Completely deflated

Forewarning, this is going to be a raw one…

I am at this point in my life where I just feel totally and utterly deflated. I have been trying to move back to Colorado for three months now… going on four. I need to be with my husband again. It’s been a long four years. And we have both faught many battles. I left in 2013 and took the girls because his PTSD had gotten so bad we were no longer safe together. But I was still fighting for us. I think he was too, somewhere deep down. But ultimately he was still fighting a war within himself from the war he lived through.

I moved in with his parents, but that was just a different kind of toxic. I can’t say I regret it. I understand my husband better having gotten to know the toxic family that he grew up with. So I am thankful for the experience. 

A year later he went to Korea, where he spent two years. He got stationed back in Colorado at a different base and asked me to rejoin him in March of 2016. But after 2 months we realized it was just bad timing. He still hadn’t dealt with his PTSD. I had continued to get increasingly sicker in the previous three years. He didn’t know how to interact with the girls. And to top it all off, we had a psychotic neighbor who was threatening the Kids and I, as well as pushing Jordan’s buttons looking for an altercation. It was just a bad situation. 

We found ourselves in marriage counseling again. This time it was wise counsel. However the burdens and struggles were too much, and I ran away for the summer. 

I found myself back in Indiana with my in-laws, but they were mostly gone on vacation. I submerged myself back into my Jewish community. I felt like I had found home. I didnt know what I had when I lost it and moved to Colorado, but once I found it again, I felt I knew what it was, and like I needed to hold onto it and never let go again.

I went back to Colorado, and Jordan and I discussed it, and felt moving back to Indiana was best, for my health, for my need of Jewish community, and to give him time to work on healing from his PTSD.

The week I arrived back in Indianapolis my housing fell through. That left me staying in my trailer. Not the biggest deal, I love living in a trailer and had been living in my fifth wheel for a year at that point. The issue lies with the fact that there are only three places to park an RV year round, that I know of, that is within driving distance of the Jewish community. This is important because I spend four days a week there between my commitments and the girls’ religious education. Of those three RV parks, 2 have pedophiles living on site, and the other is in one of the worst crime neighborhoods in the city.

Desperate, and without options, I moved into my in-laws back yard. They installed an RV electrical box. However, I had to cart my own water from October thru May, in 5 gallon buckets. Not exactly the end of the world in most cases, except the winter is when I am at my sickest and weakest. My father in-law helped some. But it was another stressor in an already stressful situation. A toxic family, in a house filled with mold. I avoided the house as much as possible. But with no running water, even the basics like showers and dishes require me to go into the house.

Thankfully, I did not lose my mobility this year. But everything fell apart when an extended family member was released from jail after taking a plea bargain for his pedophilia charges. I didn’t know he had been arrested or charged. I had never liked him and had always had that deep gut feeling to protect my children from him. But my mother in-law insists he is innocent. I will never understand a family who perpetually believes the perpetrator over the victim. But in this family you are shit out of luck if you are molested or raped, because no one will believe you. I made it very clear if I even saw the hint of a shadow of this man near our house, (I didn’t care that it was their house, my kids live on their property) if he came around at all, I would walk right out that door so fast and they would never see their grandkids again. I didnt care if that made us homeless.

That’s when I knew it was time to go. I guess the saying holds true, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”  I got us into this mess. I just keep thinking if I love these people long and hard enough they will have that aha moment. Or maybe eventually they will accept me and stop beating me down. The sad part is they have completely broken me. And after nearly 13 years, nothing has changed. We are still having the same talks to hash out the same problems. The funny thing about a broken person, who has been burnt, and is living in the ashes, they find out who they are. I have become stronger and more confident in myself in the past year, through the heartache of accepting my mother for who she is, in accepting my brother for how he will always be, and yes, in letting go of the expectation that my in laws are not capable of loving and accepting me. In my illness, my oldest daughter has taught me how to live. And in all this heartbreak, G!d has taught me how to feel again. Truley, and deeply. To areas of my nefesh  that are so raw, it affects my every being.

So this brings me to the present. It’s time to go, and let go, and to be a family. Jordan has been getting help for his PTSD. He has a toolbox now, and the tools are few, but at least he has some.

I know the Jewish community is lacking tremendously in Colorado Springs, and Denver is just too far by a teensy little bit. But I have been without that Jewish community that I fell I love with. The one that made me decide to return? It was gone. I guess I was remembering what was. By the time summer was over so many things had changed, that everywhere I used to be plugged into was no longer available. The congregation was going in a new direction. And honestly, I didn’t have The heart to spend another three years rebuilding and engaging. I fully admit that falls squarely on my shoulders. I continued to volunteer. I still took the girls to their religious education. But I had lost myself amongst the crowd.

I know it’s going to be hard without a strong Jewish community, but its not impossible. And I will have my husband until he deploys, sort of. If always working and being gone nights and weekends in being there…. but at least it’s a start to being where I feel I need to be. By his side. Supporting him. Raising my kids. Being a family again.

The trouble is, every place we look at, it rents right out from underneath us. By the time Jordan gets down to the office to sign an application, we are already fifth or sixth in line. We had a lease on one place, but two days after the ink dried, the landlord backed out and tore the lease up because he found out we wouldn’t both be moving in on the same day. I’m in another state, and my husband was heading into the field for 2 weeks. All things we were transparent about from the beginning. This landlord only rents to military, yet he seemed to have no understanding of the military, and actually said very derogatory things to us. We could have sued, but only for the right to live there. And I, for one, did not want him as a landlord after that.

Another place actually turned us down because we made more money than the other guy, and we had our shit together. They felt sorry for this other family, who she admitted had bad credit. I kid you not! This other famy was also military, got behind on payments and rent and ended up in a tiny apartment with a sob story, and we lost the perfect little place to them. The landlord actually told me that I can afford to increase my budget, and so I won’t have trouble finding a place.

First of all, we live within our wage. If other people did as well, maybe they wouldn’t need a sob story. Second of all, our budget is our business, we are saving for our children’s college. Not something you can just use towards a larger rent payment each month. Third of all, we have been having trouble, three month, going on four, of place after place renting before we can even apply. Fourth of all, good luck getting this other family to pay their bills. They have shown themselves to be financially irresponsible.

One town + five military = housing crisis!

I am just discouraged right now. How is it this hard for me to move when my house has wheels? I feel like I am going to be stuck in my in-laws backyard forever. I feel like I am never going to be with my husband again. I feel like the promise of marriage is just an illusion, and if by some miracle I make it back to Colorado, he will deploy in March and we will just have to ride out another year. Another year alone, and lonely. Without the benefits of support having been established. And I already know that I get really sick in Colorado. Something about the extreme altitude makes my flare-ups and symptoms really bad. I have more seizures there as well. Which makes me terrified of driving. If I lose my license I would not be able to take care of my girls or myself. I couldn’t be independent anymore. I don’t even know how that would work while he was deployed, but when I was there last year and I was too weak to drive, his chain of command basically thought he was just a shamming shit bag, trying to get out of work. 

And here goes the other side of the ugly circle…. am I making a mistake moving to Colorado? The idea terrifies me. Yes, I would have my husband, and the kids would have their father. But I would be sick. And I would have no outside help. And I would have no Jewish community.

On the other hand, I’m sick anyway, what’s a little more? I seem to manage fine now, and while it would seem I have help if I needed it, honestly, its not all that much support. My in-laws maybe watch the girls an hour a month. And if I super need it, my sister in law will watch them, but she is usually the one I want to hang out with. As for my Jewish community, they have failed me, and I have failed them, in the past year. My biggest concern is just making sure the girls continue to get their religious education. And I think their is a passable amount of jewish education available to make the notion of moving worth considering.

So what is it that has me so petrified? What scares me more, going, or the continued rejection and not being able to go? And if he does find a place, how am I even going to get there? Without a second driver it will take me two trips because I have to get the fifth wheel too. I can’t drive a truck and trailer, and a uhaul, and my 5th wheel isn’t set up to pull a trailer. Dear husband’s unit is denying all leave right now for training reasons until Christmas. I never thought I would say this, but since when is having the 1Sgt behind you not enough? Ugh. So I won’t have husband’s help. And that means…..what…..? Pack up the kids, take a load, drive back, just to do it again? That’s at least 10 days. If all goes well. And I don’t get sick. Problem is, sitting for long hauls, like…oh….i don’t know….DRIVING cross county TWICE, triggers a flare up for me. I could be down for a month or two. And school is starting next month, I will have a house to put away, and a trailer to find storage for, all the transfer of bills, and social security, and shit… which means driving and waiting. Oh shit, I forgot how bad their social security office is there. Ugh. And I still have to finish up 3rd grade. We aren’t quite done in two subjects.

I know I can deal with it. I will soldier on. It’s what I do. The problem is, is that it is quite literally killing me. And until we find a place, I am stuck in a place of static. And worse than being unbalanced, is static, because static is death. It is a living death.

I’m tired of being sick all the time, but worse than that, I’m tired of dying. I’m ready to live. And I am so discouraged, because I am lost and alone in the dark. With no one to grab into. And the louder I cry out to HaShem, the further it seems to echo. I feel entombed in a cataclysm of my own internal war. I am ready to break out, and live again, but I also am afraid. I have been here for so long, I am comfortable, and I am afraid of the bright light that awaights me. I’m being raw and honest here. I also know that living begins at the edge of your comfort zone. So I don’t need to be comfortable anymore. I just dont know how to do that. I’m scared and alone and I want help.

I guess what I am most terrified of, is that at the end of the day, G!d/the universe/fate, whatever it is you believe in… personally I believe in G!d… I am terrified that all these closed doors for housing is a sign that it isn’t G!d’s will for me to be in Colorado. That fate has somehow decided that my husband and I being a family again just isn’t part of the big plan for our lives. Where does that leave me? I don’t believe people were meant to be alone. I know I survive fine without him, but as a post I recent read reminded me, “I want more than fine.” Has the last 12 years been for naught? Have I been holding on and fighting for something that can never be? There you have it folks, my inner most fear.

So now I am at the bottom. Totally, deflated. I am writing again. Nowhere to look but up. I will turn it all over to G!d and let Him guide my path, as I always do. But now, I also cry, alone, and in the dark. It’s so hard when I reach these places in my life. As a big picture person, I know that G!d sees an even bigger canvas, and He knows the whys, but it is still hard. I’m still struggling. Raising kids on my own while I’ve been so sick has been a challenge. But knowing they are growing up without their father has been a struggle all in its own category. I just want to be a family again. Even if only for a few month before he deploys again. I know it’s stupid to want to move there, just to be alone again, with no support. But he is my best friend, and my kids’ hero. And through all our issues, and all the unmet expectations, we are a family. And we want to be together. Is that really too much to long for?



So tonight my children and I called my husband to do prayers and Sh’ma with him. We started talking about homeschooling back in the good old days before we could just Google things. My husband mentioned how he had Yahoo. This was the conversation that followed:

Yoheved (8 years old): Wait! Yahoo? Who’s Yahoo?

Chava  (9 years old): Yoheved!!!! [Then she starts singing] Eliyahu. Eliyahu. Eliyahu. Hanavi.

Yoheved: Ooooh, it’s Elijah!

I laughed so hard I almost peed myself.
Kids hear things from a totally different perspective. But then add another language and it can be so comical sometimes.

I am not my Stuggle

I am not my Stuggle

So often we are asked, ” Who are you?”  A man might identify himself by his job, and so many of us do identify ourselves by what we do, or our roles in our lives.  A woman might find herself identifying as a mother, or friend.  Maybe a sister, or daughter.  And all these descriptions are fine.  But that doesn’t come to quite describe the person, just the role, does it?  Sure, I am a sister, daughter, mother, friend, wife, partner, teammate.  Those lists of roles in my life could go on forever.  The hats that I have worn are endless.  Lets add cook, taxi driver, accountant, bookkeeper, counselor, confidant… we could sit here forever.  But do these hat, these roles, really describe who we are?

When I converted to Judaism I was given the task of picking a Hebrew name for myself.  I didn’t realize this was something I had to do myself.  Fore some reason I thought this was something my Rabbi would do for me.  After all, when a baby is born into a Jewish household he or she does not get to pick their own name, so it never dawned on me that I would get to pick my own name.  And my Rabbi knew me better than anyone at that point, so I thought he would be giving me my Hebrew name.  So when I went about picking my Hebrew name, like everything else in my life, I took this very seriously.  I also had to pick my daughters’ names at the same time, and since I got to choose my names, I let them chose between three names I picked for them, since this was their journey as well.  When it came down to the name I picked for myself, I actually ended up changing it hours before my Mikvah (the official point where I became recognized as Jewish).  Naphtala, the female version of Naphtali, which means “to struggle” was the name I chose, because for me, every decision, every step, every moment of my life is a struggle.  Some might see this as a negative, but it is out of these struggles that I find meaning.  I take nothing for granted.  I don’t make decisions lightly.  Many people assume that I flit through life, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Things don’t come easily for my children and I, but because of this, we cherish it all.  Just because I chose to identify myself in my Hebrew name because of the way I experience life, and approach life, through struggle, it in no way means that i see myself as my struggle.  It’s more that I see myself in spite of my struggles.

I am not my struggles.

So who am I, if I am not my struggle?

I am misunderstood. I am loving.  I am compassionate and kind.  I am blunt and sometimes hard to swallow. I can be intense.  Sometimes people can’t tell I’m loving and compassionate because it comes off as angry it is so intense and overwhelming.  I tend to put myself in other people’s shoes, and take things personally for them, often these are complete strangers I will never meet, or even concepts.  But at the same time I don’t pick up my own friend’s offenses when they rant to me, and they get angry that I won’t take their side.  I’m a walking contradiction until you get to know me, and then I make sense.  I am an odd duck.  I don’t want to me anyone but me.  I am a devil’s advocate, and can see many points of view, and have lost many friend’s because they thought I couldn’t see their point of view when I was just trying to help them see someone else’s point of view.  I don’t take sides, because I chose the side of love. Love for all.  We all deserve love.  Even those who really screw up.  I tend to go to extremes before I find balance, and am often likened to a pendulum.  I’m snarky with a dry sarcastic sense of humor, sometimes with a drop of morbid mixed in.  I can’t be sorry for being me, but I’m often alone as a result.   And I can count on half a hand the number of regrets I have in life, because even the mistakes taught me something valuable I couldn’t have lived without.

Someday I will look back, and I will tell my grandchildren all that I have seen in my lifetime.  I will tell them that I remember a time when households didn’t have a computer or a cellphone.  I will explain what a corded phone was and how my mom used to yell at me for wrapping myself in it while she talked with my grandmother on it while she made dinner.  Or how my dad would get mad at me while he recoiled the coil because it got all kinked from me playing in the corded phone.  I can tell them about a time when televisions didn’t have remotes.  Or when tapes were replaced by Compact Discs, or VHS was replaced by DVD.  Now everything can be put on hour phone.  I remember when my mom thought my dad was crazy when he told everyone that someday everyone would carry computers in their pockets that could do everything, even talk to each other across the world in real-time.  That was when we got our first computer.  Now we don’t even need remotes, we can just talk to our televisions.  Its insane.  And whats even more insane is the fact that I am only 30 years old.

Even more powerful yet will be the personal experiences that I share with them.  The heartbreak of the love I walked away from because I couldn’t watch him destroy himself.  It took me 13 years to get over him.  And when I think I’m finally over him, I find myself alone on a dark night, still crying over the man who still holds a piece of my heart.

I survived losing a parent before I was grown, and stayed to finish raising the other parent who is still emotional devoid of being the parent I need.

I will tell my grandkids of the first steps I witnessed of their mom.  Or how about the heartbreak when I was told my children had autism, and I grieved the childhood they would never have.  The joys of parenting I never experienced.  But let me tell you, after years of therapy, when I first heard the words, “I love you mom,” only a mom who has been told her kid will never talk knows how powerful those words can hit.  There is nothing in the world that can take that away from me.

I will tell them of a marriage that would have been easier to walk away from, in a country that makes divorce easier.  But even when I can’t fight any more, even fight for my marriage, I don’t have to leave.  I can stay, and regain strength. Or leave for a while, and regain strength.  To fight another day.  In a generation when divorce is the first answer, or the easy answer, my grandchildren will know that staying in a marriage isn’t something that just past generations did, Its something I will do too.  Because sometimes, some things are worth believing in.  No matter how hard it seems.  I’ve done my share of leaving.  Don’t get me wrong.  But I always return, it’s just a break.  Running away can’t be the first answer.  And I hope they listen. I really hope that I continue to have the courage to stay, or the courage to return.  Some weeks I don’t know.  This week is one of them.

I will survive Chronic Lyme Disease whether the doctors fight me or not.  And we will do it my way, along with all my other chronic health issues and auto immune issues.  Because I will not let my body win.  I will be here to tell all these things to my grandchildren.  My struggles will not win.  They are apart of me.  But they will not defeat me.

So who am I?  I am a woman, sojourning down the path of life. Struggling through this journey. Nay, survivng experiences that many would not believe even if I told them.  Many that would have killed weaker people.  But I tell my story proudly to any who would listen.  Sadly, few listen, and even fewer believe.

Now, I ask myself, who are you?

I am the sum of my experiences. Multiplied by the feeling that I bring with me down the path that those experiences lead me.  This is who I am.  These struggles don’t define me.  But they often introduce me to myself.