Ever read the book e? It's a "novel" about the dirty dealings at an ad agency written entirely in the form of email exchanges. Good read for a poolside lounge.
I have just downloaded software that allows me to view and print off entire text histories from my iphone to my computer. Holy cheebus. Reading over years' worth of text exchanges with The Manny, She Who Shall Not Be Named, a fireman named Dingus, and all of the collateral humans moved to contact during the emotional avalanche of last April -- there are no words to describe the repetition in my words, emotions, expressions of hurt and anger, and how much I tried to reach out to everybody I loved while we were all still in love. It's the stuff of which books, movies, and Showtime series are made. Reading back over it made me think that this story could be told entirely in text messages. i, if you will.
It's frightening to think that legal closure won't come until one year post-apocalypse, even though every moment of the madness is fresh in my mind (which it wouldn't be in any form or fashion if I was borderline, but whatevs. diagnose me, everybody's doing it.). The texts fill in situational and dialogue blanks that I couldn't place or remember verbatim. And those texts also woefully recount the obvious downslide in The Manny's original emotional decision to try to keep our family together, his mother moving in to raise my children while he worked, when he found his new male therapist after making his first one cry by telling her our story, and how he suddenly became crueler, colder, and more draconian by degrees. Frankly, I didn't think that was possible after that fateful 911 call.
The very idea that he would foist diagnoses on me that my own personal psychiatrist (of hundreds of hours) refutes -- to a formally trained custody evaluator with a 20+-year career in psychology, no less. Downright foolish. You're really going to diagnose me, The Manny? To the guy who you're paying close to $10k to evaluate and diagnose us BOTH psychologically, or didn't you know that? An exercise in buffoonery, summon the sweat bands.
As you may have already guessed, situation has gone septic once again and we are currently at loggerheads over allowing the children to travel with me for a week to meet my mother south of LA for A Very Jewish Christmas, just like we do every year in one locale or other. He's retaliating because I won't agree to modify the current custody situation which leaves the children with me four nights out of the week -- the same four nights I don't work, but when he is most likely to be traveling for his bogus corporate enterprises. So now he's pissed and trying to force me to cancel the trip, for which the children have already started packing.
The level of frustration in dealing with a person unwilling to go to mediation after several requests, but totally willing to annihilate any chance at civil relations over an unethical misdiagnosis and some estrogen gone bad -- trust me, you'd rather be eviscerated, unanesthetized, with a rusty cream cheese spreader. That one was for you, Dingus.
Thinking about getting a divorce? Think twice. Thinking about getting married? I'll give you the same lecture I've been giving folks since my lover and I signed and sealed with a kiss that public social contract; one which was ultimately set on fire and shoved up my lubeless Danus: It's a calculated risk; proceed with caution. Once children are involved there is no hope of a clean break and a new life. What's left are only old festering wounds, new heartache, bloody heads against brick walls, cauliflower ear, and the decision to let it break you or embolden you. Not being bound to him for the rest of my babies' lives would be preferable, but either way I will not be broken. Not by a weakling with a taskforce of incompetents and a ration of oedipal issues. No can.
I can't stress enough that people who were in love like we were would never treat one another this way, for better or for worse. People who are one/septillionth as in love as we were find ways to make it work without lobbing accusations, forcing bankruptcy, and defaulting on every major promise ever made. For my part, I have been cruel. Starting most pointedly after I realized how diminished I felt, how little he cared for my feelings, and how I felt truly worthless if the one who claimed to loved me most proved himself to care for me so little. Anger is a logical and normal reaction to the decisions he has made on all of our behalves, and it's never been my way to zip a lip when I feel that my sensibilities have been violated. It's been nine months of shadowboxing with a robot operating via overcrowded control booth. It's hard to employ the art of war when your enemies are fighting via remote.
I often wonder if I could just find the man with a soul somewhere inside that foreign suit of tin, if he'd let me lead him back to the wizardry of our togetherness. But I know that daydreaming is futile. He's smuggling inert air in his cold-plated suit of metal, even though he's behaving more like the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man all rolled up into a fatty for me to poop on. Apparently I make a better wicked witch than a Dorothy (although I have been very popular among the gays lately), but no matter. These brooms were made for skwaking.
There's been a lot of mishigas clogging my brainhole as of late. Every planet in my solar system is spinning on an axis faster than I can draft their orbits -- raising children, finding income-friendly work, career opportunities, impending dissolution of my marriage, making friends, losing enemies. There is a certain weightlessness I've had to adopt to stay agile enough to rise above the surprises, disappointments, and dog-legged turns of the yellow brick road. That weightlessness makes me impervious to name-calling, attempted character assassinations, and the insipid depression and foreboding that comes with a major life change so sudden and irreversible. I do not feel deterred. I do not feel ashamed. I have been precise and intentional in the cruelty of my words, but the truth behind them is valid because it is mine. I don't like having to justify my thoughts and feelings, but I am going to have to answer at some point for the words I choose to use. You know, the ones nobody else would ever consider stringing together so as to affect scalpel-like incisions of white-hot truth. Bring on the hemlock.
Scrams is amused by my diatribal monologues, mainly because he says when I'm pissed, I'm really fucking funny. And everyone agrees with that sentiment until that mean/angry/funny is levied upon them. Then there's not much laughing, just the accusation of my ultimate bitchiness and an admonition of eternal damnation. Am I a bitch? Yeah, probably. Do I get mean when I feel attacked or unjustly slighted? Yeppers-dang-doodle. Do I have the capacity for genuine love and commitment? I used to. These days I am ever-learning to completely trust no one but my own stupid self. Somehow that's kept my North true, my children well-protected, and my resolve steely. After reading over the i-lectronic recounting of my life's recent loves lost, I know I tried. The children will certainly know I tried. The Manny can continue on diagnosing my problems, but my love is written all over the life that BMC knew, for however long that life was actually true, and within the blood-curdling hurt of the cries of Katie. It was the best I had to offer, beauty marks and warts and all.
As someone untrained in the psychiatric arts, I have done enough couch-sitting at $200/hour to at least be diagnosed as knowing that I know myself, I know my children, I know my mind, and I know what I don't want in this world. I may not have a permanent home (the perils of second-floor living with shorties) or an official paying job, but I have in my possession a limitless recycled income of hope for our future happiness -- even for The Manny, the belief that the children and I will come out ahead in the end somehow, enough passion to fuel the three of us all until money kills it off again or I simply die of natural causes, and the kind of determination that sinks ships and launches space shuttles. If none of this were true, I wouldn't be able to look my perfect memories in the eye without spilling one tear while watching them go by (created April 28, 2009: 20 days after my hospital release).
I need some new memories to replace those. And I'm not canceling our family vacation just because the robot might rust outside the swimming pool gates.
Over and out,