In the wee small hours of the morning…

So lately I have been afflicted with insomnia.  I have the worst time failing asleep.  Once I fall asleep, I don’t sleep as well as I once did, tossing and turning and waking up all night long. I’m hoping that it is temporary and once I start traveling, the exertion of it all, will put me fast asleep at night.

I know that part of it is due to my racing mind.  I need to pack this, scan that, forget the evil twin posted that on Facebook today.  Sometimes, I write at night (check the posting times on many of the posts) and then I’m able to go to sleep.  So as I thought about writing tonight, I was thinking, how may different ways can I say, I’m going to come out of the other side of this stronger and better off and fine?  Why do I care so much about tiptoeing around what I really want to say about him?  I mean really, this is all about what I need to heal.  Not what he needs to feel ok about what he did.  His kids know what he did.  His sisters, friends, they all know.

So tonight, no tiptoeing.  Tonight I can’t sleep because I’m hurt and angry.  I’m pissed that I was lied to for God only knows how long about he really felt in order to not knock rock the apple cart and make sure I was still here to fry his eggs, chill his beer, love his kids, never run out of toilet paper and rub his back each night he was home.  What hurts even more is that I have come to realize that he checked out long before he balled up and said the words out loud.  Lie after lie after lie.  Every time I asked if we were ok. Lie.  If he was still happy.  Lie. If anything was wrong. Lie. Secret text messages.  Lie.  Talking about the future.  Lie.

I’m pissed I didn’t leave 9 months ago when I called my mom crying telling her I was so incredibly unhappy that I didn’t know what to do.  I stayed because we were a family, I loved him and I believed that with a little work, we would find our way back to the good place. I didn’t run to the first person who paid a little attention to me.  I was the grown up.  I bought the groceries, fried the eggs, loved the kids, made sure there was plenty of toilet paper and did everything I could try to make things good again, often at the expense of my own wants and needs.  I didn’t hide behind my job during the week and case of beer on the weekends.

So now, I’m putting me first and I have to be honest, it’s weird.  I has forgotten I was important too.  That I have value and my time is worth something. The other day my Girls Love Travel group on Facebook had a post from a girl who had just broken up and was sad because her ex had posted a pic of him and his new girlfriend on FB with #happy.  Here’s the thing.  If you have to post a picture of your new girlfriend that you hooked up with ridiculously fast with the #happy or facebook emotion of “feeling happy” you are just fooling yourself.  When you are really happy, you don’t have to convince the world of it, you enjoy it and savior it for yourself, like a secret.

Also, I suggested that he read this so that he knew what I was writing about him and of course, the evil twin has no time for that.  But just know, this serves as his official warning, there are only 2 rolls of toilet paper left, I can’t promise how much of that will be left when you come for the weekend this week and you can buy your own toilet paper from now on.

Check out my sweet new converse for my trip!

 

Time for the final countdown…

So this afternoon it hit me.  Exactly one week from today, I will be going to bed in my own bed for the last time for a month.  And then my next thought was, what the hell have I put in motion?  I have trouble making it to the grocery store some days because I don’t want to leave my house.  Then I remembered, that is the whole point of this, to do something outside of my comfort zone, and trust me, right now, I’m not feeling so comfortable, so mission accomplished.

It’s a weird feeling, getting ready to leave, because I know that I will be different when I get back and everything will feel different when I return.  Any magic left at home from the bubble of our relationship will be have dissipated and hopefully, the vastness of the ocean, mountains and wide open spaces will help me find my place in the world again and open my heart and mind to new possibilities.

So right now, I have two major concerns – what to pack and will I get homesick.  I mean, I should be mostly be in summer weather, but there should also be some cooler weather.  Truth be told, the amount of underwear to pack is giving me the most concern.  But ultimately, when push comes to shove, if I pack 7 pairs or 25, I’ll make it work.

I am hoping that since I’m going to keep moving to new places, the excitement of that will keep any homesickness away.  Plus I get to go to at least 2 Hard Rock Cafes.  How can you not be excited about that?  So if you were wondering how I was going to rack up my 5500 expected miles, please see the poor quality map below.

The worst part of being a step parent is when you aren’t one anymore

When you chose to date someone with children, you have two choices – keep them at arm’s length or embrace them and all that comes with that.  I became a parent not by giving birth or adoption, but by moving in with a man I loved.  When the evil twin and I first moved in together, not only did I move in with him, but he brought his (at the time) 8 year old son with him and his college aged son was in the mix as well.  I suddenly became very aware of the amount of milk we had the house at any given time and Christmas took on a new and wonderful meaning.  I mean really, is there anything better than waking up on Christmas morning with kids after Santa came?

It took me some time to become comfortable in my new role and I was hesitant to identify myself as a parent at first.  I felt like a fraud since we weren’t married and the little one wasn’t here all the time.  But after some time, I came to embrace it.  I started to say I had a stepson without hesitation, I started to talk to other parents at the school, clearly talked parenting with my girlfriends and centered my whole life around what was best for the kids, even if were we sacrificing alone time as grown ups or postponing things we want to do or buy.  I wouldn’t even consider moving because of how close our home was to the schools of the little one and his mother.

But then “we” became “I” and I was no longer a parent.  I mean really, what do you say? I sometimes parent my stepson whose father I am no longer involved with?  Although his mother and father have both said they want me to stay in his life, I know we will never celebrate Christmas again as a family, with all the joy of presents in jammies and me cooking breakfast while they look at their gifts and clean up the wrapping paper.  I won’t go to the IEP meetings at school anymore.  He will no longer have a room in my home.  There will be no more Sunday morning cuddle “sandwiches” with his father and I in the king sized bed I once resisted buying.  I now have a teenage pal that I look after sometimes and try to guide into adulthood, but I am no longer a parent in any traditional sense and it sucks.

No one talks about the loss of your family in this way.  It’s so surreal.   And I feel guilty for being so sad about this and talking about it like a loss because no one died; everyone is still here but the whole universe has shifted and will never again be the glorious way it was.  I just need to find my role and place in this new world and move forward because the sun is still rising and setting, I still have to work, life goes on.

I made it through

So I did it.  I made it through the last weekend I have to live with the evil twin before my trip!!  ( Insert super smiley emoji here) I don’t think it was lucky for him, but lucky for me, he was pretty sick for part of the the weekend, so it was pretty easy to stay out of each other’s way for part of the weekend.  He rode the couch and I camped out in the bedroom.  ( I think I definitely got the better end of that deal.) I’m not saying it was easy.  Seeing him here and not interacting in our usual way ( cuddling, talking, doing all things together, him not smoking, etc) is quite hard at times, but it is getting easier. I still miss the good twin. I would be lying if I said it didn’t sting as I watched him pack his clothes for the week including civilian clothes for when he spends the weekend with his new lady friend in Missouri and doesn’t come home next weekend.  (Not that I’m going to be here, I just can’t believe how quickly he moved on- sounds fishy to me too)  But still, although I didn’t think I could do it but now that I’m on the other side, I realize (again) that I am going to be okay. I’m actually rather looking forward to living alone full time again. I get ALL the closet space, permanent control of the remote and I never have to make a dish without cheese ever again.

One of the greatest coping mechanisms I have found is working on planning my trip.  I now have a 3inch pink binder that is pretty full.   I have maps, brochures, timelines, budgets and inspirational quotes. I feel confident that after a few more hours of hard core internet work, I can leave fully informed and be ok if I don’t have to interact with the www the whole time I’m gone.

I have also found an amazing facebook group full of woman who travel the world.  And they are so smart, kind and actually lift each other up instead of dragging each other down.  These women go everywhere- you name it -Bali, Hawaii, all over Europe and Africa – Canada and the USA.  Basically, all the corners of the world.  I’m not going to lie, some of them make the nomad lifestyle look pretty good.

I’ve started to gather things for the “big” trip and gave the back packing stove a trial run.  It went well.  I made fire.  I still have eyebrows.  I went to Barnes and Noble, intending to spend my $15 gift certificate on special puzzle books for my trip, which I found and of course a few other things, so after spending my gift card and $30 more, I got everything I needed.  I’m collecting everything in a pile in the living room which is growing by the minute. I’m trying to use the love seat to confine it all since I’m not taking a moving truck but a regular sized SUV.  Let’s be honest, packing light was never my strong suit.  I think if I pack the car and am still able to see out the rear view mirror, I’m doing great!!  Don’t worry, I’ll take a picture for you!

What would Macgyver do?

If I have become painfully aware of anything over the last weeks, it’s that life doesn’t always go as planned and you need to be able to come up with a new plan at a moment’s notice.  Even then, the best of plans tend to get thwarted and re planned over and over. Sometimes these new plans require thinking outside the box, hence the birth of my tour.  I was pretty sure that normal tools weren’t going to help me feel better this time.

I want to be honest and truthful here and so at times, I have been mincing my words, so as to be kind to everyone involved in my life, even he who was the initiator of the pain.  But I have decided that is not going to help me heal and get past this.  So here is goes.  Having to live with someone after you have changed the scope of your relationship, to be frank, sucks.  Sucks ass.  Every moment he is home serves to remind me just how different our relationship is now.  We’re watching TV on separate couches.  We’re at a standstill over who is going to give in and buy groceries.  I’m able to take a nap behind a closed bedroom door without anyone coming in to “check on me” and wake me up with a kiss and hug.  He is non-stop texting with someone I don’t know and every once in a while, when he thinks I’m not watching, smiling like the cat the ate the canary.

The worst part is, for him, none of these things are a problem because he’s already over me.  He thinks we can just joke and banter like normal. He was over me long ago, while I was still in love with him and planning our future.

After scrolling through Facebook today, I came across the picture on the right. So I ask myself, what would MacGyver do?  Because this is a

sticky situation without a regular straightforward solution. We all know what to do- chew some gum, grab a paper clip, blow something up and get on with his day.  So I have no choice, that is what I will do.  Luckily a have a brand new pack of gum sent to me by a friend for my trip. Instead of a paper clip, I have a big fat binder with all my travel plans.  And as far as blowing up something goes, I am going camping next weekend and would be lying if said I wasn’t planning on burning somethings.  And then I’ll go on with my day.

 

Technical note- I know that there is some way to automatically have you be alerted to a new post, but until I figure that out if you send you email to jennifer@photosbyjfo.com  I will get an email to you each when I post something new.