My ring finger was no longer empty, but I sure was. I felt nothing. Completely numb. I started calling off work, used up my allowable sick days and had to take unpaid days. I continued therapy, and the more I dug up, the worse I felt. I was unable to forgive myself for allowing the abuse to happen to me all those years. I was put on administrative leave as punishment for calling off so often. I had to go to District Main office and allow some dope to teach my students. I could not believe I let that happen. More guilt.
I fought to get back to my classroom, and won, promising I would not call off unexpectedly again. But my classroom felt different. The sub had put nasty signs everywhere, saying “PUSH IN YOUR CHAIRS”, “RAISE YOUR HAND BEFORE SPEAKING”, “NO EXCUSES” all written in caps like that. My desk had been emptied. All of my files had been thrown away. All of my CEU records, gone for the past 3 years, I’d have to take many courses to make up all those lost records. I felt so hurt and violated, but I tried to suck it up and focus on my students.
But then I get a visit from the local professional development committee, who was so sorry, but somehow they mixed up my paperwork, and my teaching license would expire this summer, not next summer like we had been planning. I guess I was stupid for allowing this committee to have my trust, that they knew what they were doing. But see, I had graduated in Dec, and my state back-dates the license to the previous summer. So, because they callously tossed out my records from my personal files, to continue teaching, I now needed 12 graduate credit hours completed in the next 2 months. I thought I was right on track and needed to take one course this summer to add to my 9 hours completed the past 3 years. Even if I had that kind cash for 12 hours, I did not have time. I had to resign my position for the next Fall. My career ended before it really even started.
So I felt like the biggest failure on the planet. I was miserable, lonely, unloved, and unemployed. What was wrong with me? Is this really what life is? Endless pain and insurmountable obstacles? (those were my thoughts then, not now) So I made a new plan. A plan to end my life. I lost my car, could no longer afford the payments. I lost my therapist, could no longer afford the visits. I lost my hope. I walked to the drugstore each day, each day a different store, and bought 1 box of sleeping pills at each visit. My husband new I was suicidal, and kept my other pills locked up, but he didn’t know about my secret stash.
One day I decided I had enough, and went up to my bed with my pills and a huge bottle of whiskey. I have no idea how many I took, but I washed down a few at a time with a shot of whiskey. I enjoyed the burning on my lips and throat. I didn’t cry. I didn’t leave a note. I just laid down in my bed and waited.
I woke up some time the next day, and was very confused. Why was I still alive? Where was husband? I groggily walked downstairs and found him sitting on the couch, watching TV. He said, “There you are, are you hungry?” I don’t know if I answered him. This was surreal. Husband did not know I was upstairs trying to die. He saw me sleeping peacefully and just left me alone. My depression the past few months was so bad, I was often in bed, so he didn’t know this day was any different. I scolded myself for not researching a lethal dose, and went back to sleep. I did not tell him until much later. I never had help. Husband just let me sleep.
The months that follow are a blur to me, but somehow I got up out of that pit and resigned to living on Earth again. I decided my resume was going to look terrible so I better get a job. I didn’t want any unexplained holes. And I needed a reason to quit my classroom job, to look good on paper, so I asked husband for a baby. What?? A few months after attempting suicide? That’s what my husband should have said, but nine months later I had my first baby, declared bankruptcy, withdrew my pension, and got a job.
I was miserable, lost all the weight and 20 more pounds, I looked like a ghost. But oh did I love my baby girl. Somehow I worked and took care of her all by myself. And then decided she needed a sibling, so there were more babies to keep filling that void in my heart. Husband slept downstairs, away from me and babies, and it was a very difficult time. We barely had enough money for half of our bills each month, I learned to stagger them, and which ones had late fees. Husband was working some crap job at night shift, and I was raising all these kids alone, and trying to keep them all quiet while daddy sleeped.
I did everything for those kids, fed, washed, clothed, doctored, schooled, and even taught them to tie shoes, ride bikes, fly kites, throw a ball. Dad never joined in. Never gave them piggy back rides, never read stories, never pushed them in a stroller, never did anything. This is hard for to believe as I write it, but it is completely true.
So when he came home from work one day, and showed me his wedding ring had broken and then tossed it into his junk drawer, I wasn’t sure what to feel. I had been wearing the “You’re married damnit” ring for years, and it was getting very loose now that I was losing the baby and effexor/depakote weight. It helped that I had no car yet, and pushed a double stroller around town with an infant strapped on me too. I kept moving the ring to fatter fingers, then tried tying thread on it, but it was just too loose. And the engagement ring was still too tight. I was considering getting one of them resized – up until I saw his broken ring. I simply put my ring in the cupboard while doing dishes like I had always done, but that day, I didn’t put it back on. It is still in the cupboard; I have not worn a wedding ring in about 2 years. Neither of us have. I’m not sure what that means, that we’re both fine with this.
But, I know from writing this, and from the fights I had with husband yesterday that my ring isn’t going back on any time soon .
Fight 1 – I was heading out for a performance, and he suddenly had a zillion questions as I’m standing in the door with my instrument strapped on my back. He ignored me the entire hour he was home, but now as I try to go he needs me to tell him the online pizza password. I wanted to say if you can’t figure out how to order a f-ing pizza, it is not my f-ing fault. But what I said since kids were in the room was “Oh my goodness!” And to that, he called me “nasty”. No ‘good luck’, no ‘break a leg’ as I head out to be on stage, just a “You’re so nasty” I closed the door while he was still screaming.
Fight 2 – I asked him if he called back a customer that had left a message on our machine days ago. Instead of “no” or “not yet, thanks for reminding me” I got a full blown “How the hell do I think he has time to deal with all this stuff, he is so busy and working so hard everyday” I said “yes, but it is rude not to call back and that reflects on me, people assume I am part of the business” He said “Leave me alone I’ll do the work and call him when it is done. God I can’t do anything right, nothing is enough for you” I said “One day I won’t be here for you to yell at anymore” He screamed some more about how negative I am.
Fight 3 – This was one was the last straw. I was still wounded from the earlier ones. I wanted a nice evening with kids. I recorded a movie (Honey I shrunk the kids), and planned to make brownies and get ice cream for special dessert and movie night. I took my girl shopping, and she asked for mint ice cream. No one else likes it. I got her a small box of mint, and a half-gallon of vanilla for everyone else. I made the terrible mistake of not telling this detail to husband. He served the brownies and ice cream, I didn’t know he was in the kitchen, and called everyone to the table. My daughter saw the vanilla, and said “Daddy I wanted mint”. He screamed at her “Well that’s too bad, I already served this, you get what everyone gets, why do you think you’re so special, and have to make a big deal?” My girl cried. My heart hurt. Special evening ruined, good feelings gone. I said I would eat her vanilla, and got her the mint like we planned. We all sat and ate silently. Then they all climbed onto the couch with me to watch the movie while dad sits alone in his chair.
I’m done. Love shouldn’t feel like this. Tonight I’m asking husband to stay with his parents for a while. I just have too many hurts, and need some space to think and heal them without constant daily battles. Maybe after some time and counseling we can fix this broken marriage. But for now, I don’t even want to look at him.
- The history of my ring finger, part 3 (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- The history of my ring finger, part 1 (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- The history of my ring finger, part 2 (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)