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.

Day 234, 2020

I had such a great time yesterday at our dinner picnic. I brought the Pupper and she was cool at first until she got terrified by the sound of the train and ran. I caught her. I could tell she was making sure I was behind her. Poor little thing. I zipped her up in my sweatshirt for most of the rest of our hang and she calmed down. It was SO nice to see people and talk about things. We each had our own picnic blanket and brought our own food. It was PERFECT. I am hoping we do more of those as this progresses.

I also reached out to my therapist who I haven’t really worked with since this all began. I’m looking forward to talking with her about everything that’s been brewing over here. There has been SO MUCH.

I guess I don’t have a ton to talk about today.

The sun is out

Some things.

  1. I am OBSESSED with visiting and/ or moving to Maine. This came out of nowhere and it came on STRONG. I have never been there and I’m already looking at houses.
  2. I joined Weight Watchers again because I have no self control and for some reason I still believe that throwing money to a corporation is going to make me skinny. Definition of insanity. But my follow through has been pretty good lately. And my inspiration vibrating high.
  3. I just joined a sculpture studio. It’s a co-op near my office with great supplies and working artists. I’m so excited to dive in and get learning. I also signed up for a painting course at the local community college because the art therapy program requires 12 studio credits. I should be there after this semester.
  4. I’ve overhauled my website and put a store up with my original paintings. Oh, right. I’ve been doing a lot of painting. Like A LOT. The quarantine productivity level is crazy. Also, I feel like I’ve finally found my voice in painting. It just clicked a few days ago with faces on moons and suns and stars. I took an online class with an artist I admire and I think it helped loosen me up. My first few after the class were very similar to hers but I was able to incorporate my specific style and really make them my own. I am feeling very happy.

This evening I’m meeting some friends for a socially distant picnic. I’m heading in right now to make some iced tea. I have no idea what else I’m bringing. Maybe popcorn? Hard boiled eggs? LOL. How do I have friends?

Waking up…

I woke up feeling a lot clearer thanks to writing down my thoughts last night. I am reconciling the fact that I do not need to impress anyone. I do not need to abide by anyone’s rules. My job, as an adult woman, is to fully be myself and as much as I have been talking about giving myself permission to do that, I finally feel like I believe it.

I was on a Zoom call with my friends last night and looking at myself wearing a turban and tie-dyed overalls. For a soft moment, I liked what I saw. My sense of style is very unique to me and to my way of living. I am an artist in my heart. I love colors and practicality. The turban keeps my hair (and sweat) off of my face. The overalls are comfy and have big pockets. I like this me. I don’t give a fuck about convention. I always kind of knew this but living it out loud feels really good.

On the call, a friend was talking about an acquaintance who is a dance therapist and I swooned and then I thought why the fuck not me? WHY can’t I just go through and finish my art therapy degree?? It’s a fucking calling. I would be DAMN good at it. I LIVE it. I LIVE art therapy every single day. I also have two big projects in the works and I am just going to put my head down and dive in because I don’t give a fuck anymore. I don’t give a fuck who is going to disapprove. That’s their business. And that’s ok. But this is my life.

Cue Billy Joel?


Cue this.

That’s my fight song.

Loss of Power

I am feeling big feelings and I’m going to write them. I have been crying. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I cried. Really cried. Mournful, soul-pulling, crying. This feeling is terrible, but I know it’s important to acknowledge them and see this through to the other side.

We lost power on Tuesday and my husband, son, dog, and I stayed with my parents until it came back today. A series of incidents occurred that made me reflect pretty hard on what it was like living there as a teenager. My feelings were too big for my skin and I felt explosive, misunderstood, and alone – like most kids that age. Experiencing this as an adult, though – this prolonged, high level anxiety of messing something up – gave me more empathy for myself. Without going into detail, my mother did not speak to me, my husband, or my SON for the entire last 24 hours of our stay.

Every day, I take an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and anti-anxiety medication. I am a recovering alcoholic. Looking back, I have definitely pulled the passive aggressive silent treatment in relationships. I think back to those times and shudder. I forgive that person now because processing emotions was never really modeled for me growing up. My father is even keeled 90% of the time but would sometimes pivot to a complete sudden rage. It was rare, but it was terrifying. My mother, on the other hand was very loving to me when I was a child but as soon as I became a teenager it seemed she wanted less and less to do with me. My hindsight analysis is that this was because I was having more mood shifts. Front that point on, I was mostly met with digging remarks or silence. We often have nice chats, but when we do veer into any kind of depth, it is made clear that she knows best and my opinions are too lofty.

As I entered into my teens, It felt like I became dirty and unlovable. I carried that into adulthood along with a total inability rationally deal with my feelings. I’ve learned a lot since then and am mostly content with my actions and reactions to difficult things. I’ve been through many, many years of therapy and even studied Psychology and Counseling in college. I have found my spirituality and read about it every single day. In my recent life, if disagreement or discomfort arises, I often want to nip a problem in the bud with honest conversation. With my son, I truly try to teach him that it’s ok to have big emotions and that he can talk to me about anything. My dad did that with me but the abandonment I felt from my mother affected me in such a spider web of ways that I am still digging through them.

I am a 42-year-old, grown-ass woman who is not about to blame my parents for problematic things that they, as human beings, may have done in raising me. Right now, at this moment, I often think about what I’ve already done to completely ruin my son’s adult life because I have no idea what I am doing. I extend that compassion to them as well. Parents are not perfect. They are not saints or deities. Parents are people who have no idea what they are doing. I acknowledge that these actions cause issues that are up to me to work through. I have to do my fallible best to do better.

Today, I’ll let myself be sad that no one rubbed my back and said it’s ok. I’ll take this floating-away sensation as the final tethers being cut. I am my own person and nothing will change that. I am totally cool with it. I mostly like myself now. I do, however, want to grab Teenage Me’s bony little shoulders and pull her in for a hug.

I often mourn my relationship with my mother. I’ll never have a relationship with a mother who is unconditionally supportive and emotionally open. It’s sad to think about, but I am not alone. All through life, we find mothers in our friends, partners, teachers, and mentors. I hope to be that mother, not only to my own son, but to other fledgling souls I encounter along the way. That’s life. All I can do is try my best to be the things I wish I had and to find those qualities in folks I choose as family.

Day 216, 2020

I am having a hard time today. I woke up to an almost comical sequence of messes and irritations. I am making light of it. It almost broke me fro the day. I’ve not been sleeping well. My jaw hurts all the time from holding tension.

I spent all day on the iPad yesterday researching avenues for my art online. Literally all day. I took pictures, re-sized them, taught myself how to use Lightroom. I spent all day in my head. I get physically sick if I spend too much time thinking. It feeds my anxiety and the next thing you know, I am fried and frazzled.

I have resolved to do some serious yoga today and to focus on getting at least a small session in each day. Yesterday was super productive, but out of balance. I am feeling very out of balance today.

When I woke up in this state of almost-panic and dismay, I jumped in the shower and took deep breaths. I let the water run on me for a long time. Counting 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. My text alarms were going off. My email notification was ringing. 1-2-3-4. I am thankful that I now recognize that the boundaries need to be pulled WAY up when I’m having a moment like this. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and that is where it has remained. I’ll check in on it, but I think being 100% accessible to everyone all of the time is wearing me the fuck down.

I think the 24 hourness of family life is cracking me as well. Again, being 100% available 100% of the time. My husband bickers with my son. I feel like I am constantly running interference with them. Part of it is because I can’t believe a grown man is fighting with an 8 year old and part of it is because I am a control freak and need everything done my way. Acknowledged.

I feel my blood pressure rise. I joke that they, (mostly my husband) are going to kill me. I also worry that may be true. The jaw pain is almost unbearable at times.

Back in my body

Back in my body.

Back in my body.

Root to rise.