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I don’t know what possessed me exactly, but I was going through some very old emails, and I found this:

From: Caroline
Date: October 15, 2014 at 7:25:09 AM EDT
To: xxx1234 <xxxx1234@gmail.com>
Subject:Bad dream

I dream about you a lot. My dreams are very vivid. Last night I dreamed you killed yourself.

So now it’s Wednesday. I made it to mid week.

Here is something I wrote yesterday:

What it feels like to be invisible:

I started back at work, after ten long years. The training is long, and most of it seems to go over my head. Sometimes I find myself tuning out. I don’t care that much, it’s only a job. A paycheck. I’ll never be one of those people who lives to work. Work, to me, is more of an unfortunate necessity.

The hardest thing I find about work is once work ends. I go home to a place where nobody really cares about my day. There’s nobody to rush home to and tell them about where I was and what I did in the last eight hours. I am pretty much alone. I am invisible.

The first thing I do when I finish work is remove the fake smile I wear in order to look “normal.” Once I get home I change out of my work clothes. I’m usually crying when I do this. I put on my old and ugly gym clothes (because they are comfy), discard my daily contact lenses, and I sit out on my mother’s porch trying to catch the remnants of the Florida heat before the sun goes down. I do this in clothes that are unseasonably warm. Nobody sits in layers of clothes when it’s this hot. Well, nobody except me. I like that almost oppressive feeling, the heat plus the heaviness of my clothes. It is the closest I come near to hug. It is the closest I get to the “I love you” that I wish I could hear.

I am merely going through the motions. I don’t know how to exist without love. On a good day, I might be able to cheer myself up with some comforting words, a conversation with an old friend, or maybe something fun in my email; but for the most part, this is how I live.

That was so hard for me to read. At the time, I just started my first job in America, and I wasn’t coping well. My divorce process was in full steam. I think I was severely depressed — but I had weaned myself off my medication by this point. I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t afford to see a doctor.

This morning, when I came across this email, I was transported back to my 2014 mindset, a mindset that doesn’t (and never did) serve me.  The floodgates opened. I’m sure you’ve been here too my lovelies, when you past comes to bite you in the ass just a little too hard?

Let me tell you how to fight back. First recognize that this is the past. It’s not your present, and it will only be your future if you give it power. Remember who the fuck you are. You are that badass bitch who kicked that shit to the curb. Don’t look back. If you have looked back, and it does and will happen on occasion, look at all that you’ve accomplished since then. That pain, those tears, don’t let it be for nothing. Don’t let those bad memories lead to more bad. Tears exist to wash away the hurt, but at some point you must remember to turn off the faucet or you will drown. Although tears have their purpose, and sadness needs to be felt so that you can move on, there is also a time for stepping back into your power. Trust me, it IS there. 

In an effort to banish the sadness I felt, I asked myself: okay, that’s old news, what have I done for me lately 😜? Here are some things I came up with.

  • In two years I have doubled my salary.
  • I’ve had, and continue to have, some excellent adventures, and I’ve made new friends to share them with.
  • I can handle loss a lot better. I am no longer desperate to hold on to people who don’t recognize my value. I am enough. I have enough.
  • I have learned the art of self care. I am able to stop myself when I feel myself heading towards a downward spiral (not always, but most of the time). Now I spend more time happy than sad.
  • I am so many steps closer to becoming the woman I’m supposed to be.

I urge you to try this out too next time you are feeling a bit low. Let’s not give our bad moments too much power over us. What have you accomplished since D-day? Or if you haven’t experienced one, how far have you come in two years? I bet it’s a lot more than you realize, we just have a nasty habit of focusing on the negative. Let’s change that.

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Excellence in all that I do: that is (not) my motto.

It’s my third week into the joys of financial aid. Actually, it’s not particularly joyous, it’s kind of stressful. What a week. I’m so happy it’s over. I feel clueless, and have spent more than a few minutes hiding in the bathroom stalls checking out my Instagram account avoiding any actual work. I am the ultimate slacker. Surely, somewhere that has to be a marketable skill, no?! It is my art. I have to say, despite the tedious nature of the work, my coworkers are absolutely lovely, and I feel like I’m starting to make friends. Hell, even my boss is cool. On Monday I felt completely overwhelmed though. By the time the work day finished, I had gotten myself into a total downer. All the existential angst came out. It freaks my mother out when I get that way. My negativity can just get really out of control, and it’s not always so easy to reign in. The only way I could stop it was to put myself to bed early. That night I went to sleep at 8:30. The next day, however, things turned around.

On Tuesday I finally got the call I was waiting for. I got the job as a car insurance claims adjuster: the job I wanted. OMG you guys, I was sooooo excited. The lady on the phone who gave me the good news laughed because I think I was on the verge of squealing LOL. I start on August 15. I think I’ll do my financial aid job up until the last day of this month, and then take a two week break (is that naughty?). They gave me the highest offer in the salary range, and that was something I hadn’t expected. Once the yearly bonus is factored in, I should be making about $10k more a year than I’m getting In my current position. God has done me good! So you see, I was totally right about the lucky penny thing. If all works well, this job could be my ticket to self-sufficiency. I am on my way to achieving one of my deepest wishes and life goals, so this is completely major for me. I finally feel in my heart that I can do this.

Guess who else called me? BS! We texted back and forth, and BS was demonstrating unusually excellent behavior. I have never known BS to be so nice. Is it newfound respect, or is it a trap? My heart wants to see the best in people, but I am cautious. Although I found the gesture really sweet, I just don’t have the desire or energy to meet up though. My day finishes late, and the last thing I want to do is spend what remains of it (or even my precious weekend),  with someone who I’m pretty sure is going to revert to their old habits and irritate the crap out of me. So, thank you, but no thank you. It felt so good to finally be able to say no to someone from a position of power. I am often the one who feels like I have to please everyone. This time, someone was bending over backwards for me! BS is used to getting whatever they want whenever they want, so the fact that they were almost on the verge of begging was novel to say the least. It may not be very adult of me to admit it, but the fact is I liked this turn of events very much indeed.

The days are long. Coming home at 7 kind of sucks. The last few hours of the day I try to concentrate on being kind to myself. I have early nights, but I feel that I look so tired all the time. My heart is happy, but I feel really run down, which is why I haven’t been posting as much. Being an adult … Meh. 

p.s. Birdy and I went to see a movie on Friday night, and I found more pennies than I have ever found in one day! Hmmm…

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Birthdays are a good time to reflect I think. It was a year of some high highs and some low lows, but overall, I like where things are going. As I start my 41st year, I’m feeling pretty damned good. I don’t have everything I want, but I have everything I need, plus a lot of extra awesomeness that I never even thought to ask for. Here is a quick recap of my 40th year:

  • I visited NYC and New Orleans.
  • I met a guy I really like.
  • I had some firsts: I saw an opera at the MET, I rode on a motorcycle, I danced (sort of), and I ate at a Hooters (*gasp*)!
  • After about 25 years of attempting to dye my hair red, I went back to my natural color (almost black).
  • I got hired, fired, and hired again.
  • I learned that “happiness comes from within” is not just some cliche bullshit, it’s actually true.
  • I ate like nobody was watching.
  • I am slowly rediscovering my value … and I’m adding some tax for good measure!
  • I’m coming to terms with the idea that I will be loosing a very dear friend– it’s like the end of an era, but I’m also gaining new ones.
  • I feel better about life than I have felt in a very long time.

I want to thank all of you who read my blog for being part of my journey and always giving me kind words of support. It means the world to me. This ride wouldn’t be the same without you. I send you all birthday kisses and lots of love. This next year is going to be a great vintage. I can feel it. 

6a05bb877f07ce1f4ad92769d4ce3da3I know I have been writing a lot less frequently these days. There is no excuse really, except that I just haven’t been feeling like it. When I had a food blog, back in the day, I felt obliged to churn out a post every week. It became almost like a job that I didn’t get paid for, which kind of sucked because my blog was supposed to be a hobby—something I did because it was fun. I don’t do that now. I just choose to write when inspiration strikes and there’s something I want to say or share.

I did want to let you know that I’m doing okay. Well, some days I’m doing okay. I had a few rough days this week. I still have days where the tears start right after work, and they can last for hours. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I still suffer from depression, or that these feelings are just the natural byproduct of what I’ve been going through.  I do have a therapist friend who tells me I’m depressed, but I don’t necessarily believe that. I feel like I just have depressed moments. I never want to go back on antidepressants. I feel like whatever emotions I experience, I’d rather just experience them, not mask them. What am I crying about? Feelings of fear, loss, wondering how I’m supposed to do this thing. How am I going to continue to put one foot in front of the other? I often suffer from feelings of complete hopelessness and loneliness. I feel like there is this vast emptiness inside of me. I hope one day that goes away. But there are some really good feelings that I’m experiencing too. Although I’m far from what I might classify as “successful,” I am becoming a person that I respect and admire – and that is something which I didn’t have back in my housewife days. I find that so completely ironic. Without the money and the comfort, I am a person that I like even more now. Somehow I see myself as more real and more beautiful. I’m more compassionate, more in tune with what makes me who I am, more arty, more passionate. I’m just more. I do like that very much. I think I’m becoming someone pretty special. I love me so much, that I believe I could marry me LOL.

I’m reminded of a famous quote by Gloria Steinem: “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” I now understand exactly what that means. As a housewife, I was glad to give all the responsibilities to my ex. He was the breadwinner, the problem solver, the one who was supposed to “make things happen.” I never realized what a huge burden and responsibility that was until now. I am now the one who earns my money, who solves my own problems, who makes my dreams come to reality. It is both a confidence booster and a terrifying prospect at the same time. Now, whether I fall or I fly, it is totally on me. While this does not excuse my husband AT ALL from being a complete whore, It does gives me a new respect for the kind of responsibility he carried on his shoulders, and it makes me appreciate what an exemplary provider he was. Now its my job, and being realistic, I know I’m not going to achieve what he did, but I’m determined to achieve what I consider to be enough, and that will just have to do.

I am now my own knight in shining armor, and I’m going to have to rescue myself. I have encountered men who will say the magical words I’ve longed to hear: “I will take care of you.” These “Prince Charmings” … God, I don’t even know what happened to them. They may look the part, and talk the part, but there is something inherently wrong with them. They have no honor and their words lack value. These days, knights in shining armor are nothing more than A-holes in tin foil. They are completely lacking in moral character; they just say what they need to say to get what they want. If that’s going to be the case, then as lonely as it is, I choose myself. When heroes are in short supply, sometimes you have no choice but to become your own. Though I don’t consider myself to be the hero type, not even in the slightest, I have no choice but to become one.

Slowly (extremely slowly), I see a life forming ahead of me that I know I can be proud of. I would just really like to find someone who is worthy of sharing it with. I would like to know that truly good men still exist. Until then, I know of one truly good woman I can lean on, and that would be me.

Wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for who you are, because you are awesome.

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Recently I lost something that meant a lot to me. It was something that made me feel hopeful and optimistic. For a time I was waking up with a smile on my face for the first time in a long time, and a greater sense of purpose. I was inspired. I became more productive at work. I also began to take on a more healthier lifestyle. I am sure I will be receiving emails from Nabisco any day now, wondering why there are so many Nutter Butters on the shelf at my local supermarket! Damn, those Nutter Butters are some freaking good cookies! And then one day, it vanished as quickly as it appeared. It felt crap. It made me sad. I cried it out a bit, but I also did something else, which was a little out of character for me: I thanked God for taking it away. Why? That thing that was making me happy, was not necessarily a good thing. It came with some strings that weren’t entirely comfortable for me. It is most definitely a good thing to get out of one’s comfort zone, but it was yet to be determined if my new hopefulness was going to end up effecting me in a positive way, or a destructive one. I have decided to just release any grievances I have on the matter into the Universe. This is a very novel approach for me, but I’ll tell you a secret: it felt good. Perhaps at the age of 40, maybe, just maybe, I am starting to grow up.

Just so you know, I’m keeping my new healthier eating habits (minus the occasional peanut butter cookie LOL), and I am determined to do my best to stay focused on my new job–which is going okay so far, if you consider that I haven’t gotten fired yet ;). I suffered a loss, but it’s not a total loss. I’m taking my consolation prizes, and in the words of my spirit animal, Cartman from South Park:

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To ease any residual discomfort I am feeling over the issue, I decided to indulge in a bit of retail therapy. You know, it costs just as much as real therapy, but I actually get goodies. Try it some time dollies. Moi has pre ordered the new iPhone 6S, cause well… f*ck, I deserve it! If I can’t have what I want, I’m damn well going to make sure I go home with a few parting gifts. I can do that, because I am an adult now (or at least that’s what my driver’s license seems to indicate).

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Yeah, so this “grace” thing? I got that sh*t down!

1. Kusmi green tea with roses: I bought some in NYC at their concession inside the Plaza Hotel on the way to my hair appointment at Warren Tricomi (more on that later, it was the most fabulous day). It is positively blissful. I dare you to drink this and not feel like a princess. I have just finished the last of my stash. I implore any handsome man who might be reading this blog who is secretly deeply in love with me to replenish it. He can send me chocolates too. He knows exactly which ones I adore (hint: its La Maison Du Chocolat).

0dc30b9071e8c6ca5aee831d4c69adee2. Speaking of men, here is something that I find highly amusing: there is a guy at work who has a bit of a crush on me. He tells me I am beautiful and that I have pretty eyes. He asked me out and gave me his phone number … he is 25. I told him that aside from the fact that I could not go out with a man that I worked with, I happen to be old enough to be his teenage mommy (although a very youthful looking one LOL). Moi is not ready to be a cougar and wear tacky leopard printed jumpsuits (unless of course it is Dior, then I might consider it–the jumpsuit, that is, not the boy). He is lovely, and I am beyond flattered. Every once in a while, we all could use a bit of an ego boost, no? Alas, my heart is taken by my imaginary lover who sends me poetry and stuffs my belly with expensive chocolate. *Le sigh* Does such a man even exist?

The perfect leapord house frock by John Galliano for Dior, 2009... rawr! I could totally work this!
The perfect leapord house frock by John Galliano for Dior, 2009… rawr! I could totally work this!

3. Goldloxe: I am assuming Goldloxe is a “she” (I could be wrong), but I am absolutely loving her work. I managed to snap a few of her pieces while in NYC, but now that I am back home and following her on Instagram, I have fallen even deeper down the hole. What is it about her whimsical little girly that brings me so much joy? Who is this creature who walks amongst the urban jungle without a care in the world with her doe eyes and tiny pursed lips with the slightest hint of a cheeky smile? I have a feeling there is more to this one than she lets on ;). Goldloxe juxtaposes her into the most unusual of places, amidst other street art to create something that is always charming and/ or amusing.

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Come one, this last one must have made you crack a smile!?
Come one, this last one must have made you crack a smile!?

4. This last one is an oldie but a goodie. You could say it’s my “Scooby snack.” I love these things. I have mentioned them before, but I’ll mention it again (yep, this is my blog, so I can do that sh*t, even if it is a little repetitive). Today I purchased some chocolate dipped coconut macaroons from Godiva. Forget the fancy French macaron that everyone likes to photograph and write about, this kicks its ass. Because last month was my birthday, I had a $10 gift on my Godiva rewards card. I only had to pay $2.50 for these lovelies! God obviously wanted me to have them, it was a sign (*cough* and no, I have still not gotten on the scale after my New York adventure, nor have I gone to the gym… shut up, okay?!).

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5. I am very pleased to tell you that today is Totally Caroline’s one year anniversary. This is not my first blog, but it is my most personal one. I have spilled my heart out here so many times, and the feedback, love, and friendship I have received back in return has meant more to me than you could begin to imagine. Thank you so much for sharing with me in my (mis)adventures, here’s to many more my daaaahlings. I love you.