Friday, August 28, 2015

Ballet shoes

I'm having a hard time looking at my pictures tonight.  Pictures of me and my daughter twirling in front of the restaurant where I married her father in hawaii.  Pictures of me and my little sister holding my baby while she's pregnant, who now lives on the opposite side of the country. Pictures of my newborn son on Santa's lap and with the Easter bunny.  Today it feels like the failures of my life.  Why do I miss everyone so much? Why does it feel like I can't hold on to anyone or anything right now? There is a real pain associated with nights that your babies don't spend with you. It's a suffering that only single parents understand and don't wish on anyone. 
I think about how all anyone really wants is to be loved.  You want someone to love you, accept you, and want to be with you.  Because fancy dinners out and plays are fun, but overrated.  I'd rather snuggle on the couch in my pjs and watch Netflix with leftover meatloaf any day.  I want to watch my kids on the baby monitor.  I want to be sure that you love me even after my shower with that stupid towel in my hair. 
I think part of my problem is that I've heard it all before.  I've been proposed to, promised the world, impressed, romanced, and given more rings than anyone needs.  And in the end, I always end up alone and somehow surprised.  I can tell you I've dated 200-300 men in my life.  I can tell you that I've had seven proper boyfriends, one of those merely at the suggestion of my counselor.  I've been proposed to seven times...some of those not from proper boyfriends.  I've been married and divorced three times.  I have two children from two different men.  I am having a very sad and lonely moment, which is ridiculous because I am the least lonely person I know.  If I've ever been alone, it's been by choice.  I am constantly pursued by men, most of whom who have no idea what they want from me.  Just that they want me. 
Since my last husband left, I feel like I've been hiding indoors from everyone.  I have little to no social life. In fact, I just barely had my first night off in nearly 11 months 1.5 weeks ago.  It was wonderful and terrible all at once.  When you baby is not with you, you feel like you can finally rest because the responsibility is gone and you feel like you are strangling from panic because you can't take care of someone that you are biologically programmed to care for.  It's the best of times and the worst of times.  When I finally decided to dress up and go to dinner, it was the worst.  I locked eyes with a man on the street who followed me into a restaurant and decided he could put his arm around me and insist he eat with me.  He had to know me. He had to see me again.  I disagreed.  I didn't owe him anything.  Not my number, not my time.  I haven't missed this and here it is again.  I am aware that I'm not allowed to complain about men who see me driving and chase me in their stupid trucks because they have to hear my voice.  I can't be upset when they follow me back to work from my walk.  I can't complain about them stopping me to talk in Target. 
And how do I believe anyone ever again?  How do I let someone convince me that they are in love with me again?  How do you let someone near your children when you've watched a man break your daughter's heart?  How do you have sex with someone who is not as emotionally damaged as you are and watch them move through passion and love to sex and hair pulling in the span of five minutes?  It makes you want to roll over and hide your face in the pillow.  Tech support, someone help me, Jesus, I'm going to cry.  Nooooooo you're not fixing this.  No tech support for you, little fembot.  We're going to reboot you.  The horror.  You can't fake it anymore.  Real love still exists, even if you thought it was gone forever and you can't hide from it.
So now what?  In the midst of heartbreak, an expensive divorce, more anxiety than I've ever felt in my life, and so much uncertainty about tomorrow that I can barely breath...comes faith.  Faith that you meet people for a reason.  Faith that people are given to you and taken away as they should be.  Everyone serves their purpose in your life.  Things break apart so better things can come together and you will be lead down the path you should walk if you are brave enough to fulfill your purpose in the world.  I'm so sad.  I'm so scared.  Where does the strength come from?  Where is the peace I'm desperately looking for?  All I can do today is put my faith in God and trust my heart and mind to give me the answer.
Dear God, please protect my family.  Please show me how to fix the damage inside of my heart.  Give me the strength and bravery to let good people into my life and trust them because they deserve it.  Show me how to not punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.  Soften my heart against those who hurt me so that I can continue to do the right thing and put my children first.  Keep my family together.  Let me cry when I need to.  Let me ask for help when I feel alone.  Let me love without fear or expectation.  Help me serve my purpose in helping people become the best versions of themselves.  Help me be the protector that I'm meant to be.  Send guardian angels to protect my babies so that they may sleep soundly at night, whether they be at their dads' houses or my own.  Help their fathers be the best men they can be.  Watch over me tonight and take this sadness from my heart and replace it with the hope that I need to make it through one more day. 
I have too much to be grateful for to be feeling this way tonight.  I don't want the darkness anymore.  6 more hours until sunrise. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

It's only condescending if you're stupid

Once upon a time there was a little valley girl who was born to live life on her own.  She spent the first 9 years of her life in a household with parents who fought constantly, a mother who openly did not like her, and a strong feeling that she didn't belong.  The next 8 years she spent in a broken home with no parental supervision to speak of.  She was told she was not wanted, threatened with being abandoned to the state, and spent most of her time caring for her little sister.  She made plenty of mistakes.  She focused her time on studying.  She spent weekends reading books to her sister at the public library.  She realized that without a parental force to teach her things, she would have to figure out how the world worked and what she thought of it on her own.  She learned that children are found by adults who will teach them what they need to know, love and loyalty are not related to blood relations, everyone starts on an even playing field with the same chances to succeed in life, and doing the right thing may not always get you exactly what you want, but it does let you sleep at night and be proud of who you see in the mirror.  18 years later, here I sit. 
I think relationships are hard because you put two autonomous beings together and expect them to get along.  Every person is under the assumption that the person they are with is like them.  If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that nobody is like me.  I get a lot of "if I were you, I would..." and "I don't know how you..." when people hear about my life.  I just smile and reassure them that if they were in my shoes, they would also do the right thing.  Call me an optimist.  I think you can tell the character of a person by what they accuse you of doing or thinking.  I rarely have to accuse anyone of anything.  All I have to do is sit back and watch them get jealous, greedy, selfish, deceitful, and narcissistic to see who they really are. And the wonderful thing about being me is that I don't have to respond to any of it.  I am not the hand of God or Karma and it is not my job to exact revenge or justice on anyone.  I can step back, watch someone show me who they are, and walk away knowing that they will get what they deserve in the end and so will I.  There is peace in that faith.  It's not a peace that I would trade for anything.
There is something funny about a man who is jealous of infidelity while you're pregnant and busy taking care of you child and then you suddenly get a positive test result for an STD.  You have to laugh about someone who makes almost twice your salary, yet demands you pay for things for their home for their own child.  Am I supposed to get angry?  Do you want me to yell and scream about how life is not fair then do something childish and stupid like slash his tires?  I have no desire to roll around in the mud or stand at the gates of hell with anyone.  For me, it's easy to do the right thing.
So many people want to argue over what "the right thing" is with me these days.  They talk about how people don't deserve grace, how I deserve revenge in some form, or how acting selfish or vindictive can be justified.  Let me tell you something about doing the right thing: It is not up for debate.  It does not exist in a moral vacuum.  There is no room for negotiation.  The right thing is the right thing, period.  It is always the answer, the solution, and the goal.  It is also a hard thing to do because it necessitates taking your personal feelings out of a situation.  You have to be able to listen to a situation as if a stranger was telling it and give impartial advice for your own life.  It's nearly impossible to do for yourself or anyone close to you in your life.  With my personality being as overly logical as it is, it seems to be my talent because I can emotionally disconnect most of the time.
I'm still talking to God a lot these days, but most of the crying has stopped and has been gone for the past few months.  I'm still praying for the same people, but in a different way, I suppose.  First and foremost, I pray for my children.  To keep them safe, happy, and together.  To protect me and my babies from those forces that wish to harm us.  I pray for my daughter's father, that he may continue to do well in his life to provide a happy, stable environment for her with his fiance.  I pray for their bond to be strong and their relationship healthy so that they can show her a healthy, happy marriage where I have not been able to.  I pray for my son's father, that he may find a place where he is able to do the right thing and make good decisions for his son.  I want him to establish a stable home and become a good father and role model.  I pray that he finds his way back to God and places his son above his job and learns to value love and family over money and possessions.  For me, I pray for strength to withstand the legal onslaught that is constantly upon me, I pray for calm as I run out of formula and am forced to spend money for my son at my ex's house when he tells me to my face he can afford it and knows I can't.  I pray for the wisdom to see that this is temporary and the sun will shine in my life again one day.  I pray happiness.  Little moments watching my darling babies play together and the ability to enjoy those seconds of laughter as they ring out in my kitchen between those cherub voices.  Gratefulness for the hours my children are with their fathers that I have some downtime for myself, which is such a rare commodity.  The ability to adjust my expectations so that I can enjoy the parts of my life worth living.
I have to have faith that things are working out how they should and I don't question it.  It's a hard thing to marry your best friend and be ridiculously happy for years, only to have it fall apart in your hand and be unable to stop it.  But the experience helped me to become a better person.  It also showed me what a good man my daughter's father is by how he treated me after, which was with love, respect, trust, and kindness.  It showed me that what happened was a tragedy and not any malicious act.  My beautiful daughter is proof of all of the love that has ever been shared between us.  Then my next husband, the handsome and successful man who swept me off my feet way too fast gave me the cherub that is my son.  And while I was lied to, cheated on, accused of everything imaginable, and am still being dragged through a horrifying court processional, I wonder why any of it took place.  Surely someone who has suffered as much as I had did not deserve such punishment.  Is this what was necessary to give me my son then set me free from someone who never really knew or loved me?  I don't know.  It seems so cruel now, but I have to believe it was by design.  And my son is truly the man who stole my heart.  There is no regret there.  He is worth all of the costs and abuse done and coming, without question.  It still leaves my heart heavy.
The future is such an uncertain thing for me.  I have bills piling up, no end in sight to my divorce, and it's very hard for me to trust men at this point, although that hasn't stopped everyone from pursuing me.  As usual, I remain standing still, watching what those do around me, doing my best to make good decisions for me and my children.  I don't feel like I'm perfect, but I am trying to not punish other people for someone else's mistakes.  It's a horrible thing to tell a man that you don't believe what they tell you because the last person lied to you so severely.  I still do it.  In my mid 30's, life is not simple for me or for most men who want to date me.  I love you's are not given easily, sex is not at the front of my mind, and I can't see a wedding dress in my future.  I tell myself I'm done with children and that's fine and that all I want to do is stay home and take care of my kids, but it's incomplete.  I think deep down I still want the thing I've always wanted.  That thing I nearly had and lost and I'm finally ready to admit it.
I want to be married to my best friend.  I want someone to text me to tell me what they had for lunch or send me some stupid meme just because.  I like attention.  I want someone to actually think I'm pretty and not if I gained or lost weight or got plastic surgery.  I want someone to think I'm good enough just like this, and not just good enough, but the best fucking thing they've ever seen in their life.  Not too smart or too pretty or too loud or too much.  I want someone to make dinner with and take turns doing the dishes and to pick up groceries on the way home.  I want milk and cookies and movies in bed.  Someone who wants to wash my back in the shower and have sex with me too because the kids are already in bed and we can.  I want to be worth a sitter for a special date.  I want $10 roses just because I like flowers and you saw them at the grocery store.  I want kisses in the middle of the street and dumb selfies that nobody else sees.  I want burgers at 2am and even stupid arguments that last all night and make you miss work the next day.  And if I can't have mad, crazy love and like that doesn't burn out, then I want to be alone.  Because I learned that shit really does exist in the world and it's not a one time deal and close enough is not fucking good enough.
I have one chance at this life.  There is only one today, I get to live this hour just once, and this moment right now to figure out how I feel and who I am and what I want and actually do something about it.  I am not promised tomorrow.  Nobody is.  I've lived through too much to make due or suffer through it or just ignore it. I'm done.  It's happy or bust.  It's alive or dead.  It's right or wrong.  No more excuses or gray area or any of that nonsense.  I'm too old and I'm too tired and I know better.  I always act in the best interest of my children, always.  I'm learning to add my name to that list and stop pretending that almost is ok.  Because it's not and it never will be again.