Friday, April 15, 2011

My recent life

Before I even start this post, I know it is going to be unstructured. I have about three points to make, and I feel compelled to get them down. Nobody is commenting, I sincerely hope this doesn't mean nobody is out there and that I am truly alone in this world. Having been "confined to barracks" by my ex's actions I feel truly holed up like a sort of Anne Frank writing from the war front of sole parenting.

I know my last few posts have repeated themselves, always feeling original in my writing. These key themes keep coming out of:

(1) Trying to understand Simon's recent reactions
(2) Coming to terms with my marriage breakdown(belatedly)
(3) Trying to assess my own mental health with respect to this and
(4) Trying to create a platform on this from whence to start dating again.

Actually I don't think I'm depressed. I am overwrought, lonely and unproductive, but not depressed. I really do love some aspects of my life. Singledom suits me, not in a party large, shag everything in trousers type of a way but in a Thank God I don't have to consider another person type of a way...

I really do feel very trapped though, and blogging is one of my very few outlets. I really wish Simon would take Connor a few nights a fortnight so I could get out and socialise. I haven't had sex in over a year. Is that OK? And this is the first insight I had today. If I had to choose between using my lunch- hour for sex with a middle aged sex addict that was never going to end in a relationship (because believe me my lunch hour is the only opportunity I get) or using that time to work on research and further my career. I swear to god the time would be better spent on the latter. Emotionally, financially, mentally, physically...sad but true.

A part of me thinks I should capitalise on my sex appeal whilst I still have oestrogen and that clearly human beings need companionship and I should be laying the foundations of this for my older years, but seriously the time and effort one can put in for so little return makes me think academic work (which is laborious and yields very slowly) is a better use of time.

Another aspect of my life that I really love is my son. He still loves to be around me, and when I can spend time with him in my busy schedule it always pays dividends. I want to share something I realised today that makes me sad. I remember the sheer joy and happiness and togetherness Simon and I had when he came into the world. I suppose some people get to savour this happy time, and prolong it by having one or two more. But for me the euphoria was short lived. No sooner had my little baby sat up, that I was back at work and his dad, Simon was stealing the limelight with his suicide attempt. From there on in all hell broke loose and I have been a single parent. This was never my plan. But essentially I have known no different. I just stopped for a moment today to imagine the continuity and security that many women feel as they start their families, and grieved for the loss of this happy phase. Some of my friends seem to be blissfully still in it. They had two more kids, their hubbys worked and they keep the homefires burning, imaculately. My life could not be further from this. Yet how close I came.

In my attempts to understand Simon one that has jumped into my head lately but seems ludicrous is that, rather than just thinking with his little head and staking out time with his latino lover. He really, truly and honestly believes that his scaling back of time with connor is "doing the right thing" and that the boy needs to be with his mother, in one home and needs stability, and that this shit that he is putting on me is what he truly and honestly believes is a sacrifice and in Connors best interests. Or at the very least this is what he is convincing himself of.

And my forth and final unrelated point. In many of my recent posts you would sense a yearning for freedom. I can't get out and leave Connor unsupervised. He needs a lot of extra attention. I can't address the demands of my work life adequately, I feel trapped, and underperforming on so many levels. I am homesick and lonely and it seems very little can be done about this and yet, here is the comforting thought that emerges: "This too shall pass" At some stage in the next five or so years Connor will become more independent. For better of for worse, he will go out into the world. My efforts will show, or not. And I will be freer than I have been for a while. To cook, read, see picasso exhibitions. I bet I will miss him then.

So thats it, three reflections on love, loss and future freedom. Nothing more to say.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Human rights violation: A response

Some counter responses:

If you are not performing at work, that is nobody's fault but your own.

It is common for men to run off and leave their ex-wives or girlfriends "holding the baby" and often they don't pay. The problem is Simon has just enough of a foot in the door to stop you exercising your other option, which is to go where your family are. It is against the law to take him away from his father to another country

It is uncommon for women left in such positions to thrive professionally.

Remember to frame your concerns around Connor, not you or Simon's rights.

{As an aside though whatever is motivating Simon;
Be it just the totally hot sex with Beatriz,
Be it that Beatriz is pregnant and demanging his full attention (which he never gave you)
Be it that Beatriz literally forbids him any contact with you, and only allows a small amount of time with his own child
Be it that he is totally under her power, under the thumb, weak etc
Be it that he is sick and grappling with severe depression}

None of this matters. You have to sort out YOUR stuff.

You chose to put Connor in a school near your home. Therefore it makes sense that he should live with you full time

Simon also can't cope with his full time professional job and looking after Connor overnight. He thinks that you can. You demonstrate that you can. He on the other hand waivers on the edge of a nervous breakdown all the time.

An action plan:

(1) Speak to a lawyer about the possibility of getting full custody and having the option to move "home"

(2) Streamline your life. Eat frozen meals

(3) Get a cleaner

(4) Rent out two rooms, one for income and one for an aupair to help with cleaning thus the lodger pays the aupair (and you share with connor)

(5) Restrict your dating to lunchtime dates until things improve

(6) Get what exercise you can

(7) Drink plenty of water

(8) Cut down on Alcohol

(9) Make Simon fully aware of Connors learning difficulties

(10) Garner his wages to assist in paying for tutoring

(11) Go out in the evening at least twice a month even if it means paying a babysitter

(12) Make sure you visit your family once a year (do this via work trips make getting funding for these a priority, it will reap rewards)

Has it become a minor human rights violation?

Some divorces are long and drawn out and messy. Mine wasn't one of them. We realised we had come to the end of our relationship, split our assets, debated at some length about how to share the care of our beautiful son, always keeping him centre stage. Then we met new people, and although there were some territorial issues, and petty jealousies, we managed to stick to our parenting plan. Then we didn't. We both ended our rebound relationships and I took Connor overseas for an extended period (with Simon's permission). When I came back Simon was in a new relationship, and things have changed. My motivation to find a new man is waning. Possibly it's case of once bitten twice shy. The motivation for this post, though, is when I Do meet new guys I now find myself in the position of having to explain why I have a child 100% of the time, get no child support and am not allowed to move away.

Simon, through sheer utter self absorption and a dose of manipulation, appears to have robbed me of something in the spectrum free-will/human rights/personal autonomy.

How is it possible for one party to a divorce to wield such power over another?
I am not being abused, or raped, I have a roof over my head, I have free speech, I can vote. But specifically I do not have the freedom to pursue my career, and I am not able to move freely between countries. Neither can I date without bankrupting myself - does this come under the category of freedom to marry who I wish? I am in a state of enforced celibacy. How did this happen?
When I got back from my sabbatical, instead of seeing Connor for 4 nights a fortnight. Simon declared that he would take him out for 7 hours a fortnight and it's always in daylight. This change alone has affected my life so profoundly that I feel completely trapped by it. As far as I can see there is no legal recourse to make a person see their children more. More often fathers are denied access to their children and this is a right too.
So what of this weirdness? how to interpret it? where to go with this story?
Those four nights a fortnight used to be used for catching up on work, resting, cleaning up, sleeping, reading and having a social life. Now, due to his actions, I am chronically behind on my work, which means I'll never get promoted, and neither will I have the credentials to apply to work elsewhere. It is career subsistance, basic, demoralising, down trodden, crushing and depressing.

I can only go out if I pay $100 dollars per night to a babysitter, and there will never be any "sleepovers" I am 10 and a half thousand miles from my family. So no popping over to granny's for the night or having my grown up sister babysit. The only option I have is to work my way out of it. In order to get more money to pay the babysitter I need to be promoted. In order to apply for a job of similar standard back in my home country I need to perform at work. Work is the key. Arbeit macht frei.

But I have one conflicting imperative, and one severe impediment.
The conflicting imperative: Connor has severe dyslexia. He inherited this from his dad. I'm trying so hard not to point the finger on this one, because Connor was also a low birthweight baby which could have been as a result of IVF and my poor breeding capacity. Raising this child to manhood with the best possible chance in life is my chief mandate. Thus if it means I have to leave work early, pick him up and try to spend time with him on reading, I will. So I have to make up work hours in the night, just to keep up with the eight ball, and perform at the expected level. I also have to find the money to pay specialist tutors.
The impediment: I am suffering from Arthritis. It is getting worse each day. I have to take pain killers just to get around normally. This pain makes working long and extra hours too hard. I will try to put Simon's point of view in a separate post. But I need reflections, suggestions and ways to move forward. There has to be a way to garner more personal freedom for myself, I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a major violation, but I have spent hours brainstorming with myself.
Relevant human rights Article 13 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 23 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.