Friday, December 31, 2010

God Stole My Wallet

The last couple of years have been very trying for me to say the least. I was laid off and I still haven’t found suitable employment. And by suitable I mean I’ve applied to Target, Petsmart, Temp Agencies, everything and anything I might be qualified for. It goes without saying that I'm qualified for any of those jobs that I would have previously thought beneath me. Not that I’m a snob but I have a substantial amount of education and experience. I was an Advertising Copywriter. I do a little freelance but that is very scarce. I’m signed with a temp agency to substitute teach, another to be a banquet server, and another for any administration-type work.

Besides the unemployment, my husband and I survived burst pipes, costly broken vehicles, and a cat that almost died. I wanted to put the cat to sleep. Sorry but I did. I was coerced by my husband and child to revive him. I gave him daily IV’s for a couple months. He’s okay now but very frail. It cost us over $2,000 to keep him alive. Facing substantial debt, the economy tanked. My husband took work in El Paso for months on end. My friend was falling apart. I was falling apart. Then BAM I got a brutal announcement from my husband that he wanted a divorce.

Let me first say I’m not complaining, I’m explaining. I have however, done a lot of complaining and mostly in messy, ridiculous, crazy, inappropriate posts on Facebook and texting my soon-to-be ex. All the while I desperately hid my difficulties from my sweet little girl; asking for help with her when I needed it. It’s been a year since the awakening of the divorce. It was an awakening to just how much I drank to numb myself from the world around me. It also solidified the knowledge that my husband and I had been living in purgatory for years, most of the marriage in fact. We never communicated very well. I have PTSD and I’m terrified most of the time. That’s not an excuse. It’s a reality. We were doomed from day one. We do have a beautiful vibrant 9 year old girl and she is the best thing that came from our marriage. The dance we had developed was a combination of rage, depression, non-sex, workaholism, alcoholism, drugs and more creating a steamy pile of shit. We both contributed and we both developed ways to cope with each other. Yet through it all we really love each other. It’s not a new story but sometimes love just isn’t enough. We don’t like each other very much.

So this last year I have been an emotional mess to say the least. I went to different therapists until I couldn’t afford it anymore. I paid for a psychiatrist even though I couldn’t afford her fees but I also couldn’t afford not to get help. After some trial and error and literally psychotic days we came upon a lovely cocktail that works. I was crazy with pain, confusion, suicidal thoughts and all the while doing my best to hide it from my daughter. Finally I pulled up my boot straps and moved into a cute little apartment with my daughter. I got into a program at the local community college to become a Medical Assistant. I’m busting my butt and doing really well. All A’s except this last block I got a B in Anatomy and Physiology. I missed the A by .5%. Seriously 89.5%. I applied for ACCHS – government health insurance and food stamps. My soon-to-be ex has been extremely financially supportive; he’s still paying the mortgage on the house and paying my daughter’s and my rent. He’s also paying for gas and odds and ends as they come along.

Then little miracles started to happen, I found therapy for free. My soon-to-be ex provided me with money to buy gifts for the holidays. Retail therapy is incredibly healing when you are buying gifts for people you love. I took my daughter to see and she asked him for a wolf and he told her “Santa can’t give wild animals.” So I adopted one for her from wolfhaven.org. I was beginning to feel less stressed; less in pain; more accepting. I had made it through Christmas complete with letting my daughter meet my soon-to-be ex’s girlfriend. I realized I was quite lucky. Although I had been shamelessly betrayed by a beloved friend I remembered why she was beloved to me. She is a sweet, beautiful loving girl. Of course I still secretly hate her guts, but when it comes to my child, I know the ex-friend will be good to her.

Then I had a total breakdown just a few days ago. I raged against the soon-to-be ex. I sobbed (not in the presence of my child.) I drank. I wrote a ranting incomprehensible email and sent to all my family and posted it on Facebook. I didn’t remember writing the letter. My daughter was watching TV while I had been typing away. She was oblivious to the blind rage I had succumbed to. I woke and deleted the FB post. I wrote a letter apologizing to everyone and explained that I had had a blip; a relapse; I effed up. I had therapy that day so I wallowed in my shame and self-hatred as I confessed to my therapist and later to women I have therapy group with. I felt better.

Later I went to Target to buy cat litter on my Christmas gift card. Yay. Meanwhile I called unemployment because they had cut off my benefits and I had to talk to a person to get them reinstated. I had been trying to get through on the phone for two and a half weeks. I got through…estimated wait time approximately 3 hrs. I wasn’t going to hang up. I had my phone on speaker phone. Besides the cat litter I bought a new pillow for myself. I was paying and the phone kept distracting me not knowing if a person had answered or another recorded message was playing. I left my wallet on the counter. I went to the car and when I reached into my bag and realized the wallet wasn’t there. I rushed back in and the checker was gone. I went to customer service to see if it had been turned in. No. I went to security and they reviewed the surveillance tape. Sure enough a guy behind me bought something for 98 cents with cash and nonchalantly swiped my wallet. Panicked, I called the police; called my soon-to-be ex to make sure my daughter was safe. She had been with him and his parents all day and was due to arrive at my house soon. They hadn’t left yet. Good, okay. I called all the credit cards. My checking account had been drained. The bank assured me they will refund the money but this won’t happen until sometime next week. I called my soon-to-be-ex in-laws and asked if my daughter could spend the night. Unemployment came on the line soon after and we went through the infuriating steps to reinstate my benefits. Benefits restored. I was delirious with relief, fear and anger.

The next day I went about putting my life back together. Literally replacing everything I had in the wallet. I went to DES to report my stolen cards and reapplied for everything again. While I waited in the line for an hour and half, I read Anne Lamott’s Grace Eventually. I went to two banks to get temporary ATM cards. As I pulled into the DMV to replace my driver’s license I had an epiphany. After everything; all of it; the whole damn mess I realized that God had stolen my wallet. Somehow the act of replacing everything I realized that it was unbelievably freeing. I was free of my old life. I have to replace, renew and fight to let go. I think I’m on my way.

Footnote 1: My daughter had therapy that day. My soon-to-be-ex in-laws took her for me. Her therapist called me later to say that she seems to be happier and not as stressed. She seems to be coming through and accepting the changes.

Footnote 2: All the soon-to-be-ex stuff is because we haven’t filed. I started to complete the paperwork today. I will be divorced in 2011.