Follow – Up

My spinal tap showed increased cerebral spinal pressure, which we already knew from the vision loss. This accounts for the inter cranial hypertension diagnosis. The MRI was normal. My blood pressure is finally back to normal. This is attributed to a bad combination of dehydration from being sick all the time and lithium. Turns out lithium had been making me sick for quite some time. My doctor says we will need to keep monitoring symptoms and give it more time before we would move on to brain surgery and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I don’t want my brain cut open.

This means giving it more time. My patience is wearing thin, but I am encouraged by other areas of my life coming together. Finances are just about straight. I’ve had more friends stop by in the past month than all of last year. Kids are back on track. My niece and nephews brighten everyday. There’s just something about raising kids that fulfills my soul. I have also had the sweet relief of knowing my kids would be watched out for and loved, genuinely, for the rest of their lives. I cannot tell you how heavily that has weighed on my heart and the enormous weight that has lifted from my shoulders. That, in and of itself, has been a major contribution to my stress relief. I am so incredibly grateful to my best friend, Tess, for being an unbelievable source of strength and comfort to me.

THIS is where I need to keep my focus.

No facebook – Month One

Before shutting down my account, I asked whether I should let people know that I was leaving and make sure they had my contact info, but I realize the people I follow most on Facebook, are also the ones whose lives I am very much involved in. I figured these people have my cell number, we text and send pics etc and they physically know where I live. Plus, I remembered reading an article on Thought Catalog or some similar outlet which said announcing your Facebook departure is seen a dramatic, attention-seeking thing.

With ^this^ in mind, I just shut down my account. I didn’t just freeze it. I downloaded a copy of my entire feed and completely left. Adios.
DO YOU KNOW that people I talk to on the regular believe I had blocked them from my Facebook account – for no ascertainable reason? Seriously! My best friend even, told me she was going through a lot of medical shit and could have really used the support. I certainly apologized for anything I had done to contribute to that feeling. That’s not cool. For the life of me though, I couldn’t understand it because we had been texting and snapchatting, etc. Apparently though, I missed the posts.

This was not a solitary incident either. Even family members assumed that I blocked them.

I do not understand this. 

Bizarre. 

Friends First

Sometime around New Years I signed on to a dating site. I took the time to write a very detailed “About Me” section and then, I was overwhelmed by the response. 

So overwhelmed that I didn’t respond to any messages and I shut down the profile. After a long discussion with my (longest) male friend about my experiences over the past year and my expectations moving forward, his advice to me was: “Slut it up, Stephanie”.

It sounds way worse than the intended message, which was that I needed to end my streak of serial monogamy and just go on a TON of dates, embrace my passion for meeting and learning new people, listening to their stories and getting to know them. It is one of my favorite past times and something I set aside as my depression turned me inward. He was absolutely right. I know what I want and need in a man, but not every man can handle me full on. I have learned that the answer is NOT becoming smaller to make him more comfortable, but I wasn’t sure what the answer actually was. 

Then I began to grow curious and inspected my relationship with this man and why it had lasted 25+ years. Yes, we dated in high school, but even denying a marriage proposal didn’t end our friendship. <— THIS IS THE ANSWER. 

Why is it that when we go into dating that we automatically focus on finding love, instead of friendship? Why do we get so anxious about our worth in a complete stranger’s assessment? Why are we waiting for returned calls, texts and affections to determine our relationships fate? When we don’t hear from a friend, why do we reach out and ask if everything’s ok, instead of thinking “They don’t like me. I wonder what I did wrong?”. 

Turns out upon closer inspection, my longest lasting, most fulfilling relationships were with my friends. The ones who love me just as I am and unconditionally. Those friends have become my tribe, my family. I love my friends. 

Shouldn’t love be … friends on fire? 

Just think about the difference that could make in our lives by approaching romantic partners with a friends first philosophy. 

I’ve started trying. 

I reactivated my account and changed my status to “Looking for: Friends”. I weeded a ton out and also saved myself a whole lot of time just by this one simple click. The results amaze me. Ive been on more quality dates with more like-minded individuals in the last two weeks, than I have in my entire adult life. Im making new friends and I love it. 

Perhaps a prospect may indeed start a fire, but in all honesty, I am able to fully enjoy and engage without reservation outside of romance and because Im already certain that I am a friend, accepted just as I am, Im daring greatly without the fear of anything being swept out from under me. 

Friends first. I highly recommend it. 

A note from my best friend 

I was going to celebrate my birthday all week. You know…7 days of me! But it wasn’t sitting well with me. I’ve been so focused on myself for these past years…I want to celebrate my loved ones! So here are 7 truths I wanted you to know:
1. I know I haven’t always been a very good friend to you. But I’ve been a better friend to you than to anyone else. Hope that counts for something!  You’ve put up with me for so long!
2. I have no words to express how thankful I am for what you did for me and mine when we lost Jesse. And what you do for me every year…just by being there.   
3. It breaks my heart that you are going through so much. I don’t know what to do for you.  
4. You are an amazing mother. You are head and shoulders above most. You are involved and an advocate for you children. I wish I had a smidge of your  nurturing spirit.
5. You have been such a wonderful confidante for me. I can tell you anything…and I know you’ll still love me. I can act a fool (up in here) and you won’t even bat an eye!   
6. I still feel guilty sometimes for my disappearance act when I was remarried. I shouldn’t have let him do that to me…I should have been stronger.  Thank you for forgiving me that. 
7. I have been envious of you sometimes. You are so driven, once you set your mind on something. And you are so sensitive to others and you know yourself. And if you ever question yourself… you dig until you resolve it. So admirable.


Take a look around

It’s New Years Ever. The end of a period of time. A period of time that everyone takes notice of and we take a look around. A look at where we’ve been and where we want to go. Who’s still around. Who and where we lost others. We reflect on what we might like to have done differently and how we might do it differently in the future.

This year was very introspective for me. Mostly because I was forced to face my own mortality much sooner than I expected or anyone else is readily able to accept. I can hope and pray all I want for a different set of circumstances, but the reality is something that I’ve suspected for some time. I am not well suited for this world. I will likely leave it sooner than I’d like. So long as I get to see my kids through to adulthood, I’ll be satisfied. Everything else will be a bonus.

When you start dealing with your own mortality you see the world much differently. It’s not hard to ignore the small stuff when you are beginning to grasp the big stuff. You begin to conserve your energy for where it’s not only needed, but also wanted and appreciated. The other stuff, the other people, just fade into the background. The things that would have eaten me alive in years past are just water under the bridge. It’s hard to convey this in words. It may be something no one can understand unless you are actually going through it. You can read books and promise yourself that you are going to focus on forging ahead and being happy, but you’re not likely to really grasp what Im trying to say until you reach this point in your life, or at least have an experience that makes it feel as though you had a very close call with death. Even then you could choose to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, I suppose.

This may sound really strange, but I am actually grateful that this has happened to me now. It’s like being given glasses and getting a totally new perspective. This self-actualization has finally allowed me to love myself. I mean really, truly be ok with all of me, inside and out. This woman that I’ve become, I have fought pretty damn hard to be and my worth isn’t based on my job, my kids, my marriage, the clothes I wear, the handbag I carry, the makeup I apply, it’s all me, baby. Im cool with that.

There are some relationships I’ve lost this year that, while it broke my heart to arrive to a conclusion at the time, I am now at peace with. I don’t expect anyone to agree with everything I do, but I am certainly done with explaining myself. Look, people who REALLY know and love you don’t need your explaination and the people who do – why bother? They’ll never believe you anyway and arrive at their own conclusion. Fine. They can call when they find they have something to say … or not at all. That’s on them.

This also led me to the realization that I am incredibly blessed to have my immediate family and closest friends. They are my first responders. When I’m down for the count they swoop in via text, phone calls, visits and outings to help me get back up again and fight the next round. Come hell or high water they are there. They are the ones who know the song in my heart and sing it back to me when I’ve forgotten the lyrics.

Yes, I’m going to have days in 2015 where I am going to feel like shit and just quit. Everyday won’t be wonderful. Yes, somedays I will be overwhelmed with everything I have going on with my health, my marriage, my kids, my debts, etc. There are going to be days that I just want to be “normal”, however, it will be a year where I take what I’ve gained this year and manifest it and gain clarity with it. Things will change, but this love I have found for myself and for life will remain. And really, isn’t love everything worthwile anyway?

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Drinks with friends

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This picture really has no meaning. I saw it in a shop window after a couple drinks with friends, was amused and thought it made perfect sense as a representation of what one feels like after drinking Jäger. I can’t drink the stuff anymore. One too many Jäger bombs one night.

Last night was fun. Met up with some friends at a local brewery to celebrate, or maybe mourn, my bestest friend’s layoff. I don’t think it’s really hit her yet and still feels like a vacation right now. She has no plans for where to go next. She’s not worried and neither am I. Honestly, this woman has been through so much and she always lands on her feet. I admire that in people. When life knocks them down, that they can get back up, brush themselves off and forge ahead with their sense of humor still in tact. It would be much easier to sit and sulk and point fingers, but she never does. Im very thankful to have her in my life.

When I had my miscarriage several years back, I had to go into the office following my D&C for a follow up and the waiting room was full of happy expectant mothers. I walked back outside and called her. I didn’t know how I would do this or if I even could. She told me that I was fine. That I would pull my big girl panties up, walk back inside and be happy for those women because I had known motherhood but I had also known loss and because I was the strongest person she knew, I would smile knowing the true worth of what I witnessing. She was right. That’s exactly what I did.

Anyway, last night was a good time. The husband came out, was a good sport and designated driver. I enjoyed my time with him. Im extremely appreciative that he is trying. Holding my hands, playing with my hair…I love those little moments between us. And after witnessing the horror of single life up close and personal , Im VERY grateful to be married. To him.

I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. It felt really good.

I Believe (This is one of the better chain emails I received)

I Believe…..
That just because two people argue,
It doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.

And just because they don’t argue,
It doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe..
That we don’t have to change friends if
We understand that friends change..

I Believe……
That no matter how good a friend is,

They’re going to hurt you every once in a while
And you MUST forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow,

Even over the longest distance.

I Believe…..
That you can do something in an instant
That will give you heartache for life.

I Believe..
That you should always leave loved ones with
Loving words It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe…..
That you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I Believe..
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done,

Regardless of the consequences.

I Believe…..
That my best friend and I,

Can do anything, or nothing and have the best time.

I Believe….
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you
 when you’re down,
Will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe..
That sometimes when I’m angry,

I have the right to be angry,
But that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe…..
That maturity has more to do with

What types of experiences you’ve had
And what you’ve learned from them

And less to do with
How many birthdays you’ve celebrated..

I Believe…..
That it isn’t always enough,

To be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That no matter how bad your heart is broken

 The world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I Believe…..
That our background and circumstances

May have influenced who we are,
But, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe….
That you shouldn’t be so eager to find
Out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe…..
Two people can look at the exact same
Thing and see something totally different.

I Believe….
That your life can be changed in a matter of
Hours by people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give,

When a friend cries out to you –
You will find the strength to help.

I Believe….
That credentials on the wall

Do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life

Are taken from you too soon.   

About Last Night

Last night ended up being one of the best nights I had had in a very long time.

A couple days ago I got a call from my friend, Biscuit, who is very dear to my heart but lives on the other side of the country. Unfortunately she told me she would be here for a funeral but wanted to get together. After a long week, yesterday I got to go rescue her.

We spent the afternoon catching up and talking to each other in a way that most people in my life just don’t truly understand or appreciate. If I went into all the ways that our souls intertwine, I could write a novel on the subject. So, in short, I will just say that she gets me. She also shares something with me that nobody else on Earth will ever understand because they did not experience it which makes her all that more endearing to me.

It just so happens that this friend of mine has always reminded me of a friend of my Husbster and I have always thought in my head if those two hooked up – it would either be disastrous, or the best thing that ever happened. I took a chance. What the hell…she’s only in town for a couple of days.

We went out and had the absolute best time you can have in a snow storm that cancels your plans and makes you stay in and play board games and watch Fraggile Rock. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. Between the two of our friends, sometimes I had to run to the bathroom because I literally thought I might pee myself in a fit of laughter.

It was just a really good time that did my soul good.