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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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨👦👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude, […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean, […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation and […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hear […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And has […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Friends😔What To Do?🙋Creepy Dolls 🎎 Yesterday was a rough day. It’s one thing to be a person with essentially no friends. It’s another thing altogether to not be friends with yourself. That’s where I was yesterday — all up in my head and imagining the worst was about to happen in […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but what […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One Long Sentence 🖊️Birthday Boy🎂Wine & Chocolate 🍷🍫 I remember being a kid and wanting to be an adult. I wanted to drive and have a girlfriend and be able to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, not what someone else said I should do. And now, here […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beat […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone from […]