Friday, March 13, 2009

Time flies

Today my darling monkey child is 14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How the hell that happened, I dunno. I've been telling him he's not allowed to get any older for years now. But he just laughs at me. His feet are now a men's size 10. He's as tall as me. He wears grown up pants and argues with me about how long his hair should be.

But inside he is still every bit that super sweet, kind-hearted monkey child, even if I get a lot of angsty teenage attitude when I ask him to do the dishes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting out is never easy

I tried to leave the Kid's dad half a dozen times before it finally worked. 6 times in 3 years. The rest of this is going to be triggering, sorry folks.

I've had lots of people since then treat me like I am somehow better than all the other women who get stuck in domestic violence situations. I'm not any stronger or smarter, I was just more lucky. Period.

First, you have to understand how difficult leaving is. The first time I broke up with him (long before the Kid was conceived) he took to sleep deprivation and rape to get his way. It was late, he had no car, there were no buses and the only other place he could stay was with his parents an hour away. Could he just stay and he'd leave first thing in the morning? Fine. And then the demands for sex started, not hard at first, just "Baby one more time, please" for hours and hours and hours. I would try to sleep and his hands would start creeping over me. Just before the sun came up I gave in, I laid there like a dead fish while pushed inside me. That didn't stop him from getting off, but once he finished he was sooooooo hurt that I would do that to him. I "made him feel like a rapist". I was all of 18 and didn't know that what he did was rape. I took him back out of guilt and shame and god only knows what else.

Then there was the isolating. If he couldn't get rid of my friends, he got them on his side. He made friends with my bosses and when I threw him out (for spending the money for groceries and diapers on drugs) it was my boss' house that he stayed at. Imagine getting calls from your BOSS discussing how horrible you are to your boyfriend. Imagine having your boss calling to discuss your lack of enthusiasm in the bedroom for a guy who recently declared "I like fucking you better when it hurts you". If I didn't let him come home, I'd be both a single parent and out of a job.

It finally stuck when the asswipe got pissed off enough to send me flying across a room full of friends and family when I wouldn't let him take the Kid to Hempfest (he had a problem with driving while high and I wasn't going to let him put the Kid in the car). That was luck, pure and simple. Otherwise those friends and family members (and bosses) would never have believed the shit I had been through. Seeing that finally got some people on my side. They finally believed that I wasn't just being a tight-ass because he smoked some pot or did a little crystal, but that he would hurt me if I got in his way about doing either.

After that, I got attacked in my parking lot. I had owned 4 cars up to this point, but he never let me get my license. I was trapped in a suburb with a one year old while he took the car(s) that my mom had helped me buy and disappeared for hours. On the day I had finally scheduled to go get my my driver's license, he showed up out of nowhere. I was outside, watching the kid play while smoking a cigarette (I know- I don't need grief for smoking) when I saw his car drive up. I grabbed the kid and swung him up on my hip. I don't know how but he got me around the throat and the kid and I were being dragged to his car. I put the cigarette out on his neck. I remember, vividly, thinking "If I had my other hand free I could fight but I can't put the baby down in parking lot". I just knew that the minute I let go of the Kid a car would screech out of nowhere and run him over. Finally someone held out their arms and I let them take the Kid. And I fought. And I got free. And he tore out of the parking lot just as the police sirens started to blare. (Super sucky sidenote- the police did not arrest him when they caught him, and because he had the visible mark they could have arrested me). Afterwards I went and got my driver's license and then a No Contact Order.

What followed was months of court appearances where he would harass me in the waiting room until I had to ask the guards to protect me. I got the judge to order drug tests and supervised visits if he wanted to see the the Kid. He got a new job as a water delivery guy and used to call me from his deliveries, sometimes as often as 30 times a day. Then there was the trying to climb in my bedroom window at night. There were more than 50 violations of the protection order, and he got probation on them. After almost a year of stalking and harassment, his mom called to tell me that he wanted to see the Kid. Somehow she knew about the Kid's daycare, which she shouldn't have known anything about. I panicked and within a week we were in a whole different state. For years I lived without putting anything in my name so that he couldn't track me. It's only been a few years since I lost the constant fear pit in my belly, though the last few months have brought it back.

I got lucky. I got a judge who wasn't the best about domestic violence but hated drug addicts with a passion, so visits were supervised. I got a second judge for the long term protection order who heard about the parking lot incident and realized the big warning signs for abusers who are about to kill (choking and public acts of violence are two biggies) were there. I had friends in other states who could take us in. And I only had one kid, and he was too little to have a big connection with his dad. He didn't even notice when he was gone. If the kid had been older, if there had been 2 or 3 kids, if the judges hadn't seen my side, if I was black or had drug issues of my own or spoke without sounding educated and middle class, things could have been much worse.

I got lucky. The stars aligned so that I could get out. That's all. Had the someone not been there to take the Kid out of my hands, I'd be dead. Had any number of things been different, I'd be dead. It took a lot longer than I would have liked to get out, and since I am back to dealing with him now, I wonder if anyone ever really gets out, but it was luck.

And to anyone who is stuck in that same situation right now, I already know you are strong, and I know you know that you will leave when you can. And I wish you the best of luck, really truly.

To kill the boredom

I've been drawing line pictures in photoshop for someone's math thesis. Yes it's that bad.

But I made pretty pictures! I just can't show them to you. Blogger hates them (I think Blogger is just jealous of my line drawing skills, for sure)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh dear fucking gawd I am bored to tears

With Ouyangdan on her new Asian schedule, I have no one to entertain me at work. I've read all the internets. I am over my interior design lust. The Books on my phone appy has crapped out on me. And I got nothing pithy or witty to write.

Won't someone take pity and entertain me? Please?

Since I cannot be made to laugh, I guess I'll overshare about my current little family problems.

After my last post about how the Kid's dad was freaking me out (just posting a little helped me clarify some shit in my head) I started thinking. What you get now is delayed stream-of-consciousness blogging. Lucky you.

Okay, so you're angry. Why are you angry? Are you really just angry about child support payments. Shit the dude has never paid in a reasonable fashion, so what's really going on here. Are you scared? Is maybe that why you're so angry? It's always easier to be angry than to be scared. Ok, so what are you scared of? Is it legitimate fear or is it leftover from years of trauma the asshat caused? We are safe right now. Dude doesn't know where we live, and the Kid only has a few months left in this school. So he knows where the Kid goes to school, but the school is aware of the history and has strict instructions. And if he did figure out where we live, our rooms are on the 3rd floor. He'd have to get through a bunch of roomates to get to us, and there is no possibility of him breaking in through the bedroom window while we sleep (which he's done before and is probably why I haven't had a ground story bedroom since). So safeish. For now. And if things change you have picked up in the past and run off with no notice. You can do it again.

But that's not all you're scared about, is it? You're scared that the Kid won't see how awful his dad is and will become like him. His dad is affable and charming on the surface, that was part of the reason it was so hard to get help to leave. How do you keep the Kid safe while still letting him have his own relationship with his dad? Tricky. You could just tell him what's going on, at the very least that will explain your snappishness. Besides, you're assuming that asshat has actually changed his tune and will try to see the Kid on a regular basis. Not fricken likely. He had visitation rights for two days a week with the Kid when he was little and he only saw him once in a year. Are you scared asshat will try to get custody? Not likely. He can't afford child support then he can't afford a lawyer. Besides, Kid is old enough to choose and I am very sure he would choose me.

So after this lovely bit of rational dissection of my fear brain, I had a talk with the Kid. I just explained that when I get scared, I get pissed. And there is a bunch of leftover stuff from his dad that scares me. It's not his fault, and I'm sorry for the snappishness. I also explained that his dad has some very good qualities, but that I don't want the Kid to grow up to be anything like his dad, which is why I've kept those kinds of influences (drugs, misogyny, violence and possessiveness) out of his life. We hugged, we joked around, it was all good in Mom and Kid world. I think that along with the fear brain, I had forgotten that the Kid is no longer a tiny toddler but an almost grown human being. I couldn't explain this shit to a one year old, but almost 14 year old Kid seems to get it. Besides, he has his own therapist to talk to when mom has a case of the crazies.

Now bring me some entertainment, pretty please?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well Holy Shit

After more than 5 years, no raises, no benefits and now no cheap employee bus pass, I am finally eligible to join the union for WA state employees.

Does this mean I get benefits or raises? Probably not. But it does mean that the next time the fuckers in payroll screw up my check, I've got a number to call.


Interesting things you learn by reading government reports

So out of boredom, anger, or for reasons not exactly known by me, I have been reading Washington state's Child Support Enforcement reports and findings. Actually, I am thinking of making a push to require deadbeat parents to either pay up or attend mandatory Work First programs like we require parents on TANF to do. After I get some numbers figured out, I'll need to see who would be the most friendly state rep to take the idea to.

In December a new report was published on state guidelines for setting support amounts. There was a bit of a debate (reading between the lines of the minority opinions published, it seems like the debate might have been a raucous) about what child to include when calculating family size. In they end they decided to count all the kids from both the non-custodial and custodial parents families, but:

A minority of the workgroup felt that later-born children should not be considered
in modifying support for the first family. Individuals supporting this position pointed out that the first family has an economic interest in the stability of the
support order and has no voice in the decision by the noncustodial parent to have
additional children in subsequent relationships. The custodial parent of a child
from a subsequent relationship enters into the relationship knowing of the
existence and financial obligations toward the child(ren) of the first relationship.

I find it funny (odd, not haha) that we have numerous ways of punishing poor custodial parents for having more children than they can afford, such as restrictions of TANF and Section 8 housing grants to the number of children in the family when the grant is first applied for, but we don't have those kinds of measures in place for non-custodial parents who continue to have have children while not paying support on the older kids. Could it be that most poor custodial parents are women, and poor women have always been at the mercy of society when it comes to their reproductive choices, but non-custodial parents are usually men and we have an aversion to punishing men for "spreading their seed"?