Where it all began…

She was a young girl, just 17. A bright, pretty farm girl from Saskatchewan. She thought she had it all figured out and was ready for life experiences. Period. Everyone else thought that she was just young, Stubborn, and naïve. She had left home at early age to venture out and grab life by the horns. 

It was when she moved to British Columbia and was visiting a friend in the hospital that she met him. He was lean, tattooed and had a sly smile. She almost didn’t notice that he was shackled and guarded. What was it about the bad boy persona that intrigued her? And how on earth would she know that her not yet conceived daughter would follow in her footsteps?

She spent time talking to him while the guards looked on. He explained that he was getting surgery on his hand. He had been cut in a fight in jail and they needed to repair tendons and muscle. He couldn’t have a bum hand, he was a mechanic and a musician. 

He let her know how to contact him and when he was getting out. They kept in touch for months and got to know each other quite well…I’m not even sure she ever knew why he was in. If she had asked she would know it was drug related. I’m not sure it would’ve changed anything. He was kind, cute and intelligent.  He, was my father…he just didn’t know it yet. 

They were married at a decent age, mid-20s. I was not conceived until mom was almost 30. She had told me that they tried for me for a long time but I was not yet meant to be. 

I remember a few things about my childhood with them together, but not many. I do remember that it was a pretty tumultuous relationship by the time I had come around and that by the 80s he was deeply embedded in the drug scene and was using quite heavily.

The things that I remember seemed innocent at the time, but now looking back I understand that I didn’t have a normal childhood. I remember the “tomato plants” growing under lights by the row in the basement. We weren’t supposed to go into those rooms but my brother and I thought it was funny and always did. We didn’t know better. (They weren’t really tomato plants)

I also remember the time that he left us at the corner store with a wad of cash so that he could run out to the country quickly to pick up, what we didn’t know at the time, was a load of drugs. I remember him coming back and laughing about the fact that there was a bullet hole in the trunk. 

I also vividly remember that on occasion he would arrive to pick us up a new-to-him vehicle and we would be in awe of how he could start the vehicle by putting his finger in the ignition switch…yep…hot wired. 

He was not the best husband. Not the most appropriate father, but I remember him as my Dad. The man that could do anything. The man that played gags, took me fishing, played me songs on his guitar. He was the man that, at the time, had my heart and adoration. 

He died tragically when I was 11. Overdose. We don’t know if it was accidental or self-inflicted, but when he was found inside, he had his house boarded up and weapons in his reach. 

I still miss him everyday…

It’s true what they say, you know…we are the product of our families. Of our parents. I don’t blame my love tragedies on my childhood, please don’t get me wrong. I do know now though, how I see the chaos that has been my life as normal or “not that crazy”. I see how I am able to catch glimpses of good in even the strangest of places…

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Why me?

Why me? Why does this happen to me?

Well…why not me?! Obviously, I am equipped to handle stress and chaos. I can work my way through difficult situations and heartbreak and still be a hopeless romantic. I am a single mom (rocking it!) a business owner (go me!) and a good person (yep! Heart of gold). It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have learned lessons, been thrown into situations that help me grow and had my fair share of tears.

Life is a journey. We all have a path to find and trudge. It’s not what’s at the end of the path that is important, it’s what we do on that path, what we learn, who we touch and what we leave behind that’s important.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve had low lows, I’ve felt sorry for myself and allowed myself to be a victim. I’ve made mistakes and blamed others. The truth is that if you allow yourself to be a victim or feel sorry for yourself for too long you won’t have the energy or desire to make a change. Change is where it’s at.

It has taken me 40 years to discover who I really a.m., what will make me happy, and who I want in my life….but I know now what I am looking for, where my boundaries lay and what I deserve.

I used to dream of white picket fences, smiling family portraits and a life without woes. Realistic but romantic me now dreams of having a partner that I can love even when I am annoyed as hell with him, a family that feels safe even when shit hits the fan, and a lived-in home that has big family dinners while the kids giggle and the dogs bark like mad.

I am full of hilarious stories that I will continue to share, but the search hasn’t stopped. I KNOW I will find my love story. I am cautious but hopeful and will never again give up “Me” or compromise my beliefs and needs for anyone else. The people who love me understand this and are there for me. I love my tribe. You know who you are 😉

ME is as important as HIM. I will never settle again.

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Behind Bars

So much love.

Some stories are sad. This one has no punchline, just heartbreak.

I loved him…oh how I loved him, this man that waltzed into my life all broken and looking for a big change.

He was honest at first if not delusional. He told me all about his younger years. Told me about his past addictions and strife. I felt a soft spot open for him. He was vulnerable and wanted to be loved…wanted TO love in a healthy way. Alas, he just didn’t know how.

We met around my birthday. It was spring and we had both come out of troublesome relationships ships. I knew he had a long history of drug abuse, addiction, family issues and nasty acquaintances, but I didn’t see him for that. I saw him as the man that had fought to put that all behind him. He was looking for a good life, willing to put in the work and he was tender hearted. He was a man that had spent most of his life being a lost boy. It was a relief to see that heart connect with mine in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. He wanted to care for me, was good to my children and had big plans for our family.

We dated for a few months when I started to piece together stories from his past. Some, when I heard them just seemed like stories…nothing we couldn’t get past and obviously he had fluffed up the details a bit to help his ego (I thought). We all have a past, and none of us want to relive it over and over and be punished for our decisions and mistakes again and again….so I looked past it all. I trusted him. Loved him. Believed in us.

I let him move in. Too soon? Yep. At the time though he needed a place closer to the city and was away working sometimes so it only made sense. We spent every free moment together anyway.

Our kids fell in love with each other. He worked to get back on his feet. I paid the bills and we all coexisted happily.

One evening we discussed further, his youngest child. This infants mother had just passed away from negative lifestyle choices and we had agreed it was right for us to get guardianship. He needed to come home to our family…regardless of the potential health issues he had from her drug use. I was all in, spending hours upon hours filling out court documents, purchasing baby items and talking to child therapists about family transitions and autism. I loved this little man and he wasn’t even in our home yet. I hadn’t ever held him.

We fought. And fought hard. Enduring hair cutting for follicle drug tests and nail clipping testing. Being interrogated and accused of things I had never even considered being a part of in my life.

I built a good case, I mean, I am a professional. I have never been engaged in drug or criminal activity. I’m a mom and well supported in my community. I was all in, despite not having a baby now for over 7 years. Despite slowing my career to help care for his child. Despite the emotional toll this was taking.

I received affidavit after affidavit from the opposing counsel. Details and evidence of his past life. These were no longer stories. This was a legal draft of every charge, drug arrest, prostitute and poor life choice. I was forced to relive the past of a man that no longer existed. A man that had died alongside the woman that gave birth. This person didn’t exist anymore. In his place was left a man that had seen demons, lived dangerously and lost everything he had ever loved. A man that wanted to continue on this new path with a family he cherished.

But….the details were crushing me. Breaking my resolve and terrifying me. It was around the point that I started falling apart that we were told trial date for guardianship had to be delayed. This was apparently because there was a court date for charges outstanding from 2014 that still had to be dealt with. The judge seemed to think that there would be jail time involved. This was not the first time that I had heard about the incident involved, but was indeed the first time that anyone had indicated there would be any convictions, time served or continued charges. I heard the brutal details that day and my heart started to slowly crumble…

Let’s be clear, I am a mother first, always. I would never put my children in danger nor would I jeopardize our lives together by inviting anything criminal or dangerous into our lives.

As soon as the details came out I had to exit from the relationship. My concern was being involved in something that could jeopardize the well-being of my family.

I am certain that he felt betrayed and broken.

He was angry at me and I know he was heartbroken. It was at this point that I realized that his focus was solely on himself. I had invested not only my heart, my family, my time and my energy; but also I was invested significantly financially into this relationship. I mean, it was supposed to be my forever.

He called me one afternoon after us not talking for some time. He let me know that he was at jeopardy of a significant amount of time if convicted so had worked with a lawyer to take a deal. He was going away…for two years.

Despite the fact we had already separated, my world was shaken. Not only had my dreams been shattered, but so had the dreams of my children. I had lost not only him but his children whom I loved dearly. This also meant the loss of my daughters best friend and ‘sister’.

We were a house full of confusion, heartbreak and tears…

We have talked about it a lot. We have hugged and shared and gone to therapy. We have celebrated and grieved.

Financially, I was left in ruins. He had owed me money. A significant amount of money. And he cleaned out the business bank account before he got locked up. Drained it to a mere $9. I instantly became responsible for the bills, the taxes, the filing of documents, the cost to shut down the company and a work truck.

I’m not sure if I was even angry…I was just so so hurt.

In the midst of all of this, I also lost my relationship with my brother. A man who also had a past and told me this would happen. When I needed him most he got self righteous with me and decided to exit my life. Not only my life but also the lives of my children.

As hard as it is to remember sometimes, life goes on. It gets better, we recover and we blossom again at some point. We can heal if we do the work and we can love again if we don’t turtle for too long.

God knows all I wanted to do as I fought through my sadness and depression was to hide and never resurface. Build tall walls and never look out.

Life. It’s full of lessons and struggle and heartbreak. I can’t stop believing though that it’s also full of love, joy and family. Not necessarily blood family, but the family you make your own. The people that ARE there to hug you when you fall to the ground. The ones that smother you in love and laughter and rationality when you need it all the most.

PS: He will never be welcome back.

Bye boy. 💔

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She was so worth it!

Let’s call him Terry….

I was connected with a guy through a friend. I had made complaints about my inability to find a healthy relationship and I suppose my friend thought she was doing me a favour…I would hope in the future she’ll do some vetting first. 🙄

“All I know is he is handsome, divorced and has his own company. He’s an entrepreneur…like you! And he even has a nice car….” she said handing me his number.

It took a few days and more than one glass of wine before I got up the nerve to send him a message. I was doing that ridiculous woman thing we all do;
“What if I’m not his type?”
“What if he thinks I’m too fat?”
“What if he’s emasculated because I’m a successful woman?”
“What if he’s a serial killer?” (We all ponder this one even if we are only half serious)

I send him a message. And almost immediately I get a charming and grammatically correct reply. Good start.

We text for over a week. He wants to meet for a drink or dinner but he’s out of town working. He has a crew on a job and can’t leave them. This is exciting for me….he ACTUALLY has a career!

He lets me know his next day off and we set up a meeting time. He’s taking me to a small wine bistro for a great red wine they serve and tapas. He WAS listening to my likes…score!

Date is set. I’m far less leery….

I arrived a bit early to get settled. I usually do this to settle my nerves. I saw him crossing the street from out the window of the bistro. He was well dressed. Not too short. And…he was carrying flowers! A gentleman! This was definitely going to be my best date, I decide.

He comes in. Hugs me warmly and sits down. He tells me to order whichever bottle is appealing to me and we will share. The wine comes…and we start to talk.

Initially the conversation was superficial, but friendly. We talked about jobs, travel and food preferences. It was going really well and the wine was going down easy.

We pour glass two and decide on a charcuterie plate to share. I’m so impressed that he actually called our little meat and cheese plate charcuterie that I ignore how fast his wine glass is emptying.

Conversation turns to kids…and eventually exes. I explain my situation very honestly but lightly…I don’t want to ruin the mood and graphic detail of my divorce is not necessary at this point.

“So…” I say. “How long have you been divorced?”
He looks down and says “You can’t judge”.
“Of course not!” I say “I honestly don’t judge. Who am I?” I chuckle lightly.
“Women judge me” he says “I don’t like it when I feel judged”
“Of course you don’t….who does!?” I reply

So he begins to tell me his story. He seems heartfelt. He had a moment of indiscretion with a woman on his job site. It destroyed his lengthy marriage and hurt his teenage kids. I’m not going into detail because THAT is not my story to tell, but I truly didn’t judge him. We have all done things in our past that we are not proud of.

My response was “Did you learn from that mistake? Did it help you discover who you are and what you’re looking for?”

He pours more wine into his glass…”oh! It wasn’t a mistake per say” he says….

He picks up his phone and starts scrolling.
My mind is racing…I’m trying to grasp what he’s told me and gauge his level of self loathing about his situation…it seemed to be at about a full zero. My gut starts screaming at me, as it always does when I start learning the ugly truths…

He leans over to my blank, confused face and says “She was so fucking HOT! You have no idea. My friends were jealous.”

The internal dialog started at that moment for me:

Ugh. Are you kidding me?? You shared your mistress with your friends?

Fucking hot? That’s how you describe the marriage destroying decision that you made? Hot?

Certainly seems you feel bad buddy!

(Ok. So I was judging…a bit) 🙈

In my out loud, empowered woman voice, I said “really?! So if it wasn’t a mistake how come you aren’t with her?”

“She has a boyfriend” he replied

I start looking for the bathroom and trying to decide how I can gracefully exit this date without being rude or hurting his feelings. (Yep, I said hurting his feelings…this is who I am. Who I’m trying NOT to be anymore. I always put other people’s feelings first. I will endure a full date from hell or give someone a second or third chance because it’s who I am. Not weak, not self depreciating, but SO OVERLY empathetic and kind that I’ve lost pieces of myself).

As I’m taking a deep breath and wondering how I can flee, he pours himself another glass of wine, takes a bite of bread and shows me his phone screen.

“I means seriously” he said, spraying bread crumbs from his mouth “look at how edgy and sexy she is!”

I stare in disbelief. He is flicking through photos of his mistress on his phone, and they certainly aren’t job-site photos. He’s showing me intimate photos that she has obviously sent him in trust and confidence. Several scantily clad photos in various poses and state of undress.

First of all, This is ridiculous. Who does this on a date?! I’m seriously scanning the room for Ashton Kutcher’s camera crew from ‘Punked’.

Secondly, how awful to share photos she had sent him privately! I’m disgusted.

And lastly, What the actual eff is he doing on a date?? He’s clearly enamoured with this woman.

I smiled at him sadly.

“I think you have some shit to figure out. You’re being rude and selfish and you’re wasting my time. You should maybe look this girl up if you can’t stop thinking about her. And for her sake I hope she has changed her number.” I reached into my purse and dropped a $20 on the table.

I got up and walked out. I didn’t take the flowers. I didn’t look back.

I got into my car and on my way home I called a girlfriend to share my horror so she could make me laugh. Once again my faith in ‘Man’kind was shaken.

I got home feeling duped but better because I had vented. My phone vibrated. Text message. I looked down and read…

“I KNEW you looked like a judgemental bitch!”
😮

I wiped the surprised look off my face, chuckled to myself and deleted his number.

“Bye boy!”

 

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The big D…again…

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It was 2015….I hate like hell to admit it but I had already been married and divorced once and yet here I was, 15 years later, going through yet another divorce.

I said I’d never marry again. I said I’d never divorce again. My children, then 14, 14 and 6 were old enough to understand what was going on and were asking me questions.

“Will we ever have another man in our house?”
“Is it just us girls forever?”
“Why is there always fighting?”
“Why is he saying bad things about you?”

I wanted to say that I was ashamed. That we would never have another man in our home. That we were fine alone forever and that they should shield their hearts from everything…but I knew, as their mother, as their role model and their guide that what I really felt and should tell them is that the hurt doesn’t last forever. That if you close yourself off you will become bitter and hard. That you have to be careful about who you give your heart to and that when you do you should give it wholly. And that love…real love…forever love, exists and should be cherished.

So I did. As I tucked them in one night those are the messages I gave. Then I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.

I awoke in the middle of the night that night with a message on my mind. So I wrote. And in my journal it has been sitting until this day….

She Unraveled

She disrobed from her home, her husband, her career….her title
And she stood there naked. Wondering what was left.

She unraveled herself from the beliefs that were holding her back and from the expectations she had for herself that were no longer realistic.

She was Raw. Naked. Exposed.

She looked at herself for a long time in the mirror and wondered not only who she was, but how she had gotten there.

What she saw when she looked…really looked, was a vulnerable, quiet, unsure little girl. A girl with a pile of unraveled shielding tangled and left at her feet. Bundled on the floor. The pile of ‘stuff’ that she usually put on like a cloak before she left the house.

You see…it is cold and uncomfortable to leave the house exposed and without protection. Silly and socially unacceptable to be naked with your heart open and beating in your hand.

Yet. There she was.

Nov 8/15 1:45am

I sometimes read it before bed. I remind myself that I am a soul and a heart and that it is ok to be vulnerable. It is ok to believe in love…true love, and that one day I will find my forever person.

Until then, I will fall on my face and live to tell all of the ridiculous things that happen and have happened in my crazy, chaotic, 40 years of life. XO

G.S.

I met him a while back. Maybe two years ago? He was cute, dimpled, worked out and had a thick mat of dark hair.

I loved the way his dimples folded when he smiled at me. I knew early on I was in trouble with this one. He was fun but quiet.

He always wanted to go for drinks. That should’ve been a red flag right?…but I just thought he liked to let loose when we were together…I mean, I did a bit, didn’t I? And let’s face it, I’m always up for fun!

I always put a bit of extra work into getting ready to see him. After all, he was cute and charming and had been known to be a bit of a ladies man in his younger years (I had heard).

At some point, our few dates turned into a strained thing. It never seemed it was going anywhere, we were pub buddies really and so we let it go. But as I always do…I tried to remain friends.

Fast forward to last month. I had gone through a tough recent breakup. A real heart wrencher this one was….and I needed a break. Guess what!? As always….when I manifest some fun/pending trouble, it lands squarely into my lap….well in this case squarely in my dm’s. He wanted to reconnect…

Why not!? Right??……WRONG!

He had a family birthday event coming up. “Let’s make it a road trip” he says. Just fun. Go out of town, have a few drinks. It’ll be great. I’ll drive”. And at first, it was. We drove, we laughed. We sang.

When we got to our destination (2 hours from home base) We had a drink with his mom, lunch at a local pub and even a good visit with his childhood friend. Sounds good right??

…..

6pm – We arrive at the community hall. I know no one. But, being who I am I look around, take inventory of the faces and smile. I introduce myself to the wives, the husbands, and count the kids. I don’t have mine with me. I am NOT resorting to the kid’s table…I back away slowly.

As I reach the kitchen area someone passes me a beer. He was the guys’ cousins friend or some shit. But he had a beer. So I take it, smile, and thank him cheerfully.

I make small talk with the guys in the kitchen. Work, blah blah, camper, blah blah, wifey, blah. My date standing beside me the whole time.

6:20pm. My beer is gone, some guy hands me another. My date slaps my ass and makes some cheeky comment about knowing a good thing when he sees it. He asks me if I want to go with him to the pool table…I scan the game area and see it’s overrun by teen boys. “Nah, I’m good here” I say.

6:40 – I’m scanning the room. No G.S. Hmmm. He must have broken the beer seal. Bathroom for sure…..

6:55 – I’m asking the women (whom I’ve joined to eat the potluck dinner) if they’ve seen their cousin. Nope. “Maybe he had to give someone a ride,” someone says. Huh. Ok. I’m a big girl. This is getting awkward and I feel a bit weird but he couldn’t have gone far…I mean…we’ve been here less than an hour.

7:15 – I send him a text. “Hello. Where’d you go?”

And it begins…..

txt1

I’m seriously thinking this is a joke. HAS to be, right??!!

txt2

HMMM. Okay. Now he thinks I’m Psychic. I’m soooo confused at this point. I do a mental count….is it possible I’m loaded and my mind is playing tricks??? 1…2…3….ummm nope. Ok.

txt3

I. Am. MORTIFIED. here I am at someone else’s family function, with people I met an hour ago and I need to gracefully explain that I have no ride and want to get out of here as fast as I can.

txt4

Ok. Apparently, I have a friend here?? Maybe THEY Can give me a ride. I’m seriously looking around frantically trying to figure out WTF he’s saying.

Seriously. Is this a joke??

txt5

Ok. I’m starting to get angry…who the eff do you think you are jackass?? Seriously. Who does that. Have you swallowed your tongue? We couldn’t talk before you bolted and left me in a room of strangers? RED FLAG! RED FLAG!!

txt6

So because I wasn’t hanging all over you, I was flirting with someone else??? Would this be the same man whose wife was standing next to me as we chatted?? Something is not firing right…..

txt7

The bus. THE. BUS. I’m ok…I am a grown ass, successful woman with children coming home the next day and I am abandoned and looking up bus schedules….what the hell is happening here.

His cousin’s wife drove me to a hotel. I figured if I was going to take a ride it better be with someone who has a vagina so he doesn’t get the wrong idea…😒

At this point…I realize. I’m alone. In a hotel room 2 hours away from home with no car, no way home and I have NO idea what happened.

I start to laugh….at the audacity of his behavior and the complete shock of what has happened. And then…I cry. And cry. And cry.

I managed to have a friend come and pick me up and take me home the next day. Thankfully I didn’t have to take the bus as I was preparing for.

I arrived home the next afternoon exhausted, with swollen eyes from crying and embarrassed beyond belief. But…I made it home. Thanks to the love of a ‘ride or die’ friend. We all need those. The women that hold us up when we crumble to the ground. The friends that make us laugh at a situation because it’s so bizarre and we couldn’t make this shit up if we tried.

The guy? He asked to talk. He texted a sorry. I still have no explanation, but he did tell me he loves me. As a matter of fact….he wants to spend his life with me…🤔

Probably just not when we’re around other humans because that seems to be a bit much for him.

Bye Boy!

(Below photo courtesy of a friend that texted me after I told her this story. Lol. I love my tribe! 💕)

suck my richard