The Last Year of Marriage

There’s a very good chance that this will be the last year that I will be married. Though we have been separated for almost a year and a half, technically we are still locked in union according to the law.  I still help pay his student loans.  He is still on my health insurance.  Neither of us is in a rush to get this thing finished, to break apart a union that is 16 years in the making, but we also know that eventually the cord will have to be cut and ties severed.

Sometimes I honestly don’t know which times we’re harder.  Was is the years we spent distant and cold, simply playing the part of husband and wife, the outside world oblivous to the struggles we were having within ourselves?  Was is the year I said I was leaving, but had to stay, the couch my permanent home, so much hate traveling back and forth between us while our children looked on, bewildered and overwhelmed?  Or was it this year?  The year filled with anger and remorse, both wanting to be with my kids full time and knowing that doing that meant hurting all of us in the process.  I simply can’t be sure.

The only thing I do know is that all of them were hard and all of them have taken an irreversible toll on me.  Anger, guilt, despair, panic, and disappointment and utter sadness have been my constant companions  and some days it takes every effort possible just to remind myself to take in air so I can keep living.

I’ve spent so much of the last year and a half fighting with a person I was supposed to love until the end of time.  He knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else and knows exactly what to say to make me go from quiet and content to a rage filled nightmare.  Sometimes I think he does it accidentally, forgetting how much I look into every word spoken, sure there are hidden meanings.  Other times I know it’s purposeful, and those times are the hardest to bear and the hardest to break free from.  Because how in the hell did we get to this place where we’ve become vindictive and spiteful to each other on purpose?

The other day we texted back and forth about something completely innocuous; a movie quote from a movie I know is one of his favorites.  It was a short, but lovely, conversation simply because it seemed so easy.

And then, of course, in true Cassie fashion, I started to cry.  I wanted to crawl into that conversation and live there because for the first time in a long time, I felt safe in that relationship.  Did I want to get back together?  Absolutely not.  We were horrible as a couple.  Not in the beginning, but in the many years that followed.  Our relationship was passive aggressive at best and self destructive at worst.  We were mean.  And nasty.  And horrible to each other.  And that’s putting it lightly.  Love should bring out the best in two people and for us, it didn’t.  Not anymore.  But that simple conversation showed me something I hadn’t seen between us in a long time.  It gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe one day all the conversations could be like this.  Maybe it will get better.

And while we may not ever really be friends, maybe we would stop intentionally trying to hurt each other in ways we only know how.

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I Miss My People

A funny thing happened the there day.  It was pretty insignificant, really.  But my first thought was, “Oh my God, I have to text…” and in the place where you would insert a name, my mind thoroughly drew a blank.  I had no idea who I would text with this news, no idea who would laugh along with me at the oddness of it all.

As we progress in our significant romantic relationships, it’s only natural that our time with our friends diminishes and our “others” take the place of our best friends and most trusted confidants.  Add in a kid (or multiple kids) on one (or both sides) and its seemingly impossible that mutual time can be made available.  Thus the friendships break down even further, and personal contact is replaced with random texts and the like, promises of “we need to get together soon” and “I miss you”, until you feel awkward even texting with your random odd news, unsure and afraid that they won’t even understand.

I just know I miss my friends.

And I know that I am *at least* half to blame.  I am terrible at keeping contact with people.  If we feel like going the psychoanalysis route, to make a long story short, I tend to push people away, choosing to reject them before they can reject me (which I am absolutely, unequivocally sure they are going to do).  This was even confirmed today by a book I read about my birthday and being an Aquarius, so this is obviously scientific fact now.  The lack of confidence in my friendships even goes so deep as to HATE to invite people out or over.  I don’t want them to feel obligated and I know I’ll feel even worse if they don’t come.  So instead I sit and wait for my friends to invite ME to do things.

Yes, I know this is stupid.  Yes I know I am 37 and am acting like a 14 year old.  But the truth is the truth.

True, I have work friends.  We text about work stuff and funny family anecdotes.  We occasionally meet up for after work drinks or other events, but it’s not the same.  It’s not the same as finding those people who know you below the surface, those who have not only seen you go through hell, but have also gone through it with you. Those you can say just one word to and have them cracking up.  Those who have motivate you, and inspire you, and love you for who you are…even if you’re a psycho that constantly fears rejection.

I know I have a person who loves me.  I know I have my brothers and family members.  But sometimes, I just really miss my friends.

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Back to the Start

I’ve been wanting to write again for quite a while, but as usual, I had no idea where to start.  I currently have 9 notes in my phone about things I want to write about, but when I sit down and open up WordPress…crickets.  Every time.

So, today, in my all plague-induced sickness haze, I think maybe I’ll go back through my old blog posts and see what I used to write about.  Maybe it will spark something so I can get going again.

After all that, you know what I realized…I’ve fallen very far from the person I’ve become.

I used to think that the person I was in late 2013-2014 was so misguided and had no idea who she was.  I thought she was a mess.  I thought she was at the bottom.  But looking back over those posts I can’t believe how wrong I was.

She was strong.  She was honest.  She was brave.  She was motivating.  She was a survivor.

She climbed out of the darkness and found the light again.

I envy her.  I admire her.  I want to be her.

I know she is in here somewhere.  I just have to find her again.

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I want.

I want to write so many posts, but I never seem to get the motivation at the right time.

I want to write about how I’m trying to rid my life of the negativity I can control and live more gratefully and gracefully.

I want to write about how I am about to start a new teaching year and I don’t even know if I want to be a teacher anymore.

I want to write about how I am trying to change my parenting style and my relationship with my kids and not get to frazzled and controlling all the time.’

I want to write about how I gave up on the marathon, and the half marathon, and I’m sincerely, trying so hard not to give up on myself.

I want to write all of this and more. But I sit down to write and feel like a fake. And like I have no idea what I am talking about.

But I wrote this and that’s a start.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick more and go with it.

I want to.

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The Get Up Kids years

A friend of mine passed away a few weeks ago.  I guess, in this respect, I use the term “friend” lightly.  We were friends in our teens and twenties but have since only kept up the way adults our age seem to – through Facebook, Instagram and the occasional twitter update.

We were all especially close during those pivotal late teen and early 20’s years, marked by college, part time jobs, and finding ourselves, all of which mixed together in some inexplicable fashion, creating people, who at least for me, make me cringe when I look back.

We rode the bus together from 6thgrade (7th, really, because he was a year younger) until late high school when we either got cars or caught rides with friends who would drive way out of the way to pick us up, simply for the extra driving time.

In true Cassie fashion, I knew him mostly through his brother, who I had a giant crush on for most of my teen and early 20 years.  I can say that now, right?  Now that I’m 37, have three kids, have waded my way through marriage, three kids, separation, and new relationships.  It’s ok to admit that I had a crush on this person.  Who am I kidding, we all knew it.

When I first heard he passed away (through Facebook, as you do), I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The standard thoughts floated through my head, he was so full of life, he passed away so young, how is this happening? Then my thoughts floated towards his brother, the person I grew up closer to, the person who had now lost a sibling, something I can never imagine.

And then, of course, as egotists do, my thoughts turned towards myself, and those years we were all together almost daily, a random group of us, living with each other in a variety of configurations, until we all grew up, got married, and went our separate ways.

My late teens and early 20’s for me were chock full of so many huge events that when I think back on them, they tend to blur until I can barely tell what was reality and what I may have made up in my head.  My real first kiss (by someone mentioned in this diatribe, no doubt), my parents finally divorcing, transferring colleges like it was my full time job, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, meeting my husband at 21, picking up and moving away once I graduated.

But really, it was those two apartments; the one on walker avenue and the one in Evergreen, that truly defined my 20’s for me.  Where we basically lived in a huddled bunch.  Even though some of us didn’t even live there, we were all together enough for it to not make any difference.  Each only lasted a year, but honestly they felt like so much longer.

It’s during these years, and the ones directly proceeding it, that I can remember the little things, the little moments that made my late teens and early 20’s what they were.  I remember the arguments about new wave pop artists like the psychedelic furs at the Valley View apartment for hours at a time. Learning about new bands and new music, songs that if I heard them now bring me back to road trips and car rides in a Subaru Justy.  Me and my best friend J, sitting at Starbucks for days at a time, discovering frappachinos, because one of us had a crush on the very cute barista (note: it was not me). Seeing bands I never would have seen, (hello Dashboard Confessional, when he was just guy, with a guitar and stool, at an all-ages show in a church).  That one Mineral song that seemed to play on repeat for days (or months, or years…I can’t remember).

Ever since “growing up” I’ve tried to forget these years.  Maybe forget is a harsh word.  I’ve tried to put them away, locked up nicely and decorated with a little bow, so I could pull out the happy memories when I needed them, leaving the memories of the mess of a person that I was far behind.  But maybe now, even just for a little while, I’ll sit back and let myself remember it all, the experiences (both good and bad), the music that shaped these years, and most of all the people, those who during those times, I could not imagine my life without.

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Summer is different this year.

I assumed that summer would be different this year.

I’m having a difficult time putting it into words.  I’ve written and then immediately erased at least 5 sentences before writing that one.  It’s not that I don’t know what to say, it’s simply that I don’t know how to say it.  Or maybe, it’s just that I’m too scared to say it.

Scared seems to be an overarching theme these days.  I only have the kids 50% of the time during the summer and I thought, at first, I would relish the down time.  I’ll have time to read!  I’ll have time to go to the pool!  But instead I just seem to have a lot of time with my thoughts, which has never meant good things for me.  I spend my days overthinking, overanalyzing, and simply being on such a high level of alert and anxiety that my body seems to vibrate constantly.

I’m buying a car, which for someone who has always had money issues, is highly stressful.  Can I afford it?  Yes.  Do I need it?  Yes.  But I keep hesitating, picking a different car each day, simply so I don’t have to do this thing.  Then, I start thinking about what Mike will say if I get a new car.  The arguments form themselves in my head seamlessly and without help from me.  My rational mind says:

“Who cares what he thinks?”

“He has bought a ton of stuff for himself without consulting or caring what you think.”

“You are separated.  You need a car to get to work.  All that matters is what you think.  The end.”

But it never really is the end.  That damn subconscious comes around to rear her ugly head to remind me in no uncertain terms that she is really running the show and it’s stupid for me to think otherwise/

And yet, I am 37 years old and I know this is a problem. The amount I seems to care what other people think is astounding.  I have always tried to pride myself on the fact that it only matters what I think and feel, not others.  But here I am, with all this time on my hands, CONSTANTLY thinking about it.

I tell myself to write.  That this process will help me work out what’s in my mind.

*What if people don’t like what I’ve written.*

*What if they think what I have to say is stupid.*

*What’s the point of writing.  No one is even reading it.*

I tell myself to throw myself into my half marathon training and the gym.

*Why?  You’re just going to quit again like you always do.*

*Why do you even thinking you can do this when clearly you can’t.*

I tell myself to put down the screens and read, go outside, do anything.

*Right after one more scroll through facebook to see that my friends (and others) are having a way more fun and happy summer than I am having.*

I don’t even know how to write more to this post.

I know I need a break, but I am simply too scared to take it.  I know I know I need to find the person I lost over the past couple years, but I just don’t know what to do to find her again.

When I was little I used to run around and smash lightning bugs.  Cruel, I know (at least now I do), but when I did that I was never thinking about their death, only thinking about how they would make me sparkle.  How, for a brief time, I would shine.

I never imagined that I would have to find a way to make myself sparkle and glow without the help of the lightning bugs. That I would have to do it on my own.

When did I stop believing in myself?

I have no idea.  I just know that I have to find a way to begin again.

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Confidence and marriage and running.

We met in college.  We were in the same biology class and lab.  It was an 8 am class and I clearly wasn’t interested in impressing anybody since I showed up almost every day in my pajamas.  We became late partners (or rather a group of three) out of basic convenience…we sat near each other and it was easier than seeking out others.  I actually had a crush on the other guy in our group, but alas, he had a girlfriend.  We started studying together outside of class.  One thing led to another, and Poof!  Three years later we were married.  Now 13 years after that we are separated and headed towards divorce.

I was a mess when I was in college, even more so than I am now (for those who know me in “real life”).  I battled depression and manic episodes.  I was unhealthy.  I was “in love” with a boy from high school who was dating another girl.  I transferred schools every year or so and my debt was out of control (hi credit cards).  Because of all this, and I’m sure so much more,  I had the confidence of…well, I don’t know.  Let’s just say I had really low confidence.  And it took me a  long time (16 years to be exact) to realize this is the main contributor of me getting married and the age of 24 to my first “real” boyfriend.

In the beginning, I think I was just trying things out and having fun and then it became a dependency.  Here was a boy was was relatively normal and seemed to like me.  I’m lucky, I would think.  I don’t have to be alone anymore.  Did I love him?  I’m sure I did.  But I don’t think it was a life changing, earth shattering love.  And I know (especially now) that it wasn’t a love that could sustain a marriage.  I thought so little of my self and my self-worth that I  reveled in the attention. Someone likes me and I owe it to him to be with him.  It saddens me now thinking about how much my low self confidence contributed to this MAJOR aspect of my life.

There were times I felt that I should leave.  That I should break up with him because I knew I didn’t have what it takes to be his girlfriend and then his wife.  He deserved someone better, someone that was completely over the moon for him.  But instead I stayed.  I convinced myself I belonged there.  Someone loved me so much and I should stay with them because of this.  I worried I would hurt him and I didn’t want the guilt of hurting anyone.

In reality now, I realize I also stayed because I didn’t think anyone else would ever want me.  How horrible is that?  It took me a very long time to admit that to myself.

Our marriage was so tumultuous; up and down constantly that I couldn’t keep up.  I always wanted to leave, but never wanted to leave at the same time.  I didn’t want to be alone.  I didn’t want to have to start over.  I was safe here in this place.  Unhappy.  But safe.

I wish I knew what it was that finally made me realize it was OK to leave and that I deserved to be happy.  I know a small part of it was finding someone else who really did love me for me.  Another part was the kids and realizing that they shouldn’t be growing up in an unhappy home.

In all honesty, I think the biggest thing was that my confidence was improving and I know it had a lot to do with running.  Running made me happier and helped me become healthier, which of course led me to be more confident.  It was an outlet for my anger and frustration and gave me time to think and decide.

I loved myself during those times.

I haven’t run consistently since I began dating Joe.  I guess when I found another source of happiness running just fell to the side until it was almost non-existent.  While I am happier now than I have ever been, I miss the confidence.  I think that’s why I’m chasing running again after two years, and why I’m chasing this marathon.

I need to get that feeling back again…and I’ll make myself run until I do.