“So, it looks like you’re sad,” he said. “Is everything alright?”
H- hesitated and began, “Everything’s mostly alright.”
“Now I know something is wrong. Want to talk about it? Can I guess?”
The girl just about began again, then stopped. Her eyes said she would rather he guess.
Her father continued, “Well, obviously it’s the holidays and we’re not together. So that’s sad.”
“Yeah, and then you brought up the time when we were at Miss M’s house for Thanksgiving.”
“I didn’t know that you didn’t like being there for Thanksgiving.”
“It’s not that. It’s that we were together,” she clarified.
He began again. “And then I suspect seeing me having fun at work makes you sad.”
“Well, H-, I don’t know what to say.”
A longer pause.
“So we’re just going to read! Like always,” he faux exclaimed.
She chuckled, pathetically.
“What we’re actually going to do is repress our feelings,” he said smiling.
Now as they were FaceTiming, he really amped up the physicality of his mockery and explained with accompanying motions, “We’re going to push our feelings way down deep. And we’re going to try and hold them there as long as we can. Then, one day, unexpectedly, they’re just going to burst out!”
She laughed at his large unexpected expressions of surprise.
He cloaked the next line in mystery, “We won’t know when; we won’t know in what way-”
“-like a Jack-in-the-Box!” she interrupted.
Yes, H- had done it again. She had the gift—even if she had the blues.
I had an epiphany this week. Long story short, my ex-wife of 7 years is holding H- hostage. I haven’t seen my daughter in almost a year.
This all started when I called to say I got a new job in a different state, a much, much better job. Instead of saying something normal like, “Congratulations,” she said, “You’re abandoning your child! I get 100% custody!” (Keep in mind, I wasn’t and she doesn’t. Custody is not even a word in Family Court in our state.)
Naturally, the big picture is a classic “he says, she says” situation. And naturally, she has an attorney who makes her feel incapable of child abuse. But, make no mistake, she’s actively committing child abuse—for what else can kidnapping be called?
Anyhow, the point of this post (did I mention it’s over 7 years after the divorce?) is to highlight the epiphany I had. And this is it.
My ex is still in love with me.
Crazy, right? I know. But it’s true.
Why else would a woman create a parenting plan which requires communication between us in order to coordinate my parenting time? As in, she could have said, “Father picks up daughter on July 16th between 7:00am and 7:01am and returns daughter on July 23rd between 7:00 and 7:01am and if Father doesn’t make these windows, then he forfeits that time or the following time.” But no. She develops a plan which requires that I coordinate every trip with her. In other words, I don’t see my daughter unless I talk to my ex.
If I wanted to talk to my ex, I would’ve said, “I want to talk to you,” not, “No matter how much it costs, no matter if I lose my daughter’s childhood, I never, ever want to talk to you again,” which is the thematic equivalent to, “I want a divorce.”
At first I thought this requirement of the parenting plan was about control. That’s an easy to make mistake, right?
But now I see she’s still in love. It’s sickening, really. She can’t let go after 7 years? And this after having obtained an attorney within 30 minutes of me saying, “I want a divorce”?
Believe me when I say that I am quite a catch. But no means no.
No means no.
And no means no especially now that you’ve revealed the level of commitment you’d stoop to just to get me back inside you. You’re pimping your own daughter. You’re an abomination.
No means no.
Jewishworldreview.com is a news site I started perusing for headlines years ago when Thomas Sowell still wrote. It’s nothing great, but the format is simple, the site loads quickly, and the viewpoints can be provocative. Last week, there was a piece by Larry Elder on the Ahmaud Arbery murder case. The editor of the site called Elder’s article “Gutsy”. This is because Elder writes that the single greatest threat to young black men is young black men. (He wrote this in response to King Lebron’s tweet.)
That’s not a gutsy move at all. I mean I guess if Elder loses something because folks find out that he is not “progressive” or “woke” then it was gutsy. But on the whole, it was more of the same. Boring.
I can do better. And I’ve been on the road all day yesterday and today and need a break, so I will take a moment and prove it.
Firstly, LeBron surely is not to be discarded because of figurative language. He felt hurt and expressed the pain. I do this all the time. Who would I be to hint that LeBron shouldn’t tweet away? (To be clear, my ex is a whore though. The two most dangerous things I’ve ever done are solo flight in an airplane only 20 hours into learning how to fly and sleeping with my ex. Let’s put it this way: If evil was an STD, the pandemic started at her home. However, if stupid was an STD, it must pass from mother to child during pregnancy, because I clearly was infected before meeting my ex.)
More importantly, however, it’s not gutsy to write something, which is perhaps a painful truth, to someone who cannot read. The Black Community cannot read. We all know this. Mr. Elder knows this. And yet Mr. Elder went off in written language, adding a statistical defense, and we’re to congratulate him for being brave? His target audience can’t read! Drop the stats and give a speech at a Baptist church on the topic and I’ll give him props. But until then, or until I hear that he does that regularly, I’m withholding my applause.
I know this because I went to a Baptist church, was married in a Baptist church, and tried to make Baptist friends for over three years. Most of my readers are friends. Want to know how many of those recently befriended Blacks read my blog? Zero. That’s why I’m not afraid to write this. They will never read it.
But whites? We read voraciously at times. We read to the point of stupidity. For example, I just found out that my ex’s dad reads this blog. I had no idea. I knew my ex-sister-in-law did, but I never would’ve guessed my ex father-in-law was a fan. It’s been nearly eight years since the end of the marriage and he still reads it! It’s stupid. Why torture himself? Because he’s white.
To be clear, you are stupid for continuing to read my blog. Just like I am stupid for believing “mother believes that parenting time is appropriate and necessary to maintain (and develop) father/daughter relationship” when I read that. Just like Blacks are stupid for not taking advantage of the chance to change their social status by simply learning how to read English. Oh well. We’re all stupid.
But I’ll tell you something. I’m never going to stop writing and I am never going to limit the topics or content. That’d be missing the point entirely. And H- deserves a fighting chance at learning the truth of why her childhood was the way it was, learning how your daughter is trading a few short years for eternal darkness, which is where she’ll be before Hell, after my daughter figures out there’s a written record.
More than that, you need to just stop reading. You’re stupid for continuing to read. This is the first and last post with you in mind. Why do this to yourself? Block the emails. Or unsubscribe.
Actually, who are we fooling? We know it’s not even you. You’d like to get on with your day, but the matriarch calls you in when it’s a juicy post. Fine. Just like how us two stupid guys were able to de-escalate things earlier, I don’t blame you. You’re not directing this madness. Tell her to stop reading. Just like she had to be told to stop bathing a nine year old. It’s disgusting.
If you’re a divorced dad who finds that he is daily castrated–I’m talking balls cut off soon after waking, but then after a day and night of adjusting to a new life of crippling pain, you find that they regrew during the night, the cycle itself having the effect of soon making the dawn of day seem like encroaching outer darkness–and if you’re looking to end it all–yes, the “s” word (shh! suicide shh!)–the place for you is most definitely “dad’s rights” attorney websites.
Those websites can be found most easily by asking the internet questions like, “Should I call the police if my ex-wife doesn’t give me my daughter for court ordered my parenting time?”
The content on those websites includes, summarily, the fact you’re in a shitty spot. That you’re not the first to be in a shitty spot. That you’re not alone. And, of course, that you have to pay the money every month no matter if you ever want to see your daughter again (and stay outta jail). Oh, and lastly, you should call the attorney whose site you’re viewing and pay him money.
Sometimes the sites even contain scenarios to match against your current drama which may help you to more easily choose a course of action.
Additionally, the sites will paint the picture that plenty of men absolutely lose their minds. (One dad did “self surveillance” on his ex’s house and after the mom went to work, he saw the boyfriend fall asleep, and then the dad snuck in (how he kept his watermelon-sized balls from waking the village, we’ll never know!) and got his daughter–whom he then kept for 4 years! Nuts and bolts! Nuts and bolts! His-Ex-Got-Screwed! ((I wonder if she felt it?)))
It did not clarify whether the boyfriend ever found that ham wallet again.
Lucky for me, I am not plenty of men. Lucky for you, I know how to capture reality in words far better than just about everyone else. And if you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously not a man who’s going to go through with the aforementioned shamefully dirty deed. So I beseech you, stick with me a little longer and you’ll feel better.
The thing that the attorney sites get wrong is that they don’t ever evidence that they actually are aware of the feeling a daily-castrated man experiences. They try. They clearly have talked to a lot of these men. But they just, for whatever reason, don’t seem to get it. (Probably because they’re motivation lies in cash, not righteousness.)
Here’s my tale.
I don’t compromise. To repeat, I believe in war. I believe in there being a point on the life continuum where talk is over, where blood must be spilled in order to problem solve. The major instruction I received throughout my childhood informed this belief. And the first part of my adulthood executed this belief.
This belief does not lead to successful co-parenting. To be clear, I haven’t ever even tried to apply it because it’s so beyond obviously disastrous to the end goal–being 50% of the my daughter’s life being with me.
But the belief does something worse. The belief creates a world where you only see that every single step walks you further away from your daughter. I mean that beyond the steps in front of you that you can easily admit would take you further away despite your intentions, an uncompromising personality begins to see that every step takes you away.
Ask a question. Increase the distance by one step. Don’t ask a question. Increase the distance by one step.
State an assertion. Take a step away. Don’t state an assertion. Take a step away.
Tell the truth. Take a step away. Lie. Take a step away.
Pay money. Take a step away. Don’t pay money. Take a step away.
Get in the car. Step away. Don’t get in the car. Step away.
Go to work. Step away. Quit. Step away.
Eat any food you ever once made with your daughter. Step away. Avoid all food reminders. Step away.
Help a different child. Step away. Don’t ever help another child. Step away.
Bless your enemy. Step away. Curse your enemy. Step away.
Pray for those who persecute you. Step away. Be like the Gentiles. Step away.
Get married. Step away. Stay single. Step away.
Seek advice. Step away. Don’t seek advice. Step away.
Pay your attorney. Step away. Pay her attorney. Step away.
Pay a mediator. Step away. Don’t pay a mediator. Step away.
Go to court. Step away. Don’t go to court. Step away.
Do you see the effect of belief in war? It is not that you suffocate; it’s crippling. You get to the point where it feels like stillness is the only option.
“If I just sit still, if I just lie here,” you tell yourself, “then maybe the newest mutation of COVID-19 will enter through her mom’s eyes…”
But being still is definitely not stepping towards the child.
So what do you do?
It’s not complicated.
I do stupid things, from continuing a first date after hearing, “I smoke weed every day,” to marrying a drug addicted whore, to impregnating said whore, to divorcing said whore, to paying thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to said whore, because I refuse to live a life without control.
“It’s just a first date.”
“I’m not breaking up with you because of deploying, and I’m not leaving a listless whore behind so she can get lonely and cheat.”
“We’re married. Why not do the kid thing?”
“I am NEVER going to allow circumstances to develop which may lead to this feeling again.”
“No judge. No court. No third person is ever going to tell me that I owe a whore money. I don’t care if that costs me more money than otherwise. I would not be able to live with myself if it was within a universe where someone can tell me to give her money. She has to ask. Like the whore she is. That universe, dark as it is, makes sense to me. Now you know, so leave me alone.”
As I write this I cannot deny that the word “depression” is all over it. It’s embalmed in the stupid decisions, it’s buried in the stupid reasons. It’s born by the stupid title.
(It feels good to add that confession. Smart.)
I’m not depressed. I’m not. I love life. I’m a freakin’ professional pilot. I get to fly with the eagles for pay. In fact, just the other day I breezed past two bald eagles on different occasions while up at about 1000ft. Can you imagine being an eagle and just climbing up and up and up? I can. And I can imagine it more accurately than you because I know what the eagles never think about. For all its apparent freedom, the sky is a pretty restricted, rule-ridden realm of the planet–if you’re human. But if you’re the eagle? He just soars. And I got to see him do it, looking right and looking down.
They were each surreal moments and are now treasured memories.
I’m not depressed. But I am angry. I am angry at the LORD. I am angry that, in all his infinite wisdom, he has put this woman in my life. For what? Or, KJV style, wherefore? Why?
To be determined, I guess.
I have never met anyone else like her. I’ve met blacks. I’ve met Mexicans. I’ve worked alongside ex-cons. Studied alongside killers. Worshiped with immigrants. Pimped prostitutes. Laughed with liars. But I’ve never met anyone else like her.
I guess I should be happy she’s only one entity. It could have been worse.
Still, I wish I had never met her. She is a black hole of malicious nothingness wrapped in a wrecking ball. I cannot even begin to imagine what her parents think of her. And to hear our daughter speak of her brings sadness every time. Sadness, because she lies to our daughter.
She lies to our daughter. She lies to our daughter. Oh yes, she lies to our daughter.
The reckoning is coming. I cannot wait.
She lies to our daughter. Oh boy, she lies to our daughter.
Does she not know I taught our daughter to read? Not just to sound out the words, but to actually read.
No, I’m not depressed. I’m excited.
She lies to our daughter. The reckoning is on its way.
I have faced the reckoning. Probably five of them by now. Hers is on its way.
Who lies to a child? Maybe before literacy among the three of us doubled, it would’ve worked. But our daughter knows how to read. I made sure of that.
Right or wrong, I do stupid things to stay in control. But teaching her to read was not stupid.
She had plugged the laptop directly into the wall outlet. I couldn’t believe it. One year has passed, but it still sticks out in my memory.
Before the babysitter left, I tucked H- in for the night. After paying her and saying, “Thanks again!” I showed her the door and she exited. There was always a peculiar tension to our interactions, likely due to the fact that she was young and happily married and I was divorced and didn’t buy it.
But she had plugged. The laptop. Directly. Into. The wall. Who does this?
Moments like these confirm that I am not meant for marriage.
Did she not know how much a laptop costs? Or how much of me she placed at risk?
Quickly, I double check that, sure enough, the surge protector is on the ground, visible, and within reach of the wall outlet–right where I left it.
But come closer now. There is something else. I want to tell you something that I already feel guilty for sharing. There is a part of a lover that I miss dearly. I don’t hear much discussion of it among the ranks of men, but I find it to be enchantingly erotic.
It is the feel of the tender, meaty flesh of the inside of your upper arms. You only offer it as you lie naked beneath me, having willingly allowed me to push your arms over your head in worship.
Now there is only longing. Longing for my thumb to again devotedly caress the skin that spans from the bones of your wrists to the muscles of your arms as I finally and firmly enclose this part of you in my palm.
Vulnerability, your scent intoxicates!
And what of this confession?
H- answered, “Officer Judy is from Zootopia.”
“Zootopia, eh? When were you watching that?”
“So you wake up early enough to watch movies before school when you’re at your mom’s?” I asked.
“I wake up when my alarm goes off.”
“What time does your alarm go off?”
“I go down stairs and eat breakfast and then I change clothes.”
“You change clothes downstairs? Why downstairs?”
“Well, my mom throws down my clothes, and then I put them on and watch tv until it’s time to go.”
“I see. Where is your mom while you are watching tv?”
“She’s upstairs with C-.”
“Oh,” I said, cutting myself off quickly. Unable to resist the pull to follow inquiry further, I rejoined with, “What is she doing with him?”
“I think they play with each other.”
“Hmm. What do you mean? Like play games? Maybe play video games?”
“No,” she held the note, “not video games.”
“I don’t think I understand, H-. What are they playing?”
“I don’t know,” she said.
As if Truth’s gateway, the rear-view mirror reflected that her searching eyes did not notice mine.
Finding no satisfaction, H- concluded, “More like wrestling, I think. I don’t have the word.”
But who can explain longing to my child?
The teardrop tries but fails,
For it carries many.
The silenced voice is unheard,
The pounding heart, muffled.
The knotted gut is unseen,
The lumped throat, concealed.
But who can explain longing to my child?
I could explain longing to my child,
But for it is not when I am with her.
In an ideal world managing a strip club is unlikely to occur along the path to Glory–the key word being “ideal”.
Here’s something I wrote late December 2014 (certainly just a coincidence–I turned 34 last July): “33 is a big year for me. Laughing, I told George the other day that only after having finished this book did I remember that I predicted back in church camp years ago that 33 was when I’d start my calling. Ha. Everyone else always acted like it was in/around college that they would begin their calling. Well, at 18 I said that I felt mine would begin at 33 because that’s how old Jesus was (give or take) when they killed him. Immature, misguided, morbid, delusional, but true [I said it] nonetheless. And you can bet I never imagined my calling would be a book centered on divorce. Suffice it to say, I can’t wait to hit 34 and laugh at my prophetic abilities. Either way, I’m certain that no matter what it is going to be a helluva lot of fun.”
That was about two months before my first day (on the job) at the club.
Five-ish months later I was sweating whether or not I’d get my application to a master’s program at a seminary in on time. (New passenger? Welcome aboard. Now read this.)
When I visited campus they had a movable-type board with my first and last name on it welcoming me. Imagine me staring in disbelief at the board. It had my name and the name of the woman who I went to church with (after skipping for a decade) and whose pastor introduced me to N.T. Wright’s New Testament and the People of God books back in 2013–the reading of which subsequently led me to return to church Dec. 2014. Naturally, the name on the board wasn’t representative of my friend, it was just that there is more than one woman with that first and last name and apparently one of the other ones was visiting campus that day. Coincidence–that one’s easy.
Hoping to move onto campus asap, and with my current lease running out in October, I discovered there was no room at the inn. At least until December, but even then it would be iffy. May for sure, they said. Setback.
Then in late September as I was trying to make arrangements with my apartment office, I stopped into the campus housing office and they actually had a family moving out mid-semester due to finding a ministry position that wanted him before the semester was up. My lease was up in October and so I moved onto campus in October. Ehhh. That one could go either way, coincidence/calling. Let’s stick with coincidence.
December 11th rolls around; it’s the last day of class. I completed four of five finals on that day alone. And I was alive. Full time work and 15 hours of masters courses passed. My folks were scheduled to visit us over Christmas and then I’d catch up on some Greek before the spring semester started.
December 14th I’m fired from the club. Despite having been promoted to manager in record time and receiving a healthy raise only a month earlier, “Poor performance” and “making employees and entertainers alike uncomfortable” the reasons given. Uncomfortable? God doesn’t exist, right? Masters in theology shouldn’t be any different than a masters in literature. Whatever.
H- and I were therefore able to visit my folks and siblings etc. and when we returned I headed to a pizza place to inquire about a job as a delivery dude. When I was applying (my first time in the store) I saw a familiar face in the back and soon discovered he’s familiar because he’s the vendor that also delivered to the club. His high praise added to the moment and I got the job. I’m sure his being there was a coincidence.
So this semester I’m paying the bills, and have plenty of time to dedicate to my studies, which may or may not be my calling.
For those rusty on theological terms, when Christians use the word apologetics, they intend to communicate its root sense which is “to defend”, not in our common sense of admitting fault. Be that as it may, my question to any readers with time and energy is, “What is a Christian?”
In other words, (and I asked this in class just now) “What does conversion look like? How can I measure whether I have defended Christianity? What am I selling? What are people rejecting or ignoring?”