Archive | February, 2013

Hit Me.

27 Feb

I’m not arguing with life anymore, I said to my therapist yesterday. I feel like I used to argue with life a lot. If something, even petty and insignificant didn’t go according to plan, I’d lose my inner peace and balance, I’d be genuinely upset. But I’m not arguing anymore. Life is full of twists and turns, it’s unpredictable as hell. But I have a sort of confidence that I can take it. So it’s not with anger, but with a sense of capability that I find myself telling life, OK, hit me.

Some unsettling news entirely unrelated to my boy-drama has kind of smacked me on the head, and made me remember, once again, that life has its own plans for us, like an overbearing mother who thinks she knows best, and we’re left sitting there, wide eyed, screaming our heads off in a fit, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But life, just stares you down, doesn’t it? And I think we all know who’s going to blink first. Crying out, protesting, denying, throwing a fit, these will get me nowhere. So I’m not playing that game anymore. There will be no more NOOOOOOOs. If life wants to smack me on the head, maybe I need a good smacking.

INTERPRETATION. Like a recovering alcoholic, I’m beginning to learn to accept the things I cannot change, and summon the courage to change the things I can. The dry facts cannot be changed. The narrative can. And we do not live for dry facts, we live for narrative. What we’re not always aware of is how much capacity we have to write and rewrite, and rewrite our narratives again and again. This was mine, only a few months ago: Surviving betrayal. Or Ah ah ah ah staying alive. It’s the story of a single mom, who’s been abandoned by a man she loved and trusted, but managed to survive the flood, to function as a mother, and discovered she had a stronger backbone than she ever imagined, and an amazing support system.

Then, when it became clear that I was going to survive, the narrative became useless. I didn’t need it anymore as a way of explaining to myself what had happened to me. So I wrote a new narrative, and it was called: A New Me Or Take these broken wings and learn to fly. This was the story of a woman, who’s not just a mother, but an entire person, who discovered that she was more than a caretaker. She had wants and needs and they deserved to be met. But, lo and behold. This too soon became irrelevant. Lesson learned.

Finally, a third narrative is being constructed as I write these lines. This one takes the dry facts of my separation, my boy-drama, and the difficulties of a close friend and tells a completely different story. It’s called: Hit Me. It’s called: I don’t know why the fuck this has to happen, but as long as it’s happening, let me see if I can achieve something along the way. 

I think I’ve quoted Einstein in this blog before, saying that crisis is sometimes a necessity for growth. So here’s a brand new narrative, and M, if you’re reading, I’m sharing this one with you. There was once a girl who had some bad shit happen to her, and it wasn’t fair. She was able to overcome a lot of it, and she reached a better place in life, but some of that shit was still troubling her, it was holding her back. Then, one day, this completely bullshit, cock-sucking, donkey-fucking piece of crap happened to her and smacked her hard on the head, in a way that only such dramatic events can. She took a moment to breathe and recover from the shock, and then she quoted Dürrenmatt’s old lady from that play and said: “If the world turned me into a whore, I shall turn the world into a brothel.” Or some other less vulgar way of saying I’m ready to fight back.

Now, just in case this girl isn’t able to see that far yet, I want to make sure she knows how this story ends. Not far down this road this whole mess is behind her. Except now, she is stronger and more capable than she’s ever been before. She feels like she can face anything, do anything, and live a life that fulfills her and makes her truly happy. And when she gets there she celebrates her rebirth with her closest friends eating waffles with sour cream and apple sauce and a dash of cinnamon.

The Point of No Return

23 Feb

clock

He picked me up at nine thirty. Well, nine forty, actually. He was a little late. I got into the car and he was checking his emails, but a few seconds later he shut his phone and did not look at it again the entire evening, which isn’t typical. He gave me a peck on the cheek. We chatted a bit. He asked me where I wanted to go. I named a place and we got going.

During the ride we talked about nothing for  a bit. Then we fell silent. I asked how the evening had been with Baby. He said Baby was exhausted and fell asleep immediately after his bath. I said he’d had an exciting day, playing with a friend’s daughter and visiting family, so it figures. We talked about his new tooth, and how much he loves swings.

We reached our destination, a little bar-restaurant, with low lighting, music, and good vibes. We sat in a small corner table and talked about nothing again. We ordered some drinks and tapas. There was a costume party nearby, and people were incredibly drunk so there was one more thing to chat about and lots of people to ridicule.

So what do you want out of life? I finally asked. He had no answer. What about you? I want to keep developing professionally, but to find a good balance of work and home, and have time to spend with Baby. I want to let a man into my life, but not as deeply as I have in the past, I want to maintain my independence and sense of self. I want to travel. I want to enjoy the little things and be happy. Silence. It’s good that you’re defining these things to yourself. I know.

Are you depressed? I looked straight at him. Yes. But I’m better than I was. Are you going to get over this? Yes. With or without me? Yes. Listen, you don’t have to go out with me because you think I’m depressed. I’m not. I’m going out with you because I need to see if I can feel something toward you again, something other than anger and disappointment. Silence.

Promise me one thing. Yes. Don’t listen to anyone, not to our parents, not to friends or family. Do what you know is right, not what people tell you is right. I will.

He paid. We walked to the car hand in hand. He drove me home. We kissed, awkward, dry, mechanical. I went upstairs and collapsed with fatigue and slept for ten hours, Baby being with his grandparents. When I woke up things became clearer than they’d been.

1. I’m not going back to BD.

2. I need to find a way to tell him that.

3. There is potential for a good relationship with him, and that’s what I really want, more than getting a generous settlement.

DB and I have reached the point of no return. It’s been five long months since the separation, and for me, there’s no going back now. I doubt that anything can be done to rekindle the love I used to feel toward him. I still care about him, and I genuinely want him to be happy. But I also want me to be happy, and it’s not going to be with him.

Careful!

16 Feb

!

Everyone is telling me to be careful. Everybody wants me to be smart.

The Divorce

He wants joint custody. I honestly don’t think that would be best for Baby. I think he needs his mom. And I think it would be dreadfully difficult for me too. But BD is his dad, and if he wants to be there for his boy, should I be standing in the way? Maybe it would be good for Baby to have a dominant father figure in his life.

It scares me, and I don’t think he can handle it. I think BD is biting off more than he can chew. And I don’t want him making mistakes with this, there’s just too much at stake. Play it smart, people keep telling me. Make sure that you get yours. The thing is, I’m not sure I know what mine is, and really, I think Baby is the only person whose wants and needs matter this time, not mine.

Skating Guy, Still Here.

I’m letting this thing happen to me. It’s dangerous, it’s reckless, I’m bound to get hurt, but I don’t care. My friends are a little taken aback by how fast things are moving. I got a few watch its and we’re just looking out for yous, and I know that they are.

I don’t care. Although BD’s only been out of the house for 5 months, honestly, it feels like forever since I’ve been loved. Yes, I’m using the L-word. Go ahead; tell me I’m being rash. I am, I know it. But I don’t care.

Daycare

I’ve decided to put Baby in daycare starting March. He’s only going to be 9 months old, but it really seems like he’s craving the company of other kids, and the stimulation that daycare can provide. It’s nice to be home with mommy, or his aunts who babysit, but really, it’s very limited. I found an amazing place, literally a two minute walk away from our apartment. I got great recommendations. It’s a family place, with only ten kids, and the head teacher is a warm friendly motherly type, who sings constantly, and cooks, and smiles, and issues hugs freely. We went to visit. Baby was on my lap at first but then he wriggled free and went crawling about, pulling at the other kids’ ears and feet, squealing with joy.

But he’s going to get sick a lot at daycare. You’ll be home with him half the time. And a baby needs his mother. Who’s that warning me now? Oh yes, it’s me.

I guess the truth is that everyone wants what’s best for me. And so do I. I guess the truth is that there aren’t as many warnings issued from friends and family as there are from myself. It’s ME who keeps telling ME to be careful.

Compartmentalizing

12 Feb

compartments

Divorce sucks donkey balls, just in case you were wondering.

BD is being difficult about everything. Honestly, he’s put me through hell recently, and I’m really making an enormous effort to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I think the least he can do is step aside, and sign a decent divorce settlement. But… Get this. He wants joint custody. WTF. The man can barely make it over twice a week to see his son. He gets stuck at work and by the time he arrives it’s bed time. Or he makes plans with me to take him on a Thursday and they claims we said it was a Friday. How does he think he’s possibly going to manage taking care of a baby 50% of the time, with his mood swings, temporary apartments and his 14 hour day job? And Baby is only 8 months old. There is no way I am parting with him for three nights a week. He needs his mom. And his mom needs him.

Compartmentalizing. The kind of skill that sure would come in handy right about now. BD used to be amazing at it. We’d have a fight, and he’d push the entire saga into a little drawer in his head somewhere, and sit down watching the news, relaxing, as if nothing was wrong, while I’d be out of my mind with rage and insult. But I guess that’s me. What you see is what you get.

And here’s an example from a different angle of my life and its recent developments. Many of my friends, over the years, have acquired the skill of dating casually. I mean dating the same guy, for a while, not like a three date thing that ends quickly. I’m talking about having a guy that they see, that they’re intimate with, and keeping it casual, no hidden catch, no strings attached.

Well, these are skills that I’ve definitely NOT mastered yet. If I’m upset about something, and I don’t mean something like being cut off on the highway, I mean something big, like having my husband walk out on me and leave me with our three-month-old-baby, there is no way I can just pretend that I’m having an awesome day. You’d be able to tell by just one glance at my face that something is seriously wrong. Maybe this is why so many people on my side already know that our divorce is in progress, while on his side, many people are still oblivious. Because he can just smile and nod and pretend that there aren’t any huge life-changing events taking place at the moment.

As for dating, the thing with me is that if I’m seeing someone, who’s actually sweet enough for me to keep seeing, more than a couple of times, it’s inevitable that I’m going to develop feelings toward him. It’s just the way it is. And it doesn’t matter that it’s inconvenient, inappropriate or premature. It is what it is, and I am what I am (maybe I should issue some sort of warning).

Sometimes I wish I could force some kind of separation of the different aspects of my life. Go to work and not worry about the divorce for example. Make out with Skating Guy and not worry about getting hurt. And it does worry me, that if I can’t compartmentalize, how am I ever going to become immune to BD? He’s going to play a serious role in my life, from now and on, basically, forever. Being the Dad. Picking Baby up, spending time with him. And I’m sure once Baby starts talking and being more communicative I’m going to be seeing the two of them together, and it’s going to stir some emotions in me. Inevitable. And how the hell am I going to deal with that?

Push the Button

10 Feb

button

We’re all a bunch of buttons and triggers, waiting to be pressed and pulled. It doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always mean anything. In fact, more often it doesn’t than it does. But buttons are buttons and triggers are triggers. And once in  a while – BAM.

One: The Divorce Lawyer

BD’s recently made quite a bit of money selling a company that he’d started a few years back. At our divorce meeting he insinuated that I wasn’t entitled to half of it because he’d started the company before we were married. BAM. Is he telling me that all the years of support I’ve provided, putting my career on hold to go abroad with him, washing his underwear, cooking the food he likes, cleaning up his mess after him, coaching him towards meetings, being understanding and considerate of all his needs, being his loving significant other, don’t count because TECHNICALLY we weren’t married yet? UNFAIR.

Two: The Rash

Baby’s been having some allergic reactions. Recently he got a bad rash, probably because I let him eat some soup that had a bit of cumin in it. And all of a sudden, a huge rash all over his face. BAM. Stupid stupid stupid. What kind of mother gives her baby cumin? I must have been nuts. BAD MOTHER.

Three: The Sandwich

Skating guy was over. We were sitting around, chatting and relaxing, when he had to go to work and asked me to make him a sandwich. Smearing avocado on whole wheat bread, slicing a tomato, adding a dash of salt. BAM. Perfect little wife making a perfect little sandwich for a man she has to mother. My marriage, all over again. No way. NEVER AGAIN.

We’re all a bunch of buttons, and triggers, waiting to be pressed and pulled. What do we do when they are? Is it possible NOT to shut down, fade away, crawl into a corner and cry? Is it possible for us to tell ourselves – damn, that hit a nerve, but we’re stronger than that, we’re not going to fall apart over a button, over a trigger?

 

Butterflies and Dirty Habits

6 Feb

butterflies

Allowing myself to feel again is not easy. On Sunday, Skating Guy and I went to a movie. We saw Hitchcock, which was eerie and terrific, with Anthony Hopkins outdoing himself, and Scarlet Johansson being her regular admirable self.

That morning had been so rough on me, that I was very close to cancelling the date altogether. It seemed wrong, suddenly, or rather – wronger – to be out with another man, while I was still technically married, in the process of separation. But as we sat in the darkness of the theater, absorbed in the film, though slightly distracted by each other’s presence, my hand was in his and our fingers were playing around, holding, touching, tickling one another, like each of our hands had a life of its own, a background story and a personality, and together they completed one another. And I felt happier than I’d been in a while. I felt optimistic.

It was a rush. It was butterflies and sparks and all that stuff you yearn for when you’re 16, and sober up from when you grow up and realize that a serious relationship is much more stable and predictable than all of that. I’d truly forgotten about the butterflies. How comforting it is to know that they exist!

So here we are. And what do we have before us? A thing. This is definitely becoming a thing. I’m not quite sure what kind of thing exactly. But it’s a thing, an easy thing, a thrilling thing, a thing which brings some good old fashioned light hearted fun into my complicated present.

Unfortunately however, along with the light-hearted uncomplicatedness, comes also my dirty habit of overanalyzing everything, and constantly searching for clues that can account for my insecurities, proof that all of this wonderfulness is somehow faulty, that I’m not worthy of it, or that he’s an asshole like all men apparently are. A text message lacking punctuation and emoticons, becomes a sign that he is tired and has had enough of me. The same goes for a message that is not instantly answered. And it makes me realize how shitty text messages are, and how I hate that I obsess over them, how bad it is for my mental health to be as attached to my phone as I am, to check my messages and emails and refresh my Facebook page more often than I smile, or glance out the window, or take a deep breath.

But I’m optimistic still. I think there is a learning curve for everything, and I am a diligent student. I’m learning what it is to let go of the past and to welcome the future. Scratch that. I’m learning to welcome the present. And this is, perhaps, another lesson. I’m learning to enjoy the present, which I’ve always tended to discredit.

Skating Guy is here now. He wants to take me to the opera, and cook for me, and tell me that I’m special. And I’m going to let him. Even if it ends tomorrow, even if he disappoints me, or I disappoint myself, it’s not all about tomorrow. Today counts for something, doesn’t it?

Faces and Keys and Emoticons, Oh My!

4 Feb

sleepOne of those days I guess, nothing extraordinary. Just one of those days when I feel a little more like everything that’s been happening in my life lately is real, and a little less like I am actually capable of dealing with it all.

Baby’s been restless all day and for the past couple of nights, and I haven’t been sleeping very well which usually plays a part in lower levels of optimism. Sleep is a tricky thing, it is. When Baby is tired, nothing will satisfy him. He’s hungry, but he won’t eat. He doesn’t want to play with anything, he doesn’t even want to be held. The only thing that will soothe him is if I somehow, miraculously, manage to put him down for a nap. As for me, when I’m over exhausted, I stop feeling tired. I actually feel like I could go on for hours and hours without calling it a day. But things seem more difficult than they usually are. I bump into furniture and hurt my pinky toe, or  drop a bottle of milk on the floor and feel like it’s the worst thing in the world that could have possibly happened to me. I’m more pessimistic about being able to move on with my life. I feel more angry at BD for having caused all this chaos. And I am personally offended by everything and anything, from people’s facial expressions, to text messages lacking punctuation and emoticons, from keys I can’t find, to pens that stop working, as if they are all conspiring against me in a grand scheme to make my life miserable.

I want to end this day, but it’s only 20:00 and I have finally put baby down for the night. It wasn’t easy. I have a TON of work that I’m behind on and have vowed that I would catch up on it today. I have to get at least one load of laundry done because Baby literally has no more clothes left to wear. I know you think I’m exaggerating but he’s really down to his last reasonable night time outfit, and last pair of socks. And I know he’s going to want his bottle at 23:00, so I might as well hang in there.

A book in bed? Yes, that would make me feel better, but I did mention that I have to get work done, didn’t I? Ahhh. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me. I hate my body for having needs, for requiring food and sleep, for demanding warmth and attention and getting me all confused about a new guy and an old guy, for being so clumsy and dropping a box of oatmeal all over the floor and having to mop it up. Frankly, if I were my own mother, I’d take me in my arms, hold me tightly, and walk back and forth around the room, making shushing sounds, until I fell reluctantly asleep.  Instead, I’m going to start the laundry and stare at the computer for an hour, realizing that there’s no point in working today, and finally collapse on the sofa.