Friday, October 22, 2010

The Strength to Carry On

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know that on Wednesday I was having issues with the new printer here in my office. What is it about office equipment that can take us from zero to 60 in the anger department in no time at all? Well those of you that saw I was having printer issues didn't know there were other things that added to the stress of my day on Wednesday. First off, it was mine and my ex's five-year anniversary. He called me at work and was like "It's been nice knowing you for five years." To some that may sound kind of flippant and asshole-y, but that's standard behavior from him. I will say the conversation went downhill from there. Although I won't repeat what was said, suffice it to say he went from joker to jerk-off in the course of the conversation.

On Wednesday I was also supposed to begin the first of my copyediting classes so that I could finish up my certificate. That's also the night I usually have my Weight Watchers meeting, but since the meeting and the class conflicted, I planned to weigh in, then go to class. Mind you, class is three and a half hours long and began at 6pm. By the time class was over, the buses would've stopped running and I would've had to walk home from the subway station. On any other Wednesday I probably wouldn't have cared, but after having to battle the printer that Satan gave birth to and then having my ex act like a jerk-off on what would've been our fifth anniversary it was enough to do me in. I knew that if I went to class instead of going to my Weight Watchers meeting, there was the possibility that I would have the binge to end all binges once I got home from my copyediting class. I had already had a mini-binge the previous night because of my anxiety about the upcoming anniversary, as well as the upcoming classes.

Before me was a tough decision. If I went to class, I'd be working toward having my copyediting certificate by the end of November; but I'd also be risking sabotaging my weight-loss efforts. I once gained six pounds in one week and I hated that feeling. On the other hand, if I went to Weight Watchers and stayed for the meeting, I'd be sitting in a meeting knowing that I had gained weight this week and thinking about how I should be working on getting my certificate so that I can get closer to having an actual career. It didn't take me very long to make up my mind. I decided to withdraw from the classes and finish up my certificate in the spring. By that time I'll be back living in Boston and the logistics of getting home from class will be much easier. I won't be as vulnerable to potential weight-loss sabotage, and I also won't be living with the ex anymore.

When I was younger, I would've just gone to class and not gone to my Weight Watchers meeting because I would've been in such a hurry to get my copyediting certificate that I wouldn't have heeded the warnings that my head was trying to give me. By going to my meeting, I gave myself what I truly needed at that time. I needed the support of my Weight Watchers ladies in order to continue on my journey of using food as nourishment for my body instead of for my heart and soul.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Women, Know Your Worth!

Last Friday I had dinner with a friend of mine from college. She has two children (born six years apart), and lives with their father in an apartment that she can't afford the rent for. Neither she nor the father work. He receives unemployment and she receives food stamps. Of course this doesn't sound too terribly different from scenarios going on all over the country. The one glaring difference is that she actually CHOSE this life.

After the birth of her first child she lived with her parents in a well-heeled neighborhood in New Jersey. She had a job in New York City making good money, and she and the father argued about the fact that he didn't support his child. The arguments went back and forth, with her parents occasionally putting in their two cents. Eventually she and the father broke up. During their time apart, she lost weight and was really working on getting her life together and providing a good life for her son. Granted, she was still living with her parents, but she was paying her bills. A few years later, enter baby daddy. He sees her looking all fly after her weight loss and decides that he's gotta hit that again. Fast-forward a few months and she's got another bun in the oven. Why she would even think about conceiving another child with someone who never even tried to support the first one is beyond me.

After the birth of her second child, she decided that she and baby daddy shoud give it a go as a family. She moved from that cushy suburb in New Jersey to Jamaica Plain, MA. JP isn't a bad place to live, but the schools aren't so great. My friend soon realized that when her eldest came home and told her about all of the inappropriate language that the students were using. To combat that problem, she decided to move to a pricier area with better schools. That's all well and good if you are working and can actually afford to pay for the apartment, but as you'll remember, she and baby daddy aren't working.

From what I understand, baby daddy isn't trying to find work. He'd rather spend his time out clubbing. On Friday night when she and I were having dinner, I asked her how things are going between the two of them. Her exact words were "We're like mortal enemies." What?! You had this man's two sons, gave up a home with a built-in babysitter, and gave up a good job making good money to be with his ass and you're like mortal enemies? What the fuck?! She said that he's verbally abusive to her and that she can't remember the last time they were intimate. Like most men, he won't let a mere argument deter him from sex, but she said that she holds a grudge. She also said that some of his words sting. Of course they do! Words are very powerful. She said she wouldn't tell me the things he says to her. I told her I didn't want to hear them because I'm sure that if I did, I'd punch him in the mouth as soon as he walked back in the door.

Now here is someone who was doing well for herself, but decided to throw that all away to try to be a "family" with her baby daddy and their kids. I'm all for family when it's a positive existence that can nurture the children that are involved. Unfortunately this "family" isn't fostering a healthy environment for children to thrive in. She compared herself to those chicks on Springer and Maury who know their men aren't worth the dog shit on my shoe. Those chicks are always like "But I love him!" Yep, she loves that deadbeat asshole. I know you can't choose who you love, but when you're a mother, it's important that you put the needs of your children above all else, even above their father if he's not helping you to try to provide a stable life for them. I know those children feel the tension in that household. That's probably why they chose to act out while we were eating dinner.

Regardless, I know that no words I say are going to make her kick baby daddy's ass out of the apartment that her father is paying the rent on, and go back home to her parents. That would actually be the best thing for her. She could live with them until she found a job and got on her feet. After that, she could look into getting a place for her and the boys. If baby daddy wanted to visit the kids, he could as long as he knew he'd have to find his own place to stay while he was there.

Women, I implore you to stand up and take charge of your lives. We deserve to be treated with respect and should always make an effort to cultivate our own self-respect. No hole is ever too deep to climb out of. Sometimes you might need a helping hand to get out, but you can still get out. Love is not supposed to make you feel worthless or hopeless. Your children depend on you to do the right thing for them so that they can have a solid foundation to build a life after they've grown up. Children should not have to suffer for their parents mistakes. They deserve a better life than that. It hurts me to see this happening to my friend because I know that she never envisioned her life this way. Who does? The fact that she chose to be with and have children with a man whose dependability factor is below zero is water under the bridge. What happens from here on out is most important, but until she takes off her blinders, she'll keep digging her hole deeper and deeper.