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Late Nights and Business Trips

4 May

silver lining

BD went on another business trip. This time he made sure it would be no longer than ten days, because last time, when he was away for three weeks, his four month old baby hardly recognized him when he got back. In June he’s going again, and it sounds like there’s going to be another trip coming up at the end of the summer. I get that his job requires travelling, I do. I also get that he has bosses and can’t just do whatever he wants. Still, if it were me, and my marriage was – not falling apart – but rather had already fallen apart, and I was facing my one final chance to make things right with the woman I love, who is the mother of my child, and who has decided miraculously, kindly, to grant me two months of “working at it”, even though I don’t deserve them, if it were me, I would do everything in my power to avoid going away on business three times in three months.

The weird thing is that I’m not upset about it. I actually don’t really care that much. I think it was just too much work to care all the time about all of his stupid mistakes, so I just stopped. When he told me he was going away and that there was another trip coming up next month, I just thought to myself – Fine. Go.

The clock is ticking. I gave BD two months to see if there is any point for us to try and get back together. I am fully aware that our problems will not be solved in two months, but I do hope to gain knowledge on whether or not it’s worth trying. I stopped my life, put everything on hold, committed to two meetings a week, to therapy, to opening up my mind, my heart, to the idea of forgiving him, and I am willing to carry this out for two moths exactly. I’m not  giving it a second more than that. I just can’t.

If BD really wants me back – he’s going to have to prove to me that I can trust him again. But he’s also going to have to convince me that it’ll be worthwhile for me to trust him, that I will gain something from investing the time, energy, and vulnerability into making things right with him. I really don’t see myself going through all of that emotional turmoil, dissecting everything that’s wrong between us, arguing, crying, opening up to him again –  just to remain a single mom, to be home alone with our son while he’s working late hours, nights, and weekends and going away every month or two. If that’s what the deal is, I’m taking a pass. If that’s all he has to offer me, I’m going to wait until I find someone who has more to offer.

I need a dollar, a dollar is what I need.

6 Apr

dollar

“Well I don’t know if I’m walking on solid ground, cause everything around me is crumbling down…” 

This week has been easier. Baby still has a cold, he’s still teething, and I still haven’t been getting any sleep, at all. To top that off, I woke up sick as well, sick enough to cancel my day and go see a doctor. But it was still better this week. It was better because I’ve regained knowledge of what I want: A divorce. A fair settlement. A new life with my son, and possibly, at some point, with a man.

“You’re making a mistake.” He told me again. “Just tell me what you need. More time? To think it over?” I try to be assertive in these conversations, but I don’t know how to do that without shouting at him to get out. When I try to talk confidently and calmly about wanting to move on, he discredits everything I say. When I finally get angry he says I’m talking out of anger, and I need to give myself time. It’s so strange how things have changed between us. How only six months ago I cried my eyes out as he packed his suitcase, and thought I was never going to recover. Now I just want the rest of his things out of my house, and more closet space for Baby and me. I want there not to be any hidden agenda when he transfers money into my account or takes Baby for the night. I want him to do those things because they are his duty, and because he is a good father. Not because he’s trying to win me back. Because I know now, and feel now, with a strong certainty, that his window of opportunity has passed, that we are over.

To make a complicated matter just a little more complicated, my financial situation sucks at the moment. I wasn’t planning on working at all this year. I was going to be a stay-at-home-mom for the first year of my baby’s life. When BD left I got a part time job, but I’m spending way more than I’m making. BD’s been transferring money to my account every month, and covering our mortgage. Once we get divorced, I know there will be child support, but it’s not going to be like it is now, when he still has the hope of me taking him back. I don’t want to give up the apartment, I really don’t. It’s a small, modest place, and I love it, I love that it’s a 10 minute walk away from the park and that the neighbors are friendly, and that the vegetable guy always smiles at me and gives me his best strawberries that he keeps behind the counter, and that the supermarket delivery guy knows my son’s name. It’s our home, and it will really break my heart to have to leave it.

I finally sat down with an excel file yesterday and wrote down all our expenses and my income. I’ve already arranged for expanding my position to full time next year, but a teacher’s income is still a teacher’s income. There used to be the possibility of tutoring, but it’s really difficult for me to clear up an afternoon for work when daycare ends at 16:00 and I just want to spend time with my son in the few hours that are left to his day before he goes to sleep. Daycare… It’s so expensive! And then there are all the other expenses of raising a baby. I know I’ve become a little spoiled. I have a sitter that comes in once a week, and then I go out. I have a cleaning guy that I know I will have to part with. I have a mineral water dispenser that is way too expensive for me to keep. And let’s not forget my therapist, jeez, it’s pricey to maintain emotional stability, isn’t it?

I was worried before I began the excel chart, but somehow I found that once it was done, I wasn’t discouraged. Somehow, it was actually a relief to see everything written down, rather than a huge jumble of anxiety in my head. I made a new chart, of what things will look like starting September. I’ll be working more. I’ll be cleaning my own place, at least most of the time. I’ll be going back to filtered water. I’ll be getting more help from my mom, instead of the sitter. Also, hopefully, there will be a good settlement.

A Letter, A Kiss, and No Regrets

9 Jan

Still 31Strange and unnerving to see yourself suddenly in a different light. I am sitting on the floor in my bedroom, and my runny nose is the result of a combination of an allergic reaction to old dusty notebooks and the tears that are choking me up. I honestly didn’t remember. I had told the story about Y many times. But I didn’t remember the details. He was a scumbag for leading me on and I was naive for thinking he wanted anything more of me than just my body, but really, that was that. And now, sitting on the floor in my bedroom, surrounded by dozens of notebooks and letters which I’ve collected over the years, I find this letter, written nearly twelve years ago, and the story seems different than the one I’ve been telling. It seems worse. Doesn’t it? Or maybe I’ve just not revisited the scene of the crime for so long?  Maybe I was exaggerating in the letter. Maybe it wasn’t really that bad.

My tragedy is that despite putting on the independent lady charade, I constantly seek affirmation, and I seek it from men. That’s what happened when I was nineteen. That’s what’s happening now. Alone, I just can’t be sure that I’m enough: a kind enough person, a good enough mother, a successful enough career woman, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough – ENOUGH. But seeing as the men in my life tend to disappoint me – and I know there haven’t been many, but the few that have had a presence in my life were all enormous disappointments – as long as I need their affirmation for my being enough, I will never attain it, I will always be seeking, forever. And I don’t have the energy to seek anymore. I want to stop seeking. I’m exhausted.

New events have been occurring in my life recently, every day is new, every day is a struggle, but also an achievement. A crazy storm is raging outside, and people are staying in, even my therapy session has been postponed due to blocked roads. And with no one to talk to about all this shit that’s been surfacing, I had to talk to myself tonight. And that’s what I did, gave myself my own little therapy session.

A few weeks ago I made out with a boy I didn’t know at a club. I was drunk and angry at BD and I had made up my mind that this was it. I was going to kiss a boy. It was like insurance. I was going to be the first one of us to have something going on with someone else. It might not have been the healthiest reason to have done it, but it was necessary and I have no regrets.

At the club, dancing with the girls, I was showing lots of cleavage and radiating a need for a man. I know it, because I normally do not get looked at so intensely, and there I was, the center of attention, or so it seemed. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I left my friends and went to dance alone, in the middle of the crowd. Within seconds, literally, there were hands on my shoulders, but it was not the guy I wanted, so I turned around and saw the one I had my drunken eye on. Tall, very tall, a goatee. He put his arms around my waist as we started to dance together, but I had no patience for this BS, I knew exactly what I wanted. A kiss. So I pulled him to me.

It was a long, wet, kiss. He tasted faintly of cigarettes but I didn’t care. He was a good kisser, deep, intense, nibbling my bottom lip, his hands on my waist, then my back, then in my hair. I broke free of him when I felt that I was starting to overthink it. Then it dawned on me, what I had done, and I was laughing nervously. Just to shut myself up I kissed him again. But it wasn’t that great the second time around, I was too tense. So I smiled at him, and left, fumbling through the crowd, back to my friends. I said goodbye, I’m really tired, I grabbed my stuff and took a taxi home, and didn’t dare to breathe until I was indoors and the door was locked behind me.

At home, I sat on the bed thinking. You’re a married woman! I told myself. You should be ashamed. But I wasn’t ashamed at all. I was proud. I was strong. I was a go-getter. I apparently did not look like the mother of a baby under 1 year old. Nobody gave a fuck, apparently, that I was still carrying some pregnancy weight.

And now, here I am, sitting on the floor in my bedroom. It used to be our bedroom, and now it’s just mine. And a letter from so long ago is unnerving, it’s making me feel like deep inside I’m still that girl, who’s afraid to disappoint or let anybody down, a girl who just wants the cool kids to like her, who’s in love with a bastard and willing to put her wants and needs on hold for just a bit of attention.

Is that where I still stand today? No. I know it isn’t. And maybe this is why I needed this to happen. To show myself, that 19-year-old me is different from 31-year-old me. SHE had said no. But not loudly enough. Not assertively enough. SHE was not heard. SHE went with it, despite not wanting it. I said yes. Loudly. Clearly. Assertively. On my own terms. I got what I wanted. I got out when I’d had enough.

We grow up. We change. Apparently the breakup has not erased these thirteen years of growth and self-improvement, for some reason I was sure that it would. But 31-year-old me, thank god, is still here. And 19-year-old me is in the past, where she belongs.

The Letter I Never Sent

7 Jan

toys

May 13th, 2001

Y,

I have no doubt that you are undeserving of this letter, but you are also undeserving of my thoughts, and for over a year now, I am unable to shake the memory of all that has happened between us. So I am writing this letter for myself, rather than for you, so that I can put things behind me and move on.

I don’t think you can possibly comprehend what you’ve put me through. And it’s killing me. Not that it happened, but the fact that you have probably not even given it a second thought, that you haven’t owned up to what you’ve done. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d feel much better if you would just admit that you’re a disgusting son of a bitch. I’m not expecting you to apologize, you wouldn’t. But it seems to me that you walked out of this saga with a clear conscience, which is just wrong.

So I’m going to tell you my side of the story, the way that I remember it. Just so that I can feel that you’ve had the opportunity to see it through my eyes. I need you to know what it was like for me, even if you still do not regret it.

I’m sure you know that I was in love with you for a long time. There were times when I understood it to be a love between close friends, but there were also times when I knew that it was more than that. In 12th grade when you were with F, and told me stories about your relationship, I was jealous, but at the same time I was relieved to know that you were hers and not mine, because I would never have allowed you to treat me the way you treated her, or at least so I thought.

I was attracted to your mind, which stupidly I thought was enough to build a relationship on. You were sharp and witty and we shared the same opinions and cynical humor. I didn’t have many people I could speak to in my life during high school, so I was drawn to you, because we seemed to see eye to eye. Today I realize what a big joke high school is, and that the world is full of interesting, intelligent, funny human beings that are also not assholes, and that you don’t have to get hung up on an asshole, just because he can name-drop. But I guess that’s what growing up is about.

We were so close, for three years. Do you remember those long hours on the phone at night, until my dad yelled at me to hang up? And those afternoons we spent at your house or mine, or sitting on swings at the playground chatting, or passing endless notes in class?

Then high school was over, and we were about to start a new chapter in our lives. And I was basically over you. Maybe not entirely, but on my way there. And I felt that friendship was enough for us, that I didn’t want anything more. But then, that night, when we went to that movie, and sat afterword for an hour chatting about it in your car, I was just about to leave when you kissed me. Out of the blue. And I couldn’t say no, because I was curious, and because I had wanted to kiss you so many times before.

But Y, I didn’t want anything more to happen.

As we were kissing, my mind was racing. We were already friends, which meant you liked me. But now you were kissing me, which meant you were also attracted to me. This was going to go somewhere. So when you wanted to come upstairs, I said yes. Because I wasn’t really sure how to say no to you. And I thought, if only we went upstairs, than maybe you’d want to be with me, the same way that for a long time I had wanted to be with you.

You probably don’t remember the part where I said no. We were on my bed. I told you my mom would catch us, and you told me she wouldn’t. You were lying on top of me, feeling me up, and I was uncomfortable, but silent. But when you undid the button of my jeans I said no. I’m pretty sure I said it more than once, but once at least. And I moved your hand away. But you didn’t really listen. And I was too inexperienced and lacking confidence to be assertive. So I just went with it, closing my eyes and just waiting for it all to end.

“Where is this going?” You asked me after. And I said: “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t, and also because it was the answer you wanted to hear. Since we had a history, you knew that sex was not something I took lightly. So I imagined that night must have meant something, because surely you didn’t think I was the type of girl who was just looking for a “good time”.

We went to visit A up north the following day, and I was nervous as hell. I spent an hour picking out my clothes and applying make up. It was an easygoing morning, and you had gotten me a gift, which I thought was sweet, but I was still all tensed up, and on the way back home, in the car, I told you that I loved you. I’m afraid I am always going to remember what you said. You said: “We can’t be together. Listen, you’re just another friend to me. In fact, the only advantage you have which my other friends don’t is that you’ve known me for a long time.”

How is it possible then, that after all this, we still ended up in my bed that day? I feel ashamed that it happened, but you should be more ashamed than me. My so called friend. I can’t believe I spent all of  10th and 11th grade listening to you cry about how sorry your life was and how you couldn’t get the girl you liked to notice you, reading your stupid short stories, and telling you how great you were.

After that second time, I felt like crap. I wanted it to be over. I called you to talk. I wanted to tell you that maybe we could go back to being friends because this arrangement wasn’t working for me. You answered the phone but said you couldn’t talk. And I never heard from you again. You didn’t answer my phone calls. You just cut me out.

I remember that while we were in my bed, you asked me not to tell anoyone about us. Do you know that for a long time I didn’t? I kept it a secret. I felt like a slut. I was ashamed that I had let something like this happen to me.

And now, looking back, I think you’re disgusting. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, but I’m hoping that with this letter I can at least stop thinking about you, maybe let go of my anger a little. I don’t expect you to apologize, but at least now you know how you made me feel, and now that you do, I’m going to try to put you behind me.

Bye.

M