Anniversary · Crochet · Divorce · Emotions · Healing · Hope · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Portland · Sunflower · Tattoos · Trials · Triggers

Story #15 – Two Years Ago t o d a y

To continual new beginnings – a brighter hope, an even brighter future – moving forward


I feel free. I feel renewed. I feel I have found myself again – self-rediscovery. It has taken me quite sometime to finally get to this spot. Yes, I have my down days – my depression I constantly battle, constantly fight. Feeling drained. Feeling suffocated by my thoughts, by my heavy emotions.

Yet I feel alive – I feel free. Happy. Myself – once again.

How time has flown by. The many years of losing myself in a downward spiral. One that kept pulling me in a black hole – sinking.

Today marks 2 years since Matthew left. Since he decided marriage wasn’t for him. The desire to be with me – suddenly gone. Like I didn’t matter. As if I were just a waste of time to him, or better yet – a passing time of distraction until he found something better, something/one that would fulfill his temporary happiness. One he constantly fought to keep filled with something “new” & “exciting” because apparently – I lost that to him. I wasn’t that to him anymore.

Last year on this day – I was at work when I received a text message from him, finally coming to terms with his abrupt decision to leave suddenly. The longest most emotional text message I have ever received- apologizing. I was working at a doctor’s office at the time, & I sat quietly in my cubicle – sobbing. Sobbing because not that I missed him, but the fact that he finally apologized. He finally recognized what he did & realized how his actions affected me emotionally & mentally – along with my every day life of trying to live a good life by supporting myself with two jobs. I never once thought that I would want to try & maybe get back together after his apology (I’m pretty sure he wanted to try – he regretted his decision, never admitted he regretted but I knew) but a sense of peace moved in, one that I felt my power slowly coming back. & today – I realized that power is officially back.

I actually forgot up until this past week what today was. I scheduled a tattoo appointment for today not realizing what today was. I was suppose to have a friend from Ohio come to visit & we were going to explore Portland together & road trip all over the Pacific Northwest – not remembering what today was. But she recently backed out, which at first I was sad about. I’ve never had the pleasure & experienced to show any friends from Dayton my home, where I have grown to love – the 6 years that I lived in Spokane for school, & now most recently moving back – I’ve always been the one to go back to visit – & its tiring emotionally, to be honest.

But I had already scheduled my tattoo appointment & paid the deposit. & I decided to take this weekend to m y s e l f – to regroup, renew, to continual processing & to continue to get my power back – my strength.

& it has been so incredibly fucking good

So incredibly – fucking good

I decided to visit all new places instead of my favorites. There is so much to explore. So much to see. All over really, just in general. But Portland has always been a favorite city of mine.

So many coffee shops, tried a couple new breweries, visited new shops. Bought a few house plants (now have 38), & the biggest reason I came was to add to my right arm of sunflowers – my favorite flower.  A work in progress of a collection of sunflowers from different tattoo artists. What an adventure it has been!

There’s something about traveling alone that’s refreshing. I bet people stare at me wonder why I’m alone – but who cares right? I have the freedom to do so, to be independent & strong. & I’m not ashamed of it. Especially working two jobs in customer service where I am constantly talking with people – its tiring, & traveling solo & keeping to myself – I’m perfectly fine with it.

& crocheting at bars? Fuck yeah.

I also have had opportunities to meet new people, which Portland is great with. One of the coffee shops I went to this morning – I talked with the owners & a lady who was sipping on an Americano.

& as I’m sitting at Breakside Brewery, writing this post – my latest crochet project in hand, people watching – I feel refreshed. I feel renewed. I feel me again. I don’t feel sad. Nor anger or hatred toward Matthew from what happened two years ago today – but I feel myself again.

a l i v e

Once again

Really ready to begin my life – to seek new opportunities whether it comes to job, dating, & so forth. One thing I do know for sure.

I want to make the Pacific Northwest my home.

Permanently.

It would have to take an incredible amount of convincing to move back to Dayton. I’m realizing more & more that no matter how hard I tried to be apart of the community there – yes, I moved away for 6 years & then back for over 2. Its my hometown & I know things were never going to be the same. People lose touch with one another, lose connection – its authentically natural.

But when it came to making n e w friends. When it came to dating – to seek genuine connections. When it came to building community, building support.

There was nothing – like I was an outsider peeking in, trying to be apart of a community that in reality? I was never welcomed to be apart of. & that’s ok.

Ever since Matthew left – I did literally everything on my own – alone. Solo. No support. No community. Besides my dad, besides my best friend sweet Soleil (best friend of 16 years) & a couple new friends – Lauren, David, Amelia ♥️ but instead received judgment & no support. From my hometown. From a community I should have been welcomed into naturally but instead – the complete opposite.

& I’m ok with that. Really.

& even though I was suppose to enjoy this trip to Portland with a friend I had made during the time I was actively trying to build community back in Dayton – trying to actively build genuine friendships & connections – I’m glad to be alone & to take time to myself.

To continual new beginnings.


Stopped in Hood River for their annual fall fest & bought a couple plants & squash I’ve never heard of. I have some cooking to do when I get back home!


Kainos Coffee – their pour over of their Tanzania was seriously on point.


The Grotto – a place of solitude & peace – simply beautiful.


Migration Brewery – such good food & beer!


Famous Powell’s Bookstore. I usually go & look for an old book on WWII but just had fun exploring it more.


Met with an old & dear friend here for drinks. A friend I knew back in Dayton who now lives in Portland. What a blessing it was to reconnect after so many years!


Doe Donuts – a vegan donut shop & holy shit – 🙌🏻


Kiosko – their kalito of their Mexico was so good. Such friendly owners as well!


Water Avenue Coffee


As I was trying to kill time waiting on my tattoo appointment – I came upon this place just right down the street.


Sunflower #6 from No Hope No Fear Tattoo Studio – I left speechless I was so happy with it!


Grabbed a cone sprinked in freeze dried beets from Cheese & Crack – #sorrystomach


Took home plant #38 from Pistil’s Nursure located in the Mississippi District.

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Stumbled upon this place in The Mississippi District – Wolf & Bear’s Din – I left speechless.


Cutest boutique!


Breakside Brewery – as I finish this blog post here.

What a fantastic trip – to continual new beginnings

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Anniversary · Basset-Hound · Divorce · Dogs · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Lacey · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Patrick-Hound · Trials · Triggers

Story #13 – 4 Years A Go – Today

4 years ago today – someone special came into my life. Someone I didn’t imagine at the time – would just end up being her & I. I’ve always been a firm believer that when you bring an animal into your life, they become part of you – part of your daily routine, your life style. They become apart of your intermediate circle, your companion, your best friend – your most trust-worthy & loyal sweet friend.

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Matthew & I at the time, were looking to adopt another dog. Our basset- hound, Patrick – whom we adopted a year prior back in 2012, had the worst separation anxiety. It came to the point it started becoming a problem, one that needed to be addressed immediately. We had talked about adopting a second dog, doing our research & thinking about it, & Lacey came along. Her original owner had passed away & she was given to her daughter. Her daughter’s dogs kept bullying Lacey & Lacey was having a difficult time adjusting the living out in the country when all she knew – was apartment life.

We drove up to Green Bluff with Patrick, to meet sweet Lacey, & I remember sitting down on a step – Lacey came trotting up to me, & instantly  threw her cute self onto my lap & looked up at me, wagging her tale – I knew from that moment we would become the best of friends.

Something my dad has always taught me when considering bringing a dog or animal into your life – Don’t choose the animal; but let the animal choose you. & I felt in that moment with Lacey – she was choosing me.

Patrick Hound? Could care less at the time – but they became great pals quickly afterward, always side-by-side. It was difficult separating the two later on. Emotional.

Lacey became my best friend. She can sense when I’m sad, down, upset. She can sense when I’m about to cry or when I’m crying – & always comes up to snuggle me close. Allows me to hug her tight during those times. & one time in particular – I will never forget.

One week after adopting Lacey, it was my 24th Birthday. & my sweet friend Allison had spent literally 13 hours with me, dreading my hair. I was recently getting over a case of strep-throat, & Matthew? He did nothing for me on my birthday. He said that adopting Lacey was enough ($50 rehoming fee), & he remained silent on my birthday. Not even a “Happy Birthday! I love you!” Not even picking up coffee or making me breakfast or getting a bouquet of flowers for me – nothing. Yes, he did work that day, but there were chances through out the entire day where he could have at least done something. I remember feeling alone, uncherished, not special, like I didn’t matter. & having that feeling on your birthday? Is completely heart-breaking & miserable.

After Allison finished dreading my hair (around 930pm after arriving at 7am), Matthew asked, “What would you like to do for your birthday?” My response ” Well, I would like to go to The Hop Shop & just grab a beer with you.” His response “Ok great! I already invited a couple friends of mine to join.” My response “But, I just wanted to spend time with you on my birthday?” His response ” Well they are already on their way.”

We joined his friends at The Hop Shop (favorite bar of mine that sadly closed down later on due to the owners ready to embark a new business journey), & I remember feeling completely alone. I already hadn’t heard from my mom on my birthday (surprise, surprise since that stopped several years back) & I had to force myself to be social with people I already felt uncomfortable being around, not to mention didn’t want to be around at that time because hey – it was my birthday & I should feel as if I can do what I want to do on my birthday, which was get my hair dreaded & grab a beer with my husband, even if he didn’t do anything for me for my birthday.

& when we got home afterward – everything unfolded. One of my worst fears played out, & I honestly? Should have left him then before he decided to leave me a few years later, even after forgiving him & continued putting up with his abusive & manipulative behavior. Honestly? I don’t even remember what was said, what the fight was initially about. But I do remember he was mad at me because I wasn’t social enough with his friends. What do you expect?! Force myself to be social after recovering from strep-throat & having my head pulled on for 13 hours, to one of your friends actively telling me I looked awful (really, that was said) – to you ignoring me & not including me. I tried to have a genuine conversation, & his anger snapped. Something that quite honestly? Frightened me – for my safety.

We were sitting on our bed – he was yelling at me, raising his voice. I sat there in silence, not knowing how to respond, felt completely degraded – the next thing I know the word “bitch” came out of his mouth & a rather hard sting across my face – & instant reaction on my part – a sting across his face, pointing my finger at him saying, “You don’t dare lay a hand on me, or I will call the police on you.” I’ve never seen him so angry – his anger went from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. He immediately stood up & leaned over my end table next to my side of the bed, & with both of his fists – he began destroying my end table. Thousands of wood chips flying all over our bedroom. Me? Sitting on the bed, frozen, yelling for hm to stop – but he didn’t. I began to cry so hard, & the next thing I know?

Lacey came running in, hopped onto my lap, & allowed me to bury my crying, tear-stained face, into her. She remained calm. She remained still. Shielding my eyes from the pieces of wood flying into her – I strongly believe – Lacey saved me emotionally & mentally that night. On my birthday – a week later after adopting her. & ever since that moment four years ago – Lacey has never left my side sense.

Animals become apart of you, apart of your routine, apart of your life style, apart of your intermediate circle, apart of your family – they become your companion, your adventurer, your best friend. One of my favorite things to do with Lacey is take her to a brewery with me. She loves people, & she sits so quietly & begs for a sip of my beer 🙂 She also loves coffee beans & anxiously waits for me to give her one when I’m grinding coffee in the morning. She loves raw veggies, freshly popped popcorn, & snuggles. Lacey enjoys car-rides, camping, hiking, going on walks in our neighborhood. Most importantly – Lacey loves people, she loves cats (my cat Arwen & her are besties), & other dogs as well. She is incredibly well behaved, very mellow, very relaxed – & she just enjoys being with me, by my side.

There was a reason for adopting Lacey – & I’m so thankful she’s mine. & now that it’s just been her & I now for the past two years – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To new beginnings

Lacey loves her popcorn! She also loves playing with my crochet projects. Sweet soul.

Our last day in our apartment in Spokane before moving back to Ohio. & When it became just her & I suddenly – we went on so many hikes together.

Lacey loves being outside & also making new friends! Right when I adopted my cat Arwen, they became best friends.

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& a little tribute to Patrick Hound – Lacey’s first best friend, her side-kick, her partner in crime though Patrick caused the majority if not all of the drama.

Happy 9th Birthday Lacey Lou!

Until next time

Camping · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Memories · New Memories · Trials

Story #11 – r e n e w a l completely

“Its purpose is self renewal, and this is accomplished by spending time alone, immersed in the beautiful blanket of silence.” -anonymous-

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Camping. Something I haven’t done in over two years. Actually, the last camping trip I went on – for my 26th birthday to Hocking Hills in Ohio – was with Matthew. Exactly one month before he decided to up & leave, with no warning. That trip? Was suppose to help rekindle love that was lost, forgotten. In many ways, it was a great trip. But also – I had a distinct feeling, that something was about to change my life – forever.

Camping is something we did constantly, created so many wonderful memories. Being out in nature, with nature. Being away from the world, from daily routine, from responsibility – to just be free, be at peace, self-renewal. Camping is one of my favorite things to do. I much rather camp at a state park, a lake, or national park for vacation instead of going to the beach (don’t get me wrong, I like going to the beach! I like that tropical life too!), but camping is a time for me to step back – relax, breathe, regroup, renew.

The final weeks with Matthew, after he announced his leaving – he asked what we should do with all our camping equipment, as we began dividing everything up. “Um, I’m not sure. Maybe just divide it up?” We did receive it all as wedding gifts. Later on, turns out, he gave half of our camping supplies away to friends – and tossed the rest. I was heartbroken. Something I cherished & loved. Something that meant so much to me, something that I enjoyed doing greatly – suddenly gone. In a blink. I haven’t camped since.

My sweet best friend & I, along with a couple other friends – went camping. My first time since that camping trip back in 2015. We drove up to Priest Lake, Idaho – about an hour & half  from Spokane  – we drove up on a campsite that was unoccupied, settled in, & Emily made dinner while I prepared corn on the cob to roast over the fire, to go along with dinner. After dinner, we traveled down to the lake for a night swim. I sat on the beach with Lacey, contemplating, thinking, processing – pure joy, pure happiness, some sadness as old memories resurfaced. One of my thoughts – “Matthew & I would go camping often. I loved it.” What a beautiful view (first picture posted up above), & I remember feeling at peace, ready to make new camping memories, toward new beginnings.

The entire weekend was spent eating great food, drinking great beer (so much beer… LOL), laughing, conversation, silliness, swimming, relaxing, connecting with nature – connecting with friends. Lacey had the time of her life! Channeling her inner wolf. The smell of campfires, crocheting, reading – relaxing, regrouping, renewal.

I’ve come to the realization more & more – there are some things that I’m ready to let go, officially. & the thought of holding on to certain things, certain people – it’s time to release them. It’s time to focus on my future, & it’s time to focus on really settling in to my new home in Spokane – & what I believe it to be – my long-term home. To not be afraid of Matthew being back, to not let that affect my love for Spokane & the people, the community, all the booming local businesses, the easy access to nature, to camping. Certain people I kept holding on to back in Dayton, or at least the idea. Released officially.  & the freedom I have, the feeling – indescribable. Pure joy – pure happiness.

To new beginnings – a brighter hope, an even brighter future – cheers to camping

 

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Priest Lake – Idaho – incredibly beautiful & peaceful!

Lacey seriously had the time of her life! She went swimming, relaxed by the campfire, well-behaved the entire time. She snuggled with me under my blanket at night. And boy, did she received a good bath when we got home!

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One thing important that I reminded myself of – raw, natural beauty. Going without make-up (which I actually don’t wear a lot of anyways, but have my moments where I like to get fancy with it), I reminded myself how beautiful I am. Something that I struggled with for the longest time – my body, my looks. Primarily because Matthew down-talked me constantly, shattering my self-confidence. The times he got on me about my weight, the way I dressed & presented myself. My last year with him – I went to the gym 5 days a week, pushed myself, didn’t eat much – & I lost so much weight. I felt too skinny & wasn’t happy. It was also too late for him to even notice. But I’ve gained a good portion of it back & realized – I’ve a curvaceous woman, embracing it more each day. Camping to me? Allows me to be free, to not focus on how I look, but to feel more confident in my physical appearance. A gentle & sweet reminder. Embrace your body & take care of it – love & appreciate it. Remind yourself – just how beautiful you really are.

Until next time

 

 

Divorce · Emotions · Healing · Hope · July · Marriage · Memories · Sunflower · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized

Story #10 – Slow to S P E A K

“Before you say something, think how you’d feel if someone said it to you.” – anonymous-

“If the words you spoke appeared on your skin would you still be b e a u t i f u l?” -anonymous-

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One of my biggest frustrations since Matthew left – the constant down talk about how “I could have done better.” How he was plain stupid, not well-liked, etc. Why on earth, do you even get the slightest thought, that it’s ok to speak to me like that? Or to anyone?

Very recently, I had a moment where it happened. In great company too. And one of my dear friends, who knew him before he snapped & changed, recognized the severity of the rudeness, but I held it together & let this gal speak. Her talking – minutes felt like hours. But yet – I bit my tongue & remained calmed. I let her speak her mind. I sat there, listened, took the brutal talk, brutal words, & listened. Agreeing with her. Because I didn’t want to get involved in an argument, from having a great evening with dear friends – my community. I wasn’t going to allow her painful words – affect & hurt me. But – I can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve been battling with negative thoughts since – was I stupid? Naive? Could I have done better? What is wrong with me to receive such poor treatment? Constantly? Harsh & judgmental words? How suddenly quick she was to speak as well. I sat there in shock, hurt, fighting back tears. I felt so belittled, incredibly stupid. Incredibly low. And I have been since. A thought I haven’t really thought about it.

Ever since Matthew left, I’ve had more people come forward to vocally voice their opinion on how they viewed him, how they disliked him, wandered why I was with him, why I – didn’t leave him. You know by whom? By those who only met & knew him – after things drastically changed between us. After something snapped. Because those people? Didn’t know him before he changed – they didn’t see the caring, gentle, & sweet spirit he was – the little things he use to do for me, like place bouquets of sunflowers on the dashboard of my car – while I was at work. The several times he brought me coffee also while at work, that one time he surprised me with tickets to my favorite band – mewithoutYou – twice! The several times he cooked me dinner, brought me breakfast in bed, told me how beautiful I was, how he really loved me unconditionally – and those who knew him before he changed suddenly – saw his love for me, & his sweet spirit, caring self. He was well-liked by others. My dad & him grew a close friendship tremendously – he even took my dad out to breakfast to ask for my hand in marriage. He was good – really good.

I grieved over what was gone – his old self, the self I missed dearly – sometimes I still do. And for someone who has no clue what the past two years of my life have been like, the last few years with Matthew & what I dealt with when he snapped suddenly – to speak such harsh & hurtful words. “I thought he was stupid & I always wondered why the fuck you were with him. You could have done better. And then he really fucked up when he left you.” Well no fucking shit – he really fucked up & I hope & I assume that he realizes it. But even during the worst times with him – I remained hopeful, because I knew what he was capable of – because I experienced it, & so did everyone else.

I ran into my roommate from college at work a few days ago – first time seeing her in exactly 6 years – literally. One of those moments where you both lean back, looking at each other, realizing you recognize one other – “Marcie?!” “Shannon?!” Shannon was my last roommate before I got married, & by far my favorite. We lived in a house together with 3 other girls, & then it was just us 2 until we both went on our separate ways, both engaged – she now has two adorable little boys, with her husband. And me? Alone. The look on her face when I told her, sudden heartbreak, sadness. “But Marcie! He loved you so much!” I know he did – but shortly after her & I parted ways? He didn’t – suddenly. Sadness. Pain. Devastation. She was experiencing those emotions for me – because she saw, & she knew – What Matthew was like before he – changed suddenly.

I just want to encourage everyone – please, please THINK before you utter any words. You have absolutely no idea what the past 7 years of my life were like. You have not walked in my shoes. You have not experienced what I experienced & went through. To the next person that speaks to me in such a way – I will call you out on it. Right there. To your face. Because that type of treatment needs to be stopped – immediately.

This week has already been rather emotional, full of self-reflecting, thinking, process, continual healing – & that conversation? Was the icing on the cake from everything else this week – & it’s only Thursday.

I’m emotionally drained – when will I stop feeling this way? When will I stop crying? When will I find myself normal again? To not constantly be on the verge of tears? To not constantly randomly start crying? To not let my mind wander to the past? When will I feel like my normal self again? When will I be brought out of this – depression?

& even though last weekend was a huge weekend in celebration toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future – continual healing finally taking place – I still have my moments, I still struggle, & I recognize it – & I am trying to figure out what to do – to help myself.

I’m just being real. Raw. Honest. Authentic. Me – thoughts, process, healing – until next time.

14F1818F-961C-40DE-BCEE-51D8A0CB0C8D“You should step into my shoes and walk a mile. Then maybe you’ll see how hard it is to hold back tears and fake smiles.” -anonymous-

Anniversary · Divorce · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · July · Marriage · Memories · Photography · Trials · Triggers · Wedding

Story #8 – Month of July

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25


The month of July use to be one of my favorites. Officially summer viben, bbqs, pool & beach hangs, roadtrips, cool summer mornings, cool summer evenings, all the berry pickin & jam makin – summer time in full swing. July 4th is a favorite holiday of mine. I get so excited to see the sky light up, filled with lovely displays of fireworks. Seeing the excitement on everyones’ faces around me. Sparklers. One July 4th, back in Ohio at a little park, the fog was so low to the ground – filled with lightning bugs going off simultaneously as the sky above showered a display of my favorite & what I like to call it “the wheeping willow” gold, shimmery firework. 7-4-11 – 5 days before my wedding day.

In one week – the first anniversary will come & it will pass – first wedding anniversary of officially divorced. I never thought I would be standing in this position – not once. I believed in tradionally staying together until ‘death do us part’ no matter the circumstance, the hardships, the pain, the hurt. I believe in fighting for each other daily, that love conquers all. What girl doesn’t want a fairy tale ending after all? I dreamed of my wedding day & leading up to it was so exciting full of love & joy. A new journey that I felt ready to embark. Yes, I was 21, but age simply does not matter – its the individual(s). And since I’ve been divorce, all the people I’ve encountered hear my story, ask me how old I was when I got married & I tell them & their first response “Oh well you guys were so young & not ready.” Every time someone had said that to me, & I had a mason jar for each individual to toss a $1 in as they said it – I would be rich.

Matthew & I dated a year & a half, had a year long engagement – almost 3 years together before we got married. I was cautious, I was patient. But someone wasn’t being honest with me in all his entirety – & unfortunately it came about after we got married. I was tricked. I was fooled. I thought I knew him well.

7-9-11 – 6 years ago. & here I am today, not where I thought I would be. Divorced. Single. Alone. & right when I finally felt that I was in a good place mentally, emotionally – I recently learned he’s back – in Spokane. I learned he was moving back two weeks before my move. The time he learned of my move, the many times he tried “reaching out” to me, even after having to block him on social media, not giving him my new phone number, but seeing emails from him shortly after my move, inquiring for my new number so that he can “keep in touch with me sometimes.” Not responding, emails again, & my dad calls him in response. & when I f i n a l l y felt at peace of doing me, being me, processing, healing tremendously, content – he moves back 4 months early then when he originally planned. My heart sanked – an instant anxiety attack came on. Right before the first anniversary of our wedding of officially, being divorced.

When I learned he was back, memories overwhelmed me. The manipulation, emotional & mental, even physical abuse – those moments flooded my mind. I began to self-doubt myself, that I wasn’t strong enough, that I simply couldn’t face it. That I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough – remembering those lies that were constantly fed to me, embedded in my brain, my heart. My first emotion – anger. I was fuming. Furious. Why the fuck now?! Why can’t he just stay away? But instead disturb my peace, my moving on, moving forward? The first week of him being back, I nearly had a run-in with him that brought instant anxiety. Then it happened – driving right past each other, sudden eye contact. Instant anxiety. Instant emotion. Instant anger. Instant hurt.

People say “Oh it sucks when you run into your ex. You just need to get it over with.” But you know what really sucks? The idea of running into your abuser, the man who you put your trust in, your husband – who vowed to take care of you for the rest of his life, to love you unconditionally, forever – to love you just as Christ loved the church. But instead did the complete opposite – abandoned me, left me to literally fight to survive – alone – after all the emotional, mental, physical abuse. Left me to deal with all the harsh judgement, constant pressure to hurry on with my life & find someone quick because apparently my “clock is ticking,” left me to deal with stares from fellow classmates we went to college with & who knew us as one of “Moodys’ favorite couples,” left me to deal with it all – alone. I never want to run into him – I never want to see him again. & here he is – back in the same city, & we all know just how small Spokane is – real fucking small.

But I am determined to not let that overwhelm me. I am determined to keep moving forward toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future. & today was a huge step toward that. My sweet friend from college got married today, & a couple months ago she reached out & asked me if I could be her wedding photographer. With no professional experience, I decided to go for it. Nervous leading up to it, not to mention first wedding I’ve attended single,  what an incredible & rewarding experience it was. I felt renewed, refreshed, me. I had a blast capturing her sweet wedding day. It also shined hope, light – that one day, that will be me. United in front of family & friends, with my future husband who shows me his love unconditionally – about to embark on life’s journey – together.

Month of July – making new memories. Toward new beginnings; a brighter hope, a brighter future.

Healing – it’s really happening 💛

Until next time.


My sweet friend Jaimie! We went to college together at Moody Bible Institute back in 2008 & graduated together in 2012. Her sweet son Bingham 💙


The happy couple ❤️ LaRosa & Jaimie Johnson






Two families merging into O N E ❤️ simply beautiful.



Simply b e a u t i f u l ❤️



What a beautiful bride Jaimie was ❤️



Cupcake reception after the ceremony. Walking back to the chapel to retrieve my car – there were a few cupcakes left.



Basset-Hound · Divorce · Emotions · Marriage · Memories · Patrick-Hound · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized

Story #7 – An Ode – To Patrick Hound

Oh Patrick Hound – your frito smelling self – them droopy eyes & them built-n-napkins (aka your ears). Tomorrow is your 13th Birthday. I hope you are still enjoying life & causing a whole lot of ruckus because damn – you certainly did when I had you. But you know what? It was worth it.

5 years ago, Patrick Hound – my beloved basset-hound, came into my life. My ex-husband & I adopted him together. I grew up with basset-hounds, & recently before adopting Patrick, my best friend of 13 & 1/2 years had past away, suddenly (Maimie, my basset-hound back home in Ohio). She was the dog that could sense something was wrong & keep you company when you were down. She helped me get through a lot growing up when everything was happening with my mom. I clung to her constantly, & the last time I saw here, was the night before my wedding.

Matthew & I had talked about wanting to adopt a dog, & no doubt, I wanted a basset-hound. Surprisingly, we came across Patrick on Craigslist – he looked identical to Maimie. The owners said he was roughly 6, but it turned out – he was turning 9. Patrick had been bounced around a lot – from home to home, to the basset rescue, back to home to home. I wanted to give him a forever home. The high anxiety he had, I believe came from having so many unstable environments, abandonment. We ended up adopting another dog to help with his anxiety, & that’s when my cocker spaniel Lacey came into the picture – one year later.

Patrick’s anxiety went down tremendously. They became the best of friends. But Patrick still got into so much trouble – the times he would pull bags of produce off the counter top & consume the entire thing (minus the bag itself), the time he managed to open the refrigerator door & consume in 1 sitting a whole pizza, a package of hot dogs, a package of corn tortillas, & a package of deli lunch meat, the times he pulled the cast iron skillets off the stove top & licked them clean, the times he would eat my jalapeño peppers right off the plant, the times he jumped on my end table & snuck onto the bed at night – pushing me to the bottom of the bed while he took over my pillow, the time he broke my waffle maker (RIP waffle maker), the time he managed to open the oven door where I store Matthew’s birthday cake & he consumed the entire thing (no, the oven wasn’t on), or the times I would catch him literally standing – on top of the kitchen table. Patrick got into the worst trouble constantly, but he was the sweetest companion who reminded me so much of Maimie – it felt like I had her all over again.

Shortly after Matthew left, Patrick’s anxiety sky-rocketed. He was constantly peeing in my apartment, constantly getting into even more trouble, & just constantly down – a change took place – abandonment, a change in the home environment. Patrick felt the abandonment – just like me.

When Matthew asked if he could have him, I was heartbroken all over again. I didn’t want to give him up, but I knew Matthew & Patrick were extremely close – I knew Patrick would be happier. So I agreed. We decided to meet in St. Louis to pass him off. The road trip there was nerve-wrecking. I was about to see Matthew for the first time since he left, & I was about to give him Patrick – & never see him again. Patrick was such a great companion in the car. He stretched out in the back seat & slept the entire time. Or he would just look out the window. I stopped to take a break, & hid my snacks in the middle console – low & behold, he managed to open it & consume my entire unopened bags of my favorite trail mix & turkey jerky. Surprise, surprise. That’s the last time that sucker stole my food 🙂

& when time came to pass him along to Matthew, my heart broke yet all over again. Crying, kissing his sweet snout, & smelling his frito-self – one last time.

& the car ride back home? Incredibly lonely. Devastating. It felt like I lost both of my beloved basset-hounds – Maimie, my best friend who I clung to during some of the darkest moments of my childhood, & Patrick – who looked identical to Maimie & acted just like her, who also was my best friend & I also clung to during some of the darkest moments of my marriage.

Happy 13th Birthday big bad – you are severely missed – always.

So much change – in such a short period of time – process – it’s still difficult.

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When we first adopted Patrick – took him to a park to roam around – instant connection.

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Patrick & Lacey did everything together – they were always adventuring!

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When we first moved back to Ohio – we moved right before winter, slept on an air mattress for quite sometime, & Patrick was always super snuggly & kept me warm.

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Camping Trip for my birthday – September 2015 at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio – our last little family trip together – forever.

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October 2015 – this little family hike was the last one. This hike held the most heartbreaking conversation with Matthew, & a few days later he announced he was leaving. This picture I absolutely love though – Patrick always loved adventuring & sniffing the surroundings around him.

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March 2016 – on our way to St Louis – after he consumed my snacks LOL

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This was our last walk together. We walked around a park in St Louis while we waited on Matthew. What a beautiful day it was to go for a walk – one last time.

& this picture down below- is the last picture I have of Patrick. Matthew sent this to me shortly after we parted ways – I cried all the way home afterward – alone.

Even though Patrick is a dog – he became a part of me, of our little family then. He was one of many firsts together, & he was a constant reminder of Maimie – my childhood best friend. A constant reminder.

Healing – processing – memories – to new beginnings.

Until next time.

 

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Divorce · Emotions · Marriage · Memories · Sunflower · Tattoos · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized

Story #6 – 7 Years Tragically Over

“Love is a dress that you made, long to hide your knees, love to say this to your face, ‘I’ll love you only.’ for your days and excitement, what will you keep for to wear? Someday drawing you different, may I be weaved in your hair?

Love and some verses you hear, say what you can’t say, love to say this in your ear, ‘I’ll love you that way.’ from your changing contentments, what will you choose for to share? Someday drawing you different, may I be weaved in your hair?”

Lyrics from Iron & Wine  (Love and Some Verses) – a band I loved once, a song I loved once. What beautiful lyrics. What beautiful meaning. What beautiful sound. And now? A song I never want to hear again, a band I never want to hear again – triggers. Most painful.

July 9th, 2017 would have marked what would have been my 6th wedding anniversary. Instead? It will be first anniversary of officially divorced. I didn’t realize last year I was mailing the dissolution papers in to the courts on what would have been my 5th wedding anniversary – & just a few short days later? A court date was delivered to finalize it officially. Over in 5 mins – the past 7 years of my life.

I met my ex-husband, Matthew, second day of my freshman year of college (Moody Bible Institute). Moved across country for school, he moved up from California. We instantly clicked. Became friends. & 3 months after we met – we began our dating journey. A year & a half later – he proposed to me up on Green Bluff at my favorite orchard, where you can cut bouquets of fresh flowers. A year later – July 9th, 2011 – we got married. Felt connected, felt loved & cherished, we were walking the same path together, doing life together, loving each other unconditionally. But what most people don’t know – something changed once we got married.

He quickly began to distant himself from me. I became that nagging wife no husband likes & I hated myself as well – just to get his attention or to get him to complete important tasks done that he kept putting off. I remember my last semester at Moody, I was working full time, taking 18 credits, involved in ministry at the church we were attending, preparing for graduation, preparing a move, preparing adopting a dog, kept our home clean & laundry & cooked – while he worked part-time while taking 3 credits, preparing for graduation – distancing himself even more. I remember feeling overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, alone, & greatly unappreciated. & that continual pattern kept happening. I began to lose myself & who I was, because I was so caught up in trying to work so hard & take care of all responsibilities since I was alone in them.

As time went on, things worsened. The relationship, the marriage – became toxic. Emotional abuse was evident. Mental abuse as well. Even physical at times. I was already feeling unappreciated, & was hammered with reminders – constantly. The times he got on me about my weight, the times he would tell me the outfit I was wearing was not flattering to him & ask me to change, the several times he chose his friends over me, the times he constantly criticize me on every little thing – standing behind me as I was cooking him dinner telling me what to do differently – no encouragement, no reminders of how beautiful I was, no appreciation. I got in my head that I deserved nothing but the worse treatment, that I had no value, no worth, & I needed to be skinny – my battle with food began. No one knew what was going on. I was ashamed & afraid to say anything. I was alone with my thoughts – thoughts that tormented me for a couple years.

6 months of marriage counseling didn’t help. & within the second session, our counselor asked me to share with Matthew my past with my mom (see back in Story #4 post) – which was the first time I  talked to him about it – period. I remember sitting on the opposite end of the couch from him, in silence, crying, speechless. Afraid. Afraid to speak. Afraid to relive those memories. Afraid to be so deeply vulnerable to someone who hadn’t earned my trust with the way he viewed & little-valued me, unappreciative of me. But I managed to slur out a few words, that formed into sentences, that opened my heart completely. I told him everything, sobbing the entire time – the most vulnerable I ever became with him – only to have it slapped across my face a little over a year later.

Shortly after we decided to move back to where I’m originally from – Dayton OH. November 2014, right before Thanksgiving. We decided maybe a fresh start elsewhere would help. Plus there was a lot of family situations happening that I felt compelled to help with. But once we moved back to Dayton – the distancing worsened. The emotional abuse intensified, the mental abuse slapped harder, & self-mental abuse slapped even harder. I went into denial. Pretended everything was ok. Swept it all under a rug. Then one day – a day I will never in my life forget.

October 16th, 2015 – not even a year later after we moved back to Dayton. A week after my sweet nephew was born. A week after Matthew & I got into a fight, a heated discussion about separating, that being the next step. I asked him to decide what to do next, told him how I was ok with separating & that we would make it work, but that I simply could not keep on playing emotional games with him.

October 16th, 2015 – a Friday night – shortly after 10pm. Matthew returned home from work (Apple Inc.), & asked if we could talk. I will never forget those words that followed, “I applied for a work transfer tonight, to Boulder, Colorado. I’m hoping to move there in 3 weeks.” My response – utter shock, my heart dropped, my face pale white, instantly began sweating – “Ok… may I ask why?” His response – “I want a fresh start with my life, because I’m not happy being married to you anymore.” I instantly began to cry. Instantly. Heartbroken. Felt like my heart was completely ripped out of my chest & slapped across my face. Self-mental abuse struck harder, immediately shifting blame on myself. Everything I put up with for those 4 years of marriage – our entire marriage really – everything I did for him, all for nothing. I never felt so low in my life. I was devastated. Matthew left & stayed with friends. Came back 2 days later & said plane ticket was officially purchased & moved all his stuff out immediately, left me to live in an apartment we had together, where he told me that he was leaving me. Left me with two dogs to take care of & one dog having severe anxiety issues. Left me with all the bills, left me to fight for health insurance, left me to fight for hours at a job I felt unappreciated at & alone, no friends really. Left me to face judgement at home alone – which I received a lot of. I was alone – for months. No time for myself. No time for anything. No one reaching out to me, & was afraid to ask for help or for support, for company, afraid of being a burden. Two months after he left, my grandmother passed away suddenly from a heart-attack in her home – 2 weeks before Christmas. I lost another friend as well, my mom who had been absent from my life over the past 15 years was suddenly back in my life, I came down with a severe case of strep-throat that put me out of work for almost 2 weeks, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating. I quickly found a full-time job. I stayed in the apartment because I had no money to move out – I was stuck for a year & a half there – sitting on the couch his parents gave us, constantly reminded of that conversation back on October 16th, 2015 – “I want a fresh start with my life because I’m not happy being married to you anymore.”

We argued back & forth how long to stay separated for at first. He asked for 6 months. I asked for 3 months. He asked for 6 months to a year with the thought of going ahead & filing – I asked to file. I was done being in denial. I was done putting up with the constant bullshit, I was ready for new beginnings. But what I didn’t know? He would drag it out as long as he could – almost an entire year. Months of sending papers back & forth, him shoving them aside, while living his life & already seeing someone exclusively – while I dealt with judgement, depression, stress, self-mental abuse – asking myself “Am I really that awful to be with? Is anyone ever going to be with me now that I have all this baggage? Anyone willing to be with someone broken? When it wasn’t even their fault? Or was it my fault? Did I deserve it?” He took one dog, I kept the other. I had to drive in March of 2016 to St. Louis to pass off our basset hound. What a lonely trip back that was. Heartbroken all over again.

And everything became official before a judge on August 24th, 2016 – one month before my 27th birthday. Matthew had to fly back to Dayton for court. I hated every minute of it. I felt alone. We walk in (he tried to hold my hand). The judge tried pressuring me to take alimony from him, but I refused. “But he makes “$10,000 more than you do a year!” I simply do not care – I am done, I want no ties to him. It was stated on record he abandoned the marriage – that’s on file. Court lasted 5 minutes – 5 minutes that ended 7 years – 7 years with someone who you thought you were spending the rest of your life with, who you thought was your best friend, your lover, your life partner. Something clicked in him that caused him to change & become so discontent, so angry, so distant. What happened to the man I once knew & fell in love with? The good in him? The love he had for others? The caring & sweet heart? Gentle spirit? Passion? What happened?

Many of you unfortunately were quick to judge. Quick to pressure me to make it work. Quick to tell me how to live my life, what to do next. Quick to throw the Bible on me & offer prayers up. Quick to judge. Quick to blame me. Because you know it was completely my fault that Matthew just blind-sided me. I just want to encourage you – before you say anything, before you send that Facebook message, that Christian Christmas card condemning to hell for divorcing – think.

And ever since then – ever since August 24th 2016 – it’s been about new beginnings, a brighter future, new hope. A new me – self-discovery, self-rediscovery – picking up the broken pieces & mend something together – to create hope & encouragement to others. To become more vulnerable & open, more genuine & real. To realize my worth & value, realize my beauty. Realize what I have to offer, what I deserve. & to not be afraid to connect again with my future life-partner, that I do long for & know that in timing, he will come along.

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Woodland Cemetery – Dayton OH – while Matthew was packing all his belongings, I attempted to go to work only to have a huge breakdown & was sent home. Stopped by my favorite local coffee shop & headed to a favorite spot of mine to reflect & try to process everything that was happening. A beautiful fall afternoon it was.

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One Month of being alone – realizing that honestly? It was a blessing in disguise. Already began feeling renewed, refreshed, & hopeful.

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August 24th, 2016 – dissolution was finalized in court – in 5 minutes, 7 years of my life was suddenly over. I drove immediately to my favorite coffee shop to debrief & a couple friends joined for support – huge thank you to David & Stephanie – new friends I had made recently then – I believe they were brought into my life for a reason, for they helped bring me out of a dark & depressing time of my life.

And today – June 4th, 2017 – a new me, a refreshed me, a renewed me. Living back to where everything began. To start a new life & to make new memories, because it’s about me now – & it’s about damn time.

To NEW Beginnings

Until Next Time