Dear Catie, these were my resolutions for 2014.

Miranda’s New Year 2014 Resolutions

Apologize only when I regret. Yeah!

Be positive.  December sucked.

No more sodas. To be fair, I don’t drink dark sodas anymore.

No more fast food.  I didn’t really get on this until December.

Plan ahead on school work.  I quit school, if you recall. 

Write for 30 minutes, every day. Woop woop.

Work out. Lol.

Flesh out one of the many ideas I have for a book, and write a plot line. All I have managed to do is come up with more ideas, and no plot lines. ugggggh. Help me.

God, God, God. Other than my hiccup, I’d say yes.

Complete at least two of these resolutions.  YAY I DID AT LEAST TWO!

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Dear Catie, Hippy Jesus and Hamptons Jesus.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about religion lately – whether I’m for it, against it, in the middle of figuring out what the fuck about it.

I’m a hot mess about religion, let me tell you – except I don’t need to tell you because you already know (as does anyone else who’s reading this blog.)

(I’m pretty sure God reads our blog.)

So, what threw me off of religion this time was yet another argument I had with my cousin about religion. My cousin grew up with religion in her life. I did not. She has been going to church since she was born. I started (consentually) going in my teenage years (because I wanted to hang out with the cute boys) and then seriously when I was about twenty-years-old. This was during my ‘I want to find Jesus to save my marriage, because I heard you can’t have a marriage without Jesus in it’ phase. When that fell through – and didn’t ‘fix’ my marriage, I gave up again. Then when my marriage fell apart (I am not blaming this on religion at all, by the way, readers), I went back to church to try again.

As you recall, it. was. fantastic. I found people who believed in the same kind of Jesus as I did. This is a direct quote from myself when I was speaking with our mutual friend Melisha / Lareia.

“Shit has been so damn difficult lately, and it’s made me think about religion a lot.

I am torn between Religion and God. I believe God exists, but I just wish I found a group of people who felt the same about him as me – and that’s hard to find. Even more so, I feel like it’s about the relationship between myself and God. Not the relationship between Religion and I. But just like a new friend you’ve met and think is totally awesome and great and all that, you want to introduce them to your friends and you want your friends to like them too because you like your friends and you like this new friend and it would just be so much simpler if you had more than just the two of you to hang out with.

That’s what kills me. I don’t have friends who know my ‘friend’ / God the way I do, or don’t see Him the way I do, or whatever. Now, this isn’t just a ‘I have friends who are atheists’ cry, this is a ‘I have friends who have a different kind of friend named God that they think have rules and regulations on how to be friends and etiquette and blah blah. Like, their God (in my metaphor) is from the Hamptons and there are rules of being that classy and that great. Don’t air dirty laundry. Don’t talk filthy. Don’t wear certain clothing. People can see you, so be on your best behavior 100% of the time.

Meanwhile, me and the God I know and love are kickin’ it back in our sweatpants watching Netflix marathons. We talk about all kind of things – things I’m proud of and things I’m not. And when it’s just us I feel so great and fantastic. I’m relaxed. I feel like I’ve got my shit together – even if the laundry’s not done.

But I still have friends who don’t know him, or they think he belongs in the Hamptons, and I just.. It’s hard. It’s like, not only does believing in him narrow the field of people who I could potentially get along with / date, but even further still, the Him that I believe him narrows the field even more to impossible percentages.

So then, with it being so small a number of people that I’ve met that feel the same, I’ve begun to think in the back of my mind: What if I am in the wrong? What if it’s MEANT to have all the damn rules and Hamptons shit? I mean, he’s GOD, shouldn’t he be treated like royalty like the Hamptons kids?

Or what if my God is an imaginary friend? What if he doesn’t actually exist and I’ve made him up because I seriously cannot deal with life sometimes and rather than feeling like my misery and existence is all for nothing and why not just die today, I made up a story about a creator who gives it purpose, suddenly?

Shit is hard. But no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot shake the feeling that he’s real. So, I’m back to the scenario of my God being too chill and loving like a hippy than like the Hamptom kids want.

Ugh. I hope all of that made sense to you. I have the Hampton kids analogy because I wasn’t born in to religion. I wasn’t forced to go to church or anything. I didn’t know about God until I was a teenager, and then I only went because it was the ‘cool thing to do’ in my circle of friends. Then when Elijah was born, I tried discovering more about it, but was shunned because of my circumstance by the Southern Baptist churches and like minded churches.

Then I started looking for nondenominational churches, and I always remember thinking that big churchs that have fancy shit in them must be Hampton like — but the one I found “IBC – Irving Bible Church” is huge, and has a lot of people. So much people that I feel like not everyone in the room is watching me as an outsider, but also that there’s so many people that they split in to study groups for those of even more like-minds… So people like me can find each other, but also more specifically, people like me in my age group, or people like me with kids as a SINGLE parent… That’s one I’d never seen before.”

So, my darling cousin (whom I love enormously, which is why this hurt so much) and I were speaking about a mutual friend we have. This mutual friend has become pregnant outside of wedlock with a guy she fell in love with (at 18/19 years old..sound familiar?) and so now they’re engaged to be wed and are moving to California for it all (where his family lives) and my cousin is.. just not having it.

But that’s besides the point. That just started our little debate, in which Hannah said she couldn’t support anything about any of that, because she’s recently decided that in her ‘faith journey’, she’s going to adopt Admonishment. Admonishment is defined as follows:

“to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner”

“to indicate duties or obligations to”

Now, I understand that this is meant as “gentle and earnest” manners, but to me, it also reads in as a lot of… judging others, disapproving of them, and then suggesting what they ought to do for their own good — which, you know, I just love to hear about. And in addition, there is way too little room between the boundaries of stepping on that line or over it when trying to do this in the most gentle way possible.

Anyway, I don’t believe in getting in other’s business like that, or telling them what they should do or shouldn’t. I don’t feel like it is my job to judge anyone for their sins. That’s God’s job. It’s not my job to see if they’re truly repenting or if they ‘deserve’ Heaven or not. Why would you try? We don’t deserve Heaven, or God’s love. That’s the whole point. We will never be worthy, YET HE LOVES US. How crazy and unconditional is that?

What’s that word I just used? Unconditional? I feel like religion based upon ‘do this or don’t benefit’ or ‘do this and you’re damned’ is kind of against the whole ‘died for our sins’ policy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you ask me for advice, or it’s something life-threatening to you or another, I will probably say, “Hey, think about this before you do it, because it could be a bad time.” But am I going to look down on you? Am I going to judge you, you heathen? No. I am not perfect, and that would make me come off as holier than thou. Which, I personally feel, this Admonishment movement with Hannah is making her come out to be.

We fight all the time over it, and this argument we had the other day.. broke me. I said fuck it. I said if this is how religion is, then why the fuck would I believe in it? It’s so hopeless. I cannot strive with the anxiety every day of wondering if I have been good enough, or if one of my friends is going to fucking judge me because of whatever mistake I made forever. And I love Hannah. I love her so damn much it hurts that we fight like this, over something so vulnerable for me, something so personal to me. To have what I believe, and have struggled so hard to believe shut down as false, to be told I’m doing it wrong, to be told that my God is not the same, not the correct God…

I mean, fuck it, right?

 

So I gave up on Him for a little while. I mean, Hannah has been doing this her entire life, right? So she has all the authority on this over me. I should trust her, believe her. Even if it makes me never want to look towards Him again.

 

And then I had a thought.

 

Miranda. God knows you. He knows you exactly where you are right now in your life, in your past, and in your future – should you choose it. He knows what He’d like, and he knows what you’ll choose. He meets you where you’re at, and he takes you and lifts you up. He is in everything you appreciate, everything you struggle with – guiding you from the straying path. And even in this, even in an argument about Him, He still waits. He knows what hurt it’s causing. He knows that moderation is key. He knows that while mistakes happen, strive for Faith, Hope, and Love. He is forgiving, while condemning – something I believe only he can do, truly and deeply, as he is not human, and he is not prone to these mistakes that humans are – which, again, is why I don’t think we have the right or capacity to do so. Especially those of us without training, education in this specific field, and seminar.

 

So, I still love Him. Thank goodness, He still loves me and I don’t have to worry about how many mistakes I make that will finally make Him leave me. Hannah is going to be how she is, and I can’t change that, but.. I can just not talk to her about God. She just may have to be one of those people who can’t hang with my chill Jesus, and that’s hard – because we’re so close – but it’s also what keeps me sane and I would rather get along with Jesus than with her without him.

 

I hope any of this made sense. I love you, Catie.

 

Miranda

P.S. This gif is hilarious, because as punny as it is, this is literal bible thumping:

 

Dear Miranda, Life Constantly Changes. And Never Changes at All.

It’s funny as I look over the past year’s posts. There are so many ups and downs. Some of the things that were devastating or such a struggle I had totally forgotten about. And when I think about the last five years I notice that what might look like chaos is actually a crazy pattern. Life is constantly changing and we are constantly growing… but at the same time when you look at the big picture nothing really changes.

We will be happy. We will be sad. We will be scared. We will be uplifted. We will fall. We will get up. We will feel lonely. We will feel loved.  The only difference between us and other people around us is that you and I openly catalog these events and emotions. This is everyone’s life in a nutshell though.

And it’s all going to be OK.

Honestly this is a comfort to me. I mean do not get me wrong. I feel like the changing and evolving of our life’s is VERY important (“growth” is one of my core life values). But. BUT. It’s nice to know that in the end chances are good that everything will work out. And while everyone might not be in the same boat they are all in the same crazy unpredictable ocean.

I can’t lie. I’m pretty stoked about 2015. And I’m looking forward to us having another year to blog about victories and defeats. I’m in a weird place right now emotionally (I’m happy, but also in a state of waiting) and I’m glad we’ve stuck to this so I have someone to talk to while I grope along in the dark.

Bring on 2015 and new goals!

-Me

Dear Catie, I’m starting my new beginning before the new year. #becauseican

So, allow me to apologize and thank you at the same time, my darling Kettle.

I apologize, because I have been rotten the past few months. I’ve been hurting in my own way, and that made me more bitter than I care to admit – but will anyway because admitting my feelings is more healthy than pretending they didn’t happen at all. I sincerely thought this would be my new life, this not caring, being sassy, and bitter thing.

But, it was not meant to be. And, while I was doing it all, and writing out in my darkest moments, I truly appreciate you for responding with haste, with compassion, and with humor. You and I speak on a level that is secret to our own nature, our own way. It’s a language people can see and hear and understand, but they may not fully comprehend the depth. You reached me. And I thank you so much for it. I’m surprised you didn’t just:

 

 

I mean, I would have taken it.

 

Anyhow, let’s move on to the new things.

 

I thought up a few new ideas for a book. Two are in this world. They’re fiction, but it’s like, modern day. 2014. You know. Another is in another world, made up, very steampunk meets victorian.

I moved in to my new apartment. Tomorrow, my father moves out of his house and stops sleeping at my apartment – and Elijah and I will be completely and totally alone. I love my father, and this isn’t a jest at him or the old, “I’m so glad to kick my parents out” joke. I am seriously thankful for the opportunity to be in my own home. My own. Just me (and Elijah). And more so, that I can magically afford it somehow, like a grown ass responsible and independent woman that don’t need no man. Huzzah.

I’m also kind of thankful that Dad’s gone because I could not get the man to cook healthy. I mean, come on. I am trying to lose weight. Stop making potato-cheese-bacon melt casserole, jeeze.

I also no longer have to deal with toll roads. Hallelujah. It takes me 20 minutes to get to work, even from Dallas, because every time I drive the highway is against traffic rather than with, and thus I don’t have roadblocks. I’m sure they will periodically happen. I’m not daft, but it’s a much better situation.

Oh, by the way, I am in the center of everything. I love the city, and have always wanted to live here. I’ve lived in suburbs, but this is my first in the actual city where sirens are a daily occurrence sort of deal. I love it. There’s 3 malls around the corner, a million bookstores on my block and my walmart is two stories tall. (Three stories with the Sams Club attached. Oh yeah.)

I read an article the other day about people who want to travel to go on their ‘soul-searching’ journey – and the author was like, “Quit coming to my country looking for your peace. We are not for you tourists pleasure. We do not magically fix you. You fix you. You will not be ‘fixed’ unless our mind and heart and soul are in the right frame. If you have to come here to ‘get away’, fine, but do not assume we are miracle workers. You can do this at home. Just find a place inside to sit and ‘get away’ and find yourself. It’s frightening, but cheaper!”

My apartment has become this. Granted, I pay for it monthly, but I’m on my own. My own rules. My own decisions. My own life. I am so thankful.

I know that this may be backwards, but after many disagreements and arguments with my cousin who is very devout in Christian faith, I have decided to take the label off of my faith. I believe there is a God. I believe whatever this God is is fair and just and lovely and fascinating and has to exist because this world, nay, universe is too much for chance. I believe in paying respects. I believe in thanking each part and piece of nature and our natural world for it’s existence. For thanking calm as it washes over me. For thanking worry as it reminds me that I care about something so much to be anxious over it. But I will no longer call myself of Christian faith. It was the hardest decision I’ve made recently, and one that broke me down to tears. It’s a long story, but it has been brought to my attention that my way of life was hardly anything to do with Christianity, and if that is the case, then fuck it. 

I’ll do good and be a good person because I am a good person.

I love you so much.  I may write smaller pieces here and there because there’s more I want to write to you but have momentarily forgotten. I love you. I love you. I love ou.

I appreciate you. I see you. Thank you.

Miranda

 

 

 

 

P.S. I got a text from my mom as I was closing this and my mom announces, “No breast cancer!! Just cysts!” Yeeeeehaw!

 

Dear Miranda, I’m here with a life raft. (Also Titled: Guide to surviving divorce and the inevitable misfortunes that follow.)

funny gifs

I’M HERE! Sorry it took me so long to paddle out to where you were drowning. I’m glad you’ve been able to tread water so far. What looked like a much needed adventure now is looking like a shipwreck but have no fear! It will turn into the best voyage of your life. Eventually. For now just get in this stupid fucking life raft with me and let’s have a chat.

So one of the big things I found out after my divorce was that A) difficult life stuff always seems to happen all at once in a heap following your announcement to do it alone and B) doing/ dealing with EVERYTHING all alone is really fucking hard.

Let’s start with all this shit all at once. I feel like it’s one of those things that is just inevitable following a divorce/separation because there is everything you used to do topped with everything your partner used to do that you are now doing topped with all of the really irritating and time consuming stuff you have to do because of the separation topped with life and all its bitchiness.

funny gifs

Here are the steps to dealing with this without losing your mind.

Step 1. Breathe. Seriously. Take a really huge lung full of air, hold it, and then slowly let it out. You are going to be ok.

Step 2. Kill the panic. In times when everything gets crazy you and I have a tendency to either cut off our feelings (or morph them into something else) or panic. Now I’m not telling you to cut off your feelings or morph them… I want you to feel them. And when you do you are probably going to get anxious and tingly in a bad way and want to panic. Kill that shit. Your feelings are valid. Real adult life all on your own is really scary and really crazy. And you know what. You are going to be ok. And that makes you a serious BAMF.

Step 3. Prioritize your stress. I find it helpful to do this by actually physically writing a list . Think about all the shit that’s troubling you, big or small, and write that shit down. Then look at your list and rewrite in the order of most urgently/stressful to least urgent/ stressful.

Now. Cross off everything on your list that you have no control over, can’t change, and is totally out of your hands and as you do mentally let that shit go in your life. You have plenty of real issues to worry about without stressing over things you cant control or are petty.

(Hypothetical Examples: My Aunt Jane Doe has been really unsupportive, My best friend lives a bazillion million miles away, I have to move to a town/apartment I think sucks because it’s the only place affordable/available.)

Good Job! Now look at whats left on your list. You see the Top three things on your list? That is ALL you are allowed to worry about.

“But Catie, all of these other ones are so…”

NO. STOP. You get three at a time to worry about.

And I promise you that by the time you get those three sorted out some of the ones you weren’t allowed to worry about will have gotten fixed or become irrelevant/unimportant to you.

I imagine this is your reaction to having to pick only three.

Now that you have your three where do you go from here.

Step 4. Brainstorm, Pray, Meditate, Ask for Help. This is the “fun” part. This is where you look at your top three problems and go. “Ok, so what are all my options? What options do I like the most/least? What do I need to do?” Often times there is very little we can do other then sit and wait. That’s where the Pray, Meditate, and Ask for Help come into play. You have picked your battle but now you need emotional support. (PS I think you should write a blog with your three and I will be some of your emotional support.)

Do this every day. Has anything changed? Are you feeling more at peace? Have you had any breakthroughs? Don’t expect an instant solution. Some things take time.

Hopefully once you do all of this you will feel some weight lifted from your shoulders.

So now lets move on to issue B (which in case you forgot is: doing/ dealing with EVERYTHING all alone is really fucking hard).

This one is not so easily organizable  and is more of an emotional and personal process so instead of tell you what to do I will tell you how this went down for me. 

Step 1. Facing Reality. After the roller coaster of relief/excitement/sadness/frustration comes the reality which was simultaneous better and worse then I thought it would be. The better part is that I had a fresh slate. I could start totally over and focus on JUST what I wanted/needed. But the worse part was that I was alone. Like REALLY alone. And at times I was really really lonely exhausted. Don’t misunderstand. This didn’t in any way change my mind or make me regret leaving. It was just a new fact of life that I had to chew on. One of the hardest days I had it seemed to small but I was SO worn out from work and the burdens of life and when I got home Emily was hungry. I didn’t have anything in the pantry and no energy to cook anyway and I remember thinking the shitiest part of not having a partner was that I couldn’t just call someone and say “Hey can you pick up some food on your way home.”

It’s not about the food. It’s about when you are exhausted and life has gotten the best of you, you don’t have that someone who is the constant support for you. If you fall, then no one catches you. You feel it full force.

Which leads me to…

Step 2. Spiritual healing. For me, the weight of life and its pressures was to hard to continue to bear all by myself. So I gave God a try. I mean at this point what did I have to lose? And it ended up being a lifesaver for me. It’s definitely a growing process and one of those things that I continually define and redefine my own boundaries and beliefs, but feeling like I wasn’t in fact all alone and there would be peace was a HUGE comfort to me.

Step 3. Getting out of my comfort zone. When we started this blog one of the first things I posted was my New Years Resolutions. What several of them were in fact though was my new LIFE resolutions. Rules to force me to stretch and grow and move out of my comfortable but solitary little box. I was forced to come up with ideas to make new friends, plan a trip, and be happier. My resolutions may not have seemed big at the time but for the first year of divorced life it helped me shape a much brighter future.

The last thing I want to say to you is that I love you. I’m sorry life has been such a jerk lately. ❤ And I’m here if you need me.

-Catie-

Dear Catie, S. O. S.

Everyone’s gone.

 

I have never felt so incredibly alone since I was a teenager.

 

You (understandably) left games / even Skype. That was the beginning.

 

Everyone else seemed to follow suit. Zach left the Skype group. Adam got busy with school. Frank went AWOL. Melisha is busy doing stuff in her life. God, I miss all of them. So much. Holidays are upon us, so I’m sure that has something to do with it, but this has been going on for the past two to three months. People just.. trickling away.

 

Aside from Skype, I don’t roleplay anymore. I’m not in that crowd. The new crowd I met in [vox]  is too new for me to vent to. You know how that is. We’re friends, but not friends. Not yet. And my facebook ‘friends’ have dwindled due to divorce.

 

Was it something I said? Was it something I did? What the hell do I do?

 

I have been a great friend to everyone else who went through something hard, something difficult. I have stuck by. I have tried hard to console, to confront, to comfort them in their times of need.

 

I’m crying right now because.. Dammit, I am going through one of the hardest things in the world. Me. It’s my turn. Someone fucking take care of me. Someone fucking tell me it’s going to be okay. Someone fucking reply when I say a fucking greeting, even if it’s just to tell me ‘Hi, sorry I’m busy doing X I’ll talk to you when I can!”

 

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t curse at you. I’m not going it at you, really. Please know that. I’m just.. venting.

 

Help. Anyone. Please.

 

S.O.S.

Miranda

Dear Catie, a series of unfortunate events

I just want to set out a disclaimer for this post today and for my general presence of the next couple of weeks.

Today is very hard. There is a burden very heavy on my chest that I am lifting, and holding it up over my head, but it’s only going to be up for so long because I grow tired and weakened and sore. It’s distracting, and I am unable to think of much else than what I’m holding as I strain to make sense of it.
So, if I seem disinterested, distracted, or otherwise ‘not present’, I am, and please know it has nothing to do with you or anyone else and I love you.
And now, without further ado, I aim to release a piece of the burden by speaking them out.
  • I’m officially getting a divorce. Yes, we’ve been separated and my heart has since moved on from a place of being his to.. being solely mine. But, Matthew and I did one last string of dates to ‘try’ and ‘see’ – not by anyone’s request but our own – and it’s truly.. just not going to happen. And thus, while it’s sad all over again (though not nearly as damaging as the initial blow of separating), it’s also a sigh of relief. We tried while we lived together plenty of times, but even separated, we can say we really did try to go on dates as new people, trying to accept that we were nothing like who we knew before, and never would be again.. And I couldn’t. And Matthew has grown so much as an individual that he’s going to be fine, and told me so. He’s so handsomely like God, so loving and forgiving, so ministering. He is going to make a woman very happy some day.
  • The Monday before Thanksgiving, I was called by the doctor I did a physical with and told that I am 15 pounds away from type 2 diabetes. My vitamin is extremely low, my Omega 3 is extremely low, and my weight (207lbs) vs. my height (5’2 on a good day) is extremely obese. Myself, I never felt ‘extremely’, but the words ‘type 2 diabetes’ don’t make me feel so good anymore. The doctor recommended cutting out all sugar (yikes), all white carbs, and rigorously working out. I have been slacking, that’s no lie, but.. now I feel it. This has been both nerve-wrecking and a wake-up call that I never thought would happen to me. It makes me kick in to survival mode and want to just start today. I’ve been waiting for my paycheck since that Monday, and my paycheck came in today (nearly 2 weeks later), but .. well, you’ll read the following and realize why now I want to hold on to my paycheck carefully.
  • Yesterday was my birthday, and I had accepted that I was going to spend my very first birthday alone. And by alone, I mean, without a S.O. to enjoy it with and to make me feel like I was worth spending the day with and doting attention to. I woke up really sad about that, but as the day went one, I realized two things:
    • This was yet another opportunity to find love for myself without the validation from someone else. To give attention to myself and decide that the day would be positive and hopeful because I said so and because I was going to act like it. It worked, all day, until I got home.
    • I have friends (albeit a very small group of them) that went out of their way to make my day special – without my knowledge – and thus surprised me. I felt so foolish to think I’d be left to myself to make my day special, and not have friends who have been with me since I left, who still love me, support me, and made me feel great.
  • Alas, when I got home.. my dad broke to me some hard news. He was let go from his job, which was a huge amount of income that granted us stability in our rented home, electric bill, and many other important bills and some luxuries. Even with unemployment (if he files) they can’t match what he made, and it would come out to about half of it. Which means:
  • We have to move. Not that I have a lot of stuff anymore since the separation, but I had grown a little comfortable and made friends in the Coppell / Irving area and I have no idea where we’re going to move (hopefully closer to MY work), how much it will cost – how we will afford it, what bills we will get charged late fees for whatever may happen.

I held it together and went in to survival mode when speak with my dad about it. He told me, and I took a moment to think and breathe (about 5 seconds) before looking back up at him and asking things like, “What do you plan to do?” “Where do you want to live (city)?” “Where will you look for work?” “What bills do we have this month and what ones can we cancel for January since we won’t be here?”

All in all, I’m not worried about my dad finding a job. I know he will. He’s very good at it – and not just the minimum wage jobs either. He’s always had a way of getting well-paying jobs out of thin air. I give it a couple of weeks before he’s back in the saddle – and that’s being pessimistic.

It’s just a lot. All at once.

I don’t have any positive words of wisdom. I don’t have a pick-me-up for the day/week/month. I am calm at this moment, but only because I’ve disconnected with feeling so that I don’t burst in to tears. I’m not particularly sad about any of it. I feel numb in that regard. I just feel a great deal of weight.

Think of me.

-M