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My next oldest brother sent me a text today saying he doesn’t understand why I don’t initiate communication with him so here’s my response:

Hi Brother,

     That was a good question and I had to think about it and then decided the answer was too long to text…
     My initial thought was that I don’t initiate contact with you because I don’t know what to say.  But the real answer to your question is that I feel like I stopped initiating contact with you not too long after you guys moved back home from clear across the country because in my mind you weren’t responding to my attempts to be friends.  It felt like your family was more important than anything else and you weren’t interested in what was going on in my life. Right or wrong, I shut you out because I felt like you didn’t want me to be a part of your life and it was less painful to stop trying than to continually feel rejected.
     I know, you didn’t mean it that way and you’re sorry that’s how I felt…  I’m not mad about it, you asked and I answered, that’s all.  It’s been over and done with for a long time now and I’ve come to recognize that it wasn’t intentional and I shouldn’t have taken it personally – I’ve forgiven you and moved on.  The fact that you and I finally started to “talk” again right before I left my husband frankly bewilders me.  We don’t have hardly anything in common anymore and if you were just someone I met in high school I doubt we’d be friends so why on earth are you trying to get to know me now?  My tone here is kindly puzzled, again, I’m not angry.
     I’ve never felt like you (or a whole variety of other people) ever loved me and for most of my life I believed it was because there was something wrong with me that made me unlovable and I deserved to live a life of heartache.  Last year I started going to a really good counselor and slowly came to realize that I’m worthy of love and I don’t deserve to be emotionally bullied, manipulated or guilt-tripped into anything (these things are actually emotional abuse).
     After I left my husband I spent two months of trying to address these issues with him but there was no forward progress or even acknowledgement that he ever has been emotionally abusive, and to a smaller degree still is so, I told him it was over and yesterday I filed the divorce paperwork.  That decision may have been announced in anger because I wouldn’t have had the courage to say it otherwise but it certainly wasn’t  made in anger.  I know my husband feels like he’s the victim in all of this but according to the people with degrees and licenses who dedicate their lives to helping women in abusive relationships I’m the victim and therefore qualify for an amazing amount of assistance.  Legally I’m homeless and a victim of domestic abuse.  But I don’t want to stay a victim, I want to move on and heal, become a whole person for probably the first time and have a real life.
     I know I’ve made the right decision and am doing the right thing.  I have found a good church and have started to get more and more involved with the ladies there and God has been blessing me in amazing ways since I moved out.  I hope that my  husband finds his own healing from a past that made him who he is but whatever he does, he’s going to do it without hurting me any further.
     So there it is, more than I intended to write but hopefully answers to a few of the questions you didn’t know how to ask. If you still want to communicate, ask me more questions and I will do my best to answer them when I have time to sit down and type them out.  I wish I had been braver and able to do this sooner in my life but better late than never, eh?
I love you too,
Me

I feel like Pinnocchio after the Blue Fairy changes him “I’m a Real Girl!”  I am somewhat shocked to discover what it’s actually like to have feelings again after stuffing them into a box and putting them on a shelf for the better part of 20 years.  The emotional roller coaster is a little scary though – I experience highs and lows in a matter of seconds, swinging from:

Being so overwhelmed with gratitude that I literally want to weep and throw myself at people’s feet.
Crying real tears at emotional movies.
Being angry enough to swear actual curse words (NOT normal for me!).
Grinning like an idiot until my cheeks bubble up so high they affect my eyesight.
Occasional bouts of fear that I won’t make it on my own that tempt me to stay in bed all day.
Wanting to run around, hugging and kissing everyone like they’re an adorable 4-year-old.
And so on. 

I’m a little worried that I will scare people if I actually did all those things, lol. 

Most of my emotions are positive, less are negative but all are more powerful than I’ve probably ever experienced in my entire life.  Feelings are the most amazing high…  I count myself blessed to have them again.

More blessings – a friend has offered to give me a washer and dryer and another friend will give me a loveseat when I find my own place!  I get my housing certificate from the shelter in 4 days and then I can start looking for a place to live so hopefully I’ll be in my own Home, Sweet Home by the end of May. 

The housing certificate is another HUGE blessing – they will pay for the deposits necessary for me to get started renting AND the first six months of my rent.  The goal is to set me up so that all I have to do is maintain my monthly expenses after the first six months.  I am beyond words!

And what I consider to be the biggest blessing right now is my job.  I LOVE the owners of my new salon!  After only 23 days of working there I was given a key to the shop so when I get there before the they do I can let myself in and start getting things ready.  I worked at my last salon for over 7 months and when I left the owner wouldn’t even let me do acrylic nails on walk-ins, much less consider give me a key.  Not only can I do arylics and have a key but tonight I was invited to a company/family dinner at my very favorite seafood resturant.  It was so much fun – sitting at a table with the 5 of them and listening to the Vietnamese and English flowing all around me while we pulled apart our crab and lobster.  It occured to me, being the only white girl at a table of Vietnamese, that it probably looked like I was the girlfriend of one of the brothers and he was introducing me to the family… That made me giggle so hard!  I told the brother I was sitting next to and we laughed together.  I feel so accepted by their family in a way that I was never accepted, as-is, in my own family.  Heck, I’ve never even felt this accepted in any church “family” I’ve ever been a part of either.

I am so very blessed and I love my new life, it’s going to be amazing!

Yesterday I moved the remainder of my stuff out of my former home.  Eight hours of packing the last little bit that I hadn’t gotten to before, lifting and moving all those boxes, totes and small bits of furniture left me stiff, sore and starving but it’s over.  It was so strange to see the sum total of my worldly possessions after 41 years of life and almost 21 years of marriage crammed into a 10′ x 15′ mini storage unit.  It felt like I should have had so much more and yet some of it I hadn’t even wanted to take.

A wonderful lady, who until yesterday I had considered more of an acquaintance than a close friend, showed up with her husband, one of their teenaged sons and their pickup truck and stayed for 5 hours helping me take 4 pickup loads and 2 trailer loads to my mini storage unit. I was embarrased that I was completely broke (the mini-storage cost more than I expected and left me with $7 until payday), I couldn’t even buy them pizza or sodas but I was sooooo very grateful for them, they were the only help I had… besides my soon-to-be-ex-husband and older daughter.

That infuriating man was pretty decently behaved yesterday, much to my surprise.  He had seemed offended that I didn’t ask for his help moving.  Nope, I can’t win.  My response to that was that he had made it very clear that he was not going to help me leave him in any way, shape or form so that was why I hadn’t asked him.  He countered with something along the lines of yes, he did say that to me but since I was going to leave him regardless he wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

I read that as him wanting me out of his house as soon as possible even if he has to help me go.  It suddenly seemed very appropriate to make him move my piano one more time. 

So I said he could help and in the end I was very grateful for his assistance and told him so.  The reward for my gratitude was a earnest, heartfelt plea for the girl he married, who was “madly in love with him”, by the way, “and he loved her in return” to come back to him because it’s not too late…

Gag me with a spoon.  That girl never loved him “madly” and I’ve had 20 years of his “love” and I’m not going to put up with another day of it.  However, after the conversation that led to my last post “If I Had Done What You’ve Done” my sole response to stuff like that is now and forevermore “I understand why you think/feel that way but I’m doing the right thing”. 

He walked away feeling confident that I am in the wrong and that he is the victim here but I walked away… Free.

The last time I spoke with my soon-to-be-ex-husband we discussed dividing up the household items and what not and something he said to me caught my attention.    I had asked him if we switched lists of stuff and he was only going to get what was on my list would he feel that it was fair?  His response was “If I had done what you’ve done I would be happy just to get away with a car and a place to stay.”

Uh, excuse me, what have I done?

His clarification was “If it was really as bad as you say it was I would be happy just to run away screaming.”.

20 years of marriage and that’s his justification for leaving me homeless, no alimony, with a bare minimum of “stuff” and having to wait 3 – 5 years to see any profit from selling the house.  It feels like he’s saying I deserve to have nothing in the same way that some people say a girl who wears tight clothing deserves to get raped.  That isn’t what he actually said but it feels like that’s what he meant.  What an ass.

I’ve been counseled by friends to get an attorney and take him to the cleaners, force him to sell the house immediately and ask for alimony.  It’s tempting, it truly is because this man is really pissing me off.  But in the end, it’s not who I am –  and still I have to live with myself for (hopefully) a long, long time.  On top of that I am more and more convinced that I am doing the right thing.  I KNOW that God is my provider and He will make a new life for me, just look at my amazing new job and the housing program I qualify for!  I also know that the man I married will have to answer to God for how he treated me and in light of that I pity him.

And if you know my husband please feel free to say anything you like to him – except the fact that I have this blog.  I’m done trying to shield his feelings but I would like to preserve what still feels like my private space to vent.  🙂

So call it walking the extra mile, call it turning the other cheek, call it whatever you like – I know I’m walking the path God has set me on, He will take care of me and my life will turn out good!

Today I went and saw my case manager and my counselor at the women’s shelter and I found out that I qualify to be part of a housing program!  I’ll find out more at my next appointment a week from now but from what I understand this program will pay all of the deposits required to get into an apartment/home AND my first six months of rent!  It’s a program designed to help women like me get back on their feet and get established in housing they can maintain on their own after the first six months.  I’m so excited!  Now I can look for housing near my new salon and have a place of my very own, yay!

Once that happens I’m going to need furniture, but I’ll cross that bridge when it gets here, lol!

It’s been about 2 weeks since my last blog entry so here’s a little bit of catch-up.  First the negative:

My Easter visit to my younger daughter and her husband was heartbreaking and I’m still working through the roller-coaster of emotions, trying to regain some sort of internal balance.

I had a talk with my husband about splitting up our possessions and while I agreed to dividing things a certain way at the time I have since realized that allowing him to get 3 vehicles and 2/3 to 3/4 of the profit from selling the house is very unfair to me after 20 years of marriage.  Therefore I will be telling him that we need to sell the house right away and split the profits 50/50… I’m sure that will be a lovely conversation, ugh!

My car is the only car that is not paid off and the loan is only in his name.  Originally I was going to apply for a loan in my own name and transfer the car to my loan but then I realized that signing myself up for another 5 years or so of car payments was not the smartest thing I could do so I bought myself another car with my half of the state income tax return that finally showed up and left the car with the loan on it at the house for him to do whatever he wants to do with it.  He shocked me by saying “What happened to us being nice to each other and you applying for the car loan?”  My jaw dropped – I was not trying to be mean to him by giving the car back to him!

My sister found this guy on a dating app and started messaging him.  Turns out he attends the church I left and is being mentored by my husband.  This guy says that my husband freely admits that our divorce is his fault and he is “very humble about his shortcomings”.  So it’s OK for him to be angry and unpleasant to my face, take away my house key in spite of the fact that I am still on the home loan and the house is filled with my stuff, refuse to allow me the use of the pickup truck that still has my name on the title to move my things… but to the people at church he is a meek victim, freely confessing his faults and worthy of everyone’s pity and compassion because his rebellious, soon-to-be-ex-wife won’t give him a second chance.

I had already figured out that he sees himself as the victim in our upcoming divorce but this takes the cake, I’m literally blown away.

No wonder I was about to burst into tears all day today…

But here’s the positive side of life – my new job!  When I “auditioned” for this job they said over and over again “We are like family here” and I’m discovering that they really, truly meant it.  My bosses are Vietnamee, two brothers and a gal that they’ve known since childhood.  The older brother, I’m going to call him Hank here, has been a nail tech for 11 years and is the brains of the business but does not speak very good English.  The younger brother, I’ll call him Todd, has only been a nail tech for about 2 years but speaks much better English so he is the public face of the business and he jokes and laughs with all the customers.  The gal, I’ll call her Sheri, has also been a nail tech for 11 years and her nail art is AMAZING!  Her English is fairly good too so she helps answer the phones and interacts with the customers.  All of them put sanitation as their top priority with customer service a close second and I am so grateful, it’s such a different atmosphere than my previous salon!

My first day there Todd gave me a top-of-the-line pedicure.  Sugar scrub, a clay leg mask, paraffin wax, hot stone massage, lotion massage, the works.  It was Heaven!  Todd says that I have to experience everything the shop offers in order to tell customers about it.  Hank gave me a full set of acrylic nails and told me he wants to teach me everything he knows.  My second day on the job Todd showed me how to do glitter gel toes by putting them on me.  Sheri invited me to eat the food she brought – meat, veggies and rice – it was delicious!  My third day Todd bought donuts for all of us and Hank re-did my nail polish so that it would be perfect for my trip to see my daughter.  Each day was filled with smiles, food and laughter and I felt so included, like I really was a part of their family.

When I came back from my Easter trip nothing had changed.  I’ve left work each day since with warm fuzzies, feeling totally loved and accepted.  Hank bought the bolts to put my new license plates on my new car and after he finished attaching them he told me “Anything mechanical I fix for you, just ask me”.  They’re teaching me to speak Vietnamese, so far I know how to say “Help me” and “Hello”, lol.  Sheri makes food every day and she saves me a good-sized portion if I’m not able to eat it when she and the boys do.  Today they all stayed late so that I could finish my food, Todd helped me heat it and put it together, rice noodles, meat and broth formed some sort of soup that was very yummy.  They teased me about needing to learn how to use chopsticks. Hank said “Take your time, no rush” and with a bowl of Vietnamese soup I realized I have a new family, and I love them.