Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where I come from

I think that going home for Christmas this year was more beneficial than I could have predicted. I haven't been to the house I grew up in for a year and a half. A lot has happened in my life since then. One relationship ended, and another began, that one potentially over too. I sometimes get so caught up in my current life that I forget to remember just how far I've come in the almost 12 years since I left home. I let people allow me to feel that my personal accomplishments aren't important. They are important, no matter how small in comparison they are important and big for me.

I grew up in a house where I shared a room my entire life. I grew up in a house that had one working bathroom as far back as I can remember. I grew up in a house with no shower. 5 of us, in one bathroom and no shower...talk about a lack of privacy. I'm very humble because I am truly blessed to be where I am today. I've lived in nice places and I'm probably a little spoiled because of it. But I've earned it. I've paid rent and contributed to every house I've ever lived in. I don't currently pay rent, but my contributions are plentiful. I've earned being spoiled. 

The last 12 years haven't been easy. I've struggled a lot. I've borrowed money, lots of it, but I'm making amends. I am currently working on paying back all the people, including the government, for all the money I've borrowed. And that makes me feel good. It's an accomplishment. Albeit small in comparison its a big step for me. I'm taking responsibility for the help I needed during the irresponsible stage in my life.

I'm glad I went home for Christmas. I'm glad I got to spend time with my siblings and my Dads family. I was reminded by my Dads family that we are a family of strong women. And while I've never been overly close to that family it was a worthy reminder. I sometimes question my place in life. I am in a relationship with someone who doesn't always understand my strength. But hearing my uncles, who married into the family, acknowledge the Grady women's strength made me feel good. I can be in a relationship where my strength is not liability its an asset. I come from a long line of strong women, my mom especially, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a strength and an asset in a relationship and needs to be treated as such. 

I do wish my boyfriend had made the trip with me. I think there is a part of someone that you cannot truly understand until you know where they come from. I think there is a part of me that he will never understand until he makes a trip to the Midwest, sees Poplar Grove, stays at my Moms house, sleeps in the room I grew up in. The life I grew up in is not the life I have now, and no matter how much I explain...seeing is believing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You're Beautiful

"You're beautiful."  That's what everyone keeps telling me in an attempt to make me feel better.  "Don't worry, you're beautiful." As if that somehow makes me feel better.  As if my beauty is what is in question in my failing/failed (not sure if it's past or present at this point) relationship.

Beauty is a wonderful thing.  You can have inner beauty, you can have outer beauty.  But if that's all that matters in a relationship...you, my friend, are screwed.  My other favorite "cheer up" line is: "you can have any guy you want."  Which is pretty untrue at this point considering the one that I want, doesn't want me.  Well, to be fair to him, I'm not sure it's that he doesn't want me.  But he's not willing to risk it all to keep me.

Everyone always says "you can't change a man" and "guys don't change" and while on the surface that may be true.  A guy that is uninterested in girly movies is unlikely to ever one day secretly enjoy them.  A guy who is competitive at everything he does is unlikely to some day just not care.  But to me, it doesn't matter who you are, guy or girl.  Change is part of life.  You grow...you change.  You develop..you change.  You see the world and experience life...you change.  If we didn't change and grow as human beings we wouldn't make it in life.

You cannot force anyone to change, I am aware of that.  But by saying "guys don't change" we have built a society that allows guys to think that they don't have to change and grow.  They don't have to mature.  They think they will be catered to their entire lives and eventually find someone to fill in where their mother left off.

I read part of an article recently, yes just part...I got bored.  But it was talking about how we have raised females to be stronger in recent years, and in the process have left men in the dust, forgotten.  While I do understand what they were getting at.  I think that we've just allowed men to go on being lazy, and as women we got tired of waiting on them to grow up.  So we stepped up and started accomplishing things ourselves.  And as it turns out, we are pretty good at all the same things men are good at.  And instead of trying harder, men gave up.  I was raised to try harder, if I wanted better grades...I had to work for it.  If I wanted spending money...I had to earn it.  If I wanted anything, I had to earn it or work for it or both.

The way I was raised seems to contradict what I want out of life, but not the way I see it.  I was raised to stand on my own two feet, to be independent.  I wasn't always as strong as I am, but I've gotten knocked down a few times and I've always figured it out.  I strive to be independent and my own person.  But there is no denying that I want to be a wife and a mother.  I work, I pay my bills.  But at the end of every day if I can be home in time to make dinner for my boyfriend/husband/kids.  Then that's what I want.  I love to cook.  I love to prepare healthy meals for my loved ones.  I want to be able to be with my kids and watch them grow up.  Will I always want to earn my own money, absolutely.  But do I want to be a housewife who sits around wasting my husbands money because I have nothing better to do, absolutely not.  I'm not sure when the term "housewife" got so negative, but that's not the point of view I have on it.  I know plenty of women who stay at home with the kids and still find ways to financially contribute to their family.  And honestly, it's up to each couple to figure out what they're comfortable with.

But I see no reason why I can't "have my cake, and eat it too."  Why can't I be treated like an equal in a relationship and be able to cook, clean and stay home with the kids?  And why am I being punished for knowing what I want out of life.  I have wanted kids since I was 2 years old.  I've said that a million times, to a million different people.  And yet, wanting kids, and being honest about it is where I lose people.

I give my all in relationships.  I'm honest and trustworthy and I literally give everything I have to them.  And it never seems like enough.  I'm not sure what happens, but somewhere along the line my faith in the relationship seems to scare them away.  Like they can't live up to the expectations that we discussed.  Nate and I talked about marriage and kids from the very beginning.  I was upfront and honest like I always am.  And we talked to it.  Clearly it was too soon then, but we talked about it.  It was always in the plans.  And then a week ago he told me that he's not sure he's meant to have kids, and if he wants them it might be 5 years from now.  And I'm just suppose to wait?  Wait to see if he ever figures it out.  Wait until he's done being selfish.  I've given everything I have to him and our relationship...and now I have to wait to see if he will one day give me what I want out of life.  It's just seems so unfair right now.  I'm left to find a place to live, to pack up all my stuff from his house.  The house I made a home for us.  The one we've shared for 6+ months now because he can't be unselfish right now.  He can't give everything for me and our relationship.  But I'm beautiful...so I'll be ok.

I will be ok, but not because I'm beautiful.  I'll be ok because I'm strong, and determined.  And loved.  I have amazing friends and family who will be there for me.  And I will once again, pick myself up, start over, and move on.  Because it's what I do...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

1 year

1 year. Seems like a long time and yet so short all at the same time. I feel like I'm the only one dwelling on it, but I've never been with any one for a whole year. I'm 29 years old  and I've never managed to date anyone for a whole year. It's such an accomplishment for me and I'm proud of myself and no one cares. 

It sounds like a weird thing to say, I'm proud of myself for being in a relationship for a year. But I've never been a relationship person. There's been a lot of people over the years that I'm sure would've jumped at the opportunity. There probably still are. But I'm picky. Always have been. And yet, I don't always choose wisely. I've had my heart broken. And I know I've broken a few too.

I grew up learning from a relationship that wasn't good. I wouldn't want to put my kids through what I went through. My parents didn't really get along. They tolerated each other for most of my life. They stopped doing the things most couples do early in my memory, hold hands, kiss, hug, go on dates, etc. I grew up knowing that the only reason my parents were still together was because of us kids. That's a hard thing to know. And it's effected each of us differently. 

I have grown up being terrified of having a relationship like my parents. Which is why for most of my life I have preferred to be in non-labeled relationships. If I can't define them, then they aren't a relationship and it can't hurt me as bad when it's over. Of course, that never worked. But it didn't stop me from trying. At some point every labeled or non-labeled relationship came to an end. Sometimes I cried, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I ended it, sometimes I didn't. I learned through each one, didn't always change. 

I did eventually gain some self awareness and try to pick better relationships. Still didn't really work. I have an impossible need to fix people. It's my nurturing, mothering nature. I've tried to control it, but it's hard. I learned this the hard way in one of my defined relationships. I let him walk all over me and I tried to be his everything. In the end I was broken hearted and had gotten a DUI. But I have no ill feelings. It was a lesson I needed to learn the hard way. I was headed down a path that could only end badly. And I learned that we had a very co-dependent relationship and it wasn't healthy. So life went on. And after a few, very difficult years, I ended up in another defined relationship. This one was  pretty life changing. I still tried to give everything in this relationship, but this time I realized what I was doing. I realized he didn't know my favorite things because I didn't let him learn them. He didn't know who I really was because I never showed him. He was a great guy and I hurt him. But it wasn't right. I let myself lose sight of who I was because I was in a relationship with him. And that wasn't right. 

After that relationship I really tried to be myself. To be happy. And it worked. And I finally agreed to give Nate a chance and I was pleasantly surprised. I tried to approach this relationship differently than I had all the others. I took my time, tried to get to know him first, not spend every moment possible together. It was nice. We went on dates (something I've never been overly comfortable with), talked on the phone (which is a dying art), took time in between our dates, and we actually had a conversation and decided it was official. On Friday it will be exactly one year ago that we had that conversation. 

Our year has been a difficult one. No relationship is easy, but ours has definitely had its rough points. And as we approach our one year mark we are not out of the woods. We still have to work on our communication and understanding the others point of view. But despite our imperfect relationship. I'm proud of me, proud of us. I love him more than I've loved any one. I have really tried to give my all to our relationship, and yet remain myself. I've struggled some with this. I feel resented sometimes  when I try to be myself. I feel like at times he wishes I wasn't who I am. I'm a pretty strong woman. I was raised to have my own opinion and my own voice. And it took me a long time to realize that those things were ok. Despite my desire to have kids and be able to be home with them I still want to earn my own money. I want to be valued and heard and listened to. And I know I deserve that. I think that's why I'm most proud of myself. This is the most I've been myself in any relationship and it's lasted the longest. I'm proud of myself and I want to celebrate that. I want to celebrate us. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Defying the impulse to jump ship

"The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you'll see their flaws. That's just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don't last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they're out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness' sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it's seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship."

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted this quote to her Instagram, and I couldn't thank her enough for her perfect timing. My boyfriend and I were, to put it as he did...having a "coming to Jesus moment". And I was a mess! He actually hasn't seen this quote, but I did. And I read it and re-read it. And it stuck with me. It's just so true. You think you love someone, I've thought I've loved people and then you get to that point, whatever it is. You get to the cliff in your relationship, and you can jump together or you can turn around and walk away.

It's been a little over a year since I decided to give this guy a chance. He has probably loved me since the first day he saw me and he tried for 8 months to win me over. And he finally did. He surprised me, he was a better guy than I ever thought he was. I shouldn't say that past tense. He still is, and always will be, an amazing guy!

Our relationship has not been perfect, in almost a year we've been through a lot! But looking back on all of the memories, I wouldn't change them. I've had other boyfriends and I've called them "the loves of my life" or "my future" and I can't say that I've ever said that about Nate, but I don't need to. He tells me that I'm going to marry him one day and we'll be together forever, and I know that to be true. Now more than ever.

We both have had our doubts, but we have defied the impulse to jump ship. I cannot imagine my life without him. He challenges me, he irritates me, he accepts me, and he LOVES me.  And I love him, more than I could ever express. And I want him to know that. We've been to the edge of the cliff, about to turn around. We've been on the plank, about to jump. But we're both still here. And I have no plans to jump. I want to weather the storm, although it's probable I'll get sea sick sometimes. ;) I want to fight with you and love you. I want to go to bed and wake up next to you, always. I want you to love me until the end of time. I want to travel with you and grow old with you. I want to stand with you on the edge of the ship...and defy the urge to jump.

I love you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The terrible, no good, very bad Saturday

A few weeks ago I had a really awful morning at work, and a member at the country club suggested I blog it to humor others. So I think I will. I titled the blog after a children's book, because although humorous it is also true.

I opened at work, which means I have to be there at 7:30.  We open for breakfast at 8 so there is not a lot of time to get everything together before we open.  When I walked in the door, my busser for the morning was already there standing over the time clock (he's not actually suppose to be there till 8, but I assume he was trying to cheat the system).  So I started to open everything.  At 7:45 the busser asked if we were open yet.  I told him no and asked why.  One of our members was already sitting in the Grille, not infrequent for this particular member.  So we got him a Diet Coke and he happily waited for his wife and friends to arrive.  I was finishing up things in the kitchen, when the busser came in to tell me that there were people out there.  I walked out to the Grille to discover 3 different tables all sitting promptly at 8.  A table of 5, a table of 2 with a baby, and a few gentlemen waiting for more (they ended up being 7).  So I started with the 5 top, got their drinks, took their order, rang it in and moved onto the couple with the baby.  I should note that this particular busser is a bit of a "know it all".  He seems to think that he's SO amazing at his job and also capable of doing everyone else's.  Although it's quite the contrary, he's more of a jack of no trade and a master of nothing.  So as I went to give drinks to the next table I asked the busser if he could start some toast for the first table.  He looked at me puzzled and asked how to make toast.  Baffled I did my best to explain it and thought "Oh Great!".  I should've had a food runner at 8am, but he was late, again.  I managed to get the first group fed, the second group fed and moved onto the 3rd.  My busser was less than helpful, but I did what I could.  Every time I walked out to the Grille there was another table, or something I needed to do.  It was overwhelming, but such is the restaurant life sometimes.  As I was standing in the kitchen waiting for a table's food, the busser was standing behind me.  Suddenly he went running to the end of the line and started throwing up in a trash can.  I couldn't believe it.  I looked at one of the cooks and said "this day just isn't going to get any better, is it?"  Just then my food runner walked in the door.  Which was kind of a blessing, since I then had to send my busser home.  This should've made the day better, but it didn't.  It was just in general a very bad day.  I won't continue with my bad day, but I hope you find some humor in my terrible, no good, very bad Saturday.

Ah Server Life!

<3 E