Forward Momentum

So we moved to Phoenix and I promptly shoved everything my kids and I own into a 10X15 storage locker, never unpacked my bags, and flew off to Northern California for seven weeks. 

Perspective aside: Every time I get mad that everything I own can fit into a 10X15 storage locker, I try to remember to go look at this post of where I was the last time this shit happened, and then I thank the flying spaghetti monster that I am blessed enough in this life to have 10 feet by 15 feet worth of possessions, even if none of them are a couch. 

You see, we were actually supposed to move to Northern California, seeings how* my job is there and stuff, you know? Except I don't think Soon To Be Ex (as he shall henceforth be named on ye ol' blog) was every really totally into the idea of moving here - though he agreed to it before I ever even took this job that is, oh, you know, BASED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.

The plan was, we drive to Phoenix, stay the night with family, and then leave for The Bay the next morning without him, just until he felt grounded enough to come up there, because I have absolutely no interest in splitting our children and him up again. We went to a therapists for the first time ever in the 17 years we've been together, to get advice on how to tell the kids we're getting divorced, and that's when he told me he wasn't coming to the Bay with us, ever. 

One step forward, two steps back. 

Sorry, or You're welcome, aside: This Paula Earworm was brought to you by my eternal love for Zombyboy. (Who just moved his blog. Subscribe, if you like awesome, albeit wrong not exactly what I agree with totally, things.)

But the lease was already ended and the truck was being rented and the kids had already said their goodbyes so we still had to leave Houston (and man, did we ever have to leave Houston) so I had a decision to make. I try to explain to my kids every single day of their lives that the right thing is usually never going to be the easy thing. This has all turned out to be living proof of that. Moving forward for everyone else, in this instance, meant moving backwards a little bit for me; it means putting my career ambitions on hold a little while longer and going back to Arizona, where everything started the first time I came here in an attempt to leave him

Arizona seems to be both my third realm of rebirth and my ninth level of hell. It's certainly warm enough for it. 

So we got to Arizona and had a few days to hunker down with our family (who is, in reality, his family, but we're going to have to come up with some sort of shared custody, because mineminemineminemine) before I left for California. We have, oh, five weeks *twitch* before we throw a massive conference for like 4,500 people and I really just can't keep doing this through Google Hangouts (which? are the bomb), nor do I want to.

So I'm not. I'm living in the basement of my kids' godfather and failing in every way to take the Caltrain into work every day. 

You see, I happen to have a pre-existing train condition, partly because I don't even like the forward momentum of a swing on the playground, but mostly because my aunt used one to, um, well, there's no nice way to say it. She used one to chop her head off. There.

I also have this fun thing about myself that allows me to channel all of my chaos into objects, making me a Totally Functional Lunatic. When my life goes awry, I will lose/break cell phone after cell phone, until the phone company won't give me more replacements (see: five blackberries in three months. Not kidding). Or I'll leave my purse(s) on the hood of my car, like every day, for a few months, even the one and only Gucci purse I've ever owned. Don't get me started on the hamsters

So I'm getting divorced, moving somewhere I really don't want to, living in someone else's house temporarily in both California AND San Francisco, and five weeks out from Bloggerpalooza. That's pretty awry, yo.

And then I have to ride trains. Ask me how well that's been going for me. I DARE YOU. 

Day 1 on the train: I got on the wrong train, the reaaaally wrong train, and after a detour to a part of California I've never heard of, a frantic phone call to my bestie for directions, some crying, and a three mile walk, I got to work on my first full day an impressive hour and a half late. 

Day 2 on the train: I got on the train, bought the wrong kind of ticket, got asked to show my ticket, and got a citation for stealing public transit and now have to go to court in San Francisco to Face Charges That May Go On My Permanent Record Or Something.

Day 3 on the train: Overslept on the morning of an 8am meeting because I was up all night, um, what is the opposite of sexting? I was doing that, with Soon To Be Ex. I overslept by 15 minutes which meant I missed the one train that came that hour and so I had to take a cab into work.

In San Francisco.

In morning rush-hour. 

You can get seven professional sexual services for less than that cab ride cost. 

But I still feel like I am making some progress on the Treadmill of Crazy. I'm here, in the office with the most amazing team of people I've ever worked with, doing what I need to do even though Soon To Be Ex doesn't really like it, and I miss my kids so much it burns, and I'm a uber private person who doesn't actually share space well with others. I'm starting to come to the point in my life where I am doing that which *I* need, and balancing that with the needs of the people around me, rather than the other way around. 

A year ago, I never would have left for seven weeks. A year ago, I never would have checked myself into the hotel I'm typing this from because I needed one night of absolute solitude. A year ago, I never would have done a lot of things I am doing know, because I was always convinced that if I didn't get everyone's oxygen mask on, they'd all crash and burn. 

Because I am a control freak. Because it's easier to put on everyone else's mask than my own. I am trying really hard to knock that shit off, and just deal with mine. 

And if you're skimming this and looking for a picture to sum of the point of the post, here it is:

Everything can be used, except what is wasteful. (Audre Lorde)
(Or, if life hands you a treadmill of crazy in 105 degree heat, let your kids walk your dog on it.)

*Seeings how may be the most excellent #grammarfail known to man, and I ain't nevah givin' it up.

Mutually Assured Destruction

My hair has been falling out in handfuls again. Thankfully, I have more hair on my everything head than your average lion, so I can afford to spare some - but every day when I lather the shampoo into my scalp, I pull my fingers out of my hair and they are full of enough hair to make living wigs for Chemo-Barbie.

I first noticed it about six weeks ago, when I finally decided to end my marriage. It increased when we decided to end our marriage, about three weeks ago. The details of that are a different story, but I have to say that - in hindsight - I really wish I had, and truly regret that I did not, chronicle this entire process. It has been more liberating than skinny dipping, more isolating than climbing Everest, more exhilarating than bungie jumping, and more sickeningly terrifying than floating on a dingie through a Noreaster.

A very wise man once told me that hindsight is always 20/20 - but looking back, it’s still a bit fuzzy.

Step one is admitting that I am powerless, not merely acknowledging it (yes, the families of alcoholics need to work steps as much as the qualifier does.) I am trying to learn to live less in absolutes and more in notions, trying to believe that I am powerless against alcohol and all the cunning and clever ways it has distorted my perception. I am trying to become willing to see that is has distorted my perception. I am trying to understand and accept that everything I know is probably wrong, or at least deeply askew. I am not doing very well at this, but I am trying.

Baby steps off the crazy train.
Baby steps off the crazy train.
Baby steps off the crazy train.

I sat in my meeting a few Monday nights ago, listening to the brave women and men taking the journey with me talk about decisions. They talked about letting go, trusting in their Higher Power (who most of them call God; Texas, yo) to somehow make evident the paths they should take, or at least trusting that whatever path they do take, He is there with them. They spoke of not rights or wrongs, but steps, small doings, attempts. I listened and thought man, that is what I need. I need to figure out how to believe that a Power Greater Than Myself (who most of the people I know call God) can do for me that which I cannot do for myself. I need to make decisions based on more than my gut, because right now, my gut is not to be trusted. I need to make decisions based on more than Have To’s, because Have To’s usually come from fear or anxiety, and not from careful consideration. I need the humility to admit that I can’t, and I need to know that someone can do for me that which I cannot do for myself, and right now, what I cannot do for myself is decide. I need to not make any decisions for a while.

A very wise man once told me that recovery is easy; you just have to change everything.

I think I know a lot of things that I don't actually know at all, because that is how I satiate my control fetish - by always knowing and constantly doing some pointless and counterintuative thing or the other that keeps me feeling like Action is Happening and Changes are Being Made, when really I am just running around in circles in the hopes of winning my own comfits and thimbles. So I made a bunch of Very Grand Indeed Plans that all, of course, fell apart all over me, and when I had to dig through the reckage of what I Thought Was, I figured out that I have no idea what is, and I realized at that moment that I had to not do The Right Thing, but simply the next right thing. 

So we agreed to move to Arizona.

What I need is to to recover. What I need to do is change everything. I need to run toward, not from. I also needed to leave Houston, for reasons I don’t care to get into right now, and I need to end my marriage, for reasons I keep hashing over and over again, and I need to keep working at this mind-blowingly awesomely terrifying job I’ve been doing for six months, but it still feels like my third day. I need to do all those things at the same time.

My hair is doing me the kindness of tearing itself out for me.

So we moved to Arizona, where my kids have a ton of family to support them while they learn how to be a part of a divorced family, and where my soon to be ex husband has someone other than me to be his support through his own recovery, and where we can get divorced quietly and calmly with minimal destruction. And I? Well, I have this. 

That's good enough for today.