I didn't sleep very well last night so hopefully I can lie down later. When I woke up I checked my phone. My sister sent me a text and a picture, my friend's mom is dying, the picture is of her laying in a hospital bed staring off into the distance while her husband holds her hand. I sat on the couch thinking of my friend's mom and my own life. To say that she helped me make my wedding dress is not really accurate, it's more like I assisted her as best as I could while she did the lion's share of the work. They took me out to eat once. It was a treat I didn't often get so that was an unexpected pleasure. I didn't know what I was asking when I brought up the idea and the lesson I want to take away from this is two-fold. I want to be the person who selflessly helps others, but I want to respect and reserve my right to say no. People took advantage of her and her generosity, that's what I want to avoid because I saw how her giving in to others to try and make them happy really didn't work.

Yesterday the girls and I worked on the sunporch and the back room. I want to go through the pictures, clean out the third bedroom so the girls each have a room of their own, and clear out space in the garage so I can start parking in there again. That's what I would like to accomplish today, but that's overly ambitious so now I have to prioritize my list. It makes the most sense to clean out the bedroom so I'm going to start with that. While we're working in there we can take some of the pictures out and go through them later. The ones that belong to him I can put in a box. A book I have lays out a system for organizing and sorting photos. They liken it to a movie where you want to keep the best pictures and string them together for the best scenes. I think I gave my wedding dress to Goodwill, I don't really regret that, but my sister said there's an organization that will take wedding dresses and make them into gowns that babies who don't survive can be buried in as a final way to do something for their parents.

While I was sweeping I was thinking about the girls. I made them go to bed very early last night. I think we all needed some extra sleep and I want my place to be one where early to bed and early to rise are a way of life. I read more in my codependency book last night. I didn't realize this earlier, but it's actually two books in one. The second is a sequel and I'm excited to read that, but first I need to get through the harder first book. I decided my sister is right and I'm going to abandon my front porch idea. The house has needs that are a much higher priority than a front porch, I don't have the money for it and there are big expenses coming up so I'm not giving up on the idea entirely, but I am going to stop killing the grass in front of my house. This makes me sad right now, but I'll get over it. I can often see things that aren't there. When my aunt and sister were over we sat outside talking and I have a vision of a front porch area that's nicely landscaped, but that will take more money than I have available to me right now. 

My sister doesn't think I should take down the storage room in the basement, but that I think I will go ahead with since it's labor instead of money and I have a lot of time and can get people to help with whatever the girls and I can't do. I want there to be more light down in the basement. I'd like a ping pong table and if I take out some of the walls down there that will really open up that space. Initially the plan was to put storage along the back wall, but I don't really need it so I can't see a reason to go ahead with that if nobody is trying to sell the place. I think the space will sell better than the storage would. Our basement runs the full length and width of the house so it's very generously sized and if people want more walls or storage then they can do those projects the way that they would like. As far as the summer goes I feel as if I'm ahead of schedule despite seeing a long list of things I have yet to do.

I went grocey shopping yesterday. At the bank I saw a woman who works at the branch here in town. I drove to the store and forgot to buy a couple of the things on my list. I wrote out a list and then left it laying on the couch, but normally I don't bother with the list so I feel as if that's a step in the right direction. I'm reading a book called The Acid-Alkaline Diet. I read a lot of different diet books just to see what's out there and so far I like this one because I feel better than I did on other programs. There's a lot of conflicting information out there, my main criteria is ease of use and efficacy. I don't really care if a diet sounds wacky if it actually works and so far my stomach feels a lot better than it did although I ate more than I would have liked after I got home from the grocery store. I was very tired yesterday, but tired in a mostly good way that means I've been using muscles in new ways and facing things like the sunporch and back room that were clogged with stuck emotions represented by untidy possessions. 

Today the sun is shining, I took a walk already and I'd like to get out for another one later. The girls are sitting at the counter with fruit, juice, and cheese. Strawberries have been perfection lately, yesterday I ate a plum that was bursting with juicy sweetness. I have fish thawing for supper and I bought cornmeal so we can make either bread or muffins to go with the fish and a cucumber salad. I moved some plants so now I can sit at my dining room table and see their bright greenery. I need to talk to my ex about a few things. I'm scared to ask for my bookcase and desk back and I'm trying to decide if I should just let him keep them since they'll be smoky if I get them over here. Things like this are very difficult for me. I can feel my stomach knotting up as I write this, but fortunately I am going to see my therapist on Friday and I'm going to continue reading in my codependency book to see if they have any strategies.

The chapter I read last night was about releasing the victim so that's what I'm learning as a life and survival skill. The author says she can usually spot a codependent person within five minutes. Either they offer unsolicited help - I just did that last week and instantly regretted it, or they stand there politely listening to a conversation that doesn't interest them when the speaker is droning on and talking for the sake of hearing their own voice. That's my interpretation of what she's saying, but it rang true as I've done that many times too. Ideas that have been hammered into me since little on are being challenged, but it's an enlightening procedure. I need to let go and let others make their own mistakes. I can't worry about what he thinks, or might be thinking, or what will happen if he doesn't do some of the things that I think he should be. Those are his problems and I have problems enough of my own that I need to be conquering. 

My mother raised me to be a codependent. I'm not blaming her. That's what she knew so that's what she passed along to her children. When my dad didn't do things, my mom stepped up and did them for him. I chose a different route and stubbornly sat there when my ex wouldn't do things. That's why we still don't have molding around our front window. It's not my job to put it up and I don't care how long it's like that. I need to set limits and in a strange way I was ahead of my mom in the sense that I didn't do the things my spouse wouldn't. I don't believe it's sexist to divide chores up according to what people are good at. He's good at molding and woodwork while I'm better at cleaning and organizing. He pulled the molding down and it is his responsibility to put it back up there. My living room has been that way for so long and I've taken care of almost everything else in that room although he did install a ceiling fan and paint the ceiling. He did that knowing that the molding needed to be done so it isn't that he didn't have the time or money. I think the molding is still sitting down in the basement and I'm thinking about how I want to handle that since I think it's warped from being down there.

What I'd like to do is toss the wood, get the saw that he says he's going to get rid of out of there and create a teen hangout area for my oldest and her friends. I want this space for me and my friends too. The new doors are down there waiting to be hung in their new homes. They haven't been painted, I'm not sure what the logic is behind hanging doors that will have to be painted later, but there may be something I don't know about the process where this would make sense. I still think about not being alive quite a bit, but I'm a lot better than I was before. I didn't know how to ask for what I needed. I thought being strong was the only option available and now I've learned from that mistake. Seeing the paint on the floors really hurts me. I'm a perfectionist, but I think even someone who isn't would be troubled by the flooring in the bedroom. All around me are unfinished projects that someone had good intentions of finishing. The girls often give up before a project is done and I'm getting better about completing tasks that I start despite being tired or not knowing how to go about some of these things. 

I really need support and encouragement right now. I need people I've helped to come over and help me. I need friends to stop by and drop in and leave me messages that tell me that they're thinking of me and praying for me and are confident that life will get better and this too shall pass. I need cheerleaders and praise and people to acknowledge what I've done and what I've been through and friends to remind me that I've gotten this far and the future is going to be much brighter and more carefree than the past has. My ex has an uncle that he admires. A couple months ago we had a conversation about him and my ex was able to see how him being irresponsible ruined his marriage. Now he's going down that same path and the money isn't going to do what he thinks it will. Happiness is more than money. When I first met him he had a decent salary. I can still remember seeing a sheet of paper from his bank that tallied up his bad check fees. In no world does it make sense to give the bank more than six hundred extra dollars for them to cover your bounced checks.

He's still bouncing checks. My job is to let go of that and realize that it isn't my problem. Worrying about it doesn't help, yelling at him, trying to spend as little as possible so there's money just in case he writes a check I don't know about, I'm done with that. My dad would do that to my mom when I was growing up and she would get very and understandably upset when she found out about it, but then she'd resign herself to an even greater economy and more frugality at home. Frugality is great, but it shouldn't be induced by your partner spending money that isn't in the budget. Not budgeting is irresponsible. I didn't get that before now. It's an area I'm working on and getting better at, but I need some help there too. I need to believe that I can sit down and stick to a budget. I have to remove the victim. I am not a victim. I am responsible for me and my girls when I have them. I started working on the pictures and the third bedroom. It's so frustrating to have to go through pictures that I kept in albums, but this is what I have to do if I want them out of my life.

I flipped through the albums and snagged my favorites out of there. One of them is of a birthday party that I went to when a friend of mine turned twenty-one. I love those pictures of me. I'm happy and confident and I didn't get drunk along with those who drank to excess. That was probably my favorite time in my life, the time right after I graduated from college when I worked out and worked part time. That's who I want to be again. Someone who doesn't have much, but manages what she has and makes time for fun in her life. She is who I want to be again. That girl invested in her 401(k) at work. She balanced work and play. She was going places. She saw problems and tried to get others on board with saving money and planning for the future. I'm no longer sad that her dreams crumbled for they were small and she wasn't aware of the many strengths and gifts that she had. She really had no idea how much she had going for, she didn't know that she was settling or she wouldn't have married someone who didn't share her value system. That girl had some cool clothes, her own car, her own style, she was independent, strong, and worked hard. She's still there, buried beneath layers of guilt, neglect, and codependency, but I'm going to be my own archeologist, unearthing her carefully so as not to disturb the essence of who she is and what she can become once the dirt and dust of the past is brushed off and she's properly cared for and restored once again

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