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 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 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.

Posted in Blogging, characters, communication, family, fictional, marriage, movie, relationships, Uncategorized, WordPress

Helppo Elämä

 Helppo elämä

Easy Living

As part of my Experience Passport I am watching 3 foreign language movies. I watched Farewell my Queen. It is a French film. But rather than selecting another movie, I decided to watch some episodes of a foreign TV show. As a subscriber to AcornTv, I chose Helppo elämä, a Finnish TV show.

Immediately I realized that nothing about the language sounded remotely familiar. Of course there are subtitles, but I didn’t expect the language to sound so “foreign”. I know that sounds silly but I’ve tried to learn French since I was 12 and I live in Texas so I hear Spanish everyday. I also hear variations of other languages but Finnish is definitely the most unique language I’ve heard.

I searched online and learned it is most closely related to Estonian and Hungarian. Now my ignorance of geography was highlighted. I had assumed because Finland is Scandinavian that the language would be related to Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. I pulled up a map and saw that Finland is just north of Estonia and a mere 240 miles (approximate). That is half the distance from Austin to El Paso. Now it made sense. 

The storyline is unusual. It follows a family in which the father is a criminal because he has a 4 million € tax debt and therefore can’t hold a regular job. Each family member has problems including a strangely vindictive mother. What I have found most unusual aside from the language, is that everyone is white. Living in a multi-cultural and multi-racial country makes life like a beautiful quilt and each piece is different and unique. I’m not criticizing the show because there are a lot of countries that are not racially diverse. And as we have slowly learned in the US, television should be a reflection of the people. While we aren’t there yet, we do have more diversity now than when I was growing up a 1,000 years ago.

It’s been fun watching a culture that sounds so different but looks so similar in clothing, furnishings and autos. Lots of Volvos and VWs. Take a chance and view the world through a new and wider lens.

Helppo elämä

Posted in Blogging, choices, Dating, divorce, Experience, family, friends, Fun, love, marriage, men, Moving, New life, Online dating, people, Uncategorized, women, WordPress, Writing

Heart to head to Reality Misconnect

 

Recently I read about the misconnect that happens when middle-aged adults enter into the online dating scene. I can’t remember where I read it but it was completely accurate.

The premise is that for most of us the last time we were dating, we were significantly younger probably in our 20s. I know it is true for me. There was no computer dating options. Now when we sign up and go online our head says I’m young. Our heart says I feel young. The same is true for men and women.

So we look at the photos and groan. These are old men. These are old women. This could be my dad or granddad. This could be my mom or my grandmother. I can’t possibly be in this age group, let me double check. Ugh it’s true. These old people are my contemporaries. It bites. It’s frustrating because society (yes it’s true whether you like it or not) give men much more leeway when choosing a partner. Men can easily marry someone much younger with little to no comment and they can marry down educationally and economically with no one saying a thing. My ex is a perfect example. He has partnered down in age, economics and education. He can because he is a man and he makes a lot of money. As I’ve always told my girls you never see a young woman with an old poor man. Money talks. Especially when it comes to dating and remarrying later in life. I suppose if I made a lot of money I would have a slightly broader choice but society still keeps women in a narrower role.

If I were to marry a younger man who had no children, people would feel bad for him because he was giving up his chance for children of his own. If I married someone with less education and less money, I would hear she must be desperate. I know times change but change is slow and I don’t believe this will change until women can have children into their 50s and 60s. An old man can marry a woman of child bearing age and still give her a family. The reverse is not true. And please do not lecture me on invitro, egg donation, adoption etc. This is an orange to orange comparison not an apple to orange one.

So I wasted $75 to join an online dating site where I now have my profile hidden. And I expect it to stay hidden until I can connect my young mind and heart to the reality of my age.

Posted in Blogging, book, choices, communication, Dreaming, Experience, fear, Fun, Goal, love, Moving, New life, novels, people, questions, Uncategorized, vacation, WordPress, Writing, Writing 201, writing lessons, writing101

Experience Passport 

  
I am a collector of books. Typically I read every book I buy but sometimes I buy a book that requires interaction. This summer I purchased the above Experience Passport from  Chronicle Books. It gives 45 ways to broaden your horizon without going anywhere. Since my life circumstances have changed, it is unlikely I will be doing any extensive traveling again. I thought this looked like a way to have fun and push myself out of the cocoon I have created for myself.

Some of the suggestions are easier to accomplish than others but all will open up my life to new possibilities. You don’t have to do them in any particular order. I’ve done #2, #7 and #26. I will share some of the things I learn while using my experience passport. Care to travel with me?

#26 Favorite quotes from an award winning piece of fiction. I will share one quote from Still Life by Louise Penny. 

“Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still and the rest of the world is surging ahead.”

Posted in Blogging, choices, Experience, fear, Goal, New life, Uncategorized, values, Writing

Lesson to Unlearn #2

 Why would want to try that? You’ll only fail.

  

Yes that is the lesson I was taught. I’m sure my parents and grandmother thought they were protecting me from  disappointment. If I struggled and failed then what would they say? Would they be able to comfort me?

I remember wanting to enter a pageant for a second time and asking for a new formal dress. I was promptly told no and when I asked why? It was simple. I wasn’t going to win anyway. However there was a hiccup in my parents’ plan. I did win. I won in the same dress I wore the year before. Obviously I didn’t need a new dress to win, but to have had words of encouragement, a sense that my parents believed in my ability to succeed and if I didn’t win, the success was in the effort and what I learned would have helped build my confidence.

There are lots of things I haven’t tried in my life for fear of failure. But I have been able to push through the fear from time to time and challenge myself with new things. I spent a year learning on my own how to dance so I could make the drill team squad. I worked for a year saving money to spend six weeks on a college tour of Europe. I auditioned for and went on a game show. {I won}. I went to France in my own at 40 for 10 days. But I still have a list of things I would love to try but fear of failure keeps be down.

So lesson #2 to unlearn is that when you try something you’ll only fail.

Success isn’t defined by winning. It’s defined by trying. There is no shame in trying some new or something difficult. It says courage, adventure and strength. These quotes are profound because they are so true.

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

Theodore Roosevelt

I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time. Herbert Bayard Swope

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston S. Churchill

When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.

Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding