18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

March 16

Long day. Brutal night with Jane. Two hour fit. I’m beat. I miss having a companion.

Wow. This day was rough. Dates with the kids (and grandma) while my car was getting fixed. It was long and difficult to plan and execute. It’s a lot of energy being with my mom and the kids for six hours! Then Jane had another epic meltdown tonight for hours before bed. I wrestled her for a solid 30 minutes as she threatened to kill herself (fuck you, Tyrel) and destroy her room. She didn’t hit or hurt me, which is progress from last year. I stayed extremely calm and was able to hold space for her until she finally came undone. She hurt her wrist and that allowed the tears to flow and she sobbed. I rubbed her back and sang “When the Night is Falling”. She told me she wanted to change schools because everyone hates her and is mean to her, she doesn’t like that G and I aren’t really friends anymore (fuck you, G), she misses daddy, she doesn’t get how Peter didn’t even cry when he found out daddy died, and she’s worried about continuing to be friends with her current best friend. She had so many emotions bottled up!

She apologized through tears three times for wrestling me, being mean, and destroying her room. I told her I forgave her and tomorrow is a fresh start, that I remember doing the same kind of things when I was her age, that she’s not alone, and we’ll learn to work through these big emotions together. She’s so precious. I am absolutely exhausted and so so so thankful she (they) have my undivided attention these days. We have shadow work to dig into–the three of us–and I need all the time and energy I can spare.

God help me. I texted G to see if the kids could hang with him soon. Not what I wanted, but Jane is leading this one.

Reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (pg. 134):

Ok, here it is–no beating around the bush–my heart, my wildest dream:

I want a life of ease. There. I said it. I’m tired of fighting, struggling, pushing to breathe. I want to be cared for the way I care for my kids. I want to be nurtured and loved greatly. I wanted to be doted on and favored. I want gifts and trips and money and pampering and love and conversation and companionship and time. I want to write and volunteer, wrestle my kids and hold space for them on the drop of a dime, I want days in bed with movies and baths, and I want financial, romantic and relational stability. That’s what’s true. I don’t actually care if I ever publish a damn thing. If I could love and be loved greatly, deeply, tenderly, passionately and grow in emotional and relational consciousness with my partner–well, damnit, that’s all I really want in life. I want to lay back, kick my feet up, and fucking love my people till they soar!

There ya go, Universe! Now go make it happen.

XO,

M

March 17

Another long day. I played on my phone (stupid woodblock game) for hours. No motivation to work, no drive to write. Trying to take it easy on myself, but I am wondering if I’ll be able to attract someone financially successful if I am not myself. Do I have to be everything I want in another person or what? All I want is to create love and be happy… I don’t want to work.

@risingwoman

  1. Where can I see myself in each person I judge?
  2. Where can I show myself more kindness and self-compassion?
  1. G: I have been emotionally unavailable too – I guess to my children, him, and others. Even though I wanted to connect, I had so many blocks – it was impossible. I have also made poor choices in men I date – constantly finding chemistry with the avoidants. I finally got sick enough of it after G to look at my shadow and do some work. G isn’t sick of his patterns – we are not on the same journey and focusing on his path only distracts me from mine.
  2. I can forgive myself for the choices I have made in the past and accept myself as I am today without judging or forcing myself to be different or better somehow. I do feel foolish and idiotic when I look back at my old patterns and that’s absolutely how I think of G now. I can accept my past and remember I didn’t know what I know now and I am lovable just because I am alive, not because I have learned or evolved or practiced the most or best.
  1. Brother (and K): He avoids dramatic people and people he feels are toxic, as do I. He’s emotionally unavailable as I have been too. He wants to protect his kids from certain exposures, people, things.
  2. I can remember we are all doing the best we know how at the time. I am just now truly understanding emotional intelligence and the importance of building conscious relationships – I have never talked about or required this from my brother before… or myself. There is room for gentleness and grace as I adjust my life to build this kind of intelligence. 

I wouldn’t say I feel depressed – maybe just a little “low”. And a little lonely. I miss having a companion, but even more so, I dream – long – for the kind of connection I have never actually had. It feels so close sometimes, I can almost reach out and touch it. I guess it would help if I just stayed in the moment and not ahead of it. 

I really don’t want to work anymore. I feel so stressed and Jane has been more needy than usual and I want to be able to give her everything she needs. I was supposed to work five to six horse this weekend but worked zero! Jane had a rough night last night and needed extra cuddles at bed time tonight. Emotionally, I’m all in and feel capable, but financially and timewise, I feel like I should be doing work or writing and trying to further my (our) future.

I would like a sign from the Universe now (I am living on a theory here) that emotional intelligence, stability, connection is the most important thing for my kids. Am I off? Obviously, we need money to survive. I will try not to worry…

It’s hard today. I want more in life than where I am today, but I’m not sure of the path to get it – love, stability, connection, fulfillment, fun, travel, companionship, commitment, adventures, romance, friendship, time with my kids, kindness, peace, rest. I have so much to offer. Is it okay if that doesn’t include money? If I am supposed to be the kind of partner I want to have, does that mean I have to be financially secure before I’ll be able to meet my lifetime partner? I’m not sure…

— 

Just started the Netflix documentary, HEAL. The bit about ayurveda piques my interest so much. Everyday lately, as I listen to people talk, whether about pain,sickness, relationships, parenting, work, pregnancy, stress, parents, LIFE, I think, “Oh, my he/she is not connected to their body at all… or their thoughts… or their soul…” We were all made to be whole, but most of us live in fragments and wonder why we are unhappy, sick, unfulfilled, etc. I see now how my emotional suppression and siconnect with my intuition has led me down some dark paths. I am going to continue to focus on my own journey daily and allow the Universe to open doors and present opportunities as the timing unfolds.

March 18

I’m going to start writing the intention I set each morning on here because that shit works! I usually struggle to get three or more hours of work in and today I got seven! My intention: Be productive. Now I feel like I can go volunteer tomorrow without worrying about work! Good day. All I did was work. I have been very emotionally available to the kids. They feel loved.

March 19

Intention: Be in the moment (mindfulness).

Volunteer day! I inhaled four to five horses and just took them in. I reminded myself about 1,000 times to be in the moment. That’s freaking hard to do all day, but I am so full of calm! Aside form trying to coordinate a time to hang with G soon (I soooo do not even want to engage with him, but it’s right for Jane right now. I still want zero to do with him. I started Spring Yoga Flow from The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Stover tonight. Amazing. Challenging. Soothing. Connective.

Wild Woman.

This is me.

Intuitive, free-spirited, untamed, nurturing, holistic, faithful, engaged, deep in relationship, robust, powerful, gentle, compassionate…

I have read about five pages of Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and ohhhh, Lawdy! I do believe I am unleashing the side of me that has never been free and there will be no turning back. I can’t help but think this was all part of the plan. My dreams began to shift when Peter was born. I stoped hoping for a redeemed marriage, and started hoping for deep connection, the ability to nurture (specifically my children and later a relationship with a partner), and be nurtured. All I longed for was freedom and creative liberation. It’s happening for me now and I sense that my intuition is going to be my compass from here on out.

Oh, the walls inside my soul are shaking – lasting change is coming – breakthrough and abundance, promises and fruition, fulfillment and practice. The Universe is conspiring to help me reach my Personal Legend.

I am choosing me. I’m showing up. It’s not always easy, but god, is it empowering!

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

Ma: Tyrel’s mom, my mother-in-law

Lisa: Lifelong friend since high school

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

17 MBK Memoir: Mapping New Paths to Emotional Connection

March 11

Dang. This was a night! Today at a friend’s house, the five year-old boy asked if I had a dad. I knew he was asking where Jane and Peter’s dad was. It was a heavy moment in the midst of six kids eating lunch. I told them their daddy actually died so he’s not here on earth with them anymore. Everyone carried on and when we left, my kids were in good moods but pretty amped up. As the afternoon went on, Jane was getting more and more disturbed/anxious/outside herself. I raised my voice in the car at both of them and Jane spiraled. She went into “you hate me. Don’t look at me. I’m stupid” mode from there. It was difficult – I never know where to begin – but I leaned in. She was so HARD and so shut down. I (slightly with frustration) encouraged her to feel and name her feelings and tell me. She was resistant and argumentative for 45 minutes. Then I went and held her (she fought me). I gently eased off. But I stayed with her. I didn’t leave her alone in the dark feelings and I told her it hurt me very badly when she said she was just going to kill herself. (I fucking HATE Tyrel for that.)

She said, “You wouldn’t even care if I was dead.”

I said, “I would be sad forever if you ever died.”

She followed with, “Well, my whole life is sad anyways.” 

And then I knew… it was the conversation from the friends house earlier that day. I asked if she was missing Daddy. She nodded. I pulled her in tight. She let me. I reminded her that it’s OK to miss him and feel sad, but she’s not alone. I told her, “We’re all in this together and I love you.”

Then she started talking about her recent crushes (a sign we are reconnected:), and then, she very sweetly, apologized for all the things she said to me. I told her I forgive her and she said, “I was just so mad!” O told her I get that way too sometimes and she said, “You never say things like that!” I expanded, “Well, I yell and then I feel really bad about that.” 

It ended up very precious. I hate that her heart aches so painfully, but I’m honored to be the witness and love her through it. Tomorrow we will talk more about how normal those overwhelming feelings are and how important it is to remember to talk through them.

It was scary for me there for an hour – witnessing, hearing, not knowing how to guide her. But, in the end, gentle love and soft hands led her back to me. Fuck, I hope I can keep doing this for her. She is so innocent and precious and worthy.

And… in it all, I was reminded of what I get to do for myself now too.

We’re healing.
We’re really healing now.

I feel cleansed. Capable. Equipped. Even in the unknown. I told her, “You know, I’ve never raised a 9 year-old before?” and she looked at me with surprise. I told her she can help me learn how to love her by talking to me about what hurts her and makes her feel loved. Later, after she apologized, I told her, “Tomorrow is a fresh start.” She said, “Yeah. Let’s just take it easy on each other tomorrow, Mommy.” I said, “Deal.” And we agreed to remind each other with “Eeeeeeaaaasy,” when we need it. Hehe:)

I love our bond. I love my girl. I love being a mom. I love this journey.

#Thankful

March 12

Stomach bug in the morning – kept me in bed which is what I really needed. My body didn’t betray. Amazing insights/revelations about forgiveness, starting with myself! I loved myself today. O texted and called later today. So weird. And I see/hear him so differently now. Making room for what’s next for me…

Holy fucking shit. Ok. So much:

  1. I had a horrible dream (two actually). I was fighting with brother and K about our kids not knowing each other. And the other had to do with G and how much he hurt/disappointed me.
  2. I went to bed constipated and woke up with a stomach ache. I sent H to the horse ranch in my place so I could stay home and rest. Not feelin’ good!
  3. I set my intention this morning to forgive because clearly from my dreams, I’m hangin’ on to some shit.
  4. As I’m dozing in and out of sleep this morning, processing forgiveness and what it means to forgive, let go, and maybe not necessarily act like everything is back to normal (like what boundaries might be applicable), I felt I was in the “in between” space that Sheleana (@risingwoman) references in the moon cycles. I’m in Priestess now. It was so enlightening. As I was focusing on how brother and K’s rejection of me felt, I suddenly just knew, this forgiveness is really for me. Everywhere and everyone I feel resentment for started with me abandoning myself. Same with G. I rejected myself long before and many times prior to them ever doing it, and for the exact same reasons they ended up rejecting me: My Situation (kids, grief, chaos) and My Financial Status.

Woah. Those have been my two biggest grievances against myself the last couple of years. It was a profound realization and I am leaning into the source: me. Do I ask myself to forgive myself for not only rejecting parts of me and blaming others, but also for being so disconnected and disengaged? I guess so. Inner needs to forgive grown-up me so we can close this circle out and begin to embrace the healing that awaits.

March 14

Woke up feeling weird. Held space to determine where/why. I think I was judging myself for talking to O two days ago and for conversing with four guys at the Basement Bar with my friends last night. I didn’t like how much I spent on a babysitter, margs, and food. And today I just paid attention to those things to perhaps do them differently in the future. But I also see that it’s okay and I deserve a night out and being friendly (I wasn’t flirty or reppin’) is okay too.

Went to D’s tonight. Saw G at the gym earlier. I don’t even miss him. He feels like my past and so far away from me now. Can’t wait to get two more months behind us!:) Not in a mean way… just in a sense of moving on.

Loving myself and reminding myself that I’m enough just as I am at any given moment.

March 15

Good day. Borrow H’s rental car to take kids to Waco Zoo. Felt provision and cared for–it always works out eventually. Ma mentioned giving me some money to put towards a new car. That was so kind. I went to Lisa’s for her birthday. I love her. I feel whole inside and I love my body – even when it’s bloated. I’m open to practicing what I’ve learned (in meeting someone)… maybe. LOL.

The way I want to slow burn in my next relationship:

I don’t want a boyfriend. I want a partnership, which means I’ll have to take it slow at first to be able to see the alignment clearly and not step outside of it.

  • Day dates (because I won’t be drinking and no sitter costs)
  • Coffee date first
  • Golf, volleyball, scooter/bike ride, outdoors
  • Picnic
  • Museums, art shows, arboretum, etc.

Then maybe night dates, once I know the sitter cost is worth it–or better yet, he offers to pay. I want to be clear about what I want out of a partnership in connection, my passion for emotional intelligence (for myself, my partner, and my kids), volunteering, and not being stressed.

I want emotional connection everyday. I want a best friend, lover, and travel buddy. I don’t want eye-rolls, demeaning, condescending, lecturing patriarchy. I want mutual love and affection.

I am willing to do my work.

He is willing to do his work.

We are committed to working on our relationship intimacy.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

Ma: Tyrel’s mom, my mother-in-law

Lisa: Lifelong friend since high school

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

16 MBK Memoir: Out with the Old, In with the New

March 5

My intention was to serve others today. I volunteered in frigid cold weather. Fulfilled:) I feel very peaceful today. I feel the Universe conspiring to help me; the work is being done.

I’m ready to let go of G – of figuring him out and naming his triggers. I feel so much peace today understanding when he broke up with me in November, all he was saying is, “This is where I stop growing with you. I don’t want to hold you back, so be free to keep growing in intelligence. You are beautiful and you deserve more than what I can give.” And then he turned around and went right back to what he knows – to his old pain, to his familiar struggles, to the one who “did a number on him.” And me? I took off running like the wild mustang I am…

It’s actually very kind and beautiful when I choose to see it that way. We are all doing the best we can.

I want to be a relationship coach or analyst or something. @EvolvingMan, @RisingWoman, @ToBeMagnetic, @CreatetheLove, and @SmartCouple podcasts are jiving so deeply with me. It’s like I found my long-lost family. We’ll see what happens with it, but my oh my, it sure would make sense of the way I am and always have been – fixated and never-ending worker bee in relationships!

The Way of the Happy Woman page 35: I drew a flower.

The Center: “Thoughts, deepest heart desires, intuitive knowing, awareness, devotion, emotions”

Pedal: Relationships

Pedal: Community

Pedal: Career

Pedal: External Personality

Pedal: Day-to-day Interactions

Surrounding the flower: “Self-love, authenticity, confidence, self-acceptance, trust, self-worth”

Seeing that flower display shows me how I’ve done some things very well within myself and others have been completely disconnected/severed.

  • I have often silenced my deepest heart’s desires.
  • I have often ignored my intuitive knowing (or I, Tyrel, G, mom have misinterpreted it).
  • I have never given up on pursuing my thoughts and self-awareness (and I believe that’s why I’m here today).
  • I have never been committed or devoted to paying attention to myself–good, bad, ugly, beautiful.
  • I have often rejected or pulled away from community (mostly because it hurt me or wasn’t serving me).
  • I have always fought to be tuned into my relationships.
  • I have given very little attention or effort to my career overall.
  • My day-to-day interactions have completely eluded me and overwhelmingly occupied me at different times.

So basically, there’s a meaty chunk of work to dig into here. How… fun.

“What am I feeling now, and what are these emotions trying to tell me?”

“What can I do to nourish my spirit today?”

The thing about marriage is that it seems to bring more of a “built in clause” that implies a reduced sense of choice to walk away if the relationship ever turns stale – simply by way of paperwork and court documentation. I live for freedom. And that doesn’t mean I want to fuck whoever I want. It means, if a relationship ever stops serving my (or my kids) greater good or becomes hindersome of me being my best self, I want the freedom to say, “I’m choosing me,” and walk away without requiring a legal proceeding.

What I know about myself is this (and so much more – hehe): I will always be committed to growing, evolving, and becoming my best self. And if ever that is disrupted by a relationship I’ve chosen, then I will not lay on the altar to keep the relationship again. Once was enough and that sort of self-sacrifice ultimately doesn’t serve anyone well.

So, when I hear of people being lifelong “partners” or “fiancés”, I feel joy and peace. Even the thought of a wedding is lovely (obviously, not a traditional one with vows and contracts and commercialized bullshit). But the thought of marriage and people being bound to each other, “husband and wife” – it feels like doom to me. Like darkness and shackles and slavery.

Obviously, my idea of marriage is deeply jaded and could use some restructuring, but not on my own, stuck in my head. If my partner is interested in rewriting the definition of “marriage”, then great. If he’s happy without the title of “marriage”, even better. My dream is to be eternal fiancés. Simply as a reminder: this is a choice. We choose each other every fucking day. One day at a time and we choose to commit to the work and the love it takes to make it last. Fuck! That sounds like the most romantic story ever to me!

I am inviting in:

Abundance

Money

Peace

New healthy habits for moving through my emotions: anger and anxiety especially

New friendships

Opportunities to deepen my relational intelligence

In the next moon cycle:

  1. I want to consciously plant seeds of kindness with my kids, service with others, and acceptance of myself.
  2. I can rest, restore, and let go right now by carrying out my morning/evening routines, practicing breathwork, and centering my heart and womb.
  3. I don’t feel very resistant to being alone right now because I am enjoying learning to love myself well, but my longing for intimacy definitely tends to pull me out of the present moment sometimes. Remembering that the timing of the Universe is divine gives me peace to embrace solitude and silence now.
  4. The wisdom that comes from feeling the darkness of my difficult emotions is that it deepens and balances me. I feel a lot of things and the darker feelings remind me of how human I am and how precious time, space, freedom, and others are to me. 

Oh the things I can share with others from my darkness. Mostly compassion. I am not unlike all others who suffer and feel pain. There is a piece of me in every other person I see. I am great and they are great. I am flawed and they are flawed. To see beauty and light in pain and darkness is a choice and a gift.

Goodness! I sound like a Hippie dippie trippie nippie! It’s goin’ full throttle these days! HA!

Things I’m letting go of this New Moon:

Self-doubt

Shame

Self-ridicule

Expectations of self

Pressure to be or preform

G

Past relationship resentment

The “unconscious me”

March 10

Dang! I’ve been busy and now it’s Spring Break! Overall, doing really well. Still think about G everyday, but I think a lot of that is because I’m processing all my “relational consciousness and emotional intelligence” podcasts – LOL! Today I was smiling because I was so happy to spend so much time studying me and then literally three minutes later I was feeling the serotonin dip of cynicism and old beliefs: What if my hopes and higher thoughts of attracting my dream partner are just delusional and there really is no one who would be my perfect partner AND want to take on the Koenes’s?! So… now to hold space.

— 

I want to take things slow next time I date. And I mean for me – my heart, mind, and time. Let him prove to be worthy of each part of me. May I respect my own time (routine) and heart. I want to keep my daily routines and allow room as the relationship shows itself to be growing.

March 11

Sheleana Aiyana says self-awareness is key in order to not play the “codependent blame-game”. Well, in my codependent game, I didn’t tend to blame the other as much as endlessly “search” myself for ways to improve so I could be more acceptable or loved by my partner (Tyrel/G). Even if they didn’t say anything, I felt the compulsion to update them, “Listen, I know I’m lacking/failing you/this relationship and I don’t know how or why, but don’t you worry, I’ll be spinning my wheels until I figure out the problem!” This is such a difference from approaching it the way I would now: “I am OK with me. I am enough. I want to create a loving, beautiful partnership with you. Is there anything you’d like to talk through?” 

Game. Changer.

I’m not on a witch hunt in the dark trying to find validation and approval from my partner. I am me. I am already approving, accepting, and validating myself, but I’m open to feedback and growth with a loving, emotionally connected/intelligent and conscious partner. BAM!

Also, last night I had another epiphany! I’ve been really trying to close the circle on my “fixer issue/codependency” with friends and lovers because I know it’s not true that I know what’s right for everyone and how to help them be better, but I truly feel like I actually DO!

So, last night, it came to me:

We may be experiencing similar circumstances, but we each bring our own set of experiences, wounds, and perspectives into them. So, what the Universe is teaching me through my kid’s bad behavior or relationship drama is not necessarily the lesson anyone else is “supposed” to be learning. AND I will truly never be able to figure out what tests and lessons my people are in the middle of. Only they can do that for themselves. I can be a mirror or a hand of support or a voice of wisdom, but I am not the Great Teacher or Guru and I do not have their answer book.

Wow. This is huge.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

15 MBK Memoir: Learning to Love Yourself after a Breakup

February 28

I just met with G at Starbucks. It was so awkward! LOL. I was so nervous but also very certain going into the meeting. I started off asking if there was any overlap with him having sex with her and I. He said, “No. We didn’t have sex until sometime in January.” So that’s a HUGE relief! I mean, I guess I’m just going to trust him there? Ugh.

Then I told him, “Moving forward, I think it will be best if we don’t hang out at each other’s houses anymore. So when you want to hang with the kids, we can just go do something with them.”

He said, “Ok, sure… Can I ask what led you to that conclusion?”

I said, “It’s just too ‘famliy-ee’. I need the kids to have a clear picture of who you are in our lives without any confusion or hope for a family dynamic.” 

He said he understood. Then I told him that since we probably won’t see him as consistently, it’s very important to me that he resolves any conflict or hurt feelings with the kids before he leaves us that day. 

He said, “Ok, can you give me an example of what you mean?” 

I brought up the rodeo (G was upset with Peter and didn’t address it until the next day when he sent a video saying he “forgave” Peter for accidentally head-butting him in the nose. Eye roll.)

Then G said, “Oh, Ok… I see.” 

God, I really gave him too much credit before. The man has very little emotional awareness, if any. And he can be dense af when it comes to seeing himself clearly. We sat in awkward silence for a bit then he asked how I was. 

I said, “Really good,” and asked how he was. 

He said, “Good. My sister is pregnant! I’m going to be an uncle!” 

Anyways, it was real awkward (which I secretly loved because it’s so obvious I’m not trying to be mechanically agreeable). Then he kept sitting there so I told him, “I can say more things,” and he said, “OK!” So here’s what I said:

  • “I always said it takes me a while to trust that people are who they say they are – and I know you pretty well. I know your tests and plays within relationships, and it kind of feels like you’re using me and the kids as pawns in your power struggle with S to see if she will really give you the freedom you want.
  • “You know I’m not upset about you dating, S, right? You know I’m upset because you overstepped my ability to parent the way I deem appropriate by deciding what was best for all of us. That’s just NOT OK.
  • “And my greatest challenge in all of this is coping with the plummet of respect I once had for you. So very much to… none. You sacrificed our friendship and that’s been difficult to swallow.
  • “Lastly, if you truly want to be in the kids’ lives and mine, you’re really going to have to practice honesty – as in as much truth as possible as soon as it becomes true. Without it, there’s no chance of anything lasting with us.”

He nodded and dipped his head and listened and agreed. 

Then he said, “I’m truly sorry for the decision I made, I know it was wrong.” 

I told him, “It’s forgivable, it’ll just take some time.”

He said, “I understand and you can take as much time as you want and can feel however you need to about it.” 

Gee, thanks, G. 

Then he added, “I am certain I can differentiate manipulation (aka games) within a relationship, and I assure you that is not what I am doing regarding you and the kids in my relationship with S.”

I nodded politely, aware of his lack of conscious understanding of himself and his motivating factors in life. Because THAT is not my job – to convince him of what is so blatantly obvious. 

I said, “It’s probably time for me to move my storage stuff,” to which he replied, “There’s no rush.”

It was a good meeting. I feel empowered and resolved. Now we just have to see how it goes. Basically, he and the kids will determine how often and when we hang out because I have no desire to make that happen. It’ll be interesting, but more than that, I feel like I took a giant step forward into my future!

OH. MY. GOSH! I LOVE MYSELF! I am so proud of myself for what I did today! I want to do it more!!!

I feel so loved and whole and safe… and I did it for myself this time! It’s a beautiful day and I am so ready for March, Spring, Summer… the rest of my life!

March 3

Since G and I talked, I have felt like the cord has been cut! Feeling grounded, solid, thankful, and hopeful. I am so proud of myself, it’s making me smile all the time. I truly love paying attention to my own needs!

Well. Today was another one of those super annoying days – my least favorite kind of day – I just wanted to relax and rest in bed and I asked the kids to tidy their rooms, get along and pick up the living room. They had two hours (unsupervised) to get it done. They did NOTHING. Then we had to scramble to get to Tatum’s birthday party and I lectured them, grounded them from ALL electronics until they could show me they know how to be more responsible. When they came home, they did pretty much the exact same thing which sent me from super irritated to angry and explosive. I yelled, I threatened to take all their stuff away while they’re at school and Jane said, “You’ll never see my face again because I’m so ugly!” Then Peter said, “Mommy, you’re making me feel like an idiot.”

Wow.

I am literally creating abandonment wounds in my precious babies’ hearts. I’m making them feel inadequate, unloved, and detestable. I am ashamed. I feel small and powerless. This is one of those days/nights I would KILL to have a partner’s support. If I had been able to take my “Mom Hat” off for a couple of hours today, I could have unwound and reset. But I don’t get that space because food has to be made, chores have to be done, and kids have to be cared for – so my own care goes on the chopping block.

As I desperately uncovered my wrongs and mistakes to the kids at bedtime and asked for forgiveness (I guess they’re learning real well how to fess up when they screw up!). Jane said, “Mommy, why don’t me and Peter just tell you when your voice is getting too loud and then you can go to your room and take a break then come out and be calmer?” I said, “Great idea. It’s a deal.” And we shook on it. Then after talking to Peter, he said, “You need a consequence if you yell at us.” I said, “You’re right! How about I clean your room if I get out of control and yell at you?” He lit up! We shook on it.

I sure do feel like a failure tonight. I’m pretty sure I’m damaging their souls in some irreparable ways with my juvenile behavior. I wish I was better at this. But tonight was a wake up call. I need better systems that lend more support for myself. I need to be able to take care of myself when I am boiling so I don’t take it out on them. Here lies an opportunity to grow and allow my children to watch me learn from my mistakes and practice a new way.

God I hope I don’t fail them.

March 4

Busy day. Kind of stressful. Lots of work for C. Kids therapy, took Peter to the dentist, just so much. Big Mom day. Couldn’t stop smiling when my thoughts drifted… Thankful for these recent opportunities to grow. Excited and dreaming about a future partnership – the kind I’ve never experienced before. I’m proud of myself. I’m grateful for my journey that’s brought me here today.

E was encouraging today. She said I’m showing my kids how to be human, imperfect and all. She said the way they’re talking openly about how I made them feel is a result of what I’ve modeled. She also said next time I date someone, they can meet the kids, but spending time with them should only happen when he and I have decided we are building a future together (“marriage” track… or, in my case, “commitment” track). That was encouraging because it gives me freedom to take as much time as I want to date, get to know, and learn who a man is before I integrate the kids into it. FREEDOM.

However, that will mean I need to expand my ideas of dating/partnership. There will be a substantial period where he won’t see me as “mom” and potentially only get time with me “after hours” (after the kids bedtime). I’ll definitely want him to show his commitment to me through pursuing me, paying for sitters, working with my restricted schedule with the kids with great patience and kindness and generosity (HA!). I (we, me and the kids) deserve patience, graciousness, and lavish love.

I look forward to embracing someone who can appreciate, respect, and make room for me – all of me. I know now that I can have this because I’m worth it and my babies are worth it. We’re worth waiting for, fighting for, and choosing.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G Frank: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S Sara: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L Kate: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z Liz: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O Chad: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E Esther: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
18 MBK Memoir: Choosing ME isn’t easy, it’s empowering

14 MBK Memoir: Self-worth. The surprising side effect of boundaries

February 21

Today was a good day. Very tired, but worked for C from bed all day. Haven’t felt creative all week (writing), so I’ve been working more. Getting used to the idea of letting go of G in our lives but waiting to talk to him until my emotions aren’t quite so raw.

Listened to Mark Groves Podcast with Lacey Phillips today (ToBeMagnetic) called “Call in Your Ideal Partner” or something. It rocked my world. Manifesting your dreams is rooted in your self-worth.

So, MBK, do I believe I’m ready, worthy, and deserving of a committed, loving partner? And career and income?

The funny thing is I really do think I’m worthy, but religion taught me to second-guess that in the name of humility, so then I started believing I’ve failed God/the Universe by believing I am deserving. But I don’t believe that anymore. I believe I’m worthy of living my dreams no matter how ridiculous they seem to others (Tyrel, brother, mom, G, anyone else). Am I worthy of off the charts, cinematic, gut-wrenching, heart-throbbing romance and love stories filled with commitment, conscious partnership work and purebred enjoyment! I’m worthy of winning awards, reaching wide audiences and being published for high-dollar for my writing? Hell yes, I am! It’s all already in plan – I can feel it. 

I will find “expanders” (people, ideas, things that expand my current limited beliefs) and I will broaden my thinking and hope. The goddamn cynicism melting off of me lately, I can feel it. 

G is a test for me. I always try to make my cake and eat it too, but I’m letting go of him. He’s no longer in alignment with me. He fit for a time, but I’ve outgrown him and even though it’s hard with the kids – I don’t need to hang on collecting bread crumbs when I know the whole damn bakery is coming my way.

I’m free… I’m freeing myself… to dream again. I’m proud I’m making different choices than I would have even a few months ago. I used to fall into compliance instinctively – to be agreeable at the cost of my own desires. No more. I will choose me – consciously.

February 22

I love this day. My inner worth is soaring. Everything is changing inside my mind. I am loving this journey HOME. To myself. The beauty. The clarity. The solace. Who knew it was right inside me all along?

— 

Oh, today was fantastic! Allowing myself to dream about what I want for myself, my babes, and a partner one day. I am embracing “expanders” and expanding the borders of what can be.

My internal dialogue is so different than it was even three months ago. I deserve all the good things: true, deep love, financial security and abundance, stability, honesty, wellness and peace.

I LOVE volunteering. I want to do it forever. I love animals and traveling and writing and stories. And food. And health. I remembered a few conversations with G that made me cringe – at both of our smallness – like when he responded to my reaction (headshaking and concern) to him first telling his family about me – “divorced, suicide, bald” – He said, “Yeah… sometimes I think you forget how much…” and I finished his sentence, “you put up with?” He said, “Yeah,” and solidified mirroring one of my greatest insecurities – my “situation.”

But my perspective has changed on that. I see now how my story has made me the strong, passionate, empathetic, intimate person I am. And that is most certainly nothing less than badass. I’m loving getting to know myself – following my moon cycle and tuning into myself – it’s been an experience of a lifetime.

February 23

Good day. Rode our bikes to Peter’s basketball game because my car is in the shop (normally I would have asked G to give us a ride, but I chose a different path). Got muddy. It was an adventure! I loved experiencing it with the kids. I felt like a good parent today. I’m choosing them and me. We’re doing this together and we’re OK, just as we are. Felt confident and peaceful today. 

February 24

Rough day for the kids. They both had different points of being very mad at me. I was carrying a little anger/frustration/hurt regarding G murdering our friendship. I lightly mentioned to the kids yesterday and today that G and I are taking some time to figure out what’s best moving forward now that we’re not dating. It’s these convos that make me angry with him again. It just didn’t need to be like this, but actually – maybe it did. I want to move towards forgiveness. 

Overall, I enjoyed the day with the three of us. I feel my mind expanding a little more everyday. Proud of myself. Enjoying discovering myself. Loving me in a new kind of way. 

February 25

Really good day. Worked. Great sense of self-worth and embracing my value today. Spoke gently to myself and the kids. Really understanding the inherent value of self-worth and it’s origination in honoring my own character – honesty, boundaries, etc. It’s beautiful and fun. It’s not a 2019 phase – it’s my new lifestyle. The trust I feel for myself is so foreign and liberating. It makes me EXCITED to date again when an aligned opportunity (aka man) arises:)

I’m trusting myself in ways I never have before. My fear of dating or picking a partner is fizzling as I learn about myself. It’s like before I was just floating around at the mercy of all my wounds and pain, but now I’m leaning in, paying attention, and providing for myself what I crave most from others. Not only is this bringing immense satisfaction and building my self-worth, it’s building trust. I can trust myself now because I can see myself. I trust that I’m paying attention. And I trust my GUT above my attraction (to men).

On one of Mark Groves’s podcasts today he said, “Honoring yourself – being committed, setting boundaries, being honest quickly with yourself and others – BUILDS your self-worth.” This is exactly how I feel. When I feel alone or abandoned in the world, now I remember: I’m committed to witnessing myself through this journey and creating space and a home for ALL of me – my shadow too. This has done wonders for my view of myself and self-worth!

[Here I wrote out qualities my “Ideal Partner” would have. That list included things like: consciousness, vulnerability, shadow work, generosity, etc.]

February 26

Texted G today. We’re going to meet for coffee in two days. Not sure of exactly how and what all I will say, but feeling really good about setting the boundaries for the future. Today was a great day. Volunteered. No work. Lots of self-love and self-worth deposits. Happy to be me and fully able to provide everything I need right from within ME!

February 27

Not sure why this just occurred to me today, but I sent myself into a spiral realizing there is a very likely chance G was intimate with S before the last time we had sex. I’ve felt sick since I thought of it. I meet with him tomorrow, so I guess I’ll find out then (even though I don’t even know how the fuck I’d trust anything he says anymore). Things like this just seal the deal – I do not – CANNOT – have people like this in my life again. I trust myself to listen to my inner voice next time.

Also, in talking with L last night, I realized whatever “that” thing is that makes a person think they know what’s best for people (like so many pastors I know) – with NO accountability or follow through after – G has that. I LOATHE it. I don’t know if it’s arrogance or what, but NO.

It’s time to make and hold some space for myself. Tomorrow is a big day – I’m setting boundaries in a way I never have before. I’m trusting myself and loving myself like I never have. I am a mix of sure and uncertain – I know what I want to get across, I just don’t know exactly how I do it. It’s uncharted territory for me, but here I go! Paving new ground!

I’m reading The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Stover (and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho) and tonight I will journal from her suggestions (page 19):

  1. Looking back on my life, I’d say that the five main events (good and bad) that have really formed who I am include my parent’s divorce, the integration and subsequent segregation of R into and out of our family, being married to Tyrel, motherhood, and Tyrel’s suicide.
  2. Out of these, I planned two of them. The rest of them were unexpected. Although my decision to marry Tyrel was obviously without the knowledge of his mental conditions.
  3. The three biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life from these events include: A) Family does not always mean blood – which is a positive and negative thing. I have the ability to choose depth with whoever I want in my life, but it can be very disappointing when my blood family is disconnected from me. B) I can endure a hell of a lot of pain (emotional pain). C) People are ever-changing organisms. Nothing in relationships is hard and fast cement. It’s all negotiable and privy to change with time.
  4. Two things I love about my life now: The freedom I have to love and raise my kids the way I choose and the sacredness of this moment in time with myself and my little family. It won’t always be like this. I have most of the control and influence in my kids’ hearts, schedules, and lives, soon they will outgrow this season and venture out on their own. I feel awe and wonder for the time I have with them now – to model self-love and worth and hold their hearts in mine every day.
  5. Two things I would most like to change about my life right now: My financial and my partner situation. I long to be published and make money writing/speaking my own content. And I also long for intimacy and connection with a life partner. I want to be on this journey with someone I love and who loves me back.
  6. Two things I’m ready to invite and receive into my life right now are abundance and love… of all kinds – the aforementioned finances via publishing and a conscious partner, but also in all other areas – self-love/worth, friendships, writing, time discovering me, time being curious about my kids… all kinds of love and abundance.
  7. Some of my goals and dreams that seem a little crazy and that I’m almost too embarrassed to admit to are: to win the HGTV dream home and experience that thrill with the kids. I also want to find and cultivate a conscious partnership with someone who can grow with me and the kids over the next 40-50 years. Oh, how my heart longs for this to happen sooner than later. And of course that a publisher/agent will pick me up and I can live the rest of my days creating imaginative, comlex, provoking stories to enrich the lives of all who read. I want to love my kids and partner, write and volunteer for a living! I want to spread lavish generosity on hurting people – I want my life to be a touch point for those in pain, always communicating, “You are not alone. I see you.” I want a lake house where I have a haven to write, the kids have space to play with friends for the next 10 years and there’s a beautiful space for entertaining. I want to host millions of get-togethers. I want to connect the disconnected, warm the cold, feed the hungry, house the homeless, nurse the broken, and love the hurting. Oh, goodness, what a life!

I truly believe it is mine to have, whether by the divine intervention or step by step of my own two hands… this life will be mine.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
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