Years ago, a friend of mine named Greg--whom I respect a great deal theologically, he is a very dedicated Catholic--had to sit down and write a letter explaining why he thought his first marriage (with no children) failed. He said it took him months, and it was for his annulment within the church.
I am nearly at the two year mark of leaving my ex-husband. I am divorced, and since I am not Catholic, I do not have to seek an annulment. I just have to be.
But being can be hard when the losses are profound. I read a quote today that really stopped me in my tracks, and was exactly what I needed to hear.
Forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you. Sometimes a good heart doesn't see the bad.
Pinterest, if you're wondering. No credit; I wish there were.
And that's the thing. My man and I were talking today, about how we were never right where some of our loved ones were concerned. One of each of our parents made us feel like utter failures all the time. And so did our spouses. His directly in a critical way--his career, his hobbies and his habits--none of which bother me. Mine, indirectly.
In the very beginning of the marriage--which by all accounts was extremely happy--I remember thinking to myself--he feels more like a parent than a partner. As the years wore on, he talked to me more and more like a parent. What did I contribute to this process? It is hard to live with a spouse who has both ADHD and microsleep. (The microsleeping is no longer a problem, and thus so the ADHD abets as well). I was over-emotional. I could never keep a job. I was a self-perpetuating hurricane on a lot of the situations I was involved in, particularly work. I just couldn't keep it together, and I had no idea the humility and insight I lacked into how the world worked.
So I'm sure that got old. I also have a highly dysfunctional family, although it is down to just my mother. This is a devout Christian who constantly tells me how I am doing things wrong. I need a lesson on how to flush the toilet, I need to be told how to park the car in the yard, I am constantly at the mercy of schedule changes--additional errands--when we are out, and no matter how much I beg for her to please not do that to me, it never changes. When I have spoke up about it in the past, I've been screamed at--literally--about how selfish I am.
I called to tell her I was going to pick up a lawnmower that she had offered to buy me. She insisted on coming. Then she wanted me to go with her to sign the papers to her new house. Then lunch. Then another errand. And when the third one came around and I said, "I really need to get home," she refused to give me the lawnmower and screamed--screamed, literally--at me because I was being selfish. Because I didn't want to go to the utility company. Yesterday, I got told how evil I am that I always want to be "rescued" and put down those who love me poisoning other's minds against her and others.
This from the woman who interred my father and sent me pictures afterwards.
I thought it was life, you know, to have to pick up repeatedly and start over. I had no understanding--until I was well, just about a year ago--what a solid career meant. I graduated with a writing degree about four years ago in an age where you could write for online content mills and make--at least for me--enough money to keep going on. I had a nice freelance job there for a while working for a pair of strange Scientology sisters. (One was super-Vulcan but nice, and one was super-crazy and uptight). When that ended, we made a move to Virginia, where I found out a few things: I didn't love him anymore, I didn't have access to any money, and I hadn't enough to stay in Virginia on my own.
There was a time when I dumpster dived food early in our marriage, and was happy to do so. I dumpster dived a lot of stuff, I really got into it. The question is, should I have had to? I didn't understand what it meant to have my own career, and I grew up with an underemployed father. Daddy never would have accepted the things I had to do to make it in my marriage. On my 41st birthday, I realized to my horror that I had to go buy groceries and hope the money was in our account. It was typical.
I don't need to expound on what else occurred. I just know that hopefully, my son and I are moving on soon to a new life with a wonderful person who will never let us fall grovel for what we need nor will he ever extend my hand to my mother and take whatever I can get.
My son and I live in a rural setting, and we loathe it. We live in a very nice double wide (truly, it is) that was let to us by a friend of my mother's, but we've had nothing but crazy neighbors to our left and rear, children that my son eventually could not play with because of their high dysfunction. It is hard to endure; he stays in his room and plays Minecraft a lot, with the only true advantage is he does know some really nice kids on there and his dad plays, too. Since his dad is 984 miles away, this is a good thing.
Talk was essential in my last marriage, and there was a lot of it, especially on my part. There was a lot of dreaming of travel, which involved either history or science or both, particularly "Wouldn't It Be Nice If We Could Go To The Smithsonian." Air and Space, etc.
The other day my son and I were visiting our forthcoming town--my old hometown--where we are going to be living quite soon, at least 15 miles closer to a decent grocery store than we are now. No more running to the Dollar General for every little thing and having to plot and scheme just to get into town. Karate comes back--I get karate back, even if it's just once a week. I do squats in preparation, and have started to stretch and do push-ups again. I ask God for guidance and say, "Just get me in my gi, Lord." We were sitting in a parking lot as I was disoriented as to how to get to the magnet school which we were applying to. He was on the phone with his dad, asking for some cash later that afternoon in order to take a trip through Toys R Us on the way back home. He said that they were going on vacation on July 12th and that my mother was probably coming with them.
We got into the magnet school. My son said it was one of the best days of his life--no more little Redneck school where he was ostracized.
Am I alone in feeling dismayed that there they go--my ex-husband and my entire family--my two children and my mother on the trip that was supposed to belong to us and not just them? I'm whining and complaining in this post, and I probably shouldn't publish it. It's too dark around the edges, it's still more of the same, really.
If my mother goes, my daughter will have an escape hatch for her anxiety. Her dad made her feel--like me--completely helpless in his mistakes, and being with my mom will mean she has options. Being around him makes her crazy, but most things stress her out greatly because of the stress she had to endure in our leaving and in--quite honestly--a mother who fell apart afterwards. She's also got a seven year gap between her and her brother and they won't be interested in doing the same things. She lives with my mother because she no longer could be civil to her brother, for whatever reasons--probably because she had to step in as a parent in so many circumstances while I was waiting tables or doing whatever I could to make ends meet.
But part of me feels like my heart's been pulled underwater. I will be with my future husband by this time, we will be forming a step family, and it will be immensely better for us financially and emotionally. But come July, I hope that whatever grace God provides to the broken hearted coats me protectively.
Who knew, really, what would become of the baby in the basket when it was let downstream? The Nile lead past many a temple, many a person, many a priest. Would that baby land among the kind? There was no way to know, was there?
And we are in a basket of linen and rush, pitched, and in the hands of God. And sometimes we just have to go with it, to lay there and float.