Introspective Adventurer

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Tag: shame

Will you be my girlfriend?

What does that mean, girlfriend?

On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.

I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.

I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.

There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”.   Continue reading

The wrong place, part two – the fallout

I wanted to tell him to shut his ugly mouth, but instead an uncomfortable laugh came out. It’s what we do, you know, when a man much bigger and stronger has you trapped in his car while telling you just what he wants to do to  you.

The entire drive back from San Francisco to my house in Napa, I kept up a nervous banter with the drunken guy driving me home. The second he pulled into my driveway, I flung my car door open and ran out.

I was shaking when I locked the door behind me and watched him drive away.

The first person I called was John.  

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My vulnerable year

One year ago I decided to let it all hang out, literally and figuratively.

In my first blog post I decided to “expose the truth” and get real. We live in this fast paced social media world filled with false beauty and unrealistic expectations, and I wanted to challenge that.

58 years old and out of shape

One year ago

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Out of the frying pan…

I moved to Bend, Oregon in 1978 and never dreamed that I’d end up staying for over 30 years. I was just 19 when I first arrived in that little town, and so much had changed over the years.

Especially me.

But by 2009, I couldn’t wait to leave. My kids were grown and off to start their own lives, my friendships had changed so much I could barely recognize them, and my business was no longer paying the bills.

It was time to move on.

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The Worst Year of my Life – The Luckiest Person I Know

I will never forget the realtor that worked with my banks to ‘short sale’ my homes. She was a bitch.

Yep, I went there.

She treated me with such disrespect and down right contempt. I was already mortified and embarrassed, but this woman was actually enjoying kicking me while I was down.

And speaking of down, have you ever experienced bankruptcy? It is a life altering decision to make in the first place, but oh once the process starts you’re put into the “undesirable” category.

Which is where you will stay for at least 10 years.

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Let’s do this together video – Happy

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I had a great walk and talk today, chatting with my daughter-in-law, Amber. She lives a few hours away, so we chat on our phones while getting our steps in. We always have great conversations and she is such a wise women.

Do you eat when you are unhappy? Or are you like me and can’t seem to get food past your throat when you’re sad?

These last five years have been good for me. I am happy in my life right now, and it shows on the scale! Maybe I need to put a post-it note on the scale that says HAPPY and not worry about what the number says?

Cinderella

Have you ever cleaned houses for a living? It’s hard work. Really hard. But if you’re good, like I was, it pays pretty decent money. And now.

Only it doesn’t pay enough.

I couldn’t keep my head above water as an independent realtor any longer, so I moved my license from ReMax over to a smaller company that only took a portion of any commission I made.

It was a defeat, but one I had to accept.

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We can’t accept your check

I left you hanging, I know. I’ve actually tried continuing my story several times now. But I keep getting stuck.

I hated that time in my life and honestly it’s hard to look back now, knowing what happens. But the other morning, when I was thinking about it all, I remembered two important things

I got through it and survived.  And, I learned an amazing life lesson

So, I’ve decided to just write and go from there. I left off telling you I was neck-deep in bills and my income had plummeted. I had two mortgage payments and was desperately trying to save my homes.

As I sat at my big dining room table, looking at all of the bills that were covering its surface and I made the decision to let my dream house go. The mortgage was twice as much as my old ‘70’s house, so the smart thing to do was to move back into it and try to stop the bleeding. Continue reading

I will…

The other day I was desperately looking for a specific photo I wanted for one of my blog posts. If you’ve been following along, you know I use my own photos for my posts.

It was written and ready to publish, but I was determined to find that one photo, so I kept digging. I was pretty sure it was on an old hard drive of mine, so I plugged it into my laptop and poked around.

I didn’t find it there, but I did find something else.

It is something I wrote years ago, when I was trying to sort out some emotions I was going through. Wait, let me stop right here and find my courage.

Deep breath in.

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No matter what

Have you ever had a moment of complete and utter clarity? Or maybe a time in your life, when you could see exactly where you were and what you were doing, and felt shocked in the realization?

That moment came to me the day I was moving into my newly purchased ‘70’s house with the help of my best friend, Estelle and oldest son, Adam. Oh, and my husband of five months.

I stood in the kitchen feeling like a giant weight had been lifted off me, only to be replaced by an enormous sense of dread. As soon as my girlfriend saw me, she went into action.

Sitting me down on a nearby box, she asked me in a very calm, quiet voice, “What’s wrong.” All I could say through my hyperventilation was,

“I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I made a mistake.”

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A dream come true, part two…waking up from the dream

I’m a bit snobby about myself. From the time I was little, I had this idea that I would be somebody, go places, or change the world. I pushed myself to do things other people wouldn’t and I kept going, no matter what.

We don't know what life lessons will come our way when we are so young.

We don’t know what life lessons will come our way when we are so young. Me in 4th grade, in my homemade dress.

Maybe we all feel that way?

Perhaps we are born with a sense of self-importance, and it isn’t until life lessons teach us that we are all basically the same, that we learn to accept our own insignificance? I wrote before that I never thought I’d be “one of those women”.

But there I was, dating a man who was verbally and emotionally abusive. You would have thought I’d learned enough from that experience to humble me, but apparently I needed another lesson…or two.

To this day, I am uncomfortable even saying his name.

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Finding courage

My oldest son graduated from high school in 2002. Which was the same year I got my real estate license, and the same year things started to change for me.

Recovering from divorce takes time, and money. I had spent the time healing from it, taking care not to drink or do anything destructive. That is except date a guy who was destructive.

How I missed the signs of emotional abuse from the beginning is beyond me.

He was an angry controlling man who lashed out at me and his daughter. What a complete mess I was in. I wrote before that it would take three events for me to finally break free of him. Continue reading

I’m pretty…hardworking

I could write a hundred different posts about our time on the farm. It was some of the best years of my life. But there were trials for me also. Finding and holding onto friendships in my 30’s was challenging and I lost a few friends along the way.

I read once that we tend to build friendships around our kids when we are new parents, and I can see that was true with me. But one of my friendships started the other way around. Shelly and I became friends first, which lead to our children becoming friends.

As with many families, we women lead the way in organizing family get-togethers and we all had a great time at barbecues, dinners and picnics. This went on for years, until one day it all stopped.

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Book read, lesson learned

I was born in Hollister California, grew up in Hart Michigan, moved to Bend Oregon when I was 18 and found myself in Tempe Arizona at 22. Moving to a different state was always an adventure for me, and a learning experience.

This time I was married and we were about to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in a new home. We quickly unloaded the rental truck in the scorching heat and then celebrated by having dinner over a cardboard box with paper plates and plastic wear.

After getting settled in, Joe went off to school and I went off to look for work.

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Aging in the era of ageism

Someone please stop me if I get on a rant here. My fear is once I open up this can of irritation towards ageism, I won’t stop complaining.

But let’s talk about this for just a minute. I’ve been experiencing ageist behavior, every since I turned 50. It started with my glasses.

I’ve been wearing reading glasses for most of my adult life. I am extremely far-sighted and can spot an eagle a mile away. That part is really cool. And needing glasses to read wasn’t so bad until I reached that certain age.

All of a sudden I would get comments like, “Can I hold this farther away so you can see it?” or “Uh oh, must be getting old, you need glasses!”. And there have been many more statements said in that vein. Why do people do that?

Just because I wear glasses doesn't mean I'm old

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I am not Loretta V…

As a teenage girl, living with a single older father had its challenges. One time I got in trouble because he found a razor in the bathtub, and asked me if I was shaving my legs. I was in ninth grade.

We were living in Oregon at the time, and I hated it. I was going to a strange new school, and I had no friends. The first day of ninth grade, I met a girl in the cafeteria who asked my name. When I told her, she laughed and said her uncle had a dog named Loretta. That was also the school where I was teased for having “chicken legs” because I was so skinny. I wanted to go back home to Michigan.

My dear sister Linda is 15 years older than I am and like a second mother to me. She came to my rescue and told our father that she was moving back to Hart. And she was taking me with her. I was elated. We packed up her car and her three young boys, and headed back home.

That’s when I met Greg. He was two years older, my brother’s best friend, tall and blonde and so sweet. We hit it off immediately and before long we were dating. I was happy and busy with a new boyfriend, school and work.

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Maybe I am my own Hero

I grew up on a farm in a small town in Michigan. I can tell you that it was a good childhood in most respects. We worked hard on our farm, and we had a big family so there was always someone to play with or talk to. My brother, Johnny and I were very close and he was sort of like a protector for me.

One time when I was probably six or seven, we were picking asparagus for a local farmer. We were paid 50 cents an hour. Cash. When it came time to get our money, we would stand in line waiting for some guy to put coins into our dirty hands. Johnny watched carefully and caught that the man was trying to under pay me and spoke up, demanding my fair share. He was always looking out for me, and I knew I could tell him anything.

Almost anything.

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Vulnerable Rebel?

How I see myself, and what’s reality can be quite different most times. Take riding my scooter, for instance. I can see myself on my pretty blue Vespa, sundress and sandals on with a baguette poking out from under a basket on the back.

But I’m a bit of a rule follower. I like to think of myself as a rule following rebel. I have a tattoo, but not too many people will see it. I have a Vespa, but I wear protective gear. Every time.

I thought about writing a post about giving oneself permission to be safe instead of cool. Or maybe saying safe is cool. So, yesterday I asked John to take some photos of me with my scooter showing my top of the line, super safe helmet, my full armored jacket, boots and jeans on, and gloves near by.

It was fun and we got a couple of good shots. I was able to find one I thought was cool and I posted it.

When I look at that picture, I feel good about myself. I look a little bit like a rebel too.

In reality, I was feeling fat and hyper sensitive about many of my features. My face looks funny, I’m squinting, my belly looks fat, my jeans are showing my fat….blah, blah, blah.

So today I feel a little guilty about posting that photo. It was the old me saying, “look how cool I am!” which translates to “please like me”. I didn’t do what I set out to do as much as go right back to that old mantra.

What I want to do is learn how to be happy with me, by exposing my insecurities to anyone who cares to listen (are you listening, Loretta??). And maybe help anyone else who feels like I do.

So I’ll keep working on it.

The Great Cover-Up

Growing up on the western shores of Lake Michigan was the best. I think it seared my love for the beach into my soul. We hung out on those beaches as often as possible, and it was always a treat.

As a teenager I would put Sun-In on my hair, baby oil on my skin, and get as blond and tan as I could. All my friends hung out there too, and it was like growing up in a Beach Party movie.

I always wore a bikini, like most of the girls. It was the 70’s and we were young and didn’t care if we let it all hang out.

Later on, after having my kids, I thought maybe I was supposed to wear a one-piece suit, you know, something more adult and mom-like. I think we do that to ourselves sometimes…act like we are “supposed to”.

It didn’t take long before I abandoned that notion and went back to my bikini. I felt like I could get away with it because I was skinny. Only skinny girls get to wear bikinis, right?

Growing up in the 70’s on the heels of the Twiggy movement, thin was in and it was engrained in us to aspire to be one of the skinny ones. If you had ANY body fat, you sure didn’t show it. Cover it up, girl!

So, unfortunately I still have that tag line running in my head. Cover it up. I’m trying to let go of it, but it’s like set in stone inside my head.

I live at the beach now and it’s my favorite place to be, and I’m struggling with what to wear. Most days, I just wear my shorts and a shirt. Apparently, there’s a lot of other women who are struggling with this too, because my facebook feed keeps showing me Modlily ads for two piece bathing suits that are nothing like the ones I wore on the beach in Silver Lake.

So, I succumbed to the ads and bought my first Modlily two-piece. Now I can go to the beach and make sure I “cover that shit up”.

Screw it….now where did I put that bikini?

Shame

Starting a blog like this was not easy. It took me a while to come to terms with the idea of sharing truths and exposing myself. Everyday I question myself asking, “What gives me the right to think I could do this and that anyone else would care”?

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