I am much less upset this morning. Less worried. Less scared. I am thinking that the mood-altering pumpkin bread I made for dinner last night helped. I ate half of it. Yeah. Food is my drug of choice.
Since last year I have been trying to set little goals, things that are achievable without stressing me beyond my ability to cope. This digresses, but I it is increasingly difficult to quantify how bad things were or are. I keep thinking about when it was worse or the worst or really bad and when that might have been.
I have experienced happiness, even joy and pleasure, during the past several decades. I do not think that I could have survived without that, those occasions, those moments. Part of that was just plain survival. If I was not sharing anything with anyone, then I had to at least appear to be a normal person with a normal life.
I did that, with varying degrees of success, and the thing that I bring out of that time is that I am a big, fat liar. I lied my ass off to appear like a normal person. I am not even sure what a normal person is supposed to be or look like. I did my best.
That life of deception, well, I am beginning to understand it, although accepting it is something that is not going to happen. It shames me. It makes everything I do and say suspect; maybe not to other people, but always to me. Or, maybe it does make me a liar, once a liar, always a liar, to others. If I was so good at hiding all of the bad stuff, went about my life without a lot of apparent difficulty, then one has to wonder what that was all about. Normal people get themselves out of the kind of life I had. I did not do that for nearly forty-five years. So, it could not have been all that bad, right?
It does not help that those sentiments and thoughts have been said to me. Surely, if it was so bad, you would have left. Certainly, it could not have been all that horrible if you stayed. Of course, no self-respecting person would stay under those conditions. Condescending. Pitying. Unbelieving. And, that is why, after I left and people asked me what it was all about, that I never shared anything beyond the conversations with those three people. I would simply explain the whole not living in my old house as that I was getting a divorce, and leaving it at that, even, most especially, if someone asked for more information. I had to cut a few people out of my life because all they wanted was the gory details. My suffering seemed to increase their satisfaction somehow. Maybe it was being able to compare my crap life with their lives and thinking that what they had was not so bad.
I would always be resolved to not share stuff with them, but when they started asking probing questions, I eventually caved. Not because of their skills at persistence, but because of my need to get some of that stuff out. I still have that compulsion, although I have learned to control it. After I was safely out of that situation I truly was compelled to share, to spew, to just about anyone. Totally inappropriate, and whilst it did not last long, it is another aspect of shame that I carry, that I was so needy and so desperate.
Whatever it was, it was not helping me. I felt used somehow, and those folk are gone. They cannot contact me because I have a different telephone number, they do not know where I live and when I run into them I am too busy, too rushed to have a conversation with me. I know that makes me a bad person, but it is what I have to do.
I am a late-bloomer in nearly every aspect of my life, but those three people bumped up my learning curve, and I have never made that mistake again, the mistake of trusting that people who I thought knew me and would support me, would be there for me. Huge fail and even larger learning experience.
The only safe places have been the (now) two support groups and therapy, and, maybe, two of my friends, but I am not positive about the friends. Oh, and here is a safe place, because this is so anonymous. Three on-line friends read here occasionally, and that is great. It should not seem as though having someone reading all of this crap would be important, but it is. It means that I am not just spewing into the ether. Even though those three people do not know me in real life, they do not judge me or what I am able to share.
So, big picture, I am better. I still need to keep setting goals, even it that is only to get through a difficult day. And, I did some thinking last night about how I want to handle the crap from my ex. My attorney is handling things well, fortunately, as I am unable to do that. Those people have this one, last chance to man-up before she takes it back to the courts. Great. I need the money to survive, but going back into court, the thought of it puts me into full-panic-mode. I swear.
So, I am thinking and one of the areas is how I have to stop self-medicating with food. Last night I could not eat dinner, so I made pumpkin bread, my healthy recipe one, but it is still pumpkin bread. It is mostly eggs and pumpkin, with just enough flour and spices to hold it together. I ate half of it. I am on the verge of eating the other half, but am going to wait until after I go out and shovel the most recent snowfall. We are supposed to get, and it is already looking like that will happen, at least seven more inches, and I have to remove it every time it gets to two inches because there simply is no place to put the stuff anymore.
Food. I have not been to the market for a week or so, and I will be eating from my pantry. When I get back in the house I will be making mac and cheese, and most likely eating more pumpkin bread whilst that cooks. And, the noodle thing reminded me of one of those happier times in my married life.
My ex would not eat many different foods. That meant that our meals were just what he wanted to eat. No deviations from the acceptable menu choices. I did add healthier side dishes and salads. He ignored or criticized those, but as long as the bulk of the meal was what he liked, we managed. Mostly.
Anyway, the elbow macaroni for today's lunch and dinner reminded me of those wheel-shaped macaroni things. I loved chili, insanely loved it, still do. My ex would not eat it, claimed that even the smell of it made him sick. One day I found that wheel pasta and thought that if I used those and renamed chili to cowboy stew, that maybe I could sneak chili onto the meal plan.
Well, it worked. Chili was still the recipe I liked and which had been soundly rejected by my ex, but the addition of those noodles made all the difference. Cowboy stew was a rounding success and he requested it regularly.
Now, that is a happy memory, one of the things that eventually becomes a warm and much beloved family story. And, to some extent it did, although once I share what I had done (eternally stupid am I), he never ate it again, but it pleased me that our daughter continued to like it and I still made it sometimes for the two of us when he was away.
That is cool, yes? Yeah, it is. It is a mostly happy memory, and it makes me want to honor more of those. I have plenty. Those stories carry the burden of grief and suffering, but they were, at least momentarily, light-hearted family stories of fun and happiness. I need to gather more of those memories. I need the perspective. I need to find a way to continue to forgive my ex. That is essential. I do not hate him and I cannot allow that to be a possibility. We have a daughter and hatred for him cannot be a part of my feelings, because even if I never express it to her, or anyone, strong and negative emotions are not helpful to anyone and most surely would eventually filter into my words and actions. I refuse to self-poison myself. I have had quite enough of that from the outside, I do not need to internalize hatred and allow it to erode my beliefs, my ethics, much less my behavior or words or behavior. And, that would happen.
So, I am off to move some more snow around, then inside for tea and a nice shower whilst the mac and cheese bubbles away. I read something, I think it was last year, about baking mac and cheese in a shallow sheet pan. It bakes more quickly and you end up with four times the amount of browned and chewy top and crispy edge pieces than you would in a regular casserole pan. I can hardly wait. CoolCat likes only the creamy and soft centers, so I will mound it up in the middle of the pan so that there is plenty for him.