Saturday, February 28, 2015


Whatever, my son is the coolest. Literally what is even the thought process this guy has?

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Travel Bug

Its been years since I've gone on vacation. I've been on trips sure, but going to visit family is NOT a vacation. My parents invited me on a cruise of the Baltic Sea with them and hundreds of other older couples. Pass. My mom made mention of going to Hawaii with her, my dad, and my son. Which could be fun, but she says a lot of things and who knows if they will really come to fruition.

Throughout the fall, I had several thoughts of places I wanted to visit and always figured, "Oh I'll go with my boyfriend once I have a serious one." That didn't happen and its not on the horizon. I'm going on a trip by myself. I've taken flights by myself, sure, but had family or friends waiting at the airport to pick me up. This is going to be an adventure of my own.

I kicked around some ideas about where to go. I really want to go to Europe, but think I'll need to work up to that. So I started figuring out Stateside places I'd like to visit. Vegas alone sounded depressing. New Orleans and Boston were possibilities. Maybe New York? One of my degrees is in history, so I focused on cities with a lot of history. Going through the South and visiting plantations and civil war battlefields sounded fun, but a road trip that would be more fun with a partner. Ditto for a road trip through New England.

I settled on Washington D.C. I've been there before but didn't get to see enough. I'm confident I can navigate the metro and I know there will be more than enough for me to do, no chance to be bored or lonely. I did some research and figure a plane ticket will be about $400. Hotels looked to be the pricey part, but then I started perusing airbnb. I think I can spend a week in DC for less than $2,000.

The more I mull the idea over, the more excited I get. I can linger at a museum for as long as I want. I don't have to visit any site I'm not interested in. I figured out how to get signed up for a tour of The Capitol and The White House and The Pentagon. I'm excited for the adventures I'm going to have!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Under Construction

I'm working on building a life I love while I'm single. I'm not just sitting around waiting for "him," whoever he might be. Some of the areas I'm focusing on:

  • Budget. I kept track of every cent I received and spent in the month of January. I kept a record of it and found that I ended the month with -$549.02. Ouch. Luckily, that's mostly due to a lot of non-recurring expenses. $500ish dollars on vet bills for the cats (check ups and vaccinations), the yearly fee on my credit card, ordering more checks, and supplies for the kid's birthday party. 
    • So now its a game with myself to see how much I can save each month. I'm extremely lucky in that I have no debt. But I pay my car insurance twice a year, so I need to plan ahead for that. It always manages to sneak up on me. I need to make some sort of effort to save for retirement so I don't end up eating cat food when I'm a senior. And I want to go on vacation which is expensive as hell (at least, it is the way I do it).
  • DIY. My house is new construction and pretty much furnished and decorated the way I want it to be. DIY more in the sense of I need to stop acting like a helpless little girl. For as long as I can remember, I've always known that if something was too hard or I just didn't feel like doing it, I could get a man to do it. Ex. Driver's Ed homework. 
    • My fence needs to be stained. So once the weather is good, I'm going to get out there and do it myself. I'm not sure exactly what other projects this will extend to, but I've got to stop acting like an empty-headed bimbo and take care of my own shit. 
  • Exercise. Its not about getting to a certain number, though I have a goal weight in mind. Its about getting healthier, getting toned, not eating so much crap food. If I'm going to want a man who is attractive and in decent shape, I have to hold myself to that standard as well. 
    • I belong to a gym already but only go sporadically. Now that my kid-free weeks aren't booked with back-to-back dates, the plan is to get to the gym 3 times a week on non-kid weeks. And at least once a week with the kid. the gym has childcare but sometimes he freaks out and they have me take him out.
  • Friends. I have a handful of girlfriends and then a bunch more "girl acquaintances" but usually my best friend is my partner. And that's fine but I don't have a partner and am not currently seeking one. 
    • In an effort to work on my friendships, my goal is to have one "friend date" a week. I don't care what I do, or which friend I do it with, but I need to make more of an effort to be more social. To have a life outside of men.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Its been two more weeks. I still hate those voicemails. But they have less power now. I'm not going over these or trying to look back with rose colored glasses. Tom is and was a hateful, cruel person. But the voicemails are laughable because the insults don't hurt now that I've thought about it.

In my messages to Tom (which were not my finest moment, but also not threatening) I knew what his insecurities are and I targeted them because I wanted to hurt him. Its kind of funny to me now because I have insecurities, a long list of them, but Tom didn't know me enough to target those. So he went with generic insults, that are not applicable to me. 
  • He called me bald. My hair is graying, sure. But I'm not bald or close to bald. Like most girls, I've joked about going bald when my hair brush gets full of hair, or I feel like I'm shedding excessively. I'm not bald, so this statement doesn't apply to me or hurt me. 
  • He made fun of the Seahawks for losing the Super Bowl. As if I had some effect over that? As if I'm not still proud of my team, and impressed that they made back to back Super Bowl appearances? As if his current facebook profile isn't a picture of him in a Seahawk shirt. That I bought him. Next. 
  • Tom said I'm raising my son to be a pussy. My son is all of 3 years old. My son is healthy, happy and smart. He has two parents who love him and have a friendly relationship. My son is so blessed to have 4 loving grandparents, 4 great-grandparents, tons of Aunties and Uncles, and a great group of friends. My son is kind and loving. He's gentle with babies and animals. He's thoughtful and curious, stubborn and moody. He's a lot of things, and will grow up to be a lot of things, a pussy is not on that list. 
  • Tom said I'm ugly, so ugly that he doesn't know what he ever saw in me and must have been high for the 9 months we were together. I have a fat stack of love letters and little notes from Tom. I have another voicemail where he calls me beautiful and says he loves me. I know for a fact, because he told me, that Tom had Pinterest boards of ideas for how to propose to me, how he envisioned our wedding, gifts and vacations he wanted to give to me. He can deny it and call it whatever he wants now, but he told me I was his other half. Plus for an ugly girl, I seem to have no trouble finding other men who want to date me...
  • Tom said I'm a hoe, that I'm like a merry-go-round because everyone's had a ride on me. Nah. Everyone has definitely not had a ride on me. Additionally, the attempts to slut shame me won't work because I'm slut shameless. My value, my identity, my self worth, none of that is tied to how many men I've had sex with. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Steve #2

Steve came and met up with me at one of my favorite dive-y bars. It was a quiet weekday night and I thought we could have a drink and get to know each other more. The bar also had karaoke that night but I wasn't sure if we'd be partaking. Steve saw that karaoke was happening and went and got a binder and started talking songs with me. I like that.

We both sang a few songs. We played a game of darts (surprisingly I wasn't too bad!) and Steve won. I picked out a song that I knew was a duet and I was game to sing both parts myself, Steve saw that it was a duet and came up and joined me. I like that too.

We ended up having 3 rounds of drinks and doing quite a bit of singing and talking. We played the same game as our first date of taking turns asking each other questions. Steve's tended to be pretty sexual but I answered anyway. It does give me pause that he's just trying to "hit it and quit it," but we ended the night with kissing in the parking lot.

I feel like the vibe was right to have invited him back to my house but it was already midnight on a weekday. And my whole house is in need of cleaning. And I was certain that if he came over we'd end up in bed. Or at least with less clothes than we started the night with. I'm attracted to him and I think he's smart and funny and interesting, but I'm not ready to have sex with him. And if that makes him leave, I'm ok with that.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Steve #1

Steve is a comedian I met on tinder. We texted for a few days and our schedule's aligned and we met up. He showed me the gorgeous views from the roof of his building, we talked a bit and then drove to Tacoma together. We went to Dorky's, which is an awesome place full of beer and arcade games. Steve beat me at Mario Kart but then I won two games of air hockey. Let the record reflect: I'm pretty legit at air hockey.

Then we went to the comedy club and Steve introduced me around and set me up with a drink and a burger in a booth and then the show started.  Steve was pretty darn funny! I was so glad because it would have been a super awkward drive home if he wasn't funny. We left midway through the headliner's act.

We got back to Belltown and he took me to Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy style bar. It was such a cool bar with a nondescript door. I never would have found it if Steve hadn't know where we were going. We found a couch in one of the little rooms off the main area. On the shelf were rows of books. The cute waitress, (Sup Alice!) told us that some of the books had games in them, and sure enough some of the books were fake, just hollowed out shells. The first one we opened was empty, but the second was full of scraps of paper with questions written on them, such as "Where does the cum go?"

Indeed. Where does the cum go?

Tons of scraps of paper with questions. Mostly sexual in nature but we both played along and it was fun. On one of my turns, the paper said, "Will you kiss the person to your right/left on the lips?"

So I did.

Whenever one of us drew a blank scrap we made our own question. Steve's wild card question was to ask if I would come home with him. I said yes.

We finished the questions and finished the drinks. We went across the street to his building and up to his apartment. Steve backed me up against the wall and kissed me. A good kiss. We moved to the couch and kissed a bunch more. Steve undid my bra. Things started moving quickly.

He pinned my arms. I couldn't move them. 13 years ago Steve was a Marine. If he didn't let me move my arms, my arms were not going to move. I feel like I played a part in this. One questions from a scrap of paper Steve had asked me was to describe a sexual fantasy.  I stalled and finally said bondage. I've had a boyfriend tie me up, loosely, during sex. And it was fun and something I might explore more. But I'd been with that boyfriend for months before that happened. I trusted him. And while Steve was a perfect gentleman all night, picking up the checks, opening doors, I don't know him.

I'm probably an idiot. I've gotten into this situation before. I meet a man and barely know him. And I'm fine with things progressing physically until something triggers a fear instinct in me. It happened with Richard, with Jay, with David. I don't know why this happens.

Any way, I asked Steve not to pin my arms and he was fine with that. We moved to his bed and kissed some more. Steve stood up and removed his pants. I'd previously told Steve we weren't having sex and that I wasn't spending the night. But things seemed to keep progressing and him taking his pants off made it seem like things were moving in an irreversible direction.

I got up and got myself straightened up and my shoes back on. Steve walked me to my car. I apologized for being so weird about the whole thing and tried to explain that I'm trying to be less of a slut.

I don't know if this is going anywhere. I don't know if he likes me. I think Steve is nice but I don't know if I like him, like him. But he's a lot of fun, so I guess we'll see!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Threats

I got a call from a weird number at work. I let it go to voicemail. It was my pharmacy telling me I have a prescription ready for pick up. So I checked that voicemail, deleted it, cool. I see that my phone has a folder for "blocked voicemails."  What's that? Apparently even though I blocked Tom, he left me three voicemails.

The first two were about what a disgusting slut I am. How I'm raising my son to be a pussy. How ugly I am, how he must have been high the whole time he was with me because I'm so ugly. How I'm going bald (?). How he has my personal and work emails. How he has my parents' cell numbers and he could call and tell them what a ho I am. How he could contact my ex-husband and tell him how I'm like a merry-go-round, everyone's taken a ride on me.  How gross and loose my vagina is because I let guys run a train on me.

The third message was more of the same but also included threats that Tom has friends in my area, that Tom could come over to my city.

I finished the message and realized I was shaking. I walked down the hall to my work BFF Jessica's office, closed the door and told her what was up. She told me I was sort of at fault because I left Tom voicemails saying that he's bald, etc. She said he probably only sent them in the heat of the moment. But the first message was 7 hours after Tom and I last talked and the other 2 messages were 5 hours after the first.

Not feeling any better after talking to Jessica, I texted my mom. I went back to my office and cried and cried. I hate crying at work. Hate hate hate it. So I went to go hide in the bathroom until I could get it together. The president of the firm found me crying in the bathroom so I explained the situation. She, a former prosecutor, advised me to get an order of protection. My mom had advised the same. I freaked out and was against this idea because Tom is in the military. He would get in trouble at work if I got an order of protection. He would get in trouble and get mad. At me.

I went back to my office and tried to cry as inconspicuously as possible. I called a locksmith to change the locks at my house. I called a home alarm company and set up an appointment for them to install an alarm system. I reached out to my friends, including Jay, for comfort I guess. The general consensus was that I should get an order of protection. I know Tom owns guns. The Vice President of the firm (married to the President, and another former prosecutor) came and offered to walk me across the street to the courthouse, to walk me through the process. He used to work in that building and knew all of the domestic violence advocates.

My brain zoomed in on the words "domestic violence."  I was still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that emotional abuse is a real thing. A very damaging thing and a thing that Tom had done to me. Domestic violence? Is that really applicable here? No one hit me. Sure, I'm scared, but is it so bad?

Yes, foolish girl. It is that bad. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. But the more friends I've talked to, the more I read, it was a classic case. Tom always wanted to know where I was and who I was with and what I was doing. He would unlock my phone and look through it, if I left is unattended. He would be, by turns, harsh and accusatory, and then romantic and thoughtful. He wanted to keep me from my friends, my parents, even my son. He wanted to be my whole world, wanted me dependant on him. He would tell me that I "was so messed up its not even funny," and "no man in his right mind would ever stay with me," and that "no one will ever love you like I do."

I hope he's right. I hope no one ever does "love" me like that again. I see it all so clearly now, why none of my friends liked him, why my parents hated him, why he wanted me to have such an "us vs. them" mentality. Everyone else was just jealous of our love, Tom would say. No, everyone could see that you were bad news.

I should have known better. Tom never had a kind word to say about any ex he'd ever had, about his sister or even his own mom. I once asked him to name 3 women he respected, and he asked if they had to be living. He couldn't name 3 living women he respected, he needed the dead ones too. I should have run then.

I feel so stupid that I was fooled by him, that I let myself be a victim. He would tell me he loved me in spite of my flaws. Tom made sure I knew just how unloveable I was, and hope grateful I should be that I had him. I stayed with him for so long because being alone seemed daunting and lonely. I was wrong.

Its been a few days and no new voicemails. I unblocked Tom's number so I'll know if he's trying to contact me in any way. I kept the voicemails and a screenshot a threatening text incase I need them at a later date. For now, I've decided to forego an order of protection. I made copies of his business card and included his home address and personal phone number. I wrote a statement on the page too. I made several copies and hid them. Some at home, some at work. I told trusted friends and my boss, that if I ever don't call, don't show up, to call the police, and where the paper with his information is.

If something happens to me, I know it will be Tom. I feel like I've taken precautions. I don't want to antagonize him with a restraining order. And what good would it do anyway? Its a piece of paper. If he wants to hurt me, he will.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Bachelor

Ok, you guys can't judge, but I'm in a Bachelor fantasy league. Like fantasy football, but for The Bachelor. Its me and a bunch of girls from work and a friend and her husband. And I kind of love this show.

Every Monday, I get to feel better about myself. At least I'm not as crazy as these girls on tv. At least I'm not crying over a man I've know a month. At least I'm not dating with a huge audience.

Learning to cope

By the time I asked my then-husband to move out, I'd been numb and withdrawn from our marriage for several months. There was an adjustment period. There were tears. There were lonely nights and doubt, but I bounced back, probably too quickly.

Now with the Tom break up, I feel rusty, like I don't remember how to be alone. I think I had better luck pushing Tom from my mind when we took a "break" several months ago because I filled my time with dates. I ran from one man to the next, not investing in anything and keeping everyone at arm's length. I stayed two steps ahead of my feelings at all times, but now I'm letting it all catch up to me. Its brutal.

Something, or sometimes nothing at all, will remind me of him. The text where he calls me a "busted ass hoe" jumps to the forefront of my mind several times a day. It feels like a stab to the heart. I know it hurts, but it should. I need to just feel the damn feelings so I can process them and move past them.

I take a deep breath and try to let the feeling pass. I'm not necessarily trying to avoid thinking about Tom. I know it will happen. I know I need to give myself time and patience.

I know it will get better with time. I know that as I learn to be alone, I'll be ok. I just hope there is a point to this. A lesson I'll learn, a fun or important detour my life will take. I like things to be concrete and definite, but life doesn't work that way.

I'm feeling ok. I'm pretty busy in the mornings and all day at work. At night I'm doing a good job keeping busy with the gym, chores, and Netflix. I'll be busy most weekends in February so I'm hopeful that by the time I have a free weekend in March, I'll had enough time and perspective that I won't freak out about being alone.

I have moments now and then when I think about trying to apologize or mend things with Tom, but that's not practical or healthy. I did call and schedule an appointment with my therapist because I'm concerned why I'm so hung up on a man who 100% of my friends +moms think is an abusive person. I've been seeing my therapist off and on, as needed, for close to five years. And he's good at calling me on my bullshit so I'm hopeful that will be productive.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Best Medicine

When I woke up this morning I wasn't sure if I was still drunk or hung over. Either way, I made it in to work and its lucky that I did because two of my girls called out sick.

I went out last night with Hannah, who I hadn't met before, and Kate, who I've met once but it was later in the night and I was at least 4 drinks in. So I was charming and awesome, obviously. We met up for late night happy hour and dinner. I had so much fun! These girls are my kind of girls. Over dinner and drinks we gossiped about all sorts of stuff. It felt like I'd known them for much longer.
After dinner we went down the street to my favorite hidden bar in Edmonds, which Hannah already knew about (bonus points for her). The 3 of us sat at the bar and made conversation with the bartender and the two men already in the bar. One was a middle aged guy who told a rape joke, and then bought all our drinks. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That other guy tho. 

He was hot. He wasn't especially articulate and I didn't really care. The guy was Canadian and only in town for one more day until he flew back for whatever the fuck his job was, but it was in Equatorial Guinea. Random but whatever. Kate and Hannah were amazing team players, solid wingwoman. Random Canadian guy and I kept getting closer and closer to each other. Then at last call, he got up and said, "goodnight ladies." and disappeared. Oh well. 

I felt a little like an asshole for spending time at the bar trying to hook up with this guy while Kate and Hannah caught up with each other, but as we left the bar, they said they were bummed that he left too. "We were trying to get you laid!" Damn, such good friends! We made plans to get together again on Valentine's Day to drink and talk more. I can't wait!

And I have Valentine's brunch plans with 3 other girlfriends. And tentative karaoke plans with my neighbor in March. Solid progress on my "be a better friend" endeavor. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Don't look back

Dear Future Natalie,

Next time you are feeling lonely and unloveable,

Despite Tom playing me like a fiddle, despite this text which is the most vicious thing I've ever had directed at me, part of me is wondering, "Well, maybe if I..."


 There is nothing good left here. I'm thinking of the good stuff that is ancient history. Tom is not a good guy. He always was and always will be controlling and ready to throw my mistakes in my face. He will never accept even a fraction of blame for the way the relationship imploded. Everything that every happens to him is some else's fault. Mine, my parents, his ex, his boss, his parents.

He sabotaged me. I deserve to be loved authentically and not manipulated. Tom is a Red Flag personified. He was rude to my parents because they could see right through him. I need to trust my mom more. Why would I willingly go back to a man who is harsh and accusatory every day? Why would I want a relationship with someone who is only kind and sweet when I'm being "good" and "behaving"?

My relationship with my parents and friends is more valuable to me. I don't want to live with someone who would toss recriminations in my face whenever it suited him. I don't want to ride the roller coaster of emotions Tom brings.

The shitty behavior would only escalate, I don't want my kid around someone like that, to grow up with Tom as an example. I don't want to be around someone who will kill my self esteem.

The One will be a man where the relationship has more ups than downs. He will get along with my family and won't manipulate me. Tom is not that guy.

Tom was insecure and resented the break. He felt vulnerable and everything after that point was a passive aggressive payback. Emotionally functional people do not do this. This kind of put downs were not an isolated incident. Even if he had taken me back, I'd always be waiting for the next break up.

If this was happening to any of my friends, I'd tell them they deserve more. If my kid was in a relationship, I'd tell them they deserve more. Why am I willing to put up with him then? Tom emotionally battered me. I feel like he's the best I can do because he made sure I thought that way.

I deserve better than this. I'm going to make a life of my own that I love. I'm going to learn how to love myself and get it through my goddamn stubborn head that being alone is better than being with someone who make me feel bad even half the time.

Tom is possessive, created friction with my parents, strung me along, and scared me when we fought. Stay the hell away from him and anyone like him, you silly, stubborn girl!

Love doesn't hurt like this.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Next Chapter

I stayed in bed all day. Texting with girlfriends. Telling my mom she was right. Again. Watching Gilmore Girls, snuggling with my cats, solving sudoku puzzles and crying intermittently. I didn't eat anything except for a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. I rounded up the last remaining things he had given me and threw them in the trash. I deleted every picture of him from all my Apple products. Blocked him on Facebook. Deleted his number from my phone.

Around 7 I texted my bonus mom and got her up to speed. She offered to come over and take me out for ice cream but I needed to get out of my house. She was watching crime shows (my fav) so I invited myself over. All the way over, I call Tom's phone, repeatedly like a crazy woman. He blocked my number the night before, because he didn't even have the courage to admit his lies or face the fallout. So I left voicemails. 5 I think. Telling him cruel truths. It made me feel so much better. I also left a message on his office phone, because I knew I hadn't blocked my number on that. That voicemail was very nice. I thanked him for the past week and complimented him on being such an honorable man. Sarcasm, duh.

I watched crime shows for 5 hours with my bonus mom. And while we talked about men and Tom and my future a bit, we mostly talked about everything under the sun. It was a much needed distraction. By the time I left her house, I felt so much better. In the car, driving home alone in the dead of night, spite got the better of me and I sent one more text, to his duty phone, which maybe had me blocked, maybe not. "Karma's a bitch. She'll cheat and leave you too." So cathartic.

By the time I got home, I had a mental list going of all the things I was going to do for me. The hurt and anger has subsided. Sure, they'll spring up in the days ahead, but the healing was beginning. I'd survived without Tom for months. I'd been weaning off of him for the last 6 months or so. I'll be ok. I was hurt. I was surprised that he had the capacity for such cruelty, pointless cruelty, but I wouldn't let him win. Tom won't harden my heart. I won't let his vicious words poison my thoughts or actions. I won't let him keep me from finding love one day.

But that's not the mission at hand. Dating holds no appeal for me now. At the start of January, I deactivated all my online profiles. I have no desire to reactivate them. Now is time to find me. What will make me happy and whole.

All the promises I made and immediately cast aside at New Years. Its back on. I'm going to work on my friendships with my girlfriends.  I already have gal-entines plans with at least 3 other girls (watch Parks and Rec if you aren't familiar with the holiday). I'm going to the gym more. I'm going to learn to do my taxes all by myself. I'm going to actually keep track of my spending and make a goddamn budget. I'm going to plan and throw a 3rd birthday party for my amazing kid. I'm going to take the money that I save and all my weeks of vacations and I'm going to travel. Alone.

I might go to New York or Boston or Washington DC. I'm not ready to go international yet, but I'll work up to it.

All day long my mom, my bonus mom, at least 3 friends have all told me that I'll find love when I least expect it. I'm done worrying about it. Trying to make something happen. For the first time, in my whole damn life, I don't have a man around to "keep me in line." I'm going to have adventures and if romantic love finds me, then it finds me. Its not my focus for now.

The End of Tom

Tom texted me to tell me what a liar and shitty person I am. To call me a hoe and tell me to go fuck myself. To tell me to never contact him again or I'd "get mine." The last one, the semi-threatening text, he sent on his government issued duty phone. No one ever claimed he was a genius.

He didn't really rattle me. I was emotional, but everything I said in my 5 voicemails (I let the crazy get the best of me) was true and not a threat. Tom does have jacked up teeth. He does have a weird ass-acne patch that is pretty revolting. He is going bald, despite his best attempts to comb his hair different ways. He did make some pretty sloppy lies. He doesn't really have any male friends, or friends at all really. He does jump from one relationship to the next with very little time in between. (You could say the same about me, but I realize it and its a work in progress). It is a fact that he has nothing civil to say about any ex, or his sister, or his mom really. Its telling.

So yeah, not my finest moment, but its things I always thought in the back of my mind, but pushed aside because love is looking past other people's flaws. But since he played a week long game to toy with me, I figured I'd give him some real talk.

He has a mean streak. Tom is an emotional abuser. I know this is a fact and I kept ignoring it because when I would be good, he would treat me like I was his world. But if I wasn't available at his beck and call, if I was feisty or wanted to spend time with friends, or my parents, or my son, he would make it A Thing. It was never really love.

I was fresh off a divorce and thought he was different. He wasn't. Tom filled a need that I had at the time. Once I got my feet under me, once my parents saw right through him, I should have known better. But I did what I always do and tried to make the relationship work because I thought (and Tom encouraged the thought) that no one would ever care about me like he did.

So after the mean voicemails, a handful of texts between us and one last nasty phone call, I cried all the tears I have left to cry about Tom. I made it so the 10 or so songs that were special to us won't sync to my phone. I blocked and deleted him from my phone and all forms of social media. I deleted every picture of us or him from my computer. I gathered up his sweatshirt, a shirt he gave me, souvenirs from our vacation, a teddy bear from last Valentines Day (FYI I don't like stuffed animals) and a framed voice wavelength of him saying "I love you" and threw it all directly in the garbage can. It felt so damn good.

I lost close to a year of my life to this bullshit. But the good thing was, I was mostly over him to start. Sure, I let him back into my feelings in the last week and I was mad that he got the best of me. But my karma was due for a hit. And I wasn't in love with him anymore.

I wallowed for most of a day but by the next morning I woke up feeling lighter. I keep having thoughts about what I could have done different or should have done better. And I could have been a better girlfriend, no doubt so I'll take those lessons and apply them to the next relationship I have, whenever that may be. But I also couldn't have made this one work. My parents saw right through him and having parental approval is important to me. Also important is someone that won't try to control my every moment, won't try to break me down so I don't have the confidence to leave, won't try to get me to ignore my kid, my job, my family and my friends.

Onwards and upwards!