Are there really any shortcuts?
Mar. 31st, 2008
04:55 pm - Writer's Block: Sick Day
I veto this question.
Mar. 30th, 2008
10:26 pm - The time has finally arrived...
...to start talking.
Most of you who read this journal know that my husband abused me. Most of you also know that I am currently in the process of divorcing him after eighteen years of marriage. This past weekend I attended a session of a program that a magistrate advised each of us, my husband and me, to attend called Kids First. It is a training session for parents going through divorce regarding how to put your kids first in the process so the damage they incur can be mitigated. From what I understand the program is widely recognized as being very beneficial because it offers many pointers and standards on how to talk to your kids about what is going on, how to live your everyday life and not burden your children with guilt, fear, or upset regarding what is happening. Revolutionary, if you ask me.
The course I attended was very different though. Because there had been domestic violence, which is a term I am beginning to hate, let's call it what it is; assault, attempted homicide, coercion, torture; those are all good terms for what really happens; anyway, because of the violence I faced on a daily basis I had to attend a program for women leaving a violent marriage. It was an eye opener for me. Not because I don't understand very well the implications of what the children faced or what I faced, but because each of the moderators agreed that co-parenting, which is usually what the courts dole out when kids are shared between the parents (which the courts also lean towards) is impossible, with an abuser. Figures.... And yet, we are each being held accountable as mothers to work with our spouses and parent our children as well as possible. How does one do that, I asked them, when co-parenting doesn't work with these guys. They agreed it doesn't work... but it is what you are supposed to do, so here we go down the road that makes no sense... do your best to parent and understand that what you are being told to do, simply is impossible. Excuse me while I say Fuck You to the system that advocates this.
I can recall a morning (I was 27 or 28) when I probably came the closest to losing my life because of him. It was nearly seven AM and he had been at work, or so he said, all night. He had promised to come home by eleven, but I went to bed at ten, knowing I would have to feed our oldest son in the middle of the night... he was only one at the time. At 3AM when I rose to warm a bottle for my young toddler, my husband was still gone and there were no messages from him about being late. This had become quite normal.
I got up at 6 and still no sign of him and he had our car, my only ride to work. I got ready for work, trying to take care of my son as I did so. He was little but was walking already. I remember setting him down on the bathroom floor with some toys so I could shower while he played. By 7 my son was snoozing in his crib again and I was starting to get nervous about being late. I had a morning meeting I had to attend and we still had to get the baby to day care.
About a quarter after the hour my husband came in the door of our apartment and I asked him where he had been all night. That was my first mistake. He immediately got angry and started yelling at me that he was working his ass off to take of our family and I had no right to question him. I reminded him that he had promised to come home at 11 the night before and he rolled his eyes. I told him I was starting to have a very hard time trusting his word or really believeing he was at work all night. This was my second mistake. I got angry. I yelled that at him and the next thing I knew he was about an inch away from my face screaming at me about how I was ungrateful and a bitch. I remember telling him not to get that close to me, to back off because it not alright with me... third mistake.
I don't remember much of the next few minutes except that all of a sudden I was on the floor. I am not sure how I got there, if he pushed me or knocked me down or tripped me or what. I had been trying to get past him, because he had me slightly cornered in our half bathroom. I had said I wanted to leave and I needed to get my shoes. I reminded him that I had a meeting and I could not be late, which was now inevitable... but there I was lying on the floor and I could not breathe. He was trying to strangle me. He had both of his hands around my neck and had practically cut off my air supply. Then as I started to see stars around everything I realized it was not because I could not breathe but because he was lifting me and slamming my head down onto the floor over and over. I am not sure why he stopped. I think I kicked him pretty hard because I was literally fiighting for my life at this point. What I do remember is all of sudden there was air in my lungs and my head hurt like hell and I felt sick. I dragged myself into the bathroom and threw up several times. I was so dizzy I could hardly stand.
When I finally regained any real sense of my surroundings my husbamd was yelling at me from our son's room to get my shoes and get ready to go. He was packing our son up for daycare. I was in shock and a daze. I remember crying, but little else. I do not recall who took the baby in to daycare or if I even kissed him goodbye. What I do remember is my husband screaming at me about how angry I made him as he drove me to my office where he dropped me off, calling me a bitch one last time and telling me I had better be ready to go when he picked me up in the evening.
I stood in the parking lot of the building where I worked and could not even fathom going inside. I had been there only a month or so. I knew very few of the people very well and had developed a reputation for being late because my husband was so rarely on time.
I did not know what to do, so I started walking away from my office towards a coffee shop across the street. I went inside and went into the restroom where I think I threw up again. I sat in the bathroom stall for almost an hour. Finally I had a plan and walked back outside and over to my office. I had not even looked in a mirror. I went in and found my boss and told him a lie. I told him my kid had been sick all night and I was sorry but I had to take him to the Doctor early that morning. He was not happy with me, for being late, but he said he understood. I walked to my desk and put on a headset, logged into my computer and already ahd a support call waiting for me to take. I spent the next six hours taking support calls. I think I got up once to get a bag of pretzels and that made me so dizzy I had to go back to my desk. At 4:45 I left work and waited in the parking lot to be picked up. I didn't want to be late. He had threatened before to leave without me if I was not there on time.
When I finally had time to look in a mirror that evening it was after 8PM. My husband had gone back to work... my son was fed and in bed.
My makeup was smeared all around my eyes. My eyes were red and bloodshot. I had marks on my neck where my husband had throttled me. I was white... not just pale, but white... like a ghost. All I could think was how embarassed I was that everyone had seen me that way at work and in public.
All I can think now is why the hell didn't anyone ask me if I was alright.
I want to remind each of you, every time you start to think... why does she stay... why did she stay, when you hear about someone who has or is being abused... I want you to stop and ask the right question, the real question, the one no one seems to ask... why did he do that and why is he getting away with it.
Mar. 13th, 2008
It dawned on me today that sometimes I feel like ten years has been taken off my shoulders... man I am lucky. I got myself out of the shit while I still have a brain that can think and a body that can move. And with this lightened load I have been working out, and finding my place in the world I have lived in as another person. I am not the me that existed last year... or five years ago or ten. And I gotta say, there is this feeling that I had forgotten about, the one where you realize you can conquer anything... fucking anything that life throws at you, you are down for... ready to take on.
I know I am not immortal... no skateboarding for me. Just gonna go run a few companies of my own... gonna write some epics, gonna be the girl who walks into a room and owns everything about herself, all by herself. I wish I had given ME way more of a chance when I was younger... maybe that is why I feel like I am working the years off, along with the pounds. Discovering you actually have abs under that tummy that carried children is a revelation. Worth every chip I forego...
The biggest coup though is discovering you have power under the facade you wore to protect yourself from the resident vampire....
I am so damn lucky.
Jan. 27th, 2008
I am sure that many of you are going to say you go to the gym, or you run 6 miles next to the ocean or maybe you even take your labrador for a walk. I guess that I fall into that unconventional realm of people who feels that a narcotic is the only way to go!
Dec. 17th, 2007
09:28 pm - I owe you all thanks...
To everyone who was there for me in my hour of need, thank you. I am alright. Everything will be alright. I have great faith in bringing into my life what I focus on... I am grateful to each and every one of you who gave me an ounce of energy today. If I can ever repay the favor please let me know.
Today was hard for all of us involved. I am not alone in needing to feel loved and protected... my children, and yes, their father too, they each deserve that; need that now. If it comes into your mind as you go through this season of warmth and giving, of joy and celebration, of the solstice or christmas or whatever you believe, please keep them in your positive thoughts as well. There are no bad guys here... just guys... and all histories and actions aside, they are each a part of the same thing we are... and they each can choose at any moment to recognize that.
I love you all. If Atlas had ever shrugged, as the tales tells, all of you working together could have borne his burden for him lightly. I felt that today. Thank you.
Dec. 16th, 2007
02:52 pm - Strength and honor...
... is my favorite track on the Gladiator soundtrack.
Today I am reminded that these are the qualities I want to embody; along with wisdom and compassion.
I want to be strong enough to ask for help when I need it
I want to be honorable and remember that I must not throw stones or daggers or even bad thoughts in the direction of others
I want to be wise enough to see beyond the veil that our perceived separation from unity creates
I want to have the compassion that reminds me we are all in this together...
Dec. 9th, 2007
10:09 am - grace is when...
you can wear a pair of safety toe boots and own them like they are three inch heels
you just shake your head at the guy who just cut you off turning left from the right-hand lane
your friend looks at you and says "what do you need from me?"
you look around the room and everyone in it is important to you
you drop the class, throw in the towel, give up in general and know it was the right thing to do
your kids teach you more than you taught them that day
you finally quit worrying about appearances
you don't speak your mind... yet
you give anonymously, entirely
you offer help with no thought of whether or not it should be taken, or how
you realize just how grateful you are... for everything
Nov. 30th, 2007
07:01 pm - Brake Calipers and John Galt
I've got to put this out there... a question to one and all; what the hell is wrong with being a strong woman? Perhaps I should preface this question with some back story... here goes.
When I was in college I played cards. A lot. I had a group of friends I would have given my life for, but instead I just gave my major away (i was pre-med). We played spades and euchre and damn I was good, but I was best if I played partners with my dear friend and fellow Hoosier, Gabe. We were the best bidding team around when it came to spades. We could geuss, to the book, how many we would take... we were legendary... but he called me "Face". At first I had no idea why... until he explained one day some shit about a character on a show who was a pretty boy.. that's what I was.. a "pretty girl".. I was "Face" as far he was concerned, but when it came to spades I was his partner because he knew I was smart.. he knew I took chances and he knew I knew my shit; and I did. Herein lies my dilemma.
Fast forward to the present. I am driving my mom to Logan airport and my german baby car starts to shimmy. I know what is going on.. we understand one another and I know cars like no other girl I have met. Her right front caliper has been sticking. A dangerous thing, and not something you want to deal with on the way to an international connection to Scotland... especially at Logan where they may search your trunk before you can park. Time shaved off of schedules is no big deal in my mind.. but who needs the added trouble or worry. So I warn my mom to hang on and I hit the brakes hard, hoping it will release. No go. Stupid Simone (my car is Simone)! She lies to me sometimes because she is not happy with her French name, being German and all. I try it again. Still nothing. I pull over. I have a plan... get the tire iron out of the toolset.. walk slowly towards the right front wheel on 95 South before the Route One split. Trucks are flying by and my mom is in the car as I deliver blows to the right front wheel, praying the caliper will release. I get back into the car and throw the tire iron into the back seat and speed off. It worked. She made it back to Maine free of sticking, but got new pads, rotors and a new right front caliper to fix the problem the next week.
The thing is... I am still "Face" to so many of the people I know. My brake caliper does not call me that, nor does Simone, my babycar who loves me even though she hates her name. But to the people I meet, the people I work with, my Neurosurgeons and my friends.. I am still "Face". I know it sounds arrogant, but it sucks always being stuck behind walls people admire for their color and not their structure or their innovation in design... Will I always be that?
I went out with my baby brother about a month ago for dinner and we gave cigarettes to some dudes in Longefellow square. They asked us how old we were. HA! Baby brother says 26... I replied 40. When we parted ways we said goodbye... one of them shouted "Goodbye you 40 year old gooddess."... Endearing and yet infuriating at the same time!
What I want to know this evening is if I will ever be taken seriously. I am Dagny Taggart behind this "face"... I could run railroads if you asked me to; I could win hearts and minds; I know what is wrong with my car when something is broken.. I could have been the doctor I planned to be if it had not been for spades (and philosophy)... So where are the John Galts of the world who can see beyond the face? Where the hell are you and why are you so hard to find?
What happened to society, that makes people like me dismissed because of how we look?
Dammit, John Galt, it is about time I met you. I am waiting... and I am getting tired of it.
Nov. 14th, 2007
08:08 pm - the gloves are about to come off
Once again it has been ages since I have posted. This is sort of heads up for my peeps, The gloves are coming off after today. For those of you who know me, you are aware that I am going through the process of divorce. Unfortunately this is years after it should have been done, and after today folks the gloves are coming off. I am sick of my boundaries being ignored by my not-soon-enough-to-be-ex not paying any attention to my requests.
There are many of you out there who have seen the person that I am having to deal with regularly. He is the one who for eight years carried on affairs with other women. He is the one who tried to control me and still has some kind of idea that I give a shit what he thinks of me. He is the one who continues even now to make every little thing difficult, as difficult as possible.
I made a huge mistake folks. I married a totally egotistical jerk. He has felt no remorse or need to contribute to my financial well being or that of the kids for almost three months. Thanks to my parents and George I have managed to keep Kieran in school and my head above water when it comes to my bills. He has not backed up any of his so-called priorities with action or behavior that shows me he is truly about anything but himself.
Today was the final straw. He has gotten so petty I cannot even address the issue on a blog, except to say, that if any of you do not understand that he deserves no pity, no kindness and certainly no access to this family I am happy to speak with you personally.
My not-soon-enough-to-be ex is the best example of narcisistic behavior I have yet to meet.
George and Annie paid Kieran's last two months tuition at school. He has not sent me a cent since August so he could hire the "pre-eminent divorce lawyer" in Maine. I have paid my bills, found out my house is in foreclosure, and taken care of the boys needs. Today I am done being nice. If you don't recognize me over the next few months, I am sorry, I am not evil and I don't hate this person, but he does not play fair and the only way to combat this is to play his game but at a level he will never anticipate.
His behavior will not stand, as far as I am concerned. Not any longer. I want him out of my life and out of the kid's lives. This is a warning folks. You won't know me for the next few months, but it is what I have to do.
May. 17th, 2007
07:39 pm - 2.924 times
Zooming through the heavy traffic of South Portland this afternoon, I nearly went off the road when I heard a story on NPR about Paul Wolfowitz trying to negotiate the terms of his resignation from the World Bank today. The dude got his girlfriend a promotion and a raise and he still had the balls to say he deserved some say in how he left the institution. I had to stop and think about that. This was the point where I hit the brakes a little hard and made the car do some cool slidy thing. Not only did he want to dictate the terms of how he left, he also wanted a page at the end of his resignation about all of his accomplishments at World Bank. President Bush was quoted in the story, saying he knew that Wolfowitz only had the best iterests of the Bank at heart. WHAT!??
Who are these guys?! His girlfriend was given a senior position and a salary of $193,000 that was not taxable. The esitmated median US income for a family of four for 2007 is $66,000. This chick was making 2.924 times the median income (for 4 people) today because she was hooked up with yet another politician who believes he is above the law. What really gets me here though is that we are getting used to this kind of behavior. WTF!! Why was this guy not fired the minute someone found out about this. Where I work, something like this simply would not fly.
The next story was about our beloved Attorney General and his upcoming vote of confidence or no confidence that the senate is planning to hold. In my mind Gonzales is yet another entitled republican who refuses to answer to the people who pay him, or our representatives in the house and senate. When did the government and the members of the executive branch of governement re-write our consitution so that they are no longer our employees? When did the perception of the people and the media change so much that we forgot that these people work for us, and not the other way around?
Isn't it time we stand up and tell these elected officials that the gig is up; if they cannot serve by the law and live the same kind of life the rest of us do, they are not doing the job. Public service was never supposed to make you rich. Here in Maine our legislators get a pittance for their work, because we cannot afford to pay them big bucks. We are all busy paying out more than 3 dollars a gallon for gas and watching the cost of our electricity rise. How could we afford to pay the guys who work for us more than we make ourselves? That is the job of private enterprise, not government. If Wolfowitz wants to play games of corruption and greed he should go work for an energy company. I hear they are doing really well right now.
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