Friday, February 17, 2012

Long gone.

From Jon Armstrong, on his separation:

I’ve also made an effort to be positive despite the deep, deep pain that I feel every day. It’s difficult to be told that you did it wrong for years and take a look back and feel the deep regret that if only you’d known you were doing it wrong, you could have made changes and done the work that would have fixed the wrongness. How does one handle this gracefully? I don’t know. I’m trying.

I am way past all of this, so I hope y'all will forgive me for bringing up my divorce again. It's just, this struck something in me.. kind of like a string on a guitar that keeps vibrating long after it was struck. This is exactly how I felt for a very long time and never managed to put it into words.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"This has got to be the good life."

Man, I am a ball of confusion and self pity and feeling gross lately. It’s really pretty ugly. I am ugly, lately.

My asthma is totally out of control; I gag and wheeze and pant every where I go. My two inhalers usually make me feel better for about an hour; then it’s back to wheezing and panting. I’ve been to the doctor several times; he doles out antibiotics that never make me feel better, and usually make me feel worse, until I’ve given up, I think.

I’ve gained some weight, which I think bothers me less than I keep telling myself it should. I’ve always done this, gained and lost and gained and lost. It’s just that when I get on the gained side of things, and I get all those surprised and pitying looks from people I haven’t seen in a while, or even from people I’ve seen recently, it gets a bit difficult. Phil through it all tells me that I am beautiful, that he will never think I’m not beautiful. He says things like, “You can probably still wear your old jeans if you just lay down on the bed to zip them.” And I can’t help but reply, “Yes, but then I’ll look like ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. NO MUFFINTOPS.”

I’ve hit one of those walls in which every day feels like the movie Groundhog Day- I do the same things, day-in and day-out, and I’m not able to satisfy anyone around me. We run out of groceries; we need to buy groceries. All the clothes are dirty; we need to wash clothes. Reed is dirty; he needs a bath. Phil’s daughters come every other weekend and witness more than I’d like to admit my inability to handle regular, every day life that seems easy for everyone else they know.

I am especially concerned about Reed these days. He acts pretty normal, and we seem to have settled into a pretty good schedule as far as sleep and school and everything else. He got his purple belt in karate, meaning he moved up a level already. He’s learned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in violin, and will have a recital this December. But then, about once week, he does something awful and I get totally worked up and confused about how to react. Let me be clear- he’s not abusing animals or joining the Republican Party or anything like that; he threw a rock at a passing car and scratched it. He hit a neighborhood boy in the face with a stick, scratching his face. It’s mostly just the sorts of things that can honestly be passed off as “the kind of thing growing boys do now and then”, that should be dealt with sternly and immediately, but not obsessed over.

But I’m finding myself obsessing and worrying, feeling incredibly unsure about what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. I feel crippled and impotent, if you want to know the melodramatic truth.

What I wish, what I think would be best, is if Reed’s dad could actually help. As it is, he’s doling out clich├ęs and parenting mottos from 3000 miles away. I try to explain what’s happening and it is frequently clear he’s not listening, because he either asks the same questions over and over again, or asks for details that I’ve already given him, usually stuff that I’ve actually given him in writing already. When did this happen? What did the teacher say? What has Reed said about it? Where did he do that? It usually devolves into the two of us, sitting totally silently on the phone, with nothing to say to each other.

I am absolutely not sure what I’m doing, is what I’m saying. I mostly teeter back and forth between trying to suck it up and deal with it, and collapsing on Phil at the end of the day. Phil loves me and he loves Reed and he’s here to help. He does things like picking Reed up from school or taking him in the mornings, taking Reed with him to his daughter’s soccer games, taking Reed with him to the grocery store. But neither he nor I expected that he was pretty much going to be Reed’s other parent, and it’s weighing a little heavily on all of us.

So, here’s where I try and remind myself about all the good stuff. Phil loves me, and I love him, and we’re married to each other and we live together in an apartment that we love. Reed is smart and cute and sweet, and a joy to talk to and be around. As I write this, my best friend in the world is having her baby, and I get to go and meet him tomorrow. I have a place to live with heat and air conditioning and showers and beds, and food to eat. I have a job! That I like! We got a dog about a week ago; his name is Rocky, and he is hilariously cute (read: ugly) and sweet and well-behaved. I have a few girlfriends left who still can put up with me, and I with them.

I mean, I get it: this, too, shall pass. I will get through this, and Reed will get through this, and Phil will get through this, and we will all be happier and more grown-up and more carefree when it’s over. BUT, best I can tell from other parents, it’s not over for about 15 more years, so I still can’t get too comfortable with it. I’m hoping God might bestow upon me a little bit more grit, a little bit more backbone to persevere through the hard times that will inevitably come. Until then, I’ve got Halloween candy. And American Horror Story. Seriously, what the HELL is going on in that show?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sometimes the bridges get burned out from under you.

These last few weeks have been really crazy and confusing and draining and painful, in so many ways that I’m certain I won’t even think to detail all of them here.

Phil and Reed and I have all been taking turns being sick, with stomach problems and back problems and colds and flu and allergies and asthma and sliced-open thumbs and slipped discs. WE HAVE BEEN A BARREL OF MONKEYS, I tell you, and I am praying that perhaps now we can be well for a bit. There is nothing more exhausting and sad than taking care of a sick kid, except maybe taking care of a sick kid when you’re sick too.

Reed started kindergarten, and with it karate, and it’s been so exciting. It is so weird to drive him up to the front of the elementary school each morning and drop him off, watch him pause to turn around and wave, and then run inside by himself.

His teacher is very pretty and very young and very enthusiastic. She is, however, an Auburn fan, but I forgive her because she has such great hair. She wears super-high wedges with a belt that matches the straps and she always looks fresh and excited and, y’all, THE HAIR IS FANTASTIC, long and wavy and always perfect.

In school Reed has a different “special” every day- music, computer lab, art, library, and free play, and the music teacher has already emailed me to tell me how sweet Reed is and how glad she is to have him in her class. Also, his regular teacher told me one day in a very serious tone that Reed is one the most “meticulous” students she’s ever witnessed.

I can tell you myself that Reed has certainly turned out to be an Agan; “actually” is one of his favorite words, following in the footsteps of his articulate older brother. He does this thing where you explain something to him, and he says “Okay, SO, what you’re saying is..” and then repeats everything you just told him. If that’s not Kane, I don’t know what is. He also just started swimming without swimmies, and jumping into the pool with so much abandon that I hardly recognize him as the kid who, only a few weeks ago, would only enter the pool by gingerly going down the steps. He’s loosing teeth and getting big-boy hair cuts and getting himself dressed and washing his own hair. HE TURNS SIX IN THREE MONTHS, PEOPLE.

This life is weird, and I gave up a long time ago trying to keep up or stay ahead of things. It’s one day at a time around here, and sometimes I even have to cut it further down, coach myself into just toughing out the next hour, or the next ten minutes.

Phil and I persevere by goofing off together, watching movies and playing cards. The card-playing has become our standard time-passer, and there are few ways I’d rather spend the evening, once I’ve gotten Reed settled in with a movie or supper, than sitting together on our patio playing rummy and listening to music.

I read a tweet from Dooce today, or yesterday maybe, that said September is a particularly hard time for people with depression, and it made me think not just of myself but of a lot of people I love. September is an odd time; fall starts rolling in- perhaps somewhat slowly here in the South- and the days get shorter and you see your friends a bit less because people are buckling down, not quite as carefree as during the summer.

A particularly challenging problem for me right now is the loss of a very close friend, someone I’ve loved and trusted, asked for help, offered help, leaned on, let lean on me. I’m finding myself thinking I was just asking for it the whole time; I’m one of 6 people she has stolen prescription medication from, sometimes in large amounts, and she’s stolen them from ME twice before this time. Every time it’s happened I’ve called her on it, told her how hurt and mad it made me. Every time I’ve thought, okay, that’s it, we can’t be friends any more. But then I end up missing her so badly, wanting to talk to her about my day or about something funny I read or heard.

This particular friend is someone that I connect with on such a deep and organic level that the experience of trying to control myself, keep myself from talking to her feels like cutting out a relationship with a sister. This is someone who knew me before Jason, during Jason, and now with Phil. I have told her all of my secrets, let her in on every aspect of my life, fought for her with other people whose trust didn’t regrow like mine did.

The other times that I’ve discovered that she’s taken things from me I’ve told her how mean and unacceptable it is, how she could just ASK for these pills and I would give them to her, but to just find them missing is so hurtful, such a bizarre and unexpected betrayal, so disrespectful and shitty.

A particularly painful aspect of the entire experience is knowing that she knows how difficult things have been for me lately. She knows that life has been precarious and scary, and still thinks it’s okay to sneak into my medicine cabinet and take 11 oxycontin (out of 14) and 2 morphine pills (out of 2) without asking. And let me make it clear: the oxycontin were prescribed to Phil for a slipped disc, and the morphine were given to him when he nearly cut his thumb OFF of his hand, and he just never took them. In the past it’s been Ambien I was prescribed for sleep, Lortabs I was prescribed for a severe throat infection. Point is, we don’t have this stuff for recreation, we have it for legitimate health problems, and this person who I have frequently given rides to or bought beer and cigarettes for, not to mention given a place to stay, came into my house and went through our medicine cabinet and took our medicine and put them in her pocket before giving me a hug, telling me she loved me, and leaving. It is fucked up.

I also want to make clear that I am very aware that I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I make people mad. I hurt people’s feelings. I am absolutely certain that there have been times when this girl needed me, or wanted to go out, or wanted to talk, and I wasn’t there for her. But no matter how many terrible things I try to think up that I may or may not have done, I can’t come up with a reason that makes me think, “Well, in THAT case, she should have stolen from me. 3 times.”

I can’t really articulate, can’t really completely explain how I feel about all this. For the first week I was really just pissed off. Now it’s devolved into sadness, an intense pain in my gut knowing that I am just a total idiot, that I should have seen this coming, that our friendship was this disposable to her. I feel thrown away and worthless. I feel heartbroken that it didn’t matter to her that it would hurt me.

Since then, she and I haven’t talked. I spent several days trying to decide what to do, how to confront her. I finally decided that even if she admitted what she’d done and apologized, it wouldn’t help, since this isn’t the first time she’s done this, and it isn’t the first time she’s gotten caught. Then she started to post to Facebook- pictures of a new laptop, new clothes, posts about spending $60 on nail polish and shampoo and getting a new phone. I lost my temper and posted on her page that I hoped she enjoyed the medicine. We still haven’t talked. She hasn’t bothered to deny or admit or scoff or cuss or anything at all.

Keep in mind that for several years now this has been a girl who can’t buy her own gas, beer, cigarettes, food, sodas, and suddenly she’s buying a MacBook Pro and new clothes and make up. It just feels insulting, hurtful, mean, and a hundred other words I’ve probably either written here or whined over the past week.

Bottom line is now is the time when I have to move on, but it’s just so hard to do when this girl has been one of the first people I tell ANYTHING to. There are about a million different tv shows and movies that make me think of her, not to mention about 2 million songs, and before this happened I’d text her any time I was thinking of her. I find myself picking up my phone and putting it back down about a hundred times a day. I thought that she loved me and respected me, needed me, wanted to be my friend, but I’m not sure how to think that considering what she’s done.

So, this is September for me. I’m trying to remember to enjoy Reed and Phil and my life, while grieving a huge loss, one that hurts worse because she chose this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

L-I-V-I-N.

Still here, still surviving, still hitting myself in the face with a shovel, metaphorically speaking.

I get timid about writing these days, as every single time I post anything I get an angry phone call from my ex-husband- telling me everything from how selfish I am to how I better stop “poking the dog”. It’s exhausting, and unfair, and hilarious, and infuriating, and sad and confusing and bizarre and about a million other things. But, I’m making an attempt to carry on, to remember who I am, to keep being who I used to be before everything got tossed into the air and scrambled around me. I deserve that, I think, and however pathetic some people might think it is, this blog has been an important part of my life for several years. I’ve let it slip for too long.

I realize all the time that there are so many things that I haven’t written about, things that are important to me, or funny, or interesting, and I can’t keep up with them.

In the last several months I’ve met the band Guster and the comedian Pauly Shore, both huge favorites of mine, both owing to my thoughtful husband Phil. Meeting Guster was fun and memorable because I love them so much and I’ve loved them for so long and they were so nice. Meeting Pauly Shore was memorable because I love him so much and I’ve loved him for so long and he was a TERRIBLE, AWFUL ASSHOLE. I mean, DIVA, people. It was such a disappointment.

I also met a band from Austin, Texas called The Sword, and took their pictures. Phil is buddies with them, so they’re constantly sending him emails that they’ve got his name on the list, or back stage passes, for their shows. They were nice fellas, and I’m glad that I got to meet them. If Phil was ever going to marry a dude, I think it would be Bryan from The Sword. And Bryan’s just so sweet and funny and personable that I think I’d just have to be okay with it.

Reed will start kindergarten in about three weeks. He’s such an amazing person, so funny and complicated and difficult. I find myself spending at least a few minutes every day getting to know him, learning new things about him that I didn’t know, being surprised by how smart he is. The kid has lungs, too; I sincerely hope we might be approaching a time when hissy fits can go by the wayside, because it gets me SO worked up and irritable when he freaks out, mainly because he reaches a point where there is nothing that will stop the fit. He doesn’t want me in the room with him, but he doesn’t want me to walk away. He wants to (for example) call Ma, but he doesn’t want me to leave the room to get my phone. He wants some ice cream, but giving it to him now doesn’t make him happy; I should have given to him when he asked a few minutes ago. Sound confusing? Try living with it.

Most recently, he just got back from going to stay with his dad in Long Beach, California. He flew out with Kane and Jude, and let me just tell you: the experience of sending him 3000 miles on a plane for 6 weeks away from home has been one of the most intense of my life, in a lot of different ways. First, the two weeks before he left were two of the most excruciatingly awful weeks of my life. I was terrified and unsure and confused and anxious. Was it okay to send my 5-year-old so far away, to a place where I’d never been before? What would happen if he got sick or hurt? What would happen if he wanted to come home early? What would happen if he totally wigged out on the plane and hated flying and wanted to get off? Would Kane and Jude be able to handle Reed’s headstrong, willful personality on a plane for 7 or 8 hours straight? I’ll just stop there, because you get the idea- it was a whirlwind of questions in my head. And enduring everyone else’s advice and opinions, whether they were for Reed going or against it, was FUCKING TERRIBLE. Every single person that expressed any opinion whatsoever had good intensions, okay? I know that. And most people’s manner of telling me what they thought about it was totally acceptable, not stressful for me, not confusing. But there were a few people that nearly broke me into pieces, nearly drowned me with wave after wave after wave of indignation and condescension. And those people, unfortunately, made it more difficult for me to process what everyone else thought of it, or what I thought of it.

Eventually I made the decision that I was letting him go, and I stuck to it through a lot of nastiness and difficulty. Reed said he wanted to go. I talked to him repeatedly about what it would be like to fly, how long he’d be gone, etc. etc. etc. He continued to be excited about it. I stood by my decision.

Now he’s back, and I still feel that letting him go was the right thing to do. He got to be with his dad and his brothers for six whole weeks. He got to be away from me for six whole weeks. He did exciting new things and went exciting new places- to the beach, and the aquarium, and Little Tokyo. He probably tried new food and saw amazing things. He met a lady with a pet rabbit and decided that we need one, and assured me that if we get the brown and white kind, it won’t pee and poop in the house. He lost his first tooth. AND FOR GOD’S SAKES, HE BOUGHT A NINJA STAR.

But wow, did I miss him. It would hit me so hard and fast; one moment I’d be totally fine, then I’d suddenly be crying, heartbroken. When he came home, when I saw him walking out of the gate, I couldn’t keep from sobbing right there in front of everybody. He ran to me and I held him and I cried, and he kissed me several times and said “I missed you, mom.” It was like a scene out of a movie. It was a beautiful moment for me, one that I’m pretty sure I’ll remember vividly, still be able to taste in my mouth, for the rest of my life.

Which won’t actually be that long anyway, because THE CHILD IS DRIVING ME CRAZY, I’M GOING TO THROW MYSELF INTO THE POOL WITH A CASE OF BEER STRAPPED TO MY LEG.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Well, hello there.

‘Sup. How’s it going with you guys? Does anybody still take a look at this every now and then (besides, of course, my requisite viewers in California, but more on that later)? I hope so. Leave me comments so’s I know that folks stop by.

Wow, where to start? What to say? What not to say?

How about I’m just going to list the big stuff that’s gone on over the last year or so, in somewhat chronological order?

1. Last summer, my ex’s ex shot herself with the intention of killing herself. AND LIVED. For fuck’s sakes, I’ve never known anyone with as many unwanted lives as this woman has. As a result, Reed’s brothers moved in with Jason for a few months, then moved back in with their mom. Weirdness. But hey, it ain’t my place to care about them any more, or so I’ve been told, repeatedly, by he who will not be named. Except I already named him so we’ll all just have to get over it.

2. Reed turned 5! He’s had a very hard time with all of the event of the past year, but he sure is growing up. It’s bizarre to me both that he isn’t a baby any more and that he ever was a baby. I can say this much: he sure is an Agan, through and through. The boy talks until his mouth ought to be about ready to fall off, and he’ll eat as many apples as I’ll set out in front of him, and he makes sound effects and hums a soundtrack for himself every where he goes. He does still love the superheroes, but now he’s added Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Legos to his passions. He’s (sort of) learning to skateboard with Philip, and he’s taking violin lessons, and he plays video games. The child starts kindergarten in August. I don’t know what else to say but, “Woah.”

3. I got a job! I got a job I got a job I GOT A JOB.

4. Phil and I got married in February! Crazy: yes. Fast: yes. Awesome: yes. As a result Reed has two step-sisters. Reed informed me the other day that “they are MY sisters, and that means I can tell them to stay out of my room.” THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT THAT MEANS, BIG GUY.

5. On a related note, we moved out of my mom’s house at the end of March. We live in a 3-bedroom apartment that’s close to my work and that’s in a zone where Reed will go to a really neat school when he starts kindergarten. I lived at my mother’s house for a year-and-a-half, and I have to say it is so COOL to have my own place, my own kitchen, my own bathroom, places for my own things. The swimming pool is about 10 yards from our front door- I mean we can SEE it when we stand on our patio- and it’s rad. It’s been pretty warm this week, and we’ve been swimming in the evenings when we all get home.

6. Jason and Julia moved to California back in February, making Phil and me pretty much Reed’s sole caretakers. Of course we get tons and tons of help from my mom, so it’s not like we haven’t had a moment of down time or anything. But it’s odd, knowing that Reed and Jason haven’t laid eyes on each other in 3 months. I personally would be going crazy. I need my breaks, but I would melt down if I hadn’t touched Reed’s hair or watched a movie with him or dusted him off when he falls in that long of a time. The other day Reed told me, “I miss my dad. I’m starting to forget what he’s like.”

7. My best friend Kristi is pregnant! She’s having a boy! I’m gonna be an auntie! I am so very excited. Phil has decided that the baby shall be named Spider. I said that they should name him Otter. And if they have another baby, they can name him Juan. So then when something gets broken and Kristi says “Who did this?”, Chris can say, “Well, it was either Juan or the Otter.”
HA HA HA HA HA. Right? Are you feeling it?

So, I think that about brings us up to speed. I’ve said a million times and I’ll say again, this life sure tosses me around quite a bit. It frequently seems like every time I get comfortable, settled, in a routine, something happens to throw it all into upheaval again. I have had some happy, exuberant moments in which I’ve known that I will survive and Reed will survive and that we love each other and Phil loves us and we love Phil and life is wonderful and thank goodness I’m here to enjoy it. And then I’ve had some excruciating, fearful, dizzying moments in which I’ve thought that life is terrible and I can’t possibly withstand it any longer. And, of course, I’ve had about 7 million moments of everything in between.

I spend a lot of time taking deep breaths. I spend a lot of time praying. I spend a lot of time finding something funny to watch or read to distract me from my thoughts.

A lot has been wonderful and a lot has been rough. I wish that I could find the inspiration to write like I used to, but it just hasn’t come. I’m kind of forcing this one out because I don’t want to let life beat me into giving up on something that I love: writing about it here. So I’m going to keep working on it. Maybe I’ll be able to get back to writing frequently. But for know it will probably be random and kind of scattered. If anybody is out there reading, thanks for checking on me, and I hope you come back again.