Moldy cornbread

Things are bad here. Tough, tough, tough. I have been managing to hold it together most of the time, but this morning I flipped out in the kitchen while my girlie was in the living room. She didn’t witness it, but heard it.

The cornbread had nothing to do with it, but sort of matches the mood. Girlie wanted the last of the cornbread for breakfast, but since it’s been out on the counter for 2 days, it has gone bad, and she had to throw it away. She made the cornbread herself, from scratch. She’s SO awesome.

My man was making some kind of comment about how frustrated he is that the company he just interviewed for told him – in person – that he was a great candidate, but then since the interview has posted three more jobs. Apparently he wasn’t such a great employee option. He has tried to contact them to touch base, possibly offer himself for one of the additional positions, but they refuse to respond to him. This is the same company he worked for in Massachusetts. They just opened a Portland branch. He’s got seven years of history with them, and they STILL won’t hire him. Why? I am so confused. I could literally pull my hair out. WHY? Seven years of service, and he even asked around before he left Mass because there were rumors of a Portland branch opening, but it wasn’t going two years ago. Now it is going. Now they refuse to take him on. They refuse to speak to him. They refuse to give an honest reason why he won’t work for the company.

I still can’t sell the Massachusetts house. Property values have dropped so low there that I can’t pay off my loan. I bought it for $275,000 and put $50K down. You’d think 5 years later that I could get a few cents out of it. Nope. It’s now worth about $199,000. So, on my pitful salary, I am responsible for TWO mortgages, taxes for Mass and IRS, $85,000 in student loans, $10,000 in credit card debt, and all the little daily life expenses like utilities (on two homes). Not to mention it’s time for school and I can’t even afford to buy my girlie a pencil.

Her dad’s harrassing me because I haven’t gotten insurance for her yet…. but the cheapest federal plan I can take is $200 a month. That’s $2400 a year! We wouldn’t spend that much if we went in for every single cough. It doesn’t make any sense. He says it’s irresponsible not to insure her. It may be true, but it’s just not an option. HE can get her insurance. I can’t afford it. Or the glasses that she needs, or the braces that she needs.

All this stress makes me insanely needy for love and attention and reassurance, but the main person I want to get it from is just as freaked out as me, and really can’t offer much. He tends toward the depressive side anyway, so I spend a lot of effort trying to smile and cover it up so he can fight his own demons.

I have reached out into my world and found some love returned, and it healed my heart immensely. I guess it means I need to stop looking to my partner for the time being and reach elsewhere. I went down to Cali and breathed in the sea air and touched my bosom friend April. Most of all I got my head into a new space where each direction I turned did not remind me of my daily drudgery. I spend a serendipitous weekend with my old high school classmates who felt like HOME to me, like nothing else really can except home itself. Their love and tolerance and generosity and health just FLOWED around us in a protective pod, and I feel that pod still around me even while I’m gone. One of us created a facebook group website (Meadows Valley Class of 88) a couple days after, and it is a source of daily – daily! – love and positive reinforcement for me right now.

I’ve even welcomed in people in my day to day life, from work, from the bus, from a new shop on Stark in the Montavilla neighborhood where I live… and it’s been mostly positive. I’m gulping up peoples’ energy as fast as they can send it out. I told my girlie that, similar to No Face in Spirited Away, my character would be Mouth, and behave in the same way. I am almost ashamed at how much need I have, but as April is also discovering right now, people in general love to give. And both of us women/ mothers/ tribemates are so worthy of taking on the few occasions when we need to take. We merely find it difficult to give ourselves permission to take because we’re so out of the habit.

I did get blindsided with betrayal though, by one of the new ones I asked into my life, and in a sad way that is helpful too. I can’t get soft. I can’t let my walls down when there is so much at stake. I reached out to dozens of people, but only exposed my white underbelly to one other person – and that one took the opportunity to press in a dagger. There are a couple of people I can trust, and when I am hurting and so weak, it might be smarter not to try to bring more into my inner circle. True, true, I tell myself, out of the dozens of people, only one hurt me. In a couple of days I’ll be able to redirect and begin to heal from that too. My confidence in humanity is not shaken at all. And my devotion is still just as strong to those who are also hurting so much that they need to lash out and hurt others.

….but the most beautiful moment of all often comes from my baby girl.

I hugged her and apologized for my explosion earlier. “That’s ok, I didn’t really hear it,” she said. “I didn’t want you to worry, that’s all. I get so stressed out and sometimes I just have a tantrum,” I told her. “We will be ok. Everything will work out.”

She says, “You know what you can do, Mom. You can look around and see that you DO have a house, and you already paid your bills this morning. And everything is ok today. Right now, you’re just fine. It’s amusing that you guys have money but you say you don’t, and I always say, ‘but you probably have ten dollars in your wallet!’ You make it such a big deal, and it’s not that bad. And besides,” she looks at me with wisdom and a smile belying her mere eleven years, “We are not the only family who has moldy cornbread.”

Indeed. We are not the only ones.

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