The Savior Complex.

Some weeks ago, I lay down in the arms of a god and asked for his comfort. He had no comfort to give, or really, it was not the comfort I was seeking. I felt broken and shattered from the last workings on this ongoing path before me and all I wanted was a few moments of safety and solitude. I didn’t find any of that. I found a conversation that punched a hole in my shaky regeneration and I was told that while the conversation itself wasn’t important enough, the basis for it and the general lesson were. I was informed I had to internalize that lesson – let it become a part of me. It wouldn’t be my salvation but it would definitely make things a little easier at some point.

Some weeks before that conversation, I began being tested at work. My boss has this thing where she tests the hell out of you in preparation for a “management” position. She doesn’t call it management – she calls it the next step in the evolution. She says that financially, it will make up for all that she puts us through. I know, nominally, what she thinks a financial reparation is like and I have to admit that I am not wholly interested in this. But the testing began and it’s enveloped my entire waking being.

After the tests began, I snuggled into the arms of a god and asked for comfort that he could not give me. More painful truths were needed before I could become more than the rusted out hulk I thought I had become. I thought that I could begin to feather out and make whole that rusted out hulk, but I’m beginning to think that it isn’t simply a matter of returning to what I once was but changing the metamorphosis so that I become something new – something still me and something else as well. But the tests began at work and I have been consumed with the razor blade tap dancing those tests have forced upon me.

And truly, I have been consumed.

It has become so much that I end up dreaming about what sort of tests she may throw upon me next. When I am not dreaming about work, I am thinking about work. If I am not think about work, someone has asked me how work went that day and all I want to do is punch them in the face. I don’t because assault just because people wants to know what’s up with you sounds like a bad idea. But sometimes, I day dream about it because in a day dream, you can do anything. And I’ve been conveniently able to put that request, “think on this; internalize this; make this a new part of you,” to the back burner.

It’s so damn easy to put off the difficult to near-impossible personal tasks the gods ask of you if you have something more obvious directly in front of you.

That’s the thing about shadow work, though. You have to figure out how to balance it with your waking life. While you are broken and shattered and bleeding from the insides out, you also have to go to work to pay your bills and feed your pets and pretend to have friends. And all the while, you have to at least try to look like a real human being without the scary face smile that you want to wear when people ask you how you’re doing.

How the hell do you balance out pain so intense that you feel like your insides are on fire every waking moment with living your life? How in the fuck do you work on transmuting yourself into the next iteration of your regeneration with painful truths building you up just as everything else in the world around you goes crashing down around your ears? How in the world are you supposed to pretend to be okay when everything feels like you are dying inside and you can’t even remotely say the words out loud or in a text conversation with people who seem to give two shits about you because the pain will threaten to engulf you and destroy you if you voice it out loud?

How even, indeed.

The burning questions, I think, often go unanswered. How am I going to survive all these tests and still be me? How the fuck am I supposed to internalize something I don’t want to admit?

One of the reasons, I think, Sekhmet chose me is because I have a complex. Who doesn’t, really? But at the end of the day, I have this intense desire, intense need to fix things. Whether I am the cause of the damage or not, there is something that speaks to me that says I need to help, I need to fix. I don’t know if she’s really the fixing deity type, on the whole, but I think she has a thing for it. It was to her, after all, that the ancients prayed to when her Arrows were on the loose. I think, perhaps, she has a savior complex, too. It may be why a lot of her kids seem to come to her damaged in some way, looking for the way to become whole again.

I am, in case you were not aware, quite damaged.

I’m working on it, though.

After my conversation with Heru-Wer, I was able to ignore it. He lets me get away with that type of behavior. So, too, did Sekhmet. I think actually most of them do. They recognize that occasionally things are too harsh and painful to full integrate and work on in one fell swoop. My problem is that I like to be able to push the limits of any such time frames provided until I am ordered, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it must be completed. I don’t know if Heru-Wer will tell me forcefully that I need to stop dicking around like Sekhmet has in the past. I do know that I don’t really want to push this one out too far.

You see, it will only get worse the longer I put it off.

I know that; I recognize it. The thing about me pushing things out and ignoring them isn’t so much that I don’t want to do it. I have delusions that one day I will be whole and winsome, ready to face the world as what I should have been before the traumas started. The thing that I’ve come to recognize is that I will never be what I want; I can only be me with the traumas healed as scar tissue. They’ll always be there but probing at the unhealthy scar tissue of a trauma that was not dealt with… well, that shit fucking hurts.

I prolong it all because I don’t want to hurt and I know it’s going to hurt. The conversation left be feeling bereft and raw. It took me most of the day and well into the night and part of the next few days before I finally began feeling a little like my [broken] self again. There was less fire as the days passed by and the stabbing heartache of that conversation began to fade. And then things got ramped up at work and I was able to ignore it some more. I was prolonging the moment when I would have to rip off the Band-Aid, rip out the scar tissue, and start the surgery that I needed so that the next round of healing would be a lot less ugly and little easier.

Funny aside – I’ve been telling one of my friends that she needs to shit or get off the pot for months now. (Actually, more like years, but whatever.) That’s been the key phrase for all of our interactions. Isn’t it funny how I can just dish out exactly what I need to hear for everyone and sundry and then bitch and moan when they don’t take that fucking advice? Yeah, I have a complex all right – I’m complicatedly fucking hypocritical.

I’m an asshole like that.

These last few weeks have been a blissful trip in ignoring the reality in front of me. I stopped harping on the painful conversation and threw myself into my work, not as if I had a choice. It took over everything and left little else beyond a sallow-faced and tire-eyed woman. I had no energy to do anything besides read my book(s), watch mindless television, and not think about anything. It was actually kind of peaceful and restful.

I also recognized that it was bound to fall down around my ears at some point. And I also recognized that I would probably fight the falling down around my ears more if I actively did something about it all. Yesterday, I received the Tower card as my daily divination and I laughed because I got the point that the divination was trying to portray: not quite that everything was being destroyed actively, but if I didn’t get the fuck on it with it, then it would be. All right – message received loud and clear.

So I sat down in front of a puzzle and built a good portion of it yesterday while watching historical drama television on Netflix. And while I built the puzzle and traded wise cracks with TH about who was really doing the puzzle (we took turns) and who was better at putting pieces where they belong (I feel that I won because I was able to build the top third of the puzzle, which was difficult since it was all blended in colors), I thought about the conversation. Not the wording. Not the feelings left over from it. Not anything in specific, but the gist of what was voiced out loud.

I have a complex about saving people.

I can see it in my interactions with people and with my interactions with the gods. I admit it; I like to help other people. It’s not something I openly admit either to myself or to others often. But I like feeling useful and I enjoy knowing that I was able to provide something that gives people the ability to finally connect a puzzle piece they’ve been poking at for a while.

If I look back far enough, I can see the thread in many relationships. I think the first time was the Christian friend, but I’m not sure. Maybe it was a natural high or maybe it was just the moment epitomized and the complex was then born. I honestly don’t know, but since then, I’ve looked for the people who needed someone to save them. I’ve failed a lot of times in the attempt, but sometimes, I’ve been successful.

The problem is that I’ve watched in recent years as failure at the attempts have become more common place. The failure may not be in actuality – it may only be my interpretation of surrounding events. And that is why these things stay with me; because I feel as if I failed and my complex doesn’t take kindly to failure, perceived or otherwise.

Heru-Wer said to me, “It stays with you so much and it burns you so much and it kills you so much because you thought to yourself, ‘I can save this one wayward lamb,’ and you attempted it with whatever means you had at your disposal. But he did not want you to save him in this life or in any of the ones preceding it.

“Sometimes, the attempt is enough to make them save themselves, but sometimes, it is only another step on the path that will lead them to bigger horrors. You couldn’t save him because he didn’t want to be saved – not by you, anyhow. You must remember this, miw, and you must accept that sometimes this path is full of failures but you must release yourself from the guilt you fill yourself with if you are to stay alive.”

Part of the reason this still burns is because of my own failure and the guilt that the failure feeds. I can remember looking at him once and saying, “I will save him from himself,” and I started the building blocks of it. It was a firm foundation that I began with but when it came to the worst of the suffering he had undergone, both at his own behest and at the behest of others, I could not save him. And so I let our connection fester until I was forced to destroy it utterly lest I drown in my guilt and shame at having failed in the task I had unwisely or otherwise undertaken.

I grieved for the loss of him.

I grieved for the loss of the life we would have built together.

I grieved for many things when it became painfully obvious that I had to skedaddle or die.

I never grieved for my own failure and I never absolved myself of the guilt of that failure, even though you cannot force a horse to drink. I gave him firm foundations to build upon and maybe he did end up using them. I think he did because all signs – all information – seems to point to the fact that the foundation I had begun has been completed and is still in use to this day. My own foundation was tied to his and I had to rip it away, but he was able to keep on afterward. I was only able to fall over ass over tea kettle, rolling down the mountainside as the pain of my guilt shredded me wide open.

I have a complex, the savior one. And I failed in that attempt as I failed in other attempts that came afterward. I am eaten alive by my own guilt, feeling inadequate for the task. Not that it was ever, truly, my task to undertake but they let me try at least.

Some nights, I wake up and I can feel the shards of my guilt stabbing at me. I can never determine which bout of guilt it is that has woken me so, but I can hope that at least with the admission to this – this complex – that I can admit that I failed in what I had set out to do with that ex-bonded mate of mine. And maybe the shards of my guilt will stab at me a little less.

Remembered Moments

As though to ensure that I was getting the most bang out of my shadow working buck, I started remembering things last night that I had long since forgotten. What startled me about this was that it related to the ex-boyfriend who, fortunately or otherwise, set the blueprint for my future relationships. While I was very busy attempting to fall asleep after a very long day, my mind had other ideas in mind and so, I went back to my sixteen-year-old self and got to relive things I had never thought of.

This started because I was irritated by the horror movie stereotype of their being an odd number of high school friends (who invariably end up mostly dead). The movie I fell asleep watching had seven friends: four guys and three girls. I was irritated by this because, for half of my high school career, there were six of my friends. And while there was inter-dating amongst the six of us, it was mostly A and her boyfriend, J and her boyfriend, and then myself and P, platonically (though everyone thought we had been dating since freshman year). I had dated P, I remembered, but briefly…

…and then in that sort of shadow lit haze my mind takes up before falling asleep, I went back to that sixteen-year-old girl who was desperately attracted to the blond-haired bad boy. The one who would help to mold me into the woman I would become, for better or worse, and he seemed very much attracted to my best friend, J.

I don’t know if I reached out to P in an effort to be not-alone while all of my friends were with someone and/or were desired by someone. I know that he and I dated very briefly that year. I think it was about a two week, all told, relationship. And it was before I even knew what date rape was, so my mindset was relatively okay. (I say relatively because I was acting out in ways that weren’t like me at all so subconsciously, I knew and understood that something bad had happened.)

P changed for me, which scared the absolute crap out of me. He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t demand compromise or force you to change, which was good. However, he was the kind of guy who would change for you. He was also the first boyfriend I had with a full on beard and mustache combination and it was very strange kissing him. What made it even weirder was that it was very much like kissing my brother. No dice.

But just because I wasn’t interested didn’t mean that he wasn’t interested. Even though he kind of, but definitely knew that I was very attracted to his best friend, the long-term relationship guy, he was still very interested in getting me into a relationship. I honestly don’t know if it was me that he liked or if it was something about me that he liked or if he was just a guy who wanted a girlfriend. I honestly don’t know and probably never will – P and I haven’t spoken in nearly ten years now for reasons – but while he was willing to let me break up with him, he wasn’t exactly not-willing to not try to get back with me.

If that sentence makes any fucking sense.

SO WHAT I MEAN is that P wanted to get back with me, even though I was more interested in getting with his best friend.

The thing is that I don’t think I ever said, emphatically, why I was breaking up with him. If I had said, “You frightened me because you shaved off all of your facial hair because it tickled me,” or if I had said, “you’re like my brother and this is borderline incest to me even though we’re not related at all,” things probably would have been okay? And I think that we could have had a decent friendship still. But I was worried about preserving that friendship so I didn’t say anything about that at all, but merely said I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship.

So, I kind of left it open a little that we would maybe get back together even though I was OBVIOUSLY MAKING EYES at his best friend.

I knew how to be subtle after having done the unrequited love thing for a year. (I thought I loved the guy and my mother was pretty sure I did, too, and maybe I did, but things and stuff.) And I knew that I had to play it weirdly subtle with P’s best friend, AKA long-term relationship guy, because he and I had been not enemies but not even remotely friendly for the previous two years, so I had to be like subtle and moody about all of that.

It was very weird, for me, to discover that someone who I didn’t seem to like was actually a really likeable guy. We had a lot in common. We were kindred spirits with outcast like mentalities, obsessions for dark poetry and prose, and as Goth as you could get without actually being Goth (I think.) So, I was already freaked out by the fact that I liked him as a person and I was even more freaked out when I realized how fucking jealous I was when he confided in me that he wanted to get into a relationship with my best friend. That was, actually, my first clue that I liked him in that more than friends way. And it was even stranger because I felt that tinge of jealousy when I was dating his best friend.

I’ll tell you what, now that I’m looking back. Having a really close knit pack of friends is okay and whatnot for high school but it can also be REALLY complicated. My group of friends was really complicated. It was my junior year that we began bringing in more friends, so it got a little less complicated, but at the start of my junior year, it was really just that core six of us with outliers, such as long term relationship guy and a few others, but mostly it was just the six of us. And it was really fucking complicated…

Anyway.

Perhaps I dumped P with the knowledge that I wanted to pursue his best friend and didn’t want to hurt him, but I’m not completely sure if that’s legitimate. What I do know is that he freaked me out when he shaved his face for me and it was like kissing my brother when we kissed. He was like the backup guy to take me out to a dance if I really wanted to go to one, and we actually did end up going to the semi-formal together that year. He was my friend more than he would ever be anything else, to me, and that, I think, is the main reason why I broke up with him even if I couldn’t have explained that to anyone way back then.

So, in November, I spent a lot of time with long-term relationship guy, moodily trying to figure out how to make it obvious that I was interested. It was only around then that I realized that I had been raped because someone else told me, so I had to contend with the ramifications of that (which I kept to myself for about a month or more) as well as dealing with hormonal surges from being a teenager as well as dealing with jealousy of my best friend, worry about hurting P if anything happened between his best friend and I, and everything else in between. Like, now that I am writing it out, it’s really a wonder how teenagers don’t end up going insane with all of these emotions and hormones. And it’s really a wonder that I, myself, didn’t end up losing my fucking shit while going through those emotions and hormones while also trying to assimilate the idea that I had been date raped.

Just… for fuck’s sake, the first semester of junior year was some fucked up shit all the way around, no matter how I look at it.

I remember that I skipped school on the half day before Thanksgiving. And I remember that I had been hanging out with long-term relationship guy and we had a really cool idea about meeting up with P at his bus stop. So, we went to his bus stop and we went over to P’s house because there was no one there and we all wanted to just hang out and be friends together.

And that’s not what happened at fucking all.

I don’t know if anyone, outside of myself, realizes how really fucking intense it can be when you’re hanging out with two guys. One of whom is interested in you and the other of whom is interested in your best friend but appears to maybe also be interested in you as well now that you had hung out enough times to establish that there was a baseline of attraction. IT’S REALLY FUCKING INTENSE. And what makes this even more fucking ridiculous is that the three of us had all hung out before as friends and it was fine, but for some reason, shit was fucking real that day.

P made a move.

I neither consented nor voiced my non-consent.

This is the key moment here and this, I think, is the point behind this shadow work. It wasn’t, specifically, long-term relationship guy that ended up making my consent button not-work anymore. It was an issue before him, but I had just forgotten this moment in time because everything that came after it was even more intense than my fucked up and shitty and asshole-filled first semester of junior year.

The three of us went upstairs and watched TV or something. And I was lying across the bed, falling the fuck asleep because I think more happened that day that made my emotional roller coaster of fucked up shit even worse than normal – I think I know what incident it was but I’m not 100%. In either case, I was fucking exhausted at that point and I just wanted to fucking nap. So, I was lying full across the bed on my stomach and I was blearily looking out P’s window and he was lying beside me, but partially over my back and his best friend was lying right next to me on his stomach, too.

And P kissed the back of my neck.

I remember his kisses – they were very cautious, but they were also very not-cautious if that makes any fucking sense.

And alarm bells were going off in my head.

Source unknown.

Source unknown.

I closed my eyes and turned my head away and reached out with my hand and clasped his best friend’s hand in mine, squeezing as much as I could. I don’t think he realized why I was holding his hand at all at first and I don’t think he fully realized what the hell was going on behind him because he wasn’t looking in my direction. I had my eyes closed so tightly and I was thinking, stop, stop, stop, stop, no, no, no, don’t do that. Say something but how do I say no without making it clear I’m not interested and I will ruin our friendship and no no no no no no. I remember enough to remember worrying about our friendship and how this would impact us as friends.

I don’t know if my worrying about his emotional state if I rejected him is normal when it comes to people in similar situations? I just know that I was absolutely fucking worried about how this would impact him. I guess, in one way, that’s really selfless and amazing, or something. But on the other hand, it goes to show what I was usually thinking when it came to failing to give consent or to reject the advances: I was too busy worrying about what they would think or feel if rejected. My emotional state in the aftermath of said occurrences didn’t merit, but theirs did.

Is that rape culture at work or is it just a really fucked up self-esteem problem?

In either case, now that I think about it, this moment crystallizes and clarifies, I think, the underlying issue when it comes to consent. I’m too worried about others to actively take care of myself in any meaningful way. Again, let me reiterate: in my head, my own emotional state of that moment and after that moment doesn’t merit a fucking second thought, but the boys who did things I didn’t consent to did merit a lot of fucking thoughts on the topic. So maybe fucking thoughts that I fucking never even voiced a yea or a nay; I just closed my eyes and silently wished it would stop.

Well, now, that’s some fucked up shit.

In this instance, I didn’t have to do much more. When I squeezed his hand hard enough to rub bones together, the long-term relationship guy turned over and saw what was happening. I may have looked at him, begging with my eyes, but I honestly can’t remember. He saw what happened and managed to firmly put a stop to it. (He ended up shoving his best friend off and lying on top of me so that I was completely covered head to foot and commenting about how that was how you cuddled a chick to make her feel safe. So, he cock blocked his best friend for me – at my silent request – and also crushed the ever loving shit out of me, which made me happy as hell because, you know, hormones and emotions.)

It was at this moment, maybe, that I fell in love with long-term relationship guy. At that moment in time, he was in tune enough with me to recognize what I needed without my having to say it. And that, to me, meant a lot more than anything else. Later, when we were in a relationship, he would often check in with me to be assured that what was happening was okay. For all intents and purposes, he did a really good fucking job checking in with someone as emotional frazzled as I was.

It just didn’t stick.

Or maybe he got complacent.

Or maybe I got even worse about consent.

Or maybe we were both really fucking young and fucked in the head.

In either case, long-term relationship guy wasn’t exactly the reason I had an issue with consent. He compounded the problem when he stopped checking in and stopped verifying that I had given permission to move forward. No, clearly, it’s something that I had an issue with before that, as evidenced by his best friend and the one-off guy before that and the kid when we were both nine-years-old.

In the instance with P, it was for fear of what our friendship would end up like if I said something. (Which was dumb as shit of me because it got a little strained when I did start dating his best friend.) In the instance of that one-off dude, it was fear of being unwanted that stayed my tongue. In that moment when I was nine, I think, it was fear of what he would do to me if I didn’t just do the thing. The point being that I’ve (A) had this issue for a long time and (B) reasons varied from individual scenario to individual scenario.

The lesson I should have learned with P was that I mattered enough to have a say in what was happening to me. The lesson I learned was, instead, that if I reached out long enough, something magical would happen and I would be saved.

Poking and Prodding.

When I first realized the type of shadow work Sekhmet was pushing me towards, I pulled a card to see what I could expect from all of this. It’s always good, I think, to be forewarned about what you can expect. That way, maybe, you can allocate resources to what you need to work on. The card I pulled when I asked her was from the Book of Doors deck and it was the “Satis” card. From my own interpretation (I eschew the book on this), it means, more or less, “inundation.” I laughed so hard after pulling that card that I cried. I can’t really say if what I’ve been dealing with for the last few weeks can really be interpreted from an outsider’s perspective as “inundation” but it certain feels that way to me. At the gist of the matter, I feel very much as though I’ve been stretched to the breaking point, given a wee reprieve, and then I have to get back to it again. I’m always waiting for that moment when I will actually break, but apparently, I know what I’m doing, or at least partially, because I haven’t broken… Yet.

When S told me that I needed to look into this, I think anyone who knows me can imagine the look I gave her. I wasn’t best pleased with how she pulled the rug out from beneath my feet to get me to admit that I had a problem regarding consent and I wasn’t particularly pleased at the prospect of yet more shadow work on any subject. But I also understood that everything is a work-in-progress, so to speak, including the souls of people under the care of the gods. I am, of course, no exception. Part of the reason I gave S such a nasty look about it was because, well, how the fuck do you assess where your issues lie? How in the world, once you admit you have a problem, do you progress to the next step in which you figure it all out? And how the fuck do you finally get to the end of all of this?

I had a basic rubric to follow – one that I’ve created myself – but I had a feeling that wasn’t really going to work here. I had to reform how I had dealt with other shadow work situations and work at it from a different angle. I couldn’t help but, almost affectionately wish that Hekate was back around to show me the ropes. Then, I snapped myself awake and reminded myself that all shadow work attempts are going to be different from one another and for all I knew, Hekate would drown me in a pool of my own blood in an attempt to “make better” the issues I was facing. Hell… that was probably something S herself could and would do, if the need arose, so I figured I should stop trying to figure how to do it and just throw myself into it. I ended up jumping into the river that is my soul and finding that I’ve always had an issue here.

Well, that kind of sucked to learn. I figured I could come to a single culminating moment in my life in which I found a neon, blazing sign with arrows pointing to it. That would, of course, be the earmarked moment in which I began having issues with consent. So, this leads me in other arenas as to why I may possibly have the problem in question (which will be discussed in another entry). But what it comes down to is that I have to, not only discern what happened and where, but I also have to discern how this has impacted my views on myself, my behavior in relationships, and how I can correct things, in future, so that I’m not an idiot for the rest of my life. This kind of feels like a really fucking tall order to fill, especially considering the fact that I don’t even know if this consent issue has impacted my across relationships.

I assume that it has, but of course, the only way to be really sure is, of course, to look through them all.

I wanted to enter this phase as logically as I could. It seemed prudent to go through all of the relationships I’ve had, since puberty, and attempt to discern where the issues were in said relationships. But as I started poking at the relationships I had early on in my high school career, I came to the conscious realization that it wasn’t going to be quite as easy as all of that.

Aside from the one-off moment when I was fifteen with a local boy, most of the boyfriends I had when I was fourteen and fifteen were in that “nice guys” kind of category, but not in that “I’m a nice guy and I finish last” jerk face category. They wouldn’t have even have moved forward with a kiss without verifying with me that it was okay. They were conscientious in a way that later boyfriends were not. In looking back, it appeared that I had discovered a certain category of boys that were aware that they needed to verify with me that permission was given or that it was merely that I had a really good radar for guys that paid close attention to my desires or that they were as fucking terrified of the prospect of having a girlfriend as I was of having a boyfriend that they wanted to be SUPER SURE that everything was okay.

These guys… the first two years in which I really started to date were the kind of guys that, I think, everyone should have dated at least once. They checked in. They verified. And in many cases, there was little more than a kiss or two. It’s possible that we were all just so unsure of what to do and how to behave and were conscientious of not being aware of where things were heading or what we wanted. Or, maybe it was just, like I said, that they were good people who verified with me. Whatever the case may be, most of my early relationships seemed to fall within what I think consent should look like. While I understand that my desires for what consent should like – the constant checking in and verifying with me and my doing likewise with them – isn’t the case for everyone, it’s what I want from my significant others.

For some reason, I went astray from these types of guys and ended up in a whole new category of other, which is probably where my present day issues stem. Or, again, maybe it was just the fact that things were so new and frightening to both parties that checking in with one another was a normal thing. In either case, things kind of went downhill when I started getting into that phase where “long term” relationships were in. Or maybe it was simply because those first relationships were just all short term. None of them lasted longer than two months. I had a thing for relationships that lasted at two something: days, weeks, months. I began to wonder if I had the ability to even maintain a long term relationship at all. Everyone else was doing it but me. Now that I think on it, if it was because we were so new and frightened and those relationships were only supposed to be pit stops on the road to a longer relationship status, then maybe I should have dated around instead of trying to be like everyone else.

My first long term relationship was that kind of relationship that, upon looking back, you’re just like, “what the fuck was wrong with me.” Don’t get me wrong; the relationship was okay in the grand scheme of things but there was so much fucking up on both sides that it’s amazing we lasted together as long as we did. I’ve thought long and hard about this relationship because it has defined me a lot in my sexual tastes and desires, but also aided me in growing exponentially at a stage in my life when I was very close to shriveling up and dying. I think that it was because I was able to screw up so badly and he was able to screw up so badly, but we stayed through it all anyway that allowed me to grow exponentially and define what I wanted out of a significant other. Then again, I could just be trying to put some positive spin on it because, well, it was my first love-love. As much as I hate to admit that he is my first love; he’s my first love. He was my first, this-is-for-real love. He defined what loving others would be like for the rest of my life and defined a lot of things.

He also let me grow, experiment, and make decisions on my own. All in all, I don’t think consent was an issue for us. He didn’t necessarily check in with me like my previous boyfriends had, but he let me make up my own mind about things. However, what I found in myself was that because I was so worried about him leaving, I would often give in to things that left me feeling uncomfortable or nervous. I think it is because of this deep set fear that I would be left in the dust by someone whom I cared for more than my hormonally charged heart could handle that I felt I needed to let things progress to various levels that weren’t something I would have considered on my own. But, since he was more interested in experimenting in things, I was able to make definitive decisions about: whether or not I could handle being in a polyamorous relationship (the answer was no); what sort of kinks I could or would not tolerate (don’t ask; it’s none of your business); and how much I really like cuddling like spoons (seriously, it’s the best fucking thing ever and I could live my whole life cuddled against someone like that).

But I also lost my voice after a while to make conscientious decisions about what I did or did not consent to. I did not consent to a threesome when I was very drunk and stoned out of my gourd; it took someone else to point that out to the boyfriend. I did not consent to having a third party enter our relationship (not in a polyamorous way) and side-seat drive the relationship boat. Part of the reason why I lost my voice was fear of his leaving and, I believe, it partially stems from my putting my foot down and saying, “I won’t be in a polyamorous relationship. You are with me and me alone or you are not with me at all.” I think, too, it was the knowledge that his feelings for me were strong enough to break up with a long distance girlfriend (they lived hours away but saw each other regularly, I guess) and also the fact that I took second place in his affections when it came to my best friend (whom he wanted to date prior to realizing I was girlfriend material). I was so worried he would leave me that I submitted to things that I never consciously consented to. And because of that, he tended to believe that I consented to things, such as the threesome, without thinking to check in with me about it.

As it was, I did consent to breaking up with him when he decided his best friend hadn’t molested me. Clearly, his friend did this as his friend admitted it to both of us on separate occasions. “Yes,” he said, “I did this thing. I was hoping to take X’s place.” (I did not have a chance to consent or not to that as I was high as fuck on muscle relaxers and drunk as hell on blackberry brandy.) I continued to remain broken up with him even though I often went back to him for affection and sex afterwards because he was still friends with this man and wouldn’t discuss it with me, either rationally or irrationally (of which I was quite capable of being at the time). Part of the reason I went back was out of fear of being alone and fear of never finding someone who loved me, even a little bit, like he did. But mostly it was something comfortable and obvious to me.

He was my defining moment in terms of relationships and it is through that relationship that, I feel, many of my later bad habits were formed.

I pushed integral parts to my personality down as low as I could so as not to rock the boat, metaphorically speaking. This is hilarious considering how completely up and down I was emotionally and mentally during our relationship. Much of that was not his fault; I was still attempting to handle the emotional and mental fall out from having been raped by a fairly popular jock in school. Not only was I trying to get a handle on the ramifications of all of that, I was still just trying to comprehend that I had been raped. I took out that emotional upheaval on my boyfriend and he handled it as appropriately as he could. Perhaps in consequence to the emotional issues my rape and its aftermath had caused, I subverted bits of myself in an attempt to keep him with me, to help me through the hardship of going to court (and that failure) as well as a reminder that I wasn’t alone.

I think, though, it was the fear of being alone to deal with the aftermath of my rape that made me stop worrying so much about consent, checking in, and had me agreeing to things that I never would have done on my own. It was a few months in to our relationship in which many, if not all things, became a sort of “inferred consent.” It was almost as though he thought that since we were in a relationship, it was okay to do whatever it was he had in mind. And in some cases, I was all right with this. In other cases, I was not. But instead of saying anything, I wanted for him to check in with me. And when that didn’t happen, I just went along with it.

I don’t know if this really means that I have a problem with consent, though. Doesn’t a sort of implied consent happen in long term relationships? According to Wiki, “Implied consent is consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person’s actions and the facts and circumstances of a particular situation (or in some cases, by a person’s silence or inaction).” This is, of course, incredibly dicey ground I’m treading. Technically, everything we undertook together could be viewed under the “implied consent” definition. I was silent about things that made me uncomfortable, submerging my emotional reactions to those things in an effort to appease him. So, based on that, doesn’t that mean that technically I always gave consent, in some form?

I honestly don’t think so.

Based on the poking and prodding of my remembered emotional reactions to things, I have to think that just because I didn’t say “no” doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t have an issue with consent. Clearly, I have an issue voicing my feelings in regards to things and clearly, this pattern goes back to my first long term relationship. I understand the basis in why I have that issue – I had the deep set belief that if I voiced a differing opinion about much of anything, then I would be left to be own devices. My fear of being alone made me willing to submerge my own desires into someone else’s so that it seemed, almost, as though we were in tune with one another’s wants and desires. This was a myth, though. That wasn’t the case in our relationship, as is clearly the case when I look back at the stormy fights we had fairly frequently (partially caused by hormones and teenager hood, partially caused by emotional and mental hurts, and partially caused by two stubborn people – I’m a Leo and he is an Ares – getting together).

So, yes, I definitely think I have an issue with consent. And clearly, it’s an old one. The question, of course, comes down to “why,” but I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever know that. However, now that I can see the start of the pattern, now it’s time to see it in action elsewhere…

Stillness and Thoughts.

Some days, I go outside to simper in the sunlight, streaming down over my head. I sit down on the back stoop with book or phone in hand, originally intending on getting something going. Instead, I sit back on the stoop and close my eyes against the bright rays that pierce my eyes with deepened shadowing than they are used to and feel the very fingertips of Re upon my face. On days like that, the thoughts roll around my head like a wayward rubber ball, rolling around the circle for a game of jacks. On those days, I’ll pick up that wayward ball and bounce it down, picking up one of the jacks and flipping it over my hand, end to end, in an effort to puzzle out where it is my mind has gone.

Lately, this particular game of Re-touches-and-I-puzzle has been heading to the same place. It feels, now, less like a game and more like a terrorizing moment of heart-rending capabilities. I’ve been thinking too much about this now to leave it alone and it’s where I’m meant to head with these thoughts; I know that. That doesn’t mean I have to fucking like it.

It started with a dream.

I’m beginning to suspect that I’m so stubborn, the only way I can get through to what I need to pick at is through dreams. I think every major undertaking I’ve done, either religious or healing, has come about because I had a dream. This dream started off okay. It was about my ex. It started off like all the other ones I’ve had since I severed our bonds. But the end of that dream was not okay. He wore me down and down and down some more until I was crying and he was over me, grunting, and I was thinking, TH is going to be so mad at me that I didn’t fight him.

Just re-writing that leaves tingles of anxiety and panic in my arms and my heart races.

I didn’t understand the dream, not at first. It felt like I had missed something and I was worried. I turned to a bunch of friends and said, “Here is the dream and I don’t understand.” I thought that maybe there was still some shadow work to do there – perhaps the ball of anger at returned. But when I looked for it, it wasn’t there. I thought that maybe I hadn’t severed all the bonds between us – perhaps there was something that had found its way beyond the magic and the hard work I had completed last year. But when I looked at all the other bonds I have, I didn’t see that snaky ribbon of his bond and realized that wasn’t it.

I didn’t understand it.

Then I saw something else, something about consent, which has been a very, very, very weird and strange thing that has popped up everywhere for me two weeks before hand. My mind went, “Oh, well that’s it.” And I understood. This wasn’t really shadow work, per se, but this was about me and about how I’ve always behaved when it’s come to things. I realized, honestly, that I wasn’t very good with consent at least as it is discussed by modern day people. “Consent is giving permission,” more or less, and as I thought back to that, I realized that, well, I was never really good with giving anyone consent. Before now, before TH and our relationship, I didn’t really understand what consent was. And I still have issues with it.

I stopped thinking about this. There was no point in moving forward because the thoughts that would come would, of course, hurt. I didn’t want hurt, so I ignored it. I’ve been ignoring this for weeks now. Sekhmet has been incredibly patient, of course, but I knew it was only a matter of time. Either she sent me another dream or my subconscious had enough of my frail attempts at poking at the internal bees’ nest, only to hunch back and run away from it at the first sign of pain to come. Whatever the case may be, I had another dream, which left me less confused and more willing to move forward with the overall process.

I was at TH’s parents’ house and there was something in my hair. I could feel it on the right side of my head, plucking and pulling at the snarled strands. TH was there, beside me, and very gently removed whatever it was. The thing in his hand was a 10 pound black widow spider. I stared at its carapace as it glinted off the streaming sunlight. TH, thoughtfully, put the thing on a bit of spider webbing above the pool. The spider went shuttling back and forth across the strands, not with its oversized legs but like one of those little rabbits on the side of a dog race. It maneuvered back and forth as I watched it stop above a child’s body, swimming in the pool and taunting it to come for it. The child ducked beneath the water as the spider came down and that’s about when my mind had enough because I woke the fuck up.

I’m not a fan of spiders.

I lay there, heart pounding, trying to make sense of what it was I had just dreamed. My head still hurt where the spider had been tangled in my hair. I reached up and touched it, frightened that I would actually find a fucking spider in my hair. There was nothing there. I think, in my consternation, my hand got caught in my hair and, I think, pulled some strands loose. At four in the morning, I sat up and watched television for a while. When I felt calm enough, I checked out my favorite dream interpretation site since I was running blank on interpretations, “To see a black widow in your dream suggests fear or uncertainty regarding a relationship. You may feel confined, trapped, or suffocated in this relationship. You may even have some hostility toward your mate. Because the female black widow has the reputation of devouring its mate, it thus also symbolizes feminine power and domination over men.”

Well, whether it meant I was uncertain in my relationship or not, it certainly seemed to go hand-in-hand, in a fashion, with all the thoughts I had been having and running away from. I supposed that I should get to it and so, I began writing this entry then. I began thinking of what it is was that I had been hoping to ignore. I felt pain and sorrow. Sometimes, as I sat up in the morning, waking up long before the sun rose, to contemplate what it was going on in my life and what it was that had happened, I would feel my heart palpitate, my palms sweat, and my breathing become irregular. All that mattered was that I had to get through this in some form or another, but I realized that I couldn’t run through the gamut in too quick a time. I had to take my time.

I decided to start off with Sekhmet, turning over the reason she wanted this in my face now, right now, over and over again. Of course, this all started with Sekhmet.

It’s because of her, and her uncomfortable ability to make me face the things I don’t want to face, that I have to face this. I’ve been looking back and back down the halls of memory, trying so hard to see where I consented to anything in my relationships with the men I’ve been with. And I don’t see a single instance where I said, specifically, “Yes, I want to do this,” except maybe once or twice. I can only see that I gave in. It wasn’t, “Yes, I want to be here with this person,” but always, “I don’t want this person to leave me so I’m going to do whatever it is they ask of me, from the small things to the large things, and they will be happy and take care of me and everything will be okay.”

The problem with living in relationships that way is that, well, there is a bit of a stubborn streak inside of me. For some reason, I grew up to become a sort of rag doll that people could do with what they wanted, but there was a hint of strength underneath that façade. And that hint would come out now and again, causing major arguments because the people I was in those relationships with didn’t expect me to stand up for myself about anything. And something would set off that hidden steel and I would argue and stubborn my way through something, and they would leave.

This only reinforced the, “I have to give in because otherwise they’ll leave me.”

I was thinking the other day about the first boy who kissed me. He was a boy in my neighborhood and I think we were nine. We were supposed to be playing hide-and-seek with his little brother. And instead of hiding on his own, the boy found me hiding in the spare bedroom. And I remember him coming over to me, hiding in a darkened corner and trying to kiss me. I can remember turning my head away – a clear indication of no, I supposed – but he went on with it anyway. And I can remember thinking, “No, I don’t want this,” but I never said anything.

I stopped hanging out with them after that. It bothered me that he would continue to attempt to kiss me. Even though I hadn’t said, “No, we shouldn’t do this,” or “No, I don’t think I’m ready for this stuff,” or “No, I don’t want to do this,” I just turned away and hoped for the best. This seems to have been my basic philosophy with just about everything, though, from that time forward. It wasn’t ever a “No, please stop,” or “No, let’s not,” it was always just hints and signals, some obvious and some not, and hoping someone could read my fucking mind.

I moved forward in time and looked at other relationships, too. I can remember in middle school and the first real boyfriend I had. He was okay. He was nice and he didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want to do. If I wanted to hold his hand, then we held hands. If I wanted to kiss, then we kissed. He was nice to me. He treated me very well, though I didn’t return the favor. I treated him very badly and ended up not even really breaking up, but just stopped returning his calls. (I was in a deep depression by that point, so it’s really I was a jerk but also I was unable to speak to people by that point.) He was good and nice and I stopped speaking to him.

But other boys were not so nice and not so good and I continued to talk to them. I let them do many things that I wasn’t comfortable with. I let them say things about me, to me, or about others that I was uncomfortable with and just let it go. I can’t remember a single person ever stopping to say, “Do you want to do this?” Or asking me, “Is it okay if I said this thing?” I don’t remember anyone every making sure I was comfortable with anything because I was too busy hoping someone would just magically see that I was not and make a decision for me.

For a long time, I assumed that my lack of consent in these relationships, or well maybe not lack of consent but lack of actually make any fucking decision whatsoever about anything, was because I thought of sex and the stuff related as dirty. It was wrong. It didn’t get done. It was something gross and icky, but other people didn’t see it that way, so I went along with it, knowing that my viewpoints on the matter were rather unorthodox. Oh, sure, having an orgasm is pretty nice and all, but the unbearable guilt and disgust that happens after said orgasm? Well, that was a bit much and I think, partially at least, that’s where the whole, “please read my mind,” thing comes from. I knew my viewpoints would be seen as incorrect and kept them to myself.

But where the fuck did that even come from? I can’t think of it, honestly. And with certain boys, when things would happen, it wasn’t always some form of guilt complex that happened after the fact. Some of the guilt and dirtiness, I know where it stems. But the stuff from before I was raped and before I was molested? Where on earth did that come from anyway?

In an effort to keep people beside me, I kept my trap fucking shut. I never said word one to anyone about how I felt about things. And that’s the gist of all of this, isn’t it? I was so busy keeping my mouth shut because people would be upset with whatever that came out of it that I kept my mouth shut when I probably should have fucking said something. And ended up opening it up and being the stubborn little fuck that I actually am over the most asinine and ridiculous things you can imagine.

This morning, I sat outside and ruminated over the nightmare I had last night. This one was more painful, in some ways, than the one that started all of this. While I contemplated the dream, I watched as a blue jay swallowed some tasty morsel it had picked up from the yard. I watched that blue jay hop up the tree, trying to keep my emotions in check before I lost it in full view of my neighbors, who were getting up and greeting the new day. I thought about that dream and wondered how much things may have actually changed.

It started with a beautiful girl. She was small and lithe with curly brown hair and hazel eyes. And she was looking for TH. TH found her with me by his side and she held her hand to her womb and smiled at him. And then it came out: he had cheated on me with this girl and evidently, on the first try, he had knocked her up. As the dream progressed, the girl’s belly swelled with new life and more came out: it was three separate times within as many weeks; he had enjoyed himself immensely; he was going to leave our son and me to be with her and have a “real” relationship; and he thought I wasn’t really asexual but jumping on the Tumblr bandwagon of such things.

And I lay there, in the dream, crying until I could barely breathe, clawing at his legs and saying, “What do I have to do? Please don’t leave me; please don’t leave me. What do I have to do in order to keep you here with me? I forgive you; I forgive you. Please stay.”

I woke up crying.

And I wondered, as I lay there swiping the tears from my cheeks, how much change I’ve actually gone through. Do I truly stand my ground with TH? Am I truly willing to do many things in order to keep him with me, as it has always been with the men before? I lay there, my heart pounding in tune with the anxiety gnawing away at my insides, trying to decide if maybe I hadn’t changed as much as I thought I had. Maybe I am still really bad with consent and maybe I am still really bad about making my viewpoint heard and maybe I am still really bad with not doing everything in my power to bend to the unforeseen will of others, changing everything I can about myself, just so that they will love me and stay by my side.

According to the website I use, having your significant other cheat on you in a dream means that “your fears of being abandoned. You may feel a lack of attention in the relationship. Alternatively, you may feel that you are not measuring up to the expectations of others. This notion may stem from issues of trust or self-esteem. The dream could also indicate that you are subconsciously picking up hints and cues that your significant other is not being completely truthful or is not fully committed in the relationship.” I don’t know if any of that matters, honestly, but the dream hurt and I have to wonder how much change I ever did…

Later, I cuddled beside TH, letting his gentle touches calm my overwrought mind from the dream. He said nothing as I cried, letting his tender fingertips tell my mind and body the reassurances they needed.

Maybe I have changed. Maybe not. But this journey is far from over.

The Act of Saying Goodbye.

As tomorrow begins the start of the intercalary days prior to my Kemetic New Year, I knew I had to get this entry written tonight or leave the story without an ending. As someone who always thought of themselves as an author, leaving something so open-ended was tantamount to failure.

There are a lot of things I haven’t mentioned in this year-long work with my ex-husband and all that I have put myself through in an attempt to prevent our traveling this road again. While my writing down every ounce of what happened between us in this current life was important, it was only a small part to the overall work that I had to go through. Much of the work that I put myself through had to do with astral shenanigans as well as reliving our past lives together. A lot of the work was such intense healing work that there are no words to describe what I had to put myself through in order to destroy the tether that bound our two souls. I’m going to finally describe what I did on the astral, minus the past life stuff, so that others who read this will know what NOT to do if they ever end up like me.

After Hekate made it abundantly clear that my ex-husband and I have been bound together, soul to soul, for numerous lives, I began to feel like I had a black, oozing cancer manifesting itself in my soul. This cancer would begin to eat away at every ounce of who I am and destroyed a lot of the connections I had been building over the years. It tended to come out in a physical way with self-destructive impulses, as well as depression, anxiety, and anger. These emotions, while I do experience them on my own, seemed to be multiplied and exacerbated no matter what sort of motions I went through in order to stem the tide. It was almost as if this cancer was trying to destroy me because I was attempting to remove it.

Much of the ooze – there really is no descriptor besides that for what his soul facet within mine was like – had become so integrated into my core soul components that a simple surgery like we would get at the astral doctor was out. I had to do a form of chemotherapy to remove it. With each dose of this form of astral chemo – usually in the form of watching a past life over and over again, trying to see it from clinical eyes instead of emotional eyes – would shrink the cancer a little bit at a time. And with each time I came back from that adventure, I would find myself more disconnected, more disillusioned, more depressed, and questioning my sanity all the more. While the last bit may not have anything to do with the connection I have with my ex-husband, it is something that I began to take note of right along with everything else as I fought back against the cancer eating away at my soul.

Around the time that Hekate began to make motions about leaving, I grew tired of waiting on the chemotherapy. A lot of the tired of waiting was my own fault. I put a lot of this off for longer and longer periods of time. This was, also, I’ve come to diagnose, a side effect of that soul cancer. With each entry I wrote here and each trip into the astral, I ended up coming back from it with less and less desire to work on the problem. I began to truly despair that I would get this done in a timely manner. And with Hekate leaving me in the good hands of Sekhmet to continue the healing process, I really knew that I had a choice here. I could continue down the tried and true path, taking my doses of chemotherapy each night or I could do something drastic.

Here’s a little known fact about me: I am the most impatient sonofabitch you ever did meet.

So, without any anesthetic or any warning, I reached into my soul and yanked the cancer out. I flung the dirty, the vile, the horrific thing away from me. And I fell to the ground.

Don’t worry, this is not recommended and I got my ass handed to me. Hekate decided that I was an idiot and that’s, actually, why she left when she did. Sekhmet cooed over me and yelled at me. I got a lot of yelling as I lay curled on my side for days in the astral. I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t do anything. For large parts of it, I wasn’t even aware of what was going on in the astral because I hadn’t just ripped out the cancerous ooze that was my ex-husband’s binding to my soul, but I had also managed to rip out a large portion of my soul with it. And of course, since nothing was ever easy either because of myself or because this is my life, those soul pieces were now missing. With three-quarters of a soul, I began to slowly come back to myself. Most of the next few days were entirely devoted to Sekhmet yelling at me, Aset cooing over me and clicking her tongue, and Mut doing her motherly affectation.

I was pretty much in a daze.

I spent the next few months slowly going around and trying to find the piece of my soul that I had ripped out along with the cancer. Aset would send me places and I would begin to find what I needed in order to start piecing the puzzle of my soul back together. I don’t know how or why, but very much like the crystal from InuYasha, my soul pieces ended up all over the fucking place. I managed to gather up many of those pieces and brought them back to Sekhmet to have her bind them up and shove them back into place. The problem here is that not all the pieces were found – the cancer was still attached to some of the soul bits and I couldn’t figure out how to clean it off so I figured it was better to do without – and so that fit wasn’t complete. Sekhmet did… something… and the soul bits have managed to reform with one another. The fit isn’t total; it’s definitely not complete.

I don’t recommend doing this for a lot of reasons – the yelling, the pain, the daze, the stupidity – but above all, the problem is that when you are trying to re-grow soul bits to fit with one another, you end up kind of insane for a while. It’s very much like a broken mosaic that has to be refit together. Sekhmet used bits of herself to fortify what she was doing and got some other bits from some helpful other spirits we know. There were days where I didn’t know who or what I was and what I was supposed to be doing on the astral. Other days, I couldn’t remember how to get back to the astral at all. And in still other days, half of me was in the astral while the other half was living here, doing things and being alive.

Another reason why this was can be so difficult is because you end up with various personalities more at the surface than with other personalities. This is how you get to meet how many soul facets you have within you, but it’s not really a good idea if you have to, you know, like live a life or anything. I found two major personalities in my soul who are polar fucking opposites and there were days where I wanted to rip my head off of my shoulders because I was rapidly cycling from personality to personality. This was pretty much when I was given absolute fucking obvious testimony that I am (A) Sekhmet’s daughter and (B) not as crazy as I always just assumed.

While all of this insanity was going on with my woo life, I ended up doing some very cathartic in-this-life magix to assist in my moving on.

Sometimes, literally cutting cords is the most cathartic thing a person can do.

Sometimes, literally cutting cords is the most cathartic thing a person can do.

I went out and bought one of those shitty little rope toys you can purchase for your dog. I was hoping for a pure white one, but ended up with this kind of multicolored ribbon type for $1. I pinned my name to one end and my ex-husband’s to the other. I placed it as an offering upon Sekhmet’s shrine and over three days, I literally cut the cords.

It was during this time that I began to seriously consider what the step for these halves were. I knew that I needed to do something nurturing towards my half, but I wasn’t quite sure what I needed to do with the ex-husband’s half. It was then that I wrote my entry regarding the etiquette of saying goodbye. After a lot of back and forth with myself, I decided that as much as I still want to make him feel badly for what he did to me, it wasn’t worth it. Sometimes, the fact that we can say, “I really dislike what you have done to me and I would very much like you to acknowledge that you screwed me over, I am an adult and I can walk away.” As an adult, I decided I would be kinder to he than he has ever been to me.

This is what my half looked like when I was finished.

This is what my half looked like when I was finished.

With both of our halves in hand, I began to sing to myself as I braided charms into the ends. I placed little amulets for dreams, hope, success, spoons, and other type things on my end. I fed my half with all of the things I was hoping to find in my life without my ex-husband and his soul being bound to mine. Instead of searing the ends as I knew that would hurt terribly, I ended up tying off the ends so that they would “atrophy” and drop off, making it impossible for my half to adequately forge with his again. I added four jingle bells to it so that he would know I was coming if we meet again in the astral or if we meet in another life.

I did the same for his half because, again, I am the adult here.

I buried my half in a pleasant place beside a birch tree. The place that I chose was really no contest. I knew that I wanted to finish my half of the rite in a place where I was comfortable and where I could watch over that portion of myself over the years. Not only did I finish the rite in a place where I am happy and at peace – and honestly, whenever I go there, I feel like I am ‘home’ – but I also had TH assist me with the burial part. This was a symbolic way of showing that not only did TH help me completely in getting away from my ex-husband in this life, but that he has continued, over the years, to help me in contending with the horror and trauma from that time of my life. So, with hands held, we buried my portion of my soul in a pleasant, happy place.

I threw the ex-husband’s half in the trash.

It went to the dump yesterday.

And now, I can say that I am completely free.

The Etiquette of Saying Goodbye.

There is something about goodbyes, no matter how necessary that they may be, that are incredibly painful. I have had a whole host of goodbyes in my life, not many of them at my own behest, and none of them went over very well with my psyche or with my emotional health. There is something about removing someone who you have known for years from your life that is incredibly difficult. Even though you know that what you are doing could very well save your life and the lives of your friends and family, you still think that a goodbye – a final goodbye – is too much to bear. So, you don’t bother doing it and you live on in fear, hatred, anger, and pain until the final end comes or you finally have a single moment, a single second, to run screaming into the night.

Even knowing what life was like towards the end of my marriage, I am still finding it difficult to say goodbye.

I thought I should write a letter, at first, to explain that I forgave him for everything he had put me through. Knowing full well what he had done to me, to my personal growth, to the growth of my soul on the astral, and everything in between, I knew that I had to at least let him know that in some way. While I’ve said that bit here and there on the astral to that soul that once bound with mine, I no longer need to say it. And honestly, that’s not how I wanted to say farewell to a man who had been in my life for years and who had been in previous lives over and over and over again. While I am usually very good at writing and letters and the perfect wording of the point that I want to convey, I found myself still a little angry and still, perhaps, a little unable to forgive the binding of our souls.

I knew a letter wasn’t a good idea.

The thing that I have repeatedly come up against, knowing all that he has done to my in this life, has been the fact that it’s the binding of our souls for so many years that causes me the most heartache. While I cannot remember the exact life or the exact place when our souls united in a very unhealthy way, I do remember the emotions of that person and that aspect of my soul. I can remember the hope. I can remember the joy. And I can even remember the love that my soul—no. I can even remember the love that each of our souls had for one another. And I can remember holding hands while we were bound together with words that I have long forgotten. And I can remember that moment and the surety that if things didn’t work out in this life then they would clearly work out in the next.

I remember the innocence of that moment and not understanding the gravity of the situation.

And I can remember the hope, the joy, the excitement, and the love that we both turned to one another. And in that moment of those beautiful, wonderful emotions, we were bound together. And things didn’t work out in that life, so with hope and joy, we moved on to the next. And the next. And the next. And the next. And the next. There really are too many to count now. I have had to relive them all over and over again. And I can remember each moment when my soul searched humanity, scanning each person in front of me for that soul aspect that it needed for completion, for that one person they needed above all others. In some lives, we never met. In other lives, we started over again. And as time went by and each life did not end as we had hoped, as we had wanted, we went back to it again.

And over time, we both became disillusioned.

And over time, I began to want to get away and never return because each life was successively worse than the one that preceded it. It should tell anyone who has read that statement how much hell we both put ourselves through and we both put each other through over the years. We’ve killed one another. We’ve raped one another. We’ve beaten one another. We have done every untoward and awful thing to each other – both the physical shell of our souls and to our souls themselves – over the years and no resolution has ever come.

I understand now, I think, why certain other astral related things happened in this life. And I also understand now why certain people were brought to my life. And now, I understand what I must do. I must sever the tie completely. For all intents and purposes, that tie is actually severed. I feel peaceful and dreamy, sometimes, when I go to the place where that soul facet once rested. It’s a facet that I ripped out of myself and kept hidden in a safe place for the day when I could destroy the knots that bound our two souls together. That day has come and gone; the separation has completed. And now, it is finally time to say goodbye.

And I find myself horribly unable to do so.

I’ve gone back through many things in the last few weeks, preparing myself for this moment. While the letter writing thing failed, I looked in other avenues for a proper goodbye.

My issue here is that you can’t just kick someone to the curb after so many lifetimes together – there must be proper etiquette here, hm? However, I can assure anyone else who may have this issue in future that there is not. And I have to create that etiquette all my own. And with the words of Sekhmet in my ears – you’re too nice for your own damn good – I go searching for that etiquette. A simple goodbye, an easy farewell seems like such an anticlimactic end to so many years together, so many hurts together, and so many deaths at one another’s hands. Even with the very real right to just run the fuck away, even now, I find myself unable to do something so simple and so brave.

There must be a proper way to say goodbye.

I keep coming back to the day when our hands were bound together in a rite that neither one of us really understood. He understood it, his astral self anyway, far quicker than my simple little soul facet could. That soul piece is very kind and very nice and has always looked for that knight in shining armor. That very soul facet has always looked for the good in everyone. And it has been her downfall many a time, but not so much more than this particular time. With very real regret and sadness she is willing to say goodbye to a soul that shared her life with her so many times, but she still hopes that there is goodness in that soul and that love will find him one day.

Maybe not in this life and definitely not with her, but maybe in the next and with someone better suited.

I keep coming back to that day when our hands were bound together in a rite that neither of us could really understand. And I keep coming back to that because that was the ultimate moment of betrayal to me, the soul piece that did not willingly bind myself to a man who would kill me over and over again. This soul facet – me – looks back on that moment with pity and horror, knowing what will eventually happen and knowing that there was never anyone around who could have or would have stopped it. The person who I am today is partly because of that kind, sweet, simple girl soul facet who has always wanted a knight in shining arm, riding in on a unicorn with a defeated evil wizard’s head on his shield. But a smaller part of the person who I am today did not agree to that binding. And that smaller part is in control now, demanding that we say goodbye.

But she keeps reminding me that there must be some etiquette, something more than just a simple “va te faire foutre, trouduc” as I am wont to do, and this is why. That moment with hands bound. That moment with tears in their eyes. That moment of heart flutters. That moment of love swelling. That moment in the green grass of unknown time, surrounded by nothing but the flutter of wind, the smell of flowers, and hope on the horizon. She keeps bringing me back there and reminding me that we can’t just kick him to the curb. We can’t just toss him out without a single regret. We can’t just say “fuck the fuck off and die already” to someone who once loved us very much.

To run away from the heaviness that other soul keeps forcing on me, I have gone back through old stories and poems I wrote when I was living with that man. I’ve re-read old blog entries. I’ve gone through our relationship over and over again. I’ve found some very telling pointers in the last few hours that convey that I was fully aware, in a subconscious way, of what was going to happen. With chilling words, I’ve written about this very moment of bittersweet finality over and over again in various made up universes. And with each minute that I have read and re-read what once I wrote about us, I find myself very angry indeed because the soul facet who is stronger now – me – has had enough of this binding, of this connection and wants it all to fucking stop.

And now, I am supposed to say goodbye.

A part of me that is still a little angry and a little bitter wants to curse him still. He had known earlier than my soul facet what the hell had been done to our souls. He had known far sooner than this sweet, little facet and had done nothing to remove the binding. His soul learned faster than mine what was needed or could be done and what had been done between the two of us. Sometimes, I wonder if he knew even back then but that sweet, innocent soul facet assures me that is not the case. I’m more cynical than she is, though, and I have to wonder. Considering all the things he has done to me, astrally speaking, since the day he walked out of our home and said we could get a divorce, I have to think that he knows a hell of a lot more than I do about all of this shit. And that he’s known for far longer. But that sweet part of my soul that is loud, sometimes, and still colors my life in the realm of love and soul mates, swears that my cynical views are not all true and not always the way it is.

I would take her word for it, but I am cynical for good reason.

I have to say goodbye to a man who I have both loved and hated. I will be honest, I have never truly had to say goodbye-goodbye to anyone before. I have never been able to look at a situation and know that I will never, ever see them again in this life or the next or the next or even on the astral. I’m imbedding specific telltale signs in our souls – both his and mine – so that we won’t meet up again without knowing that the other one is bad news and walking the fuck away. I’ve also learned a thing or two, both in this life and in the astral, and I know what needs to be done now to make sure that things never happen like this to my sweet soul facet and to my cynical soul facet ever again.

This is all a novel experience for me, but I will be honest, I hope I never have to do this again.

In the meantime, we have to come up with proper etiquette on how to formally say goodbye before Wep-Ronpet this year. That is the time line we have both established with Sekhmet nodding grandly in the background at our choice. Why would we want to start another twelve month cycle with that ex of ours even slightly in it? We have other projects to work on, other shadow work to get done with, and it will probably take just as long and probably be just as difficult as this one person, this single soul, has turned out to be. We have work to do and that work mostly has to do with what “proper etiquette” of such a permanent goodbye is likely to be.

Sekhmet recommends a final goodbye with fire.

The sweet part of me thinks that we should wish him well and bury him so that “the soul will flourish and grow; the soul will find love again; the soul will learn to maintain its spoons; and it will do so without me.”

The cynical part of me is fond of the fire idea.

But the sweet one wins the day.

She wants to see him grow apart from her even as she grows apart from him and we’ll see it done.

We still need to figure out what a proper goodbye is, though.

And the clock is ticking…

“One Day This World is Going to End As Your Lies Crumble Down.” (TW)

Note: All lyrics for Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus can be found here.

The month of December went out quietly, thankfully. We had no further incidents together. I managed to pass my classes, as did the Sister, and we both made the Dean’s List. This was an achievement to me, at least, and I know it was for the Sister. I don’t recall if the ex-husband fully commented on my being on the Dean’s List, but I know he was pretty proud of the Sister. There she was, a girl who hadn’t gone back to school since high school, achieving the Dean’s List at her local community college. I think he felt that it wasn’t really a good achievement of mine, honestly, and that hurts. I was pretty proud of myself and after I told him and didn’t receive the reaction I wanted, I shut the fuck up about it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve mentioned it since then, so obviously, his lack of reaction did not do me any good.

The Sister and I were effectively housebound for January. We didn’t have any jobs. I had stopped going to my call center job the night of TH’s party. I had to work the next morning, but I just didn’t bother showing up. I told everyone I formally quit, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much with school and all of the stress from my ex-husband and our relationship. The Sister was able to procure me a job as super secretary at the Mentor Center in our school, though, because that was where she worked. I was effectively the right-hand man of the woman who ran the center. I would also be assisting with mentoring students and assisting the program in putting on events, but my official title was secretary. I enjoyed the job, overall.

TH spent a lot of time at our house, on the phone with us, or chatting online with us. He knew how we felt about being stuck in a house. And while I may or may not have told him exactly how my relationship with my ex was going – though he wasn’t dumb enough to not see how I was degenerating – he knew things weren’t going well. It was that month that, one night, a friend of mine asked if I could drive her to work at Big Y. And on a whim, after dropping her off three towns over, I called TH to meet me in a public place because I wasn’t ready to go home yet. And we sat in a Wal-Greens parking lot and just talked. I told him how things were pretty bad. I told him how I felt. And he just listened, with my car running and music on low, to everything I had to say. He was good like that.

This became a ritual for us. After the house was quiet, I would sneak off to Wal-Greens and just sit with TH, talking. I was gone for hours sometimes. Other times, since he would meet me at a halfway point with a Walgreen, I was gone for less time. It was a form of cheating, I think, on my ex-husband because I felt exceptionally guilty afterward. It was the emotional kind of cheating, but it was also giving me a base. I was able to recover, a bit, from the feeling of hopelessness and depression that was overwhelming me. And even though I had a therapist in whom I could trust with everything going on, I still held back. I was worried she would judge me for emotionally cheating on my husband, I think, but above all, I couldn’t help but wonder if she would tell him what I said. He found her through his insurance program at work.

As though the ex-husband was aware that I had long since grown unwilling to do anything with our marriage, he began to start harping on the two of us buying a house. His belief about that being what “married couples do,” was not the actual reason. I think this was his attempt at solidifying his hold on me further. If we owned our own home, then the Sister would no longer live with us and his hold on me would be complete. While I hate to ascribe the notion that he wanted to “do as adults do” and “grow up completely,” considering his behaviors prior to his suggesting this, I can’t help (now, as I did then) believe that he was doing this as a final attempt to fully push me completely under his sway. No longer would I be able to sneak out as capably to spend time with people who reminded me that I was a human being, too, and no longer would I have the assistance of the Sister to defuse the mounting tension and stress in my life.

I was terrified of the thought and dragged my heels accordingly.

My emotional state became very, very tenuous as the month of January went by. I began to worry that the reason things were so horrible with my marriage was because of things I had done as a youth. I was not a pious, virginal, sweet teenager. I did many things that I am, to this day, rather ashamed of. I said many, many things that came back to bite me in the ass in some form or another. As I tried to figure out why things were happening the way that they were, I began to believe in a Westernized [and incorrect] version of karma. I began to think of things as “you did this, so this is why this is happening.” It was not a very good frame of mind – never mind the fact that it didn’t even remotely convey what karma actually is. This should show that my frame of mind was more in line with blaming me, the victim, for what was going on in the house between my ex-husband and myself.

In a misguided effort to explain away my karma, I turned heavily towards divination.

I’m not saying that my turning towards divination was the wrong idea. It gave me solace in a mentally healthy way. However, the questions I was asking my Egyptian Pyramid Oracle were not the questions I should have been asking. I was worrying too much about the past and how it was intruding on my present and future. I should have paid more attention to the little things – the reading I gave to TH denoting that if and when he broke up with his girlfriend, he would sleep with her again; the reading I gave to the Sister in which I showed her that the world she was crafting would end; the readings that showed that the card I had once initiated as being that of my ex-husband (Djehuty) had changed dramatically (Sutekh).

Depression works in mysterious ways on everyone. To stave off her own round, the Sister spent nights with her ex Demon Boy. To stave off mine, as best I could, I played with my divination cards and spent an extraordinary amount of time with TH. To stave of his, the ex-husband stopped paying our bills, minus the car and the insurance, and bought useless things. We were all having a hard time of things.

Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy
one look puts the rhythm in my hand.
Still I’ll never understand why you hang around
I see what’s going down.

TW: Alcohol/Alcoholism
Since TH, the Sister, and I were all having excessive amounts of issues to deal with and no one to coherently do so, we all turned to alcoholism. I have had massive amounts of drinking related issues previously, of which is slightly documented in these entries. But every night, I turned to a drink or six to make it so that I could get through another day. I know this isn’t healthy and I also know that I was incorrect in doing so. There are days, now, where the thought of drinking puts me off entirely. I drink still, but not nearly as often. I’ll have a drink here and there, responsibly, but back then? It didn’t matter. While the three of us were sitting in the kitchen or watching a movie in the living room, we all had drinks. The Sister’s were huge, half-and-half drinks; TH’s were usually about the same. I don’t remember if I poured massive amounts of alcohol into my mixers.

It doesn’t matter.

We all had demons that we couldn’t face for whatever reason and we chose childish behavior to deal with those demons.

There are days where I wonder if my ex-husband was even aware of how much drinking any of us did. He had to have been aware that I had begun drinking again. I didn’t exactly keep it hidden. But, I honestly can’t remember a time in which he said he was worried about it. Maybe he thought that by pushing us to buy our own house, it would go away? I honestly don’t know. If I had begun drinking again in Texas, without anyone around to diffuse the situation, he would have said something and it would have become another epic argument. However, while we were waiting for school to get started, he didn’t say anything to me. He made snide remarks about being immature but he never explicitly said what those remarks were about, so while I could chalk it up to some weird way of acknowledging my problem was back again, it probably had more to do with the general situation as opposed to this particular one.

One night, while the three of us were sitting at the kitchen table, my ex-husband was upstairs, but the Sister’s boyfriend was over. He had bought himself a fifth of whiskey because that’s what “men drink.” I made a joke about how I wasn’t allowed to have any whiskey – my high school friends had banned me from it. It’s a long story and it will probably be discussed in future shadow work entries, but I tend to be more of a tactless ass after drinking whiskey than usual. So, as a kind of dare, the Lumberjack gave me some whiskey. And that was really his big mistake.

That was the night I made a Lumberjack cry.

As I said, we were all sitting around the kitchen table. I had my Pyramid Oracle out, but I don’t think any of us were paying attention to the cards I was pulling. TH, the Sister, and I had been drinking vodka and diet Coke for a while by then. I would shuffle and pull out a card. Almost on a dare, the Lumberjack shared his whiskey with me. Considering the fact that I had a black out previously because of mixing types of alcohol together, it shows, to me, how very far gone I was at that point. I didn’t care if I had to be rushed to the hospital. I didn’t care if I didn’t remember huge chunks of my life. I didn’t care at all. And that, really, is what makes it so much worse when I drink whiskey. If I’m at that low of an ebb in my life where I will consciously drink some, then whatever bits of me still care will just magically dry up. And I stop caring.

It takes a while for whatever inner preservation or inner voice that prevents me from saying things to stop working. It takes a while for whiskey to do as it should. It doesn’t really matter if I’m excusing my behavior because of what I was drinking or if, as I strongly suspect, whiskey just lowers my fucks to the magic number 0. Either way, I’m not nice. And the Lumberjack was completely forewarned. As my mom always said, “Forewarned is forearmed.” However, not in his case because I don’t think he took my warnings seriously.

During all of this time, the Sister had been letting little things that irritated her about him drop between us. She’d mention a little thing here – “he breathes through his nose so loudly; why?” – and we’d laugh about it later. Then, she’d drop another hint – “our sex life is so boring” – and it was with this fuel. Under no uncertain terms did I explain to him that showering daily was good, that wearing plaid flannel shirts had gone out in the 80s, that missionary was not the only position in bed, that video gaming was a passion, not a lifestyle, and that breathing was a privilege and he should do it more quietly. I was… cruel. I was nasty. With all of the pent-up emotions regarding my ex-husband that I didn’t dare let out deep inside of me, I used that fuel to make a man cry for all the true items no one had ever said.

I think, at one point, my ex-husband finally came downstairs to protect the Lumberjack. The two of them were very buddy-buddy at that time. I shut down then. I went back to my cards and lost interest in making a man cry. Instead, I went back to trying to divine shit like why this was happening to me and where it was all coming from. I know now, of course, that everything that happened then was unavoidable. As with the loss of my job in August of 2011, it was fated. And that’s all the cards ever told me.

This was fated.
/TW

Cover up with makeup in the mirror
tell yourself, it’s never gonna happen again
You cry alone and then he swears he loves you.

One of the things that I’ve tried to figure out the most was why I did half the shit I did during those hellish three months in 2007. I’ve sat around and pondered them to myself, often, and thought, Why did I do this? I’ve looked back often, and not just because of these entries, trying to ascertain what was going through my head at the time that I made X unchangeable decision and went with it. I’ve come to a few conclusions here. I don’t think I ever consciously made a decision to do a damn thing back then. I just went off gut instinct and survival. That’s all I was really trying to do – survive a really shitty fucking life – in the best way I knew how. Drinking offered solace because when the ex-husband wanted to fight, I was too fucked up to care anymore. It didn’t hurt so badly if I was numb, right? The next steps that I made to preserve a modicum of myself are less savory and possibly, I will be judged harshly for them. But there are things a person will do to stop the pain, to stop the horror that you don’t realize you would willingly do until you’re doing them.

It’s not an excuse; it’s just the truth.

Periodically, during that month where the Sister and I were housebound, I was able to take our car to do things. They were extremely rare moments, honestly. I wasn’t really allowed to touch the car that was in both of our names unless I had permission, which was why my midnight Wal-Greens outings with TH tended to not be announced in any form. We ignored the reality – the missing gas, the missing time, the fact that I was not home – on all ends. I’m sure the Sister deflected questions on my behalf, but she didn’t know a damn thing about what was going on between TH and I. She didn’t know that I was retaining a bit of my emotional self with my midnight chats with TH because I didn’t tell her where I was going or who I was with. The Sister can’t lie for shit. And knowing this, I sacrificed a bit of our friendship to save myself. I don’t blame her and I don’t hate her for it. She didn’t exactly tell me she was cheating on her boyfriend with ex Demon Boy (never mind because I would have reacted badly). We both harbored secrets from the other that neither one of us have harbored again or since.

We tell each other everything now.

I went up to New Hampshire and I took TH with me. It was nice. We were away from both of our terrible situations. We were away from everything. We spent the day singing songs and talking about things and enjoying a peace-filled day. We ended our day together with tentative kisses. I was the provocateur. I knew TH would never make the first move and I knew that I wanted to know what that was all about. I had come to terms with the idea of only ever kissing my ex-husband for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t let another second go without kissing him. I think we were listening to Metallica and we were in a Wal-Greens parking lot. (It’s a joke now.) And then I dropped him off at home and drove around for a while before going home.

I came home to the Sister screaming, “OH MY GOD,” in the computer alcove. I went running upstairs, dropping off my packages and my good humor in the kitchen. I ran upstairs – it was night – and demanded to know what the hell was going on. “He broke up with [name redacted] and now she’s threatening to commit suicide!” She was screaming. We had both advised he break up with his girlfriend for months and he had always politely listened to our advice without following it. My good mood was definitely gone. I felt guilty. I hadn’t taken into consideration what sort of effect our kissing would have on anyone. I had thought I could go home with a boost – someone else cared about me and not in a possessive, scary way – but I hadn’t realized what sort of thing I was causing in his life. I felt guilty. I fell to the floor, shocked. The Sister gave me a play-by-play of his conversation with [name redacted]. I was in shock all night and into the next morning.

Guilt swirled around me like a cloak. I was wearing it for cheating, emotionally and now physically, on my ex-husband. And I was wearing it because I broke up a couple that should have broken up a long time ago. Really, in either of those instances, I don’t think guilt should have played into anything.

School started up again, which gave the Sister and I a welcome reprieve from being housebound. We both enjoyed our schooling, truth be told. I guess we’re exceedingly odd people who are interested in what we wanted to major in. However, non-school problems kept cropping up. One night, while I was getting ready to go into our night class (History of Witchcraft) that TH, the Sister, and I were all taking together, I saw TW my rapist /TW walking by. And I froze. Internally, I froze but physically, I was off like a fucking shot. I went outside and ran around the building and I just about wanted to run all the way back to Texas and say fuck everything. There was a message here, of course, and the message people told me it was, well, that wasn’t right. The real message was “foreshadowing.”

I was going insane. I couldn’t think or feel properly at all unless I was near TH. The Sister helped to offset what my emotional responses to what they should have been. I had every right to freak out about the situation above, but I should have paid more attention.

The first time I slept with TH, I was happy. It was nice. It was different. It was like I could feel something and like, I wasn’t really an unwanted dishrag anymore. I felt… I didn’t feel whole. That’s not quite right. It was like things were smoothing out all of my rough edges. The pain that had been accompanying me for months was gone. I was all right for a while at least. It wasn’t like other moments where you first have sex with a significant other where you’re nervous about fucking up and then, after, you’re all embarrassed. It was just… it was nice. And I felt better for a while.

TW: Rape
That very same night, the ex-husband did to me what he said he would never do to me. He had made joking comments of which I disapproved of. “Wifely duties,” was what he called it, but he had never traveled far enough outside of who he was as a person to do something like that to me. He knew how screwed up, still, I was because of the experiences I suffered in high school. And he knew that I was not a whole human being because of those experiences. He knew that Octobers were the worst. He knew that I still grew depressed about it. However, due to other experiences with rape victims, he seemed under this mistaken impression that my sexual anorexia was due to not having orgasms. What a laugh. It had nothing to do with the orgasm. It really didn’t have anything to do with flash backs, really. It was just… not something I cared to do.

So, he wheedled me. And he bothered me. I don’t know if he knew, somewhere deep inside, what had happened earlier that day. But, I told him no. I said I wasn’t in the mood. And he said that was always the case. I want to say that he held me down and I fought him valiantly. I want to tell people that I was able to scratch his face and hiss in anger at him as I fought him away from me, inevitably failing. But, I saw his face. I saw his face and the look on his face brooked no arguments. I never told him it was all right. I never agreed. I never said anything. I just lay there with tears in my eyes while emotions of what happened to me in high school swirled around me. “Wifely duties,” was exactly how he was seeing it in that moment. It wasn’t an act of forcing someone to do something they weren’t willing to do, to him. It was him just doing as a man in a married relationship is supposed to do in order to procreate and feel better about the world.

Afterward, I waited until he fell asleep, frozen on inside and on the outside. In a weird freak of emotion, I felt like I had cheated on TH somehow. What a laugh. But, that should explain how fucked up my world was then. My relationship, according to my insides, was actually with TH and I had to stomach a horrific situation in the mean time. When I knew he was asleep, I slipped downstairs and the Sister was on the computer. I had half a mind to tell her what the ex-husband had just done. I had half a mind to tell the world, but the words caught in my throat and I locked myself in the bathroom. I wouldn’t go to school the next day.

I took a shower very carefully. I know how it can be, after you’ve been raped, and the feeling of dirt being overwhelming. I remember those days where I would scrub myself with a stiff-bristled brush after I was raped in high school and I was careful not to follow that example. I locked the experience in a vault in my mind and wasn’t very surprised when I saw all the blood seeping from between my legs. It wasn’t that he had been rough, aside from the initial entering with no lubrication. He had torn me a bit because my body had resisted even while my mind shut down. Carefully, carefully, I took a warm shower – not super hot because that may have exacerbated my feelings – and I dressed in warm, bulky clothes to hide myself.

I slept on the couch that night.

I bled for a week.
/TW

A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect
every action in this world will bear a consequence
If you wade around forever, you will surely drown
I see what’s going down.

I stopped sleeping, after a while. In a twist of fate that I cannot even convey, I began to have the worst possible dreams about my ex-husband. It was like my waking life wasn’t nightmare enough, so my mind had to make my sleeping life just as awful. In fact, the nightmares were worse. Without fail, the ex-husband would find out about my cheating or about some minor infarction or not know anything at all and he would kill me. He was always choking me to death. I think my mind chose this because he had a weird fascination with erotic asphyxiation that had been brought about because of a previous relationship (the “one who got away”). Even as I write this, I can still remember those dreams and the feeling of being unable to breathe when I woke up, clawing at my neck to get his hands off of me. What made it worse was the night he dreamed the exact same thing.

He woke up, crying and clutching at me. And I woke from another spate of choking nightmares to that. I flinched as he was trying to cuddle me to him, crying into my hair. I remember looking at the ceiling, not sure if I should say anything to him because I was sure that this was it. Instead, I asked him why he was crying and he told me back the dream I had just been having, verbatim. “And I killed you,” I remember him sobbing at me and that’s when I knew that this wasn’t some fucked up emotional response. This was real. There was a part of him that wanted to kill me and choke me to death.

On my old blog, I wrote about this. A very old friend who is extremely Christian said, “Symptomatic of occult involvement I’m afraid. I’ve seen it happen to a workmate.” At first, most rational people who scoff at such a statement, but I didn’t. I was long since far from rational at that point. But, while the Sister and I were very busy trying to figure out why my ex-husband had changed so dramatically since we moved in together in September, demons had come up. We had watched one work on her ex Demon Boy before. And while I wondered if it was possible if the demon in Demon Boy had brought reinforcements to infect my ex-husband, I don’t think so. I honestly don’t. I think the ex-husband invited something in at some point, knowing or otherwise, and this was what we had to deal with: the aftermath. This explained, clearly, why the Pyramid Oracle deck had gone from his card being the card of wisdom and guidance and positive male influence to chaos and the bringing of death.

It was around that time that the ex-husband changed completely for the worse. I guess I was the catalyst.

I was out, on one of our midnight chat sessions, with TH. I was in his car and he was telling me to run away. Both the Sister and TH, by this time, had only ever told me to get out, get out, run away, go back to Texas. But, I was honestly frightened of what he would do when he found out that I was gone. I knew he would attack the Sister. She had told him, previously, that she had back up in the form of her dad, her grandfather, her uncles, and her brother, but I was so frightened of my ex-husband that I didn’t think they’d be able to hold out against him. And I was worried what he would do to TH. I didn’t know his family or what they were like. I didn’t know anything about them except that they were people who lived in the same house with him. They had guns, I guess, but I didn’t think it was enough to stop him from doing something crazy to TH.

And he was a firefighter – part of the boy’s club. It was yet another problem that runs rampant in small towns with police, fire, and EMS. They get together and they can do no wrong. They all bleed the blood of men and women who are first responders. What I would have said, had I gone to the police, would have sounded crazy. And I think the ex-husband may have done that on purpose.

“Take money and stash it,” they said. My mom told me to get a duffel bag to bring my “essentials” with. I was told to get a throwaway cell phone so I wouldn’t have to rely on the ex-husband’s largesse to communicate with people he didn’t want me to. But, he would have found all those things if I had tried to hide it. Even if I had hidden it in the basement where I would never go, he would have found it. If he had the smallest inkling of what was going on, he would have found all the things I was hiding and it would have been worse for me, I think. If he really was possessed by a demon, it didn’t matter how good at lying and hiding I was – it would have found all my plans.

It was then that the ex-husband began to say, “I would let you divorce me, but then I’d have to kill you.” All in one breath. If he wasn’t saying that, then he was telling me what he would do to my friends, my dogs, my family if I went missing. I knew better than to run away.

So, anyway, that night I was with TH and he was telling me what I should do. Or what I could do. And that’s when the ex-husband called. I shook and started to cry. I flung my phone. It would stop ringing only to ring again. You know how in horror movies the phone will ring constantly? And if it goes to voicemail, the caller will hang up and try again? He did that to my phone something like 17 times before I turned it off. And I cried and cried to TH about how I didn’t want to go home. He tried to persuade me to go to his house, to hide the night there, and then we would go back in the morning with reinforcements and get my things and get me out. And I was even more scared of that. I was terrified of bringing more people to get hurt into the situation.

Invariably, I went home because my dogs were there and I was honestly scared he would kill them.

I should have been more frightened of what he would do to me.

The entire time I was gone, the Sister was attempting to force rationality down his throat. It wasn’t working. The thing about being rational is that you have to want to be rational and while she was being calm, explaining reality to him, he wasn’t having any of it. When I came home, he immediately pounced on me. In no moment was I left alone with him, however. The Sister knew better than that. She was worried about what he would do to me – we both were – but she was in more of her head to know how awful things could be. He screamed and yelled and bellowed. I cried and ran away, literally. I ran up to our room, unable to face the insanity that was on his face or maybe just the fear that he was pushing in my heart. I locked myself in our bedroom, which was too much. He got out a screw driver and began pulling the door of its hinges.

I remember listening through the door, crying quietly in a heap on the stairs. And I remember the Sister trying to get the screw driver away from him, telling him that he was being crazy and ridiculous. At one point, he threatened to stab her, just like he had in the kitchen. And I remember her saying something like, “Oh, we’re going to go through this again? Do I have to remind you of who will kill you if you touch me?” And maybe that was the glass of cold water he needed. He stopped trying to take the door off the hinges, at least. I think, too, the Sister told him things that night that put him on high alert. I don’t know what she said when I wasn’t there and we never talked about it, really, until years later.

I was at my wit’s end but the fear of leaving made me stay.

I see the way you go and say you’re right again,
say you’re right again
Heed my lecture.

The night TH went out to the club with his ex-girlfriend (and can you guess what happened then?), the ex-husband and I got into a fight. We were coolly ignoring one another. I decided to go out and take a chance. I was going to buy a duffel bag and I was going to get a cheap cell phone. I was going to squirrel money away. I had to get out. I went to tell him good-bye and I did something that irritated me. He pushed my face away with his fist. I can’t quite tell if he meant to do it that way, or if I just pissed him off enough to not quite know what he was doing. He used too much force to get me away and pushed my jaw (which isn’t at its best after seven years of braces) out of alignment. I went upstairs, trying to get a hold of TH on AIM but he was gone. I blogged about it and then went to Wal-Mart. I didn’t get anything I had intended.

TW: Cutting, Razors
I bought razor blades instead.

I had been a cutter all throughout high school. I have the scars on my left forearm and my biceps to prove it. Most of my other scars have disappeared and faded with time, but those ones will probably always be around. There are days when I look down at the scars and I am disgusted with myself for what I did. There are days where I look at them and I am relieved that I didn’t intend suicide, but just a release. I vary. In this case, I was looking for a release. My emotional well-being had long since frayed and drinking heavily every night wasn’t enough anymore. I had quit cutting, cold turkey, in 2002, but it was easy to go right back to it. The same patterns can be… relieving when you’re in a situation that there’s no guidebook to.

The Sister was also a cutter, although she had never actually quit. If she was faced with a situation that is beyond her scope to handle, she will cut. Mostly she hasn’t lately but she has had her moments. Back then, that night when I bought the razor blades, I assured myself that I would not let the Sister know. It would be my dirty little secret, like everything else.

The next day was both bad and good because I had my coping mechanism all ready to go. It was bad because I had to listen to TH’s ex-girlfriend tell me about how they were back together, which they were not. I also had vivid flashbacks of all of those stupid divination readings I had given him in which I explained that it was pretty normal for people to sleep with their exes after the break up. I decided it wasn’t going to hurt – though it did, oddly enough – and cut myself a lot. I told the Sister about it later when I cajoled her into accompanying me to the liquor store for a fifth of vodka to add to my soda. She jumped on the cutting bandwagon. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that she had her demons hanging around that she wasn’t able to exorcise. And I didn’t know what they were.

TH found out pretty quickly what I was up to and he took my razor blade away. I don’t know what he thought he was going to achieve with that. It didn’t matter. He was wallowing in his own well of hate and self-pity. I’ve thought a lot in the years since that time about what it was that could have drawn him into my and the Sister’s web of horror and depression. I don’t really know if it was the relationship he had just ended or things he’s never told me. He did a lot more fucked up shit than me – who was abusing prescription meds, drinking heavily, and cutting – back then. He said once that he “wanted to try some new things.” And yeah, he was 18 and ready to explore the world. But, some of the things he’s done remind me of someone with a death wish. I usually end up blaming my fucked up life and situation for his depression. It makes sense. He falls for a girl with the shittiest luck and the shittiest home. It’s bound to drag anyone down.
/TW

Face down in the dirt, she said,
“This doesn’t hurt”, she said,
“I finally had enough.”
One day she will tell you that she has had enough
It’s coming round again.

One night, TH came over to drop off a book. The ex-husband, the Sister, and I were all watching TV. At this point, my ex-husband became obsessed with people calling before they would come over. It was yet another thing he wanted to have control over. Mostly, no one ever came over except for TH and mostly, I asked his permission. But TH surprised me by coming over to return one of my ex-husband’s books. Later, he would tell me that he was planning on TW: Suicide committing suicide that night and wanted to say good-bye to me. /TW He came over and he hung out for a bit, upsetting his plans. The Sister went upstairs and I walked TH to the door. The ex-husband went about turning off lights and getting the house ready to be locked up for the night.

I said good-bye to TH outside, joking about how my ex-husband was probably watching us. Of course, my ex-husband actually was watching us. He had suspected since October or November that I had been having an affair with TH. It was kind of amusing because it was only true at that time and not before. Anyway, we joked for a bit and I watched TH pull out into the swirling snow.

When I came back inside, my ex-husband was standing in the living room, surrounded by the darkness. I remember freezing in the kitchen doorway, staring. As Scully, in the episode Irresistible of The X Files, saw Donald PFaster much like this demon after he kidnaps her, so too did I see my ex-husband in similar guise. I blinked. He was still demonesque but his shape resumed that of the man I had married. It was then, really, that I knew I was not married to that man who wooed me with fixing his truck and a leather bomber jacket. The man standing in my living room was comfortable with the darkness deep within himself and that scared me more than anything.

I hadn’t married a paragon of virtue or of lightness, but I hadn’t married a demon either.

On the 3rd of March, I made the decision to run away and I was going to take TH with me. I told him that on the 1st of April, I was going to move away. I was going to run way, more accurately, and I wanted him to come with me as well. He decided he would. It was better than having him stay up north and die slowly without me around. When put that way, really? How can you say no to helping a woman run away from her mentally and emotionally controlling soon-to-be ex-husband? Aside from deciding that I was running away, I put no real thought into it. I didn’t even think about filing for divorce until after I was in the vicinity of my mother and the constables who loved me best. (I worked with them all at my condo job in Texas so while they knew my ex-husband, they preferred me to him unlike every other civil servant down there.)

The ex-husband was still friends with Demon Boy, who I had refused to allow near me. I had broken off our friendship after his doing something out-of-hand after the Sister, my ex-husband, and I moved in. He wasn’t allowed in the house and for the most part, everyone accepted that. I think he came over once after I told him to take a long walk off of a short pier. It just wasn’t worth it, at that point, to maintain a friendship with someone who was, probably, literally a demon in human disguise. And quite frankly, our friendship had been just about over for years. It had just been the time to get rid of him easily. I’m actually surprised the ex-husband never tried to force me into remaining friends with him. Maybe if the Sister wasn’t around, and her sensibilities regarding him, he would have.

Now, I’m not quite sure what Demon Boy said to the ex-husband to cause him to be suspicious. I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. But something caused my ex-husband to get incredibly worried and install a key-logger program onto the computer. It caught snippets of my conversation with TH, but we were careful. TH reminded me that key-logger programs were something my ex-husband would know about so we rarely discussed our actual relationship online. But, anyway, the ex-husband came to me and demanded to know something – I forget what. And what bothered me the most was he was asking me all of this while I was in the bath, the cuts on my body as obvious as the sun rising in the east, and I turned the tables. A moment of self-preservation kicked in and I went on the offensive.

I showed him my cuts. I told him I was depressed. I didn’t tell him how he made me feel. I was careful to dance around the truth of how he had been treating me. I was careful to dance around every little hint of how I felt, what he had done, and everything in between. And I’m grateful I never said anything to him about it because things wouldn’t have gone “as smoothly” as they could have. The ex-husband offered to go into counseling with me and I refused. I told him it was over and he… he actually believed me. Instead of attacking me, instead of doing all the things he said he was going to do in previous moments, he said he would let me go.

That night, TH came over without fear of what my ex-husband would say. And the Sister rejoiced silently beside us. The Sister, TH, and I watched movies and laughed off the emotional roller coaster we had all been riding on for months. The ex-husband left the house to “spend time with friends,” but when he came home at five in the morning, he hopped directly in the shower. The Sister and I cast knowing looks at one another. It wasn’t hard to figure out he had been to see one of his lovers. I don’t think he went to see the wife he has now – but they were engaged within months of my leaving and before our separation was finalized – but we’re pretty sure he spent those few hours with the “one who got away.” We laughed at how “circumspect” he was trying to be and failing.

Getting a divorce is difficult in normal circumstances, but it’s harder when your ex-husband tries to flirt with you to keep you around or attempts to sleep with you one final time. It’s even harder when your ex-husband screws you over on how much money you can pull from the joint account you share. It’s even worse when he has a lawyer on standby and you don’t, thereby screwing over your debts report when filing for divorce. I think, honestly, if I had stuck around, I could have gotten a lot from our divorce, but I was too intent on getting back to Texas where I could recover and be safe. Divorce sucks for everyone involved, but it doesn’t help when the actual victim keeps her trap shut and the non-victim portrays himself to be one. “She’s taking the car. She’s taking my dogs. She’s still living in our house together and won’t leave.” Wah. I told TH we had until April 1st to prepare things to leave and that’s when I was leaving… no matter how much he whined at me to leave early.

Even though I got the shit end of the stick, the Sister got it worse. She had a deal with my ex-husband that if we broke up, then she would still have a home with my ex-husband. But he renegged. And that was around the time I told the Sister where the money she gave him went – not to bills she owed on, which was why our electric and gas was behind. To help her out, I ordered some oil without paying, putting it under my ex-husband’s name. Turn about was fair play.

I had to leave a lot of things behind. And the things I left behind, my ex-husband trashed. There are things that I miss. A cross-stitch my grandmother did for me when I was a child of the Last Unicorn. The Sister tried to salvage some of my things from the cleaning spree he and “the one who got away” did after I left, but a lot of things got thrown out or destroyed. There are days where those things hurt me, wound me, beyond all measure. That cross-stitch was a part of my childhood that I lost because of my ex-husband, first because I forgot to try to shove it in my Neon, and second because he destroyed it and threw it away like it was nothing special.

After moving to Texas, our separation paperwork was finalized about his birthday. He called to tell me and said that his birthday was “simply awful.” He was trying to play the victim, but I was 2,000 miles away then. I had my mother and TH. I had people who cared about me. And while a lot of the firefighters ignored me and didn’t so much as breathe in my direction, the EMS people knew my ex-husband for what he really was – a lying, charismatic jerk – and were friendly. The cops were nice to me, too, and I didn’t have to worry about telling them anything, at least. I could live in peace. So, while he whined about how his birthday was terrible because our separation was finalized a day or two before, I told him to go to hell because my birthday would always be awful since he had married me on it.

Our conversations were less civil after that.

The last time I spoke with him while in Texas, I told him I was pregnant and it wasn’t his. I wanted him to know from me so that it would be completely clear he really was infertile. I also didn’t want the rumor mill to go hog-wild up there without me there to deflect it. The child, my son, is definitely TH’s child. TW: RapeThere is no question unless women’s bodies can carry rape children around for nearly twelve months. /TW

My relationship with my ex-husband was hell on earth for a while.

But, I came out and I survived.

“I Wear This Crown of Thorns Upon My Liar’s Chair, Full of Broken Thoughts.” (TW)

Note: The lyrics for Hurt by Nine Inch Nails can be found here. You will notice a discrepancy in my title and the lyrics, as I chose to utilize the lyric from the video I posted.

Note: I will attempt to place specific trigger warnings prior to a triggerable incident. However, I cannot make promises if I’m in the thick of this, as I assume I will be.

This is the entry I’ve been dreading since I began to do this shadow working. It’s this particular aspect of my past with my ex-husband that makes it supremely difficult for me to move on in any context. This is where I get to show everyone that not only is he at fault in the downfall of what we were together, but I also get to show you how I managed to survive. I did not do good things in order to survive. I was not a nice person to other people in order to survive. There are days where I look back in my grief and pain, in my terror and horror to those moments where I knew what I was doing was not about living in ma’at but about survival. I am not a hero in this. No one came out of this situation as a hero. We all did what we needed to in order to survive.

The Doorbell Demon incident was a turning point. Prior to this, it was easy to shrug things off. It was easy to assume that my ex-husband was just having a bad day or he was having a bad week. Working for the company that he did wasn’t exactly a cake walk. He saw a lot of things that ate him in a place that I had no ability to heal. However, he’s always been a control freak. Whether that is a quirk of personality or a quirk of how he was raised, I honestly cannot say. All I can say is that he began to try to influence both myself and the Sister in what we thought, what we wore, and what we believed. At one point, he accused the two of us of the Doorbell Demon incident with our very occasional, far-between rituals together. As he had allowed us to have a ritual at Samhain in the house, then that meant we had asked for something to enter our house. We made it worse by practicing divination.

Odd thoughts for a supposed Taoist, if you ask me.

I’ve said before, rather nastily, that he proclaimed his religious affiliation with Taoism. I don’t know a damn thing about Taoists or Taoism to be honest, but from the bits and pieces I’ve gleaned over the years, he was not a Taoist. After the incident with the Doorbell Demon, his beliefs were intrinsically tied with his childhood religion of Christianity. He professed otherwise, but how often he was to denigrate both the Sister and I for our divination practices, our rituals, and our beliefs say otherwise. I don’t think he ever went so far as to quote that stupid, incorrectly translated Bible passage about not suffering witches to live or anything at us, but it was pretty obvious that’s how he felt about it. It was easy to place blame on an outmoded Christian belief – that by seeking alternative forms of religious practices is to “invite the devil” in your home – but it was really and probably just attached to his conflicting, angry roil of emotions.

Whatever the case may be – demon, monster, abusive – we all suffered for it.

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real

The Sister really integrated well with the friends she made in college. I’m more of an outsider, wallflower persona so I didn’t mesh nearly as well. She was quite fundamental, from my perspective, in that group. She has this knack to bring people together that don’t necessarily belong. It’s weird. I don’t know who suggested that we all go to the Goth club on Fetish Night, but this sounds like something the Sister would suggest. The ex-husband, the Lumberjack, the Sister, and I were all going to go, meeting up with the college friends we had made. Plans are all fine and dandy, but they end up breaking all the time. That wasn’t going to necessary prevent the Sister from going to Fetish Night, though.

I believe it was just prior to this group date that the Lumberjack broke up with the Sister. She was inconsolable for the first few days after the break up, but I think the ex-husband’s “on high” proclamation that she must have fucked something up there that made her get over it. She wanted him back because she didn’t want to be alone – not because she loved him, not because he was the best sex of her life, not because of anything other than the fact that she wanted to be in a relationship that was not with ex Demon Boy. I feel this so hard it’s amazing. That’s probably why the ex-husband and I were together as long as we were, honestly. It doesn’t matter. The first part of the group date plan got a little fucked up because the Lumberjack. The other was because of my ex-husband.

His best friend, who we had lived with prior to our move to Texas and his best friend’s move to join the air force, came up for his first visit to Massachusetts since joining the air force. He had one night to hang out with his best friend and that night was Fetish Night. The plan was that the ex husband, his best friend, and someone else would all meet up with us at the club a little later. The ex husband and best friend decided they wanted to stay at home and play chess or maybe they were going to do their roll-playing online game thing together. I don’t remember. But, it became that the Sister was my date and we were going out in style.

Here’s the weird thing about this. The ex-husband was nominally okay with this. I think it’s because his best friend was there, so he couldn’t quite fly off the deep end in front of him. I honestly do not know. However, the really weird part was how much the ex-husband freaked out over the Sister’s outfit. I was wearing a long slinky skirt, boots, and a tube top that barely covered my tits. She was wearing a pink-and-white corset with a pink skirt that was kind of see-through. Technically, we were both wearing the same amount of cloth on our bodies, but it was the Sister’s outfit that made him flip out. “You can’t go out in that,” I believe he said at one point. This illustrates a few things to me.

He had realized that he needed to begin controlling and manipulating the Sister. I think he decided this because he had begun to realize how much influence she had over me, possibly in regards to our tacit agreement about how ridiculous his Doorbell Demon shtick was. He thought he would start with innocuous things first. He apparently had not actually met the Sister in any way prior to this. If there was one thing that she would never budge on, it was going to be how she deemed fit to dress up when going to a club. He had realized that he had fucked up in letting her live with us. This point is dependent on his being aware, even in the remotest of his consciousness, of his controlling behavior. But he realized that he needed to start forcing his opinions on her, possibly because the Lumberjack was no longer around to do so.

Funny story of all funny stories, guess who showed up at Fetish Night.

During the month of November, our computer stopped working. I don’t remember what was wrong with it, honestly. It could have been a virus. It could have been the Internet. It could have been a lot of things that caused the Sister and I to be unable to use the Internet. In my more Machiavellian moments, I wonder if the computer was broken at all and this was just another attempt of my ex-husband to control the two of us. To me, it is sad and depressing to even remotely be able to think that about someone who you used to profess love for. However, it would be one more act that he committed in an effort to get whatever he wanted.

The computer was down for about a month. And in that time, I began to very quickly become the introvert I used to be. I had an online blog that the ex-husband had complete access to. He was able to read it at any time he chose and he could easily, easily find out what the password was. I never kept anything hidden in that blog, but I think he thought I did. I did not create certain categories that he would be unable to see. I did not create a new blog to bitch about him in. The blog, however, was yet another way in which he could not control me. I could write and say whatever I wanted, when I wanted, on that blog. So, really, it would not surprise me to learn that the computer was “broken” for that long on purpose.

So, in that time as I became more and more introverted, more and more quiet, more and more lost in a world of fantasy that I created in my own mind, I finally broke. I had to speak with someone outside of my home. I began to talk, at this time, with TH on a more friendly basis. He was, you see, part of that group of college friends. The Sister had other people she reached out to, but I chose TH. I don’t know why or how or when, really, but he became pretty fucking important.

The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

As I’ve said, I’ve always had a very wallflower persona. I may have been a core component to some high school groups I belonged to, but I didn’t really say anything. I was just a figurehead, or more appropriately, I was just always there. To not have my presence in that group would have been like walking out of the house without socks. This may have been the case, later on, with numerous groups of friendships I had. In fact, there are days when I think of how much the Sister got along with our group of college friends and how I had one or two I spoke with frequently. It was this intense desire to keep my trap shut about everything, to internalize anything I was feeling at any given moment, that I ended up bottling up a lot of stuff.

The month of December was hell.

The original start date for my depression of that year was October. I know that clearly. I had not prepared myself in any way to contend with working, going to school, a mentally not-all-there husband, and the memory crush of a really awful month. I think I was able to push back the side effects of that time period and all of the non-preparation I did for that month after years of being away from really having to face any of it. (I know I’m being hopelessly vague but my next shadow working series will contend with how much October sucks and why.) However, after the disaster with the Doorbell Demon and the Sister relying heavily on me to fill in the “I don’t want to be alone” gap that the Lumberjack’s leaving created, I had no real-time to at least mourn or at least attempt to confront my pains head-on. And it was easier to put it off in the face of the oddity of my ex-husband’s behavior.

TW: Depression/Suicidal Ideation
I let that depression eat at me in many ways possible. I did very little eating. I did very little speaking. I did very little of anything except to either read or watch television. I did learn how to knit, although I’ve forgotten most of what I learned back then. (Even though the Sister has re-taught me twice since then.) I did a lot of things with my depression except to face it. When I finally began to realize how morbidly and frighteningly depressed I was, I began to experience severe suicidal ideation. As someone who had been a cutter and depressed before, I knew the signs. It would get to the point where I would fantasize about taking the Neon out for a drive and wrapping it around a tree. When I realized what was happening, I knew I needed help.

I don’t know who began the conversation first, myself or the ex-husband. I remember trying to address what was happening to me with him. It wasn’t the first time in our relationship that I had tried to explain my feelings to him and failing utterly. I may be good at writing things, but I am not so good at saying those very items out loud. The worst part is that after confessing that I needed help, that I was scaring myself, and that I needed some fucking help in all of this, he said to me, “You’re behaving like every other section-12 I’ve ever had to transport.” This is a double slap in the face. A section-12 is a mentally ill patient and paramedics do not take any section-12’s comments, concerns, fears, or statements seriously. Maybe this has changed in the last seven years, but back then, that’s how it was for my ex-husband. And that’s how I’ve come to see it in most paramedics.

I bowed my head low and said, “I need help,” in the face of his accusation.

I was reaching out and trying, and he was accusing me of making everything up. I honestly don’t know what caused him to say what he said. And I can only speculate about how he actually meant those words. I can only comment on how I felt when he said that to me, which was that my problems were not real, they were imagined, and that I was not important. He quickly realized he had messed up and reached out to a therapist in our area and got me in to see her a month later. But, the words had been let out. He had said something very, very, very fucked up.

It hurt. /TW

I still had a month until therapy, though, and in that time I tried to use my friendships as a good bouncing off point to ease the ache. I made it abundantly clear to TH that I was morbidly depressed. I honestly don’t know if he was able to figure out what was actually causing the depression – holdovers from past traumas coupled with an unsupportive husband – or if I told him. It doesn’t matter. He didn’t really say anything, which was a boon. He just listened. And he had the best hugs to provide: broad shoulders for crying and snot, gentle hands to relax the tension in one’s back, and the right noises to keep the skittish from bolting. I didn’t have to tell the Sister anything. She lived with us, heard the fights, and invariably I told her about them on our way to school or late at night. Besides, it wasn’t difficult to discern that the deep bags beneath my eyes were simply from lack of sleep.

The Sister had her own stuff at this time that’s important. She got back together with the Lumberjack. This was a bad idea all around. She’ll admit to everyone that this guy was a mistake, not the capital M kind, but it was just not a good idea. I’ve stated before that this was an act to get away from her ex as much as possible and the Lumberjack was his total opposite. She succeeded in that regard. However, the Sister is a very passionate person in all things and the Lumberjack was not. I think his passions went to Naruto and the Dresden Files. Part of me believes that some of the aches and pains she began to suffer during this time was due to the fact that she was forcing herself into a situation that she had no business forcing herself into.

One night, she just fell the fuck over in the middle of our kitchen. The paramedic didn’t react. Her boyfriend didn’t react. I rushed over and started flipping the fuck out. I wasn’t the one who was supposed to know what to do in a situation like this. My ex husband was supposed to be jumping up and doing his paramedic thing. However, I think at this point he had decided that everything and anything that the Sister said was a lie or a made up story. I think he also felt that whatever she did was a lie. This is a recurring theme, I think, with him. It’s possible he was aware that she was already cheating on the Lumberjack with ex Demon Boy and maybe he thought her guilt was forcing this on her. I don’t think that; I think she was in some damn pain.

We took her to the hospital – as I said, she was in a lot of pain. Neither the paramedic nor her boyfriend stayed with her. I did. I read Timeline by Michael Crichton to her, I think. Or maybe it was another book about time travel. She still had a lot of kind of wacky ideas in her head placed their by ex Demon Boy and time travel was something she was still very interested in then. I don’t think she is now, or not nearly as much as she was. I held her hand as they made her loopy on drugs. I did my best to get the nurses to listen to me when they tried to give her 4cc’s of morphine. Drugs react fast in her and I wanted them to give her a half dosage. The mean nurse wrote down 4cc’s after I told her not to do that. The nice nurse who administered it gave her a half dose, which was even better because we found out that the Sister was allergic to it. It was also really great that the nice nurse was carrying around some anti-morphine shit in her pocket because she had had 2 people experience allergic reactions to it that night. Later, we made jokes about how she would never be a heroin addict.

That was the first real time we told official people we were sisters.

The next week, I barely passed through anything. I was in my own little world. The Sister did not bother telling me about her reopening of her relationship with the ex-Demon Boy. Later, I would get incredibly suspicious. But at that time, I was very much lost in my own head. I wasn’t paying attention to anything but my own misery. It was around this time that I was asked not to use my cell phone so much because we “didn’t have the minutes.” It meant that the two out-of-state resources I had – my ex-Christian friend and my mother – had suddenly become off limits. TW: Suicidal Ideation I began to feel extremely isolated and more depressed than before. The thought of wrapping my car around a tree was looking very very very appealing. /TW

I was invited to a party, actually, by TH. His girlfriend-of-the-time had decided on a huge, huge party for their six-month anniversary. Never mind the actual feels of what TH wanted – something quiet and romantic – but she decided, “His house will be empty of parents and little brother. Yes, we need to have another excuse to behave like children.” It’s one thing to behave that way when you were TH and most of the people we hung out with were 18. She had a kid and was only a year or so younger than me. She had no right to behave like some moron who was going spring breaking for the first time. But, I had been invited. I said “no” because I had to work and then because the Sister wasn’t going to go for whatever her reason was and then because I was sure the ex-husband wouldn’t like it.

But, I had to do things for myself, sometimes. There were moments when I could stand up and say, “I am a human being and I will do things like human beings.” As TH pointed out to me at one of his last minute, “please please please come to my party because everyone is friends with [girlfriend’s name] and I want someone who is my friend there for me.” And I was one of his friends… so I went.

It was nice. It was that night that I realized why I had always felt like I knew [girlfriend’s name] before that. She was a year or two younger than me. She had gone to the high school down the street. And she had slept with my boyfriend-not-boyfriend in my bed. It’s more complicated than that, obviously, but that did not predispose me to liking her. The fact that she treated TH like complete shit after taking away his virginity (yes, he’s slept with two people – me and her) and using him like everyone else in her life? That really didn’t predispose me to liking her any more. It would only get worse with time.

So, I went to the party for a little bit. I wasn’t there long because I had to drive back to my own house. I had a while to be free and quiet and without anyone else around. I was looking forward to the drive home when TH walked me to my car. We both talked a little bit in the ice cold of winter, snow on the ground and sparkling under a very lively moon. We hugged and pulled back and there was a moment where time froze. You know those moments? Time freezes because you will it to or just because it forgets how to move forward. And in that moment, I could have kissed him with his girlfriend inside and my husband at home and it would have been much too insane. The moment passed and we ignored the awkwardness of our final goodbye. We didn’t say anything about that almost-kiss.

Stress is a funny thing. It makes people do insane and crazy things. I began to get severe nervous stomach issues. I’ve always had a nervous stomach. Even though TH and I had not kissed and even though my ex-husband was completely unaware, it made me nervous. Coupled with the fact that finals were coming up, I was often feeling incredibly nauseated and generally nervous. The Sister was having her own issues with nerves since, you know, she was busy cheating on the Lumberjack under our noses. We all had our problems. None of us would have known what the ex-husband’s were since he didn’t confide in us. It doesn’t matter what we were all feeling at this point. There’s still no excuse.

The ex-husband and I were arguing about the dishes. I believe the Sister was making dinner at this moment. I think we had requested that he do a load of dishes because she needed something to cook in. I don’t remember. He told us that all we did was go to school, so we could do the damn dishes “once in a while.” This is hilarious – I did the dishes a lot. The Sister did a lot of our cooking, so she was mostly exempt. This left dish duty to the ex-husband and myself. None of us were good housekeepers (though I would like to think that the Sister and I are better at it now) and we knew that going in. The ex-husband and I had volunteered for most of the dish duty and I had promised I would clean the bathroom. (I like cleaning the bathroom, I guess?) So, at this point, I felt that the ex-husband was pretty fucking obligated to the do the dishes especially after telling us we were lazy layabouts, more or less.

TW: Threat to Personal Safety
We started fighting about it. The Sister was behind me at first, I think, and he turned with a sharp knife in his hand. I think I had started maneuvering myself out of his way or I had been leaving the kitchen because the argument wasn’t doing anyone any good. I don’t remember. I just remember turning around for a final snotty remark when I saw him holding a knife towards the Sister’s midriff. I know I didn’t realize that he was threatening her with it right away. And I know for a fact it didn’t dawn on me until much later that he had started the threat at me. I don’t remember what she said to him about it, but she does. “What are you going to do with that? Do you know how many people will kill you if you so much as touch me?” I think he may have said something snide about her having no one in her life. I blocked out the rest, I know, but the Sister says that it continued along the lines of, “I am not under your thumb. I will scream to high Heaven and tell everyone what you did. And my father, my grandfather, my uncles, and my brother will kick your ass from here to the equator.”

Or something.

I don’t remember.

I don’t remember him threatening me.

I don’t remember him as anything but holding the knife while the Sister stood in front of me. I was back towards the door to the hallway and she was between the stove and the kitchen table. I don’t remember… it’s a theme. I block it all out. And I know it’s for my safety because I’ll wake up one night, screaming as my mind goes over the edge. The man who swore to love and protect me was threatening me. And when my best friend got in his way, he threatened her, too.

He played it off, of course. “It was a joke.” But is threatening to stab someone ever a joke?
/TW

At the end of the month, TH confessed he had feelings for me. I know I openly reciprocated. I remember writing a very cryptic blog entry about it in my old blog, in which I mention that I wouldn’t say a damn word in case the ex-husband was monitoring me. I do know that I internalized the fear and anxiety of someone who was cheating… even though I wasn’t cheating. It felt that way, in a way, that I was doing wrong. And after his threatening our safety, I began to really fear the ex-husband. I internalized this with more nervous stomach. Everyone thought I was pregnant, at school, and I laughed at them. I laughed like a hyena in all of their concerned faces. “I can’t get pregnant; the ex-husband said so.” I’m not sure if I told anyone that, specifically, but that’s how it was.

I can remember running to the bathroom one day in between finals. And I can remember trying to throw up. And I can remember TH’s [girlfriend’s name] coming in to check on me. And I knew she wasn’t there because she wanted to be there, checking up on me, but that she had been ordered to check on me by TH. And I was grateful that someone cared as to why I was throwing up bile in the toilet.

“You’re Killing Me, Killing Me; All I Wanted Was You.”

Note: All lyrics for The Kill by 30 Seconds To Mars can be found here.

One of the issues I have found in finishing this project up is that, as I grow closer to the end of my time with the ex-husband, I find it harder and harder to be as neutral as I think I should be. This, I feel, is borne out in my last post on the subject (linked below) in which I feel that I was more accusatory and victimized than I had hoped the entry would convey. To me, part of the point in shadow work is to be able to look at the whole experience objectively. I’ve spent the last six years ignoring the victim I had become and being angry at the whole of it. By entering the realm of shadow work, I should be able to see it all from each perspective, I think. In not being able to do so, I worry that I’ve failed at the work in question.

A few weeks ago, my co-worker and I were discussing one of the telltale traits of an emotional abuser. This trait is that, invariably, they will separate you, whether you know it or not, from your friends and loved ones. As I thought about my and my co-worker’s conversation later, it really hit me that, if nothing else, my ex-husband is supremely guilty of this. I’ve said it before, in various arenas, that there would never have been any evidence of his abuse because it was all the mental and emotional variety. However, after this conversation, it was really brought home to me that I really am an abuse victim and that I survived, magically. What makes it ten times worse, as I’ve mentioned to the Sister about this particular blog entry arc, is that I have to come to grips with the fact that I was a victim. Me. A victim. I was victimized. I let it continue on and on, well past the time when I should have said, “hey, I’m done now,” and that really irritates me.

By not being made to remember what an emotionally abusive person will do to you, I was able to shrug the whole thing off easily. I can’t shrug it off anymore. I have to face the facts: I was a victim.

If I ever had to legitimately guess as to where my ex-husband made the mistake, it would have to be with the Sister. For months and months after moving up north, he had been on me to become friendly with her. While I’ve outlined some of the funner highlights of what an emotional abusive person will do, I’m left with the evidence of his failure based solely on the Sister. He pushed me to be friendly with her. He allowed her to move into the apartment we lived in. This leads me to believe that he was not consciously aware of the emotional abuse, which is possible. You don’t just wake up one day, I would assume, and say, “I’m going to emotionally abuse my long-term girlfriend/wife today!” If not for her living in our house, I honestly have to wonder if I would have ended up dead, either by my own hand or his.

Really, the Sister saved my life.

What if I wanted to fight
Beg for the rest of my life
What would you do?
You say you wanted more
What are you waiting for?
I’m not running from you

We moved into the new apartment together, the three of us. It was a matter of days before the Sister and I went back to school. We were both going for our liberal arts degrees with a focus on history since we’re both humongous geeks. My passion is Russia, Medieval England, and ancient Egypt; her passion is the Civil War and Victorian England. It is through her that I’ve come to realize that as much as I want my history degree, I never knew what I wanted to use it for. But, she gave me the idea about fact-checking and I can get behind that. I could look up random facts. In a way, that is exactly what I do at my job now, but that’s a different tale for a different time. Both the Sister and I began matriculating at our local community college (local being a completely relative term as the school we were going to was a 30 minute drive through ridiculous amounts of traffic) with a new lease on life. We were both pretty excited and positive about things.

One of the ways that the Sister has saved me is by going to school with the intent of making new friends. That was not my intent, at all. I wanted to go to school, get my damn degree, and leave. I didn’t want to be nice to anyone. I didn’t want to do anything with anyone new. I didn’t want to have discussions, hang out after classes, or anything. I just wanted to be that asshole with the heavy backpack, a frown perpetually on her face as she walked from one building to another. The Sister was under this weird impression that she needed more friends – I believe this was a holdover hang up from her ex Demon Boy – and so, she made new friends. She demanded that I meet them and it was through that initial meeting that my life changed irrevocably in numerous ways.

School and my job took up my life, which didn’t go over very well with my ex-husband. He was needy in a way that I can’t even begin to describe. The weirdest part is that he really wasn’t needy before as all of that. He may have required that I be the center of his universe, and vice versa, when we were in Texas, but “needy” isn’t really how I would describe him. However, there were people and places that I was a part of that he was not a part of, for once. Even our jobs, in Texas, were nominally tied to one another – and he would often regale me with how I got the job at my condo’s front desk “because of him” – so we were one functional unit, not just on the island and with the people, but even so far as the condominiums we each worked for. With me going back to school and having a job that took me off to it on weekends, I had no time for him to be the center of my world. And frankly, as much as I hated the job thing, it was kind of nice to be on my own for the weekends… even if it meant I never had a day off and that 90% of the calls were ridiculous.

That first month of us all living together – September of 2006 – was a honeymoon period. The three of us were getting to know one another in ways that we hadn’t had to get to know one another. I had been living with the ex-husband for almost the entirety of our relationship at that point, but I had never seen him as a paramedic before. This was new. As we got used to our new schedules, living with a new person, and generally trying to survive what we were putting ourselves through, the ex-husband’s job was already beginning to take its toll. He would come home from the job and just stare some nights. Other nights, he’d hop into the shower with his boots, pants, and shirt on. And still other nights, he would come home and smoke my entire pack of cigarettes after claiming to have quit. It was eating him alive.

The thing about paramedics is that they will only ever meet you on a really bad day. You may be able to meet a firefighter or a police officer on someone else’s bad day and not yours, but that’s not the case with paramedics. You will only ever meet them when you or someone you love is hurting, was hurt, and are having a very bad, no good kind of day. I believe it was that month that he came home, staring blankly at the walls. He said, “I had to transport a vegetable today to Boston. The boy… he was twelve and his mother beat him so badly that his brain barely works. And all because the system thought a mother was a better care provider than a father.” I remember the haunted look on his face as he told me in paramedic language – using words and acronyms to distance himself from the situation, like “vegetable,” that he had to see – of all the horrors he could. No names. No specifics. Just generalizations. And it ate at him. I don’t know if the Sister saw this eating at him as much as I did, but it did.

And I honestly believe that’s part of the reason he was the way he was at the end.

With new friends came a whole rash of jealousy the likes of which I cannot even begin to convey. Both the ex-husband and I had been insanely jealous towards one another and towards opposite sex friends in previous years. However, I had rapidly revised my stance on jealousy over the years. I used to be, before I was with the ex-husband and his constant cheating on me, a rashly jealous person. If you so much as looked at someone, then that meant you were thinking of leaving me and I didn’t have the tact to shut my trap about it. However, one of the positives of his cheating on me, as if there could be any, was the fact that I managed to learn how to temper my jealousy. However, one of the side effects of being a chronic cheater is a sudden and intense belief that your significant other is cheating on you. I wasn’t, but it was a conversation that happened often. With the addition of new names in my and the Sister’s vocabulary, it became commonplace for him to demand if I found anyone good-looking or if I was looking for My Ex-Husband Number 2.

There comes a point where, when constantly accused of cheating, you begin to think about it.

The thing is that I was in a nasty, nasty, and deep sex-depression at this point. I think this, more than the fact that we had new friends, was why he became so jealous and would lash out with it. As someone who had been raped and molested, I have severe issues with sex. As in, I don’t have it. It will have been a year in July since the last time TH and I had a sexual encounter. As the Sister has often said, I was “in a sex-camel phase.” Yes, well, this phase had long-lasting consequences. I’m still reaping the benefits of that, but that’s for later.

Now, let’s talk about the changes. At the end of September, all of our college friends hung out together at a party. The Sister and I took our significant others of the time – she was with the Lumberjack – and everyone got along. The ex-husband brought a friend for one of our single college ladies and they hit it off. (Considering how that relationship ended and what I know of that person now, I wonder if their relationship was as bad as she made it out to be. But, there were times where the stories I got from the Sister about that girl’s relationship with the ex-husband’s work buddy could mirror shit the ex-husband had done to me. And if there’s any truth in that, then I wonder if it is just a paramedic thing or if my ex-husband was only friendly with people like him. I don’t know.) The ex-husband was slightly mollified that nothing would happen between me and any of these new people. He also seemed pleased that I had friends and we went off with the understanding that no one but him meant anything to me, minus whatever the Sister’s and my relationship happened to be.

The month of October is a bad month for me and it was no different being back in places where memories are stronger. That was part of the reason I was such a sex-camel. But there’s so much more to October… and I’ll get into it one day with these entries, when I get that far. But suffice it to say, I flew very deeply into myself and prevented myself from caring. The ex-husband’s jealousy rants began to take off about then, I believe. And I think it had to do with the affair he was having with his paramedic partner. I’ve met her and as with all the other girls he was with “behind my back,” she was tall and reminded me a bit of “the one who got away.” He also began talking to “the one who got away” around that time.

November was when the shit hit the fan, though.

On November 2nd of that year, the Sister and I attended a haunted tour of our college with John Zaffis. During that tour, while on the grounds of the college and in one of the basement areas students are not allowed to go, I saw a little old man who I dubbed, “Father Time.” I think the Sister saw him, but I’m uncertain. He followed me home and I was frightened. Dead people, astral people, whomever or whatever this old man was… I didn’t know him and prior to this any “cracking out” I may have done was fantasy living only. Nothing had ever followed me home and I was at the point where I was never, ever going to see the dead as much as I may have wanted to. (My father was dead so, you know, wanting to see the dead was kind of important.) I admitted to the ex-husband about this man following me home and he flipped his shit. The argument we had about it later was of epic proportions.

I don’t really remember the start of the argument, but at one point, he said to me, “This is why I shut down every fucking house I’ve ever lived in from spirit fucking contact. But our house was pure and I didn’t have to do it. And now? Now I have to do it, thanks to you.” The ramifications of this statement hit me like a slap in the face. I can remember crying in the entry way with him on the stairs and screaming, “Thanks to you, I’ve never fucking felt or seen my father in all the time we’ve been together when before, he was a constant presence in my life. I hate you.” It was as though he was taking my father away from me all over again.

As a child, and as a teenager, I had been able to sense my father’s presence. My mother and my little brother, to some extent, had similar experiences with him after his death. But in all the time I had been with the ex-husband, I had never felt him around me unless I was alone on the beach or with my mother. I just thought our relationship was changing or something, but to learn that the man I had tied my life to was the reason he had stopped coming around? It really and honestly felt just like he had stolen away my life in that moment.

In a kind of repentance for being with the ex-husband for so long and being without contact with my dead father for so long, I think this is why akhu veneration is as important to me as it is now. The psychology behind it holds, as well as the fact that I do enjoy venerating some akhu. But, now as I think back on it, I think the reason it’s so important is because of those six years where my father’s ghostly influence was incredibly minimal.

The argument could have, and probably would have, escalated but the Sister diffused this argument, as she would in future with the rest. I hate it when mommy and daddy fight. She had told us this was what she would do whenever we fought. She had wanted to do it when living with a [previous] married couple, but I don’t believe she had ever had the ability. All I know is that it was what she was going to do with us, as she had forewarned. And for a while, it worked. It stopped the rages in the two of us for a while. There’s something ridiculous about a 24-year-old woman whining this at two other adults.

Come break me down
Bury me, bury me
I am finished with you
Look in my eyes
You’re killing me, killing me
All I wanted was you

For a minute, let’s break while I talk to you about the Sister at this time frame. Her story is intensely tied to my story and it’s tantamount that some things are known before I move on.

The Sister, as anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time knows, was diagnosed as bipolar disorder, type two in 2007. We were living together prior to her official diagnosis and she was not on any medications for depression. She did have Ritalin because she is also ADHD. It is because of this living together pre-diagnosis that I am incredibly able to handle her disorder and be her buddy. If I could survive her deep depressions and her insane manic episodes prior to medicating them, then I can survive anything she throws at me.

One of the joys of her diagnoses is that she also suffers from extreme paranoia. This started due to her ADHD and people being unable to follow her conversations. Quite often, she would stop in our conversations – as she does less so now – to ask me if I understood how we went from discussing window treatments to a philosophical religious conversation. I have almost always been able to follow the pathways of the conversations, as someone who has lived with ADHD people all my life, and as “a buddy.”

Since she was undiagnosed as bipolar for so long, quite often, she will have days where she thinks she is “crazy.” The diagnosis is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we have evidence as to why she would hand over her bank card to me, periodically, and say, “Stop me. I want to buy a tuba.” And we also have evidence as to why the next day, she would lie in bed as little more than a blob and hate the world. However, the diagnosis is public knowledge and now, most people are less likely to listen to her about anything real. They tend to equate bipolar disorder with “liar,” “manipulator,” and “story teller.” While previous doctors, prior to diagnosis, probably just thought she was psychosomatic with her aches and pains or possible a hypochondriac, now everyone chalks it up to her bipolar diagnosis.

In one instance, she was never listened to because she was a hypochondriac. In the next instance, she is never listened to because she is bipolar. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I tried to be someone else
But nothing seemed to change
I know now, this is who I really am inside.
Finally found myself
Fighting for a chance.
I know now, this is who I really am.

In November, the Lumberjack was a constant feature at our home. If the Sister wasn’t going to the boonies where he lived, then he was spending the weekend at our home. The Lumberjack is exactly as he sounds. He was a very tall, meaty guy who favored jeans and flannel shirts. He was incredibly simple in his wants and desires, but he was also incredibly complicated as an individual. He and the ex-husband became very close, very tight friends during those weekends. They would talk and giggle and just generally have the manly version of pillow fights and scary story-telling whenever the Lumberjack was over. It was around this time, not long after our haunted tour at the college, that the doorbell started ringing for absolutely no reason.

I have to assume that the ex-husband had “spiritually shut down” the house by this point. I know he didn’t ask either of our opinions on it, but neither the Sister nor I were pleased. I’ve already illustrated why I was not happy about this above. The Sister disliked this idea because she has had her own ghostly happenings with her grandmother. She liked feeling her close by and I don’t really fucking blame her. It was these little visits the Sister had with her grandmother that could bring her out of some of her deepest funks. But, the ex-husband had his own ideas on the matter and we were not asked our opinions on this. So, anyway, the doorbell began to ring after this and I laughed heartily. At one point, I believe I said it was my father since he had a habit of ringing the doorbell at the house I grew up in whenever his cat wanted in.

My ex-husband wasn’t particularly pleased with this. Whenever the doorbell would ring, he would run to the door to see who was there. At first, he went the rational route. He thought some kids were playing around or someone was mistakenly at our door. However, no one was there. This happened a few times during one of the Lumberjack’s weekend visits. It got to the point where my ex-husband completely, and with back up from the Lumberjack, decided that it was a “demon” who was ringing the bell. Looking back at it now, I often wonder if he wasn’t correct in this summation.

Earlier, while thinking of some of the other bits I need to discuss with this entry arc, I have had to wonder if a demon didn’t actually end up taking over the ex-husband at some point. Maybe he was correct in his [possibly mistaken] belief that it was a demon at the doorbell. It didn’t matter. Both the Sister and I made copious amounts of fun at the two of them. “What?” I believe I said at one point. “It’s the fucking Doorbell Demon?” I went to the door and looked outside, opening the door. I called out to the alleged “Doorbell Demon” and found nothing going on, felt nothing outside.

Life would go back as normal, I suppose, but the Sister and I would remember this moment years later and giggle uproariously. It was either that, or I scream in horror at the pain and terror of the next few months.

To be continued…

“Just Gonna Stand There and Hear Me Cry.”

Even though he often told me that moving back up north would “fix things between” the two of us, the real reason that my ex-husband wanted to move back up north was because he was never comfortable if he was too far away from his family. I never really understood his insane need to be near his family, considering all of the things they had put him through. The worst part was that it was because of me that they had any real relationship to begin with. If I hadn’t come along and explained to him the importance of family, then I can only imagine how horrific things could have or would have degenerated between him and his family. I find it very ironic that because of me, he fixed the issues he had with his mother… and that made him her perfect little angel again… which made him ten times more resistant to the idea of living in Texas for the rest of our lives.

The problem with moving back up north, in my eyes, was the fact that I had a lot of PTSD that I was not over because of high school. This isn’t the story for those things, though they will come up sooner or later. The thing is that my mother told me moving back up north was a “bad idea.” She did that, again, with me this last time I moved back up here, but her reasoning has entirely been the same. “It’s bad for you; you can’t survive up there.” She was right about that the first time, with the ex-husband. I couldn’t survive up there, but not for the reasons she was harping about.

The real reasons why I couldn’t adequately survive up north are enumerated in a few little ticks. The ex husband; his mother; his family. I think if I hadn’t been nearly as close to them as we were, we may have been all right. But, there is the fact that my ex-husband very really went pretty damn close to insane towards the end. So, he is also included in the entirety of why, by the end, I was going to run away to my mother in Texas without a note, without even a slight comment in his direction.

When we moved back up north, I had a set of blinders on from the beginning. In looking back now, years later, I can see all the things that I had been fearing that were happening. We got married; immediately, he starts harping about moving back up north. I always worried that he had married me for the express permission of trying to… force my hand… into moving back up north. If we hadn’t gotten married, it would have been the final straw between us. And there are days when I just go, “Man, I really wish I had stuck to my guns before he married me and things turned really bad.” But, I made the mistake. I moved back up north and I suffer the guilt from that every day.

The worst part was that, by this time, I knew who he was and what he was able to do. He could sell hay to a farmer. He could make you do and believe anything he wanted you to do or believe as long as he was right beside you. I cannot begin to convey how manipulative he could be or how his charisma made it easier for him to get what he wanted – thus why, I think, he was the favorite of the family. His charisma made him instantly liked and adored, but it only really worked when you were around him. If you had a few moments alone, as I had when he had gone up north to visit his family just before we got married, you began to see the holes in the story. But he had to get near you in order to make you forget about those holes. So, even though I say that I “wish” I had stuck to my guns, I don’t really think I had much of a choice in this. He would have made me see his way and been very convincing or compelling or what have you about it. He had already decided that we would be together “forever” by that point and I couldn’t just so easily walk away.

It’s so insane cause when it’s going good, it’s going great
I’m Superman with the wind at his back, she’s Lois Lane
But when it’s bad it’s awful, I feel so ashamed I snapped

One of the biggest lies of our marriage, besides our marriage itself, was in how the ex-husband got me to move back up north. He constantly harped and enumerated on all of the “great things just waiting” for us to move back up there. And then, really, he forced the issue by beginning to job hunt up there in the paramedic field. The problem, really, was that he was mostly looking for fire fighting specific jobs since he hadn’t finished his paramedic training. He could easily pass the national registry tests mandated by Massachusetts, but he never finished his clinical training. So, on that one little sticking point, he began looking for both paramedic jobs and fire fighting jobs. And he “found one.” In fact, there was no job but he applied for it and “got it.” However, when we made the 2,000 mile move up north, of a sudden, there was no “funding” for the position he had been “hired for.” And now, he was jobless and I had been ripped away from my comfort zone on a lie.

But I had forced him into swearing that when we moved back up north, I would go back to school. I had been itching to go back to school, but with the working hours I required at my base rate of pay to help us pay for our car, I couldn’t afford to go to school. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it with the few hours of sleep I managed while working full-time. So, I told him that I would go back to school to get my history degree and he would support me while I did that. I was very specific with what I required out of this deal. I should have, probably, made more demands, but I am one of those people who are very much forced into blinders when something important rears its head. I wanted a degree and that’s the only bargaining chip I threw in there. I go to school; he works full-time and pays for all the bills. I should have been more specific… maybe he wouldn’t have stopped paying on my credit cards and the cell phone in my name. But, then, he was supposed to have had a job when we moved back up north to pay those bills, so… the horrible credit I currently suffer probably would have happened anyway.

The thing is that if you start off a “whole new life together” on a pack of lies then that’s what you get for the rest of it.

Who’s that dude? I don’t even know his name
I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again
I guess I don’t know my own strength

We moved in with his parents because we didn’t have any start up capital to live in our own. That wasn’t really so bad at first. I hadn’t had to live with his parents before, however, and living with his younger brother would take some getting used to. His little brother had a lot of issues, but the biggest was the fact that he was severely ADHD and suffered from severe Asberger’s syndrome. We were also bringing our three dogs into their four-dog established household. It was going to take a bit of getting used to, especially since we were all moving into a three-bedroom ranch where privacy was not really a big thing on the builder’s to-do list back in the 50s. After having had an entire half a house to ourselves, more or less… there were a lot of changes.

I tried very diligently to just focus on going back to school… and finding someone to talk to.

This is actually how I met the Sister. She was dating or living with VB by this time. And of course, one of the “best” things about moving up north [for the ex-husband] was that he would get to be with all of his little friends again. I had no real friends remaining up north. I had spurned most, if not all of them, when I had started dating my ex-husband. I will admit that I didn’t really want to get to know the Sister. The boys kept going on about how we would get along great because she was “a pagan.” (Amazing how if two people profess to be pagan, then they must be besties according to outsiders.) But really, the whole reason why I didn’t want to get to know her was that I didn’t want to have to like her and then have to get rid of her when VB finally did his usual thing of breaking her heart. Considering how much my ex-husband had been screwing around with my friendship with my [now ex-] Christian friend, it seemed like this could be the ultimate result. So I decided to hold her at arm’s length.

Ha.

There are a lot of things that I should, at least, mention as being grateful that I was able to take away from my relationship with my ex-husband. My friendship with the Sister is the only thing that really bears any weight when I measure it up against the other things: owning my first car; my dog, Jasmine. The Sister was there throughout the rest of this story and she’s still around. I have a friend who will not judge me for my religion. I have a friend who knows the horror of my relationship with my ex-husband and will let me rant about it when I need to. I’ve parceled it all out to different people over the years, but never explained the entire story to anybody and that includes TH. While he may have heard things from the Sister or possibly in passing during our conversations about things, but even he doesn’t know how horrific it really was towards the end there. But the Sister was there… and that relationship, I thought all those years ago, would dissipate or fall away as the rest of them had.

So for that, I should admit, at least, that I am grateful.

While living with his parents, the Sister would take me out once a week so that I “got out of the house.” In case no one has been paying attention the last three years, I’m an insane home-body. You have to literally drag me out of the house to get me to go anywhere that is not a room in my house. This was unacceptable to the very sociable people who were my ex-husband’s family. So, she would take me out and we would go swimming at her grandfather’s or have rituals at her house or just generally not be in our different living situations for a while. The one time I tried to do this on my own, I learned a very valuable lesson: don’t do it.

I reached out to a few friends I had left over up here. I didn’t have many left over from high school because of my ex-husband and our relationship. But there were a few left that didn’t judge me so heinously or harshly. I reached out to that one and hung out with him a few times. According to MEH, he was fine with this even though the guy in question was a boy who I had been in unrequited love with for years before I got together with my ex-husband. I’m not sure if this was an act or if he parlayed his fears of what “could have” happened into his little brother’s ear. Either way, the one time I brought that friend to the house for a barbecue, MEH’s little brother was very verbally abusive towards us until I was forced to bring my friend home.

Later, MEH’s little brother both physically and verbally attacked me.

Whatever fractured peace the two of us had been living was shattered by that. The comfort of living in that home, of which there was little, was completely gone by that point. The ex-husband had all but admitted that he had lied to me to get me to move up north. The ex-husband had been behaving like a foolish child. His mother had been having literal temper tantrums (the kind that would make a five-year-old blush) about us living there. And everything else was looking like I would not only be able to go to school, but have to pay for part of it as well as have to get a job because the ex-husband was big on breaking his promises: I wasn’t allowed to just go to school, I had to help out financially if I “wanted to move out of his parents’ house.”

Even though the situation there had become incredibly uncomfortable for me because of his family members.

Even though the situation there had become horrifically awful because I had been brought there on false pretenses.

It didn’t matter.

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie


Since the Sister was being thrown out of her house with VB because, as I had predicted he got tired of her, the ex-husband and I decided to have her live with us. The ex-husband and I wanted to move back to Easthampton because it was a nice, quiet, and friendly place. He had friends in that area and the job he really wanted was in that city. He felt it would reflect positively on his ability to get the job with the fire station if he was already established in the city. The job I had acquired – because of my ex-husband’s friends, actually – was nearby. So, the Sister and I began looking for apartments there. We found a townhouse within our price range in the very building the ex-husband and I had lived in before. And we could bring the dogs with us.

It was supposed to be perfect.

To be continued…

Related Entries

  1. Shadow Work with the Ex-Husband (TW).
  2. “High Off of Love; Drunk From My Hate.”
  3. “I Love You; I Hate You; I Can’t Live Without You.”
  4. “I Am Just as Fucked As You.”
  5. The Empasse Would Have Been Religion.