Tag Archives: women

Guess What?

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I’ve been asked on a date by a guy who seems different from the Men @ Work (he’s single for starters).  He has been very sensitive and understanding about my loss.  He is a good conversationalist and has listened attentively for the last month to my deepseated, ardent lamentations.   This has been a good outlet for me as I don’t like to constantly burden family and friends with my tales of woe. I don’t feel that he has a hidden agenda either.  It has been close to six months and I am finally at the point in which I have accepted my husband’s death.

I do think an occassional, platonic dinner and a movie would be okay, but I don’t know!  It could just be my loneliness talking.  Maybe this step would help me enter back into the Land of the Living?

Men @ Work

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No, I’m not talking about the Australian rock band, I’m alluding to the many men who have seemingly come out of  thin air to attract my attention.  I have been completely overwhelmed by the number of men vying for it.  Some, I’m sure, don’t have the purest of intentions.

A vast majority of my would-be suitors are people I work with.  I’m sorry, but I find this incredibly tacky considering that they know my situation.  It has only been four months for crying outloud!  I am really disturbed by their lack of decorum.  I am not interested in being pursued or going on any dates.  I know that I am not giving  them any signs to appraoch me; but  it hasn’t deterred them yet.

Here are a few of the said men who make their interest obvious:

  • The Headcase: If the world is indeed  a crazy place, then Eliza’s brother is the commander-in-chief!  How he would even have the audacity to think that I’d have him beats me!!!!  His arrogance is offensive!  In the words of Cher from the movie Clueless “As if!”
  • The Head Custodian: He is a handsome older man (mid 40’s) whom I have worked with the longest.  I am not interested.
  • The Substitute:  The female students and teachers alike describe him as gorgeous.  It’s crazy the reaction that he gets because I don’t find him good-looking and he is annoying to boot.  He is also a masseur.  I like “manly” men, not androgynous metrosexuals. I am not interested.
  • The Special Ed Teacher: Married, no need to say anymore (but if you let him tell it, he’s not happy at home, no sympathy found here!) I am not interested.
  • The Former Coworker: He is fair looking, but too intense for my liking.  He heard through the grapevine about  my husband’s death and attended the  funeral.  I am not interested.
  • The Neighbor: Married, no need to say anymore! I am not interested.
  • The School Police Officer: Older man, not my type.  He looks like Ving Rhames with a Caesar.  I am not interested.
  • The Mechanic: An older guy who seems nice enough. I’m not interested.
  • The Sheriff’s Deputy:  Another older guy (late 30’s early 40’s).  He is the same one who gave my battery a jump when my car wouldn’t start.  My husband and I knew him from our frequent appearances in family court.  He’s weird. I am not interested.
  • The Reverend: He is an older man who looks much younger than he is (66 to be exact) and was the same clergyman who baptized my husband as a child! He has not directly stated his intentions, but his actions (I relunctantly admit) do.  My friend Kara calls me “Shocked and Appalled” because some things that shouldn’t surprise me just do! I mean he is way too old for me, he knows my inlaws, he is a man of the cloth—-it’s too much for me to even ponder!  This one makes me the most uncomfortable.

 The bottom line is I am not interested!  I want to use this time to heal.  If I am meant to have another person in my life, I believe it will happen naturally.  At this point I am not seeking nor do I want to be saught.  Some men are disgusting creatures!

The Skinny

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Yesterday I decided I needed to go shopping for new jeans and a few other odds and ends. My friend and hair stylist of 14 years and I headed to the mall. She only went to appease me as she does not like to shop–imagine that!!! But she was on her best behavior and allowed me to go wild trying on everything that suited my fancy without getting her panties in a bunch.  I was really in a shopping mood and was thus thankful that she was so patient with me for a couple of hours.  Even six inch heels didn’t slow me down!

I really have to take my time looking for the right pair of jeans. I am short with a very tiny waist. Most jeans are entirely too long or don’t fit my waist properly.

So I decided to try the latest fad, “skinny jeans.” This style is actually new for me because I was a mere toddler at the peak of their popularity. I’ve seen them on a few women out and about and on girls at school and I love the way they hug the ankles.

I found a really cute pair and commenced to try them on. They fit almost perfectly! They didn’t gape open at the waist nor did they sweep the floor. They will look great paired with pumps or ballet flats.

 

With flats

With flats

 

"Saucy and extra bossy" as the kids like to say

"Saucy and extra bossy" as the kids like to say

Annie Get Your Gun!

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I have always been wary of guns even though I know it is the person behind the weapon that I should be most afraid of.  Guns alone can do no harm.  But still, they scare me!

I have never had the desire to own a gun.  My  husband tried to reason with me as to why it was necessary to have one.  I thought it was too dangerous considering we had a houseful of growing, curious boys.  I felt safe with him there even sans gun.  Therefore, out of respect for me, he relunctantly gave up his second amendment right.

Now I am starting to see things differently.  What would I do if someone happened to invade our home?  How would I defend myself and the little ones? 

In December I applied for a gun permitt and received it Saturday. A month ago my friend Kara and I shot our first ever firearm.   I was so nervous!  The shooting range was very loud and unsettling.  It was a solemn moment as I pondered the power of guns.  I was determined to educate myself about them.  My first shot was straight to the heart.  

I am considering purchasing one for protection.  Though I would hate to have to use it on anyone, someone might not have the same feelings about using it on myself or the children.

Chivalry Is Dead

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Yesterday I felt like such a damsel in distress when my car wouldn’t start.  I stopped at the gas station after work to fill up even though I had half a tank of gas to go.  The temperature is getting really low here and I did not want to risk my tank freezing.

I hate pumping gas!  This was something my husband usually did for me.  So I felt proud of myself for getting out in the artic cold to get the job done.  However, when I hopped back in and started the car, the engine wouldn’t turn over.  I was shocked and tried again.  No luck.  I was puzzled considering that my car is fairly new.

I sat for a few minutes as I decided what to do.  I remembered that my road side service had expired a couple months back.  Luckily Nicholas was asleep in the back seat and I had not picked Jazmine up yet.  I called my aunt to ask her advice and possibly to get a ride.  She suggested that I try getting a jump until my cousin came back with her truck.  “Are there any men around that you can ask for help?” she inquired. 

It was many men floating about but I felt too shy to ask for assistance.  It was cold out and I really didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.  I finally gathered my courage and asked several men for a jump.  They all claimed to have no jumper cables.  One man said he didn’t know how to give a jump.  No one looked concerned.  I asked a few more men and a lone woman.  No luck.  I was a bit surprised at the apathy and relunctance.  I felt so alone!

I almost started crying at the absurdity of it all.  I just wanted to call my husband who would have double-timed it to get to me.  I felt stuck.  I finally thought to call my uncle and as I was talking to him, the car started!  I drove over to their house and he looked at it.  He checked the alternator and the starter which both tested fine.  He said it could have been that the fuel injection system needed degunking so he put a treatment in my tank.

I felt really thankful for his help.  I plan to get my road service renewed as well, as I don’t want to be caught out in the cold ever again!

And the Winner is…

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Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:26

For several years Eliza was consumed with competing with me.  Believe it or not she asked my SIL what was so special about me!  Shortly she started to emulate my dress and speech.  As if that was not enough she started wearing her hair in the same style as mine! 

When I had Nicholas record our  voicemail greeting, she promptly had Evan do the same.  Strangely, she started telling people that she was a kindergarten teacher! I think she was intimidated by my level of education because she left a voicemail when we first started dating saying he has a girlfriend who is supposedly well educated…but I doubt that! 

There were other little acts of competition along the way, too.  Even presently when I would send her letters at her request about the boys I would include some of the things things that we were doing with them (i.e. On Friday we took them to a Pacer’s game and the boys had a great time!), she would write back telling me what all she has done with and for them.  Not wanting that kind of competitive exchange, I quickly discontinued providing her with too many details.

When she married her current husband, she gave up.  She went back to doing things the way she normally did.  It was a relief because it felt so ackward being that it painfully obvious as to what she was doing.  Truthfully I felt embarrassed for her.  I also wanted her to realize that I didn’t want her to feel that she had to compete with me.  What for?  We are both winners.

Today I was thinking about how different yet similar Eliza and I are.  I noted a few comparisons below which caused me to ponder why competition seems to be a common factor in relationships between women. 

Obviously our persoanlities are different.  I really don’t have to go into detail here.

We married the same man–enough said!

If I had to rate her in the looks department I would give her a 6 on a scale of 1-10.  I would rate myself an 8.  We are the same exact height, 5 feet tall and we pretty much weigh the same.  I weigh 129 pounds and she doesn’t look much bigger.   We have the same skin tone, too.  However, that’s where the resemblence ends.

She is a more casual dresser.  Eliza likes jeans, t-shirts, jogging suits, tennis shoes, and simple shirts.  She used to relatively old-fashioned for her age.  But now she dresses more youthful.  I am a more conservative/funky/fashionable dresser.  I tend to favor blouses, slacks, blazers, suits, camisoles, sweaters, twin sets, skirts, and stilettos.  I love signature pieces and mixing things up for an expected yet elegant combo.  Some of my favorite stores include:  Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Target, Macy’s and The Limited.  I pretty much dress this way all of the time.  Sometimes I do wish that I approached dressing more casually.  I can be somewhat prissy but I am learning to relax.

My hair is quite long and hangs well past my shoulders.  I like my hair simple and typically styled in an iron-out.  For special occasions I will wear soft curls.  Eliza likes the more intricate do’s.  She wears it all: braids, ponytails, fountains, humps and other trendy hairstyles.  Her hair looks “fun.”  She also styles her own hair.  Unfortunately I don’t have that talent so I have to go to a stylist.

We both like poetry, food, and conversation.

I am an avid reader and she stated that she likes to read as well.

She is a hoarder and I am a minimalist.

Eliza once had temporary custody of her niece, too!

We are the same age, although she is almost exactly a month older than me.  She was born December 21st, me, January 22nd. 

Eliza has held a lot of jobs in her lifetime.  She usually works for a month or two here and there.  I don’t think she has been at one job longer than six months.  In my adulthood I have only had one main job, teaching English and one part-time job, teaching ballet.

Both of our moms are deceased.  Sadly her mom passed before mine.  Neither of us communicate with our fathers.  I have 5 siblings and I am the oldest.  She, too has 5 siblings but is the second youngest.

We both have three children, two of them I “share” with her.

I have two college degrees and I am currently working on a third.  She earned her GED while in jail.

She revealed that English was her favorite subject in high school.  It was mine to which is why I made a career of it.  Eliza also stated on her pre-sentencing report that she eventually wanted to attend college to major in Business and minor in English.  Go figure!

She is insanely afraid of dogs–both big and small.  I like dogs, especially the little baby-sized ones.

When she moved out of her old neighborhood, I moved in.

We are both stepmoms.

We are both women.

We are both daughters of the King.

I am healthy enough to know that she has some good qualities as well as some bad ones.  So do I.  Do her bad characteristics outweigh the good ones?  This is a question I can’t answer because I don’t know the complete contents of her heart.  And really, this is a job best left to the Master.

I like to celebrate and acknowledge Eliza when I can.  I have told her that she does a good job staying connected with her boys (she really does, she writes them pretty faithfully every week).  Eliza also has a nice smile and I have commented on this before.  I am not fake about it and only do so when I am able to be sincere.  It is my small way of helping her build self-esteem.  This helps tone my grace muscle as well!

I’m aware of the adage that says imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I do believe that too much imitation is really insecurity.  Too much insecurity leads to jealousy and envy.  When you feel complete there is no need to compete.

And because we are all human, we all tend to feel this way from time to time.  In these moments it is wise to reflect on our strengths.  This always puts things into perspective for me.   I know that we are all blessed with gifts and talents.  Sometimes we just have to discover them.

Frienemy

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Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

                                                 ~Abraham Lincoln

My goal regarding Eliza has changed.  I no longer want to pursue a friendship with her.  I just don’t think it can happen.  Simply put, I don’t believe that she is capable of maintaining a friendship.  There is too much mistrust, bitterness, paranoia, anger, and jealousy on her end.  

 

I thought it would be a noble thing to do.  But if I am honest with myself, she is not the kind of friend I would want to have.  It is hard to call a one-sided relationship a friendship; although she has made spradic attempts to reach out to me. 

  

In my mind I wanted to achieve the impossible—becoming friends with the enemy.  I was tired of the animosity.  I felt like God had provided me with this opportunity to heal some old wounds.  I wanted to partner with Eliza to help her stay connected with the boys. 

 

And it’s not that I “need” a friend because I have been blessed with enough. It is true that we have had a tumultuous past; but I still didn’t find it strange that I would want to befriend her.  Jesus still remained “friends” with Judas even though he betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.  Nor did he turn his back on Simon Peter who disowned him three times before the cock crowed.  Now that’s what I call pure love and graciousness!

 

I have accepted that we are never likely to be friends with a little sadness.  It would have been cool for her and me to do things together with the kids once she is released.  I was looking forward to having an open, relaxed line of communication.

 

However, I still am willing to remain cordial to her.  I refuse to let my goodness sour because she desires something different than what I had in mind.  I still have hope for other mother and stepmothers who both are willing to do the work involved in interacting in a healthy manner.

 

I continue to escort Ethan for visits.  I am content to provide snacks and sit back and allow them their time together.  If she writes inquiring about the children; I respond in a timely manner.  However, I no longer “entertain” her by letting her draw me in for arguments.  I answer the questions she asks and refrain from responding to any commentary, accusations, or wording meant to trigger a response from me.

 

I have also stopped sending “encouragement” to her.  From time to time I would send her books, cards, articles, and other things of inspiration.  I have visited her attorney to obtain documents, checked on her niece who was in foster care, and coordinated activities so that Ethan and Evan could spend time with their other brother.  I stopped doing most of this in the last three months when I noticed that despite my friendly gestures, she continued to bicker with me.  I had to set up boundaries with her for my own contentment and sanity in this trying situation.  Now I only deal with her on a need to basis.  I no longer try to save her from herself if that makes sense.  In essence I’ve removed myself from the picture as much as I can.  I’ve started to focus more on building solid relationships with the kids instead of her.  I realized that having them in our homes is a gift.  She had taken the boys from our lives for years, but God gave them back.

 

Rhonda has commented that deep down Eliza really probably does want to be friends with me—she just feels that Eliza doesn’t know how.  She is very good at pushing people away and projecting her fears and insecurities onto them because she refuses to trust anyone.  Eliza always feels that others are out to get her.  It is as if she expects everyone to hurt her.  I think this stems from being an incest survivor. 

 

At a visit not to long ago, she introduced me to a fellow inmate as “Ethan’s stepmom and my friend.”  I was a little surprised by this term of endearment but took it with a grain of salt.  I know that her actions do not support her words.  I felt sorry for her and knew that it was an attempt to manipulate my emotions.  I think she knows that I have grown tired of her mind games. 

 

I have been on both sides of the fence with her—her enemy and her “friend.”  Of course you know what side I’d prefer to be on.  I still pray that God is able to use me in whatever way he sees fit in this situation.  I know it has only been with Him that we have managed to make the progress that we have.  I still believe that anything is possible.