November 03, 2015

Turning Tides

So.  Back to the courthouse today.  Yet another contempt and another Judge Advocate to hand out mediation.  The excuses flew...the "I did the best I could" was went as well as could be expected.  My daughter won.

I can't say that I have a victorious feeling, I find the whole situation pathetic.  I never thought we'd be here once much less three times.  Never though he'd walk away from her so completely and stay so disconnected.  It's disheartening to have to force someone to act in a manner that is second nature to others in their position. It hit me the other day I've spent every year in that mans life fighting not to be cast as "that woman".  Back in the day it was to not be the wife who didn't put out enough or was boring or too spendy.  I was always terrified of being the subject of the manly chat, ya'll know the one..."yeah my old lady won't do xyz unless it's my birthday!"  "Oh yeah, well at least yours cleans the damn house".  There's living in fear of being reprimanded by an abuser then there's living in fear of being cast in a light that you never want to see yourself in.  Southern women tend to make excuses for a husbands behavior, be it ill or embarrassing.  You sugarcoat and never say an ill word about him to others.  For the most part, especially in the beginning, I held to that cord.  Later down the years I wasn't as polite as I should have been.  Either way.  Living in fear--any kind of fear--isn't pleasant.

Now, as per divorce protocol, I am officially  "that bitch who wants to ruin me and take all my hard earned money".  Never mind that there is a fixed numeric calculation from which child support is derived.  Never mind that I have nothing to do with the numbers or the calculation itself.  The court is solely responsible for how that works itself out.  I remember the very first time we met for the child support and custody hearing.  He was petrified that he would be handed this enormous amount of money to pay.  So many men had told him horror stories of not being able to get by on their minimal income after the support was deducted.  Very few people take the time to understand that all of these things are figured on scale...a preprinted, predetermined set of numbers.  Sadly myself-a child of parents married 40+ years-knew better.  I knew I wasn't walking out of there with pockets lined with gold.  I knew that I was screwed because at the time I doubled his paycheck.  I worked my ass off in a hot warehouse and later a hot machine shop.  He stood in the air conditioning selling auto parts for 8 hours a day.  It's not rocket science to understand that if one job doesn't cover it...hustle a little harder somewhere else.  If I can pull multiple incomes, so can he.  (so that little quip about a salary and a 40 hour work week? grow up son, welcome to a real work force)

Personally, money is of little consequence to me.   I like having it, it makes life easier, but it's not my end-all be-all.  I like having my bills paid on time.  I like not having to tell my child "not this trip, not this time".  But I also know how to work, I know how to put myself out in order to do for her.  Why would any semi-prissy woman put her body through years of military training and industry work for the fun of it?  Seriously.  Yeah, I liked what I did.  But damn.  I like being in an air conditioned building for a few hours a day and then being able to be seen in public when I'm finished.  It's called sacrifice and do what is necessary.  I didn't join the Marine Corps because I though it would be fun.  I joined up because our family was all but starving and living in a rats nest.  Make no mistake, there was no feeling of patriotic duty when I was sworn in.  There was a feeling of "holy shit something has to give and free medical and a steady paycheck sounds awesome".

Yeah yeah yeah.  Liz is playing the martyr song again.  I know.  Yes, he made some sacrifices.  He kept her for a full year while I was off playing soldier in a foreign country.  That was the first time we filed for divorce.  He was all prepped to be a single father.'s part of my issue...if he was so willing back then to be a full time father and dad..............what the hell happened?  Seriously?  She was not even school age then.  Far more difficult, far more responsibility.  But I suppose when you pawn your child off on your mom and whatever woman you're dating at the time...things are easier than folks expect.

Anyway.  Yes.  I'm a bitch.  I hold certain people accountable for their chosen laziness.  I go out of my way to make sure my child is taken care of.  I don't ask for praise and I don't expect a nod.  I simply expect others to do the same...without expecting praise or nods themselves.  Life marches on.  For the first time in many many years...I'm not someones breadwinner.  And I like that.

It's Chris Rock.  He's allowed to say that word.  Besides...this is entirely too appropriate tonight.

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