So...I realized that pouring my heart out on this blog for everyone to see is very cathartic for me. I have always known that but I think I just sort of forgot about it in recent months. I think those of you who know me on a more personal level might recognize my apparent inability to talk about any matters dealing with my heart. I completely suck at it! I never think anyone is even remotely interested in hearing what I think is a bunch of whiny crap. I feel like there are far worse things that could happen and that I simply need to suck it up and keep plugging away. The last six months, however, have very nearly taken the best of me and at this point...well, at this point I feel like there are no worse things that could possibly happen. Of course, life always has a way of showing me that that is not an accurate OR wise assumption to make.
Names have been redacted to protect the innocent, guilty, and potentially retarded.
This spring, I was getting prepared to return to Clearwater Camp as a riding instructor. I can't tell you how excited I was for another adventure! We had a little hiccup when some staff cabin assignments had to be changed and we were faced with the issue of where to put me and the four dogs. I brought up the idea of purchasing a camper or travel trailer and setting it up at camp; the boss thought it might be a good idea and said she would bring it up to the board and see if it was feasible. Husband and I discussed this pending purchase at length--we decided that it would be a good move even if I didn't use it for work this summer. We could travel to our families' homes or take off for a weekend retreat without having to board the dogs! We could stay all weekend at Rockfest! The possibilities were endless...so off on a search I went. Found the perfect one, right in our price range. It was in fantastic shape for its age--a 1986 Terry bumper pull that looked very nearly like it just rolled off the assembly line. I sent Husband photos and video, we again discussed it at length, and the next day it was ours!
About a week after we purchased the trailer, I found out that it was not feasible for me to bring the camper to Clearwater, nor was it going to be feasible for me to work there at all this summer with the four dogs. I was so heartbroken but completely understood. I made the tough decision to not go to camp this year; I seemed to have too many responsibilities at home (not only the pups) anyway so it just wasn't going to work out.
Oh, yes. Yes there is. And I will add it for the additional amount of NOTHING.
The next day, Husband and I discussed this situation. He wasn't entirely sympathetic but was supportive. We began to discuss what to do with the trailer--he figured we would sell it. I was very confused at this because I was under the impression that we hadn't purchased it solely for my use. It was paid for with our income tax return, so money wasn't an issue. That sparked off a massive argument that resulted in him leaving me. Yeah, you read that right. I put it in bold so there wouldn't be any mistake, so feel free to go back and re-read that. I just thought he was throwing a hissy fit until he came by later with a police escort to pick up some of his things. Over the next week or so, he continually pressured me--to the point of becoming threatening and quite hostile--to sign a joint petition for divorce. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the process, a joint petition is used when both parties agree on, well, basically everything. I didn't want a divorce in the first place, so there was no way I was going to sign anything. By the time the week was over, I had lawyered up and was refusing to speak with him anymore. It seemed very much like he didn't understand how the whole process worked--like he figured it was like a girlfriend/boyfriend breakup. He wanted the camper sold, all the money (recall that I was unemployed at the time), and each take their own property with anything joint being discussed or sold, in effect leaving me destitute. I tried to urge him to seek legal counsel several times but he felt that I was making things more difficult than they needed to be and if I would just do as he was demanding, things would be fine.
So...I left out a LOT of details, mainly because I refuse to bore anyone to death but also because this whole thing has been very painful for me to deal with. I have heard several reasons why he left: because I am too selfish and controlling, I was too fat, my health issues were too much to deal with, I was a freeloader stealing his money...ugh, there are so many of these. Let's address some of these, shall we?
1. Too selfish and controlling. I can see where this could have come from. He landed us in trouble with the IRS and the State of Minnesota concerning back taxes and overpaid unemployment compensation spanning about two years. I trusted that he was taking care of the situation because, well, he told me he was taking care of the situation. He lied. Several times. To. My. Face. The IRS levied our bank account for a rather large sum of money; after I found out about the unemployment overpayment, I'd had it. I forced control over our finances in order to try and dig us out of the hole we were in and prevent any further damage. I tracked every penny and made sure that we stuck to a very strict budget. I never once thought that would make ME the idiot. I managed to get things back on track and we even had a little bit of money saved up by this past spring! We each received an "allowance," with his being a little more than mine because he was away a lot. That was the discretionary money we could use for whatever--after the bills were paid, that was for gas, haircuts, groceries, whatever. I disciplined myself and saved up enough to have my hair colored, which I had been wanting for a while. He screwed up and had to use some of his money for something else and couldn't purchase something he had wanted. It happens...you then start over again. Fiscal responsibility and discipline = you get to buy some cool stuff later. I truly don't think he understood that so he probably saw me as some kind of finance Nazi.
2. I was too fat. Yup...since losing my job in March of 2011 and returning from camp, I had definitely packed on some pounds. Here is what I looked like:
I'm not obese. I'm definitely thicker around the midsection but really? Here's the more "normal" me:
This photo was taken in August of this year; I have lost about ten more pounds since then and I am back to my "normal" weight. I don't feel that the difference is hugely dramatic but maybe it's just me.
3. My health issues were too much to deal with. You know what? Fuck that. Everything I struggle with now, and was struggling with then, were all present before we even TALKED about getting married. We have a few more answers now but the situation is exactly the same. In fact, I'm healthier now than I have been for a long time. I gave him every opportunity to walk away without any hard feelings--when I was diagnosed with cancer, when I found out my physical limitations were going to be permanent and progressive...I understood the level of commitment that would be required and how difficult the road was going to be and wanted to give him a chance to decide whether or not he was prepared to walk that road with me without judgment of his decision or of the reasons he used to make it. He took it all on willingly.
4. I was a freeloader and stealing his money. Fall of 2010, I found I was having a very difficult time with school. After discussing it with him, I made the decision to take myself out of school for a short time to get myself back on the right track. I planned on working as many hours as possible at the barn, which I did. I think, at the time, I was having a hard time adjusting to my new role as a wife and dealing with the fact that my physical limitations were causing me to re-think my career choices. Husband also wanted me to take care of my health issues and get things progressing towards a diagnosis. I did all of these things, including seeing a therapist to help me figure out what the hell I was having such a hard time with. I had planned on returning to school Fall 2011 but that was the beginning of some of our financial issues and I knew from past experience if I had those hanging over my head, I was going to struggle again so I postponed until Spring 2012. We then had our falling out in December 2011, which put off school again until Fall 2012. Now, I was (mistakenly, perhaps) under the impression that he and I were a team. I am not the housewife-y type but I took care of EVERYTHING at home--bills, yard work, the dogs, household crap--so that all he needed to do was to focus on work and school if he decided to go back. Apparently, he was expecting me to work and go to school while doing that, even though we didn't need the money. At all. As I mentioned, I was painting us a better financial picture and had even managed to save a little bit of "just-in-case" money. Our bills were getting paid and we weren't struggling anymore. We were catching up on our (well, his) debts. I wasn't out shopping, splurging, what have you...I was trying so hard to be responsible and set us up for success later. I HATE worrying about how the bills are going to get paid or how old I am going to be before I can retire. I guess not bringing in a paycheck is a big deal even when it's not needed and I'm taking care of other things. Who the hell do I have to be???
Yeah...I went there. Freaking Wonder Woman with sparkles coming from everywhere. I'll work on that, right away. Off I go to find some WW potion.
In July of this year, I landed what I thought was a perfect job. I was working as an evening caretaker at an up-and-coming eventing/dressage stable. I loved my job, my bosses, and my co-workers. I was appreciated there and I was given the kind of autonomy I thrive under. I was then surprised with a layoff at the beginning of September. Heartbroken? Yeah...but at least I made some new and awesome friends out of the deal. Back to square one. Actually, I was a few steps behind square one since I was out all that money for a rental car (see below).
My car, El Neon, is finally deciding to take a shit on me. Last December, Husband and a mechanic friend of his screwed some things up under the hood. We were going to get all of that fixed this summer because the truck needed some love so Husband could get back and forth from wherever he needed to go; since he was the guy with the paycheck, I made that a priority and pushed El Neon off to the summer. In August, it died completely and I had to rent a car for three weeks. The guys at work managed to get it running again but it was simply a stopgap measure until I could scrape up the money to fix it or buy a new car. Estimate for the work that needs done? Between $2500 and $4000. FAR more than the car is even worth and more money than I have anywhere. It doesn't really matter much because my insurance was canceled for non-payment in August; Husband refused to continue paying the rent after August, and he had the utility bill sent to his new place and is refusing to pay it so the utilities will be shut off shortly. I have to be out of my house in eight days from today--I have nowhere to go, nowhere to put my stuff, no job, no money, no insurance, and no dependable transportation. Before anyone gets too excited and wants to suggest asking the Army for help, I've done that. They won't. I will not discuss that further.
On top of all of that, Husband discontinued my healthcare coverage without saying anything to his attorney, my attorney, or me. How did I find out, you ask? I was in the ER on the 8th for some pretty serious bacterial and viral infections. I went to go fill my scripts and I was told I didn't have coverage. The only way the Army can enforce having him pay any support or to have him continue with the insurance is with a court order and the court has been reluctant to mess with military affairs. Think anything was done about this? Nope! My attorney is pissed, I'm pissed. Since I am refusing to sign divorce papers without a temporary agreement for spousal support, we are now apparently going to trial. In April. He is refusing to settle...I don't feel that I am asking for much. I desperately need to get back on my feet but it seems like at every turn, he is determined to prevent that from happening. I'm frustrated, disappointed, and IMMENSELY negative about this whole thing. I can't even go back to school--I knew the divorce thing would be distracting and now my student loans are in default because I have no way of paying them.
Up until he left me this past May, I felt like I could handle anything that was being thrown my way. Never once did I ask "Why me?" Not once. It's life; it happens! I dealt with it the best I knew how. There were always worse things that could happen but didn't. After he left, my mom came to visit and give me some moral support. A week later, my BFF from WA came to visit and she helped me sort through the broken paper trail of my life and marriage. My BFF from SD also came for a visit and moral support. My friends and family have been very supportive, which is great. But now...you're damn right that I'm asking "Why me?!" I know the universe has to balance out somehow, so my doppelganger had better be happy and successful.
Right now, I am going to talk about something that I haven't talked much about with anyone. My hope is that if someone is reading this and is feeling the way that I felt at the time that they will avoid doing what I did and instead...reach out to someone.
A few weeks after Husband left, I'm pretty sure I lost my damn mind. There were a few weeks where I was drinking too much, getting into bar fights, making some really dumb decisions, and generally making an ass of myself. One night, I was home alone and proceeded to down two bottles of wine in fairly quick succession. I woke up the next morning in my bathtub, no pants on, holding a dry erase marker, covered in blood and looking around at the tub surround and every available space in my bathroom that was covered in writing. The blood had come from my right forearm and my left calf where I had cut myself pretty badly. I assume I took my pants off to get at my leg. The writing all over was VERY negative shit. I scared myself so badly that I marched into my doctor's office the very next day and discussed my options with one of her associates. I used to cut myself as a teenager; the issue was short lived and I hadn't had an issue with that up until this point. There were multiple issues at hand--my physical and emotional pain and depression on top of the fact that I had not had a decent night's sleep for a few weeks. She wanted to admit me to the hospital but I had dogs to tend to and refused. I'm now medicated and in therapy and feeling much less hopeless. I won't go so far as to say I'm follow-the-yellow-brick-road happy, but I'm finding better ways of channeling my negativity and dealing with the pain I feel. I still have bad days but now that I know they are coming, I am a little more prepared to deal with them.
Here are photos of my injuries, and yes, they are somewhat graphic. You have been warned. Please don't send me hate mail. You knew this had to be coming.
I am not trying to elicit sympathy, nor am I trying to get anyone to be on my "side." The purpose of sharing this is my hope that if someone reads this and later feels like they are out of options other than harming themselves, they will remember reading my blog and seeing the photographic evidence of my pain. "Cutters" are not bad people. They're not looking for attention. They simply know no other way to deal with their pain. Some people drink. Others do situps until they shit themselves. Still others might meditate or swim. Some harm themselves. I struggle with how to deal with my pain, even still. If you are feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, depressed, or worthless, please...PLEASE...reach out to someone. Anyone. You DON'T have to feel like you are alone because you are far from it. I will post a list of resources that I was given that helped me immensely. Everyone feels these things at some point in their lives, whether it's because of difficult situations or even a medical issue, so please don't think that you walk this path solo. I know it can feel that way. Don't hurt yourself out of frustration...you ARE a good person and you ARE worth something. People care. People understand. People can relate. Not everyone, but there are people who do and who can. Don't deny yourself your feelings of hurt or anger but don't allow those feeling to consume you. I know it's far easier said than done. There is no pill or magic treatment that will miraculously turn you into The Happiest Freaking Person On The Planet. It does take some considerable effort to wrench yourself out of the darkness and try to keep yourself out of there but I promise, when you do, it is SO worth it.
"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light." (John Milton)
"It's hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off!"
(Florence + The Machine)
No, I'm not getting religion. "Hell" and "devil" have different meanings here than what their common usage is.
I'm going to end this now...guess I need to rouse myself and pound pavement again today. My friends, do me a huge favor...if you have questions, suggestions, or maybe even need a hand yourself, please e-mail me personally rather than leave that kind of information in a comment. I do moderate my comments but I do occasionally miss a few. My address is listed on the right hand side of my blog; you can also use plainsboarder05 at gmail.....com. See what I did there? Piss off, spammers!
Love and sarcasm to my faithful readers,