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Life Since June 2020

I had to take a step away from most media and such while I dealt with some big life changes in this past year. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that I contracted Covid, survived despite the belief that my illness equaled no survival of contracted, and went through an intense few months of Home Health while recovering from Post Covid Syndrome (finally made official in some circles). I worked extremely hard to get part of my health back and ended Home Health better than I was pre-Covid due to the incredible Physical Therapists and intense independent PT. I became more functional than I had been in a couple of years, although I’m still disabled and face daily challenges, and continue some parts of my PT independently to this day.

While recovering I began to feel strongly that I had been given a second chance at life, especially since I was not supposed to survive and had actually improved to have a better quality of life. I had been preparing to die because it was inevitable that I would contract it, so I couldn’t continue letting life pass me by when I was given such a massive gift.

For many years I had been unhappy. It was a combination of things, but one part that we kept very private was that our marriage had hit hard times years prior and never recovered, although we tried. We honestly were better roommates and friends than as a couple, and he was a thoroughly amazing caregiver and provider. I have been accused of a lot of things over the past months, but I’ve always given him credit for helping me with my disability, being a much needed friend when things went badly with Kid’s adoption, and we were comfortable with one another. But we hadn’t been in love for a long time. I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to debate our thoughts and feelings from early on, prior to when things became a real struggle years ago, and I won’t go there, so I’ll give credit where it is due but be honest about the fact that the marriage failed a long time before I declared it. I honestly had waited for my illness to progress until I’d die and then Covid came along, so I waited for that to end my life and the marriage.

Instead, working so hard to recover gave me the strength to decide I was going to file for divorce and leave town, when it had just been something I had wanted to do for some time, but felt it was pointless because it seemed like my health was going to decline fast enough that marriage wasn’t a priority anymore. But I was lonely despite living in a house with my legal husband, aka roommate and friend, and I wasn’t going to ruin my second chance at a life by remaining unhappy.

During this time Fate intervened. A former fiancé from 19 years ago reached out to catch up and it was as if our friendship had picked right back up from the moment we parted (a sad miscommunication that I won’t get into). He was going through a divorce and we talked about my decision to file, and he explained all that he knew about the process, etc, and our friendship continued to strengthen. I could talk to someone that hadn’t been involved in my married life at all, had no stake in it, and could work through my thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement, while he also helped me change my way of looking at my disability as part of my life, but that it hadn’t changed ME. For the past several years I had felt like disability had to have changed me, because I didn’t feel like I was in a loving marriage anymore and felt that my health needs had ruined my chances of meeting my romantic and “life” needs. One of my best friends sent me the perfect pin one day that sums up my sudden realization when I was able to see myself in his description (of still being me, but just not in the right situation and having extra challenges in life).

It was time to fix my environment now that my mind and soul felt strong enough, even if it meant I’d have to go on Section 8 and get extra state assistance.

We had been texting and emailing throughout all of this, but decided that he would come from across the border to the house to game with me, since he wanted to see SL for himself and we had spent a lot of our relationship when we were young gaming, so it was the most perfect first hangout in person. During all of this I hadn’t gotten to the point that I was ready to tell my husband about everything, because I hadn’t figured out all of my plans yet and we had known for some time that things weren’t right, so it didn’t feel like I needed to bring that up. I was completely honest about rebuilding my friendship with J, we’ll call him, and I was upfront about the plans for Luke to drive down to come game with me (it is so much easier to learn the basics in person if you’re going to hang out with a seasoned SL user). There were no motives beyond having an awesome time reconnecting and gaming, and hanging out with someone that was willing to drive over an hour to come hang out in person, especially when L seldom felt like taking me to hang out with friends on my good days for years.

The moment that J parked, got out his laptop, and then started walking up the sidewalk, I had this sudden feeling unlike any other. It was this sudden knowledge that my life was about to change completely from this moment on. And when he looked up and we smiled, it was like I got hit by a lightning bolt at the same time that the sun came out after years of darkness. I didn’t pinpoint the other feeling until later, but it had hit me that I still loved him as much as the day he proposed. I just felt something slam into my chest and mind, and everything felt right in the world again, right in the middle of a pandemic.

It was a magical night of catching up on life events (he had 2 sons now!), our marriages, showing my scrapbooks, and gaming. Although we spent part of it catching up, it was as if we had just picked back up from where we ended. When L’s alarm to wake up and get ready for work went off I went and made his lunch, and was back to explaining SL while sitting beside J when L had finished getting ready and came out to get the last items before leaving for work. J stood and shook L’s hand when I introduced them, and L later told me that when he shook J’s hand he knew that this was the man who was going to marry his wife. I just thought it was an awkward moment, tried to make it as easy as possible on them both, and we went back to gaming when L waved that he would head out without needing me to see him off. So J and I continued to hang out until it got late enough that he really needed to start his drive home because he still had to work in the morning. And no, despite rumors, we did not have an affair.

After having such an incredible time and a lot of deep conversation with J, I knew I needed to end the marriage despite not having my next living arrangement established yet. On the way home from a dr’s appointment in July, after a very disagreeable time together, I told L that I was filing for divorce. He actually guessed it when I said we needed to talk. We spent a long time talking, which was seriously overdo, and he had avoided, but actively participated in finally. Although he hoped things could be saved, he since acknowledged that I had tried for years to get his help to save things and I just couldn’t anymore. A person gives up hope after trying for a long time and once they realize there is still life to be lived, but that it doesn’t include that marriage, I don’t think anything can save that marriage. Definitely not our marriage.

I needed a break from it all, so I left for a few days to hang out with J and old friends that I had lost due to everything, and it was amazing. I suddenly saw an opportunity to live somewhere where I wouldn’t be watched or ostracized; where I had access to public transportation and Uber instead of always relying on others, and could get something as basic as a meal delivered when I didn’t feel up to cooking. And I had friends around me ready and happy to have game night, or hang out, and happily went out of their way to spend time with me without making me feel like my it was a hardship to be my friend or come hang out. Plus I was in an environment where I could go hang out or go shopping at the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby without having to make it a planned affair or dependent on if someone else felt up to it on one of my good days. I had lived in a small town for so long I had forgotten that cities actually provide a lot of opportunities for a disabled person and allowed for a lot of independence, which I desperately needed. So I decided that I needed to move to a city, whether it be the city J lived in or another, but not another small town.

During this eye opening and magical time the bond between J and I snapped firmly into place, and I finally fully realized that I was still in love with him after all these years. My love of going to Branson to see the Christmas lights… J had proposed at the Christmas tree. Even he kept lights up on his apartment balcony, and had sought the joy and comfort of lights throughout all the years without realizing why. I could fill a blog post alone of things we had independently pursued or enjoyed over the years without realizing that it was based on something from our time together. We had literally spent our time apart doing things that connected us, even during the better times during each of our marriages. And sometime during this time away to hang out with my formerly lost friends and figuring out emotionally what I was going to do (which is a massively different step than the practical part where you tell someone you’re leaving and start researching the best options for the different life), J and I became bonded fully. We had obviously formed a deeper bond than realized, in light of all the coincidences of things we both did while apart that connected us, but it was as if we found HOME by being together and without really having some profound moment, we just knew that we had kept loving one another throughout marriages to another and would spend the rest of our lives still loving each other. There wasn’t much of a decision to make…we would be living together.

The first few months after the decision to live together had rocky moments. We developed a week on/off visitation routine around his week of split custody of his sons and I packed to move in with the three of them once the time was right. During this L and I finally talked about pretty much every subject and re-established that we are best as friends while there’s no way the marriage can be saved. Thankfully the divorce is very amicable and straight forward, although Covid caused our hearing to be canceled for the foreseeable future. I tried to make sure that he had a support system to be there for him with me leaving, which caused some situations that hurt me deeply but I truly want the best for him, even if it requires my sitting there quietly while false accusations are slung at me. I’m a very honest person though, so I can’t handle the lies very well and avoid those that believe them without even asking me about my feelings, while instead they focus on their religious beliefs or what they think happened or how they feel it should be handled.

Although Covid has the legal aspect of the divorce at a standstill, we are legally separated in the eyes of the state of KS. I officially moved last month, although I spent most of October living in MO with J anyway, and we’re preparing for our second, first Christmas together, but this time as a family, while we wait for the legal system to catch up and grant us each a divorce, so that we can someday get married to one another. One of those little glitches that ends up meaning a lot, because we look forward to even having the option to plan getting married.

It’s a big adjustment. I work nearly daily on my PT in some way, I work on establishing a relationship with each young man including helping with online based school, and we are learning how to mesh our lives together. The apartment is starting to become organized again, now that I’m almost done unpacking and sorting my part of the assets L and I agreed up (and wrote into our divorce agreement for the judge). We even recently got back from a small trip to Christmas in Branson; the first time I felt fulfilled because I was sharing it with the person that made Christmas so magical for me. And although we have challenges ahead and a lot of legal stuff to still go through, everyone says they’ve never heard me sound or look happier or more content. Our love languages and love needs compliment one another’s too, so we naturally nurture one another.

I don’t talk about religion often, but we (and those close to us) truly believe that we were Fated to come back together and that nineteen years ago wasn’t the right time for this stage of life – but it was the stage that created a bond that has remained and grows. We got back together when we needed one another and were ready for the intense bond that we have. I’d usually be super skeptical and rolling my eyes if I read or wrote this at any other point in life, but for the first time I have absolutely no doubts or questions (beyond when can we progress legally so that we can continue to progress naturally). I remember asking my mom after accepting L’s proposal “how do you know that this is really it and the right one?”. We just somehow know it’s right and we are meant to be, as corny or cliche as that sounds. I didn’t know that it could feel so natural.

Anyway, I had a lot to do and go through before I could honestly blog again, and figured that this was the right time to finally set the story straight. If Covid hadn’t interfered, my divorce would have been finalized a couple of weeks ago, so now I feel like I’m just waiting for the legal part to catch up and feel like we all ready went through the divorce when we separated our assets, talked so much, did the divorce paperwork, and officially live separately and are working on trying to retain the friendship we have had since we met when I was just 18. we have been friends my entire adult life and although we didn’t work in marriage, I hope that we can remain friends throughout everything, and hope that I helped him become the man he needs to be for the next female in his life. I never would have expected to have gone through so much in less than a year (and surprise, surprise, actually survived Covid and Post Covid twice despite my immune system!) and would never have believed I’d have J back in my life again, let alone have a family now (interesting side note – it can be split custody, but you love the children as fiercely as if they’re with you full time! And not surprisingly I still can love them just as strongly, just as quickly, as if they were my own or I had adopted them!). Plus, I can finally admit that the male alt I created in SL a few years back was based on J (although disguised physically), but I never admitted even to myself until after we had reconnected. My mind and heart kept showing me and I just didn’t catch on. He literally dressed up as Phantom for Halloween when he was young. You’d think my obsession with Phantom would have clued me in. Lol Buh me on so many counts. *grin*

And just to put it out in the universe and set things straight. I’m not able to teleport or do anything magical. It was literally impossible for me to have had an affair for a year. I barely had the chance to even leave the house and Hogwarts certainly hasn’t sought me out, nor do I have a Tardis or self driving anything to take me elsewhere. And in a small town with eyes always watching, there was no way I could have had an affair with someone coming over without that being heard about. So seriously, if you are one of the people that questions things, it’s a hard no-possible-way. We did not pursue a relationship until after I had all ready announced my intentions. And this is the last time I will ever clarify or explain this again. Accept me, my choices, and my new life, knowing that I made what I feel are the best choices for me, without judging or questioning me, please.

Anyway, I had to work through a lot before I could write about things, since I wanted to wait until the divorce was finalized. Now that I’m just waiting on the court to reschedule the hearing to complete the legal part, I felt it was okay to break my silence. I hope that the past months have treated you readers well, despite a crazy pandemic, and that you’ve been able to carve out a way to be happy throughout all of the craziness. And I can officially write “happy pampering” again, as I got to teach “Little Man” how to make some Star Wars soaps and I made soaps myself for the first time in almost two years. I hope you’ll stick around and welcome back “the real me” as I begin to blog again. 😁 Happy pampering! 😉

You Are Worth It

I think we could all use this message right now. In this time of fear, grief, depression, and isolation, most of us have had time to evaluate our lives, circumstances, and even self worth. Many are struggling with having had the time to stop and actually reflect, and we often end up with some dark thoughts. So please remember that YOU ARE WORTH IT. You always were.

I’ve spent my entire life seeking approval and recognition. I felt like a failure because I became disabled and usually can’t do things that garner acknowledgement and praise. I have had to leave my career and now end two business ventures.

I put a lot of work, time, creativity, and my precious little bit of energy into my bath and body business, and often my products never sold or were commented on, and it hurt. I felt like I had failed at another thing in life. Now I realize that I sought recognition and praise, when I really needed to be proud of myself without requiring others to say it.

There’s a difference between being humble and knowing your self worth; knowing that you are worth it. I read this and it just clicked suddenly, and I hope it does for someone else reading this, too. Whatever you do, even if it’s taking a rest day because you’re out of spoons if you’re a Spoonie, or you put yourself at potential risk of illness by being an essential worker, you are awesome. You are awesome just because you are and hopefully this helps you to be proud of yourself without waiting for someone else to say so, to make you feel it. While you ponder this, if you are needing this message, I acknowledge you – that you’re awesome and worthy. I know that you are stronger and better than you realize, regardless if you’re successful, good looking, disabled, a nerd, searching for the right career, or just taking it day by day. We are worth it.

Value

When I became disabled at such a young age I was still at the point of life where I measured my value by my salary, my career position, my good impact and service to the community, and even my housekeeping skills in trying to balance being a working wife.  I’m not sure if that would have ever changed if I hadn’t become disabled, but I’ve struggled a lot with self worth, because I didn’t change my criteria for value even when my life and abilities changed so dramatically.  I’ve carried so much guilt for so long over things that are completely out of my control, all the way down to being unable to do housework or even change my clothes sometimes.

 

Instead of viewing my bath and body products as a creative outlet that also meant that I could help others, I measured it as a ruler for success.  If I couldn’t have my career, then I should make a success out of a home-based business, especially one that allowed me to be creative.  However, it has never been successful enough to even turn a profit (partially because I was always experimenting with new ingredients that were thought to be helpful for various ailments, or buying new scents to see if they might fit in, or whatever else caught my eye, so my supply purchasing kept me well in the red *laugh*), and I judged myself a failure.

 

I failed at keeping my health, at being the wife I expected to be, at becoming a mother, keeping house, cooking, and even making my own business at least break even.  More health issues have been draining me, I’ve been on bedrest a lot lately, and we’ve changed up my treatment plan to see if the new plan will help improve things (3-4 months before we know…seriously.  You tell someone who has no idea what tomorrow will be like that it’ll be 3-4 months before we know if this works; that’s an eternity!  Silver lining time – I get to hope that things will improve around Christmas!).  With everything I became extremely angry.  I became mad that my illness has taken so much from me, that the adoption didn’t work out, that our basement flooded when we had a big storm and lost power for an extended time so our pump couldn’t get the water out, that I felt I couldn’t make any extended plans (even flexible ones) because I have that stupid mortality clock ticking in my head, and super angry that I felt like a waste of tax payer money that was just waiting to die.  That’s the brutal truth.

 

Thankfully I saw my amazing disability therapist a couple of weeks ago and not only did she have my blog posts to be able to gauge my emotional state, but she really got to the heart of my angers.  Fear.  That mortality clock is ticking because I’m afraid of what awaits me when my condition worsens, but she pointed out that healthy people die every single day, so my clock isn’t any louder than even hers is.  And I, and those close to me, have learned how to make accommodations for how my illness has changed my abilities, so we’ll just change a bit more for anything that comes my way.  My greatest fear though, it turns out, is my lack of being able to contribute and be of service; having absolutely no value anymore.  It’s going to be a long work-in-progress to change my definition of what makes me valuable, but being of service has always been my top priority, and she said something so unexpected and profound that I’m still reeling, honestly.  She wanted to know what I’ve been doing for a creative outlet since I haven’t been able to make products, because being creative is a huge part of my therapy and massively beneficial for my mental health, and I had trouble explaining my twist on digital photography (my photography on Second Life), so I showed her my Flickr photostream.

 

I had just posted a series playing on the movie theme of Gidget©, plus pictures of my little SL family, a scene recreated from the latest version of A Star is Born©, and my random ones with learning how to experiment with a special lighting program and editing.  She looked through them with this beautiful look of awe, as if she was in a museum, and asked me if I realized just how much I contributed with my photography.  She said they were like paintings that were hung up for tons of people to see (since it’s a digital forum) and I get to evoke feelings in the viewers, just like regular artists do, such as nostalgia, joy, and amusement.  I literally got teary eyed over the concept, since I could equate that to how it was when I competed with my poetry and had people thank me for what I wrote about.

 

She went on then about looking at the value of what I give to the others in my life and even in my blog; how I work to help or enrich lives, no matter what my illness is currently playing.  She said I also need to work at seeing myself through the eyes of others and seeing the value that they place on me (yet another one that’ll take me awhile *grin*).  I have felt a huge shift in my internal attitude and a big, nasty, pile of guilt has fallen off of my shoulders.  I may not be able to contribute in the ways that I want to, or deemed that I should, but I’m developing a creative talent that has the ability to provide joy and comfort to others.  I was so angry at what was taken away that I didn’t see this blessing that God had given me to replace the vacuum.  I didn’t see that even with my old criteria for value, I have value.  I may not volunteer or do big acts of service, but I can still contribute and be of service to God by helping others.  It’s a huge honor to me to think that my fun little Gidget© photo shoot on SL is just as meaningful a work of art in a gallery or museum.  It’s quite an honor to be disabled with a chronic invisible illness and find at least some of my value again.

I hope this helps someone out there

At the start of the week I had a very frightening incident. L had to go to work and after seeing him off, I grabbed a bite of food to nibble on to keep my meds from making my stomach upset. I could still see the reflection of the headlights through the driveway facing window as he waited at the end of the drive to pull out. That’s when things went wrong. I’m not sure if the food just turned wrong as I swallowed or if my throat pulled one of its lovely episodes of making it difficult to swallow, but I ended up choking. Thankfully, as I prepared to try to use a chair to do the Heimlich the food mushed enough and my throat relaxed enough, so I was able to swallow. It left my throat so raw and sore that today was the first day I spoke fully, although I was careful to not speak a lot. I even got to eat real food again! *happy dance* I still have the side effects of it inflaming other parts of my sinuses and my ear canals, but Hallelujah!

Anyway, while quiet, L gone or asleep most of the time, and my trying to distract myself, I went down the medical rabbit hole. I started out with learning how my throat could cause my ears to have a crinkling noise and all my other symptoms, then about six subjects in I ended up with a YouTube recommendation to watch Spaulding Decon, under the Crime Scene Cleaning website. (Hey, I admitted I went down that rabbit hole. Never know where I’ll end up with my curious mind! Lol) One of this year’s videos, where they started to record and air lengthier and informative episodes about biohazard cases that they handle, came up and I ended up watching them all, and I suddenly had a whole new POV that helps me with my suicidal ideation. They clean up from regular unattended deaths, hoarding, accidents, etc., but also suicides. There is no judgement over the person’s choice or what the client has chosen for the level of cleanup once the biohazards have been dealt with, either. The thing is, it’s unflinchingly up front and shows everything after the body has been removed. You see what the family member that discovers the body would face and how the family isn’t just coping with their grief and possibly shock, but also the physical scene that is left behind.

Police and emergency personnel don’t clean up the scene when they remove a body. They’re there for the emergency (or removal) situation and possibly an investigation. They don’t clean the blood splatter from a gunshot wound or remove decomp. There are specialized companies that do this; not only for safety, but to help the people and families in need of their cleaning services. They’re heroes who don’t wear capes, just like law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Seeing the gore that a grieving family member or friend, most likely L or my mother, would see and deal with if I committed suicide, really helped me create a step back, so to speak, for my mind to walk through if my thoughts turn dark. I basically do a mental crime scene walkthrough, to see it as they would, and see how the different choices would affect them. Somehow having the intense, graphic visuals in my mind are a great way to make my mind shift focus a bit and end up completely stopping. (Ask people with ideation – it’s super hard to quiet those thoughts and take a step back from the thoughts, no matter how much you don’t want to have them or feel that way. I certainly don’t want the sudden feelings of desolation and worthlessness!)

If you suffer from ideation or know someone that does, please consider this unconventional method or talk to your mental health professionals if you are the sufferer. As my awesome psychiatrist says, you can’t have too many tools in your belt when it comes to mental health. The visuals and the meaning behind them are honestly very haunting. They’re a hell of a lot stronger right now for me than when the dark thoughts creep in. So, I hope (yet another brutally honest and odd post) will help either open dialogue if you know someone who is struggling or if you suffer and want to try another method to see if this is the one that works better for you than the ones that have barely worked for you before.

If you know someone who has troubles with ideation, please consider trying to stomach a bit of the show enough to watch “Crime scene cleanup job questions answered”. The owner has some incredible statements about judgement that are worth a listen and to take at least a few minutes to consider. It might just give you another way to look at situations.

I truly hope that any sufferer receives the same empathy and lack of judgement that this company gives, and I hope that you are able to find that one tool that works really well for you, even if it takes going down a weird YT rabbit hole to find yours.

Slowly Healing

While my immune system is slowly healing, I’m working on healing the shadows I’ve carried in my memories for so many years. Once I had my breakthrough that I blogged about last time, I decided to figure out what I needed in order to heal my immediate depressive issues, and now I am slowly opening the doors in the shadows to let each memory come out for me to deal with.

I wish I could say it’s been easy. Some parts have been incredibly empowering and others are just pieces that I needed to acknowledge in order to put them in the past, like memories of things my abusive ex did. I also had to let go of my own guilt and lay it at my ex’s feet, which I have to continually remind myself to do, after feeling guilty for everything that happened for 20 years now.

A few things with my healing have been some surprising needs that I have figured out, in order to move on. I realized that we needed to name the children and my awesome friend even helped me come up with a name for the adoption, since I am mourning the loss of the child that could have been and not the child that was placed with us. I also realized that I needed some type of small ceremony with our inner circle; one to publicly acknowledge and name each child for the first time, and to have that fellowship of grief and closure. Pinterest came to the rescue and I found the perfect idea to alter slightly to fit our needs. Following is the picture and explanation, since it is so much better with the wording.

Instead of the exact theme I am going to do a layer of colored glitter for each child. The jar I’ve been hoarding for years just because it’s cute finally has a purpose. It has a little spoon on the side and I will spoon out a little of each color as we acknowledge that child, and then we will spread the glitter. I’m still working with L to iron out the details and help me make this happen, but I haven’t been this sure of something being right for me for a long time.

Another step to empowerment is another tattoo. L and I have little matching tattoos on our ring fingers instead of wedding bands, and I was shocked I even did that. *laugh* Now I’m jumping in with both feet because it’s a tattoo that makes me feel incredible and I haven’t even had the consultation yet! One spot that has the least Fibro pain is my inner arm, so I am getting a half sleeve on my inner arm, from my elbow to my wrist. I trolled artist profiles and found someone that makes incredible collage type works of art, and I’m really hoping to get mine done by her. I decided I want to have a reminder to look at whenever it’s a hard day or I’m feeling down on myself, so it’ll have a variety of symbolism that I’m leave to her artistic mind to figure out how to put them together. I’ve always associated myself with Wednesday Addams, since I tend to be as anti-perky as her, and admittedly pretty morbid. In honor, and to make myself grin, I want a bottle of poison. For those of you that don’t have the movies memorized (I admit to not being fully caught up on the original television series, but the movies were part of my youth and I found a teen character I could identify with *grin*), anyway, in one of the movies Wednesday is seen drinking from a bottle of poison, which amuses the tarnation out of me for some reason. It’s also a great way to then give a reason to having a spoon included, to represent being a Spoonie. A random spoon would be weirder than even I am going for with this. *laugh* An apostrophe will also be included, probably close to a set of books, due to the symbolism.

One little symbol says all of that; a reminder through depression and even a great reminder that although our teen adoption path did not work out for us, we have other paths to walk in our journey and other choices. It also reminds me of how many tough times I have all ready had and the strong woman that I am today for surviving it all. One apostrophe says so many things to me and it can stay private or I can raise awareness for depression when asked to explain. As you can tell, I love hidden meanings and am over the moon that these are pieces of my new someday artwork.

I also want to somehow incorporate Phantom’s mask, along with books, since I need to wave my nerd flag at least a bit. *laugh* I kind of envision books at my wrist that open up and bits of my personality are flying up from the pages, in a watercolor or sepia surrounded area. I’d love to incorporate a quote or two that I love, but as L pointed out quite correctly the other day, I’d probably need to do that on the other arm, because I’m probably running out of room with all of my ideas. *grin*

So, it’s a little bit of a bittersweet post, but encouraging, that’s for sure! I’m quite impressed with my progress, for figuring out what I need in order to complete healing for each item, and even going into my mind’s shadows to face an item at a time. For the first time, regardless of what I’ve ever gone through, I actually feel brave. Just like the apostrophe means, I have a lot more of my story to live and write. One step at a time. 🙂

The Clearing

On St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago L and I started our journey side by side down the path of adoption. At first the path was a little rocky and felt like it would take forever. Once we completed our classes, were certified to become parents, and our house passed inspection (not to mention that it was move-in ready), we took our first steps into the forest that the path took us along.

My arms were full with two binders of information about adoption and girls around the US that were available for adoption, and a mind full of random parenting traumatized children facts, while I edged my way through the darkening forest behind him; his automatic tendency to protect me. The ground grew thick with slick moss and spindly tree limbs pulled at us as we kept going. Surely God would reward us for continuing along this horrible path.

So many times I’d think I saw the light for us, but was wrong, and L would have to hold me until the tears passed and try to caution me from letting my heart get involved while we were still in the forest. But I was in love with the idea of finally getting to be a mother, so a bit of my heart broke every time that light was just a trick of the forest.

Finally a very kind woman joined us and helped lead us out of the last bit of the woods, and my heart soared. We made it through the forest, we started the walk with distance between us but had grown closer throughout, and now we could enjoy the sunshine of the clearing, while we awaited our reward for working so hard and diligently. For my loving so much despite the pain.

For a few weeks it was absolutely incredible. There was a young lady to learn about, to take care of, and to work every day to make her know that she was loved and valuable. She said “I love you” and even called me “Mom”, yet I had to keep from sharing the highs and lows with the world. Until the papers would be signed at official placement, the edges of the clearing filled with shadows of all of the secrets about her that, by law, we were supposed to keep. The shadows of secrets became so thick it was hard to see beyond the clearing anymore, especially after the woman left and most of the time it was just the girl and I. One day I finally looked clearly into her eyes and saw Evil. I had narrowly escaped murder before and knew that look well, and knew deep down that my life of dreams, work, and family was about to collapse.

With the help of a friend who understood that Evil, I was able to tell L that I was scared and he immediately stopped the proceedings. I spent the next three months sitting in that clearing, shadow secrets and trees pulling at me, the sky as dark as ink nearly all of the time. L would come and hold me close, but no one can hold you close enough or be there for long when you live in Depression.

An illness contracted from being around the child, coupled with my weak immune system, left me on bed rest for well over a month, and left me in that shadowy world to think and mourn. (I just saw my world’s-best-doctor who is now treating it and my immune system is no longer under attack! Yay! I may actually get off bed rest soon!) Although I still don’t see a light and don’t know where the path from this place is quite yet, it’s not quite as dark now that I’ve been forced to face my fears and forced to mourn.

We never received the blessings that I expected, but in some ways we came away with different ones. 15 years after our vows and I love him more than I ever did before, plus we went through such horrible times that I’ve never felt closer to someone. I learned that it doesn’t take a child to make us a family – we have four fur babies and another one planned to adopt once the youngest two are out of their terrible twos, and we finally made our house a home. Together we make a family.

I also learned a very painful lesson about myself while being forced to face it all. I never truly mourned miscarrying my daughter from my first tango with Evil and was so caught up in the idea of a pre-teen or teen girl because I wanted to share those moments with her that I never got to share with Sierra. I never got to get a dress and her hair done for a formal dance, never got to take one of those holiday card family photos, or even got to plan out a themed birthday party. I missed those special moments that parents often take for granted. But I was just substituting another for the daughter and her moments that I missed out on. That was a hard pill to swallow and an extremely hard failing to admit to, especially putting it out there in the public. If it helps one person in their journey though, I’m thankful I had the strength to write it.

I felt such sorrow for that child with so many secrets and such pain, that I truly wanted to help that young lady. I was in love with being her mother though, not with her. If she didn’t have the other issues, I know I would have grown to love her, but now I don’t know how much would have been for her alone versus a stand-in for Sierra. I also can now see just how much she was manipulating me with the “I love you” and “Mom”, as well, which I would never have realized. As disappointed as I am in myself for motives I was unaware of, I know realistically that we both had severe failings in our motivations.

In those long hours in the darkness I also realized that I have never mourned the other two children that I lost because of my ex. I didn’t carry them as long and, in a way, it was just easier to not recognize that they had been a part of that horrible phase of my life. I had shoved that pain and knowledge deep into the shadows of my mind, and had done quite the job of keeping that corner sealed off. It’s ironic that it now hurts that I hadn’t mourned or allowed myself to think about them. One was my Angel while two were secrets that my mind tried to hide, because it hurt so much. Yet again I caught sight of that tarnished silver armor when I brought the subject up to L and he said they were just as special, just as much Angels, as Sierra, so I should memorialize them too. They deserved just as much, even if I didn’t get to carry them as long. Forget the roses and poetry for me; this is the type of gift a partner can give that can truly change and improve your life. I have a whole shelf and binders of poetry, but have never read something as touching as what he said that day.

I know I’ll be in the dark clearing for a while longer, but I have Faith that I’ll see the path out once I’m ready. It is sad and hurts that we went through such a long and difficult journey to get to this point, but I’m learning to be thankful. I don’t know that I could have ever realized that it’s us together that all ready makes our family, and I don’t know that I would have ever felt peace in that without this pain. There may (and that’s one mighty big may) be a fork in the road in the future, but I’m not in such a rush to get there now. I have a lot of myself to learn about that I had suppressed, I still need to get over the PTSD and horrific nightmares about my ex that Kiddo triggered, and I want to enjoy this time with L. I never expected to have such a loving and close relationship; we were Blessed after all, just not as we expected. Although part of me would still love to be a mother, I’m very thankful that God has better vision than I do.

🙂

If You Are Depressed

On what is considered the happiest holiday of the year, a lot of people struggle with depression and even suicidal ideation. Instead of the happy holidays posts you’re probably more used to seeing, I am attaching a link to a sermon about depression.

If you know me well, you know that I have Faith, but I don’t associate myself with a specific religion, and am really open-minded. The perfect words and message can come from any religion right when you need it, in my opinion. I got really lucky and one of my incredible friends shared this sermon with me, which I asked if I could share here, just in case anyone out there needs to hear this message right now, too.

Again, I am not affiliated with this religion and honestly don’t listen to sermons often, but the message about depression is so incredible that I hope it also helps someone out there in internet-land too. Apparently I seriously suck at embedding the video itself, so please click here to get directed to the sermon page with the video. *smile* And please do not hesitate to privately contact me if you need a depression/ideation “buddy”. Having them myself has literally saved my life.

Just in case you need it, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (US) and at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Before you act on your thoughts, please reach out. And please do not let this make you feel guilty or like you are a bad person for these feelings/thoughts. It tore me apart for a spell until my friend provided the link to the sermon. You are still a good person, no matter what your mind says right now.

— Georgia

Extra note:

Also, thank you to the incredible friends and family that have been so supportive through this rocky time. I forget to log in to different medias and am so bad at timely responses, but your support means the world to me and I am sincerely thankfully for you. Y’all make me as warm and fuzzy feeling as my plush onesies that I practically live in right now. *grin*

For Other “Should-Be Mothers”

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I spent a long time tonight sitting outside, staring at the stars,  A long time praying with the trees whispering, the wind whipping strands of hair into my tears.  The candle had blown out long before the tears came.

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I prayed, I gave it my all, and I fell in love.  I fell in love with a girl’s quirks, dreams, potential, and learned ways to meet her needs.  I didn’t go into this knowing that my heart could get hurt so deeply before even meeting the child in person.  Every mishap, every delay, and every probing question answered wasn’t enough for us to get chosen.  We requested to proceed to the next step and her foster parents decided to adopt her.  I’m thankful that she is blessed with her home and family.  So thankful that another child has the chance to be loved.  I grieve because I lost the chance at the future I had dreamed of with her in it.  

 

I don’t think I can use this as an opportunity to improve how I handle disappointment or to better myself in some way.  I’m not disappointed.  I’m grieving.  In yet another attempt at becoming a mother I lost the chance.  Just like the miscarriages and failures.  I lost part of my hope and heart.  At times I wish I could protect my heart, but then I don’t think I would be the right person to have started this journey.  There are other inquiries out, one inquiry turned over to another child’s case worker now for consideration, but I’m going to be sad.  I’m mourning the loss of the dreams of special moments that might have been shared, the chance to hold my daughter in my hands.  Most likely the next one will be the same and probably somewhere along the path we’ll get a little further and get rejected in preference of other parent(s), too.  And just like when the stick had only one pink line or the ultrasound was empty, I’ll grieve for that lost hope, the lost dream. As one woman said in a forum thread many years back, “I really hate that phrase [about birth mother’s knowing the right parent] along with ‘the right baby finds the right family at the right time…’ That falls in line (for me) with ‘Everything happens for a reason’ ‘It was meant to be’ etc… The reason I hate those phrases? Because for those families for whom it doesn’t work out, you feel even more like some type of cosmic failure. Even the “universe” felt you were unfit to be parents…”

 

The other stages have been so incredibly hard all ready, but somehow it felt like although we missed out on the previous chances, we would get picked quickly.  I have no explanation for why it seemed like this part would be the easier part.  I didn’t expect so much emotion during this phase either.  And I didn’t expect to find empathy from a group of women, all strangers even among themselves,  who understood the frustration and grief, along with this sense of failure.  All rational women.  All women trying to figure out how to hold our shattered hearts together enough to try again.  All women who delete multiple versions of what they share (I’m on five right now).   I didn’t know that I could feel like I’m failing at this and would never have imagined that I’d learn from strangers that I’m allowed to, and need to, mourn those possibilities.  We all fell in love with someone we didn’t know and had our hearts broken a bit.  And we’re all scared of being vulnerable yet again.

 

We don’t pour our hearts out for pity; we do it to keep one another strong enough to try again and so that the right message can be found when this happens to another should-be mother.  You will try again.  You will set a date to reevaluate if you have enough hope and strength left to continue.  You will be misunderstood by those that can’t empathize with your loss.  Very few will understand your grief, but don’t let that stop you from grieving.  Just like each chapter in the pre-home study, there’s another page after this.  Scream at the stars, cry in the dark, get down on your knees and pray for probably the eightieth time just this week if that’s what you need.  But allow yourself to grieve.  The tears will dry on the paper and when you’re ready, turn the page. 

Bless Yore Beautiful Hide, Wherever You May Be

First off, I want to say that I’m really sorry for the silence for the past few months. I’ve gotten caught up on all of the blogs that I follow, but not my own. I think that shows I just needed a little time away, I think. I also think it’s about time to give you the details, clear the cobwebs, and get back into the groove. 🙂

I’m sick. I try not to talk much about it except to those I’m close to, since it’s not exactly a cheerful topic and I pray every day to have a good impact, but I want to always be honest on this blog. I have a disabling case of Fibromyalgia with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Costochondritis, Chronic Insomnia, a compromised immune system, and a laundry list of other little things that get in the way sometimes. I went into this year with high hopes that I’d start getting better. Maybe not a full remission, but at least a bit better, since I didn’t think it could get much worse. Yeah, I deserve a total “Gibbs smack” to the back of the head for that thought. *grin* Between injuries, new symptoms, doctors altering my meds all of the stinking time, and some withdrawals from meds that just didn’t work well with my complicated system, I had a hard time. Sometimes I struggle with depression. It’s hard to always be happy when it can be a huge challenge just to get out of bed. I mean at ALL, not just the ole usual I don’t want to get out of bed this morning thing, either. Sometimes it’s as hard to get out of bed as a workout at the gym. It’s hard to believe, but that’s one of the truths that every Fibro sufferer will usually hide from you. We try to smile so you don’t see how broken we’ve become, we say “about the same” or “not too bad” if you ask how we are because we know most don’t want to hear the depressing truth that we seldom have good days when we’re in a relapse, and we try not to let you see us wince from the pain when you playfully nudge us or slap our shoulder during a joke. We want to be normal; we want to be loved and liked still. Most friends and acquaintances drift away because they think we’re just always going to blow them off or we don’t bother to participate in the friendship. Most of the time we desperately wish we could handle being hugged or that someone would go ahead and give us a hug anyway, because the pain is ALWAYS worth it. With all of that turmoil it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what your dreams are. When every day requires adjustments just to do the basics, we don’t know that we can have dreams anymore, sometimes. Our dream can become having more than one good day a month and our world gets so wrapped up in the hardships that we can’t always see the shore when our ship starts to sink. Anyone with a chronic illness has these moments and sometimes those moments last a very long time.

Added to the muck I felt like I really let myself down with my business. When we got our taxes done Georgia’s Bath Products was officially downsized to a hobby instead of a business. I was too sick to be able to do the events and push sales, so I never met the standard needed in the allotted time. I’d all ready lost a full time job and ended my first business in the couple of years before this, so getting downgraded hit me a little harder than it normally would have. I lost my inspiration, my interest, and my way.

Thankfully something wonderful has happened in the past two months to help me start shaking this all off and work toward finding the new me. My newly single mom moved from an hour away to about eight houses away. When my days are so bad that I’m too sick to take care of my dog or get up off of the couch, she’s here for me. She cooks for the big guy and I when it gets hard and not only helps clean my house, but she even helped (well, really she taught me how) to make/install a shelf so I could organize some stuff. It may seem weird that I make attaching brackets to a board and screwing them into the wall sound like a huge thing, but when you can’t manage your own household anymore those little things make the sun feel a hundred times more glorious upon your face, and you can’t help but grin for days. Plus, she needs me. She accepts my limitations better than I do usually, but still wants me around, and visits me at home because she understands that it’s kind of an ordeal just to leave the house sometimes. No matter how dark the alleys in my mind got, how lost I became, she held my hand and said she needed me because I’m still the bright spot in her life. Hearing that when I did was a true blessing that has been helping me face each day.

So, now that I feel more naked than if I’d streaked at the World Cup, we can all look forward to the fun stuff.

During my time off I was on Pinterest quite a bit. (Hi, my name is Georgia, and I’m addicted to Pinterest…) Feel free to explore my quite diverse collection of boards by looking for the pinner Georgia’s Bath Products. You get a really good feel there for how eccentric I truly am. *grin* I’ve done some Pinterest pin reviews on the blog previously, but dude…for a while I really did have a problem. lol I also read a bunch of books that were completely and thoroughly fun. Raunchy historical romps, steampunk sci fi, paranormal romances, and Whodunits filled my hours, and it was glorious. *pushes glasses up my nose with a grin* I also spent a lot of time in the virtual world of Second Life. I learned some of the basics of building, mentored some newbies, and became a crazy cat lady in that life too. *laugh* I also got totally into learning and watching about cosplay (a bucket list item I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to check off, but it’s high on my list now *grin*) and came up with some awesome strategies (yep, I dare to say something so cocky) for my mom’s move. I got to utilize my love of lists and spreadsheets for the irritating process of moving. I rock sometimes. *cracking up*

Expect to start seeing my posts showing up in your inbox or feed a lot more frequently now. There will be some posts featuring interviews with one of my friends full of recipes, handy little tips, and some of the neatest decorating ideas. You’ll see my first attempt at spray painting something (shows what a goody two shoes I was as a youth, I guess lol) when I soon try to turn my ugly cane into a work of pink glitter art. I’m going to be working at trying to make a part of my mom’s office into a crafting section, so expect some fun info about that (most likely inspired by Pinterest, I’ll be honest *grin*). Who knows what other oddness I might get myself into, too. I all ready binge watched the second season of Hemlock Grove, so now I can focus on new activities. There probably won’t be a lot about the bath and body products until it’s closer to Fall, so if you don’t stick around, I understand. I hope you do, though, and maybe we can find some fun stuff to share with each other. Maybe if you’re also struggling with something in private this will help you to not feel so alone, too. I’m closing with a quote from the author that wasn’t afraid to confide about those dark thoughts, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

 

(To give credit where it’s due, the post’s title is actually a song [and a bit of lyric] from the 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  That song has been stuck in my head for a week now, and I thought it’d make a good title for the first post of my return.)

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