Friday, July 1, 2022

Insomnia.

Some nights are harder than others.


I will go days where the little pop up reminder of your existence happens in my brain and instead of fixating on how unfair it is that I can’t see you, touch you, tell you everything… my heart instead skips a beat and tucks you back in unfollow the next random reminder.


Somewhere you are out there living, breathing, feeling and I know this is true because there you are just outside of the photos in my mind. Just out of view. You’re tangible and I can feel you like when you know someone has entered a room but you can’t see them just yet. 


I’m not in your plans and I hate that for me, you, us. You’re not in mine anymore   either. But… knowing there’s always that slight opportunity that you could one day wake up, say “fuck it” and head towards me is enough to give me one little glimmer of hope.


We’ve both travelled hundreds and thousands of miles to get that one last embrace, that final word. You have and you know I will. I’d choose you again and again and again. I’d continue to choose you and we could find a way to make the distance work in both our favors. 


He said you leave in a few weeks, and I finally told him that I will forever check in on you through him. I’m not sorry. I have zero regrets. The pit in my stomach is the conversation I know he’s having with you right now. The one I didn’t want but was probably inevitable. It’s either a logical warning that I’m never going away or an argument as to why you’re too thick skulled to have gotten scared of what we stirred up in both of us.


I don’t regret telling him.


This is night two of my brain speeding past my second wind on melatonin, third wind on a glass of wine and fourth wind during meditation. I want to stop seeing you in my mind if nothing is ever going to proceed forward. I don’t want the torture. I want to open the door to leave and see you on the other side. I want to relax my body into you and just breathe.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Losing battles.

I am not responsible for how others respond to my actions, beliefs or choices.


My feelings are just as valid as the feelings I am desperate not to hurt because I care about them and don’t want to distress anyone. But, I’m not responsible for their reactions and I shouldn’t have to bottle myself up or bite my tongue in order to maintain pleasantries.


Everything is not ok. I thought I had found a reliable and affordable psych, until I got the $500+ bill for two appointments nobody mentioned I was accruing until I showed up for my 3rd appointment. I desperately needed to be seen and HEARD by someone who wasn’t family. Someone who could help me sort through the hot garbage of false truths I’d been fed my whole life and pretended not to be bothered by until now.


I can’t pretend that my entire life wasn’t spent centered around dieting. I can’t force myself to forget my parents enforcing that I cleaned my plate. I can’t forget the nutrisystem and Jenny Craig snacks abandoned in the pantry for me to choose from because my mother had stopped actively utilizing their tools. I can’t forget hitching rides to a dieting class my mother signed her and I up for but she quit a third of the way through. I was in middle school. 


It was before middle school that I expressed my desires to play soccer, to go for runs… but I’d dropped out of dance after 7 long years and nobody took me seriously. I remember picking up jazzercise albums (yes… vinyl records) and working out alone in my bedroom before I ever turned double digits. I tried out for volleyball, cheer… these were things I went for with zero expressed support for. I didn’t make the teams, but it wasn’t for lack of desire and participation. I took the tools I’d learned in dieting class and implemented them throughout high school and honestly ever since.


I had watched my grandmother struggle with complications from diabetes. I had watched my mother’s self esteem and general happiness peak and plummet from her own dieting successes and failures. Throughout all of this I mostly maintained my weight at 150 until my relationship with my high school sweetheart went up in flames and my own happiness tanked. I topped off at 180 and then it went back down some when I started my flight career. I was deliriously happier 36,000 feet above land.


After I got married that one time, the pounds slowly started creeping back until we got divorced and I’d peaked at my heaviest postpartum. When we signed the divorce paperwork before filing, I weighed as much as I did fully pregnant with our last child. I was miserable, and anything I could do (or not do) to keep him from wanting any intimacy with me thus avoiding any chance of abuse was worth it. By this point in my adult life my mother had undergone 2+ procedures to assist her in losing weight. Shortly after my divorce she went under for the last time for a sleeve procedure. 


I am ecstatic that she has lost some weight enough to become more mobile, but hesitant to feel true joy for her. It has nothing and everything to do with her role as my mother. I learned the hard way as a child that getting my hopes up in general leads to disappointment; not just because of her past experiences with weight loss. When I left home in 2002, my sister had only just received her learners permit. I left her alone with my mother and I feel now like I never had the opportunity to show her that there’s more to life than the way we were raised and the way we were taught to relate to our bodies. 


I catch myself telling myself that this is all hypocritical thinking. How dare I feel this way when I’m 200 something pounds and have been too stressy depressy to even entertain the thought of rolling out my yoga mat or lacing up my running shoes? Every day I bring my running gear in my work tote and every day it comes back home with me. Every day. I know the bug to run is close to biting because I catch myself whispering to my inner runner to remember how good it feels post run when those endorphins are washing over me. But… I’m not there yet.


I try desperately to model moderation and a balanced plate with my kids. I don’t force calorie counting, sugar substitutes or this years fad replacements (fiber, keto, etc.) I try to encourage activity where they can find it, even if for my youngest it’s just barreling full tilt through a muddy ditch. I want them to know how good it feels to sweat for themselves, how magical those endorphins can be. I don’t want them to stress over their BMI or measurements.


My sister recently lost 100 pounds from undergoing her own weight loss surgery. She is biking laps around us and thriving and I’m so hesitantly happy for her and it feels so selfish to feel like this. It IS selfish to feel like this… because now I see myself becoming larger and larger in comparison. And while I know comparison is the thief of joy, and I KNOW how restrictive their diets have to be to achieve these numbers… I also know that I’m feeling less like “the healthiest fat girl” in the family and more like the third wheel. I can’t participate in conversation with them because it always circles back to their diets and to me? It’s toxic thinking because I know what works for me to achieve a healthier overall well-being. But now… they’re both in smaller sizes and I’m afraid to see myself pictured alongside them because it’s increasingly obvious that I’m larger than they are… how do my children see me now in comparison?


Am I still their example of moderation, hard work, sweat and the occasional tears? Or will they now see me as the hypocrite I feel I am because I have not achieved the same losses they have nor have I ever entertained going under the knife to jumpstart a lifestyle I have no interest in committing myself to for the rest of my life?


This is the war that is raging through my veins and has been for almost a year now. This war, unlike the one to save myself from an abusive marriage, feels like I will need to take drastic measures to survive and I cannot think like that in order to keep myself from self isolating from those closest to me.


In other news, I turned 40 today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Deafening Silence

I wanted to drink wine tonight. I wanted to pop a bottle, have a few glasses and decompress. I went into my head instead.


This life is isolating. This life meaning the one where I’m just as alone after the divorce, the breakup as I was while I was in the relationship. The common denominator is me, I know this. 


I know I go into my own head. I know that in order to have others be open with you sometimes you have to actually open up to them. Once I’m around people it’s “game over, peace out, I’d rather THE FUCK not.” 


I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life, and I am a-ok with that. I spend all day talking to strangers and I am tapped the fuck out by the time I come home. Once I’m home I’m in “mom mode” and even once they’re old enough I don’t think I’ll be able to have the conversations I need to have in order to quench the thirst of interacting with other adults. Even then, it’s not the interacting with other adults I even need. I crave comfortable silence. Sometimes I just need another body at the other end of the couch I can push my toes underneath the warmth of them and… that’s it. That’s sometimes all I really need. Other times it’s conversation where I can just word vomit all the insanity I’m surrounded by and hear the words, “man, I GET IT.”


I join and delete dating apps once every few months because the human connection just isn’t there. As vain and narcissistic as it sounds, I feel either terribly overqualified for the role they want me to play or I feel overwhelmingly under qualified. Like, look, I lived and breathed excitement in my early 20’s, but I’ve spent the last 15 years raising these kids and I cannot even begin to pretend to understand these highly motivated, successful people. I will see myself out, you ain’t gotta tell me twice.


I need understated carnal passion, but with the understanding that I’m not going to want any sort of relationship or situationship that comes with it normally. I need my quiet solitude until I get in my head and need touch, talk, mutual understanding that our actions speak louder than any conversation could. 


How do I get this? Is it on Amazon? Will I find it at a bar? Grocery store? Where are these people? Because I surely can’t be the ONLY person to feel this way.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Ebb and Flow.

If I talk out loud my emotions fall out as tears. I can feel them rise like the tide choking my throat until they rush past my lids like a breached dam. I’ve always resonated with Disney’s animated Alice from Alice in Wonderland where she cries so hard she starts a flood. Once the waterworks begin, I can’t turn it off till they run their course.


I wear the scars of my emotions for days following, swollen eyes and red chapped lips. Most days I wear my mask to pass as normal. I’ll smile and speak as if I’ve done this before. As the words cross my tongue, I can feel the strings in my chest pulling the mask down like a curtain. Every interaction after is a more exhausted encore I didn’t consent to. I stuff my discomfort and emotions down deep with every encounter until the jar I’ve trapped them in starts to crack.


Writing allows me to skip the unease of interacting with others. Typing the words out uses some different part of my brain to keep emotion from getting all tangled up and intertwined. I’ve caught crap from others for writing instead of speaking up and using my voice. They don’t understand me as much as I explain that I just can’t. It’s not so easy as they claim. I’ve lost friends and relationships. I’ve been misread when it’s all been there black and white, laid bare as my bones in the moonlight for all to see.


I don’t understand others when they twist the words I’ve written or misinterpreted my intentions or tone. I don’t understand a lot. 


I am trying SO HARD to keep my emotions out of disciplining my children or when I’m speaking up for them. I can feel the stress fractures starting. I know I need to cry, but nows not a good time.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The edge of your shadow.

Every time I get overwhelming thoughts of you, I wonder if you’re thinking of me too. In the past, the stronger the thoughts, the more likely you’d reach out for me. I want to hear your voice thousands of miles away calling to me again… I want to feel my face in the crook of your neck fitting like the missing piece of you. I want your hands cool and rough just under the edge of my shirt holding onto me for dear life. Don’t let me go again, please don’t let go…

Your brother is the only lifeline I have to you and I fit you into his blurbs and photos like a shadow just out of view. I know you’re there somewhere if I look hard enough. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Speaking for the Trees.

I didn’t meet your biological mother until well after we’d married. Before then, I wrote her an email thanking her for bringing you into the world and for doing her very best to get you into adulthood so that I could have you as my husband and one day father of my children. I built a relationship with her because I loved you, and in loving you I gained a family unlike my own. I needed that diversity. I needed that support. Without them, I could not have understood the way you were in that moment… that season of your (our) life. I researched decades beyond your birth to give our children roots to look back upon; to trace their fingers along the names and maps and know their DNA made marks upon the soil there.


I found your daughter. I looked into her eyes and saw you there. I wrote more letters… to courthouses, judges, lawyers… and then I reached out to the first woman you called Wife. She is now one of my dearest friends. We share survivor stories, parenting struggles, children with the same genetics and mental curiosities and beautiful minds and daughters with your eye shape and your mothers lips. 


Your stepmother and I have our differences in opinions about you. We’ve clashed regarding my choices and beliefs on my body and our marriage that ultimately led to our baby. But what she’s always been good at is being there for her children and now our children. She makes every effort to be available. She asks about their schedules and goes to their practices and performances and has them over. I will never deny your family time with our children, because they are their family too.


When their family, who was my family AND my support to lean into for 11+ long years, actively includes me in their visits or gatherings where our children are present - I will be there. I refuse to indulge anyone in conversation about you unless it is directly regarding our children. Your life and mine are no longer made of the same threads anymore and you made sure to sever every last strand on your way out the door and into the fabric of her life. If your family wants to discuss you and your choices, as I’ve told them before, that is a discussion they need to have with you. I’ve said things like, “that’s nice for him,” and “good for her” and my stomach twists in knots and my tongue swells in my mouth and I am reminded that they are her parents now too. I shrink back and observe and take in these moments for our children. I bite my tongue and take all the pictures and remember all the stories.


I am our children’s memory keeper, the documenter, the historian and photographer. I am our children’s warm embrace, their whisperer of “I love you big… you are SO smart and SO creative and SO funny and SO loved.” I am their mother, once your lover and wife. I will never not be family to your own family because I am the umbilical that keeps you tethered to them through our children. No matter what season you’re in with your family, I will continue to document and archive all the moments I didn’t keep our children from them.


Have your tantrums, say what you must, but it only serves as a reminder to myself and one day to our children of how you are and what I removed us from. Being so hateful, so angry is no way to live. There is zero logical reason to self sabotage your own ability to just be content and happy with what you have versus what you could have. Nobody is perfect, especially not myself, and I learned the hard way that sometimes you have to sever a limb to save the tree… but that doesn’t mean the limb never existed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

La petite mort.

I would give anything to be 17 again just for a night with you. I miss feeling as if time stood still. I miss your nervous hands against my waistline pulling me close to you. I miss the heat of your mouth whispering confessions into my hair and neck. 

I miss this version of you. 

I miss this version of me. 

I want to stop time again. I don’t understand why we ever had to erase each other from the other’s life. This life is too short to not be happy and blissed out of our brains with simple contentment. It’s not fair. At least when I’m sleeping you’re there and I can relive it all… the worst part is waking up.