Friday, January 28, 2005

Turning a corner

I don't know where this new turn will take me....and I'm pretty sure it will be a scary ride, but I had somebody say something to me yesterday and it made a huge impression.

First of all, I did something I've never had the courage to do before. Ciara gave me some advice a while ago. It wasn't new advice, but I'd never thought it was necessary for me to do. That's not my life....I don't need to call a women's shelter or crisis line. But really, I did, and it's something I probably should have done years ago.

But I'm not going to "should" all over myself.

I called and I cried and I asked the lady if I was going insane or sounded insane. Because I feel like I'm losing my mind. She said that my core person, who I know, deep down inside me really exists there, the person I want to be....is fighting with the woman I am right now and the woman I've become because of how I've lived my life up to this point.

And she's right, I got a glimpse of that a couple of months ago. I felt like I was figuring things out and like I'd really started to understand where I went wrong in my life and how to fix it all. At least start the fixing.

And then the money stress and the husband and the harsh words and I crumbled. And I walked the eggshells.

And yesterday it got to be too much, because I know that's not me. I know the things he says are not who I really am. I know he's just as confused as I am and we're hurting each other, but I'm taking it one step farther and I'm hurting myself by believing what he says about me in anger and then adding ten pounds of my own insecurities on top of it.

And I panicked and I couldn't breathe and I realized that Ciara was right, I needed to call someone because a women's crisis center, well.... they've probably heard it all and they would be able to at the very least, listen and not judge me for my decisions. And I was hoping no one would call me a selfish bitch.

I cried for an hour and talked this poor girl's ear off, but it was so good. And she gave me the number of the YWCA, who has counseling and groups for women like me. Maybe not ex-Mormon women, but women going through similar experiences with life and husbands.

So I called....and this really, really great (I cannot stress that enough) woman answered the phone. She is a counselor. She has three kids. Her husband used to support her. And she got me and got my tension and understood and while the support groups cost a little money, she offered to see what else was out there for me to get me started with a plan. So that I wouldn't have to spend a lot of money.

And then she said:

You can do this. You were strong enough to leave that church and stand up for your decision. You can get through this, too.

And though I don't feel like standing just yet, I know she's right. I know I can do this. I know I can get back to where I was and take all this pain inside and learn what needs to be learned from it and go where life takes me.

I need a plan.

And I'll get through this.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

There is no subject title for how I'm feeling

I've been trying to get up the energy to add to this blog for days and days. It's tough. I'm still reading my favorite blogs, but I don't have anything good to say about much, so I'm not posting.

My life drones on the same.

I'm still looking for work and haven't even received a phone call for an interview. Though I'd previously been looking for work for three years without success, so it doesn't surprise me that no one has called. I even re-tooled my resume, took off my college graduation, and dummied down my web experience. To no avail.

I get up in the morning, see my kids off to school, drink a cup of coffee, stare at my computer screen, watch things I Tivoed the night before and then hit all the online job boards and drive my resume out to where ever. Then I come back home. The husband takes the kids over to his new martial arts school and they all work out and then they eat dinner and come home.

I'm essentially a non-entity in my own life.

I live knowing that if I did go out and play pool with my friends, when I got home my husband would once again be telling me to move out because I'm not living how he wants me to live. I'm only allowed to live here as long as I do what he thinks I should do.

It's the antithesis of how I wanted to live my life, I'm now back to doing what I think others want me to do. I'm a conformist. I'm everything I hated about who I used to be. But if I leave, I crash on a friend's couch, I still don't have a job and consequently have no money for the eventual divorce and rest at the mercy of the courts with regards to custody of my kids.

So I'm playing by the new rules and staying here so that I can stay with my kids. Hoping beyond all, that someone wants to hire me so that I can set aside the money to move out and pay a lawyer.

I live in a tiny box and I am slowly suffocating.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My brilliant son, part deux

It was his birthday this week and I took some pics, which I thought I'd share.

I think we're going to pull my son from public school and even though funds are tight put him in a charter school. He won't be "in class" every day, which means that CP and I will have to be working with him at home, but if it's what he needs to get caught up then that is what we're going to do.

I don't know how it will all work with the tenuous home situation, but he's my kid and I have to do what I can.

So, here's a picture of my boy....turning 12.


And finally, I had to send my computer to the repair shop, because my youngest happily infected it with viruses and spyware while we were stuck on dial-up service. The repair place, CompUSA, did their work, but when I got my computer back, it would not view web pages. My wireless network was working and I could chat, but web pages wouldn't show up. So I took it back in and after one week the shop said they didn't know what was wrong.

I got my computer back last night and hooked it up this morning, expecting to be sorely disappointed, but instead.....surprise....it worked just fine. Me thinks that CompUSA made a silly error and then in the face of embarrassment, didn't want to tell me about it, thinking that I would just be pleasantly surprised that it "magically" worked again.

Oh, well. Regardless, I'm back online, in my little corner of my bedroom, synced up to the family wireless network and file sharing like a fool. :-)

It's the small things in life that make all the difference. And in the face of the much larger life issues, I'll take the small joys where I can get them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My brilliant son

I've blogged a lot about my kids, mostly about my oldest daughter because she's going through a lot of interesting struggles right now.

But tonight I want to blog about my genius-level, talented, talkative, imaginative, manipulative son. He is far and away my most imaginative kid. He builds anything with Legos. He draws, in fact, he once drew the entire storyboard of Star Wars: Episode 1 on his bedroom wall in pen. He mastered fire quickly as a young boy and burned holes in our rug, but knew enough not to play with fire near his wooden bed frame. He threw his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle down the toilet and flushed it so that the toy could "go home." We got him about 25 Matchbox cars for Christmas a few years ago and he lined them all up, grabbed his dad's hammer and crushed them to bits and when I turned all beet red he told me, "look, Mom, I made a junk yard."

You understand the brilliance I am talking about here. He amazes me. And he annoys the hell out of me at times.

And never more than when I get the quarterly call from his teacher to let me know that he has not turned in a shred of homework or done any work in class. Every year for the last six years. Hmmmm...and I find myself thinking and lately saying, much to the dismay of many teachers, "Why am I just learning about this now?" I mean you'd think that after two weeks of him not doing his work in school I would have heard from a teacher. But it has been two months.

Now this is where my son's master manipulator skills come in the most handy. He's been telling me that because he moved into this new school so late in the term, he didn't have any homework or school work because he wouldn't be there long enough to get any grades. A fact I accepted, as my daughter in high school is in the same boat. She has four study halls a day because of the credit transfer nightmare from one school district to another. It just seemed logical that my son would have the same issues in middle school.

Nope.

He is failing every subject. Every single one. Even choir.

And now because there are only 7 days left in the term his teachers are freaking out because he cannot fail. If he fails then they get a bad "report card" from the governmental No Child Left Behind Program. Thank you, President Bush. Or was that the brilliant plan of Mrs. Bush? I don't care, I think it sucks all the way around.

His teacher kept going on and on about how my son cannot fail, he just can't, he just can't and her tone got higher and higher and more nasal with each iteration. So I said something and as soon as I said it, I knew I shouldn't have. I asked the obvious, "Why can't he fail?"

Oh, his teacher was so pissed off.

So I continued my thought process and heard her jaw hit the floor through the phone line. Why can't my son fail? He has been struggling in school since first grade. His teachers call me and we work out a punishment/reward system and he finds a creative way to manipulate his way out of it. In third grade he couldn't spell the word "said." He spelled it "sed." His third grade teacher designed a sheet of paper my son had to get signed at the end of each day with what his homework was and how he did in school. She gave up on him in one month and for the rest of the year all she wrote was something like, "CP ate erasers today. He had an OK day. He has math and spelling to do." Repeat, ad naseum.

But my son, ever up to the challenge, began throwing those notes away on the way home and telling us he had a substitute teacher. Then he'd tell us he left his homework at school. He'd tell his teacher he left his homework at home. In truth, he was throwing it all in the garbage can outside his school. How do I know this? His older sister watched him and found it and brought it home. And do you know what my tenacious son did then? He ate, yep....ate his teacher's daily note.

Oh my God.

Last year, his fifth grade year, he kept telling me he got all his work done at school, but then his teacher finally called me to complain that he was failing and I went into his room and found all his homework for over month stuffed into the bottom of his dresser drawer.

So the standard operating procedure every year is for the teacher to ignore my son for most of the school term until about two weeks before the term ends. Then they call me in a panic and tell me that my son has to get all his work turned in before the end of the term so that he won't fail. And every term we do just that. I go into the school, get loaded up with work and then sit like a damn security guard over my son for days and days....and all weekend making sure he gets everything done and turned in.

And what does he learn? He learns that he doesn't have to do anything, homework or school work, because at the final hour everyone else will bend over backwards for him and make sure he gets a passing grade in all his classes. Does he learn responsibility? Does he learn that there are consequences for every action? No he does not.

His teacher actually said to me, "I can't believe I'm hearing this from a parent." I said, "I can't believe that as a teacher you are only interested in my son passing his classes and not with whether he's actually learning anything." She asked what I wanted the consequences to be. I told her I'd like him to be held back a grade and she said that they do not hold children back any more. It's bad for their self-esteem. So I asked how my son's self-esteem would fair when he graduated from high school and can't go to college because he can't fill out the application because he can't read it or spell properly.

So back to my main question. Why can't he fail? What purpose does it serve to pull out the big guns and make him do the work under pressure at the end of the school term? Because in the end, all the school system is creating is a kid, who thinks he's stupid and who knows others will pick up the slack for him. All he learns is that he doesn't have to work all that hard, for all that long to get the grades to pass.

And that is my son. He's brilliant, he's loved beyond measure and he's learning all the wrong things from the public school system and learning none of what he really needs to know to get by in life.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Ah, the joys of freezing rain

So Mother Nature kindly bestowed our little corner of the world with freezing winds and cold temperatures from the east and a warm front from the coast to the west and what we got was a lot of rain that landed and froze right on the ground. Thick sheets of ice all over everything. The cars, the ground, the grass, the sidewalks and the freeways.

I didn't leave the house today until 3 PM and even then it was still frozen almost everywhere. The main freeway was OK, but not great. There were utility poles knocked over on the streets near my house and abandoned vehicles, all crunched up, just left there on the sidewalks. People were leaving their cars and walking down the middle of the roads where the ice wasn't freezing. So we went out, did what we needed in a half hour and got back home. Where we've been holed up ever since.

I had decided yesterday to spend the weekend at home and do some reading, thinking and meditating. I need it. And this weather, well, it just made all that easier.

This is the scariest thing I've ever faced. Wanting something to work, knowing that it did work, it worked so well once upon a time, and that now it just doesn't. I would scream at God if I even thought He cared. Is this what He would want done in the name of His supposedly "one true church?" But it's pointless because it's happening and I suppose, ultimately, it's what is for the best....in the long run.

I used to be in graduate school working toward my PhD. I've been thinking about going back. It's financially a killer, with the student loans, but I always wanted to do research and teach. And then I was thinking that maybe I could do a year program at a university, for people who have a Bachelor's degree, but not in education. I could do that and then teach high school. And I could do that program and still work, when I get a job, that is.

I still need some time to sleep and try to get my heart to stop beating so damn fast. And my brain is pretty mushy right now. You wouldn't believe how much spell checking I have to do.

I appreciate the comments everyone. I do. Trail Seeker, I followed your blog to the Foyer and it was good to read your comments and others. I haven't touched base with the ex-Mormon community online in a couple of months and it was good to read and realize that so many others are in my same boat. Maybe not so rocky, maybe worse, but still struggling with the religion and the turmoil.

And there is so much turmoil.

Friday, January 14, 2005

And the edge just crumbles away

I don't know that I've ever had a harder week in my life.

Things were good on Monday and okay on Tuesday and then it all just hit the fan and everything that I felt like I worked so hard for...all the strides and introspection that got me to where I was just a few days ago disappeared with a few chosen words.

I know it's stupid to let it get to me like this, I know it. For some reason though, it's like I had this thing built and I was doing good, but I didn't quite have it all strong enough to withstand the pressures of life and the sting of words.

CP got a gas bill from the new martial arts school he's opening up this month and it was over $1000. This happened on Monday. I was supportive, I tried to help him look on the bright side, but I could see it. I could see him go down, feel over his head with money stress and question his business decisions. And I should have braced, but I thought that since he's finally spoken of divorce, he wouldn't focus on me.

He did.

By Tuesday night I couldn't do anything "right." And by Wednesday, I was too expensive because I see a chiropractor and have monthly meds for my migraines. By Wednesday night he hated being married to someone who smokes (I smoke about four cigarettes a day) and by Thursday morning he didn't want me in the house anymore because I'm not Mormon. It was everything that I am as a human being....and he hated it all. And it went on and on and on and no matter what I said he just kept going and going. And the painful words that just vomited out of his mouth destroyed everything that I've worked so hard for.

He was pushing for me to leave, but I have no where to go and no money and no job. The only option I had was to drive to Sacramento to stay with AF, but I knew if I did that, he would use it against me and I'd never get custody of my kids. I would lose everything and I won't lose them. That is where I stood my ground, holding on to the best three things in my life, my kids.

Finally, Thursday afternoon CP realized that I wasn't responsible for his money problems. He realized that rushing me out wasn't an answer and he went back to the "take it slow...we're not in a rush....let's help each other out" philosophy. He apologized and I did my best to accept. By this morning, he was even talking about how "we" should probably move into another house this summer, closer to his martial arts school, so that the kids can start fresh in a new school year.

I was floored, because now it's like nothing happened at all and this week that has been utter hell for me, doesn't exist anymore. Yet, it's real to me and I can't seem to get it together.

I wonder if he even knows what he is doing and saying, I wonder if he even realizes just how fragile the human heart is. Maybe I'm the only one who falls apart like this. I honestly don't think he does it on purpose....I just can't comprehend a person, any person, being that cruel and calculated and taking pleasure in attempting to destroy someone only to apologize and be kind. I mean, how awful a person is that? Is that who I'm married to? Or am I married to someone perhaps even more fragile and insecure as I seem to be?

I feel like I had just climbed to this point in my life and was catching my breath and getting a good look around, when it all crumbled away underneath me. I know I let him do this to me and I know I caved and fell apart, but I just wasn't strong enough to take it. I was doing so well, I was feeling good, and I had a good idea put together for how I wanted to live the rest of my life....at least as far as I could see right now. And I thought I was stronger than this.

And that's what upsets me the most. I thought it was all coming together. I thought I could take my time, find a good job, rely on my friends a little and then move out and distance myself from this relationship. But I didn't have time. And I wasn't as put together as I thought I was. And I feel like I let myself down and my kids and my close friends who put faith in me, and still do have faith in me.

How can I be anything to anyone else when I can't even keep myself together? How can I hold myself up when I let mere words tear me apart? I mean, they were awful words, but where did my inner-strength go?

And so rather than go to those people who I know would want to be there for me, I cancelled my whole week. I stopped answering my cell phone. I had a date with friends last night and I didn't show up. I didn't even call.

I'm hiding out from everyone and everything. And even though the pressure to move out right away is off and the tension is eased, I can't do anything except be pissed off and upset with myself for how I'm feeling.

I did manage to get a few copies of my resume out there, after I reworked it on Tuesday morning. And I'm looking into getting my teaching certificate during the next year so that I can teach high school.

But my poor, little heart just isn't in it. God, this is so much harder than I thought it would be.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My pear shaped life

I've been struggling with a bad bout of insomnia for the last two weeks and last night didn't sleep more than a couple of hours. I woke up this morning and since I sort of don't have a job anymore (long story), I was going to go back to sleep. But then my husband, who has been in a funk all weekend, decided to be honest with me this morning and now I couldn't sleep if I wanted to.

So I'll blog.

I dragged my husband to a bar with me on Friday night, thinking that because all our friends would be there, he would have a good time. Since he went back to Mormon church, he doesn't go out much and his friendship's have dwindled. I, on the other hand, still go out with them almost every weekend.

The bar thing was a mistake, because it only illustrated the growing gap between our lives. We friends sat around and laughed and talked and drank and smoked, but the hubby, CP, found a chair in a corner and just sat there. The men in our group, TP and MH, felt compelled to go and talk to CP and get him involved, but he still just sat there. He and I left early, while everyone else went on to another club and then another club after that.

I noticed on the way home that night that CP was quiet and didn't say much. In fact, he didn't say much all weekend. And so last night, he couldn't sleep and stayed up thinking about what he wanted and he's finally admitted to himself and to me this morning what I've known for months. He wants me to go to Mormon church again, and since I don't, he's ready to move on with his life and find someone else to be with who is Mormon and shares his ideals.

To me, this was not news, and yet, it's still hard to hear. He and I just have such different views of what being in a relationship means. For me it's an internal thing; love, compassion, trust, faith and not so much that we have tons of stuff in common and the same goals in life. For CP it's all about the destination. He's Mormon and his companion should also be Mormon so that they are on the same path and have the same eternal goals. That's the only way it works for him. And now that he's finally admitted that to himself, well, it means we're going to be done soon and it's scary for both of us.

I mean, I'm ready to a degree, but I'm so frightened to live alone and be alone. I'm worried that will turn into loneliness. I've always lived with someone, my mother and sister, roommates in college and then CP and the kids. I've had someone to take care of since I was nine years old. What the fuck will I do with myself when I'm in an apartment by myself and my kids are with CP? How will I live alone and not get extremely pissed off at the state of my life and feel sad? I suppose I won't. Because I'm thinking that those are just normal emotions people go through when they separate and get divorced.

I want to hate CP. I want to be so pissed off that all of this is just easy for me....easy for me to walk away. But I can't hate him. I feel badly for him. He's searching for this ethereal thing in his life that will make his life better, that will get him to God. The problem is he's searching for it from external sources and not really looking inside himself. He thinks if he goes to church and sits there and takes all the lessons in, that it will make him feel how he wants to feel. What he's genuinely afraid to do is look to his heart and understand himself from the inside. And he thinks he's going to find what he's looking for now, by divorcing me and marrying a Mormon girl. More external.

So I'm sitting here. He says he's in no rush to separate. He said he's thinking about things we could do to work on our relationship. He's feeling that if he divorces me that he's being selfish and that will hurt the kids. We're hurting the kids either way and this won't be easy for anyone. At the very least, he's in no rush, because as of today, I'm out of work, sort of, again. I wasn't making a lot of money anyway, and it was a difficult job that I wasn't overly fond of, but still. It gave me a place to go and something to do to take my mind off the stress of my life. They still want me to work there, but they want me to transition into something more "up my alley" and with more money making potential. We'll see.

The owner, MH, is someone I've known for almost 14 years and recently he's taken it upon himself to worry about my financial situation. He's knows I want to make enough money to be able to support myself, should that be what happens, (and now it seems that is what will happen), so that I felt more comfortable making choices about my life and knowing that I could take care of myself.

The problem for me at this very moment is that if CP does decide to rush this through, what the hell do I do? With no job and no money. I know I could put him through hell financially, but then am I being selfish?

Oh, my goodness. This is a lot to think about for me. So I guess right now I'll grab my resume, fix it up a bit and look online for jobs. One step at a time.

From Joan of Arcadia last Friday night:

God: (to Joan) Because I want you to see how much stronger you are. Failure and disappointment. It's all part of the game.
Joan: But this isn't a game. This is my life.
God: Every act you undertake; working at the bookstore, helping someone, even playing "rock, paper, scissors" - each of those choices is a move and every move informs the next and changes you and everyone else. Like moves on the chessboard.
Joan: So there has to be a way to win.
God: Sure, by playing.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

All Hail the wonders of Comcast!

So I'm back, and right now I'm at home and I'm posting on my blog, instead of scurrying quickly at work trying to get something posted before anyone notices.

I don't know how a company like Earthlink has stayed in business for so long. I've never had a worse time trying to get someone to take my money in exchange for a service they are supposed to offer. It was terrible.

But on Monday, I called Earthlink, as they suggested and four different customer service reps told me four different stories as to why I didn't have DSL yet. The best some bumbling dummy could do was offer to call me in a few days and give me an update on when I might have DSL. I told him that wasn't good enough.

After I got off the phone with Earthlink, I called some local DSL providers, but they wanted tons of money. And then I called Comcast. I asked the requisite questions and got good answers. Then I asked the most important question....when? And they said, "Wednesday." And not just any Wednesday....but this Wednesday!

So yesterday, the guy was here and he installed and he drilled holes....in the walls of my house and I have high-speed cable.

To be online at home again is like savoring a McDonald's french fry after 10 years of going without one. I know it's semi-geekish and I don't care. It's wonderful to have my internet back at home and let me tell you, it's screaming fast.

OK. So I think I'm finally done with my DSL/Earthlink ranting. And like Pops, and his promise to let baseball discussion go for a while, I think I too am ready to put this unfortunate event behind me and move on to more important things like painting my nails and dancing the weekend away.

That being said, I've had quite a number of wonderful, scary and silly things happen in my life in the last few weeks that I haven't been able to blog on a regular basis. I've been listening to a lot of old CD's and thinking about the choices I've made in my life and where those choices have brought me right now. Music is so amazing.

More later .... right now I can't wait to go out and read some of my fav blogs.

YEA!