Moving On

I don’t generally swear.

Much.

But this has to be shared:

mtfonA friend posted this on Facebook. Although our situations are different, the message applies the same.

Move. On.

Just move on. It will be okay.

I promise.

I am not saying that you should not learn from the past. I’m not saying you shouldn’t grieve for your losses. I’m not saying it makes any sense. It never will.

What I am saying is that there comes a time when it is perfectly acceptable to look at the mess that someone else created and realize there is nothing there for you. There is nothing you could have done differently. There is nothing you can do to justify what happened. There are no explanations. It’s just there. It’s just reality now.

And, when you move on…it’s the best feeling in the world. Doors open that you didn’t even realize were closed. People show up that you didn’t even know cared. Life happens. It’s different, it’s scary to do, it’s daunting and sometimes a little painful…but it is a million times better than pining  and wondering and beating yourself up. It’s a million times better than focusing on someone who doesn’t deserve to be focused on. It’s a million times better for you.

Now, there is a time for massive support. The very beginning is horrifying. You don’t know if you are coming or going. I found a support group of people going through the same thing. I found comfort there. But, I started to notice that I was feeling better and every time I went back, I felt worse because I was focusing on what happened…not what was coming up in my life. I was talking about the past and not the future.

WHY?

I can’t change that. I can only change what is still going to happen.

So I left the group. I took control and gave myself permission to move on.

And, I left my old life in the past. (I know it had already left me a long time ago…but I was still holding on…so I let it go.)

And you know what happened?

I’m breathing on my own. Every. Day.

And you know who is not?

Yep, you guessed it.

My ex. (Anyone notice this? It is the first time I am referring to him as my “ex” in print. Can I get a high five?)

My guess is that it will continue to spiral down for him as I continue to grow stronger.

Do you know why?

Because guilt will do that to a person. It is heavy and weighs you down. And I have nothing to feel guilty about.

So, this is my new life. I am in charge. I even painted my nails. And, I wouldn’t go back now even if I could.

me&kids

Who saw that coming?

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How Do I Make You Remember Me?

I’ve been so convinced for so long that if I could just get him to remember who I am, he’d snap out of it. Talking myself into the fact that everything that was broken could be mended.

And the kids would have a dad again.

And I would have my beautiful life back.

And she would not exist in our world.

And I would wake up with the starlight back in my eyes.

Pretty fantasy. Inconceivable goals. Not going to happen.

No, not because he won’t remember me.

But because I finally understand. I don’t need him to remember me.

I need to remember me.

The sadness is still heavy, but I’m shouldering it…and truly getting ready to lay my burden down. I’ve been chipping away at the shackles holding my wings and I can feel them starting to beat in the wind again. I am breaking the concrete that has encased me for so long and watching the tender sprouts shoot through the fresh soil. The air filling my lungs is sweet and thick with nourishment. The sunlight feels warm against my skin and the food I eat continues to reveal a new flavor each day.

I am starting to live again.

I wish I could tell you how I began to understand the need to readjust the pronouns in that sentence. To look at who I was actually speaking to. To hold up a mirror. But I’m pretty sure there is no trick to it. And no short cut, either. Sorry. It comes down to is time. It is patience. It is perseverance. It is forgiveness. And it is focusing on gratitude. That is what eventually propels us forward.

It is that difficult and that simple all at once. I know it’s frustrating to hear, but don’t stop. The finish line is there amongst the pain, somewhere. And it will blindside you as completely as the starting line did. There is no warning. One day you will look around and be there. All you have to do is keep moving.

And life won’t be perfect…but life never is.

And the children will have the dad he chooses to be. And the dad they choose to accept.

And I will have my beautiful life back. My life is beautiful because I choose to make it so.

And she will exist forever and always in “our” world…even if he came walking back through that door. But she doesn’t have to exist in MY world.

And I am beginning to wake up with starlight in my eyes…looking for the joy in each new day, because it is a gift that I choose not to ignore.

And, he will wake up someday. He will snap out of it. He will remember me.

But I am the one who is a pretty fantasy. An inconceivable goal. Not going to happen.

Because I have chosen to forget who he was. And remember who he is.

Because I finally remember who I am.

And he’s not good enough for me.

 

On My Own

Tonight all of the children are with their father. They are spending the night.

This is only the second time since he left that he’s kept them all at the same time (or overnight). Only the second time I’ve been alone.

Am I lonely?

Not really. It’s more of a curious feeling. I wonder if empty nesters feel this way. I know my children are out there, only a phone call away, and they are presumably safe.

It’s more that I miss them. Something fierce.

And I feel sad because my son did not want to go. My husband had to peel him off of me and pick him up to keep him from following me. I walked away and didn’t look back, because…well, I couldn’t.

But I did it. I left.

And I am seeing a movie tonight. And I’m meeting up with my sister for lunch tomorrow. I may even be ready to get that manicure. Not sure yet, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

And then they’ll be home.

And life will continue to move forward. Because it does that whether we are ready or not.

I prefer to embrace it and be ready.

Growing Pains

Many, many, many days have passed in which I am able to pull my big girl pants up and get on with the day. There have been struggles, for sure; however, I do think that I am turning a corner of more better moments than bad moments. More laughter than tears. More focus on my life that is than my life that was.

But…I still have moments of weakness and pain.

And, when those moments come, I am truly unable to stop myself from reaching out to him.

Why?

Am I a masochist?

A glutton for punishment?

No…not at all.

The simple answer is that I still think my husband is in there somewhere. I still love my husband in spite of all the hurt.

He’s not in there though.

The man who replaced him told me “I’ve outgrown you”.

Yes, he said those words.

After 20 years, three children, and more ups and downs than I can even list…”I’ve outgrown you. I’ve outgrown this house, this life and everything it represents”.

Huh.

I didn’t really have a response for that. I mean, truly, what can you say to something like that?

But, it does amplify the fact that there is literally nothing I can do or say to the man who promised me his life forever that will change the course of this situation.

There isn’t a “but if he only knew this” or “if I could just get him to see that”. It’s not up to me and never has been to save this marriage.

I. CANNOT. SAVE. MY. MARRIAGE. ALONE.

So, I made a decision. I took control where I could. I finished a huge project looming over my head. I packed up the personal items and clothing he had left here in the house ~ nicely and I made sure breakables were protected, not for him, but because I am a good person ~ and I gave it to him.

And I have my room now. It’s mine. All about me. And what I want. And where I want it. And how I want it.

If I fall down seven times, I’m going to get up eight! I am not going to stop pushing myself forward. I am forgiving myself for still loving him, because apparently I can’t stop doing that right now. And I am going to not let his behavior dictate how I feel about myself. And I am not going to let the person he’s become change the loving and amazing person I am.

In fact, I hope all the stuff he left here still fits him. (Probably won’t though, considering how much he’s outgrown everything…)

This is excellent advice:

April 21 2013
Avoid those who are on the road to destruction. Empathize with them and attempt to suggest ways in which they can pull themselves up from the rubble of their lives. But always stay the course and keep a steady distance from those who will attempt to bring you down, diminish you, and vandalize your heart and soul.

It is something I have a hard time remembering. I have a giving nature. I have a desire to help.

I do not protect myself. Really, ever, if I’m being completely honest. I don’t know how.

The word “doormat” may come to mind. I would argue that I am not so much a “doormat” as a “city dump”.

See, I tend to take responsibility for everything. Even if it is outside my control. And then I try to fix it. Even if it is outside my control. And then I agonize over it. Even if it is outside…well, you see the pattern here, right? I will let you do what you need to do, make excuses for you, fix it for you, and then forget that it was your problem to begin with…so therefore I will carry your baggage for you for the rest of my life while you get to go on and live scott free.

It’s über healthy. I know. And, I am desperately trying to break that cycle of behavior.

Because, clearly, I’d be better off.

And making myself smaller does not make anyone else bigger. It just gives away my joy.

I have to tell you, that’s been in pretty short supply lately…so I’m going to start getting pretty selfish with that right about now.

If any of this resonates with you, may I suggest you do the same?

Not that I’m trying to fix you or anything 😉

 

I Am

“The worst thing in the world is putting in a tremendous amount of time and effort into something you never had a chance of accomplishing in the first place. Playing a game with honest effort that was lost before it ever began.”

That sums up perfectly how I feel. I feel like a fool. I feel like I didn’t have all the information and was at the wrong end of the field. Heck, I was on the wrong field completely.

And I agonize over the fact that the love of my life led me to the wrong field and left me there.

And I miss him. Not who he is now, who he was.

Where I am now is a foreign world and it’s one I don’t really like. It’s scary and full of new things that I am unsure of.

And when I look at the news feeds from Boston, I break down. Because life is fleeting. And there are crazy people out there who want to make it even more fleeting. And I want to take everyone I love and hold them close. And I want to go out and share that love with all of those hurting people.

And while I’m doing that, there is a huge, gaping hole where he should be standing. And it kills me that it is completely by his choice and there is not a thing I can do about it. And it makes me shake all the way down to my bones.

But, you know what?

I am doing it.

I am alone…but I am doing it.

I am still standing, even while I shake.

I am still breathing, even while I cry.

I am still loving, even with a broken heart.

I am still here.

I am strong.

I am enough.

I am.

Two Steps Back

Does anyone else remember growing up when phone numbers were just the seven digits without the area code? How about when the first two numbers were letters? Rotary phones? I digress…

I have a different area code on my cellphone than my husband.

He is one of the only people I know that has the area code he has.

Today at work, I received a phone call from a gentleman with the same area code.

He left a message on my voice mail.

I retrieved the message and wrote down his number.

I hung up the phone.

I picked it back up to return the call.

I entered the area code.

I then proceeded to dial my husband’s number while looking at the pad of paper I had written this man’s number on.

Didn’t even think twice.

My fingers just dialed the number instinctively.

As I hit the last key, I realized what I had done and immediately hung up.

That habit will eventually go away…right?

Please?

An Unexpected Gift

Today I woke up with a feeling in my chest that I didn’t recognize.

I carried it during my morning devotions, and when I was making breakfast for my son. I held it when I walked him to the bus and on my way to work. I let it sit with me as I went through my work day and it followed me home.

It continued to grow and radiate through my body all day long.

It scared me.

This foreign feeling was filling up the dark hole that has been dominating my life for months. I wasn’t sure what was happening. It was almost painful in its consumption of my being. Definitely insistent on not being ignored. Alien to me, although something familiar from a long time ago…as if looking through distorted glass down a long tunnel. I think I remember feeling this way before but was unable to process because it was so unexpected and confusing.

You see, today I woke up happy.

And it stayed with me the whole day.

I spontaneously smiled.

I laughed (and really meant it).

I was extremely productive at work.

I was extremely productive at home.

I wrote.

I am embracing this unexpected gift and choosing to accept it. I have lived in the moments of today and enjoyed myself.

For the first time in what seems like forever…

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.

I’m not even going to tell you about the jokes I had to put up with when that book was on the reading list in school.

But, it is a question I’ve been asking a lot lately.

I’ve been searching, and searching, and searching for that voice of truth. Or peace. Or at the very least, any voice that says no you’re not going mad and I have a plan for even this to work out for the good…

***chirp…chirp***

I’m sure that there is something I’m supposed to be seeing, or hearing, or finding, or, or, or…

But life won’t shut up long enough for me to find out what. I am trying so hard not to let the fear overcome me. But I am afraid. This is hard. And I still couldn’t even tell you what I did wrong. Other than the fact that I thought I was happy…we were happy. Not perfect. I never said perfect. But I loved my life.

I know I’m going to be okay. Everyone says I will be, so it must be so…

But when?

Does the gaping hole go away?

Does the grief go away?

Does my constant companion, fear, move out after the dust settles?

Will I ever figure out why?

Does it help if I do?

Are these normal questions?

Why is it every time I feel like I’m moving forward I end up in the same spot?

Will I ever not think of my life now as the life “after”?

Ive begun reading Ayn Rand. I’ve tried emotions…maybe it’s time to let logic in.

Lessons in Reality

What is real?

What is imagined?

I suppose that is truly up to who is asking the question.

Things that I thought were real in my life were apparently a fantasy in my mind.

Like my happy marriage.

Or the solid relationship I enjoyed.

Or the love I thought I was giving and receiving.

All of those things I thought were real.

I really would have bet my life on it.

In fact, I clearly did bet my life on it.

But, it turns out…I clearly have an excellent imagination.

And the truth of every situation resides where reality and imagination collide.

truth

My desire going forward is that I figure the truth out sooner rather than later…that I am able to guard my heart from ever feeling this kind of pain again without allowing myself to shut down to love completely.

I hope that is possible.