My Story Isn’t Over


2 years ago. This was very important to me.  

2 years have passed. It is still important to me today.

I am eternally grateful for those who held my hand that day because it was one I will never forget and one that makes me always think twice before saying anything to anyone about myself. 

I have a habit of opening up, letting people in and getting hurt by those who judge me. I wear my battle scars proudly and I share my life story with everyone who will listen in the hopes of helping them. 

Recently I was invited to a conference to discuss recovery housing.  It blew me away how many people actually want to listen to the story of someone who, 15+ years ago would have benefited from a form of housing that supported mental health or addiction recovery.  It was empowering to be in rooms where, today, people that need help are being helped. Being there and opening up to people, those I consider friends and colleagues, was something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to do, without being judged, belittled or stigmatized against. 

Sadly, being hurt and judged is something I have become accustomed to experiencing. However, it is my decision how I act upon that hurt and judgement.  You see, while knowledge is power, it also yields a double edge sword that can hurt me and those around me. 

When I have taken the Briggs-Myer personality tests in the past I have been considered a “Consul” or ESFJ.  When I read through what the description is, I tend to agree with a lot of it, but choose to disagree with a lot of it as well. I love people, this is true and social situations both intrigue me and scare me. 

I have borderline personality disorder.  Most think this means I have a split personality – I don’t, that is a different diagnosis.  I have spent hours in countless therapy sessions and gone through an array of DBT Skills classes to get to where I am at 39.  I have also been diagnosed as ADD, which for me came on at a late age. Both of these combined led to a pretty rough past life and one that, in some instances, I am not proud of. 

You see, the plus side to my personality type and my mental health diagnosis is that I am aware. I know what my strengths are and I know what my shortcomings are.  Sometimes I can stop myself before doing/saying something and sometimes I can’t.  So, while I believe sharing is caring – sometimes it isn’t.

When I say my story isn’t over, it’s because I am not going to continue to be ashamed of myself and my life.  I chose to live it freely and do the best I can for everyone involved.  Will I keep making mistakes, sure.  Sometimes I will hurt myself and others in the process, but I won’t use my mental health diagnostic code as an excuse or my scapegoat. 

Like me, love me and walk with me or walk away.

My story isn’t over.

Every Road Leads to an End

I have heard this saying before in my life and I never really understood it.  Maybe that is because I think every road leads to something bigger and better.  

I would like to think that roads may twist and turn, but each road is an adventure that can lead to amazing and wonderful things. 

In life I have traveled down many paths and many roads.  Some were successful, some not so much. 

I figure that destiny will lead me down the path I am supposed to be on.  This may be because I avoided another road. I am good at avoiding roads.  If it is too challenging or complicated, I have been known to avoid it. I am not a fan of confrontation or causing myself to face adversity.

I’m currently faced with a number of conundrums in life.  My career, relationships and just life problems.  I am looking down a number of paths and each one has countless possibilities.  Which one will hurt the least amount of people? Which paths effect the least amount of people?

I would like to think of life as simple, but this thing called emotions is shattering me physically, mentally and emotionally.  I keep taking the road of helping others, but right now I need that shoulder to cry on.  Messy crying.  Lots of wine.

Learning to be alone. It’s not easy. It’s a path that I knew I was going to go down eventually, still not ready for it.  It hurts. 

Since every road has a different path, and I guarantee none of them are straight, I am finding out that I have some books to read, creativity to use and hobbies I need to start. 

Which road?  Where will I end up? 

Only getting out of my head and letting time pass will tell. 

Sigh

Tonight I sit at home in pajama pants with the sky darkening and threatening to rain.  The dog is snoring next to me, the cats are scattered and sleeping.  We are all pleasantly exhausted.

Tomorrow brings about Sam coming home for a few days so she can get her college orientation done and a doctors appointment. This week at work is crazy busy, but will be fulfilling as always. 

I still find myself saying “sigh” tonight, even after reading, making a huge bowl of pasta salad, watching Orange is the New Black and straightening up around the apartment.  I feel unaccomplished and like I am not doing something I should be. 

I sigh because my heart is heavy.  I am lost without having my baby girl home every night. Cooking for one has been a challenge.  Pippa misses Sam and so do the cats.  I sigh because I realize how many things my daughter has done to help me around the house that now I am doing.  I sigh when I want to talk about my day and she isn’t here. 

I am grateful that she is heading to college and I am so happy that she has a bright future ahead of her. 

The sigh is because, while I know I have friends, I feel lonely.  Like there is something missing.  I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.  I’m ready to explore and cross a few things off my list.

As a single woman, who is pretty strong, I wonder – am I a superhero? Does being a superhero mean I can’t sigh?

Sigh, I just don’t know. 

Maybe It Is Me?

Well folks, my self esteem has tanked.  I have been a paying member of both Zoosk and EHarmony and apparently it must be either my photos or how I am wording my answers.  Right?
Maybe people aren’t doing online dating? Maybe they don’t get online dating?

Lately I have been the target of one and done dates, men that hat and don’t follow up or men that are so much older than me it is disgusting to think about. 

Let’s take for example a man I have been “chatting” with for over 3+ weeks.  This happened:

I guess meeting is too much to ask.


Then I really started to question myself and my profiles and thought who better to analyze my dating profile than the internet. 

Now I am asking the interwebs to take a look. Be honest. What should I do?

Here is my EHarmony profile.  Be honest – I can’t grow without help.  They say honesty is the best policy. 

Profile pictures – yay or nay?

Basic information – not too spicy!


Likes/Dislikes – not much I can improve on! Right?

Any suggestions? The internet knows me best!

Missing a section, need some help!

At the end of the day my profile gets skipped over, men don’t respond to my messages. Instead I get winks and lewd remarks that amount to feeling all kinds of strange things. 

Are there any good men out there? Ones that open doors, care and are kind.  Maybe a man that talks about more than sex, can discuss careers, current events, sports and other topics.

I wonder if I am meant to be single.  Maybe I need to go back to just taking care of me. 

At the end of the day, it is my heart and my soul that keep getting rejected and little by little they are wearing down. 

Share your thoughts – they are always welcome and received with an open mind. 

Peace and Love!

7 Years

It seems so long ago.  Hard for me to recall a lot of details.  I can tell you what I was wearing and what a room looked like, or what I ate, but to describe activities and connect them to specific dates, not likely. 

It is funny how a string of memories connects itself 7 years later and triggers all kinds of feelings. 

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7 years ago I tried the whole rekindling an old romance by visiting Pennsylvania.  Spent a long weekend there touring the city and enjoying time with someone that, to this day, I really care about. 

Romance, in particular long distance romance, wasn’t what I needed at the time.  It was apparent, neither did he. 

We were in two different worlds and my life was just starting to get put back together and his career was taking an upward swing. 

Was I crazy about him, yes.  I still am today.  He is one of the most talented people I know.  One of those individuals who I will always have a connection with, in one way or another. 

Funny, 7 years later we text nearly everyday.  I look forward to bantering about sports, work and the occasional personal items.  

While the whole rekindling romance thing regretfully didn’t work out (both then and now) a short while later I was introduced to someone, slightly more local. 

We did the whole talking/texting thing until all hours of the night and eventually went out.  Then he actually asked me to be his girlfriend.

So, I was.  For a short time. 

Funny thing, he is still a part of my life.  He is smart and funny, sarcastic as ever.  We have dinner when we are in town together and text occasionally.   There hasn’t been any inclination of rekindling, but it’s nice to know he is still a friend.

I share this today because people have a way of coming in and out of our lives at strange times, when we least expect it.

Does this mean anything? 

I’m not a scientist, so for me it means I am lucky. Very lucky to have people in my life I can pick up where we left off and still be social with years later. 

Not everyone is someone you will talk to every day for the rest of your life, but appreciate and celebrate the small moments of having good people in your life. 

Now, if you think I have an amazing memory, you are wrong.  These events could have happened 10 years ago, but thanks to Facebook I can tell you when things happened in my life.  

Aren’t you excited?

Dear Future Partners

Dear Future Partners,

I am writing this tonight in the hopes that those who choose to Google me before we date have a clear sense of what I am looking for.

The list isn’t long and I don’t have a lot of requirement or rules when I make a plan to meet someone, but there are some standards that I am looking for.

#1 – My moral compass states that it is inappropriate to date anyone knowing that they are married.  This means if you are not divorced, dating me is likely not going to happen.  I am not going to be the other woman.

#2 – Don’t do drugs or be an alcoholic.  The occasional beverage is fine, I am not going to short you for that, but if you require copious amounts of alcohol or drugs to get through each day – I will pass.  I believe in recovery, but I am not the one to date if you are in active addiction.

#3 – Do unto others as you would want done to you.  Meaning if you want your partner to treat you well and you want to be treated with respect and kindness, then do that for your partner.  Be honest and forthright.  Don’t hide things.

#4 – Don’t lie, cheat or steal from me or others.  I lived that life once and I don’t want to live it again.  People recover from bad past behaviors, but I can’t tolerate someone being actively deceitful.

#5 – It is okay to have flaws and not be perfect, but own it.  Be who you are and say how you feel. Nobody is perfect. Nobody.

Dr Seuss

With all of that being said, here are some things that some may consider wrong with me.

#1 – I am insecure. This is by far my biggest flaw. Deep down I know I am smart, pretty, funny and kind, but at the end of the day, I seek out the reassurance and respect of those I surround my self with.

#2 – When I am in a new relationship, I want to spend as much time with a person as I can.  It is new, exciting, fun and I want to get to know everything about you.  Now this may be because I do not want to get hurt down the road and would rather get it over with quickly (like ripping off a bandaid), however I just want to be able to experience all that is a new person in my life.

#3 – Florence Nightingale is my inspiration. She was a kind and loving woman who wanted to take care of everyone around her. She put her mark on the nursing profession and made sure that those around her were taken care of. I desire to be like her in caring for others and making sure their needs are always met before mine.

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#4 – I use social media and I use emojis. I don’t apologize for this. However, I am fluent in the English language, but sometimes I like acting like I am 12.

#5 – I am a hopeless romantic. I love picnics, walks, baking and cooking for my partner and overall making sure that they feel loved and cared for by doing the simple things. You don’t have to do big and elaborate things to make me happy and I promise I am all about doing small and sweet things to make you happy.

At the end of the day I am pretty simple. I don’t need a lot to be happy.  Here are my things that I need/want in life.

  1. Roof over my head + bonus points if it has a big kitchen.
  2. Children – young or old, I want children in my life.  They can be grown or they can be small, but I want to be able to care for children.
  3. Pets.  I love my dog and cats (in fact the dog is snoring next to me as I type this and there are two cats on either side of me).
  4. Sports – I love sports. We can disagree on teams, but don’t turn off football or hockey when I am watching it.
  5. Family and friends. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them, so don’t think I am going to abandon them for you. I want you to integrate into life and be a part of theirs too.
  6. Physical compatibility – this is important. I am not saying we need to be skinny or body builders, I am saying that we need to be able to match up physically. This also fuels into romance and intimacy. Without these a relationship is doomed.
  7. Career – I want a career that I love and I hope that my partner has one too. However the career pays the bills and shouldn’t come before the other person.
  8.  Communication – this is important and maybe shouldn’t be last, but being able to communicate and know how best to do so is important.

Well my future partners, I am not sure if you are up to the task, or if all of this seems daunting to you. However maybe, just maybe if everyone was open and honest when it came to dating and who they were looking to date, we wouldn’t have this crazy life that pushes us to be who we are not.

Until next time friends I wish you the best in all that you do and ask that you please keep me in line and let me know when I am maybe stepping out of the boundaries or normal and into abnormal.

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Mirrors

When I look in the mirror what do I see?

I don’t see pretty.

I don’t see sexy.

I see ugly and unattractive.

Recently I had a long conversation with a friend.  He was kind and informed me that I was attractive, that I have a nice smile and pretty eyes. While that was nice and sweet, it was what he didn’t say that really got to me.

I used to think I was all that and a bag of chips. As I am nearing 39, I realize that is not the case. I don’t have what society, or even my doctor calls a healthy body (as I sit here at McDonald’s and write this between appointments), my skin still breaks out like I am in my teens, I am pretty sure I find a new ache or kink each day when I wake up, my hair isn’t long and beautiful (it is short and the gray hair has been popping through something fierce), once in a blue moon I can get my nails to grow and if I am not wearing makeup I feel naked.

It is amazing what happens when I take before and after pictures.

This first picture was heading into the salon.  I was in desperate need of an update. I mean realistically I don’t think that any guy would have walked up to me and started a conversation looking like this.  No makeup, hair a wreck and eyebrows totally array.  The second picture, was later that night – I had my hair cut, colored (all one color) put some makeup on and made sure my eyebrows were shaped.

 Please tell me you see the difference and agree with me?

Maybe I have perfected the art of the selfie?  Maybe I can just get away with taking pictures from the neck up that make me look goooooood! Regardless, I am not in the minority of women out there. As I sit at this McDonald’s and drink my Diet Coke, I listen to other women (of various ethnicities) talk about make up, hair and nails. They are swapping recipes or looking up fad diets on their phones (yes, we are still at McDonald’s and talking about dieting).

In this whole process of dating and trying to make sure that I feel better and look better in order to attract “the right one” I find myself slipping back into the mentality of who the hell cares if I ever meet someone, being alone is just fine and once in a blue moon I start to think that I am not worth it and not deserving of love.

When I look in the mirror I see someone that has failed herself and her family miserably. Someone who hasn’t ever owned a house, held down a job for more than 2 years at a time and runs far from problems instead of trying to fix them.

Does this sound like a person who deserves to love another and be loved by another?

Not in my opinion.

Moving back to what happens when I look in the mirror – I am sad. I see what used to be a vibrant and outgoing person. Now, you could classify me as an extroverted introvert and if you aren’t sure what the hell that means – this article explains it better than I ever could. People say I have a lot of friends and I have people that love me and will help me, but someone said the other day I must feel like a used car and I laughed (I mean I was laughing so hard I was crying) when they explained what they meant. The problem is, once I realized what they meant, I went from laughing to tears. They were right, I feel like I get passed up/around by people. This is why when I look in the mirror, I see damaged and used goods and nobody wants that long term.

There is a song by Gnash that is called “I Love You I Hate You” and these lyrics about sum up how I feel most days:

I hate you I love you
I hate that I love you
Don’t want to, but I can’t put
Nobody else above you
I hate you I love you
I hate that I want you
You want her, you need her
And I’ll never be her

Mirrors are not my friend and unless I am putting makeup on or doing my hair, I try not to look in them. My confidence is better when I am not looking in the mirror and I just do what I do, not giving two shits about what anyone thinks about me.

Does this sometimes get me in trouble?  Yep.

Do I really care?  Nope.

I am me. Love me. Leave me. I will always be me.

I encourage anyone who has the same self-esteem problems or doesn’t like looking in the mirror to spend some time loving you. It can be a bath, hot shower, face mask, manicure, pedicure, time alone, a massage or just reading a book with a nice candle. Start loving you.

Don’t worry about what others think about you.

Easier said than done, but worth a try – am I right?

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