April 3, 2012

Kill 'em with kindness

There has been an unsettling and unfamiliar turn of events in the past month with my ex-husband and Mrs. 2.0. I'm not sure how to put this other than to just come right out and say it. Given our history as an odd trio it may be shocking. They have become... Nice. 

I feel it's only fair to share this since I've shared years of whatever the complete and total opposite of "nice" is. Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate "nice". I deserve "nice". I have longed for six and a half years to be treated nicely and with respect. I'm not perfect, but I didn't fuck up the biggest wedding vow of all. The big whopper that we promised in our church, in front of God, our families, and a soloist we paid far too much for. You know the vow, the one that goes something like... I promise to not knock up another woman and leave you alone to raise our infant child and be the biggest cold hearted douchenozzle possible in the process. Amen. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.  



Even when he broke that vow I still deserved nice not only from him, but from her.In fact, especially then. 

It's six and a half years later and something has changed. It's nice, but for some reason the abrupt and sudden about face has given me emotional whiplash. It's weird. Or it could be the fact that I find it weird means I'm even more cynical than I thought. Either way, I'm more shaken by the emotions that this sudden niceness has brought to the surface than I am about the weird and creepy niceness itself. I know in the past year he has reconciled with his parents after not speaking to them for five years, they began going to church regularly and I am now guessing it is in fact quite possible one, or both of them, have been returned to their mother ship and have been replaced by actual human beings. I'm just... confused. 

I've always believed that some degree of anger as a reaction to a marriage that ended in adultery is healthy. It enables self preservation. Anger protects, motivates and in some ways helps heal a wounded ego and heart. I'm not saying anger is good, but I'm not saying it's bad. Anger is heavier than loneliness and pain, it lays on top of it and covers it in darkness. I didn't even realize this until the campaign of niceness began in the last few weeks. I've become comfortable with anger. Righteous indignation has been my way of post divorce life, it's been my battle cry, and now the cold war is over. 

And I am ashamed, and embarrassed, to admit that I don't know what to do with that. I thought I was past feeling anything about this. At six years I should be past it. 

I know and understand that our being "nice" is the goal and has always been for the sake of our daughter. She is, and always will be, the single most important thing in my life. I've wanted "nice" for years but never got it. Now I have it and I don't know what to do with it. I'm in an stew of unexpected emotions. I find myself now being the difficult asshole desperately clinging on to some completely illogical need to be less "nice" just to keep my peculiar emotional universe in balance. I'm afraid of the feelings that might replace anger and that is the most frightening thought of all. I can't go back to the feelings of loneliness or pain. Anger is empowering, pain is debilitating. And that is fucked up but it is the truth. 

I keep finding things to be angry about. I recently received an email from Mrs. 2.0 saying how she hopes we can become more than cordial and that they'd like to have me over for family get togethers in the future. It took all I had to not email her back and tell her that if she wants to sit around and braid each others hair I'm going to need her to first apologize for fucking my husband. But I didn't. Six years ago, or maybe even one, I would have. Instead I politely answered the non-related question she had and ignored the olive branch part. The fact I did not beat her with said branch shows progress. 

Evidently it was not to be ignored. A week later I received an email from my ex inviting me for a family dinner to celebrate our daughters birthday, Easter and, wait for it... his birthday. I sent a short reply telling him I appreciated the thoughtfulness but that I'd have to respectfully decline. I admit, I am not a big enough person to sit in a family gathering on his family turf with his wife, their children and our daughter. I'm great with neutral territory, not this, this is too much out of nowhere. An 180 degree abrupt change with no warning. 



I'm jarred, and I feel selfish. And angry that I feel this way. And jealous. And angry that I'm jealous of all that he has - a spouse, happiness, a family around him, no scars on his heart from our divorce, no weight on his shoulders - he's free. And happy.. And then I feel anger again, I'm angry that I'm angry. And angry that what was the most thoughtful and kind and right thing for him to do made me feel lonely. Not lonely from the want of him, that has long passed, but lonely from what could have been, what was but is no longer, what he has that I don't and that nothing, nothing at all, has changed for me. And mostly, most importantly, that I am now acutely aware that I am angry at myself for all of this because the place I'm in is my fault alone now, not his. Not hers. It's all mine. And now I truly know what it feels like to be killed with kindness. As a device of torture, kindness, is in fact stunningly effective.

To keep the universe from imploding I asked that he keep to our birthday visitation agreement and bring our daughter home by 3pm next Sunday for her Birthday. I can't do his family gathering that day but I do want her back home by the time in our parenting agreement set for her Birthday. He responded that because it's his year for Easter and her Birthday is on Easter this year that makes the agreement "nebulous". Then I couldn't help myself. I clicked respond and earned myself a one way ticket to Hell by quickly engaging in the below with him...

Dear ex-husband, 
When Jesus spends four days in the hospital in labor, with three failed epidurals, then his resurrection will take priority over the birth of our child. I'd like her returned home by 3pm, the time in the parenting agreement, that is kind of why it is in the agreement.  


Dear ex-wife, 
Jesus would be very unhappy you said that. How about 4:30?


Dear ex-husband,
Yeah, but his mother just gave me two snaps in a Z formation. How about 4?


Dear ex-wife,
Fine. But you pick her up. 


Dear ex-husband,
Fine. Deal.


Wait a minute, this means I have to pick her up at the family gathering that I already "respectfully declined" because I was a selfish chicken shit that chose self preservation over self torture

Dear Jesus,
Vengeance is in fact yours. Well played, per usual. 

I'm fairly certain I'll regret sharing this and that I really should just set fire to my laptop and save myself from... myself. And for those of you not yet as far out in the "process" as I am please do not be afraid. Most people have their shit together by now, you'll be fine. I'm just your cautionary tale. 

April 2, 2012

Ten minute bullshit lunch time post #2

So Tori Spelling is pregnant. Again. Am I the only one that immediately thinks of Dean McDermott's ex-wife, Mary Jo Eustace, and wonder how much wine she must be going through each time that chick that banged her husband pees on a stick and it turns blue? I'm sorry, I'm bad. I know. I'm OK with that. I think Tori and Dean are entertaining and I have to admit I've watched their show and actually, without wanting to... liked them. I have to remind myself what cheating dick heads they were and then I snap out of it. Love/Hate Love/Hate Love/Hate. Shit, now I need a glass of wine and I'm stuck at work. Fuck you Tori Spelling. If you're going to be a home wrecker please make it easier to not like you because now I'm tortured with guilt. Thanks.

Alicia Silverstone. What. The. Fuck. I'm sorry, but she chews her kid's food and spits it in his mouth? I can't even watch the video of this making the rounds on the Internet. I'm sorry, but this freaks me out more than creepy dancing baby videos. I mean if she doesn't even make that kid chew his own food I can't even begin to imagine the horror that will unfold during potty training. I mean what the hell, is she going to be his fluffer on prom night too? Oh yes, I did just say that. Ok, fine, so he's a baby and it's cute to some but the greatest shocker here is that she didn't have at least one friend that pulled her aside and told her she might want to keep that to herself. Man, her friends must be real bitches.

A few weeks ago I read the three books in the Fifty Shades trilogy. I'm thinking about doing a quasi legitimate post on this but I'm too busy casting the film in my head right now and letting my Nook rest for round two. I think I might possibly have to do a post on this just so I can find other women who have read the trilogy but also don't have anyone else they know to talk about it with. Of course women everywhere are reading it but few women out in the non-virtual world are ballsy enough to admit it let alone discuss it. Which reminds me - mom if you're reading this post do us both a favor and pretend like you didn't. OK? Thanks.

Awkward.

You know what else is awkward? Spending four years making fun of your Twilight loving friends, including your best friend of twenty-five years, and then finally watching Breaking Dawn and being all whoa-wait-a-minute-they-actually-do-IT-in-this-one-and-Bella-turns-into-a-vampire-and-then-it-ends-and-OH-MY-GOD-I-HAVE-TO-KNOW-WHAT-HAPPENS-NEXT and then you end up being the asshole that made fun of the assholes that loved Twilight and end up buying the Breaking Dawn book and reading it just from the middle to the end because you couldn't wait to find out what happened to vampy Bella because NOW this shit gets interesting. Yes, that was the worlds longest run on sentence. So what man, I just admitted to now liking Twilight which would then mean I'd be a TwiMom? Oh Hell no. I'm too old for this shit.

Back to work.

March 31, 2012

Six months and seventeen days

I'm slowly tapping the pitifully un-manicured fingernails of my left hand, in a rhythm that has now become hypnotic, on the table next to my laptop. I'm thinking. Hard. Or hardly thinking. I'm not sure which. 

Twenty minutes prior to this tapping finger trance ensuing my laptop creaked eerily as I slowly opened it and blew off the layer of dust that has slowly, and deliberately, accumulated on it over the past six months. Well, six months and seventeen days. But who is counting? The anxious and neurotic tapping of my fingers calms me in a most peculiar way yet does not give me the answer I'm looking for to the question swirling in my jumbled brain. Or what's left of it anyway.  


Where to start writing about the past six months and seventeen days, or if I even should? Some stories are better left untold. Or are they? Tap. Tap. Tap. The drumming of my fingers doesn't help me think more clearly after all. Neurotic fail. 


I finger through the play list on my iPod looking for inspiration. There has to be something in here to motivate me and throw me from static inaction to inspired action. I must have a thousand songs in this electronic cabinet of musical mood enhancers yet the perfect song escapes me. I need a song. A great song that will serve as emotional morphine so I won't quite feel the awkward cringe as vividly when I pull the rope and begin to lift back the velvet curtain. The heavy curtain that has been hiding the rock under which  I've in turn been keeping time while hiding. 


Keeping time just like the music that I just can't seem to find to fit. This shouldn't be so melodramatic or difficult. Shit, I really need a chill pill and to get over myself. Then it occurs to me that every song in that iPod costs about ninety nine cents each. As I use rough math I quickly add up the investment in my head. Rough because I admittedly had to take Algebra twice, Well, this was a bad investment because now this useless menagerie of music and it's rough cost made my insides churn. I really should have paid better attention in math class. And in my Economics classes for that matter. Wait, I got an A in both Micro Economics. That professor must have been a complete asshat. OK, focus. The only music that now comes to mind is the whimsical bounce of a circus theme. That's it! Entrance of the Gladiators by Czech composer Julius Fucik. Even his name is appropriate. Indeed. 


The past six months of radio silence have been humbling, terrifying and, more importantly, needed. I think. Life happens and things happened in particular that I wasn't ready, or even sure, I should write about. I've always spoken from the gut, even if it was cringe worthy. I have been honest, to the point of being painful. I've made fun of myself, to the point I've peed my pants and increased the stock price of Depends. And then I took a back seat so that I could regroup, refocus, prioritize and reset my inner GPS because clearly it was leading me way off course.. 

I had nightmares for months and couldn't sleep. The puking, that was the worst though. You'd think that stress hurling would be a perk and a great counter solution to the accompanying stress eating. It wasn't. My life was a house of cards once built with aces that I drew myself, that slowly, without my noticing, had turned to jokers. But these jokers weren't funny. They called non-stop, they even knocked on my door, literally. 

I was broke. I was behind on my mortgage, slow on my bills, I had student loan debt up the left side and old credit card debt crammed up the right side. Then before I knew it my pay  went down and the house of cards did what houses made of precariously balanced cards tend to do, it fell. I failed. I had to do what I swore I would never, ever, do. I cried Uncle Sam and had to file bankruptcy, chapter 13 to be exact. And with that my independent, stubborn, fiery ego crawled under a rock and stuck out one arm far enough to pull closed the velvet curtain of defeat. Except I did it quietly and in a much less melodramatic fashion as I state it here but I couldn't breathe. 



I couldn't figure out how it happened, but it had. I didn't spend my money on clothes, shoes with names I can't even pronounce, hair cuts or mani/pedi's. I'm not a clothes horse and I loathe shopping. I hadn't used a credit card in three years, purposefully moving to cash and paying down cards that never seemed to go down even though I wasn't even using them. I wasn't over mortgaged, my rent used to be more than my mortgage. I live modestly. But it happened and I"m not one to find someone else to blame for what could have only been my own failure even if I didn't know how. And it crushed me. 

It has taken me six months and seventeen days to decide if I should write about something that was so unbearably embarrassing to me and that I was so ashamed of that I wanted to hide. From everyone. It took me a really long time to admit it to the most important people in my life who were also the ones who were the most proud of how I've done as a single mother, my parents. They were proud of me while I was quietly, covertly, drowning in stress. Pride is a double edged sword that can be use to defend and preserve yourself or it can be used to slowly and methodically torture yourself with. I turned the sword on myself. 

Six months and seventeen days is a good amount of time to quietly, and alone, come to peace. To make amends with what is and not what one wishes they were is a dubious sojourn. It's a bath in ice cold water that awakens one to reality in a most uncomfortable but necessary way. It stings. 

Things have turned around. I've saved my home, my sanity and myself from, well, myself. My sense of humor is slowly returning though I am not the same person as I was and I can never be. I've learned to let go of my guilt, let go of the ego crushing shame and to stockpile the unexpected and invaluable life lessons. I am reminded that, like my joyful and beautiful yet sometimes nauseating carousel ride as a single mother, my experience is not at all unique. I do not take comfort in that but instead I am also reminded that is the very answer to my question; should I write about this? That I know I am not alone in this is why that at the end of the day, or that at the end of two hundred days, give or take, I came back here to share my story. It's not the mistakes I've made that I'm proud of, I could never be proud of those, it's the lessons learned and that I have allowed them to change me for the better that lift my head back up. The lessons that aged me, humiliated and humbled me, also made me wiser, calmer, stronger.  

And without assuming it matters to anyone but me, I live to write another day. Shove another embarrassment.lesson in a virtual glass bottle and shove it out into the unknown. And save another home. This one. 

September 14, 2011

Dear, Children's Place... WTF is up with the hookerwear?


Fall has descended upon the Chicagoland area so I decided that I better descend upon a kids store and pick up my daughter a couple of hoodies and some new pants since she's outgrown her fall and winter clothes from last year. Imagine my utter delight when I stumbled upon this little jewel while ordering online today from The Children's Place.

Why yes, yes, those are in fact black sequin leggings that the Children's Place suggests I pair with their equally lovely faux leopard print fur coat for my six year old.

Thanks for the fashion tip Children's Place but I'm dressing a little girl, not a 58 year old hooker from Jersey with a Pall Mall dangling from her ruby red lips and a flask of cheap vodka shoved between her boobs.

Jersey, sorry, no offense intended. You gave us Bon Jovi and The Boss so you're all good in my book.

The Children's Place... we've gotta talk. I'm gonna need your design and marketing team to stop spending their weekends catching up on Jersey Shore reruns. I'll let them off the hook for watching Jerseylicious because I do secretly love those Gatsby bitches. But come on, these are kids. Let's save the hookerwear for college. Or for those Toddlers and Tiaras freaks. Mmmmmkay? Thanks.

xoxo,
Single Mom Survives

PS. No really, WTF?