Dear Catie, my body is a temple.

Catie, my body is a temple.

New International Version
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

New Living Translation
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

English Standard Version
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

Berean Study Bible
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Berean Literal Bible
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God? And you are not your own,

New American Standard Bible
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

King James Bible
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghostwhich is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

International Standard Version
You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don’t you? You do not belong to yourselves,

NET Bible
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Do you not know that your body is the temple of The Spirit of Holiness who dwells within you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own?

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves.

 

I had no idea that that phrase came from the bible. I had heard people say it – usually in defense of staying abstinent until marriage – but I thought it was just a nice way of saying “you are worth more than a careless shag.” Y’know?

Which, to be honest, that always bothered me. Absolutely, a person is worth more than that, but to give a phrase that much power without first ensuring a sense of self worth is hard. Personafying a body as something so holy, so right, so without flaw in God’s image… It truly bothered me to hear things like that because it only solidified what I felt about myself.

As someone who was raped multiple times by multiple people in my life, I began to feel that my temple was destroyed. My temple was no longer a temple, but a ruin. And if my body was to be a ruin, then what did it matter how I treated it? Sure, doll it up, make it pretty, but a ruin is nothing more than a collection of pretty artifacts of the life that lived within before.

Can you see, now, why I began to detest the phrase?

My body is a temple. Was a temple. Is a ruin.

And then, my mind changed. I began to think for myself, and then, I began to read and reread and reread that phrase. I began to see how misused it had been, and how harmful it was as a weapon disguised as a shield.

Now, I realize, my body is a temple.

My body is a gift from God. It is not truly mine, but what I use to walk this Earth in. It is a vessel in which I can experience life in, and what a true gift that is.

My body is a temple, and with it, I realize.. It will only last so long, as all great things will crumble in time. So, perhaps, I should do my best to respect it. To use it to venture forth in to this world. To push it to it’s limits and see what I can withstand with it while valuing it enough to feed it what will nourish, heal, and rest it.

I dunno. This phrase just hit me recently, and it’s made me want to dance.

I got big plans, girl. Big plans. God’s just been waiting for me to see them.

 

xoxo

mojo

Dear Catie, the older I get, the less I care.

I’m not talking empathy. That is still high and I will always feel unmeasurable pangs of guilt, sorrow, sympathy, empathy, happiness… etc. That’s part of BPD. I’ll never be ‘mellow yellow’, but you get used to living with that after a while.

What I am talking about is the older I get, the less fucks I give about things like:

  • How someone other than me parents (as long as it doesn’t hurt the kid)
  • How someone other than me loves another person (gays, bisexuals, etc)
  • How someone other than me lives their life (as long as it doesn’t hurt someone)
  • What I eat, what I weight, and have I told you how much I love my body lately?

  • Where someone lives and the pictures of their ‘life’ they allow us to see on social medias
  • Keeping up on my own ‘social media’.

I try to post enough to let my grandmother not freak out, but honestly, I have found the tools on Facebook considering who is allowed to Follow you, See what you post, etc to be very helpful. I can now feel comfortable that I won’t step on any toes and other bullshit like that when I post things about how I feel with friends who are like minded. My family is southern, conservative for the most part, and not as… progressive? And that’s fine. I’ve learned that I don’t want to change them at all. Let them live how they always have, cause it’s not hurting anyone. While they disagree with gay marriage, they aren’t going out of their way to kill, abuse, or otherwise hurt gay people. *shrugs* And I know that I give less effs about what other people think, but Facebook is full of little ways that people can pipe up with their opinions and disagree with mine and make me feel like, in general, using facebook to share my opinions is a waste of time because they will be shit on every fucking time. (Which is why I hide a good majority of it now from those who do that.) (I’m looking at you, Joseph. I hope he reads this with the same humor as me, but damn, that guy is as much of an instigator as ever. AGAIN, THOUGH, WOULDN’T CHANGE ‘EM.)

  • What people think of me.

A good part of social media for me, way back before I left it, was I put way too much stock in to

  1. What people posted and how their lives that they let everyone see must be all there is to it.
  2. What people see of my life must be perfection, just like theirs, and wtf, why isn’t my life perfection like theirs?

A great part of learning people are full of shit and all about The Game of fronts and perceptions is that I don’t give a fuck to play a game I didn’t realize I was playing. Fuck the rules, fuck the ‘my life is perfect #blessed’ bullshit. I don’t care. I’m glad everyone’s so happy, but they got nothing on my life. Sorry ’boutcha.

And I mean that. You ask on the regular how I am doing, and I feel bad and like a parrot when I repeatedly state: “I’m good. We’re good. Everything’s groovy.” — But it’s the truth. Matthew and I are —

Oh wait. The readers have no idea about that. Oops. Summary recap.

Matt and I split up last summer in July 2014.

We were fantastic apart. We were nothing but nice and friendly to each other the entire split.

The worst part was divorcing not only him, but his parents. — And that’s a lesson we learned. We were married, but his parents were a heavy portion of our marriage. While, in their own lives, Matt’s grandparents were a huge part of their marriage, they felt that was the norm for everyone – so they including their lives so heavily on ours. I don’t mean ‘come and visit me once an a while’. I mean, where we live (apartment vs house), how much we pay, the city we live (was 7 minutes from their house), how often Elijah sees them else we hear about it, the things we spent our money on, keeping up appearances and visiting extended family at functions, going to the lake and outdoorsy things all the time when the weather allows.

None of these things are awful traits. They honestly do it because they care and that’s how they know how to care. They have always wanted what is best for Matthew and I, and if it worked for them, it must be ‘best’, right? I used to be so frustrated and angry with them and the way I feel they personally drove more stress and anxiety in to my life – in to Matt’s life – and then, in to our marriage because they ultimately ended up pinning Matt and I against each other on the regular. It was so unhealthy — but they aren’t solely responsible.

Boundaries are important, and if Matt and I never speak up, and never hold up to our end of the fence post, then they would never know where the boundary began.

Anyhow, so they were hard to divorce because they were hurting and I was the one to blame and blah blah. It was pretty ugly there, but I remained trying to be as nice as humanly possible because that’s how I was raised, and I didn’t want Elijah to think Nana and Pops were some horrible people. They’re not, and I don’t want him ever to think they’re anything than super heroes in his eyes.

Matt and I dated other people. Our paperwork wasn’t filed yet, but damn, do you know how expensive that crap is? You do, cause you’ve done it, but we agreed that we were both divorced, that neither would use in court some adultery charge if we were to date before we filed, etc etc. So we agreed to date others. We didn’t live together, we dated, we would occasionally update each other on how that was going, and we became best friends again. It was amazing.

And then, one night we decided to take Elijah out to eat together. And then we took him back to Matt’s place. And then I didn’t leave, and we fell back in love. It went something like this:

The most important thing I took from this separation is: We grew up.

We were not so focused on the other person, and would they still like the other person if we liked this or didn’t like that, or had a preference to this or that. We weren’t able to grow up healthily in our former relationship, between each other and his parents. I wasn’t allowed to feel comfortable, and feel like I wasn’t some freak because I didn’t like fishing like the others did. Or that I preferred to read. Or whatever.

We got to grow up when we were apart, and dating again was complete and total new territory. We were different people, who loved ourselves, and we went in to this relationship like this:

-Do we feel the same religiously? (Because I gained way more faith when I discovered I was Super Mom as a single mother)

-Can we communicate? (A huge problem before, where Matt would rather bottle things up than speak up about them at the risk I would blow up at him — and I would definitely blow up at him at every chance, with tensions so high.)

-Can we be our own people, but also still love each other? (I’m sorry, Matthew, but Grunge was so hard for me to pretend to like. While some is fine, I just can’t get behind Sound Garden. It’s not my jam, mannnn.)

-Can we be us, and not let anyone else intrude on our relationship? (We decided, if this would happen, that this time around we would gently let everyone know that it’s us against the world. Just us.)

Naturally, we came to an agreement. We dated in secret for a while, because while we can forgive each other and fall in love all over again as new people — everyone else that we knew in our family would likely be confused, hurt, and not know what the fuck was going on. I was definitely worried for his side of the family, who had every right to be bitter I feel. I was never worried for my family, though. They’ve always loved him and his family. I half expected a celebration — one that will come.

When we eventually came public, Matthew told his parents and informed them as gently as he could that it was he and I, and that this time, while he knows they love him, he would do his own thing with me. They didn’t quite understand, and he tried to explain, but again. That may be something that never changes, and that’s life. Gotta let it go.

Sooooo. Long story short, we’re happy. Still. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘honeymoon’ phase, because we’re smarter than that. We know there’s hardship, and we struggle – but our struggles are easier now. They seem so easy. Communication has been key. We both make more money, and love our jobs, which is huge. We live in Frisco — which is perfect for our lifestyles. We go on dates, with or without Elijah, weekly and without having to plan it.

I tell you, spontaneously asking the other person if they wanna go see a Movie tonight and knowing you can afford it without having to skimp on some bill is the best feeling in the world.

But, despite how amazing we are, I don’t like to go in to detail anymore. Why? Well..

  • It’s my life. Our life. And that’s between us. It’s a boundary.
  • Life really is great for us, but rather than post all the damn time about it on social medias, I’d rather people witness it if they’re curious if we’re just as happy as we seem.
  • I don’t have time any more to post on the regular about my life when I’m busy trying to write my book and relax on the small amounts of times I have. I work pretty heavily now (which I love), and Matt works opposite schedules, and Elijah is on a schedule, and while there is always time for the three of us – we don’t back burner each other, and that means things like this and gaming are not prioritized and it’s just hard to keep everyone updated.

I know you ask because you care, and because you can’t just ‘come over and chill’ and witness the glorious harmony yourself, but believe me when I tell you.. Things are groovy. We’re so lucky. No one I know has the love story we do, and let me say, just because it worked out for us, doesn’t mean it will work out for everyone going through divorce. I’m not one of those blindingly positive people who thinks people need to try harder. Not at all.

Also, just because he and I ended up never getting an official divorce on paper, we do consider ourselves divorced in our hearts, because we dated other people and truly attempted to live apart.  We fell out, definitely.

Which means as of today, we consider ourselves Boyfriend and Girlfriend, or dating. Someday, when we decide this is forever, and Matthew asks me to marry him again, we will have a ceremony in which we reconfirm our love for one another — but this time, with God involved, and on a personal scale. But that’s the future.

We’re enjoying the now.

Love you, Pot.

Dear Catie, The ‘I don’t give an F meter.’

Hey B,

I know it’s been a long while since I last posted. I’ll be doing a post on my new years resolution progress after this one to catch up on that, but this post is going to be about my ‘Give an F” meter. For sake of making this post a little less explicit, we’ll call it ‘I don’t care” (IDC) meter.

I’m seriously discovering that I just might actually have an IDC meter. For example, about a month ago, here’s what would happen:

  • Wake up super early for work. It’s likely that by the time I actually rise from the bed, my alarm has gone off around four times. Thus, I’ve wasted valuable ‘getting ready’ time and already in a rush. The IDC meter depletion begins.
  • Wake up Elijah and clothe him because the poor guy got my lack-of-morning-person personality. He’s basically dead weight for the first hour. And cranky.
  • Food things. Feel guilty about the food things being Fast Food things both for health reasons and an unnecessary expense. Stress / Anxiety / Catastrophic thinking IDC depletino.
  • Drop off Elijah / pay for day care. Stress IDC depletion.
  • Go to work / work all day. This is where most of my IDC depletion happens.
  • Work out after work at trail. This one is hard to make happen after all the IDC meter depletion.
  • Drive home in guaranteed rush hour traffic. Some IDC meter subtraction.
  • Food things again. Likely fast food, because my IDC meter by this point is so depleted.

Like, seriously, after work, it’s kind of like my IDC meter is just done. Like, the rest of the things from the day are just extra things I have to really push myself to give any of the Cares about. And that makes just about everything that wasn’t a necessity in my life very difficult to manage. I started paying my bills and doing my budget and doing my schedule and writing and things while at work because by the end of the day, I just didn’t care and it wouldn’t happen because I’d be vegging out on the couch because.. I mean, come on, my brain is DONE.

 

This is something I didn’t realize would significantly change when I moved in with my Mother. I knew there would be positive change financially for me in this decision because I wouldn’t be paying rent and could pay off all of my debts much faster. But, what I didn’t realize, is that my IDC meter INCREASED in amount. So did the spending .

  • Wake up super early, still, because now I live 30 minutes farther from work than I did. But, I also go to bed earlier, because part of the condition of moving in was to not disrupt my little sister Melody’s schedule. Wakes up at 6am. Bathes at 7pm. Story at 7:30p. Bed by 8pm. So if Elijah is on the same schedule, as to not disrupt it, then I am done putting him to bed by 8pm. And if I am done then, and I still want to do the things such as gaming, reading, or lounging, then I can still do that for a couple of hours before going to bed at a reasonable hour myself. Tadaaaa. Therefor, no more IDC points taken during this activity.
  • Wake up Elijah. He is still dead weight in the morning, but he wakes up in about 20 minutes now instead of an hour. I don’t have to fight him much, and since he has his own room, I can wake him up once I am ready so I don’t have to battle both of us at the same time. Less IDC points taken!
  • Food things. Because we need to eat. So, oatmeal is yummy and he partakes. Myself, instead of buying food on the way to work, I eat breakfast there because it’s there and I can and I feel better both health wise and financially. Less IDC points taken!
  • The drive to work is always going to be rush hour. And that kind of sucks. BUT, mom suggested to me that I start listening to audiobooks in the car to make the time go by / take my mind off of the ridiculous traffic. IT WORKS. I am so rapped up in the story that I don’t notice how long I’ve been chilling in the same spot in traffic. Road rage depleted, and IDC points saved. (Plus, I feel like I am accomplishing / completing tasks I have held off on forever now because I never have time to read. So listening while doing something I HAVE to like driving makes me feel like it’s less of a chore and more of a, “YES I FINALLY READ THAT BOOK HUZZAH.”)
  • Drop off Elijah / Pay for daycare. This one still makes me sad because dat money, but I’m considering finding him another place to be that does Pre-K since he can’t do Kindergarten this year and has to wait a whole other year because September Baby.
  • Go to work. This one doesn’t cost so many points and it didn’t before. I like my job, I do. The only points depleted in it were having to do other not-work related things at work, which made things harder because multitasking. This is just never going to not take some points.
  • Work out after work. This one takes points, but it’ll be worth it someday, I tell myself. It makes me feel good about myself, like I did productive things, like I am gettnig stronger, ilke I might have my shit together if I can finally do this and not hate me.
  • Drive home in rush hour traffic. Same as driving to work in rush hour. Dat audiobook. Plus, I get to wind down from work out.
  • Food things. Not fast food, because I live with my parents and they cook the things. So that’s less fast food I’m consuming.

 

Basically, the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version of this is: Life at Mom’s isn’t that bad and helps my Give an F meter. Go team.

-Mojo

 

Dear Catie, I took the test again, and I got INFP! *gasps*

Untitled(click to enlarge)
PERSONALITY: INFP
VARIANT: TURBULENT
ROLE: DIPLOMAT
(Readers, this is from this site.)

“You are one of the Diplomats – an empathic and idealistic individual who enjoys exploring interesting ideas and prizes morality. You are known for your poetic nature, intuitive skills and pure, childlike enthusiasm. Above you will find a brief overview of your personality traits – proceed to the type overview to learn much more about your personality type. Prepare to be impressed.”

You know me, Catie. Always looking to know, and always changing. I took the test again because it’s a new year, and I was curious if I’d changed much at all. I answered as truthfully as possible with absolutely no ‘neutral’ answers. You can read all of the things, if you want, at this site but I will highlight some on this post that I found interesting. Really, only one letter changed, but it’s a difference! (Also, can I just say, I LOVE the ‘flower child’ icon? Hahaha.)

When deciding how to move forward, they will look to honor, beauty, morality and virtue – INFPs are led by the purity of their intent, not rewards and punishments. People who share the INFP personality type are proud of this quality, and rightly so, but not everyone understands the drive behind these feelings, and it can lead to isolation.

Also, one of your favorite quotes is on the page, too.

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.

J. R. R. Tolkien
 
Also, um, hello yes this is me:
INFPs have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. Left unchecked, INFPs may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world.
 
Strengths:
  • Idealistic – INFPs’ friends and loved ones will come to admire and depend on them for their optimism. Their unshaken belief that all people are inherently good, perhaps simply misunderstood, lends itself to an incredibly resilient attitude in the face of hardship.
  • Seek and Value Harmony – People with the INFP personality type have no interest in having power over others, and don’t much care for domineering attitudes at all. They prefer a more democratic approach, and work hard to ensure that every voice and perspective is heard.
  • Open-Minded and Flexible – A live-and-let-live attitude comes naturally to INFPs, and they dislike being constrained by rules. INFPs give the benefit of the doubt too, and so long as their principles and ideas are not being challenged, they’ll support others’ right to do what they think is right.
  • Very Creative – INFPs combine their intuitive nature with their open-mindedness to allow them to see things from unconventional perspectives. Being able to connect many far-flung dots into a single theme, it’s no wonder that many INFPs are celebrated poets and authors.
  • Passionate and Energetic – When something captures INFPs’ imagination and speaks to their beliefs, they go all in, dedicating their time, energy, thoughts and emotions to the project. Their shyness keeps them from the podium, but they are the first to lend a helping hand where it’s needed.
  • Dedicated and Hard-Working – While others focusing on the challenges of the moment may give up when the going gets tough, INFPs (especially Assertive ones) have the benefit of their far-reaching vision to help them through. Knowing that what they are doing is meaningful gives people with this personality type a sense of purpose and even courage when it comes to accomplishing something they believe in.
Weaknesses:
  • Too Idealistic – INFPs often take their idealism too far, setting themselves up for disappointment as, again and again, evil things happen in the world. This is true on a personal level too, as INFPs may not just idealize their partners, but idolize them, forgetting that no one is perfect.
  • Too Altruistic – INFPs sometimes see themselves as selfish, but only because they want to give so much more than they are able to. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they try to push themselves to commit to a chosen cause or person, forgetting to take care of the needs of others in their lives, and especially themselves.
  • Impractical – When something captures INFPs’ imagination, they can neglect practical matters like day-to-day maintenance and simple pleasures. Sometimes people with the INFP personality type will take this asceticism so far as to neglect eating and drinking as they pursue their passion or cause.
  • Dislike Dealing With Data – INFPs are often so focused on the big picture that they forget the forest is made of individual trees. INFPs are in tune with emotions and morality, and when the facts and data contradict their ideals, it can be a real challenge for them.
  • Take Things Personally – INFPs often take challenges and criticisms personally, rather than as inspiration to reassess their positions. Avoiding conflict as much as possible, INFPs will put a great deal of time and energy into trying to align their principles and the criticisms into a middle ground that satisfies everybody.
  • Difficult to Get to Know – INFPs are private, reserved and self-conscious. This makes them notoriously difficult to really get to know, and their need for these qualities contributes to the guilt they often feel for not giving more of themselves to those they care about.
Famous INFPs:

William Shakespeare
J.R.R. Tolkien
Björk
Johnny Depp
Julia Roberts
Lisa Kudrow
Tom Hiddleston
Homer
Virgil

Fictional INFPs:

“Frodo Baggins” from The Lord of the Rings
“Anne of Green Gables”
“Fox Mulder” from X-Files
“Deanna Troi” from Star Trek
“Wesley Crusher” from Star Trek
I gotta go for now, but I will post more of what I learn later!
Love you,
Miranda
 P.S. This is me so much right now:
But INFPs aren’t necessarily in a rush to commit – they are, after all, Prospecting (P) types, and are almost always looking to either establish a new relationship or improve an existing one – they need to be sure they’ve found someone compatible. In dating, INFPs will often start with a flurry of comparisons, exploring all the ways the current flame matches with the ideal they’ve imagined. This progression can be a challenge for a new partner, as not everyone is able to keep up with INFPs’ rich imagination and moral standards – if incompatibilities and conflict over this initial rush mount, the relationship can end quickly, with INFPs likely sighing that “it wasn’t meant to be.”

Dear Miranda, Balance is a Fickle Bitch.

As you know Balance is one of things central to the core of my very being. Yet it seems to be something I constantly struggle with. Maybe its simply because I care about balance that I seek a center while most people are simply happy to live at one extreme or the other.

What ever the case I feel as if I have been off center for a bit. In my quest to be happier I pushed a lot of what I perceived as negative traits about myself to the side and I saw some great results! A good attitude really does breed good feelings. HOWEVER… I have come to realize that while a good attitude is something I want to keep, I just wouldn’t be me without the sass and snark.

I’m now attempting to slow the pendulum swing from Mega-Bitch to Super-Sweet and find my happy medium. I mean let’s be real. One of the sexiest things about me is that I’m not afraid of anyone and I will be quick to put someone in their place if they are rude to someone I care for. A new sexy trait is that I am harder to anger and “let it go” a lot easier.

Its all just a matter of walking the tightrope of my feelings without tilting to much to one side or the other… Sometimes it’s hard being an INFJ. Damn our inner complexities. This whole balancing act translates to all parts of my life. My attitude. My relationships. My Health. My parenting. My Faith.

I guess if last years theme was “Be Happy” then this year’s theme is “Find Balance”.

-Catie

Dear Catie, but what do I know?

I’ve got a couple of friends who are engaged, newlywed, and in long-term relationships. I didn’t realize this when it happened, but I suppose that I’ve been categorized by them in to a new little label when certain topics come up. My label is: divorced. See also:  no longer married. Synonyms: failed, poor relationship management, doesn’t know anything about being in a committed relationship, you know, seeing as how I’m not in one currently.

I was thinking about this only because one of them had spoken up about a fight he and his ladyfriend had over likes and dislikes, and doing everything together all of the time. Everything. His friends are her friends and her friends are his. There is never a time other than work that they are not together.

Now, this article is not to imply their method of madness is wrong. I think that’s all subjective, and some people get along just fine like that. The issue is when he says he’s going nuts because there’s not a lot of ‘just him’ time, and that when he brings it up to her, instead of it sounding like he just wants some ‘him time’, it sounds to her like he wants some ‘not you time’.

As he begins to describe the issue and argument in detail, I open my mouth to offer some advice in the situation – advice that could help him get what he desires but also give her some piece of mind that it’s not what she fears. Immediately, I am interrupted. “Yeah, sounds smart,” he begins before poking jest, “but what would you know. You’re divorced, right?”

Again, the synonyms with this label. I am divorced, and thus this must mean I know little to nothing about relationships and how-to-have-one. I failed at it, so therefor I must not be any sort of point of authority. It’s not that I am relatively young, still. It’s not that I have had X amount of relationships in my life. It’s that at one point, I was married, and as we speak now, I am not. That is what this is based off of. This is why I am discredited.

But what do I know?

I know that in a relationship where I loved a man to the moon and back, I was not happy.

I know that in a relationship where I met a man who was unbelievably kind, I was not happy.

I know that in a relationship where I was married to a man who was considerate and handsome, I was not happy.

My marriage ending has nothing to do with what I don’t know about keeping a relationship together, and everything to do with what I know I want in a relationship and did not have. Like communication. Like a connection on a deeper level. Like a partner, a team player, a motivator.

My ex-husband is everything to me. He is one of my very best friends and someone I am so thankful to be co-parenting with, but he is not the man I am meant to spend the rest of my life with.

But what do I know about relationships? What does any of this have to do with anything? Excuse me. I did one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I had to take the huge risk of losing a whole lot not only for myself, but potentially for my son.

I know a whole heck of a lot about relationships. I know what happiness looks like. I know what a disagreement and what a resolution of a healthy couple sounds like. I know what an unhealthy one sounds like, as well. I know what contentment and contempt look like. I am well aware what is and isn’t and how to make it happen without it being the end of the world, if it doesn’t have to be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have been unfortunately stigmatized by a simple label. It’s just another symptom of judgment by those that don’t understand.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd, that’s my rant for the day.

 

Love you,

Miranda

Dear Catie, A Happy Self.

When I woke up this morning at 9:00am, I didn’t really have a ‘plan.’ I knew I was off, I knew I wouldn’t have Elijah until tomorrow, and that I had just me, myself, and I for the next 24 hours. It’s a Thursday, but it’s also New Years Day. Is anything open? I bet not, but I bet the movie theater is. For some reason, they’re always open and it kind of makes me feel bad for the workers, but not bad enough that I didn’t get my ass up for the matinee showing of Wild (Starring Reese Witherspoon) at 10:40am.

So in I walk to the theater, having no idea what this movie is about – not even a trailer of it. Someone I loosely know knew of my situation (‘divorced’) and thought to tell me to go see it, with urgency. They were not mistaken in this suggestion. This is my first text after seeing it, to my mother:

It’s about a woman who’s had it all and lost it all and made a lot of mistakes and so she goes on a journey for herself to find the woman her mother always wanted for her (to be her Happy Self). It was just really therapeutic. I thought to myself, “Maybe I should go on a little thing, too.” And then I realized, “I already am.”

It just gives me hope that this isn’t for nothing and I will come out of it all a Happy Self.

It’s true. I really am already on my own adventure. I live by myself (sometimes with Elijah) in a new city I’ve never lived in that is much bigger than the suburbia I grew up in and the small towns I visited. The dynamic of people, their mannerisms, everything is different. At the mall, once the movie was over, I realized that sitting on the bench drinking my smoothie – no one noticed me. No one spoke to me, no one saw me — I wouldn’t even have to go on a hike across the PCT to feel solitude. Life was happening all around me – yet separate from me.

I am not writing this as a depression piece — I actually find this very beautiful. The idea that I can sit in a populated area and simply be beside myself while having the opportunity to reach out and speak to anyone I wanted, it was like a super power.

A lot of my country-living family and relatives have asked me how I can do it, and that all the sirens and noise of the highway must drive me insane. When I began to speak of the ritual at night time when I turn all of the lights out and lay on my bed, stare up at my ceiling and the noise just… enters. Cars on the highway. People in their apartments (speaking softly). The occasional, nightly sirens going off. It’s all a symphony of hyperactive life all around. You will find each of these things – though maybe isolated – in the country. They won’t be as often, and the country leaves a lot of quiet – too much quiet for me. Too much silence for my thoughts to invade where they shouldn’t and cause problems that never were.

But here? Here, it is a symphony. It is music inside of earbuds taped to my head as I drift off to sleep. I am at such peace, yet I am still able to think – and better yet, control where my thoughts linger. I am able to contemplate the last year of my life, where it ‘all went wrong, and then take a deep breath as I release the burden to the sky.

Every day that I am off, I have ventured in to the city – to a location I’ve never been. I’ve been to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or two, a privately owned pharmacy, a coin-laundromat on the other side of town, and even walked a mall I’ve never taken time to bother with. Every day, I put myself out there without going farther than 10 miles from my new home. There’s people of all walks of life here, and I finally feel like I can belong in such a new place without everyone staring at me like I am the new girl. I’m not the new girl in town anymore. I’m the new girl in the city – and that’s exciting. I can walk around with the utmost confidence because no one knows me, no one can snoop up who my family is off a whim of asking ‘granny down the street who’s kin I belong to’ or any of the more ‘comfortable’ details of living in a small town.

And I know this won’t last forever. I know, someday I will find someone up to my level who will sway me to move elsewhere – whether it’s in Texas or not – and my single-living-apartment-adventure will end..

But it’s not about the start or finish. It’s about the journey. It always has been. I have been so focused, the last half year, on reaching the finish line of my grief. I gave up a life I had – a beautiful life that I had with a beautiful family. You will be hard pressed to find more decent and considerate folks than Mr. Donald Dyer and Mrs. Debbie Dyer, my ex-husband’s parents. I will be hard pressed to find a more compassionate man than Matthew was – and remains to be. I am so blessed to call him co-parent to my child, Elijah. That young boy will want for nothing.

As the holidays came upon us, I look on it now like it was all a blur, though at the time it was very much not. Thanksgiving came like a slap to the face. My birthday arrived a week later with news of needing to pack everything up immediately and find a place to live, my dad having hardship that aided this, and then being single for my birthday for the first time in.. at least a decade. Then three weeks blew by as I packed, searched, found, scavenged for the money, and then moved in three days before Christmas. I didn’t even have a tree, let alone the amount of presents I wanted for Elijah – but we’re doing fine. He made out like a bandit. But I was single, once more, for the third anniversary of celebration in a row within a month. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Christmas.

It was a lot of grief, a lot of pain they don’t tell you about. I remember texting my mother the day of Christmas, prepared to beg that I stay home because it was all too much. But instead, I decided it was time to get out of bed. It was time to go see my family – because that’s what it is about and I lost sight of that. I went and had the best time at my stepfather’s parents’ house with the whole family, eating, laughing, playing games. My sister, her best friend, and I went to the movies for a double feature and I didn’t get home until the early morning next day.

I feel like I was prepared for New Years Ever, and then Day. I had made it through the past month with my head above water, and a strong mind. Crying is alright, and grief is a place I went for the holidays, but the important thing to remember is not to live there. This, too, shall pass.

New Years Eve was a blast. New Years Day was a revelation, not because of the first day of a new year but because of the events that happened on it.

It’s time to stop grieving.

It’s time to let it go.

It’s time to be a Happy Me.