Thursday, July 29, 2010

John Mellencamp- "Little Pink Houses"

A New Voice

I have never been one to get very involved in the world of politics. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t get involved or keep informed due to the lack of caring. I was born an “army brat” and consider my family to be very patriotic! My dad was career military. He was a green beret, served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and retired a Lt. Colonel. I grew up in a household that discussed politics, watched the news every day, and believed that if your country needed you to serve, you did it without question. So then, how could I be uninvolved and uninformed as an adult?

I’ve asked myself that question many times. I now feel that I’m a big part of the current problem with our great country. I voted, but didn’t take the time to get involved or really learn about the issues. I was one of those people that now drive me crazy. I told myself I wouldn’t make a difference anyway and that we had a “checks and balances” system in place that would stop any type of radical change from occurring. Like many other Americans, my complacency has allowed the USA to head down the path it seems to be on now. I believe it to be a very dangerous path.

I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful and talented daughters. As our daughters grew and became involved in their activities, my priorities changed and my focus narrowed. My goal in life was to help them be as successful as possible in their endeavors. I think I was one of those moms that lost my identity. My schedule was completely based upon the needs of my children. I don’t regret making those sacrifices. That’s what parents do. I just wish that I had always stayed informed and up to date on the state of our nation. I should have balanced a little better.

My husband is what I call a Couch Commando Dad! During his down time, you can find him on the sofa with the flicker in his hand. I can guarantee that the television is either on one of the sports stations, Fox News, or one of the “mainstream” news networks. The girls and I constantly harassed him about his channel selections. We would razz him for a bit and then eventually migrate to the back to watch our pick of shows. I would complain to him that he should just watch the one hour of local and national news that came on our local station.

Approximately a year ago, I was on the computer in the family room while my husband was watching FOX. They were discussing the repercussions of passing the Health Care Bill. I started to get interested in the program when I noticed what I was hearing discussed on this station in no way resembled what I had been hearing on my local station. I was very na├»ve back then. I believed that news stations simply reported the news without any type of biased slant. As the days went on, I watched more news programs, and then watched other stations to compare the information. I was very curious and skeptical, but not quite hooked. I remember hearing about the House of Representatives passing Cap and Trade and sending it to the Senate. After listening to what was being said about it on the news, talking to people I trusted, and researching the information myself via the internet, I became obsessed. I refer to this as my awakening!

It was suddenly clear to me the direction our great country was heading. As a country, I feel we have always taken all of our wonderful freedoms for granted. Our forefathers fought so that we might have these freedoms. My father and lots of other great patriots fought to defend our country to assure that we would always keep these freedoms. In a million years, I would have never thought these freedoms might be threatened from within by our own government. I now understand that there are many Americans out there, and in our government, that don’t have the same respect for our freedoms or for that wonderful and historic document “The Constitution” and what it provides for us.

I now listen to every bit of news I can. I am a Tea Party member. I call and write my representative and my senators. I go to town hall meetings and take place in peaceful rallies and protests. I post links to current issues on my Facebook page hoping to inform and spark interest in other people. I am planning on getting involved in the upcoming elections in November. In a year, I have gone from someone that didn’t have a clue to someone that is very informed. People ask my opinion and actually care about what I think. It’s taken me 48 years to find my voice. I don’t ever want to lose it again! I now know that I can make a difference. Everyone has a voice. They just have to find it.

make a difference

Thursday, July 22, 2010

05. Madonna - Holiday [The First Album]

The Wonderful Life II

Well I’m not exactly sure if those were his exact words, but it does sound good. It’s funny how things happen when you least expect.

Fate brought us together.  I was forced by a friend to venture to a new happy hour venue.  John decided to frequent the same place after vowing to never go there again. It just so happen to be the same day. How cute is that? Eleven years later, this Chicagoan native, John, and I still share 'moving on'.

I always wanted to return to school someday and match my siblings with a college degree. Actually, it was more like making my mama happy.  She was born and raised in Mexico and worked her entire life to provide her children with the opportunity she never had growing up. You see, I was the rebel of the family and thought a paycheck after high school looked more inviting to me than another diploma, so I took a different avenue and kept going.

Graduation, this special achievement, was a difficult one for me because it had been twenty plus years since I had sat in a classroom, but I did it. It was very rewarding seeing my mama’s joyful face at my college graduation as well as knowing that I had the ability to accomplish whatever I set myself to accomplish.

During my working career, it always bothered me to report to someone and watching someone else enjoy the profits of my hard work. I vowed that one day I would become my own boss.  I had to return to work, become self employed with a prosperous business that I could feel good about managing.

I knew the consequences of returning to the workforce might not be beneficial to me while entertaining side effects of my medication. “Damn if you do, damn if you don’t” type thing. 

I figured I could motivate and assist my partner to start his own business and have something for us to fall back on, a side job working from home. It was a good thing I did.  The economy being in it's hardship status today, the company where he worked closed their doors after 13 years.  He is currently forced to utilize his broker license to the fullest now just to make ends meet. Now, I can at least help when I can and as much as I can while doing things

Being a gay man, it was always a known fact that marriage or children would probably never be a possibility for me; I still had the parenting urge and hope that one day I would have my own family. Today, we have two wonderful little boys, Oliver and Bailey, our pride and joys. Oliver is the smartest Wire Fox Terrier you will ever know and a wonderful big brother to Bailey, our soft, cuddling and loving Bedlington Terrier. They are six and seven years old and bring us so much joy every day. They have the run of the house and love their big yard and especially the swimming pool. Yes, one of the major priorities of finding a home was having a pool for the boys. Oliver is my diver.  Bailey is my “Michael Phelps,” the fastest swimming dog I have ever seen.

They may not be human, but they are our loving children and remind us every day of that fact. Finally, like everyone else, I wanted to someday own my dream home. Three years ago, we accomplished this dream. A home just perfect for our comfort and a large yard for the boys, plus the fact that we are both in our 50’s and do not need any stairs at this point in our life. It is our very own paradise to grow old together with our boys and a place large enough to accommodate our family and friends visiting from the Midwest. And believe me,
our revolving door is always in use as everyone loves to visit us as well as San Diego. It has been a wonderful ride getting to this place in my life and I will continue to achieve as much as I can. I will admit that with all accomplishments in life there can be some challenges along the way, but with motivation and a strong mind, if there is a WILL one will find the WAY.

As I said before, I continued to live a healthy life and will always keep a positive attitude about any and every thing around me. The key is staying focused and not utilizing any energy on the past, but work on the current issues of my life. I cannot change the past, but only take the positive of it to work for in my favor today. A good example is dealing with numerous medications on a daily basis.  My thought is to take them and move on. The downside is dealing with side effects from them that challenge me all the time.  I will never let them succeed with forcing me to surrender my most powerful medication, my mind.

Shortly after meeting my partner John, I was diagnosed with AVN (a vascular narcosis) and spent the next three years going through hip replacement surgeries on both sides. Actually, it was more like three hip replacements.  At age 40 my doctors thought I was too young to have one until this miraculous doctor offered me a partial hip replacement. I found his enthusiasm in my case interesting as it benefited both of us in one way or another. The hope was that was supposed to last me eight years, but I wore it out in three. My energy level was higher than he expected and three years to the day, he was performing a total hip replacement on the same hip.

AVN is a joint decease caused by a medication I took in my earlier years battling full blown A.I.D.S. Again, this is where I realized it’s “Damn if you do and damn if you don’t”.  Without this only steroid medication doctors recommended for me at the time which is the culprit of my disease joints, I probably would not be writing this story today. Full blown A.I.D.S. is where your entire Acquired Infectious Deficiency Levels are none. By the time the doctors were performing my third surgery, I became a champ on recovery and showing physical therapy my own routine.

I was soon becoming very well known at the campus of UCSD (University of California San Diego) Medical Center, first at the Owen Clinic with constant visit to my incredible primary physician, who monitors my medication and overall health issues then at Thornton Hospital Orthopedic Center where I am sure was one of their most profitable patients. No wonder all the “red carpet” treatment. It did not end there, soon thereafter, it was time to make myself known at Shiley Eye Center just to add to the list.

My Retinitis was starting to affect my vision drastically to the point where my only hope of vision survival consisted of numerous surgeries recommended and performed. While back in Chicago, I was made aware of CMV Retinitis setting into my eyes and that there was a great possibility of vision loss. The doctors at Illinois Masonic Medical Center performed necessary surgeries then to help save my eye sight for as long as they possibly could. Today, I have slowly lost vision in my right eye due the CMV Retinitis, but I still have one 20/20 eye vision in with my left eye.

It might mean for me to move my head a little to the right most of the time.  Hopefully, one day I can be the first candidate for a Retinal transplant when available. Or maybe even the second, but I have hopes of being able to see out of that eye again. If not here on Earth, then I’m sure up in heaven when I reunite with all my peeps. Either way, it is what it is and I can still smile and hold my head up high.

Continuing my courtship with John, amazingly he has not run away, nor do I think he would. With our similar backgrounds, he too has dealings with side effects that are different in appearance, but yet just as severe. He amazes me with his ability to take on this adventure with me while suffering his own issues, but I truly believe we inspire each other to just keep moving on. That just makes me love him so much more. Especially when I’m forced to entertain yet another challenge God has put in my path.

As if UCSD did not know me enough, I was forced to make acquaintance with doctors at the Cancer Center. Well hold the tears, it was not as bad as you might think it would be, but the signs were there and the doctor has so far managed to perform the necessary surgeries removing any evidence of the big C. Currently, I am on a yearly “surveillance” treatment.

I can very well be a good candidate for the worse, but so far so good. All of these side effects continue to make their appearances whenever they chose and without my control. If it is not one thing it is another or like they say in Spanish “si no son tomates son chiles.” It is just something I have to deal with every day of my life and I still to this day will not let it get the best of me especially taking over my mind. My mind is the strongest medication I have and I will not surrender it to medication, illness or anyone. I am powered by the fuel that keeps me going. And John is the major motivating force of my life.

John and I recently added a new goal to my list that I never would have dreamed coming true.On December 27, 2008, my 50th birthday, our family and friends witnessed our commitment to one another at our fabulous wedding ceremony. Thanks to the wonderful State of California we were able to make our dream a reality. Now I can scream out those infamous words of Sophia from one of my favorite movies, the Color Purple, and mean it, “Look y'all I’ze married.”

As I continue to accept to live with challenge after challenges in my life, I am ready for whatever comes my way. I will not allow anything or anyone prevent me from happiness.

I have always lived by my own philosophy, “You are the only someone in this world that can make you happy.  Others in our life only enhance it."   This can easily be done with a strong mind and a loving soul. We all were blessed with the same tools; we just need to know how to make them work in our favor. God gave us the tool; we need to use it wisely.

Recently this year, I had both my shoulders replaced due to the AVN making yet another appearance. Not like the hip replacement recovery, this one a little bit more challenging.  I’ll get through this one as well. Together with my husband we make a good life for ourselves in spite of challenges that cross our path. We continue to keep utilizing our most valuable tool and most powerful medication we have. While keeping control of our own minds, there just AIN’T NO STOPPING US NOW.

-Marc Medina

you control your mind

Monday, July 19, 2010

T hin K Ten Tell Thoughts

no one owes you anything

thank God

be thankful for the experience

take one day at a time

this is really real

wait a minute it just might change

find your lifework

God is love

one step in front of the other

put aside anger

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blue October-Into The Ocean(with lyrics)

The Police - King Of Pain

The Wonderful Life I

I am not really sure anymore about what time of day it is, but as I lay in bed weak, nauseated, and attached to an IV that has become like a third arm in the past few months, I can barely keep my eyes open. So far the only medication available for me at this time is working a double whammy on me. Supposedly it helps to keep me alive, but killing me softly at the same time.

I can hear very well. I hear all the crying in the other room. God forbid they do it in front of me for fear that I fall apart as well. I can also hear everything else going on around me near and far. I can feel this illness taking everything from me little by little. First my hunger then my weight and now experiencing other organs not working like they should or use to anyway, but I still have my mind and that is the one organ I know for sure is still working and I am trying so very hard not to surrender it.

As I have no choice but to allow A.I.D.S. to take over my body, all I can do is think night and day about the childhood friends it took from me in recent years and especially the one right from my arms. Rolando, Peter, and Michael, my buds, I am so proud to give recognition to the world. They are in heaven just waiting for me to join them.

For some Godly reason, and I would hate to think that I am the true meaning of, 'only the good die young', I was forsaken and fortunate to meet with the much awaited prolonged medication to provide a self defense toward A.I.D.S. to fight for a chance to stay alive. To this day, I miss them with all my heart even more steadily than the desserts miss the rain. I think of them daily and feel them, my guardian angels, watching over me.

Today, I am ten years plus H.I.V. undetectable and living a healthy life with some major side effects of course, but hey, at least I still have my mind and I am alive. It has always been a wonder to me as to why I survived and what exactly the meaning of this second chance of life is. As I live and breathe today, I continue to work my mind to the fullest and do as much as I can in life for myself and especially for others.

Somewhere deep in my heart I feel the call to help others. On a much larger scale as it has become a passion for me to achieve. Many wonder where my enlightening energy comes from and I simply reply, it is fueled by all the love and support of my friends and family, especially my parents. It is constant.

My second chance at life, as I like to refer it to, started in the late 90’s. I was forced to leave the corporate world due to the constant reoccurrences with my illness and all the side effects. It was also recommended for me to leave the cold climates of the Midwest. A.I.D.S. had taken its toll with my lungs and another pneumonia hospital visit could very likely be the big one. I took everyone’s advice very seriously and got the heck out of dodge and headed to the West Coast.

I was very fortunate to have a loving brother who opened up his home to me for the winter months in beautiful San Diego. He had no hesitation, and as a matter of fact insisted on me being there to help me with my recovery in a much better climate.

I come from a large family with five siblings. They have all shown much support before, during, and to this day. Without ever questioning my life style, they have always been there for me. It is the greatest feeling in the world. It is no wonder why I have always been able to just be me. We all live in different states. Through the wonderful upbringing of our parents, we all stay in constant touch with one another as if we lived next door.

After several years of sharing my life with the Midwest and the West Coast, at the age of 40, I made a decision to make San Diego my permanent home. It was a perfect opportunity for me to take advantage of regrouping and doing the things I had not accomplished while working and playing hard in Chicago. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Chicago and it loved me, but San Diego opened it arms to me and showed me that the rest of my life starts here.

Still wondering why me, why was I fortunate to be granted a second chance of life. I figured out that this would also be a good place for me to begin setting some positive goals for myself to accomplish before the age of 50. That is how optimistic I was about being around for a long time. I was not going to let anything get in my way of making a much better life for myself.

With my new cocktail medication, that took a while to work on my recovery progression, I slowly started to inherit a strong sense of positive thinking that made me realize that I could never go back to change anything that has happened to me. I only strive on looking at the positive side of everything around me and use my mind to the fullest.

Eventually, the perfect cocktail designed amazed the doctors, but had to be changed constantly just to keep up with my speedy recovery.

First on the agenda of my goals was to finally allow a relationship in my life if the right man was really out there just waiting for me. Working two jobs and partying like a rock star never allowed me to really focus on a relationship, nor did I allow it to happen either. I was living in the fast lane and loved every minute of it.

Some ask me if I ever regret any part of my past and my answer is simply yes. I do not regret any of my past, but do wish that during the past ten years of my recovery, I could have been an inspiration to others who fought A.I.D.S. and lost. Today, I hope to make that a reality and show them as well as the world that life goes on and one living with H.I.V. can have a normal life with a little motivation and support. I have a persistent personality and will give it all I have to acquire whatever I set my self to do.

Getting back to my agenda, after exactly one year of living in San Diego and almost to the day, there I was minding my own business as I always do.

When I heard a voice from behind that said , “Excuse me, but do you come here often.” I turned around and said to myself, are you kidding me, and there, to my surprise, stood the love of my life.

Well, I’m not sure if those were his exact words...

live and breathe today

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mo Horizons - Mambuloo

Performance Piece

I should have been an actor.

I’ve played the role. Happy housewife. Got that one down pat. I played that role so well that the one person who taught next to me for six years swore I was having a mid life crisis when I finally got the nerve to leave my marriage. Oscar anyone? I learned really early to disconnect. That’s my safety net. Hurt me, and I disconnect. Easy enough. Disconnected I can survive anything. I wonder if I believed that in a previous life? (Hey, who really knows, right?) Maybe I grew up on a stage.

So, my story? What is MY story? Do I actually have a story to tell? Something someone could actually learn something from? My life has been relatively easy. Grew up in a house, two parents, two kids. Dad was military. Traveled a bit. Did the overseas thing. Parents separated when I was a junior, divorced officially my freshman year of college. So did it affect me? Not much.

Or maybe I disconnected so it wouldn’t? I found myself a college graduate in a town that I’d gone to school in so I was relatively comfortable. I had a decent job, lived with good friends, and just enjoyed life. Met people here and there but nothing really connected. Had more than one or two dates that probably should have never been. But we learn and move on. Right? Another disconnect?

23 years old, 24, 25, 26……..working hard, teaching…… nothing happening on the romantic front. Had a friend from high school. We’d dated one summer. It was fun that summer, but yeah, it was a summer. We’d had fun. We spent a weekend Summer of 25 yrs but nothing clicked. Summer of 27 comes around and still nothing.

Getting a little nervous here. I thought to myself wow, am I not going to find anyone? I don’t want to play the single sex and the city girl. This college town definitely wasn’t New York.

So, I decided let’s call summer guy. I called, we hooked up, within a year we were married. It was a whirlwind courtship. That’s for sure. Looking back there were a lot of warning indicators. Why didn’t it bother me that he wouldn’t spend time with MY friends? Why didn’t it bother me that he’d disappear for a weekend? Why didn’t the temper bother me? I learned quickly what role I had to play to become that person to make him happy. After all, I’d get to be married, finally have my children that I wanted. Sad, I know.

Married life? Oh yeah, I played that role well. Happy housewife. Everyone believed it. Dinner every night, house reasonably clean (lol) crafts and creative ideas here and there. Did we have a torrid love affair? No, but we had a working relationship. I took care of the house and he did the work thing. Yeah, I had a job as well that I went to every day, but it was clear that his was the more important job since his job made three times as much as mine. We were comfortable. My paycheck was for me to use. I paid for the children’s purchases and here and there whims. I had it easy. I admit it. I knew I had it good. Maybe that’s why I stayed for so long? I could play the happy role in exchange for comfort?

But then, things started to change and I realized I’d made some major sacrifices. And the biggest thing I’d sacrificed was my happiness. It’s sad when you look forward to your spouse being away because then you can relax and not have to worry about whether or not the kids are too loud or dinner is ready on time or whether he’ll be irritated by something. I knew I had to do something.

It took me three years of really deciding if I could do it or not. I had one of those apartment locator books in my car for a quite a while. Finally, I started the process. Vocalized to a friend how I felt and that I wasn’t happy. Apparently I played the role so well that one of my best friends accused me of having a mid life crisis! Why would I want to leave a home with money, security, everything that reasonable person would ask for? I mean, he doesn’t hit you does he? She asked. Well, this just wasn’t me. This wasn’t love. I knew it. He knew it. We were at the point where it wasn’t even working as a roommate situation. Sad that I could have settled for that but even that wasn’t working. Yeah, it took me a long time to realize it but it just wasn’t me.

So, now, I’m doing me. The divorce is almost finalized and yeah it’s scary. Here I am, alone responsible for the welfare of myself and children who didn’t ask for this, but recognize that life is better. Yes, dad’s still in the picture and yes, they see him regularly. I get reminded regularly that they are HIS children. I wonder why he tells me that….none of this is about them. We all know they are his. And they will always be his. But, I’m not anymore. I’m me. I’m my own self.

And now I'm playing my hardest role. Me.

PS. Funny how things work. Get out of a marriage and randomly meet the true love of my life. Someone who inspires me, protects me, loves me unconditionally, brags of me, consumes my every thought……someone who still takes my breath away every time he kisses me. Yeah, this is what I have been waiting for the last 40 years. For the first time in my life I really feel like it’s me. No script, no make up, no costumes. I’m ready for my close up.

play YOUR role

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Journey - Faithfully 1983

Woman in the Mirror

Born and raised as an Army Brat, I was used to picking up and moving every three or four years.  As a child, I felt like I was pretty well rounded. I always made friends easily.  The summer before 7seventh grade we moved from Germany back to Texas. It was a typical Army move and I was excited to get back to school to meet new friends.

My parents bought their first house when we returned from Germany, so we were not going to live in on base housing. That would be different. But, as I said, I made friends easily, so I had no worries.

No worries, until I started school. The kids at my new middle school were different. Of course, a lot of them were Army brats, but a lot of them were not. I actually felt like the new kid for the first time in my life. I felt like that because a lot of the kids had grown up together and were unwilling to let newcomers into their circles. Still, I made friends, and to this day, I still have several of those same friends.

Seventh grade is a time in my life that sticks out the most to me because that is the year that my self esteem issues began.  I had never thought that I was overweight before I started seventh grade.

I was always active. I was a cheerleader in Germany for four years. I had been in ballet for years, and had even been taught by a former Russian Ballet star when I lived in Germany. For the first time in my life I felt like people judged me because of the way I looked and not because of the person I was inside. In eighth grade I made the cheerleading squad. I never felt a part of that squad, I felt self-conscious. One night after a football game, a player pulled me aside and laughed at me and told me how ridiculous I looked in my uniform. I still remember how much that hurt.

I have some great memories from high school. I also have memories of feeling fat, ugly and never good enough. I look back now and realize that I wasn’t fat, and I was far from ugly. My insecurities made me feel bad about myself. The way I looked at others was warped. I look back now and realize that I wasn’t much heavier than most girls. I just saw myself differently.

My father got sent back to Germany when I was in the tenth grade. My mom, my sister, and I stayed in Texas because we were in school and my mom owned her own business.

It was about this time that I started smoking marijuana and drinking. I think that I thought it would help me to fit in. I was really good at hiding the effects of the drugs and alcohol. My mom had no clue. Maybe she did, but she never admitted it. The summer before my senior year I ended up losing a lot of weight. My mom used to say that I had finally blossomed.

The truth is that I had developed an eating disorder. I just didn’t eat. Or if I did, I threw it up as soon as I could find a safe place to do so. The fact that I lost some weight didn’t affect the way I felt about myself.

I never had a boyfriend in high school. I got asked to prom, then a week before the prom he canceled on me. My mom’s best friend had a son that was a year older than me, and he agreed to take me. How embarrassed I was that night. He tried to make it a great night for me, but I was mortified the entire night because I really didn’t even know him, and here I was at prom with him. I felt like a charity case. He didn’t make me feel like one, I made myself feel like one.

My parents divorced at the end of my senior year of high school. The two years that my dad was in Germany did nothing for my parents’ marriage.When he returned to Texas, he brought a girlfriend with him. This other
woman was a lot younger than my dad, by over twenty years. I learned later that this particular affair wasn’t my father’s first affair. My mother had always stood by him because he would always tell her that he’d never do it again. He lied and she believed him every time.

My world turned upside down. I had always been very close to my father. This other woman changed all of that because not only did he leave my mom, my sister, and me behind, but he rarely came around at all except to berate my mother.

I continued to be the same cheerful person that I needed to be at school and to my mom. I could fall apart in private, and on most days, I did. Even my closest friends didn’t know how I felt. I kept it all inside and got through it all with the help of drugs and alcohol.

Graduation came and went. It should have been a more joyful occasion, but it wasn’t. My father decided, to bring his new girlfriend to the ceremony. No amount of begging from my mom, or me would change his mind. He couldn’t even let me have a happy memory. Instead of sitting together, my father’s family sat with him and my mother’s family sat with her. My family didn’t meet me out on the football field after the ceremony; they watched from the stands and then left.

I decided to hold off on going away to school for a year so that I could be around if my mom needed me. While my best friend enrolled in the University of Texas, I enrolled at the local community college with plans to move to Austin the next year. I never even finished my second semester.  I dropped all of my classes because I liked partying and going to the clubs more than I liked getting up and going to class. I spent most nights partying and drinking. I continued to binge and purge. There were some mornings that I woke up and had no idea how I had even gotten home.

Throughout this time it is truly amazing that I never got pulled over for DWI, or worse, killed someone while driving drunk. My relationship with my father got worse. I didn’t want anything to do with the other woman, who by now had married my dad. He couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t accept her and welcome her into the family. I couldn’t believe he would choose her over his family. It disgusted me. It’s been many years and I’ve moved on, but it still disgusts me to this day. She knew he was married and had a family. He is definitely not blameless, but she should have walked away. The Army moved them away for several years and I rarely heard from my father, which suited me fine.  I stopped partying and drinking and got help with my eating disorder.

Eventually, I went back to college and graduated from the University of Texas. I met a man and we fell in love quickly. Our whirlwind relationship quickly went from dating to engaged to married. It was nearing our tenth anniversary when I discovered that my husband was having an affair. I thought we had the perfect marriage. I thought I was everything that he wanted and needed. We had two children and were living the American Dream, weren’t we?

I couldn’t believe that another “other woman” was about to destroy my family. I decided at that moment that I was not going to roll over and lose my marriage. I loved him. He had hurt me, he had devastated me, but I was going to fight for my family. I immediately set up marriage counseling for the two of us. The other woman isn’t totally to blame, I know that.

One night after therapy the counselor told me that I didn’t need to come back to see her. I was surprised and asked her why.  She told me that I was one of the strongest people she had ever encountered. She told me that she had no doubt that I would save my marriage and that after I saved my marriage I should write a book on how to do so. Really? I am thankful to her, because she not only helped me with my marriage issues, but she helped me work through a lot of issues with my father and my self-esteem.

The past six years since I discovered the affair have been long, but my husband and I are still together and our marriage is stronger than it has been in many years. 

My relationship with my father has improved, too. Eventually, as I matured, I realized that I needed my father in my life. Shortly before I got married, I thought about eventually having children, and the thought of my father not being in their lives didn’t seem right. I decided to put aside my anger and start building a relationship with him. I am thankful to have my dad in my life; he and his wife are a large part of our family.

Some days I look in the mirror and see that person who is still very unsure of herself. Fortunately, most days I look and see the strong woman that I’ve become. I strive to be that strong woman daily.

put aside anger