Looking Forward to Dating

That’s right – I said it.  I’m looking forward to dating.  In the past, I have stayed in relationships far too long for the sole reason that I didn’t want to start dating again.  The stress of trying someone on for size – Will it work?  Can I deal with his quirks?  Will he like me?  Blah, blah, blah.

Today, I find myself looking forward to the experience.  Maybe not the pressure of trying to find a good man and a good fit, but to the actual dating part.

I miss being heard. My ex stopped listening to me a long time ago. I’m looking forward to someone caring about my thoughts and feelings. I’m excited about someone making me feel important and worth his time. I lost my voice, but in this house, with group, and with my counselor’s help I’ve found it again. I’m looking forward to using it.

With my ex – I specifically told him that I wanted he and I to continue dating.  Yah – that didn’t happen.  I wasn’t a priority.  The only time I ever went out and had fun was with my friends or family – almost never with him.  I went to work, I came home, ate dinner, went to bed (and by that, I mean sleep).  On the weekends, he always had his mini-me.  We almost never did anything other than go out to eat now and then (and that’s really not fun).

I wasn’t a priority to him.  He spent an entire day at the mountains with his buddy having fun, but he can’t clear an evening for me.  Or, he can’t take a weekend off from his son to just spend time with me (which didn’t include manual labor).  Apparently, he didn’t feel the need to have fun with me.

So, now I’m ready to get out and have some fun.  I’ve joined a couple of local groups in hopes of finding someone with whom I can have fun.  I’ve actually even met someone already – not for anything serious, but just to have some fun.  I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new people for some fun.

That words seems to keep coming up – fun.  I guess there’s been a massive lack of it in my life as of late.  I’m hoping to correct this.

People ask all the time – What do you do for fun?  The pathetic truth is – I don’t.  How sad is that?  So, I’m going to take this time trying to figure out what I find fun.  I’m hoping to try all sorts of new experiences with all sorts of new people solely in search of fun and what fun looks like to me.

What would you suggest I try first?  What is fun to you?  What have I been missing out on?

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More Tears

The post from earlier was actually written on Saturday. This was today:

My therapist wants me to spend time every day, paying attention to my feelings – to acknowledge them, to allow them, to feel them.  Normally, I have to consciously do so.  I make time every evening, when I’m alone in my room, so I can fully experience whatever is happening within me.

Today, I don’t have to make that time.  My feelings are in the forefront.

I’m really not appreciating it!

My day started out rough. Apparently, every now and then, the pilot light for the hot water tank in the shelter goes out.  Since I’m the first one up, I was the one who got to discover it… and then take a cold shower because I didn’t have the time to wait for someone to light it and then the water to get hot.

Yay!

And then my period started.  Not a big deal, but not my favorite. I was prepared and everything – it just kinda added to the tone of the day.

I went to see a house today.  It was great!  And they can work with my situation!  I was so excited!  I called the people who are supposed to (financially) help me get into a place.  Basically, I was told it wouldn’t happen.  When I had initially met with them, they said I needed to find a place first, and then they could help me.  Well, I found the place – help me!

So very frustrating!  I’ll call tomorrow, but I’m 95% certain I won’t get the place. 😦

But then, something unexpected happened.  I had a bad day at work.  My co-worker is… making my learning process at my new job difficult, if not impossible.  She wants me to do things with confidence (ie – without bugging her to make sure I’m doing it right).  Then, when I do so (and do it wrong) she becomes frustrated with me.

We have a third co-worker, who (I was told) is there for the purpose of training us (while I’m the new kid, my co-worker hasn’t been there much longer than me).  My co-worker has told me (not suggested, not requested) that I not bug our third co-worker, that we need to be self-reliant.  So, trying to do as she wants, I leave our third co-worker alone as much as possible, asking questions of my first co-worker.  She is either busy, or she tells me to figure it out on my own.  It’s INCREDIBLY frustrating!  It’s like she’s setting me up to fail.

I will not put up with this much longer.  I will probably talk with our boss tomorrow to see exactly what the protocol should be.  I’m hoping that I won’t be as emotionally charged tomorrow as I am today.

And then, when I was trying to do something without asking for help, my co-worker swooped in to tell me that I was doing it wrong – in front of a patient.  I was mortified!

After the day that I had, all I want to do is go home to Mr. C, crawl into his arms, and cry.

And then I remember that doing so would be one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and that makes me feel even worse. Now I feel defeated.  Knowing that I’m utterly alone in this struggle makes it even harder.

A part of me is ready to give up and go home.  My mother has said that I can live with her.  That would be so much easier!  And I wouldn’t be alone. I’ve lived with her before, for five years, and she’s an amazing housemate.  It would be so easy to just go home…

For some reason, I feel like I need to stand on my own.  I need to prove that I can make it on my own.

This sucks so much! Hopefully I’m done with the ugly crying for the night.

I’m just thankful that everyone I live with understands that sometimes, eating just isn’t an option. Chores and then straight to bed. Yay!

Bad Pizza

Today, I went to get my taxes done (for free!  Yay!)  That was my first mistake.

In recent years, I’ve learned that you get there an hour early, and you might have a chance to get seen.  I was utterly shocked when I arrived, but nobody was there.  Apparently, you have to have an appointment.  Yikes!  So, instead of being seen, I helped the lady set up (hoping it would get me brownie points).

After we were all set up, she sat down and made me an appointment for later this afternoon.  Yay brownie points!  But, it meant I would have to kill three hours.

I went to my favorite pottery painting place.  They were full!   Not only were they full, but they had a waiting list!  Holy crap!  No thanks.

I went to the nearby bakery.  They were jam packed.  And the pizza place – the only seating available was the dirty table (which nobody seemed in any hurry to clean).  What is going on???

But, I found out that the pizza place has seating downstairs!?  It was horrible!  First, I had to walk my pizza outside (in the rain!) to get to the basement (soggy pizza!)  The room was absolutely devoid of any personality, there was no music and no ambiance, and the seating was less than stellar.  To top it off, every now and then, the nearby pinball machine would just start yelling for no reason (other than to entice people to put money into it).

And then I bit into my pizza.  I had wanted to start with the salad, but the cashier told me that she would bring it down to me.  I was halfway done with my pizza by the time the salad arrived, and I had even waited before taking my first bite.  The pizza sounded interesting, and the cashier told me that it was delicious, so I decided (mistakenly) to try it.  It was steak and potato pizza with a chimichurri sauce.  I don’t think it would have been so bad except for the fact that the potatoes were only about half cooked.  Blech!

Keep in mind – this is one of my favorite pizza places – everything has always been really good.  I tell people about it because it has been so good.  In the past, the salad was always simple, but delicious.  For some reason (when it was finally delivered) it was… less than stellar.

I’m wondering if this is my HP’s way of encouraging me to never come to this town again (I have to go through it, if I should ever want to see my ex again).

Everything today seemed to have gone wrong.  I’m sitting here, at the library (where they will hopefully do my taxes) typing.  I’m hoping the universe got it all out of it’s system and that my taxes will go well.  Kinda afraid.

*crossing fingers*

Update – Since writing this, I got my taxes done and it was very good news. I also met someone new and went to one of my favorite bars and had a delicious dinner. The day started out rough, but ended very well. Yay!

Just Hit Me Already!

Group was a little different last week. We got a little rowdy and just kinda talked with each other – commiserating, laughing, empathizing.

One thing had everyone nodding. I’ve blogged about it before, but it amazed me that what was said resonated with every single woman in the room.

One woman said, “just hit me already!” Everyone in the room agreed. We would all rather be hit than deal with the mental turmoil through which our abusers had put us.

I’m guessing that all of the men we were talking about thought they were doing us some favor by not hitting us. As long as they didn’t strike us, they could still believe that they were good men. If they only knew how badly their words destroyed us.

A few of the women even said they tried to get their abusers to hit them. It wasn’t said, but we all understood why. If he hit me, people would understand that. If he hit me, it’s more concrete than “he’s mean to me.” If he hit me, there’s proof that he’s an abuser – something nobody (not even he) could deny.

One said that she wanted him to hit her so she would be justified in hitting him back. That would be SO satisfying!

Thinking about it, I don’t think anyone was there because her partner hit her. Most of us are there because… because he’s mean. He’s cruel, disrespectful, insensitive, and selfish. Every single one of them.

But they didn’t hit us.

Dammit!

Self Care

This week at my Domestic Violence Support Group, we discussed self care. Obviously, I know how important it is, but I have failed miserably at it lately.

We’ve all heard the same stories, right? The one which got through to me is the pitcher analogy. All day long, we’re pouring from our pitcher – work, kids, husband, chores, etc. Nobody fills our pitcher – we must do that ourselves. If we fail to fill it, we can’t continue giving to those around us. We’ll be empty and resentful. It’s just bad.

Or the plane one. Put on your own oxygen mask first so you can take care of others.

We were going around the room at the meeting, sharing what we do for ourselves. As it neared my turn, I started panicking. What the hell do I do? Shit!

Baths! I take baths! Long, luxurious, candle-lit, piano-music infused bubble baths. That’s been my go-to for twenty years. I’ve bought numerous products just for my baths.

And yet… I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a bath. It’s been at least a year. It definitely hasn’t happened in the last month. It really isn’t a possibility at the shelter.

What else can I do? I’m trying to save my pennies for my new place, so it needs to be cheap or free. As a fat kid, my go-to is food, but I’m trying to make good food choices, so that’s out.

Maybe a short walk every day (if it’s not raining). Maybe I’ll finally make meditation a priority. Other than that, I’m drawing a blank.

Honestly, just escaping the abuse was a massive dose of self care. My life is so much happier and more peaceful that self care hardly seems necessary. I should have practiced more self care when I was in it.

What do you do for self care?

Regrets

I’ve lived most of my life without regret. I’ve gained something from all of my choices, so while they might not have been positive experiences, I was able to be thankful for what I got from it. Sometimes, my life was (overall) better because of the experience. Sometimes I gained knowledge. Or strength. Or… something else.

I went to a school far away from home so I could be challenged instead of utterly bored. It completely dropped my GPA, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I believe my experience at that school was far better than what I would’ve had, had I gone to my local school.

When I was married to an abusive SOB, I gained two great kids, a backbone, self-awareness and a drive to grow as a person. Plus, I learned how to handle challenges with grace and dignity. There are people who knew me during my marriage and were amazed that I never regretted that choice.

All of a sudden, I have regret.

I recently bought a new (to me) car. I regret that. I allowed my then-boyfriend to affect my choice. It was the wrong car then, but even more so now. I’m looking in to how soon I can get rid of this thing. (It is far too much car for little ol’ me and it has lots of flaws).

Being so close to the end of my last relationship, I’m having a really hard time finding the silver lining. I lost my son, his life has only gone downhill since, I walked away from a really great guy (who I have since tried to find, but am unable), I am far from home, blah, blah, blah.

Now, I have regret. Lots of regret. I’m hoping I will find the whole reason I went through all of it. Eventually. Maybe that will let me know when I’m ready to start dating again.

Or maybe I’ll just regret this for the rest of my life.

I Hate My Name

I used to love my name. I just feel like it suits me so well. I used to be proud of my name.

Today, I realized that I hate people calling me by my name. It makes me angry and even a little fearful.

Isn’t that odd?

The reason is very simple. For years, I’ve had men use my name as a swear word. “This is all your fault, Teri.” “No, Teri, I will not stop yelling at you.” “Do you want to know what I really think, Teri?”

My name was spat out, as if saying my name disgusted them – as if it was dirty or vulgar.

My co-worker is in the habit of calling people by their first name. When she first did it, I assumed that she was practicing my name, since I was new. Nope, she uses it all the time, and I’ve realized that I kinda cringe internally each time she does.

It’s not that she uses my name in vain, but after years of my name being abused like that, it has taken on a new meaning. I can’t tell you how much this saddens me.

I’ve been wanting to change my last name for years (I held onto my married name while the kids were little, but they’re grown now, so there’s no reason to keep it anymore.) Maybe I should just do a massive overhaul and change my whole name.

Or, should I keep it? When I no longer feel fear and anger at the sound of my own name, maybe I’ll be ready to date again.

Just when I thought I was doing okay, something pops up to remind me how horribly they messed me up.

No More Boys

When I first arrived at the shelter, there were already two women there.  One of them had a very young baby (nine months?) from whom I literally never heard a peep.  Our home was very quiet and peaceful.

That mother found a home for her small family and moved out.  The peace became almost stifling.  My one roommate and I never really spent time together or anything.

And then we got another roommate.  She was straight off the street (she had spent the night before in a box behind a dumpster.)  Quiet wasn’t her forte, but she was okay.

And then we got another roommate.  She wants people to like her.  Desperately.  She’s really sweet, but really needy.  But, still respectful of quiet times and whatnot.

And then we got our last roommate.  And her two small boys.  One was a screamer and one was a crier.  They’re boys – that’s what they do, right?  We can tolerate it.

I quickly learned how tolerant, supportive, and loving all of my roommates are.  We put up with a lot of noise in our previously peaceful home. When you’re fresh out of a relationship which was riddled with anger, fighting, and yelling, peace is a cherished aspect to any home. The boys weren’t doing anything wrong – they weren’t trying to bother us – they were just being boys.

When I got home last night, her van was not in the parking area.  This made me happy because she didn’t really park with respect.  You know the kind – they don’t really worry too much about lines and how not staying in those lines effect others around you?  A neighbor once came to me to chastise me for my parking job.  I simply pointed to her van, he nodded and walked away.  So, when I got to take up the spot, in the right way, I was quite happy.

I went inside and very quickly found out that the mother and her two young boys were no longer in the house.  Secretly, I was relieved, but I wouldn’t ever dare say anything like that.  I asked why she had left (she had previously said to me, “This is my home now.”)  The answer that I was given was very cryptic and reminded me of “(s)he who shall not be named.”

The mood in the house last night?  Kinda celebratory.  It was an odd mix of relief, celebration, and peace.  Through mumblings, I found out that she had copped an attitude with… well, everyone but me (I really am very easy to like and get along with.)  It turns out she had been mouthy with roommates and with advocates.

Okay – someone’s letting you stay at their house, rent-free, are you really going to be disrespectful to them?  Well, I’m not!  That’s for sure!

Anyway, our home is back to being peaceful again.

We’ll see how long that lasts!

Decisions Part II

So… remember when I said that I would have absolutely no say in where I live in the future?  I would be so thankful to anyone who would be willing to rent to me that I would accept anything and really not have any choice in it?

Yah.  I lied.  Big time.

This morning, I woke up at 4:00 so I could go to see a potential place to live.  I had a little info before I went – it was a 17′ travel trailer, rent was extremely reasonable, fully furnished, water and sewer included, very little money to get in, and no charge for the background/rental check (not sure she was even going to do one).

How bad could it be – right?  I mean, I’ve camped in a trailer numerous times.  Heck – I’ve camped in a tent.  I was prepared.  I can tolerate anything for a temporary period.  I knew going in that the shower would be small, but that’s to be expected, right?  Obviously, the oven would be small, as would the stove, but I haven’t really done a lot of cooking in the last month anyway.  Besides, I have my InstaPot, so I’m good to go, right?

At the buttcrack of dawn, I set out, directions in hand, ready to see my potential new home.  I even had a bit of excitement going on within.  The drive was beautiful – lush trees and plant life all around, no cookie-cutter houses in site.  All was good.  I drove onto the property and it was gorgeous!  We’re off to a good start!

And then we go to the trailer.  I see it, and convince myself that it might be a real treasure on the inside – not at all like the outside.  There was an awning out front, from which was hung a string of Christmas lights. It looked like a scene from a movie where the bad guy lived in some horrible trailer. It felt like they had stuck pearls on a pig.

The tour actually began before we entered the trailer.  Connected to it was a small wooden room.  Hidden within was a composting toilet.  Have you ever heard of a composting toilet?  I hadn’t.  It turns out, you do your business, sprinkle some sawdust on top, and then leave it for a month when the landlady comes through, pulls out the little drawer thing, and mixes it into her garden soil.

Ew!  And then I imagined the smell in the heat of summer.  EWWWWWW!!! So, you want me to enjoy an evening under the awning – right beside my excrement?!

Okay.  It could be worse.  I’m not sure how, but it could be.  And then we go inside.

I’m guessing it was circa 1976, based on the decor.  The inside of the … well everything was dirty and rusted out (oven, fridge, etc.)  I had expected a small shower, but this was literally half of what I had expected.  It was a corner unit, and it was triangle shaped.  I’m fairly certain anyone with a large frame and/or weighed more than 105 pounds couldn’t make that shower work.

No cable, no biggie – I don’t watch a lot of TV.  The bed is a full size – kind of a problem since I was going to buy a queen mattress to put on top of whatever she had.  I realized that the bed is right beside the composting toilet. At least it wasn’t beside the kitchen table – that was 5 feet further away. Phew! ‘Cause surely the smell wouldn’t travel that far!

Previous tenants had left sunglasses there (or maybe it was other potential renters who couldn’t escape fast enough, and didn’t dare go back in just to rescue their shades.)

The clincher for me?  There was no phone line and no cell service.  Nope.  In case of emergency, I need to be able to contact.. whoever one contacts.

I thanked her for her time, told her I would get back to her by this evening (I couldn’t muster a “hell no” in person,) and began the trek back to my car.  On the way, she stopped me to point to two different yards.  “Those are the two yards you would be mowing.”

Okay, lady.  You don’t need to sweeten the pot!

It turns out – I’m not that desperate and I do have a little say in where I will and will not live.

So – I made a big decision today!  Yay me!  It wasn’t a hard decision to make, but it was big and I think I handled it with grace and respect.

Woo-hoo!

Decisions

One of the effect of living with a controlling person is that you start having a hard time making decisions.  Well… That’s not exactly true.  It’s more like you learn that making decisions can get you in trouble.  There may be any manner of repercussions ranging from mild to OMG – I’m never making a decision again!

After a lifetime of that, you learn that it’s far easier to not make a decision.  You learn that your opinion, your desires mean far less to you than another verbal lashing.  You learn to be quiet, let others make decisions for you, and just go with it.  It causes far less stress and pain.  Sure – you disappear as a person, but it’s so worth it if it means you aren’t going to be abused yet again for daring to say what you really want.

Guess what my homework was from my counselor last week?  You guessed it – I need to start making decisions.  It’s not even a matter of accepting the circumstances; I learned that part in my youth.  But, I need to learn that I am capable of making decisions and that it is safe for me to do so.

Phew!  That’s a tough order!

Last weekend, I decided what I was going to bring to the family Easter gathering.  It wasn’t met with joy, but I made my decision and I stood by it.

And the world didn’t end!

I’ve decided to join some groups in order to make friends and get out of the house.  I think I might be deciding to go to a couple of their gatherings.  I even made some decisions at work!!!  Nobody yelled, accused me of anything or called me any names, or disparaged my character.  It was quite liberating!

I’ve been making a lot of little decisions.  Since I have disappeared so much as a person, I’m taking this time to find myself.  I’m making all sorts of decisions I never would have made before – things which are inherently NOT me.  And I’m having a blast doing it!  I went through this once before, and it was hard on my loved ones.  I even lost some friends because of it.  But, I feel this is a necessary part of my recovery – trying new things out and deciding which I want to include into who I am and which I want to discard.   How fun!

My counselor asked what big decisions I have coming up.  None.  Not one.  The home I’m going to live in?  That’s going to be decided for me by whoever will allow me to rent from them (very little time on the job and no real rental history in the last 4 years!)  The decision to not date has kinda already been made for me (even though my counselor is coaching me where I might find a worthy mate, she has also told me that it’s not time yet.)  At some point, I’ll be responsible to decide who I want to be involved with, but that won’t be for a while.

Maybe all of the decisions I make between now and then will make me more confident and comfortable with the decision-making process.

Hopefully.