Motivation

No, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to update this blog in a long time. Part of it was I had too much to say and the energy required to write it all down was too much. The other part was that life has been more difficult than I’d like to admit this past year and while everyone around us has been like, “Oh great, life milestones, amazing, be happy, you’re going places,” for us it’s felt stifling, stressful, and oh so not amazing a great majority of the time.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining or ungrateful, but the reality of my emotions is far from that. But stress is stress, and in one year, we planned a wedding, got married, bought a house, renovated the house, moved, and tried to find our normal again. Which is so hard when for nearly 2 years straight, you haven’t had a real normal. Timmy moved from Lake Mary to my tiny apartment last January, we were on top of each other all the time, he traveled a lot, and between the wedding planning stress, the house hunting stress, the house buying stress, the renovation stress, the money stress, and then the moving into said house stress, I had literally used up all my coping methods.

I was a ticking time-bomb that went off in January.

The reality of our life is now more normal, more settled, more calm for sure. But that reserve of emotional mess that I had been carrying around and stockpiling just became too much and I broke in a very real way. I was ready to run away and leave this all behind. Which is not at all a very adult way to handle everything, but I was struggling big time. And my partner was struggling in his own way too, and we just weren’t clicking.

I absolutely sank around election time. Trump and the racial hate and misogyny and general hopelessness became the weight that sank me even further, as though the stress of everything else in our lives wasn’t enough. I cried for nearly two weeks straight. I have been off of Facebook since November, about a few days after the election because I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I miss it a little, but after the withdrawals wore off, I’m good without it.

I took on an additional class, Human Sexuality, to teach this semester, so my life is really busy and full, but emotionally, it’s been challenging to catch the happy ride back up the downward slope. My back pain has been worse than ever, and after a failed radiofrequency ablation (where they burn the nerves in a particular area), I’ve been depressed about my back and wondering if life can ever feel normal when all I think about is my pain.

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Maybe it’s the January/February/March blues that get us all. Maybe it’s a combination of our stress, Trump for me, and the winter meh that got us. But we’ve been in a dark place, and we keep wavering in and out of it. Lately, more out of it than in it, which is definitely progress.

It certainly helps that all the boxes and wedding gifts have been unpacked. Our house is beautiful and we still have a few more projects to go, like painting a few spots, rescreening our porches, redoing the floors in our garage, but those weren’t necessities to getting settled. We’ll be getting started on those soon enough.

We love our neighborhood and the quiet nature that surrounds us. We are starting to fish on our fishing pier with the addition of new fishing equipment, courtesy of Timmy. My parents came to visit a few weekends ago (which was so needed) and they brought my bike. So the other night Timmy and I biked close to St. Pete Beach (and stumbled through a ridiculous argument, again), then to a local restaurant for drinks and games.

It was awesome and it felt like us.

The sun is out more, and it’s warmer, so me likey. I can’t wait to start spending afternoons after work paddleboarding around the waterways, and really soaking up the mood-improving Vitamin D. And we’ll get there soon.

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But Timmy misses Jake and his dad and James, and I’m missing my friends and family a lot. Timmy and I working on our connection harder than we have before, but we need our support system around us to help ground us. So friends and family, come visit us! We have space, and it’s close to everything. It’s honestly like being on vacation all the time, living in our new house.

It’s just now starting to sync for us. Just now. If we haven’t been reaching out to you as much, be patient because the ground is just now starting to solidify underneath us again. That’s just life, I guess, and I know we’ll get back. It’s always ups and downs, and we just have to have faith and put the work in.

Winter sucks. Trump sucks. Hate sucks. But we will rock again.

♥, VB

 

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1st Month Down

I’m now nearing the end of my first month living in St. Pete and it’s been quite a delight. As I’ve said before, my now 15-min commute makes my old 60-min+ commute seem so very long ago. It’s almost like it never happened.

But it did. A slight PTSD-shiver will run through my body when I have to get on the interstate (to go 11 miles as opposed to 62). The last few weeks of that hellish commute were probably the worst. Three Fridays in a row, it took me nearly 2 hours to get home. TWO HOURS. The last day of the week, you’re fatigued and ready to drink, then your commute home happens. Worst feeling ever.

But now, I get home and I’m like, wow, there’s literally ANYTHING to do right now! And I have the energy and time to do it! I can go to yoga after I walk the dog, or I can nap, or I can continue my binge Law & Order: SVU watching on hulu, or work out in the gym, or…ANYTHING I WANT, I CAN DO. I can cook whatever and whenever I want (even though cooking for one is still a bitch), and feel satisfied at the end of the night when it’s time to go to bed.

We moved Timmy into his new place in Lake Mary last weekend, and it’s pretty awesome. It’s a 2.5 hour drive between us, which isn’t a bad drive every other weekend when you consider that it was a usual commuting day for us before. It’s a huge place where he now owns a big-boy bed complete with a headboard and footboard, as well as a power mattress that moves. Like in hospital beds. Because he’s an old man at nearly 31 years old.

He got the idea from our good friend Jake, who also owns the same type of mattress. Timmy and Jake had a good time spending the day in bed together a few months ago, in a very “I wish we could express our love for each other without people thinking that we’re gay even though we kinda are” way. Those two are so cute in their man-love for each other.

Surprisingly, I’ve found this January, unlike other Januaries, that I’ve been happier than I expected to be. Normally, this month kinda blows. You know it does. It’s that month that comes after all the holiday cheer and family/friend love and then you’re separated from all the happiness and back to work. You inevitably start comparing your life to others, thinking that this year, you’ll match up to others. You’ll become that “new you” you’ve always dreamed about in the new year.

But with all that comparing comes feeling like crap about your own life. Why can’t you get to where you want to go? Why am I here, again, another year gone, and I’ve really changed nothing?

But for me, none of that happened this month. I made the decision to move and I did. I made the decision to re-dedicate myself to our relationship, and I have. I compare my life to no one’s because that’s not fair. No one else has gone through what I’ve gone through the last year in the way that I went through it.

I’m 30 and no closer to marriage or babies or buying a house, even though the majority of my friends have reached one or all of those steps. But I’m closer to my partner. I’m closer to my goals. I’m happy. Truly and honestly, this is where I dreamed of being in my life at 30.

A year went by and I survived. I survived disconnection from my life in Atlanta. I survived commuting. I survived living in a town that sucked. I survived my relationship and the downward spiral it took. And even though personally 2013 was blech, everything else about last year was incredible.

This year is going to be even better. And I have the positive, not-hating-myself-and-life January almost behind me to prove it.

♥, VB

P.S. And to all my fellow Southerners who got caught in Snowmageddon ’14, particularly in Atlanta, mega props to you if you were stuck in your car for any amount of time trying to pick up kids, get home, get anywhere. I can’t even imagine. I only wished I could’ve been out there helping others in person rather than praying from afar.

P.P.S. If you’re friends with me on FB, you already saw this, but if you’re not, my mom is one badass mothaf*%a.

badass mom

What the Last Two Weeks Have Been Like

I don’t have too many updates since I’ve mainly spent the last two weeks blissfully happy and relaxed. What a difference from a year ago.

What life was like before the big move:

What life is like after the big move:

How excited I was to talk to Timmy on the phone pre-move:

How I am now:

Needless to say, things are G-DOUBLE O-D good.

♥, VB

High Five for Friday

Welcome to Friday everyone! I got the idea for a “High Five for Friday” post from one of my favorite bloggers, Kate at The Small Things Blog. Today marks the end of my first full work week in my new place. Here are the 5 best things from my week:

1. I drive 15 minutes, to and from work. I’ll repeat that: I DRIVE 15 MINUTES TO WORK NOW. After a year of 60+ plus miles each way to the crapvilla known as Lakeland, I can tell you for sure that I’m a changed person. It’s only been one week, but man do I feel like myself again, instead of that crabby monster-she-devil that was posing as me for the last year.

2. I was a single mommy to Floyd this week, and while he wasn’t the greatest house guest (he woke me up multiple times over multiple nights because he had to go out and had diarrhea), it was such an amazing feeling to be able to drive home over lunch, walk him or play ball with him, then drive back to work, all under an hour.

With a rescue dog, we’ve understood for some time now that his anxiety is part of the package, and I’m sure that without Timmy this week, his head was crazytown. The pooping aside, lunch hours are awesome when you live close to work.

3. I’ve been able to cook meals at home now instead of having only Jenny Craig. Jenny Craig was kind of a necessity last year because I arrived home so late and didn’t have the time or energy to cook. And I love cooking, so not being able to cook for months on end just killed me.

I was able to make spaghetti last week, turkey breast taco salad, and salmon with brussel sprouts. Did I mention that I love living closer to work??

4. I haven’t had to fill my gas tank this week. I did last weekend after driving to Lakeland and back since Timmy’s still there while he looks for a place in Orlando. Before, I was filling up twice every week, which equaled around $400-$500 a month in gas alone. God, I’m overdosing on living closer to work.

5. I’m actually jonesing to see my honey. I know that for most of you, you’re thinking, “Aren’t you always? Why would this make her top 5 list?” And the answer would be no, I wasn’t always.

Not to sound like a bitch, but last year sucked, and many times, I wanted to be far away from Lakeland because I felt like I was going insane. Now that I have my own place, I feel more centered and just plain old happier. I get to do things on my own time, on my schedule, I get to decorate how I want, buy and not buy what I want. It’s like the greatest sense of contained freedom.

Now that I’m feeling more like myself, I’m itching to see Timmy. It feels like how it did before, when we had to do shack packs when we spent the night at each other’s places. When we both had our own spaces, we could live as we wanted, and seeing each other was special and something we looked forward to.

Now when we FaceTime, I’m excited to see his face, I’m ready to hear about his day, and I’m prepared to be a partner. That’s an amazing feeling, let me tell you.

Clearly, my first work week with my new commute has been kick-ass awesome. I’m nicer, I’m more relaxed, and I’ve recently become re-obsessed with Law & Order: SVU on Hulu (I had a moment during college, but I kicked the habit until recently).

That Mariska Hargitay is one strikingly beautiful woman. I’d like to thank her for keeping me company this week.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!

♥, VB

One Year Later

Today marks my one year anniversary of moving to Florida for a new life, new job, new future. 6 months ago, things weren’t great. In fact, they totally sucked. Not my job, mind you. My job has kicked ass from the beginning, and this semester promises no different. But everything else was baaaaaaad.

Let’s see, what has changed in these last 6 months? It seems like everything. We’ve swung from one direction to another, and although Timmy and I aren’t fully completely back on track like years past, we are absolutely 100% more committed and more united than we ever could have been without this move. We took a much needed trip that reminded us of the fun we once had together. We had conversations that seemed sometimes like they were on repeat, but they kept us communicating and open with each other. 4 years in, and I see what this person means to me. I want to be a better version of myself now more than ever, thanks to Timmy.

You truly don’t understand what kind of love you’re capable of until you’re tested. And there was test after test after test this year, but the last 6 months seem to have given us a new clarity. We made plans to move forward, separately in order to move us forward together. Does that make sense? I mean, sometimes you have to go on your own path in order to strengthen the partnership. This year, we sacrificed, over-compromised, under-compromised, and now we’ve decided that our best way into the future is to do our own thangs.

We are not breaking up. I repeat, for those that are freaking out or who keep giving us heartfelt lectures on the difficulties of long-distance relationships, we are not breaking up. And please stop. I understand your intentions are nothing but good, but if you truly knew our relationship, you’d understand that we know what is best for us. We are dedicated and still very much in love. And we need this divergent path now for our sanity.

Over the holiday break, I got whooped in the ass by the worst cold I can ever remember having, moved from Lakeland to St. Pete (and not by the movers who no-showed twice!), went home to Atlanta to see family and friends, then started over for the New Year in Orlando. Now that the last 6 months are done, no more weddings, no trips scheduled right now, moving and packing complete, I feel like I can really, truly and completely breathe again.

2014 felt like the restart button for us, in more ways than one. We attended a fancy James Bond-themed party with a no-drama, high-fun crowd and ate our 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of 2013. A Spanish tradition that my family keeps alive, even when we’re not together, it’s a must-do for me. Timmy and I sneaked our grapes in, and couldn’t stop laughing as we shoveled them in, hoping to get them all down for good luck in 2014.

I cannot be more excited for this year, since professionally I keep kicking ass, and now hopefully the personal side will be better than ever.

This year, I didn’t make any resolutions. I haven’t made any resolutions in years. Everything I’ve ever wanted to improve upon, I work on daily. Sometimes minute by minute, like my patience. I was accepted into a sexual health program that I’ve been wanting to apply to for years now. This year, I’m going to continue to check things off my life list, just like I did last year, and the year before that. If I’m not constantly improving myself, I ain’t happy.

For 2014, now that I have a FIFTEEN MINUTE COMMUTE (omg, I can’t believe I can say that), I feel like, finally, the year of never-ending hardship is coming to a close. Timmy is dedicated to improving himself and working on the issues he feels are important, and I’m going to work on being a better partner by being a better me. Sounds like a plan we can definitely both achieve.

And we must be getting somewhere because just this past weekend, at dinner at our fave restaurant in Winter Park, Timmy looked at me and said, “Your attitude has changed so much since you moved, for the better. And it’s only been like a week!”

Ain’t that the truth.

2014

♥, VB