Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A little history

I was cleaning out my inbox today and found a whole bunch of emails from when Steve and I were splitting up. It made me so sad to read those. And so grateful we stayed together. Emails about the apartment and divorce papers and trying so hard to do right by ourselves and each other. Emails filled with longing for good times again. Emails filled with regret for the way things turned out.
Steve and I did divorce. But we never really separated. He got his own apartment, but after a few months was staying with me almost every night. We moved back in together officially one year (almost to the day) after our initial split. I wish we had never had to end our marriage. But I think that was a big part of the reason that Steve started examining his alcohol use and abuse. He was still drinking even when we moved back in together. And I was doubting my decision constantly. Thank god for counseling.
When I read back through some of my posts from the summer and fall, I'm amazed at how awful things were before AA. Alcoholics Anonymous gave me my Steve again. I never thought that would be possible. And now he's approaching 5 months of sobriety. It doesn't sound like much, but it feels like heaven.

Today I am grateful for:
The snow falling outside. It's beautiful, even though I'm tired of winter. I get to work from home on days like this.

My new cat curled up next to me on the couch.

A warm house. A terrific job.

Another day that I don't have to wonder how drunk he'll be when he comes home.
Another day of having my partner fully present.
Another day to learn to trust each other again.
Another day to fill with love and gratitude.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Working on it

Our homework for this week, as assigned by our couples counselor, is to write down everything we're thinking and feeling about having a child. This makes a lot of sense as we're having so much trouble talking this one out. I thought I'd do my homework here:

Yes, I definitely want one, probably two. The smart plan would be to buy a house first. But I know that life doesn't always move according to plan. And I'm off the pill now, so accidents could happen. You know, being on the pill allows relationships to avoid the biology of their existence. Before birth control, there was no living together for years to see if two people were compatible. We've had almost 7 years of trying to figure out if we could make this work. I guess I'm tired of farting around, so to speak. We love each other. We still dedicated to making it work. We're still trying, still going to counseling, still getting better, little by little. Sometimes we slip and lose intimacy. Sometimes we become frightened to show weakness and need. But the love is still there. I know we'll be great parents.
So I want to talk about it and dream about it. I want to know what he's scared of and what he's excited about. The plan may be not to get pregnant until after we have a house, but that doesn't mean the whole subject gets locked up until that time.
As for me, I like to think about being pregnant, having an infant and watching it grow. I'm surrounded by pregnant women right now, and that affects me. I think, why wait? I know finances will be tight. But I also know that I'm really good with money and I could make it work, especially if Steve were to hand that over to me. I'd budget everything out. And I'll do whatever it takes to make sure we can keep the boat.
When it comes to raising a child, I don't want it to be exposed to TV for as long as possible. I want it to read and play. And I want us to be involved in that. So I'd hope that Steve would be able to keep the TV off as much as possible.
Sometimes I think about how I'd want to teach a child about spirituality. I didn't grow up with church or religion. I pray now and believe in a higher power. How does one teach a child these things? I wonder if I should check out the UU church in town?
We walked down the baby aisle in the grocery store yesterday. 64 diapers cost $22. A baby goes thru 10-12 diapers a day. That comes out to about $3.50 a day in diapers, right? Call it $25/week. But I know I throw that kind of money around on all kinds of miscellany.
My guess is that Steve also wants a baby, but wants a house first. He's much more concerned about finances. And I think we don't talk about it because he doesn't want to have to tell me No, Not Yet.
Well, we'll see how the conversation goes. For now I'm grateful that the TV's been off a lot more. I'm grateful that we still love each other and still want to make it work. I'm grateful for a beautiful day and a warm house and a bright future. And all that is plenty for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another rough night

Last night I cried and cried because he won’t reach out to me. We talked just a couple weeks ago about how I needed time with him, just being together and enjoying each others company. I need that to feel close with him, to talk about things. But the next day he told me that if something’s on my mind I have to bring it up, stop the TV and force the conversation. I feel at the end of my rope. We have counseling tomorrow and I don’t even want to go. Sunday night, after a lazy day, he reminded me about my (birth-control)pills. I asked him, half-kidding, if we could just stop. He shrugged and asked if I’d buy the condoms. Hell yes! And I just felt a thrill and a sense of relief to be off the pills, to be taking an action towards having children someday. And then the very next night, in the middle of his 3 hour nap on the couch, he asks me if he wants me to pick up the pills since it’s not too late. I told him I didn’t even know what to say to that. He rolled over and went back to sleep. We didn’t really talk for the rest of the night.
I feel so angry with him and with myself. Why do I always have to be the one to reach out, make the connection, make the effort. Last night I wanted to throw a temper tantrum. I wanted to break something, throw his clothes out the windows, scream and pound my fists into the walls.
We ended up getting distracted from our silence by a little skirmish on the street. And he held me when he finally came to bed. But I’m still frustrated. I feel like he’s not making the effort to talk when something’s wrong. So then I feel like the big baby who always has the issues, or the typical woman who always needs to talk about my feelings. And it makes me so angry.
I was also thrown for a loop when he came home and said he hadn’t gone to his meeting because there wasn’t any place to park. So he went to the office instead. This is the first time in over 4 months that he hasn’t gone to a meeting. The only other time was the middle of a blizzard, and even then he tried to go, but the church was locked up tight. When he told me he didn’t go I felt my stomach drop. I found myself searching for signs that he drank.

It was shortly after when I went upstairs and cried and cried.

I haven’t been to my Sunday AlAnon in a couple weeks, and my excuse has been all this crazy snow. But I definitely need to get myself to a meeting before I lose my mind.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good and Evil

A couple of news items today have me feeling discouraged right now.

A father in Idaho driving his two kids to their mother’s for Christmas got stuck in a snow bank. So he sent the 11 and 12 year old out into -5 degree temps to walk the remaining 10 miles. The 11 year old died and the 12 year old was found in an abandoned rest area 4 miles away, delusional from hypothermia. The kicker is that the father got the vehicle out of the snow bank, but instead of going on ahead to pick up his kids, he turned around and drove home. The father makes $10/hour spreading manure.

A flock of seagulls swarmed a couple eating ice cream cones. So the man took a stick and beat one of the gulls and broke its wing. The bird had to be euthanized. This type of gull is known to be very aggressive and survives by stealing food from other predators. It was doing what came naturally.

I’m not sure why these two news articles disturb me so much. Maybe the senselessness and lack of empathy. Where is God in the rage and violence? Where is God in a careless parent and poverty stricken life?

I hope that God exists in the learning and change that happens because of the darkness. I hope that there is a greater purpose. I hope that every incident shapes and alters the world in some way, large or small, but always for a great good. I hope that for every act of evil there are ten acts of hope and love.

It’s just that sometimes there seems to be more death and hate and war than we could ever overcome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Cat!

We rescued another cat about a week or so ago. Our first cat, Kaya, has been with us for 3 years and is about 4 years old. We adopted her from a shelter where she had just given birth to a litter of kittens. I've posted a couple pictures of her before, but here's another.
Kaya is all black, and something about the color of her fur is very difficult for my digital camera to focus on. So I have about a hundred out of focus pictures of this beast. And she is a beast. When we brought her home she was so scrawny that I thought she was a short-haired cat! Not anymore! She's not fat though, she's just very, very fluffy.

Our latest addition is also a rescue. Manatee was living in the home of a hoarder with 51 other cats. He'd been at the shelter for almost a year when my man picked him out. The folks at the shelter guessed his age to be about 3, but I think he's much younger. With us he's super playful and loves to chase the laser lights and throw balls around. He's a little shy of people, but is starting to purr and bump our hands when we pet him. He adores Kaya, though she was a little uncertain at first. But already they're chasing eachother around and I think very soon will be great companions.
Manatee is all grey, long hair. You can see the black beastie behind him. Manatee is also very scrawny. You can feel every rib and vertebrae. He seems to be very long, but it might be an illusion because he's such a skinny guy. He reminds me of a mangy grey squirrel, with his tail all wrapped up.
I adore them both. And you'll just have to put up with the occasional, out-of-focus, cat picture.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sex and Daddy issues

My parents divorced when I was five years old. My Mom took me halfway across the country to live with her new boyfriend. I missed my Daddy so deeply. I was so mad at my Mom for what she'd done. Her new boyfriend was no father figure to me. Not that I would have wanted it if he was. I hated him more than I hated my mom. I was a little girl and I didn't understand. I didn't want to hate my mom. I didn't want to feel sad and lonely and lost. I saw my Daddy on school vacations and over the summers but it wasn't enough.

I missed him.
I missed him.
I missed him.

I can bring back that pure, innocent longing for my Daddy and his bear hugs even now.

In fifth grade I had a male teacher who I loved. We called him Mr. Dub (short for W). I wanted that man to be my Daddy. But he couldn't be. So sometimes I cried for no reason in his class, just to get his sympathy, his special attention, his love.

I hit puberty and developed awful acne. I hated the way I looked. I felt skinny and flat and greasy and sweaty and horny. I wanted someone to love me anyway and think I was beautiful even in the middle of puberty. And I missed my Daddy. I got all mixed up by hormones and sex. I thought that having sex with a boy meant he loved me and would never leave me. I thought that would make me feel special and beautiful and lovable and ... whole.

My senior year in high school there was a math teacher that everyone liked because he was young and funny and fun. One day, he told me he had a dream about me. He told me he dreamt that I showed up at his door wearing nothing but a white tee shirt. And suddenly I felt sexy and desirable and wanted, despite my pimples and my insecurities, and not by a boy, but by a MAN. My whole world changed at that moment. I was armed with a powerful knowledge that a man wanted ME. Suddenly I was the most special person in the whole, wide world. So I flirted and wore sexy clothes and found reasons to be in his classroom, and then in his car, and then in his house under the wedding picture of him and his wife...

And I thought to myself, this is easy. All I have to do is be confident and sexy and flirty and I can have those feelings. I'll feel attractive and worthwhile and SPECIAL.
And so after my freshman year in college I started stripping. I took off all my clothes and piled makeup over the pimples on my face and felt like a queen, a goddess, a nymph. I felt special and sexy and powerful and desirable.

I met a lousy boyfriend. And when I tried to leave him he took off with me in the car and wouldn't let me out.

Afterward, I ran right to my Daddy and he hugged me and I cried.

But I didn't unlearn my bad habits. I still thought that I was only special when someone wanted me. I was still that little girl wanting her Daddy to be there to love her no matter what. And I thought I had to use my body to get that.


When I met Steve I knew he was different. Sounds corny, doesn't it. But it's true. He has this easy smile, kind of shy and sweet and it puts people at ease. Oh I melted when he smiled. We spent the summer together before my senior year in college. I quit stripping. He sent me care packages when I went back to school and I flew out to be with him for every break. Shortly after I graduated we found an apartment together.

When we'd been living together for less than a year I took a pair of scissors and cut the cable to the TV. I thought it was the TV that was stifling our love, our sense of fun and freedom. I wanted to get married. I thought that was what people in love were supposed to do. I wanted to build a future with him. I wanted his love and attention, so I cooked and cleaned and tried and tried to get back that feeling from our first summer. I just wanted him to make me feel special again, in the way that wasn't about my body, but about my soul. Maybe I hadn't felt it since that first summer together. But I knew it was possible. I think that's why I stayed. If it happened once, it could happen again, right?

But it wasn't happening. And at work I was surrounded by men. Before long I was filling my need with attention from strangers and customers and coworkers. And hating myself because it wasn't the feeling I wanted. I wanted my Man. I wanted what I knew only he could offer me. But instead he was drunk every night. So during the day I flirted and smiled and wore tight jeans. And at night we fought and he drank. And I felt dirty and ugly and angry.

Not special, no, not special at all.


Steve's been sober for a little while now. We're both in recovery. I'm learning to find fulfillment within myself. I still have a love-hate relationship with the word SPECIAL. And I still feel moments of weakness, like this weekend when I felt inadequate as his partner. I think he still has trouble dealing with the behavior of my past. But I’m grateful to say that I truly believe that behavior is behind me now. I’m trying to forgive myself for what happened. I pray that he can forgive me too and we can move forward with a better, brighter future.

And for all the fathers out there, love your little girls and be the man in their life, every day.