Walk all over me, please.

You are welcome to exit my life, at any given moment. The door is always open for you to do so. Rarely will I hold it for you as you exit, or lock it behind you, but I will most assuredly not prevent you from walking out of it. Your life, if you choose to have me in it, will get easier once you understand I am who I am. And, I love her. I love what I fight for, what I believe in, and who I believe in. And, if you’re in my life that includes you.

Is there a sign on my back that says, KICK ME or FREE TO TREAT LIKE CRAP? Because sometimes it feels likes it.

Every once in a while, I will get a wild hair and become intrigued by people who perceive me as a defenseless pushover. Or, better yet as someone who cares enough about their opinion to allow my day to become ruined by it. During these brief moments of weakness, it takes an act of God to keep me from saying, “excuse me” as I tap on their shoulder, “what is it exactly in my overall appearance (pointing at my face in a circular motion) or personality that screams “walk all over me, please” and gives you the idea that I will actually fold and lay flat like a board and do as you say?” I don’t fold well with others and I am not LESS of a person than you are.

Not everyone gets the same version of me. One person might tell you I’m an amazing beautiful soul; another person might say I’m a cold-hearted person. Believe them both, I act accordingly.

You’ve heard the saying above and it is true. Even for a Christian. There comes a point where judgment gets a little annoying and not standing up for yourself needs to end. People’s opinions of me are none of my business – I know that. But, what it all boils down to is the simple fact of – you don’t know me. You may know me from years ago, or from a story someone shared of my past, or from an ex – because we all know how truthful those stories can be. Either way, I’m not that girl – and you can either venture out and get to know me for me, or you can continue to miss out and judge instead.

Honestly, either are fine by me but what wont happen is my remaining silent or letting anyone disrespect me – to me. I’m not that girl. There is a fine line between taking the high road and getting steam-rolled. The high road is less traveled and I will choose it 99% of the time, but during those 1% moments where my character and my family are involved and questioned – tread ever-so-lightly my friend. My feelings, thoughts, abilities and what I have to offer as a person are not any less important than any one else. The moment you think you are better than someone else, is the same moment you no longer are – written by: me.

My life is mine for a reason, because I am the only one who can live it. God made me intricately detailed, flawed, a pain in the tush and incredible all at the same time. He factored in my own stupidity knowing I would fail, and that I would need his grace time and time again. He formed my heart knowing that it would love people that would never love me back – and made sure it would have the capacity and willingness to keep beating and loving any how. It’s a heart that fights for what is right, and is unafraid to take a stand for others. A heart that at night, when I fail, or hurt someone – repents and rehashes the why behind my actions. You don’t see that though.

My mistakes are just that, mine. If I make mistakes ten times a day, every day, for the rest of my life, they are no more your business from the first mistake to the last. You can’t bet your sweet nosy tush, I will learn something new along the way each and every time though. I am a very resourceful mistake-maker. My journey is personal and specific to what is needed for my growth as a woman and as a human being. Not yours.

My beliefs are no less important than yours, nor are my priorities, except that to us individually they are significant and critical in the forefront of our lives. They are what propel us forward, the motivation and dedication that burns in our souls. We will not always see eye to eye and I don’t want to! My opinions are loud, but they are never one-sided or judgmental – they come from a personal experience of either gain or loss. You decide if my opinion matters to you, and vice versa – individually the person chooses to validate or reject it. The power belongs to the beholder, just as does beauty.

You are welcome to exit my life, at any given moment. The door is always open for you to do so. Rarely will I hold it for you as you exit, or lock it behind you, but I will most assuredly not prevent you from walking out of it. Your life, if you choose to have me in it, will get easier once you understand I am who I am. And, I love her. I love what I fight for, what I believe in, and who I believe in. And, if you’re in my life that includes you.

I’m at the point in my life, where the quality of the person, reflects my effort. My children are my main priority, I choose every day to love, trust and believe in GOD, and to live my life without regret. I know my heart, and the goodness it contains, it is not my intent nor desire to persuade you in or out of loving me. I love myself enough for the both of us, and my value will never decrease because we’re in disagreement over my worth. Take it or leave it.

Nine secrets your spouse’s ex may not tell you.

Do you have an ex in your life, which makes your life hell? Does it feel like even though your spouse got divorced, that they are still married? Would it surprise you to find out that you put up with more than you have to, simply because the ex says you do?

Below are nine ways to stop allowing the ex to run your life. And, how to remove the welcome mat from your porch and your forehead respectively.

1.  You didn’t marry them; they are not your ex.

This person your spouse or significant other married and consequently divorced, was not who you planned to spend your life with. The word exclude, starts with ex, do just that.        

2.  The ex does not own your spouse just because they share a child.

If your spouse is the non-custodial parent with visitation; it is difficult, but not impossible. Though no longer a team in terms of marriage, they are a team in terms of the child/ren. The ex can only control what the divorce decree says. If the ex has sole legal and sole physical, s/he has the say over schooling, medical and religion. However s/he is required by law to encourage and nurture a relationship with any and all family members of the child’s non-custodial parent. This includes stepfamily, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Better yet, did you know your spouse has a right to daily phone calls with their child, unless noted differently in the divorce decree?  

3.  If you want to attend a school or sporting event – you can. Doctors’ appointments too.

Sporting events are public; anyone and their grandmother can attend. If you want to go, go. Same goes for school recitals, back to school nights, etc. In fact most schools will do separate conferences so that both homes are involved in the child’s educational progress and needs. In terms of doctors’ appointments you can go with a spouse, or have your name added to the child’s file as someone who has a right to medical care and information. It is really no different than having access to a credit card or utility bill that may be solely in your spouse’s name. You can gain information and have some involvement.

4. Your spouse’s visitation time is your spouse’s choice to spend it how they wish. 

The ex-spouse cannot commit you to anything on your time. This includes sports, doctors’ appointments, birthday parties etc. It is a double edge sword though because if by not taking the child to certain engagements will hurt the child in the process, it is a no win situation. But, by no means are you required to do it.

5. Follow your divorce decree, not the ex’s divorce commands.

It can’t be any more plain stated than this. The divorce decree is your spouse’s bible in a sense. It states what is expected, allowed and forbade. Non-custodial parents have more rights than most realize, like rights to medical and school records. Do your research.

6. If your spouse and their ex share joint legal and joint physical custody – your spouse’s say is just as important as the ex’s.

One is not more than the other. In some cases, one parent may have sole physical custody, while both retain joint legal custody. You need to know the differences of these and what your spouse has.

7. The ex can only control what there is no control over.

If a void is visible, the ex will invade. One place the ex will try to invade is your marriage. This is your territory – be territorial enough to remind the ex, this is not their place, and their existence will not be tolerated. Stand your ground.

8. The ex’s issue with you, is a reflection of an issue with themselves.

Any parent who is content with themselves and their own level of involvement and parenting they provide will never limit or control the parenting or involvement of anyone else. This is a well-known fact.

9. In terms of child support, do your own math and research.

Many parents pay more than they should, and feel as though they have to roll over and take it. If your spouse feels there is a substantial change either in their income or the ex’s, request a review. If your spouse is on disability or the ex is on disability make sure the child support office is aware. You’d be surprised how many parents overpay because they failed to double check or request a review.

There you have it, nine ways to limit or exclude the ex’s involvement in your home, your marriage and the relationship with your stepkids.