Monday, June 03, 2013

24 Years Ago

Sometimes it feels like 100 years ago, and sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I married my soul mate and love of my life.

Our 25+ years together has been bumpy, rocky and sometimes seemingly impassable, but here we are one year shy of our silver anniversary.  I can only attribute that to the both of us growing into stronger and more forgiving people, and having faith.

Twenty-five years ago my mother told me we would never last. She blamed John for almost killing me after I was very near death from a tubal pregnancy. She sat my then fiance' down and told him I was damaged goods and he deserved better because I had been sexually abused- right in front of me like I wasn't even there, meanwhile John sat calmly and let her finish, then told her plainly that I had told him EVERYTHING about my childhood. Her sabotage didn't work, thank God, because I had been completely honest with him in our first week of dating.

She made me change my wedding date 4 different times because she had plans, unwilling to change her plans for my wedding. She took control of my wedding planning and told John he could only invite 15 people out of 250 invites because she was going to pay for the reception as a gift. She eventually threw me a wedding shower but then kept all the gifts that I had stored at their house while I was in the Navy, all because John argued that 15 people were not enough from his side. She cancelled the wedding reception, kept my shower gifts AND told me she had prayed and God told her she (and the rest of my family)  wasn't allowed to go to the wedding... then lied to my brothers that because I was mad I had uninvited all of them.

My mother's pastor grudgingly held our wedding ceremony in a dirty church with small pieces of lint and paper scraps in the aisle, after my mother - I am sure- told him how I had been disrespectful to her. He didn't look at me a single time during the wedding ceremony, which was certainly rushed and maybe lasted 10-15 minutes. He glanced at John a few times but only looked over my head.

None of my immediate family came to our wedding, but my mother's sister and her family came, including my aunt's in-laws who let us call them "granny" and "gramps" as kids. My art teacher from high school came, I was and still am so very touched she would do that for me. We had navy friends there, and John had quite a few family members that flew and drove from Iowa and Virginia. I had my great grandmother and some high school friends who showed up for me as well.

We had about maybe 40 people show up to our wedding, but some of the guests did not go to the reception. All in all, we spent 1000.00 for our wedding, my off the rack wedding dress costing just under half of that. The rest was spent on flowers, a 2 tier wedding cake and flowers we ordered from a grocery store, and John and his brother's tuxedo rentals. Luckily a family friend and mom of one of my high school classmates had heard about how my mother had treated us and she graciously approached John and I about having our reception at her house near her pool, and she and another family friend bought and cooked the food for us for a measly 100.00. What a blessing that was!

When it came time for the wedding to begin, I almost had a nervous breakdown because John decided that arriving 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start was completely appropriate! I figured after all the craziness he has experienced from my family during our 11 month engagement, he had probably gotten cold feet.

I still missed having my family there, but was very thankful for the family that did show up; my aunt and her family, and my art teacher- who secretly I had always wished had been my cool and quirky mom. I was very blessed to have had a father-in-law who had been sweet enough to ask me if he could walk me down the aisle, even though we hadn't met yet.

The first 25 years of our relationship- just like our wedding day- has been bitter sweet, but mostly sweet. I willingly give my husband most of the credit, though. He knows how genuinely messed up I am and loves me despite all of it. He knows me like no other, he knows all of my dark secrets. Every. Single. One. And I am almost positive that I know all of his. We are both damaged from our childhoods. Sometimes we can be rough around the edges but we manage to love each other through it, because we see value in all that we have conquered in the past.

What makes our relationship continue to grow despite rough patches? I think it's because our valleys have been so low at times that it makes the high points that much higher. It's the bitter in the bittersweet that makes it all that much richer and sweeter.

My younger brother told me a few years ago that considering I was the black sheep of the family, he had always thought that I would be the one married 3 times with all sorts of kids. We both had a good laugh out of that since he and my older brother have both been married 3 times each, and here I am chugging along in my imperfect but lengthy marriage.

From meager and troubled beginnings we came... A 19 year old bride and a 21 year old groom.We were talking last night in bed, just an hour into our official 24th anniversary. Looking back, we would have still kept our wedding small if it meant we would do it our way, on our terms.

OR used that 1000.00 to get married in Vegas. *wink*

To my husband, The Male Income Support Unit:

I love you, John. Thank you for loving me when I was unlovable, forgiving me when I was unforgivable, and for understanding my crazy from it's deepest roots. Thank you for giving me 3 adorable kids and 25 years.

The first 25 years have been a doozy... I can't wait to see where we go from here! All I can say is it better not involve me getting pregnant again.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's been a year

One year ago today I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and it's been one roller coaster of a year for sure. It's been a long, dark and scary back alley of a year in some respects; an alley that I thought I was destined to walk alone, desperately looking over my shoulder as I scrambled to find an exit or some safe haven from the horrible unknown that skittered in the dark closely behind me.

Then around a week later my best friend in the whole world was diagnosed, and in the most odd/bizarre/tragic/morbid/comical way... suddenly I was not alone. We traveled  together, huddled in the dark while taking turns shining a flashlight for each other; shedding light on pitfalls and outright stumbling blocks in our path.

We have laughed and cried together out of grief and terror, we have fallen silent and morose. We have joked about the possibilities of the illness, and have related to each other in ways that even our loved ones fail to comprehend. Monique and I both have a better understanding of what we are dealing with, and we have shared a wealth of knowledge with each other.

In these ways, my life has somehow become richer. Through common ground and despair, we have connected on a level I never thought was possible. We had discovered mere months before being diagnosed that we were best friends, already a friendship deeper than ANY friendship I have ever had outside of my marriage. So deep in fact that she asked that I be the godmother to her unborn daughter. :) We have so many similarities, so many odd things in common that it's mind boggling... then to have this happen?

The most mind blowing thing from all of this is that we have not met in person yet. In just 14 days I get to meet my other soul mate, my sister from another mister... my life doppelganger.

I am so thankful and utterly grateful to have her in my life. We have gotten each other through so many rough spots in the last 12 months, and have created a relationship bound (and gagged) in love and laughter since July 2011.

Simply put, I could not have gotten through this last year without her*.

I cannot wait to see where this road goes next, Monique "Bella Boo"!
I'm positive. *wink*

*Of course it goes without saying that I could not have gotten through this year without my loving and supportive husband, who is the yin to my yang. Love you MISU!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


My baby is going to be 12 in 21 days. TWELVE.

My oldest child... the beginning of something truly beautiful, a new phase of my life that I thought I would never be lucky enough to experience.

It's been gritty and tortuous being a parent, and at other times soulful and stomach-hugging hilarious.

Today, I realized that my oldest child is so much like me, so much more than I had ever realized. I mean, I had always thought she looked a little more like me and we share a eerily similar sense of humor. We inflect on words the same, and our laughs can be the same growly, bark of a laugh or nearly the same hysterical howl. We share almost the exact same nose, and we both feel the same dread over the size.

But beyond all of that, while we talked about friendships, I could see the person she is becoming. At some point we were both exasperated and my eyes were opened, as I forced myself to listen more instead pontificating aloud, sharing my "refined" wisdom as an adult.

As I admitted to her that I didn't know everything I saw something click in my daughter, as if those were the words she had been longing me to say since her existence.

I stopped for a moment and told her that all I ever want for her in life is to do good, and not make the same mistakes I did. My words are meant as a cautionary tale, never judgement. I want to give my kids all the things my mother didn't like sound advice and a bent ear... understanding.

We had an honest talk about a friendship she has that has turned sour, and this person is no longer viewed through rose colored glasses and Anna is finally seeing her for who she really is: a mean spirited brat who enjoys humiliating and bullying others. Now that Anna has rekindled a friendship from  grade school- who this mean little bully does not like- now the bully has caught my daughter in her icy glare. Anna has now been bullied.

Don't weep for my child, make no mistake... my daughter is strong in will and most of the time character. I am proud of her for standing up to this miserable little person, and for standing her ground.

She is a bit hard headed like her dad's side of the family, and she can be a little tender under her hard shell... both of which she gets from me I think. It hurts me to see her frustration (and hurt, though she refuses to admit it), but I laid out the options/choices ahead of her in this situation.

1. The obvious backstabbing and dirtying of the name of said person, justified by tales of all the ways this person has hurt her... which NEVER ends well and ALWAYS backfires.

2. Stay neutral and continue to defend herself while faking her way through this botched "friendship".

3. MOVE ON. Leave it all behind and enjoy those people who really truly are her friends.

She did say midway through our talk that she had just had the realization, "Why am I bothering to be friends with her?"

So if nothing hopefully she now understands that confiding in her mom can be cathartic and therapeutic, and that I am an ally and not the enemy.

And maybe, just maybe she realizes that I do pretty much know what I am talking about. Most of the time.


I learned today that it's not such a bad thing that we are so much alike.

I hope that one day she realizes it too.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A little bit of this...

And a little bit of that. That is what 2013 is bringing hopefully!

Though I am not sure if putting my jewelry and teacup candles in the local hospital gift shop is going to work out, I do have a couple of deals in the works.

My best friend has a beautiful blog and I came up with the idea of making pendants/necklaces for it as I fashioned a heart shaped pendant for her Christmas last month. I purchased a professional jewelry tumbler to add a super glossy and professional  finish to the pieces. I think they came out so pretty!

I am pretty proud of myself for not giving up on making precious metal clay jewelry after almost 2 weeks of trying to fill an order and having the process fail at every step, every turn to the tune of 12-14 pieces made and only 4 actually surviving the process. I learned a lot about myself in the process, mostly that I am willing to do what it takes to get it right. I really wanted to give up and tell the customer that I couldn't do it, but I didn't... I pushed through the frustrations and out right disappointment.

I have another amazing friend who I approached about a collaborative project for his book You Know What To Do ©, where I want to make really cool unisex dog tag style pendants  with his logo and his trade mark YKWTD © on them. He loves my idea and I will be moving forward with that ASAP. 

Right now I am working on making images in Photoshop of the stamps I want made to make the Bliss and YKWTD pendants, as well as a cute little robot my daughter drew that she named Bowbot I want to make pendants and earrings out of.

My best friend Monique bought me a light box and lights to take better photos of my jewelry, I am super excited to break those out soon. That will make taking pics less of a back breaking experience for me, It's going to be so much easier not to have to rush because the sun is going down or it's getting cloudy!

I am still taking pieces here and there to The Painted Rooster here in town, I do have a few pieces I need to work on for them as well, including a free form wire necklace that mimics a cherry blossom branch with a delicate little bird dangling from it. Those ladies always keep me guessing when I bring in new pieces, I love that! I'm never quite sure which pieces they will go gaga for!

So despite having the worst flu I have ever had in my life this week- and being the sickest I have been in years, things are looking up. I am working hard at making things happen, and will get back to diving in after this flu says adios.

I am looking ahead, looking forward... I am trying to look at what is on the horizon and stop worrying about yesterday. I cannot change any of that and am learning that I might not be able to change those things in the future either based on my  track record in those areas, so I am still mulling over those things but only in the context of whether it is worth my time.

I believe you can love people and move on. NOW. FINALLY I am seeing this. I can feel love for someone and keep moving forward and hope that our paths will cross again in a better place in the future. No hostility, no resentments.

I am almost somewhat positive. *wink* 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Well, it looks like it's that time of year again!

It has been brought to my attention that I am seriously over due for a blog update, by one of the people I care about most in this world- my best friend Monique. She is right, so here I am at 7 am, at task.

This last 12 months has been something else, a lot of good and a lot of "Seriously???"

In the last year I lost a relationship (said good bye to an odd and nearly one sided friendship), became best friends with one of the most amazing people on the planet, saw my fledgling business alternately struggle and soar- oddly within weeks of each other, ignited a spark in troubled family relationships and watched as the spark went out ... yet again. I was featured in a news paper article, on the front page of my local newspaper mid December 2012 for being a local artisan who sells globally, like on Etsy. And of course I was diagnosed with a syndrome that will forever affect the quality of my life last April, fibromyalgia.

As always, like for most people, the coming of the new year brings a mixture of joy and dread. The possibility, the dream of starting anew tainted with an obscene amount of self flagellation, self-absorbed pondering, regret and eventually desperate resolutions.

Over the last week and a half I have emotionally flogged myself for not being what others want me to be, for failing to meet their expectations, for not fitting the mold they envision for me. I have wondered about my short comings, what I could have possibly done to have been tossed aside yet again, what I could do to make them want me a part of their lives again.

I told my husband last night that I do not want to be like the person previously mentioned who once had been my friend. I ended that relationship because it was no longer a giving/receiving relationship, I feel it turned into me mostly giving.

 Since ending it- which ended in this person refusing to see that it was over, and with her contacting me on every mode of communication on the internet ( Twitter, Youtube, mine, my husband and daughter, and my other friends Facebook accounts, Etsy, all of my email accounts, my husbands email, texts to my phone and my husband's cell), this person has pretty much cyber stalked me. I clearly told her over each mode of communication that I did not want a relationship with her anymore, and yet she persisted, to the point of me telling her I would call the police if she did not stop harassing me.

To date, over the last 11 months I still have received 3 or more messages/emails above and beyond about 50 communications already mentioned via messages, emails and texts. Which boggles my mind. Why would a person continue to pursue a relationship where she was so clearly not wanted anymore?

Last night I realized I was that person. I have people in my life who would rather be done with me. I know by their actions, their behavior towards me, their lack of wanting to communicate with me... and some of these people are my family.

Over the last week and a half I have beat myself up for not being who they want me to be. Wondered what I could change to make them want me back in their lives. I felt as though they were trying to fit me into a vessel of their choosing, in a shape they desired, and I desperately tried to squeeze myself into that vessel.

Last night this made perfect sense to me: I am a vessel in my own right. Yes I am human, and my vessel is flaked and cracked, scratched and stained... but what some people would  find distressed and damaged other people have found "antiqued" and charming, maybe even shabby chic *smile*.

Why would I continue to waste my time and energy on being someone and something I am not? Why try to squeeze myself into their mold of who they think I should be, then be disappointed along with them that I don't fit in that shiny new vessel they want for me?

Fighting back tears momentarily while talking with my husband in the wee hours, in the comfort of darkness and our bed, all of this dawned on me.

For this new year I choose to stop wasting time on trying to be the person other people want me to be. I have decided to stop of wasting energy metaphorically trying to fit my plus sized body into skinny jeans to please other people. Instead of trying to be a better, different person I am going to take that energy and focus on being a better me

I will repair this vessel. I will fill in the cracks, sand it, maybe put on a new lacquer that enhances the beauty of who I am, instead of chiseling away at myself or painting over everything and losing who I am. I can be a better me: a better wife, friend and mother.

So my reader, this is my wish for you as well for this new year. My wish for you and I is that instead of beating ourselves up with resolutions, hating bad habits and shortcomings we feel about ourselves or imagine what other people see in us...

My wish for us is a year of self acceptance and love, along with a little sanding and buffing.

Be flawed. Embrace your patina, chips and cracks because after all they are what make you uniquely you.

Peace, love and laquer to you,