The Complexity Of A Name Change

Today I decided to brave the harsh elements and drive for over an hour to the Social Security Office.  I recently became aware that I could no longer get prescriptions filled or even order anything online because I’m still tied to that FUCKING Loser.  After talking to the pharmacy, I was thinking “how long is it going to be before I am free from him?”
The Social Security office was pretty nice but we were packed in there like sardines.  I got my ticket and sat down.  I don’t know why but when I first walked in and saw the huddled masses….I looked for Loser.
I watched people…some of them had blank stares.  Some of them were impatiently fidgeting in their seats.  Some of them were taking regular bathroom trips or cigarette breaks outside.  Some, like me had the “I don’t want to be here” look on their faces.
For some reason, almost everybody who walked in seemed to be seven feet tall…men and women.  A few of the older people couldn’t figure out how to work the robot that spit out your ticket after you gave it your life history.
It was going to be a two-hour wait so I just sat there, looking around.  There was elaborate crown molding used as chair railings but it wasn’t cornered at the ends like it should have been.  It had been cut straight off.  Whoever painted the windows didn’t cover the walls before they painted.
The security guard was carefully scrutinizing everybody who was not sitting down and he was policing everybody who dared to enter with a drink in their hand.
There were two lone Cheerios laying on the floor, stuck together.  Obviously, they weren’t there to execute a name change.
My number was called and I wove my way around a few bodies sitting on the floor and others who were leaning against the wall.
A cheerful woman asked me what she could do for me.  When I told her I needed to change my name, she said the same thing the DMV and the credit card companies said…”do you have your marriage license?”  I told her I had my DIVORCE papers.  She apologized and said she was sorry.  I told her not to be sorry.
It took less than five minutes to retreat back to my maiden name.  On my way out, I once again found myself inexplicably scanning the room for Loser.
Why was I looking for Loser?  Maybe I was having flashbacks to the last time we walked into a government building together without acrimony.  I don’t know.
I was incredibly sad when I walked out but it was overshadowed by the desire to throw up my arms, clench my fists and scream “yes!”
This was the final step in completely severing the last vestiges of Loser from my life…to permanently get rid of that Goddamn name…to be totally separate from him…to be able to now shred my current social security card that identified me as being married to Loser…to finally be free.

Two Kinds Of Death

There are two kinds of death.  Physical death…and divorce.
Physical death is something we hear about every day.  It has touched each and every one of our lives at one time or another.  Some deaths cause immeasurable grief.  Some deaths elicit applause.  Some deaths simply require the obligatory show of respect.  Some deaths it seems, are treated as though they are meaningless.  Some deaths are so horrendous that we dare not allow ourselves to think about them.
Can the dead talk?
If a slight breeze suddenly brushes by you, could it be the spirit of a loved one?  If a lone firefly, for no apparent reason comes up to you unexpectedly, could it be a loved one saying hello?  If a butterfly suddenly appears in the middle of the ocean, could it be a sign?  If a hummingbird circles your head, could it mean that a loved one is near?
I wonder if the dead can hear me when I let out a string of curse words, that if lined up end to end could stretch a thousand miles.  I wonder if the dead can hear me cry and if so, do they mourn with me.
I look for signs every day but I never see them.  The dead don’t talk to me.

Divorce is death.  It’s the death of a marriage.  It’s the death of a friendship.  It’s the death of a relationship.  It’s the death of a way of life.
There is no funeral.  There is no wake.  There is no service.  There is no plot of land with a marker bearing both names.
There is only a true copy of a final decree, cancelled checks written to an attorney and a settlement record on file at the courthouse.
All the things that were joined to form an entity, suddenly become detached.  Things have to be duplicated and split to insure equality.  Names have to be changed.  Personal information that was once shared, is now kept secret and separate.  Tender feelings that once flourished now become wilted and lifeless.  Family gatherings are suddenly incomplete because someone is missing.
The difference between physical death and divorce is simple.  When physical death happens, the person is gone.  When divorce happens, the person is still there.

Preparing For The Final Showdown – Part Two

It was ten years ago this month, that I confronted Loser about his first (?) infidelity.  I have gone through the massive amount of emails that Loser and I swapped over the years so that I can delete them…along with him, but the tin soldiers are still lined up, aiming their guns and the guns are fully loaded with hollow-point bullets.  Hollow-points do the most damage, I’ve heard.  I think each bullet has a special memory in the casing that will explode when it hits my heart and leave holes that will be there until it stops beating.
One of Losers’ emails in the not too distant past said “I hope you don’t ultimately hate me and come to regret me.”  He’s about 20 years too late with that hope.
He said that I was “one of the most remarkable people he had ever met and that there was nobody whose integrity he admired more than mine.”  That integrity didn’t do me much good, did it?  And being remarkable?  How could I be so remarkable?  I didn’t hang out in bars, guzzle beer and screw other womens’ husbands.  I didn’t play the pitiful damsel in distress when my taxes were due.  What’s so remarkable about me?  The things that should have been remarkable about me to him, simply had to do with running our “business”…nothing more and that wasn’t remarkable.  That was simply my duty.
When I left, I didn’t tell Loser or any of my children where I was going and I changed my phone number.  My birthday came and went.  Only my youngest daughter emailed a friend of mine with birthday wishes that she hoped would be passed on to me.  Nobody else bothered.
Loser mentioned during our last meeting that he started to get me a birthday card but figured I’d tear it up and give it back to him.  How insightful, for a change.  That’s exactly what I would have done.  I wonder what his attachment would have thought if she knew he was thinking about getting me a card.  What the Hell was he thinking?  Did he really think I wanted to get one more meaningless card from him, with his usual bullshit rhetoric scribbled on it?  Did he think it would make him look like a caring, “good guy?”
I kept flip-flopping back and forth between memories of my youth and memories of my so-called “marriage.”  They seem to be so closely tied together somehow.
The end was right around the corner but it was still so surreal.  I knew that I was going to see him one more time when we went to court for the final judgment and I knew it was going to be uncomfortable.  He had by now, certainly been given a copy of the affidavit that I had written and I’m sure it had outraged him.  He was probably wondering how I could possibly do that to him…being the “wonderful, nice guy that he is.”
I had written letters to all four of my children and intended to mail them (which I did) on the day of the final decree.  I also wrote a letter to that attachment.
The letters were more or less a “goodbye” to my children.  I opened up my heart and let it bleed all over the paper.  I told them that I wished they could remember how I had always been there.  I wanted them to remember that I had gotten between them and Loser when he was getting ready to slap them.  I wanted them to remember that I had been there when they had suffered and recovered from childhood illnesses and torn up knees.  I wanted B***** to remember that I was the one who drove eight hours to come help her when she tore up her knee in college.  I was the one who helped her get up and down the stairs on the way to class.  I wanted K**** to remember that I secretly gave her money to keep her from bouncing a check and therefore, suffering the wrath of the mighty Loser.
I apologized for being a bad mother.  I praised their talents and intelligence and strength.  I told them that I was proud of what they do for a living.  I told them that I think they are beautiful.
I wanted them to choose me but I didn’t ask.  It would have been futile because they were never going to desert Loser…this man who had called them “selfish little bitches.”  This man who had called them “just fucking firefighters.”  This man who had called J***** “a worthless piece of shit.”  This man who had slapped N**** in the face so hard that he almost sent her across the room, when she was just a tiny little girl.  This man who had cheated repeatedly on their mama, flaunted it all over social media and was unrepentant about giving her an incurable disease.
To them, the letters were probably just “mama drama.”  They were probably just mom…bashing Loser again.  They are adamant that they want Loser to be happy.  Good for them.  Good for him.  He’s happy and that’s the only thing that matters.
I had it in my mind that if they really did care anything about me, they would try to find me.  None of them have.

A Question

I have recently heard (read) the term “man-whore.”  I find myself liking that term almost as much as I like “bat-shit, Loser, ass-wipe and fucktards.”
I know a woman who trades sex and companionship for money is commonly called a whore but what do you call a man who does the opposite….trades money for sex and companionship?  What do you call a man who trades trips overseas and to the beach for sex and companionship?
Would he be a man-whore or a pathetic Loser?

The Quilt That Almost Was

This was going to be another quilt for Loser.  One of his favorite movies is “A Christmas Story.”
The window has real lace curtains.  Every fence post is individual as are the frames around the windows.  Each brick was shaded in.
One of my neighbors actually tried to “pick up” the BB gun.
The hilarious Leg lamp has real fishnet hose, stitched one line line at a time and the fringe on the shade is real fringe.
I use every conceivable medium with my quilts.  I shade with pencil and paint and then set them with a hot iron.
I wanted this to be a special quilt for Loser and I spent a lot of time on it.
I hadn’t finished making all the things I wanted to, such as “Black Bart” and the Chinese turkey or Randys’ “I can’t put my arms down” snowsuit so I got it out to work on it so it would be finished in time for Christmas.  When these pictures were taken, I still needed to do some more work on a few of the pieces…shading and painting.
I had always kept the pieces in a plastic bag.  I put these pieces away and started drawing the patterns for the other things.
After a while, I remember thinking that I just wasn’t really in the mood for some reason so I decided to do something else.  A few days later, I thought I’d give it another go, and my heart sank when I realized that I had thrown the bag away.
After I recovered, (I’m not sure I’ll ever recover) I decided to make Loser the quilt bearing the Mastheads of all his newspapers.
Accidentally throwing the pieces away was foreboding, I guess.  I should have known there was a reason.
A few months later, Loser gave me my Christmas present by announcing his involvement with that attachment.
I would love to try to make this quilt again, but my heart’s just not in it.  It’s for the best.  He didn’t deserve to have this quilt anyway.  He didn’t deserve to have any of the quilts I made for him…but he has them.

So, these are the pieces of the quilt that never was and never will be.


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Where Did I Get My Talent?

A reader asked me where I got my talents for quilting and writing and drawing.  From a very early age, I was always drawing.  I remember drawing with mud when I was making dandelion pies.  I would draw my own paper dolls and all of their clothes, sometimes with a sooty finger because I didn’t have a pencil.
I would suspect that I got most of my talent from mama.  Anything else, is a gift, I suppose.
When I was in school, art was mandatory for the first few years but I never wanted to do what the teacher wanted us to do.  I guess that was the only rebellious part of me that surfaced.  I knew how to shade an apple and a box.  I wanted to draw beautiful things, like people and trees.  When I got older, my art teacher let me continue to draw what I wanted but by the end of the year, she was tired of my resistance, I guess.  When I turned in my picture, she gave me an “F.”  She didn’t hesitate to tell me that it was a beautiful rendering but it wasn’t the assignment.  She gave me the chance to do the required work, which I ultimately did.
One of our neighbors was a pair of Mormon preachers.  They saw something I had drawn and asked me to come to their house and paint something on the fireplace that had been enclosed.  They bought the brushes and oil paint.
I painted a charging bull set against a fire-engine red background with a visible, full yellow moon.  They loved it and word got around.  Why I chose to paint a bull, I don’t know.
One of my sisters’ friends’ mother heard about my painting and asked me to come paint pictures of her children on the basement wall.  I painted them and got the usual praise but I was never paid one thin dime for any of my artwork.
I got brave and painted a picture for mama.  I took it over to her and presented my masterpiece.  She looked at it and said “this is perfect.  Nothing is perfect” and tossed it on the chair.  It ended up in her attic and I never saw it again.  Who knows what happened to it?
Just about every boy in school had one of my drawings of a beautiful woman taped inside their lockers.  I would sketch somebodys’ portrait now and then, and it would be hung in the main office.
After I got out of school, I started putting peoples’ lives on a piece of poster board.  I could reproduce anything.  They would supply me with a ton of information about themselves and I would draw it for them in collage style.
Two of my friends had asked me to make one for them.  I knew a lot about them…when and where they met, what kind of cigarettes they smoked, what kind of beer they drank, and M***** had confided in me about one of their “escapades” when they were moving.  They pulled off the road in their U-Haul truck and….well, you can guess.
Several months later, E*** was at work and had an accident.  He was literally crushed between the back of a truck and a brick wall.  It was touch and go for a long time and he never really did fully recover.
I decided to make their picture for them, hoping it would make him feel better.  The center of the picture was a U-Haul truck.  I thought it would be an inside joke between the three of us.  Imagine my horror when M***** told me it was a U-Haul truck that almost killed him.  It didn’t matter to them.  They had it framed and as far as I know, it still hangs in their house, almost forty-three years later.
I always made my own cards for people, complete with poems and illustrations. People would howl when they read them.  On the back, I would put at the bottom, “a S******* creation is always original.”  They would often say “I’ll be damned if that’s not so.”
I made cards using hieroglyphics.  Three years ago, I found one that I had made for Loser during the early years of our marriage…business.  For some reason, I couldn’t decipher it.  I scanned it and sent it to K**** and E*.  They were successful.  I had it out when he came to see me one time and he took it.  I imagine it has been destroyed or conveniently “lost” by now…depending on how soon the attachment found it.
I was still painting when I met Loser but after he got mad and threw my paints across the room, I put my brushes down.
I would still draw a bit now and then but I guess I remembered the anger that was associated with my artwork and we couldn’t afford paper or brushes or paint anyway.
We were so poor in the beginning.  We would walk down the street and I would look at the clothes in the department store window like an addict looking at a fix.  I said something about wishing that I was able to afford clothes like that and Loser said “why don’t you make them?”  I said that I could never make anything like that and he said “where do you think these came from?  Somebody made them.”
I was never interested in learning how to sew.  Mama was always trying to teach P**** but she never tried to teach me.  I had to take “home economics” in school and I despised it.  Everything we had to do, I hated!  I hated to cook and I hated to sew.  I wonder now if wasn’t subliminal defiance against what mama did and did well.
After my car wreck, things changed when Loser bought me that first sewing machine.
I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t know how to read a pattern or fiddle with a sewing machine….but I suffered with that famous “I can do anything” mentality.  Loser was so supportive and wore the pitiful things I made.  Neither one of us had much choice because we had so few clothes and so little money.
Losers’ mama knew how to sew but never offered any help.  I don’t think she wanted there to be a chance that I would surpass her.  Too bad.  I overtook her in no time and she knew it but she never said one word about anything I made.  The suits I made for Loser were top-notch and nobody ever guessed that they were homemade but she never said anything about them.  Instead, she bragged about the red pants she had made for his daddy and how “everybody said they were just wonderful.”  (He hated them but wore them to keep from pissing her off.)
I would be willing to almost bet that Loser never remembers those seventeen suits I made him for Christmas in 1977.
I have been through so many phases of things.  I made the porcelain dolls and the china dishes.  I figured out how to reupholster furniture.  It just made sense to me.
I made cases for all the trophies from soccer.  I went to a store and looked around, bought the wood, made them and they looked exactly like the ones in the store.  They weren’t the press board crap you see now.  I knew how to route the edges of the shelves and dovetail the joints.  I knew how to stain and seal them.  They were beautiful.  The children noticed but Loser didn’t.
I started making drapes and bedspreads but I’m not sure at what point I started making quilts.  I do know that I was gently forced into it regularly when P**** retired and decided she wanted to learn how to make a quilt.  I hadn’t heard from her in years until she called me and asked me for help.  It became a regular thing.
I kept having to remind my daughters that P****, D**** and I didn’t grow up like they did.  P**** and I were only now becoming friendly.  D**** and I have never been and will never be friends.
P**** caught on eventually.  She was “all about those quilts” and literally jumped in with all sixteen feet.
I made mama a quilt about the seven days of the week….Monday, you wash clothes….Tuesday, you iron….so on and so forth.  Sunday, was church-going day so I reproduced mamas’ own piano, complete with every single key.  I designed every block and drew the patterns.  It was one of a kind, like many of my quilts.
She looked at it and her comment was…”Thank you for teaching P**** how to sew.  She makes the most beautiful quilts.”
I never made her another one.  After she died, I took that quilt, folded it up and put it out of sight.
I loved making quilts and Loser never gave me any trouble about having to walk through mounds of scraps of fabric but he did make some noise when he got thread wrapped around his toes.
He wasn’t very vocal as far as an overabundance of praise.  I think I understand that.  My children made good grades when they were in school, so there wasn’t much standing on ceremony.  It was just expected.  It was only a surprise when they didn’t excel.
I can only remember one time when Loser said that a block I had made “wasn’t up to my usual standards.”  He was right.  My philosophy was…”if it’s not perfect, it’s not worth it.”  I would never give away a quilt that I wouldn’t proudly display somewhere in my home.
As far as writing, I am not a writer.  Loser was the writer in the family.  One of his first gifts to me was a dictionary.  I loved to look up words.  I still do.  I don’t rely on “Google.”  It used to aggravate my children when they would ask me what something meant.  I would tell them to go look it up and they would remember it.  I was tested once and something emerged about my “smooth verbal skills.”
I don’t know where I learned to do what writing I do.  Loser told me I am a “really good writer.”  Two of my daughters told me that I’m a really good writer.  I certainly didn’t learn it from Loser.
I was just a dirt poor, little Southern girl who wanted desperately not to sound like the people I went to school with.  I didn’t want to sound ignorant.  One of the best friends I ever had was a college graduate.  When she asked me where I went to school, I told her I hadn’t gone to college.  Instead of looking at me like I was now worthless, she said “but you come across as a highly intelligent, highly educated person.”
I wonder why Loser and all his cohorts never saw that?  Oh, that’s right.  I wasn’t worth talking to because I refused to drink.
Maybe I traded painting pictures for trying to paint words.  I love to write something and hope that whoever is reading it can literally feel it or see it or feel like they can almost touch it.
I’ll write but I will not read a book.  It’s almost (but not quite) distasteful to me.  There has to be a reason but I don’t know what it is.  My mama read.  My daddy loved to read.  P**** reads.  All four of my children read.  My grandma and grandpa read.  Loser is a voracious reader.  Everybody I have ever known or know now, reads.
If the reason is some deep, dark, horrible event, I don’t want to know.
I’ve decided to put Losers’ quilt on here.  He will never read my blog nor will three of my children.

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I also started making dolls about this time.  I loved those “Buyers’ Choice” dolls but they were so expensive.  I decided that I could make my own.  I made a whole “town.”  I made all the toys that they held.  I sculpted their faces, made the armatures and dressed them.  I had a good time making them.  I also showed P**** how to make them.  I made all the faces for her and she did the rest.  These were simply for my own pleasure.  I have since given it up.
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I have always wanted to put my life on a quilt but would I draw a black eye on a six-year-old child?  Would I draw a broken bone or a tear-stained face?  Would I draw an anatomically correct heart with a knife piercing the center?
How would I portray an abusive drunken mother-in-law sitting in front of my silent, spineless husband, spewing out venom like a fire hydrant?
Maybe I could do it “tongue-in-cheek.”  Maybe I could draw her riding in on her broom.  Maybe I could draw Loser in bed with one of his other women, giving me a thumbs up.  Maybe I could draw my children waving good-bye to me with a smile on their faces.  Maybe…maybe…maybe.

Just Another Day

Today is Thanksgiving and I’m by myself.  No turkey…no dressing….no problem.  It’s just another day.  It’s not the first Thanksgiving I have spent alone and I feel sure it won’t be the last.
It used to be a pretty big deal in our family.  It wasn’t complete without my famous macaroni and cheese and that atrocious white gravy that Loser loved but we were together and we enjoyed it.
When we were in C********, I extended an invitation to all the people at the newspaper who had to work and couldn’t make it home.  Among those “people” was D**** (one of the women that Loser was rumored to have had a thing with.)
I already had the house decorated for Christmas and I saw D**** look at Loser and say almost in a whisper, “your house is just beautiful.”  I caught a glimpse of Loser as he leaned back, took a drag off of his cigarette, smiled and said “why, thank you.”  He hadn’t done any of the decorations so why was he was thanking her?
The last Thanksgiving that we celebrated as a quasi-family was when my sister, her boyfriend and mama came to see us.  We sat down at the table and Loser asked mama if she wanted to “say the blessing.”  I watched mama, praying.  I was almost waiting for her to say something like “forgive me for treating her the way I did.”  That was a joke….kind of like when Losers’ mama had to pray before every meal and as as soon as she ended it with “thank the Lord,” she started bashing me.
When I was younger and Thanksgiving rolled around, it was a big deal, too.  My grandparents and I were invited for dinner (I’m sure at my daddys’ insistence.)  My mama was a great cook and put out all the fixins’.
We always had to stay around long enough for me to wash the dishes.  That was the price for dinner, I guess.  My grandma and grandpa didn’t like it, but what could they do?  They tried to help and I could see the anger in mamas’ face.
Sometimes, mamas’ half-sister and her husband would drive up from F******.  Mamas’ sister had quite a story.  She was born with two wombs and they were both facing backwards.  Back then, there was nothing that could be done so she was unable to have children.  She looked a lot like mama, even though they had a different daddy.  She played the accordion with great expertise and went to nursing school at fifty years old.  She was twelve years older than mama and called her “tiny.”  She didn’t like me and she let me know it.
Her husband, M*****, was a bible-thumping, Hell fire and brimstone, in your face Baptist preacher.
Every time they were there, M***** would take me in the back room and tell me that any time I wanted to “get out of there, to just let him know and he would come get me.”  I thought he was being sympathetic because he knew how mama treated me and wanted to protect me.  I remember him being “handsy” and he watched me when I was around but I never thought anything about it.
Years…and I mean years later, I found out that this wonderful “God person”….this Baptist preacher….was nothing but a scumbag.  He would fool around with some woman, get her pregnant, divorce my aunt and marry the woman.  After the baby was born, he would divorce the woman and then re-marry my aunt.  This happened three times.  That begs the question…why did my aunt keep taking him back?
I have been told that she was “sent out on the street” by Granny to help make money.  Mama told me that when she worked at the telephone company, she had to give Granny half of everything she made.  Granny was another one of those “daily bible reading, praying, God people.”
Apparently, my uncle was one of my aunts’ regulars and decided to get her off the street.  I imagine my aunt was so grateful that she forgave any and everything he did.
I visited their graves and those children that he sired didn’t even care enough to put the year he died on the tombstone.  I don’t know if he ever had anything to do with them after they were born and I don’t even know if they were girls or boys.  I don’t know where they live but I would never try to find them anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
There won’t be any “happy Thanksgiving” texts or phone calls for me.  My daughters will probably celebrate with their extended families and I imagine Loser and his attachment with descend on his mamas’ house with his brothers and their wives.  I’m sure a good time will be had by all.  This year, Losers’ mama will probably say how thankful she is that the attachment came into Losers’ life and then say…..“thank the Lord” but she won’t start bashing herLoser would never stand for that.
My son will sit in jail, maybe wondering what everybody in the family is doing and being sad.  I’m too far away this year to go see him and he isn’t allowed to get phone calls.  I doubt if any of his sisters would think about visiting him and I am almost certain that if Loser was there, he would never take time away from that attachment to visit him.
But, this is a time for giving thanks.  Should I be thankful for a crazed, revengeful mama?  Should I be thankful for an apathetic daddy?  Should I be thankful for a former spineless, cowardly, unfaithful, disease-giving, man-whore husband?  Should I be thankful for an abusive, sociopathic, alcoholic former mother-in-law?  Should I be thankful for the children who are going to be so excited to see their sperm donor and his attachment instead of me? No, I don’t think I should.
Should I be thankful that I wasn’t one of those children who were beaten to death by a parent?  Should I be thankful that I’m not one of those wives or girlfriends whose husbands or boyfriends murdered them?  Should I be thankful for all the support and good wishes from the people who are reading my blog?  Yes, I should and I am.
Wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving.