Does being a woman really make me a bad mother?

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I lost a couple of “close” friends this past weekend over my sexuality. More appropriately I should say I cut a couple of pretentious women out of my life for judging my way of expressing myself as a woman.

Yep, I am a woman and I love sex. In fact, I really love sex a whole damn lot! And here’s the funny thing…I’M NOT ALONE!

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know my life kind of took a turn for the worse this past summer. One night in July, I was home lying in bed, drinking alone and scrolling Twitter. I read a tweet from a Twitter elite that one of my favorite bloggers had retweeted. It actually made me laugh out loud for real and I became addicted.

I became addicted because women and men were tweeting shit that was in my head. All kinds of things that I think probably far too often, but that I would never verbalize in real life. Not because I am ashamed of my thoughts, but more specifically because in real life I was raised to believe that sexuality is something to be ashamed of, something to hide and something to squash if it refused to reside within the bounds of what is deemed “appropriate”. Out of respect for my real life friends and those type of boundaries, I keep a lot of my sexual thoughts  on Twitter.

But what I want to know is this: Who the hell deems what is appropriate when it comes to expressing ones sexuality?

“There is nothing dirty, immoral or questionable about your sexuality. Fuck anyone that tries to tell you differently” ~@Lickyourstein

That’s right! There is nothing dirty about being a sexual woman.

Last time I checked the two main things married couples fight about are money and sex. Perhaps more married couples should explore sex from a different viewpoint – one that realizes there is something to be said for including a little role play and the exploration of sex outside the “norm” (sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me!)

Maybe if more people chose not to squash their sexual desires in an attempt to keep within the realm of “that which is appropriate”, we wouldn’t fight about sex.

Maybe if we stopped saying things like “only a whore would do something like that” when we know it’s something we would love to try, then perhaps the divorce rate in this country wouldn’t be over 50%.

Maybe, just maybe, if we all admitted that we have thoughts that fall outside the “good Christian” acceptable range about sex, then maybe our society could stop using men and women’s sexual desires as a means of defining their ability to parent a child.

That being said, I’m not judging any other person’s sexuality or the way that they choose to express it. Simply not understanding someone’s desires, does not make them wrong!

Hey, if missionary is your thing – rock on! It’s not really mine and I would hope that you don’t judge me for that.

Ah, but here we are coming full circle back to the reason for my blog – I was judged.

  • Judged because of the way I choose to express my sexuality, perhaps even for my sexuality itself.
  • Judged because I have found an outlet where I am free to express myself
  • Judged for my tweets (by the way if you fail to see the embellishment for the sake of humor, I feel sorry for you!)
  • Judged because I choose to be a mother who is also a woman rather than hide that part of me.

Being a sexual woman and being a mother are NOT mutually exclusive.

I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m not certain that I want one. If I found one now, I would give up my Twitter life. (Not because it’s what he would want, but out of respect for him.) The friends I’ve made through Twitter have gotten me through some rough times the last few months and I’m not ready to see it end.

I didn’t jump from my marriage immediately into another relationship. I haven’t dated anyone seriously enough to introduce him to my kids.

I don’t define myself by being involved with someone. I have spent four long and difficult years learning to love ME, and I do love me – all of my faults, all of my quirks and all of my sexuality, including my less than “traditional” way of expressing it.

Never explain yourself to others. Those who truly care don’t need it and the rest won’t believe you anyway.

The bottom line is this: I am who I am. You are who you are.

Celebrate the person that you are inside and out. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that being a sexual woman makes you a bad mother. I don’t believe that for a second, and you know what? Neither should you. People will always talk and people will always judge. You have to decide if you’re going to let that change how you perceive yourself. Are you going to let it change you?

The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find 🙂

P.S.

Relationship status: Wearing my own hoodie, playing my own games and living my own life. And it’s the best damn relationship I’ve ever had!

(And yes, I’m gonna tweet that shit!)

What lies within you?

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A dear friend sent this to me today. I didn’t always believe this to be true. However, over the past year I have seen it work in my life, both ways.

In the summer of 2012, I was lamenting to a friend that of the four big areas of stress in my life, I would love it if just one of them could be easy. Just one easy part of my life was all I felt I needed in order to relieve some tension. The four big stress areas were: money, kids, apartment and love life. In general I was happy, but the stress had a way of knocking me on my ass with greater frequency than I cared to admit.

This friend talked to me about the quote above – you draw to you that which you put out into the universe. If you think negatively, negative things are drawn to you. If you want good things to happen, you have to give off positive vibes.

Knowing I was a skeptic, she advised that I choose one of the four areas and think all of the positive thoughts I could about that one thing. Never allow anything negative to creep into my thoughts about that one thing…make a list and bring the positive to me. Choose to shit rainbows, she said and rainbows would come to me.

So I chose and I started letting go of the negativity. Low and behold, I did start shitting rainbows! I found a job and got promoted within the first two weeks. I found a better place for us to live and the kids started behaving, less like heathens and more like sweet young boys.

Now let’s not get hung up on the fact that I chose “love life” and that still remained in the shitter. The important aspect of my story is that when I chose to be positive, to “fake it til I made it” so to speak, amazing things began to happen in my life. I rode that positive rainbow all the way through my 40th birthday in April, which was by far one of the greatest days of my adult life.

Then something changed. It wasn’t a momentous event. It happened slowly over the month of May. Things started going wrong and I couldn’t seem to keep my emotions on a positive track. In hindsight, I know why I fell off the rainbow into the pile of shit below. Though, at the time, I couldn’t see it.

Then the big fall on May 30th and everything spiraled out of control. Once I let the negativity take hold, the universe decided to keep throwing more my way. In some ways, it hasn’t stopped.

In other ways, I’m back!

I had a moment of clarity last Saturday night. I had been put into an impossible situation at my job and I was overwhelmed. In the heat of the moment, I was angry and thinking irrationally. Once things got back under control, I looked at my situation from a different point of view and decided to make some changes.

I’ve been strong for too long to stay down for long. Five months is plenty long enough!

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

I have been given an amazing job opportunity. One that will finally allow me to do something that I love and get paid for it. (And NO it does not involved a pole Kirsten!!)

I also have been given the opportunity to try on a new life, kind of like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I’ve learned more about myself the past six weeks than I have in my entire 40 years. Some of what I’m learning makes me smile. Some of what I’m learning makes me want to change. (That is whole post in and of itself.) But everything that I am learning is going to positively influence my life going forward.

Maybe if I had taken time for myself sooner after the divorce….

Maybe if I had taken a closer look at the person staring back at me in the mirror…

Maybe things would be different or maybe they wouldn’t.

I know what lies within me. I’m learning to recognize when I get off track. I know that I’d rather shit rainbows that spend any more time with the negative crap into which you can fall when you let yourself.

How many times have you worked on your relationship with you? How often do you stop and think about who you are, what makes you tick? Do you know yourself? Do you recognize your pitfalls? Do you believe in you? Do you love you?

Are you riding your rainbow or are you wallowing in the shit?

What lies within you?

The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.

And if you can find someone to love the you, you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” ~Carrie Bradshaw

The worst day of my life

Life is short. You should love yourself and surround yourself with a life that you love. My father did those things. He was far from perfect and he often acted in a way that others didn’t like. However, he lived his life the way he wanted to live it and though his time on earth came to an early end, I can guarantee he loved the time he was given and never regretted any of it.

This is not a post for you. This is a post for me. It is simply the story of what happened on the worst day of my life and how it felt to be me. Someday if I can no longer tell it, I want my kids and grandkids to know…

Seven years ago today at this time we were landing in Chicago, met at the airport by one of Dad’s closest friends and my brother’s best friend who had been sent to pick us up, along with my brother and sister-in-law who flew in just a short time later from Vegas. There are few aspects of that morning that are perfectly clear in my mind, but I vividly remember the looks on the face of Jim and Brent – a mixture of shock and sadness – there were no words. None of us had words.

3:30 a.m. in New Hampshire: the phone rang. It was the ringtone assigned to Mom and Dad’s house “There’s No Place Like Home”. Shawn picked up the phone and handed it to me. I answered and Mom asked to talk to Shawn, so I handed the phone back to him. (Colton was 3 months old at the time, so there was sleep deprivation already in place.)

Shawn said “Hello?” There was a short pause, then he sat straight up in bed and said “WHAT?!? Oh my god, what happened?” I laid there waiting for him to hang up thinking something had happened to one of my brother’s wives who were both pregnant at the time. It seemed like hours before he hung up but it must have been just minutes.

I sat up and he looked me in the eye. “I have no idea how to say this,” he began. “Your Dad died. There was an accident. Your Dad is gone.” (There are few times in life I can remember exact words in a conversation…those I will never forget.)

“No, no NOOOO!!” I screamed and jumped out of bed, pacing around the room, screaming, shaking and waving my arms like a mad woman. Shawn tried to control me, hug me, calm me down, but I shoved him away. I grabbed the phone and tried to call Mom but she didn’t answer. I immediately called my brother Mike. He told me that Mom had called Jake, Dad’s best friend first and then she had called 911. Jake had gotten to the house before the ambulance. After 911, she called her brother Ken who was on his way down from Pontiac. Mike had called our cousins in Kenney and also Dad’s other closest friend Jim and Mike himself was on his way to her house.

Knowing that Mom was taken care of, I raced downstairs to the computer in the playroom and immediately logged onto Southwest’s website to find tickets. I could never find adequate words to describe the flood of emotions in that short period of time and to this day I have never asked Shawn about it from his point of view. I vaguely remember thinking “this can’t be happening” and “I have to get home.”

The next hour is a blur. I ended up on the phone with Southwest and got tickets booked for 10:30 a.m. into Chicago. There were phone calls to Shawn’s family, other relatives and a mad dash to pack. I think at one point I woke the kids up with my hysterics, either that or Colton needed a boob and Zachary just woke up at his usual 4:30-5:00 a.m.

In another moment of absolute clarity, I remember trying 4 or 5 times to reach my cousin Jodi. Finally she called and was yelling that “someone kept calling their house at a ridiculous hour from this number”. When she finally stopped yelling, I told her…

I have no clue how we got packed nor how we got to the airport. I remember sitting leaning against the wall waiting to board the plane and calling Baker, my best friend from college, to tell him the news.

Then we landed in Chicago…

When we pulled into Mom’s driveway a few hours later, the garage door was up and the bed of his truck was filled with boxes of soda, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, solo cups, etc. Shawn asked if Mom and Dad were planning to have a party? Someone chuckled and told him that no, this is simply what people do when someone dies.  (Mom still had toilet paper from Dad’s death over a year later because that’s how many friends they have.)

After those first few minutes, most of the day was a blur. I don’t remember meeting Matt and Diana at the airport. I have to assume that I fed Colton since he was breast feeding though I honestly do not remembering interacting with my children at all that day. I also don’t remember Shawn being there or helping.

I do recall another moment of clarity, Sarah Coatney walking into the house and hugging me telling me she was sorry for my loss. Then she told me that as she was driving to the house, a big buck walked across the road in front of her. It stopped when it got to the middle of the road and just turned and stared. She shared that she could feel it was my Dad….gone but still checking in.

Later that night when everyone was gone, Shawn, Mom and myself were sitting in the living room watching T.V. Mom asked if I wanted to know what happened and I freaked out. She told me that in time when I was ready, she would tell me. The last thing I remember from the worst day of my life is thinking that I would never want to know…

A few days later after the funeral was over and every else was returning to their normal lives, I was coming out of The Pharmacy. One of boys had pink eye and I was picking up the prescription. I ran into Joe Victor, the coroner. He told me how sorry he was and that Dad was the first of three tragic death calls that day. He then said “I want you to know that he didn’t suffer.” I remember thinking how could it be that he didn’t suffer? All that I knew was Mom found him dead in his shop where he had been working on her dryer.

…so I finally had to ask and Mom told me the story.

My Dad had a harness that he used to give himself chiropractic care. He had been working on the addition to the chinese restaurant in town and had fallen off the scaffolding a few times causing some back pain. Rather than make an appointment with the chiropractor, Dad decided to give himself a treatment at home. Since his retirement in March, he had lost about 15-20 pounds. When he put on the harness, he did not adjust the straps correctly to account for the weight loss. He connected the harness to the pulleys in his shop and pushed the button to lift himself off the ground so he could flip over and crack his spine. Because the harness was too loose, the straps lifted up and compressed his carotid artery (think choke hold in the movies – the person passes out but isn’t dead). Dad passed out, but since there was no way for the straps to “let go”, he never woke up. When Mom found him at 2 a.m., she walked over and felt his hand which was cold and she knew he was gone.

He was 57.

Dad always said, “When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. There’s nothing you can do about it.” He also used to say that he never minded getting older because there was only one alternative.

There is a lesson in his words as well as a lesson in his death.

Life is short, for some shorter than others.

You can spend it afraid of what might happen, never taking risks or trying new things because you might get hurt or even worse.

Or you can choose to seize the moment, embrace aging and loving life.

Choose to be like my Dad, unafraid of dying and happy for every year he was given. Choose to live!

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!

 

Remembering from home

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For the first time since the day my Dad died seven years ago, I am once again at home in Illinois on October 2nd. I am surrounded by reminders of my Dad daily. I look for something in Mom’s house and find a tool of his or a long ago picture of him. I run into people around town that tell me stories about him or that tell me how much they still miss him. For seven years I have wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by all of these people and these reminders, especially on this day, but being here is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

Death changes those people it leaves behind. I remember Pastor Tom saying to me once that when a loved one dies it leaves a hole in your heart. Life will go on and love for others will blossom and grow within you, but nothing will ever fill that hole. The hole stays to remind us that not even death can remove our loved ones from our lives.

I can still hear my Dad’s voice. I can still see his smile. I can still remember how it felt to hug him the final time at the airport in Chicago. I even know that he visits me from time to time…a deer on the roadside that doesn’t get spooked but just stands and stares, a song that triggers a memory or a run in with a random friend at times when I need it most. These things are not coincidence. They are my Dad letting me know that he is still in my life, reminding me that he will always be there.

I changed the day my Dad died, the I didn’t fully realize it until 2 1/2 years later on my 36th birthday. Dad’s death taught me that life is short and it shouldn’t be wasted. On my 36th birthday (2 1/2 years later) my Mom drove that point home by reminding me to ask myself “Is this the mountain I want to die on?” My Dad was 57 when his life was taken without warning, but I think if you asked him that question his answer would have been “Yes!”

I’m certain that not all of my choices would make my Daddy happy. However I do know this: I live my life the way I want to live it and I make no excuses for who I am. I can tell you without a doubt, THAT would make my Daddy proud of me.

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So today I remember and tomorrow life goes on because that is exactly the way my Dad, my hero would want it to be!