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 learning about 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 them 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 returned calls, texts and affections to determine our relationships fate? When we don’t hear from a best 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 made 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. 

Two prospects may indeed start a fire (One, in particular), 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 respected 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 don’t, why bother? They’ll never believe you anyway and arrive at their own conclusion. Fine. They can call when they find 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 my 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.

Rivalring bitch

Friday afternoon I got a text from Matilda. Some of you will remember Matilda (she’s the one that showed up drunk to my son’s birthday one year or who stopped by my blog one day when I wrote about the problems with my oldest son to tell me how I just need to deal with it and I am plagued with “made up diseases”) It’s a love hate relationship. I love her, she hates everyone.

Basically, she’s someone whom I used to consider a friend. Someone who I care about immensely but find it is a waste to invest anything emotionally with. If, I had the slightest hint that it mattered to her, I might feel bad about saying what I’m saying, but the truth is….she’s said enough about me when I least expected it for me to really care anymore. Real truth be told, I care about her daughter like I would a niece of my own. I adore her and I care enough about her to occasionally expose myself to her mother’s toxic personality at the hopes of keeping up with her.

About two weeks ago, Matilda called me and asked me if she could interview me for a thing she has to do for school about someone in a profession in which she has an interest in. I agreed only because I convinced her to meet me on my lunch break and I knew 1. there was a set time limit on my lunch and 2. she would be sober. As I’m getting ready to leave, Jen more or less invites herself along to lunch with me which I was sure was going to make the experience with Matilda alot more interesting. Matilda has a way of hating everyone new that she meets and not being so secretive about it.

Lunch went well. Matilda was on her best behavior. Conversation turned at one point to her drinking habits and how much better she was doing and then on to how her brother would playing out Friday night in a battle of the bands. She invited me to go and I said I’d talk to Jer. I had decided I wasn’t going to go unless I could get another friend to go with me because IF Matilda ended up drinking the way she used to, I didn’t want to have wasted an entire night out on the town with “grown ups”.

Friday night arrives and Jody from work and her husband are up for a battle of the bands so we agree to meet there. I walk in and see Matilda’s brother and sister at the bar, sober,  and walk up and greet them. I ask about Matilda and her sister points her out across the room. I sneak up behind her and grab her butt and the second she turned around I knew I was in trouble.

First, she looked at me with half opened eyes and turned back around and then she turned back around for a double take, eyes wide open, latches on to me screaming in my ear that she’s sooooo happy I’m there. She reeks. She almost topples both of us over onto the speaker system behind. The next twenty minutes involves her introducing me to people as her “professional friend, Stephanie, who is way better than me” and fumbling through conversations that I cannot follow sober, but which the other drunk patrons don’t seem to be able to follow either. I leave her with her “friends” and make my way over to Jody and her husband.

I step out on the patio with Jody for a smoke and here comes Matilda stumbling through the door. She walks right up to Jody and starts in on her. Asking her if she has a banana clip in her hair – this is meant to be an insult, making up some bizarre story about her children trying to stir her from a druken slumber for work, which she tells us is a joke, that apparently we both didn’t get. Then she, thankfully, turns her attention to two much younger, cutesy girls nearby. A girl named Kristina in an orange dress and orange heels and Jen who was about to have her skills checked in smart ass remarks.

This is the actual conversation, verbatum…

Matilda: Stephanie, this is Kristina with a “K” because she spells it the friendly way and Jen. (she introduced them backwards by the way)

Jen: Hello, nice to meet you

Me: Oh, I’m sure this isn’t going to be as nice as you might think it is.

Matilda: So Kristina (actually Jen) is here because she has a friend in a lame band.

Jen: Oh, you’re assuming. Do you know what happens when you assume?

Matilda: Oh, you think you’re going to tell ME something. You think you know something? You think because someone BLACK told you a little catch assume phrase that you know something? I know black people.

Me: What does the assume breakdown have to do with being black? I know black people I don’t think one of them has ever said the assume thing that Jen is about to say.

Matilda: Kristina

Jen: Jen, actually.

Matilda: No, tell me child, what does it mean when I assume?

Jen: It makes an ass out of you, not me.

Matilda: Bitch, I am a rivalaring bitch. Do you know how to spell rivalaring?

Jen: Thats why I’m going to college.

Matilda: You’re going to college to learn how to spell rivalaring? That’s a waste of fuckin money. Don’t use words you can’t spell, sugah.

Jen: I didn’t use it.

Matilda: What?

Jen: I didn’t use that word, you did, but I can spell it.

Me: Okie dokie. This has been fun. Kristina, Jen, it was very nice meeting you and good luck in college, ladies.

Kristina either really didn’t say  much or I might have blocked it out after the third time she used the word “stellar”. I don’t like that word. Nothing personal.

With Jody and I back inside, we ducked into a back booth with our Hubbies and go into stealth mode. Looking at each other with wide eyes. Me issuing lots of apologies and waiting in stunned silence. Then Kristina and Jen come back in. I can’t hear what they are saying from across the room but I can tell by their acted out druken mannerisms and how much they resemble Matilda that they are recanting the patio story.

No sooner do they finish their story, does Matilda stumble in past them walking across the whole room in front of the stage, oblivious to the fact that her pants have slid down past her nonexistent hips revealing the majority of her arse. The whole place is pointing and cackling. Matilda had become “that drunk lady”.

It was absolutely horrible. I walked over to hug Matilda goodbye and made an awkward attempt at trying to pull up her pants which she was thankfully oblivious to. We didn’t stay very long after that. The whole way home I told Jer about the first time I met Matilda and how I had always been enthralled by her “intelligence” and “brutal honesty” and in the middle of that conversation I realized that being loud and opinionated doesn’t make you smart and in fact, as it turns out Matilda is quite ignorant. It was just so striking to me that Matilda used to be the kinda girl that everyone seemed to move out of the way for….

but I guess they still do.

More bullshit

I talked to Pickle’s counselor yesterday. She said my EX had called last week while she was on vacation. (I don’t think he’s ever called before) She said she had called him back today and just went over what she’s working on, what groups he’s in and she agreed to start calling him after his sessions to let him know how things went. On one hand, I’m glad he called – I want to be positive and think that he may actually be starting to take interest. But, on the other hand, I’m thinking that there is some ulterior motive. Pickle’s been seeing Michelle for well over a year. I mean, why call now? After thinking about this, I remembered the letter I had sent him about two weeks ago about some concerns I had. One of those concerns was the inappropriate video games the kids had been playing there.  He had called me and told me I was full of shit and that they hadn’t played it there. Then he asked when I became the person who got to decide what was appropriate for them and I had told him that I had actually shown it to Pickle’s counselor to see if I was being too…controlling or something and that she thought it was extremely inappropriate for him. Which only made me feel WORSE about the whole thing.

I asked her if he brought this up. She said he did bring up his concerns over Pickle playing Halo here.

First of all, all of this is stupid. (eyeroll) I actually consulted El Chupa before I let him play it because of this exact thing and he said it was fine.  I try to be considerate and I’m fairly good about the stuff I let the kids see/do and I know he knows that which makes it suck even more that he’s being so petty. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about….go check out Halo  (which has a violence filter and he’s not ever allowed to play it by himself or play in the online rooms which I imagine is the real reason for the mature rating) and then check out these games that not only Pickle played, but Jedi and Diva watched.

Jedi and Diva know the whole dialogue to this video, so just imagine how many times they’ve watched it. Sure, it’s humorous, in a very dark way, but for a 6 and 4 year old to watch?

I’m frustrated and I’m stressed. The process server called me yesterday and told me he was going to serve him. I’ve been stressed about this happening since I was told it would be done Friday and I’ve had the same migraine since then too. So, I ended up in the ER with the worst migraine I’ve had in a long time last night. I got my magic IV potion and ta-da! all better, but still really shitty to have a migraine for 5 damn days.

Things don’t need to be like this. That’s the most frustrating part.

In other news…. my Mom’s Dad has been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer. It’s a complicated situation as nobody in our family is really close with him. This is why one should always tend to their family, cause family, in the end, is all that will tend to you. My emotions are to volatile and complicated to further divulge but still, I’m sympathetic to my mother and his situation. My prayers are all I can offer I suppose. Just a very weird situation.

Also – my phone rang at 11:30 Tuesday night, a number on the caller ID I didn’t recognize, a voice I didn’t recognize either, a  blast from the past …. Matilda. Ah, just what I need. I have too big a heart to have hung up on her. I was close to her daughter, from the time she was a year old (she’s 11 now), her and Pickle grew up together, I got her through a rough pregnancy with her son when her then husband was enlisted. There’s a lot of history there. So, I mostly listened…to her apology, to her explanations, to the stories of the last year or so of her life, but I didn’t do much else than listen. I find it peculiar that she would call now. I question her intentions. I must admit, she is entertaining. But she is chaos and drama. Something I don’t have room in my life for right now. (sigh) I’m just leaving it at that right now.