I shared a piece on October 8th about the shootings that keep happening in our country in Thoughts on Vegas, and Why Men Keep Doing This – Be Yourself . This was a very interesting read on men in our society and why they keep doing these atrocious things. It also mentioned a few things to read, watch, or join to learn more, grow, or fix things. One of them was a film The Mask You Live In . I watched this over the weekend and cried. It is so telling what we have done to our boys. How confusing it is to “be a man” in our world.

I saw my son so many times. He is so not a typical boy. He had two older sisters. He and the middle kid are so close. He would play dolls with her. She took tap and ballet so he wanted to take tap and ballet. He did that for three years. The first year at three, he was the only boy. The second and third year, he was joined by his best friend. They quit when the school closed. He started playing the violin at five. He also played flag football for three years. He enjoyed it but after the third year, he said he was done with football. He wanted to be a Bronco and the team was the Broncos that year so he reached his goal. When he started Kindergarten his favorite color was pink. He had the classroom bully tell him that he was not allowed to like pink. This same bully picked on him for years. I didn’t know about much of the bullying because my son never told us but the middle kiddo would tell us. He also had a couple of real good friends that always stood up for him. One was his girlfriend. She was so cute. She would threaten to beat up all the boys that picked on him. I am sure that didn’t help matters but she always had his back. They are still friends to this day. The other was his jock best friend. They are so different but are like brothers. As the years went on, my son became an avid reader, brain, reader, and very sensitive. In high school, he got into band and theater. My son has never been a stereotypical boy and is now finding his way as a man that doesn’t fit the stereotypical male in our society.

This film delves into what being a man is and how our society tries to stifle the “feminine” side of them.  We need to change the way we raise our boys and what we expect from them. There are men like my son. There are men like his best friend, the jock. They both are very sensitive young men and have been allowed to be this way due to their mothers. Both of them had fathers that are the more “macho” men that were raised to not show emotions. Not all men are as lucky as our boys. Many are still raised to not show emotions. Those men are damaged. They have difficulties in so many aspects of their lives, even if they don’t see it themselves. Many become lonely, angry, and unsatisfied in life. Many end up much worse- abusers, controllers, killers, etc. We need to let our boys be who they are and express their own interests and feelings. I think anyone that influences boys in our world should watch this film. I would love to hear your opinions on this film after you watch it.

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I had such a great birthday. The celebration culminated last night and now it is time to recover. The actual day was fabulous. I went to town and got my hair done. I like getting highlights and hadn’t done so in a long time to decided to spoil myself. Got a nice cut and felt beautiful. Afterwards, I went to Starbucks to get a coffee and read a bit when one of my friends that was joining me for dinner texted me. She had gotten into town early, too, and needed to blow time. We live in the adjoining town about 25 miles away. She joined me for coffee and then we went to Ex-bf/bff house for me to finish getting ready. The  fun was ready to begin.

We headed back into town to meet the rest at the restaurant. We get seated and are waiting for the rest of the group to show up when an older couple walk in, each carrying a yellow rose. They come over to me, wish me a happy birthday and hand me the roses. I had no idea who they were. Then someone else came in with a rose, then another. Eventually, I realized that my friend and his girlfriend (she had stayed outside) were doing this. I ended up getting 50 flowers delivered to me by random strangers on the street. I had not expected (nor really wanted gifts) but everyone brought something. Ex-bff gave me a backpacking tent. R came and brought me a bottle of one of my favorite wines. My girlfriends gave me a journal, candle, travel mug, and a flask filled with rum. My kiddo came in after work and brought in a Baskin Robbins cake. The crew paid for my dinner (also not expected) and then we all had cake. I was real surprised to have a friend that moved away show up unexpected. She was in town and did some stalking to find out where I was. I felt so loved. I realized that I will never be alone here. I have family that are not related. Next time that I feel down or lonely, I know that I can call each of those people and probably others. After dinner, most went home but four of us went out on the town. We hit a few bars and the pool hall.

The next day, I went to Ex-bf house and we went down the river in our duckies. I will admit that we did fool around a bit. I was tired and took a nap and he joined me. He wanted to give me the physical attention for my birthday, too. I fell in love with him on my birthday three years ago. I did realize that I am truly over him though. My romantic feelings aren’t there for him at this point. I do still love him and wouldn’t mind if we found our way back to each other but I realize that until HE is emotionally healthy that I do not want him.  That was very eye opening for me.

I have continued to celebrate all week. My mom and sister came down to bring my nephew his things and we had a great time together. We even ended up at the same restaurant one night and the bartenders had ice cream brought out to me and everyone sang to me. If this past week is any indication, this year will be a great one. A big part of that is my attitude. I love that I am finally comfortable alone. I keep turning down dates because I have something else I would rather do. I have come a long way in four years. My divorce was final August 23, 2013 so I also celebrate my Freedom day during my birthday every year now.

My life has been super crazy the past few weeks. I have a lot to share and blog about but right now my focus is my birthday. I turn 50 on Saturday. I don’t know why we focus so much on decades but we do. I have been thinking a lot about the last ten years. Ten years ago was one of the most difficult of my life. We had the year of the deaths and it was when my marriage really started falling apart. I got depressed again and really had no motivation to live. I changed jobs thinking it would help my marriage. It didn’t. I started drinking very heavily and was not sure if I wanted to go forward. My children did throw me a great birthday party for my fortieth. It is a great memory. They threw me a massive surprise party. I had friends and family from all over the country surprise me here at my house. We had a band, food, and overall a great time. That was my last good birthday as a married woman. My ex-husband was never much about celebrating birthdays so there were only a few even decent ones while I was married.

I now look back at the past ten years and remember all the heartbreak I had when my marriage dissolved and several more people dying that I cared about. It has been rough in many ways but, in others, it has been great. I now look back at my divorce as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It took me a long time to realize that but I sure have. Since the divorce, I have grown so much. I am now stronger and healthier and happier than I have been in probably fifteen years. I feel better than in years. I look great. I am stronger and in much better shape than I was ten years ago. I no longer feel like I need someone to take care of me. I find my own solutions to my problems. I have a job that a love, a complete new set of friends, and my kids love me. I am lifting weights again. I no longer have breathing issues or chronic pain. I am sleeping better. I have gotten used to being solo most of the time and it doesn’t bother me. I honestly feel that IF I end up with someone, they will be so lucky to have me. I am actually better emotionally than I ever have been in my life. It took fifty years to get to where I really and truly love myself and am confident and happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was very sad that my birthday was coming up and I was going to spend it alone but now I am not. I had one girlfriend take the bull by the horns and now several of us are meeting at the local steakhouse. I will get 50% off my meal and then we will hit the town. My ex-bf/ bff is coming as well as several others. I am actually excited for my day again. I won’t be alone to ring in my next decade. I will be with people that love ME for me and accept me for ME. FIFTY is going to be a great year and I am like a fine wine, I am going to keep getting better with age.

I live in a small Colorado town where everyone is connected to everyone. If you do not know someone, they know a friend of yours. We have very little crime and most of it is minor stuff. That changed in November 2012. We had a thirteen year old boy disappear. He was a grade below my son. They were not friends but went to school together. So many of the kids hang out at the library after school and both the boys did. Dylan, his brother, and mother had moved away and Dylan was forced to come to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his dad. He disappeared the day after he got here. He was supposed to hang out with friends and never showed up. Our community went into a stressed state. There were assumptions that Dylan might have run away to try to get back to his mom. We were all hoping that he was okay but we were also concerned about our kids. For a period of time, no one was letting there kids out of their sight alone. We didn’t know if he had been abducted (or worse) or had run away. Quickly fingers started pointing at the dad that he had done something to Dylan. I do not know either of the parents but it just saddened me to think that people were so fast to blame the dad. The parents accused each other. They ended up on Dr Phil. Eventually, this wasn’t mentioned dailly BUT it was in the back of our minds. I had such mixed feelings about it. I wanted it to be the dad because I hated the thought that we had a crazy in our town that took the kid BUT I also  didn’t want it to be the dad. How sad to live with killing your child. How sad to kill your child. The more time that passed, the more the accusations to the dad grew. I kept thinking how terrible it was if he were innocent. His life was ruined no matter what. If innocent, no one would ever believe that. If guilty, well, that is the unthinkable to me.

As time has passed, there have been many searches in the woods and at the dad’s place. Partial remains were found and his death was ruled a homicide. Occasionally, we would hear bits and pieces of the investigation but I never thought an arrest would be made. That changed today. Mark Redwine was arrested for the murder of his son. Maybe we can have some closure here in our small town. Evidence has now been released and it looks bad for the father. I hope they are right.

I wouldn’t want to be on this jury but I could be partial.  The thought of killing my child is so horrific that they would definitely have to prove it to me. My son was actually called in for the grand jury but was dismissed and didn’t know this was the case he was almost on. I just hope that this is the end of the story and the mom and brother can finally move on to their new normal.

#JusticeForDylan

Today has been such a difficult day. My friend R told me that he was on the way to a trauma cleanup for work this morning. I asked if it was a suicide. We don’t have a lot of violent crime around here and have had several suicides this year already. I just had a gut feeling that was the situation this morning. It made me sad when he said yes. We were discussing how it is for him emotionally to clean up these sites and then I saw the article in the paper. Twenty two year old girl that graduated with my daughter shot herself last night. We have lost so many young people on our small community over the past ten years. I know there is a numbness there for many of us. This was the first suicide of one of our young ones though. We have lost a couple to cancer and horrible accidents but not by their own hands.

At first, my reaction was about our losing another young person but within minutes the suicide aspect hit me. My kiddo that graduated with her has struggled with depression for years. I actually live in an area where everyone has a gun. I wanted to get one when my ex moved out. We have bears and mountain lions around here. I live in the country and am not getting younger. I could be vulnerable. She came to me one day and told me  to not get a gun because she couldn’t trust herself with a gun in the house. Currently, she is doing well and is on her meds but she tends to quit taking them and I can tell within days. I also have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts off and on since I was fourteen. 2008 was the most recent for me and I was working on the plan. I never had the courage to go through with it. I am glad now. I am doing well now. I take my medication faithfully and am determined to not go down that path again.

I kept thinking about this poor girl and how lonely she must have felt. I kept thinking about how brave, yes brave, it was for her to pull that trigger. I kept thinking about how she felt before she did it. I kept thinking that it was so sad that she never reached out to anyone or if she did, that they didn’t hear her. I kept thinking about the mess she left behind- all the broken hearts, her friends and family. They will have to live the rest of their lives wondering if they could have stopped her.

I spent most of the day wondering how my kiddo was. I was wondering if she knew what happened to her classmate. How well she knew her. They had so many mutual friends. I couldn’t reach her. I was hoping that she wasn’t here at home an emotional mess or worse.

I thought about my friend whose daughter was also in this class. Her daughter died their freshman year. My friend is a teacher in the school. I wondered how she was going to take this and of course, her Facebook post broke my heart tonight. So many people I love are hurting tonight. Our small town has lost another young life. A vibrant life with so much ahead of her and this time it was her choice. That poor poor girl. I wish she had reached out for help.

I looked at my semi-colon tattoo so many times today. I am determined to not get to that point again. When I got home, my kiddo and I held each other so tightly. I begged her to promise to not to ever to this and to continue to be honest with me about this aspect of her life. I am not sure I could survive her doing this.

I came to a realization tonight that just blew  me away. R and I have been spending a lot of time together again. His ten year old son wants us to be a couple so badly. I have grown to love the kid and he loves me. I could love R, if I let myself. I have talked about him a few times. Most recently and most in detail  Right Person, Wrong Circumstances .

It seems recently that R is wanting to spend more time with me. I have no idea what is going on with him. He is not a big talker. His son has told me that his dad is looking for a new girlfriend and he wishes it were me. I had them over for dinner when my son was home and his kid told him, “Dad, I will love you forever if you make Kylene your girlfriend.” He says things like this all the time. I always feel awkward when it happens and reassured him Sunday at the movie the three of us went to that I do NOT encourage this. R knows this. Today, towards the end of my work day, R asked me if  wanted to come eat  at his house on the way home. They were already eating but he would make me a plate. I decided to take him up on this. I got to see two of my favorite guys and his three dogs that I also love. Once again, his son made some comment about us being perfect together. I whispered to R that it wouldn’t be so terrible if we fell for each other. He snickered at me as I had just posted on FB today: “They are fun to look at, flirt with, and play with but I am glad I do not have one full time.” I told him that minds can change as can feelings.

After I ate, we visited for a few minutes, snuggled, talked, watched the kid play in a box and then I left to come home. I was thinking about things as I was driving and  I realized that a year ago, when R told me that something was missing, I was sad for ME that he couldn’t love me. Now I feel sad for HIM that he doesn’t love me. I realized that I TRULY love me and no longer need a man to love me for me to feel loved. What an amazing feeling!!!! If things change with R, I would give us a chance but I am okay if we don’t or we don’t work out. I am worth it. I am loved by the most important person in my life….ME. If I find a man to share my life with GREAT, if not that is great too and their loss.

Sometimes I have to wonder about the ex-husband. He seriously believes that I have turned the kids against him when he does things like he did this weekend all the time. He lives about one hour from our son, who is a freshman in college. Our eldest lives about four hours from her brother- five from her dad. My son was in an opera at the school this weekend and the eldest decided to go watch her brothers performance. She contacted her dad and asked if he would like to join her. At first, he said that they would try to go the same night. They meaning him and his girlfriend WFB. They decided to go the night before our daughter.  When she tells me this, she says, of course, he chose her over me again. I am sure she didn’t want to see me. For my new readers, my eldest and WFB have had a rocky start and ex-h always insists that our daughter fix things. WFB even told him he had to choose between her and his family.

I know if I had been in his shoes, which I never would be. I would never choose anyone over my kids but hypothetically, if I were, I would tell new partner that my child lives five hours away and if that person didn’t want to join me n the night with my kid, then I would go without them. He rarely sees our kids. The son sees him because he has to. He can’t stand WFB either but ex-h is convinced that only the eldest has a problem with her. The middle kiddo doesn’t even respond too his phone calls or texts anymore. When I asked her why she threw the phone across the room when he called one day, they told me that they always feel bad about themself after talking to him. They are very upset with the WFB for treating the siblings the way she does.

I actually feel sorry for him. When we were married and for a short time after the divorce, I would try to help ease things with the kids. I eventually decided not to do so for the ones that were over eighteen and now all of them are. I no longer remind them to contact their dad for anything. I did remind them to contact his mother for her birthday. She shouldn’t pay for her son being an idiot. What blows my mind about WFB is that she is a mother. I am very curious about her and his relationships with her kids. I do think that he will regret his choices eventually. She is not good for his relationship with his kids. When our son graduated from high school last year, I made sure to let him know she was welcome at the party. She chose not to come. She has no desire to be part of my kids lives. If he wants to, he is either going to have to get rid of her OR go to things without her. Maybe he will see the light before it is too late. In the mean time, I am here to listen to the kids vent about their dad and they adore my ex-boyfriend and contact him for dad things. The love him and he loves them.