Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's Almost Here Folks!!

I've been through enough inner work to know that when I am feeling judged it is really just me judging myself.  And let's say that I'm wrong, that someone out there really is judging me, well shame on them.  They can go fly a kite (or some such thing).  But here I am feeling the need to justify, or explain some things away.  Really, also, to dump out this Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout-sized pile of feelings onto a blank computer screen.

I do my best to disappear on the weekends.  Emotionally and physically. I want to vacate my week life, set it down and come back in 48 hours.  I wouldn't say single moms are heroes (it's not a dig, I just am not sure that's the right word for it), and I am hardly that 'single mom' anyone ever talks about, but it's f*cking hard and draining to sustain two rambunctious, thriving, needing people through a week without that other person struggling right along side me.  And not just any other 'one'.  The one who made them also.  The actual only other person who can relate to them in the way I can, who can share a sideways glance with me that holds an entire story that we can giggle about without words passing.
And so I go.  I am not around for hanging out.  I am not around for work.  I am not around to experience any parts of my weekday life.  I really, really need to go away.  I need to check out.  It feels imperative to my survival.

And no, I won't be there with my kids at the weekend birthday parties.  He will.  I won't show up for those few hours to be there.  I want to.  I love the community, the family and love that is being with my tribe.  But then I am back in my week.  And my kids are too.  If you knew the heartbreak that happens for my babies when I pop in for a moment of their weekend, you wouldn't question it.  It sends them into a tailspin.  Maybe not right away, or maybe in that moment.  They aren't ready to deal with that.  I am not going to require them to.  They are still too raw.  So am I.

And so I'm not there.

And guess what else?!  Thursday I'm a free woman!!  Have I told how wrecked I am?  How vulnerable, exposed and generally terrified I feel?  I am coming up on a solid week of hovering on a meltdown.  I can't see old baby photos without crying.  I can't see or talk to Ethan without crying.  I can't listen to someone grip about their husband without crying.  I can't listen to half the music on the radio without crying.  The way that electric guitar hovered on that note a moment longer- crying.  I am afraid if I really give in to the crying that is waiting for me, I'll be sucked into a deep pit and never be seen again.

You know what else is neat?  Some horrid person thinks I should be over it.  She thinks I am being dramatic and invasive.  As if my own personal feelings of failure plus the impending doom I feel is waiting for my children as they grow in a broken home isn't plenty on it's own- no I want to stick myself in the midst of the relationship that f*cks with my brain the most.  What a hilarious assumption.  An entire third of my life was committed to this man.  We created new human beings together with our bodies.  We cried and loved and laughed and struggled and were in awe together.

How sad for her that she hasn't had that experience.  Otherwise she wouldn't accuse me of being a horrible person for not being 'over it'.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Oregonia Lumps

There is a place I covet in my mind that brings serenity and release.  I didn't know this was so until I was led through a sort of meditation and was prompted to rediscover this place behind my closed eyes.  Since then, I return to that place weekly, eyes closed, and feel the feels, touch the touches, smell the smells and hear the sounds.  I shared about this place to my male comrade who simply asserted that we ought to go there.

Well of course.  We ought to go there.  How completely obvious and yet hidden from view this option was.  A few weekends ago was THE weekend, and after a half day's drive, we were practically there.

I was born in Oregon.  I like to fantasize that this gives me some sort of divine right to call myself a native, to say to people that I am from there.  Alas, I can't really pull that off.  Funny thing- as a kid I became quite concerned when the Beach Boys "California Girls" song would come on that perhaps I wasn't a California girl because I was born elsewhere.  I was assured I could be grouped in with the CA girls.  Now, I pine for it.  It sits there above my state, being all gorgeous and lovely, taunting me and calling me like a Siren.  And here I'm stuck.  Now more than ever.  Unwilling to leave family, anchored by my children's needs for stability in this shitty chaos.

Mountain air is not the same as town air.  Have you noticed that warm has a smell?  I want to know
why the smell of warm dirt and Sugar Pine haven't been made into a candle so I can play pretend at home.  The goal: find THAT place, the method: HIKE.  Pounding down the trail together we kicked up red dirt, brushed past the vibrant green soft tips of baby pine trees and listened to the high creaking of towering old trees.  It was occasionally too much, leaving me tearing up more than once with a hard, painful lump in my neck.  It took miles, mis-steps and releasing the idea that my 20 year old memories would serve me directionally, but eventually we made it.  It wasn't obvious at first.  In fact we were there a bit before my breath caught and I smacked my companion on the shoulder exclaiming, "OHMIGOSH, this is IT!".  And it was.  The place from my memory, my serene place of release and calm was right there laid out glistening in the sun rays and bending in the breeze.

Of course, nature could care less if my memory was of a meadow with a bit of a pond/lake in the far reaches.  Nope.  Nature said, "You've been gone twenty years, things change."  The water had expanded and become truly a lake.  It swamped the trail in one spot and completely overtook the cabin that sat in meadow-turned-lake-bottom.  Regardless, it was there.  I tried to lose myself in the shimmering surface of the water and the awe of this vast transformation, but the mosquitoes are thriving there and my collection of welts was becoming a bit unbearable.  So we left.

Our hiking totaled about 14 miles.  My shins and hips complained for a few days afterward.  I hesitated washing the dirt off my body, wearing it like a proud badge of Oregonian honor.  The next day we met up with a man who I haven't seen since I was....5?  Maybe 7?  We got to share stories a bit and I sat in the weird reality of being an adult with kids, the very scenarios that we could remember are happening to our children now and WE are the facilitators.  I was left wanting more, to stay forever.

I felt that way for the whole week after returning home.  I was a bit mopey.  Emotional.  Stuck.  I get a little relief that it is right there, just North.  I can drive there in a day.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

At some point

It's been a year.  A whole stinkin' stupid year.  Fabulous things happened.  Maddening, devastating things happened.

My brain takes breaks from trying to "figure it out" more often lately than it used to.  Still, in the time that has passed, I have taken on and considered all the aspects and sides of my scenario.  I've sat myself right down in his and her ripe, nasty, selfish tennis shoes, looked out onto this shit storm and found traces of empathy.  It's hard to see at first, and it only shows up when a certain light hits it- and then don't look away, or you'll lose it.  Inevitably the inner examination arrives at our children and empathy becomes a foreign language.

I lay on my bed last night, the perfect pillow combo under my dome and a cat curled up at my shoulder- in short I was peaceful.  In the other room one of the kids turned over and I heard the bed knock the wall.  That's all it took, well, all it takes.  The thought of my perfect child ignited a downward spiral: I think, "I could never, ever willingly leave my children."  It would take a police effort to keep me away five days a week.  I can't be empathetic when he calls midweek because he "misses them".  No shit you miss them.  They are fantastically funny and brilliant, they love deeply and completely, they are a beautious blending of two glorious people.  Of freaking course you miss them.  But he chose this.  Even after all the conversations of the implications (and those prophecies coming true), he chose it.

It just freaking blows MY MIND.  And still, here I am, loving the crap out of him.  It's something that has been ingrained into my being for thirteen years.  I have no plans to stop.  I don't want to participate in the stereotypical, adverse, "my stupid ex" conversations.  I want to share a big house with our kids and live in separate wings.  I never want to shuffle them about.  I want us to recreate what this shittiness usually looks like and turn it into something less awful.  Why not?  Well, my bitterness and self-loathing and resentments and suffocating layers of failure are a road block.  I can go days ignoring it and speaking new truths about myself.  Every fourth day or so I get swept up in heavy storms that batter and beat at my heart.

I have this weird weekend life now.  It is so far away from my life.  It's foreign.  Yes, it involves a boy.  The arrangement is largely fun and takes me away from the Mom person I know myself as and throws me into a world where we can go anywhere and do anything, even if the sun has already gone down.  If I don't think about it too much it is fun.  I'm sure you've guessed that I am not very successful at quieting my brain chatter.  The result is always, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!".  It usually hits me after I find myself looking at myself, like hovering just outside of me I get this wide view.  It's jarring and so completely off track from the vision I'd had for my life that I break. I feel my insides curling in, my nose tingles and my eyes get hot and blurry.  I feel like a sandbag was dropped on my head and shoulders.  Every little thing screams, "This is not right.  You are in the wrong place.  Just get up and leave.  Go home.  Repair your family."  As if that's even a possibility.  It's difficult for me to admit out loud that I want him back.  Being together is easy, we fit well and comfortably together.  The awkward and difficult personality differences are known and navigable.  I can count on us being in alignment with nearly everything.

Ha- I just looked up and read the little sign I printed for my desk:
"At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening."

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sundays are for wailing

There is a moment lately that I hate.

It happens on Sunday nights.  I come home to my children (after being gone for the weekend so they may have time with their dad without being shuttled around), in time to love on them a bit and help get them to bed,  They get to have both of their parents read to them, snuggle them into their covers and then leave them to slumber.  However, on Sunday nights they wail.  They know their daddy is leaving after he closes their door.  My six year old pouts at me, accusingly, "Why does daddy only get to see us two days a week and you get us five days?".  Her look is volatile, angry, wounded.  I tell her I agree, it isn't fair.  She flails back into her pillow, sobbing.

I hate him so much on these nights.  I am called back to comfort the casualties.  They are inconsolable.  And there is nothing I can do to make it better.  This is the part that makes me insane.  This is the part that leaves me silently crying along side them in the dark.  I'm helpless.  I can hold hands, rub backs, provide squishy, comfy stuffed animals, but I can't fix it.  I send him angry texts, imploring him to think about what he has done to his perfect, amazing children.  I regret it almost immediately.

Eventually their melt down exhausts them to sleep.  It's quiet and the rage I felt is lessening, but a punching bag would be ideal right now.  I realize it's a futile effort, and I try to see his side.  Every time I come up short.  I just couldn't leave my children, my family, my life for another person (this scenario, of course, doesn't involve abuse).  I would fight and fight and fight to see my children more than just on the weekends.  As a matter of fact I did.  I fought and fought and took on new, uncomfortable shapes and agreed to awful, unthinkable solutions and became a shadow.  I disappeared into an ugly dark place that had me unable to eat or smile or sometimes even get out of bed.

While it is undoubtedly the one thing I knew would never be a part of my story- I am getting a divorce.  The paperwork is cold, impersonal and daunting.  Seeing my precious children's names on a legal form makes me want to vomit.  Sitting for an hour and a half to hand over a pile of papers to a clerk who then questions why I would fill out such-and-such form (well, because that legal help desk over yonder told me to) has the tears that were welling up begin to spill over.  She doesn't care much.  I finally leave and take time to ugly-cry in my car before I can drive away.

This process sucks and has repercussions beyond oneself, we all know this.  He is learning the round about way, experiential learning is what I believe it's called.  I just never expected to have to protect my children from their father's "learning process".

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I am suffering.

The first weirdest part about Ethan moving out was grocery shopping.  I know, that threw me off too.  It was because I was the only adult to shop for.  So many of my choices revolved around what he would want.  I think I was a good wife.

Now my grocery shopping feels indulgent.  Sort of like when I was young and I would go shopping with my Mom, and I would think to myself, "When I grow up, I am going to buy tubes of cookie dough and just eat it raw!  And then I'll eat a whole package of Oreos!!!"  I had it all figured out, obviously.  And it's sort of the same.  If I see something I like, I buy it.  It doesn't matter if he would like it, because, well, he isn't here.

It took weeks before I didn't feel like crying in the grocery store.

Mostly it's the vacant space where he once was.  It's the complete silence after the girls are asleep.  The frightening thought that if I don't have music on or talk to the dog, that the silence will chase me into my own head and I will be bombarded with debilitating thoughts of how I could have done something different.  It's dark in there.  So very dark and, so far, there is no bottom.  I've spent hours rolling around in my bed, kicking blankets, throwing pillows and sobbing until I could hardly breathe.  Then thinking, "If I weren't able to breathe, and I died, no one would know for hours because my kids are asleep and no one is here to know if I am still alive."  Which sends me further down the wretched rabbit hole.  At some point I am calm again, and still there is no man here to hold me and kiss my forehead.  There used to be one here every single night for nearly ten years.

I adored him.  He has a warmness about him, he would always be touching my knee or my back.  When I'd make dinner he'd come in and kiss the back of my neck as a thank you as I fixed up four plates.  I'd rarely get to pass him by with out a pat on the butt or a grazing of his fingers.  We share things that no one in this world can ever share with me: things our children say and do that are only funny to us since we have known them the best.  Or inside jokes that have existed for so long and are so deep and layered that referencing them takes on a subtlety no one else notices, but we do.

Don't think that I am delusional.  I get that we were thirteen years in and less than sparkly anymore.  For me, there was never any other option.  I have suffered through spans of our marriage, but I survived knowing that it was just my expectations that were causing me grief.  Losing this man is the deepest kind of pain I've felt.  It's the most violently I've reeled against an action in my life.  I can actually feel my insides trying to get outside, like my blood cells are vibrating and expanding every time I feel him move further from me.

And what about my kids?  My most perfect, beloved beatings of my heart, out walking around outside my body- a judge is going to order that it will not be my time to see them during certain days of the week.  These two amazing people, who I am infatuated with, who (with his help) I freaking MADE with my BODY, are going to be taken away from me certain days of the week.  For his disgusting behavior, now I am forced to miss out on pieces of their lives.  It's so maddening that I want to disappear with them forever.

I am suffering.

Friday, September 4, 2015

For better or for WORSE

So there you are, all decked out in a heavy, gorgeous white dress with makeup perfected and hair that
has been heated, molded, pinned and threatened so as to make it just-so.  You're excited.  The thumping in your chest is fast and full.  This is awesome.  He is awesome.  His smile is elusive and gorgeous and he looks like a freaking model in that suit.  Hot damn- that man is about to be your husband!  Won't your babies be gorgeous?  Won't forever be a breeze if it's with that guy?

At some point you agree that, yes, whether you are sleeping between bedposts made of gold or shivering cold huddled in the nook of grocery store and it's newspaper stand- yes, you will stay together.  You agree that in the peaks of fitness and the depths of addiction, you will stay true.  And finally, the traditional summary, "for better or for worse" presents itself and you agree, but of course.  A most definite hearty and enthusiastic confirmation that this union is the shit.  You feel it powerfully, you judge those who have come before you and you know that you will not be like them.  No, this is a love unlike the rest.

It takes time.  It's always a disappointing and comforting lesson to be reminded that we are not different from each other.  We are all the same.  Our experiences are vast and immeasurably varied, and the bottom line is always that we are, at the core, all the same humans.  There are plenty of ways to convince yourself that you are special and nothing like so-and-so, it's the way we behave on the outside that convinces ourselves of these dividers.  It's the inside that is always, always the same.

I traveled forward into marriage on the high of the "better".  Everything was freaking awesome!  I relish big life changes, it excites me and motivates me.  In that moment you can only imagine what "worse" represents.  I didn't spend a lot of time considering it.  In a vague way it meant to me being annoyed or disappointed.  A feeling that may last a day or two but wouldn't permeate our bond.  I could handle being annoyed and even disappointed.  So that handled that.  No biggie.

In a week, that heavy dress will have been stuffed in a box, dirt still having it's way with the hem, for nine years.  Compared to some, we are still babies in this venture, but this year I feel like I am one hundred years in and am beat up, dirty and dragging small people through a dessert mirage- yes kids, this is real!  This is wonderful!  There is beautiful, clean water in abundance!  This is the year our relationship was KO'd, this is the "worse".

I know it's going to be annoying that I don't spell out the details, but 1. it's not really fair to the man and, 2. I really just need to pour out my emotions on 'paper'.  Y'all: the "worse" is worse than you think you knew in those wistful moments.   For me it looked like days of sobbing with bits of being normal for the small ones.  It looked like every blood cell in my body vibrating with rage and threatening to come out in ways that would have gotten me arrested.  This is not me.  But it was.  I kicked the sofa.  I powered it with the heel of my foot.  I screamed with my whole into a pillow, over and over and over.  I shook all the time.  I cursed and wept in all kid-less moments.  At some point I realized that this whole experience could end.  Like really end.

That end had all kinds of ugly, complicated and heartbreaking new beginnings.  Getting a divorce was never an option for me, yet I wasn't able to see continuing on either.  I am not a patient person, I am a hypocrite in my need for others to make decisions now but insisting on time and space to make them myself.  I became a person who was waiting and surviving the days.  I knew it was time that we needed.  This grand canyon-esque fracture needed time.  Fucking time.

I can count on my family to be wise.  Loving, supportive and wise.  And so it was, this piece of advice that gave me the freedom to have all of the feelings and craziness I was going through, this piece of advice that made the valley (which feels more like a crevasse) that we are experiencing ok.

"Sometimes you just have to be committed to the commitment."

And WOOOSH, I was freed from all the guilt of hating him and despising him and the impossibleness of being near him.  I could let go of my commitment to him- the person, for now, and be committed to that commitment.  Words.  A promise.  I could hang onto that for dear life, squeeze it close and it could be the eye in the center of this overwhelming hurricane of breakdown.  And it's working.  It's only three short months later and we are not healed.  We have a rough sketch of who we want to be now.

Freaking time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So, you want a baby brother

Rosanna keeps telling people she is going to have a baby brother.  Those people then look at me with wide eyes.  I follow up with vigorous head shaking and silent concerns that maybe she knows something I don't.  Then, sometime later, I get the flow of relief - if you know what I mean.  So far, my kid ain't clairvoyant.

She also regularly asks if I can get pregnant.  I tell her that I can, but that's not in the game plan right now.  I told her to ask me again in a year.  You guys: I will not be shocked one bit if she asks me in exactly one year.  That's how creepy little kids are.

So all this baby talk has me wondering and thinking and considering.  Emotionally, yes.  Babies forever and ever.  Not because pushing them out is so much fun, but because that moment when the little buggar is lifted from your crotch and placed into your arms is unlike any moment ever in the history of all moments.  I want that moment again.  And again.  I also want to smell fuzzy baby hair and hold a person in the space between my elbow and my wrist.  I want a small blob of squishy goodness sleeping with head rested in my neck and frog legs perched on my chest.

Practically, no.  Sleep deprivation was one thing when there was no one else to take care of and that is no longer my scenario.  And can you imagine three- I mean four people in four different phases of eating?  One gets a regular plate, one gets stuff that's mostly mushable, one gets a dumbed down version of the regular plate and one gets baby food.  Also we'd have to basically never fly.  Affording 5 plane tickets might happen once, but we'd have to drive home.

Yeah, yeah, people have three (or nine) kids all the time.  Ask me again in a year.