2013 Sucked And Was Awesome: An Essay (A Long One)

January 4th, 2014 - filed under: Furthermore » Inspiration

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New Year’s morning, 2013. My family.


I’m staring at this empty space where I’m supposed to record ye olde Two Thousand and Thirteen, and I’m finding that I seriously have no idea where to start. I’ve actually been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I haven’t because I really just don’t know where to start. Can I just skip to the Jeremy bit? That’s the good stuff. But no, okay, I should really include the whole of it. Accuracy and such.

2013 started out as maybe the most difficult year of my life. I’m not sure how much of that came across on the blog, but boy has it been a struggle. Divorce is always painful, of course. Always difficult, and I think for many (at least for me), always involves some identity crisis. My divorce was about as amicable as they come, but even so. I have a child. I am now a divorced mother. I have to figure out how to legitimately support myself and my child.

At the beginning of 2013, I didn’t know what to do with my life. And I had to fight, every day, against the voices which would scream, “You’re too old to be wondering what to do with your life!” and also “How the hell did you get yourself into such a dependent position, you sad excuse for a feminist!”

My 2013 was dealing with demons. My closet doors flew open, and all the skeletons I’d packed up so neatly (at least, I thought) in Portland, well apparently they enjoy the southern California sun as well, because they all came flooding out. 2013 made it hard to look in the mirror. Sometimes even hard to breath. Some days fighting panic attacks. Mostly over money, but it’s not really about money, because money represents so much more than just dollars and cents. Not having enough money – not earning enough money – is the constant internalization of “failure”.

Yeah, 2013 had me doubting every decision I’d ever made, basically.

But hey, there were good things too! Overall, actually, I can definitively say that in 2013 I experienced more cumulative happiness than in any year for a long, long time prior. And I lived authentically . . . which is probably why the skeletons came out. Because I let them.

I lived with different priorities in 2013. I guess I’m not out to impress anyone, anymore. I’m not trying to leave my mark on the world. I’m just trying to experience being human (it sounds so trite, I know, but it’s the truth).

Every year, around new year’s, I prepare a word document with my thoughts and intentions for the coming year. I start off with a title, for example 2012′s was “You Only Get One Shot” (seems appropriate considering what happened) and 2011′s was “Quality Over Quantity“. You get the idea.

And I always have an overarching theme which guides my growth for the following 365 days, summarized in a short paragraph underneath the title.

2013 was called “Keep Going“, and underneath that I wrote:

you’re doing good. keep doing it. you’re moving in the right direction, so keep moving. trust your gut. you do you, so do it loud and do it proud. and for fucks sake, enjoy it.

At the time I wrote it, I actually had no idea of what I was doing. I just knew, intuitively, that I was moving – inching ever so freaking slowly – in the right direction. And truthfully, I continued to feel that way through most of 2013, which I think is why I struggled so much. I felt like I was flailing, flinging myself aimlessly in a million different directions, desperate for a path to emerge. Most of 2013 felt like all my energy went into just treading water, with no forward motion at all.

Except the thing is, now it’s over. And looking back, I can see how incredibly far I’ve come. And on Monday, I begin a master’s program in biology (most likely focusing on macroevolution, but that’s still open). And I see now, that all that thrashing was not for nothing. The thrashing WAS my path, and it got me exactly where I needed to be. Dusty and broken and bruised from all that aimless flailing, but here nonetheless.

It’s the right path. I’ve been presented with opportunities, doors that have opened that I never could have anticipated. A path, and a good one at that.

So I don’t know, maybe if you’re feeling aimless and lost, you’ll take comfort in that? One foot in front of the other. Keep Going. It usually gets you somewhere.


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Waits has blossomed this year, truly, and more than I expected. He is bright, thoughtful, strong-willed, curious, and kind. He sure has an imagination, that one. And a whole lot of spirit.

The move and the separation were hard on him, but not as hard is living in an unhappy home. Since we’ve been in Santa Barbara, and especially since he’s been participating in his amazing preschool program, he’s bloomed into such a happier kid. If Damian and I ever doubted that we made the right decision (we don’t), all we’d have to do is look at the proof that’s in that kiddo. This is better for him. He is radiant.


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I’m pretty convinced that Waits Rebhal IS the actual reincarnation of Jim Morrison. The Lizard Prince.


In 2013, one of the best damn decisions I made was to return to blogging. Here on Bonzai Aphrodite, but also with a regular gig over at the prolific green living web-giant, Care2.

I returned to the blogosphere with a bang, and a bigger bang than I ever expected, that’s for sure. That initial post, Facing Failing Health As A Vegan, is my highest ranking article of all time, by leaps and bounds, and I have had countless people tell me that it’s one of the most important things that’s ever been written for vegans.

I don’t know about that, but I do think it’s an important message and one that isn’t often expressed within our community, so I’m glad to have opened the dialogue.

But blogging isn’t always so serious! I mean, lets not forget, this is the year I discovered the glory that is Pudla, for gosh sakes. Definitely noteworthy. And while we’re on the subject, I think my very most favorite culinary innovation of the entire year was Waits’s third birthday cake: the watermelon cake!


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Leftovers Salad was a close second, just for practicalities sake. I eat it – and recommend it to my clients – pretty much constantly.

Speaking of clients, I sure did a surprising amount of travel in 2013! Beginning, in February, with a trip to New York to attend the Main Street Vegan Academy (you can read my recaps here and here and here and here). At the end of that trip I was certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, and I’ve been working with clients and building my small business ever since!


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Left: New york in February for MSVA. Right: Portland in May for VVC.


A few months after MSVA, I traveled to Portland (yay!) for the ever-fabulous Vida Vegan Con vegan blogging conference (you can read my recaps here and here and here). VVC is one of my favorite events, and this year certainly did not disappoint.

Later in 2013, I traveled to Shasta County for our annual family reunion, and to Maryland for a whole week of real relaxing. I was also able to sneak in a few romantic getaways, to San Francisco and to San Diego. And of course, lots and lots of weekend trips to LA.


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I met one of my biggest idols, Amanda Palmer, after she did a reading at the Echoplex, March 2013.


2013 was my Year of Music!

It’s the year I listened to more music than podcasts or political radio; the year I made music a priority. These days, most of my friends here in town are musicians. I saw so many local shows, fell in love with so many bands, and listened to endless hours of live jazz.

And let’s talk just about the resplendent musical serendipity that occurred in 2013, because I don’t have any faith and I don’t believe in fate, but this shiz is just straight up crazy. How could this have happened?

Anyone who reads this blog has probably figured out that Tom Waits is my favorite musician of all time, ever, hello I named my son after him. And you may have noticed me posting a lot about Amanda Palmer as well, my second favorite musician, because she’s pretty much my greatest roll model of fierce authentic womanhood. And her music is intensely amazing.

The number three slot is so far below numbers one and two, that it’s actually on rotation, available for whichever musician fits my whim. Sometimes it’s old school punk rock, other times musical theatre. Some days it’s one song over and over and over. Paul Simon. The Violent Femmes. It could be anything, really. My number three spot is reserved for the music that speaks to me at any given moment (and music tends to speak loudly to me, so I do feel oh-so strongly in that moment).

And in 2013, as a whole, I’d say that third spot went to Macklemore. I listened to sooooo much Macklemore this year.

So.

On October 27th I got to see Tom Waits.

Then, on December 5th, I got to see Macklemore.

And on December 15th, I got to see Amanda Palmer.

HOW?! Year of Music, indeed.


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Amanda Palmer playing at the Echoplex, December 2013.


Okay. So. Work, travel, music – it’s all good stuff. But the truth, the most important truth of the year, is something I think you already know.

In 2013 I fell deeply, so completely, in love. And if you think that’s sort of crazy and seems really really soon, I can only assure you – I agree. I never expected to fall in love so quickly (if ever?), and certainly not like this.

I am so happy that sometimes, it’s actually overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t believe it’s real, because I didn’t think this was possible. To hold a person in your arms and feel like you are whole . . . it’s just not something I believed in. I was never looking for my “other half”. I didn’t think I had one.

Guys, this is Jeremy:


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Extra-observant readers might actually recognize him! Jeremy has been pictured on this blog not once, not twice, but three times already. Ha!

The first time was way back in May, in the post about LA Vegan Beer Fest. Because that’s the day we met.

The second was in the Vegan Vine wine video, because Jeremy is in the wine and spirits business, so he was the sommelier for our tasting.

And the third was just a few weeks ago, in my Celebrating Winter Solstice post. Because he’s basically part of the family now.


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We started our relationship long-distance, him living in LA and me in SB, taking turns visiting on our weekends. We have talked on the phone every single day since the day we met. And at the beginning of October, he moved to Santa Barbara.

I’m trying not to get all overly-emotional and gushy, but also, I kind of don’t need to, right? I mean, you guys have been reading my love lists, have watched the transformation that I’ve undergone this year. You’ve seen it reflected in the way I write, in my photos, in my eyes. I know you have, because you’ve told me! I’m happier than I’ve ever been.



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Jeremy is one of the most genuinely thoughtful people I have ever met. He takes care of me. He sees me as I am, broken and good and tarnished and trying, and he wants all of it. He makes me feel beautiful. He is smart, capable, creative, and eccentric. He’s the kind of guy you’d want around during a zombie apocalypse. And he is absolutely unafraid to be completely, uniquely himself. He inspires me every day. And holy moly, we just have so much FUN together!

Waits thinks he’s pretty awesome, too.


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I didn’t think my life could hold such profound and sustained pleasure. Jeremy brings me joy, over and over, in small ways and big ways and ways that I can’t describe, and it just. doesn’t. stop. He makes my life better, endlessly better. I love my life. But I love my life more, with him in it.


So yeah, 2013 was confusing, difficult, and raw. But it was also soaring bliss, gleaming and divine. Dark and light. Pleasure and pain. Balance.

On December 31st, 2013, I Instagrammed the following picture, with the following caption, which I want to share here now with all of you.


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Happy New Years from Waits and I! May 2014 bring you a well-rounded human experience including but not limited to a wide range of natural emotions, primarily but certainly not exclusively the good ones. Authenticity forever! And remember – we love you!!!


Thank you all for reading, for sharing, and for joining me on another wild trip around the sun.

♥ ♥ ♥

  • Emily B

    I loved this post! I have only been reading your blog since the beginning of 2013 and it has become one of my absolute favorites. I am so grateful for you sharing your journey and being so honest about it. I went through a very odd transition year as well and don’t think mine is over. It’s nice to hear about someone else’s journey that gives hope.

    Happy New Year to you and Waits!

  • Elise

    I totally feel you in the anti-feminist-not-enough-of-an-independent-woman part of your post at the beginning. My husband makes way more money than me, and I was pretty dependent financially for a while, working low wage, no benefit jobs, but I got my new job this past February. Things have been looking up. He still makes more than me, but at least I’m bringing home a greater portion of the (coconut) bacon!

    Hang in there, mama! It’ll happen! Building a career takes some serious time and experience. It’s just unfortunate that women still have to work harder than men in this day and age to get ahead and on average still make less money than their male counterparts! Did you know that men in Iceland get on average about 3 months of paid paternity leave? I wish the U.S. would catch up with that trend!

    I love your blog, and I can’t wait to see you what kinds of shenanigans you and Waits get up to this year!

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  • Elri Tendeland Uhre

    What an incredibly well written and vibrant resumé of 2013. I think it is fascinating how seeing our past clearly and with love makes so much space for living Now, and how that supports us and allow us to dream the dreams which make our future. You are so strong. You have such a gift. Happy 2014!

  • vegyogini

    Happy New Year, Sayward! I figured out the Jeremy mystery after your Solstice post. I’ve known him through the LA vegan community for years, but also haven’t seen him in maybe a couple years. I looked at that photo and knew! As I messaged him on FB, I am over the moon happy for you both and so grateful you found each other. I acknowledge you for being so open to love when you didn’t think you’d ever find it again. One of my mentors (and co-owner of Cafe Gratitude) says: “How I keep my heart open is I don’t let it close.” Your relationship is proof that it works.

    I discovered your blog with the Facing Failing Health post on the same day (I believe…perhaps it was a couple days later?) that Alex Jamieson revealed she is no longer vegan. It was an interesting moment in veganism to read these two posts, one disappointing and the other bolstering. Yours is a post I point people to as an example of strength and transparency. Thank you for that and for your authenticity. I’m going to try to make it to the talk in Pasadena Saturday. If I do, I’ll be sure to introduce myself.

  • Brie

    Thank you for sharing your year with us! I hope your family experiences joy, laughter, good food, and growth in 2014. Happy New Year!

  • Rebecca

    A lovely (and very thoughtful) response…I’d expect nothing less from you :) I love that you are very open to exploring different viewpoints, the way things are phrased, etc.

    I like your point about the causality going both ways in terms of the money thing (or, I guess anything could be plugged in for “money” when we’re talking about what conditions or outcomes make us feel like “failures” (don’t you wish we could all stop feeling like failures so often?!?!? Most people are way more forgiving of our situations than we are. While she may have just been trying to be polite, I ran into an old high school friend/acquaintance and when she asked where I was living I sheepishly said “with my parents” and had to quickly jump in to the whole “It’s only temporary! I’m working on X, Y & Z” yadda yadda. She quickly jumped in with, “Oh, that’s no big deal! I know lots of people who had to move back.” (I’m 31…just for context) While she might have just said this to make me feel better, she said it so casually I honestly think she didn’t think less of me or pity me in the least. Whereas I was self-conscious and felt the need to over explain (I tend to do that…can you tell?).

    Hmm..for the single mother thing. A lot to think about, eh? I think it jumped out at me because I am in the process of planning to become a single parent by choice. It is a huge, HUGE decision. It would be one thing if I got pregnant “accidentally” and then had to do it on my own. But choosing to actually take that leap seems so much different for some reason. It is paralyzing–yet if I was in the prior situation, I’d just do it without question (although still with lots of worries!). But I digress. Everyone probably has their own view of semantics and terminology regarding the terms “single mother,” “coparent,” and so on. But since you asked for my personal feeling on the matter, I would say that I do feel a bit of a sting when hearing “single mother” used for/by a mom who shares custody. To me, it implies that there is only one parent. All burdens (and joys!) fall on one person. As you mentioned, there is a definite difference between being a “full-time mom” and a “part-time mom” (*and I agree…that does sound funny! And, I’d imagine calling yourself a part-time mom would be taking away from all that you do and your identity. You never stop being a mother–no matter who is taking care of your kid at the time! I guess that’s why it seems strange to me. I just think of coparents as being parents…not necessarily single parents.

    When you mentioned those days when it is just you in the trenches (great visual BTW…I picture Waits flinging vegan goodies at you while you take cover!), my mind immediately went to: what about when a mother’s boyfriend/husband/etc. is away on a business trip or something? I wouldn’t consider them a single parent, nor would I consider the significant other a part-time parent! While those times might be few and far between for some couples, there are plenty that do have one parent traveling on a regular basis. I think of them both as full-time parents–even though both are not always there at the same time. Single mother–to me–does read as being on your own 100% of the time. But, again, I am coming at it from a very delicate place (nothing like the prospect of choosing to be a “single mother” to bring on the waterworks and self-doubt!)…most likely the majority of folks would not be as sensitive to it. I’d be interested to know what “single mothers” (no father in the picture) think about the term…if they’d be offended or not.

    I know you would never mean it offensively and I don’t take it offensively from you (First, because I’m not even a mom yet! Second, because I doubt you have a mean bone in your body). It just made me feel the way it made me feel—I’m guessing we all have strong reactions to the way specific terms are used at certain points in time.

    I asked because 1) I was concerned that something had changed–and hoped you were not left to fend for yourself entirely! 2) the whole single mother definition got my gears turning—and was honestly interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

    You never fail to disappoint :) Thanks again for the thoughtful (and thought-provoking!) response. Glad to hear things have turned around (moved forward?) for you.

    P.S. The whole feeling like you weren’t getting anywhere but, looking back, you DID make progress thing reminded me of an interesting fact I once heard. It was that planes drive off-course for something like 99% of the flight! It is the little adjustments here or there that lead them to their destination but the majority of the flight they are not seemingly going in the direction they should be! I find that so powerful.

  • Rebecca

    Good point Ginger! Love the “mother” vs. “parent” verb distinction. You’re right–huge difference..I’m guessing most people aren’t privy to the subtleties.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I like the term co-parenting, but here’s the weird thing – in Portland, I used that term to describe Damian and my relationship, while we were married. “Co-parenting is the term that all the super progressive forward-thinking hippie couples use up there. It basically describes a non-traditional, non-nuclear family, where the man and woman are both equally involved and vested in raising the child. So for me, “co-parenting” means parenting together, not sharing parenting separately. Nowadays I use “share-parenting” to describe Damian and my relationship. But I wouldn’t say I’m a “share parent”, so I still don’t know how to describe what I am . . .

    Maybe divorced mom is the way to go. I think that get’s the point across, although for me it has a sort of negativity about it. Great food for thought though! Thank you Ginger!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    SUCH good conversation here Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. As I’ve thought about this, and as I’ve listened to you (and Ginger), I definitely feel like I’m less comfortable using the term single mother to describe myself. I do get the distinction there, and I don’t want to draw a false comparison.

    One thing that jumped out at me was the example of the military families, or families where one parent travels a lot. I see that differently because although the “at home” parent – let’s say the mother for ease of conversation and because we’re all progressive people and recognize that sometimes, yes, it goes the other way too – so although the mother is doing all or most of the actual parenting, she’s not solely financially responsible. I feel like I’m more aligned with single mothers in that way (or at least I will be soon, when my alimony ends). When I say single mother, I’m thinking in terms of parenting but also in terms of finances . . . maybe mostly in terms of finances, because that’s what weighs so heavily on me these days. Going from a two parent home where money was tight BUT always enough to cover at least the basics, to going to a one-parent home where there literally isn’t enough money, well that’s I guess what has made me feel like I’m a “single mother”

    But like I said, I do understand your perspective. To be honest, I was unsure of writing it when I did, so obviously this was already something I knew, deep down. Thank you for being willing to dialogue with me and for haring your thoughts.

    I just need to find a better word!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sonja! Lots of love and light back at you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aw! Thank you! And happy 2014. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you, and the same to you my dear. Brilliance all around!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Carrie, that was one of the hardest things about my separation. That disempowered feeling, realizing I was so dependent and going “Oh my god, it’s just like the 1950s all over again! How did this happen!?” Of course, it was totally my choice to stop working and focus on Waits, and the truth is I’d do it again in a heart beat because I think it was best for him. Sometimes you just have to make the trade off, whether it’s having a baby, or pursuing your passion, or whatever else. And I agree about the way our society doesn’t value being a mother/parent. BAD PRIORITIES!

    PS – Hee hee, not sexist at all, and thanks! I agree! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Best wishes in the new year to you too Deirdre! &heart;

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you John!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You’re welcome Michelle, and thank YOU for reading! Happy new year!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Emily B, and happy new year to you as well. I hope 2014 holds less rocky roads and more clarity for you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you so much Elise! Happy new year!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Brie, and same to you! ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you for the kind words Elri. Happy 2014 to you, too!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you so much, Jeremy showed me your Facebook message and I was so happy to read it! I wondered if anyone would catch that in the Solstice post. ;-)

    I hope to see you Saturday and yes! Definitely come say hi, I’d love to meet you. ♥

  • Rebecca

    I agree…great conversation! I was thinking about this today also. I think I see your situation as you being a “mother.” I guess it sounds funny to me to say “divorced mother” because single seems to refer to the family structure (i.e. one parent, one child) rather than relationship-ness with a significant other..or lack thereof :) And, I think “part-time mother” just takes a lot away from all that you do! Family structures are ever-evolving these days. Although most people still assume a family with one mother and one father, it is often a false assumption these days.

    So I’m a bit confused about the financial picture here. As I’ve never been in this situation, you’ll have to educate me. I thought child support was paid out until the child is 18. Is this incorrect? Also, you mention you are solely financially responsible–so Waits’ dad pays nada?? Seems to me the costs would be split somehow. Yes, you have to pay for your own place to live now that you’re not splitting rent/mortgage payments…and housing is a biggie! But isn’t it customary for the father to pay for costs related to upbringing (clothing, food, education, etc.)? That’s what I’ve encountered with families in this situation. Is this not always the case?

    Thanks for engaging in a lovely dialogue about sensitive subjects :)

    P.S. Hearing your anxiety about money (“literally isn’t enough money”, etc.) is something I understand all too well. That, of course, is the main concern and hurdle with deciding to be a single parent by choice. Ooh..that made me think of another distinction—access to a “babysitter!” When I decide to take the plunge, it will be just me. Many couples have some form of shared custody–be it weekly, monthly, seasonally, etc. Especially when there’s a decent amount of split time, there is some time to recharge your batteries a bit. And, in the best of situations, the other parent can be flexible. So, if you have to go away for the weekend or attend a workshop, there is a possibility of having someone watch the child–without wiping your bank account clean! I worked for a mom in this situation. Of course, when her kids were with their dad she missed them tremendously. But, I think it made it that more special when the kids were with her–she always WANTED to see them. That’s an awesome thing–even mothers with a partner in the house can often feel a bit trapped at times. While I’m sure sending them off with their dad tugs at her heart strings every time, it allows her to actually *want* to see her kids. They aren’t just around all.the.time. We all need and want a break. I’m terrified I won’t ever have that and I don’t want to feel resentful.

    Lordie…now I’m crying again. Have tried getting my mom on board to help support me in my decision (emotionally, not financially) and she just can’t seem to bring herself to do it. Have asked her time and time again–for months–to help me see the positive sides of what I’m choosing to do. Because, trust me, although I desperately want children, this is the most complicated decision I’ll probably ever have to make. Not even having someone tell me I can do it makes it soooo tough. Finances are always an integral piece of the puzzle…but, as you so astutely mentioned, not feeling confident (i.e. feeling like a failure) can add to the whole lack of money thing…and vice versa. It’s a vicious cycle. I have literally laid out what I need from her emotionally–for almost 6 months now! Not having her support is almost harder to deal with than mourning the “loss” of the family I thought I’d one day have (a partner, a child and me). Sorry…I’m a bit of a blathering basketcase at the moment.

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  • Scaredofeverything

    You are absolutely gorgeous! You glow all over and he’s a very lucky man. I know you feel so lucky to be in love (what a great feeling!) and I’m so happy for you. I have been reading this blog for about 5 years now and one of the things that keeps me coming back is your raw honesty. You share the good and the bad which is real life and I appreciate that. Also, I know I’m gushing a little bit here, but Waits. OMG. He is stunning. What a handsome little dude. Anyways, happy to see you delving into new experiences. Happy 2014! May it be a great one!

  • Scaredofeverything

    Coming from a single mother myself, I’ve always sort of stopped on that wording that you used “single mother” and wondered if it was the appropriate term. But you’ve explained this so well and it really does not matter in the end. There isn’t a word in the English language for the role you have and you’re right that part time mother does not fit, because you never stop having to parent.

  • Gena Hamshaw

    Dearest darling, I’m obviously so happy for you and Jeremy. But to state the less obvious, so happy to hear that you’ve reconnected with passions, including music, and that you’re about to embark on this new professional journey. It sounds to me as though you felt you lost a part of yourself in the last few years, and that you’re just now finding it again. That’s fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what directions your life moves in this year. Be bold and be brave, friend. <3

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hey! Great to hear from you, it’s been a while! Glad to know you’re still reading. =)

    And happy 2014 to you as well!! I hope it’s a great one for you as well, full of joy and of learning. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks my dear! It certainly has been a wild ride, and yes, it’s brought me closer to myself in ways I didn’t expect and on paths I hadn’t realized I’d strayed from. And hey – back at you! I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for you, and your many amazing endeavors!!!

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