Sunday, May 12, 2013
I spent the weekend with the two best daughters anyone could ask for. Friday night, Em had a friend sleep over. Saturday, I took the girls to the mall. Saturday night, I got together with a bunch of girlfriends and their kids to watch the game and celebrate Mother's Day, and I had a blast, even though our Thunder lost. Today was wonderful...my girls are incredible, and they are the culmination of everything good in my life. How they managed to get the best of everything in us is truly a mystery, but it happened. They have been so strong through this whole mess, and it hasn't been easy on them. You see, they both really liked him. Having to explain that everything about him was a lie was relatively tough. I spared Chicken as much as I could...but Emily, well...she's 13 and nobody's fool. She was angry, and that's okay. We were ALL taken in by a con man. It wasn't just me he was lying to...that's been rough for them. Especially for her.
The beautiful thing is, we're all out from under the cloud. We're looking forward to the summer...we talked about vacation plans. We went out for Mexican food. (Well, we tried to go for Turkish food, but Simply Falafel was closed for Mother's Day.) We just had fun together...which hasn't happened nearly enough in the past six months. It has me happier and more hopeful than I remember being in a long time. Being their mom is the best thing about me...I'm pretty good at it...just talk to them for a few minutes if you're not sure. ;)
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Excuse me. This isn't eloquent, and for that I apologize. To MC...go f*ck yourself. The judge saw through your bullshit, because you're an awful human being. Karma's a bitch, and I'm real sorry....but I've never been happier than today. I was granted a permanent, final no-contact VPO for the state's maximum of 5 years. This is the first time in this judge's history to grant a permanent VPO against a defendant who had not (yet) served time for domestic violence. (Because, let's face it...one day, he will. It's not like he's going to STOP.) The look on your face when I got EVERYTHING I wanted...it kinda made my thirties more meaningful. Finally, good triumphs over evil, and I am over the moon.
Good job screwing yourself with your lies. I almost felt sorry for you...then I remembered who I was dealing with...and that you are lacking a conscience. You should try NOT being such a reprehensible asshole. Try NOT beating up girls half your size. At least SEE how it goes. Good luck with your sad existence...I have nothing but pity for you...and far more for any woman who dates you.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Tomorrow, I have to face the man who hurt me more than I ever imagined was possible...and I am scared. I'm not scared that something will happen to me in the courtroom...but I am scared of having to relive the awful things he put me through. I have not yet successfully talked about what happened without dissolving into a crying jag that is vaguely reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple...and that's just practicing in the mirror. I have no idea how I'll manage it in front of a judge...and the prospect of M's sneering presence turns my stomach.
I don't understand how he can live with the knowledge of what he did to me, and still present himself as the victim...just some guy with a crazy ex, like he did with his last girlfriend to me...does he get a rush from knowing that I'm constantly looking over my shoulder? That I'm scared all the time? That I wrote letters to my daughters in case something happened to me because of HIM? Because of his words. Because of his actions. Because of his threats. Because he stole my confidence and crushed it. Because he took a sick pleasure in pointing out my every flaw, in telling me I wasn't good enough, even as he told me he loved me in the same breath.
The worst part is, he had me believing it. He had me believing THAT was normal. Just count the bruises and wipe up the blood and tell me he loves me and he's sorry he called me those names and said those things. What I really want to know is how did HE get this way? And what gives him the right to play the victim when I finally stand up and say I've had enough? Who taught him that it was okay to systematically tear someone down, piece by piece, until there was nothing left?
Some things, I don't want to understand. This is one of them. Pray for my strength tomorrow. For wisdom and peace for me and my daughters...that we can finally put this nightmare behind us.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Last September, I was swept off my feet by an incredibly charming man. A man who showered me with attention and gifts. A man who was intelligent and witty. A man I could talk to all night, who listened with interest to what I had to say. A man who was kind to me, and treated me like I hung the moon. He brought me flowers, just because. He left cards and notes on my windshield for me to find in the morning, just so I would know he was thinking of me. He seemed genuine and honest, and willing to be up front about his flaws...or so it seemed. A man who gave me more positive attention in the first three months than I had ever received in my entire life. He called me his soulmate. After everything I'd been through, I thought my prayers had been answered.
I was wrong.
So, so wrong...
After a few months, the cracks in his foundation began to show. There was a mountain of debt I had no idea he had...and we're not talking a little. We're talking nothing he'll ever pay off in his lifetime. He had depleted his savings and retirement accounts. His truck was repossessed. He had to constantly borrow money to pay bills or get the water or electricity back turned back on, even as he went out every night and dressed in expensive clothes. And then there was how little he saw of his children...as of this time, it's been four months since he laid eyes on ANY of his four kids...the youngest has seen him three times in the past 9 months, once only for an hour. He is tens of thousands in arrears on his child support. I began to realize things weren't as they seemed. Then there was the jealousy...he had mostly female friends, but I wasn't allowed to stay in contact with my guy friends. "Because I know not to trust guys. They all want to have sex with you," he said. Any argument I made was wholly unreasonable--a betrayal of him, even. Guess what, ladies and gentlemen? I had the original con artist. Me...a fairly intelligent girl who makes a decent living and has her life more or less together. A Nice Girl at heart--far from perfect, but generally kind and reasonably responsible. And I missed it...and I put myself and my kids in grave danger because I wasn't bright enough to see it in time.
The controlling behavior slowly escalated. In the final month, if I was upset or bothered by something, it didn't matter how calmly or rationally I brought it up. He turned it into a shouting match almost immediately. The fights were horrific, and always 100% MY FAULT. If only I did this...if only I was more respectful...he would tell our friends I was unstable, when he was the one who threw his phone so hard, he left a hole in my wall. Once, near the end, he screamed in my face, calling me a fucking cunt. When I started to cry, he looked at me with disgust. "There you go again, playing the fucking victim. You're pathetic," he spat.
Never in my life have I been called the names he called me. Cunt. Slut. Bitch. Pathetic. Loser. Liar. I have never experienced so much hatred and vitriol...all from the person who claimed I was "the love of his life" and talked often of marrying me. I have never been so torn down and humiliated, nor treated with so much disdain in my life. It went from being the most loving, affectionate relationship I've ever experienced to exactly the opposite. That isn't to say I did nothing wrong in the relationship...I am human, and I made mistakes, too. But I was honest and loyal throughout. For him, it turned into a game, where he liked to point out my every flaw. He seemed to get joy out of being critical of my appearance and mannerisms. My nose was too big. My singing was abysmal. My laugh was annoying. I needed to do some squats. My hands and feet were ugly. My jaw and lips were all wrong. I really wasn't all that pretty...and I was supposedly the girl of his dreams? And still, I didn't leave.
By then, I loved him...not who he was, but the version he had presented in the beginning...and I thought, maybe if I give it time and walk the line, that guy will come back. What I didn't realize is, that guy never really existed. This one did. This was who he is. The one who had built our relationship on a house of cards...some half-truths, some out-and-out lies. The things I have learned about him since the breakup are simply mind-blowing. Even that term is a grave understatement. Humiliating. Embarrassing. Disgusting. None of that even touches it. This was a man (and I use that term loosely, because he is really not a man at all), quite simply, with NO moral compass or sense of decency, honor, or responsibility to anyone. This was a "man" who feels he is above everyone...above the law...that there are no rules that apply to him. And that is what makes him so terrifying.
As for the breakup itself...I was badly beaten. Not with his fists...just with his ability to throw me around like a rag doll, on account of the 100 pounds he had on me. I sustained a concussion, over 30 bruises, and urinated blood for days. My back was black and blue. I stayed with my parents. My mother cried every time she looked at me. And still I cried and refused to give the name of the attacker to the police...even as the officer told me the level of injuries I sustained warranted a felony assault investigation. I was wrong not to. I know that now. If nothing else, I should've done it to protect his current girlfriend....and all of his future ones. They will end up just like me, just as I'm pretty sure now that I ended up like the last one...it hasn't been hard to fill in the blanks that he left unsaid about his last relationship, the one which he claimed he had been so honest and up-front about. I'm sure he's saying the same things about me now, as he pulls the wool over this victim's eyes. Because she is a victim, too, every bit as much as I am. She will be abused, whether it's physically, verbally, emotionally, or all of the above. It may take a little time, but it will absolutely happen. She will be hurt by him, and I can't help her. I don't want to feel guilty about that, but I do. I regret that. I wish I could warn every woman in the metropolitan area.
I can't do that. All I can do is tell my story, and hope people read it. All I can do is make people understand that no one is immune to abuse. My YWCA counselor likened his actions to emotional terrorism. It can happen to anyone. Even smart, pretty, together girls...who may be in a slightly vulnerable place. It's the vulnerability he feeds upon. I have lost friends. I have been judged harshly. I have hurt those that I loved. I have lived in fear every day. I have had my life threatened. I have made mistakes. And I have survived. One day, maybe I'll even be okay. One day, maybe I'll trust someone again. I don't know. But it isn't today....
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Then last year, I met a guy. And the guy had a dog. But it wasn't just ANY dog. It was a 160-pound Great Dane, and one of the coolest, most intelligent dog-ponies I have ever encountered. He would bring him to my house when he visited, and we would keep him when he left town. After not quite 6 months, the guy and I were done--a sad end, and a story for another day, because I'm not ready to tell it. But after a couple of months on my own, I realized I missed the dog. I missed having him around, because he is an awesome companion, especially when the girls weren't home. I missed seeing the girls with him, and the joy they took in having a dog in the house.
Soon, I found myself browsing rescue dogs on petfinder...casually, at first. The idea was incredibly abstract. Then, I saw him. And I was smitten.
I found out he was being fostered, and I followed his progress for a week or so before I called and made arrangements to meet him. I didn't tell anyone, because if it didn't work out, I didn't want to disappoint the girls...and besides, who would believe it? Me and a DOG? Me, training a PUPPY? And not just any puppy...over 40 pounds of mystery Dane/Lab/Hound mix. The destructive potential this 3-month-old ball of energy could have on my serene little house was mind-boggling. In spite of all of that, I HAD to meet him.
So I did...and I brought him home with me. And it didn't take long. I was a goner...I was crazy, over-the-moon in love with Roger, the Pony Puppy. Me, the confirmed non-dog person...who managed to housebreak a puppy in a week, and taught him "sit," "stay," and "lie down" within 10 days. (Clearly, he's brilliant. Or I am...but I think it's him. Or the bacon.)
I'm still not sure I'm really a dog person, generally speaking. But I like MY dog an awful lot...it doesn't mean I go up to stranger dogs in the park. (This is kind of how I feel about children, too...love mine. Love the minions of those that I love...but strangers' children I am happy to admire from a distance.) I'm pretty sure this dog was mine from the start. He was sent to me, for us to rescue each other. I think we're both doing a damn good job.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I've had sort of a shitty time of things. And no one else has been through it but me. Being flung from a marriage and the family and home I had known for all of my adult life into an unknown situation with only a truncated version of my family still intact is awful. Only a couple of my friends have been through something similar. The rest simply don't understand. They couldn't. While I realize that the relationships I've had were ultimately mistakes, they were mine to make and learn from, just like all romantic relationships...one hopes with their closest friends standing behind you, because it's hard. I mean, only one of those relationships lasts, right? There's a lot of trial and error involved. But that isn't always the case. Sometimes you turn around, like a shelter dog, and discover several of your people aren't there. Sometimes that isn't intentional. Sometimes it is. But either way, it's hard...hard to be The Girl that No Longer Belongs when all of your friends are married...it's hard to be the one that everyone is watching when a relationship ends in the worst possible way, when it was the last thing you expected. (It's actually a hundred times harder to be hurt in such an awful way by the person who claims to love you more than anything, who you thought you would spend your life with...just in case anyone was wondering.) It's hard to be told "I Told You So" by the very few that did suspect something was amiss. It's hard to be told how much stress you've caused everyone, when their stress was only a drop in the bucket compared to yours. It's hard to get conflicting advice from every different direction, and know you hurt or pissed off someone by making a different decision. It's hard to be told your decisions are being judged and your friendship is on the line...especially when it's clearly already been cut off, and you find yourself downgraded to acquaintance by someone who used to have your back. It's hard to have people not reach out to you and not respond to you, whether it's because they're angry or they don't know what to say...or maybe they want to punish you, or maybe they've simply stopped caring...some things I'll never know, and some things I don't want to know. It's hard to be written off. Conditional love and friendship is something I hope I NEVER understand, no matter how many times I experience it from those I love unconditionally. Shelter dogs have only known conditional love...or maybe they're loved, but thrown back anyway, because they behaved in a way that their Person didn't like and it threatened their happiness...their comfort zone...their world. It caused them stress, even though the dog probably hasn't known comfort or happiness or stability in years.
I am blessed to have some stability in my life...but I have a lot less than I used to. And just like I gave everybody warm fuzzy props a week ago, let me now say--to everyone--I am sorry for the stress or disappointment I've caused. It was not intentional. It's the last thing I wanted. And this most recent installment, I certainly didn't ask for. It was NOT my fault, or so the counselor keeps saying. I'm sorry if you see me as a screw-up. I'm really not. This is really f*cking hard, and you've never had to try to do anything like it. I take good care of my girls. I get the privilege of putting them and their happiness first. And they're amazing! They make every day brighter. I am proud of myself for getting through it, even if you're not. I am proud of those battle scars and those lessons learned, because they're harder than what most people have to learn. While everyone else talks about how blessed they are to be living the dream...I feel blessed to have been tested and still be living my own version, even if it doesn't look like everyone else's...even if I don't belong to the club anymore, even if I am persona non grata. I am SO proud of my truncated, patchwork family, but it did seem as though there was someone missing...
With God's Grace, that someone is coming home tomorrow, and he will be my everyday inspiration. Because as hard as my recent existence might have been, you know what? His has been harder. He was abandoned shortly after his birth and didn't even get to know the love of his mother for very long. (I mean, hell, he doesn't even know who his father IS!) He probably hasn't known unconditional love at all, and I am determined to show it to him, no matter how ridiculous his behavior may be at times. I have been blessed to have that in some places in my life. There are a few people that will always hold me up. One of them gets the privilege of taking me to adopt my rescue dog tomorrow...I think I'm sort of her rescue dog sometimes, but it's okay. She lets me call the shots while I figure things out for myself...I won't do that with mine, but he is an actual canine. Isn't everyone a rescue dog at some point? If you haven't had your turn yet, I am so thankful for you...but I promise, I will do whatever it takes to show you love when your time comes. I won't let you feel excluded or left behind or forgotten or judged. Until then, I will keep you close to my heart.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Sword-Buster: You have seen me at my best and my worst over the past several years, and on oh-so-many occasions, you have been a rock. You have my back, no questions asked, no bullshit, no judgment ever, all the time. Not only that, but you will personally hunt down and kick the shit out of anyone who hurts me. I didn't want you to think any of it had gone unnoticed...and I will always return the favor--at least, the being there and the listening and the non-judgey parts. Not the ass-kicking. I'll leave that to you...
E: You've been a part of my life for so long, I don't remember what it is NOT to have you in it. Thanks for serving as my punching bag from time to time, for putting up with all of my crap, for shaking your head and laughing it off at the end of the day--because, well, that's what we do. Thank you for noticing the shy, awkward tall girl with the huge rack and the bad hair all those years ago, because she never would have had the courage to talk to you herself.
Kiki: My life would in no way be complete without your opinions and sarcasm and (occasional) disapproval, all of which are doled out--somehow--with love. I don't know where I'd be without your unconditional support and friendship...and with you, I have also been blessed with the extension of your own family, whom I love dearly. (Angel and John, that's you, too!) I am SO grateful for all those damn Girl Scout lock-ins we had to chaperone together...and how it never failed that we were still up and giggling long after all of the girls had drifted off. Love you!
Lisa: No matter where I am in the book, you're pretty much always on the same page. It has occurred to me that in four years of working together, we've never ONCE argued...I'm not even sure we've disagreed on anything of note. You always have good ideas, you make me laugh, and you can talk me down from the ledge when necessary. And while we make it all seem like it's no big deal...it is. :)
D: Let's face it, you're the one who makes me beautiful...you obviously get a spot on this list. ;) I'm kidding, of course, although your dedication to my wild locks is certainly admirable in and of itself. Not only are you totally supportive of everything I do, but watching you come into your own in the past few years has been truly inspirational. I have learned so much from you...I am in awe. <3<3
Nan: You're the Mother Hen, who keeps all the chicks in line, but loves them even though they misbehave sometimes. No one--and I mean NO ONE--works harder than you, and you deserve all you have to show for it. (But seriously...take a nap.) Thanks for checking up on me even when I fall off the radar, and for believing in me when I give you no reason to.
Krystal: I'm pretty sure you're the single funniest person I know...and that's high praise, because I know a lot of crazy smart, funny people. (See above and below.) It doesn't matter whether we're making fun of our own ridiculous lives or those of strangers, every obscure reference and deadpan remark hits home, and occasionally even makes me spew tea from my nose. You're like my Obi-Wan.
Sarah: You, too, need to take a nap...but then again, you've always worked too hard. I miss seeing you all the time like we did before I moved to the 'hood. You are one of the coolest, funniest chicks I know, and you always have a smile on your face! Your constant state of positivity is a joy and an inspiration!
Adrienne: At various points, we've worked together, played together, and even (briefly) lived together. You have more good stories about me than anyone, and when we get together, it's like we haven't missed a beat. Thanks for always being there. We'll write that book yet...
Beth: Duh...you're my sister. Absentee sister right now, but I'll take it. I'm so proud of you! I miss you...but am proud nonetheless.
Shananay, Beckie and Cari Jo: Damn, I miss you guys. Like, every day. Talking to you always just makes me feel better about my world. I hate that I don't get to see you and your families as much as I do the others, but rest assured in the knowledge that the door is always wide open, and we pick up easily where we left off. Although you're very different from each other, you've each brought something unique and wonderful to my life.
The Newbies: Yeah, I'm talking to you...April, Derek, Amanda, Nikki, Katie...all of you guys! Although I haven't known you that long, and some of you I met under strange circumstances, you bring a smile to my face, a laugh to my belly, and are always looking out for me and I am grateful. You guys are a blast!
The Rest: There are some of you I seldom see, who have still had a strong influence on my life. Like Mari, who helps keep my writer's block at bay, and is a witty, clever girl...and Kelly, who's in Alaska now, but is still as sweet as she can be...or my other Kelly in PA, a seriously funny girl who follows my writing and always has something positive to say. Like Linz, who is always good for a laugh, two decades after bonding over Strange Brew. To everyone who has taken the time to email me and tell me that something I've written has resonated with them...all of you have helped keep me going at times. I am thankful for each of you. No one in the world could ask for a better support system. Thank you all!!!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Must NOT live with a parent, be chronically underemployed, or think Jackass or Wipeout is quality TV. Must not own an Affliction shirt. Must not constantly quote Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, or Jim Carrey movies. Must not be so desperate for a relationship that you ask me to stay over and go to church with you the day after meeting me, when you haven't even made it to second base yet. (Because that's pathetic. Really.) Likewise, must not be riddled with committment issues or bitter toward women or relationships. (Just show up. Talk. Have fun. See what happens. We can figure out the details a little later. Is that really so hard?) MUST NOT EVER, under any circumstances, have hit, kicked, or shoved a woman (unless a fast-moving vehicle was bearing down on her), nor screamed obscenities in her face, for I'm not Rihanna and I will not put up with that bullshit. Must not have control issues, because we all know that just boils down to insecurity and poor self esteem and you need to grow up and grow a pair, not find a girlfriend to push around. Must be respectful to your parents, but NOT overly attached to your mother. (You'd better be doing your own cleaning and laundry by this age, unless you're paying someone to do it for you.) Must not lie. (See honesty, above.) Must not think country is the only musical genre. Must not have a Confederate flag depicted in any form anywhere on your vehicle or in your home. Must not live like a f***ing pig. (I don't need to be able to perform brain surgery on your floors, but I should be able to see them.) Must not be intimidated by a smart girl who speaks her mind and likes her independence. Must not pout. Ever. Because you just look ridiculous.
In return, you get a sweet, cute thirtysomething girl with dark hair and blue eyes and (obviously) a wicked sense of humor, in reasonably good shape (see above), complete with all original parts. I'm an excellent mother--okay, a pretty good mother--and I love to cook. I like loud indie rock bands, books, wine, college football, NBA, and good movies. I like to be treated like a lady, not a possession. I don't care if you want to go hang out with the guys, as long as you let me know what's up. I have a few other skills, but not many people know about them, and you have to be willing to take some time to get to know me--really well--if you ever want to find out what they are. I'll dress up when you take me out, but I'm just as happy hanging out on the couch and watching a movie. I'm far from perfect--I probably swear a little too often, I have a few trust issues, and I get pissy sometimes, but I'm loyal and I have a good heart.
Interested parties meeting the aforementioned criteria (and Nick Collison) may inquire within. Please note a probationary period will be required for all serious applicants. (Except for Nick Collison.)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
And now for my Pay it Forward Challenge to you all:
Last night, the girls and I came home to a strong smell of gas in our house. I texted my ex-father-in-law for advice, and he called me back immediately. A quick call was made to Doyle, his brother-in-law, who is a plumber. Doyle was at my house within an hour, and found the source of the leak and had it fixed a little over an hour later. After all of this, he refused to let me pay him, even though it was short notice, and even though it was after 8pm.
It was a welcome reminder that these people still exist in the world. It was a kindness he had absolutely no reason to pay...and so, I intend to pay it forward, and I challenge you all to find a small way in which to do the same...the more random, the better.
As most of you know, I am taking a break from Facebook for Lent, but please feel free to post a link in an effort to get a few more involved.
Thanks for all the kind thoughts and good wishes!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
She's not here.
I don't know when she'll be back. I don't know when she'll be funny again. I don't know when--or how--she'll pick herself up this time. I don't know how many times one person can be broken and still manage to put herself back together. Maybe she can do it again. Maybe she can't. Maybe she's busy watching an entire television series on netflix in between crying jags. Or maybe she'll become agoraphobic and start collecting cats. Maybe she'll take up knitting and crossword puzzles or start collecting tiny figurines. Maybe she'll disappear into a bottle of wine. Maybe she'll eat her way back, and eventually require a mobility scooter just to get around the grocery store, because her stomach hangs down to her knees.
I know you have faith in her...after all, she's the resourceful type. But this time, she's as broken as she's ever been...her heart, her spirit, and her trust all shattered in one fell swoop. There is no cure for having virtually everything taken, including your pride...
Each time she puts herself back together, she's a little different. The pieces don't quite fit the same way. Maybe you'll recognize her. Maybe you won't.
All I know is, she's not here.
Monday, February 11, 2013
If your reading this I'm definetly already gone. You know how I like it when you write notes on my napkin and put them in my lunch? Well I didn't get a napkin note today so I thought I'd write to YOU insted.
I hope you have a great day. I hope you feel better soon because I don't want you to be sick on Valentine's Day. I missed you SO much over the weekend while I was at Dad's. I would love to hear what you did over the weekend while I was gone. I got to go out to eat at a restaurant called Sumo on Friday, and I had never been there before. I got this soup called seafood soup and it had everything I love when it comes to seafood. On Saturday we didn't do much. Emily went to the party and we went for fried chicken but that's it. On Sunday we had to go to Dad's work for a few hours and didn't get to do anything else.
Please write back because I would love to hear about your weekend, too. I just love to hear from you.
P.S. I love you more than anything.
P.P.S. The cookies you made are very yummy!
Who cares if I'm sick, right? THIS, my friends, is what life is all about...it means I am doing well at my number one job. :)