What’s Up, Buttercup?

Life lately has felt like a mad rush. The finish line is a pretty shitty one where we all cross bewildered and exhausted and I can’t stop thinking about how eventually turning to dust is something I will never be able to stave off. There’s no sadbagging against death. The problem with overthinking everything all the time is that you have an existential crisis an average of every fifteen minutes. It’s like I’m in a perpetual midlife crisis without the affairs and convertibles.

The last time I updated, I was still in the middle of my divorce. I left college and moved back home with my parents. I wasn’t thrilled about being a gypsy again. This was my second not so triumphant return home since I left John. Being a transient is cool and Bohemian when you’re in your 20s, but when you’re thirtysomething and have two babies, really it just feels like failure. Loss. Confusion. Uncertainty. Hollow and slightly worn. My insides felt like a poorly constructed paper crane made by a clumsy kid just learning to fold origami. Nothing made any sense. I was mad at everything. I was sad. Not because I wasn’t with John, but because it was apparent to me that whatever sort of creature I was, I was unlovable. How could I fail at something so simple? There was no love lost when I left. There hadn’t been any between us at all, ever. I was with him because I was afraid of being alone. Later, I was with him because I was afraid of being a single parent. I was afraid of who I was and thought that because I was so odd, I would never find someone that would love me. Not really.

My divorce was setting me back enough that I couldn’t pay rent and afford to keep going to school, and the lawyer was telling me that if I couldn’t afford to pay him and he dropped my case, John would win and I’d be screwed. I could have gone pro se, but let’s be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I moved in with my parents in December of 2012, the kids and I crammed into my childhood bedroom. Last May, my lawyer told me, “I know what you’re asking, and I believe that you should get it, but I don’t know how to present that to the court in a way that will get it.” I had hired the first lawyer that I talked to, so apparently I got my brain from the same crackerjack box he got his degree. I frantically called around until I found a lawyer that practiced only family law and had an extensive background in domestic violence.

Things were not much better, but I could at least fall asleep before 2 a.m. every night because I wasn’t up as much religiously searching for every bit of information I could find on domestic violence, custody, and all the awful bullshit that comes with divorce. I soaked up everything I could. I tortured myself with every possible way things could go wrong for my situation. Legal jargon these days makes me queasy. The family court system is fucked in a way that suggests it had way too much to drink way too early in the night and somehow made its way to a frat house.

I found a job in April, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I love what I do and I love the people I get to be around every day, and there are very few people who can say that. Plus, I get to legitimately say things like, “The portal is locked, so it can’t come through to us.” and pretend I’m on an adventure.

The kids and I moved to our own place. It’s a decent three bedroom, one tiny bathroom notwithstanding. It’s nice to have my own place. Not just in a “no longer a vagabond” way, but to be really free.

I don’t have to answer to him any more. And that’s the best gift I have ever given myself and my kids. I earned that shit. Hard. I don’t HAVE to be with someone to be happy. I wasn’t happy when I was with him, so I decided to lay quiet a while and get to know who I was. I’ve always been lost in my own head, but when it came to liking who I was? That was kind of something I resigned myself to never happening. It was like side stepping broken glass littering the floor. I could get to where I was going without getting hurt if I was careful enough. I navigated away from bits of me that were weird just to make it through life because it felt like they were wrong for everyone else.

We numb ourselves with whatever happens to be available so we don’t have to take a closer look at who we are and how we feel and what we need. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be a relationship, drugs, reality tv, work. But we do what we have to in order to keep all the sharp stuff out of focus because life is easier that way and things hurt less. I decided to climb back into my own skin ans mind and figure out some things. I don’t think I’m any closer to finding the answer to much of anything, but I’m happy. And you know what? I’m pretty rad. I’m still weird as hell, but I like me better that way. I like all of me. I have a wicked sense of humor, I’m sharp, I’m fun, and I have great tits. (Just making sure you’re still paying attention.)

Around September I received an email from my attorney saying john’s attorney called him and that he was prepared to settle out of court. I don’t know all the whys, but my lawyer said john said he was sick of fighting and was agreeing to supervised visitation. Four years after the kids and I left, two years after I filed for divorce, thousands of dollars and countless hours of lost sleep later and there was a tiny beam of light in the distance. I declined any sort of claim to anything he owned and offered to take less a month for child support, anything to get him to sign.

The court date was terrible and probably a whole other post that I don’t want to get into right now. But the outcome was supervised visitation for him, and I have full custody.

Even if things hadn’t turned out the way they had and if I’d still be losing sleep over this, leaving was the best decision that I ever made. I mean that with everything I have in me. The best decision. My ancestors crawling from the primordial ooze all led up to the very moment I got my shit together and left. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re getting knocked down stairs every day or if your marriage is one where you just come home to a stranger every day. We do things we think we’re supposed to and most of the time I’m not even sure why. WHY? A lifetime seems like a whole lot of time to live, but when you stop to consider the weight of that, it’s really not. Let that sink in for a minute. Please. You get one go. That’s it. One chance to taste the air and feel the sun on your skin. One chance to laugh and sigh and move and feel and WHY waste something like that? Don’t spend your only time here in mediocrity. Go feel. Go be you. And spend it alone or spend it with someone but for the love of God, if you spend it with someone make sure they know you’re worth it.

I have a friend who is directing the local production of The Vagina Monologues this year. She invited me to audition and I have three parts I’ll be performing next week. I’ve never been on a stage before and I’m fairly certain that once I’m in front of all those people, I will start shaking and shatter into a shower of sparks on the stage. But it’s good. I’m not ready, but I probably won’t be ready until it’s well over. I practice everywhere. after the kids go to bed, I’m in my room yelling “cunt!” I take a shower and I shampoo my hair while I practice “CUUUUUUNT!” a stranger at the gas station made eye contact with me while I was in my car rehearsing. I’m sure he thought I was insane, but whatever, I’m a THESPIAN.

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