When I was at the hospital we had a group leader who asked us to think about what object we would be if we suddenly became inanimate. When Jill was very young her great uncle gave her a handkerchief doll that was similar to one that children who lived during the Civil War may have had. You take a handkerchief, place a small amount of stuffing in one corner, and stitch eyes, nose, and a mouth on the fabric. This was a special gift to me, I wouldn't let her play with it even though that's what it was designed for and intended, I tucked it away to keep it nice for later. Eventually the girls found the doll. It got dirty, it was cast aside, it became gray with black and brown streaks instead of the pure white it had been. One day when I was cleaning up after the girls I realized I hadn't seen the doll in a while. Panic stricken, I asked them what had happened to it. I never saw the doll again. Today I feel like that doll. I feel as if I am insubstantial, worn out, abandoned, neglected, no longer neat or clean, I'm dirty, stained, useless, forgotten, unimportant, cast aside, waiting for someone to come along, pick me up, give me a bath, try to remove what filth they can, hold me, love me, and make me a treasured and valued part of their life so I can do what I was originally created to accomplish.
Today I sent Jill and Jane's father an email with the payoff amount from the car accident. Rather than responding to that he sent me a text asking what the plan was going forward since Jill would still like to live with him and his girlfriend. I told him that I thought we had already discussed this, but I would be happy to abide by whatever decision the courts made. He asked if I really wanted to spend that kind of money, I said that I didn't, but I would. He then told me that I had repeatedly failed to consider Jill and Jane's feelings and wishes. I replied that I have failed as a parent in many ways. Then he said that it was unfortunate I was insisting on the court route, and said that he felt I was making it about the money rather than my child. I explained that parents needed to present a united front to a child, and told him that there are consequences every person with celiac disease will face when they ingest foods that are harmful to them. We went back and forth for a while until I took his side. I said that he was right, I had failed my children as a parent and maybe what I should do instead of searching for a job was use my time off to really connect with my children.
I told him that I could just stop paying the attorney, I would lose my license in the process, but maybe that's what needs to happen rather than me continue to stress myself out and lose sleep over the injustice of paying for an accident that was not solely my fault when I thought I had car insurance. This is not an idle threat and I'm seriously considering taking some time off and looking for a job when the girls go back to school. I am exhausted. I've been bullied at home and at work, I hardly do anything and I'm still worn out because I feel responsible for a huge bill and have almost no support at home or outside of it. My friends have been amazing and I'm so grateful for their support, but that's not the same as having responsible people who are accountable for their own actions. I have a feeling that he is furious with me and I'm okay with that. There's nothing I can do that will ever make him happy with me. I sacrificed so we could fight for custody of his oldest daughter. We flew out to Colorado, hired a good attorney, and went to court at a time when I had no money, and had to take time off of a job I had just started. This was the right thing to do so I did it. I don't regret that, and I will spend whatever money I have to if he decides that going to court is the right decision.
I did some more creative visualizations today. My therapist explained that this is a way of projecting things I want, but can't access in other ways. I spent a lot of time crying, laying in the dark, and praying. I had forgotten about the fire alarm inspection so I had to quick grab something to wear when I heard the door. I jumped when I heard the first alarm go off, the inspector told me I would hear more and apologized for the inconvenience which I thought was nice. I told him he was just doing his job and waved him on his way. Last night I had a long phone conversation with someone I met on Tinder. He's a really nice guy, but I'm not really attracted to him. I don't want to lead anyone on, I don't want to be fake, it was a good conversation that covered a lot, he sent me some texts today and since my day was super emotional he heard some of what's going on with me and I didn't apologize for that to the extent that I would have in the past. Everyone says that they don't want drama, I don't care for it myself, but people are allowed to have days like I'm having today.
The next time the phone rang it was another impromptu phone interview. The woman who called was very poised and professional. She also sounded uncertain and hesitant at times. I told her that rather than discuss the actual job which we both agreed I would be qualified to do, it's a sales and marketing position, I wanted to know what the culture would be like. She told me that it was a very small office that shared building space with a sports marketing firm next door. Of course that immediately piqued my interest and I was able to work in the fact that I was a sports fan. Chances are I wouldn't have said what I did next on another day, but perhaps I would have. I had told her I was writing a book, that was true, but obviously not the entire story behind why I have the month of February off so I laid my cards out on the table and explained why I had been let go from my last job. This might have killed a potential job opportunity, but even if it did, I'm glad I did it. The job doesn't pay well, it's pretty far from where I live, and I'm not sure I want it anyways, I'm sure that will give them cause to reflect, but I would rather that than walk into another company where office politics and personality conflicts are an issue. I can sell, they know that, do I fit in with their culture?
Authenticity and honesty are critically important to me. I hate these interviews where you try to convince people that you are the best option and they try to sell their amazingly wonderful company that has great benefits and a family atmosphere to you. We are adults and I think it's better to just address the fact that there will be differences of opinion, other issues, and see if we can try to communicate what each side needs, see where there is room for compromise and negotiation, and really get to know each other as people rather than spiral through the routine interview questions that are typically asked. Who knows, at the rate I'm going I may very well be unemployed for the rest of my life. All joking aside, I know I am a good candidate and a hard worker, I also know that historically others have had trouble working with me and I have to own that. The next time I have an interview I'm going to ask some questions of my own, I'm going to flip things around and have them tell me about who they are as people. I think that's a better way to determine who may work well together than these awkward interviews that extract little. Considering what a huge decision a job offer is, it's surprising there isn't more time devoted to learning about people.
I'm proud of myself today. Even though I feel as if I was really put through an emotional wringer, I conducted myself in a manner that makes me feel as if I have integrity. I sent sincere apology texts to both of my children. I told them I was hunting for a job, but I wanted their input as to how this summer could work and might look. I explained that I wanted their input and feedback, nothing will ever be perfect, but I do feel as if they are owed something if their father tells me that I'm driving them away. Even if that is a manipulative tactic, I feel bad for my role in their childhoods. I told a friend that I wanted an apology from my parents, the other day my sister told me she had been thinking about my dad a lot. I have too and so has an aunt of mine. It's strange and I can't explain it. Maybe there isn't a good explanation. I screwed up and I want a chance to repair some of the damage that has been done to myself and my children. I'm still reading my books, I'm doing a lot of the right things, I'm trying to keep lines of communication open, and I'm so proud of myself for not stooping to his level when he started tearing me down as a parent.
Not long ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was fighting with her husband. She said some things that she regrets. She went and apologized to her son after the fight, he was home when things were going down, and she owned her part of it. Everyone makes mistakes. I'm glad I was able to take the higher road even though I did want to come back at him in anger. I need money, but I do want what is best for my child and I don't believe that going to live with dad for the remainder of her childhood is in her best interests. I could be wrong about that, I want the court to decide because this is an emotionally charged situation and he can blame me for wanting the child support money, but it obviously saves him if he doesn't have to pay me that so there are two sides to each story. I'm so tired of fighting. I want peace. I want comfort. I want companionship. I want someone to hold me, to tell me that things are going to be okay, to protect me from him, to help me with the girls and things I need done at my place. I deserve some fun, the girls do too, we need healthier relationships and I'm willing to tap into my savings to make this summer happen if I really think it will be what the three of us need to grow and heal.
I've had this money since I was 22. For more than twenty years I left it there in case there was ever an occasion where I really needed it. No matter what happened, I left it there and we had a lot of times when I could have used it. It's something I did for myself way back when and I'm extremely proud of how disciplined I've been in leaving it alone. It's not a huge amount, but it's mine and I put it there when I made very little money at a company that was worth I don't even know how much. Today I was talking to my friend who sent me the video of the skier falling down, getting back up, and winning the gold medal. There are times to stand up and get moving. Then there are times to take the Rosa Parks approach and just sit there because you should have that right. I can go back to work and maybe that is what I need to do. On the other hand, taking some time off to try and better bond with the girls and actually spend time going on vacation might be the best thing we could do. Years ago I worked with a woman who told me not to be afraid to give my children the best summer ever. I was fearful that year and ignored her advice. I was brave today. Maybe I will be brave tomorrow and this summer too. Lots to think about here so I will be praying hard.
All my love,
P.S. I'm so glad I dragged myself to the library to write this. I really want to buy myself a car, a computer, a tiny house, and a bunch of other things. I'll get there eventually, you can follow along as you chart your course. Be well...