And he’s gone. The 6 lb 12 oz baby boy I was handed 22.5 years ago, just packed up his 4Runner and drove off. Again I was standing in my doorway of my home, I hugged him tight and as he left, he too turned back, looked at me while I unsuccessfully tried to hide my teas and told me he loved me. As I shut the door after watching him drive away headed back to school, I sat on my couch and let the tears fill my eye and eventually my face. I got up and walked the halls of my house. Up one hallway and down another. I touched the walls with each step I took and stopped at each empty bedroom as I came across the open door. Each room I visited reminded me of the Grinch after he stole Christmas. Remnants of the summer of 2017 were scattered all over the floor and forgotten. Towels on the floor, food wrappers sticking out from under the beds, empty toilet paper rolls still placed on their holders. It’s crazy how much toilet paper I went through this summer. I pulled apart the unmade bed in my sons room and piled his dirty sheets on the floor next to a few left over socks without mates and towels. I smelled his purple button down shirt and placed it next to his lacrosse warm up pants I will be sending him soon and then I did the same to my goddaughters already made bed in her room. As I threw the sheets in the washer and gathered the comforters to take to the cleaners, I broke down with sadness. Sadness because I am hungry and have no one to eat with. Sadness because now I will be coming home to a big empty house until December. Sadness mixed with fear because I am 40 years old and I am almost an empty nester. My ex husband and I dreamed about this day. The day where our youngest is on the verge of driving and the others are away at school. We had our kids so young but we also had the light at the end of the tunnel telling us in our early 40’s we would be free. And we are. Just not together. Now it is time for me to make something of myself. It is time for me to find someone to spend my life with. It is time for me to be me and I am terrified. I am excited. I am hopeful and I am useless to my kids for the moment. With football in full swing, I am useful to sit in the stands and cheer. It is time for me to live my life. To follow my path. It is time for me to take everything I have learned and put it to good use. It is time for me to fly….and that is what I am going to do…..
I sit here in my house on this amazing Sunday afternoon and I’m surrounded by noting but beauty. My home is beautiful, my view is beautiful and my life is simply amazing. Looking back on my younger years I have no idea how I got to this place. And to this place I mean saying goodbye to my amazing goddaughter this morning. If you knew me back in the day you probably didn’t expect much out of me. I didn’t expect much out of me. I started with humble beginnings. A narcissistic mom. A dad who only knew how to lose to his vices. To make matters worse, I had my oldest as a teenager. But here I sit today. Happy. I have been through so much and I have somehow managed to live a great life. It wasn’t without tears, blood and fighting like hell, but I made it. I sit here today with a book deal, readers, followers and even haters. I have made some bad decisions that have lead me to sit here alone and fear attempting another relationship. So I am scared. I’m scared that I will never let anyone in and that if I do I will get hurt again. On this sunny afternoon, I lit candles and weighed out the pros and cons, which lead me to cleaning my house and now writing this. I am sure someday I will sit here and write about the amazing man I have met, but until then I will what is in my heart.
With fall fast approaching, football season in the air and school beginning for all, my heart is so full of love and confusion. Just a few years ago I would be in the middle of school supply shopping. Arguing with my kids about wearing nothing but athletic gear and making sure I have my high school season football tickets for the home games. But today I am walking through the halls of my million dollar plus house crying tears and feeling nothing but alone. For the summer as most of you know I had my goddaughter with me. Her parents moved to Dallas and she wanted to stay with me to enjoy her last summer before college with her friends. I have known Lexi since she was 5 and Cain was 3. Now she is a freshman in college and about to begin life on her own. Although parents are a call away, she will be making decisions on her know. Picking what she shares with people and what she keeps to herself and facing life in a different state. As I said goodbye to her today, I held her tight not wanting to let her go because I knew once I did, she would be off. Eventually I let go and as she walked out of the front door of my house, through my blurry tear filled eyes, I saw her look back one more time and she told me she loved me. In that moment I had so much to say but so little time. So here, now, in my empty home surrounded by apple scents in the air, I will say what I need to….
Over the past 14 years or so I have watched you grow into the woman I am saying goodbye to today. I have watched you struggle and I have watched you laugh. I listened to your stories and I put myself in your place too many times to count. Like you I had four brothers. I think initially that was our connector. Today we are connected by so much more. We are women, strong, funny, emotional (me more than you), and we are tough as nails. Watching you go today was so hard, but I know when I see you again you will have changed. Experienced more life. Cried more but also laughed a lot more. You will have updates for me and possibly more secrets and I will have the same for you. But I want you to know that this beast we call life is tamable. It is livable. It will try so hard to knock you down and take the breathe out of you. It will give you sunny days and take them away just as fast. So live. Live out loud. Take that risk. Chance. But listen to your gut. Use your head for more than just stuffing for your brain. But most importantly know. Know that you have made me more than proud. You are capable of walking your own path. You are capable of making the best decisions for you, but you will never have to make them on your own. You have me and you always will. I may not have made the best decisions to date, but I have learned and I want to pass on what I know to you. You are loved in light and you are loved in the dark. Walk proud and be brave. Don’t worry about the small things, they take care of themselves. Boys are not suppose to make you cry, if one does, let him go. Take that trip. Don’t be late for work. Fill up the pages on your passport. Life is amazing and so are you. Never forget that you will always have a place to call home if you ever get lost. #summer17forever
I love you.
ps “what are we college”???
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For the past few weeks I have been trying to rally to write a post for my blog. I had so much to say and all the words rushed to the front of my brain and as they struggled to see who would come out first, I shut it down. I was too overwhelmed with all of it. A few months ago I announced I had a book deal and a few months before that I had announced my weekly series. Tonight, my book is finished and I have been working on my book campaign. Everything has happened so quickly. I am throwing around words like ” My publisher. My editor. My publicist.” I mean who do I think I am? I am making calls I never knew even existed. I am planning two book release parties within 24 hours of each other and figuring out my book tour. This is an amazing life. I am excited and terrified at the same time. But at home, in my house by the lake where everything is still and unimpressed with my writing skills, I sit with what I wrote about. While my phone blows up with texts and calls, I sit with my life and my most private moments being edited by someone who has never met me, in order to be read by people who have never met me. Did I get my message across the right way? Do I come across as horrible? With so many reaching out to say thank you, others are reaching out to tell me to go F myself. I understand not everyone wants to hear my message. I understand that not everyone is ready for my level of honesty. But I spent some serious time on my kitchen floor last night, alone, feeling cry puddles build beneath my cheeks. I am sensitive AF and my skin is as thin as it comes. I am not sure I am ready for this, but I keep moving forward. I keep taking calls. I keep building my campaign. I take to the track when I am scared. I take to the track when I feel lonely. I am leaning out because although this is a super exciting time in my life, it is also the most lonely time in my life. I have no idea what the future holds for me. In a few weeks my editor may tell me to kick rocks and to get my day job back. I may make it to print and sell three books. Or it may blow up and I will get the chance to write the second book. But for now I am happy to have finished this book. I am happy people see in me what my mom never could. I am happy to have a hand in changing lives. I hope to prevent people from living the way I did, but in order to do that, I have to expose myself to the bones.
This story is not a which hunt against some guy who was such a jerk. Because he was not always a jerk. He was a man that I loved more than I could even describe. He was someone I wanted to spend my life with. This is a tory of how my life fell apart. How my heart was broken into millions of pieces. He was a man who got me writing again. He encouraged me to better myself at times when I wanted to give up. It was with him in mind that I wrote my story. My childhood. My mom. My faults, hurts and hangups, and how I got into a relationship like the one I was in. I have the hope that he may read and realize he needs help in the same way I realized I needed help. I am recovering from anger, narcissism, and codependency. It is my goal to help others with my truth. This was not easy to write about. So as I prepare for all of you to know more about me than I ever intended, I will hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
It is just after midnight here in Austin. I have taken over a guest room and turned it into my podcast room and now its the place where I settle in to write. The clock is ticking and I am ready to purge this book. Yesterday I went 12 rounds with chapter 11 and I frikin won! I walked away from this room after 6 full hours of writing, editing, smashing my head against the table, texting my publishing company and having a screaming, crying vent session with my sponsor. This book is kicking my ass. I am mentally exhausted and I am pumping my body full of B12 to keep the shingles at bay. After a conversation yesterday with a handful of friends, todays conversation with my publishing company, and a walk where I had the attention of the big guy, I feel better. Do other writers have these feelings?? Do they struggle with the same things? Am I the only one??
I am writing about my life. My experiences in my own opinion. My version. My side. There are two sides to every story and at times there are three. But this is my version. After finishing chapter 11 and putting it to bed, I took on 12. 12 is proving to be challenging in other ways. Each chapter has a different meaning. In a way I am reliving it all one chapter at a time and I am learning. I am seeing things in a different light. At times I am pissed at myself. At other times I feel sad for myself. But at the end of each one, I feel relief. I am fearful of 12. 12 has been weighing heavily on mind for a while now. I am actually fearful of the entire project. I am afraid it will fail and I am afraid it will succeed. But I keep writing. I keep moving forward. With fear on the tips of my fingers, I am brave enough each day to wake up and try to better myself while I help at least one person get out of a toxic relationship. I am not sure why I was called to do this, but when you are called to do something more, you answer.
Below is an excerpt from my book…chapter 11
A few miles later, I was on the side of the road in the dead of Winter in Boston. He had kicked me out of the car. This is how the relationship was, he was sweet and kind and the next minute he was a tornado full of hatred acting as if he could not care less about you and trying to hurt you in anyway that he could. I had been kicked out the car a few times since then. I started to just accept that this is who I loved and this is who he was. Soon enough, it all became normal. The tight chest. The egg shells. I became comfortable in the dark with my mouth shut and not much of a say in anything unless he asked for my opinion and he hated opinions. But I was finally starting to see it, to feel it. I started to wonder why I accepted this behavior. At times I would call Derek and share things with him. During one call he asked
“ What happened to the Kelly I know? The Kelly who would not take shit from anyone? Why are you taking it from him?”
I think it is because I was so mean to Derek that I was afraid of being mean to Jake. I have no medium. No balance. Either I was a raging bitch, or I was a door mat. And for now with Jake I was a doormat.
After I got back to his place, my cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and it was Allen, Derek’s best friend and Todd’s Godfather. I have known Allen for sixteen plus years at the time. He grew up in the house next door to Derek. Allen was with me during my pregnancy with Todd. Derek was away in college and could not be near me, so Allen picked up where Derek left off. He was with me for the ultrasound, lamaze class and eventually during labor. We had a good relationship and I loved him like a brother. Any time I needed help, Allen was there for me. More than Derek ever was. Even after the divorce, Allen was supportive. Checking on me and the kids. So when I looked down and saw it was Allen calling, I felt it was a sign. I answered. I told him I needed help and within minutes he was Jake’s house helping me pack up my stuff and getting out of there. As we got in his car he asked me if was pregnant. I laughed. No I said, I’m just an idiot. Soon after we left, Jake started to call me. He left me a few messages, but when he didn’t hear back, he blew up my phone. After getting to Allen’s house, he got me a ticket back to Austin. He set up a ride for me to get to the airport and then he was off to work. Like usual, Allen jumped in and saved me. When the adrenaline of packing up and fleeing wore off, I called Pete. After talking to him, he agreed that the best thing for me would be for me to go home and forget Jake. Move on with my life. In his words, Jake was not worth all of this. Jake was not worth the trouble or the mess. He said things would just get worse and that he would take me down with him. Instead of me pay attention to reality, I suddenly felt bad for Jake. Was I just another person giving up on him? My plans then changed. I called my friend to come get me. I had Julia pick me up. We drove back to Jake’s and I unpacked as quickly as I could. I had to make it look like I never left. And I did. I washed my face, called Jake, and things were back to normal. Allen, was not happy. But I “loved” Jake. My “love” for him blurred my reality. My “love” for him put me in danger. My “love” for him took over my love for me and my kids. My kids needed a healthy happy mom and they they didn’t have that. Things I didn’t see or understand while Sandra flipped the pages through his criminal file. I had convinced myself that Jake was a good guy. That he just loved differently. Harder. That he was just more intense. I knew he loved me, I just had to try harder to love him in the way he needed me to.
Dating is tough in general. But dating as an adult, with kids, after a toxic relationship can be nightmare..ish. While being a busy mom, writing a book, and recording a podcast to get my name out there, I have accepted the challenge of putting my heart out there again. No idea what I am doing, but I am figuring it out and so can you. Just because you have been destroyed does not mean you are not deserving of actual love, but do yourself a favor..love you first and the rest will follow.
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I saw the Transformers movie yesterday. In itself, that is no great feat. But for me it was. I saw the Transformer movies with Jake. In between the name calling, gas lighting, and walking on egg shells, we did normal things. Movies, private jokes, and we had dreams about our future. But going to the movies was our thing. We saw all but one Twilight movie together ( something I am sure he wants to keep to himself) and most of the Transformer movies together. He also had a thing for action movies. Not my first choice, but I would go just to make him happy. He would get sour patch watermelons and I would go for peanut M&M’s. We sat close, entangled in each other and enjoyed our time together. So when the latest installment of my all time favorite 80’s cartoon remake was released, it made me think of him and if I wanted to see it at all…But I did. And I was excited to go. I have a thing for Optimus Prime and not much can keep me from seeing him on the big screen. As I searched movie times my mind scanned to who I could go with. I am ok with going alone and it would not have been my first time doing that, but I scanned my mind nonetheless. Hours later I was sitting in the ice cold theater, a place you can often find me in the summer months, and I was snug between my oldest son and my only Goddaughter. As we sat together all facing the same way with our legs sprawled out in front of us, I fell into my seat between them a little softer. I had a moment where I visioned grabbing their hands and holding them, but then I realized that was a crazy idea and that idea stayed in my head where it belonged. But I was happy. I was with people I loved and who loved me back and I was watching a movie I was excited about. I realized after the movie and on the way home, Jake never popped up in my mind. His presence was not missed, or not thought of. He, like on my date with Matt, was not there like he had been so many times before. His memory holding me back from so much. I had to decided he was no longer worth thinking about or associating him with things he once was associated with. It was up to me to move on and leave him in my rear view. And I did.
So what causes someone to get into a relationship like that and stay? A healthy minded woman will not voluntary walk in and stay in a bad situation. Wether it’s a romantic relationship, friendship or even job. A healthy, cared for person will know his/her value, see the red flags and peace out. But not all of us are lucky enough to be raised by healthy parents. I am not saying everyone who has healthy parents make the best decisions and I am not saying that people with unhealthy parents make bad decisions. I am giving the perspective from my own life. Going through recovery, just celebrated 3 years, has opened my eyes, heart, and mind to why I made bad relationship decisions. The following is an excerpt from my book. This is some of the dreaded chapter ten I have been struggling with. I am not yet finished with it. I have been working out the kinks, but I feel open enough to share this bit with you.
“I turned 9 that October and as Thanksgiving approached, so did the holidays. As we prepared for the holiday at school, Mrs. Franklin handed out a writing assignment. She handed each kid in the class a greeting card. As she walked around the room handing them out randomly she explained to the class that we were to look at our greeting cards, study them and describe in an essay what we saw. We were to be creative because this was a test grade. As she passed my desk she handed me my card. I looked at it and liked what I saw. Mine was a Christmas card. There were animal decorations hanging from a tree branch and they were wearing little Christmas hats and holding candy canes. Without thinking or stressing, I began to write. What poured out of me that day was the beginning of me. I easily described what was on my card. I gave them names, jobs and had them in conversations with each other. To me, this was easy. I wanted each assessment to be this easy. I had no idea if what I had done was good or not, but I happily handed in my essay and opened my dreaded math book. I hated math. I still hate math. A few days later my teacher told me she had called my mom so they could discuss my essay. I looked at her while her words came at me like daggers. My little stomach dropped and I wanted to poop. I had no idea why my mom was coming in, but I knew I didn’t like the idea. I went back to my desk and put my head down. As the recess bell rang all the kids left, except me. I waited in my dirty clothes for my mother. I lifted my head when Mrs. Franklin said my mom was there. We all sat down at the community table and my mom shot me a look. A “ why am I here look”, and again I wanted to poop. Mrs. Franklin pulled out my essay and the greeting card I wrote about. She read it out loud and as she did she had a smile across her face and she laughed.
As she finished she looked at my mom and she said “ Kelly is an amazing writer. She’s so creative and funny. She’s going to be a writer when she grows up.”
My face lite up. I did a good job. She continued to say how great my essay was and she asked me if she could keep it to show the other students what a good essay looks like. I looked over at my mom knowing she was going to wrap me up in her arms and tell me how proud she was of me. But instead when I looked at her with nothing but hope in my heart and big smile across my face, she had a scowl on her face. She asked my teacher if that was the only reason she was asked to come to the school. My teacher had a blank look on her face and my mom looked at me and said “Writing is not an art form”. She got up and left. She didn’t say goodbye to me. She did’t look at me. I was crushed. I felt bad. Ashamed. Stupid. My smile faded and so did my spirit.”
I have been given this amazing gift. The gift of forgiveness. The gift of freedom. The gift of this beautiful, amazing, new beginning. I have not fully realized this until today. Today I hung up the phone. Inhaled deeply and headed to take a shower.
My day was a usual day of football practice, Netflix, chicken sausage with my Spark, the gym, cracking up with my goddaughter, communicating with a handsome gentleman, and of course going back and forth about what, when, or even if I was going to write. I have been battling a few demons and although my words are begging to come out, I seem to be hoarding them. Keeping them for myself. I am not sure what I am afraid of, but I will tell you, I am afraid. Those last chapters describe so much hurt and so much pain. I think maybe I am afraid of reliving and having to began the healing process all over again. I may be afraid of reality. I am unsure at this point. But I do have a large group of folks who are eagerly waiting to see those words that I am selfishly holding hostage. Those words will anger some. Heal some. Expose some. But for now it is MY story. My words that make up who I am. Once they are released into the wild, and they will be, it will no longer be just my story or my words. I will share them with everyone but right now I am holding onto my last bits of privacy. My last bits of secrecy. My last bits of a long, thorny journey that is has finally come to an end.
A weight was taken off of my shoulders today. And for all of us who are or who have been suffering with ending a relationship with a toxic person in fear of them changing for someone else, let me put your minds at ease. They do not change. They are the exact same person they were with you, but now worse. Tonight as I got in the shower I thanked God for my journey. My path. My road that was paved with nothing but shit storms, sadness ,and total confusion. I thanked God for giving me my freedom and the amazing life I am living. I am not living a Facebook amazing life, I am living an actual amazing life. I am surrounded with nothing but supportive friends who love me. I have the most amazing family. My kids are here and I have a full house with the addition of my goddaughter being with me until she leaves for college and I finally figured out my hair. My life is full. And I am free to enjoy this new beginning I have been given. And I will enjoy this life. I will not take it for granted. I will love hard and I will rest easy, but I will never forget my lessons and I will never have to wonder ever again.
There is hope. Be brave. Come, sit with me and lets talk…..
When I began writing about my previous relationship, I had no idea how many of you were in the same situation. Some through it, others smack in the middle. Some needed clarity, while others just needed to relate to someone. When I started seeing Jake, I wanted a relationship not a weekly series on destruction. But today I am grateful for Jake. I am grateful for every second I had with him, all of it. The good and the bad. Without him, I would not be who I am today. Today I am healthy. I am ready. I am a new woman. A woman I am proud of. A mom who has a clue. A friend who now can feel love and support. An ex-wife who understand and respects boundaries. A sister who is present and shows up. An aunt who brings fancy toothbrushes and who is the proud owner of a very impressive Pokemon card. I had to hit the ground in order to rise. I needed to be broken so I could be rebuilt. Granted it didn’t have to hurt that much. It didn’t have to be that destructive, but it was and here I am today. Today because of my strength and my amazing support system I am able to write so others can understand this type of relationship and seek help or at least have hope to hold onto.
You, my readers, are on this journey with me. You are here reading and you are hopeful for a happy ending. Spoiler alert, there are no happy endings in real life, but there is hope and happiness along with sadness on the way. I am hopeful for happiness with someone else, but right now, today I have so much happiness on my own I am giving some away on the street corner. So if you are in this sort of relationship, I am waiting for you here, with the blue skies, green grass and a ton of belly laughs. When you show up, we shall have tea!
The progression of my book is in full force. I have pretty much completed the first 10 chapters. I have about 4 more to go. I have added more detail to each of my “episodes”. I have taken a little turn that my editor seemed to really enjoy. I am pretty excited about that. But the chapters that I have yet to write, will not be easy to get out nor will they spill all over my laptop. These chapters will be difficult. Painful. I am not sure I am ready to open this box, but I will.
In The Land of Mom: the tale of a narcissistic mother
Jake’s Final Destination, Austin Texas: coming face to face with the FBI and a 5 pound criminal record.
The Love Triangle: He met her, fell in love ,and cheated. But kept a huge secret that I discovered..
Recovery: Hello past its nice to meet you, my name is Kelly I am ready for you to dismantle me and help put the pieces back together..
These are extremely difficult to write, for obvious reasons. I have been through hell and I am here. This does not mean I am looking forward to my readers sitting up late at night seeing my biggest mistakes and my regrets, but this is why I have been giving both this gift and this amazing life. Of course those are only working titles, but for me I need to face the fact that I am going to expos some pretty intense moments with the entire world. But I know my readers read because I am truthful. Raw. Real. Honest. It is because of this so many can relate. If you have not yet tunes into my podcast on dating, check it out!!! Link below!!
” As I sat across the table from him, just him, I felt as ease. Safe. Happy. Interested. In that moment and for the rest of the night, that was the only place I wanted to be, near him. For the first time in a very long time, Jake was not present with me. With us. It was just the two of us laughing, living, and beginning again”.
Take your time and live in the darkness so you can also begin again…..