Sunday, June 4, 2017

I've been wanting to blog again.  I'm missing that form of communication, even as I've kept up my steady private reflection, in my diaries.

I'd forgotten, until I reviewed the last entry, made over a year ago, that I'd already announced that the original purpose of this blog had come to fruition:  I'd come to decide that while I admire the sentiments of people who proudly say, "Divorce isn't in our vocabulary", it needed to be in ours.  It needed to have been in it much earlier.  This blog was meant to help me come to a decision about whether what was wrong in our marriage was my fault, and if I could correct it if it was.  It saw me through making that decision, and then implementing it.  It saw me through physically separating, and then finally legally divorcing not quite 2 years ago--basically it was a 7-or-so year process if the time it took to come to a decision is factored in.  We were living separately for 5 years before finalizing.

The blog had other functions and gifts, besides processing my divorce and the decision leading to it.  Blogging about the divorce helped me to consider the dynamics of the personalities involved, and to realize that there did seem to be a repeating pattern, as if there were a basic template, which influences the shapes of the overlays of experience and people that manifest, mandala-like.

I've described my understandings of these in my personal writings.  But I'm out of practice in blogging, and find myself a little "tongue"-tied.  My solution will be to publish some excerpted material in my journals, which touch on some of those understandings I've gained, but haven't quite integrated:

Got a message from Gary today saying he was bringing the dog back too.  Something about needing a “break” from animals, children, ‘my mom’.  A couple of responses inside to that.  Gratitude that I am free from anything having to do with these years in Gary’s mother’s life, where she appears to be hardening into the hints she gave before of her character—which felt toxic to me then and time has shown to be just that.  By the fruits you shall know them.  I recognized the fruits long ago that were in a more latent phase (plausibly deniable), but have developed the way they appeared to be going to me all those years ago.  Gary refused to see it then and only blamed me as being ‘mean’ to his mother, even if at other times, such as after having her over for dinner or something, he’d comment on how ‘gracious’ I’d been to her.  But his internal narrative reads, despite the evidence to the contrary, that I was the aggressor in that I saw her as what she was, and it ran counter to her own narrative.  She never forgave me for that, and continues to demonstrate that by badmouthing me in front of my sons.  (which also demonstrates a total lack of regard for the feelings of her own grandsons, who apparently she doesn’t recognize as hers…she sees them only as ‘mine’, both of which objectify them and therefore does not truly love then—for what is love but a taking someone for who they are, as opposed to only accepting them if they do pleasing/appeasing things for those who are supposed to love them unconditionally?  She reveals more obviously—before it seemed only I could see it..
And without my presence there is no way that can be impugned to somehow me ‘making’ her act that way—it is clear that she is only who she is.  They can see her for herself.  Just like Trump’s own behavior speaks for itself.  It can’t be blamed on a liberal media.  He’s doing shit.  The media reports it.  If the truth is not flattering to the Trump administration, then it is branded as liberal fake news, by Trump and supporters.  At last Gary's mother’s behaves blatantly in the ways I foresaw she would.  She’s a small woman.

And, it is a relief, to not have to be dealing with her in the face of Gary’s inability to set boundaries with her and attempts to appease her.  That would be torture to be living through without Gary’s support.  I don’t believe he would have given it to me, though sometimes he kind of leans on me for support in the face of her behavior and nastiness.  He cannot deny that she is very difficult and demanding.  Had he and I truly been able to be allies in that, I could have been a meaningful help and comfort to him as he deals with the unpleasant parts of her aging (which to me seems like only an intensification of parts of her that were unpleasant in younger years too).  This of course would have required that he have the freedom to see his mother’s behavior objectively and concur with the reality that it wasn’t really normal behavior.  He seemed really unable to see it for what it was, or to sustain seeing it for what it was.  Instead, he saw me, and my seeing-it-for-what-it-was as evidence of deep wrongdoing in me.

Fun and Games—reggae

Great music playing.

I’ve just started to feel kind of rested, having a week away from the responsibilities of parenting—like the juggling of schedules with tennis, the deadline to get him to school in the morning and having to calculate it against prevailing conditions (heavy traffic on Barkerstown Rd and no Hillberry Rd alternative)—it’s a bit of a tax on my energy to have those details to contend with daily in addition to the effort to get him up and have him behave properly when he’s tired and irritable.  Then the whole homework and grade-monitoring responsibility.  Scott, I love you and giving you what you need is worth the extra effort it may cost me.  Forgive my need to be honest with myself and acknowledge that it does cost me something, and know that I am grateful to have you to make this effort on behalf of.  In other words I’d so much rather have you than to not-have the love-obligation to do right by you, even if it means I may stretch my comfort zone.  I’m grateful for you. 

Good music.

Sunday 1327

Scott will be coming home soon so I think I’ll use the remaining time to relax a bit…maybe reserve the vacuuming until later.

I need to write the Colorado family to let them know I will be there, most likely with Scott, and will there be a place to stay and would they like to come to the performance?

Inge came over for breakfast and left at straight-up noon.  I called my parents then, but they were just beginning to eat.  So they called back at about 1225 or so; I called them back around 1230 and then we were on the phone maybe 40 minutes.  So I am taking a break, before Scott comes home.

It’s always such an interesting visit with Inge; she really calls to my inner intellect, and I find myself making connections and associations I may not have otherwise. 

I made a parallel, that is,

Oh, man, this is the funniest bluegrass song.  I’ve got to get the name of it, and the crew that sings it.  Chris Jones and the Nightdrivers –Wolfcreek Pass

The parallel I made Lavender Luz
>  dawned on me as a connection when I realized there was a similarity between the adopted child having a split between biology and biography with the person who is gay or transgendered.  In that they each have a burden that is intensified by virtue of being who they are.  By virtue of being adopted, an adoptee has been shaped by other factors and demands that a person who was not adopted doesn’t have, and doesn’t have to even have as a consideration.  I was working a bit my theory that the plight of the adoptee is similar to the rest of humanity, which must ask itself a question about its own belonging; and having a history where for whatever reason a person cannot live with his/her own biological parents.  Understanding the effects that fact would have on an organism sheds a greater understanding on what all humans need.  Knowing the experience that must be created for these children in order to shield them from the effects of having been abandoned (from their perspective) by their parents, one learns that the need isn’t peculiar to adoptees—we all need it; but their particular biological/biographical split highlights that need.  It highlights what must be supplied, and it hints that even people who don’t have that split may experience other events that mimic, in a lesser way, the experience of having been not wanted.  Actions have consequences and effects.  An adoptee who was lucky enough to have a family that gave him/her the experience of being deeply loved and connected-with can basically heal that split so fully that it’s as if the split had never happened.  A family, or its circumstances, can have experiences that leave their biological child feeling abandoned—that is, having abandonment at the core of being.

Allison Krause Whiskey Lullaby

There’s the experience.  And of course, there is the organism itself—how he/she interacts with the experience.  I suppose my charged issue is about perfection; that I took to heart the overt and covert demands of my culture and parents, for perfection.  And I realized I could not do it.  The next demand was to pretend that I could, and a belief comes from that that there is something unacceptable which must be erased—my deep sense of failure came from my failure to erase the unacceptable.  Feeling critical of my parents was one of those unacceptables.  Failing to please them was the first of the unacceptables.  Feeling angry with them when I failed to please them and they were angry with me was another of the unacceptables.  Being unable to change the feelings inside that caused me to do things that displeased them was unacceptable and I felt very trapped.

I think that's it for today.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oh, Golly

Today I found an email from Scott's Guidance Counselor:

I was wondering if we could set up a time to talk?  It is anything urgent/crisis but a couple of teachers have talked to me about Scott and I would like to talk about possible resources. 
This can be conference call if this is easier. 
Let me know when a good time would be for the two of you.


This is a Friday, and it's 3:11 when she sent it, 3:15 when I got it.  Gary got it too because he's already replied.  He didn't even ask what it was about.   He wrote:  "I can generally talk anytime during the day.  Right after school gets out will be fine too."

Uh.  I'm sure she meant "it is nothing urgent/crisis...", but she did write, "it is anything urgent/crisis..." etc.

I put off finishing my work documentation long enough to write:

Would you mind letting us know what the teachers have talked about with you?  That kind of message usually strikes fear on my heart.  Monday or Tuesday might work for me.  Around 330?  Or I might be able to come in in person on Tues.

OK.  We've been through a really hard last 10 months.  It's totally wrung me out.  A hideous, awful thing happened last year, involving Scott, and now he's in his first year in high school.  He left a small school of about 300 total (K-12) and moved on to a polytechnical high school with over a thousand students.  While things went fairly well at first, mid-term he took a nosedive academically. Gary and I spent a few weeks at the end of the first semester working with the counselor in getting him some accommodations through Section 504. With tutoring 2 days a week his rocking boat began to steady.  He's had a good start to the first month of the new semester.  And now this?

Oh, and look at that typo.  Great.  Fear on my heart?  How did I not see that before I sent?

She replied:

I didn't mean to strike fear which is why I am emailing you on a Friday night so you can have a good weekend.  The concern is that Scott's focus has been on the "social" aspects of school.  Not uncommon with teens and I understand that this is very important.  Again, nothing in a "crisis" ...just something I think that we should talk about how to best support him.
Monday after school we have staff meetings and Tuesday I already have booked after school. Anyway you can come in on Tuesday before 3 pm and then we can call Gary?


Sigh.  Am I projecting?  Her response sounds a little stiff.  And, actually it doesn't make sense that if there was nothing to worry about she'd email a message like that on a Friday "so you can have a good weekend."  I'm sorry, that seems like a total non-sequitur.  You don't send something like that on a Friday afternoon if you're expecting someone to have a good weekend.  At least, I wouldn't.  And then do I read into it that she thinks that I don't have a cause to feel worried, and that it should have been obvious to me that if, on a Friday, late afternoon, she sends something like this, it's because I don't have cause to worry that she'd send it?    I guess that's what I sense; a bit of rebuke, that I should know that if she sends something like that on a Friday afternoon I can rest assured everything is all right.

Then to add insult to injury Tuesday is my day off.  My only-every-other-week day off, which I cherish, and try to not do chores-like stuff on.  Except the last several of my days off I've had chores-like stuff to do.  This upcoming one was already a bit compromised because my car needs maintenance.  Apparently it's all-day maintenance because they're going to give me a complimentary car for the day they have mine.  I'm taking my car over Monday evening and presumably picking it up sometime before 7pm on Tuesday evening.  Scott's school is in an opposite direction from the car dealership, and the other direction from my home.  It would put a serious dent in my day off, to be over there at two (not to mention the anticipating of the conversation all day).  (Another sigh.  I'm being selfish.  A discussion about Scott's wellbeing should take precedence over my day off.  I'm petty to not have surrendered it already without a thought.)

This in the larger context, for anyone who's read any of the earlier (now ancient) stuff I've written here, of a prolonged separation and (at last) completion of the divorce in late September last year (and then having to hit the ground running to refinance the house in my name-- and get it done before the interest rate jumped its huge quarter-point--get a new home equity line of credit, sever our joint bank account, take Gary off of my benefits package from work, while doing Thanksgiving and Christmas, whew.).   (At least I didn't have to change my name.)  Anyone who has read the earlier writings knows that I spent a year or two blogging about my process of decision to divorce, and then my spottier 5 years' chronicle of  living separately (I had to get a job, and there went the writing time).  Roughly 3 years of our arrangement involved Gary and I doing the switching from apartment-to-house-and-back while the kids stayed in the house.  Nearly two years ago Gary moved into his own place on a houseboat and the boys began to do the commute.  Now the house is  mine, having paid off Gary's interest in the settlement.  Scott is two weeks with me, and one week with Gary.  That seems to be the best arrangement for him.  Connor has graduated from high school, is taking college classes, and has a less formal schedule.  He stays with me when it works for him; with Gary when it works for him.

So, anyone who reads this, would you feel uneasy if you got a message like that from your child's guidance counselor, at the end of the school day?  On a Friday?  Does it make sense to you that a message like that would assure you of a good weekend?


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Transitions? Closing Time.

I'm so slow.

My wonderfully intuitive cousin Lori shared one of her posts with me, marking the transition of her beautiful daughter to a new stage in life.  The post included a couple photos of Tessa, conscious of being on a threshold and meeting what comes next with joy.  It's wonderful to see the freedom that radiates from her.

Lori ended with an invitation to share our own transitions.  And a music video for the song by Semisonic, "Closing Time."

It was when I started packing that I realized that I do, too, have a transition to share.

We are exactly four years along in the living-separately phase of the divorce.  Making it official is coming r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, duh, but it is coming.  I only just got around to attending the divorce parenting class mandated by our county.  In one of the mercifully few break-into-groups moments one woman said incredulously to me:  "Wait a minute!  You've been in this divorce process for 4 years??? (I've been rereading an old diary, from 2008, when I first acknowledged to myself that it was going to happen.  Then there were at least 2 years ahead of that where I was trying to decide what would be the best course of action.  So, this has been a real slo-mo divorce.)

This may be the last time I stay in the apartment.  In the four years we've done a lot of tweaking of the schedule where the parents have been the ones switching back and forth.  It's gotten old, but the apartment is too small for the boys to stay for a week.  And the rents have gone up so it now costs more than our home mortgage.

A few months ago I was fed up ready and said it was time for him to find a place that would be his.  It was no longer working for us to share the house.  I was tired of coming home to find I was having to step around and move his stuff in order to live.  I'm tired of him operating his business from there, so that even when the house is "mine", he's still in it, working.

Gary has found a place that he can afford that is big enough for the kids to live with him.   He can have his business there.  It's a houseboat at a moorage on one of the islands in the middle of the Columbia.  He's given notice at the apartment and wants to be out by next week.  Since the schedule we've stabilized into had me here every other weekend, it looks like I'm at Closing Time too.

As I pack to leave I'm taking out a heavier load--the extra clothes I've kept in drawers, a number of my books, my toiletries.  I'll be at the house full time now; the boys with me one week, and with Gary the other.  No more packing and moving every other week.  We may have to do some more schedule-tweaking.  Logistics are going to be different.  The apartment is only about 10 blocks away from Connor's school, and it's in the heart of uptown with ready access to public transportation.  That's not easy to give up.

So big changes are afoot, but it's time to get to that other shoe.  Get divorced, already.  Get it done.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Well-Intentioned Trip to California

Tues 912

At the apt at last for some solitude.  I’m stretched pretty thin and grateful for some actual quiet.  It’s odd, because it’s not as if it was that loud at Mom and Dad’s.  And it’s not as if the boys really misbehaved all that much, or even that my parents (particularly my mom) did.  So it’s a little odd that the boys would be saying that she had driven them crazy.

So, all of the elements of a very weird trip:

The nightmare getting out of here.  The suspense and the checking to see if our plane would be flying at all.  The drive to the airport with the trouble beforehand where the car (a Subaru, but with rain, not snow tires) could not get up our driveway and Gary/Connor had to put on chains.  Then one of the chains broke or something and it was scraping all 3 miles down the steep road to the bridge.  The airport more empty than I’d ever seen it, which I’d hoped was a good sign, but turned out to be bad since there were no restaurants open and the boys were hungry.  Our flight delayed a half hour and moved to another gate.  Getting boarded, only to find out that we were going to sit in a tin can for an hour and a half, as we had to be de-iced and were second in line.  Then we sat there for 3 with no food service, although the flight attendants offered us water.  Arriving in San Jose at 1am after some of the worst turbulence the boys have ever experienced, and up close to the worst I have.  Then Dad had told David we were coming, so so much for the element of surprising David for his 50th birthday.  I guess he felt more comfortable having some company waiting with him at the airport and he thought it was too late for my mom.  He went to pick us up around 11, which  seems a little odd on my dad’s part because I texted him when the imminent departure was revealed as a false start and a cruel practical joke.  (We had to put our seat backs and tray tables up and stow our carry-on--to push back 6 feet from the gate!)  At 930pm--our original departure time was 755--I texted him to tell him that the de-icer had run out of solution and had to go get more, which would take about 30 minutes, after which they’d have to take another 45 minutes to de-ice us.  I don’t know why he didn’t figure out that the earliest we’d be leaving the ground at that point would be 11:00.  Yet he said he and David had been at the San Jose Airport since 11.  I might have been able to spell it out more but I buttoned my ‘lip’ because when I texted him saying that I felt like I’d died and gone to hell he texted back, “Keep a stiff upper lip." And, "This too shall pass."  So at that point I decided, “OK.  I’m miserable, there’s no end in sight, and you’re telling me how I should be taking this?  Fine.  I don’t feel like texting you any more.”  And I didn’t, other than an update at 1050 saying that we still had about another 20 minutes of the 45 minute de-icing process.  At that time they were probably at their airport in San Jose.  But still, he should have been able to figure out that we hadn’t even left.  But maybe if he hadn’t been sending me irritating platitudes I would have kept texting him and he’d have had a bit more of a clue.  He probably has no idea how obnoxious that was.

A short trip curtailed further, as well as the reserves the boys and I were in possession of:  In a perfect world we would have gotten there before it was too late Saturday.  Hell, in a perfect world my brothers' birthday wouldn’t have been the same weekend as Connor’s competition  (which was canceled anyway) so we could have had an earlier flight.  We’d have been rested when we got up on Sunday and would have had enough time to go bowling or something before David came over for dinner.  Maybe the boys would have awakened early enough yesterday that we’d have had time to go do something.

My dad said several times that he felt bad because they’d “forgotten” how to entertain kids.  I told him that it wasn’t about them being entertained; it was the circumstances.  It was a quick trip to begin with, and had been severely impacted by the storm in Portland that kept us from getting to San Jose at a reasonable time, leaving very tired and depleted boys, who then slept in so late that there wasn’t really time to do anything else.

Circumstances unfavorable to connection and me feeling a sense of responsibility for them connecting:  Sadly, they don’t have the kind of relationship with my parents where they want to be with them for their own sake.  My parents don’t have an attraction for them where they are happy just being in their company and would be motivated to get up earlier specifically to have more time with them.  So, in a way, their staying in bed was evidence of that.  And it would seem that the solution would be for me to go in there and get them up to force them to go out and pretend to have lots to say and pretend to want to be in their company.  And I think that’s the dilemma that I felt weighed down by:  knowing that my parents are wanting to connect with the boys, and knowing that what they’re looking for isn’t really optional; if the boys don’t have the kind of feeling toward them which would make that all come naturally, they then expect them to pretend.  How my kids feel about my parents becomes about whether or not THEY (the kids) are good people, because GOOD people LOVE their grandparents, and their not feeling particularly loving feelings or desire to be in the company of their grandparents means they must be bad people.  So if you don’t have those feelings inside of you you’d better conjure them up as an act of will, and to the extent you fail to fool yourself is the extent to which you are weak-willed and contemptible.

At least I don’t feel that K and J’s kids can one-up mine at all as far as pretending to feel compatibility and coziness with my parents.  In fact, I think that my parents, my mom in particular, are inclined to attribute coldness and indifference to them, but it’s not really fair that they do.

Remembering something that a guy I knew in high school said once:  “Courtesy is given, respect is earned.”

So the timing of the trip was horrible.  The boys had to leave in the middle of a rare snowstorm and they’d have just as soon stayed in town and enjoyed.  Especially since school was closed yesterday.  So, it’s like all this cool stuff happened that they missed because of going to Calif, where they were tired and cranky most of the time.  And then they were even crankier because they wanted to enjoy being snowed in.

Then there was all this history homework that Scott had because he’d failed to realize that what he was doing in class he was also supposed to be doing at home; and what he had done in class was spend all his time on 1or 2 elements out of about 10.  He had some major catching up to do.

We hadn’t completed everything by the time we left for the airport (and it had taken a huge effort and lots of his rage lashing against me to get as much done as we did), and we wasted great big shitloads of time cramped on the plane.  He didn’t want to do any of it at my mom and dad’s.  And since a lot of it was poster stuff, it needed to wait until he got home.  I suppose he could have finished up the final draft of his Vikings project, but there just weren’t that many waking hours.

So, I just feel kind of bad about all of this.  I feel bad that the trip timing screwed things up for the boys; I feel bad that they missed what would have been really fun for them; I feel bad for my parents who would really like to connect with them and don’t have the capacity to be introspective about what they need to do to make connection possible (and come from a background that would put the burden on the boys and blame them if connection isn’t forthcoming); it was definitely stressful for me to never be sure whether or not it would spiral out of control between the two of them, especially with the aforementioned ordeal and late hours in getting there.  It was just another trip that didn’t line up right for there to be good experiences, and in the absence of good feelings I’m afraid it’s easier to think badly of my boys, and more particularly Scott.  And Scott sometimes makes it easy for people to think badly of him.  

It seems we’ve had a run of disappointing trips to California.

And it wasn’t for lack of their trying, either.  They really wanted to have some fun things to do with the boys.  And while it seems like the boys were inclined to blame them, THEY, the BOYS were the ones who stayed in bed and so didn’t leave time for anything else.  And me, I simply didn’t have the energy to not only just sweep them out of bed, but create the atmosphere that would sweep away their resentment and help them to at least keep an open mind.

I understand that both boys don’t understand the bigger context of their discontent, which is that our already short trip had been significantly shortened further, as had our  resilience in just getting there. There simply wasn't time to do some things that might have made for some better memories.

But then the coup de grace was finding a message from his English teacher Allie saying Scott had not done any of the classwork that they’d been working on for a week in their research project.  So, in the past 2 weeks, there’s been an issue with Scott’s math that required a struggle, the stuff with history, and now THIS?  So when I sent an email in response to Allie’s I copied his science teacher Carolyn too because god knows what else is lurking out there that he’s supposed to have completed and hasn’t. 

I got that message just before getting on the return flight to Portland and decided it would be best to wait before talking about it with him.    Then when we’d landed and were driving home Scott started freaking out in the car about how he had too much to do, hates school, doesn’t want to go to school.  Then once we got home he was demanding that I go talk to him in the bedroom and once I was in there he was crying and saying he had too much to do and I was feeling like I was going insane.  I was actually becoming impatient with him and wanting him to just buck up because he was wasting his time with crying and wailing.  I tried to point out that the longer we stayed in there the shorter was his time to get it done and that he needed to just get started and he’d feel better if he did.  So I didn’t bring up the Allie stuff, and didn’t even bring it up this morning.  But, I sure as hell do wonder what it was he was doing in class if they were doing all this research that was supposed to be going into his folder and his was “empty”.  Did he look like he was working, I asked in the email I sent this morning.  What on earth was he doing when everyone else is working, if they have stuff to show for it and he does not?  At least with the history class he did have pages and pages of notes, even if they were only answering one question instead of about 6 or 7.  At least it looks like he was doing something.  What was he doing in Allie’s class, and how did she not notice he’d got nothin’?  And, is it asking too much of her to ask her to monitor him and see how he’s doing with these classwork assignments?  If nothing else it seems like this is an indicator that you can’t just assume without checking that he is accomplishing something meaningful.  And it certainly warrants more questions:  why did this happen?  Did he not understand the assignment?  Did he not understand it was part of a bigger assignment?

I forgot to mention that he’d also hurt his foot climbing a fence at the high school by my parents’ house and was off-and-on complaining about it.  He said something about feeling like he had to go to the doctor.  There was some mild swelling.  He’d been able to get back to my parents'.  And while he insisted on using crutches (my parents happened to have some), he wasn’t using them all the time, and he’d do some fooling around with Connor that I don’t think he could have done if he’d injured it seriously.  Just watching how he used it unconsciously when he wasn’t thinking about it kind of told me it wasn’t seriously hurt.  But periodically he’d think about it and say he couldn’t go to school with it.  At one point he said that Gary always takes him to the doctor when he gets hurt  (Gary tends to overreact). 

He was a basket case last night.  Kept saying he couldn't go back to school with a hurt foot.  And he said I wasn’t being myself, either.  That I wasn’t talking to him the way I usually do.  And I’m not sure if it was because I was just so depleted that I couldn’t take him to the place where he seems to regain his equilibrium—in other words a failure of ability on my part—or if he really needed ‘buck up’ kind of talk.  Because he was hurting himself by spending all of that time crying when he could have taken a big chunk out of what he had to do if he’d just get started.  It was a vicious cycle, I think, where he realized that the crying was keeping him from doing what would make him feel better, and that very fact—that he was crying and not getting started—made him want to cry more and made it harder to get started.  I think he was really looking for me to help him find a way to where he COULD get started, but with an easier heart—rather than the will-driven, stomach lurching starting when everything in his body is screaming against it.  I have a lot of sympathy for that, and in fact, wonder if that’s analogous to what’s going on with me where I can’t seem to get started exercising and finishing up this divorce stuff. 

It really would have been so much kinder to have had our flight canceled, well before we left to drive to the airport.

P.S.  I actually was proud of my sons.  They bore up well under the ordeal of the flight to California and didn't make things worse for themselves or others around them.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another possibility

My counselor suggests this one:  Doldrums as Protective Screen

In other words, awful as this period in my life feels, it's a firewall to shield me from something worse.

Or, it's like the wall of background radiation from the Big Bang, beyond which humans have been unable to penetrate.

It does have a bedrocky feel.

In the world of insight psychology the theory is that the obstacles to living fully are the very defenses we put up in order to adapt to a demanding world when we were newly conscious beings.  We warped ourselves in order to placate those we were dependent upon for survival.  (Additionally, those we were warping ourselves to please were themselves warped by their own adaptations.  So we adapt to their adaptations.)  (Not all of us were subservient; some of us warped ourselves in order to defy those we were dependent upon.  I myself was too afraid of pain to be heroic)

If I'm understanding Shannon correctly, my decision to go-along meant leaving my Soul behind. Feeling deadened is in some ways preferable to feeling the full significance of the realization that those we depend upon are fallible and untrustworthy.  Apparently knowing fully just how capricious my guardians were was so terrible that I had to protect myself from that knowledge by blaming myself whenever our paths crossed.  I had to sacrifice myself in favor of them, and whatever it was I did in myself to account for that set up patterns in my behavior that doomed me to repeating the same patterns over and over.

And it's true that there seemed to be a cyclical, patterned, almost pre-ordained predictability to my relationships (especially romantic) that were infuriating, yet implacable.  In order to keep the people I loved, I had to be different from who I really was.

So, maybe the Doldrums is about returning to an experience which was a consequence of having renounced my True Self in order to get along with those who needed it of me in order that they could live comfortably within themselves.  According to the theory, my next developmental task is to feel the feelings that I avoided feeling by opting for deadening instead.  Which I have no idea how to do.  I have no idea how to access feelings that hypothetically would have destroyed me to feel as an infant and so hypothetically this preverbal self opted to deny herSelf in order to survive.

In some ways it sounds like so much shit.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

So is there a cause?

I'm three years now into the separation from my husband.  Maybe that's a cause of the doldrums, lingering in this limbo.

We're tinkering with the rotation, where he and I switch between the house and an apartment while our sons stay in the house. For a while making the change on a weekly basis seemed too often; it seemed I was packing and moving constantly.  So we expanded the times between to two weeks.  It was easier on me, but the boys began to complain.  Part of the issue, they said, is that they felt they were spending far more time with Gary than me.  And it's more than a matter of perception; they are right.  Gary has kept his home office, so even when he lives at the apartment, he is at the house daily.  When I'm at the apartment I'm at the apartment.  This has been especially noticeable in the summer months when the boys are home from school.  Now that school has started there should be some mitigation since they're gone when he's there.

We decided to speak to their perceptions of the lopsidedness with a 9 days Debora-on and 5 days Gary-on schedule.  I have every-other Tuesday off from work, and thought if I had every-other Saturday through Tues at the apartment I'd get my break from parenting, but still be there with them during the important parts of the week.

This is just a stopgap.  There are other reasons the Debora and Gary shuffle hasn't been working optimally and I'm eager to address that by having the boys begin to be the ones who rotate.  I think after three years of separation they're prepared.  The apartment, however, is a one-bedroom, and is too small for them to spend a week at a time.  The rent has increased, and a two-bedroom within the building is out of reach for Gary.  It's too bad, since it's just down the street from Connor's high school.  That has worked well.

So Gary needs to find a place that's big enough for the three of them two weeks a month.  He's talking about looking in the area of Scott's school, since the light rail nearby would make it convenient to Connor's school as well.

Before he can find the place he has to have a dependable income.  And there's the rub.  For at least a year I have been paying the mortgage and household expenses on one place and the rent on the other.  He is self-employed and is getting his health insurance from my employment.  This hasn't left much discretionary income and I have grown weary of it.

So it's likely that this is another source of the stuck feeling.

Gradually this is putting the squeeze on me. The discomfort of doing nothing is becoming equal-or-greater to the discomfort of dealing with the legal minutiae of divorce.  It took so much effort just to do the separation that I've basically been resting these past 3 years, and gathering for the next step.

Two of my friends have passed me by in gathering their resolve, getting their legal ducks and docs in a row, and finalizing their divorces.  They've been kind enough to share the benefit of their experiences so I'm not totally reinventing the wheel.

It's painful how long it took for me to go online and find the website to download the appropriate papers (Filing For Dissolution (Divorce), Co-Petitioners, Cases With Children--form 9A) Eventually I got them printed and slowly I've been filling them out.  I'm allergic to legalese and the tedium of wading through. Currently I'm hung up on the child support worksheets.  I realize it'll probably be me that pays support since I have the greater income.  But how do we calculate his when it's so capricious?

This is why it's taking me years.

And maybe it's what's sucking the life out of me, so that while I long to write, I can't.  I feel like someone at a party who opens her mouth, pauses, then closes it again.  I have the desire to say something, only to find a vacancy.  My private writings, my diaries, bear witness.


Monday, September 2, 2013


1.  A belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans;  noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days of weeks

2.  A state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art

3.  A dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits

All in a hot and copper sky,The bloody Sun, at noon,Right up above the mast did stand,No bigger than the Moon.Day after day, day after day,We stuck, no breath no motion;As idle as a painted shipUpon a painted ocean.
          Samuel Taylor Coleridge:  Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner

After setting that down yesterday I found myself in the same frustrating paralysis I find myself in today, and indeed have been for months.  The winds of inspiration aren't blowing and I put up my sail only to see it sag dispiritedly.

Dead in the water.

My writing has come to a standstill and I can barely muster the energy to read books or keep up with the news.  Facebook is the path of least resistance.

I remember reading somewhere that a key to ending writer's block is to describe the bricks of the cell one is imprisoned in.  Brick by brick.

The Truth shall set you free.

Maybe I can take that literally.

So maybe I can generate a little wind by Telling The Truth about what life is like in the Doldrums.  it's not an original thought.  My counselor Shannon suggested it.

The trouble is, this is where I usually fall silent.  So maybe this will be the first Truth of the Doldrums.  A great big Void.