Tag: friends

Unicorns

Unicorns

16 July 2017

Unicorns are mythical creatures.  They are majestic, full of strength, and have magical powers.  Even in legends, they were rare.

Over two years ago, I was on a mega cruise ship.  In search of my (then) husband and his friend, I entered the cigar lounge where they were playing Magic and backgammon.  I was introduced to two other men, and one said, “You do exist!  You are a unicorn.”  Then we began talking about football.  They were told I taught my husband the game of football; I did, but they were having a hard time believing it.  They heard I would always let him smoke cigars.  What they didn’t know was that I was always encouraging him to spend time with “the guys.”  I didn’t need to go on every single camping/hiking trip, because a) it was time alone, b) it was good male bonding time for him, and c) I didn’t need to be by his side 24/7/365, as it was the case far too often.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my husband-then-, but I have always been independent.  I always cherished the times we spent together, and once I began pursuing another degree, I would block in time on our shared calendar every night to let him know that spending the last few hours of the day with him was important (apparently it wasn’t enough for him though).  These men found it hard to believe such a woman existed…until they met me.

So, the unicorn label stuck.  There are many things about me that come up in discussions that becomes hard to explain the why.  Unicorn.  More recently, after a conversation involving movies from video games, I was told, “You are a legend, Ms. Hellinger.”

In some ways, we are all unicorns because we are so unique.  Some have special powers that makes them extra rare.

I am in my favorite spot.  The patio.  I am soaking in the solitude of a Sunday morning.  Well, afternoon.  And writing with my mega Mickey Mouse coffee mug full of the brown addicting liquid that helps motivate me every day.  I have spent another week on a self-discovery tour, and learned many things.

I was on a quick getaway to the West Coast, and to spend more time at Disneyland.  From this short trip, I learned that I was in the right place, but at the wrong time.  I am still in a wrong time.  I have not healed yet.

I am not vulnerable, but I do not want to let my situation define me.  I addressed this with my therapist (yes, I am not ashamed to say I am in therapy, nor am I ashamed to say I am still depressed).  It took me three months to be strong enough to say I was not going to let someone treat me disrespectfully and maliciously.  Taking a stand the way I did was how I gave myself permission to say I may be the victim, but I was not going to let it define me.  I couldn’t.  I’m stronger than that.

I do want things.  I do need things, but these needs and wants aren’t black and white, and I am still searching for an expression.  I want to be happy, and I am.  I need to be in a better job, where I’m paid what I’m worth and using my degrees.  I’ll get there.  I have a temporary plan.  Nothing is permanent, nor is it etched in stone at this point in my life.  My career is this ─writing─ and I can write anywhere in the world, as I have proven time and time again.  However, the reality is that I need a job to pay the bills, but I no longer have to search for a job to make it a career.  Those days are gone, and something I never had to begin with because I was stuck for far too many reasons.  I was being suffocated and drowned.

Suppressed and oppressed.  The perpetual thumb pressing down hard, on me, holding me underwater, nearly drowning me; only releasing pressure to let me resurface to catch my breath before being pressed back under water again.  This is no way to live.  This is not how people should treat each other.  This is not how a man should treat a woman, and vice-versa.  This is not how a husband and wife should live.  This is not a marriage; this is a prison.

It is said the tears of a unicorn has healing powers.  If this is true, then the tears that rushed, like the power behind any massive waterfall (Niagara and Horseshoe Falls comes to mind), on June 2 swept away anything remaining, only leaving room for healing to begin.  It’s going to be a long road though.

I have spent time traveling over the last 36 days.  It has been a liberating feeling, and interesting adventures have been occurring along the way.  Will I write about them?  Some.  Not all.  Some might end up in a poem, or my next novel, the next work in progress.  Some will remain a secret.  Regardless, I know there are more adventures along the way because my eyes are open.

I have also gone out a few times this week.  Girls night out on Thursday that turned into another drink at the bar right after we were done with dinner (and the restaurant was closing down).  Meeting friends out Saturday night.  It was weird.  Very weird.  I don’t know if it’s because of where I am, and people are starting to see me out more, or if it’s because I am beginning to feel like I don’t belong here (another post, in the new chapter).  Some of my dearest friends are here though, and I still need their support.  I try not to refuse any invitations to any quick weekend getaways.  I am returning to golf more.  I still meet for coffee, tea, lunch, dinner, drinks (wine/beer/bourbon), bbq’s, and other events.  I have other friends who look forward to me joining them in Abq.  I am going to the movies more often.  I am still working out and walking Duke every night.

I am waiting for the grass to dry after torrential downpours on Thursday and Saturday.  The lawn needs to be mowed. I almost bought a weed eater and chainsaw today; I wonder what my friends would think of me not only owning, but using, these power tools…  I need to do some house cleaning.  Yet, I chose to sit outside to write.  I am building new dreams as I write.  My moments of restlessness are a result of six months sitting still; not going anywhere, not doing much but the right thing to get to where I needed to be: this here and now.  However, this restlessness is also a sign that I need to move, get up and do something; go someplace.  Most of the time, it’s my way of wanting to escape again.  Of course, I would go back to Disneyland in a heartbeat, but I need to be in other places.  Interact, mingle, do something alone, do something with friends; meet new people. Explore.  Even Duke gets restless. He seems restless even now, torn between the cool shade, letting the sun warm him on the patio, burrowing into the tall green grass I still need to mow, or going back inside where it’s cool, but it’s not where I am.  He still follows me around the house as I move from room to room.

I have a summer reading list.  Football season is drawing closer, and I have BIG plans for this season.  Cannot wait.  I’m traveling.  Job hunting.  Socializing.  Networking.  I need to remind myself daily that I am still healing, but I want to have fun along the way. (Fun also means being safe.)  The final chapter is getting closer now.  I’m still waiting for my diploma.

I officially return to work on Monday.  Something I’m not really looking forward to, but it’s a job that I can leave when I choose to leave.  There is a bitterness that exists: staff isn’t treated well.  I’ve been treated very poorly during this tumultuous time in my life. I am still in a transition phase. I will be addressing various issues in the future.

I bought an Echo and Dot on Prime Day, in hopes it will help negate the absence of white noise that is still bothersome.  It’s not bad on the weekends because I’m home most of the time.  I have been leaving my iPad on, shuffling through all of the music, thinking that the music helps Duke, too.  We both went from busy noise, to a dull noise, to no noise in a short amount of time.

It’s July 16.  I have 25,000 more words to write by July 31 during Camp NaNoWriMo. I am surrounded by a large group of writers.  I stay in touch with my peers from SNHU, and we continue to support each other.  It’s a great circle to be part of.

Is Natalie a unicorn?  No, but she works very hard to be the successful woman that she is.  There is a backstory I’m writing.  I am also working on explanations after Natalie saves Chad because it does alter a few things, but not drastically.  Nick became Adam during my thesis revisions, and he’s still an asshole.  We learn a little more about Adam with this backstory because there wasn’t enough of his character in what I originally wrote.

I am still Wonder Woman, which is a likeness to a unicorn. With the exception of the house cleaning, I multi-task far too often.  I did scale back significantly this year, and will slowly rebuild.  Inner strength is sheer beauty.  And, since I am procrastinating house cleaning and yard work, I am switching over to write another 3-4,000 words (or more) for the day.  Writing, and being out on the patio.  Simple bliss for a Sunday.

 

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One

One

12-21 June 2017

Flying solo.  It’s not the first time, but it’s official. There’s more on that later.  However, the moment arrived on June 11, at 3:30pm when I turned in my very last assignment, turned off my computer, closed the blinds, packed up a dog and a human to spend time away on vacation (I still get separation anxiety when I board Duke).

Or, as I call it, the “escape I’ve been wanting since January.”  I was on a mission, a one week tour, and on a self-care program.  I was celebrating three milestones in life, focusing more on my birthday and graduation.  I was concerned about surviving the last three weeks of school.  I was simply trying to move forward one day at a time.  It was the hardest part of my life, but I am thankful I had the trials and tribulations because it gave me a focus.  This is something I’ve spoken of many times.

One.  It was just me.  “How many in your party?”  One.  “How many?” Just one.  Single riders inquire here.  So I did.  “Tell me about single riders.  I’m one.”  A few male cast members fought over who was going to give me a pass as a single rider on the Indiana Jones ride; the third one-upped them and gave me a pass that was even better, and more like a Fastpass.  It was my birthday, after all! They asked about my novel, that I am now calling the most anticipated read of the year.

I spent the best three days of my life at Disneyland, and completed a bucket list: physically spending my birthday at both parks in CA and FL.  I was at Walt Disney World five years ago.  Crazy how time flies!

I did my normal 14 hour marathon. I got the photo I’ve always wanted: an empty Main Street at night.  I ate a little, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, a nice steak birthday dinner, and discovered the kids menu around the parks was better suited for my appetite.  I lost more weight.  I watched the fireworks on my birthday.  I spent time hanging out in Mickey’s house.  Sitting on the couch, at his desk, shaking my head at the kitchen, and his gardening tool house (still not for me).  It was great…and I forgot to get selfies!!!  Mickey applauded me, and Pluto gave me wet kisses.  LOL.  I want to thank the Green Army Men who taught the crowd how to clap.  I was on the bench finishing two beers before heading back over to Disneyland.  I was drinking when the Sergeant told a guest, “There isn’t any noise when your hands are open, ZZ Top action figure!”  and almost spewed the drink out. He spoke to “ZZ Top action figure” several times during their performance.  I am not afraid or ashamed to laugh out loud, and that’s exactly what I did.

I enjoyed my drinks. I found another new hangout place in California Adventure, in conjunction with the Karl Strauss beer truck.  I had a stalker. I met some new friends, and spent the remainder of my last night in the parks with them.  We met another person who was doing a one-day marathon and wanted to get in a few more rides before he had to leave.  One became three, then four for a while.  AND, there was football talk; three NFC East rivals/fans present: NY Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys.  (The season can’t come soon enough!)

I had the best time with me, myself, and I.  I was told if anyone could pull off Disney alone, that it would be me.  And I did it.  I did it all.  I would do it again. In fact, I’m itching to go back.  Disneyland is a short flight west.  I am also looking at a 2018 Walt Disney World vacation, before I say goodbye to New Mexico.

I have stories.  Then again, as a writer, don’t we always?  I spent time with my in-laws and helped a very special young woman celebrate her first major milestone graduating from high school.  I am proud of her.  She’s seizing an opportunity to pursue her dreams.  We’ll be friends for a long time, and I’m still proud to call her my niece.

If I can replicate a Carthay Manhattan (there’s still something missing), then I can do something with these lemons that are still waiting to be pulverized into the perfect drink.

I miss my patio days.  I miss writing from sun-up to sun-down.  I miss the days waking up late (because sleep still eludes me), not having to go into work because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t perform efficiently.  Several of my family and friends might be relieved to know the drinking has slowed down, and I’m rebuilding my bar.

There are new chapters ahead, but I can’t get to them yet until I finish writing the last ones to wrap up this journey.  I have learned a few more things about myself during the week away.

And for my thesis?  Well, I have approximately 50,000 more words to write to complete the novel, and I’m still writing.  Now, I call it work and make it a priority to write every day.  I have some back stories to insert, and a few clarifications to make.  It is an epic story, and a crossover where women’s fiction meets speculative fiction.  There is female empowerment.  There are moments of paranormal activity.

Stories, journeys, lemons, individualism, an empowered woman; a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a new friend; a stranger, a peer, a colleague, a former student…a writer.  I’m not going anywhere, and, as I mentioned, there are a few more chapters remaining here.  More importantly, there is nothing wrong with being alone.  There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I am far from the latter.  I encourage you to embrace being alone sometime!

Stay hydrated and cool!

Featured image: Stunning New Mexico sunset.  Below: Walt and Mickey.
Photos by Karen M. Hellinger.  2017

File Jun 21, 11 44 56 AM

 

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

29 May 2017

Today is Memorial Day.  My family and friends have served in the military.  Some have been lost in combat.  For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day.  We adorn their graves to help remember and honor.  We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).

And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.

During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot.  If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care.  I do this because they deserve recognition.  They deserve a standing ovation.  It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship.  I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.

Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.

Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa.  I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.

THANK YOU AGAIN!

********************************************************************************

I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.

Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature.  It was not what I expected.  We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI.  Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11.  That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me.  And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way.  We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war.  Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox.  What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements.  I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case.  Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.

Yeah.  This is week 9.  This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).

I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends.  Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed.  We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter.  Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…

Shall I put that into perspective for you again?

Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL.  Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version).  Females talking about their favorite teams.  Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL.  Male just shakes his head.

😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football.  Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!

I have spent many, many mornings on the patio.  Drinking coffee and writing in the morning.  Writing in the afternoons.  Reading mid-afternoons.  Drinking wine and writing in the evenings.  Reading/writing into the late evenings.  Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.

I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived.  I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June.  However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer.  For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.

This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!

We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe.  The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them.  Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop.  A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days.  Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.

Duke thanks our military, too!

Riding the Rails

Riding the Rails

27 May 2017

I love roller coasters.  I’ve always loved roller coasters.  There’s something to be said about the unknown, especially as a first-time rider.  Whether the ride is on wood or steel, the adrenaline rush of being whipped, zipped, cork-screwed, and turned upside down and around is thrilling.  It begins with the anticipation, standing in line, watching the carts working with and defying gravity.  You are getting closer to the front of the line.  Do you ask to sit in front, to be the first witness at that 90-degree plunge, or do you ask to sit in the back, when you are the last to see what unfolds in front of you as you are slightly lifted from your seat?  Or do you stay within the middle?

A few summers ago, I was at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio.  Their claim to fame is being the roller coaster capital of the world.  Rollers coasters are the only rides in this park, so if you’re not a fan, it’s not worth the trip.  It was an overcast, turned rainy day.  I was standing in line for the Millenium Force.  I was under shelter for a bit, but as I got closer to the front of the line, it started to rain hard.  I watched the cars ascend the track at a vertical pace.  You are not harnessed in; you have a lap bar.  I was seriously doubting whether I wanted to get on this ride.  A vertical ascension with just a lap bar?  Um…not sure.  I have never doubted a ride, but at this moment I was voicing my doubts, recognizing a fear.  Still, I wanted to know what was beyond that ascension.  Where was the drop?  What was going to feed into the adrenaline rush?

I was drenched and cold.  It was my turn.  I stepped into the car, and pulled the lap bar down as far as it could go. It locked me in.  I pushed up on the bar several times, assuring me I wasn’t going anywhere, but the fear remained.  The ride began, and I went up, followed by going straight down.  Then began the adventure of careening through tunnels, around corners, back up (a progressive incline) and down, at well over 90 miles an hour.  The rush was back, and the ride was over in a matter of minutes.  I walked off…completely dry.  I was all smiles, reflecting on what a great ride it was, but my day at the park was also ending.  The line was long; there wasn’t an opportunity to ride it again.

I am looking at the last three Saturdays and Sundays, the last two Monday-Fridays, of my education.  It’s crazy that I’m nearly done!  I don’t think there has been a single moment in my life when I haven’t felt the waves of emotions that I have been hit with this term, this year, this past week and a half.

I began my ride of anticipation, seeking an adrenaline rush to end with smiles a week ago Wednesday.  The ride wasn’t what I envisioned it would be.  It felt more like the small coaster ride in Toon Town at Disneyland; there is a single moment you’re at the top and can see the Sierra Nevadas before they disappear the moment the coaster drops.  I got to see out, but was reigned back in.  This has been my ride for a week.

The next ride I’ve experienced mimics a combination of Space Mountain and the Millenium Force, beginning last Thursday.  From a brief moment of life, I sped into the darkness, unable to see anything but the stars and black “sky” in a vast abyss.  As I exited, I realized I had to finish the last 5,000 words of my thesis/novel.  I spent the entire weekend and Monday in darkness.  I shut out the world, closing in on the dark hours.  By Tuesday, I was preparing for the next ride, and struggling to get 500 words in.  I was around strangers on Wednesday, and felt a need to be with friends instead.  I was on my second day back at the gym, and still walking with Duke every night.  The gym erased the darkness and drowning feeling; I had some clarity.  I wrote Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough.

I got up early Thursday to write some more before I returned to work (first day since the beginning of May).  649 words.  By 9:10am, waiting for my number to be called at the local motor vehicle office, I was anticipating a fear once again: I was not going to finish the story, and get it turned in before midnight.  Especially not with other matters I was dealing with all week, and knowing I had one other assignment due that same night.

I don’t remember what happened (perhaps I simply blocked out life), but I was back to writing at noon.  I took a couple small breaks in the afternoon to wrote some more.  I left work before 5:00, tossed a turkey burger patty in the microwave, added a heaping helping of spinach and shredded carrots to my plate, grabbed a small glass of Chardonnay, and sat at my computer to write.  I wrote for two and a half solid hours.  By 7:25pm, I had 5,040 words, and was on the Millienium Force after the first initial drop.  I took a moment to celebrate with smiles and tears; add in laughter as I looked at Duke and said, “I can’t believe I did it!”  He celebrated with me, wagging his tail, allowing me to give him a big hug.  The first draft of my novel was complete and submitted. I grabbed a special bottle of wine, and visited with some friends for a few hours after.  It was the perfect ending to my week. And…I got to know a little more about Red Nose Day, and told I need to watch “Love Actually.”  (It’s on my list, ladies!!  You’re always welcome over for movie night.)

The ride, and writing, is not over yet!  I’m on a new coaster, a new segment for the next 8 days, working on revisions: from the very beginning to the very end.  This isn’t the coaster ride I have been waiting for, but it’s new as I try to finish up.  There will be new waves of emotions, but I hear my cheering squad, from all over the globe, behind me.  This will be a book many are excited to read.  I am simply excited that I can say I have begun to revise my first draft…after I offer two peer critiques on their final 5k words, and provide two more critiques on our literature research papers.  Still, I’m revising!

If you’re curious about the Millenium Force, check out the coaster video Cedar Point has on their website.  If you’re a coaster fan-this should be on your bucket list.

Have a great weekend!

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Struggles

Struggles

20 May 2017

I am struggling.  I am okay in saying that I am struggling.  I am okay in reaching out to ask for help because I am struggling.  I am still extremely upset about events the other day, even though I try to remind myself of the positives.  One being freedom.

I need time.  Time to finish school.  Time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Time to get used to some realities.  Time to distance myself.  Time to heal, but that is a larger part of time.  Time to be myself in my current, comfortable environment.

I took some time off from work to re-focus on myself.  That time is drawing to a near, and I realize it was not enough.  I have the capability to take more time off, and I will more than likely do so through July 1.  My list of tasks seems insurmountable.

Time off has allowed me to invest in the take care of me program.  Have I succeeded?  Not sure, and I am trying to figure out how to measure that success because there are some days where I measure success by simply getting out of bed, showering, dressing,and leaving the house.  Little moments of success.  There are other days where I am only breathing.  That’s it.  Anxiety is high.  My focus is shot to hell.  My thoughts are so random and heavy, I cannot exercise enough to get rid of them.

I also freed up my schedule a little to allow for more social time.  It was really nice hanging out with friends the other night.  It felt good to laugh, and not speak about this ridiculous mess; I am not a victim.  I don’t want to be out talking about a Wasband and the pending divorce.  This does not help me.  I can talk about it through my writing: my thesis, the next novel, my current poetry book, and some supportive ears who help me through.  Until I finish my education, it’s hard for me to make plans, so trying to squeeze in a few hours a week of socializing should be good.  Right?  I’m here for the long haul, so something’s got to give.

I am not being the straight A student I’ve strived so hard to be.  This pains me.  I was soo close, and this term I have been derailed at every turn.  My education, this degree in particular, is extremely important to me.  It was the first of many declarations I had to make.  I am late on assignments.  I am not giving my 100%.  I am so hard on myself.  Recently, I was told by a relative (able to relate) that I am doing great, and I am strong.

#hellingerstrong.  The women in my family possess a hidden strength that many are not aware of.  It’s also another reason why we have said the OP has not only messed with the wrong woman, but the wrong person who is the strongest in the family (as I have been told by many).  Perhaps other women in my shoes may have fallen completely apart.  There are definitely days where I feel like I’m coming unraveled.  Then there are other days when I need to be the voice for those women who cannot seem to break free.  I stood up almost right away to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is unacceptable. I don’t deserve this.”  I respect myself too much to be kept/controlled in a relationship abandoned for what?  A thrill?  An adventure?  Getting something out of his system?  A mid-life crisis?  A harlot who sees dollar signs?  Something he’s been wanting, but could never communicate?  He didn’t try, or try to be patient as I finished school.  I was not going to allow the OP to keep me hostage for six months to figure out if the affair was going anywhere. I was not going to wait to see if the process would begin-it was becoming very obvious actions were not going to be taken, so I took matters into my own hands.

There was never a point in my life where I felt like there was nothing left.  There was never a point in these events where I felt like I hit rock bottom.  I was floating above the bottom, praying for a breathing apparatus to avoid being completely drowned.  In some ways, I am still being held under water.  Soon enough I am going to make one final push to burst out of the water using my Wonder Woman/superhero strength.

Natalie is struggling.  She’s getting frustrated because she has to keep reliving certain events to change the course of her situation.  She struggles because one individual still holds her captive.  She is drowning because there doesn’t seem to be a way to reach the surface;

Week 7 is pretty intense.  There are only 3 weeks remaining, and my novel needs to be wrapped up.  This was not the week to wrap it up.  I pray for warm weather Monday and Tuesday to allow me to be out on the patio, in the sun, with the music playing from the back room; with coffee, a few glasses of bourbon (for those emotion-heavy writing days), or some wine, but reserve beer for the weekend.  Does Natalie come out of her coma?  I guess my readers will be curious to find out.  I already have one person with a reader’s copy.  I am ready for the final segment to be finished so that I can put in (most likely) 30 hours of revisions; I spent 22 hours last term!  Significant time.  Significant revisions.  Although this time, I have to revise EVERYTHING.  <insert a whoa here because I’m feeling it, too>.  This why it’s called ENG 559-Thesis Completion.

I am still listening to my “Welcome to Hell” playlist.  I am still searching for music to add to my next playlist.  I want my friends to know there is more to my life than divorce, but the reality is the only thing I have right now is finishing school; still my saving grace.  I struggle with a life I once had. Some things have changed and I will never be a part of again.  I cannot be a wife in a relationship that was abandoned, yet I’m still expected to be waiting by the door/phone to answer down to the nanosecond.  I am waiting for apologies I’ll never receive.  I am waiting for something final to hit my email inbox.  I am waiting; I am in limbo.  I wonder if it’s possible to sleep through exhaustion because, like clockwork, my mind woke me up at 3am with the next adventure that I did not want to know about. I feel like I’m still connected to a Wasband and things I suspect come to me in other ways.  The last attachment I have is a name. These are my struggles, and they are real. Perhaps they came to surface because this was a super-emotional week for me that ended in complete exhaustion (all levels).  Or maybe it’s due to an end to several things over the next couple of weeks.  These are chapters coming to an end.  There’s a life coming to a close.  I am looking at two final chapters of my life.  I need to rise above.  I need to stare at my sticky note on my desktop monitor that still reads, “YOU CAN DO THIS.”

 

you got this

 

 

Taking a Leap and Enduring

Taking a Leap and Enduring

14 May 2017

 

Happy Mother’s Day to any mothers reading this.  Happy Mother’s-to be Day!  My sister is a MTB, and they are equally important because they are still caring for a child.

I was at graduation on Saturday.  It was a day to me, for me, and all about me.  Prior to leaving for the ceremony, I was unwrapping my stole, cords, and charms to add to my cap and gown ensemble.  I was thinking about these next four weeks.  What I told myself was that I am finishing as a Hellinger.  This lead to taking another leap on Saturday.  It was time.  I took my last ring off.  A rush of liberation overwhelmed me.  I felt a little bit of freedom; a little because I’m not completely free yet, but it’s coming.  This was a giant leap because it meant that I am ready.  Ready for: new things, changes (big and small); and a new life.  However, I still feel a little disjointed.  There are scattered thoughts.   I am not my normal self.  In fact, normal doesn’t exist.  Eventually, there will be a new normal, but I’m not there yet.  These were thoughts running amok yesterday as I sat in my seat feeling the ridges on my left ring finger.  I hid my hand under my program to avoid thinking about things that were not the focus of me and my day.

I was sitting on the arena floor with peers in the MA Liberal Arts program at SNHU.  There were some dynamic speakers.  The keynote speaker for our school (COCE and CFA) spoke about where she’s been, how she got there and what she went through during her time as a student, a single mother, and working full-time.  The University President said he loved speaking to this particular school because students are from all over the world (one student was from Tuscany, Italy).  We are the ones who are studying late hours, after work, after families; we are the students sacrificing “small and big moments” to better ourselves.  Importantly, we arrived at this point because we have family and friends to support us.  I’ve been saying this all along.  My family and friends have supported me in various aspects of my life and my education.  I have sacrificed evening gatherings, and more to stay at home and get my assignments turned in.  I have sacrificed weekends on the golf course.  I have sacrificed dinners, lunches, and more because I needed to read a novel in 24 hours, write 5,000 words within a week; or had to do some research that kept me in the virtual library hours after work.  This sacrifice is priceless.  Family, friends, activities, events, and the golf course will still be there once I am done.

The speaker understands what it means for all of us to endure; she spoke about this.  We are functioning beyond.  I have no choice but to endure this chaos while finishing my education.  I can smile and laugh through the deep pain, tremendous hurt and invisible scars (already forming), and many would not even know how out of control (literally and figuratively) my life is currently.

Natalie has to endure trial and error to realize why she can’t wake up from her coma.  How does she do it?  You’ll have to read the book.   I have to finish the last 5,000 words week 7!  That’s it!  The last 5,000 words.  Then it will be time to edit once again, and prepare for my thesis completion.

Thinking ahead, I am determined to endure numerous rejections when I begin to submit my manuscript to agents/editors/publishers.  Empowerment and enduring are just two themes in my thesis.  I have endured some of the worst storms and darkest of days and nights.  I have grown more resilient through this mess.  I will be okay once I move beyond a few more obstacles.  I know I am not done taking small and giant leaps.  This is the power of positive thinking.

Both the University President and the speaker told us, as graduates, to take time to “soak it all in.”  I have been, and even reminded myself today to soak it all in.  Those smiles, laughs and memories I spoke about in my post the other day?  They happened because I let them. I embraced the moments.  I can’t seem to get enough, but it’s good enough for now.  Leaping, soaking, enduring, and embracing.

 

it's not about you anymore

Aunt Jude puts rose wreath on me18519065_1657516264276853_718103114_o

Respect

Respect

9 May 2017

 

Since this whole mess started, I have been disrespected.  I was disrespected during a phone call to Japan, by someone who loved me…or so I thought.  Immediately upon his return to the United States, he continued to disrespect me and our marriage.  It hasn’t stopped.

After being stripped down and thrown into a numbing coma, I remained still during a temporary order.  It angered, and hurt me, knowing the opposing party (OP) was off spending time and our money on a fantasy that is bound to crash and burn at some point.  Don’t worry-this is not the post where an expected bout of Tourette’s (Whore. Adulterer.) appears.

I trudged through the broken pieces of something we constructed together, crumbled and scattered all over the ground.  The only thing I wanted to do was to escape.  Escape.  Get away for three days.  That’s all I wanted.  Take off to Disneyland, get away from this mess, and have the freedom to be myself and enjoy my company.  Escape for three days.  It didn’t seem like it was that hard to fulfill.  On the contrary, it was extremely complicated and didn’t happen.

I began the process back in January because it was my proclamation to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is not okay, and I told you this was not okay.”  I have too much respect for myself to be dragged around, even though the OP’s behavior imitates this, I control it by setting up boundaries and walls. I am the primary concern, and I have more self-respect because I was strong to take a stand.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to spend time near a beach.  It was exhilarating!  I called it my self-care weekend. I didn’t realize how badly I needed it.  I only had to make decisions for myself.  I didn’t need to consult anyone’s caIendar.  It was me, time, the world, the sun, and the sand.  I wasn’t scoffed at for having too many glasses of wine.  I wasn’t ridiculed for enjoying mimosas with friends at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Having the freedom to answer only to myself was exactly what the doctor ordered.  It was liberating.  I had spent five days surrounded by more friends─people who genuinely care for me and respect me─and it was the perfect ending before I headed back home.

I officially ended the five weeks of my education with a deeper tan, and a little more blonde.  I arrived home to be greeted by my lovable, four-legged furry dog, “my little rock.”  A friend had picked him up earlier in the day, and I was so thankful she did this for me. It was great to return home, my first real trip away since this mess began, being greeted at the front door with his tail wagging furiously.  He has been my shadow ever since.

This is another big thesis writing week.   I began writing this next segment in some of the best environments I’ve been accustomed to for years: writing in airports and hotels; writing in the sun; writing outside.  This is the big chapter, and you all know Natalie goes into a coma.  I am not going to give any spoilers at this point because it ruins the fun of reading the entire story.  This is where the story is going to grab the reader, make them hang on the edge of their seat, as the story plunges to the denouement.

This is also graduation week.  Because I finish in June, I can walk for graduation!  I have my cap and gown, my stole, charm and cords from the National Society for Leadership and Success; my cord from Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society); I was given honorary cords from the NMT Society of Petroleum Engineers Student Chapter that I will also proudly wear.  For the first time, I am going to decorate my cap!  I have ideas, just need to buy the supplies now.

Another week is planned for self-care, respecting myself, and doing things for myself.  I am also thrilled that I will be spending this weekend with my family.  The anchor keeping me grounded as I floated.  My self-care program requires that I make time for myself, do the things I love (and missed) doing.  Family and friends are huge components.  Without them, some of my days and nights would have been a lot darker.  The best part-we are kind human beings and respect each other; how it’s intended to be.

Time to return to my thesis.  Natalie needs to become a stronger character, so I need to spend some time with her.  The world is waiting for this one, and the next novel to follow, post-degree.

 

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