January 2007 Archives
January 11, 2007
Everything I have done, I have done for them.
Everything I have done for them takes me away from them.
It's no wonder that my kids resent me for always being busy ... I just wish I could make them see what it is like to sacrifice for years and not be appreciated.
My son had a chamber concert at the university to go to for a grade in orchestra. He asked for three tickets, one for him, one for me and one for the girl, and we were looking forward to going as a family. Just before going out, I told him I had talked to one of our teachers and she had filled me in on the dress code for the place and what we could expect. He started to get upset, telling me that he knew what he was supposed to wear and that we had to dress UP. I knew we didn't but I played along, asking what he thought I should wear. We went back and forth for a few (with the girl jumping in to say she wasn't wearing a dress unless he wore one, which didn't help) until he finally said something snide about how he didn't want to be embarrassed by us, that he didn't want me to look like a slob in front of his friends.
This was an icepick between my ribs ... all my life my mother harped on my looks, how I would embarrass her if I didn't dress right or act right. Telling me I looked like a slob was the last thing that I wanted to hear, especially coming from my gangly big puppy of a 15 year old son who wouldn't change his clothes unless you paid him and the hair?? Oh, forget about the hair ... and he says I look like a slob??? I asked if my work clothes weren't good enough for him and he pretty much confirmed that he thinks I look like a slob every day.
Yeah, I was mad and yeah, I got in his face and yeah, I yelled too much but, you know, he HURT me. I said some things I shouldn't, about how he needed to be careful where he cast stones if he was living in a glass house and that I may be a slob but I'm the only slob he has and, yeah, I did say that he needs to appreciate that I would go to this concert with him because its not like his father would ever come to anything for him, EVER, and bam ... that was it. He went off.
I'm not talking about yelling back or bursting into tears. I'm talking about screaming at the top of his lungs, balling up his fists and physically looking like he wanted to kill me.
I'm seen that face before. Its his father's face. I saw it the night the phone got ripped off the wall and thrown at my head. I saw it the day he broke the bedroom door trying to get in when I locked myself and the kids in there. I saw it the night he threatened to kill me because I had let our neighbors borrow a space heater. I saw it in the rear view mirror the day I left him at the motel parking lot 75 miles away from our house. If looks could kill.
So there we were, toe to toe, and I realize that at that moment he actually hates me, probably at least as much as I hated my mother at that age and I have to wonder why? I never abandoned him. I never drank myself blind and made him clean me up and call in sick for me afterwards. I never brought strange men into the house like there was a revolving door on my bedroom. I never locked him out of the house or dropped him off at the mall so I could have sex. I never left him alone with a babysitter that turned around and raped him. I never hit him. I never called him stupid or ugly or fat or made him feel unwanted. And I never, ever did anything that was just for me without taking into account how what I was doing would affect his life.
I'm not saying I'm perfect, not by a long shot. I suck as a mom sometimes, especially when my depression (or my asthma) acts up and I can barely take care of myself. I have spent far too much time over the last 6 years tied to a computer but I did it so that I could get a better job. I have worked up from making just under $7K a year in 2001 to now making just over $35K a year ... still crap but at least I'm not on food stamps anymore AND I've had this same job for 4 years. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't party or go out to meet strange men. I have had one steady relationship since my divorce and that has lasted almost 3 years and that is with a man that doesn't drink, smoke or party, a man that loves me as much as he can and even that is more than I've ever been loved before. I've been a mother and a father from the day he was born and have been there 24/7 for the past 15 years.
Let's compare me record to, oh, I don't know, the sorry ass sack of shit who has the gall to call himself the boy's father, shall we? The one that left to go on the road when his child was one year old and stay away for weeks at a time. The one that quit his good, steady job 6 months after we moved here because he didn't feel like working. The one who got fired from his next job for failing a drug test and tried to blame me. Oh, and did I mention that failing that drug test meant he lost his license so that meant he wasn't able to even work at what I had put him through school for. The one that left his family during the flood for a job in Oklahoma and didn't come back for a year (he was living in a motel there and sleeping around with all manner of slutbags) and when he did come back, he physically and emotionally tortured us all for 5+ hours because I said I wanted a divorce (yes, this was the night of the phone throwing). The one that has never gone to one single concert, PTA meeting, conference or field trip for his kids, who has never even stepped foot in their schools. The one that goes for weeks without calling yet gets angry at the kids because they don't call him. The one that doesn't remember their birthdays or even HOW TO SPELL HIS DAUGHTERS NAME. Do I need to go on? I realize I haven't even begun to touch on what he did to me while we were married but that's not the issue here ... the issue here is that HE IS AN ASSHOLE, especially to his children, and yet he is treated like a king.
So I stood there, soaking in the boys anger and pure hatred of me, feeling totally helpless, totally hopeless, and I took it all in. I let him scream and rant and rail and I just got quieter and smaller and I began to disappear. I could feel myself shrinking, pulling into a ball, willing myself to evaporate and wondering how I had let it all come to this, how I had let this happen. How had I become my mother.
He talked for a long time that night, I listened. We both cried. I slipped into an old pattern of numbing myself so I could function, of temporary emotional stasis, because he still had to go to the concert. Tears slipped down my cheeks through the whole concert and, a few times, I had to stifle sobs. I looked over at him at one point, and he was crying. Not only were we both emotionally vulnerable but the music was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. We made it through and slipped out at the end without talking to anyone.
During the concert, I pulled out a pad of paper and jotted this down. No, I don't usually keep a pad with me at all times like I used to but I had a feeling I might need it.
Dvorak helps me remember that there is still beauty to be found in this world, in every moment. No matter how badly I have screwed up, I may still be able to fix this. I don't know for sure, though. I am about out of options and I have only begun to see how deeply this ran ... he is old enough for this to be a permanent scar.
I can not continue to behave as I have. I can not yell and try to lash out when I'm being hurt. I have to find a way to still be myself and get my point across yet still give the kids what they need. I may have to quit something. I have to give myself up or he is going to end up like me.
Well, at least I think that's what it says ... my hand writing is really bad and it didn't help that I was crying when I wrote it. I'm not sure why I think I have to give myself up but perhaps that is because I feel guilty for the years I was incapable of functioning much past taking care of them. In any case, we have rounded a corner in our little family and from here on in, I suppose I'll be getting what I deserve. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
January 7, 2007
It's been a while since I wrote anything. I've spent much of that time pulled into a ball, softly keening my dearly departed inspiration.
While some would say that it is a positive thing that I don't feel the overwhelming urge to pour my angry, anguished thoughts and feelings out, I've felt a distinct sense of panic. Was my writing 'talent' in direct correlation to emotional pain and, if so, do I have to be tortured to be an artist?
My real fear is that maybe I can't write because I let too much or myself out. I talk a lot now, much more than I ever have, why write? Most days, I start talking at 7:30 and don't stop until 4 and much of that is banter and placation. Once I get home, it's reminders, arguments and endless repetition. The only place I get to be my SELF is when chatting with T, where we are generally taciturn. Still, if something bubbles to the surface, I know I can blurt it out and he will listen ... no more festering.
Before (read: when I did the bulk of my writing) I was cramped into a tiny room with nothing but my thoughts and a bed and I would write to relieve the pressure. I just do not have the same kind of pressure now. Though I do still have many issues with anger and sadness, and plenty of everyday stress, I am no longer a wellspring of anger, ready to explode with the slightest touch. I am also not nearly as backed up anymore.
In contrast, now at times I feel positively hollow. Where before I was a cistern, now I am afraid I have become an empty jug, useless unless there is something for me to hold. I am happier (in love) than I have ever been and more settled (in life) than I have been in a long time but that leaves me with an uneasy feeling. I'm unused to contentment, adjusting to a different sort of surface tension. I hope to never go back but I will have to pray for patience.
Writing will come back but it will be different. I'm adjusting with a lot of projects in the works. I just have to be patient, I suppose, realize I am in a better place and finish mourning for my old self.