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Ask The Band: I Don’t Know What I Am Going To Do

I live in fear.

Lots of different fears, but this is the one getting the most airtime right now.

You see, I present a lovely picture of control and happiness to the outside world. The truth, however, is that I struggle far more for control than I should, and happiness has made only brief genuine appearances in the past year or two.

Because of my lovely picture (which is in constant need of maintenance), I cannot talk to many people about the constant weight on my shoulders. This situation is not helped by the recent loss of the two closest friendships I have, which happened as these things do, with only small amounts of shared blame.

I’ve been limping along for a while now, managing occasionally to feel like life is worthwhile and these wonderful times of hope are mostly because of my wonderful husband, the one person in the world that I am not afraid to cry with, the one person I know will not think less of me, or dismiss my pain.

This wonderful husband just got a short-term contract (four months) in a city six hours from here. It is a wonderful opportunity for him, one which I happily encouraged him to take, but I cannot go with him for various reasons.

During the day this seems like something I can manage; after all, he’ll still be here on the weekends, and it’s only for a little while.

But at night, the darkness invades my heart, and I cling tightly to him, terrified by the thought of being apart from him for even one night. Because along with being my best friend and soul mate, he is frequently my salvation.

It is because of him that I have not dropped out of grad school under the overwhelming apathy that threatens to prevent me from finishing assignments.

It is because of him that I can sort through my often tangled feelings and come out the other end feeling like I might be okay.

It is with him, and only him, that I can say that haunting word “depression” and not feel like I have to have a treatment plan all mapped out for his perusal.

Five days a week without him is five mornings I have to get out of bed and go to class. It’s 80 waking hours that I cannot debrief in his arms. It’s five evenings of dread, knowing what’s coming when I get too tired to fight it off, and it’s five nights of hugging my pillow, praying sleep will come before the melancholy attacks.

glitter on woman eye mommy wants vodka

I don’t know what I am going to do.

Drifting

It starts with the silent dinners. How have I recreated my whole childhood home again? Walking on eggshells. Don’t speak, don’t trigger the beast, just drift, step aside.

Chink.

Happily-ever-after dies when his suffering takes center stage. There is no room in my home for me. I am not enough or I am too much. HE TAKES EVERYTHING OVER. There is no room for my anguish and sadness. There is no place to hide my face. There is no safe place. He has taken them all.

Blast.

Gave up a dear friend, she was toxic to our relationship, but I loved her like WHOA.  When my mother passed away in 2007…Michele would have known how to be present. She would have known what to say and when to be silent. She would have reminded me of things I had said. She would be encouraging. But I couldn’t reach out to her. When all doors where closed and all paths were blocked… I turned to Jesus… the first place I should have gone.

Thwack.

Work becomes more important. I am valued here. I am celebrated for my vision, my word, my inappropriate humor. I am secretly trying to think of ways to work overtime and contribute more to after hours events.

Zap.

I explain my desires, my needs. I dive deep, despite the risk, and ask for him to play the role of Daddy and let me be the little girl who needs to be safe and protected. He shames me. He has starved me out. I fall deep into self loathing and hatred. Trust has been severed. Heart has turned stone. I have shut down any trust I ever had. I never speak of my sorrows or pain to him anymore.  Initially he’ll try to help…. But then…. In the next couple weeks, when we’re arguing, he uses it against me — ultimate betrayal.

Pow.

He sucks the air out of the room. He belittles me in front of others.

He is constantly nudging me and giving me looks to act appropriately.

I can’t be me…when he’s around. I celebrate with joy when he leaves the house.

I run around foolishly and make a huge mess.

BANG.

I confront him. Air out my grievances. He doesn’t remember any of it. I am in a puddle of hormonal rage and anxiety.  I AM NOT CRAZY! God speaks to me clearly and tells me to commit to doing a 40 day fast. During the fast, he shows me his favor. He shows me my strength. I emerge as a warrior. If I can fast for 40 days, I can fucking do anything. My faith is stronger than ever. Jesus will never fail me. I need to commit to only relying on him for all my needs. Mortal men are the most pitiful of creatures. Why was I so blind?

Zip.

He leaves me a note by my nightstand. It’s this long paragraph of lovely words I’ve heard before; Something about him recommitting to us, to me, and becoming the man he needs to be for me.

((( Pause for rolling of the eyes )))

The time and energy for him to write that letter, he could have just taken action. He is all talk. TALK TALK TALK TALK!

If he wants to be the man for me… then bring me coffee in bed, don’t let me worry about putting gas in my car or its maintenance needs. Remove money as a concern for me. Obtain employment that can carry the family and cover us with health insurance so I don’t have to … be the man of the house. Be the spiritual leader that we need. Be the captain of the ship. Be honest about who you are what you need. Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t be so chicken shit. Run interference for me so I can be the wife, mom, and Christian that our family and community craves.

((It’s not too much to ask.))

Smack.

Emergency room visits, doctors that are worthless, procedures and surgeries that do more harm for his crippling debilitating disease. Come to terms with the fact that I will his caretaker. Make plans for WHAT IFs. Keep accurate medical records. Organize it all. Learning to be knowledgeable about his health conditions. Understand his lack of memory is not his fault. Pain is all consuming. Find a support group. Learn to ask for help. Cry more. Learn to be ok with anger but try not to let it consume your soul. Ask Steve the hard questions. Write down his eulogy. Face the facts. Time is not on our side.

Whack.

He comes in this morning and interrupts my workout. I take my headphones off and he informs me that he can hear me laughing all the way on the other side of the house… it’s a 2800 sqft house. So what?  I can’t listen to my podcast and laugh in my house now? HE FUCKING TAKES EVERYTHING FROM ME!!!!!!!!

I asked him about having another baby. Nope. He took that away from me too.

I mentioned Viagra and invoked world war three!

Slam.

His only autonomy in our relationship is the ability to say no. No to my advances. No to all my solutions.

It’s the only real strength and control he has. He builds constant brick walls in conversation.

… his health issues are constant and corrosive.

The constant sacrifice enables bitterness.

There is no laughter, outlet. I can’t mock him, our situation, so there’s the alcohol.

Punch.

When he looks down on me and berates my music choices because there is swearing… that does not make me want to be better or do better. It just makes me feel as if I’m in a play and I have no idea what my lines are, what role I’m supposed to be play.. He just makes me feel like a total fuck up.

Wham.

A rift, a fault line separates us. We are on divergent paths.  I don’t know where to go from here. I have read all the books, signed all the contracts, invoked all the spells, prayed and fasted, repented for my wicked ways only to cover my face and cry, “ABSALOM, ABSALOM!”

TKO!

Ask The Band: Leaving My Lover

They say it takes 21 days to change a behavior – to let go of a habit.

I’m hoping “they” are right. I am on Day Five – BRUTAL Day Five – of having zero contact with the man I was having an affair with – yes, Infidelity. I know it’s bad

I am married.

He is married – but divorcing – and “with” another woman.

He was my fuck-buddy. The sex, oh man, the sex, the sex was the kind of sex I didn’t even know I craved until it smacked me in the face. Then it became like oxygen – or, at least, crack.

More than the amazing sex, this man was someone I could talk, really talk to about the things I have no other place to share. Things that I didn’t know I really wanted to dialogue about. Dirty things, yes – yummy, dirty things. But also spiritual, political, intellectual things.

My husband simply isn’t that person for me. I won’t give you all the details. It really doesn’t matter and it’s not much different from a million other stories. For me, though, it is. This is my story.

Leaving my lover is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do; it hurts. But I know that it’s necessary to say goodbye. Goodbye to the crazy drama. Goodbye to the possibility of wrecking my marriage. Goodbye to the fear that my children would hate me if it all came crumbling down.

And goodbye to filling that hole – the one that craves passion, excitement, and a really good fuck – in my life.

I’m on Day Five.

Please tell me it gets easier.

Cancer: A Love Story

His name is John; hers is Yvonne. He is 76 and she is 74. They dated all through high school. Then they broke up and married other people, had kids and grandkids, and all was well.

Then John’s wife got cancer – ovarian or cervical – either way, doesn’t matter. He took care of her, always believing he could do more. Then she died.

John got on with his life. He was sad, but dealing.

One day, John’s son looked up Yvonne and found out she lived only 30 minutes away. She was married to someone and had kids and grandkids and even a great-grandkid.

Some time later, John’s son showed him the obituaries. Yvonne’s husband had passed. Cancer. John went to pay his respects. After all, he and Yvonne had once dated. They talked a bit and promised to keep in touch.

John and Yvonne were married two years later.

They have been married about six years now.

cancer love story

Two years ago, Yvonne was diagnosed with cancer, cervical or ovarian – doesn’t matter. It was the same cancer that killed John’s first wife.

John said NO!

He wanted to fight the cancer. He wouldn’t let cancer take his wife again.

John goes to every doctor appointment. He keeps track of every medication and dosage and when and how she is supposed to take it. He sat with her while she went through chemo. He shaved her head – and his – when she started to lose her hair. He isn’t letting her go without a fight.

They don’t know what the future holds, or if the cancer has spread.

Cancer sucks…but it also made them stronger.

Cancer brought them together.

What I Know. What I Don’t Know.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have babies.

Let me tell you what I do know:

I know that I’ll never birth a baby.

I know that my husband doesn’t create sperm.

I know that he’s ashamed of it and that makes me ashamed of him. He should advocate for all men out there who suffer silently through infertility, but he won’t, and I won’t “should” on him.

I know that I’ll NEVER do another round of infertility treatments because they make me crazy and hurt like hell.

I’m a wreck while on the drugs and a wreck when they don’t work.

I know I had at least one egg welcome donor sperm into her secret chamber and try to dig into my lining and hold on.

I know that the drugs made my lining extra thin so that her little grippers might as well have been coated in oil.

I know that the first pregnancy test came back MAYBE, as did the second.

I know that the day I went in for the REAL TEST, I started to bleed.

I know that people expect me to move on.

talk about suicide

I know that the only way I will get a child is if I adopt.

I know my husband is worried about adoption.

I know we can’t afford adoption.

I know that I will find a way to do it.

I know that there are days that infertility defines me, and I can’t help but wonder if it is because God is punishing me.

I would give anything to have a child and can’t stand to be around people who suck as parents. Yeah – I’m judgmental of your parenting.

I know I can do it better.

Don’t Ask Anymore

We are enjoying a day off. It’s Easter weekend. Reflecting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He is cutting up vegetables. He cuts himself and is bleeding everywhere.

He can’t even let Jesus Christ take center stage.

He needs all the damn attention!

Why does he think his needs are more important than mine?

Now, I need to help him feel more comfortable.

Constantly complying. I am not a part of the equation. I have been SPEAKING for years, repeating myself constantly. I don’t ask anymore. I don’t ask for things. I don’t ask for affection. I am living in limbo. Boundless. Floating.

I am invisible.

don't ask abuse marriage

I need to be released from this responsibility that I’ve been carrying for too long.

For the last eight years we’ve drifted apart, each of our roles were extremely different from the others.

I was primary care taker of the baby, he just worked to not be in pain. He was in and out of doctor’s offices, and in bed most of the time he was home.

He was cold to me. He couldn’t help it. I know.

To me, he had it easy: just relax, lay in bed, watch TV, take medicine, have another useless steroid injection.

Umm… when do I get the debilitating disease so I can sit on my ass all fucking day?  I feel trapped, imprisoned.

I had grand expectations that he would complete me, complete my life and it would be this grand ball with dances and tea parties. Our roles are still tragically different, neither supporting one another, neither of us need each other. We are in different places, both have different goals.

We are in the same room, breathe the same air but we’re worlds apart.

The lack of trust and respect – it’s killing us. I cannot trust that he’ll be there. That he’s ALL IN. We’ve been having some good months lately… but soon, that chronic pain will take him and paralyze him again.

That anxiety keeps me in the crazy.

And… so here’s the state of our union. I’ve become accustomed to not including him in my day. He’s had so many limitations, so many special needs. He’s never been able to engage, so I forget that he’s there sometimes.

Somewhere between the chronic pain, taking days off for doctor appointments, disappointments, missed opportunities, we disappeared. I stopped trying to make the structure we live in a home. He was too busy or too sick to care. He didn’t want me. I got used to that.

I became hard, and cold. I worked so hard to leave my father’s house only to end up exactly where I started. I try. He tries. We both feel the unbecoming of us though. It was a slow fade to black.

I’ve veered on a divergent path and, if I’m being honest, I don’t care if he follows or goes in the opposite direction.

How the fuck did I get here?!

I didn’t say no when I was victimized as a child. It happened on more than one occasion. He made me feel special and important.

Years later, I realized I was just his prey among many.

My brain started to split. There was the good me and the bad me.

Then I started cutting to feel something. ANYTHING. Then I would only feel anger, resentment, bitterness, shame.

Then I would drink myself to oblivion to be numb again.

And round and round we go….

I watched my father beat up my mother countless times. I was powerless. The only thing I could do was disconnect. Detach from the situation, go off in my imaginary world.

These days, the only real way I can relate to men is if they are anonymous, objectified, and made common.

Maybe if (they or) I become more anonymous, objectified, common, I don’t have to engage. I can pay to play. I can pay to heal in a way. I can acquit myself of the emotional debt.

I would have room for… selfishness.