Thursday, May 30, 2013

Graduation is coming

My graduation is coming up—Saturday to be exact. The entire idea of going through with the formal ceremony seems a little weird to me, but I’m going to force myself to follow through and try to enjoy it.

First of all, I don’t like people making a big deal over me. My sister and my niece are coming to town for the event and Robby and the children are very excited. My mom made me promise to take lots of photos and my last-living grandmother sent me a card and money and told me how proud she is of me.

Yesterday, I picked up my tickets for the event and I picked up my cap and gown. Needless to say, I was the oldest person standing in line. I was also the only person not wearing spandex and flip flops.
I felt silly. I felt out of place. I could hear that inner voice inside me saying, “You’re too old for this.”

But, I reminded myself that I needed to go through with this. I needed to come full circle with this journey I started back in September of 2010.

When I decided to go back to school in 2010, I didn’t apply for graduate school. I didn’t think I could even get in, so I decided to play it safe and take some undergrad classes and get back into the flow.

I quickly realized it was a mistake and switched to the graduate program the next quarter.

I almost quit twice. When I turned in my thesis in November and found out I was finished with my degree, I went to my car and cried.

Goodbye, SCAD
But I didn’t have long to celebrate—I had to find a job.

I’m still trying to find a permanent job but somehow I have made it financially and I have been able to establish myself as a professional in Savannah.

So, why is the graduation important? I guess a lot of people would say it’s because I accomplished something really great and I did something a lot of other people don’t have the courage to do.

But that’s not my reason. I want my children to see that all this hard work had a greater purpose. I want them to understand that hard work pays off in the future.

Children can’t see behind the next five minutes. My children hated the idea of me going to school and going to work. They wanted things to stay the same and for me to stay home with them.

I had to convince them that everything would be okay and I would still be around—and I was.

They were never late for school. They never missed an activity. I still ate lunch at school with them and volunteered in their classrooms. I stayed home with them when they were sick and made sure they always had their lunch and snack for school.  I hosted slumber parties and Girl Scout meetings. I sat through endless karate classes and play dates.

I hired the best sitters for the days I couldn't be at home after school or on weekends and they loved the time away from me--safely protected in their own home.

I still did everything that they were used to but I also went to school full-time.

I did mess up one time—I forgot to pack Jude’s snack for school one day. But that was it--the big mistake during those two years. I guess that’s not too bad...

I honestly don’t know how I managed to do it all. I didn’t put much thought into it. It’s just who I am.

I realize now that I was always as strong as I am now. How else could I have done all of that stuff?

Sure, I don’t need to wear a black gown and shake a bunch of hands to know I graduated. But my children need to see me—they need to see me in a different light. They need to see that moms are more than just homemakers and caretakers and free rides to the movies.

They need to see that moms are people who have dreams. Moms are people who still want to travel and stay in a hotel and order room service. Moms are people who have sexual fantasies and enjoy playing videos games in their pajamas every once in a while.  Some moms like to watch gross horror movies and get tattoos. And some moms like to go to Las Vegas every once in a while and drink one of those sweet drinks in the tall glasses with super-long straws. And moms want to be respected and feel like they have accomplished something great in life.

I think so many of us grow-up and only see our moms as “moms.” This is my chance to show my children that I am so much more and that they can be more, too—they just have to understand that if you live your life with good intentions and a good heart, you don’t have to sacrifice your family or your happiness.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Things are (not) going to be different this time...

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy, but I’ve also been indifferent about writing. Luckily, the wind is back in my sails and I’m ready to begin the next chapter.

A lot of really great things have happened in my life. I celebrated my first wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when Robby wasn’t in my life.

I got to see my sister-in-laws get married. I love Mary and Christine. They remind me so much of my sister. 

To know I have two more sisters that I love to be around is such a huge blessing to me because the relationship I have with my sister is one of the most important relationships in my life. It’s also a blessing to be a wedding where people aren’t taking bets on how long the marriage will last—it’s clear these two are meant to be together.
Hard to believe it's been a year.

Work is going well and I get to finally celebrate my graduation from SCAD this weekend. Summer is here and life seems to be looking up once again.

The only issue I have is the same one that seems to plague me every time I think things are going to be okay, but I got it handled this time and I know I am going to be okay.

I had to go to court ordered mediation over a week ago. It wasn’t painful or upsetting this time. It was just the same old frustrating song.

What it really boiled down to is this idea that I am a bad person who is selfish and out to destroy someone’s life. It’s hard not to laugh at the idea, but I guess when you believe the world is against you, anything is possible.

After everything I have been through, the end result is always the same. But everyone else is so convinced that it will be different this time…

I walked away from mediation with the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I decided to start with a clean slate. I’m done with the fighting and the silly back and forth. Yes, I know, I’ve said it before but things are going to be different this time…

Well, the difference lasted for about two days and it was obvious we were back where we started. Nothing has changed and I have no confidence that things will be different this time.

Perhaps that idea should bother me, but it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, the realization that things will never change is the only thing that gets me through the day. It’s the comfort I cling to before I got to bed at night.

Expecting people to change is what bothers me the most. It never ceases to let me down and it never gets any easier.

I don’t expect anything different to happen this time around. I don’t expect people to be nice to me or to appreciate anything I do for my children.

I don’t expect a simple wave and smile when we see each other. 

I don’t expect anyone to quit bad mouthing me or for to stop this recent attack on my mental status. I don’t expect you to ever quit hating me or being mad at me. I don’t expect this power struggle to ever end or for anyone to make nice.

I don’t expect these things nor do I have any control over them. I only have control over myself.
I’ve kept my promises and done exactly what I was asked to do and what I said I would do. I have nothing to feel bad about. I’m not ashamed of anything I have done and I do not have to look over my shoulder every five minutes to see if my secrets are going to be put on display for the world.

It must be hell to live that way. I cannot imagine.

But I do have control of myself. I really meant what I said about clean slate. I’m not going to argue the past any longer. I don’t have to. I don’t get anything good out of it.

I have a new life and it’s pretty damn good. I have a clean conscious and I can hold my head high when I go out into the world.

I may be broke and I may be struggling professionally, but I am a good person. I have real love with real 
people. I am surrounded by good and I am happy. I am proud of myself. I have no shame.
So, be mad at me if you want. If that is what makes you feel good, then do it.

One thing I noticed at Mary and Christine’s wedding is that when you surround yourself with people who really love you and accept you for who you truly are you become safe. No one can really hurt you anymore. 
No one can make you doubt yourself and no one can make you hate yourself again.

And if they try, then God help them.

So, keep trying to make me doubt myself. It doesn’t work anymore. But when you are ready to get along, I will be here waiting. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Besides my family, friends, and my dogs, I have a couple of big loves.

·       Chips and salsa (probably go through 2 family size bags and a full jar each week)
·       Coffee
·       Foo Fighters
·       Red wine
·       Lunch at the beach
·       David Sedaris
·       Making Robby smile
·       Hearing my children laugh
·       Finishing a story two days before deadline
·       Packing for vacation
·       Laughing out loud
·       Really good sleep…

Okay, maybe the list is longer than I thought, but the point is, there are some things in my life that I know will always bring me joy. Days like today remind me I have to regroup and tap into those things that make me happy and remind myself how far I have come in the past three years.

Another thing that makes me feel happy is turning up the volume on my Dave Grohl playlist on Pandora and running on the treadmill until I feel like I can’t take another breath.

Sure Dave Grohl is a handsome guy in that grunge rocker sort of way that I usually find very sexy, but I’m not in love with him in that way. I’ve already got my big daddy.

For some reason, most of the lyrics to his songs seem to strike a chord with me during one of those runs where I’m desperately trying to find that calm place on the treadmill between reality and insanity. Today was one of those days.

Grohl directed a movie called “Sound City” where he teamed up with other legendary rockers and recorded new music at this old recording studio…the story is more complicated than that but it doesn’t have anything to do with this story.

As I ran today, I listened to one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack, “Mantra.”  Two different mantras are repeated throughout the song—“I will find a way to keep this moment for myself” and “and all of this will never be the same again.”

It’s no big secret; I have had some major financial woes lately. The fact that I have to go back to court again doesn’t help. I’m slowly building back up but I feel like I soon as I start to get on the right track, I get hit with something else like pending school loans, mechanic bills, summer camp dues…

Last night I kept having nightmares that I had all these other debts I had forgotten about and they were piling up and I was living my old life where I was broke and  alone and someone was only making it worse. I woke up even more exhausted than I went to bed. 

So, it was decided a trip to the treadmill was long overdue. As I ran and listened to the lyrics of “Mantra” I realized that I have all these really special moments in my life and I have the visual images of them locked in my brain that no one can take away from me. These are the moments that can’t be hauled away in repossession or taken away in court.

My life is different now. I don’t have the same demons chasing me that I used to have. I don’t have someone hanging around my neck like a dead weight any more. I don’t have to let things go the way they used to go. I'm not having to figure things out on my own anymore.

Every day, I get to wake up with most important people in my life. I get to see their faces and hug them. I get to laugh with them and hear their voices. These are moments I get to keep for myself. They don’t belong to anyone else but me and I don’t owe anyone money for them.

So, over the next few weeks as I’m forced to face my past again—the past I try so hard to put in the past—I will remember these priceless images and moments. I will find a way to keep this moment for myself… I don’t have to share them with you and you will never get to experience what I have.

And what happens after this battle is over? It doesn’t matter, because my life will never be like it used to be. I am happy and healed. I know my life is different now. I am different. That person who used to have so much effect over me doesn’t matter anymore. And all of this will never be the same again. I am a different person and I’m not scared of you anymore. I don’t need money to make my stand. I will never go away. I am not alone.