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That Girl

2 Dec

disclaimer

I’ve been reluctant to post about this, because I’ve been reluctant to admit it, but – we’re in therapy again. BD and I, trying to work things out, with the hopes of reuniting and giving our little boy the family we want so much for him to have.

I haven’t really talked much about it, I let almost everyone around me just assume that we’re separated, and on the way to a divorce (I bet they’re wondering what’s taking us so long). The few friends I have told, received the news followed by giant all-caps disclaimers: IT PROBABLY WON’T WORK OUT. NO POINT OF GETTING MY HOPES UP. WE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE IT A TRY, BUT, YOU KNOW, I DON’T REALLY THINK IT’S GOING ANYWHERE.

We have a good therapist. She’s practical and gets to the point quickly, which is good. And things are going well, I guess. We’re discussing moving in together for a trial period in a month or so. If this works out, it’ll be great. I mean, just think of the convenience: First off, having a live-in partner helping me raise my boy, and having that live-in incidentally be his father! There’s the little things – taking out the trash without worrying about leaving Baby at home. Going to the bathroom and, drumroll… Closing the door! Having someone to eat dinner with and spoon with at night. And then, there’s being able to have sex whenever I want, without it becoming a huge project. Only for that to become a consideration, we need to actually have sex, which we’re not, at all. God I miss sex. Sex is the best.

So now I have some down time, since the holidays have provided a short break from work, and BD went on yet another one of his business trips. Time to myself and I have no idea what to do with it. I’ve become so used to working nonstop, I kind of want to work though my vacation, and I can – it’s not that I don’t have stuff to do, I just don’t think that would be smart. I really need a time out.

After taking Baby to daycare this morning I went running, which always makes me feel powerful and sexy and I haven’t done it in a really long time. My running music is horribly outdated, but I haven’t listened to it so long that even Thrift Shop didn’t get on my nerves. When I came back home, feeling energized, I took a nice long shower and was suddenly overwhelmed with memories, little fragments of a winter day, almost a year ago, January 22nd, the day that marks my biographical birthday, the day New Me was born. As the water rushed over my hair, my face, my body, I felt a tingle in my toes as I caught a glimpse of a head of auburn curls, enormous brown eyes and strong arms that used to crush me to pieces and make me feel alive.

But it wasn’t SG I was remembering, it was me. Beautiful, sexy, strong, energetic, creative, vibrant, healthy, happy me. The girl who somehow survived the flood; the girl who camped out on the beach, sipping Breezers all day and returned home with her hair full of sand, and didn’t feel guilty for a minute for leaving her 7-month-old with his daddy; the girl who kissed a guy she never met at a club when she was 10 kilos heavier with post pregnancy weight, but felt hotter than she could ever feel these days; the girl who painted abstract crap and hung it on her wall shamelessly because it meant something to her, and started a blog and wrote 83 posts, consistently, every day, and then every week, and then every other week, but never stopped; the girl who, while raising a baby on her own managed to change her career around; the girl who fell in love, not only with a beautiful, free-spirited red-head, but with her brand new self.

I can’t go back now, I can’t. How could I ever give her up?

But I have. I am. I look back at that girl and I think I must have dreamt her. Just as I dreamt those enormous brown eyes that looked straight into my soul, and those big pouty lips that whispered “I love you” before they devoured me.

Still a Little Yours

19 Jul

path

 

I tried to tell myself not to contact you again, especially when you were so explicit about letting go and moving on the last time we spoke. I don’t have your phone number anymore, and that makes things a bit easier. Still, I’m writing. Sometimes you have to be unreasonable. 

I just returned from four magical days in beautiful Berlin. It was lovely – quiet and calm, the exact opposite of the everyday turmoil of my life. This peace that I felt there, brought back memories, made me think of you, and I suddenly had a strong urge to know what’s up with you. Still at that same job? Have you read that book we talked about? Made any important decisions? Had any interesting thoughts? It’s not exactly longing, this feeling, well maybe a little. But mostly it’s an honest interest in someone who used to be a close friend, and suddenly I have no contact with him. 

This year has been the most challenging, interesting, emotional, turbulent year of my life, and you had a part in it. I often think about everything that’s happened to me, and even more about how I have dealt with it all, about the narrative I put together, that ties all these events together and gives them meaning. 

I think about the time we spent together and everything I’ve learned from it. You have a unique ability to see people. I still feel that you managed to see me in a way that I hadn’t been seen in a really long time. You’re sharp, and you think outside the box, and that’s because you don’t even live inside this box called ‘normal life’ or ‘Earth’ or ‘acceptable’. You live entirely outside of the box. But life sometimes calls for thinking inside the box. And I think it’s a huge challenge for us to find the balance – where do we consent to doing what’s expected of us, so that we can lead reasonable (that word again) lives, and where do we draw the line and refuse to cross it. I’m still looking for the balance, and maybe I’ll never find it, just as I may never figure this world out completely. That’s the beauty of this road I’m taking, that it’s full of plot twists, and dramatic changes, and lessons, and surprises, and I love each and every one of them, even when I hate them – I still love them. 

I understand today more than ever that I have the power to choose my own path, to live my life as I wish to. All the doors are open, the choice is mine, and all the possibilities that lay before me are good ones. I understand today that I can’t go wrong, as long as I stay true to myself. It looks like my narrative is changing again. 

I’m not writing you because I want to get back together, although a part of me would give anything to spend another senseless passionate night with you. But in the morning, I know we’d reach the same conclusion we have before. We both want different things. There is a huge gap between what we expect of a relationship and what we want from the future. 

They say that people fall in love, because it makes them see the best in themselves. When I was in love with you I felt that I was the most beautiful, the smartest, the happiest, the sexiest, the most special woman in the world. I think you felt the same with me. I hope so. Today, I just feel like I’m in love with life, in love with this journey. I hope you are too. 

Still a little yours.

 

 

 

 

Free

14 Jun

birds on branch

It was Baby’s first birthday the other week, and a cause for celebration and delight. Yep. We made it through our first year as mom and son, and not only made it, we rocked. My gorgeous boy is starting to walk now. He has four teeth. He’s eating solids like a pro. He talks the sweetist gibberish you’ve ever heard. He calls me ‘maaaa’. He expresses affection by hugging me, pulling at my clothes and licking my face.

We make a great team, him and I. Who said families can’t have just two people in them? He does have a dad, and they’ve fallen into a routine of visitations that pleases me and gives me some time off, which completely transforms my week. But our core family for now is just us. And we’re doing splendidly.

We have excellent communication. Yes, I do realize he’s one. But he expresses himself beautifully using the limited tools at his disposal, and I manage to understand him most of the time. He’s patient, and “explains” himself again if I misinterpret his mumbles, squeals and growls. He knows that no matter what I will always listen to him, and be there for him, and he seems to have almost no fear of anything, which I find remarkable. I try to be a role model to him. I try to always tell him the truth about everything, even though sometimes it’s a version of the truth, tailored especially for him. I still have to figure out what I’m goiong to tell him about his dad and I when he’s old enough to ask.

Well, a little over a year has passed since my beautiful boy was born, and that makes it about 9 months since the separation. My desicion has finally been made, and this time I feel very confident. I told BD that I didn’t want to continue therapy. I told him I wanted a divorce. Not an easy conversation, as he was very persistant and asked me to reconsider again and again, just as before. Only this time I was equipped with new knowledge, a realization that it doesn’t matter if BD accepts, agrees or even understands my point of view. I realize now that I’ve been having such a hard time cutting loose from him, because for some reason I thought I needed him to understand why, to agree with me. The realization that I don’t need that has finally set me free.

Happy. In command. Empowered. Capable. Strong. Optimistic. Excited. Good things are coming and my arms are wide open to welcome them into my life. What a beautiful day, I told Baby this morning  on the way to daycare. The sky is clear, the birds are chirping, there are so many beautiful things for us to see, we just have to open your eyes and look.

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.

Never Again

30 Mar

Burn

Over ten years ago I was sitting in a dark theater with my then boyfriend, to be husband, to be father of my child, watching a movie that got under my skin and into my nightmares. The movie was Requiem for a Dream. I sat there paralyzed  glued to my seat, feeling trapped, feeling violated. It was only during one of the the last scenes, a smack-you-in-your-face horrible sex scene, that it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t have to watch it. I abruptly got up and left the theater, muttering “I don’t have to sit here and watch this”.

Later, standing outside the theater, I thought to myself, why on earth did I just sit there, why didn’t I just get up and leave? And I told myself, I’m never sitting through something that makes me feel so icky again. But I did. I have sat through many things that made me feel icky since then. Sat, stood, lay down.

Ten days ago was out first counselling session. BD has asked me to go to couple’s counseling with him, and I said yes, because it was the right thing to do. But during the entire session I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I didn’t belong there. Nothing went the way I wanted or expected it to go. He was five minutes late. I know, it’s just five minutes, but I’m sensitive about that. Then at the meeting he just sat there, as he’s done throughout our entire life together and let me do the talking. When I said I needed to know why he had left us, he said he was depressed. The therapist pointed out that I would need a better answer than that. Why was he depressed? What happened to him? He couldn’t answer. Or he wouldn’t. I don’t know. The therapist then asked if I was willing to commit myself to the process of working on our relationship, and I said that I was willing to come to one more session at this point.

That evening I broke up with SG, because I couldn’t give BD a fair chance if I was in a relationship with another man. Then I spent the week deeply depressed, feeling robbed, like someone had come into my world, which had already fallen apart once this year, which I had put so much effort into reconstructing, and tore it down, again. I was angry at BD for wanting me back. How dare he come back into my life, almost six months after walking away, after leaving me alone with our son? And I was heart broken. I missed SG terribly.

Then, on Tuesday, I took Baby to his grandparents and decided to use the time to clean the apartment, I mean really clean. Throw stuff out, reorganize drawers and so on. It was then that I ran into The Letter. The Letter that I had not yet decided what I wanted to do with. And at that moment, without thinking it over for a single second, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I took it to the sink in the bathroom. I lit a match and I burned it. It didn’t burn easily. It resisted, even after four or five matches had been lit, but eventually it went into flames, and it was gone forever, and with it was gone the anger I had felt for so many years, not at Y for abusing my trust, not at BD for, well, abusing my trust… But at myself – for having let everything that had happened happen, for not getting up and leaving when I should have, for not shouting when I wasn’t heard, for feeling obliged in some perverted way to do things that I didn’t want to do. And I made myself a promise: I will never again do anything against my will. I’m not talking about going to the gym when I don’t feel like it, I’m talking about doing something that deeply contradicts my wants and needs, I mean listening to everyone except for myself, disregarding my emotions, putting myself on hold.

And as I watched that letter burn I knew that I could not go to couple’s counselling with BD anymore.

And I also knew that I was wrong about SG. I shouldn’t have let him go. I should have let me love me and I should have let myself love him back.

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.