She can do anything.

I’ve wanted nothing more than my children to be overwhelmed with love.
For them to always know, without a doubt that their mom loves them beyond words or any form of measurement.

Many times, I have had moments in which I have felt that my sport might be taking something away from them. When Mark was gone, plenty of rides started at 2:45-3:00 am, just so I was done riding for 6 hours by the time I needed to pour them cereal then they had me the rest of the day (was a little tired, but I was there). I wish I knew the amount of miles, I have run starting after 10:30 pm, when the kids are in a deep sleep, house is clean, and my selfish needs are not eating into my family time.

Im far from the “ideal” mom, which I don’t even know exists anymore. At least for me personally, I believe we as mothers are gifted in so many areas, so of course we love/raise our children differently, as we emphasize our personal strengths.

There are some Moms that can bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The Mom who can homeschool her 5 children. The mom who is a doctor… The girl scout leader… The housekeeper… The my-kids-eat-nothing-but-homemade-from-scratch-GF-VEGAN-blessed-by-fairies-sweet-nuggets-from-heaven

With all these things we lead by LOVE & EXAMPLE.

Overhead Chloe with a friend in the garage a couple of weeks ago, I am sure the girl pointed out the absurd number of bikes in the garage…
“My mama can ride her bike 1000 miles. She can do anything. She does triathlon.”

She doesn’t need to be an Ironman, but she needs to know that she too can do ANYTHING. With hard work and dedication the world is hers, and I’ll be standing there on the side lines cheering her on, telling her children “you see your mama, she can do anything.”

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To my brother.

To my brother David Antonio Castaneda:

To quote Rocky (because he is a bad ass, but pretend its in MY voice because sometimes I am a badass):
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world aint all sunshine and rainbows. Its a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it aint about how hard YOU hit. Its about how hard you can get hit and KEEP MOVING forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. Thats how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

This quote and this video pertain so much to life. To OUR lives. We haven’t had it easy, but like I said we CAN NOT look at our lives with regret. You look at every shitty moment as stepping stone to get you to where you wanna be. Life can suck, but life is WHAT YOU MAKE it to be. You can not have great moments without the shitty ones, it makes you appreciate & cherish every piece of greatness that is in your life.

I once watched this video NON-STOP for a 6 hour bike ride, in my garage, in the dark. Sounds totally psychotic, but you have to get into YOUR OWN head. The video isn’t just pertaining to sports, like I said its LIFE.

“You want something, go get it, period.”
“Dig deep down and ask yourselves who do you want to be”
“Just decide.”

You feel the need to do something great? Then do it, but start small. You can’t help the world if you can’t help yourself. Just know that YOU CAN help yourself. Don’t accept anything but the best, and you CAN be the best, you just may have to work harder than some other people. But you CAN do it.

My all time favorite quote is from Mother Teresa”
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

You have to God given ability to do anything you want. Don’t let other people doubt you. Hell, fuck other people. You can NOT rely on anyone. You can not trust ANYONE. YOU DO YOU. That being said, LISTEN to others, RESPECT others, always GIVE a helping hand and remember to say THANK YOU.

“If someone offers you an opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later”, Don’t EVER let an opportunity pass you by.

I personally also have some dreams that I am reaching for and had someone say;
“You know, if you are going to do this, you are either going to sink or swim.”
For a moment there was a piece of glitter dust of doubt, then I thought, I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT.
My reply?
“Well I ain’t that bad of a swimmer, so I’ll take my chances.”
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Also one last thing, if some THING or some ONE does NOT bring JOY, then REMOVE it/them from your life. Keep around people that are on the same wave length as you, but don’t let anyone steal your wave.

And, I love you. Get your shit together and Ill be here with a helping hand.

I am whatever I say I am…

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Michaela Conlin and Joanna Gaines apparently are my spirit animals/doppelgängers …
Every week it happens, someone sees me, does a double take, stalks me, then randomly comes up to me (because this is such big news that they HAVE to let me know) and it starts:
“Excuse me, have you ever seen the TV show Bones (Fixer upper)?’
“Yes, totally know where you are going with this” <— But they don’t seem to hear me.
“The best friend Angela (One of the hosts)…”
“Yep, yep, I know…” <— Again still not listening to me
“You look so much like Angela (Joanna Gaines)!!”
“Yeah, I get that”
“Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Yeah, I get it about once a week”
“Hahaha OMG! You talk just like Angela!” <— as they clap their hands in shock!
“Ok, thanks (?)bye”
As they stare at me as I walk away…

Now I have no problem with this, they are both 2 beautiful talented women. Its come to the point I play a game with myself, especially if I actually catch them giving me the double take, I think “Angela or Joanna today..”
“Have you ever seen Fixer Upper?”

Thing is Ive grown up ALWAYS looking like someone. Mostly “You look so familiar…”, “yeah, I get that a lot”. Now with the rise of Fixer Upper, and how long has Bones even been out (FOREVER?)? At least there is a name to why I look so familiar.

Looking in the mirror I can kinda see it, but then I don’t. Then again I don’t talk to myself in the mirror, so don’t see maybe the facial expressions, or how I walk, or how I sound when I talk.

Both Michaela Conlin (Angela’s real name) and Joanna Gaines have being 1/2 Chinese/Korean & 1/2 Irish/German in common. I only have the Irish/German in common. Yep, sorry to break your heart, but I am not Asian (No: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, or Pacific Islander). My mom is from Jersey (Irish/German/Swede/English descent), and my dad is from COLOMBIA. So I am LATINA.

Once had a “friend” tell me that people don’t necessarily like me or find me attractive (though I remember I really give 2 shits on who thinks I am attractive or not) because I ‘confuse’ them of what I am. That my face is overly animated. Hence the confusion I give people. Maybe because I was in the South and wasn’t white as rice (though I feel like I look pretty caucasian), white people can easily spot someone not COMPLETELY white. LOL, growing up in California I never had this problem, people always associated me with just being Mexican, but it was never a ‘problem’.

‘What I am?’

I’ve been thinking a lot of my cultural identity over the past year. Where do I belong? I’ve seen so much racism on my Facebook feed lately. So much segregation. I grew up in Southern California, I won’t say in the “ghetto”, but in a lower income neighborhood, we weren’t the rich kids “up the hill”. It was completely mixed, hell now that I think about it I don’t know if there were really any white kids. We were mixed, Mexican, Black. They were my friends. Though our skin color was different shades, it didn’t matter, what mattered was who was a baller at handball.

Really the only issue I remember there being was social class. I still look at people that way as to how they grew up. Yeah homie, you were either a rich little white boy or rich little black girl and you didn’t live the same life as us down the hill, so didn’t have a real clue on life. “Rich little” was what segregated us.

So who am I?

My name is Christina Botson (mother) Castaneda (father) Hebert.
I am from Southern California. Yes, explains why I talk faster than you, and don’t ‘sound’ like you.
I am MIXED, and proud. Colombian American.
I associate more with hispanics because that is how I grew up and because I AM HISPANIC.
Im opinionated because my mother talks too much (from Jersey) and never believed in anyone telling her what to do or how to think, especially if they were a ‘dumb little fuck’.
Im quiet and listen because my dad always said “Listen and LEARN. Be respectful.”
I dress a little ‘loud’ at times because my idol as a tomboy growing up was Gwen Stefani, and I so much wanted to be a bad ass like her and truly express myself, it wasn’t till I was old enough that I realized I can do & dress how ever the hell I want, so I do.
I am relatively calm and peaceful because I gotta keep the ‘California Love” (Thanks Joy)
I am sarcastic (funny) because I don’t like awkward situations so I try my best to break the ice and get a smile out of someone
I don’t brush my hair (well maybe once), because when I was 17 my mother told me to “brush your damn hair” and my one act of defiance was not brushing my hair and let it be unruly as hell (except when it was really big to have dead straight hair). To this day my hair looks like a rag-a-muffin, and when people say something about fixing my hair, I only make it look worse, because its MY DAMN HAIR.
I am strong because of my life experiences. From amazing, to tough.
I do what I want to do, because for far too long I let others control my life. Fuck ‘em. I won’t live in someone else box.

So I could go one. But this is me. My cultural identity is kinda all over the place, like I feel my life is, and I think I kinda like that.

They need to get over it.

Ill be honest and say that I don’t like to share these things. Why? Well because of the last card this woman shows “Awkward and uncomfortable”. Hell I can’t even watch Law & Order: SVU anymore, I used to be a fan, but after having children, well I can’t help but have an anxiety attack knowing that something so sick & disturbing could happen to my Mark & Chloe.

Im not one to play the victim, and I don’t even like using the word “play” in this sentence. I do believe that victims of sexual abuse cope in different ways. Some crumble apart as they try to hold on to reality, and others harden with fear & hate and keep those emotions buried deep, not wanting to crack and let what happen destroy their lives.

*Deep breathe* I am the latter. Hide that shit deep. Always refused to let the past play a hold on me today. When I was 16 years old I was raped, by ‘friend’ while another ‘friend’ encouraged him on. I’ll admit I had been drinking, but something was wrong, I could barely walk, I couldn’t stand up, I don’t want to say I was drugged (because I don’t want to give the fuckers the credit for being so cunning) but even then I knew that I had to have given/taken something… I couldn’t help myself, I wasn’t STRONG enough, I felt like I could barely talk, I remember saying over and over “please stop”, I remember crawling away, there were christmas lights lit up on the floor… I just remember looking at the lights, just look at the fucking lights…

Culture has changed (meaning that people are now coming out with sexual abuse, and there is more education out there <— Make sense?), Ive grown as an adult. At the time it happened I thought it was just my fault. Should have been smarter. Shouldn’t have been drinking. I should have been home. Should have… Shouldn’t have… Should have… Shouldn’t have

Though there were many things I “should have” done, they SHOULD NOT have done what they did. It isn’t my fault.

So again, I’ve seen rape & sexual abuse victims fall apart. My story is fucking cotton candy compared to some people. Why I am sharing? This video … Yeah this video, being a warning to single moms to be aware of who they have their kids around, because rapists & pedophiles are sneaky SOB’s.

Also, through the years that fucker and his friend (I don’t want to say boys, men, my rapist) have popped up in my news feed, tagged along with people I went to high school with. I don’t know how many times I have seen them next to the single moms I know, and though I am staring at the computer screen with a dead face, inside I am SCREAMING. Like PIERCING SHRILL scream, and saying “Keep him away from your kids.”. Though ‘they’ might have ‘grown out’ of it…. Yeah I don’t believe you grow out of that shit, and for me to see them AT ALL enrages me.

How I have coped with all of this may or may not be healthy but its what I have had to do. I’ve listened to others stories without sharing my own. Mentally I’ve said to myself while listening to other stories “Man the fuck the up!! You aren’t the only one! Don’t act like the victim! Be STRONGER!”.

Now that isn’t something you say, its just the way that I personally have been able to get through it. Everyone is different. One thing I would never say though it “get over it”.

Last year their was a discussion thread on the women coming out against Bill Cosby. The discussion was something along the lines that if the women should have come out with that information, or if they were lying, I am not sure as to what exactly kicked that thread off but I do remember a friend of mine said “They need to get over it.”.

Internally I lost my complete shit. Get over it? GET OVER IT? Hahahaha, yeah its not that easy. Hell just yesterday I was cleaning under my kids bed and found a string of christmas lights on the floor, they way there were shoved under their bed and having my face smashed into the carpet as I was trying to pull things out from under the bed flashed me back to a very unpleasant night. I pulled the lights out, sat them in front of me and just stared at them for a solid 20 minutes. Though you think you ‘forget’, its scary how something can trigger something and you sit there disturbed. Once I snapped out of it I shoved them into the trash bag I was holding while muttering “motherfuckers…”.

To be STRONGER is my only way to get through anything. My mom has always said “Well you aren’t going to get anywhere in life sitting there crying about it. Get up off your ass and do something about it”. So when it comes to this topic, I am getting off my ass and saying something about it. Im not sure where to go from here, other to say to watch out for your children, you aren’t the only one, and if you need to talk I am here.

-3:26

Its on fire.

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You know that high pitch shriek of help & pain that comes from your child? That noise that makes you jump up off the couch into an athletic position, open your eyes wider (like this will help), and turn on your sonar hearing… Its very animal like, and I guess thats where the “Mama Bear” comes from. Oh and your significant other? He is just sitting there thinking the blood curdling scream came from the Zombie show we are watching, he didn’t even flinch.

That shriek was followed up by my little Mark screaming his ass off into the living room. For some reason I decided to sit back down on the couch, but still at the edge…

“HELP ME! HELP ME! AHHHHHH!! AHHHHH!!!! ITS ON FIRE!!!”
“Mark, whats wrong?! What is on FIRE?!?” (I turn my nose up to the air and sniff… I don’t smell fire)
“MY BUTT ITS ON FIRE!! IT BURNS! ITS ON FIRE!! AHHH!!!!”

Little Mark is standing in the middle of the living room, spinning in circles, while at the same time jumping up & down shaking his body like a fish trying to swim up river, and also doing high knees. Every thing is moving….he looks just like Tina Turner dancing, but instead of it looking bad ass with a glittery dress, it looks like my 7 year old is having an exorcism in front of me.

Now I am sitting there bewildered, I am scared and want to grab him, but then at the same time am confused with the rain dance he is doing in the living room. I turn to husband for help and he has this look of “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH HIM?”, and not a “whats wrong with him? Is he ok?”, no its that pissed off look a father gives his son that means “You are crazy! What am I going to do with you?”.

“MY BUTT! MY BUTT! IT HURTS!! HELP!!”
Still doing his Tina Turner exorcism, he now starts grabbing his ass and screaming louder.

By now I am just standing there with my mouth open, for what felt like forever but I know was just about 10 seconds, all of this went through my mind:
1. OMG, he has blown out his ass and has hemorrhoids. Has he been constipated?
2. He fell straight on to a piece of glass and its up his ass… What glass would be broken?
3. He stuck a lego up his ass. Kids do stupid shit right?

Please know I am thinking all of those things with COMPLETE HORROR. OMG baby, whats wrong with his ass?!?! I need to take action. I think if I move quick enough, I could kick him over, sit on him then pull down his shorts and find the lego/hemorrhoids/glass lodged in his ass.

Then it hits me as I flash back to an hour earlier when I caught him tinkering around in my bathroom. I busted through the door “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?”, totally had to say it in a loud booming voice because whatever he was doing, he shouldn’t doing. Right away he stood up, hid something behind his back, then thought he could walk right by me “Uhhh, nothing.”. “Oh nothing? What are you hiding?!”, “Its nothing mom”. Unfortunately he doesn’t realize my strength and I spin him around and see all he has is a to-go packet of hand sanitizing wipes. “What are you doing with this?!”, “Um, I don’t know”, “What do you mean you don’t know?”, he stands there and shrugs and says “I don’t know”… I roll my eyes, I cant stand the ‘I don’t know’ crap. Not thinking much of it, I let me him leave with the sanitizing wipes only saying “Stay OUT of my bathroom!”

Back to reality, I snap my head to my husband and say “He wiped his ass with a sanitizing wipe.”

Then I stand up and shout at little Mark (who is still screaming), “DID YOU WIPE YOUR BUTT WITH THOSE WIPES?!?”, He now stopped spinning in circles, but is still doing high knees “Yes.”, “WHY??!?!”, “Because they were in the bathroom, IT BURNS!!!!”, “OF COURSE IT BURNS, THEY ARENT MEANT FOR YOUR ASS MARK!!!” … He starts spinning in circles again screaming “AHHHHHHHH!!! Then why were they in the BATHROOM?!!! AHHHHH!!! HELP IT BURNS, ITS ON FIRE!!

Now husband jumps off the couch and decides to join the conversation “Mark, get your ass up stairs and take a bath! NOW!”, “AHHH!! I NEED HELP”… Now big Mark starts to chase little Mark down the hallway, “You can make your own bath!!”, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”, I dont know now if he is screaming because of his ass or because his dad is chasing him down the hallway.

“BABY!!!” (screaming at husband)
He stops chasing Mark, and snaps around looking at me with a furious face “WHAT?!”
“Why in the hell do you have all those sanitizing wipes up in the bathroom anyways?! Are YOU wiping your ass with sanitizing wipes?!?!”
“Jesus baby, NO! Of course not!”
“Then why are they shelf next to the toilet?!?!”
“I DONT KNOW!!!”
*No, children were harmed. Mark ended up just sitting in the bath tub with his battleships for an hour.*

“I don’t know”, I am sitting here mockingly saying that to myself…. “I don’t know”… Mens typical answer to everything…

Are you ok with this?

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“Maybe its being married to a military man?”

Want to say that’s a question, but it was more of a statement from one of my FB pals (who actually is on my list of super-human moms). Reading that comment had me nod and say “Exactly!”.

I knowingly put Mark and myself in a vulnerable place with my last post. That post was not posted until I had Mark read over it. First off he always reads my posts and tries to fix my grammar because my words are coming to me faster than I can type. Second, I wanted him to know how I was feeling and what I was sharing. He knew that me showing him was also asking “Is sharing this too much? Are you ok with this?”, after he finished editing it he looked up at me and said “Its the truth. Its real life Chris, we are both at fault. I think people should know that this is the way it is. Am I upset about the past, and my actions? Of course, but so are you. No sense in leading people to think that things are fine, or leaving them to make up stories of their own. Share your story. Share OUR story.”

At first, I had this SUPER long post on how spoiled I am (this post still kind of is). I felt as though I had to stand up for Mark’s credibility as a husband and father. Only thing Mark is guilty of is at times being a complete asshole that lacks the emotional cue as to “maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on her”. Though Mark sucks with emotions, he excels in being a husband and father. Anyone that knows Mark, KNOWS this. No question what-so-ever.

The kids and I are spoiled. If you have read my blog posts, or we are friends in real or FB life you know I live an amazing life. I have had supporting me, a husband, who DID try to show his love, though not emotionally but in a way that made sense to him: financially.

Mark: “You have $10,000 in bikes!? Isn’t that enough for you to see I love you?”
Yeah, I could see how he was trying to show his love, but I was still left feeling a bit empty, knowing I wasn’t making HIM happy, due to my inability to “do it all”.

We as people don’t like to go into financials, but those that live in the triathlon world (or any expensive hobby) are aware of the costs, and those that aren’t, I’m sure the price of my bikes which have no motors seems ridiculous.

In all our fighting, in separating, then coming back. From being in love, to not being in love. From completely hating, to maybe not so much hating, I have never EVER once doubted Mark’s ability on being a father and care giver.

How does this tie into being a military man? Well, his actions are understandable to a point if you know what its like to be in the military. Hell Mark went a military high school, military college, he will be a lifer in the military. Straight forward and stubborn, Mark believes in getting things done. There are no options in the military. If you can’t get something done, you put your head down and figure out a different way to do it, but in the end it gets done. It’s the best and worst thing about him.

Mark reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies Armageddon, “Harry’ll do it. I know it. He doesn’t know how to fail.”

That’s Mark. He doesn’t accept failure, and thats why I know why he has been so hard on me. The concept of failing just doesn’t make sense to him. Does he need some sensitivity training on conveying his emotions to his wife? Absolutely.

So am I a spoiled little brat that just has her feelings hurt? You could see it that way. Still no one should make you feel like a piece of crap. Though I understand his view point, it is not ok for treating someone in a negative way.

After we read through this post…

“You know couples therapy would have probably been cheaper for us in the long run.”

He slowly turns his head to me “Now you tell me!”

The Elephant

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I am pretty sure in years past that I have talked about this elephant.

We are in a purging stage, mostly influenced by the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, and also because when I came back from living in Salt Lake City for a year, I realized that though Mark & the Kids have been here for 6 months on their own, things are EXACTLY how I left them last March. Only difference is that Mark & the Kids have just ADDED to it.

The house totally looked like a man and 2 children lived there. Not “dirty” but not clean. I mean, Mark was VERY proud that he could keep the dishes clean, but everything else, well it was too much for him. Mark being essentially a single parent for 6 months opened his eyes to the shit I actually did around the house. A bit of our marriage “issues” have stemmed from the fact that I SHOULD have done MORE, or I was a failure because I was unable to be a full time student/ Work full time/raise children full time/keep the house spotless full time/have dinner ready when he came home FULL time <— ALL THE TIME, At the same time. Mark saw other wives pulling it off, and if I “worked hard and organized my time efficiently” there was not reason as to why I couldn’t do all that.
Honestly it lead to much anxiety, confusion, depression over our 9 years of married life. He didnt understand, he saw only his way. Mark has worked very hard for everything he has accomplished, and thought that if he could have pulled off being an Naval Academy Grad, and Naval Officer, then there was no reason “if I worked hard enough” that I couldnt do it all.

Heavens, I tried so much. I truly did. Like “why cant I do this?”, “I am a failure.”, “I am stupid. Smart women can do this”, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?”, “I’m crazy right?”. It was so hard to please him, even if I pulled off everything, he came home to an awesome meal, I worked, I cleaned house… He would still find something. Like find a pile of folded clothes at the top of the staircase then stomp around LOUDLY enough for me to know that I am making him do “EVERYTHING”, and I apparently can’t do shit.

Ugh, it sucked. Honestly I can go back through the years, and remember moments in which I was scared that he would be upset with me. Mark is not abusive, he is not a screamer, but he was good at letting you know he was clearly not impressed , and “Well you got that done, but why isn’t this done?”. I think feeling that I have let someone down, is the most upsetting thing for me. Hell, even now I tell friends “Please DO NOT expect the world from me.” only because I don’t want it thrown in my face that I let them down.

Now there would be times in which he seemed to understand when I didn’t have everything done. But still, it was like he was giving me a “get out of jail free” card. Please don’t think that my marriage has COMPLETELY stemmed around this. No, we were/are happy, but there was always an elephant in the room.

Coming back to the elephant… I found this beauty at an outdoor/indoor thrift shop in Japan. It had been outside and covered in grime. It was disgusting, but I saw the unique paint decorations on it, and knew I had to have it. Paid 5 yen for it, and I carried my dirty grimy elephant home.

Mark HATED it. He did not understand or like my love for eccentric pieces. Hell, when we got married he bought me a whole new wardrobe because he didn’t like how I dressed. I thought, “Yeah, I guess I don’t need to dress like I am 16 anymore. I’ll grow up. He will like it if I wear this.”. When I first showed him the elephant, of course he was not impressed, I was so jazzed out about it, but his reaction made me feel stupid and embarrassed. When we moved back to the states, I spray painted it gold. I “toned” it down, maybe he would like it more. I remember sharing it on Instagram and someone posted “I liked it the way it was before”… me too.

Coming back to the now… When I got back here (Jacksonville, FL) a couple of weeks ago, I of course had to do a deep scrub. There was shit everywhere, I couldn’t stand it. So once the weekend was over and Mark & the kids were at school/work, I went to town on as much as I could. Mark came home and I could just read his body language and see that it was a relief to have the house looking normal. This then lead to a big awakening on Mark’s part on what I did as a “house wife”. More like a giant smack in the face. We sat down and had a pretty big heart to heart about how I felt over the years, about how I never lived up to his expectations though I tried relentlessly to impress/make him happy. We brought up moments in the past, at times I remember most being a failure to him, and he let me know his thoughts. He admits that he has only seen things in one way, and even when he would take into consideration my way, he still believed as to what he said outranked anything I did or said.

“Babe, I just can’t do it all.”, was his reaction to not being able to efficiently work/be super awesome dad/clean house/make meals. It reminded of times I said the same thing “Baby, I promise I am trying, but I just can’t do it all”. His reaction was one of defeat, and my prior reactions were of desperation and acceptance.

Unrealistic expectations and lack of communication. Those were the 2 things we came to agree upon in our heart-to-heart. We both admit, that even if we tried talking to each other more in the past, it still would have been hard headedness on both sides. It wasn’t till we were both in the “real world” did we see each others point of view (my “awakening” in another post). The whole “walk in another person’s shoes”.

Being able to talk to him without becoming hysterical is a big deal to me. In the past I would just beg for him to understand, or try to explain how sorry I was and that I’ll do better next time (ha, I start crying NOW as I type this), he would always stare at me emotionless, “well babe…” then rant on, on how I should be more “efficient”. Now I can calmly just lay it out, another moment in realizing that I am grown up, I am my own women, and I DO NOT need to JUSTIFY my actions as a mother/wife/woman. I DO NOT need to beg for acceptance and forgiveness.

In the tidying-up book, she says to only keep things that bring us JOY. I have a shit ton of random pointless figurines in which I have decided to just donate, though evoke a memory, they are not necessarily giving me “joy”. Then I came to my elephant and sat down and was slammed with memories of why I painted over the original artwork, who I was and how I was feeling at that time in my life. This elephant does NOT bring me Joy, but awkwardly enough it brings me strength. Though we do not (should not) live in the past, the past still gives us experience & wisdom to handle our steps forward in life. For that reason I cant let it go.

Weirdly I stroke the top of the elephant “There was no need to conform you into something dull to be accepted.”

You live and learn. I now can feel at peace and thankful for the ups and downs of my life.

“You know what babe? You were such an asshole, but I have to say it brought out the best in me. Now get over yourself because I am not dealing with your shit my friend”

“Don’t think you were such an angel…”

“But still an angel right?” *wink*