October 02, 2015

This place is a dusty but well loved old home.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Celti. She was a creative sort, and loved life but she was a mess. She was stuck in a dead-end job and a marriage that had lost it's purpose years ago. You know how sometimes people stay in a marriage because they think it's what best for their child(ren)? That's where she was, but it became increasingly apparent that this was NOT actually what was best - for anyone involved. She got stuck in a never-ending cycle of bitterness, regrets, and resentment fueled by abandonment, alcoholism, drug use and general mismanagement of life that left her lost, aimless and miserable. She did what she had to - what she needed to do to protect and care for her child, the best she could at the time, but she was so very lost.

Yeah, ok...this person is me so enough with the third person crap.

What I'm trying to say, actually, is that I'm a very different person these days. Five years ago I was at my top weight and in horrible physical shape (85 pounds heavier than I am now and so unhealthy), and drinking heavily. I felt the need/urge to drink to "kill my give a shit" if you will because life was otherwise too painful. I tried to hide my self-medicating from those I love...like my parents and all of my friends -online and otherwise, but I really don't know how well I managed to do that. It had to be more obvious than I wanted to admit to myself - that or everyone simply thought me unstable and sloppily careless. For the careless things I said and did, for the dreadful behavior I submitted some of them to, I am truly sorry. The best I can say for myself is that I was lost.

So a series of things happened that forced me to turn myself around. My ex husband, after what seemed like years of threatening to leave me, finally understood that I actually wanted him to go, and that his efforts to get me to "treat him right" when he simply refused to treat me right were for naught. You see, the house was mine, bought long before we were married, and the only home my son has ever known and I had no intention of leaving. He did, and it was like someone opened up the windows and let the sunshine and a fresh breeze in. A giant weight lifted off my shoulders that day. Oh sure - I grieved. I grieved for the loss of my marriage, for the realization that I was truly and officially alone, for the lost years, but that didn't last long. I had been set free to find myself again and to teach my broken wings to fly again (at the risk of sounding cliche). This forced me to get up off of my ass and take control of things - to start cleaning up and to get my finances straight as I was now the sole bread-winner, and everything was up to me at that point.

Not long after he left, I realized that the drinking wasn't really necessary any more...my desire to drown my sorrows lessened as they became lighter and I eventually stopped altogether. This was no small feat, mind you, as I had been drinking between 1/2 of a fifth to a fifth of vodka per day. I never drank during work hours or anything like that - always after getting home from work, and usually wouldn't become actually intoxicated until after my son had gone to bed, but I had already known for a while that I was hurting myself. I gained weight, my kidney's were hurting, my feet and legs swelled something terrible. Before my husband left, I would fall into bed drunk every night after hopefully having successfully avoided an argument with him about why I spent so much time online talking to all of those people instead of him. I was constantly berated for all of my time spent online talking to friends, though they were the only ones that treated me with respect and engaged in intelligent conversation with me, where he would mostly hang out with his drunken friends, smoking and being obnoxious. When I did try to focus on him, he ignored me or left to go "out" leaving me at home with the kid.

I feel bad for all of the time I wasted. I feel bad for my son and the fact that I wasn't a very good mother to him during these times, but he's turned out wonderfully and we are closer than ever. Yes, he is with me, and is as he has always been my rock. I can only ask that he forgive me for the time I spent mentally "checked out" in an effort to protect myself from the pain. Some day we will talk about it all and I am sure he will understand. As far as I know, he didn't really even think anything was all that wrong. He was bewildered when his dad and I broke up, and didn't seem to think that things were that bad - probably because we padded most of it and kept him out of the arguments, most of the nastiness going on late at night while he slept. He remembers the mornings that I woke up with eyes swollen from crying, but I never really explained why for fear it would make him think less of his dad.

So my husband left, claiming he would file for divorce but he never did. He didn't give me one thin dime of support for nearly 2 years after he left, and had gotten himself into a considerable amount of financial trouble, so I finally filed and paid for the whole thing. The child support isn't very much, and I'm sure I could get more if I pushed for it, but I don't want to be a jerk. It does help and I'd made it through with much less. I've behaved throughout this whole thing in such a manner that he and I could stay friends and work together in a friendly manner so that it served my son's best interest. Keeping things amicable and positive between his father and I is one of the best gifts I could and can give to my son.

It wasn't easy. The house was in horrible shape when he left. My parents stepped up and helped me clean it up and fix it up. Slowly we worked on all the issues - a new back door that's secure (rather than hanging on one hinge with broken glass/wood nailed over it and a giant gap at the bottom), fixed the roof and gutters, a few new windows, paint, fixed the front porch that was collapsing, fixed the front walls that were collapsing. It was all somewhat symbolic in nature...we worked to fix my house while I fixed my heart and my mind at the same time. Our relationship, my parents' and I, is back to what it should be. They said it feels like they got their daughter back. I never even realized I had been hiding from them in my shame and misery. They have been a blessing beyond compare.

Shortly after my husband left, I lost my job. I was squeezed out by a manager that decided his cocktail waitress friend should have my job, so they shoved me into another vacancy to clean up the mess left by a lady who had retired while I trained my replacement and then my position was eliminated. Slick, but at this point I feel like I should thank them...thank them for getting me the hell out of there. I was going nowhere in that company, and changes they had made to the management had taken it from a wonderful place to work, to a hell hole where nothing you could do was good enough. Recent events, however, had crammed me down in the dirt far enough that I would have never picked myself up and made changes had they not shoved me out the door. My nephew had committed suicide, my car was totaled by an unlicensed/uninsured driver, my husband had left me with no support, just to name a few of the bricks on my back. I was lower than low, so their low blow struck me in just the right spot.

Just like the resilient tend to do, I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and got busy on the repairs. Not just the house, but my whole life. I got a new job - one that has blossomed into a fantastic career, and I've been promoted 4 times in the 4 years I've been here. I love my job now. I stopped drinking and self-medicating, got my house fixed up, traded in my old 97 Cavalier for a new car - yes, a BRAND NEW car. I never thought I would ever have one that was new, but I did. I drove my new 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT off the lot with 16 miles on it. What a feeling! I've lost 85 pounds, started doing art again, rekindled a social life and, last but certainly not least, met my wonderful boyfriend. He's the yin to my yang, my heart, my partner, my love Dean and I didn't think it would ever be possible to feel this complete and happy again. My life is beautiful. Sure, there are things that need improving still, but I'm moving forward, making progress and loving every moment of it.