A Love Letter to My Regular

It has been so long…

Since someone has consumed my thoughts, without a sense of guilt

Since I have had someone to turn to for help, without a sense of burden

Since I’ve proudly stood next to a man that I am able to call my own

Since I’ve let down my guard and allowed someone to see the rest of me that I hide  from the world

Since I’ve unconditionally loved, without judgment, and received the same from another

Since I have felt such comfort in the arms longing to hold me

Since I have not feared another holding my delicate heart

Since I have felt butterflies in my stomach from a smile so sincere

Since I have daydreamed of a future with another by my side

Since another has bought the flowers that fill my vase

Since I have poured such emotion into every intimate touch

Since someone has made me feel so beautiful, inside and out, I am starting to believe it myself

…but the truth is, it has not been so long. It has never been before. A love so kind, so appreciative, so sincere; I am in love with a love I’ve never known before. I have learned from my past, I am in love with every moment of my life and am hopeful that this love will continue to fill my heart and ease my scars.

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Giving In

On my very long drive home from touring an alternative school for my children in a neighboring state, I did a lot of thinking about my life and where I am at. I had basically concluded that I will not be leaving this little town any time in the near future and it is time to start the next chapter in my life here, rather than question if the next chapter will be here or not. I know whole heartedly that the prior chapter of my life is now closed and while I have had fun occupying my spar time with the company of younger, free-spirited men in the area, at the end of the day it still left me unfulfilled.

I am ready to move on and begin living a life here, rather than my business and children be my whole life here. I began the dismal task of assessing all of the single men in the area and sizing them up to The List. My thoughts kept circling back to a regular of mine at the restaurant. Most single men in this town have voiced an interest in me at one time or another and this regular was no exception. I was aware that he would be interested in taking me out, if I were so inclined. I have always held him at bay because he has been divorced for less than a year and his ex-wife hovers somewhere between and acquaintance and a friend of mine.

Upon returning home, I began showing more of an interest in My Regular with what little time I have to do so. I went out one night with some friends and co-workers of his and ended up taking him home. As we began to spending more time together, I began to suspect that he was not emotionally available or ready to start dating. I read him The List and explained the importance of The List to me. I am very attracted to My Regular and have a wonderful time with him, but I have to be true to myself out of fairness to both of us. I could not continue to string this man along, if in my heart I knew that he was not emotionally available or ready for a relationship. I did my best to explain this to him and put some distance between us.

Rather then riding off into the sunset, My Regular took another approach to my attempt to hold him at arm’s length. He lifted the veil and unloaded his baggage on my front doorstep. It was honest, it was real, it was raw and it was heartbreaking. I empathized greatly with so many things that he said. He reminded me of myself shortly after my divorce; uncertain, insecure, frighten by possibility of letting someone new into your life. He was taking a huge leap of faith with his approach, but it worked. I have found great comfort and assurance being with a man who openly exposed his vulnerability and genuinely understands that we all have a past that we bring with us.

The choice he made changed everything, for both of us. Giving into him and embracing the idea that I am ready to love again has been so much easier once we both put down our guards and trusted each other enough to expose our true selves. I certainly still get consumed by fear from time to time with him; wondering why he doesn’t talk about his marriage more or when the other shoe is going to drop and I will find out something about him too insignificant to overlook. But I think that is part of falling in love; you do not fear something if you are not scared to lose it.

I am doing my best to focus on how wonderful it feels to feel unconditionally loved, supported and appreciated again. It has been way too long since any man has made me feel all of those things. And the sex, lets not forget the sex! I had completely forgot about how much better sex is when you feel emotionally connected to someone (Think Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer). We are both verging on exhaustion from staying up way too late talking for hours on end about our children, families, friends and youth. And of course there are the late night nudges that have been preventing us getting a solid night’s rest in weeks, but you won’t hear either of us complaining.

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When I look into His Eyes

My children’s well-being has been weighing heavily on my heart in recent months, since the news of their school closing. I made plans to take the trip I am currently on months ago; to tour an alternative school in a neighboring state. The school, the community, the local people have all far exceeded my expectations. It has been a wonderful trip, yet I am still torn.

Since the moment that I have made the reservations to take this trip, I have been emotionally, mentally, and physically preparing myself for the backlash that would come along with making such a drastic decision. I walked away from my marriage with nothing but “debt and a smile”. I refused to fight with my ex-husband about anything for the desire to be free from everything that we had created.

Now, after three years of acceptance with our past, my ex-husband and I are in a wonderful place. I love him more unconditionally then I ever did while we were married and we are much better co-parents to our children then we have ever been. That being said, we stand in much different places when it comes to what is best for our children and what sacrifices we are willing to make for them. I have bought a home and built a successful business since getting divorced. My ex-husband’s business continues to grow as does the equity that he has in the home we built together.

I am more than willing to leave all of it behind for the well-being of our children. My ex-husband, not so much. When we sat down to talk about the matter, there was little conversation to be had. He is whole heartedly committed to staying in this small town that will limit our children’s educational opportunities and mindsets. I, however, could not be more opposed to such limitations. And for the first time in three years, I feel more than strong enough to fight him on him closed-minded perceptions. But….

Is that what I really want? Do I really want to fight him? Do I really feel strongly enough to take my children away from their father (knowing that he is indeed, a  wonderful father). I am struggling to confidently answer such questions. I desperately wish our past did not play a role in any of this but the fact of the matter is, it does. I am frustrated that my ex-husband’s commitment to this town has to do with this continual desire to be with the Other Man’s wife. Do our children still not come first to him? It is embarrassing to watch how he plays a complacent pawn to her friends and family. They walk all over him and it is the extend of what my ex-husband calls a life here.

I want more for our children, I want the possibility for more for myself, and if I’m being honest, I want more for my ex-husband. He deserves more than being the b*@#h to her parents, friends and extended relatives. I do not want my children to grow up thinking it is admirable to walk through life without any boundaries. I want them to love, respect and appreciate themselves as individuals. That is not who their father has become in his attempts to win over the Other Man’s wife.

But the fact of the matter remains, I don’t want to fight him and I do not want to divide our family. If I had it my way, my ex-husband and I would be on board with leaving this small town behind and never looking back. But since we are never going to see eye to eye on such matters, it is up to me to decide how strongly I believe in this change for our children and how far I am willing to push my ex-husband out of his comfort zone.

It would all be so much easier to answer if I didn’t still see my best friend when I looked into his eyes…

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Putting it all in Perspective

I genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason and every person that comes into your life is in it for a reason. I have felt very strongly about this since going through my divorce and the concept continues to reinforce itself in my life everyday.

The first person came into my life that made me a true believer I met the very day that I came back from the trip where all secrets were exposed and my marriage was all but over. To this day, I call her my guardian angel. At the time, I was helping coach a local rec. league sport and came to practice completely out of sorts due to everything that was unraveling in my life. I did my best to hold it together well enough to lead practice. There was a new, very beautiful and very vibrant woman at practice. I introduced myself, as did she and began leading practice for the day. Fifteen minutes into practice, I mispronounced her name and was quite taken back by her alpha demeanor as she corrected me. Normally, such behavior would have completely turned me off towards a personality. However, it was exactly the dominance I needed in such a broken down, scared state.

She quickly became one of my closest friends, the only one in which I confided in throughout my divorce. She was my strongest supporter, she lifted me up in my weakest moments, she has always so whole heartedly believed in me that it has forced me to believe in myself, she made me feel wanted when everyone in my life was shutting me out of their lives. It was the loneliest, scariest time in my life; one that I am not sure if I would have had the strength to survive if it weren’t for presence of my guardian angel. I will forever be so grateful for her and whatever it was that put her in my life when I needed her most.

Since then, I have never doubted the importance of a single new person that has walked into my life and am constantly speculating the reason for their presence. But the newest addition in my life may be the most unexpected one that has walked in. As closing time was approaching at my restaurant a few nights ago, a young man walked in and asked if we were still open. I said yes, offered him a seat at the bar, and took his order. I continued to do my end of night tasks as I waited for his meal to be cooked. It caught me a little of guard when the first thing he said to me after five minutes of silence, watching me clean was “excuse me ma’am, I just have to say this. You may be the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen”.

Clearly, he had gotten my attention. I chatted with him about why he was here and what he was doing in this little town. He was far from the average demographic profile for this area. He asked me, as he was paying, if there was any way that he could see me again before he left town. A week prior to this conversation, I’m not sure that I would have had the courage to say yes to a man who I had never met and clearly comes from a very different life than anything I have ever known. But something has definitely been changing in me lately with the exist of the new man; my need to roam, explore and experience new things in life continues to grow.

The next night I went out to dinner with him. He is a very fit, thirty-two year old black man from Detroit. As we talked, I found out that he really does come from an extremely different life from myself. I would have never imagined having to contemplate in my head on a date “should I not ask why he was in prison for ten years? Is that one of those pieces of information that you wait for someone to offer?” He never did say why he was in prison, just said that he was a stupid nineteen year old kid that got caught up in a gang.

He was also the most polite, courteous, respectful, flattering, optimistic guys I have ever been on a date with before. Listening to him talk about his life and upbringing was such a beautiful reminder of what an amazing life I have and how lucky I am to life is such a beautiful place, surrounded by amazing people. Apparently, the universe thought that I needed one more BIG reminder of all that I have to be grateful for in my life. Listening to my new Unexpected Friend certainly put all of my recent griping and frustrations into perspective. So grateful for my life, guardian angels and new friendships.

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A Lesson in Graditute

I woke last Sunday morning to a message sound on my phone. Hopeful that it was the New Man, I scurried over to my phone to find a message from another man. A man who has diligently been trying to get into my pants since the day that he met me (shortly after I left my husband). I was disappointed that it wasn’t the New Man and a bit irritated that I was waking to messages from a man who I have made it very clear to “it’s never going to happen”. He was going on and on about how beautiful the beach was where he is now visiting to buy an investment property. He has made it very clear that he would love for me to consider moving to this foreign land with him.

I was very aware that part of my irritation was not about this other man, but rather about the end nearing of the New Man’s era in my life. I have known since day one that he would be leaving the area in late May, but as it draws closer I have been grasping for a few last moments ecstasy with him. So, waking to the hopeful sound of communication from him to be disappointed once I reached my phone left me quite grumpy for the day.

I threw on some sweat pants and a hoodie and headed out to grocery store. Somberly did my grocery shopping quickly as to avoid as many small town acquaintances as possible. As I was checking out, the always flattering checker asked me “where are your flowers?” He was right, I buy myself flowers every single week at the store and failed to do so today due to my bad attitude that had been provoked by my early morning messaging. His question woke me up in a way, making me realize that I was being a bit consumed by the New Man leaving. I went a found a simple, closed bunch of lilies and returned to the check out with them before he was finished ringing up my order. I thanked him for pointing out that I had forgotten my flowers for the week; I really do enjoy having fresh flowers to come home to. The checker completed my order, I paid and then realized that he forgot to ring up the flowers. He said “I did that on purpose. I want to buy you flowers this week”. As I always do when people are trying to give me anything, I insisted that he not buy them, he insisted that he was going to.

I took the next day off from work and scheduled a massage that I had been gifted, ironically by the man whose message I awoke to the day before. I just needed a day to myself to kick my gloomy attitude. As I was walking with the massage therapist she observed “you are very lucky to have someone attentive enough in your life to realize when you need a massage”. And once again, she was totally right. I am in no way attracted to the man who gifted me the massage, but I am still very lucky to have him in my life.

After a wonderful massage and soak I picked up my children from school and headed home to start our routine for the even. The first words to come out of my daughter’s mouth as we walked in the door were “mommy, look at how beautiful the flowers are now. That was so nice of the man at the store to give then to us”. Everywhere that I turned someone or something was showing me how much I have to be grateful for in my life, with or without the New Man. It was exactly what I needed; for my energy to be redirected and focused on gratitude for everything my life already has. Rather then moping around about the one small piece that I am losing.

The next morning I decided it was time to say my goodbyes to the New Man. I didn’t want the looming feeling of knowing the goodbye was coming and my recent lessons in gratitude made it much easier for me to focus on what the New Man has already provided me with and how grateful I will always be to him for helping me find the strength to finally let go. It was fun. He was fun. I am grateful. Moving on…

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The Urge to Roam

59963_818959171452187_365956439_nI recently found out my children’s adorable little hipity skipity homeschool cooperative will be closing next year. Up until now, when people have asked me if I am happy living in this small town as a young, single women, I have responded “it is a moot point, this is where my children are rooted therefore it is where I shall stay”. But now, much to my dismay, they have been uprooted and it has certainly stirred up some new perceptions, daydreams and desires in me.

I have simultaneously been learning more about the New Man; mostly that he is a total adrenalin junkie. He is headed in a new direction to rock climb, heli-ski, sky dive and even base jump every week. I have also learned that he is planning to do some extensive international traveling in the coming year. Both of these fun facts have been very helpful for me, in this new relationship. I have finally lived, loved and learned enough to know everything about this man screams “DO NOT GET ATTACHED”. Which is exactly what I need in my life right now; not to be emotionally attached to anyone. I must say though, it does get hard, every week, having the highlight of my week be the time I spend in bed with him and then watching him leave for some awesome adventure and knowing that my week will be just as boring as the last. I have definitely had a few spurs of jealously here and there regarding how much freedom his life has and how trapped I often feel in my life.

I don’t necessary want to be able to join the New Man on his adventures; his presence in my life has just highlighted my inability to roam. What the hell happened? I used to be proud of all of the places that I have gone and the amazing things that I have done in my life. Now I can barely leave town for twenty-four hours without more stress then it is worth. I am becoming increasingly disgruntled by the lack of freedom and choice I have in my life right now.

My Ex-husband and I were forced to walk into uncomfortable territory with each other, in light of the news about our children’s school closing. I have not asked, nor has anyone told me, but I get the distinct impression that, once again, the Other Man’s wife is cowering away from her idyll threats to leave her husband. Leaving my Ex-husband, once again, alone and disappointed. I had high hopes that if my skepticism about the Other Man’s wife was correct that my Ex-Husband would consider relocating, rather than send our kids the bottom of the barrel public school district that we currently live in. I quickly learned however, that my Ex-husband is as committed to staying here as ever. This news has not sat well with me and has intensified me feeling trapped and unable to control my own life.

I love my children more than anything in the world and I would never take them away from their father, but everything that has come to light in the last couple of months is making feel like I am being forced to live out a ten-year sentence in this town until my children leave for college. I love my life and my business but I am not content feeling like I do not have control over where I live and what I choose to do with my life. The Other Man is completely gone from my life and my heart at this point and continuing to live in his world just reminds me of past chapters in my life that I desperately want to stop living. I want something to look forward to, so that I will stop looking back! Now, if I could just figure out how…

 

What if…?

http://www.policymic.com/articles/85541/nasa-study-concludes-when-civilization-will-end-and-it-s-not-looking-good-for-us

The article in the above link has been swirling in my head for the last several days. Life has also recently completed a cycle of three deaths; it is strange but has held true in my life. When one person dies, two more quickly follow. One loss was heart breaking for me, the other two were acquaintances. Nonetheless, it is hard to watch people you care about suffer and mourn the loss of their loved one.

Like most people, I tend to assess how I am living my life when people around me die unexpectedly. What if my time is almost up? Would I change the way I am living my life, if I knew that the end was near? The above article reinforced these questions by indicating that humans, as a species, may have as little as fifteen years left here on earth. The reality is, we may sustain life here on earth much longer then fifteen years or my life could end tomorrow. We have no guarantees, all we have is  the memories we’ve made and this moment.

Am I satisfied? Do I have regrets? Am I at peace with the life that I have led, if it all ends tomorrow? I have learned so much in the past several years about life, love and letting go, but at the end of the day have any of my revelations brought me any answers about “life”?  What answers do actually have about my life?

The biggest question that I have been asking myself is if I would be living my life differently if I was given a date of final destination? The reality is, we should all be living our lives like it is the last day of our lives, but that is scary as hell! I am a mother, a business owner, a daughter and hold many obligations in my life (like everyone) that prevent me from living every day like it is my last. Answering this question is genuinely a struggle for me, which in a way makes me happy. I know so many people who would say “hell yes, I would quit my job tomorrow and…”.

I do work very hard, sometimes perhaps too hard. My sin is pride; I have a very hard time asking anyone for help. But it is also very rewarding for me. I have done well with my business. There are families (in addition to my own) that rely on my business for their livelihoods, that is rewarding. I have regulars that come in everyday to chat with me for a few minutes and it is the highlight of their day, that is rewarding. I am able to independently provide a life for my children that most children could only dream of, that’s rewarding. I do not rely on a single other person for the stability of my livelihood, my fate is in my hands, that is rewarding (and scary as hell too).

So, would I give it up if I knew that the end of my days were drawing near? I honestly don’t know. I have passions, interests and hobbies that have been put on the back burner due to the demands of my life and the list of what is wrong with this one horse, backwards thinking town I live in is endless. But at the end of the day, I love my life. The only thing that I would change about my life, if I knew my end was near, would be to acknowledge how much I love my life and celebrate it every single day.

That sure made living for today seem more obtainable. Starting tomorrow, I will do my best to acknowledge how lucky I am to be living this life, let the past go, celebrate every moment and every person in my life, like it may be the last moment I have with them. I will hug my children longer, kiss the New Man with more passion and less reservation, praise my employees, cherish my friends and forgive all that have wronged me (because they are my biggest blessings of all).487686_587839401244274_1504799545_n