And then one day, things started to look different.

Daniel recently accepted a board title as groundskeeper for his suburb and I jumped at the chance to steal some of his projects. There is a spring cleanup event that I took the responsibility of budgeting and planning. People meet at the house for breakfast (continental style), work in the park and then come back for a lunch of lasagna (bon appetite). I also worked with a few landscapers on a design for a front island/medium and flowers to go around a brick sign with the community’s name. I liked taking the different ideas and tweaking them to fit appropriate estimates. All of that allowed me to do things my way, and it kept me feeling involved.

I’m working two jobs. On several mornings a week I have been a housekeeper for a small company of less than ten women. It forced me to go outside my comfort zone, traveling to nearby cities and working inside of other people’s lives. The money is decent and I’m trying to show my boss that I’m the real deal – one of the best – and I’m going to see if I can’t get some more incentive for the adventure I’m on with that sort of career.

You know, it’s weird doing things that can easily be seen as “below” someone. The half of me that wasn’t even sure I could handle it is learning new skills, and feeling more self-worth. The half of me that felt “above” it is learning to be humbled with every toilet I scrub. It’s a very flip-floppy experience and I totally accept this challenge right now.

With the extra income I have been paying off credit cards, paying more things sooner in general, and the feeling is great. I even bought myself a few hair tools to help control the mop on my head. I haven’t had time to try the curling wand or ceramic straightener, but hopefully I’ll be messing with my new toys soon. I even got an epilator, which is like an electric shaver only it rotates several tweezers and rips your body hair out as you drag it along. Some women think it’s a torture device. I will soon see for myself.

My boyfriend and I have had some pretty incredible fights. I have been trying to express the depression and stress from feeling like I live “under” him, which he doesn’t understand. Then I attack his method of communication when he says something like “how dare you put this on me”, which I see as a manipulative tactic to turn the tables and victimize himself, to have him screaming back that he wants me out of his house.

“That, right there. That’s why I don’t feel like this is my home.”

So there’s that. But there are more good days than bad, and we always come back to a silent understanding that we both just want everything to be okay, and we go on doing our best. He finally took the photos of his wife off the walls and out from the other rooms. He put his wedding ring on his other hand. I became involved so early on that these things feel like half-baby steps to me, and I am struggling to find patience and tolerance for his grievance. His speed is his own and could never match the speed of how I wish things were.

He says I have a princess’ fantasy of everything being perfect, and that it just isn’t possible. He says he cannot give what he believes I want, even though we never specify the sort of things that I want. I’ve been told not to confuse hope and promise with a sunbeam shining on a piece of shit; I’ve been told to be very careful and that sometimes, people never change and all you do is waste your light on them. I am choosing to believe that my situation will improve – that my relationship will evolve, that we are both still young and we will find happiness together.

I’ve been on the wagon for a while now when it comes to diet and exercise. I’ve stayed the course and my jeans are no longer as taught as they seemed last winter. I want to need a smaller size by the end of summer and I aim to continue conquering that particular demon. But food is so much fun. It’s hard.

I wish I wasn’t as lost as I actually am. I wish I didn’t seem as hopelessly lost as I obviously am. I wish I had more things already figured out and established, but I don’t. All I can do is continue to try. Today I asked myself to pretend that I’d already lived a perfect life, and had already lived in the perfect house with the perfect flowers, lived through a long marriage, raised a kid, and then I asked myself, “What do you want to do now?” I like to think that the stuff AFTER what society brainwashed me in to thinking was “the ultimate”, will reveal the sort of things I actually want to do.

And I thought about changing. Changing like my name. What if I didn’t even like flowers anymore? What if I thought all of that shit was entirely stupid. How fucking cool could I get?

I didn’t arrive at any answers…I sort of got lost in the imagining, and sidetracked by responsibilities.

We will see.