Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Big Reveal

Well, it's time to come out with it. Things have worked out in such a way that I can share both the good and the bad of what's been going on lately, and since I'm all about symmetry, this works out well.

We'll just get right to it, o.k.?

First, the bad:

I'm no longer gainfully employed. Yup, I lost my job. I'm neither surprised nor devastated, as this is one of those cases where a crappy thing has many blessings within it. However, the fact is that my job paid the bills, and now, I have no money, but the bills remain.

However mentally prepared I was for this, however meager of a contingency plan I have, the fact is, I'm jobless. Jobless, and I have a small child to support. Jobless, and the economy sucks, so I can't even pretend that a job is just a few weeks away. This will most likely be for the long haul. And at some point (sooner rather than later), I will have zero dollars to my name. And what then? I can't even think of that right now, because there's not enough Xanax in the world to help me through those thoughts and fears.

The worst part of this mess is the very real possibility that I'll lose my home. I can't stand this, but the truth is that about 75% of my money goes to rent and utilities. If I move out, I immediately get rid of a big expense. The thought is killing me. I love this house. This is the only home my son remembers. I love this house. I'm so happy here. I'm so emotionally attached to this rickety place that it aches. I can't lose my home. I'm dying over the idea of it. My g-d, I love this house.

So, this is bad. And yet, I'm lucky. I really am. So many people are so much more worse off than I am. Because besides the losing-my-home thing, there's nothing else to worry about. Max has everything he needs and then some, and I want for very little. I long ago made some big budget cuts here, and while I'm sure I can do more, my life is already simple enough so that I'm not facing any real losses. My family and friends have been so awesome, reminding me that I'll be o.k., that Max will be o.k., that I am more than my job, that I'll bounce back; and assuring me they won't let me end up on the streets. Hell, my most darling, wonderful friend came over immediately with ice cream to cheer me up. How can I not be moved and feel blessed by this kind of support and encouragement? I need to keep these things close to my heart, because even as I know everything will be o.k., I know there are going to be days where I'll feel like a failure and sad and worried. I'm expecting a major roller coaster here.

In the coming days I'm going to have to sort a bunch of things out, and I'm just hoping it's not too terribly overwhelming. I have to really sit down and figure the finances out, and plan a huge garage sale, and - oh yeah - find a job.

I've already been asked by people what they can do to help. This is no time to mince words: I need help, and this is how you can help me:

1. Give me a job. I'm multi-talented, I swear. And what I lack in actual experience in any given field that's not my own (PR/communications, for those of you who didn't know), I make up for by being whip smart and a crazy fast learner.

2. If you don't have a job to give me, then just keep me in mind when/if you hear of something. Then send me an email and let me know about it. I'll reward you by taking you to lunch just as soon as I get a job.

3. Give me money.

4. If you don't have any money to give me, help me figure out how to get some.

5. When I get all morose here, remind me that everything will really be o.k. and that a job, however vital, does not define my value as a human being.


But, as I've alluded (and yes, I know, I've been a tease about it. Give me a break, a girl's gotta get her thrills somehow), there's been some good news in my life, too. And here it is: I'm going back to school!

Or rather, I've gone back to school, as I already started. In two years, I'll have my Masters degree. I still feel a bit dumbfounded that I decided to do this. I've been thinking about going back to school for years, but could never decide what to study. It also seemed like there was never a good time for me to do it. How I figured that this was a good time, when I need to work and raise my child, I'll never know. But it felt right, and it finally felt like there was nothing to stop me from doing this. And when I felt the winds of change at work, something in me snapped, and I realized I had to do this. I stopped rolling it around in my head and just did it. I made my decision, met with the graduate school for advisement, applied, and did my financial aid forms all in two weeks.

I do that sometimes - make a sudden decision and move at warp speed. In this case, I felt like I had to do it like this before any more bits of indecision or fear or insecurity became too strong. I knew I needed to do something drastic, a change of this magnitude (I'm not getting my Masters in the same area as my Bachelors), to keep my life moving in the right direction. And really, the big factor is this: Max. It's just him and me now, and I have to do whatever it takes to provide long-term stability. An advanced degree will put me in a better position to take care of us.

At the same time, over the last few weeks, I've found that I'm reevaluating everything in my life. Between this school thing becoming more real, and the intense stress about work, and some other personal stuff, I've realized that I'm looking at everything with as honest eyes as possible and trying to figure out what I really want. I've been thinking about how the last years of my life made me stagnant, too busy being consumed by a situation that left me drained and unmotivated for anything else. Over the last months, an old feeling of energy and curiosity and excitement has crept back inside me. This usually leads to me being very decisive about important things and then crafting a solid plan to make it happen or get what I want. I feel like I'm coming from a much more mature place now, but I also feel more intensely than ever that settling is not an option. Not in any aspect of my life.

In a strange way, this all feels like the final leg of the long, painful journey that began with my marriage ending. Losing my job feels similar to getting divorced; so many of the same feelings of sadness and loss and failure and fear and uncertainty. And it's happened at a time where I've been moving more and more into a solid, good place, where I feel like myself again. I guess this lessens the blow, or makes me better able to cope.

I don't know if this makes any sense, but I feel like the job loss, preceded by the decision to go back to school, closes the book on what my life's been since everything came crashing down. Kinda like, I've experienced it all. And because on a personal level I've been so much more myself and have felt pretty darn mentally and emotionally healthy, I think this will all turn out o.k.

I hope.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/29/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Does Tere Date? Badly

Well, this much is clear: I'm skittish and vulnerable, and that's just the reality of where I'm at now, so I have to work with it and around it and give myself the space and time to grow into this new part of my life.

This new world of mine, where I have to re-learn being single and dating and dealing with feelings for boys - it feels like I've never even been here.

Seriously, it hits me at least three or four times a week, how absolutely inept I feel. It's because of what remains of "the damage", for sure. But some credit must also be given to the changes a woman undergoes in becoming a mother, the ones that render her mired in a world far removed from her former self. After all, I can point towards the ex for the fact that a man compliments my beauty, brains and wit and I panic, wondering what the catch is; but the fact that I can no longer hold a conversation about Nietzsche? That's all mommyhood. Mommyhood has left my brain slightly addled, and I feel like I've spent the better part of the last year or so scrambling to make myself intelligent and interesting again.

Sigh. I'm just not good at this. Beyond the feelings of not being interesting or all that appealing/desirable; this is more about the nuts and bolts of letting someone into my life, of opening myself up, of deciding if I want to once again go down that road of joined lives and multiple levels of intimacy.

O.k. that last one's way too far into the future and too infinitely frightening and a little too complex for me to get into right now. I need to keep it simple. And simple at this point is this: I no longer know how to have conversations about feelings; I'm still fearful of plainly stating what I feel and what I want, because I fear rejection and I fear the door shutting on me the second I speak my mind.

How much of it is me? And how much of it is it the vibes I pick up? I can't wholly buy that this is solely me and my shit. People send vibes. I pick those up. There's a lot to be learned in body language, in what is said, and most especially in what is not said. And I read things and feel like I react to them. And sure, I could stop, ask and seek clarification. And sometimes I do. But other times, there are signs there that warn me not to. At least, that's how I read it. And so I don't. And the uncertainty then multiplies and settles in.

At the very least, I know exactly what I feel and what I want, both short and long-term, and I'm unwavering in those things. So these ambivalent feelings, these pangs of insecurity and fear - they buzz around this solid thing (vision? desire? goal?) and so I'm now able (where I was not before) to recognize that I need to give them some space to exist but not freak out about them or move on them immediately. It's kind-of like an Eastern philosophy thing I've read about: being able to stay calm amidst the uncertainty. Yeah, excellent idea. I'm able to practice it with maybe like a 60 to 65% success rate. Guess that's something.

Even so, I'm experiencing waves and waves good, positive, hopeful feelings that crash into waves and waves of insecurity and instability and a slight sense of dread. I think it's going to be like this for a while.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/26/2009   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Good, the Bad, the... Nope, That's It

I realize I've been all over the place here lately. You'll have to forgive me. I've been feeling a little all over the place in my life for about a month now, and I guess it reflects here.

Today has been a rare day in the morass of stress and anxiety that I've been swimming in. I've been in a good mood, productive, and haven't felt as crappy as I've generally felt lately. How odd to get a reprieve from these intense feelings just as I'm heading into what's sure to be a rough week. I almost feel like my body knew to grant me this break, as the only other option would have been a full-on heart attack (oh, that's some irony right there, believe me!).

If I were able to write about the crap I've got going on, I know I'd feel better. But I can't. It's not to do with my health or Max or my family or my love life - but it's big and bad and because right now it's unresolved, it's also eating me alive. It's been hard to function, to keep the stress and anxiety in check because it's been impossible to not let my imagination run away into all the possible worst case scenarios. I've been walking this tightrope where I know it's pointless and harmful to just sit here and stress out, but that's exactly what I do. I can't help feel like, how can I not sit here and worry? This problem threatens to ruin a great deal in my life (dramatic, I know, but true), and it seems an insult to the whole situation to go about my life as if nothing. And yet, that's exactly what I should be doing, if I don't want to have a breakdown and want to be clear-headed and strong enough to effectively deal with this.

I hate reverting to behavior that I know is unhealthy and useless. I hate the way this stress and anxiety and worry over one thing sets everything else off. If it was only this one thing, however crappy it is, it would still be just the one thing. But because the feelings take over everything, everything is affected. I'm more anxious around Max, and I can sense that he picks up on it. Other things in my life that maybe normally I would think and worry about just a bit (i.e., boys) are completely amplified - no, over-amplified - and I end up a mess of negative thoughts and insecurity and blah, blah, blah... I don't think I've become an out-and-out drag, but man, it's been hard to keep all this at bay.

(Oh yeah, so thank you friends and family for letting me stress all over you and talk about little else but this mess. You rock!)

On the other hand -- I've already teased that I've got big news to share, and I still do. This was supposed to be one simple thing I wanted to announce and then of course over-analyze (for the good of humanity, or something like that); but just as I've been gearing up for that (and I've needed to gear up because I myself am still absorbing it), this other crappy stuff's come up. Now, I'm in this corner where I can't move - not to talk more about the bad or reveal the good - until some more things are resolved, one way or another. Still, this is good, and I'm happy (if completely dumbstruck, even though it's my own doing) about it.

Meanwhile, it all marches on. I have a rough week ahead, and am pretty sure that by Friday some of this will be somewhat resolved. Resolved, or prolonged, which would suck but would have its own strange benefits.

Oh, and on top of it all, I'm PMSing. I must be, given that right now I'd give anything for either some Cuban crackers slathered with cream cheese and topped with a piece of guava paste or a whole bag of fried sweet plantain chips. Did I mention that I just ate a cup full of ice cream? Yeah. All this crap plus PMS? Win.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/23/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anatomy of Anger

I haven't been this pissed about something in quite some time. Even things about the ex - no matter what negative things I've felt, anger's been somewhere down the list, because with that relationship, I'd long ago given up on anger, even before it ended.

There was that - moving past anger to full-blown resignation - but there's also been this: there's been in my life a sort-of conditioning about how bad, bad, bad it is to be angry and to carry anger and express it. It's come from many directions, not just my failed marriage. I've always had a temper, you see, and at some point, the temper became the thing that defined me. I'm basically just *known* to be explosive and wild and intense in my anger - despite the fact that I'm not now how I used to be. I'm still temperamental, sure, but just not to such an unhealthy degree. And yet, I can't seem to escape the label. It seems that to others, I can only operate under specific (not very positive) emotions: angry, impatient, dramatic.

And in my marriage, there just came a point where nothing I felt was valid or worth discussing or fixing because everything fell under the category of "Tere's Temper". You know, if I was "angry" then the issue was not whatever I wanted to talk about; my anger was the issue. Even when I actually was not angry, I was still angry, and that was the box in which I lived.

So you basically get to this point where you realize that the easiest thing to do, the way to survive your own life, is to stop expressing anger and anything that resembles it. Swallow it. Say yes when you mean no; go along; submit. Understand that the minute you raise a concern or objection, you'll be classified as "angry" or "temperamental" and that whatever you feel will lead to one of two things (or both): either your feelings will be swept aside and deemed worthless for the anger they're based on, and therefore never addressed or resolved; or you will lose the person's love or interest or whathaveyou for being the one who can't seemingly ever just be satisfied with the status quo.

In essence, you get to the point where you understand through and through that expressing anger (or a derivative like frustration or disappointment or plain old concern) is bad, and to do so comes at a heavy personal cost. And it bleeds into every aspect of your life, every role you play: daughter, sister, employee, friend. I have not expressed any real degree of the depth of my feelings to anyone in I don't know how long. I'm ashamed to voice that out loud, but there it is. I stop myself before I get to that place where I'm too close to saying the things that may make the person turn away from me. Because that's not what I want. I don't want to lose people for trying to express what I feel, or for asking questions to better understand. So I don't speak. I stop. I let my voice trail off. I drop some asinine comment that will allow me to safely retreat.

This is not what I want. And in feeling angry - truly angry - for the first time since I embarked on this new life (and by extension since I've redoubled my efforts to be my truest self), I feel the full weight of having been such a fearful, insecure coward for so long now. I feel (finally?) so incensed by this particular situation I'm in that on one hand it feels good to be this pissed, and on the other, so overwhelming. What do I do with this anger? I feel justified in feeling it - it has a basis, it has its reasons - and quite frankly, I feel it, period, and that should be enough.

I don't want to hold this anger back. I don't want to apologize for it. I want to channel it properly - there's going to be a confrontation of sorts in a few days, and I will need this anger to help me from chickening out, to help me say what needs to be said and hold my ground and not let fear silence me. And yet - it feels foreign to feel all this. Not just the fullness of my anger, but also the old feelings of repressing it battling the new desire to allow myself to feel it and express it somehow.

There is just too much here, all these feelings that surround my notions about anger and the role it's played in my life. I've got to make some changes and am scared to. Hell, I'm not even sure how to do it. Maybe this current thing that's got me so riled up will in the end serve a greater purpose to help me through these feelings. Guess we'll just have to see...


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Posted by Tere @ 8/21/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear Life, Give Me an Effing Break, K?

I keep staring at the blank space before me. I want to write, but I can't focus. Words don't come, and I know why: my brain itself is not working right. The thoughts are many, so freaking many, about every aspect of my life, every thing I'm dealing with and will have to deal with soon enough. They come at me full force - many of them contradictory, from all points on the spectrum - and they slam into my head, where they crash and jumble and swirl in an endless loop.

Life is seriously messing with me lately. I still have big news to share, and it's still good, and I'll be ready to do that soon. But even with all the good in my life (and seriously, there's a lot of that), there's just some shit that's so bad that it clouds everything. That's where I'm at right now.

At this point, I just need whatever's going to happen to just happen. I'm in a holding pattern that is miserable and feels endless and is screwing with every bit of logic in me. And if the worst-case scenario pans out, g-d, I'm going to be a mess, but I hope it's not as bad as I'm imagining it to be.

Yeah, I'm so not helpful right now. Sorry about that.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/19/2009   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Victories

Before heading out to the grocery store the other evening, I put on this vintage pink caftan I picked up in a thrift shop, applied no makeup (except lip balm), threw on my favorite-but-not-very-flattering eyeglasses - then high-tailed it to Publix. And as I leisurely strolled the aisles and took my time choosing items (ah, the luxury of grocery shopping without the child!), I realized something: I felt comfortable with myself. Totally, completely comfortable.

That caftan of mine - it looks about as good as a caftan looks on anyone, but I love it. Love it. It's comfortable and unique and thanks to a well-placed drawstring, doesn't make me look like I'm in a sack. However, it sat in my closet for a couple of years because - well, because I spent much too long in a place where I did not feel comfortable being my true self. And my true self, she likes caftans and flowy dresses and tattered jeans with tank tops and flip flops. She also is pretty forgiving of her perpetually frizzy hair and actually thinks that Tere dressed kinda like a bum with messy hair is a cute sight to behold.

Back at the grocery store, it hit me that for once I was not self-conscious (and I thought then that I hadn't felt self-conscious for a while now). I knew, on some level, that objectively speaking, I looked like crap. But I didn't care. I felt fine. I felt like myself.

I've been waiting for this. Well, I'd been hoping for it. I've spent many months thinking about whom I used to be - the things I thought made me me, that I liked and somehow lost (well, not somehow. I know how, but there's no point getting into that now. Besides, you all know how, too). It seems, looking back now, that even when I felt ready to get back to myself (post-having a baby), there was no room for it. We can leave it at that.

And in all these months, with so much to deal with, so much that felt like permanent damage, I wasn't sure if I could believe that I would ever fully get back this part of me. The thing with this part of me is, the damage was deep. The damage, in fact, is not completely gone; I've just crossed to the other side and have to build up from here. I think now about how much - everything, really - rested on the way I looked and the clothes I wore and how heavy/slim I was/wasn't. I can't believe, even now, how something that doesn't even register in my value system was the thing that defined so much of my life. And looking at how large this was, how powerful because it was such a big part of what destroyed me, I've had all this ambivalence about how I would move past it, if I would move past it, and what it would look like on the other side.

And here now on the other side, what do I find? I'm still me. Dressing as I always have, minus the guilt. Free of the clothes and shoes that just weren't me and I wasn't going to wear ever again. Not stressing about what I look like, and who's looking and how much they must be criticizing me. Of course, I need to fully understand it. And so I break it down:

It's obvious to me that, in the absence of regularly hearing what's wrong and what I need to do better, there has finally been enough silence for my own thoughts to float up. And I guess my core thoughts are as they've always been: I inherently like and accept myself as I am. And I have the space to return to that now. And in this space I've found some interesting thoughts: I don't think that my face or body are anything remarkable, and I see things I don't care for, but I'm o.k. with all of it as is; I'm not completely devoid of an interest in the superficial, but my tastes continue to run towards the eclectic; I'm more than o.k. with all of it - I actually think I'm a great package, funky style and all; I like to look good, but on my own terms, and if no one else likes it, it's not my problem.

This last one is something that will continue to play out in my life. While I'm o.k. with not being the most stylish or put-together person, I understand that I present myself in such a way that doesn't really draw the men to me, you know what I mean? I know, I know - a man who likes me is going to like how I look, how I dress, all of it. But still. I think about this. I'm in the end a single woman who has no idea what the future holds in the romance department. I meet new people all the time, and I do it still raw from the life I had and in the early stages of finding my strength and self-confidence again. It's one thing to feel that looks don't matter in my personal life - how I value myself and others - but they still matter to a degree. I can't ignore that, and I still get pangs of self-consciousness when someone stares. At the same time, I feel rebellious against this self-consciousness.

The act of buying myself a two-piece swimsuit earlier this summer was my own radical act of reclaiming myself. And today at the beach, I chased my son up and down the sand, to the pool, back to the sand, down the boardwalk, in that bikini, with my love handles in clear view and my butt jiggling and the bottom riding up my butt; and it wasn't until after the long day was done and I was back home, looking at myself in the mirror and noticing with amusement what a mess I was, that I realized that not once during the whole day had I even stopped and felt like crap over it. There was no moment of embarrassment, of feeling - well, anything. It just didn't register. I guess I was too busy enjoying myself.

Little victories. Bit by bit, my life is filling with little victories.

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(p.s. Shout out to my cousins Greg and Del, who blew me away when they told me they read this site religiously. Love you guys!)

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Posted by Tere @ 8/16/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, August 14, 2009

Commercial Break

Damn, I'm dying to write, but am so swamped with work and other things that there's been no time. I have like three posts in draft mode and am anxious to get more stuff down.

But, life beckons. Got lots of work and a million chores and that monkey of mine and am, of course, trying to cram some fun in there, too.

So.... stay tuned for more. This should be a short commercial break.

Posted by Tere @ 8/14/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Ex Files: My Gut Don't Lie

When my ex was a newbie nurse, I used to tease him that I'd have to constantly watch my back, because as a male in a predominantly female field, they'd be all over him. "When they figure out you're a hard-working guy, in a committed relationship, and a devoted father, they're going to look at their sad-ass lives and figure out you can make it better," I'd tell him. He'd laugh, tell me something quasi-self-righteous, and that was that.

I never - in the time we were together - had reason to believe anything like this fully materialized. But as our relationship began to truly fall apart, as we fought over some very personal issues, it became clear that he was turning more and more to his co-workers for - something. Advice. Information. I'm not sure. I just remember that he'd report to me what they'd said about the way a wife should be, what she should do, etc - and everything they said always proved me wrong. There was one particular conversation that was so chilling that it freaked me out. To this day, it leaves me very upset if I think about it.

After that, I knew. I knew that (eventually, soon, in 10 years) something would materialize. It wasn't just that conversation, it was my knowing him so well and understanding (better than even he did) how easily influenced and manipulated he is. It was my knowing all about women and how we can be when we lock into something and decide we want it. It was my intuition when it came to him and women (we had a running thing about how, when it came to any of his ex-girlfriends "randomly" reappearing, or any woman who was suspiciously hanging about, I could accurately predict their next move). It was all of it. And while I never thought enough about it to imagine exactly what would happen, I knew that inevitably, something would.

And this is the strange thing about my intuition (for lack of a better term, that's what I'm calling it) when it comes to my ex: it's always right. Always, no matter what it's about. It's right once again, right now. I guess this is why nothing about him ever surprises me; it all just feels like the formal confirmation of something I'd long known. And thinking back to how the issue of his being constantly surrounded by young women began to trouble me (he himself told me that long hours dealing in life-and-death situations draws people close), an uneasy feeling creeping slowly through me, making me feel scared and helpless as it buried itself in the back of my head, what I feel now is this intense sense of relief that it all ended before this became my own personal nightmare. Now, it is merely the thing that I saw coming and, in the wake of our split, saw accelerating, saw building, saw unfold to what it is now. That is all I think of this situation: I knew. I knew. I feared this when I was his wife, and I predicted it as a done deal within months of our ending. But now, I am thankfully unaffected by it. Seeing things as they are, standing here from my perspective, there's no way to explain how utterly thankful I am that this is not my problem anymore.

I used to wonder if this intuition, this ability to pick up on the most subtle things, to predict how they will develop, to be right almost all the time (definitely when it matters most) - if this was the result of all the time and effort I put into trying to know and understand my ex inside and out. I mean, of course, it's also due to having been together so long, but... When you make it your mission to know, to truly know, someone - from their childhood to their adolescent experiences to how everything has shaped them and how they perceive the world and others - is this the result? Is this something that as a wife I should have felt proud, or ashamed, of? Should I have let it keep me in a constant state of worry, because of how often my gut clenched and told me something was wrong - and that was indeed the case? (Let me be clear that this was in all aspects of life, not just the example I'm using here about his job.)

The thing now is that none of that matters. Not what he does with anyone, not that dread I used to carry inside, not my ruminations about this purported sixth sense. What I wonder about now is if it will ever go away. I am so far removed from his life now, and time will only remove me further still. And yet so far, that intuition remains intact. The problem is that where before it was a tool to help me deal with my husband and my marriage, it is now a thing that can weigh heavily on me. When my gut tells me something related to him now (and I could swear this thing is like on auto-pilot), what does it matter, and what do I do with it? Things related to my son stress me out, and my anxiety instantly overwhelms me, and that is ultimately unhealthy and detrimental. Everything else makes me mutter "how predictable" and just get ready for the next inevitable avalanche. But - what then?

It has no place in my life now. I don't like it when I get that familiar feeling rising up in me. It's not fair to still feel my gut clench, to still feel traces of apprehension whenever he makes yet another stupefying announcement or decision. This, I understand, is more of the remnants that have yet to fully dissolve. But dissolve they must.

I have to believe that at some point, whatever I learned in those years will wash away, and this will go away. It has to.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/12/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Something Big

I have big news to share. It's something good. But honestly, I want to keep everyone in suspense for a bit.

I know, I'm such a tease. I get it all the time.

I just think that once I say it, it will be really real, despite all other evidence already indicating that it IS real - and I don't know if I'm ready for that.

And no, I'm not pregnant. Please. You crazy!

Stay tuned....

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p.s. Those of you who already know: SSSSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And even if you're fuzzy on it and are not sure if you know: SSSSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted by Tere @ 8/11/2009   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Ex Files: No More Dave Matthews For Me

I have loved Dave's music since I was in high school. One of my sisters, who was in college at the time, introduced us. I fell immediately in love.

Over the years, I've purchased every CD, downloaded every other live show and cover that wasn't on CD, and tried to catch as many concerts as possible. The DMB ranked right up there with the Indigo Girls and The Samples for me.

When the ex and I started dating, I introduced him to Dave. He, too, became hooked, and we shared a love of his music. So much so, that our song was a Dave song. We'd discuss the new albums, and while our music tastes had their differences, we always found common ground in Dave. He played them all the time when we were in his car together.

It was slow-going at first, though. The first few years we were together, he wasn't at all into DMB. In fact, there was one infamous summer where he agreed to go to a Dave show with me (at the Coral Sky/Mars/Cruzan ampitheater, where all Dave concerts are), and I purchased our tickets and made tailgating plans with friends who were also going, and at the very last minute (as in, two hours before we had to leave), he abruptly changed his mind and didn't want to go. So we didn't. Just like that, I missed the DMB concert. Eventually, though, he got into them, very much so.

It was the concerts I really cared about, though in sum it wasn't many that we went to. My final memories are from 2005 - when I was about 33 weeks pregnant and he prevented me from going for fear of what would happen to me with my big belly on those muddy slopes in the dark; I was indignant that I would miss the show just because I was pregnant, but his word prevailed. And in 2006 - man, I was geared to go. I was sooo excited to go. But a Dave show is a day-long thing, between the drive up and the tailgating and the actual concert. And I was still breastfeeding and had no stash to leave behind (also, my boobs, ever full of milk, would have exploded at so many hours without feeding or pumping. And also, he didn't seem all that into going). Life, it seemed, was getting in the way of my beloved concert experiences. I haven't been to a show since, because he didn't feel like going in 2007; and last year, I was in no mood to even think about it.

All this is on my mind because Dave will be here this coming Friday and Saturday, and I've spent months debating if I can make arrangements to go, if I should go, if I even want to go. The answer, as it became clear earlier today, is a resounding "no".

Dave, I've realized in the last year-and-a-half, was a big part of our life together, at least for me. In the relationship ending, it hasn't been the same. The first hint was the derision that rose inside me when, after the break-up and while we were still friends on Facebook (we're not anymore, I removed him a while back ago), I would see him blither on and on about Dave, in some way or another. "Oh great," I remember thinking," so now he's co-opted Dave and is making himself out as the biggest fan. He wouldn't be into them if it wasn't for me." I know - immature and petty and mean-spirited, but true. Even if without me he wouldn't have fallen for Dave, and even if it was I who kept the Dave momentum going in our life, the fact that I'd had such a ridiculous thought and was rolling my eyes at his new-found crazy fandom was a clear sign that things had changed and I had to leave Dave behind.

While the songs remain in my iPod, I can't really listen to them anymore, not for more than one or two songs. It's not that I'm flooded in memories or become an emotional mess; it's just an intangible thing about Dave Matthews and his music that for me belong to that relationship, and by extension, to a life that is no longer mine. I can't bring Dave with me into my new life. And honestly, I'm o.k. with this. I'm ready.

So long, Dave. It was fun while it lasted. I might miss you, just a tiny bit. But it's time. And this is a good thing.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/09/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, August 06, 2009

All Right, Yes, I'm Just not in a Good Mood Right Now

I must admit to being puzzled by a relatively small thing: why people who are no longer in my life continue to read this site.

Am I being naive in thinking that if we have no relationship to speak of and don't even have anything to do with each other, that regularly visiting my blog is kinda pointless and maybe even a bit shady?

I mean, I can't control who visits, and I ultimately don't even care, but I have to say that it catches my attention when I see certain information in my statcounter that clearly points to specific people - people who have no real business other than nosiness in being here.

(Quick note: for those of you who don't know how stat-tracking sites work - while mine doesn't catch every single thing about a visitor, it catches enough so that, if it's easy or obvious enough, I can sometimes figure out who someone is. For example, if the IP includes the name of the place - a hospital, maybe - that the person is logging in from, that comes through. This doesn't apply to a large fraction of visitors, and I can't ever do more than breeze through a couple of pages of stats before I zone out; but sometimes, the information is a little too obvious to not know who the person (or people) is.)

But I suppose that's something that blogs afford people, right? The ability to poke into people's lives anonymously, without anyone really knowing you were there, eavesdropping on their stories. My guess is that this gives the reader some perverse satisfaction, feeling like they know stuff about me and I don't know they know. The truth is, though, that I write here with the assumption that anyone and everyone can and will read it, so there is nothing to be gleaned here that's a secret or that I wouldn't outright tell someone.

Maybe that's why I feel a hint of hypocrisy in this. You can't wash your hands of me then sneak back in here, you know? My sense of right and wrong can be rigid at times, and this is one of those times. If I am all these crappy things, and of no use to you, why read my blog then?

Sigh. It's late. I'm beyond exhausted and irritable. Maybe I'm being too mean or unfair or negative. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's something completely harmless. Maybe. But my gut feeling is too strong to ignore.

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I just might regret this in the morning; but WTH - for once I want to express my negative feelings without feeling like I have to apologize for or downplay them.

Posted by Tere @ 8/06/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This Part Will Never Be Easy

I miss my boy. He's been with his dad these last four days, which is usually the longest span he's away from me, and more than a year into this, it's not any easier to be away from him this long. I don't think it ever will be.

His father and I have enough flexibility between us that when there are spans like this when Max is with one of us, the other can visit for a while, and there are, of course, daily phone calls. So there's that. I had a nice while with him yesterday that was almost enough to tide me over. Right now, missing him this badly, 7 a.m. tomorrow can't come fast enough.

I have had on my mind for so long all these thoughts about what it means to be in my situation, what it means to my feelings about parenting and being the kind of parent I want to be. Sharing custody leaves me feeling so fractured, like I'm merely half a mom. And yet, I believe in this, in my son having equal time with his mother and his father. I don't struggle with these feelings because I think Max should have less time with his dad; I struggle with them because having him half the time makes it incredibly hard for me to feel whole and believe that I can parent him in the best way possible.

I wonder so much how this affects him. On the surface, he seems fine. He flows between the two homes with seemingly no confusion, no discernible problems during drop-off/pick-up and in settling back in. Additionally, he repeatedly sees his mom and dad speak and interact very civilly and cooperatively, so he doesn't have to deal with any hostility around him. And more than that, his father and I have nearly identical routines in each home so that there's a sense of continuity. Overall, this is as good a situation as it can be.

But I wonder about what's going on beneath the surface. What does it do to him to not be with me for three or four (but never more than four) days in a row? Does he feel abandoned, or does it not matter, as I hope, because he's with his dad and busy with their things? And is there any deeper difficulty in him in learning his way in my home vs. his dad's, because ultimately, they are two different homes, run by two vastly different people?

And aside from him, I wonder about me. About my own insecurity in being able to be the influence and role model and parent that I want to be because of the way that things are. Clearly, this is a personal issue that I have to come to terms with or find a solution to, because it's equally important that I not let Max sense this and feel insecure because of it.

There are things that I try to comfort myself with: even if his father and I had stayed together, he would not be with me all the time. And he would still have individual, and different, relationships with each parent. But these thoughts are quickly washed away by the underlying reality: his father and I are not together, and that one thing changes everything in my mind. We are not a family, not a team, not anything but two people with only one thing in common: wanting their son to be spared as much negativity and trauma from this whole mess as possible.

And in the midst of this, I struggle with my thoughts about him and myself - all these questions about his ability to cope with this life, now and in the future, and about whether or not my influence and love and whatever sense of safety and stability I give him stay with him even when we are apart.

I also struggle to be whole, to be my complete self whether or not I'm with him.

Coupled with some other stressful stuff going on in another part of my life, there are times when this - all of this - just feels so damn hard.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/04/2009   | | | links to this post