Just once, why can’t my day go as planned?
I’m a Libra. I like to have things planned out. I write lists. I make decisions and I generally stick to them. I also procrastinate, but then eventually make a choice I can live with. If I don’t plan things out, I don’t do them.
I used to plan my whole week out, not like to the T, but so I knew what was due when, what bills needed to be paid, what work had to be finished, what time a meeting took place, and so on. I hated when I had a schedule planned for my Mental Health Clients, and my boss would call and say, “I need you to update all the files by 4 pm. Don’t worry, the clients will get over it.” I hated that woman from that day on. She “assumed” that:
1. The clients are stupid and couldn’t care less
2. That my schedule was not important to her or the clients
3. That I loved having my entire day rearranged for her entertainment.
The boss I had before her was wise. He was older and more at ease about things. He NEVER would have done that to me. He understood how, because I deal with my own depression and anxiety, that having plans/schedules helps me to cope. I don’t like surprises or changes. EVER. When she replaced him I realized how shitty life would be from then on. She was in her 20’s and when she got promoted the whole job went to her head. Oh, and she was banging her boss too…..no secret, everyone knew it. She had a child and a sweet husband, and it was so horrible. When my old boss was asked to retire I was devastated. He was the best boss ever, and always encouraged me, never put me down or made me feel like I wasn’t more than just an employee of a non profit mental health organization. He was an ex Marine, though he would always say “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” He would stop in my office daily to chat and see how I was, if I needed a morale boost and eat candy from a jar I kept in my office for staff. He understood how you treat people. If I was having a bad day I could sit in his office and scream and yell, cry or just ask for help. He would move the earth and stars to see that I had the tools for my job, including teaching supplies, and time to accomplish things. He taught me how to organize myself, because like me, he liked things organized and proper. He too hated changes. One day I felt myself overwhelmed and overworked. I had piles of charts on my tiny desk, trying desperately to find a way to do all I had too. I was still new at the job and hadn’t quite found my speed yet.
He came in for candy, and I basically yelled at him. But he didn’t get mad or upset. He just told me to breathe, and when I had calmed down he asked me what he could do to help. I said, “I am under a pile of charts, I have a million things to do and no time to do it……..and I am ready to give up on this shit once and for all!”
He calmly said, “Do you have a file cabinet?”
“You need to find your own way to do it, but get organized. Make drop in files for each item, then drop them in the file. Sort it all out and it won’t be as overwhelming.”
He showed me where the file folders were, how to label them, and then helped me chuck all the stuff from the previous owner of the file cabinet which was part of my problem. I made a file folder for each client (all 30 of them) and began putting each sheet into them. Then I managed to create a file on the computer of each client, info, treatment plan, goals and doctors information, updates stuff, and worksheets. In a few hours I had a system, which in reality, I made myself. I always enjoyed writing on the computer more than by hand. I can type so much faster than write. So updating weekly notes became a cinch. I just clicked the client’s weekly notes, changed the date, and entered the information. Before long, the entire company was using my method and being praised for being revolutionary. Of course, the company also assumed that since I could handle 30 clients’ notes each week, so could everyone else. More work, same pay, but more uniform note taking. My boss was proud. And then she came along and made my life hell. No more retreats with clients, no more taking them shopping to teach them to budget or manage money, or become independent. To me she was the Anti-Christ, constantly setting back years of work I had put forth to help people become their true selves. Really pissed me off.
So I quit. I moved to Texas. And I’ve been stuck here ever since.
So…….back to my recent life. Hubby screwed up, messed up my finances, made a mess of my insurance, and told people I had moved when I hadn’t. It was the last straw. Monday I dealt with him briefly by phone, he hung up when I cursed, and I had panic attack after another panic attack. Thank God for my mom, who listened and told me how strong I was and how much she wished she could give me a hug and tell me how proud she was of me. Tuesday, my ex was supposed to come get his stuff he’d left in 8 boxes, including pictures of his only son, mountains of clothes, and odds and ends I knew he’d miss. I texted him and told him “come get your stuff or I will throw into the dumpster.” He didn’t respond. the Landlord told me if I wanted my locks changed, he would have to come sign paper saying he had moved, give back all keys and get his things. The PLAN was for him to come on Tuesday to do just that. I resisted all urges to stay and confront him, to chew him a new one, and decided to go out instead to pay my car insurance and be absent when he arrived. I freaked out about him being here all day while running my errands, and called the landlady to make sure he had gone before I would come back. I didn’t want to run into him by accident. She never called me back, so at 4 pm, I decided to come home. I was praying the entire time I was getting my keys out that the hall was empty and his things were gone. When I opened the back door, the hall was clear. I took a deep breath and sighed relief.
But, as luck had it, I knew something still didn’t feel right. What if he hadn’t shown up, and all his things were just in the landlady’s office? She had asked me to put them there, but I have a bad back and just shoved them into the hall. On Wednesday, assuming the keys were here, his stuff was gone and I was clear of him, I went to see her to be sure. That’s when she said, “oh no, he came while I was in a meeting and took his stuff and left without signing papers and giving me keys.”
I was livid. Here it was Wednesday and I still wasn’t done dealing with this shit yet. Then she told me, “he’s coming at 11:30 to sign. I told him he was liable for everything since he’s still in the lease and he could be taken to court.” Here it was 11 am. and I had just 1/2 hour to come to terms with the fact he was coming back. Again. And there was a chance I would have to see him, deal with him and his mother was bringing him. UGH. What is hard for someone else to understand is this:
You want to do the right thing. You want to make the pain stop. You want to move on and stop being hurt. The problem is your heart is telling you it is possibly the very last time you have a chance to see the man you’ve loved for 5 years. It isn’t that easy. The heart is a very powerful thing. It makes choices for your head and you have a hard time keeping them both on the same page. My head was saying, “The plan. Stick to the plan Cat. (a powerful moment in IronMan1 movie) Don’t listen to your stupid heart, it will make the wrong choice. We have to get past this and move on.”
But my heart was countering wth, “Wait, wait. This could be our shot! Let’s go out in the hall and see him, see if he has any pain in his eyes, see if he missed you or regrets things and maybe we can somehow work things out.”
Um, can you both just shut the hell up?!
I have always followed my heart. But this time, the brain won. I had to listen to my brain for once. All I had to do was wait. And that was the hardest part…..
Tony: Get away from that door damnit.
Cap: She wants to hear if he comes through the back door or front.
Tony: I know. That’s why she needs to get away from the door. Too much temptation.
Clint: Cat, you already made a decision. Do you want this dirtbag to keep hurting you? Do you want to do this again in a year’s time? It’s not the first time he’d done this.
Clint: I know it hurts, I know you want to see him, but think about it. You have to be bigger than him. You have to let him see you aren’t putting up with this bullshit anymore. He made his choice, now he has to live with the consequences. And you made a choice. Stick to it. It’ll be okay, we’re here to back you up.
Me: I know, it’s just that……well, maybe we can get counseling. Maybe he held the keys because he was hoping to come back and we’d be together.
Tony: (sigh) We need to pull her back guys. She’s gonna blow it. We had a plan. She had a plan, and now she’s gonna blow it.
Bruce: Cat. You know you can’t do this. He doesn’t respect you. You deserve better. Do you want to think about Christmas alone again? Do you want to listen to him whine about everything again? How about how peaceful you’ve felt, how calm you’ve been compared to when he was here? You are not stressed and doing really well, and I don’t want to see you upset again.
Me: My heart is really pushing me.
Clint: Screw your heart, Cat! You’re heart lies! Search your head and remember all the crap he’s put you through for the last 5 years!
Me: (sighing) I know. You’re right. I’ll sit at the computer and wait.
Bruce: Keep talking to your mom online. Stay focused. You can do this.
(Half an hour goes by. I think I hear voices in the hall, then all is quiet. I nearly jump out of my skin when the phone rings. It’s the landlady. “He’s gone. Come get your keys.” I head to her office. She tells me he kept putting off signing, changed the appointment twice, and now wanted to know who told her he’d moved. He was shocked when she told him it was me. He gave her the keys, signed the letter saying he’d moved, and left with his mommy in tow. I took my keys, and also a new lease to fill out. I felt relieved. Sort of.)
Me: “Mom. Are you there?” I type.
Finally mom comes back online. “Yes. What’s happening?”
Me: “I’m free. He took his stuff, gave me the keys, and now he’s gone.” The word gone seemed like a stab in the heart.
She paused to answer. She knew me too well. “I’m glad you can relax now. How do you feel? Are you okay?”
Me: ” I was until I came back to the apartment. Now…..not so sure.”
(I tried to type several times, my spelling continued to get worse. Tears rolling freely now, and I began to sob. ‘What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t understand. A minute ago I was fine, happy even, now I’m balling like a baby.’)
I typed to my mother, “I need a minute, be right back.” I can’t hold back. It’s been a month and a half of not knowing, not making plans. Now I have my answer, which I actually felt good about. But for some reason it hurt like hell now. And I couldn’t stop crying. I typed like shit for the next half hour, crying and typing like a madwoman, telling my mom how I was feeling, sad and hurting, not understanding why. I had held it in so long, so bravely, and now I felt like a wuss. My mother reminded me, “you are STRONG. You are not a wuss. This is all normal, and part of the process. You need to grieve. Say what ever you want, I will listen.”
I apologized constantly for cursing, I don’t usually with my mom, but it would slip out now and then as I processed everything in my heart and head and came to the conclusion I had done the right thing. Even my heart was beginning to accept the finale of my marriage. It would continue to argue that fact for several hours, but in the end, my head won the battle. I poured out my heart to my mother, suddenly telling her things I had wanted to say for 20 years, telling her about my regrets in leaving the East coast, leaving her. Leaving and not knowing if I would see her or dad again. I told her I loved her, things we don’t say in our family, but always showed in our actions. She knew I loved her, and I knew the same of her and dad. They had just been raised in homes that didn’t say it. You showed it in how you treated others. I told her I was crying, and needed a hug. She said she wished I was there and she’d give me one. Things I said, things she said, it was all the lifetime of regrets and pain coming out. “I just want you to be proud of me. I did all I could, I wanted to make it work. You taught me to be strong, and to have good morals. I just don’t want you to be disappointed in me. I love you mom.”
The silence on the other end of the keyboard told me she was crying. She doesn’t show her emotions. Never has. By not answering, and knowing her only baby girl was in such pain must have been too much. She finally returned and said she wanted me to rest, take a day or so to allow myself to cry or just ‘be’. She said she was not disappointed in me, she couldn’t believe how strong I was. I decided a nap was in order, and thanked her again, logged off the computer, and shut off the lights. I laid there in the bed sobbing. I didn’t think about anything, I just allowed myself to cry and get it out. In awhile I had dozed into a deep sleep and awoke feeling numb an hour later. I went back to the computer and logged back on. Instead of my mom on the other end, I decided to look for funny things to make me feel better. I began laughing a little, and feeling more calm. I would be okay, maybe not right away, but eventually. At least I had told my mom everything I wanted to, so no matter what, I would not have any regrets.
Thursday my mom came online and asked me what my plans for the next 2 days were. I simply said, “I don’t have any Mom. I’m just going to ‘be’ for awhile. Everything else can wait.“
Best plans I never made.