A Better Place

Over the last few months, I haven’t had much faith in humanity. Mostly, because humanity hasn’t given me much to have faith in.

It all started about three months ago, when some teen girls tried to rob my teenage daughter. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as safe in my neighbourhood. Then, I was blindsided and abandoned, subjected to some of the most manipulative mind games & cruelty from a man who claimed two days earlier that he loved me & to remind me of a conversation we were having once we were married, because he couldn’t wait to marry me. Fast forward to 48 hours later, when I woke up extra early for my long commute to get ready for a date we had planned for when my shift was over. 48 hours earlier, he told me he couldn’t wait for date night. I was so excited to finally have time alone with him without work, as I was beyond over work taking over our romance…only to find he erased me from his life, and a cold text saying he was angry & if I gave him space & a little time & did what he said, everything would be fine. I began obeying his commands, both stated and unstated. I felt like a dog, like I was being punished. And nothing I did made it better. He still wouldn’t talk to me. I apologized for what he said was bothering him, because I am a firm believer in owning your shit, I  offered to take steps to resolve the slight, even transferred at my job to help give space, but not a word. I’m not perfect, but no one deserves this treatment. I used to believe he could never hurt me. But it was like the man I love; the kind, gentle, man who sought me out & begged for my affection & loved me so much died and a monster stole his face. It shattered me in ways that I still haven’t really recovered from, and sometimes I’m afraid I never will. I refuse to be a victim, I knew better but I wanted to believe he had changed & would allow us to communicate when he was angry. Bad shit happens, you get up, you kick ass. But it leaves scars. Horrible scars. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust another man again, as I am absolutely terrified of this man I loved. I built up huge walls to keep him away from me, as well as anyone else.

When I build a wall, I make sure its impenetrable. I also have thirty people blocked on Twitter. And emails. I also block your personal, work & even some coworker’s phone numbers. I don’t play
Sometimes I’m still in denial, like there is no way this man that swore I knew him best could do this. He couldn’t be this hateful. I keep thinking he’ll want to fix it like before, but the thought of him coming near me actually terrifies me, something it never did before (even though he would never harm me).  And sometimes, while my friends, therapist, all insist he is emotionally abusive (sending me article after article to back it up), I still squeak out tiny defenses. He’s not mean. He just can’t do anger. I bet he feels badly & just doesn’t know how to come tell me. They ask me how he’d feel if someone treated his daughter as he treated me, because he’s teaching her that this is okay & I still try to defend him. Sometimes at night, I still cry confused tears because I literally just don’t understand how a man went from holding me and telling me that I was the love of his life to never speaking to me ever again in 48 hours & was seemingly proud of destroying my heart & self esteem while I sobbed on his voice mail to please just talk to me. How did we go from looking up engagement rings on New Years Day to feeling like I needed to change everything about me (even though I didn’t want to) just so he’d speak to me. I would delete blogs after minutes for fear of offending him. I would have done anything just for him to talk to me & I still just want him to talk to me, even though I know I deserve a man who would never dream of treating a woman this shamefully. But I still sometimes feel worthless because he won’t talk to me & even though I’m terrified to let him near me, I just want him to fix it like he said he always would. But I don’t ever want to be a woman who meekly kowtows to a man. That is NOT who I am not who I will EVER be. I don’t want to be controlled. So I move forward, focused on being the most bad ass MHC I can be. And despite how harsh this may sound, I don’t believe he’s a bad person. I think he’s a good person who struggles with anger management and commitment & conflict. He made some very poor choices & they are on his conscience, not mine.

A few weeks later, I was robbed, my purse stolen from my workplace. I lost all of my ID and I’m still trying to get it all back. The whole experience left me reeling, I had just transferred and now I didn’t trust my own coworkers. The mall security didn’t help. I have little faith in the police. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly feel safe at work or walking home from work. I feel violated and I look over my shoulder a lot. But I focus on the good things I have; my family, my health, crossfit. My amazing friends who rallied around me during those tough few weeks, including a really cool coworker who became my bodyguard & protector. My super cool therapist. So many awesome people who made this whole experience bearable. By focusing on the good, I could get through the bad. I have so many good things. I am lucky to have these things. I am happy.

(This isn’t a pity me trip. Bad shit happens every day, you get up & keep on going. But I just talked about why we need to be our authentic selves. That means I need to be able to talk about the times life kicked me in the metaphorical balls. It just sometimes takes me a bit, until some of the hurt subsides.)

This isn’t all of you, but you know who you are
But to say it didn’t make me question my faith that people were essentially good would be wrong. It did. I didn’t trust anyone. At one point, after a particularly cruel trick he played,where he messaged Erica claiming he wanted to talk to me, which never happened, I almost stopped trusting Erica & shut her out for a few days, even though she’s the most important person in my life. I shut out everyone for awhile, except for those good friends who forced me to talk. I stopped writing, I had nothing to say. I felt like everything I had believed about humanity was wrong. People aren’t good. I watched people get busted for shoplifting many times a day, road rage assaults, murders on the news & my neighbours got robbed.My house got egged. And I waited for a conversation that I was told he wanted until I realized it was just another manipulation to keep me hanging on to nothing. Everything I had ever staked my beliefs on felt wrong.


Then, little things happened to help me see that most people are good & not to let some bad apples spoil that. My girls & I started attending a new church here in the city. We were welcomed with open arms. My teenager attends youth group. She’s learning and growing. The pastor drove her home because it rained. Suddenly, we felt like part of the community. My district manager, who did everything she could to make my work life tolerable, pulled me aside on one particularly trying day and said “I sought you out to hire you because you are a strong, talented, energetic, genuinely kind hearted person. If he can’t see your value, then he’s missing out.” My new manager did all he could to make me feel welcome. He’s been great fun to work with. My teenager’s teacher went above and beyond to help her with math. My coworker drive me home after working 15 hours. And when my cat went missing this past week, my neighbours formed a search party to help me find my beloved kitty. Each day, something new happened that helped me see that people are good.

If you live in Edmonton, keep an eye out for Peachy
Each day, I saw a little more kindness from people. The cab driver that didn’t charge me because I looked tired. The coworker who gave me a hug because I was so drained I burst into tears at work. The crossfit coach who called me the day after a hard class to check on my hip. The stranger who walked an old lady down the street. The principal who consoled my nine year old when she got sick at school. All restoring my faith in humans. How could you not have faith in the planet with so many cool people around?!


Finally, this weekend, I saw how truly good people could be. After a forest fire displaced many of my fellow Albertans, I saw kids with lemonade stands. People paying for the groceries of the person behind them. A man donating $200 to Red Cross. The same people who were cussing each other out in the street were helping each other. WWE Superstars Kevin Owens & Tyler Breeze created a GoFundMe to help bring people together to raise funds during their personal time (Mr. Owens once did an amazing thing for my daughters during a WWE Live Event last year, so I already knew he was a great guy). And my dearest Bree reminded me that humanity is good, I just need to remember where to look.

This is the wisest person that I know
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring out the best in humanity. We should all aspire to be good to each other every single day. And we also need to not lose sight of the good things people do for us, who’s there for us, the random strangers who have your back. Don’t lose sight of them because of a few bad people. Don’t let the bad people of the world take away your belief in humanity. People are good if you believe they are good. And even if they aren’t, be a good person because it costs you absolutely nothing to be a good person, but you will gain so much from it.

Humans ARE good. Yes, some are bad. Some are good, they just do dumb things. But you’ve gotta look around & see the good. It’s there; you’ve just gotta make sure you see it…and live it.

Protected: Day 19: A Letter to A Former Lover

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Day Five: Song That Inspires You

I don’t have one; I have all of them.

Music is a huge part of my life. I studied music for many years. Singing was like breathing to me. I once auditioned & was accepted to a performing arts school but opted to focus on my true love, journalism. I have so many songs that mean a million things to me, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. I could, however, make a list! (I love lists!)

1. Let it Rain – Amanda Marshall. My high school anthem. I listened to this song to get through everything; breakups, failed tests, fights with my parents, friends. Amanda Marshall was my Queen. I loved her voice, her crazy curls, everything. My goal in life was to interview Ms. Marshall, which I did on June 18/12. It’s still the greatest thing I’ve ever done as a journalist.

2. Drops of Jupiter – Train. The first song I sang to my oldest daughter. It always reminds me of being young & clueless & wanting to be the best mom ever.

3. Be Like That – 3 Doors Down. One night when I was trying to decide to end an engagement to a man I will never discuss outside of this reference, this song came on the digital cable music channel & it all clicked. I packed & I left.

4. The Way – Fastball. Every memory of my two high school besties is tied up in this song. And ferrets. It reminds me of my carefree youth.

5. Everything Has Changed – Gavin DeGraw. After being duped by two people I never thought could hurt me, I fled a bar in tears. I went home & sat on my bed & sobbed to the Gleason Table until his phone & mine were going to die. I plugged mine in & sat on my bed & bawled while hitting shuffle on my iPhone. This song came on & it made me feel better. I vowed that I would never let anyone have the power to hurt me like that again. It became my anthem.

6. Aftermath – Lifehouse. My anthem for wishful thinking.

7. Come on Get Higher – Matt Nathanson. This song reminds me of a specific moment in time with a person I need to forget but I choose to remember & despite my moving on with my life in a positive way or what I know is the right thing, my feelings for that person never change. I don’t listen to it often, but once every couple of months, I do & remember the amazing person I thought I knew.

8. Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold. The only song that motivates me to go for my 5K runs. Before that it was Nightmare (Avenged Sevenfold) & then Carry On (Avenged Sevenfold). Okay, maybe this should just read “Avenged Sevenfold.”

9. A Drop In The Ocean – Ron Pope. This song is featured in one of my favourite scenes in my former favourite show, The Vampire Diaries. It’s such a simple & powerful scene & the song is so perfect. The song now is part of my regular rotation.

10. Part of Me – Katy Perry. When my marriage ended, this B side was posted on Perez Hilton (it was later released as a single). It helped me cope with the many emotions resulting in the end of the relationship that encompassed my entire adult life. When friendships & other relationships ended, I went back to it & put it on repeat to help me remember that place of strength I found.

11. We Remain – Christina Aguilera. Xtina is my musical Queen of everything & the Hunger Games are my literary everything. Put them together & it’s pretty much everything. I’ve been taking a lot of trains lately & for some reason I listen to this song over & over on repeat, like I’m pretending it’s guiding me towards my comfortable future in my new city & new home.

12. Imaginary Friend – Chantal Kreviazuk. My favourite song in high school. I still relate to it to this day.

13. All Too Well – Taylor Swift. I think we can all relate to this song a little too well.

There are many more but these are some of the most important ones. I truly hope that everyone has a list of songs that inspire them. I couldn’t imagine life without them.

Mirror

A good friend of mine sent me this article last week & I’ve been reading it & rereading it for about a week.

I guess it hit home because it could have been written by…me (save for a few parts, as the article references adultery, which was not an issue & some of the character definitions were a little strong. But the jist of it).

For a year I struggled to get over the man I thought was so amazing, but everyone, even his best friends said was a psychopath & a jerk. I just recently wrote a sobbing piece because I love him so much that I would literally do anything for him & he wouldn’t do a damn thing for me. This came after he told my friend he was coming back for me after a year of healing. I couldn’t take the pain anymore. But now, I think I understand.

There was NOTHING I could have done.

He’s too damaged.

He’s too broken.

He’s a narcissist who uses women to feel happy & then crushes them to rebuild an ego broken long ago. He’s as bitter and broken as everyone said. I am very flawed, but this wasn’t me. I could have been PERFECT but it never would have been enough. Like my girlfriend said that night, “he’ll always just want more.”

So, I’m going to do what I was unable to do for so long. Not just because I had been conditioned by him to believe he’d come back, but because of all the things the article said. I feel better, knowing it took others just as long to heal. But now I’m going to find someone who loves me & wants to make me happy too. Because I deserve that.

I can’t promise follow through if he were in front of me, but I would never initiate a conversation if I saw him or even go over to say hi. No. But I’m not going to punish myself for his actions anymore. He proudly manipulated me. That’s him. Not me. It’s not my fault that he’s that person that destroys people. I gave him the best I had; not perfect, but I tried. By his own admission, he never put in a single ounce of effort. He was happy & then when he got spooked, he made the choice not to talk to me & push me away. HE chose to reach out right when I was moving on & then watch my heart break from the sidelines, boosting his ego. He didn’t have to put my friend in the middle, further straining my relationship with someone I’m wondering how much of a friend they were. He could have called, sent flowers with a card, come to my damn door. But no, he needed to feel loved & I was an easy target . He likely needs help (& I wanted to help him so badly), because my friend was right, he’s everything she said he was & I was just another notch, while he was the love of my life…for now. But like 80% of the population, he deflects it on to the women he crushes. Always them. Never him. I wasn’t perfect, but I was good to him. It’s all I wanted to be. I forgave all the jerk stuff. The number of times he walked out for no reason. Gave him a free pass to walk back in. I made mistakes, sometimes I needed reassurance. Sometimes I overreacted. Sometimes I pushed too hard to get to know him because I was so afraid that he’d turn out like the others & physically hurt me. I let my own past scare me & I would get afraid that he’d walk out again that I would try too damn hurt. But I was good to him & his child, better than I had been to any man. But, it’ll always need to be more. Even after all of this time & his claims he manipulated me for fun, etc. I still believed that he was the facade he created. But now I know they were right. He is everything they said & not worth the tears I cried.

So, I’ll meet someone & they’ll be the one. Or the one that sticks. But it doesn’t scare me anymore. Because he’ll never love anyone, not me, not himself, to evaluate why he continues to hit & run, only to look back & reach out & hurt me over & over. I used to believe that he loved me, & that he needs to work on himself because he leaves all of these people in his wake, & that I wanted to help him figure out why he did this to himself so I could give him the emotional support he needed, but I think maybe my friend is right & he’s too screwed up to love someone (or himself) & be happy. He’ll never love anyone, not me, not his child, not himself to admit that underneath all of the narcissism & bravado & vanity, he hates himself & still asks “what if” about every choice he makes. He punishes himself so much for past sins & women for the mistakes the one he loved first made & had he let me in, I would have helped him have the life that he wanted. But he’ll never admit that he hates himself & always hide behind his ego. Every woman will fail him, because he wants everything & nothing & complete control & to never have to make a choice to be second guessed & judged. He’ll never let someone close enough to him to let him see that he doesn’t need to push everyone away, he doesn’t need to play the jerk womanizer. He’ll always want perfection (while giving next to nothing) & no one is perfect. He’ll never see that someone loving him the way he wants isn’t “clingy” or “too invested” & he’ll always hold onto to the ghosts of the few women he did love & that hurt him (or that he hurt) & use that as an excuse for why he hurts women. He’ll always do this, to every woman & hide behind the masks & he’ll never truly be happy. Somehow, that is the saddest part of it all. Because he deserves to be happy. Not “happy with me,” but happy in life, even if his source of happiness was tearing me apart for sport, because while he may have lied, I didn’t. I only wanted him here if he wanted to be, because he loved me & because he knew that no matter what happened, I’d love him unconditionally & I’d do anything to make him happy. But if he didn’t want that, then I wanted him to find what he did want. I only believed it was me because he always found a way to talk about me, observe me. I never chased him, he sought me out, to the point where it strained my friendships because they felt in the middle. I let him go, just like he asked, but he made sure I knew he was around, just close enough to keep his hold but not enough to be here. I didn’t think it was a game; I thought he loved me & didn’t know what he wanted. I thought he was torn between doing the right thing & his own selfish ways. He always said I knew him better than he knew himself, so I thought if I just waited & lived my life, he’d sort through his desire to be the “family man” & “the man whore” & his love for me & my girls would win out in the end. I wanted to give him every chance to come back, finally let me in & I would love the person he truly was. I knew how hard it was for him & I was going to love him so much that he never had to feel like anything less than my Prince Charming. Had he ever shown up, he told me to tell him no, but I wouldn’t have. No, I would have told him that I love him & I understand. I will always understand & I’d hold him & tell him we made mistakes, but we’ll learn & get through it. I was going to give him whatever he needed to feel happy & comfortable & he’d finally have what he always wanted; someone who loved him enough to make him a priority, & look past all of the self sabotage, love him when he’s his worst & take the meanness & see the man he truly is; the vulnerable & sweet person who just wants someone to love them but fears losing them or letting them down, so he has to push them away, hurt them, break their heart so his will never get broken again. I wanted to show him that as he got closer, he wouldn’t get hurt, because I couldn’t hurt him, because it’s not in my nature. Even now, I couldn’t hurt him because I’m in love with him & want him to be happy. I could never have hurt him on purpose & had I by accident, I would have done anything I could to make it up to him. I was going to love him enough to make up for all the women that broke his heart. But, in the end, he’ll always pull away so he doesn’t get hurt again. Kill or be killed…& I got slaughtered. He lied; I didn’t. I meant what I said; I love him & only want the best for him, because he is a good man somewhere in there. The man I love was real. So, I’ll choose to remember the man I love, and not the man he showed me he really was and someday, I hope he becomes the man I saw, because he’s amazing & could change the world. He is the sweet, gentle man I fell in love with & he could be so much more than he allows himself to be, if he would heal the wounds that forced him to become what he is; a broken man who refuses to let anyone near him & pushes away everyone who truly loves him in favour of boosting his ego, not realizing that if he would let someone truly love him, he could be happy, the greatest ego boost of all.