Love, In The Trenches

My life and Christin’s intertwine on a daily basis. We are constantly on the phone or texting. 

“Have to drop Kharizma off at her driving class, call you when I get home.”

“Dropping Vinnie off at work, give me twenty.”

“Washing dishes, talk to me I am bored!”

“I need help with an email.”

“I need help with an application.”

Before noon, it is safe to say we have spoken on the phone at least three times. This is how we roll.

Except, this weekend was different. Life took us in different directions, and this, well, this was each of our takeaways.

The Four Loves

Jen sent me an article the other day, and for whatever reason, it resonated with me. I will post a link of the article down below, but I will give a quick summary.

We only fall in love three times in our life, each time is for a specific reason. The reasoning behind the first is the idealistic love, the love that finds us at a very young age. It is the fairytale love that we grow up thinking about, although it holds a very special place in our hearts, it wasn’t the one that we were going to end up with. Although there are exceptions for this, one being my grandparents who met at age 15 on a hayride and proceeded to be married for 54 years. I’m sure all those years weren’t easy, but they made it work until the untimely passing of my grandma. Point being, some are lucky to find and stay with their first love, most of us are not.

The second time we fall in love is meant to teach us the lessons. It is to show us what we want and what we don’t want, it is often like riding a rollercoaster of emotions. Often, this love is filled with hurt, lies, and manipulation. I am sure some of you are wondering how love and lies can be in the same sentence, but this love is Hard Love, it is often unhealthy and addictive in some ways. We have all had those second loves. The ones where we are so focused on making it work, we lose ourselves in the process.

Now for the third love, listen closely. This love happens when we least expect it. This love doesn’t look like what we had thought it would. It’s a connection that is often unexplainable, real, and fitting. It’s like coming home.

As I reflect on my own experiences with falling in love, I am reminded that no matter where you are in the “love” game, it can be emotionally taxing, but it can also be the best experience of your life.

The first time I really fell in love I was 19 years old. This person was everything I wanted and more, however when you are that young and naïve, you don’t really know what you want. I wanted freedom and adventure, he, however, did not. Adventure won out, and so was the end of my first love. My second time falling in love was much more complicated. It was unexpected but something I thought I wanted. Turns out, it is only what you “think” it is, not the reality of what it really is. The third time I fell in love, the connection was beyond explanation. This love allows me to be who I am without any fear. This one is encouraging, supportive, and encompasses everything that I ever wanted in another human.

This blog isn’t really about me though. It’s about you.

 Wherever you are at in your life, whether you are on your first love or tenth love, it isn’t about the number of loves you have or haven’t had. I think the first real love must be with yourself.

If you don’t love you, how do you expect someone else to?

It isn’t always easy to love yourself. Have you heard the saying “You are your own worst critic?” Well, it’s true. We all have insecurities that plague us with doubt and hesitation. Those voices in the back of our head that remind us that we are not good enough, pretty enough, strong enough or capable enough. You know what I am talking about. These voices make it hard to accept and love ourselves, despite our idiosyncrasies and flaws. It’s really a process, I think. Maybe you fake it till you make it. However you decide to love yourself, I know it is an ever-changing, one day at a time type situation. It’s a struggle, something I know very personally. It only has been over the last couple of years that I have really worked on being kinder to myself. It wasn’t easy at first, but as time goes by, I feel like I am beginning to just accept myself as is.

 I am no expert; however, I am an observer.

 I have recently seen some relationships for whatever reason, going through some difficult times. Some will stay together, some will not. My hope for those that don’t stay together is that they know that love will find them. Maybe the third, fourth or fifth time is a charm. To give up on finding love is to cut ourselves short of both wonderful and fulfilling experience. Each time we fall in love, we open ourselves up to a possibility of betrayal and hurt, but we also can allow ourselves to receive unconditional love which allows for both personal growth as well as a deeper connection. It’s scary, I know. I have had my own ups in downs in past relationships, hell, we all have. But if you can just do it one more time, then all those failed relationship and heartaches will be worth it.

 My hope for you is that you learn to love yourself first that way whatever love is heading your way, you can really let it in because you know, we all deserve to have the greatest love.

Christin.

 

In the Trenches

I had a very good weekend. Between Friday evening and Sunday evening, I read three books. All memoirs.

“Manic Kingdom” is the story about a girl who begins her journey to medical school. We then follow along with her on her journey into a downward spiral. We share in her breakdown, and then break through.

“Forward” is the memoir by the one and only Abby Wambach, a retired soccer player, two times Olympic Gold medalist. I can promise you, if you are not a fan of soccer, you will be after reading her book. Abby also takes us on her journey into a downward spiral.

Last night I started “The Glass Castle” a true account of a young girl and her siblings. Both parents suffer from a form of mental illness, which leaves the children with nothing but a childhood of extreme poverty.

All three heroines have a common theme. “In the trenches.” A term used for our soldiers who found themselves in the trenches of war, and having to dig themselves out.

……

As I said, I had a very good weekend. I am doing a four-day mini boot-camp type of thing that concentrates on mind, body, spirit. Today was a good day. All my problems are still there. Finances, seeking employment, car issues, yet, my mind was in a different place. A better place. Today was a good day.

It was a record high in my little Seattle suburb. We hit 93 degrees. The last time we hit that high was back in 1952. It has been brutal. If you want an escape from the sweltering heat, you are looking at the grocery store or mall. The simple task of washing dishes drenched me in sweat. Makeup? Forget about it. I throw my hair up in a clip and call it good.

I dropped Vinnie off at work. Made the short eight-minute drive back home. Pac. Hwy takes me pretty much from my front door to his restaurant. The only thing, so many damn lights. On the way home, I got lucky, I only hit one light. As I am sitting there at the stop light, still drenched in sweat, afraid to turn my AC on (car issues and all) I notice a girl standing on the corner to my right. Young. If I had to guess, I would say barely in her twenties. She is by herself. Her body language tells me she is standing exactly where she wants to be. I cannot stop looking at her. The young girl is wearing short cut-off shorts, about two sizes too small, a halter top that I would guess to be the same size, and boots. Boots I have come to refer to as “hooker boots” first brought to us from the lovely Vivian in “Pretty Woman.” The young girl had both hands on her hips in what I am assuming was supposed to be some sort of enticing pose. She is a prostitute. I continue to watch her in my rearview mirror as a car stops and motions her over. She is leaning into the passenger sides window. “Honk-Honk.” I had lost track of time. The light was now green and the car behind me was reminding me to “pay attention.” Slowly, I put my foot on the gas while keeping an eye on the girl in my rearview mirror. She got into the car. I cannot even begin to imagine what is going on in her life to bring her to the corner of Pac. Hwy and 304th. She is in the trenches.

……

I came home to my 103-degree apartment, brought some leftovers out for dinner and called Christin. While on the phone, Christin told me about a mutual friend, Lydia, who is going through a hard time. Lydia and I have lost touch over the years. I rely on Christin for updates. Sadly, it seems that Lydia is in a co-dependent, verbally abusive relationship. It’s sad. Lydia has it in her to escape. Lydia has the strength. Lydia just does not see what we all see in her. While Lydia is confused and trying to keep the peace while questioning everything she thought she already knew, Lydia, no doubt, is in the trenches.

After my phone call, I decide to take one of many showers to cool off. Nothing works. It’s one of those times where as soon as you come out of the ice-cold shower, you are once again drenched in sweat.

While my hair still wet, and as few clothes on as possible without traumatizing my children, I take my place in front of the fan and pretty much refuse to move. I open up my Facebook just to see what I have been missing since I have been engrossed in reading this weekend.

Ashley is a Facebook acquaintance of mine. I have known her for years. We met in a low-carb chat room many years ago when Sofia was just a newborn. Ashley is never one for drama, a very tell-it-like-it-is person, and private. When I saw her Facebook post “Nothing else matters, I have to be strong for my daughter.” I knew something was up. I offered support in the best way I could, without intruding on her privacy. I do not know if there are problems in her marriage, or perhaps an illness, but something is going on. Ashley, she is in the trenches.

……

I kept scrolling my feed. I was comfortable and starting to cool off. I know if I dared to leave my comfy spot in front of the fan, someone would take my spot, and by “someone” I mean most likely one of the cats.

As I am scrolling, I see the food pictures, I see the fake selfies, I see the “I have the best husband” post, I see the “I have the best wife” post, and really, we all know the wife most likely hijacked her husband’s Facebook. Then, I see a long post. One of those long post that says “see more” and you have to click on the link to read it all. It was from Rich.

Funny story about Rich. Rich is more of an acquaintance of mine. I know him through Christin. Christin has a long history with Rich and introduced us on social media. I like Rich. I have good vibes from Rich. Rich is one of the good ones, and although I have no proof of this other than my gut and Christin’s history, trust when I say Rich is a good one. So, I clicked on the link that says “see more” and I read. I read and I read. Rich, well, he is not doing good. He is fighting for his marriage. I do not know the details. I do not need to know the details. All I know is Rich, he is lost, and broken. He is fighting for something that may or may not be able to be fixed. Rich is in the trenches.

Callie is a good friend of mine. I talk to her on the phone about three times a week. Sometimes I am jealous of Callie, and because we have a solid friendship, I have told her so. Financially, she is better off than I am. Although her kids are older, it seems Callie is always on the go. Doing this, doing that, doing whatever she can. Lunch out, an early morning breakfast, fireworks at the waterfront, swimming at the lake. I do not have the means financially to make memories with my kids like Callie does. However, just like all the stories above, nothing is what it may seem. Callie struggles. She struggles in a way where Christin and I are most likely her only outlet. You see, Callie has some stuff going on “behind the scenes” that she can not talk about, because if the wrong person found out, then life as Callie knew it, it would be over. Callie is in the trenches.

“I know it’s all you’ve got to just, be strong
And it’s a fight just to keep it together, together
I know you think, that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost
Hope is never lost”

Those of you that know me, or have been long-time followers of Vodka Calling, you guys know I have spent many times in the trenches. Hell, it’s safe to say I have a bottle of vodka, chocolate, and my favorite pillow down in those trenches. I can give you a tour and pretty much an estimation date of when you will find your way out of the trenches.

But, as long as you hold on, I know you will find your way out.

~Jennifer

 

 

 

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