Struggle struggle toil and trouble

I think every entry lately begins with “I’m struggling.” That short sentence is a constant ticker running through my brain. I think it’s partially to acknowledge that I am in the thick of something. Maybe it’s my brain’s way of telling me to reach out. Maybe it’s a validation that things really are hard right now.

But honestly, I just want to curl up and stay in bed all day every day. I don’t… because I can’t. It’s not an option. But  it’s hard. 

I am still able to recognize things that make me happy or that I’m grateful for. There’s a fat bee feasting on a rhododendron bush right now. I can’t help but smile. I am sitting on my precious deck with my dogs, listening to jazz, having tea, and taking time to write about my feelings. So I’m pretty fucking lucky. I get this. I’m very thankful for this gorgeous moment of peace and reflection. I’m wearing my favorite yoga pants and t-shirt. The sun is out but I’m in the blessed shade. I feel complete and right. 

That being said, I have a lot of sadness and resentment. I think much of it is surfacing from my separation. I went into survival mode to get here and to get through the past 6 months and now the feelings have time to bubble up. This makes absolute sense to me. 

Some other things I have been up to:

  • Studying for a licensing exam for work which I will be taking in June. Finance stuff.
  • Continuing through my Yoga 200 hour training. (I abandoned this when I moved in December. It’s catch up time.)

I’m still agonizing about wanting to become a Therapist. I think I’d be good at it. But I also feel like I’m all over the place (see above). I was looking into Life Coaching but I can’t figure out if I feel it’s legitimate enough. I just want to help people. Studying for this exam will be good for my trajectory at work and for my pockets. But it’s not my soul’s work. I am sure of this.

Anyway.

Oh hey.

It’s been a while. I’ve got nothing very interesting to report. Single parenting is hard. Surprise? It feels like there is never a moment to catch your breath. My kid has seen his dad about one weekend a month since we moved. I have lost perspective as to whether that sounds terrible or not. It sucks for him because he misses his dad. It sucks for me because it’s been an especially chaotic time at my job and I am feeling worn down. I think the thing that makes me crazy is that the excuse for seeing him once a month is that he’s “too busy”. I could go on for several paragraphs as to why this is especially fascinating for this individual to say… but I won’t. The fact is that you can’t be too busy for your kid. It’s simply not an option. You figure it out. ANYHOO…

We’ve found our routine though. And I think we’re doing pretty good. I’ve been continuing my deep dive into self discovery and care.

I’ve had drinks twice.

WHAT?

Yeah. Both were with a friend. (Two different soul sisters) and they are aware of the situation. I explained that I am testing the waters and that I’m being cautious. Both occasions saw me drinking a very reasonable couple of drinks with said friends.

I’m trying not to think too much about parameters at the moment because I am not there. I’ve also been discovering how the parameters I put around myself are problematic. Constantly tracking what I’m eating, lists of everything. It’s become an obsession to regulate myself.

I had a problem. I addressed it. I waited to make a big decision with a clear mind and I frankly may continue on this route. But I’m gonna feel it out a little bit for now. Stupid? Maybe. I own it.

I also created an online dating profile that I will be deleting very soon. What a dump. First of all, I am a whole fucking vibe so I don’t translate well into 150 characters or less. Or whatever. No one does. And the whole swipe bullshit feels very gross to me. Initially, I complained to a friend that I was not getting enough attention (hahaha) but then I realized I had a bunch of parameters on. I cleared them out of curiosity and all of the 25 year olds starting rolling in. Child, no. At least it boosted my shattered self esteem for a minute. It’s all very strange and kind of comical.

I had never even seen the inside of one of these apps so this was mostly an exercise in curiosity. It was also influenced by loneliness and a dwindling sense of feeling remotely attractive. This exercise did not help at all. I was just notified that a “good match” was found with a guy in Oklahoma. Sure sure sure.

In reality, I cannot see being in a relationship. My divorce isn’t even complete. I guess I was hoping there was a nice person who might be in a similar position and would enjoy talking and/ or trading memes and jokes. And maybe something might happen? Or not? My plan is to Golden girls it out with my friends in later life anyway so whatever.

So I guess I had some interesting stuff to support. It’s all dumb though.

I can’t

I am having a really hard time lately.

During the day I’m trying to work, and also tidying up, and also fielding questions and making lunch, and snacks, and making sure that chores get done. And I usually realize I haven’t eaten around 1 or 2pm. I eat. My brain is unfocused.

After 3, my son wants another snack. I have guilt for not getting him outside enough but I have work to do. I work, partially preoccupied by said guilt. Around 4, I feel bad and drag him out for a walk with the dogs. Or we’ll go to the playground if it isn’t too cold. We get back and it’s dinner time so I have to start dinner. I check my email to make sure nothing urgent has come up. I make dinner. We eat. I want to spend some time together. We watch a show while we eat and talk for a bit. He gets on the computer to call his friends. I catch up on work.

Throughout the day I am thinking of projects I wish I could work on. When I take a breather, I wind up scrolling and scrolling instead of doing something creative. More guilt.

Another snack, a bedtime story, an hour or so of saying “go to bed”, and if I’m not finishing up something for work, I try to do some pottery. I inevitably take a break to STUFF MY FACE with every imaginable snack available. I do some pottery, but I also scroll and scroll.

I’ve been online shopping too much. I am too fat. I am fucking mentally depleted. I watch shows too late. I panic because I want to savor this “alone time” or rather “quiet time”. Fall asleep too late, wake up too late and repeat.

Also my dad has surgery in the morning. I’m worried. I feel that he will be ok, but it’s still stressful to think about. I haven’t seen my parents in weeks. It was a nice respite to see them once every week or so. To talk to live human beings.

I am tired. The guilt, the relentlessness of parenting alone, trying to keep up with my thoughts. I am so tired.

It’s apparently another year.

This weed that I have – it’s like it erases your super short term memory. Like, I can’t remember what happened a minute ago and I’m always in that state of confusion. It suspends time and forces me to not get bogged down in rumination about the past or about my feelings of this separation.

And that’s why we drink or smoke. To get out of our heads and the dark heaviness that sludges around in there all day. And at night I’m always going. Cleaning up the house. Working with clay or yarn or paint. Constantly moving, creating ,doing. I don’t like idleness because it presents a risk of sitting with my feelings. Am I still processing them while I’m working? This “work” is play. Creating is home for me.  Am I working through the feelings though? Am I covering them up? Or is creating like lye – simply dissolving the pain into another form?

What are my feelings right now?

Deep breaths.

Sad. Anxious. Relieved. Solid. Tired. Grief. Disappointment. Love and hope and connection.

Guilt of being a bad partner or a bad mother when I was drinking.

Guilt for drinking. So much and so long.

About him I feel… loss, disappointment, pity, rejection, guilt. I will miss the little moments like going to the diner together or having those night time conversations about politics, music, which celebrities are hot. And then I think of the loneliness, disconnect, lack of support, feeling stifled and overruled. But we hugged a lot. I miss that. I loved him but he wasn’t giving me enough of what I needed. A collapsed lung.

My sexuality feels dead. I feel old and fading. I’ve always been apologetic about my body – about my entire presence. SO anxious to be in my own skin. Panic of being looked at. Flaws found. Spotlighted.

I worry that no one will find me beautiful again. Or that the youngest I’ll ever appear in their eyes is this. I worry that I’ll be alone. I can’t imagine sharing space with anyone. I can’t imagine sex. I can’t imagine another body being anywhere near my body. And I know it’s too early to even consider any of that but I really would love to have something to look forward to. That delicious feeling of having a crush – I can’t even picture having it ever again. And that makes me so sad.

This was helpful I think.

Some point in “time”

(I’ll be referring to my ex as “The Mosquito” or “TM” henceforth because mosquitoes are blood sucking pests with no direct benefit to humankind.)

I’ve decided that Sundays are for pancakes and listening to music. This week, Holiday music obviously.

I’m supposed to go to the old house to pick up some things. The Mosquito remains difficult. Now he says he won’t see Little Guy until after Christmas so he can see his relatives. I said that’s fine and I get why he’s isolating (relative is immunocompromised) but not including Little Guy in that plan is unfortunate. The exchanges are always civil. Unreasonable, but civil. So I’ll be thankful for the small things today.

It’s a nice day out so I’m hoping to get back outside again. LG and I took a nice walk and he went to the playground this morning before pancakes. I have to go down to the house and pick up some more things. Some deliveries. A curling iron. My plants. TM’s been very clear about which plants he’ll be taking, but not about his kid. Sure sure.

I’m not sure where Ginger the ginger plant will live, but I’ll find a place for her.

Last night I had a wee bout of loneliness. My typical nightly ritual is watching Impractical Jokers while eating snacks and then watching the Golden Girls before going to sleep. I was annoyed with myself for making chocolate chip cookies at 10:30pm. Onscreen on Impractical Jokers, a bunch of middle aged ladies who looked… well worn… terrified me. Here I was with chips and cookies and single and 43 and what the fuck.

I started to become scared that I’ll just be alone forever. But a weird thing happened. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t care. Companionship would be nice, but I am in no position to take care of another adult baby. Funny how the thought of a companion taking care of me hasn’t even come close to crossing my mind. I’m old enough to know better.

But yeah. I’ve got the Quarantine 15 and some self-pity on top of that as we’re coasting in to the sedentary season of Winter. I do like winter hikes. I guess this is the year I finally do some. Perfect for a single mom with an 8 year old and a dog. (Maybe not the dog… she is extremely lazy.)

Last year I addressed my drinking. Maybe this year I address my self-esteem.

New house Day 2. Counting things is boring.

The first night in the new house is behind us. Little guy had a bit of a cry last night because he missed his Dad. I gave lots of extra snuggles and reassurance that he would see/ talk to Dad soon. I began to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. Thank goodness for the Golden Girls. I watched them until I fell asleep.

Little guy was up at 5am (!!!) and we talked about how weird it is waking up in a new house. He seemed to be in good spirits. I logged him in to the iPad so I could get another few hours of sleep. My body is still so achy.

After our walk around the neighborhood with The Dog, he asked when our cat was coming. I told him I’d pick her up some time this week. (I didn’t want to risk her getting out while the movers were here so I left her with the ex. (I don’t know what to call him. That feels weird but “my husband” feels weirder.) ANYWAY, this morning… little guy said “Daddy said The Cat his going to have a really tough life here.”

(Seething, but brightly) “Oh, no! Why’s that?”

“Because you never feed her and you always let the dog eat her food in the morning.”

(Seething, but brightly) “Well Daddy fed her because he slept downstairs. And Mommy only let The Dog eat the dried up food left in the dish.”

What the FUCK. I mean, I KNEW this was what I would be up against. This is one of the many reasons I am leaving. The finger pointing about NONSENSE. Childlike behavior. I reassured him that The Cat would have a very happy and loving life when she comes here. I still have a feeling Ex will re-neg and want to keep The Cat. Either would be fine with me. As long as she is fed and loved and happy.

I am keeping track.

1. Mommy said she wants to leave. She’s the one doing it.

2. I won’t see you often anymore

3. The cat is going to have a tough life with you.

Keep them coming, idiot.

I will never say a bad word about him to my kid. Kids generally wind up resenting the parent who talks shit about the other. I’m not doing that. Also, they can take it personally since they feel that we are part of THEM. Whatever. I just have to be a soft place for this kid to land and ignore the shit I’ve been trying to get away from for the past 10 years.

What year is it?

I don’t think my body has ever been this exhausted. My back hurts from hauling a giant mattress in a box up the stairs and then setting it up. It hurts from the dozens upon dozens of boxes I have packed, carried, and unpacked MYSELF. When you move during a pandemic, you’re on your own. So here we are. Fucking 2020, man.

Here’s the thing. Separation is fucking hard. I am secure and confident in my decision, but that doesn’t make the logistics, nor the physical toll any easier. The emotional exhaustion is surprising. I think it’s mainly in worrying about my son. I keep checking in with him to gauge his emotions and I worry every step of the way that I am doing some kind of irreversible damage to him. The grief I feel is for things that never came to fruition and for lost time. I am also feeling apprehensive about starting my life over at 43. But that’s the least of my worries. I cannot even begin to imagine inviting anyone else into my life for a good long while. I am not lonely. I don’t want another person to care for.

Sound bitter? Sure. I’m a little sour on myself for what I’ve invested. I knew several times that it wasn’t working and somehow I went back.

  1. 2010. The shore incident. His father passed away while I was staying with a friend so I came back.
  2. 2014. I moved out for 2 months. I forget. My lease was up. I came back and told him to leave. He didn’t. He gave me a nice Valentine’s card and I was back. (Ugh)
  3. 2017ish. I had an attorney. This sort of ebbed back because of logistics with the house and with my son. It was too much and it was unclear. I was drinking REALLY heavily so I don’t remember specifics.
  4. 2020. Here. Clear headed. Ready.

I have 3 more days in this house. I feel like I am not going to get everything packed. I’ve asked him to clear some stuff off of furniture I’m taking. He’s been complying. We don’t speak. We exchange information. It is always me who has to initiate. It is what it is. I am trying to be understanding that just because I have worked through this, he is at an earlier stage than me. I can’t fathom how my leaving could be any remote surprise, but I digress.

I have so much more to pack up. My body is at it’s limit. My Apple Watch is very proud of me telling me I am breaking records. It’s all very strange.

Let the Tide Move Through.

I just signed the lease. And promptly got sick. Thank goodness for Xanax.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest empty.
  • Let the tide move through.

Feelings rise. Pause to acknowledge. Let them say their piece.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest full.
  • Let the tide move through.

My eyes are clear. My mind is clear. This time is clear.

No big blowout. No fight. Not a thing.

No tears. No yelling. Not a thing.

Disagreements cycling more quickly every time.

Churning and ascending.

Back to the beginning.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest empty.
  • Let the tide move through.

I have worked SO HARD. Dived down to the murky water. Untangling weeds.

I cried already years ago. I ached and longed. Horizon always empty.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest full.
  • Let the tide move through.

Today felt especially dark –

The pit of my stomach sodden with not sadness,

But grief – heavy and sticky.

He stopped wearing his ring;

I have been recategorized.

I am the ghost in the house.

I am over fed and under covers –

Piling on soft armor;

But I am steadily deepening my roots in the earth.

Back into my body.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest empty.
  • Let the tide move through.

I just signed the lease.

I have a new address.

Back into my body.

  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest full.
  • Let the tide move through.
  • Check my breathing.
  • Chest empty.
  • Let the tide move through.

Day Something, Year

I have a stabbing pain in my lower left back area. Seems alarmingly kidney-like. I’m not panicking yet.

UPDATE: I Googled kidney disease symptoms and I think I’m in the clear. Loss of appetite? Solid no. (I didn’t have any of the others either aside from this weird pain.) Thanks, Dr. Google.

I’ve had an on again off again wrestling match with Weight Watchers for almost my entire adult life. I remember being like 130 lbs. wanting to get down to 120 and I bet the middle aged women in there wanted to punch my face. As a current middle aged woman who SHOCKED herself with her last weigh-in, I know my eyes would ache from rolling.

I saw a number I have never seen outside of LATE pregnancy on the scale on Monday.  I’m talking like 7-8 months. And I had a huge 9 lb. baby at the end of it. ANYWAY, it was a real eye opener for me. I am happy to report that I have had no bedtime snacks for the past 2 nights. That is enormous for me.

As a chronic over-indulger, I was eating literal boxes of cookies and bags of chips – not the snack size, the regular bag you buy for several people to eat over a period of time. For me, this is going to be all about habit breaking. Luckily, I have quitting drinking under my belt to PROVE that I can do this fucking thing. I counted like 3 different times I almost just mindlessly went grazing in the kitchen. I did have an evening snack of mixed nuts and olives (I’m a freak) but it was within my “points” and it consisted of whole foods.

I think, since I have no idea what moderation actually feels like, I get very extreme about portions. I’m either going to eat so much that I’m almost in pain – OR I’m going to attempt a ridiculously restricted diet. Surprise, neither of those things work.

I know it’s only been two days, but the flashback to that fucking scale has been serving to keep me in check. I’ve also been tracking my dinner and lunch at the same time – meaning I’ll track what I’m going to have for dinner BEFOREHAND so I don’t get wishy washy and eat an entire pizza because it’s easier than thinking.

So yeah. I’m hoping to have some success with that.

Another fun “quirk” is that there are like 500 books I want to read and I get really jazzed thinking about reading them and then I never read them because I worry about spending too much time sitting and reading. Yet, I’ve binged like 20 shows in the past 6 months.

In other news, I wore a real bra for the first time in 6 months and wow, the team looks great.

I’ll see myself out.