Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's Funk: When Practical Is A Punishment

Struggling post divorce is typical. Loss, disappointment, trying to be capable, strong and wise in front of your children... And financial devastation.

Each and every one made worse when the whole mess is a result of domestic violence.

The result: Some days, I just don't feel up to being, well, me.

I would just bury my face in my dog's fur and cry (his coat absorbed many tears of mine over the years), let his sweet gaze fill me with comfort and hope, but I had to put my beloved dog to sleep a year ago.

I miss him desperately.

I have tried to cope with the loss of him. I have coped with hope. The hope that this year was the year I might get a puppy for Christmas, but, well, practicality is often a punishment, if not it's own hell.

There's still a girl dog here; but she doesn't give a hoot for me. Despite my having raised her from a pup nearly a year before moving in with the current (and last!) husband, this dog is his dog, not mine. She brings me no comfort. She only demands things from me -- actually stops snuggling or playing with my husband to come get me to take her out to go potty!

She is not my dog.

I miss my dog.

You know, I have a certificate for a companion therapy animal. It's supposed to prevent a loss of housing and whatnot for having a pet; protection for the discrimination against the anxiety ridden and/or depressed. But the certificate does not provide a dog or money for a dog. (It's never just the cost of the dog, but the ongoing costs.) Nor does it make the dog I have become a therapy animal or even my companion. Stupid dog can't read. And probably wouldn't care even if she could.

I had no illusions about really finding a puppy under the imaginary Christmas tree. I know the balance in the old bank account. I just hoped that somehow one would find it's way there, my very own Christmas miracle. But there wasn't -- either a Christmas miracle or a puppy.

I was OK. Resigned enough not to pout, anyway. But then today...

Papers were delivered regarding court action on an old medical bill. Horror! Shame! I swallowed them under the usual calm-headed practicality of a survivor who knows that you just have to keep struggling, comforting myself with the fact that this bill, while more than we have now, is something we can accomplish. Eventually. (If only the car would stop needing repairs, if only those other "bumps" in the road of life wouldn't set us back each month, threatening to return me to my post-traumatic induced agoraphobic-dressed bed. The thing, induced by violence, that led to the companion animal certificate.)

And then, not 10 minutes later, the phone rang. "Hello! We have Basset Hound puppies -- and there's a male available for you!"

I then did the worst thing possible: I went to look at pictures of the pups online.

How can something so cute knock you to your knees? Make you want to vomit? Make you cry with all the self-pity of a self-absorbed teenage girl? Force you to humble yourself with a "Dear Diary" entry online -- or risk balling all the way into the family dinner time, alarming all?

I blame no one else. I should have said, "No, thank you, not this time," and got off the phone.

I should not even have asked, "How much?" (In some perverted twist of irony, the exact same price as the medical bill -- and both available/due within similar time frame, give or take a week, as puppies, not claims, are flexible with their dates.)

I should not have gone to look at them.

I broke my own heart.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that the bad news of the medical bill situation has me too sober to even kid myself into the dream -- which means that now hubby won't be forced into playing The Bad Cop, forced to introduce dreaming me to the sad reality that we cannot afford a puppy.

He, however, can console himself with his dog.


I guess I just get to take his dog out before it pees on the carpet and makes more work for me.

And blog to vent so that I don't end up scaring, scarring, the children. Or stuck in my bed. Again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Home Must Support You

The above graphic illustrates what I mean here. Just how much respect is Mr. Arrogant showing for his wife? I use the word respect here even though I have written on respect before because it is nearly impossible to separate respect from support in a relationship. The advertisement this cartoon comes from has a happy ending. The washer they end up with is one with exactly the features she wanted a machine to have. In real life however, Mr. A is unlikely to be any more supportive of his wife in the future then he is depicted here.

When you are trying to recover from an abusive relationship the last thing you want to do is trade one kind of abuse for another. If you’re here and reading this I’m willing to bet the look on her face is all too familiar… and so is his. Although the artist has done a good job of illustrating the hurt on her face, there is no way to show the pain in her heart. The kind of man who will laugh at your ideas, will laugh at you. In his unthinking heart you are just one of his “things”. “Hey Bob, how ya doin.” “Oh, fine. Say, what you think of my car, my house, and my golf clubs and… oh yeah, my wife”.

If you are still in a relationship like that you may survive, but you will never thrive. You need to have the dreaded “we need to talk about our relationship” discussion. You need to let you partner know that you need his support not ridicule. If he refuses to recognize what he is doing or laughs it off, then you have to decide what kind of life you want to live.

Harsh words perhaps but I’ve been down that road. There are more kinds of abuse than physical. If you stay with a partner who belittles you then every day a piece of you dies. That’s what happened to me and I wouldn’t want anybody to go through that. I was so sick after years of feeling worthless that I was literally dying. The only thing that saved me was my partner left me. A week after, a friend found me on the floor in my bathroom, unconscious, and took me to the hospital. After a short time, I was stabilized and in ICU but I didn’t improve. Why?

Because I just…didn’t…care.

I won’t bore you with the details but it was six months before I left that hospital. So full of drugs that nothing mattered. So I muddled along, taking the pills the shrink gave me, still not caring.

What brought me back was a CB. On the radio you are anonymous, the 70’s version of chat rooms. You can be anyone you want to be. You can talk only to people who don’t belittle you. And, like the story with the happy ending, I met a person, a wonderful person. A person who accepted me just as I was, “warts and all”. Someone who didn’t laugh at my dreams. Someone who didn’t say “I told you so” when they didn’t work out.

Someone who supported me.

You are unique, I’ve said it before. You deserve a partner who supports you, who respects you, one who, unlike Mr. Arrogant up there, doesn’t laugh at you or your hopes, dreams, or ideas. As I said above, if you don’t have that kind of support from your partner, you need to decide what kind of life you want to live. If you are recovering from that kind of relationship, find something, anything, that you like or wanted to do, and do it! If Bozo isn’t around anymore there is nothing to stop you. But it will help you to start feeling good about yourself again. It will help you to see that you have value in the world. And, if you get to the point where you are thinking about a new relationship, remember to look for someone who helps you realize your hopes, dreams, and ideas.

Someone who helps you to thrive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Your Bra Matters

I've written before about bras and depression -- or, more accurately, how not wearing a bra, feeling sloppy, can make you feel depressed. Improperly fitting bras also negatively affect your mental and physical well-being, which is something that bra coach Ali Cudby has noted and we've discussed in interviews.

I've interviewed Ali, as has co-blogger here, Deanna, at her other site (part one, part two). And I'm giving away signed copies of Ali's new book, Busted! The FabFoundations Guide To Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic. Enter the contest here!