Greeting a friend, I told her about my week. It was a good week as far as my weeks go. Still unemployed and Kid3 had been tantruming and banging his head on walls to the point where he gave himself goose eggs, but it was a good week. I did the dangerous and scary and conquered a cliff. (Rewriting the Past in the Present) It was awesome!
The person near us asked about kid3, and I explained the separation is hard on him and sometimes more so than others.
She wanted to try her shoe on my foot. She wanted to compare her divorce to mine. I wish I could say that no one has gone through what I have, but my story really is a cliche. Most divorces just are not one size fits all. No one can make any of us feel better for what we do or what is done to us. No matter what, it will chafe and leave you raw in delicate places.
“I know people that stayed together for the sake of the kids. I didn’t. I decided the fighting was too much. Is that what you did?”
I wasn’t inclined to lie to her. There’s no point. I couldn’t make her feel better about her choices in telling her about mine, so it came out. It was a matter of fact statement that didn’t have the energy or desire to hide something I didn’t have a choice in.
I ripped off the bandaid and it didn’t bleed all over the place. It was a statement of fact much like telling her my birthstone is amethyst. It was like saying my favorite color is green. I was thrown away. It is a fact and nothing could or should be done about it. It is what we’ve made it and I’m choosing to accept that.
“No. My husband left me. He chose what we did and I didn’t have a say so. We didn’t decide together. He didn’t give me the choice.”
I used to feel like it takes two to get together and two to break apart, and for so long I refused to let him go. We didn’t fight and I thought we were happy. I didn’t know that I should have been looking for it so I didn’t see it coming.
The thought valve wouldn’t shut off and I remembered that he vowed to never give me another cent and he’s been good to his word as far as the courts will allow. He took me off of his medical insurance but won’t divorce me because then I could request alimony. Years and children and promises became monetary value and visitation and kids that won’t answer my call or his for that matter. I hinted at things in An Open Letter to the Man That Abandoned Me but most of the stuff he’s done and that I have done back came out when I was bleeding all over the place on social media or in conversations that always got back to him. I eventually got it under control enough that places where I was spilling my heart out wouldn’t stain his shoes.
Today’s thoughts washed over me in icy pain and the shock was real, but I remembered it’s low tide, and the bandage that was ripped off didn’t take that thick layer of skin with it. I wasn’t bleeding all over the place. I also wasn’t hiding his actions in my shame. I let go of that shame and I didn’t see it happen. It was wrapped around me and must have blown off in a warm wind during a moment of joyful laughter. I don’t want his shame back any more than I want him.
I didn’t have a choice last year, but last year has nothing to do with the choices I’m making today. There isn’t a record book that says I have to take the same path repeatedly. I can offer forgiveness and grace because those are choices, just like we choose to love. Just like I chose to let go. There’s sunshine outside of his shadows. There’s lightness and frivolity in me that I thought had died. There’s no waiting for him to move on with a new girlfriend, because that’s been done and I got through that as well.
Today the floodgates were opened and the torrent that would have washed me away took a handful of moments from me. There was no blood seeping out of me and left in the places all around me. No tears were shed and the anger flashed like fire and burned out in pale grey smoke, leaving the acrid smell of destruction, but nothing more. There are no singe marks and the lack of visible destruction shows me how I’ve grown.
There wasn’t a huge emotional fallout, although I did give in to a Mcdonald’s craving that is already coating my insides in greasy salt and too much sugar as I raced to finish a strawberry sundae before it melted and hot fries before they turned into cold disgust. That might just be an emotional fallout from the body that is in so much aching pain from that hike yesterday. I feel like it needs a great big thank you in replacing all of the calories burned.