My first kiss was a disaster in every possible way….

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I dreamt of my first kiss for years, prior to its occurrence. I admit it; I practiced on my pillow. I am kind of a dorky-hopeless romantic. In the real life as Christine, my first kiss was a disaster in every possible way.

I think I was in 8th grade, but I’m not entirely sure. (It was many lifetimes ago.)

I was not allowed to date at my dad’s house; not until I was 16. I was not yet 16.

I told Dad that I was going to my mom’s house.

I lied.

I spent the night at a friend’s house instead.

She had a cousin.

We planned on going to the movies; all four of us.

I remember she lived on a farm. I remember we rode in a truck.

He had been eating Starburst candy; an orange one to be exact.

I remember sitting in the truck.

I remember him kissing me.

It was my first French kiss; it was a disaster in every possible way.

I tasted the orange Starburst. It wasn’t bad at first. It was better than many alternatives.

I remember I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t think he did either.

I remember he missed my mouth a lot, or… was he just a face sucker?

I’m not really sure.

I remember how wet my face was.

I was grossed out and yet, I did not want to hurt his feelings.

I never wiped it off.

I regret that I did not wipe it off.

I regret that I didn’t tell him not to suck my face; or perhaps gently tell him that he was missing my mouth.

By the time we got home from the movies, my face was crusty; dried crusty orange Starburst residue.

I was grossed out beyond imagination.

This is not what I envisioned.

To this day, I do not care for orange Starburst. I like the lemon. I like the strawberry. I love the raspberry; or is it cherry? The ones with the dark red wrappers….

But the orange?

No thank you.

I am no longer a fan.

It just wasn’t what it was supposed to be cracked up to be; my first kiss. It was rather awful.

I went home the next day.

I was at the top of the stairs.

I remember this like it was yesterday.

I remember Christa (my step-mom) asked me about my night. She was at the bottom of the staircase.

I was under pressure.

She hated lies.

I told her the truth.

“I went to Ellen’s. We went to the movies. We went with boys. I did not go to Mom’s.”

She didn’t say much. She left the stairs.

My dad showed up later. It was the first and only time that he ever used a switch on me.  

My first kiss was a disaster in every possible way.

As a result of this disaster, I placed great emphasis on kissing. I am very picky about certain things in my life.

I am picky about bacon.

I am picky about wine.

I am picky about only drinking hot coffee.

I am picky about honesty.

I am picky about kissing; for my first kiss was a complete disaster in every possible way.

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I know much more than I say…

judgment

When my parents divorced, my mother was granted custody of my brother and I. Around the age of 13, I told her I was leaving. I needed out and I got out (read ‘He came to kill, steal and destroy..”). I packed all of my belongings and I left the blended family of 6 and went to live with my father and stepmother.

My father had remarried around the same time as my mother had; her name was Christa. I had a very strong attachment to her. She loved me like her own, but this is another story.

It was a completely different atmosphere. I felt like an only child at my father’s house; for they did not have any children at this point.

There was no swearing.

There was no abuse.

There were chocolate chip cookies and homemade bread.

There was a lot of religion.

In the beginning, this house felt like ‘love’.

I was no longer forced to wash dishes for three hours at a time; while they were inspected by Satan and thrown back into the water with force. I was no longer called names.

I felt loved.

I felt welcomed.

I felt noticed.

For a few years I was able to ‘just be a kid’.

Although I was expected to attend church with them on the Sundays’ that I was not visiting my moms’, I never felt like they tried to push their beliefs down my throat. Originally, it was my choice.

Over the years, many people have preached to me; many people have quoted the Bible to me. I always found this ironic because many do not understand that I probably know the Bible better than the ‘preachers’. To this day, I can still quote scripture as well as the quoters themselves. I know much more than I say…

I remember the church family. They were very welcoming. Everyone was so nice and ‘loving’. It made it easier to look past the strange things that I did not understand; the things I questioned within.

I craved love.

I wanted to be accepted.

They welcomed me with open arms, at first.

I remember I desperately wanted to be part of this love. It was unlike anything I had experienced before.

I considered attending the Christian school that was run by their church. I spoke to my dad and stepmom about this. I remember how happy my stepmom was.

Around this time, we also held prayer meetings in our home; every Wednesday night. There was church every Sunday and most Sundays, we attended Sunday night service as well. There was a lot of church. It was a non-denominational church. It was a ‘Full Gospel’ church. It was fundamentally Protestant, or Evangelical, or Pentecostal; I’m not exactly sure. There were some strange things that occurred. There were a lot of strange things that I had never seen and to this day, I still do not understand.

I made the choice to leave my small, public, rural school shortly after the start of 7th grade.

Things were a little different at Christian school from public school; as one could imagine.

Uniforms consisted of skirts or dresses for the girls. I never had an issue with this because I have always embraced my feminity.

There was chapel every morning prior to classes.

We were taught creationism; something that was not taught in public school.

I remember most of the students at this small private school. They were very welcoming. I made friends easily and quickly.

I remember how badly I desired to cheerlead. We only had one sport at our Christian school; soccer. I proposed a cheerleading team for the soccer team. My proposal was evaluated and approved with conditions; the skirts had to be the length of our knees. Modesty was not under negotiation; it was a requirement.

I chose to learn their beliefs.

I wanted to understand their faith. Their faith seemed so steadfast; so rock-like.

I will tell you that there were a lot of rules while living at my father’s house.

I was not allowed to do much. I was very over-protected.

Around the time I turned 15, there was a major shift.

I started wondering. I started questioning. My questions were not answered. My questioning was seen as rebellious. I was considered a ‘strong willed child’. I was told it was a spirit that needed to be broken. I do not agree with everything I was taught, but this is another story.

I was brought up Catholic for many years until Catholicism no longer served my parents beliefs or wants. I was baptized Catholic as a baby. I made my First Holy Communion and I was made to attend all of the classes.

When my father remarried, he adopted my stepmom’s faith. It was a complete 180 from Catholicism in many ways. Over the years, my mother no longer practiced Catholicism and searched other avenues.

I remember my stepmom talking to me about my mother’s beliefs. I remember my confusion and I remember wanting to understand it for myself.

I remember going to the library that was next door to my house. I remember obtaining books to try to understand why they thought my mom was practicing evil. I needed to understand what ‘evil’ meant and I wanted to understand it for myself; not just the explanations I was given.

This was very frowned upon. Questioners are watched very closely.

Rules shifted.

Gavels came down; hard. Lines were drawn.

Everything changed.

I remember I was no longer given choices. Once I said I believed in their faith, the rule bar was brought to an unrealistic expectation. The fundamentals of this religion are often forgotten by those that practice it; perhaps not for themselves, but when it comes to the judgment of others. Love is forgotten. Grace is forgotten.

I was not allowed to question. I was not allowed to listen to secular music. Getting caught listening to secular music meant consequences. Not singing in church meant consequences. Reading books about other religions meant consequences.

I became so confused. Suddenly it felt like everything was being forced on me.

I remember the confusion. I remember being taught about free will and yet there was no longer free will.

I remember my stepmom’s words. She was very angry with me.

“You think you can make it without God? (She laughed) Let me tell you something little girl! I was prettier than you, I was smarter than you, I was more popular than you and I did not make it without God.”

I remember I cried.

I no longer trusted this house.

I no longer trusted this love.

I no longer trusted this faith.

I had no idea what I believed in; I was so confused.

Religion took over at my father’s house.

I was in 9th grade at that Christian school. The ropes were pulled very tight. I tugged back. I was expelled from Christian school two weeks from the end of the school year, but this is another story.

The shit hit the fan. All the love I thought I had and known felt like a lie.

I was given a choice.

“You can stay here and be grounded for two weeks or you can go back and live with your mother.”

I was scared to return to my mom’s house. She had recently left New York State. She had moved to Virginia. She was still married to Satan. I was not a fan of Satan.

There was a lot at stake; I knew this. I cut my losses and told them I was moving.

I knew I was older. I thought I could handle Satan at this point in my life. I packed my bags and moved to Virginia, but this is another story…

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

College round 3- VICTORY!!

college

Anyone who has ever lost a job knows that it is a slight blow to one’s ego, one’s pride. In 2012, I was ‘restructured’ out of my job. Looking back I can honestly say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me; for it forced me to dig deep.

I worked as an administrative assistant for a local company. I can honestly say that I liked my work, but didn’t particularly care for the majority of the people or the cut-throat attitudes that were seen across the departments.

They claimed from the beginning that it was a family oriented workplace. I am quite sure that we held different ideals of what ‘family’ is.

They claimed that they were a ‘fair’ company. There were many rules; many rules that only certain individuals had to follow. The rules did not apply to everyone; only those that would not conform to their way of thinking.

I had a hard time playing their games.

It may appear that I come across as a scorned ‘restructured-out-of-a-job-employee’ but honestly, I am not.

I was actually advised by one higher-up to start documenting; to take videos and/or pictures.

Discrimination runs wild within that work place, although they claim the opposite.

I considered hiring an attorney as suggested by a supervisor, but after much consideration I chose my battles.

I knew I wanted more than that 9-5; I knew that deep down. I did not know what I wanted, but I knew I wanted more.

I remember the anxiety when I felt it coming. They tried to hide it. I remember all of the closed door meetings.

My intuition has been proved correct many times; a gift or a curse, I haven’t decided yet.

I remember talking to my friend; a coworker. I told her they were going to fire me. She thought I was over-reacting.

I wasn’t.

Apparently it is custom to let people go on Friday’s. I believe it was Tuesday or Wednesday. I walked into my supervisor’s supervisors’ office and I closed the door.

I took a risk in the event that my intuition was wrong.

I told him that I did not want to wait until Friday.

“I know you are going to let me go. I ask that you do it now. Give me that. Don’t make me walk the guillotine.”

Within an hour, I was in the HR office. They called it ‘restructuring’.

I called it saving face.

It is what it is.

The first few weeks that I was jobless, I went through the usual self-pity; woe is me. I believe this is par for the course, but there is a time limit on this; a time limit on self-pity before it throws you into despair. I knew this.

This obstacle became one of the best things that has ever happened to me because as I said earlier it forced me to reflect on myself.

I had a lengthy talk with my husband. He suggested I go back to college. I thought about statistics. I dreaded statistics.

He suggested I follow my heart and my dreams. He gave me the freedom to fly.

I enrolled in SUNY Empire Distance Learning and majored in Human Services. I was going to attempt to get my Bachelors of Science.

When I majored in Human Services, I never expected to learn so much about myself; this is honest. I was able to choose many of my own classes in this field and honestly, some of the classes were difficult from a personal standpoint: Grief & Loss, Human Development, Attachment, etc. I wanted to learn and understand the world around me and the people within it. What I didn’t expect was to learn about myself along the way; my life, my choices and everything in between.

I also procrastinated with Statistics. It was still a degree requirement that I could not avoid.

I hated that!!

I put off Stats until the final semester; the final semester that I took extra classes in order to finish early.

That semester my husband was in a bad car accident. It brought back a lot of fear of accidents (read ‘The Fork in the Road’). It was slightly challenging from an emotional standpoint.

Honestly, I was lost in Stats about the 2nd chapter in. I knew I needed help and yet, I didn’t want to ask for help.

There comes a point in life when you realize you have to ask for help. If you negate this than I would probably think you are in denial; for no one can do everything ‘well’ on their own.

I received an extension from my professor.

There were times when I cried out of sheer frustration. I knew I needed this class in order to graduate.

Maybe I should be completely honest….

My cousin is married to a previous Statistics professor. I spoke to him about doing the work for me and paying him.

I had a conversation with my oldest son in the kitchen one night about this after he heard my proposal.

He said, “Mom, I know you think you can’t do this, but you can. I know you can. And I know you. If you go down this path, you will never feel good about it. You need to dig deep and do it yourself. You can do it.”

I didn’t sleep well that night.

Deep down, I knew he was so right.

It was about integrity.

I wanted integrity.

I respect integrity.

I needed integrity.

I called my cousin the following day. I told her nevermind.

Come hell or high water I would figure out a way to do this; with integrity.

I called the college and got a tutor. The tutor didn’t work fast enough to meet my extension deadline. It was the only class needed to obtain my Bachelors.

There was a point when I got so frustrated that I considered just giving up. I remember sitting in my computer room and putting my head down on the desk and sobbing. I was so frustrated. I hated statistics more than anything. It was such a challenge.

I wanted a cheerleading team, but nobody understood how deep the statistics challenge ran with me.

We can have encouragers and cheerleaders throughout many times of our trials, but there comes a point when we have to stand up and do it for ourselves; this is honest and this is real. Perhaps not what we want to hear, but it is truth.

I knew that deep down; this one was up to me.

I needed to dig deep, very deep. I needed to get over my fear. I needed to overcome statistics and everything it represented in my life from birth.

A child of divorce…..

A child that grows up in an abusive home…

A child that is taught fear and condemnation of God….

A child that is molested…

A child that is raped…

A woman that married into abuse…

A widow of four small children….

A blended family….

The list goes on…

Statistics ticked me off. I hated stats! I wanted so badly to break away from the statistics.

I did not want to be in the negative.

I did not want my past to dictate my future.

I dug deep; very deep.

I stayed up late working on stats. I Googled how-to’s. I paid money for an online tutor because my SUNY Empire tutor could only meet with me once a week.

I needed to propel. I needed to climb out of being stuck. I found a quote that self-encouraged.

I needed this.

No one could do this for me; I knew this.

Deep down, I knew this.

There just comes a point in your life when it is all up to you. Where you can no longer stay stuck in the past unless you are willing to let it eat you up and throw you into a padded cell. I never wanted that; for I am a survivor.

I am a thriver.

I have had many times in my life when I realized this and yet statistics was such a challenge.

Many tears were shed for this class.

There came a point when my instructor told me that I had a ‘B’ without the final.

I remember thinking, “Holy Cow, a ‘B’, I can take that.”

And yet, I thought why not try to do the final project?

What if I kicked its ass?

What if I got an ‘A’ in the most challenging class of my life?

I dug deeper.

I completed the final project and the professor sent me a message.

“Your final grade is 91 or A-. Go drink your champagne. I am going to submit your grade.”

Climbing mountains throughout life is often challenging. But climbing personal mountains that other people cannot/do not understand is even bigger. It’s pretty cool when other people amaze you, but when you amaze yourself and you push yourself to succeed at something that runs deep, well that’s pretty damn awesome!

I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Human Services in the spring of this year (2014).

I faced every fear. I faced every laugh head on. I faced my own self-doubt.

I DID IT!!

I wanted encouragement. I needed encouragement. But at the end of the day, I had to do it myself.

It was all up to me; and to do it with integrity.

I DID IT!!

And you know what else I did?

I figured out what I wanted to do along the journey. Perhaps my life experiences were not all about me..

Perhaps it was to give me understanding or empathy to others.

I’m not sure.

I knew I wanted to keep going. Originally I wanted to go for my Masters in Social Work, but the more I looked into it, the more I knew I wanted a different avenue.

I love the idea of limitations.

Because honestly, who decides where the limitations are?

I love the idea of exceeding the impossible.

We all have our own interpretation of ‘impossible’.

Statistics was mine and it was very personal.

Some may understand this.

Some may not.

The thing is, you never know… you have to come to a place in your life where you have to evaluate your own limitations. You have to think who placed the limitations on you?

Yourself?

Others?

Society?

I graduated college this spring and I applied to graduate school, but this is another story…..

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

He came to steal, kill and destroy….

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I was taught religion early on. I learned about Satan. He came to steal, kill and destroy. I have heard many fire and brimstone sermons on Satan throughout my life. But honestly, I had a clear visual of what he looked like; I met him when I was young.

I lived in a yellow house when I was born. My father and grandfather built the yellow house. It was the first house that I lived in. I lived there about 5 years.  

I remember the creeks.

There was a creek next to my yellow house. My neighbors on the other side of the creek had 2 or 3 little girls my age. I played with them from time to time. I remember running over the little bridge to play with them.

There was another creek close to my house. It was on the way to Grandma and Papa’s house. I remember walking over to their house often.

There was a big rock on the edge of that creek. I remember sitting on that rock a lot when I was little. The rock was strong and did not budge. I remember sitting on my big rock and watching the peaceful water flow by me. 

When my parents separated, I lost the yellow house with the magical creeks.

My mother moved into an apartment.

My father moved into an apartment.

Separate apartments.

Life got very complicated when I lost my yellow house. I was very young and I was very confused.

My mom’s boyfriend moved in the apartment next door to hers. That was very difficult.

From the beginning,

I did not like him. He was well aware of this.

He did not like me either. I was well aware of this.

He was not a nice man. Although he pretended to be nice when my mom was around, but the minute she left, he was Satan.

My first memory of him was putting my brother and me on the school bus. I believe I was five.

I told him I hated him.

He swore all the time. He swore at me a lot. In the beginning, he only did this when my mother was not around. It took him a while before he did this in front of her.

I was a “stupid fucking little bitch with a big mouth” from the time I was 5; according to him.

I never knew what hate was until I met him. He was very good at hate. He was a teacher of hate.

It was early morning. My mom left for work. She chose him to put us on the school bus. He was in our apartment. He called me a stupid little bitch. I had never been called a stupid little bitch. I looked right at him and I was honest with him.

“I hate you!”

I remember he grabbed me. He said something about my mouth; like he was one to talk. He put soap in my little mouth. I remember I did not let him see me cry. I remember I wanted to rinse out my mouth. I knew the bus was coming. He refused to let me spit. I held the soapy spit in my mouth until the bus came. He stood there and made sure I got on the bus without spitting. I refused to cry. I would not let him have my tears. I got on the bus and spit on the bus floor; then I cried. It was the beginning of my hell.

I wish I could say that my mom noticed that he was Satan and she broke up with him, but she did not notice; she married him instead.

I hated that they forced me to call him ‘Dad’ once they were married. He was not a ‘Dad’ to anyone – ever.

We moved shortly after they were married. It was in the next town over from where I had lived.

I only have a few memories from the house in the next town over.

We had a dog. There was a basement with stairs leading up to the house. I remember when he kicked the dog. He kicked her like she was a football. She went flying down the basement stairs. She cried a long time. I cried too; as I hid in my closet.

By the time I made it to third grade, they had bought a house back in my home town. There are a lot of bad memories from this house.

He rarely worked so my mom worked three jobs at times just to scrape by. I rarely saw her. When she was home, she was tired. She was tired a lot. I remember desperately hoping she wouldn’t take a nap when she came home from work.

I wanted her to save me.

I wanted her to notice.

Maybe if she was home…

Maybe if she wasn’t tired…

Maybe then she would see who he really was; how he really was.

He didn’t have a lot of friends. I only remember one.

His one friend was just as evil as he was. I remember him visiting one day. I was about 12. I was just starting to go through puberty. I remember him laughing at me. I remember him laughing and telling me to parade around the table. They were talking about my body; my ‘mosquito bites’. I refused to walk around the table, but that didn’t stop either one of them from talking about my developing body.

From the time I was around 5 until the time I was around 13, I lived with this abuse. There was a lot of abuse; a lot of abuse that nobody noticed.

He was very good at hiding it and he was very good at not letting me have alone time with my mom. He was afraid I would tell on him. He was always threatening me about telling her. He made sure I never got an opportunity.

The thing is I know why he hated me. I pushed him. I dared him to try me. He knew this. I wanted nothing more than to get him out of our lives for good. I tried very hard, but he never crossed the line far enough with me. I never had enough ammunition to get rid of him. And honestly it wasn’t my choice. I finally realized this; this is when I left.

I couldn’t live with it anymore. I was getting older and I was getting bolder. If nobody was going to notice, then I would leave. I told my mom I wanted to go live with my dad; my real dad. I just could not live with the Crazy anymore.

It was very hard to tell her that I couldn’t live there anymore. I don’t think she understood just how crazy it was when she wasn’t home. Honestly, by the time I left, I don’t think I even tried to explain. I just wanted out. I wanted to run far, far away and never look back.

My last altercation with him was when I returned to my mom’s house at 15, but that is another story….

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I came home to New York for the final time; for a maybe.

wedding

I gave up believing in the perfect person years ago. It was a complex lesson, but it was a much needed lesson.

And at the end of this lesson, I understood what unconditional love really meant.

I came back to New York for a ‘maybe’.

This is my ‘maybe’ story.

According to text books, I should not have moved to Louisiana after the death of my first husband, Eric.

I don’t always choose to follow text books recommendations.

Sometimes I follow my heart. It is a path that not all understand.

We shared a lot of stories long distance. I spoke to him on the phone from time to time. We were good friends.

He knew Eric had died. He knew I had to leave.

I remember the day he called me and told me he was coming to visit me.

“I think I’m gonna come visit you.”

I laughed and said, “Okay, come on down. I will take you to New Orleans. It’s not that far.”

Honestly, when he told me he was coming down; I imagined he may actually come in about six months. It wasn’t like him to jump on a plane and come half way across the country to see a woman on a whim. He is a practical man; most of the time.

His next words surprised me. I remember being surprised.

He told me he would be coming down in a few days. I had no idea he had already purchased tickets. I was shocked, but I was excited.

I picked him up at the airport in New Orleans. We talked a lot. He worked on my bathroom. I remember him helping me install a new floor.

I had known Aaron all my life. I knew his story. We had graduated together years before; a whopping graduating class of 16.  We had some history; not much, but some.

I had seen him casually that fall of 2000.

Neither of us wanted commitment. Neither of us wanted much from each other. I was waiting for a miracle. I think he was too.

I remember the moment. It shocked me.

He tackled me; laughing. He hugged me and said, “How does Christine [insert his last name here] sound?”

It was a game changer.

I remember I got upset at first. I sat up. I told him that wasn’t something to joke about. An impromptu proposal wasn’t a joking matter; not at this point in my journey. There was a lot involved with that idea.

I asked him if he was serious.

He said “Maybe…..”

I remember taking him back to New Orleans to catch his flight back to New York. We spent a few days there. We had a lot of fun walking around that old city.

He constantly kept asking me what time it was.  He had his watch off. It was lying in the console of the car. We were driving around; wasting the last of our hours together.

Perhaps it was my learned obsession with clock watching, but I did the opposite that day.

I threw his watch out the window; on the streets of New Orleans.

Time stopped.

He laughed. He called me crazy and he held my hand.

His missed his flight that day.

We went back to my house. We tried to figure out what came next.

I remembered his ‘maybe’.

We had a long talk about the future. I was not comfortable moving my children halfway across the country for a ‘maybe’. It was a huge risk for a lot of people that were involved.

He told me that he couldn’t commit at that moment to forever. He told me he had come to Louisiana to know for sure. He wanted to take our relationship to the next level; we both agreed on this, but there was also honesty; and a maybe. I have always loved his honesty.

I sold my house to friends quickly. He helped me pack. We got a Ryder truck. Things came along easier and faster than either he or I anticipated, at first.

Within a few days, Aaron and I embarked on a cross country road trip with my four children.

I came home to New York for the final time; for a maybe.

There are a lot of memories from this road trip. There were bad storms.

I remember the tornados. We saw the funnel clouds form as we drove down that interstate.

He drove the Ryder truck. I followed him in my car.

I remember thinking I was nuts.

Who does this? Who drives across country with four children for a ‘maybe’ through tornadoes?

I did. So did he.

I called him on my cell at one point. The emergency broadcast system was on every single radio station. I couldn’t escape it. My fear was running rapid.  I begged him to stop.

I remember all of the cars under the overpasses. I remember the fear.

Things flew in the air. A huge chunk of wood hit the Ryder. We pulled over for a while.

We made it through that storm, but it wasn’t the only challenge.

We stopped at a gas station to fill up. I drove over one of those little holes where they put the gasoline in storage underground. It caught on my exhaust system. Almost six feet of pipe came off from the under-rear of my car. It is the only time I drove a Harley.

We made it to New York within a few days.

I wouldn’t classify it as easy. He doesn’t either.

He told me from the get-go. He told me he wasn’t sure. He told me he needed to know for sure. This is why I chose to give it a trial run; this is why I chose to come home for a ‘maybe’.

I understood his point of view. I had a lot of weight on my shoulders – we both knew this. It was a big decision; a huge commitment.

About a year later, he proposed.

We have been married over ten years now. It wasn’t perfect. It was challenging at times. We both made mistakes. We have had struggles. We separated twice.

The first time was when I lost Christa (She was my step-mother).  She died of a rare terminal disease. She was not supposed to die. I did not believe she would die.

Emotionally, I fell off a cliff with that loss. It threw me into a tailspin. I questioned every value I had, every value I had been taught. I questioned faith. I questioned life. I questioned myself.

We separated again mutually a few years later. We thought we were just too different.

It never worked though; our separations. There was a night that he had come over late at night; one of many. I remember the words.

“What are we doing?”

I really wanted to believe in him. I wanted him to be perfect. I wanted him to magically restore my belief in love.

I held a high bar. I set the bar too high honestly.

I was afraid of being hurt. All he wanted was to love me and be loved in return.

Truth is, there is no such thing as perfect. Even the most ‘perfect’ love hurts sometimes; I believe this. I realized that somewhere along the way. I took down the bar. I loved him. He loved me in return.

It hasn’t always been an easy road; for telling you that would be lying. But I can say that it has been all worth it. He is not perfect. Neither am I. But our love is imperfectly ‘perfect’.

Sometimes, “Maybe” is worth the risk…..

 

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful…..

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I have recently received two nominations for The Liebster Award. My sincerest thank you to http://altercationsofagirlwithgumption.wordpress.com/  & http://goingagainstthestereotype.wordpress.com/. Thank you ladies, for not only reading my stories, but for the nominations!

 

The Liebster Award is an award for new bloggers and helps others blogger’s ‘discover’ the newbies.

The Rules
1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers.
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post
8. Inform the blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it

I am answering both sets of questions in one post (killing two birds with one stone – the most efficient way; although I am writing figuratively, not literally. I don’t literally kill birds).

First set of questions as asked by http://goingagainstthestereotype.wordpress.com/:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? There are so many places that I have not discovered; it is a difficult question. I am happy where I am, but I wouldn’t mind living in Belize. What could be better than my own citrus orchard and no snow? Heaven on a stick!
  2. When did you realize you wanted to write a blog? It was a suggestion by another. I really wanted to just start with a story; my story.
  3. Do you have any kids? I am a mother to many – not just my blood. So yes, I have kids.
  4. Big family or only child? I have one brother and two half-sisters (one from each parent). Though I hate the word ‘half’…. it’s irrelevant really.
  5. What is your favorite meal? Lasagna or Lobster – I’m flexible.
  6. Do you like or dislike school? I enjoy learning.
  7. What is your escape? Canoeing, painting, art projects, diy.
  8. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you got older? A mother.
  9. How many of your friends/family know about your blog? Many; I’m an open book.
  10. Do you love brand names or are you a “plain Jane”? Neither ;)
  11. Why did you start your blog? To start my book; to tell my story.

Second set of questions as asked by http://altercationsofagirlwithgumption.wordpress.com/:

1. What’s your go-to snack food? Chips & dip works, but I’m not too picky.

2. Country or City? Why? Country to live, city to visit. Why not?

3. Who is your idol? Why?  I admire Socrates and Einstein. Why? Because their words and ideas have made me mull (think).

4. Dogs or Cats? Dogs.

5. Favorite childhood memory? A vacation once when I was young up in Northern, remote Canada. It was beyond magical.

6. Do you put your ketchup on your fries or do you dip them on the side? On the side; unless I’m at a carnival, festival etc., then I dump it all on – vinegar, salt, ketchup. YUM!

7. If you could go back to high school, would you? Knowing what I know now? Why not…

8. Favorite social media site? I wouldn’t label it a favorite, just the only one I use: FB

9. Do you watch/read/listen to the news? Why? Why not? From time to time, but not the common ones (FOX, CNN, etc). I try to find unbiased and real news – not what they try to feed us.

10. Why did you start a blog? To start writing my story.

 

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I always order my bacon extra crispy.

2. I love boots.

3. I got stuck briefly on my father’s roof while painting his house one summer.

4. I listen to classical music while I write.

5. I dye my hair with henna.

6. I hate politics.

7. I am a firework fanatic.

8. I dislike malls.

9. I am not a fan of winter in Western New York.

10. My first kiss was a disaster.

11. Since 18, I have shrunk almost two inches.

NOMINATIONS

1. Going Against The Stereotype

2. Altercations Of A Girl With Gumption

3. A Stroke of Good Fortune

4. Miss Confident Lady

5. Chaos and Clementines

Questions for my nominees…

1. What do you think is the greatest personality trait anyone could have?

2. Why did you start your blog?

3. What sustains you through the darkest of times?

4. Have you known loss?

5. Have you known love?

6. Are you aware of your regrets or do you believe in the quote “no regrets”?

7. Sweet or salty?

8. One word that can sum up your personality?

9. If someone magically offered you an ‘Easy’ button to life, would you take it if you knew there would be less joy as well?

10. Would you ride the donkey on the edge of the Grand Canyon trails or would you choose your own two feet?

11. What is the biggest dream that you currently have?

College; round two…..

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Quitting college and moving back to a small town is almost worse than not going to college at all. I was very aware of the talk. Boy, can small towns talk. This is a con of small town living.

I was surprised to learn that many of my classmates didn’t end up going to college after all. A few did. Some had returned shortly after leaving; as I did.

I wasn’t sure what to do when I returned. I became trained as a CNA. I got a job at a nursing home.

It was not my cup of tea.

I am thankful that we all have strengths in different areas; for this is not one of my strengths. I had no idea how much more I would grow to hate nursing homes through the course of my life, but that is a combination of other stories.

I saw a different part of life working there. This wasn’t my first job at a nursing home, but it was my first working directly with the patients. I think I was there about a year before I quit.

I quit soon after having to body bag an elderly woman that had died.

It took me a long time to make it back to college.

I wanted to go after I had gotten discharged from the military. My first husband initially laughed at my proposal. When he realized I was serious, he became very angry. He told me, “Over my dead body”.  It became a fight.

I wondered later on, through the years, what he was afraid of. I wondered why he was afraid of letting me fly. I resented him for trying to cage me.

Honestly, I didn’t fight too hard though. I had a full plate and I was well aware of that.

You see, life didn’t just stop when I quit college. Life became very full.

In that space between college attempt one and college attempt two, there had been a lot of life.

College wasn’t priority. Life became priority.

I made it back to college when my youngest started school.

I had made my last cross country trip back to New York a few years prior. I chose to come back for a ‘maybe’. This is another story.

I enrolled in my local community college part time; less than a week before the start of classes.

It was very humbling returning to college the second time. I baby-stepped.  I changed my major a few times. I tried to find my niche. I wanted to find my niche. I have always wanted to be a good mom; to have a good marriage. That took precedence in my life; the most valued. It is not all that I wanted though.

My final choice in majors was Human Services.

I attended a satellite campus of my local community college. I chose this avenue. I knew I was baby-stepping. I was comfortable with this choice.

While it is difficult to be the non-traditional, returning to college, adult student; I remember feeling relieved that I was not alone. There were others there. A few remain good friends of mine; even today.

It wasn’t always easy. There were some challenges along the way. There was a lot of pressure from society and some family to just ‘get it done’.

It wasn’t that easy.

I understand many do not get this philosophy. We all walk in our own shoes. This was my walk; my shoes.

Honestly, looking back it was an uphill battle trying to finish something I started twenty some years before.

There were some setbacks.

One of my mothers had died in this time; I had been blessed to have two. That was beyond a challenge; I had a strong attachment to her. I withdrew from all classes when she died. I returned the following semester.

My brother had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in this time. After his surgery, he ended up contracting meningitis. He almost died from meningitis. I had made a few trips to Virginia to see him. I was so scared that it would be the last time.

My oldest child had a severe snowboarding accident. He had gone with the school ski club. I was not with him. We had gotten the call. It was serious. He had ruptured his spleen. They wanted to operate immediately. I had him transferred to a children’s hospital. He was in ICU for a while. He remained in the children’s hospital for a little over a week. It was beyond scary.

There were other challenges as well.

I remember the day one of my children broke down crying in the cafeteria because his elementary teacher mentioned his father.

I remember choosing to hold back one of my children in kindergarten because he needed extra time.

I remember the challenges of the blended family. There were a lot and it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t always know what to do and I made some mistakes.

Statistics was a major challenge. If you have been following along in my writing, you may have noticed mention of ‘statistics’.

I have been aware of statistics since a young age. I hated the statistics. I hated being placed in statistics. I hated seeing myself in those numbers. I hated when people brought up statistics. It was always in a negative manner. It was always a limitation. The layman never looks beyond statistics. I knew that my hatred of statistics ran deeper than the numbers.

Statistics was part of my degree requirement. I was not happy about that. I tried twice. The first time I attempted was the semester that one of my mothers had died. My stats professor had died too; of cancer. I withdrew that semester.

The second time I attempted I think it was online. I was confused and frustrated. I hated statistics. I withdrew again.

It took me about four years to get through a two year school. I never did get my Associates degree because I lacked statistics.

I put it on the back burner and did what everyone else does; I got a job….

 

© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.