Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

The Zoo

It’s been a long time, so I suppose I should give some kind of update.

Mom’s birthday was on the 19th. We joke that it snows and/or ices over every year on her birthday. The inclement weather was two days early this year, but the stairs and walkways leading to my apartment were still blocks of ice all day long. That was rather annoying because I spent the day moving a bunch of my stuff down the road to the boy’s apartment.

I now reside in a two-bedroom apartment with four cats and a Betta fish, a place I’m starting to liken to a zoo, especially around feeding time. We were going to rent a house together, but we weren’t able to straighten out our leasing agreements with our apartment complex. We’ll be here at his place until his lease is up in July. It’s kind of a small space for all of us, but it will allow us to save more money between now and then, softening the blow of moving costs.

The cats are not yet best buds. Mine are in the back half of the apartment–our bed and bath. His are out in the rest of the apartment–computer/music room, living room, kitchen. They’re starting to stare at each other for longer periods of time before they break into hisses and growls, so I’m taking that as a positive sign and trying to be patient with everyone. I’m sure it’s a big adjustment.

The boy has been gone all week to Cleveland to record an EP with an awesome producer up there. It’s been going really well, and he’s pleased with what’s coming out of the studio. It’s been weird being here without him. I’ll be glad to have him home in a couple of days.

Oh, and I’m officially divorced, woo! That went through on the 4th. Hah, Jan 4th–my Independence Day.

All in all, I’d say things are going pretty well. I’m excited to start another phase of my life, another chapter. I have a good feeling about things. Time will tell, I’m sure, but for now, I’m happy to be where I am. Just ready for the boy to be home so I don’t eat all of these peanut-butter cookies by myself….



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Finding Peace

My birthday did not at all go as planned, but it was still a good day. As my co-worker reminded me, happiness is a decision. I decided to make it happy. I started the day with a long hike at Umstead. It was supposed to be rainy, but it was a beautiful (though humid) sunny morning. Then I went home, had some lunch, and read through both of the “mother remembers” books that mom filled out for me. I learned some interesting things, like I was speaking in sentences at 17 months and that I’m pretty much exactly like my mother in almost every respect.

The boy was supposed to spend the day with me. It was a matter of contention. When he ended things, he said he still wanted to spend my birthday with me to show that he cared. It didn’t work out exactly as either of us had hoped for a number of reasons. He came over and talked with me for about an hour, then told me he didn’t want to go to the dance performance, even though I’d already bought him a ticket and everything. So I went by myself and had a great time anyway, then met dad for an awesome dinner.

My main birthday present was supposed to be a new phone, and the boy was supposed to help me set it up (that’s his thing). We went back and forth about when he’d have time to help me set it up. He came home late Saturday night (Sunday morning?) and asked if I wanted to come over to get started, so I did. He showed me how to do most of what I needed to know, and then I spent all Sunday getting it set up right. It’s awesome. I love it.

So starting Monday, I went back to myself. Back to the 6AM workouts, tracking food, spending the evenings reading and going to bed early. I started feeling better immediately, but my heart still hurt.

The boy and I still talk a bit during the day over chat. I told him Wednesday that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go to his band’s next show, which is a week from today, because I didn’t think I’d be able to handle seeing him with a girlfriend so soon. We talked about it for a while. Something that came out was that he said he felt like we’d just been friends for the past few months. For some reason, that settled me a bit. I guess it makes more sense to me now how he was able to jump into another relationship so quickly. I’m still confused about a lot, but my heart isn’t quite as sore. It’s nice to feel a little bit at peace.

Things are on the upswing. I’m trying to go back to doing the things I was doing the last time I felt happy, and so far, it’s working out well. We’ll see how long it holds out.

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This week has been both horrible and amazing. I suppose that’s only fair. Although, honestly, I’d settle for some boring ol’ normal at this point.

On Monday, I discovered completely by accident (believe me, I wish I hadn’t) that my ex of only one week and a few days was already in a relationship with someone else. Not only that, but with someone we met at the same time at his band’s last show in late July. I thought I’d been doing okay with the whole break-up thing, but I was surprised at how much that threw me for a loop.

See, everything is straight in my head. I understand the whole situation. I’m okay with us not being together as a couple. It really is the best decision for both of us. But I cannot get my head to convince the rest of me that everything’s working out just the way it’s supposed to. It always does. I KNOW that. I just don’t FEEL it right now.

So I flipped out a bit and got myself back on the couch to talk to someone. My previous lady is out on maternity leave, so I had to vomit up all this information on a new lady’s lap. I don’t think I like her, but I just needed someone to talk to, so it all worked out. She didn’t have any time to talk, what with the divorce and mom and breakup and new discovery and all of that stuff spewing out, but I sure felt better afterward.

Then late on Wednesday, one of my very best friends arrived from Russia via New York. We stayed up much too late for a weeknight talking about things, and then we hung out on Thursday before he headed off to see his family in Jacksonville. It was great. Our relationship started out with us kind of dating back in 2005 before I went into the Peace Corps, then we reconnected as friends through letters while I was there. (Sorry, folks, he’s married now.) What was great, though, was that he reminded me what it was like to be with someone who is continually striving to be better, who treats me like I’m something to be treasured, who supports me making healthy decisions. I’m so glad the timing worked out the way it did. Seeing him again and remembering all of these things I used to want relieved so much of the pressure I was feeling.

I’d warned my manager that I was having a rough week, and all of my co-workers know this will be my first birthday without mom around. They’ve all been great…tons of “let us know what we can do to help.” They took me out for a birthday lunch today at one of my favorite places, and it was the largest contingent of people we’ve ever had at one time going out to lunch together. Some of them kept telling me that I must be very popular! I said it might be a mix of that and a good restaurant choice…hehe.

Before we left, one of my co-workers told me to have a good day tomorrow. Not just that, but to MAKE it a good day because it was truly up to me. So many of the prominent Buddhists write about this all the time, about how “Happiness is available; please help yourself to it” (Thich Nhat Hanh). It’s so simple, yet so complex. He’s right, though. Every moment, I have the choice to be happy or not.

And then I got home to find flowers on my doorstep! Two of my very good friends, whom I haven’t seen in ages and ages, sent them to me to tell me they love me. Not just that, but some awesome beer glasses from yet another friend I haven’t seen in forever and more cards than I think I’ve ever gotten, all with sweet messages about how much mom would have wanted me to be happy and about how much they love me.

I’ve been saying lately that I don’t understand how I could possibly have so many friends and yet feel so lonely. I really don’t feel lonely anymore, though. I feel incredibly blessed to have so many people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to bolster me as I go through this horrible time.

I was freaking out because I didn’t want to be alone tonight at midnight. But to be honest, I’m happy it worked out that way. I’m having some beer. I’m going to clean the house (they replaced the a/c unit and it smells like the worker’s nasty BO, gross). I’m going to eat leftovers from my awesome lunch today and remember how lucky I am to work with such awesome people. I’ll probably watch a movie. I don’t even know if I’ll stay up until midnight. I bought stuff to make salmon benedict for breakfast tomorrow, and I got prosecco and OJ for mimosas. I was going to go on a hike, but it looks like it might rain…I might go anyway. Then I’ll get to see Ronnie’s dance company perform and have an awesome dinner with dad. I even bought a gluten-free cupcake while I was at the store this afternoon in case I don’t run into any birthday cake or the restaurant doesn’t have any gluten-free desserts. No excuse for any sadness! And my old trainer from the gym called and talked to me a bit, and I promised her I’d be back to the 6 AM classes as of Monday morning. It’s time to take my life back.

Thank you all SO SO SO very much for your continued love and support. One of the biggest things I learned from my recent relationship is that not everyone is lucky enough to have experienced unconditional love. I have it all around me. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I will be grateful. You are all giving me the strength to heal and move on from the incredible amount of loss I’ve suffered over the past year. Thank you.

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Loss is Loss

My birthday is in six days. I’m alternately excited and sad.

And to make it even more fun, not only do I have to deal with missing my mother, but the boy broke up with me last weekend, so I have to deal with that at the same time.

I shouldn’t say it like that, though. It’s not like he was mean about it. It’s not like it was out of the blue. It’s been bound to happen eventually. We both care a lot about each other, and I believe it when he says he does not want to hurt me. I think the timing could have been better, but such is life. I gave it everything I had. He had nothing to give. So that’s that.

I’ve been struggling with why I’m so upset about it. When I look at the situation objectively, it’s clear that this is the best thing for both of us. We both want to figure out a way to keep our friendship, and while that might be really hard, it means that I’m ultimately not going to lose the part of the relationship I care the most about. I shouldn’t be sad. I learned a lot from the relationship and from him. I grew in many different ways. He helped me recover from losing mom and to deal with much of my grief. I think I’m a better person for having met him. I know he’s not the right person for me, at least not right now. So why am I so sad?

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends. He said that loss is loss, even if it’s a good loss. He also said that it takes about three years for a person to recover from divorce, so I’m probably still dealing with a lot of that, even if I was relieved to be out of the marriage. Plus, mom. That’s a lot of loss for one person to deal with. And to be honest, that’s one of the reasons it took so long for me and the boy to end things: he didn’t want to add to my loss.

I don’t know how much loss one person can deal with, though. At least not without crumbling and breaking. I guess I’ll find out.

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16 Days

Only 16 more days until I turn 32. Even though that must seem young to some of you, it’s hard for me to believe I’ve gotten so old. I remember a time when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it to 18.

I’m still very worried about my birthday. I hope it’s not as sad as I’m expecting it to be. I don’t have any plans except to see a dance performance (seriously, you should all come…Ronnie West is the best dancer I’ve ever seen in person, and I know this show is going to be AMAZING…plus, you can wish me a happy birthday!), and then dad’s taking the boy and I out to dinner. It’ll be a very late dinner, which dad wasn’t really up for, but I really wanted to see Ronnie’s show. I’m glad we were able to work it out.

Things have been relatively stable for me. I haven’t lived so close to my best friend since I lived on Johnny’s street in Vilas. I’d forgotten how nice is it. I’m spending the majority of my evenings hanging out at the boy’s house. While my cats are a little sad about it, I’m glad to have the company. It also makes me feel more secure knowing that there’s someone who cares about me living so near, just in case I ever need any help or anything.

I’ve been doing a lot better with food. I actually haven’t binged on food in…it seems like it’s been a month or more? And I’ve corrected my diet over these past two weeks so that I’m getting back into a comfortable routine. I’ve also been much better about exercise. I’m trying to remember that it’s not about how I look, but how I feel. I feel so horribly out of shape. I’ve felt unmotivated and heavy, like it’s just too much effort to move. I do struggle to do the things I used to do, and I can’t do the things I used to do at the same level. People keep saying that it comes back quickly, but I don’t know about that. I just have to keep chugging away at whatever level I can. I’ve been trying to find more fun things to do so that I look forward to it. I got a deal on Shaun T’s dance video series…it’s hilarious having the dude who runs the Insanity program teach me how to disco. I also got a voucher for three private Pilates equipment sessions. I used to do that once a week…did that for years. I had my first session this week, and I felt equal parts blissed out and destroyed. I wish I could afford to continue with it. If I don’t end up going back to HEAT, I might be able to figure out a way to do it. I guess we’ll see.

I still miss mom. Sometimes conversations about death come up, and it’s hard for me to explain what it was like to be present to witness it. I think some people have an idealized version of what it might be like. It’s not pretty. And it leaves holes and scars.

It will be one year in October. Dad rearranged the beach schedule so that we’ll have the beach that week. We’re going to take her ashes.

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I haven’t updated here in a while, mainly because not much has changed.

Work is going well, though stressful at times. I’m settling into my new role as more of an editor than writer, and I get to work more closely with the development team, both things I enjoy. And I’m starting to become well known across the company…this is new for me. People I’ve never heard of email me for things like they are familiar with me and what I do, and when I introduce myself to people for the first time, sometimes I get, “Oh yeah, I see your name in emails all the time.” I hope I’m at least leaving a positive impression with these people I don’t even know.

My relationship with food is still rocky. Sometimes I think I have a handle on it. I think I’m getting a handle on it, anyway. I feel absolutely horrid, like I’m wearing a fat suit. But people have said interesting things to me. One old friend told me that I’d gotten too skinny and was looking better. Another said I was too hung up on it and shouldn’t worry so much. It really makes me wonder about myself and if I have one of those body-dismorphic disorders. At any rate, I don’t feel happy with where I am and would like to get back to where I was last August. It just requires a lot of focus and hard work that I’m not sure I can dedicate right now. It’s a toss-up. I just have to do the best I can with what I’ve got and work on loving myself all the time, no matter what stage or phase I’m in.

I still miss mom. It’s not as acute as it was, though I admit I had an overwhelming moment last week while reading a book. I mostly feel bad that I don’t see dad as much as I should. I haven’t even been over to his house in months. I wish I could do more for him, but I just don’t know what to do.

And the boy…things with the boy. The whole situation is complicated and confusing. I’m honestly not sure what’s in the future for us, and I’m working on being okay with that. I do know for sure that he’s become my best friend, and no matter what direction life takes us, that’s not going to change. So things will be okay, I think, whichever way they go.

I hope you’re all doing well out there in the wide Internet universe. Dad’s birthday is on the 28th, so be sure to send him your love. 🙂

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My boyfriend’s birthday is next month, and based on how much he’s been talking about it and making plans, he seems to be one of those people who makes a big deal out of it. But he said things always seem to go wrong on his birthday. I can totally relate. I always go in with such high hopes and leave with such disappointment. Like the year my (now ex-) husband didn’t get me anything–no card, no present, no nothing. Not that I’m an extremely materialistic person, but even just a homemade card or some kind of acknowledgement would have been nice. Maybe that’s part of the reason he’s a “now ex.”


I was thinking yesterday about my birthday and how much my perspective on it has shifted. When I was a kid, of course, that day was all about ME! As I got older, though, I realized that my birthday was actually more about my mom and everything she went through to give me life. It was always important to her that I be home for my birthday so we could celebrate together. I never understood why until I was well into my 20s. And then I made an extra effort to celebrate her on my birthday as well.

On my birthday last year, mom was too sick to leave the house to go out to dinner. It was after her stroke. She wasn’t completely bedridden at that point, but she was close. My dad’s younger sister was visiting, and she helped mom get up and get dressed into some fancy clothes that she wanted to wear. I think mom fell in the process. I picked up food to go from mom’s favorite fancy restaurant and brought it to their house. We laid out the formal dining table. Mom made it out in her walker and sat at the head of the table where dad always sat. She suffered through a few bites of what was always her favorite dish (foie gras), nibbled on a couple of bites of her sea bass, and then wanted to go back to bed. Sitting in a chair for even a few minutes was too painful for her, and she sat there for a while that night. I’m sure I can flip back in this blog to get more details, but that’s what I remember. Helping mom back to bed, then finishing the meal with the rest of my family and opening gifts that dad had bought instead of mom for the first time ever. (Not that he hasn’t ever bought me gifts–much to the contrary–but mom always took care of the bulk of asking me what I wanted and getting those things.)

Thinking about my birthday this year makes me extremely sad. It will be the first time in my entire life that I won’t be able to celebrate my birthday with my mother. I won’t be able to give her a hug and thank her for ushering me into this world and helping me grow into the woman I’ve become. She won’t be able to tell me how much she loves me and is proud of me. She won’t be making  a big deal about taking me out to a nice dinner. She just wont…be.

I’m one of those people who makes a big deal out of my birthday, too. I start talking about it early and try to make sure everyone knows it’s coming. But I’m not sure I’m going to mention it to anyone this year. Most of the people who matter already know when it is. If they want to celebrate with me, that’d be awesome. But it’s going to be a strong reminder of loss for both me and my dad. Another day of memorial.

Not like every day isn’t a day of memorial already.

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