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Geez, I haven't written a word in seven days! But wait, I did write a poem about Pollyanna eyes, I wrote a piece about the monster that appears after marriage and I wrote about life in the single lane; future 100 word pieces? Probably. I'll say it again; writing is like the anchor that keeps me from drifting away from my life. Writing is the explanation of the world according to me. Writing is appreciating each day like a dessert after a good meal. Writing is a thoughtful meditation on events and people in my life. Writing is always worthwhile.
THE RED FLAGS
See them? Yes!, but they're minor and the rest looks ok. And yes, there was that one lie he told me, but he was trying not to hurt me. And, yes, I see the way he treats his mother, but she's a f... bitch! And there's that shiny dream I'm putting together in my mind. Oh, the vision of love and affection between us...if that comes together then surely these red flags will be the mistake in perception. And the risk will have been worth the payoff. Right? This handsome, physical man won't hurt me. Right?
Abused women are not an anomaly. And society is still focusing on the victim. Perhaps because it's so mysterious that they stay with the abuser, and from the outside it looks like they are asking for "it." But: What is the explanation of the monsters that appear after the vows are said? Why does he becomes a rager who thrives on his show of control and force? Why don't we study this? We need to understand this dynamic: when love is a tool to possess. And yet, I bet they don't abuse their dogs. Unleashed fury at Mom? And IMMATURITY!
On this day, in the court of Oakland County I was granted a divorced on 6/25/13. Twenty four years and 6 months after getting married. Just six months shy of our silver anniversary (thank God, or we'd have to celebrate!) Hubby seems to agree to the separation of the rental properties, although he is probably unaware of many segments of our separation. The judge asked, "Do you deem this fair to you and to him?" And I started to cry, as I am right now. There's still a raw sadness to this ending and glee about this beginning.
I experienced a trickle of family warmth this week. I spoke to both of my nieces. It was like a little thread of love found it's way to me. I have been astounded at how completely my family relationships have folded up and moved on. Like we were all accessories in my father's life, swirling around him on vacations and holidays. A place and a presence that kept us together, a purpose to gather. And now scattered, and wayward, we drift away and discover the link between us is remarkably fragile and unreliable. And we thought that love was binding.
I think about my ex-sister daily with great sadness. Her daughter says she is hurting, too. But there is a whole volcano of resentment between us, and it's way too much to handle. I fear, in order to be on civil terms, we'll have to ignore all those dangerous, magnificent lava flows. We'll never talk about our experiences. The not sharing, the pretense, is more difficult than the estrangement. Pretending is a giant step away from facing reality. Maybe we need counseling. We could do it online? This, the first positive thought I've had about this situation in months.
I'm typing from my new job office. New is an operative word; I've been working 2 days a week since April and still haven't received a penny! I should let go of that; I enjoy working here, I think there is growth for me and guidance and money. Potentially good money. Also it opens the door for private practice, which I am all into. My life is reaching a state of perfection. I am in the zone! Good stress, full schedule, lack of drama, art counseling for the drama that remains, creativity galore, friends, great health, good sleep! Thanks God!
I'm watching things fall in line before my eyes. Like a good energy wind is swirling around me. I bought the building less than a month ago, I have a renter, chairs, a sign painted in the window, a website. This week, I'm going to get the tables from the garage to the studio, find a handyman, start exploring the competition. This is serious fun. This is called living your dream. It's like Sandberg said at a graduation address: Live your life without fear and lean in! It's because of my financial cushion (inheritance) that I'm able to do it.
The vows to stay together no matter what is what corrupts the marriage relationship. The vows are made when love has blinded both parties. But take a look at Mr. Great and see him as the bore he could become, or the nascent childlike malingerer he slips into only occasionally now. Or worse, the rager that wants to beat his mother, but doesn't dare. Why in the world do we make such promises and make them in front of all our relatives and family members, so that we feel ashamed of admitting a colossal mistake? It's a ridiculous societal curse.
Age and gardening: I remember that I was surprised the first time that gardening tired me. Exercise manuals include gardening as a form of exercise, but when you're young, that's a stretch for the imagination; you're hardly moving, for god's sake! But I felt like I was moving in slow motion after a day's work in the garden. I was embarrassed by it. Could my neighbors detect my slow motion gait? Now days, I'm no longer surprised by it. I'm surprised if I can work all day, accomplish my goals and still be functional until bedtime. Age is a wonder.
Today's 100 words are all about procrastinating. I have a list of 25 major items to accomplish today, a quarter of which depend on other people to come through.This messy house is a disaster zone and tidying up didn't make the list. I have anxiety, or is it just dread? Procrastination is getting in the way because I'm unsure about the next steps to take. All the fun stuff has been done. Now the real work begins? Breathe ! Get the right attitude. Take one baby step, then another. Ask for help. Keep going! You're the boss now. How great!
My struggle to find peace and wholeness continues. I have forgiven my past husband much bigger, serious, frightening infractions than that of my sister. And yet, I can't forgive her. I'm not practiced in it. I'm overwhelmed by the betrayal before I can make inroads to it. Also, I have always been able to forgive anything by anyone that was not intentional; anything done in ignorance or immaturity. But, not this, even though I deem it a familial unconsciousness. I guess the fact that I still struggle is evidence of effort and thus a sign of hope. My personal Jericho.
Last night, I was in real pain. My stomach was burning and tender to the touch. It was after midnight and my imagination was in high gear. I thought about my father's abdominal aneurism and wondered which neighbor would discover me dead. Or should I rush to the emergency room? Could I still drive? I fell asleep around 3, and obviously survived the night; fine today. Coincidentally, today, I had an appointment with a health insurance broker. Health insurance is the bane and insanity of our country. But my "well bubble" burst last night. It's going to cost me. Damn!
I've hidden my life away behind a screen of details. There's the dryer vent to replace and the scum on the sinks to erase. Where went my appreciation for soft breezes and sunlit days? Everything is goal driven and urgent now. Following lists and tasks, as written. Even my exercise routine is striped of its pleasure. When was the last time I read for leisure? It's the sorrow, I think, that has lead me down this path. Frantic feels better than the stark awareness that I am spinning all alone; friends and loved ones gone. I am bereft of belonging.
Per my reading: narcissistic parents often have a golden child which is seen by the parent as an extension of self and a scape goat, who can do nothing right. I don't think that Mom's behavior was that pronounced, but her favoritism of sis and her anger and ignoring me left it's mark. I read that this is a set up for the child to become a target for abusers. No wonder I had such a hard time getting away from husband. I was prepped to take it, endure it, as if this was my show of strength. Becoming aware.
Happy Father's Day Dad. Wish you were still here. I can appreciate you though, continuously. I think of your best attributes and try to emulate them, especially not giving up, taking things in stride. I've been reading about our family dynamics today. Life with a narcissist. Mom was,wasn't she, Dad. How did you manage? Or sometimes I think perhaps you were a bit of one yourself. This is difficult for me, because I want to see the good points in both of you, but there is no denying the bad. And now, with you both gone, what's the point?
Going deep in art therapy. I've been reading about consequences of narcissistic mothers. Therapist is a good listener. I drew Mom as the Kingpin, a bowling pin with no arms; cold and hard and big in stature, compared to the rest of us. I drew Dad off on a tangent of work, a pin but with arms. I drew Di in the sunlight as the golden child and me in the shadows, blending with the earth colors, in positions of vulnerability, molestation, abuse by two husbands. Not new, but knitting together the threads is giving some cohesiveness and understanding. Valuable.
If I had to pinpoint the main thing that causes me anxiety, it's easy...how to spend the day? I always create a space around me, expand the possibilities...sounds good, right? Always weigh the options, then you don't feel stuck. But all that empty space I create fills up with choices that need to be continuously evaluated with what I am doing right now. I'm at work right now, because I have to commit some time to earning money. But the weather outside is gorgeous, and I'm having trouble feeling content with this choice right now. On and on.
His horrible gift to me was, at first, a godsend. He cared, he empathized, he prioritized me into his life. He loved me. I began to think of him like an angel sent from the heavens to support and help me through exceedingly difficult times while going through the divorce with my son's father. Our lives intertwined. If he walked into a room or a store, I could sense it. I always looked up and there he was. Mental radar. I was happily spinning my life around him, without concern. We melted into one another and found bliss. Stay tuned...
That same gift, later, diminished each of our lives. He found a new role and a purpose in being my savior. He gave too much and began to resent it. It poisoned the gift, tingeing it with reciprocal obligations, that I couldn't deliver. The more he gave, the more I wanted some space, some infusion of others; other lives, friends with stories and interests. He wanted to be the co-contributor in my life. He gave up his life to live my life with me. It left him empty and boring and without a self. It was sad and suffocating.
I decided and announced today that I can't do marital therapy. It would simply be unethical of me; hypocritical. I think divorce is the ultimate revelation in someone's live. You grow out of dependency from your parents and (usually) get swept up in the grips of sexuality and Mother Nature has her way with you. You come under the spell of nesting and babies and thus continue the species. Then, Mother Nature is done with you. You get released from the spell and the marriage is over. Leave. Have a second love affair with freedom. You are extraneous. Enjoy it!
I thought I invented this today, but it's officially a thing: Divorce Therapist! Fantasy: I would engage my clients in stretching the boundaries of imagination: Pretend that marriage has never been invented. It doesn't exist in any culture or any history. It remains an immature fantasy stage most adolescents and young adults go through. Until full maturity reveals that promises made in love's blinding light cannot be abided: a statistically proven fact. It fact, I would pose the question: Is the human species really, by nature, monogamous? I would ask them, "Where is the tragedy?" Move ON! I'm being smug.
Yesterday was the beginning of Summer. It always surprises me that the beginning comes so long after the warm weather and long days arrive. I'm reminding myself to appreciate each long evening, hereafter, getting shorter. Yesterday was also the tenth year anniversary of my quitting smoking. I am proudly healthy. In two days, I will be celebrating the ending of my 24 year marriage. This is truly THE celebration of freedom; freedom and independence and autonomy and responsibility and ownership of my life. I shall write up a constitution of my new life. The continuous emotional wrangling has ended. BRAVO!
This exercise of writing each day quells my fears. It requires that I address the task in front of me, use my mind to reflect on a pertinent subject, develop the subject and restrict it to 100 words. After that, there is a sense of accomplishment that feels like preparation to face the rest of the day. Worries get shoved into their requisite corners so that I can move about within and between other, more productive, forward facing maneuvers. A little thought, some creativity, prioritizing, a finale and alas, another day begins or ends with a note of gratefulness. Yes!
It's 7:00 am. I've been up for an hour already and laid in bed, counting breaths for an hour before that. Today is different. Not by the schedule or the weather, but by a significant shift in my internal rudder. Today, I'm divorced. I'm single, solo, alone. I have a sense of my safety eroding. Yet, these are just images in my mind that I'm toying with; looking at all facets of the new reality. No one knows the future. I have skills, friends, perhaps a better relationship with past husband now than before? One step at a time.
Friend, over coffee, asks me, "so what are you doing this weekend?" I was stymied. "No plans," I say. "Is this the 4th of July weekend?" I asked- as if there was a sudden need to be desperate. "Oh, good," I say thinking, I'll save the desperation until next weekend. There may never be another "plan" for the holidays. I am totally alone. Of course this may be a repeat of my divorce experience the first time around. Shopping during the holiday season with my sister, I eyed a black sequined jacket..."I'll never wear one of these." Boo-hoo.
My son, now 32, referred to my phone call as an electric leash! Taking a few steps back from wanting to strangle him...Lets examine...why can't he understand that connection via phone call across the 2000 mile distance is an attempt to maintain relationship, keep in touch with what is going on in our lives, a way to stay close. But that's gone, isn't it? He doesn't want to be close. He doesn't have connection with you. He really doesn't care. Is this his rejection for some grievance? Do you want to drum it up? or leave it be?
I'm sad this morning. Why? Well, recalling my thoughts, they're about my husband, no longer here and my sister, who is estranged and my father who is deceased and my son who is detached. Can I live like this? Thrive like this? Can writing words about new experiences replace sharing with loved ones? I appreciate the lack of drama...the unfolding of peace within myself. All the noise in my head about navigating the relationships; the need to do my part to nurture, rehearse conversations to be respectful, the wondering when I'll hear from loved one. Gone. I miss it.
In an effort to mute my motherly advice to my son about his loneliness, I will disperse my wisdom in this box of 100 words and close the lid: You are looking for happiness in the form of a woman. Happiness only comes from inside. If you can't find your inner, happy self, you will have nothing to bring her. When you discover she can't make you happy, you will hurt her before you discard her. Find your own interests, and your own joy. Search! Discover! Build your happiness piece by peace. That is your responsibility in life. Then share.
As I sip my morning coffee, or sometimes, as I lay in bed waiting for the alarm to ring, my mind starts to generate the "to do" list for the day. As it grows, the stress level rises. Like a lily opening to the sun, the cocoon of sleepiness rolls away and I greet the day with energy. That's the positive way to look at it. But sometimes, I wish that my days didn't unfold with things to do and instead just breathing, observing, practicing gratefulness. I guess when I'm 95 there will be time for that quality to emerge.
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