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Monday, June 26, 2017

A letter to my love...

I know I'm not easy to love.

I have a dark past that will always haunt me and demons that will always try to consume me.

I'm a constant over-thinker and I often get lost in the deep and dusty corners of my head.

I wear my heart on my sleeve; so I'm a bundle of emotion and feelings. I try to be hard and strong but my softness always prevails and exposes all of my vulnerabilities.  

I am filled with insecurity. No matter how hard I try imperfection is ingrained.

I struggle to communicate. Words seem to always fail me when I need them most.

I'm constantly in need of love and security which makes me more fragile than I want to be and hurt easier than I care to admit.

I am wild and chaotic and rarely slow down. I am everything that is hard to handle and even though try I almost always fail. I am flawed and I am broken and I have a messy soul but I promise I am worth it.  I will rejoice in you and I will love you with everything I have. I will love you with more passion and intensity than you have ever known. I will take care of you and give myself completely to you. I will stand by you through every mood and storm. I will love you, laugh with you and fight for you every day for the rest of our lives.



Sincerely,


Your own personal storm..


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Divorce

I have always told myself I would put up with anything to keep my boys from being products of a broken home. But, here I am sitting in a house with empty bedrooms and deafening silence while my boys are spending the night at their dads. I did exactly what I told myself I wouldn't when I brought the boys into the world, I made them children of divorce.

I, myself, was a child who grew up in a broken home; always spending holidays bouncing around between homes. I would spend weekends carrying my belongings back and forth, and nights where I never really felt like I belonged with this family that was sitting down to dinner with their own routines. I survived it, grew into a well rounded person and looking back I really don't feel any lasting effects. But, I have the memories and the feelings of being split in two and listening to parents talk about and the other and it was not fun.

Researching studies and statistics, I always read how resilient divorce makes the children. And, maybe that is why I have lived through the turmoil I have and came out a happy and, for the most part, sane individual. But, I just never wanted my boys to have to live their lives between two homes.
BUT, life sometimes throws you a curve ball or twenty and you have to make decisions that are best for your children. During the initial split, I did what I could to shield the boys from the drama and chaos that was happening around them, but I know they knew what was happening. The day I told them was incredibly hard, and I tried my best to hold it together but I was so scared and felt guilty for what their life was going to be like. I felt like I had failed.

Fast forward a year later and the dust has finally started to settle. There are weeks and months where co-parenting goes seamless, the schedules sync up and there is peace. The are, no matter how hard I try though, times when old wounds bust open and their dad and I are back to the volatile conversations that were commonplace before. But, I see a rainbow through the storm. I can slowly see the rhythm that is developing and the happiness that has seeped out of the war-zone that was their previous life. Finally, at the end of a year with more tears shed and more changes than our lives have had, there is happiness and discovery. I have discovered so many things about myself and my children that I would have never known if not for this past year.

Now I know, I am not alone. I no longer have to parent and do everything on my own. Because of the divorce the boys have a father who is involved and a part of their lives more than ever before. No matter how bad things were before and can be, loving those boys is something we agree on.

I am a better parent. I appreciate the days they are home and I spend those days making the time with them count. I don't say maybe later or I'm busy, instead we have conversations and adventures because the time with them is precious.

There is laughter and stability. The boys now have a home where there is kind words and laughter. They see love everyday and it shows in the way they behave.

There are no more tears and angry words. The fights are over and the boys never again have to comfort their mom after a knock down drag out fight with their dad. Those memories can fade away and hopeful be replaced with new happy ones.

I have stopped sweating the small stuff. I have realized what matters in my life and what doesn't. The unimportant things and stuff beyond my control I don't worry about anymore.

I have found my strength. Before the divorce, I was meek and had no fight left in me. After the marriage apocalypse, I am strong, I have a voice and I am not afraid.

I'm not saying divorce is a good thing, because after this past year and everything I have been through it is one of the hardest things I have endured. Divorce has created scars that will run deep and maybe never even heal but at the end of all the darkness, there is light. The boys are happy and loved and I have learned that no matter how hard we try as parents, we sometimes fall short. We can't protect them from every situation and every hurt, but we can do what's best for them. That's what I did and what I continue to do.  I made the decision knowing it was going to be hard, but staying in a volatile and hateful home would have been worse. So, I will continue to love them and fight for them. I will continue to teach them love and hopefully raise two good men who are capable and compassionate. I have put the past behind me and relieved my old life is behind me. I hope with time, the bad memories fade but until they do,  I will focus on making new ones. For the first time, I am excited for the future.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Pride

So, this year was my first Pride.

I felt like it was some kind of rite of passage that I attend, so I bought my rainbow socks and matching shirt and went. I can't say that I really knew what to expect because, I had no clue. I knew there would be a lot of rainbow flags and acceptance.



I spent the entire time just people watching.  I was trying to process everything I was seeing. I don't think I have seen so many different walks of life in one area for one common purpose; acceptance. It was a beautiful thing.

My entire life I have avoided judgment the best I could because I have never felt like judgment does anything but hurt. I grew up in an orthodox type of protestant denomination and it seemed like judgment was a big part of the culture. The Wednesday evening service in my young mind sounded more like an assessment of who was wearing what and who had cut their hair or put mascara on before church. Those memories of judgment and finger pointing sticks out the most from a childhood of playing toys under the pews. I never remembered feeling acceptance and love in a building that spent the better part of a Sunday preaching love and acceptance. I thought a lot about that while I was watching crowds of people who probably don't see a whole lot of love and acceptance.

I have been to so many different kinds of denominations, churches and religious communities searching for something. I have studied religion in college and in my own personal life and I always end up leaving with disappointment. I never feel sincerely and whole heartily accepted. Even before I was out of the closet, I rarely felt like I had found genuine acceptance. I have read the bible in many different versions and heard it preached so many different ways. I know there are a million interpretations and scholars who believe in different words for different references in the bible. But, no matter what version or interpretation, the one thing I believe and know to be true is that the bible preaches love and acceptance over hate and judgment. So then, why is it so hard to love your neighbor as yourself?

When I first came out, I knew being from the south and growing up in the bible belt I would hear so many accusations and questions and be prayed for more times than I could count, all of that's fine. I, more than anyone, have no problem with how someone believes. I have always been an admirer of faith. I think faith is so very important to the human condition. Faith is something that people spend a good part of their lives searching for and following without ever really questioning or seeking individual knowledge. I think most people spend their lives listening to someone else's version of faith and basing their own on beliefs upon that. When you do that though, you're doing a disservice to yourself. Faith is an amazing thing but human beings have had their hands on the institution so long, biases have been molding faith. Now it's what we see it as today, an excuse to hate and murder and isolate people. Faith should be the complete opposite. Whether it's Christianity or Buddhism or any other faith, the bottom line is all the same. We should love and be kind. No religion I have studied instructs humans to go out and judge one another and isolate others. If there is, please let me know and I will apologize for that false statement.

Instead, I believe whole heartily faith is about loving others, despite and because of their differences. Look at Christianity, the book of 1st Corinthians 13; no matter what good acts you do or things you say you do none of it means a single thing without love. The bible says this in a lot of different ways yet, judgment and harsh words are picked out and thrown at others and that makes me sad. I have known so many good Christians who have said kind words to me since my coming out but there has been the opposite.

I know this post may be ignored or upsetting to some people, but it really weighed heavy on me while I was sitting at pride and seeing streets full of people who are isolated in their regular every day life because of who they love. Sadly I have learned, who you love dictates whether you are accepted or not or whether you are a point of discomfort for someone. I'm stunned how much loving another woman has had such an effect on others and how they communicate with me. I think it is mind blowing that I can be the same person I have always been yet I'm like this big elephant in the room around those I have known my whole life. I have never told anyone to stop talking to me or leave me alone. I knew coming out would open me up to all kinds of judgment, I'm fine with that. I would rather be out and happy than in a closet and stressing about what someone is going to think. I'm strong enough and loved enough by those who are important to me, to have no problem with what someone says about me or to me. I have no problem being the hot topic of a social event. I'm a grown up and my decisions are my own and no one else's. But with this post I just ask you to choose love over judgment. Please, take the time to educate yourselves. Read, research and maybe even ask someone. I know I would rather get an awkward question than finger points and hateful glances.

But, after sitting through my first Pride I decided I'm going to help advocate for those who are isolated, judged and hated. I have read and researched and found so many articles videos (click on the links) that could maybe help those who struggle with loving those who are different. I think just putting myself out there or maybe being a resource to someone who just is clueless may help. I don't have all of the answers and I'm not some sort of representative but I have come out of my own closet and I don't take offense to conservative Christian views, I came from the bible belt so maybe I can help someone from there or anywhere not feel alone. Maybe I can help someone who has a kid or relative that's out and they are struggling to show love. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching and researching, I may not have an answer but I would love to try and direct you to one. I am including a couple of links below for some wonderful videos and articles. None of these resources are hateful, they are all loving and just a different perspective if you're interested.

Ted talk video

Believe me when I say, I have so much more on this topic to share! Thank you if you got this far for taking the time read my thoughts and opinions, because they are MY thoughts and opinions.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Broken

To love someone who has been broken is a brave thing to do.

We have lived a life most know nothing about.

To the broken; love is a scary and volatile concept. Love isn't sunshine and roses but thorns and monsoons.

To the broken; yelling and raised voices are a part of a typical conversation and something we are accustomed to.

To the broken; threats are as common as a hello. Fear of retaliation and consequences has made us hesitant to assert ourselves or lead in any way.

To the broken; we know fear. Being scared and afraid was daily life.

To the broken; everything is a manipulation. Words have a double meaning and sweetness was never as it seemed. Therefore, preparation for the worst case scenario is second nature.

To the broken; hurtful words and name calling are typical. To be called a name or insulted is a customary part of disagreements.

To the broken; guilt is a feeling we deal with daily. We think guilt is just a fact of life and because of that we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and then ask for more.

To the broken, jealousy is commonplace. It is our fault someone looks our way; we dress too provocatively in our tank tops to draw others in on purpose. To not need approval for clothing or conversations is a brand new concept.

To the broken, an apology is everything. When things have been at their worst an apology has always been how it's repaired. No matter what damage was done, an emotional band aid was always administered and things were good as new.

To the broken, your mood and actions are studied. A simple bad mood can become huge in our heads. Anticipating looks and dispositions have always been how we survive each day. Being willing to bend and be compliant meant we could make it peacefully through a day.

We are not easy to love. I commend every single soul who has tried or loves someone who has been abused.  There are days when things are normal and the cracks and holes don't show. You can't imagine what years of emotional abuse can do to you inside and out. You can't imagine the lies you will tell, the things you overlook simply because you want to be loved so badly. The broken are the ones who have been through hell but made it out.

 Being broken can be beautiful and strong.

We have been torn down and built back up and endured more than most and despite that or maybe because of that, we are resilient. We love with everything we have. We appreciate the tender touches, the loving words and the simple kindness.

For as long as I can remember, I have longed for a life I had control of. I wanted to wake up every morning and be excited for my life. I wanted to feel strong and happy. I wanted to seek adventure and discover new things. I wanted to feel alive. After so many years, and making decisions that were not my own or made out of fear and desperation, I am living a life I have control of. Because of my choices, I get to wake up every day to a woman who genuinely loves and who has seen my shattered pieces and took glue to each and every single one of them to piece me back together. She has given me a voice in my relationship and makes me feel equal, something I have never felt before. She gave me the strength to ask her to marry me.  I had never been in control of my life in such a way before and she could have said no but, she gave me that choice. She isn't threatened by my strength; she celebrates it. She doesn't speak to me as a child; her words are always filled with love and kindness.

She loves me as I am, pieces and all.