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.

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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.

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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.

if you don’t, don’t.

I had a sort of epiphany last night and I feel kind of silly because it’s like: Duh, Jenn! Seriously…duh.

Earlier this week a couple we are friendly with asked if D and I wanted to go to an event this Saturday night. I told her I needed to talk it over with D, but she was like oh I’ll just put you down. Um…okay. I was feeling pretty awkward about the situation and didn’t particularly want to go because the male half of this couple tends to get aggressive when drunk. By “aggressive” I really mean he follows me to the bathroom and starts groping me then doesn’t want to take no for an answer. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. Obviously. But otherwise I really like them.

So I was venting last night to our best couple friends about how I wanted to get out of it, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I guess we would just go and blah blah blah. Our friends were basically like: Fuck that noise. Just don’t go. You aren’t comfortable with the situation so just tell her you aren’t going. I was like yeah but what reason should I give her, and my friend is like: YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE HER A REASON. And I was like holy shit…I don’t. I don’t have to give her a reason.

I felt like such a fucking moron for making such a fuss (in my mind) about hurting someone’s feelings and making up bullshit excuses, when really I should just be like: Thanks for the invite, but we have to pass.

So that’s what I did. And it felt amazing.

If you want to say no, say no. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about anything. These are things I tell my own friends, so why can’t I take my own advice? From now on, I will.

Thanks to Ann & Rob for being awesome…as always.

And this pic just feels very appropriate. Haha –

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honestly

Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?

I was tempted to skip this prompt, since NaBloPoMo is all about writing every day and not so much about following the prompts. This prompt makes me feel weird. A big part of me has plenty I’d like to say to several¬†people, but most of it is snarky, petty shit, which is exactly why I don’t say it. I make every attempt at being a kind person, the bigger person, and not ever going out of my way to hurt someone’s feelings. Obviously I fail at this from time to time, as nobody is perfect, but I do strive to be this sort of person every single day.

With that said, there is something I’d like to say to a person (or maybe persons) who shall remain nameless, and that is this:

When the glass is always half empty, or when nobody ever likes you but you can’t figure out why, and you are always the victim of every bad thing that has ever happened in your life, you should take a good look at yourself and realize that there is one common theme holding all of these threads together: you.

 

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.

 

when i’m feeling blue…

Nov. 1: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?

I have, thankfully, been having far fewer bad mental health days in the last year or so, but it still comes up from time to time. Whenever I’m having a bad mental health day (or just a bad day in general) I like to do the following:

  • run: that runner’s high is the shit. running always helps!
  • take a bubble bath (by candle light)
  • aromatherapy (lotions, candles, sprays, oils)
  • listen to soothing music
  • journal/blog it out
  • smoke weed and watch dmb videos and/or it’s always sunny
  • color and/or draw
  • read: reading is my favorite escape from reality.
  • clean, organize, and make to-do lists: this makes me feel like i’m in control.
  • watch cat videos (yes i’m that person)