Against the grain (Update!)

This post is over 8 months in the making. Rather difficult to believe it’s been that long but nonetheless, time certainly does fly!

Mid-June there was a desperate need of a move from the city into the suburbs. Rather than keeping the window treatments closed for fear of who was outside, the curtains are open to trees. Taking Ava (the dog) for a walk means fresh air and no concerns about the convicted sex offender who lives a few doors down. Night no longer brings bangs, swearing, and fights outside the window but now there is the noise of crickets. Such peace and contentedness now!

More important than a move… I am so thrilled to be able to share that my dear barista, Bruno (first mentioned here), and I have joined one another for life. We were engaged June 28, 2014 after a whirlwind day and our proposal took place via a PA system on a plane mid-flight! Yes, the proposal was caught on camera. While it had been our hope to be married in 2014, we hadn’t set any plans in stone prior to the engagement as we understood that sometimes things don’t happen when you want them to. Alas, between the two of us and our experience in planning events, exactly three months from the date of our engagement we married. I’ll share more about the rush in another post, but for now just revel in the fact we put together a wedding in such a short period of time!

For the first time in two and a half years, a semester began this January that I was not considered a full-time student. In addition to putting together a wedding in three months, the Fall semester of 2014 I managed another perfect semester wrapping up all but one class to earn my associates degree in early childhood care and education. My final class, practicum, will be completed this summer.

Such a relief to have free time and cognitive function, I found that only working as a nanny was a bit boring. Picking up a part-time job only made sense, especially when Bruno started taking classes. (Haha, yes… The first semester of our relationship I am not in classes, he starts.) With no problem I found a flexible position to teach some classes at a children’s gym while Bruno studies.

For two years now I’ve dealt with having Celiac disease and therefore have been pushed to lead a healthier life. While it could have been a challenge for me to face alone, Bruno has stood by and supported me by following a gluten-free diet as well. This is most advantageous for me because I do not have to cook any meals that contain something I’m seriously allergic to. Constantly discovering new recipes is a joy. I love that I have my own kitchen to cook any combination the comes to me. I rarely make the same meal twice because I never follow a recipe completely. Throwing in my own twist is a necessity. It is for this reason that I probably am so terrible at baking!

The life I have walked for the last few years has in no way been an easy one. There have been personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual challenges. Through it all I have pushed on and persevered. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those closest to me, my family and friends (those near and far).

Oh life…

Clothed in Ivory

I’ve mentioned it a few times but never have I completely explained the story…

Last January, fresh off of becoming engaged to a guy in PA, I returned to California for the Spring semester at school. Every day I woke up asking for a sign as to what I should do – stay in Cali or move back to PA. Every day I searched and begged for a clear sign from God. Just one sign, that’s all I needed. The second to last Saturday in January I had decided that it was time to go to Sacramento and try on dresses. Just for fun. Because that’s what an engaged girl does!
When I walked into the store with three of my friends, I didn’t have an appointment. Because of a little bit of patience and others canceling, I managed to attain one 10 minutes later just as we were ready to walk out the door. As I found myself describing what I had envisioned for my dress I realized how real the engagement was. There was one dress which I had particularly noticed in my searches online. Sadly the store was not carrying it that day but the assistant said she would find a few others which were similar. Back in the fitting room she helped me get into one which was elegant, but I didn’t have that feeling. The second one she brought made me look 12 (because that’s easy enough to do already). The third went on and immediately I began to smile. The smile that slides across your face when you know something is right. Never one to believe something could be that easy, I tried on 9 more dresses (so a total of 12) before returning to that third one. The one which when I put it on for a second time felt even more right than the first. The smile was broader, the feeling was more right, the material was more soft, the fit more perfect. It was more in all ways good.
It was then that I was told someone in the store was purchasing the dress for me. The most beautiful dress was being given to me as a gift. The dress which was beyond my price range, someone wishing to remain anonymous was purchasing for me. The dress which symbolizes innocence and purity, was found. My sign which I had been asking for was being handed to me.
So I stayed. Grew and moved beyond the things which were holding me back. Eventually ended the engagement and stretched into the me of today. All because of that beautiful ivory gown.
The dress was a gift, and is a gift. It still hangs in my parents’ house. I refused to look at it for the longest of times. Just the other week I took my first peek at it and it is more gorgeous than I remembered. I have finally reached the point where when I think about or see the gown, I smile. Previously I believed it was too good for the occasion which it was to be worn. But I realized it was only because the guy wasn’t the right one. The dress will be worn, as a reminder of how good God is as well as symbolizing the innocence and purity it is meant to.
This time around, I’m determined to do things right.

Not Over vs. Impacted

It’s crossed my mind multiple times lately how over my ex I truly am. I suppose that my continual looking back doesn’t make it seem that way though.
Here’s the thing – I really am over him. The hurt, pain, trials, heartache… There’s no reason to not be over the relationship. However, I have been impacted by it. Perhaps that’s why some people come up with the conclusion that even after a year I’m still holding on.
The other week I was on the phone with my best friend discussing the relationship and I mentioned how someone had just questioned whether or not I was over it. She was astonished that anyone would ever consider even asking me that.
I will not claim that this past year has not been a maze. I will not claim that I was not an emotional wreck the first few months. I will not claim that I never think of him. I will not claim that I never miss being with someone.
What I can claim however is that no part of me wants to be in a relationship like the one I was in. No part of me wishes to have my ex in my life at this time. No part of me is able to recall being in that relationship without also recalling the hurt.
I learned a lot from the relationship – so I will often pull on those lessons in my daily life. In no way does that say I’m not over the relationship. Rather, proves that I have come so far that I am now able to recognize the bad from the good.
Preparing for this month I was a bit lethargic, sentimental, and overall reminiscent. With what I believe is good reason though. I don’t find it possible to hit your one year anniversary of ending an engagement as well as what would have been two years of being in that relationship without thinking back and recognizing what all has happened in those years. To date, two years ago I was arriving in England – the land I consider home. One year ago I was in PA working and celebrating a good friends’ 21st birthday. So what? I remember a lot of things and when exactly they happen. Doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in the past and unable to look toward the future chasing after the goals which I have in my life.
Everyone’s past experiences impact how they live.

Addiction

It hit me the other night as I was driving to a friends house. When I realized it, it took all of me to stay focused on the fact I was driving. Why had I never realized it before?   I had become addicted to my ex while we were in a relationship.  Looking back I’m able to see that because of how things were formed and how I clung to him and the thought of being in the relationship, that when it ended there was a mess.
When you quit something you’ve become dependent on, it takes time, there’s usually a bit of backsliding, and it’s difficult to let go. Which is exactly what had happened to me last year.
I know it may seem a little ridiculous for me to even be thinking of these things yet, but this is who I am. I look back on things and somehow always find new lessons. It’s not that I look back because I’m depressed, so please don’t think that.
Last summer after we ended our engagement, I had an unbelievable pull to stay connected with him. I gave in at times and allowed myself to once again be caught up in a fantasy. For months he truly was an obsession. Only after I truly broke all the ties with him did I no longer have the desire, need or even craving to look in on his life.   There’s a difference between being addicted to someone and being in a relationship with them.  When it came to the two of us, our relationship was one based out of a forced codependance. Somehow this realization of how deeply I was fixated with him took almost a year. I needed it though.
When you are young, caught up, and manipulated it’s easy to become addicted.

Ring of Fire

The last week I took part in an experiment. One which I never thought I’d have the moxie to do. Since I wrote “15 Diamonds” I have worn that ring, just about 9 months or so now. The very simple, delicate ring was bought with the intentions to be worn as my wedding band. Obviously life determined otherwise.   My choice, and continuance of wearing the ring on my left ring finger was filled with so many different reasons.
I didn’t want people to look at me and see me as the girl who failed.
I didn’t want to feel empty.
I didn’t want to let a beautiful ring sit.
I didn’t want the question “What happened?” when I talked of my wedding plans.
I didn’t want to accept the fact that I came so close to what I have desired for so long, and I had to let it go.
I didn’t want.
About a month ago it started to bother me. It had just served as the perfect reason for an unsavory fellow to leave my girl friend and I alone while walking down a street at night, but I couldn’t quite shake the thought from my mind that something wasn’t right.
After a bit of soul-searching I decided to swap the hand that the ring was worn on. After two days of attempting to wear it strictly on my right ring finger I realized that subconsciously I would continue to switch it back to the left hand.    There is no part of me which is sworn away to another. There is no one in my life who stands in the position as soul mate (or whatever one chooses to believe in). Rather, it’s simply me. I could no longer fake the fact. It was time to accept it as it is. The last week I’ve been painfully aware of a very small tan line, the lack of bling, and the sinking in of who I am right now.

No longer wearing the ring is a choice. A choice to accept where I am in my life. A choice to accept that there is something better out there for me. A choice to believe that someday I will once again wear a ring on my left hand, but when I do, it’s going to be the one I love from the one I love. Not a ring I bought for myself to match the wrong ring.
In the mean time, I may go back to wearing my ring on my right hand – but I first have to meet a few goals I have for myself. Oh how I love a reward!

Miss Grinch

The grinch. We all have heard of him and know the type of person. I’ve never been a big fan when it came to Christmas. I’ve always felt it was over-hyped and more materialistic than remembered for the reason it exists. This year my feelings are a little bit more evident though. Most people accept the fact that my dad is in the hospital as reason enough to not be in the chipper, friendly mood usually found at this time. Others though still argue with me that I should still be listening to Christmas music, wrapping presents and otherwise smiling and joyful.
In my life, if I put my mind on something and have it planned out, it has to happen. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to accept the non-happenings. This is what I’m experiencing, on top of memories of Christmas last. All of this on top of my dad (still) being in the hospital, I’m just not even interested in the fact that Christmas is on Sunday.
So, call me a grinch – you won’t be the first.
I dislike Christmas songs and movies, commercials for jewelry make me scream, seeing couples or families in vehicles increases my push on the accelerator, relationship status changes lead to avoiding the book of faces, hearing of people’s plans to visit their family, trim trees, bake cookies, exchange presents and be merry together is just too much for me.
All I know is that I’d be better if I could burn memories from my mind, forget the plans of a first Christmas, be finished at a job I thought I’d have done weeks ago, not have a father who’s in the hospital and feel settled enough to say I’m ‘home’.
This is me, Miss Grinch.

Standards

My mind has been fluttering between thoughts of my dad, work, my car, family, friends, puppies, the house, my ex, the holidays, my upcoming birthday, and so many other things recently it’s hard to keep track of life. Things have been occurring left and right with those I hold most dear, but still nothing can knock out my thoughts on this time of the year.

Last year I was in a different physical, mental and emotional state. I was looking forward to returning to PA and spending the entire Christmas break with my boyfriend. We had gone through a lot that first semester, but it was nothing compared to what we would face once I left for the spring semester.
One thing I remember discussing with him when we first entered into our relationship was how he had moved from western PA to central PA earlier than planned because things had gone awry with a girl out there. Something I just recently realized is, now that he’s older and girls pay attention to him, he can’t be single for long. It was only 4 months after we ended our engagement, and 2 months after he told me that he’d always be there for me (on the night we said goodbye forever) that he entered into a new relationship.  That doesn’t quite add up for me in my world, I’m sorry. If you were truly committed to someone and honestly loved them you wouldn’t pick up the first person to come along and enter into a relationship with them. There’s something wrong with you if you do.

The inability to be alone exists from an incredible amount of fears.

Considering this is all occurring in his life, I’m not surprised. The light in which I have viewed him since June/August has revealed so many things, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen most of them while we were engaged.  If his standards are so low and his fears so high that he is satisfied with this current relationship, wow. No wonder he wasn’t comfortable with me in the Spring. I pushed him to take responsibility for himself and to step up and be a man. In his eyes that meant attempting to pull me apart and tell me how I should be. Granted, I did this to a certain extent – but I longed for a spouse who was at least on the same level as me. It’s warned in the Bible to not bring yourself together with someone who is not on the same path as you. Because he and I had at one point been on the same level, the same path, I had desired to continue together – apparently though he just wasn’t up for it. My path took me further into a relationship with God and his… Well, he will do as he pleases.

My heart has longed for someone to be there for me, to give me a shoulder to cry on, to handle some of my errands, to spend time with me while I visit my dad, to discuss options with me, to compliment me on the things I get done, to remind me that everything will be okay – and hold me, to sit me down and chill me out… But I’m not stopping at the first guy who says Hi. My options to this point have all been lacking.
My standards are set so high now that even in the midst of the most difficult time I’ve ever had in my life, I’d rather be alone than with any of the guys who surround me.