Beginnings…

the EX-Man Korla Popejoy

I moved here in 1983 from Omaha.  I was a svelte, energetic chick in my early 20’s.  I met my soon to be husband while I was working part-time at the old glamorous horse racing track Ak-Sar-Ben.  He came up to my window and started betting and WINNING!  I believe he held promises of adventure and stability for me.  With that said, I left Omaha and headed to Wichita.  Three and half years later we married and started the typical mid-western family.  Ours wasn’t the happily ever after ending.  Two people who worked very hard to make a polar opposite marriage work and loved each other still couldn’t quite make it to eternal bliss.  We divorced February 2001.  I still have heart aches about this particular part of my life.  But in the end, I couldn’t imagine myself still sharing a life with him.  Our daughters benefit from having both of us around in their lives and NOT chewing at each other and spitting each other out.

Moving forward to TODAY…I have a little more peace about this failed marriage.  I often think “what if” but usually I resolve that question when the two of us have spent wa-a-ay too much time together.  I believe “X-man” feels the same way.  In all honesty, we have a solid, mutually kind relationship today.

proud Mom & Dad

Korla & I were as happy as ever watching our daughter Katy get married

It was fun having 3 little girls!

I don't know exactly when I started dressing them alike, but on occasion I did.

Katy said that they looked like they were in a cult in this picture.  I died when she said that!

...and so I was guilty...

this may have been the last time

their grandmother caught on to the phenomanon and bought these little gems for the girls.

...and the shame continues

I purposefully scoured the stores for these outfits.

I was a stay-at-home domestic goddess for ten out of the total seventeen years that Korla and I were together.  During that time we (I) raised these three amazing young women.  They are and always will be the ABSOLUTES in my life.  Those three human beings have edified my life and who I am today.  I thank the Universe and God above for those beautiful creatures.
Our relationships have changed since I was the only “rock star” in their little lives.  Time, the inevitable course of ebb and flow happens in all mother-daughter relationships, of course. I find myself fulfilling a new role in my daughters lives.

Today my responsibility to my girls is:

 1) FIND HAPPINESS in my own life

2) Don’t judge them for their own beliefs and ideas

3) Be their “go to person” when they need that certain moment of compassion, empathy or sharing

4) LOVE, Love, love the kids that they have.

5) Be happy for them when they make a life choice that makes them fulfilled, even if I don’t agree.  [as a mother, this is by far the hardest acceptance to make for your kids]

as I always said, when you're cool...the sun ALWAYS shines.

So I stayed at home and raised these beautiful creatures.  They’re dad was and still is a self-employed brick mason.  Probably one of the hardest working man I know.  An avid hunter, Korla basically split his time between work, play and the girls.  I did the typical car-pooling, soccer games, dance lessons, biddy basketball, Parent-Teacher conferences, doctor visits, costume making, bug or seed collecting, chore charting, craft-making, story-telling, laundry, cooking, cleaning and so on.  I was content doing these things because I knew that I had four people who counted on me to take care of all of these things.  But somehow in the course of all of those years of catering and nurturing to my people, I lost me.  It was evident by the bouts of depression I would find myself in.  But I couldn’t figure it out!  I had a great life with these wonderful souls completing my whole existence; so why was I unfulfilled?

Eventually I did figure it out.  I needed something that was just for me.  Not them.  ME!

By about 1997 I went through some drastic changes.  I began working out regularly.  Started losing a lot of weight.  I also enrolled in a Bachelors Degree program at Friends U and pursued an education in Computer Information Systems.  It required only one or two nights a week, as well as studying and completing projects.  Since tuition was an issue, I also got a part-time job at Dillards selling ladies shoes.  Somehow I managed all of this.  Two of the three kids attended school all day and little Sarah was in pre-school.  Now that I look back on this, that was actually an extremely satisfying time in my life.  I was looking good, feeling good and making lots of new friends from Dillards, the gym and Friends U.

some of the gang and me while working at Dillards

great times at Dillards Ladies Shoes 1998

Unfortunately during this time of self-growth and progress something did begin to waver….my marriage.  Korla was having a hard time adjusting to the fact that his frumpy little stay-at-home wife was blossoming into a confident, educated goddess who was forming friendships outside of our couplehood and establishing herself as her own woman.  He never encouraged me or supported anything that I did during this time.  He also was called upon to step up his Daddy duties that I had previously done most of the time.  This wasn’t really a problem for him, but I think it cut out a great deal of his own ME time.  I remember Korla had an opportunity to go to Zimbabwe and hunt African game.  I encouraged him to go since it was a once in a lifetime chance.  He felt guilty about it but went anyway.  He was gone three weeks.  Little did I know that trip would be the catalyst that caused our marriage to fail.

I began getting attention from other men. It had been a long, long time since I’d received this kind of admiration.  Naturally I didn’t handle it well. Neither did Korla.  All of the things I was beginning to accomplish were very threatening to him.

I started up a friendship with a man from the gym, who became my trainer and mentor.  Our relationship was in a word…STRANGE.  It wasn’t sexual but it was intimate.  I guess you could say I was having an affair of the heart with this person.  He was extremely needy and I happened to be the person who wanted to feel needed by a man.  Korla was always so self-sufficient that I often wondered what he needed me around for?  Anyway, the two most fatal things that happened from this “other” relationship was that it eventually ended my marriage of fourteen years and the other most horrid thing that this person did was introduced me to crack cocaine!  I feel to this day, that had I NOT taken up with this other person, I might still be married to Korla today.  However, our marriage was faltering and was pretty volatile for ten years.  We did many things to save that marriage; date nights, couple weekends, counseling, church…nothing seemed to help.  We were just two very different people who loved each other but didn’t know how to be happy with each other.

Year eleven through fourteen was the worst.  Although those were the years that I was defining myself, it was also a tumultuous time because of the guilt I felt spending so much time with this other person.  I finally realized that I needed to make plans to get out of my marriage and also to end my contact with this other person.  I needed to just be ME with my girls.   It was time to accept that the marriage was over; there was too much loss, too much forgiveness that I couldn’t possibly ask of Korla now.  I wanted him to fight for ME–to fight for US, but  he didn’t.  The damage was beyond repair. 

As I reflect on those years, I truly don’t even like sharing them.  But I also realize that I get a sense of how strong of a person I’ve become.  My God, I’ve been through so much.  And I am still going through so much today.

AT the time I was going through my divorce, I met and became friends with David.  Dave was my teacher in one of the CIS units I was taking at Friends.  He was a great listener and I believe that he came along in my life at that particular time to teach me about life and about myself.  I can’t explain this any better.  Sometimes people come in to your life when you least expect it and have a profound impact on your thoughts, emotions and way of life. I found his handsome looks, intensely caring green eyes, soft-spoken wisdom, accessible IT skills, extreme musical talent and quick wit everything that I needed in a man.  We eventually became lovers and while he lived and worked in KC, I moved in to his house in Derby,  sharing custody of the girls with Korla.  The most incredible thing about that move was the fact that I moved in right next door to my best friend.  Life is pretty bizarre.  All those years, Korla and I would come over to our friends house for game night or barbeques, Dave and his wife were living next door, and we didn’t even know each other then!  Crazy huh?   The two years we lived there were both blissful and traumatic.  I was dabbling a little in crack cocaine.  Dave was drinking heavily but I joined him.  Our friends being next door allowed us a beautiful time of bonding, partying, connection with people we truly loved. We were known for the incredible parties at that house, especially the two New Years Eve parties we had during the course of living there.

hanging out at one of Dave's many gigs

in our huge "galley style" kitchen in Derby

there was plenty of lovin' but also plenty of partyin'

one of many parties in someones garage

My girls loved living there with us too.  But, it was also tough on them because they had to go back and forth between Korla’s house in Wichita and mine in Derby. They eventually adapted to having the best and worst of both of their parents.  Korla and I communicated often and tried to parent them as a team.  But no matter how hard we tried to give the girls a sense of security, each of our households and the way we dealt with our kids was different.  This wasn’t exactly a bad thing, but to this day I believe that is why our girls adapt to situations better than most.  They seem to be more accepting of people with different views and lifestyles.  They’ve been exposed to a lot of interesting scenarios which has afforded them a glimpse into the diversity that this world holds for them.

my little chicks found a way to fit in to this colorful life.

Moving forward, we did eventually lose that house.  After 911, things were never quite the same for Dave or myself in the IT field.  It was a constant struggle to keep up a 4000 square foot house while both of us were dealing with either unemployment or debts.  The pride of owning such a lovely home for Dave had been squashed by foreclosure.  WE had to move.  April of 2003 we bought a house in Wichita.  It’s not a dream house by no means, but it’s MY first house that I own.  It was built in 1937 and certainly has it’s charm.  It also has it’s headaches.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  Whenever something breaks or looks like it’s in need of repair, I get disgusted and cuss it out like a car that won’t start.  But when I have family dinners, or do a little gardening or curl up in my big Tempurpedic bed upstairs and look out my many windows, I feel cozy and content.  It’s a conundrum of emotions living in this little ole house.

We look forward to spring time in our backyard!

Home sweet home - it ain't much, but it's ours.

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