other half was not there when it all went so bad in my personal life. My daughter, 2, was admitted inpatient for suicidal thoughts and self harm behaviors. I was devastated. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I cried in my room for hours, and I just wanted to fix it and make her pain stop and make my guilt disappear. I wanted to go into my own dark place and suffer with her. I couldn’t, I had to be strong and I needed to be the mom my threefold needed me to be. I began to push away from the man who was trying so hard to be there for me in the only way he could at the time. I didn’t want to lose focus on my threefold and they needed me more than ever. I gave him every reason to leave. I told him to “take the out” that he deserved someone that could give him all of themselves and I couldn’t be that person. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just walk away. I wasn’t going to hold it against him. He refused to accept the offer of a less complicated and easier life for himself. He decided that he would be with me through whatever was to come. He never wavered. He was steady and patient. He loved me as much as I would let him and through my resistance.
I moved into my new home and I was excited to have 2 join me. Then 1 and then 3. We made that house a home. We didn’t take but a few boxes of personal belongings from our old life and we began to start over, fresh. Our lives were finally seeming to move forward and we were able to spend our first Christmas together in our new home. I wish I. Could say we lived happily ever after, but the truth is starting over is hard. We had to become more aware of each other and the needs we had individually and as a whole. We were healing, growing, changing, and adapting to a new way of life. In the background of my life was a man waiting for me to be able to give him everything he was giving to me. I struggled as I wanted to be able to give him everything, but I still felt like my threefold would need all of me. I was conflicted and felt guilty about feeling like it would be selfish for me to choose to be happy or if it would be detrimental to a future I could have if I continued to push away from a man that seemed to be everything I had ever hoped to have. I searched for red flags to tell me this relationship was doomed so I could make my decision easier. I picked fights and pushed back harder. I wanted to force the ending that I had imagined would happen if I allowed myself to stay in this relationship. There he stood, taking everything I threw at him and stayed by my side regardless of my attempts to destroy it. He loved me. I still couldn’t see why.
After some time I decided with my therapist that it was time I made space for this man in my life. It was time I take chances and that the risk of being hurt was never going to vanish. He deserved and earned a place in my life. He had done exactly what he said every step of the way. He set out to show me he was different and it was time that I acknowledged. I didn’t have to understand his reasons, but that I couldn’t be half in and half out. He had been committed to making me happy and being whatever I needed him to be each day. I needed to return that commitment and decide to allow myself to be happy. I would never be able to control whether he would hurt me, but I began to realize that I was hurting myself by giving up on our future if I didn’t at least take the leap into faith that in fact he could be the exact person who was meant to be with me. I was so scared and so insecure in myself. I was still healing and so unsure, but I decided to take that jump and try to move forward.
Over those next few months, there was a lot of adjusting. I realized that I was far from perfect and still very broken. I stayed guarded and protected myself and my threefold above all else. I was still scared of what the future would bring. In the moments where I could free myself from the anxiety and overwhelming fear of messing it up I was happier than I had ever been. I was able to be me. I was loved for that and accepted just as I was. There was no expectations, no eggshells, no disapproval, and no spiteful or nasty name calling. It was pure in those moments. I was relaxed and carefree. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I was lost in love and it was easy. Things were different. I didn’t feel the weight of everything as heavy as I had before. I began to allow walls to come down. I was in the now. I was present. I was thriving in every area of my life. I was excited and ready to make the big steps and do the hard work to move forward.
Then out of no where it all came back again. I was on a high that seemed would never end and suddenly it’s like my whole life came to a crashing halt reminding me that you can’t predict the future. 2 was in crisis again and after my every attempt to keep her safe and make her feel the love and support she was still very much unable to move past her trauma and move forward. She felt like nothing was going to ever get better. She had struggled as she felt guilty for setting boundaries with her father and felt unable to cope with the emotional turmoil in her life. The past was bound and determined to keep her and she felt if she was unable break free from it she would set herself free in the only way she knew would make the pain end forever. She was readmitted to the hospital and again I felt alone in my struggle to save one of my threefold from herself and from our tumultuous past. I wanted to fix it and I couldn’t find my magic wand. This wasn’t a pain that would end because mommy kissed it and made it better. This was not a scraped knee or a broken bone that would mend in a few weeks or months. There were no surgeries. There were no cures. There were no guarantees. I could only hope and pray that my decisions were being made in accordance to what was recommended by her mental health team and that those decisions would be made with her best interest at the top of mind.
I don’t have all the answers and love doesn’t fix everything. Sometimes it’s not enough. I’m twelve weeks in to 2’s inpatient journey this year. I’ve had breakdowns, I’ve lost sleep, weight, money and peace worrying about the future for my threefold and for myself and for the man that my threefold and I have grown to love and depend on during the past year. My threefold have accepted him fully as a new addition to our lives and they now tell him daily they love him too. They have made room for a man and made room for another sister. We are learning all of us that our family is unique and that we can lean on one another for guidance, support, help and mostly we are learning to love.
Regardless of what life throws at me and what argument we have, disagreements are present, or the hurt that we can inflict on each other we find a way back to the love. We find comfort there. In the midst of everything going on there is always a silver lining if we only choose to see it. We aren’t perfect people. We are however the perfect people for one another. So true love and soulmates exist. Fairytales and romance movies or novels are stories but they can also be present in reality. Choosing love is worth the risk of a broken heart. Being with someone who stands by you and loves you through the ups and the downs regardless of if it’s the best of times or the worst is unconditional love. I am grateful I took a leap of faith and allowed myself to choose happiness. I’ve never been more in love or felt more loved than I have this year. When it felt like everything would fall apart and I couldn’t make myself see the silver lining I am so thankful that the man in my life chose to show me the way. I call him PPP because he is the perky positivity peddler and he always sees his way to the good in all things especially me and my threefold. I am learning, growing, healing, and changing still, we all are, but this year made me see that we are going to have a long journey ahead. The bad may keep happening and our past may be testing us all, but in the love we share we have a direction forward. We are prepared and ready to take on the world and rule that world, unicorn style!
My Mom is Forever 48: Gone but not Forgotten.
Today would’ve been momma’s birthday, instead she is forever 48. Even after more than 13 years the grief still lingers and makes itself known reminding me of the giant hole that was left behind in our lives over a decade ago. I still wonder why she had to leave us so soon and when there was so much more to do, see, experience and when God knew how much I would need her in the years that were left ahead for me. I was so young and naive, 23 and pregnant with #2. #1 was almost 4. I was a newlywed and trying to figure out my life. Then in an instant it changed forever. I learned it was I who was now the mother.
I’m not sure what a birthday with my mom that would look like anymore. I often wonder if she would’ve been happy or if she would have hated the idea of getting older. I am not a fan of these days that make me think more of her than I typically do. They say “time heals all wounds”, but I don’t know if that’s true. I may never heal from my mom’s death. There was too much that I felt got left unsaid, too much that was left unresolved, and too much that we never had the chance to experience. My mother died and I wasn’t ready to let her go. I couldn’t understand why or what purpose this pain served. I became angry at God, at her, and most of all with myself for all of my mistakes along the way. I still haven’t released myself from the guilt, the grief, or the pain that quickly rushed in and took hold that early February morning 13 years ago unexpectedly out of no where. She was too young, she wasn’t sick, and I didn’t understand how this happened so quickly.
Grief is a unpredictable emotion. You expect it at first and then expect it to subside. It does over time diminish as you begin to go back to the day to day routines in life. No matter how long it’s been, grief can be triggered to come back full force even when you least expect it. It lingers within you and that rush of emotions can flood you as strong and fresh as the onset of the initial loss. There isn’t a timeline where you suddenly stop grieving. I’ve learned that no amount of time or distance will make me stop needing, wanting, or missing my mom’s presence in my life. If anything the time is just seems to make me realize how long it’s been since I last saw her face and heard her voice.
I had to hold on to what I had left in those first few years because my grief was drowning me after she died. I watched as my family moved on with their lives and felt like I couldn’t. I felt like I was responsible for carrying the grief for all of us for a long time. That I had to be the one who was kept her memory alive for everyone. People stopped mentioning her name as they grieved her loss in a different way. I held onto the pain because I felt it was all I had left of her at that time. I know now I have a lot more of her to hold onto than the pain. I see her face sometimes in my own. I hear her words or tone come out of my mouth when I speak in certain moments. When I need her with me I can now have faith that she is watching over me and leading me in the right direction. She taught me about what kind of mother I needed to be for my children. She taught me also all the things I don’t want my children to have in a mother.
Somewhere along the way I realized although we fought and argued and hurt eachother that she was always there to help me when I was ready to accept it. She was always willing to offer her advice and opinion, I sometimes would take as criticism, but it was from a place of genuine love and wanting me to be my best. She wanted me to be better for my family then she was for hers. I may always be grieving, but I can now see that my mother’s memory doesn’t reside only in that grief. She resides in me, my brother, my dad and our children. She is there and will always be watching over all of us. Happy Birthday Momma. I miss you today and everyday. Your memory lives on forever in our family and the time we had together.
Some days, like today are just harder than others. Some days in the ordinary moments it comes rushing back, that loss, out of no where. You expect the birthdays, anniversaries, the holidays, and the day you said goodbye to be difficult. The milestones, the celebrations and the failures, or anytime that you would’ve appreciated their presence, their guidance, their comfort or their love to be with you. It’s such a complicated emotion, grief. Losing a parent is a big loss, and when you feel like things should’ve been done differently and better it can leave you not only grieving but riddled with the confusion and guilt that their absence has brought.
PS: I owe my mother that my threefold even exists! She told me not long before her death right after I found out 2 was going to be a girl – “you are going to get threefold back for what you put me through!” We laughed as she chastised me for being such a horrible teenager. When I found out I was having another girl with 3 after she had died I could hear the laughter of her in my head and the repetition of those words over and over. So this My Threefold was born in that moment. ☮️❤️😊 -M
Insecurity Overload and Unrealistic Expectations of Self:
Feeling insecure 😕
I am determined to put all this stuff behind me. Figuring out the how and the way forward is my biggest obstacle. I can admit but I don’t know how to ACT in order to change it. I know I’ve focused too much on the perception of what I’m doing from all angles and it’s caused me too much frustration and worry about how I’m going to look and appear in court, what light my ex is trying to cast on me, how my threefold expect me to be, and trying to get past and heal from my own trauma and damage. It all makes me overwhelmed about the different ways I need and feel I have to be better or seem better or appear this or that. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being tired and I’m tired of never reaching the impossible standards I’ve forced upon myself and never feeling secure enough, good enough, whole enough, or just enough anytime that perfection standard isn’t met. There is a difference in having a strive to achieve excellence and the losing battle of perfection. Yes it takes a lot of work to undo damage but if I can’t acknowledge what I am doing wrong and how I’m impacting the people around me by doing that then I can’t fix it. I am trying. I want to be better, but I have to learn that expecting more more of myself than is actually attainable is going to keep perpetuating the same reactions and responses. I can’t fix everything all at once. I have to remember that and I have to give myself patience and understanding.
I’m just trying to get to a place where I feel free from my past and can see ahead and all the possibilities it holds. Right now I feel stuck in the in between. I feel I have changed so much in the past year yet I feel like there is far too much control, energy and attention given to the past. Not just me, but by my threefold feeling stuck in their trauma also. I want to move forward but with divorce still looming and everything still so up in the air I can’t seem to release myself from that. I can say all the right words and even start going through the motions but I feel like if I am still linked to this man and if we have no closure on this ugly part of our lives then we can’t begin to heal. I fall back on my own toxic behaviors of setting myself up for failure, catastrophically defining my every shortcoming, placing unreasonable expectations and making out that someone else held me to some unattainable standard that no one has actually expressed an expectation of.
It’s selfish and self centered to focus only on how I feel about me. I can’t take praise, compliments, or criticism without having a negative contradicting thought. It’s anxiety and C-PTSD I know I’m highly aware as to the why and I even can rationalize my behavior as a result and response to those feelings of needing to be validated as good enough but even when I am it’s never enough for me to make it change if anything it raises my expectation of myself. Oh ok I got applauded for being on the top 10 at work so now obsessively check where I am in that ranking everyday and then I do whatever I have to do maintain the value I feel I have to prove I have. In turn I burn myself out and still have been in the top 10 for 6 consecutive weeks and hit #1 twice. It fueled my feelings of achievement, success, and it validated how amazing I am at my job while being insecure about missing work to care for and tend to my threefold during their difficult transition and 2’s hospitalization. I can lose 60lbs and had an original goal of 150 I’m at 159, I will get there by whatever means necessary because I am stubborn and willful and need the challenge to be motivated but once I’m there I’ll change the goal to 140 because I’ll still find why a size 8 doesn’t look good on me then it will be 130 I want but when I don’t reach it in my timeline I set then I will gain 20lbs most likely because im pissed off at myself for not doing more to get there. It’s churning with every aspect of everything. My insecurities drive me in everything yet no matter how far I get in anything I can’t make myself be happy with where I’m at today. My own self-sabotage will continue to cause me to fail but when I let go of the expectation my motivations fade to nothing and I feel like I’m never going to be any further than I am in this moment. In that moment I’m self loathing. Criticizing my every action and inaction and over analyzing everything I’ve said and everything I left unaddressed.
I need to reach the next goal or fix the next problem or find another solution. My life and energy feeds off my need to do more, be more, accomplish more, and my need to be the best in others’ eyes. I don’t feel seen, appreciated, celebrated, or validated. The compliments build my own feelings of them expecting that level at all times. Im pretty, oh ok im not but they like me because they think I’m pretty so I have to be whatever it takes to be pretty. You think im this strong bad ass woman then I must live that life and display behaviors and actions to support those theories. You want me to support myself financially then that means I can’t show I’m struggling or reach out for help. Add those ideas to being told by my past and my own brain reinforcing those words that I’ve been told a million times that I am not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, strong enough, worthy enough and everything just perpetuates that intense desire to be everything I perceive others want and need me to be at all times. Even if my perception isn’t based in truth and reality.
It’s insecurities, it’s psychological trauma, it’s a deep rooted desire to be validated in everything I do, and to be the best at everything all the time. I have to be the picture of the perfect mom, the perfect partner, the perfect daughter, employee, friend and all around person. I will never be pretty enough or thin enough. It’s picking apart every detail and feeling like every move I make is going to be wrong choice or it will somehow cause damage to someone else somewhere. It’s fear that failure is my only defining characteristic in my own eyes and that regardless of how hard I try it will never be good enough. I can’t handle setbacks without thinking the setback will define me to the people around me. Whoever I let down, disappointed, or felt I hurt I feel I’ve failed them on a level that never will be told to me but perceived by me. “So just leave then!” I want to scream when I don’t feel I’m measuring up. “I can’t be everything to everybody all the time!” I cry as I feel I am being criticized and become defensive. “You think I want to be this messed up?” I ask desperately needing someone to meet me where I am as I feel I have attempted to do that time and again with others. “Quit telling me I’m stronger than this and to keep trying!” I say in a frustrated manner as I feel that all of my own insecurities and my expectation of myself are failing to be met and my efforts have begun to meet the end of my motivation to keep trying because I can’t understand why my efforts to do better are never good enough for anyone or seen in a way of wanting more. I’m not sure how to make my inability to receive compliments or praise at face value match up with a need to be validated, valued, appreciated and supported. I need the approval and acceptance because I don’t approve of or accept myself.
I can acknowledge its existence and the toxicity of that pattern but I don’t know how to change that thought pattern and that way of life. It’s been psychologically embedded and rooted that positive affirmations don’t reverse it, support seems to amplify it, and my anxiety seems to manipulate it. I just want be able to give myself the allowances I give everyone else and stop feeling like there is no amount of effort that will improve my life or my relationships. Feeling destined for a life of constantly falling short and blaming others for that is toxic to me and everyone else around me. How do I learn to cut myself some slack, relax, and stop perpetuating this cycle of try and fail and repeat? I’m lost in that today. Maybe writing it down and getting it out will be cathartic and help me find a better way forward than the road I’ve continued to take regardless if that’s the only way I know. It’s time to learn a new way forward because this way is not getting me anywhere.