Healing is a journey

I wanted to write another post about partnership and what it is I’m looking for in life, but then I realized my last post was kind of a cliff hanger, so I am here to update you all.

First of all, I started therapy. Honestly, I am not sure why I ever stopped therapy and am I so glad to be back on my healing journey. Secondly, I was able to navigate and create boundaries that were necessary with the person I mentioned in my previous post. While there have been more tears and hard days since, they are getting more manageable as I focus more on myself and my healing.

While I know healing is a journey and I am just now re-starting it, I am already feeling less triggered and more centered on my wellbeing. I’ve been taking time to pray, meditate, and manifest what I want out of life. And, honestly, my social life has been exploding. I have been growing my network in and around Oak Park. I started a single moms and dads social group that has expanded to local singles. It went from once a month thing to a weekly meetup (but not on the meetup app haha). I have been coaching a running camp with my students at the school where I teach, in addition to teaching summer school. I have been training for the Chicago marathon and meeting new friends through different local running groups. I have been tutoring about 4-5 students a week for ACT or SAT. I’m about to travel to visit one of my best friends and get some much girl time with her. I’ve been living my best life with my daughter Aria as well. She tends to join at least half of my runs, and has been even enjoying the after-run beer with us! Just kidding, she just sips on her juice or water and eats all of the cheese sticks haha.

All of this to say, I am feeling fulfilled and full of joy these days. I am in a career I love. I am working towards that 2nd Master’s degree and more than halfway there. The only thing that I would love is a healthy and beneficial partnership.

That’s where I’ve been manifesting and I saw this post the other day on Facebook that one of my awesome friends shared. A healthy partnership is something I’ve never had, but it is something I both desire and deserve. This is something I will be working towards preparing myself to be a good partner who both receives and gives the love I deserve.

What is one thing you’re manifesting?

You deserve the love you give

I’ve been reflecting on my past relationships and how despite even being married, I have yet to find someone who has been able to love me the same way I love them. This honestly ties back to a post I wrote in early 2019, but I still am circling around it since I’m seeing patterns throughout my relationships and I need to write them down in order to hopefully heal and move on from them.

With my ex husband, no matter what I did it was never good enough. One day I came home after a long day of working and kung fu class to basically be yelled at for not cleaning the entire house as well since his friends were coming over that weekend.

Another time, I did all of the laundry and cleaned the entire house, but he got upset since I didn’t also cook dinner. Actually me not cooking daily wasn’t good enough either.

Actually I almost never heard thank you for cleaning the house. Or thank you for doing the laundry. Or I’ll help out and do the dishes.

Instead I was just torn down regularly. Beyond just the house chores, he started questioning me in other ways. If I got upset over something, he would turn it around on me and say no one else was upset so it must’ve just been me.

To this day, how he treated me and my grief over losing my mom haunts me. To this day, I remember he told me how I should feel after I lost MY mom. To this day, this event sticks out. Even more so than the time he was trying to manipulate me into feeling like the divorce was my fault (which didn’t work).

I don’t know if these events being traumatizing are why I see parts of my ex in other people, or if I am just more sensitive to the things people say and do to me. But when someone never gives me any type of praise and instead nit-picks every little thing I do, it triggers me. When someone doesn’t actually listen to me and instead does whatever the fuck they want to, it triggers me. When someone tells me if only I did X, Y, and Z then I would’ve been successful, it triggers me.

And there is someone in my everyday life who triggers me. It’s weird since we will go weeks or months and be fine, but then all of a sudden I am a triggered mess. Like I spent most of the last week crying my eyes out. This person isn’t someone I’m even in a relationship with, but he still triggers me. I’m still navigating this situation since I just don’t know what to do other than distance myself and be honest with him. Even that is triggering though since when I speak my truth, he shuts it down.

And unfortunately I can’t just cut ties with this person (he’s family). So, for once, I am looking for advice. How do I navigate this situation, this relationship with someone who triggers me? Do I need to create a code word where maybe if I say it he gives me space and time to decompress? How do I stop being triggered? I know therapy is likely the answer. I just don’t know where to start.

Waiting for my unicorn

A lot of people ask me why I’m single. Why, despite everything going for me, I can’t land me a husband. Or boyfriend. Or a guy that makes it past one date if I’m being honest. It’s because I’m waiting for my unicorn.

My unicorn is basically a male version of myself. I want someone who’s just as ambitious as me. Someone who’s bettering himself everyday. Someone who has as much faith and hope in Jesus as me. Someone who is as active as me, both physically and within their community. Someone who’s supportive of me as much as I am of them. Someone who can keep up with my humor and make me laugh just as much. Someone who’s vulnerable and real with me.

Someone who communicates well, or at least as well as I do with them. Someone who is trustworthy and transparent. Someone who listens when I need them to. Someone who is full of joy in their life but would like the cherry on top (that’s me haha). Someone who is passionate about their calling in life and pursuing it (whether that’s their career, business, or something else).

Someone who rolls with the punches and doesn’t let situations out of their control drag them down. Someone who falls 8 times but gets back up 9. Someone who sees the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Someone who wakes up everyday and prays. Someone who chooses me and keeps choosing me. Someone who loves me as much as I love them. Someone who pursues God and His unconditional love. Someone who puts Jesus at the center of our relationship and life together. Someone God has prepared just for me.

Until I find my unicorn, I will happily be single. I’ve found everything else I want in life. And like previously mentioned, even if I don’t find my unicorn, I will continue to grow in the joy and love surrounding me. Thank you for reading about my unicorn. ๐Ÿ™‚

The longer that I wait, the more selfish that I get

Lately, I have been taking some time to meditate and reflect on everything I have. The other day, I broke down crying because I am so tired of waiting. Let me backtrack. It was the year 2013. I got married to the person who I thought was THE person. You know, the one God had for me. I got married thinking this was it. Happily ever after. The marriage that lasted until one of us passed away. And hopefully continued in Heaven. Fast forward to three years later and I was proven oh so wrong. My husband got bored and decided to sleep around then leave me when he found some greener grass. Ever since, I have been on a roller coaster of healing. Add in a surprise baby with someone who has no interest in being with me and I am about 4 years single.

As I took the time to meditate on everything I have and how far I’ve come in 4 years, I am full of joy and pride. I know God has helped me to grow into who I am today. Everything in my life isn’t perfect but fulfills me. I love my daughter, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my career, I love my community, I love my life. I love myself. And I love God. He has been calling me and I have been answering His call in my life. I feel like I have purpose in life. One that I don’t fully understand or see, but I am working towards it daily.

What made me cry then? I am so focused on this idea that I married the wrong guy and I KNOW there’s the right guy out there for me. I just don’t know why he hasn’t found me yet. I word it that way because I know I can’t force my way into this. I just so so badly want to marry again and have another kid or two or three. BUT I don’t want to marry the wrong guy again. So I just have to tell myself to be patient, slow down, and chill.

To my single friends, what helps you stay focused and grounded? I want to focus on all the positive in my life and not keep stressing over the one tiny missing piece in my life.

Pic of me at work for effect:

2021: Not that 2020 won, but that we be growing

In my last post, I went over the highlights of 2020. For the record, I got that upgraded car on the last day of 2020, a Subaru Forester which has been a great addition to my single mom life with Aria. I also unexpectedly met another great addition to my life.

I started texting this guy during the first week of December, at the same time of him leaving Chicago for the holidays to spend time with his family in Texas. At first swipe, I expected absolutely nothing much like all of the other matches and conversations that were going nowhere. But this guy did something unexpected. He was vulnerable from the first conversation. I found myself finding a lot in common with him, and demanding video calls to make sure he wasn’t a catfish. Fast-forward three weeks later, he’s in Chicago and agrees to walk around Oak Park with me. 6 miles later, I find myself just more comfortable with him.

Here’s the thing, I didn’t expect this guy to enter my life. I didn’t expect him to be vulnerable and real with me. And while it’s been a little less than two months from our random text message conversation, it feels like we’ve known each other longer since we have been our real selves with each other.

I waited until recently to have him meet Aria. To be honest, I thought he would meet her then change his mind and leave. As a single mom with a growing toddler, I know kids can be overwhelming for someone who is kid-free. Surprisingly, he has gone above and beyond my expectations of him. He went out of his way to make a great impression on Aria. And on the flip side of that token, he has been very careful and reserved as to how to react to Aria when she is showing him affection.

While I have come very far in my healing process, there’s still thoughts that creep into my mind that I battle daily. I recently reached out to a close friend who said “Love (or relationships) is scary” and they were completely right. But I also feel that if you don’t give relationships and love 100% chance than you’re missing out.

Until next time, here’s a cute photo of Aria being goofy.

2020 Vision: Let me reintroduce myself

This year has not been the one I imagined it would be. I’m not going to lie, when 2020 started I had high hopes. I had hoped things between my daughter’s father and I would work out. I had hoped to run the Chicago marathon for the second time. I had hoped to be a science teacher in a local High School. While none of these situations panned out, so much more, better things have happened this year.

I have been inspired by both a good friend of mine and Gwen Stefani to list out all of the abundance that happened this year. So, please enjoy:

  • I got to spend so much more time with my amazing daughter Aria.
  • I financially survived my income getting cut in half overnight in March.
  • I learned to adapt to a pandemic by utilizing my toolbox of skills and experience and becoming a relief vet tech.
  • I learned how to tutor and eventually teach over Zoom.
  • I continued running despite the marathon being cancelled. I ran a virtual relay with my friends.
  • I started my 2nd Master’s Degree in June.
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone and became a science teacher in a local Middle School.
  • I am now on the right path towards my career goals.
  • I travelled to Denver and Door County and spent some quality time in nature.
  • I went on some interesting and new dating adventures despite Covid-19.
  • I sold my 2007 Jetta for a good price. Kind of bittersweet, as it was my first new car that I grew out of.
  • I’m gearing up to buy a safer and upgraded car for Aria and me.

While I am still a work in progress, I have come further than I thought I would this year. And I am looking forward to what’s next, despite the pandemic. 2020 has been good to me, and I am excited for 2021.

Let me end by saying: Let me reintroduce myself. I’m still the Jen you know, but I am growing everyday. You could say I’m evolving. Until next time.

The Color of Compromise

About six weeks ago, I joined a zoom meeting and had no idea what to expect. I was the youngest person in the meeting, and the entire meeting was uncomfortable and interesting. We watched (or listened, rather) to an episode of “The Color of Compromise” and had an open and honest discussion afterwards. I was so engaged in listening that I nearly forgot to say anything. Since then, we’ve met another two times and I wanted to write about my journey so far.

As many of you know, I am the mother of a beautiful and amazing biracial baby girl. When I decided to join this group, I never imagined I’d be crying during the third meeting. Nor did I expect to find others who have experienced racism similar to me (or rather, my daughter). See, I’m not the only one praying for my child (or grandchild) and their future in this climate. It is 2020 and only recently did the Washington Football Team change their name and finally dropped the racial slur Redskins. It is 2020 and I still hear close family members share their opinions on my dating life (I’m an equal-opportunity dater). It is 2020 and yet it feels like the 1800s.

Which led to me crying. When will it get better? Sometimes, I get so very overwhelmed. But what I heard this past meeting sparked a new hope within me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can work on myself and help to change my circle. And circle by circle, change can start and have a ripple effect. So, I am challenging myself by putting myself in these uncomfortable conversations. I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I mostly listen, but I also am learning how I can change myself from within to be more accepting and loving of others.

Because at the end of the day, that is what it’s about. Loving others as God loves us. How are you trying to be a better version of yourself? What are you doing to abolish hate and racism?

Sifting through the garbage

Back by popular demand. I am here to update you all on the dating life of Jen. A few weeks ago, in a moment of weakness, I downloaded the dating apps again. After finally letting go of St. Louis (sorry Cal), I found myself a mixture of bored and buzzed. So what better solution other than swiping through other bored people in the middle of a pandemic?

The reality of it all? I had to deny and reject several offers before finally, weeks later, meeting someone. But up until that moment, I really thought I was literally sifting through a landfill. See, there were guys asking me if I’d give them a blowjob on the first date (true story). And there were guys sending me unwanted dick pics with no warning.

There was also this guy who never called me despite me telling him I wouldn’t meet him without a phone call first. He was so mad when he finally realized he was going kayaking alone.

Up until this past week, I really thought I was wasting my time. It felt wrong. All this swiping and texting for what? And with what pretend free time that I don’t really have? I was feeling overwhelmed and once again just wanted to run away from it all. But then there he was.

He seemed so simple and normal at first. The conversation was easy. Then we spent 5 hours on the phone and it felt natural. We met this past week for sushi, and once again it felt normal. Have I known him for a week or longer?

It’s all new but I’ve been praying daily for God to guide my footsteps. He told me, back in November of 2016, that He has “someone better” for me. I am really hoping and praying for my someone better.

Why I’m not afraid of being single

First of all, before I dive into the topic of my dating life, I must pre-cursor with: I am completely and utterly full of joy in every aspect of my life. My career, my education (on-going), my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything literally feels like a dream. Needless to say, I have zero complaints. Except for one. My singleness. But not enough to lower my standards. Or settle for less.

See, recently someone told me I can’t afford to be picky. Maybe because I have a daughter and want another kid. Maybe because I’m not getting any younger. Maybe because it would be really nice to have someone to help me grow in all aspects of life: financially, physically, and mentally. But no where in any of that is what God wants for my life. See, it’s easy to give excuses as to why I could just settle for the next guy who swipes right on me (if I ever go back on the apps lol). Or I could start building a case to go backwards and just accept someone who doesn’t value me as much as I should be valued. But in doing any of these things, I lose myself and what brings me joy.

Why should I walk away from my joy-filled life only to check a box? And while a good, healthy partnership is way more than a box, right now without that good, healthy relationship waiting on my doorstep it is just a box to check off. And at the end of the day, I have to focus on the most important things in my life. My daughter is important, my faith is important, my well-being is important. See, I love myself and I love Jesus. And I love others. I have so much love sometimes it’s overwhelming. But no where did God say it’s ok to love those who don’t love you back. Or, rather, you can love but with boundaries.

I think these past four years since my husband left me in late 2016 I’ve struggled with my self-worth and value. See, I believed the lies the devil told me that I wasn’t worth it. I still battle these lies daily, but I know that I am beyond worth it. I know that I am powerful but not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan for my life. And so far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a glorious plan. Even if it includes me being single. I have all the love and joy I need.

I’ll leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Three strikes, you’re out

After my last post, things took a drastic turn for the worse. I won’t lie, I was totally smitten with this Doctor moving to Boston. I am not sure if it was Harvard, or all the punny jokes, but he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, as I was developing feelings for someone who was about to move away from me, he turned into a 14 year old over night. All of a sudden, his mom wouldn’t let him out of the house (I could see why he was moving away lol). I tried to see him, but all of the excuses came up and it made me realize I was not as important to him as he was to me.

Moral of the story: don’t fall for a guy who’s moving away and knows he’s moving away and doesn’t tell you right away. Ugh, Boston, you got me!

I literally paused my dating apps, but once he refused to hang out with me again I went back. I met the third guy, who was cool until he told me he was legally married. Three years separated and supposedly hasn’t talked to his wife in three years, but I couldn’t see past the word married. See, I dated a married guy before and you know how that ended. In total utter heartbreak. I told him there was no way I could see past this. Also what the hell was he waiting for? Aaron Burr, if you stand for nothing, what will you fall for? Like if 3 years of no communication didn’t warrant a divorce, what would? AND why the FUCK are you on a dating app if you’re married?

To be a little nice, I agreed to be friends with him. But even that is iffy. He supposedly is calling a lawyer tomorrow, but I am still confused as to why he didn’t call them yesterday, or better yet three years ago.

Amidst all of this, another guy started talking to me. His profile stuck out because he used foreign words such as: He is dedicated, loyal, and loving. He was really cute and worked in a hospital. It was almost too perfect. He video called me and I agreed to meet him three days later. Right before we meet, I look up his dating profile and I realize he deactivated it. I’ve never seen this before, and it sticks out to me. We meet, and we talk, and I realize we have a lot in common. We have been through similar situations, and we have similar goals in life. He’s a year away from his PhD about to be a doctor/director of a hospital. To say he’s smart is an understatement. I won’t lie, this guy seems foreign to me. He legit wants to be with me after two dates. I deactivated my dating accounts and I’m giving him a shot. So I guess, wish us luck. I’m weary after Bright to be honest.

And the craziest part is I have two guys from a dating app who slipped through the cracks right before I met new guy who are quite upset I didn’t even give them a chance. But I am not able to date around. I am a girl who gives each guy a fair and even shot. So to the new guy and to us. Hopefully we survive Covid (I told him I want him to meet my church fam but obviously that’s not possible). I’ve been praying daily as I really do want what God wants for me. Whether it’s this guy or someone else, I am looking towards Him to guide my footsteps.

Stay tuned for more adventures in my dating life and beyond.