Saturday, January 18, 2014

TGIF (late): Following by example

Thank God It's Friday
Thank God It's Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There's this blog I read, Witchy Rambles.  I get it in my inbox whenever Cin makes a new post.  I honestly can't recall if I've ever commented on anything there, or her FB page, but I do pause to read them when they come to my inbox.

It's 2:30 am where I am right now, and really, I suppose I should be getting ready to curl up in bed next to Draco, but we just got home from Witchlet's and although we're both tired, neither of us seem quite ready for bed yet, so I started going through my email and found the post Cin did today.  You can find it here, TGIF: Simple things.

Even though it is technically Saturday, not Friday, and most of the people who read this will see it later in the day, I was so moved by her post, that I decided I just had to jump on board because it is such a lovely idea.  It's not a "sign up for blogger meme" or anything like that, just something she decided to do, but I believe that it would make a wonderful meme if she ever decided to make it one.

So many times, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern life, that we tend to forget to be grateful for our blessings, both great and small, and although I mentioned in a previous post that I don't make New Year's Resolutions anymore, and "Attitude of Gratitude" was one of the things I wanted to work towards this year.

You see, I can tend to be a bit of a pessimist when life gets complicated.  I get overwhelmed and it seems like everything around me is doom and gloom and all I see is the bad.  A lot of my life experiences have been negative, so I find that when I write about my past, and occasionally about my present, it's in an attitude of complaint over the things that are not going well.  Cin's post inspired me to look closer at my life in an effort to try to focus, at least one day a week, on remembering the positive things in my life, and being grateful for them.

After all, the energy we put out there is the same energy we pull to us, right?

So, on Fridays, I want to start doing a post like what Cin is doing over on her blog.  In the spirit of gratitude, here is my TGIF post for this week.  Remember, you can find the post that inspired mine over at Witchy Rambles.

At this moment, I'm grateful to my sister of the heart @TimberLeaves, for introducing me to blogging many years ago when it was still in its infancy.  Because of her, I have owned several blogs, one of which at one time held some popularity and interaction regularly, and I have "met" some amazing and inspiring people via their blogs.  I have come to respect writing in a way school never taught me, by being part of the Bloggerverse, and although it's been an experience littered with joy as well as pain, it's one I would trade.

I am thankful that because of blogging, I have a voice and an outlet in the world.  I haven't been using it the way I always wanted and meant to, but I think that with this new-found gratitude, that may very well change.

I am thankful for my husband, who is always there when I need him, who always manages to come through for us somehow, even when it doesn't look promising.  He works hard to take care of us, and because of him, I am free to sit at home and be a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and blogger.

I'm grateful that I posses skill in the kitchen and can still pull off a from-scratch homemade dinner like I did tonight (recipes to start to be posted as soon as I get my new blogging schedule worked out).

I'm grateful for my family and the people who love and accept me unconditionally, even if they don't always agree with me.

For the heart-to-heart Witchlet and I had tonight that seemed to bond our relationship even closer as we finally were able to relate to each other as mutual parents.

I am also so very grateful for my granddaughter.  I got to spend some time enjoying the feeling of her moving tonight.  It is a truly humbling experience to feel the stirrings of a new life inside the the life I created.  It's a feeling that leaves me at a loss for words because it touches my soul so deeply.  Watching the growth of my daughter's stomach as my grandchild has grown inside her has given me such a profound experience as a mother.

I'm thankful for late-night foot rubs, hot baths that smell of roses and gentle whispers in the dark.  I'm grateful for a glass of good wine at the end of a long day and the exhausted satisfaction of a clean house.

I'm thankful for the future and all the promise it seems to hold, even if I have gotten somewhat impatient waiting for everything to come together.  I have high hopes for our transition into the RV and am looking forward to learning a new type of lifestyle that I think will be satisfying in so many ways.

I am thankful for the guidance of the Goddess in my life.  For the times she has challenged me, rewarded me, and punished me.  In every challenge, regardless of if I passed or failed, I learned something valuable about myself, my relationships, my family and the world around me.  Under her not always gentle hand, I continue to learn and grow.

I'm thankful for finally being able to realize fully that my life, and my path, are truly my own.  I have often been overcome with guilt thinking I'm not doing this or that right because of someone else's views or opinions and I am learning to overcome that obstacle to personal happiness.  I cannot live my life for others and those that ask or expect me to, don't truly care about my happiness and I'm starting to weed that type of people from my life.

As for my path, it is mine alone to walk.  There are no set boundaries, rules or guidelines to what is "right" or "proper" for the way I celebrate my spirituality.  That is between me and my Gods and no one else.  It's ok to be me, and to do things my own way.  That has been a hard-learned lesson, and I'm grateful that I'm finally starting to get it.

To be quite honest, the last few months have been particularly stressful in so many ways and for so many reasons.  There has not been much gratitude in my attitude lately, and today was not a great day for me for a number of reasons, but sitting here, thinking over the things that I do have to be grateful for seems to have lifted a weight I didn't realize I was carrying until tonight.  I think I could even get used to this whole "To Blessed to Be Stressed" attitude eventually.  ;)

This is a weekly post that I believe I will find myself looking forward to immensely and again, I'm so very grateful to Cin from Witchy Rambles for her post today that inspired me to write this one.  Make sure to stop by and give her a visit.
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

What's normal? Loving more than one

Some of you may wonder what made me decide to share this piece of my past hot on the heels of the holidays, and there are two reasons. The first is a promise I made to Witchlet.  I promised her that one day, I would sit down and begin to blog about my life and my past so that some day, she could sit down and read it and come to know the woman behind the mother.

The second reason, is that it was during the holidays that fateful year that I endured this pain, and survived it. It was during the holidays that someone I should have hated, became very important in my life in a very complicated way and during the holidays, my mind always turns to him, her and us...

Some years ago, Draco and I went through a really horrible time in our relationship.  It was so bad, in fact, that it very nearly split us up, more than once, over the course of several years.

We're okay now, and have been for a long time, but it was a bad time for us then.

All the major issues that can break down a relationship were present.  Money issues, trust issues, a feeling of being disrespected, unhappiness, depression and stress in general were all factors in it from both sides.

 photo 292988_141119832699463_280876326_n.jpgWe had drifted apart in so many ways after 15 years together.  We'd raised Witchlet, who was 16 at the time, and woke up one day to realize that we had grown so far apart as we each focused on jobs, raising children, paying bills and all of the things that come with an adult life, that we'd lost sight of each other.

It was a horrible time, one in which we both turned to other people, in our own ways, instead of each other.

For a while, it seemed that the fighting and hurt would never end.  It got so bad that on Christmas Day that year, I actually spiked the Christmas tree in the middle of the living room floor and broke nearly all our ornaments that we'd collected over the years.  I was devastated and angry, but honestly, I was mostly just plain scared and confused.

Draco and I got together when I was 20 and he was 22.  I already had one failed marriage (Witchlet's biological father) and was terrified of having another.  All I had ever known, really, was being a wife and a mom and the thought of loosing Draco, in spite of our issues, was terrifying to me.

 photo 575384_109267895884657_730512041_n.jpgThere were a lot of fights, tears and sleepless nights, that finally gave way to talking, more tears and more sleepless nights.

There were nights we slept as far as away from each other as we could possibly get, both of us afraid to reach out to the other, even in the darkness of the bed we had shared for so many years.

It can be devastating to realize that someone you love more than nearly anything, is a stranger to you.  To suddenly learn things that can make them seem like they were never who you thought they were.  To sit and watch as your life, your hopes and your dreams crumble at your feet.

I won't lie.  For a while, I thought that it was all over but the packing.  I think he did, too, and the other person in our lives at the time certainly thought it was.

What began to happen in the aftermath of this situation was shocking to all of us, but probably the most to me.  Somehow, I began to bond with the other person involved and we became involved as well.  Even all these years later, I sit and shake my head at how it all happened the way it did and I honestly have no real explanation for it.  I don't think any of us really do, even now.

She still floats in and out of our lives.  This time last year, it had just ended once again between the 3 of us as she struggled with addiction and yet another failing relationship, then, as she is prone to do, she dropped off the radar again.

In spite of the pain she initially brought into my life, she also brought gifts.  I learned so much about myself over the course of the few years after it all happened.  I discovered I was stronger, and weaker, than I'd thought.  I discovered that Draco and I really could overcome anything.  I discovered just how important him, and our relationship is to me.

I also discovered that there is room in my heart to love more than one person at a time, which was something I never expected.  I was raised to believe that monogamy was the only right answer and that relationships
were between 2 people, and two people only.  I discovered that although that concept may be completely accurate for some, it's not for everyone.

I discovered a lot about my mate as well.  That he also has room in his heart to love more than one person and that his love for another does not diminish his love for me, among other things.

Through her, Draco and I discovered each other once again and we both realized that without help or interference, what we had, would have died anyway.  The situation we endured taught us to reach for each other, especially when the nights seem the darkest and longest.

We discovered that together, we could reach for anything as long as we had good communication, and we have achieved more in the years since then than we ever did before.

Gone are the nights of sitting up all night fighting over petty things that don't matter because we know how hard it can truly be.  We have watched our relationship reduced to ashes and stood looking at each other over the rubble that was left and we've worked hard to rebuild it since then.

Am I saying that everyone who experiences what I did should forgive?  No, I'm not.  I believe that those types of decisions should be based solely on the people involved and the relationship in question.

In the years since it all happened, I have had more than one person question my sanity in even attempting to forgive what happened, much less to rebuild our relationship with Witchlet as old as she was, and although Draco and I believe we owe no explanations for our choices in our relationship, we have occasionally offered them to people that mattered to us in an effort to have them understand.  It's been our personal experience though that although some have accepted it for what it is, very few seem to truly understand.

I was called out recently about our relationship status on our personal Facebook profiles, which is listed as "It's Complicated", and to us, it very much is.  Most people who know that I am bisexual and that Draco and I have a semi-open relationship, that at one time included what amounted to as a girlfriend that we shared for a time, don't understand and putting our relationship into terms that others understand, is complicated.

Even to us, the dynamics of our relationship seems complicated.  We have different views on what constitutes a "healthy relationship" than most of the world and we find ourselves rarely discussing it with anyone for that very reason.  How do you explain to people in "traditional relationships" that we can sit together now and talk of her and freely admit to each other that we still love and miss her, even though we have accepted that she will probably never be a permanent part of our lives?

In truth, I suppose very little of our relationship or life choices seems "normal" to "normal people".  Pagans generally seem to have a broader idea of relationships than most and usually require less hand-holding about ideas like polygamy or the concept of loving more than one person at the same time or open relationships.

It's been our belief in the years since those awful nights of fighting, that love is whatever you think it is, and can encompass as few, or as many, people as is comfortable for those involved.  As long as everyone is on the same page and no one is getting hurt, then it's up to the people involved to define what a "relationship" or even a domestic partnership, entails.

For us?  I won't lie.  We miss her every day and I'm not sure either of us will ever feel our relationship is complete without her, but we've adjusted to her absence.  We considered, some years ago, the possibility of someone else and neither of us were truly interested.  Perhaps one day, we will meet someone else that we come to feel that way about again, but we're not "looking".  For now, we prefer to share our lives with each other and share our feelings and memories about what we believe could have been if things had worked out differently.

I don't know where she is today, or how she is, but it is our hope that wherever she is, she happy and living her life in a way that makes her happy, but there is also that little part of us, the part that misses her, that hopes, especially as the Christmas lights twinkle and the wind blows cold, that she thinks of us...and smiles...


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Thursday, January 2, 2014

#throwbackThursday Lapdragon Duchess

It's been nearly 2 years since the Puppet Master passed away.  Shortly before her passing, just after we moved in with B, our current roommate, for the first time, Chicklet called and said she thought she had a dog that would be a perfect fit for me, if I was interested.

Duchess 2012
She went on to explain that she was a Pug, as well as a rescue, and that the lady who had originally rescued her was sick and not doing well. She had many dogs, and they had simply become too much for her to handle. The Pug was one of many that she was looking to re-home, but it was her that my niece thought was meant for me.

To be honest, when I first mentioned it to Draco, he said no.  He said he didn't want a Pug.  I had personally never seen her, so I had no overwhelming reactions either way, but I did come home and start researching them online to find out what kind of needs and issues they were prone to have.  I made plans to "go look at her" the next day with no real hope of bringing her home.

Research showed that Pugs are actually bred down from Bull Mastiffs.  They are prone to breathing issues because of their squashed faces and don't deal with extreme temperatures at all.

Honestly, they were adorable, but seemed like a high maintenance breed.

Duchess late 2012
On the way over there, I honestly didn't think we'd come home with a dog that day, so when we got there, I sent Draco to look at her because I didn't want to want her and Draco say no.

When he came back carrying a small brown bundle and said, "I got my dog...where's your dog?"  I have to admit, I was a little surprised.

The dog we brought home that day and the one currently posted in my lap, don't seem like the same dogs now.  When we got her, she was very skittish and shy.  Quiet and unsure of herself and her place in our lives. She didn't play and rarely made a sound.

The Duchess you would meet if you saw us today is rambunctious, noisy and loves to play.  She "talks" when she wants something and even manages to make some sounds that suspiciously sound like "Mama" and "I love you".  You will most often find her in my lap or at my heels as I move through the house.

She loves to ride in the car with us, is good on long trips, and loves to give kisses.  When she gets excited, she wags her tail so hard that her whole back-end looks like it's gonna come off.

She never meets a stranger and loves attention from anyone she can convince to give it to her.

Duchess 2013
She is my faithful and constant companion and neither of us can bear to be separated for long.  She's my Duchy, my love and my best friend and I can't imagine life without her although I know that one day she will make her journey across the Rainbow Bridge to wait for me.

In so many ways, she is like a child to me.  I was suffering when I got her.  Witchlet had left home and in a sense, I had left home again myself after two years of caring for my parents (or trying to anyway).  My mother was dying and I knew it and Draco had just taken his old job back working out of town.  She was my comfort in those long, lonely nights and in the weeks after Puppet Master died, it was her I held when I was wracked with grief that I couldn't express.  It was into her ear that I whispered my pain and fears.

When I finally was able to let go and grieve, we were home alone and it was her that laid in the kitchen floor next to me as I cried out 6 months of pain and grief.  It was her that licked the tears from my face and laid her head across my neck for hours, refusing to leave my side for anything.

Yes, Duchess is my heart and I love her dearly.  She came to me at a time when I sorely needed a companion that could always be there and she has been that and much, much more.

As I type this, she is in her usual place, laying across my thigh snoring, content with her world, and because of her, I am content with mine.


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