Lies, Bills and Punching Bags

Posted on | August 19, 2011 | 40 Comments

I’m sorry.

I did something this week I sort of promised myself I wouldn’t do.   I sat down to write on Wednesday and I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put into words what I was going through and so I just talked about J.  And then I did the same thing on Thursday.

Because it was light.

Because it was airy.

Because it was the opposite of exactly how I was feeling.

I’ve been carrying the burden of everything I’ve been going through for a really long time.  I’ve been pushing it down and patting it back, telling myself that if I just held on long enough, it would subside.  The tears would evaporate, the pain would disappear and I would be whole again.

And then on Wednesday, a co-worker shucked a figurative corn cob and wafted the soft yellow silk of the husk in my general direction.  And that tiny thread of nothing landed lightly atop my load.  Just a thread.  Just the lightest of threads.

But that small thread did something to me.  I found myself unable to control my tears.  I closed the door to my office and tried to focus on work, willing myself to gain control.  I made it through the day only to arrive home to mail that included a cancellation notice of J’s insurance.  Somehow I’d forgotten to pay the bill.  When I called to reinstate, the figure they quoted me reduced me to tears.  It was a sharp kick to my psyche and it was the last one I could take.    I sat there at the kitchen counter and sobbed into my hands, wondering how much more I could take. Wondering when the hits would just. stop. coming.

I fed J and bathed him.  I told him my tears stemmed from an old but visable cut on my foot. I rocked him for a very, very long while and then reluctantly put him in his bed. I told my parents I was exhausted and tucked myself into bed, staring up at the ceiling and wondering how it got to this point; wondering when I lost the ability to push it back and pat it down.  

I had lost the ability to function.

Had you spied on me later that evening, you would have found me curled in the fetal position in the bed of the room I used to share with my husband, clinging desperately to my mother as though she were the only life raft in the entire ocean.  The tears were endless.  The sobs were so violent that I was reduced to shivers, wondering if the temperature dropped in the room or if I were somehow going into shock from the realization that everything was different.  Everything would always be different.

I lost any composure I tried to present.

I lost all of my pretend togetherness.

I lost all of everything.

I cried for my old life, my old husband, my old friends.  I wanted to look up and see R coming in to the room to check on me… the R he was when we first met.  I wanted to have those old familiar faces to call to come over for a glass of wine. I wanted the money to pay the bills that are so quickly piling up without answer. 

I am lost, my little voyeurs.  I am so terribly lost.  I have spent the last four months trying to pretend that I am not lost.  I have spent so much time wandering through the endless forest with nothing but a pen light and an outdated map, talking to myself as though I have the slightest clue where I’m going.

I have no clue where I’m going.

The fact of the matter is that I’m a 33 year old divorced mother of a toddler.  Five months ago, I was living in Savannah, married, and working a job with a fairly large Atlanta firm.  Today, I am living back in Macon, in a house with windows that don’t quite insulate in the winter and don’t quite keep the air in during summer, divorced, and working a job that I’m still struggling daily to grasp.

I am not swimming; I am treading water.

And my arms and legs are getting very, very tired.

The only thing I can do these days is get out of bed and put a smile on my face, even though I don’t feel much like smiling.  I play with J and do the small, routine things that have become the familiar safety blanket of our life alone.  I just keep getting up, like one of those punching bags with the sand in the bottom… always bouncing back up for the next punch.

I guess that’s all any of us can really do, anyway.


40 Responses to “Lies, Bills and Punching Bags”

  1. Jana Anthoine
    August 19th, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    Oh, how my tears fall for you right now. I don’t even know if I have the words to convey how much I want to wrap you up in my arms and give you a squishy hug. I know there are things I could say that would be so cliche, but I’m not. I’m not going to pretend I know how it feels to be where you are right now. All I can do is tell you that you are loved and what you’re feeling is not “wrong.” Much love to you. xoxo

  2. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    Thanks. I love you more than my luggage, friend. We must catch up in the ATL soon.

  3. ChiMomWriter
    August 19th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    Hugs to you. I’m reading and I’m hearing you. That’s all I’ve got, but it’s there.

  4. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    Hey, that’s more than enough. Thanks.

  5. R's Mom
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    Hugs. You’re going through so much. I hope that the crying on Wednesday night was at least a little cathartic. You can only hold in but so much for so long…you need to get out the fears and frustrations and anger. And if you are like me, sometimes tears are the way that all of my emotions come pouring out.

    I don’t have personal experience with what you are going through, but I do understand the feeling of treading water. And sometimes, you just need to let go, and trust that you will float. So that’s all I really have to offer right now…just rely on those who believe in you & support you (in real life and online), and float. And if you need to have another sob-fest, then do it. Because it’s all a part of the healing process.

  6. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    I defintely needed the cry, you’ve got that right. I feel a lot less “over-full” than I did before.

  7. Abigail
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Hi Law-Momma,

    This is a general reply to your whole situation rather than a response to this particular post. You know how some people have better athletic abilities than others, and some have better taste buds and some are really really good at math?

    Well, corny (and a little bit counter popular culture / Hollywood mythology) as it may sound, I think that some of us are blessed/cursed to love deeper and harder and more intensely than others.

    I had one horrendous breakup in my life and I suffered like you are suffering now. I am (without being able to articulate it) NOT Invalidating the loves/marriages of those who do not love this deep, but your pain is not their pain.

    And you know how you surf the web and pick up on a page you think you like and follow it a little, then either get really involved or drift off because it does not speak to you? Well I think some of us are here because you speak for us and you are verbalizing parts of our lives. We may not be living that pain at this moment but either we have met it in the past or we somehow know that we are capable of it.

    Yeah – I had other friends who lost their loves. But some of them did not take it quite this bad. And that was not their fault and it is not your fault either. You are living in the curse part of deep loving right now, and I know this seems like a platitude now, but you will emerge from it eventually, and everything you have shared leaves me convinced (whether or not you are convinced) that you will go on to live in the blessing part of it and love again. And that next time it will be with someone whose ability to love is as deep as yours.

    FWIW, when I was cold and broke and broken like you seem to be now, the first time in months the sun shone was when… I involuntarily went along with a workplace scheme to play 5-a-side soccer at lunchtime. (Not the year 2011, not in the USA, but anyway…) . So I dutifully ran up and down the field ‘because-I-had-to’ and at the end an amazing thing happened – the endorphins kicked in. And my own body’s chemicals lifted me out of my deep deep funk. It was only for a few minutes that first day, but it was a little ray of sunshine that reminded me what life had been like once before. And gradually the sunny moments came more often until the rainy days were gone. I know – corny – but true.

  8. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    I love this comment so much. Mostly because it’s like a little ray of sunshine for me… validating that it’s okay that I’m a total and complete over-sharer. Thanks.

  9. Heather Griffitts Clark
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Oh dear LM 🙁 I’d wondered if all ways well – it’s more like you to tell us how you’re feeling (and we sincerely want to know!!) than to talk about J for several posts.

    You still have so much healing to do….and that’s normal and expected. We will hold your heart in ours until you feel strong.

    A friend of mine once told me when I was going through a particularly hard time that when your heart hurts, stand down. Move yourself to a place of gentleness and allow yourself to heal. Then, when you’re stronger and more centered, you can pick up the battle (and joy!) that is life.

    We’re here for you, your little voyeurs true, but also people who want to let you lean on them.

  10. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I know… I’m cursed/blessed with intelligent readers who are like “Whoa… two meaningless, funny posts in a row? Is she alive?” 🙂 Thanks for the love.

  11. aim
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    hand wash cold doo-dah.
    one step at a time (or even a quarter step)……love you.

  12. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    I need to re-read it, Aims. I think all of this is just overwhelming angst about tomorrow… will probably drink A LOT of wine tomorrow night. 🙂

  13. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    i love you, and i love your bravery in speaking your truth. I am in a different place than you, but feel a whole lot like you do. I cant wait until I am free to write my emotions like this. *HUG*

  14. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    You, my friend, are a rose without thorns. I can’t wait for you to be able to blossom again.

  15. Nicole Morgan
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    i think you bottomed out …
    you held it all together, a flow and ebb til the whole dam burst.
    And now, down there in that place you have found your self, there is no lower to go … and that means, you just have to head back up.
    Little by little, yes, one ray of sunshine at a time until your life takes on a rosy glow and before you know it, the sky will light with joy … and you will bask in its warmth!
    Hugs and happy thoughts for you and your precious child, hugs xxx

  16. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    Toss me a rope, would ya? The climb seems awfully steep!!! 😉

  17. Jennifer Williams
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

    Momma knows. We can’t really fake it with them can we. I’m so glad she was there with you.

    The problem is that you’ve been trying to tap it down, to pat it back into place. Nothing is going to go back in the new place. You need to air out and let it go so that it can settle in new place.

    Control is awesome. Out of control is scary. I get that. But unless you face the fact that you aren’t totally in control this tower of blocks you keep tapping into place are just going to keep falling.

  18. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    Amen, sister.

  19. rynerman
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    Perversely delurking because I don’t have anything to say other than you are going through something so hard and I am thinking about you. I am not going through your same thing, but the feeling of simply treading water is one I’m too familiar with. Time will pass and it will get better slowly, slowly, but it will happen.

  20. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

    “perversely delurking” sounds dirty. Also it made me laugh. 🙂

  21. Billymarykeister
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    so sorry, you were very good at hiding the hurt. But is that not why you blog about your life, to get it out? Sorry that your alone, but you don’t have to be alone forever. Let yourself grieve at a normal pace, it may take a while. Hang in there lady.

  22. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    You are totally right. And it did help to get it out on paper.

  23. molly
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    (((hugs))) I’m so sorry this has rocked your world. I am crying tears for you, my friend. I really am.

  24. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    Thanks so much.

  25. Ejandsloanphillips
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Oh, sweet friend. I’m both happy and sad about this post. Sad, because, well, someone I love is hurting. But happy because pretending to feel one way when you feel another is both exhausting and fruitless. It’s also fruitless to want to suck it up or feign control. It’s better to just shrug your shoulders and admit that you just carried the watermelon. Embrace the freedom that comes with not having to keep it together. And continue to remember that you are loved and that come what may, you are not alone. Also, i think it is good of you to write about J. Not to avoid reality, but to embrace it. To say, hey, all this suckiness is not all there is. 🙂

  26. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

    A) You just quoted Baby to me which makes you six times cooler than you already were.
    B) I freaking love you, girl.

  27. Roxanne Piskel
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    I am there with you, treading similar waters. I can only keep hoping that things will look up. For both of us.

  28. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

    I think they will, oh brilliant one… 🙂 I like thinking that this is the bottom and that there is no where to go but up!

  29. Destinmarler
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    The best step you took was talking about it. You will emerge eventually and it will surprise you how strong you get.

    I had my post-divorce breakdown not after my divorce but months later when I heard my favorite cousin was getting divorced. I left work and went straight to McDonalds.

    It’s a part of healing to let it all out.

  30. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    Mmmm McDonalds. I could go for a McFlurry right about now…

  31. Kristinayellow
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    Oh dear-I’m so sorry. I wish I could give you a big hug and say, it’s ok to cry. It’s good to let it all out-that way you can feel “light” again and see your reality with less emotion. I can’t imagine how difficult things are for you. And this sounds dumb but I’m going to say it anway. I was watching Curious George 2 this morning with DD and the man in the yellow hat was so upset because everything had gone wrong. His career was in the tubes, he was angry at George, he had a kidnapped elephant, etc. But as he split wood, he realized that everything had already gone wrong. And then he realized, that meant that he had nowhere to go but up. Things were going to get better because he was already at the worst. And he still had what was important-his family and his friends. I know it’s silly but it really kinda hit me. I feel like things have been so bad for so long but honestly, I’ve gotten through it. Maybe not gracefully and maybe not easily but I’m here and I’m still chugging along. And DD loves me and that’s what matters. You have the same thing. You’ve had so much to go through-still go through-but J adores you. And you will keep going on. You will get through this. Things will go up. Reread some of your happy mail-know that so many people are sending you happy thoughts and love. And be ok that sometimes you have to cry and let it all out. And then keep taking those steps. You’ll end up in a wonderful place. Soon.

  32. Anonymous
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    I love it. And if all else fails, I can always kidnap an elephant… 🙂

  33. beachmum
    August 19th, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    I hurt for you. I’m so sorry.

  34. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 1:39 am

    Thanks friend. It will all be better soon!

  35. Rachel D
    August 20th, 2011 @ 1:41 am

    You don’t know me, but your writing has spoken to me so many times that I feel it is the least I can do to try and send one more voice of support to you. These times are hard, the hardest there is. You will survive it. For J and for yourself. So there is nothing to worry about. You will survive it so it is ok to cry and fall apart for a while. You will put yourself back together. I’m sure of it even though I don’ t know you, because of the Mama that your writing shows you to be. I know that you will survive it.

  36. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    Thank you so much. It’s what we do as moms… We just keep pasting on Zuzu’s petals, even when it seems like just another meaningless task.

  37. Joel
    August 21st, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    dear LM, its happening to all of us who are walking in your shoes. My divorce has been final for only two months and I feel the same way you do.. I am treading water, barely. I have cried more in the past 9 months than my entire life. You will have days that seem to get better and then out of nowhere the tears will start falling – and its ok. Let them fall. Get it out. We are all going to get through this. I wish I could give you a hug (I need one too). Stay strong and know so many others are out there right with you in pain barely treading water. Somehow we will make it.

  38. Sara
    August 21st, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    LM, just like the tiny cornsilk that seemed too much it’s all you need to climb out. Because your strength will carry you to places you never knew it could.

    I, like you, stood at the top of the canyon admiring its beauty, telling myself I can walk down the path. And so we did. And the walk was easy and beautiful. And now that we’re at the bottom we’ve turned and looked to realize we now must climb a mountain to get out.

    But just as we walked down, we walk back up that mountain one step at a time. And just as we stopped along the way down to admire the beauty around us, we are allowed to do the same thing as we climb back out.

    Anyone can climb down a mountain, but only those determined to stand atop the world – even if it is to shout out “Look at me you SOB!” – can climb up.

    You, my friend can climb up! Turn around and take that first step. I guarantee you’ll not walk alone for too long. I’m somewhere near the bottom and when you get to me, I’ll extend my hand and help you to a sitting place so you can catch your breath before we both continue our journey.

    My best to you,

  39. Pdot80
    August 26th, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    Your story is so very like mine, and many others’ out there. That monumental, heaving, can’t see or breathe right breakdown is totally normal. Sadly, I had many. Each successive breakdown was slightly better than the previous, and eventually, you are able to cope. And then, hopefully, like me, you’ll find that you’ve paid all the bills and still have $11 to your name. (I did a happy dance in the kitchen when that finally happened to me). Your time will come, and you will find that you look back at these times just as you do the first few years of your son’s life– it will be a general blur of “I remember that it sucked” but you won’t be able to remember exactly how until a friend going through the same situation tells you her story and tidbits of your experience come back to you. This too shall pass, and you are not alone.

  40. Gage C. Evans
    August 28th, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

    Ok, now I did cry. You are amazing. You are beautiful. There is value in falling apart. That’s the day you realise the pieces no longer fit together.

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