Good Ol’ Fashioned Angry

I’m feeling a little angry today. And yesterday. And maybe the day before that, it’s been quietly building for a little while now, lying in wait for the perfect moment to sneak up on me and yell “Boo!” It found its moment, that good old fashioned anger that used to simmer just below the surface back in the good ol’days when everything was in a tumultuous state of turmoil. It’s been relatively peaceful for a bit so I guess I was due for a good bout of repressed anger rearing its ugly  but all too familiar head. It’s not like it used to be, though, with no rhyme or reason to it. There’s reason. But I’m not going to make it rhyme.

The old patterns are back and mounds of frustration with them. Largely because there is literally nothing I can do about it now, nothing at all. I’ve exhausted all my resources and gotten no where. Like a dog chasing its tail, I’m all worn out but have gotten no where. A very expensive no where, thousands of dollars in legal fees, days spent in court, a year of insane stress crushing down on me. Very expensive indeed, a lot spent on a whole lot of nothing.

Round and about we went going no where, getting nothing but dizzy. And then it ended in a fizzle of stupid admonishments and court ordered counseling. All that and nothing to show, back to square one. Or negative zero. There were a few brief months of playing nice because you thought you’d won. I sure felt like I had lost so why not? Maybe you did. I’m pretty sure we’re all losers here though. And now it’s back to the basics, no new reality just the same old shit and bad behavior. The same guilt, spread thick, to manipulate and damage the kids. The same games, punishing me by not bringing them to their end of season awards banquet. The upset kid going to school and telling his teacher, as he fights back tears, that he won’t be going to middle school camp because it’s his dad’s week and his dad was making him feel bad about going to camp because his dad had plans for his birthday. The kid’s birthday. The kid who now feels guilty about going to camp with his classmates and friends because it happens to fall on his birthday. (But don’t tell my mom because then she’ll be mad at my dad.) The same kid who just now texts me from his brother’s phone to ask me to bring his camp stuff, clothes blankets, and all because it’s too much for his dad and step-mom to pack and prep these basic needs for the kids. Even though he’s at their house. But “Hey mom can you bring my stuff…Because my dad said since you signed me up that  you have to provide.”

It’s bullshit. It’s fucking bullshit, that’s what it is. What kind of asshole does this to his kids?

So, yeah, I’m a little angry again. I’m ranting and raving, shaking my fist at the sky. Trying hard not to let it seep from my pores. Trying not to let it dominate my life and steel my joy. Because there is joy to be had. Even with no good answers, no solution, just an awareness that this is the way things are. What can you do? Be the change you want to see? There is no fucking change! This is the perma state of life, your burden to bear, kids, and mine. The thing that will eventually fuck you up and already has me. All I can do is balance, and try not to eff you all up even more. Be steady, be calm and kind even when I’m writhing inside with a white hot anger. Good luck with that! Deep breath in, deep breath out. Punch the bag, this is why you have it, go for a run. One foot in front of the other, go go go…

If hungry/angry is hangry what do you call tired/angry?

It’s been a while since I’ve been Hulk Smash Angry…but I think tonight’s the night. I was attempting to finish another post that I started a couple days ago, the idea has been marinating in my head long enough but for some reason it just won’t come out right. Change tracks and try to get the rest of my personal statement for dental school written…no dice there either. I can’t concentrate. The anger suddenly swells up, raw and edgy. Sharp like a razor.. I didn’t even realize it was hiding there.

I’m beyond tired. The kind of overly tired that comes from a couple weeks of running myself ragged trying to get it all done and still not feeling like I’m doing enough. There never is enough time; I’m stuck in catch up mode. It feels like my permanent state of being, that frantic hurrying. It’s also from working an insane amount of hours over the course of a day and a half. There’s that too. The angry is a special add on that’s definitely enhanced by my current lack of sleep.  I’m tired/angry. Tangry? Tirangry? Angired? Whatever you call it I’ve got it going on. The little things are setting it off. Listening to a friend talk about how his kids’ college educations are already paid for after spending time around people with money and hearing them casually talk about paying for three college tuitions at once. Fuck you all and your kids’ bright shiny futures.

I don’t really mean that. I think that’s great, great that other people are privileged enough that they can start their adult lives without the crushing debt of student loans. Really, I do. I know that it’s a direct result of someone’s hard work somewhere, even if it wasn’t their own. Hell, that’s a major source of my drive to do better, wanting to make it so my kids don’t have to work so hard. No, that’s not the cause it’s just the salt in the wound today. Everything is right now though. All the wounds are salty. I’m downright salty. This week is going to be one of those weeks. A week of frustration from waiting for certain things to happen, things that are totally out of my control, and I won’t have my usual busy pace of life to keep me distracted. My kids are with their dad and all the dentists I’ve been following around lately are off for the week of July 4th. I’ve got no classes right now and no big test to study for. This should be a welcome break. I could really use a break. I’m not sure this will be it though. See, there’s court on Thursday and it will very likely be the resolution of this past year’s change of custody hearing (though I feel like I’ve said that before).

I should probably plan to run more this week. I hadn’t thought about that before tonight. And maybe drink a little more too. It’s best to distract oneself at times like these. I’m not doing such a good job of that right now though. Tomorrow, or rather later today, I’ll sleep. That will help. This weekend I’ll work and try to find ways to distract myself while doing so.  Maybe I’ll finish that dental school application or find a crochet project, something to take the edge off the quiet hours. Monday is a holiday. Then Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is court and my kids come home. And after that things might be different. Maybe better. Maybe.

Residual Emotion

I thought I was okay, I thought I was fine but then it all hit me (again) and I wasn’t. I’m not (again).

This time last year some shitty stuff was happening, it was pretty rough. I spent the following couple months hermitting and trying to find a way to cope with my new reality. After a bit I did just that and life went on as it tends to do. It went on and on and suddenly I realized it had been a year. Somehow just realizing that (combined with the stress of my current schedule and some frustrating interactions with the ex) brought me right back to where I was last year. All the positive momentum I had seemed to just drop right off, it vanished and left me wanting to hide under the covers and not come out again.

The thing is, I thought divorce would be an end and a new beginning. The end of something bad and the beginning of a new life where I’d have the ability to continue what had been positive about the old one and move on from what wasn’t.

It’s not, it hasn’t been.

Maybe for some people it is but when you have kids you’re still tied to that other person and when that other person is determined to make your life miserable and exert whatever control they can over you it’s more of the same terribleness that it was when you were married. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better because now you have your own space with more options and the ability to just walk away from the other person even while they’re telling you how stupid and lazy you are, what a failure you are, and maybe that you’re getting fat to boot. It’s a little easier to distance yourself from that voice and their sphere of influence. As an individual you do get something of a fresh start in some parts of your life. So personally it is better, much better, and I would never go back. But as a parent, jeez. It might be worse. I used to do what I wanted with the kids and he rarely cared. Now everything is a battle, an attempt to establish what a superior parent he is and show what a poor job I’m doing at holding it all together. Had I known it would be like this I’m not sure what I would’ve done. Maybe that’s why we don’t get to glimpse our future (ala A Christmas Carol) when we’re making life decisions. The perceived outcome helps determine our decision but the actual outcome cannot. I’m pretty sure it would create some kind of weird paradox if it could.

So here I am, a year out from my terrible divorce (maybe even exactly though I’d have to look at a the papers to be sure), still angry, still fighting the urge to cry at any given moment, barely mustering the energy to move through my very busy day so that I can get to the next very busy day. Rinse and repeat. It feels bleak and hopeless. I know it’s not though. I’m trying to remind myself it’s temporary and that I really am okay; I’m past all this. Somehow the ghost of a January Passed has come back to haunt me for a bit though.

I’ve heard people say that divorce is like death without the casseroles. It is. And like the death of someone very close, this first anniversary has been a tough one. All the pain of the loss of the life I thought I’d have with my kids hit me like a sucker punch to the gut knocking the wind from my sails. The feelings of betrayal and defeat feel like a fresh wound again. A flare up from the ex trying to keep me in what he perceives to be my place with thinly veiled threats of how he’ll (try to) bury me if I even attempt to change this shitty situation we’re in, well, it took me out at the knees as effectively as Tonya Harding’s hired thugs.

So yeah, I’m down for the moment but one thing I’ve learned from this whole process is that people suck and “the system” won’t help you…

Wait, wrong lesson…

Inevitably time marches on and you just find a way to deal with it. You can give up and watch it roll on by you or you can pick yourself up and do the best you can to make it better. It might not be easy but it probably won’t be as hard as it was a year ago either.

Right now this whole idea of choosing happiness is popular. There’s this perception that you can and should just choose to be happy. You must be happy at all costs! Well, I’m calling bullshit on that. You can’t always simply decide to be happy and okay with life. Nor should you. Some things suck and there’s no happiness about that. You kind of have to find a way to be okay with that though. Find what you need to pull yourself out of the muck and keep taking steps forward. And sometimes even when you do that life gives you a little push back down. Get up and try again. Be as strong as you need to be to get through it and (hopefully) before you know it you’ll be okay again, maybe even better. And next year when(if?) it all comes around again you’ll know to just keep moving. Feel angry, sad, and terrible but know that February will come. Be not okay for a bit, but then…be okay, be better.

Hulk Smash!

About this time last year my life was thrown into upheaval. Okay maybe at that point life was already in a tailspin of upheaval, a three year (maybe longer) downward spiral of sheer chaos and overt uncertainty complete with black smoke and projectile debris spewing forth.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
But in early June last year the regular chaos and upheaval of my transitory life took a turn and increased in intensity.
I had filed for divorce at the beginning of March after a few months of getting paperwork figured out and completed. At that point I was doing everything “in Pro Per” or on my own, without a lawyer. I thought that would keep things simple, I thought it would be the cheaper and better way to go.
I thought wrong.
That was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my adult life.
DIY divorce, NOT a good idea! Sure it might have saved me the money but the price I paid was not worth a few (thousand) dollars. And let me tell you, a few thousand dollars ,while not that significant to everyone, is quite a lot to me.
So it took me months to get my paperwork together and filed, then when I finally did nothing happened. Nothing. I called the county clerk’s office a couple times and got no answers. They tell you they can’t give legal advice and technically they can’t but any advice they do give you is probably be wrong. And then it will come back and bite you in the ass later. The lesson I learned from this is any time someone tells you to do something get their name, write it down, file it somewhere safe. You’ll need it later.
For example, when you’re asked “Why did you put these numbers on the child support formula?” you can respond with “Because so-and-so at the County Clerks office told me I had to put numbers in before I filed a motion for child support.” FYI-you don’t have to fill in the numbers. There’s a whole complex formula used for that. But when you don’t have the name of the clerk who wouldn’t let you file the paperwork without filling in the numbers there’s not much you can do to correct this error.
Anyhow, this was not the rant I was aiming for tonight.

A year ago things finally began to happen in my divorce case and my life went from regular chaos into super stressful battle mode chaos. And then it stayed there…for about eight months at which point the divorce proceedings abruptly ended. The end was not what I wanted, I did not get what I was fighting for. I know I’ve mentioned that before.
I was left with a structure to my life that I hadn’t anticipated and wasn’t prepared for.
It sucked. It still sucks.(I really need to find a better adjective but sucks and sucking really are apt.)
But at some point sucking just becomes the status quo of day to day life and maybe you stop being so acutely aware of how much it sucks and life just goes on in its normal, suckish way.
And then what?
The past three years of my life have passed in a state of basic survival mode with a just do what you have to to get through this and survive attitude. Even though things didn’t go as I had planned and hoped and I have to adjust and deal with the loss of the life I thought I would have, I did survive.
So now what?
I know I have to adjust my expectations.
I’m taking steps to move forward. I’m accomplishing some goals that have sat idle for a long time. I’m even starting to have some fun again and really enjoy life. I’m getting back to the easy going, weird but usually funny person I was. I liked that person, I’m happy to see glimpses of her again.
But, still, underneath all that I am angry. Very, very angry. Like Hulk-Smash angry.

Yeah like that.
I hide it well, at least I really try to, but scratch the surface and there it is. A slow simmering anger that might even border on rage sometimes because of it’s constancy and futility. I’m not really sure what to do with it or how to get away from it. I want to be done with it, to “learn to accept the things I cannot change” or whatever.
I don’t want to be that person at Easter dinner who just can’t stop the bitter quips. That’s not cool.
But how do you stop it?
I run a lot or at least as much as my schedule and sleep deprivation will allow. I’ve been thinking about getting a punching bag. That kind of thing helps me cope with the anger but how does one make it go away?
I’m a fixer; I like to solve problems even challenging ones, heck, especially challenging ones. I don’t like problems with no solutions, I don’t like the kind that you just have to wait out. But that seems to be what this is, another one of life’s waiting games.
Maybe I should channel the Hulk (or Bruce Banner); he should replace Batman as my super hero favorite for a while.
At least Bruce Banner seems to have figured out the secret to dealing with the anger and using it constructively (in a really destructive way).

Mental Potpourri

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I went on a little vacation to Ohio last weekend…
Yes, my life is so exciting I vacation in Ohio.
Maybe vacation is too strong a word.
I went on a road trip to Ohio last weekend to visit some good friends. The female component of these friends (really the original friend since we’ve known each other since fourth grade) knits.
At one point when we had a few minutes of down time and I literally mean jut a few minutes she showed me the basic stitches of knitting. I actually used to knit long before I ever even thought about crocheting.
Back in high school this same friend and another one used to knit in the hallways at school. They taught me and I knit a couple random striped hats. Then I never knit again. I didn’t even pick up yarn for at least ten years after that.
But now I am knitting again.
If you’re not a yarny person you might not realize there’s a difference between knitting & crocheting: there is.
The difference between knitting and crocheting is like the difference between ice skating in figure skates and doing so in hockey skates.
In figure skating and crocheting you have a hook (or toe pick), without that you tend to slide all over the place. Control is a little harder to maintain without the hook. If you’re not careful you’re apt to slide right off your feet…or your work might slide right off those pointy needles. I’m pretty sure I’ll get the hang of it after practicing a bit; just because I learned on figure skates first doesn’t mean I can’t hockey skate too and be just as good at it. Basically you’re doing the same thing but you’re doing it completely differently which makes it different things.

Lately I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at dating soon.
Yes, I know, I just said I’m thinking about planning to do something which means nothing is actually happening. It’s a step in the direction of something happening though… or maybe it’s a thought about a step towards something happening.
Anyhow, dating.
Ideally I’d like to meet somebody organically, you know, out and about during my daily activities. I’m pretty sure that just doesn’t happen anymore though. That whole once you stop looking you’ll find what you were looking for adage, I’m pretty sure it’s crap for accuracy when it comes to dating. I’m pretty sure you actually have to put forth some effort and look for opportunities and possibilities to get dates. So I’ve been trying to notice people more in my day-to-day activities. It’s an attempt to raise awareness of potential dates.
At soccer practice today (not mine, my four-year-old’s) I noticed couples everywhere. Not just one or two but all the other parents were sitting in their fresh-from-the-canvas-bag folding chairs with a significant other.
I noticed this as I was walking my son back from the port-a-potties. It went like this: two chairs, two chairs, two chairs with a stroller in between, three chairs, two chairs and me….on a blanket….alone (with my knitting & a notebook).
One of these things is not like the others.
I hadn’t realized pre-school soccer was such a popular couple’s activity now. And it was only a practice. Maybe soccer is the new Date Night. Who knew?

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I went for a run Sunday evening. It was just my usual route around town but I felt great. I had lots of energy & was making better time than I had all year. It was one of those runs that randomly reminds you why you love it & why you keep doing it day after day, week after week.
Maybe being couped up in the car for four hours earlier in the day helped. Whatever it was I was enjoying it and thinking I wanted to bottle that goodness up and keep it, maybe drink a little every morning as I’m getting out of bed. Then BAM! I fell.
I was a block from my house running the streets I’ve run countless times over the past year and a half when I went down. It was ridiculous. There was no reason for me to fall. None. Of course it was in a high traffic area too, on the corner of Local Church & Construction Zone.
Suddenly my runner’s euphoria was gone.
I was angry & frustrated.
Running is supposed to make me not angry and frustrated.
That’s ninety percent of the point of it but here I was at the end of my run mentally worse off than when I started. For some reason falling right then took me back to a time when my marriage was good…well, relatively good.
I’ve always been a clumsy person. It’s just part of who I am. I’m awkward, I trip. It’s weird.
Sometimes it’s funny. I get that.
But sometimes it’s also embarrassing. My ex-husband made it embarrassing.
When I can just get up, laugh it off, and go on with my day it’s okay. I’m not against laughing at myself by any means. Heck, I’d rather laugh at myself. It’s usually better than the alternative.
But when it gets brought up to other people and told again and again it’s not okay. It becomes a joke at my expense. I can laugh with you in the moment but when you’re reminding me of my clumsiness and lack of coordination in front of and to people I barely know I’m not laughing anymore. Now you’re just laughing at me, purposely making me seem foolish
…and it’s not okay.
Falling at that point on that particular run took me back there. It put me in a bad head space.
A really bad head space.
I’m a great person, I just am. I’m smart, kind, caring, even funny and decently good looking, even attaractive (from a purely objective viewpoint of course).
I know this; I’ve spent years figuring this out.
But somehow one person can take that intellectual knowledge, all that self awareness and make it irrelevant. Their condescending nature and subtle belittlement can erase years of progress even when they’re not there.
They can ruin a perfectly good run.

I got up and took another lap around the block trying to restore my calm. But I couldn’t help but think Something is wrong with me, this is not normal.
And maybe something is wrong with me (other than my social awkwardness, my knack for saying too much even when I know I shouldn’t, and my poor time management skills).
A friend suggested I see a doctor when I mentioned the falling; maybe there’s a neurological cause. While I’m not jumping to that extreme I am looking for a solution.
I’m contemplating Yoga.
Isn’t yoga supposed to help improve balance? Obviously my balance could use some improvement and if it doesn’t help it sure won’t hurt.
Right now I don’t have the resources to take a class (I barely have time to squeeze in a few runs a week) so I’m looking for a video (dvd or Youtube or whatever) or a book that can get me started.
Since I know next to nothing about yoga any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

Other than that I finished a baby blanket that was in progress for way too long and finally got my living room patched, painted and put back together.
Hopefully I’ll get around to blogging about one or both of those in the next couple days but for now I’ll leave you with a pair of hole-in-the-wall comparison pictures.

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Run On

Running is not just a hobby for me; it’s therapy. I need it, it helps me be a calm, sane, (usually) rational human being. I go out tense, on edge, and frustrated, spend half an hour to an hour alone physically exerting myself, and come back calm and happy. If it’s been more than a few days since my last run I get antsy.
It’s weird but running has helped me cope with my life over the past few years. They’ve been pretty tough years and I needed the reprieve, both mental and physical, that pounding the pavement offered.

That being said, running can be dangerous….well, for me it can.

Occasionally I fall when I’m running, maybe more than other people do. It goes in spurts; twice in the past two weeks I’ve fallen while running. Partially the weather and conditions of the sidewalks or trails are to blame. There’s leaves covering roots and rocks in the fall, snow and ice in the winter, mud in the spring, loose gravel in the summer, and cracks in the sidewalk all the time. But part of my tendency to fall is due to my lack of coordination, my inherent clumsiness which gets worse when I’m sleep deprived.
Don’t worry though, I’ve mastered the art of falling, jumping back up, and continuing my run.

One Saturday night in August about two years ago I went out for a run through the town I lived in. It was a warm, clear night after what had probably been a hot frustrating day. I don’t remember why, I just remember I really needed a run that day and had been trying to get out for a while. Finally I did. I ran about two miles and had turned around to head back. Something caught my attention so I turned my head and…BAM! I was hitting the pavement.
Knee, wrist, elbow, face.
I stood up as fast as I could. Of course someone still saw me. I nodded to them that I was okay and assessed the damage. There was blood running down both my legs and my left arm, I thought I might have broken my left pinky finger. Who breaks a finger running? Apparently I do. Go me!
In a futile attempt to clean myself up I wiped some of the blood on my shirt. It didn’t help. I still had to get back home…through town, at nine o’clock on a Saturday night, past the walk up window to the ice cream shop, past the bars and restaurants with their patios and out door dining areas. So I pulled myself together, turned up my iPod, and ran back dripping blood and all.

This was the first time I fell while out running and the worst. I don’t think my finger was actually broken but it was quite swollen for a few days. My knees and elbow still have pretty big scars from the  sidewalk abrasion. Luckily the road rash on my face didn’t leave and lasting marks. For a few days I definitely looked like I had got beat.

It wasn’t pretty. But life isn’t pretty. Running is a great metaphor for life.

I’m clumsy, I have bad judgment. Life knocks me down. It hurts but I pick myself up and run on.

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