I am not political…

I hate politics. I hate the divisiveness that has come about in the United States. I despise the  negative campaigning and the fear and hatred that is driving the  rallies and campaigns of either party this fall.

But I love my country. I love my freedom. I respect and honor the military of the great U.S. of A.  I am grateful for my opportunities rights and privileges here in this country.  One of the greatest things is the ability to vote.

I was going to go on and on about this particular issue that has been perseverating in my mind. It’s not necessarily to do with the election so much as  the state of humanity here these days.  I don’t want to confuse that with the voting message here and now.  Maybe I will blog about that  on Election Day.

I voted. It’s your turn! Get out there!

 

Being alone is not a “Plus One” event

I think many of us have felt the difference between being alone and the stench of loneliness. I think most of us would much rather feel the peace of the downtime we get being alone. I can definitely do alone. I know not everyone can. I am fine with it much of the time. I can’t imagine the idea of living with anyone right now. I would have to be engaged or married, just like I was last time when I moved in with some one, my ex-husband.  When I am alone, I am at peace; I can do what I want, no one else is invited to my alone time. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is.  Well, I guess sometimes it does. Usually, though, I can go to the movies alone, go for lunch alone and have absolutely no issue.  But sometimes, just sometimes, loneliness rears its ugly, pitiful head. It’s then where being single is a state of affairs full of remorse.

Loneliness sucks. It just does.  I can feel it on my own usually when something just inspires me to feel less than in my current single status. I feel it  all around at random times that are so hard to predict. Like now, I am in a coffee shop, watching all these couples walk in and think “I wish I was part of that”. I wish I had someone to hang out with at night and first thing in the morning.  I feel less than, knowing that if i had what it took to be part of a couple, I  would be. So what’s missing. I used to be part of a couple lots of times, mostly through my early twenties and part of my 30s and then when I was married at the end of my 30’s. That’s when I snap out of it typically. I think of how I want to spend my time, with someone I can’t predict, or alone, in the peace of my own hobbies,  reading and downtime. Is it that I am so set in my ways, that I can’t make room for someone at my age? Is it that I am sooo hardened, I can not let go and just be vulnerable for the right person. Have I passed by the right person and just been too rigid and uninviting. I am a pretty nice person, but I know that lately its been really hard to just let go. I am rigid with my boundaries and maybe I am keeping out the right person. I am creating my own loneliness, perhaps? The irony of this makes me laugh out loud.

I will try to be less guarded, but aren’t we supposed to be a little guarded? Where’s the balance?  Drop me a comment…tell me about your experience.

 

Music I am listening to: Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration

Sorry for the radio silence…new ideas are percolating!

I have taken a week off and it feels so quiet to not be writing. I have also had a lull. I have had a case of writer’s block, or blogger’s block, as the case may be.  Then I kept thinking of all these ideas during my attacks of insomnia. I am back!!

I hope no one thought I would be one of those bloggers that has a site up for 3-6 months and then just loses interest. Definitely not the case.  I have been doing a lot of work out like posts and that’s because my relationship with myself has been first and foremost in my mind as far as really dedicating myself to self-care.  I have some ideas about posts on friendships, because after all, this is a blog about relationships and I want to introduce all types, including the one I have with myself and my female and male friends.  I wanted to also post about the importance of our reltatioinships and connections with our pets.  

I have also been paying a lot of attention to the music I have been listening to, becoming inspired by those influences s well.. 

Please leave me a comment if there are any relationships I haven’t mentioned or you would like to hear about.
Music pairing: The music I have been listening during my waking hours the last week or two is from In The Valley Below and their debut album “The Belt”. 

How soon is later?

via Daily Prompt: Later

So you can tell I am a HUGE Smiths fan. For  all of you that got the reference in the first place.   I digress from the word prompt today….when I think about later, I think the most obvious of course, the moment in time that I will do those dreaded things on my to do list. Right now, there’s a small number of items on the list.

I will:

  • change the lightbulbs in my lamps that are not critical
  • organize and spring clean my clothes wardrobe
  • read all my French magazines and the health magazines I meant to be inspired by
  • finally try mushrooms
  • go to Costco and downgrade that membership I never use
  • make the same mistake twice

Later

 

Obvious music pairing: The Smith’s song that inspired me!

 

 

Conquer!

via Daily Prompt: Conquer

While I feel that this past Tuesday I did conquer my biggest financial hill, a chapter 13 bankruptcy, it felt so much truer when I saw the check clear in my checking account. I knew I had really done it. With a few people making sure someone paid (me), I now showed the its done. That battle is complete and I came out of it so much stronger than I ever could have hoped in a million years.  Honestly, I thought it would conquer me. I felt so broken, so desperate for taking that route. Now I have one more battle; someone owes me some money. To make me quasi whole (financially). I realize today, I am whole and amazingly a better version of myself 5 years ago. I am going to fight the financial battle on principle. I didn’t give up before. I sure as hell won’t be giving up now.

I will CONQUER again!

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Careless Whisper: Summer of 1986

Yes, I know, Wham! came out with Make It Big in 1984. But when I was in England in 1986, Wham! was still enjoying its success with Careless Whisper. I was coming of age. I was 16 going on 17 and other than a horrible spin the bottle incident at summer camp, I had never really been kissed.  Thank you George Michael. This is for you!

It was the summer and I was staying with a homestay family while I learned about small town living in south England, in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, England specifically.  I came for three weeks and immediately befriended a British teen (maybe older, can’t remember at all, but she had a car and drove us everywhere). J. took me to places I had only dreamt about, places that I never went, night clubs. Night clubs with thumping 80’s music from the speakers and tall Englishmen with gorgeous accents. We were in the south of England and it was magnificent. My homestay mum told me gin and tonics were the way to go for selecting a beverage of choice when I went out to the clubs. She tended bar; I naturally figured she was an expert in these matters.  How would she ever guess that would be my drink for the next 20 years?! But I digress….

So one night in Winchester, J. drove to a club and confidently just walked in with me. As I am new to this whole “having friends, drinking alcohol, and talking to cute blokes” thing, I hid in the corner till I had successfully downed two gin and tonics, as advised.  J. told me I was going to have to learn how to do this club thing if she was going to keep taking me out (this was pretty new in the summer weeks I was in Chandler’s Ford).  I took a deep breath, a final swig that burned going down, and took a look around.  I am pretty sure I was the only American there that night. One particular bloke walked up and asked me to dance. I was so frightened and absolutely paralyzed. But then, I heard something  familiar: Careless Whisper by Wham!. Yes! I can do this! I’ve got this. I can merge paralysis and nerves and familiarity and survive this dance.  Somehow, I made it through the song and honestly? I only have George Michael to thank. His gentle voice, his melody for the song (I don’t know music terms, I could have this all wrong), and the seductive way it spoke to me got me through a first dance with a British bloke who was completely adorable. He could have been royalty and it wouldn’t have mattered.  My experience with dancing with guys and the attention given me was virgin territory for this barely been kissed girl who nothing really mattered and I only cared that Wham! was blaring from the speakers ONLY FOR ME. “Tonight the music seems so loud,  I wish we could lose this crowd” was all I was hearing.  Much later after I had time to digest a bit more of the 80’s, I would realize this was such a sad song. For now, I was seeking undue comfort in this and I had only this to get me through the most nerve-wracking first real dance. Needless to say, this was a practice dance; I didn’t talk much to him after, but he definitely  gave me the opportunity  to become slightly unstuck.

I don’t remember what that bloke’s name was or even really what he looked like, but I will NEVER forgot that dance and I certainly can’t forget Wham! Never. Ever. And I can’t even remember if he kissed me.

If any song, much less a Wham! song did this to you, gave you courage and familiarity in an unfamiliar situation, please leave a comment. I’m not the only one?!

Song pairing: Need I say more?

What my marriage taught me: about my relationship with money

When I met this guy, I had a good job. I owned (at least financed) a condo, and had a time share. I had one of my many VW’s and I was independent. I didn’t need anyone to help finance my survival.  I actually took a trip with him that he financed. That was fine with me, if he wanted to do that. He didn’t just kinda seduce me with his constant treats. Dinners, snacks,  a trip to Mexico. Whatever…. he did seduce me. I got swept away with all this free goodies when I dated this guy. We broke up a few months after the Mexico trip in the spring of 2006.

Advance to December, 2008: He contacted me. I fell for him all over again. I will skip a lot of these details of the marriage, but the beginning was the end. The alpha and the omega. And I didn’t even realize it. I thought this was the beginning of a long beautiful marriage; we eloped in the Bahamas. He suggested I would want rings, engagement and wedding bands. YES. I wanted it all. Of course I did. I have never been married and I didn’t care about a big wedding or even  a wedding dress that lasts a few hours. I wanted the jewelry that would last a life time. We talked in the Bahamas about money and our financial situation. Suffice it to say: I wouldn’t need to worry, he said. He’d handle it, he confirmed. I was elated. Everything looked good. Maybe it always looks good at T minus 4 days. So four or so days later we got married, in the Bahamas as planned. It was simple and the details are important, but not in this context. It was  not all that  perfect in those elopement days.  I will get to that in another post in my three-part series.

We returned home. We lived an interesting existence based his income alone. I loved not working, but what I dealt with in the mean time was definitely not what I had bargained for. Let’s just say  the meat of this marriage is what I am saving my memoir for. I want to share about the relationship I had with money and how its affected my relationship now as a result of this marriage. I lived in this marriage, free of gainful employment. But I worked for it. Believe me. I worked. Nothing is for free.

In 2010, I went packing. I took everything I owned in one evening. While my ex-husband claimed he was my meal ticket during those last days, I begged to differ. I lost everything that was mine and became dependent on his income because I had NO RESPECT FOR THE VALUE OF WHAT I HAD: My profession. My own income. My own belongings, in my own name.  Even my own measly retirement funds. I was seduced by what he had to offer and lost sight of what I had to offer because his purse was larger.  But his purse strings were tighter. I was given about 3-5 hours to frantically pack all my memories into cardboard boxes. I had already had my American Express frozen and a visa I had from the marriage rendered unusable as well. Mortifying, as this happened in a busy line at Walmart. Thankfully, I had thought to get as much money as I could out at an ATM while I still could.  I packed my things and left to return to Denver, Colorado, my long time home.

Within a year, I was divorced and regained my  maiden name. Within two years, my ex-husband had chosen to hold me responsible for the home we ‘bought’, even though the court agreed he had signed up to make payments. I was  bankrupt within the next year.

With 3 months to go, I am looking forward to the end of my bankruptcy. As I  regained footing in my chosen profession, I had a job and I filed according to my capability to repay. I have learned so many things. So much that seems cliché and obvious by theory. So much that people assume as transparent conclusions. Maybe I am slow and had to learn the hard way. Maybe I am greedy and I had to have it taken away from me back in 2009.  Maybe I am all those things. But I don’t think I am the only one. I can’t be the only one seduced by a financial situation that seemed so fantastic, it was worthy of erasing any self-worth.  SO yeah, I got away with living in alternative RV life style, seemingly semi- retired for  less than 24 months, but I  paid the price. I definitely paid the price. I sold my self worth and self-respect and pride to a higher bidder; i was seduced by shiny objects, starting with an over priced engagement ring and wedding ring, followed by an oversized SUV, etc.etc.etc.

What I learned in the last 6 years:

1.NOTHING IS FREE. EVER.

2. I can survive on way less than what I THINK I NEED.

3. I can choose to value what I have if I can learn to respect how hard I had to work to get it.

4. I can choose to be frugal, even when my pride is bruised.  I learned how to cook and buy what I need, not what I have coupons for. I have learned to buy  (more) whole food and avoid packaged food. This is really the cheaper way to go in the long run.

5. I can learn that one can survive in a CASH ONLY EXISTENCE; my debit visa card was a good thing to have:  my bank didn’t have to give an account to a bankrupt person, but they did. This visa debit card made it much easier to use cash.

6. I MUST value what I have, even if the price tag and asset summary seems like a joke. IT’s not a joke. Its mine. And I will NEVER lose my self-worth again. I just can’t afford to.

My relationship with money has changed dramatically. While I wish i did not need to go through a divorce and bankruptcy to teach me the real value of self-worth and monetary assets, it changed the way I see everything I consume and everything I choose not to consume. I consume less so that I can have more. I buy less food so that I can feel better about my health. The benefits of my new outlook go on and on. But it’s not all about the money.

My next two installments  in this series address the other perspectives changed as a result of my marriage. I know I will tend to skip big pockets of time, but those pockets are filled with other lessons, other turmoil that aren’t germane to the post at hand.

What is not covered n the three-part  post series I am going to complete will be addressed in another format, to come hopefully in the next year or two.

 

Please comment if you can share about your experience. I would love to hear how other people have learned from financial crises and changed the way they see themselves and the way they spend/use money.