So what do I do?

In the wreckage of a life, I still need to survive.

Disabled, alone, impoverished, with children to raise, I need to find a way to survive. The people who cared for me in this city have turned against me out of loyalty to my abuser. The one exception, technoshaman, is moving around the world in less than a year. I can't leave the area without losing my children. I don't know how I'm going to support them, or myself, after the next year and a half, when the spousal maintenance I've been receiving goes away permanently. I've looked at school programs and I'm hoping to get into something, but even if I can handle it, I'll face a full year of having almost no money, because although my father is willing to continue paying me as much as he has been, he won't even discuss raising it when the spousal maintenance goes away. And that's presuming I can actually do it, show up for class five days a week for two years, and then hold down a job after that. I've never been able to do it before, and now I'm trying to do it and also keep up with my responsibilities to my kids as a single parent. What happens if I can't do it, if I drop out of school yet again because the flares come and my body won't work and I stay in bed because I cannot get out of it, and I can't keep up with the work because of that? I'm looking into disability, but I may have more short-term savings to qualify, because I'm trying desperately to hold onto every cent I can, to prepare for the lean time that will be even if I can make my body behave. I can't go both directions; I need to pick one. And if I'm wrong, my kids will suffer.

They're already suffering. Grace is shattered by the loss of the stepmother she loved, so shattered she can't sleep or eat, so shattered her homework doesn't happen because of the hysterical bursts of terror, so shattered it breaks her mother's heart and I don't know if she'll ever be whole again. I'm suffering too. The panic attacks about death are a daily event, and right now I can scream for technoshaman and have my brother get on a motorcycle and come through my door and hold me, but that won't be true in a year. In a year, I will have nobody. And the panic will still happen. Because I've had PTSD before, and I know it doesn't go away that quickly.

I've lost my partner, my father, almost all my nearby friends and am losing the rest. I'm losing my source of income. I've had my body broken, my heart broken, my children broken and my soul sent weeping into the black void of terror and despair.

And pretty much nobody pays any attention. Because I don't complain much; this is a rarity. I don't like to, it feels wrong to ask for people's sympathy and help when I can possibly stand without it, so I hide behind brave fronts and watch all the sympathy go to the person who destroyed me and my kids.

Well, right now, my reservations aren't an issue: I can't possibly stand without help. Practical help, financial help, emotional help, people to walk me through things I need to do, to teach me what I need to know to get by, to tell me they care, to help me help my kids, to come over and hold me when the terror grips me and I can't do anything but cry and beg them to make it stop. I don't know if anyone will be there if I do ask, but I'm asking, because I've come to the absolute last shred of my own strength. The friends I have left tell me I've done everything right since my life was left in ruins... hit the ground running, made the necessary things happen, kept my chin up, and even refrained from vengeance (though my abuser insists I'm punishing her horribly by asking for one convention a year that I can attend free of fear). I can't do everything right anymore. I can't do anything right anymore.

I can only cry, and beg someone to make it stop. Nothing else. Nothing.
  • Current Mood
    crushed despairing

A chilling reminder

A newspaper article riveted my attention this morning... about the sentencing of a Texas woman who murdered her young son by suffocation. In it, the remorseful mother said, "I am very sorry to have caused the intense pain and suffering to my precious son Camden. He did nothing whatsoever to deserve that by my hand... My sorrow is intense and unbearable."

And I realized, with chills running down my back, that I'd heard that kind of language before.

From a post in cflute's journal, public for awhile before she closed it on the advice of counsel: "I'm so, so sorry. Sorry for the physical pain. Sorry for the emotional pain. Sorry for the terror. Sorry for the betrayal of trust. Sorry for failing her - and myself. Though I could cry oceans it won't change anything, and that's what breaks my heart again.... I don't deserve her forgiveness, but she does deserve my contrition, slow though it has been in surfacing. I feel like I've had a limb amputated..."

Did she really mean to murder me? I don't think anyone, including herself, will ever know. She can't voluntarily recreate the state in which she was functioning at the time, and can't understand, from outside of that state, the choices she made while within it. What I do know is that I had probably less than a minute before I lost consciousness, less than four minutes before it stopped being a matter of anyone's choice. Before she could no more bring me back than Camden's mother could resurrect her son, after she'd changed her mind about murdering him.

I don't like to think about how narrow an escape I had. But cflute won't, so somebody has to. If I had any brief doubts about the 500-foot rule, or the OP; if I'd wanted to have doubts (and I did; it makes things easier when trying to deal with friends who want to remain impartial between assailant and victim), this is why I can't sustain them.

Because suffocation is a terrible death -- and I've experienced enough of the process to know. Because I don't want myself or my children to be the next Camden. Because none of her tears after the fact will matter, if we are.
  • Current Mood
    scared sobered

While I'm at it....

I don't usually respond to things my ex posts, but as long as I have the post up, since there is a direct question involved, I'll make an exception.

I understand that legal boilerplate has to exist, and that there are tragic situations where a former intimate partner gets injured or killed by a vengeful ex. ***But that isn't me***.

That's what you said about ever, ever, under any circumstances, for any reason, using your hands in anger. If it wasn't true then, there is zero reason why it should be true in this case. You don't know that that isn't you. You want it to be true, but you don't know, you can't know. All you can know is that the gouge marks in my face, shown in the photographs you saw, could only have been made by a surface pressed hard against my face, so hard that my glasses cut their way deep into the skin.

I believe you don't mean me any harm right now, cflute, I just also know, because you taught me, that what you mean when you're sane and what you are capable of controlling yourself enough to prevent when you're in a rage bear very little relation to one another.

I am willing to keep my distance - but why does it have to be 500 feet, instead of 50, or 20?

Because your father kept guns and there's no reason to suppose that you can't use one well enough to hit at 50 feet. 'Nuff said.
  • Current Mood
    pissed off pissed off

Just what purpose is this serving?

My ex, cflute, posted publicly recently that she was "surprised" by a couple of offers I had made, including one she called "extremely generous." I'll respond by a request for a simple piece of return... not generosity, I wouldn't expect that, but responsibility.

Today, for the third time in six weeks, I showed up on time in the morning for a court date to discuss an Order of Protection. I think I need it and she doesn't, but that isn't the issue. The issue is that, for the third time, she failed to appear, despite knowing exactly when and where it was, despite being informed explicitly that the documents related to the case were at the courthouse, despite police coming to her door repeatedly to try to serve her with those papers.

Once again, without any proof that she's been successfully served, they extended the temporary Order of Protection another two weeks and reset the court date for yet another time. I'll be there... I'm sure she believes that if she can avoid the cops long enough, I'll get so exhausted that I just won't show up myself, and it'll be dismissed. She can get away with avoiding it, see; I can't. It won't work, though. I'm there to protect my children, and I'll go if I have to be wheeled in on a hospital cart. And I have friends who will bring me.

So why draw this torture out? Open the goddamn door when the police come calling and take the papers. If they don't come when you're home, call the court and ask for the papers, then show up on the date the next hearing is scheduled (which by the way is Thursday, January 26th, one day short of two weeks from now, at the Shoreline courthouse at 180th street and Meridian, at 8:45 in the morning). If you don't think I should be granted the order, stand up in court and speak your piece, or ask your lawyer to do it for you. A trained attorney going up against one single mother with no formal legal training shouldn't be scared to show his face.

But don't keep ducking and running. That's dishonest and shameful. It may succeed in hurting me -- despite current protestations, we know how far you will go to achieve that end -- but it won't take down the OP, which lasts in its temporary form for as long as I'm prepared to keep going back there. Which means until hell freezes over. Or until you have the guts to stand up and tell a court why they shouldn't grant it.
  • Current Mood
    angry livid

What I did on My Winter Vacation

The emergency room on Christmas Eve is not a good place to be.

Okay, actually, the emergency room ever is not a good place to be, but sometimes it s a necessary one. Yesterday evening, my medications (at a reasonable dosage, not am extreme one)combined with dehydration to throw my system into utter weirdness. Dizziness, muscles going so weak I couldn't lift my arm, fainting in and out (all the way, and that's not something I do often), my heart rate going literally twice as fast as it's supposed to. I had no idea what was going on, and thought I had overdosed (though at that dose I'm not sure how I could have) and that I was going to die.

Those who know about my decades-old death phobia won't be surprised to know that, by that time, the panic attack was doing almost as much damage as the physical problems. And the hospital I was at didn't have a single mental health professional in the ER, nor in the rest of the hospital that could be called for advice. So they gave me a lot of fluids but I was on my own in settling the panic. I hadn't come close by the time they sent me home.

So I got home and curled up with my Kindle and tried hard to forget about the recent fears. Didn't work well at all. I had to call a mental health crisis line once and ask them to talk me down from the panic, which had gone spiraling out of control. Eventually, I got to the blessed stage of being 8 hours after I'd taken the most recent medicine, which meant I could take my sleep meds. I did, and got a couple of hours of sleep.

I feel like I have a bad hangover (not surprising, since most of a hangover stems from dehydration. But I'm still alive. And I intend to remain that way for a good long time.
  • Current Mood
    relieved relieved

The end of a short, steep climb

To my total astonishment, I have a free weekend. More than a free weekend -- I'm basically done with 95% of the scrambling startup tasks that had to get done quicker than immediately in the first few weeks of living without a partner. The only thing left is to get the car registered, and I'm planning to do that the first week in January, after the kids go back to school. But I have a car, a room, a tenant, an order of protection, medicines for the next month, my utilities set up, and most of the new furniture and appliances I needed to replace the ones that cflute is taking with her. From here on out, it's mostly maintenance, and with the tenant's help I can handle maintenance. It was maintenance plus racing to get the startup stuff done that was wearing me out, and I'm basically done with that.

Now I get to think about what I *want* to do with the energy I've had to use for startup. What I would like to study in order to become employable. Where I want to go on vacation when I've managed to save the money to take a vacation of my own. How I want to go about establishing a social life. What I want. What a concept.
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper

And yes...

...I made the last post about how much I missed cflute public. Because I want her to know how very much she was -- and is -- loved. Even though we can never be together again, I still love her, I'll always love her, and I want her to know that. She did her level best to kill that off in me, but I'd told her at the beginning I don't stop loving people easily, and it's true. I've never loved anyone in my whole life as much as I loved her, and some of that slowly died off over the months and years of emotional abuse that preceded the one horrible incident of physical abuse. But some of it she couldn't kill, and I want her to know that. Because, no matter what, there is someone who loves her, and I want her to have that even if she doesn't really want it. Even if she doesn't really care. Just because it's true.

I'll never forget you, Callie. The bad or the good. Never.
  • Current Mood
    crushed crushed


I miss her so much. I don't want to miss her this much; quite frankly, she doesn't deserve it. But my tenant was cleaning up and found a bag which contained what was evidently intended to have been a Valentine's Day present for me, which somehow never got delivered. It was like a stomach punch. Her warmth and love were so wonderful, and even though there's all the rest which is horrible and impossible to live with, I want the wonderful parts back. Unfortunately, they can't be separated from the horrible, which is why there's absolutely no danger of my ever considering taking her back, even if she wanted me to, which she manifestly doesn't. But it's not because I don't want to, only because I recognize that it would be dangerous for me and for the children. I do want her back. Except I want only the parts that don't go crazy and hurt people. And I can't have that.

She often used to accuse me of only keeping her around for the practical work she did around the house. It was never true, but now it's proven less true than ever. I replaced the practical work she did around the house within two weeks, and got better cleaning and childcare than cflute ever did. I can never replace her warmth and affection, and I'll always miss them. Always.
  • Current Mood
    crushed crushed


When mdlbear and I introduced our new duo, Lookingglass Folk, we mentioned that we thought we were going to be able to handle the concert slot that we were asked to take over from Tempered Glass, scheduled for Conflikt. We said then that we had a rehearsal weekend upcoming, during which we intended to work on the necessary arrangements and see if we could handle it; we expected to know for sure by the end of the weekend.

It took us one rehearsal, today, to decide we can. Is there still some rough material? Sure, but not so rough that we won't get it sorted by the end of January, even with only one more weekend after this one to work on it. We've sent word to the programming head for Conflikt to say yes, we want the slot.

See you at Conflikt, as many of you as possible, I hope. We've got a very special show for you that's been a year in the making, and I know you won't be disappointed.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished

I can't eat.

I'm always cold. Blankets and turning the heat up don't help; I shiver constantly. I am well aware of why this is; it's because I'm consuming about 400 calories a day, and that isn't enough to maintain a decent core temperature. I can't eat. I've been sitting here munching oyster crackers in desperation, because they are the only thing I've been able to get down in days.

When my father left my mother, she stopped eating for weeks. Eventually, she decided that if she'd lost that much weight anyway, she might as well continue, and get to the weight she wanted to be, so she kept dieting. This was okay, the real problem was that she was too preoccupied to keep food in the house for me (age 12), and got angry (and sometimes dangerous) if I asked her for it.

I am made of sterner stuff: I weathered the divorce just fine, all two horrible years of wrangling over it. It took an incident of brutality unmeasured in my already-too-violent past to put me off my food. But I understand now a bit of how my mother felt. It's not that I'm too sad or upset to want to eat. I do want to. I just can't force it down.

I wouldn't mind losing some weight, but this is not the way to do it. I don't know what to do about it, though. I'm going to be making my absolute favorite dish tomorrow (and the only fancy thing I cook really well), so maybe that'll help. Or maybe it won't.

But I am also made of sterner stuff than my mother in another way: I will put good food on the table for my children. Every single day. No matter how much I'm shriveling up for want of sustenance myself.
  • Current Mood
    crushed miserable