Monday, March 30, 2009

The Great Mind Molder

I survived the weekend! Yippee! I slept quite a bit more than is probably acceptable, but I got some stuff done too. I ran on Saturday while Patrick ran around the park with Cade, then we took him to see Monsters vs. Aliens because he had worn us out too much to fathom a crowded hockey game with a hyperactive five year-old. It seems like he whined the majority of the weekend and I was just so short-tempered. Mind you, I am normally so even-tempered that Cade gets away with murder, so I think it might have done him good. At one point though, I told him that he was annoying, went into my bedroom and closed the door. I am never that dismissive with the little guy and I don't know why I was not tolerant this weekend. I don't like to show cracks in my carefully crafted countenance.

And now, another week looms. Have you guys ever been in a place where you feel there is nothing to look forward to? I think I get by in life by constantly having something to await. It can be anything; a weekend trip to Austin, a particular football game, a holiday. As long as I can see something coming up on my schedule, I get through each day knowing that I am that much closer to a break from the monotony that is my life. But now, there is nothing. The next thing I can anticipate is the marathon in October. Months spread out in front of me with little hope of pleasure. My son's birthday is April 15th, my little tax baby, and I am only looking to that with a sense of dread. In years past I have always made a big to-do about his birthday, throwing parties to outdo all the others we attend. But this year our finances are tight due to Patrick having been laid off for a time and now working a job that just gets us by. I am wondering how little we can do without scarring Cade for life. Can we rent a hotel room at the local "fun" hotel and invite just one friend to stay? Last year I rented a plane and took Cade flying. He sat in the captain's seat, I sat in the back. He was airplane obsessed and it seemed appropriate. His party was at the air museum, he dressed as a fighter pilot. All the kids got dog tags and Top Secret cases with binoculars and wings and jets, etc. Cade made out like a bandit.

This year, I am working, I am broke, and I am running on empty. So, what can I get by with? What can I do that will minimally scar my son? He has come to expect so much and it is probably time that we start reeling him in, back to reality. I am always so worried, as a mother with bipolar disorder, that I will drop too many balls and leave my son with a broken childhood. I overcompensate in so many areas, hedging my bets that by excelling most of the time, he will not be too traumatized when/if I do break for a period. Can I make it his whole lifetime without wigging out to a noticeable degree? Thankfully he has been blessedly oblivious during my prior times of crisis. How do I parent so that I am not the topic of endless future hours on the therapist's couch? Or are we all doomed to some level of failure? The pressures of shaping a human mind are far more weighty than anyone would have you believe prior to conception, let me be the first to tell ya!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

It's Friday night.  Cade is asleep in my bed, Patrick is at work doing inventory overnight.  I'm alone and melancholy.  I had a good day today.  I really love my job and the people I work with. I enjoy going to work every day and I feel at home in my office, doing monotonous numbers work where 1 + 1 always equals 2 and all is right with the world.  I came home and ran and enjoyed it more than I ever thought I could.  But then the house quiets and I am alone with my thoughts. And my thoughts are apathetic and detached.  I have such verve for life when I am out in the world, but something about coming home just drains me.

Lately, Cade has been a whiny little brat.  That's pure honesty.  Yes, he is still my world, and before having a child I could not understand how you could totally love someone with everything in your being and still not really like them at the same time.  Well, here it is.  I look at his big brown eyes and his perfect face and I can't help but to grab and kiss him.  But then I hear the long whine of mooooommmmyyy and I just want to run and hide.  Sometimes it is so hard to keep myself going that it is just exhausting to have someone else around that relies so wholly on me.  I'm sure that it's a lifesaver for me; without him I wouldn't have a reason to fight for my sanity.  Oh, but the burden.

It occurred to me tonight that I am dreading the weekend and actually looking forward to jury duty on Monday.  What does that say about my existence?  Home has become this black hole that drains my will to live as soon as I cross the threshold.  It's like there is this oppressive spirit blanketing our home that only Patrick and I can feel. I hope so anyway.  At least Cade doesn't loose any of his vibrancy by walking in the door.  Patrick and I are nice to each other.  We hug and kiss on the cheek when we leave or come home.  We engage in conversation and witty rapport, but it all feels so empty.  I want to lay down and just sleep away the next couple of days so that I can come out on the other side and leave the doom of our domicile.  It's just no way to live.

Regardless, I am going to put on my big-girl panties and be the mother that I expect myself to be.  I will entertain my son and we will all go to the hockey game tomorrow and the birthday party on Sunday.  I will smile and act engaged.  But I will still feel like a shell of a person, a zombie only playing the part of Erin to lure my loved ones into a sense of false comfort.  What will it take to fill the void and get myself back? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Just a quick post before I go to bed tonight.  Today was my second day training and it was wonderful.  I followed my handy iPhone marathon trainer and did alternating runs and walks on the treadmill.  Pro - it is SO much easier than road training.  Con - my handy program that tracks my mileage with GPS doesn't track you when you run in place.  Ahhh, technicalities.

I also found out (after gaining 1.4lbs. in our weekly weigh-in) that I was making the very bad mistake of not eating enough, which I never thought would be an issue.  But since I started reading the labels of what I put into my mouth I am very reticent to put yucky stuff in there (insert oral sex joke here...only I don't remember what that's like).  So, I had to get the handy calorie tracking app on my iPhone and go back to logging the calories of everything I eat, this time so that I can increase the calories!  This caring what you look like stuff is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Oh for the days of lonely depression where the only thought was how long I could hold it before waking from my mid-day nap to pee.  I kid of course.  I wouldn't trade the feeling I have now for anything!  It's great to feel like a human being again.

Oh yeah, and I don't work for Apple, but seriously, I could do a commercial for them.  This phone does everything!  I think I am in love and I don't know how I lived without it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Running For My Life

I have made a decision.  I am going to start training for a half marathon.  It seems like everyone around me is doing it...and yes, I would jump off the bridge, Mom.  Months ago, while I was reading Sasha Is A Monster I was inspired by her journey.  She completed the half marathon and in the process made some impressive changes in her life and outlook.  Then my sister-in-law and two good friends from church started in.  Candy is running the full Boston Marathon in a month and Tiffany is on her first full marathon after an impressive finish in the half last fall.

And now, I am jumping in.  The timeline couldn't be more perfect.  It is on October 3rd, two days before our wedding anniversary and three days in front of my 32nd birthday.  And, in case you weren't paying attention, that is the end of the six-month trial that our counselor imposed.  So over the course of the next six months I will be building a stronger, more empowered me.  That will work in one of two ways the way I figure it.

1.  I will be more comfortable in myself and stand in less judgement of my husband because I am getting things done myself.  Maybe his pride in me will create an interest, since he has been living with a sloth who naps rather than face him and reality.

2.  Since I know that my actions cannot change anyone else this is the more likely.  I will feel empowered enough to do what I feel is right for myself and for Cade, and ultimately for Patrick. Everything that we are working for will come to a head at the same time and completing this half marathon will be like a new start for a new me.  

So today I am going to buy my spiffy new running shoes, strap on my iPhone with the crazy cool running tools (complete with automatic Twitter updates, you can follow me here), and continue in my quest for a less pathetic me.  I've already dropped 17 lbs since I changed the way I ate in now I'm just working to feel great.

I've got Cade training me at home, he is quite good really.  He pushes me until it hurts.  He also watches what I eat.  He saved me from a close donut incident over the weekend by throwing the donut to the birds and reminding me that donuts have "a hundred million calories".  Now, I want to make him proud and show him what drive looks like because that has been completely lacking in both of his parents and that's not fair to him.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Edict

The last thing I had to do was go to the apartment and tell him why I was leaving.  It couldn't be a surprise, I have brought it up a million times in our marriage and we'd been in counseling.  But he was.  He was surprised that I didn't think that things were as great as he did.  He couldn't believe that I didn't have the same hopes for our future as him.  And because I hate to hurt people I stayed with him.  We talked all night and and I tried to explain to him how we could make it work.  We could live close, we could still be friends and spend time together with Cade. He would still be welcomed by my parents at our barbecues during football season.  He didn't want to sleep alone, so I told him that I would stay with him that night and then he could pick Cade up the next night. And I told him that he could finally get a dog, and the dog could sleep in bed with him at night. That actually seemed to comfort him some.

But the night was long...and there were tears.  Mind you, when his mother passed away suddenly almost four years ago, I never saw him shed a tear.  But he cried and my will broke. He is such a sweet man.  And I love him.  Sure, it is the love that most feel for their family members, but that is what he has become.  He is family.  And so, without him even having to ask, I said that I would stay.  We made promises to change all manner of behaviors between the two of us. And of course, step up the counseling.

Since then, things have been better.  He has been more involved with Cade, complimentary of me, and extremely helpful.  Those eyes that drew me in the first night haven't lied.  He has a sweet heart and a kind nature.  I truly believe that he has never been in love in order to know what true love feels like.  No, it's not easy, but you put yourself behind those that you love.  You sacrifice so that they can be happy and you work to show them that they are important to you. While he is able to do so when times are easy, he cannot see past himself when the going gets tough.  And really, I have not been perfect.  How would anyone like to live with someone who has mini-breakdowns every year or so?  I don't cook and I don't clean.  These are all things that I have to work on.  I just want to do it without the weight of an unhappy marriage.  Is that me just being selfish and giving up too easily?

So, as I mentioned when this story started, we had our first post-divorce scare counseling session.  I can only tell you what I perceived from the session.  I was told that even if I did separate from my husband, life would still be a struggle.  Besides, our counselor said, there is no guy in his right mind that would want to hook up with me considering my history of mental illness and inability to control my finances.  So, what I gathered was that I'm pretty lucky just to have a man in my life at all.  I was told that my idealism about our separation and divorce were not based on biblical principles, and thus, will not work.  Our counselor asked me to give it another six months (he asked me for three more months four months ago).  This time, we are going to meet 3 weeks together and one week with just me, because I apparently need the most work. See, I had the indecency to question the applicability of biblical principles to our marriage. I was given books that will help me to understand.  And I am to start going to church regularly and pray and read the bible so that I will be in a better frame of mind and realize that God can make all things possible.

Forgive the tone in my writing.  I am trying very hard to subscribe to my new life as a Baptist.  I simply have issues with having my life dictated to me.  Our counselor told me that he never wanted me to check my brain at the door, so if I had questions, just ask.  But the skeptic in me wonders why, so that he can tell me what to think on that matter as well?

The thing is, in January I started a life change.  I began eating well and working to find happiness in myself.  After visiting another therapist to make sure that my bipolar disorder was in check he told me that it seemed to him like I had a great grasp on things and was making the effort needed to improve my situation.  I have the support of my family.  I love my job. I am finally feeling somewhat strong and stable.  But I am unhappy with my domestic situation and I can't see a light in the tunnel up ahead.

So the questions is, what if my motives really are self-driven and wrong?  People can change.  I have to believe that because I have to believe that I can change.  In turn, doesn't that mean that Patrick can as well and I owe it to our family unit to give everything I have to getting to that place and time?  And is sex in a relationship overrated?  My parents haven't had sex in over 20 years and they are still married, though they sleep in separate rooms.  Am I doomed to something similar?  

The biggest question of all, in the long run, might I be doing more harm than good for my son? Because the bottom line is, everything I do is for him.  He is what kept me alive in the worst of times and what gives me hope about the future.  So, what now?

The End?

The remainder of the story of Patrick and me could be summed up in two words.  Vicious. Cycle. Our marriage counselor said last week that the problems that have hit us, if thrown on any couple one at a time, would be enough to kill a marriage.  We managed to live underneath the burden of all of them for more than six years.  First there were the internet affairs (who knows if there were actual affairs).  Then there was the lack of sex in our marriage.  If you asked me today when we last had sex, I couldn't tell you.  Maybe last year some time?  We've gone as long as a year and a half without before we forced the issue, only to realize that there was a reason we weren't doing it. It's not worth the effort.  

Next there are the monetary issues.  We are both terrible money managers.  My lack of frugality comes from being raised by parents who lavished me with whatever my heart desired.  His came from being raised poor and feeling that we were, while making very little money in my perspective, well enough off to by the things he had always wanted.  Spending money made us feel good.  Almost seven years in and we have yet to own a home.  

Lastly, a couple years ago, I became friends with a guy.  He had done his college thesis on how divorce affects children and I wanted to pick his brain about it.  We talked.  We hung out.  As is the danger with friendships with the opposite sex, there grew a chemistry.  I began relying on him because he would listen.  I basically gave up on my husband.  I was trying to push Patrick out the door.  I wanted him to leave me because I wasn't strong enough to leave him.  I would put Cade to bed, then go out with this guy and our group of friends and come home at six in the morning.  We never took it to another level, but it was an emotional affair.  When he moved back to Canada (he was here playing hockey), I sunk into a depression.  I admitted to Patrick the reliance that had grown with "Other Man", and we began to try to work through the problems that this created.  All the while, I felt somewhat justified in my actions because he had done the same with the computer screen as a buffer.  Just last summer, while my husband was doing business out of town for six weeks at a time, I found that he had created a profile on a site designed for meaningless sexual flings.  His description, "Just looking for some fun while I'm in town".  So this man, for whom I had gone through the trouble to have Viagra prescribed for me just so that I could get through sex, and had still declined my offer, was now pimping himself out to random chicks on a nasty website.  But I stayed through that too, because our counselor said that we needed to get to the root of his problems and I just had to give him time.

Year, after year, after year, the merry-go-round of dysfunction continues to spin in our lives. Finally, a couple weeks ago, I had just had enough.  Patrick was treating Cade and I like we were nothing more than obstructions in his life.  He wouldn't do anything with Cade without huffing about how tired he was.  Any time I said a word, like "honey...", he would snap back at me like the sound of my voice wore him out.  It was miserable.  And then the straw that broke the camel's back, I found more stuff on the computer.  And I was done.  I packed the car and had my mom pick Cade up from school while I talked to Patrick.  I had finally made the hardest decision of my life and I felt...relief.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Raison D'Etre

We had a rushed wedding.  I was late to the alter because The University of Texas was losing to Oklahoma State until the last few seconds of the game and I couldn't leave for the aisle until I knew how it ended.  Sure, I'm that into football, but I think I just wasn't that into my wedding. We weren't two kids in love.  We were two good friends sealing a deal.  That night he played his last gig (yes, on the night of our wedding he worked).  And to share just how redneck a life I had married into, we simply had the reception at the bar where he was playing, complete with a Just Married sign on his microphone stand.  Classy.  All of the pictures we have from that time show my family with looks of stunned acceptance.

So, I had to get a real job and so did he.  Real life began.  We were both completely broke.  We had terrible credit at the ripe age of 25 and neither of us had anything of value to bring into the marriage.  We were both nomads.  I had been flying since I was 20 and anywhere I lived was sparsely furnished because I was rarely there.  He was a musician and eternal college student who had ragged second-hand belongings and little else.  My parents gave us a Honda Accord, bought us a mattress set and the rest we got from the wedding shower.  Fortunately, my parent's affluent friends didn't hold it against me that I ran off with a musician, so they all donated to our cause.  Of course, they didn't yet know that they would be invited to furnish our nursery and clothe our child in a matter of months.

I was working an office job with horrific morning sickness.  Patrick did what any good husband (in the fifties) would do.  He started selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door.  I was miserable, with a diagnosis of placenta previa early on, all-day sickness, and annoyance with our new stationary lifestyle.  But I believed in my new husband, and I believed that he would be the best Kirby salesman in the state.  But he started coming home at midnight and staying on the computer until dawn when he was home.  There was no sex because he was afraid he would hurt the baby.  At 27 weeks pregnant I logged on to his computer and his instant messenger popped up.  It was some girl with whom he had been having online fun with.  While lying in bed by my pregnant, sleeping side he was having virtual sex with some chick from South Carolina.  I freaked out.  I realized that I was in a doomed relationship and carrying this man's child. Apparently the emotional trauma sent me into early labor.  I ended up in the ER with pre-term labor.  He was right by my side.  I used the coping mechanism I learned growing up with an alcoholic father and ignored the unpleasantries in hopes that they would dissolve over time.

My contractions continued and the doctor realized that I had an abrupted placenta.  I was put on strict bed rest.  At 32 weeks they realized that my baby was not gaining nourishment from me any longer and they were forced to induce.  After 36 ridiculously long hours, our son was born. He was 4lbs. 11oz., and though he wasn't breathing when he was born, he came right along.  I felt that love right from the beginning, but it turned to terror when I realized that this little person was mine to keep and form.  After less than 48 hours in the hospital with a child that could not maintain his body temperature, was jaundiced, and had no sucking reflex thus not eating, they sent us home...with him.  All he did was scream because he was hungry but couldn't understand how to make it stop and our manual efforts at feeding him were failing.  

The first year of his life pretty much went along like that.  He was always sick.  He had reflux, asthma, pneumonia, and colic.  Life was miserable and I did not like this new addition one bit. But I was a perfectionist in a sense.  I had to at least look like I had it all together, so I behaved and did exactly as I would expect an adoring mother to.  But my baby was on to me.  There was no connection between us, mostly due to the postpartum depression.  I wanted out.  I wanted out of the marriage, out of motherhood, and out of my life.  I kept thinking that if I could kill myself now, Cade would never know what he was missing.  It would just be a sentence in his life story. "Yeah, my mom killed herself before I turned one, so I was raised by my stepmother who adopted me.  We were very happy".  But I didn't do it.  Fear of the unknown, a shimmer of rationality in an otherwise broken mind...who knows.

At 13 months into my beautiful son's life, it clicked.  We fell in love with each other, Cade and I.  He became my raison d'etre.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rocky Road

Our dating continued in sporadic bursts.  I would spend my time in New York City, or London, or Dublin, and I would call him when his gigs in the states were over and we would talk.  I craved him, as I always craved male attention and companionship, but this guy was SO NICE.  It felt good.  Over the 4th of July holiday I flew out to Jackson Hole for another of his shows.  I was so excited to see him, but on the way out there I met two other guys!  One was a pilot I met in the bar in Denver.  We exchanged numbers because I obviously wasn't wholly committed to the relationship I was pursuing.  The other guy was an outdoor magazine editor that was on my flight into Jackson Hole.  I told him that I was going to see friends and even invited him out to see their show.  And he showed up!  I don't know what I was thinking or what I thought would happen, but in hindsight I think that I was so deeply entrenched in a manic episode that I simply had no control over my actions.  I just wanted to feel good, whatever brought that feeling at the time.

Well, editor-guy showed up at the bar and came straight over while Patrick was on a break. Patrick grabbed my hand, since I guess peeing on me was out of the question.  Editor-guy looked confused and I can only imagine what he was thinking.  After evaluating the situation he quickly turned and left.  

All the while, on that trip, I was pressuring Patrick to commit in some way to me.  I wanted it all.  I was being unfair to him and I knew it.  I just couldn't stop my behavior.  On my last night there he drove me up a mountain and we parked and talked and watched the sun rise.  He told me he loved me that morning.  It sent thrills through me even thinking about it on the flight back to New York.  When I was with him, he was all I wanted.  When I was away from him, I wasn't completely sure.  But I knew that I enjoyed being with him.  After another couple of trips to Europe I finally went home to meet Patrick's friends and family.  To say that I was shocked would be putting it mildly.  I was a city girl.  Even having been raised in a metro area of only 200,000 (which I considered a small town), I had the mentality of an East Coast big city girl.  His friends were like nothing I had ever seen.  They were country.  Just country.  His family was wonderfully nice and I enjoyed them, but again...there was a huge difference and I was completely out of my comfort zone.  It was like Green Acres.  I was fighting against myself.  I wanted to walk away.  I was being a shallow snob, but I just couldn't relate to this life.

So, guess what I did.  I talked until sunrise with him and we decided to get married.  We had known each other a total of three months and actually been together probably one month total in that time.  But he offered it and I grabbed it.  I thought I was choosing stability and domestic bliss.  At the time, I was so unstable in my own mind that I was reaching out to anything and anyone that would be the rock for me.  But he didn't know that.  He couldn't have known that my expressed thoughts and feelings were possibly disingenuous.  He only had what I gave him to go on.  

We headed out the next day to his next gig at a resort in the Texas hill country.  It was our engagementmoon. We started to tell people our plans.  They all tried to be happy for us, but looked at us like we were crazy.  And they were right, about me anyway.  While we were lying in bed one morning the pilot from the Denver airport called to see if I wanted to get together.  It had only been a couple of weeks since I led him to believe that I wasn't in a relationship and was open to dating. But now I quickly informed him that I was engaged and ended the conversation.  Another guy left wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

As you can see, it was already a giant, messy clusterfuck.  But I wasn't done creating havoc as we bipolars are known to do.  I was ovulating that weekend and I knew it.  At one point I even said to him, "I'm ovulating.  If we have sex, we will get pregnant".  So we did have sex, and we did get pregnant.  It was another of my reckless behaviors brought on by my manic episode.  And we could never have imagined how immensely that short-sighted moment would change our lives, for better and worse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Long Goodbye?

My husband and I are going to another session of marriage counseling tomorrow, and this time it is kind of the last ditch effort.  We've been together for almost 7 years now and are the proud parents of a beautiful 5 year-old boy, Cade.  We are both from families that never divorced, despite pretty crappy circumstances, and divorce seems like such a wild notion.  We've been struggling since the day we said our vows and so I have come to wonder, when is it okay to give up?  At what point is the disassembly of a family unit an okay trade for the hope of a happier existence?

To better understand us, let me tell you our story.

In February of 2002, I had a breakdown.  The love of my life had just broken up with me and I had suffered a lot during the September 11th attacks.  I had surrounded myself with good times and a carefree existence since being furloughed from the airlines shortly after September 11th, but I was called back to flying and lost him in a matter of days and my carefully crafted armor began to crumble, finally leaving me to face the aftermath and changes created that Tuesday in September 2001.  It wasn't pretty.  I was allowed to go on medical leave from Continental Airlines where I was working as an international flight attendant based out of Newark, New Jersey.  My parents had to sit watch by my bed because I was severely suicidal.  After breast augmentation surgery, colored contacts, and trying to change my entire persona, I was beginning to come out of the fog.  It was April and spring felt rejuvenating.  One day, as the medicine was beginning to work and I was able to venture into the sunlight, I was out around town driving and saw a sign at a local bar.  A guy I had known in high school was playing that weekend and I decided that it would be good for me to get out.  I talked to some friends and they agreed to go with me.  When I walked into the bar I had absolutely no intention of even looking twice at the males screwing up the atmosphere that night.  But there on stage, with a bass guitar in hand, was a guy.  And the guy had my exes' eyes.  They were dark, kind eyes and I was immediately drawn to him.  On breaks he would come and sit at the table next to us and eventually we spoke.  I gave him my phone number before leaving pretty early that night, and amazingly enough, he called me the next day.  He asked me to come back that night and so I did.  After the show we went to IHOP and then talked until 7am.  There was chemistry, or I was manic from the breakdown.  Either way, we ended up on the floor of his friend's apartment with my hand down his pants.  But I was back in West Texas, and his friend had a bible on the end table that was freaking me out, so I refrained from sleeping with him at that time.  

That day he left for a long road trip.  He called me when he got to Cheyenne and we stayed up until 6am just talking.  At the end of that conversation he asked me to fly up to Cheyenne.  I was nearing the end of my medical leave and would have to return to Jersey soon, but I decided that the best way to get over someone was to get under someone else, as they say.  So I jumped on a plane and headed north.  When I got off the plane, I was honestly worried that I wouldn't recognize him.  We had, after all, only spent a few hours together.  But there he was, sweet and nervous, and waiting for me.  We spent the next week together, getting to know each other, having a lot of sex.  I was always the dominant one.  I climbed on top and I took the lead, but he was a very willing participant.

After a week we left Cheyenne and headed to Denver and by that time it felt like we had known each other forever.  We just clicked.  It was comfortable.  And besides, I knew those eyes.  They were the same windows that I had looked into and lost myself in so many times over the last year.  The same eyes that I met in my dreams, the dreams that I woke from sobbing, with my heart tearing apart in my chest and my breath unable to catch.  But with Patrick, I could look in those eyes any time I wanted.  The pain would subside.  I felt safe with him and that was something I desperately needed.

The story is long and convoluted.  Perhaps telling it will remind me of why I am still here, still trying so hard to keep it together.  There's lots more to come...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Erin Go Bragh

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year, St. Patrick's Day.  Years ago I petitioned my mom to let me change my birthday to March 17th in order to give the appropriate weight of celebration to the day with those around me.  She said that she worked too hard on the sixth of October to give up that birth day, but as the story goes, I popped out 19 minutes after she showed up at the hospital so I'm not buying that crap.  I was willing to age myself by a good 6-1/2 months just to feel more acutely the thrill of St. Patty's Day and force my loved ones to celebrate with me.  Alas, it was not to be.  Instead, this year, I guilted the fun, newly-married young girl at the office into going out with me on a Tuesday night. Mind you, we have never been out together in a social setting, but she is the only friend I have around here that is allowed to drink (yeah, I'm baptist). So tomorrow, I will be the freak in the green feather boa, drinking a Guinness and revelling in the sprawl of Irish heritage surrounding me while this poor hispanic girl sits in annoyed misery beside me.  I'm sure she is just counting the minutes.

I don't know what caused my abnormal adoration for this holiday.  I spent a lot of time in Ireland and loved it.  My name, Erin, is gaelic for Ireland.  Green is my favorite color.  None of this explains my absurd obsession.  Nonetheless, I will continue to weigh down the date with unreasonably high expectations.  And then, on Wednesday, all of the decorations come down and the wait begins again.  I'm sure my boss will be happy.  He has a hard time explaining the chick in accounting with the green pigtail headband, Irish flags, and flashing shamrock pen.  Soon it will all be over and we are just back to being in the middle of tax season.  Sigh....

Update:  I was just informed by my unsuspecting St. Patrick's Day victim, Savannah from work, that she and her husband made a pact to STOP DRINKING and it started yesterday!  So now, she is not merely tolerating my idiocy, she is tolerating it SOBER.  But I vow, like any good Irish-person to handle my Guinness like a champ and refrain from dancing topless on bartops.  Okay Savannah?  Will that make it better?  -- Ooh, or spike her water.  

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Off Autopilot

Today I went for a bike ride.  It was about a twelve-mile ride on the paths at our local University.  What an incredible time for introspection.  I have had a bit of an aversion to exercise while struggling through a patch of depression so today was a step out for me.  It was exhilarating.  The weather was beautiful.  It was 75 and sunny with a pretty strong westerly wind that made for a good workout.  As I was passing the prairie dogs and beware of coyote signs I had a lot of time to think about what I want with my life.  
I have been content to take the path of least resistence for years now.  I have been lazy.  As everyone knows, the things that are the best in life are the hardest to come by.  My child, we'll call him Cade, is the greatest joy (and trial) in my life.  Everything that led to his existence in my life was pure misery (except maybe conception...but I digress).  Life gave me no choice but to work hard to get him.  Once he was in there, there was no turning back.  So I went through the trials and tribulations, and he was born.  And now, even though parenting sucks a good majority of the time, I have no choice but to stick with it because he deserves my very best.

However, with every other aspect of my life, I have been totally willing to drop the ball.  All of the intellect, promise and drive that burned in me through adolescence and young adulthood just faded into oblivion while I learned to exist at the most basic level.  I woke up, I did what I had to do to pay bills and raise a wonderful son, then I went to sleep again.   The last six and a half years of my life have been completely wasted.  Ideally, I will have a long time to get back to where I need to be, but I have to start now.

I've let myself go while just trying to make those around me comfortable, if not happy.  I stopped working to grow myself.  So many wives and mothers run into this same trap.  The selflessness that erupts inside of us when we give birth to a little human (because trust me, I was never selfless before) tends to push us to last.  Well, I am taking it back.  I am grabbing my life and making something of it for more than just Cade.  I am doing it for me for once.

Yep, it's going to be hard and it is going to SUCK.  I am going to have to work harder than I have in my short history to juggle all of the things in my life and still be successful at most of them.  But I am tired of coasting.  I've been on autopilot for years now, and it's time to take back the controls.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It begins...

I have been told for some time to start a blog or write a book, but was always concerned with the aspect of letting people I know see inside my head.  I am perfectly happy sharing with complete strangers, as is any good lunatic.  It's letting the people I see on a regular basis know just how random and unstable a person I am that I worry about.  I would love to write in relative obscurity.  I have always toyed with the idea of writing fiction, but everything is too autobiographical.  Once it was published (a pipe dream, I know) those in my life would crucify me for outing the intricacies of our relationships.  And since it is of utmost importance to me to never hurt or discomfort anyone, I refrain.

My life really is a pretty open book with everyone except the man I married.  While I am quite happy to share and discuss with anyone willing, it frightens me to think that the insecurities and doubts that I currently have in regards to my marriage would be open for him to see.  I realize that since I am having doubts, he is probably the first person I should air them to, but reason doesn't always work in life.  Besides, I find it somewhat therapeutic to ask advice from those that don't know us, and I appreciate hearing from everyone.  However, there are few men that I have known in my life that think it's a great idea for me to share the inner workings of our relationships with relative strangers.

Keeping that in mind, I am biting the bullet and jumping in.  Damn the consequences?