Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











Pickle and I have been in a tremendously rough spot lately.

She’s been my rock throughout the hardest part of the divorce – renegotiating the terms of my interactions with my ex, my kids’ father. She’s been so supportive through it all, and she’s watched the toxic games play out.

She’s done.

She’s had more than she can take. Now it’s time for me to put on my big girl panties and get ‘er done. I can do this – I can stop playing into his manipulation, I can think first of my children, my self, and my lover. I need to.

She’s felt for some time that I give him more love than I do her. I have allowed him to take up more of my energy than is appropriate. I’ve preoccupied myself with how to make him happy in order to win his cooperation with the objective of making the kids’ lives easier, better.

I don’t need to make him happy. I don’t live with him. He can have his feelings, and I can respect those feelings, but it’s not up to me to take responsibility for those feelings.

It’s not up to me to take responsibility for her feelings, either. Don’t get me wrong. But she is the one I live with, she is the one I love, and therefore, she is the one I have chosen to be deserving of my love and attention.

I should probably show her that, eh?

We have a little bit of a co-dependent streak going on. Wasn’t always like this. But somewhere along the line, our interdependency turned into something a little less healthy.

How to fix that?

I suggested a couple of days ago both of us sitting down and writing lists of our individual hopes, dreams, expectations, boundaries. She said, “Hell, no. I’ve told you, told you, I’m done telling you!”

“Sweetie, I’m not going to force this on you. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you, we can find a different way. But I need the visual. I need to put our two lists side by side – see where we match, where we don’t, where we can meet in the middle. I want to put it somewhere where, when we lose sight of our own objectives or the other’s, we – or least I – can refer to it for a reminder.”

Two days later, after some resistance and negotiating, we finally came to an agreement. She hates writing. So I will write her list for her – on my own. And she will check the list to correct what I’ve left out, misunderstood, what have you.

Could be treacherous territory we’re treading upon. But if it works, if nothing else, she’ll have PROOF that I’ve been listening, soaking in her words. And it’ll be a foundation for us to build upon, rebuilding our trust and faith in one another and our relationship.

We fell in love for a reason. As my brother says, we need to dig down and remember that reason. It’s not hard for me.

I fell in love with her free spirit. Her devil-may-care attitude. Her Peter Pan swagger. I fell in love with her smile, which runs the gamut from cat-who-swallowed-a-canary to little-kid-seeing-something-awesome-for-the-first-time-on-Christmas. No matter what the smile, it’s contagious. I fell in love with her breathtaking blue eyes – eyes older than the hills, yet full of wonder like she was born yesterday. Ice-colored eyes to go with my fire-eyes.

I fell in love with her brashness, her audacity, her romantic spark.

She fell in love with my confidence, my girl-who-rules-the-world bravado, my Tinkerbell flittering. She fell in love with my ass (honky tonk badonkadonk), my belly – it wasn’t long before she couldn’t sleep without my belly moving with every breath on her back.

We fell in love with parts of each other that have been buried under the stressful events of the last year and a half.

We used to get each other token gifts – silly little things, but things that meant something – on the third of every month. We started dating on May 3, 2009, so it was a cute way to commemorate the day.

I think it was when we stopped that that we began to lose our focus. And we just stopped because life got busy, we got broke. Priorities shifted.

It’s time for them to shift again.

Pat Benatar sums it all up. Pickle played this song for me yesterday.

“We Belong, We Belong to the light
Many times I’ve tried to tell you, many times I’ve cried alone
Always I’m surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone

Don’t want to leave you really
I’ve invested too much time to give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind

CHORUS:
We Belong to the light
We Belong to the thunder
We Belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We Belong, We Belong
We Belong together

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness when I don’t know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn’t know what to do with my strength anyway
Have we become a habit do we distort the facts
Now there’s no looking forward
Now there’s no turning back
When you say

CHORUS

Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best
To try and wash the palette clean
We can’t begin to know it
How much we really care
I hear your voice inside me
I see your face everywhere
Still you say

CHORUS

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Oh, co-dependency, you raging, monstrous bitch, you. I try and try to shake you off, and just when I think I’ve mustered the strength to resist you, you clutch my guts in your clammy claws and cling.

I tried to bite my tongue. I tried to wait until morning, to let the ooky feelings slowly ebb away, work themselves out in dreams. I really did try.

She came in at 3:30 this morning. No sense in stirring the pot then. No sense losing sleep when we both needed to be up at 8:30 to see the kids off to their Dad’s house. Let it go, I breathed to myself, a mantra meant to calm that panic welling up inside. Let it GO! I screamed in my head, a battle cry against the irrational.

I went to bed at midnight. She’d gone out with friends. A good thing, she needs to spend more time with them, she needs to spend more time without me. A good thing. I was ok with the concept.

When she’d left, though, I’d just finished putting the kids to bed. It’d been a difficult bedtime. The littlest was still popping up to tell me “just one more thing. I love you and I want to spend the whole day with you.” Sweet words, yes, and I hear them so often it’s begun to make me cringe.

And she left. After mentioning to me that she’d gotten to spend the day with everyone else but me. We got to hang out for a little bit earlier in the day, much earlier. But for hours, my brother and the kids had her all to themselves while I cleaned the house and puttered about. She had told my brother she’d go hang out with him downstairs for a bit. When I was done with the kids, she asked me to join her because she missed me, she wanted to cuddle.

I said no, I needed to stay upstairs because I didn’t think the kids were completely settled in. I’d rather put them back to bed already upstairs than have to run up and down stairs for an hour.

Half an hour later, she came up and got ready to go. Cuddled me for ten minutes, while I tried to be happy for her.

“This is going to be hard for you, tonight,” she observed.

I tried to play it off. “What are you talking about? I don’t know what you mean.”

She gave me a Look.

“It is going to be hard for me. It’s good for us, though. I’m trying to keep positive. I keep thinking about how little time we got today, and how little time we’ll get in the next three days because of the hours I’m working–”

“Oh, baby, please don’t,” she interrupted. “I told you yesterday I was going out and you said it was ok!”

“It is ok, I want you to go out. I’m just being honest – it is going to be hard for me.”

She called me later on when she was out for linguistic advice. Her friend was writing something and needed a synonym for “irritation.” I came up with “annoyance,” “vexation,” and “pet peeve.” And that was the end of the phone call.

After hanging up, I felt strangely wounded and… well… vexed. It felt like a pity call, a call she made out of guilt for leaving me at home. Like she made up an excuse to call me and see if I was still pouting. I hadn’t been until then, but then those clingy, clammy claws commenced to clutching again. Ugh.

Then at midnight, we spoke again. I asked when she anticipated being home – not really needing to hear a specific time, but wanting to know when to expect her. She said an hour, hour and a half.

“Ok,” I replied.”

“Why do you sound so… ehhh… about that?”

“I’m not.” A bald-faced lie, but I didn’t have any reason to be “ehh,” so I kept my mouth shut on that front.

“You don’t sound happy…”

“Well, am I supposed to? Am I supposed to feel one way or the other?” I tried to laugh it off.

“Oh, you hurt my head.”

She reads me so well. It doesn’t matter what form of communication – in person, on the phone, text – she knows when I’m bubbling over with conflicting feelings. She doesn’t always realize that I’m struggling with myself and not with her, and often, she’ll give me what she thinks I want (which is what the codependent part of me often does want) just to avoid a fight. When then ends up leading to – guess? A fight!

Last night she didn’t do that. She stayed out. I’m glad she did. She needs to be with friends more.

And instead of coming home at 1:00, 1:30, like she’d said, she walked in at 3:30. Let it go, just be glad she’s home. My mantra. Go back to sleep, it’ll be better to talk about in the morning.

She sat on the bed. “You’d be proud of me tonight. I played hero. I jump-started a car not once or twice, but five times tonight.”

Let it go, it’s cool, it’s fine, I silently told myself as my mouth spontaneously opened to declare, “Once? A hero, yeah. Maybe twice. Five times? That’s just stupid.” Oh my god, you didn’t. Go back to sleep, Let It Go.

She didn’t seem to notice my bitchiness, and kept going on about the night, how the folks should have listened to her in the first place, how they ended up going to Wal-Mart to get a new battery, and then my cauldron bubbled over.

Wait till morning. Let this shit go! NOT NOW. “So that’s why you’re just coming home now?”

I half listened to her excuses – that’s my department – to be flaky and then justify and come up with excuses. I don’t remember any of them. I tried to make myself go back to sleep.

Then she said, “I sat in the parking lot for the last hour, eating cheeseburgers.”

I sat up. “Why the fuck did you do that?”

“I knew I’d be in trouble.”

You dumb bitch. “You do realize you just made everything much harder for yourself than it had to be?” Also my department. WTF is going on here? “I was prepared for you to come in at 2:00, or even 2:30. I know you. If you’d walked in at 2:30, I might have grumbled for a second or given you a little bit of a hard time, but I would have let it go!”

“I knew I’d be in trouble. I knew you’d be mad.” She sounded so small. “I knew you’d be mad, and I just couldn’t handle it then. I couldn’t deal with it.”

Ugh. “You know, I’m not mad because you’re a bad person who did a bad thing. I’m mad because I love you and I worry about you and … if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t get mad!”

Silence.

“Now you’re getting mad,” I sighed.

“No, I’m not,” she answered. “I’m really not.” Then she kissed me, surprisingly sweetly. “I love you. I think we should get some sleep.” She rolled over and wrapped my arm around her the way she does.

I was out pretty quickly. I thought it would be ok in the morning. But this morning, as I rushed around the house, getting the kids ready for their Dad’s house, and she slept so soundly, I felt resentment.

I’ve been trying to figure out what that resentment is. It’s why I write, to puzzle this shit out.

She can go wherever she wants, do whatever she wants, and whenever she wants. She doesn’t have any obligation to me or the kids. And that’s the way it should be right now. I chose to settle down young and have my babies young. And, while it wasn’t necessarily the wrong choice or a bad choice, it was a choice that created more challenges for me.

As a result of that choice, I became a single mom of two kids. I parented on my own when I was still married, and nothing really changed after we separated. Now that I’m with her, I have to find this weird balance of knowing that I don’t have to do everything all by myself anymore, and not expecting too much from her because, let’s face it – they’re not her kids, and our relationship is still in diapers.

So… do I really resent myself for complicating my own life? I’m so very good at it. I’ve noticed all the things she did last night that set me on edge are mirrors of the things I do. I’m the one that makes things harder on myself, I’m the one who avoids, I’m the one who forgets to call or stays out too late, I’m the one who plays “hero” the same way five times when the third time should be different.

Last night, she was me, and it really upset me.

She was my reflection, and I didn’t like what I’d seen.



{February 26, 2010}   Sharing spaces

I have readers!!! Two, near as I can tell, and I don’t know anything about them except that my page is checked once or twice a day, and I feel all gooey inside! It’s happy-making because I don’t really publicize this blog much. I’m not really sure how, because I want it to be somewhat anonymous – I don’t want too many real-life friends reading what I write here, and knowing me personally; just about everywhere I am online, I have real-life friends who could follow a link to this fantastic journey and… that just makes me uncomfortable. And while this is mostly for me, to help me sort out my own pieces of the puzzle of life, I also want to put it out there for others who could be in a similar situation to the one I’m in. Because I know they’re out there, though there isn’t a whole lot out there for us by people like us. In my case, if I were a jar, I’d be labeled, “Differently-abled lesbian mom of two, divorcing from hetero marriage, reclaiming identity given up years ago.” Among other things. Moving on from this excitement, onto real things:

I’m an avid follower of Alphafemme, and the other day she made a post about moving in with her partner and the changes that will come with combining personal spaces and dealing with tendencies towards codependency. I absolutely related, 1110%, and it’s had me thinking on the subject pretty in-depth. Back in June, after my landlord realized that my ex had left the house and I was living there alone with my kids, he had a mini-freak out. He knew I’d been a stay-at-home mom for five years, and I didn’t have a job, so he assumed that I was going to have trouble paying. He didn’t ask, and so he didn’t know that I’d had money saved up to get me through the summer, and that I had a couple of potential roommates lined up, and handed me a very official piece of paper asking me to vacate the premises after the lease was up. We had a month-to-month lease, so that left me one month to find a place. I had to simultaneously conduct a job search and an apartment hunt. Because circumstances were as they were, and because my Love’s lease was also soon to be up and she was ready to move out of her apartment, we made a snap decision – mostly out of convenience – to go ahead and move in together. We’d been together for two months at this point. Very hasty, and could have been disastrous. As it turns out, it’s worked reasonably well given the short time we knew one another and the circumstances. We had a place lined up with another roommate, a parent friend of ours with a little boy the same age as mine, and the place was huge and totally affordable with the three of us adults throwing down. Unfortunately, he and his landlords had a disagreement and his landlords would not cooperate with his house hunt and he ended up not being able to move in with us. We found this out one week prior to move-in date. This left us with one week to find a place that would fit the two of us and the kids. We found the townhouse we’re in now, which was just barely affordable to us then and we’re struggling to make ends meet now. I’ve been working my job for 7 months, and I’m just now getting 30 hours a week, after having worked 12-24 most of my time there. We’ve gone beyond pinching pennies.

Up to recently, I attributed most of our stress to money issues and having kids. I’ve tried to give her time and space to herself, knowing that she didn’t get much, aside from when she sleeps; but because there aren’t many rooms in this very expensive house, oftentimes, I find myself leaving her “alone” in the same room. She gets her emotional and mental space, but the physical space is sorely lacking. I’d not noticed until she brought it up the other day. Both of us like to hole up in our room for downtime and peace, which means that we rarely ever end up being truly, physically alone. I get more time than she does, when the kids are in bed at night and she’s at work; it’s probably why I stay up til 1 am when I have to be up early in the morning – because I value that time so much. One of the commenter’s on Alphafemme’s post made the observation that, for a successful cohabiting relationship, it’s vital for each individual to have a space to call their own – a space where one cannot easily access the other, where permission must be granted to enter. We have nothing like that here. There’s just no room for it. This isn’t to say that it can’t be made – just that we didn’t have the space for it and so it just never occurred to us to create a space for it. It is becoming painfully obvious that we need it, however. I’m brewing up a storm of ideas though, thinking how it could be done so that we can have space from one another and the kids when we need it. I’ve come up with three so far: 1) Clean up the desk area in our room, plug in the headphones and crank up the tunes, and immerse ourselves in the task at hand; 2)Carry the laptop and headphones to whatever part of the house is empty and immerse ourselves in the task at hand; 3)Clean out the downstairs coat closet and create a private nook for being alone and getting things done. The first solution doesn’t allow for physical space, but one could easily trick herself into thinking she was alone if she had the music up sufficiently. The second solution would work better when the kiddos are at their dad’s house; otherwise, it could be a potential struggle. The third solution might actually be the best solution – if we could figure out where to put the pile of crap that currently inhabits the closet. Not just where to put it, but how to subdue that menacing mess, because, I tell you what, the closet, as it stands right now, kind of freaks me out.

After having spent all of yesterday in bed with her, doing absolutely nothing, I’ve also decided – and she’s agreed – that we need to make a regular commitment to getting out of the house together and doing something. Anything – even if it’s just a walk downtown. Once a week. Because yesterday should have felt blissfully relaxing. It didn’t. Because we spent that time in bed together doing what we always do when we share downtime: playing around on the stupid computer and sleeping. Granted, she really needed a day like that, where she didn’t need to move except to pee or eat, and that part of it was good for me, too. It just highlighted how much of our shared time is wasted on the mundane, rather than reinforcing the truly beautiful connection we have with one another. And we’ve agreed that going to the bar, going out to eat, going to the grocery store, and running errands do not count as “getting out” together.

Perhaps we should also make a commitment to tackling a project together once or twice a month… we did a collage piece together a couple of months ago, and we had so much fun with that. We collaged a shoebox with pictures of all the things we want to save money for, and it was a great way for us to get creative and silly together, while also sharing dreams and wishes with one another. We could do something like that again. Or… we could tackle that downstairs closet and create a cozy little nook to save both of us from going completely insane……..

Oh, the possibilities!!!



{February 22, 2010}   A connection…

She says she misses me so much she could cry. And when I’m around, she tells me I cling. I go out without her while she works, and she has a 15 minute break where she gets to stop at home, and I’m not there, and she feels robbed. And when she comes home after work and I bring her a beer and breakfast, she turns on her favorite shows and I don’t exist.

I get it. She wants me around, but I don’t have to be right there. I’m not good at giving space, co-dependency comes naturally to me. Without reconnection in the way I understand it, I feel panic set in. I’m uneasy in my skin. Is she angry? Did I do something wrong? I don’t need her undivided attention the whole time. I know when she comes home from work, she needs to unplug from the world and forget it exists. Her job takes so much out of her. She doesn’t get a lot of time to herself during the week, she says. Unless she’s asleep.

Yesterday I was up at 5:30 a.m. to let my brother in my house to crash. She felt cheated of her alone time. She says she only gets Sunday mornings while I’m asleep and she comes home early from work. The rest of the time, I’m clinging to her or the kids are demanding her, and she’s ok with that, she says, she’s ok with me clinging and the kids demanding, as long as she gets that one day. I tell her she needs more than that one day, if that’s really the way her life is, that’s not right…. and I’m thinking about it, and I realize, I work two or three days out of the week when the kids are gone, and she has two to four hours to herself, awake, without anyone else in the house… why doesn’t that alone time count?

I think she needs to have alone time without her favorite shows. I think she needs to find her hobbies and her passions again. She used to have a lot, and this job has sucked the life out of her, and transitioning from single-hood to step-parenthood has not been easy, and I think she’s losing herself.

It’s no wonder she’s sick all the time. It’s no wonder she’s depressed and angry.

A lot of her friends stopped talking to her when she and I started dating. My ex allowed people to believe that if it wasn’t for her, he and I would still be happily married. No one bothered to ask me. Only a few people asked her. Everyone else just assumed it was the truth. Between missing friends and missing funds, she doesn’t go out as much as she used to before we met. Neither do, I for that matter. Now, she sits at home and watches all her favorite shows on Hulu and plays a bunch of silly games, and I’ve fallen into that trap too.

When we spend time together, it revolves around the computer or the TV or the bar or the bed.

Not real conducive to finding things in life to be excited about.

We talk about getting out and doing fun things – going to the art museum, wandering around the cemetary, heading to the dog park. And when it comes time, plans seem to fall through – one of us is too tired, we forget.

Priorities.

If this relationship is a priority, if we are priorities to one another, we’ve got to work together to pull out of our respective funks…

So I can’t take it personally when she acts like I’m not there. Because I know she is comforted by my presence, I’m there if she needs me or wants me and that makes all the difference to her. I tell myself that when the panic begins to set in. And I tell myself I will do something nice for her that doesn’t encroach on her space.

Today, I cleaned out my closet. Still in the same room. Completely silent, undistracting, still there.

The question that’s been on my mind: “If True Love is giving of yourself unconditionally, expecting nothing in return, what can you give your Lover?”

Today, the answer is… something to smile about. I will reconnect with myself, help her find a way to reconnect with herself, so that we can remain connected with one another.

Take that, co-dependency!



{November 8, 2009}   She’s like fingers and toes

I’m currently reading Mom’s House/Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci.  Within its pages is a quiz one can take to assess their personal resources for coping with the high stress associated with a divorce.  A score of 95 or above indicates adequate resources and successful coping.  I scored a 96.  I am just barely over the threshold.  I looked over my answers to see how I got the result, and realized that if it wasn’t for Pickle, I wouldn’t have even made it to the threshold.  She’s the one keeping me together .  She says I do the same for her, that I keep her sane, though I find that ironic because if she weren’t with me, she’d have a whole lot less stress in her life.  Most of her stress lies in dealing with my interactions with the kids’ father and being the primary money-maker in a family she really never expected to have, much less overnight. 

I have a certain amount of guilt that I need to let go of.  She chose to be with me, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, knowing that she was committing to my kids.  I didn’t twist her arm.  We have such a solid connection with one another and we balance each other out so perfectly.  She knows exactly how to push me, to motivate me to be the best mother, girlfriend, partner, person that I am.  It’s not just about potential waiting to be released, it’s about what’s already there that I am using and need to acknowledge and maximize.  She’s smart and she sees things so clearly the first time, and me, it takes a few opportunities for slow observation before I get it.  I really have to study things.  Both approaches have their advantages, and it’s why we work so well together.  It really showed earlier this week when we undertook a major house-cleaning project.  It takes me forever to clean the house because I’m extremely detail-oriented.  I can’t see the big picture until I’ve put all the details together.  So I tend to focus on one specific area to the detriment of the whole.  She, however, sees everything right out, and tackles all the obvious things first to create the sense of harmony she needs, and the details get worked out in the process.  Together we make a great team and, may I just say, the house looks and feels fantastic!  But when the balance is lost and the responsibility falls on only one of our shoulders, the other becomes resentful, and the house falls apart – physically and energetically.  The same is said for the way we communicate with one another and the way we support one another.  As long as we are about each other’s boundaries and practicing true give-and-take, we maintain harmony.  I’d say effortlessly, but it does take some effort.  It’s just much easier with her for me than with anyone else I’ve ever been with.  It’s quite refreshing.

In the case of my separation and my kids, she’s had to repeat herself a thousand times over, to the point where she’s exhausted herself trying to point out what she feels is the obvious: their dad took advantage of me, was less-than-adequate as a father when we were together, people who haven’t changed in the past aren’t going to change in the future, I need to do what’s best for the kids and quit sparing his feelings.  She’s right, on every single count.  And I’ve known it, but I really have to marinate in it, to understand the whys and hows of every angle, and that takes time.  And she’d like me to Fix It Now.  Obviously, it would be much easier on everyone if I could wave my magic wand and do just that, but this is the real world, and I must be practical.  So it takes a balance of her pushing and me stalling to get things done at the right pace.

I can’t even describe how amazing and inspirational she is to me.  How much I love her.  I haven’t lost myself in her, I’ve found myself.  I need her, but not in a survival sense – I know that if she were not in my life, I would be fine and I would pull through and be a good mother to my kids, and I would survive.  I need her in the sense that I need my fingers and toes.  They are part of me, they are useful to me, and if they were to be taken from me, I would be in a lot of pain for a very long time, and, though I would learn to adapt, I would be limited in my ability to do the things I used to do with those particular digits.  She’s not my backbone, she’s the one that pulls my shoulders up and reminds me that I already *have* a backbone.  She’s not my knight on a white horse, she’s the compatriot that finds me scavenging in the woods and guides me in how to take advantage of the resources available to me, and by the way, I know where you can find a horse if you need one.  She’s not just a lover, and the word “girlfriend” is so inadequate.  She is my life partner, in every sense of the word, and she just boggles my mind.  How did she come into my life when she did?  The timing couldn’t have been worse, and at the same time, it couldn’t have been better.  I guess that means it was perfect.

She was supposed to be off work at 5am tonight.  As soon as she went in, her boss cornered her with the “choice” of either running to the airport and coming back at 6 am, or staying on until 6 am.  At first, I was just livid because she stayed on late last night as a favor to a coworker; besides, if this were a daytime job, the expectation that she would be able to stay on an hour late wouldn’t even be there.  People have lives.  But really, it was more than just about her being taken advantage of by a boss who claims to be her friend.  It was also about me needing her comfort tonight.  I need to hold her in my arms.  I am so very sad today.  I’ve been in a state of slow realization just how little support I have to go through this divorce, and how little experience I can call upon from my circle of friends and acquaintances.  The support I do have is awesome, and I’m lucky to have that much – there are people out there who have less – but it’s unfair to Pickle, who needs support as much as I do.  She is my main source of support now.  Almost exclusively.  I have others I can call on once or twice a week/every few weeks, but they’ve got their own stuff to deal with.  And I have no idea where to go for help.  None.  I feel very lost and alone.  Except when Pickle’s around… she makes it all go away.  What an unfair burden to put on her, right?  Except, I guess, I do the same for her.



et cetera