Bumps And Bruises

I never considered myself an accident prone person. Mysterious black and blue marks and bruises of unknown origins have never been a part of my daily attire. But things change. As I was opening the safe at work today, I managed to pull the door too far back and my hand got stuck between the handle and the wall for a second. To say that the safe door is light would be the understatement of the year. Half of the time, I need to use both hands just to open it. As I cursed and cradled my hand, my coworker made a point to mention that in her five years at the company, she never once managed to hurt herself at the safe. What can I say? It’s a new talent I guess.

You’d think one accident per day would be enough, but where’s the fun in that? My newfound talent wants to express itself more often it seems. As I was quickly putting away some newly laundered in my bedroom, and feeling rather productive I might add, I leaned down to grab a solitary sock from the floor. (The lone sock mystery continues.) As I was bending down, I managed to smash my forehead into the corner of my dresser. I use the word ‘smash’ because there was actual loud impact. As a quick defense, I should point out that the light in my bedroom was off and it was pretty dark in there. On second thought, I don’t know how much better of a light I’m shining on the situation by pointing out that I was putting away laundry in the dark. Oh well, we can’t all be smart all of the time.

Some blood and a nice-sized bump later, I sit on the couch and wonder about this new accident prone phase I seem to be in. I’m not sure I’m loving it. But that’s the thing with phases. They come and go as they please. They don’t ask for permission and they don’t give us a heads up. Whether it be the two year old tantrum stage (which I fear will continue well beyond two) or the discombobulating of my limbs. In the meantime, I’ll just keep a few extra ice packs in the freezer.

Responsibilities

I used to write a blog post every single day. Somewhere along the way, I got lazy. It’s not something I’m proud of. I love to write. It’s one of the most cathartic things in the world for me. Laziness is a poor excuse for not exercising this outlet as I should. But I’m human and my slacking off will not discourage me from attempting to begin blogging regularly once more. So here goes nothing.

My co-worker’s last day was yesterday. I have now lost my one good friend at work. There’s nothing like having that co-worker you can send side glances to, smirk with, and go on snack binge breaks with. Things are not going to be the same without her in the office. In addition to losing my work confidante, I have also gained approximately 40% more work. My ever so generous boss decided to divvy up her responsibilities amongst the rest of us instead of hiring a new employee. I got dumped with a fair amount of them.

If more responsibilities means a pay raise, then I can get on board with being a lot busier. The pay is to be discussed this coming Thursday, so I’m walking around with my fingers permanently crossed until then. Good thoughts…. Good thoughts….

In a weird way, I actually don’t really mind the added responsibility. It makes me feel more productive and allows me to prove my worth as a valuable employee. I’m hoping my boss sees if that way too. The one thing I don’t enjoy that much is this beginning/transition period. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I like to know exactly what I’m doing, and I like to do it perfectly. I don’t like not knowing stuff. Granted, I’ve been trained in all these new responsibilities that I have, but even just today, things have come up that I was never taught. In these cases, it’s clearly normal for me to not know how to do them, but the perfectionist in me gets upset that I’m unable to just do it. All new beginnings have a learning curve and I need to constantly remind myself of that.

In addition, I need to remind myself that it’s okay to ask questions. That’s how you learn, and that’s how you grow. Having to ask doesn’t make you a lesser employee or a lesser person. On the contrary, being afraid to ask and then messing up, that’s what detracts from you.

I guess I’ve never been particularly good with asking questions. I’m more of a quiet person by nature, plus the perfectionist in me convinced myself that I should already know the answer. The things we do to ourselves….

If I’m being honest though, I probably don’t like questions for another reason. Anyone who’s lived with an addict probably knows that look you get when you ask your addict a question. You know that crazy doubt they make you feel, you know how bad they make you feel for questioning their sobriety. Questions become these loaded missiles that you’re unsure about launching. But questions can just be honest and sincere requests to learn more, whether it be about work, your significant other, etcetera, etcetera. Working through life’s questions allows you thrive and grow. So here’s my question for the day: Do my ramblings make sense to anyone else?

It’s Been A Lifetime And More…

My son is turning three in less than two months. This is when most people would say that it feels like just yesterday when their baby was born. I can’t really say the same. It feels like a lifetime ago that Charlie was born. Those days of burping and spit-ups, the cooing, that first smile, they feel like memories of a prior life. And in a way, they are.

Charlie was less than a year old when I separated from my husband and from his drug addiction. He is now almost three. In that two year period, I have grown and evolved more than I probably could have ever imagined. The evolution process wasn’t always pretty, and it definitely wasn’t always easy to say the least, but it allowed me to heal and become me. And not just the version of me before addiction entered my life and left its nasty scars, a version of me I didn’t know existed. A version that allows me to be a single mom. A version that allows me to hold down a job, single-handedly pay all our bills, and function as an adult. It’s the most independent I’ve ever been. It’s the most responsibility I’ve ever had. And the combination of the two is both liberating and terrifying.

I’ve come to appreciate that combo though, that unique pairing of liberation and fear. Every day, I’m taking on this pretty scary thing called life. And every day, I feel free because I know I am doing so on my own terms. It’s okay to be scared. There’s a quote by JoyBell C. that I really like. “Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” What I’m doing today, taking care of myself and my son, it’s most definitely worth it. I wouldn’t erase even a second of that previous lifetime if that’s what it took to get us to where we are today.

Happy Birthday to Myself

This post is a little late, but better late than never. The month of mid-June to mid-July is a fun time for me. When I say that, I’m being mildly sarcastic. In those few weeks, I manage to cover all of my milestone bases. It’s my birthday, my would’ve been anniversary, and my divorcaversary. I know that’s not a word, but it’s what I like to call it. That’s a lot of stuff; it makes me think of the old Morton salt containers featuring the girl holding the yellow umbrella with the words, “When it rains, it pours”. Truer words have never been spoken.

Maybe the overload is a good thing. I get to deal with the influx of emotions all at once. I get it out of the way in one fell swoop. At the same time, that’s a lot of emotion for my 105 pound frame to carry. Surprisingly, the hardest milestone of the three was my birthday. I am now 29 years old. I know that’s not old, but it’s scary for me. At the age of 25, I thought I had my life in order, everything was laid out just so and I saw my future. Four years later, I couldn’t be less certain of what my future holds. 

I have a dicey relationship with the emotion of uncertainty. It terrifies me. Not knowing where my life is headed is so unsettling. At the same time, the uncertainty holds dramatic suspense. Anything can happen when the future is a blank slate. In my better moods, when I’m listening to the right music, I see a whole world of possibilities awaiting me. I see great things happening for me, things that would have never been feasible if I had stuck to the unhappiness of my status quo. In my worse moods, I see a terrifying display of question marks leading nowhere. I guess I need to keep listening to the right kind of music. 

Birthday wishes are also a sore spot for me. I know that people only mean the best, well, most people, but their well wishes make me cringe. Telling me that you hope I have a better and easier year than the last one doesn’t make me feel good. Don’t give me a life comparison when giving me well wishes. Don’t reference my past to make my future seem better. Just tell me that I should have an amazing year filled with everything I could wish for and more. Telling me that I deserve better just makes me feel resentful and wonder why the better hasn’t happened yet. 

Does that make me sound like a bitter person? I don’t mean to be. I guess I just don’t appreciate those cliche wishes. Life is not a scale. Just because I had a tough year doesn’t mean the next year will be easy. So don’t give me a wish that says that. Life is not fair. Just wish me luck and that I have the strength to kick ass despite life. Because I will. Granted, I may not be thrilled about being 29 years old, but I will not wallow in it either. It’s going to be a good year, not because I deserve it, but because I’m deciding I won’t have it any other way. So happy birthday to myself. 

Worlds Crashing

I just looked up a statistic, because I was curious about the approximate percentage of addicts in the United States. The numbers say it’s 1 in 10. I don’t get it. How do I know so many 1s? My good friend called me last night, bawling and beside herself. She just discovered that her husband has a major gambling problem. My heart hurts for her. As I talk to her on the phone, I feel my stomach clench and unclench. I’ve been where she’s at. I know what it feels like when your entire world comes crashing down. I know that this is the beginning of a long journey for her. I also know that she will be okay. That doesn’t make it better and that doesn’t make it easier though.

I want to continue writing to try and express how I feel about all this, about that day when it all comes crashing down. My thoughts are a little all over the place in my brain right now, so I’m going freestyle here.

In your own little space
every jar set in place just so
to a pattern
on a line
creating a haven
a space thats mine

Working hard
always arranging
placing the jars
just so
to a pattern
on a line

The space is mine
safe and controlled
each jar
perfectly set
to a pattern
on a line

One tilts
it leans just so
careening
crashing into other
breaking the pattern
no more line

The space is there
no longer mine
broken jars
tiny fragments
with no pattern
obliterating all lines

The dust
piles on the floor
remnants of jars
sting my fingertips
numb my soul
heart a flat line

Good Food & Bad TV

I’m not rich. I’m not even middle class. I’m single working mom doing what I can and singlehandedly paying my bills. It’s not like I can afford to hire a babysitter every night or even every other night. To be honest, it’s not like I even have the energy to go out every night. I know I still haven’t hit 30, but my couch and I, we have a special relationship in the evenings. It’s called good food and bad tv.

When I first moved into my apartment, I was debating whether to get cable. Trying to be cost efficient and minimize the bills was a pretty important factor. However, I decided that my downtime, a large part of which would be spent within the confines of my apartment, was something that couldn’t be skimped on. Today, I can confidently say that was the right decision.

Every evening, after I put Charlie to bed, I head to the kitchen and prepare an adult dinner for myself. Yes, I usually make two dinners every night, a toddler one for Charlie and a slightly more sophisticated one for myself. I’m not exactly interested in a fish sticks, pizza, and chicken nuggets diet. With dinner in hand, I head to the couch and sit down. This is when the me part of my day starts. This is when I get to just sit and relax. While enjoying my plateful of food, I sit back and enjoy whatever crap is on tv. And the thing is, it usually doesn’t even matter. I love bad television. It makes me laugh and allows me to unwind. As an added bonus, it usually makes me feel better about my life.

It’s possible that I watch too much television. It’s also possible that I enjoy it just a little too much. But we all need our indulgences every so often. Speaking of indulgences, the new season of The Bachelorette airs this coming Monday. I don’t even think I could put into words how excited I am for it. And I’m not embarrassed about it either. We all need things to keep us happy. I could think of a lot worse things than good food and bad tv. JoJo, I cannot wait to spend my Monday evenings with you. I don’t even need to pay a babysitter. Score.

Social Circles?

Leave it to me to not post anything for over three months and then go all out in the span of 24 hours. I like to be consistent that way. Anyway, I’ve still been thinking about this whole meeting new people challenge. Getting myself to open up and be social is all nice and good, but to whom?

It’s not like I travel in huge social circles these days. I’m a working single mom. I’m usually either taking care of my two year old son or at the office working. Between the two, I’m not left with a lot of time to just be out there and meet new people. I already know everyone at work. It’s not a big office, so there’s no new social territory there, and while building Legos and playing with Thomas are entertaining in their own ways, it’s not exactly making me new friends. My two year old can be friends with a tank engine, me, not so much.

Occasionally, I get a babysitter. I’m not rich, it’s not like I can afford to go out every night. When I do, it’s either with any one of my current friends or because I’m going out on a date. Challenging myself to be social isn’t applicable when I’m out with a close friend. I have no problem being social in those situations. That’s not pushing myself out of my comfort zone and creating new connections. And then there’s dating. But that usually means going out with the guy a few times, sleeping with him, and then never seeing them again. Granted, that qualifies as meeting new people, but I don’t really think that’s what opening myself to new relationships means. Pun not intended.

So I don’t know. When is there ever a social setting in which I can challenge myself to be social, a time when I can forge new relationships and widen my current circle? I’m not sure. Maybe that’s kind of what life is about – that somewhat aimless journey we take in which we, through no planning of our own, manage to cross paths with some pretty neat people. The friends I currently have, I feel lucky to have them. And I’m sure there’s countless more pretty amazing people out there. Somehow, someway, I’ll cross paths with some of them. And when I do, I guess I have to be prepared to step away from the sidelines, to engage and be social.