Thursday, April 21, 2016

I'm back!

I haven't posted anything new in over a year. Pulling up my blog made me cringe. The whites don't match on my tabs. I have enough knowledge now to create images that have transparent backgrounds and match whatever they're on.
Yay, college.
Speaking of which, the semester is finally almost over! Finals week, which really means a paper and a test and then I'm done. I was planning on summer classes, but unless financial aid comes through really soon, I likely will just have the summer off.
I know, I know. Updates are necessary at this point, but tonight I don't have it in me.
Just know I'm back, I'm intent on blogging more since writing is always good for my soul, and I'm probably better than ever.

Monday, February 23, 2015



Henley's still sleeping and I woke up earlier than I normally would.
I think that's a sign I'm growing up.

There are birds gabbing away in my front yard as the sun makes it's presence known for at least one more day. Spring is coming, and though winter hasn't been excessively cold, it's still been lifeless and I missed the music of birds.

There isn't actually much that's new. I'm still in school, we've been living in the same place for about two months, and for all the eyes that constantly watch, it wouldn't seem like much has changed.

But I noticed the birds singing outside. I watched the sun come up. Last night, I took some time to look at the stars.

I've learned that change comes from the inside before it every touches anything else.
There's beauty in pain that demands to be felt. It can turn even the most tender heart to stone if left alone to fester.

My life has been a constant storm for several years; there's been comfort in the pain, familiarness that often seems like an old friend. Happiness and calm have made me uncomfortable for a very long time. It's only been recently that I've grown uncomfortable with all the pain. There's a yearning in my heart for something else, something better.

If you didn't notice, it takes me days to write one blog. It's busy to be a mama, especially a super-single one like me. That's probably why my blog has been dormant for several months. (That's a word used most commonly for volcanoes, which I learned an awful lot about last semester.)

Today I woke up to a foot of new snow, so I had to clean off my car before I could leave. In the spirit of being good, I did jordan's and the sidewalk too. It took me FOREVER (forty-five minutes instead of the regular 5-10) to get to work. On the way there, I brainstormed ways to be good.

There's that silly hashtag #sharegoodness that I kind of love. I couldn't think of much, considering I'm a very poor, super busy full-time mommy, student, and sub. But I can be nice.

On my lunch break, I left my phone in my classroom. Rather than soak my feet more, I decided to leave it home. While driving to the library, I thought about the massive time-suck my phone has been lately. I keep it in check when I'm home with Henley, because she is and will always be Priority #1, but during all other hours, it's usually glued to me. Without it, I was able to take a close look at the world around me.

Walking into the library, I smiled and greeted everyone I passed. I don't know about them, but it brightened my day. I made an effort to be a bright light for everyone I came across today and it absolutely made my day. Normally with freezing, cold, wet feet, I'd be a grumpy monster. Added to a ridiculously early morning and being late to work, I'd say all signs pointed to Worst Monday Ever, but I refused to start my week that way and it paid off immensely.

There isn't much that I'm sure of these days, but I do know this: life is a gift and we only get ONE shot to make it the most beautiful, incredible life possible. I can't hide my light. I have too much to give. When I withhold my light from others, we all suffer, but when I freely give of my time, my talents, and even just my smile, I have the ability to change every single life around me for the better.

There's a quote I found a few months ago that has stuck with me.

Start now.
Start where you are. Start with fear.
Start with pain. Start with doubt.
Start with hands shaking.
Start with voice trembling but start.
Start and don't stop.
Start where you are, with what you have.
Just start.

-Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Rock bottom is probably my favorite place in the world to be. It's stable, you know? Most people hate it, but for me, it's when things start to really change. I have nothing to lose, so I become fearless, strong, and more motivated than at any other time.

There's this feeling I get, deep down in my bones. I can't really describe it, but it takes ages and ages to build. I can feel it coming for months before I ever act on it, but eventually, it just starts to burst out of me and THAT is when things start to change for me.

It's here and I'm so excited I can't stand it. It's time to free it all.

<insert cliché about spreading my wings to fly...>

Sunday, December 14, 2014

one year later.

tuesday will mark one year since my divorce. what a year it's been.
i got a Henley out of the deal and she's been the absolute best part of my life.
i wouldn't trade her for anything, nor the lessons i've learned.

divorce. i did't ever want a divorce, but that was really the only good option for me.
i rushed into a marriage that was probably doomed from the start.

i wasn't happy with myself so i certainly couldn't be happy with anyone else.

now here we are, one year later.
i've made enormous strides in my life and i'm so proud of who i am becoming.
i'm going to school and pursuing a career that will be perfect for me.
(as a sub, i already love teaching but having my class will be like, even bettah.)

i've learned to be okay alone.
i don't really date, nor do i want to.
sometimes i get lonely, but i've learned that it's important to hold out for someone who's worthy of my time and attention, someone who appreciates and loves me for who i am.
i'm not willing to settle anymore.

here's the most important part:
i'd rather be alone than be with someone i don't love and who doesn't love me back just as much.

2015 is just a couple weeks away.
that will bring some pretty big changes as well, good and bad.
we're moving into a bigger apartment.
i'm starting a new semester at school, so i'll be one step closer to my dreams.
i'll finally be getting child support. Andrew isn't going to pay willingly, so a case has been submitted to ORS and they're going to take it whether he wants to pay it or not. he's livid about it, but he has a responsibility to our daughter. if he wants to be an absent father, that's up to him. but he will absolutely financially support her. it's the least he can do.
i'm going to tackle a new adventure: CrossFit. i can't wait. literally, i'm on pins and needles waiting for the day i get to start. that takes money, of which i currently have none, but once we get some support coming in and my money from school, all will be well.

i've been itching to close this chapter of my life and i'm thrilled that it's just around the corner. it's so close i can basically taste it.

a huge lesson this year has been in standing up for myself and my baby and our life.
i have had to step on some toes in order to do it, but at the end of the day, my baby's healthy and happy and she's being taken care of. she's the priority, just like it should be.

so as the year comes to a close, i make no apologies. i'm well on my way and i'll do whatever it takes to get there. a year or two ago i was concerned with making my marriage work, about trying to be exactly what Andrew wanted me to be.

never again will i bow down to a man like i did.
my biggest fear used to be that i would end up alone. i was terrified of divorce.
well, it happened. and i lived.

i used to be so scared to hit rock bottom. i would have done anything in the world to maintain the façade that i was happy, that i was okay, that my life was going in a good direction.

this time, i've started to built a foundation at rock bottom.
i've taken the time to plan things out, to learn who i am and what i want, and i'm now building and moving upward.
from where i'm at, which is admittedly still basically rock bottom, i've never been so sure of myself, my life, and where i'm going.
rock bottom has built a confidence in me which is impossible to ignore and try to contain.
i'm going places. it's taking awhile, but soon enough i will explode out of here and there isn't any stopping me now that i'm on my way.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Mamahood. And updates.

I was featured on my amazing friend, Aubrey's blog today. You can find it here.

She started an amazing group on facebook and it helped me so much this past year, especially in the earlier months when I really didn't know what I was doing.

I can't believe I made it through this year! Henley is now ONE! Such an amazing, sassy, funny cute girl. I'll write more about that later, specifically after Friday.

For now, I'm closing myself off from the world. I have a to-do list a mile long.

71% of my classes will be done this week, so it's crunch time as I scramble to catch up from Henley and I being sick for a couple weeks that prevented most everything from getting done. After Friday, I'll be able to breathe again.

Plus, we're moving this week/weekend! :) My cute friend Bailey suggested her brother's place since they got offered a job and need to get out of their contract ASAP. Everything worked out perfectly, so we're going to move again. Our lease isn't up in our basement until the end of the month, but we're basically exploding, so why not just get it over with?
Jordan's excited to have her own room.
I'm excited to have a living room that's not Jordan's bedroom.
Henley's just excited to have a space where all her toys can go.
But mostly, we're all excited that we'll have some good closet space and won't have to hide half of our clothes.
Plus, we'll have doors that close Henley out, so hopefully Mass Destruction can be reigned in a bit!

We also finally got a Child Support Order, which will lift a massive amount of stress off my shoulders, soon as I can figure out how to get that enforced...unfortunately, court orders don't always make people play nice.

Our Christmas tree is up! (I should have waited, but we weren't sure we'd be getting a new place, so I'll just have to do it twice...

More pics, posts, and updates to come just as soon as I get through finals and moving! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

a jaycie memoir: divorce is like death.

I currently have a creative writing class that has not only made me grow as a person, but as a writer as well. It's been one of several life-altering classes I'm taking this semester. With the exception of Geology of National Parks, which I loathe, I'd say all my classes have changed me for the better.

As part of my writing class, we did a memoir section. I wrote the following. It was only through the writing process that I realized all these things. I can now say that I'm completely over my marriage, divorce, and the train wreck that went along with having a relationship with someone I can only classify as a horrible human. (I'm sure he has some redeeming qualities somewhere deep, deep inside. Actually, I'm pretty sure he doesn't, but I don't want to sound bitter. Which I'm not.)


Divorce is like death, only worse. Instead of the condolences like, “This wasn't your fault,” or, “It was just her time to go,” you’re faced with a death no one likes to acknowledge, let alone sympathize with. You know it’s your fault–at least partially–and in addition to the death, you’ve been rejected, thrown out with last week’s too-ripe bananas and sour milk.
You don’t think about it like this, as if there’s been a horrible, significant death in your life, at least not at first. You simply go through it, eventually left with the shambles your life has become and you realize hindsight is 20/20 and you’ve got to stop kidding yourself. But before you get to that point, there’s a good year and a half of wandering through the five stages of grief.
First is denial. You’ve just been kicked out of your house, pregnant, with no job and nowhere to go. You head for the only safe place you know: the charcoal grey bedroom in your parent’s basement, cold and dark like a dungeon. It’s soothing, a nice place to try to forget. When people ask about your husband you reply offhandedly, “We’re just taking a little break.” Is it a little break though? After all, you’ve left twice now and he says he doesn’t want you back. Five months into a marriage, this just might be too rocky a place to restart.
In your mind, you aren’t getting a divorce. It’s the last thing in the world you want, and honestly, that dirty word hasn’t even crossed your mind. You don’t know anyone in the world who’s gotten a divorce. What even is divorce? That’s for the people of Hollywood, the spoiled brats who wouldn’t work to save their marriage after their their failed first fifty-three days in. You didn’t want a divorce, you simply needed some space to clear your mind, to sift through the issues and find a way to make it work. Too bad he didn’t get that and sent you packing.
But who the hell kicks out their pregnant wife? He doesn’t get to decide your future like that, the bastard. Indignantly you call him and tell him, “I hate you. You’re a piece of shit husband and father. Your baby and I deserve better than this. It’s a good thing I left before you could ruin our lives any more than you already have simply by being in it.”
Oh yes, anger. That spiteful little monster lurking in your chest, just waiting for it’s opportunity to pounce. Out of nowhere, you think, “Did I really just say that?” Completely ashamed, you apologize, promise that you didn’t mean it, that he’s a good man and you have no idea where those words came from. But a few days later when he tells you he doesn’t want you to come home, your monster rears it's ugly head again. This time, “You’re a failure. You have no friends, no money, and if you do this, if you really want a divorce, I’m going to take you for every last dime you have. You think you’re struggling to pay your bills now? Just wait until I demand child support, day care, life insurance, travel expenses, and extracurriculars. I’ll ruin your life and I’ll enjoy every second of it.” It’s an idle threat, for now, but much more of that and he’ll walk for good, certain that you’ve always been this horrible human and he just couldn’t see it. The cycle repeats over and over: lash out, apologize, make up, he says something stupid, so you lash out again. It’s a vicious little circle and it’s one you’ll repeat over and over.
But between the bouts of anger, there’s the bargaining. You have a tiny passenger, dependent on you, without any conscious thought that you know of, yet frantic little kicks convince you that your anger is probably going to cripple your baby before you even know which flavor it is. So regardless of your anger, you start trying fervently to work it out. “We have a baby on the way. This baby deserves to have a mommy and a daddy. Please, let me come home, we can work this out. I know you still love and care about me.”
He listens, but doesn’t reply, he doesn’t even seem to care. It makes you feel like a cheap, common whore knowing full well that he’s probably already had strange women in the bed you used to share. Why are you pleading to go back? You have a feeling you deserve better, but there's also that nagging feeling that this is it, you had a hard enough time snagging this husband, how the hell are you ever going to replace him with a baby on your hip and the package that comes along with that? Refusing to think like that, you beg, “Please, I can change. We can work this out. I’ll do anything. I love you and I need to be with you. Your baby needs to be with you. Please…”
There aren’t only five steps to this process, if you ask me. You’ll cycle through denial, anger, and bargaining so many times you lose count. It’s exhausting, but one day you wake up and realize this fight is not worth your time anymore. You get quiet for awhile, you leave him alone and simply retreat to your charcoal dungeon.
The baby comes on a Monday and the divorce is final three weeks later. But you take a trip to see him, to allow him to meet his daughter. Things are good and you forget that it’s over. You’re living only in the present now and though you sense the danger, you proceed past the caution signs anyway, hoping for a non-traditional happy ending. You fall back in love with him, with his quirks, his smell, his warm body, and you delude yourself into thinking he wants you back, though he often says, “I’m not looking for a relationship at all, not with you or anyone else.”
After the second trip, you leave certain that things will work out and it’s only a matter of time before you’re back in his bed, in his arms, with his ring on your finger, and another of his babies on the way.
Then the wrench. He’s met someone and he likes her, much more than he ever liked you. The anger cycle repeats, but this time, you’re livid. You’ve put your heart on the line again and now you’re out for blood. You know the buttons to push, the things that will set him off, and you abuse him relentlessly. You’re hurt, you want him back, and you lash out at him, refusing to let him go.
Instead of reacting though, he shuts down entirely and tells you that he’s filing a case to terminate his parental rights. When you ask why, he tells you, “I loathe you. I never want to see or hear from you again. I didn’t want another baby. Somehow you tricked me into that, but I’m not letting you ruin my life anymore."
It becomes very civil, a simple matter of signing on the lines. But of course it’s not that easy. The courts deny his petition. They won’t bastardize your child simply because he doesn’t like you and doesn’t want to pay you. He doesn’t have to see or be involved with the baby, but he does have to support her financially. Case closed.
A new case gets filed. Arguing, polite discussion, friends again, for a few days, but then the realization that he’s using you to get what he wants, not because he actually cares. After another battle, the worst yet, he blocks your number and tells you he won’t contact you until he’s ordered to by the courts. Good riddance, you think.
Life falls into an easy, carefree pattern without him and you’re certain that you’ve moved on. But eventually depression creeps in, and it it’s tricky, sneaking in like a thief in the night.
You’ve gone on a few dates, you admire the broad shoulders and nice, tight butts of the men you come across in grocery stores and at the bank. You notice men everywhere, hoping to catch someone’s eye, certain that you’re ready to find a new love.
After a particularly rough week, you go on a date with a man who promptly loses interest when he finds that you’re a tattooed mormon single mom. You go home, give your tiny girl a bath, lotion her, get her ready for bed, cuddle her and read a story together, finally tucking her in and you wonder, “Why the hell would I ever want to do that again anyways?” You’re secure in your bitterness. It’s easy and comfortable and blissfully empty of thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
But then you start to notice couples holding hands, sneaking kisses on you walk by. There’s that cute little family, the mom and dad playing with their little boys at the park. You look down at your little girl, too small to walk yet, so instead she’s watching them, eager to go play too, and your walls crumble.
Who have you been trying to kid? You take a hard look in the mirror and see the pained expression, a mask you’ve been wearing and you’ve done a good job, fooling even yourself. You see the fifteen pounds you’ve gained, turning to food to fill the void that you’ve deluded yourself into thinking didn’t exist. It does though, doesn’t it? Did you really think you could hide forever behind your flawless make-up and expensive clothes?
As the walls continue to crumble, you take stock of your life, the mess it’s become. You’ve been negligent of nearly every aspect of your life. Your health has deteriorated, you have few close friends anymore, and you no longer recognize the face staring back when you look in the mirror. Your bitterness has reached an all-time high and people instinctively avoid your path, sensing that you’re not a person they want to cross. You roll your eyes and swear at bad drivers, lines in stores, nearly any human who is unfortunate enough to cross your path. It’s not that you’re being difficult intentionally, it’s just how all that buried emotion is manifesting itself, simply refusing to be contained any longer.
The downward spiral, though you can see it and are completely aware of it, doesn’t end there. You let it continue for a few days, which quickly turns into a few weeks. To fix it would required strength that you aren't sure you possess. It’s exhausting to acknowledge the problems and anything more than that would surely leave you depleted of the little energy you have left.
The only happy thing in your life is that baby, the blessing and curse you’ve been left with. You mostly love and adore her, but sometimes, when the skeletons start whispering from the closet, you resent the load you bear, much of it due to the fact that you’re a mother charged with supporting, loving, and caring for this little life.
You watch her as she grows, sometimes feeling as though she’ll be little forever, but eventually you open your eyes and see that the time is flying by. Where there once was a tiny, screeching bundle, incapable of anything at all, you suddenly have a little crawler on your hands who can feed herself and laughs when you’re funny enough.
But you notice something else, underneath that gorgeous little smile. Your happy baby can tell that you’re not okay. She treads carefully around you, doing her best to make you smile and laugh, constantly watching everyone who comes around you warily, unwilling to see anyone cause any unrest with her first and only love. She watches you like a hawk and when you leave the room she either follows or sits at attention until you come back.
She deserves better than that, better than what you are giving her. Something's gotta give. The realization makes you weep. The damn of emotions you’ve been neglecting bursts and you simultaneously feel crushed and liberated, unable to breathe and for the first time in months able to exhale the breath you didn't even know you were holding. You feel it all, the hurt, the anger, the rejection, the loss; and to your surprise, you survive.
Acceptance. The word alone makes you smile in mockery. There is no such thing, at least not in the way everyone thinks of it. You aren’t over it, not any of it. But you realize you can live with it and that’s good enough. You start to smile and laugh in spite of the past, only a little worse for wear. It’s a part of you now and you can accept that. There will be a few more bouts of anger. It’s unavoidable when you share a baby and consequently have to communicate occasionally with the ex husband, but it no longer cripples you.
You take the ring to a pawn shop. You need diapers anyway and the reminder has been haunting you. You wear the hoodie you wore the day you got married and it finally stops reminding you of him, it’s now just one of your old favorites, almost like a hug from an old friend, cozy and understanding.
You grow out your hair and buy new clothes, ones he won’t recognize. You throw out the old, not out of spite, but because you’re growing. You sign up for classes at the gym and make an effort to eat healthier foods. Again, not to spite him. Your mantra used to be, “He’ll be sorry he let me go.” Now you simply recognize that you deserve better. It’s not about spite, it’s about healing, so you chop off your hair again. It’s not something that will ever disappear, but it heals and eventually you’re left with a tiny scar, so light over time that people don’t really notice it unless you point it out, and now, when you smile and say hello to the broad shoulders and nice butt, it’s just because you want to and you can.
“My name is Jaycie. I’m a tattooed, divorced, single mama. And I’m mormon.” As you make that introduction, it’s with a twinkle in your eye. There are no expectations here, only hopes and dreams and you’re free, in that tied down way. It’s a state of mind and finally, a year and a half after the fact you feel it deep in your soul. “I’m free,” you whisper with a smile, letting the words get lost in the wind as you cuddle your face into your girl’s neck, grinning at her giggle, her unrestrained glee that she has her mommy back.