Category Archives: friendship

Connection Remembrances

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One of the most uplifting entries we posted in our spiritual journals this weekend was something called connections.  This is where we journal about our spiritual lives.  The stepping stones that brought us to the point we are now and the connections that we’ve had in which we felt that life was as it should be.  Those moments when we felt truly truly connected to something beyond ourselves. For ten minutes we logged moments in our lives when we felt connected to something or someone.  Here is my ten minute list (which is by no means every connection I’ve experienced).  On a lonely night like tonight it’s hard to feel anything less than thankful after reading this.

1.  K-Care with P and S

2.  Chloe snuggled up with me during pregnancy

3.  Ritz C drooling on me in contentment

4.  “Hello” sex with Adam

5.  The sunrise on Haleakala in Maui as the woman sang to the sun god

6.  Awakening all my senses in the Costa Rican rainforest

7.  Skinny dipping in Kauai waterfall

8.  Adam holding my face two weeks ago and truly seeing me

9.  My mom listening to stories I wrote when I was a kid

10.  E crying because of my gift of vulnerability

11.  The first time G asked me to kiss him

12.  My dad sharing his life stories with me

13.  Adam commenting on my blogs

14.  Sunday morning runs with Jody

15.  Sunday morning runs with Alexis

16.  One of the first times I smoked weed and I was in touch with every part of my body

17.  Jason Mraz concert with Brenna

18.  Dr Nissen healing me

19.  My dad caring for me when I recovered from my pancreatic surgery

20.  Singing lullabies to J in the orphanage as he slept in my arms

21.  Common Grounds…being naked with strangers

22.  Kerby in Haiti

23.  Lying on my back at Soldier Trail and watching shooting stars

24.  Nursing a baby javelina back to health by teaching it to suckle milk off my chin

25.  Holding Shadow as he passed

26.  A friend sharing secrets she had never told anyone because she trusted me

27.   My son, P,  sharing a secret with me that freed him

28.  J sitting on the front of my SUP while we navigated the river

29.  San Diego to Tucson bike trip to raise money for Tucson group homes

30.  Watching the Swifts as a family

31.  Watching whales

32.  Setting a spider free instead of killing it

33.  When my sons brush my hair

34.  Snuggled in bed with Adam when our lives were turned upside down after CFA and we stayed up all night planning a new adventure

35.  Masturbation without shame for the first time (a deep connection to myself)

36.  Being with any animal that I was putting to sleep

37.  Double Rainbow right off my porch

38.  Running across the finish line of Raluca’s first marathon

39.  Lying on a picnic table watching the stars at Crater Lake

40.  Handing a homeless man my coffee and putting my hand on his shoulder

41.  Listening to the “crazy” woman as she told me her life story and then said, “nobody has ever sat and listened to me” and then she started to cry

42.  Sending my MIL a letter telling her what a beautiful son she has and how thankful I am for him

43.  The moment I realized there was an entire community of atheists coming out of religion

44.  When my brother told me he is gay

45.  When I danced in the rain in Haiti

46.  When I ate the first tomato I’ve ever grown

47.  Every time I was sick and my sister would care for me….she’d even put an IV in me when needed

48.  Team Ba Donka Donk

These are just the moments that were at the forefront of my memory.  I’m sure I have hundreds if not thousands more connected moments.  If you’re ever feeling blue I suggest taking ten minutes to do this exercise.  You’ll hopefully recognize just how rich your life is and how important it is to keep on connecting.

 

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Home is Where There is Crazy and Love

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I’ve been in Portland for 9 months now and this past week has proven to me that it’s really becoming home.  While I instantly fell in love with the city, it wasn’t home.  While I had my boys and my husband, it still wasn’t enough to feel complete.  I was often homesick (and still am) for my Tucson friends/family.  I was still aching over the loss of good mexican food and Eegees sandwiches.  I missed the mountains that reassured me which way was north.  And, then, this past week I just hit an ultimate low for me.  I started missing the monsoons and the smell of the desert after a good downpour.  I revisited our former life by thumbing through hundreds of pictures and videos and with each memory the sadness got heavier and heavier.  I missed my house, my privacy, my morning runs, my friends, my family, nights on our deck watching the stars, familiarity, but mostly I missed the safety and security of the life we had built.  We had it all one night and seemed to lose it all the next.  It literally happened that fast.  Then the sadness and pain of the one year anniversary of last  year’s event silently crept in to my already depressed state of being.  It began to feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  That elephant kept me in bed for days on end.  That elephant stifled anything positive that may have existed in that moment.  That elephant kept me closed up, holed up, covered up, and seeking the refuge of denial in all it’s glorious ignorance.  Adam was experiencing many of the same symptoms and had shut down from all of us.  We even managed to bring down our marriage therapist who needed to “change the energy in her room” after we left!  So I felt alone.  I was Depressed, anxious, afraid of losing more, silenced, forgotten, and so many other words that fall somewhere between the lines of self pity and full blown depression.

It was in those dark days that Portland began to show me that it was becoming more than just a place I live and more of a place where I am loved.  Maybe Portland has been showing me this all along and I just became aware of it.  I found that I’m making friends and they’re pretty awesome people.  And some of them have a little bit of crazy which makes them all the more awesome.

In my dark days of this past week I had one friend email me to check in on me.  Another texted me with positive words and insisted that we go out for tea.  One offered to cook dinner.  Another took me out for lunch.  Another got me out of the house to take the boys swimming and, as always, had prepared better than me so gave my boys snacks and reprimanded them when needed.  She just let me be quiet and sit in the comfort a chair (that she brought) with my toes dipped in the water.  No requirement for me to put on a fake face.  Another invited us for a playdate.  And a neighbor inquired about why she wasn’t seeing the boys and then came over to get them and gave them a few hours of jumping time on her trampoline.  Every one has really just loved me and accepted that, yeah, sometimes life kicks you pretty hard and it’s okay to have dark days when you’ve been handed blow after blow.  It’s okay.

And then there were (are) the crazies that really make me feel at home.  The ones who make me laugh and they do it all by just being themselves.  One of these crazies showed up at my house unannounced last week when I don’t think I had brushed my teeth (or hair) in days, was still in PJs, had let the house fall victim to the four tornadoes that exist within these walls, and as soon as she said “hey, you don’t look so good” allowed me to just start crying.  No judgement.  No trying to change the situation.  Just a listening ear and a great hug.  She’s the first friend I made in Portland and I love her more and more every day!  I love that she texts me selfies all the time….from anywhere, including public toilets.  Here’s some of our selfie texts:IMG_1572 IMG_1571 IMG_1569
Yeah, I love that lady!  She puts the crazy in my life and makes me feel like I might just be normal after all.

Next is the friend that pushed me to recognize my depression/anxiety and to get out and run a half marathon with her this past weekend.  Knowing that I would feel much better running she persevered until she got me out the door and picked me up for the race.  What I love about her is that once she lets her walls down she is just a little bit nutty too.  The perfect kind of nutty.  Here’s what happened during that race that made me fall head over heels for this woman.  The finish line was at the bottom of a very big downhill.  A VERY steep downhill.  And she just went for it.  Full speed with her arms and hands flying around like loose noodles and screaming at the top of her lungs, “I love this hill!”  “I’m so happy!”  “This hill is awesome…c’mon, Amy, run!  Run!”  The spectators were yelling back at her….all smiling.  They were yelling, “Yeah, that’s how a finish should look!” Happiness is contagious and just watching her let loose and run free were enough to pull me out of any funk I was in.  Remember that episode from Friends where Phoebe runs with Rachel?  Yeah, that was the good crazy in my friend this weekend!

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Here we are at the finish line (she’s all pumped with downhill, happy girl endorphins and I’m still trying to decide if I’m alive or not!).

Phoebe Runs in Central Park

This is good crazy 🙂

Last but not least are the moms I have met through my running group and book club.  I’m feeling really super super stoked to be part of the Hood to Coast relay team with these moms but I was still uncertain if they were gonna be crazy enough for me to feel at home.  And sure enough they proved to be just perfect.  We were sitting around planning our weekend race and I thought it’d be fair to mention that since we are running long distances over 24 hours with little sleep and no real meals in a small ass van, I should warn everyone that I swear like a sailor.  I love the F word.  And it flows freely without a filter.

If any of you are offended by foul language tell me now so I can start curbing it.

The response I got assured me that I had stepped on the right crazy train (well, technically crazy minivan).

Oh, fuck it!  This bitch and I can’t be in the same van!  It’s gonna be all fucks and bitches for 24hours!

 The next day my official participant poster arrived.  Yeah, I’m an Asphalt Cowgirl, Bitches!1004887_10151504999556493_1394825991_n

So with that, the cloud of depression has lifted.  It’s pretty much all sunshine and roses now.   Portland has become the place of crazy and love.  Home.

Letting Go

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My trip home to Tucson was remarkably healing.  I went home not knowing what feelings and emotions to expect as I had left so abruptly and unwillingly.  Every friend I visited added to my healing.  Every moment nothing short of what I needed.  I had friendships restored.  Picked up right where I left off with other friends.  Had conversations as blunt as the days I ran 20 training miles.  Anyone who has had the privilege to run 20 + miles at a time (especially in the heat) knows that delirium sets in and anything goes.  Think conversations about diarrhea, smelly vaginas, and then circle back to sexy talk about Channing Tatum.  I miss those frank discussions.   These are friends that love me for who I am and know they are safe to drop any nasty or colorful topic that has crossed their mind and I’ll reciprocate.  I love these women!  I had time with friends who spent hours helping me find direction and peace.  Who reassured me that I am indeed sane and normal but also gave me areas to work on.  Every day I was embraced in hugs, showered in tears of my own healing and the healing of others, and was in each moment a better person because of the people I am honored to have in my life.  I left Tucson feeling full.  Full of love.  Full of hope.  And full of the confidence I need to move forward.  I also left Tucson knowing that Portland is now my home.  Clarity hit me like a ton of bricks a million times this weekend but one specific moment made my life crystal clear.  Here’s a portion of the email I sent to Mark telling him about my experience.  *Note: ST is what we call our Tucson home we are selling.

I missed being able to talk and share with you the little moments I experienced and discovered today.  You really have become my very best friend and I love that!

Then lots of personal talk and a little Tucson love and a little Tucson bashing.  Beautiful night skies.  I do miss those.  I don’t miss the hard water or the desert.  Blah blah blah…

To close this long-winded, one sided conversation I want to tell you about our ST home.  It’s beautiful.  We did a really great job making that home.  Gorgeous.  Gorgeous.  Gorgeous.  But mostly what I saw were memories.  Distinct memories.  Memories of painting with the boys, taking them to our beach, having cookie parties, swimming, pulling J’s first tooth and P’s first success on his 5 dollar goodwill bike, the first day G came to live with us, talking with owls, sitting on the steps listening to S’s fears, and so many more.  And memories of us.  Nights spent on the deck under the stars, the spa under a full moon, double rainbows, New Year’s Eve, talks about losing religion, balls out fights, your 30th birthday party, poker with your brothers, and the final tears when we had to say goodbye.

That home, inside those walls, holds our story.  A love story so beautifully scripted that I think the walls were gifted our presence.  I hope those walls will learn a new love story and that the next family will find ST to be a home worthy of housing their memories.

It’s hard to let go.  In fact I would say it’s a visceral pain.  But today I cried because the memories were so perfectly beautiful.  I cried because time is slipping and our boys are growing up way too fast.  And I cried because I now recognize that ST is nothing more than where our stories were written.  It will likely be one of the best chapters we will ever write because in that home we became six.  We wrote chapters that helped us become who we are now.  But the story is still being written.  Just housed in new walls.  ST is now part of that memory.  An empty house.  Not a home.  Seeing it empty made me feel what my life would be like without you guys.  Completely void and empty.  Wherever you guys are is where my home is and where I want the next chapters of my story written.

I love you, madly.

And with that I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  As one of my favorite sayings goes, “To be rich in love is to be rich in life.”  In that case, I am the wealthiest woman alive.

Shades of Grey-The Popular One

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*Warning!  Spoiler Alert!* & R-rating

Today’s blog is a twofer.  Two for one.  Enjoy!

When I began this blog back in early 2011 I had originally named it Shades of Grey.  The title was very fitting considering I had left christianity after coming to the realization that the world is indeed not black and white.  I began to get a very firm grasp on the fact that there are varying shades of grey in nearly every aspect of this thing we like to call life.  And when we get stuck thinking that there is simply black and white/right and wrong we alienate ourselves, we fail to grow, and we go to war against those who believe our black should be white or our white should be black.  I started Shades of Grey to challenge those around me (myself included) to stop spouting off rote answers to life’s big dilemmas and instead masticate on these things and discover the whys of our beliefs, prejudices and practices.  Does society tell me to think this way?  Does my god or religion demand it?  Is there proof that concretely discredits what I am choosing to believe?  Do my beliefs make any logical sense? Am I willing to become uncomfortable and try changing the blacks and whites in my life?  This is what I was challenging.  Examining the different shades of grey between black and white has helped me to push myself, sometimes in really uncomfortable ways, to evolve.

I began this blog before the global sensation of Fifty Shades of Grey was an international maniacal craze.  Now that nearly every woman and man with Wifi or a bookstore nearby knows Fifty Shades I have found that it is time to switch my blog name from Shades of Grey to Thinking With Vitality.  This will save all the poor, unsuspecting folks who have accidentally stumbled across my blog by googling words like sex, naked, and christian grey.  If only I had pictures of Christian Grey naked while having sex!  Even I might be addicted to that blog 😉  But, I don’t.

Besides the fact that all the wrong people were shopping my blog it was simply time for a change.  I’m not as angry now as when I first came out as an atheist.  Life is brighter.  I’m not in a constant state of pissed offness (although I still get there and still have plenty to say!).  Therefore my page should reflect that.  You’ll notice the colors are more vibrant.  The bio has changed.  There will be more positive posts mixed in.  But the platform is the same.  You’ll read about religion, politics, family, adoption, women’s rights, crazy events, sexuality, acceptance and posts that are simply reflections of my general interests.

The challenge is the same: think, test yourself, quit being complacent and possibly consider moving forward in a whole new direction.

Part Two:

While I am semi on topic with shades of grey I figure let’s make this entry a two-for-one.  Two topics with the same name.  One blog.  It’s your lucky day!  Fifty Shades of Grey book thoughts are coming up here in section two so do NOT continue if you are concerned about spoilers or are sensitive to topics of sexuality.

Yes, I’ve happily read the Fifty Shades trilogy and even passed it along to friends and family. If you are a woman or a man who has not benefited in the bedroom from this steamy series I would suggest you at least give it a peek or two.  I mean it’s unrealistic sex on every other page of each book.  With all of that sex it’s hard to avoid a little “kinky fuckery”.  There’s a little something for every one.  There are fast cars, bad guys, good guys, jealousy, helicopter crashes, money, ties, whips, braids and handcuffs.  Oh and did I mention there is sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, and more sex?

Fifty Shades Quotes

My girlfriends and I have discussed this series in length.  Some friends so completely bummed with the realization that when they were finished reading, Christian Grey would no longer be a part of their nightly escape.  Some friends found the series to be a very bad idea for relationships because it left them wanting more from their boyfriends/husbands.  I, on the other hand, found the books as a great tool to try out some new and exciting…..ummmmmm…..things.  And, of course, my husband was more than willing to comply with my new discoveries.  I happen to be of the belief that Christian and Ana will always be with me even after the books have long left my shelf.  Simply because the fantasy of their story pushes and challenges the realm of my own sexuality.
The books had very little depth.  The characters were not a clear improvement from the teenage Twilight vampires and werewolves (which I devoured too!).  Hmmmm, what does that say about me?  I like things of little depth?  Ha!  Sorry, I digress…the story line may be even less developed than Twilight.  There are flaws.  For example, the extent of Christian’s possessiveness of Anastasia.  But it’s not a story of depth that we are seeking when we pick up these books.  It’s fantasy that we are after.  And fantasy you will get.  I mean who realistically holds a full time job, hits the gym enough to be in perfect shape, hunts down crazy people, attends galas and balls, has time for extended family, travels and still manages to have sex multiple times a day with back to back orgasms?  That is fantasy.  Fiction.  According the the dictionary it is “An unrealistic or improbable supposition”.  And the last bit of fantasy is so blech and unrealistic.  I’ll just tell you the author completely blew all the euphorics I had while reading when she wrote a pregnancy and baby in to the third book.  That immediately popped my utopian bubble!  Again, I digress…


While the books are subsurface entertainment I think they serve an important societal value.  These books have opened the door for women to openly speak about their sexual fantasies and desires in a way that men have long had the shameless privilege.  We are saying that our sexuality matters too!  We do this by purchasing Fifty Shades of Grey, engaging in progressive conversations, allowing ourselves the freedom to fantasize, implementing some of the more fantastical sexual situations of the book in our own bedrooms (or elevators if you prefer), voting for what man fulfills the Christian fantasy for us on the big screen, and anticipating with great excitement the day when Girls Night Out will involve women in droves filling up theaters getting a little lusty and carnivorous over Christian Grey, releasing that part of our sexual freedom that we have stifled for far too long.  Shades of Grey along with female pleasure toys being sold in drugstores and films like Hysteria are setting the stage for a revolution of female sexuality.  I happen to think that’s a very positive step in the right direction.

Men, it’s the season of gift giving, and if you want to gift yourself and gift your significant other with one purchase buy this series.  Let your girl get turned on reading, maybe even read some of it with her and be there when she’s ready to release some of that pent up energy.  You’ll both benefit! If you are not short on cash or space or adventure, hell, build your woman a red room of pain!
Ladies, buy it for your girlfriends.  Talk about it.  Laugh about it.  Be free and accepting in your discussions.  Share gritty, personal details and begin appreciating that we, too, are sexual beings with needs, wants, and fanciful desires.  Let the revolution begin.

Laters Baby.

 

Photo credits:
Color palette: www.Printeresting.com
Tim Minchin quote: www.thepositiveatheist.com
Actors for Christian Grey: www.buzzsugar.com
Christian Grey quote: www.50shadesquotes.tumblr.com
Couple reading: www.sheknows.com

Marriage After Religion

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It’s been two years since Adam left Christianity and not much less than 2 years for myself.  Prior to leaving religion we were constantly told how much people admired our marriage and our commitment to each other.  We were asked to lead marital class after marital class in our churches and often mentored newly married couples.  Even after leaving the church and religion people still approach us telling us how much they look up to us as a couple.

Ah, I wish I could say the last two years has held the same amount of admiration and bliss for us as it has been perceived by others.  While leaving religion has been absolutely the best decision for me, for Adam, and for our boys I can’t sit here and pretend that it hasn’t come with a shit load of difficulty.

A Godly MarriageIn religion you have a set of rules that you live and die by.  You have a community of peers that are there to encourage you, mentor you, and give you tools to adhere to the rules that god has set for you.  You have the guilt and shame factor that comes in to play when you break any of those rules by lusting, coveting, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  You take pride in having been two people now formed into one flesh, leaving your parents and cleaving to your partner.  Women know that they are ultimately to submit to the patriarch (husband).  And the husband knows he is to provide.  Divorce is not an option unless your spouse is beating you or cheating on you.  Porn is considered a taboo sin and often lands a man in church run therapy sessions for sex addicts.  And, sadly, you have a false sense of security that your marriage is great because you are doing all the things god has asked with a few failures but those are quickly hidden and never discussed for fear of judgement.  And while many christian marriages appear to be happy and godly, many of them (at least the ones I have known) are really just maintaining an appearance of godly.  Many men are hiding their porn use and when their wives eventually find out they are subjected to shamefests that rival republican/democratic debate practices.  Men (and women) are hiding their true sexual desires and fantasies and resorting to biblical standards of vanilla and missionary.  Always pleasing to the third man in the sky who is ever present in their lives.  Again anything outside of the black and white rule box including questioning areas of grey is often unheard of and leaves so many people stifled, confused, and inhibited.  But they are safe there and it becomes a really really comfortable place to reside.  And in the end if you do start to question your marriage, your vows, the what ifs, you can always fall back on the belief that god chose the two of you for each other.

Remove the book, the rules, the community, because god said so lines, the lifetime of black and white and the shit hits the fan!

We left our bubble and after spending so much time questioning everything about our religion the questioning moved on to everything outside our religious walls.  They just shifted from ‘is there evidence to support this’ to
Is divorce wrong?  Is there even such a thing as right and wrong?  As a society why do we practice monogamy?  What would an open marriage look like?  A threesome?  Is pornography really harmful and bad?  Are all drugs harmful?  Are some safe and in what amounts and circumstances?  What fantasies have we suppressed?  Where do we land on abortion? Gay rights? Spanking? Politics? Lying? Secrets? Individuality? Expressions of self? Boundaries? Evolution? Strip Clubs? Prostitutes? What do we want to teach our boys about religion(s), masturbation, sex, relationships?  How do we define our integrity and morality?  If there is indeed no heaven and this moment is all we have will we regret having only been with one partner?  Having not experienced everything under the sun?  Will we lie on our death bed knowing that we lived a genuinely good and happy life?  What is happiness?  What are our natural biological drives and emotions?  How much do we fight against what we see as harmful?  How angry do we get?  When do we let the boys experience church?  Which relationships do we let go of?  Which relationships do we maintain?  Do we even maintain ours?  Is it important enough for us to stay together for the kids?  What does a voice really sound like?  How do I know I’m not being duped or controlled again?  How do I find peace within myself?  What are my new boundaries for myself and my marriage?  How do we respect each other when our answers are not the same?  What do I share and what secrets are good to keep?  Are secrets ever good? Is it possible to share all of oneself and experience intimacy rather than judgement?

And the questions just keep coming and coming and coming.  It’s an endless cycle of learning, exploring, challenging, and that can be a very scary place in a marriage.  It often feels unsafe for me.  I’m a person who is challenged with anxiety issues and severe fears of abandonment.  So to hear Adam talk through some of his questioning and to hear his thoughts that have always been hidden or silenced because of my judgement and the church’s judgement can send me spiraling in to the ugliest woman full of nasty insecurities.  And what do I do when I fear the worst and can’t find my footing?  I fight!

Adam is a man who struggles with ADHD and the need to always push the envelope.  He also is really struggling with anybody controlling him.  He feels he has been controlled and manipulated for most of his life and now wants to control his own life.  And what does Adam do when he feels others are trying to control him?  He fights!
And so just as my anxiety and fear of abandonment can cause me to unjustly turn Adam in to my enemy and I can slaughter him with false accusations and assumptions, his fear of being controlled can unjustly make me out to be a raging nag or cause him to toe the line of safe just so he feels he has his independence.  As you can see the polarizing stances of one needing independence and often losing sight of partnership and the other stance wanting to bail out before the ultimate imagined abandonment happens, causes some serious conflict.  Neither one of us feels completely understood or safe.  And the scale has become unbalanced.

It was much easier for someone like me to feel safe when there were rules to guide me and someone watching me from up above.  I work well under that kind of pressure to perform.  This newfound freedom with my own regulations is quite frightening and intimidating and at times I find myself desiring to once again hide under the confines and restrictions of religion.  It feels safer there because it’s what I have always known.  Outside of it the world and it’s lawlessness is quite frightening.
I can’t speak for Adam and how religion probably felt safe at times for him too but I have a pretty good idea in the ways a box helps reign in a wild stallion like him.

Randall Sellers  Untitled Landscape with Man and Two Women, 2005  

So leaving religion and remaining married has been a painful and arduous endeavor.  I have been quite shocked at how difficult it has been.  I’m not sure we would’ve survived at all if one of us would’ve remained in christianity.  I’m not sure how any couple ever manages living in a home with completely different ideas about life and the afterlife.  And for now that is where we have landed.  We’ve landed with an agreement to focus on what we have in common.  To focus on all the ideas we actually agree upon (because there are so many).  We’ve agreed to continue working with our therapist (who is superb I might add!) .  We’ve agreed on the urging of our therapist to actually talk less!  Yes, she says we are the first couple she’s EVER had to demand that they stop talking about tough subjects.  I have started on medication for my anxiety and find that it’s remarkable what happens when your mind is not making up stories about your spouse all the time.  I can actually hear what Adam is saying and believe that he loves me.  In my anxiety I hear what he says and immediately translate that in to a way he’s going to leave me.  For example, if he says “A threesome would be awesome!”  I hear “a threesome is something I need to have and I won’t be happy til I have it.  You are not enough for me”.  On medicine I hear “A threesome would be awesome” and recognize that sure at times I’ve thought that could definitely be sexually stimulating but that does not mean I need it, want it, or desire anything beyond the fantasy and Adam probably doesn’t either.  I recognize that threesomes and a committed, monogamous, loving marriage are not really conducive to one another.  Bravo to those who can pull it off though.  I’m way too jealous and possessive to share my husband.

Right wrong..!I’m starting to get glimpses of hope that we can land on different spectrums of what is right and wrong and still love and respect one another.  We can have different opinions without hurting one another.  We can share our fantasies, our questioning, our fears and our desires without being fearful of the what ifs.  We can still be on the same team.  Differences do not have to be deal breakers and partnership is a gift in this life.  To have someone who loves me so deeply and to whom I also return that love is actually a really safe place to be.  We just need to recognize how beautiful what we have is.  And that is just going to take some practice and some work.  I know I’m up for the challenge.

For Better…
Or Worse…

Do I think we will make it?  I do.  But not without a few more big battles and not without a mutual respect.  But I think we are nearing the end of our trauma and wounds will soon begin to heal.
Even through all of the pain and fear I can say that our marriage is deeper, richer and way more genuine than it has ever been.  Religion caused too much hiding and too much power over one another.  We lost ourselves and our individuality or if we didn’t lose it we never had it.  Our intimacy is much deeper and secrets are fewer.  There’s a passion and desire for one another that has been stifled for too many years.  We have a friendship that is uncharted.  We laugh together. We cry together.  We dance, we sing, we challenge, we flirt, we scream, we battle, we resolve, we see, we accept and we persevere.  Because of that we will not only survive marriage after religion but we will make it the best damn partnership a couple could desire.

Amen!