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Regarding Life Journal

Oct. 11th, 2007

09:41 am - I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer

Regarding Life Shares A Story
from a woman who received a card from Target


Hello,


You say that we can share our story and I'd like to share mine. I have Stage 4 melanoma cancer. I was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2001. Two years ago the cancer reappeared and I was given less than a 5% chance of surviving. I decided that someone had to be in this 5% club, and why couldn't it be me?

After some treatment, I was diagnosed cancer free for 18 months. We have just discovered a small tumor near my kidney---and treatments begin tomorrow. I feel so confident that it will be beaten once again. I am so at peace with this portion of my journey.

When first diagnosed I felt angry because I am a very healthy, active person. But then I came to realize that my good health helped me during treatment and recovery. Also, I never took one step of the cancer trip alone. I felt I was carried each step with the outpouring  of support, concern and love from everyone. I feel so blessed. How can I not beat this???

I realize our time on earth is limited, but there are still things I need to accomplish before I am done here. My sister just recently asked me if I'd trade my life for never having had cancer. I had to ponder the question for a  moment before honestly answering "no." The cancer---like everything in life has been a gift.

Sometimes we don't know why we are chosen to carry some burdens, and we cannot change the situation. But we can control how we handle it. We need to trust and accept that regardless of how things turn out (ie. sometimes not how we plan!) it will all be  alright.

My sister sent me one of your beautiful card sand I saw the website on the back and responded

Thank you.

Current Mood: determined

Oct. 3rd, 2007

12:03 pm - Regarding Life Gives During National Breast Cancer Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so Regarding Life has increased its charitable donations from the sale of its cancer support products.

Support a friend . . . Support a cause.

Because we take our commitment to supporting real, life everyday issues and situations seriously, Regarding Life will increase its charitable donations (typically 5%) to 20% of the net proceeds from your online purchase of any of our select support-based message cards and our breast cancer awareness message tee for the entire month of October!!

All proceeds will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, one of Regarding Life's charitable partners for breast cancer support.

Click here to view our breast cancer support products
.

stay true,

Lisa & Stacey
Partners
Regarding Life, LLC
www.regardinglife.com

Jun. 19th, 2007

07:11 pm - Fathers Speak to Regarding Life

Okay...we heard from single mothers last month, now this time fathers in various stages of relationships (single, committed, married and divorced) share their views about parenthood. This interview was a true eye opener for us. We have to admit, men have been stepping up to the plate when it comes to being there for their child(ren). In fact, situations where the father becomes the primary caretaker are becoming more and more frequent. We were pleasantly surprised at how each of these fathers expressed fatherhood as the best thing they've ever experienced. Using words like, wonderful, blessing, and rewarding.

They are truly holding it down.

stay true,
Lisa & Stacey

Meet Tone, Will, Andre, and Nathaniel...

How old are you?

Tone: 36

Will: 30

Andre: 37

Nathaniel: 27

How many children do you have?

Tone: 2 kids, girl and boy

Will: 2 girls

Andre: 2 boys

Nathaniel: 1 girl

How old are you children?

Tone: 5 and 10

Will: 5 and 8

Andre: 4 and 7 weeks

Nathaniel: 7

What's your marital situation?

Tone: Living with my younger kid's mom for over 10 years. Committed, but not married.

Will: Divorced

Andre: Married

Nathaniel: Single

Did you plan on having children?

Tone: I planned my youngest, not the first one.

Will: No

Andre: Yes

Nathaniel: No, I was in college.

What is it like being a dad?

Tone: Being a dad is very challenging. It can be scary and stressful at times, but for the most part, it's one of the most loving feelings I've ever experienced.

As a kid, I remember having the feeling that whenever there's a big problem in my home, whether it be financial, some type of altercation or just simply fixing or building something, I would worry only for a quick second; then, I'd immediately feel comforted, knowing my dad would handle it. Now I'm like, Oh, wait! I'm the dad. I have to handle it now. It's a scary feeling sometimes.

Being from the Caribbean, I try to implement some of my father's teachings and culture into my kids' development. I know that we are in a different time than when I was a kid. Things have changed, so I try not to overdo it. But, a lot of times these new parenting approaches backfire for the worst, leaving me to make very challenging decisions. But in the midst of all the chaos, there's this wonderful loving and proud feeling you get when you see your kids grow and learn new things. The simple, "Hi, dad!" will wash away any stress you have at the moment. You can see your personality mixed with the one their developing and it's amazing. There's no other feeling that compares to that. Truly unique.

Will: Being a father is wonderful.

Andre: Very fulfilling. Rewarding. Nice, but can be difficult at times. Overall, it's a blessing.

Nathaniel: Best thing ever.

Was your father around?

Tone: Not only was he around, he was mom and dad for most, if not all, of my infant and teenage life.

Will: Yes.

Andre: Yes.

Nathaniel: Yes.

Who do you go to if you have any questions about fatherhood?

Tone: No one.

Will: My pops.

Andre: My Uncle Tony and brother in law.

Nathaniel: My dad.

What do you have to say about the general perception of a father's lack of involvement in the raising of their children?

Tone: I think even though men and women are both humans, we are different creatures; therefore we parent differently. Fathers tend to take a more 'tough love' approach. Women come across more loving and caring. But we both want the same results because we both have an equal amount of love for our kids. In the past, fathers had or did way fewer hands on involvement with their kids, but now dads are more hands on and doing more "mother like" duties. They stick around more, but I think dads don't get that credit now because of how it was in the past. It's like a permanent stain.

Will: The general perception is that most fathers do not take an active role in the development of their children. I say that this perception is largely flawed. Our society thrives on looking at the negative aspects of our social circles. However, I've observed many fathers like myself that have taken their responsibilities seriously, and have contributed productively to the growth of their kids. Through personal experience, I also can understand how many fail to contribute due to circumstance.

Andre: There's a definite lack of fathers who are actively a part of the day to day lives of their children--especially when they are young. All I can say about that is that they are missing out. The joys you receive from your kids--they are no bounds. Spend just a little time with your kids and you will see that.

Nathaniel: Every father should be involved with his children. Fathers who are not involved in their kids' lives suck.

Do you have any advice for fathers to be or new fathers?

Tone: Expect it to be very challenging. Try your best to show their mothers respect, if not love. Don't worry too much if you don't know what to do. Parental instincts always kick in. Try your best to be there, or at least DO NOT be a dead beat dad. Oh, and dads, if you try to steer them in the sports or career direction of YOUR choice, and they do not like it, fall back; let them pick what they want to do and support it. Remember, when they are little, they don't care about your fault. All they see is their dad. And, all they'll say is, "THAT'S MY DAD."

Will: I would have to say that one should attempt to be the best father that he can be. One should also learn to separate the father/child relationship from all others. Regardless of whatever is going on with other relationships in your life, one should continue to always nurture the relationship with his kids. It is the one relationship that will pay big dividends in the long run. Suffer through the crap that life throws your way, and keep that bond strong!

Andre: The true measure of a man is how he treats his children. Sidney Pointier.

Nathaniel: Stick around through the hard times. They will pay off.

08:12 am - Fathers Speak to Regarding Life


Okay...we heard from single mothers last month, now this time fathers in various stages of relationships (single, committed, married and divorced) share their views about parenthood. This interview was a true eye opener for us. We have to admit, men have been stepping up to the plate when it comes to being there for their child(ren). In fact, situations where the father becomes the primary caretaker are becoming more and more frequent. We were pleasantly surprised at how each of these fathers expressed fatherhood as the best thing they've ever experienced. Using words like, wonderful, blessing, and rewarding.

They are truly holding it down.

stay true,
Lisa & Stacey

*******************************************************************************************
THE INTERVIEW

How old are you?


Tone: 36

Will: 30

Andre: 37

Nathaniel: 27

How many children do you have?

Tone: 2 kids, girl and boy

Will: 2 girls

Andre: 2 boys

Nathaniel: 1 girl

How old are you children?

Tone: 5 and 10

Will: 5 and 8

Andre: 4 and 7 weeks

Nathaniel: 7

What's your marital situation?

Tone: Living with my younger kid's mom for over 10 years. Committed, but not married.

Will: Divorced

Andre: Married

Nathaniel: Single

Did you plan on having children?

Tone: I planned my youngest, not the first one.

Will: No

Andre: Yes

Nathaniel: No, I was in college.

What is it like being a dad?

Tone: Being a dad is very challenging. It can be scary and stressful at times, but for the most part it's one of the most loving feelings I've ever experienced.

I remember, as a kid, having the feeling that whenever there's a big problem in my home, whether it be financial, some type of altercation or just simply fixing or building something, I would worry only for a quick second; then, I'd immediately feel comforted, knowing my dad would handle it. Now I'm like, Oh, wait! I'm the dad. I have to handle it now. It's a scary feeling sometimes.

Being from the Caribbean, I try to implement some of my father's teachings and culture into my kids' development. I know that we are in a different time than when I was a kid. Things have changed, so I try not to overdo it. But, a lot of times these new parenting approaches backfire for the worst, leaving me to make very challenging decisions. But in the midst of all the chaos, there's this wonderful loving and proud feeling you get when you see your kids grow and learn new things. The simple, "Hi, dad!" will wash away any stress you have at the moment. You can see your personality mixed with the one their developing and it's amazing. There's no other feeling that compares to that. Truly unique.

Will: Being a father is wonderful.

Andre: Very fulfilling. Rewarding. Nice, but can be difficult at times. But overall, it's a blessing.

Nathaniel: Best thing ever.

Was your father around?

Tone: Not only was he around he was mom and dad for most, if not all of my infant and teenage life.

Will: Yes.

Andre: Yes.

Nathaniel: Yes.

Who do you go to if you have any questions about fatherhood?

Tone: No one.

Will: My pops.

Andre: My Uncle Tony and brother in law.

Nathaniel: My dad.

What do you have to say about the general perception of a father's lack of involvement in the raising of their children?

Tone: I think even though men and women are both humans, we are different creatures; therefore we parent differently. Fathers tend to take a more 'tough love' approach. Women come across more loving and caring. But we both want the same results because we both have an equal amount of love for our kids. In the past, fathers had or did way fewer hands on involvement with their kids, but now dads are more hands on and doing more "mother like" duties. They stick around more, but I think dads don't get that credit now because of how it was in the past. It's like a permanent stain.

Will: The general perception is that most fathers do not take an active role in the development of their children. I say that this perception is largely flawed. Our society thrives on looking at the negative aspects of our social circles. However, I've observed many fathers like myself that have taken their responsibilities seriously, and have contributed productively to the growth of their kids. Through personal experience, I also can understand how many fail to contribute due to circumstance.

Andre: There's a definite lack of fathers who are actively a part of the day to day lives of their children--especially when they are young. All I can say about that is that they are missing out. The joys you receive from your kids--they are no bounds. Spend just a little time with your kids and you will see that.

Nathaniel: Every father should be involved with his children. Fathers who are not involved in their kids' lives suck.

Do you have any advice for fathers to be or new fathers?

Tone: Expect it to be very challenging. Try your best to show their mothers respect, if not love. Don't worry too much if you don't know what to do. Parental instincts always kick in. Try your best to be there, or at least DO NOT be a dead beat dad. Oh, and dads, if you try to steer them in the sports or career direction of YOUR choice, and they do not like it, fall back; let them pick what they want to do and support it. Remember, when they are little, they don't care about your fault. All they see is their dad. And, all they'll say is, "THAT'S MY DAD."

Will: I would have to say that one should attempt to be the best father that he can be. One should also learn to separate the father/child relationship from all others. Regardless of whatever is going on with other relationships in your life, one should continue to always nurture the relationship with his kids. It is the one relationship that will pay big dividends in the long run. Suffer through the crap that life throws your way, and keep that bond strong!

Andre: The true measure of a man is how he treats his children. Sidney Pointier.

Nathaniel: Stick around through the hard times. They will pay off.

May. 11th, 2007

12:49 pm - Three Single Mothers Share Their Experiences With Regarding Life

In our commitment to "staying true" to real life everyday issues and situations, we decided to focus this Mother's Day season on Single Mothers. Our mothers have both been single parents at varying stages of motherhood. In honor of that, we decided to ask some other single mothers of their experiences in doing one of the most rewarding, yet challenging and often sacrificial jobs ever, solo. We were both inspired and amazed by their wisdom fueled from experience.
See what they have to say...

Meet Karen, Teresa, and Charmaine . . .
(now of course, the names have been changed.)

How old are you?
K. 29
T. 49
C. 26

What is your occupation?
K. Personal Trainer
T. Project Manager
C. Bartender/ Student

How many children do you have, and what are their ages?
K.
1 child, 11 years old.
T. 1 child, 19 years old.
C. 3 children, ages 1, 3, and 11.

Did you plan on being a single mother?
K. No, I was just being a fast teenager who thought that I was in love. A few months after dating my daughter's father, who was seven years my senior, I was pregnant. I was so much in denial initially that I didn't even look at her first ultrasound, and the sound of her heartbeat made me angry.

T. No

C. No, I didn't plan on being a single mother. I don't believe most women plan on being a single mom. However, I knew that my child's father would be the one whom I would have my children with knowing that we would be married someday. Yes, I was unmarried, but in an unsteady relationship . . . off and on and on and off for many years.

What were your first thoughts when you realized that you were going to be a single mom?
K. While I was pregnant, I didn't entertain that idea. Her father and I got along great, so I thought that we would get married and be a happy family shortly after my daughter's birth. But that didn't happen. So the burden of single motherhood hit me when I had to figure out who would keep my baby while I worked at night and went to school during the day. And thank God for WIC. I wouldn't have been able to afford to feed her otherwise. It was a bittersweet situation.

T. I CAN DO THIS!!

C. My first thoughts were "Alright, you are pregnant, what is your game plan and follow through, because from this day forward it is no longer about YOU". My thoughts were very clear and I was pretty focused and realistic about the entire situation.

Do you have a support base?
K. Fortunately, I do. My family-- especially my mom, siblings, and several aunts have helped out tremendously over the years. Also, her father's family-- especially his mother, siblings, and aunts-- have been instrumental in making her life as easy as possible.

T. YES.

C. Yes, I have a great support system. My rock is my mom. She has been there for me through thick and thin, hell and back. She has always, without hesitation helped wherever she was needed. If I had to work and/or go to school, she was the one who watched after them; and when I needed some "me" time, she was the one who babysat so I could do that as well. And that is wonderful considering the entire time she too had a full-time job! To this day she helps and work her full-time job of 37 plus years. My youngest child [would testify that] my grandmother has been a great support base as well, where he is concerned. She has been there from day one and that has been a blessing in many, many ways. For that I am thankful. There has been others but these two have been the biggest by far.

If you had to identify the two most difficult challenges of single parenthood, what are they and why?

K. I would say that one of the most difficult challenges of single parenthood has been trying to provide my daughter with a since of normalcy. Because she attends school with children who have a two parents at home, naturally she longs for that as well. Unfortunately, she tries to carry the burden of that desire alone because she is careful not to do anything she thinks that I may find disapproving. So although she doesn't verbalize every time she feels that way [that she wants both parents], I can see it in her eyes and it saddens me. The other most difficult challenge is to maintain balance in both of our lives. Both of our lives carry hectic schedules. So it can sometimes be a challenge to get everything done that needs to be done, and some of the things that you want to get done accomplished; [this is] because the load is on one person. So I feel that a lot of sacrifice is made on my part that wouldn't have to be made if I wasn't a single mother.

T.
1. Non-responsive father... because the more present and active the father is in the child's life, the more well balanced the child. 2. Keeping the child out of harm's way, for the obvious reasons.

C. The first challenge would have to be, that regardless of whether the father is there in their lives and helps emotionally, socially, and financially, these kids are YOUR responsibility. Allow me to make it plain: You physically give birth. He can leave without a word, and YOU will be left to raise them, take care of them, and financially support them, etc., on your own. The second challenge would have to be staying focused and motivated to do better- not just for my kids, but also for myself. I know that kids are a blessing from God and that He will not give me any more than I can bare. So always keeping that in mind helps me to stay focused and keeps me grounded and has molded me into the person that I am.

Do(es) your child(ren) interact with their father?
K. Yes, my child interacts with her father. However, it is inconsistent because he has been repetitively incarcerated for most of her life. So, I teach her to write to him or in her journal to release her thoughts and emotions. Also, I encourage open communication between us, which is extremely beneficial as well. I was not as open as she is with me, with my mother.

T. Yes, when possible and the father follows through.

C. Yes, my first two children interact with their father on a daily/weekly basis and my younger child interacts with his biological father on a monthly basis. Daddy number 1 is the daddy for all of them. Daddy # 2 has some work to do.

What would you say are the benefits and rewards of being a single mom?

K. The benefits are seeing a child develop into a great person and knowing that you had a lot to do with it. Also, the words of love and appreciation that I receive from my daughter are priceless.

T. You get all the LOVE.
C.
The benefits and rewards is knowing that I am a great mother-- in my opinion as well as the opinion of my kids. [Also,] that financially I take care of them. Child support is a minimum for all three where their fathers are concerned. I love them and they love me. I like to refer to my kids as the "little people". They are kids with a touch of adultness in them. They know and understand more than we are willing to give them credit for. They are small, but very smart so everyday it is a joy to see what they are going to do and say next. It is a never ending comic view.

What advice do you have for other single mothers?
K. My advice would be for single mothers to encourage the nurturing of your children's relationship with their father, regardless of how good or bad of a father he may be. Time has a way of revealing the bad for what it is. At that point your child will make up his or her own mind about the other parent, and will respect you for not negatively encouraging them. Just be a constant support for your child. Don't think about it as being about the father.
T. Think long and hard before making the choice to be a single mom. It's a lot of work and requires a lot of dedication and sacrifices, but its well worth it.
C. The advice would be to think before you react. To stay motivated or find and do something that motivates YOU. Make some "me time/ mommy alone time" so you don't become overwhelmed. Allow your kids to be your inspiration and you will never go wrong. But, lastly but not least, stay true and be real with yourself-- analyze yourself, find out who you are and never let or allow anyone to dictate or make you become something [that] you are not. Age is just a number but with that number comes wisdom and wisdom comes with the years. So, over time, you will see just how wise you have become from the moment you had that first child 'til now. Reach for the stars and never, I mean absolutely never, give up-- despite what life throws in your path. Be blessed.


We'd love to hear your thoughts on the Q &A above, or you can respond directly to any of the women by posting a comment.  Also, feel free to share your answers to our queries or to share one of your life stories.

Stay True,
Lisa & Stacey

Dec. 11th, 2006

12:23 am - Is it Christmas already?

Okay, so every year I go through this. Every year, after I've blown it this Christmas, I say that next year I'm most definitely going to get and early start and do the following things next year to behave like the adult and mother that I am!
1) Send out Christmas cards to all my relative,
2) Decorate the house a little bit ,
3) Really take the time to choose the perfect gifts for my family (starting in August).

But every year I sit here around this time, completely stunned that Christmas is two weeks away and I haven't even considered doing any of the items on my check list. What's really going to happen is that no one will receive a Christmas card from me (at least they don't have expectations to the contrary), my house will not be lit from pillar to post with string lights, I won't get a Christmas tree and I will literally be running around on the 24th (23rd if I'm lucky) just trying to find something, anything for all the people in my family.

And every year I feel like I blew it again...and promise myself to "get it together" next year and act like the 36 year old adult woman that I am!!!

Well, not this year! I've decided that this year I will do what I can, buy what I can and give what I can and I won't allow myself to feel bad or guilty about what I didn't do. I refuse that sort of pressure this year. Isn't it enough that I run a business, work a night job, raise my four year daughter and still try to maintain a connected relationship with my man! I should be ashamed of myself for getting mad at myself for not fulfilling my own lame expectations as to what I should be doing for the holiday season. Who cares?

My mom and sisters know me well enough to know that I am a total freak who packs her life soooo full that I can barely maintain as it is (it's nuts but, it's just how I like it!). And they also know that by early November I'm counting down the days till my daughter and I travel the 1200 miles to go "home" for Christmas cuz there is nothing I love more than just hanging with them. They are my family and they take me as I am so they send out Christmas cards and tell everyone I'm doing well, they decorate their houses and invite us over and they always insist that just us being together is the best gift we could ever give them.

Jun. 23rd, 2006

09:41 am - She violated his trust. Should she have told him?


At first I felt like a walking skeleton. All of my internal physical substance had been exhumed from my body, leaving only a damaged heart. I had brought this feeling on myself. Inspired by David Walsch's book, Relationships, I had unexpectedly decided to tell my boyfriend about an isolated incident of infidelity that I'd committed during our two-year relationship. Yes, I know; everyone asks, "Why did you tell him?" And my answer to this is that at that precise moment, I wanted to be honest. I wanted to show him through confession that all I want is to be completely honest with him-- from that point forward. I wanted to be with someone where I didn't have any secrets. I was almost there, with this one (BIG) exception; and I wanted to remove all exceptions because I really saw a life with this person and had to see if he would be willing to work with me, despite being disappointed and hurt. I had to see if he could find it in his heart to see beyond this betrayal and consider all of who I am and what I bring to the table in our relationship. Fidelity couldn't possibly be the trump card, especially since he knew that I wasn't completely convinced that people truly remained physically intimate with only one person for the rest of their lives. And in relationships where monogamy is/was not the case, I was genuinely interested in knowing how they did it because I had never been able to do it in my adult relationships for the long haul. At some point I would get bored with either the sex or the entire relationship as a whole, and start moving towards ending it. I'd then feel resolved if I chose to be intimate with someone else in the meantime. I had considered myself a slave to passion, always cherishing the moment and the ability to make sacred memories. But now, as I reflect on my reasoning, I’ve come to realize that I am probably dealing with commitment issues developed after being abandoned by several key paternal figures I trusted and loved at defining points in my life, starting with my beloved biological father. As much as I'd like to believe that I have dealt with the issues of my past and refuse to succumb to making present day excuses for past experiences, I'd be foolish to deny the obvious patterns I've developed when it comes to committed relationships. Somewhere inside of me, I must feel that at the end of the day, they are going to leave--even though, for the most part, I had been the one terminating my relationships.

But this time was different. I LOVE this man, and for the first time in my life, entertained thoughts of "forever." And even though I crossed the line of physical infidelity, I never crossed the line in my heart. He's my dude and the only one I desired to have as my life partner-- and in my head, that is much bigger than sex. So, my confession was coming from this space. Confessing was my way of showing him that he was different. (I know. I know.) But this was a monumental shift for me. Old habits die hard, and never before had I enough of a reason to reconsider these habits. So, although it took me having an experience outside of my relationship, my need to be forthright and tell him, coupled with my desire to never betray him again, confirmed that my feelings for him are feelings I'd never felt before.

The next step was for me to tell him. I had to know that I could tell him anything, even if it was going to temporarily cause pain. I wanted us to talk. I wanted to explain myself-- explain how if he could see beyond the act, he could see a woman ready to be fully and completely his partner. Ready to work through deep issues and give to him what I had never wanted to give to anyone else before. Besides, all long-term relationships go through something, right? (That's a real question, because I had never really gone past the 2-year mark.)

So what happened when I told him? He left. He packed his clothes, took his toiletries, and left my keys on the counter.

I couldn't believe it. What had I done? Understand, I'm not talking about the act itself--I understand what I'd done in choosing the infidelity-- but what had I done in telling him? Shit!!!! The exact motivation for telling him was backfiring against me. The man I really loved most completely had walked out of my life. I will never forget the look of hurt in his eyes. He couldn't believe that I had done to him what he had done to others in previous relationships. He couldn't even begin to understand that my point in telling him was to explain that how my feelings about him were making me want to do something different--that although I had stepped outside of our relationship, I wanted to commit to never doing that again-- to commit to talking to him about my feelings or desires before living them privately with someone else-- to share with him a new step I was taking towards commitment, which was a compliment to who he is/was in my life.

I HAD LOST MY DAMN MIND.

After pleading relentlessly for consideration, crying myself to sleep, fighting the separation anxiety, and functioning in a daze of overwhelming loneliness, I began having dialogue with other people, and what I found was quite interesting.

You see, it wasn't the shock of my infidelity that raised the level of dialogue, it was the fact that I decided to tell him about it, that puzzled most. Over 95% of them, both men and women, had stepped outside of a relationship (or were currently stepping outside of) their committed relationship at some point in their lives, and felt, from experience or expected outcome, that it's best to keep the "don't tell" policy. They didn't chastise me for choosing the infidelity. Oh no. They were more like, "Why in the hell did you tell him? Why didn't you call me first?" But that was the point. I wanted to give him something different. Yes, of course, I want to give him fidelity. He has that from me now. And, honestly, it took this situation for me to know that with certainty. But, staying true to the reality of what happened, I wanted to give him the truth, which, from my conversations, is different than what many were giving their partners. Now, I don't judge their decisions, and given my partner's reaction, maybe they know more than I. Maybe this is the lesson that will have me sharing the same advice to someone else in the future. I'm fighting against it, but who knows.

Where are we now? Talking. At first he wouldn't talk to me or see me. He wanted to leave me completely, but loved me too much to just walk away. I had to keep trying to talk to him, trying to get him to understand, to see that we all come into relationships with things we're working through, and as he had his things that we had been working through, this was my thing. I wanted him to look into my heart and see me beyond the act. I am more than sex. I am a work in progress. All I can promise is that I will continue to improve, always self-evaluate, admit when I am wrong, and change behavior that's hurtful to others while finding the balance to stay true to myself.

Although we are not back together, and whether we ever will is still in question, I applaud him for having the courage to balance his convictions with his heart. I respect whatever decision he comes to, for he is a remarkable man.

Thank you for listening.

By the way, so as not to confuse any issues in regard to your feedback, the act was well protected. I practice very safe sex. Also, I know that the best situation is to not have the indiscretion at all.

Me

Mar. 13th, 2006

11:23 pm - He was the love of my life . . . with a WIFE on the side.


I feel like I became the other woman overnight.

After being in what I thought was a committed relationship for four years, my boyfriend's wife confronted us at a restaurant. Apparently, while dating me, he rekindled a relationship with an ex-girlfriend, whom, after dating for almost three years, he married. I also learned that he has a 16-year-old son with this woman. The short version of their story is when they were previously together, it didn’t work out, and so she moved on with her life, married someone else, got divorced and later married the man I thought was the love of my life. One would ask, how did you not know that he was married? The answer to that is simple, he spent Monday through Friday with me and went home to his wife and son on the weekend.

When his wife confronted us in the restaurant, I felt as if I was having an out of body experience...Surely, this is some sort of sick joke. How could he be married? Well, he did a pretty good job of deceiving both his wife and me for a long time. But I guess he didn't cover his tracks that well in the end.

I've since had conversations with the wife regarding her husband; however, I don't think she's going to leave him. I, on the other hand, am in shock. I may have expected an affair or some sort of deceit, but I never expected a wife. I am working hard at repairing my heart and attending counseling. I cannot express in words how devastated I am. I never thought that approaching my 35th birthday I’d find myself brokenhearted and single. The loss of this man has left me unsettled. If I ever had the opportunity to speak to him, I would have to ask, how could you do it? The why is easy, he did it because he could.

I feel so betrayed. How did I become the other woman when I was there all along and why wasn't I good enough to be the wife instead of what I became...his mistress? Often times, I pinch myself as confirmation of this awful nightmare. I thought things like this only premiered on the Lifetime movie special.

Soon after the confrontation, I suffered from horrible nightmares. I was so consumed by the situation and how horrible I felt. At one point, I thought that the walls in my apartment were closing in on me. Even breathing became a chore opposed to being a natural thing. I had to constantly take deep, slow breaths to make sure I was getting enough oxygen, because I felt like I was being stifled. It is a month today and each day gets a little bearable than the last, but it is still extremely difficult to get through each day without some moment of sadness or tears. I am trying, and I'm certain that there's a rainbow at the end of the tunnel. I just wish the process wasn't so painful.

Charmaine.

Jan. 28th, 2006

11:30 am - I'm Sorry, My Friend


What’s My Story?

My story is today.
My story is now.
My story is pain.

My story is frustration, anguish, nervousness, fear, bravery, fatigue and persistence. My story is courage and weak points. My story is live or die, eat or be eaten, stand up or fall down, drive or walk, run or stroll.

My Story is True!

I need to apologize and I don’t know how. I need to say I’m sorry and I’m not sure why!
My girl is here and I am happy and glad she’s doing her thing, as I knew she would cuz her ass is bad.

I try to support and lend encouragement and smiles but all the while inside my mind body and spirit run wild.

Outside I look cool as if none the care awaits, but in the recesses of my mind fear and sadness debate. I need to be alone, though I don’t want to; but I hate being around others when my energy/spirit is blue. I give off mixed signals and am almost always misunderstood. But that’s really my fault because my inner battle has fucked up my attitude. It's standing out front when I know a better woman should.

I have so many decisions to make and they are heavy, leading either to prosperity or poverty, depending on how they play out. I have a lot to lose if I choose wrong, and a lot to lose if I decide to step out. I feel a bit paralyzed, because I've struggled for so long. On the one side I can't move, on the other I want to run.

What am I afraid of . . . afraid to revisit a very poor past. The only two fears I have ever had are loneliness and poverty (you know that mighty lack of cash). Not poverty as in being poor, but poverty as in having never touched the riches I KNOW I HAVE IN STORE. I can handle making and losing it all, better than never getting there at all. I'm in a better position career wise than I have ever been before, but the hurt disappointment, and lack of yesterday steadily knocks at my door. I know it’s a figment of my imagination and forward and upwards the march, but the sting of yesterday is still hurting my heart. If I don’t open the door then of course it can’t get in, but the fear of what’s on the other side has me paralyzed within. Truth is, I’m afraid to move forward and aint no way in hell I'm going back; but I can’t live my life abundantly for the fear of suffering lack. I have probably said and acknowledged fear more in this letter than I ever have before, I hope I'm getting it out of my system so I can say “Never. No more”. Not that I will never have it, but never again so real to stop me in my tracks and fuck me up within.

So in the days that the shoulder I always cry on is near, I feel the farthest from her because my issues persevere. Even though I try to front, I know she feels that I'm not completely me. I try not to be selfish and not spoil her prosperous moment. So I attempt to keep it to myself and put it on a shelf. But it’s not working.

I'm not much on poetry and for years I haven’t been, the rhyme you think you hear is my thought bleeding through my pen. I’m not sure why it came out this way but I had to “Stay True” so a rhyming real life story is what I’m sending you.

I couldn’t sleep tonight with this heavy on my spirit. I had to say I'm sorry to the friend I hold dearest.

I love U as you surely know I do, and I'm sorry if my inner issues have tainted this visit for you.


Mahni

Dec. 31st, 2005

01:39 am - Your Smile . . . Little Prince

He came to us after dreaming about him for several years. We were trying for almost three years and I had pretty much given up on having children.

December 7, 2004, we saw your beautiful face, little prince…

PARENTHOOD IS NOT EASY; actually it is quite the contrary, given that it is often challenging and demands an extreme adjustment-one that my husband and I are still trying to adopt, but just seeing our baby's smile, understanding his trust and reliance upon us, those sloppy kisses that express his love (without words) for us really does make choosing to bring him into this world - ALL WORTH IT (and this is not a cliché).

Here's my story . . .

It was literally a surprise when I realized I was pregnant. I'd gone out with an old colleague of mine for drinks a few days before this “revelation” and had a few Hurricanes - boy were they strong! The next day, my stomach felt weird and I had a bit of dark spotting, but it was too early for my next cycle! I decided to speak with a close friend of mine, who also happens to be a pharmaceutical technician, about my “symptoms.” She quickly advised me not to take any medication or have any alcohol until I took a pregnancy test. I laughed - really loud - not believing that I could be pregnant. Yes, we'd been actively trying in the past, but for the six months or so prior to this moment were not following any particular timetable. Meaning, our intimate moments had not been planned based on an ovulation chart.

Luckily, I had stored away a pregnancy test that was still good. I recall it was a Friday when I took the test. It felt like my heart stopped for a few seconds when the second line faintly appeared. No, it couldn't be, I thought. Could I really be pregnant? I called the 800 number on the package and spoke with a “pregnancy consultant.” He told me, “no matter how faint, if the second line shows up, you are most likely pregnant.” I shook a bit as I went to wake up my husband. On May 12, 2004, it was confirmed at my doctor's office - “Yes, Ms. Laing-Reyes, you are approximately 3 weeks pregnant.”

And there, our journey began.

My husband and I are not young parents. We are both in our mid 30's and prior to having our little boy, we led very full and active lives. Reality immediately hit me after bringing our baby home. I was in shock at the life change. The best way to explain it is that, I was so “in love” with my pregnancy that I hadn't thought about the actuality of having the baby. I had no clue. It's funny because I was one of the most avid readers of baby articles and baby books throughout my term, but still, all of the referencing, taking notes, emailing articles to my husband on the dos and don'ts of this and that, never prepared me for sharing my life with this new being.

I FELT TRAPPED. It was my first week at home with our baby and my husband had already returned to work. I was alone, lonely, scared, depressed, happy, sad, confused, envious that my husband was able to get out, even if it was to work. With so many varying emotions, I wasn't sure if I was coming or going. I loved our child dearly and was overly protective. I watched him like a hawk every moment of the day and night and constantly second-guessed every thing my husband did or suggested.

Our relationship became strained. I tried to explain to him what I was feeling, but really couldn't because I wasn't able to truly comprehend the conflicting sentiments myself. We spoke harshly to each other - him especially to me, when he felt as though I didn't trust his judgment when it came to our son. Something was wrong - I felt crazy - and not sure why. Within the following weeks, I started to check online for symptoms of post partum and realized that what I was experiencing was called “baby blues.” The sites I referenced actually noted that continuously watching your baby and fearing that something may happen to him, as well as second-guessing advice or suggestions from others, were signs of the blues. I forwarded the information to my husband hoping that he would understand where I was coming from.

It took some time, a little therapy and lots of reconnecting, and still today, we must continue to talk openly. It was from these conversations that I realized II hurt my husband when I was constantly second-guessing his choices; further, I didn't' give him the opportunity to share with me his conflicting feelings about our new situation. He felt as though he had to quickly mature - something he blamed himself for not getting a handle on several years ago. After all, he was a 35 year old man - if he wasn't responsibly managing his business now, when would he be, and with a child here - a life to be responsible for, there was no chance he was going to slip up. He imposed a lot of responsibility on himself.

To new parents, I ask that you please take the time to be patient with each other. There are so many times where precious moments can be lost in arguments because communication has been halted somewhere along the lines. Listen, really listen to each other. Share EVERYTHING you are feeling about your new baby, whether they are fears about doing the right things as new parents, strong emotions about life adjustments, sex, etc. Please be open to getting help either via therapy or talking with friends or family members who have experienced the same. You will realize that you are not in this alone and maybe this will help you along your way.

To those who are considering parenthood, I have to stress that this is serious, adult business. Please make sure that you are ready for the responsibility. Things will change - you have a new life in your hands. Always remember that you chose to bring this baby into this world. You have to be ready to say (and feel), that having this special presence, this miracle in your lives, is truly - ALL WORTH IT.

As shared by: Kim Laing-Reyes

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