I re-read my first blog recently, My Awakening," and realized that my blog has become more of an open journal for me. That is ok when I think about it because it is helping me cope, and when I see that people have read my blog, it helps even more. I used to get upset that no one would comment on my blog, but then I realized that no one has to comment; I just need them to read it, which has become all the validation I need. Because if that one person reads my blog and can relate, and it gives them hope, or the drive to carry on knowing they are not alone, then I have succeeded in every possible way.
This time last year, I was blogging about every day and anticipated starting my HR certificate program. During that time of my classes, I had to step away from my blog to focus on my certificate program (which I succeeded in achieving and maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout the program). During this time, as the school part wasn't even that stressful, I was dealing with attorneys and the court trying to modify my child's custody agreement. It took over a year, and it shouldn't have. All I was legitimately trying to do was adjust it to where I didn’t need his permission to set up counseling. But the longer the battle went on, he got meaner and would say some pretty nasty things, and my child heard and saw it and decided they didn’t like it and didn’t want anything to do with their dad. It is a bit heartbreaking, but at the same time, I wasn't about to force it anymore (reference my blogs on The Stigma of Family and Strength). No matter what I did or said, the hits kept coming; he wouldn’t stop. My mental health started to suffer; my child's started to suffer; he didn’t care what his verbal assaults were doing to us.
We hit some pretty low points last year, and drowning myself in my courses was the only thing that kept me afloat (my kids always do, but school was the added distraction). We struggled… I think I ended up taking out two loans and using my school money to pay for the attorney fees and all the extracurricular activities the kids were doing. Before you say anything, he did not help with anything, and he didn’t even offer or ask how they were doing. He also wasn't paying child support during this time; he went without paying for eight months. But we made it; we f-ing made it.
Then, this year started off with a bang and finally just stopped, like in May. I've had the cops, and CPS called on me at least three times, the first time, he said, was because I wasn't allowing him to speak to his child. When the cops showed up, I handed them a copy of our finalized modification and showed them exactly where it says that there is to be no contact until the counselor says (mind you he agreed to that during mediation and signed the modification). Per the cops, I was not in the wrong, and they noted it, and I filed an informative with the police department to keep a paper trail. Then, it was CPS, and the complaint was that the kids were being neglected and living in unsanitary conditions. Like, dude, really? So that was closed relatively quickly, and again, the kids were/are OK, and again, I was doing nothing wrong. I also gave them a copy of the modification to keep on file. Then, this one was a doozy; he called the cops for a welfare check and stated he was concerned because I sounded drunk and was slurring my words when he called me. First of all, I have never and will NEVER speak to him on the phone; all communication between us is either via email or text so that there is proof of the conversation. I had to take a breathalyzer test in front of my kids to prove that I was not drunk or drinking. And guess what? It was zero; if I remember correctly, it didn’t even register anything because I WASN'T EVEN DRINKING. But the damage was done. That caused so much heartache and pain for my children. How can he even think doing something like that was ok? He will 100% deny everything; I've never even engaged with him about these incidents. I will say that since that last one, it's been quiet, and he hasn’t called anyone else on me/us. I feel like I am walking on eggshells though, waiting for the next hit.
So, before I go any further, I need to explain a bit about why there was a modification and why it states there is to be no contact unless the counselor says so. If you go and read my blog titled “Strength,” you could guess why, but it goes even deeper than that, and he moved out of state, so technically, one was warranted regardless. My child has one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen, and she cares so deeply, but with that, she also is a people pleaser, especially when it comes to her dad. He was very easily able to guilt-trip her into doing whatever he wanted. I honestly do not think he cared about how it affected her as long as it benefitted him and what he wanted done. I do not question that he loves her, I genuinely believe that he does, but his way of expressing that was highly misguided. Is that the right word? Whether it is or not, it doesn't change the fact that I feel like he does love her. He also went four straight months without saying a word to her or me, not even to ask how she was doing, nothing but radio silence for four months. My child learned more from Facebook about what he was doing and where he was than from him directly. Now, as bad or sad as those sounds, there is more. When the divorce was finalized, I found a counselor for both kids to help them process what was going on, and he was… involved to an extent. But by that time, he also had found someone. Initially, she was fantastic and did all she could to co-parent and get him more involved with our daughter, but that changed after they married. Then he tried scheduling counseling sessions for himself with her counselor without her, which was a big problem. Like, to the point that her counselor had to stop seeing her because it was a constant struggle and argument with him, and might I add, he was never wrong. I can say much more on this and expose that only those closest to me know, but I will save that for my memoir. I was so tired of seeing my child hurting because her father wouldn’t give her the time of day, and that was entirely his choice until I made that choice for him this past year by forcing the modification and, because I know how some people are, I did not even request or fight for a child support increase, and trust me when I say, we were only getting about half of what we should have been getting and we are still struggling financially (the increased child support would have helped so much and given me the ability to really allow my kids to do all the extracurricular they wanted).
Now that I got that out of the way let me get back to the reflecting part of this blog post. Some days I marvel at the fact that we made it, so far anyway. I am not trying to sound like a negative Nancy or anything, I am just trying to remain realistic, I guess. There are days that I still feel like I am walking on eggshells, waiting for the next CPS worker to show up, or a police officer, and I shouldn’t feel that way, and neither should my kids. It isn’t fair for us to have to live like that, and some days, no matter how hard I try to stay positive and be happy, I just can’t.
Reflecting back on this past year, I have grown, a lot, and mainly because my significant other left me and I had to learn (am still learning and trying) to be on my own and be happy. My counselor gave me some homework, and I think I will use it for my next blog post, but basically, she wants me to reflect on what I’ve learned about myself this past year, both the positive and the negative, then write out what I want in a relationship, like top 3-5 things and what I can/will/would bring to a relationship. That should be a fun one, and I can already imagine a little painful.
Why is it that the intent of my blogs never really goes the way I wanted them too when I start? I always go off on a tangent or have a squirrel moment, lol. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, it just is kind of funny. Currently, it is 6:30 in the morning as I finish this blog and Twinky (my cat) is being very vocal about getting fed this morning, and I’m pretty sure she made me bleed again (I really need to cut her nails) when I was playing with her. So I end this with Twinky being vocal and abusive for food and with thoughts already forming for my next blog, Self-Reflection…