Society and it’s high expectations – aka: You’re not a bad parent.

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There’s a constant mental war going on inside my head.  I believe every mother (and father) deals with it at one point, but for me, it seems like it’s waging every day.  A rifle shot sounds as soon as I drop my daughter off at school, I mean come on, I must be a bad mother for working?  Especially when I made a promise to stay at home with her when I was pregnant.  On that note, another rifle shot sounds and I don’t know if a blended family is right for her.

Hot damn.  The enemy line is approaching, when I yelled at her yesterday for sassing me when I asked her to clean her room?  I must have wasted precious weekend time fighting with her.  Hell, when I made her go to school when she was upset that other morning… that surely was the wrong choice.  Explosion.  Telling her we’d play outside tomorrow when she wanted to ride bikes and I was exhausted from work.  More wasted time.

Yup.  That’s it right there.  That, is just a small portion of the mommy-guilt-war that wages inside my head.  Being a parent is tough sometimes, I know for me that I feel a lot of guilt for what we *don’t* do, despite all of the fun stuff we actually *do* do.  I think that no matter what we mothers do, how we act, or which decision we make, there is always the lurking thought when things settle down that maybe we could have done better.  Maybe we could have made our child(ren) happier, or maybe we could have handled a melt down a better way.  Parenting is not easy folks, at least not for me.

Growing up, my parents made it seem way easier than it is.  My mother cooked dinner more nights than not, and my Dad never seemed to complain about work.  Despite being booted out the door to go play as soon as we got annoying, I still held my parents’ .. well… parenting at top notch.  Being children, we don’t realize that our parents were struggling too.  Now that I’ve gotten older, and have heard some of the stories, chuckles, and tears about raising my sister and I, I realize that we just didn’t know.  However, that doesn’t mean that the parents I was lucky enough to grow up with didn’t set some impossibly high standard for my own life.

For example, society has brainwashed us that a happy, healthy family eats together every night.  That home-cooked meals create healthy, happy children.  I know I’m speaking for more than myself here, but I know after a 14 hour day when I finally get home, just glancing at the ingredients to make dinner makes my brain hurt.  So we’ll order something and eat something in our respective places.  Later on that evening, when I’m back to work at my own desk, that guilt kicks in.  I should have made dinner, we should have eaten at the table together.  Despite the fact that we do more often than not, I will feel guilty for taking the easy route.

Of course I don’t remember the nights when we were kids that we got Wendy’s for dinner (one had just opened up by our house) because my parents were too exhausted to cook.  Nope, I remember my mother’s home made chili going for hours and the corn bread from scratch.  Instead of realizing that it’s okay to be lazy once in a while, it’s okay to be tired, I hold myself to that latter standard.  My parents did it, with a lot more on their plate than myself, so why can’t I?

The end point of all of this, is that I, as well as too many other parents, might be being too hard on ourselves.  With social media, technology as a whole we have too much to compare ourselves too.  If that’s not enough, we have endless articles on what, who, how we are damaging our children.  So we go about our days, pushing ourselves to line, and if we don’t accomplish what society has set up for us, we beat ourselves up.  We double think what we are doing, and instead of enjoying the little moments, the happy moments, the good we *do* accomplish we are left feeling inadequate and lost.

No parent is perfect, and no childhood is perfect.  As long as our kids are happy (despite having to clean their rooms, eat their dinner, do their homework and not be little miniature assholes) and healthy (as can be), we’re doing a good job.  I’m not a bad mom for working my ass off or creating a blended family.  You’re not a bad mom for not buying the latest gadget, and you over there?  You’re not a bad dad for yelling at your kid for talking back.  Go ahead, take a break, just because your kids aren’t eating dinner 7 days a week at the kitchen table doesn’t mean you’ve ruined them.

Now if society and social media could just let parents know that once in a while, I think we’d all breathe a bit easier.

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Stand Up and Step Up

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Being a single parent is hard work.  I would know.  Divorced and all of that hoopla, it happens, and unfortunately is pretty common.  I was not the best mom at first, I had to fight with my new found freedom and learn how to do everything on my own again while dealing with active Crohns Disease.

It took me a bit, a year of fucking up to be exact, but I did it.  I stay out of the bars (except for  a rare and precious night out… which I usually stay sober for.  Whodathunk?), I save my money, and I work on spending time with my family and providing a wonderful life for my daughter.  It’s hard work, it really is.  But to know that I am completely 100% self-sustained and my daughter doesn’t want for anything (beyond “ICE CREAM MAN MOOOOM”) makes me proud.  I’ve done it all on my own, and now my home is even more stable and loving with Ryan in it.  You all know how messed up my thinking had got there for a while.  I’ll admit it, purely to prove that you can get through it.  Especially if you have kids.  Because of that though, I’m pretty tough on other single moms.

I’m sure you know the stereotype.  Mom with a scraggly looking kid, standing in line at the welfare office, nails done, hair dyed, brand spanking new iPhone5 in her hand.  I *hate* that stereotype.  Actually, hate is a pretty mild way of putting it.  I do everything I can to not be that mom.  I busted my ass to get on my own two feet and give my daughter a better life.  I just want to scream when I see it, or even more so when people are surprised that a young mom like me isn’t on welfare.

I have nothing against welfare, I truly don’t.  I used SNAP benefits for 6 months after I threw my ex-husband out.  Later on I lost a job and used SNAP benefits for a little over a month.  Welfare is there as a step up, to give you that hand that you need when you’re super down on your luck.  Without those benefits, food was too expensive to pay for and my utilities fell behind.  It’s useful, it’s there for you to use.

However, it’s not there for you to live on.

When I met Ry, him and his ex-wife had officially parted ways (after being separated for months) a couple months before.  It seems really amicable, everyone got along.  I was on “Team-Single-Mom”, I felt for her, even though her ex still was very active in her child’s life… I could understand.  As time passed, real attitudes and personalities started coming out and I distanced myself.  I didn’t want to be that woman who picked fights with an ex-wife.  It’s annoying, and I’m an ex-wife too, I could still understand… couldn’t I?

I tried really hard to keep my mouth shut but after awhile I started piping up.  During her days, her son stayed at his grandmothers house.  She had claimed she was working long hours at the bar, but after a little investigating (the whole knowing everyone thing comes in handy) we found out she spent equal time drinking.  I still tried to remind myself, freedom is delicious after a failed marriage.  I still liked going to the bar… I tried to forget the fact that I came home every night and never left before the kiddo was fast asleep and tucked in.

One day, her son told me, “I miss my mom, I haven’t seen her in more than a week.” The judgement was made.  It was final.  I was not a fan.  Yes, I went out, a lot even.  I got that, I understood that more than anyone else could… but I still spent every moment I possibly could with my daughter.  Hell, I *STILL* get upset when Nood goes to school/summer camp.  Anyone who could leave their kid “because it was easier” at their parents for days on end was not cool in my book.

I gave up on beating that horse.  It’s been two years and he still sees his grandmother more than his mom.  I finally just resigned myself to this thought… when her son grows up, he’ll find out the truth eventually.  Then the only person she’ll have to face is the shame from her own kid.  She just has to grow up.

So then the “gimme-gimmes” started.  I’ve always offered to buy clothes or his baseball shit, but we started getting calls for random stuff.  The latest was six-flags passes.  I finally had to put my foot down.  Absolutely-fucking-not.

We don’t splurge like that in my household, I am not splurging like that outside of it.  Maybe when the kids get older, but right now it’s not a necessity, and it’s not in my budget.  She then started harping on how we should pay for school registration… after we paid for the school supplies (she was supposed to pay registration).  She says $180 is too much for her.  Considering I pay $180 a week for daycare/summer camp (It was $190 for Kindergarten), I don’t have too much sympathy, I still have to pay Noodle’s school registration for next year next week.

So I snapped.  I told her that since she is on food stamps (3 plus years now), gets medical, free childcare and free utilities she will be fine.  I am more than willing to help her if she ever gets her own utilities and falls behind not to mention anything the kiddo needs.  Needs, not wants.  I have no problem splurging for wants, but money isn’t growing on a tree here.  I can’t pay for things like passes, when I have bills to pay.

I told her that if she can present me with a literal bill or invoice (for things like baseball, school, supplies, etc) I will pay them, but I will not be giving her cold-hard-cash when she hasn’t gotten a job that can support her son yet.  As long as she’s on welfare, I will be paying anything the kid needs direct.  I am not a walking wallet, and I am *not* going to support a welfare mom.

I am sick and tired of it to be blunt.  I managed to pull myself up and fix my life, so can she.  Her son depends on it.  So unfortunately I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of calls or texts whining for money, but the difference is, I’m good at saying no.  I’m good at budgeting and I am well aware of what living within your means is.

I signed up for this to step up for the kids.  I signed up to love my family, not to give my hard earned paycheck for a night at the bar.  I hope this is a wake up call for her.  She needs to be a better mom, I know she can, she just has to step up and do it.  It’s going to be a long few months, but hopefully refusing to enable welfare-life gives her the reality-check she desperately needs.

Growing Up or Growing Into?

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It’s Saturday Night y’all!  The boyfriend is hanging out with his brother, and my kid is asleep.  Logically the next step is brew some coffee and write some bullshit.  So yeah.  Here I am.  On the internet.  Three minutes ago I had a realization, something that hit me so hard, so fast, that I immediately felt that need to get the words out of my head.  I can’t find my favorite pen, so blog it is.

I am a New Sarah.

Over the past 15 years, I have reinvented myself several times.  No one Sarah was completely the same.  Some Sarah’s were no good, some Sarah’s were too work-involved, some Sarah’s were at the bottom of the bottle, and some Sarah’s were domesticated housewifes.  So here we go again, I finally realized that I am a completely new Sarah again.

This new Me has been evolving for roughly 3 years.  The Divorce from “He who shall not be named” threw me to rock-bottom.  I wasn’t the best person, I wasn’t the best mom, and I wasn’t a good friend.  Honestly, I didn’t even like me.  Not even a little bit.  Actually, if Present-Day-Me met Me-From-3-Years ago, I’d slap her.  Or me.  Whatever, you get the gist.

I had to have a couple of major blows to my life to straighten out.  Those blows sucked, but I finally got it figured out and apparently just ran with it.  Usually my reinventions are somewhat similar.  Some sort of aspect stays with the next Me, thankfully, this time, the only thing that has stuck is my fuck-you-I-can-do-this attitude.  I think I’m just so amazed because of it.  Looking back on 3 years ago, I am borderline ashamed.  I have moments of deep shame, but then I remind myself that everything I did, caused, or went through, kicked my ass enough to learn from it.  Nonetheless, I am glad to say goodbye to the Old Sarah.  I am glad to kiss that life goodbye and stop glancing over my shoulder to make sure it’s not following me.

Today was a perfect day.  The Boyfriend had to work, so we had a Noodle and Mama Day.  We relaxed together a bit this morning, and after a quick breakfast hopped in the car and headed out.  We ran a couple of errands and then had lunch together.  After lunch, we went straight to the local farmer’s market and bought mushrooms (Noodle), Onions (as a complement to Noodle’s mushrooms), and peanut butter cookies (Me, duh).  Then we went shopping, we roamed around a couple of stores, causing a bit of trouble and looking for deals.  At Target I learned that my kid can con cookies off of ANY bakery in ANY store ANNNNND go back for SECONDS.

We came back to the house and set up some venison chops to marinate, and went right back outside.  It was a gorgeous day, and I don’t think either one of us could stay inside another day.  I had bought her a big jug of bubbles, so I sipped my iced coffee and she blew and chased down and stomped hundreds of bubbles.  A good grilled dinner and some relaxing, and she’s tucked into bed asleep.  I managed to clean the house before I ended up on my computer.

What made me realize the change in myself is that as I brewed my cup of coffee I realized I was/am completely happy and content.  That moment, as my coffee brewed, I thought back and realized how different not only I was, but how different I felt compared to a few years ago.  I finally learned how to live for me (and my daughter) instead of to someone else’s standards, or how I thought I was *supposed* to be.  I finally learned to love ME and my life, all the little quirks and troubles.  I learned to be happy with myself and enjoy the little things, and do it sober.

Things are not perfect and this life has had some pretty shitty moments, but now I realize that it will never be perfect, but I can make it as damn close as I can, and enjoy the ride there.

 

It feels good to stop looking into the past.

My Bitter Moment of the Day

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Today I am home with the kiddo, her tummy is upset and she didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. I picked her up from school yesterday, before she even got her jacket on she started complaining of her tummy hurting.  I didn’t think too much of it, “my tummy hurts” has become the most recent excuse to avoid trying something new at dinner.

Halfway home, her banter about how her day went cut off and a meek “I have to go to the bathroom” came out of the backseat.  “Honey, we’re about 2 minutes from home, you’ll have to hold it.”  “Okay” she said and the rest of the car ride was quiet.

We pulled into my driveway, and she opened her door right away.  As soon as she had two feet on the ground she bent over and threw up.  My mouth just dropped.  “See mom, that’s why I had to go to the bathroom.”  Pretty talented if you ask me, when I have to puke, I can’t hold it for 4 blocks.

So we got inside, with me hoping she just ate too much at snack time and she made it 2 minutes before she puked again.  She puked on and off all night and didn’t sleep too well when she did manage to sleep.  I got up with my alarm this morning at 4:45, checked on her and let my boss know that I couldn’t come in today.

I’m sitting on the couch, with a half asleep child laying next to me.  PBSkids on the tv and Noodle barely paying attention unless I go to change the channel at which she bolts awake and tells me “Mom! I’m watching that!”

She’s feeling a bit better this morning, the puking has stopped for the most part and she ate some dry cereal.  She’s just out of it and wants to relax.  Which is fine with me, we’ve been relaxing on the couch together and I’ve been getting some of the laundry done.  We’re going to try something light for lunch in a little bit.  Hopefully that goes well.

This last week has been rough on me for a multitude of reasons.  I haven’t been feeling well to top everything off, which just makes for a cranky me in general.  So each day, on my way to work I think about how everything has turned out.  I’m happy I suppose, but the grass is always greener.

– Regardless of my feelings now or anything else, I am glad I divorced A’s dad.  He wasn’t good for me, and I’m not so sure about for A either.  I am glad I took that step and I will never regret the action to have a safer, happier life.-

Life is stable over here finally.  Both Ryan and I have good jobs with steady paychecks, he likes his job which makes getting him up in the morning that much easier.  Noodle has a school in which she (and I) love, she has wonderful teachers and is thriving.

It just bugs me.  Up until a few months before my divorce, I was a stay at home mom.  In my family (this does not pertain to you, it’s not meant to offend you) it was important to me to be able to stay home with my kid(s).  I could have never predicted that my marriage would turn out the way it would and I’m lucky I’ve been employed since then, but shit.  I finally have a job with normal hours (I’ve been there for 2 years next month) so that makes life a little easier, but I’d still rather be at home and taking care of my kid.  I never thought I’d end up in the work force full-time, I always assumed that until A was out of the house, I’d be a part-timer so I could focus on her and our home.

So post-divorce I’m a working mother.  It’s just aggravating and I can feel my knuckles go white on that drive into the office.  It’s hard especially when shit at the office has been annoying me.  So I’m driving in to a job that makes me want to lobotomize myself, because of which my daughter goes to school 2 hours early and stays 1 hour late (6:30ish to 4:30ish) (which I realize isn’t as bad as it was before my schedule change but still).  I drive in to a job that I automatically lose 1/3 of my pay to the extra hours at daycare (the ex was ordered to pay half of school/daycare costs and child support, but that hasn’t happened since I was divorced in ’09). I drive into a job that I normally like, where I make decent pay (despite A’s school fees) but because of it, dinner becomes a chore, daycare spends more time with my kid than I do, and weekends are so jammed up with shit from during the week that there isn’t a whole lot of time for fun.

The topic has come up with Ryan that once he gets his raise in a couple months, that I can stay home.  Trust me on this one, there has been numerous times this past week that that seemed like a great idea.  It’s hard to think it’s not.  However, the grass is always greener.  Even if Ryan makes enough for a comfortable living, we’d still lose the money that my job brings in to supplement and save.   I wouldn’t have money for the extra things for the kids and wouldn’t be able to put money in our “going-on-vacation-finally” fund or “get-the-hell-out-of-my-house-kids!” fund.  Two things that I definitely like putting money in.  Plus with this economy, I don’t think I could walk away from a job I (mostly) like that is pretty damned stable, and rely solely on one income again.  You never know what could happen, and I know I’d regret leaving my job if Ryan ever lost his.

 

The grass is always greener, I’ll just keep repeating that.  In the meantime I’m off to get the kid in the bath and find something for lunch.

Expectations are a Bitch and a Half

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I am the ultimate pessimist.  I am.  I’ve been a raging-skull-punch-you-on-the-way-down pessimist as long as I can remember.  I always explain it like this: Hope for the best but always assume it won’t happen because life sucks and you should just get a helmet.  Sometimes, always expecting the negative in a situation bums me out and irritates people but you know what?  Screw off, there is a perk!!  If you expect nothing to happen, or plan for worst case scenario, when things do go your way it’s even better!

Ie:  Holding out for a new position at work.

Expectation: My ass getting canned and THEN denied unemployment.

Reality: Received promotion and desk with sparkles in it.  (You can’t beat sparkles.) (Stop laughing.)

Being a pessimist has almost become a safety blanket for me.  It’s just one more way I protect myself from getting hurt or upset when shit hits the fan… you know, because I expected it to, so I was prepared.

The only catch is is that people are not included in this mess of a safety net.  For some reason, my hopes expectations of people are just as high as I have set for myself.  This includes everyone, I’m talking from my neighbors to my boyfriend, from my kid to the little shit who lives 5 houses down.  Everyone.  Yes.  I’m talking about you.  I’m talking about family, I’m talking about doctors, I’m talking about co-workers, I’m talking about that kid who changed my oil last weekend.  I’m talking about the lady who owns the laundry mat all the way to the got-damned President of the United States.  I’m also talking about the person who is criticizing the fuck out of me for my run-on sentences.  Yes, you too asshole.  I have high-ass expectations for all of you.

“Oh but Sarah, you can’t expect that out of me?!  It’s to harrrd!”

Bite me.  You’re talking to a Single-Mom (not-even-child-support. Nada from the Dad.) who has been suffering with “Moderate to Severe” active Crohns Disease for 6 (5 diagnosed) years.  I went from working 2 restaurant/bar gigs AND odd jobs to an office job all the while trying *not* to die or live in the hospital.  Throw in some domestic abuse, a failed marriage, and sprinkle some good old anxiety and depression on top.  If I can do it, you can do it.

My life isn’t easy, and it’s not the hardest out there, but if I can live up to my expectations of what a person should be, how they should act, then so can you.

It’s not even that my expectations are phenomenal or anything, I always thought they were run-of-the-mill.  Yet, time and time again I am informed that I expect too much.

Too much?  Maybe.

I expect you to not be an asshole.  No seriously.  Just stop being an asshole to everyone.  How about instead of copping an attitude at everyone who looks your way, you can try to say something nice to them or *gasp* try and help another human being with something.

I expect you to be polite and have manners.  (Half of you just choked.)  (Good.)  I am one of the first people to laugh at or crack a horrible blow-job joke.  I am.  However, I hold the door for people coming out after me.  If someone drops something, I try and pick it up for them.  If I bump into someone, I apologize.  Christ people, it’s not that hard.  You walk past someone you smile and say “Hey” or do that stupid head nod thing that people do.  Oh and two words.  “Please” and fucking “Thank you” <- I especially expect children to say it. (I had two little girls, aged 4, in my office today while their mom was with my co-worker.  They said Please and Thank You for every single crayon I gave them, they even said it to *each other* as they fought over who got to draw with the purple-sparkle pen.  If two little girls can say it, so can grown ass people.)

Work.  If you’re over the legal age to work, I expect you to work.  I don’t care what the hell you do, I don’t.  I just expect you to do it, do it well and not be fucking lazy.  I get it, people have lazy days, most days I decided I’d rather go back to bed before I even leave my bed.  That doesn’t excuse you from doing your damned job.  I’ve also done the dead-end job thing.  I know that if you work hard sometimes it just doesn’t get you anywhere.  My examples:  Jiffy Lube, all 3 greek restaurants I worked at, Elder-care (promotion wise), most retail, the majority of sales (small ticket items), etc.  You know why you should work hard?  Just in case.  Just in case you might get a chance at a different position or a promotion.  Because you should work to *earn* your money, not mooch it.  Also you have to work with other people, so this resorts back to “not being an asshole”.  Don’t make your co-workers days hell.  Work.  It’s called “work-ethic” and you should have it, more importantly we should instill it in our children.

I expect you to be educated.  I’m not talking about college, I’m not even talking about high school.  I expect you to know what’s going on around you in the world, to care what’s happening to other people.  I expect you to have an opinion, even if it differs from mine.  I expect you to pay attention to something beyond the new trinket you just bought.  There is important stuff going on in our world right now, I don’t expect you to be aware of everything, or know every minute detail, because I sure don’t… but I expect a decent attempt.  I want people to have a brain of their own, not to be a mindless sheep.  Why?  Stupid people piss me off.  So don’t be stupid.  Borrow a book, read a newspaper.  You know, Yahoo! has news and Google isn’t just there to look up porn.  Use your brain.

 

I’m not saying you have to be perfect.  I’m not.  I’m far fucking from it.  Sometimes I smoke too much, sometimes I snap at people through out the day because I’m cranky.  Sometimes while you’re talking I imagine strangling you so you stop rambling on about your new manicure.  I have lazy days and I have “Do I really have to put on pants??” days. But I try to be a good person, I try to be nice and courteous, I try to do my job to the best of my ability and I try to be aware and active in the world around me.  That’s all I’m asking of other people, just do it.  I’m a pessimist a million and one days out of a million and two.  I am an optimist when it comes to other people.  If you fuck-heads take that away from me, imagine how miserable I am going to make the world around me. (ha)

 

At least try not to be an asshole.  That’s a start.

Hey, at least I don’t have to water the flowers

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It’s been one hell of a long day, the customers and phone calls just wouldn’t stop coming!  The plus side was that the day flew by, but the negative?  I’m exhausted.  I was so relieved when I pulled into my driveway, and even more so to be able to sit down and relax with a hot cup of coffee.  The short little thunderstorm helped with my nerves too.  My plans for the rest of the night?  Well, right now, just relaxing in the kitchen, watching the boyfriend cook dinner (sadly enough he cooks more than me).  Then after dinner?  Relaxing on the couch and watching my favorite sci-fi show… Lost Girl.  To say I’m excited about curling up in bed tonight is most definitely an understatement.

So things have just been generally crazy around here.  I have some great company to endure the chaos with, my friend Kate is still a constant.  We managed to tackle a good portion of the housework this past weekend and knock out another portion of shopping for my little Noodle’s birthday, I’m almost done and Kate got her a ton of stuff!  I still have some bigger ticket items to get, but most of the little gifts are set.  On Sunday I went over to her house to visit her family (which is another one of my adopted families, they were there for me through all of the domestic crap with my ex as well as the first 2ish years of Crohns).  Unfortunately I missed her parents, but there’s always next weekend!  I can’t wait to see them again.  Last night after work, Kate and her sister came over to visit… that was awesome and Ry took it upon himself to make us all dinner.  To say that he’s got a thumbs up from those two is an understatement… and their opinions mean a lot to me.

Beyond all of that, just menial chores and work.  I’ve been pondering over a pretty big decision in my head too… this fall I believe I’m going back to college… not to work on that Bachelors in Business (honestly because I’d rather eat my own ass than take one more accounting course), but to head for (starters) my Associates in Criminal Justice.  End goal?  Bachelors.  If I get bored?  Masters.  Criminal Justice is something I’ve always been interested in, but of course I never wanted to become a Police Officer so I just abandoned it not realizing that I could take it so much farther.  So after doing lots of research, I think I’m just going to dive in.  I’m excited… more like thrilled… and even more so that I have the support of so many people.  I can’t wait.

In the mean time though, it’s time to get ready for dinner.  I hope everyone is doing well since I haven’t had time to check in on anyones blogs this week.  Happy Almost Hump Day.

A Bitch Called Hope

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There’s this song by Blood for Blood (if you haven’t heard them and don’t like hardcore, don’t waste your time.  You’ll want to stab yourself in the ears.) called “A Bitch Called Hope”.  I used to relate to that song a lot, hell even now, more than 8 years later.  Hope is a hard thing to hold onto sometimes, but one thing I’ve realized through all of these years?  I need to have hope.  I need hope to thrive, to survive, and to strive for more.  With out hope I get nowhere… as I proved for a couple years as a teenager.

At the same time though, when you hope and pray for something, especially when you’ve worked your ass off for it, and whatever it is falls through?  It’s devastating.  Sometimes hope can almost destroy you in the end, and knowing that is what makes it so hard.  Hope is a bitch, a cold-hearted bitch, and that stupid bitch will screw you over if you give it the chance.  So sometimes I’m wary of hope.

I’ve always lived by the motto: Hope for the best, expect the worst and work your fucking ass off in the meantime.  I think that whole line of thought is what has gotten me labeled as a pessimist more than a handful of times, but you know what?  It works for me.  It keeps my ass in gear, my mind working, and helps me prepare for the worst in any scenario.  It allows me to continue to bust ass for something I want, but kind prepare for if things don’t work out as planned.  Almost mutes the devastation if it comes my way.

There has been so much going on in the past few years, quite honestly a lot of it got me down for a while there.  In the not to recent past I had almost given up hope that things would get better.  I saw nothing in my dead end jobs, nothing good coming out of being a single mother working sometimes upwards of 16 hour days.  I lost the motivation to love my life and improve what I didn’t love.  I did the basics for my daughter, made her life as perfect as I could, but as for everything else?  I shut down.  In all reality, that helpless feeling I had as I watched my life circle the drain broke me.  It did, it broke me far worse than the abusive marriage I was in, my self-caused train wreck teen years, anything.  That hope that I had clung to for so many years just disappeared.

When things were getting to be damned near unbearable, I finally caught a break.  I was offered a job, and then immediately offered my current job.  Then, like a brick through a bay window, that hope was back.  I knew that if I kept busting ass, life would get better.  You know what?  It most definitely has.  It’s never ending hard work, but it’s worth it.  Last Spring/late winter, one year ago, I was sitting at this kitchen table trying to figure out how to afford my gas bill.  I was barely making enough to afford food, much less my bills and medical treatments.  I was sitting at this table, praying for a hand up, a break, something.  I was headfirst into a bottle a lot of those nights, because at that point I didn’t even want to cope.  I just wanted peace.

Now?  Things are much better.  Not perfect, but enough to make me happy.  I’m still at a wonderful job, I’m in a wonderful relationship, and I’m working on my relationships with my family and a few old friends.  I realized that I need to keep busting my ass and fix my life, and since I was given that sliver of hope, it’s been a fight to keep it ever since.  It’s nice to be able to look back and reflect, the contrast between last year and this one…. it just proves that it was worth it all.  That things DO get better if you work for it, and having that little bit of hope just pushes you along.

Hope is still a bitch though, but hope is here to stay.