Sunday, March 27, 2011

Filling in the Blanks

Not that long ago, a commenter pointed out that reading my blog was like reading a book with missing chapters.
I know. Sorry about that.
I realize that many of details are lost, while I have gone on with the process of living; of taking care of myself and my kids while I rewrite the fairytale so many have come to know (including myself).
So where do I begin? How do I catch you up on where my life is now?
I guess the best place is to start at the beginning.
The Beginning of The End. What was started by this post.
After we "split" it took about eight months to start to move on completely.
Eight months to fully reconcile the end of the fairytale. I went through a slow process of fully integrating the reality of the situation - that the happily ever after I had been waiting for would never happen. That the person with whom I had chosen to spend my life was NOT that person. That he would not be there to take care of me: emotionally, financially, spiritually.
I tried moving on, but did so superficially. I found someone who was the polar opposite of what I had experienced in a partner: he was supportive, patient, wise... mature. I struggled with fully trusting that, never fully letting him in, but he stuck by my side throughout it all.
(Our story continues to unfold, but that's for another post. Suffice to say, I am HAPPY with him.)

After eight months of what the legal system calls "nesting" - where the kids stay put in the the marital home, while the parents split their time in said home - PrinceCharming eventually moved out. This decision came abruptly and was fueled by his desire to keep custody of Cinderella. Maleficent was still fighting for full custody, and how could he prove he was capable when he was leaving Cindy ALONE with me half of the time?
Joint finances were hardly enough to support ONE household, let alone two, but PC was following legal advice (advice that was misguided as his lawyer had no idea we were MONTHS behind in bills, but it was too late at that point).  So in May of 2010 PrinceCharming and Cinderella moved out.
I had found a job in March 2010 - working part-time in a Holistic Wellness Center, around our shared custody schedule. By May, I had also taken on several independent contractor positions to bring in extra money while also maintaining the flexibility to work AROUND the schedule we put in place with the kids.
During this process, PC and I tried mediation to formalize our separation.
Briefly.
Then we saw how much it would cost, so we opted for the cheaper route - employing the help of my Dad and PC's Sister, to act as "independent" third parties to assist us with negotiations.
While we made some progress, things halted rather quickly. Emotions were just too raw on BOTH sides.
Next, we moved on to a mutual "friend" who was a divorce lawyer. She kindly agreed to represent us both and act as informal mediator... as a favor.
We met a few times, but this friend had been PrinceCharming's original divorce lawyer throughout the years of struggle with Maleficent. There simply was too much history there, and as much as she tried (and I am truly grateful for her efforts), she could not help but steer PC in the direction that helped THAT situation as well.
Some groundwork had been put down, but no final paperwork has been drafted to date.
PC decided how much he could afford to pay in child support - without any legal documents forcing disclosure as to how much he made, I accepted whatever he was willing to pay. For a few months it was more than enough. Child support, paired with my income, covered my household bills and living expenses. We figured it out! (I thought.)
Then... child support payments started coming late. His clients weren't paying him, so he couldn't pay me. (That's a story that's plagued him his ENTIRE career. It's a story I am too familiar with and has caused us great financial struggles on and off over the years.)
Then the Winter happened with it's snow days, holidays, vacation and sick days. Missed work days meant missed pay. Increased heating costs didn't help, and ultimately led to both of us falling farther behind in bills.
Child support payments, still being paid late, then were reduced without warning. In fact, nothing was said. One day, he sheepishly handed me a wad of bills and skulked out as quickly as he could before I had a chance to count and notice the missing $300. Via text is where he confirmed that he would paying less each month (or whenever he had the money). That's the month where the cushion of money I started to collect was spent to cover rent. I am still trying to recover it.
My landlord is a true Prince of a man. He's understanding of my situation and gives me more leeway that I think I deserve - but I take it. He's sometimes more of a husband than a landlord - taking on overtime so HE can cover the mortgage payments on my house knowing how I struggle to pay rent month to month. Can you believe THAT?!?!
(Yes, I know it's time to move and I am in the process of looking for something cheaper.)
Child support hasn't been paid for two months. 
In the meantime, I'm working some days when I have the kids now too. Picking up even more hours where and when I can, more clients, all while trying to find a balance and not take too much of my time away from the kids.
I've borrowed money from family who are depleting their retirement savings in order to help me keep a roof over my head.
My partner (The Magic Mirror) pitches in and watches the kids whenever I need him to so I can work extra hours. He contributes in ways I never knew a man could or would - and I am grateful to have him in my life. He bears a lot of the domestic burdens of the house (cooking, cleaning, food shopping), while I do my damnedest to compensate my household income while also remembering to take care of myself.
I am grateful for all of the support I am getting.
Through it all, I remember the lessons PrinceCharming and I learned from our experiences with Maleficent. I never speak poorly of him to the kids, never use them as pawns. I continually ask myself what's in their best interests when making decisions. I live by the mantra:

"Love your kids more than you hate your Ex."

There's a fine line between being amicable, respecting your co-parent and respecting yourself.
There were boundaries that needed to be drawn. Not out of spite, but out of necessity for my own sanity and self-worth. (It hasn't always been easy to tell the difference between the two.)
See... my kids deserve a Mom who is healthy and stable. And that comes from self-care and self-respect. Thanks to the opportunities that come with working at a Holistic Wellness Center, I've attend twice monthly women's therapy groups for the last year. These intense sessions have resulted in tremendous steps towards my recovery and transformation. One-on-one therapy, Reiki and other opportunities empower me to step out of the role of the victim - remind me that I am stronger than I realize and have what it takes to control the outcome of my life. And that means I am allowed to say NO sometimes.
I am learning that I am capable of saving myself. I don't need anyone to do it for me.

***

I know that by getting on with the process of living my life and supporting myself, that details have been left out for those of you who read my blog. I apologize if you've been feeling a bit in the dark.
I know it's all-too-easy to jump to conclusions to make judgments and assumptions on someone's life when you don't know all of the details. I appreciate those of you who have been following me long enough to know that for every detail that is shared, there are probably many MANY more that have yet to be.
Hopefully, you're feeling a little more caught up on what's been happening in the Castle these days. There's still more to tell, and I promise to get to it... when I can.
I don't fault anyone for their judgments. I've actually learned that when you judge someone, you are actually judging yourself. That when you are triggered by what someone says, it means there is something in YOU that needs to be addressed.
So I don't take any of the criticism that's been posted here to heart. I know that sometimes those opinions come out of ignorance.
No matter your opinion, I appreciate every one of you.

8 comments:

Ann said...

I <3 you. So many times during this challenging time for you it brought back my journey through my life changes and choices. No one can totally understand how difficult it is, except for you. But I watch you grow into yourself more and more with each passing day, each passing challenge. It makes me smile, and I am so very proud to call you friend.

Anonymous said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

You are one classy dame! I can't believe how much I have seen you grow while I followed you on Twitter.

Just Me :) said...

you give me something to look towards. i'm not to the point you are or the point i want to be yet. but its justifying to read someone else who's a step ahead of me.

Anonymous said...

While it's been a little tough to keep up, that's the nature of personal relationships conducted by adults. Mature people don't always disclose every tiny detail, and don't they say that those who are busy LIVING don't have time to keep a journal? I know that that's certainly true for me. It's right that you should be taking time to meet your own needs, rather than chronicling your life on your blog - unless, of course, said chronicling is fulfilling and relaxing for you. I'll be here when you get back, and no worries in the meantime.

WhiteBullie said...

Liked your post, first time reading your blog!

FairieMoonChild said...

Self Love develops through loving boundaries, divorcing defensive behavior and not letting anything dishonest keep you from being honest with yourself.

I'm *very* proud of you as you seek the healing strength of inner truth.

I'm even more proud of you for opening the door & understanding that it is never the 'Knight in Shining Armor's' job to make you happy or make you feel loved. That is the job of each of us as individuals. Your job. When you fall in love with your life, look in the mirror and see (with depth) how totally awesome the young woman looking back at you is, you will know your healing just bumped up another notch. The result? Your ability to love and accept others in all ways peaceful will become greater.

While I haven't spoken to PrinceCharming in some time, it is my hope that two people who once loved each other will, as individuals *choose* to take a healthy roll in co-parenting and in peacefully laying to rest what was once a beautiful story between them. Being ex's doesn't mean being ugly, it means growing up another notch so the bi-product of a once upon a time love (your children) doesn't suffer.

I send you love, little wicked. I know you can do this. Healing takes time, learning to love takes time. Combine the two and you have one awesome life ahead of you!

Keep growing, you're glowing.


Loving You Always,
Your Fairie God Mother

Amy said...

You're very classy and I'm very impressed.

Congrats on being able to put the kids first