“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel

Sometimes it just feels like I can’t get ahead. And yes, in a lot of ways I think I’m slowly becoming bitter. Bitter because my life has been nothing but one bad experience after another. Bitter because I’m tired of doing it all alone. Bitter because no matter what I do I can’t seem to get ahead. I just can’t seem to catch a break.

The financial struggles I face are always on my mind. I’ve been able to rise above all of the destruction my ex left behind, but it hasn’t been without a fair share of fighting on my behalf. When he left me, again, for the last time I was pregnant and alone…and he refused to pay a dime in child support. We were living in a small one bedroom apartment with no transportation, and since December 2012 I have been able to secure a huge 3 bedroom plus den, 1.5 bedroom house, and a vehicle. But, as I improved our life…I saw other changes set us back. Shortly after getting my car, my food stamps were cut from $470/m to $40/m for a family of three. I purchased the car for medical necessity in February. With Jakobe attending special needs pre-school, having multiple appointments, and my infant daughter starting to show signs of delay needing therapies herself I knew that my days of relying on public transit were over. It just wasn’t feasible anymore. Often times it would take 1.5hrs to get to an appointment and another 1.5hrs to get home. We were emotionally and physically exhausted every day, and I was struggling to hold everything together. However, purchasing the car was one of my best, yet worst decisions. I now have a required monthly payment of $220/m, sometimes more if there are 5 weeks in a month. Since the FSSA does not deem transportation as a necessary expense, even with a special needs child, they count that car payment as excess income and thus I should be able to pay for my own food. If I didn’t have a $220/m car payment and a $95/m car insurance payment then trust me I could. But…right now…I’m struggling. Sadly, even though I managed to get what I owe down to $3600 on my car…I still have another 16 months before it gets paid off.

I guess I should feel blessed. I remember a time when just $5 could send me over the edge to make me lose it all. Now, I’m sitting more financially secure, but still struggling. I’m not at risk of losing our housing. The car payment has been paid. The electric has been paid. I have a phone bill to pay and grocery shopping that needs done. I need a new (or at least used tire) for the car and gas. It could be a lot worse. I know that. Its still depressing though, and I guess what makes me bitter about it is the fact that my ex gets to live rent, electric, grocery, and etc free with his grandmother. Yes, he pays – or is supposed to pay – $110/w in child support. But the only real bills he has is his car payment, insurance, and gas. Am I supposed to feel sorry for him? Where is his money going? I mean, seriously? What is he going to say/do when arrearage is calculated and ordered? The judge may have ordered us to mediated it before she will rule on it in final hearing, but I am entitled to $10 extra per week per $1000 increment he is beyond. At my lawyers last calculation prior to the child support order he was a little over $2700 in arrears. That’s $20 extra per week, possibly $30 per week if we end up going in front of a judge after being unable to reach an agreement in mediation. While it may seem like chump change to those more well off, an extra $20 per week alone can do a lot for our family. That’s a box of diapers and a lot of wipes. That’s clothes for the kids and food in their bellies. The child support goes to the kids, because lord knows I rarely ever buy for myself and never with their money. The only exception is my phone bill…but honestly, if my kids didn’t have such specific needs I’d be okay without my phone. My phone is my constant contact with doctors and therapists. Its also my only way of keeping all the appointments and scheduling straight. I see it as a necessity expense for them…even if others don’t agree.

As for becoming bitter about doing everything alone…I’m not entirely sure if its really bitterness or if it is just exhaustion. I love my children. I really do. But I’m soooo tired of doing it alone. Worrying alone. Rushing kids to appointments alone. Making decisions alone. Just being alone in all of this. Why should I be? I didn’t lay down and make these children myself. If I did, I would be a millionaire…that’s for sure.  A medical marvel. But no, I didn’t. Instead, the other half of their genetic code gets to live and pretend like he doesn’t have a care in the world while I am left with the burden of it all. No, my kids aren’t a burden persay, but the stress of it all can be. And honestly, even if my ex was awarded non-supervised visits with the children starting tomorrow…I wouldn’t adhere. I would with Jakobe, but probably not Esmae. Not because I don’t want the break…but because despite my ex’s attempt to bond with his daughter there just isn’t any bond there. She wants nothing to do with him. He’s been in her life 4hrs per week since January, and she could really care less about him often refusing to be around him and cries endlessly until he leaves her alone. I believe it would be detrimental to her mental wellbeing. It just wouldn’t be right. About the only person I trust to take her overnight without worrying about major meltdowns is their grandma, and even then I feel bad for asking her to interupt her life to provide me a break.

Throughout all the feelings I’m having, and the depression I worry is settling in, I’m also concerned about little Esmae’s health. The viral infection that she was diagnosed with last week still has not went away and her rash has increased despite her medications. None of us are showing signs of any kind of infection or sickness, so I’m wondering about misdiagnosis and wondering if something is seriously wrong. She’s cranky. She’s leachy (to be expected if you’re not feeling well), and honestly…if there is no improvement by tomorrow I am going to call the doctor again for advisement. It cannot be good that she still shows signs of whatever is raging through her body. I have no reason to believe that its anything she’s eaten because he diet hasn’t changed. Nothing new has been entered into the home during the immediate proximity to the symptoms, except for our doggie, but she was here for well over a week prior to the symptoms occuring and Aluna is not the first dog Esmae has been exposed to. I just can only hope that it isn’t serious.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. – Jane Wagner

DSCF0497Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration and family fun. Key phrase here was “supposed to be”. As I promised the kids, we went downtown for the fireworks display. Jakobe didn’t really want to to, but honestly….my other two children miss out on so much because we live in prison to his autism. They needed this….so we went. We started out walking around a bit. It was packed, as expected. After that we ended up at the War Memorial. We found a nice cozy spot with few people around us. The kids had a blast. The boys were wrestling and playing and little Esmae was enamored with playing with the grass. It was all smiles. All fun. But it wouldn’t last. Our night went downhill quickly once we ended up leaving our cozy little spot to meet up with Jakobe and Esmae’s family.

DSCF0502It all started with Jakobe. He didn’t want to see his daddy. He wanted to see his grandma, but not his daddy. He kept saying no, no, no, no daddy. No daddy. But I forced him to go anyway. After all….if we were all in the same area why not spend the holiday as some sort of a family unit, right? We ended up on the 9th floor of a parking garage in perfect location to see the fireworks display from Regions tower. Sadly, though, Jakobe was in full fledge meltdown quickly after arriving. First there was the non-family member person of the group who told Jakobe he needed to stop crying because there was no reason to cry. Then apparently Jakobe’s meltdown started bothering a select family member. During the entire time we were up there she was coming up to Cheryl (grandma – because by this time Jakobe only wanted mamaw) telling her that we needed to do something. Take him for a walk. Leave. Etc. This broke my heart. Yes, my child was in meltdown. Yes, my child is autistic and special needs. Yes, he was hurting. Yes, he was bothering her. Maybe it made me a bad mother, but we decided to stay. Why? Because living with a child with autism sometimes means we are living in a prison. Our whole lives are consumed with having to adjust according to his needs.

DSCF0527Unless you live with a special needs child, you will never understand what it is like. The meltdown that they saw last night is typical. I deal with it every day, and normally I have no help in dealing with it. Last night I did because grandma stepped in…but at the same time I was reminded that we aren’t a “normal” family…and that people truly do take their “normal” little lives for granted. They don’t have to deal with what I do. They don’t have to deal with the constant worry about what is going to happen. They don’t have to worry about pissing off other families who can’t understand that we deserve to live. Malachi, Esmae, and I really don’t live. Not truly live. We needed last night. We needed some normalcy…and it was ruined. I was accused of “torturing” my child, and maybe I was…and maybe that makes me a bad mom. But if that is the case I was only a bad mom to Jakobe. I was, however, a wonderful mother to the two children that so many times go without for their brother. Malachi and Esmae got to enjoy fireworks…Esmae truly for the first time as she wasn’t even a month old last 4th. Her giggles and squeels were priceless.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

My life sometimes feels like my own version of “Days of Our Lives” only more bipolar and with more extreme plot twists.

No one can deny that I’ve had a rough life. I survived almost seven years of being sexually raped and sodomized. I survived having lost both parents before my 20th birthday, one to suicide one to medical malpractice. I survived several years of domestic abuse. I survived cancer. I survived homelessness. I survive every day that I battle the PTSD that has resulted from the life I was given. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING could have prepared me for today. And I do mean nothing. And nothing could have made me hate my mother more than I do now, and quite thankful that she is not around because if she was it wouldn’t be pretty.

It all started this afternoon. I was having a nice conversation with my Aunt Terri…one of the few family members that I talk to and truly adore. She had a call coming on on call waiting. It was the Vigo County Sheriffs Department. Vigo County is not only where I was born, but where the majority of my family resides. After some time had passed, I called her back being the nosey busy body that I am to find out what was going on. She is, after all, my window to being able to keep tabs on my family. We may not want to be in each others life for the most part, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care enough to make sure they are all well. Anywho, they were looking for my mother. Say what? My mother has been deceased since 1983 when she chose to kill herself on a lethal combination of pills out in California. No one never really knew why she did it other than being a mentally ill woman who had struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (for the record, I had to google that cause I had NO IDEA how to spell it properly). As far as I knew she had long since been lost and forgotten in a distant memory where she deserved to stay. She may have been mentally ill and not in her “right mind” but the stories I had heard over the years left me feeling as if she would never have been someone I wanted to know.

So, they contacted my aunt. Her name is Terri B. She happened to marry my Uncle Billy and taking his last name she ended up having the same name as my mother, Terry B. (Random knowledge: both my parents were named Terry. Mother: Terry Lee, Father: Terry Lynn…how odd is that?) The sheriff in Vigo County was working on a cold case (murder) from back in 1980 where my mother was listed as an alibi to the main suspect and apparently the sheriff is suspicious regarding the facts. They weren’t able to divulge much to my aunt, but I’m under the understanding that either A.) My mother lied for this “boyfriend” or B.) She helped participate in this murder. As if this initial shock wasn’t bad enough….my mother and father were married in 1980, and I was born in 1981.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know what my mother did or didn’t do, but I do know that her history speaks for itself. I would not be the first child born in a marriage in which the child did not belong to her husband. My half-brother is a perfect example of such situation. So, what am I supposed to think? The woman who gave me life had a history of spreading her legs like butter and had admitted to the authorities that she had a “bf” in 1980, and a husband. Is my daddy my father?

Now, don’t get me wrong. My dad will ALWAYS be my dad, and I will NEVER speak otherwise. He was the best dad he could be, and he loved me unconditionally until the day he was stolen from me. But, is he my biological father? I couldn’t help myself for venturing there. I called my Aunt Connie (fathers sister) I loathe calling her. She’s always full of negativity. I could have been this. I could have done that. I have so much wasted talent and I’d be so much prettier if I’d stop with all the tattoos, makeup, and hair dye. Blah, blah, blah. My first question to her: “did my dad have a DNA test done on me when I was a baby?” Her reaction startled me. Her first response wasnt a yes or a no. It was “Your dad will always be your dad.” and after a short time she added “But as far as I know, no.” Why would she respond like that at first? I explained to her what was going on, and the conversation quickly ended.

I called DDC to find out what it would take to find out since my father has passed away. I would need DNA swabs from both of his surviving blood sisters to recreate his genetics to compare to mine. When I called Aunt Connie back to ask her if her and Aunt Cathy would be willing to contribute I was made to feel like I was not only a horrendous human being, but also insane for not letting the past die. If my dad was or wasn’t my dad why would it matter? Because it MATTERS. At least, I think it does.

DDC is sending me a test kit for free in the event they agree and I want to pay the $324 fee it costs to have this type of test done. I still don’t know if I want to, but I like the idea of having the option should I decide its what I need. At the end of the day, I know who my daddy is/was regardless of whether or not I share his genetic code. Can I handle knowing the truth? What if I’m not his biological daughter and my real father is a murderer or some other unknown man out there? I have some serious soul searching to do about the situation.

After spending some time with the best friend to calm down, I had errands to do. I took Jakobe to Lenscrafters to repair/adjust his glasses, got my hair cut, and then went to Walmart to get some grocery shopping done. Let’s just say my day did not improve at Walmart. I should have known not to go on a food stamp day, but we needed necessities and some other stuff that we just couldn’t get if we went to a simple grocery store. They were packed. With only a few lines open and dozens of people shopping the lines were atrocious. By the time it was my turn to check out little Esmae had, had enough. She was screaming at the top of her lungs. All she wanted was to be held, and I understand that…but there’s not a lot I can do about that when I’m trying to check out. I turn my body away from her briefly to sign a check, and when I turn back around what do I see? A Walmart employee with her arms around my child.

EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?!?! Unless my child is falling out of the cart (she was fully strapped in) there is NO REASON for you to touch my child. None. Zip. Zilch. Period. End of discussion! I was beyond livid. She is fighting a viral infection right now. I don’t know where that employee has been. Even if you remove the fact that her immune system is compromised right now, who in their right mind thinks its a-ok to touch someone else’s child without permission? Isn’t it common sense in today’s age that its a big NO NO? I, of course, asked to speak to a manager. They send a CSM who then in turn paged the assistant store manager. You’d think he would do something, right? Nope. He acted like I was crazy, overreacting, and dismissed me. When the employee who touched my child started arguing with me? Did he do anything? Nope again. Still dismissive. About the ONLY thing that he said that explained anything was mentioning that he had no children so he couldn’t understand what it means to be a parent. Was I satisfied? Absolutely not. I called the wonderful 1-800-WALMART number to file a formal complaint and the person I spoke with agreed that I was NOT in the wrong and they were going to escalate the case to both the district and regional manager. Let’s see how that goes. I hope to hear something within the next few days. We’ll see.

So, here I am. Typing this entry…not knowing who will read it or even who will care. Watching Doctor Who and trying to keep my mind off of things. I think I’m probably going to delve into some art tonight. I haven’t touched my art much since I decided to stop marketing and promoting myself anymore. Mostly because I didn’t feel obligated and because I legit just needed a break…but now…I need my art more than ever. If only to clear my mind and find a little peace for a while.

 

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

When something is missing in your life, it usually turns out to be someone. – Robert Brault

I, for the most part, am the epitome of a single mom. No husband. No boyfriend. No real thoughts to change either in the immediate future. After all, how would I fit dating into an already hectic schedule? Not to mention a full time relationship? Relationships come with a lot of complications, obligations, and more often than not drama.

I do miss that “I miss you” text in the early morning while I’m sleeping…or a simple “thinking about you” from time to time. I miss feeling like I mean something to someone other than my kids, and having someone to share my life and/or responsibilities with. I miss the companionship as well as the physical and intellectual intimacy. But I’ve stayed single for 19 months now, out of choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of pursuers. Most of which annoyed the piss out of me more than anything else, and for the most part there seems to be an overwelming number of men out there that tend to believe that just because I have three kids I must spread my legs like butter. Yeah…uhmm…no. My children are the product of relationships that were long term, not from some random one night stand that brought me a “baby daddy”.

However, with all that said, I’m not going to sit here and say that I haven’t had ANYONE turn my head. There was one guy. Another “J”. Oh, what is with me and men whose name starts with “J”? I honestly believe that me and “J” would be good for each other. But, despite my little crush, and his apparent fondness of me (at one time at least), we aren’t an item. Nor do I see us becoming an item anytime soon if at all. Maybe its a lack of understanding or a break down of communication, but we can’t seem to ever be on the same page. Either he has been fighting “baby mama drama”, I’m dealing with “baby daddy drama”, or a long list of other obstacles such as money, distance, and/or just scheduling conflicts in general.

In a lot of ways, I just always felt like he didn’t think I was good enough for him…and this probably has a lot more to do with my own insecurities than it ever did truth, but that’s always how I felt. I can’t just up and drop everything due to my family obligations with Jakobe’s strict schedule of therapies and doctors appointments, but I always tried to make plans with him only for there to be a complete breakdown in the schedule. It kind of felt as though I always made the effort and it went unnoticed. Its okay, though, cause I know the “right” guy will eventually come along and break down my walls.

Several people have told me I need to get out there and get back into the dating scene, but quite honestly, I’m just not into it. I’ve had exactly ONE man peak my interest in 19 months. O-N-E. And, well…you see how far that has went, right?  Plus, I have to think of the kids. I DO NOT want men in and out of their life. I seen the devastation it can cause. When Jason left, my oldest was heartbroken. Not just seeing the damage that was caused to his mother, but because he, himself, was damaged.  Jason showed us true pain. Jason showed us true misery. Jason almost destroyed us all. Why would I give someone the chance to do it all over again? Just because there is a small chance it wont happen? Is that a risk I’m willing to take? Maybe, but only if it feels “right”.

Anyway, moving on…I had to rush Esmae to an emergency doctors visit today. She woke up entirely cranky and downright miserable. By mid-afternoon she had developed a low grade temp and a rash. The rash quickly spread, and by the time her visit with her grandma had ended I was running her to the doctor. The rash started in the feet and moved up to her thighs…then her stomach….and her arms. By the time I got her to the doctor It was on her neck and shoulders. She has a viral infection of unknown origin that produced viral exanthem and double ear infections. My poor lil miserable girl is now on tylenol for comfort, benadryl for helping alleviate symptoms of the rash, and amoxycillin (spelling?) for the infection. If her condition does not improve by Friday I have to take her back in.

At the pharmacy, my faith in humanity was restored. No, seriously. I’m broke. Like really broke. I think I have a total of four cents to my name right now since I’m not receiving child support and it isn’t pay day. The pharmacist informed me that Esmae’s insurance will not cover benadryl prior to the age of 4, and with me being broke I told her to re-shelve it because I just didn’t have the money. I knew she needed it, but I just didn’t have it. I sat there crying, waiting for her scripts, wishing so desperately that I could pay for her meds right then and there. She is rarely sick, but the one time she was I couldn’t help her. Someone stepped in and paid for her scripts for me. I lost it. I bawled my eyes out, and I had to have said thank you fifty times through those tears. But that’s not where the story ends. A complete stranger…someone I had NEVER met before grabbed my hand, placed money inside of it, told me not to argue and to go get the kids and me something to eat and enjoy ourselves. As I looked down into my hand there was a fifty dollar bill. They walked away before I could even say thank you, but I hope they realize how thankful I really am. Payday is tomorrow, thankfully…so we were only hurting in that very moment, but they made my kiddos very happy as I treated them both to what they love most…pizza. So, dear stranger…if you ever read this entry. Thank you so very much for your kindness, and I promise if I am ever in a position to pay it forward, however I can, I will.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. – Jennifer Yane

I’m either getting sick, or the amount of stress that I am under is attacking my body. I feel like death warmed over, and no amount of sleep or rest has helped, because Lord knows my oldest, Malachi, has tried desperately to allow me to get some rest.  He says I look like hell. Geez, thanks.

Anyway, I got a call yesterday about the results of Esmae’s first year bloodwork. The good news is she is not anemic. The bad news? She tested positive for lead poisoning. They’ve reported it to the Marion County Health Department, so now I have to have the house tested inside and out. I’m pretty sure that it is an outside issue, because when all the windows were replaced we had the inside walls tested not once, but twice. If they do end up testing positive for lead then the company who tested it prior has a lot of explaining to do. The outside of the house, however, has not been tested, nor has it been rennovated yet. Its on my landlords to-do list.

The house was built in 1910, so it well predates the ages of lead based paint being banned. While the inside has been completely rehabbed and restored, the outside still has old siding and some areas where the original wood siding and paint is exposed. Its also peeling. This applies to the house exterior as well as the porch, which is where Esmae spends a lot of her time while outside. That seems to be like the most likely culprit, but we won’t know until the house is thoroughly tested.

The best part about it is the fact that since I have not purchased the house yet (I haven’t even raised a dime of the downpayment needed), the responsibility of cleaning any lead based paint up does not fall on me. This is one of the many reasons why I am trying to raise the money for the downpayment instead of taking on a full mortgage. If I had went ahead and purchased the house using his terms and this had happened, I would not have the adequate financial ability to clean up the lead, and thus making the home safe for my little ones. If the outside is the culprit, that could be over a thousand dollars of rennovation and cleanup. I just don’t have that kind of cash paying a full mortgage. This makes me even firm my belief that I cannot, under any circumstances, purchase this house without raising the downpayment amount as this is one of the many “what if” scenarios that can happen during the life of a 7yr mortgage.

As for Esmae’s current health, she has little to no signs of lead poisoning, which I am thankful for, but she is going to be heavily monitored until the time comes she can pass two blood based lead tests. I have to present her every three months from here on out. I’m trying to reduce the time she spends outside, for now, since I believe that is the likely culprit, and I’m keeping an eye on her as well. Right now its just a waiting game to see what happens with the Health Department testing. I just hope they contact me as soon as possible.

Anyway, I didn’t receive child support, either. Now, Jason claims that it was finally taken from his check so he didn’t have to pay it directly to the court, but when I call the automated number to check on deposits none are listed. In the past, once they receive it I can at least find out the information about when it will be deposited within 24hrs and then they send it to my card 2 business days later. He received his paycheck Thursday night or Friday morning, so it should have been posted to a pending deposit as of today. Still…nothing. He claims he is going to bring me his check stub at his next supervised visitation to prove that it was paid, so if it was indeed paid it looks like I’m going to have to do some investigation work to find out where my child support is. Oh, the joys of dealing with the legal system.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog