Too many thoughts, too little time.

Posts tagged ‘lessons learned’

Dealing with the Problem

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I got a gift card to a Christian bookstore for Christmas. I have a Bible I really like. I have a cover I really like. I don’t need a cross necklace or a shirt that seems to be about the video game Halo at first glance, and then upon reading you find out is actually a Bible verse. I don’t listen to much Christian music. I found some artwork I kind of liked, but, Brad is going through a “if you are Christian, you shouldn’t have to advertise it!” thing right now, and wrinkled his nose, and especially since I didn’t love the paintings, I left them there. But, I found these mugs. They were cute. And, they were the size I like for my morning coffee. And, they were heavy. Not the kind that burn your hands when you microwave them. So, this is what I bought.

Now, speaking of loving my husband, I thought I’d update after my last post. Brad really was driving me nuts when I wrote that. But, how to deal? So, I had a nice long talk with myself. I think I avoid being put in the crazy bin over these one-sided conversation because they are reasonable. Was he really doing anything wrong? No, he was not. Was he a jerk? No. Was I really mad at him or was he a safe place to direct some anger? Crap…maybe he doesn’t deserve this. But then, I’d try to find other things to be mad at him about. So, he’d deserve it.

And, I decided to stop it. If I loved him, which I do. And, if I wanted to have a happy marriage, which I do, then I couldn’t go around looking for trouble. I decided while I was still very frustrated with him, and being very vocal about how frustrated I was, that I was being kind of a jerk, and I had told him plenty that was wrong, but little that was right. He went back to work, and I started writing him e-mails. One a day. Sometimes I started in the morning and added to it throughout the day, sometimes it was rushed in the few minutes before we talked on the phone at night. But, he got an e-mail everyday telling him sometimes specific I loved or appreciated about him.

He’s home now for the holidays, so, the e-mails stopped. But, I am not as annoyed or as short-tempered this time. And, instead of looking for problems, I’ve actually been taking note of little things to tell him I love, to keep up the e-mails once in awhile. It seems to have helped, and I’m enjoying doing it. And, the temptations from November seem to be gone. I’m pretty excited about it.

For the Good of the Kids

My semester ends Wednesday. One more math test. I have fought and struggled. Last night I took the final math quiz 4 times. There were almost 100 questions on it. I took it over and over until I ran out of time. I’m getting a B overall. If I can just pass this last test. Then, one more semester.

Today I would like to say, if I never hear the words “best for the kids” again, it will be too soon.

It’s the “cuz God” argument all over again.

The moment you say something is best for the kids, or because God said, you have shut down the conversation. You have made anyone who disagrees with you a bad person, because they don’t care about “the good of the kids”.

I see it ALL the time on the infidelity board I am a member of. People go on and on and on about how whatever they want is for the good of the kids. “I want to put my kid in soccer, it’s what’s best for the kids. But, my ex won’t drive him to practice!” Somebody says “Then you drive him.” and all of a sudden it is “NO! I will NOT drive him. My ex is a parent too, and he doesn’t just get to run off into the sunset, and I’m not doing it all on my own, and he can waste his own gas, let his whore see  how much works kids really are!”

Ummm…what happened to “best for the kids”?

The best advice I can give someone going through a divorce, or trying to raise kids while divorced is this:

Your spouse is dead. That person you loved and trusted, who could never hurt you? Completely dead. You are now single, and unfortunately the only babysitter you can find at times, while free, is a person who looks oddly like your ex. There is no past to discuss with this stranger.

I know, you are sitting there thinking “I’m just supposed to let them get away with the things they did to me?” No, you are supposed to know that, they will never see that they did anything to you. When you go nuts, they will feel justified in all the things they did. His new gf and he will giggle over his crazy ex and how you deserved all he did. And really…if it is REALLY all about the kids, then, why complain about picking them up from soccer? Why are you concerned about punishing your ex?

I get blasted by my friends fairly often because I am willing to pick up the kids on Sundays around my ex’s work schedule. And, I shouldn’t do that, I should stick to the schedule, he’s just making me do whatever he wants, he needs to see there are consequences for the things he has done, I am not supposed to just drop everything so he doesn’t have to find a babysitter.

Again, I thought it was all about best for the kids. And, isn’t it best that they come home when their dad has to go to work? Or is it better for them to stay with whoever he’s sleeping with this week, and constant changing rules? Best for the kids says they can come home, where their things are, where they are comfortable, where they are with people who love them.

Do what you want, but quit pretending it is all “for the kids”.

Feeling Let Down

I struggle to write what is on my mind, because I feel like it makes me sound so…stuck up? Full of myself? I’m not sure, I’m just fairly sure I don’t come across as I would like to, as I mean to.

You know the Bible verse, the one about leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse?  We are still in the newlywed category, and to be honest, I didn’t expect either family to make it quite so easy. Neither one of us has a huge amount of friends, but, we both have huge families. And, I think we are both feeling sad and dissapointed lately.

 

Yeah, exactly how I’m feeling.

I won’t tell Aussie’s story, because it isn’t mine to tell. But, I will tell some of mine. I started algebra this semester. I’ve taken this class 4 or 5 times. I fail every time. I’ve taken the remedial math, I’ve done all the homework, and then some. I’ve been to tutoring, I’ve asked for help, I’ve spoken to the teachers. I just don’t get it. So, I try again.

And, this class is now bringing up HUGE feelings of disappointment and resentment towards my family. My parents especially.

I was homeschooled. I never got much of a reason why. Actually, let me rephrase, I had a continuously changing reason why, that ebbed and flowed with the passing trends that made public schools “bad”. When I could counter their arguments, I was told that was never the reason, they never said that, and the real reason was XYZ. What are some of these reasons?

  • I was too smart for public school.
  • I was bored.
  • I might be around bad influences.
  • Prayer has been taken out of schools.
  • God has been taken out of schools.
  • They teach evolution!
  • I was unhappy there, apparently.
  • My sister hated going to school, so obviously it was bad.
  • School shootings!!!
  • God told them to take me out of school.
  • Public schools were/are sinful and God commands us not to sin just because it is popular.

I am sure there are a lot more, but, you get the idea. Homeschooling to my mom meant she slept in until 11, talked to her friend on the phone for a couple hours a day, handed me a stack of books and told me I was responsible for independent study. I have a 17 yr old brother who is practically illiterate, and a sister I think may have dyslexia. But, nobody must know, you can’t get help, because then people MIGHT think you aren’t doing things right and put the kids in school!

I ran away when I was 12ish. I told them my dad was abusive, and my parents were not home schooling us. They were handing over books, and only noticing when pages were completely blank. Nothing ever got checked. I told them about my siblings. I told the police, I told CPS, I told the judge, I told family. I was terrified, and a child. My parents would call me, screaming “You’re a fucking liar!” Nobody ever asked to see the books, nobody ever checked in on anything. My grandma had to put me in therapy to get me past the “family therapy” my parents put me in. Which consisted of all 3 adults calling me a liar, and trying to get to the root cause of why I was a liar. Except I wasn’t.

3 months later the judge sent me home. Did I mention, the judge was friends with my parents? Yeah, stupid preteen me didn’t know enough to point out how wrong this was. We started going to his church a few months later.

So, I went home. Nothing changed on the school front, but, my dad got less abusive, especially to everyone else, so, I counted at least that part as well worth all the trouble. And, I decided I was getting out of there. I did my homework, I struggled through math. When I asked for help, my parents told me they didn’t understand. When I asked for them to get me help, we couldn’t afford it. When their friends offered to help, my parents complained about how far it was to drive, and how if I was struggling so bad, maybe I could just skip the ONE youth group activity I was allowed a month so I could study more. So, when 14 yr old me was offered this choice, obviously, I choice to skip tutoring. Which, obviously meant, I understood the work, I just wasn’t willing to do it. My junior year of high school, I took the answer book. My mom never noticed. It wasn’t to cheat, it was to check my work, then to rework it until I understood it. I spent hours working on this. Nobody ever knew.

I graduated a yr early, and got a full ride scholarship to the big state school. It was the worst thing I ever did. Because, my parents have spent the last 10 yrs saying that obviously they do an amazing job at homeschooling, and obviously it is superior to all other schooling, because, well, look at Punkie.

Oddly, they never mention Punkie flunked out her first semester. Got ALL Fs.

They never mention Punkie has failed algebra 5 times now. And, has no idea what is going on, no idea how to understand. The ass backwards ways I taught myself in high school are screwing me over now.

You know, I’ve spent the last 15 yrs trying to take responsibility for my failures, trying to own my own shit, trying to not blame others. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of taking responsibility for problems that I didn’t cause.

I cringe whenever I see one of my siblings facebook posts. My one sister is trying to start a photography business, and has a page for it. Nothing is spelled right. My other sister works at Salvation Army because the pay is amazing. My little brother had to take the ASVAB test 4 times before he BARELY got a high enough score to get into ANY military branch. My other brother, the 17 yr old, reads the helicopter books I bought for my 8 yr old when he thinks nobody is looking. But, never any other book.

I have another younger brother, he’s a teenager, and yesterday I told my mom, over the weekend I did about 250 math problems. I was assigned 60, but I am really trying to pass. My mom said “I guess we know who can help with math now!” then she tells me about my brother, how he’s so good at math. He never follows the instructions, but gets the right answer. Just like me. I told  her, that is really, really causing problems for me now. I explained why. She laughed and said “Well, I just have to get him through high school, college can teach him what he really needs to know.”

I could have about cried.

I’ve offered to teach the kids. If you look at my kids school work…I spend HOURS every week, preparing for the next week. I spend hours teaching them, going over things over and over again. I actually grade all the work. I have a lesson plan. I have a base curriculum and add to it, to make my own, making some things more difficult. Adding pages where I know they struggle. I’ve offered…my mom doesn’t want to spend the gas money. Her and dad can go out to eat a few times a week, but, can’t spend $4 a day to bring the kids over for help.

I’m so angry that I am paying for their choices now. I’m so angry that nobody listened to me when I tried to get help. I’m so angry that it is too late for my siblings. I’m angry that my family is almost PROUD of being ignorant. Of the fact they don’t need no college. I’m angry my brothers don’t even realize how much they don’t know. I’m angry they have been unknowingly sentenced to a lifetime of factory work or retail, without their consent. I’m angry that I struggle so much with some of these subjects, but, I certainly can’t complain, because then I hear about how if I was really concerned I would have studied and not signed the boys up for sports, so I would have more time. And, I’m angry all the times I do well, I am held up as the poster child for all the great things about homeschooling. My parents had nothing to do with any of the things I am good at. I taught myself! I had to!

You know what? I’m not that freaking special or smart or successful. Actually, I take it back, I am smart. I decided to do better, and I did. But, I somehow saw there was more to life than what my parents taught us. I’m the only one who did. I’m not special, I’m not successful. I look like it. I look like a spoiled brat most the time. I’ve got a great relationship, and two kids that are somehow amazing, in spite of all they have been through. And, I can’t even talk about my life, because I sound so stuck up. I just got back from a trip to Montana, right after the trip to Florida, and I leave for a cruise in about 6 weeks. I’ve got a Tiffany box sitting on my coffee table, and a pile of clothes with the tags still on them. I went out for coffee almost every day this summer. And, I’m not saying this to brag, I’m not. I’m using to to show, how “look at Punkie!” has become a source of pride for my parents. They miss that they coerced me into marrying an abusive asshole the first time. They don’t seem to get it… all this great stuff? It has NOTHING to do with me, nothing. It is a result of Aussie’s success. HIS parents can use it as an argument for homeschooling. Mine can not. Because, it has NOTHING to do with me, and FAR less to do with them and their teaching skills. And to be honest, a huge majority of my spoiled persona has cost us practically nothing. Airlines give lots of free perks, as do hotel chains, and rental car companies. When the company pays for the Starbucks, and you can give your wife the card, she gets the free syrups and refills and extra perks. So, again, I’d like to say, don’t judge me too harshly on this one, because if the company Aussie worked for didn’t allow him to keep the perks, and instead made him use frequent flier miles to get to work, or that sort of thing, we would look exactly like every other young couple with a couple kids.

I do’t even know what the point of writing this was. I just needed to get it all out. I am so angry and so resentful right now. I feel like I’m outgrowing my family and it’s a lonely feeling.

Live on Purpose

I just want to say, I really dislike “helpless” people. You know the ones, the perpetual victim.

I hate the phrase “It’s not my fault”. It is right up there with “It just happened”. The other good one is “It isn’t fair!”

I see it a lot from people, people who spend all their time upset because bad stuff just keeps happening to them.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I completely understand, sometimes it just seems like one person has a run of bad luck. Sometimes it gets overwhelming and you just want to pout/whine/yell for awhile. Sometimes you need to send out invitations to the pity party, and that’s ok.

But, when it becomes a way of life, when EVERYTHING is the worst thing ever, maybe you really are the problem. (I am using the collective you, I am not talking to any of my readers specifically.)

I joke with Brad all the time, if you feel you have to remind me ALL the time how much you hate drama, it is probably because you know I won’t notice on my own. Have you ever noticed the people who hate drama the most are always the ones who have so much of it?

Life isn’t just happening to you. When you make a choice, you have to accept the consequences for it. If you answer a text and rear end the car in front of you, that didn’t “just happen” to you. It was because of a choice you made. I know a woman who was upset because her ex-husband kept showing up to run in marathons she was running in, she got a lot of advice, that maybe she should find a different marathon, and she got indignant. Why should SHE have to change things, this was HER race, and it wasn’t FAIR, HE could leave. And please remember, she hates drama. Except, why would he leave? Her running in the marathon didn’t bother him. So, her options were either to ignore him or change marathons. And you would have thought someone told her that her options were to cut off her left or her right arm. She did neither, caused a lot of drama, and then complained how bad things keep happening to her, she keeps seeing him. No, this bad thing was not happening to her, she was choosing to allow it to.

I did go through this whole “Why is this happening to me?” when my ex left. And with time and space, I can see where my mistakes were. I didn’t deserve to have it all happen, but, I could have put a stop to it a million different times. And now, instead of “Why me?” I ask “Why not me?” I honestly think I am pretty amazing, but, I also realize, I’m not that special, I am not a good enough person to even pretend I deserve a perfect life. This is not fishing for compliments from my dear friends, I promise. I’m not having a low self esteem moment, Like I said, I think I’m pretty awesome, I do consider myself a good person, but I am certainly not arrogant enough to believe that entitles me to a life free from crap.

Life is harder to deal with when you are always the victim. When you have no control, it’s easy to spiral out of control. You have to take back the control. If you can accept ANY of the responsibility for the bad, it becomes easier to deal with, because you feel like you can stop something from happening again. You can acknowledge the lessons learned. If you can choose to live in purpose, it is easier and truly nicer than living passively. Letting life happen TO you is no way to go through life.

And, sometimes the changes needed won’t be fun, they won’t be fair, but they will change the situation, and they will change circumstances and you will be taking back some power. You can be right or you can be happy. Live on purpose!

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