Onward: Day One

Greetings, Readers. I don’t know what I’m doing with this blogging thing, and I sort of stubbornly refuse to do any research or thinking about how I “should” be doing it. It’s mostly because these days I don’t have enough time to do the basics — cook meals, file my taxes, get exercise… — much less do something aspirational like “try to make my blog good.” And, given how things have been imploding lately, I’m just completely over the idea that I need to do something “well” in order to do it. I’m here for “good enough is good enough.”

And quite honestly, I’m only blogging because a whole lot of people that I trust (my therapist, a couple of girlfriends, and my office’s HR director) thought it would be worthwhile. (Don’t tell the HR director that I’m sitting on my office computer churning out this first post.) It’s been a miserable last couple of years, and especially last several months…and people who care about me think that writing might be a way to both process what’s been going on AND have a record of progress that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to recognize. The tunnel of despair is just too deep and too dark to do anything but crawl blindly along hoping and trusting that there really is some “light” that I’m digging toward.

Bottom line: I got divorced yesterday. My ex husband and I had been married for almost 15 years, we’d dated for 4 years before that, and we’d met 2 years before that. The story of our relationship, and its implosion, is complicated. I might write about it eventually. I might not. If I do write about it here, it will be — in the Anne Lamott/Brene Brown (probably lots of others, but those are the ones I know of and can give credit to) school of thought — a shitty first draft. This is a (more-or-less) unedited journal. It’s raw. It’s as real as I know how to make it at this point in my life. I expect the process of writing things down will change my perspective, but I’m just going to write it here however it comes out. I’m going to try to write every day…but I’m not going to promise it. All I can promise is that this is my story. I’m writing for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you find something in what I write that encourages you. Or makes you laugh. Or just makes you FEEL. Or not. Because — honesty here — I’m not writing for you. I am totally and completely writing for me. BUT — confession here — I do want people to read it. So…we’ll see how that goes.

I’m 36. I have two amazing children. I will write a lot about them, because at the moment, they are what keep me awake (literally) at night and are usually part of the reason that I am late for work every day. (I, of course, am always the reason that I am late for work every day.) My son just turned 9, although I’m not sure that he is acknowledging it because I haven’t yet been able to get a birthday party coordinated for him, and I also didn’t get him a present. I guess one doesn’t get older until friends are gathered, candles are blown out, and LOTS of gifts are exchanged. [FN1: My ex did give him a gift. I have feelings about this. They’re complicated.] I’m working through the neuro-psychological evaluation process with him — he’s mathematically brilliant, has a memory for sports stats and geography and all things Pokemon that rivals anyone I’ve ever met, he’s never told even a vaguely white lie in his entire life, and he’s a behavioral wrecking ball. So…we’re working on that. My daughter is six and a half. She’s creative and empathetic and strong and loves school — and she also swears like a sailor when she’s angry, continues to struggle with using the toilet, and is still building up the courage to sleep in her own room at night. So…we’re working on that, too.

As of yesterday, I officially have full legal custody, full physical custody, and 100% of the overnights with the aforementioned precious kiddos. (I have unofficially had all of those things since we separated last July, and…when I’m honest, I can acknowledge that I had most of those things while we were married, too.) I am over-committed to a job that requires a two-plus hour daily commute, and a side job coaching gymnastics, and All. The. Therapy. I am fortunate to have my parents in town, and the two of them are going above and beyond in keeping me on my feet. But they’re also my parents — so that’s complicated. More posts for more days. I have an au pair, and she’s amazing. She loves the kids, and I know they love her because they’re equally as challenging for her as they are for me. I rely heavily on the (delusional?) understanding that kids save all of their most awful behavior for the people that they know love them and that they feel safest with. (I actually do know that this is true…it’s also true that I suck at setting boundaries with them, and they know exactly how to manipulate me. So, yes, we’re working on that.)

I have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’m a sexual abuse survivor. I’m an attorney who provides free legal representation to veterans with disabilities. I believe tremendously in public service, but I struggle with something (jealousy?) when it comes to people who have jobs that pay substantial salaries. I am, technically, still a member of the Air Force Reserve, but I haven’t done one minute of military work since my ex walked away last July. I’m separating from the military, but I haven’t really come to terms with that yet. I love sports — especially gymnastics, and college athletics generally, and all things related to the Olympics. I’m currently fascinated by the Enneagram, and might nerd out on that in here from time-to-time. I’m a caffeine addict; I will drink Diet Coke and/or triple shot lattes at all hours of the day or night. I’m a people-pleaser. I barely know how to say no. I’m painfully shy and self-conscious. I love Jesus. I love my Blue Ocean Faith church community. My daughter thinks I’m too serious, and carries around a book of knock-knock jokes that she tells whenever I get “that” look on my face. My therapist says I’m too hard on myself. So does pretty much everyone I’ve ever worked for. (I am. I don’t know how to stop.) I love my Sacred Ordinary Days planner — no electronic calendars for me! — and I’m inclined to be compulsively organized but you could only tell that if you opened up my upstairs linen closet (where all of the family toiletries are organized in carefully labeled bins). If you look anywhere else in my house, car, or office, you would be…impressed by the chaos? Or something. I am also terrified at the idea of hitting publish on this blog.

Last thing for today — the name of the blog. I am NOT a dog person. I am allergic to dogs, I think they smell funny, and you have to do So. Much. Work to take care of them. It is on the record in lots of places that I would NEVER have a dog. Never. Then my ex husband left. And my kids and I moved to a house with a gigantic yard. And my son started having night terrors — like, serious night terrors — and talking about wanting to be dead rather than having to live his terrible life, and not wanting to wake up because there was nothing in his life worth waking up for. Things were HARD. (We went to the psych ER. He’s been getting great care. He’s doing okay.) Somehow, my son convinced himself AND my sister — they ganged up on me — that a dog was the solution to all of his problems. We went to the Humane Society “just to look.” We left with a — yes, I’ll say it — delightful Bull Boxer puppy. My son was right; he’s slept soundly through the night every night since we brought her home. His teacher swears that he’s a different kid now that he has his dog. And me? Well, I…have a whole lot of work heels that are *clearly* dog chewed. And I wear them all. Because when things are spinning as out of control as things seem to be spinning, wearing dog-chewed work shoes is the most honest thing I can do. And so is this blog.

#onward.

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