Lots of things. Life gets really big sometimes.
Adjustments are hard for anyone. Divorce is traumatic for anyone. Teaching is strenuous for anyone. Add in mental illness and extra trauma and life gets really big with lots of things.
We ended off our summer with a bang. The kids and I went to Las Vegas and played with family, then out to California and played with friends and more family. We hit resorts, shopping, theme parks, beaches. It was marvelous and relaxing and exactly what we needed. Miraculously, I didn’t hear a peep from him until the day before we came home. Then he hit it hard, with a vengeance, stalked us some more, and went to jail again.
But we’re getting better at handling him. My choice is back and I’m going to fight with everything I have to keep it. I felt so good after our vacation. So relaxed, so centered, so able. When he started in on his regular and expected behavior, I fought to stay in that space. I decided–I chose–to recognize the anxiety I always feel, but then to compartmentalize it. To say “Yes, he is on the attack again, but he does not get to have my happy.” So many times I felt myself attempting to shut down to survive over the last week, but I chose not to, because that space doesn’t let me feel. I felt the anxiety, faced it, and worked through it. I felt the anger, faced it, and used it to fuel my resolve to not allow him or anyone or anything else to shift me out of my safe and happy space. I chose happy.
Even when he was harassing me with texts, I chose happy. Even when he was trying to get me paranoid with his lies, I chose happy. Even when he showed up at my church and didn’t leave and cops were walking around the halls looking for him and I was sitting there at the church building filling out even more reports, I chose happy.
He is an annoying buzz in my periphery. He is always there–I have to remain aware of him–but I get to choose to let him get louder or not. When he is loud and buzzing in my face, I get the swatter, take care of business, and then he gets to just buzz in my periphery again. But he does not get to control me or manipulate me or take away my choice or my voice anymore.
It’s so hard for the kids to stand up to him, too. It’s hard for all of us when they refuse to see him, even when it is supervised and safe. But they are so done. They are so worn out by him and his lies and manipulation and coercion and emotional terrorism. They dread having to employ the energy it takes to keep themselves emotionally safe from him. But they do their best and I am so proud of them. They use their voices and enforce their choices. They are powerful.
We had a fantastic vacation last week. We started school this week. My son’s birthday party was last night. We’re getting two puppies tomorrow! There are lots of things, but a lot of them are good things. We will focus on those to choose happy. Life is great, grand, and wonderful, with some yucky mixed in. We will soar through the yucky and ride the great, grand, and wonderful. Because that is what we choose.