Life After Divorce











Wow.  I am blown away that another year has come and gone.  2009 kicked my ass, both in a good way, and a less-than-good way.  Not bad, per se, but if you have been reading, you know that it hasn’t been a walk in the park by any means.  I am glad to see 2009 go, and am thrilled that I actually managed, perhaps for the first time ever, to achieve my New Year’s Resolution… divorce.  Sure, it took me 11 months to get it done.  Eleven long, grueling months, but it is done, nonetheless.

One year ago today, I was abducted from my miserable existence.  Last New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Lori, agreed to attend my family’s annual NYE party with me, since, as usual, my husband refused to go.  Not because he wanted to do something else, or even because he didn’t like going out on New Year’s, but because he thought I was going to leave him and didn’t want to get involved in a family function that would hurt him.  It was the same reason he gave for skipping Thanksgiving, and also Christmas.  Not really why he skipped those on other years, but whatever.  So, I dragged my friend out into the cold, dressed in our best approximation of formal wear, and we had ourselves a blast.  I think we rolled into the house about 6 am, and I put her ass to bed on the couch.  When I woke up around noon, Lori and I started discussing what we would do to enjoy the first day of the new year.  You see, New Year’s Day is a football day, which means that the husband would be sitting on the couch for hours watching endless games, highlights, and commentaries; leaving me virtually ignored.  So, I didn’t even think to include him in our plans.  This is, after all, what happened for the previous 10 years.  So, when he called me (from the bedroom, into the living room), he was less than happy that I wouldn’t be sitting there bored to death watching him watch football.  He started throwing around some of my favorite terms of endearment, such as ice queen, I rolled my eyes and hung up on him.  Then, when I went to get dressed to start the day, he started in again telling me how I was the problem.  Long story short (ok, not short… get used to it) Lori overheard everything he said to me, and as we made our escape she said, “Oh NO!  I can’t believe the way he was talking to you!!  I thought he was nice, but he is a douche!  This is an INTERVENTION!!!  YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK!  I AM KIDNAPPING YOU!”  At this point, I was pretty fried, I will admit.  She got on the phone with another friend and they plotted getting me out of the house.  I stayed pretty quiet, as most people hit with an intervention do, until the jerk started calling obsessively.  I finally answered the phone and he informed me that a process-server had just been to our door, and that I was being sued.  I lost it.  I finally came completely unglued.  The reason for the suit was due to a bad debt obtained during the three-year period when he just decided that he didn’t like his job, and wasn’t going to go at all.  He makes the decision, and I get burned with the consequences.  As I was attempting to get back in my car, the door wouldn’t open.  I finally managed to get it open, and the flood gates opened.  I cried all the way back to Lori’s house.  I laid on her couch and cried for hours.  I was exhausted…. mentally and emotionally drained… and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Lori told me that she and her five-year old daughter discussed it, and they invited me to move in to their apartment.  I will admit that I was resistent. I am stubborn… I will admit it freely.  I didn’t WANT to leave my place.  It was MY place, and if anyone should be leaving, it ought to be him!  But… I finally had to admit that the likelihood of that happening was slim-to-none… I had to make the choice.  Go back, be stubborn, and be miserable… OR take the leap and try to do it a different way.  It took me less than three days to decide I was never going back.  My friends, while happy I had done something, never really believed that I would stay gone.  But something my friend Jeff said to me really hit home.  He said, “You know… you can keep complaining about the situation and never doing anything – and eventually… we are going to get tired of hearing about it.”  I decided he was right, and I didn’t want to be “that girl.”  I am a smart, independent woman MORE than capable of supporting herself.  Hell, I supported myself AND him for YEARS.  It HAD to be easier to do it on my own.

Going back to get my stuff, since we left with nothing, was tough.  The first time, I told him that I was just going to spend the night with Lori because she was having a rough time.  Chickenshit, I know.  But, I didn’t want to deal with a scene.  We went over, and she put on her best depressed face, drawn hoodie and all, and I packed as much into two tote bags as I possibly could.  Poor little Em… she knew it was a secret that she couldn’t tell him… he tried to talk to him and she almost flipped out.  She comes running back into my room and says, “He’s trying to talk to me but I have a SECRET!!!”  Needless to say, we got the hell out of dodge as quick as we could manage.  We also bribed Em with ice cream, so you know, she was VERY motivated not to spill the beans.

The next day, Lori called me at work to let me know that Em was thrilled that I was moving in, and she had begun packing her toys up in Ziploc baggies so that I could move into her room.  The sheer thought and loving compassion from a then-four-year old girl brought me to tears.  I began going back home when I knew he would be working to get more stuff out.  It was hard, for sure.

I am so thankful to my many friends and family members who invited me out on a regular basis to take my mind off things, and to let loose and have a little fun for a change.  First was the “worst party on Earth.”  Yeah… it really sucked LOL.  Next was my cousin’s bachelorette party, which was a lot of fun and involved a party bus and copious amounts of alcohol.  I am not much of a drinker, but it was still a total blast.  I don’t remember a lot of the first few weeks… they really passed in a blur.  I slept in Em’s bed, and will admit that I may have cuddled up with a giant stuffed dog named Razaroo, and I might not admit to crawling into a giant purple castle-shaped tent.  Maybe.  But I kept telling myself… “I’m OK!!!”

February brought along my annual out-of-town scrapbooking retreat with some of my girlfriends.  It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of work done.  It was also the first time that I can say I don’t think we will be invited back, but those people suck anyway lol.  I also convinced the girls that we should swing by The Salt Lick (outside of Austin) on our way home.  Rogna kindly pointed out that a 70 mile trip was NOT on our way home, but I begged to differ – Especially where the best BBQ on Earth is concerned.  They relented, and after we stuffed ourselves silly, eventually agreed.  Mmmmm… all you can eat BBQ.

The next weekend was the wedding reception for my cousin and her awesome new hubby.  They got married in Mexico, but then had a reception back at home so that we could all celebrate with them in style.  Enter the soon to be ex.  Unfortunately, our invitation arrived while we were still together, so he wanted to go.  I told him I didn’t care if he went (it is a free country, after all), to which he said, “but I want to go as your husband!”  [yawn]  He did end up going, but I was much too concerned with catching up with my favorite cousins to spend any time around him, much to his chagrin.  After this (and before, too), I started to receive a barrage of texts, voicemails, and calls from him asking me to come home and reminding me that our lease was set to expire at the end of the month, and he didn’t have any place to go.

About a week later, I started feeling sick.  I had been on meds for anxiety for about a month, but they didn’t seem to be helping.  As you know from my Panic at the Disco! blog, I do not do well with anxiety.  After three days straight of throwing up, my body had enough.  Enter the Three Stooges of ambulatory care.  These bozos tramped through my room in muddy boots, got lost on the way to the hospital, and couldn’t get a vital sign right to say their (or more accurately MY) life.  I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days.  Many gory and horrible things occurred (read the old blog), and I was released on Friday night, still anxious and vomiting.  After a miserable night where I very nearly lost the will to live, literally, I was taken to a different (aka BETTER) hospital, where they performed emergency surgery to remove my lap band.  I felt SO much better immediately after surgery that I probably could have skipped all the way home, IV and flappy gown blowing in the wind.

I recovered at my mom’s house for a few weeks… because, seriously?  Who takes better care of you when you are sick than your mom?  No one… that’s who.  And can you believe it?  That dillhole shows up at my mom’s house while I am doped up on pain meds with that stupid apartment lease for me to sign.  Douche nozzle.  I am referring to myself, of course, because I signed the stupid thing.  Idiot.  Guilt trips will take you far, but you will discover they do not accumulate the frequent flier miles associated with that much travel.  He kindly took off as soon as my now-roommate showed up, probably afraid that she would take his ass down with a Xena Warrior Princess-like jab to the throat, or perhaps a swift kick to the [fake] knees.

March & April had me feeling better than I had in a long time.  We were eating better (South Beach Diet), working hard, and getting things into a groove.  I even bought myself a new bed.  I didn’t really mean to… really… I was just looking.  But when the guy showed me the floor model… a $1400 bed marked down to $500… that felt like heaven… I was sold.  I always wanted a new bed.  I was so sick of hand-me-down beds.  I bought that sucker and had it set up to be delivered to the Chateau (what I have lovingly been calling our apartment).  Talk about Red Carpet service!  If you are thinking of buying a bed from the Mattress Firm… do it.  Pay the $60 for delivery.  They literally showed up with a red carpet.  And booties to cover their shoes so as not to make the same error as the Stooges.  And they set up the frame and mattresses for me.  And the bed was a good 3 feet taller in my room than it was in the store.  I had to take a flying leap to get into the thing!  I call it my Princess and the Pea bed (aka The Princess Bed), and it is heavenly.  To this day, people cannot lay on this bed without wanting to snuggle down and fall right to sleep.  [sigh]  I am writing this from my bed now lol.  But a few weeks later, once my bank statement came in to his apartment, he called and gave me the riot act over buying a new bed and how that told him I wasn’t coming back.  It couldn’t have been the 5,000 times I TOLD HIM I wasn’t coming back… it was the bed.  The next day I had my mail forwarded to a new PO Box.

I also had to lock down my Facebook account, for crying out loud.  At some point, I started getting “Friend Requests” from him.  I kindly ignored them.  After a week or so, he asked me if I was ever going to add him as a friend, to which I said, “hell no.”  After that realization, he decided to have other people spy on my FB status updates to extract information, which he would later call or text me about, generally at 3:00 am.  I locked that sucker down tighter than a drum.  To my knowledge, there haven’t been any other breaches.

While my new found freedom was nice, the paying half the rent at two apartments really sucked.  I was so pissed about that damn lease, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.  He wasn’t going to move, and I couldn’t get my name off the lease without him signing off on it and qualifying for the lease on his own (which was never going to happen).  He also started hounding me about doing something with our dog (namely, he didn’t want to take care of him anymore).  Around the middle of June, the anxiety started creeping back in.  I ran directly back to the doctor for help, and he doubled my Lexapro prescription.  I am fully convinced that this threw me over the edge into full-blown panic attacks 5-6 times a day.  Another trip to the ER, countless doctor’s visits, and every test known to man (btw my gall bladder is operating at 94%, thank you very much), and I come out with a diagnosis of “Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and a prescription for antidepressants.  Basically, the long and short of it is that my nerves in my stomach are highly sensitive and easily irritated.  Add that together with an acid stomach and raging anxiety issues… Boom.  Misery.  Since that day, I have taken my meds (meant to dull the nerves in the tummy) and haven’t had another episode.

During this time, I also took a little trip to a Psychiatrist, because holding two Psychology degrees myself, I find it important to keep a tight watch on my mental well-being, and let’s face it… my marriage did little to help my self-esteem and massively exacerbated a low-lying depression that I had probably been dealing with for years.  After a few talks with whats-her-name (seriously… I don’t have a clue what her name is), I felt better about my situation and my choice to move on with my life.  Oh, and in July I got an early Christmas present.  I found out that our lease expired in AUGUST, not September, like I originally thought.  Weeeee!  Oh Happy Day!  I immediately began packing, got a storage unit, and enlisted my girls to help me pack.  I also begged some loving family members to help me with the actual moving.

And the husband… he was a prince.  Of frogs.  He wanted everything.  He “needed” it.  Blah, blah, blah.  A friend of mine told me that typically in a divorce, one person gets the stuff and the other one is happy.  Guess which one I am??  I gave it all up.  I didn’t care.  I was so tired and ready to move on, and sick of arguing about every little thing that I walked away from some very nice things.  Oh well.  Come to find out the jerkwad sold it all.  Butthead.  I really miss my TV.  But, my little 13″ color TV with the built-in VCR my parents gave me on my 18th birthday has been getting me by.

September rolled around and I was getting really edgy about the divorce.  I really couldn’t afford a lawyer, and I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  All of the things you can Google wanted you to buy this fool-proof kit bullshit.  I don’t really go in for things like that (though I am strangely compelled to buy things as seen on tv), so I was skeptical to say the least.  I asked for advice from a friend who is a lawyer, but it didn’t really lead me where I needed to go.  And then, one day, I had an epiphany. You file for divorce with the District Clerk’s Office.  I used to WORK for the District Clerk’s Office.  I had 500 friends working in the District Clerk’s Office.  I just bet one of them could help me!  So, I called one of my favorite people and she says to me, “Oh, honey!  That’s easy!!!  This is what you do…”

One week later, I had officially filed for divorce.  My husband was kind enough to eventually realize that we didn’t have anything to fight over, so he signed the waiver to contest.  All we had to do was wait 61 days.

And then he remembered the camera.  For Christmas 2008, he went out and bought a bunch of expensive stuff that I told him not to buy as a “present” for me… including a Blu-Ray player (long since hidden by him), a ridiculously large, pink Coach purse, and a really nice HD camcorder.  Since he knew he couldn’t get anything for the purse, I guess he decided that was the “gift”, and promptly started demanding that I return the camera to him.  Suck it, asshole!  You got EVERYTHING!!  This was my inital thought.  After 2 weeks of constant harassment, threats, and basic stalking, I decided that the old stubborn me was never getting anywhere, so I gave the camera up.  Yes, it was a nice camera.  No, I don’t for one second believe he was going to “sell it to pay off the debt” like he claimed.  But, it was one less thing for him to hold over my head.  One less reason for him to ever contact me again (not that it has stopped him).  So, I gave it up.  I wish I would have had it to record my niece’s awesome reaction to the tricycle I bought her for Christmas, but whatever.  The picture of her riding it in a princess costume will live with me forever.

By mid-November, I was so ready for everything to be over.  I was counting down the days on my calendar.  As I got close, I called the clerk’s office again to make sure I could go in on the day I wanted to… good thing I checked.  They did not hold the uncontested docket on that day.  So, I went the next day instead.  I was very nervous… especially since I seemed to be the only schmuck there without an attorney.  But, I just followed behind one of the attorneys and eventually landed myself on the 9 am docket.  After being called in front of the judge, sworn in, and reading my testimony (pre-printed, courtesy of the courts, thank you very much), I was waltzing out the door mentally singing Freebird.  A celebratory jewelry party with friends later, and I was waltzing through the door of the Chateau a single lady.  I thank all of my friends, family, blog readers, and random other people for all of their support and encouragement.

The rest of the year flew by in a blur.  Thanksgiving came, and with it a visit from my brother.  I was thrilled to see him, since he lives in New York and doesn’t get down that often.  I had my first date in over eleven years, and it was… well… a disaster.  I mean the date itself was fine, but the guy ended up being a tool after the fact.  In fact, a week later he called and begged me to “take him back.”  Umm… dude… it was one date.  Weirdo.  I had another first date… and then a second… and a third (that’s three dates with the same guy), and so far so good.  He is a nice guy, and it is fun to hang out with someone and just be yourself.  No pretenses… no self-consciousness.  Good times.

And then it happened.

And I laughed so hard I almost wet myself.

And I believe I wrote a Facebook status that went like this:  “Dear Baby Jesus in the Hay… THANK YOU for the gift of laughter… and for the fact that the last person to view my online dating profile happens to be my ex-husband.”  That’s right, folks.  On a site that doesn’t ask or list you name or even your email address… the last person to view me was him.  And of course, he started to send me the most horrible, vile, and mean texts you have ever read.  And trust me, one day you WILL read them.  As will the courts, if he doesn’t leave me alone.  So, I blocked him.  Good times… Good times.

So, another year has come and gone, and with it I am happier, healthier, and a lot wiser.  I have high expectations for 2010, and I am thrilled that I get to continue my journey with great friends, a terrific family, and myself.  Because that is truly what I have gained this year.  I have the self I always wanted to be.  I will always have goals and will always move forward, but life after divorce is about to get a whole lot more interesting!

Happy New Year to you all!  Please continue reading, and leaving me those comments.

xo,

Liz

(PS – Sorry for the 3,600+ word post.  It was a hell of a year!  If you stuck with it to the end… kudos to you!  And to me!  LOL)



{August 14, 2009}   Whiplash

Ok kiddies… we are coming down to the wire.  Only 16 more days until the lease expires.  I am packing up and moving as much as I can this weekend.  I am SO over this.  I always thought to myself, “If I ever move out, I am filing for divorce right away and we will be done in 60 days!”  Well, as I am sure happens with most break-ups, life gets in the way. 

You see, once you are out of the horrible day in/day out situation, you don’t think about it as much.  At least for me.  There is such a quiet freedom in being able to do what you want without judgment or need for justification.  Without the daily misery… I am free to just be me!  I enjoyed my quiet times and for the first few months, my social calendar was full!  So many people invited me out to take my mind off it.

But there were calls.  And texts.  Oh… the texts.  All day long.  All night long.  Never an adult conversation.  Always either whining/crying or screaming.  Ugh.  In February, the stress got to me and I landed in the hospital ending in emergency surgery.  After a month of recovery, I was feeling better.

Then in June, I got sick again.  Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, they are calling it.  (Basically, my nerves in my digestive tract are just too sensitive and closely tied with anxiety – Hooray.)  Now I am feeling better.  I rented a storage unit and start packing and all that jazz.  This weekend will be my big move.  I am hoping that I can get it all together and be out.

But now that we are rolling to a close, I am not the only one feeling it.  For months, Steve has been “so sad.”  Trying to convince me to come back and in the same breath pushing me farther away.  I know he is bipolar, but sheesh.  Then last week he started vacillating between “Denial” and “Uber Pissed”  Now the good times are mostly forgotten.

Sample texts:

“I hope you are sterile”

“File for divorce and get it over with you quitter” (I’d rather be a quitter than a cheater)

“Wish u would have never married me.”

Damn.  Can you feel the love?  I sure can! 

Here’s the deal.  I don’t feel sorry for you.  YOU put me through hell for years.  YOU couldn’t give a shit about me or my emotional (or physical) well- being.  YOU laughed in my face when I told you I was hurting.  YOU pushed me aside as if I didn’t matter and just did whatever the hell you wanted to do.  I asked you to go to counseling for FIVE YEARS and you wanted nothing to do with any of it.

Until I walked out. 

Until I didn’t come back.

Until you finally realized that I was a great thing, and that I did EVERYTHING for you.

NOW you want to go to counseling.  NOW you want to talk about love.  NOW I am interesting.  Guess what?  Too.  Effing.  Late.

It.

Is.

NOT.

MY.

FAULT.

And all of the nastiness in the world won’t make it so.  I have been sent on so many emotional guilt trips that I will take ALL of my loyal readers to Fiji with me on the frequent flier miles!

It isn’t worth it.  Not the stress to my health, my psyche, or my sanity.  You can say all of the ridiculous things you want about ME walking out and “ruining your chance at having a family.”  No.  That was YOUR choice for years, when you decided to tell me I would be a horrible mother (lie). When you told me that we would never have children (right.. not together, we won’t).  When you told me that what I wanted wasn’t important.

But it is important to me.  That is why I left.

So take yourself on down the road to whatever and whomever you want.  I don’t care.  You told me once that you would “find a really PRETTY woman next time”.  Good luck with that.  I hope that you mature a little before you ruin someone else’s life and steal their youth.

Suck it.  I’m out.

“Love”,

Your Soon-to-be-Ex-Wife



{May 5, 2009}   Flashback: Soap

Fall 2006

When we moved into our one-bedroom apartment, Steve started a love affair with the apartment’s hot tub.  He would go out every night around midnight and come back hours later.  I rarely went… because… come on… someone had to work and support us!  So I would go to bed about the time he would throw a towel over one shoulder… no shirt (poor neighbors!) and would walk barefoot over to the pool.  I found it annoying.  Why couldn’t he just come to bed like a normal person??  It made me feel very alone.

On this particular night, I woke up around 1:30 am to a strange sawing noise.  I couldn’t figure out what I was hearing… my brain still thick with sleep.  I opened the bedroom door and looked down.  I was confused until I realized what I was looking at was what was left of the carpet under my bedroom door, and an incredibly jittery miniature dachshund.  That only meant one thing.  Jerry.  Steve’s brother Jerry had a very unsettling effect on Major and the poor dog was just terrified of him.  I didn’t see the guys in the apartment, so I figured they went to the pool.  Poor Major had clawed up all the carpet under the door trying to get in to me.

I took Major to bed with me, fully intending on giving both Steve and Jerry a piece of my mind… later… zzzzzz.

Around 3am, I awoke to the lights going on in the bathroom and the sound of the shower.  I am a really light sleeper, so this REALLY annoyed me.  I stalked out into the living room… to find both Steve and Jerry sitting there watching TV.  Who the hell was in my shower???  I asked this very sentiment and the answer I received made me livid.

“Oh some girl Jerry brought over.”

There is a naked girl in my shower at 3am?  And no one thinks this is a problem but me??  ARGH!

But here’s the best part…

Not ONLY was there some strange girl in my shower at 3am.

She was a stripper.

A FUCKING STRIPPER IN MY SHOWER!  AFTER BEING IN THE HOT TUB WITH MY HUSBAND!

Sorry to offend those of you who “stripped your way through college”  [eye roll] But.  EWW.

Bleaching cleanser? $5.00

New soap?  $0.89

Eliminating stripper cooties from my shower? Priceless.

The best part was all three assholes got a rash from something going on in that hot tub.  Serves you right.  Get a real job… ALL OF YOU.



{March 8, 2009}   Panic! at the Disco

madonna-pinkdiscoball

So, it has been a while since my letter to myself. I had much to consider. I appreciate all of the comments left on that post.  It seemed to inspire strong feelings on all sides… and I adore my girls for jumping in.  It was very cleansing for my soul to write to myself.

Since I wrote that letter (not because of it, mind you…) I have had some issues in the health department.  I would like to talk about a little thing called Anxiety.  I think I have spoken of it before.  I have also blogged about it HERE . 

In January, I started to have panic attacks again.  The attacks would come mostly at work, in the middle of the day, when I am LEAST able to handle them.  I have tried breathing into a paper bag… Laying on the floor in the middle of my darkened training room trying to breathe in and out… Shit… I have even tried acupuncture.  All to no avail.  So when I realized that these were becoming a daily occurrence (AGAIN!), I decided to seek some help.  I ran straight to my primary care doctor who has been treating me for the last 8 years or so.  He is also Steve’s doctor.

The day I went to his office was like nearly EVERY other time I have ever been there.  Millions of snotting, hacking people waiting in the waiting room… a REALLY long wait time to get in.  I could feel the germs climbing all over me [shudder].  I am not even a germaphobe and I was wigging out!  Oh wait… duh… anxiety!  Can I just say that a 2 hour wait time does nothing to help anxiety?  Yeah, thanks.  But, the doctor is really good and I have always felt comfortable with him.  So I wait.  When I finally get called back by the nurse, who also knows me and my husband well, she is not surprised to see me.  Steve had been in the week before, so I knew that he had told them about the separation.  She was asking me questions and laughing and joking around about cutting her first husband free.  It was great to see someone who got it!

Then the doctor came in to see me.  I told him that it was happening again, and I wanted to get some treatment before I ended up in the hospital again.  I told him that I wanted to be on a daily pill so that I could keep the attacks from ever starting, rather than just treating them once they were underway.  I don’t like to feel that way… and I pretty much don’t stop unless I am sedated.  Not fun.  He puts me on Lexapro, which I have taken before and liked.  I didn’t remember but it is the same medicine that my roommate takes.  Interesting! 

But I am sitting there with Dr. K and I mentioned that I had left Steve… the conversation went a little something like this:

           Me:  You know… I left Steve.

          Dr:  Yeah… I was wondering how you were doing when he told me that.

          Me:  It was time.  It really felt like the right thing to do.  I don’t know why all of this anxiety started again!

          Dr:  Is he calling you much?

          Me:  Every Day

          Dr:  How about texting?

          Me: Incessantly!   <click>

          Dr:  Yeah… I was afraid of that.

          Me:  Sonofabitch!

          Dr: [gazing off and thinking out loud] I wonder if it is possible to block his number and block him from texting…

I love my doctor.

So, I started taking the Lexapro daily.  I had a few interesting side effects.  Only one is worth mentioning.  One night I sneezed and got a BIZARRE electrical shock throughout my entire spine… up into my head… wrapped around to my chest… down to my toes.  I immediately panicked and thought I might be having a stroke.  I threw my hands up in the air (first sign of a stroke, if you can’t)… and sighed.  I told my roommate about it and she thought it odd.  Oh… and the bruises.  I started getting odd bruises with no recollection of how they got there.  You can read my roommate’s blog to hear more about the Lexapro bruising.

But the calls kept coming… If I didn’t answer… he would text.  If I didn’t respond to the text… he would keep calling.  It was a vicious cycle.  So I would answer.  And then the anxiety would set in.

“When are you coming back?”  “Don’t you want to give it a shot?”  “I am a different person – You will see!”

[Insert brain convulsing here]

face-argh

And then it happened.  One night I was spending time with my cousin and her new baby, along with my sister and my niece.  It was a really nice evening.  My aunt ordered pizza for everyone.  Steve called and decided to give me an ultimatum [snort].  I told him… VERY politely… that I was spending time with my family and could not discuss anything with him at that time.  So he pushed.  I got ugly.  I hung up.  I went to take a bite of my pizza.  I was not feeling so good.  But, since I never felt that great, I decided to take another bite.  Ugh.  That was it.  I was sick.  I convinced my sister that we needed to leave.  NOW.  I had already excused myself twice and I could feel the cold sweats coming on.  It was time to get the heck out of dodge!

I managed to make it back to her house without incident… but was apprehensive about the ride the rest of the way home.  I looked around my car to be prepared.  Ahhh… thank goodness for a messy car and a large mouth water bottle (Thank you, Aquafina… I would like my endorsement check made out to CASH)… which I might add came in very handy, as I am a pro at… um… driving while barfing“multi-tasking.”  I remained sick for the rest of the night and didn’t sleep a wink.  I called into work about 6am to let them know that I would not be joining them for another day in paradise [flat affect].  I managed to finally get some sleep, off and on, but remained sick for the majority of the day.  And then I slept.  And slept.  And slept.  Like Rip Van Winkle mating with a hibernating bear.  15 hours I slept.  When I awoke early Friday morning, I felt somewhat better, though physically exhausted.  I decided to take one more sick day to get my strength up.  I had gotten all of my work submitted, so I felt pretty good.  I even ventured to try a few bites of food.  Sugar Free Jello?  Check!  Toast?  Check!  Both stayed down perfectly. 

Until…

The disco started.  Strobe light flashing.  Music pumping.  Hookers dancing.  It was Studio 54 all over again.  And I had an all night pass.

Sunday… I awoke and felt… ok… for a while.  By the time my roommate Lori woke… I was flipping out.  I felt like my heart might literally burst.  I couldn’t stand it one more minute.  A thought flashed in my head… just for a brief moment… if I ran head first into that wall… WOW… OK IDIOT… TIME TO ACT.  I find that when you actually entertain the notion of hurting yourself… in any way… no matter how moronic… it is time to get help.  I asked Lori to drive me to the emergency room.  I called and asked my mom if she would meet us there.  She suggested that I call an ambulance if my chest was hurting.  So we did.  I was oddly peaceful knowing that they were coming to save me from my nightmare.  Even if the bastards did track mud all over my carpet [grumble].  EKG – check.  No heart attack imminent.  They strapped me on a gurney and wheeled me under the flashing lights into the ambulance.  I don’t know why they proceed to ask you a million questions.  Then they read out vitals and write them down wrong 30 seconds later. 

It was like the Three Stooges of medical care. 

But I didn’t care. 

I was on my way for help.

hospital20outside20-20cartoon1



{January 23, 2009}   Dear Younger, Dumber Me:

Dear 21-year old Me,

I am writing to you from the future.  Hey!  Stop thinking about Michael J. Fox, the Fish Under the Sea Dance, and a flux capacitor! – Focus!!  I am writing to you to tell you a few things that might save you some pain, and also identify a few red flags that you missed.

First, I would like the opportunity to congratulate you on being focused and working on your degree.  You will go on to obtain your Master’s degree with little or no effort on your part.  A word of warning – put some effort in and fix your grades undergrad.  I will thank you later.  Don’t worry – your graduate GPA is MUCH more impressive.  Hehe

Second – and this could be the most important lesson – You will become a REALLY cool chick.  Someone who is WAY too cool for lessons learned in this blog.  Seriously.  I know it doesn’t feel that way now.  You are insecure about your weight, looks, intelligence – everything.  That is normal at your age.  PLEASE don’t settle for the first guy that sticks around for more than three months… especially when the first three months suck.  You don’t know who you are yet.  You will grow into a really amazing, successful person and can be ALL the things you want to be without settling for something crappy.

Here’s the deal – Steve is not a bad guy.  He is just not that into you.  You can keep pushing the relationship where it doesn’t want to go, but it WILL end badly.  He will love you, but he will also take you for granted.  He will marry you – but you have to decide if the pain that will come is worth it.

Red Flag Identification:

  • 2 weeks into the relationship – He will stop calling you.  He will blame you for some fake illness that he doesn’t actually have.  He is a hypochondriac… this pattern of behavior will continue for YEARS.
  • 3 months into the relationship – He will cheat on you.  RUN, MORON… RUN!!!  Do not stick around for that!  I don’t care HOW much he cries… or how badly it hurts.  Accepting this behavior will really mess you up for a long time.
  • 6 months in – “I love you, but I am not IN love with you” – Again… You are too smart for this kind of crap!  Please stop self-deprecating and thinking that you won’t find someone new!  The man of your dreams was waiting to bump into you at the grocery store, and you were doing some asshole’s laundry.  Fantastic.

I think you can see where I am going with this, Liz.  You won’t really come into yourself until you are 30, or so.  You will be much happier and more confident.  Maybe you need some of these experiences to shape who you will become, but I hate to see you suffer needlessly.  Other words of advice:

  • Never marry a man who has you buy your own wedding ring
  • If your groom has to be on anxiety medication to walk down the aisle… think about that.
  • If he wants to Honeymoon in COLONIEL FREAKIN WILLIAMSBURG – RUN!!!!!!!!!!
  • When he just stops going to work for no particular reason… move out.
  • If you catch him on the phone, internet, etc. with other women…. hit him in the head with a frying pan on your way out the door (Not really… ).
  • When he says HORRIBLE things to you to make you feel bad so he can feel better about himself… Tell him to SUCK IT…. as you throw all of his things into the gutter.
  • When you tell this man, who has hurt you more than anyone else on the face of the planet EVER could, that you want a divorce… and you will… and he cries… and begs… and pleads… and snots on everything you own…. Walk away.  Do not allow one minute of his crying manipulative rhetoric to convince you to give him another chance.  He has perfected his line of bullshit over the years, and you are too forgiving.

Here’s the bottom line, Liz… You have an AMAZING heart.  You would do anything in the world for the people you love.  To a fault.  You are easily seen as someone to try to befriend and use.  It has happened time and time again.  You don’t deserve that.  Sometimes, it might feel like your penance, but believe me… it is a series of bad choices made out of love for someone else.

It is time to take back your life and become the person you were born to be.  It is time to stop holding back due to fear of success… and failure.  You can do SO much more than you already do… you just have to allow yourself the space and time to do it.  It is time to do what we would tell our friends to do, if they were in the same situation.  Be the grown up and take care of yourself.

Love Always,

Older, Wiser, Separated Liz



{October 27, 2008}   Moving on, but not up

After we were married, we lived in our apartment for about another year.  It was a pretty good year, as they go.  For Christmas, I heard through the grapevine that Steve had decided to surprise me with a new puppy.  I was thrilled by this, until I learned that the puppy was really a way of placating my desire to have children.  Blah.  But, the idea of getting a puppy for Christmas was thrilling anyway!  On Christmas Eve, Steve came home from work carrying a large wicker basket wrapped up in tinsel and holding our newest family member.  He says, “Surprise!  I got you a puppy for Christmas!  His name is Major Apawwhite – after UT’s quarterback… because he has one white paw – Get it??”  “You bought me a puppy for Christmas – and named it??”  Interesting.

Major was SUCH a cutie.  I fell in love with him immediately. 

The rest of our first year was pretty bland, until it came to our anniversary.  I found out several weeks before our anniversary that I was going to be laid off from my job due to it becoming automated.  Fuck.  We decided to move into my dad’s house with the intention of buying it once I finished my Master’s degree and landed another job.  Also, Steve ended up taking out a $10,000 loan from his grandmother behind my back.  I was really aggrevated.  I knew we needed it, but I do not like to be in debt to anyone – especially family.  That became a major source of friction between us.  His grandmother wanted to be paid back almost immediately, and that just wasn’t possible with me between jobs.

I completed my Master’s Degree in August 2002, and was asked to stay on as a consultant with the company where I interned.  That was pretty awesome.  But right about that time, Steve started to take a lot of sick time.  Now, he has always been a person who used his sick time as extra vacation days.  I have warned him that this is not a good thing.  But he began taking more than one day at a time, and before long was home for weeks at a time.  He wasn’t sick.  At least not in a physical sense.

This time became exponentially more volitile, as my dad was having us pay all of the bills on the house.  Neither Steve nor my dad were helping out, and I was drowning.  We ended up living there in that situation for nearly four years.  I found out about halfway through our stay that my father had stopped paying his mortgage.  Every day became a new torture… always wondering when they would foreclose on the house.  Not answering the door because you never knew when it would be the cops coming to serve an eviction notice.  My health was declining.  My marriage was deterorating rapidly.  I was miserable.

I landed in the hospital in January 2003 due to physical decline related to panic attacks.  I became physically ill around November 2002.  I felt nauseated and panicked all the time.  Around mid-December I thought… if I could just throw up… I would feel better.  So I did.  And once I did, I couldn’t stop.  By January, I had lost 15 pounds.  The last Saturday in January, I began throwing up non-stop and could barely move.  Steve insisted that I go to the ER that night, because the next day was Super Bowl Sunday, and he wasn’t going to take me during the Super Bowl.  So loving!  I ended up spending 6 hours in the ER, only to still be throwing up when I left.  The following Monday, I was in my regular doctor’s office, waiting to get a shot for the nausea.  By Friday, I had lost an additional 20 lbs.  I was so sick.  I ended up in the hospital for 5 days having every test known to man.  My potassium levels were so low, they were afraid I would die.  And where was Mr. Husband-of-the-Year?  Sitting in a chair in the corner – telling me to suck it up and get over it.

If anyone wants to buy a husband, I am thinking about putting him on eBay for bid.

 



{September 8, 2008}   The One-Armed Bandit

It was now the first week in October, and I still hadn’t heard from Steve.  Fuck it, I said.  I put myself back on the market.  After a few days, I met a guy online, Darryl, and started talking to him.  He asked me if I was seeing anyone and I told him that I had been seeing a guy, but that I hadn’t heard from him in weeks and didn’t expect to ever hear from him again.  I asked him if he was single.  He told me he was 100% single and unattached.  Great!  We made a plan to meet up at my work (by this time I was working a second job and going to school, so I didn’t have a ton of time) to see if we wanted to go out sometime. 

When he showed up, he had one arm in a sling.  I asked what happened, and he told me that it was an injury as a result of a motorcycle accident.  We made a date to hang out at his house after work.  I got there and it was pretty late.  We hung out in the living room and one thing led to another (I was young… give me a break).  I left after that.  I talked to him a few more times, but nothing else ever happened. 

A few days later…. amazingly… Steve called.  He apologized for being an ass and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out.  I was thrilled.  No guy had EVER called back once we stopped talking.  Let’s say I probably wasn’t in the best place, self-esteem wise, so I jumped at the chance.  I forgot all about Darryl… until…

One day, probably mid-November I walked into Steve’s apartment and saw some pictures sitting on his counter from Halloween at his aunt’s house.  I was flipping to the pictures and came to one…

“Hey, that’s Darryl!” I said.  Have you ever had one of those moments where as soon as the words escape your lips, you are grasping at them with all your might – hoping and praying that you can swallow them before anyone else hears them??  Yeah.  That was me.  Steve looked at me and said, “How do you know Darryl?”  I mumbled something, but I don’t remember what.  He told me that Darryl had been dating (and living with – thank you very much) Steve’s good friend, Melissa, for about 3 years.  Ugh.  Knife right to the gut.  Asshole liar!  I had been totally upfront and honest with him about my situation.  Jerk.  Then he says to me, “You know, I don’t trust the guy.  I wonder if he cheats on Melissa?”  As if an imaginary hand was working the puppet strings above my head I slowly nodded “Yes.”  I was horrified at my own inability to even stay silent and say nothing.

I think it took Steve a minute to put two and two together and realize that I had slept with Darryl.  I explained the situation – That I never thought I would hear from Steve again after 4-6 weeks of little to no communication – That I was honest about my situation – That this guy was a dreadful liar in a committed relationship.  It wasn’t fun.  Steve was really understanding for my part.  He knew he had behaved badly and understood why I would have gone out with someone else.  He was furious on behalf of his friend and what a scumbag she was hooked up with.  He kept pondering whether he should tell her or not.  My feeling was HELL NO.

About a week later, I got a call from Steve during the day telling me that he had called Melissa and told her.  Dammit.  Shockingly, she didn’t believe me and thought I was lying.  Right… then how do I know that the one-armed bandit can pop off a bra faster that I can with TWO fully functioning hands?  From this point on, life around his friends was misery.  To this day, these idiots are still together.  He knows the truth.  She thinks I am a crazy liar (DENIAL!) and now they are married with a kid.  Talk about life in the shit lane… Ugh.

A very important conversation was had this day, which had never been had before.

     Steve:  From this point on… 100% monogamy… ok?

     Me:  Ok, that sounds like a plan to me

And it did sound like a very good plan.



et cetera