Category Archives: Relationships


I fully intend on continuing to write here, I’m just a bit burnt out on it for now.

In the meantime I have been making videos on YouTube regarding all the same stuff I write about here. I have a total of three videos posted as of this post.

Check them out if you like.

I have the videos set to 18+, so you will probably have to log in and/or “verify” your age.

Political Anxiety

For many more people than in years past anxiety grows stronger as the election nears. As today is the day before the election I find I have a headache from all the jaw clenching. My mind has been loopy and sleep patterns are bad again. Also, when anxiety is high, depression grows as well.

I see pro Trump posts by people I love and, after all this time, I still can not fathom how they think Trump is a successful president…. or even a remotely good person.

Are they really that blind to what is right before their eyes? Trump’s not even trying to hide his evil ways! Are they willfully ignorant or truly ignorant? Or, -I sincerely hope not- are they as evil as he is?

If I weren’t an atheist I would be shouting from the rooftops how very much he matches the profile for the Antichrist.

I wonder how many Trump supporters are only still supporting him because they are too proud and/or ashamed to admit they were so very wrong. In this, I beg you, please, please swallow your pride and vote for Biden!

Speaking of Biden, no, he is not perfect, but in a two party system he is the only choice if you want a much, much safer, happier, and healthier United States of America.

At least he is human…

Enough with the politics and back to my politics induced high anxiety. I have had a few strange and disturbing anxiety dreams the past few days. Although my anxiety is caused by the looming possible destruction of all things good I know in my country because a person (Trump), who more than likely has narcissistic personality disorder as well as antisocial personality disorder that are not controlled, is trying to literally steal the election by a number of different illegal means, my dreams have not been political, but more about my feelings of loss of control and rejection or unrequited love.

Dream 1 – *Warning, this dream is of a very sexual nature* Hubby and I were arguing about our relationship (in real life we have a very good relationship but my mental monsters always tell me he doesn’t really want me, I am not loveable. So I often have to get reassurance and fight the lies in my head). I ask him if he wants me. I ask him why we don’t have sex very often. He gives me cookie-cutter responses which only frustrate me more and make me think he is lying and really doesn’t love me. Finally he says, “Hey, look at that guy over there.” I look. “Yeah, what about him?”.

“Do you think he’s good looking?” Hubby asks.

I think maybe he is trying to lead into telling me the problem is his self-esteem and has nothing to do with me. “I guess.” I reply, still not sure what this has to do with the conversation.

The man has been watching us and smiles at me and now walks over. “Hi.” He says. I instantly can sense that he is a nice person.

Hubby smiles and asks both of us, “Do you want to have a threesome?”

“Sure.” The guy replies.

I am aroused and nervous and insecure about the idea. “Sure”, I reply genuinely into the idea despite the feelings.

*Side note. In real life I am the one who has tentatively brought up the idea of threesomes or an open relationship. Hubby does not like the idea at all and we have never gone beyond the “How would you feel about…?” point. I am perfectly fine either way.*

We go to a place that has an orgy getting started. I am a bit surprised, I thought it was just going to be the three of us at home. There are at least five other people besides the three of us.

Everyone gets naked, Hubby, the guy, and I start out together but I soon become frustrated, angry, and crushed by the fact that this threesome is much more of a twosome and I feel very much like a third wheel.

At some pont the guy is no longer in the room, I am sitting in a cushioned chair feeling like a wallflower. A young, very attractive woman starts to come on to Hubby. I can feel the heat of jealousy and pressure of heartache in my cheeks and chest. They kiss and I think of how much he loves to kiss and how much I loath it (I really do not like mouth to mouth kissing, no idea why). I think that it is things like this that turn him off of me. I am the reason he doesn’t want me. Tears stream down my face.

He begins to give her oral pleasure and I just can’t stand seeing this. She looks over to me, smiles, and motions me to come over to them. I do. This time she gets all the fun from Hubby and I, and I am not feeling anything but slightly aroused and emotionally negative. I know it is the jealousy mostly, and the jealousy is fed by my insecurity… but I don’t let myself realize that at this moment.

I walk away, again, and watch Hubby be very social and having a good time. A man approaches me and gently caresses my shoulder. He tells me something about me having a beautifully curvy body. We go at it and eventually I realize I am feeling the pleasure, very aroused, but I just can’t seem to climax. At some point I look over to Hubby who is watching us and although his expression is slightly positive I can see the hurt and anger he is hiding.

I suddenly realize he is all I want, he is all I need, and he values me.

Dream 2 – I am in my first year of college, still living at home with Mom and one of my brothers. I have not been going to classes and Mom is getting on me about it. I feel lost, depressed, anxious. I have no idea what the future holds or how I will support myself, what I want to do for a living. I really feel like I am sinking in my classes, not able to keep up with all the work, and I hate going to school.

My brother says something like, “It’s not that hard, just do it, get through it and then do what you want.” I want to smack him upside the head. None of what he just said is true and I hate him for being successful and making it look so easy.

I get in my little red Suzuki Swift and drive off, intending to go to class but as I head that direction my chest grows tight, I feel sick to my stomach, and I feel like I am going to have an anxiety attack. I pull into a McDonald’s parking lot and sit there bawling my eyes out and feeling like a huge failure.

Dream 3 – I find out I am pregnant and I am scared out of my mind. I drill into Hubby to not tell anyone at all. With my health issues this pregnancy is super high risk and if I have a miscarriage I would rather no one have known anything. I think about my option to have an abortion but I just can’t bring myself to do that. Yes, there could be serious, permanent problems with the health of the baby. But the baby could also be perfectly healthy. I think about all the possibilities and scenarios. I am driven to the brink of an anxiety attack.

The baby is born through C-section because it is so big (due to insulin therapy for my Type 1 Diabetes). It is a boy and he has Down’s Syndrome but is otherwise healthy. We take him home.

Here is to fighting for the next four years to be safer, happier, and healthier than the last four years. VOTE!!!

Something Slightly Related

First off, for some added information and context I recommend reading another post of mine, if you haven’t already, before reading this one. Click on the link. Something Slightly Related to Quarantine

I decided to write this post mainly because I promised one of my brothers I would explain to him the depth and details of my family issues (I’m sure you didn’t skip the post I asked you to read first for more detail and context, it really will help you to understand this post). I also decided to write it for my own therapeutic value. And, as my regular readers already know, I choose to bare my soul to the world via this blog to reach out to others going through similar or the same mental health and physical health issues I am, so we all can understand that we are not alone; and that chronic illness and mental illness are not to be shamed or stigmatized. We are stronger for our struggles, not less because of them. And, lastly, because it is easier, and better, I think to write to an unknown audience rather than speaking directly to my family members about this. Speaking directly to my family would mean having to use words such as “you” which can unintentionally bring up feelings of blame and defensiveness, which I completely do not intend to do here. I do not blame, fault, or feel harmed in any way toward or by my family.

No, I am not ashamed to let you all know I have family issues, virtually everybody does. Family is hard game.

Before I actually dive in, I must point out that by no means do I intend to be rude, mean, or anything malicious toward my family. This is an unavoidably emotional topic and, sadly, mostly negative emotions, so I can not avoid pain and heartache, I am sorry. I love my family, but love doesn’t erase pain here in reality; here in reality love tends to amplify pain. We wouldn’t hurt nearly as deeply if the pain came from someone we don’t care about.

Obviously this is all being told solely from my point of view and personal experience. I am sure some of the things I say here about how I feel and why, etc., will be all new information for my family. My siblings, I think, do not realize how little they actually know me. I have always felt that they do not value me and have little to no interest in really knowing me and have taken little effort to know me. I am not being cruel, this is my experience, but mostly just my feelings and intrusive thoughts (at least I hope so). Part of my mental illness includes self-loathing, self-harm, and unwanted intrusive thoughts: “I’m not worth loving.”, “No one cares about me.”, “No one wants me around.”, “I’d be better off dead.”.

Try living with those thoughts and beliefs in your head nearly 24/7 since virtually the day you were born.

I spend everyday in complete fear that I will be misunderstood. It has happened to me many, many times and lead to hurt and anger to all parties involved. There are two types of misunderstood I mean here. 1.) Someone just taking something I said in a way I did not intend. And 2.) The worse one for me. No one ever understanding me, at least not at the depth or level I need them to. I’ve spent my life feeling like a stranger in my own family. It seems they all either just can’t fathom who I am, or they just don’t even try to.

Again, no cruel speak here, The rational me knows these thoughts and feelings are untrue. But the monsters in my head beat into me that those thoughts are true.

Another reason I feel like a stranger among my family is that most of my family members are extremely opposite to me. They are conservative republican, christian, heterosexual. I am liberal democrat, atheist, bisexual. These are not the only differences that make waves, but the ones that tend to make the noisiest waves.

Growing up, sometimes I would be told straight forward that I was in the wrong for believing something I believed. But most of the time I felt like I was a bad person, or dumb, because I felt, believed or was something my family thought poorly about. I would hear conversations, comments, etc., on these topics.

When I was young I just stayed quiet about my differences. My family is the type of family (as many are) that dealt with conflict by avoidance. Just don’t talk about it, don’t acknowledge it, ignore it. Don’t make waves. So I did just that, I stayed quiet.

This is probably why I never felt known or truly seen in my family.

I even took it a step farther for most of my childhood. I tried to be what they were. I tried to think like they thought, believe what they believed. I wanted to be “good”. I love them and I wanted to get along with my family, be comfortable with them, and accepted by them.

That didn’t work out. I ended up with worse depression, anxiety, and impostor syndrome, and I’m sure all of this fed my rebellious nature that I had already developed due to my type 1 diabetes diagnosis (whole ‘nother story there). Of course, as a child I had no idea I suffered from any of these conditions, I just thought it was the way things were. This was life. No one in my family thought anything about my mental health, mental health was treated the same way as conflict, an avoided topic.

All throughout my twenties I slowly realized what individuality was, and that there wasn’t anything wrong with the real me, I am just different from my family, a different mindset, different values (not totally, but enough), I’m different from them in many ways and it doesn’t make me a bad or wrong person. They are each their own, and I am me. I stopped trying to be what I am not. But I didn’t stop being quiet around them, I still felt a sort of shame and wrongness about myself when I was around them; only when I was around them. I continued to feel like a stranger in my family. I continued to think they had no interest in knowing the real me.

In my early thirties I started to be much more comfortable with the real me. I was completely open and honest with my friends and acquaintances, and it felt super nice, it felt so right. And I was completely accepted, comforted, and even celebrated by them. And I happily returned the favor. With my family I started to slowly relax my quietness about myself. I felt no need for ceremony or “coming out” or anything like that, my attitude was more of a “when it happens it happens” kind of thinking.

From my early twenties through to now (cough, 41) I have kept my family at a distance, except for my mom, I could never live without my mommy nearby to see or to talk to. I rarely talk to her about avoided “conflict” subjects, I’m scared to death to hurt my mother. But the rest of the family I keep at a distance, I could only handle occasional and short interactions with them. My explanation for doing this summed up is because while visiting with family I am glad to see them, glad to be with them, I love them dearly, but soon the talk begins to smack of our differences. I see, hear, and am reminded of how much I do not fit in with these people. My feelings of strangeness, black sheepness, and the totally untrue shamefulness of me grow and grow. I feel tired and drained and I just want to go home to my safe place. Although I mostly have a wonderful time with my family, I almost always come home depressed, anxious, guilty, and terribly frustrated. All-in-all this keeping them at a distance and only interacting once in a while worked just fine for me for twenty years.

Now, however, with all the very loud, in-your-face political frustration going on, and the pandemic, and the racial inequality issues, and the LGBTQ issues all raging and raging and raging, My family issues have been stinging me right and left. I know my family has had no problems on their end, because they have each other and share mostly all the same beliefs and stances. I am over here standing alone among my family. It quickly begins to feel like me against all of them. I’ve never felt like I was against my family, just different from them, but now, with so many immensely important issues and choices we all have to face and make very soon if not right now, I can’t help but feel like it is me against them.

I profoundly dislike feeling this way.

So, over the past several months I have been feeling more and more extreme depression, anxiety, and frustration when I interact with my family members. It’s draining me and hurting me very, very much.

The other day it came to a head and I had an epiphany. I can’t stay quiet anymore. If I keep biting my tongue around my family I will end up biting it off. Considering they don’t want to hear my “shit”, and this is all tearing me to bits from the inside out, I decided to cut ties with many of them.

It’s broken my heart to do so, but another thing I’ve finally gotten through my head recently is that I am by no means required to harm, hide, or change myself for other people, no matter how much I love them. I am learning how, and starting, to put my needs and health first.

You may recall in the other post related to this one (the one I strongly recommended you read first) that I said I love my family and would never give them up. I do not want to give up my family, I truly hope this cutting of ties is not permanent. Maybe the work I am doing in therapy will heal me enough to ask to interact with them again. I love them dearly and already miss them.

On a last note, my intrusive thoughts are screaming that my family is very happy I have cut ties, they feel they can now relax and be truly happy without my shitty ass around to fuck up their good time.

Jennifer Walker

When I was 6 years old we moved to a mobile home park in Quartz Hill California. The very first day, as we drove up to the house and began to move in, a neighbor girl walked up and introduced herself. From that moment forward we were best friends.

Her name was Jennifer Walker and she was very outgoing as opposed to my introversion and quiet nature. I knew her whole life story within five minutes of meeting her. I thought she was nice, friendly. I liked her.

For the next four years we were almost always together. We lived just a couple homes apart from each other, went to the same school (except for in the fourth grade), were in the same grade,  and all of  our free time was spent together. We were never mean to each other and stood up for each other.

Then the day came when we moved again. My family moved to Fresno, 4 hours away. Jennifer and I tried to stay in touch. We wrote each other a couple letters, and we got to see each other once when I came back to the Quartz Hill area to visit my sister.

But, eventually, we lost touch. I have never forgotten Jennifer. I often think of her and wonder where she is, how has her life worked out. Does she remember me? Does she think about me? I hope she is safe, happy, and healthy.

I had a dream about Jennifer last night, one of my super vivid dreams I often have. In this dream myself and my sister, Nohemy, went back to the trailer park to see our old home (in real life the trailer park no longer exists). Almost all the trailers in the park were demolished and long gone, rubble lay about everywhere and the air was thick with dust kicked up by the breeze. My family’s trailer was still standing. Nohemy and I went inside, it was empty, old, and in desperate need of repair. My mind filled with memories of childhood, living here in one of my favorite homes. Running around the park with my best friend and our other friends. Skating up and down the hills, swimming at the club house pool. So many fond memories.

Nohemy and I walked around the house as we reminisced about living here. We talked about Dad and how he landscaped the yard, paved the walkway, and built the pagoda. We talked about Mom’s honeysuckle plant and how beautiful it smelled. We talked about the grand mal seizure Dad had.

I mentioned Jennifer and Nohemy said something about her living right next door. I said no, she had lived two homes down, at the T of our road. We were standing on the front porch now and I looked down the road to where Jennifer’s home had been, it was still standing, barely, leaning to one side, but still there.

“That one, the brown one, that was where Jennifer lived.” I said.

“Oh, yeah, I remember now.” Nohemy said. “You know, she’s in prison now.”

“What? For what?”

“Embezzlement. She owned a company with her husband and I guess she was stealing from it. It’s sad, too, her son doesn’t get to grow up with his mom now.”

“She has a son?”

“Yeah, I think he’s like seven or eight. Cute little blond boy. His name’s Jeremy, he looks like his dad.”

“You knew all this and never told me? What else do you know about her? How long have you known all this?”

“You remember Crystal who lived in the park, too? Ruth and I used to hang out with her all the time. Well, she knows Jennifer’s personal assistant. I can get her to introduce you.”

“Yes!” I cried, the thought of getting back in touch with Jennifer made tears well up in my eyes.

The dream fast forwards to the moment I meet Jennifer’s assistant. We walk into an office decorated to be quite inviting and comfortable, like the living room in a nice home.

A woman steps up to me, she is tall with long light brown hair. “Hi, I’m Angela, I work for Jennifer. And this is Jeremy, her son.”

A boy with very blond hair holds out his hand to shake mine and with a smile he says, “Hi.”

I shake his hand and greet him back and I am struck with the realization that his facial features are exactly like his mother’s when she was that age. Tears well up again and I can not contain my emotion. “I found her, it’s really her! After all these years I finally found her.” I hug the boy. “Your mom and I were best friends once. I am so glad I found her.”

“I go to visit her once a month, if you want to tag along.” Angela says.

“Oh, yes.” I say as I shake my head.

Again, the dream fast forwards. We are getting out of the car at the prison parking lot.

“You’ll need to wait here while I go find out if Jennifer wants to see you.” Angela says as she walks toward the prison guard standing at the door.

I am a bit dumbfounded, why hadn’t she cleared my visit with Jennifer ahead of time? I wait at the car with Nohemy. We both watch as Angela talks with the guard, points back toward me, then the guard walks into the building. She returns quickly and says something to Angela. Now Angela motions to me to come.

“She said yes! Go!” Nohemy says excitedly.

I walk into the prison and follow Angela and the guard down a couple hallways. I expect to end up in a visiting room, but we end up in the bed hall. It is crowded with prisoners.

“Don’t worry, no one here is a violent offender.” Angela says.

We approach a particular bunk in the back far corner of the huge hall. Two prisoners are sitting on the floor playing cards.

“Hi Jennifer, it’s good to see you again. I brought an old friend to see you, too, do you remember Tamra?” Angela asks as she sits on the edge of the lower bunk.

Jennifer looks up at me as the other prisoner stands and leaves. Jennifer looks sad, depressed. Her eyes look at me, but I couldn’t say she actually saw me. “Yeah, I remember.” She says practically emotionless.

As I look back at her I can see the features of the child I once knew and valued as a true friend. “It is you.” I smile with tears in my eyes.

Angela and Jennifer talk about legal matters, divorce proceedings, and life outside the prison. The only time Jennifer shows any emotion or character is when they talk about her son. She cries, she wants to know every detail of what he’s been up to since the last visit. She misses him and wants to see him but the prison won’t allow.

Jennifer gives me no attention at all. We don’t speak. I am confused. I think maybe she never really thought about me after we lost touch. But then I think about where she is, what she’s going through. Of course she wouldn’t care about an old friend from childhood right now. I shouldn’t have come now. I should have just sent a letter.

We leave the prison and on the ride home Angela lets me in on some information. Jennifer is innocent. Her husband is the one who was embezzling and he framed her. Their son, all seven years old of himself, was a key witness to his dads crimes and they were now working on proving the truth of everything that had gone on so Jennifer could be set free and her husband go to prison.

Then I woke up.


Something Slightly Related to Quarantine

Something about this quarantine has got me thinking a lot about friendship and family. I’m not sure why, it’s not like I’m doing anything different, I always stay inside my home. Hello….agoraphobia over here. LOL. Maybe it’s because so many of my friends and family have been reaching out for social interaction because they are not used to being stuck home and alone.

The sad thing I’ve had slapped across my face is how very opposite I am from virtually all of my family members. I am so much closer and more accepted, and have more in common with my friends. That’s not unusual, but it is so very obvious for me.

I’ve been painfully aware of my black sheep status for a long time. Much longer than my family has, for certain. But since the quarantine it’s been so much more harrowing. I guess with everyone being so much more social lately it’s just…there.

Politically most of my family is conservative republican. I am liberal democrat. My most vocal family members are total Trump lovers. I hate Trump with a passion. I can tolerate their side, but for the life of me I can’t understand how anyone can think he’s even remotely a good person, cares at all for the people, and has anyone’s best interest in mind. He only cares about himself, he doesn’t try to hide any of it, it’s right there in front of the entire world, how do Trumpets not see it!? My family pays attention to certain news sources they trust and watch Trump’s rallies, news conferences, and get their info from their chosen sources. I get my info from reputable news sources, I force myself to sit through his conferences, and get my info from other reputable sources as well. This is why I just can’t understand how my intelligent family members can listen to this man and not see the very obvious lack of intelligence in him, and the blatant lies, greed, and lack of empathy or humanity among many other traits that make for a total lack of presidential qualafication.

So, you see, my family and I are polar opposites here.

We argue some about politics, but mostly just don’t talk about it at all. I post a lot about it on my Facebook, as do some of my family members and friends on theirs. My family is very vocal about their issue with my political posts. It doesn’t bother me, everyone is free to post on their own page, that’s what it’s there for. And if their comments on mine bothered me I just wouldn’t leave the post open to comments. I have muted a couple of friends and family members in the past for both political and religious posts on their pages I just got tired of seeing those posts every single day. That’s what the mute option is for, I still love you and want you as a friend, but STFU already! LOL

As for my friends, we are all of differing political beliefs. We talk politics, we may not agree, but we still remain civil for the most part, we are open to learn from each other. We can joke and laugh about our differences. In the end, we remain friends.

I guess my family is just very, very sensitive, and very, very stubborn? I just feel that we can’t talk without high feelings and can’t be open-minded enough to learn from each other.

Religiously the vast majority of my family are protestants, and very devout at that. I, being raised the same as them, grew up protestant as well, and I tried to be devout, I tried to believe, I tried to get close to God. I tried to be a good Christian. But I always felt it just didn’t add up. I couldn’t articulate the issue at first, the feeling in the back of my mind. I began to study more, the Bible, religions, theology, etc.. In the end I became atheist and I’ve never felt more at peace.

So, you see, my family and I are polar opposites here.

My family lives religion, every single thing in their life is all about God, just as they believe it should be. As you can imagine this sets me apart from them in a big way. Not by fault of either of us, we just have opposite beliefs.

As for my friends, once again, there is every imaginable religion amongst our group. We talk about our beliefs, or lack there of, we learn from each other, on few occasions there is debate, but in the end we remain friends and love each other.

The difference here between my friends and family is just the simple fact that hanging with groups of friends means many different beliefs. Hanging at family gatherings means an atheist or three being drowned in God talk. I don’t hate it, but I do tire quickly of it.

Then there is the last, and probably least of the issues. Most of my family are heterosexual and most (not all) of them have traditional religious and cultural beliefs on any sexuality other than hetero. I am bisexual, at least that’s what most people would call it. I can be sexually attracted to and fall in love with guys, gals, and trans folk. There are a couple other family members that are not straight. But most are hetero and some don’t feel even the slightest bit comfy with anyone that isn’t.

As for my friends, once again, we are a mixture of all sexualities and more than just the two classic genders. And we all love and accept each other just the way we are. And we are open to talk and learn about each other.

I love my family and I mostly understand them, and accept them just the way they are. I do not share most of their stances and beliefs, but I will never give them up because of it.

I know this post may sound like a bit of a family shit-post, but I don’t intend it to be that. It is simply a post about how I feel like I am shoved to the sidelines of my family, lest we hurt each others feelings.

Yes, I am liberal
Yes, I am atheist
Yes, I am bisexual

Love and accept me as I am.

Rambling About 20 Years

I’ve been married for twenty years. 20 years, only about half of marriages last that long (I thought it was even less than that). What can I say, I love the man and he loves me. We make great business partners, lovers, friends, supporters, caregivers, etc. When you’re in a lasting relationship you both wear many hats and learn to switch them out as needed (and sometimes wear multiples at once) to make a strong and unwavering balance.

It’s tough work, but oh, so worth it.

I usually say that time is both slow and fast when referencing my marriage. But I made a video recently of the past 20 years worth of photos of Lee and I together. Going through all my photos in search of the perfect ones for my video I realized how long 20 years really is. I had thought it had gone by so fast, but that was just because I wasn’t remembering everything we’d done and been through together. 20 years is a long time and we’ve done so much.

Our very first trip was with a group of friends and family to Universal Studios. That trip was also our first couple photo. We made many lasting memories that trip.

We love to go on short trips with friends and family. We’ve done several: San Francisco on a spur-of-the-moment whim, a trip to the LACMA and Trejo’s Taco’s, and Trejo’s Donuts, trips to different beaches, and Jocko’s, trips to churches and missions, trips to visit other friends and families, trips for special occasions. Foodie trips are always the best.

Our first wedding was an elope. We went to City Hall, just the two of us. We had no witnesses so the Justice of the Peace asked two people in the waiting room to sign as witnesses. We said our vows, the JP took our photo and gave us a gift bag of free samples and coupons and we went on our way. It was perfect.

We are lucky that each of our families loves our spouse. My family especially loves Lee to no end. Lee’s family has had some hiccups with me, but there has never been any doubt of love.

For the first three years of our marriage Lee and I liked to go to the fair when it came through town in early October. We would just walk around and see the exhibits and eat fair food. We would get our picture taken at one of those black and white photo places. The photo’s left much to be desired, but it was fun and we loved to do it together. We stopped doing it when we fell on extra hard times, after several years of not having any money, even though times got better again that little fair tradition has never made a comeback.

Our second wedding was in the Catholic church. It was a group wedding of about 22 couples. The event took place on Valentine’s Day. We decided to do this because Lee’s mother was having a very hard time with the fact that we were not married in the church. It was a romantic and special thing for all of us, but for different reasons. For Lee’s family it was the religious aspect. For me, it was just the simple act of proclaiming our love and commitment to each other once again.

Often Lee and I will escape, just the two of us, and go on an adventure to relax, unwind, and romance somewhere other than the norm. When times were extra tough financially we would just rent a hotel room in town for a night. Even that small getaway can do wonders. We’ve also done bigger things like going to amusement parks, beaches, day trips just driving around aimlessly, or just going to the city to window shop and eat good food. OK, so more often than not it is small, inexpensive things. The point here is that you don’t have to do big, expensive, far away things in order to have a great romantic getaway. It’s supposed to be about being together and giving each other your undivided attention and reminding yourself and each other that you love and value and are loved and valued.

Lee and I have a lot in common. We both love to do fun things that are also educational and enriching, like reading historical books, going to see historical places, museums, etc.. We are both foodies, always trying new and interesting foods, also foods of different cultures. We share a love for Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune films. We share the same political views. We have each brought a lot of new experiences and joys into each other’s life. I don’t think I would have ever bothered to play World of Warcraft if it wasn’t for Lee.

We love our friends and there are often parties and get-togethers. Spending time among our friends is awesome, fun, wild, wonderful. We laugh, we cry, we bitch…commiseration is great therapy. With my agoraphobia I do not always attend the get-togethers. But I cherish them.

Our group of friends are as much a part of our marriage as each other. Most of our friends in some way have impacted and strengthened our marriage and relationship. We’ve gone through some very tough times, even the strongest of relationships struggles, and it’s through these trials that a relationship will learn and grow, or will perish. Certain dear friends have been there for us during these times and helped us to do that learning and growing, whether it be purposely or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, without our friends we would not have as strong a bond as we do today. We have a wonderful support system in many of our friends.

As I said, Lee and I work well together. We have on many, many occasions been on the same wavelength without even having to speak. Someone is in need, we do it, not talking, no checking with each other, we just do it. Someone asks for help or comes to us to talk. Someone is talking about a random subject, Lee and I both are reminded of the same thing and both start to tell the same story. Yes, we do finish each other’s sentences. We both will speak up at the same time offering the same aid, story, suggestion, etc.. After twenty years it’s almost like we’ve become two halves of the same mind and heart.

This past year has been an extremely heartbreaking one for us and our friends and family. We’ve all been there for each other as best we can. Significant others have tried their best to be there for each other especially. Something some people may find surprising is that even though it is our job to be there for our significant other (it’s written in the stone of the invisible, unspoken, Soulmates Terms and Conditions you sign with a piece of your soul at the moment you fall in love) so very often our suffering soulmate will not open up to us but will either hold it in or talk to someone else (because they do not want to cause pain and suffering to you). For me, and so many others, it is crushing for my man not to open up to me. I can see his pain and turmoil, and I can be there, hold him, comfort him, etc., but I can’t listen too terribly well and be a good emotional caretaker if he won’t speak with words as well.

I tell you this because being in a lasting relationship means forever learning new lessons, forever improving your relationship, forever meeting new trials. The heart wrenching year we’ve had has taught me that I need to learn to listen better with my eyes, instincts, heart, and all other senses, just as much and as well as I can with my ears. Pain often speaks without ever using words.

I talk a lot about our friends, much more than I do about our family. We love our family, both sides, but as is common, we spend more time with our friends, and truthfully can be more ourselves around them. Family is extremely important and supremely loved. Family, of course, plays a very large part in our lasting marriage. We’ve both learned from our parents and extended family marriages, good or bad, everything is a lesson, just make sure you learn the right ones.

What has twenty years of marriage taught me? When you meet the right person, whether they be your best friend, a close relative, or someone you end up marrying, the right person to experience life both good and bad with is the best thing in life. I’m a loner, I usually work so much better alone than with a partner or in a group. But when it comes to life in general, a partner, the right partner is much preferred. I would never have survived this long without my husband. I certainly would never have been happy without him.