Before I start on yet another brain dump on the grenade my spouse dropped on our marriage last week, I want to thank all of you who have reached out, commented, and connected with me. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this in real life, and I can feel your support seeping through the interwebs like the heat from a camp bonfire, where we sit around and melt away the chill and make calorie-free, gluten-free s’mores with peanut butter and drink wine. (You are also free to roast hot dogs if you like, but with that as an alibi, don’t ask me what’s on the end of MY stick. Mkay?)
I appreciate y’all sticking around while the power’s out. Hopefully the generator will kick on shortly. Thanks for sitting in the dark with me and keeping me company. It means more than you know.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been the sort of person that craves both security AND independence. I think this can be best illustrated by a story my mom likes to tell: When I was a baby, she would occasionally stick me in the playpen. (This was, of course, back in the 70s, when playpens were actually death traps, and I would’ve apparently been safer playing with a hair dryer in a shark-infested bath tub. But no one knew this at the time, and I’m pretty certain she wasn’t plotting to kill me. That came later, when I became a teenager and fully deserved it.)
Anyway, when Mom needed just five minutes to take cookies out of the oven, or use the bathroom, or whatever, she’d plop me in the playpen, pulling the sides up so I couldn’t wander off. This was my cue to scream, cry, and generally throw an Oscar-worthy hissy fit. I HATED being trapped in there. Shortly, she’d decide that neither her sanity nor her bladder could take the wailing, and, resignedly, she’d put the side down and let me out.
But then, a couple of hours later, a funny thing happened. I’d creep over to the playpen and, noting the sides were down, crawl RIGHT IN and blissfully play with my toys. Putting the sides up turned it into a torture chamber, but with the exit wide open, I was perfectly happy to hang out there all day. (Even as a baby, I drove my poor mother nuts. I’m sorry, Mom. I love you. Thank you for letting me live.)
And this is, historically, how I have approached relationships. I want you to stay, but I can’t be confined. And, now that I’ve been forced to reflect, I see that this has been true with my current spouse – even though I thought he was the love of my life*, I’ve kept the escape hatch propped open.
*He may still be. Or he may meet the fate of the aforementioned hot dog. Jury’s out yet.
For one thing, when we got married, I didn’t take his name. Well, I did, but I hyphenated it with my ex’s name. It made sense at the time; I had 12 years of professional experience under my previous name, plus I wanted to share a last name with my kids.
Lately I’d been toying with the idea of dropping my ex’s name from the two. It’s part of my legal name, but I never actually USE it, and incidentally, hyphenating is a royal pain in the keister. (Don’t ever do it, ladies. JUST PICK ONE NAME. Otherwise you’re constantly wondering which name (or names) you’ve used on which credit cards and internet sites, and you’ll never remember which company’s systems use hyphens, which use spaces, and which just shove both names together into an intimidating tangle of letters, and you’ll have to spell every possible permutation of your name EVERY SINGLE DAMN TIME anyone has to look you up. By the way, no two airlines handle hyphens the same way. This keeps you on the short list for free invasion of your personal space.)
Anyway, I haven’t dropped the prior name yet. Just didn’t get around to it.
Another example that perhaps I wasn’t all in: My spouse and I keep separate finances. Remember how I said I was a math geek? Well, every month, he pays the mortgage, and I pay the rest of the bills. I enter everything into a spreadsheet, and we “true up” at the end of the month. We even buy a lot of our own food. I know it SOUNDS ridiculous, but we never fight about money. And in my last marriage, I was the sole breadwinner while my spouse stayed home buying old watches on eBay. I was NOT having any of THAT again, so I control my own funds.
It’s always seemed to make sense for us, but with the current filter on my lens, it seems to suggest that I was keeping the sides of the playpen down.
Oh, another thing. I have this tattoo (I swear it’s less crappy than this photo makes it look):
It’s a kokopelli – he represents the spirit of music, and he’s also a prankster. Even if you’re not terribly spiritual, you can usually hang with a fun musical deity. There are three music notes beside him – one for me, one for my son, and one for my daughter – symbolizing our survival of the divorce. (And to further drive that point home – I bought this tattoo with the money I made hocking my first wedding ring set. Heh.)
My current spouse wondered aloud why there wasn’t a note for him. We were engaged when I got it…surely he’d be a permanent part of my life, right?
But I didn’t add a little note for him. I’ve thought about going back and doing it…but….
(Yeah, I know, you never ever EVER tattoo yourself with a relationship. Not ever. Here’s another reason why not to, I guess. I mean, don’t be this guy):
(By the way? Don’t bother sending this to your friend Brenda. Trust me, she’s already seen it.)
One more thing. I have a backup plan. I just wrote about that a week ago. I SAID it was in the event of my spouse’s death. But perhaps I was keeping my parachute packed not just in case of sudden engine failure, but also in the event that I didn’t like where the plane was going.
Given all this, maybe I wasn’t truly as blindsided by this as I originally thought.
When I’m poking around my brain, it’s definitely one of the tender spots. For some reason, I keep rubbing it to make sure it still hurts.
One positive to this whole mess is that it’s been a super-effective weight loss plan. Based on my complete loss of appetite, and my stomach’s reaction to stress*, I’m sure I’ve dropped a few pounds. I won’t actually know until Tuesday, because in order to keep from being obsessive, I’m only allowed to step on the scale on Tuesday morning. (Perfectly logical, yes?)
*When I’m stressed, I normally eat. However, when I peg the meter – divorce hearing, child illness, or, apparently, your husband flipping the “Available” light on the commitment taxi – my stomach pulls the evacuation alarm, and suddenly there just aren’t enough lifeboats on the Titanic, if ya know what I mean.
About 2-3 years ago, I was at my lowest weight since my anorexic high school days, due to some stomach issues and recurrent mononucleosis. Since then, I’d put on ten pounds and just haven’t been comfortable in my skin. So when I put on another five recently, I stepped up my game. My weight loss has been…slow (which is expected, as I wrote about here.):
- Week 1: six pounds (Whoa. Clearly I was retaining water like the Hoover Dam.)
- Week 2: zip
- Week 3: one pound
- Week 4: donut
- Week 5: GAINED A F%(^!N& pound
Week 6 is Tuesday. I think I crushed the plateau like Godzilla in a bad Japanese movie. ROWR <stomp stomp stomp>
Ironically, my low weight hits the same time frame as the rest of this whole debacle. Which would lead a normal person to NOT want to be that weight again, right?
But then, if food and I were normal, I wouldn’t have started this blog in the first place.
In the meantime, since food doesn’t appeal, I’ve been binge-shopping. I stocked up on new workout gear on Friday, and today visited the local farmers market and treated myself.
In addition to veggies, I bought myself flowers:
Silver and clay ring:
And a couple of pieces from Mind of Madness Design:
I may be all scrambled up like a smoothie on the inside, but I’ll glam up my game face and keep my brave on.
Fake it ’till ya make it.