Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The D Word

Who wants to start a blog with the D-word? But here I am. The topic of my first sermon is DIVORCE.

The story goes a little something like this. Last year I woke up and found myself living in a McMansion in one of those well appointed "lifestyle communities" replete with waterfalls and acres of precisely trimmed Kentucky bluegrass and 2.7 luxury SUVs per capita.

And I realized that my daydreams all involved a)my own death; or b)federal prison.

I had four beautiful children. A fluffy college degree in Classics (omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est, etc.). My husband was a handsome, successful attorney. I taught Sunday School. I served on a local school board. I was, in short, a soccer mom.

So I did what any reasonably bright person would do under the circumstances. I went stark raving mad.

Insanity is great fun. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, dealing with the fallout from the nuclear blast that was my attempt to regain consciousness has proven somewhat more difficult than I expected. Especially for my kids.

Here's what he got: the house, the minivan, 50% custody.
Here's what I got: the Steinway, and the ability to solve the Rubiks Cube.
Learning to make my own way in the world: priceless.

I suppose I should have some sort of mission statement for this blog or something, but as an anarchist, I'm opposed to mission statements on principle. I'm envisioning this as a safe space to share all the cool books I've been reading, and to talk about whatever happens to be on my mind (which can range from Von Karman vortex streets to the misguided No Child Left Behind Act to behavioral economics).

In the past year, I lost my faith in God, my secure upper middle class lifestyle, my "job" (and I do think that stay-at-home mothering is a job, for the record). I lost the love of my life, because when he found out who I really was, he didn't want me (what the hell is his problem? I'm cute, I'm smart, and I bake a mean cherry pie). I experienced severe social ostracism (welcome to small town America!).

It was all worth it. If you are considering a major life change or seven, what's holding you back? Fear is the mindkiller, man. (yeah, big Frank Herbert fan here). Sure, change hurts. But in the words of William Blake, never changing your opinion "is like standing in still water and breeds reptiles of the mind." And who wants alligators inhabiting her brain? Not this anarchist soccer mom!


Gary A. Patton said...

Dear ASM:

I would like to follow your blog. Your powerful statement about mental illness hooked me, and I first read all of 2012, and then went back to the start. That is where I am posting this comment.

Unfortunately, when I click on the "subscribe" link (ATOM) at the bottom of the blog listings, all I get is a page full of gibberish.

I do a blog on blogger myself (, and I hope that same thing doesn't happen to anyone who wants to follow my blog. Maybe it does, in view of how many followers that turns out to be! I get around the feeling that I am talking to myself by posting my blog to Facebook. Those guys see it whether they want to or not.

You have a wonderful voice! If you can figure it out, please let me know how to subscribe to your ASM postings. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I wish I could speak with you. This is terrifying.

Jessica N said...

Like another commenter, I was touched by the piece about your son, which someone posted on Facebook, and I went to read your other posts. Your writing is funny and beautiful (love your outfit-building skills), and I was immediately seized with worry for you because of all the attention you are sure to get very very soon. Another friend just posted on FB the link to the reprint (giving your name), and I hope that people will link to that page and not your blog when they share it further; I've read some of the insanely ignorant comments on the Gawker posting, and you don't deserve that kind of treatment on your personal blog (or anywhere, frankly, but I guess it’s unavoidable). You may want to protect it from the cruelty of strangers by turning off comments, and perhaps it would be good to have a friend (I'm sure you're pretty busy with 4 kids and all the sure-to-be-coming media attention) read through your posts to make sure no info about you that's too personal has been disclosed? (Or maybe just set them to "draft" for now and wait for the storm to blow over?) I hate sounding so fearful, but people can be SO scarily mean.

I have to commend you for being brave, both as a mom and as a writer. What you are experiencing reminds me of spousal abuse but a thousand times worse; for most people (I can’t say all) there's no one we want to love and protect more than our own children. How hard it must be to need to protect yourself from your own son! I’m a mom of twin toddler girls, a middle school teacher (stay at home starting just this school year, though), a lawyer on inactive status, and the daughter of a man who scared my mom (his ex) and the rest of us for 14 years, had a few years of seeming wellness after a stint in prison (for assaulting police officers, not my mom), and then finally shot himself--and only himself, thankfully--a few years ago. We still don't know exactly what was going on—probably a serious case of manic depression but we don’t know because he never sought help—but he was soooo charming and handsome (and successful when he tried) that no one outside our family understood what we were going through.

However angry and threatening he got with us at times, though, he was a million times less scary than your son, and I do have memories of genuinely loving and happy times with him. A very very different situation, yes, but I remember the anxiety I grew up with; often with him, it was like walking through a minefield (he would say, ”I wouldn’t be so angry if you didn’t act so scared of me.” huh?), and I can’t imagine the anxiety that you and your other kids must have to live with. My heart and thoughts are with you.


Political Jules said...

Ive been scanning your blog trying to understand why you love Che Guevara. It makes no sense. You seem like a loving mother who appreciates family religion and even the military. Why you would idolize Che Guevara, I guess we will never know.

pursuingnothing said...

Welcome to the dark side.

KyleM1701 said...

Like some of the others my wife and I read you're now popular post on your and decided start from the beginning. We have some criticism, but not the kind you've been getting about being a "bad parent". We don't think you're that, necessarily.

We do think you've been too harsh on your husband. Seeing how troubled your kids are perhaps in hindsight he was correct to want them incarcerated when he did. He seems to have seen something you didn't at the time. Not everyone can deal with two difficult, possibly mentally ill children. He couldn't and I don't really blame him. Tiny things regarding feeding, sleeping, and schools can wear heavily on parents, stressing them and even breaking them up. I can't imagine what two people deciding whether to lock their kids up or not would be going through. I assume it's worse.

You may also consider, due to their mental state, that it may have been one of your kids that tried to kill you by loosening your car wheel. I find it odd that you refused to accuse your husband of murder in front of the police, but on a public blog it's a-ok. I'm shocked he hasn't sued you.

Anyway, that's my food for thought. Take it as you will.

amyk8gapgirl said...

Love your blog! Please keep writing, you are witty, thoughtful and insightful.

C. Jeffords, 2009 said...

Followed a link here. I am glad I took the time to read your blog. Take a few lines out and you sound crazy. Read it all and you are a very intelligent caring mother. Why share this with the world/ You are a gifted writer and have a story to tell. Thank you

futureshock said...

I just read every single blog post and I love your writing!!! You are a fascinating person.

Unknown said...

She kind of is asking your opinion if she enables comments. Just sayin', Mandycamp.

KyleM1701 said...

Really, Mandycap, marrying someone younger than you after divorcing your wife makes you a possible murderer? Come on, now.