How many Louis Vuitton bags do I need anyway?
Sorry, but its been a minute since my last blog. I have made strides in my spending habit since my last post. I have some money saved now and I am ready to make payments on my credit cards. I just had a conversation with my close friend about money and financial freedom. She is so amazing when it comes to that type of discipline that it gives me hope that I too can get there. Don’t get me wrong: I want so many things and I feel like I deserve them. I work hard and I have a right to enjoy nice things. BUT, and a big but, I will enjoy these things for a short time, like a week. Then it will likely go back to the far reaches of my closet. How many Louis Vuitton bag does one need anyway? Seriously. If I haven’t said it before, I think two is sufficient.
Intellectually, I know all of this and it all makes perfect sense. My friend also suggested I make a list of all thing things I want to have RIGHT now. Keep that list for reference and see how those things are just things. That if I want them down the line, I can save up money. Buy the cash, not credit. I think this is a fabulous idea. It’s like a bucket list of the shit I really honestly don’t need; hopefully, its a bucket list of material crap that won’t enrich my life…
Instead, I think I am going to use some of that cash for a vacation. Which is still spending money, yes, but on something that will give me unforgettable forever memories. It’s not a piece of expensive leather or even vinyl that will live in my closet indefinitely. Baby steps, people! So AFTER paying off a chunk of my credit cards, I am going to buy my vacation with cash, not credit. It’s a start, right? And that’s where I need to begin.
So I am wearing the blue jeans again today. The ones from my earlier post: Blue Jeans. I needed to get inspired and I was hoping thy would do the trick. I was almost out of inspiration and felt there was nothing to write about. Then I remembered: What was I doing when I got these jeans? I was leaving a not so great situation about 6.5 years ago. And that, my dear readers, is an understatement. What does that have to do with now?
I was on my Facebook feed this week. I was reading my friends’ posts and comments and updating myself on the day’s events as I do most evenings. Now what happened next shouldn’t come as a total surprise to me. After all, I had one last remaining mutual friend on Facebook with my ex-husband. The thing is, my ex had not been on Facebook in any way visible to me via this friend since about 2010. All of a sudden, his profile showed up with a comment on said friend’s post/feed. I was definitely surprised. And feeling immediately nauseated and felt my Facebook was invaded without my permission. And yes, I am well aware its a public space. I wasn’t thinking clearly, only emotionally…. Why did I feel so shocked and surprised, after all these two were good friends? Maybe because he looked different. Maybe he looked happy. Hard to tell. Perhaps I resented that he is so happy after putting me through so much financial hardship and hell back then and now. Fortunately, I have refused to let him take my happiness, at least in the last 4-5 years. But for all my efforts to overcome that whole incident that I will call a marriage, I was hoping he wouldn’t be looking so smug or happy. SO hard to tell with him.
And that’s why I am wearing the jeans today. To celebrate strength, the strength I have had all along to get through unexpected events that throat me for a loop. I didn’t get totally unravelled, but it was definitely disconnecting. But now I know, he’s nearby with the death of distance that social media brings us closer to. Its okay. I know there is no way he would contact me.
I am okay. And I say that every day. Because it is so true.
Have a fantastic end of your weekend. I’m glad I kept these jeans!
Me, Myself & I: my relationship with alone time
So, I have to confess that quite some time ago, the notion of having a weekend of no plans was terrifying. A 48 hour plus period of time where I need to spend time just with myself would have forced me into a tizzy of “What do I do, where can I go? Who should I call?” and a most uncomfortable, unsettling feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin would set in a self-imposed sense of doom. Maybe it brought back memories of being unpopular, alone, and scared. Back in the day, I went out all the time, even by myself to clubs etc….just to be with others and NOT all by myself. Because what could I possibly do on my own that could have value?
Turns out I LOVE alone time. I love the freedom of no accountability for 48 hours. Well, that’s not completely true. I don’t totally disconnect these days. I just merely love the idea of not making plans or feeling like I have to do any specific thing. Today, I am blessed with a few friends. I don’t feel the need to make a ton of superficial contacts just so I have someone to do something with. Being comfortable being alone does not mean I like to isolate. It does not. It means I walk confidently into a restaurant and say “Table for one please” or go to the movies: “One for Manchester By The Sea please” (that was my most recent solo venture)…..I’ve done this for a long time and it feels uttlery grafiying and supremely fantastic.
Being comfortable in my own skin to stay home or go out and do when I want when I want is freedom that I did not previously allow myself until I entered my early 30’s. My first solo vacation (not family oriented) was when I was about 30 and traveled to Mexico on my own. That liberated me. It was the turning point. “If I can travel to Mexico alone, I can do anything in Denver alone,” was my thinking. And damn. That was just the beginning. After countless restaurants and movies and trips alone to Mexico since, I can safely say I can’t imagine being restricted by having a mate to travel with or see movies with. I can be alone at home and watch what I want or go out to the movies solo and not wait for someone to want to see the exact same thing. I don’t have to go to bar just to be near people. I am fine. On my own. Any time of the day. Whether my friend travels with me to Paris this year (which would be the best girl’s trip ever) or not, I know I am good on my own, which liberates me and my friend at the same time. Paris is possible all on my own.
Now, I’m not going to pretend I don’t need people, period. OF COURSE I DO. I think it’s more of a question of wanting people in my life. To an extent, I need people for normal socialization. I generally just feel I want certain people in my life. I don’t per se, need them to have my own value as a person. I value myself as myself, solo. People I choose to have in my life are there because I want them. Whether they are family, different female friends, work friends or relationships of a romantic nature. I choose them and I hope they choose me. Last year, I unfriended and blocked a lot of people on Facebook because I realized they really chose to not be friends with me or I didn’t have a genuine relationship with them. It was so liberating to know that Facebook is now full of people I want in my life. There are more to add and more to subtract, but its liberating to know I choose what I want in my life and don’t need to have someone in my life for whatever reason.
So what to do this weekend? Besides blogging, I think I would like to catch up on a movie or two. Hanging out with my puggle on the couch with popcorn rewatching “Amy” sounds cool also. I have so many options!
Have a fantastic weekend, whether you are flying solo or with great friends and family!
What my marriage taught me: about myself and relationships
I know I made some people wait quite a bit for this last installment of my three-part series of “What my marriage taught me”. I apologize for the delay. This took a bit of time for obvious reasons. It was the hardest to compose. It is the hardest because being teachable alludes a bit of humility, does it not? Yes, money and fear are big topics and there is a lot to learn. Always. But when we are talking about ourselves in our 40’s, aren’t we supposed to be experts on ourselves? On our relationships?
In my mid 20’s and I became single after a long six-year first-love kind of thing, I thought it would be “so exciting” and how I am going to find someone better than who I had left out of impatience and drifting apart. For the record, I never did find someone better right after leaving. That’s far and away a different story. Anyway, back then it was 1995 and I was hopelessly devoted to Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill was my anthem back then. Damn! I had a lot to learn.This was when I thought I knew something about something. I had a 20-something sized ego and my bumper sticker on my Honda CRX said “Whatever”. That should say someting.
Since then I had traipsed through flings, AOL chat room encounters, short relationships, being cheated on, and mostly just being single. So much, yet really not SO much. I learned to trust less, have too much fun and I believed sincerely that I would sleep when I die. I was a bit of a party girl. With out the drugs. A little alcohol, but really just guys….and more of the same nightclub/bar type existence.
Advance to 2006: I had just broken up with my boyfriend (as you know, the one that would be my husband in 2009). I thought I had learned that his bit of expressed anger and rage was too much for me. I guess not. I guess his charm and his ….everything….got to me AGAIN. I just didn’t learn. Not then. Not yet.
Advance to 2010: I returned to Denver with my tail between my legs. This relationship was done. I failed. Again. This time with lessons. Oh, there were lessons. I realized what dignity was. I realized what it meant to feel I had none. I knew what rock bottom really meant. I had no idea; I was completely naive to how rock bottom would feel exactly. For me: my life reduced to boxes packed in three hours, a rented car filled with some clothes, my dog and me. I was a grown adult who only had a ring on my finger that I would need to pawn at some point, my precious puggle Max and my mom’s American Express. I had what little cash I took out (originally $200 a week before leaving Florida) before our accounts were frozen by him.
I got home. I cried it out. Every fucking day. There were tears. Yes, tears for him. Tears when he swore me out with horrible names the night I told him I got my old job back back in Denver. Tears of loss. Tears of failure. You get the idea. I went into therapy and saw a wonderful lady who really got me through the pawning of the wedding ring (I had to eat and pay a little rent), the paperwork after being served divorce papers at my door step by a process-server, the trauma of being such a failure. But she helped me realize that what I went through was unique, but not unique. Not everyone gets divorced after rage, post throwing dangerous objects, post verbal abuse and “silent treatment” episodes (to teach me lessons about talking too much). Not everyone suffers unpredictable rage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the non abuser may have actually done or not done. But those who have been through that know what that looks like. And feels like. Even if they didn’t know back then. The first time I had a clue that there is something beside physical abuse that counts as some type of abuse was when I called the police the second time at the encouragement of my father. My ex hadn’t actually hurt me, but for the first and last time, he did put his hands on me in a forceful way (to extract car keys). My father said I need to report that in light of what had happened the previous nights (ex trying to kick me out of my own place). This is the first time I learned first hand of something other than physical/sexual abuse. The police officer who took my report that day gave me a list of numbers on a card that described all types of abuse. This card was given to me by a male police officer. I dont know why that’s relevant, but it was to me at that time. It was a comfort that another male would recongnize the treatment was not right. I was extremely grateful, but more grateful long after I had left Florida. I was still shell-shocked having to even make a report at the time.
So, the aftermath: 2010-2016: I survived an awful divorce and monetary losses, loss of dignity, trust, and developed a necessity for hyper-analysis of every infraction against me that I had perceived . I think I resented what he had done to me in the divorce and aftermath more than the crimes of the actual marital discord. I had a few relationships in 2016 and some online adventures up to then which I posted about previously.
What I learned about everything, including 2016, the birth of my blog!
- Humility is being teachable and allows me to progress to better and more healthy relationships.
- Admitting regrets: I can regret something and recognize I made a mistake, I had a lapse of judgement. I would love to say I live with out regrets. I don’t think I can say that right now. I think that sounds a bit righteous and a little ignorant. Can’t we all admit we didn’t do something perfectly, something we would like to do a little differently?
- Honesty: What do I want? What can I handle and what can’t I handle in my future relationships? What are my red flags? Can I hold up to my own side of the bargain-for the sake of my dignity, can I walk away from those red flags?
- Don’t write about people in current relationships with out their consent. I learned this in my last relationship after trying to get him to read my blog after every entry that mentioned him. After getting into a heated discussion, he read one and felt blindsided. I recognize that I will preserve people’s privacy until they are comfortable with being mentioned in a most anonymous sense.
- I learned that what I really have after all this is anxiety: Still. After all these years from the series of unpredictability and rage in my uber-brief marriage. I may have had it before I was even married; however, it spiraled out of control in the years since, includng the first few years of my recovery from the divorce. Now I can admit it is something I have to, and want to work on, something that I seek help for to make these relationships work. So I don’t sabotage the really awesome opportunities and people who come into my life.
SO… some of you may be asking about #3: What are my red flags in the aftermath? What can I handle? What did I learn that I really need and got honest about it? Why don’t I write that as a part two of this third installment.
Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more of this detail in #3 and I’d be happy to include a part two!
Music pairing: If I need to say it: Okay! I was inspired by Alanis, because when I am not in the old space, I need to be reminded of how it felt. Jagged Little Pill does that wonderfully.
What my marriage taught me: about fear
Fuck Everything And Run. Sure. That’s what comes to mind for many about fear. Unless in the whole flight or fight drama of it all, you can’t do either. You are stuck. You are paralyzed. The fear of the event makes you indefinitely immobile. Incapacitated. Despite your strength, you just can’t move. The idea of doing anything about it scares you to death because you have never been in this exact situation. Well, hardly ever anyway. This one is different and you just can’t move. No.Matter.What. Until you do. Finally. That’s what this post is about. Part of the nitty-gritty details will make its way into a longer story, but I am going to start small. Because I’m still a tiny bit in fear. How safe is it to write about this? I am breaking through fear to just say: What the hell, I am going to take a risk.
When I was finally off on a fun impulsive 3-4 day vacation to the Bahamas, I had absolutely NO clue the guy I was seeing at the time would propose marriage. I am not sure he know. Was he even my “boyfriend”? Because I had told him I did want to get married (some day). Because he needed a woman to take care of him. Because he was bored? I will never know. I never got that closure. But that’s okay. That’s not what this is about. This is the second chapter of my relationship with this guy. I should have closed the book and put it on a high shelf after finishing the first chapter. Better yet, I should have donated the book to Goodwill or something for some other desperate 30-something woman to open up, ripe for seduction. However, maybe I was that desperate woman. Waiting for marriage and someone to want me. I am pretty intelligent. I had a good job. I practically majored in psychology, so HOW DID I GET HERE?
I was pretty sure a snowballing effect of fear started when I accepted his marriage proposal. In fact, I will go as far as to say the fear started long before when I never thought I would get married at the late age of 39…. the fear of being unloveable. I guess as I write this, I realize my own fears set the ball rolling and his actions in the Bahamas and forward just compounded the idea that fear would take on a different species: the fear of being alone again. So no matter what happened, the physical fear seemed real and relatable. But it was no match for the real fear that simply left me in my tracks.
It was easy enough to tell (some of my) friends the physical fear I felt because I knew would get sympathy about being stuck in a bad situation. There was plenty of fear based on my physical environment (never an assault upon me, ever) so that’s what I told my friends. The OTHER fear, that I couldn’t verbalize or put into words yet, I still felt in my core, but I was NOT ready to be honest about. Maybe there is that undeniable shame for me, in the fear of being alone and unloveable. I was surely not going to admit such things, even if I could verbalize those feelings or identify those moments of palpable loneliness. Better to say he threatened me in the Bahamas. Better to say he got into rages that ended up with broken items and refrigerators turned inside out. All true, all scary. Unfortunately, when I finally had to leave 1.5 years later, I realized my fear of physical safety was only part of the total fear I carried with me.
My lesson: I had no idea I had this internal fear that followed me everywhere, before AND after my marriage. I was justified in my fear for physical safety and until I left him (he forced me out despite my weak attempts to seek counseling with him), I had absolutely no clue about the real fear. My marriage was not in vain. Its been teaching me things all along. I had to hit rock bottom in an emotional abyss in 2010, crying daily, to even realize the fear had nothing to do with him at all. That really sucked. I will be completely honest. That sucked. It would have been so much easier to say his rage and unpredictable moods were enough to be fearful about. They were pretty bad and he would argue that I was never in actual danger, but I was pretty scared. Those stories will come later and the detailed process of my story will become more evident. I had to move forward. I had to get UNstuck, UNparalyzed, UNhelpless. I moved back to Colorado in 2010 and started up a job. And I got right into therapy, which was really translation for a biweekly cry/drama/trauma session. Whatever.It.Takes. I am still working on becoming unstuck and out of the fear cycle. It’s a long process.
For now, suffice it to say, my fear is my own to deal with. That’s really what my marriage taught me: I think now it can be a matter of Face Everything And Recover. Recover from the lowest point that I have ever sunk, defended as the years of 2009-2010.
Depending on how honest you are with yourself, you may find yourself in the middle of your own long journey!
Readers: What did you learn from your marriage? Whether you are currently married, divorced or widowed, what did the actual process of living with the person you tied the knot with teach YOU? Please leave your comments and I would love to read and respond!
Have a great rest of your weekend!
Music Pairing: Personally, I listened to the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Sarah McLachlan) and most songs spoke to me, particularly, Fear (surprise), Possession, and Hold On.
I could have probably listened to Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails for that matter (okay maybe NOT Nine Inch Nails this time!)… However, Yaz’s Upstairs at Eric’s could have really worked.
Good secrets, bad secrets…: My introduction to a three part series on what my marriage taught me
Are secrets okay? Are we only as sick as our secrets? Why do we keep secrets? I feel that sometimes we keep other people’s secrets and some of our own to preserve a bit of privacy and dignity, some self-respect and a dash of mystery. We keep secrets about arriving baby gender, relationships (of any type), opinions on work, money and politics. We do this to keep the peace and keep our opinions and personal history to ourselves. Is there anything wrong with this? Other times, our secrets aren’t based in any nobility.
Our other secrets are not based on dignity, respect or privacy. These secrets build upon each other, slowly growing till they get so big. Then airing out these well-kept skeletons is so daunting, it’s scary. Super scary. If we wait long enough, the secrets create a solid icon clad wall. The wall is fused with pride, fear, and insecurity including financial and emotional. To get through this from the inside out we have to be strong. SO strong. This is the part that can really suck. Like.Really.Suck. We can’t expect others to get in if we can’t even get out. These are the secrets that make us sick and poisoned inside. Poisoned by the pride that makes us feel that we are better than you. The toxic insecurity that makes you NEVER as good as. These secrets that destroy us. Unless…..
Unless we can talk or write or get out alive. This is why I want to write about what my marriage taught me. I can write about it. I want to share it because if it gives you pause, if it makes you think about how you view something sour and wretched and awful, then I say thank you. I have done my job writing this three part post series:
Part I: What my marriage taught me about my relationship with money
Part II: What my marriage taught me about fear
Part III: What my marriage taught me about me and future interpersonal/romantic relationships
I am going to ask for your input, your experience, how your last relationship prepared you for the next one!
Dear America:a love letter
I have no words. I feel we have let you down. You have given my family a new home, a new country. On my mom’s side, my grandmother was the first one born on your soil. Your land offered a new opportunity to our family.
I love you America. Pure and simple. You have given me never-ending opportunities and challenges. You have provided me with hope and inspiration. It was always up to me to decide how I’d use your gifts. Thats’s your gift of freedom. Not all of us want to trash your beautiful land. We don’t all want to disgrace the dreams you offered us on Ellis Island. I want to do you proud. I want to repay you and give you hope in our future as a nation. I think the last 48 hours have taught us all you need more of our help to advance this great nation. To renew some hope and faith. You can count on us to refurbish your great land.
To be grateful for the opportunities you’ve offered me, America, I want to show my gratitude in action. It’s all good to SAY we are grateful. Words.are.cheap.
- I am grateful for my education, all of it: so I paid off my student loans. I did not default on your generosity.
- I am proud of my freedom of religion: so I stay true to Judaism. I will NEVER stray.EVER.
- I am grateful I succeeded and found my professional niche and love what I do: so I go to work and I practice the work ethic my parents instilled in me.
- I am grateful for my good wages: so I pay my taxes.
- i am grateful I have the choice of automobiles, new and leased: so I bring it in routinely for maintenance and oil changes; I keep it nice and clean.
- I am grateful for health insurance: so I work hard to improve my health, mental and physical.
- I am grateful for good parents: so I chose to mentor and showed my path, my zeal for education, work ethic, and opportunity to another.
The list goes on, America. I hope you remain patient with us. It may take 4 years. Or 8.
me, your faithful follower