Sunday, November 28, 2010


messy hair

I want to hit pause and fast forward and rewind all at the same time.

Writing out six hundred and forty Christmas cards, a labor of love, but more than that, love letters of gratitude and best wishes. Wishing kick ass, laughter-filled, make your heart burst, awesome, loving, blessed Christmases and a fantastic, better-than-amazing, 2011 ahead.

Hand written, because real mail in a mail box is just special.


Remembering, reminding, reminiscing. An ache, a longing, an overwhelming gratefulness for the way things have unfolded and the ends that have become of the means.

Too overwhelmed last year for cards, too caught up and in the thick of things. Too raw, too painful, too crazy to even put words onto paper when everything was still so surreal. Ready, and proud. I sign off, one less last name, without a hyphen. I have found my identity again, I know who I am now. I know who I am as Racheal. Not Racheal, Jarrod's wife, or M's stepmom, or Carol and Peter's daughter, or Daniel's sister. I know who Racheal is.

I know who I am without the hyphen.

And that, that is kinda amazing and kick ass all at the same time.

Be consistent. Be true to yourself. Be honest. Be real.

So many conversations in the last couple of weeks that have reinforced this again and again and again. Good is happening, stay faithful, stay true to yourself. Believe. Know who you are and hold on so incredibly tight to that. Be open to lessons, to change, to the twists and turns, but stand tall, stand proud, claw, grab on, to your soul, your strength, your light.

Do the hardwork. Do the hardwork and it will pay off. It will pay off when you aren't looking, it will pay off when you don't know how to measure it, it will pay off when you look back and you realize, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit...look how far I've come. Look back, and see, that broken, that shattered, that lost, hurting, girl and see the woman that has grown from it. Look back, and realize, this didn't just happen, this wouldn't have happened without the hard work, so persevere. So be consistent. So do the hardwork.


For so long, I held my breath, afraid that this would be a house of cards. Afraid that if I started dreaming, if I acknowledged all the amazing, if I started charting out hopes and wishes that it might all fall apart, that I might get my hopes up and be devastated again. Afraid that if I moved, if I let myself stray and dreamt at all that I might screw it all up. Afraid that dreaming would mean that I would lose focus on the right now, on the hard bits, thinking that maybe the dreaming would just come later, much much later. In that strange faraway place of healing and healthy.


Dreaming of a future.


Of things that I find so incredibly hard to say out loud.

Like of being a mom again.

Or a wife.

And as soon as I say that, I want to take it all back.

I want to erase.

I want to deny.

I want to pretend that that is not a want.



And it is because of this fear that I know that I need to keep on trucking. Keep on depositing into my "healthy" bank. Keep on doing the hardwork.

Because it is when I am not afraid anymore, when I am able to say it out loud, when I am able to talk about it and process it out loud, that I will be ready. That I will know that the hard work has paid off.

The hard work, the kind where you confront all your fears and face them head on. The kind where you dig up all the sludge and wade through the muck. The kind where you throw yourself into that dark sinkhole of insecurities and fears, of mistakes and regrets, of failures and disappointments. It is that hard work, where the past gets regurgitated again and again and it hurts and it sucks and it makes you want to throw up for hours. It is the hard work where you have no control, no idea where the "hard work" will take you, only hanging on by a thread, a thread of hope, a thread of knowing that no matter how backwards, no matter how many steps you slide towards the wrong direction, that this will pound and break and scar but this will also open and unlock a whole new you. A whole new different kind of whoop ass happy.

And the pride, the assurance, the gratitude when you have conquered that fear, will be overwhelming. The success tangible in everything that you do. The way you think, the way you interact, your relationships, your friendships. The way you view the world, and the way you view yourself.

This journey has taught me so much, forgiveness, kindness, compassion. Humility, acceptance, loyalty.

We move in this week. The parallels of building a home, the piecing of the little things to form the big picture is a metaphor hard to ignore. The taps and tiles and kitchen and switches you picked weeks and months ago with a vague hazy picture in your head have become a reality as you see it all come together. Some look better than in your head, some just makes your heart smile and some, just didn't work at all. But you have learned, and you will know better the next time.

You learn, a simple lesson on happy.

Pick things that make you happy, pick things that make your heart smile, pick things that make a positive impact.

Be patient.

Don't rush into it, don't rearrange your thoughts and force yourself into liking something you do not love, don't mold and remold it and work so hard to change your gut, stay true to yourself, listen.

Bare, is a whole lot better than junk.

Learn to not give up. Learn to be passionate. Learn to persevere.

Good things come to those that wait.

Be faithful.

And I've stop talking about the house.

It's life.

Because sometimes, you should just get the chandelier.

Life is better with some sparkle and sometimes, you should use the fine china on regular days.

Just because.

Because life is special and precious and you get this one life. This one amazing, beautiful, crazy life.

Live loud, live proud, live real.


Don't make the same mistakes again, don't take this chance to do it all over again and not listen.

"[The void] It's that place in our lives where what we've been hanging onto . . . clinging to for dear life . . . is stripped away. It's that place in us where we let go of what we know, what we think we know, and what we want and surrender to the unknown. It is the place of saying and meaning, 'I don't know.' It means standing there with our hands empty for a while, sometimes watching everything we wanted disappear; our self image, our definition of who we thought we should be, the clones we've created of ourselves, the people we thought we had to have, the things we thought were so important to collect and surround ourselves with, the job we were certain was ours, the place we thought we'd live in all our lives. . . Surrender control to the supreme wisdom and authority of God and to the Divine in your soul. Step into the void with courage. Learn to say, I don't know. That's not blind faith. It's pure faith that will allow God and your spirit to lead you wherever your soul wants and needs to go."

-Melody Beattie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Awesome whoop ass kinda happiness.

This week has been special...and I know that no matter how hard I try to, my words will never do all the moments that was this week justice.

I was inspired, I was challenged, I was pushed.

I was hiding, I was scared, I was taking a step back just to breathe.

I was working through my demons, my fears, my just stay in my comfort zone, to just say, I did the hard work, see this, and see that, I did you know, I get a free pass for a while, just to do nothing. To stay in the "safe" zone, to not have to do that "hard parts", to not have to work through.

But this week taught me such important lessons,

the most of all,

you've come too far, worked too hard, lost too much, and loved too much to just do nothing.

to backslide.

to just be okay.

to settle.

Don't settle, Racheal.


Get out there, live your dreams, believe.

"Real breakthroughs happen because someone is scared to death to stop trying"

- Grey’s Anatomy

Monday, November 15, 2010

(I) Care Packages.

I have pictures, from the weekend where my whole life fell apart. I have snapshots of moments forever caught in time, smiles, looks, pure joy and happiness, sunshine. I have pictures, as a proud proud stepmother, I have pictures, as a proud, proud wife. I have these pictures, of a family, that I vaguely yet intensely recall.

Christmas, year two. Will it always be like this? Does the grief somehow end or slowly fades away to when you stop counting everything as before, or after?

I asked permission today, if I could send a card, a gift in the mail.

But tell me, how do you put so much love and so many hopes and wishes and dreams into a card? How do you find the gift that simply just says I love you.

You are, and will always be, my first child. Not from my flesh, not from my womb, but from my heart. Somewhere, where love grew, you were born.

I remind myself that you are matured beyond your years. You get it, even if you don't quite know the words, or have the specific conscience to figure it all out, you know. You are beautiful, but more than that, you are smart. And you know how this game works, the rules, the complicated twists and turns, the complexity of needing a father and forgetting the hurts.

"I knew it, I knew it!" you said.

and in that one sentence, I was relieved but my whole heart shattered and broke and crumbled.

All the things, all the prayers, all the wishes and dreams of all the things that I hope you would never had to experience, all the things I wanted to fiercely protect you from.

In five years and even when it ended, I did everything the best way I knew how to, the best way I understood it to be.

My biggest fear, is that if you ever question if I loved you at all.

I chose, to step away. I chose, to let him have his say. I chose, to let him tear me apart, poison you with lies, remove every ounce of me in your life, and forbid you to say my name. I chose, because I didn't want you to have to choose.

I wanted to protect you, I wanted to shield you from all the nasty, from all the heartache, from all the yucky that we had become.

I let you think and believe all the things that your father told you, and yet it blows my mind that you knew.

And that is why my heart broke.

Because this, this wasn't just my story. This is the story of his life, his life that is completely intertwined with yours. I am not the first stepmom, nor the last.

You deserve, so much better, and so much more.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

We are all moving on in separate directions, carving out our futures of happily ever after. I wish nothing but the best for you, I wish you all the sunshine and happiness and rainbows.

Do I get moments where I desperately crave for just one more day, just one more hour, one more chance before our whole lives changed...just so I could sit you down and tell you just exactly how much you meant to me and how loved and wanted you are.

My fear, my biggest scares-me-out-of-my mind fear, is the thought of you ever questioning that. The thought of you questioning if I care, or if I loved you, or if you meant enough to me.

So that is why, I slap my thick skin on and ask your mom if it's okay, I put up with his harassing calls, and I send you a card. On your birthday and Christmas.

A card that says all the things I cannot. A care package, that has so much love in it, and a care package that I hope tells you just how incredibly much you are loved.

And the other days, I walk away. I let go, I let life take over and pray she loves you more than I do, I pray this lasts forever, I pray you don't get lost in the shuffle.

I had to grieve this loss, among all the other losses, in order to move on. In order to get to a better place, a happy place. I had to come to terms that I would never know, and that I would never have just that five more minutes. There was no more looking back, only forward.

So once in a while, a random memory pops up, and a little part of my heart smiles and hurts all in the same breath.

Or I accidentally catch a glance at an old album of us.

And sometimes, I take the time to flip through it, let a random tear and laugh escape or two, wish you well, be so stinking proud of you, but always, I have to close the chapter. I have to let go. I have to move on.

I love you M, hope you're so so good.

I miss you so incredibly much.

This picture and the ear-to-ear grin of you opening this year's birthday care package? So completely worth it.

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

- Mother Teresa

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I carry scars from ym past, and some are healed over but every once in a while, they get viciously split open and reexamined.

Tonight, I feel so incredibly scarred. I feel like the reject pile, I feel the "not good enough" and the "not worth it" come out, I feel the hurt and the anger as I am judged, I feel my shield of courage and experience crack under pressure.

I am a divorced woman. I can't change that. I can't change that I went through an extremely traumatic experience that is something you can't just shake off. I carry with me so many scars and so many wounds that are slowly, very slowly healing. But it isn't fair, it isn't fair to compare or to judge or to say I should be at a certain place when I am not. I am not ready, I am still healing, I am still a work in progress.

It is not fair for someone else to say that I am not committed to a relationship because I don't want to be married Right. Now. I don't want to be married because that terrifies me, I don't want to be married because we're not ready yet, I don't want to be married because we just started dating, and we're still learning to communicate, to be each other's person, to build a foundation. I don't want to be married because I don't want to walk down an aisle unsure, afraid, scarred. I want to be happy, I want to be at peace, I don't want to feel like I was forced into that decision. I don't want to feel like this might be a mistake.

How do I explain that these feelings, these exact myriad of feelings are things I have to work through, things I have to work on, for myself, for our relationship, for any hope of a happily ever after. These feelings? These feelings don't just go away all because you love someone or because you are committed to them. Those are separate things....I need this time to know that when we do get married, I am at peace, I am happy, and I know that this is the best decision I'll ever make in my life but more than that, when I walk down the aisle, I don't even think of this except for how incredibly happy and blessed and excited I am for that moment.

How do you explain this to someone that doesn't understand? How do I not feel judged, not feel like the core of who I am is being questioned or that I just need time? How do I say, give me a chance, give us a chance, this relationship. This is between him and me and I get your good intentions, I understand that all you're trying to do is to fiercely protect the ones that you love but this? This questioning, this assuming, these talks? They hurt me.

They hurt us.

I know I make him happy and I know he makes me happy. I know that there's also so much that we both don't know. I know that we are both committed to this, I know that we're trying, we're buckling down and trying our hardest to make this work. To make us work. I know that there are ups and downs and the distance sometimes complicates things. I know, I know, I know, but it isn't fair, it isn't fair to me, it isn't fair to him, it isn't fair to us or yourself if you assert your thoughts on how we should feel or what we should do. This is, in the end, a relationship between him and me. We rely on our family to support us, we rely on our family to be people that we can count on as sounding boards, we rely on our families to play devil's advocate. I get that, I understand that, but please understand to that as you do that, I get caught in the middle. I get my feelings hurt, I am sensitive and when you pass judgement on who I am that what I am made of and the way that I feel, I am insulted...but more than that, I feel betrayed.

I am not asking you to not protect, I am merely asking you to not judge. Not impose what you think he should or should not do but please let the poor boy make his own decisions. Those decisions, are his to make. I want him to consider absolutely everything and anything, I can only tell him how I feel and where I stand and where my decisions lie, but I cannot force him to pick what I choose. It isn't fair, it isn't fair to him or me or us. It isn't fair to our relationship now or our relationship later.

I need him to be 100%, either way.

So please, tell him how you feel, but don't assume, and don't force him, don't play the "I'm disappointed"'ve earned a right to but it doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've been neglecting this place, not on purpose, not consciously, life just gets in the way you know?

I've been trying to live life, live it loud, live it proud, live it to the fullest extent that I know how to, remembering to be grateful, remembering to soak in all the lessons, remembering to be in the moment.

There are so many times, a really neat thing happens, and I think to myself, I should blog about that. I should blog about that because I want a permanent reminder of this, I process best when I am writing through my thoughts but more than that, I want to remember, what I felt, what happened, the details, months and years from now when it is all just a hazy blur. I want to remember, the good and the bad. I want to be reminded.