The single most difficult task to accomplish every day is The Smile. I still don’t really feel that happiness is something I can allow in my life right now.
There has been a magnet on my parent’s refrigerator for I don’t know how long. As far as I know, it appeared one day & stayed like the neighbor’s stray cat. It’s a 2″ square with a picture of an alligator at the start of a yawn so it looks to be smiling. Above said gaping mouth are the words, “start the day with a smile & get it over with”. This isn’t just one of many inspirational magnets, it’s it. The others are freebies from various offices, restaurants, & yellow pages cover lawyers.
I live by this now. Most mornings I try to yawn, smile, & stretch before getting out of bed. Except I’ve been doing this thing about finding a job & a home closer to my kids, or at least closer than I am now, and I catch myself smiling at all hours of the day. Odd.
I’m about 18 driving hours apart from the kids right now. I can realistically diminish that to 6 driving hours. I could realistically diminish it to 2 or less, but I would have to leave my field or live in Florida, neither of which I’m willing to do anymore.
Six hours from my kids & 12 hours from my family is the goal. The massive con on the pros & cons list is moving back to Braves country. Shiver. But I’m confident in my true Cardinals heart that I can survive it again.
I’ve lived in Atlanta, so I know the area, the people, & the traffic. I sent out my notice of intent to seek employment to my network & my peeps. One of my peeps responded right away. She has a position in Atlanta for a writer. It’s actually about 60% writing & 40% teamwork, small company style. It’s similar to my current position, and my skills would transfer well.
Résumé in. I passed the phone screen, the initial face-to-face, the assessment tests, the second face-to-face, & then flew to Atlanta yesterday for another face-to-face interview. I have met with 8 people in 2 states. It’s safe to begin considering there may be an offer.
Why am I doing this anyway? Am I doing this to get closer to my kids? Am I doing this to advance my career? Am I doing this to run away from the shame? Is it D, all of the above?
The hardest part is putting aside the paralyzing knowledge that every decision I have made for the past 7 years has led to pain. It’s putting aside his voice telling me, “we don’t make bad decisions, you do. That’s why you don’t get to make any.” Except he was somewhat wrong. Every time I followed his orders, I decided to. As much as I had no say, I still selected obedience over defiance. So, maybe he was right to drill into me that I make bad decisions. Or not, since in deciding obedience I was deciding not to be hurt.
Does it really matter if it’s a bad decision or a good decision as long as it’s a decision? It’s mine, wholly & completely. I own it. That alone is enough to scare the bejeebers out of me, but it’s equally scary to think about sitting in my current job & my current home without striving for a better future. I have a future. My kids have a future. Short of death, the future is pretty much an absolute.
The hardest part is letting myself smile because this is good. This is exciting. This is the kind of challenge that gets my blood racing towards success. This is my Achilles’ heal: drive, determination, and independence. It’s what Donkey wanted to crush, and it crushed him when he didn’t. I lived thru years of emotional destruction as he whittled splinters until only dust remained, but I only lived thru 4 incidents of physical abuse. I say only loosely.
February 2007, November 2008, February 2010, & May 2010.
It was the February 2010 attack that opened my eyes to his pattern, and his immediate reaction, “I swore I’d never do that again.” Again? I thought, again?
I knew he had just given himself permission to attack at will. I saw our relationship flash before my eyes and I knew without a doubt that he had victimized me and that it wouldn’t stop until I stopped it. He attacked again 3 months later. Three months after that, I left. Me, 2 kids, a car, a bit of clothes, and $800. Eleven weeks later I had a job, in my field. Six months after I left him, the kids & I were in our own home, rental, but still our home. A year after I left him I traded in my 2-door singles car for a 4-door family car.
I’d call that drive, determination, and independence if I saw it in someone else. I did that, all that (with the love and support of pretty awesome people). I can move mountains kid.
Except looking forward to this, being happy about this, is so heartbreaking. I cry at the struggle in my heart. I am not a full-time single mom anymore, and I won’t be again for quite some time (even if he gave them up tomorrow, it’d be years before it would be official court-wise). So now I can advance my career, get my Master degree, camp in the Appalachians, get better at golf, write a book, take yoga, and and and.
The hardest part is reconciling the feeling that I gave up my kids with the fact that I was ordered to do so by our fair and just system of dunces.
Maybe I’m just addicted to the future? What an addiction to have! (and yes, I’m totally ignoring the cappuccino and smokes next to my keyboard) I can go for it. I can go for the future.