And the thing is…

It’s not just the medical stuff, it’s the absolute relentless medical stuff no one could have anticipated. I have been out of work for a year, sinking farther and farther behind.

It’s not just the setting of boundaries, it’s the stranglehold my emotions have on me. I miss people that have abused me, abandoned me, ignored me, humiliated me, gaslit me. I have been conditioned to feel guilty for standing up for myself. Who knew boundaries could feel like punishments?

It’s not the backstabbing, it’s the bloody wound that is left behind. I never imagined someone I called my sister would betray me. I didn’t see it coming. I’m ashamed to say it completely blindsided me. I’m slowly making my circle smaller and smaller.

It’s not the money, it’s the constant bullshit that I can’t escape because I trusted the wrong people. I trusted the doctor to give an accurate estimate. I trusted entirely too many people.

It’s not the mental, emotional or physical trauma taking turns, it’s everything all at once I have to manage every single day least I end up in the Bin. My very real and healthy fear of that place has me stepping away from the edge over and over. It’s exhausting.

It’s not the things that have happened, it’s the aftermath that I’m always somehow responsible for and cleaning up after.

These are my beds I’ve made and I must lie in them. I know that.

But FUCK…. Can I get a fucking break occasionally?

Starting point…. Again and again and again

This last year has been one of healing and tragedy in tandem. I’ve had to decide to accept certain things so that I can move through them. There have been tiny changes no one would notice and sweeping changes that I am reminded of every day.

I suppose there’s no point in regretting my surgery considering it’s over and done with. I can’t go back in time. There are a few things I’m dealing with that I’m having to remind myself of that fact. Having worked in insurance, I should have known better. I can’t believe i missed this oversight. The doctor has a set of fees. Those have all been paid. But the facility/ hospital has fees. None of these fees are covered by my insurance. The anesthesia alone is $3300. And considering I was admitted, I’m having to pay “room and board”. I would not be the least bit surprised if the bills totaled more than $10,000. And I’m angry all over again because it is literally the absolute worst hospital stay I’ve ever had. But… boobs. So there’s that.

But I’ve had a good cry. Several times, actually. So that helped. I wanna move on from this. I desperately do.

It just seems that no matter how I try to improve or how many things I fix, I will never climb out of this hole. Sure the hole has been made of various things but consistently the hole has always been there.

The last 6 years or so have been tragic, chaotic, draining, grieving, horrific things piling on top of each other with just the tiniest bit of good enough to give me false hope.

I had hoped that this year would be different somehow, but I was fooling myself. Covid is everywhere, I stupidly bought a couch when I should have paid my power bill, I’m worried about a thousand different things, and honestly…. I’m not even waiting for the other shoe to drop because there are likely hundreds or thousands of shoes.

But hey… I got a call back for a job. So there’s that.

Christmas, Covid, and All That Jazz.

I decided during Thanksgiving that I’d fight for time during the Christmas holiday. I’m done sitting at home alone, feeling sorry for myself or at a family gathering where my step father is creepy and inappropriate or my father is drunk and annoying.

So I decide that my ex husband could have one day but I get the entire other day. Menus are planned. We put up a Christmas tree, there are lights everywhere, brand new stockings are purchased, favorite alcohol and hot chocolate is purchased. There’s random glitter covering all available surfaces.

But nothing goes as is planned in my world.

My ex husband and his wife have covid.

They are vaccinated so it isn’t life threatening but they canceled their plans. But see…. Because I knew that the girls would be across the Bay on Christmas Day and I refuse to mope around all day, I made plans to have sushi with some of my chosen family. The girls insisted that I still go even though they were home. It was a really great meal with amazing women. This may become a tradition.

I got nearly the entire holiday with my girls and their partners. I know it won’t be like this next year so I’m grateful and soaking up the time I do have. I’m trying not to feel guilty that I get all this time at the expense of my ex husband getting covid. Mom guilt is tangible.

But in case there’s an assumption that everything is great….

I’ve got an issue with my abdomen… again. I don’t want to go through this anymore but apparently the universe isn’t done with me. So I have to make an appointment tomorrow instead of focusing on my résumé. Because of the purchase of the couch, and some unexpected medical bills, and Christmas, I don’t have the luxury of dealing with my abdomen again. My bank account insists that I find a job tomorrow.

So great things, not so great things, lots of anxiety, lots of crying and missing the dysfunctional family dynamic as fucked up as that is, wanting to seek out dark and dangerous things just so my brain shuts up, dealing with disastrous finances, lots of abdominal pain, worry about covid, trying to figure out a job…. But ultimately happy with the amount of time and holiday spirit we managed to squeeze out of this last week.

I’m going to make some hot chocolate in this crazy 72 degree weather and attempt to squeeze out a tiny bit more joy before this year ends.

Coffee dates and deception

A man sent me a message with a random compliment and I was confused. Apparently that was the goal because his next message said he was trying to get my attention.

Okay. I have done a lot of internal work. I have examined my boundaries and been satisfied with my progress. I’m in a good place both mentally and physically. Although I’m not looking to date, the attention feels nice.

I agree to a coffee date. Luckily I know a few good shops in town. An early morning coffee and get to know you conversation happened this morning.

He’s interesting and a great conversationalist. But peppered in the “are you from here” type conversations I asked if he was married. He said yes quickly but skipped over that to tell me something about his child. I waited patiently, no longer interested in his story.

“Where does your wife think you are?”

She knows about grabbing coffee.

But not about me.

Sigh….

So I was polite and steered him towards joining the local community for coffee or a munch and quietly away from me. We ended our coffee with pleasantries and politeness.

I have worked too hard on myself this last year breaking strongholds that have trapped me in an endless cycle of pain and toxicity to throw it all away on a man who cheats on his wife.

There’s no value given to me in this type of arrangement.

I have been the “other woman”. I have been the person waiting and wondering. I’ve been the person that’s given the reminder to delete text messages and emails. I’ve been the person doubting trust and timelines. I admit I’ve been both the victim and the villain in this scenario. Either one of these roles is painful. I refuse to fill these roles anymore.

I’ve put in too much work to go backwards.

No man is worth my peace no matter how good the coffee or the sex may be.

Couches

When I got married, I moved into my husband’s apartment. He had a couch. I couldn’t tell you where it came from.

We bought his brother’s house and moved in. His brother left everything including his couch so we had a dilemma. One of the couches had to go.

My mother was getting new furniture and gave us her couch on a whim.

My mother in law moved in and we needed a bed in the living room so we used a daybed as a couch.

We moved across the Bay and my mother gave us her couch. Again, on a whim.

We moved to a much smaller place so we bought his co worker’s old couch.

Then he moved out. He didn’t take the couch with him but I’d secretly hated that couch and feeling a fierce streak of independence, I went to the thrift store.

I bought a used, oddly shaped, black pleather couch that everyone instantly hated. But tucked back in the corner was something amazing.

It didn’t have a place and it didn’t go with anything, but I purchased a pink loveseat for 69 cents simply because I could. It felt amazing.

The couch everyone hated didn’t last long. Out by the dumpster was a beautiful green couch that was perfect. Heaving it up the stairs was a full time job.

A green couch and a pink love seat, a papasan, a green chair and ottoman, a red ottoman, a leather chair, and another patterned chair we found by the dumpster all found homes inside my tiny apartment.

I loved it.

I loved every single bit of it because I picked it or it picked me. People would come over and instantly know that I absolutely do not have my shit together, I’m making it up as I go, but I’m also whimsical and fun.

Then I moved back across the Bay. I left most of the furniture with my ex. My friend gave me his old couch that had a sleeper. Neither the couch nor the sleeper were comfortable. We often took off the cushions just to attempt to find a comfortable spot.

I bought a couch from my daughter’s friend. It was huge. It was gigantic. My daughter and niece maneuvered this monster couch down two flights of stairs. But this couch was so comfortable and I liked it.

I assumed this would be my couch for a good long while. Until disaster ruined the couch and I was back to square one.

My cousin was moving and gave us his love seat. It sits two people. We made due with haphazard seating arrangements.

The love seat broke. Not a little and we can deal with it kinda broke, but broke broke.

It’s been a journey. But much like life, these couches just happened to me. Or I was desperately running to the thrift store. It was very much opportunity meeting desperation.

But I went to a friend of mine’s house and she has this beautifully decorated, half painted living room with a couch and a giant bean bag chair. As much as her house is a work in progress, the nonchalant way she has of going slow and finding pieces and colors that she loves is really inspiring to me.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve been combing furniture stores. The topic of couches has been constant and overwhelming.

Until today.

As soon as I saw this couch I got excited. I sat and laid, and curled up on the end. I took my shoes off and had Middle and Youngest snuggle with me. I looked at the back and the sides. I haggled the price. We went across the street and had coffee to discuss.

See… this is a brand new couch. It’s expensive. It’s an investment.

I don’t deserve a brand new couch. I’m the girl that takes what’s given to her and doesn’t complain. I say thank you and am grateful for dumpster couches and thrift store couches. I appreciate that someone wants to give me their old couch. Truly, I’d be sitting on the floor if it weren’t for the generosity of people that love me or a thrift store.

But this? I don’t deserve this. It’s brand new. No one has ever owned this. It was just delivered to the showroom floor, tucked in the back corner, waiting.

I had to have my girls convince me that it is okay to purchase. It’s double what I wanted to pay and way bigger than I planned.

But maybe I do deserve this couch that no one else has owned.

Maybe I deserve this. I hope so.

Because thinking of taking a nap on this couch makes me happy.

It’s being delivered tomorrow.

There are two types of people in this world, right?

I have had several long conversations with people whose opinions I value. I’ve mulled things over in my own head and not come up with any significant answers, only more questions.

There are good men who do bad things, and bad men who do good things. No one is all good and very few people are all bad. So how can you tell the difference?

Does one horrible act wipe out all the previous good? What if it’s a pattern of harmful behavior but there’s also a pattern of equally wonderful behavior demonstrated simultaneously?

Are second chances a betrayal of boundaries? Is it healthy or naïve to see things in such black and white terms?

Am I finally standing up for myself and gaining clarity? Or am I being too harsh and should be more forgiving?

I’m not waffling on my decisions but I’m questioning my motivations. I know this is guilt talking and I’m trying desperately not to listen but I’ve had abuse peppered in with adoration my entire life, so things tend to get muddy in my brain.

The answers are just as muddy as the questions right now, though.

The R Word.

I was slowly convinced over time that it was impossible for me to be sexually assaulted. Yes. I know how that sounds. But because I have particular kinks, apparently that makes me impervious to sexual assault, according to a few exes. There are times I doubt my childhood and other times I’m absolutely certain so being convinced of this was fairly simple if you caught me in the right mindset.

I dismissed moments because they were so similar to other moments from my past. A pattern of behavior started to emerge that I wouldn’t be able to see for YEARS. It started when I was three or four years old and continued with various abusers until as recently as last year. I stopped saying things because on the rare occasion I did say something I was either ignored or pacified.

Being so damaged so consistently has left me with a peculiar sexual proclivity that I’ve come to accept. But because of the never ending parade of abuse, I assumed this was normal. Abuse would happen. I’d mention that whatever made me feel a certain way. A conversation happened where either everything was explained and I felt crazy or everything was my fault and I felt crazy. Orgasms happened as prove that it wasn’t really abuse. Examples are given. Sources are cited. Everything goes back to normal. Over and over and over.

But it isn’t normal. My friend told me that she was inebriated when she had sex with her roommate/my ex. The pit settled into my stomach and hasn’t let up.

See… I’m used to this. I’m so used to this that consent/nonconsent is a kink and with certain people, safe words weren’t necessary. Even when I climb in the shower and cry while feeling sick to my stomach while also telling myself that it’s okay while washing his essence from my body. This is normal for me.

He knew I was really drunk and because I’d had sex with him before when I was slightly buzzed he justified this time. Despite crying in the shower, despite telling myself that the gross feeling would go away, despite feeling like this was not okay, after a conversation full of “but let me explain why it’s not really rape”, I was convinced that he was a good guy. He would never. Not actually. Not for real. You know with an actual woman that can really be raped.

But he did. He raped my friend.

And THAT is on me.

When he told me about that night, I was happy for him. I’m sick just replaying that conversation in my head.

But when she told me about that night, there wasn’t any disbelief or curiosity. There wasn’t any doubt. It was crystal clear. I asked her if she hadn’t been drunk, would she have wanted to pursue an intimate relationship. She said no. She added the caveat that she’d made the first move…while drunk. I had to back her up a few times. A sober person should NEVER have sex with a drunk person, especially if they have never had sex before.

Now I’d like to help her find a new place to live, apologize profusely for telling her he’s a good guy and safe to live with, and hope that she forgives me.

And yet again, here I am going through my catalog of abuse adding his name to the long list of names and faces.

You don’t have sex with a woman who’s been drinking. That’s called rape. It makes you a rapist.

It makes you a rapist.

All the truths I could tell

I’m angry at myself for not telling all the truth because I know people read my blog. I shouldn’t care. I shouldn’t write in such encrypted ways to save feelings. But I do.

There’s a large part of me that thinks if you want me to write about you in a positive manner you should probably not be a dick. But there’s a fine line between catharsis and airing dirty laundry. There’s also considerations made for perspective. I’m certain I don’t appear favorably in other peoples narratives. So I’m having to remind myself that this is my blog and writing it all out helps me understand how I feel.

Right now I’m of the opinion that if you want a healthy, productive, positive relationship with me, you know where my front door is. I’m not accepting half assed text message apologies. I’m not accepting phone calls that start out “if I did something wrong…” I’m not accepting convenience. My relationships require effort and energy. If you aren’t willing to work with me, then I’m certain we will be perfectly happy going our separate ways.

As for letting people go permanently, I have to remind myself that manipulation, gaslighting, and trauma aren’t foundations.

I never thought I’d be in this position, fighting for peace on so many fronts. I never imagined I’d watch relationship after relationship crumble. But if this is what it takes, it’s what I’ll do.

I know I wrote that I’m peaceful about a lot of situations but I’m questioning if I’m peaceful or am I just numb?

Cleaning house

Not literally because I hate laundry and our dogs likes to bring me sticks from outside.

But after I decided that I’m no longer going to wait for someone in my family to notice that I wasn’t invited to wherever I was surprised to discover how peaceful it felt.

Maybe I should look around at other people in my life that aren’t healthy for me to maintain a relationship with…

I informed my mother that I’ll no longer share space with her husband. In years past coming to this conclusion, knowing how painful my decision was to my mother, I’d eventually backtrack. But recently I’ve placed ultimatums and hard limits on my life. I realized that she’s not as innocent as she’d like people to assume. She had her suspicions when I was eleven. She’s had 35-ish years to fix it and she didn’t. So this is the bed she must lay in. I love her. That won’t change. I’m surprisingly peaceful about this decision, though. I wish I’d made this decision 15 years ago and I can only hope that my children will forgive me.

My ex boyfriend and I tried to be friends but being his friend hurt my daughter. She lost her best friend in the fallout. That weighed on me. I shouldn’t have attempted to be his friend but I felt responsible for his emotional well-being. But after last weekend, things were made clear to me and it suddenly became very simple for me to completely cut ties. I wish him well. But I don’t have to be his friend.

I’ve had a lengthy conversation with my doctor and decided that finding a new doctor was in my best interests.

All of these decisions in the last few months and weeks have felt like the right thing to do. It’s been emotional and exhausting but ultimately peaceful.

Discovering who your friends are, who your family is, and who are just people you used to know is much harder and far more simple than I anticipated.