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Hello again!  It’s been awhile.  I’ve missed you.  How have you been?

My summer hasn’t gone exactly the way I planned it.  I bought a pair of hiking boots in June, thinking that I would hike the waterfalls around the state.  I haven’t been to one.  Instead, I’ve worked nearly every weekend, following on the heels of full work weeks, all summer long.

The ex quit yet another job, so child support didn’t come….just in time for my youngest son’s birthday and the 4th of July.  I worked the 4th, too.

One morning as I was slowing to turn into work, a young girl slammed into the back of me and pushed me into the embankment on the other side of the ditch.  My cute little car sustained front end and rear end damage.  The damage to me was confined to my back and my psyche.  Neither are healing very quickly.

The online dating thing hasn’t gone as planned either.  The men I’ve “met” have either been total losers, perverts, or so emotionally damaged they aren’t capable of being in a healthy relationship.

In short, my summer has been a wreck.  But, ya know what?  I’m still here.  And, there are seasons where that is okay.  We don’t always have to be on top of the mountain or in conquering mode to prove that we’re trudging onward.  Some times just getting up and breathing and putting one foot in front of the other is good enough.

I have learned a lot this summer.  I’ve learned that there are some really awful people in this world.  There are people who enable evil.  There are people who couldn’t care less about other human beings and how their actions affect those around them.  There are people who seek out other human beings to use for their own gratification with no regard to the humanity of the ones they’re using.

And, there are good people in the world.  There are those who will bend over backward to do a good job.  There are people who feel great compassion.  And, there are people who show tremendous kindness no matter how rotten things are for them personally.

I’ve learned that I can advocate for myself without joining that first group.  I can stand up for my rights and seek out resolutions that are good for me without losing my sense of decency.  And, those in the second group will listen and respond appropriately.  Those in the first group never will, so it’s best to jump over their heads and seek a better person in a higher position to petition.

I’ve learned to respond gracefully to the question, “Why did your ex beat you?”  Several of the men I’ve chatted with have ultimately said some complimentary, flattering statements and then rounded off with, “…….if I had a woman like you I would treat her like a queen.  I could never do that.”  Well, maybe they could, maybe they couldn’t.  But, the point is, I’m no longer offended by that question.  I used to immediately get angry, as though the response they were looking for was that I had provoked him, that we fought constantly and I hit him, too, that he’d caught me overspending or cheating or something else that might warrant his behavior.  I did none of those things.  But, even if I had, would that have justified the terror he unleashed on his wife and children?

I have a standard response they all get:  It’s because it is who he is.  It has nothing to do with me.  His abuse says nothing about me.  It says everything about how inherently evil he is.

That usually stops them in their tracks.

But, it’s true.  He abuses because he is an abuser.  Not because I brought it on myself.  My responsibility in the whole thing was that I chose him.  I was a good wife to a bad man.  I have to examine though why I married a bad man.

I’ve learned that if I don’t set my bar pretty damn high, most men will attempt to step on it and push it lower.  There must be a zero tolerance policy in place in my heart and mind.  Never will I tolerate disrespect.  Never will I accept a man who has less ambition than I.  Never is it okay to send me semi nude photos or talk in a sexually suggestive manner.  If I allow one little indiscretion to pass by, just one, because I convince myself that I’m too out of how things are in the world today, it opens the flood gate for further disrespect.  It just does.  If you give wickedness and selfishness a foot in the door, it slams its entire body into the opening and pushes with all of its might to allow in all sorts of demeaning behaviors.

I’ve learned how to nicely reject someone.  And, that is huge.  Doesn’t it seem like we survivors have spent a lifetime feeling guilty for not letting others have what they want?  Even if what they want is us?  It’s like “no” is the ultimate dirty word.  Sure, they don’t always like to hear it, but that’s okay.  If someone can’t respect our no then the relationship wouldn’t have been a healthy one anyway.  It’s totally okay to simply say, “I think we’re looking for different things in a relationship.”  It’s okay if they act hurt or angry.  Their emotions and their ability to be an adult about it are their responsibility.  What I allow in my life is my responsibility.

There are a lot of things I can’t control, like whether or not my ex mans up, holds a job, and takes financial responsibility as the bare minimum.  I can’t control a spoiled young girl whose parents bought her a car within a month of rear ending someone else, and then rear ended me, too.  I can’t control insurance companies and demanding clients and horny, lying men.  I can’t even control how my summer has gone!  All I can control is how I respond to all of it, and that almost always requires me viewing myself as being just as worthy as everyone else around me.

I’m worthy of my car being repaired fully.  I’m worthy of being treated with respect as a business owner.  I’m worthy of being treated like a lady.  And, it doesn’t mean I’m an awful person because I ask for those things.

Hmmmm……..perhaps I did climb a few mountains this summer.  And, ya know what, the view from up here is spectacular!