Happy Singles Awareness Day

“I feel I shall fall forever.” -Alice in Wonderland

Sometimes, I wonder where rock bottom is; if I’ve hit it yet. Yesterday marked 5 months since I last saw my son. I send him “I love you” messages with no response. His rejection is the deepest pain I have ever felt, because he chose it. He chose it because I stood up for myself, and he chose to leave me. He wasn’t ripped from my arms this time. He got out of the car, refused even a kiss on the cheek and walked out of my life.

Just like that.

I miss him so deeply. I bottle it up, and I keep it down inside, but the part of me that was barely functioning when everything fell apart gave up when he left my life. I look around the house and it has become as chaotic as my heart aches. My once peaceful serene hideaway, has become a lonely little hovel. I’m struggling, not gonna lie.

I meditate and I pray and I cry out, and I ball up, and I cry some more but to what end? I’m begging for the sudden stop of this free fall into nothingness. I have no clue where I am going to even be living 3 weeks from now.

I miss the familiarity of watching his long lean frame climb out of his father’s car and walk toward me; always surprised by how much older he looks even if it was just 2 weeks. I miss him cutting up and laughing with me. I miss staying up all night. I miss his jokes. I miss his thoughts.

I miss him more than I have words.

When his father took him and kept him after the divorce, I thought surely I would die- but I still had fire in me. I went back to school, worked full-time, learned how to litigate pro se, and I took him back to court and won. At last a victory.

And I cherished every moment I had him, and even now I think I could have cherished it more. I don’t know how but if it would have made the smallest difference in this outcome I would have moved heaven and earth for him.

But he left me. Like everyone before, he left too. No matter what I sacrificed to give to him, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. Or at least that’s how it feels.

I wonder sometimes what he looks like now. Is he taller? Does he have a girlfriend? Does he love me?

Tonight is Valentine’s Day. I sent him a message saying, “I love you.” No response. He has a big birthday soon. I always thought I would be a part of that. Then again, a lot of my dreams have fallen through in love and motherhood.

Tonight, I came home and realized I had nothing to drink. My apartment building is falling apart plumbing wise and the electrical isn’t that great. I can’t even boil water to drink.

I can’t even boil water to drink.

Is this rock bottom? Or will I just fall forever?

I look back at the last 11 years and it’s come full circle. When I was first divorced I could afford nothing to eat but a jar of peanut butter and a bag of bread. Since then I’ve gotten my undergrad and my masters and traveled and had fun with friends who were not the right crew to be with but still fun- and now…now I can’t even boil water to drink and my trusty jar of peanut butter is in my purse.

I don’t think people realize how long the night is when you stay awake all the time.

Is this rock bottom? If not, could you point me in that direction so I can hurl myself toward it?

Life is messy.

-Aphrodite in Real Life

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I Came Out Today

I came out today.

I did. I came out of the closet on a national Podcast the Bob and Sheri Oddcast as Natty Savage.

Yes. I…am…an instamodel. 🤣

It happened by accident, really. I wandered into a Facebook group looking for badass memes and all I found was poorly edited nudie pics. So, I tossed up a photo that I felt left a little more mystery, and boom.

Seriously. BOOM. Suddenly I had people pulling at me wanting another photo. Wanting me to talk to them. Wanting me.

Wanting me.

I had just broken up with a shitass of a boyfriend who had destroyed my self-confidence saying I was fat and old, and then suddenly here I was…Natty Savage- desired by the masses. Did I like the attention? HELL YES! EVERYONE likes to be told they are attractive and desirable. EVERYONE.

The response was overwhelming at first to be honest and for a while I felt like Natty Savage consumed who I was. I mean, people were voting for me to be in calendars and photo shoots and saying they were my “biggest fan”. I saw more dicks than I ever set out to, (but honestly that’s any woman’s inbox on the internet.) The fishbowl I had created for myself as a social experiment felt a little like drowning at first.

However, this social experiment (still ongoing) has taught me a lot about people and myself. At first, I started out in Facebook groups posting photos, and then I started helping to run the groups. But, it never failed that a group of women would rise up and demand my removal and I would be removed for the sake of peace. It hurt me so much, because for me it was empowering to not be perfect and still be desired and I wanted women to see that we don’t have to be a size zero to be desired by someone. I have to say though, the most flack I’ve gotten for this account has been from women- and I want to change that; another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own. Every woman on the planet is someone’s ideal- I don’t care what you look like.

I also learned that men are not hard creatures to please (if they are good men- and ladies, there are A LOT of good men out there.) I learned to be more forgiving of my own body as I became hyper-aware of it. When you look at yourself a lot (which I do when I’m creating and editing) Natty Savage became this abstract image that I just happen to live inside. I looked at her eyes which many of my followers comment on, and I noticed them more. I appreciated them more. When men would say they loved my soft belly, I was horrified at first. My “soft belly”??? My MOMMY BELLY?? But yes, my stomach that has a ton of rolls when I sit down has a damn fan club. And I bet if you’re a woman reading this there is a man on this planet who would make a fan club to yours.

I learned who my friends were. I learned who my “friends” weren’t. In becoming two people I learned who seeks to see beyond the image and truly see the woman behind it. I learned to let go of the fear of people seeing me; seeing who I am out loud. I learned to have a little faith that things will be okay, even if we think the worst thing in the world could be happening.

My former friend Melanie said that I should write about Natty Savage and the beginning line should be “Yes, it fucked me up.” In a way it did in that it turned my world upside down in self-reflection. Natty Savage didn’t fuck me up; she saved my life. She taught me how to build social media accounts and create good content. She taught me to be more forgiving of my body and how I look. She taught to me do something that scared me, and to do it anyway.

She taught me the beauty of imperfection.

For many years, I was angry at my path. I was angry at people for not living up to my expectations. I was angry at myself for not living up to my own expectations. Being Natty Savage taught me to how to let go of that. I forgave my father for not being what I needed growing up, and it’s SO GOOD to sit with him and talk and learn about him in a way I NEVER would have if it weren’t for Natty Savage.

I’ve reconnected with so many people I cut out for not meeting expectation. I gave myself a REALITY CHECK. Natty Savage gave me a reality check. Life gave me a reality check.

I’m often asked what the end game is for Natty Savage and to be completely honest, I don’t know. I want her to represent Female Sexual Empowerment. I want her to be adored like Rita Hayworth. I want her…to live. I don’t know how to kill her. I don’t really want to kill her. How can you kill someone who has taught you so much about yourself and life?

I know people judge the account. It’s expected. You can honestly see more on a beach in Miami than you can on my Instagram, and yes I’m sure there are naked photos of me out there. I’ve dated, I’ve done tasteful nudity, and I’m not ashamed of my body…anymore. Have I pushed into boundaries where I was uncomfortable and pulled back? Absolutely. That’s how we find the boundaries on things- we push limits. I know my limits, and I can live with the lesson.

Natty Savage didn’t fuck me up. Natty Savage taught me to live without limits, but to be okay with my own boundaries. She taught me not let anyone push me beyond where I’m comfortable until I’m ready. She taught me to take a leap of faith. She gave me back my voice because she inspired this blog. By being a figment of someone else’s imagination, I became more real to myself. I became softer; more forgiving- more free. I found myself.

-Mighty Aphrodite

Eat, Pray, Love

I typically tell people I am spiritual and not “religious”. For many years now I’ve just said I was agnostic and went about my way. It wasn’t always that way, though. I used to pray, deeply, spiritually, emanating from my soul to God. I prayed for a child.
 
I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. Every morning on the way to work I prayed for this child my husband did not want to have. But I knew, I knew this child needed to be made, and for whatever reason this was the man chosen. And I prayed for God to change his heart. I knew what a wonderful soul I had to offer and create.
 
And God did change his heart.
 
But he also, changed his heart toward me as I fell deeply in love with this beautiful soul with a curious mind and shining eyes like my own. I relished in his chubby cherubic beauty and I wept sometimes at the sight of him. I longed to discover ever layer of who who was becoming and I was interested to know who he was as he developed.
 
He was everything to me.
 
So when the divorce happened and he was taken because I had no money and no chance and was completely blindsided, I prayed again. I prayed and I prayed and I wept deeply and quietly at the foot of this child’s bed every night desperate to hold onto him, but I knew he was no longer mine.
 
And I hated God for that.
 
I hated him for giving my prayer to my abuser. For making me the enemy. For allowing lies to be used as weapons formed against me.
 
Yes, you guys, I had great faith once.
 
For 10 years I have been alone, longing for a life with a child that was never meant to be my path. And so many times I have said out loud FUCK THIS PATH. I HATE THIS PATH. THIS PATH IS BREAKING ME.
 
And it did. I broke me. I broke me down to my rawest and most deepest and loving and forgiving place, but it also made me face a lot of hurt I’m still working through.
 
Every morning, I still pray. I started it through meditation. I don’t pray to a man who sits in a cloud in the sky. I pray to the vibration that we feel when we are with another human; the commonality between us and all living things seen and unseen. The peace and the love we could have if we all just paused and thought about it for a moment–If we were silent, which honestly I should practice more silence and more listening.
 
I am new on my journey so forgive me if I stumble, but what I can share with you today is sometimes we just have to let go and let whatever happens happen. We have to have a little faith; faith in ourselves and faith in others.
 
We must live life with great passion every day, because tomorrow might not happen.
 
Carl Sagan once said that we are all “Star Stuff”. I believe that. My atoms are the same atoms of the stars and planets and universe, and yours whoever may be reading this. We are all star stuff and that’s why it matters.
 
Every morning I meditate and I pray and cry out and I surrender. I surrender every morning. Some days I do better than others, but I’m trying to accept and understand that EVERYTHING I have experienced has taught me something; many of them valuable lessons even if they were deeply painful.
 
Trust the journey. Trust the path. Have a little faith in something even if it’s just yourself.

All You Need Is Love

Recently, several people I know have personally come to me and expressed to me their difficulties in raising or even entering into a relationship where a child already exists. How can you know that you can love that child the same as your own, especially if they are challenging?

I’ve never been a step-mother. I’ve never been a step-child. So when I divorced and my son was 5, my ex-husband took up almost immediately with the woman he is currently married to now. Whether the timeline on that fits is neither here nor there to me, my only focus was did she treat my child differently? When he told me during a car ride that she had a framed picture of just him in her house, the relief I felt was immense. She cared enough to put him on her wall- just him. She wasn’t me, but I felt like I could trust her then.

I remember another time on a car ride my son slipped and said he loved this woman, and I remember the fear he seemed to feel as he scrambled to assure me, his mother who was alone that he loved me more. I stopped him. I couldn’t let him feel torn apart by love. Love only enhances our lives, and I told him that. I told him to never be afraid to let someone love you or to love someone, because we need more love.

I have a friend, Sheri, who let’s just be honest I have a strongly bonded parasocial relationship to a media persona that I highly admire and respect, but because this is MY BLOG- SHERI LYNCH IS MY BEST FRIEND.

All kidding aside, I’ve listened to Sheri talk about her real life both on the radio and on social media. I’ve met her once, I believe and even though she punched a man in the face for scaring her grandmother (because Philly, ya know?) she is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

I bring her up for this- when I first began listening she was dating her second husband at the time. This man would later father her two daughters, but he already had a child before they entered their union. What I always loved is that Sheri always referred to him as her “Bonus Son”. Think about that? Disney has vilified the “step-mother/step-child” concept but a BONUS? Everyone wants a bonus.

But what if that bonus feels more like a pain in the ass acting out all the time making you want to pull your hair out? What then?

I’ve been asked this many times and I’m not sure why as I claim to be no guru on parenting- but, I have the innate ability to look at another viewpoint just to see how something could occur.

Think about it. You’re maybe 6 or 7 years old, and for the sake of making things less complicated we’ll say a father has remarried and had more children with his new wife. How would you process that? Remember you don’t have the ability to process things like an adult, so- maybe you’d feel a little bit like this isn’t YOUR family. It’s Daddy’s new family. Maybe it’s Daddy’s new family he loves more. If I love this woman he loves is that betraying my own mother?

I know children don’t think conceptually like this, of course- they act out. They aggravate. They draw attention to themselves to remind you they are there. They make themselves difficult to love to see if you really do love them.

How does one get past that? Again, I admit I have no experience there, but I would imagine if it were me, and I knew the relationship was solid and permanent I would meet that child where they are in their relationship with me. I would ask myself would I be as irritated by this if it were my own child doing it? I would try to spend one on one time doing something fun with just them. I would do my best to bond the way you do in any relationship. Get to know one another one on one.

Turn that step into a bonus 🙂.

She Used to be Mine

This sums up me right now.

It’s not simple to say
That most days I don’t recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them
It’s not easy to know
I’m not anything like I used be, although it’s true
I was never attention’s sweet center
I still remember that girl

She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine
It’s not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person and makes you believe it’s all true
And now I’ve got you
And you’re not what I asked for
If I’m honest, I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew
Who’ll be reckless, just enough
Who’ll get hurt, but who learns how to toughen up
When she’s bruised and gets used by a man who can’t love
And then she’ll get stuck
And be scared of the life that’s inside her
Growing stronger each day ’til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little, to bring back the fire in her eyes
That’s been gone, but used to be mine
Used to be mine
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine.”

Letting Go of the Love that Hurt You

In the early spring, on a wild jaunt after work with my friend Melanie (at the time at least), after a few drinks at the Blue Monkey- I decided to run up the hill and have my fortune told.  She read my cards, but what I most wanted to know was could she see me in my palm. She told me many things about myself- things she couldn’t know about my deepest hidden away things.  So I honestly don’t care if you believe this story or not, my friend, because I tell it earnestly.  And what is anything that the mind doth not make it so?

She read my palm, and then offered to read my cards for me.  I figured, why not?  And she read the cards in a way that told a story I understood.  She said to “remember who you are in the universe”, and that I would “have to face my past to receive my blessing; I would have to get over a pain I have held onto, and that I need to stop swallowing my words.”  I thanked her for her reading and pondered it, but be it power of suggestion or divine intervention- I care not what you believe- I began to wake up.  Something happened and I can’t describe it now to you even if I tried.  I who am never at a loss for words; words fail me here.

I’ve lived a life of a lot of pain.  It’s been pain I compartmentalized and shoved away and refused to feel, and I built strong strong walls so that I could be the strong one to protect others.  Like a dragon or a fire bird, my skin had to be THICK.  So I can truthfully say that by the time I met my husband at the tender age of 18,  I had never loved.  I had never really let that kind of love in.  So many things I did on autopilot then.  I just followed what felt like the natural order of things and I was grateful for the reprieve of being taken care of for a change even though it came at the cost of my freedom and at many times; my dignity.

But I longed for a child.  Yearned.  Ached for a child.  We had been married 4 years and he had basically told me after that he didn’t want children, he just wanted me.  He had told me he would have kids because that’s what it took to get me to say yes.  I was devastated and isolated and I didn’t know what to do, because I had access to nothing.

So I prayed.  Every morning on the way to work, I prayed the same prayer with my whole heart.  I was more mainstream back then; more what I thought people thought I should be.  I still pray to the same higher power, just differently now.  But anyway, I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to change my husband’s heart.  And for one brief shining moment, he did and I got pregnant IMMEDIATELY.

And my husband hated me for getting pregnant so quickly, but who cares about him?  I never loved him.  I’m sorry, I tried, but I never did.  I had never loved.  Not like this.

The pregnancy was a dream, and I glowed like I was lit from within.  He made fun of my weight gain and cravings and called me a “pregnant yak”, but again who cares about him.  I wasn’t falling in love with him.  The birth was difficult.  I don’t remember much of it.  The weeks following were worse because my husband had no interest in being helpful to a now wife who had major surgery and an infant he hadn’t really wanted.

(I tell my TRUTH HERE-  it is MY TRUTH.  So if you are lurking know that always.)

It took me 3 weeks to bond with him because I wanted to be PERFECT for him, and it felt like I failed left and right in the beginning.  I didn’t deserve him.  What had I done?  He was so perfect, and I had brought him into this mess.  The guilt, oh my god the guilt and depression that set in.  His birth was the undoing of our marriage, because I loved our son.  Not in a romantic way of course, but as he grew and developed and began to talk and point and speak I fell madly in love with every layer of him.  He fascinated me.  He frustrated me.  Sometimes he made me want to pull my hair out, but oh my god how beautiful he was.  How smart.  How absolutely perfect and handsome in every way.

When we divorced, I only wanted to come home with my son.  I wanted to be fair.  I didn’t want anything from him but child support, but he was angry.  How dare I think I was going to leave him.  HE was going to leave ME, and it made him more angry that I didn’t really care which way it happened, just let me go and we’ll make a fair arrangement for time with our son.  But that wasn’t good enough.  That wasn’t harsh enough.  That wasn’t punishment enough.  He was going to humiliate me and take the only person I have ever loved.  He succeeded.

And I’ve worn his absence like a Scarlet Fucking Letter for 10 long goddamn years.  What kind of mother doesn’t get custody of her child? A crackhead?  A child abuser?  What are you not telling me?

I’ll tell you the kind of mother who has her 5 year old son ripped from her arms.

She’s the kind that was naive.

She’s the kind that had no access to the money or even knew what the bills were.

She’s the kind that may have fought like a demon with him, but did as she was told.

She was isolated.

She was stuck in a state of arrested development clinging desperately to her child.

And they took him, and I could tell you  the rest of this long ass sad story of mine, but I won’t because I can skip it- for now. It’s not a part of THIS story.

For 10 years my sorrow over the loss of my only love- the love I let in- the love that feels like my own heartbeat- has hung over me like a pallor. I have clung to every moment I could have with him. I have tried to impart to him the most important of my life lessons that I can impart in the shortest of times.  Skip the small stuff; focus on the real life lessons.  You only have a minute and they are grown.  Now divide that down to a second.  That’s me.

This year, my 40th, has been a year of extreme breakthroughs and transformations.  I haven’t seen my son in 3 months.  He won’t come see me.  He’s mad about his PS4 game system that I’ve grounded him from indefinitely.  His father isn’t helping, but who cares about him?  He’s never been helpful.  No, I’ve clung for so very long to my baby boy; my dearest love.  I have feared to love again, for fear it be ripped away from me again.  I’ve essentially closed myself off from love.  My son is the love I have to let go.  Not that I have to stop loving him.  Of course I will never stop loving him.  I love him eternally and unconditionally.  I have to let go of the hurt of loving him.  I have to let go of the time that we missed that I can’t change and will never get back.  I have to stop clinging.  I have to let go.  It’s tethered me here for so long and for what? I have to trust I have used my time with him wisely.

If you don’t want to see me, don’t.

If you don’t want to forgive me, don’t.

If you don’t want to be my friend, don’t.  It applies to so many areas of my life, really.  If you don’t want to be in my life, don’t.  I’m going to start living it out loud.  Be in it, be out out of it, but make up your mind because things are about to start to get really interesting now that there are no limitations.

So don’t miss out.

 

Walls

For much of my life I have built walls. I’m a master builder and my walls are thick and strong. I compartmentalized these walls to hold everything inside it locked up tight. It’s a defense mechanism learned from an early childhood of uncertainty.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m dramatic, and I like to make people laugh, and I have a sharp tongue. They mistake my walls for confidence, and sometimes I do, too.

Walls are built for two reasons: To keep things out, and to keep things in. For so long I have beaten on the walls of my heart begging to be let out. Knowing I was not being heard through these walls. These walls were strong. They were built out of fear, and anger, and resentment. They had been fortified with abandonment and disappointment and distrust.

I was angry at these walls that kept me from feeling; from getting close to people. I was angry at my inability to break them when I had built them myself. I was angry at my anger.

But just as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” I realized screaming and beating on these walls in a frenzy only made them stronger. It only made them higher. It only made them harder to break in or out.

But then something happened to me, and I struggle to find the words to even explain what it was other than it was like waking up from a long sleep. I began to fill in the gaps of things I had pushed away and face them. I found the way to break the walls, but what I didn’t know was how sheltered I had kept myself beneath in my own darkness. I cried. I cried a lot.

And then I forgave. I forgave a lot, starting with my father.

I expected more than he had to give me growing up, things he wanted to give me but he just didn’t have it at that time to give to me. In my own breaking, I saw his humanity. His fragility. His hurt. How his hurt made him hurt others. How he tried to numb it and fill it and make it stop hurting. Laying down our anger and picking up mercy and love is the path to grace, and I don’t mean that religiously, although you can take take it that way if you wish. I mean it spiritually, because that has everything to do with what we are.

I surrender to this being my path. It’s not how I planned it, but it’s the path I was given and I will travel it and live it to the best of my ability, and hopefully without these walls my voice, my divine gift- misused for so long- can finally be heard. Everyone has their demons and everyone has their delights. When you look with mercy you find more delight.

“We looked for the good in them, and we found it.”- Pollyanna