The Roller Coaster of Emotional Abuse

August 2014, probably one of the longest months of my life. The days felt like decades and almost seems like another lifetime ago, it was definitely another life ago. It was a month of enduring a nonstop decrepit emotional roller coaster ride. Like an old wooden coaster, it was a jerky ride that without warning slammed to a halt in the middle of a decent or loop. It was one that jarred your neck and body leaving you with residual aches, headaches, and pain. The intensity left you feeling petrified as you waited upside down in suspense, praying you didn’t fall out of the cart. As the cart slammed on the brakes, your body plunges forward, only to be slammed back into the hard, plastic seat, a myriad of thoughts and emotions flash through your mind. Every emotion, nuance, image, memory, thought lingered an eternity, yet, in reality, the journey through the mind is only a split millisecond. This is how I describe the unconscious awareness that divorce was inevitable, and this was a ride that I would continue to pass by the exit over and over again until I consciously found the strength and clarity and take hold of the brake next to me. How did I not realize I was in control all along?

Yet, the roller coaster accelerated for me, I pushed the gas and lamented that I was an unwitting and unwilling passenger. After all, I boarded this now failing amusement ride 25 years ago. At that time it was bright and shiny and I was in love with the ride. It was filled with thrills and appeared to constantly be headed in a new direction, however like a roller coaster it just goes in a big circle. My life with my ex-husband was that way, it was intoxicating, reaching the highest highs and then the lowest of the lows(the lows were subterranean).

That month my ex slept away from our home many nights, after provoking a fight. He would show in the morning, claiming exhaustion from sleeping in his car or at one of his guy friends. Even I didn’t believe that. He would blame me for not listening, not understanding, not being in tune with his feelings. I wish I would have looked more closely at the passenger next to me – not being in tune with his feelings(!?) – and see the passenger next to me was another woman. However, I refused to acknowledge my peripheral vision, this was the only ride I had ever set foot on in the park. Instead, I steadily focused my attention forward, certain I was making progress, refusing to see all the passengers, especially, the one next to me, boarding and de-boarding.

Whether you realize it or not, you get to know the passengers, their habits, their smells and their intentions. They all play their part. What’s the expression, people come into your life for a reason? Well, it’s true, even the ones who turn your stomach are there to teach us. Everyone who boards your cart leaves trash or baggage and valuable life lessons. There was one nauseating fellow who navigated in and out of my cart. Everyone loved this seemingly harmless guy… a big teddy bear with the dutiful understanding wife who busily swept the steps of the cart. To continue with the metaphor, he sat next to me and my partner offered to protect me from the perils of the ride. I didn’t know whether to be more terrified by the slow turn of decent or the passenger creeping closer, and his hand on my knee. In a blink, at one restaurant dinner, a “friend” made an overt pass. I was paralyzed as his wife conversed inane stories. Suddenly, the ride took a turn and normalized, in an instant, I was transported into my twisted new normal reality. My known passenger of 25 years returned from his urgent 9 pm phone call (no he’s not a doctor) distracted and anxious to pay the bill. Shaken by my experience I sought safety and refuge and shared my stranger danger story on our ride home. Guess what? He didn’t care. He didn’t care that his close friend was really a shadowy fair ground miscreant, didn’t care at all because he was already off the ride and disappearing into the shadows himself. He was riding the brand new model, while I clung to the faded wooden and rickety tracks that provided warped comfort.

There were many other mini stops and starts that left my head and heart hurting, but the jarring fact that my for better or worse partner had parachuted off the ride and left me in the hands, literally, of a sewer rat filled me with an inconsolable ache as the track in front of me disintegrated. The fact that was I shrank and could have cared less who was seated next to me. Finally, as we derailed it propelled me to at least recognize that the controls were literally in my hands. As instantly as I understood the ride was falling apart piece by piece, I also understood that I had the power to get off the ride at any time. It was liberating to see who was boarding. At times, tunnel vision returned, fear consumed me and I prayed for someone to save me or for the ride to repair and for the same sick, but comfortable loop to re-establish. The strange part about my tunnel vision was that not even at the points of loathsome fear was I looking for my ex to sit next to me. I was frantically scanning, searching for the exit. Although, I purchased my ticket years ago, and I still screamed with faux delight, true fear and red-hot anger burned inside me as we looped our way up and down, yet my voice still lacked strength, commitment and an unwillingness to change direction. August continued to plod on. Sometimes, I watched the ride in slow motion. Yet, the experience of the degenerate fair groupies lingered and faintly illuminated my path. Slowly I turned my head and looked around, it was shocking to see this former masterpiece that once represented such promise was rotten and fractured beyond repair. As I looked closer the fair rats scurried in and out of the shadows.

Methodically, I grabbed the brake and began to apply pressure. I knew I couldn’t handle another abrupt, uncontrolled stop, however, I finally realized I could control the speed at which I would make my inevitable departure. I called the one person who refused to ride the rides, the one person who patrolled the park, the person who the rats feared, my father. Patiently and without interference he waited for my ah ha moment. He witnessed, with sadness, but without interference, the decline of the wooden roller coaster. He cringed and watched as it(as I) fell deeper and deeper into despair and when finally at the end of August I said, “I’m scared, but I’m ready, show me the way”, he held my hand as I pulled the brake and stepped off the ride.

What a strange feeling to be on solid ground. Unwaveringly, he continued to hold my hand, saying phrases of empowerment, “you can eat an elephant, but you have to do it one bite at a time,” “know your enemy”, keep a cool head”, and “be strategically and tactically prepared.” He didn’t save me, he empowered me. With shaky legs, I firmly stepped and changed my course, leaving behind the depraved world in which I had become enamored. At the risk of another fair metaphor, it was like the House of Mirrors, the truth was hidden in illusion. My path was lit and with shaky determination the world in which families no longer boarded together, single passenger lines divided couples, the constant of the ever-changing passenger and drifters insidiously building and rebuilding our roller coaster was being left behind. It was being discarded.

As I linger in August of 2017, I realize that August 2014 was a month of not sudden abrasive stops, but a month of spontaneous beginnings. The universe kept sending me stronger and stronger messages until I was no longer able to restart the ride. My journey across the garbage-filled park, navigating the paper stained map, has been arduous. Sometimes I wandered aimlessly or marched confidently in the direction of a new thrill ride, but ultimately a quiet determination took hold and one foot in front of the other, I found the exit. Finally, after three years, August to August, I am exiting the fairgrounds. I empty my pockets of the crumpled tickets, broken promises, and stale popcorn. The worn out and tired fair groupies are not worth a mention. So, without further belaboring the first day of a different life, farewell Tucson, farewell old life, farewell, and good riddance!

3 Stages to Give Yourself a Chance for Love

Being jointly mindful about how relationships develop gives you a chance at committed love, and you can both relax and explore along the way.

It takes time to get to the point of commitment. Too many leap into commitment too early. It causes heartbreak and disappointment.

Have you done that? Like a fairy tale with a first date and then living happily every after? It’s a fairy tale! The real world is that love takes time. Take each of the three stages to get there.

Stage One – First Dates

This is the exploratory stage. Is there any chemistry? Everything’s very preliminary.

It’s not time yet to be thinking about a possible future together, just checking the other out, and seeing if you’re interested enough for future dates.

Relationship chemistry’s physical, emotional, and spiritual. The physical is often obvious… do you find the person physically attractive? Do you like the eyes, mouth, body type? What about the voice and laugh, even the accent?

How does the person smell to you? What about the sense of touch when you shake hands or even kiss? What about taste?

If a person tastes or smells of smoke, is that a game-changer for you? Some things will never change. Some things will or can change over time, but right now you’re at the stage of first impressions through the five senses.

There is also the emotional and spiritual connection that’s part of early chemistry discovery. How’s the conversation? What do you care about? Do you share similar interests and life views?

Stage Two is the Honeymoon

The Honeymoon’s special. It’s something many couples work to keep aspects of later in their relationships.

You see one another frequently. You have a lot of fun and excitement together as you get to really know one another.

The honeymoon can last for a few months, or up to a year. It ends as you get to recognize the humanity of your partner. Your partner has flaws, and you start to see them. And they yours.

For some, the honeymoon is all they want. They have a kind of addiction to the thrill of the honeymoon.

They break up and move on as the honeymoon phase matures to its close. I call these people 90-Day Wonders.

They’re great for a honeymoon, but lack the emotional stability and maturity to pursue a long-term relationship.

Relationship Commitment is Stage Three

Once the honeymoon with the rose-colored glasses is ending, and you see one another’s lack of perfection, you may try to change one another.

You may struggle over who’s and who’s wrong in situations, beliefs, and attitudes. This can become a power struggle.

If you can get to the point where you accept one another as you are, rather than try to change perceived imperfections, many relationships become stronger and endure.

If not, breakup can happen, or, often worse, staying together and being miserable.

If the decision’s to accept your partner, and vice-versa, the relationship can continue and grow in a healthy way. You’ve given one another a chance at finding love.

Are you interested in living your life intentionally to create the life you want to lead? Research shows that using creative mindfulness is the way to Design the Life You Want.

How to Choose Flowers for Your Wedding Anniversary

Flowers are a perfect gift for many occasions. If you’re not aware of what flowers symbolize, picking out flowers for the right occasion can be challenging. Flowers can be given at almost any occasion. Some popular occasions to give flowers are birthdays, anniversary, get well, thank you, holidays, date, and wedding.

Red or pink flowers represent love and passion for one another therefore it’s always safe to gift them on anniversaries. Just like there are specific gifts for each anniversary year; similarly there are specific flowers for each year as well. Today I’m going to focus on wedding anniversary flowers in this post. But you will read about other occasion’s flowers in my future posts as well.

Carnations – 1st Anniversary: First wedding anniversary is a time of celebration. Carnations are traditional flowers used for couple’s first wedding anniversary. These flowers represent young passionate love. Carnations come in a variety of colors, so you can choose the best hue that symbolizes your love.

Cosmos- 2nd Anniversary: By second anniversary couples have formed a thorough understanding of each other with more powerful unique love, and that’s exactly what this beautiful flower represents. The astonishing cosmos are perfect flowers for couples celebrating their wonderful two years together.

Sunflower- 3rd Anniversary: Sunflower represents the marriage of three years which is by now strong, passionate and colorful. The strong stalk of the sunflower symbolizes the strong foundation of marriage. Beautiful yellow petals of the sunflower stand for love and passion. Fresh sunflower bouquets look extremely astonishing and are a clear sign of trust that has been developed between the couple after being together for three years.

Geranium- 4th Anniversary: This colorful and vibrant flower for 4th wedding anniversary is called geranium. It symbolizes happiness and positive emotions. Geranium arrangements are perfect for your 4th anniversary when you and your spouse are comfortable with each other’s habits and have a better understanding.

Daisy – 5th Anniversary: The luminous daisies are perfect gift for the 5th wedding anniversary. This simple but beautiful flower represents hope, loyalty and love which the couple has for each other after sharing all sorts of experiences together for 5 years.

Calla Lily- 6th Anniversary: Calla Lily, an elegant flower symbolizes all the wonderful ways the two have grown over the six years of marriage, developed unique love and became even more attractive.

Freesia- 7th Anniversary: The 7th anniversary flower is called freesia. This beautiful flower also has a pleasant fragrance which has long been used in lotions and soaps. The freesia represents all the appreciation and love you hold for your loving partner and the amazing surprises the future holds for you two.

Lilac- 8th Anniversary: These absolutely stunning flowers are perfect for your eighth wedding anniversary. The white lilac represents first love. So this is the perfect time to remind yourself and your spouse of the day you two met and recall all the beautiful moments and passions you’ve shared together for these long eight years of marriage.

Bird of Paradise- 9th Anniversary: As you can tell by the name, this stunning flower is one of a kind and an amazing choice to celebrate the wonderful nine years of marriage. This flower points towards adventures still to come and all the excitement your love holds.

Daffodil – 10th year anniversary: The magnificent ten years of marriage is an important number to celebrate and the brilliant daffodil flowers are perfect for this occasion.

Roses- 15th Anniversary: Roses are known as passion and romance and it fits perfect to be the flower of 15th wedding anniversary when you have gone through a lot together. You and your spouse deserve this luxury flower by this time so giving red roses to your spouse will show how passionate you are about each other still.

Aster- 20th Anniversary: The elegant aster flower is chosen for the 20th wedding anniversary. This star-like flower is known as symbol of love, patience and fortune. The soft beauty of its beaming petals also represents appreciation of the wisdom you’ve gained together in two decades.

Iris- 25th Anniversary: Iris is a royal flower and after 25 years of marriage it is perfect example to show your spouse how even more special they have become to you for spending so many years together. Celebrate your wonderful 25 years with this luxurious bouquet or an arrangement of these royal purple flowers.

Lily-30th Anniversary: By the 30th anniversary you and your spouse have grown and changed a lot but your commitment to each other is still the same. A bouquet of beautiful lily flower is full of surprises. It comes in many colors and shapes. The magnificent lily will make a bold statement that you still have passion for your spouse.

Gladiolas-40th Anniversary: The wonderful forty years of marriage has a charm of its own. This unique relationship has to be celebrated with the most unique and brilliant gladiola flower. These flowers represent the growth of your amazing memories and experiences that have changed your lives in the long forty years together.

Yellow Roses and Violets- 50th Anniversary: Fifty years of marriage is a unique moment of your life. It should be celebrated the best way possible. As you’ve aged you gained lots of memories experiences and have a special bond together that can never be explained. The special flowers to celebrate 50th anniversary are yellow roses and violets. Together these two flowers look astonishing just like your couple. This is the only anniversary that has two different official flowers for celebration. These elegant flower arrangements will make your celebration even more beautiful and full of love and happiness.

Guide on the Best Wooden 5th Anniversary Gifts for Her

Traditionally, couples would exchange wood gifts for the 5th wedding anniversary. It is to show how much you are appreciating to have made it five years smoothly in the marriage with her. Wood theme anniversary gifts feature a unique wood grain and natural wood smell.The following is a list of the best 11 wooden 5th anniversary gifts for her.

1. Wooden Bed Tray

Wooden bed tray is a great gift for your wife if she has a habit of eating breakfast on the bed. The polished wood` looks luxurious which makes it perfect for pampering your loved one. Even if she don’t eat breakfast on bed, you can buy this tray as a backup. You will find that it comes in handy when one of you becomes sick and has to stay bed. It is this time when you can show that you care by taking appetizing food to your loved one on the tray. The legs of the tray can be folded and use as a regular food serving tray for the guests at your home.

2. Wood Plaque

Engraved wood plaque features a line of touching words that can break down her eyes into tears. It may have a stand at the back for putting on a table or holes for you to hang on the wall. It can be personalized with the couple name to make it look extra special. Wood plaque made from real wood is durable and serve as a memoir for years to come. Some come readily wrapped in a nice box with tissue in it so you don’t have to wrap it yourself.

3. Wood Cutting Board

You can give your wife a custom solid wood cutting board as an anniversary gift if she is the chef that cooks the meals the family. You can have your name or message line etched with laser on the wood surface. If it is too beautiful to be used as a cutting board, you can hang it on the wall of your dining room for decoration. Custom cutting board can be customized in many ways including board size, wood type, lettering style, message line, names and aromatic oil.

4. Wooden Coaster

Wooden coaster is a nice anniversary gift for her if she has a habit of drinking beverage while doing other chores at the same time. She will need a place to put the mug to prevent staining the table. Every time she lifts her cup to drink, she will see the custom message on the coaster. Drink coaster is a great way to remind each other and stay strong in relationship. You can buy one for her and also one for yourself. In this way, both of you will be constantly thinking each other even in the midst of a busy chore.

5. Wooden Keepsake Box

It is a good idea to give her a wooden keepsake box if she has a lot of knick knacks but don’t have a nice box to store them. Every time she put in or take out something from the box, it will bring up the memory of you. Some wooden keepsake boxes has a photo section where you can slide in a photo of your choice. The photo section is perfect for putting in family photos.

6. Wooden Music Box

Wooden music box is a personalized gift that you can give to your loved one to express your affection. You can customize the music that is being played when the box is opened. The nostalgic music will remind your loved one about the nice memories of you spending time with her in the past. The music is always there ready to play when your loved one feel the need to listen to it. It represents a part of your soul as well as your heart as you put in the effort to customize it. The inside of the box is spacious and can be used for storing various kinds of jewelry. Some music boxes can be personalized with a photo that is printed with your message.

7. Wooden Bluetooth Speaker

Wooden bluetooth speaker is the best gift for your significant other if she likes to listen to music. A wooden bluetooth speaker is portable and can be connected to any device that support bluetooth including Android/iOS smartphone and tablet. It is a great gift for someone who is not tech savvy. You can connect it to multiple bluetooth devices and use at a party, campfire or when you are lazing at home. It can be charged with a USB cable and will last for up to 10 hours of continuous music playback

8. Personalized Wooden Phone Case

Doubtless, your spouse will be carrying her smartphone everywhere she goes so giving her a personalized wooden phone case will be the best. The wooden phone case can be customized with the photo of your proposal. You can also customize the phone case with any message you want. The design is engraved on the wood of the phone cover to give it a unique design. The wooden phone case is slim and will not add put additional weight when you are carrying your phone. It not only looks gorgeous but will also keeps your phone safe from external impacts. The surface of the wood may also be treated with natural oil as protection against scratches.

9. Wood Ring

If she loves jewelry, you can buy a wood ring for her. Wood ring features an elegant style polished wood band with the inner part being made from thick tungsten carbide. Although it is cheap, it is durable and can last for long time. The ring has been treated to be both waterproof and scratch proof. It is perfect as a replacement ring if she has to take out the original ring that is more expensive. You can customize the wood ring in many ways including wood type, width and engraving.

10. Bamboo Women Watch

Bamboo women watch is a unique watch that you can give to your wife on the 5th year anniversary. Usually, it also comes with a matching wooden box for storage. Bamboo watch features a wristband that is made from soft and lightweight bamboo. It is comfortable to wear and will not cause any allergy reactions on the skin. Your wife will surely compliment on the unique wood look. If you are looking to buy a bamboo watch, you should look for one with a smaller watch face. They will be more suitable for women who have smaller hand wrists.

11. Wood Planter

If she enjoys gardening, you can buy her a wood planter where she can use to grow her favorite plant. Wood planter is ideal for growing small plants for beginners. The simple wooden box design can add a country style look to your garden. Alternatively, you can plant some plants in the wood planter and give it to her. This is a symbol to show her how much your love have grown for her over the past five years. The wood planter can be put in a garden or on the table as d├ęcor.

8 Easy Ways to Be a Better Girlfriend

Being the best girlfriend doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply being trusting, open and focused can go a long way to help you stand out. Let’s take a look at a few things that can help to maintain the happy relationship:

Be trusting

Trust in very important in any relationship. Men aren’t likely to like or appreciate the overly suspicious girlfriend. If you aren’t able to fully trust your partner, you may not be in a relationship with the right person. Try to avoid the type of situations that lead you to searching his phone or questioning his whereabouts. You should instead have faith in your relationship. By showing that you trust your partner there is a much better chance that he will meet your expectations.

Maintain your focus

Don’t get in a position of letting your relationship be the sole focus point in your life. Beyond your relationship, you should also have your own interests and life. Whatever it was that you did before the relationship started is likely to be what made you interesting to your partner in the first place.

Be open and honest

If there is something going on in your life that is concerning you and your partner asks what the problem is, you should simply tell him. Try to let him know what you need and what you think. It will typically benefit to avoid a situation that leaves him making guesses to try to find you what the problem is.

Be attentive

There is a very noticeable difference when it comes to being clingy and being attentive when out and about. It is best to avoid being overly clingy because this will give the impression that you are very needy. If you are in a happy relationship there shouldn’t be any need to prove to others that you are together. Additionally, it is important to avoid flirting with your partner’s friends.

Don’t hassle or argue

Make sure to avoid getting in a situation where you regularly hassle or argue with each other. In most situations the other person will simply tune out when they start to get nagged.

Respect each others space

Most men don’t want to be a constant companion or always be open to discussing their feelings. If you try to discuss his problems when he isn’t ready or want him to be with you all the time, there is a risk that you may simply push him away. It can benefit to simply be patient and leave him the time to start a conversation that relates to private issues. Take things slowly to give the relationship the time it needs to develop naturally.

Don’t attempt to change him

It isn’t likely to help a relationship if you want to change your partner. It is more practical to accept him as he is. If you aren’t happy with things like his occupation, what he says, or the way he dresses, then he isn’t likely to be the right one for you. When you partner accepts you without wanting to make changes, you should be willing to be just as accepting.

Get involved

Be more involved in what interests your partner. Whether it is craft beers, music, sports or politics, you should try to engage with him and at least listen when he talks about his day and what he has been up to.