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30 Days of Truth, Day 5

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move

Something you hope to do in your life.

I hope to get the hell out of the small town I’ve been stuck in for my entire life.

Shared custody has determined that I continue to reside in the same damn small town I grew up in. I love my children, and it was a happy sacrifice for many years… but I’m in the home stretch. My eldest daughter is in high school and when she graduates, we are both set free.

I’m counting the days until I can throw my snow shovel in the trash along with my Idaho plates. I appreciate the childhood I was blessed with, and the safety I was able to raise children in.

But.

Who’s a girl gotta blow for an entire day of strangers? I realize that sounds a wee bit dramatic, but I would give a kidney to grocery shop, anonymously. I can’t even imagine the joy.

My Uncle recently relocated from Los Angeles, and listening to him talk about the traffic is hilarious.

F- I drove home at 9 o’clock on a Saturday night and didn’t see another fucking soul. Not a headlight from here to Canada. That’s when I realized I really did move to a quiet town.

He’s not exaggerating, and it wont be his last quiet drive home.

People complain aloud that I wouldn’t like Oregon because “it rains too much”, but its grey here from about December 1st- March 20th, which marks the beginning of mud season. I can’t plant safely outdoors, until May 15th at the earliest, and my garden has never frosted later than October 15th. It’s beautiful for a very small amount of time, and during the many cold, grey months… everyone has far too much time on their hands to discuss everyone elses business.

Seasonal restaurant business means half of the year, I live paycheck to paycheck. More like shift to shift, as a server, since the federal tipped minimum wage has not increased in 25 years. The closest college is further than I’m willing to risk driving in the winter as a single parent, but the second we escape this educational vacuum, I’m enrolling in school. I’m very good at what I do, but I count the seconds until I never have to take another drink order or hear about someone’s gluten intolerance.

History isn’t always helpful. Imagine how bad it sucks to constantly run into the same perverted creep you’ve been avoiding since high school, only to realize he has sons your daughters age. That’s my reality, and one I will not miss.

I want a museum, a college, a city library and a sea of unfamiliar faces. A fresh start in a strange place full of strangers. Ahhh.

I hope we are home sweet home somewhere else, in 3 years.

30 Days of Truth, Day 4

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Something you have to forgive someone for.

When I realized my relationship was imploding, I was also hit with the stark realization that I would be giving birth without a partner. I tried to get around my feelings every which way, because I felt like he deserved to be there… but there was so much hurt and disappointment between us, that I knew I had to prepare for the possibility that he would not.

My best friend, assured me that I was not alone, and insisted it would be just fine either way. I asked her if she’d be my coach and she agreed with a hug.

The blessed event was a short one, with my sweet baby born in the space of an hour. I realized I was having light contractions around 7 pm, called everyone to tell them I thought I was in labor at 9 and she was born at 10:50. It was a walk in the park compared to the 24 hours it took me to deliver my firstborn, but it they don’t call it labor for nothing.

Adjusting to life with a newborn, as a single parent, is something else. I wish I could go into detail, but sleep deprivation has a way of erasing your memories. Sadly enough, it took the same toll on my friendship with my best friend. She told me she was traumatized from the birth, which is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. I treasure each of my children’s births and the last was the easiest.

It ruined our friendship. She stopped coming around, and I removed her from my social media because it annoyed me to see her enjoy the pictures but be otherwise missing in action. I miss her still, and can’t say I understand any more today than I did then.

I’m ashamed to admit how hard it is to forgive her. I suppose I held her to a higher standard than my baby’s father. I knew it would be hard, but I knew I could raise the baby alone. I didn’t know if I could do it without her, and I never dreamed I would have to.

I’m doing alright, if I do say so myself, and I learned something really important in the process of flying solo. I wasn’t just picking the wrong guy to date- I was allowing people into my life that didn’t respect or appreciate me. My picker was broken and I was accepting what life dropped at my door, because I didn’t have the courage to ask for what I wanted.

I forgive her for being a shitty friend when I needed her the most, I wish her all the happiness I’ve always wished for her… and a nice long labor. 🙂

fairweather

30 Days of Truth, Day 3.

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forgiveness

Something you have to forgive yourself for.

I’ve wracked my brain for days because I have a million somethings, with the most significant being intensely private. I can think of a few dozen, but here are two of the most significant.

*For not being the perfect mother my children deserve.

It’s the least they deserve, seeing as they have been the children I always dreamed of. I’ve come a long way in the nearly 21 years I’ve been a mother, but will always feel the worst for my firstborn, who had to learn alongside me. He was born a few months shy of my 19th birthday and I had all the bullheaded stubbornness of any girl that age, exacerbated by 38 weeks of judgmental glances at my naked ring finger. I wanted to be a mother more than anything else, and I would set out to raise a superhero. I read to him day and night, and he was writing his own name and learning to read by the time he was 3 1/2. People raved about his perfect behavior, extensive vocabulary and sweet disposition. Poor kid… he deserves a week with the soft & easygoing mom I’ve learned to be. I’ve learned to buy the silly unhealthy cereal they really want, because nobody dies and nobody gives you a medal for eating that fruit-juice-sweetened cardboard. Also, nobody enjoys that shit. Lucky Charms may be unhealthy, but they are also magically delicious.

*For not being the fabulous wife of a happy man.

I too, thought I’d live happily ever after, +1. I’m grateful for my single life, but I also know that I’m a wonderful partner, and happiest when I have someone to care for & love. It’s the human condition and I am just as vulnerable as anyone else. Maybe I should be in a loving relationship, but I’m pretty damn satisfied watching what I want to watch on Netflix, while knitting in yoga pants and my favorite ugly sweatshirt.

I’ve made a million mistakes in my life, but the experience I gleaned from those failures is what enabled me to survive. Without having learned the hard way, I would never have known I was capable of thriving under the harshest circumstances.

I forgive myself for not always having all the answers, and for the moments I didn’t have a clue. I’m still learning. 🙂

30 Days of Truth, Day 2

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settle

Something you love about yourself.

I love that I refuse to settle for less than I want, need and deserve. Finally.

Going through a breakup during the last month of my pregnancy and the subsequent battle that followed, changed me irrevocably. I think in the early days of our relationship falling apart, I was exhausted, still gardening an acre and overdue with an 8 1/2 pound baby. He hadn’t called once over the winter and the distance had grown between us while we fought about parenting philosophy and vaccines via text message. I was uncomfortable, hot and irritated by everything. Most of all: his lack of effort.

We went from crazy in love, to always at odds and completely disconnected. We both realized that we didn’t really know each other at all, and that we weren’t really excited about the facts on the ground. I’d quit smoking and he hadn’t. The smell of his cigars drove me nuts. I broke up with him and figured he’d take it seriously, quit for good and beg me to change my mind.

Not quite.

He accepted my decision & began dating, and we went to war over the baby. It was a bad time for all of us and I’m relieved every single day that it’s not like it used to be.

Most of all, I’m thankful every day that we didn’t settle for each other.

It’s been wonderfully hard and terrifying at times, but I didn’t walk through all those fires or slay all those damn dragons, to sit on the couch next to an unhappy stranger and watch my life trudge by.

I did not survive, just to settle.

Neither of us had survived unhappy relationships to land in the unhappily ever after that our relationship had become. I will accept the blame for the breakup if I’m simultaneously credited with the second chance at happiness that it provided.

I love that I had the strength to walk away for all of us; regardless of the fallout, and that I have learned to make my happiness as much a priority as anyone else’s.Finally.

It’s only taken 40 years.

compromise

30 days of truth, revisited. Day 1.

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Because why not?

I did the 30 days of truth blog series exactly 5 years ago, and decided I’d do them again to clear out the cobwebs and hopefully to see a little personal growth.

Prepare to be less aroused, more annoyed and maybe… just maybe… a little proud of me.

I strive to be.

Day 1. Something you hate about yourself.

I don’t HATE anything… so let me start right there. I have plenty I’d like & need to change, but the beauty of approaching the big 4-0, is that I’ve learned to love myself in all my perfect imperfection.

I am repulsed at some of my choices, and ashamed that I felt so badly about myself for so long. I hate that it reflects so clearly in the repugnant men I allowed to occupy my time. I hate that I invited, encouraged and even glorified the bad behavior from those same bottom feeders. I hate that I had such little self respect, that I believed I was worth so little and readily accepted so much less than I deserved. I hate that I thought I needed a man to love me, in order to be happy. I could not have been more wrong.

But the thing I hate most about myself, is that I lose sleep over the things I cannot change, nightly.

I come from a long line of insomniac worry-warts and frankly, the worst times in my life were the times I wasn’t worrying enough… so I’ll consider my constant lack of sleep as good sign.

worry

Along the way…

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uv

I’ve been silent… and just plain exhausted, for two years. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in my own head and stopped writing. Having my words held against me during my custody battle, stole the joy out of blogging.

I’m really sad that I’m missing those two precious years from my journal. Regardless of the very public nature of my blog, it keeps the significant moments in my life that run together in the daily chaos, somewhere I can find them. The struggle of single parenthood means you spend twice as much time doing, and half as much time reminiscing. Blogging has allowed me to do both.

I burn the candle from both ends at an Olympic level. Last week, it caught up with me. I’d been up for 3 solid days and nights with a sick toddler, and our entire world was peppered with vomit, diarrhea and snot. Hers and my own. We were a hot mess, literally. Flu, my ass… I’m pretty sure we had the plague.

And I needed to wash diapers. FML.

Sneezing, coughing and struggling to throw the wet bag full of ungodly-smelling diapers into the washer… whilst sterilizing jars in preparation to can chili and black beans, because I STILL have tomatoes from the garden this summer.

Oy vey… I had to sit down and laugh/cry… because this was certainly not the Happy Ever After I envisioned when I fell in love with her father.

I wasn’t all wrong about her Dad. He helps in the ways he can from a few states away. He lets her live the life of a normal kid, and not one forever split between two parents that wanted her more than they ended up wanting each other. It’s not her fault that we aren’t together, and I’m thankful her life isn’t fractured on a weekly basis. He got engaged this fall, to a woman that suits him perfectly. They’re a happy couple and he’s a father to her three kids. All is well that ends well… aka: I work hard to bite my tongue. I lose my temper and text war breaks out every now and then, because while his not being here allows her to live a normal life and I’m grateful, she also deserves to have her dad around.

After the most recent argument, I spent a little time cleaning up my blog and deleting random mindless crap from the past few years. Reading back through the blogs I wrote is always good for a healthy reminder of why things are the way they are. I don’t always like to read back, but it always reminds me that once upon a time, I thought he was the one. I’m glad I wrote about it because it reminds me not to be a bitch to him, now most of the time.

I do believe my ten days two years of puke, mucous and shit entitle me to a little righteous indignation, but my 39 years should also grace me with enough maturity to be kind. I’m grateful that I gushed embarrassingly then, so that I can remember now to not say what does not NEED to be said.

I’ve learned a lot by being quiet. Leaving something unsaid is far more powerful than having the last word, and given how short life is, I sincerely hope that the words I leave with people on a daily basis, are kind.

Except Thomas Murray. That guy can still go fuck himself.

Disenchantment.

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image

I’m disappointed in people these days. My job is taking a toll on me and I hate to sound like an old lady… but people rarely have respect or manners any more. I’m disenchanted. It sucks. I like seeing the good in people and it’s getting increasingly more difficult.

I’ve come to the conclusion that working with the public is basically prostitution without the touching. Every time I smile and nod yes when a customer snaps their fingers or shakes their glass at me, part of my soul dies. Every time someone demeans or disrespects me because a) their food is taking too long b) they’ve had a few drinks or c) they’re just an asshole, I lose a piece of the strong woman I’ve worked so hard to become.

I had a table of seven last night. All early 20’s. 5 men, two women. All of them drinking, somewhat heavily. As a server, I pay close attention to this type of situation because I am liable if they are over served and people of that age group (in my experience) tend to drink more recklessly than others. The douchebag at the end of the table confirms my fears immediately by ordering a double Jack on the rocks, and a Coors Light. We don’t actually sell Coors Light on our menu, but our sister restaurant next door does, so I let him know I’ll have to grab one from next door, and I drop off his glass of whiskey. The beer follows a second later as I found one in the cooler. Ten minutes later, he orders another round. I give my manager the heads up that he’s on his second double and second beer. I can’t find a damn Coors light, and stop to check in with them to let him know I’m going to grab one from next door when he interrupts me, mouth full and eyes on his plate.

DB- My beer. Get that… and it’s been a while, so I’m not paying for it.

The entire table burst into laughter, and I walked away. I dropped their check and let my manager handle it from there on out. At a certain point? Enough is enough. I can only hold my tongue and allow people to be rude to me, for so long. Even when it’s busy and we’re making $35 an hour taking the abuse with a smile. I had a regular customer order a shot of tequila last week and when I delivered it with a lime, he acted like he was going to throw it at me and I flinched. He laughed. I’m still horrified that 1. He thinks its even ok to joke about throwing something at me, and 2. That I laughed it off after flinching instinctively.

As you do when someone throws something at you.

These are the moments that I shake my head at myself in disbelief. I don’t know what comes over people when they walk into a restaurant, but it isn’t pretty, and it’s only gotten uglier.

Would someone ever snap their fingers at workers at the DMV? Good luck with that. I doubt the response would be favorable and I guarantee it wouldn’t be in the ballpark of what mine is to a customer snapping at me for another beer.

Would you ever walk into the phone company and announce that it’s your birthday, in expectation that they give you a free days worth of service? People regularly complain to me that we don’t give them anything for their birthday, or anniversary. As if I’m intentionally withholding my highly influential server powers to change restaurant policy and deliver them the free chocolate cake they deserve for being born.

I work in the line of service. I knew what I was getting into when I went into this line of work. I’m happy to go above and beyond to help someone have a wonderful experience, but hate that my financial stability depends on me swallowing my pride and accepting what the worst customers can throw at me.

There seem to be more bad apples in the emptying barrel and during the slow season, the bad apples leave an even worse taste in your mouth because there are fewer positive experiences to offset them.

Maybe it’s time to go apply for a job at the DMV.

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