Dear World,

To the people I love…to the people I hope love me, I understand.

And I want you to understand.

That even when you do things I don’t like, I’ll still support you.

When you insist on following pipe dreams and chasing after fantastical truths, I’ll be at your side.

When I don’t agree and when I’m hurt by your choices and wounded by your words, I’ll still be nearby.

I’ll care even when I don’t want to.

I’ll stick with you even when I say I’m turning my back.

I’m loyal even when you hurt me.

I understand that your life needs to be yours.  And I understand that the only way I can be in your life is if I wholeheartedly and deeply and purely accept you and your path.

I understand that this will eventually hurt me.  And I’ll lose sleep and my eyes will run wild with tears of sadness and loss…perhaps even pain.

But, I understand.

I accept that loneliness runs deepest when you love people in the rawest form of love possible.

I understand that to love means to be alone.

I finally get it.

When I was alone, I found peace and contentment.  I danced with joy.  I had hope and felt freedom.

And perhaps because alone I was selfish.

Interdependence means pain.

I get it.

I understand.

The exchange.

The Exchange.

Posted in moving forward | 1 Comment

Awkwardly Yours

I haven’t written (again), in a seemingly long stretch of a potentially exaggerated 1 million years.

Intentionally.

And unintentionally, too, I guess.

Today, I realized I needed to write something other than random feedback on a student’s paper who may, or may not, really even read it.

I haven’t even logged into word press for a LONG time.  Yet, somehow, magically, my forgotten blog is still getting hits in the thousands a month….and by thousands I really mean a thousand and some sprinkles on top.

Maybe I need to just write more.

But, writing is becoming elusive.

I spend hours upon hours writing lesson plans and grading papers.  I am teaching 7 college courses…soon to be 8…meaning I have about  210 students, on the road of about 240.

That is a lot of students.

And a lot of papers.

And no, this college professor doesn’t get a TA or  ‘readers.’

I just have me.

And as I accepted yet another course from my 4th hiring institution today, I realized, that teaching 8 classes at 4 institutions still puts me a poverty levels for earnings in the county where I live.

How insane is that?

A fulltime college professor teaches, on average, 4 courses a semester.

I make about 1/3 of what they make.

So, to be equitable in pay, I need to teach 12 classes a semester.

Which, quite frankly, means the classes are going to be shit – or, I just really can’t do it.

As I spent yet another day in the classroom and night grading shit nobody is going to care about more than the point value I assign them, I decided I needed to reconnect with words that are totally disconnected from teacher feedback.

And, quite frankly, I have very little to say.

I’m drowning slowly in higher education.

Oddly, I feel like I am making progress…getting my foot in the door at new places and teaching on new campuses and being challenged by new students.

But, it is hard to work 14 hour days as a “professional’ and not earn enough money to ever even fathom retiring.

Alas, I guess that is just my path.

I keep reminding myself, that I am exactly where I need to be.

I am my ‘right place’ at the ‘right time’ even though I don’t really like it.

Maybe in embracing my academic treading water I am accepting an ideology of predestination:  We are all only navigating the paths that have already been outlined for us.

If that is the case, then I can just scurry along and have this blind faith that my hours in the classroom and in front of the assessment computer are bringing me to this better place of reality.

Blind faith seems to work well for me.

Maybe that is the lesson I’ve come to peace with.

The relinquishing of power has been a long-lasting theme around these parts for years.

Maybe I’ve let it go.

Maybe I’ve learned to blindly trust that ‘things will work out exactly the way they are supposed to.” (my college boyfriend used to always say that).

And I guess they are.

Even though the pieces are not falling into the place where I would have ideally let them be strategically organized, I can say that lots of opportunities have opened up that have provided for me; extra (desperately needed) income, new peers, new curriculum, and a change to refresh myself as an educator.

Oiling the gears of advancing.

Someone recently told me that I ‘needed to put my time in’ to appreciate life.

I think I’m there.

My dad has told me for years that I’m burning from both ends of the candle…and that working like that will fry me.

I’ve been pushing forward with crazy intensity for years now – always thinking that I can take a breath after the next mountain top.

But, the mountain never really never seems to flatten into the plateau I’d think was at the peak.

I’ll just keep climbing. Working.  With blind faith.

Trusting that eventually I’ll understand the journey.

And until then….

I’ll keep collecting classes every semester like an investor collects properties in the hope that eventually I’ll break past the ground floor of poverty and back into the middle class.

And to keep things fresh, I just need more pit stops in the Candy Jar.

Life sweetened by power hidden in the written words.

Posted in blogging, Burn-out, education | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Patience.

By Thursday, life around my household crumbles.

The kid are tired.  I’m tired.

Tempers flair and frustrations ignite fruitless fights which culminate in tired tears and broken spirits….

Sad faces go to bed.

And sad, tear-stained faces going to bed is never a good thing.

I know I feed into the dynamic.  After a full week of work, stress, kids, activities, cleaning, cooking and feeling like I’ve been spinning at top at full speed for hours upon endless, thankless hour, I’m burnt out.

The last month, maybe 2, I’ve done an exceeding good job finding breath and practicing patience.

I’ve rarely yelled, let alone raised my voice, and life has been a bit easier.

But, this week has been horrendous.

And my patience died.

And while it fizzled into a puddle of defeat, the kids took off.

They were counting on me to hold it together.

And when I couldn’t – I guess it is somewhat like a loss of hope or trust, and they lost it, too.

If I can’t hack the hard stuff, I guess they figured they didn’t need to hack it either.

I admittedly was disappointed in myself.  I’ve been working tirelessly in creating less chaos in my house.  I know  that I can’t eliminate everything, but I have known that until I could keep myself in check, there is no way I could keep my kids in check, too.

Someone had to set the standard –

So, today was a major fail.

After I put the kids to bed, I did what I’ve been doing every night for quite awhile now: Yoga and Bible study.

Yoga to calm me down.  Find Breathe.  Celebrate movement, mind and body.

Bible study to look for clues on how to deal with the chaos of the day…or find my intention for the next day.

Yoga was nice….

But, it was reading that made me stop and think.

I came across a passage in Matthew 10:38 that says, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

So, I stopped and began to think, “well…what the heck does this mean in the real world? Why is this important to me?”

And this is my little circle of thought —

To take up a cross means that you are willing to suffer. To bear the burden and breathe in the struggle — take on hardship with confidence.

From a Christian perspective (which I am finding I am bringing more and more into my thinking — I guess that is what intensive Bible reading will do to a girl), it means that to take up a cross, or to be willing to suffer, is a mark of a follower of Christ.

My impatience, or my lack of willingness to “suffer” – my blatant attempt to deny any personal suffering by controlling every little movement of life in my household, is my deepest, and perhaps darkest, temptation.

Perhaps, perhaps my greatest sin is to refuse to suffer – refuse to pick up the cross of Christ.

My sin is refusing to wait on God and His ways and pushing my own will on how I WANT things done NOW and in MY WAY.

Finding patience in motherhood — finding patience in my role as a single mom — releasing control – means I am surrendering to suffering. Finding a willingness to wait.  Finding trust.  Carrying the Cross bravely.  Knowing that patience will allow me to act graciously in God’s way.

I think that my lesson today is that it just might be in God’s will for me to carry this proverbial cross.

It is a gift.

A blessing in disguise.

Because today, and every day (because, let’s be real…when is my patience NOT tested as a mother), I have the possibility to carry the cross, surrender to suffering and be willing to wait. Wait because I can trust that this is just another obstacle to become closer to Him.

Trust that if I wait, His will will become clear and I will be able to act in ways that are reflective to the path He wants me to follow with Him.

Waiting and trusting means that I am not alone.  Christ has a plan and he’s got my back.

IF I am patient.

And that idea is becoming safer and safer to me.

I’ve felt alone for a long time.  Since the inception of this blog, come to think of it.

Finding patience – finding it through breathe and movement (as yoga teaches me), but also through Scripture — as scripture reminds me that when I find patience and I actively practice it, I am surrendering to Him and His will.

Patience is a powerful tool of parenthood.

Patience is a powerful tool in life.

I know that I will forever have to be conscious of this.  Life is hard and life is tiring.

Finding patience is a struggle.

But, knowing I can release the burden of it is also quite comforting.

My cross of domestic, single-mommy patience is really only a small blip in the world framework.  But, I’m grateful for the lesson and the reminder that although it seems like life is overwhelming me –  it’s not more than I can handle…it’s just part of the journey.

Posted in moving forward | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Let Your Gentleness Be Evident

I’ve been told I’m a hard cookie to crumble.  I’ve been told I’m intimidating. I’ve been told I have a ‘force field’ surrounding me. I’ve been told I’m immensely hard to get to know. I’ve also been told I’m mysterious.

In many ways, that makes me the ice queen.

Intentionally – but unintentional.

As I have gotten older, things like small talk and meeting new people and sitting down and having conversations looking people in the eye has gotten more and more difficult.  Not to the point where it creates anxiety or manifests in some sort of social phobia, but, to the point where I neglect to commit to pretty much any social engagement that doesn’t entail my kids.

People exhaust me.

And I think I understand now, that although I’m pretty introverted, people exhaust me because I don’t really want people to know who I am or what makes me tick. Figuring out how to engage without disclosing anything is hard.

I don’t like to disclose because I have things I want to hide.  I hide them out of fear.

People don’t really want to know.

And frankly, I don’t want most people to know.

It changes the dynamics of the relationship.

But, even more than the changing of the dynamics, I am afraid.

James 4:11 says, “Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.”

What does this mean? It means, that I was afraid of people judging me.

Scripture reminds me that I shouldn’t be afraid of people judging me.  Those who do, aren’t really in a place to do so.   It’s my job (and theirs) to ensure that my (and their) actions are respectful of God’s law…and remember that I shouldn’t be fearful of other’s judging me as their judgement really means nothing in the big picture. (On the flip side…it is also a good reminder that I need to not judge, either.)

But, in looking at life from a filter where I don’t want to be the bitter, swearing, too-smart-for-her-own-good, assertive, divorced mother of too many kids anymore, I think that it is time to recognize that perhaps the wall I have been building the last decade and fortifying the last few years needs to come down.

Philippians 4:5-7  states “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” and continues on to say, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Perhaps my walls and my force-fields and demeanor in general is a consequence of hiding weakness out of fear.  People knowing what the reality of life is and where my weaknesses are is scary.  It is scary because in the past, when the walls have come down, I’ve been hurt. In an attempt to avoid pain, I’ve blocked out people and boarded up any semblance of tenderness or weakness that might, on one hand, attract the people who I should be surrounding myself with, and on the other hand, attracting the people who will just take advantage of me.

It all circles back to this idea of trust. It’s been a long game of me trying to learn how to trust – trusting the wrong people for the wrong reasons (because, quite honestly, I was chasing the wrong things) and been funneled back into this dark place of solitude and distrust…which build up the wall that protected me from falling down the spiral again.

I think that as I read this today during my Bible study, I realized that I need to be vulnerable with the trust that there is a bigger plan in place that I cannot control and that any spirals down are really lessons I need to apply the next time there is a fork in the road…trusting that the next fork in the road is just part of the bigger plan.

I need to trust that it is all just going to be OK.   And perhaps, more importantly, I need to start to remind myself, that I’m really not in this alone.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the Bible and cross-referencing lessons that hit home with yogic philosophy and even interpersonal and intrapersonal communication theory (I still think that the best way to really learn something new, or from a new perspective, is to come to understand it from a filter you already align within your mental schema…hence, my constant use of yoga and social sciences to make sense of Christianity).  What I’m seeing is that these are the same lessons that I have been attempting to learn for years.

Trust.

be kind.  be gentle. be present.

Engage.

I’ve done a poor job of letting my gentleness be evident.

I’ve done a poor job because I have been hiding my truth from others…and in many ways, hiding my truth from myself.  Convincing myself that in hiding, in my own darkness, I would find light.

In reality, confronting my darkness, I have been able to see a new light.

Part of the new glimmer is allowing vulnerability into my life, trusting that there is a Greater Plan for me.

I think there is.

Some people might say that I’m getting all “Jesus-y” – and perhaps I am. But, somehow, Christianity is making all these other facets of my life make sense in a culminated me.

I’ve never allowed for much overlap in my life. The different ‘selves’ I have maintained live their own unique life.  Friends and family rarely overlapped and work and family or work and friends…or whatever mis-mash of realities you took never interceded.

They never crossed paths because they seemed like they were all independent variables in separate studies…never meant to mix.

And somehow, living a triple…some time quadruple life, isn’t really living at all.

It’s surviving and trying to keep your head above water.

And man…if that isn’t what my life has looked like, than I’m not sure what is.

Somehow, through a Christian filter, I’m able to tie it all together.  And not force it together…it seems to unite it all together.

Oddly, religion, which I have actively avoided for quite a few years, is creating this place for me which unites all of my selves into one person.

And it sure takes a stress off my shoulders. It makes everything seem less like a balancing act and more like life.

I want a real life.

Just one.

Not 3 or 4 that I have to keep hidden from the other ones.

Just one.

So, my take home lesson of today is based on both James 4:11 and Philippians 4: 5-7  —

Recognize that the judgement of other’s is irrelevant when I know I am following God’s lead and to allow myself to be gentle, again, trusting that I am not alone and that whatever struggles I may encounter from a gentleness is part of the journey to a better Bigger Picture.

Posted in adulthood, Christianity, identity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maybe this is the new beginning?

About 18 months ago, I went to a yoga practice that was centered on this idea of numerology.  The ‘report’ I received was that 2014 would be a year of new beginnings for me.

In many ways it was.

I started life in a new house with a new degree, and in many ways, a new attitude.  There was no question a ‘newness’ to the whole thing.

But, now that the year is coming to an end and I’m really in the midst of this ‘aha’ moment, I think that yes, it was a year of new beginnings – but, beginnings on levels larger than I probably could have really understood as 2013 came to a close.

For the last few weeks I have been going to church. Not the Catholic church that I was raised in, but a non-denominational church that was recommended to me.

Actually, there is a bit more to that story…but, another day.

So, I went and the first week was this lesson on how God is indeed Sovereign and that we need to trust that the path he designed for us is the path we need to be on.  Within that teaching was the idea that although God is Sovereign, He works in these ways that creates options and obstacles and we end up in situations that perhaps we hadn’t intended, but, somehow, was the path we were supposed to be on.  I connected that immediately to leadership theory that is known as loosely coupled systems.  It also connected to this idea of how the world can be both black, white and gray…all at the same time.  It taught me that the ideas are not necessarily opposite, but work in some sort of uncoordinated and often (frequently?) unpredictable ways.

It hit home a bit because it was that exact conversation that lasted nearly 4 months that got me into church the first time.

So.

Intrigued.

I went home.

And read.  And read some more. A read and read and read.

As my dear friend told me, when I called her in this odd panic, “take this whole Christianity thing on like you do everything else. Be logical. Study. Read. Write. Figure out if, and how, it makes sense.”

So, I kept on reading.

But, with less fear.

And I started to read about how this idea of becoming a Christian meant compared to what it meant to be Catholic…how I was raised.

And all of the sudden, things just started to make sense.

Religion lost some of the fear I had associated with it.

In the end, we are all sinners.

As a Catholic, you have to constantly be in this state of fear and repentance.    As  a Christian, you are still the sinner, but you aren’t a sinner in fear.  You own your sins, but you realize that in accepting Jesus, your sins are forgiven.

That isn’t a scary idea at all.

Christianity seems approachable.

Catholicism scared me.

Although, in studying the splits and the changes in philosophies, the core teachings really are not too far from each other.

Much of what I was raised to believe is what this new church is espousing to it’s congregation.

So, warming up to the idea….I went back on Sunday.

I remember when I first started to really practice yoga. Not just go to the classes and go through the movements, but really begin to understand the power movement and mind can have.  My instructor talked a lot about how different movements bring out different emotions in people and it isn’t uncommon for the movement and posture and release of emotions to create people to have breakdowns in the middle of a practice.   I can tell you, the months between November 2011 and March 2012, I had a lot of those moments. Lots of tears.  It was cathartic.  It was exhausting.

It was where I needed to be.  Learning that my mind and body are not two parallel, never meeting entities, but two pieces of a structure that need to be held together and centered on something to work efficiently and effectively.

This last Sunday morning, I dropped the kids off to their fellowship classroom and I went into the service.

The musical Worship Team is actually quite magical.  Beautiful voices that fill this massive church overwhelm you.  Looking around, with easily a few hundred people filling in the pews, everyone was singing, holding hands; blissful.

When the minister began to speak, he focused on Isaish 8:19-9:7, which basically tells the story of how even when the world sucks, through trusting in the power of Jesus, you will be OK. (Ok, it is way longer than that…but you can read it yourself if you want to read the whole thing here)

And I listened, and then I just cried.

I didn’t really want to cry.  But, I honestly, really couldn’t not cry either.

The whole thing hit home.

As you read through the non-my-version, you can see how when the world sucks, you can easily start to live in the darkness – however you want to define your darkness – but, then you are there for so long, you find you can justify the darkness and begin to see it as the light.

You find yourself living this intricate dance that perhaps, from a Christian perspective, are made up of Satan’s lies and manipulative ways to tempt you back into the darkness…you learn to see the darkness as the safe place.

When in reality, you’re living this life of destruction.

I was living that.

I was living in this sea of lies and secrets and indecency.

Maybe a sea is too pretty.

It was a shit hole that I jumped into regularly because I thought those shit holes would save me.

They were some deep shit holes.

Shit holes that were deeply destructive.

But as I plunged into this ugly reality, I was also having all these moments of clarity and self and even understanding.

I hit a wall and I knew I had to change.

At least the physical manifestations of my life.  I broke off relationships and quit drinking.

And I can honestly say, I don’t regret the shitholes I was neck deep in.

But, I was grasping.

I have been grasping.

I have felt like I’ve done a lot of changing and made a lot of improvements…but still couldn’t connect everything together.

Even pieces of the recent past I have tried really hard to cut, I haven’t cut because of fear.

Fear of “what happens if I do this.”

Who will catch me if I fall? What’s my backup plan?

Even when I knew, deeply, that although I had said I walked away from a life style, I was still not letting completely go.

Keeping my foot just enough in the door I could pry it back open if I needed to in a moment of weakness.

I could justify it.  I could prove to myself why it was the right thing to do.  Even when I knew it wasn’t.

Since church on Sunday, I’ve been reliving these passages over and over in my head.

The moral of the story is, life is hard.  Life sucks sometimes. But, it gets better. But for it to really get better, you have to be willing to really find the light and face your fear and leave the darkness.

Part of this is truly trusting that change is OK.

Change is scary, but change is necessary.

Part of it is trusting that someone has you back in the light just as much, moreso even, then when you’re living in the darkness.

Sunday I KNEW I’ve been living in the darkness…talking myself into this place of correctness…telling myself that the life I have been living is OK — justifiable even because I was dealt a shitty hand and perhaps I thought the ‘system’ owed it to me.

I also realized that I NEED to learn how to trust again.

Sunday was a turning point for me in many ways.

The hour long session of tears just dropping down my face were a telltale sign that whatever the Minister was talking about was deeply embedded into my heart and spirit.

It was a sign that I need to start to really do some of the hard work and realize that I can’t just pretend that I didn’t make some really fucked up choices and move on…but recognize the implications of the fucked up choices.

From a Christian perspective, I can say that God is Sovereign and that I was trudging a path that was preordained for me because I wasn’t accepting Jesus and His Truths.  I can say I was led by the Devil himself.  From a yogic perspective, I think that it means I was at the right place learning the lessons I needed to learn in the moment I was living them.  From my best friend’s perspective, I was in survival mode and just living another chapter of my book.

I think they are all true.

I was talking to a friend and said that the whole Christian thing was making a lot more sense.  That it felt safe and it felt ‘right’ –  like sitting through Worship and all the reading and writing I have been doing feels like it is something I need to be doing.  One of the scriptures I read in the Bible said that God presents himself to you when you are ready to accept and embrace him.  Maybe this is it.  During my conversation with my friend, I said, “I’m definitely not going to turn into cape-wearing Christian girl, but I’m ready to move forward with this” – and I think that is an honest statement.

I don’t think that I’ll ever be one to wear religion on my sleeve…just as I don’t wear my politics or my education on my sleeve. But, these few weeks buried in the Bible and various Bible studies seems to have given me a framework for hanging all of these other changes on in my life.  It ties me together somehow…makes all these dangling strings into a beautiful bow.

I’m not really sure where this is going to take me.  I’m going to openly trust that this is the right thing. I’m going to continue to read and learn and question.

Evolve.

Make sense of things.

Try and find some peace in things.

Let go of some of the deep detachment I’ve been practicing and openly accept that my history doesn’t define my future.

Trust that I’m not alone.

Recognize that I am a sinner

Learn to trust that it is going to be OK.

Trust I am going to be OK.

I think that embracing and reconnecting with faith and hope as  a Christian is my new beginning.

And truly.

This is only the tip of the ice berg…which will evolve into the next year.

But, I do think that this IS the new beginning that was written into the stars. Not the house or the job or the degree.

The new beginning is a personal relationship with God and Jesus that is based on trust and faith.

Not the new beginning I was expecting.

But, the new beginning I needed.

How exciting it is to welcome change just before the year turn into another.

Posted in religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Into the World of .Com Candy

LollipopsYesterday, the Candy Jar closed.

As in, if you typed in http://www.takingcandy.me you would see a dead page.

I knew the domain was going to expire and I decided I wasn’t going to renew it.

I continually struggle when it comes to writing here.  There are too many criss-crossing roles in my life with people that have stumbled across the page that makes something that is generically public, not nearly private enough.

I’ve always loved big groups of people.  I went to a college that had 50,000 students. I love shopping on Christmas Eve…just to people watch, never really needing to buy anything. I love big cities and rushes of people and chaos.  Because, in chaos, I can actively exist without being noticed.

Such a warm and comfortable place for someone whose tendency toward introversion grows exponentially with each passing year.

And that is the perhaps the power behind the Candy Jar.

It is so public, it is a quiet place of solitude.

Yet, worlds meshed and somehow, at some point, writing became a struggle.

In general, I just struggle writing.

I’m out of practice and my tpyers are creaky.

So, I let the Candy Jar come to a close.

This morning, as I sat and read my email, I just sat and ended up staring at a blank screen.

And I wanted the Candy Jar back.

When I first began writing, I desperately needed validation that the bullshit I was living through was, indeed, bullshit.  I needed a place to speak and process and try and get some sort of understanding to the fucked-upedness of my life.

This was it.

As time processed, the Candy Jar grew with me.

And the we closed down. I guess I finally hit this point where I didn’t need others to agree with my that my life was fucked over pretty amazingly by not only a man who claimed he loved me, but a legal system that was put in place to protect me.  I knew I got the short straw and I finally was OK with it.

The Candy Jar became, in many ways, obsolete.

A week ago Friday I had office hours, and I met with students and one conversation made me realize that I’m not living very intentionally anymore.

I think that as I lost my fight for justice and re-centered my personal place of value, I started going through the motions, not kicking and fighting and damning the world if I couldn’t make a difference or impact change — I was just floating along…hoping things would get better.

So, as we sat and talked about school and transfers and graduate school and big picture life goals, I said, “Well, in all honesty, that doesn’t seem like anything you need to go to graduate school for. IN fact, I can’t see why you don’t take the leap and just do it now.   What are you trying to prove with a string of degrees if they aren’t going to create the life you are envisioning?”

His response, “Well, Professor…are you living the life you envisioned? Are you doing the work you need to do to create the life you want?”

And my bullshit answer was, “I’ve always worked toward becoming a professor.  I think that this IS the life I envisioned.”

And in many ways, it is.

I love academics. I love college students and the development of learning and thinking and growth.  LOVE it.

I love writing and learning and creating great environments for people to learn how to love learning.

But.

I’m not living the life I envisioned.

And in fact, I think that I gave up.

And in giving it up, I’m quite stuck.

And being stuck never really works well for me.  It makes me restless and anxious and in some ways, it turns me back into the bitter person I gave up awhile ago.

So, office hours ended and a short conversation about a presentation turned into a hour long conversation about life.

It was a very human conversation.

And I say it was human because through the course of the conversation, I started to think about my life of treading water.

And when I got home, I felt empty.

The house was empty.

No kids. Very little work.

Just me.

I think that this emptiness was the first time I have actually felt alone.

Lonely.

I love alone.  I love quiet and solitude.

That Friday night.

It was a cold lonely.

A lonely so sad that I found myself making plans with dip shits I really had no interest in spending time with.

And I realized, it is, indeed, time for a change.

So, as the Candy Jar opened up to a dead page, I decided that perhaps the key to finding some sort of path to somewhere was writing again.

Getting back into the practice of thinking through processes and events.

Finding a bit of intention to my day and my movements.

I’ve been living very detached.

And I can honestly say, that as the week has passed, I think that this really human conversation I had somehow made me realize I don’t want to be detached anymore.

I need connectedness to something: a goal, a dream, a path.

And that realization of detachment made me realize that I need direction to find connection.

Treading water and going through the motions, in many ways, has been burying my spirit very slowly and now all that glimmers is this tiny, nearly stifled, stream of smoking hope.

A tiny warmth that can easily grow back into this flame of life and intention if I tend to it.

And the last 18 months…nearly two years, I’ve been busy hiding because facing the motions of the day was hard.

Work I didn’t want to do.

So, here we are.

Back in the Candy Jar.

And now, you might see…we are takingcandy.com — an upgrade.

And life may not always direct back to the Candy Jar.

But, I think that the Candy Jar is my compass back to life.

Posted in blogging, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Conflicting Emotions

Today, I woke up and read my horoscope – as per usual and it told me today would be a day of conflicting emotions.

In general, it was a great day.    diamond ring

I went to work.  We discussed one of my favorite articles in my intercultural class and in my interpersonal class, students (mostly) worked on their group project and I used my teacher time wisely by shopping for Michael Kors bags (because, you know…on my single-mom, teaching income, Michael Kors is totally within budget) online and grading papers and then off to the gym for a nearly 11 mile run.

I got home.

Opened the mail.

And there was a small little package.

Which I opened.

And inside, nestled, was a beautiful ring.

White gold.  Tiny little diamonds tracing the shape of beautiful little flowers.

Not extravagant like the last ring that was gifted to me.

But, beautiful.

Probably much more my style.

Little flowers and sparkle in white gold.

I put it on.

Fit perfectly and covered my hated ring tattoo completely.

The tag?

None.

Nada.

So, I called the company the ring came from.  And after a few transfers, I was told, that, yes, indeed – me at my address was the intended recipient and that the sender was “private” and no tag was an intentional request.  Payment information was confidential.

Someone just sent me a motherfuckingdiamondring in the mail.

Anonymously.

So, what did I do?

I took off the God Father’s ring, and put the new one on.

Talk about conflicting emotions.  I have an idea of who maybe sent it.  There are 2 people that immediately come to mind.  Two people I spent a significant amount of time with for a good year who I parted ways with last March.  But, I don’t know.  And I’m not going to call and find out.

I don’t want to know.

You know, after the last guy who painted this picture of life and love that he ruined with the quick thrust of his lying tongue (and other thrusting parts),  I struggled.

I struggled because, like always, I questioned why I wasn’t enough.

And when he came knocking, I made the official decision that I deserved, and wanted, someone better.

He taught me that I wasn’t just enough, I was more than he could handle.  I wanted someone who would take care of me no matter what.

So, when I think about this mysterious ring in the mail, I know that it came from someone who I had this weird sort of relationship with.

I called it off because I needed to. It wasn’t the right thing anymore.  For either of us. And if it wasn’t him and one of the others, I can say the same thing.

I ended these oddly normal relationships because the premise of them was deeply and darkly dysfunctional.

When I ended them, I felt a little bit empty.  I was used to the texts and the voicemails and the little reminders of them in my life.  Nothing extravagant..but, little reminders that I was in their minds.

Reminders that I was important.

Reminders that I was enough.

Perhaps, I was more than they deserved.

Now, I look back…and think that these hidden relationships served me a purpose.

They taught me a bit of self-value and  that I deserved to be treated like I was enough.

The ring?

Someone still thinks I’m worth sending a little gift to. . . even though they aren’t in my life.  Even though they will get nothing in return. Even though I won’t even know who they are.

Someone still wants me to be surprised.  Someone wants to know I’m smiling.  Someone wants me to wrack my brain and solve the mystery (which I why I think I know who it was).

And in many ways, as I look down on my finger, I do have conflicting emotions.

It means I took off a ring that someone gave me to know that I was worth a few carats of diamonds hugged in white gold…a ring that was gifted in love wrapped in Ego. A gift of hope I needed desperately.

It means someone still knows I want the infamous ring tattoo covered and values that enough to know, anything I put on that hand needs to hide that scar from view.

It is a very assertive reminder of a near past history that was both empowering and heart breaking all in one.

It is a reminder of perseverance and sacrifice.

It is a reminder that I impacted someone positively enough that they still think of me even though its nearly been 9 months since we last were in contact.

It is a reminder that I am worth it.

I am enough.

It’s liberating.

Life goes in these insanely odd circles.

I’m overwhelmed.

And grateful.

Today at school, I had this really unique conversation with a student that made me think about myself and the labels I use on myself to hold me back.

Like everyone, I struggle with this.

I’ve been very caught up in these scary cycles of labels I’ve taken on because of the way I have engaged in, and been engaged with, in relationships.

And I’ve learned that everyone is imperfect and everyone is trying really hard to cover their imperfections to find this elusive place of value in someone else’s life.

I’ve done the same.  And in doing so, I’ve taken on labels that have completely killed my esteem.  The people who made me feel the best and valued me the most were those people in which I had questionable relationships.  The people I thought I could trust broke me.  I started to think that because it was “the bad guys” that embraced me and the “good guys” who reminded me that I wasn’t enough, then maybe…just maybe, my place in the world was with the bad ones.

But, really.

We’re all out there seeking the same shit.

Validation.  Esteem.  Integrity in self.

We all want to know we are enough.

Today is officially a turning point.

This new little diamond accented ring with flowers is my reminder that I’m enough.

And the people who don’t think so can fuck off.

And the people who think so behind curtains and cloaks of anonymity will be my reminder when I need it.

2014 was not the year I expected it to be.

But, it has been a really powerful year of self-learning and perhaps finally gaining a level of very raw self-acceptance.

I’ve fucked up.  I’ll fuck up again.

But, I’m enough.

And now when I start to doubt, instead of looking down at the ring of a destructive relationship, I’ll look down and see the sparkles of tomorrow.

Lessons of yesterday culminating in better tomorrow.

Today.

Today was a good day.

Posted in anonymous gift, diamond ring, diamonds, men, sugar baby, sugar daddy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments