It’s been a while. When we last met, I guess I was somewhat cryptic about a new journey I was approaching. I was scared. I knew it would be hard. But I knew the way I was living was hard, too.
When I clean my house, like big time, hard core, deep cleaning… I have a saying… it gets worse before it gets better. I empty closets, throw out old papers and unnecessary items cluttering drawers. I move furniture and clean underneath and stir up dust bunnies that roll like tumbleweed across the hardwood floors. I accumulate bags of trash and donation items for charity. During the process, my house is a virtual train wreck, but there is a purpose- a clean house at the end of the tunnel.
I am living in a metaphorically messy house. I’m trying like hell to clean and organize it. Every time I feel like I see a little bit of clean floor, however, it seems like someone comes and takes a shit on it. I try to keep telling myself it gets worse before it gets better. But it’s hard when it’s more than just a dirty house. When five kids are counting on you and you know you are fighting the good fight and being kicked in the dirt over and over again for playing by the rules.
My kids and I are living with my mom, going on three months now. I have become a pro at scraping dried up cheese off of travertine, scrubbing milk off of wrought iron spindles, and retrieving coasters, flip flops and fruit snacks from VCR slots (to which, I, too, wonder, who even uses VCRs anymore?)
I have become accustomed to broken sleep on a sofa and muffling my tears quietly in an extra bathroom. I have become fluent in trying to convince employers in interview after interview that I am meritorious and deserving when I have a hard time believing it myself. I have been brokenhearted watching my kids adjust to the same kind of transient lifestyle of air mattresses and their belongings in bags.
While my mom’s house is lovely, albeit not childproof, and I will never be able to express my gratitude and huge amounts of guilt that the burden of my family has caused on their day to day life, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t see a clean house in sight.
But in the end, I am doing what’s best for me, my kids and our future. They deserve a mom that feels she has a self worth, is surrounded by people that feel the same and is willing to prove it.
I was ten years old and I specifically remember my mom sitting me down on my bed to have “a talk”. She wasn’t much of a talker. She did the minimum of what needed to be done and was just kind of withdrawn most of the time, unless I was in trouble. My heart raced and my palms got sweaty as my mind was running through all of the things I may have done wrong recently.
“Your dad and I are getting a divorce.”
I froze and didn’t react immediately because the response my mind was thinking would have been inappropriate during this heart to heart. My authentic response to jump up and down on my bed seemed uncompassionate. I think I faked tears.
She and my dad fought. A lot. There was a lot of screaming and a lot of crying, from my mom and from me. I got accustomed to holding my pillow tight enough over my ears so I didn’t have to hear anything but muffled voices and an occasional chachki crashing against a wall.
My only point of reference of divorce was my neighbor; a single mom with two children. I was friends with the kids and often spent the night there. It was an escape. A peaceful refuge where anxiety wasn’t in the air. They laughed. They ate meals together- willingly. They belonged to PWP (Parents Without Partners) and were often busy doing activities with them. Everyday, it seemed, they had something to look forward to and a reason to smile. If this was what divorce was about, then count me in!
After the divorce, my mom blossomed. She had a freedom and a zest for life that I didn’t know was possible. Her sadness faded. I had a new mom and I liked her. It’s because of my experience that I am a firm believer that you don’t stay married for the kids. I missed ten years with that happy woman. I saw her sad and crying in those ten years more times that I should have in a lifetime. Unfortunately, the traumatic time my parents were married had already done its harm to my nerves and molded me into an anxious, self-conscious girl with self-esteem issues.
Though some damage was done, I vowed to not repeat my mom mistakes.
Unfortunately, I am unable to keep my promise.
Things may become rather quiet around here and this is why. But it’s all good. A rebirth and rediscovery of myself is in the works. Though the road may be long, I’m eager to begin again and find myself. I’ve been missing for a while. I’m excited to get to know this person again. I hope you will be, too.
I feel I’d be remiss to not mention the obvious change in appearance here. I’m attempting a blog redesign. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, as much as it was that it broke and I am fucking clueless how to fix it (which explains why you may have seen raspberries and generic greenery for a while.) And being as though I’m a believer in everything happens for a reason kind of bullshit, I thought, “heh, now’s as good a time as any to spruce up the place.”
(I’ll just say now, that may have been a grave error.)
So I contacted a friend (poor girl) who understands confusing blog coding (that might as well be in Japanese for me) and have been driving people crazy (seriously, I’m annoying the fuck out of myself, at this point) trying to come up with the “perfect place”.
What you see is what I thought I wanted. It’s nice, right? It totally matches the decor in my house, and since I’m so good at this computer shit, I figured, THAT’S what I need.
But then, the more I thought about it and looked at it, I realized I wanted to be more recognizable, like you see it and immediately think, oh yeah, that crazy bitch, Tena, she has issues, but she’s honest and I get her and I like her and a little less that’s a lovely sofa.
For over a week , I’ve been looking at websites and images until my eyes cross and driving myself and others to tears over my apparent indecision that I did not know existed! Another flaw I did not need to know I had.
The only thing I DO know, is that it will still be Tena’s Therapy. That’s what this is. Cliche, unoriginal, yawn, whatever, I don’t give a shit. Sometimes I cryptically vent things that drive me to tears and cause me to sweat in places I shouldn’t and sometimes I share too much information about my weak pelvic wall and my inability to sneeze, cough, or laugh respectfully without putting my hands to my crotch, but this started as a therapeutic release for me and continues to be and so it will remain that.
That being said, in order to be “brandable” and grown- upish, I need a tagline. I wanted a short saying, possibly about my instability, preferably witty, and I wanted to include a little profanity (I thought it was a good idea to weed out the pussies that can’t handle my sailor talk from the get go.) I didn’t want to mention that I was a mom because part of my “therapy” is moving myself away from being defined as “just a mom”. Also, mom blogs make me pukey.
Friends brainstormed with me and came up with no less than 843 pretty great ideas (top contenders included...because my husband’s kind of a dick and Nipples- I’m pretty sure Audrey was a few sheets to the wind with that suggestion, but, you gotta admit, it’s memorable ) , but they just weren’t giving me that light bulb moment that I was searching for. In my rushed pick to decide on something that went with my upholstered header, I went with Just a mom trying to stay sane and shit .
I thought it was fine at first, though admittedly broke one of my rules with the mom crap, hard habits die hard, but then, when I saw it in black and white, the context changed. And not in the way that I intended. I suddenly envisioned a mom sitting on a toilet. Trying to take a shit. Not trying to stay sane and STUFF, like I meant. And then I was grossed out and embarrassed and didn’t come back for a week.
So I decided to bite the bullet and explain myself and ensure that y’all aren’t picturing me taking a dump from the tagline. Because this redesign might take a while.
Politics and religion. Am I the only one that just threw up in my mouth?
I like to think I was raised right. Don’t ever ask a woman her age or weight, never ask when she is “due” unless you see a head hanging out of her vagina, and steer clear of talking about politics and religion at all costs. It’s pretty simple. These are no win situations.
I do, however, sometimes have a problem with following direction. This is one of those times.
I often refer to my parents as hippies when they had me. It was 1972 and they were 16 and 18 and I just assumed that meant they were into the “free love” concept. Also they named me Athena, which I think just edged out “Flower”.
As for religion, I was a mutt of sorts. Just be a good person. Live your life the best you can and be kind to others. It was a simplistic interpretation, but one that made sense to me. Frankly, it still does. I don’t understand judgement put on others. I was taught that God/Jesus/Buddha, whoever’s purpose was just that… to be open and accepting to all. Like I said, simplistic, I know.
I never knew where my parents stood politically while growing up. We were poor. They were just kids, and honestly, they probably didn’t really think about it much unless it pertained to them being able to afford beer and cigarettes.
I get it, though. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and had the power to vote that I even began to think about how the consequences of my actions would affect me in an election, and honestly, that was really only because I got extra credit in Political Science 101 for doing so.
It wasn’t until I had a family and a home and a mortgage and it was my job to keep everyone fed and safe, that I started having opinions.I had a responsibility to know. And I finally took a stance. I started voting a certain way and having a certain opinion that benefited my family and my community in ways that I thought were fair and right.
Let me just put this bluntly, I am a liberal. I like to say it in a way that it’s not whispered in a hush like it’s a bad word. Which, where I live, seems to be commonplace.
Where I live, smoking is still allowed in restaurants. Streets are full of gas guzzling F-150s and Hummers. People complain about solar panels being an eye sore. Everyone likes their guns and their fireworks and for the government to stay out of their business.
I don’t really fit in here.
Much like my simplistic view on religion, I suppose I am rather simplistic with my politics, as well. I recently ran across a post, “ObamaCare” explained like you’re a five year old. I don’t believe talking points need to be complicated to make sense. If they are, I probably will not understand them. Tax codes confuse me, I’ll admit it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not intelligent enough to know what will benefit my life and my family, what I think is fair and what is best for human interest and the longevity of our planet. Stubborn gridlock in Congress ceases moving forward and advancement all in an effort just to “win”. It is reminiscent of kids throwing temper tantrums, all to prove a point of who can hold their breath the longest.
That being said, these are my beliefs, explained like you’re a five year old. Since many politicians seem to act like they’re five.
I think that gay people should be allowed to marry. They are people. They are not hurting anyone. If their lifestyle makes you uncomfortable, that sounds like it’s your issue. I’m not fond of my neighbor’s Don’t Tread on Me Flag, either, but I’m not going to suggest legislation that he not be able to fly it.
I think women should be able to do what they want to their bodies, within reason. I think that women should be paid equal pay for the same work at the same skill level.
I think that the god that you believe in or don’t believe in should have absolutely nothing to do with the way our country is run.
I think that there is a painful imbalance in our country between the rich and everyone else. I believe the trickle down theory had a ceiling and it was reached a long time ago. I think fear of change is just as dangerous as becoming a communist society. Forward thinkers have become the enemy and Patriots have become fear mongers spreading paranoia. I believe it’s OK for the government to have a hand in fixing things and clearly, things are broken.
I think every person deserves, and should have healthcare. If that means I get taxed for such things, who the fuck cares? I did not take advantage of the public school that my taxes paid for for 15 years while my kids attended private school, I was fine with that. I pay taxes to make fire and police service available. Have I ever used them? Nope. Am I glad to pay my part for the availability of those who have needed them? Absolutely. Who exactly do we think is paying for uninsured people when they finally get so grievously ill that they have no choice to get medical attention, anyway?
I’ve been holding that in for a while.