January 27, 2008

The Past Rears Its Head...

I was playing around on the internet the other night, just bored and looking for something to do. I started thinking of the names of guys I used to date and people I used to be friends with. Just for the sheer fun of it, I started looking up their names on the internet, just to see what might pop up. I found some of them, and my....what a shock.

They are nothing like I would have imagined. You know how, when you're dating someone, you kind of picture yourself in the future with them? You know, trying to see what it might be like? These guys were nothing like what I figured. I mean, we're talking balding, beer-belly types, or worse, no different, AT ALL, than high school. Still toking, still acting like they're 16 or 17 years old.

It's funny the things that will change how you look at the world, or at your past. I wasn't wearing rose-colored glasses, per se, but I did have this somewhat...soft view of the "old days". I'm a mother of two now, and so of course, on those long, hard days when nothing more than sheer determination and will power gets me through, I think back on the days before I had kids. How easy it was, how "nice" it was. This has changed that, though. The guy who's no different, it's made me look back on those memories and see that I knew, even then, that this was how he would turn out. Which is really a shame, because he was really a nice guy, very intelligent, with a lot of potential to do great things. The one who's balding with a beer belly, I've realized that I never really knew him at all, even though I thought I did at the time, and until now, would have continued to think so. Dated him for several years, in truth, and he as actually "the first". And although I still will say that I did honestly love him, I can see now that what I loved was what little I did know of him. Not that he's a bad guy. I don't think he is. Based on what I read about him, he's probably still a nice guy. It's just that I now realize that I only knew little bits and pieces of him, the ones he wanted me to know. He held back from me, which considering we were young teenagers, makes me really wonder. What on earth does a young teenage boy have to hold back from his girlfriend?

However, all this sifting through the past has done something else for me. For quite some time now I have wanted to lose the weight that I gained when having my children. I've just never found the strength, the will, the energy, the whatever to do it. But in looking back at the past, I also saw myself. And I'm not much different than I was back then. A few pounds heavier, two more children, and an ex-husband, but still much the same. Smart-mouthed, bitchy, opinionated, confident, and wanting to find a decent man.

Finding a decent man won't happen though, as long as I feel bad about my weight. But it's not just about finding a nice guy. It's about feeling better about myself, about looking better and being healthier, and setting a good example for my kids. Therefore, I have gotten serious about it now. I am eating healthier, and less, and drinking water. I now spend my time running back and forth to the bathroom. I've come to the conclusion that the only way water helps you lose weight is all the calories you burn on the bathroom runs you make every five minutes. And this week, I'm going to start working out. I'm determined now. I will not give up, I will not give in. I will lose 30 pounds by the beginning of May, and will set a new goal to lose another twenty or thirty after that.

I want my kids to be proud of me. I want to be able to play with them. They are my motivation. Sometimes, pure determination is the only thing that gets me through my day. I hate my job, I hate my financial situation, and there is no reward at the end of the day. Pure determination and grit, the simple thought that "I will get through this day" is all that gets me through, and now I will use that determination, that grit, that thought, to get me through this. I will do this. I will not stop.

January 21, 2008

Inspiration...and the lack thereof

As you may or may not have figured out by now, I enjoy writing. I write stories, short stories, and poetry. I've generally been much more prolific with my poetry. Lately, though, I just can't come up with anything. I'm surrounded by the beauty of nature, the beauty of my children, my family, my home, friends and just the general beauty of life. And yet...nothing.

I sit down with pen and paper, and if I'm lucky, a line or two will dribble forth as water from a nearly but not quite frozen pipe. I'll feel the poem building like storm clouds in a Florida summer sky, but like those same clouds in recent times, nothing seems to fall from that building sensation. I end up sitting there, feeling abandoned by my ability and hating the feeling.

I used to be able to sit down and bang out a rather decent poem in 20-30 minutes, one that often made family and friends have a tear or two in their eyes, and even on occasion, had some asking to use said poem in a wedding ceremony, for an anniversary, or what have you. This complete lack of inspiration has me stymied.

It's just beyond me that after years of writing poetry about so many things, about love, and life, and abuse, and children, and everything else, that I just can't do it anymore. And I think maybe that's what bothers me the most...that this lack may not be just a temporary block, but a permanent end to my writing days. And that doesn't just bother me...it scares me.

I have other hobbies and talents, yes. But this is the one that has always been there, that I've always turned to, that I've been able to do anytime, anywhere. It's the one that has always helped me work my feelings out, sort myself out, express myself and show people what I'm feeling at any given time. And now, what do I do?

I think I've found an answer. One of my other big hobbies is photography. I'm actually kind of the family photographer. I use my digital camera to do my family's photo every year, and my son's school photos. I seem to have a knack for catching people in natural poses and coming out with an awesome photo. I enjoy taking pictures of nature, too, and just any little thing that grabs my curiousity at a given time. So...I think I shall start carrying my camera with me everywhere, and see what develops. Sorry...bad joke. Seriously, though, I've given this quite a bit of thought recently, and I'm thinking this may be a sign telling me to embrace this hobby a bit more fully than I have in the past. I've generally just used it to capture my children, to make concrete memories that will never fade. I've only sometimes used it to capture nature, and other things. I feel that maybe this is a knock on the door from opportunity, telling me to use this lack of inspiration to create other art. I've always been a creative person, and desperately need that creative outlet. Photography may be the way to keep that outlet open.

On a different note, have you ever suddenly seen someone you thought you knew pretty well in a completely different way, and it made you feel...I don't know, just very differently about them? I recently had that experience. Someone I'd known for a while now, nice guy. Someone I'd always thought was a pretty decent kind of guy. He was former military, which almost always means good guy. He was the kind of guy you can see yourself dating, but you hold off on because you don't want to lose the friendship. He knows of my woes with my ex-husband, and has often told me what he thinks of my ex. He often expounds on his theories of men who don't care for their children, take responsibility for their families, etc. He has a child himself, has shown me the pics. Cute little girl, too.

So he tells me he's finally gotten around to creating a MySpace page. He wants me to check it out and give him some feedback. So, I go, I check out, and not bad. then I get to the bottom where you do a little fill-in-the-blank on your basic stats. Under children, he puts "Someday". Huh? He's got this little girl, she's, I don't know, 3 or 4, around my son's age, and he doesn't acknowledge her in his MySpace profile? The same guy who tells me what an ass my ex-husband is for not taking care of my kids(which he is, but...) is now not acknowledging his child? I, with my big mouth and my inability to shut it sometimes, ask him what's up here. He says he doesn't want to chase women away. Hmmm...yes, I run screaming into the night when I find a nice guy who takes care of his responsibilities and is proud of that. I always avoid the men who take care of their kids, because God knows no one wants a man who's being decent.

This has been an enlightening experience for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect. But I try really damn hard not to be a hypocrite, and finding out that my friend is one is...difficult. It has me wondering if I can continue this friendship. It's not exactly a betrayal to me, but it is...something. It's a side of him that I never thought I'd see, and definitely not one I wanted to see. I just feel that it's not something that I can just overlook. And the saddest part is that it has me wondering just how many of my other friends are just as hypocritical, lying about who and what they are to others, just to make a different impression. Notice I said different, not better.

I'm just completely disgusted with the world tonight.

January 20, 2008

Memories...and confidence

Have you ever noticed how odd some memories can be? Well, not the memories themselves, exactly, but the fact that you remember them. I mean, I can remember this one guy, we only had like 5 or 6 dates, but I remember him more clearly than the guy I dated for 5 yrs just before and throughout high school. The 5 or 6 date guy was named Bryan. Bryan took me to see George Carlin live at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL for our first date with a couple of his buddies. He kissed me in my car right after that show. On a later date, he took me to Outback for dinner and proceeded to tip our waiter $16 because he was so focused on me and getting me alone. Yet I can't for the life of me remember exactly how I met the guy I dated for 5 yrs.

I suddenly thought of an old friend from high school the other day. His name was Dylan. I don't even know why I thought of him, his name just suddenly popped into my head one day, and I started wondering how he is doing these days. I've thought about looking him up, but...I don't know. We always had this kind of rocky friendship/half-relationship kind of thing going on, and I don't know that I'd want to rekindle something that unstable at this point in my life. It's been 11 or 12 yrs since I saw him, I know he's changed, but I've found through experience that relationships like that tend to keep the same characteristics no matter how many years pass. Maybe I will look him up, just for the hell of it. Maybe he has a MySpace page or something where I can see what he looks like these days. I recall him being pretty hot, but that's the other funny thing about memories...they tend to dull the sharp edges and make things seem better than they really were. I had another old...friend, and I happened to come across a recent picture of him the other day....the only thing I could think was, what the hell was I thinking? I was in love with that guy, and it's become real clear now that it WASN'T based on his looks. In total honesty, I do remember why I was in love with him, and they were reasons that I am sure still reside behind the oddly unattractive-to-me-now facade, but it was just very weird to have that awakening to him. It was as though all those years of friendship and...other stuff, I was moving around with my eyes closed and never saw him, only heard his voice and felt his touch. Now I've seen him, and it's kind of a shock. I don't know...like I said, weird.

On other things, have you ever looked at where your confidence comes from? I started thinking about this the other day. I'm not sure why (I have a very boring job that allows lots of time to think of the oddest things). I remember, before I had my sons, before I got married, before all this crap that became my life happened, I used to date. A lot. Had tons of boyfriends, a date pretty much every Friday and Saturday night, and occasionally during the week too. My confidence was through the roof. I knew that pretty much all I had to do was crook my little red or pink nail painted finger and I'd have 1 or even 2 guys tripping over themselves to get the door for me. And no, I'm not being overly cocky. That really was my situation.

Now I have 2 kids, I'm overweight and out of shape from having them (but I am working on that), and I don't date. No time. Yet, my confidence level is even higher than before. It no longer comes from my ability to get a man, which I now realize was a pretty shallow and stupid reason to feel such confidence. My confidence these days comes from who I am. I am a single mother. I support my children with no help whatsoever from their father. I am sole financial, physical, and emotional support for my children. My children eat a healthy meal each and every night, because of me. They take a bath and get clean, and go to bed on time, because of me. My confidence now stems from the knowledge that I am taking care of my kids, without anyone's help, and that I'm doing a damn good job of it. My ex-husband once told me when I told him I wanted a divorce that I could never make it without him. I laughed in his face when he said that, but deep down, I wasn't so sure. Although I'd been ready to raise my son by myself if his father hadn't stuck around, now I was a stay at home mom. Could I really take care of him, and the child I was currently carrying, alone? Could I make it without him?

I took that chance anyway, and hoped for the best. And now, everytime I take him to court to be held in contempt for his failure (read that:refusal) to pay child support, I look him in the eye with my chin held high, knowing that I have proven his attempted prophecy wrong. I am making it without him, quite literally. I am taking care of my family, entirely on my own. And yes, it is stressful. It's hard, and it's exhausting, and there are times I feel ready to throw in the towel and cry defeat. But, I don't. I push through and I keep going, because there's nothing else to do BUT keep going. And that is where my confidence comes from now. And that confidence is what helps me push through the day when I'm having a bad day at work, and hating my job, wishing I could quit. It what keeps me from giving up when I can't get my son to understand his homework from the way I explain it to him, and gets me to explain it to him just one more time, in a slightly different way, until it clicks.

Where does your confidence come from?

January 6, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today's my birthday!! I am....29. Wow. That's a big number, isn't it? I still remember 21...hell, 18...and I feel 16 most days. Still, I don't really feel...older. It's just kinda...ok, I'm 29 now. But then there are moments when it will hit me....kind of a holy sh*t, I'm 29!

How is it, though, that turning a year older myself doesn't make me feel older, but my child turning 7 next month does? Isn't it strange how other people can affect us more than we ourselves do? My turning 29 almost just feels like just another day, but when I think of planning my son's birthday party next month, I sit back and feel like years and years have passed. Which, I guess, 7 years is quite a few...and yet, in some ways, not so much. It's odd, the way time seems fluid and passes slowly or quickly based solely on our perceptions of specific conditions and circumstances. It reminds me very much of how slowly time passed during the most hated classes in school and yet flew by during lunch, but in a larger sense. No longer the passage of minutes or hours, but huge chunks of time, weeks, months, years that pass by and you look back and wonder where it all went.

It's 2008 now. And it is funny, because I remember how panicked everyone was over the year 2000, all the horrible things that were supposed to befall us, and yet here we are, all still healthy and happy, and using the items that were supposed to destroy us with the simple stroke of midnight. That was the year that I met my former husband...hmmm, it would seem that was the year that almost destroyed me, I guess. I met him, I got pregnant, and my life changed forever. Not for better or for worse, but for better AND for worse. The better being my 2 awesome children who've made my life more meaningful, more important, more worthwhile. The worse being the hell I went through in order to have them. But, would I go through the worse all over again? As long as the outcome was the same, and I got my two babies, ABSOLUTELY. No doubt. Life can be hell, but the rewards for making it through are incredible.

So...I sit here tonight, divorced, single mom to 2, and 29 years old. One year shy of 30. An age that once upon a time seemed absolutely ancient to me, that seemed a lifetime away, and now it's upon me. And it definitely does not feel as old as it once seemed to be.

It was a wonderful birthday. My mother cooked dinner for me, had a cake for me. My wonderful babies sang "Happy Birthday" to me first thing, and then they all sang to me later. My grandmother called, which was wonderful. I haven't talked to her in a long time, and it was so good to hear her voice, to tell her that I love her. My boys picked some beautiful flowers, camelias, for me, from Grandma's flowerbushes. Had to stop them before they picked them all, but still...a very sweet wonderful gift.

Since I last posted, my oldest son finally got the training wheels off his bike (they were stuck on, and we had to wait for Grandpa to get the tools and time to come take them off), and has learned to ride on his own! He's ridden (while I walked behind) to his grandparents house twice now. He loves it! And I'm so proud of him!! My youngest is still riding a tricycle, although next year, I may bump him to a two wheeler with training wheels. They both love riding their bikes though, or just being outside period. They are so active, so energetic. At times, it's frustrating, like at bedtime or dinner time or just when I want to sit down and relax for a couple of minutes, but at the same time, it's a wonderful thing to see, because I know they will never be overweight, they will never lack for things to do. They both have such vivid imaginations, too, which is another thing sthat I am so grateful for. I'm a big believer in imagination, that if you have imagination, it can take you anywhere, you can do anything, be anything, achieve anything.

Enough reflecting for this year. I'm off to take this 29 year old soul to bed.

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday, dear me!
Happy birthday to me!

Had to have it one more time. :)