Posted in Blogging, choices, daughters, depression, divorce, Experience, Faith, family, fear, friends, friendship, Health, help, Hiding, love, marriage, men, mistakes, Moving, New life, questions, relationships, sons, Uncategorized, values, women, WordPress, words, Writing

Fear, Silence, Homelessness

homeless

We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.

Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did it slowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.

If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.

Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.

Posted in Uncategorized

Style Isn’t Easy by Olivia Goldsmith

Excellent Advice

hangers-569364_640

I read this book years ago and recently found it in a box. I decided it was time for a reread. Olivia Goldsmith is better known for First Wives Club. However this little book has proven its value over and over. And if I were smart, I would carry it around with me at all times or at least keep a list of the most important points. I would have saved a lot of money.

How many times have I stood in my closet, filled with clothing and thought to myself I have nothing to wear? More times than it is possible to count. Why is that? Why would a woman with a closet full of clothes have nothing to wear?

  1. The clothes don’t fit well.
  2. Buttons are missing.
  3. Belts are missing.
  4. Is it still in style?
  5. Are the clothes appropriate to the occasion?
  6. Are they too young for me?

View original post 318 more words

Posted in communication, Experience, family, Fun, Goal, Uncategorized, words, Writing

3rd Time the Charm?

camera

I signed up for informal education at UT. The beginning DSLR photography class began last Monday. The class isn’t too large but except for me and one man, no one in the class is over 30. I definitely felt singled out due to age. The instructor kept asking me if I was of understanding the technology. I realize I do remember things that most of the class have never even used. (cassette tapes, instamatic cameras, VHS tapes, phone book etc.) When the instructor mentioned ISO just the two of us had any idea what it was and how it was used. I always had ISO 100, 200 and 400 film on hand. I have a large box of negatives and boxes of photos.

I commented that with digital photography, I rarely have photos printed and because of that, I never really look at any of the memories I captured. My daughter did find a great app called Artifact Uprising. It is an easy to use app that allows you to upload photos of your choice and make great photo books. I’ve used one of the better known sites but I like the look and feel of the Artifact Uprising book better. I ordered a 5.5 x 5.5 soft cover photo book. I had photos from my three months in Tours, France but I wasn’t enjoying them because they were on my computer. I did it all from my Iphone too. You can go to their website Artifact Uprising Now I can enjoy my photos.

Since I titled this 3rd times the charm, it is because this is the 3rd time I’ve taken beginning DSLR photography. I hope this time it sinks in and I take the time to record memories and moments through pictures. Because when I am long gone, they will remain as a doorway into my life for future generations.

toursbook

Posted in Blogging101, Experience, Faith, family, friends, friendship, Fun, God, Jesus, love, Moving, New life, people, relationships, Uncategorized

Is your church friendly or inviting?

welcomechurch

Since relocating three years ago, I have been visiting churches. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve visited. They include churches of all sizes and denominations. I remember thinking my church (where I was involved prior to my divorce) was friendly and what I have learned is that friendly and inviting are not the same thing. Every church I’ve been to has some moment either before or during the service to greet the people around you. At a few churches no one has approached me. At most churches people shake my hand and say hello but that is the end of the moment. At only two churches have members taken the time to introduce themselves, ask a question or two about me and then invite me to join them in some additional activity. I even had a couple offer to walk with me to their Sunday School Class. I had a woman offer to pay for me to attend their women’s dinner when she find out I was unemployed. Guess which churches I liked the best?

Shaking someone’s hand and saying hello doesn’t cut it. It is difficult enough to walk into a church not knowing a soul, especially when you are alone.  I remember being comfortable at my church and being involved. In the beginning I was great at seeking out and inviting new people to join me in Sunday School or a Bible Study or a women’s group or a family event. But over time, like most people, I became complacent. I am learning first hand how not reaching out beyond a handshake makes a visitor feel excluded and unwanted.

When you are busy chitchatting with your friends about an upcoming event, I am left standing there twiddling my thumbs praying the pastor hurries up and tells us to sit down. A visitor is a fish out of water. A handshake and hello does not invite them in for a swim. Now some of you may be saying I need to make an effort and just join a group. While that thought is nice in theory, in practice there are very few people that will actually on their own step out of their comfort zone and join a group. For most people just being brave enough to visit a church is placing them way outside their comfort zone. It is up to the church members to reach out and invite the visitors to experience their church on a deeper and more personal level. Don’t say to yourself, well we have a committee to do that. Or we have people that do a follow up call. It is the responsibility of every believer to try and make that connection.

So next time you have those moments to greet people or share the peace, take the time to get their name and find something out about them. If you don’t have time, make sure you get them before they walk out of the sanctuary. Invite them to something. Get their email, give them your email. Get out of your comfort zone and make your church not just a friendly place but an inviting place.

Posted in Blogging, choices, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, fashion, Goal, God, men, New life, people, Uncategorized, women, WordPress, Writing

I am How Old?

  
Today I took a break get in sewing and turned on a Hallmark movie. The cast list said Willie Ames was in it. In the above photo he is the boy on the far right and if my memory serves me right, he was a teen heartthrob. And here he was playing the father of an adult daughter. He has  gray hair and wrinkles! How could that be? So I looked him up on IMDB (internet movie database) and there in black and white it says he is 55.

55, he can’t be 55 because I’m only …. wait, I’m 56. How did that happen? I could have sworn I was 36 or maybe 46, but no. Right there on my driver’s license it says I am 56. I’m no fool. I know I look my age but I definitely don’t feel my age. Now I don’t feel like a teenager but I certainly don’t feel 56, whatever that is supposed to feel like. I know I don’t feel old enough to get a senior discount or an AARP discount.

I will admit that sometimes I will use age as an excuse. It’s a feeble one. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at 65. Grandma Moses started painting at 70.  Julia Child didn’t begin her TV career until age 51. Vera Wang didn’t enter fashion until 40. Carol Gardner of Zelda Wisdom a $50 million greeting card business didn’t start until she was 52. And there is a long list of people that were busy succeeding and living at 90 and beyond. 

So I have to remove age from the table of excuses. It is no longer a card I can play. (Unless of course I can get a discount). 🙂

Posted in Blogging, choices, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, friends, friendship, help, love, movie, New life, Uncategorized, WordPress, Writing, Writing 201, writing lessons

Living Life as just One

 

Living Life as 1

Yesterday I received a survey from Austin Trail of Lights asking me about my experience. There was one question asking who I came with and how many people there were. They had one HUGE error. There was no selection for anyone who might have gone alone. It was assumed that to go you wouldn’t go alone.

I find this mentality is pervasive in our society. Even when you go online to book a room at a hotel, it is automatically set to 2 people. Restaurant hosts look at you odd when you say just 1. The movie ticket booth isn’t any different. I’ve taken to buying my tickets online to avoid the odd stare.

There is a difference between being alone and lonely. I was lonely when I was married. Even though someone shared my bed, my home, my life it was hollow and empty. I wasn’t alone but I was desperately lonely. I don’t mind going places alone. I have traveled alone because I didn’t want to wait to see places and experience new things. That being said, I do get lonely. It’s not easy making friends especially at this age. I have no home which means no neighbors. I have no children in school so no classmate parents. I don’t have a spouse’s co-workers or a job of my own with co-workers. Churches aren’t generally friendly places. I know they like to think differently but typically there is nothing more than a nod or a quick handshake. Very few are willing to go the extra mile and reach out.

I pray I don’t spend the rest of my life alone but I can guarantee you either way I won’t be lonely.

Posted in Blogging, book, books, characters, communication, Dreaming, Experience, favorite, friends, New life, novels, Uncategorized, Writing, writing lessons

Saying goodbye to a good book

Why do I always feel a little sad when I finish a good book? I should be happy to be finished and ready to move on to the next good read but unless it’s a sequel I never feel that way.

A good author can make the characters seem real. I become involved in their lives, sorrows and joys. Time, life situation and age are immaterial. I connect as much with a thirty year old single female trying to make it in New York City as much as I do with an angry Englishman in 1779. Then there is the love longing Mexican girl and the post World War II single, female author seeking the place she belongs, so different but I identify with both.

I wonder what happened to the newly divorced woman who gave herself and her soon to be ex husband a divorce party in a failed effort to save her marriage. Did she find love again? Or what about Demelza? Does she become a grandmother and Ross a grandfather? Did the abused wife heal her heart and soul once she was free?

I can go places I will never see and meet people from the beginning of time to present day and even people from the future.  I wonder could I possibly write about and share a story, a world and people? I just know my life would be one dimensional and gray without books.

Posted in Uncategorized, wedding

Where have basic manners gone?

  
I went to a wedding mid-November. It is now two months later and I haven’t received a Thank you note from the bride and groom. You may think it’s only two months but I sent a baby gift to another young woman mid- December who not only has a new baby and a toddler, she had a houseful of company for Christmas. I received a thoughtful thank note last week.

If brides and grooms do NOT plan on sending thank you notes then PLEASE print on the invitations the following:

We are selfish and greedy. You are only being invited for your gift but we will not be sending thank you notes. Our time is more valuable than the the time you spent shopping for a gift and our money is more important than whatever you spent on us.

I would have a much clearer idea of which weddings to attend. I understand lots of things have changed. Brides and grooms live together many time for years before they marry and if they aren’t living together, they are certainly sleeping together. Sometimes they even have children together. But what hasn’t seemed to change is the big, splashy wedding and party following the ceremony. Well if they want that then along with it comes the simple act of showing appreciation to those that came to celebrate with you by sending a thank you note. If you are uncertain what to say here you go:

Dear xxx,

Thank you for sharing (or remembering- if they couldn’t come) our special day with us. The xyz will make 1. A special addition to our first home. 2. Look beautiful in our first home 3. Will be used all the time in the kitchen etc. 4. The money will be put towards xyz. We appreciate you taking the time to give us such a special gift.

That’s it. It’s not difficult. So brides write them to your family and guests. Grooms write them to your family and guests. Get off your duffs!

Posted in Blogging, divorce, Experience, fear, Goal, help, New life, Uncategorized, WordPress

Crashing Wave

  
I was hit by a crashing wave yesterday. It was totally unexpected. I had actually gotten up and went to church. It was small but definitely the friendliest one I’ve visited. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home.

I finished reading the latest book on my list and posted a review. I cleaned up my apartment. I made plans to go see my daughter this week. It was a good day and then out of the blue I was hit by a wave of depression.

It was unexpected and it hit hard. I was knocked for a loop. I began sending increasingly depressing texts to my younger daughter until she finally called her sister. Who in turn called me very upset.

Her tears were flowing and so were mine. I was sobbing. I was having trouble breathing. I had no explanation initially for why I had gone over the edge of sadness.

My therapist says I shouldn’t worry about a job right mow. Maybe he’s right but I need employment and not a $7.25/hr job cleaning toilets. I believe it’s my overwhelming sense of fear that I will end up homeless because I can’t find a decent job is what drives my depression. I would have fought for more when I divorced had I known AGE discrimination and discrimination against FULL-TIME STAY at HOME MOMS and WIVES was so prevalent. I’m smart. I learn quickly. I’m good with people. I have the skills required for the jobs I apply so why do I have an inbox full of Rejections? 

I am going to try an experiment. I am going to reapply for a job that recently sent me a basic rejection letter. I’m going to apply with my legal first name and maiden name then change all my dates by 30 years so I will be 26 rather than 56 and see what happens. My gut says I will be offered an interview. If so, it will be a clear case of age discrimination. If this happens I will contact an attorney.

It is sad I am having to go to such lengths to find a job. I will let know what happens.

Posted in Blogging, book, books, characters, choices, daughters, Dreaming, Experience, family, fictional, love, marriage, mistakes, novels, Uncategorized, women, WordPress

Like Water for Chocolate

I read this book years ago and then watched the movie. I needed a third foreign language film to fulfill the Experience Passport task. I decided to see if I could find this movie and lucky me, it was available on Amazon Prime.

It is an interesting love story between the youngest daughter of a traditional family and a young man. Tita is forbidden by her mother to marry Pedro because as the youngest daughter she is required to stay unmarried and care for her mother until she dies. In order to stay near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. Of course she is broken-hearted.

She puts all her emotions into her cooking and in turn the food is filled with her emotions. The diners are affected by some mystical connection to Tita’s emotions. Strange things happen. Some sad, some funny.

In today’s busy world I think we often times forget the power of food. The power that a homecooked meal shared with family and/or friends can hold. It offers a chance for conversation and connection. Real connection and not a quick text message. I even have fallen into the trap of texting rather than actually picking up a telephone. Being in the midst of a major life change, I think the lesson I can learn from Like Water for Chocolate is that it’s important never to give up on family and love.