I’ve been struggling to write. I haven’t been especially inspired. Really it all began with the shutting down of Single in the Southwest.
That was my choice – yes it was, in many ways – but to be totally honest, I hated ending that blog. It still exists, it’s just that I don’t write there any more and no one has access to it unless I allow it.
My Ex, T-dub, hated Single. Vehemently.
And I sort of can’t blame him, yet I repeatedly explained the math to him – stop giving me so much to write about and I will quit publicly raking you over the coals. I thought it was simple, yet apparently he didn’t see it that way.
In a moment of, I’m not sure what, frustration? indignation? I got so sick of him and his oh poor me I am such a victim of her writing act that I decided to rid the world of Single in the Southwest.
I understand why I did it and in the moment it seemed like the right thing to do – for the children.
Not that I believe the children were being hurt by anything I had to say – they didn’t even care about the blog – but T said that he would cooperate and be respectful if the blog was gone so poof! gone.
And I called his bluff. He “spoke” to me one time after that – ONE TIME.
And that was via text and just enough to inform me that no, he would not be paying his portion of the kids medical bills.
That was a year ago.
I didn’t lie about him calling me a whore. I didn’t lie about him dying his chest hair. I didn’t make it up when he threatened me in public – in front of the kids and their entire football team – screaming that I had failed my children.
I also didn’t only write about him. There was a series on vibrators, quite a bit about parenting teenagers, and the one about work that almost cost me my job. And yet, he thought it was all about him.
So yes, there was a good chance that I could have kept on typing away but I grew tired of the fight.
I also had a lot of fear. What if a Judge saw me as a bad parent because I wrote the things that I wrote? What if we stood in a courtroom and the Judge agreed that I was harming the children with my words? What if the judge called me a whore?
Then, the moment preceding the moment where I threw my hands up in the air yelling “I give up,” T was in the middle of insisting that of course, the blog could stay, but that he would be able to determine if anything that I wrote was suitable or acceptable.
In other words he believed that he should have final editorial approval before I hit “Publish.”
Fuck that noise.
So, Blog – Gone.
Writer’s block – here for the long haul.
One of my greatest sadnesses when I look back over the years is realizing just how much of my life has been run by fear – primarily fear of him.
I have this deep anxiety-producing paranoia of getting in trouble which most likely started when, surprise surprise, I was a young kid and didn’t want to get in trouble.
Unfortunately I lived my marriage in a way that created the same dynamic. And then it showed up in a few other areas of my world, like work, and suddenly it became crippling.
I’d like to say that it became the litmus test for all decisions that I made, but the truth is, it didn’t.
I’m still independent and feisty enough to not let anyone else tell me what I can and cannot do.
I just suffered the consequences afterwards. In other words, I got in trouble.
So with my kids’ well-being at stake, I cowered in the face of fear and shut my trouble making mouth.
And in the process, shut myself right down.
But things are shifting for me. Or I actually need them to shift and so here is a step that will hopefully take me in that direction.
Over the last couple of years and the last few court hearings, I have come out on top – way on top. I have seen that the court system may be really flawed, but if you get a wise judge who is also a parent, sometimes things work out the way that they should; the way that is actually best for the children and…fair.
With the freedom of a few wins and watching a judge put him in his place and validate that I am a good mother, I am able to shed some of my fears.
So today, I am taking a monumental step. I am coming out of hiding.
Have I thought this through?
Probably not thoroughly enough, but I tend to be impulsive anyway.
I’m sick of the fear. I am sick of hiding. Sick to death of handing my power over to him. And living in secrecy has been doing just that.
So, today, I will link HDD to my own Facebook page.
And right here, right now I will say:
I , Suzanne Strazza, am High Desert Darlin, the artist formerly known as Single in the Southwest.
And I am a writer, a mother, a lover.
I am exercising my First Amendment rights.
And I am free.