Radical Acceptance- One More Try

I admit I began feeling a little mopey while writing about this so-called radical acceptance earlier. I’ve thought about it some more and I’m going to give it another try.

I still think radical acceptance is about finally acknowledging and accepting that the life you once had is no longer. It’s a completely different looking life that you are leading. You lean into it instead of fighting against it with everything you’ve got.

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself. My God, I’m 50 years old and I am living with my mother. I don’t have a bedroom of my own. I own almost nothing anymore. My standard of living has decreased by probably 75%. But you know what? Everyone has a sob story. I’m not the only person who has lost everything thanks to a divorce. So what to do now?

Years ago Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” In many ways losing everything has freed me. You learn very quickly what’s important and what’s not when you’re forced to leave almost everything behind. The good news is I don’t have anything left to lose. I’m not chained to the bullshit. I can speak my mind. If they want to fire me at my job who cares? I can replace that job easily. At about $30,000/year it’s not like it’s the job of a lifetime. I will never be thinking, “Oh my goodness! I’ll never find anything this good again!” 

I can lament all that was lost or I can celebrate the freedom to recreate my life. For the first time in a very long time I get to be in charge of my life. I don’t have to move because someone else got a job. If I want to move to New Orleans I can find a job and move there. If I want to stay here for the rest of my life I can. If I want to go back to school to get my Masters I don’t have anyone discouraging me from doing so. All these decisions are mine to make now. No one else.

I’m not sure that’s what Janis had in mind when she sang that but that’s how I choose to look at it. This is my life and I’ll live it the way I want to.

I can focus on everything that was lost- my home, my pool, my furniture. Pretty much everything I’ve ever owned. I can dwell on how I moved back to my home town, in with my mother, completely defeated. Or, I can celebrate how I survived that hell. I didn’t just survive it. I rocked it. I got shit done.

I was 46 years old when I realized my life as I knew it was going to radically change. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years at that point. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I knew I would end up on aid and that we would pretty much be living in poverty. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: If it weren’t for my mom, my kids and I would have been out on the streets, or living in our car or in subsidized housing somewhere.

Even knowing how badly life was going to suck I continued to put one foot in front of the other. I continued to do the things that needed to be done. I interviewed lawyers and filed for divorce. I fired my first lawyer and hired my second lawyer. I continued to take care of my kids.

Later, after moving back to Indiana, I continued to do what needed to be done. I got my kids enrolled in a new school system. I applied for Medicaid and free lunches and textbooks for my kids. I took a seasonal job at Target, unloading trucks and stocking shelves that had me getting up anywhere from 1:30 to 3:30 in the morning. And then I took another seasonal job at Kohl’s where I worked from noon until 6 or 8 pm. That’s right. I worked two jobs while he worked none. Do you know why? Because it needed to be done. I had two choices. I could cry and bitch about it, or I could do something about it. I chose to do something about it. Yes, it meant I fell asleep sitting up many a nights. It meant I relied on my mom to get my kids where they needed to be. It meant that there were days my feet and back hurt so badly after working both jobs that I limped out to my car at the end of the night. It meant I woke up at ungodly hours and I worked 21 straight days before finally getting a day off. But I did it. I did that. Chumpy little me. A stay at home mom for 15 years with no great job prospects.

Then I pushed for a show cause hearing to get the support my kids and I needed and deserved. And then I hired an expert witness to counter his PTSD bullshit and I kept going through all of it.

I did all of that, and I did it without someone by my side telling me how wonderful I was and how I deserved to be happy. I had many days where I would cry all the way to Target, wipe my tears and go to work; then come back home, pick up my daughter, take her to school, get ready for my full-time job, and cry all the way to that job as well. Once again, I would wipe my tears, put a smile on my face and go to work. The biggest compliment I ever received was a co-worker telling me she would never have known I was going through all of that because I was always so sweet and cheerful, always had a smile on my face.

Radical acceptance means saying goodbye to your old life and embracing this new one. It means celebrating all that you have accomplished instead of focusing on what was lost.

I did so many things he never had to do, things I don’t think he has the balls to do. I raised our kids with no help from him while working two jobs for a while. He can’t say he’s ever done that. He can’t even say he worked and raised his kids because all of their care fell on me. He never took a single day off because a kid was sick. He never had to tell his boss he couldn’t go in early, or that he wouldn’t be available to go out to dinner with the bigwigs from corporate at the last minute. Because I was there, making sure everything went smoothly for him.

Today I no longer work two jobs but I donate plasma twice a week so that my kids can have a nice Christmas without me stressing out over it. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it anywhere close to what my life was like five years ago? Oh God no. But you know what? Christmas will be paid for and I won’t be running up any credit cards or worrying about how far my paycheck will stretch. I am free to concentrate on the fun parts of Christmas. Ultimately, fair or not, I’m getting it done. I could cry (and believe me, I did a lot of crying in the early days) or I can choose to celebrate the badass I am.

Am I where I want to be? No, I’m not. But again, I can cry and gnash my teeth over my poor paying job, or I can do something about it. Radical acceptance, to me, means accepting that it’s not going to be handed to me. It doesn’t mean lying down and playing dead; it doesn’t mean I accept this as though it’s my fate. If I want a change I need to go after it. Maybe that means going back to school. Maybe it means getting a different job.

It’s so easy to get sucked into that cycle of feeling sorry for yourself. Look at all that I’ve lost. Look at what I’ll never have again. At some point though it’s necessary to give thanks for what you do have.

I have two great kids who love me. There are those out there who have been cheated on and discarded and their children have turned against them as well. I have been fortunate in that my two have remained steadfastly loyal. They demonstrate on a regular basis how much they love me and how important I am to them.

I realize he does not value the same things I value and yet I still feel fortunate to be able to say I am a large part of their lives. They talk to me and tell me things, I get to laugh with them and make new memories with them. I get to be with them and be a part of their lives.

I have a mother who has gone above and beyond for me. She’ll take Picasso his lunch if he’s forgotten it. She’ll get him where he needs to be after school. She’s provided a home for us these last three years. When I was working 12+ hour days she would take Rock Star to work or pick her up so I could sleep. I am truly fortunate; I know many others do not have the luxury of going back home.

Divorcing Jerry Lee meant that I was free to pursue a relationship with the mobster. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I happen to think this man hangs the moon. He is a much, much better partner than Jerry Lee ever was.

No matter how sorry I’m feeling for myself every time I talk to him I’m filled with happiness, and am so overjoyed he is in my life. That other stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would rather live in a one bedroom apartment with him than in a mansion with Jerry Lee.

If I were still with Jerry Lee, living in my big ol’ house with my brand new furniture, and my luxury pool, I never would have met the mobster. I’d never have experienced all the wonderful weekends we’ve spent together. I wouldn’t know the joy of Athens or Columbus or Chilicothe. I never would have known a man would actually rinse your jeans out for you when you shit yourself on a bike ride. I wouldn’t have my cute little glitter jingle bell elf slippers. I wouldn’t have been kayaking or visited wineries or gone geocaching or known anything about Pokemon Go. I would have missed out on a lot.

I have amazing friends, both near and far. So many people rallied around while this was happening. And moving back to my hometown has allowed me to spend more time with my oldest friends.

I once wrote about going to Holland when you thought you were going to go to Italy. Radical acceptance is a lot like going to Holland. My hometown isn’t a horrible place. It has lots of great things. It has wine walks and Jeff Dunham shows and cool movie theaters. It’s close to Chicago and Lake Michigan. It’s just not what I had planned.

I won’t ever live in another 4000 sq. ft. home unless something very unexpected happens. I don’t think I even want another house that big. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a home. Hopefully one day the mobster and I will share a home. It will be quaint and charming and homey. It will be a haven for us and our combined six kids when they choose to visit. Except for Picasso. I’m pretty sure he’s going to live with me forever.

My job isn’t horrible. It doesn’t pay very well but it has a few other perks, and it turns out I’m pretty decent at what I do. Like I said earlier, I can always get another job. Right now I’m lazy. I haven’t looked because I haven’t had to.

I may not be able to buy my kids all the creature comforts that I once could but a little hard work won’t kill them. I’m extremely proud of my daughter and how hard she already works. She sets a goal and she goes for it. She got a job at age 16 and has been working ever since.

Plus, if the mobster and I were to ever marry I feel like I’m contributing equally to the relationship. It’s not him going out to work and providing for the family while I stay at home and do nothing (at least that’s how Jerry Lee viewed it). He’s self-employed so I always figure at least I can bring insurance to the table.

I can’t say that I’m all the way there, or even that I won’t backslide now and again, but I do feel like I’m further than I’ve ever been before.

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.

Let It Go

I am almost 3 1/2 years out from my final D-Day. You would think I would have everything together, everything figured out, everything resolved and put behind me. You would be mostly right but there are days when some things linger.

I suppose part of it is the fact we are still trying to get support modified for Picasso. My lawyer is taking her sweet time, claiming to be swamped with work. This has been ongoing since July. My patience is quickly coming to a close.

My beef though is with him. This was his responsibility. He has a court order. I used to think that meant something. Instead, he just glances at my texts about modifying the support and not simply cutting it in half and he says, “No.” Calls me a cunt when he realizes I’m not going to roll over and play dead. More importantly I’m not listening to him and I’m no longer letting him have his way. Then he insults the mobster and implies I’m using child support to meet up with him. He haughtily tells me he won’t pay a dime more until he hears from my lawyer. Once he hears from my lawyer he wants to argue with the numbers she gives him and decides to try his hand at playing lawyer. He refuses to pay the legal fees which I have incurred because he is an asshole.

From my perspective he gets away with it. He gets away with all of it. He openly defies a court order. He calculates child support on his daughter down to the freaking minute she graduates. He divides child support in half and dares me to try to tell him that it should be different. When I do, he says, “I know better than you or the judge what happens next.” He drags me through the mud and makes me do all of the damn work and then he says, “No, I’m not paying your legal fees. That’s all on you.” So again, if I want him to pay I have to take him to court again. Which costs even more money.

What can I do? I control only myself. I suppose I can continue to fight him and hope that I win and that by winning I land a solid uppercut right on that smug face of his.

There is a lot of talk of letting go… walking away… being the bigger person… focusing on the big picture…

Yes, I suppose I could drop the rope. Say, “Fine, pay half of the original support amount.” I could eat the legal fees. God knows I have so much discretionary income that another $600-$900 to my attorney is no big deal! <<< That was sarcasm.

Then he wins. He gets away with being a fucking jackass. He gets away with violating a court order. He gets away with talking down to me. He gets away with making me jump through hoops. All so that I can tell myself that some money is just too expensive and it’s not worth it; I can try to convince myself that having him out of my life is worth all of the shit sandwiches I’ve had to eat because of him.

It’s not even about the money at this point. It’s about the fact that I told him very nicely that he should probably contact his lawyer and get this modified. I agreed that it would go down but told him it would not decrease by 50%. He knew that. He was just playing games. He doles out the money when he wants and he pays what he wants. I told him again a few days later after he sent his version of prorated support for Rock Star. It’s not going to decrease by 50%. Please talk to your lawyer and get this modified. Instead he lets me know there are no separate orders for child support and therefore I will now receive 50% of what I had been receiving. He even has the audacity to tell me to read the court orders.

If that’s not enough of a shit sandwich to swallow, once my lawyer finally gives him new numbers he wants to argue. Oh no! I don’t agree with that at all. If we’re going to modify this we need to make sure all the numbers are up to date. I want proof of insurance since my wife is a such a lying, cheater (oops, that’s me!) and I want to see if she got a raise since we were in court last time.

He actually has the balls to scold my lawyer and point out that there are newer forms, which he has used. Finally, he follows all of this up by letting her know he refuses to pay my legal expenses because he is not privy to my business affairs. He has no control over whether or not I choose to get a lawyer involved.

Yes, because my first course of action was to call my lawyer about this. Oh, wait! My first course of action was actually going to him and letting him know he should speak to his lawyer about getting child support modified for one child. He could have had this done and over with in probably 30 minutes- maybe an hour if he decided he was going to look the forms up and do it all on his own right from the beginning. Instead, even knowing that he was wrong and he did indeed owe more he still crossed his arms and stomped his feet and refused to do anything on his own. I had to do it. Furthermore, he thinks I should be the one to pay for it.

I might even be able to shake this all off by telling myself that he looks like a giant ass while I keep plodding along, doing whatever needs to get done. Don’t let him get to you. Pretend you’re a character in a movie. Get to work and just do what needs to be done. Don’t worry about the other stuff. That’s not what’s important.

That’s when the thoughts of, “It’s not fair!” begin screaming in my head.

Because it’s not just this latest thing. It’s the fact that I have had to do all of the dirty work ever since the day I found out he was fucking his whore of a cousin. Who told the kids we were getting a divorce? That would be me. Daddy of the Decade was off fucking his cousin at the time. Probably throwing hundred dollar bills at her kids, too. Who had to break it to the kids that we were going to have to move? That would be me again. He was busy half-ass participating in alcohol treatment and refusing to give me any information. Who had to go through and price all of the items in our house and list the furniture on Facebook? If you guessed me you would be correct! Who held our daughter while she cried because she found out she was going to have to start all over with a learner’s permit instead of getting her license like she had anticipated? Oh, oh! Pick me. Who worked two jobs to pay my bills and attempt to give my kids something for Christmas? Again, me. Who watched as our beautiful daughter became depressed and anxious after being moved her junior year? And who held and supported her as she cried on her Senior Night because she didn’t have much to list on her achievements and didn’t have anyone but me there to support her? By golly, that was me, too! Who had to hire an expert witness at the cost of over $8000 to prove someone was faking PTSD? That money, btw, could have gone towards my kids or a house. It’s me again! Look, it’s a rigged game. It’s always me. Every shitty thing that had to be done was done by me. Every bit of bad news that my kids heard was told by me. Cousinfucker was off doing his own thing with his newly created fake family. They were so much more important than his original family.

It extends back to the entire settlement that I accepted. After more than 2 years, and being told a judge would probably rule this way anyway, I did basically as my lawyer suggested. Now I wish I had fought some more.

There are times that I’m still pissed I had to account for the $27,000 I took. I was told repeatedly by multiple lawyers that as long as I spent that on the household and could prove it I wouldn’t have to split that with him. I faithfully kept receipts for more than 2 years. Still had to account for it in the settlement, which hurt me a lot. It definitely helped him because it mostly offset the stock he cashed in, the 401k he drained, and the money he gave to her. Plus, because his primary 401k was the only asset we had as a married couple everything was rolled into the 401k and how it was divided.

This meant that when I was paying all of the household bills and marital debt while he remained living in the home and paid nothing towards any of it, he was free to blow through tens of thousands of dollars. When I was working two jobs and getting up at 3:30 in the morning he decided to drain his smaller 401k, pocket the $10 grand and was sleeping in and watching TV. Because all of our bills were automatically withdrawn from our joint account I was still paying his insurance. I made his final car payment.

All of that was rolled up into the 401k and then divided. Instead of a big fat check he had to write to pay me my half of all of that, I have less than $100,000 in a 401k, waiting for me when I retire in another 15-20 years.

Our pool ended up being paid off with his bonus check and then we split the rest. His half was already gone by the time he lost his job. I’m assuming the whore blew through it, spending it on Vera Bradley and God only knows what else. I know they got to take a vacation to Florida over Spring Break. I got to use my share to live on when he lost his job and decided he wasn’t going to send another dime until he finally got a job worthy of him.

He got to spend his money on fun things. Vacations. Dresses. Puppies. Engagement rings. Romantic getaways. Bribing children that weren’t his. I used mine to survive while I looked for a job, and the rest of it is waiting for me when I retire someday.

Let it go, right? I can’t control it. It’s in the past. What’s done is done. Move on. Make a brand new life and make it fabulous. Yep, I’ve heard it all. I do my best to follow that advice.

Yet some days I curse, “Motherfucker! It is not fair! It’s not fair that he gets to run around without a care in the world while I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. It’s not fair that he got to spend all of that money on whatever he wanted and got to have fun, and I had to use mine to live on. Goddamn! Sonofabitch! Motherfucking motherfucker! Asshole!”

Add in that he pays support whenever he feels like it and doesn’t think I need to be given a heads up. You want to pay funeral expenses for your mom instead of paying your court obligated support? You go right ahead. Hey, no need to tell me what’s going on. I like the shortness of breath and the tightness in my chest when I think my world might be collapsing again. It’s invigorating. He asked to be allowed to pay every other week instead of in full on the 1st, which I agreed to; however, he pays whenever he chooses with no rhyme or reason. He’s made his first payment as early as the 8th (only happened once) and as late as the 16th. Usually it’s somewhere between the 12th and the 14th. The last two months he’s paid child support on the very last day of the month.

It all comes down to feeling helpless. He walks around doing whatever he wants, paying whenever he wants, thinking he makes all the rules. I can’t do a single thing to change this. Oh, I realize I can take him to court. I can garnish him. That’s where my power ends. And until my lawyer gets her ass in gear I can’t even do those things. Instead I wait and I repeat, “Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.”

Update: Sometimes you just have a bad day and let bad thoughts overwhelm you. I’m doing much better already. He’s an ass. Life is unfair. I’ll carry on. I’m sure I’ll be fabulous as well.

A Word About Being Angry

Fellow blogger, Reformed Cad, just gave me a shout out on his blog. It was a very nicely done post and I very much appreciated it. I always like it when people take the time to reblog something I’ve written, or take the time to tell others about my blog. I think he has a closed blog so I’m not going to try to link to it. If he comes over and says it’s open to the public I’ll link to it, or he can link to it in the comments.

I am, however, going to quibble with one thing he says. She is angry. And if you read her journal it becomes obvious why.

Let the record (or blog) show I am not angry. It always baffles me when people say things like that because I think I keep it pretty light hearted when it comes to my situation. I think if you asked my mother she would tell you I didn’t get angry enough. I did indeed get dealt a shitty hand.; however, it’s better than what some other people are dealt. He didn’t attempt to poison me (as far as I know). He didn’t try to pay someone to take me out. He didn’t get physically violent with me once the divorce began. He didn’t kidnap and kill my children. He didn’t threaten me with a weapon or set me up for a domestic violence charge. He didn’t leave me after I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. He didn’t leave me with a nasty STD. And yes, I realize those are the extreme situations, but I’ve heard every one of those over on Chump Lady except the one about paying someone to kill me. I got that one off of ID TV, where it happens quite regularly.

He also didn’t fight me for custody of our children. Granted, that would have been a tough sell seeing as how he moved approximately 300 miles away from them and left them behind, but I know that others are having to fight for custody even when the only reason the ex is fighting is to reduce or eliminate child support.

And, while he did indeed cheat again I only lost two years of my life “wreck-onciling” with him, instead of five, or ten or twenty.

I know that I have written a lot about all that my kids and I have lost. That’s a fact. It has nothing to do with anger. He screwed us. We invested everything into this new life he said he so desperately wanted. He threw it away, and in the process the kids and I lost our home and were forced to move. Fact.

With my daughter graduating recently I was continually reminded of everything that we lost. Again, that’s a fact. It happened, and no matter how happy I pretend to be about everything that was lost, it doesn’t change that.

That’s not anger. If anything it’s sadness. Sadness that my kids had to go through that because of their dad and his crappy decisions.

I wrote the other day about the triggers that still come. It’s not anger. It’s continuing to mourn the life I had. Imagine spending twenty years with someone, living a certain kind of life, and then one day having that ripped away from you. I defy anyone to say it would be no big deal. It’s one thing to decide you are going to make big changes. It is a completely different animal when those changes are made for you.

Even when you’ve accepted that life is gone you still mourn at times. There are still things that smack you in the face and cause you to feel that loss. I’m not angry. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the life I lived for twenty years is gone, and that it was all a lie.

Do I continue to write about CF? Sure, I do. He keeps doing shitty things. I mostly shrug it all off. Nothing he says or does really angers me. Well, except for the fact that he has yet to acknowledge he has a son. That does piss me off. But the shit he says whenever he has to pay me? That’s comedy fodder for my blog. I give him about as much importance as I would a two year old throwing a tantrum.

I did ask my mom if I seemed angry because, as I said, it always perplexes me when people give me that label. She was pretty quick to answer. “No, you just call bullshit when you see it.”

That’s a pretty good explanation. I’m not angry or bitter about my situation. I continue to write because it does make me angry when I hear stories of others who are going through this same thing. It makes me angry when I hear about a spouse who is so desperate to keep a marriage together that they accept bullshit excuses and tolerate the so called “trickle truth” and evasion of questions. I know what I went through; I hate to see others go through that same thing. If I can be a sane voice out there asking, “Is this acceptable to you?” and leading someone through the dark I’ll keep writing.

As Chump Lady reminds her audience over and over, there are many avenues for those who want to reconcile. She is pretty much the only voice that tells people it’s not their fault their spouse cheated and there is a better life out there without a cheater. I don’t go so far as to encourage people to leave; I think that’s an individual choice and everyone has their reasons for staying or going. I will, however, point out when the cheater is blowing smoke up your ass. I’ll tear apart all the psycho-babble explanations for why people do the heinous things they do, and I’ll mock the “affair-y tale” love stories that mistresses share on a regular basis.

I will also never accept the idea that both parties had a part to play in an affair. Both of you were in the same marriage. Only one person cheated. I fully agree with Chump Lady when she says that you may have been the worst spouse on the planet; you may have truly, truly sucked. But you did not deserve to be cheated on and you did not cause your spouse to cheat.

Furthermore, I’m not one who believes you need to be a martyr for the sake of your children. You don’t need to celebrate birthdays with the cheating ex and the new spouse, or go on “family” outings, or look after your ex if they get sick. Your kids will survive even if you’re not pretending that the other parent is the best-est person in the whole wide world.

I’m willing to tell people you don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, gaslight your children. Tell them the truth in age appropriate terms. It’s not your job to be your cheating ex’s PR agent. If they didn’t want their kids to know they were lying cheaters maybe they shouldn’t have been lying and cheating. Nothing good ever comes from hiding the truth. It will always come back and bite you in the ass one way or another.

I let people know they don’t have to be friends with the ex. If that’s something you want I think you’re a little bit crazy, but okay. If it works for you more power to you. However, I refuse to perpetuate this idea that’s the way it should be. When you’re dealing with adultery you’re dealing with a person who lied to you and betrayed you. They were supposed to have your back and instead they stabbed you in it. Welcome home, Michael Myers! As Chump Lady always asks, “Would you be friends with the guy who mugged you?” No? OK, then why are you trying to maintain a friendship with someone who essentially mugged your life?

I advocate gaining a support system and leaning on them, instead of relying on someone who betrayed and abandoned you. Even in so-called “good” divorces I advocate for that because you never know how things are going to change once your ex partners up again.

I believe that no contact is a wonderful thing.

I believe that you can focus on gaining a better life without the person who cheated on you and hurt you while still remembering exactly who they are and what they did. Getting on with my life and living a much better life than the one I had with him does not equal forgiving him.

I don’t think that’s being angry. I think that’s using common sense and speaking the truth.

Another Year Gone By

June 10th came and went yet again. It happens like clockwork, once a year.

It’s a funny day for me, June 10th. It used to be nothing special. Just an ordinary day. And then the year 2016 hit. June 10th became probably the worst day of my life. Even worse than DDay #1 and DDay #2. I can still picture myself in my car; I can still picture the road I was on. I received a text that would change the course of my life and the lives of my children.

I lost my job today. I won’t be sending you anymore money.

That was it. That was all the explanation needed in his opinion. He had upended our lives as we knew them but those two sentences had it covered.

With that he checked himself into an alcohol treatment program at the VA for three days, a fact I wouldn’t discover for another 6 months. I was only the discarded wife. I didn’t need to know what was going on. Harley, the fiancee, had it all covered. She was the important one. She was entitled to all the facts. I got conjecture. And stomach ulcers!

To this day I remember the awful feeling, knowing I needed to keep it together because Rock Star’s friend who had flown in from Utah for her birthday was still here and I didn’t want to ruin her visit. Rock Star was going away to camp for a week as well only a day or two after I got the news and I didn’t want to mar her experience. I remember her friends coming over and talking about how they had heard she was amazing at gymnastics and they really wanted to go to a few meets next year to watch her, and me knowing that she probably wouldn’t be here much longer. I remember emailing my lawyer, and her first emailing me back immediately, and then calling me. I remember getting the email from his attorney telling my attorney that he didn’t know how long he would be out of work and that he was attempting to qualify for disability. I knew then he wasn’t planning on going back to work any time soon.

After that, I remember breaking the news to Picasso, who took it pretty well. And I remember Rock Star coming home from camp, happy and excited to tell me all about her experiences, and me changing her life in an instant. I remember her crying and telling me, “I don’t want new friends! I want to stay here!”

I remember going through my house and deciding what I would take with me and what all I was going to try to sell. I remember days spent out in the sweltering heat having a garage sale to pad my bank account because I was living on savings at that point. And I remember packing up my few belongings and loading them up in a UHaul and driving 600 miles away from my home, leaving most of what I had ever owned behind.

It was tough for a very long time after that. The world was dark and gray. I felt no joy. I was resigned to my fate and waiting for death.

Finally, about 10 months later I began to feel better. The world began to look a little brighter. I had a tiny bit of hope. I could imagine a future. And then a mobster fell out of a tree onto my head and I’ve done my best not to look back.

June 10, 2017 was a Saturday and it was part of that first weekend I met the mobster in person. I wrote a post about it. We went up to Lake Michigan; I spent a lot of time sharing pictures of my family and friends with him. We had a delightful time; it was a much better day last year than in 2016.

This year June 10th was our one year anniversary of meeting and it was spent in Utah together with my kids. We flew in for a wedding and I happily showed my mobster off to my closest friends.

It is my hope that we will spend every June 10th together, although that may be a little more difficult next year when it falls on a Monday. Come hell or high water I will take that damn day back. I will never forget what happened that day in 2016 but I’m going to make sure that every June 10th from here on out is a marvelous day for me. Suck it, cheater!

Trying To Make Sense of the Nonsense

 

March 2015

Let’s see them hack into this!  There is more than one way to skin a cat. At this point I switched over to journaling on my computer.

I’ve been thinking.  A lot.  Mainly about Jezebel and her comment, my favorite, about how he deserves so much better than me.  About my husband’s comment to his other sister, how it’s been 2 years and why can’t we just move on? About that sister and her snide message to me about me worrying about the house and then turning around and booking airline tickets. About being grateful.  About accepting reality.  About moving on. About pain shopping, which dovetails nicely with moving on.

OK, we’ll tackle moving on first.  It’s very difficult to move on when your husband doesn’t do the few basic things you’ve asked for in order to reconcile.  I told him that 1. He needed to send Harley a text and end things with her.  I wanted to see the text to prove that he actually sent it, and he was to have absolutely no contact with her after that. 2. He was to give up all passwords to me and remove the passcode from his phone. 3. We were going to attend marital counseling. 4. He was to never discuss our marital issues with Jezebel again.  What did he do?

Well, instead of sending her a text and ending it, he says he called her and ended it.  That’s nice, but that’s not what I wanted.  I had a purpose behind wanting you to send a text.  I wanted to see it in black and white.  I wanted to see him write:  My wife knows about you.  She gave me an ultimatum.  I choose her.  We’re done.  Don’t contact me ever again.  Did I get that?  No, I got the replay of his supposed phone call to her. And then I got her text which makes it look like he actually chose her and she ended it.  Furthermore, his response to her was based on not wanting to hurt her.  He felt bad for her.  Her- the mistress of 3 1/2 months.  Not me, the wife of almost 19 years.  I got a reply about honor and duty and obligation.  Not love.  Not choice.  Am I supposed to believe him without proof when I vividly recall asking him if she was worth losing his wife and kids, and he replied he knew he didn’t want to lose his kids?  Am I supposed to believe him when he would have sex with me and then turn around and walk out our door and text her good morning and then precede to talk to her on his entire 30 minute drive to work every.fucking.morning?  That is some strong faith, and if I’m not there yet so be it.  I figure I mainly believe him.  I only have doubts some of the time.  It’s been 2 years?  Nah, not really.  We’re coming up on 2 years of your half hearted confession where you couldn’t even admit you were doing something wrong, or that she was your whore.  You tried to make it sound like she was one of many and it was just a little texting.  No, it wasn’t.  It was her, and only her.  And you were telling her you loved her and you were telling other people you loved her and she made you happy and you were going to marry her. On top of that, you two were talking about sex and what all you were going to do to each other, and you were talking about a future together and she was sending you naked pictures.  It’s been 2 years since you tried to confess and pull the wool over my eyes at the same time.  It hasn’t been 2 years since I discovered the truth.  We’re at about 18 months for that.  18 months since I found out the extent of your lies and betrayal.  18 months since you told me you didn’t want to lose your kids.  18 months since you told me you hadn’t been happy in years.  18 months since you admitted that you two talked about sex, and how much you loved each other, and how much you wanted to be together.  18 months since you told me you two really really liked each other. 18 months since I received The Saint’s FB message asking me if I had gotten a good lawyer yet.  And we’re at 16 months since I discovered you bragging to your nephew about marrying her, after insisting to me that you two had no concrete plans.

So that’s part of the not able to move forward movement.  I don’t know.  I don’t know what their plans were.  I don’t know what all they talked about.  I don’t know how far into the planning it got. I don’t know that I was his first choice. I have no proof of that. Again, for all I know he called her up right after he got off the phone with me and told her I knew and I’d issued an ultimatum.  And then he told her she was his soul mate, his one true love, his very best friend, and the love of his life and there was no way he could give her up.  For all I know he told her, “I choose you, Harley!”  And Harley, being the manipulative, deceitful cunt that she is warned him that if I got wind of his choice that I’d probably run.  Maybe she even reminded him that I already had airplane tickets to fly to my home state in 2 days.  “If you want to keep your kids around, then you need to make sure she thinks you chose her.”  And then the good little whore proceeded to tell her husband she was leaving.  And her husband said, “Fine, but you’re not taking the kids.  They’re all disgusted with their whore of a mother.”  That’s when Harley finally realized she and my husband weren’t going to be forming their own version of the Brady Bunch, that there might be bumps in the way, and that the path to true love was not going to be a smooth one.  Maybe her kids gave her a ration of shit.  Maybe the two oldest told her they weren’t going to live with her.  It was at this point she decides it’s just not going to be worth it and that’s when she sends her bleeding heart text to Zack.

Is that really all that crazy?  Why is that version any less believable than the one he told me about?  At least in the second version I have her text ending it. It would be lovely if, instead, I had a text from him ending it.

What else did he do?  Well, he did in fact give me his passwords and take the code off his phone.  And to his credit he did recently offer to have my thumb print be one of the prints that could open his phone.

Marriage counseling?  He went but he didn’t really participate, and our counselor told us that is was pretty much a waste of time after 3 or 4 sessions. If we ever went again I think it would be interesting to hear his side of everything that happened.  It seemed to be mainly me talking because he didn’t much participate. I’ll give him credit for going when he didn’t want to, but I’m not giving him credit for anything else.  He didn’t participate and I don’t think we got much out of it. At this point in time I’m tired and I’m not willing to go again so I guess he’s safe.

And not discussing our marriage difficulties with Jezebel?  We both know that one went completely off the rails.  He performs a fucking Shakespearean soliloquy when he’s telling everyone all my faults and everything I’m doing to him, and I get a fucking one line reprieve when he pulls his head out of his ass.  I know that’s not a kind way to put it, but it pisses me off. And upon looking up how to spell soliloquy that’s not really the best description.  That’s what I perform on a daily basis when I’m raging!

That brings me to another point- the concept of the man in the middle. There is a poster on a board I like to read and she often says that many times you can look to the man in the middle as the source of conflict.  I’ve thought about that a lot and I believe it’s true, even with this.  He throws me under the bus to Jezebel, goes on and on and on about how horrible I am, and then says, “Oh, my bad!”  Is it any wonder she hates me?  He doesn’t tell her the good stuff.  He’s too busy getting his head patted when he’s the poor, oppressed little brother married to the evil, awful wife who uses him as a handyman and a paycheck. Man in the middle.  Have no doubt, I’m still not pleased with her encouraging him to leave me when he was fucking around.  And I’m definitely not pleased with her latest round. But he poured gasoline on the fire, and he did something I told him not to do ever again.

His mom and stepdad are another case in point.  I told him in therapy I didn’t like how Pastor Fake was gushing over Harley’s picture.  It was hurtful.  His attitude was, “I can’t control what he does.”  Then shortly thereafter his mom gets online and tells her she’s sooooooo pretty.  I unfriend them (they were sharing an account at the time) and probably blocked them at the time.  Undoubtedly unfriended them from my daughter as well, and blocked them.  I know she must have asked about it but instead of coming to me and saying, “Hey, what happened?  My mom says she’s blocked on both your and our daughter’s page,” he acts like he can’t control anything.  I keep thinking that if he had only pulled his mom aside in the beginning and said something along the lines of, “I know I created this mess, but if the two of you want to have a relationship with my wife and kids you’re going to have to distance yourself from my mistress.  It is upsetting to my wife to see the two of you acting all chummy with the woman I cheated on her with.  We both know we can’t control you and you can both do exactly as you want.  But I’m here to tell you that there is no way you can have Harley in your lives and have my wife and kids in your lives.  So you’re going to need to make a choice.”  Or even a much shorter, condensed version:  My wife can see you two gushing all over Harley, joking with her, telling her how pretty she is. You know that I cheated on her with Harley; therefore, she has no desire to associate with anyone that wants to be a part of Harley’s life.  It’s that plain and simple. You can have a relationship with my wife, or one with my mistress but you can’t do both. (Believe me, I tried! ba-dum!!!).

I think that’s part of not being able to move on, as well. I think I have made tremendous progress in accepting the fact that his parents will never turn their backs on Harley.  They will always be kind to her.  They will always compliment her.  She will always be around.  And I, in many ways, am forced to accept that. I’m forced to accept the fact that I will never be around for any family events because I don’t know if the whore will be there or not, and I don’t want to be there if she is.  I’m forced to accept (and I know this is morbid) that when his mom dies I’m going to be going through 3 levels of hell.  I’m going to have to deal with Zack and his grief, I’m going to have to deal with his bitch of a sister, and more than likely, his whore will show up. It’s very difficult to move on and forget about her when she is front and center all the time, or at least it feels like that.  She was praying for my husband last month.  Praying for him!  She has a front seat into the window of our lives.  Anything my in-laws post on FB about us, about my kids, that bitch can see. How do you move on from that? How do you move on from your in-laws thinking that your husband’s whore is a swell person?  I keep expecting her to show up at Thanksgiving and for them to offer up the use of their bedroom so he can fuck her.

I read about pain shopping yet again yesterday.  It’s not so much that I want to do that, it’s more I don’t want to be ambushed.  I guess when you don’t feel safe or confident you continue to look over your shoulder.  I don’t know that I was his first choice.  Hell, I don’t even know for certain that he’s not back in contact with her again.  I don’t know that someone won’t throw facts at me, facts of which I have been completely unaware of for over a year, which might result in my own downward spiral. I don’t look on her page that often.  I check every now and then to see if she’s got a new profile picture up.  I occasionally check my in-laws’ pages to see if she’s commenting or liking certain things.  Of course she is!  Good ol’ Harley can’t fade into the background. Oh no!  Look at me!  Look at me!

I know I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  Not knowing the bitch is being welcomed with open arms by all who know about her and Zack doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  And closing my eyes and pretending like as long as I don’t see it everything is ok, is just living in a fairytale.  It does no one any good.  Eventually, you wake up and you discover the truth and you feel betrayed.  I’d just as soon get it out of the way.

I guess what it boils down to is can I accept what happened?  Sure.  I can accept it.  Doesn’t mean I like it.  Just like accepting who my in-laws are.  It hurts me very much knowing they can embrace the woman that almost tore my life apart.  But, I accept that that is who they are. When I am with them I enjoy being with them and I love them.  However, I will never have a close relationship with them again.  I simply cannot do that, not when they are still in contact with Harley and act like she has done nothing wrong. I will never be willing to go out of my way for them again. I don’t call.  I don’t confide.  I let Zack handle it. Honestly, I prefer to keep my distance because I’m afraid I’ll be sucked in if I get too close.

Can I accept the fact that I’ve been moved 2000 miles across the country to live in this Godforsaken town where I know almost no one?  Sure.  It’s reality.  I can pretend I don’t live here but what good would that do? I can pretend that we can go back to our former state but I know that we can’t.  Whose job is he going to take?  Especially when they just got a new GM and a new PM less than a year ago.  Where will we live?  Are we going to ask the new residents of our home to kindly move out because we’d like our house back?  No. If I’m being perfectly logical most newcomers to the area head over to two up and coming areas.  Our kids wouldn’t be going to school with their old friends; they’d be at a new school.  My daughter could go back to her old gym but she would be competing as a Level 8 once again, more than likely, and all of her former teammates would be 9s.  My son could play hockey again but he’s lost a year and he already started late so he’d be behind as well.  No, we are stuck here, at least for 7 years until they both have graduated from high school.  Then my husband can yank me away from my new life, and at the rate I’m going now that won’t be a bad thing. I’m so tired of hearing, “You need to get out there and meet people!  Volunteer! Take classes!”  Um, I’d love to meet people but that’s a little difficult when you’re 46 and not in school and don’t have a job. There are no classes to take. Quite honestly, I’m sick and tired of being the new person.  And volunteering?  Where would you suggest I volunteer?  The PTA?  They don’t seem to have many opportunities.  I’m supposed to go tonight for an after prom meeting where I will know no one and the woman in charge is going to ask me to solicit donations, which is something I absolutely hate to do. HATE IT! This gets me thinking that if everything PTA does needs to be funded with business donations I want no part in it. Oh, I also found out that I was sent an email to see if I wanted to volunteer at the book fair for the middle school.  It went to my junk mail and I didn’t get it until after the book fair was over. Lovely. I could go to a PTA meeting but again, I’m tired of putting myself out there.  I’m tired of being the new person.  I’m 46, for crying out loud!  My life should be settled.  I shouldn’t be scurrying around trying to find a whole new set of friends.

I tell myself to think back on all of our other moves.  OB was easy.  I had just turned 29 when we made the move. We went out with all of his co-workers.  And from that I became friends with some locals and they introduced us to other people. In the next state I started out by participating in an online group.  I got very lucky and those people met weekly.  I put myself out there and I joined their group. Gradually, other people joined in as well. Then, right before my daughter turned 2 I started going to church; when my son was an infant I volunteered to help in the nursery. A few months later I became a team leader in the nursery.  Gradually I did more. I became a small group leader.  I joined the meal team. I think when my son was around a year I joined MOPS.  I became part of the hospitality team with them.  I started a MOPS group at our church. I was there 6 years and it was gradual, but my calendar filled in.  Plus, it helped that I had family only 2 hours away. I think I found my online friends within the first 6-8 months. I was 31 when we moved back to State #2, just under 2 months before my 31st birthday. We moved a few months before I turned 38. In State #4 I think it began after I volunteered to join PTA.  It was about 5-6 months later.  The following year my daughter was competing so I made some friends that way. PTA just became a huge thing for me.  I met a ton of people that way.  And I met some people through my kids.  This time it just doesn’t seem as easy. I was 45 this time when I left. I’ve been here coming up on 8 months.  They have been the longest, loneliest 8 months of my life, I think. I don’t have online friends.  I don’t have a church. I don’t have PTA; it’s pretty much non-existent.  I certainly don’t have MOPS. My daughter competes alone most of the time. This next meet all of the girls meet together.  But here’s the thing:  most of the girls are young, like 10-11.  Their moms are young.  I don’t want to hang out with them.  I don’t need to be overrun with 30 somethings while I’m nearing death. I do have some parents I can sit with at the high school meets.  That’s nice.  But that’s it.  I know a few people on sight.  I’m still shocked when I run into someone I know at the grocery store because it happens so infrequently. I am grateful for the outpouring of support from the few people I do know when Zack was in the hospital.  Our neighbor called and offered to help with whatever we may need.  S offered to take my daughter to gymnastics.  C prayed for us and checked in on us, offering to run errands or bring a meal.  D took my daughter to gymnastics and grabbed food for both of my kids.  I felt very fortunate to have that help and those offers.

So, this is my reality.  I’m far from family.  I’m far from friends.  I’m not fitting in or finding a niche.  I really really hate it here.  I’ve booked tickets for me and Rock Star to go see the state gymnastics meet back in our former state at the end of the month.  I’m looking forward to that.  Can’t wait to be around friends again. Can’t wait to see all those cute little gymnasts that I get to cheer on for the first time this year.  I’ve missed this.

I’ll save Jezebel’s asinine comment about him deserving something better for later.

One Year Later

I had been planning on writing this post several weeks ago but… I’ve been busy with a guy.

My chipper attitude is not solely due to the mobster. He’s a huge part of it but even before meeting him the clouds were beginning to part.

I fully admit I’ve been engaged in a year long temper tantrum/pity party. I’ve had brief moments of hope and happiness but the darkness would quickly wash over me again.

I also admit I have been a horrible friend, a self absorbed whiner, and a very selfish person this last year. It has been all, “Me, me, me! Listen to me wail about my pain! I’m tired. I’m poor. I hate life.”

Something has changed recently. Maybe it was my mom returning and being available to help with kids, dinner, and laundry. Maybe it was Rock Star finally get her license and a car. Maybe it was both of my kids being happy. Hell, maybe it was the fact I finally got my back support so I could breathe a little. I felt normal again. Maybe it was something as simple as cultivating relationships and feeling better at my job. Or jobs.

I’ve been thinking of putting myself out there and volunteering again. I’ve thought about doing things I want to do. I have been able to look ahead just a little bit once again.

I have a court date looming. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope I nail his ass and he pays for every awful, evil thing he’s done to me and my kids. If the worst happens and he gets away with his 2 year financial rape of me… well, I’ve been through Hell and I”m still standing.

When it’s all over, no matter how it ends, I will still be the better person. I’m stronger than him. I’m more capable. I’m the better parent. No matter how many times or how many different ways he tries to beat me down, to defeat me, to try to suck the joy out of life and make me want to give up and die, I will always emerge from the fire- stronger, better, ready to kick his ass.

This blog has not been a ray of sunshine for a full year. But you know what? It’s like I’ve said all along: I just have to wallow and get through this in my own time. ’Tis true. There was no way to rush it.

I had to go through every crappy feelings, every crappy experience, to get where I am. I will never be one of those people who can be grateful and optimistic when I’m struggling to survive and things are going badly. I am, however, one of those people who can look back on it all and say, “I survived. I did it. I made it through.”

For those of you who might still be in those dark days I want you to know it gets better. I can’t tell you when it will happen for you but it will happen. Don’t rush the process even though you may want to. Don’t feel guilty when you’re down and don’t try to convince yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling that way. This shit is hard. Recognize it. Accept it. Wallow in it. Let it wash over you. And then get up and get on with it.

Everybody hurts. Everybody has problems. There are so many kids out there abandoned by parents. Kids out there that have lost a parent. There are people out there going through the exact same thing as you- they were lied to, cheated on, made a fool of. People lose loved ones- perhaps a child, a spouse, a parent. Sometimes they lose homes. Or pets. We’ve all got problems.

I don’t say that to guilt anyone. Again, I say wallow in it and let yourself feel every sucky emotion. And realize you’re not alone.

I wrote once about someone looking at her life six months post break-up. At the time my life was a mess, and looking at how far I had come was not a pleasant experience. This past weekend, June 10th marked the one year anniversary of what was probably the worst day of my life. I think it was worse than finding out he was cheating on me again. It was the day that led to me losing damn near everything. It was the day I knew I was going to have to tear my kids’ world apart yet again. I knew I couldn’t keep it all together and I couldn’t do what I originally wanted to do, which was to stay put so Rock Star could graduate where she started.

On this one year anniversary I happened to be with the mobster. I paused for a moment and mentioned it, to which he replied, “Don’t think about that.”

You know what? It was okay. I  could acknowledge it had been one year since my life fell apart, and then get on with my day. I didn’t dwell. I didn’t get sad. I acknowledged it and then turned my attention to this fabulous man who drove hundreds of miles to get to me.

Sand

First Week Of the Rest Of My Life

I have officially completed my first week of full-time work. Yes, I’ve worked 60-70 hours a week before but that was two different part-time jobs. I was also doing full-time training for the last 2 weeks while working my part-time job. But this week was the first week of me working my full-time job, my part-time job, juggling kids and schedules, taking care of pets, doing grocery shopping, making dinner, and doing laundry. This is the first week of the rest of my life. I would say it really sucks; however, honestly, it’s just whatever. It’s not good; it’s not bad. It just is. I’m neither happy nor sad. I exist. I work. I take care of my kids. I do the things I need to get done. I can’t even say that I’m exhausted all the time, although I’m ready for bed usually by 8:00 or so. I guess working those sixteen hour days has paid off.

Monday was the day of my final exam. Yes, for $11/hour I had to take 2 quizzes and a final exam over everything that I learned. Not only did I have to do that, I had to pass with a 90% average. No pressure. Ultimately I ended up with a 95% average overall. Not bad. To be perfectly honest I would have been fine with a 90%. I wasn’t looking to be a superstar; I just wanted to pass so I could keep my full-time job.

The exam and grading took me half the day. I then headed over to the branch I’ll be working at until next Monday. I worked until 5:15. Once home I shampooed carpets.  My dogs are not used to having to hold their bladders; they are extremely spoiled animals who have been able to go out and come in at will all their lives. I did some laundry since I knew I had to go into work at 4 am the next day, and tried to catch up on dishes. My daughter had a basketball game to cheer at that evening and they were doing a special halftime performance so I left the house around 7:15 to watch her cheer. My niece and her two other cousins were at the game as well. I ended up taking her home because the other two girls needed to leave after halftime. We got home around 9:30, maybe 10:00. I got my clothes together and headed to bed.

Tuesday I was up around 3:20. I headed into work at Target. They’ve got me working in soft lines now, which is clothing. I like to look at it as a promotion because 1) they consider it cross training and 2) I no longer have to bowl (which is what they call taking the pallets out to the floor and putting the boxes where they go in the aisles). It’s not a promotion but it is easier.

I headed home so that I could take Rock Star to school. Dropped her off, went back home, finished getting ready for the bank and then went to work. I stopped off at Target after work to spend my gift card finally. I bought such luxury items as dog food, tooth paste, saline solution, and razors! I, however, forgot to buy toilet paper. I did a sheet pan dinner that night- steak, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. There were supposed to be potatoes as well but I forgot them so I just made some instant mashed potatoes.

Wednesday I didn’t work my second job so the day started off with getting ready for work and dropping Rock Star off at school. I still came home to finish getting ready and to pack my lunch. I worked at the drive-thru that day, which was new. It’s in a completely different location and I had a little bit of difficulty finding it but it all ended up okay. Rock Star worked that night, 6-10, so I hurried home to pick her up and take her to work. I’m pretty sure I did another load of laundry. Whenever I’m working more than a day at Target I like to make sure I have enough pants and shirts to get me through the work period. I picked my daughter up from work at 10, headed home, and went to bed.

Thursday started at 3:20 am. Rise and shine! I went to work at Target, headed home to pick up Rock Star, took her to school, came home to get ready for the bank, packed the rest of my lunch, and then headed off to work. I left work, grabbed Rock Star from cheerleading practice and then took her to get some dinner before she headed off to work. Then I was sent on a mission to pick up a pair of boots she had seen for $13 at Marshall’s. I procured the boots for her and then went home to make dinner for Picasso and myself. Rock Star let me know I had lucked out and she was getting off at 9 instead of 10 that night. I was still up far too late, probably until around 11.

I know I said I’m usually ready for bed around 8. It’s true. I am ready for bed and I’m usually nodding off. But once I get back home and get ready for bed I seem to be wide awake. Hence, going to bed somewhere between 10 and 11 even when my alarm goes off really early in the morning.

Friday was more of the same. Getting up at 3:20. Working at Target until a little after 7. Taking Rock Star to school. Of course, she lets me know as I’m dropping her off that Picasso was still at home. She casually says, as she’s getting out of the car, “You know Picasso is still at home, right?”

Um, how I would I know this? I left the house at a quarter til four. I came home, pulled in the driveway, honked to let her know I was there, she came out to the car and I drove her to school. At what point would I have discovered my man child was still at home?

I call him on my way home and he tells me he went out at his regular time but his bus never came. Whatever. I told him to get ready and I would take him to school once I was ready for work.

I quickly changed clothes and threw food into my lunch bag. Then we took off for his school and I continued on to the bank.

It was a crazy day there. The phones were ringing off the hook. And I swear that I feel like I know less at the end of my first week than I did at the beginning. I’m crossing my fingers that week 2 feels a little more comfortable.

When I got home I discovered my nephew was spending the weekend which was a pleasant surprise. Rock Star worked 6-10 again so I took her to and picked her up from work. I decided to just grab subs for dinner because I didn’t feel like cooking. It was that or pizza and the boys voted for subs.

Finally, today I was again up at 3:20 so that I could head into Target by 4. As I left for work I realized my niece had spent the night. I stayed until almost 10 because I could and I need the hours. I had to pick up toilet paper, sausage and biscuits for breakfast and things to make Taco Twist soup for dinner. I came home, cleaned up the kitchen while I was making biscuits and gravy and then shortly after breakfast (which didn’t take place until around 11, 11:30) I took a nap. I know I was awake when Queen B took Rock Star to work at 1 so sometime after that I laid down and fell asleep until 4.

I was awakened by barking dogs when my brother and sister-in-law stopped by to visit. I cleaned up the kitchen from the breakfast mess and eventually made my soup. My brother stayed for dinner but my sister-in-law headed home before it was done.

I’ve got four kids again tonight. Rock Star just got off work at 9:30 and she and Queen B have headed out to IHOP and Target. Last time I checked Picasso was in bed (he had a rough day of video game playing so I’m sure he’s exhausted) and my nephew is downstairs watching TV.

Tomorrow my sister-in-law, Queen B, Rock Star and I are all headed to my other niece’s boyfriend’s basketball game. Apparently there may be more family headed to the game as well. We shall see. I would like to say I’m looking forward to it but sadly anymore it seems like anything that I do just seems like a task, even things that should be fun. It’s almost like it’s on a checklist that I’m trying to get through to prove that I have this full and exciting life. I’ll write more about that later. For now I think I’m going post this entry, eat a bowl of cereal, watch the rest of Say Yes to the Dress, and then head off to bed.

Trying to Put a Positive Spin On This, Take Two

Last time I tried this it didn’t work so well. I ended up just feeling sorry for myself. What I was trying to say the last time is: Being in limbo sucks, there’s no point in worrying about the future, drop the rope, and stop whining about life being unfair. It sucks but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Being in limbo does suck! I don’t know anything. Right now my head is full of worst case scenarios. I do not allow myself to think that things will go my way in court because I don’t want to be devastated when and if Cousinfucker gets away with everything. As I’ve said many times I envision my daughter’s senior year as the Year From Hell, as I have to either explain to her why she can’t participate, basically, i.e. no senior pictures, no graduation announcements, no graduation party, no dinner afterwards, no graduation gift, no nothing; or I work 80 hours a week to keep my head above water and then end up working the day of her graduation so she gets the party but I miss it.

That’s what I’m envisioning. Honestly, I think that’s a pretty damn good representation of what’s actually going to happen (hey, I’m trying to be positive, not delusional!) but I don’t know that for a fact. Hell could freeze over and Cousinfucker could start paying me what he owes me. Pigs could fly and I actually find a job that pays me a decent amount. So, there’s no use in worrying about any of that.

I need to learn to truly drop the rope and not try to pick it up again. My life as I knew it is over. There’s no point in comparing my life a little over a year ago to my life today. For most of 2015 I was a fairly comfortable housewife and stay at home mom. Now I’ve been discarded. I’m scrambling to find a job. My lifestyle has dramatically changed. I can keep whining about it but it won’t change it. I need to do as Picasso does and tell myself there’s no point in crying about it because I can’t change it. Just keep on keeping on. If I finally get hired working for shit money then I’m hired working for shit money. If I need to get a second job, I need to get a second job. If I work three jobs, I work three jobs. I can complain all day long. I can cry into my pillow for months and months. It does. not. change. a. thing. I may as well wrap my mind around the fact that my life is going to be very unpleasant from here on out and embrace the suck. You know, we often say we would rush into a burning building if our kids needed us. I would fight off a bear for my kids (not a snake- they’re on their own for that one). They don’t need me to run into a burning building or to fight off a bear. They need me to provide for them. And if that means I work 2 or 3 jobs, 60-80 hours a week, 6 and 7 days a week, then that’s what I’ll do. Who said life was supposed to be pleasant? I will endure for my kids.

Rock Star does have a few friends at her new school, including a cheerleader. Her cheerleader friend asked her if she was going to join their team this winter. Rock Star is telling me she’s not going to because she doesn’t want to have to change her availability at work. A week ago I would have been fine with this and pouted along with her.

“See, Cousinfucker? See what you’ve done to her? She has NOTHING because of you. All she does is go to school and work.”

Instead I am going to encourage her to try out. I’m going to be the grownup instead of the pouting brat and tell her she may as well try to make the best of her last two years. She didn’t want to move before either but she made the best of it and she ended up having a remarkable time.

It really IS another chapter in my life. It’s very strange to not be driving Rock Star all around to activities. It’s strange to have gymnastics completely over and done. It’s weird not having any kids over at the house. I’m sure I’ll adjust.

There is no master bathroom here. There are two bathrooms, one upstairs and one downstairs. I can’t speak for everyone else in the house but I use the one that’s closest to me. I’m frequently in the upstairs bathroom that my kids share. It’s much smaller than the bathrooms they used to have, and of course, they didn’t have to share. I no longer have a kitchen with granite countertops. There’s no pool or hot tub or trampoline in the backyard. The furniture is not mine. All of my holiday decor is gone. Again, it is what it is. At least I have a place to call home. I have a mom who welcomed me and my kids with open arms. Some women aren’t that lucky. I try to tell myself that everything I had before was just stuff. One part of me cries out, “But it was my stuff!” The new, more positive me tells the crying part to shut it and reminds me once again that it was just stuff. I’m sure I had too much stuff and didn’t use half of it.

Dropping the rope is hard. So very hard. It reminds of this time my brother pushed me off a bridge. I knew I was falling. I remember screaming, but then I also remember reconciling what was happening. I was falling and there was nothing I could about it except prepare for the landing. Note: This happened when I was much younger. I’m sure I wasn’t more than 12 and probably even younger. He would have been no more than 9 at that point. It was also a low bridge over the creek that ran through my grandparent’s property. I don’t want anyone thinking I had a brother that tried to murder me.

That’s what this whole experience has been like since August 10, 2015. Hearing that my husband was cheating on me once again with the exact same person. Falling. This isn’t happening! What the hell am I going to do? Oh no, it’s happening. How are you going to prepare for impact? Finding out he quit his job and moved out of state. Falling. I can’t control it. Brace yourself. Receiving the text message from him four months later informing me he lost his job and wouldn’t be sending anymore money. Falling. How do I keep everything the same? How can I stay here so that my daughter finishes out high school? What am I going to do about a job? What in the hell am I going to do? There won’t be a save like the last time. I was in a free fall and the only thing I could do was land. I couldn’t stop it.

Here I am today. Nothing is like I had hoped. Everything I had wanted for my kids is gone. They’ve gone from being privileged and pampered to paupers. The rage I feel most days is frightening. I can’t let it out; if I did it would overtake everything. It is that powerful. But here’s the truth. It’s all gone. I can’t make it come back. I will never earn anywhere close to what CF did. I have to accept the fact that we are poor.

I fought against applying for Medicaid. I fought against applying for free textbooks and free lunches. I fought against applying for food stamps (and still haven’t as of yet). All of that is so terribly embarrassing and yet, if your kids needed you to run into a burning building… so I debase myself and hold my hand out for free stuff. I’ve dropped the rope. This is reality. I can hope it isn’t so. I can scream and cry and yell, “It’s not fair!” at the top of my lungs. It doesn’t do any good. Just let yourself fall and prepare for the impact that’s coming. It is what it is.

My car is the last thing I have left over from my old life. For years I had been wanting either a convertible or a sunroof. For years CF had fought me on it, saying that sunroofs leak. I would tell him the new sunroofs are much more durable. Of course, he knew more than I did. Finally he caved. I got my new car (an actual car and not a minivan) with GPS, an aux cord so I could listen to my iPod, Bluetooth for my phone, push button start and a sunroof. I think I might even say I love that car. I have fought against getting rid of it. My argument has been that it’s a new car. I don’t have to worry about repairs. It’s a hybrid so it gets fantastic gas mileage. Plus, because of the miles I’ve put on it for Rock Star’s gymnastics I doubt I would get enough to cover the loan. I also am not sure how I would even get a loan for another car since I’m sure my credit is in the crapper thanks to CF and his nonpayment of bills. Nonetheless, it costs me over $350/month. I don’t have a job currently and it’s not looking like I’m going to get a decent paying one anytime soon. Because it’s a new car insurance is higher for me and I’m sure that’s part of why it’s so high for Rock Star. As much as I hate to get rid of it it’s looking more and more like that’s what I’m going to have to do. I’ll probably get a 10 year old Honda or Toyota and pray that it doesn’t break down and need expensive repairs. I guess I’m back to listening to the radio. I have come to accept that CF is going to end up taking every last thing I ever had over the last twenty years. What’s a car anyway? You only need it to get you from point A to point B. I’ve already lost my home, my furniture, my holiday decorations, my pool, my hot tub, my children’s stability. What the fuck does a car matter?  Rope. Dropped.

My kids will never have awesome Christmases again. I know they’re too old for Elf on the Shelf but our elf won’t ever come visit again because I can’t afford it.  I’m falling and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve dropped the rope. Christmas is going to suck from here on out because I can’t afford much anymore. I can fight it all I want but this is their new reality. Sorry, kids.

My daughter is working a part-time job so that she can afford to buy clothes and make-up she wants and be able to go out and do things. I can’t give her an allowance anymore. At some point she will probably have to contribute to not only paying for her car, but also her insurance and her phone. She will work and work and work to pay bills and she will have nothing left over to pay for movies or dinners or clothes. That’s a little harder to drop the rope on. I never wanted to be that parent. I never wanted that for my child. I followed the rules. I graduated high school, I went to college and graduated, I got married, and THEN I had a baby. Only it didn’t matter. Because my kids are going to end up with nothing anyway. It’s at times like these that I think I shouldn’t have even bothered with college because it’s never paid off for me. I wasted my mother’s money and I’m making less money than the majority of people WITHOUT a college degree.

I look at all those smiling faces on Facebook. They’re sharing pictures of their vacations, their romantic dates, their weddings or upcoming weddings, their kids at Homecoming, their kids participating in sports. I used to have a life like that. I don’t anymore. Drop the rope. I could cry, but what would that gain me? Nothing. Brace for impact. Pick yourself up. Get on with this new life. Stop wishing for the old one because it’s never coming back. It’s like wishing someone who died would come back. It’s not ever going to happen.

I hope this one wasn’t too depressing. I really have found some relief with this whole, “Let It Go” philosophy. Seriously, I find it much easier to just accept the fact that my life is going to suck and deal with it from that point, than it is to flail against the injustice of it all. Yeah, it sucks. I can’t change it. You put your head down and plow on through it. In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Get ‘er done!” Do I want to work an $11/hour job? Nope! But if that’s all that’s out there willing to hire me then that’s what I’ll do. And if working for $11/hour means I need a second job then as much as I may hate it that’s what I’ll do as well. I guess the good thing about being poor is that if I don’t get very much vacation time it won’t matter. I can’t afford to go anywhere anyway so who cares if I only get a week after a year of full-time employment? No vacations in Sam’s future. Hey, I’ve had 18 years of vacation time. It’s not like raising kids is any kind of work.

You know, sometimes I wonder if this hasn’t been his end game this whole entire time. I wonder if he hated me so much that he plotted this all out years ago. Step one: Take Sam away from the state she loves. Take away all of her volunteering activities. Take away all of her friends and all of her social activities. Take away any connections and support she has. Step two: Move her 2000 miles across the country and then abandon her after buying a new house, furniture, and car. Start acting like a jackass now that you’re all she has. Make her completely dependent on you and then bail. Don’t support her. Don’t hang out with her. Strip her bare. Step three: Look up your whore of a cousin again. Fuck her. Lie to Sam all summer about everything. Step four: Cash in the remaining stocks, open up a bank account with the whore, interview for jobs out of state, cut Sam and the kids off financially except for what “your lawyer told you you would have to pay in support”. Step five: Quit your job of 15 years, move out of state, don’t tell Sam or the kids. Make Sam wonder if you’re ever going to pay support again; make her wonder if she’ll have to pull the kids out of school mid-school year and devastate them. Step six: After pulling the rug out from under Sam with that whole “quit your job” thing, quit your job again! This time claim to be having a nervous breakdown to try to get out of paying spousal and child support. Leave Sam and the kids destitute, make them move once again, take EVERYTHING away from them once again, and force Sam onto welfare and back into the job force after 18 years of following your pathetic ass across the country.

I wouldn’t put it past him but you know what? There’s nothing I can about it. I will drop the rope. So many people say the best revenge is a life well lived. I don’t know how well I’m going to be living this life; however, I get the sentiment behind it. Sometimes we can’t make them pay; we don’t get justice. We have to pick up the pieces left behind anyway and do our best.

That’s a hard reality to accept- this idea that he and Harley could get away with everything. Yet if that does indeed happen, what can I do? Nothing. Drop the rope. Move forward.

I have no idea how any of this is going to turn out. For now I think I need to listen to the radio or my iPod on my drive back home so I don’t frustrate myself. I need to get a job- any job- even if it doesn’t pay what I need it to so that I can at least stop draining what’s left in my checking account. It’s far better to have my paycheck cover my limited bills, or almost cover my limited bills and then use savings until I can find a second job, as opposed to completely paying for everything out of savings. Look at me being all adult!

I’ve got my kids. I’ve got my dogs. I left my house with the most important “things”. I will never be the person who says: Golly gee! This divorce is just going to be the best thing ever! I KNOW I’m going to find the love of my life now that I’ve cast the shit eating chimp aside. I’ll be so glad I got that divorce once I meet Mr. Right. And I KNOW I’m going to get a great job- one that pays well and stimulates my mind. I’ll meet all these new friends and have a fantastic social network. I’ll start going to church and that’ll just be wonderful, too. Maybe I’ll take a Bible study and become best friends with someone from there. I’m going to volunteer once again and network my ass off! I’m going to feel so much better because I’m out there on my own, not relying on my husband. And I’m sure God will come through and court will go my way and Cousinfucker will end up having to pay me thousands in back support and for arrears and misappropriation of funds; he’ll end up being ordered to pay me substantial spousal and child support as well. Why, I bet he’ll even get up off his ass and get a job so he can actually pay what the judge orders!

I know that’s sarcasm but even taking the sarcasm out of it I’ll never trust that good things are going to happen. He’s shattered those dreams once too often. Every time I had a plan he came along and smashed it. I cannot do that to myself anymore. It’s easier to believe that nothing is ever going to go my way. The best I can do is agree to drop the rope. I can let it go when the judge rules in his favor and I get fucked up the ass. I can refuse to dwell on it when he rides off into the sunset with Harley and then begins his new six figure salary job- not paying a dime in child or spousal support. I could be frustrated or angry but what does that really do? He doesn’t care. Hell, he would probably love it if he knew how much it bugged me that he got away with everything. You learn to swallow that shit sandwich that is your ex-husband leaving you destitute while he goes on to enjoy life with someone else.

Some days I vow to not let him defeat me. I tell myself I’m going to do whatever needs to be done to stand on my own two feet without him. I’m going to raise my kids without his help. I’m going to carve out a great life for myself. I’ll get a job. Make friends. Volunteer. Go to church. I will thrive! And other days I want to curl up in a ball and admit defeat. “Okay, you win, Cousinfucker. You’ve destroyed my life. You’ve taken everything away from me. I’m living on welfare. I live with my mom at age 47. I will never have anything again. I’ll never go on vacation again. I’ll never have a home of my own. I’m never going to be able to provide for our kids the way you did. I’ll just lay here in the fetal position and wait for death to come.” You may be glad to  know that lately I’m telling myself the former more often than the latter.

I’ve heard a lot of sad stories over on Chump Lady. I’m always amazed at the women (yes, it’s always the women) who talk about having to work until the day they die, or living in a tiny home after living in a huge house, or barely scraping by, and yet they feel so much better.

“I left behind a 6000 square foot home. I work three jobs just to make ends meet and I’m still in danger of having my electricity shut off. My car is barely hanging on; I defeat death each time I drive it. I have no money, no savings, my life is a giant struggle but I’M SO MUCH BETTER OFF now that I’ve left my cheater.”

Really? I guess I must be a shallow person because I don’t feel that I’m better off. When he was paying me spousal and child support I felt I was better off, but now that he’s claiming PTSD and spending his days drinking and fucking I don’t feel better off at all. One of my friends told me way back in the beginning that she was so happy I was finally out of my marriage because she was so worried about me and what I would do as his social anxiety got worse and worse and I did everything on my own. She has one of those marriages where they do a lot of things together, both as a family and as a couple. I’ve never had that. It’s not my normal. I can’t miss what I never had. Fifteen months ago I was all alone. My husband was shutting himself off in the bedroom and crying all the time. We didn’t do things together as a family; we didn’t do things as a couple. I was still a pampered housewife living on six figures; my kids had everything they needed and most of what they wanted. Now? I’m still alone; I don’t have a new Prince Charming in my life. I doubt I ever will. I’m on welfare. I got to break the bad news to the kids that we were moving once again. I got to enroll the kids in new schools and ride that tidal wave of emotion as we waited to see if Rock Star would go to her preferred school, all along believing she wouldn’t get in. I got to break the bad news to her that she didn’t get to get her license; I held her as she cried. I get to go through all the headaches and heartaches and he’s living with the slut without a care in the world. Which is better? The world where I’m alone but I’m living on six figures and my kids are happy? Or the one where I’m alone, my husband is off fucking his cousin, and I’m on welfare? Gosh, that’s a really tough choice. Let me think about that a minute and I’ll get back to you.

Turns out, it didn’t take me a full minute to make my decision. I prefer the money. I wish I were more like those women who are so grateful to be away from the cheater.  But I’m not. I like having money. I like being able to take care of my kids. I like being able to give them the things I never had as a kid. The only thing I can do at this point is drop the rope. It’s not what I wanted but it’s what I’ve got. I’ve got to figure out other ways to make things happen for me and my kids.

My sister-in-law was telling me that if I got a job at her company once I had been there a year I would get a 3% raise! Wow- I would go from making $11/hour to $11.33/hour! Can someone who is really good at math let me know how many years I would need to work before I finally reached $30k/year? I’m thinking probably 10. Many people have told me I have to start at the bottom and work my way up. I don’t have that kind of time! My daughter graduates next year. My son is an 8th grader. I don’t have 10-15 years to work my way up the ladder. By the time I’m making any kind of decent money my kids will be self-supporting. I’ve pretty much decided that the only way I’m going to make any kind of decent money is if I go back to school. I’m leaning heavily towards nursing. I don’t necessarily want to be a nurse but I figure if I’m going to hate what I do I may as well make good money while I’m doing it.

It’s not that I think I will hate it. I have just never had any desire to be a nurse. I’ve known a lot of people, though, that are going back to school and they are all choose nursing. It pays well and it seems like they’re always hiring. I figure I can work in the OR and then I only have to deal with unconscious people.

Or, I could become a teacher. That one is a little trickier though because you never know what school system is hiring. I wouldn’t be assured of getting a job around here and I can’t afford to move. I won’t do that to my kids again either. Unlike their father, I mean it when I say I don’t want to move them around constantly. I would probably prefer to be a teacher as opposed to a nurse but it doesn’t pay as well. On the bright side, I would have summers off.

I’m rambling now. I am doing better. I am at the acceptance stage. I think that’s the last one but I haven’t reviewed the stages of grief lately. I’m grinning and bearing it. My mantra is: I can’t change it; I just have to accept it and do what needs to be done. Embrace the suck. Drop the rope. Let it go. Or as a fellow blogger put it: Sometimes evil wins. What are you going to do?