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The theme of “Mornings” this month has left me a little torn. I have my “Mom Mornings” which run the way they usually do…a kitty trying to nip at my exposed toes while a little 7 year old tries to snuggle her feet even deeper into my back. A teenager still sleeping and a 12 year old doing whatever it is they do in their rooms behind closed doors. I’m cool, I’ll admit it, but not cool enough for a preeteen.

I also have “Me Mornings”. These are the days I wake up and my kids are over at their dad’s house. I’ve had these mornings ever since getting separated in 2010, and these are as unusual as a purple unicorn with rainbow hooves. At first, these “Me Mornings” were traumatically depressing. I’d managed to never spend any time alone with myself ever since…well…ever. I lived with my family until I went to college, then lived with my roomates for 3 years, then met and married my future ex husband before I turned 21, and then it was husband and kids for the next 16 years.

The reality of being by myself scared me more than my impending divorce, honestly, but I didn’t need a therapist to tell me that wasn’t a good enough reason to stay in a relationship. Whiskey & Coke told me everything I needed to know.

So, I filled my mornings with busy night before’s. Sometimes my night before’s bled into my mornings without a lot of sleep, if any. I filled it full of people and places, and I was never alone.

When I would eventually sleep and wake up, it was with a sense of vertigo. Going from my standard ‘Mom Nights Out’ with coffee and kid talk was replaced, at least for the weekends, with ‘Me Nights Out’ with martinis and talk about anything other than kids. For a former teetotaler with an underdeveloped sense of self, I was in over my head a little bit. Not that I didn’t give it my best shot.

I woke up with an American dude in Canada and a Canadian dude in America. I had mornings with a musician in Denver and an Academy Award nominee in Hollywood. I saw the sun rise with a doctor of philosophy somewhere in Portland and a bartender in Taos. And then one morning I rolled over and a very sensitive and caring professor said, “I don’t know how your ex husband could have ever let you go.” In that moment, I felt more alone than any morning I could have spent actually by myself.

I hurried outside, crying and stumbling along side streets trying to remember where I’d parked my car in the congestion of LA city planning. His words, while nice, hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. I realized that I could bounce around from morning to morning like a disco ball and it still wouldn’t make the reality of a failed marriage any better. Dammit, tacky Lifetime movies really are right.

So, I regrouped. I created space in these Me Mornings to be all alone. Instead of focusing on other people, I started showing myself a good time. With the same care and interest I gave my kids for their activities, I planned things for me. I kind of got to know myself for the first time ever, and started looking forward to what I’d learn about myself on the next weekend. Whatever I’d do would include my trusty camera (and later, hula hoop!) and I took myself on some of the best dates ever.

I woke up to myself in a sleeper car on a train going from LA to Washington, in a tent on the beach, and in cheap motels all across Route 66. I woke up silently for 10 days at a meditation retreat. I woke up on planes and in rest stops. And when I wasn’t traveling on a beggars budget I woke up still and silent in my bed, instead of searching and anxious.

I woke up to myself.

I woke up.

I am awake now.

Good morning!

Here’s a lovely (ha!) morning self portrait for Erika’s post yesterday. Have you ever taken a morning snapshot of yourself? It’s easiest if you have cool filters and a black and white option like I do with instagram, I’m not going to lie!

Do your mornings have a rhythm, or do they ebb and flow? Have you gone through any shifts or changes that affect the way your mornings run?

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43 Comments

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  1. Becky #
    March 7, 2012

    Good god woman, you’ve knocked this out of the park.

    • March 7, 2012

      blogging as sport…lol…thank you 🙂

  2. March 7, 2012

    i think i stopped breathing more than once reading this…damn, this sounds so familiar to me…so familiar. i rode that roller coaster for a long time…i feared being alone for a long time…i dreaded the weekends my kids would leave for their dad’s…i drank, and drank and woke up in all kinds of crazy places…until one morning when i’d had enough. it’s been a long road with a lot of fucked up twists and turns. i hated the ride and i loved the ride…it matched my emotions…up and down. today i’m sitting at my dining room table…scattered with print jobs on the go…news on tv, cup of tea that’s now gone cold…dog asleep at my feet…wearing my favourite “loser” tshirt…sun shining with the promise of 13 degrees today…shitty neighbours dogs barking…again…i’m ready for the day…good, bad, ugly, up or down.

    thanks for your honesty tiff….this was some really good shit girl! xx

    • March 7, 2012

      while I wish you didn’t have to go through the fucked up shit, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. Which is actually why I went ahead and posted this…so that someone else will know they’re not the only one either. We gots to stick together, right?! xo

  3. Kate #
    March 7, 2012

    Beautiful post, and you look WAAAY too pulled together first thing in the morning! ; )

    • March 7, 2012

      Having a shaved head really helps pull my look together in the morning, since my hair never really gets ‘messed up’ anymore!

  4. allison mcd #
    March 7, 2012

    your beautiful way of expressing such honesty … it’s killing me (or inspiring me, i’m not sure which).

    • March 7, 2012

      I vote inspire, not kill. I’m a pacifist!

  5. March 7, 2012

    I’ve sat here staring at my screen for at least 10 minutes – trying to figure out what to say about this post that will do it justice. You are certainly the most honest woman on the internet right now. You lay yourself bare in a way that I envy and aspire to. You are my favourite super hero!

  6. March 7, 2012

    Carmen…speachless? damn. and, thanks.

  7. Liz Arocena #
    March 7, 2012

    I wondered where you were last year on Flickr–I knew you had kind of disappeared w/ sporadic posts here and there and well I knew that something had to have happened. I waited and waited for you to reemerge.
    And here you are and how!
    Best most honest blog post in recent memory.

    Tiff you just blew me away.

    lizzard_nyc

    • March 7, 2012

      I’ve been waiting and waiting to reemerge, too, Liz. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to process. I think this is my coming out party. 🙂 xooxoxo

  8. jess lewis #
    March 7, 2012

    you’re like a spokesperson for self-awareness! there is no doubt in my mind that you are inspiring others to be true to themselves and to celebrate who they really are, myself included. it’s not always an easy path to take, but you’re a kick ass beacon of awesomeness.

    • March 7, 2012

      I feel the same about you, Jess. fo sho. ❤

  9. Tiffany Findley #
    March 7, 2012

    These words are what my heart has felt, but just didn’t have the words to discuss.

    This is really, so beautifully honest.

    • March 7, 2012

      It’s hard to put words to feelings like this. I did my best, I think someone who has been through it can put lots of feelings into mere sentences that are written. Thanks Tiff 🙂

  10. Jill #
    March 7, 2012

    Not even sure where to begin after the “I’m sorry” post and this one . . . but my hat is off to you in ways that you will never know. It took me years to figure out how to be alone all the while trying to figure out if it was okay or not because it seems so selfish. I’m thinking that you need to “preach it and teach it” because more women need to realize that our mornings like the rest of our days need to be for us.

    • March 7, 2012

      Being alone used to be so terrifying, and now it’s really quite wonderful. lol. Making friends with oneself is might nice!

  11. Brandy #
    March 7, 2012

    Terrified to be alone. And can honestly say I dont know much about myself; I’d be lost without Frank & the kids. I’ve spent my whole life making others happy…not that I haven’t been happy too, but I’ve never been the focus. Damn, you had to go and make me think about all these things! Love you, girl!

    • March 7, 2012

      LOL Brandy ❤ I love what you've created with your hubby and your family, and I think there's room for you to expand a little if you want to–without the necessary trauma that i went through to do it. Take yourself out to a dinner and movie some night, you are great company!

  12. lisa gonzalez #
    March 7, 2012

    Fucking awesome post!! I loved hearing more of your story 🙂 Great ending, too. BAM!

    • March 7, 2012

      it didn’t feel very BAM in the midst of it, but now….yeah. Now I feel pretty bamtastic!

  13. 6ftmama #
    March 7, 2012

    well well my new found lifelong friend, sister, damn it you made me laugh and cry …my journey for the last year.
    love you and you honesty thank you for sharing.

    • March 7, 2012

      xoxoxo I’m glad we had a chance to meet (briefly!) in Vegas. Can’t wait to see you again 🙂

  14. March 7, 2012

    I have a few:
    08-02-2012 Dormir y despertar al revés / To sleep and wake up the other way around
    11-01-2012 En mi ventana toda la lluvia / In my window all the rain
    16-12-2010 ¿A juego con el baño? / Matching the bathroom?
    And yes. Big changes here…: I split up with my husband after twelve years something like a month ago…
    Yes. I know you know.
    And even before, he was sleeping for a few months in a different room because he snores, soooo loud, that after twelve years of no sleeping from my part, I was maybe… exhausted. So we tried that. But… everything was already falling apart, somehow. So we made that decision.
    We are getting a divorce soon, and now everything goes around childcare-days-money-use of the car, etc. Everything is so… depressive sometimes.
    But.
    I am happy. I am sure of what I’m doing.
    I am on the right path. And I am me again.
    The difference here may be that I lived alone for many years before living with him, so I kind of knew myself in the mornings… But now everything is different. Sometimes little girl is here, and some mornings she is not, just like you said.
    And I loooove my mornings! Always have. And now I have some of that back. I am quite content with that.
    And it really is a ME time, for me.
    Thanks for reminding me of this.
    And I loved your portrait!!!

    • March 8, 2012

      oh Julie! I didn’ t know. Much love and strength for you. I’m glad you are staying on your right path. xoxoxo

  15. Nicci #
    March 7, 2012

    Good God DAMN, I adore you. What I’ve always loved is how oppositely parallel (is that even possible??) our journeys have been. I don’t struggle with alone – I thrive & survive on it actually – but I’m ready to embrace the sharing of myself for the first time in awhile. Once again, you inspire me to push past my comfort so once again, I thank you 🙂

    • March 8, 2012

      once again I find myself wishing we could live closer. Come visit again!

  16. jacqui #
    March 7, 2012

    Tiffani,

    When you write, you describe so much of what I’ve felt & what I’m feeling.

    My husband and I came close to separating in 2010, early 2011. I still loved him but there were problems…

    Finding you & your BAM group a couple of years ago was just what I needed. Your strength & your words have encouraged me to speak up and to speak out. & I believe it’s this that saved my marriage. My newfound courage & voice gave my husband the shake up he needed to get his own “shit” together!

    My story is different from yours in that I am happier now in my marriage than I ever imagined I could be. But it’s similar in that every day I am growing in courage & I am learning to love & respect myself.

    So thank you, from my heart to yours, for your honesty (not just in this post, but in all your posts). I just want you to know, I am so grateful for your presence on my journey xxx

    • March 8, 2012

      I’m much happier to hear stories like this, where you are able to build something out of what you have rather than start from scratch like my story! It’s a hard road no matter what, but I’m so glad you are on it and giving yourself love and respect. xoxo

  17. Laura #
    March 8, 2012

    “kick ass beacon of awesomeness”….yes you are! I love your courage and the way you embrace your vulnerability. You inspire everyday and I’m so glad you’ve been brave enough to make the journey….you carry all of us with you. xo

  18. Linda #
    March 8, 2012

    You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂

  19. March 8, 2012

    I read, read, read, and re-read it! Love your honesty…love this post so very much!

    • March 8, 2012

      oh, thank you! I love your avatar picture so very much!

  20. damiec #
    March 8, 2012

    your honestly, your strength, your perseverance and your positivity will never cease to astound me.
    and you have done more to help me on my opposing journey – opening myself up from the heavily barricaded place that only my intimates (and truth be told, not even very many of them) see – than you could possibly know.
    xxoo

    • March 9, 2012

      oh, my. thank you for saying that. Connection with others is the one good thing about this whole process. xoxoxoxoo. Shine on, Sister!

  21. March 9, 2012

    This post hit me hard! I can relate and reading this really moved me!

    • March 9, 2012

      I’m sorry you can relate, but also kind of happy to connect with each other. ❤

  22. sherry delong #
    March 14, 2012

    dear sweet tiff,

    you are such an amazing woman and i have loved being able to learn from you as you have shared with us your life through your photos and words. this post really, really resonates with me on a mulitude of levels. i am enamoured with your me mornings and that sounds like such a beautiful idea.
    thank you so much for your openess, honesty and ability to share it all with such flare.
    xoxox
    sherry
    rovinggirl

  23. May 18, 2012

    took me long to find this, glad I did. I think your honesty is what I love best about you, no shows, just all real and it takes courage to be so honest. Thank you. I wish you the very best to you on this journey of life. I know you will be okay, I know it.

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  1. Cheers to Mornings | Overexposed + Underdeveloped

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