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Don’t Stop Moving

28 May

empty box

My life is overflowing with stuff that needs to be done. I’m stretching myself to get to the end of each month and to make it there healthy, mind and body. There’s my work, and there’s my Boy, and there’s taking care of the house, and there’s trying to date or have a social life of some kind. I think I’m doing an OK job. But it’s taking its toll on me without a doubt. I push myself to the point of over exhaustion. Then I stop, I take a couple of hours to myself and I discover that I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to be. I feel anxious, edgy, uncomfortable just sitting down. It makes me sad. It opens up that giant “alone” box I have locked up in my chest. The empty one. The one that used to be marked “family” and is now marked “what if”.

I try to relax and watch a silly TV show. It doesn’t work. I try to blog about it. It doesn’t work. I post something on Facebook and await LIKEs. It doesn’t work. So I get up and start moving again. The house needs to be cleaned. My Boy’s birthday is coming up. I need to buy paper plates. I haven’t payed the bills yet. I have a parent teacher conference tonight. I better go get ready.

I know that as long as I don’t stop moving, everyting will be fine.

The Cockroach that Made Me Cry

7 Sep

Oh my God, I said into the phone. Shit. Shit. Shit. I can’t deal with this right now. Fuck. I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go.

It was a huge, ugly thing, standing on the windowsill in my kitchen (!) looking directly at me, with its horrible antennas twitching at me, like it was trying to pick a fight. And it would win. After having spent the morning consoling a feverish baby, then marking papers for hours, finishing a work meeting at nine P.M and sitting down to check yet more papers, this was going to be my 30 minute break, where I would have dinner and stare into nothing or talk about nothing on the phone with a friend who was also in desperate need of a break.

And there he was in all his horrid disgustingness, staring me down and I would have to deal with him.

I prayed. Please. Please! Go back outside. Then I cried. Nothing ever works out the way I want it to. It’s not fair.

It had been a rough week. First week of school, and in a new place, adjusting to a new system. Loads of work. Add to that BD going abroad and less help than I’m used to with our Boy. Add to that the fact that I’d been sick for a couple of days, and caring for a baby while taking endless painkillers. Add to that my best friend at the hospital, recovering from surgery, while I’m too sick to visit, and now my son spreading his germs everywhere, making it certain that I won’t be able to visit my friend even now that I’m finally well. Add to that a 37 page paper, boring as fuck, written by an aspiring English teacher who needs to be corrected on Present Simple that took me two hours to check.

And now this.

So I cried like a little girl. I said that the universe was against me, that it wasn’t fair.

And that’s when it happened. He took a step back. Then he crept back and now he was standing there, between the shutters and the windowpane, and I knew I had to act quickly.

I walked hesitantly toward the window, mumbling every curse word I could think of. Then twice reached over to the window but backed out. On the third try I managed to quickly shut the window, and I was saved.

It’s been a difficult year. And a difficult few months. And a difficult week. And a difficult day. And it would be a difficult night too.

But at least I didn’t have a cockroach in my kitchen anymore.

On Sacrifices and Why I’m not Making Any Anymore

28 Jun

sacrifice

My friend B thinks I’m going through my twenties, only I’m doing it in my thirties, which might very well be. I started dating BD when I was 19. Back then, following my mother’s example (though it’s more than a little superficial to blame it on her) I honestly believed that being in a loving relationship meant making sacrifices. Not little ones. Not agreeing to see a movie you don’t really care for, or allowing the toilet seat to stay up without making a scene. I believed that you couldn’t get everything you wanted or needed in any relationship, and so, you had to decide what was less important to you and find someone who gave you all the rest. (There was even a time when I thought that this wisdom was something some of my single girlfriends hadn’t figured out yet and that this was why they didn’t have a boyfriend.)

In theory, this sounds reasonable. I know in my heart that Mr. Right exists only in my heart, that I will never meet a man who is so compatible with me that he knows how to meet my every need without being told what to do, and still be unpredictable at times and sweep me off my feet. But, and this is a big but, I don’t think I should be making any sacrifices anymore. Adjustments – yes, sacrifices – no.

Very possibly the word sacrifices means more to me than it does to anyone else, I suppose it’s common to say that a mother makes sacrifices for her children for example. I want to redefine the word here, so you can understand what it means to me and why it raises such a strong emotional reaction in me. A sacrifice to me means doing something that strongly contradicts who you are, doing it despite feeling a strong objection to it, despite knowing that it will make you unhappy, and doing it because you believe it will benefit someone else, whose needs are more important than yours.

One might say that my career isn’t developing as quickly as it could have, or that I’m not making as much money as I could have if I didn’t have a child. But that’s not a sacrifice, that’s a choice. I would much rather spend time with my son in the afternoon than make more money or advance in my career. Had I decided to be a stay at home mom and not work at all, that would have been a sacrifice, because I love my job, and I love that I have somewhere to go where I can be valued as a professional. It would have been wrong for me to stay at home all day with my son, because it would have been a sacrifice, and he could not have benefited of it.

When I was in a relationship with BD, who had to move abroad for work and I left my job, my family and friends and moved with him, it was my choice, it was not a sacrifice. I was excited about my new adventure. I was ready for a change. But when things got bad there, when I was homesick and depressed and did not get out of bed some days, and felt like my life was worthless, and got a job I didn’t like just to get out of the house, that was a sacrifice. And it was a mistake to make it, I should have left BD there and come home.

This is just one example, our relationship was in fact full of sacrifices on my part. Sacrifices which lead, eventually to the death – yes, death – of several important “Me”s. I can’t blame BD for it, because he didn’t know. I wasn’t clear in stating the things that I wanted. Because I believed they were less important than the things that he wanted. Because I believed that making sacrifices made me a better person.

Now that we are apart, the dead “Me”s have begun their resurrection and they are hungry and thirsty and know no boundaries and they are raising havoc. It’s so exhausting that I had to sleep for 11 hours last night and I still feel tired.

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.

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.