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Monday, April 3, 2017

Survival Mode

Today, I met with my accountant to have my taxes done.  My hope was just to drop them and run, but he sat me down to get the basics of my financial situation.  As I sat there blindsidedly explaining that I have been a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, and that I am newly single after 14 years and trying to get back on my feet and care for my 4 kids, and that we were never married so basically since I gave up and walked away, I now have nothing but my 4 precious children to show for my wholeheartedly devoting every moment of my life to raising my kids.  Nothing.  

When I broke, and left, and walked away from a very comfortable but love-lacking life, it was so necessary that I didn’t even care.  The fact that I had finally come to terms with the fact that he couldn’t love me like I needed,  the idea that I might one day find that love, the fact that I had my children, the fact that I had the pleasure of being home with them for over a decade while they were young and oh so precious,  all of that was enough.  I had been very blessed in many ways and it was priceless, but costs me a lot.  

I have a new found happiness.  It is liberating to let go of something I was holding on to with every fiber of my being but still never really had.   And I try very hard to focus on that, the silver lining to some dark, dark clouds.  But every so often, I’m forced to stand right under those clouds and endure the storm for a moment, like it or not.   Recently, I went to be interviewed for a job subbing at my childrens school.  The very first thing my interviewer mentioned was that I, unfortunately, did not have much recent work experience.  I was aware I would never be welcomed into the cold corporate world with my decade plus experience in full time child-rearing and housework, but to think that my devotion to children and the fact that I have four of them which is practically a classroom full, may not qualify for so much as working in a school hit  me like a lightening bolt.  But this is my reality now.  In this society, devoting myself to being a good mother and psuedo-wife makes me incredibly blessed and fortunate and entirely unqualified for anything else.  And the fact that I was ok not being worthy of marriage all those years leaves me entriley screwed.  Lucky me.  
But I do feel lucky…and hopeful, and optimistic.  And even though I explained my bleak financial reality to my accountant in the most positive and matter-of-fact and optimistic way, the storm clouds came as he looked at me and said “My dear, my heart breaks for you.  And every inch of your body language tells me you are in survival mode.”   And the thunder rolls…

It’s important to look on the bright side.  I am a hopeless optimist.  But these reality checks are important sometimes.  They serve as those little pushes I need to pick myself up and dust myself off.  They remind me that I do not deserve to walk away from everything I put into my family and our life with nothing, and that if there is only one way to fight for what I’m really worth, I have to stop being afraid. They help me to dig deeper.  

I am indeed in survival mode.  I’m trying to dig myself out of some very deep holes I have dug for myself despite all my best intentions, and I am standing in storm after storm, but I can see the silver lining, and I will survive.