The Aftermath 

I recently wrote a post about my week on Lake Superior with my ex husband and our children.  I wrote about how awesome it was to vacation with an ex, because it was amazing for our children to experience being a ‘together’ family.  My eight year old is actually self conscious about being a child of divorce.  

I always assure her, that when she gets older, she will have more friends of divorced parents than not.  And then I tell her that since she went through it first, that she will be a great friend to help the newbies when they experience it.  Still, she was so happy to go on that vacation, to have her dad around.  I wrote about the absolute joy it was to actually have an ex husband that I can get along with.  It really was a great week.

What I haven’t written about is the crippling depression that followed our adventures.  I crashed hard after the high of being part of the family that we could have been for a short time.  It was incredibly emotional for me to experience that, only to have my kids go with their dad for two whole weeks right after.  I went from having everything that ever meant anything back for a week to being completely alone, in a day.  My girls have never been gone this long.  It has been a dark time for me.

These emotions are more complex than what I’m used to.  It has nothing to do with wanting my ex back.  I absolutely do not want my ex back.  But at the same time, he remains the only man I’ve ever really loved.  He represents my greatest achievement, being a mother with a family of my own.  He also represents my greatest failure, tearing that family apart and struggling ever since.

It was the nostalgia of the way it used to be.  It was talking with my ex mother-in-law, who I love talking with now.  But also remembering that she used to drive me insane.  And then realizing that I always took her unconditional love for granted, because I didn’t really know what the hell to do with it.  I resented her for being everything my own mother wasn’t. I pushed her away, divorced her son, and she is still the closest thing to a loving mom that I have ever had.

It was listening to the old CD’s and talking about our first date.  It was reminiscing about bringing our little girls home from the hospital.  It was admitting that we had both done wrong, understanding that we went through it all together, and seeing each other as both family and strangers in a vulnerable new blending of the people we had become after hurting each other for ten damn years.  

And while he drove off with our girls in his truck, on his way to see his patient new girlfriend and assure her that his heart is hers now and no longer belongs to me, I was left in the emotional wake of being completely alone.  Just me and the cats, sitting around thinking about how my life has been a series of bad decisions that landed me alone in a trailer and crying over the fact that my kids really are probably better off living with their dad.  He is building a home and a family for them that I will never be able to give.  He cooks beautiful and healthy meals and manages his money like an accountant.  I can barely take care of myself some days and am starting all over again in life because I fell in love with another guy who couldn’t stand me.  

And this is the darkest side of single parenting.  The guilt never really goes away.  The pressure of doing it all never really becomes bearable.  And sometimes you sit and think about how much better it would be for them if you weren’t in the picture.  And then you remember that you love them enough to try harder.  So you get up off your whining ass and get started with rebuilding your damn life again.  Because eventually, if you keep trying, you know you will get it right.  And if you don’t, they will at least know that you tried.  And kept trying.  For them.

Stupid Tulips 


I took my kids to Holland, Michigan for a weekend getaway. I haven’t had a full weekend with them in a while because of school, so I wanted to do something special.  

The weather was crappy. I had cramps. My kids fought the entire time. They complained about going to the little island of tulips tourist trap because it wasn’t very exciting.  

‘We drove two and a half hours to look at stupid tulips,’ my fourteen year old muttered with disgust.  

The whole trip was kind of a disaster. I lost my temper and told them that I would not be taking them on vacations anymore and that maybe they should go live with their dad.  I spit anger and called them spoiled and selfish.  I screamed that we might as well pack up and go home.  I told them they were acting like assholes because I spent the very last of my bank account on this trip for nothing at all.

As soon as those words came out, I instantly hated myself. I hurt them and I knew it. No matter how much I apologized, I couldn’t take those words back. I couldn’t make them feel wanted after telling them that they should live with their dad.  The guilt of my explosive emotions is haunting me today. I have thoughts creeping into my head that maybe I’m not cut out to be a single mom. I’ve lost my muchness, as the mad hatter would say. I’ve lost my worth as a single mom and I don’t know how to get it back.  

This is the type of thing that pushes the gates of depression wide open and it’s really hard to pull them back. I start thinking about the damage my mom has done to me, how I’m still working through those hurtful words well into my thirties. I think about how that painful inheritance is crawling through to another generation.  Maybe I can’t stop my mother’s disease from blooming inside my head, like an ugly weed that I keep pulling out but it keeps growing back. Maybe the girls would be better off living with their dad.  

I hate myself today. I hate that I hurt the people whom I love the most. I hate that a weekend away, filled with so much beauty will always be remembered as one of the ugliest times in my life. I hate that I have been pulling these weeds in my brain for so long now, and I am getting too tired to tend to my garden anymore. I am out of ideas on how to fix this.

Worthiness 


There’s a conditioning in society that occurs, where we as humans attach our value to other people’s expectations, our productivity, our bank account, our waistline, etc. We often sabotage our own happiness because we feel we are not worthy of living a happy life. We either feel obligated to remain small because we feel guilty for being happy in the presence of friends and family who aren’t. Or we take on the shame of those around us.  

I believe that a low self worth is the virus that leads to depression, anxiety, drug addiction, and pretty much any problem that exists in today’s society. I also believe that raising our self worth is the antidote to these issues.  

It’s not just a female thing either.  Women do have it rough.  We live in a society that treats women as if we just exist for visual pleasure.  Magazines, television shows, movies, advertising, it’s all geared towards making women feel as if our value lies in our physical appearance.  It’s disgusting and disgraceful.  

But men have it rough too.  Men are taught to hide their emotions.  Just as we women are seen as supporting roles, men are forced into the leading roles.  And that’s a lot of pressure for someone who has no emotional outlet.  

Both sexes are constantly being manipulated into comparing themselves to unrealistic idols.  Both sexes are constantly being pulled away from vulnerability.  Low self worth is a disease that plagues everyone.  

I have encountered many people in my life who have a habit of tearing down the people around them to make themselves look better. These people are toxic, especially if you don’t have a solid foundation of self worth. But these toxic people behave that way because they are suffering from an extreme case of low self worth. The only way to combat this toxicity is to first build your self esteem up by realizing that their criticism of you is not real. It’s an expression of how they feel about themselves. It’s a projection of their innermost demons. And when we are able to recognize that deficiency in toxic people, we are able to maintain our own foundation of self love while interacting with these people. The next step is to show them love and worthiness as an example. Not every toxic person is ready to see your example. And it’s not your job to force their eyes on it. But if you shine your light bright enough, eventually you will drive out some darkness.  

I have read many articles about narcissism, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Most of these articles will advise victims to cut toxic people out of your life completely. And if you are dealing with an actual psychopath, that advice is absolutely true. But most people don’t meet the criteria of a narcissistic psychopath diagnosis.  A lot of people are self centered.  As domesticated as the human race has become, we’re really just highly evolved creatures, trying to survive.  Survival has always required a little bit of narcissism.  

Everyone falls somewhere on the scale of narcissism and empathy.  It’s the great balancing act of the self and the ‘other’.  That other being a romantic or business partner, a friend, a government, or a society.  Self love is healthy and necessary.  We come into this world alone.  You can’t function as a human if you don’t care for yourself.  It’s just that some people operate just off center on that scale.  Some people act as if their lives are more important than any other life.  They aren’t.   Oprah’s life isn’t any more important than Kim Kardashian’s.  And her life isn’t any more important than mine.  But some people see a pecking order in society.  Those people are hiding behind an inflated ego, because they’ve lost the substance of self worth.  The people who lack balance between the self and others, people who lack empathy, certainly don’t have any for themselves.  

 It is rare for someone to be a full blown narcissist with an inability to experience empathy.  These are your serial killers, child molesters, dirty politicians, and ruthless CEO’s.  These people should be treated as predators.  They are more than toxic.  They are defective humans.  But toxic people need love.  If we are to live in this world without war, we need to have a revolution of relationships.  Those of us with too much empathy need to heal those among us who have too little empathy.  And the only way to bring balance into our society is by blending those contrasts.  We all have to learn how to love unconditionally.  I’m not talking about romantically.  I’m talking about a humanitarian type of love.  

If everyone loved and respected themselves, the world would be a peaceful place.  Acceptance of ourselves will lead to acceptance of others.  

It all boils down to self worth.

How do you value yourself?  What spectacular uniqueness do you bring to this world?  Do you realize what a miraculous fucking creature you are?

The Devil Inside 


I have a demon inside me. At least that’s what it feels like. There’s a wicked, hateful voice inside my head, and she’s always telling me I’m not enough. She tells me that I’m all wrong. She tells me I’m worthless. She sounds like a demon, if demons were real.  I believe this demon, who I’m going to name Stella, has haunted the minds of my ancestors for generations beyond my own. She is carried through our bloodline in our angry voices and sometimes howling depression.  

She was holding the trigger when my grandfather pointed a loaded gun at his own father’s head, only to have it misfire. She was the always unimpressed tone in my mother’s voice.  She’s the mom inside me that loses her shit sometimes because the girls won’t stop arguing.  She is my daughter’s broken heart because the boy she had a crush on called her ugly.  

Stella’s a real bitch. She has terrorized everyone I love. And we never even knew it was happening. She hides herself away in our minds, our inner voices. We don’t even know she’s there, because she camouflages herself amidst our own thoughts. But she is always there. She is always reminding me about all the things I can’t do, all the places I can’t go, everything I can’t be. She holds me down when I want nothing more than to fly. After all, I’ve worked so diligently at transformation. I have earned these wings, but Stella has them shackled.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without her. I’ve never lived without Stella. I am certain life without her would be awkward and strange.  She’s a part of my DNA, my family heritage. She has kept us in check for generations. Life without Stella would feel like being naked in a park. Freeing and beautiful, but terrifying at the same time.  Is it possible to stand completely naked in a park without fear? I suppose some would say yes, but those people have never met Stella. I know this because she feeds on fear and clearly those people have none.  Stella has gotten fat off my fear.  But I’ve had enough.  I’m tired of always feeding this demon.  I’m tired of believing all of her bullshit.  

I have a long way to go. I want to pry Stella’s creepy little hands from under my skin. I want to believe in myself so fiercely that I can stand naked in a park.  Maybe I will join a nudest club.  Maybe I will slice Stella’s throat and finally move on in my life.  I am working on it.  And I will.  I will kill that bitch before she gets to my girls.  Fuck Stella.