The Beginning of a New Journey

This morning I woke up with tears in my eyes. I had awoken from a very intense dream, the details of which I’ll be attempting to figure out for weeks, but the ending will be one I shall never forget. The dream ended with me holding my newborn baby girl for the first time. She had dark hair, wore a pink onzie, and still had her hospital bracelet on and couldn’t quite keep her eyes open at the late hour. For some reason she could talk. She told me she loved me and gave me little kisses on my cheek while I held her close to me.

This is the first time I’ve dreamt something like this before, and certainly the first time since I heard the beautiful news that I felt the true reality that I am going to be a father. 10 weeks ago my wife and I found out that we were pregnant, after we just started trying. It was a powerful and emotional time for both of us. For her, she had been waiting for this for a long time now. She was meant to be a mother and the look in her eyes on the day we found out filled me with so much love and hope for our future. Myself, I can’t believe I am here in this life where I am now.

Not less than 2 years ago, when I first started this blog, my life seemed completely hopeless. And although I was determined to get back on track and make something of my life, I would never have imagined that I’d be where I am now. My future is bright and I am looking forward to being a father. Yes, it’s been a while since I last wrote a post and a lot of things have happened on my journey. I feel like I’ve become a new man for a while now.

When I first started out to change my life by fighting off my immature tendencies, forgiving my past, and doing what it takes to become a real man, I thought I was doing it for myself. I thought I was doing it so she’d (my wife) would be able to look at me and respect me. Now, almost two years since I began my new path, I’ve realized that my changes were meant so that I can be a better man that my child can depend on.

She Said “YES!”

I could not have ever imagined that one year ago today, I would be in the position I am in today. It is New Year’s Day and I am now engaged to the love of my life!

I have never been so nervous, but it was all worth it. All the mistakes, the challenges, the obstacles, all of them in the past, all of them bringing me to this point today.

Life will get better if you stay focused and go after what you what. Things can get very difficult but stick it through and you will prevail!

Home is where the Heart Is

For the past 8 years I have moved around a lot. For the past 8 years I have moved my belongings in and out of different places. For the past 8 years, I’ve lived with many different people. For the past 8 years, I have not felt like I have had a home.

Constantly changing circumstances in my life over the last 8 years kept me in a state of shelter flux. Where I would find a place to live that suited my current lifestyle, then usually before the year was out, I’d need or want to move on to something else that better suited my new situation. Even before I started living out on my own, my family would move regularly, almost once a year as well, as financial situations changed. I guess I just got used to moving regularly. It continued for so long that I completely lost the feeling of being “home.” I could never plant my feet and start growing roots anywhere because I was never sure what would be happening in the near future.

It made me feel anxious and disconnected all the time. It was like a piece of my identity was missing. I always had a place to live and keep my stuff, but it never felt completely safe, never felt like it was my place, just a temporary spot to sleep until the next thing came along. With every new place I moved in to, I wondered if this might finally be the place where I get to rest and understand what it means to be home again. But every time, just when I thought I was getting comfortable, things would change, and I’d be moving somewhere else.

Near the beginning of this year, I experienced what it meant to truly be homeless. To actually not have a place to keep my own things or even sleep. It was terrible, and after that night, I knew that things had to change. My desire for home became stronger than ever.

I’ve already talked about staying at my friend’s house during the most difficult part of this past year, and although it was shelter, it was not home. I swore to myself that I would find a place, but even when searching for an apartment, I was still looking for a temporary solution, for something that would just get me out of my friend’s house. All that would have changed was that I would be staying with strangers instead of a friend. I thought about moving back in with my parents, several times, but the idea was just too humiliating. I couldn’t regress that much on my journey. Not if I wanted to be able to find myself back on the right path.

When I contemplated leaving this city for a job (and potential career), I envisioned a life there, with my own place, building my identity again, all because I had a place to call my home. Those plans of course changed when her and I started seeing each other again. Then, I started to envision a different life, with a home closer to my love, with thoughts of one day, perhaps building our lives together and merging them into one.

However, that seemed like a pipe dream at that point. I was just fortunate enough that she wanted to talk to me again, let alone think about planning a life with me.

Life has a funny way of working though. After some time, we actually did start planning a life together again and focusing on our future, together. Though I didn’t expect things to move as quickly as they have, I never imagined I would be today where I am now.

For the past 3 weeks, her and I have been living together, officially, and it has been wonderful. She has been terrific in opening up her house to me and sharing her space. Slowly, I am bringing more of myself into her house, and we are building a home together.  Day by day, I am feeling more comfortable living under the same roof, taking care of things that need to be taken care of, feeling more responsible for my surroundings, knowing that this is my living space too. The fear of having to move some place else is fading with each night that we go to bed together and the joy of planting roots greets me every morning when I wake up beside her.

After countless years, I am starting to regain that feeling of warmth and safety of a home. But it is more than the four walls and the roof that make me feel the way I do. It is not the couch that I can sit down on and and relax, nor the bookshelf that holds all of my books. It is not the closet where we hang our clothes, or the bathroom where I make myself pretty every day. She has played a big part in helping me find what I have been missing for so many years. Today I can cross off another item on my list.

She is what is making me feel home.

Moving Forward

After a tense and heart wrenching evening, she and I put it all out on the table. Everything was laid out between us, mostly my garbage, and we took a look at our potential future together. She wanted to be able to trust me, and I wanted her to. But she needed to know everything first before she could find that trust again.

For the first few days after I told her every secret I had, every mistake I had made that has and might have future implications for our relationship, things became a little less tense. It was a huge relief to have everything open between us. No more anxiety when a certain topic came up, no more guilt for lying to cover up some stupid past mistake I made. She knows it all now, and guess what? She’s okay with it and wants to keep moving forward.

That’s some serious commitment. I am very lucky that she loves me that much to go through this, and only now, after a year, be given all of my skeletons, and still want to keep moving forward.

I know that I can never make this mistake with her again. I need to be completely transparent and honest with her, no matter what. Even if I slip one just one little time again, I know that will be it for us.

She has been wonderful in helping me put things together and build a plan so I can get everything in order. I feel confident and excited to tackle the rest of my outstanding issues in order to move forward with our life together and continue to build something special.

I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame for not bringing her completely in sooner, but I tell you, right now, I feel pretty darn good about the future. I am no longer worried or scared, I am focused and determined.

I knew when I first met her that she was different than anyone I have ever met. When we fell in love, I knew that it was a love I had never experienced before. This relationship is for keeps. She is incredible for sticking by me and I owe it to her to stay completely honest and open. I feel I can do it.

Out in the Open

As much as I have been trying to change, there have been several things holding me back. Mistakes from my past that I’ve been overlooking, delaying, ignoring, that have prevented me from fully changing and moving forward in the right direction. I was ashamed of these mistakes, and didn’t want them to affect my future, so, like a fool, I kept them quiet and tried to live my life pretending like these mistakes didn’t exist. You must know the story, eventually, the past starts to creep back into the present which puts a damper on any plans for the future.

Although I have been trying to change many things, I was not changing this very important part of myself, and, as expected, eventually started to cause some real problems. I’ve been lying, keeping these things from the one I love, the person I am supposed to be building a life together with, and what for? Because I was ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, angry with myself for even going through these things. It was hard to acknowledge that I had made such stupid choices in my past. However, trying to forget those choices prevented me from learning those valuable lessons you learn from mistakes, which has not allowed for true growth.

Last night, it all came out. She has been feeling that our trust has been waning, due to my past creeping back in, and she wanted to get the whole picture. So, she confronted me with a list of questions that would address all of the major hurdles that a couple might face. She wanted me to answer them all, in front of her, with complete honesty, right there. As I scanned down the page, I started filling with panic, everything, all of the mistakes that I’ve been hiding from her, all the bad choices that I made and was suffering the consequences from, were all on the page. I was terrified because I had already been telling her things that I should have told her a long time ago, and she was in a position where she was running out of patience. I thought that by the time I finished this list of questions for her, she’d be done with me. All of those lies and secrets I’ve been keeping from her would be too much and she’d feel it would be easier to cut me loose.

I figured, it was now or never then. If I was ever going to tell her these things, I’d better do it now. I finally understood that we needed complete trust, no matter how sad or pathetic I looked, she needed to know these things and make the decision herself on what to do with us and our relationship. I figured that this was it for us, there was no way she would stick by after I shared every skeleton with her.

I did. It was difficult and emotional, and I was scared the whole time. I was shaking but I did everything in my power to not show it. I was in the process of losing the love of my life by my own hand and it made me feel sick. I wanted to run away, I wanted to disappear and just let life move on without me. But I kept answering these questions, I owed it to her.

She was surprised by many of the answers, not so surprised by others. She never thanked me for answering them, but seemed a little relieved although still tense about this information being out. All of it came out. I don’t have any more secrets that she doesn’t know. And although that is somewhat liberating for me, I am still not sure where her and I stand at this time. We ended up going to sleep after we went through them all. Well, she slept, I am not sure how much sleep I really got last night.

Now its the morning after, and today she’ll have time to process everything. I still feel ashamed and embarrassed, and angry at myself for having to go through with this. I still feel fear that we’re done as a couple, I’ve just made too many mistakes to be a suitable mate. Time will tell. I want to fight for her, but I’ve got nothing left but my heart and the will to change. I don’t want to lose her, and hopefully, love will prevail and she’ll have a shred of patience left in me so I can truly move forward and become the man that she deserves. The man I want to be.

Getting Those Finances In Order

One of the most disorganized aspects of my life has been my finances. It’s funny, because I used to be very on top of my finances and dedicated to saving and being very prudent with my expenses. In my past I had to deal with a home life where money was always tight and sacrifices were made just so our family could eat. I was terrified about falling into the same traps that my parents fell into when they were younger, and it motivated me to stay organized with my money.

I don’t know when things changed. Possibly when I started making pretty decent money for myself. As my income increased, my urge to spend increased with it. More expensive clothes, more nights out, careless spending on frivolous items. It kept increasing and I never noticed. I just kept making more money so the higher expenses were always covered. Eventually, I had to hit a wall though. I soon discovered that my increased spending habits were disastrous for my future planning. I had dug myself into such a hole that I am now facing and I have no choice but to dig myself out if I want to have a happy and fruitful future.

The finance fix began last night. Although I was aware of a debt or two that had to be covered, I did not have a clear picture of my financial situation and, what I have discovered as a problem for me, if I don’t see it, I don’t deal with it. So to begin things, I ordered my credit reports. Everything that I had neglecting and forgotten showed up and it helped paint a picture of just how much I needed to dig.

It was surprising, and a little sickening, but also a little relieving as now I have something to work with. A number to work down, a goal.  A review of my spending habits over the past year also helped get my mind focused on the right path of getting my finances in order. Although I have been better in controlling my spending over the past year, I still have some of the same issues of trying to reward myself when things are tough by spending when I shouldn’t.

I have a lot of other goals I would like to accomplish. I certainly would like to get married, buy a new car, and of course, have a nice house in my name, but none of those are even possible if I don’t figure out my finances. Neglecting them will do nothing for me but cause more grief down the road. So today it begins. With her help, we are putting together a spending budget, a repayment schedule, a plan to get things back in order. Being a man means being in control of your life. Finances play such a big role in our lives, it is astounding that so many people have issues with it. I am one of them. But not for much longer.

Getting out of debt is not a tricky business, it is all about planning and sacrifice and diligence. I gave her access to all of my finances and I know that will keep me vigilant on my spending. She is my rock and I will do this, thanks to her. Granted, I should have had this taken care of a long time ago, nay, I should never have been in this position to begin with, but what’s done is done, and it’s what I do moving forward that really counts.

More than I deserve

Life has been going pretty well over the past few months. Things have been on the up and up and real change has been progressing in my life. I am feeling happy and in more control than I have before. The things that really matter are apparent to me now and I am focused on them. However, all through this stage of growth, I’ve still been keeping a secret. A secret from my past that actually was the cause of most of my trouble over the past few years to begin with. I had been acting like everything in life was great, and there was nothing but rainbows and sunshine ahead of me, and she was lulled into a false sense of security because I didn’t tell her the truth. I told her that everything was settled when they really weren’t. I can’t say exactly what the through process was by not telling her, but I know I felt ashamed and embarassed for letting it go as long as I did and not resolving it. I’ve been very lucky that things haven’t escalated because of my lack of action in resolving this issue, and I’ve also been very lucky that she has stood by me, even after she found out that I had been keeping this from her.

She is a very good woman and has given me more chances than a person deserves. I love her more than I ever could describe, she is everything to me, and still, I couldn’t tell her about this. It is a big deal and has implications that will delay our plans, and it makes me feel like less of a man for one, not dealing with it in the first place, and two, not telling her about it when she had confronted me about it, several times.

I am trying to be a better man than I was but I really need to get over the feeling of embarassment when asking for help. I should be able to feel helpless in front of her, that’s part of love, sharing everything so we can rely on each other. I am lucky to have her in my life, lucky that she has had the patience to draw out the truth from all of the mistrust and deception over the past year, lucky that she has the dedication and love for me to want to help me, rather than leave me. Despite my many, many shortcomings, she is there for me, and I feel that I just don’t deserve her love. I feel like I have been letting myself get away with way to much. I need to be completely honest with her and with myself. It is worse that I don’t say anything rather than let it out and deal with it together. She is my love, she is my life, my future, my everything and I need to do whatever it takes to make sure she sticks around. I don’t know what I would do if I lost her.

No more lies. I need to get my shit together.