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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My first Love

With everything that's been going on in this last year; writing had taken a back seat. A year ago today, Jerry and I met and the whirlwind began. Married, pregnant and +1 in less than a year. We went from being respective single parents to a family of five seemingly overnight.
It's been unthinkable, and, awesome. This past year, I've spent laying the foundation for our blended family and our relationship. In that time, I have all but rejected my first love; writing. It's easy to say "I'll write twice as much tomorrow" or "I'm taking a break" but the truth is, just as with any other talent, if you don't use it, you lose it.
My best friend and writing partner was once the less diligent writer between the two of us. Over the weekend, she sent me some chapters that allowed me to see the progress that she's making in her project.
Since I've had the baby (11-27-12; 7 lbs 11oz, 20.5" long) I've been feeling more creative but very tired. The plan is just to do what I can when I can. So, here's the start; a short blog post which will be followed by news on the chapters to follow.
Having another year, having a baby, and celebrating an anniversary are all milestones indeed, but it's past time I start giving my first love the attention it deserves.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Love Heals All Wounds

The old adage "time heals all wounds" is true, but I think love, in cases of heartbreak is what heals all wounds.
As I went through being duped and subsequently dumped, there were two men who ushered me from that dark alley of bitterness into the tunnel of love. The first was my cousin Vern and the second was the man who would love me past my pain and show me what real love is, my would be husband Jerry.
After being dumped, I was in a state of confusion and shock. What had I done wrong? Vern's answer; nothing. Dude wanted out. Plain and simple. He admitted that "the no sex thing" couldn't have helped the relationship, but that aside, my ex boyfriend was incapable of being honest with me.
Vern spent several days talking me through the mind of a man. Sharing his own story of being dumped by a woman he had moved out of the state for. If the sexes were reversed, it WAS the same story. She became distant and told him " I think we should see other people."
It was Vern who encouraged me to get back on the horse right away. I thought I should give myself the obligatory "half the length of the relationship" time off, which in my case would mean 8 1/2 months.
I liked the idea of moving on in spite of being dumped. I felt empowered instead of vulnerable and weak. In those first days, the encouraging calls and texts from my cousin were what helped me talk about my feelings to others which gave me the perspective and clarity to move forward.
The love from the men in my life, especially Jerry, is what healed my heart. Once you see what real love is, you laugh at what you thought it had been.
Looking back, I allowed my attraction to my ex boyfriend and the few gestures of love that he showed me to delude me into believing that I was in love. The blissful months that we spent together in the beginning blinded me from the obvious; he wasn't the man he wanted me to believe he was in the beginning and he wanted none of the things he told me were must haves to be in a relationship with him.
Jerry has been the answer to all of my prayers for the kind of man I wanted as a husband. He loves my daughter as his own, loves me as I am, is selfless, considerate, kind, and easy on the eyes. All of the things I listed as must haves and nice to haves on my list are checked off now.
Had I consulted my own list, it would have been clear to me that I was settling when it came to my former relationship. It took true love for me to see that.
Having real men in my life who cared enough to explain what was obvious from their perspective is what allowed me to meet, love, and marry Jerry. Almost 9 months into our relationship and 7 months into our marriage, things couldn't be better and I couldn't be happier.
Because of his role in our relationship coming together, and because of the example that we know he and his wife will set, we've asked Vern and his wife to be Heather's God Parents.
Talk about a happy ending. Who'da thunk it?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's Been A Long Time Coming

It's been eight months since I blogged last. A lot has happened.
A lot.
Here are the highlights...

I got dumped, met someone else, and fell in love.
He asked me to marry him the day before New Years' Eve,
I accepted and we were wed February 10, of this year.
On March 13, I found out that I'm pregnant.
On June 21, we found out we're having a girl.
Heather Marie Jones is due to arrive November 17th.

I expected that people would think that I was nuts for falling for someone so soon after being dumped. 16 months of my life seemingly wasted with a man who obviously cared nothing about me. I was heart broken. Or so I thought.

After sulking for an entire weekend, I went to work on Monday trying my best to put on my strong face, hoping no one would notice. Someone did. Ruben, my 45+ year old co-worker that I affectionately call The Mexican Teddy Bear, looked at me and asked if I was okay. I told him that I was and tried to walk away before I started crying. It was 8:30. About the same time of morning my now ex-boyfriend would send me the standard "good morning, I love you" text. I wanted to get out of there before the notion of knowing that the text wasn't going to come, overwhelmed me in front of my peers.

Ruben didn't buy it when I said I was fine. He asked again, I told him I was good. Still doubting, he asked again. I relented and told him that I had been dumped. Once I said it out loud, I began to cry and hurried to my truck.

As the day went on, I was overcome with emotion again and again. It was embarrassing. I felt lost and unprotected. All those months; I thought he and I were building toward something; marriage, a family. Not so. He dumped me through a text message after dropping my things off to my house and leaving them on my trash can.

The more I thought about it; the more I cried. I had been a fool, an absolute fool. I had done everything for him, for us, I thought, and look where it had gotten me. I went through the motions of the day; hurrying home to sulk when I got a call from Ruben.

"What happened?" Ruben asked. I ran it down for him. A few weeks before, my 'boyfriend' told me he wanted to postpone our upcoming wedding in Las Vegas.  During that conversation, I told him that we wouldn't get married, that I felt like he and I were growing apart, that we never spent enough time together. He assured me that we would get married, just not in March like we planned. I didn't believe him then, and I knew that it was indicative of things to come. 

I sent him a text message Saturday morning just hours after his "good morning, I love you" text telling him that I don't think he loves me. Preparing for a book club meeting that night, I took a shower and washed my hair missing a text reply and subsequent phone call from him.

I awoke from a nap to find that he had removed me as a friend from facebook and sent a very curt text message (from the phone I supplied him and paid the bill for) saying that "He didn't want to do it like this... that I didn't do anything wrong... I'm a good person, yadda, yadda, yadda." I called him and got no answer, I called again, and again, and again. No answer. I called from my house phone and he picked up. I asked him if this was real. What was going on? Was there someone else?

Yes it was real, no there wasn't anyone else, he just wants to focus on his music. I chortled, wished him "good luck with that" sarcastically and hung up the phone. I called the phone company, reported the phone stolen and went to my book club meeting.

I went on to tell Ruben that I didn't understand how he could do that to me. After all I had done and sacrificed for him. Now I'd have to start over.

Ruben listened to me intently before weighing in. "Achsha, all I hear you saying is 'How could he do this to me?' 'Now I have to start over?' "What if I don't find someone else?' What I'm not hearing you say is 'He broke my heart.' 'I feel lost.' 'What am I going to do without him?' That's what you usually hear from someone who's heartbroken. I mean, I could be wrong, but I don't think you were in love with this guy. Maybe you were so caught up in the idea of marrying him, that you've lost focus of the relationship. You said you guys haven't really spent any time together since he took that job last November. I mean, I could be wrong, but it sounds like you're out of love with him."

*Lightbulb* Ruben was absolutely right. I wasn't in love with him anymore, I hadn't been for a while. My suspicions as to what he really was doing with his time and the inconsistent stories he threw out, I knew, deep down, that things weren't right but, I held on anyway. My family loved him, my daughter adored him and we seemed good together.

But of course, hindsight is 20/20. I created my own reality when it came to him. One where he really was at the studio every waking hour he had outside of work, not with the many women he bragged about coming after him. A reality where I was his one and only and once we were married, that everything would fall into place. Deep down; I knew better. He just wasn't that into me. And it's a good thing he wasn't. Otherwise, I wouldn't have met my husband.

I still get the questions from people; "How are things going? How's the hubby?" I can hear the sarcasm in their voices; the question behind the question that says "Has it all fallen apart yet?" The truth is, I resigned a long time ago that I don't care what people think. He and I know what we have and what we are to each other; an answer to prayer. It's amazing to me that a woman can meet a man, sleep with him shortly thereafter, move in with him and then hope that one day he'll realize she's wifey material and marry her. Jerry and I agreed that we would do things right from the very start and let the rest work itself out. 

I hope that explains the hiatus. A new relationship, merging of families and 20 weeks of pregnancy have left little room for writing, but I'm back in the swing of things.

Life is good now. I don't eat, sleep and breathe work anymore, and I finally feel like my dreams can come true with him by my side believing in me and supporting me, as I do him. For the first time in my life; I've gotten my comeuppance. All I can say is Thank God.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30... Again - Game on.

So; my birthday is coming up in a few days. I  used to make a big deal about my birthday, then, adulthood set in and I figured out that it's just another day. 

Last year, I turned 30. Initially; I said I was going to go to Vegas with my girls and party up for a weekend. As months went by and no real plans solidified; the idea fizzled. All I ended up getting for my 30th birthday was a 13 1/2 hour shift. I didn't see any of my family that day and had I not called, my ex-husband would not have let me talk to my daughter. 

Aside from my daughter being with me this year; I don't see this birthday being much different from last year. As such; I've decided to do 30 all over again. I say that tongue in cheek of course, but I don't really feel any huge difference from last year. 

Although, I have made some very serious and concrete decisions about how this second quarter of my life is going to go and how I'm going to live it. A few months ago; I blogged that I was going to lose 31 lbs by 31.

Didn't happen. 

In fact; I've put on about five lbs since I bought my new scale. (I was very disappointed when I tried it out because I learned that my old scale had been flattering me, telling me I weighed 10 lbs less that I actually did. Talk about depressing!) But; all of that is about to change ladies and gentlemen.

I don't know about y'all, but birthdays (mine and/or my daughter's), holidays, and anniversaries; (wedding, divorce and my new relationship) push me back in time against my own will and force me to analyze what it is that I've done with myself within that time. 

I saw a quote on Twitter that said "A year from now; you'll wish you started today." True that. I'm tired of looking back with the "shoulda, coulda, wouldas"; the switch has been flipped! Not just with the whole weight thing but at work, and, most importantly, my writing. 

March is fast approaching and Skinny Rich White Boy is no closer to production than it was when I came up with the title at 14. But this, my friends, is changing. After spending all day yesterday surrounded by authors, thinkers, movers, shakers, and a lot of wanna-be's, my writing partner and I both said that it is time to either poop or get off the pot. 

We've got it all; the talent, ability, and know how to do what those folks are doing and then some. We always walk away from those types of events knowing that we were the standouts of the crowd; knowing that we are as qualified as the published authors that we hob nob with. But, because we aren't published; we have no credibility. We can say what we will or may about any trashy street novel, sub par love story, or redundant gangsta tale; the fact remains that they've put themselves out there and people are reading their work. 

It's time for me to do the same. This whole first quarter; I've been feeling things out; seeing how the game is played. Now; it's time for me to get in the game. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crime and Punishment.

Last weekend, I rode around town with my best friend helping her with a project. We talked about men and relationships mostly. Somehow, we got on the subject of how she used to give her husband pedicures and how "you really gotta love a dude to pedicure his feet."
True that.
I used to do the same thing for my ex-husband but I hated it. His feet smelled and he insisted that I do it on a bi-weekly basis.
Looking back on it; I clipped his toenails more often than we had sex. As I lamented about how this ritual bothered me and is the source of my absolute hatred of feet; my best friend told me that him making me do that for him was a punishment.
That was a harsh thought; but I knew it was true. He'd have me do it even if I was already laying down for bed and without so much as washing his feet.
I think about what it is that I must have done to him that would make him want to punish me, not just in that way but in the others that I have talked about, and for the life of me; I can't figure it out. Punishment without a crime isn't justice; it is unjust.
I think I've figured it out though; my crime was loving him.
Misplaced affections always, always, always come back to bite you. Since he was my husband; the very definition of that relationship is [supposed to be] love; but it wasn't. I've deduced that that means I wasn't supposed to have been with him.
But that's almost too simple.
I often wondered what my life would have looked like had I not married him. In hindsight; it's super easy to blame an ex for all of the things you failed to accomplish during and after your time with them. So my real question to myself is what the heck have I been doing with my time since getting ghost from him?
The short answer is; healing. It took a long time for me to get past a lot of the things that I dealt with in that marriage and with all of the things that came after leaving and with the divorce.
My heart was shattered, I was fragile, I had low self esteem and was hot in the ass all at the same time.
Each of these things took me to a bunch of different places; giving my heart to undeserving men, drinking excessively, then finally; back where I should have been all along; in my own head and reverting back to those things that I knew were going to put me where I needed to be.
It's taken a lot of time (almost two years divorced, just under four years apart) but I'm over it. Songs that used to trigger weird emotions  don't anymore. A big part of it, I know, is because I made a decision that his presence in my life shouldn't impact my life one way or another. I used to let it upset me when he wouldn't take Shey when he was supposed to or when he would make a shitty remark to me, when he was oddly nice to me... all of these things at one time, had the ability to throw me out of whack. Now; I just don't care anymore.
At some point in this time away from him; I figured out that his presence is irrelevant. Shey and I have done just fine all along without him. Is that how I wanted it to be? How I thought it would be? No. But, I'm okay with the fact that it is. Now.
And that, friends, is freedom.

Shey's first Easter; 2007. Both pictures were taken in the kitchen of the apartment that Shey and I lived in with her dad. This was the day that I told him that we were leaving. We were gone less than a month later.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who put out my fire?

I'm watching a documentary of Jill Scott, easily my favorite artist (next to Anita Baker). I saw her in concert over the summer and left feeling inspired. Her songs come from the soul, from her heart. You can tell because it feels like she's talking to you, just having a conversation. She talks to you like she's talking to a friend.
My best friend/writing partner Racheal tells me that I'm a great writer (agreed) but that it feels stuffy, too journalistic. She tells me to write as if I'm talking to her.

Watching this documentary about Jill, she talks about how she'll write on anything; paper bags, her pants, a (wtf Jill?)
I used to be the same way. I was constantly scribbling on whatever I could find. There was a fire that drove me to read constantly, to write incessantly. In the years that have passed; I find myself now trying to get that fire back.

I'd like to blame the fizzling out of my flame on lots of things; work, being a mommy, my ex-husband, boys I've dated, my present relationship, being tired. Which would suffice for a while, but the truth is; it's all me. I alone am the reason why I haven't succeeded with writing. I don't do it enough to perfect it and I blame not doing it on everything else.

I started off writing because it made me feel better. Writing down my feelings gave me a voice when I wasn't allowed to talk. As long as there was something to write on; there was somewhere for my mind to go... Away from my shitty marriage, the hood that I lived in, the crack addicted dad and the teasing and rejection from boys. The more I began to find myself as an adult; the more the writer in me seemed to regress. As I gave voice to my thoughts and opinions, suddenly, writing wasn't as important, as necessary, as it had been before when I couldn't speak.

It's ironic; with more freedom my creativity became stifled.

Well, I'd like to say that I'm getting back to the old me. The writer who couldn't get enough of writing, who couldn't get out of her own head. That chick was a beast! Silent in speech but vocal with my hands. Alls I can hope for is that now; the combination of the two will help me make my dreams come true. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting Used to Life... I think

It's been a while since I've blogged, or written anything for that matter. A lot's been happening since Shey started school.The most pivotal of them all is that I've decided to dead the relationship between my ex-husband and us.
Supposedly; he and I share joint custody of my daughter which means equal parenting time; no less than 15 overnights with the child every month.
The reality is that he might see her12 hours a month. It all came to a head on a Wednesday a few weeks back. I called him after dropping Shey off at school later than I had wanted since I knew I had to work late that day. I asked him to pick her up between 3:30 and 5:00. His response to me was "Why?"
As in "That's not my job; why can't you do it?" I told him that as parents; it's our responsibility to make sure that our children get to and from school. And that because I do 98% of the work when it comes to our daughter that I would expect no push back from him when the other 2% of the time, I need help from him.
"Aside from your sarcasm, Achsha, why can't you do it?" I didn't feel the need to explain to him that I was behind at work and that this new schedule of dropping Shey off in the morning no earlier than 7:00 and picking her up no later than 5:00 put a serious damper on my ability to sell to the customers on my route the way I had become used to.
Instead of telling him anything; I simply asked him again, if he would do it. Again; more resistance. "You don't know what I had planned to do today." I told him that his plans were irrelevant. That we are supposed to plan our lives around our children not the other way around.
He reluctantly agreed and that didn't sit well with me.
Then and there; I decided that I was done trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and I later told him not to worry about picking up my daughter; that I would take care of my responsibility as I always have.
He told me that I was getting in the way of him being a good father. I corrected him and told him that he was the only person who knew anything of the situation who thought he was a good father.
The truth was; I hated asking him to do anything for our daughter. She hated going to his house and I had to force her to call him whenever they did speak.
My statement must have hit a nerve because I have not heard from him since. Even when my mom was hospitalized for almost a week and I reached out to him to take Shey to a doctor's appointment.
I can't say I'm surprised at all at his behavior. It's typical of him to act this way. In truth; I would have been more surprised if he had done the right thing.
The only thing that will get a rise or any sort of reaction out of him is when the child support payments begin to kick in. Once I'm awarded sole legal custody of our daughter and he has no say in the way she is being raised.
It's sad really. Not the way that he's behaving; but the fact that I thought he would ever behave any differently than he ever has. Maya Angelou says that when someone shows you who they are; believe them.
Suffice it to say; he has, and I do.