Questions

Occasionally, I can’t help but to stop and imagine how my life would’ve been if I’d met someone else at the time I’d met my soon-to-be-ex (henceforth known as STBX). If I’d gone back to college earlier, gotten the career I love now, and met someone else.

Would I have been married to a medical professional? Someone who shares the same passions for the intellectual side of life? Someone who is as motivated as I am to make a difference? Would I have ever had children or would I have been too busy focusing on my career to slow down and make time for a family? Would I have stayed in the same midwestern state my whole life? Would I have traveled the world? Would I have ever lived in London or New York City or some other large city?

I think the biggest questions I always come up with are: Would I have been happy? Could I have avoided all of this heartache and sorrow?

And the final question: Could I have ever lived my life without my beautiful children?

That question always stops me in my tracks. No matter the heartache, the pain, the devastation, and sorrow I have endured over these past five years, I would do it all over again because STBX gave me those beautiful girls. They are everything. They make the questions fade away. I look at them and I know I did it all right. Even though I’m coming out the other side, damaged and broken, I know that they are worth it.

Six AM Ramblings

It’s 6:00 in the morning. I’ve been awake since 3:30 due to little people taking up all the space in my bed. I moved both of them back into their beds, but E came back in here a mere 45 minutes later for snuggles.
I haven’t been able to fall back to sleep, but that’s okay. I get to snuggle with my sweet girl. I get to see just how much she’s grown yet is still my baby. I can see just how much she is like her daddy, maybe not in looks because let’s be honest, my kids look exactly like me, but in her mannerisms. They are currently sleeping exactly the same and, guys, I wish pictures would do this view justice because it is just.so.perfect.

There have definitely been days lately that I wonder what the hell I was thinking in having a kid, let alone two of them, but when all is quiet like this? It’s my happy place. My girls mean the world to me and even when everything is going wrong in so many different areas of my life, they are always what’s going right.

Boundaries

This post is me writing out of anger.  J’s 11yo step-son is a nasty, spiteful, disrespectful, and full of hatred towards me.  I’ve been trying for years now to correct the situation. Nothing has worked.  So I backed wayyyyy off.  C has spent every single day after school for the last four weeks down at his grandfather’s house.  Not once have I bothered to keep him home.  Because I don’t want him here.  I don’t want to listen to him scream and rant and rage at me anymore.  I don’t want my daughters anywhere near him.  He’s not a healthy child nor a healthy rolemodel for the rest of his siblings.  He refuses to acknowledge a no and will keep asking and asking and asking until he gets a yes.  Definitely not someone I want around my kids.  No means no.  It does not mean keep asking until you get a different answer.  His entitled attitude is what leads tosomeone assaulting   women.  To him growing up to be a rapist at the very worst, a complete asshole at best.  Not who I want my kids to be around.

His mother refuses to get him counseling.  His dad, my idiot husband, and his mom both, let him do whatever he wants with absolutely no consequences. He’s allowed to treat me like shit, fail in school, beat up his brother, tell me “fuck you”, and NOTHING will ever be done to correct him.

So I want no part of this child.  And have zero intentions of being in his life when he’s older.  That means I won’t be going to his high school graduation.  I won’t be going to any wedding unless it’s to warn his future wife of how sexist and misogynistic he is.  I won’t call his children my grandchildren.  My daughters will never, ever be alone with him.

It’s up to his bio parents to fix this mess they created.  I’m out and my girls are out.

Years ago, I was a cutter.  My last day of cutting was December 12th, 2011.  I still remember bits and pieces of that day, but not all.  You see, the reason I don’t remember much of it is because while I was cutting myself that day, I also attempted suicide.  I had hit the end of my ability to deal with the daily physical and mental abuse I was receiving from my ex.  I had been with him for almost four years and I had turned into a shell of myself.  Throughout those four years, I was abused often.  I eventually blamed myself every time I was hit or cussed out.  So I resorted to cutting.  This was an unfortunate coping mechanism I had learned when I was a teenager to help me deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault, but that’s a story for another time.

Cutting was my release.  It was a way of turning my internal pain into external pain.  I was much better at dealing with external pain than the internal.  But, I finally went into therapy full-blown after I left him in order to fix my broken pieces.  And I did.  I’m so much better today emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

However, the scars remained.  They were a very visible reminder of how much I hated myself.  I’ve looked at those scars every single day for years now.  I always wanted to cover them up because that isn’t me anymore.  That pain is no longer part of me.  I am loved. I am loved by my friends, by my family, by my husband, by my children, and most importantly, by myself.  I needed something beautiful to look at instead.  But, I never could decide for sure what I wanted.

That all changed when my dad died.  I knew almost instantly what I wanted on my arm, and yesterday I finally got it.  His words to me, and to my siblings, all the time and especially when I was struggling to find myself again.

“Love you, kiddo.”

No matter what was going on in my life, in my mind, and during any of my darkest days, I always knew I was loved.  Even when I didn’t believe it or love myself, he made sure to tell me.  What better way to remind myself that I got past the worst and into the best by forever having my daddy’s words on the visual representation of the ugliest parts of my life?


I will forever cherish the memories of my dad, and I will forever be grateful that he loved me even when I didn’t love myself.

Growing

Today is a big day for my household.  Q and I are going to be touring the preschool at our local museum to decide if I am going to register her for the coming school year.  This is the first step in her official educational journey and I am so excited and nervous for her.  I would love to get it off to a good start with choosing the perfect preschool, but I’m so nervous to make the wrong decision.  This is something that J and I haven’t really discussed much because he says he trusts me to make the right choices for the girls’ schooling.  Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, babe, but this feels like a huge decision and I don’t really want to choose by myself.

I know he’ll support me whatever I decide, especially since I am far more vocal and informed on education than he is, simply because I want the absolute best for my kids.  I’m not saying he doesn’t, don’t get me wrong, but we have different ways of giving our kids the best.  He busts his butt working to make sure I can stay home and care for them as a stay at home mom.  He snuggles with them, comforts them, helps cook meals for them, and makes certain we can afford to splurge on them if we want to.  We each have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to our parenting styles, and thankfully, they mesh really well with the other persons.

But, still…. this is not only a big step for Q, but also for me. I mean, come on…. my baby is going to be starting school. 😩

Also, here is a crab emoji, just because Q wanted to show everyone: 🦀

Parenting

Being a step-parent is so incredibly difficult.  I came into my boys’ lives when they were seven and five respectively.  They already had an established family order and I came in and “screwed everything up.”  I married their dad.  I became another authority figure in a crazy messed up hierarchy for them.

They are now almost eleven and nine years old.  It’s been a long four years of figuring out how we fit as blended family.  J and I added two little girls to the mix thus making it more confusing because the rules for the girls are different.  The girls are parented solely by myself and J.  The boys, however, are parented by their mom and step-dad, J’s parents, and J and myself.  It’s a hot mess and the boys know it.  They play off the adults to get what they want whenever they want.  I came in and screwed up that dynamic.

I’m a firm believer in only the parents doing the parenting and it shows when it comes to my girls.  J’s parents are the grandparents ONLY when it comes to the girls.  They never cross that boundary between grandparent and co-parent.  Probably because I won’t allow it.  But with the boys?  It’s a constant fight to get them to recognise that they ARE NOT THE PARENTS.  J can stand firm to our boundaries with the girls, but allows his parents control over the boys.  I don’t get it, but then again, I wasn’t around in the beginning.

Today, C (almost 11yo) got sick at school so I had to go get him.  Normally, when he’s sick, he sleeps the day away which is good, but today he did nothing but scream and throw a fit that I wouldn’t let him go to his grandparents’ house.  Well, sorry, bucko, if you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to go play at the grandparents’ house.  But, it made me realise just how messed up this entire situation is, he truly sees them as parental figures and everyone but me has fed into that for so many years.  J called me a bit ago to see how it was going and C had calmed down and started behaving so I told him it was going much better.  He then informed me that he spoke to his dad about everything and he’s going to talk to his mom to see “what we can figure out.”  Uhm, what?  I don’t want or need your mommy’s advice on how to raise our kids.  All she’s going to tell him is that I’m being too hard on C and I should just send him down to their house.  No.  The issue between me and C today?  I wouldn’t let him eat junk food while he’s sick.  I wanted him to eat a healthy lunch and drink a glass of water.  That was the issue.  And J wants his mom’s input on how to fix this.  No.  I don’t care what she has to say, I did not ask for her advice, nor do I want her to try to tell me how to deal with C or B.

I would say that 95% of the time, the boys behave fantastic for me.  Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but comparatively speaking, the boys behave better for me than they do for ANYONE else aside from their bio mom.  I know it’s because I have high expectations, but only because they have PROVEN to me that they are capable of reaching my expectations.  No one else expects them to behave so they don’t.  No one else gives them consequences for any horrific behaviour so they have no reason to behave.  When they’re behaving, my house is an awesome place to be.  When they aren’t, yes, it’s a bit rougher, but they straighten up, discuss their attitudes with me, and we work on building the coping skills to get through whatever it was that caused the bad behaviour so they can be productive adults.

I’m fighting an uphill battle, however, to create healthy and responsible adults.  It’s hard and exhausting to be the only adult with healthy expectations and boundaries for children.  It makes me want to just back off and not be involved other than making sure they’re fed and clothed.  But, what kind of example would that set?  That yet another adult doesn’t care about them or what they do or how they grow up.  So I continue to fight.  I continue to care.  I continue to cultivate an atmosphere that teaches responsibility, boundaries, consequences, and reasonable expectations.  I will continue to teach them that they are worth the hard work and the time it takes to teach them how to be a good person.

But, gosh, it is exhausting doing this all by myself, especially when I’m fighting every other adult in their life to teach them right from wrong.

One Day at a Time

It’s day two of a workout and nutrition program I’m starting. It’s day two of a healthy lifestyle. It’s day two of the rest of my life.

I knew coming into this week that things were going to be very different around my house. J and I are NOT fans of healthy foods. Not really. We like our chips, soooo much cheese, pizza, ice cream, cookies, and so on, and we will almost always pick unhealthy food options over healthy choices. Menu planning on Sunday had me stressing out. What in the world were we going to eat? Our go-to meals weren’t healthy choices or Fix approved.

Originally, it was just going to be me doing this. I kept telling J that I wanted to try this program, that I wanted to work out more consistently rather than running when I got a chance to be alone without the girls (that does not happen like ever). He told me to go for it. Buy the program. Buy the nutrition plan. Buy everything I was going to need.

So I did. I waited anxiously for the box to arrive and when it did I immediately got to work on the menu. Figuring out what I actually will eat that’s approved? Not much. I’m so picky and I was certain I was going to starve to death. But I got my menu finished late Sunday afternoon and went shopping. Came home an hour later with a weeks worth of healthy food choices and ZERO junk food!


I was so excited to see all the colour on my kitchen counter. The natural colours. But then came actually figuring out how to prep it all. 😳

Some of my exercise buddies prep for the whole week. That just doesn’t work well for me. But, because I have the entire menu plan it’s not a big deal.

J is doing this nutrition plan with me. I’m not entirely certain it’s not just because he has no junk food in the house, but he’s doing it! We’re making steps towards a healthy future. Together.

One day at a time.

To My POS Ex

I drove by one of your favourite crack motels yesterday. At first I got this sinking feeling in my stomach because it brought back a lot of horrible memories.  How could I have been so stupid to stay so long? How could I have let someone tear me down so far that I genuinely thought I deserved the way you treated me?

The abuse you put me through changed me.  It started off subtle, so subtle that I didn’t notice it.  As it gradually got worse, you kept me there by using the cycle of abuse.  You always apologized profusely after something happened and told me you would never do it again.  You would wine and dine me, treat me so special, so wonderfully that I believed your apologies. Every. Single. Time.

Now, I know it was just your method of keeping me around until the next time you felt like hurting me.  Your weapon of choice was words, at first.  Over four years, you systematically tore me to pieces with your words.  By the end, I didn’t even know who I was or how to survive on my own or that it was even possible for me to survive on my own without you.  You turned me into a weak, terrified, desperately trying to please you, but never able to kind of woman.  The kind of woman I swore my entire life that I would never be.  I always told myself if someone abused me I would leave.  There was no way I would put up with that shit.  But, I didn’t leave.  If you had hit me right up front the first time, I would’ve been gone in a heart beat.  But you were smart, devious.  You broke me with words first. You tore me down so far that the first time you hit me, I thought I deserved it.  You told me that I know better than to make you mad and that it was my fault.  I believed you.  It kills me to say that, but every fucking time you put your vile hands on me, I believed that I deserved what you did to me.

The cracked ribs, the hidden bruises, the walls that you damaged with my body, I truly believed that I deserved all of it, because why else would someone who loved me treat me that way?  The physical wounds always healed.  The emotional ones? I’m still repairing and healing from those.

But, after I thought about all those memories while driving through that part of town, I stopped and laughed.  I fucking won.  You lost.  After I left you, you did everything you could think of to get your punching bag back.  You were sweet.  You were cruel. You were manipulative.  It didn’t work.  You told me that you were getting married and had a son on the way. After years of us never getting pregnant (thank fucking God, Allah, Buddha, and any other deity you can think of), you decided one last way to hurt me was to tell me you had gotten another woman pregnant.  I admit, it worked.  I didn’t think I could have children.  But, ha, I fucking won. You did end up getting married to the very next woman you dated.  I actually drove through by the town you married in on the day you married, flipping you off.  I didn’t know until later that you were getting married when I did that, but I got a huge laugh out of knowing that I flipped off your wedding.

She’s already left you.  You lost again.  But, I fucking won.  I’m happy.  I have two beautiful daughters and a genuinely wonderful husband who loves me exactly the way I am.  I’m going to graduate college in December and have a great future ahead of me.  My life has turned out beautifully, not in spite of you, but because I had the will to survive AFTER you.  I fixed my broken pieces. I am a strong and independent woman and because I worked so hard to become the strong and independent woman that I am, no one will ever be able to tear me down again.  So you see, I fucking won and you lost.

I WON.