Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Am Not Thankful

On a "night off" from my son, I am drinking wine and listening to Christmas music.

This is actually not a seasonally exclusive past time for me. When I am depressed I often drink and listen to Christmas music because, honestly, who can feel sad when listening to Andy Williams proclaiming that it is literally the most wonderful time of the year? He's pretty fucking convincing, even in June. Don't even get me started on the Grinch Who Stole Christmas recording.

Tonight I am not especially depressed. I am drinking, yes, and I am listening to Christmas music, yes, but most of the depression for the weekend has passed.

My son is a toddler, officially. He has entered the tumultuous, fiery period of life where not only can he not speak to express himself properly, (in either of his two languages) but he wants to be an Independent. Human. Being. Which does not account for any of the self-control or emotional understanding that comes with later years (and usually many, many hours of therapy).

So here we are, rolling around in a whiny, non-verbal, clingy, mommy-centric moment of utter torture. And I need a break.

Thanksgiving was fine. We went to my mom's house, and it was pleasant. Luca and I love going to Abuela's house (or "Alella", as Luca says) so I can drink eggnog spiked coffee and he can sort her CD's and play with the hard plastic storyteller doll on her bookshelf. We watch movies on the big TV and nap on the loveseat. It's grandma's house at it's best.

When I left, I went to my babysitter's house where they had thirty-some-odd people gathered for the holiday, and I spent the whole hour trying not to cry. Yes, I was exhausted, but also because this is what I would have made if I had my own "perfect life:. A long table filled with all of the people who loved my family and each other. Children playing in the corners, avoiding food for the sake of fun and nobody leaving until they absolutely had to.

I got close. I had a home that I would have opened up. I had a family and a fireplace and guest bedrooms that would have held all those who couldn't and didn't want to leave. I had the heart of a family bigger than the space I could provide. I had it. It was mine. And then, one night, over an argument about orange curtains, is dissolved into the dark shadows.

I am not Thankful. Why should I be?

I am not thankful for a too-expensive apartment five minutes from the house I once called mine. I am not thankful for joint custody and the loss of a love that I thought - despite it's issues - would survive the pain, for our son. I am not thankful for the hard lesson that "love is not enough". I'm not thankful for quiet night alone, in lieu of rocking my son to sleep while my husband waits for me in the next room.

No one is waiting for me. Maybe ever again. It's a realism that I have to begin to accept. The only one I can count on is me. Maybe is that is the lesson from all of this I am supposed to learn. I honestly don't know.

Social media, depsite bringing us together, is a terrible piece of shit and this is why: On Thanksgiving, while I was feeling all of the above, my feed filled with post after post of "I am thankful for blah blah blah" and "100 days of Giving Thanks" and "Here is a photo of my huge amazing family right now, aren't you jealous, you sad motherfucker!?"

What I wanted to say, but didn't, was what I am saying now. I am not Thankful. I don't think this is something to be particularly sad about, I just think it's realistic. Yes, we have plenty to be thankful for, but sometimes, honestly, we are not. Sometimes our hearts break and we can't breathe. Sometimes we fail as parents and as friends. Sometimes we don't take care of ourselves and sometimes we forget that there are people out there who have it worse than us.

And that's fucking OKAY.

Tell yourself that right now. IT'S FUCKING OKAY TO NOT BE THANKFUL. Tell yourself that because I'm goddamed telling myself. I am too tired to be thankful that I am not a Syrian Refugee, or a Ebola patient, or a homeless person under a bridge. My life is hard enough as it is and I am allowed to feel the pain of that. I am allowed to feel sad for the shitty cards this year has dealt me.

Tomorrow, I will wake up and I will be late for work because I am always late for work and I will feel completely inadequate at a job I am totally qualified for. Then I will leave early to pick up my son so that we can do our very best at being a family in the thirty some-odd total waking hours that we have together as a divorced parent and their child, and I will try not to have an anxiety attack about the fact that this may or may not have cost me my raise. I will try not to feel bad about letting him watch fifteen minutes of TV on my phone while I cook a meal he will not eat, because he's almost two, and I will eat a few bites of it myself between bathtime and cleaning up what he threw on the floor. I will fall asleep while putting him to bed and forget that there is a list of things I was supposed to do after he was sleeping, briefly cry that I have missed another of my nieces swim-meets and get a broken six hours of rest because my toddler son still does not sleep through the night.

I will not think about World War III. I will not think about China, or Donald Trump or Global Warming. I will fall asleep, dead to the world because I have emotionally had "enough" and cannot take one more single thing. Because I am not a fucking robot.

The one thing that might go through my head, after four glasses of wine, is Andy Williams, "The Most Wonderful Time of The Year." Because if you really want me to believe something, you better fucking sing it with sleigh bells.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It Happens Every Fall

It is fall.

It is Halloween.

It is nearly November.

What is happening that is making time go by so quickly?

Sometimes I pick the wrong music to listen to at work and I don’t drink enough water and I find myself sad. Hydration equals Happiness. I don’t do either of the things on purpose.

This morning I woke up feeling emotionally cluttered. As if I don’t have enough on my plate I’ve somehow added more. But I’ve stopped dating. I’ve deleted my dating profile online. It didn’t give me hope, it gave me dread. I’d open it to a page of smiling men and my stomach would lurch at the seemingly infinite possibilities for rejection. And the lack of choice. And the possibility of choice. I don’t want anything like that, not that way. I was right the first time – I should have stayed away from internet dating. I should have trusted my instincts.

I’m trying to clean house.

Physically and emotionally.

Apart from the Toy-nado, there seem to be piles. A bucket and box of paint from the last painting job, stacks of papers that need filed, things that should have homes but will end up in corners of closets so that I no longer have to look at them, all clutter my floor space and tables.

Inside my brain, piles of conversations litter my waking moments and poignant dreams color my sleep.

I need a sponge and bucket of soapy water. I don’t want all this cobwebby mess hanging about anymore. I want neat stacks and closet organizers and labeled shelves.

Do I sound sad all the time? I’m not sad all the time. I’m doing well, actually. But I have my limits. I have thresholds. I need to keep things simple. There is a lot of superfluousness in my life. I can’t keep it that way – won’t.

Don’t worry, Dear Uncle, I’m still seeing my therapist. No rash moves. I’m doing just fine.

It’s just fall, that’s all.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just on the Divorce Part

Patience has never been one of my best virtues.

I am a lot of things - caring and thoughtful, warm and open, a relatively good baker, and a fair to middling artist. I'm a great mother (I like to think, anyway) and a good friend. My not so great attributes lie in cooking steak, getting gifts for people in a timely manner, calling on birthdays, and maybe (fine, I'll admit it) driving. I drive like a typical girl. Patience, however, ranks below even those things. I'm sure I've written about it here before.

So, okay, I'm not patient. Except there are certain moments in your life you just cannot speed up. Being pregnant was one of them. Waiting for visas in France (unfortunately) was one of them. Waiting for my son to start walking is another. And healing from a divorce is, apparently, one of them, too.

I want to be ready to move on. I want to be ready to date and oh sweet baby jesus I want to be able to buy a house for Luca and I, and wouldn't I just be thrilled to be able to start paying down the debt I've incurred from this whole mess? I want all of that, and I want it NOW.


It doesn't work that way, does it? "The heart wants what the heart wants," said someone noteworthy. And it works the other way too, though less grammatically. "The heart doesn't want what it doesn't want." Moreover, though, it does things in its own damn time. Which makes moving on with life a little tricky.

I was discussing OKCupid with a new friend this morning and just talking about it made me angry. I hate being rejected by this guy and the other guy. I hate going out on three dates a week to be groped by one and dismissed by another with no given reason. I hate window shopping for my next date and hoping that they won't have something better going on or - worse - three better somethings going on. 

Because that's the problem, I feel. There are just so many choices out there and all of the barriers have been taken down from us meeting our "Ideal Mate". There is always someone else who seems better - more your type, more interesting, more talkative. If you can get the Perfect Person then why would you settle for ALMOST.

This is my own insecurity, I think. Yet, I do feel that there will always be someone out there who is "better" than you. When I was in the third grade I learned that I was a pretty talented drawer. I remember drawing a whale and sharing it with some of the other students in class. I was such an awkward kid, desperately seeking the approval of a group of children who thought I was weird because I cried too much, yet I constantly opened myself up to them. I thought it couldn't be wrong. I still think that.

So here I am, a squirrelly little girl in her kitten sweatshirt, sharing a picture of a humpback whale so proudly. 

"I can draw too," said Amanda. Amanda was awkward too. We would pretend that we were dinosaurs in the playground. She was always the T-Rex. 

Amanda shared her picture of a dinosaur that was, indeed, better than my sketch of a whale. She was simply better than I was. The group of kids migrated away from my work to hers and I was quickly forgotten. I folded up the picture and hid it in my book bag, dejected.

The world is a revolving door of Amandas, I've learned. It's simply a fact: there is always someone out there better at what you do than you are. It's a statistical probability. Unless you are super human, super genius or otherwise super. It just is.

I talked it out with this new friend, trying to work out what the real problem is. Let's forget the fact that this is a person whom I came to know on OKCupid and before we could meet in real life I threw a proverbial hand grenade at him because I was so afraid he was rejecting me for someone else. He's easy to talk to and so I continue to do it, though I wonder to what end. Am I just deferring to him in the hopes that he'll find out he made a mistake, hoping he'll run out of other "Ideal Mates"? Probably. 

So I deactivated my dating profile. Because I don't really need more friends but also because my poor sea-worn and battered heart cannot fathom the concept of internet dating and whatever merits it might actually have.

My dearest uncle emailed me after my last post and encouraged me to stop self-loathing. "I'm not self loathing!" I returned. But I'm certainly not self-loving.

I am worthy, said another asked me to remember. "Of course I am!" I replied. But I don't really believe it, apparently.

There is so much they don't tell you about divorce. Or the do but you don't really understand until you've lived it. Splitting assets, sharing holidays with your child, learning to set boundaries. Desperately longing for some kind of semblance of the stability you once had, but with no solid ground in sight.

The truth is I'm tired. Physically and mentally. If I don't keep myself completely busy I get sad, but if I am too busy I break down. Don't even talk to me during weeks that I PMS. 


People have lived through worse. I cannot compare my journey, but I can learn from them. I can listen, patiently. 

I can learn to be patient.