I shouldn’t be writing this, sad and spent from an afternoon crying over things that are both fundamentally my fault and ultimately out of my control, waiting to board a plane that will take me back to the city I’ve called home for—officially—just shy of two years. I can trace the trajectory of every problem I’ve faced over the past 24 hours, and every path backward in time leads to the decision I made to make what I thought was a temporary move out of the home I shared with my younger son’s father.
Had I not made that move, I would not have lost so much. I would not, now, be embroiled in a struggle for the most basic of parental rights. I would not have been accused of abandoning one child (who has accepted that version of the narrative, to a painful extent) and neglecting another. I would not be suffering the heartbreak of never knowing whether saying goodbye to my children will be for the last time, and not because I no longer want to see them but because of factors over which I’ve long accepted my powerlessness. I know, now, why so many noncustodial fathers simply give up. Continuing to try? It’s horribly demoralizing.
And now it’s affecting my professional life. This turmoil that I try to keep in check and separate from my livelihood has permeated my psyche to the point at which I’ve been found out, so to speak. I’m a mess, a bitch, difficult to be around, impossible to negotiate with. I’ve got to get my act together, or else. I’m great at what I do. I’m just horrible at being a human being, apparently. At least lately. In some contexts. The ones that matter.
And I’m ashamed. I’ve let myself down. This is not who I want to be. It’s not who I am. I can’t continue to let this situation affect something I’ve worked so very hard to attain.
That being said, I’m boarding this plane completely fed up with myself. Tomorrow will be another day, and I’m going to wake up with the goal of fixing all of the things I’ve damaged. It won’t be easy. But I have to try, or else what’s the point of any of this?