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 ❤

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you know YOU?

I am beginning to have questions about my recent failed relationship so I figured I would share.

First question–was it really that good? I mean, I truly had a great time with my male friend. We did a bunch of fun stuff together. Except it was HIS fun stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS fun. So much fun! None of it was my idea though. As a side note I must confess that I don’t actually know what to do that is fun and adventurous. A list is called for, I think! Then the next time I find myself in amazing company I will have something to offer. But the bottom line is that in the short time we spent together the boat was clearly being steered by the captain and I was the first mate.

That brings me to my second question, do I NEED someone to steer? I already said that I don’t know what to do that is fun. I work, I watch TV and I read. What a boring existence! In my making of a list, I am going to steer my own ship. I am going to find stuff to do that I enjoy. Just like Julia Roberts in the movie Runaway Bride, I need to figure out how I like my eggs instead of just liking them the way my guy likes them. On my days off, I am going to start doing the stuff on my list. I started today by joining a gym. I didn’t stay and work out but baby steps. I joined. I love the feeling of going to a gym and working out. It is so much better with a group but that will come. And fishing! I used to go fishing with my step Dad so I think on Thursday I am going to do that. Which means tomorrow night I will go night crawling for worms. I haven’t done that since I was a kid either. And taking myself on a picnic. I used to love taking the kids on an impromptu picnic with Subway sandwiches when I was out pet sitting. I love to sit outside and look at the sky. Sounds like a good list item! There are so many things I love to do but for whatever reason I haven’t allowed myself to do them. Somewhere along the line I decided I wasn’t good enough to have fun on my own or smart enough to come up with stuff to do. I am so afraid of trying something and failing that I just concede before I even try. What the heck is that all about?!

I spent the day in a dark cloud because I haven’t heard from him. I sent a bunch of messages and I have been left unread. But when I really think about it, am I upset about being ignored by him or just being ignored in general? I feel like I am throwing a tantrum because my little inner child is being ignored and she doesn’t like that! We dated for 2 months. Not two years…MONTHS. I definitely think I need to get a grip on that reality. Fabulous time, but still only 2 months. Not even long enough to plan a vacation together without rushing things.

I updated my profile on one of the online dating sites so I can start talking to new guys. I even sent out a few conversation starters..but as I spent the day swiping through profiles it occurs to me that I don’t really know what I am looking for so maybe slow my roll for a little bit. And anyway, that was a gut reaction to my temper tantrum I talked about above. I am not lonely or needy. I have a pretty awesome life all on my own and am not truly “in the market” for someone else. Nope, the only person I need to be worrying about getting to know better is AMANDA. She is pretty awesome and fun to be around, especially when you get to know her 🙂

I gotta have Faith…

Remember that song by George Michael? And I know all the games you play because I play them too…umm, yup. I have been playing games and I need to have faith instead!

My best friend’s husband died about a week ago. He was having surgery and it didn’t go well. The thing is, he had been in a car accident a few years ago and several surgeries since then. He even learned how to walk again! So why did God chose the final surgery to be the one that ended everything? And why did God let my bestie find her true love only to take him away?!

I haven’t written about God lately and to be completely honest, I haven’t spoken to him much either. Everything that has happened to me and everything I have endured didn’t turn me away. Something lately has really taken Him out of my focus, though. I don’t know if it is the virus and how the new normal is making me feel crazy, or if I am just tired of trying to justify all the bad by saying, “I just know something good is coming for me, God wouldn’t send me through so many fires and not have something on the other side to make it all worth it.” Nope, I have lost my Jesus mojo.

I started seeing someone a few months ago and it has been so amazing in so many ways but not in so many other ways. The thing is, he wants a casual relationship. He wants to be able to just have fun and hang out but not have any of the pitfalls of a relationship. Pitfalls? Like what? When I try to tell him about my day or something that is happening at work he listens but then doesn’t respond about it. Actually, his response is usually something to change the subject! Except that sometimes he is all ears. And he makes me food when I go to his house. Lately he had been opening up to me more. It is starting to feel like a relationship amd I am confused!

When we first started seeing each other, I told him a lie. It was a douzy, too. Not going to get into the details except to say that when I talked about it in the past I was not met with peace and understanding so I chose to keep it to myself this time. We were casually dating, after all. Except that the more he opened up to me, the guiltier I felt. One day last week I blurted out the truth. He was shocked but not too shocked to get up and leave. It has been almost a week without any contact. I texted him every day to say I was sorry and to tell him I hoped he would be able to talk to me. The last text I sent was to say I was not going to text him anymore and if and when he wants to talk he could. Now I am left to my own devices. And that is not usually good hahahaha!

To bring it back to my friend, I have been thinking about the whole soul mate thing. I am alone right now, hoping he will reach out to me. I still want that to happen but if it doesn’t that will be okay, too. I am enjoying spending time with this man and I love the feeling I have when I am not with him and I am remembering something we did. But I DO want the pitfalls of a relationship. I want to have a bad day and have him tell me I am being terrible. I want him to be a jerk because of something going on in his life and me to understand why because we are talking about everything. And I want to be able to tell him it will be okay and that he is being a jerk! I hope I am strong enough to tell him that when we talk again.

One thing I do know is that I need to go back to understanding that Jesus is walking with me. I am not going to sit here and say that I have full faith again but I am going to work on it. I am stronger when I know God has my back! I gotta have faith!

Oh, when that love comes down without devotion
Well, it takes a strong man, baby
But I’m showin’ you the door–Faith by George Michael

Hiding my Fear behind a Mask

Do you “believe” in masks? I am not sure actually. What I DO believe in is not dying LOL!

I am the Shelter Manager at an animal shelter and we have been closed since the middle of March. Next week, however, we will open back up. For appointments only, but we will actually be there for the people that inevitably pop in. I have installed a hand sanitizer right inside the door and I will have a basket of masks for those people who “forget” to wear one. I am NOT convinced they work but I would rather be safe than sorry! Today I have someone coming in to relinquish cat. Although I want to be a helpful member of my community, I have a sick feeling about meeting her. Not her necessarily, just strangers in general actually! It turns out that wishing for things to start moving forward was a nice little dream but I am pretty terrified of that happening. I know that if I am supposed to catch the COVID-19 virus, God has already written that. I know that He has plans and I am on a need to know basis with them. Does the fact that I am afraid anyway mean I don’t have faith?

I guess not doing something because I am afraid and I don’t trust that it will work out; and doing it EVEN THOUGH I am afraid because I know God has got me is the definition of faith for me. I am pretty sure if God didn’t want us to feel fear he wouldn’t have put that emotion in our makeup. Except when the Disciples were afraid during the storm on the sea , Jesus kind of chastised them for being afraid.  “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” – Mark 4:35-40. So which is it? Can someone explain this to me?!

Hanging up the Pity Party Dress

Hi there!  I trust you are all safely tucked in your homes while we wait out this pandemic.  I know I am. This is such a scary time to be living through–I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, You know how you thought your grandparents were weird and your parents would tell you it was because they lived through the Great Depression?  Our grandkids are going to think we are weird and our kids will tell them it was because we lived through the coronavirus pandemic. I laughed, and then realized that it was true. 

It has become habit for me to wipe down all the doorknobs and cabinet handles several times a day.  I now think nothing of putting on latex gloves when I take care of the dog or the cats at the shelter, and it has become something I do when I am just getting the mail or really doing anything now.  And grabbing one of the face masks in the adorable wicker basket by the front door before I leave the house is as normal as grabbing my car keys. My new version of normal will be one that sticks with me (and you, I bet!) for a long time to come, even when the threat of illness has gone away.  It is kind of comforting to wear that mask when I am going out in public. I think it will be scary NOT to wear one anymore when we get to that point. And now I know I am going to tuck a few away to be more prepared for the next virus. Gone is the innocence of thinking that there could never be an outbreak like this.

With all of this turmoil and uncertainty, there have been good things as well.  For instance, I was promoted to Shelter Manager and moved into the onsite housing right before the world really went crazy.  You know, back when we SHOULD HAVE been taking the protective measures we are taking now, except no one thought this was real?  (For the record, including me.) I had been working closely with my team to get everything in order. Even when the shelter was closed to the public, it was still me and our assistant shelter manager taking care of the business.

Now, however, I am alone here.  A couple of weeks ago I realized that I might have been exposed to Covid-19, and everything changed. I met with the Board, and we decided that since we had only one dog on premises, I’d try to manage it until it’s considered “safe” to go back to some form of normal life.  The truth is, it isn’t too much work to handle; I just had no idea how isolating this would become. New house, new job, then the quarantine. Also, I am not open to help like I should be. I just don’t know how to say, I am feeling lonely or I am crying and can’t seem to stop, can you help? That pesky voice in my head just reminds me that if I express feeling  bad then I am just going to make everyone else feel bad, and it won’t accomplish anything except killing everyone else’s good vibe . Best to just suffer in silence and keep the peace.

I am reading on social media about other shelters and how they are delivering pet food to people and how they are acting as a temporary shelter for animals when people are sick.  It feels like yet another way that I am failing- as a shelter manager. We are not doing any of those things and the whole team has agreed that we don’t want to take in sick people’s pets.  Today, however, I reminded myself that I am running the place completely alone. No matter how you slice it, that’s just hard..

I started to feel a little better, but then I talked to a friend and she went over all she was getting done while still working.  She is also running things solo for the safety of everyone. It occurred to me that I don’t do much of anything outside of the normal care and love for the animals here.  I mean, yes, I am answering emails and such. Honestly though, that is about 2 hours of a day. When I really thought about it, I spend a bigger portion of my day laying on the couch watching movies or laying in bed because I am just tired.  I am not a psychologist but I would say that sounds like a pretty clear case of depression!

Maybe it is the self isolation that has thrown me into a pit but it is going to be me to start digging out.  Tomorrow morning I am taking a yoga class online and following it up with a 30 minute rebounding video. I am not going to sit here and say I am going to be productive and Superwoman, but I am going to keep track of my days.  One of two things will happen–either I will realize that I actually do have productive days, or I will realize that I am wasting time and be more motivated to fix it. I am not usually a pity party girl and I don’t intend to start now!