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Location: Wisconsin, United States

"There is a secret set within each of our hearts...It is simply the desire for life as it was meant to be... Seasons may pass until it surfaces again. And though it seems to taunt us, and may at times cause us great pain, we know when it returns that it is priceless. For if we could recover this desire, unearth it from beneath all other distractions, and embrace it as our deepest treasure, we would discover the secret of our existance." -John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Ickies

For a while now, I've been waking up feeling empty and icky. Is it Mr. Boyfriend and the loss of hope for the romantic side of our relationship? Is it my cat and the fact that he's probably no longer alive? Is it the loss of my job? How 'bout divorce and the subcatagories of that? Is it money?

It's all of it. Yesterday it was divorce stuff. This morning it's Mr. Boyfriend. We are officially just friends. Should I find some other name for him? Not yet. A friend of mine suggested that what I am mourning is the loss of hope for something wonderful with him. This is accurate.

Get this: I chatted with him last night and told him how I was feeling. I did not mention the loss of our relationship because I was TALKING to him, so obviously I haven't lost him. Only I have, in another sense. He said that he woke up with the ickies that morning, also.

(Big sigh.)

I put a call in to him, suggesting that perhaps we should talk about this, if nothing else so I know if I'm just supposed to pretend when I talk to him that I don't feel this way. I have no clue as to how this game is played. I'm dumb when it comes to game playing. I can win a putting-my-head-in-the-sand contest, hands down, but I can't play games. How am I going to survive out there in the big world by myself? A therapist once told me, actually told me, that I should go take an acting class. If I feel something it's on my face. If I'm cognizant of a feeling, I usually talk about it. An acting class, indeed.

Additionally, there are more subtle changes going on in me. As a result of....not sure. For the last few years I have had a number of male friends. They have all gotten involved in serious relationships and so we don't really spend any time together anymore. I've always had male friends. The thing is, I'm really not interested in creating new friendships with men. This is a first.

I wonder a few things: I know that eight years ago, when my ex had his first affair, I came in contact with a true, well, bitch. Not to say that is all this woman is, but she was terribly bitchy to me and I did not deserve it. I had never dealt with a woman like that before. I think we learn that kind of bitchiness in Highschool. My friends were not like that, they were more like me. Straightforward. If we didn't like someone we just stopped communicating. We didn't gouge each others eyes out. I never learned to cope with women like this. I refuse to BE like that.

Well, not so for the infamous Sheri. She was an eye gouging, nail scratching woman. It hurt me. There is a code that I thought existed. Obviously, this was terribly dumb and innocent, but what did I know? Somehow I managed to be dumb and innocent. I thought other woman's husbands were off limits. He was the father of my children. In addition to the ex breaking my trust, my view of women as a whole, changed. I no longer trusted them. Sorry, girls.

Then, of course, there was the violence in my home, which I couldn't exactly talk about, so close friendships were few and far between, anyway.

Now, I find myself wanting to join other women in whatever it is they do when they are being social. Caring for children, scrapbooking, whatever. I want to expand my female circle of friends because I can. I'm finding that I like women. This is new. It may be bizarre that this is new, but it is.

So men are pretty much not of interest unless I'll be dating them. Will I accept a new friendship if it comes along? From a male? You bet. I'm not cutting off half the population. But ultimately, what we are all looking for is a mate. A mate should naturally take up much of the time that friends do, once that mate is found. As is the case with my current male friends. I'm kind of just shooting myself in the foot if I go that route, because eventually I'll get thrown over for someone that'll put out, right?

Right. As for Mr. Boyfriend; I'm confused. Perhaps I shouldn't have made that call. Ah, heck. Why hide who I am anymore? This is the forest I'm lost in. Games, honesty or something in the middle?

Life on my terms requires honesty. I guess I'll go that route.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Further Deconstruction

I  wake with hollow grief etched upon my heart,
Loss found me in my new life, unsuspecting.

New life.  Perhaps that is the trouble.
We drag the old along with us, regardless
     of the choices we make
New love, new job, new clothes, new diet

They sit around a campfire, the four of them
She in my spot.
They laugh, drink wine, cook.
     The things that people do in an environment like this.
They took my life, my value, and threw it in the garbage
     Traded me in. I was replaceable.

I no longer hate him. I have recognized how I felt
     Why I stayed.
Now, instead, I hate her.
Feel betrayed by the rest.  
What was once my family, is gone.
     Will now be her family.
     Regardless of their dysfunction, I loved them.

So I move through the days, with this hole in my heart.
He is gleeful that he has what he wants.
This woman. His family. Time to make money.
     Time to spend it.
I matter not. 15 years matter not.
Only to me.

So I build my own campfire.
I sit alone. I pour myself a glass of wine.
Wishing I was with them. Not him. Never him.
     He is not a wish of mine any longer.
But his family who used to be my family and are not now…
I still wish for them. I hurt as I let them go.

One more loss in the deconstruction of divorce.

Betrayal and a Clean Garage

I have to get something off my chest.

My former sister and brother-in-law are spending the weekend with my ex and his girlfriend. I am really, really having a tough time with this. It stings. No matter what I do, that hurt won't go away. It feels like another betrayal. I know it is not. It is simply life moving on.

But she wanted everything I had. She wanted a relationship with my kids. She wanted my spouse. She wanted his family. She got it all.

I don't much care about the spouse part anymore. But the rest of it made me feel lonely. I used to have a much larger family. Half of it is gone. It hurts that people can turn their back on you that quickly and to someone who deliberately set out to destroy a part of thier own family. But I am not that anymore. Not family. After nearly two decades they can replace me in a heart beat.

Mr. Boyfriend came over tonight and helped me clean out my garage. I think I am even more confused then I was before. I do not get the impression that he wants me emotionally, but more that he's looking for me to scratch the proverbial sexual itch. And be friends. I have managed to attain some semblence of distance from him emotionally and if I were to get involved with him physically, that distance would go away. Unless my feelings were returned, I don't think that's a good idea. I also don't think that's a good idea as long as he thinks my integrity is less than it is. When one considers what I have been through, it's doubly insulting. Besides, what we want, at heart, is for the person we are with to know us.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Only an Idiot Wouldn't Head to Mexico

Mr. Boyfriend has me off kilter. This afternoon he called and said he was going to help a "lady" clean out her garage tonight.

It took me a second to catch on, but then I realized it was me he was talking about.

I'm sort of snarling and grateful at the same time. All he wants in return is a Gin and Tonic and chips and salsa (is this true?). It's my favorite drink. I have lots of wood for a fire in the fire pit if I wanted to go that route. It almost sounds cozy. Do I want cozy? I thought I was moving away from that. I AM moving away from that.

I only got five hours of sleep last night and my house is still a mess because I ended up being gone all day. That's not true, I'm here now. I'm sitting on my butt listening to a Genesis CD I haven't listened to in a year. Drinking a cup of tea. Writing in my blog about all I have to do. I'm seeing a pattern here.

My brother is still in the land of the missing. I know I need to call and check on my sister-in-law. I'm avoiding the whole thing because I - well - here we go again - it's so inappropriate....but I think it's funny. I know it's not. This is very serious stuff.

But, really. My brother cleaned $42,000 out of the bank, with $17,000 in cash and the rest as a check. Everybody thinks he's still in the MidWest? He'd better not be with that kind of money.

I left him a message on his cell phone. I told him that I knew what he'd done and that if he was in Mexico or Tahiti and he hadn't sent me a ticket yet I was going to be really pissed off. I need a vacation and I just gave up my cat. And I'm broke. He'd damn well better send for me if he's someplace warm drinking pretty drinks. Or even beer with lime in it.

I'm making light of the situation on purpose. I just can't handle the drama. I need to be there and be supportive...but RIGHT NOW I just can't.

Instead, I went and bought gin and chips. And I'm off to pick up my house and try and be somewhat presentable. Life goes on.

Why is Mr. Boyfriend doing this? A friend of mine suggested that he really does want more than friendship. I don't get it. I'm lost. Is this NORMAL? WHAT THE HELL IS NORMAL??

You know what, though? This time, if he wants me he's going to have to grab me and kiss me like he means it. There can be no waffling. No whining. I've just had it. (I did say I was feeling snarly.) My patience is absolutely shot. Or maybe he really does want to be friends.

Cross your fingers that I don't turn into BLUNT and brunette at the same time. I know myself. I'm irritated with the vagueness of this thing. I have to put a sock in it. I want to know what the heck is going on with him. He paddled away from me as hard as he could and now he's offering to help fix stuff and clean up my garage on a Friday night? WHY? What does he want from me? Friendship? More? Is he still sticking his damn toes in the water? Well, shove the whole blasted leg in and get wet. I'm sick of this garbage. Or just be my friend - that's ok with me, too. He and I have been friends for nearly a decade, I think I can handle that.

BUT, PICK!!!!!!!!

So, seriously, cross your fingers for me. I may take my foot and shove it all the way down my throat rather quickly.

I needed to get to the chapel today and correct my pong. It's way out of wack. No time. I haven't put my running shoes on in a few days either. And I've gained a few pounds. And I have my "friend". (Can you say "I'm bleeding profusely" on the internet in reference to your monthly cycle? Well, that's what I'm doing.)

Alright, alright. OK, Mother!! I hear you!! I'm going!! I'll clean it up!!!!

And off I go to right the wrongs about the house.

P.S. I apologize for my language. I really am feeling snarly.


I have had the most horrendous day. I just have. Allow me to lay it all out and then whine a bit. Oh, wait, this is mostly for me, so I get to and you can simply go away if you don't want to hear it. Let's begin at the beginning of the day, shall we?

Usually, I'm a terrible mother. I wake up after the two older kids are gone to school in time to get the youngest up and ready. But this week, my youngest daughter has decided that I should be Mom of the Year. She had the "8th grade test" this week and so I had to get up and make her breakfast. One day. But the rest of the week, she has brought me coffee in bed, so that I'd leave the house at seven in the morning and drive her the four blocks to school. Because it's cold out. In October. And me? I've done it. I've driven her the four blocks. Because she made and brought me coffee in bed and woke me up with a kiss on the cheek. I can't resist.

The other two went to school. I took myself over to my friends house and worked with him on an appraisal. Then I went and took some photos for a different appraisal and lost it completely.

What Do I Think I Am...TOUGH?

I went home. I called Mr. Boyfriend and asked if I could stop by if I needed to. Contingency plans, you know. I picked up my cat and took him to the Humane Association. It was the worst thing EVER. I've had this cat for eight years. He was an apology from my ex for the first major affair. His name is Tiger. He's nine. He's a medium haired tabby with an arrogant male attitude that I love. But he has the whole urinary tract deal that male cats get. That's not so bad, special food and he's ok. But for years he has occasionally urinated on the carpeting. Lately it's been nearly all the time and where ever he felt like it. Never in bedrooms, though, I will give him that. His downfall was when he decided to try the dining room corner.

I've known for a while that I was going to have to give him up. Like, you know, the last two years. I just couldn't face doing it. But I was getting so I hated my house. It smells bad, and therefore, half the time I don't want to clean it because I can't ever make it smell clean. So I made this appointment a month ago.

I drove to the Humane Association dry eyed. He talked to me the whole way. I talked back, feeling horribly guilty. I drove by the building, thinking maybe I could just keep on going. But I couldn't. I turned around and turned in the driveway.

They took him from me almost right away. I kissed him goodbye and started crying. What a wuss I am, I'm crying now. I filled out the paperwork, said thank you and left.

On the way to Mr. Boyfriends house (who, I might add, is still only a friend) my brothers wife called. My brother has taken something like $42,000 and gone missing. $17,000 is in cash. I hope he's in Mexico and sends me a ticket to come join him. My brother is another story for another day... Needless to say, this phone call distracted me from my Tiger grief. With me, that's not always a good thing. It'll turn into the whole kitchen sink thing and I'll hope it's fixed even though there is no way it can be. If you know what I mean.

I arrive at Mr. Boyfriends house. He distracts me with rousing debates about men and women for two hours. I leave irritated with him.

I run my child all over the city to find a Halloween Costume because some stupid-head principal decided that the kids should dress up on Friday instead of on Halloween. These are middle schoolers. They know what day Halloween is actually on. Not to mention, I was really looking forward to having the rest of the weekend to finish the whole costume situation.

Mr. Boyfriend calls and offers to come over and fix a few things.

Holy $&@#$ Batman!!

Clunk Clunk Is A Bad Sound

I'm home briefly and Mr. Boyfriend arrives. He stays outside. This is good because my house is very, very dirty and messy right now and I want NO ONE to see it. Tomorrow I will have time to deal with it - today I simply do not. I probably seem rude. Which is worse: seeming rude or him seeing my house today? Him seeing my house today. Seriously. It's that bad. And it smells.

I don't have time to wonder why he's here. I can't figure out his motivation. I don't know why he's offered. I only know that I appreciate it. I point him toward the weed wacker and the mulcher. I get in my car and take my oldest to her concert so she can do whatever it is they do an hour before it actually begins.

When I come back, he asks me when the last time I changed the spark plug in my weed wacker was. My weed wacker has a spark plug? He changes it, it runs, he's terrific. He begins work on the mulcher as I'm piling the other two children in my car and leaving to go to the actual concert. I point out the oil is low. I look at the dip stick. It's really low. Hhhmm. He adds oil. As I'm getting into my car I tell him it made a clunk clunk noise before I turned it off (because of the neighbors and all). He gave me an alarmed look. Clunk Clunk is apparently a bad noise.

I drive away, assured that he will close the garage door. I feel a little weird about leaving him there. I'm very protective of my messes. He's already asked me if I needed that pile of mail on the garage floor. I didn't. It was a month old and I'd already paid the garbage bill, etc. My mother asked me the same thing a couple of weeks ago. The garage is one of my big projects. I had the damn thing done, but then the ex wanted the last of his things and I tore through it looking for stuff. I never put it back. Yet, anyway. Then I quit my job and the boxes from my office only made it as far as the garage. And my house is icky. I really don't want to be reminded of how much I have to do.

Oh, Cool, It's the Former In-Laws

We go to the concert and oh! there's my former father-in-law. I love this guy but I really don't want to see him - it's just a reminder of all that's lost. My niece is there. I adore her. I ask where her parents are and she tells me they are camping with my ex and his little honey pie. I'm careful to keep my expression neutral for everyone else's sake.

I leave the auditorium. I call Mr. Boyfriend and ask how the mulcher is going. The clunk clunk noise was probably the engine being blown. At this point, all I can think is...oops.

I am so raw from having given up my cat, that dealing with these people throwing me over for that complete bimbo is too much. I knew it was coming. I did. But it is just too much loss all at once. I'm a ball of hurt. It's the first time in a long time that I feel this much pure hurt. I'm aware of it, I just want to get away from everyone.

I finish the concert, take the kids for ice cream, put my son to bed, call Mr. Boyfriend and thank him again - he's weird and a little, almost stand-offish at this point, and get BACK in my car and take the Halloween Costume kid to Wal-Mart to buy a different costume because we got the other one home and it did not fit. She must have it tomorrow due to stupid-head principal.

When we arrive home, she goes right to bed and the oldest child wants to talk. Oh, and did I mention, that this entire evening, the children have been just a little TOUCHY because their cat went away today? And the oldest blames me, of course. As well she should - I took him where he went.

Some Days Are Just Like That

It's been a bad day. Since noon I've been waiting for the moment that I could crawl in bed, in the hopes that tomorrow would be better. Instead, here I am.

Here is a list of things I've been meaning to write down:

  1. I'm wondering if Mr. Boyfriend somehow has the web address for my blog. Wouldn't that be interesting?
  2. I've realized that the reason I stayed with the ex for so long is (drum roll) because I loved him. All the other garbage existed and was real, but I loved him anyway.
  3. I've realized that it doesn't matter how the ex felt in order to figure out what was real and what wasn't real. What was real to me is all I can know for sure. It's the only absolute.
  4. People were correct. I'm going through just a ton of changes. This is way beyond a wild ride. Most days I enjoy it. Today I did not. Mr. Boyfriend, for all the wrenches he has thrown over the last few weeks, made it much more tolerable today. He distracted me and then made my life easier. We shall see...the real test....will he fix the kitchen sink???
  5. It could be a very long time before I have sex again and I don't like that at all. I think I have a pretty strong sex drive. Mr. Boyfriend never experienced this. This is probably good. Then again, I don't think I'd want to go through that withdrawal again. Ok, who am I kidding? It'd probably be worth it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Broken Things and The Pong Theory

Some single women make lists of things to do to or that they have done to entertain themselves as they adjust to being single. I, on the other hand, keep a running list in my head of what is broken in my life, such as the following:

  1. The kitchen sink. See previous post.

  2. The weed wacker. Damn thing starts and turns off right away. Asked neighbor about it, he shrugged. No help.

  3. Leaf mulcher. Worked for a bit and then began to make a horrendous noise. I ignored the noise for a while, but it just got louder and I could hear all my neighbors thinking what an idiot I was running the thing when there was so OBVIOUSLY something wrong with it.

  4. Outlet in hallway needs to be replaced. This requires working with live wires.

  5. Kitchen light burns out rather quickly. Problem with light or wiring?

  6. Fire detector needs to be replaced. This I could probably do, but when? Oh, I know, instead of sitting here making this list.

  7. All windows need to be caulked. Ex took all caulking out to paint house and did not think it necessary to redo. Huh.

  8. Cover for furnace needs to be put back on. For some reason I can’t do this. It rebels and falls off again.

  9. Garage door opener needs to have transmitter replaced. The whole process is a mystery.

  10. Front door wood frame is rotting. Needs to be replaced. Can you imagine if I did this myself? Do you know what that would look like?

  11. Ex-husband took off all rubber stuff that goes around all doors to keep out cold. Needs to be replaced. I don’t even know what you call it. I just know it’s gone.

  12. Patio is sinking in one corner. Needs to be mudjacked so water does not run into foundation of house. I only remember this occasionally.

These are, of course, things I look at and sigh. Then I look at them again. Since life exploded, I haven’t had time to blink, let alone clean my house (which is an absolute, total disaster). So much for having more control at home. That lasted about a minute. It’s interesting that the more time I had, the more my children demanded. The three or four weeks that I was off, I spent more time in my car running children than I did anything else. So all these things simply stayed broke. But we had regular meals together at the kitchen table. That was novel.

Mr. Boyfriend? He called. And then he picked a fight, which I think is completely ridiculous. I’m developing theories about him and myself. I love the man, but you know what? I just haven’t been involved with him as a “boyfriend” long enough to truly buy into the drama that appears to be our “relationship”. I have hit a point where I just don’t think I’m THAT flawed. I’m human. Normal. I’m doing something difficult. We’re ALL doing something difficult and should respect and honor each other’s lives.

Bottom line? He’s probably not going to fix the kitchen sink or any of this other stuff. If the ex would have a really good month and be required to send me some of his commission, I know a good handy man. I’m thinking I’d have him come over, look at stuff, tell me what to buy for him and then have him come back and fix stuff and I’d, I don’t know spend a hundred or two to make my life a little easier.

I’d like to address the Mr. Boyfriend issue. Yesterday he told me that I was negative and never “built” him up. That I wasn’t any fun. That he desperately needed fun. Apparently when I laughed at the idea of me being unfaithful and his subconscious discovered that wasn’t going to work, he moved on to other things to pick at.

Why is he doing this? Why can we not just be friendly and happy? Why must things so drastically alter when friendship turns into something more?

I may finally have an answer. No, I’ve had the answer all along, I’m not a complete dumb-head. I just never believed it, perhaps because I was always too emotionally enmeshed to have any sort of objective eye. We create what we expect. He expects me to be unfaithful. He expects me to be a pain in the butt. If he whines and bitches at me long enough that might occur, provided I choose to be emotionally unhealthy and continue to interact with him.


A friend of mine envisions a moving Nike Stripe when she wants to motivate herself. When she told me this, I laughed. Something athletic motivating me? Not likely. Within a week I had a wacky visualization that works. Those of you that are old enough to remember Atari, remember the game ‘Pong’. I envision the pong ball in my head. I see the screen, like it’s on a T.V. I watch the pong ball – if it’s going in a good, easy rhythm from one side of the screen to the next, bouncing randomly as the pong ball appeared to do, I’m in a good place emotionally. If it’s going nuts and bouncing hard, fast and I can’t catch it with my pong paddle, I’m NOT in a good place emotionally.

At the point where things are not good, I then have to examine WHY I’m feeling that way. This helps, since I have lived in denial for so many years. Denial required ignoring my feelings, my needs and my wants. “No more”, said she. Once I know how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way, I ask myself what I can do to change it, so that my pong goes back to a nice easy rhythm. There’s always something, even if the situation is out of my control. It might simply be prayer or meditation. Or it might be actual control taking steps, such as hiring a handyman.

But in the case of Mr. Boyfriend, what I have discovered is that when he’s doing this stuff, talking with him rarely helps. So I don’t. When I work through the whole pong process, picking up the phone is not something that comes to me as an answer to calming it down. That’ll just make it more bizerk. If I follow this process, eventually, unless he stops this garbage, he’ll be out of my life. Not because I’ll write him out or call a halt to it, but I’ll fill my time with other, positive things. Which really, is what I’m doing. I love him to bits and I get that a lot of this stuff is his own garbage. I have a life to live and I will no longer allow it to be dictated by how some one else is feeling that particular moment. I can be a friend and listen and talk about things. But I can’t take responsibility for some one else’s emotional health. It’s a big enough job maintaining my own and my children’s.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Congratulations. I finally got it. Took me thirty-five years, but I finally got it. And yes, good people, I laugh when I explain the whole pong theory to others. It’s funny. I don’t know WHY an Atari game came to me as a measure of my emotional state, but it did.

So Mr. Boyfriend: take your complaint about “fun” and turn it on yourself. I have an Atari game in me. I’m a walking, talking, ball of fun. And best of all, I’ll never, ever give up my Atari game again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And the Winner Is...

Isn't it funny how just when life seems to settle down and you wonder if perhaps you are getting too complacent, things explode?

In the last several months I have had numerous endings and beginnings. Major things. I have begun the process of seriously healing big wounds. I have made an attempt at a relationship with a man that I have loved as a friend for years, thus far failing to make that a “go”. I was intending to work for him part time (this is how I met him years ago). Well, he ended things between us and fired me. I know, I know, that's illegal. But in this case, probably fair. I hadn't done much for him yet, and if things are really over, the only way for him to do that is to have no contact with me at all. Because I'm a pain in the ass. I will poke and prod until I have things out in the open and then the whole thing would start over again. In reality, eventually he would do the same thing, if I didn't. We're both pains in the ass. Which is how come we got along so well and collided so often. We can't have that, now can we? I guess not.

I'm in shock a little at this particular development. But it'll pass. It has to, because life just exploded again.

My ex, against whom I have a restraining order containing two years worth of garbage all documented and waiting (but not filed, this, too is similar to the Kitchen Sink), has decided to drag me into court for mediation. He now wants to force me to talk to him. I'm sure this is his mother’s idea. This is going to cost me money. I'm ticked. I haven't, of course, heard back from my attorney. Why can this man not let this end? My immediate response is to get the restraining order filed ASAP. Or perhaps see where mediation leads. He's going to bury himself - he's so damn delusional. I might sound like a exaggerating ex-wife. Talk to my daughter and one realizes I am not. I will cope and deal with this. I have had enough of being pushed around by him.

And then...of course...I woke up this morning and realized that I've been fired and thus probably should get my butt in gear. I formally begin another job sometime this week - as soon as they discover that my urine is drug free, anyway. But that's just a part time gig to make sure there is income as I get myself going.

I am a Real Estate Appraiser by trade, or skill, or training, or nature.... or something. I learned to hate my job because of the work environment and the lack of control it gave me at home. This morning, I woke up missing appraising. This is the first time since I quit that I have missed my vocation. I took this as a positive sign. My area of specific, um, expertise (snicker) is Commercial Appraising and I am not certified to do this on my own yet. Today, I went bonkers and found myself overwhelmed with wonderful training propositions, an interview and even some appraisal work.

So, to recap, in the past week: Mr. Boyfriend breaks up with me, and thus I am fired. I become an independent appraiser although I am not even a certified appraiser yet. I land an interview for a job, which although mysterious, sounds interesting and challenging. The crazy ex decides he's going to force me to interact with him via the court system.

Ah, and don't forget that I somehow managed to have adopted a home church. Began study with my pastors wife on a weekly basis and I volunteered to help with anything my pastor/friend might need help with, since I seemed to have excess time.

This is the funny part and worth some elaboration. This pastor, he knows my history. The project he gave me? Revamping the church's wedding brochure. I have to pretend I'm planning my wedding and call all over the city to compare and contrast the church's fee's, restrictions, etc.

My divorce was final two months ago.
My pastor/counselor/friend is twisted. I'm sure he thinks this will be good for me although I'm really not sure what therapeutic outcome he's hoping for. It doesn't bother me as much as I just think it's funny. But then, for those that have not read previous posts, lots of things have been striking me as hysterically funny lately, not all of them at appropriate times, nor do all of them reveal me as a particularly sensitive person.

No matter how crazy life seems to be, no matter how insensitive and inappropriate I am; I am at the helm. I do not have to ask permission of anybody for anything pertaining to how I run my life. I do not have to see what they would prefer in terms of pay, or time schedules or commitments. I don't have to ask what they think regarding my future prospects or what our family goals are or how my choices might impact them. I don't have to look for approval or disapproval. I get to simply choose my path and move forward based on what I want, whether that want is time for my children, a brilliant career, or to pursue the illusive dream all working women seem to have.... having it all. Finally, for the first time in my life, it's my choice.

And the bizarre thing.... I keep waiting for someone to catch me breaking the rules and living my life incorrectly.

Oh, dear. Mr. Boyfriend did that for me. Disapproved. Pointed out flaws. And therein lies the source of the conflict? Mr. Boyfriend SHOULD go away then, shouldn't he??

Or, I pose to you, those that have managed to read to the end, this question: Would I subconsciously create scenarios, even relatively harmless scenarios, that I know will drive him to distraction to get my “fix” of disapproval? Am I using him as the means to hold me down?

Four letter words abound in my head!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Crossroads or the Road to Hell?

Mr. Boyfriend and I are at a critical moment. I am at a crossroads. I have to pick up the phone and call him and I'm dragging my feet.

We have to address fear and I don't want to. I don't particularly want to make myself that vulnerable. Isn't it enough that I do that with God? Apparently not.

Over the last few weeks my sense of humor has reimerged. Unfortunetely it emerged in the midst of a disagreement. I started laughing and couldn't stop. The argument was just so stupid and unneccesary. The same thing could have been accomplished in a paragraph of dialogue. Instead, any argument we've ever had with a cheating signifigant other was repeated. It struck me as funny. Really funny. We both have the lines of the argument memorized - both sides. Why even bother? Neither one of us is cheating or unfaithful.

I laughed till I went to sleep and I started laughing again when I woke up. This did not bode well with Mr. Boyfriend. I don't blame him - there has been no time for an explanation. I look, and probably am, very insensitive. I literally had to put my head in a pillow because I was laughing so hard.

This will probably happen again if the argument repeats itself. I just can't seem to do it with a straight face. Gee, there's one way to change the dynamics of a relationship, eh?

During a conversation with a friend I insisted that I couldn't call Mr. Boyfriend because he didn't want to talk to me. He asked how I knew this. I told him that Mr. Boyfriend told me this last time he called. He said, "So he told you that he didn't want to talk to you when he called to talk to you?"

Well, when you put it like that.

These games are so incredibly stupid. Mr. Boyfriend told me I am unable to talk through anything. Well, when I'm laughing, no. But I have to consider this statement because there might be some truth to it.

I'm a chatty person. I talk too much. Yet I can't talk through things? Probably not. Over the last year or two of my marriage, I learned to shut up. I NEVER talked about how I felt. I played things very close to the vest. I worked demons out within a journal and let the rest go unsaid. You do not give the devil your emotions to play with. You give no amunition for manipulation. You do not discuss your plans, your feelings, your thoughts, your dreams. I was totally alone, shut up inside myself. I learned to live that way. And now I am having to undo it.

I love this man, I do. He is first and foremost a friend. He has his own garbage, similar to mine. We understand each other. Together we will either be the most phenomenal thing or an absolute disaster.

Thus the crossroads...

It is two days later than when I began this post. I have tried communicating with Mr. Boyfriend through a number of mediums. He refuses to respond. He says that we are "over". I guess the crossroads has been traversed and we are now an absolute disaster.

Mr. Boyfriend and the Kitchen Sink

Mr. Boyfriend has offered to help me with things around the house on a number of occasions. I'm not sure how he would do this with his wild work and social schedule, but he offers anyway. I rarely take him up on it. Why do I only murmur, "that's ok, I'll figure it out" or "that's ok, I kind of enjoy doing it", when he offers his services? "Figuring it out" often works similar to the kitchen sink. And really, who ENJOYS fixing plumbing, or replacing the oven element, or dealing with roto rooter, or any of the gazillion things that have gone wrong in the last two years?

Why will I accept help from co-workers, fathers of friends, my own father and until my divorce was final, my former father-in-law, but not Mr. boyfriend? This is the million dollar question. The answer is obvious. What if I get dependent on him and he goes away? Do I really EVER want to go through that again? Not particularly. Do I really want to jump through hoops to get stuff fixed or fix it myself? No. Do I enjoy having him around? Yes. Could I get used to it? Yes.

I'm sure if he DOES go away, I'll say "Whew! Good thing I didn't get dependent on him!" But things'll still be broke and I'll still stand in front of sinks hoping for brilliancy.

I enjoy watching myself dealing with being single. Kind of like I'd enjoy watching some bizarre bug wiggle under a microscope. Meaning, this is interesting, but I'd really rather be doing something else.

I don't know how to do something else anymore. Is that true, or do I only know how to do the "couple thing" with my ex (who could apparently do the "couple" thing with a whole variety of people)? Recently I have tried to confront my feelings of awkwardness with Mr. Boyfriend. I gave him a backrub one night and he told me it was the first back rub he'd had in what had to have been a year. During that time he'd had serious back trouble with tremendous pain. I was horrified. No touching for a year?

I have my kids. I can cuddle and hug and kiss them whenever I want. They love it (as long as it isn't in front of their friends). It's not the same, but it kept me from being completely deprived. I'm better at things than I first was. Holding hands, cuddling on the couch. I enjoy these things. At first I marveled that they were occuring. Then, I became distincly uncomfortable with them. Why was he touching me? Uncomfortable is not the same as not liking. I felt awkward. Why?

It had nothing to do with a lack of feelings for him. Nor attraction - that's there in spades. Nor did it have to do with my ex-spouse. He told me two years before our divorce that holding my hand was uncomfortable both emotionally and physically. Effectionate touching between us stopped once he began his last affair and it never returned.

So what is it about it that made me so uncomfortable? I think it's the same as the kitchen sink problem. I don't want to be dependent on him and have it ripped away. I don't want to go through that withdrawal again.

Is this a problem that will fix itself, unlike the kitchen sink? Or should I knock myself about the head with a wrench and see if that helps?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Kitchen Sink

My kitchen sink is broken. Not the sink itself, but the plumbing. There is no familial male to call to help me fix it. I ignored it for 24 hours hoping it would fix itself. I refused to use the kitchen other than to bake a pizza. This morning I looked again before I left for Church and it was still broken.

I went to Menards and looked around for some knowledgable employee to help me. I wanted glue for metal. If it was a girl problem, that's how I'd fix it. I'd glue it back together. I refuse to replace pipes. There was no sales person around. Instead I found a relatively competent looking male standing in the isle with all the pvc piping. I explained my problem. He told me what to do but also suggested I find an employee to ask. Aha! One available. Competent looking male was wrong.

I needed soldering adhesive. Good, because I gave my ex's soldering stuff back to him a few weeks ago. Not that I'd have any idea what to do with it, but it's just melting metal, right? How hard can it be? I buy my three dollar package of wonder glue and go home with instruction to keep it off my hands. Um, ok.

I sit in front of the sink, mix the goop, apply it and hold the parts together. I let go, and WALLA! It didn't hold. I decided I needed to just add more goop and hold it together longer. So that's what I did. It seemed to work...so I cleaned up my mess and walked away. I checked on it about a half an hour later and WALLA! It didn't hold.

I walked away from it again. Maybe something brilliant would occur to me later. A few minutes ago I was examining the problem again (which simply means I was standing in the kitchen looking at my sink, trying to think of someone I could call). I realized that only ONE side of the sink leaks. This is NOT the side attached to the garbage disposal or the dishwasher. HA! I can walk away again until something smart occurs to me. I simply won't use the other side. I stuck a stopper in the drain hole so that the kids don't mess with it and...walked away.

I remember after my spouse moved out and I mowed the lawn with the John Deere Tractor for the first time. He always made it seem like he was working really hard. I was to pay homage to him for his hard work. Yeah, right. Ice tea in hand, I can drive that thing around for an hour and "work" really hard, too. Generally, though, I drive it too fast on the side of a "hill" and nearly overturn it. This is fun. And when it wouldn't start I even knew enough to pry the cap off the batteries and see if there was water in the little holes. There wasn't. So I put water in them. Distilled water. I'm learning. But the kitchen sink has me stumped. I'm thinking that goop and then duck tape. And then my father A.S.A.P.

Monday, October 17, 2005


While picking my son up from my ex-husband yesterday, I realized how full of hate I feel whenever I see him. Using the word "hate" is difficult for me, because I've always tried to view myself as relatively gentle and forgiving. But realistically, I am not. Not about him. Not about the things he's done, the choices he's made and the way they harmed myself and my children.

And really, these feelings are not congruent with the way things are today. Overall, I am happier. I thank God every day for the emotional freedom I feel. I've never lived life without someone breathing down my neck in disaproval. Today I do. Before I married, I was on my way to establishing a life without unhealthy emotional intensity. That changed instantly. Now I find myself on that path, again. My kids are recovering because I am moving forward. I realize, with them, it's "follow the leader" - with me as leader. There is a man I have a rich connection to - on a level I never had with my ex-spouse. I'm working at moving beyond the superficiality which has dominated my life as a coping mechanism.

And yet, when I see my ex, I feel hate. Anger. Fury. Hurt.

To be really honest, I must ask myself if I still love him. Do I? This question seems complicated to me. He's nuts. He lies about everything. He lies about having conversations with my childs teacher and school administrator. He lies about money. He lies about his past. He lies about his present. There is nothing he doesn't lie about. I can't establish a relationship of peace with someone I can't talk to about the most mundane thing without him lying about it in some regard.

Our history is confusing for me. When I look back, I want to remember moments with some sort of bittersweet feeling, but I CAN'T, because I instantly realize that it was never really the way I thought it was. He was unfaithful our entire marriage. Multiple times and I didn't know it. The number probably goes into the double digits, for pete's sake. On top of that, I have the mask of denial off and realize that he was abusive - I stayed in the thing because I was caught in the cycle of accepting responsibility for things that weren't my responsibility. He told me it was half my fault, his family told me it was half my fault. I believed it. Several stiches and a crooked nose later, I realize this is bull-shit.

My youngest daughter, at 13, has the healthiest attitude of any one I know. Because I could not deal with my ex regarding visitation, I had the kids do it. I took myself out of their relationship. She has no tolerance for his garbage. She has no tolerance for manipulation. She sees through his falseness. In her words, "I love him because he's my dad, but he's such a loser." When I asked her what she meant by "loser", she said "He's so stupid. He's so transparent. He's just sooo stupid." I knew what she meant. I came to this conclusion two months ago, myself. I asked her to elaborate and she talked about the way he manipulates conversations to guilt her, to make her feel bad, to get what he wants. She is only briefly angry at him when he does this, and then she lets it go and moves on. She acknowledges that she loves him, thinks he's stupid and a loser and doesn't want to spend a lot of time with him or put up with his garbage.

This wonderful child has been telling me how terrific I am. How she sees changes in me, feels like she can lean on me. Likes the "new Mom". I, personally, think she is just liking the fact that I'm cooking dinner on a regular basis again, so she comes home to her house smelling like a home.

I digress. I'm angry. I hurt. My whole life was a lie. Rationally, I know that it wasn't. The house was real, the kids were real, vacations were real, jobs were real. But my relationship with him, my emotional life, it was all a facade. 15 years of a facade. His infidelity started before I even had my first child. I am furious. I am hurt. I don't know what to do with it. I don't particularly want to waste any more time on this man, but I have no choice if I am to let it go.

Should I put together some momentos and have a burning ceremony? Should I immerse myself in my feelings for a day? Is there some trite way to work through this?

I somehow need to come to terms with this, to find forgiveness in the pain of betrayal. I have to, or I will forever be tied to this man.

I have dealt with the violence head on. But I have ignored the betrayal. Danced around it. Avoided it. He's living with the woman who was the final knife in my back - is involving her in his family (ouch). I can't deal with it. I hate her, too. She said she was my friend, a good friend, but was acutally sleeping with my ex before I even met her. She became my friend so that she could spend time with my then husband. These people are horrible. I am not capable of doing to others what they have done to me. And they move forward so blithely and are amazed at my anger. ??? I am amazed at their amazement.

I don't want to read some self help book which tells me step by step how to release my anger and pain and move to forgiveness. I don't want to sit for another year in a therapists chair. I don't want this garbage to violate my current relationship. I just want it gone, but it won't go away unless I deal with it.

So, the first question - do I still love him? No. Yes. I don't know. I love who I thought he was. I love the husband whom I built a life with, laughed with, felt close to. But I don't love who was revealed to me. I don't love, in retrospect, who he was underneath the surface. I can not reconcile the two and find peace.

I will take it to God. There is no where else to go with it. Give it to him.

Monday, October 10, 2005

March 15

March 15, 1988. I was just barely 18 years old. The week leading up to this day had been hell; full of secrecy, sickness and anxiety. Still, I believed that when this day was over, life would resume and go back to normal.

Eighteen years later I realize how naive, how innocent that line of thinking was. Innocent like the young woman I was and the baby I was carrying. I believed then, and continued to maintain for many years, that a woman had the right to decide if “now” was the time to have a baby. It was her body, after all. Her life. Her future.

I was a young woman when I sat in the waiting room. A girl fixing a problem. Having a surgical procedure done. However, that morning, I stepped out of the shower and said to myself in the mirror, “You’d better make this worth it”. No matter how young I was, in the back of my psyche, from the depths of my femininity and my connection with God, I knew what I was doing was wrong. Yet in my own mind, I had no choice.

It is only now, eighteen years later, that I see the contradiction. Women must have the right to “choose”. Yet, I felt my only choice was to have an abortion. Where was my “choice”? I was a teenage girl from a middle class family. My parents were educated and well respected in the community. Girls in my situation, my social status, did not have babies.

During the procedure, as tears ran down my cheeks, a nurse held my hand. I felt unutterably sad. In my head and heart I was apologizing to my mother and God. I remember the sympathy on the nurse’s face, how tightly she gripped my fingers as if she knew how this “choice” was tearing me apart. And then in the “recovery” room, where I was to rest for a set number of minutes and was fed cookies and juice, there was another girl – younger than I. It was not her first abortion. I was horrified that someone would do this “thing” twice.

Eventually, after a stop at the arcade for my boyfriend to release some stress, I went home. I was tired. I was emotionally numb. I was bleeding, but not abnormally. I hurt, but could tell no one. I had been through something traumatic – I was a child, still – but could not draw comfort from my parents. I needed my mother but could not reach for her. Because I had made a “choice”.

Surveys of women who have gone through the process of abortion indicate a number of things: high levels of guilt and sadness, nightmares, flashbacks. They apologize to and talk with the deceased child. Women report trauma. They report that they believed it to be wrong, but still they did it – because it was the only “choice”. Most women never have a second abortion and I have never heard of a women who has had one recommending it to a friend.

I am the most liberal kind of Lutheran there is. Still, within one year of the abortion I had seen my Pastor and confessed. He formally forgave my sin, much like a Catholic confession. Two years later I entered post abortion counseling. Five years later I had a memorial service for the child I now admitted I had “lost”. Sixteen years later I returned to my home pastor as my marriage failed and my family fell apart, wondering if God was punishing me for having had an abortion.

Abortion is a dirty word. The waiting room is grim. The operating room is an emotional nightmare. The recovery room is full of grief, numbness and despair. It is a funeral with no service. It took the courage of a close friend voicing her feelings to me, who had also had an abortion, for me to admit – to myself, even- that I believed what I had done was wrong. For eighteen years I silently damned myself.

American society calls the abortion issue part of a political or religious agenda. It considers it to be an ideological issue. The religious right speaks for the babies being aborted. The left stands for a woman’s right to “choose”.

Who speaks for the millions of women who have abortions? Who speaks for the women who remain quiet because they are so weighed down by guilt that they refuse to judge themselves or another for making the “choice” to terminate a pregnancy? Who speaks for the women who remain silent because of guilt, remorse or shame? If over 60% of women who have abortions experience these feelings and believe abortion is wrong, but cannot say so because they made a “choice”, who exactly is running our lives? Politicians? Lobbyists? The Leftist Groups? The Right Wingers?

I have two daughters who are 13 and 14. Until recently, I never advocated one particular answer to an unplanned pregnancy. I simply said that no matter what choice a woman made – be it abortion, keeping the child or adoption – that woman was forever changed. She would never be the same. Equipped with this message, my daughters, without my input, both clearly state that they are anti-abortion. I gave them the right to choose. I equipped them with knowledge, which no one was kind enough to equip me with: pregnancy changes you. Abortion changes you. Raising children changes you. Giving a child up for adoption changes you.

I was given the impression, as a young woman, that I could have an abortion and everything would go back to “normal”. Now, I am much older and I believe that for most women, once you have carried a child in your womb, there is no going backwards, no matter what the “choice”. Once you conceive you give up control, you give up your “choice” and are suddenly a mother. No one, save women who have had an abortion and right-wing anti-abortionists understand this – and usually they will not acknowledge commonalities.

Looking back, I wish that I had carried that child to term. I do not know if I would have chosen to raise it or place it up for adoption. But I would have had hope instead of - or perhaps in combination with, grief. My child would be approaching her 18th birthday. I know girls who gave the their daughters up for adoption and have already been reunited with them.

I must wait until I die to see my child.

Abortion is wrong. It is not a political issue. Not an ideological value. Not a “choice”. It is simply wrong. We are, literally, as women, as mothers, sacrificing our children for ourselves. As a mother of three vibrant, living children, I cannot ever imagine doing that. I would die for them in a heartbeat.

Yet no one told me this as a young woman. No one explained that the fact that I was thinking about my pregnancy in terms of a baby, my baby, a child, indicated a moral stance and a belief that I had already become a mother. What I was told, instead, was that most women looked back later in life and reminded themselves why they made that “choice”.

How incredibly lame. Had I been more mature, less frightened, or felt like I had a “choice”, I might have been able to see through that statement. I wasn’t and I didn’t.

Abortion is not a “choice” for women who are taught to respect their hearts, their souls, and the part of them born to be a mother. Abortion is the antitheses of “choice”. It is an ending. A brutal ending, whether for the unsuspecting mother or child. It is irreversible and damaging. What a far better thing to endure nine months of pregnancy than 18 years of self condemnation and a life-time of grief that never completely goes away.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I have had a multitude of things occur over the last week or two. The man I’ve been in love with for several months told me he is in love with me. Not even a week later that relationship changed – for good reason – and not definitively, the focus is on friendship. I think. I spent several days wallowing in self-pity and frustration – not all related to my relationship with this man – and went to my pastor for help. My pastor proceeded to tell me that I am superficial.

I’ve begun running. I’ve made a promise to my God to attend church regularly. I’d like to join a choir. I talk on a daily basis with a woman who is going through something similar to me – albeit, she’s much more together than I am and I’m green with envy. I’m making regular meals for my children and we sit together and visit during dinner. They are happier and say I am behaving more “motherly”. Odd, since I think I’m behaving more like a woman in search of herself than one that knows who she is.

My faith is something that I have relied on to get me through things, which otherwise I don’t know that I would have survived with my mind intact. Now I find myself HERE. The past is over. My father is older, I am grown, and there is no relationship to lament in that regard. My divorce is final. The impact of my relationship with my ex-spouse certainly is profound, but only as far as I allow it to be. I have quit my job and am allowing myself the freedom to stretch my wings – however that may end up, disaster or not.

I found myself sitting at my piano yesterday, in tears. So often throughout the years I have felt confined, as if I had hit a glass ceiling in terms of my maturity, my ability to grow as a person. I simply have not been able to move beyond this place. I have the intellect to pretend that I have, but not the depth to back it up. I feel this keenly.

There is no one around to blame anymore. I certainly cannot blame my father, or my relationship with him. I cannot whine and blame a boyfriend, as the one I nearly had was a FRIEND and not a captor (it was I who behaved like a blender, mixing things up when they would begin to settle). I can’t even blame my ex-spouse anymore, as he’s moved on with another relationship and is currently leaving me alone.

There is no crisis, Thank God. The only turmoil is within me.

“Why are you really here?” Asked my pastor.

“ Because I’m stuck. I’m lost. I can’t seem to move forward. I feel self-centered
and I don’t like it.”

And then he was brutal. I am superficial. That is what my near relationship/friend ran into, he says. THE WALL. I’m a rock skipping on the surface when there are depths to be plumbed. I’m to give my past and myself to God.

Really? It’s a leap of faith. A big one. So I wandered to the chapel I go to so often to talk to God. I knelt at the base of the Alter. And I ask him to come, right then, to take me.

Nope. He just chuckled, like I was a wayward child, and told me to get myself to Church. I don’t even know what Church, at this point. I promised my pastor that I’d come to his Church on Sunday. And so I will. There is no choir at his church, and I want to sing. This much I have decided. Quitting smoking has given me more than lungs to run with, suddenly I can carry a tune again. I need something beyond the stoic Lutheranism that I was raised on, but would rather not watch people writhe in the isles. I am a skeptic. And therein lies my problem. The leap, which I have not taken.

I run myself in circles. These are the very circles I am trying to get out of. Those that have known me since childhood know what I am speaking of. I am the same as I was then. Only I live in my own house, with no man to dominate or abuse me. And still I find myself running in circles emotionally. I want out of this place, through the glass ceiling.

Today, kneeling in front of that alter, I could see light bursting from my chest in rays, but only half way across my body. I know what is in the way. I can’t seem to give it up.