Mama She Has Taught Me Well Told Me When I Was Young Son Your Life’s An Open Book Don’t Close It ‘Fore It’s Done

So I took the kids to the park yesterday and as Z went off on the slide, little E and I had our “conversation”

The whole “Why doesn’t Dad live with us?” question that he had asked me earlier in the day… I thought I had mentally prepped my answer, thought it through, and I thought I was ready to handle it in a way a 6-year-old would understand, without many follow-up questions.

I thought wrong.

We sat on a park bench and I told him that dad used to live with us and asked him if he remembers living in Kenya with him. He said oh yeah. I went on explaining that something happened between mom and dad, where dads imagination/brain made him think he was in danger a lot and at that time, his mind told him that mom was a bad person, so he hurt mom. So I made the choice that even though at the time I loved dad, I had to make sure you little E and Z, plus myself, were going to be ok. Because I didn’t know if dads mind was going to think up any other silly things that might hurt anyone else. So I took you, little E and Z and we moved out of the house where dad was, and back to Canada to live with Nanna and Nonno.

I wanted to make sure everyone was safe. And now, like I’ve told you before, dad takes medicine to help his voices go away, so he’s not scared anymore. But the medicine also makes him very tired. Which is why when he visits you and Z, he just likes to sit there and doesn’t talk much or have the energy to play with you.

This whole time little E was taking it all in and asking a few questions here and there, but then he asked this ‘how did you disobey?’

It occurred to me that little E STILL remembers what happened to me (he was unfortunately in the room) and also still views it as a spanking. I do spank my kids, but I don’t beat them like E did me. I think because I closely monitor what my kids watch on TV or see online etc, this was the only ‘violence’ he’d really known. So the only word he had to describe one person hitting another in any fashion, was spanking. And therefore, since I obviously don’t spank my kids for fun, he associated it with the fact that I must’ve been being disciplined for something I’d done wrong in the eyes of E. Totally reasonable though process for a 6 year old.

So I explained that (please bear with my very basic explanation, he’s 6 not 16, I had to make sure I was on his level) husbands and wives don’t have to obey each other like kids should obey their parents. Parents have to teach kids because you’re still learning and we are there to guide you. But moms and dads should be a team. Not one the boss of the other. I’m still on your team little E, but I’m coach. There’s a difference. Ok? He kinda nodded but I think he still wanted to know what I did wrong to warrant such a ‘spanking’. Probably so he could avoid that behaviour in the future and not get in such “trouble” himself.

But I reassured him that dads meds made sure that when he’s with little E and Z, he’s ok. Meanwhile my mind is screaming out a million ‘what if’s’  And reminded him that we’re doing great and having fun living in our house with just the 3 of us.

That’s when he pulled out “Maybe I’ll have another dad one day, that would live with us!” And I said yep. (and then of course the tears welled up, seriously what is wrong with me these days) One day mommy will maybe start dating a man and then get married and you and him can talk about him being your dad. Because little E, E will always be your dad, but… and then he interrupted and said ‘but then I could have two dads!’ With a big smile on his face. I said ‘one day, maybe.’

And in my head simply thought how much I wanted that for him as he joined his sister in the park.


-Metallica/Mama Said-

B*tch Better Have My Money, Pay Me What You Owe Me

$36,408.00 That’s how much E currently owes me in back pay for child support.

I’ve been trying to sort this thing out with my lawyer for what feels like forever now, and I feel like (hopefully) we’re nearing the finish line with this whole divorce. To be honest, it could’ve been much worse than how it’s gone though.

Yes, E is extremely difficult to work with and I have a love/hate relationship with leaving the kids with him, since while technically I get a break from them, I spend the whole time worrying about how he’s probably not caring for them properly.

But to be truthful, we’ve had a fairly amicable divorce. There’s none of that “trying to get the kids against the other parent” stuff happening. One, because E just lives in his own little world in his head and that’s too much thinking on his part to try and manipulate little brains against their mother, and two, I don’t waste effort on bringing him into our conversation in my house when he’s not around. If the kids ask to call him, I let them for sure, although it’s only Z who does and maybe only once every 2-3 months. Also, to avoid conflict, my family and I have come up with a code name for E so if we want to discuss the divorce or anything about him and the kids are around (although we try to avoid that) we can use his alias and then talk freely without worrying about tainting the kids view of him.

We also didn’t have that unspoken “competition” to see who would find a successful new relationship first. Basically because I feel like E would most likely never be in a relationship again. Now don’t get it twisted, I totally think people with severe mental health issues can be in long lasting healthy relationships, but I just unfortunately don’t see that happening for E. He’s just not capable of it. As for me? I really wish him the best, and if he does find someone to marry…. I would wish them all the best like literally because they would need it, but I wouldn’t feel pressured to race to find someone myself if E was “first”. To each their own you know.

But now after 3 years and 2 months since filing for divorce, 2 lawyers, and one psych ward lock up later, we’re nearing the end (again fingers crossed). Plus it looks like it will be worth it. $36,000+ worth it.

When I think of that amount… I get frustrated. I think of the standard of life my kids and I have been living for the past 3 years, while we could have been enjoying 12 grand more a year? It pisses me off. My kids could’ve had those lessons they wanted instead of chilling at home every night. Or the newest toy for Christmas that everyone was talking about instead of new pyjamas and underwear. We wouldn’t have had to live with my parents until a year ago. Their college funds could’ve been jacked by now! It just would’ve, and apparently should’ve been much better in the past if E had paid up like he was supposed to. But since he’s a cheapskate, my kids missed out on some things that should’ve been theirs. Although in the past little while, since I finished school and got a job, I’ve been able to provide all those things on my own. And yes, the support E sends each month, although not as much as he’s supposed to send, is welcome, it’s just nice to know the kids and I would still be alright without it.

Now… I just have to plan a nice $36,000 vacation! Suggestions?


-Rihanna/BBHMM-

Nobody Said It Was Easy. No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard

I’d like to say that once I got back to Canada things got better fast. But that would be a complete lie. It was hard. There were so many stressful factors I didn’t even consider when thinking the whole “leave E” thing through.

My parents let us stay with them for which I am so grateful and my parents were SO happy to have their grandkids back from Kenya for good. We figured out a reasonable rent amount, and each of us had our own room downstairs in the house I grew up in. It was nice to have built in babysitters with my parents but to be honest I never really went out. So most nights it was TV in between my parents on the couch. So cool, I know.

It took us about a week to get settled and over the jet lag. We took many trips to Value Village and Goodwill (thrift shops) to outfit the kids with winter clothes and a few toys. Considering we had just moved from +30 to February in Canada it’s an understatement to say we were underdressed and ill prepared.

I was still officially on maternity leave with Z so that helped financially for a bit, but I had huge credit card bills to pay off mainly from flights, E’s most recent one included, so I had to think about what I was going to do to support my kids. I had 3/4’s of my teaching degree already under my belt, but at this time I really didn’t feel like it was my thing. I figured if I was going to go back to school anyway, I might as well make sure it was something I was really wanting.

So I started taking multiple personality tests to see what kind of traits I had and which jobs they matched well with. I needed to make sure I made the best choice because I couldn’t mess anything up. I had little people looking up to me. After at least a dozen quizzes (no joke) I narrowed my decision down to the area of accounting/HR that I though suited me well. I found a program close to home that offered an accounting degree and payroll certification for across Canada start to finish in 10 months. The program was designed to be intense but for a faster finish. Sounded perfect for me, since I needed to be back in the work force ASAP making as much money as possible. I applied, got accepted and started all within a week.

I had to find childcare for my kids which was hard since I didn’t even have a regular babysitter. It took me a little while, but I found the perfect dayhome for them 2 minutes from my parents house and on the way to school. The kids loved it and D was and amazing lady.

Now I had to buy a vehicle. I looked around for a while at second hand ones that I could buy straight out with cash, but couldn’t find one I really liked, and that didn’t have any issues. I didn’t want to be dealing with car troubles with all the other troubles I had going on at the time. I ended up going to a dealership and buying the most beautiful Rogue for myself straight off the lot. It was the nicest thing I had ever owned/done for myself and it made me happy every time I looked at the car. I’ve had to sell it since then to buy my house so I currently drive a bucket of bolts I hate, but one day I’ll get myself a nice car again.

Then, there were the people I had to deal with. OH the people. Where to start.

My mom just kept comparing my divorce to hers like a gazillion years ago and the similarities were few and far between yet I was supposed to do everything how she had done it and all the advice was in her opinion super helpful… It wasn’t. She kept telling me about different laws that were so outdated, or paperwork I should file that didn’t exist anymore. It was frustrating. I just wanted to tell her what was going on without her telling me what to do. I just wanted her to listen. But that’s not my mom.

Then at a family get together about a month after I’d gotten back, my older sister R felt it was a good time to give me her opinion on my life. Now R is very dedicated to her Christian faith (her and her husband J are Pastors) and from her perspective, I shouldn’t divorce E. I should “separate from him. Separate forever, but don’t divorce” Also she felt it was appropriate to then tell me that, if I choose to remarry, her and her family would not be attending my second wedding. Her and her husband didn’t believe in divorce and remarriage and therefore wouldn’t support it.  Unless he had cheated on me. (Apparently physical abuse is ok according to God though) She felt she was being kind by giving me a heads up on this. I hadn’t even officially filed for divorce yet (I hadn’t even decided to get a divorce yet) and you’re already talking about my hypothetical second wedding? It was frustrating and made me feel like no longer discussing E with her.

*Since this time R and I have discussed this moment and I explained how it made me feel, and R has apologized for making that comment at that time and the insensitivity of it all. I have forgiven it and we have moved past it*

Anyways then in April, my little sister’s boyfriend D wanted to propose, and asked for my help. The last thing I wanted to do while dealing with my divorce from an abusive crazy ex is help other people in happy healthy relationships get engaged. Petty? Yes, very.  But I helped. I wanted to cry the whole time, but I helped. I also must’ve subconsciously been pissed because I was supposed to record the whole proposal on my phone, and I honestly thought I was videoing the whole thing, but when we went to watch it after there was no video. I don’t know if I forgot to press record or what, but I honestly felt terrible. Either way, she got a beautiful ring on her finger in a room full of her family and friends and flowers. I know she’ll remember it forever without the video… I hope :/

My dad sort of kept to himself about the whole thing. That was his style though. Mostly just let my mom do her thing.  But when my sister got engaged, I’ll always remember he brought up the whole “don’t you dare hurt my daughter, or I’ll kill you speech” And in that moment I was so mad at him. It was the same speech he had given E. I was his daughter. I had been hurt. And Dad… you did nothing. You literally did nothing. In the one moment I NEEDED someone to keep their promise to me, to protect me, to keep me safe. You did nothing. For a few weeks all I could think about when I looked at my Dad was how he let me down. I obviously don’t condone violence, and I didn’t actually expect him to do anything to E. But I did want him to shut his mouth about it. It was so hypocritical and made me feel like maybe I wasn’t worth it to him. It took me a while to get over it, and still bothers me to hear him talk about it. I’d rather hear him say nothing than false promises like that.

Then on top off all this, I had constant calls, emails, Facebook messages, texts you name it, from E and his family. Harassing and threatening me at every turn. I blocked all sorts of numbers and they would just call from other phones. Then, they started bothering my mom on Facebook.

It was no wonder that I became depressed and suicidal by the Fall of 2014.


-Coldplay/Scientist-

 

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now If I Go There Will Be Trouble And If I Stay It Will Be Double

I spent the next couple of days in what can only be described as a fog. I was there. I was alive. But I was definitely not thinking clearly. Everything was blurry. Fuzzy. I couldn’t concentrate on any of the mundane day to day things that needed to be done. The kids needed to be fed… I’m sure they were. They needed to be dressed, I remember seeing them walking around in clothes and then at night in pajamas but I have no idea how they got from one to the other. Diapers were changed, but I can’t for the life of me remember by whom. Life just happened. I apparently didn’t need to be 100% present for the world to keep on turning. E would be leaving in a few days back for work in Canada, and I just had to make it until then.

I did my best to avoid any talk of what happened on Sunday. His various family members came to visit, and I stayed in my room. I left the house to visit neighbours at every opportunity possible. Basically, if there was an chance to be away from E, I jumped at it.

Of course he apologized profusely, and constantly. But it wasn’t something I wanted to hear at the time. I told him it was fine, and that I was done with it, but it was more that I was done talking about it, than I had forgiven him in that moment.

No I didn’t feel comfortable around him. No I didn’t want him in my bed at night. No I didn’t want him touching me.

But on the other hand, I was trying to lessen the uneasiness in little E’s eyes. I wanted him to feel like everything was OK and that there was nothing wrong. I wanted him to be comfortable and happy. I didn’t want him to be scared every time he heard E enter the room… Like I was.

I only had to survive the next 3 days until this man was gone. If I  could get through it, then I would have some space to clear my head and think.

Unfortunately, the 3 days weren’t smooth sailing. Ha story of my life.  I’m drawing a blank about the correct terminology but, a council of sorts was called regarding E. The local elders all gathered at my house one morning and discussed (in Swahili, no less) the circumstances that had occurred on Sunday. I had no input in the conversation that was centered around me. As a white woman I wasn’t even allowed to take part in the conversation. I was relegated outside with the kids who interpreted as much as they could for me as we all held our ears to the door. But the jest of it, was that what E had done was bad, and he shouldn’t do it again… No shit Sherlock. At the end I remember they asked me if I agreed and I straight up told them I had no idea what they said, and it was rude of them to talk about me, without me, in a language I don’t fully understand, without invitation. And that they were welcome to leave my house now. I was done with people thinking they could discuss my life and somehow talking about it would solve all my issues. Because trust me, it was NOT helping.

Once E left Kenya for work, I immediately felt the change in the house. Our farm boy and I had many conversations about how he thought E was a “bad man” and he didn’t want to work for us any more. I asked him to stay with us until E came back since I didn’t know anyone else available/capable/trustworthy and I couldn’t handle the farm on my own. He agreed to stay. For now.

My in-laws were constantly dropping by “just to visit.” Mmmhmm, sure. I’ve been living here for how many years, and now all of a sudden you want to come over and see how the kids and I are doing? Screw off. My father-in-law literally came over everyday 5 days straight on his way back from town with a yogurt for little E, or raw beef for the dogs. He would boss my farm boy around and annoy my house girl. He’d only stay for about 10-15 minutes but it became the most frustrating part of my day. Especially when I would go for months without seeing him previously. Just how I liked it.

My neighbours were constantly at my house, just because. A few of the pre-teen boys skipped school for a couple days and I would see them around the yard helping my farm boy until I had a discussion with them about the importance of school. They told me they just wanted to help me out because they felt bad about what had happened. I told them I truly appreciated it, but school was much more important and they could come hang out after.

My house girl finally quit after being harassed by my father-in-law so much. Apparently she wasn’t doing well enough according to his standard. I had no one to help now. So my neighbours would come by every day to help me with the basics. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d gotten pretty good at life in the village, but it takes two for sure. If I needed to cook something, I had to gather wood, and start a fire out in the kitchen on the dirt floor between 3 carefully placed stones that would hold up the pot over a fire I had to build. If I wanted to shower, same process, but I also had to haul the water from the well. The clothes all had to be hand washed, so that meant hauling water every day, and then hanging them up to dry. We had no electricity so groceries had to be bought everyday fresh, since there was no fridge to store anything, so that meant at least a 3 Km walk one way for anything.  Dust was everywhere, so the floor had to be swept and washed daily. Not to mention the kids and the basics of keeping them alive. It was a two person job for sure. And now since my father-in-law had felt the need to stick his nose in, I was a (wo)man down. I wasn’t pleased.

One day I just needed to get away from the house and all the bustle. I decided to take little E to school in town instead of him taking his normal bus. I wanted some quiet time away from everyone who was trying to help. I hadn’t had free time to myself to process that Sunday yet. There had just been to many people in and out of my house, too many fake apologies, too many people saying “just forgive him.” All I needed was myself and my mind, unencumbered by other peoples perspectives and unhelpful advice. Thinking they knew what was best for me, but not knowing me.

After I dropped little E off at school, I walked. Plain and simple. I walked. The entire length of Kakamega and back. I made a pros and cons list in my head about leaving vs. staying with E and all the ramifications. I thought through every step that would have to happen in either circumstance. Which one would be more beneficial for myself and the kids.

Was I strong enough for either situation?

Was I capable of leaving him?  Would I be able to be a single mom? I never had a chance to finish my teaching degree, since I got pregnant with little E. Plus since then, we’d been flying back and forth between countries since E couldn’t decide what was what… I had no home to go back to. I had no job. What I did have though, were two kids whose lives I was responsible for. Two children who didn’t choose this man. Two kids who deserved all the best life had to give them, and that wasn’t happening if I stayed here, with E.

So, by the time I had made my way from one end of town and back, I had decided. I had made the choice to leave E. I called my mom right there on the street and told her. I asked if the kids and I could stay with my parents when we got back into the country. I needed to tell someone right away or I felt like I wouldn’t follow through and I needed to be held accountable for this choice. After my mom said of course we could stay with them, I hung up the phone and headed to the house E and I had built from scratch. That I had paid for 100% from my pocket. And hatched the plan to get out of the country.

When I opened my laptop to search for flights, I noticed the date.

It was Valentines Day, 2014.

The day I gave myself the most loving gift anyone ever has. The decision to leave an abusive marriage.


-The Clash/Should I Stay Or Should I Go-

Love Don’t Lie It Lifts You Up It Takes You Higher When High Ain’t Enough

My marriage should have never happened. But I’m not always good at following my gut. Or listening to the little voice in my head. I follow what I thought was logic and reason, and at the time, all logic was telling me that this man was the best I could/would do and I should get it while I had a chance.

Awful start, I know. Stupid reason for getting married, I’m well aware. But people do dumb things sometimes, and trust me I’m dealing with the consequences now, and I will be for the rest of my life. Not everything that came from that relationship was terrible. I got to travel the world, which is an experience I will always cherish and value. Most importantly though, I was blessed with my two children. They give me life. No it’s never easy being a single mom, as many of you unfortunately know, but my kids make it worth it. When they smile so big that their eyes squint tight… that’s my joy. I can honestly say that my kids make me happy. Of course they are tons of work and are  wearing on me daily but they spark joy in me. A joy that had been lost for too long. A joy that took me a while to understand that they brought, but I’ve learned to appreciate now.

When I met E, I was in a man fog. I was literally hosting one night stands with every half decently attractive guy I met online. Probably on average about 2 different guys a week. I wasn’t looking for a husband, I was looking for companionship. Very short term companionship.  When one of the guys would call me back after I wouldn’t answer. I had gotten what I needed for the time being from them and was moving on. I didn’t need to go through the fake motions of politeness, because frankly I didn’t care.  I was a bitch, I know.  But then I met E and invited him over. He was so shy he brought a friend, which I thought was so endearing.  We talked and actually got along and his friend just kinda chilled there for moral support or something, I still don’t know.  As the night moved along I totally made a move, since I invited him over for one reason… friend or not. We did our deed and it was all good, but then I specifically remember when E went to the washroom his friend came over to me and I was like hell no and called out for E. He came and took the guy out, and in that moment I thought maybe this guy had potential. So when he called me the next day, I threw caution to the wind and answered. Way out of character for me but in the moment it felt ok. It felt like maybe he had “earned it”.

So I guess that’s when we started our pathetic “courtship” or whatever you want to call it. We started dating. I knew after about 2 maybe 3 months that this was more effort and work then it should be. I knew that I probably deserved better. Someone who would call me. Someone I could talk to. I deserved someone who could hold up their side of the conversation. But I didn’t realize at the time the totality of the mess I was getting involved in.

E was very good at lying. Not because he was a manipulator per say, but more because he didn’t realize it.  And my life became a juggling act. Trying to put out fires that his actions caused. Patch up relationships his words damaged. Explain situations that I didn’t completely understand.

You see at the time, I didn’t know, because E himself didn’t know, that he is a paranoid schizophrenic. So he literally spent more time listening to the voices in his head then to me. It wasn’t as bad in the start. But after we got married, I noticed a definite downturn. And it was difficult. Something I could explain until I’m blue in the face, but unless you’ve lived through it you can’t fully understand. You can’t describe the feeling of sitting next to someone, trying to have a discussion with them, just the two of you, the person who is supposed to be your most intimate partner in the world, and he’s not there. Oh he’s there physically, but his mind is so far gone that he can’t even answer you until you’ve asked the same question in 6 different ways, dumbing it down each time in hopes that he will “get it”. Until your so frustrated you just can’t handle it anymore, and you slowly give up. First just with that conversation, and then over time with any discussion of any meaning because you know it will be to painful to draw out any response of any kind out of him.

A few examples of how E confused my life included how E wanted to go to school, and as his wife I wanted to support him in whatever he wanted to do. So we spent thousands of dollars on courses that he never finished because he kept changing his mind. He told me after we were married that he had another kid. So I’m already his wife and now I’m a step-mom? Ok, I guess I just have to go with it. Now we’re sending money back to his ex for the daughter that I had to repeatedly explain to him that he had to support. Although his words were that it was in the past and not part of his life now so he shouldn’t have to worry about it.

Next his dad was sick, and thousands more were sent overseas to support his family. All this money I later found out was for imaginary illnesses and was used to build beautiful houses for my in-laws. While I was working my butt off and pregnant and we were barely making it here in Canada… I was not happy.  Then I found out he wasn’t even the age he told me he was initially. Like who lies about that? Everything that I thought I knew about him was a lie. Everything I had told to my family and friends about him was wrong. So I have to go back and somehow explain that, no, I in fact know nothing about my husband. It was embarrassing and degrading to say that I married a man I thought I knew, but in reality I have no clue as to who he is.

I guess I just felt I had no reason not to trust what he would tell me, because I never expected anyone to lie about such simple things. As time went on though, I learned the opposite, and that was basically anything E said has to be evaluated and most likely it was chock full of lies. Just because.

But I’m doing my best to deal with forgiveness. And I wanted to make this “marriage” work. I’m trying to be supportive. I’m trying to help him and his family with whatever I can. I’m trying to move past the lies and embarrassment. I made a commitment with vows that I took seriously. Despite all this junk, I was really trying hard, too hard some people told me, to make it last.

But then one January something happened that I couldn’t move past. Something that no one should move past. I decided that I was worth more. I finally realized that for the last few years I’d been dealing with this man, but my kids deserved everything better than this life we were in.


-Def Leppard/Love Don’t Lie-

I’ve Got To Let It Go We Found Love in a Hopeless Place

I got married at 21. But that wasn’t my first mistake. Now don’t get me wrong, I think you can find your true love at any age… but I had not found it. I was marrying because I had found someone, anyone who would have me. But neither of us knew what we were doing and no one told us to stop. Although at that time, I probably wouldn’t had listened anyways.

My self-esteem was at an all-time low (At that point, little did I know it would get worse), and I was just grasping at straws. I thought that once I got married things in my life would settle down and just… get better.

I guess I should start at the beginning. I mean what could be so bad that I needed to marry someone I knew didn’t love me in an effort to escape?
I guess the question is how far back do I go? Who knows exactly when I broke, when I became someone I didn’t like when I looked in the mirror. Someone I didn’t think anyone else would like when they looked at me. Someone so desperate and needy that they MARRIED a man who they didn’t love and who didn’t love them back.

Did it start when my ex was suddenly killed and so I was just trying to find someone, any one to replace that connection?
Or did it start when I woke up in the hospital on morning at only 16 years old and was told basically I have a disorder that will require meds for life and there’s nothing they can do about my constant headaches and random seizures?
Or maybe the multiple suicide attempts should have been a huge indicator.
Or maybe before that when I was the token fat kid in my social group in school. You know, the hilarious and sarcastic one that everyone wants to chill with but no one wants to date.

But most likely it stems back even earlier than that. Probably rooted way back in the fact that my “Daddy issue’s” are deep. Like so deep. Like he cheated on my mom while she was pregnant with me. He didn’t want me from the get go.
So, yeah it might’ve started somewhere way back there.

In that mess at some point is where my life took a huge turn that I didn’t plan. One that I don’t like, and now it’s time to figure out how I got from there to here, and where to go next.


-Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris/We Found Love-