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 fa├žade 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.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Taken without permission.

I saw this image today that spoke volumes to me for many, many different reasons. First, take a look. Then I'll explain.

To be honest, I can't speak more to how completely accurate this chart is. I saw it and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I've been in survival mode for a year and a half, easily. I've been so caught up on simply getting by that I haven't taken one single measure to fix any of these things. I've been strong and brave. I've kept it all together all the time. Rarely have I fallen apart, if ever. I became a pro at fixing up my hair, putting on clothes, and applying make-up. For all intents and purposes, I've been hiding.

I don't stop to check myself often. There are quick little check-ups here and there. A simple, "it doesn't hurt that bad, i can keep going," to get me by. But is that really any way to live?

Moving to Cedar City was both good and bad for my poor soul. Prior to now, I was surrounded by people all the time. Every single day I was surrounded by my mom and dad, my brothers, Jordan, and Henley. My friends, my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. Everyone. And they were always just right there. So I kept up my big girl charade. Anyone in the world can tell you I'm a pro at that.

Then I moved.

Instantly I went from being completely surrounded to being entirely by myself. Yes, I still have Henley. But she goes to bed around 8:00 p.m. and is in daycare for 6-7 hours every day, not to mention nap time. Yes, I technically still have Jordan. But she works from 3:30 p.m. to midnight and has school before that. 

Physically I'm probably only alone for four or five hours a day. Emotionally is a completely different story. I'm always alone. I don't have friends in Cedar City. I don't have anyone I text religiously anymore. A few weeks ago, I fell apart entirely. I didn't do the dishes. I did my homework poorly and not because my heart was in it. I snapped at anyone who tried to get to close.

Henley was the ONLY person who got the best of me. I lived, breathed, smiled, and laughed for her. I wouldn't say I was depressed then. I was simply shocked. It's like all the emotion I've been holding/hiding from burst into my consciousness, so I closed my eyes in an effort to avoid it at all costs. Yet suddenly I found myself being driven crazy by the relentless way in which all of these issues demanded to be dealt with. Emotions insisting that they be felt. 

Every. Single. Thing. Has come to a head, all at once.
Financially, I can barely pay my bills.
Spiritually, I'm battling my past and current beliefs.
Emotionally, I have a year and a half of emotions that are now refusing to rest until they're dealt with.
Physically, I'm exhausted. I've been a little sick. 

In every single aspect, I have struggled. 

So I've lashed out. A little bit has come out at people like Jordan and a few other friends/relatives.
But mostly I've put myself through a constant, serious, and quite frankly, grueling beating.

I haven't been kind to myself. I've been on a downward spiral and I'm now out of breath. And I'm not only out of breath, I physically can't breathe. I've been taking shallow, tiny breaths. Like a constant state of panic has taken over my body, heart, and soul.

Instead of dealing with anything, I've started to search for a man. Literally anyone will do. I just need someone to rescue me. From my life. From my situation. From myself...
When I didn't find a man, I latched onto any human who seemed safe, like they wouldn't hurt me. No one deserves that though, no one deserves to have to deal with the constant highs and lows that come with a Jaycie in the current state I'm in.

Why? Why is all of this happening to me?

I can't pin it down to one single event.
But seeing that picture today, specifically the words, "something done to us-taken from us without permission," struck a nerve.

In the past seven years, I have had many things taken from me, most notably:
My innocence.
My marriage.
My confidence.
My self-worth.

I feel like all the events of the past several years have led up to this moment, this awareness. The most obvious thing taken from me without my permission was my marriage. I didn't want a divorce. Even after it was over, I fought for my marriage. I fought brutally. I was mean and spiteful. 
When it became clear it was really over, I checked out entirely. Instead of letting any hurt show, I was logical, sarcastic, and distant.

The problem with that, of course, is that I'm a very sensitive soul. I need to feel things. In reality, I need to feel everything. I process the entire world around me through emotions. So to ignore that entirely has left me in quite the mess.

Honestly, I'm at a loss. I don't know where to go from here.
There are teeny, tiny ideas that keep popping up, just silly little tidbits that I think might help.
I need to do some yoga.
I need to run.
I need to eat better.
I need more water.
I need to read more.
I need to get a massage.
I need to learn how to breathe.
I need to let myself cry, those full body sobs, the struggle to breathe through the agony.
I need to open up the lid on that box and feel, acknowledge, and come to peace with all the things I've been desperately avoiding for the last year and a half.

And yet, as I write those things, this horrible dread consumes me. I can't go there, to that place. What if it destroys me? What if I simply can't make sense of it all?

But even worse than that? What if I can?

I haven't been whole in quite some time. I truly can't remember the last time I was okay. I've grown accustomed to being a wreck. It's been a constant and I've grown used to that, comfortable with the discomfort. 

I simply don't know how to be okay. There are glimpses here and there of what that looks like and feels like. But I haven't ever stayed there long and I'm terrified.

Worse even than that, what if I as the broken, wreck of a soul that I am, simply isn't capable of being whole anymore? Then what? 

As far as I can tell, something must be done before all of the forces fighting within me simply consume me anyway. But what, if anything can be done now? 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the boring life.

i forgot what it was like to be a college student. it's been four years since I was here, after all.
i forgot how hard it is to wake up early to make it to class.
i forgot how interesting (and boring) lectures can be.
i forgot how students dress/act/speak.

it wasn't my life for awhile and i forgot

but now, we've been thrown into the thick of it.
i attend classes from 8:30 until 2:15 with a little break in between to empty my boobs for my kid.
oh, that. a child. i'm the only person in my creative writing class with a baby.
this is good and bad.

good:
i'm the only human with a legitimate excuse to constantly be on my phone. (relax. i don't abuse this.)
she's incredible.
my views on life have changed with her, so i'm more interesting as a writer.

bad:
having a baby in college basically makes you an alien.
i'm hard to relate to.
plus, as a non-traditional student, i'm like, 30 years older than the average student here. that alone makes me an alien. add the baby and i'm not even an alien from this universe...

i would not trade Henley for all the stars in the sky though, so it works out okay.

college, though eternally interesting, has a pretty boring schedule, especially for a single mama with no friends in life.
 without further ado, my schedule:

6:45: wake up, pump, get cute.
7:45-8:15: Henley wakes up, so i feed her, finish getting cute, get her cute too, which basically means change her diaper and add some different clothes because she's cute always.
8:15-8:45: depending on the day, i'm in school or subbing.
if i'm not subbing:
8:30-9:50: american government. Douglas Bennett teaches this. we're in love. he's a wealth of old knowledge, married, hates to wake up early as much as i do. i literally hang on his every word. he may be the most fascinating man i've ever met.
9:50: i have ten minutes to make it across our tiny campus. i hate walking. i bought a razor scooter, i just zoom down to Khouloud's class.
10:00-11:20: Khouloud teaches diversity. she's a crazy arab woman i think i adore. once in awhile she shouts something to make sure everyone's awake and she says, "is it clear?" all the time. i can hardly understand her, but i think this makes me like her more.
11:20-12:00 (or 1:00 if it's Tuesday.) this break is for bringing jordan home, pumping, and lunch. then zooming on my scooter to class.
12:00: on thursdays, John Branin teaches stuff. we'll see, i haven't actually been to that class yet. otherwise, i have time to read or do homework.
1:00-2:15: julie simon teaches creative writing. she gets off on silly tangents and always talks about her book she started writing in 1994 and barely finished. i'm just saying it better be bomb. 20 years to write a book? dang girl...
2:15-3:45: i get out of school and pick up Henley. there's usually a nap after this.
3:00-9:00: Jordan goes to work, so until Henley goes to bed, we just chill. usually that means a lot of giggling, tickling, and playing with toys and eating snacks. we nap for a couple hours. then we wake up and we usually get a little stir crazy, so we do our fun activities. this includes, but is not limited to:
grocery shopping.
going to the pool. (Henley LOVES the pool.)
institute on wednesdays.
going to the park.
chilling in the backyard hammock, watching Ryker, the upstairs neighbor's puppy who likes to bite and lick toes.
sometimes we go to school socials. only if there is free food.
art insights on thursday nights.
dance parties. (this happens a lot. we like to dance.)
family home evening on mondays. Henley's looking for a man to love us. it's shameless.
we make and eat dinner.
then we play more. switch to jammies. sometimes call Grandma and Grandpa. and then Henley goes to bed.
9:00-bedtime: I do homework will drinking Green Machine Naked juice and a Sparkling IZZE drink.
then i watch my shows and eat a bowl of cereal, depending on my hungry level.
i swipe on tinder for a bit, then i wash my face, brush my teeth, pump, then go to bed.

i know. i'm way interesting. although, lame as it sounds, i'm really enjoying cedar city. i missed this little place of friendly people. i'm excited to make real friends and put down a few roots.
here's to...being happy and content.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I did it anyway.

Tonight I was contemplating my life and decided to simplify a bit. Henley and I are living on the floor for now, as all of our things have been moved to cedar city. 

This means piles and piles of stuff everywhere. 

So I moved all the clean clothes to Jordan's room and sorted through things. 

In the process, I lost my workout spot.

I'd had a hard day, I was tired and sore from last night's workout, I wanted to get to bed, etc. I was thinking of every excuse in the book.

"One day off won't kill me."
It's such an easy, small workout it won't ever give me any results anyways. Why am I even trying?"
"I ate too much today. Working out for hours can't undo that..."

And then Henley rolled over in her sleep and I looked at this perfect little human that I made by myself, from scratch. 

She deserves everything good in the world. I have huge hopes for her.

And I'm the one who will ultimately teach her how to be her best self. So I can lie here and justify all the reasons why I don't want to work out and do any other number of things, or I can put on my big girl panties and do the hard things anyways.

So I worked out. It only makes two days in a row, but that's two more days than I usually have. Small and simple things bring big changes. 

This body I have is amazing. 
These arms rock her and hold her when she's upset. 
These legs dance and walk with her.
This face makes her smile and laugh.
These boobs have fed her for eight months and will continue to do so for a few more months.
All the stretch marks mean she had a cozy place to grow, that my body transformed into something new and different, but still beautiful, and it was all to give her life.
This soft belly is her favorite place to cuddle into when we're playing in the morning. 
My scars mean I was clumsy, I fell, I made mistakes, but I always got back up and I healed.

Too many mommies I see completely give themselves up after they have babies. They stop doing their hair, they put the makeup away forever, and they don't invest in clothes to make them feel good, but instead to simply cover the body they loathe.

I refuse to be one of those mommies. I'm not judging them, but I won't be like them.

I am incredible. I am strong. I'm resilient. I'm brave. I do hard things every single day of my life. No one on earth can ever possibly dispute that I am a hard core, bad ass (sorry grandma) super mom.

So I will workout. I will do my small, 15-minute workout of squats, push-ups and some silly little ab thing.

I will go on walks. I will go on runs. I will bike and swim and I'll have crazy dance parties with my tiny sidekick.

I will splurge on makeup, clothes, and my hair because those things make me happy. They aren't the most important things in life, but they still matter.

I'll make healthy choices, but I won't ever say no to a piece of cake. There is absolutely a way to have it all.

And sixteen years from now, when my tiny goose is all grown-up, I hope she knows that I love myself, that I respect this body and treat it well not because I'm vain and need to be pretty to be happy, but because my body should be a reflection of the life and soul that it holds.

I'm incredible. There are definitely some rough spots that can use some work, but who's not a work in progress in some way? It's what makes life so beautiful.

So I will continue to workout. I'll continue to make hard choices. I will work every single day to reach my goals.

And when it gets too hard and I feel like giving up?

I'll keep going anyways.



Friday, June 20, 2014

A cheesy post about my kid.

Before I had Henley, I worried a lot that I'd be a bad mom. I didn't know how to take care of a baby, I was sure I'd sleep through her cries in the night, and I was even more terrified at the prospect of being a single mama.

Here we are almost seven months after my sidekick made her grand entrance. I can honestly say it's been a blast. Henley is incredible. She's a tricky baby, to be sure, but you couldn't pay me all the money in the world to give her up.

She is definitely sassy. She yells at me all the time when she's mad or upset. She'll stare right at me and totally cuss me out.

She gets hangry, sometimes. She'll go from happy to pissed in two seconds, but after she's been fed she gets extra sweet, almost apologetic for throwing her hungry/angry fit. It's especially funny when she's eating. If you aren't giving her food fast enough she'll lecture you.
The cutest eating habit by far though is her "mmmm" noises while she's eating. Just like me!

She sleeps through the night, finally. That was hard work, some sleepless nights for me and plenty of crying for Henley, but we got there. Now she's a pro sleeper. We have a cute little bedtime routine. She gets to play naked for a bit, then she gets her jammies on, cuddles on whoever is home, then we go downstairs, say a prayer and she gets a bottle. Then I smooch on her, give her Giraffy, tuck her in with her blankie, and she instantly gives Girafffy a little kiss, cuddles in, turns her head, and goes to sleep.

She LOVES music. Her favorite song is Slow Boat to China by the Girls Next Door, but she'll basically sing, dance, and listen to anything. She has a cool piano walker music toy that she likes pretty well.

She pulls the funniest little faces. She'll just stare at me then pull a cheesy face or light up with the biggest grin. 

She's been sitting up by herself for about two weeks, but she's getting frustrated with not being mobile, so I think she'll be crawling pretty soon. She can walk if people hold her hands, she's a bit of a pro at that.

Her favorite food seems to be pizza, but she'll basically eat any kind of grown-up food. She won't go near baby food at all. I know, worst mom ever...
She also loves scrambled eggs, fried chicken, and green beans. I can't really say there's any food she's tried she doesn't love.

She loves to go outside. It's definitely her favorite. She likes the grass and will run her feet and hands over it like crazy. She super loves to ride and mow the grass with her grandpa. 

It's a little crazy how this little savage has completely turned my life upside down in the best ways. Just when I think I couldn't possibly love her more she does something else cute and makes me adore her more.

The bigger she gets, the more fun we have. Truly can't imagine life without my tiny goose.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Smiles and smiles.

Right this minute, there's not a single thing I would change. 

I have a gorgeous mini-me.
She lights up my whole world every single day. Truly, I would be lost without my tiny sidekick. 
#truelove #babygoose 

I feel incredible.
I've been making time for me lately, avoiding some of the foods I know won't make me feel good, and I love it. 
Though my running pace is barely faster than a turtle and I dance backwards, I'm optimistic that I'll catch on.
#endorphins #healthy #happy

I'm in love.
This life is a beautiful one and I have some really amazing people who make it a completely wonderful journey. Great friends, awesome family, amazing kid, wonderful...I'm a lucky girl.
#smitten #crushes #perfect

I'm on my way.
School is going to open so many doors for me and I'm ready to completely take over and let it change my life.
#motivated #suu #tbird

Of course there are speed bumps along the way, but the big picture is pretty much perfect.
#blessed

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tattooed, single Mormon mommy looking for love. An ad.

I will probably be single forever.
I have a long list of requirements in a man. A long list of reasons to run away, and a tiny hope that maybe someone eventually won't. 

The requirements:

1. You must be okay with Henley, specifically, she must like you and you must be willing to adopt her and make her your own.

Especially since her dad walked out of the picture. Sorry dating me means dating my kid. And by sorry I mean, you're welcome because she is awesome and my favorite human.

2. You have to be willing to be patient as I sort out my life. 

I'm going to school. I've got about 2.5/3 hard, busy years left to get my degree so my baby goose and I can have a decent future if no one comes along. After that, I'll follow you to the ends of the earth. But please, let me have this one. Prove to me that I'm worth the wait and I'll prove to you the rest of your life that waiting for me was worth it.

3. You have to be a hard worker, at least as hard of a worker as I am. I'm doing my very best to make sure Henley and I can have an amazing life. I refuse to support anyone else and need someone who can keep up.

I won't be a substitute teacher forever, after all.

4. Good kissers, only. Will train the right applicant. 

Marriages require passion. So be prepared for my 15-Second Kiss rule, which requires a long, hot kiss every single day, even if we're fighting and don't feel like it. You'll have to take one for the team sometimes, right? 

5. 'Til death do we part. Murder-style.

I refuse to get married a third time, assuming I even tie the knot a second time, so if you ever decide to leave your ring behind, please know that I will kill you. I kid. But seriously. I'm in it for the long haul and need someone who won't ever say goodbye. It's not even optional.

6. You must be okay with my crazy.

I'm quirky. We all know this. Sometimes you'll come home to a spotless house, happy babies, gorgeous wife. 
Other times, you'll come home and find a million projects scattered all over, naked little savages running around, and I'll be a hot mess.

But I promise to always meet you with a smile and a kiss.

7. I want lots of babies. That's pretty self-explanatory, I think. And I want, "Please stop kissing," to be said by at least one of them every day.

They better all know that we're madly in love. 

8. I want to build a tiny house to fill with all those babies. Refer to my Pinterest board. (Username: jayciepenny. Board name: My tiny house.)

I think materialism sucks, so we'll cram everyone and all their stuff into a tiny space and spend the money on vacations and memories instead of gadgets and therapy.

9. You must be willing to laugh, play, and have adventures with me every day.

If I've learned anything it is that life is short and I won't waste a single day doing things I don't want to do and that don't make me happy. 

I plan on a happy, amazing full life. I refuse to look back with regrets. So, if you happen to know a man who may fit the bill, (or perhaps you are that man), please send them my way. Or apply yourself. (With a request for a date.)

Date one: I'll do the cooking and provide the entertainment. 


Date two and everything thereafter: that's up to you.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

my little family.

the main reason it's been such a long time since i've posted is that i feel like i don't know how to share what's been going on without seeming like a monster, whiny baby, or like i'm looking for pity.

so, i will give a few updates, but let me be clear. i'm not looking for pity. i'm just writing down all the things that i've been putting off for a year.

from the time Henley was born i've wanted family pictures. if we're being honest, i truly thought Andrew and i would get back together after she came. i expected five faces captured on film, the perfect new beginning to our crazy life.

that didn't happen.
and there's absolutely no way it's happening now.

Andrew has decided to terminate his parental rights entirely. he and his kids will not be involved with Henley and i. it's a decision that he's made and one that is both a relief and a shocking, hurtful mess.

another man came along, someone i really saw myself growing old with. i planned on more babies, a porch swing, and a happy, crazy, beautiful life. abruptly that too came to a halt and i'm now back to square one, only this time i have no plans and no intentions to proceed in that area.

but i'm not going to allow any human in the world to hold back my little family, my little Henley and i.
so we had family pictures taken anyways. familys can have just two people and it's more than enough for me. my friend, Luis and his amazing wife, Katrina, gave us the most precious and perfect pictures at this, the start of our story with just us.

his photography page can be found here. (i didn't get bribed or anything, i just think he did a phenomenal job.) they're especially amazing considering Henley and i both were fairly grumpy and i was stressed out of my mind, not to mention she's a baby and babies are notoriously hard to photograph anyways because you can't bribe them or anything like that. enjoy!





 












Tuesday, June 3, 2014

jaycie the runner.

James, my bff, Jordan, and I ran a 5k over Memorial Day weekend.
It was the Color Vibe, a super-fun color run, then dance party.
We had a blast. It was the motivation I needed to get back in shape and find more fun ways to be healthy and active.
 before the race, with Jordan.
before the race, with James.
about to get started, some people splashed us because we were still "too clean."
 this is "wagon dad" who was pulling his kids in a wago and KILLED us. we tried to keep up with him, but he was seriously in shape.
 that's Jordan, six miles ahead of me...she basically owned this race and kicked my butt.
 but i almost caught up at the end.
photo op towards the end of the race!
 afterwards, it's a huge dance party and you get even more covered.
 before getting crazy with the dancing.
 james after all was said and done.
 jordan being cheesy.
 me, also being cheesy.
 colorful hair afterwards, she was so worried it would dye her hair. it didn't.
 new friends! :)
I had a blast. It was hard work with almost no training to speak of, but we had fun and proved to ourselves we can do hard things. Jordan said she hated it, but I think she was lying. We'll definitely be doing this again. I have a feeling it's the only fun kind of race. Without a party at the end, why even bother???



Monday, June 2, 2014

I've been missing you...

I have a soul mate.
We don't talk anymore and I miss him every time I see:
temporary tattoos.
purple water bottles.
my crazy curly hair he always said he loved.
my black glittery skirt from our first date.
mermaids.
pugs.
little boys with dark hair and big eyes.
Showtime shows.
Mumford & Sons.
Honda civics.
Front porch swings.

Maybe he'll be back. Maybe he won't.
But I still have a soul mate. And I miss him.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

lately.

life right now is kind of a wreck.
97% of the time i have no idea what i'm doing.
the other 3% of the time i'm worrying that the few things that seem certain are going to disappear.

so, for the sake of being honest, i'm lonely.
i have yet to find a man who wants to date me.
baby+jaycie+utah boys=super single jaycie.

so here's a list of my tentative plans:
go to school.
keep working.
try to be a good mom.
take my kid to church so she doesn't get ruined as badly.
run a 5k on may 24th.
meet a man and try not to scare him away instantly, which is usually what happens.

that's all i've got.
it's a sad list, i know. that's because of the 97% of me that sucks.

maybe my short-term goal this week can simply be to do the laundry and make a better plan. but with an infant who really likes me, that might be pushing it.

my blog with no baby...

i have created a blog all it's own for my tiny girl. if you want an invite to read the Henley blog, let me know. i decided she gets her own blog so i can go back to writing on this one for myself.
it's always been a journal of sorts, and i've struggled this past year because it's been my pregnancy and baby tracker.
well, i've transferred all the Henley posts from this blog over to her blog and removed them here. now i feel like i can get back to writing for me.
it's a little refreshing. even as a mom, i sometimes still have unique thoughts.
it'll be good to have my blog back to myself. Henley's will probably get all the attention now, but at least i don't have to feel bad plaguing people with stories and whatnots about my tiny goose. that can be an opt-in feature, which will be nice.

so, here we go again!