Come And Tell Me Why Yer Leavin’ Me

The first time I set foot in our little house, I got teary.  Granted, I wasn’t very emotionally stable at the time.  I had decided to leave my husband.   I had been living at my mom’s for a couple months.  I had to get my kids settled, and the weight of the transition was heavy on me.  The realtor unlocked the maroon door and we stepped into the open living room/dining room area.  I took one look at the wood stove, glanced at the dark red walls in the kitchen, and I knew it would be our home.

I always wanted a wood stove at Mark’s house.  I’m always cold, and I wear layers, even in summer.  We deal with a lot of winter, and a wood stove provides a comfort that you don’t get from an electric blanket or forced air heat, or a narcissistic husband.  Besides, I love the ritualistic aspects of burning wood.  There’s the physical labor of finding and cutting and hauling and stacking the wood.  And there’s the continual feeding of the fire.  Will and I even cleaned our chimney this year.  I don’t care that it’s messy.  I love the smell as much as the warmth.  It’s basic to survival.  It connects me to the process of life.

Mark doesn’t like burning with wood because it’s messy, smelly, and hard to control.


It was our first winter here, and I jumped up to put another log in the wood stove.  Without realizing I was doing it, I started singing a song from my college days.

“So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
Go out to the car and lift it up and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you’re leaving me.”

A few hundred years ago, I had an old 8-Track of Waylon and Willie.  I’m sure I almost wore the thing out.  That song always made me laugh.   All these years later, that song has become part of my fire feeding ritual.  About the third or fourth time I belted the tune, Jenny said, “Well, duh!  Why do ya think she’d leave ya?  He’s not too bright, is he, mom?”

Now, even when Will feeds the fire, he channels Waylon.

I lived with a man as clueless as the old cowboy in that song.  More than that, I intimately know the desperation of the woman who is packing her bags.

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  1. I’m speechless… or typeless, is that a word? I know, I know. Why do I stay? I am terrified. I typed more, then deleted the rest of what I wrote. Terrified. Period. There is more in my past that I am understanding as to why I am in this state of mind. Part of me, myself, who I am is long gone and what is left, is a sorry mess. On the outside, I look fine, but on the inside of my head, I don’t know anymore. I do know that I get so much out of this website, and dear, dear Jesse, I thank God that our paths crossed. Not sure what I would have done without you. Thank you dear friend.

  2. Annie,

    It seems I’ve been taking a lot of leaps lately. And every time, a net has been there. You’ll know when the time is right. The net is waiting…


  3. Annie….the part that you think is long gone, isn’t. It is in hiding under a shell of protectiveness, hiding your precious self.

    It will be there when you are ready.

    My recommendation…find a trusted counselor or therapist or minister to talk to on a regular basis (at least once a week initially).

    Another option is to find an ACOA meeting in your town. ACOA stands for Adult Children of Alcoholics and other Dysfunctional Families, and as the name states, its not just about alcohol. I have found them to be very helpful, especially when I just need to vent.

    It’s VERY hard to change your life without some safe guidance at some point, because we don’t know how to trust ourselves to discover the way we need to go. It all seems like a big, knotted ball of yarn.

    We will be here to cheer you on!

  4. Dear Annie, Jesse, and Donna and all others too. I just wrote a comment but I lost all the words. Not sure where they went. I am very new at using a computer. When I was with him, I never had the self confidence to even try. I left my husband April 5, 2009. My own personal Independence Day. I thought that it would be easy and that I would never look back. But it has been very difficult. Has it been worth it? YES YES YES ( I think ) I had to get permission to even spend a dollar—and he had 2 Corvettes, including a brand new one that cost 65000 dollars. I was not permitted to even touch the blinds in the house, because I might mess them up. I had to follow the rules. Thank you for all the help from you my friends

  5. Phyllis,

    I love how you think of April 5, 2009 as your Independence Day. It made me think of one of my favorite songs — Independence Day by Martina McBride. All the lyrics may not apply to your situation, but you gotta love the spirit and the message.

    p.s. Phyllis, click on the words “Independence Day”. :)

  6. One of my faults (or is it a gift) is that I stew about things before I speak up. I have learned that it’s never too late to assert myself. Having said that I want to let you know that your blog is definitely helping people, Jesse. Your suggestion to “do something creative” is good advice for anybody recovering from ANYTHING, whether it’s an addiction, a narcissistic relationship, or a bad day at the office. Creativity helps us express our emotions in healthy ways. I was looking for that blog entry, but couldn’t find it. Anyway, here is what I have to say:

    I’m recovering from my own set of circumstances, family dysfunction in a nutshell. The results have made me passive (with occasional passive/aggressive tendencies) and an extremely poor communicator. In other words, I’m an introvert. I’m the “lost child” in the dysfunctional family model.

    I would submit this advice to the rest of you. TAKE MORE RISKS.! IN YOUR CREATIVITY: Paint your living room sea foam green or eggplant purple (instead of off-white). Maybe just one wall if you go with the eggplant…
    IN SOCIAL INTERACTIONS (if you’re an introvert like me):
    Ask the guy mixing the paint which color of green he, or she, likes. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile and see if they want to meet and have coffee with you. Take a class, like one of those offered by the home improvement stores— “How to lay tile” or “How to force tulip bulbs”. If you can afford it, take a quilting class or anything that will teach you something new and get you out and about among people.

    Maybe there’s another category for RISK TAKING that is more appropriate for your situation, but find ways to stretch your boundaries. This will help you build confidence to make the bigger changes like going back to college (YIKES) or leaving an unhealthy relationship.

    And remember as you embark on your journey of self-love and self-acceptance that all the stuff you’ve been through has made you who you are. Embrace it. Accept it. Or Change it. But do not look at others and say “I want to be more like her.” Look at yourself (a month ago or a year ago) and say, “Wow, I’m really making progress.”

    Keep up the good work, Jesse.

  7. Peg,

    Your comment is wonderful. A dear friend once told me to compare myself to me. Measure my progress based on where I came from, and not by another person’s standards. Thanks for chiming in. It’s great to hear from you.

    p.s. I think it’s a real talent to think before you speak. I’ve been trying to do that my whole life! :)

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