revisiting the past

I was molested, very many years ago, by someone who was very close to me.  Several times.  I repressed it, held onto the memory, until one day it just  bust loose.  Since that day, when as a 13 year old, I remembered what had happened to me as a 5 – 10 year old, I have, at differing times, fixated, ignored, dealt with, talked over, confronted and cried over the mess it made of my emotional health.  At various times over the years  I was free of the anger, overcome with the anger, anxious, relaxed, in control and spiraling.  About 12 years ago I fully removed that person from my life, ,no small task, given the fact that I had already told everyone important to me what had happened, and none of them, NONE OF THEM, had removed him from my life for me.  Over the past 12 years I have only had to see/interact/deal with him on one occasion, when my father died.  For whatever reason we got through it.  No blow ups, no dancing around the subject, just a quiet realization on my part that I did not want to dirty my father’s passing with the filth of those memories.  And after the funeral 3 years have passed where I have not had to see/hear or deal with my molester.

So last week when I had this realization that every time any male gets angry or annoyed with me, or looks at me in a less than adoring way — it takes me agonizingly back to that little girl who lost trust, and innocence and the ability to be comfortable in her own skin — I was surprised.  Surprised that with all the counseling, and talking, spiritual awakening and physical distance, this still has power over me.  A little pissed off too.

So I did what seemed normal to me at the time.  I pulled over and bought a soft serve ice cream dipped in chocolate and called my therapist.  I started seeing him 3 years ago when I lost my mind and left my husband…..saw him for a couple months until we agreed that, although we enjoy talking to each other, I was pretty much level headed and in control at that point.  Saw him again for one visit when I was contemplating retirement ( woo hoo)  and haven’t seen him for about a year and a half. 

This realization, however, gave me pause, and I felt it was important enough to talk through.  Maybe I can finally rid myself of the remnants of the chaos this guy caused in my life.  So I saw the therapist last week.  Rehashed some stuff and came away with a homework assignment.  “Write down what you learned from what happened to you, and what you learned from the relationship you had with your father, who told you you were his reason for leading a good life”.  Oh boy.  This should be interesting.

I will not however, write those feelings on this blog.  Not yet, anyway.  My purpose today is to reiterate that maybe its never really over.  That you can be moving through your life in pretty good shape, working, loving, taking vacations….and then it can hit you, all over again.  And maybe the measure of health is how you deal with that smack in the face.  Maybe ice cream and a call to the therapist wasn’t the healthiest way of dealing with this , but it sure beat crying, denying or arguing with my husband or whatever unfortunate man happened to cross my path that day.  Progress.



So, its been just over a year since I retired.  A year of deep breaths, overspending and relaxing.  I found a great part time gig before I retired and it has proven, until the first of this month, to be lucrative, allowing us to drift comfortably through the changes that retirement brings.  Then, it all kind of blew up.  One of the program directors left.  Another has decided she doesn’t like “sharing” me, so she’s just not going to use me, we got a new executive director and the program director who I have developed a great working and friendship relationship with was diagnosed with a brain tumor. a Brain Tumor.  Cancerous.  Surgery , extensive OT, chemo and radiation regime to be determined………..crisis mode.  So, pushing aside the drama of a young mother being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, which is really the only IMPORTANT consideration in this whole thing, pushing that aside, my work hours have gone from 15  week to 4.  That’s right, 4.  The projects Rachel and I were working on were put on hold with her illness.  The office is in terror mode, with everyone of the fulltime people  ( well, everyone except the one who doesn’t want to work with me anymore) chipping in and covering all the bases, and I am just sitting at home, checking email and hoping someone remembers to let me help  ….  frustrating, beyond words.

I need to work.  I need to generate a bit of income, but just as importantly, I need to contribute.  To have a schedule.  To work. 

So Ive been sending resumes and filling out applications and scanning websites….all the while hoping for an email from the Exec. Director. Ive been sending him a weekly email: basically a “don’t forget me, what can I do?” note…but man, this sucks.

intentions gone bad

I never intended for this blog to be about me, about whining or complaining or longing.  I wanted it to be uplifting and challenging.  I planned on researching empathy and strength.  And then I dropped into this funk.  And I find that writing  about it seems to help for a minute, so I apologize and ask for your patience.  I know that this too shall pass, but right now it sucks.

I have always wanted, planned, dreamed of, living at the beach. 

We devoted the first 24 years of our marriage, exclusively, to getting our children raised.  I went gleefully, my husband had to be pulled out of his self-serving mode frequently, but we got it done.  We thought.  We have three children, all fairly successful, reasonably settled.  We have 5 grandchildren, and one, ssshhh, on the way.  All our kids have a life partner — maybe.  the youngest is in a rocky relationship that may or may not work itself out, and our middle has a “baby momma” that makes his life sticky for he and his fiancée.  The oldest, married to a “professional man” is in the calmest place right now.  We are indelibly tied into all of their lives.  INDELIBLY.  The stress of monitoring everyone else’s “issues”, of caring for all those babies at different times during the week, of financially helping whoever needs it at the time, is literally sucking the life out of me.  There, I said it, its killing me. 

And, it kills me to say that.

  My own mother refused to help much when I was raising our kids.  My dad was available, but mom was perfectly fine with sitting on the beach while I lay on a cot in my family room, confined to bed rest for the last three months of my last pregnancy.  Dad came up and down the coast to help, almost daily, but mom?  her line was “I didn’t tell you to have a third baby”.  So, I am very conscious of not being her.  I worry that selfishness is genetic and that years down the line my kids will resent each time I said”no” to whatever they have asked. And, that I will be guilt ridden about wanting my time.  But, truly, do I have to be home everyday by 4 in case someone needs to be picked up from child care?  do I have to arrange every weeks schedule around someone’s doctor appt. or “charity dinner” or business trip.  Why do I stay home every other weekend, when youngest child’s husband works nights, in case she needs us?  So, I never, rarely ever, say “no”.  And although I love every minute with those babies, I want to go to the beach.  I want to sit in the sand and knit.  I want to have morning coffee with the sound of the surf in my ears.

And I worry about being rash in decisions.  A couple of years ago we bought land in Chincoteague that we cant afford, and now cant unload.  I retired a year ago and cut our income by a quarter.  I work part-time, but it doesn’t make it up, not by a long shot.  I don’t want to regret another decision, but I want, more than anything, to sell this big house and move to the beach.  two hours away.  close enough that if there is an emergency I can get here, but far enough that im not asked to pick up some thing at the grocery store — when there are two adults in the house that could do it.

God, I hate this helpless feeling.  I feel like my life is out of control and that I am just spinning my wheels trying to be everything to everyone.  Is it selfish to, finally, want it to be “my turn”?

this is getting old

My winter of discontent has turned into a prespring of crankiness.  I can’t seem to get my act together.  I hate waking up miserable….and then giving into the utter lack of creativity that runs rampant in a grumpy mind.  Straighten up girl!  Straighten up!  Anyone have any suggestions???

rethinking this path

How do you rethink and reprioritize your life when your partner doesn’t think about anything deeper than what’s for dinner?  Now, I know that sounds harsh, and critical, but my husband is just fine with his daily routine of “react” and “accept” and “complain”.  He wanders through his day, hating his job.  He comes home and is happy if there is dinner in the oven.  He spends his evenings either asleep in his chair or thumbing through car magazines for car parts for the car in the garage that he will never finish, the car that has, probably, $3000 worth of parts in the basement.  He proactively accomplishes nothing.  nothing.  In a pinch, when something needs reacting to, he’s good.  You can count on him to be there, to repair things, to REACT.  So his existence is pretty much dictated by the world around him.

We took our 5 year old granddaughter to Disney.  We have promised her this trip since, seriously, the day she was born.  Neither of us are Disney fans, but understand the allure it has for young children….she had a wonderful time, but bedtime the first night was rough, she missed her blanket, and she didn’t like or want to ride any of the rides.  Midway through the second day he looked at me and said “I could have told you this would happen.  She is too young to take away from her dad.” Really?  REALLY?  You had an opinion, a thought?  An idea to contribute that may have helped the situation?  Wow.  Maybe you could have shared this insight last July when I started to book this trip.  But, no.  That would have required you had a real conversation  — much more your style to wait until something occurs and then zing me with the “I knew it”  line.  Seriously.  

But I regress.  I am in the midst of a “life rethink”.  I won’t do anything rash, three years ago when my dad died I went apeshit and left my husband, came back, purchased a piece of land in Chincotegue that I cant unload.  So, I know that I have to be careful with decisions when I am in a stressed state.  Last year I lost my mind and retired.  Retired.  at 55.  Took a pay cut that is beating me up.  Had a temper tantrum at work, decided I couldn’t take ANYMORE crap from administration and retired.   Right now we have too many bills, too many commitments to our kids and grandkids, too many people that expect us, ok, me, to rescue them.  We have no “fun” time.  A few weeks ago, when I was complaining about the nightly snorefest in his chair, he came up with “maybe we should play cards”…..needless to say, there have been no shuffled decks.  Im 56, not 86, what’s next, bingo?

And then a young woman, 34 years old, at my part time job, had a seizure.  At home.  In bed.  With her husband and 2 small children looking on.  In the hospital, MRI revealed a brain tumor.  The second brain tumor in our office in less than a year, but that’s another story.  Surgery on the day she was supposed to leave for Bora Bora….long story short, its cancer.  They got most of the tumor.  She has no use of her right hand.  OT starts this week….chemo and radiation to follow. 

My heart heaves when I think of this.  I am so blessed, so lucky to be 56 and pretty healthy.  I have so much to be thankful for, and yet I know I am wasting many many minutes of many days.  Watching my husband snore. . Watching TV.  Worrying about bills.  I am ready for a change.  I want to sell the property and the house.  Clear our bills.  Rent a place until we find a place.  Breathe.  Go to the beach, go to the library, go go go.   I want to sit on a bench and look at the ocean and visit San Antonio where we met.  I want to go back to the Bahamas, 34 years after we honeymooned there.  I want a damn passport.  And a reason to have one.  I want to be “grammy” not the babysitter, bill payer, worrier, and rescue dog that I am now.

So I bring it up to my husband. 

“No damn way” .  

Great, another deep meaningful conversation.