Relationship Bill of Rights

The below information is from the book More Than Two by Franklin Veax & Eve Rickert. You can find more information about it here : https://www.morethantwo.com/polyamorybooks

Before I ever read this book, I already had begun to traverse a life path that led me to the realization that the “normal” or “typical” relationships I saw around me and had been party too-didn’t live up to the standards of ethical behavior that I was learning about in my studies regarding relationships, communication, psychology, abuse, etc. This bothered me more than I could begin to explain.

As I read this book, over a 3 day span of time (I have since re-read it several times and often go back to read different sections as they pertain to my daily life), I found that the information contained within the book flowed easily hand-in-hand with the same principles of healthy boundaries, healthy communication and building healthy intimacies that I was studying in school.  I was duly impressed with how well they outlined a bill of rights that included the same necessary components that we learned were invaluable to help people avoid being abusive or participating in abusive relationships.

I wrote these down, rewrote them, read them, re-read them and started to pull them out to consider in various classroom settings while we were discussing various relationship topics. This allowed me to consider them outside of the “poly circle” but in terms of ANY relationship dynamic, whether it is romantic or platonic, whether it is poly or mono or something else altogether. What I found is that across the board, my instructors (none of whom are poly by the way) all agreed that these were critical components of any healthy relationship and that these boundaries or limits were key in creating healthy relating on any level with other people.

And to that end, I have spent the last 18 months working to re-design my life, my beliefs, my attitudes and my behaviors to be more fitting to these expectations. Expectations that I have been learning in my studies but which I have only found listed all together, in the book More Than Two.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in some people to dig in their heels, in an effort to avoid making any major changes. Change is scary, for everyone, for myriad reasons. But it’s especially hard when it requires you to acknowledge that your way of relating to other people is dysfunctional or even abusive. No one wants to believe that they are participating in the abuse of other people (particularly ones that they care about) through behaviors that promote marginalization, objectification and false sense of ownership over them.

But-that is what most of us have been doing. The way we have been taught to handle relationships IS abusive. It IS a major component of what allows men to maintain power over women in this country and in the world. It IS a major component of what allows the ongoing public objectification and marginalization of women and minorities and especially women who are also minorities.

Being polyamorous or being monogamous has NOTHING to do with it. Nothing at all. You can be monogamous or polyamorous and still be promoting abusive relationships. Likewise you can be monogamous or polyamorous and NOT promote abusive relationships.
What you can’t do, is participate in any behavior that removes any other individuals rights without your behavior being part & parcel to the abuse of those persons.

Punishment isn’t a solution for abusive behaviors. It doesn’t stop the cycle (in fact, I could argue that it perpetuates the cycle). However, it is absolutely necessary for each of us individually to take responsibility to acknowledge where we have been abusive, take responsibility for that abusive behavior, alter our own attitudes, belief systems, moral compasses in such a manner that we no longer tolerate that behavior in ourselves AND possibly most importantly, to openly acknowledge what we have done, make amends to those we have harmed and teach others how to change their own attitudes, beliefs and moral compasses so that they don’t continue the same behaviors.

If there is one thing, one single thing in this world that I wish for, it is this;

I wish the man who proclaimed his undying love for me; the same man who raped me in a fit of jealousy-induced rage, to sincerely address in writing to me,

~which attitudes and beliefs he has figured out were wrong

~how they perpetuated his belief that raping me was his right

~how he intends to make amends for the lifelong damage it caused me

~how he intends to teach others that they need to alter their beliefs and attitudes

I don’t want to imprison him. But it does continue to cause ongoing emotional damage to me that the whole situation was swept under the carpet with “I’m sorry”. Years after that rape, numerous therapy sessions later, he was present when I was sexually assaulted by a man I did not know, but he was acquainted with. That scenario is described here:

https://aafteota.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/rape-culture/

To say it was devastating is an understatement. It was terrifying while it was happening, but in the 2 years and 8 months since that happened (which was YEARS after I was raped), I have had repeated issues with flashbacks and doubt. Why doubt?
Because, if the message that rape is wrong, the message that no one has a right to touch someone else without consent, the message that I am a real person with all of the same rights to say no as my partners; if that message was really made-

then how come my partner didn’t immediately take me away from the place where this man who assaulted me was?

Why didn’t he personally take me to the troopers and help me file a restraining order and press charges?

Why didn’t he, a man who apologized for his own crime against me, who claimed to have learned not to treat women as anything less than a man-why didn’t he stand and defend me in every possible legal way?

Why did he feel that hugging me and telling me it wouldn’t happen again was remotely acceptable?

Why is it that even today, he is capable of pointblank telling me “I fail to see how I’m promoting it at all.” in response to me saying that the reason I keep sharing meme’s and articles and quotes with him regarding the mistreatment of women, the objectification of women, the marginalization of women-is because I want and NEED him as a man-to stand up and fight the system, fight himself, fight anyone and everyone else who does anything that promotes, propogates, reinforces the overwhelmingly entrenched patriarchal belief systems and behaviors in this country that are destroying women from the time they realize that they are girls, until they die.

How is it that he can even delude himself into believing he isn’t a part of the problem (and therefore a key component to the solution) when he has already acknowledged that he has at least once taken an action against a woman that was using his male power (physical & psychological in that case) to use the combination of violence & sex that constituted raping me-to vent his emotions?
How can he ever believe that he doesn’t need to be an activist for women’s rights for the rest of his life as part of making amends for the damage he caused?

We can’t change the world all in one swift move.

The world will be changed by the steps we take to actively pursue treating all people we encounter in our daily lives with equal respect and honor.

We will alter the world for the better by holding ourselves accountable to create relationships that honor individuals personal rights.

We will reduce the marginalization and abuse of women, children, minorities, by eradicating in ourselves the beliefs, morals, values, attitudes and behaviors that propagate discrepancies in how we treat other people.

We will eradicate marginalization and abuse throughout the world after holding ourselves accountable, when we teach all of those around us that we will not tolerate their beliefs, morals, values, attitudes or behaviors that propagate discrepancies in how they treat others, discrepancies that allow for and tolerate hatred in the form or sexism, racism, classism, and all other manners of pushing any person(s) below another for any reason.

This relationship bill of rights drawn up by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert is a great start to holding ourselves accountable by maintaining our own healthy boundaries and respecting other people’s as well.

Relationship Bill of Rights

You have the right, without shame, blame or guilt:

In all intimate relationships:

  • To be free from coercion, violence and intimidation
  • To choose the level of involvement and intimacy you want
  • To revoke consent to any form of intimacy at any time
  • To be told the truth
  • To say no to requests
  • To hold and express differing points of view
  • To feel all of your emotions
  • To feel and communicate your emotions and your needs
  • To set clear boundaries concerning your privacy needs
  • To set clear limits on the obligations you will make
  • To seek balance between what you give to the relationship and what is given back to you
  • To know that your partner will work with you to resolve problems that arise
  • To choose whether you want a monogamous or polyamorous relationship
  • To grow and change
  • To make mistakes
  • To end a relationship

In poly relationships:

  • To decide how many partners you want
  • To choose your own partners
  • To have an equal say with each of your partners in deciding the form your relationship with that partner will take
  • To choose the level of time and investment you will offer to each partner
  • To understand clearly any rules that will apply to your relationships before entering it
  • To discuss with your partners decisions that affect you
  • To have time alone with each of your partners
  • To enjoy passion and special moments with each of your partners

In a poly network:

  • To choose the level of involvement and intimacy you want with your partners other partners
  • To be treated with courtesy
  • To seek compromise
  • To have relationships with people, not with relationships *
  • To have plans made with your partner be respected; not changed for trivial reasons
  • To be treated as a peer of every other person, not as a subordinate, even when differing level so commitment or responsibility exist.

The implication of these “rights” is that they are individual rights and thus no one else has the right to put restrictions on them. This means none of your partners get to take them away from you. This also means that no relationship boundaries can infringe upon these individual rights. Relationship boundaries must be created in a way that supports the individuals within the relationship, without infringing upon their individual rights or the individual rights of anyone else.

 

*This means that you have the right to have a relationship with an individual and are not required to maintain a relationship with anyone else in your partners’ life; which would put you in the position of having a relationship with their other “relationship”

 

 

Things to keep in mind when negotiating boundaries

“It is especially important that the people involved feel they are agreeing to the relationship on purpose, that they see value in the other person that makes the relationship a positive choice for both of them.”

“If you negotiate away your integrity, ethics or agency, you are no longer a full and equal participant in the relationship. You must also be aware of your partner’s boundaries, and not ask (or expect) him/her to compromise past those points.”

“Be careful not to compromise on behalf of other people. Sometimes when we’re trying to find a way out of an impasse, we may be tempted to make compromises that affect other people-especially when those other people are still hypothetical. It can be tempting to try to ease stress by bargaining away their agency (rights) in advance, such as by agreeing to limitations on their behavior (with one of you).”

Divorce & Restart

So, October 19th, 2014 Mark asked for a divorce. It’s been a roller coaster ride from hell in the time since.

But-In the interim I found a job that came with a built in family so to speak. I am amazed daily by the love and support my coworkers and supervisors give me.
I’ve also found more biologically unrelated-family online. I’m looking forward to a trip in July to see the Dixie Chicks in concert, visit with a lady I have adopted as an older sister and two ladies who have adopted me as well.🙂

After the demise of both of my long-term relationships, I have worked hard to rebuild my life, avoid getting caught up in a severe depression and reconnect with my own true nature. In doing so I have embarked on a new romance, continued with my education, committed to a new job and begun upholding more stringent personal boundaries for myself in regards to all relationships, romantic and platonic alike.

I don’t know how frequently I will post. I still hold a great deal of animosity and venom regarding my written words being taken out of context and used against me in arguments.
However-I also know that writing is an outlet which I am gifted at and that helps me to work through my own thoughts and feelings. So, I am opening up my blog in order to facilitate sharing myself with those who have more recently earned a place in my circle of trust and to return to myself a place to share my experience in a manner that allows me to find personal growth and learning from it.

To this end, I am going to share a paper I turned in today for school. It is NOT well written, in terms of my capabilities. The assignment was to watch a specified movie and then write a review. It was an unexpected reality that the movie caused a PTSD-like response in me. I have had flashbacks and nightmares since viewing it. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing in the long-run. But it is a miserable thing that did not have a positive effect on me focusing on doing my best writing. But maybe-with some time and less pressure, I can work more devotedly on expanding my thoughts and feelings on the very important topic for a future blog post.

” The following quotes from page 549 of the textbook (italics and bolded by me) paint a bleak picture for women in the United States.

“When a woman reports rape, her body is a crime scene.”

“It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours…”

“Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week.”

“… in Los Angeles County, there were at last count 12,669 rape kits sitting in police storage facilities. More than 450 of these kits had sat around for more than 10 years, and in many cases, the statute of limitations had expired.”

“…there also seems to be a broad distaste for rape cases as murky, ambiguous, and difficult to prosecute, particularly when they involve (as they often do) alcohol or acquaintance rape.”

“Some Americans used to argue that it was impossible to rape an unwilling woman. Few people say that today, or say publicly that a woman ‘asked for it’ if she wore a short skirt. But the refusal to test rape kits seems a throwback to the same antediluvian skepticism about rape as a traumatic crime.” ( p. 549)

These quotes are excellent examples of why so many women are not motivated to report being raped. AFTER having her consent stolen from her, after having her body violated, a woman who chooses to report being rape can expect to spend 4-6 hours naked and exposed while being inspected inside and out by yet another stranger, because her body is the crime scene. In addition to having her body violated by the rapist(s) and undergoing this investigation procedure which is described as “grueling and invasive” (p. 549) where a “professional” again violates her body, inspecting and documenting every minute detail, she is intricately and thoroughly questioned about every single detail of her rape. This includes her own activities prior to and during the rape. This questioning comes with the inevitable suggestion that she may be the one at fault.

After submitting to this agonizing physical, mental, and emotional examination and interrogation, there remains a high likelihood that the rape investigation will come to a complete standstill. If she is fortunate, her rape kit is actually processed. When the case goes to trial, she can look forward to the experience of having the details of her rape and exam exposed to the scrutiny of the courts, the media and with internet accessibility, the entire world. While testifying, an attorney will cross-examine her. The attorney’s sole purpose is to prove that she’s a liar. They will attempt to prove that IF there was any sexual involvement between their client and the woman, she caused it and/or wanted it.

The movie ‘The Accused’ (1988), directed by Jonathan Kaplan is roughly based on the true story of Cheryl Araujo who was gang raped in 1983. The trial of the men who raped Cheryl was a national sensation that triggered subsequent debates regarding victim blaming, the rights of a victim, and the need for maintaining victim privacy during trials. In the film, Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias, a victim of gang rape. Kelly McGillis plays Kathryn Murphy, the district attorney assigned to her case.

After having a fight with her live-in boyfriend, Sarah goes to the bar to see a friend who works there. During the course of the evening she becomes increasingly drunk & stoned while playing pinball and flirting with a man in the bar. At some point, a song she likes begins to play and she proceeds to dance provocatively, much to the amusement of ALL of the men in the bar.

It is notable to point out that I had to pause the movie that during this scene. The depiction of this scene is remarkable in its clarity, surreal creepiness, poignantly realistic and painfully horrifyingly accurate portrayal of the lead in and subsequent manifestation of rape. It’s meaningful as a viewer to understand that this type of graphic rendition of sex, whether forced or consensual was not typical of any film in 1988. Because this movie release was 1988, I was not expecting such graphic and explicit presentation of her rape. It was certainly an excellent re-creation; one I would never suggest a person who has experienced rape ever be exposed to. It triggered all of my defense mechanisms and has resulted in flashbacks and nightmares for days, more than a week at the point I am finishing this paper.

As she dances every man in the room begins leering at her AND smiling at each other in a manner reminiscent of a group of hunters who have spotted a moose and are moving in for the kill. This was the creepiest moment in the entire film. When it becomes blatantly obvious that she is being hunted by a pack of men, who up to this point weren’t by any known behaviors, involved with one another. After the first man pushed her backwards over the pinball machine, covering her mouth and face while he ripped her panties off and forced himself inside of her, the other men began chanting, cheering and pressuring others to rape her as well. One after another they forced themselves upon her while the group gaped and showed their predatory sexual excitement.  To say that it was repulsive is so far from a full explanation it doesn’t even touch reality. It is a combination of petrifying, repulsive, and nauseating to watch, primarily because it is so precisely true to reality.

After this horrifying scene, she manages to escape, subjects herself to a rape kit, returns to the bar with investigators to identify her assailants and is ready to fight in court for them to be punished. But the prosecutor, knowing how hard it will be to win a court case, settles the case(s) out of court, agreeing to change the name of the charges to “non-sexual” charges that carry the same length of time in prison as sexual assault charges. Understandably, Sarah is devastated, infuriated and feels taken advantage of. She confronts the prosecutor, telling her just exactly how unfair it is that she isn’t “worthy” of defense.

Trying to get on with her life Sarah ends her relationship with an abusive boyfriend, cuts off all of her hair and is trying to rebuild some semblance of normalcy into her life. One of the men, who participated in encouraging the rape & goading the rapists into action, confronts her in a movie store. She attempts to brush him off several times before he begins taunting her and she freaks out. He proceeds to block the driveway so that she can’t leave the parking lot. She completely loses her composure and rams her car repeatedly into his truck resulting in both of them being injured and her being hospitalized. At this point in the film the prosecutor realizes that she needs to take action on behalf of Sarah and decides to bring charges against the three men who participated in goading the would-be rapists into action. She wins that case with the help of a witness and the testimony of Sarah. But that isn’t really the point of the film.

The point of this film is that regardless of the violence bestowed upon her, Sarah was the one who was seen as the guilty party. She wasn’t treated as a victim of a crime. Her abusers weren’t treated as criminals, they were defended and treated as being “nice guys” who were wrongly accused. The movie blatantly depicts the brutality of their assault upon her. It clearly depicts the “pack mentality” of these men who up to this point were strangers to one another. But despite the obviously damaging assault upon her person, Sarah was still asked what she was wearing, what she was doing, how did she “promote” this violent, cruel, vicious attack upon herself. The presumption was that even if it wasn’t what she wanted, it was her responsibility to ensure that it didn’t happen and no one was to blame but herself for allowing it to occur.
This is the truth of how our society views rape and sexual assault. The damage to the victim is downplayed, as is the responsibility of men to practice self-control. We treat men as though they can’t be expected to control themselves or to ensure they have clear, concise, and unarguable consent. Women are treated as though they should know that men are wild animals who can’t be controlled or trusted and ensure that they don’t allow themselves to be caught in any venue or circumstance where they can’t protect themselves from the untoward advances of these wild animals preying upon them.

This movie did an excellent job portraying the horror of rape, the horror of the follow up investigation and the completely skewed and warped attitude our society displays regarding this vicious and deplorable behavior. It makes it unarguably clear that rape is a seriously damaging crime against the victim. But, more importantly it shows that our lackadaisical attitude regarding the prosecution of rapists is an ADDITIONALLY seriously damaging crime against rape victims.”

Suffice to say that while it has been many years since the vicious rape I suffered at the hands of my husband, it is not forgotten. The fear and the sense of helplessness remain just under the surface, closer than I imagined, and still not erasable.

Change

There are things in life that go along in the same general manner for so long that we begin to think of them as permanent, unchanging, inalterable.

It’s always a shock when decades go by and then one (or more) of these constants suddenly changes so significantly as to make it almost impossible to imagine how it was conceived of as being the other way at all; much less for SO LONG.

But more shocking is that the people around you remain blissfully caught in the perception that all is as it was. You have to actually tell them (or show them) one way or another that something they too believed to be a permanent aspect of you and your life has changed.

Typically we think of significant and shocking changes that are more obvious immediately to the world at large. Such as when a loved one dies. There is a sudden irrevocable change, often unexpected, but obvious to people other than ourselves.

But some changes are internal and they aren’t as immediately obvious. But they alter our world, because we have been altered, our perception of the world around us, our interests, our desires, our moods even, all change externally on account of an internal change that may be invisible to others.

Recently my little sourpea started taking ADD meds. It has changed her internally, altering external things like behavior, attitude, expression of emotion. She is more attentive and remembers things easier. Thus she struggles less with emotional outbursts, because she isn’t battling her own fear that everything will be forgotten and never return. She is happier, calmer, less erratic. More enjoyable to be around. Pretty much everyone in her life is enjoying the external changes of this MAJOR internal change in her.

But what about the internal changes in a person that result in significant external changes that not everyone else likes or appreciates? How do we navigate those?

How does one explain to others that they have suffered a damage so significant that it has altered their perception of relationships? An experience that has altered what type of relationships they want. An experience that has created so great a change within that they no longer prefer to maintain the boundaries they have held in place in their relationships their entire adult life?
To whom do you owe an explanation when these things happen?
How deep an explanation is warranted? Or desired? Or even beneficial?

How do you explain to loved ones that you are no longer wholly the person that they know you to be. That while much of you remains, much is gone and the person who is you today, is not the person you were before?

How do you let them know that you are taking a new path that includes lovers whom they may not approve? Or whom they may feel you have no right to be lovers with?

How do you explain that this choice is not up for debate?
That you have made the choice without consulting them.

I am not speaking of trying to explain to current lovers.
That goes unspoken in my world.

I have ended the romantic & sexual portion of a one significant relationship. My heart has suffered.

I have spoken in some depth with my spouse; we have re-addressed boundaries and talked a small bit about my pain, we have discussed the changes within and he remains my beloved. He has traversed the path of fear and confusion and found that in spite of the changes I still choose him and he chooses me.

But what of others. People I don’t directly owe an explanation to regarding who I date? But who are close enough in my deeply integrated social circle to be effected, probably negatively, by the new lover I choose, who also chooses me?

These are my contemplations as of late.
I could have opted not to choose someone who was already an integrated part of my life. It wasn’t a requirement (or even a preference) on the part of my existing lover. He would prefer I choose someone who had never before been involved in my life.

But I prefer to open myself only to those who have already been inside my circle for extended periods of time.
In this I have not changed.

Thus; someone who has been deemed “off limits” for the duration of a long friendship, has been offered the opportunity to consider me as a potential lover & has accepted.
We both realize that our choice has implications on a plethora of our mutual friendships. Some of them will have no issue accepting this change as it has little to no impact on THEIR relationships with either of us.
Others will not likely be so simple. The possibility of feelings being hurt is high. They won’t as easily understand or even believe that both he and I experienced such significant life changes simultaneously as to result in us both being willing to open a door between us that for all of our lives had remained closed.

Split Pea

THAT was emotional.
Split Pea has had some seriously fucked up shit come up in his life. Shit no one should ever have to deal with, but certainly not a 17 year old who is on their own because their parents have all managed to fuck their lives up to the point that they can’t or won’t PARENT him.

So; I took the risk and went to see him. I have avoided it thus far, because the stipulation to the custody agreement was that he didn’t have to return to his stepdad-as long as he wasn’t in contact with me.
But he needs his family and the shit he’s dealing with it asinine. So I went.
I took him to lunch.
Just seeing him was a dagger to my heart. He gave me a hug and I wanted to just keep him in my arms. He’s not the 13 year old boy he was when he left (of course). I missed him.
I held it together until I got back home. Then I sat down in the shower and cried. Cried for lost time. Cried for the unfairness of it all. Cried because I’m proud of him for keeping his head up and not giving up on himself.

Confused, Scared, & Heartbroken

“It hurts. To know that the love of your life wants nothing to do with you.”

Yes-yes it does. Even more so when you have done nothing wrong. But; as much as it sucks, life continues. The love of your life isn’t you. They can’t fix your life, they can’t suffer your consequences, they can’t learn your lessons, they can’t do anything but exist as a peripheral point to the reality that is you.
They can’t even be a part of your life, until you define a life in the first place. They can’t be a participant in nothing. They can’t create a life for you. They can’t define what is or isn’t important in life for you. They can’t even actually exist as the “love of your life” unless you have a life & that would require that you actually take charge and take responsibility of yourself and create a life.

“To try and fail and have the better half of you give up and walk away”

There is no half of you. You have to be whole and complete in order to connect to another person. If you are missing a half of yourself, you need to find that half and become a whole healthy individual. No other person can be that part for you. No other person can find that part of you either. If someone is walking away-its a high probability that you are trying to make them be something they aren’t-YOU. They can’t connect to nothing. They can’t maintain a relationship with the unknown abyss. Before anyone can have a relationship with you; you have to find YOU and define YOU and be YOU.

“making you think that the commitment of forever was just a lie”

No one can make you think anything. You alone are responsible for what you think. Center yourself on what it is you are missing in your life, in yourself and fix those things. THEN you can worry about whether or not anyone else can possibly fulfil a promise of ANYTHING much less forever.
Loving you forever; does NOT mean standing by and watching you fade to nothing. Loving you forever; does NOT mean standing by to suffer the abuse and neglect that is inherent in people who are not whole in and of themselves.
Loving you forever; does NOT mean giving you what you want. It means demanding what you NEED

& sometimes loving you forever means walking the fuck away because you refuse to do what it is you need to do in life unless they are gone.

“To be reminded that other people are better than you because they get the attention you’ve been being neglected”
Other people are other people. There is no “better” or “worse”. If you are unhappy with who YOU are and you feel you deserve better-then it’s your responsibility to DO BETTER FOR YOURSELF.
If you feel like you aren’t getting enough attention it is your responsibility to go find someone who is capable and interested in giving you the attention you feel you need.

If you feel “reminded” that you aren’t good enough; then it’s your responsibility to figure out what the hell makes you think so poorly of yourself and FIX IT.

“I miss holding hands with you…I miss cuddling with you… I miss looking through catalogues and magazines…. I miss taking walks with you, and going dancing, and exercising with you…I miss when you used to be in love with me.”

It’s an unfortunate truth that we tend to ignore what matters to us until it is gone. If you miss those things it stands to reason you made some choices that have consequences you weren’t hoping for. Which means, you need to figure out how to better identify the potential consequences of any given choice/action/word BEFORE you decide to do or not do it.
This is again your own personal responsibility and actually has nothing to do with anyone but yourself.
It is unreasonable to expect any person to maintain a relationship with you when you don’t exist in it. It’s outrageously ludicrous to expect that will occur if you check out of the relationship for two straight years. That isn’t reality.
Reality is, you made choices. If you dislike them, change them. But the consequences remain. You can mitigate damage by changing the choices AND MAKING BETTER CHOICES. But that won’t immediately alter the consequences-it only opens the door to the possibility of having better consequences DOWN THE ROAD. It minimizes FUTURE consequences.

If you neglect a flower, it dies. You can plant a new garden, but you can never get THAT flower back. It is what it is. This is life.

“I’m left to wonder… is it because we never exchanged vows?”
What is this “it” of which you continue to speak? There is no it. Did you abandon your partner because you didn’t exchange vows? I don’t know. But-I do know you abandoned your partner and in the two years that passed; shit changed. Consequences for your choices arise and NOW you are angry that she has moved on.
Um…. no. It doesn’t work that way. You have freedom of choice, but you can’t escape the consequences of the choice that you make. Whatever your choice is; there are consequences and you WILL suffer them.
You don’t get to “change your mind” about PAST choices after you start suffering the consequences. “Oh wait-I didn’t mean to kill that person! I didn’t KNOW it would result in  me going to the electric chair….”
Yeah-it doesn’t work that way.
You chose to abandon your partner and it doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter that after the damage was done, you realized your mistake. The consequences remain.

“Anyway… I was wrong.”
Yes, well that is unfortunate. It always sucks when we don’t take time to consider the bigger picture and we end up finding ourselves devastated by the consequences of OUR OWN ACTIONS.
One always hopes that we will learn from these experiences so we don’t repeat them.

“I’m sure to fail something again, I’m not perfect. I will always try to be, but I need a reason to.”
Yes-you do need a reason.  You need to figure out that reason because IT IS NOT ME. It CAN NOT BE ME. I am MY reason to continue to strive to better myself. I can’t be yours or anyone else’s.

Minutiae

I find it very frustrating that I am still trying to find relief from the beleaguered disaster of my household.

I have again returned home and again to a disaster. It’s not the “wow there is stuff not put away. It’s “wow the coffee pot is covered with weeks of GROSSNESS” & the sinks are nasty and the counters are nasty and the floors are gross, the space under the top of the stove is DISGUSTING, the area behind the bathroom toilet has garbage, stains, cobwebs, the entry and the kitchen are in desperate need of mopping…… Things that should be done weekly aren’t getting done at all. It looks like things should be done daily aren’t getting done more than weekly.

So I come home and spend weeks catching up. Which is exhausting. The last three days in a row I’ve been up by 7 am and cleaning for 3-4 straight hours. Anyone walking in would be hard pressed to tell that anything has been done.
Today I wiped down all of the empty shelves in Sour Pea’s room. I swept her floor. There was beads all over the floor. Her beads were confiscated weeks ago. That means the floor wasn’t swept the whole time I was gone….
I scrubbed the downstairs bathroom sink (still need to do the toilet and the floor) because it was covered in black, greasy shit.
I scrubbed two of the four kitchen counters, including moving the coffee pot and blender and toaster. The coffee maker was FOUL. It had coffee and grease and dust stuck to the grease all over it. NASTY. I sprayed down the stove-it’s soaking I don’t even know what is on it.
I cleaned out the sinks. That was a special kind of funk. I can’t help but wonder how long the food molding in the strainer has been in there. I’m not going to ask.
I clipped the dead branches and leaves (got left outside and frozen) off the 6 tomato plants. Wiped down the front window. Got the tv out of the front window (which doesn’t even belong upstairs-it BELONGS in the garage). The floors vacuumed upstairs.
I still need to clean the grand kids bedroom, which a roommate moved OUT of while i was gone and vacuum in there-because the floor is a WRECK.
The dining room and the garage still need vacuumed. The shower needs scrubbed. The upstairs toilet needs scrubbed. The garage needs to have everything put away properly so that the weight bench and treadmills can be set BACK UP and be usable. Suffice it to say it’s been three days of no proper workout-because I can’t get the garage dealt with by myself and there’s been too much going on to be able to tackle it with Sweet Pea’s help.

In the meantime; I have dogs that need to see the vet, kids who have doctor appointments, I have appointments, the car needs repaired and I need to find winter tires for it. I need to get the garden cleaned out and covered with a tarp (because no one did it-so the trees dropped their leaves and it’s a mess). I need to get the deck ready for winter. I need to get the bicycles etc put away for winter and the stuff that goes in the shed put away. I need to find a truck that I can take a load to the dump with-because there’s piles of shit in the yard that never got taken to the dump….
All of that before snow flies-and it was under 30 degrees when I got up this morning….

I need to get Sour Pea through 16 more shots before she can start school. I need to get my own stuff organized so I can return to school in January-including finishing going through the Algebra and Trig reviews.
I need to get Sour Pea enrolled and figure out what supplies she’s going to need so I can purchase them as well.

Seriously; there’s a lot of minutiae that goes into running a household.
I’m really fucking annoyed that when I am not home; it doesn’t get HANDLED. Running a household does NOT mean just doing the absolute necessities. It means ensuring that everything is being done on a regular schedule. It means overseeing, managing if you will, the maintenance of the building and property, regular cleaning, weekly cleaning jobs, seasonal cleaning and organizing, appointment making, schedule coordinating, bill paying etc.