Believing in Myself
So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a small child, but I learned what it was all about in 2016 or so.
I’m an empath. And not just any old empath. I’m an extreme empath. Like, extreme. When I tell people that, if it’s not met with “Huh?” it’s met with skepticism. Which is fine. It’s a tough concept to grasp and wanders deep into the Woo-Woo Woods. But the reality is I can feel other people’s emotions, I’m a sponge for the energy of a crowd, and I have an uncanny knack for instantly knowing the right choice in difficult circumstances. The problem is, I also have an uncanny knack for not listening to myself.
This is born out of low self-confidence, a problem I’ve been working hard to address in recent months. I’d like to believe I’ve made significant progress. But I learned in the past few days that I still have work to do.
Our house went on the market Wednesday. On Thursday, we received a fantastic offer well above list price. Our Realtor advised me to wait until the weekend frenzy to drive the price up further. This wasn’t necessarily poor advice in the market we’re in. It’s an insane sellers market. But my gut was telling me to take the offer. So I pushed that strategy with the Realtor. And then I let him talk me out of it.
Things didn’t go as I’d have wanted them to go the rest of the week leading up to the 8 p.m. deadline for offers tonight. And so now we’re very much in a state of flux. As all of this was unfolding this evening, I took a cigar and went out to the yard and sat in a lawn chair I pulled out of the jumble of unpacked crap that’s in our garage. I smoked and fumed as night fell and lightning bugs began to dot the landscape. I knew I should have taken the offer. I knew. And I didn’t trust myself. I trusted the expertise of the Realtor, who made sure when he gave me his advice that he underscored that the decision was mine.
And it was mine. But I let someone else essentially make it for me. I’m forty-seven fucking years old, I am a smart person who has educated himself on the world and on business and, of late, on real estate, and I took advice from someone who wasn’t even born when I had my first management position. And again… I knew better.
My life started to turn around this year when I began to believe in myself. I threaded the needle on an extremely complex set of circumstances that resulted with me landing a job that has potentially life-changing financial possibilities for my family. I clearly saw the way through a complicated housing opportunity that will erase about a half-decade of financial challenges.
I did that. Me.
I saw it, I felt it, I did it.
This isn’t to say I will never listen to counsel again. If an electrician tells me it might be wise for me not to touch Wire A to Wire B, I’m going to not touch Wire A to Wire B. But when it comes to non-life-threatening matters, I’ve got this.
Me and Music
It’s been an emotional day overall, kiddos. I’m not sure why. These days just sort of happen to me from time to time. One of the things I know about myself is that music matters. I don’t just listen to it. Oftentimes, I feel it. See the above item and maybe it’ll make some sort of sense. Anyway, Wifey-Poo and I were driving back from our weekend getaway. A year or so ago (maybe it’s been longer), I started an Amazon Music playlist for her. Every once in awhile, I’ll put a new song in there that makes me think of her or that is connected in some way to our past. One of the more recent songs I put in there was “If You Love Her” by Forest Blakk.
So we were listening to that playlist on the way home, and that song came on. And the lyrics were sung:
If she gives you her heart, don’t you break it
Let your arms be a place she feels safe in
She’s the best thing that you’ll ever have
She’ll love you, if you love her
On days when
It feels like the whole world might cave in
Stand side by side and you’ll make it
She’s the best thing that you’ll ever have
She’ll love you, if you love her like that
And suddenly, I realized tears were spilling from my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.
In 2018, I lost my way. Well, if I’m being honest, it started three years or so before that. I don’t know exactly what happened, but what I do know is that I wasn’t Wifey-Poo’s safe place and I did break her heart. Repeatedly. I could say that the reasons and the details don’t matter, but they do. Every single one of them matters.
I found myself 20-plus years into my marriage with two boys who needed their dad, and we were fighting to survive.
Thankfully, we did.
As we drove today and that song played, the enormity of it all hit me. We are by no means the perfect couple, and we are still adjusting to some pretty big changes that have happened in our lives. But together, we are so good. So when I heard “she’s the best thing that you’ll ever have,” I realized how true that was. And I don’t mean that my head realized it. The depths of my heart realized it.
I’m not exactly sure what the tears were for. I think a large part of it is the tremendous guilt and regret that bubbles up to the surface every once in a while. I look back on the things that happened in an eight-month period in 2018 and early 2019, and I regret everything. There’s not a moment of it that I wouldn’t take back. Were I granted three wishes by some magical genie, fixing that period of time would be Wish No. 1. Unquestionably. Unflinchingly. Before the genie was even fully out of the bottle.
But the thing is, there are no magic genies. And, as sad as it is to say, erasing that time period and everyone and everything in it wouldn’t fix all that I want to fix. So instead I’ve committed myself to the only path that actually exists when your marriage comes to the precipice — and that’s to turn around and walk yourself back to safer, more familiar ground.
Wifey-Poo would be the first one to tell you she’s far from perfect. She’s humble and beautiful like that. But she definitely has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. In a few short weeks, we’ll celebrate the 29th anniversary of knowing each other. We were freshmen at Drake University. We lived on the same floor, and her room was on the path for me to exit the building. One day, I was headed out and she had her door opened. She insists she was studying chemistry, and maybe she’s right — if chemistry somehow looks like Tetris. I said “Hey.” She said “Hi.” A few days later, we fell into a conversation in a packed dorm room in which everyone else seemed to disappear. A few weeks after that, we had our first date.
Our lives haven’t been easy. We’ve faced unimaginable sorrow. But here we are. And there I was in the car, crying, realizing how stupid I’d been, how I’d almost lost everything that truly matters to me — and thanking God that I didn’t.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
Lunch With the Kids
We met up with Boy the Elder and his amazing girlfriend for lunch on our way home. I sat there watching the two of them and realized something: They remind me exactly, and I mean exactly, of me and Wifey-Poo when we were that age. Spooky and beautiful.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Wonderful moments of clarity about progress on your journey through life.
- Whacking weeds that are growing up through the crack in your driveway.
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The term “hot as balls” definitely applied to today, though I don’t know exactly what it means. It was parents weekend at Mizzou, so we traveled yesterday evening to see Boy The Elder and attend a football game today in which the Tigers took on the mighty Southeast Missouri State Somethingorothers. The game itself wasContinue reading “Lots of Thoughts on Life and Death — Sept. 18, 2021”
Me this morning, in GIF form: Folks, I try. I really do. But I’m worn thin. I got up and decided before starting a work-from-home day that I would attach the TV I just brought over from Old House to the new stand I bought. Easy-peasy. Hooked the wires up and turned it on. AndContinue reading “Hitler, Broken TVs and the DMV — Sept. 17, 2021”
In high school, I was friends with a girl named Denise. She and I were both free-spirited creative types who liked to write. For a time, we served as co-presidents of the formed-by-us creative writing club, and we even went on a date (that didn’t work out too well). Denise was and is a no-bullshitContinue reading “Rocks > People? — Sept. 16, 2021”
Today was a work-from-home day, filled with the excitement of having my new office location set up. Well, sort of set up. For the past month, I have been relegated to the basement because what is to be my Mancave was jam-packed with the detritus from New Home’s previous occupants, my in-laws. But over theContinue reading “A New Old World – Sept. 13, 2021”
The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman onContinue reading “To Coach, or Not to Coach? – Sept. 12, 2021”
My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men. How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?Continue reading “Unpopular Reflections on Post-9/11 America – Sept. 11, 2021”
I’m what you call an ambivert. This doesn’t mean I eat both plants and animals, though I do. Rather, it means — among other things — that I’m somewhere in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. Sometimes I refuel by getting away from people and enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I refuel by soakingContinue reading “Happy Hour Fatigue — Sept. 10, 2021”
I spent a half-hour today renewing my hatred for Robert Gaskins. Don’t know who Robert Gaskins is? I wish I didn’t, too. Robert Gaskins is the principle inventor of PowerPoint. He sold his little tool of the devil to Microsoft in 1987. QAnon Crazies love to point the finger at Bill Gates and say he’sContinue reading “I Hate Robert Gaskins – Sept. 8, 2021”
I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something toContinue reading “Karens at the Cleaners – Sept. 7, 2021”
You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished theContinue reading “Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021”
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted otherContinue reading “Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021”
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realizeContinue reading “Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021”
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”
He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up myContinue reading “‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021”