Looking Ahead

September is actually shaping up to be – enjoyable. Full of activities that will get me out of the house and make me feel like I’m actually doing something with my life.

I’ll be spending the first week in Tennessee with my dad. Afterwards I’ll have several workshops and training sessions at the career center – for writing and targeting resumes, brushing up on word, and learning excel and powerpoint. The latter two weren’t even in common use the last time I worked in an office.

I’ve got an afternoon scheduled to hang out with M again, which I’m looking forward to, and I should be driving up to South Bend one weekend and visiting my friend R, and hopefully getting together with H again, too.

I’ve been browsing interesting things to do in Indiana on the Atlas Obscura website, and bookmarking the ones that look personally appealing. Even if I don’t get around to them any time soon, it’s still fun to have some possible activities to pursue down the road. I might even be able to kidnap H now and then to road trip with me to visit something. (Unfortunately M’s schedule makes it unlikely I’d be able to snag her, too.)

And, perhaps most exciting of all, I found a place I really, really want to volunteer at – so much so that I will brave the phone call to inquire about volunteer opportunities in spite of my general anxiety about making phone calls. (Since I’m trying to keep my location blurred, so to speak, I’m not going to say where, specifically.) If they’ll take me on as a volunteer it will have the added benefit of being something I can put on a resume. It might even help me network.

My husband’s response to my full September schedule was not exactly pleased. I think he sees all these signs of me making a life for myself as salt in the wound, a reminder that I’m working my way away from him.

We had a trip planned to our library tonight, and as we set off he said we’d need to tell the children about how I’d be gone for nearly a week and a half. He thought they’d freak out about such a long absence on my part. My older daughter freaked out because she wouldn’t be going, too, but I explained that a) we’re not pulling them from school for a trip and b) I haven’t had the chance to visit my family by myself in a very long time.

There was a little teasing banter from my oldest about how they (my children) are my family and I’ve been visiting them this whole time, and then he and his brother started talking about Magic: the Gathering. My older daughter tried to see if we’d commit to a trip during one of their school holidays, but had to be content with ‘we’ll see.’ They seemed largely uncaring about my planned absence. I was secretly amused since it seemed like my husband had been expecting they’d make a bigger fuss.

I wondered if perhaps he was expecting them to make a bigger fuss because he’s so concerned about my leaving in the future that he saw this as a prelude to how they’d act down the road. Mom being gone for a trip by herself isn’t a big deal, though. They don’t need my constant presence to be happy and keep themselves occupied.

After we’d been at the library for a little while, my youngest got bored with our current activity and wanted to go to another part of the library, and I said I didn’t mind taking her – but my husband had already told her she couldn’t go anywhere else, and wasn’t willing to change his mind, so instead I got a passive-aggressive response that I could do what I wanted, but he’d already told her no. There was no good reason for him to insist on sticking with that course of action, but I didn’t want to stir up any further trouble, so we stayed.

I realized, then, that he’s done this passive-aggressive act for a very long time. Any time I wanted to do something different after he’d already made up his mind about how it should go or be. And I felt a moment of relief thinking about how in the future I’d be able to spend time with my children choosing what I wanted to do, and say, and what boundaries I wanted to set with the kids while they were with me.

If I want to tell them I’m bisexual and agnostic and talk about politics, I can do that. If I want to use profanity in front of them, I can do that. It won’t be corrupting to my children or destroy their innocence to allow them to have a more honest view of who their mother is. If I first tell them no about something, I can then ask myself if I had a good reason for saying no, and change my mind.

Perhaps he’ll be annoyed by my words and deeds after the fact, but he won’t be there in the moment with a passive-aggressive tone and a vague glower on his face.

It’s amazing what having -actual plans- does to make me feel like I’m finally getting somewhere, finally taking a step toward eventual freedom.

In spite of my husband’s dampening aura of dissatisfaction, I felt happy and excited for at least a brief time this evening, and that is something that has been too rare.

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