Nothing Changes When Nothing Changes

I found out a week ago that my husband was let go from his job.

I was angry. Really angry.

I was angry because there was no warning.

I was angry because we were completely unprepared.

I was angry because he did nothing wrong and he was a really good employee.

I was angry because we were just starting to get our feet back under us.

I was also angry because unbeknownst to my husband, I had set the wheels in motion to end our marriage.

And this whole loss-of-job-thing threw a big fucking wrench into my plans.

So I wrote this post about how angry I was. About how I didn’t want to be positive or optimistic.

I didn’t want to  hear that things happened for a reason. I didn’t want to hear anything inspirational.

I just wanted to fucking punch people.

I allowed myself to be angry for as long as I needed to be.

Two days was about all it took.

After about 48 hours, I was able to see things from a completely different perspective. And now that the dust has settled, I am open and able and willing to look at the glass as half full, see the silver lining, and all that other positive and optimistic stuff.

And now that I’m not livid and foaming at the mouth with anger, I honestly believe that the Universe was sending me a signal.

DIVORCE IS NOT THE PATH TO TAKE, It told me.

It took that big of a gesture from the Universe to get my attention.

And I’m really happy I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m not so angry anymore.

Where I’m actually… grateful.

Things aren’t perfect. In fact, they are nowhere near that.

But surprisingly, the loss of his job has brought my husband and me closer.

We were pretty far apart, so it wasn’t that hard.

But still.

Rather than feeling hopeless, for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful.

And you know what?

I’d rather have hope in my marriage and no money in the bank than money in the bank and no hope in my marriage.

This feeling of optimism and possibility is not because I was finally able to get my husband to see the fucking error of his ways.

It’s because I’ve switched my focus.

Very often when we’d really get into it, my husband would tell me,  I’m just mirror. I’m a reflection of the way you are treating me.

Oh boy did that fucking piss me off!

Because I KNEW that I was the mirror. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled, HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THE POSSIBILITY (okay, I may have used the word fact and not possibility) THAT I’M THE MIRROR AND YOU ARE THE ASSHOLE???

You know where that got us?

Almost to divorce court.

So I’ve switched my focus.

This doesn’t mean I don’t still think I’m the mirror at least 50% of the time. (okay — maybe closer to 80%. Okay. 90%. Clearly I have lots of work to do here).

But the getting to be right wars are neither effective nor healthy.

And you know what they say.

You can be right. Or you can be in a relationship.

So instead of trying to convince my husband of the changes he needs to make, and instead of trying to convince him that I’m the goddamned mirror, I’m working on the stuff I can (and want to) change about myself with respect to our relationship.

That way, the reflection I see in the proverbial mirror will be a lot more attractive.

And the same should go for my husband.

I can argue til the cows come home about which one of us is the fucking mirror.

Or I can try something different.

And now that I’m not so angry, I am able to do that.

Because when nothing changes… nothing changes.

And something’s definitely gotta change.

 

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I’ve Been Feeding The Angry Wolf

I had an appointment to see a divorce attorney today.

Things between my husband and me had spiraled so far out of control and had deteriorated so badly that I had no choice.

My husband and I probably couldn’t be more opposite. This was very clear from the moment we met. It’s probably what drew us to each other initially.

I know it’s what drew me to him.

I was a partier. A big smoker. I was outgoing and the life of the party and impulsive and reckless.

I was a runaway train in many respects.

My husband was the yin to my yang.

He was quiet and shy. He liked to be alone and he liked to read and talk about books and he was intellectual. He was a single dad and a good old Midwestern boy. He went to church, he never smoked and he had a two beer limit.

A two beer limit! Can you imagine?

Plus he was the most handsome man I had ever seen.

The circumstances leading up to our first meeting were a little crazy.  We never should have crossed paths.

But we did. And I was sure we did because I needed him and he needed me.

Then life happened and the problems started. We have had problems for years.

We have also been plagued by years of bad luck coupled with some bad decisions followed by more bad luck.

The downturn of the economy. A miscarriage. Unsubstantiated and frivolous lawsuits. A failed house flipping venture. Followed by another failed house flipping venture. Followed by another failed house flipping  venture! (I told you we made some bad decisions).

(Clearly we are no Chip and Joanna Gaines).

This led to financial trouble. Bankruptcy. Then there was the unexpected total knee replacement surgery which rendered my husband unable to work. That resulted in the loss of my husband’s business. That led to food stamps and medicaid. Then there was the accident which nearly left my husband paralyzed and in need of a second major surgery. Again he was unable to work.

Things were especially bleak when the house went into foreclosure.

Blow after blow after blow was taking its toll on us.

It was relentless.

Things started to look up for us about eighteen months ago. My husband got a decent job. It wasn’t a job he loved, but it put money in the bank and food on the table.

This led to another job. An even better paying one. We managed to get the house out of foreclosure.

We were no longer in foreclosure. We weren’t on food stamps. We were able to relax a little bit.

But now, in hindsight, I am able to see things a little more clearly.

We spent a good four years thinking constantly about money.

We don’t have enough money. We need to make money. How are we going to make money. If only we had enough goddamn money, our problems would be solved.

Money money money fucking money.

Then after years of struggling, we finally found ourselves in a position where we weren’t constantly scrambling for money.

And you know what we did?

We started disagreeing over how were were going to spend the money we finally had.

We fought (a lot) over other things, too.

But money was the constant. It ripped us apart.

Actually, it wasn’t the money that ripped us apart. It was our inability to discuss it.

This led to massive amounts of anger on both sides which in turn led to serious power struggles over money.

My husband and I were literally driving each other insane. For real.

That was when I knew we were done. I called an attorney and made an appointment. It was the right thing to do.

And then last week, out of nowhere, my husband lost his job.

No severance pay, no two week notice. Nothing.

We have to let you go. Today

Boom.

Mother. Fucker.

After I had a couple days for the new reality to set in, I realized something.

Now that my husband was out of work, now that he suddenly had no income, there was no money to fight over any more.

And I wasn’t so angry.

The wind was taken completely out of my this-marriage-is-over sails.

Because I also did some reflecting.

Filing for divorce is a game changer. Once that’s officially been done, you have altered things forever. And you can’t really unalter them.

But at this point things had deteriorated to such a low level that I knew my husband had completely fallen out of love with me. I was sure his only goal was to make me as miserable as possible.

So I went to him. I told him I had made an appointment with a divorce attorney. This prompted another slew of hurtful comments coming from both of us until I finally said, “I know you don’t love me anymore.”

And my husband’s response was,

“There is almost nothing I don’t love about you. It’s the one or two things I don’t love that I’m afraid are never going to change.”

Whoa.

I was blown away.

Because I honestly thought he hated me.

And then an hour or so later, something else happened.

Just after this conversation and this realization with my husband, I happened across this picture a friend of mine posted on Facebook:

You know how things appear for you at just the right time and you are like, I needed to read/see/hear this today?

When I saw that picture, I got goosebumps.

And then about ten minutes later, I saw this picture:

Yikes. What the fuck?

Someone or Something was sending me a message through Facebook. I am sure of it.

(The fact that  Facebook is the chosen method of delivery is a whole other disconcerting topic, but that’s another blog post).

But after seeing those two pictures, I realized something. And if I’m going to be totally honest, I need to share what that was.

I have spent the past couple months bashing my husband. Sometimes I’ve done it to his face, sometimes I’ve done it through text, and sometimes I’ve done it behind his back with my friends.

In fact, I’ve done quite a bit of husband-bashing to my friends.

And with my friends, I have made sure they are looking at the number on the ground and seeing a 6.

But I haven’t given my husband an opportunity to explain to them how he sees the number 9.

And if I’m really going to be honest, I’ve done some shitty and unfair stuff in this marriage. Not just in the past, but recently.

My concerns are definitely warranted and can surely be rationalized.

We absolutely have serious issues. And I don’t know that we will be able to overcome them.

But we sure as hell won’t be able to if I keep feeding the angry, resentful, jealous, greedy, egocentric wolf.

And I’ve been doing that for quite a while now.

I am an active participant and contributor to our issues. I can point the finger at my husband as much as I want, but the truth of the matter is that I really need to be pointing it at myself.

Once I do that, perhaps he will be more willing to stop pointing his finger at me and do the same thing himself.

If I stop trying to drive him crazy, there is a possibility he will follow suit.

And here is the other thing.

The other morning Number 7 did something really funny. Something very Number 7ish.

And my husband was there to see it. We both had a good laugh over it. And I thought to myself, There is nobody who would ever appreciate that like my husband does. 

As angry as I’ve been at my husband these last few months, I sure would miss sharing those little moments that only he can truly appreciate if we were to split up.

I still love him.  A lot.

So yesterday I made a phone call, and I canceled that appointment with the attorney.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I am hopeful it’s a picture where I see the number 6 but also understand why and how my husband sees the number 9.

Without feeling the need to make him see a different number.

Because goddammit, I really want that peaceful, joyful, loving, empathetic, honest, and happy wolf to win.

 

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A Bright Spot Amidst The Bullsh*t

The past week has been, how shall I put this…

fucking shitty.

So I’m just going to take a moment to shamelessly brag because hidden in the bullshit there have been a couple of memorable moments. Good memorable moments.

This past weekend we had a swim meet.

Numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7 swam in it, and I also coached it.

If you aren’t familiar with swimming, the spring/summer season is referred to as long course season. It’s  called long course season because most of the meets are held in a 50 meter pool (the same size they swim in at the Olympics). During the winter season, you swim in a 25-yard pool.

So the pools for summer meets are more than twice the distance of the pools you swim in in the winter season.

Sunday was Number 7’s first long course meet. At 5 years old, she was the  youngest kid there.

She was very excited to be at the meet.

“MOMMMY! This is SO FUN!” she said to me Sunday morning.

She was pretty  psyched to be at a “big kid” meet with her older brother and sisters.

 

It was chilly when we left the house at 6:30 a.m. It was only around 45° outside.

So I didn’t have her get in the pool for warm up before the meet started. She would have frozen her butt off once she got out.

She was in her pajamas until her very first event.

Number 7 has swum in this pool for fun many, many times. But she has never actually competed in a race. She has never tried to make it from one end to the other as fast as possible in a meet with a bunch of big kids where she is the youngest and the smallest.

It was her decision to swim in the meet. I asked her if she wanted to, and I let her pick her events. But I wasn’t sure what would happen when it was actually go time. In fact, I asked all my mom friends if they wanted to place a wager on whether or not she would actually swim.

When she got up to the blocks for her first event, the 50 breaststroke, she totally freaked out. She burst into tears. She shook her head. No. No no no no no.

Standing at the end of a 50 meter pool is intimidating for me. So I wasn’t surprised by her reaction. It was a holy shit this is a fucking longass pool kind of reaction.

She didn’t end up swimming.

She was upset. And sad.  And probably a little bit embarrassed.

But she was also pissed.

And after she stopped crying, I asked her if she wanted to try again when it was time for her next event — 50 meter backstroke.

She nodded her head yes.

So we went up to the blocks.

Let me say something before I get to the rest of the story.

Coaching your own kids is both a gift and a challenge.

I feel very lucky to have been able to coach all of my kids. Being a part of getting Number 4 to Zones this past season and helping her fulfill her biggest life goal to date was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

But holy shit is it hard.

My kids don’t listen to me the way they listen to other coaches. And it’s difficult to stay calm and patient when they are screwing around at practice (yes, they definitely screw around) or when they are overly dramatic or when they aren’t performing to the level I know they can.

But on the other hand, I get to be right there with them for the successes.

As a coach and a mom and a former swimmer who has been in their shoes and who gets it, that’s a pretty special experience to have.

So when it was time for Number 7’s next event, she was determined.

She got right up to the blocks.

She hopped into the water.

And she swam the cutest little 50 meter backstroke I’ve ever seen.

And you know what? She didn’t even come in last! She beat two nine years olds.

Ha!

She’s a little badass.

And she’s a reminder, too. Fall down seven times stand up eight.

So amidst the bullshit of the past week, that happened.

I’m a proud mom, for sure.

And to be able to stand behind her — both literally and figuratively — every step of the way, well, for that I am super grateful.

 

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When Life Gives You Lemons, It’s Okay If You Just Want To F*cking Chuck Them At People

This post is for anyone who is struggling.

For anyone who is sick and tired of blow after blow after blow.

For anyone who feels like they can’t catch a fucking break.

And I hate vague posts. Vaguebooking.

You know,  when someone posts something on Facebook along the lines of I just don’t know what to do anymore…

Or  even better, just one word.

Shattered…

But as much as I hate it, I’m about to do it.

Sort of.

I received some really shitty news yesterday.

Really shitty.

It’s not something I can share. Not right now anyway.

And before you go crazy trying to figure out what it is, all my family members are healthy. Nobody is in the hospital. There has been no infidelity in my marriage.

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what the bad news is.

Bad news is bad news.

It’s fairly major bad news.

And you know what?

I’m fucking sick of bad news.

I’m sick of hardship and sadness and worry and anger and anxiety and the fucking resulting depression.

I’M FUCKING OVER IT.

I know better than anyone else what I need to do to get through this.

I need to ask for help where I can get it.

I need to continue to exercise.

I need to get enough sleep.

I need to eat well.

I need to find a therapist. Like yesterday.

I need to take a shower and continue to show up for my kids.

I need to take care of myself so I can take care of them.

Because if I fall apart, then things will get seriously fucked up.

But you know what? I don’t want to do any of those healthy things.

I’m sitting here at the computer typing.

But I really want to be on the couch, binge watching Netflix in an effort to forget about reality for a little while.

I want to eat every single carb in my kitchen. And my neighbor’s kitchen.

I want to call in sick to work and drink a bottle of wine.

I want to call one of my friends who has a “prescription” for medical marijuana and go get completely out of my mind stoney baloney.

I want to be numb. Because this fucking blows.

You know what else I want to do?

I want to punch every single person who tells me that “God has a funny way of teaching us patience” or  “Sometimes you’re not getting what you want because something better is planned for you instead” or “God never gives you more than you can handle” directly in the face. Hard.

The Fall down seven times, stand up eight tattoo I got on my forearm in December?

I want to Indian burn that motherfucker right off of myself.

I don’t want to be inspired. I don’t want to be motivated. I don’t want to be challenged.

I don’t want to be positive or optimistic. I don’t want to look at the glass as half full.

I don’t want to fucking do anything.

I’m frustrated. I’m worried. I’m angry. And I’m fucking exhausted.

But my kids are counting on me.

So as soon as I hit publish on this post, even though I want to do every possible unhealthy (and ultimately ineffective) thing there is to do in order to deal with the bullshit I’m experiencing right now, I’m going to get out of this chair, exercise, eat, take a shower, and then get ready to go to work.

I am going to do my best to show up. I’m going to think about the people who are counting on me.

But I really, really, really don’t want to.

I just want to sit here and cry.

If you are in the same spot, if you are struggling, if you feel like you can’t catch a break, if you are fucking over everything, I’m not gonna try to pump you up.

I’m not going to tell you that Tough times don’t last; tough people do. I’m not going to tell you You’ll get through this. (But you will).

 

I just wanted to tell you that if you are tired and dejected and feeling hopeless because of whatever your string of shitty things is, I know how bad it sucks. It fucking blows.

I totally get it. Hang in there.

I’m right there with you.

 

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