Category Archives: Failure

No Return

trapezeGo back.

That’s the thought that rolls on through my brain this morning like a steam engine, black, sooty and old.   Usually it comes when I am tired or weak, before sleep or as I wake:  Is it possible to go back?  The answer comes quickly:  No.  No, I can’t.

For centuries people have told stories that at their core are about returning to What Was Once.  Probably before stories of Hera renewing her virginity, time travel stories have intrigued us.  The desire to go back and fix our mistakes or to relive what we remember as “wonderful” is not uncommon.  The Time Machine, Groundhog day, The Navigator; A Medieval Odyssey, Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys, A Christmas Carol — the list of time travel tales is endless.   All are stories searching for that one moment the fatal flaw was committed, with the hope it can be changed, avoided or relived in the future.

But what about the moments when we sense being on the cusp of change and “know” that our one act, one willful choice, will change it all?  Warnings pop off in the head. Quick visions see beyond the now and we choose, sometimes within seconds.  Wrong or right, we choose.

It makes me think of Judas.  Poor guy had no choice, or did he?  He was driven to his infamous, predestined decision.  After the kiss, did he know the regret instantly? Was there another choice he could have made to redeem himself?  I wonder how many times he wished to turn back time. When he let the rope snap — did he wish then that he could take steps back?

Maybe it’s more like an accident and not a choice, say, when you cut your finger, crash your car, or when your foot slips and you see yourself fall down the stairs as though watching, while at the same time enduring the pain of it.  And the strange part is — it’s like you saw it coming, but you did it anyway.   It’s at that moment you become so aware of the seconds before that thought you had just as you did the wrong thing.  Too late.  And you KNEW, but despite the warning in your head…

You did it anyway.

The finger is cut, the blood flows and as the search for the bandage ensues, you curse at yourself for being an idiot.  You knew it was going to be this way and your mind trips backwards thinking about that moment when it you could have avoided it. Damn it.

I have countless moments when I could have chosen differently, but didn’t.

I could have said, “Yes.” I could have brought the cat inside.  I could have gone to the doctor.  I could have saved the money.  I could have gotten up earlier.  I could have drank tea instead of wine.  I could have turned off Facebook.  I could have stayed home.  I could have bought the ticket.  I could have accepted that scholarship. I could have stayed in college (the first time).  I could have studied my ass off.   I could have exercised. I could have eaten right.  I could have stayed out of that bar.  I could have kept my temper.  I could have worked harder. I could have stayed in Hollywood.  I could have left the relationship.  I could have organized my time.  I could have said, “no.”  I could have not sent that email.  I could have kept my mouth shut.  I could have yelled for help.  I could have told the boy, “No.” And the other boy, “no.”  I could have been brave.  I could have been smart.

But I wasn’t and I didn’t.

Though something in my mind told me, warned me, yelled at me in a whisper:  “You are really going to regret this….  just sayin’…”   I heard pain was coming, but…  I saw in a flash of clarity what might happen and — well — you know.  You’ve been there.  We’ve all done it.  Not that there is any comfort knowing that.

Then I wonder, and maybe you do, too — Did I want it to happen? Faced with the moment of no return — did I choose to take that step so that I could reach something beyond what I couldn’t yet see, beyond my visions, but felt was there?

I feel it.  It’s as real as this floor under my feet, more relative than this chair under my ass.  Do I choose my mistakes in an attempt to teeter forward with the hope I’ll catch “it” (whatever comes next) like a cold, a pop-fly, or a trapeze bar?  Sometimes, it’s as if I can feel (whatever it is)  swinging toward me and yet untrained as a circus acrobat, all I can do stumble and hope that if I fall just right, I might catch hold, grab that bar and fly! But if I fall — damn it,  I fall.

There might be a net, but I never know.  I think I knit the net as I go along.  That part is all in slow motion. Regardless, the knitting of a false sense of safety is not the same idea as time travel.  I still can’t go back.  There is no return.

Even if 95% of me wanted to stay on the side of time I know — where it seems safe, where I have adapted — I can’t change that moment I made up my mind.  Within a millisecond, after years of trying to not let myself face my own thoughts, I made that choice.

Fate.  Damned fate.

Or Faith?  Blessed faith?  Either way — neither changes the truth.

Falling now …

 


Aftermath

Now that I made the decision, I’m not angry anymore.  It’s funny.  All the anger just went away.

I am sad now.

Sad it has to be this way.  Sad it couldn’t have worked out differently.  Sad I never thought we’d go this far.   Sad we seemed like a such a good pair.  I’m sad that I know I am doing the right thing.  I’m sad that I’m hurting someone I loved for a very long time.  I’m sad that I feel guilt and a bit of shame for trying to save myself.  I found out after seven plus years, I still have a touch of survival instinct.

And I feel bad about it.  I reached a limit and even now I cannot define that limit.

It’s going to take a lot of wine and a lot of writing to get through this.  I have to make something of this pain.  Otherwise, I’m going to experience a whole new level of crazy.

 

 

 

 


Imagined Conversation #1

 

Future Ex:  There’s someone else, isn’t there?

Me: What are you talking about?

Future Ex:  Who is it?  There must be someone you’re leaving me for.

Me:  Well… (Funny comics by Natalie Dee)

Future Ex:  I knew it!  I knew it! 

Shrugs her shoulders, looks the other way. Wonders when she can go get a cup of coffee.

Future Ex:  I can see it in your face!  You’re in love with someone else!

Me: Yeah. You’re right.  Feel better?

Future Ex:  Who is it?  Tell me who it is!

Me:  You really want to know?

Future Ex: Yes, dammit!  Who is this guy?  I want to see him!  I’ll lay him flat!

Me: Great…

Future Ex:  Tell me who it is! Who is it you’re in love with?

Me:  Me.

He blinks, comprehending.

Future Ex: What?

Me:  The other person is me.  I love myself more than you.

He blinks, flustered, angry, hurt.

She digs in her jeans pocket for a couple of bucks — really  needs some coffee.

Me:  I gotta go.

 


Over and Done

the why love dies

I have to get a divorce.

I’ve known it for too long.

I don’t know where to begin or how this is going to go.  It will get worse before it gets better, that I can count on.  I haven’t told him yet.

Last time, he went wacko.  When will a man learn the best thing he can do is walk away?  Begging is so gross.  But it must have worked because I caved.  We tried to work things out and he went back to doing what he had always done.  I stayed here, waited, for four more years.

Fool.

Yes, in 2010 I told him I wanted a divorce — three months after my grandmother died.  I didn’t want to be taken down by my husband the same way my grandmother was.  Slowly, year after year, my grandfather continued to suck the life out her.  We all knew it was a terrible marriage.  But she stayed.  Worried about him, fretted and coddled him.  She fought him too, but they were only words.  In the end, he only cared about himself.  He would try to steal attention away from my grandmother, in need of physical assistance, from the nursing aide.  He wanted the attention.  He always did.

When my grandmother died, her great granddaughter sang Ava Maria in the Catholic Church, followed by a sad burial in the rain.

When My grandfather died, the funeral home played recorded country music,  followed by a Marine Corps burial.  They gave him a 21- gun salute.  This weekend is Memorial Day.  My grandfather soured any respect for the military I might have had. I am sure there are some good troops out there, but from what I saw, it’s just another good ol’ boys club.

But us?  Our union has slowly shredded into nothing. I loved him, I did, when I married him. But there were many signs I chose to ignore before our wedding. I figured no one is perfect.  Least of all me.  And he was beautiful.  It kills me to think about the story of our beginning.  It’s always been a good story, fun to tell, until now.

We tried to work things out, but December, during Christmas, my mind simply snapped closed and said, “No.”

“No more.”

By January, I quit taking his calls. Unplugged the phone before he dialed in his usual, annoying as hell call at 8:30 p.m. Instead, I refocused and went to work on my script.  It kept me distracted and guilt free. I justified my silence with the need to work.  The more I worked, the  more I noticed:  I am happier without him.

I talked with my online friends about “the situation.”  The more I talked about it, the clearer things became.

There is no turning back.

I must not focus on the loneliness. For years, I’ve tried to not allow loneliness a place in the room, but I think he’s going to be here for some time.   I’ve been sucker-punched by loneliness, tricked into a pathetic existence for too long.  He’s unavoidable, until I find a way to sit him in a corner and not feed him until he shrivels up and dies.

Next in line: Guilt.  Guilt will be be tough to deal with; he’s sitting over there, grinning.  But I must defeat him this time, too.  This time, guilt, fear or any other emotion that works against me better sit down and shut up.

For my sake.  For my kids’ sake too.  Though I am scared and have no clue how to proceed, I know

I cannot go back.


OMG…

 

Last month… and the month before December, and the years before 2006, I got through pretty damned well, in spite of it.

But Tonight — Oh Dear God… I’ve always wondered what a nervous break down felt like…

and since I’m not checked into a mental ward, yet, I might still not know —

but the scream.  All I could do was scream.

SCREAM. 

My kids ran for cover, picked up their crap, ran for cover and I screamed.

To no one.

begging for mercy…

and then tears, followed by all the thoughts of why? and why not? and why the hell am I fighting:

Autism, weak employment, obsessive screenwriting, visions of grandeur, Diabetes and carb counts, single motherhood, poverty, debt, broken vehicles — (as in dead vehicles), friggin’ chickens (Yes Sorine, Friggin’ chickens), contest deadlines, daydreams, school schedules, syllables, class schedules and work that is not mine:  papers to write that I sign with my son’s name, university requirements that don’t belong to me. Why am I beating my head against this same, damned, wall?  The emails, the phone calls, the waiting lists, the rotation of caseworkers, the letters, the appointments, the conferences, the meetings, the clutter, the cats, the dog, the mess, the colds, the vomit (not mine), the tears (not mine) , the loneliness, (mine, his, theirs), the guilt, (all mine), the shame (mine again) — Why THE HELL did I leave L.A.?  Why did I feel like I OWED because I fell in love and had children? Why can’t I be a gambler, a Meth addict, a stoner, a smoker, a thief, a slut, a villain, a Party Girl, a wino, a cheat, a scoundrel, a racist, a lawyer, a politician, work on Wall Street, work in “sales,” be a lousy shit of a mother who doesn’t give a crap? Why am I not those things?

Why am I THIS?

This is no Lion’s Den that will ever be praised, written about or documented.  This is no proud moment of achievement in spite of great odds.  This is no shining moment that shows Your Awesomeness. (Yet?) Where’s the power? Where’s the strength to get through?  Lead me to that pile of ashes — Let me soak in it, bathe in it, roll in it. Give me a bag of marshmallows to roast if I am not a Phoenix.  I’ve run out of the ability to keep it up, stay focused, faithful, trusting.  I’m down to an 1/8 of a mustard seed.  That’s it.  I’m tired.

I’m so ineffectual…

Please…

Jesus H. Christ — I’m begging you.

believing and having faith in you as always — but please, please I’m waiting for this promise:

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come Unto Me. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Any time at all…

p.s.

I admit I have knack for digging more tunnel the minute I see a crack of light.  Seems it is the way I was crafted…

Not pointing fingers or anything…

 


The Fight

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An update to my “letter” post.

It goes like this for me, maybe it is the same for you:  I get so down, I feel as though I will never get up again. Then, the next day — I want to fight.

But first, I have to whine about it, moan about, write about.  I talk to whomever will listen.  And if they don’t want to hear it?  Doesn’t matter.  I will spill it, I will send that email, I will write that post, I will SAY how bad it hurts — because I have to get it out.  I am willing to shame myself if it means I’ll be free of the pain. I embarrass myself, show my failure, this never-ending battle of a marriage that on the surface — should have gone well.  It would be so much easier to see “the truth” had he been a cheat or a scoundrel.  If he’d been a lousy father or a drug addict.  He is not those things.  He is a good guy.  A good, handsome, sweetheart.  But it occurs to me that good guy or not — he’s destroying me.

So tonight — my options:  Quit my life or fight for my life. Lay down and die or get up and fight.  It’s no longer about my “marriage.”  The battle I face is not about marriage.  I don’t even know what marriage is anymore.  I’ve raised our kids by myself for so long now — what does it matter?  As long as I don’t say the word “divorce” everyone seems quite satisfied with the illusion.  So — I won’t say the word.

But the fight is within me.  The fight is something larger than a relationship.  Sure — the chips are down and stacked against me.  But the chips are against everyone.  Everyone.  Excuses are worthless.

My biggest threat?  Is giving in to sentiment.  I must be stronger than my sympathy, my self-pity, and worse — my guilt.

Years ago, I had a boyfriend — loved him, deeply — with all my heart.  But I knew he was all wrong for me, the drugs, the band, his ex-wife, his three children, his lack of direction, lack of interest in God, complete self-interest, but in the end it was the skirt chasing… that got me.  He was unfaithful.  That was the thing I couldn’t overcome.  That, and he had a vasectomy.  I wanted to have children.

One very bad day — I woke up.  From what I remember there were several bad days in a row, months of those bad days.  (I am slow when it comes to exiting “love.”)  But on the day I knew it was over, I thought my decision would end me.  I loved him.  I didn’t want to leave.

The choice had finally become clear then, too.  Who did I love more? Him or me?  If I stayed, it would kill me.  I would have nothing I wanted for my life.

But if I left, I would lose the man I loved. All I would gain would be the hope of becoming new, someday.

I left. It was horrible. Not a good end.  He has never spoken to me again.  Friendship — out of the question.  From what I’ve heard about him since, he married well.  He lives his life the same as he did when I was with him.  He plays music, has a boat and smokes a lot of pot. Good for him.  His wife makes the money.  His wife didn’t want children.  I did the man a favor.

In retrospect it was the right decision.  The wrong part of the decision was that I quickly entered into a new relationship.  Too soon.  I gave up on my dream of being an actress and replaced my love gone bad with new love, too soon.  That decision has brought me to where I am now.  I gave up on myself and devoted myself to another.

Stupid.

I should have sucked it up and endured the pain of loneliness.  I should have gone through it instead of trying to mask it, patch it — with new “love” and new false promises.  I should have given my dreams, my visions for myself a chance — but I was weak.

Tonight I ask myself which was worse?  The false promises said to me? Or the promises I made to myself and that I never fully pursued?  It is the second option that has brought me to my knees. I am to blame.  Now that I am down here — the lessons I needed to learn 20 years ago are still here.  Those lessons are much harder now.  I have mouths to feed, to clothe, to educate.  I have 5 beautiful people I need to teach, instill that honesty, gumption, hard work will go far.  I must teach them to be fearless, but wise, that they can be and choose anything they want  — but only if they put their whole 100% effort toward those goals.  I want them to know and somehow must teach that love does exist.  That love and happiness are attainable, but…

Never sell your soul.  Never give it away.  Their soul belongs to each of them and then to God – no one else.

So. Fight.  That’s what I am telling myself.  Fight.  Work.  Fight.  Reclaim my spirit and fight fearlessly.

and of course, I will pray.


Epiphany

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:::

A few unrelated thoughts came together when I woke this morning:  Yo-yo dieting, credit cards, my lack of discipline and my long distance spouse are all symptoms of my trapped life’s struggle.

  • Credit cards.

They are convenient, allow me to buy things I need in the moment, but they are bad for me and keep me in a financial rut.  One of my 2014 decisions was to cut all the use of credit cards.  But try as I might not to use them, I’ve discovered how many things I’ve subscribed to that automatically charge my account and shock the hell out of my budget calculations.  Expenditures that I forgot were coming.  For example, I thought I’d paid off one card for good and yet here is a 99 dollar charge.  Hosting fees.  Yeah… I guess I kind of “need” to keep that.  Now if I would finish and relaunch my website to make it worth the expense…

  • Dieting.

I’ve been back and forth with the same five pounds for well over a year now.  Can’t get past that rotten five-pound loss to get ONE SINGLE DIGIT closer to my goal of a total of a ten pound loss.  When I am one digit  from what I view as the speed bump on the scale, I over eat and gain two back.  Which for some reason means I will likely over eat for two more days, gain 3 more pounds and there ya go… I start all over.  Last night I was HUNGRY but I did not eat.  This morning I woke up hungry and I still am.  If I can remain hungry for one solid week I’ll notice the numbers on the scale drop.  But that’s not the trick.  Staying hungry for two weeks is the trick.  The fait accompli would be to stay slightly hungry for a solid month and more, throw in daily exercise and Voila!   Then let’s see what that bastard of a scale has to say.

But will I?  Hmm.  It’s so simple. Daily effort.  Daily steps. Inch by motherfecking inch.

  • Writing

And then there’s writing (slash) career.  Yes, let me be honest with myself for one minute.  I have no career because I have never put my entire effort toward this goal.  I have never, with unceasing effort, day in, day out, repeated the act of pumping out pages of work.  Nope.  And it shows.  I have been a mom, which, yeah — I know — everyone says is the hardest job in the world and it is, because the nature of the job is that the mother’s personal goals and needs (career, money, hair appointments) are always dead last in terms of importance.  But now?  Now that I “know” my children’s long-term survival and well-being count on whether I acquire a back bone?  I need to switch it up.

  • Wedded Bliss

Not quite.  I have settled into a stagnant, maddening, situation and nearly every day for years — even before his departure to La La Land — tolerated it because it was easier than facing the truth. (“Situation” defined:  waiting for him to return, holding hope for him to “come through” with his own career,  the constant state of lack and loneliness).  I have repeated these phrases or similar for two decades: “but he’s a really good guy.”  “He loves us.” “His heart is in the right place…”  All of which are true — but — I’m starving here.  We are starving here.  It’s the kind of starving that makes me do stupid irrational things like, go adopt two more cats, plus two more cats.  It’s the kind of starving that encourages me to seek comfort in a bottle of wine, eat greasy, salty or sweet comfort foods.  It’s the kind of starving that sent me to see psychologist after psychologist to ask only one thing: “What’s wrong with me?”  And though it is not my long distance spouse’s fault, the imagined security of marriage  has prevented me from seeing my oldest daughter at college, from developing friendships or from driving a mere 10 miles outside of my town for fear the vehicle would break down, stranding the kids and me on a single lane highway to nowhere.  It has prevented me from living my life — this waiting.

And meanwhile, I let the writing go to the bottom of the list of importance.  The one thing I could do simply by making the time to do it — I let go.  It is no one’s fault but mine.

Idiot.

I have not spoken to him on the phone for two weeks.  He calls everyday to speak with the kids (and me).  Before this, For over seven years, we spoke to each other daily (via phone) and of course when he came home to visit.   Now I’ve stopped talking.  It’s connected to my failed diet attempts, my reliance on credit cards, my poor discipline as a writer, my lack of gumption as a filmmaker.  But refusing to talk to him,  as difficult as it is, (trust me, it’s difficult) seems to help.  I’d like to say this clarity is something new — but it isn’t.  I’ve tried to face facts before, many times. Always for the same reasons.  2010, after my grandmother died, the sorrow woke me then, too.  He isn’t going to do it. He isn’t going to change, improve his own life or fight for his family.  I told him I wanted a divorce.  But I love him, so we found God, Joel Osteen and tried hope again.  This past year, it was my father’s heart attack that opened my eyes.  My spouse flew in, offered support and comfort – and it was good.  I was so grateful that he came home, that he was with the kids, was here to see my dad, to see me.  Grateful my spouse came home.  Isn’t that proof that he is a great guy?

I don’t know — even now as I write this my heart struggles.  I remind myself:  My life depends on my choices.  I control the action.  If my life was a screenplay I would see immediately the problem.  The story is not controlled by the antagonist but by the choices the protagonist makes.  There is no story unless the protagonist drives it toward her GOAL.

I am saying with my forced silence, I control me.  I control my time.  I control my thoughts and emotions, not him.  I make the decisions for myself, our children. Let me remind myself:  November 7th 2006.  That is how long it’s been. That’s how long he’s been gone.

And yet…

Within that time, had I not been such a coward, so weak with excuses and dependency — had I written even two pages a day, where would I be now?  Had I written, committed to my own goals and vision, daily, in spite of the circumstance — where would I be?  Maybe I would save our marriage. Maybe.

The road is still there.  It’s not route 66 and if it is, it’s closed for a good reason. There is always another road that will get me from here to there.  I have coffee in the thermos, I have the map  — now I just need to buy the car.