What was I thinking? Was I thinking? sTrEsS!
I thought then it was ironic that it should fall on the superstitious day of Friday the 13th, but little did I know just how hard it would hit me. A series of events happened last Friday which would remind me of how much I have lost, how hard the struggle to survive has been, and how far I still have to go.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
It felt like I was being punched over and over and over. Needless to say my nerves were already raw and those punches served to remind me just how raw they were. The series of events that took place all in some way stem from the entire reason for the anniversary taking place.
I live in Wisconsin, but my bank is in Illinois - the reason for this is because after we moved to Wisconsin in 2002 we really had no need to change banks - All of his payroll was automatically deposited, and most of the banking we did tended to be online...even when we lived in Illinois we never actually went to the bank...so for us, everything was the same. The plus side of doing it that way was also because we had banked there for most of our marriage...it was a good relationship....
Now, fast forward to 2007 - domestic violence was running rampant - his alcoholism was out of control - and our credit was suffering from it - the drinking binges, the checks written for liquor but never recorded, and the charges on the credit cards for evenings out drinking. We were also in the process of a divorce - and for anyone that has ever gone through that, you're not allowed to open new accounts until the old are settled.
So...the domestic violence...the final attack...the credit taking a nose dive...his incarceration...the divorce being finalized...left me with the mess from the road to freedom - the bills, the bad credit, and the account in Illinois.
It was impossible to open a new checking account closer to home....in today's world you need good credit to do that. So I was stuck - I had to keep the account in Illinois. But now my payroll wasn't automatically deposited, I had to mail my deposits into the bank. For the most part it worked out, and became a routine I got quite use to - from time to time there were some hairy moments, especially once on partial unemployment and the deposits didn't always hit the bank when they should - like earlier this summer when congress approved the extension - a few hours late equaled bank charges for me on some overdrafts...
Well last Thursday I went through with my routine...mailed my deposit in...I needed to get it in for the next day, so I opted for Express Mail delivery - the cash deposit was guaranteed to be in the bank on Friday the 13th (should have been my first warning sign) by noon - .....it didn't happen! Somehow...someway...the post office lost my Express Mail delivery. No one could tell me where it was. Frantic phone calls...worry....more frantic phones all added up to stress. Limited income...living paycheck to paycheck doesn't allow for errors, and this would serve to be a huge error.
Needless to say my weekend was spent kicking myself for not expecting an error...not planning for the mishap...and reevaluating all the steps that lead to it...including the reasons for that anniversary that all of this took place on.
So what did I do, I had to get control back somehow - I cleaned. I didn't go to bed, instead I scrubbed my kitchen down with bleach - I needed to make it sparkle, I needed to feel like I could accomplish good out of this bad period. Well, I used too much damn bleach, and it must have hit some other cleaner I was using...next thing I knew I was hacking up my lungs...cough after cough...eyes watering...that sinus pressure I had experienced all summer long from my allergies...well, it all decided to pour out...cough after cough, my head pounded - my ribs ached.
I spent all day Saturday ill...coughing...sneezing...tasting bleach....worried about what the fall out would be from this error with the bank and the post office. Flat busted broke because I sent my deposit in - couldn't write a check - I was feeling as low as one person could.
Thoughts of being a failure started entering my mind...then I would get mad at myself because I knew deep down that despite the situation at hand, I was trying however just nothing seemed to be working out.
I started thinking about the news reports from earlier in the week speaking on how the economy is expected to fall even more this winter....higher unemployment rates...and the thought of yet another bitter winter struggling made me cringe.
I struggled to find something positive to hold on to - I needed to find a way out of the gloom that was threatening to encompass me. I refused to let myself fall, I refused to feel like a failure...it's life....that's what I kept telling myself..."SHIT HAPPENS!"
Somehow I convinced myself that this was all destined to be...that good will come out of this... a new direction in life... a new path was about to emerge, I just had to be willing to keep my eyes open in seeing it...finding it.
Then this morning happened. I was at the clerk of courts pouring over criminal files for articles I am working on. ...for some reason I had them pull his file, the court file on the August 13, 2007 assault. It was a thick heavy file filled with transcripts from all the court hearings and everything that took place.
I sat in that little secluded room and started reading all the transcripts - I am not sure why I did, but I did. I read the preliminary hearing, my own testimony - telling the court what happened on that day....reading what I said when questioned by the attorneys...images played in my head as my eyes read the words. I could feel the tears in my eyes...they started when I was reading what the judge said prior to sentencing...how his attorney made the comment that "when I first entered law school something like this wouldn't be considered a crime, they were still legally married" - and then how the judge retold the events...from the children's point of view, and then the trauma I sustained ...the physical...emotional...and sexual.. trauma.
As I sat there reading it all, I was questioning myself on why I was even doing it - then it hit me. I needed validation. I needed to know that everything that took place, did - I needed to see it all again - and know that no matter what anyone from the outside looking in at my current situation may think, that I have come a long way - that I have done everything possible a woman in my situation could, and that I deserved so much more than I received on that August 13th, and that even today I am worth more than my current situation allows.
In a twisted way I suppose you could say I was nurturing my own pain...validating it...and reminding myself that I am worth all the efforts it takes on this road to survival.
So now I start this week off feeling a little better than I did when last week finished. While I am still so very tired, I at least know that in the long run this will all pay off to better days - Interestingly enough, this morning I looked in the mirror - I saw the reflection of a tired woman...someone who truly needs a break...but at the same time it was the reflection of someone who was no longer carrying shame, I could smile at myself - even through this rough time - I guess all these events that have occurred were a test to see just how much I believe in myself....and I passed.
So the next time you hear a story of someone who seems to be "failing" in life.....don't stop at the cover, look deeper inside and you may see that despite the hurdles, that person is a success....a survivor.