Will my mind ever cease being an ever swirling pool of anniversaries and dates? I am like Rainman with dates and anniversaries. They bubble up in my memory and I just can’t help it.
Today is a perfect example. November 12th. The day before my son’s birthday. The day 24 years ago that my ex husband (he was a boyfriend then) moved across the country to move in with me in my little apartment I shared with my then 3 year old son. It was the beginning of the most important relationship of my life. The beginning of my marriage, then beginning of starting a family, having our daughter, the normal marital ups and downs and the ultimate demise in a steaming hot pile of shitty flames that is divorce.
I can finally say I can look back at that time and remember the good times. I can finally remember the times when we were happy and not be blinded by the white hot rage that has clouded my memory these past two years. I can look back and remember when times were good, when we were so much in love and supportive of one another. The times before the blinders began to be peeled off and the deception, the manipulation, the gaslighting began. Before the truth of his stealing, his lies, his emotional abuse began to be front and center.
I sat for a few moments this morning as I was journaling and asked myself if I could go back in time and had the opportunity to do it all again, would I? The short answer is yes, I would because I was gifted with my daughter and my son was provided a step father who wasn’t a steaming pile of crap in the beginning.
The long answer is that if I could go back, I would do a lot of things differently. I would stick up for myself more, I would stick up for my kids a LOT more and I would have called him on the carpet for more of his bullshit if I could go back. But that would change things drastically. Either we would have split up much earlier and he wouldn’t now be on the run from the consequences of his actions, or my demanding he be a decent human being would have resulted in positive change and we might still be together. I’m not sure I’d want that. I really, really love my life right now and I love my independence. I’m not sure I could stomach the idea of still being married to him even if he did pull his thieving, lying head out of his ass.
Ok….so there may still be some anger and resentment there. I can acknowledge that. But the emotion that is the strongest today on this anniversary of cohabitation with the ex is that I can look back on it without getting watery-mouthed and vomit inducing. I can look back on the early years of us and smile a little bit. I can remember the good times in the beginning, staying up all night painting the living room in our new home, weekend morning breakfast feasts and going on adventures in the park because we were too poor to go anywhere out of town. Having reverse dinners with the kids where we started with desert, or picnic’s on the livingroom rug because it was the only way to get our picky daughter to eat a decent meal. The way he cared for me when I had cancer. We cried together, we fought together and he told me he’d never seen me more beautiful than when I still had staples in my breasts and drains under my arms and he had to help me do everything, even just take a bath. He sat with me through chemo treatments and supported me when I began the breast cancer support group. He was my biggest cheerleader at times and I loved that part of him.
What I learned to hate came later when he couldn’t keep his hands out of the cookie jar and began taking things that didn’t belong to him. What I learned to hate was the liar he became and that he would try to make me feel crazy when I came close to catching him in a lie. That was the ultimate demise and death of our union. But I’ve hashed and rehashed that story to a bloody pulp in this blog so I shan’t do it again here.
It feels really good to be able to look back and finally not be filled with venom and pain. It feels good to be able to say I remember the young man I fell in love with and raised children with. Through good times and bad, I think if I had to do it again I would. Even through the pain, I’m glad I shared my life with him. He is part of my story and part of what makes me….well, me.
So I guess what I hope you take from this is even though something is hard and it hurts like a sonofabitch, you must grow from it. Every crappy, hurtful and challenging thing that happens to us is often meant to teach us something about ourselves or this world we live in. Hopefully we grow from it and become the next self we are meant to become. I think the worst thing we can do is become stagnant in pain. We all know those who have gone through something horrendous and have never been able to pull themselves out of it. It’s like they chewed up that piece of angry bubble gum until it was void of flavor and then stuck it in their hair so they could carry it with them always. That’s not growth. That’s emotional quicksand that will drag you down if you let it.
At some point we all have to get out those Big Girl Panties and pull those babies on even though its hard. Even though we don’t feel like wearing pants at all and we just want to stay in the fetal position and suck on a bottle of Pinot Grigio until the next season of Orange Is The New Black is launched and we can fall down the rabbit hole of someone elses pain and forget our own for a few hours. Put those BGP on, Girlfriend! Take a shower, wash that greasy hair and put some lipstick on. Get some food in your belly and for goodness sake, drink some water.
At the end of the day we have to remind ourselves of something I mentioned before….What the hell did we ever learn from the easy stuff?
Love you guys!