Category Archives: Separation

May 22nd Lesson: It’s Not All About Me

Two nights ago my daughter wanted to talk. Said she felt sad. She’s sad her dad isn’t around every day and night. And I’m sad for her too. Last night, she wanted to talk again. Tears this time. Her dad was around for a couple of hours and then he left. She wished he could stay longer. I’m sad too – for all of us.

Tonight she wanted to talk again. Full blown tears. She’s worried about when we move, she won’t have any friends, she misses her dad, she doesn’t want me to get remarried (even though I’m not dating anyone openly or secretly), and she thinks that I’ll spend more time worrying about her brother than her.

This is harder on her little brain than I realized. Her brain is on overload.

I reassured her that her dad and I will handle the adult stuff and she doesn’t have to worry. I asked her to trust us and we’ll keep her involved and make the best decisions for her and her brother. I could see the weight lifting off of her little shoulders and the anxiety softening from her big blue watery eyes.

This is hard. If I thought there was a chance in hell that he would be a better partner for me, I’d let him back in the door so that this burden wasn’t part of my kids’ lives. All I know for sure is that I don’t hate my parents for getting divorced. I love them the same. And I’m grateful for the new wonderful people that they each ended up marrying. I know my daughter can’t see that now, but she will. I know she will be okay.

She asked me if I cry when she goes to bed. Oh, if she only knew. I just said that I did sometimes. She’s only nine, but she has such an old soul.

My little girl – I want to shield her from everything, but if I do, then she won’t learn from it. She won’t grow from it. I know she has to learn to deal with change and feelings – the good ones and the bad ones. I will help her through it the best I know how.

Today I learned that this new normal is harder on my children than I realized, and it makes me so very sad that it’s not all about me. It would be so much easier if it was.

Stifle Me Not

May 21st Lesson: Cleaning the Mess for Myself

I’ve been letting someone else (not) lead my life for entirely too long. If I don’t do it, who in the hell is going to do it?

Yep. It has become more an more apparent that I thought my not-yet-ex-husband was supposed to do this, that, or the other thing. In the meantime, I could have very well taken the lead, and didn’t. And now here I am, cleaning up what I should have picked up long ago. Learning to do things I should’ve learned long ago.

Today I cleaned out the garage. Do you know how many times I’ve cleaned out the garage in the 10 years that I’ve lived here?

Never. Nope. Not once.

That wasn’t one of my jobs. I just parked in the garage and got annoyed if I didn’t have enough room in the garage. I expected my husband to do it because it was a dirty man job. I worked, and I had my home wife jobs that I did, so why in the hell would I ever clean the garage?

My son was playing in the driveway and I got fed up staring at all the mess and dead leaves in the garage. I  got a lawn bag for leaves, a trash bag for trash, some boxes to categorize things, and got to work. I hung up yard tools, moved the snowblower to the back of the garage (since its May), put all of the toys on one side, cleared off a shelf for gardening items, consolidated things in boxes, and swept out the musty dirt and leaves.

And now I know what crap is in there and what isn’t. I had no idea about half of the stuff that was in the garage. Now it feels like its my garage and not someone else’s.

I also started cleaning up a corner of the basement that is most definitely the mess of my not-yet-ex-husband. It’s where he has dumped his tools and post-project trash for years. It just sits there and collects dust and dog hair and pisses me off every time I pass by it on my way to do laundry. I’m an organized person by nature, but when I know I have nothing to do with a mess, I am hands off and I will let it grow mold before I own it.

The garage cleaning motivated me. I went in the basement to switch a load of clothes and ended up getting a trash bag and some boxes and just started organizing the giant pile of man mess. It’s not done yet, but it’s enough of a start that I have a clear path to finish. Maybe when I’m done the entire basement will feel like it’s mine and not someone else’s.

Today I learned that I can take charge of a mess (even if its not mine) and make it nice for myself. If I don’t do it, who in the hell is going to do it?

Stifle Me Not

May 20th Lesson: Without Trust, Love is Lost

Today it has been seven months since I told my husband to leave our home. And he left without a fight. Just like that the house was eerily quiet and I was alone with my sleeping children in their beds. I made my decision.

I didn’t do it on a whim. I found him asleep on his recliner. His phone was laying there on his chest. I picked it up to charge it for him (no really, I did just want to charge it), and I see a text message from a recipient I did not recognize. I know the code to his phone, so I check out what this text message was about. It was enough evidence to change our lives forever.

I took an entire 24 hours to reflect on the past 10 years, I asked him one last question, and then I made the choice.

I don’t make important choices quickly.

It then took me a full week of wanting to throw up daily to make an appointment to see a lawyer. I’m a thinker. I must be sure that I’m making the best choice for me.

The biggest factor that helped me make my decision was this: What advice would I give my daughter or son years from now if they were in my same position?

I love my kids more than I love myself. I knew if I really considered what advice I would give to my kids, then that would be best for my own well-being. I struggle with making the best decisions for myself because I easily doubt my gut feeling and talk myself into a different direction that I think “should” be the right decision.

Several times in the past seven months, I’ve wanted to turn to my not-yet-ex-husband when he was around and throw in the towel and give him a hug and tell him to move back and let’s just be good parents and do the best we can.

Do you know where that would leave me as an individual human?

A big pile of comfortable nothing. I would be back at doing the best I can in life for someone that I don’t trust (other than with our kids).

The definition of trust: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

If I can’t trust in my husband, how can I continue to choose to love him? Love is a choice. I’m not sure I can make that choice if my own state of being will be a big pile of nothing.

That doesn’t seem like something I would advise my kids to do.

This man hasn’t shown one ounce of an attempt to gain my trust back. My main observation is that he doesn’t want to. Or maybe he doesn’t know how? (and see, this is how I got myself in this mess – by coming up with well-fitting reasons that justify his behavior). But I’m done with making excuses for his actions. His actions.

He has gone to seek help for himself. He continues to be a caring father. He has been nice and cordial to me. He has helped me with some things with the yard and the house. When I became unemployed, he kept me on his benefits so I wouldn’t be without health insurance. He has worked overtime and has continued to let me take as much money as I need to get by without my paycheck.

He is still caring for his family. But the trust is gone.

And he still blames me for his actions. His actions.

Today I’m learning that the real acceptance is setting in. Sometimes it takes me seven months or so to figure it out. Without trust, love is lost for me.

Stifle Me Not

May 18th Lesson: Unclogging Drains in Now My Job (gag)

I had an entire other post written earlier, and I hadn’t published it yet, and then I showered. Yes, I showered, and the water rose up over my feet and my arch nemesis was back – a clogged drain (gag).

And so this is similar to my experience with mowing lawns in the last 10 years. I just don’t. Except in the last seven months, I’ve been forced to fight back my gag reflex and unclog that shit.

My daughter and I have longish thick brown hair. I’m half Italian. So she’s at least a quarter Italian. Clogged drains are a common occurrence in this household.

Oh my god it makes me gag. I hate it so much.

To top it all off, neither of us girls have had our hair trimmed in six months, so its longer than usual. And we’ve been hair-washing more than usual because of the damn Head Bugs Epidemic 2.0 (finally thank you baby Jesus that’s over).

Anyhow, in the past, when there’s a first sign of a clog, this is what would normally happen:

  1. I would almost cry because I HATE knowing that the water covering my feet in the shower is because of clogged hair (So effing gross – yes, I know it’s my hair but still soooo gross)
  2. I would tell my now-almost-ex-husband that the drain is clogged
  3. I would take a few more days of showers (repeat as needed) silently cursing my now-almost-ex-husband for not immediately unclogging the drain
  4. I would nag my now-almost-ex-husband to PLEASE unclog the drain (repeat as needed)
  5. Almost-ex-husband would unclog the drain in seconds, and dump some Drano down that biotch
  6. My next shower would be heaven with no water covering my feet

Tonight was the first night I noticed the drain was clogging. That’s a lie, I noticed it yesterday and hoped it would go away, but it didn’t. When I got out of the shower tonight, I got dressed and immediately unclogged that drain (gagging the entire time) and dumped the Drano.

How easy was that? Now why haven’t I just been doing that all along? It would have saved me steps 2 – 6 above.

From now on, I rely on me (unless my upper body strength is absolutely no match, and then I will suck it up and ask for help). I better start lifting weights.

Today I learned that I can rely on me so much faster than anyone else. I can handle almost anything, even if I’m gagging (as long as there’s no blood, I don’t do blood).

Stifle Me Not

May 16th Lesson: The Rejection is Taking its Toll

It has been 6 months since I discovered my husband’s secrets. That was a big rejection for me. For my own well-being, I had to reject him.

It’s been almost 3 months since I was laid off, being rejected from my own place of employment (that I didn’t care for overall, but needed the paycheck).

It is a regular basis that I get automated emails telling me that I’m rejected (in so many words) from yet another potential place of employment.

It is May. It is nice weather. This is the month every year when I start running, but I’m not feeling well. My body is tired, my sinuses are clogged, my head hurts. My body is rejecting me.

You would think that clearing all of this negative energy from my life would help lift me up, and some days it does, but I am learning that all the rejection is taking its toll on my body, mind, and spirit.

“I will get through it,” says my stubborn brain to all of this rejection.

Stifle Me Not

May 11th Lesson: I’ve Got This

Today I mowed the yard again. It was easier this time. The mower started right away and never stalled once. That was nice. It’s been a week since the last time I mowed, which was frustrating as all hell.

Are you all sick of me talking about yard work yet? It’s damn metaphor for my life right now. I can’t help it.

I was never one of those women that was all “I don’t mow the lawn” just because I couldn’t mow the lawn. It was because my husband always just did it. There was no big discussion where I announced that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do it, and he never said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. He never cleaned the bathroom, and I never mowed the lawn. There were just some tasks that we each owned and didn’t share. I certainly wouldn’t have been sad if he cleaned a toilet as I’m sure he’d be quite happy if I mowed the lawn (correctly, his way).

So here I was today, confidently strolling through the yard with my non-stalling lawnmower. I didn’t even mow over anything dumb, like a bunch of rocks. Before I knew it, I was done. I gave myself some positive self-talk before I started and that may have helped.

I know that the next time I mow, it may not go as smoothly. There may be some challenge. But for now, I’ve got this. I can do this. Today I learned that I’ve got this.

Stifle Me Not

May 7th Lesson: Cleaning Up the Pebbles of Abandoned Hope

For the last year (maybe more, seems like forever) there have been several bags of pea pebbles in the driveway next to the garage. Some of the bags were split open and the pebbles oozed onto part of the driveway. Dead leaves were collected on top of the bags. It was an ugly mixed up mound of pebbles and dirty leaves sitting there like an ugly eye sore.

My husband originally bought the pebbles to create a bed of gravel under rocks around a fire pit that he built in the backyard. The fire pit was built and has been used, but the layer of pebbles that were supposed to go under the paving stones never made it there. He just gave up. I would nag for him to clean it up, he would respond with some good-at-the-minute response, and then he would ignore it.

I wasn’t the one that wanted the fire pit that bad, so why should I finish it? And I didn’t leave the pebbles out in the driveway, so why should I clean it up?

Weeds were starting to grow out of the pile of pebbles and leaves. The hope was gone that anyone else was going to do it. Clearly I am the only one.

Tonight I cleaned up the pebbles. It took me all of 10 minutes to do it. I was taking the trash out, looked at those pebbles and just thought “My driveway looks terrible, that needs to go.”

Today I learned that I’m not waiting around anymore. I’m taking responsibility for what needs to be taken care of, mine or not. I’m letting go of hope that someone else will take care of it for me.

Stifle Me Not

 

Welcome to Stifle Me Not

It’s been a challenging year so far to say the least. It’s not what’s happening, but how you react to it, right? We all have feelings, and there’s a fine line between feeling your feelings and not hurting others as you allow yourself to feel and react. I have been walking that fine line for months now. For 6 months to be exact. I know it’s not going away anytime soon, so I’m starting this blog as an outlet. Writing is therapeutic for me, so I’ll chronicle life stories, challenges and joys, as they come and live life the best way I know how.

My current state of reality can be summed up into 3 main events:  I’m separated from my husband, got laid off from my job, and one of my kids got lice (and then she gave it to me). “Things can always be worse” I like to tell myself. But right now the feelings feel like “This is rock bottom.”

I believe the main thing you need to do with each situation is learn and grow from it. If you don’t do anything with what you’ve learned, then the whole experience, good or bad, is a waste. Easier said than done, right? Right.

I’m trying to take my own advice, so what am I learning these days from these Big 3 Events in my life?

Separation – It sucks. Quite simply, we have agreed to disagree and are working to be the best parents possible. I am navigating the waters by focusing on the positive and handling the negative situations as they come instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom of what could be. The first few months were not pretty. In fact, they were hard and heart-numbing. I’m learning to feel the feelings each day but communicate the facts without letting them collide into a whirlwind of chaos.

Unemployment – Well, this sucks too. I’ve been here before, although I was laid off earlier in my career when I was eager to accept any job that came my way. I now have quite a bit of experience under my belt and actual skills that I’ve worked hard to develop. This time is a little different and more challenging since I have children to support and am about to become a single income household. I cannot accept just any job – I need a secure salary and the next company I work for has to have some distinct values that align with mine. I cannot leave my kids each day going to a place that I dread. I’m learning not to compromise my values for a job and be confident and proud about what I have to offer in my professional life.

Hair Bug Epidemic 2.0 – This one has me hysterical, but I survived this once before so I’m sure I can do it again. I call this “2.0” because Hair Bug Epidemic 1.0 invaded our house early in 2017. I caught it early this time because of what i learned that time. Last time I researched and learned quite a bit about different treatments and prevention methods. What I did not do is continue the prevention methods. My daughter is in third grade with a head of thick hair that is just waiting to welcome the next bug that is in her general vicinity. This time I’ve learned about newer and more effective treatment methods that aren’t so toxic and that I have to continue prevention methods for the rest of my children’s lives – at least through middle school or I’ll have 3.0 in my house in no time. I’ve also learned that it feels gross but is not the end of the world.

I’m calling this blog “Stifle Me Not” because I often feel restricted by different life experiences, but figuring out how to learn from them and grow has been an ongoing theme for me.

I hope you enjoyed this first blog post. I’ve been getting the itch (lol, no pun intended, although that’s pretty funny, go me) to write more often. Stay tuned…

Stifle Me Not