Friday, September 22, 2017

Difficult, Painful Steps But Necessary

Though I didn't get any good news from the lawyer concerning the financial situation, I walked out feeling as if I'm moving forward. I now understand the numbers, where they're coming from, and how it all came to where it is now. My hands are still tied in beginning to pay the amount owed since my husband will not agree and is still appealing, so I can't really do anything yet. But I feel like no matter what happens, I am taking the steps needed to start down the path I want for my life.

The one thing the lawyer did take interest in was the fact that one person in the relationship wants to sign the agreement while the other person in the relationship does not. He had never encountered this kind of situation before and is looking into how to proceed with the matter given this. From my perspective, I think my husband is being extremely selfish. He's not the one they'll come after. He's unemployed. He has no income. They'll come after me, the one who has a good, stable job. The one who has the means to pay. While I don't want to pay it, I will own the responsibility. I stuck my head in the sand rather than stand my ground. I should have let him have all his little tantrums. I should not have given in. I should have protected myself like I vowed when I married him.

I've truly learned my lesson the hard way.

Next week I see the lawyer to get started on a legal separation. Six months ago when I made the decision to leave what had been my home for thirteen years, I thought maybe a reconciliation could be reached given time and effort. I don't believe this any longer. Each day that passes with me having quiet, space, and distance from my husband, the more I know I cannot go back. In his presence, I am a bundle of anger. As soon as I leave, I am in a better place.

Through all of this, I've found myself finding my way back to the strong me I was before I married him. I lost sight of that me through the years, only starting to see the faint outline again several years ago, after a particularly awful fight with my husband. I saw a side of him I knew I'd never be able to come to terms with. I know that moment is where the beginning of our end started, but I wasn't ready to admit it then. If I had, well, let's just say I now can look at it as one of those If - Dog - Rabbit scenarios.

One step I did take after talking to the lawyer was to inform my husband's family of the situation. My husband has repeatedly refused to tell his family of our separation. He has refused to reach out and ask for help. I understand the embarrassment he is feeling, yet his refusal has impacted me and how I want to proceed. I'm so done with that. Like I've said before, I'm done running and hiding. I'm done allowing him to dictate how this matter is handled. I love his brothers and their wives, his sister and her husband, and everyone else who is his family. I will no longer keep this from them.

I am getting my ducks in a row. I took the step to leave. I talked with a lawyer who helped me make sense of the situation. I have an appointment to make the separation legal. I have told family what is happening.

It feels so good to be taking back control.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I've Slept Long Enough

Lovely Beautiful Daughter looked at me the other day and said, "You've always been independent, but the last few years, that independence has grown. You've changed over these past few years, too. It's a good change." And from the little conversations I've had with Funny Delightful Son, I know he's happy I've finally asserted myself, taking the steps to get this mess under control. He even called me last evening, specifically asking if I had called the guys in suits.

Yes, I told him. I have. I could see his smile through the phone connection.

I called a lawyer and have an appointment set to discuss the financial issue as well as a legal separation. I told my husband of my intentions. I didn't back down when he argued what I am doing is going to make matters worse rather than better. I didn't back down when he suggested my decision will put him in a difficult position. I didn't back down when he pressed me to wait. I didn't back down.

I walked away feeling strong.

I walked away knowing I am the one who will pave a happy, stable path for myself. That path will definitely take time to create, but I did it before with three very young children in tow. I will do it again, this time with three wonderful, smart, supportive young adults cheering me on.

On another note, I've been reading a lot of poetry, mostly newer pieces to get a sense for what's being published right now. Then I ran across some Rumi and immediately felt myself drawn in. This one, especially, spoke to me and is still with me as I move through my evening.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Feet Belong in the Sand, Not My Head

When I think back to the moment I decided I just couldn't continue in the marriage to the kids' dad, I remember the day so clearly. How could I not? It was the day I gave birth to Angel Baby. Right up to the going into the hospital, of finding myself experiencing incredible pain, I thought my marriage could work. The moment the man who is the father of the three most beautiful beings I've ever been around walked out of the room, didn't stay to support me, didn't see the birth of his son, didn't see me go through a very scary moment of hemorrhaging, I knew my marriage was over. A month later, I set the wheels in motion to extricate myself from the bad that I was living in.

Today, as I was walking home from my husband's place, the thought it's time flitted through my mind. Instead of sweeping that thought away, I embraced it. It's time I stop running the other way, hoping the bad can't catch me. It's time to stop and face whatever might come for me.

In that same spirit, I've decided to stop placating my husband and his desire that I not share what is happening for fear his family will find out. I'm willing to own the fact that I didn't stand my ground, didn't take the necessary steps to protect myself financially under the guise that I was trusting my husband and his financial decisions. I'm willing to admit I am just as responsible for this mess through my burying my head in the sand.

Facing whatever might come is scary, but I began the process this morning. I called a lawyer, and I am getting my ducks in a row, as my mom always advised. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my sabbatical, but life has a funny way of putting a curve on a road that seemed to be pretty straight.

Monday, September 18, 2017

This Publishing Thing

Yesterday I finished the last poem of the trio I began last week. It's actually the first poem of the trio, but it was the one I started after having the second and third drafted. That's kind of how my fiction turns out, as well. I always have to know the ending before I can back up and start from the beginning. I need to know where I'm going to end up, I guess.

With the three poems drafted, I turned my attention to getting a few sent out to literary magazines today. I selected three I believe are strong and demonstrate the theme I'm working with for my project, then went to work researching a possible market. I found a literary magazine out of Texas, read several issues of it, and figured why not? I can see my work being a fit with this magazine, but then again, I think that with every literary magazine I send my writing to, only to be told in the rejection that my work isn't a good fit. This whole publishing thing is so completely frustrating.

I ran into a colleague at yoga Saturday morning. After class we chatted for quite some time, and almost immediately she expressed her dismay over the rejections she receives from literary magazines. I felt as if I'd found a kindred spirit. I certainly don't know what it takes to get published. I've had a handful of essays and short stories published, but I've had many more handfuls of pieces turned down. The form letters that accompany the rejections are all the same: "The fact that we didn’t choose to publish any of the poems you submitted should not be considered a ruling on their or your merit. Poetry is always subjective, and our decision reflects nothing more than our honest fair opinion of which poems we liked most" and "This isn't a reflection on your writing. The selection process is highly subjective, something of a mystery even to us. There's no telling what we'll fall in love with, what we'll let get away." After I read these, I think about some of the crappy poems I've read in their magazines. There truly is no accounting for taste.

So what are people like my colleague and I to do? Keep trying? In my case I have to. My whole sabbatical is centered upon writing and publishing. I read yesterday that on average, it takes 20 attempts before a short story will be accepted. For a poem? On average, 100 different publications! If it takes that long for a poem, given the wait time for hearing yes/no from the publication (especially if simultaneous submissions aren't allowed), I will be old, gray, and frail (okay, let's be real--I'll be dead) before I get my first yes, we'd be delighted to publish your poem. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I Am a Yogi

I realized something about my yoga practice today as I moved through the postures with the group of people who had gathered for class at the park.

I no longer have to see the instructor to know what she 
is asking of the students. I just listen now. Much of the time with my eyes closed. 

After this recognition of growth registered with me, I paused to revel in the feeling. I know I smiled. How could I not? I remember the first few months of regular practice had me constantly looking at the teacher to be sure I was moving into the correct asana. Now, with a year of consistent practice and completion of two levels of yoga teacher training under my belt, I am beginning to truly think of myself as a yogi.

A few other yoga-related accomplishments from the first year of my yoga journey:
  • being able to do a solid headstand;
  • being able to hold crow pose;
  • being able to move into bound side angle pose on both sides;
  • being able to hold downward facing dog for seven minutes.
I feel stronger, more flexible, and toned, and I am grateful for all that the teachings of yoga have given me during this past year.

Facing the Truth

The day I've been dreading, trying not to think about, arrived. Yesterday. And the situation is even worse now than it was six months ago. The hole just keeps getting deeper.

I promised myself when I married my husband that I wasn't going to allow myself to be pressured into giving into what he wanted. I'd given in with the kids' dad on things I knew with my entire being were harmful, and in the end, that marriage ended badly. I thought I'd learned my lesson from that experience. Not so. My promise to myself lasted all of about a week. I wanted to keep my maiden name, but my husband kept pressing me to change it to his last name. Per my usual self, rather than stand my ground and say no, rather than let the boat rock, I went through the process of changing my name.

That was the first incident of many throughout the last 12 years where I didn't keep my promise to myself.

Now I'm in this situation that I know will end up being me finding myself financially strapped for the next seven or eight years. That raise I just got for working hard the last 18 years and being promoted to Distinguished Professor? I won't get to enjoy it. Not having to take an overload like I've been doing for the last 18 years because that raise makes it possible to just do a regular teaching load? Not going to happen. If anything, I'll most likely ask for a double overload.

I went into the separation thinking I needed to keep trying to make my marriage work. I think I'm done trying.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Balancing Act

Yesterday, a new idea for a piece to be part of my sabbatical project occurred to me while Ado and I were out walking. When little sparks like this happen while I'm away from my desk, I take out my phone and jot down a note so I have the idea in writing rather than just in my head where the tendency for the idea to get pushed to the back and forgotten about happens. Only I didn't have my phone with me. I kept repeating the idea over and over, even thinking about the direction it could go, right up until we walked through the door. At that point, I ran to my desk, pulled up a new Word doc and typed out the idea.

Today, I've been fleshing out the idea. What started as one poem has now become three, all getting at the idea of a finish line. The first in the series will lead to the second, and the second in the series will lead to the third. My hope is it will be clear all three are intertwined on several levels.

Interestingly enough, at least to me, the third poem was the first one I wrote. Then the second. Now I'm poking around the first. After writing the second, I felt drained. I needed a break.

I put lights on the cruiser so Lovely Beautiful Daughter can ride it after dark if she wishes to. I also put a cup holder on the handlebars. She will be able to take her travel coffee mug with her if she decides to take the bike to work rather than drive.

I put cages on my hybrid bicycle's pedals. While I'm not a real fan of cages, I don't want to clip in on this bike, yet I want to have some extra pedal power if I want it.

I've been searching online for a particular type of cycling shorts that I used to have and loved so much. So far, no luck. I will not give up, though. I will find them. I will. I know another cyclist who wears the same shorts and swears by them like I do, so I messaged her to see if she knows the brand and style. Fingers crossed she does.

After dinner, I'll return to the poems, having given myself time to come up from the depths into which I dove earlier today.

Sunset at Humbug State Park.

 I'm finding myself returning over and over to the sunset photos I have from the ride. Remembering the feeling of being on the beach, hearing the water as the sun set for the day, is comforting.