International Women’s Day

Once upon a time, I was a woman who had never experienced heartache. I was naive, and optimistic. I had important women in my life, who taught me important things–but I lived my life in a happy little bubble.

One day, my bubble burst into a million shards of shattered mess, leaving me in so many pieces I didn’t think I’d ever go back together again.

Most of my memories of that time are muddy-at best. One thing is wildly clear. I came through that storm a different, better and stronger woman BECAUSE of the women that surrounded me and held me up.

My mom, while fighting breast cancer showed no weakness as I feel apart. She simply stood firm on the notion that when a heart is big enough to break into a million pieces, it’s also strong enough to heal. She is right.

Joann, (who taught me that women make the work go ’round), gave me the wisdom to be mad about what I should be mad about–and to get my revenge by going on to live a life a hundred thousand times better than any life I would of had with “him”. She is right, too.

Heather, who will be the head of my security detail if I’m ever famous. Heather cared for my baby girl like she took care of her own baby girl. Literally. And she listened to me, and validated me, and continues to participate in general badassary. Every girl in a crisis needs a sounding board to empathize and use swear words with. She is that woman.

Suzy. Without even a moment of hesitation this chick welcomed me into her home. She fed me. She cried with me. She protected me with a FIERCE sense of duty (you mother hen, you). We sat in the yard and watched the bumble bees fly by and basked in the reality of single motherhood. There was wine. There was laughter. There was adventure. If I can ever be that kind of light to a fellow Momma-it would be the honor of my life. And now that neither of us are single moms anymore we can look back at the wonder of how accurate our mantra was: “to thine own self, be true.” Ladies, when you love you- the only result possible is happiness.

Toni Marie. Soul Sister. Even from the far away land that my BFF calls home, she used her magic to keep my head above water. I don’t think a single person on this planet parallels Toni Marie when it comes to taking care of Tori. And while our friendship dates back more years than we really need to discuss–it continues to become stronger with every life victory and every life fail that the two of us encounter. My person.

So these women, who helped me find my way, they taught me how important women REALLY are. And of course there are so many other women to the list of women who are important women to me. Old and New alike. What better day than the International Women’s Day, to say thank you to the women who played the most important part in how I found my way?

Here’s to the strong women. Together–we can move mountains. I’m eternally grateful to the ones who helped me move mine. I promise that it’s my life’s goal to raise Violet to join us in the ranks of women who support women. Happy International Women’s Day! So much love to all of you ❤️



I was feeling a little bummed out the other night. Violet is on vacation with her dad, and I miss her.  I wanted to take her and L to the magical sunflower field in the next town over and take their picture.  By the time Violet is home from her vacay–the magic will be gone.   

So then I thought I’d just take L.  And then I thought–how can I take pictures of such a little dude next to such big flowers.  

Then I thought I’d just take myself.  (And my camera) I packed it in the car before work and had plans to stop on my way home.  And then I didn’t.  I don’t know why…I just felt sad about going alone.  

Last night I was changing L’s diaper butt and I looked out the window.  It was a gorgeous evening.  Without much thought I scooped him up, grabbed my camera and went to the field.  

It’s like a 3 mile dive at the most.  The first mile I was thinking “how’s this going to work?”.  The next mile I’m like, “maybe I’ll just selfie–it’ll be fine”.  In the homestretch I was just excited to see the sunflowers up close, (and the bees too!).  

When I started to take L out of his Shark Stroller, a girl asked if I would like her to take our picture.  So yeah, that’s pretty amazing.  She took some pictures of my Duke and me, and my soul felt happy.  

(Photo taken by a super sweet girl named Marlee Snyder.  Thanks, lady!)

So here is my point.  Sometimes life gets you down.  Adulting is hard.  I hate going 8 hours without my Violet–let alone a whole week.  Sometimes L would rather kick me in the throat than sleep.  Maybe you feel the dark cloud of depression telling you to skip the Sunflower field this year since nothing matters anyway and it didn’t all work how exactly how you pictured it.  

Don’t let that shit rule your life.  You matter, and your thoughts and opinions matter too.  If all you can feel is the weight of the world–go find something beautiful.  Drink it in.  Appreciate that one thing, even if it’s only for a hot second. 

 There is beauty all around us.  It’s in the smile you give to the old man walking down the street.  It’s in the summer sunset. It’s in the thunder rolling through the sky.  It’s in your children laughing.  It’s in the Sunflower field.  

PS:  little dudes and big flowers are perfectly acceptable to photograph.  

PSS:  If you’re in a dark place with no beauty or magic–call me.  I can’t promise that I’ll know what to say, or that I’ll be able to relate.  I can promise to listen.  And to help you curl up in a blanket and hide for a little bit, if that is what you need.  I’ve been through some shit, too.  I don’t want you to go through your shit alone.  

Love, Light and Peace to you all. ❤️

So Much To Say

So, it’s been awhile.  It’s not for lack of things to share: I have plenty to share.  It’s an issue with not knowing where to start.  

Christmas Eve Eve.  I’m divorced and I have a child.  

When my ex told me that he was choosing other options I took the news with grace, and class (IMHO).  I didnt loose my temper, I didn’t display irrational emotion.  I calmly told him that I would cooperate with the proceedings, but I asked that he leave Violet with me on Christmas Morning.  He agreed that he wouldn’t mess with Christmas.  

Maybe he really meant it at the time. 

This truth is incredibly difficult for me to swallow.  For the first time since I’ve become a mother I’ll wake up on Christmas morning without my girl.  I’m thankful for a legal custody agreement that affords me peace of mind.  But my idea of fair, in this case, doesn’t match the judge’s idea of fair. 

Sometimes I wonder why I chose the graceful response.  Why didn’t I ever destroy his property?  Why didn’t I confront “the other woman”?  Why am I nice to him, and why do I compromise? 

Most days I can answer that with an easy “it’s better for my daughter” or “it’s not in my nature to act like a fool”.  But my daughter will wake up on Christmas morning with the woman who started a relationship my husband while I was pregnant with her.  That’s the kind of situational smut you can find on daytime talk shows and it is *really* hard for me to see how this is good for her.  

I can’t control this.  But I CAN control how I handle this.  (Since my blog is all about my healing and honesty and all of that happy horseshit….  This sucks.  It’s super hard.  I don’t like it.  But I will prevail, because I always do).  

I gave Violet her traditional Christmas pajamas tonight… On Christmas Eve Eve.  

She is clearly the cutest.  In case anyone wonders, my Christmas will begin at two on Friday. Until then I’ll be surround by people who love me.  Maybe I’ll get use to this: but I’ll *never* like it.  

It’s a sandwhichy kind of life.

My door swung open at 3:00 AM. The light in the hallway was as intense like the sun was burning through my doorway. In my sleepy bewilderment I realized that it was my dad who had opened the door.

Only two hours before I had picked him up off of the floor, and he asked my mom, “Now, who was that?”. I shrugged the question off because the room was dark and maybe he thought I was some sort of angelic hero who had swooped in to save the day….that would make sense, right?

“Daddy, can I help you with something?”

“Yeah……Where is my room?”

“It’s behind you.”

“Oh! Okay! Thanks!”

He struggled for about 30 seconds to close the door and shuffled away. I thought about the chance of him falling, the chance of him thinking he was in his bathroom and peeing on the floor, about how I should probably get up and make sure he made it back to the couch okay. Then I heard him swear (he swears a lot). I got up and found his room dark so I headed down the hall. He was almost to the garage door.

“Daddy, do you need help?” I whisper-yelled. He didn’t have his hearing aid in…. he only has one. About 6 months ago we splurged on some hearing aids and teeth– two things that he desperately needed. Only one hearing aid remains. They aren’t even paid for, but one has already bit the dust. *The dog ate it*. I have no evidence, but I’d venture to guess that the dog is innocent in this incident. Anyway…the whisper-yell was my feeble attempt to let everyone else in the house sleep through the night.

“Yeah…” He shuffled over to me. He was smiling and quite amused with himself. “Who’s house are we in?”


“Well…. Where is my room?”

“It’s down the hall, Daddy. But you and Mommy are sleeping in the living room tonight. You’re getting a new bed tomorrow.”

“Oh. Where is the living room?”

“Right this way, Daddy”

We walked together to the living room. He got settled in on the couch. “Where is Violet?” At least he remembered Violet.

“She’s in bed, Daddy. It’s the middle of the night”.

“Oh, okay. Good! I saw that red- headed girl in there. You know, the one with the mermaid tail.” He chuckled to himself as I made my way back down the hall to my room.

I laid in bed for the rest of the night listening for him to get up again. It reminded me of the first few months of Violets life when I laid awake watching her sleep…to make sure she was still breathing. This would be what they mean when they say “Sandwich Generation”.

I have started to write several posts in the past few months. Each and every one of them turned into an angry rant. “Peace” is in the title of my Blog….so I didn’t want to post a conflicting idea. How can *peace* and *anger* co-exist? A friend recently reminded me that anger is real, and as such it is a real struggle for everyone. Perhaps it’s more important for me to be real, than to always try to portray a peaceful front even when I’m not feeling it. Of course peace is always my goal. Right now I’m angry, sad, unsettled…even a little depressed.

I never wanted to do this alone. I dreamed of getting married and having kids and growing old with the father of my children for my whole life. I tried my absolute best. I didn’t deserve to be lied to and cheated on. I didn’t deserve the emotional and verbal abuse that haunts me to this day. I don’t give a shit that my ex-husbands girlfriend isn’t comfortable around me to the point where she can’t even freaking look me in the eye. I wouldn’t be able to look me in the eye either if I were her, but I’ll never be her because I have at least an ounce of decency and would never do the things that those two have done together. I can’t stand the fact that some of his family would rather I stay away so that they can avoid facing the reality of the way in which my whole life, family and existence was torn to shreds. For so much of this time I’ve been focusing on why my life is better now, that I didn’t let myself go through this stage. Inevitably now, I’m there. I’m angry. It’s extremely annoying, mostly because I feel like I took five steps forward and fifteen steps back.

I started this post with the story about my aging father. I’ve always known that a time like this would come. I always knew it wouldn’t be easy. I always thought I’d have a partner to support me through it. I don’t, it turns out my partner was crap.

Yes: I know that I have a support system (an amazing one, at that)

Yes: My mom is here with me (let’s not forget that this is a struggle of a whole different kind for her. She needs my support, more that I need hers)

Yes: I have a healthy, happy, gloriously amazing daughter. I am eternally thankful for her and will always put on a happy face for her (which includes not allowing her to witness my anger towards her father)

Yes: I have a whole lot going for me

No: I do not plan on dwelling on these emotions. I will overcome this. I am strong and deserving of a real relationship with a man who deserves my best.

If this post serves any purpose it would be to offer advice for anyone helping a friend or loved one through a time like this. Pointing out why I shouldn’t be sad is going to do the opposite of help.

“But Tori, you have a lot of people who love you, you have a lot going for you. You aren’t in an abusive situation anymore”. Great, now I feel guilty that I feel sad and angry on top of feeling sad and angry. That’s helpful.

Validate. Agree. Empathize. Offer to go punch a heavy bag with me and we can pretend it’s a few choice people because that’s the closest I’ll ever get to being violent. But please, for the love of God, don’t tell me that I shouldn’t feel this way because I absolutely should.


Oh, and one last thing: it’s not often that Vi will sit on Pop-Pop’s lap…but I got a split second out of her…and the pure joy on Pop-Pop’s face is enough to warm anyone’s heart.


He will always be a son to me.


This makes a momma want to cry. (Happy tears)
I worry so so so much that I will lose the awesome relationship I have with my bonus kid. As time passes, and he gets older, and I get closer to the finality of my divorce from his dad I sometimes feel Violet’s brother slipping away. It makes me so sad–sometimes it’s overwhelming. The holidays don’t help. And tonight I sent him a little text that was returned with the sweetest thing to ever come from a 12 year old’s text. I feel better, and I can’t wait to plan our Christmas weekend.

The Other Woman

I know your life. I’ve been there before. He’s SO handsome. He’s SO charismatic. Funny. He makes you laugh. He makes you feel safe. He makes you feel *exactly* what you need to feel.

And then you wonder about this, or that. You ignore your intuition, because you fail to recognize that your intuition is your best friend. Hmmm, he’s married. But he justifies it with this, or that. He tells you that he has “no reason to lie”. He’s an open book. His actions speak louder than his words, but you listen to his words instead because they are so convincing.

It’s intense. You can’t get him off your mind. He loves your hair, your eyes, your lips, your body. He’s intense. It’s so hard to be apart because you’re just so *perfect* for each other. The gifts. You’re spoiled. He’s so successful, he’s going to take care of you. You need it? He’ll make it happen, in spite of his bills, he always seems to have the money for the new car, the furniture, the toys, the bling, the bike, the trips.

You feel so bad for him. He was trapped in the wrong relationship. With the wrong person. He thought he loved her, but he was so wrong. He thought he was doing the right thing, but she did this, and she did that. She drove him nuts. She *made* him this way. She isn’t like you. You actually make him happy. He’s been through the wrong relationship now a couple of times, so there is no doubt in his mind that this is the right one.

You make big decisions based on his wishes. You loose touch with your friends. But it’s okay, because he’s your best friend. He’s all you’ll ever need. And you notice that he doesn’t talk as much about your eyes, but he grabs at your ass every chance he gets. He tells you that your boobs better not sag, because that wouldn’t be acceptable. Somewhere along the line he’s come to expect a level of perfection from you that is unfounded. So it’s your goal to achieve that perfection.

It started with a joke here about how you can’t do this right, or you said that stupid thing. You were silly and he says “don’t be so retarded” and you wonder why you aren’t so funny anymore. But then he tells you to lighten up. It’s just a joke. The joke isn’t so funny though, and you don’t get it yet. It’s a “lets all laugh at your expense” carnival and you play along because you’re a good sport and he really takes care of you. He’s SO funny. He’s SO handsome. He’s really perfect for you, and you’re so glad that you make him happy, because he deserves it.

You find yourself thinking about how happy you are, about how it makes you proud to be with this man who seems to be liked by everyone. He loves his kids and its so unfortunate that his kids aren’t yours and that your kid isn’t his because wouldn’t it be so great if you could be one big happy family instead of a couple of broken ones playing house. At the same time, it’s so nice to not have to worry about being here and there for the middle schooler and have time away from the little ones to just be a couple in love. You have everything in common and you have so many fun things to do together.

Because you are a woman you have nights where you are more emotional than others. You lay awake and you wonder. You’ll wonder when he’ll find someone he likes better than you. You shake the thought out of your head because he told you his cheating days are over. He doesn’t like how it makes him feel and it’s not worth it. He can’t imagine loosing you, because remember, you’re different. He made big changes to be with you. He did that for you. You must be special. But that little voice still tells you it will happen. You think of all of the things you do wrong. It’s all little stuff, but it adds up. He asks you what’s wrong and you feel so comfortable talking to him about anything. He hugs you, and holds you and you *know* everything is going to be okay.

Life happens. Situations change, you talk about how you’ve made it through so many challenges. It’s something to be proud of. You have a great relationship and you communicate so well. He tells you everything. Open book, remember? And then you pick up on a couple of things that he didn’t tell you, and he has a great explanation. He doesn’t answer all of your calls. A good buddy of his seems to have a lot to talk about. He spends an awful lot of time playing Yahtzee on his phone. Nobody plays that much Yahtzee. Except for him. “Don’t be so retarded”. He had a long day. You ask him to do something romantic and he agrees, but when the time comes he’s made plans to help that talkative buddy with a project. Your mind wonders. The communication seems different. Eventually he talks to you and you feel so *stupid*. How could you have thought that he would hurt you. He has so much going on. So much stress. Work. You spent a lot at the grocery store. Money. You *know* that he loves you. He’s going to try harder. He’s so sorry.

You’re so relieved. Your mind wondered into such a dark dark place. He’s been cuddling again. He started showing interest in your body again. You feel wanted and pretty. No mention of your eyes, lips, hair…..but he touches you and you feel so connected. Every couple goes through some tough times. Yet another mountain that the two of you climbed together. Life is good.

And then he lets his guard down. You connect some dots. You compare some notes. The rose-colored glasses come flying off. You’re entire world stops and then crashes down all around you. The past 7 years of your life was a lie. You don’t know which parts were real, or fake. You question everything. You have no one to call. You don’t know who you can trust. It’s your worst nightmare and you realize that he has been right all along, you ARE retarded. You are so stupid. He showed you exactly who he was when he came on to you while he was married to his pregnant wife. You believed him. Here you are, broken. You don’t believe in yourself. You can’t do anything right. You tried so hard to be everything that he said you were. And he’s angry. Angry at the thought of you telling everyone. Angry at the thought of you confronting her. Angry because you made him do this. You didn’t throw the junk mail away. You left clothing in the dryer. You didn’t wash the dishes last night.

Here’s the thing: I get that you haven’t lived this entire cycle yet. You will. Some of the details will vary, but in the end it’s all the same. I’m so torn because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone in the world. If I had to pick one person it would be *you*, the weird thing is that I don’t even really wish this on you. I feel bad for you. It’s weird that I feel bad for you because I cannot wrap my mind around the kind of person you are. That is what in cannot relate to. I cannot figure out why people vindictively hurt people. Why women poach other women’s husbands and families. You may be a nice girl. You may be funny. There is even a slight chance that you may be *the one* that he changes for. In spite of all of that, what you chose to be a part of completely destroyed my life. And you knew it would.

I was forced to wake up. I was forced to learn about where I went wrong. My destroyed life is in the past and my current life fills my days will smiles and sunshine. But forgive me, when I can’t control the cold looks that I send your way. Forgive me for loathing that smirk you wear as you parade by with your prize. You think you wear the smirk because you won. You set a goal to make him yours when he was more off limits than any other man in the world. I loath the smirk because I know how wrong you are and it’s just not my place to help you figure that out.

This is how I cope. This is how I cleanse and heal. These are the words that I want to scream out loud when it’s least appropriate. I’m sure *you* will never read them. Maybe they won’t be read by a single soul. But the negative is off of my chest, and that’s the goal. The negative feelings are not a part of who I am at my core. The anxiety has worn out its welcome. This is me refusing to give you power over me. You’ve done enough already.