Off to Manhattan

7:30am

I have been super sick and at home since the 26th. It’s nice to be back at work. I’m a bit nervous about work and 2019. They have raised our goals by a significant amount. By significant I mean like over 50%. I have a lot of room as far as efficiency to get that…but it’s going to take a lot of effort. Journaling every morning and afternoon as I feel the need is going to have to stop. Writing poetry at work is going to have to stop. All of that said…boo fucking hoo …right? Woe is me, I have to work while I’m at work …my life is awful…I’ll be fine.

On the spur of the moment I have decided to go to Manhattan for a day and a half. I just booked a flight for tomorrow morning at 6am. I’ll be in Midtown by 1pm tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be at MoMA by 2pm. I have reservations at the Russian Samovar for 7pm and nothing else to do. Sunday I don’t leave until 4pm so I’m going to the Met. That should take up my afternoon and then I’ll catch a cab to the airport. I’ll have a book, my journal, and some E.E. Cummings to to fill in the time. I’m in great shape. It’s not going to be a shit show like Chicago was…all sad and weepy, alone, on a national holiday. I will be back in Omaha by 9:30pm on Sunday. It’ll be a nice trip to take. There is supposed to be a snow storm, I’d love to get snowed in again. I think I’d rather be home in time for the boys on Monday so we can have the day together.

That’s enough journaling for today. Hopefully I’ll have way too much stuff to think about in NYC!!

Too selfish to be their mother.

9:00am

Jesus Christ!! Michelle stopped by the house yesterday afternoon while Brad was there. He called me and was really nervous and upset. She was dropping off cards, presents, and a letter for me. The notes in the cards were nice and positive. I let them keep the cards and read them. They didn’t want the gifts. The letter she left me asked questions: Why did I make her leave in Arizona? Why didn’t I come to the hotel and get her in Arizona? All questions I have asked myself a million times. She answered those questions with this: “the answer is I have come to realize you are my abuser and I am your victim.” She has accused me of being an abuser.. I am without words…my post from December 11th (questioning whether her isolating me from my friends was the early signs of her being emotionally abusive) is so poignant.

We had the following text exchange:

Me: Brad just called. He said you’re at the house. Is that true?

Michelle: Yeah I dropped off Christmas presents and there is a note for you in the front mail box.

Me: You terrified him. Collette is at my house right now and she said that he is shaking.

Michelle: I didn’t think he would be home.

Me: Yes you did. We lived together as a family…you know when he gets home. Collette says he is so upset he is shaking all over.

Michelle: Did you let them read the letters or did you throw them away, or let me guess you read them first to make sure they are okay. Like a person who can never let go of any control. Notice she doesn’t acknowledge how upset Brad is and her part in it.

She timed her “dropping off” of presents when she knew Brad was going to be home. She could have put a stamp on them. She doesn’t think about what is best for Brad and that he might be made super upset by her just showing up…she only thinks about what she wants. Just selfish.

As I was rushing home to be with Brad I had a thought. What if she was there to talk? What if she wanted to talk about us and maybe us working on things? I got a sick, nervous, dread-filled feeling in my stomach. I think the emotional (heart centered) part of me is catching up to my brain. This moment is definitely part of my closure with Michelle. It is forcing the reality of our end to sink further in. Not the reality…the necessity of it. She is too selfish to be a step-mother to my children.

This morning I had the following exchange with a good friend:

Me: I was thinking about Michelle’s nonsense yesterday as I was driving into work this morning. Ugh…what a jerk!!

Derek: Just laugh about it! Even after 4 months she is still thinking about you!!

Me: I guess

Derek: Well. I guess you could wallow in the fact you were a dickhead at times by being too controlling and drinking too much. In other words…you would be just like Michelle in that you would become bitter and angry about the past without making the future better. Such as you have done by recognizing your behavior and controlling your drinking.

All true. I am lucky to have good friends to give me perspective. I feel better about the end of my relationship with Michelle than I have.

Reflecting on drinking

8:00am

I want to think about my sobriety this morning. I can’t remember if I have talked about it this way before. When I decided I had a drinking problem I was afraid. I was afraid what that meant for my life, my children, my relationship with Michelle, and my friendships. Drinking is a part of every social interaction I had. For the most part, it still is. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to not drink. For years now I have thought I needed to cut back, not drink as much. It was always in my head. I felt a lot of shame over the years because of my drinking.

When Michelle left me I realized I needed to change. I didn’t know if I had the strength to do it. I had to go to a logical place in my mind. I told myself, millions of people have had a problem drinking and they were able to quit. I quit smoking…I can stop abusing alcohol and be a better man for my boys.

I have tomorrow off from work. I am going to the movies, get my X-mas cards mailed out, exercise, read, and work on my journal. Normally, I would hit the bars with Michelle and/or some friends tonight, have a few cocktails, wake up tomorrow a bit worse for wear, and get on with the day. I’d definitely get the movie watched and work out but the rest of it would be iffy. A few months ago I would be nervous I wasn’t going to be able to not drink. It would feel weird/wrong to not be “out and about” tonight. I feel like I have flipped the script. I don’t feel anxious about drinking (or not drinking) at all. It’s not what I do anymore.

I did have a glass of wine at dinner in Chicago for Thanksgiving. I had a glass of wine with the Leslie’s when we got the tree up and decorated. I will have a glass of wine with Christmas dinner, I’m sure. Those don’t seem to be a problem. With all the similarities with when I quit smoking I do worry that this random glass of wine after 20 weeks of sobriety is a way of me to back slide into abusing alcohol. I don’t think it is. Maybe I should just refrain all together for now. Maybe not have any alcohol until I hit the 1 year mark of sobriety. That way I can know for certain.

The rabbit hole

4:00pm

After over 4 weeks of radio silence she suddenly reaches out to me. Here is our exchange:

Michelle: Can I come over and get Christmas stuff I left there, some of it is pretty sentimental.

Me: When would you want to come over? I will make sure the house is unlocked and I am not home (so you don’t have to see me). I am meeting some friends out around 6:30pm…you can come over then

Michelle: Ok that works, I’ll go there tonight

Me: Please don’t bring your new boyfriend into the home we shared.

Michelle: I would never do that but I will bring someone so I’m not alone

Me: Because I am dangerous? Really? Is that the reason…because you think I am a physical risk to you?

Michelle: No, just because it’s the smart thing to do. Delena is coming

Me: It’s the smart thing to do when you’re with a strange man you can’t trust.

You could have just said Delena is going to be with me. You didn’t need to insult me (again). Just can’t help but twist the knife can you?

Let’s do it this way. What sentimental things do you want? I will pack it up and mail it to you. That way you don’t need to be at the house at all.

Michelle: I don’t even know what is all in there, just let me come get it. You put words in my mouth…please stop

Me: No I didn’t…you said that with a purpose. I feel like you are just fucking with me again. I don’t like it. Tell me what you want and I will mail it tomorrow evening.

…blah, blah, blah. What am I doing? It is such a waste of time and energy. It went further and further down the hole with us back and forth. I eventually got mean insulting her new boyfriend again.

Me: Enjoy Christmas with your Barista.

Michelle: He’s actually a software developer for an engineering firm

Me: Who gives a shit

He looks like the shih-tzu you always wanted. From the way people have described him he is. Your mild, little doormat. Good for you.

Chicago is calling

8:45am

I am getting excited about Chicago.

I should throw and asterix on that statement. I wish Michelle was coming with me and she could enjoy the Hamilton ticket I got her for her 30th birthday. I was thinking about her this morning. The way I have approached sobriety is the same way I quit smoking. One day at a time, putting more time between the last day I drank till today. Create new habits, new muscle memory that is how I’ve been able to not smoke for 8 years, how I’ve been able to not drink for 14 weeks, and how I‘ll get over Michelle. The more distance I put between her leaving me and now, the better I am going to be.

I am getting excited about Chicago.* Hamilton is going to be amazing. There was an interview with the actor who played King George in the original cast production on Fresh Air the other night. It made me more excited to see the show. I wish the boys could come with me. They are with their mother.

I have decided for Christmas we are staying in Omaha. I had thought about going to Manhattan. I have to be honest with myself. The only reason I was going to Manhattan is I know Michelle will be in Brooklyn at the same time and I’d want her to see us on Facebook and feel bad. The boys and I are going to look at going over their spring break. That is the right reason to go. Not some lame/stalking attempt to ensure Michelle feels shitty.

More important things

8:00am

My parents have both put the hard close on me reconciling with Patrick. My mother went so far as to tell me “I have to come home for Christmas”. I explained I don’t and I will not be in Arizona for Christmas. I told both of them I had more important things I needed to work on. I was alluding to therapy and my sobriety. They both insisted there was nothing wrong with me. What a bunch of bullshit that was. I reminded them my drinking was something that is/was wrong with me. I told them I’m not interested in spending any time with Patrick or Rae…especially Rae. I don’t like being around their negativity. They say awful things about everyone they know and it is stressful to be around. My mother told me if I don’t come home for Christmas, I have to come to Arizona by myself then. I told her I wouldn’t. I know this is hard on both of them and I told them as much. I feel bad about that. I don’t feel bad enough to be unhappy and forced to be around people (who’s company) I don’t enjoy. That is the bottom line. Michelle has given me a really hard time about it to. I’m not saying I’ll never talk to Patrick and Rae. I’m just saying right now, I have no interest in it. Maybe that will change, but maybe it won’t. I’m indifferent to the outcome. The longer I go without contact, the better it feels.

Not waiting around

7:45am

Thomas called me last night checking in. I forgot to return his phone call a week ago. He joked and said he thought I might be ghosting him like I was my brother. We briefly talked about Michelle and then just how our kids are doing etc. He transitioned the conversation to my family. I told him I was on speaking terms with my parents but hadn’t spoken to my brother in months now. He asked if I was interested in changing that. I told him I wasn’t, not right now anyway. We talked about The Holidays and what the boys and I are planning. If I have the month at work I am hoping I have, the boys and I are going to be in New York City for Christmas. I’d love to stay at the Essex House again

I had a good visit with my therapist yesterday. I was not looking forward to it. The previous visit I left feeling like shit. We have been “targeting” an extreme bullying incident from when I was in 7th grade. I ended up feeling significantly better when we were done. I have little stress or anxiety about it. I am trying to think what would be the next event to target. Right now, this morning, it’s the relationship I had with Kim Ferguson. That freaks me out. It has impacted every romantic relationship I have had since. I even referenced it with my Michelle when she vacillates between wanting to be with me and not. I told her, “I won’t wait around. I have literally wasted years of my life waiting and hoping a woman would love me. I will not do that again.” In fact Michelle is the first relationship I have had where I didn’t think about Kim Ferguson. That is pathetic.

I feel like I should provide some context here. In college I met a girl named Kim. She was funny, smart, tall, blonde, and beautiful…we clicked instantly. I fell in love with her. I remained in love with her for years. We would fool around from time to time but she was much more of a free spirit and didn’t share the same romantic feelings I did. I was locked into the friend zone for years hoping she would change how she saw me. So when I say I’m not going to waste years of my life (again) waiting for a woman to love me…that’s what I mean.

An unconscious attempt to isolate me?

a brainy, tender,

obtuse, loving hypocrite.

is she who I need?


8:30am

Let’s pro – vs – con this relationship thing with Michelle then Patrick and Rae.

Michelle:

Pros:

  • She’s smart
  • She’s funny
  • She’s tender, loving, and affectionate
  • We laugh and have fun together all the time
  • We never lack for conversation
  • I’ve never been as attracted to a woman like I am to her
  • She loves me
  • She loves my boys
  • The boys love her
  • We are great in bed together (the best either of us have ever been with anyone)
  • She’s complicated
  • Her family is wonderful
  • She’s ambitious and driven
  • She’s the best friend I’ve ever had

Cons:

  • She’s complicated
  • She can be selfish
  • She’s obtuse
  • She’s vindictive and cruel when she’s angry
  • She won’t work on her anger issues (therapy)
  • Those panic attacks
  • She won’t work on her panic attacks (therapy)
  • She’s a slob
  • She doesn’t pull her weight with house work
  • She doesn’t communicate her needs
  • I lost most of my friendships because of my relationship with her (I defended her when they treated her poorly). She pressured to do that…was that some unconscious (or conscious) attempt to isolate me?
  • She never defended me when her friends treated me poorly (does that make her a hypocrite?)

 

Patrick/Rae:

I started on the pros/cons with Patrick and Rae. Midway through realized I didn’t need to. I started thinking about the 14 years I’ve lived in Nebraska. My brother visits once a year. Rae has been up here once since I’ve been divorced (my 40th birthday) and twice before, when I first moved here. That is it, three visits in 14 years. The boys and I visit Arizona no less than twice a year, every year. It was important to me because I wanted to maintain the relationships with my family. Sadly, that isn’t a priority for them.

Fun fact, in the 3 ½ years we were together, Michelle visited Arizona (and my family) more than twice as many times as Rae has visited me the 14 years I’ve lived in Nebraska.

I’ve invited them for the holidays, nope. I’ve invited them to different vacations, nope. It’s not even like they have an apologetic…”man, we just can’t swing it” or “we don’t want to do that but what if we did this other thing that might be easier for you”. No thought to compromise.. They refuse to drive an extra few miles when we’re in Arizona to meet us. Instead it’s, “this is what we’re doing. If you want to see us and spend time with us, you have to do what we want to do.” They’ve actually said those words to me.

On balance, they don’t value their relationship with me or the boys. Contrast that with my parents. Sometimes I feel like they visit too much (I’m saying that in a cheeky way. I don’t mind how often they visit). They value their relationship with me and their grandchildren.


this relief hurts those

I love. is it selfish to

want this feeling?


1:30pm

Why am I so quick to condemn and write off Patrick and Rae but not my father. The answer is simple. What Patrick and Rae did was more egregious. Objectively that is true. Why is it true?

I think intent is the majority stake holder in culpability. Did my father intend to be cruel to Michelle? Did Patrick or Rae intend to be cruel to Michelle? I don’t think my Dad did. Rae is a different story. She went out of her way to inflict maximum damage. Patrick stood by, did nothing, and then piled on. Dad is a product the 40’s and 50’s. He sees the world through a different lens than we do. He has values that are slightly off. He gets a pass. His hurting Michelle was unintentional.

Rae is angry and mean. She and Patrick both lashed out at Preston last year about his girlfriend (Shelby). It was upsetting to witness. Michelle received the same treatment. They just were more circumspect about it, more chicken shit about it.

I don’t know what has happened to Rae. She and I used to be so close. I would call her every few days and chat for 30-60 minutes at a time. I don’t know where this anger comes from. I don’t know if she infected Patrick, he infected her, or if they developed this anger in tandem.

I don’t like writing this down. I can still picture the look on my parents’ faces when they read the email I sent Patrick on the 23rd. They were sad. It hurts them that Patrick, Rae, and I are on the outs. It hurts them we aren’t going to be together as a family during the holidays. I’m sitting here with my eyes closed trying to tap into how I feel about not being together for the holidays, not being around Patrick and Rae. I feel relief. It’s like I can breathe easier. I don’t feel tension in my shoulders thinking about it. It feels good.

That makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like I’m selfish. It makes me feel guilt.

Don’t fucking mope!

she doesn’t need you.

why would she? be the man she

deserves and would want!


8:15am (shared with Michelle)

I’m missing drinking less and less. The parallels between quitting drinking and quitting smoking are helpful. The longer I went without smoking the more I wanted to stay on that path. I wanted to smoke every time I smelled a cigarette or saw someone have one but I kept telling myself, it’s been 4 weeks since you quit, don’t ruin all that work. It’s been 9 months since you quit, don’t ruin all of that work. It’s been 7 years since you quit, don’t ruin all of that work.

I’m feeling the same way about drinking. It’s been over 5 weeks since I quit drinking, don’t ruin all the work you’ve done. I’m trying to be mindful of the reasons I quit drinking: it makes me feel better (physically and emotionally) about myself, I want to set the right example for my boys, and I need to be the man a woman like Michelle would want…who she deserves to be with.

Now let me clarify that last thing. I know Michelle is never going to take me back. Whether she wants to or not isn’t relevant. She just isn’t going to.

Man…it’s really hard to write that down. Michelle and I are never going to be together. She doesn’t want me anymore. She doesn’t love me anymore. She doesn’t want us to be a family anymore. That’s the truth. We are finished. I have to find a way to heal and move on. The only way out is through.

Being the man Michelle deserves isn’t about her necessarily (or maybe/probably it is). It’s an abstraction. I was no longer fun, happy David when I was drinking. I was the angry drunk guy no one wants to be around, who scares his family. I hate that prick and never want to see him again. So…it’s been over 5 weeks since I quit drinking, don’t ruin all the work you’ve done!!


1:00pm

I want to write in this afternoon but I’m not sure what to talk about. I’ve talked our relationship too much.

I was thinking about Christmas in 2015 and 2016. They were probably my two favorite Christmas’s ever, 2015 in particular. That morning we slept in a bit (in fact we told the boys they couldn’t wake us up until 7am…at exactly 7am Dennis knocked on our bedroom door. Michelle made him lay down with us and we slept for another hour), opened presents, had a nice breakfast and then cleaned up. I got the turkey going and Dave and Sheri (Michelle’s parents) came over. The boys opened more presents and then we all just hung out. Finally we had all of Dave’s side of their family over for a big Christmas Dinner. It was wonderful and so much fun. We did it again in 2016 (the boys came for dinner after they were done at their mom’s house). I thought it was a wonderful tradition we started, the big dinner with Dave’s side of the family.

With how things are with my family in Arizona and Michelle and I, the boys and I are going to need to start coming up with our own holiday traditions from now on. We’ll need them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know when the boys are with their mother I’ll plan on being out of town, on my own. I think Christmas 2018 (when I don’t have the Dennis and Brad) I should do something grand. I’d love to go to Paris. It’ll be better to be miserable and alone in Paris than miserable and alone in Omaha. It’s not a bad idea.

Visit to the Rodin Museum and the Louvre. Have a lovely meal on the Champs-Élysées Christmas Day. Or if everything is closed…get a baguette, cheese, and fruit the day before and make a picnic (all be it a cold one) under the Eiffel Tower. All I’ll need is a book of poetry, a novel, my journal, and I’ll be super great. If I’m going to be alone…I’m not going to fucking mope while I do it.