On $257.52…

It isn’t a large sum of money, but it isn’t small either. What it represents to me, however, is quite a lot.

It isn’t a large sum of money, but it isn’t small either. What it represents to me, however, is quite a lot.

I don’t think I’ve ever typed these words in my blog, but I’ll say them now. My ex-husband is an asshole. I wish him well, but he is not a good person. In addition to general jerk-faceness, he was exceptionally controlling about money.

If I paid for ANYTHING, I had to turn a receipt in to him. During our marriage, I was the sole breadwinner. Thus, I was essentially turning in receipts for my own money. On top of that, I’ve never been a frivolous spender.

While we were going through a divorce I tried to separate our car insurance. Because my ex-husband was listed as the primary person on the insurance the car insurance refunded ALL of the money to my ex when I tried to separate the account. So I asked my ex-husband if we could compromise and split the $500+ refund, to which he said, “No.”

In our divorce, my ex-husband gave me the house. However, since the car insurance incident was a disaster I never took my ex-husband off of the homeowner’s insurance policy. I thought, “He’s listed as primary. So they’ll just send him the money…”

Time passed. I got re-married. We sold that old house. At closing I was told I would have a check from my homeowner’s insurance for $257.52 mailed to my new address. Unfortunately, that check never came. Instead, they mailed it to my ex-husband.

Soon after receiving my check, my ex-husband e-mailed me and said he wanted half of the money. He said he would mail me the check to sign, then I was to mail it back and he would send me my half.

I did what you would expect me to do. I told him to go fuck himself, and then I shut down that email and never talked to him again. I’d rather not have the money than deal with being controlled.

I assumed he illegally cashed the check.

That was over four years ago.

But then, a few weeks ago, my old insurance company called saying a check was owed to me. It turns out, the ex had never cashed the check. I explained the situation, and they stated that if I could send them proof they would send me the check.

Oh yes, I sent it proof.

A few days passed, and then – they sent me a check yesterday. #victory 

In a strange ironic turn – tomorrow is the anniversary of my divorce. #vindication

Having someone control your expenses changes you. I feel scared about spending money on myself, and keeping receipts seems to be a habit I can’t break. Breaking control is hard.

My husband Del is so good to me. He encourages me to spend wisely. Del is the kindest, most gracious person I know.  Del… you’re amazing.

Today, I went to the credit union and cashed my check for $257.52.

I thought about saving the money, but we have enough in savings. I thought about donating the money, but we donate a lot of money. I thought about getting new brakes on my car, but we have money saved for that.

Instead, I’m going to do something different.

For the first time in my entire life I’m going to blow that money on WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT. I’m going to walk into the mall, fill my cart with crap, and then throw away every receipt. I may buy a new coat, or weights, or boots, or food. I just may buy 563 packs of bubble gum, or 200 random things from the dollar store. Because no one controls me anymore.

I’ve spent all of today dancing around. I’m likely being petty, and even a touch juvenile. Living in an abusive marriage takes a toll. When I think back on it, it feels like a slow death. It’s just cut, after cut, after cut. One thing gets taken, and then another. When  I add up the sum of abusive behavior it feels overwhelming.

But I got out. I lost money, and friends, and more in the process. But I got out.

I’m happy now. I love my life. I’m re-married. I got it right. And after I go to the mall, I’m going to have a cart full of $257.52 worth of stupid crap just to prove it.

On getting snubbed…

A few days ago, I got snubbed. I was ignored, dismissed, and left to feel small. The cold shoulder in pure form.

I was talking to my friend ‘Jan.’ As we were chatting ‘Constance’ started to walk towards us. I don’t know Constance well, but we’ve seen each other around. Constance walks up to our conversation, and then BAM – Constance snubs me. She starts chatting with Jan, completely ignoring me. I tried to enter back in on their conversation only to have Constance slightly turn her back towards me. #coldshoulder

I get it buddy – it sucks.

What the shit, right? A snubbing from a grown ass woman! Who does that?

The next day I found myself obsessing over the encounter. Why would she snub me? I’m not mean, I’m not cruel. I’ve never done anything to her, have I?

Why would Constance do this? I bet she needs to think she’s better than everyone else because she feels small. I bet her husband is a jerk to her so she takes it out on other women. I probably intimidate her with my Honda Civic and stats talk, because that is SO intimidating.

I called my best friend and told her about the snubbing. I just needed to hear someone be like, “Do you need me to slap this chick – I’ll do it!”

Then, I started comparing myself to Constance. Of course, I won in every comparison. I’m smarter than Constance. I’m prettier. I have a better job, a nice house, and a better husband. Who does Constance think she is to treat me like that?

But after way too much thought, all of my thoughts boiled down to two questions.

1) How could one simple action result in me feeling so small?

I drifted back to second grade, which is the first time I lost a friend.

Jenny and I were best friends. One day Jenny and I were playing on the playground. Then, the new girl Tony wanted to play with us. I was excited for a new friend. Within days, Jenny stopped playing with me and became best friends with Tony.

Tony never liked me. I remember crying to my mother about losing a friend. I remember feeling small and unimportant. Why didn’t Jenny like me anymore? What the heck Tony?

I had forgotten about that moment for decades because – I mean – I was seven years old. But with a simple turn of the shoulder, Constance brought me back to second grade.

In second grade I learned that some people just won’t like you. I learned that some people do not want to be your friend. I learned what it is to lose a friend over pettiness.

The situation left me feeling inferior because deep down I have an insecurity that people will not like me as I am. I think a lot of people are terrified of that, which brings me to the second question…

2) What gives another woman value?

I’ve spent the last few days wondering about what gives someone value. Change is constant. If I set my value in changing things they are likely to be lost in a moment.

I have a good job. What happens if I lose that job? Do I still have value?

So I have a good husband. What happens if my husband dies (Del, you’re not allowed to die – FYI)? Am I no longer valuable?

I’m pretty. Beauty is not eternal. Do I still have value if I’m no longer pretty?

When I think of why I’m valuable, it comes down to one thing: I am valuable because I am child of God. I am His, so I am worthy. That is constant. That is true.

Furthermore, when that is my standard it makes me think of Constance differently.

I am a child of God, and so is Constance. She cannot be better than me, and vice versa. God loves us the same. And if He loves us the same, I am called to love Constance.

I can see why Constance is loved. She is good with people (other than me, apparently). She has wonderful taste in clothing. She seems to have an abundance of friends.

So I’m taking my best friend’s advice, “You have to kill her with kindness. It’s a long-term plan, but in the end it’s the only thing that works.” She went onto say, “And the kinder you are, the more it highlights what she is doing.”

I don’t need to snub Constance or cut her down (although I’ve toiled with the thought). Because deep down, I’m guessing that she is like all of us; just a bundle of weird childhood insecurities we need to overcome.

However, I don’t need Constance’s approval or even her friendship. I’m not seven anymore. I like who I am. I love myself, because God loved me first.