Hope Wears Heels will be going on hiatus.
I’m not sure how long this will last but I need some time off. I will post on my Facebook page when I begin writing again.
I hate certain dates. They are just hard. The grief circles around, as grief does, and takes me for a ride. Grief is not a linear journey. You do not have a time when you are done grieving. It morphs and mellows with time but the grief journey twists and turns back on itself and you tend to go through the stages again and again, though the severity and degree do diminish over time.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Butch’s birthday is not a difficult day to get through. I don’t go through the Feelings Shitstorm each year on his birthday, just Celia’s. I don’t understand it. Butch and I were close but I guess we weren’t as close as Celia and I were. I guess it makes her betrayal feel so much worse than his.
I just know that there are certain dates that I dread. I get through them one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. In ways, this year was easier because I had Treun. In other ways it was more difficult because I was fighting all the feelings from the last two years.
I’m just glad that my even keel has returned and life seems normal to me again. I’m happy with Treun and I’m so thankful he is in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He makes it easier to navigate the grieving when I have to.
Treun gives me a solid anchor to hold on to and I know that I can get through it with him at my side.
There are some days that being a Feeler is hard, messy work. Endellion is a Thinker. Treun is a Thinker. Arcadia is a Thinker. I surround myself with Thinkers. I’m the lone Feeler and I think there is good reason for that.
I sometimes start drowning in my own feelings. When one thing, one big thing, happens, it can take over and lead my emotions down roads they don’t belong on. It is a rabbit trail in more ways than one. These feelings aren’t real. They are valid because they are my feelings but they aren’t real because they aren’t true. They are feelings that come from the past; they are memories of feelings, another Ghost from the past trying to hurt me.
Today, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a status from Luke. He was talking about his girlfriend and she responded. He called her “baby.” It felt like a stab to my heart. I know that this feeling isn’t true. I know that it is a past feeling and that it has no place in my here and now. It is the memory of how I felt a year ago. Luke will always have a special place in my heart and I am so happy that he has a girlfriend and is happy. I truly am. Also, I couldn’t imagine being happier than I am with Treun. So I know this feeling is not real. It isn’t representative of today. It is a Ghost from last year trying to hurt me; The Ghost of Abuses Past has found an ally, The Ghost of Feelings Past.
The reason this is all coming out now is that nothing feels right because Celia’s birthday is upon me again. The nightmares have started and won’t cease. I sat yesterday and read through everyone’s affidavits from the divorce. I read Celia’s and Butch’s, Nancy’s, Jill’s, Maria’s, Aracadia’s, and Elrick’s. Endellion asked my why I did that to myself and I told her I needed the reminder because I desperately wanted to pick up the phone and call Celia.
I yearn for my Mom. I don’t yearn for Celia. I yearn for who I thought she was. I yearn for the woman she was when I thought she loved me. I yearn for the woman who I believed would never betray me. But I know that woman only existed when I was walking her straight and narrow, when I was doing what I was expected to do.
Again, I’m mourning not having a Mom. I don’t have that safe haven to run to when things hurt, when I need comfort, when I need the comfort only a mother can give her child. I’m mourning not being able to call her and tell her about Treun. I want to gush about him and how much he loves me and cares about me and how great he is with Shane.
Because I’m mourning Celia, nothing else in my world feels right. I’m a Feeler and right now I feel like a raw nerve. I’m taking everything in and I’m not processing in my normal Feeler fashion. I’m inundated with past and present feelings and they are knotted and twisted and not making any sense. It’s almost as if, since I’m mourning Celia, I need to mourn everything I’ve mourned in the past two years.
I’m trying to channel Endellion and Think this through and I just can’t. I’m swamped in feelings. Everything just hurts right now.
I woke up this morning at 5:30 gasping for breath and shaking with feelings of betrayal, injustice, and righteous anger. I’d had another dream about Butch and Celia.
I was in jail with one of my co-workers and a friend of mine. Someone outside of our cell was smoking and we were being forced to breathe in the smoke. The next day, the warden came around and said that he was doing a drug test for nicotine because it was illegal for us to smoke in jail and he knew people were smoking. I told him that someone was outside smoking the previous day and that we had been breathing it in because it was coming in the window. My co-worker tested positive and I knew my turn was coming. I was furious that I would be punished for something that I didn’t do.
Then Celia and Butch were there, telling me that I deserved to be punished because I was a liar and that they knew I was a liar. The test would prove it and I would be punished because I’d escaped punishment before when I deserved it. I decided to talk to Butch to try to make him see reason – that his betrayal of me was what led to me cutting off communication with the family. I started to tell him and he sneered at me. He told me I deserved everything that I got because I lied to him about wanting to divorce Bubba. He told me I had no right to divorce him and that I knew I was going to divorce him and I had lied to them all about it. I tried to tell him that I seriously had wanted to reconcile when I thought Bubba was really going to get help. He just laughed this evil laugh and told me he didn’t believe me.
The part that stood out to me was that it seemed that Butch was relishing the fact that I was in jail and paying for my “crimes.” He was happy that his daughter was suffering. The laugh twisted his face into something unrecognizable and his features blended with Bubba’s and he became a mixture of the two of them.
I woke up gasping for air. I was fighting tears and I was shaking with outrage. I did not deserve to lose my family, to be treated as I had been. I deserved to have my family stand behind me and protect me. Shane sleeps with me on Saturday nights, so I rolled over and hugged him, finding solace in the fact that I will NEVER turn on my own children the way my parents turned on me. I held him for a few minutes content in the knowledge that during my divorce and since then, I have strived to put my children’s well-being first and to not talk to them about what happened between their father and me. I am still trying to teach them how to set boundaries with those around them while not bad-mouthing Bubba to them. It is a fine line but I walk it because I don’t feel that I have a choice. I will not damage them by disparaging their father to them as Bubba does a good enough job of harming his relationship with them all on his own. I simply hope to teach my children how to protect themselves from anyone who would hurt them.
After I finally was awake for a few hours, chewing on the nightmare and what it meant, it hit me. Celia’s birthday is in two days. The tears that have been right at the surface since I had the nightmare make sense to me. I mourned for her last year at this same time. Last year, I ended up a sobbing mess in my laundry room, unable to call Sean because reaching out for help when I needed it was still so far beyond me. I asked Endellion to call him for me because I couldn’t do it myself. I felt alone and wished for strong arms to hold me while I cried.
This year I have Treun. I did my chores for the day, then spent the day at his house with Serenity, Greta, Liam, and Shane. I feel settled when I’m with him and all thoughts of Celia and Butch fled while I was there. Treun is living, breathing calm and peace for me. He soothes my soul.
Last year was so different from this year. Yes, I still have a couple of days to get through before Celia’s birthday has come and gone. But this year, I am not afraid of reaching out and asking for help. I’m not alone. And when those big, strong arms hold me, I know they are the big, strong arms of the man I love. I know he is with me and he’s there for me.
Life is much different this year.
I have vacation time to burn. We can’t roll it over into the next year so if we don’t use it, we lose it. I usually use my vacation days for doctor’s appointments for the kids but my company is generous with vacation days. I had 14 days to use this year, even as a new employee. I’ve decided to take some Fridays off through the end of the year along with some other days here and there to use up the remainder of my days.
I took last Friday off and planned my day. I was going to pretend to be a stay-at-home mom for the day; going to pretend I have what I want. I got up at my usual time of 5:30 simply because my body clock won’t allow me to sleep in. I decided to not waste any time and got busy. I wanted to take a pie in to the ladies at work because they love my baking. I’d mixed up a batch of crescent rolls the night before and had them raising in the fridge. I decided to start the pies first so I could take a nice, warm pecan pie to work before lunch.
Shane woke up as I was rolling out the first crust. He wanted to help so I directed him to wash his hands. Together we got the crust rolled out and into the pie plate. I taught him how to fold the edges under and pinch the edge to make it stay in place and look nice. We got the second one fixed and started mixing up the filling. He was really enjoying helping me and he makes a wonderful kitchen helper.
When we got the pies in the oven, I had him get ready for school. He was not happy about this because he wanted to stay home and help me. Oh, how tempted I was to let him. We were having a good morning and I really wanted to home school him. In the end, I knew I needed a day to myself to just be free and relaxed.
Shane helped me get the crescent rolls prepared and raising in the warm kitchen. He changed his shirt because he ended up with flour everywhere. I had thought about taking him to before-school care to have an extra hour to myself but we were having such a good time baking together that I decided to let him just ride the bus to school. I got him on the bus and started preparing dinner.
I had decided to make one of the kids’ favorite meals. It is something that takes a long time to make and I simply haven’t had time to make it for quite some time. My goal was to get everything done before lunch. Treun had decided to take the afternoon off to spend with me. I was quite excited about this but it did create a time crunch.
I cleaned my kitchen as the crescent rolls were raising and while my chicken for dinner was cooking. I ended up doing dishes three times because I’d made so many dirty dishes with all of my baking and cooking. I got dinner finished and realized it was almost 11:00! Where had the morning gone? I hadn’t even showered yet and I wanted to take the pie to work around 11!
I quickly washed the dinner dishes and was finishing up when Treun texted to tell me he was on his way out of work. I told him I hadn’t even showered and he told me to get moving. I quickly showered, fixed my hair, and got dressed. Once again I had to chuckle at Bubba telling me I was high maintenance. Really? From the moment I stepped into the shower to walking out the door to deliver the pie was under 25 minutes. It was just another thing of his that he projected onto me.
I got the pie delivered and the ladies ooooohhhed and aaahhhhhed over it. I ran back home so I’d be here when Treun arrived. We went to lunch and then back to his place. We have been together for months yet we still can’t keep our hands off of each other the moment we’re alone. Not once have I ever felt that he was in this solely for sex. I’ve never thought that sex is the only thing he wants from me. I feel loved and that sex stems from that. I want to connect to him on that level because it feels so good and because it strengthens our connection.
We got back to my place in time for me to be here when Shane got off the bus. I put dinner in the oven and heated up the crescent rolls. Serenity chose not to eat with us as she’s being a teen who can’t be bothered to be around the adults in her life and Liam went out with friends. Treun, Shane, and I enjoyed our dinner and I really reveled in watching Treun eat with such appreciation the meal that I had made for him.
My day off was a day of doing what I love; cooking, baking, being a home-maker – even if it was all pretend.
I think we might have found a combination of meds that are finally helping Shane! He is on two different meds now. He takes one of them once a day when he wakes up and he takes the other one twice a day, one late morning and the other mid afternoon. This combination seems to be giving him enough control over the ADHD to actually work with his therapist and he seems to be better able to handle his anger. It’s been a few weeks since his last big blow-ups that resulted in calling the police twice in less than two weeks. He still gets angry but it seems that he is finally gaining some control over it instead of the anger controlling him.
Treun and I took the boys to dinner tonight while Serenity was napping (she wasn’t feeling well). We went to a Vietnamese restaurant that serves a delicious noodle soup. We each got a bowl but Shane was less than impressed with his. While the three of us enjoyed our soup, Shane complained that his was gross. He demanded that I make macaroni and cheese for him when we got home. I told him that I wouldn’t be cooking anything and that he could eat either a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or have left-overs. He continued to be very vocal about how gross he thought he dinner was.
Treun very gently told Shane that he was being rude. Shane asked how he was being rude and Treun explained it to him without shaming him or making him feel bad. He simply educated Shane about why his behavior was not acceptable. Treun has been stepping in more and more to teach Shane and lead him.
The thing is that Treun and I have been taking Shane lots of places lately. Treun wants to include all the kids but the older two just don’t want to do things with us. Whether this is because they are teens and just naturally avoiding the parental figures or because they are trying to avoid liking Treun, I don’t know. We invite them along and they decline, so it ends up being Treun, Shane, and me. This past weekend, we went to my company’s open house, then went down to drive around where Treun works and do a little shopping, and ate dinner at Treun’s house. While we were out driving around, we stopped at a stable and got information for horse-back riding. We’re going to go next month. Serenity is deathly afraid of horses, so she won’t be coming along, but Liam will probably go with us. I just know that Shane is so excited about it.
Treun was very slow to get involved with the kids. He didn’t want to step in where he had no right to be. That was a perfect way to begin his relationship with them. Now that we are quite heavily involved, he is taking more initiative with the the kids. He simply talks to the older two, imparting his wisdom where it is appropriate. With Shane, I see him taking on a mentoring role. He doesn’t seem to be eager to jump into playing “Dad” which is fine with me right now. It is enough that he is showing all the kids what it means to be a man – a good man.
Shane is improving. I think it is a combination of the meds and having a stable, kind male role model in our lives. Honestly, I don’t care which it is, I’m just happy that he is improving and doing better. I’m also happy that Treun is stepping in to the kids’ lives in the way he is. He is stepping lightly and gently. He is earning their trust as he’s been earning their respect.
I have high hopes of a good relationship continuing to develop between them.
Did you ever have a moment where you are just completely over come with awe; you feel the whole of your soul well up with every good thing that is in your life and it just leaks out of your eyes?
I had one of those moments last night. Treun and I were snuggling in bed, watching t.v., while we just stroked and touched each other. I still think this is one of the best parts of our relationship – we both love to touch and be touched. I was gently stroking a certain part of his anatomy because the soft skin just feels so good under my finger tips. He said, “I don’t think anything else is going to happen this evening.” I told him that I just liked the soft skin and I was perfectly content otherwise. Considering we’d already had sex twice yesterday, I really didn’t have any expectations of anything happening again. I was just enjoying touching him and having him touch me.
After a bit, things progressed, shocking both of us. As he gently entered me, I could feel that moment arriving. I knew that we were both tired and that having sex again was not something that Treun needed. He was sated from earlier. He was doing this singularly for me. He strives to make me happy. He enjoys the smiles and giggles of delight that he elicits from me. I have never had someone do things to make me happy simply because it brought them joy to do so. My soul was over come with awe and love and affection for this man who so obviously cares for me.
As we moved gently together, I couldn’t stop the tears that began leaking from my eyes. The only light in the room was from the t.v. so I hoped he didn’t see. I kept my face buried in his neck. When he rolled over and pulled me on top of him, I knew the hope of keeping it hidden was lost. As I moved and enjoyed the sensations, the feelings of love just kept growing. This man, this sweet, gentle, loving man was with me because he chose me. He found me and I’m so grateful that he did. As I leaned down to kiss him he whispered, “Are you ok?” For a moment all I could was rest my forehead against his and nod my head. When I could speak, all I could say was, “No one has ever cared about my happiness like you do. I’m just a little overwhelmed by it right now.”
Then he kissed me with all the love he feels for me. It was another defining moment in my life. I felt another piece of myself heal last night.
Treun and I went out with Neil and June last night. They are fun to hang out with even if it doesn’t happen often. Their life style is considerably different than ours. They are just getting ready to go out for the night when Treun and I are coming home to enjoy being alone or we’re both ready to call it a night and go to sleep. Neither of them have kids either so that plays into the different life style. Quite a few times they’ve called at the last minute and wanted us to go out but I can’t just pick up and go because of the kids.
Getting together last night for dinner worked out because they were going to a birthday party around 9 pm, so we met beforehand. We talk about all kinds of things and since it seems that Neil and June are going to be together for the long haul, we often talk of the future. Last night it was vacations and motorcycles.
No, Treun may not be thinking of marriage yet, but he is thinking of the future and that future includes me. We talk about where we want to go on vacation in the future. His dreams are to take an Alaskan cruise, visit New Zealand and Australia, and go to a resort in the Bahamas. My dreams include Fiji, Scotland, a cruise, and that same resort in the Bahamas. We’re dreaming together because his dreams appeal to me and mine appeal to him. I know that vacation planning with him will be give and take. It won’t be all about what one of us wants. We will dream and plan together.
Treun wants a motorcycle. The first time he mentioned it I flashed back to all the times that Bubba talked about wanting a motorcycle and how he’d re-write history to say that I told him that he could get one years before I said it would be wise. I’d always told him that I wanted him to wait till the kids were all grown because I know how dangerous it is for motorcyclists out there. I didn’t want to be a widow left to raise three kids on my own because somebody wasn’t paying attention and hit him. He heard that he could get one when Serenity was grown. No matter how many times I clarified what I’d said, he stuck to what he’d “heard.” We had many fights about it, which seems so stupid to me now since it was something that was so far in the future. Bubba went out and bought a motorcycle a few short months after our divorce was final.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear Treun talk about his dreams of owning a motorcycle and how down to earth he is about it. He wants one but he understands that he has other responsibilities and getting a motorcycle in the next 5-10 years just isn’t going to happen. He includes me in his dream and talks about the different kinds of motorcycles and what would be more comfortable for me. This isn’t just about him. Yes, he wants a motorcycle (and has for quite some time) but now that I’m in his life, he wants to share this dream with me.
He includes me. When he makes plans, he takes time to think about me, ask me what I’d like, and then take that into consideration. I am included. I am an important part of his life. We are making plans together.
It is a great feeling!
They are remodeling our restrooms at work. They are located right across the hall from my office and now I have to go upstairs to use the restroom. There is a door that leads to the stairwell and it has a large window in it. Today, as I was walking toward the door to go up to the bathroom, I caught my reflection in the window. I noticed how my hips swing as I walk.
I don’t think about how I walk anymore. I just walk. It wasn’t always like that though.
Bubba would always comment about how my hips would swing when I walked. I’ve been trying to figure out how he would comment, the tone, the words, the attitude. He could imply with one sentence how much he saw me as a sexual object and derision for being exactly that. The way he spoke to me always made me feel that the way I walked should be hidden. I should walk as straight as possible, I should not swing my hips, I should not be sexual at all.
I learned to walk with my hips as still as possible. It was hard! I was self-conscious all the time about how I walked. I paid attention. Rarely was a step taken without thinking about how my body was moving. I had to quell the urge to just walk. I had to pay attention because the moment I didn’t, Bubba would start with his comments about my hips swinging.
I am short but I have an unusually long stride for someone my size. I also walk very fast. When you put those things together, there is a lot of hip action involved. I made myself walk slower, shorten my stride, not call attention to the walk I walked.
I went through a time after I left Bubba when I had to do the exact opposite of what I’d been doing for years – I made myself walk like myself. I don’t recall exactly when it was that I decided to fight this particular Ghost, but I remember doing it. I had to relearn my stride and the natural way my body moves. I had to once again find the joy in being me, long stride and fast pace included.
Today was one of the few times that I’ve seen and been struck by how I walk. I saw the swing of my hips and thought, “Wow, I move like a WOMAN!” There is nothing meek or asexual about the way I walk. I often tell Endellion that she oozes sex but today I saw that in myself. I saw, for those brief steps, how sensually I move when just walking to the restroom. I can only imagine what I look like when I’m going out with Treun and am feeling confident and sexual. I wonder what I look like walking toward him when I know he’s just a few minutes away from taking me into his bed.
It was a powerful moment for me today to know that this is just one more area of my life that I’ve broken free from Bubba. Every little reminder that I have lightens my heart and brings joy to my life. I love the swing of my hips now. I love that I walk like a woman.
I will never have to stifle myself again. It feels amazing!
I was talking to Serenity the other day as we got in the car to drop her off at Greta’s house. She said, “Bubba got fired again.” I wasn’t as shocked as I probably should’ve been. Serenity told me that he’d told her the night before and told her not to tell the boys. I really hate that Bubba tells her these things and expects her to keep his secrets. She told him that she was going to tell Liam because they talk about stuff. I told her that she is allowed to tell Bubba that she doesn’t want to keep secrets anymore and that if he tells her stuff he needs to expect that she won’t keep secrets for him. Bubba thrives on secrets and lies and it isn’t ok for him to suck our daughter into them.
This is the third time he’s lost a job since our divorce and the sixth time he’s lost his job since I’ve known him. The three times he was fired during our marriage were stressful for me because I didn’t know how we were going to take care of the kids. Finding a new job is nerve-wracking enough but when you have a few kids in the mix, well, it is terrible.
I remember the first time he was fired. Shane was still an infant and I was laying down, nursing him to sleep. I was dozing off myself when Serenity came into the bedroom and handed me the phone. She said her dad was on the phone and needed to talk to me right now. My heart sunk because I knew, somehow, that it had to be bad news. He told me he’d been fired and that he was packing his desk and on his way home. I can still remember the immediate terror I felt; the knowing that this would mean another move and leaving the city that the children and I loved.
Now here was Serenity telling me that Bubba had been fired again and I felt nothing other than anger at him for involving Serenity. There was no fear, no worry, only a detached acceptance of who and what Bubba is. Yes, child support will probably dwindle or stop altogether (he also told her that he would be homeless soon because he has no savings), but I will be ok. My children will not suffer. I will not have to worry about where our next meal is going to come from.
It is so wonderful to no longer be dependent on Bubba. He used to complain that I needed to work but would do nothing to help with the children so I could get a job or go back to school to improve our lives. I used to get so frustrated with that but now realize it is part of narcissism. He wanted me to work but it was entirely my job to figure it out, he was to have no responsibility to actually help make it happen. This fed his whole victim mentality. He got to say how hard our lives were because I didn’t work but he didn’t have to be part of the solution – the fault rested solely on my head. It was up to me to figure out how to find child care for three children, pay for that child care, and still have a job that made enough to make it worthwhile. Since I had a worthless degree (I would’ve had to go back to school and into a Master’s program before I could use it), hadn’t worked in so long, and we moved so much, minimum wage was all I could hope for. That would not have covered child care for three small children. I could never make Bubba understand that if he wasn’t home to parent our children while I worked, we would actually be losing money if I went back.
Now here I am with a wonderful, steady job that allows me to take care of my kids, regardless of whether or not Bubba pays child support. Yes, if he stops paying altogether, things are going to get tight but I’ll find a way to make it work. The difference between then and now is that, even though I couldn’t articulate it back then, I had no confidence in Bubba while I have every confidence in myself.
I am resourceful, I am frugal, and I have amazing friends. Whether they help in tangible ways or with their prayers, I know I’m not alone. And now, with Treun, I know that I’m really not alone. I have this wonderful man who will step in to help me if I need it. A part of me balks at that as I don’t want to have to rely on a man for anything yet I know that is mixed up thinking. I won’t be relying on a man for anything, I’ll be leaning on the man I love who loves me for help. There is nothing wrong with that but I need to keep telling myself that because I don’t fully believe it yet. I still have trouble leaning on others even though I am getting better at it.
I have not walked this journey alone. Since the day I left Bubba, I’ve had friends to hold me up as I walked. I haven’t done any of this alone. I have a support system that I don’t think Bubba could ever dream of. Thankfully, I’ve always known that child support would be hit or miss so this is not a shock to me. What will be will be. I can’t control it. It will not defeat me or even get me down.
I continue to live my life, thankful every day that Bubba’s actions and decisions no longer have any power over me.