Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Part III - How Do Women Stay Married to Jerks?

"You bide your time.
You have to."

You realize, now, you are married to a jerk.
You've known it for some time, but you've just come to grips with it,
so what do you do?

I mean, you've tried to obey "the rules" but the rules always change.
You've talked about counseling. You've even scheduled the appointments,
but as he's mentioned, you'll be the only one going because you're the problem.
You're out of ideas, hope, and quite frankly, not only do you not love him anymore,
you've stopped giving a shit.

For a while, escape is a fantasy, and you fantasize a LOT.
None of the scenarios are particularly appealing, but some are slightly less...
than others.
The least awful is the hope that your spouse will leave you.
You hope that they will fall out of love with you.
Little do you know that this has already happened
and they're still around because, well, you're reliable.

You plan, and "one day" becomes your favorite time.
You make plans while you wash the dishes, while you weedeat the yard,
while you're stuck with him on the couch watching another fucking John Wayne movie.

Your spouse loves John Wayne.
You have learned to think of John Wayne as the root of all evil.
You begin to wish posthumous harm on John Wayne, his entire family and all of his fans.
You want him to come back to life so you can push him in front of a bus because if you have to watch one more gods damned John Wayne movie and listen to your spouse go on about how much he'd love to live in "those times" (presumably those times being the ones when you could spank your woman for talking back to you and then go off and start a bar fight for, well, for no real reason at all) and then watch him hunch up his shoulders and do that stupid walk and laugh that stupid laugh and talk through that unlit cigarette (and you just now realized that he probably unintentionally as much as intentionally modeled his every move on stupidJohnWayneandhowdidyounotseeitBEFORE!?)
and where was I... ?

John. Irritating. Fucking. Wayne.
Is probably a whole separate post.

So. You make your plans. You will get the two of you out of this hole because he's not going to do it.

Except that since the reason you're in the hole is he won't hold down a job and is always around.
You're spending too much time putting out fires to properly fix the wiring.
Your plans become for YOU to leave.
But not now.
When the kids are older, that's when you'll do it.
Or when your grandma is too senile to realize you're getting a divorce
or when he finally does something in front of someone that you can take to the police.
When you can put a little money away (hahahahahahahaha....) for gas and an apartment.

You finish your college degree. In between jobs. In between kids. In between crises.
You fight and scrap for it, too, because he will think of every reason for you to not do it.
You will tolerate his suggestions that you are not really going to classes but are instead having a torrid affair, like you do when you go to the Hardee's drive through window (at his request to get his food) or out to pay the phone bill or to the library or anytime you are out of his sight for more than five minutes.
You fight until you can't. You start agreeing to things you don't agree with just so he will shut the fuck up for a minute and let you get on with things. You apologize for things you aren't sorry for. You learn to say the right words and dance the right steps.
You do what you must.
Until one day.
You have.
The thought.

The thought that you've had a thousand times except this time it's real. 

You've kind of shocked yourself with this truth.
You really ARE going to leave.
It really IS a matter of time.
It's going to happen.
You just don't know how, or when.
You aren't ready for active participation yet.

I don't know how it works for everyone, but I had that "last straw" moment.
I mean, I'd kind of checked out of the marriage already anyway. I kept going through the motions because I didn't know what else to do. I had helped him, pushed him, into another job that he hadn't yet managed
(but was trying like hell) to get fired from
and I will remember for as long as I live,
that long distance cell phone call,
when, from over two thousand miles away,
I heard the words that were designed to guilt me into apologizing for being in the bathroom or whatever when the phone rang, when I wasn't sorry that I was still in the bathroom when he called three more times in the next two minutes,

"I guess we just don't have anything left."

Huh. No, I guess we don't.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blergh. Morning.

6:06 am:
There's already an epic battle for the universe going on in my living room. Or honor, or tiny animals in plastic eggs, or whatever it is anime characters are fight about these days.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Part II - Why do Women Stay Married to Jerks?

"...By the time you figure it out, by the time the vitriol has been turned on you,
it is often too late. You have kids. Or aging parents. Three quarters of a college degree.

A shared livelihood. Whatever. You are in a compromised position where his entire social network overwhelms yours because he has slowly but very systematically cut you off from your friends, family, co-workers and replaced them with... him.

Maybe you believe that he will change. He did promise...."

But that's not all.

There's the "shame." You that wonder if it's your fault, especially when you have someone telling you it's your fault, and so there is the anvil of failure just hanging there, over your head, waiting for you to lose your grip on the rope.

You think you're too far in. You have been part of a pair, and never mind you're the stronger half of a broken, limping, barely breathing pair, there is the part of you that wonders how you will do it all by yourself. Where will you live, how will you pay the bills? (Yes, you know they aren't being paid now, but that's going to change any minute now. It WILL, this time.)
How will you extricate yourself from his family, his remaining friend, your joint checking account?

What about the dog?
The emotional toll of just thinking about it is costly.

Then there's the paperwork.
You can't afford a lawyer.
Hell, you can't afford either of your mortgages or your electric payment,
how do you expect to pay for legal representation? 

There is the part of you that wonders if you will be that one case in a hundred where the court sides with your awful ex.
Not so farfetched a theory as One. Might. Think...

You don't want to go crawling back.
To your friends.
Let's face it, you've treated them badly.
Yeah, you've done it out of cowardice with a touch of altruism.

You know you can't keep a rein on his mouth, you know how he is, and you don't want to subject people you like to that.
You don't want to have to be apologetic on his behalf later, so you don't go anywhere with him,
and God knows you can't go anywhere without him.
So you just stop seeing people you care about, with a lot of excuses and little explanation.
Sooner or later they stop calling.

Then there's your family...
Your "normal" family.
And by normal I mean your dad.

Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected, even when you wreck the car. Okay, not so much when he's fixing the toilet, but no one's perfect.
Your mom. The sweetest woman you know. She loves British humor and introduced you to Billy Joel. She is nice to everyone and will offer you tea and sandwiches Until. You. Crack.
Your sister. Even though you tried to kill each other on a fairly regular basis during your childhood, she's okay now. You share a love of heavy sarcasm and Joss Whedon and chocolate. She's got good kids. Your brother-in-law is not too bad, either. He makes a mean sausage-gravy-and-biscuit breakfast.
Your "little" brother. You used to smack him on the head and how he's a foot taller than you, but instead of getting revenge he talks to you about nerd stuff. Batman is the tie that binds.

You don't want them to worry. You don't want them to interfere. You don't want your ex to drag them down to his level. That's his specialty, but you won't let him turn your family into a pack of snarling, howling, revenge-bent werewolves.
You have enough to deal with without having to sneak them handcuff keys in their prison birthday cupcakes.

You bide your time.
You have to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Part I - Why Do Women Marry Jerks?

I have been asked how girls fall for the wrong guy,

or, more specifically, how I fell for the wrong guy.

I wrote a blog post about it. Liketohearit?Hereitgo... (Only works in David Alan Grier's voice.)

An asshole will be nice to you. At first.
His asshole-y actions?
They will be directed at people you don't really know, they will involve family or friend dynamics you don't truly understand,
they will be muted or even seem somewhat justified at the time.
(It takes all kinds, right? This is how they handle things? I guess?)

It is only years later when his family stops talking to him and friends get fed up and stop coming around that you realize that, no, it wasn't your imagination, he really was being a hateful prick.

Your parents were normal.
And by normal I mean they weren't always sniping at each other and making each other feel horrible.
Talking meant talking. There were no volleys of insults or subtle degradations. No one needed thick skin. They were nice to each others friends and families. They surrounded you with love and other people who loved you.
You were raised in THAT.

You cannot believe such people as your new guy and his lot exist outside of Lifetime TV or episodes of COPS. 

By the time you figure it out, by the time the vitriol has been turned on you,
it is often too late. You have kids. Or aging parents. Three quarters of a college degree.

A shared livelihood. Whatever. You are in a compromised position where his entire social network overwhelms yours because he has slowly but very systematically cut you off from your friends, family, co-workers and replaced them with... him.

Maybe you believe that he will change. He did promise.

Other stuff.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Are You Chicken?

My neighbors have been cackling for two hours.

Like, if Popeye had decided against being a sailor and had instead gone into chicken farming, and he lived next door with his (loud) chickens, and he thought his chickens were really hilarious,

that is what it would sound like.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The TARDIS and the Tomato Sauce

I'd decided on a day of relaxation. Not the one where you're supposed to be doing stuff but you screw off instead and feel guilty about it later, but the one where you give permission to self to not do anything except eat and watch "Scrubs" reruns with your good-lookin' boyfriend and watch some Adobe tutorials on the internet.
In your TARDIS pajamas.

(Day One: Our protagonist is wearing TARDIS pajamas. No related blog post, though.)

Day Two:

Our heroine returns, boosted by the self-confidence that only several Facebook-likes of a footie pajamas selfie can give,
ready to tackle the world of relaxation, Netflix, and homemade chili.

The ingredients are all there, the hamburger browned the night before.
The cookware is clean.
The comfy TARDIS pajamas are on.

She gathers the onion, the black beans, the tomato juice, the various and assorted spices.
She pulls the recipe card out. She slices, she dices, she chops.
She goes to put the tomato juice in...

Now, our girl is not one to have extra kitchen devices. She won't buy an electric can opener. No, she has the hand crank model.
One in a long line, as she has broken many of them.
The hand crank model, staple of camping and bomb-shelter kits.
The stuff of our forefathers, who valued hard work and scorned convenience for scorning convenience's sake.
She scorns the them because they hog counter space and waste electricity.

... and the hand crank model, as so many before it, latches and slips with the first turn.
And the second, and the third, and the fourth. Eventually, though, the can opener is coaxed into perforating enough metal that the can should yield its contents with one simple push on the top of the can...

Yeah, you see it coming, now.

... and the contents explode.
Not literally, as they are not volatile compounds, mostly just tomato and water, but they exit the can with such force that they coat the counter and the wall, they run onto the floor, they splatter our heroine's feet (because she unzipped and removed the feet of her footie pajamas when traction became an issue)
and her TARDIS pajamas.

There is lots of swearing as she hurriedly exits the kitchen, while the good-lookin' boyfriend (GLB) says something about skunks which our heroine does not fully hear because all she can see is red
-probably from the tomato product in her eyes-
and she is busy stripping off pajamas on the way to the washing machine...
where she finds that the load she put in before is still spinning.
A new plan is formulated and the TARDIS is hastily thrown under the spigot in the bathtub where
(oh thank GOD) the tomato sauce rinses out of the bright white of the police public call box windows.

After a quick pj and foot rinse the washing machine is ready to tackle its next challenge,
and so she starts the new load (cold water and a little extra soap) and heads upstairs for the very fuzzy, very comfortable,
very purple pajamas of a Christmas long past.

Upon her return to the kitchen, GLB is hard at work wiping the counter, the candy dish, the side of the refrigerator, the floor, and who knows what else,
because he is awesome.
A thousand times better than footie TARDIS pajamas.
And that is a lot.