I don’t even know what rhymes with “ukulele”.

Here we are, once again, in the midst of The Week of Awesome Decisions. Deciding things isn’t really my specialty, this is pretty known in my circle of friends. But once I decided to get married. That was May 22nd. That didn’t work out. Years later, I got proposed to, and I decided to say “yes”. That was on May 24th. The wedding was on May 26th. And look at me now, not married. See? Not my thing. (Also, to be clear, I’m not mad about the no longer married part. I’m just saying I have a shitty track record.)

I originally chose to try to celebrate this week by focusing on the good decisions I make. Or making small ones and taking a moment to bask in that glow (don’t judge me, you people that always know where you want to eat. Some of us need these tiny victories).

A while ago, I decided to actually deal with things, rather than continuing to cram them into a smaller-than-comfy space, and pretend they didn’t exist. While this sounds like a hoot, it means that while I do (and it takes a fucking long time) this shit is right on the surface. So there I am, minding my own business, when someone says something that sounds like “ukulele” and OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS ME OF THAT DOUCHEBAG I MARRIED. HE HAD ONE OF THOSE. I BOUGHT IT FOR HIM. HE WROTE ME A SONG WITH IT AND PLAYED IT WHILE HE PROPOSED. THAT WAS 4 YEARS AGO TODAY. GOD FUCKING DAMMIT WHY AM I ON THE FLOOR IN A BALL NOW? Except I’m really not in a ball on the floor (what a twist!) I’m sitting on the couch next to my adorable boyfriend, who has already suffered through too many “hey I was married to a psychopath once” stories. I want to pretend it doesn’t bother me, but that’s not who I am, and I don’t think that’s who we are, so I’m confused, and I just stare at him. Saying nothing.

It’s too much. I don’t know where to begin. Mostly because I don’t want to begin this fucking story again. It’s over. I want it to be done. But this week, man. This fucking week. How do I look at it and not feel like I’m unlovable? How do I not see that I am the common denominator in all of these failures? How do I not tell this sweet, loving, hilarious man on the couch to run far, far away?

I decide to just breathe. To give myself space to be hurt in. To remember that there was abuse, and that doesn’t just go away magically. That my story is mine, and if others are tired of hearing it, that’s fine, but I’m not going to be shamed into silence with myself, again.

I wanted to make this fun and upbeat. I wanted to stand tall and declare myself victorious over those decisions that previously haunted me. Maybe tomorrow. For now, I’m just going to sit on this couch, now by myself, wrapped in a scarf the adorable man left for me, and watch a sappy movie. And remember that I’m not just lovable, I’m already quite loved.

 

 

Rehashagram

I joined Instagram. I had held off for a long time, because I don’t want pictures of my food to be the sum of who I am. But my bestie recommended it (that’s a nice way of putting being told I had to get it right that second. But she’s my boo. That’s how we roll.) as a way to balance out all the terribleness happening in the world. Follow a bunch of adorable cat pages, and when the world seems hopeless, just hop over and gaze at their ridiculous floof until you can breathe again.

I’m happy to say that it works! I added a few hilarious meme generators to my followed list, and I find it’s a great mood changer! Kittens and sarcasm. Perfect.

I also follow a page dedicated to narcissistic sociopath awareness. I came across something they posted, was comforted by the relate-ability, and decided to add them to my feed. It’s not so much a comforting distraction, but it does help in a weird and uncomfortable way. Sometimes, I scroll past their posts without reading, because I just don’t feel like it, or they don’t particularly apply. But the last few days, every single one has been spot fucking on.

My take away from this is that the Anal-Dwelling Butt Ferret isn’t special. I mean, I knew this, but one of the things he prides himself most on is how unique he is. He’s eclectic and unexpected. Something to be in awe of. Except… nope. He’s just like every other douchecanoe on the the Bullshit River. Like they all graduated from the same course in Asshattery. It’s eerie.

The first one that really got me was this:

flirting

This happened constantly. If I wasn’t hearing stories about women from the past that had hit on him because they just couldn’t help themselves, I was hearing about the women he worked with, or my friends, or coworkers… they all wanted him. At least that’s the way he tells it. If I did think on my own that someone was flirting with him, he’d confirm it. He’d tell me how lewd they were being, how disrespectful to me, how angry I should get. Then, when I did, he’d tell me I was being insecure and dramatic. Also, no one was ever flirting with me. Because they could tell I belonged to him, and I was dressed frumpily.

Then, there was this one:

Hearts

Well really, it makes total sense. If all these dickwads are the same, it would reason that they all go for the same type of person. But again. He’s just so unoriginal!

Today, there was this:

3 years

We split up a month before our 3rd anniversary. And in the comments, there were a good amount of people who spent 3 years with the person of their nightmares. I’m sure there is some sort of formula at work that hasn’t been discovered yet, but it’s just weird.

It helps, though. There is comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, sure. But there’s really quite a bit in knowing he’s not, either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supporting a larger assclown population in the world, or in any way saying their abusive ways are helpful. I’m saying that knowing he’s so very unoriginal is… nice. He isn’t clever. He isn’t special. He’s a cookie-cutter, bitch ass little ferret.

As you can see, following this page also means I deal with thinking about him often, as well. But really, I already was. Stuff comes up all the time. It’s much easier to brush off nowadays. It doesn’t knock me down nearly as often. But sometimes it will. And that’s alright. Because there was also this one:

Not a victim

 

 

Also, in case you were wondering, I’ve posted zero pictures of my food. It’s all nerdy t-shirts and fancy socks.

I’ll never be perfect, but at least now I’m brave.

It’s finally done. Paperwork has been submitted, signed by a judge, and filed. I carried around a certified copy for two days, just to remind myself it’s over. I’m divorced. For the second time.

There was, of course, one last verbal skirmish with the Butt-Ferret before it was all said and done. I had to file additional paperwork, take some more time off work. But it was beyond worth it. Whatever needed to be done to see that judge’s signature on that page, I was happily volunteering.

During our marriage, especially towards the end, I had no control over my life. What I ate, wore, read, who I talked to, where I went and how I got there, it was all subject to his approval. Or simply handled for me, without my consent. By the end, I was merely showing up to be counted and had no idea what was going on. Most of the time, I was daydreaming about someone noticing my plight and whisking me away to freedom. (At night, I dreamed of watching movies with male friends, and woke up crying because someone being interested in what fucking musical I wanted to see seemed so far from what my reality was.) I had shut down, almost completely. I still put on a good show for friends and family, because if not I’d be accused of being an attention whore, or being insane.

One day, I was taking a shower. I had remembered to lock the door, so I actually got to be alone (My bathing habits were also under constant scrutiny.). I was replaying my favorite scenario where a strong, sweet man rides up on his gleaming steed, steals me right from under Butt-Ferret’s nose, and gallops away. About the third time through, a tiny voice, one I don’t hear often, said as clear as day, “No one is going to save you.” That was it. I lost my shit, and spent the next 10 minutes sobbing on the tub floor.

Then, I got up, dried off, and went about saving myself.

Recently, I ended another relationship. While doing so, I was told that I had now become controlling. It was understandable, given what I’d been through, but in protecting myself against situations like it, I had now become what I fought so hard to get away from.

No.

I control what happens to me. I control what I will accept and what I won’t from a partner. I control what I do, where I go, how I spend my money, who I talk to, what I wear and how I look. I know what my needs are, and I make it clear what I won’t tolerate in my life, or the life of my child. THAT is being independent. That is taking care of my damn self. That is not controlling another person, telling them how to act, think, feel or be. It’s just uncomfortable and unfortunate for others that I know what my needs are and don’t have time to waste on not getting them met. It’s not a character flaw, it’s just part of life.

I no longer need, or even remotely want, to be saved. I got this.

 

Don’t scratch the wall, Sammy.

I had this theory, that if I only had certain feelings on certain days, I could maintain them more successfully. Clearly I was drinking when I came up with this.

Actually, it wasn’t a conscious thought at all. I recently noticed that I do this. I hoard my little feelings until I think The Time is Right, let them out somewhat dramatically, and then skip merrily away, declaring myself cleansed. When my grandparents died, I didn’t cry at all between the initial finding out and the funerals, because it wasn’t time yet. When I think about them now, I only get upset on the anniversary of their deaths. There has to be times and places, or my emotions will just run wild. (Yes, this entire time I’m pretending like they don’t already control most every move I make. I lead a rich fantasy life.)

To help all these feels stay in their place, I build little walls to hide them behind. As long as the walls are not tampered with, everything works as it supposed to. Picture me here dusting off my hands triumphantly.

The biggest of all the walls is The Ex Wall. Reliving my second marriage is not my favorite. Mostly, because it wasn’t all bad. But a great deal of it was, and the betrayal that I feel because of that makes the good parts so much worse. So all of it gets tucked away, and I try to ignore the fact that he’s out there, continuing to exist. Ever so rudely.

Last week, someone scratched at the wall. I had to recount details and justify my choices to a complete stranger, because she was at risk of having that big ol’ wad of crazy aimed at her. One of my fears in doing so came true, and he found out that I had talked about him (and subsequently ruined his chances to bringĀ  his special brand of manipulative, narcissistic bullshit into someone else’s life .). He contacted me, and called me a liar. He said he’d never abused me, that I’d made it all up to get attention.

This week, I filed for divorce. The timing was purely coincidental, I was already on my way to doing so when this all happened. Though I should feel free, I don’t. Because it’s not done. He could still do… something. I don’t know what, kill more fish? Fake cry to make me feel guilty? Write more terrible Missed Connections submissions?

So here I was, trying to cram my wall back together while I wait for shizz to be finalized so I can tell someone about it. Weirdly enough, my containment plan turned out to be complete shit. Who knew?

When he text me to tell me I was wrong to call what he did abuse, there was a moment where I second guessed myself. I thought, “Well maybe I am overreacting. Maybe he didn’t really mean it the way I took it.” It’s been over a fucking year, and this shit STILL gets to me. Fuck that. Being told my opinions are shit, that I’m fucking stupid, that my friends don’t really like me, that if I get too confident he’ll knock me down a peg so I stay dependent on him, that’s abuse. Being kept away from those friends and family because he didn’t trust me to leave the house alone, also abuse. Being angrily accused of sleeping with every man I talked to (or looked at for any length of time) and called a liar when I said I wasn’t, hey guess what, more abuse. Being guilted into eating food I didn’t want, then passive-aggressively made fun of for my weight gain, ring-a-ding-ding, we’ve got a winner, and it’s abuse. Being told the he didn’t need to ask for sex, I was his wife, and “when he’s hungry, he eats”, that’s fucking creepy, and yes, another shining example of abuse. Oh, and then later being told that I must be gay or cheating because I wasn’t givin’ it up on the regular, well that’s just plain stupid. Guess what, dillhole, there’s a third option: I DON’T WANT YOUR STANK ASS NEAR ME.

Nope, he never hit me, never put his hands on me in any kind of violent way. But there’s still plenty of scars.

Because of them, this probably won’t be the last day that I rehash this incredible drama of absurdity. I won’t stop warning potential girlfriends when I get the opportunity, and I won’t cower in fear over what his crazy ass could do if he doesn’t like the things I say. I don’t give two shits if anyone believes me, I was there. I know what happened. (He could say the same, I suppose, but I’m also not a self-admitted sociopath. Points to me.)

 

So, Butt-Weasel, just in case you stumble upon this, and it’s still not clear, let me say this in parting: Fuck you, you insecure, controlling, self-serving, uneducated, weirdly racist, misogynistic, lying, conniving, completely fucking worthless piece of shit. You don’t deserve to live in the same hemisphere I do. Not because I’m so amazing, but because you’re so useless. Do what you want. Stalk me, fuck with my car, burn my shit down, attack me. It won’t change that at the end of the day, you’re still you.

 

 

 

 

 

My cape was at the dry cleaners.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. When last we left, our heroine was struggling with reacting to uncomfortable situations appropriately. Let’s review in a bit more detail, shall we?

I went on a date. On paper, everything was good. We had talked extensively beforehand, and there was much clicking to be had. But, trying to focus on reality and not get carried away, I needed the actual date to happen before any real decision making was to be done. Surface-wise, it was great. We talked, we laughed, we shared a basket of bar food. We decided to go watch a movie together, which seemed alright, given the clickiness.

First, he kissed me. Now, I’m no prude, I have kissed a gentleman before. Except this was not gentlemanly. In what I’m sure he thought of as a romantic gesture, he pounced (no really. There was jumping and everything) and attacked my face with a very intense barrage of liplockage. It was painful. Physically, as there was teeth involved (FYI – bad plan for a first kiss.) and somewhat mentally, as I have a personal space bubble, and it was popped quite forcefully. All I could think was, “I thought he claimed to be a feminist?”.

Then, some time later (because unbeknownst to me, the numbness that is my oldest and most hard-to-break coping mechanism was already taking over, and I was totally fine with still being there) we were getting cuddly and I said something sassy. I don’t remember what it was, some snarky comment that I make all the time, I’m sure. His response? A slap to the face, and flirtatious giggling. Again, I’m sure that in his mind, he thought he was ever so coy. I…. thought nothing. Other than “No sudden movements.”. So when he asked me if that was alright, I said “Yep.” and when he asked me if I wanted more, I said “Nope.”. That was it. That’s all I could do. Somewhere in my head, a little voice asked “What just happened? Are we really okay with this?” but it was immediately shushed, and silence resumed.

Upon later reflection in the safety of my once again intact personal bubble, I decided that no, I definitely was not okay with that. Aside from my hatred for domestic violence, WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT ON A FIRST FUCKING DATE?!? WHAT IN THE GREAT GREEN FUCK WAS THAT?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Anger set in. At him, for being a tool, but mostly at myself, for doing nothing about it. In his head, that ended on a good note, and he chalked that up as a successful date, surely to be the first of many. Me? I just wanted to vomit. How could I just sit there? Why didn’t I say anything? What is wrong with me?

As it turns out, nothing. Every human has a flight, fight or freeze response to shock. More often than not, mine is freeze. That’s just how I’m programmed, it’s not a flaw or failure. I just need to allow myself to resume normal thinking, and reflect on the situation from a safe distance. When I do, if I’m not alright with it, that’s perfectly fine. That’s all the justification there needs to be for me to walk away from something.

So I did, and I feel much better. Yay me.

Then, yesterday, the inevitable happened. A friend informed me that my ex is dating someone new. There were even pictures accompanying this news. I looked at their happy faces, at her pretty hair, and I felt nothing.

This time, though, it was a different kind of nothing. It was a relieved emptiness, knowing that these people have no affect on my life. I don’t need him to be miserable, and I don’t care if he’s happy. I don’t despise this woman who took my place, nor do I feel like warning her of what could be in store.

I made my choice. I chose the life I now lead, in this little apartment with this adorable boy, the two of us making our own way in a crazy ass world. Sometimes we’re broke, and have to eat terrible concoctions of cheap food, because there’s only one person to pay all the bills. Sometimes we have no one to do the heavy lifting, or the nasty chores we don’t want to do. Sometimes, we feel a little alone. But there is not one day in the whole lot that I ever wish I had chosen differently.

Decisions, decisions.

Now that I’ve definitely made it through to the other side, I can safely talk about Bad Decision Weekend. Here’s the deal. The anniversary of my first marriage is May 22nd, and the anniversary of my second is May 26th. Though there is 9 years in between, the dates being so close together creates what could easily become a long weekend surrounded by depression and regret. But these are not the only bad decisions I’ve ever made. This ain’t my first rodeo, and I don’t give up that easily.

The weekend’s title is mostly a joke. At the time, I thought each marriage was the best decision I’d ever made, and I entered into both of them with bright eyes, full of love and wonder. I look the same way going into the cheese aisle at grocery stores, though. Not every ticket is a winner.

I decided instead to put a positive spin on it. Celebrate the days for something new. Applaud myself for making good decisions, no matter how small. Making them at all is actually really difficult for me, no matter the context. It can be anything from where I want to eat (THE BANE OF MY FUCKING EXISTENCE! GOOD LORD!) to whether or not I like one shade of purple better than the other, and I instantly create a mental block that wouldn’t allow me to tell you my opinion even if I did have one. So I decided to take it easy on myself, and acknowledge my progress. No matter what, I wasn’t going to feel guilty (as long as nobody was hurt by my decision, that is. Rule numero uno.)

Friday, I decided to post little throwback pictures of Wedding 1. It’s more of a fun memory than anything else at this point, and seeing the younger versions of all of us in terrible clothing was cute. Also, my son was our ring bearer, and he was freaking adorable. I also went on a date, and decided to eat a salad. It’s not exciting because I’m trying to be healthy (the beer I washed it down with was proof of that.) it’s that I remembered to order food I can eat with a fork. I have a tiny mouth, and there has been more than one occasion where I ended up wearing more of my food than eating it. Or, better yet, having to use both hands to cram it into my wee maw whilst trying to appear smooth and sophisticated. I also decided that the date would go no further than the planned dinner and movie. Sticking with the schedule takes out the guesswork and accompanying doubt. Easy peasy.

Saturday, I decided to act like an adult. For the first time in my entire life, I had preventative maintenance done on my car. It finally occurred to me that, independent lady that I am, I have no idea how to change a fucking tire. Though I’m sure I could find someone to call in the case that I need one changed, there’s nobody contractually obligated to bail me out of car-related issues within a reasonable traveling distance anymore. Seriously though, I lived off the high of being responsible and buying new tires before I needed them for a good 3 days.

Sunday, I picked a place to eat. By myself. Even without multiple options from someone else to choose from. Also, it was a place neither I or my companion had ever eaten before. Totally new. As if the tires weren’t enough, now I was just getting cocky! And I didn’t stop there! I chose dessert, AND what to watch on TV. I may actually scrap the whole weekend and just make a holiday out of that day alone. The Day Dinner Was Chosen in Less Than Half an Hour. Be prepared for your banks to be closed on this day next year.

By Monday, I was all too close to the dreaded anniversary of Wedding 2. This one was not a fun memory quite yet. There would be no cutesy pictures, no happy stories. It’s too fresh, too raw still. So, I decided to let myself feel that, and be okay with it. With help from both Bridget Jones movies (back to back, no less) I stopped holding it in, toughing it out, or making jokes about it. I let myself just be sad that something I once believed in so much is now gone. It hurts. When Colin Firth hunted down Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason to confront him about letting Bridget be arrested for drug smuggling, I cried it all out. For our heroine, who didn’t know what a good man she had til she found herself in a Thai prison, for the little girl I once was who thought (twice) that she had found such a Prince Charming, and for the woman I am now, who can take care of herself, but secretly wants someone to punch a dude in the face on her behalf every now and then.

The actual anniversary was Tuesday, and as I had previously decided to take the day off work, I then chose to go shopping. I know, how cliche. But there’s a reason for that, it friggin’ works. Except that I almost turned around halfway to the outlet mall, because I felt guilty. Then I remembered the year I spent looking over my shoulder at every checkout line, trying to figure out how I would justify my spending on the ride home, and the panic attack I nearly had over buying an unplanned sponge. (That fucking sponge will haunt me forever.) Before I knew it, I was checking out of Journey’s with 2 pairs of overpriced, completely nonsensical shoes, and feeling pretty good about myself.

Though this weekend was actually harder than I thought it would be, or told anyone about, I made it. I never doubted that I would, actually. When I do get around to making a choice, I stick with it. Maybe there are times that I shouldn’t, but in this case, it worked out pretty dang well.

I don’t live here.

I was a weird kid. I came by it quite naturally, I have a whole weird family. We sang patriotic songs together in the car, we took turns forming the letters of the alphabet with our bodies instead of watching TV, and we created an imaginary call center selling Ghostbusters equipment to made-up customers. (We didn’t bust ghosts. We just sold proton packs over the play phone.)

Once, I had a pet plastic egg. His name was Eggbert, and I’d found him during the egg hunt that Easter. He wasn’t the thin, crappy, see-through plastic kind with the little tab connecting the two halves that rips apart within seconds.No, no. He was the good kind. Solid, golden yellow, and smooth. So I stuffed him full of plastic grass, made him a bed out of a Kleenex box, and carried him everywhere. Before bedtime, I’d spin him on the table for exercise. We had a great time, Eggbert and I.

At some point, I realized that having a pet egg does not at all make you awesome. Shamefully, I tucked little Berty in his tissue-lined sanctuary and crammed him in a box so none of my friends (I swear I had them, and they were real, tangible human beings) would discover him. I cried, because I didn’t want to grow up. I just wanted to hang out with a fucking Easter egg.

Earlier today, I was thinking about how after 3 months, I still don’t really live in my apartment. I haven’t fully unpacked, or decorated. I don’t spend time here if I can find any reason not to. I love the place, but it’s not yet my home.

Home is where your heart is. For your heart to be in one place, you have to leave it behind from time to time. I can’t. I’m not willing to take the risk. What if I’ve chosen the wrong place, yet again, and it’s not safe here? Strong as it can be, the heart is still fragile at the core.

So instead, I pack up my little heart into a cozy space, lined with caution, protection and Kleenex, and cart it around with me. When nobody is watching, I let it ride out on my sleeve, wind whipping through it’s ventricles. Most of the time, though, it stays hidden. Not because I’m ashamed this time, I’m just a little more careful than before. My former ways of jumping from one hurtful moment to the next with nothing but hope and optimism has finally taken it’s toll. I don’t have resentment, I’m not bitter, I just need to heal. I’ve recuperated quite well so far, but there’s still a ways to go. When I get there, I won’t be celebrating by turning around and diving back in the deep end. I’ll stay there, throw some dorky pictures on the walls, and finally make my home.

The pain of losing Eggbert was enough. A girl can only take so much.