My husband is losing his job.
After 10 years of loyal employment, for a boss than can only be described as psychopathic, a meeting was held. And the basic message was this: "As of March 1, this company is no more. There shall be no severance or compensation. Best of luck in your job search. Oh, and I expect you to lie to our customers. Tell them everything is fine and dandy until February 25."
There is little in this world that can be described as stressful as a call from your spouse that tells you that their employment is ending. First you cry. Then once that is out of your system, you go into a fierce "Survival Mode". Every blessed penny suddenly seems precious and rare. From every superfluous item there hangs an invisible price tag and you mentally compose Craigslist ads. Nothing can be considered certain. So you hunker down.
And you seethe.
At least I do. My husband is choosing the professional high road. He knows that in spite of all the abuse he has suffered, he may need to use her contacts. He may need some form of communication. He knows that in the business world, bridges are made to stand the test of time.
But not me. I know that bridges are meant to be sturdy and safe. But should the time come that the bridge's safety is questioned, it is blocked off with big orange blockades and flashing lights. When it is no longer functional, it will be destroyed. As it should be. It's the same in our lives. When a relationship is no longer safe, but has proved to be toxic, the cord must be severed. Boss or family. Friend or lover. It's time to pass the torch and "Burn That Mother Down."
And yes, my husband will freely admit that his term at said company was exceptionally toxic. A case in point: It has been a difficult decade. Each year we were assured that 'things are going to get better'. As if to prove this to herself, she spent a good portion of her time on golf courses or vacations in her quarter million dollar luxury motorhome. Diamond jewelry and facelifts. In return, my family has learned to forgo vacations and activities. Hell. I can tell you the difference between bargain and name brand tomato sauces. At Big Lots. It's about 30 cents per can.
I can pinpoint the EXACT moment that I realized that my husband's boss was a toxic sludge of a human being. Bills were late. Collectors were calling. We were working hard to keep our heads above water, then this ugly pitbull-in-heels had the unnerving audacity to ask for a copy of our family budget, so she could 'help' us cut corners. She was convinced that our family of 5 just didn't know how to budget to live within modest means.
My gloves came off. I wrote a scathing run down of our budget. A budget that I had trimmed so many corners from, that I often joked that it was round. I pointed out that our family had no activities planned. Unless it was free, my family did not go. Our sons don't have the luxury of an allowance. The bulk of our food came from bargain stores. And in a move that I knew would gross out her high-maintenance ass, I commented that even my shoes and bras came from the thrift store. (She never replied, but neither did she ever offer to 'help us budget' again.)
And now I am here. I am just two steps away from the end of this bridge, and Terra Firma is within reach. I look back and realize that the bridge to which we crossed, and that had started out hale and strong, is in fact decrepit. Somewhere, in subtle placements, holes had begun to form. Its very foundation crumbling. And I have to agree that it is a far safer option to step off that bridge and into unknown land, than it is to continue to cling to it.
I no longer wish to step foot on it again. So, it makes no sense to me to try to maintain it. In fact, the idea of pasting on a false smile and shaking her hand is as repugnant as kissing a viper. While my husband can, and rightly so do, the professional thing and maintain this broken bridge, I am whipping out my matches and I am gonna light it up.
Burn, baby, burn.
Therapy through art.
Through my many years of treatment for severe depression, I discovered that art was a wonderful means of emotional expression. In fact, my husband calls these my "therapy dolls".
These is a caricature of my husband's soon-to-be-ex boss. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. She went out and got facelifts. When she returned to the office, puffy and bruised. no one was allowed to look or comment. Myself, I have always believed that multiple cosmetic procedures are a very plain way of saying "I am not comfortable in my own skin". And of course... outside "correction" will never fix the flaws that lay inside.
(At the time of this publishing, my husband has found a new job. So it is time to start across that shiny, new bridge!)