Dancing in the Rain

I know what you are thinking right about now… Has this pathetic woman EVER had a joyful moment?

Why, yes, I have. Thank you for asking. I have had many. So, so many that to tell you all of them would take, uhm, let’s see…about 35 years. See, simpleton’s have the uncanny ability to find a smile, see the beauty or laugh in the face of danger when others are unable. I genuinely laugh out loud a lot. This is not to say that I am “happy” in this current season of my life. But I know that I am still alive, people are counting on me to stay in the game. So, I play it. I love my friends and family, they bring joy to my life, smiles to my face and laughter to my heart. Why else would God have picked them to be part of my life?

For example, earlier this evening, I was talking to my fabulous roomie. (Insert BIG heart!) We were reminiscing about our childhoods and the silly things we did. I mentioned that when I was younger, “back in my day,” my friends and I would walk to a little carry out with a couple of dollars and come out with a bag full of candy. My best friend at the time, Greta, was a long legged, pasty white blonde girl. I was able to tan in a few minutes, had dark hair, yet also had long lanky legs. We were yin and yang. Peanut butter and jelly. Apples and oranges. We would proudly take our money to the store and leave with a bag of candy for later but what we really treasured were the fresh plums. We would each get one and eat it as soon as we left the store. Silly how that plum was so perfectly delicious every time. We were friends for 15 years. Every summer we would get together for sleep overs and we would require a trip to the store to pick out a plum. When life was too busy for sleepovers, we would separately, but together enjoy a plum.

This evening I made a quick trip to the grocery. (If you knew how little I did this, you would be very impressed.) As I was coming out, the sky began to flicker and large, hard raindrops began to fall. A man walked past me, threw his arms up and smiled “Great timing we had!” I laughed in agreement with him, and if it had just held off 5 more minutes, I could have been home inside. As I’m loading my car with my food, the rain starts coming down harder. It hits me. (NO! Not the rain! Well, technically, yes, the rain, but that’s not where I was going…) As a child, I loved to play in the rain. When it was summer time, and it would rain, I would take off my shoes, splash around in the puddles and dance in the rain. What happened to that girl? Why is it that as an adult, I tuck my head, run for cover and get frustrated that this cleansing water would dare pelt me in the face? So I slowed down. I slowly walked my cart to the corral. I strolled back to my car. I lifted my face to the sky. My roommate sent me a text to tell me she would meet me outside to help with the food. I ignored it. I walked in with some of the items and she said “let me help!” I replied “I’m embracing the rain. It’s a beautiful night!” She laughed, put on flip flops and we both went back out to finish.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, I turned to her and screamed out “OH HEY!!! I forgot to tell you!! Under this bush is a gigantic toad!! I saw him when I was coming in!” Sure enough, toadie was still there. We both bent over and said “hey mr. toadie” then casually continued to the car to get the rest of the groceries. Had I been rushing, I would have never seen him. That may not sound like much to most of you, but I live in the city. I don’t get to see much wildlife except for the birds that leave poo on my car and the occasional squirrel. A toad is a big deal. Plus, I have always had a “thing” with God. If I’m on the “right” path in a new train of thought or place in my life, He shows me some wildlife. This has gone on for 15 years. I usually get a deer, I’m quite fond of them. But I will take the toad.

When I got back inside, I opened my bedroom blinds before crawling into bed to write this post. That way, I could enjoy the flashes of lightening escorted by the booming thunder. I love a good storm. Maybe we have had so many this year because I keep missing my toads and God is trying to tell me that I’m on the right path. Maybe none of that is related to anything about my life at all. Maybe I’m just a total goober that used to dance in the rain. Maybe I just needed to take a shower. Who knows?!

That’s all for now. Have a beautiful week. Dance in the rain. Love your uglies. Hug your friends and family.

How did I get here?

I suppose by now you are starting to understand a little bit about my background. I still look around at my life and ask myself “How did I get here??” What happened to me? So, to bring everyone up to speed on how I got “here” at this point in my life, I think I will quickly mention a few key points about myself. Maybe after I’m done, it will be more clear as to why I have been encouraged to create this blog. I genuinely hope that as I continue to draw these & other experiences out in more detail, people struggling with depression, anger or unforgiveness due to similar circumstances will begin to see how I continue to drag my butt out of bed each day. Maybe they will be given some hope, even some healing.

I was conceived on Christmas Eve, in a Sunday School room. My parents were never married, I wouldn’t even say they were in love. My biological father gave up his parental rights prior to my birth and moved halfway across the country. He came back when I was 10, and as long as it was convenient for him, I was his favorite hobby. If he had a date, or a family, well, he gets busy.

My mother married a man when I was almost 2 & he adopted me. He was a decent man, never made me feel as if I wasn’t his (unlike comments still being made by my biological father.). My mother is a borderline personality. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself blessed. I will go more into this another day. Short version, she likes drama and is quite manipulative. My adopted father is co-dependent. I spent most of my life trying to please an unhappy mother and giving in to my father’s constant begging for peace.

In the 3rd grade, my friend’s brother molested me. I never told anyone this until high school and even now, just a select few. The summer between my 5th & 6th grade years, my adopted grandfather began molesting me. Yada, Yada, Yada… very little contact with him following this. Also, more in another post. But please hear me when I say, YES, these experiences impacted me greatly. However, allow me to SHOUT OUT from the rooftops, that I REFUSE to allow myself to be considered a victim. Sexual abuse is a horrible crime, and mine in comparison to many others was practically nothing. No, I’m not minimizing it, but others have gone through it on a much greater scale. I just will not allow those two disgusting men to take any more from me than they already have. I promise, we will discuss in greater depth another day.

I married a man at 21 that my mother loved. Yes, this was another attempt to please her. It didn’t work and I wanted to be dead. We divorced before our second anniversary and in 6 months I married “Mark.” We had dated previously, I was blindly in love and spent the next 16 years on an emotionally abusive roller coaster. I mentioned this relationship briefly in the Independence of a Simple Girl post. When he cheated on me, I left my husband, my son and my home. Long story, but it worked best for our son to remain in his home & I couldn’t afford it alone, so I left.

MarkĀ and I tried having children of our own but I was unable to conceive. My lady parts were broken. After 7 years, we adopted a 4-year-old boy. I was over the moon crazy about this kid. Fast forward 12 years. “Dylan” became belligerent, manipulative, mean, dishonest and destructive. When I enforced the boundaries I had established for my home, he and his friends, robbed me, stole my laptop, TV, jewelry, numerous other items and then threatened my life. I had to get a restraining order that is in effect until he is 19.

The robbery happened on February 3, my best friend/boyfriend of 16 months shot himself with my brand new gun, first bullet ever fired from it, on February 20. I was there. I was under the influence of a full Xanax (remember, I usually only take half) and I had also had a drink. I was exhausted from no sleep in 17 days, being homeless because I couldn’t stay in my apartment after the robbery and Andrew had come to get me, taken me back to his place so I could sleep somewhere I felt safe in. We were discussing dinner plans, things we were going to do this summer, taking a quick trip to get away because my life had been so uprooted. He had 10 guns of his own, but mine was a revolver and he didn’t have one of those. He was playing with my gun. He asked me what I wanted for dinner. I flippantly said “whatever.” I turned around to dance to the music that was blaring. I heard the gun go off. I expected to see a hole in the wall. Instead, I saw his feet. He was on the ground. Bleeding. I called 911, I remember screaming that I loved him. That I needed him to stay with me. That I couldn’t do this alone. I begged God to make him ok. I prayed for him with all of my heart. The police came with the ambulance. I was trapped by an officer in his bedroom while they worked on him. I was put in the back of the cruiser and taken to the station for questioning. The next time I saw him was at his viewing.

That was almost 5 months ago. I cannot begin to describe the emptiness inside of me, because it is empty. Nothing is there to describe. I miss him more than words could ever say, more than the tears I still cry, and more than the minutes I lie awake every night. There is no word adequate enough to describe the physical pain I feel in my heart, the loneliness I feel from him leaving me, the fear I feel about trying to maneuver this life after all of this grief has turned me upside down. Wanna know how I keep going every day? Me too. I truly have no idea. I wish I had some wise words to walk you through your own pain. I don’t. I just know that each foot we put in front of the other will lead us to our future. A future I pray holds the happiness I have been missing for the last 40 years. A future I pray allows me to put Andrew’s memories on the front shelves of my mind, but the pain on the back, on top, where I can’t reach them to continue aching and crying over him every day. A future where the people I know that are also struggling to pull themselves out of bed each day, have finally reached a place of peace. A future where our worlds are no longer tilted and dangling us over the edge, but we walk safely within the confines of normalcy. Big dreams? Yes, I know. But I’m an eternal optimist because after 40 years of surviving, I have no other choice.

So again, why read my blog? No clue. But the above is true, honest and only the beginning.

Sending my love,

Matilda Grace

Independence for a Simple Girl

Yup, that’s right. I’m a simple girl. At least, I think so. I do admit that I love Kate Spade and Coach handbags and wouldn’t mind a sleek fast sports car. But at heart, all I need are old worn in jeans, a comfy hooded sweatshirt and my favorite boots. 

As I was reflecting on what Independence Day is for the country now, picnics, parades, firework displays, I began to think of what this particular one means to me. 2015 has been a year filled with heartache and sorrow, but it followed 40 years of hurt and abuse. One perpetrator of that hurt and abuse was my ex-husband.

Before Andrew, I was married to a man I had gone to school with most of my life. Although I didn’t know him well, I knew of him. We were in different social circles. We began to date about a year after I graduated. He made me laugh, with that being my weak spot, I fell in love. Hard. He was protective and had a bad boy edge about him. Sadly, when he wasn’t making me laugh, he was making me cry. I was hooked though.

We were married at the age of 24. We began working with our church youth group as advisers. We had a great group of friends. He joined a Christian Band.  We were busy with practices, shows, bible studies, youth events. Life was full and joyous, until he quit the band. He sank into a dark place.

He was angry at the band. He was angry with his parents. He was angry with his job. He was angry with our house. He was angry with the dog. He was angry with God. He was angry with me. I spent the better part of 13 years trying to play cheerleader. I tried to lift him up to a place that would allow him to see his blessings. I prayed over him while he slept. I cried and begged him to get help, to love again. He would shut down and not speak to me for weeks at a time. There was no affection. There was no kindness. Eventually, there was no respect from either of us. Through the constant verbal battering, I had been worn down to a useless shell of the person I had once been. I was exhausted, alone, depressed, and completely out of ideas.

Just as I thought my life couldn’t possibly suck any more, he asked for a divorce a few days before my 40th birthday. He was having an affair and wanted out. The wind was knocked out of me. I couldn’t breathe. I was shocked at this turn of events. I knew things were bad but I had no idea the choices he was making that were about to propel my life into a completely different direction. All of a sudden, my own life had become a car where the steering wheel was just spinning out of control and someone had their foot slamming down the gas pedal. But I could do nothing to stop it.

Remember, I’m a simple girl. I walked out of my house. I rented an apartment and settled into a 2 1/2 year dissolution of my marriage. It had some UGLY moments. I guess they all probably do at some point. The dissolution was final December 2014. We were getting along fairly well at this point. Our son was forcing us to, as his behavior was spiraling out of control.

In February 2015, everything changed. I was robbed, by my son and his friends. I was granted a restraining order against my only child. My best friend/boyfriend accidentally shot himself with a gun I bought for protection.

So as I was reflecting on Independence Day 2015, I realized that this year, I am definitely more independent than I was last year. I am officially single again. I am essentially no longer a mother. And I no longer have the man I love, instead I am mourning him. I work 2 jobs to pay for my life, I get no alimony. I build my own Ikea furniture. I pump my own gas. I kill my own spiders. Oh sure, I have male friends I can call if something comes up that I can’t handle, but I am learning I don’t want to call them. This silly, simple girl wants to do as many things on her own as she can. I have taken some pride in the fact that God has blessed me with the ability to survive. He alone, knew I was really going to need it. I don’t get to buy that Kate Spade or Coach handbag like I used to. But I do get to eat lunch with my friends after church. I don’t drive a fast zippy sports car but my 11 year old car is paid in full. I don’t get beach house vacations every summer, but I get to laugh with my friends, snuggle with babies, serve my community, love my family. And those are the moments that matter.

This simple girl has found her independence day.