Tuesday

Today is kind of a sad day, a hard day, not for any one reason in particular but for many small and big reasons all wrapped up together. I haven’t been sleeping well again, in part because my window AC unit finally bit the dust so it was, quite literally, nearly 100 degrees in our house last night. Mostly, though, I can feel the sharp teeth of panic and fear nibbling away at my defenses in the night, so I lay there and try to reason them all out, pray, write, reason them out again until finally I fall into a troubled sleep. We are all grouchy at home lately, too, the first hard emotional month nearly over yet the reality of it still barely sinking in. Owen cries for his daddy at night, or comes home from a visit telling me he didn’t want to come home, and I feel that same helpless, impotent rage at how this has turned out. It isn’t fair, I want to scream, stomp my feet, do all of those things small children do when they are hurt and disappointed, but-no, life isn’t fair, and I know that.

I am, as you all still know, processing, but I do want to reiterate a couple of things here.  No matter how easy it is for everyone on the outside fringes to say that I am better off without Steve and all of that, he isn’t and wasn’t dead weight to me.  This isn’t about waking up one morning and suddenly realizing how much HAPPIER I am.  There are benefits to him being gone, and it is necessary in so many ways because of the drinking-even if he wanted to come back, which he doesn’t, I couldn’t let him.  That doesn’t, however, make me feel better, make me any less sad.  I look at him and it still hurts my heart, way down deep.  I think he might already have a girlfriend, and that hurts, too-it has only been a month, you see, and-well.  If he doesn’t already have one, I know it won’t be long before he does, and that hurts.  All of these inevitable things, and I remember why I didn’t WANT to fall in love with anyone else all those years ago-because it always ends, and the pain fucking sucks.  I have heard that the third time is the charm, right?  So maybe in this case, it isn’t the charm so much as it is a lesson learned THREE times is finally learned.

I don’t know.  Everything just feels really hard and sad today, and I want to roll into a ball and cry, or scream and yell and rage at Steve or Fate or God or whomever.  I know that laying blame helps no one; what is it that we say in AA, that when you point a finger at someone else, there are four other fingers pointing right back at yourself?  So yes, I AM the problem, and to lay blame means I am not taking responsibility for my own part in all this.  I am trying to do that, neither lay too much blame on anyone, but-but.  But but but but but.  God I am tired of that word. 

I know this will pass, and tomorrow will be another day, where everything will be different.  Perhaps not better, mind you, but different, at least.  Hell, I might feel a thousand percent better later today, I don’t know.  All I know is that right now sucks; today feels heavy on my chest and my throat aches with sorrow.  The Russian Olive trees are blooming and the smell reminds me of him; it is the beginning of the whole five day 4th of July celebration here and that also reminds me of him, to the point where I won’t actually go to any of the events because he will be there and I will probably run into him and, if he has one, the replacement for me, and-well.  Like I said, today sucks. 

Please let tomorrow be better.  I sometimes feel like that is asking an awful lot, but just-please.

Quick Update

***My legs have a fever.  I swear we were not out all that long yesterday, but long enough for the backs of my legs to get totally and painfully fried.  I can feel them throbbing all the time, and it is agony to stand up AND sit down.  Thanks to the powers that be that gave me something of an olive skin tone-because at least I know the pain won’t last long, and then I will tan beautifully.  I do this every year my first time out, and you would think I would learn my lesson, but apparently I am a slow learner.

***I spent part of the weekend working on my first editing assignment, and maybe that would be a major downer for some, but for me?  Nirvana.  I am still having a hard time during the weekend hours, you see, and nights are still especially painful (all those hours to fill!), but the work gives me something to do that requires absolute focus and immersion, and I love that.  Love it.  Not just the time spent, but the subject matter and the idea of being part of something pretty important?  It is a particular blessing to me.   This is such a new thing for me, and I am afraid-but you know, I am just going to go on ahead and do it because I want to.  New things, changes, are uncomfortable for me, but I remember this: years and years ago, I worked in a hospital-and my first day, I walked in and thought to myself,”Oh my god, I am never going to feel comfortable here, I am going to get lost and at some point they are going to find out that I really have no idea what I am doing and they will scream ‘FRAUD!’ at me.”  But within a few weeks, it was as if I had always done that job, been in that place, and I hold that in my mind when I get afraid of the newness.  Because this is an opportunity I have wanted for most of my adult life; I am just going to run with it.

***It looks like we are going to get to go on vacation after all; my dad is going to help us out, so really, all we need now is spending money.  I cannot begin to tell you all how excited I am for this, even though I feel slightly slimy about my dad helping me.  I mean, I worry that my sisters will be thinking,”My god, woman, can’t you get your life together?  What a loser!”  Intellectually I don’t think that will be the case, but sometimes I am still very much a little girl inside and I worry about what they will think of me.  Still, if this is the only way we can go, so be it. 

***Sam and I went to see the play Oklahoma on Saturday night with my mom and my grandma.  Like so many things lately, there was bittersweet.  I had to tell them about Steve, of course, and my grandma cried.  That broke my heart, because she just wants so badly for me to be happy!  I was able to reassure her that I am ok; not thrilled, of course, and in a lot of emotional pain, but still on the whole I am content.  The play itself was good, although a little draggy in some places, but Sam really enjoyed it.  He was very funny on the way home; it was incredibly late, the play didn’t get over until 10:30 and then we still had the two hour drive home.  So he was talking and talking and suddenly, dead quiet-in the midst of a sentence, he fell asleep.

***We finally convinced the boss (it didn’t take a lot of convincing) to let us close the office on the 5th, since the 4th is on a Sunday.  This makes me very happy, as we are hoping to take a day trip to the zoo in Idaho Falls on either Sunday or Monday.  We’ll see how the finances are next week, though, before I decide for sure.  Whatever we do, though, an extra day off is always something to be glad about.

***Still working on some major internal processing lately, and it has been a hard time in so many ways.  Still, when it hurts, you will change things, right?

I will be back around later in the week, I promise, but in the meantime, I need a few people to guest post for me while I am on vacation.  I have one person lined up already, but I need at least four more.  If you are interested, shoot me an email.

Still Kicking

I have been a little bit AWOL this last week, and I want to reassure you all that I am at least alive, if not thriving.  I wouldn’t call what I am feeling depression in the accepted sense of the word-I struggle with depression and this is not that same.  More than anything, I think I am in the process of picking apart my relationship and my life and figuring out what I really don’t need to carry around with me any longer.  More about this later.

In the meantime, since I know you are all dying to hear some of my Pearls of Wisdom (snort), I am being featured over at Florinda’s blog today, The 3 R’s Blog.  This is one of my favorite blogs, and if you know me at all you will immediately know why.  It is a true honor to be able to guest blog for this amazing woman, and I ask that you head over there and say howdy, not just to me but to the other people chosen to guest blog while Florinda is on vacation.

And I will be back to regularly posting tomorrow-I know you are waiting with baited breath for that one.

Sunny Day

Yesterday was better day all the way around, and what I find amazing about words-blogging, journaling, writing letters-is that once they are out of me, out of my head and onto whatever medium I am using, is that they lose their power.  Same as going to an AA meeting and sharing, once the words are spoken or written, they somehow don’t have the hold on me like they did.  I can really easily get into my head, get myself all messed up and projecting things and assuming things that aren’t necessarily the truth, and god, I know better but it doesn’t stop me from doing it on occasion.  The whole thing with Steve and the email?  I am over it-partly because he seemed genuinely shocked that I was angry at him for not even having the courtesy to reply, and he was like,”What?  You forget that not everyone checks their email every day or hour like you do.”  Well.  There is truth in that; in fact, a friend and I have talked about that very thing, about how not everyone gets an email and replies immediately, which I try to do and it bugs the shit out of me when people don’t respond for days and days (though admittedly I have been terribly bad about that lately, so my apologies, those of you who know who you are!).  Anyway, the bigger part of it is knowing this: whether or not he was living a lie, I wasn’t.  I loved him as well as I knew how to do, as wholly as I could (and god help me, I still do), with parts of my heart that were previously too damaged to love anyone.  So I am back to feeling, while sad, that I did something right, and in a big way.  Not so much for him, because what he chooses to do with that gift is his, but for me.  To love unreservedly (most of the time, anyway), to allow someone to break down the small barriers and BE trusted, albeit slowly, with those secret parts?  That was my gift to him, but more importantly to myself, to my children, to my daughter

I will not apologize for my defeatist, broken attitude Saturday either, because those feelings were valid then, just like they might be again tomorrow.  Yesterday, though,was a better day.  I slept in until the unheard of hour of 7:00 am (hallelujah!), then got up and did some review of some of the things I am going to be working on re: editing, and then Sam and I got all cleaned up and we went to church.  My friend J. was speaking and that is always nice, and afterward there was a coffee hour in the Parish Hall, which I always enjoy. R. and I were talking about J.’s sermon and it was funny-we are both egotistical enough to be sure she was  talking directly to us individually, and I suppose that is the mark of a good sermon.  I love their church because it is so simple and uncomplicated, just a group of people who get together because they love.

Sam and I took a long walk along a new walking path the city has put in along the river, and on the other side there is the golf course; I never have understood the game, have no desire to learn more about it or god forbid play it, but I like to watch other people play.  They take it so seriously, each move precise and beautifully controlled, and for some reason that makes me happy.  Hannah and I also went on another long walk last night (because walking with Sam is fun, but it isn’t exercise; he is more of a meander-er), so I went to bed feeling tired in a good way.

The only thing that really marred the day was getting into a very heated discussion with the Bishop and his sidekick; one might conceivably call it a fight, should one be so inclined.  The short version is that they came by my house, unannounced, to tell me that they heard I was upset about Hannah not being allowed to go to the Young Women activities now that she is pregnant; no solutions offered, of course, and they were confused as to why we feel like she is being shunned. “Because,” I said,”for over a year she has been talking to these girls who were supposedly her friends once and twice a week and suddenly no one has talked to her at all.  Because she has been shunted off to the Relief Society with the older married women who have not once called to invite her to an activity or expressed concern about how she is or even offered help of any kind.  Because as soon as she started ‘showing her sin,’ so to speak, she has been ignored completely.”  The Bishop was saying something about how it takes two, and if we weren’t willing to give a little then the church women shouldn’t be expected to either.  And I agree with that; it is a two way street, absolutely.  However, they are talking about my family as a whole, and I have always been honest with them in that I am not active, I have no intention of becoming active, and if I want to show up at church then I will.  Hannah, however, has been going to Young Women consistently for over a year, three times out of every four on average, including additional activities on weekends.  So why is she being punished because I choose not to go to church?  The thing that REALLY set me off-because up to this point I was upset but relatively calm-was when the Bishop said, “You have to remember that we are only human, and even though we try to go by the guidelines the church has set down, we ARE human.”  THAT pissed me off-and I ripped into him like you would not believe.  “I am so tired of you people using that ‘we are only human’ excuse for shitting on people.  Yes, I know you are only human, we all are.  But when you are only human, you come here and tell me everything I am doing wrong and lord your superiority over me and my family, and still get to go to bed at night feeling like you have done your Christian duty.  When other people are only human, like my daughter, they get shunned.  You all like to call yourselves Christians but you are NOT, you are all a bunch of hypocrites.”  I think, at one point, I perhaps may have accused him of being a liar, and (ahem) may have also said something along the lines of yes, I smoke and I drink coffee and I was living in sin with someone and had a baby out of wedlock, but I am a damn sight better Christian than he is because at least I am honest.  I also may have let slip that I would prefer to never have anything to do with them again.  I can’t remember exactly what I said at that point, because I was pretty angry.  I am pretty sure I did not call him a motherfucker, anyway.  It was almost funny in retrospect, because I could see the look in his eyes like “oh shit,” and just as he was starting to get panicked, Steve showed up to bring Owen home and he (Steve) said that he really just looked like he couldn’t WAIT to get out of there.  I felt sick about it afterward, because I try really hard to respect that everyone believes differently, even my own children, and I didn’t feel like I had handled it nearly as well as I could have.  If it helps any, later I was in the church parking lot with Owen while he rode his bike and the Bishop pulled in; I waved at him and smiled, but for some reason he didn’t respond in kind.  Hm.

So much for that being the short version of the story, eh?  Well-they were here talking smack and trying to get me to come around to their way of thinking for about 40 minutes, so I guess it is.  I worry, though; this is a small area, and predominately LDS-I hope I didn’t mess things up for my kids later on down the road.  I think I might have said some things that could be considered apostasy, actually, which is a really bad thing in these parts (and for those readers who are LDS, I am sorry, I know how important it is to you and I love you, but I can’t defend these actions in the name of Christianity; I hope you understand and don’t hate me).

So that was my Sunday, and even taking into account the big conflagration, it was a good day, far better than Saturday.  Now it is a sunny Monday morning and I am getting ready to go to work, and another week begins.  There will be good days and bad days, but it is all just this thing called life, and I will get through whatever the day brings.

Enough

Today is a less cheerful kind of day, maybe because of the clouds and dampness, maybe because I have the whole weekend looming ahead, I don’t know.  We had a bit of a scare yesterday with the baby, Hannah wasn’t feeling her moving as much as she had been, so we took her in the the birthing center after work yesterday (Jacquie went with us) to make sure everything was all right.  Baby Girl is fine, good strong heartbeat and she did NOT like having the monitor strapped on Hannah; it pissed her off and she really started moving like crazy after that.  Still, it was NOT a wasted trip; no matter what the age, a first baby is a first baby, and peace of mind is no small thing, for any one of us.  Her doctor came in before she left to look at the strips from the NST and to reassure her that everything was fine, and he is just the kindest doctor in so many ways.  I was impressed, too, that the nurses did not treat Hannah like she was hysterical, but were instead very reassuring and encouraged her to come back if she was at all concerned about anything.  It bodes well for her ultimate labor/birth experience, and I am grateful for that.

Still, as good as that is, the knowledge that the baby is okay and that Hannah is okay, I am still feeling really sad today.  I had asked Steve a couple of days ago, via email, if he had ever REALLY loved me, and I don’t know why it is important for me to know that, but it is.  Of course he never replied, and no answer IS the answer, right?  So now in addition to having been left, and precipitously, I now have to figure out how to deal with the knowledge that it was basically all a lie.  I have written here about the feeling of having been used by him, and now it just hits home all over again that all we were to him was a means to an end.  He needed a place to go until he could get off probation, and-well.  I just feel so, so stupid, because shouldn’t I have known that?  Yes, I think I should have; it wasn’t the first time he had done something like that, and I don’t know why I really thought it would be any different this time.  And that?  Is all on me.  I can’t blame him for my stupidity, my naive belief that he had actually wanted to move in because he realized that he did, in fact, love me, and wanted to be part of my life. Ha.

So easy for people to say that it is his loss, but really, it isn’t, because he doesn’t care.  He got what he wanted, which was a place to stay for a year until he could get himself together a bit, and then when he felt like he was ready, we no longer registered on his radar.  Simple, isn’t it?  to say that it was his loss, but that would imply that he actually felt like he lost something-but that indicates a level of feeling that he never felt, so really, whose loss is it?  Not his, but ours.  Oh, he has Owen-unless he is drinking while Owen is WITH him, I will not ever prevent him from seeing Owen; the thing I don’t understand is why he felt like he had to move in here and live a lie in order to have access to Owen, you know?

What it is, then, is MY loss.  Again, easy for people to say “you will be better off,” and perhaps on some level that might be true.  However, it isn’t true in this moment, and I am weighted down by grief today.  You see, I gave so much of myself to him, because I love him and thought he loved me.  I gave him more than I have ever given anyone, including my two previous husbands, and I let him in to the point I swore i would never get to again with a man.  It is hard for me to be in a relationship, partly due to the violence and abuse inflicted on me when I was a child by various men but also because my second marriage was so, so horrible, and while I know I was FAR from perfect in the relationship, I felt like I had come a really long way.  I was starting to trust him, not just in general terms but with the secret parts of me, you know?  And-a lie, a lie, a lie. 

Still, what to do?  Nothing.  Try to deal with the way this makes me feel, which is betrayed, shitty, embarrassed (certain people might well be saying I deserve this for being so stupid, I know), lonely, foolish, so sad that it hurts me to breathe.  I said the other day that I don’t regret this last year, but I think I do-because I loved the wrong person foolishly and consequently caused a lot of grief to all of them.  Because I wrongfully let myself believe that I really could finally have what and who I wanted, because I believed in love.    And maybe now at 38 years old it is time, finally, to accept that I get to have my kids, and get to have a job I like, and get some new opportunities for work, but that it is going to have to be enough.

All Will Be Well

I am just sick of myself today, as I imagine some of you are sick of me as well with all the boo-hooing going on.  Well, maybe not so much, but there really is more going on in my life than Steve leaving, so I am going to focus on those things today.  Because I can, because I should, because life is life and therefore rather sweet even in the midst of pain.

Hannah had her OB appointment on Monday and has finally gained some weight.  Six pounds last month, in fact, which is the first weight she has gained.  Baby Girl is growing well, doing all of the things she needs to be doing, and Hannah is getting to the slightly uncomfortable stage, with her belly by far the biggest part of her body.  I am not in denial, I am well aware that she is, in fact, pregnant, but every once in awhile I am staggered by the fact.  I will catch a glimpse of her in that classic pregnancy pose with her fists pressed against her aching back, or watch her walk and it hits me anew that this little girl of mine is not, in fact, a little girl anymore.  In a few short months, she is going to be a mother, and that blows me away.  I will say that while I still wish this had NOT happened, I couldn’t be prouder of her right now.  She is going to summer school and has taken charge of scheduling her OB and WIC appointments while inconveniencing ME as little as possible, and it says a lot about her.  She is, in short, acting like an adult, which is no small thing for a 17 year old.  I know some women twice her age who don’t handle themselves so well.

I received some good (great) news in that I was given an editing job, and with hope I will be successful enough at this first one that more will be sent my way.  I feel grateful for and excited about the opportunity, although it is a little nerve-wracking.  Thankfully, though, the woman with whom I will be working closely has said that she will go through everything with me so that I am not thrown to the wolves, so to speak, and I cannot begin to verbalize how exciting this is for me.  On so many levels, this fills something in me, and I am so in love with the English language that I think this is really rather thrilling. 

My good friend J. came by and had lunch with me today; as always, it was so lovely to see her.  I love that she just lets me feel however I need to feel, without telling me I should be doing/feeling/thinking X,Y, or Z.  She is pretty religious, so her take is that when God closes a door and all that, but I feel that way as well.  And when I say she is religious, I actually mean that in the nicest, loveliest way.  Hannah is going to be doing the Parish babysitting starting later this summer, and J. said,”We have a lot of experience with unwed teen moms…beginning with CHRIST’S mother!”  So, of course I love that kind of attitude, and think she pretty much epitomizes what makes a good Christian, to me at least. 

Also, on Monday, I received a care package from one of my good friends, which included some bath stuff and some vitamins and some of my very favorite snacks in the the world, and also a sleep shirt and a Target gift card.  It was such a kind thing for her to do, and while I didn’t tell her this, it made me cry in the good way-because no matter what, there are people who love me.  Which is again no small thing.

So.  It’s a good day, and I am glad for that.  Steve is coming to pick up Owen after work tonight, and that is hard.  Hard to see him, glad for Owen that he DOES see him, hard to deal with Owen crying and crying when he leaves again.  It breaks my heart, but it could be worse-at least at this point Steve is making the effort.  Anyway, I am glad that I will have so many good things to focus on today, because that makes the pain easier to bear.

And with that?  Another day will come to a close, and all will be well.

Breathing

Another Monday has rolled around, the weekend gone and another work week begun.  I have been realizing lately that I am totally part of The Establishment, getting up and going to work and coming home and living for the weekend, just like millions of other working stiffs in the world, and it kind of makes me laugh a little.  Back in the day, I was so anti-establishment, thinking that somehow conforming to the 8-5 work week was embarrassing and simply not done by a person of my great intelligence and free spiritedness.  The I got sober and realized that most normal people actually work full time jobs even if it isn’t the Monday-Friday with weekends off gig, and they provide for their families, and they basically just suit up and show up every.single.day.  Wow, who knew?

Now here I am, over ten years sober and at the same job for nearly six years and I am finally also realizing that this doesn’t have to be all.  I have been prompted by the need (not desire, but need) to begin generating some additional income, and what has happened is that a potential opportunity to do some work, from home, has arisen.  And this would be work I would love to do, and also that I think I would be good at.  To that end, I submitted a resume and spoke with a woman at great length yesterday, and it feels hopeful.  Not a done deal yet, but still, hopeful.   Another friend of mine is going to help me polish up my resume gearing it toward freelance editing/proofreading, so with any kind of luck I will be able to bring in the income I need without having to leave the home to find a second job.  Besides being necessary, though, this could be something I really, really enjoy, and how much more can one ask for, to be able to do something enjoyable and get paid for it?

It was an emotionally trying weekend in that I talked with Steve (after not knowing where he was for most of the week, after being totally blackballed and treated like shit by his family, because it’s somehow MY fault that he left me?), and the short version is that he relapsed, and relapsed in a BIG way.  I am almost relieved; not that he drank again, of course, because that is terribly sad and heartbreaking in an entirely different dimension, but in that it clears up a big part of the confusion and some of the anger.  Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that he is still gone, and even though I feel very firm in my resolution to let him do what he needs to do without getting in the way, it is still terribly sad and lonely and painful.  However, I can’t and won’t carry a drunk, and he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life independent of me, of Owen, of anything save himself.  I am not hopeful that it will work for him, for lots of reasons, but maybe (and expect nothing but hope for everything, right?).

In the meantime, what I know is that life goes on.  I was reading a book last week and in in, one woman asked another how she got through her divorce, and the other replied that she spent the evening with a bottle of wine and the Kaddish, and then she got busy.  And while of course I can’t resort to the wine and I certainly don’t know any fitting Christian prayers (mine have lately been along the lines of,”come ON, god, are you fucking kidding me?”), I get the whole idea of getting busy.   For the better part of my life, that has kind of been the deal, to do the work and let it heal me, one way or another.  And I am allowed to feel as sad as I need to feel, and those are valid and appropriate feelings, but at the very same time, I am also allowed to feel exhilarated at the possibilities in front of me that have nothing to do with Steve and everything to do with me and what will make me happy.  How odd, to have two such conflicting feelings dwelling in me at the same time, but there they are nonetheless.

I have been working on this post on and off all day, and Hannah called me earlier to tell me that the wife of her principal died this morning.  This woman was also the secretary at Sam’s school, and I just saw her, literally, last week, when I went to pick up Sam’s inhaler from the school.  She had shoulder surgery, she got a blood clot, she died.  And it is terribly sad, and also a reminder that there are no guarantees, ever.  I think that I don’t want to waste another single minute of my life.  Today, right now, I don’t regret having lived with Steve for this year, I don’t regret making the decisions I made to get to where I am, because I made them in good faith, based on what information I had at the time, and I love him-it wasn’t wasted time, even though it has ended so terribly.  These moments are important to me, the good ones and the bad ones, because every single one of them is simply part of the deal of being here, being alive.  And clearly my anti-depressant is working, because I feel pretty damn grateful for most of it.

So I work, and hopefully I will work more soon, and I grieve and smile, laugh and cry, keep breathing and keep moving one foot in front of the other.