Category Archives: Taking Charge

Identity Renewal

The last two weeks have been a rat race. I basically started working full time again after 1.5 years, continued to care for my awesome children (without losing my mind), and somehow squeezed in a divorce and a name change.

Productive June so far.

When I look at it that way, it’s no wonder that a  couple of days ago I was so drained I could barely function to work or drive. I took some ibuprofen and drank some fluids, hoping it would just get me to the end of the day. It did. Barely. I usually have some sort of dinner plan for my kids, even if its peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I just like to make sure they’re fed and bathed every night. Sometimes we hang out, sometimes we go out to eat, sometimes we play or snuggle, and other times we each do our own thing. This was a “we each do our own thing” kind of night.

On this day that I didn’t feel well, I fed my  son (the 3-year old) as soon as we walked in the door, and I told the 10-year old she was on her own to find something to eat. I then proceeded to lay in my bed and fell asleep by 8:30 PM. I got up briefly to tuck everyone in and called it a night. Not mom of the year, but this mama had to do some serious resting. And they were fine. Thanks to Netflix.

The exhaustion is real. It’s physical and mental. I’ve been doing my best to ramp up at my new job in these first few weeks, and by the end of the day it takes its toll on me. I’m thoroughly exhausted by 5 pm, and then I have an evening of single-mothering ahead of me. Luckily we have a pretty consistent schedule down and the kids pretty much just go with it.

Today I was supposed to take my kids to a family thing I committed to a few weeks ago. By the end of the day I was toast, my daughter wasn’t feeling well, and my son was, well, himself being the 3-year old (so challenging as usual). I threw up my hands and threw in the towel – we didn’t go. I couldn’t bear to make me or my kids have to do something that we didn’t want to do after a long day and then end up getting home late that evening. I just gave up and said sorry, not sorry. And we had a delightful little quiet evening of pizza and cartoons. Sometimes it pays off to hermit.

Also today, my updated Social Security Card came in the mail. I felt like it was a little prize to help me keep going. It has the name that I was born with and the name I’m going back to. It’s all mine. This weekend I’m going to get my driver’s license updated. Then, name change complete.

Last June I was frantically looking for a new job and deciding if I should sell my house to make ends meet. This June I’m changing my name, working my ass off, and moving forward faster than I would have ever imagined. In the past year, I’ve changed my living situation, relationship, career, and my name. What’s most refreshing is that I have a renewed outlook on life and I feel like I’ve renewed myself – my entire identity has grown, and keeps on evolving.

Damn, it was a hard, but it sure feels good to see the sunlight.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

I Did It

I did it. I finally did it.

After 7 long months and 1 week, I finally got a job.

It’s the part time job that I referred to in my previous post. It’s not a lot of money, but it is perfect for my current situation. You’d think I’d be screaming my head off with excitement that I don’t have to go on food stamps (and oh my gosh, yes, I am elated), but it’s like I already knew it was mine.

The funny thing is, I’ve had this nagging feeling for quite a while that if I just moved forward with divorcing my husband, I would finally get a job. That inner voice kept saying, “Respect yourself, let him go, and other good stuff will come in.” I heard it, and I ignored it for quite awhile. I made excuses against it.

Earlier in September I started pressuring him to settle on some terms for a dissolution. He mocked me. He threw empty threats at me that I knew better than to take seriously. I continued to delay.

This Wednesday he closed on his new house. He needed my signature to close on his house since we’re still married. I also signed the doc that waives my right to his house once we are divorced. What he didn’t realize is that while we’re still married, even though I’m not on the mortgage, I’m on the title. I own the house too. The look on his face was priceless when he had this realization at the closing table.

After his closing, I called him. I gave him an ultimatum. He had until the end of the week to agree to the terms of a dissolution or I move forward the old fashioned divorce way. His ego didn’t like that. By Friday, he reluctantly agreed to draft docs and review them.

Yes, he bought a new house while his wife and two kids live with family an hour away. He is a selfish man with little integrity. He knows how to make himself appear grand and is a social joy to be around. He thrives on attention and wants to be the center of everyone’s universe. He was the center of mine for a long time. Until I realized that I was never the center of his. And never would be. Ever. He used my precious energy to make himself feel whole. He depleted me daily until I was an empty shell of a human.

I am slowly coming back to life. Yesterday I spoke to my lawyer and she’s drafting up the second and last round of dissolution documents. He has once last chance to agree to my terms or I told my lawyer she can “go full bore”. I have tried for a full year not to hurt him. Not to enrage him. Not to cause more grief than was needed. I don’t want my kids to go through that. But there is a limit to personal anguish. My kids will understand one day no matter what I do. They are too young now, but eventually you grow up and ask questions.

Isn’t it odd that I give him an ultimatum and the next day I get a job offer after so long?

I am feeling confident and happy right now. I partially started my new job on Friday and I look forward to learning more this week. It’s time for a change all around.

Today is also my 11th anniversary with my almost ex. I thought it would be a super sad day. It was not. I thought of it briefly in the morning, but didn’t let it get me down. I’m dead inside these days when it comes to that kind of sadness. I’ve been too sad for too long and I want to move on finally

I’m finally letting myself move on.

Stifle Me Not

Picking Up the Pace

It’s been a week since I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and pick up the pace of my life.

I enrolled in a certification course to expand my career a little.

I revised my resume.

I applied to more jobs.

I started a workout routine.

I got an oil change.

I visited my mom.

And I’ve been thinking about how I can divorce this husband of mine without causing too much grief for my kids. They’re adjusting to the move and their new schools. They seem to be happy and healthy – they are a lot of work but they reward me with big smiles and joyous laughter everyday. I’ve established a routine for all of us and they talk to and visit their dad regularly. I’ve done all the work I need to do to make sure others are situated and comfortable.

Now I need to take the formal steps to get out of this marriage and move on with life. I need to do this for myself. I’m so unhappy being legally tied to this untrustworthy man. Next month it will be a year that I told him to leave our home after discovering the evidence of dishonestly on his phone.

I’ll be making some decisions about how to proceed this week.

Stifle Me Not

Rot Me Not / Life Reset Blog Challenge

I’ve doing a lot of thinking and sulking and day-dreaming and procrastinating lately. You name it, I’ve been doing it. I’ve been at my parents house for 2 weeks now. I’ve been telling myself to stop overthinking and just do something. Anything. But yet, I can’t seem to figure out what direction I want to take. It’s like there are 101 paths laid out before me and I can’t make myself go down any one road.

And so, since my kids are now in school, I’ve been doing just anything – cleaning, making lists of things to do, grocery shopping, job-hunting, etc. Just keeping busy. Yesterday I went running. Afterward I was like “why don’t I run more often?”. I’ve been so focused on “keeping the peace” with my not-yet-ex-husband that I forgot what it was like to live for myself. Now that I don’t see him everyday to suck my energy dry, I’ve become a lost person. How stupid is that? Tiptoeing my life around him was obviously not healthy, but it was part of my identity. Now I’m forced to get to know myself again. It’s liberating and scary all at the same time.

I woke up from a disturbing dream this morning and it got my motivational wheels turning. In my dream, my not-yet-ex-husband was “cleaning” stuff out in the house I just moved out of in real life, but he wasn’t really doing much but making a mess. There was stuff strewn everywhere and I was frustrated and just picking up things around me. This pretty much sums up my marriage. He would just do things (whatever he wanted really) and I would be the clean-up crew behind him (in many aspects of life). Anyways, back to my dream –> The heels of my feet started itching. I go to scratch my feet and discover that I have a big hole in each heel and maggots are falling out. I’m watching this in disbelief and kicking maggots off of my feet. But in my dream I am not surprised at this, I’m just dealing with it. I’m frustrated but not freaking out.

I woke up, quite disturbed, and did a search online for “dream about maggots”. I find multiple search results that say something similar to this:

To see maggots in your dream represent your anxieties about death. It may also be indicative of some issue or problem that you have been rejecting and it is now “eating away” at you. You need to confront it for it is destroying your sense of harmony and balance.

The one that really got me was in this one though:

Possible need to cleanse body of toxins or infection, or a sense of disease emotionally in that area of self; something, like a fear or resentment, eating away at one. It could also indicate a decay or part of you lacking life, something ‘eating away at you’. Remember that maggots only live on rotting things.

Oh my GAWD. Yes, maggots only live on rotting things. And that is how I’ve been feeling lately – like I’m worthless. Existing, and rotting here all day with no real sense of purpose.

So today, the 1st of September, is a new day of a new month and I’m not going to rot away and have disturbing dreams about my rotting life. Rot me Not. I have to make the second half of my lifetime count. I’m better than my doubtful thoughts that creep in and sabotage my happiness (or lack thereof).

I contacted a local college about some certification courses I could take to expand my career. And I reached out to a mentor for some career advice. I’m also going to stick to a running routine while I’m not working and focus on things that make ME happy. I clearly need to retrain my brain to live for me.

So today is the start of a my Rot Me Not / Life Reset Blog Challenge for September and October. I’ll try to write often the next couple of months about:

  • “What did I do lately that is for me?”
  • “How am I resetting my thoughts, attitude, dreams, etc.?”
  • In other words, “What have I been doing to Stifle Me Not?”

 

Stifle Me Not

Preparing for the Great Unknown

Today appeared to be a normal day of errands, but it was not. It was a preparation day for future days of a new life.

In one week my life will change forever. My kids and I are moving back to my childhood city (which is about one hour south of my current home). Today I drove down there and registered them at their new schools. My daughter will be going to a school that I once went to. I felt like I entered some weird time warp when we walked into the school. We turned in her registration paperwork and she got a tour from the dean. She looked so relieved after the tour. She could see that it wasn’t so scary after all.

After registering her, I registered my son for his first year of preschool. He didn’t care. He whined the whole time about how he wanted to go out to the playground. I’m glad he won’t remember most of this life transition since he’s only three.

Somehow, after six months of trying my ass off, I still do not have a job. Let me be clear that I have come so close. I have made it to all but being the final pick. And almost weekly I have prospects. Right now I am juggling 3. So as much as I feel like an unemployed loser, I know I’m trying. Sometimes I feel like I’m not trying hard enough, but that’s my life story. I always feel like I’m not doing enough, and then I wind up exhausted. I’m trying to balance “trying hard” vs. “beating myself up”.

So after next Saturday, my home will be mostly empty. I will stare at the empty rooms and try not to cry that my first home ended like this. I’m not moving to a newer, bigger home in the suburbs with my husband and kids. I’m moving in with my parents and my kids, without my soon-to-be-ex-husband, so that I can reset and recharge and rediscover who I used to be and who I still can be. I’m going to be surrounded by my support system of family and not feel alone like I have been for the past 10 months. I’m going to ask for help when I need it and know that I’m loved unconditionally by them.

My husband and I didn’t work out, and it’s now transitioning 4 human lives and 2 dog lives. This is hard. This is very hard.

My soon-to-be-ex-husband is buying a new house. I have mixed feelings about this. I almost feel like I should be in it. How weird is that? I don’t want to be with him, yet I feel abandoned that he’ll have a new house and I have no home. Of course my parents will tell me over and over again that their home is my home. But it isn’t MY home. While I’m sad that we’re moving on like this, he will take our furry pups. My neighbor has graciously offered to care for our dogs in between leaving this current house and until he closes on his house in the fall. I’ll be very worried about my dogs while they are temporarily not with either of us. But I’m happy to know that they’ll have a new forever home. I’m unable to bring them to my parents house. It breaks my heart that I can’t have my dogs, but I have the kids, so I’m over the moon thankful for that.

I feel like this is the first giant step of many to come, but the alternative is to freeze up and stay stranded in a sea of unhappiness and self loathing. That doesn’t sound appealing. So this week I will finish packing and prepping for the great unknown.

They say that when one door closes another one opens. I feel like this is a giant damn door that is taking forever to close. It’s like it has been stuck open and I haven’t been able to fully close it yet. Like strong winds keep blowing it blown open. As motivated as I may be to close it and as hard as I try, it has just been a long time coming. Next weekend I will close that damn door. Although I don’t know what lies behind the next door, I feel like it has to be a whole hell of a lot better than the last 10 months.

Wish me luck.

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