The Ex-Files – Pay Day Pizza

We had a ritual back in the day. On payday, we would either go out and eat pizza at our favorite place in town or I would call and order the pizza, then pick it up.

This particular payday, I ordered the pizza and planned to go pick it up 40 minutes later, when they said it would be ready. CP was home, sitting on his ass as per the norm. It was the only night of the work week he didn’t go to bed at 7:30 pm. If I’m being honest, I much preferred the nights he came home from work and went directly to bed.

My daughter was hungry and my son was just a baby, so I’m sure he had been fed already. My daughter (aged 3) always liked to go bye-bye with mommy, as most daughters do. I had no problem taking her with me because she was always a good girl. I thought, however, that my lazy, good-for-nothing partner (now ex, thank goodness) would at the very least offer to watch the baby while I went after the pizza. I wasn’t about to ask him because he always acted like I was inconveniencing him by asking him to do any freakin’ thing. Of course, he didn’t even bat an eye. No offers to pick up the pizza, no offers to watch the baby.

I got the kids ready and headed out the door. When I got to the pizza place, I got the kids out of the car. I carried my son in a carrier and held my daughter’s hand. I believe I used a fanny pack back then because I didn’t have enough hands to be carrying a purse! We went inside, and after a bit of a wait, paid for our pizza and headed out the door.

But before we got out the door, I realized I had a baby in one hand and the pizza in the other. How was I to hold my daughter’s hand? I was, at that very moment monumentally pissed at CP. I stopped just inside the door and asked my daughter to hang onto mommy’s shirt and to not let go for any reason until I told her to. I also explained why I couldn’t hold her hand. Thankfully, she was smart and understood.

We got to the car, and I strapped the kids back into the car. I was fuming mad but hiding it from the kids. Why the hell couldn’t CP have offered to watch the kids, or at least the baby? Well, the answer is simple. He was a thoughtless and inconsiderate SOB!

When we were almost home, I told my daughter how proud I was that she held my shirt like such a big girl, just like mommy asked her to. She said, “Thank you, Mommy,” and she smiled so big and bright it almost made me forget what an asshole her father was.


When we got home, I helped my daughter out of the car, put my son in the carrier, and grabbed the pizza. My daughter was already in the house, holding the door open for me because she knew my hands were full. As I entered the door, CP was just sitting there with a look on his face that I was familiar with. That look indicated to me that he was irritated for some reason.

I thanked my big 3-year-old, thoughtful helper for holding the door. She said, “You hands are fulled up, mommy.” Even a 3-year-old can think! Why couldn’t her father? About that time, CP piped in and said something about how long it took. I don’t recall his exact words but it pissed me off, whatever they were.

I said, “For your information, it was a bit crowded there tonight because of a boy’s baseball team celebrating their win. And to top that off, I was struggling with full hands -baby in one hand, pizza in the other – all while trying to keep your daughter safe because I couldn’t hold her hand in the busy parking lot!”

CP’s face changed to a more angry look and he started to speak – but stopped, thought about what he was about to say – and said, “All you had to do was ask and I would have gone for the pizza or watched the kids.” To that, I replied, “I shouldn’t have to ask you to do things to help me or to watch your own children so don’t even give me that crap!”

CP grabbed a few pieces of pizza and went outside to sulk. When he came in, he went to bed without a word. I felt like I was raising 3 kids, instead of 2! He must have scarfed that pizza down like a starving dog because my daughter and I were still eating, and enjoying every bite! Of course, hers were tiny and mine a bit bigger.


Learning & Moving Forward

The last 5 years have been extremely trying. I’ve had to deal with more than I ever imagined I would, and at times thought it would never get better. I spent hours upon hours upon hours crying my eyes out. I have felt helpless, and hopeless. I’ve felt anger and sadness. I’ve suffered through many panic attacks and raging depression. After a couple years trying to pull myself up with not much success, I began seeing a therapist. With her help, I learned a lot about myself, and other people.

My therapist has helped me make sense of much of what I was feeling. With her guidance, and my hard work to meet her challenges, I can finally say that my life is getting back on track. I don’t think I could have done it without her help. You may think these things are a “no brainer” but when you have been raised a certain way, treated a certain way, and had to deal with so many issues, it tends to overwhelm a person!! You sometimes lose yourself while trying to process things, and some things are shoved under the rug because they are too hard to deal with.

Some of the things I have learned along the way are:

*I have learned that the guilt and shame that I carried for so long, was NOT mine to carry. I am not responsible for the actions of others, and I have made peace with events of the past.

*I have learned to set limits and create boundaries. Just as I don’t allow just anyone to come into my house, I cannot allow just anyone to enter my mind, and my life and drain me of my energy or place unwanted expectations on me. I do not have to allow negativity from others to bring me down. I do NOT have to engage in their drama.

*I have been a caregiver for all of my adult life. I have always put everyone else’s needs above my own. I put my needs on the back burner, thinking they were not important. I have learned that it’s not selfish for me to take care of ME! My needs are just as important as anyone else’s!

*I am a logical thinker. I’ve learned that if I can’t make sense of something, in my mind it’s hogwash. I get along with those who are like-minded. I don’t mix well with people who do not think for themselves. I don’t understand people who follow anything blindly.

*I’ve learned that there are certain people whom I cannot help simply because they won’t help themselves. I can’t keep throwing them a rope and letting them pull ME under! Some people are emotional vampires, draining you of all the energy you have. It’s ok to take a step back (or several) and protect yourself! I know I don’t have to let them drain me anymore! (This goes back to setting limits and creating boundaries, as mentioned earlier in this post.)

*I’ve learned that my thoughts, my opinions are just as important as anyone else’s. All through my childhood, my mother stifled me. I was ridiculed for voicing my opinion, for asking questions, and for asking for what I needed for ME. I may still keep my mouth shut at times (because even though I have the right to say it, doesn’t mean I should) but I no longer let the fear of what others think, keep me from using my voice.

*I’ve learned that I can forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in my life. We aren’t handed an instruction book when we first venture out on our own, when we enter a new relationship, or when we begin having children. We have no clue how to do it, but yet we figure it out along the way! We make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are small and sometimes they are huge, but we learn as we go and we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made or we will drown in the “shoulda-woulda-coulda” mentality.

*I’ve learned that others will never understand my chronic pain if they have never experienced chronic pain themselves. I can explain until my head explodes but they won’t understand that I can’t do the things they think I should be able to do. They don’t SEE anything wrong with me, so they think I’m just lazy. They can’t see how tired I am, how much I hurt, or that I’d just like to crawl in a cave and never come out again. I don’t have to explain anymore. I’m good with whatever they think about me. I just pray that they never have to experience chronic pain themselves! (If you need to understand chronic pain, a good place to start is with “The Spoon Theory.” Google it. There is no better way to understand than this.)

And last, and I am definitely not finished learning….

*I’ve learned that you just can’t fix stupid!! I get so irritated with people doing stupid and inconsiderate things that I could just pull my hair out! I am still working on this one, but I’m getting better at just letting it go!! I let things get to me too easily sometimes. It seriously affects my mood when someone pulls out in front of me on a busy road, or when someone zips through a parking lot right behind me, even though I’m already half way out of my parking spot, or when a group of people are having a “reunion” of sorts in the store blocking the entire width of the aisle. When you approach, they turn and see you but still make no effort to move over so you can pass through! UGH. I could go on and on….. These things aggravate me to no end. I always try to be courteous and watch for others around me when I’m out and about. I know they have things to do just as I do. So, why don’t they behave the same way?

All in all, my life may be a bit difficult but I am moving forward. I continue to see my therapist and work on my issues. I use to think “I will never see a shrink because I can’t talk to a stranger about personal things! That’s what friends and family are for!” Well, I was wrong for thinking this way. Yes, it’s good to talk to friends and family but some things are too deep and personal to share with them! Sometimes, a complete stranger can see things more clearly. A trained therapist can actually help you figure things out!