Last night I laid out my paperwork on the dining room table before I went to bed. A friend called so I spent some time talking to her about her situation. When I first met her she was not in a good place. Her job required her to drive an hour and fifteen minutes each way, she didn't get to see her son as much as she wanted to, she was quite heavy, and very stressed out. She was let go from a job that told her they didn't have work for her, but she suspects there was more to the decision as do I. She's called me when she was sobbing, but last night she was pretty calm. We talked for a while how you get tired of fighting and of the constant drama. She made a cake and took her husband out for his birthday. He doesn't like her pressuring him to get ready so she said they could go out to eat when he was ready. At seven he started snapping at her before he threw away the birthday card and letter she had given him. My friend doesn't make a lot so even a card, a cake, and a meal out are a lot for her. He was upset and finally she told him she wasn't going to apologize anymore. She can't please him so she's just going about her business and doing what she can to get ahead and stay alive.
While I like to think of myself as a big social justice advocate, the reality is that this woman is a statistic; stuck in a marriage that's not bad enough to leave, and not strong enough to survive frequent moodiness. She could get divorced, but that's not really going to solve her problems. The income he brings in is meager, but she gets a break on rent because of his job as a building caretaker that she would have a hard time making up if she was on her own. Staying in a unfulfilling marriage is just practical at times. I'm not advocating that people do this, but there is some truth to the saying that divorce is twice the bills and half the income. Last night I had a talk with my husband. We talked about cheating and he told me that I didn't like his clothes, his food, or the things he likes to do. Before either of my girls were born I cheated on him. I worked at a job where there was a lot of stress and not much organization or rewards for people who worked hard. I was taken advantage of by people who knew how to exploit others and work the system. Foolishly I thought that my hard work was going to pay off someday. I started going out after work. I drank with others and I slept with a couple of the guys I worked with which was dumber than I realized at the time.
I didn't feel anything for the guys. I tried not to think about what I was doing when I was doing it. I wanted someone to love me and hold me so I tried using sex to get those feelings of security. Yesterday I took my oldest daughter shopping for shoes. I probably should have bought her the more expensive pair she first tried on, but it didn't feel right at the time. We drove to Sports Authority together with her chattering away. There's something wrong with my daughter and I want to get to the bottom of whatever it is. She has terrible body odor that doesn't go away after she bathes or showers. My dad smells so strongly that people don't want to be near him, my theory is that she's not drinking enough water, she has food allergies that she disregards and she doesn't drink enough water, but I also know that her digestive system is not working the way that it should. I love her and I don't want this to affect her more than it already has. Some people like my husband can't smell her as acutely as I can. It's so bad I don't even want to be in the same car with her. She craves affection and attention, she kept interrupting me while I was talking to the sales person, she's a very lovable child in many ways, but she has deep issues regarding hygiene and grooming that need to be addressed by someone who can get through to her in a manner that I don't seem to be able to talk to her.
I can make her trim her nails and talk to her about how others are viewing someone who doesn't appear to care about how they look. I tried explaining that there is a difference between being a diva or a slave to fashion and the sort of every day grooming and hygiene habits that people in our social circles perform and expect. The problem is she really doesn't care, or if she does, she doesn't care to the extent that she's willing to exert extra effort to do something about her appearance and habits. I know how cruel teenagers can be and I know that sometimes peer pressure can be used to raise awareness in someone, but I know that if you already have serious self esteem issues that can lead to more problems and acting out down the road. I'm going to talk to her therapist about it tomorrow. I'm going to set up a routine for her to follow and I'm going to talk to her pediatrician to see if she has any ideas. Before I started taking some of the vitamins that I did I had a problem with smelling bad. It wasn't anything I could help at the time and I was so embarrassed to go out in public that I avoided social situations. Her underwear is disgusting despite my talking to her about wiping better, again, she doesn't seem to care that she's staining it regularly and that mentality is far scarier than unearthing dirty clothing from under her bed.
My family doesn't really care what people wear. I try to be tolerant and let the girls pick out what they'd like to wear for the day. I can't tell if she's going for the shock factor, she's supremely lazy, or she has some sort of psychological or even neurological factors at work here. She'll throw her arms around others as if she's completely unaware of how she smells, I've seen people cringe and shove her away from them. She doesn't get social cues, she goes crazy in certain situations, trying to be more bizarre in her attempts to call attention to herself. Her cough isn't as bad as it was, but now she has nasal congestion to go along with it. I helped her brush her teeth yesterday. She has braces and the amount of food trapped in and under them was another warning sign to me. Like her, I tried being different from others. Part of that was because we didn't have the money to buy me clothes like the other kids had, but I was always very good about bathing and brushing and doing my nails. She's definitely not a girly girl, and that's fine, but not brushing your teeth and leaving dirt under your broken fingernails is a larger issue than bad breath and gross nails. I'm really concerned about her, but I'm going to do what I can to address these issues as best as I can while continuing to pray for her.
I bought myself a pair of shoes yesterday. The first guy we worked with did not know what he was doing, but a second guy came over to talk to us and I really liked him. I bought my daughter some new socks, I bought socks for both girls since they were on sale. When I was talking to my sister a while ago she told me that my mom telling her to shower didn't really help her when she was going through her rebellious phase. I've read that the need for control is very strong and people will do things that are harmful to themselves in order to try and regain some of the power and control in their own lives so I wonder if my daughter is neglecting her person just because it's an area of her life where she feels like she has a measure of control. Yesterday I was so stiff and tense talking to my husband. He doesn't think that he's doing anything wrong so I really can't even talk to him about his girlfriend. I don't think that he would have a problem with Jill or Jane sleeping with someone he just met since sex isn't a big deal to him. He has a problem with people telling him what to do, his father is very controlling, he cheated on his wife, and what's worse is he chose the woman his brother loved. When I step back I can see some patterns in families, both his and mine. I can't control the future, or the girls, or really much of anything. I have issues of my own that I'm dealing with, but I don't want to go down that path right now.
I'm going to walk around the house in my new shoes to make sure that I really love them before I wear them outside. I'd like a pair of shoes that I can wear when I walk and these seem like they will be okay even if they are not spectacular. I tried on a pair of Brooks that were heavenly beneath my feet, but the backs rubbed my heels so I had to say goodbye to them. I'm going to use this summer of boredom to try and help us work through some very basic things as a family. I like my new calendar and I'm hoping that if I buy my daughters calendars they will start using them to track events and plan out their lives better. People aren't eating much of the food that I made which is hard for me to see, but I can't let these small setbacks get me down. This summer I want to work on food, organizing, and mental health issues. My husband told me that my youngest daughter said the first week alone with me wasn't so bad because I spent more time with them. It helped to hear that just like it helped to hear my girlfriend give me some credit for the things I've done around the house. I still need a job, but that's not my priority for now. I'll get there, it's just not a priority right now and I'm okay with that. I'm working with my therapist and getting others involved and reaching out and admitting we need more help from professionals and family than we've gotten in the past. It's not going to be easy, but I'm optimistic, and determined.