Zero to Hero
Blogs I Follow
- How to Save Marriage Organization
- 2018 Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators
- The Restless Wind
- Coven of Leaves
- Forward Motion
- Mystic South: Theory, Practice and Play
- Sylvan Celtic Fellowship
- Silver RavenWolf
- Site Title
- Craft Beer and Music Madness
- My Ovate Journey
- Dun Brython
- Spinninglizzy's Weblog
- Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess
- Melissa McArthur
- Thorn Mooney
- Ordinary Adventures
- Clicking Keys
So, this month has brought changes to my life. I’m learning how to become a single mom of my child with autism and my child that is in marching band. The change in parenting is due to the decision that separation in a marriage was best. I never said the word divorce, but the husband assumed divorce. I clarified that with him, but things are difficult. I am having so many struggles with my emotions and parenting. There are days I feel like I am falling apart and I don’t know how much longer I can keep it together. Then there will be days I’m up for the challenge.
Today happens to be a day with a lot of those ups and downs. I’m fairly confused about how or what I am supposed to be doing. I am still in love with my husband as much now as I was the day we got married. I have told him this multiple times. I have told him I want him to decide to come home and be a husband. What I am told is that he loves me, too. That he is still sexually attracted to me and wants me. That his sexual desire and wants are tied up in his other emotions of wanting me, but that he cannot identify the other emotions he has. My analytical, research brain of English Literature and Literary Criticism processes that statement as his objectification of me as a sexual object he wants like a toy. My heart and body just want to be held and loved by him.
So, letting my heart guide me, because I know I overthink things and can make a mess of stuff with analyzing everything, I fell into his arms this past week. In those moments he said that he felt like there was so much between us and that we were so good together. He seemed so warm and hopeful. Two days later, the conversation became one where he said he thought I needed that from him, so he was giving me what I wanted. It became cold and deflective of all that he said to me in the shadows of darkness. He exhibits this hot and cold behavior, where one day he is loving and kind and the next he seems unapproachable.
I’m struggling with my emotions in reaction to what he says. His actions also seem to not express what he tells me when he is feeling love. He doesn’t reach out to say hello or that he loves me. He waits until I reach out to make contact with him. It is truly a one-sided situation. It has always been this way, and yet I have been made to feel bad for reaching out since he says I am checking up on him. Usually my communication is connected to just asking when he planned on being home or about our child having an Autistic tantrum and would like to have some parental support. But he perceived that as negative. Maybe it was inconvenient to have those responsibilities, or maybe he just was attempting to escape. I don’t know because he refuses to share emotions.
In this separation, time has become an even more difficult issue. He is taking all the time to himself. He decides when he comes over and when he leaves. He goes out on game nights with his friends and fails to give me a day on my own without responsibilities. When I say I need a day, he tells me to just tell him what I want to do and he would be here. But I asked for a day. It doesn’t matter what I do with my day. He doesn’t need to know what I do with my day. After all his insistence on not wanting to freely tell me what he was doing or when he planned to be home, he expects that information from me. It’s hypocritical.
Why can’t I just ask for a day where I can be alone and not interrupted by a teenager? I haven’t had a day on my own since August 3. Before that it was May and before then February. So, in this single year, I have got out without him or a child three times in eleven months. I miss my friends. I am beginning to feel like I did when I was a stay-at-home mom with no time on my own without a child in the span of three years. There was a single training that ended with a hurricane and one night out with other moms to get dinner and ice cream.
I believe that he is pushing us towards a long separation and divorce, even though he says he will work on his feelings and what he wants with our marriage in therapy sessions. Who know what he will say. I know in marriage therapy he was far from kind to me. Right now I am tired, broken, and emotionally drained. I feel like everything I worked for in over 20 years of marriage, is falling to pieces. My children are heartbroken, I am heartbroken, and my house is a mess because I am doing so much more and cleaning is last on my list.
So, today I sat eating lunch with my fellow virtual teachers and teammates. One of my fellow teachers got a call from a parent. Her child couldn’t submit their assignment online. As always, this teacher was eager to help and assist this parent, kept a positive attitude through the whole conversation, and made sure to communicate with understanding and openness. I and my other teammate were trying not to laugh out loud at the conversation. We heard only one side of it, too.
Said parent sad her child couldn’t find where the assignment was to get it submitted, or even how to submit it. The assignment gave the directions to save the document, upload it, and submit it on our Learning Management System (LMS). Said parent couldn’t find the document, either. So our lovely teacher asked the parent where she saved it. He tried directing her to their hard drive to find the folder the document was saved in. She couldn’t find the folder.
He then asked her if the child could show her where they saved it. The child couldn’t find it on their computer, either. Turns out they had printed out the document and the child had handwritten her answers in. Then they tried to find the way the handwritten document was saved on their computer. They thought the PDF program where you write your answers in fillable spaces and then save it was physically writing the document by hand.
Of course he went through the process of explaining the PDF program with her in a very patient way. But we all just looked at each other in disbelief when he was finally off the phone.
The Change in Status
A few years ago, after years of pain and reproductive health issues, I had a full hysterectomy. While it was the best thing to happen to my body, since the pain has diminished significantly and I avoided the possible malignancy of a tumor on my right ovary, I still feel great loss. I no longer have that reproductive connection to what we call the Divine Feminine. I have two wonderful boys, though I also wanted a girl. That will never happen now. The possibility of a daughter is my loss. I love my sons deeply, but never thought the choice of having a daughter would be taken from me by the organs that I depended on to give her to me.
Additionally, the loss of reproductive organs also means the loss of hormones. When I had the ups and downs of my cycling, my husband would duck for cover not knowing when my premenstral dysphoria would kick into high gear and lead to a reenactment of a feminine death metal band all in a single woman. Yet, the most extreme loss was connected to my Gaia loving, hippy pagan connection to Mother Earth. When my doctor took my uterus and ovaries, I didn’t know I would wake up with a huge void of emptiness. This void encompassed my faith, my sexuality, and my sex drive. The trifecta gone forever to be replaced with a physically pain-free life. I find it difficult to make the connections to call down deity, since I’m frequently met with silence and a candle extinguishing itself.
What I want to know is why I fell “less than” even though I have what other mothers have, beautiful children? How can an organ that failed you for 20 years and negatively impacted your interactions with others, end up making you feel so empty once it is gone? Tonight has been an evening of no longer feeling attractive sexually. To no longer encompassing what that spark is that makes me a woman. To placing all my corsets, stockings, and sexy underwear in a garbage bag and stuffed in the back of my closet, until I am brave enough to trap them or wear hem again. To being deemed as uninterested, even though a lack of hormones means you lack a vigorous sex drive, physical readiness for sex, and makes everything so fragile and sensitive.
I face each day wondering if someone will perceive me the wrong way, because I lack a filter. Wondering if there is a use for me in society, or if I will be another Aunt Martha ushering in young girls on the eve of their childbearing years. How can I warn them that the organ that society views as needing legal representation could one day decide it no longer wants to function properly, and puts you at risk for cancer, lupus, fibromayalgia, tumors, migraines, and a permanent change in your brain composition? This little organ that can create and bring forth life is also the bringer of death upon so many women. This organ that failed me, attempted to ruin my marriage, and denied me the chance of a little girl is my bringer of pain, loss, and death. Now I need to figure out how to heal from its impact to once again connect to the divine feminine and become something more than the angry woman behind the heartbroken words.
Time is a strange thing. It can pass quickly, move slowly, and escape you as you move through life oblivious of your impact on the world around you. To be unaware of the effects of time on a marriage is fatal. One of my personal pet peeves is time. I hate wasting it; I hate losing it; and I hate when others around me fail to understand the impacts it has on me.
For instance, giving away the time you do not have wears you down. It puts you in the position of failing to care for the things you already have an obligation to. Sometimes work obligations can interfere, and that is a difficult pill to swallow but must be done. I had to learn to swallow that red pill; it was part of my growing up. Yet, now I find that not only am I having to deal with my own and my spouse’s work obligations that go beyond our normal work week, but I am now dealing with his gift of time to others.
Gifting your time to others is a beautiful thing, as long as you have the time to give. When it is given away or promised to others, but impacts the only time you have with family, then it no longer is a gift you can give without a price paid by your family. In Freemasonry, we were taught to use the measure to balance our lives. You use the golden mean to create that balance. So, it isn’t an equal split. Instead, you divide the measure by 3-5-7 parts. So, if that represents the 15 hours in the day that you have (because the other 9 are the times you need to rest), then 3 is for the self, 7 is for work, and 5 is for family and obligations to keep your relationships healthy.
Now, I know my work day is not seven hours. I’m a teacher and I am there from 8:00am until 4:00pm or so. That is eight hours. I also teach two nights a week from 5:30pm to 8:15pm. I definitely cut into the time I have for my self and for family. My husband takes one of our boys to karate and goes shopping for groceries at that time. He works overtime on extra projects with his clients, which cuts into his time. As our boys get older they are getting better at being independent, but our autistic son sometimes needs an extra nudge at night to get things done. We just don’t have the time we need to nurture our marriage in the week. We are overworked.
So the weekends are very important for us to nurture our marriage. We attend a spiritual group every two Saturdays, which is healthy to build bonds between us. Yet, the desire he has to give away his time, because it makes him feel needed and helpful, to others is becoming damaging. If I express a need to have him take time to work on something, I am faced with aggravation and resistance. If others express a need to have him work on something, they are faced with eagerness. There is something broken.
To add to this, if I feel anything about the situation that is not blissful happiness, I am being inconvenient and blindsiding him with my emotions. I am, I guess, “Too Much?” What I desire is a husband that communicates with me before promising his time and talents to others. I am constantly put in a position of being the harpy that prevents him from helping others. I’m not approached with the thought that he would like to help someone out before he obligates himself to help them out. If I tell him after he had made plans that I wanted to do something else, I am faced with two options: 1. give up on my plans or do them on my own without him, or 2. if he changes his plans to help me out then there will be a negative payment later on. Basically, I give him up if I want us not to fight.
Therefore, everyone else has first dibs on my husband’s time. It isn’t everyone else’s fault, because they have no idea that he does this. He like to play a good game of being the helper, the man who has talents he can provide, the man with all the time in the world with a wife who is gracious enough to give up her husband. I really am not that wife. I am the wife who is not given a choice. I am the wife who is placed between a rock and a hard place, who is given the option to not have productive time with her husband, but instead is gifted with arguments if she protests or asks to have a a brief notch of time in his schedule of giving his time away. In fact, I will be the wife that pays the price for expressing my thoughts in this blog, though I have refrained from asking him to come home. I have no options that will result in positive solutions.
So, Christmas vacation started on Friday morning on my way to work….
It was dark and rainy. The cars coming at me through Fort Mill had their lights on bright, and they were directly in my eyes. I attempted to avoid the pothole, but failed. It was more than a pothole; it was a sink hole in the road. My tires on the right side hit it. It sounded like my whole car hit it. Yet, things seemed fine as I approached the light and turned left.
The sound was my warning. My car did not make that sound. If you could imagine a piece of strong sticky tape on your tires catching the road as they turned — that was the sound my car made. I became concerned, turned down the audiobook playing in my car, and began listening to the tires. As I drove they became louder. Then the wobbling began. It felt like the car was driving over the pleats in an accordion. I slowed down and pulled into the middle lane to check things out. The rear tire was flat, and I just figured that was yet another issue with the rear right tire that I had battled for the last couple months. Then I looked forward at the right front tire — flat!
I went back to my driver’s seat, took a breath, and called my principal to inform him of the issue. He asked me if I had lesson plans ready. Um…I didn’t plan for this; but he did ask me if I was okay and safe. I just told him I was mad. I texted my team and my fellow English teachers to let them know of the situation. I called my husband to let him know. He was dropping the kids off at school and would be on his way to me immediately. As usual, I had my laptop and was able to find the print outs I needed and emailed them to my fellow teachers. They were amazing and made copied for me. My team changed the schedule to accommodate the issue, and my principal got one of the substitutes to cover for me until I got there.
I called Audi once I got my lesson plans sent and was able to take a breathe. Turns out Rock Hill roads do not show up on their roadside service. Yay! It was all I could do not to scream at the girl on the phone. One my husband arrived, he stayed with my car while I took his truck. The day progressed with finding out not only were both tires destroyed but that the rims were also damaged. To repair the rims for straightening them out was $650, but it was not a foolproof fix. To replace the rims would be $750-ish each. I just wanted to crumple up and cry. Then I was told that the sales team at Audi could get me into another lease. Let’s just say they did get me into another lease, though I have to now pay more (which I expected).
The great thing is that I feel safer and love the new SUV. I also made sure to get the coverage that would replace the tires and rims for incidents like the one I experienced. Therefore, there will be no more issues with tire because I have protection on them.
You would think things would be better. I was a sloth throughout the next couple days and procrastinated washing my clothes. I decided that Christmas Eve was the best day to wash my clothes. On this I discovered that my clothes were not drying at all. The husband checked on this and discovered that the dryer element was dead. So my clothes were drying slowly and were very cold. I friend came over to spend Christmas with us, so things had to get better. Boy was I wrong!
We opened presents on Christmas Eve. One of our boys wanted to go ahead and get his new computer parts installed and upgraded. He was so excited. So, the new fan did not fit and upon putting in the new processor the computer did not turn back on. Joe investigated the system and discovered that one of the memory chips was bad. Then we discovered later that the video card was damaged (possibly), which then led to the motherboard being fried by the time we investigated the issue by Dec. 26.
December 26 arrived and I was so certain things were settling down. I was so excited about almost finishing my shawl — Joker and the Thief in autumn colors. Well, I looked down at the shawl, after working on it off and on for months, to notice that there was a hole at the start of the shawl. I thought a stitch had been dropped and was trying to plan on a way to fix the stitch. That led to the discovery that the stitch was not just dropped, but the drop was due to the yarn having broken. In order to break the yarn, you have to pull really hard with a fast tight yank. Nothing in the pattern involved a fast tight yank from a hard pull. I broke down and cried and just screamed at my yarn. Joe hugged me and we planned on a bonfire to burn the yarn, shawl, and pattern to burn off the energy connected to the magic impacted by everything breaking.
My mom and stepdad came over and spent time with us for Christmas. It was nice, though I wanted to do more for both of them. Her earring began falling out at the house. She caught it the first time, but upon them leaving she apparently lost one of her earrings. Luckily we found it on our sidewalk. Yet when we were saying goodbye to them I looked over and discovered that the lights on the huge bush at the corner of our house were not on. One strand died. The lights are brand new.
We are now in the process of trying to fix all the issues…..
A video card, motherboard, and computer case is now on the way. Joe bought RAM today at Best Buy. The plan is to rebuild a complete computer for our son. I will not try to make Joe’s chef knives until this period of breakage is over. The parts for the dryer is on the way. I have burned the knitted shawl, with plans to buy replacement yarn. I also need a new set of needles, since one of the needles in my set broke. We plan on looking at the light strand and finding the broken section. I’m still a little concerned about getting my hair done and want to be sure I still have hair after my appointment.
The one thing I have realized in this experience is that if someone you confide in tells you the it is just bad luck, disregards your concerns on an issue, and invalidates the details surrounding you as unrelated to a larger matter — do not second guess your instinct. I did just that. I second-guessed what I knew to be true. Actually, I didn’t really second-guess, but I know I did not voice my concerns loud enough to be heard.
It has been a long while since I blogged. I had to place my blog on the back burner while I finished grad school. This past May, I graduated with my doctorate, which was both an achievement and a relief. Now I can focus back on my life, my family, teaching, and returning to blogging.
So one new thing that has happened while I was on hiatus is that my Autistic son started a new therapy. We had been trying to find a therapist who could work with him since he plateaued in his ABA therapy and they refused to continue services due to his violent reactions. He was deemed a threat. Yay, the teenage years. His new therapy focuses on talk therapy for Autistic teens who also suffer from depression. This seems to be effective for him right now. We are seeing slow progress, but we are seeing progress. I am finally hopeful. His focus is to work on his interactions within society, online, and with family. He also is working on hygiene, since part of his negative interactions with myself and his dad focus on a denial of bodily functions and then lying about his bodily state to us.
He has truly negative perceptions about women’s roles in society. He is a misogynist, which baffles us since neither my husband nor I teach the boys to act in this way, nor do we model this behavior in the home. In fact, we converse as equals in the home, my husband cooks and does a majority of the cleaning, and I study, read, and work on teaching and lesson plans. He also sees that my female friends are strong women, who have feminist viewpoints, and that I am similar in my viewpoints. We wonder if he gets it from friends or a faulty perception from his female teachers at school, but I have not seen this directly from them. We are very baffled by his development.
So, developmentally he shows difficulty in his perceptions of women, continues to struggle with self-care of his bodily functions, and falls back on denials and lies as the best option to deal with his difficulties. He is working on communicating his needs, working on thinking about his impacts on others, and working on recognizing when he needs to attend to his physical bodily functions. We have added a fiber-enriched chocolate treat into his diet to help with defecation difficulties. Apparently it was painful for him after he decided holding in his feces was the best option to avoid painful bowel movements. That resulted in his inability to recognize or control defecation. We are working through this issue slowly. There are good days and bad days. I’m pondering a natural cleanse for him to use to help reset his bodily functions. He just needs to be willing to go through this.
His interactions with me are like walking on egg shells. There are days when he is kind and loving and there are days when he is absolutely disrespectful and rude. Today seems to be a good day. The days that are bad typically result in his unwillingness to trust that I have his best interest at heart. He assumes that I will embarrass him and thinks that I do not care for him. He believes that being honest with him and holding him accountable for his actions is being mean to him. What is interesting is that his dad could do and say the same thing as me, but have drastically different results.
There is a disrespect present from him towards me that is unexplained and difficult to understand. He says I am stricter than his dad is. He says he wishes I could be fun like other kids’ moms are, wishes I could joke around like they do. The sad part? – When I have joked around in the past with him, he takes it as insulting, embarrassing, and me picking on him. It results in him being angry at me. So, I am careful with him. I do not tease him. I try not to hurt his feelings. I try to be sensitive to his needs. I am direct with him and do not communicate with him in confusing ways. I am the careful, sensitive mom — not the “fun” mom. I am the mom of an autistic son with trigger points when you least expect them.