Dating in your late 30s.. Ghosting, Adventures in Tinderland, Patrick syndrome.

So… I’ve been out in the last year dating and I must say, alot has changed in 20 years. I’ve met many different people while out, at work, on facebook, Tinder, and POF. I even tried dating my soon to be ex-husband and you see where that got me..

I have yet to find anything worth the worry, I’ve been defeated, demeaned, assaulted, ghosted, and had my hopes raised a couple of times only to have them crushed in the end. You must have a thick skin, I really don’t. I take things to heart and wonder what the hell is wrong with ME!

I’m not in a rush to settle down but I miss companionship. Someone to talk to about anything and everything. There are some things us women don’t share with our girlfriends, believe it or not.

So in my journey I have come across “too good to be true” guy, “I’m gonna ask for your number right in front of my girl” guy, “I’m married.. but she don’t have to know” guy, “I’m so desperate for a relationship I’m all in after a movie” guy, “we’re on our 2nd official date and I will follow some dude in the bathroom cause he looked at you too long” guy, “I love you, but I can only admit it when I’m “drunk”(this I like to call Patrick syndrome) guy , “I’m stuck on my previous gf but I’ve wanted to be with YOU for years”guy, “I will get butthurt if you don’t answer me right away” guy, multiple unsolicited dick pics later (why do men do this?), the list goes on and that’s just the highlights.

I reflect alot over the weekends and into the wee hours of the morning. Just this weekend someone sent me an unsolicited pic and when I explained that I didn’t want that, all of a sudden he says.. “You’re not that attractive anyway and you look like you used to be really fat but kinda still are (hahhaha) and you have ugly legs and knees” Well buddy, either you’re super easy or you liked this ugly former/current fat girl with ugly knees and legs enough to strike up conversation. Hmmm… yea it stung, I won’t lie. I am the best at picking out my own imperfections. Thanks for the help, dickhead.

I’ve had relationship conversations with a few different people in the last month or so and what keeps popping up is a line from “The Perks of being a Wallflower”. I love this movie. The line is, “we accept the love we think we deserve”. A light bulb goes off and I think about it. It is absolutely right. I have a tendency to chase the ones that don’t want me and push away the ones that do. Am I too picky? Absolutely not. I think it all falls back on deep down, for some stupid non-sensicle (did I just make that word up) reason, I don’t feel I deserve to be happy? Or… maybe deep down, I don’t really want to be tied down? If that’s the case, why do I long for companionship? I know my worth, but I’m tired and maybe I’m too old to date. Now taking applications for “Sugar papas” that don’t want no sugar! Dating is like Forrest Gump’s moms analogy, it’s a box of chocolates, you really never know what you’re gonna get. For now, I’m holding out for something real and true. If that’s still out there.

Until next time,

One day at a time, Rising Phoenix, real Winner of Tidewater, and always crazy, Jen


It’s been awhile, the words were there but my energy was not.

I have come an awfully long way and I still have some work to do as I will always be a work in progress, learning and growing each day.

I was so desperate to grow up and be independent that I ended up doing the exact opposite. I tell these young ones to be sure they “live their lives”. Do not depend on anyone else to make you happy because they can’t. There is no better feeling in the world then setting a goal and accomplishing said goal on your own and on your own terms. Learn to be independent and happy on your own. Ultimately, your happiness is in your hands.

When I met my husband, I was 18yrs old. I had no idea what I was doing, just months after graduating high school with no plans to do anything to further my education. Plainly, I was fucking stupid. Fresh out of my first real relationship we met. We hit it off, we talked all night that first night and we moved in together within 30 days. It was quick and neither of us knew what we were doing. I was a cashier at a grocery store chain, he was a cook in the navy. He was in bed most nights by 9pm and I was up at all hours but we made it work. We enjoyed one anothers company and he represented what I thought was freedom from my parents. I didn’t even have my own car. I look back on this stuff and I cringe. We would fight and make up hundreds of times. Lived through a 6 month deployment and moved to Chesapeake. On one of our not so good times, I met Tamara’s father and well.. now she was in the picture. I got pregnant. We dealt with that and the fact that at that time we didn’t know if Matt or Rachael was Tamara’s biological father. Rachael was no longer in the picture knowing I was carrying a child and Matt and I decided together that we were staying together and he would be there for both me and Baby regardless of the outcome. On Oct 1st 1998, Tamara was born, we listed Matt as her father on her birth certificate and went on our merry way. It was right after she was born that the first incident that caused the beginning of our demise. Promises were made, we went on. We decided we would tie the knot the following year. It was a shaky year. We moved in with my parents before buying our first home. The apartment in Chesapeake was horrible and we didn’t want to renew the lease. Ever since the first incident after Tamara was born, I had trust issues. I had them because the problem kept coming back and haunted us our entire marriage. Add in money problems and we had a recipe for disaster. Aiden came along a little more than a year after we got married and the problems continued. Things would be good and then the problem would resurface and I gave up on life. I was depressed. I lived on and off of weight watchers, gained and lost weight but the depression won. I packed on 200lbs from the time we met to 2009. I would lose weight, feel good, get attention outside that I wasn’t getting from home and the money issues remained. Matt got a job travelling and it was rough, we went through the same up and down cycle for another 10yrs when I finally decided I would do something about the weight after a gall bladder attack and double hernia procedure. I underwent gastric sleeve which is a form of WLS not as dramatic as bypass. I had to relearn how to eat and learn how to properly exercise. This was honestly probably the best part of our marriage.  We were getting along great. During that time my hormones went crazy. I tried to find new things to do to keep busy and Matt was on board at first but again he was travelling and didn’t want to do the things I was doing. We took dance lessons to appease my new active lifestyle but he would get frustrated because he wasn’t picking up as quickly as he liked. We took our newly acquired skills to the floor and me being the perfectionist I am sometimes would correct him and he would get angry. We stopped dancing anything other than slow dances. Matt was a homebody and opted to stay home and hear my stories. It became a game to see if I could “pick anyone up” while I was out. Bills were piling up and I decided to get a 2nd job. It was a crazy time. Within a yr or so Matt lost his job and our lives turned upside down. Money was always an issue and for the 2nd time in our marriage we were forced to file a bankruptcy. This, is where we hit the point of no return. I was disappointed in our life. How could this happen again? We are too old for this! 3 months later I moved in with a friend to help her out as her husband of 20yrs left her to be with another woman and the rest is history. I viewed this as my shot for independence. It wasn’t supposed to be permanent. We dated again but it didn’t work because we would fight and he would accuse me of using him. I finally got my own place in August of last year and ultimately lost everything I owned due to flooding and asbestos. 
Here I am more than a year later, separated legally and awaiting divorce from the man I married 18yrs ago. I have dated, and dating at 39 is kind of a joke. Every one is either crazy or just wants to have fun with no real commitment. I could tell stories but that’s another blog.

Being alone is both empowering and lonely at times. I miss having a companion but the stress we put one another through was not worth it. I want to be happy. I am constantly making changes to better myself. I am workung on a career move and would like to get to the point where I can survive comfortably on a single income. There is still so much I need and want to do. I don’t know how much time I have left but I’m gonna make the best of it, and most likely alone.

Til next time,

-ever evolving Phoenix- Jen

We mature with the damage, not the years.

The Phoenix is supposed to always rise from its ashes and rebuild stronger each time. I have used this in reference to myself for the last 4 yrs along this fucked up journey called my life.

This is somewhat an open letter that you will never read and I no longer have the energy to spend trying..

You said that you wanted me to hate you. That I shouldn’t want to reconcile because you didn’t deserve it. You won, it has taken me almost 21yrs to see with fresh eyes the truth behind our entire relationship. It hurts, it still does. Except now, not only have I lost 20yrs of my life, I have also lost my kids because of what you have done to me. You brought them into the middle, told your sob story, and won them over meanwhile turning me into a monster. Hell, my daughter kept encouraging the split but that ultimately meant someone had to leave and that ended up being me which is now viewed as abandonment. I have lost.

Now I see you have moved on and it was quite a shock from the man who had no eyes for anyone else and never would.  *cough*bullshit*cough* You did it in your typical way, I shouldn’t have been surprised by this latest thing you and my kids hid from me. Hiding it until I discovered it on my own. I feel sorry for her as she has no clue what she has walked into. You have always made yourself out to be the nice guy and I was always the bad one. In reality, my dear, it was you that wore a mask for the world to see and I was true to myself. I defended you to your mother, you had me believing she was the devil incarnate and ruined your life when you left for boot camp by running up your credit cards and bills and not paying them. Now, with clear eyes, I can see that was all lies. I can even imagine all of the stories you have told LeAnn about me. You were abandoned along with the kids, one of which you took in cause she was not yours. Matt is the savior and I was the devil. Just like you blamed all of our financial issues on me when talking to your mom. I wonder why we never got along now. I remember all of your “woe is Matt” stories about your childhood and about how no one ever truly loved you. Your whole family was shit. I bought it all and resented them for it when in reality it was all lies. 

Your addictions tore us apart because you didn’t trust me enough to be honest about them. They made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I felt trapped because I thought I could never make it on my own, especially with 2 kids. I packed on 200+ lbs thanks to depression. We did have some good times when I believed that the “last time was the last time” until I would discover another hidden secret of yours. 

I sought outside affection, almost craved it because it made me feel alive and wanted. However, it only made me feel worse. I made mistakes too, I will never place all of the blame on you but God damn it.. this was such a bullshit marriage and I resent you. I feel sick because there’s a part of me that still loves you but it’s not healthy. 

When I left, it was supposed to be temporary. I needed to spread wings and we could use the break, I had been sleeping on the couch for at least 2 yrs. I wanted to start over if it was at all possible but we couldn’t seem to get over the past, you accused me of using you when we would go out and we did a few times. You conveniently don’t remember that part. Probably because you are in saint mode strengthening your hold on Leann with lies. I wanted to see who I was without you. We got married young, had kids young. I had 2 kids by the time I turned 22 and to say that aloud and read that mystifies me to this day. We were kids!! 

There are always two sides to every story. Thank you for not being totally honest about my part. I have always been honest with you, and it killed me that you could never be that way with me. You never thought I would go through with leaving and I did. I know that stung, but why? You would tell my family that you were sure I was going to leave time and time again cause you screwed up again but this was a surprise? Probably the same way this still stings for me. I thought we could get through anything but I think in reality it was really that neither of us thought we could get on without the other and had not the guts to do anything about it. 


I have spent the last 4 days falling apart. It wasn’t always bad, it really wasn’t but was it all just a facade? Was it just because I hadn’t learned of the latest betrayal? I don’t know. Although I absolutely hate you right now, this too shall pass and it will be ok. You carry a sliver of my heart that I will never get back. The past 4 months have wreaked their havoc on me and I take each day as they come. I am broken and bruised but if I can make it through, I know it will eventually get better. I’m at my wits end and honestly don’t know how much more I can handle. Now, I hold onto a sliver of hope, being the silver lining type of person that I am, but it’s fading. I don’t feel there is anything left for me without the love and support of my kids. 

Til next time,

Let’s see if there’s any fire left in the Phoenix -Jen

Remember when

I’ve had a few crazy weeks. There are things going on that I can’t share just yet because I still need to figure them out for myself. #INFJ/INFP problems

If you know anything about me at all, you know I have a connection with music. I don’t just hear it, I feel it. Yesterday, a song played that hit me pretty hard. It always has, but this time it hit especially hard. Alan Jackson’s “Remember when”.

I listened to it a good 10 times at least and cried through it each time. It made me take a trip down memory lane thinking about my marriage and life with my husband. We are separated. It’s been close to a year. I went back to the beginning and while things were never perfect, we had a great love that waxed and waned over the years. We fucked it up along the way. We both did, there is no one person to blame. There are great memories and some not so great memories. I was so sure at one point that we could survive anything because we had weathered quite a bit. Today, we don’t see eye to eye and it seems we probably never will. We are civil with one another and can even joke back and forth sometimes, but that’s about it. I don’t know exactly how we got this way but it was my decision to leave. I had been sleeping on the couch for years, not necessarily because there was an issue, but because I would fall asleep and not get up to come to bed. I wanted to see if I could do things on my own. Not knowing the while story, I am sure I sound like an ass and I will take that. I’ve been called many things in my lifetime. I’m not perfect, I never will be.

In a nutshell, I feel like a failure. An older, dried up, with nothing left to offer, failure. Pictures with me in it have been pulled off the walls in what was our family home. I guess I deserve that, you know, “abandoning” my family and all. It stung. I am not immune, this whole situation has been difficult for me. I am fighting my own demons daily and over the last year some pretty big new ones have made their appearance and I’m doing the best I can. Most days, I want to run. Run far away from anyone that knows me, or die. Yes, I said that.  I have friends, and I have family nearby but there are only 2-3 I feel comfortable enough to share this stuff with that won’t look at me like a disease. For the most part, I haven’t been doing that much lately either. My head is conflicted and I am in therapy. If I didn’t hold two jobs, I would go insane sitting alone in my place battling with my head. It will be a process, therapy.





Time to face the strange ch-ch-changes..

When I was hired on at my current position, I had no idea that we would be combining with another school (Kemps Land8ng Magnet School) and that a new building would be built. 

It was my 3rd interview that summer and I was pretty down and didn’t think I would be chosen for this one either. I choked during the first two. I got nervous, I forgot what I wanted to say, and I spent the rest of those 2 days thinking to myself about what I should have said and gah!!! I went into Old Donation with my head held high, huge plastic smile plastered on my face and “winged it”. The new administration for the school made me feel at home and I left the interview feeling better than I had at the last two. Within 2 hrs Human Resources called to offer me the position. I am pretty sure I cried, screamed, and got nervous as hell! What in the hell did I just get myself into? The road has not been easy, I was informed after hire about the collaboration between Kemps Landing and Old Donation and that a new building would be built by 2017. The staff I had at Old Donation for the most part hated me. I was not what they were used to and only one of them really ever gave me a chance. She transferred to another school closer to home. By December of that year I was, called down to my Principals office and given the news that the manager at Kemps Landing wanted to take over the new school when they were to combine the following year which meant I would have to be placed elsewhere as she had seniority. My principal was upset, I was upset, I went back to my office and cried. Once again, my future was up in the air and I had no idea where I would be the next year. I got calls for interviews and I didn’t take them (Now I am glad I didn’t). I finished up the year, packed up ODC for the move into another building while they prepared to tear Old Donation down for the new building. It was the day after school ended that year that human resources called me again and told me the position was mine if I was still interested, the other manager didn’t want to move and another opportunity had come up for her as well. I was relieved and still unsure, simply because of the whole moving process across town, but at least I knew where I would be the following year. I spent the summer working for the summer program for the 2nd year in a row and getting my “new to me” building set up. Only one of my staff came with me to the new spot and I had transfers from other schools come in to fill a few spots but I never got a full staff  (even to this day). I didn’t get to pick any of these ladies and it was shaky. The one that followed me from the old building thought she could walk all over me (push me hard enough and I bite), I had a sub come fill a spot and she seemed great until I hired her for a permanent position and the shit hit the fan. I have stories you wouldn’t believe over these two and all I can say is I got alot of experience in dealing with problems 🙂 There have been major staff changes in the last few years and I can finally say even though I still don’t have a full permanent staff, I have 4 contracted employees and one regular sub that have been fabulous for me the last year and a half. I even have a few subs on stand-by that like to come fill in when there is a need because they love being with us. That is great to know! We are not perfect but we can work through one another’s quirks and we really do make a great team. If I have nothing else going for me, I can at least get my job right. 

That brings me to today, I went on my first tour of the new building. It was built on the former ODC site that I’d left behind. I am excited, nervous, happy, proud all in one and that doesn’t even accurately describe all that I am feeling. This project has been years in the making. I pulled up to the site and this is what I saw

The emotions pouring through me were almost overwhelming. It was becoming real. This is where I will be more than likely finishing out my school career because I have no intention of leaving the Old Donation family unless I have to. This is home, I feel it in my being and have from the moment I walked into the office at ODC for that interview. Imagine that.. a self proclaimed artist working with a school specifically designed for Advanced Academics and Arts 🙂 

I walked through this tour alongside a decent sized group and we “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” at the sheer size, artistry in detail, and eco-friendly features. There are multiple dance studios, hallways built for “out of the box” learning, a schola, an outdoor amphitheater, a black box stage, an auditorium with balcony seating, art studios, science labs, a roof top garden, I am surely forgetting something. I am in awe. That doesn’t even get into the kitchen yet. I will have the most up to date equipment possible, it will require a training session for my staff to learn how to properly use and maintain all the goodies we have at our fingertips. 

I am nervous, the transition will be crazy and I probably won’t have everything the way I want it until into the next school year and that’s ok. 

The building is beautiful, I wish I had taken more photos but I was distracted by all there was to see. 

I am beyond excited to be here and I don’t know what exactly the future holds but I have something to focus on and look forward to and that, in itself, is a wonderful thing!

After the year I have had, it’s about damn time something amazing happened.

Til next time,

Hangin’ in, never giving up, Phoenix on rebuild, Jen


Yesterday marked the 4 yr anniversary of the passing of my grandmother. She was 90yrs old and I revisit this every year because I have regrets. I am a procrastinator and one that believed that time was on my side and it isn’t. Our days are numbered and we have no way of knowing which one will be our last. The last time I saw my grandmother, it was for her 89th birthday. It had been a few years before then since my previous visit because I kept putting off the trips due to work or some other random reason. Matt travelled for work and alot of times I would stay behind because he was supposed to be home, or something similar. Sometimes it had something to do with anxiety, I am admitting for the first time. I missed out on alot of things because of that. I missed her 90th birthday celebration because of work. I took on a long term sub assignment covering for another manager before I landed my own school. I was afraid to ask for someone to cover my absence because I was covering someone else at the time. This is one of my biggest regrets. Her 89th birthday would be the last time I got to spend time with my grandmother. The kicker was that when I finally made the effort to make a trip down, she passed away the morning I was supposed to travel down to see her. It stings every time I think about it. What made it worse was I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the funeral service because I was slated for surgery 3 days later. 2013 was a life changing year, it marks two major anniversaries for me. The passing of my grandmother and what I like to call my second birthday. February 4, 2013 is my 2nd birthday, my life would never be the same. Gastric sleeve and hiatal hernia repair at the same time. It was an event years in the making, stemming from a gall bladder attack in 2010. If you’ve followed from the beginning, you know the story. This has led to a whole slew of events over the last few years. My confidence in myself began to soar and I began to learn alot of things about myself that I hadn’t realized before. My marriage seemed to be better than ever and then my hormones took on a life of their own. In all honesty, I went bat-shit crazy. That’s the best way I could describe it. Then things took a turn for the worst. Matt and I became further and further apart regardless of the strides we had made. We both made mistakes. This is the point at which I should have started therapy but I didn’t realize how badly I needed it. That and a part of me believed that if the things that went on in my head were shared with anyone, I’d be hospitalized for sure. I went on this way for 2 more years and last year was my breaking point. I left to try things on my own for the first time, lost my home and most of my belongings due to flooding and started having anxiety attacks before I realized something had to give and therapy was something I definitely needed because my “crazy” was interfering with my life. My marriage has suffered as well as my relationship with most of my family. I can only imagine what it looks like from the outside. Believe me, I am harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be. I make mistakes all the time and will probably continue to do so, BUT.. I am learning albeit the hard way, but I AM learning. I have hope that one day I will be able to make sense of the mess I have made and be stronger for it. 

In a nutshell, I guess my point all along was, our days are numbered. Stop putting stuff off for another day. Tell the ones you love that you love them. Take a chance, you may not have the opportunity again. Stop worrying about what others think because it doesn’t matter.

There are tons of things I wish I had done differently but hindsight is 20/20. All I can do now is make the best of what I have and move on. 

I had a conversation with one of my kids lastnight that opened my eyes a little. I’m not perfect and I never will be but I am trying my best. Have faith in me, I am trying to do the right things.



What is rape culture?  According to Google.. rape culture is a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.

This is the world we live in. This is why so many victims remain silent. They are afraid they won’t be believed or that something they did or wore for that matter made the action ok.

What is rape/sexual assault? Again, according to Google, “Rape is defined as unwanted penetration, whether that is oral, anal, or vaginal. Sexual Assault refers to any unwanted sexual contact, including fondling and molestation.” Rape/Sexual assault is not exclusive to women either.

According to, Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. On average, there are 321,500 victims or rape and sexual assault each year. These are only the ones reported. So many don’t bother reporting because of fear. Fear they won’t be believed, because they are embarrassed, because they feel like they did something wrong or could have provoked it, because it was someone they knew. Now tell me, how could one provoke their own attack? That idea comes from the rape culture idea that a person’s clothing, look, behavior is reason enough to justify the action.. oh, “they asked for it” or “we did it before, you don’t want me anymore?” “She wore a skirt, she knew what she was getting into” Fuck you! A person should be able to wear whatever the hell they want without threat of an attack. Fuck you! Just because you had sex before doesn’t mean you are obligated to do it again. “We were making out, don’t you know what comes next?” Fuck you!

You probably know at least one person who has been there and don’t even know it.

Let’s make this a little more real… you’re reading a post written by someone that has been both raped and assaulted.

I am a strong woman and I know how to defend myself. How did this happen? It was someone I knew therefore I was comfortable to an extent and never expected anything like this to happen and it happened in my own home. We were watching football and the game was a lost cause so, we started a movie and within minutes, hands were roaming and I was dodging. I was able to hold off a man well trained in martial arts for a good 30 minutes before my body gave up and I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I was not dressed provocatively unless long sleeve tees and blue jeans are considered provocative. I was not flirting and I did not ask for it. I came out of it with friction burns on my right hip, under my right knee where my clothes were forcibly pulled off my body, a thumbprint under my left arm, a welt on the inside of my right calf, and a deflated ego. I did not go down without a fight. It was the worst 40 minutes of my life. It was humiliating, I felt hopeless and powerless. Unfortunate fact of life is men are stronger than women in general. Our bodies are made differently. This man was able to lift me off the ground and toss me like a medicine ball, or a baby doll, no shit. Maybe it’s the fat girl in me, I never thought anyone would be able to lift me with ease. I am still trying to wrap my head around it all. I go back and forth in my head about the “should have, would have, could haves” and I feel dumb, but should I ? Why would anyone be weary of a “friend”? You wouldn’t think this would happen. You would also think that when you say NO!, STOP!, I CAN’T DO THIS!, PLEASE, GET OUT!, cry, and fight back that one might get the message to fucking stop. It was surreal, I couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me. Surely it was my fault. It has me questioning everything and worse doubting myself. Until this moment, there are only a few people that know what and when. I havent even brought it up to my therapist yet because I didn’t want to break down in her office before heading to work straight from there. I am dealing the best way I know how. I am taking a huge risk letting it be known.

If you know me personally, please do not bombard me with questions because there isn’t anything you can say or ask that hasn’t gone through my mind a thousand times. Know I am safe aside from shaken up. This person will have no contact in any shape or form with me in the future and you do not need to know who it was.

Why am I sharing? It’s again, part of my process, it will help someone else not feel so alone, and if you, I don’t care who you are, personally need or want to talk, I will be there. Writing is also a release for me. I can’t say all of these things aloud so writing it out helps me get it out. Life is not pretty and shit does happen, it doesn’t make it right by any means but this is how I get through and if my words can encourage, enlighten, motivate, inspire, or help even one person, it’s worth it to me.

If you’ve been there, know you’re not alone. I have beat myself up going over and over the who, what, when, where, and why. In reality there is no justification and there isn’t a thing I could have done differently. It is what it is and I will go on like I always do.

Rising Phoenix, ain’t goin down without a fight..