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February 17, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, life.
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Haven’t been in the back of a police car in a long time, but yesterday both kids and I were in this one, hanging out and waiting for the wrecker to come get our car. We hydroplaned and did several 360’s across all lanes of traffic on northbound 121. Miraculously no one was hurt, and we didn’t hit anyone or anything, just wound up wedged into an embankment.  Insurance is talking like they’re going to total the car, which comes with a whole new set of problems, but I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it on Monday morning.

Haven’t had much of anything to say for awhile.  I’d like to start blogging again, but only when I have something to write that is not a pathetic laundry list of mishaps.  I was almost there… and then this.

January 24, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, depression.
4 comments

Yesterday I…

-straightened out an issue with the lienholder of my vehicle…my payments were 2 months behind due to the move and the 2 weeks spent without a job, but I think I’ve got it fixed now.

Today I…

-called the company that owns my student loans.  I’ve been dodging their calls for months because I haven’t been able to pay.  So I called and said, “Help?  I’m getting divorced and I have no money.” and they said, “Look at that, you qualify for an economic hardship deferment. And we can backdate it to take care of all the past due stuff, too.”

Suffice it to say, when I moved, I just packed my shit and MOVED.  I was so emotionally drained, I didn’t forward my mail, turn off my utilities, change over my car insurance/registration – ANYTHING.  And, well…it’s catching up with me.  It’s not all bad.  My former landlord rented the place again the next week, so the utility companies figured out I didn’t live there anymore and sent me refunds of my deposits, which were helpful during the crunch.  But I’m so tired of living like this.  Ignoring problems does not make them go away, and you’d think I would know that by now.

I keep wanting to call the contact at my new parish for Stephen Ministry, but I think I’m too hard a case.  If anyone knows of good experiences others have had with it, I would appreciate hearing them.

January 20, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, Episcopal.
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So today was the annual meeting at church, a time in which reports are given and budgets explained and vestry members and diocesan convention delegates are elected.  Even though I haven’t been attending this church very long and haven’t officially transferred my letter yet (therefore not having voting privileges), I decided to attend.  I haven’t gotten to know anyone or participated in anything outside of services yet, and I thought maybe I could get a better sense of what the actual people of the church were like if I saw them in a forum where there would be some discussions and debates.

(Side note: this is a different method of operating for me, by the way.  When I have joined a new parish in the past, I have jumped in with both feet.  I have introduced myself and my family to the rector, asked how I could get involved, attended education classes right off the bat, pledged…the whole works.  But I’m stepping gingerly this time.  Part of this has to do with the fact that this IS the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, an all-around unfriendly place for people who want (as I do) to remain Episcopalian.  The other part is my own emotional state.  I feel odd, being as it’s just Boy-o and me, no husband.  Until it was gone, I didn’t realize how much security I took from simply being someone’s wife, even though the marriage was a disaster almost from the get go, even though I know with all my heart that I will be healthier on my own.  I’m not comfortable identifying myself as husband-less yet.  I find myself wondering if the fact that I haven’t felt welcomed in this parish has to do with my insecurities about no longer being part of a “traditional” family unit, or whether it really is THEM.  So today, to battle some of the demons that have been trailing my footsteps (see last post), I decided to try and find out by attending this meeting.)

I had read in the bulletin that child care would be provided, but not knowing anyone, and being a little nervous about asking (because then people would know I don’t BELONG), I ambled around to all the classrooms until I found the one where there were kids watching movies.  I asked if this was the child care for the meeting, and the nice lady said it was.  She took Boy-o’s backpack, asked his name, and sat him in  a chair with the other kids to watch “Ratatouille”.  I went back into the parish hall and looked around for a place to sit.  Lunch was being served (a baked potato bar), but I wasn’t hungry, so I found a place at a table where no one else was sitting.  In the old days, I would have seated myself and my husband at a table that had people already, shaken hands, introduced the both of us, and started a conversation.  But these are most definitely not the old days.  I was nervous.  I wanted to know more about the parish, but wasn’t sure how to begin finding out.  There were a lot of people there, they were all wearing name tags, and I didn’t know any of them.

Then a very nice woman at another table made eye contact with me and asked if I would like to come sit with them, so I did.  Introductions were made around the table, and I put on my super duper being-interviewed-for-a-job-and-I-have-to-make-them-like-them-me smiley face.  The lady who invited me asked how long I had been coming to the parish, I said only a few weeks and explained I had recently moved back home to the area from Oklahoma.  It turned out that we live in the same Fort Worth suburb, only a few miles apart, and both drive about 25 minutes to this parish when there is another Episcopal parish in the very town we live in.  I also learned she and her husband were from Oklahoma, so that gave us a few things to talk about.  The priest-in-charge (the parish is in the middle of a rector search process, it turns out) interrupted our getting to know one another by doing the familiar quieting of the room with “The Lord be with you”, and informed us that Bishop +JLI had asked that this video  (text can be found here) of his address from the diocesan convention in November be played at each parish’s annual meeting.

Immediately, the following comments were heard:

“But he didn’t say we had to listen, did he?”

“Pfffft!”

“You know, after I was confirmed he held out his hand at a 45 degree angle like I was supposed to kiss his ring, and all I could think of was in the Lord of the Rings when Gollum bites Frodo’s finger off.”

And if I needed any more reassurance that I was in an okay place, my new friend  asked me what brought me to this place instead of the closer parish.  I looked at the other people around the table, screwed up my courage, and did something that I understand is quite risky these days in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth – I blurted out, “I want to be part of a place that is not on its way out of The Episcopal Church.”  Everyone smiled, and an older gentleman (who it also turned out was a vestry member) said I had come to the right place.

This was all being said in quiet voices while the video was playing, and the whole room was in conversation in this manner.  I can honestly say that I have never seen a group of Episcopalians less interested in what their bishop had to say.  Another woman at the table told me, “We were considerate while he was explaining the bit about the history of how the diocese came to be, but frankly we really don’t care to hear the rest of his opinions about how we are going to be “left behind”.  Her husband commented on the hearty applause by the convention delegates at the end of the bishop’s talk, and the vestry member next to me said, “Well, of course – he’s preaching to his choir.  We are not members of his choir.”

So, this weekend’s progress consisted of the following:

1. Reactivating membership in that famous club that makes you write down everything you eat.

2. Making friends at church.

3. Not obsessing about that which has been lost forever.

The activities of the next few days are expected to include:

1. A talk with Fr. Priest-in-Charge, who is also in charge of the Stephen Ministry.  Because I think I could use their help.

2. A concerted effort to remember that not everyone is thinking about me all the time.  Cos this whiny shit I’ve been doing is seriously pathological.

January 18, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, depression.
5 comments

Here it is.

I’m tired.  I’m sad.  I’m lost.  I’m pissed the fuck off.  Nothing is right, and I don’t know how to fix it.  I’m constantly forcing down the scream that just wants to come howling to the surface.  My chest hurts and I can’t swallow.  I want to step in front of one of this town’s many trains, or jump off the roof, or shoot myself in the head, or slice my forearms to ribbons.  I have constant dreams about death…except I’m not sure if you can call them dreams, since they happen when I’m awake, too.  You’d never know it.  You could pass me walking down the hall at work, and you would never know about the bloody movie playing on an endless loop in my head.  I think the official term for this is “suicidal ideations”.  I have no plan to carry any of this out.  I keep telling myself that I have people depending on me, and haven’t I hurt them enough already?

I have lost my marriage.  I think I may have lost my religion, too.  I’ve lost my independence, and my reason.  If I could figure out a way to stay in bed 24 hours a day and sleep, I would.

I have lost the good kid Boy-o used to be, the one that his teachers told me was a pleasure to have around.  Now he’s the “problem child” who has lost his potty training and is constantly in time out and throwing tantrums, and his teacher at his new preschool HATES me and thinks I am a shitty mother.  I can TELL.  I’m supposed to be enforcing a consistent program of discipline and rewards and consequences at home, but I have no discipline in my OWN routine, and have been utterly unable to do this for him.

And dammit…it feels like he used to be good just for being able to climb up in my lap for a kiss and a snuggle, just because he was a nice kid…and now he wants a freaking REWARD for everything.  I want to tell him, the real world isn’t going to reward you for following directions and cleaning up your mess.  But that would be cruel.  I think.

Once upon a time, when I was well-insured and had a co-parent around on a daily basis, I was able to put together a tidy little package of medication, counseling, spiritual direction, church involvement, diet, and exercise that had me feeling the best I have ever felt in my life.  For close to a year, I got to see what life is like in the light.  It seems unfathomable to me now that I once felt good.  I try every…single…day to make a list of the things I would need to do, the phone calls I would need to make, the places I would have to drive to get back there, and I get exhausted and put down the pen.

I’m tired of licking my wounds.  I don’t know how to do anything else.  I have a job, but I’m a temp, and there is no possible way I can ask for a whole day off to go sit at the county mental health center to fill out paperwork for a possible appointment 3 months in the future.  I spend all my free weekends when Boy-o is with his dad drunk out of my mind.  I will do anything to avoid having to think about the pile of shit that is my life.  The last couple of nights have seen me passing out from too much cough syrup.  I’m out now, but I briefly considered going out to CVS to buy some more, which is a big clue that this is not a healthy path I am starting down.

Am I sick, mad, or both?

Can I just go to sleep now?  And never wake up?

January 5, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging.
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I resurrected my photo blog project of last year. I did really well with it from January until the middle of July when things went loony, and I missed doing it, so I’ve started over this year. The pictures are all taken with my camera phone, so no promises as to quality! But if you’re so inclined, you can check it out and leave comments here.

I’m on my way, I’m on my waaaaaayyy home sweet home…. December 30, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, depression, divorce, Episcopal, family, lyrics, ministry, moving.
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texasflag_fullquilt.jpg  So, I’m back.

Boy-o and I have officially taken up residence in adjacent second floor bedrooms of my parents’ house just north of Fort Worth.  This is not my childhood home…that was sold while I was in college, so I have never actually lived here before, only visited on school breaks, and for holidays and occasional weekends while I was married.

We’ve been here for almost a month now, sleeping on air mattresses, but my furniture was only moved from Oklahoma into a local storage unit last weekend.  About 5 minutes ago, I finished getting my computer set up and the wireless card installed so I can use the home network – yay for the Internets!

I’ve got a job already, working in medical records, or as it’s called now, “health information services”, at a local hospital.  This fits in well with my goal to go back to school in the near future for a degree in health information technology so I can be a medical records coder and you know, support myself and move out of this house. 🙂  I’ve got a post simmering away somewhere in the stew that is my brain about why what I perceived to be a vocation to the priesthood has been put way, way on a back burner.  Like on a stove in someone else’s house.  Suffice it to say that I have come to realize in the last few months that my search for God’s plan for me may not lie in ordained ministry after all, and that I latched on to it because it is the most highly VISIBLE way to serve, and I was in a marriage, indeed in a LIFE, in which I felt utterly INVISIBLE.  And of course, there is also the fact that I now reside in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, a diocese with leadership that does not and has never supported women’s ordination, and which is in fact on its way out of the national church over this issue, among others.  All I can say to that is, ABOUT FRICKIN’ TIME.  No, I’m not even going to make a plea for reconciliation and understanding at this point.  I’d rather it all just be done with so we can get on with whatever comes next.

I haven’t filed for divorce yet.   The paperwork is all completed, but he won’t sign because he thinks there needs to be some language in there about how if I win the lottery or marry a rich guy, he gets to stop paying child support.  And now that I’m back home, frankly, I’ve kind of lost my sense of urgency about the whole thing.  I mean sure, I wish we could fast track this divorce and be done already, but I have what I wanted most: I’m HERE.  He had initially said he would not let me move until we filed.  I told him we weren’t filing until he got his head out of his ass about child support.  Then I told him when moving day was, and he didn’t do anything to stop it, so here we are. I’m not in any rush to get involved with anyone again, and I’m certainly never getting married again, so there’s no pressure on me.  It’ll happen when it happens.

I feel sad and hopeless a lot, and I cry myself to sleep most nights.  But it will get better.  I know it will.  It has to.

So now for a little Motley Crue…

“You know that I’ve seen too many romantic dreams
Up in lights, fallin’ off the silver screen

My heart’s like an open book for the whole world to read
Sometimes nothing keeps me together at the seams

I’m on my way, I’m on my way home sweet home
Tonight tonight
I’m on my way, just set me free
Home sweet home…”

November 29, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, divorce.
5 comments

Moving day is upon me very, very soon. I thought I would be ecstatic, but I am having a lot of irrational mood swings about it, and last night I think I was finally able to pinpoint why.

It’s not like I have lived here for a long time or have extensive memories associated with these four walls and this roof. I moved in here a mere 6 months ago when I separated from my husband. My dad, sister, and brother-in-law brought their pickup truck and a borrowed trailer and helped me make my escape one Saturday morning right after my husband left for work. The whole time I was throwing stuff madly into my car and the two other vehicles I was crying. I could barely see. I attempted to help move furniture but was so dizzy with fear at what I was doing that I kept dropping my end of stuff, and finally my dad and brother-in-law gave up and did it themselves.

This is the letter I left:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 7, 2007

Dear W,

I’ve decided, and you probably won’t disagree, that we need to separate for the time being.

I have taken only clothing and the furniture items I brought into our marriage. With the exception of a few kitchen appliances and the desktop computer, I have left everything that we acquired together.

I have signed a 6 month lease on a place in town. I have taken my cell phone, but left what I believe is fair payment for this month’s bill. I do not feel it necessary to pay for any of your long distance charges, since you incurred them while violating your marriage vows and being unfaithful to me.

I do not intend to file for divorce at this time. It is my genuine prayer that you will address your unfaithfulness to me and realize this is not an appropriate way for a 33 year old married man and father to behave. I also pray that you will stop blaming everyone else for the way you choose to behave. I love you very much and want to reconcile with you, but I can no longer continue to stand by and watch you inflict harm on yourself. It is too painful for me, when I want to do everything I know how to do to stop it, to save you, and I can’t…because ultimately your behavior has nothing to do with me. Regardless of the excuses you make to yourself, you have not cheated because I worked nights and you were lonely, or because I lost my temper and smacked you, or because I went out and spent $20 on dinner with a friend. You cheat because you have a deep seated character defect that causes you to think you are above things like honesty with and fidelity to your wife, a flaw that allows your to rationalize everything you do, no matter who you hurt in the process.

I would like to come to an agreement with you about Boy-o. I have no desire to keep your son from you, and it would be my preference that we can work out a joint custody agreement that allows him to spend equal time with both of us.

Call me when you’re ready.

I love you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am happy to be returning to my home state, but I am crying because, when I wrote that letter, I only intended to move out of this house to reunite my family. Instead of me, and our life, and our dreams, and our hopes, he chose…friends. Friends that he sees a few times a year at gaming conventions, and he chose these friends because they do not, in his words, “judge him”. They do not challenge him to live up to the promises he made to God and to me, and they do not ask him to be the best person he can be.

And it is so. fucking. sad. Because instead of moving out of here to reunite my family, I am filing for divorce. I am moving back in with my parents. I am being forced to acknowledge that I have wasted the last 6 years of my life and that the only good thing to come out of it at all was Boy-o. As a friend told me recently, I got a lovely parting gift.

gabelovesmama.jpg

My initial plans once I get home (aside from getting a job) are to get signed up for a yoga class at the gym down the street, and I’m thinking of trying my hand at knitting as well. I’ve been looking at this yarn shop, and they offer beginner classes. It’s a thought, anyway.

Voice of the Day: Living In a World With Suffering (from Beliefnet: God’s Politics) November 28, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging.
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Living as we do in a world that suffers so much, two opposing possibilities can easily tempt us: either to turn our backs and live oblivious to the pain or to allow the pain to overwhelm us and despair to take up residence in our hearts. The truly faithful option is to face the pain and live joyfully in the midst of it. Those who suffer most remind us of how tragic and arrogant it would be for us to lose hope on behalf of people who have not lost theirs. They are teachers of joy.

– Joyce Hollyday
Then Your Light Shall Rise

Marcus update November 22, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, friends.
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A couple of people have asked me for an update on Marcus and the tragedy that has affected the small town I live in, so I thought I would just sum things up before I head south for the Thanksgiving weekend.

A week and a half ago, my friends were driving south on I-35 from a night partying in Norman.  There were 6 of them in the car, and 5 of them worked with me at the call center.  Just south of the city, they were hit head on at highway speed by a woman in a brand new car who was traveling north in the southbound lanes of the freeway.  This woman had left a suicide note at home.  The woman was killed instantly.  The 6 in the other car had to be cut from the vehicle.  2 were already dead by the time emergency services arrived, and the other 2 died at the scene in a matter of minutes.  Marcus and the other kid (who didn’t work at the call center, so I don’t know him) were Mediflighted to OU Medical Center.  There was a third car behind my friends’ car that was involved, and that car was driven by a man who was heading back to our same small town.  He blessedly walked away without injury.  Only the drivers of the three cars were wearing their seatbelts, although frankly, I can’t figure out why the woman who caused all this bothered.  If that sounds bitter, I’m sorry.

No I’m not.  I AM bitter.

Although the word on the street was that Marcus wasn’t going to make it, I should have known that someone as ummm…flaming…as he is wouldn’t allow himself to be extinguished so easily. 🙂

In the first few days, he had two brain surgeries to relive swelling and the pressure from fluid buildup.  He has also had two reconstructive surgeries on his face.  All his ribs are broken, something is wrong with his spleen, his jaw is wired shut, he has lost hearing in his left ear and sight in his left eye.  Collarbone is broken in two places, left femur in two.  He’s on a  feeding tube and a respirator, and they’ve been trying to wean him off it for the last few days, because the longer he remains on it, the harder it will be for him to breathe on his own.  Most of the time he has been kept in a medically induced coma, but when awoken, he responds to requests to squeeze a hand or try to move a leg.  He knows he is in the hospital, but doesn’t know what has happened yet.  His condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.  His mother, from whom he has been long estranged, is by his bedside, and he has squeezed her hand once for yes when she asked if she could stay, and twice for no when she asked if she should leave.  And so the spirit of forgiveness appears to have taken root in the midst of this awful mess.

Last Wednesday were the four funerals, and that evening we held a candlelight memorial service at work to celebrate the lives of those who were too young to die.  Everyone told stories, and there were a lot of tears.  We’re flying the flags at half staff.

This Saturday we are holding a benefit drag show to raise money for the hospital bills.  Originally, I was supposed to work the event, but when some of my teammates realized that this Sunday is my last day at work, they decided to find a fill in for me so they could buy me drinks and have a little going away party too.  And as happy as I am to be going home, I am genuinely going to miss all the wonderful people who held me up during these last few difficult months.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I saw something in your eyes and I wanted it for myself November 10, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, thoughtful.
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I don’t usually like to post unless I can make the ideas flow coherently, which has been very, very difficult for me lately.  I keep reaching for a word and not being able to find it, or trying to make an analogy that doesn’t quite make sense to anyone but me.  My mind jumps from one unrelated thought to another.  My body aches to be held, and I can be laughing at something absurd one minute and so desperate to re-create a memory the next that I go in search of the places where significant events happened, places guaranteed to make me freaking lose it.  And in the middle of it all I need to remember that I still have to go to work every day, pay the bills, get packed for my move, and make sure that my childrens’ lives are as normal as possible given the fact that their mother, who has, without fail, bounced back from every single bad thing that has ever happened, appears to be really cracking up this time.

I was talking to a friend the other night about our fundamentally different approaches to being in love, and I admitted out loud something that I have known for a long time.  I don’t know how to love someone without having the relationship defined, packaged up in a box, and progressing toward a “goal” of some type, whether that be a “happily ever after” or a “you’re my very best friend in the world”.  If a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic in nature, can’t be “defined”, then I haven’t wanted any part of it.  I also realized that I have had many, many opportunities for potentially life changing, loving friendships that I have bypassed because I have been afraid that someone would want me to display the same level of committment to them that I wanted them to give to me – in other words, I’ve been afraid that I can’t give as well as I take, so better just to say that I have too many other things to focus on, right?

I had wonderful models for loving relationships, both romantic and platonic, in the family I grew up in.  But my family was also very “in the box” when it came to those same loving relationships.  “This is how it works.  You do this, and then this, and then that.  And if you do it this way, then you will be happy.  Any other way, and you will not”  So, I chased after love and the creation of a family of my own like it was a race I had to win.  I chose people who said they loved me and that I was beautiful, not people who said they would stand by me and treat me with dignity, even if I was acting like an ass.  And the one time I did meet someone who said that I was a genuinely good person and that we would be friends no matter what happened with our dating, the timing was all fucked up.  I was basically insane with grief, I was drinking too much, I was putting on an act that my life was somehow “together”, and I wasted no time in trying to force the so-called “next step”, resulting in loss on top of loss.  I preach forgiveness as the path to peace, while steadfastly refusing to forgive myself for wanting what EVERYONE wants – to be loved.  “I should have known better” is my mantra.

Do I regret my choices?  Can there be any doubt reading this?  I’d love to say that I don’t, that every single thing I have done/thought/felt/experienced led me to the place that I am now, and that might be easier to say if I actually liked the place I am now.  But I don’t.  I don’t feel as though I have made any spiritual or emotional progress since 2000, the year of That-Thing-I-Don’t-Talk-About-Anymore-to-Anyone-Ever.

Typing that last part out was a bit of an epiphany.  I think…I know what I need to do now.  Yeah.  Will I do it is the question.