I suppose people think that when tragedy strikes, or when you go through a hard time, or when, you know, your husband cheats, leaves, and turns into a narcissistic asshole, that the entire process is an uphill battle. That the day of it, whatever it may be, is the bottom. Rock bottom, the worst of the worst. And from there on out, each day it will a little better. Each day you will survive, you will gain insight, and you will grow stronger. Time eases all wounds. And no matter how long it takes you, no matter what mountains you climb, you come to a point where you look up and suddenly realize….this is your life:
I’m here to tell you that’s a crock of shit.
Its more like this. It starts off bad. And you do something like attend a charity event in heels despite your life being in shambles and you feel powerful. And then you end your evening crumbled on your garage floor in a cocktail dress crying and chain-smoking and missing the very same asshole who did this to you. Or you feel like you finally have had enough so you file a petition for occupancy so that motherfucker can’t continue to just show up at your house whenever the hell he feels like it. And you feel like a badass but then the court date gets rescheduled 4 times in 3 months and in between you’ve filed both a PFA and a had a domestic call because he continues to harass and violate your space.
Or you feel like you just might get a win…you just might get full custody or the house of your dreams. You’re making strides, doing all the right things, accepting help. You’ve relented on the Trollup being around your kids because honestly, she actually takes care of them vs PC who is an imbecile. You give in on a few things with custody because, honestly, your kids want to see their dad and you’re trying to be the bigger person.
But then PC continues to be difficult and announces he’ll be suing you if you don’t agree to sell the house stat (remember, for months he didn’t want to sell. Now that he has decided to, you are suddenly supposed to jump.) And you find out the house you want won’t come down in price and there is literally nothing else out there. And your kids are leaving in 2 days to spend the weekend with PC and the Trollup and you’re forced to text the Trollup about things like medication for your daughter and birthday party invitations and she chatters about organic food like the two of you are going to be friends.
And then your washer breaks. And it just pushes you over the edge and you start to feel like this instead:
And then this happens. Because you live in the northeast and you’re surrounded by woods and it’s spring and you’re frazzled so when a deer runs out you swerve and sideswipe a tree. And it doesn’t matter that you’re only going 4 mph and it kinda barely felt like an event. It still results in a undriveable vehicle, a $500 deductible, and a whole lotta shit you just can’t handle.
That is where I was on Friday morning. In a car dealership, trying to blink back tears as I explained to the man what I needed, that I did not know the name of my insurance company because I literally switched it a week ago, that he could not call my husband’s number, and could they please just take it to the body shop and call my dad once things were figured out.
Sitting there, waiting for my ride, was a different kind of rock bottom. Not the same as being curled on the garage floor. Not the same as sitting outside at 5am begging the sky or the universe or the someone to throw you a bone. Not the same as feeling completely defeated and crazy and beaten down and powerless from weeks of nonsensical texts from an asshole who chose to abandon his family and then somehow decided to blame me. Not the same sense of drowning that comes when you think of all the things…money, houses, moving, kids, therapy, hearings, jobs…the swirling rip tide feeling that makes you want to waste and entire day of productivity and curl up on the couch with a Fuller House marathon.
A numbing sense of rock bottom. It was a pretty defeating point. Compounded by the fact that I’d been awake since 3:30am and those assholes were picking up my kids in less than 12 hours, I was in my nth level of rock bottom since this all began. Attempts to find a washer repairman who wasn’t going to charge an arm and a leg or that even serviced front loaders (sidenote: many do not!) when my girlfriend came up with an idea.
She was having her own bad day, and now had to cart me all over since, of course, asking PC to pick up the kids from school was just an invitation for more drama. But she is a problem solver, a go-getter, and also someone who has issues being idle. She suggested we YouTube how to fix washer. If I was going to end up having to buy a new one anyhow, what did we have to lose by attempting to repair an 11-year-old washing machine? I half-heartedly agreed…might as well.
Another friend assisted by both taking my daughter for the afternoon and owning the elusive star-shaped screwdriver that was needed to complete step one. It took all afternoon (with breaks to go pick up my rental vehicle and my son from school), gallons of filthy water mixed with dog hair, two amped up dogs wrestling and destroying patio furniture outside, some cramped wrists, a lot of bailing of water, some pretty disgusting clogged drain crud, 50- and 38-year-old women in odd, chiropractor-inducing positions on the floor. But.
Guys. We fucking fixed it. We fixed the washer. With a freaking YouTube video.
That evening, after my children left with the Asshole, I sat outside alone with my wine and marveled in the lovely spring air, the dogs that were exhausted and resting quietly for the first time in 5 years, my washer that was spinning and draining like a boss, and my gratitude for good friends and help. My car situation was going to be fine (minus the deductible…sorry Mom and Dad.) My washer was fixed. My kids were gone but they were okay.
And my weekend proceeded to go up and up. No matter how much I love my kids, no matter how much I miss them…single mom’ing is one hard gig. And everyone needs a break. The Trollup set up FaceTime calls so my anxiety over whether they were happy and content or locked in closets being starved was diminished. (Disclaimer: they were eating bacon and wearing princess gowns. They were fine.) I mowed my lawn after killing myself pulling the rip cord. I day drank with friends and had multiple lovely dinners courtesy of the woman who convinced me to fix my washer. I packed and moved lots of things.
I got a call that the house I want, my “dream” house, isn’t off the table quite yet. Details to come….
Two more houses that fit my bill came on the market….
The April weather was simply divine…that week of the year where everything blossoming is pink and white and purple against nearly neon green, where not only is the sun warm, but the air too. And everything smells of mud and flowers and its murder on allergies but it doesn’t matter because it’s just so lovely you could cry. Where I spent the afternoon outside literally doing nothing but enjoying myself. And then my kids came home and for whatever details I hated hearing about the weekend (basically: PC does nothing and the Trollup cares for them) they were home, where they belong, and they were so happy to be there, too.
Rock bottom on Friday, grateful by Sunday. That is how it works. I keep thinking of my medium/therapist friend’s prediction that my tide will turn instantaneously, and all the good karma I’ve racked up will suddenly burst forth like floodgates. Its coming, she says. I feel it. I admit to getting a bit sick of people telling me to stay strong, stay positive, blah blah blah…but, since this is my therapist/medium friend, I tend to trust her insights a bit more. Bring it on, universe. Bring it on.
In the meantime…at least I know how to fix a washer!