I hung out with by big son the other night. That’s what I call him. What I mean is he’s my eldest son. The younger one is the big one as I cannot figure out how to make him stop sprouting up like a beanstalk. I don’t usually get any time with my oldest son. He’s 22. He works almost 7 days a week and when he’s not working he’s busy. At least too busy for mom. But he came over the other night and he and I swung by a friend’s house for a few minutes and then we decided to go eat. I took him to my favorite little dive bar for some Jamerican food. I guess we probably didn’t coin that term but that’s what we dubbed the cuisine we had. I had a summer roll with Jamaican cabbage, beans, tomatoes, onions and some other veggies with this coconut sauce. He had a Jamaican jerk chicken plate. And we sat and just talked and hung out. After we left, I started to teach him how to drive a stick until he was ready to call it a night and then he drove to the house and got his car and went home. It seems like yesterday he was just a little long haired baby on a skateboard. And now he’s all grown up with a job and a beard talking about how hot and fuckable my best friends are who saw his little ass in diapers. Time really does fly and kids really do grow up. As the new year approaches, I’m less concerned with resolutions though I do have them, but I’m more thankful for the way my kids have grown up. I’m sure I mention more than you all like to read how awesome they are but it’s true. I don’t think I know one parent who has three kids and has never really had any issues. None of my kids have ever been in trouble. I’ve never had an adolescent screaming “I hate you” in my face. None of them have drug problems. Nobody has ended up knocked up. And they all still say “I love you” before hanging up the phone with me. And we all talk regularly. I don’t know if a person could get any luckier than that. I guess my point is that it’s really nice having wonderful kids. I always make jokes about the countdown for my youngest son’s 18th birthday aka the day my freedom train rolls in, and people always say that I won’t feel like that when it finally happens and maybe they are right, but all that empty nest talk seems moot to me because even though my kids have their own lives, they are still my kids. They still keep me in the loop. And it’s not exactly more like a friendship but I definitely do way less parenting now than ever before and I think it’s because I raised well adjusted, self sufficient, decent human beings. And yes, I am taking 90% of the credit. The other 10% can be split amongst the rest of world. Anyway, I was just feeling a bit nostalgic and thankful and amazed all at the same time. So I may not have a list of resolutions today (maybe tomorrow) but I do have a list of things I’m thankful for and I gave birth to my top 3.
I’ve never been what anyone would consider a “religious” person. I basically subscribe to my own brand of spirituality. A little bit Catholic, a little bit Baptist, a little bit Buddhist, a little bit Rasta, a little bit of all the best of them. I know that’s not the way religion is supposed to work, but the concept of one true religion is one I cannot grasp. I can grasp God, and Jesus, and Muhammad, Buddha, Haile Selassie I, Ghandi, etc., but I just cannot fathom how there is only one religion. I can grasp one God, but not one true religion, because they are all so similar and I’ve met plenty of religious people who are basically just hypocritical pieces of shit so you’ll have to forgive my skepticism. But the one thing they all have in common is prayer. All religions pray. They may pray differently, to different entities, but they all pray, or wish, or send vibes, or thoughts out into the great unknown looking for answers or help or miracles. And I’m not against any of that. I never was one for daily prayer. Most of the prayers I recall saying, aside from the ones I was forced to memorize and say during my years in Catholic school, have always been prayers of thanks. Like, thank you God, for not letting that car hit me. Thank you, God, for another period. Thank you, God, for getting me home safely. I’ve rarely talked to God or the Universe or Jesus or the Saints or the moon on a regular basis. Until lately. Lately, I find myself praying all the time or talking to God or talking to the universe or talking to the moon or praying to the saints (St. Jude in particular). I used to be in my own head a lot. A daydreamer. I could day dream up anything. My perfect house. My perfect car. My perfect life. My perfect man. I had pretty perfect kids so I never had to dream that up, but I was always somewhere else in my head. I was at the beach or on a mountain or in the middle of the ocean on a boat or on a stage or in a coat closet or at a bar high in the sky. I was never here in the now. At least not in my head. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I actually like that little dreamland in my mind, but lately, I’ve had less daydreams and have found myself more in the middle of conversations with one or all of the above mentioned. I wake up praying. I pray in the middle of the day. In the shower. While eating breakfast. On the toilet (which may or may not be sacrilegious). Before bed. When I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m always praying. At first, it was for Joe and Joe alone. Now it’s for Joe and anyone I’ve encountered near those moments who may need it. Ever since the whole James thing, I’ve found myself praying for him almost as much as I pray for Joe and I don’t even know why. At first I thought I was doing it for me. I thought if I prayed for him, I would be able to get rid of the anger that was eating me inside. But then I realized, it’s not anger at all. It was a genuine hurt. His actions and his words hurt my heart. And then someone said, “people who don’t care, don’t behave like that.” and then I hurt even more that I caused him hurt in some way. So then I started praying for him to heal however he needed to and then my window and headlight got busted. Maybe that was what he needed to heal. Maybe, despite the inconvenience of it all, that was an answered prayer. So I started praying even harder for him. I don’t know if it’s working. I don’t know if he will find peace. I have been having a hard time finding it, but I do believe prayer works. And I feel like I finally know how to pray. I guess praying is like writing. There really are no right or wrong ways to do it. You just do it the way it makes sense to you and it doesn’t really matter because it’s between you and whoever you’re writing for or praying to anyway. I know I have a long way to go before I can even begin to classify myself as religious and I’m ok with that. I feel too imperfect to be religious. There’s too much pressure that comes with religion. But I feel closer to my maker knowing that I can talk and genuinely feel like someone or something is listening and is on my side.
I have been really stressed with life lately. That whole stalker broken window thing and work and Joe and the fact that I hate winter has been really getting to my optimistic side lately. And my kid was the one to bring it to my attention. I think we were driving and I was complaining about not feeling good and he said, “Is it because you haven’t been blogging?” And I felt this rush of panic run through me because my 15 year old should NOT be reading my blogs, especially the dirty whorish sex blogs. So I said, “how do you know I haven’t been blogging? Do you read them?” And then I held my breath. He said, “no, you just haven’t been on your computer writing a lot lately.” Exhale. Thank God he’s just perceptive. I should have known he wasn’t reading them. He would rather have icepicks shoved under his fingernails than to pick up something and actually read it voluntarily. So then I got to thinking, I am a pretty miserable person when I’m not writing. I’m also miserable when I’m not getting out of the house the way I like to. I’m miserable when I’m not enjoying the great outdoors. I’m miserable when I let my work/ life balance become unbalanced. And all those things have been happening. I’ve let my life become an avalanche of things that do not suit me. I’m not pulling the spoiled brat card and saying that I think the world should revolve around me because that’s not me at all. But I am a self preservationist, if that’s even a thing, and if it’s not, I’d like to coin the term. I do think that life is better when the things in it suit you. It doesn’t have to be all about me, but I do like the things that make me happy to be a regular visitor in my life and I started losing that with all the changes that happened so quickly this last half of the year. So I’ve resolved (pre new year) to get back to myself. I’m going to get out more. I’m going to end my work day at a normal time. I’m going to let go of all this built up hurt that has accumulated. I’m going to accept things the way they are in this moment and every moment to come, because the only person that any of these things are affecting is me.
I had this sitting in my drafts. I had all but forgotten about it, but when I re-read it, I could almost smell the sunblock and feel the happiness so I decided to post it anyway because, well, it’s better than nothing, right?
A year ago today, I was getting on a plane to go to Florida to get on a cruise of a lifetime, or at least my lifetime. Today, I woke up again to the Florida sunshine. I got invited to come for work and initially said no numerous times, but it’s Florida. And it’s free. So that is always good. I originally said no because it would interfere with my Sunday trip to see Joe, but then yesterday morning I had a surprise visit at my house from the parole board for Joe’s release. I’m not sure exactly what that means but I am fairly certain that it’s a good thing. And as my house was not littered with beer bottles, crack pipes and randomly placed spoons, just a few dirty dishes and some dog hair, I think all went well.
So then I got to thinking, this may be my last chance for a very long time to just up and disappear for a while. I was going to bring my kiddo but he has basketball and school, plus he’s a good dog watcher and he’s young. He will have his time to travel. On top of all of that, I didn’t tell anyone besides my son that I was leaving. I was going to tell my mom, but then she would worry about me leaving Mel at home even though he’s fifteen and can take care of himself for a few days. She still thinks he requires the supervision of a toddler and refuses to believe he can cook his own food and wipe his own butt. So when I do tell her, she will probably be pissed, but I’m pretty sure her mom couldn’t tell her anything when she was 40, possibly because she was dead by then, but even if she wasn’t…
When I was growing up, it seemed like my most memorable times, although mischievous, were when I was 15 or around that age and I was just having innocent kid fun because I didn’t have a parent around or because my friend didn’t have a parent around and Mel is such a good kid, I feel like he needs a little bit of time to be mischievous and now is the time.
I haven’t taken a road trip this long since I drove from Erie to Knoxville for the last time 15 years ago. I’ve flown to Florida each time I’ve been. I love flying. It’s fast, it’s cost effective, usually, but I’ve traveled alone not with anyone so it may not be, plus we have quite a few stops to make before we head back.
All play and no work. It’s turned in to more of a leisure trip. I’m not going to lie. I really needed some leisure. And I’ve gotten to know my work partner much better and I got to know his friend who lives in Florida really well. So well, in fact, if I ever open up my dream café, I will name the most decadent of desserts after him. I’ve also gotten a ride on the back of a motorcycle (the friend’s) going 100mph and was only a little scared, looked at Christmas decorations hanging from palm trees, fondled a fake Santa and his Mrs. Clause and taste tested some ecstasy that looked like Flintstone vitamins (not in that order). I seriously have had a blast. We have covered so much ground in such a little bit of time, I don’t even know exactly how to describe it. I feel like I’ve been here for a week already we’ve been so many places.
Winter is slowly killing me. I’m ready to go back to Florida. I’m really ready to go back on a cruise. I’ve been kicking the idea around for the last month. I really want to make the cruise that I went on last year a tradition. It was the most amazing time, even going alone. And I have a few people who I think may be interested, so I’m going to check it out and see if maybe I can make that happen. Just thinking about it is curbing my seasonal affective disorder that keeps trying to rear its ugly head. As I sit here rubbing sunblock into my hands like lotion just to get a whiff of sunshine, I think I will work on making my way to the sand again soon.
I know it rarely pays to ponder the what ifs, even though we all, at one time in our lives or another, do it. I went to see Joe today as is my usual routine. We celebrated Christmas as a family on Christmas Eve so I was still able to go see Joe even though Christmas fell on Sunday. I know I haven’t updated on him lately but there hasn’t been much to update. He hasn’t really changed at all. Except he did scratch his nose last week and it was completely voluntary. He wanted to scratch it and then he did. It seems like something so small to most, I’m sure, but it was an amazing and happy, hopeful moment for me because he hasn’t voluntarily moved much at all. But I guess at the moment, that is beside the point. What is the point is that Joe’s brother, Michael, calls me every Sunday after my visit to see how Joe is and get an update. So we were talking on my way home today and he was saying that he couldn’t believe that I was still making a trip every Sunday and that he appreciated me being there for him. And then I told him that I love his brother and of course I would be there for both of them. Then he said if I’ve always loved his brother the way I love him now, why didn’t I do something about it back then? And that is literally all I’ve been thinking about for hours. Why didn’t I do something about it earlier? I could have at first. Immediately. The moment I knew I loved him which was basically the moment I laid eyes on him, I could have done something, but I didn’t because I was married and that wouldn’t have been right, for anyone involved. I could have done something later when we wound up back in each other’s lives again, but I didn’t. We were young. He still had wild oats to sow. And I’ve never been much of a chaser or a stayer. I’ve always been more of a walk away-er, a runner. So that’s what I did, like a wounded animal, I walked away, ran, even though I didn’t want to. And then after that our paths never crossed again in the free world. And you don’t profess your undying love and devotion to a man who is serving a 35 year sentence. Because I’m also not a person who makes promises I’m not willing to keep and it seemed unfair to make any promises. So we became friends. Best friends. And now, when I go see him, we know each other so well, it’s as if we can have a conversation even though I’m doing most of the talking. I know it sounds bizarre. Even as I type it, I think, If I were reading this from someone else, I would think they were coo coo, but when I’m sitting in that room with him everything makes sense. And then I start again on the what ifs. What if I had been a chaser instead of a runner, what if I had been one of those women who say, “I’m not going anywhere until you either love me or hate me!” But I know there’s no point in what ifs. There’s only the what nows. So here I am praying daily for some sort of miracle, a do-over, a chance to be a stayer and not a runner.
I never in my life thought that I would be one of those women sitting in a “safe place” filing an order of protection against someone I once thought I loved in some way. And yet, there I was, sitting in an overstuffed swivel chair this morning with the remains of my smashed window still laying in the passenger side of my car. I had been going back and forth with James for months. One minute he loved me and the next he hated me. It was the worst case of bipolar I had ever witnessed up close. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the alcohol and more to do with the fact that he is likely the definition of a sociopath. I’ve been quietly enduring his bullshit and slowly trying to pull away knowing that he is innately a violent person. Self preservation was my only goal. Although he said he would never hurt me, his words always told a different story. Over the last week or so, we had exchanged fiery text messages. I eventually had to block his number. And seven others that he called me from calling me all kinds of bitches and whores and stupids and fats all in between breaths of telling me we need to get along and he would never put his hands on me. Which, to me, was more like a slick way of saying he’d just put a bullet in my head. I’ve never really feared for my life…..well, maybe a time or two for other reasons, but never because I knew someone with the potential and wherewithal to do harm to another human being without a shred of remorse, because they had numerous times before. I actually think he’s the first adult sociopath I’ve ever let in to my life. I’ve met lots, but I can usually spot the crazy and just stay away from the beginning but he was a master at manipulation. Even as I sat there waiting for the police officer to come in so I could file the report, I felt bad. Even though my kid was scared shitless this morning knowing he had to go to school and leave me alone all day, I still felt guilty for filing a report that could take away his freedom, even though I know first hand that the world would be a better place without him in it. Maybe it’s not guilt so much as fear of retaliation. I know he probably didn’t break out my window himself because that’s a move that is reserved mostly for women…broken windows and slashed tires, but I know he had someone do it. One of his little peons. Then again, my dogs never made a peep so maybe he did do it himself because they know what he sounds like and never bark at him. Either way, I know after this, he or his people will likely be coming at me full force, but I can’t muster up enough fear to give a shit, because at least now if something does happen to me, everyone will know who it is. And I’ve also written down the names and everything I know about all his “people that have his back” and the roles they play and given it to a friend…. so there’s that if I wake up dead. Ugh. So much drama for a Monday, but this is a lot of the reason that I haven’t been writing. Because work and this situation have intersected and it’s not been a good thing for me mentally. I’ve been exhausted day in and day out trying to balance staying sane with a crazy person harassing me and having to work with said crazy person because he’s friends with the boss and has managed to manipulate him in to actually believing they are really friends, which is so funny it’s not.
I could go on and on, but basically, what I’m saying is …trust your gut!! If something feels off in a person, no matter how much sugar they coat shit with, your gut is always right and will not lead you astray. I knew from day one he was not right but I ignored it and I shouldn’t have. Maybe he will get over it or maybe he will actually follow the order of protection and not come near me. Maybe out of sight will mean out of mind. However it goes, I am being safe. I am well protected and I know the universe and/or God won’t let anything happen to me, but I just figured it was a story worth sharing because as it turns out, lots of women are actually living in situations much worse than this and not just passing through a rough patch like I am. And today when I teeter tottered on whether to legally do something or let it slide, I knew how women who are living with their abusers are not so likely to run to the police when retaliation is sleeping in their bed. At least I’m on my own, he has to make an effort to run in to me or my property, like he did last night. I know I won’t see him when I go home to my one spot that is supposed to be safe. Other women aren’t so lucky. And that’s really fucking sad.