Radical Acceptance

There are many things that are going to pop into my mind over these next 26 days. I intend to write about most of them.

Today I was trying not to let myself steam over Jerry Lee’s newly self-modified spousal support. “You’ve turned it over to the state. You have to have faith that things will turn out in your favor. Judges don’t like it when people modify their orders (or a fellow judge’s).”

Yet, it still chaps my ass. For four months he played me like a violin. Acting like he was jobless and sending all that he could. I’m grateful for the crumbs he sends because it’s what keeps me from having to work a second job. When he’s finally confronted he doesn’t pony up and pay what he owes. Oh hell no! Instead he does some weird ass arithmetic and comes up with an off the wall calculation for what he is willing to pay. He sends that money each months and believes I should be grateful. He pays me almost $400 less than what he’s supposed to be paying, but I’m supposed to be thankful. And as always, I’m at a standstill. Waiting. Waiting for action to be taken.

“What does that all have to do with radical acceptance, Sam?” you may be asking. It was a comment on Facebook. I believe on Chump Lady’s Facebook page. The person who made the comment said you had to have radical acceptance. You had to accept that what once was was no longer, and you had to accept that this new life was now yours.

So I was just thinking about how he lives in his fancy little (well, okay, big) 5 bedroom house with an open floor plan and a fireplace in the most sought over subdivision in his town, while he doles out partial payments of his court ordered support. His life hasn’t taken a hit at all. He and Harley combined bring home, I would imagine, even more than what he made by himself. She’s living her best life ever with her new, well-paid husband. Her kids are living a life they’ve never dreamed of before while mine are mired in hell with a mother who is constantly worrying about money. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this some shit? Christmas of 2014 both of my kids woke to Mac Book Pros from Santa; they opened up another $300-$500 worth of gifts from us when we exchanged gifts before leaving to spend Christmas with my family. Four and a half years ago, in the summer of 2015, I was spending $57,000 to put an in-ground pool in my backyard. Today I’m donating plasma twice a week so that my kids can have Christmas.” How do you radically accept that?

Sophia’s words come back to haunt me. Her story of having to throw out every plan she had for her future after her accident and then learning to live and accept a different life has stuck with me.

Does radical acceptance mean I have to like it, though? I feel like I have minimally accepted it. I acknowledge and recognize that my children and I once lived an upper middle class, cushy lifestyle and now we don’t. It’s a cold hard fact. I simply do not have the cash to do the things with them that I did before. We don’t go to the places that we did. I don’t spend the money that I used to spend. I don’t have it. I can’t do it.

I acknowledge and recognize that by my former standards I’m poor. I live with my mother and I will never have a home to call my own again. I understand that. I hate it, but I have accepted that that is my fate.

Maybe it doesn’t need to be radical acceptance. Maybe it only needs to be acceptance. Maybe it’s small steps, like having to be okay with your daughter needing to take out loans to fund her entire college education because you know you can’t help her. Or, on a much smaller scale, realizing you can’t buy your kid a new computer.

Picasso recently charged up his laptop. I don’t know what he was doing with it but I’m sure it had something to do with downloading games on it. He let me know that his laptop is outdated and he can’t do the things he wanted to do on it. While I was out donating plasma so I could buy Christmas gifts he apparently was looking online to try to find an inexpensive gaming laptop (I’m told a gaming PC would be much more expensive). He found one for $580. Compared to the others which were over a thousand he did indeed find a deal. Unfortunately, that is more than the generous amount I have budgeted for him for Christmas.

Originally I felt bad about not being able to buy it. I twisted it around in my mind, trying to figure out how to make it work that I could get that for him. Naturally I went to the old standby: If his father hadn’t let his dick rule our lives I’d be able to buy him a new computer- no problem. And then I began to think, not outside the box, but beyond my comfort zone.

The first thought I had was that he simply wouldn’t get one. It’s too expensive, even at that great price. Sorry. No. I cannot afford it.

The second thought I had was that he could get a job and earn enough money to buy it himself. He’s 17 years old and he doesn’t work. He has a couple of after school activities that last a few hours but that’s it. He could get a job like his sister did and make some money of his own. He isn’t responsible for his phone bill. I’ll be paying his insurance when he finally starts to drive. He has no regular bills so anything he made would be his entirely. He could easily make enough over the summer to get the computer he wants.

The third thought I had was that I could buy him a few gifts and then give him cash. If he gets cash from his dad and his grandpa maybe he’ll have enough to buy it. If not, he’ll have a great head start.

There are certainly worse things in this world than having to work for something you want. I don’t know if that’s radical acceptance or not, but it’s all I’ve got for right now.

One thought on “Radical Acceptance

  1. Dear Sam:
    I thought I would write you in letter form, like we did to a friend far away back in the day when you had to sit down and put your thoughts in order before sending it in the mail. I think this is perhaps because that’s how I see you- someone I care for who, although going through a different struggle than mine, shares a similar path because something happened to us we didn’t have a hand on (nor created for ourselves), and we were thinking we were building a Tudor but now we’re on a high rise😏 (I made the comparison because guess what- both beautiful yet entirely different- which is exactly the point of the analogy). BELIEVE IT, SWEET SAM.

    I like the term “radical acceptance”. To me that means unwavering, determined, focused, dedicated acceptance of what we cannot change” so we can channel our energy and plan the new ways to get to a new or slightly different destination. Like waking with amnesia and starting from scratch to discover ourselves because we can’t access our past so we must radically consciously separate from ours- no time to waste and start anew- doing it not as a sign of defeat, not because it means they win, not because it isn’t right they got away with shit, but because we must love ourselves more than we resent what happened, and because we want peace, we want to be happy again, to be strong again, and anything that has the power over our emotions to our detriment has to be cut away. Like the old saying goes: “I’m not where I want to be but thank God, I’m not where I used to be. I’m ok and I’m on my way”.
    My eyes got teary as I read your post because Dios mío, yes you are, yes you are already walking on the path of acceptance. I read it on your stories. You’ve begun to see old troubles with new eyes and possibilities to fix them. No, you can’t buy all the wants you used to but they could work to get them as each of you all build something for the betterment of your new family unit. You may not be able to buy a home right now but perhaps in a couple of years all 3 of you could join together to rent one and build on that? Darling who knows what tomorrow may bring?! It doesn’t have to make sense in our head nor can we imagine it now; Did you know one day you would meet and fall in love with the Mobster?! Did I know I would have fibromyalgia, ostheoarthris, have chronic pain and run 6 miles 5 times a week??? Ain’t it grand life doesn’t have to make sense at all? 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻
    Yes yes you are already opening your mind to new ways of doing things and new ways of tackling old problems- when the opportunity presents itself you will recognize it and jump on it. Remember always that Words have power, so always be kind to yourself♥️ See and acknowledge your progress. I’m damn proud of you.

    Oh oh (before I forget), do you know about the 5 languages of love book? I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that the way you’ve always shown love is through gifts. I think this is the crux of why it hurts so much when you can’t. It’s part of our identity. I want to tell you that before my accident mine was “acts of service”, so I went through a love identity recalibration when I couldn’t do what I did anymore (((I get you, Sam))).

    About the university thing, I do have a story: Our daughter graduated from University 2 summers ago. She’s a veterinarian, doing her last year of internship at Tufts. She worked hard, got a scholarship for the first two years and financial aid for the rest. Am I wringing my hands? I’m grateful my inability to pay didn’t stop her from what she dreamed of doing since she was 8 years old watching “The Crocodile Hunter”. It’s not the Tudor, but I’m happy I have the High Rise.

    Your kids love you for who you are and always have been: a loving, caring, sweet, wonderful Mami. You are worth so much more than what you can buy! Never forget!XO
    Bella, let the guilt go. Hold my hand, we jump together! 1, 2, 3!



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