30 March 2009

Wake up to the Reality

Things are difficult. I cry at times when I don't expect tears to come. Making potato soup yesterday, I was overwhelmed with worry about what Travis was eating, and in the next moment felt pathetic and small to care so much for someone who cared so little for me. He threatened divorce the other day with an ultimatum that I apologize for something that was irrational. He is free to make whatever choices he feels are necessary. But it hurts, and driving in the rain to get my kids from a birthday party I just let it all out. Between the tears and the rain, I am not sure how I made it to my destination.
It is a lonely road that I am on. People encourage you and love you and tell you you're brave, and what a great job that you're doing, but in the end you are the one that must wake up every morning to the reality of your situation. In general, the kids and I are very happy. There is a peace that has settled - this feeling that we're going to be alright and I am so thankful for that. But in the meantime there is still a lot of hurt, a lot of unresolved issues, and memories of terrible things that happened that I had long since buried deep inside myself that keep coming up like vomit. I have to deal with them, but to tell you the truth I really don't know how. These are ugly, awful things - and even though I was the victim and not the perpetrator, I feel hideous inside for the remembering. I can't really explain this fully - but yesterday morning when Porky (the pastor of our old church The Chapel) said "The One who knows you best, loves you the most" just overwhelmed me with emotion.
I am still trying to reconcile all of it. Abuse makes you feel filthy, dirty, worthless, small, powerless.... The touching - all the touching, and the anger, the things flying around in your head, and the names you're dodging, trying to hold your breath until you're allowed up for air, and hope it isn't too late. You try to rationalize that you aren't the things you are called but you were taught so long ago not to trust yourself because you are nothing. You become convinced that even God regrets having created you.
I am having a particularly hard day. There seems to be nobody in particular to share it with. For the most part, though I have some amazing friends, I feel like I have to keep a lid on all this intensity for their sake. I need them, and I don't want to scare them away. If I start to really allow myself to cry this out, I fear I may never stop. This song that I heard the other day keeps running through my brain...

....please don't fight these hands that are holding you.....
What isn't making things any easier right now is that I injured my back. I am hoping it is muscular strain from all the moving and unpacking, but I am literally waking up every couple of hours and finding that it hurts so badly I can barely roll over. Once I do get rolled over, I can't get comfortable, and then I'm awake very early. Just what I needed.

29 March 2009

Scaredy Cat

Last night the girls were spending the night with a friend, so Kullen and I had Tina and the boys come over and watch Twilight with us. You know, Twizzlers, popcorn, Pepsi, and we laughed ourselves silly. She is so short, she looked like Edith Ann sitting in my big red chair, and that caught my funny bone. But for the most part, I don't remember what we laughed so much about. It was just good to laugh wholeheartedly and without reservation. To laugh and talk and be myself without feeling that I would be ridiculed.
After they left, and it was just Kullen and I home alone, the house was so big, and so quiet, and nestled so deeply in the woods. I couldn't help but think of that damn movie "The Strangers" that my girls thought would be fun to see. The only truly scary movies are things that could really happen, and that movie was about an home invasion of the most evil kind. I kept freaking out with images of people standing around the house just staring at it - and even looked a few times to see if anyone was out there.
I don't undertand it - having had a mom who was a "party-girl" and left me alone all night long from the time I was very young. I never had the luxury of being afraid to be alone. I think it is the knowing - the choice to be on my own and not knowing how permanent this is, combined with the scary movie. No more scary movies for me for a while. I also asked the girls to have sleepovers here until I get a little more used to this house!

26 March 2009

I'm Not Brave

In the past few weeks so many people have told me how proud they are of me and how brave I am. I feel so the opposite. Last night was the first night the kids were downstairs watching a movie and I heard the floor upstairs creak and stood completely still for just a minute, terrified. My mom was single for a while, and even when she was married my step-dad worked a lot of nights so she would go out and leave me alone. I have done this a million times. But now it seems so real, so permanent, so much up to me.
The crazy part is that the biggest threat to me and my family has lived inside the four walls with us for the last 20 years. I have protected and defended myself and my children, but in a far different fashion that anyone might have imagined. I know I can do this, but sometimes I feel tremendous fear. There is nothing to do but what is before me. So I went to bed afraid last night, and today I make it through another day.

If you were interested in seeing pictures inside they house they are available here. You can click on them and make them larger if you look.

24 March 2009

Haven of Peace

I got quite a bit done today, including watching Mamma Mia with my friend who is Ethel to my Lucy. It was nice to sit in the afternoon with a hot cup of coffee and chill for a couple of hours. I then proceeded to get the living area mostly done. There is a little section which is going to be Kullen's room that needs some attention, but it looks and feels like home. Some of my closest friends describe me as a "nester" and it is true. When I move - I am absolutely driven to get things put away, hung up and in order. It is essential to my sanity and I literally cannot relax until it is done. I am hoping to post some pictures here later of our new place. For now I am posting this outside picture that was taken by my cell phone. It is the only one I have at the moment. We have our main living area in the finished basement which is accessible from a door behind the fence between the house and the garage. I have a bedroom upstairs - it is yellow and Kaitlyn says it is good for me because it is cheery. We also have a fabulous kitchen that is shared on occasion with the owner of the house when she comes up from South Carolina to take care of infrequent business with a daycare center that she owns. It is an amazing blessing because we have a decent place to call home for the same rent as I would be paying in a subsidized apartment with my kids. There are children in the neighborhood that have overwhelmed Kullen - but I feel sure he will warm up to them and have great times playing with other kids. All the kids have had friends over and it has been awesome to have people around us again. It makes me feel loved, supported and stronger.
This morning the kids and I went for our first counseling session. It was tremendous. We walked away with a lot of insight and the lady who is counseling us is amazing. She validated that we were living in an abusive environment - and asked me to admit it to myself. It isn't easy. It is easier to think what I was always told, that other people had it much worse, and that it wasn't "that bad". The counselor wants to see us individually starting with me. She helped me see that some of the things Travis is doing even now are manipulative. He tries to put all the responsibility for the way the kids interact with him on me - she called it triangulating. She also helped me know that it is okay for the kids to tell their dad that they don't want to talk to him right now, and that he needs to respect that boundary. She gave us language to use when people ask questions we aren't ready to answer. She also made it very clear that the one year I was asking for was of the utmost importance. It was all very helpful and even Kullen - who went into the appointment saying, "I'm not talking to anyone about my problems!" warmed up to her by the end of our session.
So, we breathe, eat, sleep, live, and move. Life goes on. I have this sadness deep inside still - but it isn't consuming me anymore.

19 March 2009


PLEASE leave me your email if you would like to continue reading this blog. I am not excluding anyone who is a regular here, so if you leave me your email I will add you here. If you don't, I won't be able to add you. I need this information in the next 48 hours or so. Thanks!

******Emails can be left here in the comments, or sent to me via email.
And whoever the person is that felt it necessary to run directly to my husband and fuel the already difficult situation between us by telling him my blog was going underground - thanks.

Blog Privacy and an Update

My blog is going underground for a while. I would love to share it with people who make it known that they want to read it - so if you are interested in being listed as an approved reader, please send me your email address at julsnwv AT gmail DOT com to be added to the list. Thanks for understanding for now.
I started a new job at Walmart today and have some promising prospects for an even better administrative assistant position with a reputable organization that is extremely homeschool friendly. Please pray that I would have favor here. The position is right up my alley, and has "generous benefits". The kids and I have also found a house to rent from a family we used to go to church with years ago. The rent is perfect, as is the location. A house in my Blue Ridge Moutains. My favorite part.... a washer and dryer! Ha.
Life goes on. I realized today for the first time in many weeks that I felt "happy". Even though we aren't moved in or settled anywhere yet, I feel like life is finally going in a positive direction. I am so utterly thankful. I feel sad for Travis and we still have a lot of conflict to iron out. I don't know what will become of it. I am trying to let my behavior honor the person that I want to be and my Papa. It is a work in progress.
(If you read this blog as a "note" on Facebook, I don't think that anything will change! We'll have to see.)

17 March 2009

John Ortberg on Marriage and Divorce

Not long ago my friend and former pastor, Porky sent me an mp3 sermon by a pastor named John Ortberg on Marriage and Divorce. I can't find out how to load it and send you a link so you can listen, but I did find videos on his website. You can view it in three parts by clicking on the playlist at the right.
I have felt for a long time that God himself would be utterly disappointed in me if I left my husband and gave up on my marriage. I am not in any way trying to find justification for a divorce, or even that I am pursuing one, but to know that God does not condemn me where I am right now set me free. I have been very angry at Him for a long time, feeling like He expected me to be trapped in misery. Now I know that my hurts have broken His heart.
I share this in the hope that it will be as liberating for someone else.

15 March 2009

Mixed Bag

Late Wednesday night after two days of loading a truck and excruciating goodbyes followed by three and a half days of driving, the kids and I were finally home in our Blue Ridge Mountains. We have been loved up on by the friends we have seen thus far, though we still have quite a few to see. It has been a long journey, pretty much the hardest of my life. I have run the gamut of emotions - from hysterical laughter to frustrated tears. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes and can turn a corner and feel as if a huge weight has lifted off of my shoulders. It really is a mixed bag of emotions.
There are so many highlights from our trip. The kids and I were crammed for the better part of four days in the front cab of a diesel truck that had only 3 seatbelts. Nobody could recline to doze off, and nobody had any elbow room. All things considered, it went fairly well and no blood was shed. The diesel engine was horribly loud and there was a slight smell of exhaust and ashtray. It took them 3 1/2 hours to get the truck - valuable moving time - so by the time I finally got it, there was no time to complain about the cleanliness or lack thereof to the Budget rental company. By day two my head hurt so bad that if I had a gun....... Kendra had a terrible headache as well. Kullen spent most of his drive time singing.. "Almost heaven, West Virginia....." and occasionally inspired us to sing along. Kaitlyn has been emotionally overwhelmed, hoping that people understand that though we are happy to see them, and happy to be back "home", it is not a party for us - not just yet. It is indeed one of the most difficult times of our lives.
I think we will make it through one step at a time. Yesterday I found a way to articulate how I feel - that I am standing my ground with wobbly knees. I am so thankful to have the support of my family who made sacrifices to financially support me, my friends who are holding me up, both those in real life that hold me up by offering to give up their beds, fill their pantries with food, let us do laundry, and all manners of physical support and for those of you in the realm of cyber friendships who pray, send love, financial support that I know you didn't even have, and constant encouragement. I don't know how I would've made it through without you, all of you. Thank you for helping me see that I did not deserve the way I was being treated, and helping me gain the courage to seek something better for myself and my kids.

03 March 2009

Playlist Suggestions

I am trying to get a playlist together for some music for the road trip to WV. I need suggestions. I don't want just happy songs - although I would prefer for the majority to be upbeat - but also reflective songs, and some that are sad. Sometimes it is good to listen to those and be sad, sing your little heart out and move on. So bring them on!

Stand by Me - Playing for Change

This video made the route from friend to friend and was in my inbox this morning - and I don't believe it was an accident. It really lifted my spirits today! I hope it lifts yours as well.

01 March 2009

Much Needed Sunshine

The kids and I took a day trip to Galveston. It was nice to just get out of the house and remember there is something bigger than myself, my pain and my problems. And as an added bonus I got to meet up with my blogging buddy, Tammy! Such a special lady.
</3 Juls
Hysterical is the new calm!