Friday, December 30, 2011

When the white surrender flag is raised

The beginning of the end ... 

My mom had just left to head back to MA after a week long visit with us. We had had a great week together. We visited DC, took the baby to the Zoo, had some great family meals together etc. She had even helped me clean the house during her stay; since I had been so busy between working and being a new mom our house was near disaster. Our son was 7 months old and I was inside tending to him. Maybe I had just finished nursing him? I’m not really sure and don’t remember the preamble to this story all that well. It isn't what is important really. The STBX was outside mowing the lawn and I was standing in front of our sofa holding the baby when his pacifier fell to the floor and rolled under the sofa and into the darkness.  I quickly swooped down, baby still in my arms, and blindly reached under the sofa to retrieve it. Instead of pulling out the pacifier, however, I pulled out an old white T-shirt of my husbands. I remember hoisting the baby up on my hip as he started to cry for his pacifier, and proceeding to just stare at what I was holding in disgusted disbelief. It wasn't just some random shirt that had gotten misplaced while folding laundry in the living room and then never put away. No. It was crusty and covered in yellow-crusted dried-up spooge stains. I was mortified. Beyond mortified. My cheeks still turn red to this day just thinking about how I felt holding that disgusting rag in one hand, as I held our innocent child in the other. 

"What if my mother had found this while she was helping me clean!?!!"

The question ran through my mind over and over at a furious pace as I stormed outside barefoot; screaming baby in one arm, spooge-rag waving like a flag in the other. “What the f*ck is this?” I yelled, as I ran up to him shoving it right into his face. He cut the lawn mower’s engine, took one look at me (I must have looked crazy pissed) and then another at his spooge-rag and had the audacity to say “I don’t know” very, VERY unconvincingly. And defensively too! I'm telling you. My STBX has some freakin' nerve.  Needless to say, I flipped out. I screamed a bunch of obscenities, threatened that I was leaving, with my baby still in my arms and still crying for his pacifier mind you, and then I threw the disgusting shirt down to the ground before storming back in the house.

This incident was the fourth or fifth occurrence of his hidden pornography addiction blown wide open since I had gotten pregnant. Each time, he promised it wouldn’t happen anymore. That he didn’t do it that often. That it wasn’t an obsession. That it wouldn’t impact me anymore. That our own intimacy would get better. The lies and broken promises go on and on. I would later find out he looked almost daily. I would later find out that he looked while riding the commuter rail to work via his cell phone. I would later find out that he looked while at work. I would later find out that he paid for it behind my back with credit cards I didn't know about.  When I found out that much, I stopped trying to uncover his habits and instead started planning my escape from the hell that I was in. It was over at that point and I didn't want to know any more. The uncovering of that dirty spooge-rag found under our sofa that day was like the white surrender flag going up on my ability to handle the bullshit anymore. And it was stained; just like our marriage was. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


In my head and in my heart, I'm single.

On paper, well that depends. On some I check the box for "married" and often find I'm fighting with myself not to scrawl "not for long!" with a large dose of sarcasm adjacent the absurdity. I find that description of myself written down on paper a mockery of my progress thus far at starting over. A bad joke right there in front of me in black and white that I can't ignore.  At C's recent well check appointment with his new pediatrician, I checked "divorced" and penned in "will be" above the status as a way to sort of cope. I remember feeling smug as I handed the clipboard back to the receptionist. I didn't feel nearly as smug when I almost had to call the STBX to ask for our insurance information for C because my ADHD brain had caused me to show up as a new patient without my damn proof of insurance. It's now a week past his appointment and I still can't find the card. (Note to self: call insurance company before C's next appointment and request 3rd replacement card in the past 2 years. And give myself a smack for good measure.)

Technically, I'm separated and awaiting my divorce. We're pretty much settled on the uncontested route, since by the time all is said and done there will be nothing left between us to divide. As sad as that reality is, it is also a major relief. By the time the state of residence allows us to get a divorce (the waiting period is one long ass year from the date of separation), the dream home will have sold under short-sale with the bank (fingers crossed!) and debts will have been settled through my financial planning and the STBX's personal bankruptcy. Such a short marriage doesn't leave much for a couple to battle over in court, thank God. I guess that part of turning 30 and getting a divorce will be a blessing. We're too young to fight over pensions and retirement and it really just isn't worth the legal costs.

Technicalities aside, I'm single. I want to be, anyway. I feel single. And I'm pretty positive that I'm ready to be single. As the New Year approaches, and this starting over journey really gets underway, I'm crazy anxious to get my feet wet with dating again. As infrequently as my life allows. Because, let's face it ... I'm a single working mother with a photography hobby and somewhat of a social life with friends and family. My free time is limited and my availability is even more restricted.

Some might argue that I am not ready because I'm not divorced just yet. But I beg to differ and I'll tell you why I don't agree. This is my blog and I can do that.

Yes, I know that divorce is devastating and dating before that part is finished might be a bad idea on one hand if I haven't resolved all of the issues that contributed to the downfall of my marriage. But on the other hand, I am the one that left. I am the one that walked out. I am the one that decided I had had enough of the unhealthy relationship. I emotionally started grieving the "end" of it all six months before I physically got out of there. I feel like the initial heart-break part of the grieving process is really taking stage behind me now. Does it still hurt? Of course! Am I still actively cycling through the different stages of grief? No, not really. Getting through the holidays last week really proved that part for me. Solidified it, actually.

I know I am ready because not only do I feel comfortable with the idea of the STBX being with other women, I find that I don't give a rat's ass. I honestly hope he does hook up with some women in the near future. I would view that as healthier than fueling his pornography addiction, so as twisted as it may seem to some not in my shoes ... hooking up with real women on his part would be a step in the right direction in my mind. For our son's sake. I know that C needs a father with a healthy attitude about sex and some sort of respect for the opposite sex. Dating for the STBX might help him achieve that. Then again, maybe not. As I said, what he does with dating really doesn't phase me. I say "Cheers!" to him and sincerely wish him happy hunting.

I also know that I am ready because I know where my boundaries are and feel that I'm confident enough to voice them if necessary. I want to date; I don't want a rebound. I may be single of the mind and heart, but on paper I'm separated. And until I can check the box for "divorced" without any handwritten annotations, I am smart enough to know that I don't want my Facebook status to read "It's Complicated". Complicated does not belong on this journey toward wonderful.

If I really do meet Mr. Wonderfully-Right-For-Me before my divorce is final, he'll wait it out. He'll take it slow. He'll respect me and my boundaries. Resolving the issues of my marriage: why I said "I do" in the first place and what led to its fast dissolution, has given me both the wisdom and courage to know that is what I deserve from a man at this stage in the game. And that right there is the biggest argument of all that I can make as to why I am ready to put myself out there. Single? There is no question about it. I'm just ready.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Views of Mine

I'm really busy these days. "Duh", you say? Yeah, I know.

Holidays = busy

Christmas = Stressmas

First quarter-end deadline at the Patent Office since leaving VA and my failed marriage = motivation to go lay out on the frozen blacktop naked and hope that when a truck runs me over, I've already died from a stress-induced stroke.

But alas, I am trying to embrace the joy of the season. Remember?

So, to get back in the mood of all that wondefulness and such, I figured I would share with you a few "views" of mine that always seem to make me smile. When I see these things, I am instantly redirected and somehow freed from whatever it is that's trying to drag me off my path towards starting over living wonderful.

My backyard view at the house I'm renting. 
Getting up at the crack of dawn isn't really so bad when this is the view out the kitchen window. Oh and drinking coffee while viewing increases the wow factor, I tell you! 

This is J, my over-excited and full-of-love dog. 
She is my BFF. Even if I do have to pick up her poop. Since I work from home, we are inseparable and she fairs worse off when left somewhere without me than my 15 month old son does. Most days, she is my shadow and I trip over her a lot. Which is amazing to me, really, because she is 90 freakin' pounds of sweetness laying right behind me. How do I not see her? 

The decorated tree. 
Mostly because I view putting it up and decorating it all by my lonesome as a triumph in the divorce process. I am proud of the progress I've made so far and my decorated Christmas tree is a symbol of my accomplishments towards living wonderful.

C and J "bonding". 
I'm calling it that to fool my brain. As cute as they are together,it is very hard not to think of all the disgusting grossness that it really actually is when my son shares his food with the so not starving dog. I've recently witnessed C holding out a cracker to J for her to lick, and then continuing to munch on it himself after she's effectively frosted his snack in dog slobber. 

My child, fast asleep. 
I don't really think I need to explain this one to anyone out there reading this that is a mother, single or not. When my child is asleep, it's pure heaven. Seriously, I swear that I can hear angels singing and see doves flying around my house while everything, including the dirty dishes in the sink and unkempt counters, is wrapped in a cloudy beautiful haze.

Well, I hope my views have enlightened you as much as they do me. Well, maybe that isn't quite possible per se. More realistically, I hope at least one of my views made you smile. Just sharing them with you made me smile and feel all happy and stuff. That's what I call wonderful!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breakup 101, Episode 2

Don't just survive the holidays post break-up. Thrive. Embrace them. Enjoy yourself, your friends and your family.

I know, you're thinking "Yeah, right!" with an enthusiastic "As If!" eye roll and maybe a hand gesture or two straight out of Clueless circa 1995. But hear me out.  I also thought similar advice read over at Divorced Before 30 was a bunch of horseshit. I could not wrap my head around the 2011 Holiday Season being anything but miserable. How could I possibly embrace the "joy" of the season in the midst of the divorce process?  Over the last month and a half, I've been determined to somehow figure it out. Here's what I've learned so far, in no particular order:

1.) Give yourself plenty of time to face those first Holidays post break-up. Accept that they are coming well in advance. Don't bury your head in the sand or hide under the covers refusing to wake up and smell the hot chocolate. 

The first thing I did was put my Christmas tree up a week after Halloween. I thought I was crazy, and so did some of my friends, but I just knew that I needed the extra few weeks to really accept that this holiday season would be my first as a single mom. So, I put C to bed one night, drank two glasses of wine and then proceeded to drag the 9 foot pre-lit fakeness that the STBX and I had bought together last year -- that I wanted nothing other than to light on fire, watch burn and then send the charred remains through a wood chipper (or the fake tree equivalent) -- well, I dragged that sucker in its huge box up an entire flight of stairs while ascending backwards on my ass so that I wouldn't fall with it and break my neck. I swear I wasn't drunk. That beast was heavy!

Once it was up in my living room, I felt pretty damn proud of myself.

I stood back, admired my talents at assembling the tree all-by-my-superwoman-self, drank another glass of wine and then went to bed. And it stood like that in my living room, properly gated off from the destructiveness that is my toddler, for a good solid week before I could bring myself to put any ornaments on it. I think I had to get used to seeing it on a day-to-day basis to actually accept that no matter what changes I might be going through in my personal life, the holidays were coming around whether I liked it or not.

2) Get rid of old sentimental keepsakes, ornaments etc. and buy one or two new holiday keepsakes to celebrate moving on and your new life. 

OK, so I'll be honest and admit that I haven't exactly gotten "rid" of the bride and groom ornaments I collected over the last couple of years. But I did take them out of my ornament box, wrap them in tissue paper and stick them in a drawer I never open with a few other things I plan on sending back to the STBX some day. I'm actually thinking of sending them to him this year with a card as a Christmas "gift" so that he'll have to deal with the emotions tied to them too, but I can't decide if that will be healing for me in some way, or just too vindictive and mean to even be healthy.

I did hang this ornament on the tree and I must say, it is now my favorite and the most meaningful to me. Moving back to New England to be near friends and family during this time in my life after being in Virginia for 6.5 years with the STBX has been the best decision I could have made so far in the divorce process.

4) Watch a holiday movie, purely for laughs, that is NOT a love story. If it makes you smile, laugh and forget about the misery that you're been going through at all, watch it a few more times between now and New Years.  

I've chosen "Elf" as my replaying movie this season (haha, "smiling's my favorite!"). Another holiday classic that would do just fine for this purpose is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". I'm sure there are more, but I'm not really a movie buff and you probably get my point.

5) Avoid "Black Friday" shopping and any other hot and crowded display of consumer American craziness like the plague.  Do all your shopping either online or at off peak hours in not-so-popular stores. 

You're post break-up and you don't have the energy, patience or will to properly deal with stupid people or crowds with an ounce of class or any manners. 'Nuff said. You will loose your shit on an incompetent check out woman, who doesn't know how to enter in your Kohl's cash, and instead charges the full amount to your credit card causing the other shoppers in line behind you to wonder just how recently you were let out of the insane asylum and if they should maybe switch lines. This is of course, just a fabrication, and not at all what happened to me recently while out shopping with my cranky toddler in tow among 10,000 other batshit crazy people with too many coupons that don't know how to drive. *sigh*

Failure to heed the above advice will cause you to fall a week or two behind in your acceptance of the approaching holidays and could derail all efforts to actually embrace them.

6.) Know that you are not the lowest scum of the earth if you don't send out holiday cards this year. Tell everyone you've gone tree-hugger and are giving the Earth the ultimate gift by saving trees for Christmas.  

And if you do send out a card, pick something simple and generic foregoing the family photo and/or the newsletter-like update on your now single status. Your lone name on the sentiment will be plenty self-explanatory. Find joy in the fact that your "send to" list has been dramatically reduced automatically. If you want to reduce your list further, only send cards out to those who actually send you a card. If I follow this last bit of advice myself, so far I'm sending out less than twenty cards compared to the eighty or so sent out last year. That is called winning, my friends.

7) Experience the magic of the season through the eyes of a little one. 

Whether it is your own kiddo, a niece or nephew or you have to borrow the experience of children from a friend etc., watch one kid's eyes light up while watching the 1964 television special "Ruldolph" for the first time, or after sitting on Santa's lap at the mall, and your heart will instantly warm.  For me, its been seeing my son's awe of our decorated tree that has helped me to not scoff off the magic of the season. I don't have any chance of him sitting with Santa for at least a few more years given the fear-induced meltdown we experienced at the mall a couple of weekends ago, so his amazement with our tree will have to do for now.

So, that's all I've figured out so far. I made it through Thanksgiving without gaining any weight, have simplified my holiday season "to-do's", tried to have some patience with myself in the process and am still working on embracing the joy of the season as best I can. If not for me, at least for my son. My focus is purely on him and not me, because the true meaning for this time of year is about being thankful and sharing with the ones you love. And the love I have for him is something to be celebrated, married or not. Divorced or not. With or without Santa.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Wounded Wife

In a chapter of the the book The Silent War called "The Wounded Wife,"author Henry Rogers reprints "Emily's Story". I’m posting it here because I am not ready to share my own story of my porn addicted husband and this one does a pretty wonderful job of putting my feelings about the experience into perspective.

Monday, December 5, 2011

When bombs explode

The STBX and I conceived a baby on our wedding night. It was totally not planned. We were going to wait a couple of years to have kids actually, so when I was a few days late less than three weeks after we came home from the wedding, I nearly had a heart attack! My shock and fear quickly melted into surprising bliss and excitement and by the time we went for our first sonogram, I was already in love with the tiny being growing inside of me. I thought it was the most romantic thing in the world to conceive a child the night we got married. The STBX wasn't exactly as thrilled as I was, but he seemed genuinely happy about the change of plans after the initial shock wore off. Seemed.

I remember driving to our sonogram appointment like it was yesterday. I can hear our conversation and laughter in my ears. I can feel my slightly bloated 9-week stomach under my hands. I can smell the car. It’s like the memory is as real to my senses as the present moment is. We were both grinning from ear to ear and talking about how excited we were to hear the heart beat and catch a first glimpse of our precious baby. He was driving and I kept leaning over to kiss him and be affectionate. We hadn’t argued at all in weeks. Things were going great and I remember thinking to myself, “I knew we would be better after the wedding nonsense was over! And now we are going to have a baby; Life can’t get much better than this!”

I had no idea about the bomb that was just waiting to go off on us at the doctor’s office.

I remember lying there half naked, exposed, the STBX on one side of me and the nurse on the other. The doctor kept moving the wand around and around searching, but there was no baby on the screen no matter how many uncomfortable swirls up towards my uterus he tried. The silence was deafening as we all stared at the empty screen for what seemed like forever. I remember squinting my eyes over and over again to fight back the tears and maybe try and will what I felt in my heart to exist to just appear before us on the screen. Nothing happened. After an eternity of staring at nothing, I just started wailing over and over again “Where is my baby? Where is my baby?” until I was convulsing in hysterical sobs. The poor nurse tried to comfort me, because honestly, the STBX didn’t really understand the implications of the doctor saying phrases like “empty gestational sac” and “blighted ovum” right away. He was like a deer in headlights staring at me and didn’t know what to do. I would like to think that he was horrified and scared. I would like to think that in the chaos of such an emotional bomb going off on us, thoughts like "You're actually not going to have a baby" overwhelmed him and broke his heart. 

But, such was not the case at all.  In time, I learned that his inability to comfort me in a way that should have been naturally reflexive in response to our newly built dream blowing up in our faces had to do with his inability to have empathy for me and what I was experiencing. He couldn't empathize with my devastation. With my grief.  I learned this definitively after I went through the traumatic ordeal of a D&C to medically handle the miscarriage a few days later, and he acted like taking the day off of work to bring me to the surgery center was a huge inconvenience to him. We argued the morning of and he basically admitted to me in the heat of the moment that he barely viewed the loss as anything more than one would view a glass of spilled milk. And he wasted no time telling me to “get over it all ready” a week after the surgery. I was still bleeding when his heartless words cut me like a knife to the heart. 

I didn't know what to think after that. In the aftermath, I wasn't just heartbroken over losing a baby that we hadn't even planned for, but I was heartbroken because it was painfully obvious that the man I married wasn't there for me the first time I, as his wife, needed him to be a strong and supportive husband. It was our first test as a married couple, and I couldn't ignore the fact that we had failed. For some reason, I trudged onward anyway thinking that something else would come along in our lives to fill the void created by his lack of empathy. Nothing ever did.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

30 is the new 20. At least it's mine.

This morning, I stumbled over to Elizabeth Tannen's bog post, "The End of the Twenties: An Ode" and had a sort of revelation.

In my marriage, I too was excited, enthused and eager to turn 30. I wasn't scared at all and I didn't feel old. I felt like I was just living, and feeling fantastic at that. I was doing it all. I had my career and my man, our dream home and our first son all bundled up and ready to move on forward with me from the disasters and stress that come with living in my twenties into the tranquility that seemed to await me in my thirties. In my twenties, I spent most of my energies trying to figure it all out and now going into my thirties, being married and settled down, I obviously had succeeded and could just relax, right?


In my twenties, I had sort of defined myself. Through trail and error of the course of a decade, I had learned that I was confident, out-spoken, kind of an internet social media junkie and more passionate about my stance on various topics than I was at 18 or 19. I was happy (or so I thought) and knew that I controlled my own destiny (or so I thought). I also thought that as long as I had the stability and comfort of my marriage, I -- and effectively, we as a family -- could get through anything.  I thought I knew where I stood with others, especially with my husband and our love for one another and our child (and any future children), and I was set to work out all of my flaws as the next part of learning to grow and succeed in life. I was done with figuring myself out. I was ready to fine-tune the wonderful that was me. I was done with carving out a path for myself, but instead ready to decorate where I was at in each moment in time and with every step on each road of the journey I had started.


Most of what I thought turned out to just be so wrong, words can't even describe just how wrong.

Now that my marriage has failed, I'm not as excited or enthused to be turning 30. It's like I'll be perpetually stuck in the mind-set of my twenties because with the separation and an impending divorce, it's as if I am now on a journey of re-definition for myself. I'm still the same confident, out-spoken and passionate woman and mother ... but everything I had come to know and think about what lie ahead for me has been erased. The road map of my life is completely different than I expected and I have to figure it all out again.

Sometimes, just thinking about that part, the figuring it all out again part, is just exhausting. I don't have the same energy that I did a decade ago. But I do have more drive and more focus. I tend not to waste time and, let's face it, you waste a lot of time in your twenties. I'm a 29 year-old about-to-turn 30 single working mother, I don't have time to waste.  I'm starting over at 30 and feel hardly different at all than I when I was 20. Well, minus the stretch marks, laugh lines and lack of confidence in at least knowing that I can and will be wonderful no.matter.what.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Show me the money!

In the short two months (almost) that have flown by since the STBX and I officially separated, I have already accumulated $1,800 in attorney fees. How the? That's about $34/day for my attorney and the only thing that's been handled to completion is our custody agreement. We have joint legal custody, I have primary physical custody and it was agreed that I could relocate with C as it was in his best interest (there is that phrase again!). My attorney handled the custody agreement and relocation provision with flair, finesse and most importantly, efficiency. It was signed within a week and a half of our separation and subsequently filed with the court.

That's it.

That's all that has been settled. For an initial $1,200 retainer and an additional $600 for the next phase. You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When you're jealous of your married friends,

... tell them. It brings humility to the situation and will prevent you from seething with resentment.  If they love you and are close friends that you can count on, they'll understand and love you even more for your honesty.

Within a year or so of my engagement, two of my close girlfriends had also gotten engaged. Our weddings were within the same time frame two years later. We all had babies soon into our marriage; all three of us had boys. You could call us the three musketeers, but we were never all "buddy buddy" like that and we each live in a different state. I'm actually surprised that I've been able to maintain a solid friendship with them given the distance issue.  I have ADHD and maintaining friendships is not my strong point normally, let alone when there are hundreds of miles of physical separation involved.  It's not that I'm an inconsiderate bitch or an un-loyal confidant, I'm just absent minded and tend to live in the moment. If you aren't in my face on a regular basis, literally, I struggle with maintaining meaningful contact. Normally. But not with these girls and maybe one or two other select individuals in my life.

Anyway, both of my good long-distance friends are now pregnant with baby number two. I've known about one for awhile (she is due in March) and I just found out about the other this morning (she is due in July). While I am incredibly happy for them both and extend congratulations sincerely, my immediate reaction to hearing the news each time was for my eyes to turn green with envy and then fill up with tears.

The root of jealousy is fear, I've been told ... so I guess I should just sit down and and say outright that I am freaked the f* out about my future. I don't know when or even if I'll ever have another baby. And that scares the crap out of me. It is what I am most angry and disappointed about when it comes to the abomination that was my marriage. I am trying to start over wonderful and I know that in order to do that I must try to remain positive and trudge onward and upward. But I sometimes can't help it if my brain turns to a mush of nothing but toxic-thought soup.

I was an only child until I was seven. My two siblings, that I love dearly and that I don't ever think of as anything BUT my full-fledged sister and full-fledged brother are in fact, my half sister and half brother. We have different fathers.  Growing up, I longed for a sibling closer in age to me because not only was being the built-in babysitter a total drag, but I was lonely and sometimes resented that they had a Dad and I didn't. Because of all that, I never wanted C to have such a big age gap between him and any future siblings. And I definitely didn't bring him into this world thinking that he would be from a broken home someday. The STBX and I were going to start TTC baby number two this spring, but that plan blew up in my pretty little face before I even tracked a single ovulation cycle post breastfeeding. I actually just found the charts I had printed up from the other day while unpacking some more boxes in my office and I promptly sent them through the shredder.

I feel like I've been cheated out of my dreams for both myself and C. It sucks royal monkey butt and I am scared.

I'm also nervous and apprehensive about what will happen to my friendships with all of my married friends. With the announcement of a second pregnancy and hearing about other friends doing other married-life things, I'm forced to wonder where I will stand with such people as their lives continue to evolve in holy matrimony while I start over as a divorced single mom. It is almost like trying to stay friends with the childless after you've had a baby. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out if you're not on the same page with people.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Liars are thieves.

A lot of people have asked me what caused the dissolution of my marriage. A lot of people are nosy, I guess. But if I'm going to share here and on my Facebook page about going through divorce and starting over wonderful, I probably should explain, at least partially, how my fairy tale turned into a nightmare in just about 2 years flat.

Going into the relationship, I already knew the STBX struggled on and off with drinking issues. I naively thought that my love for him and my strength was enough to keep it under wraps. Especially since we broke up years ago for about eight months total time and he had gone above and beyond during that break-up to convince me that I would never again be made to feel like alcohol was more important than I was ever again. Us being together was the second chance; the second time around. I thought those demons were behind us. I thought wrong (obviously, duh) and I learned through our engagement and into the first part of our marriage that the drinking and the issues surrounding it were just the tip of the iceberg.  Yes, I'll admit now that I had doubts while we were still engaged. There were red flags and I stupidly ignored them. I made excuses for him and for myself and I carried on with wedding plans despite it all. I was an idiot and fell prey to almost every rationale in this article as to why I got hitched anyway when I should have ditched.  

The biggest problem in my marriage, that I can see anyway from my perspective (because of course, there are two people in a marriage and there are two sides to ever "story"), was that the STBX was a stranger to the truth. He was a liar and a manipulator. He played with me, for more reasons that I'll probably ever know. Most of all, it was because he was selfish. And probably also because he wanted to have some sort of control over me, the natural type-A controller. He lied to me about everything in the end. He would lie to me about things that were important (like where half of his paycheck was going and what credit cards he was opening without my knowledge) and he would lie to me about things that weren't important (like what he had had for lunch that day). The "iceberg" we were standing on together was a melting rock of lies that melted out from under us as time ticked on. And granted, with every lie uncovered my need to chip away at the berg some more in a desperate attempt to find any bit of truth I could just grew and grew until I became a police woman in my own home. It brought out the worst in me and was fuel to whatever dysfunctional fire existed in me. It made me crazy. It made me think I was going crazy. It made me lose sense of reality and my sense of self. And it made me angry. It made me so angry, I started to wonder if I would ever be happy again since the anger was all encompassing.

The STBX and his lies stole from me. Stole my confidence in both the life we had built together and in myself. Took away any ounce of trust that ever existed between us and replaced trust with suspicion, doubt and paranoia.  Because that's what a liar does. A liar is the same as a thief except what they are ultimately stealing from you isn't material, it's emotional. It isn't physical, but instead is only your perception of the physical and actual.  A liar steals reality from you and holds it in the web of deception they spin around you until you are lost in a sticky mess to the point of no return. Until you don't even trust yourself or your own emotions.

Liars are thieves.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I may be the one that left, but it still hurts.

For the record, yes I am starting over and the goal is indeed to start over "wonderful", whatever that may mean. But this blogging crap is supposed to be a journey to get there and I should probably warn you now ... I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about half the time or even where I am exactly on this journey towards wonderful.  Sometimes, I'm driving ahead full throttle with the rear-view mirror torn off while C happily babbles behind me in his car seat. The windows are down, the wind is in my hair and commercial-free radio plays all of my favorite songs. And we are just fine. Other times, I'm broken down on the side of the road with a flat tire, no spare and a cell phone with no signal. Oh and C is with me and he's hungry and/or tired and I'm more-than-likely out of fresh diapers. Most of the time, I think I'm just making wrong turns and getting the direction towards where ever wonderful actually is completely confused.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it will be my first holiday on this new journey. It will be my first big social gathering with family without the STBX by my side. And I'm sure there will be questions that I don't want to answer and discussions that I'm more than sick of having, and all the while the only thing I really need is the sympathy and compassion we as humans always tend to give the dumpee and not the dumper in these situations. Because I'm hurting too. The only difference between the pain I'm going through right now and the pain the STBX might be going through is that I've been experiencing the emotional hell that comes with being abandoned since I was 6 months pregnant with our son and he's only just now experiencing it.

Frankly, I am sick of hurting and know that it is time to get beyond the hurt. Separating right before the holidays has to be the only part of leaving that I didn't think through all that well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The child's "best interests"

I have said, read and written about the "best interests" of my son, C, so many times in the last three days, it's as if the phrase is on repeat in my brain the same way that damn Adele's, "Someone Like You" was stuck last week. And, for the record, I hate that song. If I ever date again, I'll be trying to find a man that is nothing like the STBX. But that's another blog post for another day ...

Anyway, where was I going with this?

What does it mean, exactly, when a parent, lawyer or courts say that something is or isn't in a child's "best interest"? As much as I use this phrase in my day-to-day battles with the STBX, I might only partly know what it means and my opinion is probably (more than likely) at least partially biased given that I grew C inside me, gave birth to him (when was the last time you pushed something the size of a bowling ball out of your vagina?) and subsequently fell in love with him so deeply I suddenly can't breathe whenever I am forced to even think about him being in any sort of harm.

I'm currently at the early stages of visitation disagreements with the STBX. We don't have a court ordered agreement in place yet and it is about to get ugly. In short, I am seeking supervised visitation and I have contingency requests. My ideas of what is appropriate given the circumstances lands me oh say, on the east coast of the continental United States, if you wanted to equate where I am with all of this to a geographical location. The STBX doesn't just want overnights, he wants them to start right away, after months of not seeing our son, and he wants 2-3 nights at a time. This is without disputing my desire for supervision or most of the evidence available supporting my contingencies.  So basically, his ideas of what is appropriate given the circumstances land him, geographically speaking in relation to me, not on the west coast ... not in China ... not even on Mars. He's in another galaxy where the alien life forms he's walking around with raise their alien babies through plate-glass bubbles while machines beat the kiddos with whips.

Needless to say, I've been communicating feverishly with my attorney, with my family and even with the STBX's parents about our one year old son's "best interests" being safeguarded through this process.  Discussions about the mental stability of the STBX have also taken place, along with lots of swearing to myself, stressing and feeling terrified about the possible court battles that lie ahead and forgetting to eat lunch both days so far this week.

Anyway, back to my point. What exactly am I trying to protect? (Oh and pardon me for the randomness in my writing today, but due to the disastrously horrendous timing of the current national drug shortages, my ADHD is totally under-medicated at the moment and stress is high).

I am trying to protect my sweet and sensitive innocent child's "best interests". The best interests of the child. My child. My baby. To me, any pre-verbal child in diapers is still a baby. Call him a toddler if you will, but toddlers are just bigger babies that can walk, climb and get into everything you've thought you baby-proofed.

To start trying to asses what the phrase on repeat in my head actually means, I would have to first argue that yes, my son's rights do necessarily include a loving, stable and supportive relationship with both of his parents; but what may or may not be right doesn't automatically equate to what is in his best interests. Not always, anyway.  And it would seem obvious, to most individuals with some basic parental instinct and common sense, that what is best for the child would trump either parent's desires and needs with regards to their relationships with the child.

Fundamentally, my son's mental, emotional and physical well being is the basic determination of what may or may not be in his "best interests". On a deeper level, his age, maturity, and both intellectual and emotional development impact those basics. No matter how biased I may be as his mother, no one is going to be able to convince me that spending the night away from me, away from his home and stable routines, and ripped from his sense of security at the precious age of 14 months is in his "best interests".

So far, at least the STBX's parents are in agreement with me and with other experts about the potential harm and risks at stake given the current circumstances and C's age, development thus far and his high-needs temperament (I've read the Dr. Sears The Fussy Baby Book so many times, the cover fell off).  Last I heard, the STBX's parents are in the process of sending a retrieval spaceship to whatever galaxy of insane the STBX seems to be residing on these days before things get out of hand.  I anticipate a crash landing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I miss my cleaning service.

When my marriage was on the rocks, I convinced the STBX that we get a cleaning service. I had wanted one for a long time, but couldn't justify the money until I was a working Mom with an infant and a less than supportive husband.  The biweekly cleaning service started concurrent with the biweekly marriage counseling and I miss the former now as much as I loathed the latter then.

Something has got to give somewhere or I am not sleeping for at least another year.

Maybe when my divorce becomes final, I'll actually find the time to sleep and get everything done. For now, I am struggling trying to keep up with everything I want to do, everything I have to do and those pesky things I ought to do. And it just occurred to me, writing that sentence out, that that is the order of which I have been doing most things these days. My emotions have been on such a roller coaster ride since I packed up my son, dog and life and moved 400+ miles from my marital "home" in VA back to my real home, where I was born and raised. Doing things that appeal to me over things that need or ought to get done has been my way of dealing, I guess ... and that needs to stop. Like, yesterday.

The act of physically separating took three weeks between packing, moving, unpacking (somewhat) and finding C suitable daycare near the house I am renting. So that leaves me entering the holiday season about three weeks behind with work, living in a house only about two thirds of the way unpacked and less than halfway cleaned to my standard of clean, trying to manage the paperwork aspects of the short sale of said marital "home" and the beginning stages of our divorce (did I mention that I have ADHD and piles of unfilled paperwork are my nemesis?)  .... and all while being a full-time single Mom ...

Until I sit down and figure out a new budget and future savings plan, I can't even think about hiring a cleaning service. But seriously, I need a house manager to take care of all the stuff that needs to get done in order for me to sit down and figure out my budget.  And I know without even looking at all of my bills that winning the lottery is a more likely scenario than the fantasy where I can afford to pay someone to take care of all my piles of crap and do things like order, address and mail out Christmas cards.

It is a catch-22 and this blog post is nothing but me procrastinating from doing something that needs to get done. Once again, I chose to do something I wanted to do because it made me feel better for a fleeting moment. As soon as I push "publish" that moment will be gone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breakup 101, Episode 1: Change your bed karma

Change your bed karma.

After struggling to fall asleep every single night for the first week of my separation, I went out to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought myself, not just new sheets, but new sheets, a new down comforter, a new duvet cover, new pillowcases and 4 new pillows.  And I bought the most girly and silky-satin feeling ones I could find, not because I usually am all that girly with my home decor, but just because I could. Frankly, I didn't care if I ended up spending (or rather, charging) $1,000 dollars (I only spent $600, and I only charged half) ... but I was leaving that store with an entire new place to fall asleep no matter what.

No matter how many times I washed the old sheets and blankets, they still smelled like him. Two of the pillow cases still had bleached out smears from the prescription face wash he sometimes used for the strange scalp acne he had on the back of his head. And I couldn't wash out the memories.

In my new sheets, under my warm comforter that he never would have allowed due to being one who sleeps way too hot (like, think human radiator), with my head on fresh pillows that he hasn't ever laid his head on to dream, I feel free to dream new dreams. Free to make new memories, even if most of them these day only involve waking up at 4 AM to a dog who snores and hogs the bed and a 14 month old little munchkin who does the same.  I've changed my bed karma, literally and metaphorically, and unlike Miranda from Sex and the City ("If you build it, he will come") I'm not looking for anyone new to share it with. There isn't any room.

No longer lonely

I came the realization this week that part of why I'm "doing well" or "better" so soon into the separation phase of my divorce is because even though I am alone (romantically, anyway) I am no longer lonely.

In my marriage, I was so incredibly lonely towards the end. Why is that? I'm not really sure and I don't know if I can define it, but I'll try. It is hard to describe or even define loneliness because not only is it subjective, but its also relative.  Even though most dictionaries broadly assert loneliness as being synonymous with feelings brought on by a person simply being alone, most psychologist experts would more specifically define it as a subjective deficit in the quality and/or quantity of social relationships resulting in unpleasant feelings such as a gnawing or aching distress and dissatisfaction of attachments or lack thereof. And I'm pretty sure that feelings of loneliness are intricately linked with a depressive state for the person who is feeling lonely.  Like the two feelings, although distinct, overlap one another.

The relationship I had with my STBX became so dissatisfying that feeling lonely even when we were together all the time became the number one emotion I experienced on a daily basis. Since he was lying to me regularly, the lines of communication started to fail and I didn't trust him any more. Not being able to trust him, made me feel more alone than I ever felt in my life. Not being able to communicate with him, made me feel alone. It got to the point where he would look me in the eye and lie to me, and I would immediately know that he was a million miles away, and I would feel the loneliness just wash over me in a way that the ocean tide does when you stand at the water's edge, feet dug into the sand, kind of stuck there on the edge of the world with nothing out in front of you but empty water.

My STBX was a classic procrastinator, manipulator and blamer who never kept his word. He would say what I wanted to hear to appease me, but then hardly follow through with reliable actions that matched up to his words. He was insincere and it compounded my loneliness.

Now that I have left him, I am alone in the world with just my son and my dog in the day-to-day, but I don't feel lonely. Probably because I have walked away from a marriage where the actual quality of the relationship we had didn't line up with my expectations or dreams for that relationship. I am not disappointed on a daily basis because the only person I rely on for fulfillment right now is myself. I cultivate the quality of my relationship with myself and I am satisfied with all that I am doing to start over wonderful. Wonderful and anything but lonely.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Divorce + Facebook = Trouble?

In light of my recent separation and impending divorce (and some recent drama, I might add), I just finished de-friending and subsequently blocking my STBX and every single member of his family on Facebook.  It felt so liberating. Kind of like growing your hair out for years, pulling it up into a ponytail at the crown of your head and then just cutting it off in one big swoop with the sharpest scissors you can get your hands on.  My head feels lighter; less weighed down; and almost as if I can actually hold it up a little higher. Who knows if being "friends" with my STBX or his family members would allow him to find out information that could be used against me in court, but I'm not taking any chances.  Whatever you share online these days can (and will be) used against you in court.

Now that I've picked the weeds and cleaned up my friend-list, I am free to post stuff like, "So relieved to be free from that lying, manipulative, porn-addicted DRUNK bastard!!" etc. without having to worry about receiving an e-mail from some offended ex-law that I probably never liked in the first place.  Not that I would post stuff like that regularly, but it is nice to know that what I am posting, sharing and liking on Facebook is no longer being watched by "the other side".

My MIL and STBX are now complaining, however, that they can't see pictures of C as often as they would like (I am a freelance photographer on the side, so I post a substantial number of pictures of my little man on a regular basis).  I don't know how to remedy this for them and don't really know if I should. Sure, I can send a picture here and there by e-mail, but share my personal photography -- my craft, my art -- with them as often as I upload it to Facebook? I really don't think I'm obligated to do that. I haven't responded to my MIL regarding the pictures sharing, but I did tell my STBX that if he wanted pictures of our son to take some himself when and if he ever gets visitation. He, of course, would have to file for visitation to get it and he hasn't yet. It's been five long weeks and no visitation request has been filed ... its sad, really. Maybe he was using my Facebook page as a way to "visit" with our son and now that he can't see pictures of him anymore that will be just the motivation he needs to actually get up and do something about setting up visitation. I won't hold my breath. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I was married. I'm now separated. I will be divorced.

Welcome to my blog!

I am a 29 year old single mother to a beautiful, smart and thriving one year old boy (who I will refer to as "C" here) and a overly-friendly (and over-sized) female lab mix (who I will refer to as "J" here). I'll be turning 30 and getting a divorce within the same year. I figured a blog would be an excellent way for me to turn the train wreck of my life into something positive. A way for me to document starting over at a time where most people are just settling down. Ultimately, it will be a way for me to heal and to grow into the most wonderful version of me possible.

"I'm not interested in moneyI just want to be wonderful." ~ Marilyn Monroe 

A month ago today, I woke up and swallowed the cold hard pill of my reality. I had fallen in love with and married a bad person. That's all there was to it. And I was so sick and tired of being the only person in the relationship actually trying to make it work, it was exactly the right dosage of acceptance that I needed to get the hell out. I had had one too many days of misery; of abuse; of mind games and gas-lighting. Of arguing. I was sick of being made to feel like material things were more important than me. More important than our son. I was sick of the drinking and the porn addiction, and I was especially sick of the lying. I knew that the only way to get better was to leave. It was as if I swallowed the cold hard truth of what really was going on and washed it down with tall glass of common sense and self respect.  I decided to finally start respecting myself again and with that new-found self respect, I climbed out of a moldering stew of dysfunction. I am going to learn to live again. I am escaping destruction at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath. I will be free and I will be wonderful. I will be more than wonderful.

Editor's Note:  To find out more about who writes this stuff, please head over to my about page, "Who is Phenom?". 

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