Self-Care Journey Month 21


I love fall. I love getting out my sweaters, I love the smell of spice, I love pumpkin anything, and the general atmosphere. There’s just something about this season that connects to my soul in a way that no other season does. Don’t get me wrong. I love all the seasons. Trust me, by spring, I’m going to be crying to have warmer temps. But for now, I’m going to rejoice in the cool, crisp mornings that my Texas weather allows. Sometimes. Ok. Very infrequently. But I’ll get a day or two here and there. If I’m lucky. 😆

With every new month, I sit back and ruminate. (sidenote: isn’t that a funny word?) Each month, I’m able to see the growth I’ve had from the previous month. It’s amazing. And it feels…earth shattering. How did I go so long without knowing me? It’s like I spent most of my life in a fog, without truly knowing who I am. For instance, I’ve come to realize that I need to make my space mine. It doesn’t matter if its the house I sold two years ago, the house I lived in during my last relationship, or my apartment now. I neeeeeeeeeed to put my mark on it. It’s essential. And I discovered this the hard way.

I know it sounds silly, but after my divorce, I had the best time decorating my new house the way I wanted. That isn’t to say my ex wanted a particular style. He never said anything really. I’m not a floral type of gal, which was great for him. But I wouldn’t force things on him that I knew he wouldn’t like. So, when I got my own house, I happily did whatever I wanted. Fast forward to when I decided to move in with G. He had a house full of furniture. My house was bigger, and I had everything new because I replaced it after the flood, but he didn’t like any of my stuff. I didn’t particularly care for most of his either. I did nudge him to get rid of some pictures that were truly horrendous. Yet, I didn’t insist that we integrate any of my things into his house.

That’s the side of me that wants to please.

It warred continually with the side of me that screamed to state what it was I wanted/needed.

I figured it was just furniture. It was just things. Not a big deal, right? Oh, was I wrong.

I went from a spacious office as well as a bedroom where all of my books and promotional material was to a tiny dining room that wouldn’t fit my desk. I had to sell my desk, but I refused to relinquish my two bookshelves. I was then given a bright yellow (I hate yellow. It sears my eyes. It hurts. Like, really hurts) metal rolling desk to use, because he had it in the house. (“why spend money when I’ve got things,” he said) I made do. I covered it in a black cushion pad so I didn’t have to see the majority of it. My walls of bookshelves to hold my books and promo was gone. Everything was now in tubs stacked in that same tiny dining room. I didn’t bring my rug, because he had one, and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. There wasn’t, other than the fact I didn’t like it, and the office I had set up was disappearing quickly. Once again, I relented. The only positive was that this teeny dining room had a huge window. I love natural light. There was only one wall in this entire room. That’s where my bookshelves and desk went. The tubs were stacked wherever I could put them.

(I should say that sometimes it’s important to make do with things, whether it’s because there is no money to get what you want, or another reason. That wasn’t the case with me.)

As a person who likes everything in its place, this was…traumatic. I’m not obsessive/compulsive, but I’ve got a lot of shit (characters, stories, series) going on in my head. It’s imperative that the house is clean and neat. Don’t put dishes by the sink. Put. Them. In. The. Dishwasher. It isn’t rocket science. Or I didn’t think it was.

For about a year, I forced myself to make do. I didn’t want to create waves. After all, my dog and two cats moved with me (as well as my son). He’d never had a pet like that. He gave in because I wouldn’t move without them. So, I kept my mouth shut. But my creativity suffered. Horrendously. Books became harder and harder to write. My characters stopped talking to me. I began hating everything. I hated the yellow walls of our bedroom (yes! yellow. The color I detest. He knew that, but didn’t want to change it). I hated the burnt orange in the dining room. I hated the brown (he claimed it was bronze. It was brown) color in the kitchen. I hated the pale yellow kitchen cabinets. Every room was a different color. And for those who like that, it works for them. I don’t like that style. It was the colors he and his ex had chosen, and he said there was no reason to change them. I could, if I wanted. With my own money. He wouldn’t split anything with me.(sidenote: he made more money than me, and I make a very good living, so any time he would argue against spending money, I would get infuriated.) So…of course, I did nothing. His house, his choice. Right?

One day, I lost it. Literally. I’m not a person who’s prone to outbursts of tears, but that day I erupted. I had reached the end of my rope. After I told him everything, he said we could do whatever I needed. We did some rearranging, bought some shelves, and he gave me some wall space in one of the bedrooms that was never used (yeah. I know what you’re thinking. Trust me, I thought the same). That got rid of the tubs. Whew. Much better. I then bought a new desk. Sooooooo much better. I was getting back into a groove while still ignoring all the colors in the house I would never choose. Then, covid happened and suddenly, he’s now at the house working. He’s on conference calls all day. At first, he used one of the bedrooms, but he didn’t like it. Too dark, he said. So, you guessed it. He moved into the teeny dining room with me, his desk right in front of the window.

I went from having the house all to myself and being able to put on my music to write, to him, his mother (who came before covid), and one of his kids in the house. 24/7. I dove into my writing. It was the only way I could cope. The dining room was in the middle of the open concept house. I saw everyone moving about. I put on my noise cancelling headphones, but I could still hear him on his call. That lasted 8 weeks. It was the most miserable time of my life. Then, his mother went home. Then his daughter went back to her mother. It was just us. I thought I could easily settle back into things. And I did for awhile. But I would look around and realize that I still hated the paint colors. I hated the old, frayed rug in the living room that shed like crazy. I literally hated walking into our bedroom because of that yellow paint. We discussed some options, because I told him I wanted to make some changes. I’d lived with him for over a year, and I needed the house to feel like my home. Sometimes he would agree. Other times, he would argue against spending any of his money, that there was nothing wrong with what he had. He was right. There was nothing wrong, but I wanted the house to be ours. Not his and his ex’s.

Once more, I bit my tongue. That December, I decided in spring that I would fork over a lot of money to paint the entire house and get a new couch that was actually comfortable to sit in and start making the house “ours.” Then our relationship blew up in January. Things had deteriorated badly between us, partly because he’s an alcoholic, but partly because I held so much in. I couldn’t remain there for the time it took to find and buy a house. Not to mention the fact I had NO furniture. So, not only did I have to find a place, I had to buy everything. Couch, desk, mattress, bed, dresser, etc. The first thing I did was look for a rent house. Nada. So, I began searching for a 2 bedroom apartment. I told myself I could squeeze my desk, filing cabinet, and bookshelves in with all of my other books and promo. Then I realized I was able to get a three bedroom. I found an apartment, and I immediately began buying what I needed.

The utter joy that filled me to be able to decorate the way I wanted was exhilarating. I realized that I had shoved aside something that I thought was a want, but it was a need. I need to put my mark on my space, even if it’s just my office. It needs to be what I want, colors and all. I spend about over 8 hours a day there. I have to feel comfortable and content. Something I never did at G’s. That epiphany led me to search for other things that I hadn’t listened to what my soul told me I needed. It brought me back to my yoga and meditation. That led me to rediscover my love of crystals. I took a course in crystals, and it was like a lightbulb went off.

That led me to that fed another part of my soul. There is a free tarot reading for every month, every full moon, and every new moon found on their FB page. There are guides during each full and new moon that help me to go deeper into my life and what I need going forward.

During all of this, I found a peace and contentment I’ve never had. I’m discovering me, and it’s a glorious experience. What the past three years has shown is that I don’t have to “go along” with things because I don’t want to rock the boat or I don’t think my need is important. I must embrace and articulate the things that I need. Because no one else will.

My sharing of this story is that I hope everyone who reads this is either already on this same road I’m on, or that you find your way. Listen to your soul. Hear what it has to say. If you do, it will fill all the holes that nothing else ever has.

Here’s this month’s song!





“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  1. Wanda Price Rabon on October 4, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Sending prayers. Thank you for sharing.

    • Christine Budish on October 5, 2021 at 10:47 am

      It’s so hard, when you’re in a relationship that’s holding us back. I am so glad you broke free!! So many women settle, and lose the most important part of us. I did. Being a single Mom is hard, but I would rather live without then live with someone that holds me back. I’m so very happy for You!

  2. Natalie on October 4, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Beautiful post, Donna, and congratulations. I’m so glad you’ve achieved this! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  3. Renee Fethlan on October 4, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    You are absolutely right. A home needs to reflect you and your taste. I’m eclectic. I have crystals everywhere. I feel peace especially in my bedroom.

    I’m glad you found yours.

  4. Gabi on October 5, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Thankyou so much for sharing!
    It’s taken me to my mid sixties and breast cancer to realise this.
    Much love ❤️

  5. Kathy C Bradley on October 5, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Your shared journey certainly hit home here! Been there and done that and I’m quite content with my life at this time. Good for you and keep on being youj!

  6. Lori Roth on October 5, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Everything you did took courage and strength. Kudos! I’m on the same path. I need to take care of me. I am a caregiver by personality, career and profession. In September I realized I now NEEDED to take care of ME or I couldn’t care for those that needed me. Glad you found your happy place. Mine is reading your stories and playing outside.

  7. Trudy Burton on October 6, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Dear sweet n precious Donna.. you’ve been through so many things.. and have OVERCOME those trials! I have a young woman friend who I watched grow up n go out into the world to make her own life.
    She also thought her life was great; Spanish teacher, married to a great guy, teaching exercise classes n has a huge following.. beautiful kids! Then her husband up n told her he wanted a divorce n was in love w another woman! She was devastated.
    I’m going to send to her what you’ve written because she too is in the process of finding herself again!
    Thank you so much for sharing your real life self w us!
    Prayers for your Peace!

  8. April R on November 1, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Love you are sharing your journey! It helps put mine in perspective. Thank you <3!

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