intentions for finding love in 2018

I was kid-free on New Year’s Eve, so my evening consisted of ice cream, a brownie mug cake, and watching Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve never read the book and I know the movie itself had horrible reviews, but I was sucked in almost immediately. Who can deny the hotness of Christian Grey in all aspects? Physically attractive, successful, and an alpha male. I finished the movie around midnight, and then immediately had to watch Fifty Shades Darker, which I liked even more.

When XAH and I first separated nearly 2 years ago, dating and a new relationship could not have been further from my mind. At that time, I felt so broken and my self-esteem was shattered. Since then, I put a profile on Tinder, but haven’t been very impressed with the options for men.

Last month, I decided to go also list a profile on Bumble, which is the site that requires the women to make the first move in starting a conversation. I was pleasantly surprised to find better prospects. I made some matches, but did not start any conversations.

As I watched the movies last night, I found myself thinking about finding a man and envisioning myself in a relationship. I think I’m close to being ready to date, but of course, I have a bit of fear. I guess fear of being rejected and fear of putting myself out there. Beside the fact it’s been forever since I dated, I am also very inexperienced when it comes to relationships. I had never had a boyfriend before I met XAH.

So, today I am setting an intention that I will meet a wonderful man in 2018 and will be in a healthy, loving relationship by the end of 2018. My future partner will:

  • Have no children and be content not having children of his own
  • Be a wonderful father figure and welcome my children into his life
  • Not be dependent on alcohol or any other substances!
  • Be at least 6 feet tall
  • Be physically attractive
  • Be successful and financially independent
  • Own his own home
  • Have a close and healthy relationship with his family
  • Take care of his health
  • Have strong social connections with others
  • Be passionate about something outside of work (have hobbies)

In taking steps to find this man, I will spend January and February allowing myself to focus on my business and health and getting those things on track. In March, I will be active in my online dating and will go on a date.

In 2018, this man and I will go on a vacation somewhere warm.

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Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

 

Autobiography in 5 short chapters

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter I.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit…but my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V.
I walk down another street.

I have never encountered a writing that more closely reflected my life and journey. I am grateful I have reached chapter 5, even though it took me many years. On this first day of 2018, my wish for anyone who is currently living through chapters 1 through 4 is that you find the strength and clarity to get to chapter 5. Happy new year!

2018 Resolutions

It seems I have made the same resolutions for the past, oh, I’ll say ten years, and nothing ever happens.

But 2018 WILL be different.

Why? Well, February will mark 2 years since I separated from XAH. I’ve grown and healed so much during this time. I can tell that I am no longer in the thick of the healing phase. I am ready to move on. So, here is my list of 2018 resolutions/focuses/goals for the year. I plan to revisit this post monthly and provide updates on how everything is going (hopefully to keep me more accountable!)

Beauty/Fashion: This may seem like a silly category for goals, but after the beating my self-esteem took over the last 15 years, focusing on this area of my life has really made me feel better.

  • Master curling/waving my hair
  • Master applying/wearing false lashes
  • Simplify my wardrobe and come up with staple pieces
  • Get my face lasered by dermatologist to remove age spots
  • Stop wearing my glasses all the time and start wearing my contacts

Motherhood

  • Take both kids on at least one vacation
  • Spend more alone time with each child
  • Less ipad/screen time for the kids and more outdoor activities
  • Come up with more crafts and other types of enrichment activities to do with the kids
  • Spend more time actually playing with my children

Social/Relationships

  • Go on at least 12 dates (yikes!)
  • Go to at least 6 events through my Single Parents Meetup group
  • Have people over to my house for drinks/appetizers. Socialize more with the neighbors

Business

  • Stop the feeling of constant overwhelm in my business by being more focused/productive during the workday
  • Make all of my quarterly tax payments to the IRS on time
  • Gross at least $150,000 this year
  • Establish a monthly newsletter to send to prospective referral sources and former clients
  • Read at least 12 business-related books

Financial

  • Get my retirement account up-to-date
  • Establish savings accounts for vacation and house improvements
  • Less spending in general (aka simplify/life more minimalistic)
  • Get a new car

Health

  • Reach weight goal of 105 pounds by continuing intermittent fasting and lowering intake of sugar/carbs
  • Wash face, brush teeth, and floss every night
  • Workout consistently: at least 3 days per week
  • Do yoga
  • Focus on cooking more healthy meals for the kids
  • Be in bed by 9pm consistently
  • Meditate daily

Personal

  • Overall, minimize clutter and live more simply. Don’t buy things I don’t need. Make a constant effort to get rid of clutter/old items
  • Photography and memorykeeping: Take more photos, improve in my photography skills, complete a 2017 scrapbook, keep photography blog updated, start making videos
  • Wake up at 5:30 am to give myself a better morning and some time to journal/blog/write
  • Social media: less time on Facebook and less posting
  • Be more thoughtful and plan ahead for things like gift-giving
  • One-by-one, accomplish house tasks and work towards decorating and having a polished home
  • Take at least one vacation without the kids (perhaps with a new romantic partner?!)
  • Face fear, worry less about what others think
  • Journal and record my moments of gratitude daily
  • Update this blog regularly
  • Less watching tv and more reading
  • Read at least two fiction books for personal entertainment

What are some of your resolutions? I wish you all the best for happiness and peace in 2018!

and more has been revealed

TGIF! This week was crazy, to say the least.

Last Saturday, I attended my best friend’s sister’s wedding reception. A few months ago, I wasn’t planning on going. It was my weekend with the kids and for some reason, I had just felt like staying home. Well, fast forward to a few weeks ago, and I decided, why not? I dropped the kids off at my brother’s house for the night, got dressed up, and had a blast.

I knew that same night XAH would be attending a friend’s birthday party at a bar, which is why the kids were staying with my brother.

Sunday afternoon, I was home with the kids and my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I decided to answer it anyways. I was shocked to hear an automated voice on the other line, telling me it was a collect call from an inmate at the county jail…yep, it was XAH.

At this point,  I was frantically trying to find my credit card amidst my kids fighting and my daughter crying. Once the call was connected, XAH was on the other end and told me he had gotten pulled over for DUI the night before. This was his 2nd DUI in less than 2 years. He asked me to login to his work email and let his boss know that he wouldn’t be available the next day. He also told me that “I was right” and that he “needs help and has a problem.” I agreed to email his boss for him, mostly because I do not want him to lose his job and my child support.

He called back later that evening and we discussed a bit more what happened. He then proceeded to ask me if I would ever considering reconciling. Huh? I suppose the reason he thought it was appropriate to ask was because he had admitted to me that he had a problem. (Mind you, he’s told me he’s had a problem multiple times before). My response was that I couldn’t discuss that right then.

It turns out, he tried going the wrong way on a freeway ramp, attempted to turn around, then got his car stuck in a ditch. An off-duty police officer was driving by and stopped to check on him. Then she called the state patrol.

I had done some reading on the penalties for a 2nd DUI in less than 7 years and the minimum jail time is 45 days, plus another 30 for violating his probation. I also believe he will have to have the interlock device back on his car for 5 years because he already had to have it on for one year.

The next day, I ended up connecting withe bail bonds person for him and he got out of jail around 7:45 pm. Because his car is still registered in my name, I had to take him to pick it up on Tuesday.

He ended up hiring an attorney that I share an office with to represent him for his DUI. He had his arraignment on Wednesday and was ordered to wear a SCRAM device (which can detect alcohol in his system through his skin) and also get the interlock device back on his car.

The first couple of days after it happened, I was thrown back into the chaos. I was worried about what I would do if he had to be in jail for 45 days…how would I take care of the kids on my own and still successfully run my business? And as much as I tried not to think about it, I couldn’t help but think about his remark about reconciling. Would I love for us to be a family again? Yes. Financially, it would be wonderful. My kids wouldn’t have to be shuffled back and forth to his little apartment.

But then again, there’s just been sooo much bad stuff in our relationship. Although I hope he does find recovery, I honestly don’t have high hopes. After he was out of jail, we talked a few times and he seemed a bit cavalier about his “problem.” Stating very matter-of-factly that he just needs to stop drinking. It also bothered me that he said his mistake the night of the DUI was that he didn’t take an Uber. No, the mistake was that he shouldn’t have drank 10 beers! (His BAC was .22).

One option he has for avoiding jail time and not having a 2nd DUI on his record is called a deferred prosecution. Basically, he admits he has a problem and enters an intensive 2-year treatment program. During this time, he is subject to random tests for alcohol and any other mind-altering substances (this would include marijuana). After the 2 years, his treatment ends, but he still has to stay clean for 3 more years. If he does all that and doesn’t get into trouble, then the charges will be dismissed after 5 years.

I posted on Sober Recovery about this and I’m thankful for the good feedback I get. Most people reminded me to believe actions and that oftentimes, people can be good when they’re being monitored, but then it’s right back to drinking. Another alcoholic remarked that when he was in jail, he was desperate and willing to say anything.

I attended an Al-Anon meeting and decided to get back to some reading. I was pretty exhausted from it all, but finally, last night I slept great and I felt really good today.

I’m sticking to my side of the street this time. I won’t be telling him what he should do or even asking him, for that matter. People on SR remarked that I should keep my distance so I’m not his only resource and I think that’s a good idea. And as they say…more shall be revealed.

lightness

Gosh, look how long it’s been since I posted! And looking back on my most recent post, reminds me how much things have changed in my life.

I lived for years with the burden of an unhappy and unhealthy marriage. This coming February will mark 2 years since I told XAH I wanted a divorce. When your life is a daily struggle, filled with anxiety, resentment, and stress, you live with an incredibly heavy burden. After awhile, you no longer even notice the weight of that burden…it just becomes a natural part of your life. For me, I can pretty much say this burden existed from very early in my relationship…within 3 months. For 13 years of my life, I probably never had a single day where I was able to live care-free.

I’m not really sure where it’s come from, but I would say in the last couple of months, I’ve had a noticeable change in my daily life. The best way for me to describe it is by saying that I now feel “light” on a daily basis. Despite my most recent post, I’m very happy with my co-parenting relationship with XAH. I’ve learned to “live and let go,” which is one of my favorite Al-Anon slogans. Honestly, I have no idea if XAH is still drinking (my assumption is that he is). However, I don’t have any concerns that he drives with the kids in the car, which is my number one fear.

We currently share the kids 50/50. I have the kids for 2 nights, he has the kids for 2 nights, then I have them for 5 nights and he has them for 5 nights. I’m currently in my 5-day stretch without the kids and it’s glorious. I’m not even ashamed of saying I look forward to my time without the kids…not because I don’t want to be around them, but because I have absolutely no help while they’re with me. the days without them are necessary for me to recharge and take care of the other areas of my life that I have no time for when they’re with me.

This lack of stress has helped me start to take the little everyday steps I need to work towards goals I’ve had my entire adulthood, but could never manage to get a start on. I’ve been able to focus better at work and my law practice is flourishing. I’ve also been able to start eating a lot better and working towards dropping 10 pounds. (More on that some other time).

I was recently inspired by this post by Katie. While reading it, all I could think was “yes!!” to all of it. I remember struggling with the “emotional labor” she refers to in my marriage. I remember trying to explain to XAH how I always had one million things going through my mind and he never needed to worry about that. I also know the resentment it created, which only added to the resentment I had against him for his drinking and infidelity. It’s no wonder I was an unhappy mess of a person!

I’m also grateful that I’ve taken the steps she writes about to change the course of my life for the better. My ship had slowly been sinking over the 13-year relationship with my XAH. And countless times, all I did was “rearrange the deck chairs.” Finally, the light clicked and I had the courage to go ahead and sink the entire thing myself.

I no longer live with daily resentment. At the beginning of our separation, I still struggled with resenting my XAH when I found myself alone with the kids and overwhelmed. But over the last year or so, the overwhelm has lessened as I’ve gotten happier and healthier and I really no longer resent XAH or the fact that I am single. In fact, I’ve come to embrace it and accept it.

I still have no desire to date. I’m not really sure why…I think part of me feels like there’s still so much I want to accomplish for myself and right now, my life feels full and light, both at the same time. And I can’t imagine any better feeling.

Oh, the insanity

Back in February, STBXAH took a trip to Thailand by himself. I would have to say this is a bit of a trigger for me. He had formerly been to Thailand when he was in the Navy. He visited there again with a friend, maybe the 2nd year we were dating. Prior to him leaving on his trip, I recall finding that he had been searching the term “blowjob bars” in Thailand. Of course, he had some excuse, like he was “just curious.” Gawd, I was naive.

So, fast forward to his latest trip. Last Friday night, I was at home alone because he had the kids. Around 10:45, he posts a photo on Facebook of him and some Thai girl in a bar in Thailand. The worst part is that the bar appears to be a strip club, with a stage with girls and poles. (The girls were clothed and I don’t think it really was a strip club, but still.) And his photo had some bizarre caption that made no sense.

In that moment, my codependency kicked in and I was embarrassed to even be remotely associated with him. This guy is 38 years old with two young kids and he’s posting photos with some foreign girl in what looks to be a strip club. Seriously?

The next day, the kids and I met up with my sister-in-law and my nieces. My younger niece was dancing in a dance competition. My older niece, who is 20, asked me if I had been on Facebook lately. Of course, I knew what she was referring to. I then found out that not long after his return, STBXAH has posted a screenshot of a private conversation with this same girl. She had said “love you” and he was mocking it, saying how he had to close down the conversation asap. Apparently, he deleted it though, because I never saw it. But my niece had taken a screenshot it.

Again, why would he post something like this on Facebook? He’s also just been obnoxious on Facebook…checking in every time he goes to the gym and reciting some type of rap lyrics. I don’t know if he’s lonely or what.

Oh, funny thing is, he also deleted the photo in the strip club, although it took him longer to do so than I thought.

not this

(Reprinted from the Elizabeth Gilbert Facebook Page)

Dear Ones –

Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.

Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.

This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it’s usually terrifying.

I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.

Because sometimes that’s all you know, at such a moment.

All you know is: NOT THIS.

Sometimes that’s all you CAN know.

All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won’t be silenced.

Your body is saying: NOT THIS.

Your heart is saying: NOT THIS.

Your soul is saying: NOT THIS.

But your brain can’t bring itself to say “NOT THIS”, because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don’t have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, “It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options.” You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…

So your brain says: “WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE.”

But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS…NOT THIS…NOT THIS.

I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, “NOT THIS” outloud — even before they had an alternative plan.

People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon.

People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, “I don’t know what my life is supposed to be…but it’s NOT THIS.” And then they just…left.

I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, “If he’s not good enough for you, who will be?” She didn’t know. She didn’t know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.

I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially…and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.

I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.

I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.

I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS.

I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she’d had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn’t be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn’t know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out.

Rationally, it’s crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.

And yet….

And yet.

If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don’t know what to do, instead…you may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.

You don’t need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.

The bravest thing to say can be these two words.

What comes next?

I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is…? It’s NOT THIS.

ONWARD,
LG

and so we meet again

So, here I am, back on the blog. I don’t even know where to begin since the last time I wrote.

In December, DS6 and I took a vacation to Mexico with my brother, sister-in-law, their kids, and another family. We had a blast and I can’t tell you how nice it was to be on vacation and not worrying about STBXAH’s drinking. The end of December was a bit of a whirlwind because once we got back, we celebrated Christmas and I was left with the task fo catching up on work.

The new year began and started off with DD2 getting sick, which led to me getting sicker than I have been in years. Honestly, it was probably a good 4 weeks before I actually felt 100% healthy again.

February came. Back in June of last year, when I decided to start taking on some family law cases, I took on a pro bono case. I had always thought the case would settle. After a failed attempt at mediation, it started to look like the case was headed to trial, which was set for March. So, I began furiously working my way through preparing for trial, which was difficult, because I had no idea what I was doing! Luckily, I had a co-counsel and a mentor who were helping me along the way.

February was also the month that STBXAH had decided to take a trip to Thailand for a week. Mind you, he booked this trip in December, without even consulting me on the dates first. So, with prepping for my first trial and having the kids for 11 days straight, I was stressed to the max. February also marked one year since I had told STBXAH that I wanted a divorce.

On March 4, I turned 36 years old, which was pretty uneventful.

So, here I am today. I just finished up my trial yesterday and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for it to be over. It was definitely an amazing experience, and one I am grateful for, but most likely, will be the last time I take on a pro bono trial. It was hours and hours of work!

Sometime in February, I decided I was tired of being stressed out about work because I never seemed to get things done and always felt disorganized and overwhelmed. I took some time to re-read Getting Things Done and started using Remember The Milk and was able to finally implement a system of productivity. (Which I plan to outline in a future post.)

I’ve been re-reading Codependent No More and, even though I’ve read it 2-3 times before, this time it really seems to be sinking in. Maybe it’s because I’ve had time to reflect in the past year…I’m not really sure why.  (Again, I’ll write more about this in a future post.)

STBXAH moved into a larger apartment last week. In a couple of weeks, we will be starting our new schedule for the kids, which will be fabulous.

Overall, life is going well. I’m slowly accepting my divorce. STBXAH has the kids all weekend, so I’m looking forward to being productive. I’m also looking forward to being back in this space regularly.

i hate my mom

narcissistic-mother

It’s finally time that I discuss my parents on this blog. And there is SO MUCH history, it will have to be broken up into multiple posts. However, the basic point is that both my mother and father are narcissists. What’s interesting is that they show their narcissism in very different ways, which I will get into later.

I remember in college, a couple of my best girlfriends and I would go to my best friend’s parents’ home to visit for the weekend, as her parents only lived about 20 minutes from our sorority. When we were there, we’d all drink wine and my friends and I would tell my friend’s mother hilarious stories about our crazy drunken nights in the bars. And my friend’s mother would just laugh. I remember thinking, “wow, how amazing would it be to have a mother that I could actually talk to and share my experiences with?” My relationship with my mother (both parents, actually) is the complete opposite of this.

As some background, I was adopted from an asian country when I was 2 years old. My mom and dad already had two boys and wanted to a little girl. I grew up in a small town. My dad is a farmer (a very successful one) and my mom has always been a stay-at-home mom. My grandfathers on both sides were alcoholics, so when my mom and dad got married, they decided they would not drink.

I remember growing up I felt very self-conscious because I was one of very few asian kids in my town. I remember kids would make fun of me, by pulling their eyes back so they looked “slanted.” I also remember feeling very self-conscious because my mother and I looked so different.

My parents were SUPER paranoid, protective and controlling. An example, my mom would mention to me that she didn’t want me to walk to the store with a friend when I was 12 years old because I could get kidnapped and held for ransom. So early on, I learned I had to be careful about what I said to my mom because she was so paranoid.

What I now realize is that my parents both suffer from codependency, which is a result of growing up in alcoholic households. They have a need to control and even though I am now 35, they still try to control me.

I don’t want to make this post extremely long, so over the next few weeks, I’ll release different painful moments from my childhood. But what prompted this post was an incident that occurred tonight.

Back in 2000, near the end of my freshman year in college, the right side of my jaw locked up. My parents took me to see a dentist who specialized in TMJ issues and he made me a night guard to wear at night, to help my jaw. I wore it pretty religiously throughout college, but over time, I stopped wearing it. Then, 3 years ago I got veneers, so the old night guard no longer fit. I’ve been meaning to get a new one made, but you know how that goes…

A few days ago, I started having some throbbing pain near my joint, which was then shooting to the top and bottom teeth at times. I called my old doctor, and he referred me to someone new in my area. I went in today and the doctor ran a bunch of tests and determined that the pain was not necessarily from my jaw joint, but rather from extremely tight muscles in my face, which are probably a result of clenching. He said my face muscles on both sides, as well as my neck and shoulder muscles were extremely tight.

I called my mom to tell her about this. I said, “I’ve been having bad jaw pain.” A normal mother would probably respond with “Oh no, that’s too bad” or maybe even “Oh, what’s going on?” But not my mother. The first words out of her mouth are: “Well, that’s no surprise since you never wore your mouth guard.” First of all, my mother constantly says things that are untrue, such as this statement. Secondly, she always finds a way to point out something I did wrong or make everything my fault.

Like I said, there is sooo much more to this story, but I don’t want this post to drag on forever. But a big part of my recovery is grieving the relationship I never had and will never have with supportive, loving parents. And sometimes it makes me feel like I really hate them.