Nothing is Free….

So yesterday I wrote about how determined I am to take my virtual assistant ways and launch myself into the great unknown stratosphere. Well, let me tell you something, that is one expensive journey. I have started tapping into every online resource I can find, and they all lure you in with the promise of amazing results, unlimited income, darn near world domination status….for the low bargain price of, *insert not so low bargain price here* It ranges from virtual assistant education facilities, to online resources for clients, and all kinds of educational tools in the middle. I am beginning to think these people are not making money as virtual assistants, but rather as telling everyone else what to do to be one. I get it, they started at the ground level, and built up their empires. But seriously folks, many people starting like this do not have $1000 to throw at your bank account because they require it for their own.

So here I am trying to scour the way myself, essentially, doing what these examples did themselves, the way they promised I would not have to do things, because paying them would ensure I have so much more at my fingertips. No worries, I am not bitter, well, maybe a little bitter. But, this is not the first time I will have to figure my own way out of a paper bag. I can do this. This just stands as a speed bump, one I will make it over, slowly, without ruining my entire suspension. I got this…I think. When I make it big, I plan to give back to others in my shoes….for free. Maybe not everything, but I think it would be great to mentor another person to success, for the low bargain price of free.

Perhaps this is the lesson I am meant to learn. I can do it, my way, and succeed. I do not need to follow the path of another, certainly not a path I have to pay to access. I can blaze my own path, I am a fiery Aries after all. I often feel like everything in my life is a struggle, but I also do my best work under pressure. Perhaps this is why I ran into the roadblocks yesterday. I had not looked at it that way, I was just frustrated. I kept trying different avenues, and kept getting blocked. Perhaps the issue is more personal than I thought. The lesson is you know the way, trust in yourself to find it, and stop trying to find other people to follow. Be your own leader, not someone else’s follower.

Hmmm….now there is some food for thought.

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Sometimes the Answer is Right Under Your Nose….Sometimes.

I have been struggling lately with what direction I want to take my professional life. Since becoming pregnant with my first child I always felt my place was at home. Now, do not get me wrong, I do not sit in judgement of those who pursue a career outside the home. Quite the opposite, really. I sit in wonder as they have always been able to provide for themselves and their children without having to wait on the breadwinner to bring home the proverbial bacon. I always loathed that feeling of dependence, but was never quite sure what to do about it. When I was a single mom the first time, I worked in childcare and had my kids there in the building. Now, I know I do not want to do that, I got burned out on that field….big time.

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I have been working at home, as a virtual assistant, for several months now. I really love it. I have different tasks daily, and every day is something the same but different. I work from home and can work as early or late as I need to accommodate my children’s schedules. Having one in elementary, one in middle, and one in high school, the schedules are all over the place. So my little part time gig has been amazing. Now that I need something more reliable, more stable, I got scared, because I did not know what that looked like. I was also pretty convinced it did not look like my current job, where I sit in my yoga pants and work from home with no makeup on, taking a break to go run when I so choose.

Then, something happened. Someone told me I HAD to find a different job. I COULD NOT keep doing what I was doing….it is IMPOSSIBLE. Now, the fiery Italian in me said, WTF?? You are going to sit there and tell me anything I love is impossible?? Really?? Then I realized something. This person, *cough cough*my mother*cough cough* had implanted this self-doubt in me all my life. She has her own idea of what is possible and what is not. She has made her own choices, and boy have some of them been really poor, and stood for no one telling her something was impossible. So why the actual hell was I going to sit back and let her crap on my dream?? I am not, that is the answer.

So I have started into the motion the transition from working part time for someone else, to working full time for myself…no middle man. I am going to transform myself into the virtual assistant I know I can be. At the end of the day, impossible is just another way of saying, ‘I’m possible.’

When I Grow Up….

When I grow up, I want to be a famous author. When I grow up, I want to be a social worker. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. When I grow up, I want to be a super-star athlete. When I grow up, I want to be a famous artist. When I grow up….wait, when is that again?? How can I be 40 years old and have such little idea about what I want to do with my life?!? How is this possible? I think about the possibilities, and then the idea of making a choice scares the shit out of me. The idea of making the WRONG choice scares the shit out of me. So then, I choose nothing, and stay where I am, and that aggravates me, and round and round I go.

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I love writing, I have always had a passion for sharing my thoughts, ideas, my soul. When I start to put it down, with intent for greatness, I freak out, get writer’s block, and cannot seem to convey any of my thoughts well. I have started my book, which will be a best-seller, approximately 25 times in the last 10 years. I have finished about 10 pages maximum at any given attempt. They all reside on my Google drive, sitting there taunting me, like the several hundred craft projects I have started in my lifetime that never got done either.

I worked in childcare for quite a while. I do love children, but the rest of the job, well, I got burned out dealing with people and situations that I loathed. I hated having to keep my mouth shut and smiling when I wanted to scream about how wrong some situation was, or how much a particular person had no business in the business. Plus, the pay is crap, benefits suck (if you get any), and I go home completely and totally exhausted every single day….can you tell I had the toddler room???

I have sought help with this situation, from friends, family, my therapist. I cannot think of any one thing I want to do forever. I think of lots of things I would like to do for a while. I can think of things I would never want to do in a million years. So I guess progress can be made through elimination, to a degree. My support network tell me to just keep trying to find something that I love, whatever that may be. My therapist tells me to focus on fixing the issues from my PTSD and the rest will come in time. Time…do I have much time?? I mean, I am 40, not 22. *Sigh* I get confused, and then frustrated, because I do not see other people having the same issues I do, with attention, with focus.

My attention span is that of a 2 year old on a sugar high. My therapist assures me this is normal considering I have PTSD. I have always been like this though, and he retorts that I have been dealing with trauma my whole life. Ok, touche Mr. Therapist, touche. The fact remains, I have a history of starting and not finishing, unless it is a cup of coffee….that gets finished in 30 seconds flat. Oooh, I could have my own line of coffee, and products, and become the most famous Coffee Mama in all the land…coffee world domination, here I come.

But seriously, it is so frustrating to deal with this every day. I love my job, virtual assistant, because I am constantly doing different things, and dealing with new people. Plus, I love helping people, and my clients are all really great and compliment my work a lot. BUT….you knew there was a but coming, I do not necessarily feel completely fulfilled. I feel as though there is something more, something greater out there for me. I just don’t know quite what that is….yet. Hopefully I will figure it out before I am 50.

 

On the Cusp….

Have you ever had that feeling that you are on the cusp of greatness? No, really? I have this feeling that comes and goes, mostly around times of great change. It feels like a rush, excitement, anxiety, fear, intensity. I feel as though I am on the verge of some huge, great breakthrough, but I just cannot quite navigate the path ahead.

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I am at that point right now. I feel as though the world is open to me, whatever direction I want to go. But then I look around and feel as though my obligations are obviously something to consider, not to mention I am not 22 anymore. At this point I second guess my thinking. Am I just becoming negative, or is it realistic? I want to do great things, but then, I do not know what these great things are yet. I am a great #mom, that I have going for me. I want to take my strengths and turn them into the greatest life I have ever known, work wise. But when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, it is kinda hard.

I cannot shake this feeling like there is more to life than what is going on now, and I am right on the other side of the door. I just cannot figure out how to open it. Maybe I am meant to break it down, but I feel as though there is a key somewhere that I am missing. I hate that feeling. My therapist would probably tell me to meditate on feeling complete, as though I am not missing anything, and have all the answers. And he would he correct. Soooo, I guess I will try that first.

Remember those parent/teacher conferences where the teacher said you (or your kid) were not working to their potential? That is me. I am not working to my potential….but I do not know in what direction I am meant to aim my potential. Plus, I still have insecurities about where my true potential lies. I work hard at whatever job I have, and always have. I want to feel passion, fire for what I do. I like my job, Virtual Assistant, but it is not where I am destined to be. It is a placeholder, for what, I do not know yet.

I love helping people, and I love children…but I got burned out on childcare long ago. Perhaps, after everything I have been through something in the advocacy realm for abused women and children. Hmmm. Social Services? Non-Profit? I don’t know. I suppose I have to have faith in the journey, and remind myself that I am where I am meant to be until I am meant to be somewhere else. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Flashbacks…

Due to the trauma I have experienced in my second marriage, and throughout my life, I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. My second marriage is responsible for the brunt of the issues, but I allowed that relationship to continue due to unresolved issues from my past. Anyway, I have flashbacks, not all the time but often enough. The triggers are anything, or nothing. I think this aspect is one of the worst of PTSD because it can trigger a panic attack at any given moment. I am then left feeling vulnerable and out of control, which is not what any PTSD sufferer needs.

One of my most common flashbacks is to when my now ex kicked in the bathroom door on me. We had been arguing for several hours, about nothing because all the arguments are about nothing. At this point I usually just take the screaming at, occasionally throw in my own retort, and wait for the switch to flip and the remorse to set in. But lately, things have not been going that way. He has been raging for longer periods of time than usual. What was once an hour is now half the day. He is becoming more aggressive, more explosive, scarier.

 

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On this particular day, I told him I was done fighting for the moment and needed a break. I told him I was going to the bathroom to compose myself and just take a break. I went into the bathroom, closed and locked the door. I sat on the toilet and just cried. Within a minute he had followed me upstairs, and screamed from the other side, “We’re done talking when I say we are done talking, and you’re gonna listen to me God damnit!” He then kicked in the door, and continued screaming at me, berating me. I almost vomited from the anxiety.

To this day, everytime I close a bathroom door, I flashback.  Every. single. time. Sometimes are worse than others, but every time I visually recall that moment when he kicked in the door on me and showed me once again I was the bird trapped in the cage and I was not going to escape if it was up to him. Some day I know these flashbacks will stop, and I long for that day, but for now, I am where I am, and it is going to be ok.

The Little Victories….

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I have learned on my short-lived journey little victories are going to lead me to the ultimate success. In leaving the abusive relationship I was in for 7.5 years, I have found just how much I need to fix in my life, and just how difficult it can be to do so. I have to fix my credit, reduce my debt, increase my income, all while working my current job, and juggling three kids, and let’s not forget all the court it entails to leave a marriage with kids, and keep those kids (and myself) safe in the process. I have also learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for, I can rely on people for help, and it IS GOING TO BE OK.

Yesterday was a tumultuous one. Actually the whole week has been a roller coaster (see yesterday’s post). On Sunday, I filled out an application for an apartment where the leasing agent assured me she would do everything in her power to get me in and my situation was nothing new, and she herself had been there. I got them all the necessary paperwork by Monday, and waited. I called the next day, nothing….the day after, nothing…finally on Thursday the leasing agent actually answered my call. “Oh, I’m sorry but the manager said no, and I pretty much cannot do anything.” I asked about the possibility of paying a large deposit, or even paying a full year up-front (borrowing the money from family and paying them back monthly instead of paying the rental office). She turned it down…yes, CASH, rejected. I was speechless, which is probably a good thing for this leasing agent.

So yesterday I was hunting again, and mind you, while I am apartment hunting, I am NOT WORKING, and thus LOSING MONEY. So basically yesterday was a frantic journey. At the end of the day, I secured an apartment, and the kids and I will be in a safe, clean, quiet, neighborhood that is in the same school zone as what we need. So there incompetent leasing agent, I don’t need you anyway. I count that as my small victory. I can now focus on working, getting through the impending trial and protective order hearing (trial because my soon-to-be ex broke the emergency protective order six times from jail 30 minutes after being served).

I am now checking off the list ‘find place to live,’ and moving every item up a notch in the priority scale. A top priority is finding a job that is Administrative, which is what I do now, but not independently contracted. I need to establish reliable, stable income, hopefully with benefits. But I am not frantic, since I do have a job. I can relax a bit, and not feel that sense of urgency, that impending doom. For far too long that has been my feeling every moment of every day.

Being married to an abusive, narcissistic person drains you of all your hopes and dreams. It leaves you a shell of the person you were. My children are excited because fun mom is back. She is still strict and has lots of rules, but she is not as anxious and on edge as abusive relationship mom. I can take a deep breath, and let the energy course through my body, without fear that an emotional, mental vampire is going to rob me blind. That is a victory.

Relish every victory in life, because the smallest ones can yield the biggest results. I have a big mountain to climb, but I am not climbing it alone, and I have surpassed some of the roughest points. I can feel the refreshing air in my lungs, and I can see the peak. When I get there, be ready, because I intend to scream from the mountain top that I have arrived.

Want a Ticket For The Roller Coaster??

Leaving an abusive relationship is almost as scary, difficult, taxing, and anxiety inducing as being in the damn relationship to begin with, at least for me. I have to rebuild myself from the ground up. I have a job, but as an independent contractor, and only for the last 5 months. I have 3 years into my college degree and desire to finish, but uhhh who has the time and money for that right now?!?! No, really, WHO?? I need a place to live, with my 3 kids, but I have very little credit, and apparently some medical bills I was unaware of from like 4 years ago….so, that is another pile of dog poo poo I am trying to deal with currently.

You know that saying, “God only gives you as much as you can handle,” well, I think he fell asleep with the remote, because I feel overwhelmed regularly. He must think I am freaking Wonder Woman to keep piling it on like this. Either that, or he knows I have questioned his existence, and he does in fact have a mean streak in him. Who knows, and quite frankly, who has time to worry about that….not me.

I am dealing with PTSD, finding a new, more reliable job, finding a place to live, keeping myself and my children safe, working my current job in the meantime, and trying to sort out the issue prohibiting me from moving forward. It feels like I am drowning. I always pictured this time as feeling like I regained my freedom, and yet, I feel as though I am now a prisoner to my life. If that makes sense. I have these moments, like what I am in right now, where I just ramble in my head, not quite sure if I am making sense.

I will say this, to anyone reading who is contemplating getting out, but reads this and is now scared shitless….do it anyway. Because as scared as I am right now, I was more terrified living day to day with an abusive, narcissist. Get out, whatever you need to do, just figure it out, and get out. Do not second guess yourself or wait until…until is now. The rest can be figured out.

It is 5:09 am, and so far, I have filled out 4 job applications, vented on social media, applied to a couple more apartments, and found 4 more places to go see soon. Oh yeah, and written this little gem. I feel like a full day has already been accomplished and yet, there remains so much more to do.

I just keep saying, “It’s going to be ok.” I also ask everyone in my support network to tell me the same thing, over and over on a loop.

I have always said I perform best under pressure, and this is certainly pressure, so I guess it is just an opportunity to show myself just what I am made of. Hey, maybe I am Wonder Woman….where’s that damn lasso??

Domestic Violence…Find Your Freedom.

Domestic violence has many faces. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, controlling behavior, fear mongering. It can be a husband, father, mother, daughter, or any other family member. The face of domestic violence is every face. Every person you see in the world could potentially be a victim of domestic violence. I have learned a great deal about this issue over the last several years, but the most in the last couple months.

I have endured domestic violence over the last 7.5 years. As have my children, and even my family pets. I spent too many years with a man who abused me mentally, physically, emotionally, and left me feeling like a caged bird. The worst part, I have been blaming myself the last 7.5 years, for choosing this person and not seeing how damaged, and damaging, he is inside. I became numb to his abuse, because I viewed it as a temporary issue. I believed he would change, because after the rage he would profess to want to change. I believed if I could keep the waters calm, the rage would fade away. I was wrong. The stormy sea is inside him, and no matter what I do, it will be there until he is ready to do what it takes to calm the tumultuous waters himself.

I believed I could love him better. If I could show him unconditional love and support, he would heal. In the process, I ceased to provide my own self with the unconditional love and support I was giving to him. I focused so much on caring for him, I neglected myself. I abused myself, and thus, he abused me too. I valued myself so little, that I accepted this behavior, because I valued him enough to endure his abuse in an effort to help him get better. Why would I do such a thing? Simple, it is my comfort zone. Now, I know what you’re thinking, here is where she blames her parents for everything. No no, no assigning blame. BUT, I will assign responsibility where it belongs.

I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. While it has existed most of my life, the brunt of it came from my abusive marriage. My therapist stopped me when I boarded the blame train, and started heading towards myself with it, full boar. He said I chose what felt familiar, whether it was good for me or not. He said, after a lifetime of traumatic experiences, it is what my mind knows, and where it feels most comfortable, and thus, because I have these issues, I would gravitate towards what feels familiar. So now what? Well, lots of therapy, that is what. I have to rewire my brain, my impulses. I have to retrain myself to accept positive, healthy relationships, and not be drawn to unhealthy, neglectful, abusive ones.

So how did I know now was the time? Well, I did not. My credit is awful, my income is unstable, and my life does not feel as though I am in a place to take on the world by myself….with three kids. But, I became more afraid of staying than I was of leaving. He was escalating to a point that I feared for my safety, and my children’s well-being. I became more afraid of the familiar than I was of the unknown. I called the police, and did what I needed to in order to have him removed from the home.

 

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Now, I am doing something I have feared more than anything in my world, asking for help. I am asking anyone and everyone who will help me, to help. Support, safety, stable employment, whatever people offer, I openly accept that which I need. I have let my guard down, and let the positive influences in, because I cannot do this alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and I have three. So I have alerted my village that I need their help. Something that has always terrified me, because of my childhood. But I am finding the more I ask, and receive, the better things are working out. The universe is showing me I am doing the right thing. This road is rocky, uncertain, and damn scary. But scarier is staying in an abusive relationship going nowhere healthy….fast.

My journey is still moving forward, one step at a time.

Fear….What a Bitch.

“Only thing we have to #fear, is fear itself.”–Franklin Delano Roosevelt uttered these words during his first inaugural address. It rings true throughout every aspect of life. The element of fear can be debilitating for some, while a driving force for others. What is it that makes the determination? What causes some people to fuel their fire while facing their fears, but the same fear sends other people running for the nearest sandbox in which to stick their heads? Life experience? Genetics? A combination? Neither?

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I have lived my life afraid of so much, and yet, I have faced many fears in my life. Some fears I conquer easily, like I am freaking Wonder Woman. Other fears, have me emotionally, and somewhat physically paralyzed, as though I will die if I have to deal with the consequences of dealing with the fear.  But really, would I die? Is my fear really so terrible that I would die of it? Probably not, but in some cases I have convinced myself of the fact I am stuck, without options but to stay in the place I fear. What will it take to move myself from this place of fear, to the other side? The side that holds everything I want….feeling uncomfortable enough in the fear, that I desire change more than I fear it. Sounds simple, right? In some cases yes, but in other more complicated, intricate situations, not so much.

I have learned one thing, I need to be patient and understanding with myself. I need to stop coming down so hard on myself when I fail, or do not even try because I am afraid. I need to stop assessing blame, and start assessing what the problem is and how I need to adjust my plan to ensure success. I need to think about what I would tell my children, if they were in my situation, and apply the same understanding, empathy, and love to myself. I need to love me as much as I love others. So now that I have figured that part out, the rest will come in time.

My past life experiences have left me traumatized, afraid, totally lacking confidence in my ability to accomplish my goals. While I am not responsible for putting myself in this hole, I am responsible for getting myself out. I refuse to spend the rest of my life being a victim of circumstance. Others have concurred far scarier things than I have faced, and if they can thrive as opposed to just survive, so can I. Instead of sitting in ‘I can’t,’ I am going to change my view to ‘I can.’ I may not have all the answers right now, and that is okay. I will find my way, anyone can if they believe and have faith in themselves.

“Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” and once we move through that fear, everything we want is on the other side. It is a journey through life to get to what we want. Every experience along the way is designed to teach us something, and give us opportunity for growth. Seize every single one, good, bad, ugly, or beautiful. Do not let one moment of one day pass you by, do not sit on the sidelines, but rather, be an active participant in your own life. It is going to happen, with or without your participation.

I Owe You an Apology…

I love you. I know I do not always show it, or say it. But I do. I love the way you are always there for me, and never let me down. I love your humor, your sensitivity, your quick wit. I love a lot of things about you. I know I have been overly critical of you, and verbally beat you up. I know I have told you some of the meanest things you have ever heard. I know I have let you down. I want to say, I am sorry.

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I know I have not always been your biggest fan, I have been hypercritical of your appearance. I have been hypercritical of your choices in life. I have been hypercritical about your personal struggle. When you needed me to be patient and understanding I was harsh, and demanding. I want to say, I am sorry.

 

 

 

Instead of criticizing you when things did not go as you wanted or expected, I should have loved you even more, been a supportive voice, built you up instead of brought you down. When times got tough, I should never have blamed you, but rather, helped you see the light to find the way out. I let you down when you needed me most. I am supposed to be your rock, your go to, and I let you down. I want to say, I am sorry.

From this point forward I will do my very best to lift you up, and fill you with positive, uplifting energy. I will tell you, and show you, every day how much you mean to me. I will love you the way you deserve to be loved, and stop neglecting you, leaving you vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. I will do for you what I should have been doing all along, I will protect you. I let you down, and I am sorry, and I will not let you down again.

I love you, you are worthy, you are beautiful, you are strong, you are perfect just the way you are right now. You deserve true love, acceptance, and for your every dream to come true. You are a force of positive energy moving towards greatness, and I am your biggest cheerleader, your number 1 fan. You…are me.