I am my own wife now and I’m finding out just how good I’m going to treat myself.
Am I going to be a good wife or a bad wife?
I didn’t start out very good. I almost starved to death.
I forgot to eat because there was no one to cook for and I didn’t have anybody asking me, what’s to eat, what’s for lunch, what’s for supper, do you want to go out to eat, do you want me to go get something?
I was in a food vacuum, food just didn’t exist.
What I noticed was my deodorant wasn’t working, so I changed brands several times and when that didn’t help, I started to do some research on Google to find out what’s strange illness I might have that was causing an odor deodorant couldn’t manage.
I found out that I wasn’t putting enough food into my body and that my body was burning muscle to survive. The odor was from being in a state of starvation. I was shocked. I knew I had to eat to live, but I didn’t know I could die from not eating enough.
I had been wasting away and I hadn’t even noticed.
I took off my clothes to take a look at my body and it wasn’t good. Skin and bones.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been hungry. I had already lost too much weight before my husband and I separated and the scale reported that I’d dropped ten more pounds and I hadn’t even noticed.
I had been eating yogurt and an egg once or twice a week, a couple of spoonful’s of peanut butter every day, but my body was not happy and it wanted some real food.
I learned that once you are in the starvation mode, it gets dangerous. I had to start to eat slowly because starvation damages the heart and I could actually have a heart attack if I started to eat too quickly.
I went to the store and I bought more than just peanut butter, coffee, milk and dog food.
I searched for food that I used to like, so I could tempt myself to eat. I stood there crying because I could barely remember what I liked.
Just shopping for groceries was traumatic. I hadn’t shopped for groceries since my husband retired. We used to joke that he was the wife now and he said I could just write while he took care of cooking, shopping and helped with laundry.
It wasn’t really funny. I stopped shopping a few months after he retired because whatever I brought home wasn’t right, wrong brand, wrong price, wrong flavor. I stopped cooking because he would disagree with the what, the how, the why and the end result. I wasn’t even able to feed the dogs the way he wanted, and if I made my own coffee he would ask why I didn’t have him make it for me.
To some, it looked like I was a pampered princess, but I was actually removed from my kitchen. His at home-ness led to my retirement as a wife. He took over the bills, the kitchen, the shopping and the dogs and I allowed it. I gave up.
So I am my own wife now. It’s been five months, and I am treating myself much better, but it takes awareness and effort. I spoiled my husband and my kids forever, so I know how to do it, I just have to turn that love towards myself.
I started eating slowly. I started cooking for myself for the first time in years. Actual meals. My daughter and grandson come over for supper at least twice a week now and that motivates me to cook. I’ve only gained a pound, but I’m back to my favorite deodorant and it works.
The dogs are happy and well fed, so it turns out that I do know how to feed them. I haven’t cried at the grocery store lately, so I believe I am learning to be a good wife. To myself.
When Codependency Therapy Fails
My sisters and I, we like to love Mad Men. Seriously.
We are Crazy Women.
The Mad Men we love are always mad at the world and we spend way too much valuable time trying to make them calm and happy…
We are old-fashioned, cooking and cleaning while working full-time, loving our man all night, kinda women.
It doesn’t help very much.
Turns out Mad Men don’t want the all night loving after they get you. They are too busy being Mad at you.
But Mad Men don’t always tell you when they’re Mad…they just make you pay in a million little ways and then tell you it’s your fault.
Can you say Gaslight?
The Mad Men think everything revolves around them and I’m being brutally honest here, Crazy Women agree.
Splitting up is as common as Full Moons in our homes.
We certainly know how to leave, we just don’t know how to stay gone, so reuniting is also on our agendas just as often.
Fight. Cry. Talk. Don’t talk. Pack. Leave. Talk every night for hours. Agree on a fresh start. Pack up. Go home. Unpack. Pack. Leave.
We put up with a bunch of bullshit, but luckily the Mad Men are all different, so our phone calls and visits never get boring.
We got rid of the Mad Men who hit many years ago. I give us credit for that.
However, there are thousands of ways to hurt another human being without hitting them.
We watched our mom maneuver this same road with our dad, a truly certifiable Mad Man, and we vowed that we’d never marry a man like him.
But we did.
We are not weak women.
We are strong, intelligent, creative, loving, caring, beautiful women.
But once we fall in love, we give of ourselves until we break and we do not accept defeat gracefully.
My dad begged my mom to leave him before he killed her in a drunken stupor, which he was working on every night, the killing and the stupor.
He would try to wrap the phone cord around her neck and strangle her while my twelve-year-old sister sat on Mom’s lap and stopped him.
My mother’s most famous words were, “Go to bed. your father is not going to kill (or hurt) anyone tonight.”
Our strongest model of reality and she told us we were safe when we were not safe.
Dad even stood over our beds with his hunting rifle now and then. Pondering killing us.
Reality has been confusing for us, at best.
As young girls, we all had a turn sleeping in front of Mom’s bedroom door trying to listen under the crack to see if she was still breathing.
If dad got quiet, she would say, “Go to bed, Ray.”
You would have thought she’d stuck a hot poker in his side because those words would spur the Mad Man on for another hour.
When I write it down and then read it back, it sounds insane and it was, but that was how we lived.
My dad would rant and rave until the sun came up and then we would all try to go to school and my mom would go to work…
It wasn’t hard to find a better man than my father, but I know for myself it took me a long time to realize that on a core level, I was recreating the dynamics of my childhood home and trying to make it come out right.
Four divorces between us, one of us married the same Mad Man twice, not naming any names, baby sister. I would have married mine twice too, but I never got brave enough to divorce him.
I did leave my Mad Man five times, six if you count spending a few nights (alone) crying in a motel. I think that counts.
Serious enough about not going back to buy my own place to live, twice.
I’m in the second place I bought right now, packing to go back home, again.
My sisters and I, we like to love Mad Men. Seriously.
We are Crazy Women.
I have the beginning stages of Fuhgedia or as its also called on the street, Fuhgeddaboudit.
It’s a very peculiar illness and quite common in codependent women.
We go through life blocking out our daily experiences and feelings so well that we start to fuhged who we are and what we are doing, who you are and if you are related to us.
We don’t remember who we were before someone told us who we needed to be, what the desires of our heart really are and how we would like to wear our hair.
So you might have to tell me things more than once…things like the day my newest great-grand baby is due, your birthday, my birthday, what day of the week it is…stuff like that.
Otherwise, I’ll just fuhged about it.
Jeanne Marie, 2016
Ten Questions About Blank Spaces
1. Love it?
2. Hate it?
3.A Totally been there?
3.B If so, hope to fill another Blank Space soon?
4. Done some of that?
5. Woke up in restraints with no memory of the night before?
6. Not admitting anything because you’re still on probation?
7. Married him?
8. Had his children?
9. OMG! None of the above?
10. OMG! All of the above?
I can’t be anyone but me.
I can’t see anything
That I can’t see
Until my eyes are opened
Then I can’t look away
When you call me a bitch
I want to move so far away
When you loudly call me
F—— pathetic in Denny’s
I eat my stack of pancakes
Covered in syrup and butter
Even though I want to run home
But home is where we live
So honestly, home is no better.
As I yearn to be alone
Syrup and tears
Taste familiar together.
Where is the woman
I thought I’d be?
Where is the man
I thought you were?
The perfect couple
They always said
But if this is love
I’d rather be dead.
You say it’s my fault
When you yell
Swear and scream.
I make you so mad
That’s why you’re
Being so mean.
Verbal abuse I tell you
No, it’s not you say
With a confident smirk
Your conscious is clean.
So, when I’m gone
Will you look in the mirror
With only yourself
To be called a f——jerk?
The worst of it all
Since you ask, is
Becoming just like you
As I call you a f—— ass.
by Jeanne Marie