Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken sandwich with a side of fried hate

For the past 8 months, I have avoided eating at Chick-Fil-A. My sister-in-law posted a link on her Facebook page asking people not to support the fast food chain because they donate money to groups who strive to squash the legalization of same sex marriage (over $2 million to be exact).

I did my reporterly duties and checked out her story and indeed she was correct. So, I quit going to Chick-Fil-A and I tried to make Robby feel guilty about eating there.  My children love their chicken nuggets and the fact that they are not made out of that pink slime is a plus. I also enjoy their Caesar chicken wrap even though it is not something anyone who doesn’t want to be covered in bits of parmesan cheese should eat in the car. But I can cut Chick-Fil-A out of my life without any sadness. After all, I adore my sister-in-law, and I would feel like I was stabbing her in the back if I gave the fast food chain any more of my money.

I don’t have a lot of money these days anyway, so I try to be careful where I spend the little bit I do have. I don’t want to give my money to people who support these political actions against same sex marriage. Chick-Fil-A claims they are not political, but when you begin donating money to groups who support political action against same sex marriage then you become political—pretty sure that is what the Bible says or perhaps I am also misinterpreting the word of God, too.

Now with the recent storm of press about Chick-Fil-A, I get the chance to see what my friends are saying about the controversy. I think most of them are familiar with the fact that Chick-Fil-A is a Christian-run business and they are not surprised about the news. I doubt it will affect their eating habits and Chick-Fil-A will probably survive this recent media blitz. I mean, we are southerners and we love to eat fried chicken made by church-going Baptists.

I read the recent comments from one of the presidents of Chick-Fil-A, and I have to admit that one of his comments really struck a chord with me. In an interview with Baptist Press, he said, “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business and we are married to our first wives.”

At that moment, I realized that he is not worried about the sanctity of traditional marriage-- he just hates homosexuality. The stance of Chick-Fil-A has nothing to do with marriage because if it was about marriage, then Chick-Fil-A would be doing something about marriage values in this country. I mean they have power to put their message on any of their products, but they choose not to?

Why not put statements like “adultery is wrong” on their waffle fries or “quit cheating on your wife” on their shakes? I mean, aren’t they super dedicated to protecting the sanctity of marriage in our country? ($2 million buys a lot of "save marriage" ads). Doesn’t the Bible call for product placement in conjunction with spreading God’s word on the sinfulness of divorce? Or is that another misinterpretation of the holy word? I’m confused about Chick-Fil-A’s role in preserving traditional marriage. I believe preserving means you actually do something about it? But what do I know? I’m just a simple girl with simple values.

And from his statement to the press, I can see the leader of Chick-Fil-A is also the same kind of person who looks down on people who are divorced. I mean after all, he is married to his “first wife.” Well, crap. He must know something about the Bible that those of us who are divorced missed. He must be closer to God than me because I am one of those sinners who is married to my “second” spouse. I guess my “second” marriage also spits on traditional marriage values. Because we all know the Bible is all about keeping that “first” marriage sacred—I mean as long as you don’t look to Abraham oranyone in his clan for traditional marriage advice.  

These people at Chick-Fil-A aren’t worried about traditional marriage values, because if they were they wouldn’t use the Bible as the foundation for those marriage values. Because for those of us who have actually read the Bible, we can see that the men in the Old Testament didn’t seem to have a problem with taking a younger woman into their “traditional family” in an effort to tack on a few extra sons. We can also see the part in the Bible about God’s love for ALL of his children. And for those of us who can read, we know that the phrase “Same Sex Marriage is a Sin!” is not in any Bible—not even the King James version.

These people hate homosexuality. They hate homosexuals. They don’t want homosexuals having the same rights as them. They want to keep them separate from the rest of society, because the rest of society obviously knows what makes a marriage sacred and God-like.

I’m sure if these guys at Chick-Fil-A could go back in time, they would be the same guys making the claims that “if God wanted the races to mix then he wouldn’t have put them on different continents.”  

But I guess it should give me hope to know that the same people who used the Bible to keep blacks and whites from being able to legally marry in this country are the same people who are trying to keep homosexuals from having legal marriage rights, too. They failed back then and eventually they will fail on this issue.

It’s refreshing to see that not only is interracial marriage legal in this country, but we now have a president who is a product of interracial marriage. This is the same man who is married to his “first wife.” But according to Chick-Fil-A, this is the same man who wants to ruin the sanctity of marriage.

I guess we will always see people who hide behind the Bible and distort the “word of God” in order to keep people they don’t like away from them. And I guess we can all choose which side of the line we will stand behind and which fast food chain we will visit.

In the end it is just sad, but at least we are talking about the issue at hand. At least I get a chance to see what side of the line my friends stand behind.

But I also get to realize that I really don’t have as much control over the situation as I would like. I realize that my voice is drowned out by the political machine that controls this country. And to sum it up, I get to see just how little control I have in my battle against people like Chick-Fil-A.

I picked up my son from play practice last night and I asked what my $5 bought him for dinner at the theater.  His answer was simple— “Chick-Fil-A. And mommy, I think they make the best chicken sandwich.” So much for my line in the sand, but at least it opens up the opportunity to speak to my children about the link between fast food giants and bigotry. Because teaching your children to make a stand against evil and love everyone is important—that actually is in the Bible, a lot.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crazy switch

I feel like life is just slipping through my fingers. Days seem to melt into weeks and weeks pass by like I’m standing still. I just can’t seem to get a grip on my life right now.

One day life is full of chaos and the next day I find myself sleeping in a not getting anything done. Yesterday I tried to think about what I can do to fix the manic-feel of my life, but nothing really seemed to click.

I’ve written before about my insatiable need to be a perfectionist. I try to laugh it off and say I’m changing, but I can see that I am not changing. I have no real want to change. I like to feel like I am in control and that I can somehow do everything perfectly.

I am taking a class for school right now where I have to do these group projects. Needless to say, I hate group projects. It’s rare for me to be paired with anyone who does things the way that I do things—and I like the way I do things better.

These projects are making me act crazy. I find myself walking around the house talking to myself saying things like “I cannot believe this girl thinks the project is finished” or “Oh my God, I cannot believe she hasn’t finished yet and we only have 5 hours until it’s due!”

I’ve noticed that Robby has been playing a lot of video games lately and just trying to stay under the radar with me. He has mentioned several times that he hates it when I am in the middle of classes and I start acting crazy. I used to think he meant “stressed” but now I can see the “crazy.”

I hate feeling this way. I hate feeling like I am pushing everyone away from me. I hate feeling like I am trapped in my own little world of trying to make everything perfect while the rest of the world is just passing by me like I’m standing still.

I wish I knew how to take a deep breath and just half-ass my work every once in a while, but I’m not capable of just letting go like that.

I guess something happened to me when I was a child that made me feel like it was up to me to make things work correctly. I know I had an enormous amount of pressure on me to make things work—it was up to me to make sure we got up in the morning, had breakfast, and got to school on time. It was up to me to make sure no one bothered my parents. It was up to me to make everyone happy and to keep chaos at a minimum.

I would like to say that I don’t want to be that person any longer, but I just can’t seem to be able to let that person go--even though she seems to be self-destructing right now. I hope I can find a way to jump on board with the rest of the world and stop watching it pass in front of me. I just wish I had a switch to turn the “crazy” off.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Haters gonna hate...

I don’t know why life has to be so unpredictable. I had my day all planned out—wake up and run 4 miles, get home and shower, wake up children for camp, make their lunches while they eat breakfast, drop them off, go to library and finish homework, and then come home and take a short nap before picking up children and  making dinner. Sounds like a reasonable plan. I had even done all the grocery shopping this weekend so the meals were ready. So much for plans.

About mid-way into my morning, I received an email from an old friend. I hadn’t heard from him in a while since we aren’t friends any more. He did some things to his family that I don’t agree with and I got tired of his constant complaining and blaming everyone else for his problems. I told him several years ago, “I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t like how you live your life, I’m tired of your games, and there is no amount of history that is going to make me change my mind.”

In his email he tried to be nice in his own weird way, but it was obvious that he contacted me for selfish reasons. He tried to make me understand that my blog was just my hateful way to bash my ex-husband—I believe the words he used were “smear campaign.”

But as much as I tried to ignore it, it bothered me. There was a time when I really respected this guy's opinion and his words made me feel shaky. I decided to leave the library and go home to my husband. I needed a hug.

I guess there will always be a part of me that wants everyone to like me. I know there is a part of me that is bothered by the fact that someone will try to turn other people against me. I work hard to always do the right thing and it is important to me to think that others respect me.

But life has taught me many things these past few years.

1.     Don’t make plans

2.     Don’t be so hard on myself

3.     Don’t waste time trying to prove you are a good person

I don’t need to be liked by everyone. I don’t need to explain myself to people who don’t matter. I don’t need to prove anything. My life is an open book, and I don’t need to justify it to give folks around me that warm-fuzzy feeling.

This blog isn’t a platform for an angry bitter woman who feels the need to air her dirty laundry to the world in an effort to make her ex-husband look like a jerk.

It’s a platform for the voice of a woman who was very lost for a very long time. And it’s not just my voice. It’s the voice of every person who has ever been a victim of adultery. It’s also the voice of every person who has ever made mistakes in judgment, parenting, or relationships. It’s the voice for those of you who haven’t found the courage to tell your story. It’s a voice that I thought was long gone—a voice that gave up on happiness and success, but somehow found her way back to herself and the life she was meant to live.

So, if you don’t like what I write about, then please stop reading my blog. And if you can’t stop reading, then just keep your comments to yourself, because despite the fact that I say I am strong, I still have issues with hate mail and threats. I have never written anything untrue or malicious. I write to heal.  I’m just trying to live my life and be a good person. Perhaps you should try it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No backing down

Some days I wished I had taken a different route in college and became something else. Like on the days when I am having problems with Veronica’s leg braces and I wish I had gone to prosthetics school so I could help her myself. Or the days when the children are sick and I wish I was a nurse so I didn’t have to pull them out of bed and take them to a doctor’s office.

Then there are days like today when I wish I had gone to law school. I was always very interested in mass communications law and theories and I had strongly considered going to law school after undergrad. But I didn’t and now I need some serious legal advice.

I knew this day would come. My ex-husband moved to town. He has been pleasant, but not much else has changed. He continues to push the fact that he does not have overnight visitation with the children. He believes it is my fault and he is threatening me with the usual, “I will drag you into court and make you pay for this.” Same song, different day…

But it’s not my fault. His lack of visitation is due to the fact that he never took care of his business. If he had followed through on his court ordered evaluation with the family psychologist, then he would have had normal visitation with the children over 2 years ago and this wouldn’t be an issue. Instead he decided to do things his own way and do what he wanted to do. After all, his favorite catch phrase is “rules are for chumps.”

When my ex-husband and I separated back in 2009, I had some very damaging proof against him that he didn’t want released in court. It gave me the upper hand, and I needed the upper hand. He had done things to put the children and me in serious danger, and I couldn’t allow him to be alone with them until he proved that he had undergone serious psychological treatment.

For those of you who have been divorced and through a custody battle, you know that most judges could care less about “accusations” made against the mother and father. They tend to just split custody and force the parents to share the children. The children have no one to advocate for them and life goes on…

My upper hand gave me the chance to say, “Hey, I have serious reasons to keep the children protected.” And by some miracle, people listened to me. Well, they listened a little bit. But it was enough for me to protect the children and buy some time until they were old enough to protect themselves.

Now, if someone had told me that I had to do X, Y, and Z in order to have my children, I would have done it immediately. But not my ex-husband. In his first chance, he did X for a little bit. But since he feels rules are for chumps, he thought he would take me on in our final court hearing and win. But I agreed with the court to give him a second chance.

So, he was given a second chance to do X, Y, and Z. He did X and Y. But he never did Z. I mean why should he? Rules don’t apply to him. After all, he just assumed he would take care of Z later and everyone would be fine with that. I mean, why not? He has always been able to do whatever he wants, and he lives under the notion that if you let enough time pass, people will forget about Z and all will be forgiven.  I would that he is usually right about that, too.

So, now I am remarried and happy. Life has gone on for me. Enough time has passed that I have lost steam when it comes to court battles and I just want this to be over with. But I’ll be damned if Z is going to be swept under the rug because I’m too tired to fight.

The notion of Z rears its ugly head about every 6 months when my ex-husband casually mentions that he is taking Jude on a camping trip or that he is taking the children to spend the night at the beach and I have to say, “Sorry, you can’t do that until you take care of your business.”

Then my ex-husband uses it as a threat to me with the words, “Fine, I will take care of it and then you can’t tell me what to do ever again!” But what he doesn’t understand is that I don’t care if he takes care of Z. Taking care of his business would be best for everyone. I wished he would have almost 2 years ago. But he didn’t and now it is my responsibility to decided when and where he can see the children. It’s a horrible burden on me.

But, I followed the rules. I completed X, Y, and Z several times even though I didn’t need to.  I was questioned and humiliated. I have been told that “I just need to let things go” and “quit being angry with the fact that my husband cheated on me.” I have been made to look like the perpetrator instead of the victim. And I swear to God that if it hadn’t been for other women like me, I would feel crazy.

So it begins again—calls to attorneys, scrambling to find out my rights, and nightmares and panic attacks. But, I’ll be damned if I let everyone forget about Z. It’s still there and it needs to be addressed—Z came about for a very important reason. This is a battle worth fighting for. So, get ready—I plan to not only follow the rules, but I’m going to enforce them as long as I can.  I will never be too tired to make sure Z is resolved.