Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Chapter

It's been a long time since I've posted, and there's been a lot going on. I am no longer with my husband. I was living with friends for a little over a month until this past weekend when I moved into my own apartment with my son. My husband had a breakdown of sorts, refused to talk to his employers who were also our landlords, and decided he didn't want to be with me either. Because he refused to talk to them, they evicted us from our house- he had violated the employment contract, and therefore the lease. It's complicated. And as a result of his breakdown, I had to call the police and he went to jail for a week or so.

I'm starting a new chapter in my life, and am trying not to dwell on the past. I guess I'm a single mom now. I have received zero financial support from my ex so far. There haven't been any proceedings or lawyers on the divorce front, so things are in limbo. Neither of us has filed for divorce. For me it's I don't have $60 to file. Not sure for him. We have only talked handful of times on the phone since July 20th.

My son is doing OK. At least I think so. He's seen his father a few times since he got out of jail, and they seemed to do OK. Not sure though.

So I'm in a new apartment. It's decent, right near my work and the daycare, good stuff. It's a place to live. I am continuing to apply for assistance from the state because there's no way I can float rent, bills, daycare, and groceries by myself.

I'm in therapy with the same person. She is amazing, and has helped me a ton.

This new chapter is all about my New Contract with myself. I have good days and bad days, but on the good days I tap into my strength and do what has to be done. On my bad days I yell at my son too much and don't want to get out of bed. Though it might not seem like it on the outside, I am grieving. I lost my marriage and my home all in one fell swoop. But I know I am strong.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My heart is aching

Just "celebrated" my 36th birthday on Tuesday. It was for obvious reasons a day of mixed emotions. I used to live outside of Boston, and when I heard of what had happened, first place I turned was the internet/facebook to make sure friends were OK. They are, which I am immensely grateful for.

I want to tell the world something, particularly everyone in America: PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Now more than ever we need each other. Instead of focusing on the bad and the things that make us afraid, we need to focus on the good. There are many many many good people in the world. America, you need to remember that you are NOT bad. You are filled with love and hope and grace. Remind yourself to think with your heart and not lead with hate. You might think that hate is what is in your heart. It isn't. We all at our core yearn for peace.

Maybe you feel strangled because you can't help. What you don't realize is that you can. Within your own community, model a positive and peaceful outlook as much as you can. Don't surrender to negativity and hate. When we think about the legacy we want to leave for our children, what does it look like? Think of that when the anger and fear start to take over. I am not a religious person, but I am praying for all of us. I am praying for myself to get through each day as best as I can. I am praying for all of my loved ones that they can find peace in their hearts and move forward. I am praying for all of those I don't know, that they may look inside themselves and see goodness.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Meaning of Compassion... or Why I Support ObamaCare

The day after the election last year, I came into work elated. Obama had been re-elected! Same sex marriage was legalized in Maine! I felt proud of the state of Maine, and proud of the citizens of the U.S. for voting for compassion rather than individual gain. That morning, a coworker told me in a whisper, "I cried this morning when I heard the results." I thought she was talking about her husband who has been having tests on his brain because of recurrent headaches, so I said "What happened??" She said "I am so upset that Obama was re-elected..." and proceeded to describe Obama as a liar, and that Mitt Romney is "a truly wonderful person." I was completely thrown off. This is a person I have tremendous respect for both personally and professionally. She is an extremely savvy businesswoman and she is pretty much the kindest person I know. To hear her saying these things about Obama, was simply heartbreaking.

She believes that her opinion is balanced and based in truth because she watches all news media regardless of political orientation. I responded "I don't watch any of the news channels. I think they are all spin, even The Daily Show," (which I love). She went on to say that she wishes people were "more informed," i.e. that they watched supposedly all of the news channels and... I don't know, believed everything they heard? I guess I'm still not clear on that. My response... well first I need to give some backstory since I haven't written here in a long time.

My husband and I have been seeing a wonderful therapist since late July, and it has made a hugely positive impact on both our marriage and my sense of self. I have been working on putting the past behind me (where it belongs), debating with my fear reactions, and letting the real me out to play. The conversation I had with my coworker is a good example of me talking back to "the old contract." The old contract was set in place for a reason, and helped me survive difficult times, but it is no longer appropriate. It's time for a new contract. It has been AMAZING to find within myself the strength to change, and forgiveness for myself for my mistakes both past, present, and future.

Anyhoo. In response to her saying she was so upset about Obama, I said "I think it's great! I'm thrilled!" in a loud voice, no fear of who in the office might hear me and think otherwise, etc. And in response to her comment about being informed, I said "I am very informed. I just don't watch all the spin out there. I don't believe any of it. I trust my gut." To some this may not sound like a big deal, but for me it was HUGE. I rarely, if ever, speak my mind to people I look up to, particularly if I know in advance they don't agree with me. I found it was instinctual for me to say how I felt. I had always assumed it was my instinct that was saying "don't say that!" and then I would go ahead and say it and feel guilty. But I realized that there is a difference between dissonance (emotional discomfort) and instincts saying don't do that. It can definitely be uncomfortable to disagree with someone you care for and respect, but that doesn't mean you should stifle yourself. I can't report that I felt completely awesome after the conversation, but I am immensely proud of myself for the way I handled it, even though I was caught off guard.

Back to the health care reforms. Yes, the way we do business in this country will be impacted. Yes, some businesses will suffer. BUT the idea is that this will be for the greater good, over the long term.Change is not comfortable, no matter how much we want to believe it is.

As my boss has been saying frequently lately, we can't keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Same is true for this country. We can't keep paying lip service to the concept of community, all the while operating selfishly, looking only at our own needs and goals. To survive as a species, we must think of others ahead of, or at least equal to, ourselves. Many many of us are barely getting by paycheck to paycheck. When we grab what we have and hold it so tight, and guard it viciously, we close ourselves off to community and compassion. We lose sight of what matters.

To me ObamaCare is a step in the right direction towards a compassionate community in this country. No one truly knows how this bill will impact our economy. If we look at it negatively and think it means "the end of our country" then that is what will happen for us. If we look at it as a positive, though difficult, change, we see that it can be what we make of it. Like anything worth it in this life, it isn't easy. It isn't easy for businesses to plan for how they will pay for health insurance for their employees. Some are taking the easy way out by laying people off, cutting hours, and in general, reacting out of fear. Others (which we don't hear about of course) are being proactive and positive, looking at this legislation as a means to a healthier and more productive workforce. Whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not, it's happening. Let's spin it, and raise it up. Let's create fairness and ethical responsibility in our businesses so that all people regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or income, have equal access to the basic human right of health care. Let's make it our new contract.