When you find what you were never searching for...

Outside Myself

Outside Myself
West Coast Body, East Coast Heart, California,
January 19
Don't even have to knock...come on in.
I am now 47 and perfectly OK with that. I've been a mom for over 14 years now. I live a rather simple yet difficult life of trying to make sure my daughters are polite, well-educated and know they are loved beyond question. I do my best to give my family whatever they need. And I'm trying to take care of myself. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I am infinitely trying to make people happy, make people laugh, make people feel good about themselves. I compliment often, but only with sincerity. I spend way too much time thinking about what might be the "right" thing to do in any given situation. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This is a personal journey for me. I have grown in ways I didn't know were possible. AND AN UPDATE: Don't forget your worth. This speaks to everyone, not just me. xoxoxo ~~~~ And thx, B. My heart was beginning to thaw but your beautiful friendship has melted it. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx FURTHER UPDATE: - B, darling, you have brought me love and peace. You sent the words, "Be gentle with yourself." I am able to do so only because you have been gentle with my heart. I love you, soul mate.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx And now, it's been 18 months... So incredible to recall where I was and where your love has taken me...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx And now, two years have passed since those first simple PMs...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd now, three...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd now FIVE!!! :-)


JULY 29, 2011 12:00PM

Little Pink Room

Rate: 38 Flag

"Do you want to share some Indian food?  I'm ordering from the place across the street."


She doesn't know if she likes Indian food but since she's starving, she says to her co-worker, "Sure, I'm not picky."  Then she remembers that when she first started working here, a group of folks shared several piles of Indian food and she liked it a lot.


She offers to pick it up when it's ready.  Her boss is on vacation and the other Executive Assistant, who is just a sweetheart, is also on vacation this week, so she hasn't gotten outside much.  It's really quiet there in the office.



Proper grey suit.  Minute houndstooth fabric.  Macy's. 


She bought several lovely business suits as she prepared for her new well-paying job in a venture capital firm.

There are many in these parts.  Venture capital firms, that is.

Well, suits, too.


Beautiful V-necked floral print blouse in muted purples, greens, oranges, greys - a gift from a special man.  Chunky jewerly - necklace and matching earrings.





Black pumps, off-black stockings.  Pumps from Dressbarn.

(She loves that store but a bad experience with a nasty assistant manager who insulted her - in front of her daughters - sealed the fate of her $1,000 credit card limit.  She cut up that card and mailed it back to "Customer Service" when they sent the "Gee, we're sorry for your bad experience. Here's a 30% off coupon" letter.  Clearly, they missed the part of the conversation where she said she was not buying a single thing from them again.  Ever.)

(Bummer.  Nice clothes, there at Dressbarn.)


She was given directions  ("Go across the street") by the co-worker, a nice and very humorous principal at the firm, and waited for the elevator that would take her to the lobby and out to the sunny street. 


Crossing the street, a van slams on its brakes and there is skidding. 


All is well.  No one is hit.  But she remembers the time a few weeks ago when someone wasn't paying attention (luckily, she was), and a car almost hit her in the crosswalk.  Everyone's in a hurry.  Sheesh.


She walks down the sidewalk just a bit.  The Indian place isn't far.  Pretty much...across the street.



She's already been feeling emotional about it all.

But she sees them...and her heart aches.


The moms with their little ones.  Sharing a summer day.  Dressed in shorts.  Sneakers.  Sunglasses.


No suits.

No pumps.


And she aches.  Misses her girls.



But she had made a decision. 


She was keeping them in the only home they'd ever known.


And in their little pink room.


She's been paying the mortgage by herself for almost a year now.


No child support.


No alimony.


(Yes, it's all legal.  Thanks, State of California.)


Every single bill.  Heat, wtaer, gas, property taxes, phone, etc., etc.  All her.


She got a good-paying job for a reason.


Their little pink room.


They didn't ask for this instability.  They don't deserve it.  She won't make it worse on them by moving them out of that house.  She's trying to keep life as normal as possible.


Her eldest, aged 11 years, said just last night as she flopped down on the bed: "I love this house."  Mom said, "And the house loves you."



So, she cries as she goes back up in the elevator, the scent of warm Indian food rising up to her, and she doesn't feel very hungry anymore.



She doesn't regret her decision, but aches for those summers of sleeping in, days at the beach, giggles at the park, picnics anywhere.  Kisses and hugs everywhere.


No regrets.

She has found love.  The real kind.  The kind that sustains her, humbles her.  Allows her to be a better person than she believed she had the power to be. 

She has never been loved and safe before now. She knows that this is rare.  And she cherishes this love.  Her last love.


And she is, finally, legally divorced from a marriage that ended for her one devastating night some nine years ago.  An abusive marriage that made her feel as though she were living outside herself.



So all in all, she has had the most beautiful and the most painful year of her life.


She misses those blue eyes.  And those brown eyes.  And those little hands to hold in the sunshine.  And all that should be hers, but now someone else gets every day, while she works.  So many hours a day...  Someone else gets to play with them.  Grandma, neighbor, aunt.  She's jealous and yet she's always told her daughters "Jealousy is an ugly emotion."  She can't help it.


But she has kept the house.


Their Little Pink Room.


For them.


Because she loves them.













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What a gorgeous post. As a mother, I understand those feelings. I felt the conflict and resolution and love while I read this piece. Thank you for sharing it.
This has been such a difficult summer for you, sweetheart. I'm so sorry. For what it's worth I think you've made the right decision to keep the house, though the price has been much higher than the mortgage. You are protecting your girls, and at their age can't fathom the sacrifice. But they do know they love you, love their home and that you are the one to whom they come HOME. That is what is most important.
Smithery ~ My sweet man. Thank you for your support as I have struggled this past year and through this first summer without them all to myself. I do believe that I made the right decision. Grace's comment about loving the house couldn't have come at a better time, seriously. I just miss them. I know you know that. Thank you for loving me, through this, and always. ~xoxoxo~
I work all the time with those struggling to hang on.

Each day counts.
Best of luck to you.
Rei - Welcome. Your comment is so kind. There is so much of what you describe; I appreciate you seeing it. I hope to see you here again.

Chuck - Oh, gosh, I'm trying. Thank you so much...
aka - It's been a rough first year but you are SO right - each day does indeed count and when I'm with them, *I am with them*.
Beautifully told.
It does sound like a tough year for you-- you are not alone, if that helps at all.
I feel how you miss your girls while working, but you are making a wise decision.
Keeping the house is huge, and not easily replaceable.
LOVE to see all those books on the shelves...
Would you, please, mention to the powers-that-be at your office that the Stim household is an excellent enterprise in which to invest. And an even better tax write-off if the investment collapses.

Despite the hardship and pressure, you can take pride that you're doing your very best to provide a loving, stable life for your girls. Find a different crosswalk.
Just Thinking... - It does help, thank you, although I know we wish it weren't so, eh? I agree - keeping the house just made sense when I looked at it from their eyes.
Your story touches my heart, although I have no children of my own. I can imagine how it breaks your heart to leave them. A story of love,
well told.
rated with love
Stim - First of all, the remark about the crosswalk cracked me up! I think of that every time I cross there. It's crazy - totally busy intersection...don't drivers realize there are pedestrians?? Yikes!

Second, my boss is the top dog here, so send me your BP or ES. If he invests in the Stim household, maybe he'll invest in the OM household. AFter all, if mine collapses, he'll need a new EA. :-)

Finally, thank you. Truly. I really am trying to give them what they deserve and while I could have sold the house, what would they have gotten in return? Leaving their home. Ugh - just couldn't see doing it. Thank you for your very kind words of support...
Poetess - I kiss them goodbye every morning as they are still lying in bed, waking slightly to say goodbye in return...and I just keep repeating to myself, "Little Pink Room...Little Pink Room." It helps.
Being a great mother is a wonderful thing, and you do it well!
scanner - Thanks, hun. That means so much.
Outside Myself,
Thank you for the glimpse inside the little pink room. This is lovely.
You are a great mom and this is lovely. :)
DoaHSS - Thanks so much for taking a peek inside. It is the most magical room of the house. Sometimes I go in when they are sleeping and just sit, looking at everything glowing in dim light of the soft pink crystal lamp. Bust mostly, I look at them.

Kim - Thank you, sweetheart. I'm damn firece when it comes to my girls.
Beautiful, authentic, heartfelt work, my dear! It made my heart ache a little, too. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Witchy - Welcome! I'm sorry it made your ache a little, too, but I'm glad the feelings came across...
Ah my dear friend, this does indeed answer a lot of questions. I applaude your decision to keep the little pink room for those beautiful little girls of yours. It takes a lot of courage to travel the road you walk, but after getting to know you in here, I would expect nothing less. You and the girls are in me and Mel's thoughts and prayers, my friend.
David - Thank you so very much for your amazing words. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and now I'm working for this purpose. I know some folks had questions, and perhaps this provides clarity while expressing the heartache involved. I humbly thank you for those thoughts and prayers, dear friend...
"She has never been loved and safe before now.
She knows that this is rare.
And she cherishes this love.
Her last love."

It is rare but not unheard of, i hear.

any damn fool who questions your decision is
just,well, a damn fool.
Some things are just important and hard to do, but good parents get that doing them just somehow has to happen. Your kids are really lucky, OM, because the most important thing they have is you. Xoxo
You, and the love you found here, are forever on my mind. It is nice to know what has been occupying you, two noble causes! The work and the girls! You are a wonderful mother. I couldn't do it when my eldest was little and we moved many times in five years. When her father was in her life, it was more havoc. I don't understand his ability to evade, legally, child support and alimony, after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom. But then, there is much about the current "justice" system that baffles me.

That Little Pink Room is a significant piece of a stable picture for your girls. The price may be steep, especially this time of year, but well worth what you are accomplishing! I too Love all those books.
OM, saw this on one of my irregular visits to this site, and wouldn't pass up the opportunity to comment. And rate. I really can't add much to what's already been said here by Chuck, Smithery, the Scanman et al. You're doing a bang-up job, and my hat's off to you.
I remember a year like that, when it took all I had to keep going and not let the weight of my emotions take over. All around you, the world swirls and we just want some of what we had back. I'm glad you have been able to keep their little pink room.
I am happy to know some of you dear.
strong woman, you are.
Remember that.
Hold your chin high.
Sometimes the hardest things we have to do, that we see the reason to do, end up being the very best thing we could have done. You have shown your children your strength and that will continue to teach them years from now, they will understand even more through their own challenges and experiences.
You know I understand this so well. The things we must do to help our children not hurt as much, as soon, as life will come at them soon enough. I do this, did this, for the very same reasons. I am so happy yours ended in love.
I can relate to so much of this. It was a beautiful love story and so happy you have Smithery's love to help you through it all.
This is hard, strong writing on someone who is living up to the responsibility of parenting. Grand loyalty to the cause. These hard days will be rewarded I do promise you.

...And this is the way it should be; subtle, wise, yet endearing. This is such a sweet post, OM. Write more. R
I have been where you are, done what you are doing. When your grown children look at you and say "thank you for being our rock" well, then you will know, without doubt, that you won the hard fight.
Love the little pink room!
O you are no longer outside yourself, you are no longer in a bad relation but a beautiful one and those girls have their pink room filled with beautiful book. OM, your life will only get better and better. You shared this so beautifully that I completely lost myself in yourself. Your life. Your love, your lucky lucky girls. Wendyo
O you are no longer outside yourself, you are no longer in a bad relation but a beautiful one and those girls have their pink room filled with beautiful book. OM, your life will only get better and better. You shared this so beautifully that I completely lost myself in yourself. Your life. Your love, your lucky lucky girls. Wendyo
O you are no longer outside yourself, you are no longer in a bad relation but a beautiful one and those girls have their pink room filled with beautiful book. OM, your life will only get better and better. You shared this so beautifully that I completely lost myself in yourself. Your life. Your love, your lucky lucky girls. Wendyo
O you are no longer outside yourself, you are no longer in a bad relation but a beautiful one and those girls have their pink room filled with beautiful book. OM, your life will only get better and better. You shared this so beautifully that I completely lost myself in yourself. Your life. Your love, your lucky lucky girls. Wendyo
I had a mother like that. She was magnificent too. Keep your eye on the prize, baby. (And on the traffic!)
This was wonderful and I have wondered where you've been. Now I understand. This piece spoke to me because I have been a stay at home Mom all my kids' lives and yet feel the need to start teaching again in a year because of my age. If I don't get a job in a year or so, no one will want to hire me in my mid fifties....and yet, I don't want to give up being with the kids whom I've also homeschooled all these years. It's a really tough decision. Thanks for expressing so beautifully the struggle which Moms go through.
There is no greater love than the love of sacrifice. You miss so much, but when you look in the mirror each day, know well that you see the most loving person you know...and your daughters do too!
For what it is worth, the fruits of your labors are not all obvious yet. You will raise children that will understand love well as they grow older.
What a gift you bring to bear.

And OM....there is this Smithery guy too.......you know? : )

God bless you and yours!
I'm sorry that I was unable to respond to comments yesterday afternoon. As if directed by the sheer "will of the people," believe it or not, my boss who is traveling, sent me an email saying that if the office was slow and boring, I could leave after lunch! I left at 12:59 and sailed home to my daughters and we spent the rest of the afternoon doing wonderful summery things! Is that just amazing timing??? YAY!!

James - Welcome. I so appreciate that perspective. I know in my heart that keeping them here was best for them. I love the echo you provided.

Candace - Thank you for that. I am so very lucky to have such amazing girls. I knew I did just have to make it happen. xoxo

pastvoices - You've always been so kind in your support of me and Smithery. Thank you. I think I'll have to post some time about the legalities of it all. I'll also have to post on what the good pieces are. So much over the past year to write about. The price has always been steep (missing time with them), but you're right - this time of year, when there could be so much more time together, is especially heartbreaking.

Boanerges - That means a lot coming from someone I respect like you. I would walk through fire for those girls.

mypsyche - Yes, I do SO want some of that back. It makes me angry that it was taken away, over so many years in small pieces, but fully now, and I just cherish what I do get now. I understand those swirling emotions...

hugs - I will take them. Always. Thank you.

Mission - So sweet of you. I do feel pride in what I am giving to the girls - their home, their childhood as normal as possible. I am blessed and I feel strong. Thankfully, I have a strong man in Smithery to keep me going.

Sheila - You touch upon something important. I want my daughters to see strength and resilience without letting them in on how damn hard it's been. I want them to understand sacrifice but without guilt. Very fine line and I hope I'm walking it properly.

Ll2 - Yes, I do know you understand this. Gosh, you have been the protector for a very long time. Never giving up. That is true inspiration.

trilogy - I can tell you, without his strong arms to hold me up, I don't know that I wouldn't have crumbled. He has provided much over this time in my life, in ways I have yet to verbalize.

Scylla - It means a lot to me that you're here reading this. My giels are worth every tear and every time I think of their Little Pink Room, I gather more strength. Hugs and a peaceful heart, I wish for you.

Thoth - You're so kind. Now that I've gotten out where I've been, I imagine I'll write more. Maybe someone needs a hit of strength and it will help. And believe me, I'm trying to be wise...
Bette - Your comment made me misty. I have tried to be their rock while showing enough emotion that they understand it's OK to cry and it's OK to hurt. But that you don't sit back and left life's struggles define you - it's life's victories that do.

Wendy - I'm glad you could read this and be immersed in it. Life over the past year has been getting better and I know it will continue. I also love their room with all the books...a treasure for us all.

Pilgrim - My eye is dead-set on that prize and I'm a competitive gal. :-) In fact, I'm so tough, those cars better not hit me - I'll put a dent in 'em. And thank you for the very generous words.

patricia - I would hang onto that life as long as you can. I usually tell my girls before every school year that I don't want them to leave and I've decided to hoe school them. We all smile and I wish I could have. And now - well, I'd love to still be a stay-at-home-mom but I have a house to save... I'm so happy for you that you've had this time... So beautiful.

JD - Such a gorgeous comment and lovely compliments. I'm not even sure how to respond except to say a humble thank you. I am hopeful that all I'm doing now will benefit them their entire lives. I believe it will. And Smithery? Wouldn't have made it without him. Someone mentioned me being the rock for my girls, and he has been mine.
My eyes are watering up... This is excellent writing and you are an excellent mother. We all need to do what we need to take care of our families. Kudos to you for saying it so well.
Dear, sweet, Angela, my heart aches as I read of your sacrifice for your children. But with the sacrifice you make, I see the most beautiful love a mother could give and show her children.

I am so proud to know you, Angela ... very, very proud.

Sending you much love and heartfelt good wishes, beautiful Angela.

You say it so well. We do what we have to do for our babies. Always. But, summer's are the worst. So glad you got to go home early on Friday!

As for that crosswalk...if you are going to keep using it, start practicing in front of your mirror, "Hey! I'm walkin' here!" :)
You are an incredible mother. It shows in every loving word of this lovely piece. xo
You know what is important--and you say it so well here.
Grace - Thank you for your touching comment. I just must do what's best for them; they deserve the most stable environment I can provide, especially through all of these changes.

Kate - Gosh, this just made me misty. I am sincerely humbled by your words... I do love my girls just so completely. They're lovely children. Thank you, Kate, for all the warm wishes.

MMII - Oh you wouldn't believe the things I hear peopel say (aggressive drivers abound in this area). It's almost funny. Summer has been very, very hard and yes - leaving early on Friday was sooooo fantastic!!

Cathy - Thank you, sweetie. You know so much...so that means a lot that you would say that. xo

sophieh - So good to see you again. Thank you. It's a very difficult thing to get across in mere words...
You are a fighter and a winner, Angela. Glad to see you back with your victory and your support system intact. I wish you all the best and hope to see more of your loving posts.
Fusun - Thank you so much. High prise from someone who is cut from that cloth. I hope to be back more now.
We will do anything for our children. And your girls appreciate it, and love you back. This is a very moving piece. And I get it. Totally.
I can not imagine anything worth sacrificing for than one's children. You are a Shero (Hero but feminine). Your daughters will know it in the end. Keep loving and living and hanging in there. R for heart and soul!
sweetfeet - I'm so glad you understand, and so not surprised that you do. :-) Thank you for your kind words.

Calico - Oh, you are so right. My girls deserve every happiness I can give them which ensures a healthy, happy heart; and for me, that means stability and love.

Seer - I'm so glad you made it, too. And you're right, Barry does know that wherever we are, being together is an importance you can't calculate, but he agrees with me 100% that it was best to keep them in the house. And in many ways, he helped make that possible. His love and support have been incredible.
I could feel your pangs. It is hard, but choices are part of everyday life. I have a quote I gave to Scanner today, but I use it when the thoughts get too much to handle. I don't even remember where I heard it, but it has shown me great strength through my recent growth experiences. Feel free to borrow it.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

Take care. One day your daughters will appreciate the sacrifices you made for them. Your strength and devotion to your family are valuable lessons to teach them.
Such an excellent post so captivating the way you wrote it
I relate to this so much

I worked for years and finally could stay home with my very disabled spouse. I love it, I was never able to.

I admire you. You go girl.
And here I am, replying so late...my apologies...

Wanderer - You sweet old friend. Thank you. They may never know, but my heart does (I know you get this). Hugs.

Hayley Rose - I'm so pleased you felt compelled to read this. Thanks so much.

Kathy - It feels so limiting, doesn't it? To want to give so much but to be unable to do so. I'm glad you finally could.
You are a good mom. I know how this is because it was a struggle to keep my house before I married again but I managed and now it is easier. Good luck!
Miguela - Hi! Welcome! How lovely of you to comment and share your experience. It's good to know others have made it happen for their families. All the best to you for continued happiness!