Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Mount Everest for 2014

With Christmas and other recent holidays past, I have holiday newsletters fresh at mind, with many letters reading like impressive resumes fresh off the press ready for has been working x number of years at her/his dream job and continues to win the attention and admiration of fellow colleagues and will likely receive promotions in the foreseeable future, or so-and-so's children have not only passed milestones long before children of the same age, but, in addition to going to school, these children juggle a multitude of different extracurricular activities every week, win a bunch of competitions in each of those activities, and still somehow have the time to play.

Reading such letters, whether for 2013 or years previous, have made me want to slink into some dark corner weeping. Not that I don't want to celebrate a person's or family's accomplishments alongside her, him, or them. People can manage that much and still stay sane or enjoy life? What am I, some sort of couch potato? The twins wake me up between 4 and 4:30 everyday, and my day is crazy busy until the fat lady sings at the end of the day. But, compared with those resume-like holiday letters, I feel as if I am not really doing anything. it seems like I am not really living life.

What happened in 2013?

I haven't felt ready to openly share about that. My divorce was still not final for over half of 2013, even though I started filing in October 2011. The courts were taking their sweet time. And whilst the time dragged on, the man that once had been my husband for nearly 11 years, decided to make plenty of mayhem: calling a total of three civil assists, under the guise of "a poor innocent father who just wants to spend time with his children and who isn't being allowed to see his children" (though that was not the truth; NEVER MIND the fact that there is a long trail of evidence of his binge drinking alcoholism - loss of a very good job, even after being given a second chance; 2 DUI's within 6 months; countless ambulance rides to the ER for acute alcohol poisoning; how about spending around 10 months in jail?, just to name a few little examples); asking for a CFI (child family investigation) - all for the sake of trying to get unsupervised parenting time (wasn't it enough that the eldest two saw him in very embarrassing, precarious, unsafe circumstances OVER and OVER again, and that is why I had asked him to leave until he could maintain long-term sobriety, which he could not do); lying like a well-seasoned actor or sophist to anyone who mattered or who would listen; trying to purchase the affection of the older two children (but seemingly forgetting the younger two children - never got them gifts for their birthdays or for Christmas). Even after the divorce was finally finalized in July, he continued to stir up plenty of ruckus. I would say, 2013 was a bit of a trying, roller coaster of a year.

I learned many difficult lessons in 2013 from the divorce process alone:
  • A person who had promised to love and to honor me for the rest of our lives turned on me and basically became my worst nightmare. So much for going our separate ways peaceably or amicably.
  • A person in whom I had confided with the strictest confidence, certain matters, as my significant other and partner in life, would divulge what was not his to tell, after I filed for divorce.
  • The person, with whom I had shared that which I had with no other, betrayed me. That made the betrayal that much worse.
  • Anger, frustration, and revenge were and are his modus operandi and I am his sole target.
  • He will forever always be a thorn in my flesh, always trying to cause fresh (or new) and mean trouble.
Moreover, the divorce process and the life thereafter have colored the way I see life:
  • I have some difficulty in trusting people, especially men.
  • My view of men remains rather damaged. I struggle to see men as anything beyond narcissistic, hedonistic beings.
  • The safety and welfare of the children will not be safeguarded or protected by the government. From my own experience as well as numerous other accounts, I have little faith in the legal system to protect the safety and welfare of children, especially where I live, because the system is that patriarchal or the system is more in favor of protecting the "rights" of any biological parent to be with the children than the actual safety and welfare of the children. The attitude is: it is better to have time split 50/50 between both parents, unless one is dead. Doesn't matter if a parent is an addict or unreliable for tending the well-being of children.
  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is not respected in the 'working world,' legal realm, or anywhere for that matter. That alleged 'time off' certainly does not help in the job hunting endeavor. Landing a job that pays for more than some childcare (I need to put a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothing on our backs) is downright bleak.
  • I am not feeling very helpful, accomplished, or marketable. I have four children (and me, I suppose), for whom I need to provide. I have a PhD, and yet, I cannot land a job that will pay for the necessities.
  • Fear, anxiety, and worry about what crazy stunts he'll try to pull next OR over how or when I will be able to fully provide for the children and me can consume me. I have already lost a crazy amount of weight due to stress, and I have reacted negatively, physiologically, to stress in other ways as well.
I do not want fear, anxiety, worry, or panic to consume me. Neither do I want to stop loving others or being loved. One positive observation about 2013 is that my desire to write more about unfailing love grew more passionately and deeply.

Without further ado, let me throw out there my crazy Mount Everest for 2014 -
  • I hope to publish an encouraging, motivating, life-giving book on love: unfailing love. This is a book that is meant for EVERYONE: women and men alike, the younger crowd as well as the elder bunch, the impoverished or the more well-to-do, people of whatever beliefs and faiths, people of all nations.
  • I desire to love and be loved, truly and deeply.
  • I cannot change someone else, such as prevent someone from being childish and continuing to pull mean tricks on me. But, I am hoping to have some better control over how I react. Instead of reacting out of fear, anxiety, worry, or panic, I would like to be so focused on loving others (my children, friends, people in general), that I do not have the energy or time to devote to his craziness.
  • I want to cherish every precious moment I have with each of my four unique and beloved children.
  • I want to reach out to, serve, and love those in need, whether friends, acquaintances, and if resources and time permits, strangers.
  • I hope for a way I can financially provide for the children and me. This point is one that keeps me up at night, gives me stomach pains, and has me in tears at times. I take my responsibility as a parent and the burden as the financial provider very seriously. I am just not sure how this will work out.
  • Be thankful for EVERYTHING and everyone I have, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, in my life.
  • Let it go.
That is my Mount Everest for 2014. Happy 2014, everyone!

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