Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Factiest Fact

Some facts about me: I have 3 tattoos, and no, the one on my arm isn't finished. I know how to drive a standard. I have hazel eyes. I have two children. I hate being cold. I love Chinese food, dad jokes, and riding on the shopping cart. I have an addiction to my phone, but I also hate it. I’ve battled psoriasis since I was in 6th grade. I really hate mushrooms and olives. I want to like whiskey, but I don't yet. I love to laugh more than anything in the world. I love Jesus, but I cuss a little(lot). I hate being alone. My biggest desire is to be married. My second biggest desire is to never ever EVER be divorced again. My biggest struggle is silencing the fear that it's inevitable.

I'm good at relationships. Donald Miller taught me this, and my Jessie-friend reminds me of it oh so often. Honestly, I think I'm damn good at relationships. I cherish my friends and my family, and if I'm dating someone, they can be confident in where I stand. I don’t play games.  I'm pretty self-aware of my faults or when I'm acting irrational and can ask for grace as I'm working something out in my head and in my heart. If I’m offended or hurt, I've learned to talk about it and squash it and move on even though its not natural for me. I understand about myself that I get grumpy when I'm tired and have no problem nudging (pushing, hitting, smothering) to stop snoring around me. I've learned to just say what I need like when I need to be loved a little louder, none of us are mind readers after all. I’ve learned I need space and time to myself. I don't do the silent treatment. I'm not clingy. I believe in a partnership. I know that words are relentlessly powerful to me, second only to silence. I've made huge, shameful, embarrassing, awful relationship mistakes, but they've not occurred without a high price and gain of wisdom. I know the ease of an emotional attachment and how its hooks are deep long before you have any idea you’re in it. I've learned to keep sturdy, high, and healthy boundaries. I've learned when it's time to say goodbye in dating- although I tend to keep trying and fighting.

I think I try and give so many chances and opportunities for change because I'm so determined to prove to myself, to my past, and to onlookers that I CAN put in the work. That I can compromise. That I do love well and hard, and I don't give up easily. I left my husband after 5 1/2 years - and contrary to what many believe- I did NOT make that decision lightly. It had been years of turmoil and hurt and struggle and lies- on both sides, I'm far from innocent. We did counseling, separation, feast & famine, had children, moved away, faced catastrophe...you name it. We were broken, and I stopped living. I did the thing we vowed wasn't an option-I left.

I read an article once about a couple who was in a season- you married folks understand- a really fucking hard season (I don't care how happy y'all are today, you've been in a really fucking hard season and, if you haven't, I’m sorry to say you will.) This couple went to a Christian counselor who basically asked them if divorce was an option. That hit them hard because they weren't anywhere near that point and always agreed it wasn't. But one of them got really, really, REALLY brave and said, "Well, yeah, I guess it could be," and the counselor said, "Good! Now we have some work to do."

Before you get huffy, LISTEN.

If divorce isn't an option, then there's nothing to work towards. You trust that no matter how horribly you treat each other, or how many women you sleep with, or men that become your confidants they will stay. No matter how much you drink or lie or speak with razors, whatever your poison may be-it's okay. You both are choosing to exist in misery because you have literally nothing to lose. HOWEVER, if you can get really, deep down in your bones, honest with yourself and your partner- divorce is always an option. Once you realize that, you have something to work for.  You have something to fight for more ferocious than Gerard Butler in 300 (hubba, hubba, am I right?) It’s worth the fight. Grit your teeth and snarl and claw through anything to choose your partner, on purpose, every single day as long as you both shall live.

We didn't do that. "Divorce wasn't an option" and I was reminded of this everytime I attempted to stand my ground. Those words held me pinned against the wall like a knife against my neck. So I didn't move, I stopped living. I lived in fear as those words pushed in closer, sharper, I hung my head in defeat. I stopped talking to my family. It was easier to not have friends. I battled less, I learned its safer to not argue. I learned my voice was just white noise.
"Divorce is not an option" and I stopped living.

But the reality is, divorce is always an option. The reality is Jesus cared about me more my marriage, and his love is bigger than my divorce. I chose to live.

Here's the fear I try my hardest to overcome- I can do everything right, and they can still leave. At any moment, they can stop choosing me. They can soften that wall for a female friend who was going through a tough time. They can chose a night out with the guys a little more and more and often. They can choose work or beer or power over you. They can make the decision, for no apparent reason, that "I just don't want to be married anymore."
And then what, I start all over again?

This is my fear, yet, I chose to love.

I choose to risk my heart. I choose to seek it out. I choose to tell my heavenly Father the desires of my heart. I choose to go to the well, because I believe that we're all human and I believe in grace and forgiveness. I believe that good and honorable men exist. I believe that it's worth the fight. I believe that I'm worthy of love and for someone to choose me again and again and again every single day. I believe in marriage and that a healthy partnership can exist.

I HAVE to believe it-it’s the factiest fact of all the facts about me-I believe in love and that it can coexist with life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A love letter to 2016

Dearest 2016,
 I was nervous when you showed up, and I wasn't sure if we'd be friends. I didn't know if you would be on my side or betray me like so many before. You've been quite a ride, not too scary and didn't need Dramamine, but a fun and exciting experience. Overall I'm thankful for you, let me count the ways....

In January I was let go of a job I believed in. I knew it was coming, or had a feeling for a while, but still when it came I was terrified. Two days later, I was offered the opportunity to return to a previous role in a higher position with a more than acceptable pay increase. I fell up, to say the least. I returned to the company I whole heartedly believe in, with incredible and honorable leadership and hands down the best coworkers I could ask for. This job has not come without a lot of work, but it's work I love. It makes me laugh, brings me joy, challenges me, stretches me, and I feel a valued part of the team. 

I ended a relationship with a kind man who taught me an incredible amount about myself and being loved and accepting help. I was blessed to spend time with an unexpected old/new friend. He's a kind-hearted, generous, confusing but gentle giant. He was an adventure and he too taught me much, but above all, that I deserve to be pursued and cherished. I've learned that I'm not too hard to love. That I have the ability to fight for what I want, compromise, and put in the work when the time comes for me to love again. I so want to love again.
I've once again, through this year, been reminded of how abundantly blessed I am when it comes to the people I'm surrounded by.  Whether it's my incredible family - aunts, uncles, cousins and everyone in between - I'm so happy to also call them my friends. There are so many actual friends that feel a whole lot more like family:  those I see every day that hear my laughing and crying and terrible singing through my cubical walls. My dearest most favorite friends who walk with me through all the valley's, relentlessly hear my hearts cry, my biggest celebrations, my foul mouth and (self-proclaimed) hilarious things I say. There are those I've been able to link arms:  my mom friends, my divorced friends, my work friends, my prayer warriors- we'll all get through this together.  My incredible guys and their beyond wonderful wives, as we tell alllll the funny stories of years past and who make me laugh until I run out of happy tears, and my belly aches in the best way. They have a way of making me feel more loved and protected than anyone else. Or my favorite friend that's been around for about 14 years, who half the time I want to kill and the other half I want to love, but who I cherish and would be lost without- so, fire away. I'm not certain what I've done or why God's surrounded me with this perfect-to-me group of people, but I know there would be no 'me' without them.

2016, you gave me the chance to spend more time with my little sister than I ever have in my life. I was honored to cheer her on in huge milestones and am in awe of her bravery and resilience. I got to swim in Medina Lake for the first time in about 8 years and share that experience with my children. I celebrated my best friends nuptials with her kinder than kind husband and danced the night away. My sweet heart, goofy brother made me an aunt to my first blood nephew. I battled depression and anxiety. I'm BROKE. I'm tired. I reunited with friends and family lost in divorce. I learned about self-love and seeing my worth.  I've fallen in love with podcasts, iced coffee, Jazz, TX, and my kids again and again and again.

These last few years haven't been kind, but 2016, other than our presidential election shit-storm, a few heartaches and some hail damage, you've been alright. I'm thankful for you, and I'm not sure I'd change a dang thing. Life is good, and my heart is so happy.

Big Love,


Monday, July 25, 2016

This was a new first…

***This is different than my previous posts, however, making myself just as vulnerable and possibly giving too much information… I learned something at 30yrs old and wanted to share this experience. I’m hoping I can paint this picture well. Praying for the words to portray this incredibly simple event and completely at the risk of you finishing reading and thinking “Well, thanks Rhonda, can’t get that time back. Talk to your girlfriends about this shit,” ... but, here goes. I’m not here to go on and on about dates and experiences and the INSANITY that is online/app dating… although I could, maybe I will in another post. But, I did recently have an incredible first experience, that seems like it should be rudimentary, and I’m trying to think and feel my way through why it was so significant to me.***

I’m in this brand new season of life, one that is full of firsts and unmarked territory for my little tribe.  I was at one point, the person who was told “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”  As that circle of friends paired up rode off happily ever after into the sunset, a new circle of friends developed just shortly before I met my, now, ex-husband.  Then I was the first of us to ride off happily ever after into the sunset…until I wasn’t. Then I was the first push through a separation. I was the first to have babies. I was the first to be divorced. And now, I’m the first to go on first dates again.

Dating is so fun yet the most dreadful thing all at the same time.
I was recently reunited with a high school acquaintance.  I don’t know that we’d ever shared words in the 4 yrs we spent wondering the same halls so many years ago, Go Rams.  We never had a class together and, until recently, I couldn’t have even told you what he was involved in. I remember I always thought he was incredibly handsome, but that’s about all I remember. Our circle of friends just never crossed.

Now, if you’re able to enter into a judgment free zone with me for a hot second then do so, if you’re unable, then go ahead and press that little X at the top of your screen. I’ll give you a minute… Ok, for those still with me, we matched on Tinder (I know, I know). Both of us had resigned, just days before, to just try it out and both had basically the same thought process as we came across a familiar face with 50+ common Facebook friends -including each other- and decided to swipe right. It’s a match!

We exchanged texts for a few days and planned to see each other on a Friday night, however, some plans changed and my Thursday evening was free, so we got together for drinks, a pre-date, if you will.  I’m giving this much detail about our history and location, because, well its fun, and this is where the simple, incredible-to-me, experience occurred.

We met at a trendy bar he frequented.  Our pre-date went great! He’s clearly a very well liked man, loved even, as he was being greeted left and right. We were submerged in his community, his friends, his ‘cheers bar’ as he calls it. We caught up on the last 13 yrs and just enjoyed each other’s company.

So, Friday night. Date night. We walked to dinner, hand in hand for a few blocks, he always made sure he was closest to the street. We met another couple for dinner, and then walked to get drinks after. I was lovingly teased for ‘talking way too much,’ as I was happily laughing at all their stories but naturally took a backseat to the dominant personalities around me. We went to a couple bars but eventually returned to the one we started at on our pre-date the night before.  As he ran into people he knew throughout the night, again and again people seemed filled with joy as they greeted him. However, this time was slightly/immensely different. He kept his hand on my back or a hand in mine and almost seemed to rush through his own hello so he could get to the part where he could introduce me. Every. Single. Time. He’d confidently introduce me to each person that greeted him. With a hand on my back, aware, I assume, that this could be overwhelming to the quiet girl that’s been taking a backseat to the dominant personalities around her. I felt safe, cherished, and a prize- not in a cheap or materialistic way, but I was in a room full of his community, his friends, his tribe, all vying for his attention, yet I felt like he just wanted them to know me. 

As I try to paint this picture, I know how simple it sounds, how it’s hard to see any significance here.  This isn’t a bash on anyone from my past, present, or future. It was just a moment, where I felt like the only person in the room, where it didn’t feel forced or awkward. A moment where I didn’t feel like I was messing up street cred, or cramping his style, or an ‘oh yeah, and this is Rhonda,” moment.  This was a new first for me…A simple, normal, social interaction that in my 30yrs I had never experienced.

Now, I don’t know if there will be a happily ever after with the incredibly handsome boy I once kind of knew, but I do know that as I’m in this new season of firsts, for the first time, maybe ever, I felt like I was picked first.  And for the first time, this is a requirement of all my future firsts.