I’m tf is Whiskey Girl! I am firing up the blog again and I wanted to take a quick moment to reintroduce myself 🙂
I started this Embrace the Crazy blog almost six years ago with no idea how it would forever alter my life. About two years in (I’m old, I don’t really remember the exact timeline) I changed the name of the blog to WG’s Embrace the Crazy Blog without really giving an explanation.
At the time I decided to brand myself as Whiskey Girl (WG) spoken word artist, and I changed the blog name and my social medias to match accordingly. Everything I do—from stage performances, mental health advocacy, podcast to journaling workshops—falls within the realm of things that I am passionate about. However, I tend to compartmentalize my life so I’ve done a terrible job of representing all things Whiskey on this blog.
This year, I definitely want to add more content here and take the time to showcase a more well-rounded view of who I am not just as a writer, but as an artist/performer, mental health advocate and mother. 2019 will bring more poetry, more performance videos, more transparent blog posts—including the continuation of the “I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks” series—MORE, MORE, MORE!
The effort it takes to balance my lifestyle of full-time job, child-rearing and chasing my actual dreams takes a tremendous toll on me but I absolutely can’t have it any other way. I fight for this artistry—it makes me a better person and a better mother. For all of you who read this blog and support my writing and other endeavors: THANK YOU! You are needed and you are integral in helping me to accomplish fullness of life and my goals both large and small.
I’m a month behind but I am present and I am ready to work. 2019—let’s go!!!
I either feel as if I have it all together or as if I am desperately drowning in a sea of stress—there is no in between. Today was only the second day of school and I managed to botch things pretty badly.
I traded in my piece of shit cell phone for another piece of shit refurbished phone just the other day. Naturally, the phone has been giving me all sorts of problems, one of which is that apparently my alarm is not working. This morning I woke up suddenly in a panic with a foreboding feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure enough, I had awakened at the time me and the kids were supposed to be piling into the car and heading off to school.
I screamed the kids awake, yelling at them to get dressed—as if any of it was their fault in the first place. I didn’t have the breakfast snacks for them to eat in the car, they didn’t have time to brush their teeth and I didn’t have time to wash my face or respond to the email my boss sent me the night before. In spite of all this, I was ready to shove us all out of the door when I notice that the button on my 9 year old’s uniform shorts was holding on for dear life. Her summer plans to “lay around and do nothing” came to fruition and the end result is that she is all tall, lanky limbs with just the tiniest bit of pudge in middle—just big enough to prevent shorts that fit just two months ago from fitting right now in the time that I need for them to fit the most! A replacement pair would be easy enough but because my life is complicated, all of the kid’s school clothes reside at my parent’s house across town. We were late enough but guess where we had to drive—ACROSS TOWN to go get a new pair of pants!
We stop by my parent’s house (after morning traffic, of freaking course!) and my mother doesn’t say much but I canfeelthe judgment. I know she thinks I’m running so far behind schedule because I was possibly out drinking the night before, worshiping Satan, or something else irresponsible that would distract me from being an actually good mother. Only I know that reality is: I fell asleep at 10pm, had all of my ducks in a fucking row but still screwed it up. As the 9 year old changed clothes and we grabbed granola bars to race off to the school I tried my hardest not to beat myself up about it. However, insert more judgment from the faculty as we did the walk of shame to the main office to pick up late passes, and I just couldn’t convince myself that I wasn’t a total failure. I walked back to my car thinking to myself: “Wow, and it’s only day 2.”
…I was 20 minutes late to the staff retreat at work. The last of those 20 minutes spent looking at threatening text messages from my new boss who was wondering why I dared to be so tardy for such an important work event. I sat in a meeting room for almost a full eight hours listening to content that had nothing to do with me, all the while mentally beating myself up for all the careless mistakes I made that morning. Even now, I am jotting this all down in a notebook as I sit in the Laundromat at 8:30pm with the kids who are in desperate need of a meal and a good night’s sleep.
Single mothers are supposed to be super heroes—meanwhile, I can’t even find my fucking cape…
*I originally wrote this post for Mytrendingstories.com, visit the website and search my username “Whiskey” to follow the I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks series and other original posts that will not appear on this blog.*
I stumbled into the elevator at my place of work, avoiding eye contact with the other riders and praying no one bothered me by talking. No such luck. I receive a cheerful good morning greeting from a co-worker and was asked that dreaded question, “How are you?” I wanted to answer “fine” and keep it moving, but smudges from last night’s make up and my poorly put together outfit was silently screaming the contrary. I was tired—so I yawned defeatedly and admitted as much. As the laws of small talk mandate, he then continued the conversation by mentioned that Arianna Huffington is actually on a crusade, touring college campuses even, preaching on the benefits and the value of a good night’s sleep.
Where Do You Want Me to Put It?
Thanks for the advice Arianna, but I remain skeptical, though I agree with the theory 100%. I believe that our culture of #teamnosleep is absolutely idiotic, and I used to laze away my weekends on social media with wine glass in hand, laughing at the all the #onmygrind posts. Well, good for them—meanwhile, I was #onmycouch resting and relaxing and enjoying time away from my 9 to 5. Fast forward to today and yes, I am on still on my couch but I am also on my laptop writing 1 of 3 blog posts, writing poetry for collaboration projects, plotting out my marketing schedule and trying to put together pieces for an upcoming event I am planning. I am working for myself, yes but I’m still WORKING! All of this wonderful extra sleep that I need in my life that will increase my productivity, appearance and overall life enjoyment—where do you want me to put it?
Whenever someone asks me if I had a good night’s sleep…
One thing I am discovering is that in the DMV area, for every hour you are inactive—doing frivolous things like sleeping, eating, enjoying time with friends, etc – you are missing out on opportunities. The very sad thing is that I don’t have an end game…I am not necessarily looking for national fame, I will settle for (as Kevin Hart would say) being a Local Ass Bitch, but even in that pursuit it takes a monumental amount of time and effort. The boyfriend works 18 jobs so we are always stealing pockets of time together, while time with the kids is condensed to weekends only and I’m spending a good amount of that time struggling to stay awake or sleeping while they are at play. (I actually just dozed a little in the middle of writing this. It was glorious…) I am convinced that this is life—I have officially and reluctantly joined #TeamNoSleep; somebody shoot me.
The Problem with Celebrity Advice
…is that it’s well-meaning but not always practical. I have not read the book (The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night At a Time), but I do know that Arianna spent years and years building her empire before a bout of sleep deprivation caused her to pass out and hit her face on a desk on the way down. Perhaps if this had happened in the midst of her establishing her career and reputation it wouldn’t have had such a major impact and caused this crusade, nay this REVOLUTION! I mean, the way I am living my life now I would consider a head injury a minor inconvenience and have to keep it moving, because once you stop or take a break, even for a moment, people will forget you in a heartbeat.
I know that I am no good when I am rushing and when I am sleep deprived but I really don’t have a choice. Once I made the decision to attempt to pursue my writing goals, I signed a deal with the devil not for my soul but for my time (which is about the same value!) I am perpetually tired and cranky and I admit it: I am a little discouraged. Maybe single moms don’t get to carve out our own individuality outside of our children. Maybe raising and loving my children is the only thing I am called to do and in my late forties I can pursue outside dreams– you know, if I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow.
I don’t know—it’s just rough trying to maintain Super Momdom, financial stability, figure, romantic relationship etc without enough time in the day and it always seems like a toss up. Maybe my writing/poetry career WILL take off, but I’ll also be morbidly obese and have terrible bags under my eyes and my kids will hate me for never being around. Where is the balance? IS it too much to ask to be hot and talented and successful? Can a bitch have it all?
Sighhhh, I really don’t have any answers. Needless to say, I am open to any tips or ideas you would like to share! In the meantime, can someone loan me $30.00 so I can buy this stupid book…?
As a woman, a black woman at that, I am first to admit that the quest to “have it all” is not an easy one. Juggling career goals, chasing my writing dreams and aspirations outside of the 9 – 5, involvement and engagement in the lives of my children, maintaining relationships with friends and family, carving out time for myself, and finding the time to affirm and cater to the man in my life is kind of like a never-ending whirlwind. At best it is an extremely fulfilling and hectic life; at worst it is enough to make me scream and pull out all of my hair. When the going gets tough—what on that list of things should go?
Last week’s episode of Being Mary Jane gave us a closer look into the life and times of Mary’s best friend and co-worker, Kara. Enter Kara: savvy career woman, part-time single mom trying to make time for her kids, navigate her strained relationship with her ex-husband and maintain a sexy affair with the generous and considerate man in her life. She flubs a school parent/teacher meeting, screws up her work schedule and has to stay late missing out on her date with New Boo who was kind enough to bring takeout dinner to her place of work, along with a shoulder to lean on. THIS is a good man. However, in the eventual reorganization of her life goals and priorities, at the end of the episode HE was the first to get rifted. I….do not get this.
All the ladies, independent—put your hands down, have a seat and listen. I suppose it is nice to tout things like, “I don’t need a man,” “I take care of myself” etc—I get it. But it’s also REALLY nice to lay on a warm, hairy chest (or no hair, whatever you like) and vent about your stupid co-workers while shedding tears of sheer exhaustion. It is wonderful to be down to your last two dollars and have someone hand you a twenty dollar bill and make your broke ass some dinner. Dare I even mention the joys of sexual healing? Moreso than that, does anything beat the comfort and security that comes along with sharing intimacy with a person who has seen you naked in body and in spirit? We have friends and family that we are close to, but it doesn’t get any closer than the person who leaves a wet spot on your sheets after lovemaking, who talks to you about deep life events while taking a massive shit and snores softly in your ear some mornings—the smell of their morning breath fresh on your nostrils. All these things are not a luxury to me…they are a gift.
I struggle so much. At peak schedule I try to do at least two poetry open mic events a week, I scrape in time with the kids—and honestly most of that time I spend curbing my irritation at the things they didn’t do, or the last minute homework or project or doctor’s appointment that is being thrown my way. The morning is a flurry of activity getting the kids ready, the painful commute to work, the pretending to be a nice person at the job for 9 hours, the hustle home—and somewhere in between there’s maintaining social media accounts to advertise the blog and actually writing and posting original content for the blog. By 10pm I am lying in bed fighting back tears because I know I need to take my out of shape ass to the gym. So I go. I am sweating on the elliptical, hating life and wishing for death –when I get the text that my man is finally home from his 12 hour workshift. I push a little harder on that last 15 minutes of cardio, I leave the gym with pep in my step and I drive 20 miles up the highway to get to him by 11pm at night. Just before I see his face I feel this tension in my forehead and I think to myself, “Why am I doing this? I can’t live like this—something has to give!” He opens the door smiling brightly, immediately makes me laugh and gathers me in a hug every time. Weight=lifted.
Never under estimate the life that a loving relationship can breathe into your soul. I am barely sleeping trying to maintain it all but when I leave him I feel a hefty deposit has been made into my zeroed out bank account. Even if I just make it through his door and pass out on sheets that smell of him—it is enough to be that close to his comforting presence. The grind life, the busy life, the super single mom life is overrated to me. We are so willing these days to sacrifice interpersonal relationships when I truly believe that these are the only things we can actually take with us when we die. Companionship is awesome, and we allow ourselves to forget that because we are lonely and don’t want to admit our true desires or because we are so busy filling our time with being busy that we don’t have time to realize we might be missing something. In this day and age, having a man is not a necessity but I surely don’t see it as a luxury as it is sometimes perceived to be—especially to single moms. I love my children and somewhere along the way I learned that it’s ok to love myself and take care of my needs as well. Companionship–relationship adds to my life and who I am as a mother, writer, friend… person. We treat men as if they are expendable accessories then wonder why they have so much trouble committing to us. We want to parade them around on Instagram, have them buy us things and tell us we’re pretty then the moment life gets rough we try to drop them for fear of being abandoned in time of need or maybe because deep down we truly believe that they are a luxury that we don’t deserve to have in our lives.
If anyone has never told you: you do deserve to have a good man in your life if that’s what you truly want. You deserve to have help and affection and attention from someone who cares about you and your busy life. If you are willing to sacrifice sleep and time away for the sake of having it all, why not do the same for a person on your team whose goal is to help you along the way? Is a dependable, supportive, consistent and loving man in your life a luxury to be given up when the going of life gets tough? I think not…
I throw the baby in the stroller and proceed to walk on one the angriest walks I’ve ever taken. I know that this is a new part of my life: walking everywhere. Hmm, where is my car? It decided not to start after being parked outside of daycare for a hasty afternoon pickup. My brother called and told me the news while I was coming home from work and I felt the heavy tension return home to my forehead. My first panicked thought was, “How the fuck am I supposed to get to the gym?” I can’t stop obsessing about this.
With the chaos of all that’s going on in my life, this is the least of my worries but I am fixated. Somehow my ability to get to and from the gym with ease equates to the final balance and happiness I feel I need in my life. Calm down guys, I know you’re poor and hurting and suffering loss— but the gym will make everything better! This “no excuses” bitch pictured above has got me believing that somehow this is the key. I suppose its not really her, its my reaction to her that’s messing me up. What’s my excuse? Bitch, I’m tired! This morning as I’m walking the baby to daycare in a stroller with a flat tire, we roll passed my busstop to see a bottle of hand lotion on the ground. I know instantly that its mine and it immediately sets fire to a stressor fuse in me that’s been burning for some time. Seriously, wtf am I doing in my life where I’m so poor and deranged that I actually contemplate dusting off my old hand lotion from the ground and putting it back in my purse? And how did I manage to drop it out of my purse without noticing? And why don’t I realize that I am not in a position to be throwing $1.50 down the drain like that? Let’s not even mention how my ashy hands will suffer! I need to get my life together– I need to go to the gym.
At the gym I can relieve some tension and even stop half lying to my co-worker about going. I suppose I’m not lying, per se, I do PLAN to go to the gym but my car, and fate, and the gods of hotness just have something else in the cards for me. I stood in the employee lounge listening to this little, beautifully shaped cock diesel goddess (she looks like the hot woman from 12 Years A Slave) complain about how she struggles with her body and I’m thinking “Wow, are we really having this conversation?” I try to listen to her with a sympathetic ear but my mind begins to wander to whether I should make the kid’s lunches tonight or just pass out when I go home, or if I should go on a liquid fast until my best friend comes to town then maybe I’ll have a flat stomach for when we go out drinking. I really shouldn’t be drinking, its fattening and too expensive. But, I digress.
My #lifeflow is like this blog post. It’s just a mindless stream of shit happening with no real flow or pattern and I can’t keep the reins on it. Furthermore, I don’t even know if I used the proper spelling of the word “reins”– and I really hate that I use words like “furthermore” and care about spelling! Anyway, I have no car, no money, no man, no common sense, no freedom, no life and all I need to fix it is the gym! The gym is home. I know my place there. I show up in my baggy t-shirt, dingy yoga pants and old running shoes and I know where I belong– in the back and far away from the mirrors and hot chicks taking #gymflow selfies. I belong on the treadmill panting it out, music blasting and tears flowing because I just need some sort of outlet to relieve the stress in in my life. Minor stress to some, but colossal stress to me. At the gym I don’t have to constantly fight the battle to be understood, accommodated, appreciated, loved, stress-free, worry-free, or problem-free. In the gym I ain’t shit and as I sweat it all out on that fucking elliptical I realize that here, I don’t have to be shit.
I climbed the steep escalator stairs at my metro stop today, instead of lazily leaning against the rail relying on its movement to propel me forward. I desperately wanted to take a break– I felt like I deserved one! But I can’t stop. I can’t break, I can’t stop writing these posts and getting these things off my brain and chest. I can’t stop functioning as a human and allowing my mind to zone out into oblivion.
I stood on the metro tracks today and my thoughts, only very briefly, visited the thought of jumping onto the tracks. I’m no psychiatrist but I’m sure this is regression. I have to wake the fuck up! Fast forwarding into the New Year I know I’m going to lose a lot, friends and habits alike. I’m growing and I’m changing and I realize I have to take more of a solid stand on the things that are most important to me. I can’t stop and I can’t lose focus which is easy to do during this time of year. The last few weeks have been a doozy and I realize that I’m tired of letting the moods and thoughts of others tear me down. And I’m tired of writing about how tired I am of being tired of letting others affect my mood. This shit is boring, I’m bored and complacent and lazy and depressed—something new has to happen. I have to start living life, or I’m just a waste of space.
I was hanging out with my brother and his friends in my pajamas on a Friday night. There was a lull in the conversation and I was asked, “Why are you home? Why aren’t you out on a date or something?” Of course all my blog readers know the answer: dating sucks, men suck so I’m taking a hiatus. Still, that doesn’t quite answer the question as to why I was IN MY PAJAMAS ON A FRIDAY NIGHT! The real answer is: I’m lazy. I’ve been waiting around for dudes to act right, for money to fall into place and for life to get overall awesome. At one point I was trying but I STOPPED, and stopping is a luxury I cannot afford. I’m not allowing myself a hiatus or a break. It is in those moments of pause where I am most susceptible to getting stuck. I can’t stop writing, or thinking, or trying. Like this morning on the escalator, I couldn’t stop moving. I found the energy within myself to propel me forward and once I got my sluggish ass going I couldn’t stop. I need to mimic that in my lifestyle and not allow myself to continue to fall into these emotional ruts.
I can feel something coming on. I don’t know what it is, whether it be a breakdown or a breakthrough. I am struggling. In moments like these my initial reaction is to disengage. I’ve lost a lot of friends along the way because of this but I have to do whatever is necessary for me to keep my wits together. The older I get the more I realize how unfair I’m being.
I feel like I’m drowning in my emotions, with that comes the joy of drowning in my finances. I joke about being poor but it really is just a constant snowball of bill after bill and one obligation after another. Spending part of my unemployed time on government assistance has been the worst. I am given barely enough for me and my children to live on and I have to see the FB posts of my more privileged friends complaining about “people like us”. Anyway, bill collectors grow impatient and second and third chances are revoked and before you know it there is an eviction notice on your door.
I try like hell not to ask for much. I try like hell not to lean on the fathers of my children because I so badly want independence. Also, I’ve learned in this life to trust no one and not to rely on anyone for anything. In our basest forms we are all disgustingly selfish and heart breakingly disappointing. We lie and we steal, we cheat and we harm and we ignore the plight of others less fortunate. I’m learning not to be so surprised and affected by human behavior anymore. But I can’t help but be affected and to judge the actions of those around me.
He simply disappeared. It’s the modern version of the father that leaves to get a pack if cigarettes and doesn’t bother to return home. I haven’t seen him since our daughter’s second birthday and that was almost three months ago. We were friends, and I knew the transition from something more to friends and parents was not going to be easy but I thought it was possible and necessary. He left town never to respond to a text or a cute pic of our daughter again. He never asks about her…not one word. I am devastated for her.
Co-parenting is not easy but its definitely doable and it is absolutely unfair to leave one parent to fend for themselves. All these fantasies I have about running away, and my tendency to disappear into myself and take a brief hiatus–selfish. This is life: YOU DON’T GET A FUCKING BREAK! Or maybe you do, its just called death. Anyway, as I faced this urgent emergency I called him. He didn’t answer. I called him about 18 hours later…same. I emailed him twice and he never bothered to answer.
My soul aches for her. She’s a baby, so happy and carefree and she loves her uncle and her grandfather so she doesn’t want for that male role in her life at this time. I’m terrified I don’t know how long his hiatus from life and the real world will last, but I am determined to draw strength from it.
I am forcing myself to stay mentally present and to press forward with life. I don’t want her to feel that at any moment either one of her parents will check out of life and cease to be there for her. I want her to know that life is fucking hard but you press on and take care of your business because indulging in escape has potential to hurt the lives of others. When the mother of your child calls, you answer your phone. At least I know that I will care and I will be there if something were to happen to her.
For more information or to sponsor my walk to prevent suicide click here.
I just finished eating dinner. I washed it all down with a gin and ginger ale in an effort to keep things cool and in control. This is a terrible habit that began years ago and I’m a bit ashamed for not being totally upfront about it. While I do not take mood-altering medication, I do drink—probably heavily. I haven’t decided how much of a problem it is. I do know, that it is frustrating for me. I am sure there are women out there that have fought similar battles and are single mothers that can deal with the same hardships in stride. At some point in my life I’ve had to accept that I am soft hearted. I don’t feel exactly like the rest and I’m not able to recover as quickly. To be strong pushes me way too far out of my comfort zone.
When I was married I had an inkling that something wasn’t right about the way that I was living. I went to church, I tried to be a good wife, I tried to wrap my head around this brand of happiness for the rest of my life…but I knew that it would be less happiness and more settling for a façade and faking who I was in an effort to bring out the best in others. There had to be another way, but I couldn’t find one. I never drank and I didn’t even know how. The only thing I could remember is that women order rum and coke at the bar in a few movies I’d seen. So I bought a bottle of rum I used to keep hidden and I would mix it with anything and everything. I just needed something to keep the edge off. There was heaviness to my countenance that I couldn’t get rid of and I needed something to keep it from haunting me. It wasn’t often I did it, but when things got unbearable I had to.
The Social: When I split from my ex husband I lived in a small house with just my oldest daughter (3 years old at the time) and myself. It was lonely and it was scary—the thought of cutting the grass had the power to send me into a downward spiral. I was living in a house that was meant for a family and now I was by myself, a stereotypical single mother. She went to be with her Dad every other weekend and on those weekends I partied hard. My mother calls this my mourning period but I’m not exactly sure the name that I would have for it.
Anyway, it began with a bad snowstorm that winter. I was struggling to make the rental payments by myself, it was a pain to shovel snow off of my car in the pitch black of morning just to make it to work where I constantly battled not to have a nervous breakdown. The snowstorm hit and I was stuck in the house alone with only the company of my thoughts. Since then I have contemplated suicide, even so much as held a blade to my wrist but I still don’t think my thoughts ever got as dark as they did that night. I’m as naïve as a little girl. I believe in unconditional love, in hope, in working things out—walking away from my marriage was the renouncing of all of those beautiful things that I thought made me ME. And after that night I had come so close in completely shutting down I vowed that I could never go to that place again.
So I drank, and I drink. When you see me out it’s most likely I appear to be the life of the party but it’s just something I need to do because that’s what’s expected of me and most times it’s an escape from loneliness. Furthermore, I can’t speak for anyone else but for me there was a complete loss of identity once my marriage was severed. I felt dirty and exposed, like someone’s tossed away garbage. I was forced out of a bond because someone did not want me. He was still alive, I saw him often but I couldn’t extract from him the answers I needed to help me cope with the loss of us. I fully expected to be married the rest of my life it never occurred to me that there were any other options! I still feel those feelings of exposure most times. When I was married I was way more secure because I knew that no matter what I did that day I would be able to come home to someone who loved and accepted me for the way I am. I lost that person and I lost that confidence in myself.
So, I still drink socially now, though I’m in a healthier place self-esteem wise, because sometimes you do have to fake it until you make it. I go out with my friends and they are all beautiful I have to get on that level and act like I’m the greatest thing in the room in order to not have my ego crushed and my mind racked with jealousy. I get in my head a lot and I revert back to that same old girl from high school that knows deep down that the same people who have love for me now would be no where to be found 10 years ago. I drink because sometimes I’m not really having fun. I just want to be at home, staring at the wall and not worrying about a thing. I drink because I still feel exposed. With the divorce hanging over my head I still have moments when I feel like someone else’s leftovers. I don’t want to be sober enough to recognize those that see straight through me and maybe even have to explain myself. I drink to avoid the eye contact of those who really see me.
Image from: amithea.deviantart.com
The Loner: After the night of the snowstorm, I did make a conscious vow that I could never revisit that place again–the darkest part of my soul where the will to give up on life lived. In an effort to do that my mind sort of kicked into survival mode—which is great for a temporary fix but terrible for the long term. Months after my separation from my husband I rekindled a former love with a broken man that did more damage to my soul than I thought was possible. While I was in it, I never allowed myself to feel the gravity of the pain of what was happening to me. I felt the bliss of survival mode. I was numb. I used to feel like it was a super power. There I was, blessed with the amazing ability of not having to deal with life because I could zone out at any time. It didn’t matter what was happening to me because I wasn’t really there and I didn’t have to be bothered with the burden of feeling. I created my own world for myself and I chose to live there to avoid feeling any unpleasantness ever again. However, reality intervened at a certain point and I had to step outside to survey the damage of the hurricane that swept through my life while I hid in my storm shelter.
So, now I drink to remember how to feel, while most people drink to forget. It is a struggle for me to remain present and for me to feel emotions without going into my natural protection mode. I used to disappear from friends for weeks at a time–you couldn’t hold me accountable for anything because I didn’t care enough. I locked my soft heart in a safe and I refused to be held accountable for any pain I could possibly have inflicted on others because fuck them! No one had been there to protect me. I try to be aware of when I’m in that survival mode now. I sit back on my couch and I make myself a drink trying to wrap my head around how I feel about the day’s events. I most desire to be free without the help of outside substances but for now it’s about coping with the issues at hand. Writing a blog doesn’t mean I have access to all the answers.
I drink to avoid the despair of having become so numb.
The most crushing blow after my relationship with my second child’s father fell apart was that I knew my identity would be forever altered. On paper I was just another statistic…when I fought so hard not to be. I am a black woman with two children with different fathers. Different last names. Different hair. I wake up in the morning and force myself to look in the mirror. “Chin up, this is your life and you are NOT a statistic.”
I fight against it on all levels but the major thing I fight against daily is being the baby mama that brings the drama. The romantic relationships I had with my children’s fathers did not end well, and that’s putting it lightly. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s a problem that remains the business of myself and those two men—it has NOTHING to do with our children. This is a bit embarrassing for me to write but I have to be real and transparent about where my mind took me and how I got out of it.
I will say it until I am blue in the face, I do not believe in divorce. I am still shocked that this is where I am and something that I’ve experienced but it’s certainly undeniable at this point in time. We did things the right way, my ex husband and me. We fell in love, we made vows and went home together to start our little family. It was beautiful. He was excited about the pregnancy, attentive and helpful, then overjoyed upon her arrival into this world. We raised that little girl together for the first 3 years, laughing with her and at her, changing her diapers, doctors appointments, potty training, play dates, etc. We created very solid memories of us together raising this little girl.
Things fell apart between us. Our marriage was no longer working and some hard decisions had to be made. I left with toddler in tow.
There Will Be Blood
When I left, I hardly left a trail of peace behind me. I was fucking angry. I was left alone to raise my daughter on my own and I wanted vengeance in the form of the house, the car—hell, I’ll take the little mole on the side of your cheek, too! I arranged for him to come get her every other weekend and beyond that I wanted no communication. Co-parenting? No, thank you. I don’t care what you do when she is with you because I don’t want to talk to you for two seconds longer than I have to. I took on so many unnecessary burdens because my anger made me petty. I was doing it all! It was absolutely killing me waking up at 4:45 in the morning to start the day and coming home lonely but hustling for this child—because that’s what it was all about. I marched to the motherfucking sound of Independent Ladies and was the first one to throw my hands up to it. YES, that was me.
Image from: Waiting to Exhale Movie
I was a crazy baby mama. My refusal to address my ex-husband as a human being ruined any chance we had toward healthy communication regarding the welfare of our child. I didn’t even realize until almost a year later that he missed her and was more comfortable with a joint custody set up instead of the every other weekend slot I had decided to fit him into. Furthermore, I had to realize that I was dealing with a bit of jealousy that I had to let go. For some reason my mind begged the question, “How can he have so much love for a little person that we created together and have none for me?” I blamed him big time for the separation of our family but in my quest to punish him I realized that in the long run I would only be punishing our little girl.
The Worst Laid Plans
The second time around did not begin as blissfully as the first. I was in and out of an uncommitted romantic involvement and suddenly found myself pregnant. I was not ready to add to my family—I wasn’t even sure the definition of my family at the time. We were in love but we knew we weren’t compatible enough to make things last with just us, much less adding a baby to the mix. I was scared and resentful and still mourning the demise of my marriage. I funneled my emotions and became downright volatile. I spent most of my second pregnancy alone, suicidal and in counseling contemplating whether I should endanger the pregnancy by finally submitting to taking anti-depressants. I could barely afford my life as it was and I was barely hanging on to my mental faculties.
Her father couldn’t be there for me in the way that I needed. Fuck it, I’m done. He was young and naïve and managed to do every single thing wrong. I shared my thoughts with him on the situation, wrote him off and lapsed into a cold silence. He ran away and he stayed away. After she was born I knew that when he did finally come to get her that he probably paraded her around his many “female friends” and it broke my heart. Just as I knew that when he said he was going to come see her and couldn’t make it for whatever reason that this would just be a pattern of disappointment in her life that I would have to explain to her over and over again. He hurt me, he was hurting me and he would hurt her. He needed to be held accountable to me before I could trust him with her. If he can’t love and show respect for me as her mother, there was no way he could do the same for her.
It hurts my pride to admit it even today, but I was wrong. I had to get a grip and relinquish control. Like it or not I had created a little life with this man and I had to just let things be. When she goes with him I have no control over what happens when I am not there. If I didn’t trust his judgment I never should have lay with him in the first place. I needed to stop projecting all of his romantic shortcomings onto his father/daughter relationship with her. We’re all human beings, free to do what we want. No amount of nagging or cursing or nastiness coming from me was going to change that. At some point you just have to choose to live your life and let chips fall where they may. The sins—real or perceived—that the fathers of my children committed against me, has nothing to do with their role as Dad in their children’s lives. I was failed by a husband and a lover… I cannot speak to their abilities as fathers.
I give props to single mothers all day everyday…but one thing I won’t do is pretend that I can provide things that only a father can. You will never find me giving shout outs to single moms on father’s day…because we can’t be fathers. I love my mother and I respect her as a woman, look up to her, even. But she can tell me I’m pretty all day and that means nothing to me unless it comes from my Dad. I have been a dork all my life and a large reason why it has never bothered me as much is because my Dad loved me for who I was. He would always ask about the latest book I was reading, have me improvise music on my clarinet because he loved to hear me play, and have me read aloud during bible study because he loved the sound of my voice. I have been very blessed to have my Dad in my life and it would be a shame for me to deny that to my daughters because I’m batshit crazy and have my issues of hurt and rejection. Sure, they can make it through this life with only me as their parent, but as long as their fathers are alive I’m not alone in raising them.
I know what I have to do as a person and as a parent, so I focus on that. My daughters are with me the majority of the time, I know I need to provide for them, do their hair, play with them, bathe them and love them because that is my job as their mom. I coordinate with their fathers and we talk about what’s best for them when necessary but it’s not my job to micromanage their interactions with their fathers. If Daddy disappoints and if Daddy lacks it is not my job to say I told you so or use it as a tool of wrath against them. It’s my job to comfort my little girls and remind them that these men were once loved by Mommy very much, and they will never hear me say a negative word against them.