Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Women in my family.

Shortly before Christmas one of my favorite aunts died. Now before you go feeling all sorry for me, she had a very peaceful death, after 25 years of every medical problem known to man. It was actually amazing she lived a long as she did, and as a family we were grateful for the prolonged time we had with her and that she was released in a very easy comforting manner. At her request no funeral was held, but instead the family gathered for a BIG party. It was very fitting for my aunt, because in our family she was the organizer of most of the family parties we had when I was growing up. This was just the kind of gathering she would have enjoyed, and probably did enjoy with us….

As a family we gathered, ate of course, and told stories. Each of her three sons told stories of their mother, her husband told stories, and her youngest brother. Several of her grandchildren told stories. As we reflected on her life it occurred to me more than ever before how much I am like my aunt. We have very similar personalities. The things that were important to her, are important to me. They way she treated people is how I try to treat people. The way she viewed life and her medical trials is exactly how I try and view my own struggles.

It made me wonder is it nature or nurture? I have pioneer stalk on BOTH side of my family, including relatives on both side of my family who survived the Martin & Willie handcart companies. There is something to be said for pioneer stalk. Ancestors who braved the elements and physical hardships for the chance at a new and better life. Do those trials they endured alter the DNA for those to come? Do those who come after benefit genetically from those that came before? Darwin said yes with his theory of the survival of the fittest. But are those changes inherent to the DNA or a result of nurture rather than nature?

The generations that have come since my pioneer ancestors have faced their own set of challenges. As the years and generations have progressed, those trials have been more emotional and less physical. But regardless of the trial, the effect is the same, you either become better or bitter. Why have those who have come before me chosen to take a trial and make themselves bitter rather than better? Is the influence on me a result of the example they set for me, or has my DNA been altered through the generations to enable me to choose to be better and not bitter? Or is it a little of both?

Regardless of the answer to questions probably without answer, I am grateful for the heritage of my ancestors, I am grateful for the life my aunt lived, the type of person she was, how she treated others, and how she cared for her family. With any luck I will be just like her when I grow up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What we see

We all wear our own set of rose colored glasses, colored by our own experience. Our Ward Relief Society Presidency made a directory for each sister for a Christmas gift. The directory had photos of each sister, address, phone numbers, and birthdates. I previewed the directory because I will helping the enrichment counselor put the directory together. As I was glancing through the pictures I was first of all amazed that they got everyone to pose for a picture, after all there is nothing women hate more than having their picture taken. The next thing I noticed was how good all the sisters looked. Seriously everyone looked amazing, I wondered if they had used Photoshop and reversed aged us! When I got to my picture toward the end of the directory, by virtue of my last name, I looked at my picture and grimaced. I hated my hair, it was pulled back, and made my face look even fatter than it usually does. I wanted to look thin and pretty! So I just decided when viewing the directory I would just skip the page with my picture so I did not have to look at the reality of myself.

On Sunday the directory was passed out to the sisters, and it was interesting to watch the reaction. Without exception everyone had the same response. Grimace at their own picture and only wonderful things to say about everyone else’s pictures. Why are we incapable of seeing ourselves as other do? Why are we are own worst critic? How often I have see sisters that I thought were so beautiful both inside and out, yet they can’t see that in their own mirror. I wonder why they can’t see what I see. Then I look in my own mirror and know that I don’t see myself as other do. Is it because I know the flaws, I know the hidden imperfections, I know where weakness is, I know the true me, not the me I portray to others. Yet the me I portray to others is I part of the true me, it’s not an act, it’s the good in me I share with others. Yet why do we all discount the good when we look in our own mirror? I am not perfect, but I am also not evil, I am somewhere in between. I think I am going to try to look for a new shade of glasses to wear while looking in the mirror.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ready, Aim, Shoot. (Conclusion of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving)

3:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon was my date with destiny or rather the gun range a short distance from my house. The designated meeting spot was the house of the Ward firearms expert. Somewhere along the line, news of my self defense course began spreading throughout the Ward, and my outing became an “unofficial” ward activity. Not only did the Ward fire arms expert and one of my home teachers join me for this outing, but along came my other home teacher (well I guess they are supposed to come in pairs) and his wife, in addition to the former bishop, his wife and his son. Brining our grand total, to a party of eight. What the heck the more the merrier when shooting guns?

We arrived at the range and were given a short safety lesson, which included wearing ear protection, eye protection, (I am a safety girl you know) as well as a reminder to always point the gun down range, unless of course someone is on the range, then the guns need to be set down. Then the Ward firearms expert began explaining the mechanics of the gun. My eyes glazed over with the mechanical details he was providing. I am a law school graduate after all….

Soon it was time to shoot my gun. I opted to have my home teacher help me, because quite frankly the Ward firearms expert kind of scare me. Now let me tell you about my home teacher, basically think Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. He brought his revolver to the range that day and stood there with his right arm extended shooting the gun with one hand, the other hand in the front pocket of his jeans. Round after round being hitting directly on target until it was empty. Did I mention he has wild red hair??? I kicking myself for not bringing my camera. It was priceless.

Ok, back to my 9mm. He helped me load the magazine and then place the magazine into the gun, hence I was armed and dangerous. I nervously pointed my gun down range at a target. I lined up what I believed to be the target in my site, moved my index finger from the side of the gun to the trigger and fired away. I forgot how much the gun recoils after shoot a bullet out, and the trigger comes down ready to fire again. As the trigger came down my left thumb was in the way, and as a result the trigger scraped it, drawing blood. FYI, in the short safety lesson Ward firearms expert told us not to put our thumbs there. Crap, I was now going to be busted for not listening. Sure enough, BUSTED, with a “Didn’t I tell you not to put your thumb there?” Yeah, yeah, I know, but I am a lawyer and I can’t help it if in law school I was brainwashed to believe that I know everything, and was encouraged to selectively listen. Good news putting your thumb in the wrong place is a onetime deal, because once you make that mistake you avoid doing that again.

I began firing off more rounds, successively becoming more and more comfortable with my gun. After the first 20 shots or so, I realized I have really, really GOOD aim. I began hitting all the targets right on point, dead center. I became “Dirty Harriet” minus the wild hair of course. I used all 100 round of my ammo, and had a great time, and now feel completely comfortable using my gun. (Although I still lack the capacity to open the case)

I think I might have to look into trading that BMW 335 for a large pick-up truck with a gun rack….NOT!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don’t shoot!!! (part 3 of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving”)

Now you have to understand my trepidation about going out target shooting. First of all I am not really pro-gun, in fact regulating guns would be just fine with me. Second you have to understand the personalities of the individuals with whom I am going shooting. The home teacher, very nice man, age of my mother, extreme right wing, served in Vietnam, probably has flash backs (PTSD). The Ward firearms expert, seems like a nice guy but in need of serious psychological drugs. (even his wife admits that, and after a 5 minute conversation most people agree) See why I think gun regulation is a good thing? Good news for me, wife of Ward firearms expert will be coming with us.

The thing I find ironic about the whole situation is that where I live now is a very safe neighborhood, as in like ZERO crime except for the occasional teenage prank or vandalism. In my former life I lived in the “hood” so to speak. And of that I am not kidding. I had ‘gang” bangers who lived across the street from me. One Christmas the cops used my house as a look out because they were expecting a drive by shooting at the house across the street in retaliation for a drive by my neighbors had done on a rival gang. So I have a hard time getting overly concerned about my safety. Of course I am not stupid about it either. I lock my doors, have an alarm system etc.

The other thing that is funny about the gun is that I am incapable of opening the case where the gun is stored. The case has these latches that I do not have the finger strength to open. I never have, and I never will. I have always had to have a male open the case for me. So future burglars, robbers, kidnapper etc., please note that if you come to my house I will probably politely ask you to open the gun case in order for me to retrieve the gun with which to shoot and or frighten you with.

That being said, when you receive a gift, you must take it with the intent of the giver. Both of these gentleman who have agreed to take me shooting, are concerned about me and my well being, and only have my best interest at heart. So while target shooting might not be my “thing” it is a way that both of them can serve me in a difficult time, which is a gift I gladly accept.

To be continued…..

Monday, December 22, 2008

Armed and Loaded (part 2 of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving”)

One cannot target shoot without ammunition. Had the gun, had no ammo. Needed ammo. Now mind you I have NEVER purchased ammo in my life. I believe that after I purchased the gun, a friend of mine gave me ammo for a gift, which is what I used the one and only time I shot the gun off. So to the local sporting goods store I headed.

I pulled into the parking lot, which of course was filled with very LARGE pickup truck mostly of the Chevy or Ford variety. My poor little BMW 335 was feeling out of place, as was its owner. Clearly we were not at Macy’s anymore…

I entered the store filled with all sorts of hunting paraphernalia, and head to the back where I presumed the guns and ammo to be. I passed several shelves of ammo, but rather than try to figure out what I needed I decided the most efficient way to purchase my ammo would be to find a sales clerk, and plead ignorance. I approached the gun counter and patiently waited. (Apparently the election of a Democrat has all of the right wing extremists concerned and gun sales are on the rise.) In the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday there were no less than three people selecting guns. One was shopping for a hand gun, and two for rifles. I politely listened to the salesmen touting the benefits of each gun, using words and language entirely unfamiliar to me, hence increasing my anxiety level about being there, and wanting to get my ammo and get the hell out before I started wanting to drive a pick up with a gun rack, and wear lots of camouflage.

Finally a salesman asked me if I was being helped. I replied “No.” I guess prior to that I must have looked like some confused girlfriend/wife of one of the gentleman considering the purchase of a firearm. (Note to self, wear lawyer attire next time shopping for ammo, might be taken more seriously…) I informed the salesman I needed ammo for a 9mm hand gun. He then asked if I needed “Plinko” or “Self defense.” What???? I had a choice????? Furthermore what was Plinko? Self defense seemed self evident. Not wanting to look entirely stupid and have him refuse to sell me the ammunition due to being blonde and very clueless, although I am sure that was apparent, I simply said “I am going target shooting.” He informed me I wanted “plinko” and directed me to the shelf where “plinko” was located. Next he wanted to know if I wanted silver or brass casings. What???? I had ANOTHER choice????? I looked at him with a questioning eye and he told me the silver casings were not reloadable, but the brass ones were.

Seriously did I look like a women who was going to reload empty casings???? I think not…I don’t even want to shoot the gun to begin with, let alone collect my casings and reload them!!!! I indicated that I would take the silver, and politely grabbed two boxes, (100 rounds, I think that should be sufficient) and made haste to the register to leave this strange environment as soon as possible. One debit card purchase later, I was safely back in my BMW 335 leaving the land of guns, ammo, and very LARGE trucks. (Isn’t a large truck a sign of overcompensation?) humm…

To be continued….

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can you bring my gun to Thanksgiving dinner? (part 1)

Several years ago, in another life, I was a prosecuting attorney. As a result I received a number of death threats, most of which I did not take seriously. After all I was single at the time, no children, so death threats did not bother me, because I did not have a whole lot to lose. Not that I wanted to die mind you, but the seriousness with which I would take a death threat today, is vastly different than it was several years ago.

Because my father was wiser, and apparently valued my life more that I did, he insisted that I get a gun, a hand gun to be precise. I honestly could have cared less about owning a gun. (Although I did idolize Charlie’s Angles as a young child/tween, and guns in their purses were a mainstay.) In order to appease my father I purchased a 9mm, semi-automatic gun. I took it out shooting once and it has been in its case ever sense. Probably needs to be cleaned…. For reason I will not go into here, for the last 6 years the gun has taken up residence in the gun safe at my brother-in-laws house.

Well with the recently re-location of my husband, one of my home teachers has taken it upon himself to ensure my personal safety. He brought me over an 11 page, single space document on self defense that he prepared in 2002 and asked me if I had a gun. I reported that I did, but did not report that the location of my gun was actually about 20 miles south of my house. He then questioned how long it had been since I shot my gun. I sheepishly told him it had been a number of years. He then informed me that we were going to go out and shoot my gun. I said “Yeah that would be great” honestly thinking he was not serious. Oh no….he was serious. The next time I saw him he told me he had already spoken with the firearms expect in our ward, (he teaches gun safety for fun) and had arranged to go and warm the metal of my oh so cold hand gun, and see what kind of aim I have. (Little does he know my aim is terrible, perhaps I should warn him in advance that a flack jacket might be in order.)

Well I could not go shooting without my gun so the day before Thanksgiving I called my sister-in-law up and said “Hey can you bring my gun to Thanksgiving dinner?” She paused and said “ok.” Then I realized how bad that sounded, and she was probably questioning if she even wanted to come to Thanksgiving dinner. She was relieved to hear that I was planning on going target shooting, and did not have anyone in the family in my sight…..

Gun delivered Thanksgiving Day. To be continued…

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Apparently I have acquired a number of friends over the years, and all this drama in my life has caused them to crawl out from under the rocks they have been hiding and back into my life.

I am a friendly person, outgoing, easy to talk to, and after all the years I have spent in the courtroom, not much of anything intimidates me except those plastic Barbie looking women whom seem to have taken over the generation just younger than me. Where I live unfortunately they run rampant. (Yes, I know letting them get to me is silly, I probably scare them more than they scare me. After all I can put together a grammatically correct sentence, usually…)

As a result of my friendliness I have had a lot of people to tell about my “situation” because I don’t want them to hear it on the grapevine. Inevitably lots have heard it on the grapevine because bad news travels very FAST. People from work, people from church, friends from high school, friends from college, people from my former life in another state, relatives out the wazoo….all wanting to let me know they care.

I have received numerous phone calls, cards and email. I never knew I KNEW that many people, and that many people cared about ME. It’s been comforting, a blessing, and an inspiration to me that along the way I have touched so many lives. It’s funny how we see ourselves, and the perception that others have of us. We truly are, are own worst critic. We fault ourselves, we blame ourselves, we guilt ourselves, we let Satan and his minions tell us we have no value. Yet those around us rarely see us that way, they see our value, they see our good works, they see our tender hearts, they love us for who we are. It’s good to have friends to remind us who we truly are.

Monday, December 15, 2008

To Judge.

I am a judge. No, seriously I mean it. That is what I do for a living. It is quite interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them I am a judge. First of all, I am young so they don’t expect me to be a judge. (I was in the right place at the right time, another story, different blog) Second, I really don’t look judicial. I guess I don’t look mean enough apparently. And third, I don’t act like a judge. I really am a very nice person, most people don’t think I can throw down the hammer. The good news for me, I do civil work, so no one goes to jail, and its appellate level work, so I don’t actually have to see the parties, they have already had their hearing in front of another judge. I just see the transcript of their hearing along with all the exhibits, and their arguments on appeal, and write a written decision.

Another myth about being a judge, you would think that I would be quick to judge. But to the contrary I am not. I am probably one of the least judgmental individuals you will encounter, and it comes from being a judge and the limits on me as I try to judge others.

My job is to apply the facts to the law. Often times I know the way I am ruling goes against the real truth, but if the party with the burden of proof does not present the correct evidence, I can’t make a ruling that is not supported by legally competent evidence. I also can’t make a ruling that goes against the law. I have sworn to uphold the law, as distasteful as sometimes that is.

I also know from being a judge that there are two sides to every story. I sometimes wonder when I am reading the testimony of two individuals who had a conversation together if they were even in the same room. Yes, sometimes one party is out and out lying, but other times both parties honestly believe they are telling the truth, and the truth is a matter of perception. I am limited in what I can do, I don’t know their hearts. I can only take what is before me and apply the facts to the law.

Outside of my job I cringe when others are quick to judge. They are judging based on their limited perception of the facts, as applied to their life experience and values. Is it fair to impose our life experience and values to individuals who may not share those? Why are our values any more important than those of anyone else? Didn’t the Savior set the ultimate example by LOVING everyone, even those shunned by society, for choices and values not shared by those who were judging?

This is why I am grateful that the job of judging our lives lies with the Savior and our Heavenly Father. I have a very incomplete perception of reality when I judge and I know my judgment is limited. The Lord has a complete perception of our lives and his judgment is not limited. He understands our challenges, he knows our hearts, he knows our intent and it is by HIS full perception of reality that we will be judged. Thank goodness.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Last night I was sitting at enrichment listening to a speaker who had clearly faced several challenges in her life. She began by telling the story of her mother’s passing which followed a long illness. Despite the fact her mother had been ill she collapsed suddenly on the bathroom floor and was gone. The speaker then began to detail the bitterness she felt toward the Lord for his failure to take her mother in a manner contrary to what the speaker believed her mother was promised in her patriarchal blessing. After a year or two of bitterness she began to see the Lord had done what was promised in the patriarchal blessing, it was a matter of a new perspective for the speaker. She then said how often she felt the presence of her mother near, in quiet moments. I connected with the speaker and her story, and reflected on my own mother’s passing, and the questions I have had over the years about the influence she continues to have in my life.

She next moved on to a story of another trial the difficulty of which more intense than the trial of the passing of her mother. Although she did not say, I suspect it was a divorce. She said that despite the difficulty of the trial she resolved to be happy and not allow this trial to make her bitter as the first trial had done. She said our trials can either make us bitter or better, and we having a fullness of the gospel need allow our trials to make us better, and not bitter. The Lord teaches us through our trials, and we can’t learn if we are bitter. It is when we humble ourselves and submit our will to the Lord that we can become better, and it is a matter of inviting Him into our lives, and radiating the gospel even during our trials. Satan distracts us by keeping us busy so that become numb to the spirit. We have to make time for those quiet moments in which to converse with the Lord.

As I sat there I could not help but think she was speaking directly to me. She said whenever she goes on a speaking assignment she never prepares an outline, she never tell the group in advance what she is going to talk about, she prays and allows the spirit to speak through her. Several times during her talk she told us how beautiful we were and that we needed to smile and let the gospel reflect and radiate through our eyes. She told the sisters, “Many of you sitting her do not believe you are beautiful. Many of you have let the media dictate your standard of beauty, and find yourselves never living up to that standard. Sisters if your daughter was sitting up here on the stand would you allow her to think that she is not beautiful? No you would not allow your daughter to think she is not beautiful. Your mother wants you to know you are beautiful.” As she said those words it was as if my mother was speaking to me. Tears began to stream down my face. The speaker did not know the struggles I have faced dealing with my body image issues, and how my mother factored into that. But I knew those words “Your mother wants you to know you are beautiful” came from my mother to me through this speaker. I am beautiful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Choice

I have been a member of the church all my life. In fact I am about a 6th generation Mormon, on BOTH sides of my family. Being a member all my life I have naturally taken my testimony for granted. From the time I was very little I knew what was expected of me and how my life was to play out. As a child, teenager and young adult, I also knew varying from the course would bring the disappointment of my parents as well as my grandparents, and a good old dose of Mormon guilt. I believed because my parents believed, because my grandparents believed, because everyone around me believed. I only recall one time where I did make a choice. I had a boyfriend in college who was not LDS. (Ok, so I did not totally do EVERYTHING that was expected of me.) I loved him and wanted to marry him, but I could not bring myself to do it because I knew I wanted to have children and did not think it would be fair to my kids to have them, know the truth, and then not raise them accordingly. (Ok, I guess I did have a testimony, otherwise that would not have mattered)

I have known my husband since high school and we have always been good friends. After I broke it off with the non-LDS guy I started dating my husband. After a LONG period of dating, (guess that should have been a clue) we got married. At the time we got married he was much more spiritual than me. Again I felt as if I was just going through the motions, like I had been doing for most of my life. I poo-pooed scripture study, because I never really developed a love of the scriptures, probably due to the tortured scripture study my parents forced us to engage in, which never resulted in any spiritual experiences, just torment for all involved. I thought the temple was a “little different,” and poo-pooed going back and doing sessions. Conference, yeah I would catch it if I could, unless something better came along. Ensign, it came to my house, and got opened once a month for determine what the visiting teaching message was. We lived apart due to work for the first few years of our marriage, so we never developed a good habit of praying together. Over the course of several years my husband began to adapt to my less than stellar attitude toward the Church and the check list of things I felt were an expectation to be a good Mormon. In many ways I wonder if I had been more diligent and faithful would he have started to question the Church? Probably, but maybe not as soon. It is a question I will never know the answer to and begs the question “Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate…without them what would shape our lives?”

As he began to question, I became more diligent and faithful, and I did not even realize I was doing it. It was little by little, over time. Suddenly we were at a cross roads. He reached the point where he did not want to return to church and wanted nothing to do with the Church. He began breaking covenants he made without remorse. He even at one point suggested that perhaps we could have an open marriage. I had a choice. It was clear that the Church and my husband could not both harmoniously co-exist in my life. I had to choose one or the other. Either choice would result in a new life for me. A life with him, living a very worldly existence, or a life without him, left alone in a Church where family values are the expected norm.

I chose the life without him. As much as I loved him and wanted to stay married to him, I could not deny what I knew to be true. I could not live a life that was not in harmony with my core beliefs. I could not give the Church up. It was then I realized how strong my testimony really was. It was not my parent’s testimony, it was not my grandparent’s testimony, it was MY testimony. I had a choice and I was grateful for that choice. I was grateful to be awakened from my slumber of going through the motions. I was grateful to feel spiritually alive. I knew it was the right choice for me.

Could the Lord have taught me that lesson in other ways? Probably. But then again, don’t our mistakes make our fate and shape our lives?

Monday, December 8, 2008

HE hears, HE listens

All weekend I have been struggling with self-doubt and feeling sorry for myself. I have been feeling sorry for myself because I really want to be in a relationship and be married. I want an eternal companion, and I thought I had one..... It seems as if all around me I see cute couples holding hands, loving each other, and here I stand ALONE. Its completely unfair.

I try to have faith that when the time is right Heavenly Father will let me know and I can begin looking. Currently the time is not right. I have emotional wounds to heal, I have spiritual development I need, I have children to who need time to adjust to the new normal, I have people who's lives I need to affect, I need to adjust to the new normal, and let go of the old... It is not the right time.... I. HAVE. TO. WAIT.

I hate to wait. As a child I opened my Christmas presents early. I scouted the house for all the hiding places of unopened Christmas presents, I had to know the sex of each child the minute it was possible, and pushed my doctors for an early delivery. Waiting is not my speciality, which is probably why the Lord is going to make me wait....I need to learn that virtue.

As I felt pity for myself for the last few days that everyone else gets a "happy ever after," I knelt in prayer on Saturday night and poured out my heart to he Lord. Told him of my struggles, my desires, which of course he already knew, and asked for more faith that the future would work its self out in due course of time.

Sunday was a great day. It is highly unusual for me to get ANYTHING out of sacrament meeting with three small children. But despite every moment of my time being diverted from by one child or another, I heard the message. It was President Uchtdorf's conference talk on "Lift where you stand." Although it was originally directed to the brethren in the priesthood session, our Stake President thought the message was universal for all within our stake. The speakers both talked on affecting the lives of those around us by serving. Equally as good was Relief Society where we focused on Elder Holland's talk on Angels. I left church feeling spiritually renewed and so thankful that I can go to church and feel peace.

My home teachers then came over in the afternoon. Rather than give me a message from conference they chose to focus their message on negative thoughts and self doubt, reminding me that all negative thoughts come from Satan and his worshipers, as they strive to bring us down, and that the LORD will never leave us and all things good and positive come from him. It was just the message I needed to hear. I thanked them and they told me it was the message they felt inspired to give. How could they have known...they couldn't have without the help of the LORD. HE heard me, and they listened to HIS prompting, and brought HIS words of comfort to me. They left with a blessing on my house that my house would be a house of peace and refuge and that the negative spirits will not dwell here as long as we invite the spirit to be here.

HE hears, HE listens.

Friday, December 5, 2008


My husband will be the first to admit to you that I have been a good wife to him, not a perfect wife but a good one.

He works very hard, some would say he is even a workaholic, and very rarely would I complain about his long hours, and the resulting long days for me with the kids. I knew that he was working hard to provide a good living for us, and I wanted to do everything I could to support him in that effort. I would edit projects for him, help him stay on task, encourage him when he had a discouraging day, sympathize with him we he felt the forces of the world were against him, and give him a long back rub to put him to sleep at night. I tried to avoid “nagging” about things around the house that needed attention, especially if he had been working long hours and finishing big projects. When he was done with projects and needed “husband” time to re-group, I would try, although I was not always successful, to allow him his time without becoming upset or bitter because I had worked every bit as hard in a different way.

I plan a menu every week, so each night he would come home to a nice dinner that we would all enjoy together as a family. I did the laundry, took his shirts to the cleaners, bought clothes for him, in fact everyone at work always thinks he is the best dressed guy there because I considered him my personal “ken” doll. I am an organizer, so I would keep the house organized and running smoothly, keep the kids on track with homework and piano practice, decorate for the holidays, Christmas shop for everyone but me, remind him of upcoming things outside of work that he needed to do or attend, pay the bills, clean the house, grocery shop, and basically try to make our home environment a place where we could love and enjoy each other as a family.

I tried to allow him to make choices about how we spend family time, and tried to consider his input in making family choices. For the last year when he was on a diet, I encouraged his long work outs so he could lose the weight he wanted. I would make him a healthy lunch, so he would not have to make bad food choices, in addition he would have more time at the office to work, and hopefully come home sooner to us.

I did not do any of these things out of duty or obligation, I did them because I LOVED him and I wanted him to be happy, successful, and feel good about himself and our life. I will admit that sometimes I did allow myself to be bitter because I felt like I was doing all these things for him and they became an expectation by him, and not an appreciation for the sacrifice I was making. (I work too, about 25 hours a week.) The other thing that was hard is there was very little return by him other than money. I never married him for his money in fact at the time we got married I earned more than he did. I wanted his time and attention not his money. Despite this I still continued to be supportive of him, because I LOVED him, and knew that I was a key to his success. I can honestly say I enjoyed doing those things for him and if I were to go back and live my life over again I would still do those things.

Now he is gone there is a big void in my life where I used to spend time and energy on him. I miss being a wife. There is a huge part of me that wants to get re-married (to a new guy) NOW, which I know just sounds utterly crazy since we have only been separated for such a short period, but I really want someone in my life, other than my kids, that I can spoil and take care of. I miss that….. I also know I need time, and lots of it, to find “me” again. One of the reasons I don’t want to file for divorce immediately, is I want to have time and distance for myself. I don’t want the self imposed pressure of feeling like I have to date again, or the pressure from others to set me up. I need to emotionally heal myself before I can think about getting into a new relationship.

And I do think about a new relationship….I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life. I would LOVE to have a guy that I can spoil, who in return will adore and value me. It’s hard to have faith that it will happen again. I think about all the baggage, i.e. young children, a gay ex-husband etc., that I would bring to a new relationship and wonder what guy would want to deal with all of that? How long do I have to wait to find that guy? One year, two years, five years, ten years, into the eternities? I think how unfair it has been to me that I did not do anything to cause this relationship to end, yet I suffer the consequences of his choices.

And for now I am alone…..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anger vs. Love

I had a friend of mine several months ago who gave me this analogy, which I have thought about.

He said: “Some people think anger and love are opposite emotions, I think they are same or similar emotion that runs on a parallel track. You can jump from one track to the other almost instantly, by being angry one moment and loving someone in the next moment. The mutual opposite of anger and love is indifference. When indifference exists you have neither anger nor love.”

I have thought about that a lot. My husband and I are committed to keeping a good working relationship between us. He went through a nasty divorce as a child when his parents separated, so he knows the impact to kids, and in my profession I have see the affects of a nasty divorce on all parties, husband, wife and kids, so I too know the lasting damage that can be caused. So we keep our lines of communication open, and have agreed on certain rules and parenting for the kids. We are both committed to now allowing our children to play us against each other and the importance of having a united front.

I have tried to continue to be as supportive of him as I was when we were together. I have enough sense to know that if he is happy and settled in his life he will be a better father, and my job as a mother will be easier. That does not mean this mature behavior is EASY. To the contrary it is HARD. I have felt angry and I know that is a natural part of the grieving process. My goal is to channel that anger in a productive way that does not harm or impact my relationship with him. I will vent my anger to friends, co-worker etc, and avoid directing it at him. I will write all the terrible things I am feeling about him down, just to get them out. It also means biting my tongue a lot. When we are together he says something that just irritates the hell out of me, and I want to come back with a stinging comment, I don’t. I think the comment in my head, and make a conscious choice not to verbalize it. Silence is better.

I had originally planned to go out of state for Thanksgiving. My plans fell through and I ended up staying at home. I called to tell him I would be joining his family for Thanksgiving and we were discussing arrangements for the kids. I told him since I was going to be here for Thanksgiving I thought it would be a good time to put the Christmas tree up. He told me that he had already spoken to his dad and they were planning on going to the storage unit to get out the Christmas stuff and he was going to surprise me by having it up when I got home, because he knew the demands on my time. I was stunned. Putting up the Christmas stuff is a 2-3 hour time commitment, and given how guarded he is of his time I was surprised he was willing to do that on his own initiative.

It touched me, and reminded me that he does care about me, then I was angry. I did not want him to be nice to me. I want to be mad and ANGRY at him right now. I can’t be mad and ANGRY if he is giving me the thing he values most, his time. But I am. I am mad that he is being nice. I think it would be so much easier if we were acting on our anger. It’s harder to LOVE than to be ANGRY. When he does those nice things, albeit they are few and far between, it reminds me that he truly is a kind and loving person and why I feel in love with him to begin with.

I understand and get the parallel track analogy. LOVE and ANGER are different forms of the same strong emotion. I wonder when and if, indifference will come…..

Monday, December 1, 2008

He took his ring off.....

Sometime around the middle of August my husband got invited to a party by several of his non-member gay friends. It was a Saturday night. He asked if it would be ok to go. Knowing how important his friends are, I knew if my response was anything other than “yes” he would pout for the rest of the week-end and tell me how much I control his life, and he does not get any “me” time. So I said yes, knowing there would be drinking and there would probably be pornography involved. He said ‘oh I will only be a hour.” Translation I will be 3-4 hours.

He has a habit of underestimating both time and money to me. Anytime he gives me a number that relates to either time or money I automatically triple the amount. Clearly he does this because he does not want to face the truth about either his time or his money. Additionally he believes that if he underestimates either one of those to me it’s better than telling the truth because I might say “no” and currently he does not want to hear “no” from anyone in his life. Plus in his mind a half truth is not a lie. I wonder how much of this relates to his hiding his homosexuality all his life? If you have been lying to yourself all your life, trying to suppress how you really feel does it color you perception of reality to the point that you detach yourself about the reality of life, including how you spend both your time and money, two valuable resources we are given?

Alright back to the party. He left early in the evening, and sent me text messages throughout the party, about what a good time he was having. He had a little to drink to he stayed until about 11:00p.m. in order to sober up before coming home. When he arrived home I was on the computer and he came into the office to talk to me about the party. As we were talking I happened to notice his hand and his wedding ring was not on his hand. I was shocked. He NEVER takes his ring off, he sleeps with it on, he showers, he works out, it never comes off. That night it did. I elected at the time not to say anything and just file it away and ponder this newly acquired information. I guess my face did not hide it well because later he told me he realized I had noticed.

It was about six weeks later in a discussion we were having about our relationship that I brought up the issue of his coming home from the party without his ring on. He then told me when he realized I saw he was not wearing his ring he thought to himself “oh shit” because he knew it would upset me. During our discussion I asked him why he took his ring off. He told me that he did not want to have to explain to anyone at the party that he was married. It was a conscious choice and he was unapologetic about it.

In many ways the ring incident was the nail in the coffin for me. I knew things were headed in a direction that it seemed impossible our marriage would survive, but once he took his ring off and had no remorse about it, I knew we were growing too far apart. I could not stay, watch him go out with his friends, knowing he was on the “prowl” just waiting for him to come home one day and tell me he met someone and was leaving me. I was not a wife anymore, I was the maid, I was the cook, I was the accountant, I was the babysitter, I was the laundress. I wanted more, I deserved more, I wanted to be a wife.