Poof!

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I had purposely not responded to any contact from the ex. But at some point I needed closure. My abstinence which had once been done to protect me was becoming a cloak of festering thoughts spinning through my head. I emailed him. He emailed back. Repeat a dozen more times.

And then, just like that, “Poof!”

I was over him.

I got my closure. I got my peace. He gave me the answers I needed to the restless questions and thoughts that had been spinning. One question received a heart-wrenching answer –he had taken an item of my jewelry and pawned it 8 months ago and never told me until the other day when I asked about it. I was initially distraught, but my recovery was almost as immediate. I became grateful. I am grateful that deceit happened because if it hadn’t, I would not have known the depths of his deceit and poor character. It’s like, if you give a person the opportunity to be bad or good, and they act worse than your wildest imagination could have fathomed, then, well, there ya go. This one couldn’t be blamed on the heat of the moment or a drunken rage, this one he purposely and consciously concealed from me for 8 months. There was something darker and more sinister about this deception than the others.

He continued contacting me, knowing that he’d hit the bottom and trying to back pedal somehow in a way that had suddenly become tired; transparent, but my answer?

“I think we’re done here.”

(Although the “think” could be inferred as a hedge –A word or phrase, such as possibly or I think, that mitigates or weakens the certainty of a statement, it is most definitely NOT a hedge. It was written as a finite statement and it was understood as such. He has not contacted me since.)

This relationship kicked my ass and he definitely did a number on my head, but I’ve come out on the other side. Where once I could only imagine the light at the end of the tunnel, and then over time, barely see a glint of it, until now where I’m standing out and basking under that light; that freedom, and now I’m just happy. Happy that journey is over. Happy that I’m finally over him. Happy that I’ve gotten my closure.

Happy for the, “Poof!”

Recent pics

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Here’s a slideshow of some recent pictures from my life. Enjoy!

And yeah, I’ve been working out! Loving it!

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Lift-off!

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I’ve been working really hard to earn my body back. I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds of that pregnancy & emotional-eating-from-being-in-a-bad-relationship weight. I’ve lost those 20 pounds in less than 2 months. I started dating again and I’m having such a great time! These guys are so sweet on me and treating me so good I’d almost forgotten that’s how I should and deserve to be treated! Really great guys –and I’m much more discriminating now. After the first date I’m very quick and honest about telling them in a respectful way that I’m not interested in Date #2. They respect me being up front about it, because I guess a lot of women in the dating world aren’t. I’m enjoying the dating scene, having fun and enjoying being treated right by truly nice, honest & awesome guys.

 

What happens after the time bomb stops ticking?

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I’ve been keeping myself busy. It first started out of necessity –I was buying a house, getting a new car, dealing with a failing relationship, being a single-mom to a toddler, moving into new house, and getting the house set up to a liveable threshold.

But then that stuff became settled –I bought the house, I moved in, I got it set up to a liveable threshold, the baby and I got our routine back, and the failing relationship hit a dramatic low point.

And then I got busy dealing with the dissolution of the relationship. It ended (for good) the first week of December. The ex had an addiction problem and had gotten cleaned up –went through the Hell of withdrawals and got clean, sort of. He was still taking things like Kratom, alcohol and cigarettes to help. He became a different person after getting clean. He wasn’t nice anymore. He was moody and irritable and emotionally sensitive. I thought I was prepared to help him and handle it, but I wasn’t. I was emotionally stretched too thin myself to provide that level of care to him while dealing with everything in my life, too.

Then, on December 3rd he got drunk and wanted to leave to get more beer. I tried to persuade him to stay because I didn’t want him driving in that condition, but he became so nasty and agitated to get out of the house that I finally told him to leave. After he walked out the door I shouted after him some snarky comment and he thought I had said I was going to cheat on him with someone else. Which is not what I said. So he flies into a jealous rage and proceeds to force his way into my home as an intruder. He calls 911 on me from my living room and tells them he’s got blood pouring down his face and that I beat him up. He did this not because he was truly injured or scared for his safety, he did this because he was in emotional pain thinking I was cheating on him and he wanted to hurt me in the way that would hurt me the most: to try and get me arrested and forcibly taken away from my daughter.

So the police came. And they almost arrested me. Because that’s what they have to do when someone makes a statement like that. But then they found his blood on the door frame where he hit his head. And they took pictures of my hands and couldn’t find any damage that would have typically been present had I punched a 6’4″ man repeatedly in the face. And they saw that he was visibly intoxicated. So the police had me trespass him which meant that after that night he could no longer come on my property ever again. They asked him if he wanted me arrested and he said no. And because of all of this, they didn’t arrest me.

Then, because there was a minor child in the home during this incident, a DCF case was opened and an investigator was sent to my house. He looked a little confused when he showed up at my clean new house in my nice neighborhood with my Mercedes in the garage and feeding my daughter organic chicken with an arugula salad. He did a thorough investigation. He called a friend and a relative to get a reference on me and my parenting. He also had to contact the ex, because the ex could one day date a woman with a child and they have to ensure that he’s not a risk to someone in the future. The investigator called his mother. And the investigator referred him for addiction treatment services. The ex had to do an assessment at the treatment center in order to close the case file. The subsidized fee for a drug test was $10 and the rest of the treatment was highly subsidized as well, but the ex cited cost as his reason for not wanting help. DCF couldn’t force treatment since he was not the baby’s father and not living in the house. Then the DCF investigator had to do the 30 day surprise visit on me. So I had to go through that again.

Then the ex filed a car insurance claim against me. It got denied. He had also sent me text messages and an email but I have not responded to him or spoken a word to him since the 911 incident. Then, the day before Valentine’s Day we see each other at the grocery store. He has the goddamn nerve to follow me around the store and bully me around. Meanwhile my daughter recognizes him and gets thrilled to see him, and she looks at me like, “Mom! Turn around! Look who’s behind us!!” So I have to try and block her view. My service dog was on a silent alert without being given a command –it’s how agitated and nasty he was to me at the store. My dog body-blocked him by standing at the end of his 6 foot leash. The ex had the nerve to stand there and shake his head at me. It’s like he has no idea what he did! He called 911 on me and tried to get me arrested and taken from my daughter for 10 days (there’s no bonding out early on those charges so you have to wait for arraignment) –all because he was a jealous drunk and thought I was cheating on him.

So then all that stuff finally settled down.

So, I decided to focus on me. It had been a long time since that happened. I had been busy dealing with life stuff and the black hole of chaotic drama that is The Ex-Boyfriend From Hell.

I started seeds to plant my garden. I started a diet and have lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I’ve even gotten hit on a few times by nice guys. I’m tossing around the idea of having a few small chickens for fresh eggs. Starting an outdoor compost in my backyard. Doing major yard work –which is therapeutic in its own right. I love working my land and clearing out the weeds and bad stuff to make room for the new life and beauty to grow in its place. It’s symbolic.

I’ve got amazing neighbors who help me out and I am really happy in this neighborhood. I worked really hard when I was working and lived like a pauper to have a big savings fund in order to achieve this dream. It’s so nice now.

It’s so nice and calm and peaceful that it makes me edgy. It makes me nervous. It’s hard for me to trust in these idyllic times because I feel like something bad is about to happen. I was living the dream in 2009 when I got attacked and my whole world shattered to pieces. I have crazy anxiety now because things are so good in my life right now. For example, I’ve got weird anxieties to drive anywhere because a tragic car accident would definitely be one way this dream could shatter. Etc etc…

In addition to my fucked up neurotic anxieties and fears, I still have nightmares and flashbacks of what happened in 2009. Dealing with all that drama from the ex put my PTSD in high gear on the front burner again. He activated my fight or flight response and it’s only just now gone down a little. I feel like I’ve been living in survival mode since that first week in December.

We Think We’re Dirty.

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I am (still) nursing my toddler. She’s under 2 years old and it still works for us. Often, people are confused by this and imply that I should wean her and just buy organic milk to give her if I’m worried about cow’s milk. Umm, why would I buy something I can make for free, it’s more sanitary, more environmentally friendly, and I consider my milk to be pretty organic and much more suited to feeding my toddler than a mama cow’s milk. Not only is their argument illogical, but it speaks to a deeper problem I have noticed when talking with other moms.

I first noticed this problem when telling a joke –the scenario actually happened, so the joke is true, but the reaction was not what I had anticipated. Here’s the joke, “When my daughter was born I barely had time to take a shower and shave both legs, let alone wash AND condition my hair, so you can imagine the state my kitchen pantry and fridge must have been in! One day I found myself with Cheerios and no milk. Dammit! But then I looked down. My little nursling was napping and my boobs were full of milk. I had TONS of milk! I was so “consumered” into thinking I had to buy milk that it took a minute for me to make the connection that, Holy Shit Batman, I make my own milk!”

“Did you do it??” They would ask incredulously while grimacing a tight smile. And, astonishingly, before I can answer, they would proceed to tell me:

“Well, I just think that’s GROSS! UGH!”

“No, no way! Get outta here! That’s disturbing! Just have someone go out and pick you up some milk!”

“I couldn’t even muster up the idea to taste a drop of my milk. It was just DISGUSTING to even think about it!”

“I wanted to, a drop even fell on my wrist once, and I wanted to lick it off, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just felt unnatural. So I wiped it off on the burp cloth instead.”

It turns out, the more moms I shared this story with, the more insight I got into how they viewed themselves, or how society has us viewing ourselves. It’s okay to drink from an animal living in the most despicable conditions (tottering on unfit even for an animal!), with a hormone-antibiotic-pus cocktail of milk that their baby calves never even get one sip of for that’s one less drop to sell to the consumers (and the calf instead grows up on an antibiotic-hormone-synthetic cocktail instead of their mother’s milk) –therefore calf-becomes-cow in a sick perpetuation of this cycle, and the “milk cocktail” gets sold to these moms who wean their babies in order to switch them to cow’s milk, because they feel & think it’s healthier than their own milk.

Also, wow. Holy body image issues. In a society where the perfume and scented soaps are gargantuan dollar industries (because I’m too lazy to Google the numbers and I’m not going to make them up) –we believe that we smell bad and are dirty stinky creatures. Women can’t even taste their own milk because they think it’s disgusting?? It’s not a booger. Your own infant is drinking it. It is not unnatural. It’s not some dirt off the floor. It’s milk. It’s the best kind of milk, because you know exactly what’s in it, whether that’s a Pop Tart or a salmon filet, and in either case, your milk is going to be more nourishing than cow milk.

So, when these moms tell me to wean my daughter so I can give her organic milk, I just nod and smile. Sometimes I’ll ask them if their toddler sleeps through the night and they’ll tell me that their toddler wakes up hungry in the middle of the night –but they just give them a bottle and they go right back to sleep. “Wow,” I say, “That seems like a lot of work. I just roll over and nurse her and we both go right back to sleep.”

Oh, and no, I never got to eat my cereal with my own milk. The baby woke up as I was figuring out the logistics of how to make it work (Do I pump? Should I hand express into the bowl before or after the cereal is added? etc…) But I will tell you that my milk tastes amazing. It’s sugary sweet and warm! Like most moms, breastfeeding can be a bit messy in the beginning and milk is like liquid gold. It is pure nourishment. One evening when my newborn was finishing up her meal a drop landed on my wrist, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Choice

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I grew up in a highly volatile single-parent household. I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused daily. I grew up thinking it was normal to be hit repeatedly every day, punched, pushed around and to sob myself to sleep every night. I’d have stitches, black eyes, and bruises until she learned to hit me where people couldn’t see. My mother used the “single-parent” card as a crutch to enable and excuse her abuse. She never even tried to choose an alternative less violent parenting method.

Every day I choose not to be abusive to my daughter. Every day I choose not to repeat the same vicious cycle I grew up with. It’s not as easy as you might think –those patterns were my foundation; I grew up with that, it’s affected the architect of my brain on fundamental levels. For an adult survivor of childhood abuse, I make a conscious decision in every interaction and response not to repeat the abuse.

Tonight was a win for me. I am very proud of tonight. My daughter was being super cranky. She needed to go down for bed an hour early, but was just scream-crying no matter what we did. She’d want to be picked up but then she’d get wiggly and want down, repeatedly, every 3 seconds. I attempted to nurse her to sleep but she still couldn’t fall over that edge and just became whinier and crankier. I wanted to throw her in her crib and shut the door.

But I didn’t. I didn’t for a lot of reasons, but the biggest reason was because deep down I knew she needed me. She needed me to help her. I didn’t want to abandon her. And, ultimately, I want to create positive “patterning” in her brain so her neural foundation is built on safety, security, and love. I knew there had to be a better way than just tossing her in her crib and shutting the door on her.

I laid down with her in our bed. She was still screaming, now 2 cm from my ear! I tried to sing her favorite song to her, but she screamed even louder. I let her scream for another minute, hoping she’d calm herself down, but she just got more worked up. “I’m going to count to 3″ I said. She immediately stopped. Total silence. I was beyond shocked, but thrilled she understood she gets put in a Time Out for 1 minute when I count to 3. After a minute of laying together quietly she began to get restless again and squirm. I asked her if her belly button had an owie –the only way I could figure out how to communicate with my toddler to see if she had a stomach ache. Then I made it into a quiet funny game by pretending to grab a piece of her belly button with my hand and toss it into my mouth, then asking her if she wanted it back and reaching in my mouth and putting it back on her. We snuggled. We played The Claw where I raise my hand and ever so slowly lower it onto her head where my hand would engulf her head and kind of wrap around it and then I’d raise my hand back up and tell her, “It’s gonna get you again!” I don’t know why but she loved this game. We did more quiet silly things together. We gave dozens of kisses to each other (omg this was beyond awesome for me!). I talked quietly to her praising her, telling her how smart, clever and beautiful she is and that I’m so happy she chose me to be her mother (re: as a spirit before she was conceived). She lay quietly listening to me, absorbing it all. We snuggled some more. And then she was out, lightly snoring while cuddled in close to me.

It took maybe 15 minutes. Wow. That’s not long at all! I thought about the “alternate ending” had I thrown her into her crib and walked away, she’d probably still be crying, I’d be going in to take her out right about now, we’d be just starting to lay down –but there would be an emotional distance between us –me annoyed at her, and her overly-clingy after having being abandoned, yet spent and exhausted.

I am so proud of myself for choosing to listen to my heart and parent her with tolerance and love tonight. It was unrushed and beautiful, and is now a memory I will cherish.