I started writing this about this time last year, I added a bit to the end to finish it off. I don’t know why I didn’t just publish it, probably because I wanted to add more. But, it can wait for another time.

A vast amount of joys and heartaches have happened over the span of just a couple years. Life has me spinning like a top, at times wobbling, and others where I completely spin out and fall over. It’s nice to be in a head space once again where I can look at things that have happened retrospectively, and see my growth and progress over the last couple of years. All the ‘hard times’ with people, that were really insecurities within myself, that I was trying to overcome. I can see once again that life is an array of shadows and light, grey area’s created from our emotions about things. We are all both light and dark, we must embrace both fully to be complete and whole. All these dark emotions that I have felt over the last couple of years are part of who I am, no one is light all the time, just as no one is dark all the time. I think to be mentally healthy you have to spend equal time in both light and dark. Being in the dark makes you appreciate the light, and vice-versa. Humanity is in a phase where if you are feeling ‘dark’ there must be something ‘wrong’. There isn’t, if you are ‘happy and light’ all the time… You are a liar. It is a mask that you are showing the world, hiding all that you are from everyone. I say let your light and dark ‘shine’, so to speak.

So, where was I? The last couple years! When we left California we headed to Louisiana, I had the opportunity to work on a horse farm/ranch and I jumped at the opportunity. This was a big first step for me, my first move to a place where I didn’t know a single person. I had chatted with the woman I would be working for but we had never met. Looking back on my experience there, I learned a lot about myself, and I fell even more in love with horses and animals. The experience’s of walking with the horses in the Mardi Gras parades are ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was exhilarating, terrifying, electrifying, exhausting, full of amazement, and at times pure wretchedness. Away from the parades I found myself in a situation where two ‘Momma Bears’ were trying to live under one roof. It was there, under Brandie’s roof, that my insecurities started unfolding. After some unfortunate blow-outs and fights between the two of us, Cardin and I left after being there for 3 months. There were things that I was not OK with, and things that I couldn’t live without. Aside from all the heartache, and very hurtful things said on both sides, I do miss them all; and god do I miss all the horses. I left in a rage, and drove us to Kansas to visit a very old friend from my childhood. And there is where my life, and view of it, was forever changed.

I really don’t know how to explain the part of Kansas I was in, it was a place where all the broken souls go to torture each other, and themselves; A human created purgatory of sorts. There are no trees or water (a small lake doesn’t count), I found that I needed these two elements to be balanced, to feel whole. This is where I landed for a year. A land of gossip, backstabbing, lies, fighting, hating, and the list could go on. Granted I didn’t make the best entrance by snatching up a man that was just recently, lets say ‘divorced’ because they were together for 8 years or so, from a woman 3 days prior to my arrival. And in a town of 300 people, rumors instantly ignited about our long distance affair. I laugh just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, I have no ill feelings toward any of the people there, but when the only things to do are drinking, drugs, gossip and fighting… Well, this was the start of a downward spiral for me. Especially since, aside from drinking on occasion and weed, I don’t like any of these things. I also found that I have an especially hard time when kids are doing them, and are basically little drug dealers for most of the town. I found my self in a tornado of negativity, and each day I was sucked further in. Then the darkness finally took me over completely. I look back and can’t believe how many insecurities that I have, they overwhelmed me. And fear took me over. Romantically speaking, I had not been involved with someone for quite a while, and even then the relationship I had while in California I can look back and say that my whole heart was not into it. It was like being single mentally, but not physically. A strange paradigm that I didn’t realize was even there until Matt. He happened to be coming from the same paradigm, he was with a woman for so many years but in reality mentally single. When you are in this space, a companionship cannot be created. A relationship will not work. Relationships are meant to be two whole people coming together to become a team. That’s hard to do if you are in a mindset of ‘single’. So, long story short, there was a lot of fighting. God so much fighting, screaming, crying. I would call and cry to my friend almost every day. Looking back I can see how that would be selfish of me. But, I loved this man so much, I loved his light and his dark. And his dark is what scared me, I found my past marriage and childhood coming up and barking at my face like a rabid dog. And what I do best is run. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to run, and I almost did, I would have if I had the money right then and there. It was hard for me, I was a single mom, Cardin and I against the world. And here comes this man and his two children, I don’t know how to be a stepmom! So, I did with them like I do with my own son. Matt and I moved fast, looking back, I think it was too fast for his kids. And as I don’t have an extreme amount of rules, they were coming from a place where they were allowed to do whatever they wanted. I couldn’t handle it, and I cracked. I won’t say they got the best of me, I got the best of me, and Matt and I were not on the same page with anything related to parenting. It was a rough time for me, and I often envisioned escaping from them all and going back to Cali. But I always stayed, I had a love for this man that I couldn’t explain, that I had never felt before. He challenged me in ways that I had never been challenged and opened my eyes to things that I had shut them to. I think that it was the same for him, with me. My friend kept telling me to leave, and every chance she got whispered in my ear to leave him, talked down on him. It infuriated me! A lot of things did while I was there. But, I couldn’t handle her trying to tell me what I should do, what would be best for me. I just wanted her to listen to my hysteria, not for solutions, but so I could get the shit out! So I could think, I didn’t want to be encouraged. Looking back this was unfair of me, we called each other best friends, sisters, but in reality we were just old childhood friends that would go years without talking to each other and then talk for a few hours about what our lives had been like. We had never had the kind of relationship where we could just call each other up and vent, and I vent a lot, my friends can tell you that! It’s how I process my emotions and feel them out. Otherwise, they take me over and I make decisions that should probably have gone another way. In short, without going on about this for another paragraph, our friendship crumbled. And as it did a part of myself caved in, closed off. Our last few months in Kansas I became a recluse, I rarely left the house and I was very depressed, paranoid, sad, and angry. Looking at my life, this was the hardest time thus far that I have had with people, with myself. I couldn’t stay another year, neither could Matt. So, we decided that we would move. Neither of us could think of a place we would rather be than in Maine. So we made the plunge and escaped Kansas, just barely. We left for Maine with just enough money for a month of camping and a small trailer of our most precious belongings; I was 2 months pregnant when we left for Maine.

Our journey here was, cramped, and emotional. The Jeep was packed to the brim in the back with just enough space atop it all for two dogs, 3 kids in the back seat, 2 puppies, bags at everyone’s feet but the drivers. We camped each night, and in retrospect I wish that for at least that first night we would have stayed for a few nights instead of just one. We drove for 12 hours before stopping at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Like usual there was bickering and fighting along the way, and even at the camp. I understand why his kids were so angry, they had lived in Kansas pretty much their whole lives, they didn’t want to leave. And they had spent most of their lives living with their dad, but had decided that instead of going with us to Maine that they wanted to live with their mom and stepdad in Indiana. They never said it, but I think it was a big part because of me. They don’t like living with rules, and well, that will never change in any house I’m living in. Our second day was the hardest for Matt and I, it was the day we were dropping my step-kids off in Indiana. I didn’t realize that it would hit me so hard, I love those kids, and had lived with them for the past year. They were a part of my life, of my family. I remember being fine until Cindy called us as we were leaving Indiana. I cried hysterically, I cried so hard it hurt. I didn’t realize how much I really didn’t want them to leave us. But, for whatever reason they thought life would be better with their mother, and I hope it is. However, it was the decision they made. Now I don’t know how I feel about it all, seems the only time they call is to ask their dad for money. Then Matt feels like shit because, well, we can’t send them any. And quite frankly, most the time I don’t want to because of how they treat him. But they are kids, I have to remember this. Besides, I remember being close to the same when I was their age. That’s probably why it makes me so mad. Honestly, the fact that I still feel so strongly about everything is because I care about them so damn much. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t. It would be easier to watch them fuck their lives up that way. I don’t feel like a parent to them at all, I feel like a grown up friend that is worried about the path that they take. Is this stupid? I just hope that they don’t screw up their lives too badly, some decisions can be changed, others stick with us for life. Anyway, my thoughts are all scrambled with this topic. I suppose it lets me know I am still trying to sort through things, and to get rid of my ‘hurt’ feelings. I did give them both so much… So, stopping this topic now, like I said I cried more intensely than I have ever cried and we made our way to our 2nd stop where we just slept in the Jeep. It was ridiculously uncomfortable!! I don’t think Matt really slept at all, I didn’t get much either. Cardin slept all night in the back seat haha :), typical. Oh, to be able to sleep like a kid again! Our next stop was in Pennsylvania, up near Lake Erie. It was a KOA so we got to take nice showers and everything! We definitely could have taken another day there as well, we were tired and rundown. We got there early enough to be able to enjoy the campsite for the day. Cardin swam, we walked the dogs, Matt and I got to have some time together. It was a good day. Our last day of travel was mostly through New York, man are New Yorkers… shall I say, not the kindest people. But, I will not judge solely on our stops at rest stops. I still want to see the Big Apple and go to the Statue of Liberty, etc. We traveled though up-state New York. Matt was in a foul mood most of the trip, there were some fights, and tears on my part (of course). Then we finally made it to our last stop in Maine, Poland Springs Campground. We were all paid up for a month of camping. We got there late, setup in the dark and woke early the next day. After 2,100 miles in 4 days It was all kind of a blur, we were over exhausted and ready for some rest. But when you are completely starting over, with very little money, work must be found straight away. Matt had an interview the very next day, so no rest for the weary! He got the job! But his commute to work was 2 hours, each way!

When we originally set out for Maine there were rentals abound! But, when you are moving to the ‘Vacationland’ in the middle of Summer there are very slim pickin’s. We tent camped for 3 weeks until we found a small house in Alna. We were so happy and relieved to finally have  a home! We setup our air mattress for the first few weeks until we could start acquiring house items, the extra money from me working helped us ‘jumpstart’ our new home. They say the first year is the hardest moving somewhere new, and boy are they right! I will stop now and continue this another time…

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