Tag Archives: moving on

Ohana

I don’t come from a large family or a particularly close family so I’ve always envied large families and ones that are super close. It’s always been something I wish I had but figured I wouldn’t ever really have. I mean most of my family lives half a world away and it’s fragmented at best so I came to accept that I just wouldn’t ever have that big, fun, family that I had always dreamed of. Then I married my husband. He has his own children which gave us an instantly larger family and he has a brother who’s married with children so I thought YES! I will finally have the large, close knit family I had always wanted. So I worked. And worked, and worked, and worked. I worked at being accepted, at being loved by that extended family, at pulling together the family I had always hoped for and for a time, a very short time, I thought we had actually overcome all the differences, all the troubles, all the drama of years past and we were finally a “family”.

Boy was I wrong. I’ve mentioned how wrong I can be, right?

I have come to the realization that it was all just a big delusion on my part. That “close-knit” family I had come to be so proud of was really all in my head. Over the years, we would host big family dinners and celebrate as a family but for the first time, I’m realizing that it was always me to initiate those get togethers. We would constantly extend invites to outings, picnics, backyard BBQ’s, dinners, movies, whatever and there would always be an excuse or a reason that they wouldn’t be able to come. We would share our alcohol, food, work, time, pay for our niece, etc but those favours were never returned. As a matter of fact, all we’ve ever been accused of is not helping enough.

For a short time, I felt like I had a brother close to me but it was just another delusion. I was a time-filler. Someone to go for coffee with and, most times, pay for it. My sister-in-law once said to me, that she was tired of being the one to pursue a relationship with someone. That relationships were two-way streets and it felt like she was always the one working. Funny, I’ve always been the one working on a relationship with her. Clearly I missed the message. I am disposable to both of these people. That became so clear when I finally, for once, told the truth. I knew that there were some shady things happening and I just couldn’t watch the games that were being played around me. I sought counsel of many people about what they would do and the vote was split. Some said tell, others said don’t. I care about the person being hurt. I care about the person doing the hurting. So I decided that if I was asked, I wouldn’t lie. And I didn’t. Holy backlash batman!

The whole situation makes me so sad. I’ve tried to be angry but I’m not. I’m just sad. These realizations are always the hardest. It is hard to realize that you don’t mean much to someone, especially when you’ve held that person, or in this case people, in such high regard.

The great thing about realizing who you mean little to, is you also start to realize who you mean a lot to. I’ve been so focussed on making the family I married into work that I lost sight of the family that I actually built. I have really amazing friends, many of whom I consider family. I was able to realize that I’d really neglected relationships with people who mean the world to me and I’m so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to start rebuilding them. People who want me around simply because they like who I am and enjoy spending time with me.

At the end of it all, life is just teaching me the true definition of “family”.

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Come as you are…

“Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy.
Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don’t be late.”

Ahh…the lyrics that shapped my early teenaged years. Good ole Nirvana. I can distinctly remember 13 year old me talking about how I could relate to the lyrics because I had grown so much over the years (yes, that was written while rolling my eyes). Boy do I wish I could go back and smack 13 year old me up side the head.

Certain things have been happening in my life that have really made me look at who I am and who’ve I’ve become. I spout off about the stories of who I used to be and the things I used to do but I rarely talk about who I am and I’ve come up with a theory on why. Basically, the person I used to be is familiar and I know what to expect when I behave in those ways but this new, more honest version of me is scary as hell.

The person I used to be smoked weed, got drunk, screwed around, lied, was manipulative, usually had an alterior motive but that is who I used to be. I didn’t really give a shit about anyone but myself. If I spoke up about something, it’s because I stood to gain soemthing. If I wanted to get high, get drunk, and/or have sex I’d just call up whoever would be willing and go to ‘er, the consequences never really mattered.

That’s all changed. I like to pin point my own extra marital affair as the piviotal point of change but I think it’s been happening for a long time before that, maybe I just started paying attention after that last encounter. Recently, I was faced with a decision to lie or tell the truth. Lying would have been so much easier, in the short term anyway. I could have preserved one relationship and stalled the strain on another but in the moment when I had the choice, I chose to tell the truth. I’ve asked myself why so many times in the past while because that’s not what I’d normally do. I’m glad I’ve had the wherewithall to question the why because I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my answers.

First, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to realize and celebrate the fact that my values and moral compass have shifted. I no longer identify with being a “cheater” or “cheap” or “easy” or “a homewrecker”. That’s just not who I am anymore. I’ve made peace with that part of me and it feels fantastic. I find myself getting defensive when someone says “once a cheater, always a cheater” because that’s not true, I am no longer a cheater nor will I ever be again.

I also don’t identify with being a liar. I am not completely innocent when it comes to lying and I can’t say I won’t tell a lie in the future but what I can tell you is that it doesn’t feel good when I do it. I feel the weight of guilt, frustration, worry and general distaste. In that moment of being able to chose, and knowing what the consequences of my choice were, I finally chose what was best for me. For my psyche. I may never repair those relationships and that’s a consequence of the situation but at least I know that I was honest and I’m not hiding anything. I’m not keeping secrets or protecting lies. I am free of that and that freedom is delicious.

Finally, I’ve been taking a good long look at why I’m drinking and why I have started smoking pot again *gasp* and really, the question there is why am I chasing that dragon? Why am I feeling the need to live a life that’s not a sober one and again, I think it’s to get away from facing up to what I already know. Things are different now. Pot is not my deal and when I think about hiding it from my kids and being paranoid that I’m going to get “caught”, it is clear to me that my conscience already knows what my brain has been slow in realizing. It’s just not for me. Drinking makes me sick and I do and say stupid things when I’m drunk. It’s also not for me. I have to be ready to let that go. I have to learn to be comfortable and confident in my sober skin and that’s what I’m going to learn to do. I want a healthy life and not one that is foggy and half-remembered.

Finally, I have been examining the relationships I have in my life and I’ve started to question why I’ve prioritized some unhealhty, one-sided relationships over ones that I felt comfortable in. I have distanced myself from so many of my friends over the last few years and I am ashamed of that. I have a lot of fence mending to do and hopefully those fences are strong enough to be mended. I have been chasing people who couldn’t give a damn if I was in their lives or not, bending over backward, trying to be everything to everyone and I have forgotten that to a handful of people I am enough for them without even having to try.

I am so blessed to have found the person that I love completely. I am so blessed to have healthy, interested, good people as children. I am blessed to have fences that need mending. I am blessed that I realized it before it was too late.

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Up, Up and Away…

This has become a mantra for me This has become a mantra for me

I started this blog many years ago with great intentions of becoming a “real” blogger. You know, one that develops a loyal following and has fans waiting in the wings. Yeah, my ego may have been slightly larger than my head. And by slightly I mean freaking huge. But whatevs.

In the early months, I made lists of the topics I was going to cover. Political topics, hot-button topic, and parenting issues all made the roster but very few made the blog. This blog became a place for me to write about and work through very personal issues in my life. I’ve had some really great feedback from the few people who do read my posts and I’ve had some very ugly things thrown at me by trolls who need a hobby. Looking back now, I see this as a stepping stone onto the journey I have been on.

Looking at this blog now I see so much of it that represents where I used to be. I used to trend to the negative. I used to be bitter. I used to look at the world through lenses coloured with anger, hate, hurt and sarcasm. I used to talk about all the things I used to be instead of really focussing on what I am, who I’m becoming and who I want to be. (Yes, I realize the irony of doing that exact thing right now). I used to think of myself as broken.

I am no longer those things. I am being true to myself. I am learning my passions. I am terrified of this journey. I am terrified of being vulernable. I am terrified of being weak. I am terrified of reaching out to people and letting them in. I am terrified of failing. I am excited to be on this journey. I am proud of the accomplishments I’ve made so far. I am proud that I continually challenge myself and am putting a voice to my insecurities. I am glad that I have acknowledged my weaknesses and am learning to embrace them. I am fixing myself.

I have been cleansing my life of my old ways. Slowly but surely. Old habits, old thought patterns, old text messages, old contacts, and old diary pages. It’s now time to put this blog to rest, not just change the template or the title or the layout but really close this chapter and move on.

So, until next time folks!

So long and farewell

Closure Exposure

Closure Disclaimer:

I was sent a “closure” email recently and I’ve contemplated responding to it but haven’t. That being said, I do need to have my say.  To be able to get these words out.  Somewhere.  So, like all things, I turned to my little web-corner and I’ve decided to have my say here.  These are my words.  My feelings.  My thoughts and my opinions.  If you don’t want to hear it or read it, please close your browser now. 

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Dear So-and-So,

I recevied your “closure” email but quite frankly, I don’t care if you have “closure”  or not.  So the next time you feel inspired to write a piece of hate mail, leave me out of it.  I am tired of hearing the same old hashed-out insults and complaints.  I wanted to reply but, as you will soon find out, I have nothing nice to say to you.  That being said, I do need some closure for my own self so that I finally start the healing of this hurt. 

Everytime I start to think about what to write, I get so exasperated I can barely think. Your behaviour and attitude is beyond comprehension.  Your words are contradictory, your behaviour is erradic and overall this whole situation is nonsensical. 

Let me start by saying I am furious with you and the things said below come from a place of bitterness, disappointment, and embarassment. I am downright incensed with the person you’ve grown into and the behaviour you’ve demonstrated and I need to get this out. I always thought you were better than any of this but I was so wrong.  You are fake.  You are a liar.  You are entitled. You are destructive and you are hurtful.  You spew hate and hurt toward this family yet you act as if you are the “hurt” one.  Stop playing the victim and start owning up to your own behaviour.  You haven’t grown, you haven’t changed, you haven’t done one goddamn thing you preach about yet you expect praise because you’re going to school?  Let me tell you girl, it’s going to take a helluva lot more than a college diploma before I believe one ounce of breath that leaves your body.

In your email, you thanked me for being a parent to you when neither of your bio-parents were able.  You know, it may have meant something to me if you hadn’t spent the rest of your time bashing my character.  I’m not sure who you think you are but until you are faced with having to make the same decisions, you are unqualified to judge my actions and my decisions.  Being your parent was hellish at times.  I spent more hours crying about, worrying over, and double guessing my decisions than any one person should have.  I spent my early 20’s dealing with your shitty attitude and behaviour and oh look, now spending my early 30’s doing exactly the same thing.

Your words, your behaviour, your actions have caused me more hurt in my life than anything else.  That’s because they used to mean something to me.  Your opinion of me, meant something.  That’s starting to change.  See, all those years I’d find little notes about you wishing your Dad would leave me, all those years where you felt it necessary to impart your opinion on our relationship, all the times you’ve yelled, screamed, pitched fits about how crappy your life was are taking their toll. 

You’ve always made your opinion of your Dad’s and my relationship known and that obviously isn’t about to change.  My response to that is “Butt Out”.  It is none of your business.  My relationship with your Dad is between us.  Keep it to yourself.  In my opinion, you would be lucky to find someone as kind, caring, loving and considerate as your Dad. 

Another one of your many complaints is that your Dad chose me over you but you’ve failed to explain exactly how he’s done that.   It’s time to lay that to rest.  It’s obvious your Dad loves you.  It’s obvious he’s been there for you, there were times when he could have been there more but overall, I’d say he’s been pretty involved in your life.  I challenge you to do the math of how many years you’ve lived with your Dad, spent weekends with your Dad and then talk to me about how he was never there or chose someone else.  Until you can come up with compelling facts, backed up by people other than just your Mother’s Camp, your complaints fall on deaf ears.

The thing that has bothered me the most in all of this is how you are constantly slinging mud at your Dad.  You know, if he ever said the things to you that you’ve been saying to him, you would go on the war path like no one has ever seen.  It would serve to validate every little real or imagined injustice you have felt through your life.  You would use it against him for all time and show every person how awful and mean your Dad is.  You know, people are in your life for a short period of time and one day, you will miss your Dad.  One day, you may regret the things you’ve said to him.  One day, your Dad will be gone and I sincerely hope that regret weighs heavy in your heart and on your soul. 

I am constantly amazed at how you expect others to accept you, believe in you and look past your mistakes but you aren’t willing to give the same consideration to other people.  We’ve apologized for our parenting mistakes time and time again but that’s simply not good enough for you.  I have a news flash for you – we are people too. 

The bitter-hearted part of me sometimes wishes I could go back and take back every birthday party, every special holiday, every hug, every inside joke, every new anything and the shopping splurges, every time I did put you before my own children, every time I referenced you as my own daughter, every Saturday morning family cuddle, take the flower that represents you off of my body, basically take back every little piece of me I’ve ever given you. That is pure anger talking and it’s going to take time for me to work through that.

Beyond the bitterness and anger, beyond the hurt and brokenheart, this has made me stronger.  In the past, I would have bottled everything up inside.  The end result of that being an explosive response when I just couldn’t take anymore.  Now, I’m reaching out to people in my life and it’s a really good feeling.  I have kind, considerate folks who are willing to listen to me.  They help me talk through the hurt and the pain and support me in my growth.  It gives me renewed strength and energy to face the next time you enter my life.  It is a great feeling and I’m happy that I’m able to establish stronger relationships and really value them as they should be.  Our family is more honest and supportive of one another.  We are stronger because of this and are re-evaluating relationships we may have otherwise overlooked. 

Over the years we have included you in every family gathering, every family function, worked so hard to make you feel important, to make you feel loved and valued and at the end of the day, it was all superficial.  We never meant anything to you.  You keep saying “we aren’t your real family” over and over and for the longest time I didn’t want to believe it but that’s probably the only truthful thing you’ve said. 

We aren’t your real family.  To you, we never were.  It sucks for all of us because to us, it was very real.

Parenting Paradigm and Prayers

When you become a parent, there is usually a chorus of “congratulations” and “hold on tight, it’s going to be a ride” coming from those who are close to you or, frankly, anyone who sees you.  In the beginning, it’s not so much hard as it is scary.  The day you bring a baby home and look at it and think “what the hell am I supposed to do now?” hits you like a tonne of bricks.  It’s the day you realize that you are truly responsible for another human being and a helpless one at that.  Luckily, for most, those moments only last a short while and you quickly move past them and get into the swing of things.

Then life takes hold and all of those lines you were fed suddenly become painfully clear. Time really does speed up, to a pace which rivals light speed.  Before you know it, you’re facing the terrible twos, which have nothing on the terrors of a three-year old.  Suddenly your baby isn’t a baby, she’s a toddler then all of a sudden you’re standing in an elementary school waiting to register for kindergarten and you’re thinking “WTF?  How did I get here?” Once your child enters school, it’s almost like time isn’t measured in months anymore, it’s either “the school year” or “summer”…holy fruit nut batman, where does the time go?  You negotiate the school years with grace, charm, twists, turns, bumps, and pitfalls BUT you make it.  It’s graduation day.  What now?

Somehow along a timeline that has been put in super fast-forward, you negotiate the waters of parenting and you start to realize two things.  First, you realize you start to sound an awful lot like your parents did and second, that your parents were generally right. 

I am in a tight parenting spot right now.  If you take the baby bird analogy, as provided by my dear BIL, STech, we have a baby bird in need of a mighty kick out of the nest.  The hard part about that is we know our baby bird is going to struggle with the fall.  We know that she may not flap her wings until the very last possible second.  We have to have faith that she will flap those wings of hers and take off into flight. 

As her Mom, albeit her step-mom, it is heart-wrenching to watch her be scared and confused.  I feel that same fear and confusion but for different reasons.  I fear that if we don’t push her to independence she will never get there.  I fear that if we continue to swoop in and make everything alright, she will never learn how to make things alright for herself.  I’m confused because I never wanted to be in a position where I had to push one of my children out of the nest when they don’t have a job or anywhere to do.  I’ve been there.  It sucks.  Big time.  I am worried about how she will make out, out on her own.  Will she fall back into a cycle of poor decisions?  Will she get herself into a sticky situation?  I guess time will tell that. 

Parenting is so hard and it gets harder as time goes on.  It is exhilarating and confusing and frustrating and rewarding and simultaneously the most difficult and the most incredible thing I have ever done.  I pray that I have the strength to guide my children onto the right paths while respecting their ability, need and want to make their own decisions.  I pray that our family will pull through the raising of three children, all from very different foundations.  I pray for the day that we have a big family dinner, the days when my hair will be more salt than pepper, and I can look around my table, at my beautiful children, and see the successful outcome of much laughter and many tears and so many years of hard work. 

I want my children to look back at their lives and remember that their parents supported them.  Maybe not in the ways they would have liked but that we were there, with love in our hearts and resolution in our spirits.