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

I’m Fat

Yep I cannot ignore the scale, my non-fitting clothes or my flubber any longer.  I’m fat and I am perilously close to a weight I swore I would never see again.  I have gained 25 pounds since the Hunter entered my life.  WTF

I know how it happened.  The first 6 months or so we ate, smoked pot, ate some more and trust me we weren’t noshing on carrot sticks.  I quit the gym. I ignored the creeping pounds.  The Hunter gained weight too but he has shed it effortlessly.  

Then I hit my funk – more food to fill the emptiness.  Next came the stress of moving, the Hunter’s job situation, both of us starting our own companies and that kept the scale moving up. Add in the delicious, but not healthy, meals the Hunter prepares. It’s been a perfect storm, but now it’s time to get serious.

I tried the Fasting/One Meal a Day of no-carb, high fat diet/lifestyle but that sucked.  Not for me.  

Instead I been going to the gym and over the past couple of weeks my attendance continues to improve.  I’m really out of shape, so I’m trying to be patient and not be hard on myself. My next step was to rejoin Weight Watchers after a 15 year hiatus.  My first meeting was tonight.  I’ll try a couple of meetings until I find the right group, but I need the accountability.  WW has changed a few things so I’m re-learning parts of the program.  

It sure was easy to get to this point, but it won’t be easy to correct. Once again I need patience,  action steps and kindness to myself.  

I’m Learning

My business world is such a quirky, not-normal one.  We like to pretend we are normal and a necessary component of any legit business, but we are a strange bunch.  Entrepreneurial, merciless, and smart — oftentimes a lethal combination.  This week I was at a lovely cocktail party of my tribe and found a whole crop of newbies.  Fascinating.  I have a pragmatic trait of not noticing newbies until they have made it past their first year — why waste my time?  I love the hypocrisy of my buddies telling one newbie that his mentor/team leader is a great guy (he’s not — a complete ruthless asshole) and that he’ll learn a lot from them (only how to be screwed over).   I wanted to tell the kid to make sure that he gets everything in writing up front, but hey, why be a downer when the free alcohol is flowing?

This week was good and flew by without me getting through my To Do list.  Of course, I am not helping matters as I sit here and write, but hey, it’s Friday so WTF and TGIF!  I am trying to get back on a regular schedule and actually made it to the gym pretty regularly and I’m feeling great.  Still fluffy and not losing weight, but hey, I have to remember to be patient.

I continue to find my relationship with the Hunter so interesting as I look from the outside in.  If we had met anytime before now (aka before empty nest), I doubt I would have been interested.  During my previous stage in life, a Provider was key to me.  That’s why I didn’t leave my Ex — I liked the $$ in the bank and the security he provided.  But I digress — sorry, but my writing today is wandering all over the place in some random free thought streams.  I actually just wrote two paragraphs that are going onto another post because it’s off topic.  Wait, do I even have a topic today?  I digress further…

Oh, yeah, the Hunter and our relationship!  We are in a comfortable place.  I am learning that I am a stronger force than I thought.  I am learning to sit back and let other people take care of me.  I am learning to talk about my anxieties and concerns because he (and my dear friends) will provide the love and support to talk me off the ledge.  I am learning that I will be a great success — just like my affirmations tell me — but I have to be patient a bit longer. I am learning to say no to volunteer projects that suck my time (I just bequeathed a great one to Robin — she needs this to get out more anyway),  I am learning that I am not a domestic goddess in any way, shape or form, so I just need to give up that charade and move on. I am learning that the Hunter is a good man with dreams and hopes that are finally coming true.  I am learning to trust him completely and to never be afraid to tell him anything (scars from my past life are healing).

A year ago I was in a different place.  One of apprehensive excitement because both the Hunter and I were launching our new companies.  Folks continue to shake their head in amazement at our courage (or foolishness) in starting two companies at the same time, but I like it because we both understand 100% what the other is feeling.  We are in a good place.  I’ve got $$ in the bank, Robin and I are finally splurging on haircuts after 6 months (LOL), the Hunter has a ton of meetings set up as a result of his smash hit presentation last week, I have a HUGE meeting next week with a potential new client as a result of my relentless marketing campaign (that shit really does work!).  Now my son needs to spend the weekend with his dad so I can fuck the Hunter silly this weekend.

 

Losing Sight of Shore

Losing Sight of Shore is an amazing documentary currently on Netflix. It is the story of the Coxless Crew – 4 women who ROWED across the Pacific from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia. They started with the quote “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Of course that quote was Christopher Columbus, but I had never heard it before this documentary. Grab a bottle of wine and watch it – it’s amazing. These are among the bravest women I have ever seen.

final_ocean_quote_pictureIn any case, that quote has been rattling around my brain this week. It’s been a week of highs and lows. Let’s start with the lows and get them out of the way:
• I have been rejected for new business (OK, shit happens),
• Today marks the last day with a lovely client (I will miss them and the $$)
• A frenemy is riding that high of launching his own company and he’s on that early wave of beginner’s luck that I had. (My green-eyed monster reared its head.)
• I asked a long-ago boss for some business and he soundly rejected me, but I have to say the conversation was really constructive and he was kind enough to walk me through why he was saying no and he was right. (Life lesson, sigh).
• I can’t seem to get myself up on a consistent schedule/routine. I’m really frustrated about this.

Now let’s talk about the high’s for the week:
• I’m winning a new piece of business that isn’t easy, but it could be very cool with a nice payday.
• I have a new project that launched this week – also not easy but cool.
• The Hunter gave an amazing presentation to a small group of his ideal type of client and hit it out of the park.
• My son is hanging with us and it’s been lovely to see him
• I just had a lovely chat with a great friend and we made plans to see each other next week. She’s always a great inspiration and mentor to me.

I didn’t have a lot of wins, but these were good. It wasn’t a particularly busy week (another problem). I spent time on some things that I shouldn’t (correcting that course!). I didn’t spend time on things that do matter (like my cold calling course and other business development).

I am now headed out to sea without the shoreline in sight. I have very little to nothing in my pipeline. Yes, my bank account is now safely in the black with about 6 months of reserve, but I feel anxious and the pressure of an empty pipeline. I have to remind myself that Robin needs to pull her weight with the business development and she can’t be included on every $$ that I bring in unless she has actually worked on it. I’ve been down that road before and I ended up broke & resentful.

I talked to my BFF because I feel the stress. I wake up (unless I exercise and take a melatonin) in the middle of the night thinking about work. I’m having a few anxiety dreams (a man stalking me down a street with the intent of killing me – that was a lovely one). She sadly told me that this is all perfectly normal and probably won’t go away anytime soon. WTF? My other great friend just told me that I just need to give it another 6 months and then I’ll be more stabilized. She should know – she has been an independent business owner for many years.

The Hunter took me to the beach this week with the Kracken. I had an active, not even resting, bitch face on which scares him. LOL. The walk was fabulous. He dealt with the dog and I strolled up and down the beautiful, windswept beach watching the waves, the light dim – it nourished my soul. I have started listening to my daily affirmations and it calms my negative self-talk.  Today we are knocking off early to celebrate his great day and I hope we do a replay. This man truly gets me.

 

She’s Dead

The Hunter’s mom died a few days after his birthday.  My wish was granted for her not to die on his birthday.  I just spent an intensive 24 hours with his family and gained a lot of interesting insight into his familial dynamics.  I talked to the Hunter about some of it last night as we drove home, and he is now digesting my thoughts.

Families are interesting communities and the Hunter’s is no different from most.  The Hunter was the youngest — the youngest cousin, the youngest in his family (his sister is 7 years older).  He was, like I said previously, that active, annoying little brother who was always into everything, tagging along and getting into trouble.  That’s his role in the family and even now, at age 50, that’s how the family treats him.  He reacts that way too sometimes because he’s playing his role.  More about that later in this post…

I told the Hunter that his sister’s eulogy was lovely — it was, but it represented parts of his mother that he didn’t always see.  He agreed.  I told him that I am sure he is full of conflict because he saw a side of his mother others didn’t.   I asked him if perhaps his mom beat him so much because he is the spitting image of his dad?  That gave him pause and he’s thinking about it.

The reason I said that was during the waiting, night after night, for his mom to pass, his sister told him quite a revelation.  Apparently his dad was quite the player (apple didn’t fall far from the tree) and had several women friends that would pay for his company.  One of his dad’s many jobs was as a maitre d’ at a nice restaurant and a couple of women apparently enjoyed his companionship outside of the dining experience.  These relationships endured for many years and his mother was aware of them.  His sister remembered their most epic fight was over a bundle of cash his dad had stashed away and his mother spotted it.  So his dad was a gambler, womanizing, handsome guy while his mom was the June Cleaver of the neighborhood — cooking great memorable meals, planning all the family get-togethers, sewing amazing outfits (that she later sold).  I could see where there could be some tension….

I ended up being the odd woman out on this family occasion which wasn’t a big deal.  I knew several of them and was able to have some great chats, but oftentimes I simply sat and observed with a pleasant expression on my face.  The younger generation (Nino and his cousins) found me to be hip and cool.  The older set found me polite and warm.  I stuffed my face with great food.

When his cousin sat beside me to tell me that the Hunter’s mom, who passed due to complications of advanced Alzheimer’s, was waiting for the Hunter to say good-bye, I swallowed my cynical thoughts and mildly said, “really?  Why do you say that?”  She told me that she knew due to her 5-years of home health experience and that she was clearly right because his mom passed away 12 hours later.  I, of course, am a bit too realistic to think that her brain was still connected to her soul at that point.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease and I think his mom had been gone a long, long time.

I also saw, but didn’t speak to, Nino’s mom — the Hunter’s baby momma aka common law wife.  She was not what I was expecting.  The Hunter and Nino took care of her and I later told the Hunter it was nice that she showed up to pay her respects and support her son without becoming a problem.  She stayed 20 minutes, said her hellos, made one mildly snarky comment and left.  Perfect.

I scored major brownie points with the Hunter’s sister.  She didn’t include him in the service and at the last minute came to me asking if the Hunter wanted to speak.  She had asked him and he had said he would put something together with me, but he never told me.  I suggested that perhaps he could thank everyone for their support and love.  She loved it, I arranged it with the Hunter and he said a beautiful thank you — especially to his sister for all her love and care for their mom.  It was perfect.

I also saw a family that is full of love.  Two children (8 and 4) dropped by and everyone doted on them.  There were stories of gatherings, parties, dinners that were wonderful.  After all the viewings, service and burial, the closest family (including us) went out to a nice dinner that was full of laughter and memories.  I went home with a very full belly and pleasant thoughts.

I don’t know if his family can change their approach to the Hunter and if he can change his reactions to them.  I can see where old habit die hard, but perhaps it might be worth another attempt.  She’s gone and his dad will soon follow because he’s 86 with dementia. It sucks getting old….

Resilience

I had a long, lovely chat with Taz today — she had time, I had time so we had a gab fest.  She wanted to ask me questions about my upbringing — something I rarely talk about with my kids because I have little good to say about it.  I will openly answer any question, but I will rarely volunteer information.  During our conversation, Taz had two interesting comments:

The first is that she believes my mom was a borderline histronic personality.  I just read the Wikipedia link on borderline personalities and wow, that is my mom.  Geez.  I never realized it. Then as I began reading about it and the effects it has on children, it dawned on me — my Ex has many of those same symptoms.  Wow.  I’m going to have to think about all this.  I always thought my Ex was somewhat like my mom….

The other, and more cheerful, comment Taz had was that I am the most resilient person she knows.  When she thinks about resiliency, my face pops up.  That was sweet.  She couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize that in myself.  I guess I am, but I don’t think too much about it because it digs up the bad stuff that made me so damn resilient in the first place.

I was also reading back over this blog from about 2 years ago — the beginning of my relationship with the Hunter.  It’s interesting stuff now in context with my current situation.  I have been talking to a former colleague and remembering the dark cloud that was my work life.  This colleague told me that within a week of me leaving my old firm he realized why I left.  Now 6 months later, he can’t believe I stuck around as long as I did.  I felt validated.

Life is such an amazing journey.  The twists and turns, the beautiful sights and sounds, and the lows — it all makes for an incredible journey.  Now it’s Friday and I deserve a glass of wine.

P.S.  The other good news:  Taz, the data-sucker, will be off my cell plan by July 1st.  She laughed when I asked her today and said that her Hubby was still on his parent’s plan (he, his brother, sister-in-law — 3 adults).  Taz & Hubby decided it was time to grow up.  Woo hoo — in the span of three months she has saved me over $6,000/year.  That’s going straight to my 401k.

The Hunter Turns 50

Happy Bday HunterToday is a big day for the Hunter.  It’s his birthday, but I have made it a point to have celebrated throughout the month of May.  We took a fabulous road trip, which was too short, but so much fun.  We had a great dinner with his son, Nino, and Nino’s girlfriend over the weekend.  We hung out with my dear friends and spent a beautiful day on their boat.  It has been wonderful.  He is not big on presents, because he gets shy and thinks I have done too much for him already.  The trip was a present and he’ll be getting some much-wanted work clothes, but he isn’t getting that “Oh My” present.  It’s simply not one of our Love Languages.

In the midst of all this great stuff, he has a very dark cloud looming.  His mom has very advanced Alzheimer’s and over the weekend hospice has moved in for the final days.  That woman better not have the audacity to die on his birthday.  That is my most fervent hope.

The Hunter has a Love/Hate relationship with his mom (and his extended family) that really sheds a bright light on the man he is today.  His parents are immigrants.  Neither finished high school and they worked hard their entire lives.  His sister is about 8 years older than him and she went on to become quite successful financially.  But this is a family of very negative attitudes.  They constantly belittle and snipe at one another.

Apparently the Hunter was the runt of the litter — the youngest.  With an older sister and much older cousins, he was that super-active, sometimes annoying kid in the background.  He was a behavior problem at school at times.  His mother, according to the Hunter, beat him every day.  Yes, beat him.

Apparently the worse beating that really left him scarred was when she forgot to pick him up from baseball practice.  After waiting and waiting, the coach gave him a ride home.  She beat him until his sister finally interceded because “you made me look bad”.  Yes, this is the type of household he grew up in. She finally stopped when he turned 14 and grabbed the belt out of her hand…..

It’s interesting, from an armchair psychologist view, to see the child/mother dynamics of an abused child.  The Hunter tells many stories about his mother’s great cooking, meals she would make, her amazing domestic skills — she could sew pretty much anything.  He has many good memories of her, but then he has ugly ones too.

However, his parents always sided with his son’s mother, the Hunter’s Baby Momma, when Nino was young.  They never defended him, only blamed him.  Now obviously I am hearing only one side of the story, but….  hopefully you are getting a picture here.

In any case, the Hunter had to spend a very long afternoon with the family as they all paid their last respects to his mom.  The mom who beat him.  The mom who years later denied ever touching him.  The mom who never defended him and only berated him.  He is paying his respects with a family that he refuses to spend holidays with.  One that continues to belittle him and not support him.  It’s difficult and complicated. Actually, as I was wrapping up this post, he walked in with an old photo album he brought back from her house and we spent about 45 minutes looking at his childhood photos.  It was lovely and he enjoyed the memories.

But, the Hunter is worried that his mom’s death will send him spiraling into a depression — it happened before, after another death which ended up destroying his marriage.  I can’t do much for him except listen and love him.  I feel his pain and conflicted feelings.

He wants to have a family for the holidays, so I have told him that we have our children and, in the future, their children plus friends that we love.  I told him that we will create our own family.

That bitch better not die today.  It’s the Hunter’s special day, not hers.

Lots of good things are happening in my work world and thankfully it is translating into cold, hard cash. I just sent out three invoices last week and have several more teed up in the next two weeks. Cash flow has finally started and none-too-soon. OK, it isn’t a river of dollars, but it’s a steady stream that will keep us going as things continue to build.

My bestest, favorite client is in town next week and asked me to lunch. It’s been 6 months since I left the old firm, so I am wondering what they have on their mind. I had started pinging them gently about once a month or so with info on this and that. I invited them to an industry event and since they weren’t in town that resulted in the lunch invitation. I keep telling myself not to get my hopes up, but since I am ever the optimist, I can’t help but hope. They have some future staffing changes and my former firm hasn’t made any headway, so perhaps they are ready to jump ship. This would be a great account for Robin and she is willing to give it a shot.

My client who followed me to Maggie & Co is about to wrap things up, so by June I’ll be done with them. It’s bittersweet, but it has also lead to the possibility of something bigger with a related frenemy of theirs. Right now the frenemy handles things in-house, so we will have to see if they are willing to out-source. The timing is right and they have asked Maggie & Co to pitch along with only one other competitor. I have a chance, so I look at the elephants on my Vision Board and tell myself I can win this business.

I did something very bold and completely outside my comfort zone this week for work. It didn’t pan out, but I was proud of myself for really putting myself out there. It’s a long game, so I just have to go back to basics and keep on trying.

Right now I have four elephants in my sights. They are all different sizes, but that’s fine. I just need one of them to give me the cushion of more time. I feel good. I am taking a course over the summer to address my greatest business development fear – cold calling. I find myself so busy that I hardly have time in front of the computer or in the office. That’s both good and bad. I need to make sure I’m getting the basics covered.

The Hunter and I are headed off on a road trip next week. We are headed to a remote place we have never visited. Rest, relaxation and exploration – I can’t wait. It should be lovely.

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