It’s really unfortunate that Girl Scout cookie season is over and I’m out of Thin Mints. Yesterday I received word that my ex-husband is planning to take me to court AGAIN, just one month after our last custody hearing. This time he wants to modify custody for our daughter, presumably in order to lower child support.
I wish I believed that Prince actually wanted more time with Franny. But until this weekend, he could never be bothered to take her for a full weekend, despite my open offer to take her every other Friday night. I imagine his lawyer advised him that he didn’t have a good case for increasing his timeshare — and lowering child support — if he continued to refuse some of the time he’d been offered.
He’s only asking for a 12.5% increase in time — from 62.5% to 50/50 — and part of me is tempted to give it to him. The courts really favor fathers’ rights now, and I’ve heard from women whose deadbeat exes were given an equal split when they went to court to get it, despite years of dodgy involvement.
But I know he will interpret settling as a sign of weakness, which will then spur him on to take more, and more, and more. Ragingly narcissistic exes don’t respect you if you don’t fight back. Litigation is the only language they understand, and financial implications are the only thing that scares them. As rich as Prince is, he loathes spending money, and since his parents are footing the bill for his gold-plated life, they’re not going to be keen on funding a protracted court battle.
I would like to think that the judge will not look kindly upon Prince’s new petition, since it comes so soon after the last hearing. I would like to think she would ask him WHY he wants to reverse the order when he agreed to keep it status quo just one month before. I would REALLY like to think she will not be pleased to learn that he has already been late with child support, and that he gave Luca a typed letter detailing how I would be able to keep him in a grand lifestyle with the modest sum I’m being given.
Given, that is, when he can locate his checkbook. Apparently it didn’t make its way into his suitcase when he went on vacation last week.
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My heart skipped only a few beats when I read the e-mail that Prince was filing a motion to modify custody. There was absolutely no point in freaking out, because I need all the level-headedness I can get. What I’ve learned from eleven years of being a narcissist’s target is to focus on what I can control. So I e-mailed ten friends and told them to save the date for my birthday dinner next month. I can think of no better way to ignore Prince than to be surrounded by friends, and a few stiff drinks.
After I fired off the e-mail to my friends, I read the online news about American photojournalist James Wright Foley, who was beheaded by Islamic militants. I cannot fathom the horror of being marched to a death that gruesome. I cannot fathom the horror of his family members as they learn about their son’s final moments.
I can’t fathom being a black male in Ferguson, Missouri, waking each day to the reality that the people who are supposed to protect you are much more likely to gun you down. I can’t fathom being a black person in this country, carrying around the thought every minute of every day, that justice is something that only happens to white folks.
Especially rich white folks. Which brings me back to Prince.
* * *
At 52, this man is still supported by his parents and his wealthy wife. He jets around, and plays golf, and throws dinner parties, and watches sporting events in boxed seats. And in his spare time he finds new and more dastardly ways to torture his ex-wife — and his children.
After a decade of watching Prince revel in his hedonism and his machiavellianism, I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he feels NO obligation to do something meaningful with the stupefying amount of opportunities and resources he’s been given. That he has NO interest in using his privilege to help bring up others less fortunate, but actually gets off on grinding them down.
The worst part isn’t that he thinks he’s entitled to act like a spoiled brat the rest of his life. Or that his family and wife collude with his nonsense. The worst part is that there are no consequences for him, and people like him, EVER.
On days like today, I don’t know how to metabolize this level of injustice, that the wrong people get rewarded, and innocent people get their lives cut short. Reading and writing has saved me from going off the deep end the past ten years, and it helps when I can’t seem to make any decent meaning out of life.
I came across an interview Bill Moyers did with Maya Angelou, about courage and facing evil. She talked about refusing to speak for five years after her rape when she was a child, and how she used that silent half-decade to read everything she could get her hands on. It was this experience that taught her how to think and ultimately, to triumph.
“Out of this evil, which was a dire kind of evil, because rape on the body of a young person more often than not introduces cynicism, and there is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic, because it means the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing. In my case I was saved in that muteness… And I was able to draw from human thought, human disappointments and triumphs, enough to triumph myself.” – Maya Angelou
* * *
My hellish divorce is not the worst thing that’s ever happened. Not by a long shot. I can keep a roof over my kids’ heads, food in the refrigerator, and cell phone service turned on. In a month I’ll be celebrating my birthday with friends who have had my back — some for over 30 years.
And in the meantime, one lovely Facebook friend is sending homemade Thin Mints.