Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wrestling with school. Again.

Few things these days make me angrier than the fact that I'm 29 and haven't finished school, that I'll be 35 when I'm done if the planets align and I don't have to take a break here and there. That many who I run into and am acquainted with, non-members, are those who have either finished school or who are, you know, 21 and almost done. And there are worrisome issues after that. How hard I have to fight to do it. I can blame some of it on the church, but in the end the church was the perfect scapegoat. It gave me the excuse I was looking for. But it also encouraged me to give up my dreams. It encouraged me to rely on others (read: men), just as I'd always been encouraged to do--if not men, then others. To allow my fears to get the better of me because I'd never been allowed to stand up to them before.

Do y'all have ANY IDEA how terrified I am? Any idea? Two days ago I was looking up the phone number so I could call the university to tell them I couldn't do it. After all the bullshit I've fought past, all it took was one little phone call to the university day care program and the simple comment "There's really a slim to no chance you'll get your son in, so don't get your hopes up. We don't have much if any turnover this time of year."


You have to understand, and you'll likely remember if you've been here a while, even this past semester where I took ONE CLASS at my local community college I had to fight like hell just to be able to take just ONE CLASS. And to do that, I had to rely on the amazing help of my amazing step-MIL who picked up my kids once a week and then one other day when I had to help out in Joseph's class because putting the older two in the after-school program for a grand total of 45 minutes for $12 is ridiculous. I understand I could leave them there longer, but there's no reason for that. I would have, though, if I had to. If she wasn't so willing.

Now I feel bad.

I have a super-guilt complex when it comes to my kids, even though I told myself since high school that I would not repeat what my mom did: give herself entirely for my brother and I. I know this sounds noble, but she's always been so unhappy and without anything else to turn to when we were gone. It made her hold onto us that much harder because she didn't know what to do with herself when we weren't there. While it is certainly attributed to our own personalities, it didn't help us become independent in the least respect. I'm still struggling.

I still don't know if this is church-related or what. I really don't.

But next semester, in order for me to attend my classes, I very well may have to call on some more help. Three days a week. Step-MIL home-schools, as does MLDSFDTS. SMIL said she could watch Joseph for me on Fridays. My cousin volunteered quite freely to help, but she's got some things to work out for herself and may not always be available. I'm sure I could work something out, but y'all, it exhausts me to think of doing this again. I'm almost broken.

And neither Eric or I enjoy asking for help of this caliber. It's a lot to ask, and it requires a lot of trust on my part.

And it makes me so fucking angry. I'm angry because Eric didn't need to worry about this shit. He had his own things to worry about, granted, but he didn't have to worry about scheduling around me or the kids. At all. And in that way I feel terribly alone. Eric is willing to do what he can, and without his support I wouldn't even be trying, but even then: alone.

I don't know if I can do this. I'm pretty determined, but there's still a chance I'll opt to wait out until Joseph is in the first grade and I at least don't have to worry about this daycare stuff. I hate the idea of dropping him off at my cousin's house--he doesn't really know her (i can fix that somewhat) and I don't know how much fun he'd have there. I hate the idea of what my schedule will be like three-days-a-fucking-week. An hour there, four hours in class, race home to pick them up, ten minutes later pick up Joe at his preschool here. I also have my online class to worry about.

Y'all, I don't handle stress well. I really don't. Sometimes I do, but there are days...and that makes me question this entire thing. But I also think about what going will mean. And if I can't teach for whatever reason, there are other options. When I remember why I'm going, what it will do for me and my family, I've never been more determined.

The church took this away from me. Not directly, but indirectly. And I'm pissed. It didn't care about me enough to encourage this good thing. It told me to stay home, barefoot and pregnant all the time. It told me to multiply and replenish the fucking earth all on my own. It told me to submit (sorry, "hearken") to my husband. It told me that I could work only if I fucking had to, but even then that work such as that of a secretary was all I should do. Only single women in the early twenties who have "no opportunity" to marry a man are allowed to finish college. And I had the opportunity. Thank God I married a good man. I swear I'd be divorced by now if I hadn't.

And then what.

And not only that, but this whole fucking bipolar thing. It makes these things 100x harder. And while I'm fairly certain it would've reared its ugly head at some point anyway, my "heeding" the church's ugly teachings triggered it earlier than it probably would have otherwise.

This brings me to sobbing tears every day lately. The kids don't remember Eric being gone all the time, going to school. Abbie remembers a little, but it's like her surgeries and doctors appointments: she sees the scars and remembers some of the invasive procedures and yearly ultrasounds, but they're a forgone memory. She was young. They're done. They'll remember me being gone. They don't quite understand it. And I simply don't feel like a "good mom" anyway--mostly because now I don't know what the fuck to do. I've nothing to fall back on. Though I've known life sans The Church since I grew up without it, that's hardly a mold I want to use. I tell others my mom did the best she can, but while she didn't beat me and abuse me like her own parents did, I took and still take my own brunt. Then I have the genes from my father that freak me the fuck out. I'm fighting my genes, people. It's hard to convince myself I don't have to be them, that I can choose their best traits. But even then, their best traits simply aren't mine. I'm a fighter, but I can only do so much.

I do know I bust my ass for them as best I can, and I'm going to school for them as much as I am for me. But my best and your best aren't necessarily the same.

I want to be an example to my daughter--my sons too, but mostly my daughter.

I also know that if I thought this would be the worst thing for them, I wouldn't do it. But I also know that if I didn't do it, my anger would simply grow and my depression and sense of self-worth worsen. I'd be my mom. I can't fucking have that. My kids don't deserve that.

And now that I think of it, perhaps I AM doing what my mom did to us: making life too goddamn easy. They need to suck it up sometimes.

So, I'm going. I just hope it works out in the end. This is one area where my ten years of church still very much has a hold on me, and it pisses me off. So much.


  1. Lisa, I hope you can stay in school and make the daycare work out. There's nothing wrong with accepting favors from friends and family who willingly offer. In time you'll be able to repay them, or "pay it forward" as they say.

    The church did take this away from you. As far as I'm concerned you can't blame them enough. Over the years I've seen dozens of LDS women quit school to put hubby through, then raise the family, then be steeped in regret over not finishing their education. But how could they? Aside from the challenges you're facing, they also had PH holders telling them over the pulpit every Sunday that it was selfish for a wife/mother to pursue a career or an education.

    I hope you can work things out. I think you will be an excellent teacher some day. Wish I was close enough to help out.

  2. You can do it, Lisa.

  3. Let me add another "you can do it!" to the chorus. I have been extremely lucky in my schooling, given that I am unmarried and have no children. I can't imagine the difficulties people--particularly women--in your position go through with regard to higher education. You are doing this for all the right reasons. It is awesome to read that you want to be an example to your daughter!

  4. Oh honey... you and I are in the exact same goddamn boat. I'm contemplating several years more of school and I can't believe this happened to me. I graduated from high school at 15, for fuck's sake. I should be in a post-graduate wonderland by now. Instead I had kids at 20 and 22, then took online classes while J finished school and started his career. Now he's entrenched and however much we aim for egalitarianism, it's inevitable that I shape my life around his needs, his schedule, his career. Mine will always take a backseat now.

    I will encourage my children to finish their education and begin their careers either independently of or alongside their partners -- not before, not after. The only way to have real fairness in this situation is for each person to bend to the other. Otherwise the process (and sometimes the relationship) gets horribly mangled.

    You can do it! We both can. Take the help that is offered to you. That's a powerful lesson for your children as well.

  5. I wonder how much of it is this "self-reliance forever!" bullshit pummeled into our brains the entire time we were in the church. I certainly didn't get that growing up. I mean, I've always been stubborn and wanting to do things MY way, but shit.

    Eric's worse than I am about asking and accepting help. So, I do wonder.

    Thank you, Diana and CD for your cheerleading. Chandelle and Donna, I especially appreciate your input.

    It's just good to have someone understand. I don't get that very much.