The Times They Are a Changing

“It is paradoxical that what truly makes life sing for us is change, and yet change is what we most dread and fear….Welcoming life instead of resisting it, hating it, or fearing it might be our single greatest source of power in coping with it.” ~ “You Don’t Have to Suffer” by Judy Tatelbaum

Today is the last day of Barack Obama’s presidency. Tomorrow will bring significant changes to life as we Americans know it. Many, including Almost Ex, are excited that Obama is finally out of the White House. I am sorry to see him go. I feel that almost every president has had some great ideas, and some that sounded good in theory but were not in practice, and that they did the best they could for the American people. I think Trump will only do what is best for him and the people who cater to him and stroke his ego. I am scared for what will change for me and My Girl and other LGBTQ people. I am scared for what will change for my children, my daughter especially. I am scared for what will change in our world relationships. There will be huge change and likely most of it will not be positive, and there is nothing I can do about it but hope and pray that we make it through.

At least I can control my decisions and reactions. 19 days into 2017 and I am trying (and succeeding I think) to be kinder to myself, to just breathe, and trust that this emotional rollercoaster ride will eventually stop. I have been spending a lot of time “at rest,” watching tv, scrapbooking, coloring, or sleeping. I have done minimal chores and refused to allow the Critical Voices to chime in about it. It’s been 9 years since I haven’t had to work, I need this time off.

Today marks a week since I was told I didn’t need to stay 2 weeks, and except for kid stuff over the weekend, I didn’t do anything outside my apartment! Almost Ex would have said, “Ok, it’s been a week, it’s time to beat the bushes and find a job, we have a mortgage you know!” Oh wait, my bad, he would have never allowed me to resign without a new job waiting in the first place!

I think I am finally changing to not caring what people think about my decisions, and that is a relief. Coworkers were surprised that I didn’t have a plan, that I just “needed to make some significant changes to be happy.” A few were blatantly fake and fished with “sorry to hear you are leaving us” comments, but I didn’t provide any additional details. I didn’t care what they thought of me. All I cared about was that I had decided to leave and wouldn’t need to come up with a more positive way of saying I was fired.

Turns out that was a good decision since four people were laid off that Friday.

It’s a little harder to change how I react to Almost Ex, but I am taking baby steps. It’s all I can do. He is so negative and I try to limit contact with him. Life has decided to throw in another curve ball and his parents are extremely forgetful, like early onset Alzheimer’s forgetful, and his mom has breast cancer. I feel bad that this happened, but there is nothing I can do about it. But to Almost Ex, it is “one more thing to deal with in his shitty life.” Well at least he has a life to live, and both his parents are alive, shitty circumstances or not. I am reading “You Don’t Have to Suffer” by Judy Tatelbaum, and basically she says you can either look at life as a challenge or an obstacle, that you can either choose to accept that life has painful moments and enjoy it in spite of the pain, or choose to focus on the misery you feel and create suffering for yourself. I have realized I am tired of suffering but Almost Ex is not.

Our daughter turned 15 last week, and wanted all four of us to go out for dinner. He told her he didn’t think I would be comfortable, but she could ask. Really Almost Ex???? Of course I said yes, for her. We weren’t on the road five minutes and he starts updating me on how shitty his life is, and his mom, and his brother isn’t helping at all, and he is so busy at work and can’t help her as much, and our son’s basketball schedule isn’t convenient…..I barely responded and of course he didn’t seem to notice.

Then he asked me about the sandwich fundraiser for our daughter’s volleyball team. I hadn’t bothered to take it to work since the sandwiches weren’t coming until after my planned last day, but did ask a friend who had bought before. I didn’t want to get into it and ruin the day for M, but he wouldn’t let up and kept asking why didn’t I take it to work, did I get in trouble, did I just skip a month or what? So finally I said I resigned and they are made after my last day! He replied, “Oh that’s just great.” But left it at that. Then we proceeded on with the slightly awkward, very negative dinner. M seemed happy though, and that made me happy.

Then Sunday we were at our son’s basketball game and M was sitting between us. He texted me and asked if there is anything in the works for my situation. I replied I am looking. He verbally replied that it seems to him it would have been smarter to wait it out so they would fire me and then I could get unemployment. I replied that I didn’t want to. He said something about there should have been a conversation and I said I will be fine. Then he informs me that my not working stresses him out and he worries about the well-being of his children. Oh. Ok, so?

What I wanted to say was that I would try selling myself or drugs until I could move in with my Sugar Mama and she would support all of us. What I actually said was, again, I am looking and it will be fine. Before I would have gotten defensive and engaged in an argument, concerned with what he thought. Now I have changed and simply don’t have the need for his approval anymore. It annoyed me that he implied my not working is going to harm our children’s well-being, but then I got over it. He is choosing to make himself suffer by worrying about things I do or don’t do and I can’t control that. Life happens and you get through it.

I have one more thing to tell him. He won’t like it. My kids may not like it. I have agonized over it enough. I am not happy here, and I am moving to be with My Girl and start a new chapter, start a new path to happiness. My residence will change, my career may change, my sexuality changed. But what hasn’t and will not change is the person I am. I am still a kind, empathetic, nurturing, creative, sarcastic, beach bum at heart, emotional woman who is trying to live a happy life in spite of the difficulties that arise.

There has been a lot of talk about having a word for 2017. Mine is “change.” I now think of life as a challenge and am changing how I deal with negativity. Life is too short and I want to stop suffering. Only I can make that change, and only I can decide the best way to do it.


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