The Seeker

For most of my life, at least what I can remember of it, I’ve been a Seeker.

A Seeker of knowledge, in that I love to always learn new things. I have a gift for remembering seemingly useless trivia, earning me one of my many nicknames. “The Queen of Useless Knowledge”. But, I also constantly search for new wisdom to fill my brain, of all sorts, be it historical, medical, scientific, supernatural, esoteric, you name it.

I used to seek for affirmation and approbation, as well. Other people’s opinions of me were almost more real than my own, and would color how I viewed everything, from how I acted, to how I felt about myself, and the world around me. I don’t do that anymore, because I discovered that I was never going to receive what I needed in life that way – SELF acceptance and love. I had to learn, over and over, that no one else’s opinions of me mattered, only my own. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m better now for it. 

And, I’ve always been a Seeker of love. Love of family and friends, as well as that of romantic love from someone else.

That’s…been a lot harder to find.

I thought I had it in both of my marriages, only to be proven wrong. The first one, well, I’m not sure he knows what loving someone else means, that you have to give up a part of yourself to the other person, and that it’s about being there for each other, not just when things are easy, but most importantly, when things are bad. He never seemed to get that, so I had to walk away. Twice. It took me over 20 years, and 2 attempts at a relationship with him to get that through my head, but it finally stuck.

The second ex-husband…well, he hoarded all his love for our son, thinking that, well, since he married me, he didn’t have to actually love me anymore, since marriage says forever, right? All the hard work was done while we dated, so now he could sit back & watch me do all the work in the relationship. No. Just – no.  

And, I’ve had other relationships since, which have all fallen apart, for one reason or another. 

So, I’ve been doing some hard contemplation, lately. 

About what I truly want.

About how I’m going to get it.

And about what I’ve been doing up until now, that’s prevented me from truly Finding what I’ve been Seeking.

I settle.

Because there’s still a part of me that feels as though I’m not worth it. That…if all these men can leave me, that the fault must be in me, somewhere.

And, to a certain extent, that’s correct.

The fault does lie in me.

Because I settle.

If I’m truly going to find Love – yes, with a capital letter – then I have to make some changes.

First – no more settling for less than what I want.

If I want real love, the kind that will stay, will fight for a relationship with me, the kind that will work with me to keep the relationship a good one…I HAVE to act, and believe, that I deserve it.

No more “hanging out and hooking up”.

No more accepting relationships that have no future.

If I want Love, Marriage and Forever, and I do, (no pun intended), then I have to stop letting myself settle for anything less.

I will find Love again, someday. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, next week, or even within the next year.

But I will stop settling for its pale cousin.

Because I am a Seeker.

And I will Find another, someday.

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My Generation

OK, this subject is a touchy one, I know.

And I’m going to piss off more than a couple people, I’m sure.

But, I truly want to know…

What the hell is wrong with my generation?

I’m a Gen-X’er. 

Born in 1970 (yes, that makes me 46, I don’t lie about my age)

And it seems to me, that there is a seriously messed-up issue with my generation when it comes to relationships.

Yes, I know there are throwbacks to other generations – folks who found their “one”, married them, and have lived happily ever after.

But, most of the people I know from my generation have married, divorced, or never married at all. Maybe there was a long-term relationship in their life, marriage or otherwise, but it doesn’t last.

And, I’ve found a lot of men who just, simply, want to “hook up”. No dating, where you actually go out, with one or the other paying for both people to have an enjoyable night out. (yes, I believe in full equality of the sexes, and have paid for dates when I was the one doing the asking) No real relationship, where you are introduced to the other person’s friends, or their family, after a suitable amount of time spent getting to know one another.

Yeah, I’ve been the “dirty little secret” before, and I resented it. Whether we’d stayed together or not, not being introduced to the other people he chose to spend time with felt as though I wasn’t worth mentioning. It felt awful.

Men who thought that paying for dinner meant they’d be getting sex in return, only to find out that I’m not into prostitution, and went home, alone, never to return another phone call or text.

Women friends who can’t seem to find “Prince Charming”, perfect in every way, and they aren’t willing to even try to work through differences, compromise, communicate.

Wait…that one goes for the men too. Except for wanting “Snow White” instead of a prince. 

Instead, we seem to be the generation of Throw-Away Relationships.

Red flag? Recycle.

Quirk? Disposable.

Stone in the path? Whether small or large, personal or relationship related, the relationship is the first thing chucked out the window, so that the person struggling is left to do so alone.

Nevermind sticking by someone you care about, nevermind working through something together, which means it gets resolved quicker, oftentimes in ways you wouldn’t imagine, because 2 heads are better than 1 at solving problems.

Yes, I’m twice divorced. Does that make me a hypocrite?

In the case of the first marriage, probably. We were both young, headstrong, and he hit me. Not hard, just a light slap across the face to “prove a point” to a friend of his. But I wouldn’t put up with it. Wouldn’t talk calmly about it, and he could never believe that when he left to go to work (out of town, often overnight) I wasn’t secretly screwing his friends. (No, I wasn’t. I was totally loyal, but he could never believe it)

In the case of the 2nd marriage…No.

Our marriage slowly eroded from good and loving, to distant, resentful, and emotionless (except for anger and disdain, there was plenty of that). 

I’ve written about my 2nd divorce before, won’t do a complete blow-by-blow here. (If you really want to read about it, click here for Part 1)

So, for me, yes & no. I’ve acted the same way, in the past, but I worked really hard on changing those bad habits after my 2nd divorce. I’ve tried being the loving, compassionate, supportive girlfriend. I’ve been loyal – I call myself a Serial Monogamist.

But, what’s lacking?

Someone who is willing to fight for a relationship. Someone who is willing to work with me towards that goal. Someone who actually wants to spend thought and time on me, rather than money. Someone willing to trust that I can be that, well, not a freaking princess, that’s for damned sure…but maybe partner in crime suits the situation better.

Why are we Gen X’ers so afraid of commitment? Why do we just toss in the towel and give up at the first sign of wavering off balance?

Are we really that weak?

And now, here we sit… Middle aged, and so many of us still alone, whether willingly or not. Where is that “Happily Ever After”- Hell, at this point, I’d take “Happily in the Beginning, and Pulling Together When the Shit Hits the Fan”.

Because I do know the value of my time, my company, and Myself. I’m worth it.

If I could just find someone willing to take the time to see it.

(Well, I guess I found something to talk about today, after all)

Small World

Today after work, I performed a commitment ceremony for an older couple who, for various reasons, couldn’t marry with a legal ceremony. I’d been talking to them for a couple of months, having “met” through a local rummage sale site, of all places.

When I reached their house, they invited me in, then introduced me to the Groom’s son. ..who looked at me and said “Uh, why do you look so familiar? ”

Smiling, I replied, “Because I officiated at your wedding a few years ago.”

Shaky Days

I’ve been avoiding posting, for a while. These last couple weeks have been anxiety-ridden, and I simply haven’t felt much like writing about it.  My medication has been pretty much all that’s held me from vibrating to pieces.

The days have been shaky & full of equal parts joyous anticipation – and wary dread.

The nights have been riddled with insomnia & over analyzation.

The tension hasn’t ended; in fact, it’s still growing,  because the time is drawing near for E to arrive.

And I’m not completely sure how I am going to handle it.

What if he’s disappointed? What if, after all this time… it’s not everything he wanted? What if I’m not everything he’s built me up to be?

What if I fall off the pedestal he’s put me on?

Please…Goddess…let him love me for who I really am.

2 years of talking.
Please don’t let this be in vain.

Don’t break my heart -again.

Please.

The End of the Chapter

I got a surprise tonight from OnlySon.

The ex is dating someone.

And he went to a birthday party for one of the new girlfriend’s sons with his dad, tonight.

Kinda threw me for a loop.

Basically, because the ex was always so anti-social, and almost rabidly, anti-teenager.  I wasn’t sure that he’d date again, much less someone with 2 teenagers, and a pre-teen, all boys.

My first reaction, understandably, was a sort of numb shock. 

Of course, I had a million questions, none of which I felt comfortable asking OnlySon.  I don’t want to put him in the middle between his father and I, and I don’t want him to feel like some sort of “spy” for one side or the other. 

And of course, I had to ask at least a couple of questions.  I found out that his dad has only been seeing her for a “couple of days”, according to OS.  She has 3 boys, ages 15, 13 and 12, and she was nice to OS.

Good enough. 

Then I had a talk with EldestDaughter.  We went out tonight to pick up some baby shower invitations for her big day a couple of weeks from now, and we both had to hash out how we felt about this.  ED and the ex had a rocky relationship, especially towards the end before she moved out. 

And me?  Well, I told her that I wished him well, and wished the new girlfriend good luck.  I think she’s going to need it. 

On the way home, ED told me something, that she “didn’t want the other person to be happy after a breakup”.  She wanted them to hurt, like she did. 

Understandable.  I totally get it.  I’ve had those feelings in the past, too, but I came to some realizations tonight after talking to A, and having him ask me how I felt about the ex dating.

“Are you hurt?  Jealous, angry, upset?”

Nope.  Mostly what I feel is relief.

I know, that might sound strange.  Most breakups are painful, my divorce was painful in many ways.  Not because I wanted him back, I hadn’t really had him for a long time, as I told a friend.  The marriage had died long before we formally ended it in court.

I felt relief, because this meant that I didn’t have to worry about the ex’s feelings for me anymore.  I didn’t have to worry that he might be “stalking” me, like my first ex-husband did for a while after our divorce, until I threatened him with calling the police on him in his own hometown… with the proof of his actions clearly dug into my front lawn, and my landlord aware that it had been him doing it. 

But then, after I got off the phone with A, I started thinking again. 

Do I really wish the ex well?  Do I really want him to be happy? 

Nope.

Not really. 

See, here’s the thing – I don’t want him to be happy, but I don’t want him to be unhappy, either.

I just don’t care about his feelings at all.

Because the opposite of love isn’t hate.

It’s indifference.

The same indifference I lived through while we were still legally married.

I don’t feel anything toward him… nothing at all.

And so I can close that chapter.  Finally.

And that’s a huge relief.

 

 

Just Another Day In The Life

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and the few I’ve put up have been farther between than normal.  But life’s been rather hectic here this summer, and I’ve been either too down, or too busy to really keep up here.  Hence, a small blog-cation.

And boy, has there been a lot going on!

Of course, the longest-lasting story, is, of course, the flooding in my city.  It’s still going on, but the water levels have begun to drop slightly.  People are being allowed back in their homes, to assess damage, try to begin cleanups, or… salvage anything they can before the demolition begins.  There are a lot of homes here that will have to be torn down, as the local government is going to have to “mitigate” a portion of the lands in town to offset the possibility of future flooding, and build new, or larger dikes.  I’m lucky in that my house is on top of one of the 2 hills of Minot, so my house is safe.  OnlySon will be attending next year’s school at the local auditorium, as his school was completely inundated, but he still has his home.  YoungerDaughter’s school is up high enough on the southern hill that it wasn’t affected, so she will graduate next spring from her own school.  We are blessed.

I’ve been… *gasp*… dating someone for a little over a month now.  I’m taking my time.  He’s funny, sarcastic, and makes me feel good about myself.   I’m not sure, though, if we’re really right together, so I’m keeping my options open.  Time will tell.

BUT, the biggest news of the summer…… is concerning EldestDaughter.

Yep.

Due in March, EldestDaughter is now baking up my first GRANDCHILD.

Ack.

Eek.

This means I’m gonna be a…..

*GASP*

 

Wow.  I’m still rather processing this fact.

EldestDaughter is also going to be getting MARRIED next summer, and she and her fiance’ have started telling everyone their news.  I had to wait till now to be able to share our news, since she wanted to tell all the family members in our area herself.  It almost killed me to keep my mouth shut about this, but I did it.  Phew.

I’ll be blogging more about this later, but I wanted to fill everyone in out there in the blogosphere on the major news of the summer so far.  It’s been pretty wild!

Hopefully, this will be the last of the major life-changing events for a while, and I can get back to just laughing about some of the little things.  Like OnlySon’s and my conversation about monkeys, kittens, and opposable thumbs.

But that’s a story for another day.

 

The Endurance of Memory

My grandmother was a lovely young woman, who has had an extraordinary life.  She is my role model for endurance, the overwhelming strength of her love, and for her willingness to pick up after the storm, and carry on.

The first time she married, she was only 15. 

She had one child, my Uncle Leslie, with her first husband, Earl, who answered the call of service, went off to World War II, and was killed.  I’ve never even seen any pictures of him, but Gram picked up her life, her son, and kept going.

A few years later, Gram met my grandfather, Merle.  From everything that I’ve heard from family members that remember him, he was a total practical joker, with a ready smile and a huge heart.  He adopted my Uncle Les, and he and Gram had 2 more children, my mother, and another Uncle, Marlin.

Then, my Grampa Merle entered into military service.  From family members, I learned that Grampa was totally dedicated to the idea of service to country being service to all the people he loved back home.  He was a man of backbone, as well as humor.

I’ve also had the privilege of reading the letters that my Gram and Grampa wrote to each other during the time they were separated for his training, and they are beautiful expressions of a wonderful relationship, both full of love and hope.

The letters that Gram sent to Grampa when he got shipped overseas, during the Korean War…. were all unopened.  I couldn’t bear to break the seals on those letters, once I learned that Grampa died shortly after arrival.   He never had a chance to read any of the letters.  They sit in a memory box in her home, tied with a red ribbon. 

Gram, having lost a second husband, and now having three children, picked up her life, and kept going.

She married her third husband, the only man I ever knew as Grandfather, Don.  They had one son that didn’t live through childhood, due to a heart problem, and then a few years later, another son, my Uncle, Jeff, that was to be her last child.

Then, when I was 5, my eldest uncle, Les, committed suicide due to emotional problems involving alcoholism.  It totally rocked the family, and there are still some wounds left open by that. 

By this time, my Gram had lost 2 husbands, and 2 children.

Each time, she came back, enduring through the pain and the heartache, and kept her willingness to open herself up to risk the possibility of pain, for the joys of love.

Gram and Grampa Don were together for many years, until one day, when I was 16, my mom stopped me on my way home and told me that he’d had a massive heart attack, and had passed away.

Gram had lost her third husband.  All her children were, by this time, grown and on with their own lives, but she still picked herself up, and moved on.  Still enduring, still dedicated to family, and still willing to love.

And, in her later years, she married again.  To the man who was my grandfather’s best friend in the service, and the man who brought his body back from Korea, Virgil.  They were married in a lovely, non-denominational service, with their children, and their grandchildren there to support and celebrate with them.

When Virgil was diagnosed with cancer, he began treatments, but it spread quickly into his bones, and he passed away a short time later.

Gram has, in her life, lost 4 husbands, and 2 sons.  More pain than most people would be able to endure, surely.  I’m not sure how I would have dealt with so much loss, and I’m eternally thankful that nothing of this nature has happened to me, or my loved ones.

But, the lesson that I learned from this woman isn’t one of pain.

This lesson…. is about the endurance of love, the endurance of life, and the endurance of memory. 

And that not all the old soldiers who survived the wars…  were men in uniform.

And, some who were men in uniform, didn’t survive.  And we need to remember them all.

I never met my maternal grandfather.

But if I had?  I would totally have been a Grampa’s Girl.  I know.