Carry On

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It’s been awhile. A long while. So many things have changed, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the new year.

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“My family” by JI

January 5th, Poke and I were finally officially legally divorced. I could have thrown a party! It was the most wonderful day I’d had in a long time… until I had to take my van in to have the entire power steering system replaced, which cost me $270. Good thing there’s a Firestone credit card.

January 20th, a day that will live in infamy. I was so depressed all day, scared, worried, and had an overall feeling of doom about me. Politically, things have only gotten worse since then. I really don’t know what those people were thinking putting this monster in the White House, but apparently human rights, education, health care, clean air, clean water, etc etc etc mean absolutely nothing to them. Disgusting. I can only hope that he is impeached and indicted, because if he’s assassinated he’ll be lauded as a hero/martyr to the neo-Nazis that call themselves conservatives.

Next up, my birthday, which is at the beginning of February. I really don’t care about my birthday. This year I turned 3_, which is one step closer to 40. Per usual, my birthday sucked. I used to try and make it a good day, try not to get my hopes up, but every year I’d think “This will be the year that my mother doesn’t make a scene/cause problems/make15875187_10154922754774801_5804576778045474111_o me feel like shit” or “This will be the year that Poke actually remembers my birthday and gets me a card/gift/says happy birthday”, only to be disappointed in the end. It’s not like I need a lot of presents or anything, but having one day a year that is actually legitimately just for me would be nice. Unfortunately, this year was another bust. My mother was difficult at dinner, which was a huge disappointment even without her shit, and Squishy was so angry by the time we got home that he ended up going back to his place instead of sleeping over. I couldn’t blame him though, if I didn’t have the kids I’d have gone back to his place and gotten drunk as a skunk.

Luckily though, Squishy is an AMAZING boyfriend. We have been together for four months now, and things just keep getting better. He has been the most supportive, helpful, caring, kind, wonderful man I have ever dated. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky for once, but I am not going to question it. We are getting ready to move into our own place here in the next few weeks, which is the next exciting chapter in our life together. I can’t wait!

15418578_10154850814024801_4636622435768111892_oBoth my sons love Squishy, which makes me life a hell of a lot easier. Poke has gone from mediocre father to terrible father, refusing to pay child support, didn’t do anything for Squeaks’ birthday, doesn’t call them or answer JI’s calls, and so forth. If I could cut him out of their life completely, I would in a heartbeat. He’s a shitty person, and I really don’t want them around him. However, it’s not up to me. I don’t say negative stuff about him to the boys, unlike their father who talks shit about me constantly. My goal is to let them find out for themselves what a creep he is, and I will be there to pick up the pieces when they fall. The only reason JI wants to go there is because he knows he can play the tablet the whole time. I don’t think Squeaks really cares one way or the other – he used to yell “Daddy! Daddy!” when Poke came to get them, now he is just silent. He loves Squishy though, and calls him by his name and by Daddy, depending on his mood. Squishy has a son, KJ, who is twelve, so he’s been through all this before, which helps me out.

Also, for once in my life, I have amazing in-laws. Squishy’s mom and dad are the best. The treat me like I am their own child, and we always have a great time together. I usually spend every other weekend at their place, because Squishy lives right across the street. (Yeah, he lives with his 95 yr old grandmother and takes care of her – awesome man, right?!) My 1st husband’s parents/step father were always kinda blah about me, Poke’s mom hated my guts until I birthed her first two grandchildren, now she hates me again, and the parents of my various boyfriends were never really anything. I honestly can’t even remember meeting many, if any, more than once or twice. But because Squishy and I plan to be married sometime in the future, it is so comforting to know that I already have good people who love me. They love the boys and the boys love them as well, so that’s an added bonus!

16711987_10155038596234801_4013319259268139428_nIn mid-February, Squeaks turned two. He is a super crazy boy! I cannot believe how fast he is growing, both physically and mentally. Squeaks knows his colors, he can count to ten, he knows square, triangle, circle, and rectangle, and his vocabulary is off the charts. This kid is constantly talking. It is quite a different experience raising a neuro-typical child after having an autistic child. I remember JI being so chill, so easy, so “adult” and not needing much attention or supervision. Squeaks could not be more opposite! This child gets into everything. My bff, with whom we still reside, is pretty much at her breaking point with the two year old shenanigans. He’s a very busy boy.

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Squishy and Squeaks with the birthday cake

My new job is great. It’s a very easy job, but the pay is good for being part time. I’ve even gotten a raise! My supervisor made me the customer service champion, which means I’m 16711483_10155041066734801_4729882996231324363_nin charge of all the ways to make customers happier and make their time in our place easier/quicker. Since I’ve been there, our rating has gone up 2%, and I am really proud of myself. I used to hate dealing with people, but since I don’t have to deal with them more than 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes at once, it makes it a lot easier to be sincerely friendly and helpful. Plus I am working for a company that I had worked for years ago, and I absolutely love this place. Benefits are great, even though I’m not full time I get all kinds of perks, and the only thing I don’t get is health insurance.

Despite having a job, things have gotten beyond tight financially once again. With Poke refusing to pay child support, half my income is gone. I tried to get approved for government child care, but it was denied, so until I can get approved, I can only work 2-4 days a week. It is so rough. I am literally out of things to sell, having gotten rid of 95% of my furniture, baby clothes, and toys before/during the move, so I don’t know how else to make money. I am considering donating plasma, even though I usually vomit from getting blood drawn. It’s worth the risk of puking if it means I’ll have money for gasoline. All my money goes to16427354_10155001729529801_6741404559436206401_n bills, car gas, non-food groceries, and my roommate. I have absolutely nothing left. This doesn’t matter to my mother though, who constantly asks me for money. Yes, I do owe them some, but my dad makes almost $100K/year and I don’t even make $100/week right now. I told them I’d pay with my tax return, but that’s not good enough for her. She needs to harass me in the meantime. So, for now, I have cut off my parents. Once I send them the money I owe them, with instructions etc. regarding never asking me for money again, I will let them back into my life. But at this point in time I have way too many stressors to let their petty bullshit bring me down.

So I guess that brings me to present day. Tomorrow is the last day of February, a typically shitty month, and I’m glad it is over. Hopefully by the end of March things will have straightened out and I will be in a much better place.

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JI, Squeaks, and KJ

 

After All These Years

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Late May of 1997, I met a really cute guy in the bleachers at our spirit day festivities. There was only a week of school left. I told my friend Sarah that I thought this guy was cute, and at the end of the day she and her boyfriend showed up at my locker, cute guy in tow. We ended up dating all summer, but when school started again he went to public school and I went back to Catholic school. It was hard to keep it going, because I was young and easily distracted. In the end, I broke up with him, and life went on.

On a typically boring Friday night a few weeks ago, Facebook suggested him as a friend. I added him and sent a message like, “idk if you remind me, we dated almost 20 years ago”. Saturday evening, he wrote back and we talked for awhile, and it turns out he’s always had me in the back of his mind. He’s been married once, has one son, has a good job, and apparently thinks I’m beautiful. We’ll call him Squishy.

One afternoon, Squishy and I went to Chipotle for lunch, and while we were standing in line a woman turned to us and said “We are starting a hug campaign, would you like to be first?” So I said sure, and then Squishy and I proceeded to hug five strangers just for the hell of it. It was weird, but it was awesome! People need to give and get more hugs! How was this my life?

I know that you guys might think I’m crazy, falling in love almost immediately. But when Squishy walked back into my life that day, it was like I had finally come home. I texted him, I talked to him on the phone, then I saw him in person… the last time I saw him was almost exactly 19 years ago. I was young and dumb. Things happen. I spent the whole time looking for someone who treats me the way he did – the way he does – and finally he’s back. He’s here. The only time I have felt this much joy in my heart was when JI and Squeaks were born, and when I reconnected with my birth mother. I feel whole. I feel happy. Not honeymoon, new love happy, but comfortable happy.

In the Thick of It

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It’s been a long time since I posted, and I don’t even know exactly where to begin. The last I left you, I was concentrating on the Year of Me. Well, that has been nearly impossible to accomplish. Poke finally got a job, and now he refuses to take the boys on a regular basis. I have to haggle and negotiate with him every week. So yeah, he is giving me a little bit of child support, but he’s not seeing the kids. This continues to be a no-win situation for everyone except Poke. Typical.

I wish we could move forward with the divorce; unfortunately that is impossible right now thanks to the house having gone into foreclosure. Obviously my Go-Fund me didn’t work, Poke blew his 401k, and I don’t have $8k just lying around. For now we will just live for free until they force us out, but in the meantime we are going to try and file for bankruptcy to see if there is a way we can somehow save the house so that the boys and I don’t have to move and so I can keep my business. That means no divorce until after the bankruptcy is done.

As for the “doing things for myself”, I have been …meh… with that. I slacked off on my diet really badly, but I am trying to adhere via a different route. Instead of completely cutting out all meats, I am cutting out red meat and pork, and sticking to chicken and seafood. A low-purine diet allows for some chicken/seafood, so it’s not even really “breaking the rules”. It’s kind of weird actually, I used to never crave chicken or seafood, and now I do! I have completely lost my taste for beef and pork, except Phillys… I love Phillys… But I digress. Because I’ve been trying to stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, I have gotten back to more creative cooking. I juiced once. It was gross. I’m going to try again now that the weather is warmer and there is more fresh quality produce available. I have done some spiralizing, and actually got rid of 90% of my pasta. I want to do a low-carb thing, just because eating a lot of carbs makes me feel gross, but it’s hard to do on a low-purine diet because I’m supposed to eat 6-11 servings per day. Apparently carbs absorb uric acid, which is one of the goals of this diet. Ugh.

I tried getting into dating, and I still really want to date… Unfortunately it seems that the quality of man just isn’t there anymore. I’ve talked to probably a hundred guys, and I’ve had ONE date. They want sex only. They’re not interested in a girl with kids. They send unwanted dick pics. If I refuse to meet them RIGHT NOW for “a date” (aka sex), they call me names. They plan a date with me, and then never show or I never hear from them after we make a plan. I was talking to a guy for a couple months and I thought it was going somewhere, then he stopped talking to me and I found out he chose someone else over me. I was talking to another guy, he came over and hung out one night, then ghosted. A few weeks later he got ahold of me, apologized, and came over again. When he was leaving, he said “I’ll see you later tonight” and I’ve never heard from him again. The only guy who is consistent is that Marine I told you guys about, JK. At least I know what to expect (or not) from him. Friends have told me to try Match, because I was meeting all the winners on Plenty of Fish, but I don’t know. I feel like paying to meet someone online is the lowest of the low, and I just don’t think I’ve reached that level of pathetic yet.

When I was thinking I might be dating more often, I went ahead and updated my wardrobe a bit. I haven’t lost any weight, but I’m not trying, so that’s fine. I am comfortable with my body for the first time in a long time, and I think it’s because I joined a BBW group on Facebook. There are dudes in there who are legitimately attracted to chicks like me, and that’s amazing. All my life I’ve been taught that no man will be into a fat girl, but I guess it’s not actually true.

So, like the title says, I feel like I am really in the thick of it right now. Some horrible shit is behind me, and there is more horrible shit to come. I cry nearly every day. I had actually gotten back to drinking nearly every night, at least 3-4 nights a week, but as of this Sunday I am stopping that and going back to only drinking on the weekend. As great as the sleep was after a bottle of wine, the sleeping pills accomplish almost the same greatness with zero calories or health risks. I have tried so hard to remove all the negative from my life, including a current sabbatical from Facebook. I had to take a break from all the bullshit. I’ll go back on in a week or so, check things out, and if I’m feeling any toxicity radiating from there, I’m going to be out again. It’s just not worth it.

The Year of Me

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2015 was a shit year all around for many people that I know, including myself. 2016 hasn’t started out so great, but I am optimistic. One of my best friends told me to make this year the “Year of Me”, and that is what I am doing. It hasn’t been easy by any means, and I keep encountering toxic people and situations that try to hold me down. I will prevail!

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This year I am doing things that I have always wanted to do, naysayers be damned. I am focusing on straight up ignoring the haters; they only hate because they hate themselves. I am living my life for myself and my children, and not doing it according to anyone else’s rules or ideals. I’ve had enough of feeling bad because of other people’s expectations. There’s the old saying that I cannot control other people, I can only control my reactions to them. Well, I know for a fact that toxic people thrive on reactions, and I’m not going to do it anymore!

I thought about making a sort of bucket list, but really I’ve already got a good sense of what I do and do not want to happen this year. So far I have eliminated two soul-sucking relationships from my life, cut ties with all but two people related to the mothers’ group, come to terms with my horrible marriage and the fact that it wasn’t my fault and he will fthisnever change, and stopped trying to cling to this guy who clearly only had one objective in his mind. I’ve taken charge of my life. I bought myself all new Batman t-shirts because mine didn’t fit anymore, and I finally threw away or donated all the clothes that don’t fit. I joined a hot sauces of the month club. I am doing pretty well sticking to my low-purine diet, which is basically a vegetarian diet. I plan on getting more into juicing, just because it seems interesting to me, and I really want to get back to creative cooking. I am focusing on making JI the best kid he can be, not despite but in conjunction with the autism. I am teaching Squeaks to sign and speak, and I want to learn ASL fluently. I’ve been updating my Instagram on a daily basis and getting lots of followers!

I can’t do this stuff with people barking their negativity at me.

You can speak your mind, but not on my time!

Cave

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I have decided to temporarily remove myself from society. Life has gotten to be far too stressful and hurtful, and I have not-so-suddenly found myself surrounded by far too many toxic people and situations. This is not to say that everyone in my life is bad for me; quite the contrary. I have a lot of good friends who help me through the day on a regular basis. The problem is just that though – my friends constantly have to help me through the day. I need to get my life to the point where I don’t need help just to be alive, where I don’t need reassurance just to exist. Let me make it perfectly clear, too, that I’m not suicidal. I want to live, I just don’t want to live like this.

I’ve already gone off Facebook, so if you follow my page, don’t worry, I’ll be back shortly. I hardly use Twitter, so that’s basically going to stay the same. I think that by focusing on myself and the boys, I’ll be able to actually work on this blog more, update my Instagram, which makes me happy because I love sharing, spend more time on Pinterest, which is really relaxing and inspiring for me, and hopefully be able to “get back to me” or whatever the cliche is. I just know that after the deaths of two of my good friends, a huge ridiculous argument with two people I thought knew me better than to have said argument, and the continuing harassment from my former daycare client, I had to go. It was all getting to be too much. I dreaded the phone ringing, I feared opening emails and private messages on Facebook, I even winced when I would get more than one text in a row. I was afraid to live my own life because I didn’t want to feel the next hurtful thing that someone would say or do to me. I can’t exist like that. I just cannot.

You may say, “Well, Kel-Bell, you’re still online, you’re still going out in public, you’re still posting, how are you removed from society?” I will answer this: I get to control those things. On Pinterest and Instagram, I get to choose what I look at and what people see much easier than on Facebook and in “real life”. When I go out in public, which I have done once since making this decision, I don’t look at anyone, I don’t seek out contact, I go do what I have to do and be done with it. Being off Facebook eliminates 90% of the problem, because even though I share all my business on there, and I do so knowing that I leave myself open to criticism and rejection and all kinds of negativity, I usually don’t get anything negative from my friends – it all comes from other places. For example, my former daycare client has taken to messaging all the people who left reviews on my business page, and she reported me to Facebook for a plethora of untrue things, making the simple act of logging in a five minute process. In order to connect with my friends, I have to read their personal stories and dramas, which is not a problem, except for when I can’t even handle my own. Leaving Facebook gives me space in my head to not think about things, and right now that’s exactly what I need.

I wish I could go live in a cave for a month. I wouldn’t even take the boys; I’d let them keep living life normally. I need to be secluded in a dark, quiet place, somewhere I can rest and recharge, so that I can be for once the good mother and friend I am supposed to be.

Update on Life

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I have been away for quite some time now, because there has been a lot going on. I was originally going to write a post about living with mental illness and mentally ill family members, but I didn’t get a chance to before the literal shit hit the fan.

Since November, Poke has been actively suicidal. It has truly taken its toll on our family. He has been hospitalized, in the ICU, and gone through several different mental health providers. Unfortunately, his attempts to get his mental health under control were too little too late, and our family and marriage were badly damaged.

There were times when I was terrified to leave him alone with the children, times when I had to banish him to the basement to “live” for a week because I could not bear to have him around them, times when I literally dropped him off at the crisis center and called his mom to deal with him afterwards. His behaviour was completely out of control, and I was afraid for myself and the kids. He is by no means abusive, however, he would have these episodes monthly, then semi monthly, then weekly until it was like living in a mine field and I didn’t know what would happen from day to day. He never laid a hand on any of us, but he became aggressive and violent and just so angry that I didn’t want to take the chance that he would someday become physical.

We have been in marriage counseling for almost two years, and it seemed to be working for our relationship, until one day it was blatantly obvious that it wasn’t working. I got to the point where I could not stand to be around him, I could not stand to look at him, talk to him, touch him, kiss him, etc. I didn’t want him anywhere near me. So, after his last outburst when he threw a tantrum at the local dog shelter and embarrassed JI and me in front of all the other customers, I decided a change had to be made. Little did I know that he was going to make it super easy for me by randomly quitting his job when he walked out of work and never went back. He had been talking about feeling burnt out and no longer enjoying his work, but I told him that he absolutely had to keep his job to support the family. I told him that if he quit before finding a new one, that would be it, and we would be done for. Apparently that didn’t matter to him at all because he went ahead and walked out. I told him to go to his mom’s house, and that was that.

We separated officially on July 27th, with an agreement on how and who would pay the bills. The separation is supposed to be a trial for three months. I am hoping that in these three months he will take the time to get himself mentally healthy and happy, however, if he chooses not to then it’s obvious what his real decision is. I believe he came into fatherhood and marriage with the best of intentions but perhaps these things really are not meant for him, and if that’s the case then I’d rather have him out than in, rather have a happy family on the weekends only rather than a miserable one 24/7.

He’s been gone a month now, and I have not been this happy in years. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, like I no longer have to watch what I say in my own home, like I am an actual human being. JI’s behaviour has improved twenty fold. At our last counseling session, Poke says “I’m glad you’re having such a great time”, to which I replied, “We’re not having a great time. We’re doing life the way it should be done – with love and happiness.”