Thursday, December 26, 2013

merry christmas!

happy Christmas everyone! what a roller coaster ride!!!

we slaved over the cookie baking on Christmas eve, gave a bunch to all of our neighbors and big sister's two besties who helped make them... later i took them to the candlelight Christmas eve service, so we didn't get to bed until 10pm--and then santa waited to deliver after they went to bed.

Christmas day, before the sun came up, someone tiptoed in and stood next to my face in the darkness.

big sister: 'is it time to open presents yet?"

me: 'no!"

her: 'when is it time?"

me: "not for al ong time! when the sun comes up! get into bed and let your sister sleep in!" <pat bed, she crawls in>

five minutes later, i crack my eye open, and see her sitting up, leaning against the pillows, eyes wide open, waiting. heart melts.

me: 'why don't you run downstairs and see if santa came, honey, and come back up and tell me."

her: <air zipping by as she disappears in a flash><thudding on the stairs downstairs and then up the stairs>

her: he came! mommy, he came! i saw two horseys!!!!! one for me and one for <lil sis>!

me: okay! i'm up! get your sister up and we can go downstairs.

lots of laughing and "thank you santa!"s ensuing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the search for a better life (job)

About two months ago I put something in motion.  Having the gnawing instinctual whispering that this new job that I’ve been blessed with was not the best decision for me, I decided to reapply for my former position.
I had the interview yesterday and all signs look like they are very interested in re-hiring me.  Which is amazing!  Good!  Lovely!  Truly!

And i’m suddenly racked with guilt and anxiety.  Because...the past month or so I’ve been making headway with some of the more challenging parts of this job—feeling isolated, concerned about a staff member’s behavior, feeling less than confident in my abilities.  I’ve been able to forge relationships with key players in our organization, I had a meeting with the staff member regarding the behavior and addressed it, honed some of the skills where I I thought I was lacking, and even attended a few holiday parties, rubbing elbows with more key players, which felt genuine, pleasant and nice. 

I went to see my shrink about it and she told me—if you were a man, you wouldn’t even think twice.  Is that true?  Do we women take more responsibility than needed?  I know that’s a broad statement.  I think it’s anxiety that I’m letting people down if I leave.  I am second guessing myself that maybe I didn’t give it enough time here.  (My shrink says 6-8 months is enough time).  I think it’s also fear that I won’t succeed if accepted back into my new job.  I need to get out of my over-anxious head and just deal with it.  Deal with it!  I put these steps into motion and if they hire me back, I will accept.  I will put in my two weeks notice and take some time off to rest and do nothing and recuperate.  I’ve never really had a chance to recuperate from the craziness of this terrible divorce.

And if they don’t hire me, then I will know that it’s not meant to be.  And addressing some of the things here that I did address—it will always be part of my experience—I can always know I did my best and can make the best of it.

I remember when I interviewed for my current position, I was in the blessed and thankful place of not needing a job, of having nothing to lose.  And when I was offered the job—my very first gut instinct was to NOT accept it.  It took a week end of convincing myself it was the right thing to do—a door opened, I should walk through it, it means better security for my children, it’s a sign, after all the terrible things I had gone through, a better financial opportunity was the way to go.

And now it’s turning out that maybe it wasn’t.  Or...maybe I had to go away to understand the impact of my former job and truly value the environment that I had before. 

My good friend asked me—what does your heart say?  I didn’t have an answer, but when I went to my interview yesterday, it felt like going home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

crocodile clouds and memory musing

Baby sister told me that the clouds look like a crocodile on the way to work today.  I looked up into the sky and saw that indeed, a giant crocodile mouth was etched in the sky, jaws ready for a giant <snap>.  I hope I remember how serious she looked at me when she said this, almost clinical—like what she was saying was a material fact in a legal proceeding.  I can see her face in my mind’s eye as I write this—and realized that I had almost forgotten all about it, until I set my thoughts to the keyboard just now.

Prior to the crocodile sighting, the sky was dark, we leave in darkness these days, and dropping off big sister first at school before climbing the mountain into town--big sister gave her baby sister a kiss before heading into school.  Then baby sister cried because she told me she didn’t "feel" sister's kiss—and she wanted another one.  Big sis then blew a kiss and off she went to go inside the school (which ended up not being good enough, little sis crying for a good five minutes as we drove off into the darkness). 

Will the girls remember these moments?  Of bonding and yearning for closeness? Will these moments knit their hearts and lives together?  I hope that adolescence doesn’t rob them of their closeness, their depending on each other, their simple assumption that sisters mean they are always orbiting in the same solar system.  Long after I have left this planet, I hope that I can smile down on them from heaven and see them loving each other still.

I know sometimes i get frustrated by the day-to-day pressures of parenting, that after the hurried pick up and clean up and homework and dinner ready, clean up again, bath time, story time, bed time, prayer time, that i’m ready to fall into my bed exhausted.  Yet, there are moments in the chaos, moments of calm, even delight, the simple pleasure they take in turning on the christmas tree lights, of slowly choosing a cd with christmas songs and picking their favorite one.  Of singing along to Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer, which little sis can do all on her own now...of accompanying me outside so I can dump our garbage in the bin, but on the way, oohing and aahing at all the new christmas lights our neighbors have put up, twinkling brightly against the darkness, because now that the sun sets so early.  Fighting over whose turn it is to check the mail and who gets to hold the letters.  Such small gestures and tiny actions in a world so much larger than our humble story...i just hope they remember them—or at least retain flashes of what we do together.  Helping me make the pumpkin pie—big sister carefully cracking the eggs, little sister asking to stir it all up.  Proudly giving one of our pumpkin pies to our neighbor whose husband has been in the hospital for the last six months.  Learning a Christmas craft with our neighbor across the street, Aunty P., who they adore.  Will these moments reside in their hearts and their minds, a memory planted so that one day, years from now, when they think about the holidays, they will remember feeling happy and laughing and being silly and wistful and excited? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

writing as healing

In my former life, I was a writer.  I suppose I should say that I am a writer, but the words have been buried for a while.  When I would write a character or a story, it sometimes felt like an invisible shield separated me from the words I was writing.  This shield prohibited me from hearing what they heard, from seeing what they saw, from sensing their touch, from being scared with their fears, holding their hopes, fighting their fights, it was like a thick pane of glass would forever separate me from the feelings I wanted to feel.

So I returned to the world of blogging.  I had one that showed my real life, included pictures of what I was doing, transparent, except for hiding some of the awfulness of what was happening to us.  Because it was for ‘the world,’ so I wanted to show ‘the world’ that my life was fine.  That my kids and I—we were okay.  But that was another shield, because it shielded me from accepting some hard truths about our lives.  There would be posts about family day at the beach or going to the zoo.  But there were never posts about choking the dog and throwing him up against the wall.

Someone once said truth is stranger than fiction, and I believe it.  So writing here, even though I don’t have pictures or reveal my name out of cautiousness—it still frees me to write freely about everything.  It helps me feel the feelings, keeps them close, the happiness or sadness or fear or comfort.  Writing it down keeps them at my fingertips.

I once was so afraid I couldn’t sleep.  Every night I would wake up at 2:00am, my mind racing with the things I had to do, take care of, shield myself from.  It was like that for a year, I know it was from stress, residual stress from the divorce.

I tried western medicine, the usual suspects, trazadone, ambien, lunesta.  The trazodone didn’t work, the ambien did, but I didn’t dream, which was really weird, the lunesta made me feel hung over and left a terrible taste in my mouth.  I then went to a naturopath and after three months, I think the herbal medicines might finally be working.  So these days, I have started to sleep again.  I still have wakings, but they are brief, my eyelids heavy, my thoughts like warm molasses ready to slip back into dream world.  I hope this lasts. 

Another aspect to this is—my stress level has decreased rapidly.  The trial is over.  Yes there are residual messages and nastiness to attend to when he emails me long diatribe letters, but they are much better than what they used to be.  And there’s no more court.  And my girls—they are doing so good in our new life, loving their friends, playing at school, active in their extracurricular activities.  We have decorated our tree—well, they did, i only did the lights, we are planning to bake cookies for santa and cakes for our neighbors.  So thankful to be in this good place of late.

And so it’s true I’ve felt a lot more peaceful lately.  I have embraced a new love in my life, treading carefully where my children are concerned, treading carefully to be sure that the kindness and love offered so generously to me is real, evidenced by actions and behavior, and not just words.  There is no ‘some day’ there is just today.  He shows me kindness and generosity and love today and yesterday and so the promise of tomorrow is based on real life data.  Not to sound clinical, but I think it’s okay to be a little clinical given all that we’ve been through.  My heart has awakened and it does feel whole and full.

I hope that somehow, someway, I might find my way back to writing fiction again, to feel immersed in a story like I used to.  To feel that their words are mine and theirs at the same time.  I know the words I’ve just written are mine, and I know what it feels to feel them. 

Happy Holidays and I’m hopeful, more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time. <3 <3 <3

Friday, November 29, 2013


Dear SurviveLiveThrive readers,

If you are out there and are reading, I just want you to know that I’m dedicated to this site and write about things as I get inspired, so please forgive the pauses.  I hope to send out a message that I’m a real person, that’s been through some serious shit (or doo doo as my daughter might call it), and am writing about it as a means to heal.

I am so very thankful for the good things in my life and for my daughters, my extended family, my friends, people i’ve known from when i was tiny to people who i’ve known for a short time.

And in some cases, it’s sad and true—that even the people closest to you, whom you might love with all your heart—even they can’t understand what it’s like to live with someone who hurts you, unless they’ve lived it themselves.  So with this site, i’m trying to find a safe place to air these thoughts, to invite comments and participation if you want to comment, to invite you into my life a little bit.

I wish i could share with you my real name and real location, but i’m cautious for the sake of my girls.  My worries are simple—I have an ex who is litigious and selfish (yes, i said it) and vengeful (yes, I said that too).  He can be a real bastard (yep, that too!).  He only knows how to love with pain attached, and he intelligent and manipulative.  I'm certain that I must be careful because of these factors.   

I don’t dwell on that though, I just wanted to let you know why I chose Jane Thrive.  I left a marriage that was filled with violent threats, violent actions, fear.  And now I have a joyful life—even with the stressors, even with the bouts of illness or worries or how to make ends meet.  Yes, there are shadows on my heart from the time from before, but the sun shines on my life most of the time and i am grateful for that.  I’ve learned to grow roots in the soil of my own making, not dependent on someone else for approval or love.  I’ve learned to water my own garden.  Some days are better than others, but I am hopeful to always be able to thrive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

your heart is big and can be big--

i remember thinking, 'if i love him enough,' 'if only i could show him a different way to love and be loved,' 'if only i could be more understanding,' 'if only i hadn't...'

these were not stereotypical statements or made from a textbook t.v. afterschool special.  these were sincere thoughts and feelings of when you love someone with all of your heart, you want to believe in the good in them and yourself.

only later, do we come to realize what price that is.  i wish for the women out there in the world to be able to see that they can still have a capacity to love and empathize with people in the world who are hurting, but they cannot save them.  that it is not their responsibility to save them.  that their responsibility is to protect their hearts, and to love and be loved in ways that love themselves into a state of survival.  that what they think is 'love' and 'understanding'--in the face of violence, is not love at all--it is simply a cycle of behavior and attachment, an illusion of love, and with all my heart i wish for them to move past it, so they can one day embrace a life full of joy and happiness that they deserve.  that all of us deserve.

i am thankful that i have a new life free from violence and abuse.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The holiday season is upon us!

To be truthful, the last two years were all about surviving.  I somehow pulled it together to make a positive space for my girls, to delight in their magical belief in Santa and the Christmas spirit.  I remember baking pound cake to give to our neighbors, how proud big sister was going from house to house, saying “I made this” and “happy holidays” so I found joy in her words and felt a smidgeon of satisfaction that she was learning that Christmas was about giving, not just receiving.
Hauling out my grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe and baking cookies from scratch (with home made icing, too!) for our Santa, leaving magical reindeer food on the table outside, hoping the reindeer would take a bite.  Watching big sister painstakingly write a letter to santa, asking for humble gifts like a hula hoop or a jump rope, or a puppy for her baby sister.
I have to remember these sweetheart moments.  Waking up in the crepuscular light, with big sister whispering last year, “presents, mommy, presents!” because she had snuck downstairs to take a look at the goodies.  The year before, big sister had bounded back upstairs telling me, “he ATE them!!” meaning the cookies we had worked so hard to bake with her best pal, had disappeared, leaving only crumbs. 
This year, i revel and relish and look forward to more moments like these.  And yet at the same time my heart feels heavy.  I long for an in tact family—a family that is not divided.  A family that looks forward to seeing each other and celebrating the joys.  A family that is bound by love.
I look back at my childhood and see that my mom did the same for us.  A single parent household, but she managed to work some miracles—filling our stockings, providing christmas dinner, taking us to christmas eve service.  And yet our family was also filled with divisiveness and pain, too.  Divorce, deaths.  Fights between my stepbrother and my brother, one that led to threats of murder and for which my brother left our house never to return.
Maybe I need to admit it’s not that I long for a family united just for my children.  I also know the cost of pain and sorrow that we experienced before and that price is too much to bear.  But maybe, I long for a family united for myself.  A do-over.  A desperate wish to love and be loved.  To have my father back from heaven.  To have my mother returned from illness.
These wishes leave my heart like a tidal wave, fervent, powerful, unrelenting, and I feel tears carry them along the current.  Maybe they will always be with me, riding the changing tides.  Maybe--by creating holiday memories for my babies, it will be a way to find holiday peace.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

Someone once said, it's the beginning of the eating season. I'm looking forward to the eating.  And to baking cookies for santa (little sis says, "and for the REINdeer!" which made my heart sing).

I'm sorry but i am a mess.  A big emotional mess.  It's been a den of illness, both girls sick and out of school for a week, me in and out of work and i'm sick too, but i'm pretending i'm not.  i don't know what it is but the holiday season, i think, is making me flip out a little.

i used to love the holidays.  adore them.  count the days to when they would arrive.  then two years ago i just bared my teeth and grinned and made it through it.  patted myself on the back that somehow despite all the adversities, i dug deep and created a fun and magical space for the girls.  thanksgiving turkey, check.  stuffing from my grandma's recipe, check.  mashed potatoes, check, well sort of, big sis said they were lumpy (dammit!  lol).  a magical christmas, santa letters written and mailed, cookies set out, even glitter reindeer food out on the patio.  last year, it was more of the same and i was so so so happy, my girls bright faces in the crepuscular morning light--presents, mommy, presents!

okay now that i've written that and am remembering some of those scenes...i'm in a better mood, lol.  to be truthful, i have been a bit of an emo mess for the last 24 hours dealing with the plague of pink eye, viruses, barf, you name it.  i've been feeling overwhelmed.  despite my cheerful nature, i've been feeling down and out.  i think because at the end of the day or in the beginning of the day, it's just me, opening my eyes up to an empty bed.  at night after i put them to sleep, just me falling asleep by myself.

and i know i've written and dreamed that i have to learn to fill up my heart all by myself, to honor that and love that and be okay with it.  that this is better than what it was before.  i might have had someone else in the house, but he hurt us night and day, with pinches of kindness in between.

i guess, when i was a little girl, i had a wish for family, and i know my family isn't what i dreamed it would be.  i know i wished for a family full of love and peace and acceptance, and i do have a version of that.  i think i just miss them--my parents who are out there somewhere who gave me up, my deceased adopted father(s), my mom who is sick and far away, my brother who rarely calls.  what is family?  did i ever really feel like i had one?  and if not, then how do i create the one that i have?

will my girls grow up and know their mommy loves them all day, every day, always and forever?  that is my hope.

will they feel like part of their hearts are missing no matter how much you do everything you can to fill it?  maybe not.  i pray they remember only the love.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


something kind of big just happened.  someone involved with our case has resigned. that someone had lost her neutrality and was emotionally pressuring my daughter to 'feel dad's pain,' and asking her about custody and visitation with her dad.  which i think is fine to discuss with my daughter--IF my daughter brings it up to be discussed.  don't go needling her and making her feel guilty, first of all, she's too young to even know what guilty means.  she already worries too much about her dad, she doesn't need an extra layer of responsibility placed on her.  Rather, she needs to be supported as we transition post divorce and into the future.  that it's going to be okay and it's okay to have feelings and sometimes be angry and sometimes be happy and sometimes be relieved.  her feelings are her own and it's not someone else's job to bring more complications into the picture.   

truthfully, i think it's best for my children to understand that an authoritative force outside of mommy and daddy came into play.  to understand that this is nobody's "fault" but the factors of our lives created a situation where we have this arrangement and that it will be okay.

with relief comes new stress to find a new person into our lives and i pray that person can be neutral.  i'm not asking for anything more than to support my children in this transition.  please let this person be neutral.  

Friday, September 13, 2013


the last two days have been unexpectedly freeing. 

i somehow have managed to disengage from the madness, and that is liberating.  my ex seems to be having a temper tantrum, and for some reason i'm able to handle it okay, let him have his temper tantrum in the corner somewhere, and be thankful it's no longer my smack dab center in my life, in my home, among my children.  <3  <3 <3

i've heard the phrase:  you can't control what he does, you can only control how you react to it.  it's hard not to get triggered, so very hard.  when slime is thrown at you, you can't help but feel slimy.

today, i don't.  i feel free.  i really can control how i behave and how i react.  today i am strong.  and thankful.  <3  <3  <3

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

take it on the chin

the last couple of weeks have been full of highs and lows--lovely to have traveled for work and then tacked on a rendesvouz with long time girlfriends.  eating our way through the city and laughing and giggling through the night.  an adult beverage (or two) in hand.  a reminder that my heart can be carefree for just a while, can feel like i'm 20 years younger simply by cracking a joke and my stomach in cramps simply because i can't.stop.laughing.  it's kind of amazing.  how i feel the same on the inside, it's just the outside has changed with time.

and at the same time that i was so happy bustling through the city, i also dreamed and wished and longed for home, even though i knew there was adversity waiting for me.  i missed my babies, and when i returned to them, they were loving, cheerful, happy, playful.  until bed time when they became fussy and tired and, well more fussy as can be expected.  they'd been at dad's and their grandmother's for the week, and the transition was hard.

the thing is, while the litigation is over and the divorce is final and the custody ruling is in, there is one leftover fight that is being fought and i'm just so tired of fighting.  i almost want to give in because i'm tired.  i'm afraid.  it's the same story, about not being believed, about being questioned, about being lied about.  i just can't take it anymore.  i want to move forward with a clear head and clear heart, our new life.  but there is someone involved with our case who is undermining the court ruling and who has aligned with children's father. who has brought up custody with my little girl and is confusing her because of it, with much more potential to confuse her in the future.

i know that my daughters are emotionally 'leaned on' to put it nicely (blackmailed to put it not so nicely) when they are not with me, and i can't subject them to more of that elsewhere.   i have taken it on the chin for so long, at some point, we just have to say stop.  i just have to say stop.  i do not revel in this process.  i want it to be taken care of.  i foresee a future of squabbling and taking the high road and okay i will do that.

for today, i just want the right thing to be done by my children, and i need the strength to do it.  please help me be strong, even when i feel like whimpering and crawling into the corner.  please let me be brave.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

where the chips fall

dear slt,

once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a grandmother who loved her granddaughters more than anything in the world.  over a period of time, she became concerned with how her own son treated her granddaughters--losing his temper, yelling at them, sometimes so loudly and so frightfully, that her oldest granddaughter would cry so hard she would throw up.  her son would make her granddaughter sit there frozen, she dared not move, because he was so angry with her for spilliing her [grain of rice, soymilk, fill in the blank].  One time, she was at the house and her son became so infuriated with her granddaughter that he locked her in the bathroom, with the lights off, and with no windows, the room became a pitch black cell.  Her granddaughter wailed in fear, but he would not relent, until finally his wife opened the door and held their daughter, trembling and sobbing.

About this time, her daughter-in-law had become concerned with the grandmother's son's temper and the escalation of events--with the birth of their second child, she realized things were getting worse rather than better. he began to throw things, break things, stomp on toys and shatter them, the children were getting kicked, pushed, shoved, the puppy was getting thrown against the wall.  she asked the grandmother if, and only if, one day, should she and her husband not be able to overcome these anger outbursts together, if the grandmother would still allow her to bring the granddaughters to visit.  the grandmother said, 'of course!' as if it would be the easiest thing in the world...

a year later, the grandmother told the court reporter that her husband used to beat her children, and broke her wrist in fits of rage.  she said that he was hard on the children, but it wasn't a domestic violence sort of thing.  she said she was concerned with her son's temper and agreed he had trouble containing his anger.  a few months after that, she was in the hallway in the courthouse, making fun of how the soon to be ex wife said her granddaughters name.  she was whooping it up and laughing and joking, as if waiting for a concert or at a picnic, or anywhere else that was not the hallway of family court, in between witnesses testifying at trial.

the grandmother went on the stand at trial and said her son did not have an anger problem.  that he was good to his daughters and would never hurt them. because she had said the opposite just two months prior at her deposition, the her testimony was deemed not credible.

the chips fall where they fall.  my children love their grandmother with all their hearts.  this grandmother loves her son, loves her granddaughters.

someone once told me--what does love do for you in the face of anger?  love doesn't do anything to help you or protect you.  the only thing left to do is remove yourself from danger and protect your heart and little hearts, too.  i wish i had a better answer to this fairy tale.  i guess i'm just grateful that our house is free from the kind of love that comes at a price.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


dear SLT,

well, the truth is, i have somehow, against many odds, found love again.  i met someone articulate, kind and loving.  smart and funny.  considerate and generous of heart and spirit and even generous and giving with material things.  someone who is forgiving and accepting.  liberal and respectful.  someone with a heart the size of texas.  the last year has been quite an adventure with this new love.  i admit i tested boundaries a lot, i vetted him.  i actually researched his criminal background to be sure it was clear.  i made him take HIV and STD tests and show me the results.  yeah, well, thinking practically, and yet he did everything with grace and patience.  He even wanted to do those things.  And I made him meet almost everyone I know (he has, pretty much, except for my people who live 3000 miles away).

so why am i suddenly scared shitless?  it comes and goes, i'll be tooling along, perfectly serene, confident, loving, happy, and then i'm on the brink of tears, suddenly terrified.  waiting for the door to slam in my face, or the floor to shatter beneath my feet.  it's crazy talk, he has done nothing to worry me.  the few disagreements we've had, we've talked it out, and even if we don't agree, we are respectful and usually end the discussions in laughter.  his past has had tragedy, too, and i think that's another level where we connect.  so why am i freaking the f*** out?

i know this will sound stupid so i'll just say it:  i feel like i don't deserve this.  i feel like there is something wrong with me.  i say and write and advise others to believe in the good in people, to believe that good can come back into your life somehow, if only you keep your heart open and forgiving.  but why do i have so much trouble living it?  why can't i feel normal and happy unless i'm dealing with some f***ed up trauma?

i think part of it is that we accept the love we think we deserve.  (and i talk about making all this progress getting out of an abusive marriage, but have i really?)  and i think that i can only accept love that comes with pain, because all my life i learned that love comes with pain.  so i'm looking around everywhere, in the nooks and crannies, for the pain, and when i can't find it, i'm terrified.

so tell me, anyone out there, who has survived an abusive marriage, does this terror abate...?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

happy day

someone once told me that when you share time with your small children--and they leave you for a good amount of time (1-2 weeks), it's akin to letting your children go when they are much older, say, to college.  It's empty nest syndrome up close and personal, because your little hearts and little faces are suddenly not with you every day, you don't hear their little voices bouncing around the hallway between your bedroom and theirs.

that was the case for me...summer vacation scheduling being what it is, they were gone for 10 days and it was difficult.  i filled my days with errands and work and quality time with my significant other, and yet there was a driving, quiet, background anxiety.  this was the first time, really, they had been gone that long, so in retrospect, i understand it a little better.  little things that are normally swept up in the current of every day normalcy suddenly threw me off orbit, off kilter, and i couldn't understand why.  maybe i was trying too hard to be perfect working single mom--i do that a lot--think i can handle everything, and if i don't, there's something wrong with me--and in this case, pretending i was okay without the biggest pieces of my heart away from me.  i wasn't.  as soon as i laid eyes on their faces and as soon as we were singing johnny appleseed before dinner and as soon as baby sister hollered, 'mommy come!' and as soon as big sister said, 'i *know* mommy,' about something or other, i knew i had been missing them fiercely.  and was so glad our lives were back to normal.

Friday, August 2, 2013

keep swimming

I woke up today for the first time in days anxiety free.  I don't know if it's because it's a Friday after a long and stressful week, or because I know my babies will be home soon (they are away on summer vacation time with dad), or if I'm excited for a new school year for big sister and baby sister at pre school...

Maybe that innate sunny part of my soul is showing itself again.  Throughout the two years of litigation--I never stooped, I never lied, I never slung mud.  I kept on the path of the high road, so that I could be confident in the end that I didn't play dirty and somehow survived.  I was hopeful that my sunny nature would remain intact.  And it has for the most part.  A bit worn for the wear.  No, totally battered and run over and over and over.  I'm sure there's still tire treads hanging about.  But somehow, I'm hopeful today, and can feel it shining.

As if a divorce wasn't stressful enough, I ended up applying for and getting a new job.  Which I'm not so sure I love.  I do like it.  It's starting all over again after building years of credibility with my old job.  But I've always been a proponent of when a door opens...walk through it.  I thought it was a conjunction of forces...a new life, a new profession, a new way of living.  I supposed it will take a few more months to settle in, maybe a year.  Do I regret leaving the security of my old job?  A little.  I miss the familiar faces, I feel like I was just making real headway with interdepartmental projects, impacting access to justice for the state in subtle ways that made me feel proud.  But hopefully I can do the same here, once I build new relationships.  Get to know people.  Do the work that I know that I can do.

The last week or so I've been struggling with the thought that maybe I made a mistake.  Yes this job offers much more financial security in the present/long run.  I have two little hearts to take care of and support for the next 19 years or so, lol. It seemed like a no-brainer. 

Yesterday, I stopped by to drop something off with my former supervisees (in my field, the community is very small here, so everyone keeps in touch and has a collegial relationship with one another), and was hit with a giant wave of nostalgia, i still feel the remnants washing about my feed. 

Yet, deep inside, I know, I did the right thing to accept my new job.  Maybe one day my path will take me somewhere else (back there?  a different direction altogether?), but for now, I will just keep swimming forward.

p.s. the crazies did come last week a lot, though, i made a mistake!  how do i know if the door opened for me to go through it?  i walked through a bunch of doors in my life before and ended up in hell and a hand basket.  how do i trust this?  and i calmed myself down with this:  we do the best that we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in, making choices with the information at hand, and that is all that we can do.  be happy in that you are being true to yourself and with the best interests of your little hearts in mind.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

good morning

co-parenting PITA vent alert

just because the litigation is over does not mean PITA co-parenting issues are miraculously gone.  it does help that the case is closed, however, the pressure of an open-ended case has brought relief that's akin to a thirty-ton elephant suddenly jumping off your back.  yay.  i can breathe again. the life is no longer being crushed out of my lungs.

at the same time, a tiger doesn't change his stripes simply because he was struck down in court.  if there is no remorse or responsibility taken for his actions, he will continue on as if nothing has happened--i.e. still do everything he can to gain/re-gain control, victimize himself, lobby for sympathy that the world is against him, or even better, that external forces have colluded to ruin his life.  or even better, that that i have ruined his life.  or something like that.  whatever.

i've been working hard in therapy over the last two years to get OUT of his head.  unfortunately, knowing this information is merely helpful when dealing with current and/or potential future encounters.

for example--dealing with veiled nasty emails accusing me of 'losing' the girls underwear, clothes, towels, etc.  we no longer do drop off/pick ups at each other's houses (thank goodness), everything happens now at school--one parent drops off at school in the morning, the other picks up in the afternoon.  i am in agreement that it is reasonable that items be returned to house of origin, but are we down to counting pairs of panties, now?  should i be emailing and demanding the ice packs that have disappeared over the last two years?  how about checking with the pre-school/school for items first, before excessive, over-the-top, litigious record keeping emails?  le sigh. 

realizing small details like this are the least of my worries.  and i must be thankful i do not have to talk or see him anywhere.    i have been instructed that these types of communications from him are attempts for me to 'engage.'  i am choosing not to engage by not sending emails about the lost ice packs.

so a word about co-parenting communication, if you get a diatribe:  look for the crux--is there a coparenting issue in there?  does it have to do with drop off, pick up, medical/education, scheduling?  if not, don't respond.  

if you feel like you need to respond, give yourself a challenge:  use as few words as possible, and focus on the information.  keep it businesslike, as if you're conducting a service request for a business transaction.  do not engage.  don't respond with sarcastic or barbs of your own (i.e. really, we're counting pairs of underwear now?).  you've moved on with your life and should you be getting messages along these lines, it is very sad that your ex has not. you have no control over how he is, but you do and can control how you live your own life!  (waaaay easier said than done).

i do pray for the day when my reaction to things will be:  meh, whatevvvs. 

until then, you can only do the best that you can.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

p.s. on hope

p.s. as a parent sometimes the pressure to make the right decisions all the time is enormous.  weighing the pros and cons of a situation, deciding is it worth a battle over getting her to go put her dirty socks in the hamper, or to just plow through and get into the tub already?  she wants to play temple run, well what about reading a book?  will her brain melt if she's on the kindle versus using her imagination?  it might!  or it might not!  but i need to get dinner on the table like five minutes ago.

or sometimes, it's big decisions.  like a medical provider giving incorrect information.  finding a new caretaker or babysitter because the one you trusted might not be as trustworthy as you thought. and doing this alone--can make you alone. 

it can make you feel like crying, maybe.  like i did today.  i hope this feeling passes.  i've already sought support and ideas from my trusted friends and colleagues, and experts in their field.  so i will hope it all turns out for the best.


a little over two years ago i was terrified.  i knew i had to do something, to make a change.  the outbursts were increasing in frequency.  it was bad enough that i had to find a new home for our tiny dog, who he choked and threw across the room when he was angry.  but the nature of his words and threats were escalating in description and detail.  it got to the point where every week end there was a blow out, the children spilled their rice, the toy was in his way in the kitchen, the milk wasn't cold enough in the fridge, and he would explode at them.  swear, scream, yell.  stomp on the toy until it broke.  knock over the baby because she was crying, by shoving her in her mouth with his foot.

i don't know why i suddenly have the need to write down these horrible things.  when i see them on the page here, I see, oh my goodness, get out.  get out.  get out.  but up to that point in time, i clung to our family unit, because i believed in something that wasn't there.  i believed that he really didn't want to do those things.  i believed in the quiet time in between the rage.  i believed him when he said he loved us.  when he acknowledge his behavior (the few times he did, saying he was sorry and we were better off without him), i believed he wanted to be better.  i clung to the peaceful times, even though they were tenuous.  we might be all sitting at the dinner table, and big sister would spill her milk, and he would fly in a rage.  if i dared intervene he would punish me by withdrawing from speaking to all of us, and i would be left to care for the children (who were crying and couldn't understand what was going on), and clean up everything.  sometimes, my daughter would cry so hard at what he said that she would throw up.

so two years ago, after reaching out to my friends and family, i knew there was a different place i needed to be, to protect my children.  and here i am, finally, at that very different place.

what i'm most grateful for...?  that my little hearts do not seem to remember the time from before.  or perhaps they choose not to remember, but i think i protected them as best as i could when we were all in the house together and when those things happened.  they were very young when dad moved out, so hopefully we escaped...just in time.  and now?  they have limited time with dad, but because the time is limited, he doesn't get set off (crossing fingers), and the peaceful, happy side is all they see (crossing fingers again). 

at the very, very least, i can provide them a home that is free from that troubling behavior, and they will know what it means to live free from the clutches of bitterness and anger.  a house where they learn that kindness and love are valued and strengthened.  at least, that is my hope.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


The other day, we threw a big birthday party for big sister at the beach.  About 25 kids and 40 adults helped celebrate, and big sister was so excited and happy, she floated throughout the day.  I feel so lucky and so blessed to be surrounded by people who support our little family.  I can't believe how fast the chlidren are growing!  !!  !!!  My heart is still full and I can't stop smiling because it was a magical, perfect day.  I wonder if she will remember when she grows up....the sound of the waves, playing in the water, running hand-in-hand with her various BFFs on the sand, digging holes, jumping in her bounce house.  Running to each little friend as they arrived and proudly handing them a bucket/shovel that we brought as giveaways.  Being surrounded by all her little friends who were all singing happy birthday, then blowing out her candle. 

And with light there is also shadow.

The night after the party I had a nightmare.  I dreamt that I was in my childhood home and it was time for dad to drop off the girls.  I was suddenly filled with terror that he would somehow see inside my house, so I switched on the outside lights, turned off the inside lights, and drew the curtains.  And when he arrived with the children, he demanded to come into my home.  I tried to stop him, but I couldn't at first, he came in through the front door and I had to push him, against his chest with all my might.  He made it through to the entryway, but I was able to shove him outside.  I kept saying, how could you do this in front of the children, what are you thinking?  And big sister is the only one who could understand, and I felt horrible for her hearing and seeing all of this.  When I woke up, I still had the terrible feeling of fear coursing through my veins.  I guess I'm still afraid of him.

And I guess, it's okay to be afraid.  Because he terrorized us for a long time.  And yet, somehow, I found some strength out of this dream, one positive:  he had tried to gain entry into my sacred space, but he did not.  He got in a little, but I pushed him out.  I protected my home and my children as best as I could.  In my nightmare, and also in real life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Dear Scotus,

Thank you for letting DOMA fall by the way side and allow the civil rights movement to move forward just another inch.  While our world is not perfect when it comes to equality, I see no reason to legislate how people love one another.  My wish is only that people love one another in a healthy way (see previous post), always.  I wish to raise my children in a world where they are free to make their own decisions, full of love, self-respect, and wisdom.  By striking down DOMA, now we have a little more room to do so.

Thank you again,

Thursday, June 20, 2013


one of my babies brought home a cold virus and has since recovered.  baby #2 and i have been on the couch watching 101 dalmations for the last couple of days.  which means i've also been perusing the internet.  and seeing some horrible things.  like some famous guy choking his wife in public, and she doing her best to calm him down.  <here> and <here>

then there's some research about how much violent porn is out there in the world, just clicks away <here>.  apparently 'rape porn' is all the rage and makes up 86% of free porn out there on the www.  just what a mother with daughters wants to hear.  i'm sure many of you enlightened ones out there probably already knew this, but growing up without an internet and youtubing every moment, i freely admit to being steps behind.

so i've been spending the last couple of days in despair about these two particular stories and the reason is that violence against women are so commonplace and accepted that i almost can't even get out of bed when i think about it too much.  of course ms. lawson was placating her husband when he displayed his selfish temper.  i did the same.  it's something we're taught to do--to be peaceful, to be helpful, loving, supportive.  that if somehow we are understanding enough, if somehow we can show a different way of handling our anger or troubles, then because of that love, the ones  who supposedly love us who 'don't mean' to hurt us, will change.  in the world of rainbows and fairy dust, that might be true.

in the world of violent rape porn taking up more bandwidth than food and clothing commercials, that is a bunch of horse shit.  it makes me so frustrated, and so upset.  how i can i be a mother to my beautiful daughters when all of this bullshit sexist culture stacks the decks against us? and if something terrible happens to my daughters as they grow up, it may get videotaped, youtubed, facebooked, and they will be harrasssed?  it's enough to want to unplug and run off to nepal.  except we would probably be trafficked, three women alone.  rawr!

i have a fantasy of my own--that somehow I could transform into a superhero and swoop in and catch the predators just before they strike.  to have the power to squeeze them as if they were in a giant boa constrictor, just enough so they feel real fear and pain like the fear and pain in the faces of their would be victims.  let them think they are about to die and just before they pass out, let them go, with a warning that they will be watched.

aside from some internal satisfaction, i don't know if that would actually solve any problem.  at least it would help me protect my daughters.

p.s. so my baby girl just handed me a doll and directed me to care of her because "she's sick" and "she's the big sister,"  my heart just melted a little bit. (mind you they have legos and cars and other toys, but yes, a doll or two may have managed to make their way into our doors) what else can i do but love my daughters and if i can't protect them like a superhero, do my best to prepare them for the future?  education, respect, self-confidence.  how i pray that will suffice.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

sunshine and shadows

sometimes i wake up and i can't believe in the new world that i've created.  i'm scared that it will collapse in on itself.  a life free of the terrorizing, the never knowing when the other shoe will drop. 

because, even while we have 'escaped' our abuser, in the eyes of the court, he is still entitled to being part of our family--he is still connected to my children.  which is complex.  of course i want the children to love their dad--it's never been about that.  it's been about making sure that time is safe.  and i know deep in my heart that my girls love their father, that to them, he is daddy.  just like i am mommy.  we breathe and we live and we hug and sometimes we feel hurt.  but children love their parents whether they hurt them or not.  and when they hurt who is there to comfort them...?  that is my job.  to care for my two little hearts.

the best that i can do for them is to build a home without the unspeakable, unliveable threats and terror.  the explosions that happened for no reason.  or for a reason such as a dropped grain of rice.  or for crying at the wrong time at the wrong space.  (how do you keep a baby from crying?  the answer--you don't. you just do your best.  but that's another conversation).

at any rate, sometimes i get bogged down.  laden with the weight.  as if parenting is not a full plate itself that i gladly sit down to every day, but living in the shadow of what used to a burden that i'm still working through.  the 'battle' is won, in terms of procuring our safety and protection.  however, my therapist has told me that even though he has 'lost' the legal battle--a battle of his own creation, since i tried numerous times to settle--he still has not lost his focused compulsion to gain control.  there has been a line drawn in the sand--he can no longer threaten us, break our things, swear and yell at us, beat up the family pet, push or shove the children--not in my house!  he can no longer call me and swear into my voicemail.  he can no longer send me threatening, accusatory emails.  instead, it comes out in educated nit-picky statements, the emails now contain subtle accusations, or his manipulative games with time-sharing...those are all ways that he digs his fingers in to control.  I call it negative campaigning.  he sends long novellas of information on how he is so wonderful and so concerned and of course includes two or three statements questioning my abilities (i.e. i forgot to pack something, i forgot to mention something, i have been negligent in buying shoes because the children complain about them--while they have never complained to me), then he cc:s the counselors involved in our case.

good ole, basic, negative campaigning.

so my job is--to live a life free from reacting to it.  my focus has been to 'disengage.'  if he sends me a long diatribe email--i glean the few things that deal with logistics of coparenting--pick up or drop off times, clothing/health/education of the children.  then...i come up with the fewest words possible to respond.  and my response may be five sentences.  or less.  sometimes, it can be:  hello, yes, i agree with a.  no, i do not agree with b.  sincerely,

the line has been drawn.  i am thankful for the distance.  and instead of trying to fight the negative campaigning to the people connected to us, i suppose i am writing about it here.  i ride the high road every where else.  here, i suppose i can ruminate about how it is so.unfair.that.he.gets.away.with.saying.stupid.shit.  enough said.

most of all though, i can see that my children appear to be adjusting well to the transition.  there is no negative campaigning on my part--having committed myself to never speak ill will for their sake.  that even though there is a terrifying past, the present, and the present of the last year or so, has been much improved.  perhaps the limited time assists in this--there isn't time for him to lose his temper.  his mother is always around, so she does the 'grunt' work.  that my sweethearts seem untouched by trauma...that is what i am most thankful for.

keep shining sun, please keep the shadows at bay.

Monday, May 27, 2013

what others think of you...

is none of your concern.

i think the quote is actually:  what others think of you is none of your business.  I halfway agree with that.  sometimes, it might be your know if someone isn't particularly fond of you.  Then you have a signal to keep your distance and maintain careful boundaries with that person--especially if you genuinely liked them and you thought they were truly your friend.  on the other hand, what the statement is really going for is that at the end of the doesn't matter what people think of you.  the emotional weight of others' opinions...shake it off.

what YOU think of you matters.  and further, the choices you make, the actions you take--that matters even more.  not someone's opinions.  not someone's presumptions.

this is a helpful thought to hold onto--should you be second guessing yourself, should you think you're not making the right decision.  you make your decisions based on the information that you've gathered or from what's right in front of you.

it's different, i think, when you are seeking out opinions from the people closest to you, from the people you respect and look up to.  but for the rest who offer their opinions/judgements unasked, who may be peripheral someones in your personal orbit, i do my best to clear out the 'noise' and make room for what matters.

i learned that getting bent out of shape over other people's opinions merely gets in the way and becomes an obstacle to doing what is most important--taking charge of my life and creating a positive space for my children (and me).

Monday, May 20, 2013

side effects

i found out something--that you will find out who your true friends are when you go through something like this.  or maybe i ought to restate that:  getting out of my abusive relationship identified who my real friends and loved ones a way...and i lost the ones who i thought were 'real.'

domestic violence is such a shitty topic.  i guess really, who wants to talk about it?  sure, there are support groups out there and well meaning people in the world--most amazing people who dedicate themselves to eradicate abuse...the #1 killer of women, ages 15-44, above cancer and auto accidents, if you can believe that.  in fact, don't believe me, go check out the stats at the United Nations <site>.

but who really wants to talk about it on an every day basis?  especially when they believed your partner, or rather, i ought to say, when they believed my ex was a nice man?  that by believing me, they had to believe that they were also wrong in a way, that somehow they just didn't sense it?  and above and beyond that, understanding domestic violence in the day-to-day, nitty gritty, non after-school special kind of way, takes a sensitivity and if it's not there, and not that i blame anyone for not having it, it just wears on you.  tires you out.  that takes a toll.  it was just too intense.  it was just too much.

i found some of my friends were there from the beginning to the end, living the fire with  me.  and a handful...while saying they would do anything to help us, to be there no matter what, to testify even if they had to, to support my two little ones, they couldn't help but fade away, to take a step back.  and again i understand why.  it's like being run over by a truck.  and then having it go back and forth over you.  so it's not something that is good or bad, it just is.  limits were found that are good to know about.

what surprised me though, is that even now, in the aftermath, in the light of my new life that is full of blessings i had never imagined, it's almost like a handful could understand and empathize with the victim that i was.  but now, on the other side, with new opportunities and change and life happening, again, there is a fade away.  it's baffling, and sad, and makes me long for these handful of friendships.  i always had a hard time saying goodbye.  but on the other hand, maybe it's one of those things that i ought to embrace.  the loved ones who are coming back into my life again, now that the storm is over, or my loved ones that were always there, all along. so there might be the side effect of the purge--the people who can't  handle the situation who quietly go...but also there is the blessing that the ones who love you truly, understand or do their best to understand, who showed their love in ways that you or i couldn't have ever anticipated...maybe that is the best side effect ever.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


becoming free of someone who has bullied, hurt, and slammed you takes a long time.  it's been about two years now, and today i was a bit shocked, when i saw him.  i knew it would have to happen, and i steeled myself for it, prepared myself, hoped and prayed that there wouldn't be an altercation.  made plans A through Z to be sure I was safe.  that my children were safe.

so i was shocked that when i did see him...that it felt so 'familiar.'  i was surprised, considering how much fighting, cowering, surviving that had happened behind our closed doors, then into the realm of the legal world--how much preparation i had to do every time i had to go to court.  bracing myself for every single action, building up my strength to endure the depositions, even listening to him spew lies about my dearest friends and myself on the stand.  how much i've had to advocate for my children's safety and my own all of these days, months, now years, and yet it was like greeting a part of myself when i saw him get out of the truck.

how strange, and how antithetical to everything i've learned about leaving an abusive relationship, everything i've read, all the therapy i've been to, my support groups.  no one told me that seeing someone who had threatened our lives, who had left behind emotional scars that i'm still healing from them...would feel so normal, as if no time had passed.

after some thinking, i realized i think part of it is because of my sweetheart children. that the connection is there, because of those two beating hearts, and that's why, i guess, there will be this 'bridge.'  but make no mistake.  there was a huge price, a severe one, that threatened our lives--for this 'familiarity.'  it is one that i know i cannot ever pay, and one that would have meant the end of us had we stayed, had our lives not changed.

i tell myself this message:  do not mistake familiarity with love, with respect, with 'he will change.'  familiarity in this case merely means that i was used to the thunderstorms that destroyed our family, that i was used to clinging to the 'good' times, that i excused his injuries and hurtful behavior, because i was familiar with how he acted.  being familiar is not a reason to stay.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


wow, sometimes it's so hard to take the high road.  I mean really.  someone walked up to me and said, "i know your ex husband, i see him at [[random leisure activity]]" in front of other people who know about the divorce, but don't know me very well.

the first thing I wanted to do was explain.  such a powerful knee-jerk reaction.  to say:  actually, no, you don't "know" him.  for example, the person you "know," pushed and shoved his small children around, kicked our baby in her mouth, and threatened to put a bullet through my head.

the second thing I did was bite my tongue.  And smile.  and say, 'uh huh.'  i wasn't satisfied with this response either.  perhaps it was taking the eff-ing high road, because i was not bad mouthing my children's father in front of people who are familiar (but seriously fuzzy on the details) with our situation, who know my children because they've seen them.

after considering this for a while and consulting with a trusted friend (also a veteran of an abusive relationship), i found a different way to respond.  there's no reason to explain, but there's no reason to agree, either.  there's no reason to bad-mouth or say anything negative.  simply respond with something that's noncommittal, but one that doesn't make you a pushover, either, i.e. oh, that's nice, that's one aspect that you know.  and then leave it at that. keep emotion out of it, keep explanation out of it.

because the people who matter to you, KNOW.  the people who don't, don't need to know.

one day, i know my children will ask me.  and i need to write this down so i don't forget.  I can respond in a way that will not affect them negatively but that will not lie:  i.e. i don't want to say anything negative about your father.  there are aspects about him that you don't know about and were not in the best interests of you as young children, nor me as an adult woman.  however, he is your father and i wish nothing more than that you have a loving, positive relationship with him.

something like that.  i hope that will do.  i hope that will be enough.

Monday, April 8, 2013

cry, laugh, cry

one of my mom friends texted me asking:  do you just get one of those days where all you do is cry?  and you feel all alone?

i responded:  YES

and picked up the phone and called her.  and listened.  and heard her tell me how her friends tell her he's not that bad, and he's certainly not like my ex (which is good by the way, but he is failing in so many ways, you don't have to be an abuser to hurt people), and that she feels bad for feeling bad.

and i told her:  it's okay to feel this way.  it's OKAY to be upset.  he is not helping you.  he is constantly not there for you and the children.  of course you'd be sad and lonely!

i'm not knocking happy marriages and happy families, not at ALL.  and i am so lucky to have my little family--just me and my two children, it is perfect now, just the way it is.  however, i absolutely understand that people who are in happy marriages cannot understand, fully, how bad a marriage can be.  which i told her.  her friend who is expecting and is so happy--for her to say: 'it's not that bad' to my crying girlfriend...well, frankly, that friend has no.idea.  just none.

for which we laughed at.  seriously.  i mean, come on.  really?

she told me:  i woke up this morning and all i wanted to do was cry.  my neighbors think he is such a caring guy, but it's not true, it's only skin deep.  he only SAYS things, but he doesn't MEAN them.

(oh do i know that feeling).  and she is left with 100% of the parenting, 100% of holding her family together, while he is out drinking until 3am, forget if there is an emergency and sirens are going off.  no, it's not okay.  spend some time with your kids.

i think one of the reasons she calls me and speaks to me is that she is wondering what to do with her unhappiness, wondering if she should make a change in her life.  it comes in cycles, sometimes i hear from her a lot, other times, i'll go for months.  and i know that my divorce and being a single parent can at times make people uncomfortable.  i'm okay with that, because i understand.

i reminded her that i'm her friend no matter what. and that no matter what happens, she will still be a great mom to her kids, still have their best interests at heart.  whether that is holding her family together the way that she is, or making a big life change, no matter what happens...she will be all right.

maybe it's because it's a message i kept repeating to myself, quietly, for the last two years.  it will be all right.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


the process from separation to divorce was nearly two years.

the healing process of leaving someone who you trusted the most in the whole world, who you loved and thought loved you, yet who terrorized you and your children, is different for everyone.  therapy helps immensely.  

to be truthful, i'm still triggered around certain things, and I'm in therapy and i know i'm healing still.  i have, carefully, miraculously, lovingly, found love again, but not after some serious therapy.  not after some serious consideration of what i do and how i make my choices when it comes to choosing someone to be with.

for instance, somehow, along the ride, the seeds of love and pain were sewn side by side within me.  So i only understood that love comes at the price of pain.  i still, weirdly, deep down, feel that is the emotional truth, it was laid down somewhere so long ago that i can't consciously remember it.  but i know that's how it was for me.  because my exhusband was not the first to abuse me, to terrorize me.  my former partner did the same.  i look back at my life with vision that is clearly 20/20, that sees the pattern of how i ran from 'safe' partners and embraced the ones who hurt me.  because, somehow, i learned and decided that the painful ones, they dispensed love in a language i recognized.  a love that comes with fear and pain.   (WTF??!!)

so i'm learning now--for the sake of my children--that love does NOT come at a price of pain.  I am doing my best to heal now--for the sake of my children--so I can show them, so i can teach them that love is love.  that one day, they will meet someone and they will recognize love as something that is beautiful and as something that does not come with a price.

Friday, March 15, 2013

truth and fear

at the end of a long legal battle, i can tell you that all you can do is speak the truth.  judges...i think they've seen it all.  it's hard to realize it, when you see that the future and safety of your children are at stake, but the best thing to do is to trust the process.  be a broken record.  repeat your truth.  remain calm.

of course you might want to scream and cry and sob and tear your hair out.  especially if you have an ex who is abusive and especially, especially, if you have a "secret abuser" on your hands--one who abuses behind closed doors.

just remember, the people who love you, your children, your family, your friends, your colleagues...they believe you.  and the other thing about this is--it doesn't matter who believes you.  you know what happened.  you know it happened.  you know the dangers.

don't give up.  at the end of the day, the truth will prevail.  no matter the dirt and the poop that is thrown at you.  hold your head high.  keep your heart and your dignity in tact.  just because someone else might be spreading lies about you, does not mean you have to stoop to their level.

stand in your truth. the fear will come and go, because that is natural.  hold onto your truth, because it is, at the end of the day, the truth.

and it will prevail.

Friday, March 8, 2013

keep swimming

i can't count how many days where i've found myself completely overwhelmed. just completely.  the ex notwithstanding (he is a quiet, slick type, who loves to stick subtle, nasty comments into you, as if with a butter knife, ugh), just the daily chores/pressures that is single parenting.  one of the kids suddenly breaks out in fever, and i have to call into work.  the other one starts hollering because she wants big sister's graham cracker.  it's stop and go traffic because the healthy kid still needs to get to school, even when the sick kid needs to get taken to the doctor.  the doctor can't get you in until the middle of the day so you are stuck in traffic some more.

in the grand scheme of things, someone might say: at least you have your kids.  at least you CAN drive your kid to the doctor.  at least your other kids gets to go to school.  yes.  i know and i am eternally grateful. and thankful.  i do not minimize those things.  one only needs to go to 'first world problems' site or whatever and see how lame it is to complain about things (i.e. running, clean water, that is awesome!  such an overlooked lovely wonderful thing).

and yet, it's OKAY to feel overwhelmed.  holy shit, if you could do everything perfectly, wouldn't the world be great.

i find breaking it down in little baby steps helps.  or just throw your hands in the air and repeat: just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

eventually, you will get to your destination. it's okay.  be kind to yourself.

p.s. if that doesn't work, i find singing opera slightly cathartic.