Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Win Some, Lose Some

One of the hardest things about the way my life has changed is the way people have reacted to me over the past year and a half. Apparently I can't do much right, 'cause people seem to be awfully mad at me...

My one "friend" who I supported through the worst, most unimaginable sorrow, decided I wasn't worthy of his friendship anymore. Apparently I was supposed to ignore all my divorce hearing dates and my one child leaving for basic training while the other was going off to college, just to pay him a visit 7 hours away? Oh well...

My other so-called friends from recent years couldn't have been more invisible than they were. And to think how happy I was to make new "friends". Whatever...

The worst though, are the ones who I have known for 30+ years. Don't get me wrong. There are several friends who I have that kind of "pick up where we left off" kind of relationship. Then there are those who never, ever called me to hear my side of the story. Content they must have been to hear his belligerent need to be right. blah blah...

Whatever. I am making a new path for myself. Meeting new people and, more importantly, having the respect of my daughters which is more than I can say for a lot of people. I am glad to have all those in my life who have stuck by me. You will know who you are always, because I will remind you how much you mean to me. In my own way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chugging Uphill

I appear to be at a very critical part of my therapy. I have learned so much about myself, especially this past five months. When I first started counseling, I was in a crisis situation and the counselor I was assigned at the women's shelter was amazing in how she listened and helped me to understand why things were as they were. It's quite a relief to learn that no one has any control over how another person reacts and thinks and behaves (much as some people like the idea of being a control freak). Oh, I knew that stuff before, deep inside me but to have it applied to so many situations that I thought could have been different if I only had said this or done that or looked a certain way or laughed instead of smiled....well, it was very eye opening.

Over the summer, that first counselor moved to another state and I was assigned a new one. At first I was dreading getting to know a new personality and thought I was going to have to re-hash my whole life story and yada yada. I was uncomfortable for the first couple sessions and I swear I think I was just babbling away for the hour, not making any cohesive, back-to-back sentences. And then it hit me. I don't have to talk about anyone but me now. I'm sure she was briefed on my sessions with the first counselor to a small extent but none of that really mattered. I could change my goals for therapy and figure out what is going on with me and wow, that was liberating to a person who has put everyone else's needs before mine for many, many years.

Then it happened. I walked in to her office a few weeks ago holding an item that triggered a lot of bad feelings in me (one of those converted cell phones set up for 911 that I was returning) and the flood gates opened and I just shook and cried and felt all those scared feelings as sure as if I had slammed in to a wall at full speed. Since then, I have been unable to stop all the feelings that I have stuffed down over a very long period of time. I know I can't stop them. It's painful and I know it is part of the process. A sort of grieving process that I must experience and feel so that I can come out whole and intact on the other side.

That very day, I said to my counselor that before our time began, before I sat in that lobby holding that damn phone in the Ziploc bag, before I was flooded with that trigger so powerful it shook me to my core, I was going to tell her that I felt so good I couldn't think of anything to talk about that day. She said to me that people say that all the time, usually at the end of an emotional hour. Apparently, just when one starts to feel really good, the brain says, ah yes, I've been waiting for you to get to this point! Now, let's deal with all this crap you haven't dealt with yet.


Well, it will be. Someday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where was I?

I'm having trouble remembering continuity on this blog. It's my own fault of course that I don't remember what I have and haven't written. This blog is as much a stranger to me as it is to you.

Don't ever assume that I re-read what I have written. I have a history of once it is published...oh well...

So, the divorce is final, I get my empty nest (although, to be fair, it's not as traumatic when I no longer live in the family home) in my little city row house. My kids are set into the next phase of their lives and, what do you know? I begin the next few weeks with this is the first time in my life I have ever...

*Lived alone in my own place
*Owned my own car in my own name with my own insurance
*Went to the grocery store with my Own List and my Own Recipes and bought whatever the fuck I wanted

I tried to think of more but really?? I turned 49 last month....that's enough.

Again, I can't remember what I have told you so far but my oldest daughter E joined the army after she graduated college. She is the kid who everyone says looks like me...when she was little and the kids picked their favorite people, she would have picked me...

We have had some problems, she and I , for the past year and maybe I will talk about them here someday but I would have to have her permission. Divorce for children is never an easy thing...that's all. It's sufficient to say we now are on a tangent...we get each other very well. There is no anger, no "issue".


She broke her hip in Basic Training and now she is living with me. We are down to our last week of convalescent home training and yeah.....

I admit it. I was just all ready to let my girls go and focus on me and then one of them came back. Thankfully I have an awesome counselor to help me with all of this. I won't and can't feel guilty when I say that I can't wait to finally put ME first again. As long as no one else needs me, I should be ready to get all on that pretty damn soon. I hope so 'cause it was getting pretty damn interesting.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I WILL Survive

Backing Up

One of my most favorite people in the world is my friend Amy. She and I have been friends for thirty years and I love her more than most people can love anybody. That's how I am with all my good friends. I would do anything for them. Amy and I went to college together and like a lot of schools, ours was heavy on giving each other nicknames. I had several over the four years and depending on who is talking to me all these years later, the nickname they use for me tells me a lot about our friendship back then in the early '80's.

Amy, however, was always Bonehead. She was and still is an exceptionally beautiful, bright and insightful woman who says things as she thinks them, sometimes not thinking them through all the way. I get that. I do that too. She has also had an unfulfilled marriage to a bully and while her divorce should have been final years ago (ignorant, greedy bastard is stringing it along), she has managed to find her niche in life with a strength I envy.

I have had a kindred spirit relationship with Amy (and Barb and Linda and Mike and many others). Usually she and I can make each other laugh and we have been through a lot together but Bonehead said the most profound and life altering thing to me a couple years ago.

I tell people that I live my life every day, knowing that there is someone out there, out to get me.

So...couples counseling:

The last time J and I went to couples counseling, I could say with certainty that it hadn't helped the previous two sessions. The volatility always happened well after the sessions were over and the beer buzz kicked the crazy eye in to full gear. (That's how everyone described his demeanor back then....Oh, J's got the crazy eye again tonight...)

We arrived at the office and the counselor (a man. Pretty sure J thought he had an advantage there), probably sensing the crazy, asked how we were since the last week. J proceeded to give a 20-30 minute diatribe about what a terrible wife I was and folded his arms over his chest at the end, self satisfied that he had given probably the best dissertation this counselor had ever heard.


The counselor paused a moment and looked at him and said, you have to believe your wife. You have to figure out a way to deal with this anger. And I want to see you alone every other week.

I knew at that moment that I would experience what it feels like to know that there is someone out there, out to get me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Missing And Misfiring

Today is my younger daughter's 19th birthday. If I thought I missed her on my birthday, it was nothing compared to missing her today. But, I've talked to her and she received my presents right on time and she sounds good and happy and really, what more could any mother ask for?

I've also been on pins and needles since last Monday waiting to hear from my older daughter who was injured in the army's basic training and is supposed to come home for a 30-day convalescent leave. I thought for sure she would be home now and the lack of communication is starting to drive me crazy.

So, I did something that was a huge mistake last weekend. I went on a date for the first time since, oh, high school? Sure I had boyfriends in college but college kids don't go on dates. They go to parties and hang out with friends and well, I don't have to tell you. I was never much of a dater anyways. I never went out with a single boy from my high school; I had summer boyfriends from other schools and when school started, I broke up with them. I probably sensed the potential awkwardness of a high school romance gone wrong. My high school was very small.

Speaking of awkwardness...my date last weekend comes to mind. This was a guy who has mutual friends with a friend of mine. I met him once before over the previous weekend and during the week he asked me to go out to dinner. I should have listened to that inner voice I am so desperate to find again and admit to myself that no, I'm not ready. I've only been divorced for one month after all. But encouraged by one of my best friends M to give him a chance, I agreed to the date.

The date started out nicely enough. He took me to a very nice restaurant that I had never been to before and the conversation was pleasant enough but I knew right away he wasn't for me. He was a gentleman, don't get me wrong, but he came on a bit too strong for me. When I described it to M, he explained that the guy was trying to plan a way to get me on an overnight trip. Well, no wonder I felt the hairs on the back of my neck a few times that night.

So now I know, I'm not ready. I knew it before, but now I really know...ya know?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Many Changes

I'm so sorry for being so sporadic in my writing. There are times when I'm just not in the mood and other times I just don't have the energy. Then there is today when I am sort of forcing myself to update because I know it is good for me, good to get it out and process it all. I can't guarantee that there won't be times I will just delete the whole thing after all, because to me the writing of something is more powerful than knowing someone is reading it.

Today is my 49th birthday. The last year of my 40s and as someone so eloquently pointed out on Facebook to me today, the first birthday of my new life. I went out to breakfast today with my good friend Rachel (one of the only local people who has stuck by me through all of this) and, even before that FB comment, I said to her how everything feels like the first to me: The first time I have ever lived on my own; The first time I have gone on a trip and didn't tell more than a couple people where I was going (and even then, I didn't have to tell them). You get the idea.

Today was the first time I have had a birthday and have had neither of my girls with me for it. Well, for the past 22 years anyways. E graduated from college in May and in August, I delivered her to the army recruiters and she was taken away to basic training in Missouri. Yeah, I know. I was shocked too, and still am in a way. I'm lucky to get an occasional phone call and one letter so far. Yesterday I missed her call (all previous calls had come on Sundays so I wasn't expecting it) and she told me she had an injury, was on crutches and here I sit, not able to do a damn thing about it. Not even can I make a phone call to her.

A graduated high school in 2010 (as I mentioned in the last post) and took a year off but moved away on 9/1. That girl was forced to grow up and witnessed so much crazy that I am brimming with tears of pride when I think of what a lovely young woman she has become. She is going to do so well.

I miss them both so much.

One of the things that I will write about is how hard it is sometimes to go out and do things by myself. I had a long discussion with my counselor about it yesterday. I've also written here about how I sometimes have to force myself to go out of the house every day at least once. But there are some days when I am absolutely paralyzed with fear? reluctance? trepidation? to walk out that door. Today is one of those days and I have no idea why.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And So, There It Is

I have been reluctant to write on here for a while now. Things have come to a head today but I was worried that if I wrote something that could be misconstrued, that would change the course of events and I did not want that to happen.

Late last May, 2010, my youngest child graduated from high school. That poor girl was doing everything she could to maintain a normal existence (while being thrust into a battle she should never have been involved in), and well she should have. High school graduation is a Big Deal and it should be celebrated. If indeed your life flashes before your eyes someday, one of the good memories should be high school graduation. Well, she had dumped on her a pile of shit in her personal life that Spring, no thanks to her father and me, to the point that she gave away all her graduation tickets save one. That one was for me. And I understood so clearly what she wanted. I knew that for one day, she wanted the focus to be on her, her achievement. Her. And to keep that focus on Her, we needed to keep the crazy away and yet I failed her in that one thing she wanted. I decided I knew that what she wanted that day wasn't what she would ultimately want in the Whole Scheme of Things and so I arranged for an extra ticket for her father. I sent him a text message telling him where my car was parked and where the spare ticket was inside the car and then patted myself on the back for knowing that they would both thank me later.

The graduation was fabulous. I spotted her instantly and felt an amazing swell of pride...not only for her achievement but for the role I felt I had in creating this amazingly bright and beautiful girl. I also spotted him, and saw how he disappeared after watching his daughter cross the stage and receive her diploma. Another pat on the back...

Things were so incredibly volatile back then and I instantly knew when things changed that day. All my daughter wanted for a graduation present was an ear piercing, one that required parental consent since she was only 17 at the time. We left the graduation and headed to the tattoo/piercing place and were dismayed to find out we needed a birth certificate as well as proof of age. We needed proof of a relationship. So, we rushed back home and I was greeted at the door by him, all smiles and what-have-you and I brushed past him saying I need her birth certificate! We have to hurry! They are about to close! And the dark storm cloud came across his face and for one of the first times I said fuck it, I can't worry about that right now, I have to get back to the store before it closes. I'll deal with this later. This is all about Her.

About an hour later, I had a very happy, proud-of-herself, bloody eared daughter who was happily basking in her Big Day while we shopped for supplies to keep her new piercing from getting infected. All the while I was texting him and telling him that I would meet him at The Bar as soon as I could. She wanted to rest up for her Big Night after her Big Day and once I knew she was safe and supplied with what she needed, I dropped her off at home and went to meet him.

Only, he wasn't there and no one knew where he was but he had been there and left without paying his tab so I figured that must mean he would be back soon...probably just went to get cigarettes or something...

So I waited. And waited. And then someone came in and told me my car was gone from the parking lot. Something he had done before, yes, but why on such a great day? It was all about Her. Remember?

Then I got the text message: All you have are the clothes on your back. The rest of your stuff will be distributed throughout the county tonight.

He had taken every piece of clothing I had. Shoes, lifelong souvenir t-shirts I had collected from everywhere I had been, dirty underwear (as well as clean), bathing suits. Everything I owned was bagged up and deposited in a Planet Aid box. Except the clothes on my back. The dress I wore to Her graduation.

Today, I wore that very same dress to court to finalize my divorce.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sleepless in Frederick

One of the things that I've come to realize since starting this new blog is that I can't do those little teases like "next time I will write about this" yet. My moods are so up and down and a lot depends on how much I sleep. Which lately, hasn't been much at all. To say that I have a lot on my mind is an understatement. Luckily for me, I have been in counseling for over a year now and I am recognizing that I am in survival mode. Self-preservation mode. Sadly, in the middle of the night, it's not so easy to be so self-protective and the brain says, here, let me fuck with you just a wee little bit...

When I left the courtroom the last time, I had three weeks to find a place to live, move what I needed into storage and then I got out of town for two weeks. I had to be out of the old place on or before 6/2 and this new place wasn't ready until 6/15. I took my younger daughter down to Atlanta to visit my brother and his family in that mean time. During those three weeks, I worked my ass off and was able to do it with minimal tears and then was too exhausted at the end of each day to allow myself any thinking. Until the middle of the night of course when I realized what was really happening. I was being put out of the house because I couldn't stop him from moving back in after my protective order expired. I had absolutely no choice. Since then, I've realized what a relief it is to not have to take care of that big house anymore but at the time, I felt like I was being punished. I only felt that way during the night of course. During the day, I was robot.

It's been over a month since I have moved in here and for the most part it is good. Lately though, I have felt like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and the pressure of the past couple months is all up there just pressing down on me. I feel like the adrenalin that kept me going, to do what I had no choice but to do, has slowly dripped away and left me weak and vulnerable. I want to pout and stomp my feet and scream why do I have to do everything....gawd!!! I want to be able to pat myself on the back and tell myself that I did a great job to get to this point. That the odds were stacked against me and yet I did it! ROAR!! Look around self, enjoy and bask in the knowledge that indeed, you can accomplish something that seems to be so un-doable.

I can't do it though because every where I turn, I realize that I have only just begun and I can't allow myself such frivolous luxuries as a pat on the back. The past year went so fast and time only goes faster, doesn't it? And while I toss and turn in the middle of the night wishing my brain would just do its worst and be done with it already, I realize I still need to function in survival mode for just a little while longer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Things Happen Along The Way

I had so much momentum after that last post. I was ready to go crazy and tell all and then...lightning strikes. I don't recommend having a conversation at work that goes something like this:

Me: I have had satellite internet for the past 10 years and so I know to shut everything down when a storm is coming. I have been hit by lightning and have had to replace so much equipment. Do you have to do that with cable?

Everyone in the room that day when I said that: I've never shut anything down for a storm...

And so later that day, what should happen but that I was sitting here, at this very computer when out of the blue, a sound like someone was standing next to me with a shotgun aimed at me and...fire...Once again I am hit by lightning. Thankfully my new TV was under the ole "no questions asked within 30 days" policy and my former Geek Squad daughter knew what to do to fix this computer (replaced Ethernet port FYI) and things could have been so, so much worse.

I told my mother about this and she asked me if I ever feel like I am walking around with a black cloud over my head. Up 'til then? Not so much. Now that she mentions it? Yeah, pretty much all the time.

So, is this officially Rock Bottom? I declare Yes, YES it is! And so up hill we shall climb. But not before I get you updated on how I got here. I promise (pending bizarre acts of nature) I will get back to that on my next post.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To The Nitty Gritty

I started my menstrual cycle at about 10 years old. I remember being very ashamed to tell my older friends that I started before them and so it was My Secret that I shared with My Mom. I don't really think it is an actual scientific fact that starting early means you get to end early but I wasn't too surprised to find myself in peri-menopause in my early 40's. I had done my time. Peri-menopause is all that it's cracked up to be and it serves no purpose to discuss that here. I will say that my last menstrual period was in January of 2010, a fact that sets in motion how I got where I am today.

My menopause coincided with my empty nest syndrome; two distinctly transitional periods in a woman's life if she is a mother. Menopause in and of itself is pretty pivotal so everything else is just piling on. I have always worked part-time but my family came first. My kids were never latch key kids. I was never late to pick them up from wherever they were. I always stayed awake at night until they came home. I cooked meals and packed lunches and grew food in the garden. Then suddenly, it was all gone. No one needed me anymore, or so it felt. I have since read how absolutely normal I was to feel that way. I also began to feel a sense of restlessness inside me. A sense of "is this all there is to my life?" and "what am I going to do with my time now?" and "when do I get to try and figure out what I want to do?" and so on and so on...

I wasn't fulfilled in my marriage. Somewhere along the way my husband and I grew apart and I either didn't notice or didn't care. We seemed to everyone who observed us to be a happily married couple and yet, who would want to observe the reality of a lonely woman, sitting at a bar next to man obsessed with his Blackberry, doing his own thing that had nothing to do with me?

I had no choice but to make my own friends and find fulfillment on my own. In my mind, I was an invisible entity. I was treated as an insignificant peon who was good for nothing but eye candy to boost someone else's self significance. Once I realized that, I was free to make my own choices and follow my own instincts as to who I could trust to be a part of my life.

Next: Couple's Counseling.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Most days I feel pretty confident in my ability to move on with my life as an almost single woman. Then there are days like today, hot and muggy and the lethargy is high. I have been trying to walk everyday (I even wrote a post about it over there, the first post I have written in about a year and it felt good to write it), mostly in the mornings before it gets too hot. Even if I only go for a half an hour, it's a goal of mine to do it. It's easy to do because I live so close to everything in downtown Frederick now. I can walk to work and to the store if I don't have too much to carry in my back pack. This morning I was lazy and waited too long before it was too unbearably hot to walk anywhere but I forced myself to get up and shower and get out of the house by walking a few blocks to try my new neighborhood's nail salon. I didn't really need a pedicure just yet but I could sense that it would otherwise be a day which could easily find me as a shut-in. It's lonelier in the city.

The last time I was single, I was twenty years old. In two months I will be 49. People look at me and tell me how lucky I am that I am still young as I start over. Then why do I feel so old? Why do I feel like being single is for people who are way younger than me? The decisions that I have had to make to get me to this (almost) single state are ones that I can't change and wouldn't want to anyways. There is a point, a line that gets crossed that can't be uncrossed and so that can not happen. Still, nothing has prepared me for this state of singleness.

Tonight, I forced myself to take that longer walk and I set off for downtown, knowing full well that most places close early on Sunday but I took my wallet just in case I got the urge to be one of those single ladies sitting at the bar. Gah, but that is uncomfortable even to read! I ended up just doing a 35-minute loop and heading back home.

Baby steps...

Monday, July 4, 2011


After many years writing a family blog, I find myself living alone, starting the next great phase of my life. The last year has been a whirlwind of change and I think my head has finally stopped spinning to the point where I am ready to start writing again. I have often been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I was too honest when writing that other blog. I believe that is true but I don't think it's a bad thing necessarily. What is the point of writing a journal if you aren't honest? So, this is a place where I will explain what has happened in my life up until now and then how I will go forth as a newly single woman at forty-eight years old.

But not today. Today I will celebrate the 4th of July, my first as truly Independent.