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Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Butterfly Effect, Or How One Person Can Change the Course of Your Life

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The butterfly effect is an element of chaos theory that states a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in China, could cause a hurricane in the Caribbean.  In popular culture, it is used in conjunction with time travel.  If you change one little thing in the past – what would happen to everything else in the future.  Think It’s a Wonderful Life.  Every one changes – for the worse – when George Bailey is shown what would happen if he had never been born.

Our own lives can be like that.  We look back and see that if one thing had happened differently, everything else would be changed.

I had a Butterfly Effect moment yesterday.  While I was in the shower (it is really funny how much thinking I can get done while washing my hair).  I started thinking about the events of the week, and seeing my former crush.  And it occurred to me, that if not for my former crush – my life could possibly be completely different now.  Here’s how.

1.  I might not have gotten back into singing.  My former crush was the choir director at my church – but before that he had played piano for the choir (don’t ask me what I have with pianists…my former love is one as well).  I hadn’t sung in public for YEARS – instead allowing my performance anxiety to comsume me.  But, then I got a good look at the pianist and thought, “Dang!  He’s kinda cute.  Maybe I’ll join the choir.”  He is the one who encouraged me to sing my first solo at church.  Other than one in college, I hadn’t soloed since high school.  It was only one line at the end of the anthem, and I was shaking like a leaf, but I did it because he asked me to.  Now, I am the main female soloist at church, and am frequently told I should sing professionally.

2.  I probably would not have met my ex-husband.  I met the Monkey Daddy at one of his improv shows.  The former crush was supposed to go with me, but at the last-minute he cancelled.  If he had gone, I probably would not have been waiting in front of the comedy club for my other friends to arrive, which means the Monkey Daddy would not have seen me standing there and come over to talk to me.  My ex would have probably also thought that I was “with” the former crush, thus REALLY not coming over to talk to me.

3.  I would not have my Three Little Monkeys.  Oh, of course, I might have children.  I might even have three.  But, they wouldn’t be the ones I have now (which depending on the day could be a good or a bad thing).

4.  I might not have gone back to teaching.  I was pretty happy with the job I had.  But, once I started dating the Monkey Daddy, I started slacking off at my old job.  And found my old wanderlust acting up again, thus deciding to go back to teaching.

5.  I probably would not have met my former love.  Since I met my former love through my ex-husband (his ex and my ex have been friends for almost three decades), most likely G and I would have never started dating.  And while the break-up has sucked more than anything else in life, I can’t imaging not having had him in my life.

I’m not saying things would have been better – nor am I saying they would be worse.  But, they would be different.

Interesting to think about…

Baby Lion

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Daily Prompt: Unleash Your Inner Dickinson.

I enjoy writing poetry.  But it is one of those things I cannot force.  If there is one to come out, it will.  If not – I should stop trying.  And sometimes, I may not be intending to have it be a poem, but it comes out that way.

The Middle Monkey turned 11 during my self-imposed radio silence.  My sweet, goofy little huggy monster.  This poem was one I wrote about him when he was just a wee little baby.  Somewhere around six or seven months.  I remember he had this silly little commando crawl – using his little elbows to propel himself across the floor. But, he was FAST!  He could make it across the room in no time.  Even then, he was devoted to his big brother (they are only 22 months apart).  He would lie there on the carpet, watching Monkey #1’s every move.  He was particularly interesting in #1’s sippy cups.  Middle Monkey never took a bottle (or a pacifier – just his thumb) so when I went back to work after 4 months, he went right to a cup.  He had to.  So, he KNEW that inside that sippy cup was something good.  But, his brother usually had juice, which he wasn’t allowed to have quite yet.  But, once he discovered the taste, he knew he wanted more.  Hence the poem.

Enjoy…

Baby Lion

Dedicated to my Middle Monkey

Alert –

He lies motionless.

Observing –

He spies his prey.

A sippy cup abandoned on the floor.

Cautiously –

He creeps

Pulling his body towards his defenseless target.

Gleefully –

He seizes the taboo grail

Gulping its sweet nectar.

Suddenly –

He is discovered.

The cup’s owner has returned.

Yet, he is undaunted.

His claim has been staked.

Angrily –

He wails in frustration

As he is stripped of his prize.

Dejectedly –

He creeps away.

But he knows if he remains patient

He will be rewarded.

Moving On

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I heard once that the one way to truly get over a former relationship is to move on to the next one.  How strange.  And how seemingly unfair to the next person.  To be used for the purpose of getting over someone else.  My question is, how, exactly, do you know when you are really emotionally ready for that?

Yes, I understand that there is only so long you can HOPE for a reconciliation – particularly if the relationship ended amicably – or if there are some unresolved issue.   I mean, it’s not like the love disappears overnight.  It is still there, right under the surface.

Take my relationship with my former love as an example.  There is no doubt in my mind that I still love him, even though it has been seven months since our “break-up.”  And no, not just because I am sitting around feeling sorry for myself that we are no longer together.  Well, that’s not overly true.  We are still “together,” but in a different way.   We have managed to remain friends.  Close friends.  Our relationship has moved on to a different phase.  But, if given the opportunity, I would welcome the chance to try our relationship again.  There were far more goods than bads.  It was right. Full of joy and love and happiness.   99% of the time.  But, the situation is/was so damn complicated, we never had the chance to have it be about US.   He and I have said that if our relationship had begun THIS April instead of LAST April, things would have been completely different.  If we had simply waited until his past was truly in his past and no longer in his present.  But, that isn’t how the story of us played out.  Unfortunately.

The fact of the matter is, it HAS been seven months since we ended what we had been.  And the fact of the matter is, he has “moved on.”  He is in a new relationship.  (It is even “Facebook worthy.”  He changed his relationship status.)   I gotta admit, I was surprised it happened so relatively soon.  There are times (only a few times) when I will doubt how “real” we were – because he has moved on, and I don’t quite seem ready to do so.  I mean, was I really that easy to get over?   God knows he hasn’t been.  But, in my heart  I know that what we had been was incredibly real and special and unique…which makes it even harder for me to stop looking longingly upon the closed door.

About a month ago, I fessed up and told my former love that I was still in love with him.  I felt he needed to know.  Not that I thought things would change.  Admittedly, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t.  But, I felt he had to know.  And not by reading my blog  – and deciphering the metaphors from my poems.  Just point blank.  I am still in love with you.  I do not regret saying it.  It came from my heart.  And I also know that no matter what happens in the future, I will always be in love with him.  It’s just how things are.  Relationships like ours don’t come along every day.  After all, it was one of those great loves that if you are fortunate enough to have one, it will change you for good.  Forever.

letting goBut, even seven months later, there is a part of me that feels as if I am betraying him – or us – if I were to move on.  How could I say I still love him, if I am ready to see someone else?  How could I say I would step right back in to what we had if I were to move on?  And would that be fair to the next person?  Knowing that in my heart I am still conflicted?

Who knows.

But, something happened this week that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I might be just about ready.  You see, I saw a former crush.  A wonderful, kind, sensitive, compassionate, creative man I had a MAJOR crush on for a couple of years – before children – before my ex-husband – before his ex-wife – before I had even met my former love.  And for the first time in seven months, I actually felt a little giddy at the thought of seeing someone.  You know.  Made sure I looked cute.  Tried my best to be witty.  Smiled a lot.  And I felt that old familiar feeling of my heart going pitter-patter.  Not that anything will happen – other than us getting together to chat about everything that has happened in the seven years since we have seen each other – but, it felt good to see  him.  Really good.  And I realized I had missed him.  So, it made me think maybe, just maybe, I was just about ready to move on.

Not that I suddenly don’t feel conflicted.  Because I do.

Not that I suddenly don’t love my former love.  Because I do.

Not that I suddenly stopped feeling a little guilty about thinking about moving on.  Because I do.

But, maybe it is time.

Maybe it is time to stop staring longingly at that closed door and see the ones that might open for me.

Maybe it is time for me to realize that it’s not that I don’t still care for my former love, but that I can’t control the fact that he has moved on.

Maybe it is time for me to take control and open a few doors.

Maybe it is time to move on.

Just maybe.

Ain’t Nothin’ to Fear…

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Tonight, The Monkeys and I had a pizza and movie night.  We searched and searched through Netflix streaming, until I found ParaNorman.

“Have y’all seen it?”

Nice!  A chorus of three nos!

BTW – if you haven’t seen it – make sure you do.  It is really good.  And there are “adults will find funny” moments.  You know, when they throw the parents a bone and give us a joke that flies over the kids’ heads.

But I digress.

So, in this movie, Norman is an 11 year-old boy who has the “gift” of being able to see and talk to dead people (think of it as a kid-ified version of The Sixth Sense).  Poor Norman is misunderstood by everyone, even his parents.  He is bullied.  And well, basically wants to spend all his time with the dead folks who are nice to him.

However, what I will really take away from the movie is this quote…

“There’s nothing wrong with being scared, unless it changes who you are.”

Very profound, young grasshopper…

Fear does have the nasty habit of changing who you are.  Lord knows I have blogged about that topic enough.  It has kept me from taking chances.  It has ruined relationships (namely the one with my former love.)  Even if you know that fear is changing who you are – you are seemingly powerless to stop it.

Just thought I’d share…

For more on fear – check out these posts…

Sender’s Remorse

Do You Like Me?

Undo the Doubt

Change is a Four Letter Word

When Your Past Comes Screaming into Your Present…

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I love Facebook.  Really, I do.  I mean I have gotten back in touch with friends I hadn’t seen in YEARS.  It has been great.  Back in the day, you had to wait for a reunion or something to reconnect with folks.  And if they weren’t there, well, you continued to wonder what happened to them.  Of course, there were those that you didn’t want to see again.  The ones you DREADED walking in and finding them there.   I have been lucky.  The one person in my life whom I hope to never see again (the high school boyfriend I wrote about in my post Just Turn Around and Walk Away) has yet to reappear.  And I am fine with that.  Grateful, in fact.

This morning, I pulled up Facebook to see what was happening in the lives of my friends and I had a friend request from someone from high school.  I accepted it and popped over to her page to see what she had been up to in low these past 29 years.   A person on her friend list made my past come screaming into my present.  No.  It wasn’t that evil son-of-a-bitch ex-boyfriend.  If it had been, I probably would have unfriended – and then blocked or something so that bastard couldn’t find out anything about me.  However, it was someone who was intertwined with the whole crazy situation.  The “other girl.”  The girl he was seeing while he was seeing me.

My heart stopped for a minute.  I hadn’t expected it.  Crap.  It’s her.  I couldn’t resist though…I went to her page.  I just had to see.  The curiosity was killing me.  How was she doing?  Was she with him?  Were there pictures of him?  Oh, Lord.  Please don’t let there be.  I just don’t think I could handle it…

So, I started perusing her pictures (Niiiiiiice!  Low privacy settings!)  She looked so happy.  Married.  Does triathalons.  Strong, literally and figuratively (DAMN!  How’d she get muscles like that?!?)  Full of joy.  And absolutely no reference to that crazy bastard.  Thank God.

I finally exhaled.  I think I had been holding my breath the entire time I was checking out her page.

And in that moment, I found myself happy for her.

In that moment, I found myself wondering he had left her as royally fucked up as he did me.

In that moment, I no longer saw her as my high school rival – my combatant – but, as a fellow survivor.

I don’t know if he ever laid a hand on her, like he did to me.  But, I know the emotional toll being “in love” with him had to have caused.  I know, because I lived it, too.

At the time, though, she and I didn’t blame him.  We blamed each other.    To me, she wasn’t a victim.  She was the girl who (at least how he told the story) convinced him at the last-minute (literally at the last-minute.  Like he called me from her house when he went to pick her up) to take her to the Duran Duran concert I had been looking forward to seeing for months.  She was the girl who (at least how he told the story) tried to convince him to take HER to senior prom, instead of me – after all, I had already paid for everything (because his mother had thrown him out of her house and he was living at my father’s house).  She was the girl (or at least how he told the story) who tried to convince the entire band that I was a man-stealing-slut who should be shunned, causing a rift between choir members (who took my side) and band members (she played in the band…HE was a flag twirler…no I am not kidding…).

We were horrible to each other.   We would scream at each other in the parking lot – calling each other the worst possible names.  She would prank call my house – and threaten me.  I did not refer to her by her name.  To me she was simply The Whore.  My senior yearbook has her name and face completely blacked out – while his has hearts drawn around it.

We both thought, “It wasn’t HIS fault.  It was HERS!  She deserves everything she gets!  The bitch!”

One’s senior year should be one of happiness and joy.  A time to make memories to last a lifetime.  Unfortunately, the lifelong memories left by that year are ones I really wish I could forget.  It was horrible.  Truly horrible.

I ran into them once, months after I turned around and walked away from him.  She had “taken him back.”  If I remember correctly, she gloated about it, showing off a ring he had given her.  And while there was no way in hell I wanted him back, I remember being angry he went back to her.  It felt like the ultimate slap in the face.  Not only had I been replaced…I had been replaced by HER.  Damn it!  Damn him!  Damn HER!  I hate them!

I had spent all these years wondering if she had married the asshole.  Not jealous, but scared for her.  Worried that his pattern of abuse had continued, and that she was still living it.

Today, as I lurked on her page and saw her smiling face, I felt relief.  Relief that she too had escaped.  Relief that she too had managed to pick up the shattered pieces of her psyche and go on with her life.  Relief that she was happy.

And in that moment, as my past came screaming into my present, I also felt regret.  Regret for having hated her.  Regret for having called her a whore.  Regret for taking it out on her.

It wasn’t her fault.  It was his.  He stole from us.  He stole our joy.  He stole our youth.  He stole our trust.

But, he will NEVER be able to steal from the strong women we have become.  Despite and in spite of him.

HELLS YEAH!

In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning…

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Daily Prompt: Your Time to Shine.

Early bird, or night owl?

LOL!  I’d be willing to bet anyone who really knows me can answer this!

My mother says that even as a baby, I’d be up as long as they were.  But then, thankfully I’d sleep through the night and on into the morning.

As a kid, I can remember being put to bed early (like all good boys and girls).  I’d go to sleep, then wake up in the wee small hours of the morning.  I’d get up.  Turn on my light, and read for an hour or longer.  Then I’d go back to sleep.

I have decided my natural body rhythm is to go to sleep around 1 or 2, and then sleep until 9.   Ideally, I’d work from 11 to 7.

There are a couple of problems with this…

1.  My children.  They wake up at 7.  No matter how late they stay up.  I am just happy that they are FINALLY old enough to give themselves their meds, grab something to eat, and find someway to entertain themselves for a bit.  Of course, that doesn’t keep them from arguing and I am frequently awakened to screeches.

2.  I am a teacher.  I have to be at school at SEVEN O’CLOCK IN THE FREAKIN’ MORNING!!!  This means that I have to get up at 0 dark thirty every morning.  And since I hardly EVER go to sleep before midnight, I am always sleep deprived.  Which means I am like this owl… made of coffee.   I cling to my coffee cup for the first couple of hours at school like it is a piece of driftwood keeping me afloat in the middle of the ocean after my boat has capsized.  On the other hand, it also means my students know the perfect teacher gift for me – Starbuck’s gift cards, travel coffee mugs, coffee samples, etc.

I have teacher friends who are in bed by 8 – asleep by 9 – and are up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 4.  They talk about how much they are able to accomplish at that hour.   “Just try it!” they tell me.

All I can think is how much they are missing out on by being in bed that early.  There is so much of life to see in the wee small hours of the morning!  I think they should try it MY way!

It just makes so much more sense!

After all, the early bird may catch the worm, but the night owl will eat that early bird as it returns to its nest…  heh heh…

 

La Cultura de San Antonio

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture. I grew up in South Florida.  There, anything over 50 years old is considered ancient.  So, I have always been fascinated by anything old.  Really old. These pictures were taken at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio, Texas.  Most of us know about The Alamo, but few know that San Antonio was founded […]