happiness

Never give up

I started the day out in tears. I saw that there was finally a posting of payment to MEP for our support (that was due by the first). It is $3,000 below his required payment for the month, so as you can imagine is not enough to pay the bills, buy the groceries, and do the other things that the kids need. This is on top of the over $75,000 he is in arrears for.

So I cried. I cried for me, I cried for the kids. What it says to them is how completely unimportant they are to him, how little their safety, security, and futures matter, and how his own enjoyment will always be the top priority. Just like it always has been. I cried because while the courts make orders, they aren’t enforcing them, and are thereby allowing and encouraging his behaviour. I cried because it affects my ability to do my school, to build a new future where I am able to look after us, to regain what I lost. I cried because it feels like God has forgotten about us.

On the way to school this morning we took the backroad like always, and laughed at how drifted over it was. About half way we stopped laughing and started to wonder if we were going to get through. My girl said it didn’t look that bad when we started. And I laughed and said that’s what I say part way through all my bad ideas.

And then we noticed the biggest drift of all, with a car off the road, a school bus stuck in it, a truck behind that (not stuck) and trucks on the other side. And we were stuck figuratively. We couldn’t go back because I wasn’t sure we could turn around, forget make it through the drifts again, we couldn’t go ahead until the road was cleared. So we had to wait.

We sat, watched, laughed, called the school to say she’d be late, and just were. Then finally the bus was pulled out, the truck got through, and it was our turn. There is no way my car should have made it, but we barrelled through and made it to the other side laughing. The tow truck driver waved us over to tell us how amazed he was at our car.

And just like that I thought – never give up– that’s my motto for the year. It needs to be applied to everything I set my intention to. He will not win in destroying my family, my future, my dreams. I will not give up. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I will keep trying until my kids and I are where we need to be.

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happiness

End of a year, end of a decade

Usually I don’t get too excited about New Year’s Eve. My birthday is in January, and instead I celebrate that as my personal new year. But this year, I’m quite mindful of the fact that we are closing the door on the most difficult decade of my life. I had a friend jokingly say that the 40s were supposed to be the “fuck-it” forties, where you do what you want, no matter what people think. For me it was kind of more a “fuck-you” forties – but lots of growth and change happened.

I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine at the beginning of the decade as I dedicated myself to dealing with the anxiety disorder that reared its ugly head during my marriage. My (now ex) husband lost his job not once but twice, which had us move from Rhode Island to Virginia, and then him to northern Virginia without us. The rage and abuse went from a mild simmer to a full out explosion of hatred and eventually the kids and I were able to get out and return home to Alberta. Then my dad died, I got divorced, my son became very ill, I broke my shoulder, my mom died, and my daughter also became ill.

Through this I learned about Ayurveda, studied it in a course to become a practitioner and became connected with a healer who guided me through my life changes. I started attending church regularly in Virginia, made a connection to my pastor who was integral in helping save me and my kids, and for the first time really learned about having a relationship with God. I took a health coach course that helped my interest in healthy living return. I started riding again, which has always been my soul connection, it helped me learn how to be brave again, how to keep going, and how to enjoy life. And finally, I was accepted into a masters of counselling psychology course, and now I have some direction for my future.

I’m happy to say goodbye to this decade, but I’m grateful for all I’ve learned about myself and about my family – immediate and extended – in this time too. When I say how blessed I am to have the family I do, they’re not just idle words. They literally helped save our lives, and have held us up ever since.

So when I think of where I want to go next, what I want to take with me, it’s what I’ve learned from these last few years.

Love unconditionally and bravely

Keep your circle small

Love yourself

Love others

Love God

Be strong, but allow others to help

Laugh often

Happy New Year, may your life be blessed.

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happiness

Stuck

I’ve been stuck with this blog for a little while now. There are a few reasons, some more petty and some the result of deeper growth and understanding. It frustrates me that Mr. X and his family use my blog to spy on my life. I check myself and say – well the blog is public and lots of people who I don’t know read it, so why does it bother me that they do? And the answer to that is because they’ve been the cause of a lot of pain and destruction for my family. However, if I want to keep blogging and telling my story that is something I will just have to learn to deal with.

The other part is that I’m realizing that my understanding of happiness has changed, deepened, progressed over these last few years. When I started, the only way I could connect to the feeling of happiness was in the smallest of moments – seeing Henry the Heron, a moment of laughter with my kids, a good book. Life was small and scary then.

Ironically life has continued to be scary – just no longer in the immediate will tonight be the night he offs me kind of way. But I had no idea when I started how much would change in my world in 4 years. How much loss, how much grief, how much love, how much deeper my faith would become. I often complain that I wish God would shine a flashlight on my path so I could see where I was going – but if He had 4 years ago I would have run for the hills. I never would have believed all the things that were coming up on my path, and I honestly don’t see how any of them could have been avoided.

And here I am, sitting quietly in Grandma’s kitchen, the sun going down over the mountains, and I think thank God I’m here, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. And that’s just it isn’t it? No matter what happens we are exactly where we are meant to be to keep growing and learning.

I’m now at the place where I understand that the next step is to let go, to make peace, to stop chasing moments of happiness and instead make peace with the shadows.

I’ve been reading a book called The Secret of the Shadow by Debbie Ford that described exactly what I’ve been searching for in my soul. Not just the brief moments of joy (although they’re important too) but the soul comfort of inner peace.

To begin the process of making peace with our stories, we must make a commitment to letting go of all of the behaviours we use to anesthetize our pain. If we look closely at those behaviours and are willing to tell the truth, we will probably see that most of the ways we numb ourselves don’t work very well anyway. In order for us to heal,  we must stop chasing what I call the “feel good moments’…. The process of making peace with our stories requires us to identify, accept, and embrace everything in our past that has caused us pain… As we make the inner journey of embracing our story and all its ingredients, we begin to see that life lies ahead of us, a life that will give us the gift of our eternal selves. Our traumas and failures, once they are understood and processed, will take us deep inside and return us to our Divine essence. 

I feel sometimes like I fight now to try and make up for the pain of the past, to try and make it right for me and the kids. But the pain of the past lies there no matter what I do in the present. Maybe if I can make peace with that pain I will find more peace now. It doesn’t mean remaining a victim – in fact it’s the complete opposite of that – it’s letting go of the victimhood. Instead of trying to cover up the searing wound with candydrop bandaids, it’s time to acknowledge they are there and see how they’ve shaped me into the person I am now.

I’ve struggled with how impossible it is to forgive someone who continues to hurt me, and not just me, but my kids as well. But I have faith that there is a way – because that is my path to peace and freedom.

And maybe this is part of why I’ve been putting off blogging – I knew I needed to say this, and yet I hate to let them see my weaknesses – even though being vulnerable like this is exactly what makes me strong.

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happiness

Put on a happy face

I feel strongly that in order to truly feel happiness one must also feel all the other feelings. Inside Out did a great job of explaining that for us all and the movie was instrumental in learning to grieve properly after dad died.

So in the midst of gratitude, love, and peace, I also have this intense anger. Like I’m mad as f*ck.

And I need to acknowledge that. I refuse to be Facebook happy – you know where everyone pretends their life is perfect. Gratitude is essential to life, and I am happier than I was last year, happier than 4 years ago, and so much happier than 5 years ago when we were still trapped in that life.

But still, shattered pieces remain of that old life.

I’ve spent the last couple of months dealing with my lawyer again. We are having to take Mr. X back to court. Not only is he almost 70k behind in payments, he’s refusing to pay Section 7, and he’s refusing to say how he will he helping pay the boy’s tuition next year. The boy has worked hard to get into his program and it’s devastating for him that instead of an I am proud of you, son; that I have to take Mr. X to court.

Here’s the catch. If he refuses to pay his share of the tuition the boy won’t be able to go to school (he doesn’t qualify for loans since his dad earns so much money – haha what a joke that is) and if he doesn’t go to school, Mr. X doesn’t have to pay child support. You see where this is going right?

I had a conversation a while ago with someone who said to me that solo parenting must be so difficult since I never got a break.

I responded with, no- that’s not the hard part of it. The hard part is that my kids don’t have a dad. That is the hard part. The hard part is that the man who is supposed to love and protect them is hell bent on destroying them.

And my happiness moment is that inside all this anger and hurt and frustration- I know we will be ok. I know love will win, I know they are fantastic human beings who may be struggling with after effects of trauma, but they are absolutely amazing people who shine love into the world every chance they get.

Over and over I feel like The Who’s in Whoville – we will keep singing and we will keep healing.

And I will keep standing up to him.

I have to. My kids deserve better. So do I.

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happiness

See how happy I amazing

We had a family discussion today about the photo incident of a couple of days ago. I wasn’t going to say anything but it came up and it seemed better to talk about it.

The issue with recovering from trauma is there’s so many triggers that can set you off. Instead of asking how the kids are, or offering support (emotional or the court ordered financial), they pick off a picture to look at.

The boy was really upset. I apologized and said it was my fault for putting up a picture and that I wouldn’t do it again. I explained that it was nice to share how he looked with my friends and family but that I should have been more thoughtful.

The girl piped up from the back seat I don’t care. You can post all the pictures of me that you want. Let them see how much happier I am without them in my life.

It was a powerful statement. It took her from fearful victim to empowered survivor. She’s been working so hard at healing and I really saw the result today.

We are moving to a place where we aren’t afraid and won’t be intimidated.

That is happiness.

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happiness

What are you thinking

In my riding lesson today my instructor was trying to explain to me how to keep my hands at the right angle and height, my toes in, my legs bow legged, my lower leg on, and remember to stay on at the same time.

I said I had a hard time multi tasking and if I thought about my hands then my leg went to Shit, and vice versa.

She told me to simplify things in my mind, to just make it all a pattern I followed.

I then had the best ride I’ve had so far. Everything came together and he was round and on the bit and happy.

After she asked me what I was thinking that made it so different.

I said I wasn’t thinking at all.

She responded by rolling her eyes and saying she wasn’t going to ask me questions anymore.

I clarified and said, well what I did was clear my head. I stopped thinking and just started feeling.

She jumped up and down and said yes that’s it exactly.

Life is so much simpler when I feel instead of think.

On another note, I was included in a group photo share of a picture of my son that I had shared on here. A big reason why I didn’t blog last year was because my kids wanted the window to their lives closed to Mr X and his family. Lesson learned. I will no longer include photos of the kids on this blog and I will concentrate on my own personal happiness and growth. It’s a challenge since my kids are one of my greatest sources of joy, but honoring their wishes comes first. Relationships take work and time and commitment. You don’t get to bail on that and watch how their lives are going through my window. Not anymore.

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Section 7

I finally got a bunch of my section 7 expenses filed. It’s not fun, it is time consuming, and it’s frustrating to feel that I’m filing more expenses that he will refuse to pay. But I’ve got it done.

I wish this part was easier, but we are so much safer and happier, that I figure it’s the price of freedom.

So today I feel a sense of relief and joy that I know I’ve done my part. That’s all I can do.

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