Choices Part 3

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Image taken from the artforadults Instagram page. Not my work.

Several previous posts have outlined the events that have lead up to the mess my life is in right now. None of it is pretty, lots of it makes me ashamed. I am stagnant and depressed. I keep saying I have no hope, but if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t even try to get up in the morning and the dreams I have would go away and leave me alone. It’s been brought to my attention that I have choices. I CAN change my life no matter how impossible it seems. I NEED to change my life, or at least my outlook on the life I have. I have always gone where the wind blew me, until it blew me into pregnancy and marriage, which seem like a dark corner where the gusts can’t reach and so I stay here damp and rotting till someone comes with a broom and sweeps me out. The thing is, I don’t want to depend on anyone with a broom! I want to sweep myself out! Maybe not even out of marriage, and certainly not out of motherhood, but out of this stagnant depression, this groundhog day like existence of doing the same things day in and day out. Get up, take kids to school, go to work, come home, eat, help with homework, go to bed and do it five days a week and then clean and prepare all weekend for the next week to be exactly the same. My life isn’t horrible. I have three beautiful kids who love me, a husband who cares deeply for me, a job that pays the bills and feeds us all even if just barely, a car, clean running water, this computer, all things that most of the world doesn’t have and many yearn for. It’s absolutely unfulfilling, boring and enslaving. I have no time or money to LIVE. I only exist and I MUST do something about that. So here I plan to list my dreams, plans to make them happen, obstacles to overcome, pros and cons of each including the effects they may have on my family, in the hopes of being able to choose a pathway to freedom and happiness, or at least less depression. getting them all in order is going to be tough, so please bear with me as I struggle.

 

When I think of the ultimate happy life for myself from this point on, this is what it looks like:

I could somehow magically quit my job and still pay my bills, no, pay them completely off except maybe the mortgage and I could stay home while my husband worked at whatever amazing job has magically presented itself.

I would still have to wake up Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00am to take my daughter to school, but once I got home and saw my boy off, I could start laundry, do dishes, clean the downstairs and then the upstairs. In the summer, I’d tend my garden before cleaning the house, before things got too hot. That all should take maybe two hours. Then I would shower and dress and shop for the week. I’d get home, unpack groceries and head upstairs to Blog for the remaining two hours before it was time to pick up my daughter from school. We’d come home and I’d help kids with homework before starting dinner. We would eat, and clean up together, then I’d either hang out with them or go upstairs and read articles and watch vlogs on how to homestead, permaculture, how to raise animals for food, how to build treehouses, how to navigate the art business…

Tuesdays, up at 6:00am, off to school, home, garden, clean, shower, then go to some art studio like The Generator for four hours to work on some massive project till it was time to pick up my girl. Then home, homework, dinner, clean up, and hang with kids or watch more vlogs and read more articles on beekeeping and woodworking and outdoor survival…

Wednesdays, 6:00am, school, home, garden, clean, shower, Generator for art, school, home…well, you get the idea. All that till I could accumulate a big enough body of work to show my art at as many events, galleries and contests as possible up to and including Burning Man. Hopefully that would allow me to make more money and connect with people who could actually show me how to do all the things I have been trying to learn about through blogs, vlogs and articles. I would be able to keep up with housework and homework as well as having my own time to do the art, building and gardening work I’m passionate about. I would have time to plan the healthy meals which I love to find and prepare for my family. I would make meals and snacks that I know would help heal their minds, bodies and spirits as well as my own. We would use essential oils and other 100% natural products to clean our home and treat ailments and keep us healthy. I would have the TIME and money and energy to decorate and prepare for holidays and vacations. I would have TIME to clean up after our adventures and get the home back in order. On weekends I could afford to take the time and money to go on adventures with the family and bring them to my shows and exhibitions.

With the money I’d make from my art I would continue to fix this house up. I’d be able to put new floors in, update to energy saving appliances, make the murals and decorate the rooms the way I envisioned them. I could finish the ocean mural in my friend’s home and all the other projects I’ve started for friends but haven’t had the time or energy to finish. Once it was all done, I’d stay for two years enjoying it, making art, making connections and getting the kids through school as happy and healthy as we can be within this system and within this marriage.

Then we would sell this house and buy unimproved land somewhere and build ourselves a homestead where we could get EVERYTHING we need from our own land and be independent of the system except for property taxes, insurance, and the smallest necessities needed from town or other homesteaders. We’d go to music festivals and sell our wears and grow our own meat and veggies. I KNOW it’s not impossible! I can SEE people out there DOING it!

 

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Again, not my image. Taken from Instagram username wendyortizart.

 

All of that is how I WISH things could go from now till then. But where is the money going to come from? I have to face the fact that my husband is probably never going to get a job that could support us all and provide enough money to actually live life like that. No one is going to just GIVE us money to make that happen, and I’m not sure I’d even want them to. I hate feeling DEPENDENT on anyone. I hate being dependent on my husband for his half of the contribution to everything right now. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to anyone except those less fortunate than me. Maybe this hang-up with obligation is why I have a hard time opening up to my husband physically. I hate that I feel obligated and that it’s not my own not passionate choice in that moment, especially since there is only a small window of time between other obligations to get it done. I also HATE going to work outside my home and having to bend my family’s life around it. My kids are alone far too much of the time. I just don’t see any way around it. I make art whenever there are no other obligations and there is time before bed or I can afford to stay up and work when the inspiration is there. That happens maybe once a month, if even that. But I still do it and I will hopefully be able to come up with a consistent body of work at some point. Right now it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of plan to make even small parts of this lifestyle come to be. Here are things I think I should do:

Meal plan on weekends and give a list of groceries to my husband. I don’t do the shopping, but maybe I should start doing that on weekends. He would scream about the bill, but maybe I can get him to trade the mortgage bill I pay, for the grocery bill he pays and then I wouldn’t have to answer to him for the amount of money it takes to feed a family of five an abundantly healthy diet. I’m not sure I’d even have the money or energy to pull that off, but I can look into it. I don’t get home till almost 7:00pm and I still have to help kids with homework, so he does most of the cooking and I’d have to depend on him to stick to the meal plan. Sometimes he’s not home till late either and then it’s even harder, but I enjoy cooking, and if we are eating right, the kids might not have as much trouble in school and I might be able to spend less time having to help them. I have no idea when we’d have time to fix up healthy snacks that so often require putting together instead of just opening a plastic package, but we can try…

I need to make a budget. How much we make vs. how much goes out. I already know it’s pathetic. I’ve done it before and got scared, so I put it out of my mind and hoped for the best. I need a PLAN for paying off all this debt that wasn’t a problem when I was getting paid a lot more. I can’t ignore it anymore. I MUST put in more effort to stay on top of my bills. I must get my money organized. I need to accept the possibility of bankruptcy or at least call the creditors and ask  for options to lessen the burden. When I think about this I get terrified. I’m no good on the phone even with friends and family. Seriously, the phone SCARES me. I know it’s irrational and after I do take care of something like that I feel better, but I’m literally terrified of paperwork and legal stuff and talking to people on the phone, or asking for help, or accepting defeat and fault. But it’s time to suck it up and act like the adult/parent that I am.

I need to stop complaining and be grateful. My kids aren’t sick, my husband isn’t sick. I am sick, but it’s fatigue and depression, not some life threatening, expensive hospitalizing disease. I CAN still get up in the morning and I CAN still go to work, I CAN still help the kids with homework and let them vent and talk to me about whatever they need. No matter how much I want change and adventure, no matter how much I resent my life as it is now, I DO have a lot of things to be grateful about.

Lastly, I guess I need to ask for help. I don’t know who to ask or how to ask or even really what to ask FOR. Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading. Really just typical American woman lifestyle stuff I guess. Advice and encouragement welcome.

 

 

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Choices Part 2

I cut him off in November and tried to concentrate on my new job and catch up on bills with an income cut almost in half. I had to try to get ok with the fact that this is where I was stuck now, that art and building, sculpture, gardening and sustainable living weren’t where I was gonna be for God only knew how long. I wasn’t doing well. My last boss was so encouraging, told me I was the fastest learner he’d ever encountered and one of the best jewelers he’d ever known. I felt stupid and inadequate here though, I was struggling hard, knocked down more than I was lifted up no matter how hard I was trying. I was a prisoner in my own home, unable to keep up with bills or housework and certainly unable to continue fixing the house and yard. The kids were and still are being left at home alone while we both work and I had told myself I’d NEVER let that happen. There was and still is zero expendable income and me and my husband were irritable and stressed out with no way to relax or blow off steam. No outlet for our frustration. Then in July, he messaged me, my Trailer Trash Skater Boy. He said my husband was in his dreams, he missed him and was confused about why we had cut him off. I told him to message my husband and leave me out of it, but my heart was pounding out of  my chest and I just wanted to talk to him like we used to. He asked more questions, and I told him I’d message him after work.

I went home, ran a bath, poured myself a glass of wine and spilled my guts. His response was something like, “We never flirted or said anything inappropriate to each other ever. I was just happy you would talk to me. We never did anything wrong! But it’s pretty clear now, that you love me and I love you, and we can do something about that without hurting anybody.” And for the next four months we talked every single day about hopes and dreams and our lives as they were right then, about our kids and projects he was working on. What we did for dinner and how we missed each other being right there beside each other doing daily things like laundry and shopping. We talked about art projects we’d do together, what we’d have in our garden, how we’d build our treehouse and how we’d travel with next to nothing but the clothes on our backs. He’d write me poetry that was the perfect blend of romance and raunch, love and humor, things that would make me sigh with delight and laugh out loud and ache with lust. He was at once lovingly romantic and disgustingly dirty and playful. I would tell him all my flaws and he’d come back with perfectly logical and loving responses that told me he wasn’t dismissing my imperfections, but embracing them. He was ready for them.

Once I asked him what our first fight would be and he said, “Period panties in the sink.” and I was like, “Gross! I’d NEVER do that! Put some Spray n Wash on those shits and throw ’em in the washer! But I DO loose a lot of hair in the shower that I don’t want going down the drain, so I collect them in a pile in the corner of the shower and then I forget to throw them out. It gets gross.” and he said, “I’d collect them and cherish each one like they were strands of gold.” Like, who says shit like that??? But I believe him, because I always paid attention to how he talked about his friends and family, his kids and his ex-wife, and it was always loving sentimental shit like that even before he thought about trying to impress me. Plus, he’s an artist and we do crazy stuff like that. He’d probably make ’em into hair on a weird artsy doll or something. Did I mention he sews too?

It DID eventually get inappropriate, very very inappropriate at times, and like I said, my body responded. I had thought that part of me was dead and it scared me and excited me and had me totally addicted right quick. I felt sexy and beautiful for the first time in years, like he was making love to my being before he had ever seen or touched my body, and though he’s seen me now, he still hasn’t ever actually touched me except for brief hugs back years ago when he and my husband were still friends. He has seen my body now, through pictures and videos. The first time I sent him a picture was after his dog died. He had come home with a huge gash in his side that would need extensive surgery to fix and my Love had to have someone come help him put the poor thing down. he was sad and panicked and I did it to cheer him up, to prove to him that my feelings were real. After I sent it, I threw up. I threw up almost every day for about a month after that. Even though I loved and still love this man, I was and still am married to a different man, a good man who is the father of my three children.

After that picture it was on and crackin’. We did some really shifty shit besides the pictures and videos. I made a fake Facebook account and a Twitter account so we could talk. I opened a PO Box that he paid for so he could send me little things, and I called him once in a while. It was wonderful and awful.

 

I thought I would leave my family for him. I thought they wouldn’t care much. I was thinking about love and freedom, but not money or logistics. They don’t like the things I like. They don’t think the things I think are important are important. I’m a dirty hippie at heart, my husband and girls want to live in a city with a nice car, stainless steel appliances and modern décor. I still haven’t seen Yosemite or Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, and I haven’t been to the Redwoods since I was little, let alone anywhere out of the country, and they want to go to San Francisco to Japan and Korea Town and to the big malls. I have fun doing that too, for them, but my SELF is being smothered. I don’t even have the time, money or energy to make master tonic or chicken soup or natural lotions and salves or to tend the small garden I do have. I want to build my own sustainable home and sit out on the deck I helped build smoking weed and drinking tea and sit by the fire snuggled up to my loved ones reading aloud or watching a movie. I want to build and create and raise my own food and cook from scratch, can and preserve shit, make crafts and art to sell at festivals, go backpacking across country and live amongst the trees. But even that life requires an abundance of money that I don’t have. Even if it was possible, my fear is that this fatigue, this heaviness, this depression wouldn’t leave my body and I’d fail at that life like I’m failing this suburban one. I know that diet and exercise and creativity are all essential to fighting depression and that lifestyle lends itself to all those things where this one sucks them all away. Changes must be made, but how? Going away to depend on another man for those things, and one on a fixed income at that,  may not be the best way and I’m aware of that.

When my husband ran across my fake account and came to the realization of my deception, he went ballistic. He screamed and yelled and threw things, understandably. He found the stupidest picture he could of Trailer Trash Boy, one where the idiot had shaved the top of his head like an old man and made a face at the camera after having a spray paint fight with his son, and showed it to the kids telling them, “This is gonna be your new step-daddy! You like that? Huh? You’re GROSS Jen! You disgust me!”. He called me every name he could come up with, and I just sat there and took it while the kids cried. What could I say? It was my fault this was happening. He went through so many emotions. He told me I had been his pride, that he loved me and never thought he’d have to worry about anything like this, that he had always thought he had the best wife of all his friends. When he went through my phone and saw all the pictures and conversations he cried. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry over anything but death. I wanted to comfort him, but how? He wanted sex from me more than anything after that, but my body responded the way it always had and worse, by closing in on itself and shying away. I love him, but I don’t want to make love to him, I can’t and it’s not that I haven’t tried or that he’s bad or anything. My body simply refuses to go there, and I hate it.

My oldest kept telling me she loves me no matter what I decide, but she doesn’t want me to leave. My middle daughter refused to talk to me for months and wouldn’t let me touch her till just recently. She’s having trouble in school and stopped caring about keeping her room cleaned or helping around the house like she used to do. My son cried and told me he loves me, asked me questions about Skater Boy, never judging either of us, he was incredibly understanding and forgiving, but said he doesn’t want me to go. My husband kept wanting to talk about it, but I’d close up. I don’t know how to talk about it. We can’t even keep one household afloat, how could we possibly keep two?

I got caught talking to him again a couple times till November of 2015 when I cut him off completely. I still miss our conversations with every breath. I still hate this existence, still can’t get to a place of craving my husbands advances. I still loath getting up in the morning to leave the kids and the house I so desperately want to keep clean and transform into the vision I had for it when we bought it. My husband still wants to talk about it, still can’t let it go, and yet, still tries to make me happy, to take care of me. He just can’t. Sure he works and pays bills, but he’d do that with or without me. He takes care of our children, but he’d do that no matter who their mother was. He cares that I am depressed and miserable. He’s even said multiple times that I should just go, but I can’t leave my kids and I can’t afford to live here in a place that would have enough room for them. I can’t stand how every single night he looks at me accusingly and says, “You’re missing.” meaning my Trailer Trash Boy, and he’s right, but I always deny it. I can’t stand how he insults him every day, calls him Busta Boy and makes fun of how small he is, commenting about his little hands and feet, sneering about how he lives off the state and doesn’t work, telling me stories about how he had wronged him in their youth and telling me that anyone they grew up with would tell me what an asshole this guy is. He doesn’t understand that insulting someone I love is insulting me. He doesn’t get that I’ve probed this mans heart and mind for years and come to my own conclusion about him. He’s had fifteen years to learn and grow just like we have. He’s not a kid anymore. Insulting this man is not going to make me love him any less or love my husband any more. As a matter of fact, it may have just the opposite effect. Even so, I DO take many of these things into consideration, not because my husband points them out, but because as much as I hate being an adult, I am one and I HAVE to think rationally instead of like a love-struck teenager.

 

We spoke briefly through messenger about a month ago, reaffirming that we miss each other, that we love each other. My husband caught us talking, again, I’m really bad at this sneaky shit apparently, and the whole thing blew up again. Now I’m here, writing this because I have to make changes in my life. I HAVE to. I have to decide what routs are open to me, what I want, what can be done, which way is going to make the most sense and make me the happiest, or at least the least sad. I cut Skater Boy off for now despite how much I miss him because it’s obvious that we have said everything we can possibly say to each other from this place of indecision. He knows I love him, I know he loves me, but unless I’m willing to pack up and leave my kids, what’s the point of talking, of torturing ourselves? He’s only going to beg me to come and I’m going to resist leaving my kids and it’s going to ruin us. So, unless I figure out that going to him would be the best thing for me and my family, I’m not going to talk to him anymore no matter how much I miss him.

The last time we talked, he helped me understand that I have nothing but choices ahead of me. I have to weigh pros and cons of each possible choice, make lists, make plans, decide which ones to follow and then actually DO it. He said he understands my position and the difficulty of it, that he’d never be mad at me for not choosing him, but that he’d be there no matter what, no matter how long it takes.

 

Now I guess it’s time to start writing out my options, my dreams, think about what I can do in the near future to drag myself out of this darkness and start on a path to happiness, or at least less depression. Stay tuned.