Tag Archives: marriage

Not Your Slave

Marrying a man who was a doormat has been an interesting experience…

In the past I was a doormat as well.ย  I allowed people to walk all over me, use me, take advantage of my generous nature, and even abuse me.ย  Then one day, I had enough.ย  I wanted to be better.ย  I wanted to feel better about myself.ย  I knew I deserved more than I was allowing myself to have.ย  So I sought help.ย  I went to therapy, worked on my self-esteem and anxiety issues, applied those skills to my real life, and started standing up for myself.ย  My newfound boundaries and ability to tell people no lost me some friends, but afterall, they weren’t real friends anyway.ย  They were just users, and I didn’t have room for that nonsense in my life.

Now I’m married to a man who had the same sort of background.ย  Jarrod was used by MANY people in his life, and after many years of being used, his friends and family came to expect a certain attitude and behavior from him, naturally.ย  But then he got together with me, and I saw his struggle.ย  I saw him feel run down and defeated by giving in to everyone’s demands of him, even though he didn’t want to give in.ย  He often gave in to avoid confrontation because he just didn’t want the drama and conflict.ย  He and I had conversations about it, and I assured him that he deserved better.ย  That he deserved the respect of his loved ones.ย  That he deserved to be able to stand up and say no to the demands and even to simple requests if he so desired to say no.ย  I encouraged him to defend his boundaries, and make decisions that he wanted to make rather than what everyone else wanted.

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Jarrod and me, September 2017

At first everyone thought I started being the one bossing him around, pulling at his puppet strings and making all his decisions for him.ย  I’d like to say over time they all came to realize that he does, in fact, have a mind of his own, with is own opinions and desires, and his own ability to make decisions.ย  And I was absolutely not making all his decisions for him.ย  But as of yet, they still haven’t figured it out.ย  I’m still getting the “blame” for his changed behavior.ย  When all I’m really doing is just telling him that it’s up to him, and supporting his decisions.ย  I’m building him up, making sure he knows he’s important and what he wants matters.ย  It’s frustrating to me that no one gives him the credit for being in charge of his own life, and that I’m pretty well disliked because they still think I’m controlling him.ย  But most days I know I just can’t let it get to me.ย  If his loved ones actually love and care about him, they will someday come to realize that he is his own man, and can say and do whatever the hell he damn well pleases without anyone telling him what to do.

As far as decisions that affect the both of us, or our whole family (us and our children), our decisions are 50/50.ย  Always.ย  We talk to each other, discuss the pros, cons and options, and come up with a decision we are both satisfied with.ย  For everything!ย  From little stuff like chores and household rules, to appointment times and dates, all the way up through family vacation ideas and living arrangements.

So, am I sorry?ย  HELL NO!ย  I have nothing to be sorry for.ย  I love Jarrod, and I’m doing everything I can to make his self-esteem better, and his own needs and desires met.ย  He does the same for me.ย  We’re soulmates, and that’s what we do for each other.ย  And if anyone has a problem with all of this…. keep it to yourself.

The Stories Iโ€™m Told

I met a gentleman today. Like many elderly before him, he saw me walking around in hyvee with Felix in his carrier, and said that it wouldโ€™ve been nice to have when he had been raising kids. He then went on to tell me his life story.

His wife passed away when they were both 35 years old. They had a son and a daughter, and the daughter was still a baby at that time. So he raised his kids alone. He never remarried.

He had polio as a teenager and beat it. He joined the Army when he was young and was in the Korean War. He enjoyed the Army, and worked with explosives. Not explosives like we have nowadays he said, but the ones with glycerin, that can go off for any little reason. He enjoyed traveling and all that he was able to learn and do.

Then he jumped ahead to talking about his wife passing away, and raising and taking care of his son and daughter. He said his son passed away at age 51 to MS, and his daughter passed away at age 46 (I donโ€™t remember why). He said he took care of them as long as he could, until he could no longer. He then helped raise his grandchildren, and they all look out for him when he has medical procedures. He also helps with his great grandchildren now.

This gentleman was proud to tell me he is a born again Christian, and when he was diagnosed with cancer he certainly was not afraid. They told him he had it everywhere, including his lymph nodes and many organs in his body. He had 10 surgeries and watched every one of them he was awake for. He said the nurses and doctors got a kick out of it, but he said itโ€™s his body and he wants to make sure theyโ€™re doing it right. Plus he was fascinated to watch them work. He listed off all the organs affected, which included his pancreas, liver, and intestines (plus several others). Many surgeries, many ICU stays, and even life support. Doctors told him he would never survive it all, but years later he stands there in hyvee telling me about it, cancer-free. He told me about the surgery sites not healing properly and needing to care for it at home. And then he told me about being diabetic and needing to change his diet in order to have a final surgery to repair the open wounds. He changed his diet so much that he no longer needed insulin.

He claimed to never have drank soda, coffee or alcohol other than tastes earlier in life. He said thatโ€™s why he believes he does not have dementia. He currently visits folks at 3 different nursing homes here in town.

He said he drives a pickup truck now because itโ€™s easier to get into. But until recently he had a Mustang. He said just once he got it up to 140 mph. He said heโ€™s heard youโ€™re supposed to die with grace, but he wants to go out with a bang. He wants to enjoy life, every moment of it, and live to be 120! He said the hardest part about being as old as he is, is watching all of his loved ones pass away or lose their memories. But heโ€™s happy to still be alive at AGE 91!!!, against all odds.

I couldโ€™ve listened to him talk all day long. Iโ€™m absolutely fascinated with his stories. And I didnโ€™t even catch his name. Just a photo of him as he left.

Cars, Kids and the Concert

I just wanted to follow up my previous posts with some updates. First of all, it turns out we were fully insured. Insurance deemed the car a total loss and paid us out. We were able to find a minivan at a reasonable price and are getting some repairs done Friday to make it last us a while. Felix continues to do amazing at physical therapy except for the last couple days, when he just wants to be held all the time. I’m sure a big part of that is the fact that he’s teething. He’s gotten one tooth and the second one isn’t far behind.But anyway, Felix can roll front to back and back to front now, and when he does the exercise when he’s on his tummy on his boppy, he’s getting strong enough to push himself off and over it. He’s also really been studying faces lately. I’m so proud of his progress.

Andy got his braces off today! He had them for 3.5-4 years, with a jaw surgery during that time. He said it feels weird and a little sore. But he’s happy.

Evan had court today to review his court ordered outpatient committal. The judge dismissed the case, saying Evan was no longer a threat to himself or others. But he’s gotten 2 criminal charges and has violated his probation (recently). I told him the ruling may seem like a good thing, but what it really means is that now when he decides to act a fool, he can’t hide behind mental health. He will just be treated like a criminal. He faces a judge about his second criminal charge soon.

Jarrod had a really good time at Riot Fest despite his shitty adventure on the way home. He got to see a couple bands in particular he was very excited to see: Guided By Voices and Ween. I’m glad he was able to go and enjoy himself, even if I was unable to join him. Hopefully I get so fortunate as to be able to go to a concert soon.

Left: Guided By Voices โ€” Right: Ween, photos by Jarrod

I finally saw a doctor about a few things I had been avoiding and/or putting off. Nothing too serious. I’m not going to go into any of that right now because Felix is starting to wake up from his mini nap and I don’t have time to type about it. I’ll update again soon.

As If There Wasnโ€™t Enough Wrong

So, we’ve been down on our luck. Jarrod lost his job not long after Felix was born and had to find a new job. I had planned on staying home with Felix for a while after he was born, but about the time I thought I may wanna go back to work we were not only still dealing with colic, but other developmental concerns, as previous blogged about. We have had serious financial strain since I haven’t been able to work, and have been fund raising to get help paying for rent and bills. And now….

Jarrod was on his way back from Riot Fest in Chicago (tickets and expense money were gifts, not irresponsible spending). He was almost home last night, driving through very dense fog, and being unable to see well, he hit the guardrail-type cable fence along the side of the interstate. HE IS PERFECTLY UNINJURED, which is the important part. But the car’s driver’s side tires were shredded to the point of being non-existent. The car is totally irreparable.

So now we are incredibly broke AND without a car.

Yes, we have insurance. They are trying to work quickly for us, but they said it will probly be 4 days before we hear back from the insurance adjuster. It could be a couple weeks or so before we have any sort of payout to get a replacement. In the meanwhile, we need to find rides for Jarrod to go to work, for grocery / household needs, and most difficult of all, out of town appointments.

Can our luck turn around now? We need some good news. Some good fortune. Something to lift us up.

Meanwhile, I’ll be cuddling Jarrod a lot closer tonight, thankful he made it through that experience alive and unharmed.

Year By Year

I came across this Instagram photo the other day and it got me thinking about all the changes Iโ€™ve gone through in the last few years.

2016 (April): In the pic on the left I had just started on my journey to becoming healthier, and had already lost about 25 lbs. In this picture, we were in Florida (with my ex-husband) as a family on vacation. It was the first time the boys or I had experienced the ocean or even gone on a family vacation, ever. I thought my life was going well, even though my relationship was on the rocks. I figured weโ€™d work it out. I was working full-time, as was my husband. We were financially stable for the first time in over a decade. We were renting a house, and after we were done on this vacation we went home and bought a new vehicle. I had no idea what was in store for me in the future.

2017 (May): A year later, in the pic on the right, I had lost 60 lbs. and had a Panniculectomy (surgery to remove loose skin on my belly). Pictured here, Iโ€™m showing off my new, leaner body. My husband and I had split up and divorced. I had moved twice since the beach pic. At this time I was dating a life-long friends but he was incredibly verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because of our history, and I wasnโ€™t thinking much about myself. I had been fired from my full-time job due to performance issues, which, looking back, probably had a lot to do with that abusive relationship. I wanted to be home a lot because not only was I worried about being cheated on, but I was worried about the safety of my children.

2018 (April): Jarrod and I had traveled to NC and I got a tubal ligation reversal. During that year, I started a new job delivering pizza at Pizza Hut, I kicked my abusive boyfriend to the curb for the sake of my kids, Jarrod and I found each other (at work) and fell head over heels for each other in a matter of days, we ran off to Colorado and got married, I got a panniculectomy revision and breast reduction, we merged our families into one home, and we decided to expand our family.

2019 (April): The final picture in this seriesโ€ฆ Jarrod and I and our new baby, Felix. In the course of the year, Jarrod had a vasectomy reversal, my middle teenage boy, Evan, had some serious mental health issues that needed to be addressed throughout the year, two of Jarrodโ€™s girls went to live with their mom, I fought a serious infection from my breast reduction resulting and 2 extra surgeries to clean out the infection and a lot of antibiotics for several months. I went through an entire pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. Jarrod lost his job at Pizza Hut after Felix was born, and Iโ€™ve been staying home with Felix, which has caused us financial turmoil. But he has since found a couple new jobs and things are finally starting to look brighter.

So many changes year-by-year, it really makes me not take anything for granted. I never imagined back in 2016, that I would be where I am now in 2019. In fact, if anyone would have told me, I would have thought they were a fool. I am so very grateful for what I have now, who I have become, for my amazing best friend and husband, and for my growing family. Hereโ€™s to seeing where we are in another year.