Monday, November 26, 2012

{Emotional Healing} Fear

Following the theme of my post about self worth, I'm taking a look at another emotion that lurks behind my more obvious feelings of hate and bitterness over my breakup.

Today's emotional discovery: fear.

I realize that a lot of reasons I harbor so much bitterness is fear; there are so many things that make me fearful.

I'm afraid I will make the same mistakes I made with him. I'm afraid I'll give my heart away fully only to get hurt again. I'm afraid I will choose wrong. I'm afraid that I can't trust myself to choose wisely.

I'm afraid he will do the same thing he did to me with another girl; I'm afraid he will impregnate someone else. I'm afraid he will love his next girlfriend more than he ever loved me. I'm afraid he will start a new family and pay less attention to November. I'm afraid we will lose him more than we already have.

I'm afraid that I'm damaged goods. I'm afraid no one will ever want me as a single mom who has made many mistakes.

Looking my fear in the face shows me how ridiculous some of those fears are, and helps me overcome the more reasonable fears. In answer to the fears I listed above:

Yes, I'm afraid I will make the same mistakes again, but I've already learned a lot and am doing things differently. I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of our relationship involving rushing into a serious relationship too soon, alcohol, promiscuity, and not listening to my inner sense. I'm not making any of those mistakes now. And the bottom line is: our relationship was NOT a mistake. No matter how many times I wish we had never even started dating in order to avoid the heartache I suffer, I must understand that it had to happen. I got November out of it, I became a better person, I grew wiser. This was meant to be no matter what came of it. I've learned so much and am armed with better knowledge to choose someone better for me next time. Yes, I might get hurt again. But if that is meant to happen, it will, despite all the wise choices I make. I just have to decide; be brave and try again, or hide from life?

I'm afraid of HE will make the same mistakes again, which obviously means I still care about him and don't want to see him screwing up his life. But his future is not my concern or responsibility. All that matters is his relationship with our daughter. Where my fear concerns him abandoning November, well, that is a very serious fear. But if he is a shitty enough person to stop being a good father to our daughter due to starting a new family, then he doesn't deserve to be in her life and she would be better off without him. I'm not exactly sure what to do with my fear of watching him love someone more than me, other than trusting that someday I will no longer give a crap about who he loves. I know in the future I will be with someone freaking amazing and will be loving that man more than any other, so why should HE not have the same happiness. In the end, I want us both to be happy in our separate lives.

My fear of being damaged goods is ridiculous. Yeah, some guys consider single moms to be a no-go, but they can suck it anyway. Choosing my next or even TRUE great love will be a very selective process. I only need the RIGHT kind of dedicated, family oriented man. Everyone else need not apply. I'm not interested. I know for sure that there are tons of guys out there who are more than happy to love a woman, even if she comes with some baggage...even if that baggage drools and poops its pants.

Fear is often unfounded. Once you really take it apart and look for truth, it can no longer scare you quite as bad.

In other news, I've been working on pampering me, doing things I love to do or that make me feel good. The other day November and I had a mommy-daughter date to the library, to get frozen yogurt, and then on a walk down the beautiful, peaceful trail that goes through our new neighborhood. Today I took a sunset jog down the trail!

I won't give up on love due to fear. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My heart works just fine

Image from {this great article: 10 tips to mend a broken heart}

My heart isn't broken, my heart works just fine. It hurts, it aches. It feels the pain of lost love. It numbs, it hides, to protect me from feeling. It bristles at the prospect of being hurt again. Yet still it blossoms at the sight of my baby's sweet smile. It will open when it's ready to let love in again. It will learn, it will heal, and repeat when needed. My heart is strong. My heart is wise. My heart is brave. It knows how to love. How to endure. How to repair. How to love again.

My heart isn't broken
My heart works just fine

{Emotional Healing} Self Worth

In an attempt to identify my feelings to work through them, instead of skirting around them, I've been searching beyond my feelings of hate and bitterness to see what really lies beneath. The end goal is healing. Overcoming my negative feelings to a place of forgiveness and freedom.

Today's discovery: feeling unworthy.

Coming to terms with the fact that I have been left, broken-up with, dumped, abandoned, set aside, or whatever you want to call it, has not been easy. Throw in the probability that I was left for another girl (who doesn't have an 'insurance policy' before breaking up with someone?) and I'm furious.

I feel so angry and bitter when I think HE left me, our relationship, our family, and the life we were making together to start a different life with someone else. Lets say even with the unlikely miniscule chance that another romantic interest had nothing to do with his decision to leave, he still left ME. Me, who was madly in love with him. Me, who did all I thought I could to keep the magic alive. Me, who always tried to be the perfect girlfriend. Me, who hadn't the slightest idea anything was going wrong for him.

It brings about all these questions about what is so wrong with ME? What did I do wrong? What is so repulsive about me? What is so much better about some other girl(s)?

And there it is; the ego. My anger and hate stem from wounds to my self-worth. I feel unworthy of love, I feel unattractive, and unlovable. 

But that is not true. He obviously lost appreciation for me and all that I brought to our relationship and his life. I have NO idea what went wrong or when, what he was thinking, or what is going through his head. It's none of my business. My business is me. And guess what: I'm damn worthy of love and affection. Guys really do find me both lovable  and attractive. I am worth it. I am.

Someone else will love me for me just fine. Someone else will be thrilled to have a chance with me. Someone will want to stick around. And all dating prospects aside; I'm thrilled to be with me! I like myself. I like the changes I've made and the person I've become. I like the ways that I'm growing and I KNOW great things are in store for me.

There's always someone better. And I deserve better. Sadly, I really thought HE was better. I thought he was the best. I have a hard time figuring out where I messed up in choosing him. Aside from a few mistakes and warning signs in the very beginning (age difference, he had just been dumped from a long relationship, I was still getting over my ex, our relationship was ignited by alcohol, sex came before romance)...ok now that I write it all out I can see those were HUGE warning signs. But aside from that, his courtship seemed so genuine and I felt like he would be good for me. But lessons have been learned. Maybe the ME I am now, never would have attracted him and his tempting romantic courtship? Hard to say. What's done is done and everything happens for a reason. The point is that I'm the cat's f-ing meow and deserve someone better. I'm worthy of someone better. I'm totally worthy of real, lasting love.

Don't ever let someone else's actions bring down your self worth. People are weird and do crazy shit. Don't let their problems bring you down. Just work on being the best version of YOU and you'll attract the right people. Smile! Life will get better.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! We've had one heck of a month. I've been a single mom for one month, spent a lot of time grieving, hoping, crying, smiling, laughing, and healing. I've gone from living on the floor of my parents work-out room to living in a new house, in a great big new room. I've gone from heartbroken to newly married to a handsome british millionaire and am wildly in love...ok, just kidding about that whole part.

I'm still healing from my broken heart, have up days, down days, good days, bad days, awesome days, worse days. But I'm doing it right this time; I'm feeling my feelings and working through them. Slowly. I'm so thankful for sooooo many things; for my family for loving and supporting me and for moving into an awesome, big new house just so November and I can live with them and have a real live giant room of our own. I'm thankful for all my loving, supportive friends who have been talking to me, listening to me, praying for me, helping me and just downright being there for me. I'm thankful for my job. I'm thankful for my beautiful, amazing, delightful little girl and all the joy and love she brings me every day. And even though I naturally have a lot of negative feelings about him still, I am grateful for her father for making my beautiful baby with me, and for being a somewhat easy to handle ex-baby-daddy.

By this time next year, I'll have even more to be grateful for and I'll look back on the toughest month of my life with pride, knowing I survived and I'm stronger. 

I'll elaborate more on our newest big move, especially once I have pictures of our new room. I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving, and I wish you lots to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Flu

There's nothing sweeter than a {sick} sleeping baby! My whole family got the 24 hour flu. Poor Nova got it first, as I discovered when she suddenly threw up all over me at 3am the other morning. Like a super-mom, I quickly and quietly cleaned a lot of the mess, put down a towel, and snuggled my stinky baby back to sleep. She was lethargic most of the day, but only threw up once more, and was feeling better by the evening, when she conked out in the middle of the bed as seen in the picture above. I, my mom, and step-dad all got it the next day. I thought I would feel terrible today, but I woke up feeling fine. What a miracle sleep can do! I can't afford any sickness in my life; tomorrow is the opening day of my work's (Trader Joe's Issaquah) new store, and this weekend is the big move to the new house! So I'm wishing all my friends, family, co-workers, and reader the best of health and love!

All You Need Is...a lot

Original image from {here}

The Beatles lied to us. They lied about a lot of things. Love songs and poetry, written in a fleeting moment of whirlwind lust and passion, boast beautiful words and false promises that can only be fulfilled if the artist is bound by duty, honor, and a strong moral compass. Because, like I said in my heartbroken post, those initial, lustful feelings always fade. Love becomes boring, domestic. Don't fall for a love song.

When I got out of my first long relationship, I read Being in Love by Osho. It was a great book and really helped me come to terms with the ending of my relationship, and move on. It taught me that the end of love is normal and often inevitable. It taught me to accept that people change and grow apart. I learned to be brave, accept the possibility that love could end again in my future, but to embrace new love without fear. I lived by this as a newly single woman on the rebound, and really resonated with the message.

The day my perception of love was once again altered was early in my relationship with November's daddy at my friend Abi's wedding. Her pastor was telling a story, as he stood before the couple ready to seal their fates together, about another couple he had recently married. This other couple had vows that ended in 'as long as love endures.' I was like, 'heck yeah, that's very realistic and forward-thinking of them! No one can promise an eternity to each other.' To my shock, he went on to explain how cowardly this vow was. He explained how the feelings you consider to be 'love' at the beginning months and years of a relationship or marriage are actually the fleeting, excited feelings of lust and passion, and if you expect to leave as soon as those feelings end, you certainly won't make it very far. He explained that love was a choice, and that marriage was a commitment to stay with the person you choose to love, even when things get tough, and passion fades.

I remember my feeling of awe and intimidation at his words. There I was, comparing these two opposing mindsets; I loved the freedom and fearlessness of Osho's philosophy, but it wasn't very secure; I loved the security and dedication of a Christian marriage, but it seemed so grim and difficult. I toyed with both ideals in the back of my mind, never settling on which was 'better'...until I had November.

Starting a family taught me the meaning of dedication, commitment and working hard at love through tough times; not only with Spencer, but with my new baby too. I realize now how important it is to be honor-bound by your spouse and children, to commit to them, and stay through the toughest times. NOW I understand the importance of having children AFTER you're someone you have selected to commit to, to start a family with; someone who holds the proper values as a dedicated spouse and parent. Oops.

Not saying that married people have it any easier; divorce happens to the most well-planned couples. All I'm saying is that I totally get it now, especially why religious couples go through so much counseling and preparation; they are bound by faith to make their marriage work and want to do all that is possible to make that happen.

Osho's philosophy is wonderful for young singles, newly broken-up singles, or even more open-minded attached peoples. But I realize, at least for me, when it comes to marriage and starting a family, I want the dedicated, the honor-bound, the dutiful, the true heartfelt, life-giving commitment. Yeah, it's scary. Yeah, it's hard. But that's how you build a strong, unbreakable family. But first you have to choose the right person; someone who shares the same philosophy as you as is willing to work just as hard as you.

Love is just not enough.

You can love someone, but not be committed. You can love, but not behave dutifully. You can love, but not be right for someone. You can love, but not be dedicated. You can love, but not act loving. You can love, but not be loved back. 

You need love...and a whole lot else. 

With all that said, I know that November was meant to come into my life and I don't regret a thing. I was always meant to be a mom; she was always meant to be my baby. And while I would prefer she was born into a strong family, after a strong marriage between her daddy and I, it just didn't happen that way. Things happen for a reason, and I was meant to learn this lesson. I am already smarter and wiser from this experience, and better equipped to find the TRUE love of my life...whenever that is meant to be. In the meantime I am working on bettering myself and being a great mom. Being single (and sober, and NOT on the rebound) is giving me plenty of time to think about who I want to be and who I want to attract in the future. By becoming the type of person I would want to date (sober, family-oriented, smart, responsible, etc), I will more easily ATTRACT the right type of guy to me.

I've learned so much, I'm almost ready to be THANKFUL for this still-painful experience.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this little girl!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homemade Kombucha! {how to brew 2 gallons kombucha}

Finally I get to share something I've been happy and excited about: homemade kombucha! My friend Abi has been making her own and gave me a scoby mushroom so I can join in the adventure! Here's how I did mine (based off this tutorial)

First, I got my glass (glass is by far the best for kombucha) brewing container. After much research and price/shipping comparisons, I settled on this 2.5 gallon container, because it was the best-sized and priced container I could find that I could immediately buy in person as opposed to waiting for an online purchase to be shipped (I'm impatient like that!)  

Since I had chosen such a large jar, I decided I would brew 2 gallons kombucha, therefor I got 2 gallons worth of ingredients. Halve these ingredients (besides the scoby) if you are only doing 1 gallon.

-scoby with one cup previously brewed kombucha (whether you buy or inherit from a friend, your scoby will come with this liquid)
-2 cups sugar
-16 black (or green) tea bags 
-2 gallons filtered water
-white vinegar for cleaning
-fruit or juice for flavoring, if desired (after batch is done fermenting)

-stainless steel stockpot
-wood stirring spoon 
-clean kitchen towel and rubber band
-large bowl or plate for the scoby (after batch is done)
-containers for storing and flavoring (I used 16oz mason jars)
-stainless steel ladle (unless you're strong enough to pour a 2 gallon jar gracefully!)

Next, I cleaned my supplies. Keeping everything sanitary is important in kombucha brewing. I chose not to wash my brewing jar with soap, and only used plain white vinegar to clean it inside and out. I ran all my other supplies through the dishwasher, and submerged each piece in white vinegar. Once I started the brewing process, I made sure my hands were always freshly cleaned with white vinegar (I only used soap for an initial hand-washing, rinsed well, and then vinegar only afterward.) Since you don't need the mason jars until the batch has fermented, I didn't wash/vinegar them until the day I was ready to use them. Helpful tip: if you do use anything with a metal lid, dry the lids with a clean cloth to prevent rust.

Now for the fun! Boil 1/2 a gallon of filtered water in the stockpot. Once it boils, take it off the heat, and brew the 16 tea bags for 5-10 min. Remove tea bags when done. Stir in 2 cups sugar.

Pour this mixture into the jar, and add the remaining 1 1/2 gallons of water. Let this mixture cool completely, at least 1 hour. A hot tea will kill your poor scoby!

Once cool, add your scoby and the kombucha it came with. Cover jar with towel, secure with rubber band. Now you wait (peek all you want, but don't move the container around or bother with it) until a new scoby forms on the top of the tea, and your tea becomes a sour-slightly-sweet concoction, usually 7-10 days. My magic day is 8; it produces a tasty tea reminiscent of hard cider. You can experiment with the flavor you like best. The longer it sits, the more sour it gets. I had to let mine sit for about 10 days this last time, but it tasted great.

Once your tea is finished, wash your hands with white vinegar, remove scobys (you will have two, the original and the new 'baby,' I then reserve one scoby in a mason jar filled with kombucha and covered with a towel/rubber band. This becomes my reserve scoby that I can save in case something happens, or I can give it away.. Then I place the baby on a plate or in a bowl and cover with some kombucha. I set this aside, along with about 1 cup of freshly brewed kombucha in order to start my next batch.

To bottle your finished tea, pour the kombucha into storage jars using a ladle (or free pour if you are brave) and seal. Helpful tip: if using mason jars with metal lids, after pouring in the kombucha, dry the outer rim of the glass with a towel before sealing to prevent rust. Refrigerate and enjoy.  

To make flavored kombucha, pour some frozen or fresh fruit or juice into the storage jar (just a few tbsp fruit, or 1/2 inch juice) before adding the kombucha. Then seal and leave on the counter an extra 2-3 days. After that, move them to the fridge and enjoy!
The flavors I have done (I used frozen fruit); strawberry basil, blueberry rosemary, plain strawberry, plain blueberry, mixed berry, and mango. This is so much fun to make, and saves a lot of money, if you frequently enjoy store-bought kombucha. It was so much easier than I thought it would be, and I quickly got the hang of the process, and found it to be quick and easy, even with November running amok. Have fun brewing yours!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Choosing Happiness

We've got our happy faces on and we are ready to start our new lives.

Of course, I can't pretend that I am fully OVER what has happened, or even that every day is positive. The truth is that this is a work in progress. My heart will heal, but not overnight. Our lives will be beautiful, but I'm still mourning what I thought I had. BUT I realize that happiness and moving forward is a choice, and that is what I choose.

This past week has been full of ups and downs; I go through all the stages of loss (depression, anger, acceptance) over and over and back again. This break up isn't like the others; I can't just avoid seeing him until I'm fully over it. I can't put a time frame on my healing. But I will say that, for the most part, I've chosen to stay positive and work toward moving on. Every day gets better and better.

I have so much to share about this process, and hope I one day will, but for now ill keep it short and sweet. While I have been feeling good about our future and my new journey as a single mom, it's still emotionally exhausting to delve into. I just wanted to pop in here and say that my period of silence and mourning is (hopefully) at an end and I look forward to posting.  I STILL have tons of posts I'm dying to write (like about homemade kombucha) as well as sharing a little of my soul from this experience. 

Tell everyone you love that you love them. Hold your babies tight. Kiss yor doggy's nose. Cherish every moment. Choose happiness.