The Best Way to Find Mr. Right

Notice I did not say the fastest way to find Mr. Right, but the best way.  Now, I have been divorced twice, so you may not want to take advice from me.  I will say that I have learned a lot from the mistakes I’ve made.  And I learned something very valuable after two failed marriages.

When I tell people I am on my third marriage, he tells me, “No, this is your last marriage.”  I have definitely become successful at marriage, and I want to share my secret for finding Mr. Right.  (What you do once you find him is on you.)

I was a single mother with four children and, although I was not bitter about marriage, I simply was not interested anymore.  I idealized marriage and was not able to make it work.  I had been thinking about the fact that men didn’t treat me well.  I was attractive, intelligent, kind, and industrious, yet I kept attracting men who used me for a door mat… and frequently a meal ticket.

It occurred to me that I was going to stop waiting for a man to do nice things for me, and I would just do them for myself.  In particular, I really wished that a man would bring me flowers, but they never did.  So one day when I was doing my grocery shopping, I purchased a bouquet of flowers.  I took them home, cut them, and put them in a vase that I dug out from the cabinet under my kitchen sink.  I put them on the kitchen table and stood there looking at them for a long time.  Although I don’t even remember what kind of flowers they were, I remember the feeling I got seeing them on my table and smelling their perfume on the air.

This was the first step.  I began doing nice things for myself on a regular basis.  I went to nice restaurants.  I bought myself a silver bangle for my birthday.  It had a heart cut out on the inside of the bracelet (where no one else can see it), that reminds me to love myself.  All these little things added up to a huge change in the way I carried myself and in what I would now expect from a potential partner.

I began dating after I felt whole, and one of the first serious relationships I got into showed me how far I had come.  He had me flown to where he lived and he was waiting in the airport with a dozen roses!  Although I chose not to continue that relationship, I was being given affirmation that I deserved this kind of treatment.  Incidentally, the fact that I could end a relationship with someone who was good to me, not because I didn’t feel worthy, but because I now knew exactly what I wanted in a relationship was amazing in itself.

Then I met my current last husband.  If I had met him only a few years before, I would never have considered dating him because I would have felt he was out of my league.  I am grateful I found him after I found my own self worth.  He opens doors for me, brings me gifts (often when I least expect it), teaches me new things, and gives me permission (not that I need it anymore) to take care of myself.  He believes in me, builds me up, and is strong for me when I can’t be strong for myself.

So if you are looking for Mr. Right (or Ms. Right), the best way to find him (or her) is to stop looking, and treat yourself the way you want to be treated.  Then he will come looking for you.

When You’re Right, You’re Right

As Father’s Day comes to a close, I am thinking about all the fathers in my life.

My son, who is celebrating his second Father’s Day, has a baby girl who simply adores him.  I am proud of the dad he is, especially because he didn’t really have a role model.

When I was a teenager, my step-father sewed a skirt I ripped as I cried out of frustration.  He took me to the emergency room when I fell down a flight of stairs and split my noggin open.  And he made some killer cubed steak and gravy too!  He doesn’t sew or cook much anymore.

My brother-in-law is celebrating his first Father’s Day.  He had never held an infant until his own son was born.  By my sister’s own admission, he is a better mother than she could ever be.

My father-in-law is a wonderful man and has treated me like a daughter nearly since the day we met.  He looks out for me, sends me things he knows I would like, and takes a general interest in what’s going on with me.  (I think he likes me better than my husband.)

All kidding aside, my husband learned a lot from his dad.  I always say the line that hooked me was when my husband’s online profile listed one of his favorite things as “telling jokes that make me laugh and my kids roll their eyes.”  I always heard that the best gift a man can give his kids is to love their mother.  Well, we don’t have any children together, but my husband has certainly given his step-children the gift of loving their mother.  And I know it has been good for them.

Finally, I have been thinking about my dad all day.  He could make any situation seem better with just a few  words.  I can remember calling him late at night, because I knew he would be up… and if he wasn’t he would talk to me anyway.  He always knew just what to say.  One of the things he used to say to me, popped into my head first thing this morning.  It was usually after I had done something stupid and he wanted to let me know he was in my corner no matter what.  He would say, “You’re my daughter.  When you’re right, you’re right and when you’re wrong, you’re right.”  Now I was smart enough to know I wasn’t always right… especially in those moments.  But it sure made me feel better.

Thriving With Autism

I walk nearly every day. While I’m walking, I listen to personal growth mp3’s, webcasts, podcasts, or radio programs. As I walk and listen, I frequently begin composing my blog post for the day, often unintentionally. Tonight was no different.

Today was my youngest son’s 12th birthday. Although all children go through things as they grow and develop, some have more challenges than others. My youngest son is one of these. Fortunately, he has dealt with these challenges well.

He was initially diagnosed with generalized anxiety, ADHD inattentive type, and a short-term processing deficit. My purpose is not to get into a dialogue about labels, but to paint a picture of the struggles he was facing. Later added to his diagnoses were mild Autism and possible dyslexia.

When very young, my son wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone except immediate family. He was extremely anxious. If we drove home a different way than we usually did, he panicked. We avoided many places and situations in order to keep him calm. Like many children with Autism, my son has sensory issues such as hypersensitive senses of smell and hearing. He also has proprioceptive problems, which cause him to walk so hard that he wears holes in the bottoms of his shoes in a very short period of time, and make it difficult to do things that require balance, like riding a bike. He had great difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing and did not learn to tie his shoes until he was eleven years old. I could write a book on the difficulties my son struggled with, but I would rather celebrate his successes.

Over the years, my son has seen psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, naturopaths, pediatric Autism specialists, educational Autism specialists, language therapists, occupational therapists, reading specialists, and special education teachers. All of them were impressed by how much progress he has made over the years. He was essentially a non-reader in the second grade. He had a series of teachers who have helped him get close to grade level now that he will be entering sixth grade.

When my son was eight years old, I took him to an international camp for young people. Prior to attending the camp, we took him off the medication he had been on for his ADD and anxiety, at the suggestion of the facilitator. One purpose of the camp was to teach children how to face and overcome their fears. On the way home from the camp my son told me he didn’t think he needed his medicine anymore. He hasn’t been on medication since.

Socially, my son is working on things that many children with Autism must be taught more explicitly than other children (i.e, taking turns in a conversation, showing interest in other people and what they have to say). He tries to turn every conversation back to whatever he is interested in at the moment (currently it’s the Beatles). Ironically, he loves middle school. Even more ironic is the fact that he likes it for the social aspect.

Tonight at the dinner table, we were talking about the fact that my son likes older music (mostly from the sixties, seventies, and eighties). His classmates often give him a hard time about this. (I’m sure they point out his idiosyncrasies well.) He commented, “I’m just different, and that’s okay.” I know that no matter what he says, he doesn’t like being teased. I do believe that he has healthy self-esteem and realizes that the children that aren’t so nice to him are simply ignorant and rude.

In addition to his positive outlook, my son does love music. He dabbles in guitar and piano, and sings like a bird. He loves costumes and getting into character. When he likes something, he learns everything he can about it (one of the Asperger’s traits he displays)… and will tell you all about it. Above all else, he is happy. So my son is not suffering from Autism, he is thriving with Autism. And for that, I am happy.

Best Gift Ever

On May 22, 1965, I got the best gift ever.  It fit perfectly (and still does).  It still works.  In fact, the more I use it, the stronger it gets.  I almost lost it last year, so now it is even more precious.  Forty-nine years ago, my mom and dad gave me life in the human form.  (Granted, they purchased the gift nine months earlier… but I don’t want to get technical.)

Several years ago, a wise man taught me that the people who should be getting the card on my birthday were my parents.  Since then I have acknowledged my parents every year at this time… sometimes with a card or letter, sometimes with a phone call or a shout out on Facebook.  My dad isn’t on this plane anymore, so I have to believe that he “knows” I am grateful when I put it out there.  My mom is still vibrant and healthy, so this year my birthday card to her is this blog post.

Mom, I am so grateful that you gave birth to me and raised me to become the person I am today.  I am quite happy with my life, so you must have done a good job.  I know that I was placed in this family because you had things to teach me.  As I have in the past, I will continue to strive to become all I am meant to be.  In the meantime, know that I love you and I a grateful for everything you have given me.

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

Radical Change

Sometimes we need a little change. My mom always used to say when she wanted to change her luck she would change her purse.

This was me a few nights ago.
This was me a few nights ago.

 

Sometimes we need radical change. I know when I want the energy in my life to shift I have to do something more.

This is me in my daughter's kitchen this afternoon.  My hair has grown down to my waist.
This is me in my daughter’s kitchen this afternoon. My hair has grown down to my waist.

Yesterday I got a “wild hair,” so to speak, and decided to do something radical.  So I made an appointment with my daughter for a haircut.

This is the braid I frequently wear.
This is the braid I frequently wear.

It was not my original intent, but I will now research how to donate my braid.

This is the braid I frequently wore... now detached.
This is the braid I frequently wore… now detached.

Here  is the finished product.   My daughter is a talented cosmetologist.    And I do feel my energy has shifted.  Mission accomplished!

Me tonight after a radical change.  Feels great!
Me tonight after a radical change. Feels great!

Decisions, Decisions!

Sometimes I am indecisive because, although I intuitively know what is right for me in a given situation, I want validation from others.  It seems I would have outgrown this by now, as I am forty-eight years old.  (I’m still working on it.)

A friend spoke with me today about “getting behind a decision,” and I thought about how empowering that would be.  So I decided I was going to trust myself, hold onto my convictions, and let go of the need for anyone to validate me.  Ironically, throughout the course of the day, I had several people give me unsolicited validation, confirming what I had already decided was true.

Grateful

I look in the mirror and see a few grey hairs,

lines that weren’t there before,

and the toll that gravity has taken.

In my body, the aches and pains whisper.

Sometimes they scream.

Scars.

Some on the inside…

some without.

And I’m here.

I have breath

and life

and love.

I am grateful.

Peace Along Your Path

Growing up in an alcoholic home, peace was something I didn’t get to experience much.  Even if things were quiet, I perpetually anticipated a coming storm.  I didn’t understand this about myself until I was in my early forties.

I recreated this constant sense of dread by marrying an alcoholic… and this was the least of our problems.  My second marriage was not to an alcoholic, but to someone whose inability to manage himself closely resembled the behaviors of an addict.  My purpose here is not to place blame, but to note that my own addiction to chaos was preventing me from enjoying the very peace that I claimed to want in my life.

In my quest for peace, that I realized I really didn’t know what it felt like.  In fact, someone once said to me that no matter what was going on, I never looked ruffled.  I had to confess that it was often in these times, there was a tempest swirling around inside of me.

In order to experience peace, I began meditating… and sometimes simply sitting on my back deck doing nothing.  I began to realize that for the first time since I could remember, there was no drama in my life.  I also realized that this was an odd feeling.  I started to make the connection that, in the past, when this odd feeling arose, my remedy was to create some chaos so I could feel normal again.  Of course I did not do this on a conscious level.

After several years of practicing being at peace, I can say that I am quite good at it.  I have also learned that part of staying at peace is forgiving others because they were only doing what they knew with the information they had at the time.  An even bigger portion of my peace comes from forgiving myself, for the very same reason.

With that said, I ran across this blessing, on Wandering Voiceless
posted on January 27, 2014 by .  Read the rest of her post here.  And may you have peace along your path.

Peace Be With You Always As You Wander Your Life’s Path…

Peace be with you as you leave your broken childhood behind…

Peace be with you as you spread your wings and fly from a happy childhood home…

Peace be with you as you find your way in life…

Peace be with you as you flit from job to job, class to class, relationship to relationship, looking for that “just right” one…

Peace be with you as you settle into routine…

Peace be with you as you welcome your own children into the world…

Peace be with you as you raise your children better than your parents raised you…

Peace be with you as you raise your children exactly as you were raised…

Peace be with you as you push your children out of the nest to soar on their own strong wings…

Peace be with you as your children climb back into the nest because the world isn’t ready for them, or they aren’t ready for the world…

Peace be with you as you struggle with your parents’ health issues, or your own health, or God forbid,  your child’s health…

Peace be with you as you bask in the unconditional love of grandchildren and the pure joy of knowing you can send them back to their own parents when you’re tired… except you’re never tired around them…

Peace be with you if you have no children, or fur children, or nieces and nephews that you influence and nurture…

Peace be with you as you travel the world and learn the perspective of someone whose life hasn’t been as blessed as your own… 

Peace be with you as you struggle to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head… 

Peace be with you as you suffer the loss of loved ones dear to you, friends and acquaintances, too…  for all touched your heart while they shared their time and space with you… 

Peace be with you as you enjoy the sunset of your life… celebrating your accomplishments and forgiving yourself your failures, because in every failure there was a lesson learned…

Peace be with you always as you wander your life’s path… wherever that path may lead you..

Peace.

Happy Ending

Today’s  Daily Prompt, “Happy Endings”, from The Daily Post asked that we reflect on a time when we tried to quit something.  It brought to mind the struggle I faced a couple of years ago with trying to quit a job.  I was extremely unhappy, as were many of the people with which I worked.  In retrospect, I was responsible for the position in which I found myself.  Back then, I was convinced that I was a victim.

In my twelve years of teaching, there had been ups and downs.  But during that last year, I dreaded going to work in the morning.  By the end of the school year, entering the building brought on panic attacks.  During the last week of school I sent my husband a text message telling him that I thought I was having a nervous breakdown.  He immediately called me and asked what was wrong.  I told him that I could not stop crying and I could not go back into that building.

His response helped me find the courage to start the “quitting” process.  He told me that although he would not tell me what to do, he did not want me going back to that school in the fall… even if it meant not returning to work at all.  I had talked about leaving, but only after my husband’s comment did I actually see it as a real possibility.

It wasn’t until then that I realized what was holding me in this miserable position wasn’t lack of jobs in the marketplace, or my lack of marketability, but the six inches between my ears.  I had been in the same position for so long, I didn’t believe I could find another job.  Looking back, I realize how ludicrous this was.  What I also noticed was that lots of people I knew  felt stuck too.  I don’t know if this is a phenomenon found in other fields or if it is disproportionately represented in education.  I do know that many unhappy teachers stay where they are out of fear.

So my happy ending began with quitting a job that held more cons than pros for me.  I loved the kids, I liked what I taught, and hated almost everything else about my job.  I had some colleagues I would miss, but I realized I could maintain these friendships regardless of where I worked.  (In fact, I now prefer getting together for lunch with friends rather than commiserating with them at school.)

I made up my mind that I would not return to the school where I had spent the vast majority of my career, even if I couldn’t find a teaching job.  Then I began my job search.  I applied in three different counties, and ended up taking a position very different from the one I had held for so long.  I also took a ten-thousand dollar pay cut.

In return, I cut my actual work day by forty-five minutes.  I also gained (at least) another forty minutes in personal time since I cut my commute by half.   This resulted in less wear-and-tear on my car and less fuel expense.  I was also pleasantly surprised to gain a pleasurable, predictable ride to and from work.

By taking a leap of faith, I not only gained a job I enjoy.  I also found friends in my new colleagues.  I remembered what it felt like to be excited about Monday mornings again.  Most importantly, I learned that there are always new opportunities just within my reach.  All I have to do is choose.

“You can be…

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
― C. JoyBell C.

I dub today Wisdom Wednesday.  Each Wednesday I will post a quote that has been meaningful to me.  I hope today’s quote speaks to you.