I used an analogy today that seems to represent the way I feel lately. I feel like a punching bag. I keep getting punched. Over and over and over and over and over. I’m strong enough to withstand each punch but that doesn’t mean the punches don’t hurt.
I’m still not divorced. Not because I don’t want to be nor because I haven’t offered several times to settle but because my ex has no desire to see the reality of the situation and is forcing us all the way into a trial. I have had the hope several times now that after the five times the court has ruled in my favor that it would make it clear to him that he isn’t going to get what he’s asking for. During the trial, he will probably call people to the stand that claim I’m a bad mother. He’ll name call and chastise me for about a day. I can handle that. Even if it’s my family doing the name calling. The people he could call don’t know me and haven’t known me for a long time. My lawyer will have no problem destroying their credibility on the stand. I’ve got a lot of people who are willing to refute whatever claims he might make and I’ll bring them all. But going through the motions of getting to this trial and the day to day frustrations that come with not being divorced yet are all punches. Sitting in that courtroom will be a marathon of punches and I’m already wincing at the thought of the pain I will bear.
Life is not easy and hasn’t been for awhile now.
As mentioned before, I am a very different person than I used to be and it’s not easy on me or my kids. Muddled in with all the divorce drama is me as a newly single mom dealing with traumatized kids who are further traumatized each time they spend time with their father. Their visits with him make them rude, angry, and bitter. It takes hours for them to return to happy after spending time with him. My daughter, being a teenager, is especially frustrated because she can sense things at a deeper level than her brother but isn’t quite old enough to voice them in a way that allows her to find peace in the situation. I am her safe place. She vents her frustrations on me because she knows that I will still love her when she’s done. My son’s defense is tears. He cries – a lot – too much. He uses tears to get attention and it usually works because I feel the immediate pangs of being a mother and want to “fix” it as soon as it starts. I am starting to recognize his tactic and have began deploying the “suck it up” method of parenting with this kid. But each day, more punches and from my kids no less.
I am whining a bit but to me it’s totally worth it because this blog is my safe place. I have a wonderful girlfriend. She loves me for me. I have been been madly in love with her since the moment we started dating and six months later, I continue to love her more and more each day. I have moments where I haven’t been able to see the forest through the trees but she is capable of telling me there is more to this than what I can see and feel. For example, I was frustrated with the way one person was treating me. She pointed out that this is just one person and his opinion has zero impact on who I am. She said I needed to quit being a victim with a defeatist attitude. That stung. It was painful to hear those words. Far more painful than I will ever admit. So many people before her have thrown this label on me and it’s beginning to tear at my skin.
I have been doing everything I can to quit being a victim of my circumstances, to not let life get me down. I have sometimes lost this battle and given in to the temptation to whine but only for a moment. I don’t wear the banner of my past on my chest. Even though it lives in my heart and in my memories. I haven’t forgotten how painful some of the experiences of my life were. They flow through my brain like they were just yesterday. The times I was ridiculed or teased, the times I wasn’t up to someone else’s standard, the times I utterly failed, and so many more painful memories. But also in my brain, flowing alongside these memories, are the happy memories. Getting to see my kiddos for the very first time. Going on adventures with my lady love and all over the globe, people who have come and gone from my life, scores and scores of happy memories. Far more than the negative ones that seek to ruin me. Once in a while, I let an unhappy memory leak out of my face. I am a Gemini. I talk. I talk and I think. So when one of these thoughts becomes my focus, I tend to discuss it. Not necessarily looking for someone to tell me how to deal with it. Just wanting someone to understand my past or present situation because I always feel so misunderstood. Often these memories come up only when triggered and can lead to a snowball of past frustrations. Looking at a dress in a catalog reminds me of the cruel way my family ridiculed my strong desire to never dress like a girl, which reminds me of the time last week when someone picked on me for the way my hair was, etc. Depending on the person who I’m with, I might share a snippet of the story. Apparently, this comes across as playing the victim card when in reality it’s just the way my brain processes things. I see something, my brain relates it to a memory. My Gemini mouth discusses it without thinking about it.
Sometimes I let the frustrations of the moment slip out of my face when I’ve taken too many punches for the day. Everyone can only take so much before they need to take a breath and fight their inner demons with a new strategy. I’m horrible at asking for help. I don’t know how to do it. This is the same reason why I went to bed hungry for months instead of going to a food bank. I couldn’t admit that I needed help! I spent most of my life being ignored by the people that should have realized I was not like them, that should have allowed me to be the butch lesbian I have always been. I was taught to just go with whatever they said because resistance was futile or painful at best. I still can’t let myself dress entirely the way I want out of fear of rejection. Then, after finally breaking free of that life, I almost immediately had to spend six months living at someone else’s mercy. I ate when she fed me, I bathed when she showered me, I slept when she medicated me. I got used to not having a voice – my whole life I have never had a voice UNTIL NOW. I can finally tell my story the way I remember it not the revisionist history others have trumped up to feel better about themselves. The problem is when I point out that something hurt my feelings or trumped up a memory, I’m called a victim. When I try not to show how much each punch hurts, but they start building up and I can’t fight the frustration anymore, I am said to be letting life defeat me. I could expel so many victim-like statements soaked in a defeatist attitude about my past but it isn’t important any more and doesn’t deserve my focus and energy. I’m not defeated. I AM NOT A VICTIM. I AM A SURVIVOR. I’m not losing this battle to win my life back. I’m winning it! I am stronger now than I ever have been. I can go out in public dressed however I want without any regret – although I haven’t had the budget to actually purchase the clothes I want to wear yet. I have the most perfect girlfriend whom I look forward to spending the rest of my life with. I get to know my kids all over again as they become teenagers and young adults. I’m free of the boundaries and fears that I was held to and held on to for so long.
I’m tired of being told I’m acting like a victim. I’ve worked very hard to get here and I’m not going back.