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June 27, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in life.

So, let’s talk about what I’m doing NOW.  You know, off with the old and on with the new, and all that stuff.

I work a lot.  I’m a medical records specialist-slash-birth registrar for a local hospital.  I listen to physician dictation and assign the reports to the medical transcriptionists for typing.  I organize vast quantities of loose paper medical records into cohesive batches for scanning into the electronic health record.  I rock out with my “RECEIVED ON” date stamp.  I coo over babies and verify that their names are spelled correctly, I assist unmarried parents in legally establishing paternity, and I report pregnancy, labor, and delivery statistics to the State.

I don’t go to church, but I lurk all over the Internet on a variety of Anglican/Episcopalian blogs.  The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is just too…complicated…for me to invest my energy in right now.  Everything’s a battle, and I just. don’t. need. that.  I need peace.  Occasionally I feel the need to worship in community, and I’ve driven over to Dallas to the parish I used to attend a few times – but it’s a long drive, and the church has grown by leaps and bounds.  It feels different.  I’m considering investigating a few of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) churches around here, because I know the Episcopal Church is in full communion with them, but most Sunday mornings I just opt for sleep and watching ‘Cars’ with Gabe.

I have friends, amazingly enough.  Several of them, which is very different for me.  My best friend in the world, whom I have known for 8 years, is Shannon.  We met when we lived across from each other in the same apartment complex.  She was my maid of honor.  We joke about moving to California to get married, but she’s not sure how she feels about kids and I’m not sure how I feel about dogs, so oh well.  Shannon made friends through MySpace with an interesting character named Alex, and I befriended him through her.  Alex is an ENTP on the Meyers-Briggs scale, and once he learned the story of everything I have been through in the last few years, he made it his mission to crack my shell.  He introduced me to his partner, Dani, and at least 5 or 6 other really amazing, fun-loving people.  We hang out, we go to karaoke, we eat sushi, we talk music.  I mess around with Alex’s guitars, and we occasionally explore underground drainage tunnels (it’s called urban exploring, and it’s AMAZING what you see down there).  These incredible people helped me mark the finalization of my divorce with a 4 day long party that involved a Goth club, a front porch barbecue and bullshit session, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  These wonderful, supportive people who helped me move into my apartment, have listened to me cry, and have embraced me are also, for the most part, dedicated agnostics, secular humanists, and atheists, which is…interesting.  I wouldn’t characterize them as hostile to religion.  They are just completely and utterly without faith in anything beyond that which can be proven.  And yet…they are not hopeless.  I always believed that not having faith meant you didn’t have hope, but I have been proven incorrect.

I’m dating again.  Maybe dating isn’t the right word.  I hesitate to talk about this, but this is my blog, and you don’t have to read it. 

Ok, so I’m having sex (and yes, I’m being safe).  I don’t think anyone quite gets just how much my x’s sex addiction and desire for progressivley risky relationships with outsiders damaged me.  For 6 years, he did everything he could to  skewer my belief in myself as an attractive and desirable woman who can have fun and bring pleasure to others.  I completely lost touch with my libido, and I came to believe something I had never, ever believed before: that I was dirty and didn’t deserve to enjoy myself.  What I’m doing involves some conscious effort to remember that sex and love are two separate things, and that they can exist (perhaps should? But I’m not entirely sure) together, but don’t have to.  I thought, given my previous (current?  I don’t know) beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and the place of sex in loving relationships, that this would be very difficult, and it hasn’t been.  But the long story short is that I have found out that there are, in fact, people out there who find my body beautiful, who desire me and want to please me in a way that I have not ever experienced before, whether in a relationship or out of one.  And whether you agree with what I’m doing or not, I have to say that I am beginning to feel healed, and healthy, and whole for the first time in many, many years.  I look forward to the day when I again have a partner, when I can commit myself AND my body AND my soul wholeheartedly to one person, but I will never again make the mistake of fixating on a person who is just…well, just not that into me.  I deserve more, and I always have.

NOW, this being said, I have a bona fide date-style DATE tonight with someone, involving dinner and everything!  I first met him last weekend, and my first impression was of a funny, kind, and gentle man.  He gave me a backrub and looked into my eyes and when I said I would like to get to know him better, he said he would absolutely love that and how about Friday?

I’ve mourned for a year.  I’m ready to move on. 

Last night I took Gabe to Oklahoma to spend the rest of the summer with his dad.  He doesn’t get the concept that this visit is for more than a weekend, because he kept saying, “See you Sunday, Mom!”  I gave up trying to explain it and just made sure he had his backpack and blanket and Buster the stufed dog.  I told him to be a good boy for his teachers at his ‘summertime school’, and I thanked his dad for securing him a place back at the very same preschool he attended when we lived there, so as to minimize any trauma.  I told him I’d call him every night and I’d miss him very much.  I think it is going to be very, very good for his dad to get a chance to be something other than “Uncle Dad”.

Well, that about sums everything up.  My apartment is slowly but surely coming together.  My stuff is cheap, and I miss some of the old THINGS I had when I was married…but not too much.  I have great neighbors.  They speak very little English, and last weekend when Gabe and I were coming back from the pool, they were outside grilling up a feast for their 5 year old son’s birthday and blasting Tejano and salsa music.  I let the beat catch me and as I danced up the stairs, the dad yelled to get my attention and then motioned to his grill and all the kids playing on the tennis court, inviting us to join his family for their party.  We were happy to do so, and Gabe had a great time playing, and I had a great time eating some incredible ribeye and crazy spicy smoked sausage and drinking Coronas.  I’m throwing myself a birthday party the weekend of July 19th, and I think I shall invite them in return.

Hope all of YOUR summers are shaping up to be as much fun as mine! 


untying the knot May 18, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in life.

My divorce was final last Thursday, May 15th.

One of these days I will write a hideously long post about my dubious adventures of the last few months, but not today.  In the meantime, if you want to keep up with how I’m doing, you can visit my daily photos here, or you can check in with me on MySpace as well.

April 21, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in life.

 Checking in, as requested.  Sorry, but it would be the understatement of the decade to say that much has been happening, but… much has been happening, and I don’t have the time to write about it all.  The lack of an Internet connection at home is proving to be a bit of an obstacle as well, but hopefully that will be remedied in just a few short weeks.  In the meantime, know that I am indeed alive and well.  Thanks for thinking of me!

February 17, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, life.

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.

October 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in food, health, life, movies, work, worship.
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Tomorrow, after Boy-o’s dad comes to pick him up, I will be cleaning out my cupboards and refrigerator, giving the food in them away, and making a shopping list. I’m starting over from scratch. After a decade and a half of laughing in the face of Mother Nature and willfully refusing to take care of myself, type 2 diabetes has finally come a-knocking at my door.

I’ve always had a genetic predisposition to developing it, courtesy of my maternal grandmother, who controlled hers through diet alone until she was in her 80’s, but my love of all things sugary has definitely aggravated the onset. Before I began the lifestyle changes that helped me lose 60 pounds in 2006, my lab work placed me in the pre-diabetic category, but after 9 months of intense discipline in my diet and exercise, my blood glucose dropped to acceptable levels. I had stopped smoking and my asthma had improved dramatically. And then a year ago, I started a job as a child welfare caseworker, a job that made me desperately unhappy. I was fired 8 months later, and the following month saw the demise of my marriage. Since then, depression and a lack of energy and financial resources (for weight-loss meetings and depression and asthma medications) have meant that healthy habits went on the back burner. And now, the chickens have come home to roost.

I’m a little afraid, but strangely, I’m also filled with a sense of “I always KNEW this was going to happen – and finally it HAS, so let’s get on with it now!” Inevitability. Yeah, that’s it.

geico-cavemen-restaurant.jpg I’m going to try a version of the Paleolithic diet, sometimes called the Neanderthal diet or the Caveman diet. I’m not going to go slaughtering my own food, but I’m going to try to stick to lean meat, seafood, eggs, and stuff that I could pick off a tree or dig out of the ground. And I’m going to have to make friends with herbs and spices and give up on sauces. Lots and lots of water, though that’s not really a problem, as I love water. It just takes discipline to be a water drinker, and lack of discipline is what landed me in this boat to begin with. I’ll keep juice and milk in the house for Boy-o, but snacking on fruit and seeds instead of cheese and crackers will be better for him, too. Fortunately, he loves broccoli “trees” and all manner of other raw veggies – it has just been pure laziness on my part buying packaged snacks.

So, that’s that. Change of subject…since I’m too lazy to do another complete post!

Well, I’m really hating my job…as in I have complete and utter loathing for it. No, really, I’m not kidding. I work in a call center as a customer service rep for a wireless phone service provider. I’ve done this kind of work before, in college, and for a little while right after I figured out a career in the field I majored in wasn’t in the cards for me. And it sucks. I was telling someone today that the more I work in customer service, the more I realize how much I really, really hate people. I also said that the thing about the call center industry that doesn’t make sense to me is that the entire job consists of being on the phone and being nice, yet all rewards and promotions and incentives in the company are geared toward getting to spend time OFF the phone. The people actually on the phones are the ones who keep the call center engine grinding away, who are told how important it is to sit in your chair, keep taking calls, to document all conversations quickly and thoroughly, and to move on to the next call. Doesn’t it seem kind of strange that, for doing your job well, you are rewarded with OPT (off the phone time), which means…NOT having to do your job? Or am I overthinking this?

Lastly, I watched this little piece of cinematic fluff today. It made me cry. Whether that’s because I’m overly fragile or because it’s a really good story with lots of great stuff about a compassionate and loving God, I don’t know. But I do love Ben Stiller. And seeing Anne Bancroft made me smile, because she was one of my very favorite actors of all time.

It really made me want to go back to church.

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.

The truth September 9, 2007

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

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 Five: Stress busting edition August 10, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives, life.
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Sally writes:

I am off to spend a few days at the beach chilling out after a hectic few weeks and before I head off for Summer School…

So with that in mind this week’s questions are looking at how you deal with the stress monster!!!???

1. First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff ?

I’m a big believer in the concept of “choose your battles”, and this definitely applies to what you choose to stress about. Granted, I worry about lots of things…but I only worry myself into a spiral if I mull it over and decide it’s really worth it, and that it is going to involve some genuine problem solving. I have found the little things tend to work themselves out, but if I am going to have to make a decision about a new direction, then it is definitely worth my “worry time”.

2. Exercise or chocolate for stress busting ( or maybe something else) ?

I should exercise. I know from experience that it really, really helps. But I usually opt for chocolate (or better yet, wine) instead.

3.What is your favourite music to chill out to?

trip-hop…especially Massive Attack.

4. Where do you go to chill?

I need some serious “chill time” right now, so next weekend, I’m making the 9 hour drive to the beach. The older I get, the more convinced I become that living so far from it is the reason I’ve always been so tied up in knots. I’ve just about reached the point where I’m just not willing to feel this way anymore. I’m at a place in my relationship (broken beyond repair) and my career (nonexistent) that I recognize my geography would be very simple to change, if I just have the courage.

5. Extrovert or introvert, do you relax at a party, or do you prefer a solitary walk?

Very introverted. I can have a fantastic time at a party if I know everyone, which is why I like family parties. At other kinds of parties though, you are more likely to find me hanging out in the corner with the one or two other people I know…and you are even MORE likely not to find me there at all. I do love going for walks. I also like to find a place to sit where I can watch people but they can’t watch me. I used to love climbing trees for this very purpose.

August 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life.

So…I’ve got 5 months left on this lease to make a plan for the next steps of my life. Anyone wanna help me figure out where to start?

I know I want to return to my home state, but not my home city.

I know I need to go back to school or vocational training to get the ability to earn a decent living for myself and my son, and I know that I will need to work while I do so, but I have no idea what I really want to do. By “decent”, I mean 30k per year or more. And I don’t want to work 60 hours a week for that 30k as I did when I was a restaurant manager. It would also be nice if I could leave my work at work and not have to be responsible for other people’s performance.

I know that I will need to come up with a reasonable plan for custody, visitation, and child support.

What specific steps does one take to start their life over at age 32?

I’m serious. I’m looking for more particular guidance than “God bless you, we’re praying for you.” Not that prayers are not needed – they are! But I know dang well some of you out there work in higher education and vocational training fields, and that you have wisdom to share. I’d also like to hear anything anyone has to say about relocating and getting settled someplace where you don’t know anyone.

I had to go to court last week… June 22, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life, unemployment.

…because I had gotten a speeding ticket, and I was really embarrassed, because I had to go back to the town I used to work in. It’s a very small town, with one associate district judge who hears everything in the county: traffic court, civil cases, criminal matters, and of course, juvenile deprived cases where I, as a representative of the Agency, used to stand before him and ask to have children taken into State custody. Well, obviously word had not reached him or the assistant District Attorney about my termination a few days previously (I’m surprised, gossip travels lightning fast in that town and half the time people know what’s going on with you before YOU do), so when he called my name and I walked up, he started laughing and said “Shame on you!” He then asked the ADA if he had any problem if he dismissed the ticket and ordered me just to pay court costs, and the ADA said he didn’t have a problem with that. The judge then jokingly sentenced me to “lifetime employment with the Agency.” It was all I could do not to cry, and some of the people sitting in the courtroom were my former clients, so I said in a very low voice, “Your Honor, I no longer work for them.” Both the judge and the ADA looked at me and raised their eyebrows, and the judge said, “Really? What happened, did you quit?” I said, “No, Your Honor” and kept my eyes on the ground. It was open court, so he shrugged his shoulders and said he’d find out the story soon enough he was sure, and sent me into the next room to make arrangement with the court clerk for payment. I went in, and the clerk asked me what the judge had said, and I told her he said to dismiss the ticket and have me pay costs. So she wrote me up a payment plan that stated I would have to pay a total of $175 at the rate of $50 per month, and I went on my merry way, trying to figure out where to come up with an extra $50 a month and resolving never to set foot in that town again.

Well, this morning, I checked the mail, and there was a revised payment plan from the court with a note from the judge written on it. He wrote, “Hope you’re holding up”, and the new payment plan says I owe a grand total of $20 by July 25th and then the ticket will be dismissed.

I don’t know what to think, except to be really, really thankful.