Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feeling a little down...

I've had a tough week. I'm feeling a bit run down and a bit emotionally worn out. There, I said it. I struggle with being honest with people when I feel down or sad or mad. I tend to smile, crack a joke and say "I'm fine." This is a lifelong pattern for me. I've always been good at making people laugh and smile. It's hard for me to break out of my "role."

Certainly there's a place for that. But, it makes being straight with people harder. People tend to expect the "funny" girl. I think sometimes that's why it has been so hard for people to come to terms with my divorce. I'm not joking about it. I joke about my weight, my odd biological family, my job, my kids. I haven't thought my own relationship failure has been real funny. So, I have been by and large quiet about it. I don't say anything at all, much less do I mention that I feel sad, broken, hurt, whatever.

Tonight I went solo to see the Michael Jackson movie of his last footage - This is It. It was wild. He was so alive on the screen. At moments, he was his 20's self - dancing, singing, entertaining. It was surreal. I miss Michael. I know it sounds odd for a 30something white woman raised in very white America who is a lawyer...but I do. There was something about him. He was an amazing artist, of course. But more than that, he seemed to be such a broken man. Beautiful in some ways, but broken. While I can't relate to his struggle directly, I always felt an affinity for the man. I never believed he was a pedophile or crazy or deranged. I just thought of him as wounded. He just wore it more openly than most of us do. I will miss what he could have still created. I look forward to seeing him again someday. I'm sad that he had to leave so soon.

I've come to realize that part of this journey is becoming a more honest, open person. I'm not sure where to begin. Perhaps that's what this post is. A beginning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pearls before Swine (Flu)

So, it's been a week. I returned from Mexico a little more than a week ago. When I left town I was swamped at work and my kids were running amok. When I returned, it was worse than when I left. Everything demanded my attention, and I felt scattered and disorganized. Consequently when Rudy got sick last Friday, I groaned inwardly. I just didn't feel I had the energy to deal with him being ill, holding down the fort at work and at home. By Sunday it was clear, both of my children were sick. And they were whiny, crying, feverish, coughing sick. Mondays are my worst day of the week to have to miss being at work. I have juvenile court, so skipping out isn't a good option. Ever. Since Walter was off in the morning, I bargained with him to keep the kids for a few hours so I could try and get what was most pressing done. When I got home both kids' fevers had spiked and they were even more needy. We made our trek to the doctor, and we were told that both were likely infected with the dreaded swine flu. Our beloved pediatrician suggested I get the little one chest x-rayed just to be safe. All was well. No pneumonia, just two sick kids.

By Wednesday, I felt overwhelmed. I had tons of things needing attention at my office, and yet two children who needed me at home more. Luckily by today, the fevers were mostly over and the coughs subsiding. I learned a lesson these past few weeks. I'm on my own as a parent with these two babies. I have loving people in my life who will help me when I call, and try and assist me the best they know how. I'm thankful for my communities. They are invaluable, and they offer my children love and support. But, as for their father, well, he has his limits. I likely should have known this before, but it's crystal clear now. From the way he didn't care for the kids while I was gone to the way that he cannot seem to place their needs before his own, it is clear. This is a painful realization for me. I know that someday my kids will ask me, "why doesn't daddy take care of us?" And I don't have a good answer for that one. I know he loves the kids. I have no doubt of that. But he is not going to be able to put them first, whether it's taking their temperature or making sure they are cared for and loved, it's just not a priority.

All this talk of swine flu reminded me of the Sermon on the Mount - and the saying "pearls before swine." If I understand correctly, it's the concept that something valuable should not be given to someone not able to appreciate it's value. When I begin to have pangs of guilt and shame about my divorce, I remember this saying. Because if I'm honest with myself, my ex-husband was never able to value me for who I am. Partly because I'm not certain he ever knew who I was, and partly because I don't think he is able to value me. The same thing applies to our children. I believe he loves them, but I don't think he is able to value them in the way that I hoped he could when we decided to have them. At least part of this journey has been coming to terms with the realization that I deserve a partner that can value me. For me. Not because I earn it or have some intrinsic value, but just because I am. Perhaps this is too great an expectation, I don't know. I've finally been able to accept and receive that this is how God loves me and values me. That acceptance allows me to accept others and myself, even with my flaws.

Many of my colleagues have asked me recently why I haven't insisted that Walter get out of my home. I don't have an easy answer for that. It's not that I want him here. In fact, I keep thinking "when he moves out, I'll..." But, it is hard for me to be angry with him for his ignorance. While I don't like what he has done and continues to do, I feel some sadness for him, and I worry that if I push him out, he will pull back from our kids, leaving them entirely without a father. I understand on some level that I'm not helping things, and that I'm likely going to have to toughen up so we can all move forward. I'm just not doing well at toughening up just yet.

The key I suppose is to learn enough from this to be able to not fall into the same pattern or routine. Pearls before swine. It seems like a very different concept to me now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Broken, but Alive.

I returned this past Monday night from Mexico. What a beautiful country! Words can't describe (I won't even try) what amazing sights and sounds and smells and tastes that I experienced there. It was an incredible five days.

I must admit though, the flight there was rough. I'm terrified of flying. I avoid planes if at all possible. I am completely irrational when it comes to flight. I envision that we are going to explode in mid-air, or crash off the end of the runway or plummet to earth in a burning heap. It is one of the few areas of my life I don't really understand at all.
I don't know what drives my fear. I've heard all the statistics, I understand the likelihoods, I get it. But I don't *get it.*

On this trip, I boarded the plane before 6am to fly to Miami on the way to Mexico. The first leg was bumpy, and a little bit scary. The weather combined with the darkness made it a shaky experience for me. I realized pretty quickly that I felt out of control, and was actually shaking a little. I was trying to read to take my mind off the airplane. I was reading "The Shack." (As is usual, I'm a day late, this book was a huge hit a year ago.) I began to pray (because when I'm panicking, that's my instinct), about 20 minutes into the flight, I fell into a deep sleep. I didn't wake up until a few minutes before we landed in Miami. I'm not sure how to explain that, except that I think God knew what I needed, and that was to rest, to be at peace. And I was.

Once I arrived in Mexico, I was absolutely amazed at everything. The ocean was incredible. All at once powerful, graceful, beautiful. I played in the surf, and soaked in the sun. My heart felt lighter than it has in awhile. I felt alive.

These past several months have left me feeling fragmented at times, broken into different pieces that I haven't entirely figured out how to put back together. But being in Mexico, in the presence of creation of the God of the seas and sand, well it reminded me that despite my brokenness, I'm alive. I'm strong, and I am learning how to live my life, whole again.

I spent a day snorkeling in the Caribbean. I swam with the fish, a shark, a sea turtle and a big barracuda. It was a delight for my senses, and I ultimately left my wedding rings at the bottom of the sea. It was something I felt strongly about doing when I went to Mexico. I don't want to bury the memories of my marriage, or cast them away. I simply want to open my hands and let go of some of the pain, guilt and shame associated with all of this. So, I did. And despite feeling broken, I feel free and alive.

I'm glad I took the trip. I enjoyed the time, and I learned that I can be on my own. I don't have to have another person with me just to have the person there. It was a time to heal. And I was able to remember the Healer wants me whole again.