Fake It Till You Make It

Have you ever heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”? According to the good ‘ol Wikipedia, the phrase “fake it till you make it” is an aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life.  It echoes the underlying principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a means to enable a change in one’s behavior.

Wikipedia

Do you ever feel like you aren’t qualified, or just aren’t meant to “level up” so you just stay where you are…in a job, in life…or in a bad relationship even? Sometimes you are just so comfortable being where you are so you don’t even look to advance or better yourself or your life. Well guess what? Life is all about learning, growing and bettering yourself. You deserve the best, and don’t stop leveling up until you reach the best.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reviewed divorce petitions or final judgments and I see some of my clients (who many times are much younger than me) earning $10,000+ per month. Yes, I said $10,000+ PER MONTH. They have more than $10,000 in various savings accounts, they have hundreds of thousands in retirement assets or in other various assets…and little to no debt. Every single time one of these divorce petitions or final judgments cross my desk I say the same thing… “Daaannnggg …. what in the world does he/she do??!!” I always wonder what he/she did to get there. Then I fanaticize about what life would be like to have all my bills paid every month. To not have any debt. To be able to pay for things for my kids when they need them and without any worries about where I’m going to get that extra money. To have more than $50 in my savings account. What’s it like to live like that?

One of my coworkers got me thinking last week. She asked me what I am doing in my job? She knows I have more than 17 years of experience doing what I do….and she asked why am I not going after something bigger? Something of a managerial position or something corporate? And she’s right. Why am I just sitting here…being comfortable in my job, but yet struggling in my finances? Why? Because change is scary. Putting yourself out there is scary. The unknown is scary.

I attended a leadership training nearly one year ago now and one of the many guest speakers there spoke on “fake it till you make it”. You don’t even realize how much confidence this instills in you until you start actually doing it. Do you know what else gives you confidence and makes you shine? Standing in a superhero pose before you go in an important meeting. No, you wouldn’t stand in the pose during the actual meeting (you’d look awfully silly, and frankly, I’m not sure you’d get the results from that meeting that you were hoping for). Try the pose (alone) somewhere before a meeting. All of a sudden you will be filled with confidence. And what grabs people’s attention more than anything? Your confidence.

It’s the same with dating. You don’t even have to be the best looking person out in the dating realm. You don’t have to be the richest. You don’t have to have the best body. If your confidence shines it’s like a magnet and it just attracts people to you. All of a sudden you are standing a little taller. You are holding your head a little higher. The positive energy is just flowing from your pores. People become so attracted to the aura you are giving off.

Wikipedia2
The Hearts Center Community: https://www.heartscenter.org/TeachingsBlogs/FoundationalTeachings/UnderstandingtheHumanAura/tabid/368/Default.aspx#.W18zojaWxaQ

 

 

So what am I trying to say?  Get yourself out there. Be confident in yourself (but don’t be cocky or arrogant). Don’t give up. Keep reaching for the stars. Don’t settle. Keep going. Level up. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE.

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Driving With Lyft And Uber

I get so many questions on driving with Lyft and Uber.  What’s it like?  Is it scary being a woman driver?  Do you get hit on a lot?  Do you ever feel threatened?  What’s your craziest ride?  What’s your longest ride?  How much money can you realistically make?  Has anyone ever puked in your car or damaged your car?  Have you met anyone famous?  Which company is better?  What are the driving requirements?  Do you have to drive a set amount of hours or days?  And many, many more.  Hopefully I will cover most your questions in this blog post, but first let me throw in a little plug for myself:  my Uber referral code is:  JENNYN1851UE and my Lyft referral code is: JENNIFER40096 or JENNYROCKSLYFT.  Now the referral codes will get any new driver who uses them, nice bonuses (up to $700 depending on where you are).  And let’s be honest, it’ll give me a bonus too.  That’s why we throw them out there.  Ok … now on to the good stuff…

First, a little summary into how and why I became a driver (us drivers all have our “why” we started stories).  I have a decent full-time job, but many of you probably know my pain.  After I pay my bills for the month I rarely have money left over for anything else.  I also owned a 2000 Ford Expedition that I owned for about 13 years.  It was still a decent running vehicle, but I knew that sooner or later something major would happen to it and I wouldn’t be able to afford to fix it.  I needed a new vehicle.  I wanted a car.  One that was of decent size to fit my son’s hockey gear, but also good on gas.  I went out and bought a 2014 Nissan Altima.  But now what?  I haven’t had a vehicle payment in about 8 years.  How was I going to fit a vehicle payment in my budget when I can barely afford to put groceries on our table?

That’s how I started driving with Lyft and Uber.  I signed up to drive with both apps.  I went and got my new car inspected and got my background checks completed.  I uploaded all the necessary documents to my driving profiles.  BOOM…I was approved to drive.  Now I was nervous.  What do I do?  I just log in and drive?  I was scared!  I played with the apps and read the practice tips.  And then I did what any other scared person would do.  I was slowly talking myself out of driving.  I had second thoughts.  “I don’t need this money.  I’ll figure out a different way to make my car payment.”  I joined a couple local Uber and Lyft Facebook groups and talked to a couple other drivers.  Then the day happened.  I decided to get in my car and log in to the Uber driver app.  The app went of!  There was a ride request.  MY FIRST RIDE REQUEST!!  It was right up the road from me.  I was so nervous!  I followed the directions and pulled up to the house. I got out of my car (I didn’t know what I was supposed to do).  A couple of women came down to me with a couple of bags.  We put their bags in the trunk and we all got in the car.  They told me they were excited because this was their first Uber ride.  I immediately perked up, “This is my first Uber ride too!!!”  The ice was broken.  We talked for their whole 13 mile trip.  We arrived at their destination and I got out of the car with them and helped them get their bags.  They gave me a big hug and wished me luck for the rest of the evening.  I did it!  I completed my first ride…and I was feeling great!  I don’t think I could have had a better first ride experience…and every driver remembers their first ride.  I continued on and did a few more rides that evening.  I had so much fun!  I was hooked.  My first weekend out and I had already earned enough for my car payment.  The excitement of the money coming in was amazing!  I had never earned money so fast and so easy in my life.

My middle son soon approached me and asked me if he could go to France with his high school French class.  I told him I would work my butt off and make sure I had the money to send him.  I did just that.  I WORKED MY BUTT OFF.  Both Lyft and Uber were offering me bonuses every week, and sometimes daily, for a certain number of rides.  I jumped at every single bonus offered.  I got every single one.  I was putting in roughly 30 hours each week driving (and yes, still working about 40 hours per week at my regular job).  I got the money to send my son to France (he went in March of this year and had an amazing time).  I was paying my bills no problem.  I was keeping my house afloat!  From April-December I had earned roughly $25,000 from just driving alone.  Things were amazing!

Then reality hit.  I knew I was spending ALOT of time away from the house.  I was not keeping up on housework nor on the motherly duties (like cooking dinners or just visiting with my children and asking them about their days).  Even though my boys are older, I started feeling bad.  I started feeling bad I was leaving them all the time.  I started feeling bad that we weren’t hanging out.  I started feeling bad that I wasn’t around to just talk with them.  Yes, I was getting the bills paid…but I was burning out.  Fast.  I also realized that I put on at least 20,000 miles on my car in that 7 months of driving.  So here’s what I say to all potential drivers…if you want some nice, quick cash…these companies are great ways to do that.  But…this job is not made to be a full-time, permanent gig.  You need a back-up plan because it will wear you out, it will wear your car out and the passengers will begin to get to you.  So here I am, over a year of driving now…and now I only go out to get my car payment and maybe a little grocery money…and then I am done.  I now put in roughly 6-10 hours every week and this is plenty for me and my situation/needs.

Now for first time drivers…I would say the most important things to do immediately are: #1…make sure you have a holder for your phone!!  You need to keep your phone propped up in a position where you can always see it and where it’s secured.  #2…download a mileage tracker app.  You need to keep track of the miles you put on your car (for personal use and for business use) for taxes at the end of the year.  I use an app called Hurdlr.  I know there are others out there, but this one I have been using and I am familiar with it so I continue to use it.  #3…download the Waze app or use Google maps for your navigation.  Do NOT use the navigation systems built-in the Lyft or Uber apps.  You can change the default navigation settings in the apps to either Google maps or Waze instead.  Myself, I prefer Waze.  Waze will usually send you around traffic (if it’s possible) and it is usually updated with the most recent road closures and detours.  I love Waze.  #4…do NOT stick your Uber and Lyft stickers directly to your windows.  If you do, you can never take them down…even when you are not working.  Some car washes will also not let you into their unlimited car wash packages if you are a Uber or Lyft driver.  So it’s important that you can take down your signage when you are not driving.  I punched small holes in the ends/corners of my signs and hang them in my windows with small suction cups that I bought at a local craft store.  This way I can take them down when I am not driving.  #5…don’t let the passengers run all over you and don’t let what they say or do affect you in any way.  Some people can be just plain mean, demeaning and/or demanding.  #6…get a couple signs to hang from your seats (so they are facing the backseats).  My signs state the “rules of my car” and yes…I’m proud because I made this sign myself, I laminated it and I hang it so people in the back seats can easily see it (and everyone reads them…some out loud to me LOL).  You can also order similar signs off of Amazon.

#7…keep your car clean at all times.  Passengers love it when your car is clean and it may bring you better tips.  Many car washes offer you unlimited car wash packages for a nice monthly fee.  And finally, #8…get yourself an in-car camera that will record what goes on during your rides.  This will protect you in case of those “bad” passengers.  Yes, passengers do try to report some Uber and Lyft drivers for things they did not do…in order to score free rides from the companies.  What passengers don’t realize is that this affects you negatively and have an impact on your earnings.  So protect yourself!

Now to answer some of the most asked questions.  Is it scary being a woman driver?  No.  I am not scared.  I have done over 2,000 rides total on both apps and out of those 2,000 rides I have had maybe 2 issues that caused me concern (I think those are pretty good odds).  I actually think that being a woman plays a big factor with how people treat me.  I think people tend to treat women drivers better than men drivers.  Plus about 80% of my passengers are women too and let me tell you…they love seeing a woman driver pick them up from the bar after they have been out drinking!  I did have a woman give me her mace one night (she said I needed it more than she did) so although I carry that on me, I am not sure what I would ever do with it.  If I ever did have to mace someone in my car I’d also mace myself.  So that might not work very well for me.

Yes, I do get hit on.  Not everyday, and not every week, but it does happen.  I’ve had guys ask for my number and had guys ask if they could leave me their number.  I’ve had guys ask me to come with them to parties, bars, in to their houses, etc.  I even had one guy ask me to marry him.  I had one guy tip me $40 on a $10 car ride because I was bringing him to the strip club and I think he felt some type of way about me bringing him there.  I had one guy be totally disrespectful one night.  He kept trying to touch me and grab me.  I was actually getting SUPER upset with him, his friend kept telling him to stop and I kept hitting his hands off of me and yelling at him, but he continued.  I actually wanted to kick him out of my car, but I got scared because if he didn’t get out, what was I going to do?  There were two of them and only one of me.  Thankfully, it was only a short ride so I just kept watching my GPS, “only one more mile to go”.  Otherwise, I consider everything else completely harmless.

Most of my driving has been late-night, bar close driving.  This is where the most money usually is…but unfortunately, this also where the most danger can be too.  Danger because you don’t know what you are going to get at 3 or 4 in the morning.  Danger because so many drivers pick up passengers who throw up in their cars.  I thankfully…and knock on wood…have not had anyone throw up in my car.  I’ve had a couple of close calls, but have thus far made it puke free.  Yes, both Uber and Lyft charge passengers a big fee if they do puke in your car…but you still have to deal with it and get it cleaned before you can drive again.

My longest trip was 420 miles, one-way (so then I had to drive 420 miles back home).  Yup…I drove a couple of guys from St. Paul, Minnesota to Chicago, Illinois.  Yup…I was scared and nervous and I could have canceled on them.  But I didn’t.  I wanted to see what the payout would be.  They paid all of the tolls on the way there and gave me $50 cash for the way back to pay for tolls or whatever I wanted to do with the cash on the way back.  I made roughly $350 off of that ride and spent $50 in gas.  This was a 13 hour trip…and I am not totally sure I’d accept a ride like that again…but at least I can say “this one time, I did this trip…”

Which app is better?  Which ever one is paying!  When I first started driving I would have told you that Uber was better (because I was earning WAY more with Uber than I was with Lyft).  Lyft has since stepped up their game and expanded their service area and now both apps are very competitive.  I will log into one to get my ride bonus, log into the to the other to get any ride bonuses there and once I get my bonuses (if any are offered) then I turn both apps on at the same time and just accept which ever one hits first and then turn the other app off (you get used to toggling between the two after a bit).  There may be times when one app is slow and the other is not.  There may be times when one app is surging and the other is not.  I go with whichever one is going to pay me out the best money.  Warning though…Lyft passengers can sometimes be a little more trying then Uber passengers.

Unfortunately…I have not met anyone famous…that I know of.  I very well could have given a professional athlete a ride and I didn’t even know it.  I did pick up a passenger from a Philadelphia Penguins player’s house one night (my son knew who the player was, I did not).  The house was amazing and there was a big party going on there.  The passenger I picked up from there told me who’s house it was (that’s how I knew)…so that was my only famous person experience…thus far.

And finally, the last question that I will touch on is do you have to drive a set amount of hours or days?  No.  You sure do not.  That is probably the best thing about this job.  You log in whenever.  You work whenever.  You work as long or as short as you want to (with the exception that the apps will log you off if you’ve worked a consecutive 12 hours I believe…I’m not totally sure because I’ve never hit that cut-off).  You can do as many rides as you want to.  There have been times I’ve done one ride and then logged off because I just didn’t feel like working anymore.  There have been times I’ve dropped my son off at hockey practice, went out and did a couple rides and then came back to pick him back up at the end of his practice.  What’s also nice is whenever you want to go home, you can sent a destination on both apps stating that you’re going home.  The destination filter will send you rides going your way (if there are any) so then you’re actually paid for your time and mileage driving back home.

If you have any more questions … leave me a comment.  I’ll answer all that I can, as soon as I can.  If you decide to start driving…good luck to you and I’ll see you out on the road (and oh ya…use my referral codes)!

Live Your Best Life

Why do we care so much about what other people are doing?  What other people are saying?  What other people think?  Especially after a break-up.  “I bet my ex is out partying…I’m going to go out and party it up.”  Or … “I bet my ex is having sex right now.  And what am I doing?  I’m sitting on this blog.  I better go have sex.  BRB ….”

Who cares!  This is how major mistakes are made.  You’re all of a sudden living your life by someone else’s standards and not living your own life at all.  You’re spinning off a whole slew of unhealthy vibes and developing unhealthy relationships.  In this process you’re not only damaging yourself, but you’re damaging others in your tornado path.

The best thing you can do with yourself…is just be yourself.  Practice getting out of the mindset of wondering what your ex is doing and start getting into the mindset of thinking about what you want to do.  Whenever a thought or image of your ex pops in your head, catch it, throw it away and replace it with, “let me call up some of my girls and see if they want to go have a beach day”, or “let’s do some research on google to see how I can start a blog”.  Look up some things on Groupon and find fun things to do…things that YOU want to do.  Read a book.  Watch what you want to watch on t.v.  Go to the movies.  Organize and declutter your house.  Find little odd jobs to do to earn some extra cash.  Before you know it…you’re all of a sudden so happy and content with YOURSELF!

Then BOOM…you’ve become this strong independent person.  The right person will enter your life at this moment…and will stay there because they will see how happy and content you are with your life, they will see how motivated and smart you are…and these are such attractive qualities to have.

Friends…readers…get out there and live YOUR best life.

Saturday Mornings With Teenagers

If you have teenagers then you know what I am already going to refer to in this post.  Saturday mornings with teenagers.

I am so used to getting out of bed early and getting ready for work in the mornings that I normally can’t sleep past 9 a.m. on the weekends (unless I am out really late the night prior, which rarely happens).  So I get out of bed on Saturday morning, make myself a cup of coffee and debate on whether I should make some breakfast.

Why debate on that?  If I make breakfast it just sits there on the counter until about 1-2 p.m.  Why again?  Because that’s when the boys decide they are going to crawl out of the deep abyss of their rooms.  So many mornings I wonder if it’s even worth it to make breakfast.  The food would sit out for hours (yes, we would still eat it, we aren’t that bougie)…but by 2 p.m. I am thinking about that to start prepping for supper.

So what do I do with my Saturday mornings now that I have teenagers?  I drink some coffee.  I clean up some things around the house.  I start some laundry.  I do some work on the computer to try to get a small paycheck.  I lay out in the sun if it’s nice outside.  Do you know what I realize every weekend though…and it hits me more so as the boys get older…that I am alone.  And partly by choice.  I partly am enjoying the peace that the alone brings.  And I partly don’t.  So blog readers…you are now becoming my connections for Saturday mornings.  And I hope that I am becoming yours.  Happy Saturday.  Time to get out there and soak up some of those rays.

The Hustle In Me

Do you ever have those moments where you just get to sit on the couch, kick back and watch tv?  What’s that like?  As a single mom, I find that I rarely get those moments.  I seem to live my life for my children.  And you know what?  I don’t think I’d have it any other way actually.

I work my regular 8-4:30 full-time job.  I bring home a decent paycheck.  But kids are expensive!  I try to keep my kids busy too because this day and age you don’t want a child getting bored nor succumb to isolation.  Back when we were children there was really no such thing as isolation…unless you got in trouble and you were grounded to your room.  Other than that, we were almost always outside running around with our friends.  We were always at friends’ houses or had friends at ours.

Now, children play with each other via internet connections…from their own individual homes.  My boys sit in their rooms, or in the basement, and talk to their friends online either on FaceTime or on the Xbox.  They rarely actually hang out in person.  So I encourage theem to get active.  To play sports.  To do things.  The problem with this is…everything costs money.  And usually not just a little bit of money.  It’s usually upwards of $100 or more.  Incurring these extra expenses every month is, and can, be so difficult for a single parent!

So the hustle in me just won’t quit.  It can’t.  I find extra things to do, to gather extra money, to keep my kids going!  I drive sometimes for Uber and Lyft.  I have a cosmetic business I run.  I am on a freelancer website doing data entry, transcription work or setting up Excel or Word documents for people.  I download various apps where I snap pictures of all my receipts and submit them and as a result I get gift cards.

In between all this hustling…I am also trying to be a good mom.  I try to do fun things with my boys.  I try to cook good meals.  I try to keep my house clean.  I try to keep up on laundry.  I try to be at every single sporting game that my  boys have.  I try to go to school conferences.  And then finally….I try to DATE!  The days never seem long enough.  The weekends never seem long enough.  No one can ever say that I didn’t try though.  I sure try.

So what’s it like again so sit down and relax?

Godfidence

What does “Godfidence” mean to you?  I’ve heard a couple of people refer to it in different ways.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” … does that verse come to mind when you think of “Godfidence”?  If you are confident that God’s got you, then you can do anything.

When I first heard “Godfidence” I immediately thought of the feelings I currently have.  In my adult life, I have not been known to remain single for long.  I would jump in and out of relationships (some for longer periods of time, some not so long).  In any event, I never liked, or wanted to, be alone.  When one relationship would fail, in a matter of a couple weeks or so I’d be out there searching for the next one.

Things have changed this time around for me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve matured.  Maybe it’s because I’m focusing more on the lasting, happily ever after, type of love.  Or maybe it’s just “Godfidence”.  I know, trust and believe that God has something great in store for me.  Why?  Because I have learned SO many lessons over the past few years.  Oh my …. so, so, so many lessons.  Because of the lessons I’ve learned, I know that my blessing is approaching.  See…I know I wasn’t given my blessing before because I would have likely destroyed it because there were things I needed to learn still.  I needed to mature.  I needed to get a grip on my feelings and emotions more.  I needed to quit rushing and pushing things and just let things flow naturally.  I needed to feel the pain and heartache.  I needed to evaluate my life and what I was doing.  I needed to be ready.

A wise man told me we don’t need those “microwave relationships”.  The ones where you just thrown everything together, pop it in for a few minutes and “ding” it’s all done and ready to go.  You need the natural, slow-cooked type of relationship.  The best relationships typically come from those who are the best of friends.  So that’s where it starts.  Develop that friendship.  Develop that bond.  Develop that connection.  Patience.

And for me…this time I feel it.  Things are different.  They are definitely different.  I’ve learned the lessons now.  I’m ready for the blessings.  GODFIDENCE

Competition

My ex created such a competitive spirit in our relationship.  Everything was a competition.  It came to the point where we were always trying to “one-up” each other.  If he did something, I had to do it better.  If I bought something, he had to buy something nicer.  If I made good money, he had to make more.  If I cooked something, he had to be the better cook.  And on the flip side, if he did something nice for me, he expected me to do something nicer for him.  This lead to a constant butting of heads, battling and eventually hatred.  And now that we are no more … who can move on the quickest?  All this is extremely childish and immature…like we are middle school kids.

So I come to my question … is competition ever good in a relationship?  Should you ever be competing with your significant other?

I have never experienced a competitive relationship like this before.  And now since I have experienced this, my answer would be no.  You should never be competing with your partner.  Why would you ever want to compete with your partner?  Aren’t you both in this thing together? Aren’t you both ultimately aiming for the same thing? The happily ever after? If you’re not, then what are you doing with each other?

In this day and age, people are right at your fingertips and all we do is bring our damaged asses from one person to the next…creating havoc everywhere we go and leaving a tornado of debris behind us.  Putting our issues and problems on the next person and never dealing with any of them ourselves.  Dealing with ourselves is what we need to be doing … but who likes to be alone?  I get that.

Take each of your encounters as learning experiences.  Take control of your emotions.  Learn from yourself and from others.  Take your knowledge and expand it.  Take some time…breathe. Meditate. Reflect. Read more.  Work more.  Study more.  Just learn to be yourself again.  Then BAM … someone is going to enter your life out of no where and you’ll immediately know why you needed to learn all you did.  Because this is the person you were meant for and this is who you will be with. You’ve learned your lesson…so here’s your blessin.

Emotions

Dear Blog-Airy:

Emotions can be something else, can’t they?  There was a time in my life where I was run by my emotions.  I’d do things impulsively.  I’d act out immediately in anger, love, hatred, excitement, etc. without taking the time to sit and think…or just breathe and process things.  I feel like I’ve made great strides at improving this impulsiveness over the years, but a man I recently dated challenged all of that.

I was dating this man for a year and a half.  In this year and a half span, this man broke up with me at least six different times for various, stupid reasons, and then he would always come running back wanting to make things work again.  It was a constant up and down, unstable, unhealthy and extremely trying relationship.  Every time he’d come back, I’d take him back mostly because I felt sorry for him.  I felt like his past caused him so much harm and damage that in some ways he just didn’t know how to act properly.  But as much as I tried to help him, support him, build him up … the more I was just letting myself slip.

This man was completely and totally run by his emotions.  He had absolutely no control.  No control over anything.  When he would get mad (which was pretty often and like clockwork), he would blow and he didn’t care who was around to hear or witness, he would call me names, he would belittle me, he would try to tear me down and then he would break up with me when I wouldn’t respond to him like how he thought I should.  Now mind you, I haven’t had a relationship like this since I was in my late teens, early twenties.  It’s been a long time since someone I was dating actually called me names, belittled me or tried to tear me down.  Sometimes I would sit in silence and then sometimes I couldn’t take it anymore and I’d sink to that level and try to cut right back.  It was a completely immature and unstable relationship.

And then surprise … he broke up with me again a couple months ago because again, I wasn’t responding to him like how he thought I should.  I was remaining in silence and was not engaging in his most recent rampage.  So…in an effort to prove he wasn’t going to allow that…he showed up at my son’s baseball game (FYI, he never came to any of my kids’ events or supported them in anyway prior).  My son was super excited to see him there.  Then that’s where he broke up with me…because I didn’t want to fight with him at my son’s game.  This was the absolute last straw for me.  I let him throw his fit, I let him act a fool…I let him leave.

Now…what am I left with?  A bunch of emotions to deal with of course.

Anger … because I really did want this to work out.  I was hoping this was just a terrible bump in the road that we’d get over and be done with.  I am tired of dating.  I wanted a big, happy family.  Anger because someone who seemed to express so much “love” for me just constantly threw me away because they can’t control themselves.  Anger because I let this man tear me down, forgave him, and then let him do it again.  Anger because I let my children see and hear WAY more than they should have.  Anger because this man keeps countless women just hovering around him so he can run to them whenever he pleases…so I also feel angry with these women for being there.  Anger because this man act likes he’s such a sweet, innocent, loving and caring gentleman to all these other women … but with me he was a monster.  Anger because I want to beat his face in when I see him…

Hurt … because no matter how much a person tries to play off that words don’t bother them…they still do sting.  Hurt because this man acts like people are disposable and replaceable…and they aren’t.  Hurt because for a year and a half this man constantly disrespected me, constantly disregarded my feelings and just didn’t care about nothing except for himself and I sat and let him act like that with me.

Sadness … because I am alone again.  Instead of living a fun, exciting life with my partner, I am working to keep myself busy or I am laying in my bed trying to just sleep the nightmare away.  Sadness because he’s out there running from woman to woman and I’m sitting here trying to heal the damage he left.  Sadness because I let this thing with him carry on WAY too long and I let someone very special slip out of my life because of him.  Someone who cared deeply for me and once asked me why I’m dealing with this off and on again relationship because he said I didn’t deserve that.  And he was right!

Thankful … because I am not the one who will have to deal with this man anymore.  Thankful because I won’t have to experience this monster and his wrath anymore.  Thankful because I actually learned a lot of lessons (all the bad relationship things I used to do, I got paid back for 100 times over).  Thankful because I had to constantly question relationship, or constantly wonder when I was going to get left again.  Thankful because the trash took itself out and I didn’t have to feel like the bad person if and when I would have finally decided to call it quits.  Thankful because a burden was lifted from my shoulders and now I can work on getting the smile back on my face that I had before this mess.  Thankful because I had SO many mixed emotions about this man and now I don’t have to sit and try to figure out what I really feel about him.

Fear … because there’s all the unknowns.

Love … because I need to try to love myself more.  I need to treat myself better than this.

Embarrassment…because this whole relationship was embarrassing.  We got kicked out of bars because of him, we had to leave shopping centers because of him, my son’s baseball coach got involved, friends stepped in because they were scared for me and my children saw and heard so much stuff (more than they ever have in their entire lives), etc.  After all of this drama, I would still take this man back and people would look at me sideways…and rightfully so.

Emotions … there’s a flood of them and they are all hitting at once.  Do you ever feel like there’s just no way out?  When is the roller coaster ride over?

Guardian Angels

I know there are some people out there who believe in guardian angels and there are people out there who do not believe.  I believe.  And I will tell you why.  Hold on to your suspender straps because every single time I talk about this, I get goose bumps:

In 2014 I thought I had found the love of my life.  Everything was so perfect.  When I tell you how in love I was…maannnnn … I was IN LOVE!!  This man (we will call him “Kevin”) came out of no where and my life would never again be the same.  It was the fairy tale that every girl dreams of.  He was kind, he was so caring, he was loving, he was proud of me, he bragged about me, my children and about us…to everyone.  We were together every waking minute and we never tired of each other.  We loved seeing and talking to each other every single minute of the day.  Not 30 minutes would ever go by without at least a text message.  He was so family focused.  He was there for my boys for everything they did.  He was at their sporting events, school conferences, graduations and award ceremonies.  My youngest and him would run through the house, playing, laughing and popping out from corners and from under beds trying to scare each other.  And then the laughter…oh man … my son would laugh hysterically when he’d get Kevin to scream and swear because my son “got him”.  I’d laugh when I’d hear the screams and commotion from the other room.

It was literally a dream come true.  We all did everything together.  We’d go fishing.  We’d go on road trips.  We’d go to movies or out to eat.  We’d watch movies at home or play Mario racing on the Wii together.  We always had a good time.  There were never any harsh words spoken.  There was never any anger, no fights, no nothing.  Everything was perfect.  Everything was happy.  Everything was amazing.

By 2015 I was planning our wedding.  Yup … it all happened so fast, and in less than a year of knowing this love of my life…we were getting married.  I was so happy.  I was the happiest I had ever been in my entire life.  No joke.  I was on Cloud 9 and there was nothing that was going to bring me down.  Until right after the wedding that is….

My world quickly came crashing down around me and within only 4 short months of being married…I was filing for divorce.  I was devastated.  My world as I knew it was crumbling around me and I couldn’t stop it.  I cried.  Man…did I cry!!  I cried every single day for at least six months.  I went to church…and cried.  I’d pray and cry.  I’d read passages about love and marriage in the Bible and I’d cry.  I’d cry myself to sleep at night.  I’d cry on my way to and from work.  I’d try to go out with my friends, but I’d always come back home and cry.  Sometimes I’d cry at work while signing divorce papers that my clients were working on.  I’d get home from work and lay on the couch for the rest of the night and cry.  My oldest son would come home from work and often bring me a Blizzard because he knew I hadn’t left the couch.  My world was turning dark.  Fast.

Then one day I was standing outside at the bus stop waiting for the city bus to bring me to work and a little old Somali lady walked past me and looked at me and said “good morning”.  I looked at her and smiled and told her good morning back.  I noticed a twinkle in her eyes and there was something I just couldn’t put my finger on.  I don’t think she could speak English, maybe aside from a “good morning”.  I brushed it off and continued on with my day.

For about a week or two, every single morning this little old lady would greet me at the bus stop.  What was she doing out here?  She never rode the bus.  She always just walked by.  But I soon noticed that I really looked forward to seeing her every morning for some reason.  I looked forward to her smile and her “good morning” wishes.  Then one morning she walked by me … and she hugged me!  As soon as she touched me I felt a release.  A release of my sadness.  A release of my…depression.  A release.  I even felt lighter.  I can’t explain it.  But I felt … happy.  That feeling lasted about an hour or so.  Then the next day, she did it again.  And again, I felt the same release.  Only this time it lasted a bit longer.  And the next day again, and again, etc.  Then I looked forward to seeing her every morning and hugging her.  I wanted this happy feeling everyday!  Then all of a sudden I noticed I wasn’t crying anymore.  I felt … good!  I felt content again.  I finally felt like things were going to be ok!!

And then …. I never saw her again.  Every morning I’d rush out to the bus stop … but she wasn’t there anymore.  She was gone.

Angels can come in all forms, shapes and sizes.  Mine, for some reason, was a little, old Somali lady.  She was the cutest lady.  She had the best twinkle in her eyes.  She had the kindest smile on her cute, wrinkled up face.  I never got to know her name and never got beyond a “good morning”.  But she will never be forgotten.  She pulled me from a very dark place.

 

Thinking

When you think about relationships, what do you think about?  Do you think about strolling hand-in-hand, skipping along a beach and giggling with not a care in the world?  Do you think of smiles, laughter, and playful interactions?  Do you think about marriage, weddings and that happily ever after?

But then … reality hits, doesn’t it?  You see it everyday…people hurt.  People crying.  People angry.  People bitter.  People looking for revenge.  Relationships failing.  Relationships ending.  It’s the sad reality that we live in today.  Aside from my grandparents who have been together for almost 40 years, I don’t know anyone else around me that has had a long-lasting, sustainable relationship like that.  What happened?

Now don’t get me wrong…I do know a few couples who really seem like they are making it.  They really seem like they are so much in love, and nothing interferes nor comes in between that.  I admire them and cheer them on…and pray to God that their relationships and love continues.  They are of inspiration to me.

You know what else I pray to God for?  That I will one day find this type of relationship and this type of love.  This type that will sustain everything.  This type that will last for 40+ years.  This type that will be forever and always.  The problem is … is there anyone else out there who places such a high value on a good, long-lasting, sustainable relationship as I do?

Does a good relationship really take that much effort?  Is it really supposed to take that much effort?  If you have children, you don’t just up and leave them whenever you get mad at them, do you?  You don’t cheat on them with other children, right?  Why would one do all of these things to their partner if they wouldn’t do them to their children?  Why would we not share the same mindset…that these are people whom we love and who will be in our lives forever…therefore, even through disagreements, and even through some spells of madness and anger…we still love them and they are still around.

Dear Blog-Airy … I can tell you that my heart hurts.  It hurts seeing families and relationships break up all the time.  It hurts seeing people being so terrible to each other.  It hurts seeing people only thinking about themselves all the time.