At one point in this last year, my lawyer told me “You’re going to have to realize that this is something you’re always going to have to live with.” This was her response to my pointing out her incompetence which was wasting my time as I wait for my divorce. My pushing her had nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with getting his name off the title of the house so I could refinance and hopefully not lose my home. Hmmm….still hasn’t happened yet.
This last year has been one long experience in perpetually slipping on the ice and trying to find my feet.
It comes down to the fact of finding “the new normal”.
The “new normal” is the daily struggle of not thinking about what happened right off the bat in the morning. I’m not asking to be oblivious; I’m not asking to forget. I’m just asking my brain to let me get to at least ten am before I feel the weight of it all.
The “new normal” involves watching every single parent-child interaction in public with suspicion.
The “new normal” involves walking through my neighborhood and thinking about all the awful things that are probably going on behind all those closed doors.
The “new normal” involves not speaking his name. A name gives a person power. That is what I have learned over the past year. That is why he has fought our name change so vehemently. Even as a convicted pedophile, he thought he still had power over us by denying our name change. By forcing the kids to keep his name, he was exercising his power over them, even after doing everything, by his choices, to destroy them. One day, when our name change actually happens, we will exercise our power, the power to say “no”. In the mean time, he will remain nameless.
This has caused some interesting verbal exchanges: sentences are left hanging, the air thick with pain and discomfort. “Well, we did it that way because your f…….well, we did it differently back then…we’re going to do it this way now…” It’s a dance. A dance around the center which is filled with so much darkness.
The “new normal” involves scribbling my still legal last name illegibly every time I am forced to write it. It involves repeating it in quiet tones when forced to say it.
The “new normal” involves seeing the humor in my kids as they combine their last names to be “Sharkness”. It’s the one gray area that I can appreciate.
The “new normal” involves seeing a lot of empty cupboard space. Mother Hubbard had nothing on us. I think I could develop a career on the food network sort of like Rachel Ray except my tag line will be “how to pull dinner for two out of your ass when you only have three food-like ingredients in the house.”
The “new normal” means that when I am feeling unsure if I am up to a certain task, I look back on the last year and say to myself “If I could make it through that, I can do anything.”
The "new normal" is at times terrifying, heart wrenching, and wonderful.