Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Detox That Wasn't

I've come to the realization that the only way I'm going to actually enjoy (or at least tolerate) the drinking part of detoxing is if I make the drinks myself. The juice detox I attempted to do was disgusting and I just couldn't get through it. Out of 6 drinks, I only liked one, so after trying to choke down the other drinks for about half a day, I finally gave up. On the plus side, during the elimination diet, your body is already starting to detox because it's not getting the usual chemicals/foods that you normally eat, so I do think I got some benefits from the experience. However, I think the next time I do this, I will find some smoothie recipes and make my own detox drinks at home.

The elimination diet definitely was worse this time than last time. I had a horrible migraine that lasted from Wednesday afternoon until about 7pm Saturday night, even though I stopped doing the detox drinks at about 2 in the afternoon on Saturday. I cut out caffeine and sweets on the first day, red meat on the second day, other meat and dairy on the 3rd day, and then just had fruits and veggies on the last day. I feel like, even though I didn't do the full detox, I did reap some benefits from the elimination diet.

I'm not sure when I'll attempt another detox, though I'm hoping sometime in January/February. Another perk to doing it myself is I can choose how long I want to do it, and I could do a day or a two day detox diet instead of 3 days. Three days is difficult to accomplish with my work schedule and having kidlet home, so I feel like if I did a two day, I could just pick a weekend she's with her father. Usually, I try to find a long weekend she's there, but if I only did two days, I could easily do it while she's gone and then be ready to start eating solid foods again on Monday.

Anyway, I would NOT recommend the Juice from the Raw detox, unless you are used to drinking juiced vegetables. The only juice I liked was the Piney Apple Mint drink.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preparing to Detox, Round 2

                Even though I hated the drinks in the Kaeng Raeng cleanse, I decided to try detoxing again as it seems like more issues have popped up since having my Mirena removed last December. But I knew I couldn’t stomach that cleanse again, so I decided to try a full juice cleanse. I’ve ordered from Juice from the Raw, their whenever cleanse. I plan to start it Saturday and give my system a good clean right before Thanksgiving. The timing isn’t the greatest, but the winter months are already hitting hard and I worry that my issues will be exacerbated by the cold.

                So, basically, my latest issue is my skin. I have horrible eczema on my right hand, though it’s cleared up a bit on my left, it has spread to my legs in recent weeks. I’m constantly trying not to scratch at it, but the itching is ridiculous and sometimes it just really hurts. I’ve been putting cortizone cream on my hands with lotion, and that has been helping, but it’s not curing. My next stop after the cleanse will be a dermatologist, but I want to at least give this a try. My job is adding a ridiculous requirement to their health care plans that requires me to get a PCP and take a health survey. They will then send the results of that survey to me and I have to take it in to my PCP and have them sign off that they spoke with me about it. My hatred of doctors is making me resent my employers, but if I don’t do it, I face hefty fines. So, I figure when I get the survey, I’ll find a PCP and schedule a physical, and then I’ll dump all my problems on that poor unsuspecting soul all in one visit and get any referrals I need!

                Once again, in preparing to detox, I’ve started the not-so-fun elimination diet. I kicked the caffeine and sugar habit on Monday, yesterday was my last day of red meat. Today will be my last day of any meat and dairy. Tomorrow I give up bread, which means Friday will be a long day of just fruits, veggies and water. *sigh* Eric is taking me to get sushi on Friday night for dinner. No raw fish for me, just the vegetarian stuff. I’m not a fan of “real” sushi anyway, so it works out that the place we go to has a vegetarian platter. I had it before my last cleanse and it was surprisingly really good, particularly their avocado roll. Then Saturday, I start my cleanse. Kidlet is with her dad until Monday night, so I have a good 3 days to just feel miserable while I try to restart my body. I’ve rescheduled appointments and just plan to sit at home and watch the Gilmore Girls while I feel like hell. :P I’m not sure if it’ll be as bad this time or not, but I’m prepared for the worst. Maybe it’ll be better since I lost some weight between my last cleanse and this one? One can dream…

                I just hope the drinks aren’t as disgusting as the last ones were. It’s nice that they are pre-made and bottled so all I have to do is open a bottle and start drinking. GroupOn had a deal for this place, which cut the price essentially in half. I figure I’ll have two full days after the cleanse to ease back into eating normal food before the smorgasbord of food on Thanksgiving, and even then, I can limit what I put on my plate. We’re having Thanksgiving with Eric’s family at his sister’s house and it’s my year with kidlet, so she’ll get to meet all of his family. I don’t have her for Christmas this year, which sucks, but at least I know I won’t hear her pounding on my door at 5 am on Christmas begging to go see the presents. :P We’re supposed to have Christmas with my family the Sunday before so they can see her open presents and we can exchange with them as well. I’m not planning on going down for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange because Eric isn’t off that day and we’re not sure how early he could leave the office. So, I’m planning on just cooking us a meal for two and then Christmas Day we’ll spend with my extended family.

                Haven’t updated in a while, but life has been pretty hectic. I had to plan a conference for work in October, which took a lot of time and effort on my part. I’ve asked the head of the conference to please plan it for November next year if she wants me to attend because I don’t want to plan it in the middle of making final plans for the wedding, and I plan to be off a lot in October next year, so I wouldn’t really be around to help anyway. But we’re slowly getting things together. We have quite a few vendors booked and will work on the rest in the coming months. Having 2 years was probably the best decision I ever made. I don’t feel very stressed about it right now, but I expect that to change as this final year draws towards a close.

                I will try to update each day of the cleanse like I did before. We’ll see how well I do!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Do you ever think you’re moving past something, letting go and moving on from a situation, only to read something that reminds you of that situation and makes you think about that situation in a whole new light thus rendering you angry and upset all over again?

I had that experience today. I remarked recently to Eric that I felt like a lot of my ragey feelings with Derrick dissipated after I got the check from the landlady and closed that chapter for good. I also remarked that I seemed to have an easier time of letting go of the situation with Derrick than I have had of letting go of the situation with The Greek. I still feel very ragey and angry about things regarding The Greek. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that when I told Derrick I wanted nothing more to do with him and then subsequently blocked him from my life, he left me alone. When I did the same with The Greek, he ambushed me on a train…

But then I read this article and suddenly it brought everything back up again. So much of this was Derrick, although Derrick was a lot more cagey and manipulative about some of it. He wouldn’t outright tell me I couldn’t see friends or family anymore, but he would refuse to participate in any family gatherings or refuse to help with child care so I could attend (like my cousin’s funeral). The dynamic with our families was also very vastly different. While I had to beg and plead for him to come to most events, it was just expected that his brothers could come by the house or that we would spend time with them whether they called us up to plan it or happened to be at the same place we were and an impromptu visit would occur.

This went even further though in that while he wouldn’t outright say I couldn’t see my family or friends, it was clear that if I chose to see them, it was time I was choosing to not see him. Case in point: my brother came home for a class reunion one summer when I still lived with my father, so my pseudo stepmother and her daughter and grandson came down to stay the weekend. My daughter spent the night with me so we had enough rooms/beds for everyone. Derrick wanted me to come out late on that Friday as he had unexpectedly gotten the weekend off, but seeing as I knew I wouldn’t sleep well Saturday, I declined. He declined an invite to swim with my family because he “wasn’t feeling social.” Then he went out to a party and saw a movie we had been planning to see together without me. While I acknowledge a lot of this was my own insecurity, I felt like in some ways he was punishing me for not coming out Friday by going to the movie without me. Most importantly though, it should have started to become more clear at that point that he was not interested in spending time with my family (specifically my daughter) and that his "not feeling social" was yet another cop out.

He didn’t always say that “we should just break up” during an argument, but Dr. Nerdlove is right in that it is incredibly rage-inducing to be, as Dr. NerdLove so eloquently put it: “Standing there and acting like the stern, disapproving parent” in the middle of an argument. Derrick was great at this. One of the comments actually addressed the way Derrick handled it in a much better fashion:

I want to point out something here. You deliberately goaded her into losing her calm. You deliberately incited her to anger, then stood there calmly as if to prove to her that her anger was a failure on her part. After all, look at calm, collected you! If you can do it she can do it, so her not doing it is proof that she just isn't as rational or smart as you.

In other words, you callously manipulated her specifically so you could feel like the cool, rational, superior male, as compared to the crazy, raging, irrational, inferior female. In fact I think that you chose this woman specifically because you could twist her faults into justification for thinking of yourself as her superior. 

It also shines a laser onto the real problem here: you're entitled enough to expect your partner to do all the hard emotional work in the relationship, but insecure enough to be threatened if she's too good at it. So you choose someone who already has a lot on her plate, make her responsible for guarding your widdle feewings, then you sabotage her constantly. That way you never have to face your insecurities head-on or do the hard work of handling them yourself, plus your ego gets puffed up because you can pretend she isn't your equal.

Case in point: comparing my relationship with him to my relationship with my daughter during one of the many fights we had after we moved in together. The fight was about me sending “mixed signals” and in some warped attempt to prove his point, he compared our relationship to the one I shared with my daughter and then couldn’t understand why I got so angry with him. It couldn’t have been that the relationship dynamic between a parent and child is vastly different (or at the very least SHOULD BE vastly different) than that of romantic partners. He actually said that I couldn’t take constructive criticism. Thankfully, at least at the time, he acknowledged that his criticism in that instance was anything but constructive. But he acted like I was being irrational for getting angry at him for making such an unfair comparison. That directly goes to the second paragraph (which I have helpfully bolded) in the comment above. Clearly I am inferior to his logic and self control, after he accused me of something that, in retrospect, he was guilty of at the very least during the time after we broke up. Hell, WHEN we broke up, I asked him what he wanted and he said “enlightenment.” I guess I wouldn’t call that a mixed signal so much as a vague answer…

I can fully acknowledge and understand now that I was way more into Derrick than he ever was in me. I fell for him head over heels the first time we dated. I’m pretty sure that at least 90% of the reason I even started dating my ex husband and allowed that relationship to progress at the rapid rate it did was because I was so devastated by my relationship with Derrick ending the first time around that I just jumped at the first guy who showed interest. I was also devastated when he gave the smallest indication that he wouldn’t date me because I wasn’t as thin as I had been when he knew me before, so I went on an extreme weight loss plan so that I was closer to my original weight by the time he came to see me in October of 2008. I felt often that I was more of a convenience for him than anything else. I’m not saying he never loved me, but I am saying that I felt that way sometimes.

Speaking of that weight issue thing that kind of coincides with this comment by the LW to DNL: “There were things about her I didn’t like, and what I didn’t like I fixed by giving her my advice and of course she changed those things.” I don’t want it to sound like it was all Derrick’ fault. I obviously made the choice to try to lose weight and while I can definitely say that decision was influenced by his distaste for pictures I had sent him; it still was my choice to not tell him to FOAD at that point. I was hurt.

I realize it’s only been about 6 months since everything finally came to an end with Derrick being in my life at all, and really only like 3 or 4 months since I could officially close the chapter on the townhouse, but I hate feeling like this. I mean, I guess that is why so many things about sexual assault have the “trigger warnings” on them. The reactions I’m having are normal and I realize that, but it still sucks. I just want to close that chapter for good, but then I remember that I basically shut the Derrick drawer up in my head and locked it for so long that I never really dealt with it last time. I want to deal with it this time so I don’t make the same mistakes again. Though I feel like I tend to choose abusive relationships, and I hate the idea of being the perpetual victim. But with Derrick it was so much more cold and calculating than with my ex husband, that I didn’t register it all at the time, but in the aftermath, I can totally see it. I mean, my high school boyfriend used blatant tactics to try and control me, my ex husband threatened to fight for custody to convince me to stay, but with Derrick it was much more subtle. I guess that explains all of his social engineering books.

It’s funny, but on the one hand, I’m thrilled that Derrick didn’t do what The Greek did and he respected my choice to end any future involvement, even as friends. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s so much that he respected my choice or me, but more that he just didn’t care enough to bother with me anymore. He clearly didn’t respect me enough to honor the commitment he had made to maintaining the townhouse for a few more months, he clearly didn’t respect me enough to honor his word on when he would vacate the townhouse, and he clearly didn’t respect me OR our landlady enough to honor our written agreement with her, leaving me to pick up the pieces and ready it to return to her.

As they say, time heals all wounds, but I think the thing that struck me the most about this particular letter to DNL was not so much that it sounds like Derrick could have written it, but moreso that I know he never will.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wedding Planning

This weekend, a friend of mine is getting married. I’m very excited for her and her future husband, and also interested to see how she planned her wedding. With my own wedding about to hit the year mark, I’m really starting to get more pumped up about planning.

Eric and I have already done quite a bit of planning. The place, caterer, and photographer are all booked. We had a tasting last month and will be going for another one in the late fall, early winter. We plan to book the DJ next and talk more about whether or not we want a florist. I’ve been thinking I might do silk flowers for the bouquets and then have large pumpkins with sugar pumpkins and squash decorate the tables. I’m thinking of having the big pumpkins in the middle of the table with a garland of leaves around them and leaves spread on the tables themselves, and then the little pumpkins and squash in arrangements on the ends of the tables. These can all double as favors as the cooks among my guests can take the sugar pumpkins and squash home for baking, and the parents among my guests can take the big pumpkins for carving for their kids. If we do that, we won’t have much need for flowers, and honestly, I’m not really big on floral decorations for a fall wedding.

I’ve talked to both my sister and Eric’s sister, who will be my bridesmaids. Kidlet will be my junior maid of honor as she said she didn’t want to be a flower girl. Eric’s niece will fill that role, and hopefully she won’t be too scared to do it. I figure in February or March, I’ll make plans with my all 3 girls to go dress shopping. That should give us plenty of time to get them their dresses for the wedding. I’m not sure what color I will go with since my dress is not white and I don’t want them to clash, but I’m thinking either a deep purple or brown, or I can be slightly ironic and have THEM in white while I am not!

My theme for my wedding is basically Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream meets fall, so it’s a Mid-Fall Night’s Dream. The faerie aspect will be in the bubble lanterns with LED candles hanging throughout the pavilion. I also plan to string up some lights to give it more of a whimsical feel. I hope to buy some lighted leaf garlands to put around the windows as well to bring in the fall décor.

We are having our engagement pictures done in a few weeks and I’m really looking forward to that. Our photographer is a girl I used to go to high school with who had very reasonable prices and allowed clients full access to all photos. So, that means that we don’t have to pay more to print our photos, we have full rights for printing. However, if she offers some sort of wedding album after the wedding, I will probably buy it from her just because it’s less work for me. But it’ll be nice to be able to upload our photos to facebook pretty quickly after the wedding.

Initially, Eric and I were not planning to do much of a honeymoon. Since our wedding is during the school year and I can’t very well leave kiddo for a week, we originally planned to go to a place in PA for a long weekend. But then I realized that the week after Christmas next year would be Travis’ week of visitation for kiddo. He may not be able to keep her the whole week, so I plan to discuss with my sister and other family if they can care for her for a couple of days until Travis can take her. Once we realized that, we started looking at cruises and all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. We’re looking at Mexico and a cruise out of Jacksonville, Florida. If for some reason, no one in my family can keep her for the first few days of that week, we may do something closer to home.

I remember being very disappointed last year when I realized that we’d have to put the wedding off for a year in order to have the wedding we really wanted, but now I’m actually really glad we have the extra time. We’re still a little over a year out from our wedding and we’ve already got many of the major things booked. Next on our agenda is the DJ and rental company (as we may need tents if the weather is bad), bakery for the wedding cake, and possibly florist or farm for the flowers and/or pumpkins. I will also likely need a few alterations to my dress, so a seamstress, and we need our officiant, so we will need to look into that as well. We are not sure about transportation as our venue has two separate areas for the ceremony and the reception and it’s a bit of a walk for some of our older relatives, but we’re leaning towards some sort of limo/bus service.

Most importantly, it’s coming together well. I feel like since we have not been procrastinating and we have been booking things every few months since we started planning that everything will come together well by next October. In the meantime, I also don’t feel like wedding planning is taking up all of our lives. That may change once we pass the year mark and the timeframe gets tighter, but I’m hoping our early planning will help alleviate that. No matter what though, I’m excited to marry Eric and continue building a life with him and kiddo. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Gift of Fear

I've been reading this book the past few days and find myself constantly highlighting things he says that just make perfect sense to me. His chapter on Date-stalking is spot on for things I've dealt with, and I felt like I highlighted about the entire chapter because it was spot on for things I've experienced and I'm hoping it will help me deal with similar situations better in the future.

The one thing I've struggled with is that he continues to say that "no" is a complete sentence. I agree with that, and I've always loved a quote he gave on Oprah where he said "when a man says no, it's the end of a conversation. When a woman says no, it's the beginning of a negotiation." However, I'm having a hard time implementing that aspect of the book into my daily commute.

I ride public transportation to my job in the city. It is both a blessing and a curse. I have the option to park in the city, but I have severe anxiety about driving through cities (somethinig about one way streets and my inate ability to get lost seems to come into play), so I don't take advantage of that option. I prefer public transportation since it saves gas and wear and tear on my car, and I can doze off and drown out the world while listening to music and staring out the window. I can listen to music in my car, and I do, but it's less tranquil with the idiot drivers that seem to inhabit my state.

The curse is that people seem to view public transportation as an all access pass to talking to anyone on there. I don't necessarily mind socializing briefly on my rides, especially if someone is just commenting on the train aggravation or if I see someone from my job, but usually what seems to transpire is that I catch the attention of some would-be admirer and he proceeds to hit on me. This is how I met the Greek.

In defense of the Greek, he initially started out as a harmless person. He was friendly, a bit awkward, but nothing that set off my warning bells. His behavior as our relationship grew from mere acquaintances to friends was what started setting off those bells. But this post is not about that. This post is about the suggestions of the author of The Gift of Fear and how they don't necessarily work on public transportation.

I've heard it so many times before: you don't owe anyone conversation. In The Gift of Fear, he states: "Most IMPACT students are very concerned that they must avoid making a man angry, reasoning that this could turn someone whose intent was favorable into someone dangerous. Be aware, however, that in this context, it is impossible in this context to transform an ordinary, decent man into a rapist or killer."

I agree with the author here. If his intentions are honorable, he will accept your "no" and walk away. But it's not always clear if his intentions are honorable, and if my instincts are telling me that if I flat out refuse someone, he will flip out and start screaming at me, or worse, I'm going to follow my instincts and placate him until I can safely get away from him. Yesterday was a prime example of this scenario.

The trains are having issues this week and it's a problem that is expected to be fixed by the end of September. There are delays both morning and afternoon and the trains have been much more crowded as a result. Yesterday I stood for most of my commute because there were just too many people. By the time the train emptied out, I only had two stops til I got off. I sat down for those two stops, since I knew there would be delays getting to my stop. I sat in front of an older man and stared out the window. He tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was OK. I affirmed I was and turned back around. He continued to talk at me. I couldn't hear half of what he said because of the train noises, but he continued to talk at me. He then started asking me questions. I answered as little as I could. At one point, I don't recall why, he reached over and rubbed my shoulder for a bit. I instinctively moved away from his touch and he stopped. He then asked me for my phone number. I said no, I'm engaged. His response, which I've found it to go either way with men, was to say "so what?" I knew, at that moment in time, that any further response was going to lead into negotiation territory, but thankfully by this point, we were almost to my stop. I managed to get off the train, knowing full well that had I been more "firm," the situation would have escalated and he would have become a total asshole. The author did note a situation that was similar to mine. A woman was kidnapped when a carjacker took her in the car and drove off with a gun pointed at her. She decided to keep talking to her kidnapper in hopes that if he got to know her, he wouldn't kill her. She was right. In my experience, I'd rather put up with the mild aggravation and inconvenience of being talked to on public transportation than the alternative which is to possibly be stalked (again) or harassed (again) or worse.

A few months ago, I was asked to go to another location to pick up something for a co-worker. Since I don't drive in the city if I can help it, I looked at my options to get there. I found that one form of public transportation took me about a mile from the building, and it looked to be a fairly easy walk from there. So, I walked it. On my way to the building from where I got off public transit, I passed a man sitting on a porch. He said hello to me, I said hello back and continued on my way. On the way back to the station, I passed him walking. He asked to walk with me and while I said no, I was in a hurry, he asked again. I figured the easiest thing to do was put up with it and quickly get to my destination. Now, I will pause briefly and say that instinctually, I felt like I should have walked a different way to a different form of public transit when I left the building. But I decided to logic my way out of that gut feeling and walked the same way back. Now, I know better.

Immediately, this guy started negotiating. He asked to kiss me, I said no. He asked for my number, I said no, and then pretended to text him so that he would stop asking me (his phone was dead, so he wouldn't be able to check it until later). He kept trying to get me to kiss him. I told him I was engaged, he told me he could give me a better life. I was beginning to wonder if he would leave me alone when I got to the station, but thankfully he did. I actually had to physically push and firmly hold my arm out with my hand pressed against his shoulder to restrain him from kissing me, but finally he relented and I escaped to the train. I totally get what The Gift of Fear is saying when it says to trust your instincts. If I had trusted my instincts and walked a different way to a different form of public transit, I could have avoided this incident and probably had a much safer commute back to the office. There's a part of me that wonders if I would have had some other issue, but I still feel it would have been safer to try a different route like my gut was telling me to do.

Clearly, someone like me needs a book like this. I have not finished it, though I did skip around a bit to chapters that seemed to be most relevant to my life. The chapter that I spent the most time on was "I was trying to let him down easy." In that chapter, he says
"If a man in a movie researches a woman's schedule, finds out where she lives and works, even goes to her work uninvited, it shows his committment, proves his love."

This does remind me a bit of the Greek. One thing that really started to play with my intuition was when he would constantly compare my reactions to his actions with those of his female co-workers. I thought certain things, like waiting for a later train when he knew I was angry with him and likely avoiding him (and yes, he did know, he openly admitted that to me) or waiting for me by my car even though he, again, knew I was trying to avoid dealing with him. His constant commentary on my life and my own feelings about it and myself. I just felt like my opinions, thoughts and feelings never mattered.

"During the early stage of pursuit situations in moves - and too often in life - the woman is watching and waiting, fitting into the expectations of an overly invested man. She isn't heard or recognized; she is the screen upon which the man projects his needs and his idea of what she should be."

That quote can be directly attributed to the movie 500 Days of Summer. We never really learn much about Summer in the movie. We only see her through Tom's eyes and his eyes are biased, both while in the relationship, and then once out of it.  I feel that is also a bit of how my relationship with the Greek went. My opinions didn't seem to ever matter. My feelings were second fiddle to his. Examples? I've got plenty...

After my ex husband and I split up, I raised my standards a bit. I decided that I didn't want to date anyone who had done drugs or smoked in the past as my ex had done both and the relationship just left a bitter taste for me. That wasn't the only reason for this new "standard" but it was certainly a contributing factor. It didn't matter if they didn't do it now, I didn't want any past influence like that around my daughter. Let me tell you, finding a guy with these credentials is very difficult. Eric and Derrick both fit the bill, but most people have at least tried drugs or smoking. When I told the Greek this, he was immediately angry with me. He said he couldn't believe I would judge him for his past like that. I don't think he ever completely understood that I had no problem with him as a person, but as a potential love interest, it just wouldn't work out for me. Apparently my standards did not meet with his approval. At the time, I actually felt a bit guilty, but now, I feel justified. Why is it such a bad thing to have standards. When I didn't have any standards in the past, I ended up in relationships that were just wrong for me and hurt me worse than had I held my love life to a higher standard.

When I planned for a weekend getaway alone to a place I consider a sanctuary, and that I visit at least once a year in its off season, the Greek not only invited himself along, but berated me until I gave in. He used derogatory terms to describe something that meant a lot to me, and basically made me feel like wanting some time to myself was a bad thing.

When he asked for space after whatever it was that we were doing ended, I willingly gave it to him. Then he would contact me after a few days to talk about more things. He was looking for closure from me, and as Captain Awkward and Dr. Nerd Love have pointed out, closure, especially from your ex, is a myth. Finally, I told him I was going to force no contact, and I stopped responding. I ended up blocking him from everything, and then he ambushed me on the train. Months later, when we again decided to take space from each other, I felt again like it was only on his terms. Like my need for space was lesser than his. The Gift of Fear even addresses this:

"In fact, many cases of date-stalking could be described as extended rapes; they take away freedom and they honor the desires of the man and disregard the wishes of the woman. . . the stalker enforces our culture's cruelest rule, which is that women are not allowed to decide who will be in their lives."

Perhaps I should have been more firm, not only with the Greek, but with the countless situations I've had with men who refuse to take no for an answer. The only thing I don't like about The Gift of Fear is the victim-blaming I think he does. Yes, women should take more precautions and listen to our intuition or gut instinct to protect ourselves, but shouldn't men also be taught not to do these things? Shouldn't men also be taught that "no" is a complete sentence. A culture that feeds into the idea that women are expected to engage in conversations with men, whether they want to or not, or that a woman saying no is the beginning of a negotiation is not helping anyone.

But then, I don't know how much more firm I could have been. I blocked the Greek, and he still found a way to get to me. How he could see his behavior as anything other than wrong, regardless of his reasons, motivations or intentions, is beyond me. Perhaps he saw himself as a impassioned lover, who was throwing himself at my feet and begging for my love, but the reality is he found a comment on social media that convinced him I still took public transit, found me on a train and proceeded to sit next to me in a situation I had very little hope of escape. With my ex husband, I stopped responding to any requests for contact that were not about our daughter, I ignored his repeated attempts to force me to talk to him and recognized as the divorce hearing loomed closer the increased attempt at contact was a desperate attempt to keep me from obtaining the legal freedom I sought. In the end, I won, and as The Gift of Fear points out, he did eventually let go, when he attached a tentacle to someone new.

I can analyze my actions and decisions with these past scenarios to handle similar situations better in the future. The Gift of Fear has its flaws, but overall I think it's a really good book to helping women learn to trust their instincts to better protect themselves.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Loving Memory

Derricks’ father passed away last Thursday. Since we aren’t friends anymore on facebook (or anywhere else for that matter), a mutual friend told me. Then my sister asked me about it and then my best friend followed suit. On the one hand, I’m not sure if they were just trying to figure out what was going on and for some reason thought I would know, but on the other hand, having the constant reminders throughout the day was hard to deal with. I don’t know what happened. The obituary simply said he died at home and that the funeral was this weekend.

I’m not going to the funeral. Things ended on such a sour note, I wouldn’t feel comfortable attending and since I found out secondhand, I would feel weird to just show up. But I did send flowers to the funeral home. I feel for Derrick and his family. Losing a parent is a really difficult thing to go through, especially when it sounds like it was sudden and unexpected. When my mom died, I was able to at least say my goodbyes and try to make amends in our relationship, but obviously we didn’t fix everything. I’ve been asked if I’m going to contact Derrick directly to offer my condolences, but again, I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I can send my condolences to the family as a whole and let that be it. On the one hand, I feel like I should do something more because I did get close with his family as we were together for so long, but at the same time, my discomfort stems a lot from the residual anger I’m dealing with towards Derrick and I just can’t bring myself to put forth more effort. I don’t know if he tried to contact me to let me know what had happened because I’ve blocked him on everything, but my assumption is that he did not. He was always rather private about his grief and I imagine he wouldn’t reach out to me now, with all that happened.

In other news, the Greek has aggravated me once again. Why he has to always try to have “closure” or whatever his motivation is, I don’t know, but it does more damage than good. We briefly emailed during May because I had sent him a forward from a place we had discussed going to before everything went to hell, and while I had no intention of going with him, I didn’t see why he couldn’t enjoy going with someone else. The emails were pleasant, though not very in depth and after the last one he sent me in mid-May, I felt like there was no further need for response on my part and I was happy to just let it fade into the past. I felt better about things, I could tell that he had finally moved on and I was happy that we had ended on a less estranged note.

Two weeks later, I get another email from him. I had not responded to his last email, as I said I saw no reason to. In this email, he tells me that he cannot be friends with me because it will cause “tension” in my “current” relationship. Love the word choice there. I feel this was an unnecessary email, and I do not understand his fixation for getting the last word, especially since he already had the last word as I hadn’t responded to his last email. The tone of the email came off as very condescending, partly because of his word choice in “current” and also because of his assumption that he had the power to cause tension in my love life, as if Eric was or ever would be threatened by him. I don’t think he ever fully understood that Eric’s issues with him had nothing to do with a feeling of being threatened or jealous, but with the way he treated me: his lack of respect for my feelings and my decisions. It also irritated me that he felt he needed to spell things out for me for how his life was going, as if I couldn’t read between the lines on what was going on. The entire reason I didn’t respond to his first last email was because I didn’t see a point to, it was clear to me that he had moved on and was happy, and my purpose in sharing with him a deal on the local restaurant had been accomplished.

I wish I had blocked him after the last email so that I could have maintained the pleasant feelings I felt towards him, but still confirmed to myself that I would not be communicating any further. A part of me wanted to respond to this email (though he claimed he wasn’t looking for a response, Eric called bullshit on that one), but in the event a response or reaction was what he hoped for, I refused to give him the satisfaction and have since blocked him from all forms of contact.  I just do not understand why he always has to do this. When I stopped texting him back, he would send me text messages “explaining” his feelings one more time, and that is similar to what this email has done. I feel like he thinks I’m stupid or something and that he has to spell it out so I get it. I suppose that is why I call it condescending, because I feel like a child who has to have something simplified for them. I don’t’ need “closure” or everything spelled out in a organized email. One of my good friends told me that I shouldn’t have forwarded him the thing in the first place and I admit that I questioned whether it was the right thing to do, but I love the place and try to garner business for it when I can, so I thought it was a win/win: garner business while giving that new business a financial break. I suppose the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Otherwise, life is getting better, Eric’s busy season is almost over and soon our lives will go back to normal again. I’m really looking forward to summer!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From a Former Single Mom

It occurred to me recently that I really can't describe myself as a single mom anymore. I've been living with my fiancé for about 3 months now, and he's really stepped up in the care and assistance with not only my daughter, but also with his share of the household chores. It's surreal to have this after two awful relationships where I bore the brunt of the work, both housework and child care. 

However, it's a hard label to shake. We're not married yet, though that's in the works. My daughter still prefers me to him for most things, which I think is more out of habit than anything else. And honestly, I'm still having a hard time accepting his assistance with all things parenting. I mean, on the one hand, I love it! It's awesome to have an extra set of hands and another person's perspective to help me raise her, but on the other hand, it's a major adjustment and I constantly find myself going against the grain and saying “no no, I’ve got this” instead of letting him help me. It’s so hard to turn that part of me off, and it makes me wonder if part of the reason my last relationship failed so hard was that I wouldn’t let him help me either. (My marriage I have no question about that, I asked for help regularly and I never got it).

For a while I’ve been referring to myself as a “soon-to-be” former single mom, or something along those lines. Somehow putting off the formal relinquishing of the title seems to make me feel better, which is completely ridiculous in my own mind. A piece of paper declaring us legally married is not going to change the family dynamic we are setting up now. So, knowing that, why am I so set on clinging to my title until the ink is dry on that marriage certificate and the wedding is over? I honestly don’t know. But I’m hoping that as time goes on and we get more used to our living arrangement, I will be less likely to insist on doing it all and more graciously accept his help. It helps to know that this is not just a problem for me as he has expressed a similar difficulty, especially since he is in the midst of his busy season at work and won’t be around as much to help out around the house. It was a difficult conversation to have, but I think we have a better understanding of each other.

So far though, I hate this busy season. He gets home right before my daughter’s bedtime most nights, though that’s subject to change. We usually talk on and off every day through facebook or text messages, but that has been put aside as he’s working too hard to communicate. And now he’s working on weekends as well. Thankfully, most weekends I have something to do, but these first two weekends have left something to be desired. Last weekend, I didn’t have much planned, but worked around the house while my daughter played with some neighborhood kids and this weekend while she’s gone, I plan to do my usual cleaning and laundry on Saturday so I can pick my daughter up early on Sunday for Mother’s Day. Depending on how the next few weeks go, he may not even make it to kiddo’s birthday party, which would really suck all around.

But I keep telling myself that it’s only for a month or so and then it’ll be over. In the meantime, I’m just trying to stay busy myself. I’m working on losing all the weight I gained with Mirena. I had to take a break from it all during the move because I just had too much going on to focus on my calorie intake and physical activity. I also admit that I was  so upset over the situation with Derrick that I indulged in a lot of comfort eating, a habit I’m happy to be breaking. I got a fitbit recently and it’s really helping me see how much I burn each day versus how much I consume, so I’m cutting back here and there to help with the weight loss.

On the Mirena note though, I feel better emotionally. While I hated the detox (though I’m contemplating doing it again soon) I’m glad I did it. I really think it helped to regulate my hormones. I stayed off hormonal birth control for a few months and I felt a lot better. I’m back on it now, but I’m still feeling a lot more in control of my emotional well-being. I think if I do a detox again, I’ll try the soy based cleansing kit from Kaeng Raeng, or something similar to them. Maybe the soy based tastes better!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Holding On and Letting Go

It's been about 3 months since I last wrote, and my life took a dramatic turn I wasn't anticipating during that time. Derrick and I had agreed that, even though we were no longer together, we would finish our lease and extend it by a few months so that my daughter wouldn't be uprooted from her school and friends in the middle of the year. Derrick then changed his mind sporadically a week before my detox. We got into a huge fight about it and after spending some time trying to figure out what my options were, Eric and I agreed that my daughter and I would move in with him in February, as close to the semester break as possible. I did all the work in transferring my daughter's school and daycare, set up everything so we could get out of there, and we moved President's Day weekend. Derrick, who insisted he couldn't wait much longer and, during our fight, informed me that he could "move out now" stayed in the house a good month after I left. Needless to say, I cut that friendship off and have no intention of ever speaking to him again.

It didn't help that for the month that Derrick was there, he expected I would maintain the internet for his use. I did, for about a week, but then when our landlady contacted us to tell me that she had found a new tenant and could we be out by mid-March, he refused to leave. Needless to say, I immediately canceled the internet. I was already facing having to clean the entire townhouse by myself in hopes of getting any of the security deposit back (which is supposed to all come to me per my last contact with the landlady); hell if I was going to give him free internet in the process. He's moving to another state where he claims he plans to go back to school. Having watched him treat his job like an option and not a priority for the last year plus, I can't help having huge doubts about his follow through for returning to college on the G.I. Bill. When he left, he hadn't even contacted the air force about getting his transcripts or starting the application process. At least that no longer affects me. Good riddance.

My daughter has not been adjusting as well as Eric and I had hoped she would. She was the one who suffered the most, going through all the changes while Eric and I had only to adjust to each other and a new house, our professional lives remained relatively the same. But kiddo had to leave her friends and start over at a new school and new daycare, adjust to a new house and new house rules, and deal with a longer commute to her father's house. It's been rough. We got kittens, and that seems to have brightened her spirits a great deal, though we do have to remind her not to chase them on a regular basis. She has made some new friends, but it's still been hard on her. The effect this has on her was the driving force behind my anger at Derrick and my subsequent decision to cut ties with him.

Life with Eric has been going pretty well, despite a few bumps in the road as we adjust to each other. The one thing that I've really loved about it is the help I've had. I've been a single mom for the majority of my daughter's life and I've just gotten used to doing everything. Eric has made it so even when I don't ask for his help, he just does things. He takes my daughter to school every morning and he helps put her to bed every night. I've never had someone that involved in her life, not even her own father, so it's been a wonderful change for both of us. I feel comfortable and happy in this new life. Neither of us was expecting to make this move so soon as the original plan was set for June, but in a way, I am glad it worked out this way. The situation with Derrick was deteriorating quickly and it just would have grown into a more toxic environment for my child.

I also think I finally have managed to cut the Greek from my life for good. After one more attempt to get me to be with him, this time suggesting a relationship in a lifestyle I could never see myself in, I told him I needed space and eventually just made it permanent. I didn't block him like I did the time before so that I could watch for signs that he was going to try to contact me again, but it's been about 3 months since I last saw him and almost 2 months since I last heard from him.

It's been a bit of an adventure the last three months, but I'm happy to report that life seems to be stabilizing once again. Now that the initial crisis has been averted and things are back on track, I need to start letting go of my anger and find it in my heart to forgive Derrick. Forgiveness will not mean that I will want to reconcile with him, but I need to forgive him for my own mental health and well being. I need to let go of what he did to me and find peace with it. It's not going to be an easy journey, but it's a journey that will be well worth the end result.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mirena Detox, Day 2

I started today much like the day before, with the daybreak smoothie. I drank it slightly faster than the day before, and immediately started getting a dull headache. It was nowhere near as bad as the day before though, but I still took it easy that morning. I enjoyed a quiet day at home, watching tv and doing limited chores around the house.

I had some carrots with strawberry vinaigrette dressing, as well as a banana and some grapes throughout the morning. Around 1, I was finally ready for smoothie number 2. I made the "joyful" one again, and it was even worst tasting than yesterday. I tried it with some lemonade this time, which was apparently a really bad idea, despite seeing the suggestion on Kaeng Raeng's website. I didn't quite finish that one, but I got most of it down. I ate small amounts of fruits and veggies the rest of the day, and wasn't really hungry enough for another smoothie, so I didn't make a third one. I mostly just worked on finishing what was left from lunch.

The dull headache lasted most of the day. I was a little apprehensive because I had to drive to get my daughter from her father, but my fiance came up and drove me down. I'm glad he did because I didn't feel 100% comfortable with driving while feeling weak and in pain. Today was definitely a better day then the day before and I felt like I was starting to come through the detox. I still felt weak, though I imagine that was also partially due to a lack of food. I did notice that I was sleeping better and felt less tired in the morning, which is a big deal to an insomniac like me!

By the end of the day I was definitely craving normal food again. I wasn't craving vegetables like some of the blog writers I had read to prepare for this, but I am not a huge vegetable person to begin with, so this did not surprise me. I was happy to know that I only had one more day and I had even decided to modify the day a bit to get through it easier.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mirena Detox Day 1

On Sunday, I started the detox program. For my first smoothie, I made "Daybreak" which is a mango, peach and pineapple smoothie. I added almond milk, pineapple juice, half a banana and mango chunks. It was pretty good, and I found myself really optimistic about the drinks.

I should state now that I ordered the soy free version of Kaeng Raeng. Because of all the hormonal issues the Mirena caused me, I was afraid soy might make the estrogen dominance I was experiencing worse. I know on Kaeng Raeng's website, they state that the phytoestrogen in soy doesn't effect human estrogen, but it was a risk I wasn't willing to take. This difference likely effected how the smoothies tasted. I've read many blogs by people who received a free trial and enjoyed the smoothies and I imagine these were the soy based smoothies.

After the first drink, I had some stuff I wanted to do around the house, and since it was the first morning I hadn't woken up with a headache in a few days, I wanted to get right down to it. It took me about 2 hours to finish the first smoothie (it was a lot of liquid), and a couple of hours later, I started developing another headache. It was about this time that I was ready for smoothie number 2. I had the "Joyful" smoothie, which has strawberries, raspberries and pineapple. This one was not as good as the first smoothie. I put strawberries, almond milk and pineapple juice. It didn't take as long to drink this one, but it still wasn't as good as the morning smoothie. At this point, the headache really started kicking in. I spent more time resting than I had planned to. About mid-afternoon, the headache was bordering on unbearable and debilitating, I could barely move.

Now for a paragraph just for the ladies, fellas you can skip this bit of TMI. Before I started this detox, I also went off all birth control because I wanted to flush out everything in an effort to get my hormones more stabilized. As a result, my period started almost immediately and it was the heaviest one I've had in a while. So, on top of the headache, I was dealing with all of the fun of being on my period as well. It was not a fun experience, but based on the symptoms, I felt like the detox was working.

By the third drink, I was feeling really awful. I made the "Into the Blue" which was my least favorite of the three flavors. I didn't even finish it all because I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I ate some fruit and veggies to get through the night and drank plenty of water. I tried to save the "Into the Blue" that was left for the morning, but that didn't quite work out.

All in all, the first day was pretty awful. I felt horrible, and was not sure I would make it through the detox. At one point, in an effort to try to detox through other methods, I took a detox bath with a recipe including sea salts, ginger, baking soda and vinegar. It helped while I was in the bath, but as soon as I got out, the headache returned full force. Regardless of how awful I felt, I truly believe the detox was working. I was looking forward to day 2, hoping some of the symptoms would be eliminated.

I'm curious as to whether the soy based smoothie mix would taste better than the soy free one, but not curious enough to try it any time soon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pre-Detox Diet

So, before I started the detox, I looked into whether I needed to do anything before I started. A lot of blogs and such strongly suggested doing an elimination diet before the cleanse. I had my "last meal" on Monday night, a sub from Dominos (yeah, yeah). After that, I stopped eating meat. Then I cut out dairy and bread and soda. On Friday, after cutting out caffeine and bread the day before, I had a bad headache. The headache continued Saturday, but was gone by Sunday morning....until I started the detox.

The hardest thing for me doing the pre-detox diet elimination was finding stuff I could actually eat. I'm not a huge vegetable person, so to suddenly be limited to only raw vegetables, I was at a loss for what to eat other than salad. Friday night, my fiance took pity on me and suggested we go for sushi where I could get vegetarian sushi and thus have a meal already made for me. I probably shouldn't have had the rice, but at that point, I didn't care enough. I knew I would be only eating veggies and fruit on Saturday, the day before the cleanse, and I knew I had cut out a lot of stuff already.

Saturday, my last meal was a salad, though I did "splurge" on some sorbet for dessert, since it was made of just fruit and frozen water.

It's really important to keep up with the water intake during this time because by cutting out all of the foods you normally eat, you're already starting the detox in a way, through withdrawal. And though it was really tempting, I didn't take any medication for the headache because I knew it would just make the detox worse later.

I was very happy when Saturday ended, since I knew I would be able to just drink smoothies the rest of the time, with snacks of fruits and veggies, so I wasn't stressing over what to eat. The smoothies were described as very filling by a a lot of blogs, so I figured I would be better off, meal wise, on Sunday.

Mirena Detox

A lot has happened since my last post, but I'm not going to focus on that right now since a lot of the problems I've been having all seem to come back to the same culprit: the Mirena IUD.

I had this horrible contraption placed in November of 2012, on election day actually. For a year, I had significant weight gain that made no sense as my eating habits had not changed. I was tired all the time, and my efforts to quit caffeine were thwarted as a result. I also had periods of severe pain and PMS even though I stopped having a period. It was awful. I finally looked up my symptoms in comparison with the Mirena and found a plethora of blogs and comments about women who were experiencing symptoms just like mine (or worse).

I gave the Mirena one last shot when I did the couch to 5K, but even that wouldn't allow me to lose weight. At best, it just stopped me from gaining. So, I decided to get it out in December. That's when I experienced the "Mirena Crash." I was in physical pain for days, and emotionally a wreck for much longer. I hoped by going back on the pill, I would be able to avoid it, but that didn't happen. I started reading blogs and comments by women who had also experienced the Mirena crash, and I started researching ways to deal with it. In the end, I decided to do a detox and go off birth control for at least a month to let my hormones stabilize.

I chose the Kaeng Raeng detox, 3 day beginner. I decided to do it over a 3 day weekend and this past weekend was MLK's birthday weekend. I started on Sunday since the kit didn't arrive until Saturday and I'm in day 3 today. I'm going to write separate entries for each day of the cleanse, as well as the pre and post cleanse diet and experience. I feel like it's done me a lot of good, and I'm hoping this will help regulate my hormones from the havoc Mirena wreaked on my body, as well as aid me in the beginning of a weight loss program.

I didn't see any blogs from anyone who tried this cleanse as a result of the Mirena, so I'm hoping this will help fellow Mirena sufferers with their issues.