I had an epiphany whilst watching Oprah.
I'll give you a moment to pick your chin up off the floor.
I know. Me, too.
I really have a dislike for all things Oprah. I think she's become a religion unto herself, with armies of devoted fanatics, all with that same vapid Stepford smile on their faces. While we're on the subject, I'd also like to pummel Dr. Phil about the face and neck.
Yes, I was watching Oprah, which is terribly out of charecter for me but I was depressed because somehow 100+ pictures didn't make it onto the CD I had burned before we left Nebraska and they are photos of the kids with my dad, and Katherine's softball games. Now, Kate will play softball again, but the photos with my dad really got to me. Not that he's in bad shape but the guy is going to be 74. Not exactly a spring chicken, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, so depressed, I watched Oprah and it was the kind of show I actually enjoy: little behind the scenes tidbits. Lots of "after the show" stuff (don't forget to watch After the Show on Oxygen, at 7:00 and 10:00 pm Central!!) and fluff of that nature. John Travolta shaking his pelvis, etcetera. Good brain candy.
Anyway, they had a segment with Goldie Hawn & Susan Sarandon in which an audience member remarked that all three women on the stage (Goldie, Susan and Oprah) were smart, talented accomplished women who had great relationships but weren't married. I think the actual question was how do you make your relationship work so well.
And Goldie Hawn, whom I have never thought of as the sharpest knife in the drawer, said something along the lines of how she had tried marraige before and it did not work for her and how her relationship was fine without it. And then she went on a tangent which was quite remarkable. She said, "If he completes you, that's scary. Because no one can complete you. You can complete you." And that having her own money and identity outside the relationship was vital to her and that she never had to say, "Honey I saw the cutest dress today and ... do you think I can ... have it?" That she has an independence and a freedom of being herself first, and in the relationship second.
Boom I tell you.
Like the proverbial ton of bricks.
That's what I do. I have always thought "This man completes me. He is who I am." I have based my entire identity on who I am to other people. I am the kids mom, Michael's wife, so and so's friend, this one's sister, her neighbor. And I've been so afraid ~ terrified, actually ~ that asking for more than that would be like saying I failed at being a mom, or a wife. That to admit to myself that I wanted more, needed more, was a defeat, was to abandon my principles and ideals.
The truth is that I formed those principles and ideals when I was very, very young. Too young to realize that what I thought was a principle was in fact my justifying being stuck in the position I was in.
Like being a stay at home mom. I loved doing it. Truely. From the bottom of my heart. But I was vehement about it, so dead set that being a stay at home mom was the best way to do things. Because it was the only way I could do things. Michael refused, absolutely refused, to let me get a job. When he finally decided that we needed an extra income, and I did go to work, I worked the hours most convenient for him. We did a split shift thing so Katherine wouldn't have to go to care. When his shift changed and that was no longer an option, he wanted me to change my shift to accomodate him. He didn't want Katherine in daycare. She was 2 at the time. I wanted to stay on my shift because I liked it, made more money, and knew my coworkers. Luckily his shift ended up changing again and I got to stay on my shift but you see where I am headed with this. I threw myself into my situation and proclaimed it to be what I wanted, because it was what I had.
The idea of standing up to Michael and saying "No, this is what I need to do" never even crossed my mind.
God, I cannot believe I am admitting this.
I don't want it to seem like I am blaming Michael because that's not my intention. I'm blaming myself, for lying down. For allowing myself to be the doormat.
I quit my Creative Memories business because he said I had to, and he controls the flow of money in this house. I gave up something I love, something close to my heart, because he didn't think it was worthwhile.
How screwed up is that?
I am sure I must have said this before a thousand times, but I was supposed to go back to school after Katherine was born. I had every intention of scheduling my classes on two days of the week so I wouldn't need to find full time care for Kate. I had actually looked into Title Whatever it Is, where the state helps pay for daycare.
Michael said no. He said he wanted to go back to school. And I was so afraid of losing him, so appologetic that we had a baby he wasn't ready for (a baby he knew full well we were concieving) that I caved. I utterly caved.
And that's not who I am.
And I hate that phrase "finding myself". I used to think it was some excuse people used when they wanted to run away from their problems and the realities of their lives. Now I think it myself. I should find myself. Where the hell am I?
What do I really want out of my life?
For the longest time, I wanted to have more children. Maybe because I didn't think school would be an option, maybe because I thought it would fill the void in my life. I'd love to have more kids. Michael is adamant that we are going to try in vitro to have another child.
Folks, I don't want to do in vitro. I would love to have more children but not with this man. It wouldn't be how I would want it to be. It wouldn't be two people joyously awaiting the birth of their child, somehow he'd find a way to suck the joy out of it.
I love him more than anything but he himself is like a child I have to parent and I don't have the energy to handle anymore bipolar people in this house. I cannot do it. I would love to, in a perfect world, but I can't. I'd be giving up too much.
I think I wanted more children for the longest time because it seemed like the only real option I had. Michael wasn't supportive of schooling for me. Oh he says he is and I know he means it but the practical aspects of it ~ his needing to make dinner a few nights a week or be responsible for putting the kids to bed ~ would fall apart. It has happened so many times before. He'd say he was all for it but there'd be excuse after excuse after excuse. And in the past I've been made to feel guilty ~ both by him and by myself ~ for asking him to "help me out". What a moron I was. I should've demanded that he do his job and help parent.
Do you know he still doesn't have any idea what medication the kids are on? He couldn't tell you. Or their diagnoses, or the therapies we've been using. He took Domenic to the doctor a while back and Domenic had to tell the doc what meds and what dosages. You'd think this would spur Michael to learn more about it but it didn't. I fill up their medication containers. I make the appointments. I do the work involved.
And it's only going to get worse here. His schedule is such that he feels he needs to be in bed by 7:30 pm. Now, he's working a lot. He really is. But he comes home, takes a shit, takes a shower, comes downstairs, says he's too tired to help set the table, too tired to help clear it, and then has to "relax" with a video game or the internet and then goes to bed.
I am so lonely I could cry.
But I let it get that way, because he doesn't want to socialize. We've never once been out to dinner with another couple, never invited any friends to our home, never hosted or been to a party, never done anything social with another couple.
IN TEN YEARS.
It's wearing a little thin. And I feel guilty for needing more social interaction than he does. He made me feel guilty in Nebraska for going out with my friends. Half the time I made up excuses to stay home with him.
It's just sick, sick, sick.
And it's my fault. I take the entire blame.
But I did something about it.
I called the University of Phoenix and I'm starting in January. They give a military discount. I will have plenty of time to get financial aid lined up, even if it is student loans. Even if I am running the daycare and I have four kids full time, I am going to go back. I will take at least one class a sememster. Even one class at a time will get me there eventually.
I know I've said this before but I am a big believer in timing. The timing has to be right and I think it is now. In fact, I know it is. I have a resolve I didn't have before.
I want to be me. I want to make my own choices and have the power and independence to do what I want to do. I am a good wife and a good mother and I deserve to have some personal happiness in my life.
I cannot believe I got all of this out of an Oprah show. I don't what's scarier, that I had this thunderbolt of an inspiration from the Oprah show, or that it was Goldie Hawn who sparked it.
I think this must be the seventh seal.