My belief that I was noticing and witnessing elemental communications from something like God gave me a far-greater purpose than being the total loser that everyone seemed to think I was – the selfish, ungrateful wife who wanted to get a divorce, the person who was laid-off from work, the one who “wasn’t thinking about the kids” – who was being selfish and immature, crying too much and not trying hard enough to get her ‘act together.’
When I think back objectively, I understand that I really wasn’t that much of a loser, but at that point in my life, I deeply believed that I was, in fact, a huge failure as a human being and this belief was reinforced by criticism and hostility in extended family relationships during the process of a bad divorce.
American history and economies create a toxic and transactional culture full of power and control dynamics and run-through with traumatic experiences in core relationships and maladaptations to not having our basic needs to:
- be seen in a way that is dignified, worthy, valid
- to not be harmed, exploited, or abused by the people and institutions we rely on to support our human existence and nurture our individual potentials.
It was almost cliche when my mental health history and brief, relatively minor parenting transgressions – (getting upset and tearful during confusing conversations that turned into arguments in front of the kids, being late to drop them off at school some rare morning or another because one or the other of them was refusing to leave the house and those things can take a minute, spending time on artwork when I was supposed to be helping my daughter learn how to read even though she didn’t want to sit down with me and look at the boring books of phonetics, simple sentences) – were brought into divorce discussions.
I had thought – hoped – that everything could be amicable, copacetic in the process of uncoupling. However, that ended up not being the case.
There began to be discussion of custody lawyers specializing in mood disorders, and one of the other mothers from my son’s class called to let me know that people – other parents from my children’s classes – were being told to keep an eye on me, that I was unstable.
The drawing-everyday-for-a-year blog was getting even further off topic – pictures that twisted and folded onto themselves in semi-disturbing surrealist mash-ups of figures and fish.
These were not the sort of pictures a well-adjusted mother should draw.
She definitely shouldn’t draw a recognizable and unflattering caricature of an extended family member, and if she is foolishly bitter enough to draw such a picture, she probably shouldn’t post it to her weird blog that was not the sort of blog that any normal mom would have, a blog that was – unbeknownst to her – being surveilled by concerned family members and a handful of parents of elementary school age children who had known her since their kids were mutually tiny people playing at parks and preschools, kindergarten.
She could feel that people were thinking things about her, that there had been conversations.
It was literally palpable – the different person I had become to almost everyone, as though the moment I stepped toward the space where the other mothers were talking in a loose, easy circle, a force-field went up, and the awkwardness of this new person I had become slipped over me like a cage as I saw that they did not want to talk with me.
I began to just wave my hand a little as I passed by, to or from taking my children to the door of the building, the door of the classroom. Then, as the school year finally came to a close, I just smiled a half-smile and gave a half-nod, no real eye-contact as I dropped the kids off in the morning.
I began to simply cease to exist as anyone that anyone talked with, and stood alone, waited alone at the end of the day for the bell to ring and the doors to open and my kids to come back to me, to get to come home.