Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Really Hope I Don't Stand Mr. Attorney Man Up For My Court Hearing

I might have to go to court on Tuesday.

I'm a pretty confident person and have yet to meet a person that I won't talk to. I'll march right up to anyone and introduce myself, never getting embarrassed (even when I should be) by my socially graceless ways. I've been told that when I am up on a stage that I "command the audience's attention" and yet when I go to court....yea that never really works out for me very well. I've actually spent quite a bit of time in my town's ugly courthouse lately for cases involving the abuse victims that I work with, yet when I walk into court for a case of my own, I become trauma.

**OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS a spider just come down from the vent in the ceiling and was hanging like 1.5 inches from my face. I just lost about 5 years off of my life and learned that I can leap over the back of a chair directly from the sitting position.***

When I walk into court for a case of my own I become exactly the person that my ex beat me into being. I can barely get my eyes to look up from the floor and when they do, they are usually brimming with tears. Every cell in my body is screaming at me to run and my self esteem seems to vanish with the sunlight as I step inside.

I become nothing. I feel nothing but shame, terror, and devastation. The courthouse is the tangible monument that encompasses my pain. It's the place where my marriage ended and it's the place where my ex legally threw my children away. It's the place that I admitted the abuse and the place where I defied my ex husband and sealed my fate on the impending rape. It's the place that has torn down emotional walls that I worked so hard to build up and the place where I've been forced to face the demons that I kept locked behind those walls.

It's a place that steals the person that I am and leaves only a statue of trauma standing where I once was.


It's the place where I check my personality at the door and become someone....vacant. Someone like the person that I used to be; nobody.

You guy's, I'm not happy. I'm not happy because when I first had Mr. Attorney Man file the petition for all the unpaid support that my ex owes me, it had taken me a while to even get to the point of being ok with doing that. It wasn't a decision that I made lightly, it was something that I struggled with for quite a while before deciding that it was in the best interest of my children.

Then when my ex found out that I was taking him to court he reached out to Mr. Attorney Man and offered a settlement of sorts. I was not ok with it at all. AT ALL. I know my ex, I knew that settling with him would be a mistake, but in light of some recent incidents and the fact that Mr. Attorney Man did a fabulous job of pointing out all of the reasons why it would be better to settle than go to court, I agreed to settle.

Now I just didn't agree right off the bat, oh no, I listened to everything Mr. Attorney Man had to say and then because I always think I know better was upset, I uttered the phrase "I really hate what you are saying and as much as I like you I kinda want to punch you in the face right now."

As always, Mr. Attorney Man told me what I'm sure he learned in ethics class that he would support whatever decision I made. I took a good week to try and talk myself into believing that settling was the best option; to convince myself that everything my gut was telling me was wrong. I tried to convince myself that I should listen to the very smart man that I pay to get legal advice from and I tried to convinced myself to be ok with something that I was really not ok with in the first place.

Now that I've had some time to think about it and time to absorb from a logical stand point all of the very valid points that the very smart man I pay has told me (and nearly a month of repeating those reasons to myself and an extra hard brain power push in the last week), I am fully convinced that going to court is a bad idea.

FULLY CONVINCED.

Which would be wonderful if we were still settling, but OH NO HA HA HA, my wonderful ex has once again fallen off the face of the earth meaning that instead of having this all nice, wrapped up, and signing on the dotted line, I may have to drag my ass into court on Tuesday after all.

Get dragged into court after I have become FULLY CONVINCED at what a terrible idea that would be.

I'm terrified. On top of that, I'm embarrassed and I feel really stupid because the case itself is not really a big deal.

How does court usually go for me? Well when I first get there I silently freak out, meaning that I just stand there like a zoned out idiot while my brain and my soul fight an internal battle that goes a little something like this; "Run. Run for your life, that guy beat you, raped you, hurt your baby, and you need to get away from him. No, don't go anywhere, you are safe. Get the hell out of here and do it now. People are looking at you. Say something. Are you saying anything? Are you breathing? Everyone is staring at you. Just turn around and get the hell out. Stop wasting time and get out. No, you are being completely ridiculous, this isn't danger. It feels like danger but it isn't, so just get it together because you look like an idiot. Nope, there is clearly a dangerous man inside of this building so just run. Are you still not moving? Say something. Say anything! Can you remember how to talk? My gosh you really are stupid. Just run!! No, stay."

Up until this point, I have managed to avoid actually running, but there is always that chance....

When I finally snap out of my trauma induced fog, I usually burst into tears which really helps the situation, because now I feel even dumber, am embarrassed, and Mr. Attorney Man is looking at me with an expression that seems to say "yea...I'm not really sure what all is going on with you right now...so....yea....."

After I finally pull myself together, the only thing I am left with is a stupid grin on my face that I can't get rid of. It's either tears and running, or the smirky grin. Mr. Attorney Man hates the grin. He is fairly stern with me in his instruction that I need to stop grinning.

But I can't.

Smiling is my default. It's the one thing my parents and my ex taught me that stuck; smile and don't let anyone know that you are not ok. Things aren't stable at home? Smile and tell the teacher you are fine. Husband beating you? Put a smile on your face and tell the neighbor's that you are ok.

When I'm at my lowest, when I'm trying to act like I'm ok, even when I'm not, I can't help but smile because smiling has been my only defense to the world for a really long time. Smiling has been the only dignity I've had to protect the world from knowing just how shattered my life really was.


I set out on this journey to allow all of you to see what it really takes to heal from abuse. Sometimes it rears it's ugly head in ways that other people don't understand, but as I always say, you can't understand trauma. The human brain is not equipped to make logical sense out of a situation that was never designed to exist, so what you get are a lot of illogical responses that are perfectly appropriate given the situational background.

What you don't get though are any clear answers on how to fix them.

I really hope that my ex decides to settle before Tuesday because I'm not really sure that I have it in me to keep falling apart and I'm currently feeling unconvinced that I can hold it together.

If I do have to go, I'm hoping that I can actually make it inside that monument of trauma without running away and standing Mr. Attorney Man up. I hope that I can convince myself show up even though I know that my ex will be waiting for me on the other side of the doors. I haven't come face to face with him since shortly before the rape.



Hopefully my past trauma's will at least allow me the dignity to retain my composure. Hopefully I can muddle through it enough to achieve the outcome that I desire.

Hopefully I can stop nervously grinning long enough to let Mr. Attorney Man do his job without me ruining it.

I don't want to go to court but if it comes down to it, I need to do this. I need to do this for all the reasons that I understand right now and all the reasons that I will probably come to understand later.

I haven't come this far to back down now.

I'm not ready to give up on me yet.






Photo credits: 
Courthouse
Statue
Smile

29 comments:

  1. If you have to go to court, you WILL make it. You will be okay. Me and everyone else who reads your blog and roots for you will be sending you positive vibes and excellent thoughts to keep you strong, because you are strong. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really appreciate everyone's support, you guys really have no idea how amazing it feels to know that you are all rooting for me. Thank you!!

      Delete
  2. I agree with Anonymous. You WILL do all those things, and you WILL make it through whatever happens. I can't imagine what a weight this is putting on you right now. I'll be with you in spirit, Friend. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aw Eden. I'm so invested in your story at this point I feel like I know you. I wish I could go with you tomorrow and offer my support.

    I LOVE your writing, thank you for allowing us to be on, as you call it, "this journey" with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks! I am so happy to have you all on this journey with me as well :)

      **hugs**

      Delete
  4. ((Hugs)) How did you finally decide that going to court was the wrong decision? Since this hearing is only about the child support that your ex owes, does it help to think that you will not have to recount any other instances of abuse when you're there. You will get past this like always girl, if there's one thing that we can count on about you it's that you spring back up from every trouble that comes your way :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Attorney Man made some very valid points about how crazy our county can be about parental reimbursment for medical bills that he owes me for the kids, how my ex didn't have a good job (he mostly drug deals so his reportable income is low), how the judge we have is known for making really dumb decisions, and he didn't want to put me through the stress of going to court. It took me a while to see his point but eventually I agreed with him

      I will update you guys soon :)

      Delete
  5. I know what you mean about the "smirky grin." It's the embarrassed grin. My face used to get so stiff and sore from smiling like this constantly. Then I decided it had to stop. Just remember that you don't have to smile. You don't owe anybody a smile (especially strangers). (Men don't smile most of the time and no one has a problem with that.) Smile only when you are truly happy or amused. Remember that people will not automatically dislike you if you don't smile at them (even if they do, it is best to remind yourself this). Whatever comes naturally to you is right, even if you have a weird sense of humor or most things in your life don't make you happy. Be completely yourself and no one will disrespect you. (((Hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's always a good point to remember. I think to many people teach their girls to suck it up and smile; bury your feelings because they don't matter.

      Thank you for your words of encouragment :)

      Delete
  6. I will be praying for you Eden. You can do it girl! We all know that you have what it takes to get it done and done right! Do not give up now. If you have to go to court just think about your wonderful children and how you are doing this for them. Do not think about anything else while you are there. You can fall apart at home if you find the need to do that. Just take a picture with you of the kids and don't allow yourself to think of anything else! You can do it! I believe in you Eden Strong. Remember your name. That is who you are now!
    Your Internet Wing Sister, Michele

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw you rock!!! I will update you guys SOON!!

      Delete
  7. Thank you for allowing us in Eden. I feel the same way when I have to go to court and just hearing that I'm not the only one dealing with these feelings. It's weird to see you write sometimes bc I see everything that I'm feeling, all my chaos, right there on the screen, and it makes complete sense when I see it from your perspective. Anyways I wish you infinite luck tomorrow and again, thank you for letting us all in. I find myself healing right along with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you have found some healing here :)

      Delete
  8. Good luck Eden!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. If you had to go today - good luck!! We are praying for you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well....someone went....details to come! Thank you SO much!!!!

      Delete
  10. I hope all went well today. You have been in my thoughts all day. ((Big hugs))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU!!! I needed those thoughts. It was a rough night and a strange day. I'll update you guys soon :)

      Delete
  11. Hope today went well, whatever happened. You are wonderful, strong, smart, and most of all, you are loved! Big big hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How was your hearing? Cases such as yours are really difficult to handle, with all of the personal issues that would have been exposed publicly. Following your lawyer's earlier suggestion of settling was a good call, as you could have avoided a day in court. But it wasn't meant to be, so I hoped everything went well for you. Good luck in your court case, and take care!

    Hubert Singleton @ RDF Attorney

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't believe I missed this post and am only reading it after Tuesday is over and done. I hope everything's okay. Did you end up going to court? I've been thinking about you lately and hoping everything is going well.

    Do you have a judge that tends to favor men? My mother had one of those when she was dealing with her abusive ex. The judge kept trying to convince her she didn't need a restraining order, made a few attempts at preventing her from getting a protection from abuse order, etc. He asked her in court, "If he hit you, why the fuck did you let him back into your house? Did you want to get hit again? Because that's the only reason I can think of that you'd let him back into your house."

    Ugh. There are some seriously asshole judges in this country. I hope yours isn't one of them.

    Ugh. The Smile. Yes, with a capital S. We're old pals, The Smile and I. I use it all the time - when I'm sad, angry, embarrassed, etc. Pretty much in all the situations I shouldn't be smiling in, I'm smiling. Or laughing. I laugh when I get nervous. It's easier for me to pretend everything's okay and happy than it is for me to allow others to actually see that everything is the exact opposite of okay and happy. So out comes The Smile and away go the not okay feelings.

    I don't remember how it really developed. It might have been my family's need to pretend everything is okay and lock away the negative feelings. Only show the good ones. I just don't ever remember NOT smiling during bad times. Like, when I was really, really little I remember being kind of afraid to cry at a funeral (I think I was 4 - a neighborhood kid I knew died after a long illness) and I understood at the funeral that she was dead and I'd ever see her again, and I wanted to cry, but I remember smiling because I was afraid of getting in trouble for smiling. I of course got in trouble for smiling at a funeral, but that's my family for you.

    So, after all that, I'd just like to say that I'm thinking about you and hope everything's okay over there in Eden Land.

    *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could edit comments here, haha. That second to last paragraph should have said that I remember smiling because I was afraid of getting in trouble for crying.

      Delete
    2. "The Smile." Haha! Very true, you can't get in trouble for smiling/ (Unless you are in court. Mr Attorney Man says you can definitely get in trouble for smiling in court).

      I'm posting an update now!!

      Oh and for the judge, he seems to favor...no one. The man just hates people he really does. He is mean, nasty, and he makes everyone cry. Like no exaggeration, he makes EVERYONE cry. Men, women, attorneys, all of them. He threw something at Mr. Attorney Man once. ((shakes head))

      Delete
    3. Well, you can get in trouble for smiling at a funeral and for smiling after getting into a (very minor!) fender bender with your best friend. Guess there's a few places where The Smile is not welcome.

      He threw something? That's unfortunate. Why would someone be a judge if he hates everyone? Makes no sense.

      Delete
    4. Haha! Yea, I could see that being an issue!

      I think he is a judge because he thinks he is better than everyone else, therefore he likes to judge people. He really is a miserable old man :(

      Delete