Lose/lose Situations

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you JUST KNOW that there isn’t a good way out? Like, you will make it through but every choice will hurt you in some way?

I am in a situation right now that is just going to suck no matter what happens. I have someone in my life that is slowly bleeding me.

It was subtle at first. I didn’t even notice, I am such a people pleaser that doing for them was not unusual or a red flag of any kind. Except that the more I gave the more they took. Human nature to take the path of least resistance, it doesn’t make us bad people because I believe it is just how humans are wired. So, hurtful but not surprising that it was never enough for this person.

Fast forward to today. I am doing WAY too much for this person. Not only that, it is just expected now, not even a question. And more. Not expected more, but “one more favor” more. My life and plans are just not consequential to the asking or the doing. And I am done…with everything.

Here is where the lose/lose comes in. It is already happening, I am feeling guilty about wanting to have my own life back. I am guilty for wanting this all to end. I feel like I didn’t do enough, I could have done more. None of that is true. In the long run putting my foot down will help everyone. It doesn’t make it any less stressful, though.

If I DON’T put my foot down, it will just get worse and I won’t be able to live with myself. It will cost me mentally, it will cost me in other relationships, it will probably cost me physically and in my ability to do my job effectively. When making a pros and cons list, there really isn’t a choice at all!

My life is on track finally and I have to fight to keep it like that. Nothing worth having is easy, right? Even though I haven’t physically been to church because of COVID-19, God has my back and I feel his presence. I know that no matter what happens He will get me through it.

So…I pick door number one…the lesser of two evils! Look forward to a blog post (or 5!) as this plays out. It is going to be bad 😦

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Aman-Splaining

Sitting at my happy place and reading blog posts is making me question my life. It is too early for this! Drinking my coffee at the beach is supposed to be a mindless adventure…what the hell, Amanda?!

I am “doing the work” to become a more well-rounded human. I am asking myself why whenever a thought comes into my head. Like, when you invite someone over and clean like a mad person but then say “don’t mind the mess” so they will actually look at all the cleaning you did. And for the record, I don’t do that! I may tidy up before you come over the first time but then I am all about transparency…as in, you should know that I eat dinner in the living room and don’t bring my plate and silverware to the kitchen until the next day because I only have enough silverware for a day or two and I need to wash it!

No. What I question is when I am telling someone something that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but I feel the unbreakable pull to explain. When my son was little, he had this habit of telling me a drawn out story instead of just answering the question and I would say to him, “Just the facts, Jack” (Meet the Parents…if you haven’t seen it then we can’t be friends…) It is a disease…like ‘man-splaining’…’aman-splaining’?! Do you think guys get that they do that? I truly think I ‘aman-splain’ stuff because I am just the smartest person in the Universe so how could anyone else possibly understand without my input?

No one cares. If they want a novel they will buy one on Amazon. Or as my step Dad used to like to ask…Do you just like to hear yourself speak?! If people want more information they usually ask. And let’s be real, I am not the smartest person in the universe and people are GENERALLY smart enough to figure things out. If they are confused they will ask. Plus, it isn’t like I EVER talk about anything major!

So today, my goal is to say “just the facts, Jack” and not think I have to explain every little thing. Worse comes to worse, the cats always listen when I feel the need to hear myself talk 🤣🤣🤣

Fire is the devil’s only friend…not mine!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am afraid of fire. No…I am TERRIFIED of fire. It is a funny story really…

When I was a little kid (like really little…I don’t know, 4?) my brother and my cousin were playing with matches. Under the bed. As a grown up, that is so bad and so dangerous! But as a kid, I was a little awestruck actually. I thought they were so amazing and cool already. My Mom, however, did not think it was cool OR amazing. Actually, she kind of flipped out! Her response was to show them how dangerous fire is by burning them. BURNING THEM! Some 70’s child discipline right there, right?! She burned their fingers on the stove so they would never forget that fire is painful and dangerous. The funny thing is that my brother and my cousin both grew up to smoke so it wasn’t effective for them. I, on the other hand, still can’t handle fire. I can’t light a match. I can’t light a lighter. I can’t even stand too close to a bonfire without having heart palpitations about it. As a matter of fact, I have a fireplace in my home and there is a TV in front of it BECAUSE I WILL NEVER USE IT!

So someone needs to pat me on the back or high five me or something because I did something super scary and something super cool today. I lit my own charcoal grill. Yup, you heard that right. I LIT A GRILL WITH FIRE. I cooked 6 turkey burgers so that I didn’t waste the charcoal. And I cried. I am not going to apologize, it was such a big deal for me! I will probably not cook on the grill again but I can now. I was not sure I could do it but my friend knew I could. He encouraged me and honestly I only did it because I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t even try. Peer pressure, am I right?!

Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is that fire is a metaphor for life. It is so scary to go out and do something instead of just putting my chair far enough away from the bonfire so I could still enjoy the warmth and hear the crackling but not close enough to smell the wood burning or have my cheeks turn red from the heat. Or risk getting burned by the fire. Sometimes life is dangerous like fire and sometimes I get burned. I can’t play it safe all the time, I have to light the grill sometimes. I can walk through life and watch people do things or I can try to do them myself. I might get burned but I might learn how to do something cool like lighting a grill. And who doesn’t want to be a cool grill master?!

Is it really black or white?!

I am literally sitting at the beach right now and I don’t want to leave! The air is cool and the ocean sounds and smells are surrounding me like a warm hug as I sit on the sand.

I have been thinking about my life and my relationships this morning. I have been talking to this guy and we are making plans to meet soon (socially distanced, of course). There is my former crush that I am definitely not over even though I am forcing myself to move on. And then my biggest relationship, with Jesus. I have been ignoring Him, too; it is almost like I don’t want to disappoint Him because I am looking for something.

But is Jesus ever really disappointed in me? All my Christian friends would tell me that God loves all his children and nothing can turn Him away. I am not 100% sure I buy all that, though. And it is almost like I am a willful child who is doing stuff that I KNOW will push the limits of His love for me. I mean, as I mentioned before I am not interested in remarriage. It has ended badly for me twice, first time shame on you and second time shame on me, right?! I am absolutely looking for a man to share my blessings with, though.

Having God in my life keeps me in check so I don’t put the cart before the horse physically so I guess I am not completely off the deep end with my search. Every text or phone conversation feels like I am sinning, though. My black or white mentality is big and strong right now!!

I suppose the bottom line is this…having conversations with someone I want to maybe spend more time with is not wrong and if I get to the point that I want it to go farther I will have to work through that THEN. All this talk about finding what makes me truly happy means nothing at all without Jesus in my ❤

My bucket list

I am on this path of self awareness and I am trying to find out what makes me happy.  Truly happy. As I said in past posts, I lost sight of what works to make me sincerely satisfied with my life. 

I have, of course, been reading about self awareness and self gratitude, trying to find how that looks in my existence here on this Earth.  One of the articles I read recently talked about having a bucket list of things.  So what should go on my bucket list, anyway? Should I have stuff from Connecticut or should I have stuff out of Connecticut? How about two bucket lists?!

I don’t like the name bucket list so I am going to come up with something new. How about In State Awesome and Out of State Awesome? In state awesome would be stuff that would speak to my heart and my soul. LIke my walks to the beach do. And going out to Trivia Night on Tuesdays at La Boca Restaurant. I am also thinking I want to try Ax throwing 🙂 You are supposed to be part of a group for that so I may have to wait on that one. I don’t want stuff that I have to pay a lot for so I have thrown in hiking and I already talked about fishing. I didn’t find any nightcrawlers when I went out but I want to try again. It was raining that day so maybe the worms were hanging out underground? Another thing I want to try is hunting. I know that may be weird but I have thought about getting my pistol permit for a while so why not? Karaoke? Visiting the wine tour in Guilford has been something I have wanted to do. This is such a broad list but sadly enough I truly don’t know what makes me happy anymore!

There are things that I wanted to do but I was told that I wouldn’t be able to. I was afraid to try because if I failed I would be met with “I told you so” and also I already felt like a failure most of the time so why would I want to fail? I flew to Montana all by myself and it was okay. It was more than okay, actually it was fun and I didn’t even fail!!!! Riding a bike is one of those things, I don’t know if it is something I even want to do but it is totally something I want to try to do. I am starting to sound like a crazy person hahahaha!

For the Out of State Awesome list, I just need to go. I wanted to go to Oregon to visit with Ryan, Sarah and the kids (plus Jenny and Nancy!), plus I wanted to go visit my Uncle and Aunt in Texas. When Veronica moves out of Hawaii I want to visit her, too. Albuquerque sounds like a fantastic place and my Aunt Jan lives there! I want to go to the Cliff Walk in Rhode Island. That was something I did with Al but it wasn’t about walking or exercising. It was where we went on our first date and the few times we went there it was to spend the weekend and eat out, the Cliff Walk was just something we did. Except that I really liked it! I used to bring the kids there when I had time off. My friend Lisa suggested Maine and I asked my friend Mary to go with me. Another friend said the Cape. How terrible is it that I honestly thought about Map Questing where there were Walmart stores so I could sleep in my car in the parking lot? I want to be able to go out of Connecticut but I am not sure I want to pay to do a long weekend anywhere and there are only so many days I can take off. I want to learn about what makes me happy but not if it is ruining my financial plans. I want to be able to retire at a decent age, plus I want to buy an RV so I can travel. I honestly had a plan to get a job as one of those pet and house sitters so I could just live in strange and exotic places and have enough money to eat. I want to keep that goal!!

I guess the bottom line is I don’t want to completely go of the rails but I do need to to go a little off! I guess when I am learning how to be Amanda I can’t forget that using my house savings to live off because we hadn’t properly prepared for an emergency was the worst feeling in the world. Having a financial plan is SO important, too!!!

Pie Face

Hey all! It has been a slow month for the most part but something kind of big did happen–I cut and dyed my hair. I went back and forth about the color I wanted to do. I have always chosen red because it looks good with my complexion so it is “safe.” This time, however, I went bold. I did full blonde highlights. My hairdresser assures me that if I like it we can just keep adding more and if I don’t it will be easier to return to brown instead of just straight dying blonde. I love it though so adding more it is!

I had not really considered blonde. I told myself it was because it was just too drastic of a change. I didn’t want to be one of those women who has brown hair one day and blonde the next time you see them. When I really thought about it though, it was none of those things. It was a worm that had been planted in my brain a long time ago from someone I was desperate to hold onto. He had told me that if I ever dyed my hair blonde he would break up with me since his ex and his ex wife were both blonde. So I never did. Never even thought about it, the reasoning was sound and I was not willing to ruin something just to be able to say I had gone blonde once. But this time, when my daughter asked me to go blonde I jumped at the chance to try it.

It looks amazing, like I knew it would. Honestly, I definitely think the reason I was told not to go blonde was because he KNEW it would look good and didn’t want that. He wanted me to look good, just not TOO GOOD after all.

So all is well in Amanda-Town, right? Not exactly. The hairdresser straightened my hair after she colored and cut it. It looks amazing. I straighten it myself now because it just looks too good not to. Everyone tells me how much younger I look (not that I look old but I am close to 50!). But deep down inside, I hate it straight. I like the natural messy waves my hair has when left to it’s own devices. Sure, I look like I am pushing 50 or like I just got out of a Jeep with the top down. But I like it. It is comfortable. Looking younger is overrated anyway. What gives?!

One of my friends asked me why I liked it better wavy and I couldn’t really say, but of course I overthought about it until I had the answer. It is because it makes me feel like I have a big face! I was told (coincidentally from the same person who told me not to go blonde) that I had a pie face (round and fat, like a big ole pie!) and there were only certain hair cuts and styles I should even consider wearing. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that thinking I have a big face is crazy. I don’t actually even think that! But it is still another worm that has been living in my brain waiting. Frank talked to the worms and reminded me that I could not pull off blonde hair or the haircut. Frank has reminded me how good the red looks or even if I wanted to stay brown haired and just cover the greys it would look good, too. Frank tells me that I have lost a bunch of weight and I am moving in the right direction so why would I ruin that by doing something that is probably not going to look good? Except Frank can go back into his room in the back of my mind on this one because I say, “Shut up Frank!”

If the year 2020 has taught me anything it is that life is too short not to take chances. I am (trying!) to ignore Frank when he starts whispering in my ear. I am not always going to be able to ignore him but this time I am. I am a pie face with blonde hair and I am proud. Take that, Frank!

Professional Room Temperature Checker

Once upon a time there was a girl who only thought of herself and how to make herself happy and comfortable. She was selfish without realizing, she honestly believed that by taking care of her own destiny she would be making everyone around her content as well. “You can’t love others without loving yourself”…”you can’t make people happy without being happy with you”…”you do you” and all those cliches. People around her pointed it out (a boyfriend dedicated the song Cold As Ice by Foreigner to her at a club during a fight) or they followed her around like the goddess she just knew she was. Life was good. Or was it?!

All the narcissism was an act to cover the fact that she didn’t feel important or needed. Fake it till you make it was the true cliche she lived by–she just knew someday she would find the person who would make her want to care about someone other than herself. She even got married right away so she could have a reason to put someone else first. She didn’t know that at the time, just like she didn’t know that caring for her younger brother growing up instead of being a kid who was incapable of caring for others like a normal 4 year old was a huge reason for her codependency and whirlwind relationships.

Then she met someone who was so much more narcissistic and self important. Now, instead of being the rule maker and the front runner, SHE was the follower. She drank the kool-aid, she didn’t make a decision or have a thought without getting his superior opinion first. And again, she was unaware. She fell right in line with the belief that she was less than, she did not think twice about the fact that she had no original content anymore. She had finally found the person who she loved more than herself. The person she checked the temperature in the room for to be sure it was perfect. She could just put on a sweater or a short sleeve shirt if she was uncomfortable, how she felt was irrelevant.

When he left, she began to wake up. She looked around and realized she was temperature checking the room for everyone in it, she still felt like she was irrelevant. Even though she tried to go back to being the leader of the pack, she knew she wasn’t happy in that role.

She is still growing and changing, she always will be. She has found a new person to love and adore, except he doesn’t have a “love me fully or you are worthless” vibe surrounding him. And the funny thing is, she feels like she has known him her whole life. With all the “if I don’t take care of me no one will” decisions she had to make in her life, it is pretty clear that He was steering her then. She knows in her heart that everything that happens, every choice she has to make are put in front of her to help her become her best version of herself. She knows that when she is unsure or worried about something she can go to him and talk freely. And when life is good and things are going smoothly, she knows that He is steering that as well. Turns out He is always with her and always ready to listen. Life is good, for real this time.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope…Jeremiah 29:11

Whining isn’t cool!

Hi there! Long time no see, Friends! I want to talk about doubt and being afraid. Lots of stuff is in my world right now and I have been praying like crazy. It has been rough but I know God has plans for me. It is hard to remember that it isn’t always flowers and roses! I have kind of glimpsed at a piece of my future story and it is good. I want to hope and it seems like it is going to happen but I have to be honest, I am afraid to hope. I feel like God has always been there for me but I have had to figure it out by myself for a little while before he swooped in and fixed it. I have not been faithful and let God handle things because I didn’t really trust that He could do it for me. You know, the guy who made the whole Earth and all the creatures in it. The guy who has written the story of me and everyone I have ever met. Yea, that guy. Ok, tell me why I am wrong!

I also find myself thinking that so much bad has happened to me that I DESERVE for something good to happen. Um, Amanda–you DESERVE nothing. Who are you–Jeramiah?! You deserve to know and feel that God has you in his arms. You DESERVE to know that what ever happens, good or bad, God has planned it and is using it to better my life and my existence. Other than that, you don’t DESERVE anything.

Pastor Darren talked about how your life should have changed by being a follower of Jesus. He said that if your life didn’t change after you decided to follow Jesus then you didn’t really change. Well Duh! Except that it made perfect sense. It is one of those things that I should just KNOW, but like the warning on a cup of coffee that it is hot and will burn you if you spill it, it just isn’t as obvious.

I remember the moment I gave my life to Jesus for real. I had always been a Christian in name but not always in my heart. I had quit my full time job and put all my hope into the business I had started as a professional Pet Sitter. It was going well but then January came and so did all the bills. I needed to buy pet sitter’s insurance. I had to pay for my memberships to two different trade organizations. Not to mention everything else that goes along with starting a new business. It would all be okay, though–I had a decent tax refund and a big pet sitting job coming up so I would be all set. However I didn’t get that refund. And the big job canceled because someone was sick so I couldn’t in good faith even charge them the cancellation fee that I usually required. I borrowed money from everyone I know to pay for it all. I hustled to pick up jobs and I did everything I could think of. Except the one thing I should have done–prayed. After like 5 weeks of waiting for the check that never came, I finally broke down. I was crying in the shower because I didn’t want anyone to hear me (sign of weakness?!) and I told God that I get it finally. I told God that I give up and that I would give him control. I thanked Him for the opportunities I have been given. I felt drained and weak…but strangely peaceful. By giving up all my worries and fears, I was free to remember why I quit my full time job and why I was passionate about my new adventure. Even though the money wasn’t there I was still peaceful. It was weird. And a funny thing happened–the check I had been waiting for came the next day.

I had already “gotten it” with God but I still thank him every day. I definitely falter in my belief when things get really tough in my little world. (See above!) Ultimately, though, I will never forget how peaceful and confident I felt after that day in the shower. I guess I just have to remember to thank God and just know that He knows what the future holds. And keep praying!

I don’t deserve this…or do I?

I have taken a new position at work. I was actually pretty insecure and nervous about it. Although it is what I really want to do, it is SCARY since I am officially in charge of the cat rooms now. I mean, the Director knew I can handle it. She knew it would be okay even if I didn’t…she is so smart that way!

Have I mentioned how much I thank God for my job? I applied for the job and had the gall to tell the person I was applying to that I could not work the hours they had posted. I must be honest, I was not actually expecting her to offer me the job. The job fell into my lap TOO EASY. I mean, God is not THAT good to me! I prayed for this job and it just appeared for me. Seriously. I had not even applied anywhere yet! So I made it harder for God to make it work for me. And blast it, HE WAS NOT DETERRED!

I gave her alternate hours that would work for me and somehow they worked for her, too. Voila–God wanted it to work for me and it did. I have gotten a few different raises and added jobs here and there since then. Seriously–I keep trying to think of ways that this job is not PERFECT for me but I just can’t do it.

Recently, I lost a big account in my pet sitting company. I was worried about money, although I do try to give it to God when I start to spiral about it! Anyway, The Director offered me another job. (The job I referenced above actually) It came with a big raise that will cover the money I lost. I am working a bunch more, but it is okay because I don’t feel like I am working! And honestly, I KNOW I am the perfect person for this job. Thank you God for that as well!

Anyway, the point of my post is to say that I have tried in every way to say that I will mess up this job but God is not ready for that to happen. Isn’t it funny how when He decides it is right for me it is right?!

Giving the pen back to God

Something happened today that changed the way I am thinking about my life. The mailman knows my name. I am sure you are thinking, “so what”, right? It IS a big deal though. It is another sign from my God to remind me that there are plenty of options out there for me. Let me explain.

There are a few men I have been spending time with lately. None of them are perfect for me. They each have something that make them special to me but it doesn’t outweigh the thing (or things) that make them utterly wrong for me.

I have this need to make them perfect though. This need for companionship and the comfort of having someone to love. I am SURE that one of them is going to fill my need. I talked to my former Pastor about it and said that there was something that just wasn’t right. His response was maybe it was the Holy Spirit talking to me. I have to be honest, I brushed him off on that comment. Although I heard it and keep hearing it whenever something doesn’t “fit”, I was willfully ignoring it.

Then today I ran into the mailman getting out of his truck. He was getting a package out of the back and I kind of waited to see if it was for me. I haven’t ordered anything lately but the excitement of getting a package is irresistible, you know?! When I saw that it was a box from Target I knew it wasn’t for me. The mailman saw my face and said Nope, not for you. I get it, getting that last package is a thrill. I told him I hadn’t even ordered anything lately but still. And he said, “I did deliver a parcel to number 3 yesterday, so there is that…” The thing is, I never told him what apartment I lived in. So he knew who I was!

At first I was happy that I have lived somewhere long enough that the mailman knows me. There are so many ways that Westbrook has become home for me, that this apartment is like my Bat Cave–my secret paradise where I can be myself and there is no one here to judge me. Having the mailman know who I am was just one more way that I am where I belong.

Except the longer I think about it, the more I think that there is a completely different meaning behind the mailman knowing me. I think it is a message from God, actually. It is a message to remind me that I am worth more than just settling for someone who isn’t my version of perfect. A message to remind me that I am memorable and that God’s perfect match for me may still be out there. A message to remind me that I am trying too hard to make things work in my favor…I am trying to make things work when they just aren’t right right now.

I am not saying that one of these men isn’t going to be “the one.” But (as usual) I need to stop trying to take the pen away from the author of my story and make the ending work MY way. If that is how it is meant to me, He will write that into existence. If not, He will write that as well. Either way, I have to have faith that God has a plan and my job is to just wait for him to tell me. Message received, Father!

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”