throwback…

to the first ever pic D posted of us on Facebook. People were still way grumpy back then about our relationship. Well…his people. My people were like omg it’s about fucking time you moved on. Only my friends “liked” the pic. Haha.

We look so different now. I remember that night vividly. D’s band was playing a show at Just John in The Grove. A bunch of my friends came out. It was a good time. We used to always go to Steak ‘n Shake after those shows, mostly because it was the only place open.

I miss my long hair. Fucking cancer. Grr.

It’s so crazy how much life can change in just four years.

Anyway…this pic makes me smile. Thanks, Facebook. You don’t always suck.

thanksgivings past

As we approach Thanksgiving, D and I have been talking about all the Thanksgivings we have spent together. It made me want to do a recap post.

Thanksgiving 2012

This was our very first Thanksgiving together. Just the two of us. I was living in a townhouse in Ballwin. D came over with bottles of Bordeaux and Riesling, and made fun of me because I had a bottle of sweet red wine. Ha. I ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Maggiano’s, which was surprisingly delicious. We ate dinner and watched television. We ended up watching 28 Days Later, which D had never seen. We talked about divorce, and our kids, our fears for them, etc. There may have been some tears. Despite that, it¬†was a really great night. I’ll always remember it.

We look like babies! OMG. This was just a matter of days before my bilateral mastectomy, so I was a bit of an emotional mess.

Thanksgiving 2013

This year D had Freya, but I didn’t have Jackson. ¬†I came over to his place and helped him make dinner. It was slightly awkward because Freya was so shy and everything still felt very new and sort of strange. In fact, the morning started off a bit rough because when D’s ex dropped Freya¬†off she (the ex)¬†was crying. I felt so very sad for her that day. We rallied though and the¬†three of us played Mario Kart. D and I made dinner.

Frey looks so young in this pic. I miss those little girl bangs. Sigh.

Thanksgiving 2014

This year I had Jackson, and Freya was with her mom. I was living in an apartment in the city. D came over and spent the night. I ordered food from Maggiano’s again, upon D’s request. He got a big kick out of having a catered Thanksgiving dinner. ¬†I remember I didn’t have a phone, because I had broken mine and was waiting on a replacement. We ate food and lounged around watching movies. I think we watched Contact and Close Encounters of the¬†Third Kind. D fell asleep on the couch.

tumblr_nfptmmemgq1rgkdhgo1_1280

My brother had just died the week before so I was still working through that. I remember I was quite sad, but also so thankful. Thankful to be alive. Thankful to be with my two favorite people. Thankful to have such a wonderful life.

Thanksgiving 2015

I made arrangements with the ex to change our custody schedule so that D and I would have the kids on the same holidays as much as possible. So this was the first Thanksgiving where we had both of the kids. It was awesome! Jackson and I went over to D and Frey’s place. The kids played together (Minecraft!) while D and I made a big dinner. It was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. Everything felt very comfortable and normal.

tumblr_nyg9kqonuh1rgkdhgo4_250

Thanksgiving 2016

This year it will be just the two of us again. We’re looking forward to making Thanksgiving dinner in our new home! We will miss the kids obviously, but we both agree that we are looking forward to it just being the two of us this year. There will be wine, yummy food, movies, and sex. I can’t wait.

bravery

Nov. 2: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

To be brave is to¬†endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear. I have always had a difficult time seeing myself as brave. But when I think back on my life, I can think of several situations in which I was. That’s not to say that I wasn’t scared, because I was, but I put forth a facade of fearlessness and pushed forward.

This isn’t a recent example, but it is the one that comes to mind:

Back in 1999, I was 18-years-old, and staying at home with my parents for a while, trying to save up money to move to California. I was working two full-time jobs at the time. I was constantly exhausted and almost never home. The never being at home thing was actually a blessing, as the situation in the home was dangerous. I had two drug addicted parents, one of whom was physically abusive, and three younger siblings who were completely out of control. I stayed out of the way as much as I could. I was anxious to get out of there and start my own life. 

One night I got home, and my step-dad was making the rounds, which is how I referred to his tendency to go from person to person in the house to berate and/or physically intimidate or abuse them. This was all completely normal, and typically I would ignore it. My previous attempts at intervention were never well met by any of the parties, even those whom I was attempting to help. So I typically just kept to myself when I was at home. 

This particular evening I listened to him make the rounds. He started with my mom. I heard a loud thump and peeked out into the hallway where I saw him choking my mother and telling her that he would kill her. After a few seconds of this, he approached my little sister who was like 13 at the time, and started in on her. He told her she was a stupid, ugly, lazy piece of shit. He then went on to tell her, “You are the stupidest person I know.”

I don’t know what it was about this comment that pushed me over the edge, but it did. I totally lost my shit. I raced out into the kitchen and started going off. I screamed and raged at him. I told him that, in fact, he was the stupidest person I had ever known, and that he was also a bully, piece of shit, crack-addicted scum bag, among other things. He stepped right up to me and his nose was touching my nose. When he talked, he was spitting all over me. He said, “I should knock you out right now and teach you a lesson.” I said, “I wish you would because I’m not going to break. I will press charges against you and make sure you end up in jail where you belong.” We stared at each other for what felt like an eternity, but was probably only a few seconds. Eventually, he went back and sat down at the kitchen table. I simply said, “That’s what I thought,” and turned around and walked out.¬†

The cops had been called. I’m still not sure who called them, whether it was the neighbor or one of my siblings. When Ferguson PD arrived they ascertained the situation, got all versions of the story, and eventually placed my step-dad under arrest for a number of outstanding warrants he had around the Saint Louis area. As they cuffed him, he looked at me and said, “You better not be here when I get back.” I replied, “Don’t worry, I’m leaving and I won’t be back. By the way, I hope you fucking drop dead.”

After he was carted off, my mother looked at me, crying, and said, “Jennifer, why do you always have to cause trouble?”

I packed my shit and I left that night. I moved to California two days later. I never went back to that house. 

This isn’t the example most would use to illustrate¬†my supposed bravery, as few people know this story. I suspect most people would say enduring breast cancer treatment. As most already know, I had a bilateral mastectomy, 8 rounds of chemo, and radiation back in late 2012, early 2013. I don’t see that as an act of bravery, however. Cancer treatment was simply something I was forced to endure if I wanted to survive. Is something still considered brave if you don’t have a choice? This is something I’ve spent some time contemplating, but I’m no closer to an answer.

 

every queen needs a throne

Five years ago, Scott and I went to a used furniture store to buy stuff for our new office space. He insisted on getting a pic of me in this giant chair: 


Today we went back to buy furniture to accommodate our growing office. The chair is still there, so he insisted upon an updated pic: 


So much has changed in just five years. It’s sort of a mind fuck, but in the best possible way. ‚̧ԳŹ

5 years ago vs. now

Blog Challenge РDay 27. 

5 years ago: September 2011

  • Married (unhappily).
  • Had an almost two-year-old son.
  • Had not yet met the love of my life (D).
  • Had just¬†moved into the firm’s new office location. None of the current employees worked for us at this point. The firm was less than a year old.
  • Was living life pre-cancer style. Still had my real boobs and super thick hair, for example. Didn’t have any real understanding of¬†my own mortality.
  • Was training to run my first 5k.
  • Wanted more out of life.

Now: September 2016

  • Divorced.
  • Have an almost seven-year-old son.
  • Living with and loving D.
  • Have a 10-year-old bonus kid/daughter.
  • Successful law firm with four employees. Same office location.
  • Breast cancer survivor. Fake tits. Less hair.¬†More laid back. YOLO and all that shit.
  • Have several races under my belt, including: multiple 5k, 10k, and a half-marathon.
  • HAPPY. Still making plans for the future, but enjoying being present in the here and now.

Thankful Thursday

The little ghetto girl that will always live inside my heart cannot believe how lovely life has become. I remember living in the broken down house in the “bad” part of Ferguson. The house with the bullet holes. The house with the abusive, alcoholic, drug addicted father. The house of pain and sadness. The very atmosphere was oppressive. ¬†I used to daydream of how life could maybe be someday if I just tried hard enough. I could go to college and law school. I could fall in love. Have a family. Build a beautiful life. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, and so many obstacles in my way. But I never ever gave up. And here I am now, looking back on a childhood that feels so very far away now. The pain, the suffering, and the struggle were so worth it. I feel so very fortunate.

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well…How did I get here?