#lifeisgood

It usually annoys me when the youngsters say the word “hashtag” before something they are talking about or referring to. “Hashtag feminism.” “Hashtag yolo” or what ever ridiculous thing they are talking about.  Right now I am so obnoxiously happy that I am going there. “Hashtag life is good people!”

I moved into my new place last Monday.  I finally have my own place after two years of moving from roommates and boyfriends all over like a damn gypsy.    For those of you who haven’t read my blog before, I got diagnosed with bi-polar disorder about 3 years ago, went through a major depression and cycled through meds trying to pull out of it.  I had no support from my family and only a few friends and had a 2 years spiral to rock bottom.  Since being pennyless and homeless in March of this year, I have paid off $2700 in traffic tickets, got my license reinstated, got a job, a car and now an apartment of my own.

I was previously a project manager for a general contractor and had a career in construction spanning 2 decades.  I am back in the industry and enjoying it more than ever. Every day I wake up not only grateful to be back at work, but feeling self sufficient and more like my old self every day.

On a side note, the man who I thought was the love of my life (and I have struggled with getting over) is finally out of my life for good.  We have had a year long on and off again love affair.  I would usually be devastated and crying and depressed about the whole thing.  While I was a little angry, I’m actually relieved.  I am alright with the whole thing.  I feel a little stupid and used but I am still happy.  I am actually happy with myself and who I am a person and losing that relationship isn’t going to change it.  Probably for the first time in my life I am not letting my happiness hinge itself on a man.  I have a horrible habit of thinking I needed to be loved by another to be happy.  I should say HAD.  Past tense.  I don’t anymore and that feels amazing.

Have you ever evolved in some way in your life?  Have you ever really looked at your self honestly and thought about the how you may have caused your own unhappiness?   Like really truly dug deep and admitted your faults to yourself?  Not only admit and realize them but make a conscious effort to change?  It is hard.  I’m 38 years old and have only recently learned to love myself and value myself enough FOR myself.  I’m alone – as in single – but I’m still happy.  I love my life.  I love my job. I love my boss. I love my car.  I love my precious little girls. I love my apartment.  I love that I have come this far in a mere 7 months and I did it alone.  I am proud of that even if no one knows my struggles but me.  So I’ll say it again – #lifeisgood

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I think I can….

Its been just over 2 months since my last post where I was marveling at how much has changed in such a short period of time.  Here I sit a little over two months later having accomplished so many of my goals that I am coming up with new ones.  When last I posted I had paid off my traffic warrants and gotten a new job.  Well that job fell through and I immediately got another one.  My boss was cool enough to pick me up and drop me off for 3 weeks after which I bought a car.  Not just any car – a beautiful 2014 Audi A4 S.  I love it.  I’m proud of myself.  Having a car again has helped me feel more independent.  I don’t have to rely on anyone anymore.

I am currently an assistant project manager on a $24 Million elementary school.  I love my job. I love being back at work full time.  Having a steady paycheck is great but working again has done wonders for my self-confidence.  I had always been self-sufficient – even the major bread winner in my marriage – and being dependent on others killed my self-esteem.  I feel whole again.  Even though its not true, not being able to generate much income made me feel worthless.

Today I signed a lease on my new apartment that I will be moving into on October 30th.  It feels amazing to have my own place again.  Little by little I am getting my life back together.  Unfortunately, with all the good positive changes in my life, I have had my heart broken.  The love of my life, Brian Oliver, takes me for granted and doesn’t see how inconsiderate he is.  His business is barely keeping afloat, his truck keeps breaking down, he’s been selling all his assets to keep up with bills and even borrowed from friends.  He’s a hot mess.  His laundry is all over the place, his house is a pig sty, he is always late for everything and is a total stoner.  He admits that he should stop smoking weed but unfortunately keeps being the loser that he is.

I have decided that he is unhealthy for me as much as I love him.  I think I can move on.  I think I will be just fine without him.  I have to think that way.  I have been able to put my life back together through positive thinking and hard work.  How can I continue to let this man bring me down and hurt my soul?  Everything I’ve accomplished in the past few months was because I thought I could do it.  If I just tell myself that I can  – then I can.  I am one of the most determined people I know.  I can set my sights on any goal and accomplish it. Why has everything except letting go of this man been easy?  I know my worth.  I know I deserve better.  Why can’t I let him go?  I can.  I think I can.  I have been able to do so much this past year and I need to do this.  So like the little engine that could I keep telling myself – I think I can.  I will move on.  I will let go.  I think I can…..

What a difference a month makes

The last time I posted I was stressing out about my trip to Los Angeles with my kids.  The kids enjoyed camp and visiting with family and I had only one major blowout with my parents.  Here I sit a little over a month later and I can not believe how much has changed.  I started seeing my ex boyfriend Brian again.  Which I self-sabotaged in my Tasha-esque way last night.  We are going back to being just friends.  I flipped out over something that is a pet peeve of mine but also very small in the large scheme of things.  That man is the love of my life.  He always will be.  I’m just under a lot of pressure right now.

I worked for a month for my Dad while in Los Angeles and was able to pay off my warrants when I got back to Las Vegas.  I’m getting my license reinstated.  I already took the written and I’m borrowing a car from a friend to take the driving test tomorrow.  While I was in LA an old Superintendent of mine, who is now a Sr. Estimator, messaged me on LinkedIn about an estimator position at his firm.  I start my new job on Tuesday.

Also, while I was in Los Angeles, my boyfriend at the time/best friend Brian moved all my stuff out of the weekly hotel I was in and into this room I am now renting for $425 a month.  He bought me furniture and bedding and put my room together.  I was so happy.  He is amazing.

A mere 6 weeks later I have moved, paid off traffic warrants and have a new job paying me 70k a year.  I remained positive and worked hard and while I still have a ways to go before I’m completely whole again, I am optimistic that the rest of this year will be even better.  I still have to work through some things and I am constantly trying to better myself.  What a difference a month makes…..

I have to believe

I’m scared to go home. I’m scared to go back to LA for the first time after everyone turned me away a year ago.  I just kept bouncing around from Mar Vista to Baldwin Hills (I think) to wherever the fuck Tomika and Lawrence live.  You don’t think I actually remember do you? I mean I was a train wreck.  Make that 10 trainwrecks.  I had just run away from/been thrown out by – either way it was a blessing – this dirtbag Lucky.  He hustled $1300 right out of the palm of my hand and he was ugly as sin.  Tattooed the fuck up with bad teeth.  Like worse than mine and I’m missing half my teeth and have to wear a prosthetic due to cancer.

When I was 21 I was misdiagnosed, I went to 3 different doctors – had 3 different biopsy results until the correct diagnosis was made. I spent 10 months in excruciating pain because some idiot misdiagnosed me with a benign tumor which is was not.  It was cancer.  It resulted in the tumor being removed without clear margins and the cancer spread.  I was originally told I had to lose my right eye.  My right maxilla, right cheekbone, right hard pallet, roof of your mouth, right sinus – gone.  All gone.  That the rest of my life is going to be dealing with a prosthetic so I can speak properly, titanium in my head and missing my right eye!  Fuck you.  “I’m not letting you take my eye.”  It wasn’t happening.

The problem was that the cancer spread up the rear wall of my sinus and up to the orbital floor. The eye socket had to go and the brain is on the back side of the sinus so I needed to move forward quickly with a treatment plan.  I told UCLA that I wanted to get a few more opinions.  I think my Dad or my aunt Pam, not sure which found City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA.  They had a clinical trial going for osteosarcoma.  I entered I believe phase 3.  It was a 52 week trial and I was going to be inpatient whenever the chemo was being administered.

This was one of those dark times. Just as bad.  I needed my parents.  I needed their help and they turned me away.  Why wouldn’t they help pick me up when I needed it?  I wanted love and caring and emotion from my parents that’s real.  I would like to imagine that my daughter’s conversations about me go more like,  “She’s doing great grandpa.  She calls every day and is…..” what?  Better?  Better than what?  Homelessness?  What a disappointment I must be.  They probably go more like, “Well its fine grandpa she actually sees us regularly now…..”  No, I’m sure I’m so unimportant I don’t come up in the conversation.  My parents are “just checking in with the girls,” as my dad would say.  They don’t call me directly why would they ask my kid how I’m doing.

I thought they should have acknowledged some of the shit I went thru rather than just expect us to never talk about any of it. What if I needed to be able to talk about it to them?  No one ever asked me how I felt when they left to Paris when I started my clinical trial. I had stage 4 osteosarcoma and this was my last shot actually being alive.  I was just expected to be gracious about it and not be hurt and angry?

In their defense, they did cut their trip short. But starting that clinical trial was quite literally the scariest thing I have ever had to face and it was that moment that I actually needed them.  I would rather take back all the fancy birthdays and the monetary gifts.  Gift me that moment for all of those moments.  That’s what I want.  Because they weren’t there holding my hand when I faced death within months I’ll never believe, no matter what my parents say or do, that they actually give a shit about me.

I’m trying to believe in myself.  I’m trying to believe that I can do anything even if I don’t have my parents in my corner being my cheerleader.  I have to be my own cheerleader.  So, while I am scared to go home…I’m going to face them all with my head held high and be real no matter what.  Just being the best version of myself that I can.  Despite all my trials and tribulations, I believe that I am becoming a better person each day. There is always something to learn.  There is always someone to inspire.  Find strength in your rough times.  I may actually meet my goals by the end of August if I go home to LA and work.  So, I have to stop being scared and just get that money and keep pushing towards my goals.  I have to believe in myself.

 

 

Evolution of Thinking

I went to a high school graduation today and while most of the valedictorian speeches were the same old shit you’ve heard time and time again, one line stood out to me. I had to make a note of it.  “Evolve beyond the illusions that divide us.”  I like the way this kid thinks; however, are they really just illusions?  In his mind, they are.  There are clear divides between social classes, races, sexuality and religion. Wars are being fought over such things.

Can we evolve in our way of thinking as a human race? We have evolved a lot in the last 100 years.  In the 1950s blacks were still segregated in parts of the country.  How far will this next 100 years take us?  We are now celebrating Pride month that is dedicated to being proud of your sexual orientation.  Why can’t we evolve even more in our way of thinking?  We can.  Are we really all equal and only divided by manifestations of our mind?  That can’t be true.  We can never be truly equal – nature has taught us that.  There are alphas that stand out among the species.  We can however learn to stop judging one another.

In my own family, I am looked down upon because my financial status has changed. I am no longer a cog in the corporate wheel.  I personally feel the judgment and the inferiority.  When are we going to judge others by the way they treat people, by how kind their heart is rather than what race they are, what they wear, who they sleep with or what religion they are?  Is this younger generation trying to erase the lines that divide us as a human race?  One would only hope.  It inspired me at the least.  I don’t know if I will live to see it but I hope we do “evolve beyond the illusions that divide us.”  I hope it inspires you.  Try being more open-minded today.  You never know.  It could have a butterfly effect.

Why do I do this to myself?

(names of the men have been changed or omitted)

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I look for love in all the wrong places? Strike that-I know why.  My feeling of inadequacy stems from a cold and distant relationship with my teenage mother that left me starving for affection and intimacy of any sort, no matter how fleeting.  That’s how I saw it anyway.  Through my journey of self- realization, I know and understand that love comes from within.  You must love yourself in order for others to love you; however, it is not as easy as it sounds.  You must first like yourself.  Which I did not…..

My ex husband

I spent years feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage where my husband cheated on me repeatedly while suffering through my verbal abuse where I never held back my hatred for him. How we managed to have some great family moments in there is beyond me.  For the sake of our gorgeous daughters we somehow toughed through almost a decade – managing to hide as much of the fighting as possible.  In retrospect, my ex-husband was a champ.  I was a beast of a bitch when I wanted to be and didn’t make it easy.  Good financial standing with a two-income household helped.  We wanted for nothing and each had our ways of coping with our misery.  In the middle of it all I didn’t even know how miserable I really was.  I just thought this was life…some parts were shitty other parts were better.

Then I snapped. I snapped and came after my ex-husband with a knife.  Apparently, this is called a psychotic break.  I remember nothing of the event.  Just the knife marks in my bedroom door.  We’re talking Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  What-the-fuck?  Who does that? Me evidently.  Life has never been the same.  I think we stayed together a short while longer where I spent any time he was at home with my nose in a book, ignoring him and tending to our youngest daughter who was an infant at that point.  Then, one day, I called my in-laws to take the baby and just walked into the ER and confessed that I wanted to die.  I was immediately placed on a 72 hour hold and admitted.  This was the first of my few inpatient hospitalizations.

Fast forward.  (For those that are over 30 you understand what that means) I eventually went back to work and seemed stable when the divorce got finalized. I was on and off meds for depression and anxiety, never taking them as prescribed or staying on them.  I either felt like I was better or that they weren’t helping at all.  I was later on  diagnosed with bi-polar disorder – which explained why the meds I was on weren’t working.  I started new meds that hit me like a truck at night.  You could run me over with a car and I wouldn’t move.

Then I got laid off and things got worse. I got evicted from the 3-bedroom house that I lived in with my kids and had to let go of 80% of my material possessions.  There is no feeling shittier than standing on the curb in front of your home as the sheriff locks you out.  I’ll never forget feeling like a failure.  I moved into my friend’s house with my daughters.  That took a turn for the worst when her drunk son was caught trying to climb into my bed while I was passed out on my meds.  I was completely non-responsive.  I guess her daughter in law even pulled me by the hair out of bed.  I remember very little of this night.  I just know I had to move.  And I had these 2 little girls to think of.  Shortly after I gave primary physical custody to their father.

John

This was the beginning of my spiral down to rock bottom. My kids kept me focused and grounded.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Idle hands and such.  I moved in with a (so-called) friend and paid $400 a month in cash for my room plus loaded the fridge with $500 month in groceries, cooked and cleaned.  Things were fine for a while.  I was like a cat…lounging and working from my laptop at home; in pajamas till 3pm.  I had recently completed a fast-track Event Management Certification and was working some pretty cool events.  I even got floor seats for my older daughter and parents to the Iheart Music Festival here in Vegas.

Of course, I slept with my roommate. Cuz that’s what I do.  Take intimacy (which I know is not love) anywhere it comes from just to fill that void.  That constant need for someone to love me or feel loved turned into promiscuity.  My little girls weren’t there to hug and kiss me every day.  I craved closeness with anyone.  I used sex as a substitute.  As temporary as it was, it was, for a few moments, intimacy.  Well after receiving a birthday gift of custom made earrings from my roommate, he kicked me out – literally the very next weekend.  To this day, I wonder why it was so abrupt.  Like “Get out today.”  I had to call a police escort to get my meds, clothes and laptop till I could move the rest.

So, there I was stuck. FUCK! What do I do? I combed craigslist ads for people looking for a roommate in hopes that I got lucky.  My friend Anna was kind enough to let me crash in an extra bedroom temporarily.  Within 6 days I found a “Real World” style house. Six rooms and six strangers that all just pay the owner of the house $600 a month including utilities and a maid for the common areas.  Included were a bunch of cool games – shuffle board, air hockey, ski ball, indoor basketball game, 2 big screens, pool, outdoor fire pit and BBQ.  Perfect.  They accepted me and I moved in.  Yay.  Now I’m good to go.  No worrying about roommates kicking me out.  I pay directly to the owner of the house.

Then I decided to get a tattoo….

Chris

Talk about the wrong turn of all wrong turns in life. Again, why do I do this to myself? So here I am with this great setup, cool roommates, and I decide that it’s time to get my shoulder tattoo covered up. I got it at the age of 16 and it was horribly faded.  I go get it outlined and think nothing of this dirt-bag with some shitty tattoos of his own.  He tells me I have to come back for the color which I do.  I don’t know if I was in a good mood that day or he was just a good conversationalist but we seemed to hit it off.  We text all day and night.  Then some friends of mine wanted some blow. (Remember people – this is Vegas.  People aren’t shy about asking for drugs or talking about them.)  Chris just so happens to have the hook up and I’m on the road with a friend back to his place to buy it.

Let me back up and tell you that he lived in the scummiest weekly hotel in Vegas. At the time, I was unaware that people actually live long term in these places as their actual homes.  Not temporarily.  They can only afford week to week and can’t get approved for actual apartments or houses.  Growing up the way I did I never had to experience this so I was naïve to it all.  I was slightly put off going there to get my tattoo work done but I had already had the outline done at his friend’s house and decided to let him finish.

I can’t explain why, after 2 months of knowing this loser of all losers, who fed me a crapload of BS that I ate up with an extra-large spoon, I moved into his crappy weekly apartment. With all of my furniture and clothing. Why do I do this to myself? My lame need for love no matter where its coming from.  This is what not loving yourself can do.  I clearly hadn’t realized my own value as a person and looked to others for validation.  Not a good move.  The next few months were a blur of drugs, sex, psychosis, hearing voices, not being able to distinguish reality from my mind, clearly not on my meds and with very little contact with my kids.  This was one of the darkest times in my life that I only recently have forgiven myself for.  Chris was very abusive – but that’s a story for another time.  I ended up homeless with a bag of clothes on a bus to Los Angeles.  A dear friend from high school picked me up at 4am at the bus stop.  They had an empty room for a month that I could crash in while I tried to get it together.  I reached out to my parents who would not take me in.

Mike

So, after bouncing around family members houses in LA for a month…I went back to Vegas – and moved in with a guy. A 26 year old guy.  I’m 36 at the time.  Why do I do this to myself?  That one is easy.  I was homeless.  I was scared.  I was desperate. There is no other explanation.  We both knew that from the jump.  I managed to stay with him for 3 months before walking out.  With only 3 things – cell phone, ID and social security card.  I walked and walked for hours pointed towards a hilltop.  I had no idea what I was going to do. I called an old friend. He picked me up.

Brian

My friend brought me to a bar where he and his friend were drinking when I called. That night I ended up moving in with his friend as a roommate and continued with my therapy.  I told his friend that I DID NOT want to have sex with him and that it ALWAYS ruins things.  I tried my best not to be attracted to Brian.  But in the end, what did I do? I slept with him anyways. Why do I do this to myself? Well that answer is evident by now.  I got sucked into a whirlwind romance with that man and actually thought he was my happy ending.  Everything became about him. About keeping his house, his business and bills up and I lost myself in the process.  I didn’t even realize that everything I had worked so hard for in my latest, more structured outpatient therapy program, was lost on this man.  His needs being met became my focus.  I wasn’t getting paid to work for him or clean his Air BB.  I was promised 30% of the Air BB earnings which he never made good on.

Five months later, he wants out and I am miserable trying to do anything to make him want me as much as I want him. One day Tami, my dear friend, shot herself in the head.  The very next day he broke up with me (again) and I lost it.  I was sitting with a glock loaded and cocked debating whether or not to shoot myself.  Instead I checked myself into the hospital.  I received medication and got released from the hospital with nowhere to live except with three men, 2 of whom use drugs.  This kind soul, Tee, who I consider my family now, took me in.  Weeks into therapy, I have learned to forgive myself and love myself and not need the validation of others, for I am a beautiful soul that has lived and learned.

My Hippy

I met this hippy guy who within 5 days wanted a relationship. I agreed. Why do I do this to myself? I don’t anymore.  We ended it a couple days later.  I am learning to stand alone and be comfortable in my own skin.  All that I need is to love myself, my daughters and my family.  All else will fall into place. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

This time around I have learned to value myself and my inner peace.  I have learned to love myself.  Being mentally ill is harder than you can imagine.  Our self-esteem and core belief system about ourselves is a direct result of our formative years and experiences in our lives.  You’ve all heard this phycho babble right?  How about this?  Dialectical thinking?  Some else’s truth can be different from yours and also be true.  Have more compassion for those things you do not understand.  Someone may have not learned to love themselves yet….