Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm Just a Girl

Since Glenn and I said the "D" word, I've actually been feeling surprisingly all right, and let me tell you, that is all wrong. I am not, and never have been, the all right type; what I always have been, and what I probably always will be, is the freak-out-and-panic-as-if-the-sky-is-falling-down type, which is why this all right thing feels so odd and why the episode I experienced on Wednesday night was pretty much inevitable. I knew an episode was coming. I just didn't know when.

First of all, let me just start by saying that I hate Wednesdays. Wednesdays are night school days, and I can think of about twenty-seven million things I'd rather do than teach it (say like projectile vomit or lose a limb (not a big one, though. A little one. Like maybe a finger)). Not only does teaching night school suck just because of the suckiness of it, but by the time the night is over, I'm exhausted. I leave for work before seven in the morning and don't get home until about ten at night, and as if that's not bad enough, I now have to spend the hour and fifty minutes between day school and night school driving home from Miramar to Davie to walk my dogs because Glenn refuses to do it. I'm telling you, if ever a suckfest there was, Wednesdays are it.

As if Wednesdays aren't bad enough already, this Wednesday between day school and night school I talked to my lawyer and found out that I'm most likely going to have to pay child support, which is obviously the opposite of good news since I'm barely going to be able to afford to live without paying child support, so by the time ten o'clock rolled around and I got home, I wanted nothing more than to just walk my dogs, brush my teeth, wash my face, get in bed, and be miserable. Things did not go as planned.

Really, do they ever? Ever?

The Fan Incident

The light in my bedroom is one of those lamp/fan combos, and the only way to turn it on and off is to pull a little gold chain. It actually has two separate parts--the main lamp, which consists of three bulbs in three separate stained glass fixtures, and a dim lamp that's kind of like mood lighting, I guess, and that's a big, round stained glass doodad that sits right above the three separate fixtures and right below the fan blades. This is how it works:  pull the chain once and the dim light turns on, twice and the three little lights turn on, and three times for the whole ship and shebang to come to life, and since I didn't want to be in a semi-dark room, that's what I did. I grabbed the chain and pulled once, twice, three times, and that's when it happened--the little gold chain came right out of the goddamn piece-of-crap fan.

I shouldn't have to tell you that after getting a chair and inspecting the fan and trying repeatedly to stick the chain back into the little brass hole from which it came and getting a screwdriver and trying to unscrew the bottom of the fan in an attempt to somehow reattach the stupid gold chain and then searching Glenn's toolbox and getting another skinnier screwdriver to try again to unscrew the bottom of the fan because the sadistic lunatic who designed the fan put the screws directly beneath the stained glass fixtures so any attempts to turn a screwdriver were futile and realizing that I was completely incompetent and would probably have to sleep with my light on for the rest of my life, I was a little on the frustrated side. Okay, maybe a little more than a little. And that's when I lost it.

I stood there on the folding chair underneath my fan, screwdriver in hand, head bent forward, and cried. I stood there too defeated to sit down, unable to breathe, mascara running down my face, and just sobbed. I sobbed for the broken fan I couldn't fix, and I sobbed for the broken fans I would be unable to fix in the future. I sobbed and I sobbed, and then I tried again to dismantle the damn fan.

One hour and one shattered mercury-laden light bulb later, I turned off the breaker and went to sleep.

Friday, March 23, 2012

God Bless the Children of the Beasts

Last night, I told Griffin and Keifer about Glenn and me. Griffin already knew we were having problems, so for him, it wasn’t much of a surprise, and even though he was upset, he seemed to take it okay, but Keifer—well, Keifer didn’t take it well at all.
I told Griffin in the car on the way to soccer practice, which I suppose probably wasn’t the best way to break the news to a child that his parents are divorcing, but I always kind of forget that Griffin’s a kid. I can honestly say that I did almost all of my growing up by the time I was 13 (which I suppose might not say a whole lot for me), and because of that, I feel like Griffin should have, too, but I know that’s not true. I know that he’s lived a much different kind of life from the life I led and that he’s really just a little boy inside.
Anyway, when I told him that I had to talk to him about his father and me, he said no. He said that he didn’t think he wanted to hear what I had to say. Of course, I said it anyway. Though he wasn’t happy, there was no scene, no incident. He showed a lot of strength.
Things didn’t go nearly as well with Kei. I told him I wanted to talk to him before he went to sleep, and he met me in his bed with a big smile on his face, not at all expecting to hear that his entire life was about to change. We sat on the bed facing each other, cross-legged, holding hands, a blanket on our laps. I felt nervous, the same way I’ve felt in the past when I knew I was about to get into big, big trouble for something horrible I’d done. I didn’t want to tell him. I didn’t want to be the one to take that smile off of his face. But I had no choice.
As soon as I said the words, “You’ve probably noticed that your father and I haven’t really been talking,” his smile disappeared, and he looked noticeably scared. I proceeded to tell him that everybody in our family loves each other, that I love Daddy and Daddy loves me, and that we both love him and his brother, and we know that they love us, but that our living situation just wasn’t working. Daddy was going to be moving out.
Before I even finished, he was sobbing. I sat, and then lay, in his bed with him, holding him for about twenty minutes, until the sobbing stopped. As soon as I left, it started over.
Many things about this whole ordeal are painful, but I think the most painful part of it all is the part I went through last night. I would do anything to not have heard those sobs or seen the devastation on that face.  Anything to assuage those fears and see that smile that he smiled when we first sat on his bed.
I would do anything to fix my Kei.
Anything but the one thing that would fix him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Headfirst Slide into Singlestown

I feel as if, through my last couple of posts, I've projected this image of a woman filled with positivity who's well-equipped to deal with the chaos and sadness that is her life. What I want you to know is that that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm trying to be that woman, and maybe that's why I write like her, but I'm not her yet, and in truth, I don't think I'm very close.

I did think that, though, up until today. I felt hopeful and empowered, as if my life really were waiting to begin, as if, yes, I'd spent the last however many years surrounded by water without a drop to drink but that rainclouds were finally gathering. And logically I know that's most likely true. Logically, I know that when a perusal of the diary I've had for the last 22 years reveals almost verbatim entries year after year after year after year, things can't really go anywhere but up. But still--when I got an email from Glenn today telling me he contacted a divorce lawyer, I have to tell you that I wasn't feel overly empowered or hopeful in even the remotest sense. What I was feeling was like somebody had just punched me. Twice.

Don't misunderstand me; I knew that divorce was where we were headed, and I know that, at this point, it's the only way either one of us will ever find happiness. Neither of us can fully, or even partially, move forward with our lives while we're tethered to to this marriage. It just can't be done.

So what's the problem?

Well, divorce is just And finality is not at all what I'm about. I mean, I want this to be final, but making it final means making a definitive change, and if there's one thing I can't stand more than finality, it's change.

But like it or not, I guess change is gonna come.

Here's hoping I'm ready.

How Will My Garden Grow?

Even though I know just about nothing about gardening, I took it upon myself to plant some flowers last week. Wait--that's not exactly true. What really happened is that last week a friend with gardening experience who was supposed to help me garden never showed up (after I woke up at 8:30 in the morning for her!), and since I had already bought flowers and soil from Home Depot, I decided to plant them myself.

First let me just say that I'm sure I did everything wrong, but that's not what this blog is about. (If you're interested in my incompetence, see Run, Forrest, Run, where it's laid out in detail for your reading pleasure.) What this blog is about is those flowers and what they mean...and what they don't.

We all know about typical symbolism in literature; we also all know that if we were reading a book and in this book we encountered a character who was ending an eighteen-year relationship that left her feeling stunted and stifled after two previous failed attempts and that that character just happened to plant some flowers in the midst of the tumult, the flowers would symbolize that character and her new life. We know that if the flowers thrive, the woman will, too; concurrently we know that should the flowers wither, the woman will follow suit.

Up until recently--and I mean very recently; I'm talking maybe two days--I looked at my life as if it were a book. I've made major life decisions based on signs and symbols, the most significant one being my reconciling with my husband after our first separation for no reason other than that when his best friend died, I was absolutely positive that the universe did it for the sole purpose of making my husband and me get back together, something that I'm just now starting to understand to be false.

With this information, it should be no surprise to you that as I planted those flowers last week, I looked at them in the exact manner that I described two paragraphs up. In the book of my life, those flowers were damn significant: they bloomed, I bloomed; they crumpled, I did the same.

For a five-day period, I scrutinized those flowers every time I walked in and out of my house. I looked for weakening stems and crispy, brown leaves, and I felt panicky whenever I saw a sign that the flowers, which I believe to represent my happiness, weren't going to make it because if they weren't, neither was I.

But then yesterday something happened. I was thinking about those damn flowers and how important they are when all of a sudden I realized something: those damn flowers aren't important at all. They're pretty, sure, and if they don't die, I'll definitely feel proud of myself for having planted something pretty, but other than that, they're nothing more.

They're just flowers.

And they do not determine my happiness. I do.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where's the Little Gold Ring You Wear on Your Hand?

I used to not wear my wedding band. I didn't not wear it because I was unhappy, though; actually, at the time when I didn't wear it, I was probably happy more than not. People would ask me why I didn't wear it, and my answer would always be the same. I know I'm married, I'd say. I don't need a ring. And it was true. I didn't need a ring to remind me.

Since Glenn and I got back together after the Incident of '09, I've worn my wedding band every single day. Things have been different since then, and I definitely haven't felt secure enough in my marriage to not have it on. I know that probably makes the kind of sense that's not, and I'd love to clarify it for you, but I can't. All I can say is that for the past few years, wearing my ring has just seemed more important than it did in the past. Even since we decided whatever it is we decided almost 2 weeks ago, I've worn it every day (unlike Glenn, whose wedding band has been sitting in the same spot on our dresser for what I guess must be 13 days now). At this point, my finger feels funny if I'm not wearing my ring.

While on a mad cleaning spree today (which for me pretty much means throwing away everything I don't absolutely need), I found a ring I bought in Disney World almost 20 years ago from a guy who custom made rings somewhere in Adventureland right near The Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's a silver ring that says KEL, and it just happens to be the same size as my left ring finger.

People wear wedding rings on the left ring finger because it was believed that the vein in that finger led directly to the heart, making the ring a symbol of love. If I'm going to make it through this, the person I need to love the most is me.

My wedding ring is on the dresser.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Run, Forrest, Run

I love to chastise and belittle my mother for being what I think of as incompetent. From not knowing how to pump gas to being unable to navigate her way to the corner store, my mom is pretty much incapable of getting along on her own, and I've never made a secret of my disdain for her helplessness.

Here's the thing, though. I'm kind of incompetent, too.

Now that Glenn and I have decided not to work on things, I've been forced to think about all the things that get done around here and the fact that I really have no idea how to do any of them. Since switching from Netflix to Blockbuster, I no longer know how to order movies; I have no idea how to use my DVR; I can't do anything involving connection to the Internet; and I don't even know how to put Frontline on my dogs. How sad is that?

How sad is it that, in 2012, I'm as stereotypically dependent on a man as I am? That if Glenn doesn't do something, it doesn't get done?

But wait...there's more. I'm not just stereotypically dependent on a man. I'm astereotypically dependent on one, too. I am most definitely not the best housekeeper the world's ever seen: I don't know how to sew a button on (or anything else for that matter); I don't do laundry; I can't wield the vacuum; I'm not strong enough to remove dirt and grime and mildew from the shower/bathtub; and I'm apparently incapable of making a meal that every member of my family enjoys.

I can't do anything.

I think it's time for me to face the fact that despite the large amount of time I've spent in school and having an IQ of roughly 130 (depending on the test--in all honesty, they've ranged from 126 to 142), I'm highly incapable.

In fact, I'm really kind of a moron.

(Well, this sucks.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Where Do They All Belong?

For at least the past year and a half, a tremendous amount of my interaction with Glenn has consisted of the two of us sitting on opposite ends of the couch with either Hudson or Jazzy, or sometimes both Hudson and Jazzy, between us, our respective laptops on our laps, the TV on in the foreground, and almost no communication at all. I sit there surfing the Internet, talking to people on Facebook, and/or playing Words With Friends while he does whatever it is he does on his computer; sporadically one of us will comment on something we've read or seen, and the other will pretend to be interested in what's being said.

It doesn't sound very satisfying, I know, and until recently I didn't think it was at all, but I'm realizing right now, at this very moment, that I was wrong. There's no other way to account for the emptiness I've felt over the past few days since we've stopped coexisting and taken up residence in opposite ends of the house or the leaden heart in my chest whenever he's in his area and I'm in mine or the low-grade depression that's been plaguing me in a constantly there, morning sickness kind of way.

I guess that, for me, at least, it's nice to know that there's somebody there, mere feet away, for me to share my life with, no matter how little life I'm verbally sharing. It's nice to know there's somebody there who I'm comfortable enough with to sit and not worry about artificially filling the silence. It's nice to know there's somebody there who will listen to me complain about my letters in Words With Friends or the crazy, right-wing, conservative status one of my friends might have posted on Facebook. Someone being there is just...nice.

Or at least it was.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let There Be Light

"Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?"
                                                                                        -Socrates, Plato's Allegory of the Cave

In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Plato creates a discussion about people who have spent their entire lives in a cave. These people, who are chained to walls, unable to move their heads, have never seen the sun, have never seen any kind of light directly, nor have they seen people or objects directly, either. These people have seen only shadows and having seen only shadows, believe the shadows to be truth.

Now, I'm no expert on Plato, but from what I remember from the Intro to Philosophy class that I took my freshman year of college, this allegorical cave and its shadows is meant to represent both man and his belief system and man and his lack of knowledge. I can see that, of course, but in my opinion, the allegory of the cage represents so much more.

The way I see it, Plato's cave allegory can be applied to anybody who's never truly experienced something
heart stopping
earth shattering
gut wrenching
breath catching
life altering--
   visceral that seems to take shape, starting as a seed that sprouts roots and grows, soon to be a rhizomatic mass filling the insides, starting at the navel, the initial source of physical life, and ending with the heart, that which sustains our life, the beating, heaving thing without which we could not exist.

I believe there are people out there who not only have never seen this light but who, having never seen it, don't understand that it exists. They live mediocre lives filled with mediocre days, interact with mediocre people, and feel mediocre feelings. These souls don't realize it, but their lives are composed solely of shadows. And they are happy, having never known any other.

For them, mediocrity is not mediocre, darkness not dark.

But to one who has walked in the light, mediocrity is not merely mediocre, but can be staggering, and darkness--well, darkness can be
    visceral that seems to take shape, starting as a seed that sprouts roots and grows, soon to be a rhizomatic mass cloying the insides, starting at the navel, the initial source of physical life, and ending with the heart, that which sustains our life, the beating, heaving thing without which we could not exist.

I have walked in the light.