Friday, May 29, 2015

Full circle

I started this blog right before my last husband left me.  I was so scared.  I remember driving down the street in my car, literally shaking with fright, with my baby in the backseat as we drove to a little condo I was renting.  It came to pass that the little condo would serve as a family home for me for several years, one that I cried upon leaving.  One that my daughter still asks for.  Not my big fancy house that she was born in, but the little condo that held endless tea parties, muffin baking, hottub trips, mommy daughter meals, so many snuggles, and even more laughs.  Why did I give that all up again?  Ah yes, my son.
As my daugther grew older, she really wanted a sibling.  I felt incredibly guilty over the fact that I wasn't able to hold onto her father long enough to give her one.  I had even jokingly suggested we have another through the miracle of modern medicine.  Ok, I wasn't really joking. I wanted that baby.  The solution seemed clear to both me and my counselor: I would get my heart healthy, tear down those walls, and be in a relationship again.  My baby girl would get her sibiling because this mama wasn't giving up.  So out I went.  I dated and I dated some more. I was pretty sure it was a hopeless pursuit, until prince charming showed up, extremely excited to get married and have a baby right away.  We are talking NOW.  And everyone loved him and supported it.  I had suffered so much. I deserved it, right?  I foolishly let my heart be swept away and we were married and I was pregnant in the blink of an eye.  I can honestly say I've never had anyone treat me so badly.  The details of any abuse I suffered are not important at this point.  Today I'm holding divorce papers filed 10 days ago riddled with mistakes.  Our wedding date is wrong, my name is misspelled, the separation date is months before we actually separated.  Did I ever really know this person?  I guess I was fooled like everyone else.
My son is now 8 months old and he is the light of my life.  He is his sister's true love.  Every time I see them together I know in my heart I did the right thing.  He has brought so much joy and love into my life that I can honestly say it is worth everything I have suffered and still suffer at the hands of his father.  I look in the mirror these days and I struggle to recognize my own face.  The cirlces beneath my eyes are so dark.  I have started to get grey hair.  Even attempting to get dressed up for family photos with my kids, my eyes look defeated.  How sad to let someone kick me so hard that they extinguish the spark that lived behind my eyes.  It can't go down like that.  It just can't.  My kids deserve better.  So today I sit here, unsure of how to pay my mortgage in three days, no money to buy food and formula for my children, and I look to God for guideance.  Why is this happening to me?  Again.  The word echos in my mind.  Am I not sitting in a house that was bought for my baby while I was pregnant that I am about to lose because my husband walked out on me when they were about 8-9 months old?  I am.
My friends and family have been bringing me food and sending me money to help me with the essentials.  I've been selling all of my jewelry in jewelry stores, consignment shops, and ebay crying ridiculous selfish tears.  My hands shake as I try to call my realtor to list my house on the market and then hang up.  Five years ago I knew that the only thing that matters in life is having my children.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing.  It does not matter what anyone does to me, how I am treated, what is said to whom, or what I have to sell.  If I can keep a roof over my babies' heads and food on the table, then everything is ok.  It doesn't matter what roof or what table.  I want to tell you the extent of the damage is here, done to me.  But it's not.  My daughter has been suffering as well.  Having her step-father move out in the middle of the night and not say goodbye, return 5 days later to apologize and promise he wouldn't do that again, then repeat the process 4 days later is more than I can tolerate.  She doesn't deserve those tears.
There are people in the world who put themselves and their needs first and there are people who understand that children and their best interests always come first.  I can safely say that I belong to the latter category.  When my daughter sat holding my hand and cried her eyes out telling me that we were lied to and I have to protect my babies from this monster, I listened very closely to her.  She told me this house was bought for our family and that family has been broken.  The mommy and babies left behind do not belong here any longer and she wants to move.  Ok, little one.  I need to be stronger now than I was these past 10 months and I'm so sorry for that.  A strong woman would've let him leave in August when his bags were packed at the door, even if I was heavily pregnant and scared.  I should've cut it off then.  Instead I've undergone so much pain and anxiety and now I know she has too.  There will be no forgiving myself for selfishly trying to keep him around when I should've let him go and saved my children from suffering.  But I can't take it back now, can I?
I've gotten several calls and texts from people I love telling me that they look up to me and that I'm the strongest person I know.  Do you want to know what I think?  I think you are only as strong as the people you surround yourself with.  Today, in one of the darkest hours of my life, I believe that more than ever.  Is this what happened as a result of my last divorce?  Did I build in a safety net that stretches across this country?  Listen to me when I tell you that I was not pushed off of the cliff into darkness again.  I am still there, dangling, holding on with one hand while my fingers are being stomped on.  I may be scared and I may be crying and I may even be angry, but I am not alone.  Far below me in the darkness, I hear the screams and shouts of so many people encouraging me to fight back and succeed.
I have been a mother for 5.5 years.  I've only been married to a father for 1.5 of those years.  This is not a new dance for me.  I know how to do this.  In fact, I've been doing it largely on my own since my son was born. I need to believe that there is a way to survive this and we will be ok.  There will be no swan dive into darkness.  There is no controlled fall. I am not feeling destructive and Hazard is gone for good.  Through everything I have learned that no matter how anyone treats you, there is no excuse to do the wrong thing.  I will continue to take the high road, I will find my footing, and I will succeed.  In the battle between good and evil, good will always prevail.  Every time I cry for help, someone comes to encourage me and pull me towards the light.  When I feel the anxiety take over my senses, God brings calm to my heart.  I will not be pushed off my path to God by what is being done to me.  I am stronger than that.  We are stronger than that, because I know that when I walk, I walk with an army and at the head of that is God Himself. Blades of steel are perfected in flames.  My daughter needs a new hero. It's going to be me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I need to work on my Sanskrit chanting

I took a different yoga class today.  Something a little more challenging with a different yogi.  The man who was leading us was the most unorthodox instructor I'd ever met.  He was sort of a dick.  He'd tease us "Oh your arms are SO heavy! Look at the sweat dripping off of your noses!" We'd laugh nervously as he came near us to do an adjustment.  It was one of the hardest, most precise classes I'd ever taken.  And this dude, who joked about pulling a beer out from under his hair, was the real deal.  As he chanted a prayer in sanskrit, I marveled at his focus.  People really just aren't what they seem.
Sometimes I wonder what people think about me when they see me. Maybe its not so strange in Southern California to see some mixed breed woman walking about with teal streaks in her hair and tattoos all over.  Jeans and a tshirt or maybe booty shorts and a tank if it's hot.  Always with the sandals.  Would you leave your kids with me?  I'm the neighborhood mom that always has a house crawling with littles.  I don't know their parents.  I feed them anyway.  Trust me, I'm tired.  I have no time to myself, no breaks, no help on average.  Above all, my ass is broke. Like charging gas and groceries broke.  As in counting down the days until I have to sell my home broke.  But to the littles in my neighborhood, there is always cereal and fruit snacks to be had, and maybe even a jello cup or some string cheese.  I'm not telling you so you'll give me a medal for being a decent human being or tell me that I'm paying it forward.  It's not forward at all.
I'm the poor kid.  I'm the one who got free hot lunches at school because I was so broke.  I was a latch key kid because my mom and dad were divorced and she worked when I was out of school.  I'm what I live in absolute fear that my kids will grow up to be.  Growing up, I remember having nobody at home, nobody looking after me and my little sister, and nowhere to be.  I was the kid who wandered into someone's house looking for a little attention and sense of belonging.  Am I paying it back? I don't think so.  I just look at all of these little faces and I feel their innocence.  All children need someone to play pizza parlor with them.  They all need someone to listen to their day, make them feel welcome, thank them for coming, and assure them that you want to see them again.  They have started showing up when my daughter is at her dad's house.  So I let them in and they play with my son like their surrogate baby brother.  So I just make dinner and watch little faces light up with all of the different cereal choices because the grocery store was having a fabulous sale this afternoon and now we have 4 different ones to pick from.
I've noticed that I've returned to going grocery shopping like I'm broke again.  Yes, I know it all goes on my credit card and right now there's plenty of room, but I'm counting again.  You can only buy 5 items over $5.  You can only buy 5 items that aren't on sale.  Nothing extra.  Nothing is wasted.  Plan your meals, stay on schedule, and everyone eats.  There are days that it makes me really sad that I still live like this, but at least I have a credit card to charge food on.  It could always be worse.
On days like today, I can't tell if I'm winning or losing.  One day my credit cards will be maxed out and I will lose my family home again. But my heart is filled with the laughter of little kids and tons of tiny bowls in my dish washer and I think maybe it's not so bad.  Yoga was wonderful today and I got a chance to read a book for about an hour, which was heavenly.  I spend my waking hours paying as much attention to my kids as possible.  Once they are in bed, I focus on cleaning the house as much as I can until I can't do it anymore, then an hour or so to myself. Sometimes that includes a hot shower to myself without a 5 year old chattering at me.  Tonight that was not the case, but hey, maybe tomorrow.  I am a tired person, but I am also a grateful one. I try to talk to God at least once a day to say thank you and be rude enough to ask why and beg for a clue.  Right now I'd like the bug on my ceiling to magically disappear because I don't want to spray bug spray by the playpen and the squish of its body against my shoe will surely traumatize me.  GO AWAY BUG.
I'm not feeling panic these days, thankfully.  What I am feeling is a sense of change. It's coming whether I want it to or not.  My daughter put her hands on my face and asked me where Hazard was.  She was begging for help.  Save us, mom. Fix this.  Honey, Hazard is gone and I'm not looking for a resurrection of that monster.  Don't you understand that she was destructive and scared? Yeah, she got shit done, but at what cost?  I've come too far for that shit.  When life gets ugly, we like to act out fantasies of being evil assholes, don't we? I'm going to do and say this and that will show them and I WILL WIN.  Except you don't.  You can't, because you're a fucking grown up.
My little sister reminded me "Don't forget who you are in all of this." Whatabitch. But an extremely right bitch who I am lucky to have remind me to stop being a monster when I throw a fit. I'm pretty scary, you know.  Not many people would step to me and get away with it, much less get a thank you like she got.  No matter how bad things get, I am a good person and I will always do the right thing.  I live by these rules.  Focus, balance, logic, love.  As my crazy new yogi said to me this morning, "I'm not teaching you how to do yoga. I'm teaching you how to live." And I believe it.  I don't believe that God told me that I was free and put peace in my heart to turn the other way.  So I bought daisies at the grocery store today for $5 to remind myself that life is good. I made a dinner that I used to make 100 years ago when I was a kid to remind myself of where I'm from and what that means.  I resisted the urge to eat the chocolate in my daughter's treat box, even though I REALLY wanted that kitkat.  I'm doing ok.
And now my son is talking in his sleep, sure to wake up shortly for a bottle.  A sign that mom's hour is now up and it's back to work.  I'm tempted to say that tomorrow it starts all over again, but that's not really true.  That would mean that there's a start and a stop and there is no stop.  There is just 3 hours until the next bottle and the damn bug on the ceiling and the promise of another hour to myself, same time tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fucking Star Wars

I'm in a mood tonight.  Where you make the Elvis lip curl, but with disgust.  Where you want to bust out your hanky and have a Thelma and Louise style adventure.  I'm fed up with everything tonight.  I do these incredibly destructive things like compare the number of times I've been kissed with the number of times I've had sex in the last five years.  On a timeline.  With names.  Then I eat an entire bag of chili cheese Fritos and marvel at why my tongue feels numb. Why isn't there any chocolate in my room?  All I have in the mini fridge are pouches of cinnamon apple sauce, beer, and poweraid.  A combination for magic, clearly.
Lately I've been talking a lot about God and finding my path and submitting to the greater force.  The force!  May The Force be with you!  Yesterday my daughter told me she wanted to marry this boy in her class.  She's five.  The then informed me that if she wanted to, she could unmarry him and marry someone else.  No biggie.  The lessons of my life fed back to me by my five year old with a capital F for FAIL.  If the Fritos weren't enough to depress you, certainly that is.  Fucking hell. Force, Fail, Fuck, Fritos. It's like alliteration gone terribly wrong.  I'm always making a commitment to something profound.  Be a good person, follow the path God lays out for you, help people in need, give everyone the right to speak, no kicking puppies.  Is there a time when I get to be an asshole?  Can I NOT be the bigger person at some point?  Honestly it's one thing I've never tried.  I'm sure it's glorious followed immediately by remorse for those of us who are not actually self-entitled assholes.  Oh but to walk a mile in those ugly shoes!
What about my commitment to having a sense of humor?  Can I have a commitment to not standing on my scale or not squeezing into my prepregnancy jeans?  My commitment to optimism is fucking ridiculous.  You should hear the shit that has been coming out of my mouth lately.  We make up all sorts of random shit to make ourselves feel better about our lives and how people treat us.  We tell ourselves that some things are not meant to be, something better is coming, some people are only meant for a season, that we deserve better.  Really I just think that some people are assholes and we should leave it at that.  But I was talking about my optimism.
Raise your hand if you believe in spiritual law.  It's the idea that everything balances itself in the end.  If you put in good and someone puts in bad, then you will still have good come back to you to balance.  I think I suffer from an error in judgement where I was under the impression that all things are equal.  For example, if I am a loving person and someone is evil to me, then someone will be loving to me.  I don't think that follows anymore.  If my world falls apart, you can't stick it back together with peanut butter, daisies, and a new house.  In other words, if you husband leaves, the universe doesn't owe you a new one.  If you last husband promises you a baby, you don't deserve a new one to give it to you because you were a nice person.  You following?
Anakin Skywalker was meant to bring balance.  Obi-wan Kenobe screamed at him at the end of episode three that he was suppose to restore the force, not destroy it.  They were wrong. Everyone had been mistaken.  This monster was killing younglings.  He was lost.  He would not bring balance to anything.  By the end of episode six, he, as Darth Vader, fulfilled his destiny, but it was not in the way that anyone thought.  Were we surprised? (No, no we were not because everyone watched 4-6 first and then 1-3 because George Lucas in an ass.)  So here I stand, at the foot of the volcano, ready to slice the arms and legs off of Anakin and leave him for dead when it occurs to me that perhaps the world doesn't owe me anything.  I'm standing at the end of episode three, my friends.  And believe me when I tell you, it's the best of times and it is the worst of times. But I won't switch references to A Tale of Two Cities and confuse you.
I feel like I am walking slowly through one of the worst times of my life. If you have been reading this blog for years, then that is some serious shit for me to say.  Today, I find myself backed up against the reality that I will have to sell the home I bought for my children.  Again.  Fucking again.  I would like to call myself dumb and trusting. I want to tell you that this time I've learned my lesson.  It won't happen again.  I can cry and I can confess my sins, but really, what am I apologizing for?  Being optimistic? Believing in love, promises, and fairytales?  Do you really want to get rid of hours of laughter, cotton candy fingers, and the promise of fun coming tomorrow? I wouldn't be me without my optimism.  So even today, walking slowly along in the shadows with my baby in one arm and my five year old holding my hand, I sing softly to myself.  I sing softly to them.  We sing of new adventures to come, of happy times that are surely ahead for us.  And while I struggle to feed them, we enjoy every last grape.  We split up our skittles into little piles and save half for later. We cut up and share a fresh avocado and I take pictures as my daughter feeds her brother.  We thank God for each other and sunshine.
And I believe that while the world looks hopeless at the end of episode three, that my episode six will be here soon enough and the universe will balance itself once again. It just won't be in the way that I thought.  In the meantime, phone calls are free.  I will continue to sell all of my crap on ebay and craigslist because that's what you do in times like these.  I will polish my nails, only to unpolish them, then apply Jamberry nail wraps, to peel them off, and put on new ones.  I'll read through the stack of books on my nightstand and try to get away with sleeping naked until one of the kids wakes up just because I like the feel of the sheets against my skin.  I will try not to beat myself up for being chubby or making the wrong choices or not being smarter.  I don't know where I am traveling or why.  But I do know that one day I'm going to look up and I will be standing out in the sunshine again with my babies, exactly where I'm supposed to be, surrounded by the people I love most.  And those aren't fairytales.  That's a promise.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You look amazing today

Thank you to all of my readers around the world for leaving your lives briefly to enter mine. I remember my first 1,000 views. I remember 10,000. I am humbled and grateful for your interest and attention. 
Israel, U.S., Russia, France, Brazil, Ireland, India, Portugal, Singapore, Argentina, Greece, Ukraine, India, Germany...I see you. And that's just so far this month. If anything I have said has touched any of you in any language you speak, thank you. 
And now silly pictures from my side of the world. I'd love to hear from you
Mother's Day nails by Jamberry
My Mother's Day cards from the kids
And the weather from the Authentic Weather app (and it really is)
So believe it
And my favorite quote from church on Sunday:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

The Elitist 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I hate that voice

That nasty voice that lives inside my head is back.  The one who tells me that I'm old, fat, and ugly.  Who thinks I deserve to feel alone and like everyone's fallback.  I hate that voice.  I can't see past it right now so I'm just going to write about it and see if that helps.
Friends, I'm a few weeks shy of 35 years old.  I have two kids with baby fat to spare.  I have a wonderful job, make a good living, and can't make it paycheck to paycheck.  Today, I'm backed into a corner with nowhere to turn and nobody to ask for help.  I think we all reach a point in our lives where we can't see how things are going to be ok.  We don't know who to ask for help.  Most importantly, we cannot tolerate the thought of trying to figure out how many poor decisions we made to get here.  Today, I suck.  It's Mother's Day weekend.  There is nothing intrinsically special about today.  It's just a magnifier for what is wrong with my life.  It's another lens between me and hot the sun that burns my flesh that I can't escape.  I'm reminded of how truly lonely and alone I am.  I think these are separate issues.  I'm alone in that I have nobody to depend on.  No partner in my life that I know with certainty that loves me and would do anything for me.  I'm acutely aware of this absence because I remember what it was like to not feel that way, one day long, long ago before I grew up and realized how terribly lonely the world is.  I'm lonely because I feel like it's me against the world.  Nobody really identifies with me and at the end of the day, I don't feel like anyone's priority.  Everyone has their family or friends that they put before seeing me and there I sit, like a grade A loser.  It's not anyone's fault but my own.  I made all of the choices in my life. I can't be mad that things have turned out the way that they did. I certainly don't begrudge anyone any of their happiness.  I just see the lacking in my own life and I'm not sure what to do with that.
I have so many things running through my head right now.  An ex of mine just got married and I found myself jealous.  He married the woman after me.  I told him it wouldn't work and I still believe that was the right choice.  Maybe I'm jealous of how he looks at her.  I would kill to see love in someone's eyes when they look at me.  Maybe I'm jealous of their trip to Greece.  Maybe I'm envious of a fresh start and the promises that you know will stick.  Don't you want to believe in love and promises again?  Man I do. I really do.
I've been thinking a lot about my past and all of the men that have come and gone and what I hot mess I am.  The criteria I used to date these men was hilarious: My age or older, graduate degree, real career, more money than me, likes kids, and hot with a high sex drive.  Seriously, that was it.  Why are there no personality traits in there?  I like how vague the "hot" classification is too, because other than dimples I just didn't give a shit about much else.  I joke that I used up my quota for funny, quick, and smart on my first baby daddy and that was all I got.  Well I've had plenty of hot and plenty of rich.  Lots who wanted to own me or thought they loved me.  What I never got was someone who granted me enough grace to be human, make mistakes, and be myself.  I wonder sometimes if my past will follow me around forever.  Am I supposed to regret every man I slept with?  How about had deep conversations with?  Formed any bond at all? A good memory?  Somehow I seem to feel like I should feel bad about all of it.  I don't.
Today my life is hard.  I feel like I have to have a serious talk with God about where my life is going.  Can I get a sign, please?  Because I'm miserable tonight.  How is it possible to work yourself to exhaustion and not have money for food?  Why is it ok for my account to be overdrawn?  Where are the answers?  I'm living my life on borrowed money and time.  That makes me so sad.  I feel like I will never be anyone's first choice or priority.  I'm ok with that.  I feel like my job is to raise my kids and give them the best life I can.  I'm doing a really shitty job of that these days.  I need to do better.  I need to feel better.  So I'm searching, searching around in the dark looking for something to wrap my hands around that makes sense.  There has to be something here.  There just has to be.