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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Jun182014

The New Normal

I was barreling down I-99 at 75 miles per hour when it occurred to me that I felt really tired. Inordinately tired. Crazy tired. It was eight-thirty in the morning and I'd just slept eight full hours in preparation for my second day at my new full-time job in State College, Pennsylvania, the city I'm getting ready to move to at the end of this week. The city in which I will live as a newly single mother.

I've spent the past week helping Serge move to his new house which is roughly twenty minutes from mine. It's strange seeing my things in his home. Technically they aren't my things, they're our things and now they're his things. I'm glad they're his things now, it's just strange that they're no longer mine as well.

The big kitchen island isn't mine to clean, the pillows on the couch not mine to position, the black and white canvas that hung in our old living room isn't mine to hang, the country quilt not mine to smooth into some semblance of bed made-ness.

The kids really dig his house, it's a big, old, roomy place a few paces from Main Street where a lot of action goes down. So that's good. Every time I'm there it seems like a herd of children, including Violet and Henry, are roaming around; playing freeze tag, running through sprinklers, happy faces sticky with popsicle.

Yawning my way down I-99 life abruptly dissolved into slow-motion. Turning the steering wheel seemed to take Herculean strength. I stopped to pump gas and it felt like an underwater ballet; turning from car to pump and back again.

What is wrong with me, I thought. How can I be this tired after a full night of sleep? And then it hit me. I had woken up with a splitting headache, stumbled into the bathroom and dry-swallowed an Aleve. As I was putting the pills back in the cabinet I noted they were just 200mg so I shook two more from the plastic container and swallowed those with the hope of obliterating my headache before arriving at work.

Now, as my limbs began to refuse to comply with my brain in a timely fashion it occurred to me that I had purchased that Aleve during the height of Panic Attack City during those first bleak child-free nights after separating from Serge - only having my babies half the time is, by far, the hardest part of the separation - and I had made that Aleve purchase so I could get a few hours of sleep. Aleve PM. Sleeping pills. I had just ingested triple the amount I had been taking at bedtime at eight in the morning on my way in for my second day of work.

Son of a bitch.

By the time I rolled in to the parking lot I was fighting that debilitating heaviness that washes over the body after taking an assload of sleeping pills. Well, shit, I thought. I'm just gonna have to go with this. It's either one of the most horrifying things to have happen on one's second day back in the working world, or the funniest.

I chose funniest. And holy shit, can you imagine meeting eleventy-five new people/learning a new workplace computer scene/attending a news meeting while laboring under the weight of three sleeping pills? So yeah. That was yesterday. Quite the introduction to the whole working world after nearly four years of freelancing from home. However, if I can retain info in that state, tomorrow's going to be a piece of cake, right?

I'm still writing for Babble, same as I always was, and here too... I just couldn't resist the lure of this particular position which is in the social media department. Social media, I thought. Like Facebook and Twitter? Well hell, I do that for free all day long, may as well get paid for it. And who can resist the holy trinity that is medical/dental/vision?

So life is slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy after the explosion of separating from Serge. Debris continues to rain down but it no longer forces me to my knees in pain, it's manageable debris that flutters around, occasionally singeing my skin and then it's gone.

Reader Comments (8)

Thinking of you all and hoping for lots of happiness!! Holy crap I don't know how you did it yesterday, too funny!! Best wishes at your new job and new place.

June 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

while not to the extent you must be experiencing, there is a dose of surrealism in following such a drastic change in your journey... i hope that, somehow, you are getting a share of the energy stored in my thoughts for/about you...
www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZBrZwormAQ

June 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

Can't. Believe. You. made it through the day. I'm much wimpier, I would have slithered my way out of my car into my boss's office and confessed the whole thing with fake tears in my eyes. Way to go Warrior!

June 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBonnieLee

THAT needs to be a scene in the bio pic movie of your life! Don't forget to demand the director include it no matter what!

All the best, Monica -- you know we're all out here rooting for you.

June 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCathlene

I'd love to hear a little more about what you'll be doing in your new job if you are free to tell us! Congrats! It sounds like a great fit for you.

June 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSue

Long time reader and occasional commenter...so glad to hear you are doing so well. That is so funny...I would have never made it...would have been asleep on my desk! Sending you nothing but the best vibes as you start this new chapter of family life...I always say family is what you make of it. My parents were divorced, I am not, but it all works. My entire family gets along (wasn't always the case) and works it out...we love each other. You are a warrior Mom, can't wait to hear about you and your families adventures.

June 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Oh god, this is my worst nightmare! I pretty much sleepwalk through work as it is! : 0

June 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMTHS

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