Over the last few months I had been part of a few Facebook groups and Christian ministries. One of the many lessons and gifts they gave me is PIES. I have PIES days and they make me happy. It’s when I focus on myself, and the acronym is about the ways in which we care for ourselves.
I was standing for my marriage. I was a firm believer that what God had joined together, no man, including my husband and myself could put asunder. I was praying for a reconciliation and trying to be a submissive wife, even though he stopped being my husband. I still believe who I am and how I choose to behave has nothing to do with anyone but me. I was willing to forgive anything he did. If he could do it, I could forgive it. I can still forgive him. Forgiveness is a gift to myself. Taking him back is no longer something I’m interested in, because it’s something I would have done for him, not me. He doesn’t want that and I’m learning to accept that I expected too much for him and it’s time to fully appreciate that even his very best will never be at a level I deserve, and I don’t need to compensate for his deficits when I can be alone and do exceedingly well for myself. I’m starting to see whatever path I’m on as a path where God is leading me, and taking care of me, because with all of the scary bits and uncertainty, I have been okay. I’m certain I will be okay.
P is for something physical. It could be a work out but usually it’s more like getting a pedicure or my eyebrows waxed. This weekend might include a hair cut. These are things that would usually happen once a year before and now I have a regular lady I look for at the nail salon. Her license names her Thuy but I call her Anna. That is her choice.
I is for something Intellectual. It’s about learning or growing mentally. I have never had a problem with that because I’ve always loved learning and reading.
E is about doing something to make you emotionally happy. I’ve found ways to boost my emotions but it’s usually entwined with something intellectual. This was facing my credit report without guilt or shame and taking on the responsibility of contacting companies to make payment arrangements and clear my name. The fruit of that came in January when my 1989 Ford Contour quit and my usual plan B’s were all unable to support my needs. I went to a dealership with a smile and a prayer and drove away in my 2016 Toyota Camry. Realistically it’s a lease with an option to buy and a horrible deal, but I like it for what it is and already plan to trade it in next year. It felt amazing to put my CSULA Alumni license frame on it. My plates came on my birthday and that was my gift to me. The day my husband moved out of our home, I pulled out the bathroom sink and vanity and I replaced it myself. He moved on a Friday and I couldn’t use it until Saturday because of all of the leaks, but figuring it out made me happy. I also swap out my own outlets but needed to call in reinforcements because a 1920’s bungalow with knob and tubing electrical ghosts had new wiring which is old wiring and I couldn’t see all of the piggy back connections. When in doubt, hire help. The times in the past where I had to remove the toilet to flip it and flush out stuck toys and puzzle pieces used to make me so angry because I didn’t want to have to do it myself but I couldn’t wait for my husband to get off of work. Now I know I’ll have to get it done and it feels good that I can. Changing my exterior light bulbs and facing my fear of heights while on the phone with my sister felt amazing. I get an emotional boost in slapping on a new coat of paint and putting up shelves where I’ve always wanted them. I swapped bedrooms with the kids and mounted two televisions one night and that made me happy. I will soon pick colors and paint my bedroom and I’ll have paint under my nails and in my hair and probably in my favorite clothes because I’m not a planner and I probably won’t bother to change clothes first.
S is about doing something spiritual. I pray. I read my bible. I listen to worship songs, but the last few days it’s been Megan Trainor and Taylor Swift. They say a lot of what I need to hear right now.
The butterflies go back to this theme of crushing the chrysalis. Butterflies have also been my happy place . . . seeing butterflies in the unexpected places. It’s getting a skirt from a family member that was thinking of me and it was covered in butterflies. It’s seeing one land on a flower in my yard and watching it lift up into the air with a graceful shift and fall of beautiful wings on warm winds from the Santa Ana and kissed by freesia and honeysuckle. There are times when I’m home alone and my skin is exposed and tracing the lines of my butterfly tattoo brings me peace and for a while I can just enjoy how great it feels to be me, and in my skin and in the moment when I get to define who I am and nothing else is capable of defining me. For my birthday my mom gave me a silver and natural stone ring from Thailand and pointed out the hearts. They are actually butterflies. The ring is huge and not typical of the daintier rings I prefer but I love it.
It’s been nearly two weeks since I took off my wedding band. It’s the longest I’ve had it in a jewelry box in over 15 years. Even when my belly filled with life and my fingers were too swollen to wear a ring, I kept it close to my heart on a necklace. I can still see the faint line of memory my finger holds. When I’m lost in thought, the sensitive pad of my thumb traces the faint callus where even years of that skin to ring connection couldn’t ease the friction of such a foreign symbol of unity. We’re no longer united and it seems silly to keep it on. For the first time taking the ring off wasn’t about my husband but about giving myself permission to be gentle to myself and remove the guilt in allowing another person to make me smile. It was placed on my hand with ceremonial significance and the weight of the decision to never look outside of each other, but came off alone on a quiet Sunday with our kids in a different room from me and now sits in my jewelry box. It’s been through births and deaths. It’s seen our love and our fiercest arguments, but now it sits alone, dented and deformed as my finger slowly heals from it’s wear.