Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Righteous Anger

To the man I fathered children with,

You have 4 beautiful, intelligent, quirky, amazing children, one of which isn't even mine but I'd snatch her up in a heartbeat. You even come from a family with these same qualities. So what happened? Why do you think it's perfectly normal to not speak to your children? Our children were born into a family with a mother and father who were husband and wife far longer than they were even a whisper in our minds. They saw you and spoke to you every day up until you left them behind.

Do you think they don't know you live less than two miles away? Do you think they should come to you? That they should be the ones proactive in their communication? Do you think that they are unaware of your living situation? That they don't know that there are two children in your current household who speak to and get to physically see and hear your voice each and every day? Do you truly believe that your silence doesn't effect them in a harmful way? You were the first face they saw each day after school. You were their ally when mom was too strict or "unfair." You were their play while I was their work. You were their adventure when I was their cozy safe nest. You were so adamant in their early years to enforce in them that we would work to be a team, and you even swore to them as you left them behind that we would continue to be a team.

I wasn't completely ignorant to the fact that the important stuff (all of it) in regards to their well being and structure fell completely on me before the divorce. But now, it's even more obvious that your absence is felt at doctor's appointments, teacher's meetings, or during meltdowns involving two or more of the kids. And it's not your presence that is missed so much in this regard, but knowing that I am 100% alone. I am working daily to flip the switch on my brain. I'm not 100% alone, I'm 100% independent of YOU. I'm 100% free of your judgement and contempt in how I raise and discipline our children. I'm 100% (more like 1000%) happier knowing I don't have to walk on eggshells nor do I feel the need to seek assurance or permission from you so that YOU can sleep at night feeling as if you're in charge. It was never your name that signed the important documents. Never your signature on permission slips or disciplinary forms. Never your voice speaking up on these kids behalves.

So now, over a year and a half since you walked away, you have left behind three children who doubt themselves, self harm, blame themselves, have hate in their hearts, and are conflicted about what the definition of love really means in conjunction with their own lives. You see, they SEE you. They KNOW you better than you possibly realize. And they are worthy of having TWO parents who bend over backwards to see them succeed. That can't just be me. I've played the part of both parents since they arrived on the scene, no more. You need to be held accountable for all FOUR lives you brought into the world. You can't leave a family behind that the only support you offered in the end was barely your mental and physical presence to become the family man to a woman and her two children and then COMPLAIN to your own children that you can't afford to do this or that for THEM. You can't do that, and then you do it anyways. You shouldn't bring more children into the world when you don't take responsibility for the ones you already have. And responsibility is more than just child support (we're not even there yet.) Responsibility is finding childcare or helping to fund childcare because you can't CARE for your CHILD due to work, illness or otherwise. Myself, the mother of OUR children, pays and provides 100% of childcare both during the school year and when she needs a mental break. Because you see, unlike you, I didn't jump into the arms of the first person that felt pity. I didn't lock myself away in my bedroom and pawn my duties off on one of the older children. I am present 110% of the time because even when they are with you, they're calling/texting/FaceTiming me at least 3x a day per kid. I don't get a break, not even when they're with you. So, what's that like? To be able to tell the children in your home, and I quote, "Go ask your biological parent, I'm not your parent." What's that like to just feel like taking a day off? Go ahead, I can wait, I've been waiting over 11 years to know what it's like to decide when to be a parent. When they're in your care and have something important to their education, I'm told that "your" house is for relaxing and play... which I'm sure makes you feel like the best "parent" ever. But you'll learn soon enough as you apparently didn't learn it from your own relationship with your OWN father. Being a parent means you're not their buddy. You can't pick and choose. Something you griped about a lot in the years you worked to build something between you and your own dad. Now you want to take them on a trip a few days early before your last weekend with them before school starts and you believe that it doesn't matter whether or not they have "meet the teacher" or need to do tours of their school. Your oldest child starts his first year of middle school this year. He suffered through an entire school year in the same class as his now step-brother, who's mother is THE woman you left HIS mother for. You don't think last year was the least bit uncomfortable for him in a time when his hormones are starting to rage and his emotions are already at an all time high? Or how about your daughter who's going through some emotional and psychological changes now that HER hormones and brain chemicals are changing. She's already been made to feel as if she doesn't matter to you, her words being, "How long do you think daddy will leave the new baby now that he's left my sister with his first wife, me with you, and now he has a new daughter on the way?" What do you tell your child when they vomit that sort of truth out on you like that? You don't think life was heartbreaking for her as well?? You weren't the only one who lost a baby, your children lost a sibling. Something they had never experienced before in their little lifetimes. Your daughter is traumatized and heartbroken that her daddy, HER Prince Charming, walked away from her. What did you teach BOTH your living daughters about parental roles? About the role a father should play in their lives? Or what about your youngest. Our sweet (not quite a) baby... While I was slaying dragons and fighting the good fight for him, appealing for more speech therapy and communication studies before he started public school. During all of this you were taking him to secret meetings between you and the woman you dropped everything for. To him, he was your everything. You were the one who got him through his day. Barely. Removing you from the majority of his life will be the best thing I have ever done for him. No longer do I have to worry about passive aggressive threats or receiving videos of our child inconsolable because you didn't feel "well enough" to care for him. No longer do I have to worry about how you are harming him, a little man who can't speak up for himself verbally and relies on his caretakers to speak FOR him. No longer do I have to worry about the damage you're causing him by denying his abilities and disabilities, therapies and schedule.

So now, I am holding you accountable. Finally! FINALLY you will either be tossed under the jail so you can't keep procreating and leaving innocent life in your wake or you will for once become responsible enough to take care and care for the children you've already fathered. Even my own significant other has been in your shoes, exclaiming to the judge that you can't squeeze blood from a stone. And I'm here to tell you that judges don't care. You felt adult enough to pretend to be an adult long enough to bring these kids into the world, you are now going to be held responsible for your actions. Maybe you'll have to work two or three jobs, or maybe, just maybe you will realize that your kids are worth more than anything you could ever do for them. Because I promise you this, even if you WANTED to deny your children the burden of having you as their father just as you did your oldest daughter... I will die fighting for them and for your ability to cast your responsibility to them aside.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Modem Static.

It's the summer of 1996. 14 year old me sits on the edge of my friend's bed (we'll call her Ellie for anonymity's sake). It's sweltering hot outside and we are soaking up the breeze from her ceiling fan waiting for her mother to allow us onto the computer. Ellie asks me if I want to go for a walk to our friend Jennifer's house one street over, I oblige as I slide my feet into my sandals longing for one more minute in the air conditioning. We make our way down the driveway and Ellie catches me off guard, "We're not reeeeeally going to Jennifer's house." I stop dead in my tracks. She's known to think up some crazy schemes and I'm typically the voice of reason even though I begrudgingly love the thrill; the night before we'd performed a seance in her driveway in an attempt to channel my recently deceased Great Grandmother. Plot twist, aside from mosquitoes, no one reached out from the "other side."

I stand there playing with the tassel on my purse begging to die between the heat and anxiety of not knowing what she's going to come up with next. Ellie drags me by the hand a few driveways towards the entrance of her neighborhood. She starts giggling uncontrollably and exclaims that she'd been talking to a guy in one of the AOL chat rooms. This wasn't abnormal for either of us as I'd just "broke it off" with a kid from California. The difference between my safety net of talking to people across the country and abroad would be that Ellie liked to talk to people who were local to us and went to the High School we were scheduled to start at as Freshmen the following month. Today we were actually going to MEET someone she'd been talking to for a while. Within minutes, a rusty green Nissan Sentra came around the corner and I looked her dead in the eye, hissing through gritted teeth, "I AM ONLY GOING SO I CAN TELL YOUR MOTHER WHAT AN IDIOT YOU WERE AT YOUR FUNERAL BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO GET US MURDERED." I could not believe we were meeting someone off the internet and I couldn't even remember if I'd told my mother I loved her. I can still remember the smell of the car as we slid across the back seat, shoving debris into the floorboards.

"When I see you sticky as lips, as licky as trips, I can't lick that far..."

We are riding in the backseat. Helpless to our destination at this point. I'm nervous and skeptical as to their intentions and my anxiety has me watching everything unfold like I'm floating and seeing it all from the rear window. Anthony is driving and talking to Ellie about things he and Brandon like to do on the weekends and what High School life is REALLY like. I can tell they'd been talking off and on, planning this for a while. He keeps looking at me through the rear view mirror. The voice in the back of my head tells me we're about to be murdered by two artsy film students and we'll be their final project for senior year. The AV teacher will gush about how realistic the blood is, how she can hear the fear in our screams... I make the realization that Ellie set us up as a double date of sorts and I actually WANT to die. She has the advantage of at least having talked to Anthony before any of this and I'm supposed to be talking to Brandon apparently. We idle in a parking lot and talk for a while in the air conditioning; as 15 year old girls we're completely beside ourselves that we are riding. IN A CAR. With older boys. Anthony is silly and jokes a lot. His thick black hair is falling into his face and he tucks it behind his ears Jordan Catalano style. But he's the very opposite of Jordan Catalano. He's Asian, softer, more talkative, and probably a murderer. Brandon's hair is also long, but his face is more chiseled with soft brown eyes and my heart skips a beat wishing he'd talk to me like Anthony is talking to Ellie.

"But when you pout, the way you shout out loud, it makes me want to start."

Brandon works for Michael's art supply and we wander around the store for a while as he talks to coworkers obviously disinterested in these still wet behind the ears girls. I breathe a sigh of relief but I'm honestly hurt for a second. I realize that maybe I wanted him to like me or at least want to like me. My cheeks flush and I play it off as the heat getting to me. Anthony tells us how several scenes from Fried Green Tomatoes were filmed in the same parking lot back when the building housed a grocery store where Michael's now occupies. I slide back into the car and lock eyes with Anthony joking that my mother often gets mistaken for Kathy Bates ever since it was filmed. Ellie is getting irritated that I'm talking to him at all and jabs me in the thigh. Glaring out the window, I hear him ask Ellie what kind of music she's into as he inserts The Cure's Wish into his cassette player.

"And when I see you happy as a girl, that swims in a world of a magic show. It makes me bite my fingers through to think I could've let you go."

I'm bored, hot, ready to get back to the safety of Ellie's bedroom. Deep in my gut I muster up the courage to clear my throat and tell her that maybe we should get back before her mom realizes we're not with Jennifer. Anthony wants to see us again. Ellie wants to see him again, but not with me. I can hear it in her voice that she's trying to plan something and she disappointingly suggests another "double date" when he's not having it. My cheeks flush again, this time in complete disgusted embarrassment. It's obvious that Brandon wants nothing to do with me. He's been staring a million miles out the front window as if his only intention in being with us is out of duty to Anthony, which to be honest, was supposed to be my intention as well. I wouldn't mind going out again with Anthony and Ellie, but I also didn't want to insert myself into any chances they might have so I keep my mouth shut as they fumble over words and plans made out of halfhearted promises.

"And when I see you happy as a girl that lives in a world of make believe, it makes me pull my hair all out to think I could've let you leave."

We creep back down past Ellie's house in the case that her mother were to question who we were riding with. Anthony searches in his glove box for something to write on and he passes me a business card with his phone number on the back as I scoot across the back after Ellie. I slip it into my back pocket before Ellie could see and create more insult to her injury. I still remember that phone number 22 years later although the business card is long gone. I can almost taste the bittersweet relief of knowing we both didn't get murdered but also didn't get caught out on our excursion.

The sun dips below the horizon and Ellie and I are both eager to get back onto AOL once her mom heads to bed. The dial tone static begins to buzz from somewhere beneath our legs at her family computer desk. Ellie looks at me and tells me she thinks Anthony was more interested in me than her. I soothe her doubts and tell her I'm not interested in him and barely know him OR Brandon. The modem clicks and whirs, electronic dial tone comes abruptly after the modem quits the first attempt and begins the connection dance a second time.

I can't recall the majority of the events that happened later that summer, but I know we spent a great deal of time in chat rooms and preying on Anthony and Brandon at their respective workplaces. Where Ellie and I were thick as thieves before High School began, we slowly drifted apart and the death of her father further severed our relationship due to some harsh things I'd said to her in regards to her own relationship with her father during a time period that my own father had verbally threatened to disown me. Anthony and I remained friends, and he even encouraged my employment with Blockbuster. I hate to say that I didn't see him as anything more than a friend, but a failed attempt of a first date squashed that fairly early in my Freshman year. It's a joke that we now bring up pretty often and I'm sure I'll rehash again just as I am recalling this event today. It's funny though that we remained friends even though we our excuse to not date was deathly embarrassing. He was always there in my memories, whether it was at a house party, sitting back to back or side by side in neighboring booths at Waffle House after school, our ride to Atlanta when skipping school, or even holding the door open for me and a friend at a coffee or ice cream shop. He was always there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

To the stepmother of my children...

I want to warn you. I also want to allow Karma to take care of you. But I want to warn you. I want to tell you what to expect. But the angry woman in me wants you to be just as blindsided by what he will do. I know you'll tell yourself "that'll never happen to me..." or maybe even "but he's changed since you...." I told myself that too. I was pregnant with our oldest when I found his first wife. After growing up knowing that my own father had a sister that he barely knew, I wanted to make sure that line of communication was open between our children and his daughter from the first marriage.

I want to tell you that it wasn't all bad. That we did love each other, or so I thought. That the person I thought I'd fallen in love with was someone who was tender, someone children flocked to like he was the Pied Piper... I thought he was silly and charming. When we lived in Newnan, I can still remember getting out of my car and being puzzled as to why he would be home so early. It was the first of many jobs that he left or they let him go because he didn't "mesh" well. It wasn't just jobs. Anything that was important to me or the kids? Was a burden to him if he didn't directly benefit. Religious activities, cultural events, family trips, vacations... yes, even vacations. We were isolated from family and friends more and more so each year; we were made to feel guilty if we decided to go anywhere he didn't want to go.

Doesn't sound appealing, does it? Because that's not who I married. That's not the person I fell in love with. That's not the person who told me I was beautiful in one breath and that I wasn't worthy of love by anyone in the next. That's not the person that would rub my back till I fell asleep after a 9 hour flight and then break his phone when I would confront him about waking me up in the middle of the night to him taking pictures of different exposed parts of my body. That he exposed. And he only did this while I was asleep, and I KNEW THIS because if I moved or made noise he would get very still until he thought I was asleep again.

And let's not even get into the children we have together. How the ONE time I lost my cool with him when he would not back down off of our oldest I whacked him in the thigh with the back of my hand and snapped at him to "STOP IT." He got out of the car and threatened to just walk away. Because I asked him to stop. Because the boy was THREE and he wasn't acting any older himself. How he shattered our wedding topper and slammed the door when I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter, telling me how I could raise MY children by myself. All because I needed his help with something. There were so many more moments when I should have said "enough, the kids and I don't deserve this."

So no, please don't ever tell me that you love my children like you do your own. That is THE most impossible feat. If you loved my children like you do your own, you wouldn't be married to that man. You wouldn't have bothered going through modifications for child support for your own children if you saw the way he will act when he gets that notification that I've filed for modifications and enforcement. You would encourage him to take more time with his children aside from the 36 hours he barely utilizes during his mandatory weekends. It is his lack of participation in their life and the sorry "support" he sends their way that has encouraged ME to take action. He threw his rights away for his first daughter over child support that was MORE than the bare minimum he's paying for our three.

Remember, you wanted him. All of him. Our children are a part of the package. So you may think you love them like your own, but if you really and truly did, you wouldn't even be in the picture. You too, would be disgusted by the "family man" that was so good with his kids. That same man that walked away from his children to be the "man he's always silenced." That man? Is not a family man. Ask yourself, how many times have you flinched when he's laid a hand on your/his dogs? You can ALWAYS judge a person's true character by the way they treat animals and you don't have to leave bruises to be an abuser.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

...opening the windows to air out the house.

In the matter of 2 months and 2 days I went from married to divorced.

I opened my eyes March 7th and finally saw May 9th.

There were so many masks worn over the 13 years he and I were married. So many excuses, apologies, rationalizations, denial... so much denial. I found myself in a constant holding pattern, reciting my vows like a mantra... mala beads clicking between my fingers with each promise.

For better or worse, sickness and health, good times and bad... bad, bad, bad, smile it can't get worse. And then it got worse. We can only go up from here, right... right? Wrong. So wrong. It got so much worse. I let each blow sit like a cancer in my heart, weighing me down and stealing my sanity. There's a reason I didn't write much these past two years. I was done lying to everyone and most importantly myself. I finally just stuck my life into auto-pilot and went through the motions. Wake up, get everyone else ready, get myself ready, work, home, curl up into the couch/bed to numb my mind, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat...

It's not for anyone to know how bad the abuse got. He never laid a hand on me, but he didn't have to. Sometimes actions and words are worse than physical abuse. There were nights I wished he'd hit me so I could release the floodgates. I was a ticking time bomb. And then... I no longer gave a fuck. I had zero fucks left.

The shift came when my therapist left the practice I was at and a new one stepped in. We began opening up my proverbial windows to air the anxiety out of my "house." When we reached the now ex-husband, I realized he was the last card in my house of cards. We reached him also as soon as he and I reached a boiling point and agreed to an "in-house" trial separation. And then she left back to Sweden. I went back on auto-pilot. I loved the man I married, and I was so blinded for THAT man that I couldn't see that even then I had lied to myself and began the process of excuses and denial. The man I'd worshiped in my head was not the man I married, and he definitely wasn't this ghost haunting my house.

March 7th  I laid down for a nap after putting our youngest down. I tossed and turned. Words said and plans made by him that morning didn't sit well in my stomach. They were mundane plans. Plans involving needing my truck to go to the library. Boring. But... not right. Something was NOT right. Weeks had passed since I had my first gut vibe that things were off. Secrets were churning between us and I not knowing was keeping my anxiety vibrating beneath my skin. It had reached a point where I'd deleted most social media outlets off of my phone because I couldn't shake the uneasiness I felt when I saw his posts, or comments made by people I suddenly didn't know and weren't privy to their existence after 10 years of marriage. I opened my laptop, opened my browser, searched for Facebook... it was already logged in. I saw the message notification and clicked. It wasn't until I saw her name, saw their words, my heart was in my ears and I couldn't hear anything but my voice as I called my mother, sobbing, hyperventilating that it was bad. It was so bad. Something horrible was happening. I needed the kids to go straight to her after school. It was so so bad. He was cheating on me. The floodgates released. I crumbled. There was relief in knowing, but not the sort of relief I'd wish on anyone. My husband officially died that day. My husband. Even now, knowing he'd been dead for so long and I'd cohabited with an imposter who looked, smelled, tasted just like MY husband... it's a stone in my stomach that turns conflicted between grief and disgust. My grief overwhelmed me for two weeks. Fourteen days. And then after fierce fellowship at Church, I prayed. I prayed until I felt like my heart cracked open. I wasn't discarded, I was loved. I wasn't cast away, I was precious... worthy... wanted...

He wants me. He holds me. He didn't want this for me, he never did. But in order for me to grow in love and light, I had to get dirty. A diamond doesn't become a diamond out of thin air. It takes immense pressure and heat and time to see the beauty that only comes with experience. I have three beautiful babies. I am strong. I am and always have been independent. I am smart, gorgeous, witty, loved. God loves me as I am and he will love me through it, as he's always done... even when I didn't feel him there. God spoke to my heart during a sermon one Sunday during the midst of my grief. Throughout the now ex-husband's infidelity, verbal and emotional abuse, his heart turning from God, I prayed for him. I begged God to help him come back to Him, to let him see the love and light I'd been witness to my whole life. To return him to me. Many times during those few weeks I was told that my relationship with God, with Christianity as a whole, had disgusted him and further pushed him from me. He was blaming God, my faith in Him, for his disgust in me. And then my eyes fell upon this verse as I wandered through the Bible during service, no lie, based on servitude and selflessness in a marriage influenced by selfishness.

1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

My heart lifted. It was as if the air sweetened and I was finally able to just BREATHE. God didn't want me to be enslaved by a Godless marriage. God didn't want me to sit idly by while my spouse brought infidelity and darkness into our marriage. God despises and is disgusted by divorce, but I am still precious to him and he still wants peace for me and our babies. I will raise them up to question everything as I was raised. I will raise them up knowing God, because I can't look at them and NOT see God at work. I will raise them up with eyes wide open.

I filed for divorce. I started talking to friends again. Friends I'd pushed away so they wouldn't see me through my excuses and lies. I fell in love again. I wasn't trying, I didn't even mean to, I only wanted to open my heart to God and let things fall into place as they came. My babies and myself were top priority and the ink was not even remotely dry on the divorce paperwork. My best girl friend came over and burned sage as I threw the windows open to let out the ghosts and to air out the house. My best boy friend came back into my life and dated me, still dates me. And it is so good. It feels strange, uncharted, spontaneous and right.

I am happy. I am exhausted by all the revelations and realizations and re-connections. But it's a good exhaustion. Like I had been running in the dark, and essentially, that's what I'd been doing before I entered back into the light. All of the anxiety has lifted. No more emergency meds. No more pulling over to walk the "bees" out of my body from hyperventilating while driving. No more walking on eggshells. I am in love with this body that has survived so much abuse and mistreatment, but continued on to build three amazing little savages, carried me across multiple finish lines, and has yet to seriously fail me. It's time to get back on the bandwagon of treating this body better for the long haul. I've began the process of quitting smoking (I know... finally...), I'm starting to eat again (I barely ate more than a cheese stick for the 2 months between discovery and divorce), and I'm finding my flexibility and inner peace in yoga and meditation again.

So welcome back, y'all!! Thanks for hanging in through the radio static and get ready for some new wild rides!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Inner Demons

I have not been able to successfully put into words, out loud or on paper, this running monologue that hasn't been whispering so much as it's been screaming in my head.

I got pregnant two October's ago. It was a surprise, and yes, I'm well aware of how babies happen. I tried so desperately to be positive, I wanted nothing more than to cherish every second of my pregnancy and my time with this child.

 

Lukas was born July 15th, 2014. Three weeks premature... but still weighing in at 8 pounds 3 ounces. The smallest of my three kids. He should have been stillborn.

He should have been stillborn. Every time I look at him I think those five words. "Miracle" in a myriad of languages tickle my tongue, because he SHOULD HAVE BEEN STILLBORN.

Because we knew Lo had a bicuspid aortic valve, I was put under rigorous prenatal observation. Weekly ultrasounds, visits with the prenatal cardiologists... I became a gestational diabetic... more testings, more ultrasounds, my poor husband pricked my finger 5 times a day and put up with every flinch and grunt and curse word as he doctored me up.


We celebrated Logan's 7th birthday July 13th, I began training my temporary replacement July 14th -- corporate had me walking up and down the stairs of our new building (the one replacing the building we lost to the fire) and I started having "back cramps." I was used to these cramps, they were constantly coming and going without any rhythm or real reason. I chalked it up to the heat and too much activity. I went home and read "Green Eggs and Ham" to Lillie... they started coming in waves and I realized it was taking 5x as long to read the stupid book and why was I in so much pain?

After the kids were successfully in bed I downloaded a contraction app, packed a bag JUST IN CASE, and proceeded with my semi nightly routine. Dad and I ran to the pharmacy and from the front door to the pharmacy counter at Walgreens, I had three contractions. I held my belly and "yoga breathed" my way through each searing pain that threatened to rob me of my breath. The pharmacist begged me not to go into labor. It was too late at that point. My midwife begged me to come in as "the third child can come at ANY TIME, Tiffany, ANY. TIME." I laughed and told her I still needed to get bread for the kids and coffee to get me through the morning. That's when I realized my contractions were every two to three minutes lasting 30-45 seconds each. Dad rushed me (as fast as one can rush a woman in labor) out the door and he floored it to our one major intersection in the center of town. He cussed as he realized he didn't get his McDonald's tea. Lord forbid we have an outing without tea. I convinced him that it was just going to be a quick check, and so 20 minutes and a McDonald's tea later we were headed to the hospital. Every last speed bump sent me into a contraction. I was holding both the "Oh SHIT" handle and the door handle breathing through the pain. The maternity ward entrance was locked. The maternity ward entrance was a good 20+ speed bumps away from the main entrance. Once we were parked, I waddled, stopped, breathed, waddled, stopped, breathed in through the nose, out through the mouth, and into the ER I went. Triage told me I had to be wheeled to labor and delivery. I argued that I wanted to go into labor naturally and this was just a check up. Triage told me I was in labor and get my ass into the wheelchair. It put the lotion on the skin and did as was told.

My water broke before I could get my gown on. The gown was blue and my Dad stood guard outside the curtain. I text my Husband, "Not a false alarm. We're having a baby."

My midwife "checked me" and listened as I recounted all the gory details of my water breaking. I was still in shock. "I can't be in labor! I didn't lose my plug! I'm not supposed to be induced for another two weeks! My boss just left for Florida! I started training the temp TODAY!" I got a lot of "looks" and "hmms," but I never thought to question. I was simply in shock. I was having a baby! I went into labor! ALL BY MYSELF LIKE A BIG GIRL! GO ME!

In reality, my placenta was ripping away from the uterine wall. My baby's head was the only thing keeping it attached. Three days earlier the high risk doctor said he was using the placenta as his pillow. I can't do math, 2+2=9.

With Logan they had to stop me from hemorrhaging on the table. It wasn't until I watched "The Business of Being Born," that I realized everything they were  doing to me on the table was exactly what one of the mother's went through in the documentary. After asking more questions, they told me what I already knew. With Lukas, every contraction was like my body pulling the thread on a sweater. Hearing his little cries 10 hours later made up for the fact I was a human puppet while they "retrieved" all the pieces of the placenta (I should have gotten my midwife's number after THAT traumatic birthing aftermath).

I went back to work part time after a month of maternity paid maternity leave. I was back full time at six weeks post partum. I barely made it to six months before my milk dried up. I still cry over the fact that I can't even produce milk for him. The "bigs" as I now call them, nursed until 9 months and 15 months respectively. I was able to stay home with them, nap with them, work around their schedules. I now get 3-4 waking hours with them on days I work, half that with the baby. I see the looks he gives my Husband versus the looks I receive and I want to scream and break plates and throw shit across the room. I want to run away and not look back some days. It's not fair. IT'S NOT FAIR. He's my miracle, MINE. And I want to be selfish and snuggle him and nibble the rolls of his neck and thighs and inhale all the sweet baby out of him before it's gone forever. I stitched him together. I breathed life into him. I knew every finger and toe before anyone else. He wants nothing to do with me. I'm not the one he wants when he needs comfort. I'm not the one he wants when he's hungry or tired. Every time he looks for his Daddy or cries in a way I don't know because I'm not here, it rips my heart out a little more. I prayed for this child. I PRAYED for him. I told God I would do anything just to have one more baby. And because of that I gave him up. I get occasional giggles. Sometimes he'll even give kisses when I get home, but he more wants to pull my head close to his to steal my glasses more than anything.

 
We had a baby. We had a baby and then we found a home. We moved off the property I work at into a home one street down from the house I grew up in. The "bigs" started soccer and ballet and now they can run to Grandma's house whenever they feel like being spoiled (i.e. all the time.) We had a baby. We found a home. We found peace and then chaos hit us like a bag of bricks.

My aunt passed away around the same time from a 10 year battle with aggressive breast cancer. Two days before the Husband's birthday, my uncle shot himself in my grandfather's back yard behind a chicken coop. I have two sets of cousins who are now without a parent. I found out a cousin of mine has a child who doesn't have much longer to live. The child is a week or two older than Lo. We found out Lu has a high probability of a bicuspid valve himself. (Babies are wiggly and uncooperative during a heart ultrasound... how very inconsiderate of them... we will know for sure by his first birthday.)


I have several other blog posts sitting, saved, waiting to be published... but I can't press the button. I can't bring them forth into the light as that makes them more real. That makes all the thoughts and nightmares that have kept me busy, plugging away outside the house to keep me from focusing any energy on just the realization that these nightmares are real. They are so real. I can't ignore them forever, I know that. But I'm afraid to open that Pandora's box. Once these things are said out loud they can not be unsaid. Words said in anger that are meant to be hurtful cause damage that can't be undone and there's a seed of truth to every bitter line spat out in that moment of white hot anger. The sting never leaves. The wound is always fresh and each new argument or miscommunication is the same as having salt ground into the wound. I can't make these situations better, no matter how hard I want to. It all goes back to saying no to the people I love the most. It all comes down to them showing up in our relationships be it family or friendship or both. I can no longer be the glue. I can barely keep myself together and upright.

I need a friend. I need to go back seven months ago and whisper, "miracles happen," into my own ear. I need to go back four months ago and hold the broken woman's hand and whisper in her ear, "be strong, think before speaking and say it, say it LOUD and don't be afraid of what comes next." I need to go back two months ago and hug my "bigs" and not apologize for moments that were beyond my control and weren't anything I could have prepared myself or them for. I need my inner voice to trade places with the voice I keep locked up. The only voice left is autopilot.

I need a friend.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sticks and stones, splinters and boulders.

This is my first post in I can't tell you how long.

This post should be about my beautiful baby boy who turned six months today.

This post shouldn't be emo and leave you halfway through saying tl;dr.

This post hurts me, but I have to write it. I have to get it out as I can't keep it festering inside like a scab on my heart festering with infection that I can't stop myself from picking at.

Behind every hurtful word said out of anger lies some seed of truth. Those on the receiving side can at times let the words slide right off them. No big deal. No scars. Nothing to see here. And then there are people who hear those words, over and over like a broken record. They know the truth is in those words, and it feels like it will never stop hurting, burning, breaking their heart over and over again.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

Sounds like sage advice. Unless it's coming from your partner in the middle of an argument in front of all three children.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

After a major blow out back in November I asked him to please date me, make me feel feminine, wanted, loved. Take me back to when we were first together. Please. Please make me feel wanted. Earn me. Please earn me back, because my heart was on autopilot, because I'm at my heaviest... because I feel the least sexy I've ever felt in my life... because I only feel wanted by my children out of necessity. My nerves are like sandpaper, my heart is a stone sinking deeper into my chest, I cry until I feel like I have nothing left... that I'm dehydrated from all the fluid leaking from my face.

I tell all this to my therapist, the psychiatrist, and it still doesn't feel right. I skate on thin ice afraid to speak up, afraid to make it worse, only begging for it to change, to please God make this right again. I'll do anything to make it right. Please God, we're both at fault and we both need help.

I wake up. I take my meds. I toss back two cups of coffee. I get kids out the door, nurse the baby, dress myself and sob at the reflection. The sour, sad, broken woman inside this shell is trying to make herself apparent physically. My pock marks seem bigger, my stomach saggier, my shirt sleeves tighter around my arms.

I don't want to be angry and bitter. I don't want to keep waiting either. I don't want my heart to hurt like this anymore.

The only glimmer of hope I can see is that I'm still taking my medication. That I'm still being proactive about my mental health. That maybe, just maybe, this is normal for heartbreak. That maybe, JUST maybe, this is how normal people cope with taking their relationship from best friends to just friends until the two can make themselves better inside. But, to me, I feel like I've lost a limb. I feel like my best friend sees the spinach in my teeth and is too revolted to fill me in.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

Each day my brain picks, picks, picks at the scab.

Each day my brain analyzes every move I make, every word said, makes sure I don't make this worse. Sometimes I don't say anything at all. It's easier to pretend it's all ok, that those words don't sting me all day every day, that we're still friends and we're both going to put makeup on that bruise and move on.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Currently.

Today's post inspired by Danielle from Sometimes Sweet.

Currently Reading

I've been following Jennifer on Twitter for quite some time now. I have NO clue who started following who first. At one point we almost did a 5k together, but I was too much of a chicken shit to jump on a plane to Oklahoma to be doused in color alongside my fellow bloggy friends. What was I so afraid of again? Oh, that's right, I'm the anxious chihuahua of my kind. I'm almost ashamed to say I started this book, ooooooh... back in MARCH. In MARCH people. Re-fucking-diculous. I was on a roll, and then I got sidetracked. Butterfly. Cumulonimbus. Jeebus on a cracker. Seriously though. As a treat to myself I bought myself a BOOK and some BATH MILK with my tax returns (hold on to your underpants, people, I'm out of control when it comes to dollah dollah bills, y'all.) I would read and soak in my milky "spa water" sporting my mad seaweed mud mask and read a few chapters a few times each week. And then, BAM, busy season. I'm sporting POLYESTER SLACKS in the muggy south because I don't. have. time. to. shave. I could probably braid my kneecap hair. I've already apologized to Jennifer... I sensed snark. For real though, I was enthralled with all the church ladies in her life, even the moment when she became the church lady herself. It's also heart wrenching to read her thoughts as she suffers with her own self doubts and anxieties. I feel ya, sista, I truly do. Sneak a peek at her words here or check her out here.

Currently listening to...

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I love the track "Home" so much I haven't even bothered to listen to any of their other stuff. I seriously crank this regardless of who's in the office. Eventually my boss just might send me home thinking I'm trying to drop hints. I swear I'm not. I just can't stop listening to this song. There's something magical about it. Reminds me of that time I fell in love with Those Darlins. 

 Currently thinking about...

This sweet baby. Her brother. Their insane little minds that go a million miles a millisecond. How at peace they were upon seeing the beach for the first time. Wanting to take them back. I contemplated moving back to the beach for a hot second, because... the BEACH, man... THE BEACH. My heart pulls and tugs and rips from my chest with the ebb and flow of the tide. I need to go back. My very existence depends on it. Needing to see their excitement at the infinite blueness of the horizon. Hearing the waves crash onto the beach at 5 in the morning... on the edge of my seat with alertness knowing with certainty the sun was going to rise at ANY FUCKING MINUTE. I'm suffocating in suburbia, man... suffocating.

Currently watching...
Well, catching up on, rather. Soon I'll be obsessively watching "Orange is the New Black."  I've been blowing through shows on Netflix like a mad man. Drop Dead Diva, Switched at Birth, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Pretty Little Liars and now Weeds. This is what I've been doing after hours. Catching up on the television everyone else has been watching for ever and ever amen. Netflix now has a new section just for me entitled, "Dark Television Shows with Strong Female Characters." Hmm... maybe Netflix knows me a little too well. I need real friends apparently.

Currently bummed  out on...
Apparently when I schedule actual vacation time through corporate, I don't get to revoke that. What's done cannot be undone and you must plan at least 1 month to the day ahead of time. My family cancelled our reunion this year, for logical reasons, but I still want to throw my temper tantrum. Not only will I have to fork out $ I don't have for airfare if I still want to visit, but if I don't fork it over my kids can go but I can't? Eff it. We'll all stay home and build tents and roast s'mores over the gas stove... in our kitchen... with fondue sticks. Can't go to the mountains. Can't go to the beach. Boo hoo, gimme some cheese for this whine of mine. In other, more positive (but damn, seriously no vacation???) news...

I'm totally loving...
That after nearly ten years of paying off my (financial) debt to society, not only was I able to refinance my truck through the bank -- DROPPING $150 off my monthly car note, I'm finally eligible for the Young Adult Visa through my credit union. I actually thanked the woman for thinking I'm a young adult. 30 really is the new 20, you guys. It's the little things in life that totally lift me up. Something as stupid and meaningless to most adults, like getting approved for both a line of credit AND an auto re-finance, mean the world to me. It shows me that I wasn't wrong in working hard and paying off my debts. I cannot even tell you how many times we were advised to "just file bankruptcy" so we wouldn't have to wait as long to fix our mistakes. What would that teach us? What would that teach our CHILDREN? That right there is why this country has gone to Hell in a hand basket financially. Yes, I've had to accept help from family, friends and the government (after a LOT of kicking, screaming, and sucking up of stubborn pride). Warning, run on sentence alert!!! Yes, I have cried myself to sleep from the weight of all that's riding on my shoulders AND the unfairness of watching others file bankruptcy around me and while they're taking their kids to Disney every few months and going to little Johnny and Jenny's Tae Kwon Do ceremonies and my own kids are eating PB&J for the 5,284th day in a row and gluing pipe cleaners together at yet another Vacation Bible School because, GOSH DARNIT, IT'S FREE AND YOU'LL ENJOY IT OR ELSE. This means if we play our cards right, we could actually own our own home possibly by my next birthday. This means no more ridiculous interest rates. This means an emergency fund is now a reality... I can defer payments if times get tough! I can pay my car note now in my underwear from the comfort of my home! No more money orders! No more $100 off my balance after paying $360 towards my balance! It's the little things...