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pity party September 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in depression, Episcopal, ministry.
4 comments

Perhaps it was unprofessional, but today I resigned from the parish vestry – by email.

I haven’t been to church since shortly after the separation, when the Ex decided he wasn’t going to attend our parish anymore.  It’s a small church.  People talk.  Actually, they don’t talk – they gossip.  But the long story short is, I’ve been desperately in need of some pastoral care, and I haven’t gotten jack crap.  Not a phone call or email from the rector, any member of the vestry, or my Benedictine study group.  I’m desperately bitter about it.  It’s a SMALL church.  It’s a SMALL town.  I don’t care how busy I am, I bend over backwards for people that I know are hurting.  I needed a little of that.  When I went into the office to change my address and phone number and explained what was going on, I got from the secretary, “If you need anything, let us know.”

No, I haven’t let them know.  I told them what was going on.  I stopped coming to church.  I stopped participating, because it was too painful without my whole, intact family there.  I stayed home and cried.  And nobody appears to have noticed that I am gone.

But the scary part is, I can’t really decide if I miss it or not.

in the “holy shit, he did it!” department… September 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce.
5 comments

Every time I sit down to write a post about one thing, I instead find myself banging out a post about the latest drama in the end of the marriage. So, I apologize to you, my few, dear readers. I know it has become tedious. For instance, I sat down tonight with the intention of really writing about church, or more accurately, the lack of church in my life lately, but do you think those are the words that came out of my fingertips? Nooooo, of course not. Another time, perhaps.

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When he came to pick Boy-o up last night, he told me he would have my check on Friday.

“For what?” I said.

I’m not playing dumb, but I have decided that the time has come to start making him vocalize what we are about to do here, because so far in his fantasy world, I have been cast in the role of the evil wife who left him, and he has cast himself in the role of “Well, this is what she said she wants, I guess I better go along”, AKA the MARTYR. Yes, I mentioned divorce first. I did it AFTER asking if he was willing to stop engaging in behaviors that are harmful to himself and our marriage. He declined. Since then, I have simply wanted to get it over with, and he has been playing the wounded party, saying I don’t love him for who he really is.

I posted earlier that, while it may be true I did not love him unconditionally, and that this was my primary failing as his wife, I was still willing to work it out. I was respectful of my vows, and even though I was hasty in entering into the marriage, I did indeed fall more in love with him as the years went by, and I had every reason to believe that the “falling deeper” process would continue as we shared our lives and raised our son. It murders me that he doesn’t value this enough to fight for it. So I refused to let him play this game. I decided if he wants to end this, then I can’t be the only one speaking “The D WORD.”

“For the LegalZoom stuff.”

“What LegalZoom stuff? I was under the impression that was off the table.”

*sigh* “To get the divorce papers done, okay?”

“Oh, you still want to do it that way?”

“It’s going to be cheapest.”

“Well, all right then.”

We negotiated the amount of the check, because he owes me some money, and I owe him some money, and we’re splitting the divorce, so in the end he will write me a check and take what I owe him and his half of the divorce off what he owes me. He says I’ll have it Friday or Saturday.

We’ve worked out custody and visitation. The court has ordered child support. There are no arguments over possessions. We have one joint credit account, and that is his truck. He loves his truck. He is not going to take it well when I tell him that according to the law, if he wants to keep it, he is going to have to buy me out to get my name off there, or I can buy him out and keep it myself. Nor will he take kindly to the suggestion that he sell it and buy something smaller and cheaper in his name only. So, I’m considering the idea of trying to locate an impartial mediator for us to sit down with, someone who will explain these are the options for the truck, someone who has no stake in the outcome and someone he can not get mad at when the options are on the table and he has to choose one. And once this little issue is resolved, I’m completely comfortable going ahead and filing the papers ourselves without attorneys. But I’m not planning on getting screwed and having my credit made any worse than it is over a lousy vehicle, of all things.

What do you think? Money well spent on a get-it-all-out-on-the-table mediation session, and then get the paperwork done? I got the feeling that he really wants out, too. Personally, I’ve felt lately it’s because he’s got a piece on the back burner…and I’ve rarely been wrong about this before.

a small thing to be grateful for… September 24, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life.
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I am grateful that every morning, of its own accord, my body wakes up 5 minutes before the alarm clock goes off.  My alarm clock is currently my cell phone, and it has a very shrill alarm that is very jarring to my system, making me a very unhappy camper when I am actually awakened by it.  God’s infinite wisdom has therefore seen fit to give me 5 whole minutes to stretch and pray for emotional strength for another day.  It’s a small thing, but it’s what I’m hanging on to.

September 23, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce.
7 comments

Had a child support hearing on Thursday. It was short and unpleasant. My ex was ordered to begin making child support payments effective October 1st, but seeing as how I am currently receiving assistance for day care and medical insurance, any child support collected is intercepted by the State to reimburse them for their costs. And the shitty thing is, the ex PREFERS it this way. I discussed with him the option of just adding Boy-o to his health insurance and sending me the rest, which I would then turn around and use for CHILD CARE (same exact expenses being paid for by the same exact individual – him), but he stated he feels better knowing his money is going to the State, so he knows it’s not being spent on anything else. Jerk. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because he doesn’t REALLY get a say, no matter what he thinks. When I’m ready to move, I’ll walk into the human services office, close my child care and medical cases, and then the support checks will begin coming to me anyway. He can’t seem to wrap his mind around the idea that he owes child support regardless of whether or not Boy-o and I need it. When we move in to my parents’ house, that is going to help me save a lot of money and we honestly won’t need it as much as we do now…and he said something about how maybe the amount can be cut when that happens. I was floored…FLOORED, I tell you. But that part was nothing less than what I expected. What I did NOT expect was the snarky comment made in front of Da Judge.

Human services rep to State’s attorney: “They’re married, but separated.”

State’s attorney to me: “Please let us know as soon as possible if you file for divorce so we can roll the cases together.”

Judge: “You two are still married?”

Ex: “Unfortunately, Your Honor.”

OUCH.

A comment like that leaves me mighty confused. He was supposed to cough up his half of the fee for the divorce document preparation last week, as well his half of the cost of fixing my car…but here it is Sunday and I’ve got nothing. So, it looks like I may be hiring an actual attorney and attempting a payment plan after all. None of the ones that I’ve talked to here will work with me, so it appears as though I may have to return to my home state and wait 6 months to re-establish my residency before filing. My sister, who works for child protective services, has already referred me to a few lawyers who will work on payment plans…it just sucks that I’m going to have to wait SO LONG. I don’t function well in transitory states. It’s why I got engaged and married so quickly, ’cause I have a hard time just “dating”…and it’s now why I just want OUT.

RevGalBlogPals Friday 5: de-cluttering edition September 20, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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yardsale.png 

Sally writes: 

With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I’d love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think…With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5.

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?

Neither.  I’m definitely NOT a packrat and packratty behavior drives me freakin’ insane!  I mean, what do you NEED that stuff for?  But I’m not a minimalist, either.  I have plenty of things, but I can tell you a story behind each one – where and when I got it, and why I still have it today.

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with. 

I honestly can’t think of any.  I love my stuff and I have stories about my stuff, but in the end, it’s all just stuff.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit??? 

Probably the beautiful eggplant colored formal dress I bought back in college for a winter ball.  I was skinnier then.  I keep hoping I’ll get back into it.  Either that, or my 11 year old pair of Doc Martens.  Everything else has been bought in the last two years.  However, you asked about my closet, not my chest of drawers. 🙂  THAT contains many, many band t-shirts that have been collected over the years! 

4.Yard sales- love ’em or hate ’em ?

Hate ‘em.  I was raised having been taught that it is deplorable for people to want to make money off of the things they no longer use when said items could be donated to someone who genuinely needs them and cannot afford them.  Then again, I know there are many people who cannot afford the new things I have always taken for granted and would be lost without yard sales to shop at…personally, I give my old things away to the Salvation Army rather than selling them.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.

Recycling, period.  At bare minimum, I need to get two more trash cans and start separating out plastics and paper.

home turf September 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in family, marriage, road trips.
3 comments

renaissanceworthingtonhotel259.jpg

Just got back from The Motherland, where I attended my cousin’s wedding at Big Fancy Downtown Hotel. The wedding was held outdoors on the terrace…it was a little hot, but fortunately the ceremony was blessedly short. In the days leading up to it, I was so excited to be getting to go to a dress up event! with grown ups! that I didn’t really stop to think how watching two people make those vows and speak those words, making that lifetime commitment would make me feel. I think what sent me over the edge was that my cousin, who was the groom, held it together completely cool-like until his bride appeared at the end of the aisle…and then he just lost it. This 29 year old man was crying like a baby, and you could see that they were such happy tears. He just laid his naked joy out there for everyone to see. The minister spoke to the couple of yielding themselves completely to each other, and I had to bow my head so it wouldn’t be obvious I was sobbing for myself and my loss, not for their joy. I felt churlish and mean.

tcu.jpg basshall1.jpg trinitypark.jpg

On the flip side, as we were driving to Big Fancy Downtown Hotel, I got an up close and personal look at the amazing amount of progress and growth in my home city. A new convention center and new hotels are going up near my favorite water sculpture garden, restaurants and bars and condos are springing up everywhere, and people were walking all over the place – yes, walking! Not driving! One of my favorite theaters has reopened and in all my focus on the ocean and the beach and how WRONG it is that I’m not going to get to move there RIGHT AWAY, I realized I had forgotten how much I love my very OWN city and all the parks and lovely neighborhoods downtown and around the University whose mascot is the horned frog. I had forgotten how much easier I breathe in these places that are familiar to me, and it was a gift to feel the ever present anxiety I am experiencing of late melt away, at least for a short time. So, I find that, in spite of myself, I am truly looking forward to going HOME.

you can never see with your eyes on earth, look through Heaven’s eyes September 11, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in videos.
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I’ve been busy digging out all my 1990’s VHS tapes, and I watched this movie (Dreamworks SKG’s “The Prince of Egypt”, 1998) with Boy-o tonight…forgot how much I loved it. Reminds me over and over that deliverer God makes possible the impossible. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it stars two of my favorite voices, Val Kilmer as Moses and Jeff Goldblum as Aaron.

“…and though you’ll never know all the steps, you must learn to join the dance…”

The truth September 9, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, blogging, divorce, friends, life, marriage, thoughtful.
9 comments

My ex and I met online through Yahoo! Personals, back when it was still free. Though we only lived 45 minutes apart at the time, we talked for close to 6 months before we finally met each other. I had many occasions throughout our courtship and engagement, at all the gatherings of our friends and family, to tell the story of how me met, and being the romantic that I am, I always put a romantic spin on it. After all, we were going to be married! And I wanted a great love story to tell! My dad has a fantastic one about how he fell in love with my mom, and , at the age of 25, having been disappointed in love before, I admit that I sort of felt the universe OWED me a story of my own.

So, I made up a story.

Telling people that we talked for almost 6 months prior to meeting made it appear as though we were being cautious. Truth was, I would attempt to talk to him via instant messenger, and he wouldn’t answer back. Then when he did, he would make a completely random statement that had nothing to do with what I had asked. This irritated me. I think I’m a good conversationalist, and good conversations flow. Ours never did. We hit the basics of upbringing and education, and really had nothing in common and nowhere to go from there. We had extremely stilted conversations maybe once a week, and I always stood up from the computer shaking my head and thinking, “What a strange guy.” The pictures he sent me of himself appealed to my sense of alienation from everyone, though. We met for a picnic at a park, during which he didn’t say ANYTHING, so I went to go play on the playground equipment. Then we met again for a supposedly REAL date at a Goth club. We had both been there before. I went regularly, but didn’t talk to anyone and danced by myself, as I’m a real introvert. He went occasionally, but seemed to know EVERYONE. Confused, I followed him around the club all night and listened as he talked in a language I didn’t understand about role playing games. We were supposed to be on a date, but he didn’t introduce me to anyone. A few times, I stepped back into the shadows to watch him, and he didn’t notice I was gone. Most people started leaving around 2 AM, and it was at that point that I finally managed to get him to the upper level of the club to sit at a table and try and talk. We watched the few people who were left on the dance floor below spin around in circles like stoned ballerinas, and I tried to talk again, but he just really wasn’t interested. It was at this point that I probably should have cashed in my chips and left, but I was pretty desperate for a relationship. I wanted to be with someone in the worst way. I was lonely as hell. I had just walked away from someone that I believe to this day that I was really in love with, and my ex met all of my relationship criteria. His parents were married, to each other. He didn’t live with them. He had a job. He believed in God, and he wasn’t a fundamentalist. He didn’t judge me for the strange relationship I had with my parents and The Princess.

The club closed down, and we wandered out to the parking lot to stand by our cars. He wasn’t making an active effort to get away from me, but he didn’t have anything to say, either. I asked him if he was going to kiss me, and he looked startled. In retrospect, I should have stopped right there, but I didn’t. I leaned in and kissed him. And boy, was it awful.

When I told the story later, of course, I didn’t say that. I made it out as though he was shy, and I was a brash and cheeky girl who simply knew what I wanted. But oh…I was so disappointed by that kiss. It was really terrible. From the way he grabbed for me afterwards, I could tell right off the bat that he didn’t enjoy kissing at all and preferred to get on with what comes next. And so we did. We went back to my house, and the true part of the story is that we rarely spent a night apart after that. He got my number, and if he had never called, I might have been able to exit the situation gracefully. But he did call, and he kept coming back over, and I believe now that we just slid into being a couple because I was too afraid to be alone. A month later, I told him we were getting married, and he said okay. The confusing and enigmatic guy I was really in love with, the one I had walked away from because he wouldn’t say he wanted to be with me, was still calling me, and I told him to stop. Two months later, I moved 45 minutes closer to my soon to be husband. Two months after that, I picked out my engagement ring and we made the announcement to our families. And then, it was simply too late to get out. And this was all before I knew of his sexual addiction. I knew something was wrong with our relationship and his ability to be intimate, I knew he didn’t enjoy kissing me, I knew from discovering his porn collection that it went a bit above and beyond what most guys store on their computers, but I never thought it was something I couldn’t fix, given enough time. I could become sexier, I could dye my hair the right shade of red, I could submerge my entire personality, as long as I had someone THERE. I confused the physical presence of another person with true intimacy. And the worst part is, I knew I was doing it at the start. Eventually, I came to believe my own lies. And this is my cross to bear in our breakup. While I may never have violated my vows or been unfaithful with my body, I did not love my husband unconditionally.

I told my story over and over and over again. I wanted to believe that we had it all…we were cautious in our courtship, we waited an appropriate amount of time (a year and a half) to get married, we were college educated and we had jobs, and we both felt a little weird and alienated from the rest of the world, which would make us great partners for each other. And after all, is love really *that* important? I mean, I knew very well that love wasn’t even an ingredient in marriage until about a century ago. It was all about alliance, and I thought we would make a good one.

4 months before the wedding, I discovered the depth of his sexual addiction when he went missing for a day and I logged into his email looking for clues. Instead I found graphic pornography addressed to him personally and featuring one of his female coworkers. I also discovered pornographic webcam pictures of one of the girls from his gaming group, and an accompanying message thanking him for the pictures he had sent of himself. Suffice it to say, I went off the deep end. I had a slight mental break, and began destroying everything of his I could find. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why, when I had been so loyal and so understanding and such a perfect girlfriend (in my mind), I deserved this. I actually had to be carted off to the mental hospital for the night, where I was given a lovely sedative and told to sleep it off. When my ex picked me up the next day, I begged him to take me back. And that is where the whole dynamic of the rest of our relationship was set. He had cheated, but I had broken things and lost my temper and threatened harm. In his mind, he was doing me a favor by being willing to deal with me.

It never got any better after that moment, only worse. The morning of the wedding, my dad took me aside for a talk. He and my mom were, of course, raising The Princess. And he looked at me very seriously and said, “This time is forever, you know.” Up to that very minute, I had been having secret thoughts of running out the door of the church. I was acting up a storm that this was the happiest day of my life, but really, I was just ready to be done with it and move into whatever came next, and I assumed it included security and never another lonely moment for the rest of my life. We might not be lovers, but we would be partners. I would stake my life on it. And so I did. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live. The ceremony itself was a holy and sacred thing. I meant every word I spoke. I shared the Eucharist with my husband. I kissed him at the end with complete enthusiasm. As we exited the sanctuary, the wedding coordinator ushered us off into a little side room for a few minutes of privacy before we had to come out and face our guests. I looked at him, and knew there was no going back now. On with the rest of our lives.

And for the next four years, we repeated that pattern over and over again. I would find evidence of his infidelity on the computer – not just looking at pictures, but actual communication with real people in real life that I knew. I would threaten divorce. He’d tell me to go ahead. I’d lose it and throw things. He’d threaten divorce. I’d beg him not to. We’d walk away, breathe, come back together, he’d go back to SAA meetings, I’d seek counseling for my anger, he’d quit, I’d quit, it would happen all over again. In the midst of this was job loss and an arrest, constant blame, endless instability, lots of moves. We had our son. I tried to be the best mother I could, knowing full well that I wasn’t succeeding because I was constantly focused on what my ex might be doing behind my back. But we were married. We had made vows, in front of God and our families, and there was no going back in my mind. Marriage was forever. But in November of ’05, when it happened for the 5th time, I promised him I was not going to put myself through this again. This was it. Our son was a year and a half old, and I would be damned if I was going to raise him in a house where he would learn that THIS is what husbands and fathers do, because their wives let them get away with it. He went back to meetings, acquired yet another sponsor, and stayed sober for over a year. I thought he did, anyway, although I have my doubts now. He was always a big collector of the SAA group’s monthly chips that recognized another month of sobriety, but when it came time for him to go to an anniversary meeting to collect his one year chip, he kept putting it off. So, I suspect I just didn’t catch on as quickly that time. It wasn’t until I opened the cell phone bill two months ago and found the international charges from his phone sex with his ex who had been part of that same gaming group that I had incontrovertible proof that I was being played once again.

But I’m not blameless, and I hope I’ve written this saga in such a way that shows that. I manipulated this relationship from day 1. In my desperation for a partner, I brought this upon myself.

All the stability I sought through others has flown out the window, and I am now having to try to attempt to rebuild my very self. I loved being married. I did. I just didn’t love the man I was married to. I liked him a whole lot, when he was being the best he could be. And I thought he could somehow complete me, as if I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough to stand on my own two feet and take care of myself. But I am.

My head knows it, and soon enough, my heart will follow.

RevGalBlogPals Friday 5: on overcoming September 7, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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Sally writes:

I am preparing this Friday 5 just before I take Chris into hospital for a cardioversion, right now we are all a little apprehensive. But this whole thing has got me thinking, so many of us are overcomers in one way or anoither, so many have amazing stories to tell of God’s faithfulness in adversity. And so I bring you this Friday 5:

1.Have you experienced God’s faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like…

Right now.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so, what brought you through?

Time. It’s not profound, but there it is.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?

The psalms do it for me. Here’s a small selection, plus a song lyric.

Psalm 23 – yeah, I know everyone’s heard it. But have you HEARD it?

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 27:4

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,

this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Mother, can’t you see I’ve got to live my life the way I feel is right for me…it might not be right for you but it’s right for me…I believe this is heaven to no one else but me, and I’ll defend it long as I can breathe, left here to linger in silence if I choose to…” -Sarah McLachlan

4. Is “why suffering” a valid question?

There’s no such thing as an invalid question. That doesn’t mean you always get answers.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?

I’m sure it involves a a pickup truck with the tailgate down, the beach, some alcohol, and a bonfire. Of course, I can do that even in the midst of the difficult time, but I’ll enjoy it more when the dust has finally settled. Mary Beth, you’re gonna come with, right?

cleanup on aisle 2… September 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o.
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Boy-o has a virus.  He threw up at Wal-Mart tonight.  No sign it was coming, except he was being a little whinier than normal.  Just retch, and up it came.  A very nice lady tore open her package of paper towels and handed me a roll to clean him up with.  Looooovely.  He was fine right afterwards, but he still had a very mild dinner of bananas and toast, and then straight to bed.  He’s been crying off and on ever since, though, and I keep going in to check on him and he keeps telling me, “Go AWAY, Mama!”  Hmph.