If I were REALLY crazy, would I write an overly personal and profane rant in a public forum???

Wait, don’t answer that. Cuz I wanna write this anyway. I’ve got a lot of feelings and I want to get them out.

IT WILL NEVER BE OVER. I spent 3.5 incredibly emotional hours talking to Chelsea on Monday so we could get ready for mediation on Tuesday. It was up and down and all over the place. We fought, we laughed, we talked about GoT, we yelled at each other, we made progress and then immediately regressed, we cried, we hugged, we held each other. Every time it seemed like “wow, I think we’re gonna be ok,” it was immediately followed by something terribly hurtful. Like the fact that she STILL thinks I’m mentally unstable. STILL. Like, this isn’t just a ploy for custody anymore. She acts like I’m crazy and at any moment I could do something that would harm my son, the thing I love and cherish most in this world. Which is why she told me that it was very important that the parenting agreement state explicitly that she has the final say in any major decisions IN CASE MY MENTAL STATE IMPAIRS ME FROM AGREEING WITH HER. Whatever.

Then Tuesday I spent 4.5 hours at the courthouse going through dumb, petty, sad, depressing, dumb, petty bullshit. The most hurtful part of it? The part where she wanted to cut out the sentence saying that we both agree that the other is a fit parent. She didn’t want to say it. I didn’t say anything about it. I didn’t fight it. Because it’s petty and it’s bullshit, but God it was also PAINFUL. Fuck. So fucking painful. And then right after that she made a JOKE, I guess to break the tension? But I wasn’t in the mood. ANd then her LAWYER made a joke about me! And instead of saying “Shut the fuck up Todd” like I wanted to, I sat quietly and told him with my eyes. Then I got up and left for a few minutes. Just walked around the courthouse trying to calm down. I finally came back in and we STILL had like an hour left because she wanted to sit and argue over exactly what are the “major decisions” that she has final say over. Oh and also, she didn’t think it was necessary to have the paragraph that said either parent is allowed to request a background check on any adult that shares a residence with Ethan because it made Todd “uncomfortable.” (I didn’t give that up tho- because WHO THE FUCK WOULD? Good GOD it’s such an easy, tiny little precaution to try and keep our son SAFE. FUCK!)

But hey, it was “over.” I mean, I knew it wasn’t over. With joint custody, it never is. I know that I’m still going to have to deal with her for the next 14 years, that I’m going to have to meet Todd, and probably whoever comes after Todd. But, still, at least this was done for now. BUT ITS NEVER OVER.

Tonight she texts me “oh by the way, something I forgot about the papers yesterday was me requesting a note from your therapist. Would you be ok including that in there?”

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Goddamnit. Even after everything we did, she STILL wants me to know that she thinks I’m crazy. Still. And I mean, it just seems insulting at this point. It feels like she didn’t get enough shots in and wanted one more. Because what is the point at this point??? Truth is, I already got a letter from my therapist that spoke to my mental state, just in case we had to go to court. But that letter is addressed to the Third District Court of Salt Lake City, and you never asked for it, and we already signed all the papers, so you can fuck right off. I get that you were concerned about some of my behaviors but I was concerned about you introducing Ethan to guy you just met, letting that guy sleep over, and having Ethan sleep over at his place, and you lying about ALL OF IT, and yet I never fucking asked you to get a doctor’s note to prove your sanity. FUCK YOU you cunt ass bitch.

BYTHEWAY the thing that made her “realize how bad [I was]” was that I cried in front of her after we had sat next to each other for an hour to file our taxes and at the end she let me know that she didn’t care if I died. And I knew she meant it. And it just (finally) hit me: she does. not. love. you anymore man. And I just started crying. Hard. And I walked away so I wouldn’t have to do it in front of her. But I couldn’t stop. So I walked back, and put Ethan in the car, and drove off with him, while still crying. And she told me that she was worried about Ethan’s safety. And at that point she started keeping Ethan from me until she decided that I was “mentally emotionally fit” enough for her to “trust [me] as a reliable parent for Ethan.”

That was in March. Because of that, I filed for divorce (she never had). After our first court date, she started playing nice. She was suddenly so reasonable and suddenly ok with me having Ethan. And now that it’s all “over” SHE STILL WANTS ME TO KNOW that in her opinion, I’m not a fit parent. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU. God it’s so condescending and insulting and infuriating. She hurts me and hurts me and hurts me and when I act hurt, she goes, “LOOK! SEE! Look how CRAAAAZY he is!!” And she wants me to believe it. AND I SORT OF DO. I think every parent is self-conscious. Every parent thinks they’re a failure, or is at least scared that they might be. It’s such an easy target, what a fucking hack. So even if I tell myself it’s not true, it’s impossible not to be hurt by it. Just to know that this person who I LOVED, this person who knows me so well, this person who spent 7 years with me, who made a child with me, and watched me raise that child, thinks that I’m a bad parent. God. It just hurts.

Thanks for letting me type this all out loud. Planet of the Apes was good. Atomic Blonde was ok. Trump is bad. I’ve got a show this friday. What else do you wanna talk about?

Advertisements

That’s My Boy

Last night Ethan was falling asleep when he said “Dad I want to change my last name like mommy.”

Ouch. I wasn’t expecting that. I swallowed hard and stroked his hair and croaked out “What do you want your last name to be buddy?”

“Skullcrasher,” he whispered.

bittersweet

I just want my boy. I’m feeling really Ethan-less today. I keep looking at pictures of him. It’s not always this bad, somedays I really don’t miss him that much. It’s fun to go be a single bachelor and to party and to see movies and to never get dressed and to just do nothing. But then there are days like these, when I just miss him so much and no matter how much I tell myself to take advantage of this day to myself and not to sit around and mope, all I end up doing is sitting and moping because really, I don’t want to do ANYTHING but hang out with Ethan.

I just want to cry about it.

Here’s what sucks about co-parenting: in order to get to the person that I love most in this world, the person who makes me happier than anyone else, I have to go through the person that makes me sadder than anyone else in this world. There’s no way around it. So it makes all my feelings towards Ethan way more complicated, and all of our interactions bittersweet. Take a phone call for instance. I can technically call him whenever I want, but in order to do that, I have to call HER. And that’s painful. It is. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. It hurts. It hurts just to press call on her name (her NEW name a great reminder of how easy it was for her to separate herself from me). It hurts to hear her voice when she picks up. It hurts that she has to give me permission to talk to him. And it gets way worse if she wants to talk to me, even about little, tiny, innocuous things, before she LETS me talk to him. It hurts that she keeps it on speaker phone. Like, is she worried about me saying something bad to him? Am I on supervised visits now? WTF? Or is it just to bother me? Because I’ll tell you oh my GOD it hurts to have her interject into our conversations. This is my time to talk to him because I miss him. That’s all I want. I don’t want to hear your voice. Because it HURTS. And you are ruining the happy feeling I’m trying to chase with my son right now.

And it hurts to know that he’s at Jeff’s house right now, and to know Jeff is somewhere in the background, and that Jeff can hear me too CUZ IM ON FUCKING SPEAKERPHONE, and then wondering about what Jeff thinks of me, etc. etc. et.c e.tc ETC

Tradeoffs are the same way. I hate her coming to my house. I hate having to see her because I want to just focus on how happy I am to have my boy back in my arms but it’s impossible for me not to notice how different she looks and then wondering why she didn’t dress that way before. Why did she stop wearing bras and shaving her armpits? Did she not like doing that? Why did it take a divorce to change that? Was I holding her back from living the way she wanted? Was I an oppressive husband? Did she feel a need to submit to my patriarchal will? Does she know that I don’t give a fuck about armpits? Should I have told her that? Why couldn’t she be her “true self” with me? What was wrong with me? Why is she happier with Jeff than with me?

“I missed you daddy!”

“Hm? What? Oh yeah, I missed you too buddy!”

Then we go inside and try to have fun. But it always takes me a little while to shake off all those doubts and questions and insecure, sad, lonely feelings. But by the next day, I’m totally good and we have a blast together. I. Just. Love. Being with him. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, often it’s just running errands, but it’s so great to do it with him! He loves me so much and loves everything I do, and I feel the exact same way about him. You know your best friend that you do everything with? The person you feel comfortable doing absolutely nothing with? You don’t really need to make plans, you just drop in unannounced and enjoy their company? That’s Ethan for me. I know we’re not supposed to be our kids’ “friends” but I don’t really care. He’s my best friend.

I love when we’re walking across a street or in a parking lot, he never holds my hand. I just stick out my pinky finger- I don’t even say anything- and he just instinctively reaches out and wraps his whole little hand around my tiniest finger.

Sometimes when we’re driving I’ll just reach my arm back and we’ll hold hands while I’m driving. Or we’ll play a game where my hand is a spider on the back of the passenger seat and he tries to smash it with his feet. Or he’ll say “Dad guess what?” and I’ll say “what?” and he’ll say “CHICKEN BUTT!” and I’ll say “NO! YOU GOT ME AGAIN!” and he’ll laugh and then immediately say “Dad guess what?” and we do that until he gets bored (spoiler: he never gets bored).

Bedtime is the best time. He loooooves reading books, and I love reading to him! We’ve got ourselves a little nook in our room with some pillows (Danielle’s favorite pillows actually, which I pettily kept. Is pettily a word?) and we lie down with three or four books and he sits perfectly still and suddenly has the longest attention span in the world. After that, he climbs the ladder to his bed and I sing him the weirdest collection of songs because they’re the only songs I know all the words to and he holds onto my arm until he falls asleep.

Oh my god can I tell you about the arm thing? Cuz it’s my favorite thing in the whole world. His entire life he has loved touching your arm when he’s sleepy. That’s how we used to know when he was ready for bed/a nap. He’d get in your lap, and sort of nestle his head in your chest/armpit and then start running his tiny little fingertips over your bicep. When we were co-sleeping, that’s how he’d fall asleep. In the mornings when we would snuggle in bed, he would just stroke our arms. And he still hasn’t grown out of it, and I am so happy about it. He’ll ask for it and it makes me smile. “Dad I need your arm!” Sometimes when he’s falling asleep in the car (I do a lot of night driving), he’ll get fussy and demand my arm. So I reach my hand back to hold his, but that’s not what he wants. So he tries to reach as far as he can, but all he can grab is my forearm so he whines “I want the big part! I want your big muscle!” and I smile every time. I love it. I tell you, kids are great for your self-esteem.

But even during these great days, I get texts from her and they hurt. Ethan tells me all the cool stuff his mom did with him, and that hurts too. Makes me irrationally jealous and I immediately have the childish desire to one-up her. Ethan tells me how cool Jeff is and that hurts. He calls Jeff’s kid his brother and that really hurts. And Danielle misses him too and wants to talk to him like I do, so I gotta see her face pop up on my phone every day and it hurts a little every time. She wants to talk to him before bed every night, so while I’m sitting on the pillows with him during my favorite part of the day, my phone starts ringing and I know who it is and I get upset instantly. It’s not fair of me. She wants to talk to him the same way I do, and yet I get upset. I think, “This is MY time. I get him two nights a week! I only get to put him to bed twice! Would you just let me have this time? Do you have to ruin everything? EVERY happy moment we have? We called you this morning!! You’re gonna have him back tomorrow!! Isn’t that enough for you? Aren’t you already living your dream life? Can you just let me enjoy this one happy moment??”

The last morning together is a lot like the first night. Bittersweet. Still trying to have fun, but with this cloud hanging over everything, knowing that I’m about to see her again. And dealing with a clingy, upset Ethan who doesn’t want to leave yet. Who cries and says he wants to stay. And I can’t tell him how I really feel! I have to smile and say “What? You LOVE mommy’s house! You’re gonna have so much fun with Jeff!” And it fucking hurts. But I do my best to smile through the pain and be as supportive of his mom as possible, and I can go cry/mope/smoke/box after she picks him up.

Insomnia

I used to fall asleep within seconds of closing my eyes. Danielle used to tease me about it. She would say something to me in bed and I would JOLT awake and she would think that I was just playing with her. “Stop faking!” she would say. “You were not asleep, we JUST got in bed!” But it was true. I could go to sleep whenever, all I had to do was get under the covers and close my eyes. It was fantastic. But sadly, that talent left when she did.
Falling asleep is the worst part of my day, every day. I spend my whole day afraid of that moment, honestly from the time I wake up. It’s an uncomfortable thought so ubiquitous it’s almost corporeal, hovering around over my left shoulder, silently reminding me that eventually today, I’ll have to do it again: No matter how good today is, or how many friends I see, or how well my set goes, I’ll eventually be left alone in my bed with all of my saddest, scariest thoughts.
As soon as she left, I stopped sleeping. Right after she moved out, I started pacing my sad, empty apartment all night. I would put Ethan to bed and sit on the floor of his room for a while and listen to him breathe softly while he held onto my arm. And when that became more sad than comforting, I would just walk back and forth from my bedroom, through the kitchen, to the big windows of the living room, and back again. I would stare out at the SLC skyline and watch my homeless neighbors on the street below, pacing parallel with me, all of us anxious and aimless all night long. Just one of us actually had a nice, big bed going to waste while he cried about how unfair life was.
I’d stand in the frame of my bedroom door and just stare at that bed. Standing there, I could see back just a couple months prior when we bought a brand new mattress and bed frame. It was the first mattress we had ever bought ourselves, and it was the first time in years that our bed had been up off the floor, on an actual frame. We bought it from IKEA and had a bitch of a time assembling it. I could see us sitting there on the floor at 4am, with screws spread out on the floor and Master of None on the TV. Just months ago, my life felt so sure and so real that I took it all for granted. Now I’m standing here alone in the dark and I even though I haven’t yet stopped playing it over in my head, I still have no idea what the fuck happened.
And those thoughts still haven’t gone away. They just wait for me. All day, just waiting for me. And when I’m alone, they pounce. So I surround myself with distractions. I surround myself with people, the best I can. (*I’ve learned that most people though, have actual lives and actually plan ahead, and can’t always drop everything when I suddenly feel scared and frantically text everyone I know something like “HEY! ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING RIGHT NOW? WANNA DO SOMETHING? ANYTHING? LITERALLY ANYTHING?” so I apologize. Sorry guys.*) But I’ve gotten (slightly) better at planning my daily distractions ahead of time. And I can have days full of friends and fun and sometimes even productivity! But none of that matters come bedtime.
No matter what I do today, no matter how distracted I keep myself, there’s still this awful, terrible moment, where I’m alone and quiet and waiting for sleep to take me. And in that moment, I usually cry. It’s often surprising, or at least it used to be, how fast I could break down. I had felt so happy just a moment ago. And it wasn’t until now that I realized I had actually been sad all day, I had just compartmentalized it, set it to the side, tried to ignore it. But you can’t suppress those feelings forever.
So I got tired of crying myself to sleep. So I started staying up later and later and later. Rather than face that quiet moment, rather than let that sadness out of his cage, I’d just start another movie, maybe get something to eat, just watch one more episode, take one more hit, masturbate one more time. And then hopefully push myself past the point of exhaustion where I can just pass out immediately without any quiet moments of self-reflection. I even started putting headphones in and listening to music and sleep hypnosis YouTube channels so I could keep my mind focused on something else all the way up until my brain turned off. But you can’t suppress those feelings forever.
You ever wake up crying? It’s been happening more and more for me lately. It’s like that sad beast is upset I cheated him out of our alone time and he waits all night for me, with his paws on my chest, just watching and waiting. And the second my eyes pop open, he pounces. And I just start crying. I’m still under my blankets, head still on my pillow, and I’m crying. It’s a hell of a way to start your day.
Sometimes I can’t even make it til morning. I have nightmares about Danielle. Very unsubtle nightmares. I have nightmares about her new bf/fiance/husband. I have nightmares about losing my son. I feel like even when I do sleep, it’s a very shallow sleep. I’m always on the verge of waking up. During these nightmares, I’m often aware that I’m laying in my bed, dreaming, and it’s hard to tell when I’ve woken up. I never sleep more than 4-5 hours at a time, but often less than that. I take naps during the day. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m so exhausted by midday, or if the daylight feels less lonely, but it’s always easier to fall asleep during the day.
What I’ve come to realize is how perfectly amazing it is to sleep with another person. I completely took it for granted when I actually had someone who wanted to sleep with me. I never ever wanted to snuggle with Danielle. I just couldn’t fall asleep that way. She liked spooning, but I slept comically straight. Like a board. Flat on my back, hands at my side, and I never tossed or turned. And I loved thin, flat pillows, so that my head was just barely higher than the rest of my body. In one of those cute couple conundrums, she could only sleep if she was touching me, and I could only fall asleep if I wasn’t being touched by anything. But I would usually fall asleep incredibly fast and then she would creep her feet over to my legs, and her butt up against my hand. And now, that’s all I want.
It’s so so so SO comforting to just be next to someone else. I even settle for sleeping in the same house as other people. That’s why I stayed at my parents’ all this week. I finally got home late Thursday, got to my room, and saw Ethan’s empty bed, which instantly reminded me that she still won’t let me have him back, reminded me how much I missed him, reminded me that I really was all alone. So I dropped my duffle and just left. Walked around downtown all night. Went to sleep around 4. Goddamnit I want my son back.
I started piling pillows next to and on top of me before going to sleep. It helps. I totally changed my sleeping positions too. I bought a big, thick pillow and now sleep almost entirely on my side (which I’ve never done before), often wrapping my arms and legs around another pillow, pretending I’m not alone. But nothing beats sleeping next to someone else. I love it. Because the beast isn’t there if someone else is. Like there’s not enough room for all three of us in this bed so he stays in his cage, presumably not happy about it, but fuck him.
I’ve had sex with women just so I could snuggle with them afterwards. Actually, I’d say that’s the main reason I have sex. I mean, I’ve had fun, good ol horny sex (at least twice!) but 90% of the time I’m doing it because I just can’t cry myself to sleep again tonight. Because I just don’t want to be alone. And it’s AMAZING!! Oh my God, sleep just comes so EASILY. You can’t appreciate it until you’ve spent a year BEGGING your body to just let you fall asleep. And suddenly, it’s just. so. easy. There’s this beautiful, sweet person wrapped around you. Her skin is warm and soft and her smells great and she LIKES you. Even if just for a night, even if just for pretend, she LIKES you. For at least one night you are liked and you are loved and you don’t feel like a completely worthless piece of shit, so that quiet little moment in the dark is actually peaceful. It’s actually welcome. You can embrace it because it feels good tonight. You feel good. And while there’s a nagging little feeling that whispers it’s not going to last for long, that’s one that you can suppress, at least until after breakfast.
And then you fall asleep.
Now I’m gonna go tell a bunch of people I don’t know a bunch of jokes that I don’t really like, but I’ll be grateful for the excuse to pretend to be happy, grateful for the applause because it feels something like love. Then I’m gonna see my friends and try to convince them to stay up as late as possible. Then I’ll probably annoy somebody and ask if I can crash on their couch (which is great because the cushions snuggle up against you!). And then I’ll stay as busy as I can tomorrow and the next day and the next and the next until one day, I’m not as sad anymore. That’s the plan anyway.

This is a very long story about a t-shirt

11 months ago I had a weekend run in Nampa-Salem-Spokane. And I was excited because it was the perfect set up for a weekend getaway. We could all drive to Idaho together, leave Ethan with the grandparents, and Danielle and I could have some much-needed alone time. We would have nice hotel rooms each night, nice drives through beautiful Oregon and Washington each day, and just some time to talk about everything.

About an hour or two after we started the road trip I was so excited for, she told me she wanted a “trial separation.” She told me she already arranged to live in our friend’s basement for a while and she could move in right away. Needless to say, it was a weird weekend.

We finally made it to Salem and I had to perform that night and she watched the Revenant by herself. The next day we drove to Spokane. At a couple different points in the car ride, she was messaging guys on Tinder while riding shotgun next to me.

I did Billy Anderson’s Gateway show that night in Spokane and it was amazing. It was the very first time I had ever gotten high and I was excited because Danielle had wanted me to smoke with her for a while at that point, but I was always too scared to. It had been one of the many areas in which I felt we were growing alarmingly apart. She had felt so distant from me and it was really scaring me. I was excited to show her I could be cool, be on her level, and have a great time with her.

And we did! Oh my god, it was a great night. I had fun at the show, but afterwards was even better. I was just in such a great mood and so so so happy. Naive as I was, I didn’t fully attribute this to the weed. In my mind, we were just so happy TOGETHER. We watched Game of Thrones and laughed a lot and had hands down the greatest sex of my life. It was other worldly. I felt like I disappeared inside of her soul. I. Was. So. Happy. Again, naive as I was, I mistook breakup sex for makeup sex. I fell asleep with my arm around her thinking, “We did it. We fixed it. Look how happy we are. It can be like this all the time. We’re gonna get so much better.”

But the morning came and the first words she said to me were, “So I think I’m going to leave on Wednesday.” I. Was. Crushed. She was still leaving. After that? After all that? She still wants to go? Why does she still want to go? Wasn’t she happy last night? Why is she leaving? Why is she doing this? What’s wrong with me? Oh my God she’s going to leave me. Oh my God oh my God oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my

The next few hours were kinda blurry. It’s very possible I was still high from the night before but I was also in a daze, trying to accept what was happening. But the next thing I knew, we were in the car, driving back to Boise. We had about a 7 hour drive ahead of us that day, and I cried for probably 5 of them.

I can’t remember much of what happened or what I said or what she said. I do know she told me I was sad and needy, and I know didn’t really disprove that opinion when I literally begged her to please make love to me one more time on the way home. But somewhere in this heartbroken fugue state, we stopped at a gas station and while inside, I impulsively bought a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt for $20. I know I wasn’t myself because I would never spend that much money on a shirt, definitely not one from a gas station. But I think I knew it was the end, and some part of me just wanted some kind of souvenir, something to commemorate our last day together.

We eventually made it to my parents’ house in Boise and I spent another 36 hours crying and begging her not to leave. I promised everything and tried everything and bore my soul bare and she would hold me until I cried myself to sleep and I would wake up to find her chatting with guys on OK Cupid.

Wednesday morning came and she kept her promise to leave. She drove to Portland, where she had a date that night with a guy she matched with on Tinder while in the car with me a few days prior. I went to an open mic.

But I also put on that Seahawks t-shirt for the very first time. It fit perfectly. I wouldn’t take it off until 4 days later. It was a very rough time, and showers weren’t really in the cards for me that week. I would sit and stare blankly, I would lie in bed and cry, and I would anxiously pace my parents’ basement all night long while occasionally logging into Danielle’s OK Cupid account to see her conversations with random dudes so that I could have something to anxiously pace/scream about (“I’m actually getting divorced too lol”). But I did it all in that stupid Seahawks t-shirt.

I wore it all summer. It was instantly my favorite shirt. I even wrote a joke about it. I don’t know why I get attached to articles of clothing, but I do. And boy, did I get attached to this one. It honestly felt like a friend. Or maybe comfort blanket is a better/less creepy way to describe it. I would wear it when I was in a great mood and going out with friends. I would put it on when I was in a terribly sad mood and it would make me feel better. I would wear it when I had to see her and I was so scared that I would cry in front of her (again) and it would make me feel safe and confident. I’ve worn it so much in the last 11 months, that all the letters are already cracked and peeling off.

This is all on my mind because I had a show in northern Idaho this weekend, and since Danielle told me I couldn’t have Ethan at all this week, I didn’t see much reason in going back home. I decided to go stay with my parents for a little while so I wouldn’t be alone. So yesterday, after dropping another comic off at the Spokane airport, I ended up making that exact same drive to Boise that we made together 11 months ago.

It was an absolutely gorgeous drive. I wish I had gotten better pictures. At this point in the spring, all the mountains were still snow capped and all the valleys were a bright, vibrant green. Rivers were raging with snowmelt. Lakes were still frozen, but surrounded by yellow and purple wildflowers. And all of this was underneath an unbelievably bright blue sky dotted with perfect, snowy white clouds, and totally permeated by a surreal, bitter nostalgia.

I remember so much more than I thought I did. As I drove over lush, green hills, I could remember us driving through there. I could remember what we were listening to at certain points of the drive. Along the way, I remembered every spot where she asked to stop so she could get out and take pictures that I would never get to see while I stayed in the car and cried alone, taking my own mental snapshots of her. I could see her perfectly framed through the passenger window standing on the edge of a river near Lewiston, her camera to her eye and her back to me.

But it wasn’t that bad. Definitely melancholy, certainly surreal, but not utterly depressing. I actually enjoyed the drive, taking in the scenery and listening to the end of “It.” And when I saw that same gas station, I stopped and went inside again. I found their clothes rack and while it was now mostly hoodies and winter apparel, they had three Seahawks t-shirts still on the rack. So I bought another one. Because I fucking love that shirt.