The picture says it all

lent

My father is Lutheran and my mother is Catholic, so sometime before I was born it was decided that I would be brought up Catholic and attend Catholic school. I wore the very fashionable plaid school uniforms till 8th grade and was lectured by nuns time and time again when my skirt was not of proper length, not only did I attend church on Sundays but a couple of times during the week as well; joys of going to Catholic school!, Ash Wednesday was always a big to do, next to Christmas ….. my classmates (all 30 of them) and I would compare “ash marks” to see whose was bigger and discuss what we were going to give up for the next forty days. It was always the same “I’m giving up being mean to my sister” or “I’m not going to drink soda” …….midway through the Lenten season all was forgotten and I would slip, but then get reminded that I was going to hell because not only was I weak and couldn’t make the 40 days but due to my disgust for anything seafood I would end up eating something with meat on Fridays.

I remember sitting at the dinner table as a young girl hearing my father excuse my carnivorous rebellion to my mother, stating that eating fish on Fridays during Lent was due to some pope (back in the day) helping out the fishing industry therefore making eating fish acceptable. The case he presented made sense,  why wouldn’t I believe him? granted he was the one who also convinced me that fish had ears and if I made a sound while fishing I would scare away all the fish; to a naïve little girl this made sense.

As I got older this “Church-fishing industry conspiracy” always got the best of me and little ole me would go one on one with the head strong nuns when I would show up to school with a salami sandwich on Fridays….I always lost, of course. As an adult I’m still very curious, my dad wasn’t the only one that shared their Fishy Theory, it was almost like a made for television CSI movie. Was there some medieval Pope who had a hankering for fish and declared it to be the go to meal during Lent? either way, I’m still not eating it.

AND…. yes I do know that the purpose of Lent is for prayer, penance, repentance of sins, atonement and self-denial. We also are told to sacrifice something for forty days…..my question is why does this “something” have to be food or of material value. I’ve read so many posts on Facebook stating that they are giving up the internet, fast food, wine, bread, clothes shopping, soda etc. What’s wrong with giving up being inpatient, manipulative,unfaithful, self-righteous for forty days? instead of losing your cool and yelling….work on holding your tongue for forty days.  (Jesus did sacrifice more than just a loaf of bread for you right?)

Is it easier to “sacrifice” and go without your favorite Starbucks coffee than to actually come face to face with something within yourself that is your own personal down fall like anger issues, low self-esteem, gossiping and stopping your bad behavior for forty days? can you imagine how your life would be forty days from now if you were able to give up yelling, or being inpatient, or cheating on your spouse or being a doormat for a bully to walk all over. Sure it will be tough, of course you will have to be on your toes making sure you don’t fall….but isn’t sacrifice suppose to be hard? once all is done YOU will have found your own inner strength to get past your struggles, you would have fought those inner demons and in the end have found inner peace.

What’s better than that?

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I felt like I was knee deep in high school drama again

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Last night I received a text from one of my dear friends, Marie (otherwise known as “The Maid of Dishonor”) I could tell by the tone of her message that she needed a little assistance to climb down off the ledge that her over active mind helped her up get up on.

“Omg, I’m going to blow!!! He never got rid of these. Are you freaking kidding me?, he’s still following these girls on Facebook. There’s at least ten of them”

The girls she is talking about are of a slutty nature  for example, Jenna Renee ..she sent me a screen shot of one of the women he’s following.

“This is a deal breaker” she said.

Instead of fueling the fire and climbing on the ledge with her, I decided that I wasn’t going to sugar coat things for her. She can’t control who he “follows” on Facebook ….she should know this by now and for heaven sakes it’s Facebook.

“You can’t control who he follows, he’s not liking them outright, he’s human, this is a small issue, nothing to get on his case about, YOU’RE DATING.  He stopped liking those scandalous pictures on his Instagram which updated to his Facebook page when you told him that you felt disrespected ….which it was considering you are helping him brand his image”

I knew she had snooped ….. nothing good ever comes from snooping.

“I disagree. I told him it bothers me and at this point it’s a matter of respect. We have been talking about getting married and this is pretty much a deal breaker. This is a red flag, I’m following my gut on this one”

I felt myself getting overly anxious, I told her she was being ridiculous and before she does anything stupid to really think about what she is doing. She has a habit of “self sabotaging” her relationships…..picking something small out and making it into a Mount Everest situation.  This man wasn’t her ex boyfriend who are a total pig – this man was the total opposite, he made her and her children a priority, he adores her, he isn’t about the drama or the scandalous lifestyle like her exes were.  I mentioned to her that she was letting her insecurities eat her alive, that if this bothered her so much to tell him in a matter of fact way, don’t bite his freakin head off. She already scared him enough with the whole Instagram debacle….shit she made the guy cry!!!! I also reminded her that he probably followed these girls way before she was even in the picture.

“I am very careful with what I put out there because of my job and the fact that I’m friends with clients and other parents, I don’t want to be linked to a guy I’m dating/potentially going to marry that follows a slew of sluts and secondly he uses FB to promote his business…he’s asking me to stand behind his image and brand but this is just trashy and creepy”.

I had a feeling she had an army of girlfriends fueling this man bashing session and I was the only one brave enough to tell her that she was not seeing clearly.

“It’s not like you are running for some government office, no one is going to dig that deep into who you are dating especially to see who he follows. Marie, you are so worried about him crossing the line or how others may see him but you can’t tell me that you don’t put on some extra charm while you are out at these black tie parties and red carpet events. You flirt….do you think that’s ok? Do you think that you are portraying the right image? I’m just saying don’t condemn this man when you aren’t a saint yourself. You can’t control who he follows….plus if you make a big to do about it you are going to remind him of his insecure, jealous ex-wife” I told her.

“why are you saying I flirt, I wouldn’t disrespect him like that. I bring him everywhere” denial…..urgh. It was like talking to a brick wall.

I was exhausted. I wasn’t going to continue to try to reason with her when that’s not what she wants. She’s looking for a way out of this relationship and in typical Marie fashion she is going to pick this one thing and go with it.

“Marie, please don’t make any rash decisions, sleep on it…call your therapist in the morning…..but if you won’t and you break this off because of this “deal breaker” then I hope you stand behind your decision and not waffle….like you tend to do once the guy grovels at your feet, stand firm in your choice and move forward…don’t look back, which you ALWAYS tend to do….don’t fall weakness to your loneliness. Let your choice to end it be the end of your cycle of repeating years of relationship -will never do agains”

She didn’t respond. I knew she wouldn’t.  She doesn’t like hearing the truth….when someone else (her friend Michelle) is stirring the pot and egging on the drama.  It was then that I shook off the heaviness of the past ten minutes, I couldn’t allow her drama become mine.  I know that she won’t see reason until she is happy in her own skin. Drama is usually due to needing attention, when the attention isn’t totally on her she usually bolts, fearing rejection. Granted at times when I have given her advice she will listen and agree that it makes sense but in the end she won’t change.

Daily Prompt: Release me

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In today’s Daily Prompt, we are asked what post made us nervous to publish and how it felt to just set it free. I knew instantly the post(s) that made me second guess hitting the publish button, but as soon as I did I felt a giant weight lifted off my shoulders.

Back in August, there was a daily prompt called “The Open Letter” and I decided to write a letter to my twenty-something self. For myself, it’s always hard to go back to that place in time when life was just full of sadness and heartbreak…..but I had to. I guess I could have taken the easy way out and wrote a fun, silly letter to the people of Walmart, but I needed to do this for myself. It was time for this Valley Girl to get raw and to show those who read my blog a different side of myself.

Here’s my post  ” Open Letter to my twenty something self”

 

Dear Jolene,

I know you are in a dark place right now but please don’t give up. I know it would be such an easy fix to just end it all but you can’t. Don’t listen to that piece of shit ex-husband of yours when he says that the kids would be better off if you were no longer in their life. Don’t let his evilness plague you, it’s his own selfish need to reign on top in their eyes that keeps him going. Yes, he will continue to tell your children that you didn’t want anything to do with them but you know the truth and one day they will to. They will know that you cried for months before turning to him for help, you knew he might revel in the fact that you needed him; that you couldn’t make it on your own without his assistance but I know you thought he had changed you thought he was a better person than that. You believed him when he said that he was glad to help, plus it was time for him to get to know his children and be the father that they need.

I wish I could hold you through your pain and sadness but you did the right thing. You didn’t give up on your children, your decision to let your kids live with their father while you get it together was out of love for them. You knew him and his wife could offer them more than you could right now and to be surrounded by family would only create life long memories for them. They could offer them an abundance of love, daily laughter, holidays that they will remember, moments that they can treasure. You did the right thing trust me. Yes, it’s difficult to be without your children on a daily basis and that hole in your heart will only be temporary filled when you hear them on the other end of the phone or when you wrap your arms around them  and see their beautiful faces staring back at you.

You did this for them remember that. You will show them that with perseverance and faith that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Yes, you only make minimum wage and are working a crappy job but this will lead to so much more. Don’t give up please…..plus you don’t want him to win and you know he will feel vindicated and his words true if you give up. I know you hate the poison that he seeps into your children’s head but one day they will learn the truth, one day they will feel it in their heart that you did this for them and that your choices weren’t based on a selfish need.

Lessons you will learn and some lessons are big, but you need to realize that you are a lot stronger than you realize. You are not alone on this journey remember that, turn to God when you struggle he will pick you up. You will experience heartache, you will experience the endless desire to seek your parents approval which my dear will never come so please don’t make that a priority, live for your children, love but not too hard, yes protect that giving heart of yours but when that one special man comes around you will know……but it won’t be for sometime, A LONG TIME…..he will leave but God has a plan…just trust in him. Please.

I hope this finds you some peace. I’m not going to lie and sugar coat things because I know you hate that so I will say that it will be a tough road but it’s worth it in the end.

Remember, I love you

~~~~~~~~~~

The next day I still had ghosts that I needed to confront so I followed it up with this post “Knowing what I know now” and once the last word was typed I felt free of all the pinned up pain and fear that I have felt all these years.

 

 

Guest Blogger – How Stella DIDN’T get her groove back

Last week I totally forgot about posting a Guest Blogger post….my mind was elsewhere so I apologize. This weeks post comes from someone who is very special to me, she has done the dating scene way too many times to keep count and has many stories of failed relationships under her belt. When I first read her contribution I could only laugh because I remember “The Youngin” all too well. It was her first experience with being the older woman and if my memory serves me right, it was her last. (well if you don’t consider her brief summer tryst with the twenty-one year old hottie with the tongue ring)

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Let me take you back fourteen years ago

“Your sister can’t take a joke…..I got on her for double dipping and she took me seriously” He said laughing.

It was obvious that I wasn’t made out to be a matchmaker because my recent attempt to set my sister up with someone who had a career and a good head on his shoulders just went bust. She didn’t feel the love connection and mentioned that what he thought was funny, simply wasn’t.  “The Youngin” had a unique sense of humor, heck we got along so I thought he would be great for my sister considering they were around the same age, plus I was dating his roommate Andy who constantly reminded me how other women thought he looked like “Tom Cruise”….. “I don’t see it”, I’d constantly say.  Needless to say, me and “Tom Cruise” went bust as well.

My failed attempt to set my sister up with this young career minded twenty year old had a bit of a twist, the twist being that our innocent friendship turned into a relationship. I actually never saw it coming because I was six years older than him, divorced with children. Who knew he fancied older women?

He says our first kiss was at my house, I don’t remember. He says he asked permission before we had sex, I don’t remember that either. I’ll blame old age for these moments of forgetfulness.

I know that I really fell for “The Youngin” but that’s what he was, young. He had his whole life ahead of him and I knew that I wasn’t going to be part of his future, signs began to show themselves eight months into our relationship. Talks about moving to Colorado were more frequent, he planned to move to Colorado with his best friend to be part of the ski patrol. He would go to parties and head to bars without me, women would come to his apartment of course to hang out with his roommate but being an “experienced” woman I saw what he didn’t see…I saw the flirting,I saw the flirting with the women HIS age.

Jealousy and of course my insecurity raged it weary head . I remembered all too well the years I spent married to a man who lied, “flirted” and cheated. Somewhere in my head I wasn’t going to be a victim, I wasn’t going to allow this guy who had my heart to end up breaking it and of course breaking ME. It already hurt to see him socialize with his crowd, it hurt that I wasn’t part of his plans any longer,but why would I be?  “No one is going to want you when you have been divorced and have two kids” is what whispered to me while I watched on while standing in the doorway.  The man I had fallen for  was inching closer to the young brunette on the couch, laughing….her fingers inching close to his leg. He was oblivious but I knew her game. It was that night I shut down …..It was that night the wall came up,it was that night I said “two can play at this game” as I glanced down at the promise ring he had just given to me a few months earlier.

I started to go out with my co-workers,if he could play with his friends, so could I. Shit, I never claimed to be very wise at that age and looking back now that was a very dumb way to look at things. Honestly, I knew eventually he would leave me and live his well deserved life.I didn’t want to be alone, single and thirty (although 30 was a long ways away) so what better way to cope then to find a replacement.

That I did …………

In my heart the youngin and I were already over . He was moving on, he was leaving that winter. We were just playing a part. Wasting each others time and maybe somewhere I was hoping he would choose me instead of Colorado.

(The last evening) He said he had come over to bring me a gift, I don’t remember any gift. I remember we weren’t talking….I remember arguing with him over the phone, telling him not to come over. I remember not caring. The wall was up and I was hurt.

I called “Fill in” guy earlier that evening, we went out, drank….came back to my house.”Fill in” guy was my drug of choice to help me get over The Youngin. There was a knock at my door…(I didn’t answer) …it was The Youngin, he tried my garage door (it was locked). I remember being scared. All I remember from the night is that I called the cops. The wall was up. I was hurt….ING. “Fill-in guy” left the next morning.

Things were never the same with “The Youngin” and I after that. He said we stayed together for a while after. I remember nothing after that night.

Years later

“Move here with me” He said.

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I had been through too much. I no longer used “fill-ins”,I was already thirty. I was a mess. He deserved better, someone without all the drama, sadness and darkness. I was beaten down by endless heartbreaks and what I needed to do was get a handle on myself.

“We can start over, date” he said.

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I shut down. The wall came up. He wasn’t going to get back in. No man was ever going to hurt me again.

Years later (present day)

“I know I didn’t mean much to you back then just by how you recalled our relationship, thank you for the insight. Friends is what we will be”, he said.

He didn’t get it of course, he meant something to me. Not in the way he would have liked, but I respected him. If I hadn’t then during my dark days I would have moved in with him, played him because I could, I would have pretended to be someone who I wasn’t just so I could be with someone. I could have reverted back to bad habits and made him “Fill-in” Guy 2.0; a newer version of the men I used to choose to heal the wounds of my brokenness. I chose not to. I chose to beat the darkness on my own.

Daily Post : Open Letter to my twenty something self

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Dear Jolene,

I know you are in a dark place right now but please don’t give up. I know it would be such an easy fix to just end it all but you can’t. Don’t listen to that piece of shit ex-husband of yours when he says that the kids would be better off if you were no longer in their life. Don’t let his evilness plague you, it’s his own selfish need to reign on top in their eyes that keeps him going. Yes, he will continue to tell your children that you didn’t want anything to do with them but you know the truth and one day they will to. They will know that you cried for months before turning to him for help, you knew he might revel in the fact that you needed him; that you couldn’t make it on your own without his assistance but I know you thought he had changed you thought he was a better person than that. You believed him when he said that he was glad to help, plus it was time for him to get to know his children and be the father that they need.

I wish I could hold you through your pain and sadness but you did the right thing. You didn’t give up on your children, your decision to let your kids live with their father while you get it together was out of love for them. You knew him and his wife could offer them more than you could right now and to be surrounded by family would only create life long memories for them. They could offer them an abundance of love, daily laughter, holidays that they will remember, moments that they can treasure. You did the right thing trust me. Yes, it’s difficult to be without your children on a daily basis and that hole in your heart will only be temporary filled when you hear them on the other end of the phone or when you wrap your arms around them  and see their beautiful faces staring back at you.

You did this for them remember that. You will show them that with perseverance and faith that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Yes, you only make minimum wage and are working a crappy job but this will lead to so much more. Don’t give up please…..plus you don’t want him to win and you know he will feel vindicated and his words true if you give up. I know you hate the poison that he seeps into your children’s head but one day they will learn the truth, one day they will feel it in their heart that you did this for them and that your choices weren’t based on a selfish need.

Lessons you will learn and some lessons are big, but you need to realize that you are a lot stronger than you realize. You are not alone on this journey remember that, turn to God when you struggle he will pick you up. You will experience heartache, you will experience the endless desire to seek your parents approval which my dear will never come so please don’t make that a priority, live for your children, love but not too hard, yes protect that giving heart of yours but when that one special man comes around you will know……but it won’t be for sometime, A LONG TIME…..he will leave but God has a plan…just trust in him. Please.

I hope this finds you some peace. I’m not going to lie and sugar coat things because I know you hate that so I will say that it will be a tough road but it’s worth it in the end.

Remember, I love you

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