“But now the past lies sleepin’ in the deep…” ~ Bernie Taupin & Elton John

This is not me…my ass isn’t this tight. Picture credit

So, I made a decision that I thought was a really smart one but I think other people might find it weird. And yes, I do know I AM weird anyway! Let me explain: Bill just bought a house! It’s 2 doors down from me…I can throw a rock (or egg on Halloween 👻) from my yard and hit his every time. He will be moving in on June 10th and he’s excited for it. It’s been a long time since he’s had a house of his own.

It was never my intention to live with Bill so quickly after we started seeing each other. But since he lived 4 hours away, we’d have to stay with one another when we visited. Then, when he moved back to town, he didn’t have a place to live or the time in a new job for a mortgage or lease. So…he’s been living with me since January until this opportunity came about.

Here’s my life in a nutshell (in terms of men and relationships…get a drink, it’s gonna take a bit 🙄): I went from living with mom’s 2nd husband (the fucking bastard 😡) to marrying Hubby #1 (shutty), then a few months after that fiasco of a divorce I married Hubby #2 (shutty again…I’d known him since the 3rd grade), and then months after that divorce, I married Hubby #3 (I know, I know!! 😐). After we divorced, I got into a relationship with J who I also thought I was going to marry. Whew. Hold on…I need a drink….🍹

OK. Sssssooooo…I went from an abusive step-father (yes, you know what I’m calling him in my mind but ma will get mad if I use that phrase again in the same post 😳) to marrying WAY too young because I had to get away from him…to marrying O’s daddy (best decision I ever made)…to marrying R (still one of my best friends)…to being with an abusive partner myself. Are you seeing a pattern?

Since I’m bipolar (big shocker, huh?) and a huge extrovert…I never look before I leap. I just climb up on that board baby, and jump right in. I don’t even look to see if there’s water in the damn pool. I just take my chances and hold my nose. And…look where that has gotten me. An unstable ‘love’ life.

So, after J left me I was really alone for the first time in my life and I’m going to be honest with you: I was scared shitless. I really was. I mean…I know I’m a mama and a professor and a daughter and a sister, etc. but WHO was I without a man? WHO was I if I wasn’t someone’s wife or partner? WHO was I if I was alone?

Well…after a while, I found out. As I started doing big stuff around the house and taking care of things by myself and spending scads of time alone thanks to the pandemic, I learned to be happy with myself. I learned WHO I was: me. Kristi. I didn’t need someone ‘backing me up’ or validating my worth anymore. I was starting to learn to do that for myself. I started getting up in the morning and instead of crying, I’d be smiling at the thought of what I was going to accomplish that day. Instead of saying “I don’t care where we eat…what sounds good to you?” I started eating anything I wanted. Instead of feeling like I was trapped in an unhealthy relationship, I started to feel free! YEA!

Then Bill and I connected. Our relationship went FAST…we never really dated…we went from talking to overnight visits justlikethat! It was repeating a pattern I’ve always done, and one that he has done all of his life too: jumping right in without taking a breath or seeing what was below. After a couple of months of him living with me, I knew I needed that space again. Why? Because I’m not done.

I’m just not done knowing me yet. Look, I’ve been married or in a relationship since I was 19 years old. That’s 35 years living for someone else…working to please someone else. See, I get lost in relationships. I don’t give 100% of me…I give 1000%. Not only is that too much to give…it never left anything over for myself. And, I also know it’s too much for others to take at times.

Getting ready to read this!

And there’s also this: I’ve made the vow to be with someone ’til death do us part’ 3 times now (🤨) and as hard as it may be to believe, I meant it every time. I’ve been told I’m the love of a man’s life…but we divorced. I’ve told men I will NEVER ever ever let them go, but then just watched them as they walked (or ran 🙄) away. I’ve heard someone say “I love you” on a Monday and then never heard his voice again from the following Thursday. I’ve had men tell me ‘We’ll always be friends…I’ll always love you…” to doing hateful, ugly things to me. I’ve told myself I would never allow someone to put their hands on me…and I did. This pattern needs to stop.

Look, after 35 years I still need to discover more about myself. I need to keep depending on me. I need to keep growing me and learning about me and taking care of me. And yes, I’m using the word ‘me’ an awful lot…but for once, that’s who I’m wanting to focus on. Just for a while. You know, it’s not a cliché that time flies by faster and faster as you age. It’s true. And when I look back at my life, I see a blur. From marriage to marriage to marriage…it’s all happened too freaking fast. So, for once I’m slowing it down. Taking my time. Keeping things in perspective. Is it weird to live with someone a while and then have them move down the block? Probably. But is it right for us? At least for now it is.

I don’t know what the future holds for Bill and I. Maybe we’ll be together forever or maybe we’ll just end up as life-long friends. Maybe we’ll get stronger in our relationship because we’re working on ourselves…or maybe we’ll drift apart. All I know is this: I’m breaking the cycle of never ending relationships and focusing on little independent me some more. I think Bill and I are making the healthiest relationship decision in both of our lives we’ve ever made. And to be honest, I’m proud of us for doing it.

Kristi xoxo

Oh, Taron…DAMN!

“When the walls come tumblin’ down.” ~ John Mellencamp

So, blech.

I’ve blawged about toxic positivity in the past (you can take a look-see at it here) and one of the top ‘guru’s’ regarding this movement is was Rachel Hollis of the “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing” fame. Both of these books have been New York Times best sellers and yes, I’ve read them; I started thinking about these when one of my students in my Marriage and Family class chose “Girl, Wash Your Face” for her book review. She wrote how she was moved by Rachel’s advice and wants to live her life more like Hollis herself. I can understand that because when you first read books that contain mountains of toxic positivity, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit. Then, you start to eventually understand that once you climb a mountain, you have to make your way back down. (Note: I hate the use of girl in her titles…I am not a girl! Saying ‘boy’ to a man is a slam…why is saying ‘girl’ to women OK?) 🤔

Anyhoot, why am I picking on Hollis? And, isn’t this bullying…something I absolutely abhor? Well…no. It’s not. Here’s why: Hollis has built a career on her positivity approach, no judgement stance, strong marriage example, etc. which have all come tumbling down. And she herself is the reason behind the fall.

First, Hollis is very well known for HER inspirational quotes on Instagram and come to find out, they aren’t even hers. The best example? In April, 2020, Hollis posted this:

I hope like hell y’all know this is NOT an original Hollis quote…in fact, it’s a Maya Angelou quote for which she was given no credit at all. So, Rachel ‘apologized’ for this blatant plagiarism by saying this: “This morning I found out that my social team posted a graphic on my Instagram yesterday that said, “Still… I Rise” and then she goes on to explain how there is no excuse for this oversight.” Well…gee. She says there is no excuse but quickly blamed her social media team. Yes, she said she was responsible since she’s leader of the team, but it still sounds like a way to get the blame off of herself. If she truly wants to take responsibility and apologize, she needs to NOT mention the team she apparently leads and simply say “I’m truly sorry for this post…”.

And, this isn’t the only quote Rachel has taken credit for…another example: “Ambition is not a Dirty Word” is actually Debra Condren’s self-help book (2008) of the same title. Hmmm. There are many others. Now, as a professor (🤓), I STRONGLY emphasize to my students the importance of citing sources and referencing quotes…to me, plagiarism is lying. Right? You are claiming someone elses work for your own. Isn’t that cheating? Lying? SO…it’s interesting to me how Rachel can have a chapter in her Wash Your Face book that says it’s a lie that you CAN’T tell the truth. Well, Rachel…maybe that’s not a lie after all…because you seem to not be telling the truth in this sense.

Then, there’s the toilet fiasco she has recently been embroiled in. Here’s what Rachel said just a month ago in a deleted TikTok post: “Someone commented and said ‘You are privileged AF, and I was like, ‘You’re right, I’m super freaking privileged. But also, I worked my a** off to have the money, to have someone come twice a week and clean my toilets’. And then she said ‘Well, you’re unrelatable.’ What is it about me that made you think I wanna be relatable?”

Okey dokey. In her books, she writes about how judgement has to stop among women, yet she is saying her housekeeper is a toilet cleaner. Really? That sounds pretty judgey to me. I have a feeling her housekeeper does more than scrub where she poops. And relatable? She doesn’t want to be relatable? Relatable means you’re approachable…empathic…cordial…responsive. I’m sorry, but those are things I want to be. Then, in the caption to the video, she lists other women: Harriet Tubman, RBG, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, Amelia Earhart, Frida Khalo, Malala Yousafzai, Wu Zetian who she says are all “unrelatable AF”.

Harriet Tubman

Heh? Rachel compares herself to Harriet Tubman? The hero who escaped from slavery, led 13 potentially fatal missions using the underground railroad, and freed up to 70 slaves in the process? And Malala Yousafzai? The youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate (2014) who is an educational activist for women and children in her native Pakistan? THEN, if these comparisons aren’t bad enough (regarding all she listed), she says they were all unrelatable AF. For those of you in ma’s age group (old and older 🧓👴), this means “as fuck”. I’m sorry, peeps, but saying the word ‘fuck’ when talking about these women is demeaning. Like when Justin Beiber said Anne Frank would have hopefully been a ‘belieber.’ OOOKKKAAAAYYYY!

And Rachel’s ignoring of societal constraints so many people find themselves in really pisses me off. “You and only you are responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” Well…not really. Name a female president. Name more than 3 female CEO’s. Name an African American President (President Obama is mixed race). Get my point? It’s not right…but it’s a reality: there are constraints in our society that affect who we become. Period. Further, you can’t force yourself into ‘happy.’ When the crux of the pandemic hit and small businesses closed with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, it was hard for these people, who spent years and years building their businesses, to be ‘happy.’ And what about the Asian American community that is being targeted for COVID? People being spit on…harassed…set on fire…slashed with box cutters, etc. In some areas, the discrimination against Asian Americans has increased 9 fold over the course of the pandemic. This does not lead to ‘happiness’ for those being targeted…it leads to fear, anger, disillusionment and confusion. Right? So there ARE barriers in our way to who we become and how happy we are. If there weren’t, this would be a utopia and believe you me, grasshoppers we are not living in a perfect world.

Finally, Rachel has given us a front row seat to her marriage in which we found out these things: she was 19 and he was 27 when they met but he never asked her age (hello…she could have been underage); he used her as a booty-call (her words) during which he was emotionally abusive for the first couple years of their relationship which only started to change when she was on the road to becoming a success; and he told her he would only be a part of her company if he could be the CEO…if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have anything to do with it and she capitulated to the ultimatum (what a dick-ish demand on his part…narcissism anyone?). They went on to have a “Rise Together” relationship podcast as well as live conferences where people could go and hear them wax on about their great marriage and how you can have one too…for the low low price of $1800 (not including the travel, hotel and food). Come to find out, they weren’t as happy as they made themselves out to be and have recently divorced after 15 years of marriage.

YES, I KNOW! I am the LAST one to gripe about someone’s divorce since I’ve had 12 3 myself (shutty the mouthies 🙄). But, I’m also the last one to say my relationships are perfect and were problem free. I’m also not purporting you should be someone’s ’emotionally abusive booty-call’ for a couple of years. Here’s some advice the Hollis’ shared at their conferences: “We feel like it’s possible—we know it’s possible—to have an exceptional relationship despite the stresses you have in your life.” And, “Don’t give notes. Give praise.” in which this goodie is telling women to not bring up anything negative about their sex-life. Apparently, his pleasure is the only one that matters. And if there are issues? Work through them with better communication and a therapist. But really, based on Rachel’s own advice: your happiness is up to you so if you want to be happy in your marriage, just be happy. Duh. Why didn’t my hubbies and I think of that? 🙄

Lastly, Rachel got a boob job after her kids were born. So what…right? No biggie…unless…you’ve said you have to accept yourself for being good enough. There’s nothing wrong with plastic surgery…unless…you’ve preached body positivity. C’mon, Rachel…actions speak louder than words.

Look, my point here isn’t to bash someone, but to let people know that so many of the influencers and self-help gurus out there are simply parroting platitudes, re-packaging what has already been sold, and giving advice that they themselves don’t follow in order to make money. Period. Yes, I want my students to read read read! But, I also want them to read smart. You can’t take things as gospel just because this person has a multi-million dollar company. You shouldn’t emulate someone who isn’t living their words themselves. You needn’t copy someone elses’ ‘perfect’ marriage which was actually created out of emotional abuse. You can’t blindly take the advice of someone without knowing what advice they actually live by. We all need to be smart consumers of self-help books and the people we follow and put our trust in. Because sometimes, they simply don’t deserve our support.

Kristi xoxo

Here are 2 excellent videos that talk more about Hollis:

“Just stop! Cause I really love you.” ~ Captain and Tennille

So, when are words not enough, and why am I thinking about this now? Well, the sweetie students in my Marriage and Family classes (shutty the mouthies 🙄) had to write their own original definitions of family and marriage, and what I got was great: some students insisted that blood defined a family while others agreed it was love/support/understanding that made a person family to you. In terms of defining marriage, I got a lot of people talking about commitment, loyalty, etc. and the word ‘unconditionally’ was used a lot. Then, one of my sweetie students wrote this: “What couples have is indescribable to me…it’s so much.”

As always, I was gobsmacked by this insight and she is absolutely right. How do you find words that encompass all that a couple has? How could words ever truly be enough? Our textbook (and I also saw this on spruce.com) states that: “…marriage is a formal union and social and legal contract between 2 individuals that unites their lives legally, economically, and emotionally.” Is this really ‘all’ that marriage is? A contract that unites people on these 3 levels? I don’t know about y’all, but there were times in my marriages (😳) where there was a lot ‘more’ to that definition.

I remember when O’s dad and I were married and how we faced a lot in our first few years together: O having severe asthma that led to hospitalizations, living away from all of our family at all and knowing just a handful of people in a strange state, ma being diagnosed with breast cancer, me going to graduate school, B working overtime so we could save up a nest egg since we were living paycheck to paycheck, and the list goes on. And this is nothing different…and much much less than other couples face…in that we ALL have sicknesses, financial issues, family trauma (and drama too), etc. that we have to deal with. It’s true that B and I were legally a couple, economically tied to one another, and had an emotional connection, but there was just ‘more’ to this time in our lives than what was seen on the surface.

We went deeper than just ’emotions’ and acted as anchors for one another…support. We sacrificed for each other and made decisions that put both of our interests out there. We worried and cried over O more times than I can count and held hands or hugged while we did…we knew we couldn’t live without him. We went ‘deeper’ than just the mental state we call ’emotion’. But what other word is there?

Then, I think about my sonshine. There is no way I could ever completely express the love I have for him…as John Candy says about his wife in the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” (my ALL time favorite film EVER 😎), “Words just aren’t big enough for what I feel” and he was referring to his wife. Hmmm…think about that: words aren’t big enough. You know, I wasn’t a mama yet when I first watched this movie in 1987 (I was 5 at the time 🙄) and when John said this, I teared up. But when I watched it again after O was born, I got it. I truly got it. There’s not words that encompass all I feel for my boy. And there never will be.

I also think about my ma. The other day I told her that I forbade (my favorite word to use with her…she hates it 😐) her to ever die. Period. Yes, she’s 75 but she’s going to live to be 150…I won’t have it any other way. Anyhoot, how do I put into words what she means to me? What she’s done for me? How she supports me every single day of my life?

Being mentally ill is a challenge for me, but it’s just as big of a challenge for the people around me. Ma has been there through my ups and downs, and I wouldn’t be here today if she hadn’t nurtured me through the breakdown I had. I don’t say that lightly either. I don’t throw around the words: “Oh…you saved my life!” when someone brings me a sandwich. No. I mean…she SAVED my life. Literally. So how do I put all of that in a word? How do I define that dynamic? That support? That love? That commitment? Well…I can’t.

Today Bill and I are both getting COVID tests…he was exposed at work and we both have some symptoms, so he was home for the day. We were fixing lunch (I found out he finished off our chocolate chip cookies…I had words for that…🤨) and I asked him if he loved me. He stopped what he was doing and looked at me and said: “Why are you asking me that? You don’t know?” Well, yes…I guess I ‘know’ he loves me, but I need to ‘know more’ that he loves me. Does that make sense?

One bad thing about having bipolar is that my brain is never fucking (sorry, ma 🙄) off. It’s always on. And I don’t mean just ‘on’…it’s always on at full-blast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s constantly imagining, ruminating, wondering, fretting, deciding, etc. and so I told him this: “Yes, I know you love me…but what does that really mean to you?” Isn’t that a tough one to answer?

I don’t know if I can answer that myself. I know what love isn’t…it’s not manipulation, retaliation, distrust, disloyalty, etc. but what IS it? I guess that’s what I was after. You know, after you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you question so much in other ones. J said he loved me all of the time…everyday (except for the days he was cheating on me and sometimes, even then) so was what we had love? I look back and know I loved him, but have also accepted that he couldn’t have loved me. You don’t purposefully hurt those you love. You just don’t do it. I can’t imagine laying a hand on my son or dog…I can’t imagine ever saying something cruel to ma…I can’t imagine ever PURPOSEFULLY hurting anyone I love. So…maybe that’s why we say actions are louder than words…they simply ‘show more’.

When you think about it, words are finite…they have some definitions to them and then the entry in the dictionary ends. Maybe what’s important is to figure out what words mean to you, and then try to express that in any way you can…sort of like the Love Languages. What says love to me might be different than what says it to you.

Sometimes I think we get too caught up in words. We give words way too much weight. We give them way too much power. After contemplating all of this, I realized that words are something that we need to sometimes throw away. If Bill got mad at me today and said something hurtful, I’d still know he loves me. He’s human…he’s going to say unloving things just like I will. Maybe instead of getting bitter about this and racking up all of his ‘mistakes’, I could instead look at his actions all of the other time…his behavior…his loyalty…his support. Maybe we all need to work on ‘showing’ than on ‘saying’. Words can hurt and sting and destroy…no argument there. But actions and future behavior can heal that…if we let it.

Kristi xoxo

“Number 47 said to number 3, you’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.” ~ Elvis Presley

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So, my sissie and I were yapping the other day and during our conversation about her new LPN position, she said her boss had told her something she’d been thinking about a lot regarding love.  Basically, it was how we are all given only 3 true-love relationship coins in our life, and because of that, they need to be used wisely and sparingly…with great care.

Wow.  My first reaction was why the hell didn’t I hear this 40 freaking years ago, and my second (which I know you are all thinking so I’ll just put it out there 🙄) was “Son of a bitch…mine are definitely spent.”  😳

Hmmmmm.  Is this true?  Do we really have a finite number of times we can experience true, fulfilling, ‘real’ love with another, or can we actually have that time and time again in our lives?  I think back to my past relationships and question how deep and meaningful that love really was, and whether or not I had experienced it with everyone I’d been with.  I adore Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love which states there are 3 aspects (sides) to love:  passion (the sexual chemistry), intimacy (the emotional connection), and commitment (the cognitive decision to stay with the person long-term, through thick and thin).  If you have all 3 of these components in your relationship, Sternberg says you are experiencing ‘consummate love’ which is what we all (well…most of us) strive for with our partners.  Just having a couple of the sides represent different types of love…for example, passion plus intimacy is a romantic love without any commitment to weather the storms that might come along.

So, have I experienced this ‘true’ love in every relationship I’ve had?  Is this idea of consummate love something like that of Maslow’s idea of self-actualization where it’s the ‘goal’ of life, but not necessarily something that everyone can achieve?  Is having ‘just’ 2 sides of the triangle mean you haven’t had ‘true’ love?  Can you feel ‘true love’ without having a solid 3?  Can you be satisfied with having less than the 3?  If you start out with just a couple of the ‘sides’, can you build the other with conscious work and determination?  What if you feel the 3 sides, but your partner doesn’t?  Does that negate the ‘true love’ in your own heart?  Hmmmmm…

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My Lord…it’s like looking into a mirror. 🙄

OK, so let’s take a look-see at my relationships (yes, this is going to take a while since Elizabeth Taylor and I are twins… 🙄).  My first one was in high school when I didn’t know beans about what love really entailed.  I ‘loved’ my boyfriend, but didn’t have any idea how to create something meaningful outside of high school ‘love’…writing my first name with his last name in my notebook and making out with him in my basement on ma’s nubby green 70’s love seat, praying she wouldn’t traipse down the stairs with a basket of laundry to start (by the way, she did do that at a very awkward time…cough cough…and if that doesn’t kill the mood, I don’t know what does.  Thanks for that one, ma.).  Does anybody in high school really have the experience and cognitive ability to love fully?  I don’t think so.  YES…I know high school sweethearts who have married and are still together, but I have a feeling their love matured a great deal from what it was solely in high school.

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How about Hubby 1?  I was besotted with him and was definitely in love with him, but still, at 21, pretty darn immature regarding the significance of marriage.  We were WAY too young and had some really stupid beliefs like we could live on love, and not money.  Obviously, that worked out well.  With Hubby 2 though, I had all 3 sides of love.  I actually consider him my first ‘real’ marriage.  We had our son, raised him together for 13 years, built a couple of houses together, moved out of state together, and really got close to each other’s families.  It was a much more mature love in which both of us had divorced and wanted to work to make this marriage the one that lasted.  And #3?  Another true love…and one that was different than that with my son’s pa, but still all encompassing.

So, the question you are probably shouting is “Then why the hell did they fail, dumbass?”  (You don’t need to cuss at me, grasshoppers…you know ma doesn’t like that 🙄).  The answer?  Beats the fuck out of me.  More on this later.

Now, with J?  I had all 3 sides…bad.  I definitely had the passion and intimacy going into the relationship, and the commitment grew quickly for me.  In fact, my commitment was almost too much since it held on to him during situations when I should have let go (e.g. cheating).   But, to be honest, that’s what commitment is, isn’t it?  Holding on?  Getting through the bad?  Learning from it?  OK…sounds good…but does that mean abusive behavior should be ignored because of commitment?  Nope.  Of course not.  So with J?  The biggest issue I think that was inherent in our partnership was his own ‘triangle’.  I know he had intimacy with me because he shared so much of his childhood trauma and war experiences with me.  But passion?  Obviously not.  And commitment?  Uh huh.  Unfortunately, as I readily found out, a relationship is only as strong as it’s perceived by the lesser invested member.

Now, why did the ‘real’ ones fail?  Why did they end in divorces?  Why didn’t the commitment we apparently had not win out?  I think a lot of it had to do with me being bipolar.  Let me rephrase that…me being a not yet diagnosed, untreated bipolar.

When I was in manic phases, I was high with so much impulsivity, poor decision making, and feeling so freaking good, I didn’t think anything bad could ever touch me.  So why work on negative things in a relationship when I’m having just too much fun being up?  Screw that.  The result?  I did things and said things during these times that contributed greatly to the erosion of the marriages, and at those times, could not even begin to see what the consequences of that were.  Not real proud of that.  And then when I was cycling through a depression?  I didn’t have the energy, desire, or even the capability of knowing what was happening in the marriage…I was too deep down into my tunnel to see anything but that terrifying darkness those of you with depression can readily relate too.

So, what if I would have had more insight (or acceptance, since I knew something was very wrong) about being mentally ill?  What if I had been treated at that time with meds and counseling (as I am today)?  Would that have saved these marriages?  Could I ‘blame’ being bipolar for being a pretty shitty wife at times?  Is that fair?

Well yes…in a way it is.  I literally can’t help what my brain is like…how it operates differently from others.  I can’t control the cycles on my own.  I can’t prevent myself from the emotional states and related behavior of being bipolar without meds (and meds don’t prevent the states…it just works to lessen them).  Or can I?  Do I sometimes use my ‘brain’ disease as an excuse?  Or do I have more control than I might think?  And, does anyone who is mentally ill know the answers to these questions in terms of their own experiences?

What if I had gotten help when I should have growing up (wait…let me rephrase that:  what if I would have gotten the right help from a professional that wasn’t sexually abusive)?  Would I have had more insight into my behavior, emotionality, and sensitivity?  Would my spouses have (I sound like a freaking polygamist)?  Would they have understood these issues better, and worked with me to handle being bipolar in the context of our marriages?

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

So, back to the 3 coins.  Let’s say this is right and we have only these 3 coins to spend on love  relationships.  We’re given these coins at the start of pubes, and are told that’s it…you can’t have more.  Would we be more careful in jumping into relationships?  More understanding of what we are truly looking for instead of just ‘trying’ things out?  Would we become more selective?  I wonder if I would have made different decisions based on this.  Even though everything was telling both of us that marriage #1 (sigh) was probably not a super idea, M and I did it anyway.  Maybe I would have saved that coin instead.  Using a coin on O’s dad was the best freaking coin I could have ever spent though.  And #3?  I think I would have spent that one too…we had 10 years that were definitely worth it and are still great friends to boot.

Now, what about J’s?  Oh wow.  This is a toughie.  I definitely spent my last coin on him, and this relationship hurt me the most emotionally than any other one ever did.  I know I was in ‘true’ love with him and thought he was my soul-mate (the only time I’ve ever said that about anyone).  So, was the coin I spent worth it?  Yep.  If not for anything else, just the fact I was in his kids’ lives for 3 years.

Well…the problem is obviously this and what I’ve been thinking about:  my 3 coins are spent.  Used up.  My piggy bank is empty.  Does this mean, if the 3 coin idea is true, that I’m out of ‘loves’?  Here’s what’s weird:  I think I kind of am.  Sometimes I think my heart has been broken and then glued together so many times that it’s just not up to the task of trying again.  And even if it is up to the task, is my head?  Will I ever invest the ‘commitment’ side into someone else again?  Trust to do that?  Or, can’t I help but invest that, no matter how bad of an investment it might be?  (Like me investing in bitcoin, lost on that one 🙄).  Maybe the banker in charge of the coins will have mercy on me…give me another one as a ‘tip’ so to speak.  Hmmmmm…if that happens, I’ll tell you one thing…it’s staying in my pocket until I’m damn sure the money is going to be well spent.

Kristi xoxo

“I can tote it, I just need an egg.” ~ Angela (90 Day Fiance)

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So, it’s no secret that I’m not the greatest at relationships (shutty 🙄) and thought it might behoove me to take lessons so to speak.  The experts I’ve decided to turn too, who I know will guide me through the perils of relationship dynamics and teach me lessons I’ll take with me for the rest of my life, are known around the world.  Their platform?  A very serious and insightful show called ’90 Day Fiance’.  As I’ve been watching it these last 7 seasons (as well as all the seasons of their many spin-offs) I’ve gleaned knowledge that’s applicable to any future partnership I might have and I’m certain that the secret to relationship bliss is mine.

For example, did you know it’s not necessary to learn about a mate’s culture, even though they have a different religion, a different language (tip:  learn at least a few words in their native tongue…just so you can…you know…communicate 🙄) are half-way around the world, and live in a way you have never experienced yourself? I’m mean hells bells, that’s just tiny stuff…right?  So, when a woman who dresses like a stripper falls in love with a man who practices Islam, this will be super.  When she visits or even moves to his country (which many of them do), he’ll want and expect her to wear the hijab per Muslim tradition, but why do that?  It’s not fashionable and we definitely don’t see those on American catwalks, so obviously this doesn’t apply to these gals.  They’ll go on wearing outfits with their boobs showing, sans nipple, and wonder why their man is angry and others in his family don’t accept them.  Well…guess you can’t please everyone…huh?

And food?  Don’t try to learn about a cultures food before visiting or moving to the country your sweetie resides in.  Why would you do that?  Just traipse over there, and then when the very poor family sacrifices a goat for you (which is an extremely gracious gesture), don’t eat any.  After all, you prefer steak.  When a future ma-in-law makes you a beautiful dinner she spent hours on, be sure to make faces, spit food out in your napkin, and stage whisper to the lucky sap who’s going to marry you that you’ll puke if you actually swallow a bite.  That way, the ma gets a very good impression of you as a independent thinker with distinct tastes. 🙄

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Did you know that houses in the poorest of our world’s nations aren’t built of wood, brick and siding?  Some are little more than huts with no air-conditioning, no running water, no bathroom, no electricity.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable for the 3 days you’ll be staying there on your visit (God forbid you actually move there, it would just be ‘too much’ for you to ever get used too), even though the ‘love of your life’ has lived in these circumstances all  their lives.  And if they take you to a local hotel for some, ahem, private time?  Be sure to bitch and complain, because I’m here to tell ya, they aren’t the Hilton.  If there are lots of  bugs or animals roaming the street or stores that are carts with torn awnings, it’s always a good idea to make fun of these things or complain bitterly.  Nothing brings a couple closer together than a great deal of mocking.  (Also, did you know that countries on the equator are hot?  Apparently, not a lot of people realize this so don’t realize they might sweat a bit on their visit).

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Here’s something I truly didn’t know but is quite exciting if I ever marry a 20 year old:  even though I’m 53 (blech), I can still have a baby!  YEA! Actually, I would sorta ‘have too’ since my future hubby is expected to have an heir and is wanting his own shot at raising a brood (even though I have a kid older than him 😳).  Now, it doesn’t matter that I’ve gone through menopause (which at 53, one would assume I have) or that my eggs are as old as dirt (if I even have any of the little boogers left), I can still get an egg from someone else…preferably in my immediate family so the baby will be my blood…and then have that little nugget inserted into my nice, healthy, still like 18 pink uterus I presumably have.  Well for piss sakes…this is an epiphany for me!  Here I’ve been wanting a grandbaby, but instead I’ll just have a little cutie myself.  As Angela (who is my age and whose YOUNG hubby wants a little guy running around that’s his own) says to her daughter:  “I can tote it, I just need your egg.”  (Starts picking out names, ma!).  Nuff said on that one.

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And age doesn’t matter!  Whoo Hoo (let’s face it…a LOT of guys from my generation are pretty much set in their ways and aren’t quite as exciting as a 25 year old)!  OK…some of you may not know this, but J was significantly younger than me.  No, I’m not going to tell you by how many years, my sweet and nosy peeps.  Suffice it to say we got a lot of looks, and yes, I was often self-conscious about it!  I was the wrinkly elder with this younger guy on my arm (for balance since I’m so old I could fall and easily break a hip) and folks would stare.  Like I’ve said before, aging is a sin in our country and many of you younger people are apparently going to figure out a way to dodge it (but still be alive)…best wishes to ya.  Anyhoot, a 65 year old and a 30 year old are actually fine and dandy (no peeps, J was not that much younger 🤨).  And just because my new man will have to wash my hair for me and help me up out of a chair doesn’t mean things won’t work out in the long run.  He’ll love doing that and more when he’s 40 and I’m 75.  And families love these age differences too.  In fact, I’d love for O to marry someone older than me.  We could be besties and eventually room together in the old age home.  That way, O would only have to make one trip to see us both.

Were you also aware that lying doesn’t matter?  No wonder I’m thrice divorced, I didn’t lie enough.  Well spank me hard…I know what to do next time now, don’t I?  Seeing pics of a body builder from Great Britain who actually speaks with a Nigerian accent when you chat and doesn’t know where London is on a map does NOT mean you are getting catfished.  And if you are?  Well, they must have a good reason and actually be an ok guy to hook up with anyway.  If you’re already married and wait until you’re engaged to your new baby to tell them, whatever.  It’s just a teeny little detail you forgot to mention.  If you’re moving halfway across the world and your darling hasn’t shared with you the fact they are broke and don’t have a job…no problemo.  Just live on love.  And the best kind of lie?  If you say you’re 40 and use a filter during chats and while sending pics that make you look 20…it’s ok.  Your beloved will be so happy at your 55 year old self complete with lines, sags, spots, etc.  It’s just a cool surprise.

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Now, not every one of these relationships work out (why, I have no idea).  So, if that happens here’s a sure fire way to feel better:  get some plastic surgery like HUGE lips…butt fillers…DD boobs…liposuction.  It’s because of YOUR bod things didn’t work out, so the more fake you look, the more you’ll be loved.  Who woulda thunk that?  No wonder I’ve been divorced…I’ve still got my original breasts. 🤨   Another idea if things don’t go perfectly with this soulmate of yours?  Just get your newly rounded butt back online and try again.  It’s really as easy as that.

This next one is a shocker to me.  Truly.  SOME people are out there to take advantage of you.  To use your for a green card.  To get to America the only way possible for them.  I know…I know…that would never happen to any one of US.  That only happens to people who aren’t truly in love.  So, when your parents, friends, colleagues and neighbors pull you aside and say they think the behavior of your intended is pretty bad and they don’t seem to love you (look, they only go out by themselves to a bar a few nights a week…we all need our space 🙄) tell them they’re crazy.  In fact, the longer you’ve known this friend, the angrier you should become. People in love always know what’s best…they are always the most rational and most objective.  Look, if I want your advice that could save me from getting into a marriage that’s going to last 6 months and then bankrupt me after, I’ll ask.  Got it?

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And this brings me to the last lesson I’ve gleaned thus far, and that’s about what love really is.  True love comes from texting and face-timing with no physical interaction what so ever.  It comes from jumping into bed the minute you land in their country, and then pointing out all that’s wrong with the area while praising your own fatherland.  The love is seen in little spats that end up with a drink being thrown in a face…smashing a cake over a head…or storming out of a restaurant screaming the entire way.  And the little sweet names you have for one another (and did you know that nicknames are truly good for a relationship)?  Here are some ideas from the show:  bitch, cow, douche, jerk, asshole, idiot and f##ker (you’re welcome, ma).  Those are sure to help your love bloom even more.

So thank you, 90 Day Fiance.  I now know what I’ve been doing wrong in finding a soulmate and I’m going to remedy it now.  I’m staring my search for a 22 year old guy from a very poor country (whose language I can’t speak), who sends me pics in which he looks different in every single one in terms of his hair and eye color, body shape, & height, who wants at least a half dozen little ones running around soon, whose parents are horrified I’m of a different religion, and who I’ve caught lying (but hey, none of us are perfect).  When I find this gem, I’ll let y’all know right away.  I promise.

Kristi xoxo

What I Learned From Little House on the Prairie.

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So, I saw that Little House on the Prairie was on Amazon Prime and I decided to binge watch the entire series (yes, 9 seasons, 20+ episodes each season, and me bored as hell sitting at home).  I grew up with the show and like to think of myself as a ‘reincarnated’ Laura if you will, particularly since my family knows how great I am in the wilderness with no modern comforts 🙄).  Anyhoot, as I was bawling along with ‘pa’ who cries every episode (and takes off his shirt regardless of season, storyline, etc.) I realized just how many things I’ve learned from it through the years.  Let’s take a look-see:

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Well…hello…

Marriage is forever.  Well, hells bells, that’s pretty straight forward.  And it’s really that easy with them.  The marriages on this show experience fires, bankruptcy, diptheria, strokes, crop failures, the loss of babies, kids going blind (Lord, how much I wanted Mary’s blue eyes instead of my own, as well as her long blonde hair…ma had me and sissie’s mousy brown cut into ‘shags’ with crooked bangs.  No wonder we were so popular 😐), trips of hundreds of miles over rough terrain in a prairie wagon that looked as sturdy as my 20 year old lawn chair, and the list goes on.  And guess what?  These people stayed married.  Maybe it was as easy as this:  they married who they loved, they worked to make it the best they could, and they took their vow – ‘Til Death do us Part’ – seriously.  Hmmmmm.

Kids are disciplined.  OMG!  What the fuck?!!!  Kids are held accountable for their actions?  Disciplined?  Punished?  Taught right from wrong?  How can that be??  Our society thinks kids should be coddled and their behavior excused, and if we do try to teach them a lesson?  Their self-esteem will plummet and by golly, we’ll be vilified.  Okey dokey.  Tell me how that’s working out.  I’m not advocating using a ‘strap’ for piss sakes, but believe you me, kids can be corrected quite nicely without physical punishment.  And trust me on this too:  kids need correction and want to know the rules and boundaries they live in.  Without them, they’re lost.

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Here’s another shocker:  kids are taught manners!  Well, who woulda thunk this was good?!  Kids say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no, sir’.  They shake hands when meeting someone.  Look adults in the eye, speak politely to them, and don’t use first names (which is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  If you’re 5, I’m not Kristi, I’m Ms. Palmer).  Don’t interrupt.  Do their chores when asked (another lesson, if you will…kids actually help out the family and take care of their home 😲).  My goodness, it sure is marvelous we stopped teaching these things.  I just love walking through Wal-Mart and hearing a 9 year old call his mom a bitch.  Much better.

Family comes first.  Let me repeat that because I know it’s a hard concept in our society today.  FAMILY comes first.  Not being on our phones while posting to social media showing everyone how amazingly awesome our lives are (instead of just living them).  Not spending more and more time at work to earn for that new car the family just has to have so they can spend a week together on a vacation which won’t be that great anyway since ma and pa are yelling at the kids to not mess up the brand new car.  Not sitting in front of the boob tube, drool dripping from the chin, and the only interaction among the family is the fight the kids are having over what to watch among the 1000’s of choices that are available.  Instead, family helps each other daily, works together for the good of the family, comes even closer together in crisis, eats dinner together (only about 30% of families eat their evening meal together consistently throughout the entire week), and makes their own fun including camping trips, listening to pa play the fiddle, and listening to ma read a book aloud.  (The lesson of this?  Pop…you need to learn to play the fiddle).

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Still my favorite book.

Education is important.  Heh??  This is another ‘old fashioned idea’ where kids spend 8 hours in school, are quiet and respectful in class, do their work to their best ability, turn it in on time, and are excited when learning something new.  There are no screens…no software…no ‘gadgets’ to help.  Only slates, books, maps and a chalkboard.  Yet, when you look at past tests kids were expected to conquer before graduating, they are a hell lot more demanding than what I’ve seen:  high school graduates with screens and software and gadgets who cannot write a complete sentence.  Seriously.  Take a look-see at this test and see if you can pass it;  bear in mind it’s for 8th grade graduation (kids often didn’t go on to high school…mostly because the majority of them didn’t need too after learning all of this!).  And no, do NOT use google.  (Ma…this is one time you’re really going to shine since the test is from 1895 when you were in 4th grade.  I posted a daguerreotype to show my sweet peeps just how hard you worked for Miss Beadle).

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Ma in trouble…nothing new.

Neighbors help neighbors.  Really?  You mean, even though the families often lived hundreds of acres or a handful of miles apart, there was still a camaraderie, concern, and assistance to one another.  Need help harvesting?  Your cow is delivering?  Your barn burned and you need a new one by winter?  Don’t fret…your neighbors will help.  Now, I actually had a neighbor years and years ago…in the ‘nice, good address, more ritzy’ neighborhood Hubby 2 and I lived in (as compared to my little granny house now)…and my next door grouch would come out when I mowed to make sure I didn’t step on his grass when I turned at the end of a mown row.  Not kidding.  Once, when I did step on his property (by about 4″), the cops were called.  It was a freaking nightmare, but the cops looked at him as if he were senile (which he wasn’t, just nasty) and told him to never call again about me. He did.  Often.  😠

Trouble intensifies faith.  No matter what the crisis or loss was, God was looked to for strength and hope.  He wasn’t blamed or denounced, and the people didn’t question what was happening.  They leaned on him, prayed to him, and understood that although they might not understand the ‘why’ behind what was going on, they trusted it was going to be OK.  Peeps, that’s faith.

Dying isn’t to be feared.  Instead, it’s a part of life and because there was so much faith, the people knew the place they were going was going to be a perfect eternity where they would be reunited with their loved ones someday.  It was simply another phase of life and memories would sustain those on earth until it was their turn to go.

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Nellie Olson rocked.

Ok…before you fill up my inbox, I know things weren’t perfect then!  Duh.  I can’t imagine living with such primitive medical care (Mary gets an operation and the doctor has his hands in his pockets before grabbing the scalpel without any gloves or washing, and begins the cut, not knowing if Mary is really under yet 😳), no air-conditioning (while wearing petticoats:  note to ma, can I borrow some of yours to see what it was like?), the physical punishment that was often meted out, the living from hand to mouth,  and the societal issues of the day:  lack of rights for blacks and women, so much prejudice and discrimination, so much alienation from the rest of the world, and so much ignorance of mental illness.  It wasn’t nirvana, but I will say this:  the medicine was often alcohol (something that cures a lot of my ails today) heroin, cocaine, and morphine, (so wonder they were so happy).  😜

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And my cough is gone.

Regardless, a big part of me wishes we could go back to some of these values.  To me, progress isn’t always ‘progress.’  Look at the divorce rates…the kids growing up without dads or never knowing what it’s like to have an intact family…the children who are denied attention and discipline and act out accordingly…the families that don’t push education and take an interest in schoolwork…the parents that put work and technology over time with the family…the parents that work for things not needed but wanted for status.  Why is it we can’t learn from our past, and embrace the principles that are so important while still moving forward in technology that brings us all closer together as opposed to splitting us apart?  Why can’t the old and the new be combined into a ‘normal’?

And, most importantly (at least to me 😳)?  Why thy hell can’t I find a man like Pa who looks damn yummy half naked, works his ass off, knows how to show emotion, will actually converse and listen (gasp), and has a sense of humor that’s just as adorable as his smile and wavy hair?  It just ain’t right that guy hasn’t plopped in my lap. 😏  Maybe I should road-trip to Walnut Grove and see who’s out there.

Kristi xoxo

P.S.  Hey Peeps…show me some love and click on the “Follow” button?  Much thanks, sweeties! ❤

It’s Ironic…Ain’t It?

So, my Master’s degree is in Family Development and Education.  I’ve taught hundreds of classes and workshops on marriage and family, and I even have a book through amazon on how to have a happy marriage.  And then I get this question from one of my Facebookers:

“I hate to ask this but are you embarassed (sic) to have been married 3 times since you teach about this stuff?”

Well, Grasshopper, let me give you an easy answer:  yep.

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I guess I could end there, but we all know how I love to hear myself talk (even if it is in my head) so let’s continue.

With Hubby #1, we were both so freaking young!!  I truly believed, with all of my heart and soul, that I was an adult at 20.  I also thought that we could live on ‘LOVE’ (you need to say that in a way that the word is stretched out a bit like I do in class).  I was finishing up my senior year in university and had to student teach during the entire spring semester, which meant no money was coming in on my end.  Hubby was working at the customer service counter of TJ Maxx.  Yep.  That was all we thought we needed to get by.  Minimum wage job with less than 40 hours a week…and love.  Guess what?  Reality set in quick!  So why did this marriage end?  Because we had no idea what we wanted!  We were still kids!  Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing, and to top that off, I know my untreated bipolar caused a LOT of problems.  We lasted 4 years…and bless his heart for having the courage to understand we were never going to work.  The divorce broke my heart, but it was the right thing to do.

Then Hubby #2 came along.  I grew up with him and we went through school together from 3rd grade to community college.  He was newly divorced.  I was newly divorced.  And our loneliness brought us 2 friends together.  We had a happy marriage!  I really loved the years we were together, raising our son, and creating the little family we had.  I think our problem was complacency.

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My Gift!

 

Thinking this is never going to end, so why put more into it than you have too.  I’ve learned, the hard way, that complacency kills.  It makes you not acknowledge what needs to be worked on.  It makes you close your eyes to problems that are springing up.

Hubby #3 was an enigma.  He was a big, tough, motorcycle riding, muscled guy with skull tattoos who belonged to an outlaw motorcycle club.  People were shocked that we were together because we’re so different!  But hubby had such a sweet, funny, smart side and he could make me laugh so hard!  This big old tough guy bought me a finger puppet the first year we were married.  He was ‘Cookie’ and we took this puppet everywhere we went!  I even have pictures of ‘Cookie’ in front of some Van Goghs’ at the Chicago Art Institute (our favorite place to go).

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Damn…my hair looks great in this! 😉

 

He decoupaged with me…painted with me…was so so proud of everything I made and all of the accomplishments I worked for.  But hubby came from a very bad background…his parents were horribly abusive and negligent and it was hard for him to just be my hubby.  The motorcycle club was a brotherhood to him.  Was a family.  The kind of the family he never had as a kid.  So it became more of his life than I was.  He knew it and I knew it.  We were living in different worlds after 10 years, and when we divorced, it hurt both of us so much.  We stood in front of the judge together, holding each other.  The Judge asked if we really wanted the divorce…hubby had to answer because I was too choked up.  But, we’re friends and we talk everyday.  I’ll always be a part of his life, and I know he’ll always be my best friend.

So,  it does sound bad that I’m a 3x divorcee.  But you know what?  When I think back on my marriages (why do I suddenly feel like Elizabeth Taylor?), I am so appreciative of each one of them.  Hubby #1 helped me grow up.  Helped me to understand my actions have consequences.  Helped me to see that marriages take more than just love…they take work and effort and understanding and humility and forgiving and asking to be forgiven and on and on and on.

Hubby #2 gave me the greatest gift I could ever have gotten on this earth.  My boy.  Those 13 years we had together as a family are the happiest years in my life.  I loved being a mommy and a wife.  I reveled in it.  I wanted some of the moments we shared to last forever and ever and ever.  But the thing is, neither one of us put in the effort to make that possible.

And Hubby#3?  He gave me passion!  He awakened in me things I didn’t know were there!  As much as I loved my first 2 hubbies, this guy took my breath away.  I thought I’d die if I couldn’t see him everyday, and when we were together, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him.  He is the one man in my life that made me feel like a sexy gal!!  OooooWeee!

Of course I’m sorry that my marriages ended.  And I take a lot of responsibility for this.  I was an untreated bipolar going through manic phases (did you know you can plant a half acre garden in a couple of hours??!) and depressive episodes (where I would force myself to make dinner and then sit at the table and smile).  I didn’t want to admit what was happening in my brain.  By the time of Hubby 3, I just wanted a relationship to work so bad, the things in my head were pushed to the side as much as possible.  Would any of these marriages have lasted if I had been treated?  Hmmmm.  Maybe so.  But maybe not.  Marriages take 2 people.  Both working.  Both trying.  Both putting in all they can.  These divorces weren’t their fault.  Or my fault.  Each one was our fault.  df2c21640f561869bb1990053494eb19

So, grasshopper…I’m not embarrassed.  I’m lucky to have had 3 men in my life that gave to me, taught me, loved me, and awakened me.  Will there be a #4?  Not if my mom has any say in it.  And I doubt it.  I would have married my ex-partner.  I really would have.  But maybe marriage just isn’t for me!  Kinda like milk.  I drink it…I get sick.  I get married…I get divorced.  However, that doesn’t mean they weren’t good while they lasted.

Kristi xoxo