Sidestepping the Pain

I don’t want to write about pain anymore.  Yes, I am in pain.  Every time I think it’s gone, it resurfaces, and I wallow.  And I’m so, so tired of it!  If the only way out is through it, I guess I won’t get out,  because I’m not going through it anymore.  I’m going to side-step it.

What do I mean by that?  I mean this:

I am going to do Something different every day.

This probably sounds crazy, right?  Don’t most people do something different every day?  Or, if not every day, at least every few days?  Isn’t it normal for people to do something different to tackle their problems?  Of course it is.

Normal, though, has had no role in my life for over 20 years.  For 20 years I’ve been paralyzed.  Give me the tiniest of all problems and I was paralyzed, filled with indecision, doubt, lack of energy and eventually physical illness.

Doing something, anything, is exhausting for me.  I started yoga, and I’ve made this part of my daily routine, yet often one class is exhausting.   There are many days that this is all I can do, I am so filled with self doubt.

A few weeks ago I bought a Groupon for new glasses (it took me 1 week of seeing the offer to buy it).  I was having terrible difficulty seeing, and I assumed I needed a stronger prescription.  It wasn’t until I looked at my glasses while wearing an older pair of glasses, that I realized they are scratched to bits!  I bought the Groupon, waited 3 weeks because of anxiety, then made an appointment for an eye exam.  I went, then listened for a half an hour while the optometrist told me about her recent trip to Columbia.  I listened like I usually do, feeling captive, refusing to assert my boundaries, boundaries that would have anyone else saying “hey, I’m here  for an eye exam, not a social event”.  After a half an hour I did suggest that perhaps the exam should start which, for me, was a new thing.  It was a side-step.

After the exam, which revealed I do need a new prescription, I started shopping for new frames.  After I picked them out, with the aid of the salesperson, I was given the bill:  with the $178 off from the Groupon, I would owe $425 for 1 pair of glasses.  I hesitated.  My old normal would have been to go along with the sale and, either pay this outrageous amount or call later in the week and cancel it.  This day, I did neither of those.  I said “hmm….I’ll have to think about this and get back to you”.  As I left, while bummed I wouldn’t get new glasses, I felt a bit of pride that I didn’t let myself get totally taken advantage of.  Once again, I side-stepped.

Today, I went to 2 different glasses stores (is that what they call them?) and got quotes for the glasses I need.  I didn’t buy.  I made it clear that I was just shopping around; I just needed to know the cost.  I won’t say I felt great about it, but it was okay.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  There was a part of me that felt that I deserved this information, even though a part of me was silently chiding “cheap bitch”.   Again, I side-stepped. I have not yet bought the glasses, but I think I will in the next few weeks, when I find the best deal I can get.

This week I also started contacting private schools for my younger son.  He is totally lost in the public school system, and I am heart broken watching him struggle, and feel out of place.  It never dawned on me that we might qualify for financial aid, until I was assured by a therapist that he is exactly the kid, and we the “family”, that schools like to give scholarships to.  I talked to him, he agreed, and I researched and found 4 potential schools.  I reached out to all of them and we are going to our first open house tomorrow.

I know that if he likes one of these schools I’ll have to fight like crazy to get him the aid we need for him to go.  I know we also will probably have to move, which I haven’t yet discussed with him, and am trying not to think about.  All of these are examples of me side-stepping.

A year ago I wouldn’t have done any of these things.  I would have bought the outrageously expensive glasses, with my ex’s approval, only to have him bring up, repeatedly, how much I “cost”.  Jokingly, if in front of the children.

A year ago I wouldn’t have considered looking for a private school for my son.  My ex would have said I was “over-reacting”, boys will be boys, I expected too much, and it was a ludicrous mission, wasting all of our time.  I would also have heard “he can’t miss basketball practice” which, given the fact that the child is 5′ 2″, overweight and asthmatic, is perhaps the most logical thing for him to miss!

As I write this my shoulders are slumped in my default feeling of defeat.  I am exhausted, and scared, and am questioning everything I’m doing.  Maybe I spent my entire week doing the exact opposite of the Right Thing.  It’s possible that I’m being unreasonable about the glasses.  It’s possible that I’m being a total idiot about my son getting financial aid.  I could be setting all of us up for huge disappointment.  I don’t know.

Since I have no idea what is right and what is wrong, what I can control and what I can’t, what I have a right to ask for and what I don’t, I feel like I have no other choice but to side-step my way through it.  All I can do is take one step every day and see if it works.   I hope I can make it appear that I know what I’m doing.  I am praying that I can approach each task with the confidence of a normal person, with a normal, supportive spouse.  I’m praying that some of these side-steps, some of these forays out of what has been my “normal” for 20 years, might make our lives better.

And, I hope that as I do each thing, some of the pain I feel that my ex is taking his new girl to Mexico loses it’s intensity, because even though going to Mexico with my ex would be torture for me, I still feel hurt.

SO, I’ll try side-stepping my way into a new life; a new normal; a new “I’m Okay”.

I really hope it works.




3 thoughts on “Sidestepping the Pain

  1. Hi- I love your idea of side-stepping and, with your permission, will adopt that phrase! Of course you’ve suffering. I don’t know your history but I suspect that this is the first time in your life that you’ve realised that actually, you need to look after YOU and your kids and not everyone else, and the guilt is immense. Of course you will make mistakes, who cares. There is no perfection in real life only in the wonder of hindsight. I wish you well xx


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