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It's been a while since I've posted....and I've realized that I need to start blogging more, as blogging helps me clear out the cobwebs, think more concisely and stop getting overwhelemed by the stuff I can't control.

So here we go...
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Sexuality, Church, and Hypocrisy

I started to have a conversation last night about churches that accept the LGBTQ community for who they are without trying to change them, after I kind of just outed myself as bi. (I usually hate labels, but sometimes the labels are just the easiest way to explain things, so that's the label I go with.) I explained that my church (that I love and will not be leaving) is very accepting but that there are rules or expectations for those members who take leadership positions (like ministry coordinators or small group leaders) and that if I were to be in a relationship with a woman, I most likely wouldn't be able to be a SGL or the like.

And that got me thinking.

I totally understand the need for expecations; you clearly want your leaders to set an example and that example needs to reflect the church's mission and vision. What gets sticky for me is that there is a bit of hypocrisy that happens when you do that. And this hypocrisy exists everywhere, it's nothing new, and especially not in a church.

Some leaders live outloud and big, all over Facebook, doing all the things "normal" people do, but some of the activities they engage in are contridictory to the expecations of group leaders. Yet, they're still leading groups. I, however, had been warned time and again to be careful of what I post on my Facebook when I was a ministry coordinator because I may "misrepresent" myself.

It's no secret, I support the LGBTQ community and I was excited and happy when marriage equality finally happened. But I've been cautioned against being too vocal about that on Facebook, especially if I want to be a leader. I've been cautioned about watching out for "temptation" and not allowing myself to become interested in or attracted to a woman because while it's ok to identify as gay, it's not ok to engage in any activity that isn't "pure" (to be fair, they don't just address this in regards to homosexuality but any act outside the confines of traditional, heterosexual marriage).  And I understand that...again, it's about staying true to the church's mission and vision.

It becomes a problem for me when it's ok for some but not for others. It becomes a problem for me when I'm not being true to who I am out of fear of condemnation from the ones who absolutely not be judging or condemning me.

So I've made a decision...I'm going to live my life the way that works for me. I'm going to stop making myself feel guilty for who I am and what I feel. I'm going to have faith and trust that there's a plan for me and that I'll know what's right and part of my plan and what isn't (I knew years ago too and ignored the instincts that told me I was on the wrong path...I won't make that mistake again).

I'm going to crush on the cute girl and not feel guilty about it (I may not pursue it either, but that will be based on circumstances, not gender). I'm going to continue to support the community that I'm technically a part of. I'm going to lead a small group because I believe that being a mom and leading a group of moms is something I can do regardless of my relationship status; we face the same basic issues, just the reasons for the issues may differ. The solutions are generally the same.  And if it comes to the point that my relationship threatens my ability to be a leader, I'll have a conversation about the hypocrisy, because I feel that sometimes the hypocrisy happens while you aren't looking and it's there before you realize it exists.

I've been struggling with my identity for a while now and just haven't felt comfortable in my own skin. Not anymore. I am God's and he loves me just how I am. I know who I am (with or without labels) and I'm not hiding anymore. Take me or leave me, but given the chance, I think I could touch lives and make the world a better place, just by being me.
I've been binge watching Once Upon a Time, trying to get all caught up before the new season starts next month. Pair that with a playlist I made for inspiring shippy, romantic fan fics, a long couple of weeks and a green apple Smirnoff Ice and you end up with blog posts like this one...
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Just keep swimming...

The last time I posted, I had just given my 2 weeks' notice at my childcare and was about to start a new job. I've been at the new job since April 20.

The first two months were spent primarily in a training room, learning all the "book stuff" that goes with being a caseworker for CYF. It was along and tedious and a bit overwhelming. There's a lot of information to absorb and process, and thank God I don't have to actually remember it all (I have handouts upon handouts upon handouts) because I can look it up.

I've been in the office, in my chair, for 2 weeks. I've been assigned one case and three investigations already. I have a fabulous supervisor and the other women in my unit are terrific. So are the women who have their cubicles near mine - everyone is very willing and open to helping me.

And I'm struggling.

Last week was rough for me. I've never done work like this before. And I've never worked anywhere where I didn't know what I was doing. I've had to ask questions - and that's hard for me. The insecurity of not knowing what I'm doing, the uncertainty, not being sure of what steps to take and when. And I've been told by my supervisor and one of the caseworkers that's been there for a really long time that I'm not supposed to know what I'm doing. I've been told it's ok to ask questions and not have the answers on my own. But man, it's hard! I hate having to ask questions. I feel like I'm just supposed to know the answers. This has been a huge test in humility. I'm being pushed out of my comfort zone, having to do things I'm not even close to comfortable doing - beyond asking questions.

And this morning at church, the message made me feel so much better about not being so comfortable. The pastor spoke about the signs and miracles Jesus did while he was here. And of course, he spoke about Jesus walking on water and Simon Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on water with Him. And how you don't test your faith if you never step out of the boat. And if you don't test your faith, you become complacent. I don't want to be complacent, so I stepped out of the boat. Now I just have to trust  Him to keep my feet on the surface of the water.  With Him, I've got this.


Five years ago, I made one seemingly small decision that changed my life forever. That sounds so melodramatic, and at the time it didn't seem like it would be such a big deal, but as it turns out it was.  To talk about the change, I have to talk about everything that lead up to it.

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Sparky Bingo 2014

It's that time of year again! Time for Sparky Bingo...maybe this year I'll actually be successful LOL

Sparktober Bingo 2014 by drewandian
First Contact

Last Chance
Personal Item
Future Fic
Hide and Seek

Brought to you by sparktober! Get your own card here!

Flyby update

2014 has been a year of closure for me, and as I quickly approach my 39th birthday, I have to say that 38 treated me rather well.

  • my divorce became final in May

  • we have finally all been able to put the past in the past and J, his gf, and I have been getting along better and truly working together to parent the boys

  • i just celebrated one year at my job. i still love the job and the people i work for/with (the pay could be better but eh...money isn't the most important part)

  • i became part of the leadership team for my women's group at church

  • i finished my master's degree...i (unoffically right now because the final grade hasn't actually been submitted) have a MAED in family and community service (and finished with a 4.0)

these are just the highlights. life is good, my friends. not perfect, but i never expected perfection. it's been a busy, crazy year, but i wouldn't have it any other way.

now that i'm done with school, i can spend more time writing (mostly criminal minds fan fic these days although i am working on a sparky SGA fic) and reading for fun. and looking for a job where i can use my shiny new master's degree (and maybe get paid a little more lol)


Yesterday, as I was peed and spit up on twice, and again today as I changed my 800 millionth diaper I was struck with a very scary realization - I'm burned out and need a change of profession.

This makes me really really sad...and scares the crap out of me.

I've been taking care of children for over 20 years (and it's crazy to me that I'm old enough to say that...i don't FEEL like I'm old enough to, but I am).  I started babysitting when I was 11 or 12. Other than a brief stint working at Sears in college, I've only ever worked with children. I've spent over 10 years in classrooms - anywhere from infant rooms to preK classrooms. I've taught preschool, Sunday school. I've been a TSS. I managed the Eagle's Nest at the local Giant Eagle (an in-store child care room for parents who drop their children off to shop in peace and quiet). I've been a nanny (even when I was a SAHM).

My entire professional life has been some form of child care.

And I'm tired. Worn out.

I love my job. I love snuggling and caring for the babies. I love watching the littles learn and grow. I like the people I work with; I get along with all of them. I love knowing that everyday I go to work and make a difference for these babies. They know love outside of mom and dad because of me. I get all the perks of raising babies without the expense and sleep deprivation (well not really because I'm not sleeping these days but it's not because of babies).

I'm starting to dread going to work, though. Not because of anything specific about my job. I guess it's more because I just need to do something new. Something different. A part of me feels like I'm ready for a job with a desk and "grown up clothes" and people who report to me. And it's never really been my thing, but I think it's time to move on and try something new.

And that shouldn't be hard, or an issue. I'm one class away from a MAED. This should enable me to find a job in my field that I will enjoy and do well with.  The more research I do, however, the less I'm finding that to be the case. I have no idea how to search for a job outside of childcare. I have no idea how to interview for a job outside of childcare. I have no experience, really, outside of childcare (nothing substantial).  I'm starting from scratch and recreating myself and that scares the hell out of me.

I have NO idea what I want to do, who I want to be, what I *should* do. I'm in a position to drastically change my life and have no idea what to do next.

I've been thinking about this a lot the past few days and every time I think about leaving the center and the childcare field, I want to cry. But when i think about just staying and not messing with what I know, I feel panicky, stressed and frustrated.

What do I do now?!


And here I thought I was past this...

I've been doing really well lately. Like, really, really well.  School is going great and I'm one class away from graduation. The kids and I have settled into a routine. I'm not pushing for more time (yet) and have learned to appreciate every single second I have with them. And I've learned that it doesn't necessarily mean filling our time together with outings and events, sometimes it means snuggling in my room, watching TV and just taking time to "be". I've continued to focus on my relationship with God, and am growing so much.  I've found a fandom to get excited about and it has prompted me to start writing again. I have a job I love, coworkers who make the days go by quickly and friends and family who love and support me. I am content. Happy even. Fulfilled.

And of course this is when all the old doubts and questions come creeping back in.

I was listening to the "love song" station on Pandora the other night, looking for inspiration for a fan fic I'm working on and just to unwind. I had settled into bed, just like every other night, exhausted and ready to crash. And crash I did...right into a meltdown like i haven't had in ages.

I used to cry over EVERYTHING...the eternal sap with the soft heart who would cry at Kleenex commercials, or when she was angry, or frustrated, or happy...literally everything had the potential of reducing me to tears. over the past two or three years, though, I've toughened up. I've been through enough crap that I'm not quite as sensitive. These days, just about the only thing that reduces me to tears is the boys' dad and even now, that's not as likely to happen. I still shed tears over my favorite characters leaving a show, or during the sad parts of movies, but I'm not the softie I used to be.

I'm also not as insecure as I used to be. I know who I am, who I want to be, what I want. I tend not to let my past failures get to me, or to shape who and where I am today. I've done the best I can to let go of the old relationships and the old hurts.

Which is why nights like that one are so frustrating...

Nights that bring all those old questions back to the foreground. The questions like "how do I always end up invisible?" or "why am I so easy to cast aside and replace?"  I can't help but look back and see a pattern - Scott had a new girlfriend within a month of my ending our 3 1/2 year long relationship (although to be fair, *I* kissed someone else first, prompting me to break things off finally); Jason had me replaced before he walked out and even went so far as to make sure I replaced him before he left; Mandy had a new gf within hours of being locked up and hasn't had a day that she's been single since. And I can't help but feel like this is a problem with ME, not about them. What is it about me that makes it so easy to walk away? To forget? To replace?

I feel like i'm doomed to forever be in that place - that "she's really sweet and a good friend" place. And in my heart of hearts I know that's not true. I know that there's that one person out there for whom I'm irreplaceable. For whom I'm the only one. That there's that one person out there who *really* sees me, all of me, and loves all of me, despite my flaws (or maybe even BECAUSE of them).

But sometimes...late at night, after a particularly long day, with the right songs playing, it's hard to remember that and to feel like there's something wrong with me. To feel lonely and invisible.


J and I met spring semester of 2001. We shared a music stand in concert band, chatted on Yahoo messenger and eventually he convinced me to give him a chance. So we dated. Like actual honest-to-goodness dates - going to the grocery store and buying food to take back to my apartment and cook together, going to the movies, taking walks on campus. We got married in 2003.

We separated almost four years ago; our divorce was finalized in May. I was in a relationship from May 2010 until (and this gets a little cloudy) December 2012/January 2013 (that's when we officially broke it off but it took a little while to really stick - I considered myself single then). I've been living on my own since February of 2013.

I am to the point, finally, that I can be alone without being lonely. I love my solitude. I love my life. I am content; I am happy. It's not perfect but it's good.

For a little while, a few months ago, I wasn't so sure and thought I needed a little something else and dabbled in encounters that ended up not being what I wanted or needed at all. I was, am, genuinely happy just the way my life is right now. For the first time ever, I don't *need* a relationship (or more importantly and profoundly, the physical "stuff" that goes with one).

Which is why I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'm ready to start meeting people and start dating.

I am at the point in my life where I *want* to meet people, rather than *needing* to meet people. And this is a fundamental difference. It is the difference between that desperate need to fill the void and the desire to fill my life with interesting people who can and will meet me where I am. The difference between needing someone to "complete" me and the desire to have someone be equal to me.

I have some very wonderful friends who are a little worried about me. Worried that I'll settle, or that I'll be tempted to compromise the promises I've made to myself when it comes to approaching new, potential relationships. And I appreciate the concern, and the fact that I know that they will be brutally honest in their impressions, feelings and opinions when necessary and appropriate. I, however, am not as worried as they are.

I've filled that void with God. My relationship with Him is whole and healthy and allows me to be the best version of myself. I'm not interested in settling.

Friday night, I've got my first date in over ten years. And I'm excited. And nervous. But the one thing I know is that I'm looking forward to meeting someone new, getting to know him, and just waiting to see where things go. And if they don't go any further than friendship, I'm totally ok with that.

It's not about not wanting to be alone and all about moving on.   (and I'm also hoping that dating is like riding a bike and that I haven't forgotten how to do it lol)



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