Friday, September 23, 2011

Cleaning House; Cleaning Life

Originally published at Absentminded Author, v1.

First, a confession:

I love black licorice. 

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but I felt that I needed to come clean on this. Boy! Does that feel good to get off my chest. Now I can mention the insignificant things in passing without breaking a sweat. Who cares that I'm now divorced, don't tic as much anymore, and hanging onto life with my fingernails and a smile when big things like my secret candy fetish can finally be exposed to the light and shown to the world?

Oh, it's not a secret? Dang.

So, after getting dumped after 23 years, I have nothing but black licorice to keep me company, right?

Well, that's not entirely true. I have joint legal and physical custody of my girls, and I switch off with their mother every two weeks. This was a sudden development (July 31st), so I've not had a lot of time to prepare. My now ex-wife left a week after her announcement, and the kids stayed with me. This is my first week without them…ever. I've been the custodial, full-time parent for 19 years. So it's been very hard and quite an adjustment. But I'm doing alright.

Alright, I admit it. I'm super discouraged. I might as well come clean on that as well. I loved my wife, thought the world of her, looked forward to living together with her for time and all eternity, and I have no idea how things got by me like this. It's not as if she hasn't tried to ditch me before, but I really did believe we had worked things out this time.

As a full-time parent, I put off finishing my degree and I didn't seek jobs outside of the home. I was saving us thousands on daycare costs and needed to be available to drive the girls around. So now that I need money, I have only my meager disability payment and child support to survive. It's a pretty dire situation.

However, I'm keeping myself busy by misplacing my flab (I've lost 13 pounds since July 31st and don't know where I've put them. That's 28 pounds lost since last year. I'm so irresponsible!), and by working for I've resurrected ADDaboy! and I also work as their TV & radio show producer, finding guests for them to interview. (Got a mental health story you need to share? Contact me. My first TV and radio interviews occured this week. I have no idea how well they went because I forgot I could listen in on the shows live. Yep. Mr. High Tech over here.

It's a small job, but it will help me get by. I'm also trying to unload things on eBay. And maybe, just maybe, I might be able to get some freelance work now. We'll see. The divorce was such a shock to my system that I haven't had a major ticking episode since July 31st. I believe turning my sleep schedule around has helped that drastically, and then there is the belief I have that the Lord has blessed me in no small part. Whatever the reason, I haven't needed a crutch or even a cane in almost 8 weeks. That's pretty miraculous to me.

So what does this all mean for my writing? Well, first I have all this time now on my hands. Some of it has been wasted being depressed, devastated, and discouraged. Sorry about that. I'm so weak, I know. But I've been asking myself "Who am I? What am I going to do with my life?" There are so many distractions in my world. When should I write? What should I write? I realize that I need to clean up my online life to focus it in one or two directions. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, old web sites. There's a lot out there that I've done over the past sixteen years on the web. It leads me in too many directions.

Today I decided to retire most of I have it forwarded to this blog now. There are a few pages I may keep up for the fun of it. Or I may delete them. I don't know yet. That site was old and outdated anyway, but it was up and representing me whether I wanted it to or not, so I've felt for some time I needed to do something about it. But what? Art? Writing? Work? Do I even need it? I'll figure something out.

And now that I'm writing ADDaboy! again, what the heck am I going to do with A Splintered Mind? I don't know. All of this is both intimitading and exciting. My whole life is in front of me. Half of the time I'm still a Dad, but the other half is now all mine. What I do with it going forward will help shape me as the man I want to be.

My Mum told me last night that she was proud of me for making lemonade out of lemons. I don't know about that. I'm just trying to survive. With some luck, I'll move from surviving to living. Then maybe I can feel I'm getting somewhere. Until then, I have house cleaning to do both online and off.

I can do this.