About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dakota Girl

I love how the Universe works.  Whenever I start to get caught up in a story about who I am...or who I'm not...that's been created by another, the Universe tosses me a reminder of my personal truth.

This weekend, my daughter's boyfriend (rolling my eyes at that, followed by a heavy sigh) came up to the house to hang out.  Well...at least he tried.  We live in the foothills above Denver, but it's not too tricky to get here.  With the logic of a 16 year old, he turned on an unplowed mountain road that is currently undeveloped (no one lives there, in other words).  He calls and says he's stuck in a bunch of snow.

Umm...we've had warm weather for the past few days...nothing but blue skies, sunshine and dry roads.

Out we go to find the lost boy.

Wow, was he stuck.  Not only was he on a road that isn't maintained because, like I said, he was in an undeveloped neighborhood where no one lives yet, but the packed snow was layered with ice.  Big trouble.  Even though my SUV was in 4-wheel drive, the wheels started spinning.  All I could think of as I drove about a mile into this mess was, "Why exactly did he keep going?  Couldn't he tell no one has driven here since BEFORE the snowfall? Idiot city boy."

Well, I got out with a snow shovel, some ice melt (which we happened to have in the car because we'd been at the store earlier), and a tow rope.  I surveyed the situation and shook my head.  Suddenly, flashbacks of all the times I'd been stuck with my idiot high school friends from South Dakota danced in my mind.  I started smiling.

After some false starts with the towing and a helluva lot of digging, we managed to get a bit more stuck, but in a more tilted, more frustrating way.  At this point, I heard myself say, "Listen, I'm a Dakota Girl, I know what to do."  I had the confused teens go dig up some dirt and gravel from an empty lot and toss it under the tires.  Then I got behind the wheel of the city boy's car, told the kiddos to get the hell out of my way, and drove that baby free.  Snow flew in every direction, wheels spun, engine of the old car squealed,  the car spun in a cookie, came close to some trees but...it was FREE!

Damn, that was fun.

The kids stared at me, mouths agape and stunned at my brilliant driving skills (uh-hem).  I laughed, got out of the car, gave city boy the keys and said, "I used to be kind of badass as a teenager in South Dakota."

And you know what?  Down deep, I'm still a badass Dakota Girl who "gets the job done, baby." No one can ever tell me that I am less than what I know I am or try to hold me back from being the big personality that I am.  Whether I'm going to a film festival in Denver or towing a city boy on a mountain road, I'm proud of the woman I am.

I'm still laughing at the looks on those teenagers' face when I got out of that car.  Damn, that was fun.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Things that make you go "hmm..."

Every so often I want to walk into my backyard and scream at the top of my lungs because people can be jerks.  If there's one thing in this world that I can't tolerate or forgive, it's lying.  Do. Not. Lie. To. Me.

I'm one of the most upfront people I know.  What you see is what you get.  No illusions.  No fine print.  If anything, I've been accused of being too honest, too open and far too independent.

Yet, despite all that upfront-here-is-how-I-am attitude, I still got screwed over.  How did I let this happen?  I'm savvy Moxie Girl.  Where was my radar?

Well, my radar was alive and well, which is why it took screenwriter boy 30 days of persuading to lure me down the mountain.  I just chose to ignore it.

Before I went on date one, we talked about my hesitation...our talks brought us closer, I thought...brought us to a place of understanding.  When he asked what my reluctance was about dating, I mentioned repeatedly I didn't like the dating scene, that I'm a busy woman and didn't want to waste time with a "player" or with someone only looking for a one-night-stand.  I wouldn't tolerate being part of a "harem".

Despite being firm about the "no harem" philosophy, I also said that I just wanted to have fun...a good time...no commitments, no plans beyond the boyfriend/girlfriend realm.  Easy. I said I'm a very independent person, which is true, and didn't want to have my forward momentum interrupted. (In other words, you do your thing and I'll do mine and we'll hook up when we can...not too demanding, I don't think, is it?)  My point is I was extremely clear about what I expected, how I am and what I feared...so was he who told me he wanted a relationship, assured me we were on the same page all along, shared his past with me. We got close even before the official "first date".  It felt good...we felt good.

Over the course of dating, there were red flags that went up, lots of mixed messages like telling me one minute "you're really good for me and make me very happy" to the next day saying he didn't deserve anyone caring about him and couldn't get used to the idea.  To being told all of the time "don't do this" and "don't do that"...controlling doesn't work well with an independent woman like me.  Then suddenly he takes a text out of context and accuses me of things that weren't true...in fact, I had no idea what he was talking about I swear...but he refused to hear me out as if he'd been looking for an excuse to make me the "bad guy". Weird stuff like that.  I got confused--and I hate being confused, it's an unusual feeling for me. I'd ask about it, want to talk it out for clarification--he said he didn't need to explain himself.

He's a nice guy, I told myself.  Don't be so quick to jump at a red flag...give him the benefit of the doubt, I said.  (Intuition is shaking its head at me right now.) I grew to trust him.  I let the guard down.  I fell for him.

Then out of the blue he says that he's been "infatuated" with someone else for nearly 2 years, has been seeing other women, never wanted an exclusive relationship, thinks I ask too many questions, admitted pretending to be someone he wasn't just to "get close" to me, and doesn't want to be dissected in my blog.  Hmm...where's the scalpel?  Let's start cutting!

It took this guy a month--an entire 30 days--to get me to agree to go out with him. Why did he work at it so hard if he was "infatuated"with someone else? Obviously, I was going to be a challenge.  He said to me that he wanted a relationship, too, that he wasn't a "player" either.  (cough-cough..what's his definition of player, I wonder.)  He tried to control me, which is what a lot of our "arguments" were about, and attempted to make me question myself on the dating scene.  Well, I wasn't the one LYING, manipulating and misleading.

No, I was the one who let my guard down, who wore my heart on my sleeve, who had a great time (we really did have a great time together, lots of fun as recently as Valentine's Day), who listened to him as much as he listened to me, who helped him move, who drove him home from the hospital and who truly gave a damn about him.  No, I wasn't the one lying...I was the one loving and caring.

He now says my anger is my own responsibility, whatever that means.  I guess he's trying to be all Zen about his asshole ways, simply doesn't want to acknowledge his own behavior, is once again attempting to have me question myself or all of the above.  Screw that.

I liked being part of a couple, even for a short time.  I'm not bitter--truly, I'm not.  It is what it is. This post isn't about crying into my keyboard or tearing men apart. If anything, I learned that I'm ready to open my heart again, which is a great thing to realize.  I adore men...I love being in love...and I really enjoyed the past few months.  I'm ready for a man who's ready for me.

I'll be okay.  I know how relationships work. I've been loved by an incredible guy who let me know every day how he felt.  I kept a marriage together for a decade until Sean died.  I'm so grateful for where I am in my life right now--good career, stable friends, cool house, amazing kids and knowledge of what love is.  I'm in an amazing place in my life and I'm good at being alone.  A survivor.  A fun chick, according to quite a few people.  Yeah, I'll be more than okay.  I've got MOXIE and my future plus one will adore that about me.

I am angry at being misled, manipulated and lied to, that's true.  Learning that the guy I had been falling for was purposely pretending to be something he wasn't just to get close to me pushes all kinds of buttons in my heart--the biggest one being betrayal.  But I learned something--a lesson that keeps recurring, actually.  I learned to trust those red flags and to keep trusting myself.  I was right.  There's a reason it took him a month to convince me to go out with him...perhaps I knew he wasn't what he claimed to be.

I'm also glad that I respected myself and the life I've created enough to challenge him when those red flags appeared.  No regrets here.  If I hadn't respected my own intuition, I would still be buying into his charade.  So, women, trust your gut and speak your mind.  The right guy will have nothing to hide.

So my foray into the dating world didn't go so well, but that's okay.  I am unscathed.  I wasted time, which I hate to do.  I deviated from my "type", which I learned was a mistake.  Bad boys who look the part are far less dangerous and more upfront than those so-called "nice guys" who prey on a woman's compassion.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Misunderstood

Being misunderstood is one of the biggest hurts in my life.  I'm sure it's the same with everyone.  We all know our intentions, but when someone comes back at you with an entirely 'wrong' interpretation our hearts ache.

I'm guilty of misunderstanding a situation--of tossing in my own interpretations to an event that are born of past experiences rather than present circumstances.  I react instead of think.  I get into warrior-mode before listening to reason.  I'm getting much better, however, at recognizing when I'm doing that and owning it by apologizing or talking it out for clarification.

But, man, it sucks being misunderstood myself...especially by someone I care for a great deal.  When someone I love or care deeply for perceives me as being anything other than loving, sincere, kind or generous, I take it as a personal failure.  It wounds my soul.

It happens more than I'd like.  The fact that it happens at all disturbs me.

As I sit here writing, I can think of several situations where misunderstanding has severed a relationship. What I don't understand is...why?  If two people are willing to talk, then why is it so complicated to clarify a situation and heal a relationship worth saving?  Or is the relationship not worth saving?

Right now I'm hurt.  I've been misunderstood in a big way by someone I truly care about.  No matter what I've done, no matter how much time passes...I'm told "well, I really don't know you" so then the worst is "assumed." That seems wrong on every level.  First of all--if you operate under the assumption that you really never know anyone so therefore it's okay to always go for worst-case-scenario, then it's highly possible that you're going to lose out on someone really special who could make you very happy.

How much time do you need to know someone's character?  To know if they are a basically good or bad person?  To know if they're heart is full of love or hate?  To know if they're honest or not?  Right or wrong, I trust my instinct from the beginning.  If my intuition says 'yes', then I don't question it until I have reason.  I don't have a timeline where at this and this time it's okay to do A or feel B.  That's a complete waste of time and energy.  Why not give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to dark conclusions?

It seems to me that people are quick to find fault or to assume the worst instead of opening themselves to the possibility that the story they've created in their minds is completely false.  More than that, admitting that they were wrong or apologizing for the mistake goes completely against their nature.  Why is that?  Is this just another excuse to be closed off?

I'm asking questions because I want to understand.

When we see someone through a filter of old hurts or bad experiences, then we're not truly seeing that person at all.  We're seeing a hazy, distorted, unreal version of that individual that has nothing to do with them.

I don't know how to heal every relationship.  Maybe there's a time to throw in the towel.  I know the easy way is to say screw it and move forward--that's been my M.O. for years.  But just because that's been the way for years doesn't mean that's right or the way it needs to be today.

Being misunderstood sucks.  It's like being mistaken for a criminal at the border when you're really trying to deliver food to orphans or something.  At least that's how it feels to me.  I feel like I'm standing naked in a street being stoned for someone else's crimes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Notes from Heaven

A few nights ago while at my desk, a piece of paper fell to the ground.  Not unusual.  My desk is a disaster area most of the time.  I reached down to pick it up and froze.  There in my hand was a note...from Sean...from Valentine's Day 1996.  It read:  "I love you very much.  I am pretty lucky to have someone as special as you in my life.  See ya when I get home. Love, Sean."

Cue the tears.

Sean had his faults--as did I (as do I, present tense)--but the man was a romantic.  He used to leave notes for me in my briefcase, my lunch bag, or on my steering wheel almost every day while I worked out of the home.  Holidays were a major event for him.  Actually, any random day would be a big event if he wanted it to be.  I can't count the times he'd show up from work with an armful of flowers "just because".  He duplicated my wedding bouquet each anniversary.  He told me that he loved me every day--even on that last day of his life.

Here's the weird thing about that note:  I have a new desk.  I have moved my office from one room to another in the past 6 years and 9 months.  I'm constantly organizing and tossing things out.  So where did it come from?  Why now?  Why haven't I noticed it in all these years?

Sometimes the Universe--or our Angels--send us little reminders.  In this case, I am reminded of what it felt like to be loved. I'm reminded that I should never settle for less than that.  I'm reminded that I deserve love, respect and intimacy again.

Maybe I don't know much about "dating" per se, but I know a lot about love and relationships.  I had it.  I lost it.  I miss it.

Time doesn't heal all wounds.  Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever stop crying over that man.  He's been gone now for almost 7 years.  I'm dating someone else.  I've moved on in so many ways.  Yet out falls a note from our first Valentine's Day as a married couple and I am in tears for the rest of the night. Maybe people who've never loved another with that intensity simply don't understand that death is not the end.  Love doesn't stop despite the vows that say, "til death do us part." Believe me, it would be easier if it did.

Someone commented on one of my posts that I shouldn't tell people I'm a widow.  I believe her words were "Let me give you some dating advice: drop the word widow." To me, that's incomprehensible.  I will not deny that I loved once--that I was loved once.  I will not pretend my marriage didn't exist simply because it makes people feel more...what?...at ease?  When I look at sexy screenwriter boy, I am not comparing him to Sean--I'm not, I swear.  He's his own person.  He knows I'm a widow.  If he didn't--and if he never asked exactly how I came to have two children--I'd worry.  Yes, I fell in love with a tall, blond, blue-eyed boy in my 20s.  We loved each other with an intensity that bordered on insanity.  He died...a long time ago.  Now I'm moving on in my indelicate, brash, and awkward way.

Seeing Sean's handwriting again after all of this time was a shock.  I stared at it for a minute trying to comprehend that this was real and not some dream.  My hand shook as I read it again and again, remembering that day like it was present tense.  It was a good day...good memories.  I'd like to think this note falling to the floor was an angelic reminder saying, "Amber, you deserve love like this again. Don't settle for less."