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Last week I received Contempt papers for not doing things His Way…meaning, I refuse to travel 20 hours 1 weekend a month so that he can have an hour and a half supervised visit. I had to pack up my entire house in two days so that I can leave it for the bank to take, saying good-bye to any equity or alimony it would have provided. We have lots going on with my family; my mother and my grandmother and every aunt and uncle on that side. Life is changing in big ways.

And I sit here and smile serenely, kicking the ass out of my to-do list, and smiling through it all. Why? Cuz being in love feels good and though I know this phase wears off eventually, I want to milk it for all it’s worth right now!

Then again…we’ve been in this phase since early August and there is really not any indication that it will slow down anytime very soon.

He’s wonderful. He just helped me move, gave selflessly, had a blast with my family…. I want to spend hours listing everything that I adore about him. I want to put his picture up everywhere. I like to smell his clothes when I sleep.  He texts me all day and we tell jokes and we laugh and then he cooks me lamb chops and we ride in his kayak and let the trickling water do most of the talking. Then we take over and converse long past midnight and then hold each other for hours. Then we sleep and make breakfast and giggle with my children.

How ever long it lasts, this wasn’t present in the “courting” days of my marriage. I never had this giddy high in a reciprocal way. It’s beautiful, intoxicating, lovely. It’s fun and hydrating and I just feel like singing.

That will probably look funny in court.


I was reminded of this over the past week. I have a very good, very special friend out of town who has been a sort of miracle in my life. And here I’ve been spending more time nurturing friendships, two of which could become dating partners if I were so inclined.

But I’m not.

Having an emotional, stressful week was draining. It was also a helpful reality check.  I don’t really want to co-habitate and let someone new come into my most vulnerable moments. I am very unsure I’ll ever enter another legal commitment again, and if I did, it would only be for the very sweetest, mystical communion.

It’s nice to spend time with someone and then come away. It’s nice to have a room of one’s own, even if it’s temporary housing in a camper. It’s necessary (yet still nice) to “just” have work and children to focus on, and the occasional management of parents.  Do I really need more right now? No.

So I’ve been wearing this ring on my right middle finger since November and I looked at it often this week: I am first “married” to me. I am committed to my health and wellbeing, safety and happiness. I am committed to the healing of my children and the space they need to acclimate to this new life.  I’m glad I have great friends along the way to unwrap and discover and enjoy. It’s fun having “men friends” (as I call them) and I’d like to quietly watch where that special friendship heads, with it’s protective layer of safety via physical distance for now.

But those boys should not forget: that I’m serious when I say I’m not interested in commitment right now. That I’m serious when I say I can’t imagine another wedding or legal document binding me to him. I’m married to me, my own best friend, my own soul mate.

I reserve the right to add to that, when the time is right.

My next therapy appointment isn’t until the end of the month. When I talk to my friends, I’d rather just give them a brief update of what’s going on and then listen to them about their lives because I don’t want our friendship to just be an unloading of my exceptionally bad crap. But I’ve got to talk some of this out and so I’m gonna bust here for a minute.

I need a clone. I’ve had an 8 day migraine that is still hanging on because I need to sleep and rest. I used to be accused of not knowing how to take a break….well I DO freakin’ know how. Thing is, someone has to man the ship while I’m down. And there isn’t anyone to do that. So I can’t rest and the headache goes on. I’m jittery from Excedrin and coffee and my sleep is crap. See the cycle going on?

So while I’m working, what am I doing? I’m running a business. One that ebbs and flows and right now is flowing hard with major deadlines due this week and a major meeting out of town on Friday that needs preparation. I could easily be putting in 12 hour work days doing nothing else. Of course, that would require child care, of which there is little, and maybe no headache or jitters.

And the kids are going nuts. One of them colored on the walls. We live here because the doctor, in his infinite wisdom, thought that having two other adults around would mean everyone is supervised and happy. Nah…my dad says, “Um, someone is coloring on the walls”. WELL STOP HIM THEN! Don’t come freakin’ TELL me about it! But he does. And my 12 year old whispers, “It’s YOUR job to stop him Mom”. Well no freakin’ shit. I’m well aware that I’m supposed to be a full time mom and a full time business owner and to never get sick. While I’m obviously becoming more stressed, they opt to go out for a lunch date and leave me to it, rather than offer to take a kid with them or scrub the damn wall themselves.

So to combat the jitters I ran and worked out the other day. It helped *alot*. My stress level dropped way down and productivity afterward shot up. I tried it again today. Only today’s schedule really can’t accommodate an hour or two off so I can run and the kids can swim. But it NEEDS to accommodate it because they need some time out. And my parents are playing their “deaf and mute” game…going about their day ignoring us unless it’s to notify me that there is a problem, which I then am expected to drop everything to take care of. We got to the Y and the childcare room is closed for the day. The pool is crammed with daycare kids. We had to leave.

I get that I need their help in order to get everything done. I get that the doctor thinks I need their help. I get that most grandparents are helpful and that the doctor isn’t crazy to expect these ones are the same. I get that they’re tired. I get that my migraines only show up during extreme stress and need rest in order to go away. I get that I sometimes need to rest. I get that my kids need an attentive mother who provides some structure to their days. I get that I have to really sell all that homeschooling curriculum and walk away from that dream because life demands it. I get that my business will fail without professionalism and regular hours where my client’s needs are met well. I get that if I don’t make a go of this business we will be homeless and never independent. I get that I can’t be all things to all people. I get that when it comes down to it, I’m expected to be all things to all people. I get that healthy people are able to recognize when they need a break. I get that I saw that and came up with a good strategy to to deal with it. I get that my strategy is thwarted and I’m probably pretty unhealthy because life doesn’t care that my strategy failed and went on anyway.

I don’t have any brave words today. I need a pressure valve. I need to be human for a few minutes instead of some kind of super-hero divorced single mom who’s “handling everything so well”. I need to feel like all this shit is going to pay off with some kind of hope for the future because all I see is hard work, damaged kids, high gas prices, neighbors begging for work, men who ignore that I’m commitment shy and don’t want to be pressured, an ex-husband who is always going to be difficult and manipulative, doctors admonishing me not to be depressed when life is frankly QUITE DEPRESSING SOMETIMES….does it ever stop?

Sigh. Back to work. It doesn’t really do any good to talk about it, does it.


“We interrupt this extremely self-centered fest of griping and loss of perspective to report that the writer decided sanity was more important than any deadline. She took a half hour to talk to a close friend who gave her great encouragement and then, after her smallest boy went down for his nap and the mentioned parents returned from their lunch, headed back to the gym for a full work out. Having returned, she is calmer and feeling a bit more capable to put one foot in front of the other, towards whatever unknown destination is before her. Now back to your regular scheduled programing” 😉

Okay…so the job at hand is to choose new things to say to myself with the specific goal of loving my body.

The challenge there:

  • once had (and still struggle with the tendency of) anorexia
  • working hard to train for a sprint-triathlon, which focuses somewhat on the flaws needing improvement
  • was married to someone who didn’t just find me unattractive, but repulsive

So last  night at support group we were talking about how many years it can take to reprogram how we talk to ourselves. Our leader shared how she practices looking at her naked rear in the mirror and says, “Hmmm…like a loaf of bread”, which for her, accentuates it’s soft roundness and makes her feel that she looks good.

I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve dropped from a size 12 last October to a 4/6. I’m strong and my Tri progress is going well. Sure my boobies are droopy from nursing 5 babies and my rear end has cellulite; my belly will forever have an extra pouch of skin no matter how great the abs underneath look. But someone said my legs were pretty this week and I’ve repeatedly been told I’m “tiny”; I had no trouble getting road-side assistance from men the two times my van has broken down. I don’t think I’m as hideous or disgusting as my ex-husband always behaved I was.

But I’m hard on that naked self and I know it. I need to change it. Trouble is, I can’t seem to come up with my own “loaf of bread” commentary to replace the negative with. I’m all for the concept but I’ve definitely got, “inner dialog block” going on!

Life lately has had little twists and turns that have made me smile quietly, acknowledging moments that exist because we are in a healing cycle, and they are beautiful. I find myself going along, expecting someone to react the way he did, and instead, find the opposite to be the case. Or, I’ll notice that my response during stress is not what it was…not fearful, not frantic, but rather, more relaxed and willing to weigh options. The other day I was sitting at my computer and someone brought me a thoughtful song they’d burned to a disc just especially for me. And another day, that same someone called me before making other plans, just out of consideration for my feelings!

It’s the accumulation of these little things that is really how life changes. “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives” is it in a nutshell. There is function and consideration and kindness and patience in my days now.

I finished the laundry last begun under a harvest moon,

and found he’d taken my tea kettle and coffee press.

The wash clothes too- but why not his clothes?

Not understanding is not the same as being affected.

Children come and touch long losts toys and loves

and secret things hidden under beds like treasure;

then sleep fitfully in beds last warmed before a midnight escape.

And while we were gone the herb garden grew-

I never knew sage bloomed lavender flowers so profusely,

or that 3year old violas could still be so sunshiny yellow,

or that a friend loved me so much that she came to weed it and welcome me home.

The garden is so. So…much. So….like life.

Returned to me.

Lost to me.

Ahead of me.

The path ahead seems permeated with promise,

like the old roses upon my hill, around the curve,

beckoning me to come. Last year they lied dormant,

caught in time by a freeze that came before their prime.

“And how like me” I think as I write.

Another year later and I too have felt my thaw.

And “so” is such a transitory word, a summary of abundance,

a word headed into something.

Like me.

It occurred to me, while I stood there washing dishes,

in an old sink, looking out that familiar window,

that we love and own our environments through our interaction with it.

My hands remember the feel of this plate, the curve and the crack at the edge.

Little voices waft in and out and I find a tear slides down my cheek.

Somehow this warm water has convinced me this house is now mine.

It seems odd that the climax of 8 moons away would be within suds and memories at the window;

that somehow redemption, return, reflection all come through such a sacremental touch

of a garden, a dish, a doorknob.

And yet it is so.


I wrote that Friday night upon returning to my house. On Saturday I solved the mystery of why he had not taken his clothes. On Sunday his clothing and our bedding and my clothing all went to the dump. I wonder why he thought what he did would cause me to react? I unceremoniously, undramatically removed his “mark” and moved on. There is not really any other choice.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it’s all mine.

Do what you want, but you’re never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it’s all mine.

Do what you want, but you’re never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it’s all mine.

Wish that you could, but you ain’t gonna own me.
Do anything you can to control me.
Oh, no.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

There’s a place that I go,
But nobody knows.
Where the rivers flow,
And I call it home.

And there’s no more lies.
In the darkness, there’s light.
And nobody cries.
There’s only butterflies.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

Take me away: A secret place.
To better days take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I’ll be all right.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I’ll be all right.

by: Natasha Bedingfield

He settled today. We went in to address 5 contempts and depose him and came out with a finalized divorce.

How’d that happen? By facing that much jail time, he’d hired a new lawyer. My lawyer told his lawyer that in two weeks, at the trial, his client would get this deal PLUS alimony and my legal fees. His lawyer agreed. The real miracle is that he was able to convince my ex of that. The same man who doesn’t take advice from others if he disagrees or doesn’t like it.

And so…..(drumroll)….. I got full custody of the kids. The house and all the contents (except he wants some of my scrapbooks and his baby rattle, also the kitchen table). He has to provide medical insurance for the kids, maintain life insurance that covers suicide. Supervised visits start in two weeks and visitation from there will be decided by the doctor; child support by the state.

I have to live in Florida but I can take the house off the market, clean it up, rent it to the interested corporation, and sell it later when the market improves. Oh yeah…at that point, the equity is mine.

Best yet? No trial. No accusations or public fight.

I’m still stunned…still trying to take it all in. I’m free today.  Today I feel like “ME”, like a person, like my essence more than I ever have.  Some scabby layer has been peeled off and the surface beneath it is pink and fresh and glowing, previously unknown. Not bleeding but healing.

May 12, at 12:10pm, 2008, I had a different kind of birthday.

So soon?! A test so soon?! Could I not have felt pretty just a little longer before having it’s depth tested?

My hair was past my belly button. I like it just past the bottom of my breasts. So I went in for a little trim. I chose a salon that would be high on the “feel good” factor even if I was only getting a little trim. A LITTLE TRIM. So she said I only needed two inches off to take care of the damaged ends from the curling iron. “Great,” said I. “The less the better”. So she cut the two. Then, she wanted to trim the front edges that were shorter from old bangs that had grown out. “Fine,” said I. “Just shape it a little”.

And what resulted was layers all around my head, just at armpit level. I was turned so I couldn’t see the mirror (she was very pregnant and had a hard time navigating) and I still felt the length on my back. Horror of horrors, that “length” was a RAT TAIL. There was a four inch gap between my layers and the end of a chunk of hair in the middle of my back. She curled some of it, going for a “tosselled” look.

“How much did you pay for that?” my dad asked when I got home. I got nervous, remembering the funny look the man waiting in the salon  had given me when I walked out. I approached the bathroom mirror with much trepidation.

Then, I cried. Which led to crying because I was crying because I was making a Big Deal about my hair. I mean, how much of a consequence is it really, to get a bad hair cut? It does grow out after all.

I slept on it but this morning I knew what I had to do. The salon is closed on Wednesdays so I got out my scissors and chopped off that rat tail myself. From where it came, my hair is now short, though probably still long to most people. It’s just at the top of my breasts, about 8 inches up from where it was this time yesterday.

The thing that’s bothering me most is that I leave tomorrow to head north again for a court hearing on 5 contempts and a deposition. I wanted to go into this feeling strong, beautiful, and confident. A nice hair trim was going to help in that regard….a little pampering goes a long way. I feel the most “myself” when my hair is really long and feel sort of exposed when it’s shorter like this. I feel silly and vain crying about it but my hair was my favorite feature.

So…humbug. It sucks.

or so the song goes. Today though, an amazing thing happened: I caught a glance in the mirror and did a double take at the pretty girl reflected back and then I started to cry because the pretty girl was me.

Maybe it’s kind of been like a slow dawning. I do things differently now…wear make up because I want to (and he’s not here to tell me it’s vain), wear my hair like I want to (and no voice is telling me that long hair left loose is too sexy for a mother). I wax my brows and use scented lotions and sometimes feed the side of me that has a monsterous appetite for a new outfit.

I’m aware too that it’s far from only external because those things have been happening for months. These days I smile more days than not. I feel hopeful. My kids are making friends and so am I and we are making real plans for months ahead, not just hours or days. I have this fantastic friend who makes me feel respected and empowered and valued and it’s going viral through my system. Sometimes I catch myself grinning to no one in particular because I have a secret…except the secret is nothing other than a little flame I’m nurturing called, “Happiness”…..or maybe, “Freedom”.

Yesterday I had a foot massage/pedicure and they gave me a glass of wine and piece of chocolate and I sat back and sighed. It was An Event: I was having the black polish I’d started in November as my “mourning” removed and getting it replaced with the white, sweet freshness of the French. Sort of a Renewal Ritual for Me. I thought back to the lonely, silent suffering of a year ago, when I worked so hard and so long that others were asking how in the world I did it “all” and I couldn’t answer. I can still hear in my head what he’d say in reply to even the suggestion that I do something like I did yesterday, only his voice is fainter.  My voice is louder and I like it’s sound.

I like me. That’s what I’m starting this life with. I like ME! Human, earnest, foibles included…me.