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.

 

 

Dolphins, monkeys, giraffes and a litter of puppies

What do all these things have in common?  They are all animals I would like to spend time with and be able to feed and pet.  And by monkey, I mean chimps and I would like to hug one – like a toddler and maybe feed it an apple and play catch.  I would also like to sit on the floor surrounded by like 6 to 10 7week old puppies and play with them all at once.  And after watching April on the You Tube for a month and a half, I am now quite fond of giraffes and would like to pet one and feed it a carrot.

Why am I telling you all this you might be asking yourself.  Here’s why – when you go through an event that changes your life and you are putting it back together, it’s like a pile of plain blocks – you don’t have to make the same castle.  It can be anything you want it be and you have this great moment when you realize that you can shape the future anyway you want it to be.  Although I don’t need an exact blue print today, I do need a rough outline of what I want my future to look like so I can start working on the foundation for my castle.

There was a movie that I watched many times when I was younger called, “Party Girl” with Parker Posey in it.  In it, she meets this man who tells her about Sisyphus.  He is a legend in Greek mythology who is trying to get a boulder up a mountain and each night, it rolls back down, losing all his progress of the day and he can never get to the top.  That is kind of how this “getting over” process feels sometimes.  Every time I feel like I am starting to move in the right direction, something happens and the boulder is at the bottom of the hill again.

But then, I look to the future and start rolling that rock up the hill and thinking about what I want waiting on the other side for me.  So I would like to interact with some animals that you can’t have in your house.  I also know that I want to travel – but I think you already know that- and even though I really like the idea of it, I know that I will never be a tea drinker.  The rest of the plan is still pretty much a blank canvas and for now, I think that’s ok but it’s something I’m working on everyday.

Also just in case you were wondering – the big trip starts in less than a month!!!!

The 985 stages of break-up grief

Anyone who has taken a psychology class can tell you that there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance.  When you go through a significant break-up ( you know, like mine)  it is important to treat it like a death and allow yourself to grieve because in all honesty, the person you once thought was wonderful, kind and amazing no longer exists to you, he has been replaced by an evil twin who it seems has only to have one purpose- to keep causing pain.  Because this is a not a clean cut break up, it gives me awesome opportunities to keep re-enjoying all the stages of grief – in my special case, I spend a lot of time switching back and forth between anger and sadness.  So basically I’m up to about 472 different levels of anger, 405 different levels of sadness and 100 different levels of disbelieve in the last few weeks with some other assorted emotions for good measure.

Today though, I went through a completing new stage – wondering if I ever left anyone pining for me.  Like am I the one that someone let get away?  So having said that, if you should happen to know the man of average looks who I encountered in the maxi pad section of Super Wal-mart two years ago and who looked me up and down and said,”How you doin?”, can you give him my phone number?

Seriously though, I believe that everything turns out exactly how it is supposed to and that God answers our prayers, even if the answer is no.  I am confident that I will get on the other side of this as a butterfly, a pearl or a diamond. ( If I’m really lucky, I might all three)  I also believe in karma to my bidding.  😉  I think that is the final stage of grief, acceptance and really, I’m just about there.

 

 

Yeah, I started a gofundme for my tour of the US and here’s why

Gofundme is a great resource to crowd fund all kinds of things.  Some people might frown on my use of gofundme because again, they see my trip as a “vacation”.  I don’t see it that way.  In the olden days, think Little House on the Prairie, a change of scenery was often prescribed by a doctor to cure a case of melancholy.  I firmly feel that it is better to try to heal in a place other than where the pain occurred in the first place. Plus, I need to do something really brave to remind myself that I am brave.

I was thinking of Carrie Bradshaw when I set up my gofundme.  Once you become a woman of a certain age, you have given countless baby gifts, wedding gifts, shower gifts and the like.  As a childless, unmarried woman, I have never had a shower in my honor.  I’ve never registered for dishes and kitchen appliances at Macy’s. (In all fairness, I did get two graduation parties as a grown up). So in the same spirit that Carrie told her friend she was marrying herself so that she would replace Carrie’s stolen fancy shoes, my gofundme was created. Think of it as my putting my life back together shower and I promise when I do meet Peter – you don’t have to buy a gift for a bachlorette party or buy a new dress for the wedding.  Oh if you’re wondering who Peter is – I just always thought I would marry someone named Peter – so somewhere there is a man out there named Peter who doesn’t even how lucky he is about to get in 1-3 years.

I wore jeans to a funeral and I’m okay with that

I decided to wear jeans to the funeral today because I hate the dress I was planning on wearing and let’s be honest- it wasn’t about me and it wasn’t a fashion show.  They were dark jeans and practically brand new so unless you really wanted to tell that they were jeans, you would have never known from 4 feet away.  The problem is I bought them in tall and the under rolled cuff I had unrolled it’s self on the way into the church so I spent the rest of the day walking on my pants and trying not to trip up and down the stairs.  Anyone who knows me at all knows that any activity involving a solid level of coordination can turn into an event showcasing a solid lack of coordination.  I have conferred with my mom and we are going to hem them this weekend.  Safety first people.

Wearing my jeans would be something in Weight Watchers called a non-scale-victory or NSV.  I wore them not out of disrespect but because they made me comfortable and I was confident enough to wear them without caring what others might think.  For me, this was a victory because this small act made me feel powerful, all be it for only a few moments, but just the same, it was something that I was doing for me.  These moments are unfamiliar and uncomfortable because I have spent so much time of the last years worrying about the needs of others and putting their feelings and needs above mine.  The line between taking care of yourself and being selfish is not drawn straight and clear.  It is curvy and blurry and seems to be in constant motion.  The perfect formula for creating a situation where it is just easier to not worry about yourself at all and in doing so, it was my first step in losing myself.  So today, for a second, I put my needs first and wore jeans to a funeral.  And with that small act, I feel a little bit stronger, a little bit closer to the person I want to be.

 

What do you mean the world doesn’t stop because mine is falling apart?

One of life’s cruelest realities is that no matter what happens, it just keeps marching on.  The sun keeps rising and setting, work still needs to be done, bills need to be paid, you still need to eat, shower, comb your hair and all that jazz even though you just want to curl up in your bed and never come out from under the covers.  I’m not sure how it happens, but if you are like me, at some point in your life, your covers became magical and able to protect you from all kinds of bad things.

Remember when I told you I can’t make this shit up? I had barely re-emerged from my cocoon and during week 3 of what will be referred to as the breakup aftermath going forward, I got sick.  It was just a cold but the cough still lingers.  And as we all know, a cold can take down most people and turn them back into toddlers without much effort.

But that’s not the most important thing that happened that week.  Steve’s mom    (who I really liked) became gravely ill and was hospitalized.    After about a week, she  peacefully passed away with all her children present.  Tomorrow I will sit with her family to say goodbye to an extremely kind, welcoming and caring woman.  She was stronger than most women can even imagine being and faced more challenges and loss in life that any one should have to bear.  My hope is that she is now at peace with her husband and daughter in heaven, keeping an eye on us and selfishly, I am imagining she will always make sure I get a good kitty when playing cribbage.

And while all this was happening, the sun kept rising and setting.  There was work to be done and I did start combing my hair again because as cruel as it feels, life  keeps going on.  As unfair as it seems that life keeps moving, I am also comforted that life keeps marching on.  Each day that passes is one more day I have had to heal.  Each day that passes is one more day closer I am to my adventure.  Each day that passes is one more day I was OK.

 

 

Time to get serious

So, now that I’ve got you interested in my adventures, I can let you in a little secret.  It’s not like I woke up one day and I was like, OK world, here I come.  It wasn’t that gentle.  After spending 6 and half years with a man who I loved immensely and was fully planning on spending forever with, I abruptly become an “I” again instead of a “we.”  And I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel like the whole world fell down around me, but somewhere, in dry eyed lucid moment, I realized that now the only person I had to worry about was me and it was time to show her a good time!  I have always had a not so secret case of wanderlust and am thrilled beyond words to start on this adventure.

In less than one month, 24 days to be exact, I’m heading out on a month long road trip adventure that will take me through about 18 states ( I have to check the map again to be sure), where I will see the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, two mountain ranges, the Grand Canyon and who knows what else.

I hope that you will follow along and share in this journey with me.  I plan on taking thousands of pictures and sharing them as well as my adventures and what will probably be the most interesting part, the healing of my heart and rediscovery of who I am and more importantly, who I want to be.  Life is short and I don’t want be anything less that exactly who I want to be.

Should you see one you really like, prints will be available through my ETSY store ( see link on side panel).  And because, although I don’t expect people to finance my “vacation” as my mother calls it, I figure it never hurts to ask, so there is a link to a go fund me account as well.

I look forward to reading your comments and hopefully making some new friends.