Turn the Page, Own Your Stuff.

I’ve been wrapping my brain around how I can snap out of my funk. To get around my mental block and just deal with my own stuff. I have been told, and have thought, “hmmmm, I need a therapist.” but see, conventional therapy doesn’t seem to grab me. I literally don’t have the energy to sit and talk to anyone about what’s going on with me, without giving them 18 months of backstory. Well, maybe it’s gonna be 30 years of backstory. Because I am a mess. I claim it’s part of my charm. I don’t think anyone else agrees with me about that.

So, let’s get into it…shall we?

I am not in contact with 80% of my family.

There. I said it.


It’s been a solid six months of mostly radio silent, preceded by 12 months of bullshit from all sides. Understand, I am fully involved in the current situation. I am not at all blameless. BUT I am not willing to be the only contributing member of my family.

To know me, is to know first and foremost, my family means everything to me. If any ONE of them called, right now, and said they needed me, I would be there. and 100% of my family knows this. So for me to acknowledge that I am not speaking to or communicating in any way with any of my family pains me in such a way, that there are times, I find it hard to breathe.

I have spent my entire, I mean, ENTIRE adult life catering to everyone. Everyone that is, but myself. I have put family, friends, significant others, jobs, everything…in front of myself. It’s how I function. And I have never thought twice about it.

However, my wife, when she walked in…did think twice about it. She wanted to know how to help me, how to make it better, what she could do to help me to put me at the very least, in front of a few others. ME. She wanted me to think about me.

And so I did…I literally told her “you handle the kids, I’m exhausted.” Well, that didn’t last. Simply because, I realized…nope. I can’t do that to her or to them. I shouldn’t expect them to adjust to each other, new relationships and now new rules. I can’t expect to just “quit” being a parent because mommy got a new girlfriend. So, we backtracked, we adjusted. Bottom line, I learned that yes, I need to think about me, but I always, ALWAYS need to keep others in my vision. She would be there to support me and have my back, to always remind me, I need to pay attention to me too.

I am way more laid back than the wife. And unfortunately, folks in my life took absolute advantage of this. And the wife, she saw my frustration and tried to help me. This has over the years blown up colossally in her face. I have been her biggest defender against many over the years, and will continue to do so until I draw my last breath. She is my protector and my safe place. She is also the one who asks, “why won’t anyone take you seriously? why won’t anyone help you? why won’t you hold ANYONE but yourself accountable for ANYTHING?”

Doesn’t take away from the fact I would give anything to my family – my kids, my mom, my sister or niece…it just means there’s one more person I would give my life for. My wife. And here’s the “extra” to this.

She would give her life for any of my family.

So with this newfound inner strength, this newfound “I need to take care of me,” I have learned a few lessons.

Not everyone is going to like change. No. Not most. Change is inevitable. Everything changes, all the time. As I have gotten older, I have had to change. I have lost a job, friends, a parent. It has all shaped me. It’s made me stronger. And it’s made me different. As you mourn the loss of something or someone…you don’t get over it. No, you get around it. It’s something that will change you forever, the way you move through it is how you get adjusted, how you get around it. And that will be the change.

I thrive in change. New jobs, new homes, new situations. I dig in, figure out how to make it work and just do it. It’s inevitable, might as well get used to it, make it work in my favor. Others completely freak out and shut down. Or lash out. I’ve done it all. Time to throw back my shoulders and meet it head on.

Change scares people. We have long heard the adage “change scares people.” It does. And that’s okay. I lived in misery for 3 years, because I was afraid of change. And when I finally took my proverbial head-out-of-the-sand, I figured out I could make a change that would impact me and my whole family. But I had to. I couldn’t do what I had been doing for years, I had to make a change, no matter how scary it was. Let me tell you, I was terrified of doing this and doing it alone. But I was more terrified of who I was becoming and what it meant if I didn’t make a change.

As much as it hurt so many I knew not making a change would have done so much more damage that I was willing to be responsible for.

Not everyone changes at the same pace. I am the least patient person I know. I’m a “rip the bandaid off” kind of person. I just want it done and I want it over with. If it’s going to hurt, I need to know the level of pain, so I can get it in my head and I can manage it.

Others, they want to tip-toe into the change. A little bit at a time. I don’t get that, but I have to learn how to respect it. It’s not easy. And I am still a work in progress.

I am a terrible trainer. It’s true. I expect everyone to walk in to work, knowing what to do and how to do it with very little from me. It’s why I don’t train people. I don’t have the patience to show you 15 times how to do the same thing. I’m constantly amazed I taught two little people how to tie their shoes, use a spoon or to go potty.

That’s just it. I go fast. In every aspect of my life. I zoom around. Unless SVU is on and then everything slows down. As I get older, the days go faster. I want to cram as much into my life, my days as I can. I feel like 2017 was a whirlwind, I barely remember 2016 and have no recollection of anything prior to 2014. It’s that fast. So for me, if there has to be change, it needs to happen NOW, or the moment is gone.

I have to be aware and respectful of others and their need to be a bit more cautious.

I’m still working on this one.

Not everyone agrees. With me. I am a control freak of the highest order. I have long admitted that. This has been the hardest part of learning in the last few years. That just because I want something one way, doesn’t mean I am going to get my way.

As my kids have gotten older, they have gotten their own views on everything…the world, politics, me…and very little of what I had to say or have to say changes anything in minds. And I have had to learn it’s okay to allow them to have their own opinions, their own thoughts. And just because they aren’t the same as mine, doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them different.

As I have gotten older, my opinions, my own thoughts have began to sound like that of an older person. Like my dad, or my mom…even my grandparents. I think about things like retirement and healthcare. I think about the loss of modesty and common sense. Then I realize, I am my grandpa. God.help.me. But I think more like my parents, that I want to continue to protect my kids like they are three, but I have to let them go.

I have to realize that, like my parents, I have to have patience, that I have to have faith the lessons they learned, directly or indirectly, were retained and they will be okay.

My poor mother. She sits, watching with those old “knowing” eyes. I should probably apologize more for the stunts of my younger years…but no…I think she knows…just as she probably thought the same about her mom when that moment of clarity hit her.

I don’t have to apologize. I have spent my life apologizing to anyone who didn’t have something “go their way” for whatever part I may have played in it. If I had a penny for every time I have uttered the words, “I’m sorry” to someone, I’d be a billionaire. but get this…

I’m not sorry. Not anymore. I didn’t do it.

I’ll apologize for my mistakes, for my bad judgment or being chronically late…I will no longer apologize for any of the following:

that donut you ate this morning, your lack of job, your lack of a date, your waist size, your in-laws, your credit score, the time you went to bed, the fact you can’t cook, whiten your teeth, do your own taxes, laundry, dishes, that you can’t potty train your dog, cat, squirrel or hamster, the fact you forgot to mail anything, pay your bills, take the trash to the curb or brush your hair.

this is all on you. I’m not responsible for ANY of that or more. In fact…if you aren’t under the age of 18, living in my house with a genetic link to me, I am literally NOT responsible for anything you have done, will do or are poorly planning to do.

I will be your biggest cheerleader if you let me. I can laugh with you, cry with you, mock you until laugh. I can TP a house or bring you cookies. Or beer. Point is, I will be there to support you, but you aren’t going to hold me hostage for your decisions.

Yesterday is over. Tomorrow isn’t here. In following with no longer apologizing for EVERYTHING, I am no longer in the business of looking in my rearview mirror. I am learning to look forward, head up, tits out. That the only way to NOT miss the life I’m trying to live is to stop looking back at things I can’t change. I can’t change the fact I am divorced, or I didn’t come out earlier, or that I never skipped a burrito during pregnancy. I can’t change the fact that I made stupid decisions, but I don’t have to allow anyone else to make me feel like less for my decisions. I also can’t change a single solitary thing that I did. I can only take the mistakes, learn from them and change my future decisions.

You will miss your entire blessed life and all the beauty in it if you spend your whole time looking back and wishing it were different.

Pointing out to me all the mistakes I have made only holds US back. You don’t have to tell me. I already know. And I know the mistakes I made that only I know. that are in my darkest moments. There is no need to tell me again and again how I have hurt you, because the memory of it crushes me.

Acknowledge the past, it made you who you are now. Learn from the mistakes you and others made and face into the sunshine, it’s how you will grow.

Opinions are like assholes. My dad’s motto, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and they usually stink.” This is the truest thing ever…I have an opinion, you may not agree with it. We can either remain friends and agree to disagree, or we can part ways. That’s the only way to get around this. If you think just like me, this is going to be a boring relationship…and I like to be challenged. Some of my favorite times are sitting on the patio with my wife and my daughter, listening to my daughter tell me her outlook on anything…and proving to me how much she knows about the world in general. To hear her views on politics, people, celebrity, how to heal the world, making her mark, whatever…listening to her and the wife go back and forth always, ALWAYS taught me something about me, her and the world. I have always said I am a better person because of my daughter. And that is a true statement.

You can’t force anyone to change their opinion. Like mine…Trump is woefully in over his head. I think net neutrality and universal healthcare are good things. I believe in global warming. I believe in Christmas and the better good. I think if I extend kindness it will be like a ripple in water. I believe the Earth is round and that there is a heaven. I believe in equal rights and equal pay for an equal job. I think sports stars are overpaid and teachers and first responders are underpaid. I think we should end the war and take care of our vets. I don’t believe in handouts and think that welfare should be provided on a temporary basis. I believe in term limits and the people learning their voice. Nothing you will say will change any of this. We can be friends, or if you wish, you can go on your own way and I will go my own.

You can’t make me wrong for a difference of opinion.

Love is love. Is love. I love a girl. Get over it. It doesn’t involve you or harm you. Her love makes me safe, makes me feel beautiful. Her love takes nothing away from the love I have for my family or my friends. It enhances everything around me because I have someone beside me that supports me, no matter what stupid thing I do or say. And at the end of the day, this person, will be there, holding my hand when I’m sick, when I need to cry, she will make me feel better when I’m angry or scared. She will do or say silly things to make me smile. It takes nothing away from my ability to be a friend, mother, daughter, sister, or aunt.

I will NEVER begrudge anyone finding love. I don’t care who you love, as long as you love. As long it isn’t my wife, then we are golden. Find your own person that completes you.

At the end of the day, I will always respect the fact that that person loves you, that they are your person. You need to respect the fact that I have my person, no matter who or what they are.

End of day, I am me. For the past several years, I have heard “you’ve changed.” as either an insult or a compliment. Here’s the rub, I have changed. I will agree 100%. Some for the better, some for the worst. But I need each of you to understand, that the changes in me are reflective of the people and the world around me. If I am more bitter, or more gentle, it’s based on the actions and inactions of others towards me.
I have to protect me, my mind, my heart because I can do this better than anyone else can. In the last few years, I have taken an absolute beating from those that I have held closest to me. I have allowed people who are close to me say the worst things to me. The absolute worst. And I have excused it because of love, because of respect, because my chosen friends and family are my life. And then they want to make me wrong. It’s hardened me, it’s made me quiet, sad, more introverted and lonely. I question my own motives, decisions, habits and many times, my own sanity.

Then every day, something reminds me…I am me. Scars and all…I am me. I am loving, trusting, joyous. I am a sinner, I am forgiven. I am loved and sometimes, hated. I have the ability to walk, to think, to breathe and I have free will.

I choose to use that free will, in faith. Faith that I can make a different choice with each moment. That I can love and forgive others when they hurt me. That I can put down my pride and ask for forgiveness.

Don’t mistake my grace as weakness. Never think that I am weak. Or that I am easily led. That’s your lesson to learn. I have chosen my battles very carefully for years. I am no longer in the fight and am not going to engage in battles that will leave wounds that won’t heal. I’m becoming more observant, learning to listen…watching. I will always know more than you think, I will always speak my mind. The moment you underestimate me, that’s your learning point. From then on, all the lessons I would have given to you freely, you will learn the hard way…because abusing my grace, my trust, or my respect will only lead you to lose it, then you have to earn it back…

I will always, and only be, authentically me.

It’s all the rage.

I’m having a hard time expressing myself lately.  Actually, I’ve had a hard time expressing myself for the better part of 2016 and it seems to be rolling into 2017.

I could blame Trump and the rabid close-minded shrewish Republicans, but I don’t think it’s all them.  I mean, it’s mostly a general sadness that has enveloped me since November and I am to this moment, STILL trying to wrap my head around anyone actually justifying how he is the right choice.  I am trying to STILL wrap my head around the fact that I have family that voted for him.  VOTED.FOR.HIM.  my family/in-laws/cousins/folks close to me.  yup.  I’m gay, married and they voted for someone so vile and hateful.   I’m obviously not over it, I’m obviously hurt and stunned.  AND that sonofabitch got a mention in a holiday prayer I was involved in.  Good.times.

Nope, it’s not all Trump.  And it’s not all sadness.  There is a distinct air of rage that is right under my edges.  I feel it, like an extra 10 pounds on my frame.  It just sits there.  It’s been there so long, I feel lost if it goes away for a moment.  Isn’t that strange?  I feel lonely without my rage?

I have, for so long, allowed everyone and everything to overtake me.  To come first.  It’s been my life for as long as I have known it.  When my dad made me promise to look after my family before he died, I promised and I meant it.  Right now, I could punch him in the nose.

How dare he strap me down to people!!!  Does he think that I would be strong enough to do this and not have it exhaust me?  Did he not think me taking care of people would extend past my natural family and include my friends and sometimes complete strangers?  He knew how literal I would take this and I have.  To the point that I am pissed at everyone all the time.

All because I rescue.  Because I try to be the bigger person and look past the bullshit.  Because I have kept my opinions to myself for so long, they no longer matter or are relevant.

I had a friend tell me I needed to desperately get some therapy for myself.  I agreed, the wife agreed…then people happened.  I had things and folks pop up in front of me that needed my attention more than I needed it for myself.  At least that’s what I am telling me.

I think my rage is this…I have allowed others to make their issues and problems more important than my own happiness.  I have allowed every other person around me to demand my attention and use it all up so I have nothing left for me.

I rage because I am held responsible for other folks, for decision made that don’t include me.  I’m responsible for the happiness of friends and family and I can’t tell you one person that actually gives a complete shit about my happiness.  INCLUDING me.  what the f*ck is that??!!?

I rage because for years, I have heard “you’ve changed.”  Yes.  I.  Have.  you say it like it’s a bad thing…but what anyone who says that fails to realize is because YOU have abused my good nature, my trust, my friendship, my loyalty…YOU CHANGED ME.  and then you blame me for not being the same person before you sucked the life out of me.  SO congratulations…I am who I am because of YOU.

I’m thisclose to a nervous breakdown and that pisses me off.

I firmly point that pissed off finger at myself.  I’ve done this.  Now I have to figure out how to get out of it.  I know, as this process starts, I’m gonna hurt a lot of folks because they aren’t used to be not being this way…this “fix it” person.  Folks, you are on your own.

I talk a good game, about being different.  I don’t know HOW to be different and I have to figure out how to be.  That’s where I guess the therapy is gonna come in.  I’m going to have to pay someone to teach me how to put me first. 

That is the stupidest sentence I have ever heard/read/written.

So, Future Stephanie
*will no longer be dealing with your shit.  You screwed it up, YOU fix it.  She’s out of the repair business.
*will no longer care about people who have shown her over and over they do not care about her.
*will no longer put anyone else’s needs before her own.
*will eat ice cream for dinner.  and go to bed at 7:00 PM if she wants.
*will wear white after Labor day.
*will spend a ridiculous amount of money on foundation and not be sorry.
*will order dessert or shoes with no guilt that she is  not taking care of something/someone.
*will no longer apologize for who she loves or how she loves
*will no longer make excuses for who she is friends with nor will she hide that fact.
*will no longer, never ever, walk on eggshells to spare feelings when hers are never spared.
*will apparently speak of herself in third person…which is funny…she thinks.

Seems like 2017 is gonna be the year of the Golden Rule.

This could be fun.  This could be a bunch of hot air.  I hope not.  I could stand to lose 10 pounds.