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

 

Letting Go of Who You Were: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t let yourself slip between the cracks.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life is hard. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day aspects of our lives and forget to allow ourselves time to reflect and grow. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure you are too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better, it just means that we’ve got to start that routine today.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to look back at who we were and want to rip away the parts that don’t seem all that great. Just recently, I spent some time reminiscing on the teenage version of myself and I’m glad to say that I’m no longer that girl. It makes me cringe to think of who I used to be, but I know that 10 years from now I’ll be doing the same when I look at how I am today. It’s alright. We’re learning. Life is a process.
  2. Forgive Yourself. Don’t hold those awkward, embarrassing, painful, or even disappointing moments against your former self. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve made mistakes and realize that we all have. It’s natural and part of growing into a better version of ourselves.
  3. Forgive Others. The worst thing we could do is harbor resentment for those who have wronged us. It’s draining and quite frankly isn’t all that healthy either. Sure, your ex-boyfriend might have been a major mistake and he may have committed some terrible crimes against you; forgive him anyway. Let it go and hope that he’s moved on as well. Wish him well and say goodbye. It’s alright.
  4. Love Yourself Through the Crap. You’re going to keep messing up. You’re going to forget that you’re not meant to have it all together; that’s okay. You might get chubby. You could enter a marriage you were never supposed to be in. You could break a home and a heart, and move across the globe. It’s okay. Love yourself anyway. Love yourself through it all, even the bad parts.

Ultimately, our experiences shape us and without them we would never grow and change so accept the fact that you’re still learning and let go of the old versions of yourself, even the one from yesterday. You’re better than you were then and not as great as you’ll be tomorrow.

 

-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

Tonight

Seeing dad like this has made me think of you.
How you’ll be when you’re older.
How your heart beats within your strong chest.
How your thighs are shaped and your face so young.

Seeing dad like this makes me wonder.
What it will feel like if you waste away before me.
How it’ll feel to see my strong partner, suddenly weak.
So I’m going to cherish you like this now.

I’ll plant extra kisses on your strong hands
And the legs that hold you up
And the cheeks that are so young.

I’m going to hold onto you extra tight tonight
And tell you how tenderly I love you
And every wrinkle that appears, I’ll kiss
And every ache you have, I’ll massage away.

I’ll memorize your face tonight,
Run my hands across your body as if I’m reading Braille.
I’ll feel your pulse beneath my finger tips and kiss you in time with its beat.
I’m going to memorize you tonight darling,
Before tomorrow comes.

Life Update: LPA Got a Face Lift!

It’s been a while since I did an update on what’s going on in the life of Little Peb.

Let’s just say, things are getting crazy.

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Classes are in full-swing! And boy, am I swamped. I’ll be sharing some of the short stories that we’ve been reading throughout the course, so keep an eye out because there have been some amazing  authors I have had the pleasure of being introduced to and I just cannot keep their amazing pieces to myself. I have also encountered some absolutely mind blowing poetry in another course that will definitely be gracing the pages of LPA. It’s amazing how work that you wouldn’t have normally thought you’d find yourself interested in becomes so… life changing.

I’m going to Georgia! This gal, you know, the one who has never flown before, gets to head down south for 3 days of extensive training for work. I’m super excited to take my first flight and it’ll give me a bit of an idea in terms of what to expect when I take the long awaited flight to Finland. I’ll be down there to get some great insight on how to properly handle emergent cases and what truly qualifies as an emergency in the eyes of veterinary care. I’m super pumped for it.

Little Pebble’s Adventures got a facelift! I. AM. IN. LOVE. I cannot say enough good things about the amazing artist that was behind this work. If you guys are in need of any sort of branding, check out Krysten’s site by clicking here. Not only does Krysten create amazing, one of a kind, illustrative and design pieces, she is also an ethical taxidermist who creates adorable ensembles and truly gives these perished animals a new life of their own. All in all, she is an amazing artist and an absolute pleasure to work with; Krysten truly brings your ideas to life while adding her own, amazing, spin to it. So please, go check her out. You won’t be disappointed.

As I said, guys, life is getting crazy, but I’ll be trying to stay on top of it all while still posting weekly posts, so fret not. LP isn’t going anywhere!

-LP

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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

Life Update: Breathing is Necessary

Even if you can’t smell the roses, you should still stop.

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I figured it was time to give you all an update on what’s happening in this crazy life of mine! Stick with me ’til the end.

  1. Homegirl’s got a cold like somethin’ fierce. I’ve been hit by the funk and this train ain’t stoppin’ for nobody. But really though, I’m not quite sure what it is, but everyone at the office has come down with one bug or another. I’m not a fan. I’ve been downing water and taking vitamin C like it’s my job, but I think it’s time to call in for some back up; gotta get those meds on board, because, you know, breathing is necessary.
  2. Little Pebble’s Adventures is going to be getting a facelift! There are a few projects in the works and I’m so damn excited to share them with you. You folks are gonna love them, so stay tuned!
  3. My cat is going to the vet on Tuesday! Any of you fellow cat owners out there know that when you bring out the carrier, those buggers magically become octopuses and do everything within their power to avoid being shut in said carrier. We’re going to see how this goes down. Hopefully it’s not too crazy.
  4. Classes start on March 13th! I have been so damn excited for my classes to start up again, but that means that I’ve got a lot of crap to get done so I can stick with this dandy blog we’ve got here. Keep me in your thoughts, folks; If this cold isn’t gone by then I don’t know how I’m going to handle working full time, a full load of courses, and blogging. We’ll see how it goes! Fingers crossed.
  5. Shane Koyczan released some new, amazing poetry! Anyone who knows me at all, knows that SK’s got a hold on this heart of mine. I finally had a chance to listen to his entire Crush album. I love each and every piece on there and I think you guys will love them too. I love the sweet innocence in “Crush,” take a listen and tell me what you think.

 

Anyway, you’re all bombtastic and I thought I’d give you a little info on what’s going on in the life of good old Lil Peb and a taste of the awesomeness that is Shane Koyczan’s new album. Take some time this weekend to kick back, relax, and enjoy life around you; I know I will.

Have a great weekend!

-LP

I’m Your Built-in Best Friend

Being your big sister will always be my favorite job.

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I spent four years of my life waiting for you.

20 years ago mom found out she was pregnant with you and I was ecstatic. I told literally every person I saw that I was going to be a big sister and how excited I was to meet you. I loved you from the moment I knew you were alive, even if I wasn’t quite sure what it meant when mom said she had a baby in her belly. I remember sitting on the sofa when you were big enough that we could feel you kick; I always put my hand on her tummy and talked to you. I’ve always wanted to be the best big sister I could be, but you didn’t come with an instruction manual and I’ve been learning along the way.

I did go to that big sister class, but it didn’t prepare me for everything! Only for how to properly hold a baby, much to our mother’s dismay. I know you’ve heard the story about how I picked you up and moved you at a week old while mom was in the bathroom; she about lost her mind, but hey, I was qualified! I have the certificate to prove it.

I’ve messed up more often than not.

Whether it was that one time I fell backwards onto your head when you were a month old, or locked you in the house when mom took out the trash and I followed her outside, or when I locked you in the running car in the middle of winter while simultaneously locking mom and I outside when she went into her office to grab some papers. It might not seem like it, but I’ve always wanted to keep you safe (even when I wasn’t very good at it).

I was never scared when it came to protecting you.

You gave me a reason to be brave. Remember when dad had to stop me from charging at that kid down the road who spit at you? My tiny little fists were clenched as I stormed down the street after him when you came up to me crying because he was being mean to you.

“No one gets to pick on my brother, but me!” I bellowed at him; “PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!” It didn’t matter that he was way bigger than I was, because I was bigger than you and if anyone was going to get in a fight with that jerk, it was me.

That protectiveness will never change. 

When you inevitably introduce me to a girl who gives you butterflies, I’m going to do my best to love her as if she were my sister. She better be good to you because you’ve got the kindest heart I know; I pray she realizes that. I’ll be honest; odds are I’m going to be face-creeping the crap out of her. I will have scoured her entire Facebook profile by the time you’ve made it home from my place. It’s my job to thoroughly investigate that gal because you’re my little brother and I care more about you than I care about myself. Even when if it doesn’t always seem like it.

I’ve been spending my life trying to be strong for you. 

When mom and dad got divorced, we lost each other. I was busy going through puberty, dealing with liking boys, and adjusting to a life without both of our parents; I left you behind and I’m so sorry. I should have been there for you; I should have made sure you were okay too. I still remember when you came to me and asked me why we couldn’t live with mom and dad, together. You wanted your family to go back to how it was, so did I.

You were young and you didn’t understand what was happening. Life got way too hard so damn quickly. I felt completely thrown off by the divorce, so I can only imagine how you felt at 8 years-old when life as you knew it no longer existed. I left you behind; when my life started changing, you were too young to come on the journey with me, but I shouldn’t have let you fall to the side. I should have been there for you, but I can’t change what happened; just know that I’m here now and even if I seem far away, I’ll always be the one you can go to with your problems.

I’ll always love you in a way only a big sister can.

You’re my little guy, even if you are a whole head taller than I am. You’re growing up and it’s freaking me out.  You can call me “munchkin” it’s fine, I’m still oldest and therefore, I know best. At least, I pretend to.

I knew you were always watching, so I tried my best to be someone you could look up to; I know I failed more often than not, but I hope you’re proud to call me your big sister.

-LP