Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | April 12, 2010

Fear and Overcoming It

Work a brand new full time (temporary) job during the day shift, from 8am to 4:30pm, for an insane amount of money. An amount of money that is so high, you can no longer realistically discharge your marital debt by filing Chapter 7 (at least, for now), but an amount not high enough to actually pay down that debt, either.

Work another part-time gig that also brings in additional money, which you need to maintain in case your day job truly disappears at the end of June. This gig doesn’t require as many hours (typically ten to twenty hours a month), but right now you’ve got a project that just… won’t… end. And you’ve billed all you can for it; now it’s a question of getting it done as soon as possible because you won’t get paid any more, no matter how much longer it takes.

Add to that the business that you’ve been running for years which is suddenly taking off again, and you can no longer count on the last remaining hired help to get done the orders that need to get done. And nobody else is trained on the equipment. Start training the soon-to-be-ex on how to use the equipment (she is, after all, part owner in the business, so she may as well step up), but that takes time, and in the meantime, orders have to be fulfilled. So, spend nights and weekends on that gig, as well.

Get home in time to tuck the kids into bed, but not in time enough to actually spend any quality time with them.

Miss at least one of your two scheduled work-outs per week. Eat cafeteria food and frozen dinners and Snicker’s bars. Don’t get enough sleep. Have the tax filing deadline looming over your head like Damocles’ sword, and make no progress on that front.

Give up caffeine. No, wait. Go back on caffeine.

Oh, and have soon-to-be-ex become obviously more agitated with you every day because you’re not helping out more with the kids.

Now… have a bankruptcy lawyer (albeit *not* a divorce lawyer) tell you that soon-to-be-ex could successfully demand alimony. Have long-time friend tell you that her psychic says your soon-to-be-ex will be taking you to the cleaners.

Do all that, and where do you end up? In one fucked-up head space, where the terrain is riddled with land mines (mind mines?) everywhere you want to leap.

The name of that head space is Fear.

—–

I’ve been living in this messed up head space for a couple of weeks. And while I don’t believe in psychics (ohhh, have I got a long story for you about that!), my friend who told me her psychic’s assessment is, in fact, a child of divorce herself. She’s seen it happen. So even if I think her psychic does not have any supernatural insight, I must still give my child-of-divorce friend the benefit of the doubt.

And all this fear has brought me back to the frazzled mental state I was in when I began this blog — knowing that I have to leave, and frozen by fear of the consequences of doing so.

What is the cure for fear? How do you combat it?

Prepare.

There are many things I can’t take care of until these taxes are out of the way. The financial picture going forward relies upon the outcome, for one, but for another, the taxes simply have to get done and the deadline is hard and fast. (Yes, you can file for an extension, but you still have to pay your estimated amount by that date regardless.)

And so, even recognizing that I was simply in an unhealthy situation which was clouding my emotions, I couldn’t see how I would combat the fear any time soon. I had no way to prepare.

Except… I did. I could.

Today, Sunday, did not go as planned. I was asked to do some overtime work for my daytime gig… but the computer I have for that job wouldn’t connect. I have work to do for my other database gig, but that computer is unavailable (for other reasons) as well. So while installing the tax software on yet a third machine, I began cruising through divorcewriter.com to start on “the paperwork” for our divorce.

Divorcewriter.com has lots of problems with it, but wow, was it reassuring to just get started. And to see things like, “Spousal maintenance (alimony) is almost never awarded in Washington State except under unusual circumstances” — circumstances that don’t apply to us, I might add. Ahhh. Feel that calm start to return.

Then, chat with another long-time friend who has gone through a divorce (with kids) of her own. Share some laughter. Talk about specific details and learn that this situation has every reason to be resolved as favorably as any divorce-and-financial-mess can. Talk about life after divorce and trading-up “conundra.”

Okay. Feeling better.

Get call from soon-to-be-ex, who wants to get into the office to do some work on the business. Okay. Go home, let spouse do some work for a while. Play chess with oldest son. Rock youngest son to sleep for his nap. Play Pizza Pile-up with the oldest and middle son. Bake cookies with them.* Clean up a little, do the dishes, and make dinner.

Get the boys all upstairs with ample time for baths, just as spouse returns from the office. Soon-to-be-ex is a little less wound up because she had time away from the kids. I’m less wound up because I spent some quality time with the kids. Tensions continue to ebb away.

Read to the boys. Brush teeth and get them to bed. Go downstairs to work on the day-job stuff and find… still no computer connection.

That’s okay. Tomorrow will suck because I’ll have to get to the day job super early to do that overtime work. But before going to bed… blog a little. Reconnect a little with the outside world.

Relax a little more.

Yes, my friends, I’m learning. When confronted with fear, the most powerful antidote is preparation, and the most powerful preparation is knowledge.

(Although, a little bit of shared laughter with a friend can also help. As can chocolate chip cookies you’ve made with your little guys at home.)

*And with regard to baking cookies, I suppose it’s time I spill — I actually do know how to cook. I’m rather tired of the stereotype that men can’t cook. I’ve even developed a couple of recipes on my own that I’m quite proud of. That said, I don’t have much experience baking. I’m taking baby steps. I’ve moved on from the pre-packed cookie dough to a kit. I do believe that the next time I bake cookies with the kids, we’re going to start from scratch. I’m ready.

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Responses

  1. Remind me to send you my choco chip cookie recipe.

    I’ve also got one for banana choco chop cookies. Perfect use for those over-ripe bananas!

  2. Wow, INRIS, what a cathartic post. Thinking of you.

  3. It sounds like, financially at least, when it rains, it pours!

    I hope you can get it all together. Just remember that all this stuff is temporary, and the ultimate goal is to start your new life away from your Seattle drought. It will happen.

  4. Agree, seems like a cathartic post for you, but it also sounds like, despite the fear itself, you ARE accomplishing what you set out to, and, as you say, conquering/overcoming it. I give you a lot of credit, because you have a lot of factors to weigh-in (as most soon-to-be single parents do, in particular) and you are doing it with grace and dignity. Go you.

  5. Sounds like you have quite a bit on your plate. It also sounds like you’re handling it very well.

    Now BREATHE. Its good for you too!

  6. WOW. Just a few things. Never, ever give up caffeine; psychics can be good; and continue to breathe. You’re handling it well buddy – keep it up!

  7. I am beginning to understand why Scott killed Lacey, instead of just divorcing her…

  8. I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune.

  9. For the record, love chocolate chip cookies. They are the best comfort food…as long as you stay away from a scale. And the best recipe is the one on the back of the Nestle’s semi sweet morsels bag.

    Thinking of you…always! Big hugs. Miss you much!

  10. Baking is like chemistry. You have to be precise. And it helps to be anal-retentive. As for the stereotype, MFV cooks and does it well. I’m the baker. I know you’re not surprised to hear that 😉

    As for the fear, I used to keep an anxiety journal. In fact, I’m going to treat my blog as an anxiety journal right now.

    Big hug!

  11. Oh wow. Hang in there. It can be tough at times, can’t it? Then other days, perfectly fine.

    Do you really think Penny would take you to the cleaners? Is she that type of person? I know I could take my ex to the cleaners and I was tempted because I felt as if I was put through a lot. But that’s just spiteful and isn’t right. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I am asking for alimony. I am not trying to get everything. Just 1/2 of everything we accumulated while married. I don’t want him financially a mess as that would affect the children. And that is the point you need to drive home with Penny. If she screws you, she screws her children. You both need to be stable. For them.

    Hang in there. Take it one day at a time.

  12. you do have a lot on yr plate.

  13. Luck favors the prepared.

    Remember that, and though it may seem pessimistic, always prepare for the worst.

  14. All men should know how to cook. Their attractiveness goes up in relation to how well they can cook, or at least in relation to how hard they try to cook well.


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