And yet another from last year….
The Next Chapter
Current mood: blessed
Today, I was offered – ok, tossed around – the idea of becoming more management than writer. Big problem, right? (ha, ha.)
In a weird way, it is because I know that if I don’t write, I’ll always struggle with is the feeling I have right now.–a sense or urgency to write. Something. Anything. Now.
Writing. Inspiration can strike on a road trip—just zoning out, thinking. It can come in a dream. It can be something that happened to me that no one would believe unless I told the story in a relatable manner. It could be inspiration that strikes, right now, when I’ve had two glasses of wine and should be asleep….. but I can’t help it.
I write. Manage? Eh, maybe…….. but let’s move on shall we?
I’ve been doing this writing gig for as long as I can remember. When my parents fought as a child, I would grab my diary…spiral notebook…whatever I had and just write it all down – the confusion, anger, and emotions. If I had a crush on a boy, I would write about it until my fingers almost fell off. Certainly, I couldn’t reveal my secret but I had to just let it out, at least, on paper. As I recall, he wore an ID bracelet, and it was my inner-most desire in seventh grade for him to ask me to "go with him" and let me wear that bracelet. It didn’t happen, but he did ask me to dance at our junior high dance. Of course, I used a lot of exclamation points that night!!!!!! when I wrote about it.
So now I am writing on the floor of what is, sort of, my home office. You see, just days ago, it was a true home office complete with décor, a desk, and a pull-out couch. Today, there is a "his" side and a "her" side with boxes and possessions divided—a marriage of almost 10 years and two lives divided by just a few square feet of hardwood flooring. My laptop – no, wait – his laptop — is on the floor. I sit on a pillow on the floor, my glass of wine beside me, work beside me too…… and I think…..
Think…. Haven’t I mentioned before about how I think way too much?
You see, it is 12:24 a.m. My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. Why? Well, that is because I have to somehow squeeze more hours into my day. I woke up, fed my girls, got them ready for school, took them to school, came home to straighten my home for an appointment with my Realtor. (Oh, did I mention that when you get divorced and your spouse moves out, it looks as if you’ve been robbed?) Anyway, I rushed to put it together as much as possible so that she would be impressed enough to list it for a decent price….. Time slips away. I have therapy at 11. It is as essential as the "happy" pills they’ve prescribed me to get through this God-awful mess. I have just enough time to put on the bare minimum of make up and rush out the door, downtown to therapy. We laugh, we cry. I feel guilty. I feel relieved. I pay money I don’t have. I drive through Chick Fil A while talking to my supervisor about what has transpired in a week — the decision, the moving out, the finality of it all. My job. A possible promotion. Her new baby. I can barely stomach half my meal. I go to work to meet with our CFO. We talk all about my department – the good and the bad. We toss out ideas. I don’t know what to think, really, about what is being said other than Please God Let Me Keep My Job Because I Have to Feed My Kids. He’s talking about the good I’m doing and how I can possibly manage now, and all I can think about is how to get all of my work done and still have time to make my Realtor appointment, take my kid to her book fair, and make it to theatre class on time. The Realtor appointment was reschedule. I made it to the book fair. Spent more money I don’t have out of guilt. Was late to theatre. Got home, got kids ready for bed. Worked for several hours. And here I sit.
I bought a plane ticket for my sister to come into town this weekend simply for the fact that I don’t know how to "just be." I don’t. I have had someone "there" in my life for as long as I can remember….. Just last weekend it was my parents. She agrees. We will press on with what I know is right. Did I mention there are huge gaps in my home? Well, of course there are. Furniture, gone. Photos, gone. Evidence of a marriage, gone. Evidence of hope, long gone. I should cry, but where are the tears? I did cry here and there when the finality really set in. But the one person who claimed he couldn’t live one second without me seems to always find a way to live thousands of seconds without me, happily as it appears. He is my daughters’ father now. Not my husband.
Did I have a husband? Records reflect two. My heart, well…..I think it’s at a deficit. Neither ex would agree, but then again, neither knew my heart on an intimate level.
I once wrote a blog about a letter I would write to my teen-age self. Again, I would say to her….make sure he knows you inside and out and loves you—despite your shortcomings. Make sure that there is not one other woman in the universe who could make him as crazy in love as you do. Make sure that he lets you know every single day, even in the smallest way, that you are his…you are the one. Maybe you don’t cook, have sex, entertain, or whatever the way his best friend’s wife does…..but the point is, no matter how you do whatever, he should adore every inch of it and never let you forget it. If he doesn’t tell you "good night, I love you" every night…..notice. Because he either loves himself too much, or someone else. Don’t fool yourself another second.
My therapist keeps telling me that I have all of these "gifts" to give….that I have all of this love stored up inside, ready and waiting. I think of the relationships I have had. How is it stored up when I gave it all away? But worse, why do I look at my "love tank" and it’s well below empty? When will I learn? When will I be "that girl" – the one who just can’t even believe "this is happening to her?" You know that girl. She’s in your office….a friend….a cousin of a friend….the girl who has the guy who just simply LOVES her. No strings attached. No this for that. No agenda. He just simply loves her and makes sure she knows it, even if it means being up with the baby all night so she can get a full night’s sleep at least just once this week. Even if it means a quick one second call to say "good night, I love you" if you’re apart. Even if it means a simple text in the day that makes her feel 16 again. I don’t know what I’m talking about….I can hardly relate….but I know it exists. I’ve given up on this for myself but I’m telling you….no, begging you….. this is it people. Grab your life. With both fists, TIGHT. Hold on. Love it. Live it. Embrace it. Tell your children to do the same. Don’t waste another second.
I think I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs the porch swing I wanted to restore. It was my dear, sweet Papa’s. Well, I did it! Pictures to come. Oh, how I love that swing. I ordered a little emblem for it last night – "Papa’s Swing" Erwin John Sander. God, I love that name. It brings me peace. I swing and the world is right. What should be, is. I will restore that swing forever if I have to so that my girls can have it and I can tell them the stories behind it so they understand life is about so much more that right now. It’s about forever and then some. Grab it. Don’t let go.
My journey in this divorce started one year ago….mid April. I will never reveal the details but something happened last April that painted the picture as to why, despite what I want and crave and can pretend to have and be, I can’t be here anymore. It took a year for it to dissolve. But more than that, it took six years. I’ve been here before, but I’ve masked my pain with new homes, vacations, even a brand new beautiful baby girl. That scrapbook I kept as a child – that dream book – I should be a model on the pages of that thing, wherever it is because I fulfilled those material dreams. But yet here I sit, in an empty office, a half-filled home as he has already moved his things out to his new apartment……and still, no tears. I just keep pressing on. Money is dwindling faster than I can down my merlot. My job is so busy that I can barely tread water — and yet they still want to promote me? How is the possible? My daughters will spend their first night away from me, with their father, tomorrow. I’m excited and relieved they are comfortable. Sad they are gone. Jealous they love his place so much, as it is similar to a five-star hotel.
I’m tired. I should have been I bed hours ago but I don’t sleep. I have probably logged 16 hours or less of sleep, total, in three days. I just keep organizing, cleaning, throwing things out, and convincing myself that surely I’m not going to hell for all of this Right? Or am I already in hell?
Months ago, I answered a calling of for a mission trip with my church to Mexico. I said yes, not really knowing what it meant. Turns out, I leave Thursday to minister and help women and children with whatever they need — repairing things, painting, fixing, feeding, hugging, playing with kids. They’ll feel like they won a million bucks if you give them a piece of gum or candy, I hear. I will be working my ass off, literally —building, painting, moving. But I don’t care. It’s a way to help, and it’s a way to keep me from feeling sorry for myself. I am a millionaire compared to these families. I should never complain again.
Did I mention perfect timing for this trip? I am so consumed with worry about money and homes…..and these people have neither.
And then there’s the Bon Jovi concert soon after. Also, not bad timing. A little fun can’t hurt.
And then I need to move. I need to make my life. I need to figure out my financial situation. I need to sleep. I need to pray. To do a good job at work. To kiss and hug my girls 10 times more than I would think possible because they need it. Ok, I need it too.
There are holes all over the house, evidence of where he left. But there is a bigger hole left in my heart because he, through my blog and through countless talks, had the road map straight to my heart but still didn’t take it. And I keep that road map out for public view….and it just stays there…..Will anyone ever pick it up, read it, and actually follow it? I used to think yes, but as time wears on…… I realize that this may be it for me. I was once married. I have two beautiful daughters. I work as a writer. That’s my life.
Really? The end? I feel this urge inside me to get started on living – take a pole dancing class just for the hell of it. Yoga? Sure, go for it. Women’s retreat in May? Sign up. Girls night out when he has the kids? Say yes. Church and more church. Get involved the way I always wanted to. Be Jennifer Sander and love my two girls more than even humanly thought possible, which I do. They are my sole reason for being on this planet. If you knew them you would know why I say this. All mothers can relate. So now I have 3.5 hours of sleep left. I hate succumbing to sleep these days…..It means my mind has to turn off and I have so many things to think about and organize. I have so many shattered dreams to put to bed; so many hopeful thoughts to just erase because now I know better.
I have been blogging for more than two years…….. some of it as real as it gets. Some of it trying to convince myself that I’m "normal" when I’m told I’m not. It’s just real. It’s just me.
So here you have it. I’m 35. Divorced with two kids. A writer. Full of passion for all things good, pure, artistic, and real. I’m scared out of my mind. I remain hopeful, but nearly as hopeful as I’ve been in the past. I need a pedicure. I need to balance my checkbook. I’ve had nothing but a hard boiled egg and half a chick fil a sandwich to eat today. I drank 3 glasses of wine tonight. Did I mention I’m scared to death? I am going on a mission trip to Mexico next weekend and don’t know much about it, but that’s OK. I have a servant’s heart, and am ready. I have two beautiful daughters who love me and trust me…..I’ll do whatever I can to preserve it. I have absolutely zero experience with truly understanding "I love you" from a man. The words and actions, to this date, have never matched up. I fear they never will. I have to learn to be OK with the possibility of being alone and the pride of not settling just to avoid it.
I am finally sleepy enough to end this blog and to say that I’m officially back. Sure, I’ve been accused of writing only to my "legion of idiots" – their quote not mine – to fluff my ego, and I have been lightly "grounded" from my writing. But here I am again, doing what I know how to do……write. Write what’s real. What’s true. What’s On My Mind Right Now.
Care to join me in my next chapter? Buckle up……. I just have this feeling you’ll need to….