Christmas Eve Shopping 

It’s Christmas Eve and I am presently hanging out in the women’s bathroom at the mall waiting for my phone to charge. My mom is supposed to pick me up when she’s done work so if my phone does I’m kind of screwed. 

For the first time in my life I left all of my shopping until the 24th, which happens to be pay day. Seeing how I don’t enjoy the mall on a good day I’m sure you can envision how problematic this had the potential to be. It’s insanely busy and hot. My bags are heavy. Someone hip checked me in the dollarama. I’m tired, overwhelmed, and my feet hurt. 

For the most part I’ve done okay. I have a couple of coffee gift cards to grab on the way out and my brother’s gift left to get. I’ll need to find it at a store on the way home though as this location was all out. I haven’t yelled at anyone yet and only feel mildly grumpy. I even bought my self something. Boots that zip up and go past my calves. I’ve lost a lot of weight lately. Still plus size but 60lbs lighter. I’ve never been able to buy boots. Now I have some and they work for winter. It’s a small victory in my books. Plus they are cute. 

Well I guess that’s good enough for my bathroom ramblings. Merry Christmas 

I Survived 

Christmas has come and gone with New Year’s Eve on it’s heels. This is the first year that I didn’t put up a tree or hang stocking. It’s the first year that I didn’t buy and wrap a boat load of presents. More importantly, it’s the first year that I spent it alone. 

For awhile I had sincerely hopped that we’d figure things out and I’d spend Christmas with my husband and his family. I realized that was a far fetched fantasy when his mother sent my Christmas card back “Please return to sender.” Then I thought that maybe it would be okay. I could order food, hang out in my track pants. Turns out everything is closed Christmas Day. In the end I spent my day crying, sleeping, and watching Netflix. 

It was more difficult than I thought it would be. It was heartbreakingly painful. I got through it though. Even as I type this and think back at my first Christmas alone it takes everything in me not to cry in public. It’s okay though because I’m still here. I made it through. 

It’s a friendly scarf, don’t you think?

In my heart I am a writer. I tried to stop in hopes that its absence from my life would save my marriage. As it turns out, it didn’t. Besides, you can take the girl away from the keyboard but you can’t take keyboard away from the girl. Does that makes sense? It sounded much more eloquent in my head. I’m sure you get the point though. Writing has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been writing in some capacity or another for as long as I can remember.

I’m a pretty fast talker. My thoughts tend to flow at a much faster pace than my voice can keep up. Jotting things down and reading them back to myself helps to bring clarity to a situation that may seem confusing at first. I often reread my entries over and over, not wanting to miss anything, constantly second guessing myself, making sure I understood and read a person or situation correctly.  They say to write about what you know and for whatever reason my life seems to provide enough content to fill a novel… and quite possibly an entire series.

Blogging works for me. I can write about what I know. I can share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with a broad audience. I can be as vague or specific as I like. I can tell my story in as many or as little words as I please. The one thing that I didn’t expect when I started sharing my story online was connecting with people.

My trying to conceive blog was more successful than I anticipated. Quickly I became an active member of WordPress’ infertility community. I was gaining infinite knowledge of the world of infertility and connecting with women all over the world who were on the difficult road to motherhood, just as I was. Some were veterans, some were just starting out. Infertility is often the type of thing women endure alone. For me, babies were everywhere. My mother came from a family of 6 kids as did my father. My mother had 4 of her own. Both of my younger sisters have multiple children. My Facebook feed was full of pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and babies. The only thing in my belly was Taco Bell.

Embarking on this journey with little to no support is a challenge. The community provided the much-needed compassion and resources that I couldn’t access in my life offline. I quickly became friends with fellow TTCers. (Trying To Conceivers) I participated in various gift swaps like the mug exchange at Christmas or the lucky socks in the spring. I had a sense of belonging that I didn’t have before.

When my world turned upside down though, I no longer had a place in the community. I lost touch with many of the people I had interacted with online on a regular basis. My hiatus is partially to blame but when you belong to a trying to conceive community and you no longer have the option to try to conceive you no longer belong. The only thing I had in common with these women was now gone. I could no longer call the community home. I was homeless.

Thankfully there was one blogger in particular I didn’t lose contact with. Even though she is less than a two-hour drive away I have yet to meet her in person. Her home life was quite similar to mine. We often think and act the same way. For awhile we even had the same phone model. She was there for me throughout all of the rough times. She saw me through all of my growth, change, and multiple melt downs. There were moments where I didn’t think I would make it through but she did. She had faith. I don’t think I believe in soul mates or having one true love but I do believe in kindred spirits. We were cut from the same cloth, her and I.

As fate would have it, she pulled my name for the mug exchange. Out of all the people in the world she had pulled me. Along with a beautiful blue and white tea-cup, she sent a rainbow-coloured knitted infinity scarf. It’s soft and incredibly warm. It’s offbeat and colourful, much like myself. I’ve received many compliments on this scarf as it looks great paired with my grey coat.

This marks my third winter with the scarf around my neck. I’ve considered looking for a new one, maybe a solid colour with matching gloves, yet nothing compares.  It’s a rather friendly scarf. It represents a chapter in my life that I’m hoping isn’t quite over yet. It represents who I am as a writer. It represents the impact I had on the community and the impact the community has had on me. It represents a friendship I hold very near and dear to my heart. That’s a lot of weight for a scarf to bare.

To the giver of this scarf, you know who you are, thank you for being you. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for keeping me on track and pushing me forward. It feels great to be back, stronger than before, and I owe a lot of it to you.  Thank you.img_5681

Merry Ducking Christmas

The holidays can be a bit of a struggle, especially when you go from being a couple to a single. This was my second Christmas on my own. I kept it low key and tried to protect my heart. I had my moments but for the most part I made it through. I survived.

My someone new came by unexpectedly Saturday afternoon for a couple hours in between his busy holiday plans. The time we spent in my bed was probably some of our finer work. It was so great that as soon as we finished I sort of collapsed and hit my head off my foot board. It still hurts but I think it was worth it. I then ran a couple of last minute errands and spent the evening wrapping gifts and drinking a mixture of vodka, 7-up, and peach mango cocktail.

Later that night my former husband messaged me to show me a picture of him wearing a light up Christmas sweater with a gingerbread man flipping the bird with the caption “Merry Ducking Christmas”. That’s when I lost it. Every year we did Christmas with his family on Christmas Eve. Had things of been different I would have been with him in that picture, probably wearing a matching sweater. I would have enjoyed a big turkey dinner and spent the evening with his family… instead of with the dogs and a 26er of Ukrainian vodka.

I told him that I was glad he was happy and that I was glad his family was happy. He then got upset that I didn’t react the way he thought I would saying that I hate him and that I hate his sweater. Under different circumstances I would have found the sweater funny and perfect for him. Instead it just felt like my nose was being rubbed in what I had lost, or what he had given up. I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I struggled to get out of bed and was an hour late for brunch at my sister’s house. When I got there I was asked to move my car out of the driveway so that my mom could park there. I was unnecessarily snippy with my step dad as I unloaded the gifts out of my car and refused help. Instead of moving my car to the road I just left. I drove around the block a few times while I cried hysterically. When I composed myself I drove back, parked on the road and went inside. The first hour or so I had to lock myself in the washroom a couple times but after that I was good. I got to hold my 9 month old nephew who happens to love me and took selfies with all the kids.

I then went to visit my dad for a few hours, then had dinner with the family I babysit for and then drove to my Mom’s to hang out for a bit and give her, my step dad, and my brother their gifts. They gave me a $50 gas card along with a few other things. I cried because I’m so incredibly broke right now and was so incredibly grateful for a full tank of gas.

On boxing day I drove back out to my Mom’s to take my brother boxing day shopping. I dropped him off at work and then spent the remainder of the day eating junk and watching TV until dinner. I ended up getting a serious stomach ache so I just curled up on the couch and cuddled with their new dog. As it turns out my Someone New’s son had gotten sick and that he had caught what his son had and was sick as well. I had passed along a pretty nasty cold to him in October so I guess this makes us even.

Christmas is officially over. I’m back at work. I’m alive, in one piece, and doing okay. I sincerely hope you all had a delightful holiday and found a little happiness no matter where life has you at this particular moment.

Day By Ducking Day

The issue with having anxiety problems, other than the fact that anxiety is an issue it’s self, is that it’s incredibly hard to play it cool. Becoming a planner became a coping mechanism for me. Knowing what’s going on at all times and having control over my surroundings became crucial to living life semi comfortably. Unfortunately once you open yourself up to other people you start to loose some of that control.

Taking medication has been a huge help. Before meds my brain was constantly racing with every thought, contemplating every possibility, imagining all of the worst case scenarios all at once. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be in a room with other people. I would worry about what other people thought of me. If a task looked challenging I would feel physically sick. Life was exhausting. I still have insecurities like a normal woman in her late twenties but for the most part I breathe easy. I joke with my co workers, I drive a car, I sleep at night.

The thing I still struggle with a bit is reading other people. I’ve been known to be pretty naive and loyal to a fault. How do you know when someone is being genuine with you and when they are just leading you on? When do you throw in the towel and say duck it and when do you keep going? Dating is a big game and I am having trouble playing by the rules, or even comprehending the rules. You want to show you’re interested but you don’t want to be desperate. I want to play it cool but at the same time I don’t.

I like things straight forward. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be open and honest. I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I don’t want to play it cool. I don’t want to take it day by day and see what happens. I’m sarcastic and blunt. I’m upfront. I also happen to be very kind and caring. At least according to my co workers. I don’t want to play games I just want to know when the next time you’ll be in my bed… or at the very least if there will be a next time. I’m a planner who needs to plan. So… what’s the plan?

Duck Buddies?

I’ve never been much of a dater. I’ve gone on a handful of coffee meet ups but always bought my own cup of tea and bailed as soon as possible. I’ve been in two relationships that were considered long term but both of them kind of skipped the dating part. Now that I’m in the final stretch of my 20’s and back in the dating pool I’m really feeling like a fish out of water.

I don’t know how this works, I don’t know what would be a reasonable expectation to have. I like to be practical, I like to plan, I like to know exactly where I stand. It’s not like that though. No one is looking for a relationship any more and it’s just a series of guessing games. People will say some of the most repulsive things in their first message to you. Once after giving someone my number  they asked for a selfie to use as my contact picture. After sending the picture they told me that my eyes were so big that it looked like I was looking up at them in the middle of giving head. That’s right kids, I apparently have blow job eyes. This particular suitor genuinely believed that he was paying me a compliment.

I had always believed that if you’re going to have sex with someone you should be in a committed relationship. I’m not a romantic by any means but to me, sex was a big responsibility. With things like STI’s and pregnancy being a possibility you better make damn sure that you can trust the person your with and that having to have them in your life for the next 18 to 20 years isn’t going to be worse than nails on a chalk board. I can count the number of people I’ve slept with on one hand and used to think that was something I should be proud of. Before getting married I was incredibly inexperienced. I used to think that if someone wanted to sleep with you it meant that they had feelings for you. I’ve done a lot of growing up since I lost my virginity at the tender age of 22.

After my former husband left I was celibate  for over a year. I thought that I was a relationship girl. I didn’t think I was capable of a random hook up and the thought of a friends with benefits relationship was absurd to me. Since starting to see my someone new I’ve realized that I’m not necessarily the girl I thought that I was or that I needed to be. My attitude towards everything has changed.

As it turns out I love sex. This isn’t news to me. Living with someone and sharing a bed with them for four years opens you up to a lot. Once I started having sex again though I wanted more of it, frequently. My ex and I moved quickly. Even before we moved in together he was sleeping in my bed at least 5 nights a week. Not having done the whole dating thing the fact that I can’t decide I want to get laid and make it happen that day is incredibly frustrating. When my someone new decided that he didn’t want to lead me on I came crawling back two weeks later because I needed it. I craved it. Suddenly that wholesome relationship girl who needed to do everything in the right order was gone. The more we get together the more I craved it. Sometimes I can’t even think straight. It just consumes me. Is that normal?

So, since the end of July I have been sleeping with this someone new with the understanding  that we have a friends with benefits relationship. I still have my own space, I still do what I want, I’m still overly independent but now there is someone to scratch that itch, and does so quite well might I add. The down side is that it’s not as frequent as I’d like… but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Here’s the thing though, when you’re going to be vulnerable with someone on a regular basis it’s pretty rare that someone doesn’t catch feelings. Over the last month we’re seeing each other more frequently. We’re getting more comfortable with one another, things feel more natural. I think that I might want something more… but I don’t want to loose what we currently have. I can’t decide if I have feeling or sex goggles on. It’s quite the predicament to be in.

Last Sunday he messaged me at 8:45am to ask me to see a movie. I was under the impression that our relationship was limited to one of our beds. For the last couple months our contact was basically him coming over for an hour and half before his shift started to fool around and then leave. He picked me up and drove us there, he paid for the movie and popcorn, he was affectionate with me during the movie (hand holding, arm around me, rubbing my leg), he even dressed up a little.I was quite relieved I wore something a little nicer than the Deadpool jersey I had initially planned on. I kept going back and fourth as to whether this was a date or not.

On Tuesday night he came over. Like we usually do we crawled into my bed and watched tv. We still fooled around but it was different. It was less like ducking and more intimate. It wasn’t bad, just different. At least different for us. Then afterwards he stayed. We spent the remainder of the night cuddling in bed, watching tv, napping, giving back rubs. There’s a good chance he was late for work that night as he left later than he normally does.

I’m left here feeling confused. Are we dating now? Are we still just friends with benefits? Is there potential for this to go somewhere? I don’t know. I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t know how this works. I don’t know what the duck I’m doing. I’ve decided that I’m just taking this day by day. Moment by moment. This is what people do now right? No labels? I don’t ducking know. What I do know is that I feel good. I feel happy, and it’s been awhile since I’ve been optimistic about something. It’s been awhile that I’ve done a long stretch of time without missing my ex or crying myself to sleep. I think that what ever this is and what ever it turns out to be might be exactly what I need.

 

Here’s To The Next Ducking Chapter

I’ve met someone. A few months after I found myself alone with two dogs in a four bedroom townhouse I decided to create an online dating profile and get myself out there. I ended up connecting with a man who lived in a small town about 15 minutes from me. He was a foot taller than me, big and burly, a trimmed beard, five years older than I, and a little awkward in an adorable way. He kind of rambled when he was nervous. I could relate to the awkwardness.

We swapped numbers and after talking for a bit he asked me out. The first time we went out it was an incredibly hot July Friday night. He took me to see Trainwreck a week or so after it had opened. Soon after that he picked me up to watch him play hockey. He was a nice guy but I wasn’t sure I was ready to let go of my husband who was still promising to maybe come home. We hung out a handful of times after that. He’d pick me up and bring me back to his apartment and we’d watch movies. I’d get dressed up and put on something cute but nothing ever happened other than two adults sitting on a couch watching a movie in the dark.

It didn’t last long. I wasn’t putting enough effort into seeing him. I always had excuses even though he was willing to pick me up and bring me back home when it’d be easier just to hang out at my place. He got the vibe that I wasn’t into him and decided to cut his losses. I was annoyed but looking back I don’t blame him. It had been less than three months since my husband had decided to not come home. It was too soon and I wasn’t ready. A big part of why I kept going back probably had something to do with the fact that there was air conditioning in his apartment and my townhouse felt like a sauna. Before you start in on me I already know I`m a terrible person. We’ve already established this.

Fast forward a year and I get a message from him on my dating profile. He wanted to talk, maybe hang out, give it another go. I had gone on several coffee dates with other guys since then but nothing that had made it past that initial first meeting.  At this time I had given notice on the town house and was prepping to move. I had gotten my license three weeks prior, was now taking medication for my anxiety, had lost a ton of weight since I’d seen him last, but still had a lot going on emotionally. I was annoyed about how things had ended a year ago but out of boredom gave him my new number. He invited me to hang out a few times and I shot him down.

The Friday before I moved though I was sitting in my hot sticky townhouse and tired of packing. I sent a text message which lead to him inviting me over. He had his kids but I was welcome to come watch a movie after they were in bed. With my sole intention being to get out of the heat I showered, prettied up and drove out to see him. We sat on opposite ends of the couch and watched TV for an hour before I decided it was late and I needed to go. To my surprise he asked me to come back Saturday night, so I did and brought a couple movies. This time we got closer and by the end of the night were full on cuddling on his couch. It was comfortable and felt nice and I was exhausted both emotionally and physically. I stayed far too late considering I was packing up my life as I knew it and moving it to a tiny apartment the following day. When the movie ended I said I needed to go, but he begged me to stay. As a compromise we put on the blooper reel and I agreed to go after that but when it finished we ended up moving onto the next special feature until they were all done and I was out of excuses to stay.

Sunday I, along with the help of some of my closest friends, moved all of my stuff and my dogs into the new place. It was a long and emotional day. When he invited me over again that night I went. He brought me into his room to check out the 50 inch TV he had mounted onto the wall. He had made it look like he had built it into the wall by surrounding it with wood. It was rustic looking and totally up my alley. Since we were already in his room he suggested we just watch TV there… in his bed… So we did. Nearing the end of our second episode of Tosh.0 he tilted my chin up and kissed me. This lead to more kissing which lead to wandering hands which lead to me asking if he had a condom.

I remember the look of shock on his face. I had just assumed that this was where things were going. You invite a girl into your home, late at night, and ask her to cuddle and watch TV in your bed… isn’t that basically what the kids are calling ‘netflix and chill‘… which is code for sex right? What did he think was going to happen? With that said though that’s basically the story of how I lost my virginity at 22. I naively believed that when you invited a boy to come over and watch a movie you were genuinely going to watch a movie.  He nervously got up and ran to his bathroom.

It took a few minutes of me lying in his bed half naked from the waste down listening to him rummaging through drawers before he came back with one in hand, the only one he had. I didn’t have a lot of experience before I had gotten married and it had been over year since I had last been with anyone, since anyone had kissed me, seen me without clothes, touched me. This was foreign to me but I wanted it. I needed it. It was different then I remembered. He knew what he was doing. He took control. I just let go and went with it.  I realized afterwards as we lied in his bed talking that he was super self conscious and had anxiety issues similar to those that I was now taking meds for.

Since that night we’ve had a friends with benefits sort of relationship off and on. I’d drive in after the kids are asleep and crawl into his bed or he’d stop by before he started work Sunday night. We’d stop talking for a bit as he decided to see someone else but came back around when it didn’t get very far. Being a Father of three who is incredibly involved in his kids’ lives he wants to make sure the next relationship he gets into his his last. He doesn’t want anyone meeting his kids unless they’re the one. I can respect that. We reconnected after a month or so of nothing and I gave him hell for going MIA. I stood up for my self and what I thought I wanted. After a few more late night trips to his apartment and a movie date we drove to separately he wasn’t sure if there was potential for us and didn’t want to lead me on. A few weeks after that I messaged him to hook up and it’s been ongoing ever since.

It’s taken time for me to settle into this new life that I’ve created for myself. You can’t go from married and dealing with infertility to being separated then divorced and then in a relationship and then a step mom in a blink of an eye. In a year’s time I got a new job, learned to drive, bought a car, lost 75lbs, had to put down my 9 year old dog, got a new dog, moved to a much smaller place and started dating. I did this all on my own. I took the time to make sure I was okay with who I was and to figure out what I wanted. For the longest time I thought that I was going to be on my own for the rest of my life. I went through a phase where I didn’t want to be in a relationship, didn’t want to depend on anyone, wanted to be fiercely independent and only wanted sex… nothing else.

The thing about that though is that it can’t just be sex. Eventually someone gets feelings and if you’re lucky it’s both of you. Luck is typically not on my side. I’m not 100% sure but I think things are changing. Something feels different.

Can you unhook me?

“Can you unhook me?” Was something I used to say to my former husband on a nightly basis. This is my first winter with a car of my own and as a licensed driver. Back when we were living in our first apartment I used to bus to and from work. New Years Eve day about five years ago I was scheduled to work until 3:00pm and he was to get off at 1:00pm. The plan was for him to pick me up but he got stuck at work until 4:00pm. That left me cold, irritated, and on the bus.

Coming up to the front doors of our apartment building after my miserable trek home I slipped on the icy walk way and face planted into the unsholveled and unsalted snow and ice. The pain was so bad that I actually just lay there in the middle of the walk way  for a few minutes before I could muster up the strength to pull myself up and head to our second floor apartment. My former husband was still an hour away and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. When I finally made it upstairs our dogs were jumping up and down eagerly to get outside. All I could do was throw myself onto the bed and cry.

I was in so much pain. My whole body ached and I didn’t have full mobility of my arm/shoulder. When my former husband got home he helped undress me and got me into pajama pants, a tank top and a hoodie. We should have gone to the hospital. He suggested we go. I was stubborn though. It was New Years Eve, it was his Birthday on New Years Day. I had baked a cake and we were taking it to another couple’s house so we could sing to him at midnight. I wasn’t about to ruin his night by sitting in the ER because I fell in the parking lot.  So in my pajamas, which I’d like to add I never leave the house in, we went to our friends’ home to ring in the new year. I sat in a big comfy chair cross legged sipping vodka ginger-ale and popping Tylenol until we left shortly after midnight.

For a good year and a half after my fall I still had limited mobility in my arm and shoulder. This meant that I couldn’t reach both hands behind my back and was unable to take off my bra at the end of the night. For a year and a half my former husband would pull me in close and undo the clasps when asked to unhook me. It kind of became our thing. Something that we did just out of habit long after I had regained mobility and was more than capable of undressing myself.

I bring this little anecdote up because I’ve been seeing someone new. I plan to get into more detail in a second entry I will publish after this one. Last week this someone new and I were getting intimate while watching a movie in my bed. When things started to get heated I turned around and asked him to unhook me, not realizing what I was saying. It took a minute to shake the feeling those words gave me as they breathlessly spilled out of my mouth. By the time I had checked myself back into the moment my white and purple polka-dotted bra was on the floor beside the bed.

I’m moving forward. I’m re-experiencing things with someone new. Things that I had thought would be forever tainted are pleasant again. I thought that I was forever tainted, that I wasn’t worthy, that I would be unhappy and alone if my former husband chose not to comeback.  He’s still considering things, weighing his options, trying to figure out how he can have the best of both worlds like a modern day Hannah Montana.  For the first time though I can honestly say that I’m happy with how things are going. I can say that I’m good and say it with confidence. I can say with conviction that I am no longer one of his options. I can unhook myself, and when I can’t there is someone out there who is more qualified than he was to get the job done.

Here’s The Thing… Duck Everyone

Sometimes you feel like you’re on top of the world. Like you could climb any mountain that stands before you. Then you fall off that mountain and almost die. Almost being the key word here.

Things were great. I was conquering the world. Then this divorce shit got real, and I gave up the town house and moved into a little apartment and my mom got married, and I got into a car accident that insurance didn’t cover and racked up a car full of debt, I picked up a seasonal part time job that ended up giving me full time hours on top of my already full time job, I signed divorce papers, I got super emotional and tired and stressed out and was hanging on by a thread. I almost didn’t make it.

I started seeing a social worker. My seasonal job ended. I got my car fixed. I got a plan in place to manage debt. I decorated and unpacked my new apartment. I started casually seeing someone. I started to remember who I was. Slowly but surely I started to get a handle on things and take control of my life.

Coming to terms with the fact that he’s not coming back has been difficult. I still have moments where I sit in my car and cry but I’m getting there. I’m okay on my own. I know what I want out of life. I have plans… big ones. But in the mean time I’m here… blogging, living life, kicking ass.