Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Being Me

There are certain things in my life I can count on. The fact that my youngest son's morning diaper will peel paint from his bedroom walls daily. The fact that dishes will dirty, laundry will not wash its self, and little toys will find themselves in the oddest places- a matchbox car inside the diaper genie, a section of train track in with my dish towels. I can count on daily smiles and hugs (for now until they are too cool for mom) from each of my boys, and the glorious musical chime of their spontaneous laughter. I can count on the phrase that's thrown out each weekday by Smoochie while rushing out the door to catch the bus- "See you later, Alligator." And I can count on my daily response, "After while crock-eeee-dile."

During the week, things have taken on a sense of normalcy. I have essentially grabbed hold of myself by the scruff and shaken myself out of the moping and feeling sorry for myself stage. As each day passes, I have fewer weak moments (outwardly at least) and can at last breathe a little bit. During the week, when there are two boys to care for and a whirlwind of things to accomplish for them, it is becoming easier to accept the way things are.

I will not lie. It's hard not to hope I can reverse things. The reality that I'm standing on the precipice of divorce and will have to jump whether I like it or not is enough to leave me with anxiety attacks. After all, at some point I will have to jump off the ledge willingly or wait around for the push from behind- either way there's no turning back and either way will find me at the bottom.

This anxiety is easier to set aside during the week when I have to be strong for my boys. When they are there as a constant reminder of why life is good and glorious. It's easy to ignore a panic attack when Critter is busy acting like a giggly jack-in-the-box before launching himself at me with a little attack growl. It's easy to lose myself and my worries in the moment when I'm busy reading Harry Potter books aloud nightly to Smoochie (and listening to his giggles and gasps) while we enjoy a cup of warm caramel apple cider together.

With my great love and need to care for my boys, my weeks have become almost easy. But the weekends scare me.

The boys will be spending their weekends (away from me) with Bonehead. I don't worry about their safety for I know their father loves them every bit as much as I do, and will take great care of them. In fact, my fear has absolutely nothing to do with Bonehead.

I have heard choruses of "Oh honey, good for you. You get 'me time'. Oh how great, you get time to take care of you. Good for you to have time to yourself for a change." These phrases to me are the verbal equivalent of a haunted maze.

Here's the deal. I am on the brink of my 35th birthday. I pretty much know who I am as a person. I've got a pretty solid idea of myself and who I am in this world. I really don't need time to soul search- I have faith in God, and trust that he will help me to arrive on the other end of this every bit as optimistic good natured as I have been in the past. So essentially none of this scares me. Here's what does-

In my life, I have never just been me. In my younger years, I had my mom and sister, and throughout my teenage years I rarely went a month without a boyfriend (or two). I went away to college for a year and about the time when the whole 'just me' would have stepped into the normal course of things, there was a marriage. And now, at darn near 35, I am discovering that having been married since the ripe old age of 19, I have never in my life just been me. I have never had to rely on myself emotionally. Or in the middle of the night when the stresses of life creep into my blankets with me. Until now there's been a cohabitant. Someone with which to share these things and difficult moments with.

In my heart I know that I am strong and that I can face whatever life hands me with grace and dignity. Even so, the thought of being 'just me', of losing these things (to put it bluntly), scares the crap out of me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Description of a Night Terror

After a summer break, the Write Away Contest hosted by Michelle at Scribbit is back. October's topic is fear, and the following post was created as a submission. Thanks to Michelle for bringing the contest back after a brief hiatus.

Her sleep is a portal. She’s not known a full night’s peaceful sleep since that moment in childhood when they first found her and filled her with visions of her bed crawling with spiders and other such creepy crawlies to taunt a small girls mind. She’s an adult now, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less immune to them when they choose to approach. When she sleeps, somewhere within a dusty window into another dimension opens, and things cross over.

Sometimes they’re so focused on the cross over that they can’t wait for full sleep to reach her, shouting her name in terrifying voices just as she’s begun the decent into oblivion, snapping her awake with a violent jolt, leaving her with a sheen of sweat and choking on a fight or flight response. Often while sitting up in bed she wonders if her mind has been touched by schizophrenia. The voices had been male and deep and clear as day, so clear she looks around to be sure they weren’t murmured in her ear by a strange man in her room.

Then there are the times they exhibit patience and wait for her to be swallowed whole by sleep. They slink through the portal into her mind and taint her dreams, leaving evil fingerprint smudges wherever they touch. Her dreams are tortured and inescapable and grotesque shards of what they should be.

Sometimes she jolts awake before they can fully approach from their domain, leaving them half buried in both worlds, dancing in and out of her peripheral vision. They are shadows of where evil used to reign. They’re never seen directly but loom just beyond her sight, making themselves known with the briefest of glimpses of dark malevolence. They make sure she knows they follow her and that they watch.

Sometimes when she jolts awake she brings them fully with her. These are the whole ones, the ones her family calls night terrors and the awareness of these often leave her screaming with insanity. They weren’t halved upon the awakening so the full scope of their evil engulfs her like the churning frothy apex of a wave.

Her eyes open and she can feel them, their faces pressed up against hers, the humid and putrid breath of evil on her face. Watching her. Still she cannot see them but in the darkest hours of the early morning she can see the void they occupy. They blanket her with their misery, tucking her snugly in a quilt of horror, and steal her ability for words. They drip with poison and ooze with eternal isolation. As the moment passes and she begins to fully waken, for a brief moment she knows what true horror is. She has looked fear in the face and been rendered speechless, left without words and alone in a sea of oblivion. She reaches for her voice to scream and breaks the spell woven over her in the darkness, and all is again as it should be. Until they next choose to cross over and visit her sleep.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Week

I have started and deleted my next post about a hundred times since the last one. I have also started and walked away from my next post about a hundred other times. For the first time in my life, my preferred method of expressing myself is failing me. I can't find the words to express how I feel. Ironically enough, for the first time in my life my appetite has disappeared as well.

This has been without a doubt one of the toughest and most heart wrenching weeks in my life. What started out as probable divorce with a remote chance at saving it is now definite divorce with no chance at saving it. I have cried myself dizzy. I have experienced bouts of extreme anger. I have sat numb and lost. I have exercised obsessively. I have hugged my boys, and I have cried with them too. I have questioned my life, my self, my family, my ability to hold it together, and my heart.

I haven't slept much, and when I do manage to relax enough to fall asleep, reality often slaps my dreams and I wake up in a panic, yelling the word John into the dead of the night. It echoes in the silence.

I tell myself that I am strong, that I can make it through this- repeatedly- as if it were a record broken in my head, skipping back to the word strong over and over and over. I think maybe if I tell myself often, one of these times I might believe it. It might break through the wall of ache in my chest and finally once again let me take a deep breath.

The boys are first and foremost in my thoughts. I think of all the things I have to do for them. Not only do I have to wake up each morning to care for them and nurture them, I have to be strong for them. I have to show them that although it's OK to be strong and go on with our lives, it's also OK to be sad and grieve the family we were. I have to learn how to let go of him and still cultivate a friendship for the sake of the boys. I have to put my feelings aside and place the boys before any ache, hurt, or anger I might have.

I am sad. I am heartbroken. I am lost.

I am banking on the fact that it has to get better, because I can't see how it can possibly get any worse.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Raw and Brutal and Honest

On Wednesday, Bonehead and I decided the best thing we can do at this time for our family is for us to separate. Although divorce is not definite, it is a very high probability at this point in time. It will take nothing short of a small miracle for us to be able to fix the fissure in our marriage.

Without going in to too much detail, I will say that the decision was mutual, and state for the record there has been no infidelity on either part. I will not now, nor in the future, bad mouth the father of my children online or in front of my boys, he is a good man and a great father.

Judging from the obvious lack of sponsorship and ads in my sidebar, it should be apparent that I pretty much blog for me, and that I write simply because that is what I enjoy doing. I debated whether or not to blog about these recent changes in my life, and the structure of our family, and decided that honesty is best. I am not the type of person who can pretend to be something I clearly am not. Life has thrown me a massive curve ball and I desperately need this outlet. Things in my life are changing in a major way.

I am trying my best to continue to see things in a positive light, to look for the humor in each day and keep a positive outlook on life. But I'm finding that I just need to take each day as it comes, deal with what is before me, and be thankful at the end that I made it through. Logic tells me that things will get better, there will be an end to the anguish and heart ache, but my heart screams the opposite. It will be a journey, I will get there, and along the way, I will share what I can in as graceful a way as possible.

Because after all, although I am mourning the imminent loss of more than 15 years of marriage and 20 years of friendship, I have two absolutely beautiful boys to think of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Little Case of Hero Worship That Incidentally Was NOT Sponsored

I was spoiled once. I had a washer and dryer that was the cream of the crop. Once these babies were in my home and set up, I quickly learned that I'd never had another (or never would) who compared. I gushed about them to anyone and everyone who would listen. I loved them so much after I started a load I would caress them and my heart would fill with happiness. They were energy efficient, sleek, had few moving parts, and when they ran they whirred like something straight out of The Jetsons. At the time we had 7 people in our home (my sister and 3 nieces lived with us for a year and a half back in the days before Critter joined us) and it seemed to me that the capacity on these babies was absolutely UN-BE-LIEVABLE.

What washer and dryer am I speaking of?

I'm so glad you asked.

Please allow me to introduce you to the Fisher & Paykel washer and dryer.

The washer:


This baby was awesome. I threw the clothes in, threw the detergent in the center cup, pushed a button and soon enough it was whirring away on our laundry. There was a weight sensor so it would only fill with water as needed for the load size. It seems to me that most people these days drool over the front load washers, but to me, the top load is a love affair that can not be broken. Yes I realize it is only a washer, and a top loader at that, but nothing falls back onto the floor after I attempt to put it in, and I didn't have to try and stuff anything through a small opening like trying to jam a mini marshmallow through a life saver candy hole. I guess in retrospect it wasn't anything over the top special, but it was the perfect mate to my dryer.

The Dryer:

(a.k.a. my preciousssssssss)

This may be the one household item I held in higher esteem than liquid bubble bath and straight from the package razor blades. Have you ever seen a top loading dryer? Let me introduce you. Inside this dryer is a steel drum that has a lid that opens when the dryer is resting and locks into place when the dryer is running. When it locks into place, it makes this space age sound and you can seriously close your eyes and imagine you are sitting on the space shuttle getting ready for take off. The drum inside rotates much like a front loader, but every so many minutes it stops and rotates in the opposite direction. So your clothes don't get tangled up in each other. And to me, that was just a perk. The seller on this beauty was the top loading feature. Clothing never fell on the floor between the washer and dryer. I didn't have to bend and maneuver the clothing in over a dryer door in any fashion. I simply grabbed an armful of clothing out of the washer, turned to the right a little and dropped the entire armful into the dryer. It was Heaven on Earth for mom or dad or whoever got stuck with the laundry chore, I swear. Let me tell you I'd rather clean a toilet than do laundry, so me being excited about these babies was really something.

One sad day about a year and a half ago, our town got rain. It fell, and it fell, and it fell, and we were completely unprepared for it. When all was said and done the town received 4 inches of rain in 82 minutes, and we were gifted with a foot and a half of standing water in our basement.
We lost both the washer and the dryer. And it was a very sad day in my life. *sniff*

At any rate, we have not been living for a year and a half without a washer and dryer, let me assure you. They were replaced, but due to budget restrictions we had to go with a different brand name. We opted for the front loading washer and dryer, and I won't say the name because they work just fine and I don't want anyone to think I'm saying they are inferior because they are quite functional in their own way. However, I do not have the desire to caress them, and they do not take me to space. Its just that Fisher & Paykel are the ones who got away, the long lost love that I daydream of having back. To my heart, there will never be another.