"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

Who am I?

Today was funny, I had the accomplishment of pushing another woman into recognizing her own worth.  Even though I don’t know her well — she is a LinkedIn acquaintance who has been calling and texting me lately for some advice — I candidly told her that she needed to stand up and take control.  She was very grateful and I felt like I had my shit together.

Then I had an afternoon call with a frenemy.  I was checking in with him because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him.  He was back from a very successful business trip.  My green-eyed monster lurked around a bit, but mostly I hung up the phone and thought, “Good for him, but WTF – what is wrong with me?”

My thought process was why wasn’t I doing something similar?  Why are my business development efforts not so bold?  I listened to a woman last week, who I like tremendously and see as a role model.  She’s not much older than me, but what a career!  She has done it all including having kids, taking time for them and still kicking ass and taking name, but on her own terms.  I listened to her story for the first time last week and realized how many similarities we have and  yet she has great success and I’m just showing up.

I’ve been thinking about why that is.  How did I miss the magic train to career stardom?  I know that it’s because of decisions I made early in life and heck, let’s be honest — decisions I have made throughout my life.  I decided that my kids would come first, always.  Couple that with a controlling husband who was always jealous of any success and that put a kaboosh on me doing anything rock star with my career.  Am I making excuses?  Are those my limiting beliefs?  Perhaps, but perhaps that is also my reality.

Am I OK with that?  No.  I want a replay.  Actually I was writing, “I guess” and I realized that fuck no, I want the replay.  I see young women coming up in my profession and I’m jealous of them.  They have their careers ahead of them and they are pushing up the corporate ladder.  I didn’t get that.  People talk about their mentors.  I didn’t have one that helped me.  Seriously — I haven’t had one that truly helped me.  What is wrong with me?  Am I just the norm and everybody else is lying through their teeth or am I the outcast?  Am I really unpopular for reasons unknown to me?  Am I too honest in the corporate world and I should keep my mouth shut more?  Naw, that wouldn’t be any fun.

Last week I spent a morning with a potential new client.  It was our first meeting. She’s in her 20’s.  It didn’t go off well.  She warmed up towards the end, but I knew that she wasn’t comfortable with me because I AM TOO OLD.  WTF — seriously?  You think I’m kidding?  Nope, I got the rejection email this morning.  It’s fine, I understand completely, but geez louise.

What’s funny is I’m OK.  I’m a little concerned about business which of course is why I’m ranting about this stuff, but it’s also Monday and I tend to rant on Mondays.  I’m in a great mood, life is good and I’m busy as can be.  I need to be grateful for what I have.  Yep, that’s my next move:  a nice hot soak in the tub while I think about all the things I’m grateful for.

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Photo by Karla Alexander on Unsplash

 

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I’m Alive

I’m Alive
So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars
That I’m alive and well
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive.
And today, you know, that’s good enough for me
Breathing in and out’s a blessing, can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive and well
Yeah, I’m alive and well.
Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s good for the soul and there’s not a soul in sight
This boat…
It’s been awhile since I started with a song lyric.  I heard this today after a lovely lunch with Robin.  We got all caught up on how the other was doing.  We talked about how long it takes to finish grieving for a marriage that has ended, how to be kinder to ourselves as we sort out our money issues and a host of other things women of our age talk about.  It was good.
Then as I got in the car to head to an appointment, the above song came on.  I hit repeat and listened to it again.  I’m not a Whoo Whoo religious person, but I know that the Mother of our Universe sent that song to me.  Thank you.  I needed that today.
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Photo by resa cahya on Unsplash

Shadows

 

Although I was at a noisy conference yesterday, I kept my eye on the senate hearing of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  I was able to listen to most of her opening statement.  I believe her.

I believe her because I have been in similar situations during high school and college.  There but by the grace of God….in my case, I was surrounded by good, decent people who didn’t take advantage of the situation.  Well, except for one — my first college boyfriend, but I’ll get to him.

Drinking and hormones are not a great combination for the young.  They have the adult bodies ready for action but the minds aren’t ready.  In my case, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I had classic Daddy issues.

I listened to Dr. Ford, who is slightly younger than me, and thought back to those high school days.  She ran with an elite crowd — the country club/private school set.  That’s the set my kids grew up with even though they went to public schools.  In my youth, I also went to public high school, but I ran around with the smart kids — the kids of doctors and attorneys — in a small college town.  The kids who look perfect on the outside, but can definitely get into trouble.

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it were some folks from high school.  I realized that Dr. Ford is triggering me to remember parts of my young adulthood that I have buried.  I remembered several instances where I was drunk, but others kindly looked after me and got me safely home.  What if they hadn’t been there?

What about the frat party I went to when I was told I had a phone call?  I went into a bedroom to take a call and was locked in a room with two guys.  I grabbed the phone and there was nothing but a dial tone and when I spun around I realized my predicament.

Little did they know that the reason I actually thought I would have a phone call is that my mom was in a turbulent time with her 2nd husband who was an abusive alcoholic.  I thought she needed me to come rescue her.  Looking back, I wonder how they knew I would fall for the phone call trick — I guess naivety shows.

Anyway, here I am in a bedroom with two guys and a king size bed separating us.  They are between me and the door.  I was terrified.  I wasn’t drunk.  Thankfully, they only wanted my sorority pledge pin.  They grabbed me and fumbled for it.  You have to wear it over your left breast.  I submitted, they got it and I fled.

I went barreling out into the party, immediately went to senior sorority sisters and I don’t remember much else.  I just know I had people around me for safety.  To get that damn pledge pin back, we had to go sing at their house.  My sorority sisters were great — we moved all their furniture out onto the front lawn for our performance (so we would have room) and then left it there.  Months later, I exacted an even better revenge — we stole their antique firetruck.  But that’s a story for another day.

As Dr. Ford told her story, that bedroom incident kept popping into my mind.  Over and Over.  As I write this, I get teary.  I have no idea who those men were.  I don’t have names.  I was so, so lucky.

I was also lucky when later that same year when I was initiated into the sorority, I went out celebrating with friends.  I was somewhat seeing a much older man (32 to my 18).  We were at a big sorority/fraternity party and I downed 3 screwdrivers.  That landed me on the couch unable to move or speak because I was so drunk.  I was so lucky.

Nobody bothered me, nobody preyed upon my inebriated state and later a couple drove me home and made sure I got in safely.  OK, I opened the door and fell over the threshold much to my mom’s shock, but I was home safely.

That was all in my sophomore year.  In my freshman year, which was at another college, my predator became my boyfriend.

I was young when I got to college.  I was 17, having graduated from high school a year early.  A well-meaning high school friend told me to call this guy who was a year older.  She wanted me to have some friends or know somebody when I got there.  I met him, a ginger-haired, outgoing guy.  Now I know that he probably has ADHD.  Even then I knew he had a drinking problem.

We went to a frat party.  I got drunk, as frat boys preferred, and threw up.  That dude still kissed me with vomit-breath.  Ugh.  He got me back to my dorm room and tried to fuck me.  I pushed him away.  I don’t remember if we fucked or not.  I was too drunk.

Non-confrontational Maggie, who only wanted to be liked and loved, agreed to keep seeing this asshole.  This guy who was constantly pressuring me for sex, sex that really wasn’t very good at all.  I liked his friends.  I liked being a couple.  He was bad news. I managed to escape him by moving across the country to another college.  Yes, I moved away to escape him and for other reasons.

My childhood was complex.  I wasn’t abused.  I always had food and clothing.  My parents were smart and educated, but self-centered.  As soon as my parents separated when I was six, my mom moved around.

She first moved to get a different college degree in what she really wanted.  I have to give her props, she was the oldest student in the class and this was the profession she wanted, not the English degree her parents insisted on. That process necessitate two moves:  one to the College Town #1 (grades 2-3) and then to another city for the 6-month internship.

Then we moved back to the city where my dad lived.  That didn’t work out.  He didn’t want her in the town, her job sucked, so we moved about a  year later. That was 4th grade.  I hated 4th grade.  My school life was consumed by bullies and nobody was interceding on my behalf.

Now we were in in Town 3 for 5th grade, for those keeping track, and it was a charming college town.  I loved that town.  I could ride the bus around, great schools, good friends.  I had a paper route.  I won an election for a school office (7th grade) right before Christmas.

Then I learned we were moving back to College Town #1 in January, so I had to relinquish my office, my friends and my great school.  College Town #1 was building a new middle school, but the current one sucked.  Ancient, dilapidated.  The blessing was that many of the kids remembered me.  I didn’t really remember them, but that was OK.

We stayed in College Town #2 until 11th grade.  Then my mom met Ed.  That motherfucker.  She didn’t want to be lonely and found this guy.  He was a piece of lying, alcoholic shit.  I came home from school in the Fall of 11th grade and got a call from a hospital in Florida.  Congrats, my mom got the job in Florida and they needed her to call to wrap up some of the details.  She never told me that she was looking for a job.  She never told me that leaving before I would graduate high school was in the cards.  She was moving for Ed, who needed to skip the state to evade his crazy Ex wife.  We moved 10 DAYS later to a shithole town.  My only escape was to graduate a year early, so I did.

I left behind in College Town #2 a kind, gentle boyfriend, tons of friends — friends whose parents were calling my mom and begging her to let me stay with them for my final year and a half of school. But my mom wouldn’t hear of it — she didn’t want my dad to have a reason to gain custody of me.

With all this moving around, I learned that to make friends quickly I needed to be nice, funny and accommodating.  Add to that the lack of any male father figure and that’s a classic recipe for a woman to have Daddy issues.

So Dr. Ford, I believe you.  I know you are telling the truth and I know that Judge Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.  I know that he had some serious drinking issues in his youth because I dated his type.  I know that his white-privileged mind cannot wrap itself around that fact that karma is a bitch and she is here to claim her due.

Let’s hope the US Senate realizes this as well.

Standing on the Edge

I spent Saturday working on my numbers.  I went through the past eight months of bank statements, credit card statements and logged in all of my expenses with categories so I can FINALLy figure out where the hell my $$ are going.

It was eye-opening.  I have spent Sunday and today thinking about what I have learned.  I still have more to figure out, but the Big Picture is not pretty.  It’s a combination of good news and bad news.

Bad News:

  • Maggie & Co has some serious overhead even though I have made cuts.  I spend a lot of money on health insurance (unavoidable) and on some business necessities that I simply can’t forego.  Between my car payment, gas, auto insurance, I am spending a lot of money on that category (over $800/month).  I don’t even drive a fancy car for crying out loud.
  • I am spending more than I am earning which explains that sucking noise I am continually hearing — it’s all my savings being sucked out of my account.
  • I’m balanced on the edge right now.  I have money coming in, but the question is how fast?  Will I fall off the edge before I receive it?  That could keep me awake at night!  It’s too soon to say, but I need to crunch the numbers a bit more.

That’s the doom and gloom I am digesting at the moment. One thing that Dave Ramsey says is sometimes the only solution is to generate more income.  I need to do that.  I need a side hustle to help take some pressure off  Maggie & Co.  The Hunter needs to join me in our search for the almighty dollar.  Having said all of that, there is some good news:

  • I didn’t have too much fluff in my numbers.  I have some subscriptions and frills that I can dump.  It won’t be a huge savings, but it will help.  This just shows me that all my cost-cutting measures were necessary.
  • I haven’t spent anything on credit cards in months.
  • I am ready to sell some old jewelry and the last time I got an estimate it was worth $5,000 and I didn’t trust the buyer.  Even if I just get the $5k, that will help get my emergency savings funded and start paying down my debt.
  • The Hunter is standing by ready to help.  He is ready to push this boulder up the hill with me.  I just need to sit down with him, walk through the numbers and create a budget we both agree with.

My low point was this morning.  I’m already a tad cranky as I am trying to create some space to think about my numbers while I still push through work.  Then I had a bleep with a major resource for Maggie & Co.  I couldn’t log on.  Do I owe them $$?  Yes, I was three months behind with Month 3 due tomorrow.  The number I owed made me burst into frustrated tears — over $2,000.  Yes, this shit is that expensive.  Fortunately I was able to pay two months of it and log on, but I need to get current with the balance.  Right after I dealt with that, the bank called about an automatic payment that didn’t go through.  Sigh.

I look ahead to the income that is coming in over the next couple of months, even the next 30 days, and I will be fine.  I’m just in a really tight spot right now.  The Hunter just landed a new client that will help and I think will be a great referral source in a couple of months.

Breathe, that’s all I can do.  Breathe and exercise and just keep working hard.  Now, anybody got any good side hustle ideas?  I’m open to ideas!

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Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

Fire in the Belly

My fire in my belly is not my rubber chicken lunch I just returned from.  Although my diet is part of my Fire in the Belly mindset these days.  My Fire in the Belly is Dave Ramsey.  Yes, I’ve heard of him for years and yes, I listened to his radio show rarely, but I never really dug into his message.  Now I have and oh, man, he has lit a fire in me.

As part of my getting my shit together, I was watching a FB discussion in one of my groups about how to get your financial shit together.  Two notable suggestions were You Need a Budget (YNAB) and Dave Ramsey.

I just finished reading Dave’s Total Money Makeover (thank you, public library) and now I’m incessantly listening to his podcast (which is simply a re-play of his radio show) every moment I’m in the car (which is a lot lately).  I bought Financial Peace at my Goodwill bookstore and am about to dig into that one.

I get his Baby Steps, I love the concept and I believe.  I believe that life can be so much simpler if I live below my means, have zero debt and build up my savings and investment portfolio.  He gives me hope that I’m not going to be on this damn hamster wheel of debt and money worries until the day I die.

Now I need to block out some time to work on my numbers.  Figure out exactly what I’m spending, what am I earning, how much debt do I truly have (gulp), what assets do I have that I can see immediately (good-bye ugly jewelry) and more.  I’m excited about the plan, much like I’m excited about my Big Hairy Project (weight loss plan).

Not only do I think I can do this, I think I can do this quickly.  I just need to lay the groundwork by gathering all the info.  That’s going to be my weekend agenda.  Plus I need to make sure that I get the Hunter on board.  To that end, a Dave follower told a great story about how he got his wife on board:  he bought the audio book and asked her to listen to it with him.  They would do a chapter, stop discuss, then move forward.  This guy sold his truck and gun collection to get them out of debt — I need to bookmark that episode for the Hunter (LOL).

But I have realized that I cannot do this alone.  I have a partner regardless of marital status.  He needs to be an active participant of the plan. I need to communicate with him not only my goals and desires, but I need to listen to his.  Really listen and that’s a big step for me because lately, I must admit, I haven’t been a good listener.  That’s something else I should write about….

For now, let me go make some money so I can put my emergency fund together….

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Photo by Ryan Cryar on Unsplash

I’m Hangry

This Big Hairy Project (aka my diet) has been working.  No doubt about it.  I’m down 7 pounds and have lost inches everywhere.  I managed to take a weekend getaway and stay on the plan.  The Hunter was impressed.

I haven’t lost any weight this week, but I know why.  Between the trip and my LACK OF EXERCISE, I am sliding off the track.  The exercise is because I’m not planning my days well.  In my defense, my meetings have been popping up unexpectedly and I have little control.  So far this week I have had early morning meetings every day, which is rare for me, but unavoidable this week.  Then it’s been raining when the evening comes.  I’m not a complete sloth, and did go run/walk about 2 miles on Monday, but I’m not in my usual routine.  I feel it.

The other mistake I’m making is that I don’t have food ready to go.  I don’t have a batch of bone broth whipped up and I don’t have an easy meal to warm up.  This leads me to getting really hungry and then heading out to get a salad or something.  No bueno because a) that’s expensive and b) I can’t control all the ingredients so I don’t know if it’s 100% on the plan.

Now that I have acknowledged and identified the problem, I need to fix it.  But that fix won’t be happening anytime soon.  This week is crazy busy (for which I am grateful).  Hopefully the 3-day weekend will give me time to get back on track.

I also have to say that this sugar abstinence situation sucks.  I’m finding it harder and harder to walk into a grocery store or any situation where there are cookies, cupcakes and the like staring up at me saying, “Maggie, I miss you!  You know how delicious I am — just a nibble.”  And coffee — I really miss coffee with sugar and cream.  Yum….

Geez, I am seriously empathetic towards those with legit hardcore addiction issues.  My silly shit is tough for me, so my heart goes out to those with serious addictions.

I’m on my way to the kitchen.  I need food.  I’m hangry….. that fucking cupcake paragraph just about did me in….

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Sugar, caffeine, bread — I miss you all!  Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Friendship

When do you intervene with a friend and tell her she’s wrong?  I am having that dilemma with my BFF.  I’m not rushing around preparing my remarks, but this idea has been slowly percolating in my brain over past the month or two.

I have found an interesting phenomena among some of my single acquaintances. I am talking about those that have lived alone for many years (7+ years).  They get a little wacky or sometimes a lot wacky.  Here are three examples to support my theory:

  • Exhibit A: My work mentor.  I had a work mentor that was a great help to me while I was building my book of business.  She is older than me and feisty, candid and funny — all a great combination for me.  But…we had our differences.  Politically we were polar opposites and we just had to agree not to talk about it.  When she retired, note the word retired, she accused me of stealing a client.  I did no such thing, the client called me and besides, my mentor was RETIRED.  Then she told me not to divorce my Ex no matter what — that really pissed me off.  I basically stopped contacting her.  I was done and then I realized that the relationship had been skewed for awhile.  My Mentor would get an opinion and it stuck — no matter if her facts were wrong or whatever.

I theorize that when someone isn’t intimate with folks on a daily basis, you don’t have anyone to push back when your crazy peeks out.

  • Exhibit B:  Hunter’s former friend (HFF) – he went off the deep end recently and broke off his friendship with the Hunter.  The Hunter made the mistake of trying to use him for a business venture.  HFF not only produced poor work, but then he disappeared for a few weeks.  This lead the Hunter to make other arrangements.  When HFF surfaced and decided he wanted in, the Hunter said nope and HFF was furious.  Furious enough that several weeks later the Hunter got a demand letter from an attorney for $$ for HFF’S time.  What a piece of work.  This is all being worked out by attorney’s and HFF will get nothing, but where was his buffer to tell him that he’s bat-shit crazy to attack a friend so maliciously.

Sometimes living alone and having to deal with all the day-to-day crap by yourself leads you to feel over-confident, invincible and unwilling to ask for help.  This is where my BFF is at (Exhibit C).  My heart goes out to her, she’s in a tough spot.  Her job sucks, her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her and she’s trying to make some big life changes.  She is thinking about a huge redevelopment project of tearing down her house and building something else to sell for investment.  She has never undertaken such a project.  We had lunch with another friend of mine, a seasoned savvy real estate expert, who later called me and said, “she’s going to get eaten alive if she tries that”.  Yep, I know.

My BFF has had some health issues and never called me.  When her BF broke up with her, she didn’t return my calls for 2 weeks.  I was so concerned about her.  How do you tell your BFF that she’s a bit crazy right now and she needs to get to a therapist.  She wanted to use her mental health benefits for the therapy but couldn’t get a therapist she thought was appropriate for her.  She won’t call mine because mine is private pay.

I don’t know how to help her.  Do I tell her some cold hard truths?  Is she ready for that?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know….

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I wrote that about two weeks ago and last night sat down with my BFF to catch up.  I didn’t want to be stuck in rush hour, so why not pop over for a visit?  She was heading to Europe.  OK, that caught me off guard, but hey, she’s an adult and I don’t need to know all her day-to-day business.  She has a mysterious contact and meeting with a source of funding for her redevelopment project but she would share no information on that.  I found that strange, but whatever, I’m not going to insist on confidences if she isn’t feeling it.

I drove away thinking about something I read/heard/saw on LinkedIn where someone was talking about the first clue you are in trouble/over your head is when you are sublimely confident.  I agree.  That’s when Life loves to walk up and smack. you.  She’s sublimely confident and I’m afraid for her.  I’m worried about how she’s going to handle her work exit, her house situation and more.  I’m worried about her being alone too much.

I need to think about this some more.  It may be too soon for an intervention,but geez, I love her to death and at some point I think I should tell her that her Crazy is sticking up all over.

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Beautiful but a bit prickly.  Photo by Ember + Ivory on Unsplash

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