Honesty.

I’ve gone to a few therapy sessions to help me recover from what my ex-fiancee did to me.  These sessions have forced me to be pretty introspective.  Lately I’ve had one thought at the forefront of my mind: do you know how difficult it is to be honest with yourself sometimes??

It seems silly, really.  Why shouldn’t you be able to be honest with yourself?  It’s not like someone is listening to the thought track that is running through your head.  But I’ve begun to realize that I haven’t always been truthful with myself and still am struggling with that.

I have a few hypotheses as to why this might occur.  One, it may be the case that we are trying so hard to convince others of something that we start lying to ourselves about it (example: telling everyone that I’m really bouncing back and getting better every day.  That’s a lie, but I want SO BADLY for it to be true.  Every day is still really hard and I’m more so repressing things than I am actually getting better).  Two, the truth can be scary so we want to live in the lie (example: convincing myself that because I’m surrounded by family and friends I’m not a lonely person when in fact this is the loneliest I’ve felt in recent memory).  

Finally, I think sometimes we are forced to lie to ourselves because we honestly don’t know the truth.  I honestly don’t know if I’m ok.  Some days I feel pretty strong and (somewhat) happy, and other days I want to just hide under my covers and let the world pass me by.  Does this mean I’m ok?  Does it mean I’m not? 

I feel like this whole experience has given me some clarity on life.  I’m trying to start a practice of actually asking myself if I’m being as honest as possible (I ask this mentally, so as to not walk around talking to myself and scaring little children).  It’s been an interesting process.  I now ask myself things like “do I actually enjoy talking to that guy who took my number on Saturday (in a friends-only sort of way), or do I just like the male attention?”  These questions can be tough to ask, because they might force you to own up to some aspects of yourself that you aren’t wild about.  However, becoming cognizant of these aspects also allows you to make corrections.  It’s a tough and painful process, but I think (and desperately hope) that it will pay off someday.

Is there anyone out there who can empathize with me, or am I alone on the island of self-dishonesty?

Finding Motivation in the Cold

Dangggggggg it’s cold outside.  I was actually stuck at my parents’ house last night because the interstate closed due to high winds, blowing snow, and zero visibility.  So I had the fun time of getting up at 6 AM today to drive to Fargo and make it to school by noon.  Gross.

ImageTrying to walk when you can’t see (from the Fargo Forum)

This weather makes it really difficult to find motivation to do anything that requires leaving the house (No groceries?  I’d rather get reallyyyyyy creative with my cooking than venture out to the store).  It is especially difficult to get up the energy to go work out.  I have a strange relationship with exercise.  It’s very easy for me to get addicted to going to the gym.  I skip once or twice, and it’s also really easy for me to stop going.  I’m really trying to get in the “addiction to working out” phase again so I can start training for another half marathon.

Untitled24   Running my first half marathon with my aunt, September 2012

I managed to get my butt to the gym on Saturday morning and it was uglyyyyy.  The last time I’ve ran was when I did an Ugly Sweater 5k on November 16.  I legit made it 2 miles and gave up.  I was already mad at myself for the short run, and then I was SO. SORE. on Sunday.  It was frustrating to be that sore when you ran a half marathon less than 8 months ago.

photo (3)My friends and I after the Fargo Half last May

Every time I get myself in shape I promise that I’m not going to stop.  Then life gets in the way and I find myself unable to run a 5k and carrying about 20 extra pounds that I would like to get rid of.

I kept telling myself that after Christmas was when I was really going to get in shape for the wedding.  Then all that stuff happened and not only was I not getting in shape, I wasn’t doing much of anything.  I’m coming to realize that I need to be healthy for myself, not for someone or something else.  Just because I’m no longer getting married in 5 months does not mean that I shouldn’t be healthy (also, I think my sisters and I are going to Puerto Rico over the wedding date, and I do not want to look like a beached whale).  Of course I want to look good, but I also want to feel good.  I want to live a long and healthy life for myself and for my future family.

I really need to establish a lifestyle that maintains this instead of training for 2 months before a race, running it, and then losing everything I worked for.  Anyone have any motivation tips (especially when it’s -45 outside and going to the gym sounds awful)?

Being a Grown-up

Well guys, I’ve completed a major rite of passage into adulthood…I BOUGHT A CAR LAST NIGHT!!

I’ve focused a lot of my free time (and some of my time at work…oops) into this car hunt.  There have been several developments since my last post about the agony of car shopping.  I found out that our school cook’s husband works at the same dealership where I was so stressed out.  She called him and told him I was stressed out and she wanted him to help me out.  I went in to meet with him and he told me not to buy that Mitsubishi.  He said the car had been on the lot for awhile and they were more concerned with getting rid of it, not with getting me a good car.  He looked in the inventory and said they didn’t really have anything that fit my budget, but he did have me test drive a 2013 Dodge Avenger (that was a niiiiiiiice car) and got me really good financing.  However, my grace period for my student loans ends next month so I’m hesitant to take on a car payment right now.

ImageOnly 16,000 miles on this baby!

Then I went to Nereson Automotive.  It was an amazing experience from start to finish.  Everyone there (from the front desk to the salespeople to the service department) was unbelievably friendly.  Not once did I feel pressured or stressed.  I test drove a 2008 Avenger, and it was love at first shift.  I love the style inside and out, the car drove well, the tires were good on the icy North Dakota roads, etc, etc, etc.  I could go on and on.  It felt nothing like when I was driving the Mitsubishi.  It was perfect.

When we went to talk numbers, the salesman (Mike) asked what I wanted for my trade.  I told him what the other dealership had offered me, and he beat that by $800 (so we were up a full $1000 from the Blue Book value of my car)!  I was still a little hesitant, so I asked if I could keep the car overnight.  Mike told me that was no problem at all.  When I came back the next day, I was pretty much ready to accept their offer but I figured I would try to bargain one more time.  I asked them if they could go down $700 dollars (which would get me to an even $6000 including tax, title, and license AND a free autostart).  I wasn’t expecting much, but Nereson’s came through.  They offered me $4800 for my car ($1300 more than the Blue Book value) and took another $250 off the sale price.  I told them if they threw in rubber floor mats (a necessity with North Dakota winters) we had a deal.  They gave in and I wrote a check for $6124.

And now introducing my new baby boy, Howie:

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The process of buying a car was TERRIFYING.  I was scared to trust my own judgement and scared to make a mistake.  But let me tell you, this feels SO GREAT.  It is so nice to feel a little bit like I’m in control again.  I am still capable of making choices.  I am still a responsible person.  I am still able to feel positive emotions like joy and excitement (if you don’t believe I was excited, here is a screenshot of the Snapchat I sent out last night:)

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My sister and I are going home for the weekend and we’re taking Howie, so we’ll see how he handles on the interstate.  Overall though, I’m just jacked about my purchase.

After that experience, here are a few things I would recommend to those of you who are shopping for a new vehicle.  First, if you are feeling stressed or pressured at all, DON’T BUY!  The offer I got on the Mitsu seemed good, but I know I would have regretted buying that car.  Secondly, if you don’t personally know anyone who sells cars, ask around.  Talk to family, friends, and coworkers to see who they bought their vehicles from.  I tried going it alone at first and it was very stressful, but when I started telling some of my coworkers that I was looking for a new car I received several recommendations of people to call.  Finally, trust your gut.  If you test drive a car and it doesn’t feel right or you find you are trying to talk yourself into liking it, don’t buy it.  This is a big purchase.  You should love what you buy.  I knew almost immediately that the first few cars I test drove were not it for me, and I also knew that the Avenger was it.

I’ve taken a lot of steps to recover from what happened over Christmas break.  Most of these steps were reactionary (closing my bank accounts, reporting my Social Security card as lost, etc.).  Buying this car was not reactionary.  I very easily could’ve had my Malibu detailed and you never would’ve known she had ever been any worse for the wear.  Buying this car was a way for me to let the bad stuff know that I’m not going to let it win.  As cheesy as it sounds, this whole experience has made me feel strong.  People have been telling me that I’m really strong for dealing with everything the way that I have, but this is the first time I really am feeling it.  

And that’s a nice feeling.

All About Self-Worth

I have two younger sisters, ages 20 and 17.  They tell me all the time that Facebook is on the way out, and Twitter and Instagram rule the social networking world.  That may be true for their generation, but I have about 1000x more friends on Facebook than on Twitter.  I really only even got a Twitter so I can keep in touch with my sisters’ lives.

In addition to the fact that all my friends are on Facebook and hardly any are on Twitter, I would argue the value of Facebook because every once in a while you come across something you just needed to see.  It’s those moments when you are just scrolling through your newsfeed and you see a status or picture that had to have been put there by Divine Inspiration.

This happened to me the other day.  I was having an exceptionally low day when I came across this photo, posted by Women Rock MN (sponsors of the first half marathon I ever ran):

Seriously, how perfect?

I had a pretty clear picture of what my future looked then, and then my world was turned upside down.  I was scared to continue on with my life, scared to start my new journey.  But then I saw this and it really got me thinking: how many of us fear the future because we are scared of the unknown, and how many of us are afraid that we aren’t good/smart/beautiful/nice enough to deserve good things?

I truly believe everyone I know is worth the effort, even my ex-fiancee.  We are all people and we all have human dignity.  I have such an easy time thinking that about others (okay, it’s a little more difficult to think that about my ex) but such a hard time thinking that about myself, so I set this picture as the background on my phone.  Now every time I check my phone, I remind myself that I am worth it.

To everyone reading this, I promise that you are worth it.  You’ve just got to figure out a way to believe in yourself.  I can’t say that I’m 100% there yet, but I’m getting better.  And, I’ve got to say, it feels damn good.

My First Car Shopping Experience

Or, standing my ground even though confrontation makes me want to run away screaming.

As I mentioned yesterday, I test drove a new car last night.  This is the first car shopping experience I’ve done on my own.  I currently drive a 2006 Chevy Malibu, which my parents and I purchased about 4.5 years ago.  I was part of the shopping experience last time, but my parents were paying for about 80% of the total cost so the final decision rested with them.  This time, it’s all on me.

Let me tell you, last night was an experience.  I want to share my experience so anyone who is about to embark on this endeavor doesn’t come out looking like I did, which was something like this:

To be fair, I had some extenuating circumstances that added stress to my shopping experience.  First, I went in on the defensive.  I assumed that the salesperson was going to try to take advantage of me because I was coming in as a single 24-year-old female who doesn’t have a lot of car knowledge (this assumption was reinforced by my mom, who suggested I take my brother with because “let’s face it, they take guys more seriously”).  Second, recent events have left me with major trust issues.  The salesman seemed genuine, but my trust has been abused lately so I’ve become somewhat cynical.

Finally, I was plain old pissed off that I had to be there.  I was planning on driving my Malibu until it exploded.  I wasn’t taking into consideration the fact that it was going to be “borrowed” by my ex’s junkie friends and have the inside trashed (seriously, there are stains all over from spilled drinks and the interior smells like an ash tray).  I feel violated every time I drive it.  I’m scared that there’s drug residue in there and one day the drug dogs are going to come through the school parking and go nuts.  I want to get a new vehicle as soon as possible, but I’m mad at the whole situation.

Anyway, I digress.  I test drove a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant.  I really liked the way the car drove (the acceleration on the interstate made me giddy) and the interior was pretty nice, but I was a little hung up on the exterior looks.  Also, buying a used car is scary.  I’ve had really good luck with my Malibu, what if this one breaks down all the time?  Ahhhhhhh!!

photoMy little girl, buried in snow

I sat down with the salesman after we drove it.  The car was listed at $9495, and they offered me $2000 for my trade.  That would leave me at about $7500 for the car, tax title and license not included.  I said no way, he’s got to come down.  He told me he could give me $2500 for my car, but I said that was still too high.  I told him I needed to go home and think about things, and apparently he didn’t want to see me walk out the door because he went to the manager to get a better deal.  He came back and offered me $3700 for my car, which makes the price of the car about $5700 (not including tax, etc.).

That’s a pretty good deal for a decent car.  However, I am using my wedding savings to pay for this car so I’m not financing or anything, just writing a check.  The idea of writing a $6000 check scares the bejeezus out of me.  I told him I was feeling very stressed and I wasn’t going to purchase that night, so he let me take the car overnight to think about it.

I’ve talked to various family about it and received mixed opinions about the offer.  Committing is scary!  It’s not like I’m wavering over spending $100 on a dress at Express.  This is my car.  How does one get the courage to pull the trigger on a purchase like this? (Especially when one’s judgement as been questionable as of late.)

I’m taking the Mitsu back today without a decision made, and I’m test driving a Dodge Avenger this afternoon.  I want to be rid of Olivia (my Malibu) but I’m scared to commit to a new car.  And underneath it all I’m just so angry that I’m even in this situation.

I was going to try to give some advice about car shopping, but I think I’ll reserve that for when I’ve actually completed the process.  For now, anyone have advice for me??

Back to Life, Back to Blogging

So here I am.  A fresh start with a fresh blog.  I had to delete my old blog because it was all about wedding planning.  I could no longer blog about wedding planning because I’m no longer engaged.  I’m no longer engaged because on Christmas Day my then-fiance confessed he’d been using meth for about a year and he had been lying about it.  I broke off the engagement and had to figure out how to start over.

Several weeks and much drama later (read: stolen car/TV/laptop/passport, therapy sessions, and crying myself to sleep for many nights) I’ve decided it is time to come back to life.  I came back to my job as a high school media specialist after a 2-week leave.  I’ve gotten rid of my apartment and am currently test driving vehicles to replace my car.  I’m starting to feel a little like my old self (I’ve even made it 3 days in a row without crying!).

ImageI‘ll be testing this guy tonight

But I missed blogging.  I missed sharing my wedding planning adventure with others and reading their comments/ideas/support.  So I’m back.  Back to the blogosphere.  I don’t have a specific blogging purpose in mind, so this will be slightly more random.  I’ll be rambling about how to figure out life as a newly-single 20-something who lives in the frigid upper Midwest.  If you want me to be more specific, I’ll probably write about recovering from my life falling apart, DIY ideas and projects (I’m not super crafty, but I like to try), recipes (ditto with the crafting thing, but with cooking), ideas for school, and (hopefully someday) dating.  I’ll just consider myself part Carrie Bradshaw, part Martha Stewart, and part Sybil (like I said, this might be slightly schizophrenic and random).

Here we go.  It’s time to live again.