Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finally home..

So tonight I am upstairs in my room and I am looking around. I realize that I haven't really bothered to unpack here, and that I don't really consider it to be home. It doesn't look like my room anymore, because it is now a sewing room LOL But it is, in fact, my HOME now. I am not going back to my husband, and I am not financially able to live on my own until these medical bills are under control. So I have to wrap my brain around the fact that I am home.

So I need to give myself permission to go to my storage unit and bring my boxes of books here, and put them on the bookshelf. I have to give myself permission to take some of my parent's misc things out of the drawers and pack them away to make room for my clothes. I have to give myself permission to put my tylenol in the medicine cabinent. I have to give myself permission to hang up some pictures, some drawings the chickens make me and some of my things that make me say "Hey, this is where I live!"

I moved a lot as a child so I never really quite got the concept of unpacking, and it shows!

I need to come at this with an attitude of gratitude.

Saturday will mark five months since my husband was taken out of our home in handcuffs. It marks the day my entire world shifted. It marks the day that I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet- even though my parents would rather do it for me ;) It marks the worst financial crisis of my entire life (seriously, he was a terrible husband, but he at least made income enough to pay these bills LOL). I keep thinking "Hey if I was still with B, he could write a check and pay this hospital in full right now, as it is I am paying them for the next year!" But at what price, though? My emotional and physical health and stability! Not worth it. I will gladly make my monthly payments, forever if I have to, to live in peace with myself.

I had a comfortable financial life with him. But I was not supported in any other way. Thankfully he lost his job after I left so that I was not tempted to go back.

Which is a terrible thing to say, I know. It hurt me too, I lost my insurance. But I think that he needed to be knocked down a little bit, because he still maintains that it is my fault that he hit me, blah, blah, blah.

In the end, it all comes down to my husband not being able to do what my 4 and 5 year old students learned a year ago.

Use. Your. Words.

But right now I am sad. I feel lonley. I don't understand why I feel so drawn to this man who has given me the worst decade of my life.

I just need to unpack. I need for this to look like a bedroom. I need to be able to have more than the 5 outfits that I rotate because I can't find anything else to wear. Maybe I need a hobby. It still hurts to crochet. The surgeon said I would be clear by December, and it is almost over, but still it hurts a bit. I think maybe it is because the muscles are weak.

I am out of sorts because my schedule was different this week. My co teacher was out of town and I miss her. We have extra students and that throws us off.

And can I just say that I really want the Super Mario Brothers game for my DS? LOL One of the school aged kids brought it with him today and I was playing it. It reminded me of when I was a kid, playing Nintendo. My Mom says that I should just buy it with my Christmas gift cards that two of the kids gave me, but I can't justify spending $36 on a game when my parents have to buy my groceries. I mean, I gave my Mom the gift cards, but she said she will give them back to let me get this game. She even offered to go get it for me tomorrow. But I just can't do that. It feels irresponsible. I tried to get it used, but can't find it anywhere yet. Maybe I will keep looking. Eh, it is a silly game, but it sure was fun! LOL

Anyway, it is time to live here. As much as it is possible to. I can probably squeeze a lot in to this sewing room if I try hard enough! :0)

Controlling my environment

One issue that I had today was the abundance of food around me! Mainly at work. The parents are sending us pizza, cookies and donuts for the holiday season. Okay, it is over now, no more goodies until Teacher Appreciation please!!

I need a better plan. It is so hard for me to resist the yummy foods they serve at school. I need to start packing a lunch. Breakfast is okay because I am usually not there, and I told my Dad to stop cooking for me in the mornings.

So now I need to take control of lunch! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Got weighed!

Sorry I did not post yesterday, we are having some internet issues in our house right now.

I got permission to use the scale at the Urgent Care. They showed me how to use it. I weighed 458, which was less than I thought, so that is good!

I am working on making better food choices. And I walked around the mall once yesterday :) I plan to do it again tomorrow :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let's make a deal...

My Dad and I have made a deal. He is going to quit smoking and I am going to try to lose weight.

We have been eating these ridiculous breakfasts together lately, bacon, eggs, toast, etc. We have both gained from that. So from now on we are going to have oatmeal with apples. And he is not going to slip outside to smoke!

Wish us luck!

Also, my wonderful Mother called the utility companies for me, and pretended to be me. Not ethical, I know that- but I could not miss any more work to deal with them and she was off and willing. The great news is that the phone company admitted that they were in the wrong to send me to collections like they did. I mean, I never got the bill, my name wasn't supposed to be on the account AND it hadn't even been past due 30 days yet! So they said that my credit is totally NOT going to be affected. Yay for me!!

And my STBX has not contacted me in one blissful week. It has been heaven not dealing with his nonsense.

And I got served to testify against him! I wasn't home but they left it with my Dad. I told them that I wasn't missing any more work to chase them down to get my papers, so I guess they got the hint LOL Our new court date is in March.

My Dad also told me that he is going to help me pay for the lawyer. What a relief! I was going to have to get a second job to pay for this process of getting divorced.

I am still broke as a joke, but the medical bills are getting paid down. And the lawyer seems to think that I wont be responsible for any of the marital debt because of the money he had in retirement. Yay! My students gave me a lot of gift cards this Christmas and I gave them to my Mom to help her pay for groceries. It hurt a lot that I could not contribute to the household. At least this way I can help offset the cost of feeding me. LOL

My Dad put snow tires on my car. That is a worry off of my mind for sure!

I am still loving my job. Some days I am shocked that I get paid to do this. It is the hardest job ever though, but I love it. Those kids bring me so much joy!

Tomorrow I am going to see if I can get weighed somewhere, since I am working the early shift. Then I will take some pictures to post.

I hope that everyone has a great week!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Please take my advice

I know it is almost impossible for most people to ever imagine themselves in a situation where they would have to leave their husbands. No one ever wants to think about that. I didn't think that I would ever leave mine and I was being abused the whole time.

But if you are ever in a situation where you leave a home that utilities are on in your name, please just cancel them. Do not rely on the utility company to change the name, there is always the possiblity that human error will happen and they will somehow mess it up.

My credit is dinged. I am responsible for all of these bills at a house that I have not lived in for four months. And when I tried to call him about it he screamed at me and hung up. Not just a putting the phone down, a SLAMMING the phone down. Like he really needed to do that. Very childish, but what should I really expect from him?

God wants me to be strong. I am doing it, Lord, even if I am crying the whole way.

So as I am sitting here crying, when I should be sleeping *seriously, my Dad can open my mail from now on. I just wont do it, I can't stand getting hate mail after work when they are closed and I have to wait until the next day to call about it* something has clicked in my head.

I have gained 250 pounds since I met my H. I ate because it made me feel better. I did not have another outlet. If you read my last blog you will know that I basically lived a lie for 9 years. I pretended to have a good relationship because I felt that it was my fault that things were not going well. So I ate it. All of it.

And now I weigh over 400 lbs and it hurts to walk. I lost half of my eyesight and I almost died in my sleep from the apeas. I feel like God keeps giving me wake up calls about this and I keep ignoring them. But tonight, as H was screaming and me and hanging up on me, I realized that as long as I allow this to happen, I will continue to be an abused woman. Even if I am out of the house.

He may not be hitting me or slapping me, but I am still cowering and taking the blame for everything.

And I am tired of it. I am functioning at the cellular level right now. But that is not good enough for me anymore.

I want to thrive. I want to hold my head up high and smile at people. I want to be the person my chickens think I am. They bring me so much joy. It is my belief that those kids have kept me getting out of bed in the mornings. I just don't know where I would be right now without them. And I know that they probably wont ever remember me, because they are so young. I don't think I have any memories from when I was 5. But they have made a huge impact in my life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why didn't you just leave?

Those are the most hated words for an abuse survivor to hear. I am ultra ironic because I used to manage our local domestic violence shelter. So basically, I should have known better.

Should have.

About 5 months in to our relationship, my husband told me that I was worse than the terrorists who flew in to the World Trade Center. I was shocked at first. I could not believe that I could possibly be worse than those people. The worst thing I had ever done in my life was ripping a picture of a figure skater out of a magazine that belonged to the library when I was a teenager. Yep, that sums up my "bad" past. I am not condoning what I did, but certainatly it could not make me worse than terrorists!

But B was very smart. He only had to go to high school for one year when he graduated. His grades were always very high and I believed that he was smarter than me. So I believed that I was worse than the terrorists.

The first time he hit me was because I did not treat him well enough in front of his friends. I guess I was supposed to be more of an adoring girlfriend. I wasn't adoring enough because I disagreed with something that he said. Basically he said something that he was wrong about and when I corrected him, he flipped. He backhanded me two days later for it, after ignoring me for those two days.

One time we were at my house- I was living with my parents- and I realized that there wasn't any toilet paper in the bathroom. I opened the door a bit and asked him if he could bring me a roll from the hall closet. He said no. He said that it was my fault that I wasn't smart enough to look before I used the bathroom. He started yelling at me for being ignorant. Then he demanded that I take him home, but I was scared to get in to the car with him because he was in such a rage. So he picked up my purse and started taking things out and throwing them out the door in to the yard. Then he picked up a lamp and started smashing the living room furniture. He destroyed most of it. There was stuff everywhere. My Dad came home then and I just drove B home and I was shaking the whole time.

He was banned from our house from that point, for a year or so. I don't know why I did not break up with him. I think because I did not think that I could do any better. He was my first boyfriend. I was 22. No other men had wanted anything to do with me. I am overweight, although I weighed much less then than I do now. My Father- and yes I am over this now but it still hurt nat the time- used to tell me that boys wouldn't like fat girls. So at the time I was just thankful that someone liked me, a fat girl.

I always thought that he would change if I was only a better girlfriend/wife/person.

Once a friend of his kicked our cat. I asked him later why did he not say anything? He hit me.

He used to call me idiot, stupid, bitch, etc, all the time. He used to have our computer set up so that the password prompt would pop up and say "What are you?" and I would have to type in "A bitch" to get on. That was so humiliating.

If I would cry, he would kick me out of the bed and on to the floor. He choked me once because I would not pet the cat. I think the worst thing was having things thrown at me. I hated that. He would throw things all the time, or break my things. I was always afraid to let him know that I liked something, for fear that he would destroy it.

A little boy at my work gave me a teddy bear last year. At the time my heart was empty. This child had never really spoken to anyone until I started working with him. I felt and still feel a bond with him that can not be expressed in words. He fills me with such joy and loved me even when no one else did. He gave me this teddy bear that I cherised. I was always so afraid that my husband would destroy that bear. In fact, I remember once thinking that him destroying that bear might be the ONLY thing I would ever leave him for. That teddy bear was physical representation for me that another human being in this world loved me. And darnit, some days that was all that kept me alive.

He would leave me sometimes if we would go somewhere. Like once we stopped at a gas station on the way to visit his family. We were far from home. He got mad at me for something, I don't even remember what I did, and he left me. He left me there with no cell phone, no money, no nothing. My purse was in the car. I will never forget that feeling. He finally came back and said that if I was good, he would let me back in the car.

The worst happened last December. I think maybe a year ago yesterday, perhaps. I was making his Crystal Light. Fruit punch flavored. The jug it was going in held two gallons. I added maybe 2 ounces more water than he liked. It couldn't have been more than that, because the pitcher itself wouldn't hold much more. He was so mad at me. He started screaming at me, saying that I was a stupid bitch. An idiot. Something in my head clicked. I KNEW I wasn't stupid. To get your teaching license you have to take a series of tests. I scored in the top 15% over a 5 year period of time nationwide on this test. My University made a big deal out of it, and I got awarded this special certificate, etc. My grades were high, I had a 4.0. I knew I wasn't stupid, even though for years he had convinced me of that. So I told him that I wasn't stupid.

I knew that was a mistake. As soon as the words left my mouth I knew that I was in trouble. He threw that pitcher of Crystal Light at me. It was everywhere. We had carpet in our kitchen, a light blue. It was red. There was fruit punch on the walls, on the fridge, in the pantry, on my beautiful apron that my friend made for me. It was all over me. In my hair and on my body. That was the worst thing he ever did to me. Of all the times I was hit, kicked, slapped, called names, choked, abandoned at various locations, this was the worst.

I decided that night that I was going to kill myself. I took a shower. Then I got a knife from the drawer. He called the police. They are in my house and I remember being so embarassed because I had laundry in the basket that I hadn't folded yet. I had to promise that I wouldn't kill myself. They saw what he did to the kitchen and they made him leave. I spent the next two days cleaning the carpet. It never did come out and to this day it is pink.

We are going to have this little Christmas sing on Wednesday for the parents. Then afterwards we are inviting them back to our classroom for punch and cookies. I can not make the punch. I just can not do it. I can not look at fruit punch or drink fruit punch without thinking about that night.

So we went to marriage counseling. Not just any marriage counseling, we had the Dean of the psychology department at the University to meet with us in his private office. No one, and I mean NO ONE gets in to see this man. In fact, my friend is a therapist and he did not believe me when I told him who our counselor was. He only has one appointment, during lunch time one day a week and as luck would have it, the couple he had been seeing stopped going the day I called. He was $225 an hour. I thought for sure our marriage would be saved.

B called me names in front of the marriage counselor too. Blah. He told me that in his professional opinion, B loved the cats more than he would ever love me. And that he felt that B was the kind of person who wanted to be alone.

All of these incidents- he never once apologized for what he did. He told me that I made him hit me. I made him do these things. It was my fault. No one else would want me.

When I finally left him after the arrest, I arranged to go to the Water company to switch it in to his name. I had to see him in person to do this, but it was important for me that the cats have water in the house, so I did it. I also called the phone company and jumped through hoops to get the telephone over in his name.

The cable I left because he was paying the bill. When I found out he didn't pay one of the phone bills from when it was in my name, I decided to cancel the cable. I explained why, and they said that they would give him five days to call them and get it in his name, so there would be no interruption in service. However, he would have to pay the current rate, not the $5 or so cheaper rate I had locked in under my name.

He flipped out. The only way to avoid him paying the extra $5 was for us to go together in person and switch it. I didn't want to do that. The office is in another town. It was my day off. I work hard during the week. Plus, I don't want to see him. He threatened me and told me that I would get in to trouble with the court because turning off utilities is frowned upon. Then he said that he would put a restraining order on me if I didn't do what he said.

At first I was scared and I almost went and did what he wanted. Then I thought about it. I DID arrange for the actual utilities that were in my name to be switched, the water and the phone. I don't consider cable to be a life or death situation. And they gave him five days to call them. And $5 a month? He deserves way more punishment than that, so cry me a river. I was worried that he would file a restraining order on me, when my Mom said "And that will tell you to stay away from him... and you already DO stay away from him, so who cares? Let him do it! You haven't done anything to warrent a restraining oder!"

And that made sense. I mean, I haven't stalked him, harassed him, nothing. HE is contacting ME. Not the other way around. Besides, I would LOVE to tell my story to a judge right now. Let him file for one. I kind of hope he does just so that the judge can see what is really going on.

But back to my original statement. The question: Why didn't you just leave?

I didn't leave because I didn't know how.

If you have ever been floored by someone in your life telling you that they are a homosexual, you might understand where I am coming from. I had to come out of the domestic violence closet, so to speak. Here I was, a former employee of a domestic violence shelter, telling people that for 8 years of my life, I was a victim of domestic violence. Those are not easy words to say to people!!

I am basically a liar. And a hypocrite. Well, it's true! I counseled women and gave them advice that I wasn't willing to take myself. For what it's worth, at the time I thought that my abuse was not nearly as bad as the women's in my shelter. I always felt like my situation was nothing compared to theirs.

But abuse levels the playing field. It equals us all out. It doesn't care about race, religion, gender, education or economic class. That doesn't matter. It makes us all the same.

I was a good actress. I lied to everyone. I pretended to have a wonderful marriage. I made up elaborate excuses for his behavior. I defended him to my family. I would beg and plead with him to please be nice when he met my new friends. I lived in a constant state of fear that my illusion would come crashing down on me. And it did on more than one occasion.

I used to make myself sick with worry, always the worry. It was a horrible way to live.

My parents already knew he was a jerk, because of the fits he would throw in front of them. His way of isolating me was to turn my family and friends against me by acting terribly.

Why didn't I leave?

1. Where would I go? He knows where the shelter is because I used to work there. He knows where my parents live. He knows where my friends live. Where my Aunts live, even where some of my coworkers live. I couldn't afford to move somewhere, or else I would have. And this is coming from a person who HAS family to go to. Some people don't even have that.

2. What am I relying on him for? Money, for starters. He made almost twice what I make. I am a teacher. I love my job and truly I can not imagine doing anything else, but let's face it, it does not pay much. I am paying off bills now over a year long time period that I could have paid in full if I was still with him. Luckily for me he got laid off shortly after I left, so money wasn't something that was luring me back, like it had in the past!
Medical insurance anyone? I love my job but their insurance stinks. I lost my insurance when I left him.

3. I drove his car. He took it from me when I left. I had to buy a new one and then it got smashed by a ladder. Read a few posts back for that story LOL

4. I couldn't take my cats with me. My parents wouldn't allow it. I had to leave them behind and I mourn their loss :(

5. My freedom? I live with my parents now, so I am now back in to that following their rules thing. I wanted to dye my hair pink for Halloween, my Mom said no. I want to go shopping, Mom says no. At least I am not getting beat up though, so it is not so bad. But some people don't handle going back to their childhood as well as I have.

6. Divorce is expensive. I have no idea how I am going to pay for the lawyer I am going to in two weeks. I have no idea how I am going to pay for most things right now LOL

7. Everything I own is in storage. Fun.

So there is the short version as to "Why didn't you just leave". I could probably ramble on even longer about it, but I will spare you!

But please understand that no man or woman ever lives this way on purpose. They just can't see a way out at the time!

Christmas Crafting!

I made ornaments for my students, whom I lovingly call my Chickens. I am not a great crafter, but what I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm!

Here are the fruits of two days of labor :)

I put their names and the year on them too.

Here is mine, on the tree :)