d say February, I took life very seriously. I had a baby at nineteen and then got married at twenty. I earned a degree in philosophy from the University of South Carolina during which I gave extensive thought to death and the meaning of life. And then something happened when I turned thirty four and I realized, um holy fucking shit, I am not immortal and soon enough the past is going to be about me and what in the hell have I really done with my life?
Well I did have five children, no small feat. I did have a gorgeous five bedroom, four and half bath home, I had a Louis Vuitton purse, and a country club membership. All of my kids attend private school. Not a one of them has a single health issue and in fact, they are all quite bright, but still I wasn't "happy". The primary cause of my discontent was my marriage which, in a manner of speaking, I had been forced into on account of the fact that I was, to be blunt, and not poetic, knocked up.
So at thirty four, I decided to change my life. I felt like I was living out someone else's script for my life. As Shakespeare would say I was "creep(ing) in this petty pace", and I was getting pretty tired of it. I wanted to live my own life. The one that Oprah talks about; the one that I was hopeful to live when I studied philosophy. Unfortunately the writers of my old story: my parents, my ex husband, and to some extent, even my children, were not terribly happy that I was firing them from being the head writers of my show and this is what caused all hell to break loose.
Over the past year, I have sat in a women's center more than once; in several therapists office; and for a week even in a psychiatric ward ( I signed myself in, but more about that later). I obtained a temporary PFA (lifetime calls these restraining orders). I lost my financial footing when my husband refused to give me any money until the courts ordered him to do so, six months after he left the house. I dealt with my extremely conservative Catholic parents condemnation of my abominable sin: divorce, and the consequences associated with the withdrawal of their financial support on which I have been (rightly or wrongly) dependent my entire life. I met a guy that I absolutely adored, who said he adored me, but who also had a girlfriend. I was hit on by my friend's boyfriend at a time when I most vulnerable and desperate and dealt with the guilt and shame associated with allowing him to kiss me. My favorite Aunt died in a freak accident in which she broke her neck tripping down the steps.
I got in trouble with the police when my daughter played upon my guilty divorced mother self and I allowed her to have an end of the year school party which ended with me and a bunch of drunk kids on my front lawn in the middle of our upper class development a two am as the authorities administered breathalyzer tests. I had the sheriff knock on my door to place a levy against my belongings for my unpaid legal bills to my divorce attorney. I lost every court battle and was told that even though I have been a stay at home mom for fifteen years, I now need to go out and get a job, even though my youngest is four and there is no way on earth that I could earn enough money working to pay for child care.
I have no idea how I will ever, ever, afford my mortgage by myself, and every week my parent's threaten to take the house that they pay for from me, and then they wonder why I can't snap out of it and stop being depressed.
For a long time, my approach to all of these problems was to think about them very, very seriously...but then I decided to switch the pace... I was listening to an old ipod that had some Jerky Boys clips on it. I hadn't probably listened to the Jerky boys since college, but my soon to be ex-husband had down loaded some of their material on to an ipod in our house, probably one of the kids' or his old one that he left at the house. And I started to laugh, like really hard. Like so hard that I couldn't catch my breath, and I thought about all the crazy stuff that I had done over the past year, and I realized that I am a hell of lot stronger than I give myself credit for, and while I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, I am growing. And for the first time, in a long time, I felt proud of myself.
So sure, I have a lot of obstacles in my way, and I have a less than desirable support system, and I am flat broke and with a philosophy degree and five kids, basically unemployable, but I'm still here and that is largely because I can laugh at myself. I hope that readers everywhere will find inspiration in this blog to find strategies to survive the shitty times in life because we can't control what happens to us, we can only control our reaction, and most of the time when things suck the best response is, quite honestly, to laugh. My goal is to help people everywhere do that. So stay tuned. Tomorrow I will teach lesson one.