Mar
06

Bittersweet

I’ve wanted to write about this for weeks, but knew I couldn’t until the ink was dry and my son was safe.

Today is bittersweet.

Today my ex FINALLY signed papers to put our new visitation, holiday and vacation schedule into place.

Today marks the end of my six month long custody battle – a battle that truly changed me.

The whole process taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow into a woman and mother I am 100% proud of.  That is the greatest gift I got out of this whole ordeal, knowing and now BELIEVING I’m a great mom. My ex had me convinced I wasn’t with his comments over the years – and especially during the last six months – but I know now what I’m made of.

I don’t think anyone will ever be able to take that away from me.

For a few weeks I looked back at everything that transpired not fully understanding the awesome it took for me to get through this and win the fight. It kind of felt like I stumbled the whole way as I was going through it. It was six months of ups and downs, of always having to be on guard because I never knew what my ex might try to twist and turn into something he could use against me in Court.

But the truth is I didn’t just stumble through this. I was a fucking warrior. I never gave up or gave in to my ex’s ridiculous demands. I faced my biggest fear and I survived because I was stronger than I’d ever been.

While it wasn’t always pretty, I pride myself in doing most of this with grace. I never let my ill feelings for my ex cloud my judgment and always kept my son’s best interests at the forefront of my mind.

I’m proud of myself for taking the high road and doing what was fair – even when my ex and his lawyer did everything they could to try to take me down, but today I’m also sad that this will be my last full weekend with my son.

So you see, it’s bittersweet -the realization of who I’ve become, but also of what I have to let go.

I know the change might be a little hard for Aidan and I in the beginning, but in the grande scheme of things it was a much better alternative to what would’ve been if I did not stand up for us.

With my fear behind me and my next journey ahead of me, it feels like a fresh start. I can’t wait to see where this one takes me.

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Feb
28

Apparently My Inner Guide Thinks I’m A Judgmental Beotch

School Bus With Bacon

I’ve been on a spiritual journey the last few years. While I’ve always believed in something greater than myself, the idea of God and organized religion never really spoke to me.

What did finally speak to me was the Law of Attraction when I watched the movie “The Secret” a few years ago. It changed my life for the better once I realized I was in control of how I felt about the things that happen to me.

Every day since I’ve tried my best to practice gratitude without faltering, and in doing so I’ve been blessed with a surplus of happiness and good fortune. My life might not be perfect, but to me it’s pretty damn close. Sure there are shit-covered bumps in my road every so often, but my positive attitude has helped me roll over them, wash myself off and start smiling again.

The thing is, I’ve never been religious. I just wasn’t raised that way. And while I was baptized Lutheran as a child, my religious upbringing didn’t go much beyond that.

I didn’t read the bible. I never made my Communion or Confirmation. There was no church on Sundays or saying grace with dinner – which never seemed to bother me when I was growing up anyway.

It wasn’t until I had my son that I started to feel like there might be something missing in my life without some form of religious belief or practice.

As he got older I began to feel a bit guilty for not having anything to teach him about religion or spirituality, so I started reading books from all sorts of spiritual visionaries to try to educate myself and figure out what I truly believed in.

Most recently I’ve been engulfed in a book by Gabby Bernstein called Spirit Junkie which is basically a lesson in A Course In Miracles for dummies.  This week I came to a chapter that speaks about opening up to “spirit” so that it can guide you through the lessons you need to learn to help you figure out your life’s purpose.

One way to do so is to pray each morning to whatever “spirit” you choose and then do five minutes of meditation afterwards with the hope that some sort of answers will come to you.

Yesterday was the first day I decided to start this ritual so I got up early and prayed to my “Inner Guide” since that is what felt right for me.

“Dear Inner Guide, Where would you have me go today? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?”

During my meditation afterwards I hoped a message would come through to me, but my mind was a bit cluttered and I couldn’t seem to quiet it – so I went on with my day like I normally do figuring whatever I needed to learn would come to me anyway.

My day was pretty normal. I signed on to my computer for work. I dived into some projects. I actually got pretty lost in the hours until the alarm on my phone went off to alert me it was time to get my son off the school bus.

I put on my jacket and stared out the window just like I normally do, waiting for the bus to drive by and turn into the cul-de-sac across the street. That’s how I always knew when it was time to walk down the block to greet my son at his stop, but the bus never passed.

Or at least I somehow never saw it.

I don’t know how I never saw it go by when I never moved from that window, but I didn’t.

As the minutes passed I started to get irritated that the bus was late – and then I heard a knock on my door.

When I opened it up my son was outside, with a look of fright on his face.

“I thought something happened to you, Mommy!”

Turns out that bus DID go by, and because I wasn’t down the block at the bus stop my son had run all the way home by himself in a panic.

I grabbed him and wrapped my arms around him and apologized profusely, as I could feel his 8-year-old heart beating against my chest.

As tears streamed down both of our faces, I felt like the shittiest mom ever.

And then my phone rang and it was my ex calling me a bit frantic because the school had called him to make sure Aidan had gotten home ok since no one was at the bus stop, and I felt EVEN SHITTIER.

Great. All I needed was my ex judging me now too, and calling me a bad mother after I’d fought so hard to prove I wasn’t during the custody battle we just went through.

But the thing is, HE DIDN’T.

After I explained to him what happened and waited for him to berate me, HE DIDN’T.

“It’s ok, I understand.”

Am I hearing that correctly? After he recently accused me of being an inadequate mother?

Wait, he understands that our kid just ran home alone?! Because if the tables were turned I surely would’ve ripped him a new one.

In fact, I’ve ripped him a new one several times before over even being a minute late to the bus stop – let alone not being there AT ALL.

But for whatever reason, he chose not to dig into me – though I completely deserved it.

It took missing the school bus yesterday for me to see what a judgmental bitch I’ve been towards my ex.

I’ve had many thoughts and written things about him over the last few months that have been scathing.

And to be honest I’ve been on a pretty high-horse since winning our custody battle, though it’s probably only naturally for the ego to deem one of us better than the other when it comes to a case of winners or losers in a Court of law.

But the reality is I’m really not better than my ex, and my Inner Guide wanted me to see that.

My ex isn’t perfect, and my missing the school bus proved that I’M NOT PERFECT. After beating myself up for several hours following the incident, I finally realized that’s ok – because no matter how hard I try I will never be perfect.

SHIT HAPPENS.

Maybe the realization that we’re equals can serve as a turning point in our relationship as co-parents. It certainly feels like a turning point to me since I now see myself and my ex differently.

The next time my ex makes a mistake I won’t be so quick to judge him, and I hope he will continue not to judge me.

All either of us can do is our best. All ANY of us can do is our best.

Seems at the heart of it, we’re all pretty equal in this life.

Thanks for the lesson, Inner Guide.

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Feb
27

Just Because I’m A Single Mom Doesn’t Mean I’m Less Than

Less Than Three With Bacon

This April will mark my five year anniversary as a single mom, and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way (baby)  since I was first delivered the news that my ex was leaving me for another woman.

At the time it was devastating to hear. Honestly I didn’t even know how the hell my son and I were going to survive with me being solely responsible for the both of us.

I’d never even been solely responsible for myself!

Feeding us, clothing us, and keeping a roof over our heads all by my lonesome seemed an impossible feat – yet I’ve managed to learn how to do it and do it well.

Five years ago becoming a single mom felt like a curse, but life taught me that my ex’s unexpected exit from my life was the greatest gift the Universe could’ve ever given me.

The thing is before I had my son I went from long-term relationship to long-term relationship. Why? Because being alone scared the shit out of me.

But becoming a single mother was my divine intervention.

It saved me from the vicious cycle of unfulfilling relationships I repeatedly found myself in because it forced me to reevaluate what I wanted out of my life and what type of role model I wanted to be for my son.

While my ex’s priority at the time of our split was running into bed with another woman, my son’s well-being was mine – so instead of immediately looking for another relationship I faced my fears of loneliness and ventured on with my life solo.

My singleness was never a sign that I was still pining for my ex – it was a conscious choice I made to better the lives of myself and my son. Making our well-being more important than me getting laid or falling in love or lust was what felt right for me.

Five years later it still does -which is why I’ve remained single for the most part. Ok, I’ll be completely honest – there were a few months of my single mom life where I fell vagina first onto men as I was finding my way. Nobody’s perfect.

I’ve had a few almost relationships here and there, but nothing has really stuck, mostly because of my high standards (Which aren’t a bad thing, btw). I just know what I want out of a relationship and partner these days and I refuse to settle for anything or anyone that is less than I deserve.

I’ve felt pretty badass for conquering and enjoying my life as a single woman, but a few weeks ago I realized not everyone see’s my independence as something to be proud of.

There are still people in this world that think single somehow equals less than.

My ex is apparently one of them.

One of his arguments during the mediation process of our recent custody dispute was that I was fighting so diligently to keep custody of my son not because it was in his best interest but because, unlike my ex, I don’t have a significant other in my life.

And then my ex went on to elude that because I am single, my son is all that I have to live for and that my being alone is an indication that I haven’t moved on from what happened between us five years ago.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure my ex has moved on to another relationship to no longer be single – but I’ve moved on in ways that have more value to me than a relationship status.

It’s in being a single mother and choosing to remain single unless I find a partner that is the right fit for me and my son that proves I have moved on.

I’ve moved on from being a scared and timid girl to being a completely independent, opinionated, and self sufficient woman.

I’ve moved on to love myself enough to not get into relationships with narcissistic assholes that try to control me.

I’ve moved on to become a woman and single mother my son can look up to, be proud of, and be inspired by for the rest of his life.

So yea, I’d say I’ve moved on.

I’ve also learned that your relationship status does not limit or define you. And I’ll never forget it.

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Feb
26

There’s Urine In My Moisturizer. And Other Things I Learned From Netflix.

My Son's face After I told him we're becoming vegans

I might’ve ruined my son’s life this weekend when I told him we were going to become sugar-free vegans. Yep that picture above is basically what his face looked like as the words came out of my mouth.

“I don’t want you watching any other documentaries on Netflix, Mommy.”

The boy is right. I should never watch another food-related documentary on Netflix EVER AGAIN if I want to continue my love affair with bacon.

It all started when I thought it would be fun to watch Vegucated, a documentary that followed three meat and dairy loving New Yorkers over a six week period as they learned about and adopted a vegan diet.

I pushed play thinking I’d be exposed to new info on how a plant based diet could improve my health, but when all was said and done I was exposed to SO MUCH MORE information. The bulk of the film uncovered some nasty facts about animal agriculture the industry doesn’t want us to know – hence my current desire to throw out every piece of meat I have tucked away in my fridge and freezer.

The film brought up some serious concerns for me regarding how most animals are bred, raised and treated for large name brands of meat and dairy. And when it revealed that some of these companies are also genetically mutating animals to produce certain types of meat in larger quantities (HELLO big chicken breasts and more white meat!) my head nearly exploded.

Do you know how the milk is made that you drink or eat in your cheese? I didn’t. I thought happy cows frolic through lush green pastures naturally producing milk all year round because that is what cows are born to do – but that’s not the case.

Like humans, cows don’t produce milk unless they’ve given birth. So the reality is female cows are artificially inseminated, give birth, have their baby taken from them, and then they’re milked for all they’ve got until they AIN’T GOT NO MO’.

Once they’re out of milk the process is repeated over and over again until they die.

Sidenote: I have an uncle that is in the midst of setting up his own farm so I called him up to see if this was true. He said yes, but assured my that in most instances the calf stays with its mother until it is weaned, and that after it is weaned a farmer begins taking milk from the cow for human consumption. I have a hunch this really doesn’t happen in cases of the milk that is mass produced for our grocery stores, but I’m really no expert.

I think learning where my milk comes from was the most alarming thing I saw in the entire movie. Perhaps it’s my maternal and feminist instinct. The thought of having my body used for milk and my offspring repeatedly snatched from me was depressing.

My mind was so blown by Vegucated that I decided I couldn’t stop educating myself there and so my Netflix marathon continued with Hungry For Change, a documentary that promised to expose all the “shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don’t want you to know.”

As a woman that’s been on a perpetual diet since the age of 15, I just HAD to watch this.

What did I learn from it? Sugar is the devil and all those low cal and low fat versions of the food most diets tell me to eat have TONS of it.

I never realized this but your body reacts to sugar much like a drug. Seriously. Ingesting it causes a beta-endorphin rush in your brain, stimulating the production of morphine-like chemicals.

Totally explains why when I’m under stress or bored I want to makeout with a jar of Nutella – it makes me feel goooood.

But just like a drug, that awesome food-related high comes with a cost – it’s wreaking havoc on the inside of my body.

Scarier still? I found out most of the convenience products (i.e. processed food) I grab off my grocery store’s shelves aren’t even food anymore – they’re food-like products made from ingredients created in laboratories.

The blueberries in the packs of “Little Bites” muffins my kid loves so much AREN’T FUCKING BLUEBERRIES!! And here I thought I was making a healthy choice for him since they’re portion controlled.

FAK!!

Then came the part of the documentary where they talked about what manufacturers put in beauty products. Turns out the Clinique moisturizer I’ve come to love because it makes my skin feel so nice contains URINE. Ok it’s synthetic urine (Urea), but still.

Why was I not alerted to this before?! Perhaps the saleswoman at Macy’s simply forgot to ask me if I like to engage in golden showers daily when I purchased my last tube from the Clinique counter.

Suffice to say, I’ve stopped using that crap pee on my face and switched to moisturizing with Coconut Oil – which is actually working out pretty well so far.

I’ve even ordered some Shea Butter and scented essential oils to try to make my own body butter.

This week I threw out every package of food in my pantry that contains sugar, partially hydrogenated anything, dyes, or has a laundry list of ingredients I can’t pronounce. After a trip to Trader Joe’s this week I’m pretty well stocked on healthier and gluten free versions of things.

(I’m sure my son will hate me for that when he comes home from his Dad’s tomorrow, but I’m going to attempt to sneak things in and see how he reacts.)

I plan on relying less on convenience foods moving forward and making more things from scratch. I love to cook anyway, so why not? The time it takes to cook and plan meals is the only real factor, and if I need to block out time to do it on the weekend then so be it.

Shit’s gettin’ real around here – literally.

As far as going completely vegan, I’m still on the fence – though I’ve refrained from meat and dairy this week.

“Sex, Lies & Veggies” just doesn’t have the same appeal – though if there’s anyone that could make vegetables look sexy it’s me.

Only time will tell…

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Feb
11

Leveling Up In Self-Love

Confetti with Bacon

Leveling up is a concept in games when a character experiences some sort of progression that usually involves unlocking new abilities, skills, access to new items, or as a benchmark of how far they’ve come.

Well last night I leveled the fuck up in self-love and I want some god damn confetti – because that shit was rough for me!

About a week ago an ex-boyfriend came back into my life. Though his reappearance was completely unexpected, I’ll be totally honest and say it was welcomed.

I’d really freakin’ missed having him in my life.

I’ll be even more honest and say that although his initial text was friendly, the moment it appeared on my phone a part of me hoped he’d contacted me because he realized what a mistake he’d made when he broke my heart and let me go back in August.

As our text exchange progressed this conflict began to brew inside of me over whether or not I should even be talking to him after everything that transpired between us.

When you date someone for a significant amount of time they become your best friend – then when the break up happens and you lose them, it feels as if you’re losing a piece of yourself too.

Break-ups are always tough, but ours was significantly harder on me since he was the first man I opened up to as a single mom. I hadn’t seen a real future with anyone before him.

It took a few months for me to let go of the fantasy of the happily ever after that I’d built up in my head, but eventually I moved on and as I did hindsight was 20/20.

I started to see a destructive pattern in the relationship and all the relationships I’d found myself in before it.

When it came to romantic relationships I ALWAYS sought out love from sources that were incapable of giving it to me. I wanted to know why, so I used the ending of our relationship as an opportunity for growth.

I started seeing a therapist, doing yoga, meditating and diving deeper in spiritual practices.

After a bit of soul searching I realized my life was lacking a whole lotta self-love and so I worked hard for months to fix that. I didn’t want to put myself in a position again where I was settling for a relationship that was less than I deserved.

Emotionally unavailable men = WAY less than ANY woman deserves

Over the course of five months, through trials and tribulations, I learned to accept my faults and flaws and realized even with them I’m pretty damn awesome. I also learned relationships are supposed to be containers for growth, not containers for proving how much pain you’re willing to endure for someone else.

Winning the custody battle I’d been involved in with my ex was the icing on the cake of my finally seeing myself as the kickass woman everyone else has. Having the courage to stand up for what I believed in and being brave enough to protect my son made me fall in love with myself in a way I never thought possible.

It changed me – but I didn’t really understand how much until I leveled up last night.

You see, the ex-boyfriend that came back into my life tried to convince me we could be fuck buddies.

Sweet pornographic baby jesus his words were tempting because the one thing he and I were ALWAYS really good at was the sex part.

He was the best lover I ever had and I’d never been drawn to anyone else the way he drew me in – BUT I knew myself well enough to know what would happen if I started sleeping with him again. The consequences that would eventually weigh on my heart and psyche weren’t worth the multiple orgasms.

Though I knew this, I was still conflicted because the sex was that good.

I spent a few days trying to convince myself that having sex with this guy could just be some really hot sex, but ultimately I knew the minute we started sleeping together the oxytocin would start flowing, all my old feelings would come back up, and I’d find myself falling in love with him again.

I assure you loving someone with PTSD who is incapable of feeling is no fun.

The more I thought about what was transpiring, the more pissed I was at him for even thinking about putting me in a position where I could get hurt again. If he cared for or respected me at all(and shouldn’t he after we had a three month relationship over the summer, and prior to that were friends for two years?!), he shouldn’t have gone there.

And then I got even more pissed when I realized this man I had once loved was willing to just use me for sex, instead of seeing me as a woman with a heart.

It was then that I mustered up all the self-love I had, walked away, and took the power I’d earned during the last five months back.

I even went so far as to tell him I could no longer have him in my life.

A few minutes later I realized I didn’t have to prove to this man I was worthy of anything by having sex with him or even being his friend – because I already know what I’m worth.

I’ve finally stepped out of proving myself, and into being myself.

Level up, bitches.

Now where’s my confetti?

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Feb
10

Vodka Is My Soulmate

Soulmate Vodka and Bacon

Ah, soulmates. Not just anyone can fulfill you the way your soulmate can.

They say your soulmate brings out the best in you, and makes you feel complete.

If that is the case, Vodka is surely my soulmate.

Few things makes me happier than that warm and fuzzy feeling Vodka gives me as it kisses my lips. Whether I’m celebrating a victory or need some comfort after a shitty day, Vodka has always been there for me in a way few men ever have.

We met in my twenties and fell in lust immediately – though every time we were together that little minx Cranberry was around. She was a bit of a third wheel the first few times Vodka and I got hot and sweaty on the dance floor, but back then I wasn’t really looking for a commitment so I let her get in on the action.

We had several good years together, Vodka and I. Vodka was my go-to partner when I wanted to let loose or get wild, but at the age of twenty-five I said goodbye to my party girl ways to become a mother.

That’s when I decided to end things with Vodka.

Our weekend threesomes, foursomes and other orgy-like situations didn’t fit into my life anymore.

Sipping on wine and beer seemed the more appropriate thing for a mother of one to do, but wine and beer never made me feel as good as Vodka did.

Beer made me feel bloated instead of sexy. And wine – well wine made me emotional if we hung out for too long.

That’s why when I became a single mom at the age of thirty I decided to give Vodka another chance. I was finding myself again and Vodka seemed like the perfect partner to lead me in the right direction.

Vodka had rarely steered me wrong before – aside from the times it convinced me to drunk dial my ex-boyfriends. But hey, nobody’s perfect!

Sometimes we still get frisky and invite other ingredients to our parties, but mostly I’m content with a quiet evening at home with my Vodka on the rocks.

Through good times and bad, we’ve definitely built a solid relationship over the years.

Valentine’s Day is Friday and in honor of my love for Vodka, I’m sharing a few recipes I got to try this weekend – all completely AMAZEBALLS, by the way.

They each feature Van Gogh Vodka and were created by “The Cocktail Guru” Jonathan Pogash.

If you’re not familiar with Van Gogh Vodka, you need to grab yourself a bottle IMMEDIATELY.

With twenty-two smooth flavors such as Cool Peach, Rich Dark Chocolate & Pomegranate, and a super affordable price point (even this single mom on a budget can buy it!) there’s no excuse not to get yourself to the liquor store pronto to fall in love with your own a bottle.

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 5.36.26 PM

My Honey Valentine

1-1/2 oz. Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka

3/4 oz. pomegranate juice

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water stirred until the honey dissolves)

Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into martini glass or over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime.

Cool Peach Bellini

1 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka

1-1/2 oz. Peach Puree

3 oz. Prosecco

In a mixing glass stir the vodka and puree well. Add the Prosecco with ice and gently fold the ingredients (without stirring too much, as this will remove bubbles). Strain into a chilled champagne flute.

Spice It Up

1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka

3/4 oz. milk

1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup

Shake well with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a pinch of chili powder sugar (equal parts cayenne pepper and sugar)

Is vodka your soulmate too? Celebrate your love with one or ALL of these Van Gogh Vodka cocktails. 

Because in my world, Vodka makes everything better.

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Jan
22

Back To Life. Back To Reality.

Stress with Bacon

Coping occurs in response to psychological stress, often triggered by dramatic life changes.

Basically it’s a survival instinct.

People find ways to cope with stressful situations in an effort to maintain their sanity and emotional well-being.

I haven’t just been dealing with psychological stress the last few months during this insanely drawn out custody battle with my ex - I’ve been drowning in it.

The night before I had to face my ex for the first time in Court back in November, I thought I might have a heart attack.

I don’t think most people realize what a custody battle is like. It’s not just a Court date here or there. It’s reading letters upon letters from lawyers when you least expect them, often coupled with bombs dropped from one party or the other as a method of intimidation.

It gets freaking ugly.

When a custody battle is drawn out with no resolution and egos inevitably get involved, so much hate is built up it’s frightening.

Trying to shield my child from that has just been another added layer of stress for me.

I’m not telling you this for sympathy because I don’t want that at all – although it’s been difficult I’ve also grown as a person and become a stronger woman because of this.

But there are days even the strongest woman throws up her hands and temporarily loses her shit.

On some of those days I prayed for a reprieve so I might keep my sanity through this process. And the reprieve eventually did come in the form of a kind hearted man that showered me with attention and showed me what it was like to be adored.

How lovely that’s been, but what I hadn’t realized was that diving into a romance over the last few weeks was also a way for me to avoid dealing with the stress in my life.

People cope with stress in different ways. Obviously some ways are healthier and more effective than others.

There are things called active coping strategies, which my therapist often urges me to participate in, where one focuses on tackling stress rather than avoiding it.

Of course, because I’m human I don’t always listen to her. I mean, avoidance takes a lot less energy right?

That brings me to the subject of avoidant coping – where you ignore your issues, and instead engage in activities that aid in the denial of them.

Engaging in avoidant coping doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a dumbass or even an asshole – It can happen to the best of us.

The bad part is you don’t usually realize you’re doing the wrong kind of coping until after the fact. Either someone else calls you out on it like your therapist, or you have some sort of AHA moment yourself where it clicks.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized immersing myself in my version of a modern day fairytale wasn’t the healthiest way to cope with my stress.

In doing so I started to lose myself in another person(Why oh why do I repeatedly do that in romantic relationships?!), which also caused me to lose focus on some things that are truly important to me.

But learning that I’ll be facing my ex alone next week without a lawyer quickly brought me back to reality.

The reality of heading back to Court again next week has forced me to come up with a rational plan of action to deal with the situation at hand in a less ego driven way.

Neither one of us will have lawyers – a judge has ordered we give Court facilitated mediation, just the two of us, one last try next week before heading to trial.

This is my last shot to try to convince my ex to end this thing before my son gets dragged into it – a judge has also ordered a best interest evaluation if we can not settle next week.

Having my 8-year-old son interviewed by the Court is the last thing I want.

I will have to be stronger than I’ve ever been in that mediation room next week.

I’ll have to put all of the negative feelings I’ve developed for my ex through this nasty custody battle aside – because this really is not about he and I, it’s about the well-being of the child we created together.

Anger, fear, sadness – none of those things can sway me from what is important in that room. I will need to concentrate on what is best for my son, no matter what I am feeling.

It will surely be a defining moment in my life.

But I know now without a doubt I’m strong enough to do it – as long as I stay focused.

Back to life. Back to reality.

Because my boy needs me.

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Dec
16

This Is It

bacon gavel

I’m sitting here at my desk pretty close to hyperventilating as I type this. Tears are streaming down my face and the raw, honest truth is that in this moment I am fucking terrified – yet I know I have to find my breath and my strength for my son and for my family.

So I’m typing the anxious thoughts out of my head. Because writing is my greatest strength, I’m hoping once I hit publish on this blog post I’ll have worked my way through the panic and gotten my mojo back.

Wednesday I will be headed to court to battle my ex in order to keep residential custody of my son. It’s insane to me that this is even happening, but it is.

I didn’t start this. I didn’t want this. And all I can do is buckle up and hope I survive the ride.

I’m not afraid I will lose, because in a way I’ve already won. My ex already had to back down from his original demands knowing full well he would not get them.

That’s what happens when you underestimate your opponent, and he surely underestimated me.

While I’m confident a judge will shoot down his latest proposal, anything can happen. But if losing a few hours with my son every other Sunday is the worst thing that could happen when I walk out of that court room Wednesday, I’m ok with that too.

Because I’ve already won half the battle even if I don’t win the war. I stood up to a man that used to intimidate me, and because I stood up he now knows I can’t be bullied anymore.

So what am I so terrified of then? Words.

Sitting in that court room Wednesday and listening to whatever bullshit claims my ex and his witnesses make about me as a mother will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s been hard enough reading accusations over and over again on paper while rifling through legal documents the last three months, but hearing them out loud and giving them an actual voice?

Fuck that shit.

Those words will surely ring in my ears again and again and again if I don’t figure out how to ignore them – and I know all too well that my ex’s words are capable of taking me to a very dark place.

It took me months to climb out of the dark after our separation nearly five years ago, and I don’t want to ever find myself there again.

So I have to be strong and cover my ears. And I have to remember that even if I overhear some of the things they say through my ear muffs, their words do not define me.

I’m not perfect, but I’m enough.

Breathe. It will all be over soon.

 

 

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Nov
25

You Can’t Fail A Lesson

Lesson With A Side Of Bacon

I’ve put an insane amount of pressure on myself in the last week without really meaning to.

Between Court last Wednesday and all of my current efforts to prepare myself and my lawyer for trial next month I somehow got it in my head that everything I’ve been going through is a test.

A ginormous, important, holy-shit if I can’t pass this my future(and my son’s future) is fucked, type test.

You can’t fail, Mely. You. Can’t. Fail.

Believing I should treat this like an epic battle with winners and losers was justifiable. I mean, there’s only going to be one winner when it comes to Court. Next month I will either lose residential custody of my son, or I won’t.

Refusing to fail(or lose) seemed like an appropriate course of action to take when this all started.

And the reality is thinking that way has helped me get through some super shitty times thus far when I’ve wanted to crawl under a blanket and give up, but today it also started to take its toll on me.

Most of today was not a good day.

All of my worrying about failing today produced a lot of unnecessary stress. It nearly pushed me to an emotional breaking point – until I finally realized something.

The events of the last few months, weeks and days haven’t been a test of my strength as a woman or a mother.

Well maybe they have been in a way, but there’s a bigger picture here.

Each day I deal with Court and custody related things new assignments are placed before me to work through whether I want to or not. Sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief because I think I’m almost done with it all, but then life says “Lady, get back here – you still have more work to do!”

Resisting or complaining about the extra work is futile.

Today I realized everything that is happening to me right now is a lesson NOT a test.

There’s a HUGE difference between the two and there’s something empowering and calming in knowing that.

You can’t fail a lesson.

If you show up and stay present you learn everything you need to. And when the lesson is over you’ve grown into a better person because of it.

So that’s what I’m going to keep doing.

No more stressing about failing. I’m here to learn.

And chances are if you’re reading this, you are too.

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Nov
22

Trial And Tribulations

BitchFace With Bacon

There’s a war raging behind the scenes of this blog that I’ve touched on briefly in my last few posts. Wednesday I thought it would be over, but instead reality smacked me in the face with the fact that the real war is just beginning.

I’m now facing a trial in a Court of law this December in order to prove my worth as a single mother and to defend my son’s best interests. I did not start this war and it is sad that it has come to this, but it is what it is.

To say that I’m emotionally drained right now would be an understatement, yet each day a superhero type strength washes over me when I need it most.

I have not crumbled. I have not lost my shit.

And even though people may be counting on it I won’t, because my son’s future is at stake.

This trial and war is not about me vs. my ex. At least not to me.

For me, it’s me vs. every circumstance that has been and is currently threatening to fuck up my child’s happiness, emotional well being, and growth into a fully functioning adult.

I am fighting for my son, not my ego.

It is my job as a parent to shield him from the evil & bullshit of the outside world while I raise him to be the type of man that will one day be strong enough to face it alone.

I don’t let my personal feelings about people, places, or things cloud my judgement about what is in his best interests. That is something I’m incredibly proud of.

When I go to trial in December and the last few years of my life are put under a microscope, I’m sure I will have to sit and listen to stories about times that I didn’t bring my A-game as a single mom. But ya know what? I’m okay with that because I know that 100% of every fucking day I am playing to the best of my ability with the cards I am dealt.

I’m not perfect, but I do my best.

Nothing about this trial will be easy.

Not for me. Not for my family. Not for my friends.

All of us now face getting up on a witness stand to testify on my and my son’s behalf. That alone is an incredibly stressful and scary thing.

But we’re standing together and finding strength in each other while the trial and tribulations linger.

I’m truly blessed to have an army of people behind me for support.

And my rockstar lawyer has been a shield through this entire process during the times I’ve needed protection.

I’m in control of my reactions today, and each day moving forward.

No amount of threats or bullying can take that away from me.

I choose to stay present instead of getting lost in the hurtful words of war, or the what ifs and should’ves.

There is a little boy that adores and deserves my positivity & light, and I will not fail him.

Just keep swimming smiling…

and for the moments I need something stronger than a smile to get me through, there’s this:

 

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