The Second Hand Unwinds

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This past August a particular day came and went just like any other.  It didn’t even occur to me until well after the 19th that what would have been my 10th wedding anniversary passed.  I felt nothing.  In stark comparison, earlier this week, I totally lost my marbles!

Since I’m mere weeks away from the reclamation of my maiden name, it’s time to get my ass in gear and deal with a few automotive loose ends.  These loose ends need to be taken care of in the Sunshine State and I have a deadline to meet so after shifting the June & July work schedule a smidge I finally figured out where I could squeeze in enough days off in a row so that I can head south and do what I gotta do!

For a few hours I had a nagging feeling .  There was a sense of confusion and frustration that had washed over me.  What the hell was I missing?!?!?  Then, when I was hammering out some travel plans it dawned on me!  Every single day of my trip is the 1st anniversary of some pivotal event which has shaped who I am today.  You know?  The woman who is regurgitating her angstiness all over the interwebs.

So it seems as if the day I leave MD to spend the day on I-95S just happens to be the anniversary of my last day at my former job.  The building was up for sale and July 25th was the closing day.  We still had to go in to the office and pretend that it was business as usual until the phone rang to give the “good” news that the sale was final.  Everyone that I worked with was staying put & trying their luck with the new company.  The office was loaded with big wigs from my company who were packing up proprietary information as well as representatives from the new company who were waiting in the wings to swoop in and put the cherry on top of the sundae called a corporate take-over.    Since I was jumping ship, I wasn’t allowed to do anything except stay in my office and out of the way.  It was a sad and awkward day.  I felt like I was leaving my family forever and it was hard to walk out that door.  I can’t even properly convey, with the written word, the sense of true loss and fear I felt.

This year the 26th will be spent at the DMV acquiring a new ID with my new/old name and changing the title over from my ex’s name and into mine.  This day, my friends, is also his birthday.  What a better way to say FU to someone than to undo everything that had been done for him on the anniversary of his birth?

On to the next one…the 27th!  With any luck, this year will be spent relaxing and having a nice day with friends.  365 days prior, I spent the morning with my ex going through things at the former house before “enjoying” a car ride to and from the county court where we filed the divorce papers together.  I can still see the puppy dog eyes and hear his guilt-trippy words regarding his depressing future plans.  I have two words which should properly describe that day and they are “awkward” and “ugh”.

Last but not least, 7/27/12 was a very good day indeed and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  I know…SHOCKER!  Right?!?!?!?!?!  Me crying?  No freakin’ way!  Sure, I was completely exhausted from nearly 2 weeks of maybe 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night as well as dealing with the myriad of emotions as described above.  On top of that I had been to the airport twice, put all of my belongings in a U-Haul on the hottest day of the year then drove 14 hours to unload it all in my new “home”.  So much.  So fast.  So incredibly overwhelming!  Luckily, I did not make the move alone and that’s why I’m moved to tears and overcome with emotion.  You see, two of the best friends that a girl could ask for took time out of their lives to help me start the first day of my own new life.  These two people are my best friends in the world and mean more to me than (most likely) either of them will ever know.  Not a day goes by that I’m thankful for them and what they’ve done for me.  That said, this year as I make the exact same drive back I am going to be alone.  Just me, in my car, with only my thoughts to keep me company about to make another new start.   To that all I can say is double ugh!

Needless to say, I’m sick of fresh starts and struggle.  When is my time to sit back, enjoy & just freakin’ breathe?  I hope that time is coming soon because I am sooooooooooooo done with angsty bullshit.  Just so done.

Say my name, bitch!

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This week I cried.  For the first time in a long time not because I was sad, exhausted, feeling lost or completely alone.  I cried because I felt an amazing sense of relief.  Not since the day that my divorce was finalized have I cried as hard or as long from pure relief.

A lot can happen in a short span of time.  It has been exactly 18 months since I have moved on with my life.   In that time I was forced to live out of one room in a giant house, moved from the house into a much smaller apartment before moving into an even smaller apartment in a different state.  Out of necessity, I’ll be moving yet again into an even smaller place.  I’ve lost a source of income, accidentally destroyed my car and left the life that I had known for the complete unknown.  Not a day has gone by where I haven’t felt like my life was spinning out of control.

I know it seems like I’m focusing on the negative with my above comments.  I don’t mean it to.  I’ve had some amazing experiences and seen places that I’ve never thought I’d see.  I’ve really figured out who has my back, have a much better idea of who I am as a person and like the freedom to truly be me without any filter or making any apologies.  I suppose that my point is that even with all of the good, the bad has been weighing heavily on me to the point where it’s incredibly hard for me to see the light.

On Friday I stopped by my mailbox before heading up to my apartment.  Inside of the box was an envelope.  Inside that envelope was an official certified copy of my divorce decree.  After nearly 6 months of dealing with government entities, countless phone calls, numerous emails and being fed a whole lot of false information I finally got the last piece of the puzzle needed to finally change my name.  On Saturday morning, after I sent off a packet that included the completed application, divorce certificate and long awaited decree I sat in my car and sobbed uncontrollably.  It may not seem like a big deal, but to me it is.  The return to my maiden name is a huge deal!  By returning to my given name once and for all I’m leaving my old life behind.  I’m saying good bye to the woman who paid for the sins of another.  I’m saying good bye to the woman who wasn’t allowed to do the things that she truly loved.  I’m saying good bye to a woman who was never treated as an equal…more like a thing.  I’m saying good bye to a woman who was married to a man that she did not love and only stayed with out of a sense of obligation.

Mama, I’m coming home

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ImageBefore this past Christmas it had, quite literally, been years since I had gone back to Albany, NY.  I was born and raised in the Capital District, but left in ’99 to give a life in Austin, TX a try.  In the past 14 years I’ve gone back to visit from time to time, never once feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you are truly “at home”.  The way I figured, it was better to stay away and be missed then go back to a familiar place where I felt like an outsider.  I mean why the hell should I force myself into a situation that was only going to bum me the fuck out?

Yeah…so…this past holiday season was my first as a single woman and it was, hands down, the worst holiday season on record.  Even worse than the previous year and THAT, my friends, was hard to beat!  That is also a story for another day,  Anyway, holiday season 20 aught 12 was pretty friggin’ miserable.  While I was looking at everyone’s happy snappy family photos plastered all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Flicker I was either in my car or apartment all alone, at some sort of family function somewhere in NY feeling completely alone in room filled with people or in an airport lounge waiting to return to my new empty “home”.  I found myself sneaking off to a bathroom or whatever guest room I was staying in to cry in secret.  I even found myself missing the previous holidays season!  It may have been filled with arguments, embarrassment and heartache but at least I wasn’t alone.

So what’s my point?  I have four days off in a row and what am I choosing to do with it?  Oddly enough, I’m going back to Albany to see my Mom.  To her, I’ve sold it as a belated Mother’s Day visit.  The reality is that I’ve suddenly got a few BIG decisions to make and I’m sick and tired of making big decisions.  Also, I kind of just want to be taken care of for a few days by someone other than myself.  Yeah, I need my Mommy.

I do have some pretty cool outings planned, though, so I will get some regrouping “me time” in familiar surroundings with some awesome people.  I’m not expecting this to be a quick fix, but a little perspective will be nice.

Boo Hooey Hoo!

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Honestly and truly I hate to be a Debbie Downer.  I’m a glass is half full, it’s always darkest before the dawn, when life gives you lemons make lemonade kinda gal who believes that there is good in everyone and I do not understand why, when I look out the window, I don’t regularly see rainbows and puppy dogs on pink fluffy cotton candy clouds.  I’ve been known to irritate the crap out of people with my ability to put a positive spin on things.  I can be an annoying cheerleader.  Yes, I can be “that girl”.

What’s the catch?  There’s always a catch!

When I get into a funk I go deep, deep down the rabbit hole.  A negativity K-hole of sorts.  I am the queen of masturbatory mind-fuckery!  What keeps me down is that I tend to get upset that I’m upset.  THEN I get even more upset that I realize that being upset is making me so upset.  It’s a crazy vicious cycle that can be difficult for me to snap out of.

Why do I bring this up?  I’ve been in such a funk as of late and the worst of it came around Mother’s Day.

So, let’s travel back a few years…shall we?  On paper I had it all!  A great job with an awesome team which felt more like family than co-workers, I had a lovely house, a reliable vehicle, a fantastic group of friends (both local and in the podcasting community) and a husband who had just gotten a promotion.  The only thing missing was a little one.  I did everything that I could think of to get ye olde bod ready for the stresses of pregnancy.  I took vitamins, changed to an all organic diet, exercised, charted my cycle and so on and so forth.  Not before too long all signs pointed to the fact that I was indeed going to be a mom.  Well, all physical signs pointed to that fact.  As for the pee sticks…not so much.  It was crazy to me to conceive of the fact that I had not conceived!  Missed period?  CHECK!  Swollen, sore breasts?  DOUBLE CHECK!  Nausea?  OH HELLS YEAH!  Hypersensitive to smells?  UH HUH!  The dozen EPTs that I defiled had to have been liars.  I must have gotten a bad batch!  Yeah..well…errrr…um…NOPE!  My body was the big fat liar.  Something something something false pregnancy.  Something something something my body was rebooting itself.  Something something something I could be unable to ever bear a child of my own.

Jump ahead to January 2012.  Care to join me?  It had been determined that a divorce was imminent.  I had started making my arrangements for a move out & on with my life.  Instead of living in the whole house I was reduced to living out of one room just like I did when I was a teenager back at my parent’s house on Summer break.  During a heated discussion with my now ex-husband, one evening, while I was in the kitchen making myself a quick dinner before heading back up to said room it was implied that it was his idea for the baby making to fail.  I was far too childish, irresponsible, flighty and selfish to be a mother.  He was happy that we never had a child.  I can still hear the words and tone in his voice.  I can feel the cool black, kitchen tile under my feet. I can feel the sharp corner of the kitchen counter pressing into the small of my back as I stumbled back into it from the shock of those words.  It wasn’t his choice!  I was broken and that was the nail in the coffin of our marriage and any hopes of a friendship after the split.

Here we are in May of the following year.  HOORAY?  I guess.  I’ve been called brave because I put on my big girl panties and got out of a shitty situation.  I’m starting to discover who I am as a person and living my life.  It hasn’t been as easy peasy lemon squeezy  as I had hoped and I have yet to twirl in the street as I toss my rather smart beret into the air ala Mary Tyler Moore.  Regardless, I’m in a better place than where I was and I’ve quickly learned who my true friends are.  You are like family to me and I cannot even fathom where I’d be without you and your support.  That doesn’t make Mother’s Day any easier for me though.  That holiday is a constant reminder of what I don’t have.  I had to work the weekend so being a mere 5 hours away from my own Mother was frustrating as hell!  It also sucked BIG TIME that was also unable to spend any time with any of my fantastic friends, their own mothers and children who have welcomed me into their families over the years.  But for me, the worst of it all is that I just turned 40 and I do not have a family to call my own.  No precious offspring with a wacky sense of humor and infectious laugh.  No wide-eyed little one to share this amazingly awesome wondrous world with.  I never, in a million jillion years thought that at this stage of my life I would find myself utterly and completely alone.

Girl’s Best Friend

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I have a dog and his name is Artie.  Since August of ’05 he’s been the only constant in my life.  Truth be told, he came into my life as, of all things, an exercise in motherhood.  You see, at the time I was newly married & had just purchased a real honest-to-goodness gown-up house.  (Fun Fact: You will never see me refer to it as a “home”, because it never really was.)  On paper it made sense that bringing a child into the mix was the next logical step!  Needless to say, I was talked out of that idea and talked into the prospect of getting a dog.  Why?  Theoretically, if I was capable of keeping a puppy alive and raising it to be a well-adjusted dog then I would be (for lack of a better word) allowed to procreate.  In hindsight it is a better thing that the canine was chosen over a real human child.  However, as I write this there are tears streaming down my face and it really is “kicking up my shit” in more ways than I thought it would.

Anyway…so from the moment I saw him I knew that he was destined to be mine.  In a crate a pack of little 8 week old pups were nestled up with their mother all except for one.  A teeny tiny white ball of fluff with black markings that resemble a heart and a Batman mask was in the back, all alone, just minding his own business.  He was an outsider, just like me. He didn’t even look like the others in the crate.  I still get shivers thinking of how I felt the moment he looked up and locked eyes with me.  At that moment he ran up to the door of the crate and made the cutest little series of squeaks and squawks.  At that moment I knew that I needed him in my life.

The drive from Ocala to Jacksonville was spent with me in the back of the car with my little 1.25 lb bundle of cuddly awesomeness.  I didn’t want him to remain in a crate any longer and I held him in my arms the entire two hour drive.  When it was time for him to be sequestered for the evening I would lay down on the floor in front of the Plexiglas baby gate that I had purchased because I didn’t want him to ever be alone.  I didn’t want him to be scared because he was in a new place.

Jump ahead nearly 8 years and my life has changed completely.  I’m now living in an apartment in Maryland with Artie & his pet cat Zooey.  The marriage ended a long time ago and the house has recently been sold.  That portion of my story has ended, but Artie remains.  Since I’ve started my new life, I’ve been traveling quite a bit and he does travel with me from time to time.  When I do go somewhere without him I refuse to board him.  I still do not want him to be scared and stay in an unusual place all alone.  I know how that feels and I don’t want to inflict that kind of fear on another (human or animal).  I’ve even gotten a cartoon version of him tattooed on a part of my body where he snuggles up close to me each night.  Now I’m not one of those people who refer to their pet as their “baby”.  He’s a dog.  He’s my pet.  He’s my companion.  He’s not a real boy.

That said it’s been recently brought to my attention that, physically, he’s not as well as one would think.  After bringing him in for a simple physical and teeth cleaning a stone in his bladder was discovered.  I was completely stunned since his demeanor hasn’t changed at all in his 8 years of life.  He hasn’t been sick, lethargic, crying in agony and he’s been eating & drinking like his usual self.  After a month of a special diet & meds his condition hasn’t changed at all.  Actually, that’s not true.  The stone hasn’t moved or changed in size any, but he has lost nearly ½ lb which is a big deal considering that last month he was a 6 lb Chihuahua.  So now I have big decisions to make.  Do I put him through surgery?  Do I keep him on his current diet & watch him closely for changes while bringing him to the vet for ultrasounds every few months?   What if I choose to watch his condition then while I’m away for a race or whatever the worst case scenario happens?  If there are changes then will it be too late?  I’m the human adult that has to roll the dice to make the best decision for him.  At this time I am so torn that I can’t even think straight.  With all of the changes in my life I really don’t know how the hell I’d deal with the loss of my best friend.  Then again, when things are up in the air I tend to go to the “dark side” and whip myself into a frenzy of negativity and doubt.  Regardless, I have some serious thinking to do.  

  

What the hell am I doing here?

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Believe it or not I am painfully shy.  Also, it is incredibly difficult for me to trust enough to completely let my guard down.  Needless to say, this little exercise is a pretty big deal for me and putting my words out there for anyone & everyone to see is indeed quite terrifying.  To be honest, a few of those near & dear to me have been encouraging me to write so I’m trying something new here & breaking out of my bubble.  Again, I am scared as hell so please be gentle with me.

It’s been damn near 4 years since the last time I took a stab at blogging.  At the time it was real light & fluffy.  I was super excited about planning a movie-themed road trip that didn’t happen.  Also, my life was completely different from my life as it is now.  Hell!  I was completely different person from the one who I am now.  I look back &, quite frankly, I don’t even recognize that person.  I would imagine that anyone who has known me for a long period of time would agree.  So here’s the thing…do I use this as an outlet to replay the past & use this as therapy?  Do I get back on the light & fluffy train to just drone on & on about my newest obsession with travel for themed running events?  Do I let got of the past & hit the reset button to only share my thoughts about “the now”?  Am I ready to truly put my whole self out there with the possibility of being mocked and/or judged?  Shit!  Am I even that interesting where anyone would want to read about…well…me?

Whatever this morphs into I can sure as shootin’ tell you one thing and that is that once I get going I can be a rambling fool!  Just thought I’d warn you.