I’m Slightly-Dependent and I’m O.K. with it.

The phrase “I am independent” isn’t always a good thing.

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Sure, it’s 2018 and the term “feminist” is now synonymous with strength, power, and independence. Women are where it’s at and men are expected to sit down, shut-up, and only come when called upon. Women are fierce and our supposedly “newfound” strength and independence is neatly embroidered on the sash we wear proudly in public. I mean, we wear hats called “pussy hats” now at rallies and proudly exclaim that “the future is female” as if we didn’t know that already.

I mean, how will procreation occur if there aren’t women? Did men suddenly become asexual? Last time I checked, generally when an XY man peed on a pregnancy test and got a positive result, that was a bad thing.

Bad as in cancer, and I don’t mean the astrological sign.

I’m all for women having equal rights, pay, and the like if we’re being rational on the topic, but the idea that I am a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” is not something I’m okay with.

Do I need my guy? Absolutely.

But it’s more than that, I want him too. I like when he’s around and now that he’s over 4,000 miles away I’m a bit at a loss here. I’m at a loss and there’s no one to turn to because we’re not allowed to need a man and if we do, we better not admit it. But holy hell, things are hard and I’m incredibly emotional because my period is coming. Am I allowed to say that? Well, I did.

I’m emotional, irrational, alone, and depressed. 

Life is incredibly hectic right now and, to quote one of my fav men, Bob Dylan, “I can’t get no relief.” Every day seems to be a never ending list of tasks on my To Do List, even when I’m in bed I lay there staring at the ceiling with a sense of inevitable dread.

But I’m “independent.” I always have been and I’ll always probably try to see myself that way, which is why it’s hard to admit that maybe, just maybe, I’m not. Maybe when times are hard, I do need someone else around. I could use a shoulder to cry on, a person to talk to, and someone to love me. I could benefit from having someone wrap their arms around me while it feels like dawn just will not break and I think you’ve probably been there too. So why don’t we talk about that?

Why are we so proud to tell everyone how independent we are? How we don’t need anyone and no one better need us. Why do we pretend to have it all together day in and day out when we feel overwhelmed and under-qualified to face the day?

I guess I can understand it though. It’s like what I was talking to one of my friends about; we only want people to know the best of our lives. If you look on social media you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of your friends and their perfect lives. Lives that you desperately wish you had; lives that seem so much better than your own. I’m guilty of it too; I know that’s what my pages look like. My closest friends were shocked when they found out my life was crumbling around me 2 years ago because I hid it well. I still hide it pretty well, for the most part. So I guess I have to explicitly state it:

My life is a mess, and I don’t mean the kind of mess you can wipe up with a swiffer. It’s a break-out-the-big-guns-where’s-the-shopvac? kind of mess. I’ve let myself get pulled in so many different directions that I don’t have a place to stand anymore. Sure, galpals are incredible and essential, but sometimes they’re not enough. My family is great and I know that my dad in particular would listen to any problems I may have, but that isn’t what I want nor is it what I need.

What I need is to let go of the emotions that I’ve been bottling up for the last few weeks and just have a nice and long cry fest in a hot bath, followed by wine and ice cream in a fluffy bed with the love of my life next to me while we watch YouTube videos of cats, bad movies, and sassy home cooks. What I need is to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a flashlight, but the actual sun waiting for me. I need to know this shit-show will end soon. I need to know I can make it.

-LP

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Grieving for a Marriage You Never Wanted: A New Divorceè’s Perspective

You can’t realize how unhappy you were until you stop being unhappy.

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Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

I’ll admit it; I was in an unhappy marriage and I didn’t know it. 
How did I not know it? Ignorance is bliss and I was trying damn hard to be blissful. I mean, that’s what the entire first year of marriage is meant to be, right?

That’s what I was told, until things got hard.

Then I was told the first year of marriage is the hardest. 

And when that wasn’t enough to make me stay, I was told I took a vow. 

They were right. I took a vow. I stood before a man and told him I’d love him regardless of what came our way. I made this promise in front of all of our family and friends. I wore the dress. I played the part. I was the blushing bride.

Yet somehow I found myself standing in front of a judge waiting to finalize the divorce of a barely there marriage.

I was able to stand in front of our judge and confirm, without hesitation, that the bonds of matrimony had been severed and there is no hope of reconciliation. As I stood there, somberly and pretending not to see the man who was about to become my ex-husband to my left, I waited for the doubt to creep in. I waited for the moment where my heart would tell me I was making the wrong choice. I waited and yet it never came.

I wish I could have said the same for my wedding day.

A mere 19 months earlier I stood holding that man’s hand, unable to look into his eyes without forcing myself, and felt panic rush through me as I vowed to be his wife. Pure terror rushed through me and I waited for the courage to let go of his hand and run down the aisle, alone.

But now I sit here with no ring on my finger. No husband in my life and no desire for him to be there; but I can’t help but to have a sore heart. I’m just as doubtless as I was in the courtroom, but there’s a gray tinge to the rosy outlook I had on life.

I’m grieving for a marriage I never wanted to be in.

I wish I wanted it. I wish, so badly, that he was what I wanted. How can you want more than a person who loves you unconditionally? A person who would agree to anything just to keep you in his life? A person who just wanted to be loved back?

I never tried to want more. I spent months attempting to convince myself that I was happy, but I just… wasn’t.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am being selfish. Maybe I should have stuck it out and realized 50 years from now that I wasted a life wishing to be happy. Would I have been okay with the choices I made? It’s possible, but unlikely. Regardless of if they’re right or not; it’s okay to grieve for this marriage that never could have become something I wanted.

If you’ve gone through a divorce, even one you wanted, and you’re wondering why it is you’re not feeling like celebrating… just know you’re not alone.

Your marriage ended. I’ve had several people ask me how I’m going to celebrate; I’m not celebrating. I spent the weekend with a close friend of mine and all we did was talk and day drink. Sometimes therapy is watching Grey’s Anatomy silently, crying over Denny Duquette’s death, and wishing you loved someone like Izzy loved him. You’ll find someone that fills your heart with that kind of love; don’t worry. (Bonus points if is name is Denny!)

You may still care for your ex-spouse. That doesn’t mean you’re meant to be with them. I don’t wish my ex-husband ill; I just know that we could never be what the other person needed. Regardless of how hard you try, sometimes the pieces just don’t fit and you’re both left banged up from trying. It’s okay.

Your future changed. You can no longer imagine exactly what your future is going to look like. You were probably, at least slightly, comfortable in your relationship and now that it’s over you’re feeling a bit out of sorts. Give it time. If you separated before the divorce it might be a bit easier, but it doesn’t mean that it’s completely painless. That first year is the hardest, but you’ll make it through.

Your identity is changing. Again. You used to be a single unit, then you became his wife, now you’re back to being on your own again. You’re no longer so-and-so’s wife; you’re just you! It’s both an amazing and unsettling notion. If you’re changing your name back to your maiden name like I am, be prepared for lots of questions and having to get used to signing it again!

It’s okay to feel a bit sad when you think about the life you gave up even if you know it’s for the best. It’s normal. It’s part of the process. I knew before we got married that we shouldn’t get married. I knew it wouldn’t last because I never wanted it in the first place but it doesn’t make it any easier to let it go.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been and then I remember the heart I hurt. It sends a little pang of guilt into my chest, but I know with time it will subside and that ultimately, this is the best way I could have ever shown him that he meant something to me.

Even if he doesn’t get it yet.

-LP

Self-Care is NOT Optional

Once you’ve lost yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to be found.

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It’s too easy to let life take over and to let go of the progress you’ve made with yourself. While most people would not actively choose to forgo caring for themselves, shit happens. I’ve spent the entire year focusing on improvement and learning to love myself while making positive changes; that shit isn’t easy and it’s a long, difficult path to take, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been overburdened with two jobs, school, sick family members, stress, lack of a support system, and baby kittens; I’ve felt myself crumble under the impossible weight of these responsibilities and let go of one responsibility that should be my top priority:

Self-Care. 

If you’re struggling to care for yourself and you can feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral, take heart.

Things won’t get easier when you don’t care for yourself. You might feel as though you simply don’t have time to do things that make you feel better; I’ve been there, I get it. You cannot expect yourself to be able to handle everything that comes your way when you’re already feeling rather broken. It just won’t happen, or if by some miracle, you’re able to, you’ll end up in an even worse spot than where you started.

If you don’t make it a priority, no one else will. They won’t feel badly about adding more to your already full plate, because you’re not speaking out and telling them. Don’t expect the people in your life to be mind readers (even the best of them can’t know what you’re thinking), so tell them. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Are you nearing the point of no return? If that means an assignment goes in late or you have to call in; do it. You have to care for yourself. 

There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. So just take it. This is something I still struggle with; I feel as though I absolutely cannot call into work or take a day off from coursework, but I’m working on it. I choose to go to the gym to relieve stress before I feel like I’m losing myself instead of when I’m in the midst of it all.

The best kind of self-care is preventative care. Don’t wait until you’re already on the verge. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed out you feel like crying. Take an hour to yourself; whether you can only take a hot shower, paint your nails, sit in silence, whatever, just do it! You need it and your soul will thank you for it.

It’s not easy to find time to care for yourself, but it’s damn worth it. Write. Read. Take a long bath. Go for a walk. Find your inner peace in whatever way you can. Make time for it, even if that means you have to schedule “me time” for yourself each week. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re worth it.

-LP

 

I’ll Pretend to Have All the Answers

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25 Things to Start Doing Today

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day and FLOSS. It’s important.
  2. Compliment a stranger. It can brighten their day.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 
  4. Take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Stop putting your career first. Your career is great, but so is having a life and appreciating time with your family and friends.
  6. Tell the one you love, you love them. Often.
  7. Express yourself with authority. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either.
  8. Declutter. You don’t need all of the possessions you’re holding onto. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter and keeping what does will change your life.
  9. Don’t be afraid to travel. Even if that means you’re going to do it broke.
  10. Care about something or someone more than yourself. Yes, cats count too.
  11. Spend time with your loved ones. They’re gone too soon.
  12. Cry when you’re sad and laugh when you’re happy. It’s okay to feel things. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that, there ya go.
  13. Learn a new word each day and try to use it.
  14. Let go of the past. This includes old partners, bad habits, grudges, and even memories that hurt.
  15. Live in the moment, with a bit if caution. This is not a #YOLO type idea, what I mean is this: if you see a pretty sunrise, stop for a moment and enjoy it. If your family member is sick, call into work and spend the day with them, it’s worth it.
  16. There are a million reasons to not do something that’s a bit scary, focus on the reason you should. 
  17. Love yourself unconditionally, without being conceited.
  18. Love others unconditionally, without being foolish.
  19. Offer support to those around you. You never know how much they may need it and they may never ask for it.
  20. Ask for support when you need it. Life is hard and we can’t go through this alone.
  21. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Unless you’re actually sorry, don’t say “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for being excited about something or for not knowing the answer, yet.
  22. Count your blessings. Use your fingers and toes.
  23. Say one nice thing about yourself each morning. It gets easier with practice.
  24. Never speak ill of your partner. Don’t let the last annoying thing they did, be your next topic of conversation with your friends.
  25. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all still learning.

-LP

Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

If dawn could break, that’d be great.

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I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “it’s darkest before the dawn;” well if dawn could get here already, I’d really appreciate it; that bitch is always late.

I’ve been going through some crap lately and I have just been feeling super down in the dumps; it’s hard to pull yourself out of a hole when it feels like you’re insanely far below the surface. Life is scary and each day comes with new challenges we have to face. If you love and care for someone as they face some dark days, believe me, I know how hard it can be. Oftentimes  you’re not sure what to say or how to act and while I can’t begin to pretend that I know what every person needs, I can say I know what I need when the times are tough and the dawn seems like it’s an eternity away.

  1. Listen. It’s easier said than done, but honestly, listening to someone when they’re hurting is one of the best things you can do. I know you may feel as though you need to offer advice, but venting and expressing their frustrations can be enough. Give advice when advice is due. You’ll know when that is and when you do offer advice, do it in a way that they can appreciate. I know, I know; easier said than done, but just try. Maybe they’ll return the favor one day.
  2. Determine what it is they need from you. I’ll be the first to admit, when I’m upset, hurting, or scared, it’s hard for me to explain what it is I need. Looking back on the past few, terribly stressful and crappy days I can see what it is I needed; I needed support. When I’m scared or having a bit of a panic attack, I need to be told, not that it’ll all be okay, but rather that I’ll make it through regardless. We all need to hear different things at different times, so take a step back and look at the situation your person is facing to determine what it is they may benefit from.
  3. Offer a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold. Sometimes when times are hard that physical feeling of someone being there is all that a person needs when facing trials. The warmth of another person is soothing and comforting to me; their simple presence is enough. It’s hard if you can’t be there physically for someone when they need it most; so tell them that you’d be there if you could and mean it.

I know my boyfriend has had to deal with be being super emotional and upset and while I don’t doubt our relationship in any way; it’s hard to not let fear and doubt creep into every aspect of my life. Finland is far away and I’m only human. If you’re trying to help someone through the difficulties they face, know that it won’t be easy, but you being there will mean the world.

You’ve made it through dark times before and you’ll do it again.

-LP

It’s Time to Grow Up

11 things I want to do before I turn 24

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  1. Get ONE piece published. Just one! I think that’s reasonable right?!
  2. Nurse some bottle babies. I cannot wait until Spring. Apparently, my office is notorious for getting litters of newborn kittens and we get to take a few home and nurse them throughout the night. The cat lady in me is about to die just thinking about some snuggly babes sleeping in their little kitty bed on my nightstand. *swoon*
  3. Get a massage. I’ve never gotten one and you know what, I’m freaking doing it. I’ve alway been hella nervous about being naked under nothing but a towel with some random person rubbing oil on my body… but I’m stressed to the max and I want something relaxing.
  4. Buy some “adult” clothing. I probably shouldn’t spend every day off in leggings or jeans and sweaters. I need something snazzy and something that I can be both comfortable and sassy in. I’m thinking dresses. Lots and lots of dresses.
  5. Get rid of all of my CRAP. I have an entire storage unit that I share with my dear old, soon-to-be ex-husband. I literally need none of it, but somehow it’s still there. I don’t need the baggage, I mean that both literally and figuratively. Looks like there’s gonna be a garage sale this summer! Come on by to purchase some old scratched and dented dreams.
  6. Learn enough Finnish to get by in Finland. Just a smidge! I need to know how to say “where’s the bathroom? Where’s the train? Can you take me here?” You know.. the basics.
  7. Get my passport. This is a necessary task in order to head on over to Finland. So this is a definite must.
  8. Buy myself a pretty necklace or ring. It’s been a while since I bought myself something beautiful. And I’m a fan of delicate, beautiful things. Unfortunately most of my jewelry box is filled with things I don’t want to keep and things I don’t wear. I need something new.
  9. Buy a sturdy piece of luggage. The few pieces I have are super heavy and bulky, all black, and one is actually broken! I need something new and snazzy if I’m going to be traveling back and forth between the mitten and Finland. Let’s be real here… I don’t need to lose all of my belongings on the trip over.
  10. Take a mini road trip on my own. I want to have fun and explore a new spot of Michigan on my own. I think it would be great to be able to spend a couple days on Mackinac Island or somewhere in the U.P. on my own. I’d get to experience different things that you can’t do when you go with another person.
  11. Have faith in myself. I want to stop questioning my every decision. I need to start feeling more solidified in my decisions and in my future.

I’ve got goalz, they may be far-fetched, but they’re mine.

-LP

Get Your Lovin’ On

Love is about more than gifts; more than words.

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There are countless commercials, coupons, and sales telling you how you have to buy your galpal or guy something that will just blow their mind, but it’s really not that important. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be unhappy to receive a bouquet of flowers, but I’d rather have your time; so if you’re stumped on what to get or what to do for that special someone, fret not! Hope is not lost.

Skip the flashy gifts and go for something more meaningful.

Write them a letter. Express how you feel for them. Tell them how your heart beats to the sound of theirs, how their smile could melt the icecaps, and by golly, you’re in love with them. Let me tell ya, a handwritten letter is so underrated; it’s the perfect way to show them that you’re willing to take the time out of your day to put pen to paper with them on your mind.

Show them you love them, don’t just tell them. Yeah, I know, I just told you to write them a love letter, which you should totally do! That being said, it can be hard to understand why your partner is feeling less than overjoyed when it comes to your relationship, but remember that saying “I love you” isn’t enough. You have to show them. Your actions are essential. They can be used to reinforce the love you speak of or they can destroy the illusion you’ve been creating. So show them you love them, however you know how.

Send them a song that means something. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m easily wooed by music. For me, music always means so much more than what’s on the surface. The song you share doesn’t have to be overtly romantic, it can be anything you like and anything that you know will make their heart pitter-patter. Don’t be afraid to get cheesy! For instance Grow Old with Me by Adam Sandler is one of my absolute favorite love songs. If you need an idea on what to send, listen to it!

 

Touch them tenderly. Push the stray lock of hair behind her ear. Kiss his forehead. Trace the outline of their lips with your finger. The simplest of touches can make your lover go weak in the knees. I’m not an overly touchy-feely person, but the thought of his hand resting on the side of my face makes my heart beat fast, so give it a try.

Prepare a meal together. You don’t have to go out to a fancy restaurant to have a romantic evening, instead make a meal you both like. Obviously this depends on the personality of your loved one, but my ideal date is a night spent in pajamas and under a fluffy blanket. Sure, getting all dressed up and heading out to dinner is a nice treat, but why not skip the crowds and spend the evening just the two of you? Buy a bottle of snazzy wine or even champagne, eat something delicious, and spend the night wrapped up together.

There are countless ways to show love to those around you.

Valentine’s Day may be geared towards lovebirds, but don’t forget about the other loved ones in your life. Give your momma a call. Tell your dad how much you care for him. Show a stranger happiness and love today. Hold the door open for the fella behind you; smile at people as they pass you on the street. Give others the benefit of the doubt and most importantly, show them love. Appreciate all the ways you’ve been shown love in your life, take that feeling, and share it with someone else. Realize that the act of being selfless and loving others will return to you.

Remember you are loved, all day, every day.

-LP

P.S. Happy first Valentine’s Day to the snazziest fella I know. You’re a dreamboat.

Being Strong is for the Weak: How to Handle the Bad Days

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is just so damn hard.

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I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve felt like life is getting the best of me; let’s just say, it happens enough for me to be pretty damn sick of it. But, I must admit, life has been pretty damn near perfection lately. That being said, I totally understand how it feels to be overcome with the feelings of despair and hopelessness. I’ve been there and I know how hard it can be to look on the bright side. Hell, sometimes there just isn’t a bright side!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, or just plain depressed, here are some tips for when the wind just won’t blow away the storm clouds that hover above:

Change it up. I know, I know. Change is basically the last thing you want to do when life is kicking you right in the (lady) balls, but if what you’re doing is not generative, does not make you feel happy, and gives you no sense of joy whatsoever, STOP DOING IT. Plain and simple.

Leave toxic people, thoughts, and situations in the dust. I mean it. If you’re around people who make you feel like crap or are just super negative, it’s not going to help you to feel any better about your situation. You might think that their negativity won’t rub off on you, or that you’re already so damn depressed that nothing can make it worse; you’re wrong. Even if you don’t realize it, their attitudes affect you. People and our surroundings truly affect us in unimaginable ways, so why not surround ourselves with positivity and a support system that is both generative and affects us in a positive way?!

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.

– Robert Tew

Give yourself the “OK” to be sad. You don’t have to be strong every moment of every day. You’re not a robot! And if you are then, hey there, you snazzy robot you, how the bleep bleep bloop is it goin’? Anyway, you’re human (I think) so allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept the fact that being broken is part of life.

As always, if you’re feeling blue or you need someone to talk to, do not hesitate to reach out.

You’ve got this!

-LP

Lazy Sunday Wisdom with Calvin and Hobbes

We’re keepin’ it short and sweet this week.

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Hobbes is the epitome of all that is perfection.

I mean.. he had to ask if the salmon was fresh before deciding whether or not to hand Calvin over to the monsters. Poor Cal, I’m sure he ended up going overboard. The salmon is fresh, so can you even blame Hobbes?! I sure can’t. Salmon is the bee’s knees.

Don’t tell my future kids, but if the monsters offer up a kitten to cuddle or some brownies to chow down on… well, let’s just say there will be one less mouth to feed at the table the next morning.

Kids, if you’re reading this sometime in the future, I love you more than kittens and brownies. Just a smidge, but that’s all it takes. 😉

-LP

If you’d like to read some more Calvin and Hobbes (let’s be real, who wouldn’t?!) click the link below.


P.S. Lazy Sunday Wisdom is so lazy it comes to you on Mondays.