Single Mom Life: Dreaming

I have been doing a lot of dreaming lately.  In my daily life. In my meditations.  I am dreaming of my future and I am dreaming about my past.

The other night my BF and I were at an Ugly Sweater party.  He is about seven years younger, so much of the party was made up of twenty-somethings and early thirty types.  They are at the beginning of their real journey. I say real journey because when I was in my late 20’s, I felt like I knew what life was about. I thought I understood the pitfalls and the trials that life could throw at any given moment. Though life didn’t always make sense to me, I believed I at least had it somewhat figured out.  The twenty-somethings and early thirty types were all talking about their future plans.  One young woman was excited but nervous about moving in with her boyfriend of six years.

“I just don’t know,” she said.  “What if we move in together and it ruins everything.”

I interjected, “No, don’t worry. Moving into together doesn’t ruin things.  Having children ruins everything.”  The room fell silent.  Even conversations that were happening in the way back of the room seemed to stop and listen in to my negativity.  At the time, I felt justified in my bluntness.  They need to hear it, I thought.  It was later in the car when my BF and I were talking about it when turned to me and said, “You know, you might want to think about not saying that to people.”  I was hurt, so I fired back defensively.

“Why not?  They need to hear it. No one told me, and they need to know.”

“So this is your job now?  Warning younger people about the dangers of marriage and kids.  Do you really believe you need to do that?”  He wasn’t being mean.  He was saying it kindly.  I could feel it on him, but I was embarrassed and hurt.

“No one told me. No one told me how hard it was going to be.  No one warned me that my entire life was going to fall apart and I was going to have to rebuild from nothing.  I am trying to tell them.  I want them to know that it can all go bad.  One wrong move turns into two and then resentment because your husband doesn’t empty the dishwasher becomes a lawyer drafting a divorce agreement.”

“Kelly,” he stilled said in a very loving voice.  “It doesn’t always end that way.”  I started to cry.  I felt pathetic and small and angry.

“Well, it ended that way for me,” I said as tears dripped down my cheeks.

“And look where it got you,” he picked up my hand that he was holding and gently kissed the top.  This is our universal sign of love even when we are fighting.  If we do that, the other knows that it is ultimately okay.

Yes, I did lose it all. I threw it to the wind and started again, and now I am someplace wonderful headed towards even better.

I am glad that I never stopped dreaming.

Single Mom Life-Am I a Fighter?


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Another afternoon conversation with one of my best girlfriends went like this:

“Well, I am really proud of you.  You fought back and you’re not a fighter,” my friend with a smile.  Her remark was in response to my son’s most recent IEP meeting.  I had not backed down.  I stood my ground when they were trying to remove services.  They were telling me he was doing well, despite the fact that he was going into Fourth grade and unable to use capitalization and punctuation.  By the end of the meeting, they were giving me the additional testing I wanted.  They had acquiesced.

For some reason, her comment hurt.  Of course I’m a fighter, I thought. Geeze, one of my favorite sports to watch is UFC.  Conor McGregor is the most arrogant showman, but his unhinged fighting style keeps me constantly entertained.  Nothing brought me more joy than watching him run around the ring after winning another championship to become the lightweight and featherweight champion.  He was just screaming with his thick, Irish brogue, “Bring me me other belt!”

I know she intended this as a compliment. I know her intent was to show that I could be strong, and I nodded and smiled back, but later, the words haunted me.  You are not a fighter.  You are not a fighter.  The words cycled through over and over again and the feelings of inadequacy and annoyance came with them.  I started to question.  If I am not a fighter, I asked myself, then how do I do all of this?  How did I leave a marriage that was completely wrong for me, start over as a single mom, and get up each and every day to work and fully support my boys?  Don’t you need to be a fighter to do that?

I know she’s a “fighter”.  She gets in the ring, puts on her gloves, and delivers some great punches.  She will go to bat for anyone she feels has been taken advantage of or wronged.  She uses words and phrases that cut people into shreds and causes them to retreat into themselves.  She always has a cause to stand behind.  There is always something that “isn’t okay” and she needs to step up.  I felt that she was telling me that I am weak.  I lack the strength that she has to be a fighter.

When I get angry, upset, I become quiet.  Sometimes I cry.  My words become sparse and I have no desire to attack anyone.  When someone is not doing what I like or giving me what I want, my first response is not to blame them.  I question myself. I question my own feelings.  The feelings of anger in my body are uncomfortable.  It feels like a scratchy suit that is entirely too tight.  I don’t want these feelings inside of me.

I have read that there are no wrong emotions, and one needs to be open to all of them.  One must allow emotions to pass through.  Observe the feeling, detach from the feeling.  Pema Chodron  speaks about this in her text When Things Fall Apart.  If you are looking for spiritual guidance through tough times, I highly recommend this book.  If you can get the audio book, which is read by Pema Chodron, you will not be disappointed.  Pema Chodron was married and she divorced her husband for another man.  She remarried and years later she arrived home from work and her second husband told her that he was leaving her for another woman.  Talk about difficult emotions.  This event signaled an ending of sorts.  She found her current spiritual practice and is now a Buddhist monk.  She helps people to navigate through their own emotions and spiritual speed bumps.

But this is not how I feel about anger.  I don’t want to feel it at all.  I want it gone, banished.  I worry about how anger in me looks to others. I apologize for it.  I become immobile.  Clearly, my friend’s words touched a sensitive nerve in me.  I did not want to be viewed as weak, but there is no part of me that ever wants to be angry.  Is there a way to be balanced?  Is there a way to be both?

I started to really question what is true strength.  Is strength allowing our emotions with no reaction?  Is strength using that anger to motivate and push us to undo the wrongs that we see?  Is strength cycling through our anger and exploding on someone else so that he/she understands what we are feeling?  None of these things sound like strength to me.

Perhaps I am not a fighter after all…


A poem about Divorce- Maybe


Maybe we’re getting divorced because you put the stick of butter in front of the butter dish instead of in it.

Maybe we’re getting divorced because I vacuum and you just can’t see the dirt.

Maybe we’re getting divorced because I make more money than you and you stayed home to raise our boys.

Or the long commute or the fact that you snore when you sleep or the way my voice goes up an octave when I am really upset…Or the affairs and lies (yours, mine, ours) or the time you screamed that you hated me, you really hated me

There are a lot of relationships that survive more than this, you said.
You weren’t specific. One of our faceless therapists nods.
They don’t get divorced, you said. And “divorced” sounded poisonous, wrong.

You are right and I nod but in my heart my reasons are enough.
They all add up and congeal into one concise document with all of the wording just right.
The blame is left out of the margins and neat sentences cover up all of the pieces that read between the lines

You bend over to sign.

The pen smudges and curves

It no longer matters.

The end remains the same

Abuse and the Empath

loveWhen I was child, I was abused by my father. When I did anything wrong, I was beaten with either a hand or belt. I was most scared of the thinner belts.  They hurt the most.  My father has a “funny” story that he used to tell when we would be sitting around the dinner table.  It went something like this…

I was four or five and I had wandered around the block.  This was wrong. I was not allowed to go past the house with the big white pillars and the small porch.  This was a rule, but I had broken it.  Perhaps I was chasing a butterfly, maybe I just wanted to openly defy the rule. I don’t remember why I broke this rule; I just remember that I did.  As a cycled back around the corner, I saw my father’s angry eyes.  His mouth was twisted and I knew that he was furious.  I knew that I was caught.

“Don’t beat me, Daddy,” I cried as I put my hands across my behind to try and save myself from a subsequent beating.  My father’s face changed as he glanced at the few neighbors who were watering their gardens are putting out their potted plants.  He smiled and bent to the ground, supporting himself on one knee.

“It’s ok, baby,” he said soothingly.  “I am not going to hurt you.” I smiled and ran into his arms.  He hugged me as he carried me into the house.  I buried my tear-stained face into his neck and sighed.  I did not notice that we were walking back towards the house.

And this is the part my father always thought was most amusing, the part that he would chuckle while saying,

“So here she thinks she got me,” he would continue.  “She thought she could manipulate me and embarrass me in front of the neighbors, but I showed her.  When I got her inside, I spanked her so hard she didn’t even know what hit her, and I made sure she really knew I was serious because I really laid into her.  She never did that again.”

And I didn’t do that again…throughout my life, I don’t think I ever did that again.  How terribly did that scar me?

I find it difficult to trust men.

I believe all men lie to me or are going to hurt me if I give them an ounce of trust.

I fear men and the things they are capable of doing to me.

How does a person have an intimate relationship with a person of the opposite gender when this is just one “story” in a vast sea of abuse?

How long will it take me to walk away from these stories to find myself in the rubble of a broken childhood, a broken marriage, a broken life?

I know that dwelling on this past and sitting in these stories detract me from the present moment and feed my victim story, so I am trying to relinquish them to a time that is no longer here, but I do feel a sense of loss when I think about letting this story go.  I do feel like this story shaped me, but at the same time I also feel like it is keeping me small.  It is keeping me from freedom.

I am not that five year old girl holding her butt in front of her angry father.  There are no large men lurking in the distance waiting to beat me for my wrongdoings, but I still act as if I am.

How do I let go?  By writing it here in this sacred space?  Maybe by telling the truth about my past, I can let each story go with a touch of the “publish” button, shedding each layer of skin one story at a time.

And perhaps I need to be reminded of the following:

“You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret “your life” or someone else’s life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many total perspectives.” – Eckhart Tolle

Love, Desire, Anger, Hate- Emotions and the Empath

Most-pretty-white-and-purple-flowersAfter addressing love, I thought I would create the juxtaposition with hatred.  First, I’ll address desire. The partner to love is often desire.  Desire is a bubbly, surface emotion that has a very short shelf life.  It is a quick hard-hitting emotion that often hits me in the stomach when I feel it on someone else.  Desire, as another’s emotion, blindsided me.  I often find my own thought forms in the mix.  “Really?  You are turned on by that?”  When someone desires me, it is intoxicating.  As a woman, I can feed into a man’s sexual desire for me.  I have literally felt like what it feels like to desire myself.  It’s pretty crazy.  I have literally turned myself on.  On the flip side, if a person is just not that into the moment, I can feel that too, and there is no going past it.  My own ego will often get in the way and I halt the proceedings.  Well, if You are just not that into me…but I digress.

Anger is the partner of hatred.  Like love and desire, they do not have to go hand in hand, but the most powerful hatred is always backed by anger.  Anger is fleeting and can blow up one moment and be completely cleared the next.  Anger by itself is a weak emotion.  When it is paired with a deep-seated hatred, it is toxic and destructive.  Hatred is like love.  I can feel it running through a person.  It is a thick, dark strip.  Unlike love that feels like solid light, hatred is dark.  It darkens everything around it.  It also grows roots and creates a permanent housing in the core of you.  It will then use anger to feed itself.  It does not even have to be anything that is joined to the original events or person that formed the hatred.  It will feed on anything.  Hatred feels unmovable and hard.  It gets stronger and more entrenched with each angry, hurtful incident. It makes the person have this deluded sense of power and strength. It feels true to them, and my logical mind has to counter with the idea that it is just not true.
A woman in my department has a deep hatred for men that has been built and strengthened over many years. She uses anger to feed it constantly and she truly believes that this anger motivates her to do her best. She says she is motivated by anger to make positive changes in her life and it works for her. The energy created by this feels awful to an Empath and she is difficult to be around. The hatred feels like a mountain of stone that sits in the core of her. The anger buzzes around it like larger-than-life birds. These are the visual images I get when I am around her. She is so entrenched that even when I try to suggest letting go of her anger, she reacts and the birds collectively charge. “No,” she says. “It helps me. It makes me stronger.” But none of this is true. She believes it. It is not a lie for her.
Do not try and see how much hatred you have inside of you with your head. Place your attention to the core of you. You will feel it stop you. It will try and convince you that it must be there. It is a part of you, but this is not true. It only stops love. Love can replace it.