Goodbye, and thank you.

It’s over.

And, it truly is not you. It’s me. Totally, utterly, completely me.

I can’t come back here any more.

I can’t look back any longer. I can’t analyze. I can’t dissect. I can’t examine. There is nothing left to see.

I won’t do it. More importantly, I don’t want to.

I want to go back to living my life looking forward. To dreaming about the future. Analyzing, dissecting, and examining the possibilities. And I don’t want to invite him along. And, I can’t take you. Because you are tied to him.

I know it’s different for everyone. Some people can look in all directions at once. Some people can meld the past and the future.

But, I’m different. I need a clean break. I’m not who I was when I started this journey. This blog belongs to another woman. A woman that I no longer recognize.

She is me. But I am no longer her. And, like my old life, she is of the past. And all the pain and suffering? All that needs to stay here.

Because there is no room for any of that in my life now. My life is full. Of good things. Of GREAT things. And I am going to be exceedingly selfish about who and what I allow in.

So, goodbye Meg, who was his wife. You really were a wonderful wife. You were dealt a shit hand. You didn’t deserve it. Life rarely works in the way that people get what they really deserve, both good and bad. I truly want to thank you for paving the way for me. I will never forget what you did for me. I will always be thankful that you were strong enough to create me.

But, I have to leave you here.

Fresh Breath

Well, it’s been over a year since he moved out. The day after the super bowl was one year. I read somewhere that, much like surviving the first year of marriage, once you survive the first year of divorce things get easier. You aren’t as surprised by the differences that happen at the holidays. The anniversaries start to become dull and distant. I’ll have to let you know next year if that is the truth.

That day seems like just yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. I can remember each detail like a snap shot, still feel the jagged whole in my heart, still remember fracturing into a billion pieces, and still remember the struggle to catch my breath as if my lungs may never fill with enough air again.

But lungs are funny organs. Slightly different than the heart…lungs can actually sprout new growth after damage. Meaning, not only can the size increase, but you can really grow new tissue to replace what has been lost.

And that is what I feel like I’ve been doing. I’ve been growing a new me. Granted, still a work in progress, but my friends aren’t breathing for me anymore. I am fully engaged in my own breaths. And the breaths are no longer for simple survival, they are for living life.

So, I continue to put one foot in front of the other. Continue to take my next breath. Continue to take care of all that needs to be taken care of. I just do it. And each day is slightly (just slightly, but still) better than the one before. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and letting yesterday stay where it is.

Past, Present, Future

I know I have been remiss about posting, and I apologize. This single mom stuff is for the birds at times. But, I want to reflect on the past, update the present, and look forward to the future as this year is coming to a close. Grab some coffee…this may take a while.

The divorce is almost final. This has been the longest divorce on record where there is nothing to split but debt. It’s been insane and exhausting. He wants the divorce, with every cell of his being, but he wants to leave without supporting us. He has decided that walking away from me includes walking away from ALL responsibility. He decided that he didn’t like the fact that you can’t just do that, so when he was ordered to pay me, he quit his job.

Yep.

Quit. His. Job.

I realized at that point that I was on my own. I have to assume this seemingly never-ending cycle of sadness with a side of self-doubt will eventually come to an end. Especially since I can look at what I’ve accomplished in the past three months and basically tell him to go jump in the lake. I went out and found a great new job. (I had many friends and family members who reached out to help me with this endeavor…if I forgot to thank you, thank you!) and I am supporting my kids by myself. Not that we aren’t counting every penny, not that I still won’t lose everything we worked for in our marriage…the house will be foreclosed. BUT, I will be able to stay here long enough to have my daughter graduate with her friends. I will be here long enough to let my son finish out the school year. I will be able to pick a place to move that fits my current life. I will be okay. The daily reminders won’t be so front and center. I won’t catch glimpses of him and our past out of the corner of my eye everyday. I won’t wake up in our bed, in our room, in our home. I will wake up in my bed, in my room, in my home.

And, as painful and sad that it is that I’m losing everything, I have gained much as well. I have a renewed sense of self-confidence. Look what I can do! I don’t NEED him. You don’t love me? You don’t want me? You won’t pay what you owe? That speaks to you and your personality buddy, not me or mine! And that, right there is the answer to these questions: How can he just walk away? How can he do this to me? Because HE is broken.

Part of that confidence has come from leaning on my family and friends. I have met people (both online and in real life) that I never would have met had this not occurred. I have done things I never thought I could/would do. I have forged a new path. I have a job that I’m kicking ass at, I am making Christmas happen for my kids, I rediscovered my creativity, and I know now that I am the strong one and I always have been. I have been able to cut through the bullshit he piled on my plate on the way out the door and decipher what was really happening. I have picked out the times where he was truly being honest, like the times before I knew about her when he told me there was nothing wrong with me but something very wrong with him, and shone the light on those statements. Now that I am able to look back and see the whole picture, those bits of honesty are easier to pick out.

Through this process, I have created hard boundaries that I am sticking to. I used to put up with so much from people because I thought it was necessary to keep the peace. But the hypocrisy of my so-called family (in-laws) to whom I have been sister and daughter to for the past 20 years has taught me that it is okay to stick to my guns. The fact that they all dropped me, no questions asked, and won’t even reach out to help my children is probably one of the biggest eye-openers of this whole situation. You’ll buy a goat for a village in Africa, but you won’t see if your own grandchildren or nieces and nephew need food? Because they did need food. I realized that the head-in-the-sand mentality is something I don’t need, or want in my life. This is a family so deep in denial that I actually received a Christmas card from his Aunt in Florida, addressed to all of us (including him), telling us how much she loves us and keeps us in her prayers. No one told her? No one? Really? Who lives life like that?

I look at the people I have in my life now and realize that I get to keep them there because I WANT to keep them there. I get to choose. It’s very liberating.

I still struggle, daily, with the fact that I am getting a divorce. I don’t believe in divorce. It’s not an option. I made a promise. I made a commitment. What was so horrible with our life that it has to come to this? Why? Why? Always why. But, I am finally able to realize that the answer to all of those whys is the same…it’s him. I am not blameless for the bumps in the road of our relationship. I take full responsibility for my portion of my marriage. But I will not take responsibility for this divorce. That is on him. He left. He cheated. He gave up and refused to work at our relationship. He is why. I just have to work on the forgiving part. Not for his sake, but for mine.

So, I have been doing all of this work now. I have been healing, and growing stronger, and truly working on myself now. I am getting better, everyday. So many of you said it would happen and I didn’t believe you. But you were right. Which makes me think you are right about the rest of it. He is unemployed, living with his parents, dating a woman who was willing to break up a marriage…his life isn’t real right now.

But it will be.

She’s going to go away at some point (or not, and I really don’t care because they deserve each other). He can’t be unemployed or live with his parents forever.

And one day he’s going to wake up and realize what he did.

And he will regret.

But, by then, I’ll be the one who is gone.

You guys have been right about everything else, surely you’re right about this too.

 

My New Theme Song

I am not the biggest Katy Perry fan; however, I really want to share these lyrics.

This is my new theme song…and I’m never going to forget I have a choice again.

“Roar” by Katy Perry

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice? You hear that sound?
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice? You hear that sound?
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
You’re gonna hear me roar!

Phoenix Here I Come

People say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back over the “end times” I can see more clearly now. I couldn’t see it then, mostly because I never imagined divorce as an option for us. And because he is a good liar. He had me snowed. And I believed him. I believed that even under what ever the “issues” were, he was a good man, who was honorable and would live up to his vows. And, though that may have been true of who he was (because, if it’s not, then he’s an amazing actor) it is most certainly not true of who he is.

And, of course, there are the points I see clearly now that I can say I “should have” done something…pushed more, pulled less, spoken up. But the fact remains, I loved him and trusted him and ultimately that love and trust didn’t save our marriage. It couldn’t. Because, as I’ve finally accepted, I could not. I just could not. He wouldn’t let me.

No, he wouldn’t let me. He didn’t want me to. He failed me hugely. I most certainly have my portion of the blame up until the point he decided to become a cheater, as anyone would in a relationship; however, the ending, the failing to fix, the ultimate betrayal is squarely his. No matter how much he lies to himself or others about what happened.

No matter how many Bible verses he and his girlfriend post on their Facebook walls, no matter how many times they stand in a church together, the firm fact that cannot be argued is that they, not me, are at fault. We are still married. They are committing adultery. Repeatedly. Because they chose to be dishonest and dishonorable. They chose to do this to me without thought or care of what the outcome would be in my world.

And his family is standing by him, not me, not the “sister” and “daughter” they claimed to love for 20 years. They are welcoming her into their homes. Including her in their functions. Supporting his choice to live without honor or regard for honesty.

How nice. How beautiful for all of them. Look at the big, happy family, who claims to love the Word of God. Aren’t they amazing? Isn’t it wonderful how they read the Bible and apply it?

Can you tell my favorite thing is hypocrisy?

Watch this…this is where the meat is. All that came before this point in this post does. not. matter. All of these things have happened to me. All of them. And they suck.

This is the strength my friends keep talking about:

Those things DO NOT define who I am. I refuse to let those things be my truth. Those things can be their truth. I’m better than that.

And, while I appreciate how people say Karma is a bitch and they will get theirs eventually, here is the thing, that does not help me in any way, shape or form. I cannot heal and move forward if I am looking back to see if Karma catches up with them. Any of them. I cannot care.

And I won’t.

I don’t want revenge. I want the peace of knowing they don’t matter to me. Nor does anything they do or say. I want the peace of knowing they are each getting what they deserve because they are getting each other. And that is the truth. My husband and his girlfriend are both liars who broke up two marriages. What a prize the other is getting! My “family” of 20 years is supporting that. If that is what they are willing to settle for, have at it!

I know I’m better than to have to settle for any of THAT!

This is where I get to walk away and redefine my life. This is where I get to be in charge of what I will and will not accept. This is where the pain and victim collide and I get to move on. This is where I get to decide WHAT I WANT.

This is where I get to be a phoenix.

Look at me rise up!

I am going to rise up and not look back. Because it’s not even worth the effort to try. That life is dead and gone. And, in a strange way, it’s a blessing. Because I’m not settling for ANY OF THAT in my life. I don’t need to and I simply won’t.

Karma, you’ll have to do your work without me watching. I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Vulnerability is the New Strong

Have you ever had someone tell you something…or many someones tell you the same thing, and you just don’t see it?

I have recently recognized a pattern. Many time when I talk to people, or reach out on Facebook, or in a support group, people always (yes, it is that absolute) remark at how strong I am.

It astounds me for a moment and then I brush it off. I feel as if I am anything but strong. I feel as if I am simply surviving. I feel as if I have one foot in the loony bin and one foot in quicksand. I feel as if my nose is constantly going under the water and I’m not able to breathe.

And, today, I really stopped to think about all of that. The only thing certain in my life is the uncertainty of my life. And it scares me. It is painful. I don’t like it.

So then, I started to think about what I’m doing. And, while I did have my fetal-position-rocking-in-the-corner-because-my-husband-cheated-on-me-and-left period of time, I do assert that I am fairly past that point (a few backslides are to be expected…sorry Adrienne & Linds) because on a daily basis I get up and do what needs to be done.

And I don’t hate all men. I don’t even hate my husband. I feel sorry for him. But, I’m not going to let his poor choices dictate the rest of my life. And, while I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months or 20 years, can anyone actually truly say with 100% certainty that they know where they will be? Even if their marriage is solid? Or they are “happy” with their life?

It got me thinking about what people are really saying when they say I’m strong. I think they are saying that they look at my circumstances and don’t know for certain how they would respond. Maybe they are afraid their rocking-in-the-corner-fetal-position would last twice as long. Or forever. Maybe they would hate men (or women). Maybe they would let it dictate the rest of their life.

And I understand that completely. Because until it happened to me, I used to look at others and think the same thoughts.

Well, here is the thing. I don’t feel strong…I feel vulnerable. For years, YEARS, I was the giver. And I still try to be at times. It is SO easy to give. So, so easy to be the savior of a situation. It made me feel important. Look! There’s Meg saving the day! She is giving her time or her talents to make things better! What a great gal! And, during those years of giving, it was so, so hard to receive. I never asked for help. I was THE helper.

It is really unsettling to need and receive. And, it is really hard to be vulnerable. What if I’m not important enough to be worthy of receiving help. Or, what if I end up owing someone something that I can’t repay? By always giving, I never gave anyone the opportunity to let me down. I was in control. Being out of control is like having a never-ending ticket on a ride to crazy town. Receiving is humbling. It is saying that I trust you to love me enough to see to my needs. And to help me.

So, I guess if I have developed strength, it is the strength to allow myself to show my vulnerability. The strength to let my guard down and receive. The irony is, of course, the one person I should have been able to count on to support my vulnerability let me down and it was through that act that I found the ability to be vulnerable. And, in doing so, I found the gift of unconditional love from people I never expected it from. I found comfort on the other side of fear.

I don’t know why the lessons we learn in life come about this way, but they do. I guess I found that it takes strength to be vulnerable. And I guess I have that in spades now…so maybe I AM strong 🙂

Structure Is As Structure Does

In this chaotic mess of an existence I’ve had for the past year, the one thing I have craved is structure. Order is the name of the game.

It isn’t as if whether the dishes are done and stacked properly will create world peace. Or the laundry being properly sorted will affect orphans in Afghanistan; however, both of those items, checked off my “to do” list make me slightly more peaceful.

Here is the rub.

I can’t seem to get most of my list done.

Ever.

And then I spiral down that rabbit hole of dread…

“Well, if you can’t even get this done, it’s no wonder you’re where you are!”

My inner voice is a jerk sometimes.

I bet you can relate. So, you know what I did. I told it to shut up.

And I gave myself permission to let the laundry pile up and the dishes sit in the sink.

And, I gave myself permission to believe, to truly believe and understand that my husband didn’t leave me because of the fact that I was a bad housekeeper. Or the perfect housekeeper. He didn’t leave me for any reason I could control. That is the truth.

So, I let it go. (That’s the key.) I let the stress of not checking things off my list go.

I’m not saying I’m turning into a Hoarder or anything. But, I am being a ton more gentle with myself and I’m taking control of the places I can keep structure with a new attitude. I’ve decided to look at “to do” lists as my friend and not my foe. And now, I feel so accomplished when I can cross off the items and toss the list.

Because I did it for me.

And, if it doesn’t get crossed off…well, there is always tomorrow 🙂

All {Wo}Men Are NOT Created Equal

Notice I don’t say born. I say create. Whether by upbringing, circumstance, choice…we create who we are.

Daily.

That’s why we aren’t created equal. I say we start out equal; however, what we create is vastly different. Because some people create beautiful beings of love and others create selfish beings of…well, selfishness.

We change daily. We choose to create a better person or a worse person. But we don’t stand still. Regardless of how it feels, you are not the same person you were yesterday. And you will not be the same person tomorrow you are today. The path you are on is forged by how you perceive your life. And the choice and goals you make.

Are they self-centered? Or, do they include somehow sharing your talents with those around you? Do you perceive what you are doing as useful? Or do you hate it? Are you choosing happiness, but not at the cost of those around you? (Because I paid a terrible toll for what one man perceives as happiness.)

I realized today that my husband would probably still be living in the house if I hadn’t found out about “her”. He didn’t have the integrity to tell me about “her”. He didn’t choose to be honest. He chose to do the “easy” thing and pretend. He is still in denial and continues to spin yarns about reality. He chose to create the life he currently has by those actions.

I chose to create the life I currently have by being strong enough to say no. By looking fear in the eye and say, “But, I deserve better!” By being honest and understanding that my perception of our relationship was just that…my perception. One person can only contribute 100% to 50% of a relationship. And if the other party is not being honest, there is no way to fix things.

You can choose to become better. You can choose how you view your situation. Perception is huge in (re)building your life. Reasons are huge.

I believe that is what has tripped me up for so long. I don’t know why this is happening. There are no rational reasons. I can’t seem to equate the man who was with the man who is. When did he create this person? The one with no loyalty? The one with no honor? How did I not see it happening?

But, does it stand to reason that if I find out those answers I’ll be any better? Will it change anything?

No.

My perception of the situation is what it is and will be what it is. But the choice is mine.

The only way I can be better is to choose to be better.

Yes, my life is in a shambles.

Yes, everything seems to be falling apart or falling away.

Yes, there is nothing stable to place my feet upon to keep me upright.

Yes, it is exhausting to be constantly on my guard, trying to decipher between the continued lies and what is actual truth.

I can’t control what is happening to me. I can control how I happen to the things happening to me though. I can choose to smile through the tears. I can choose to hold my head up. I can choose to keep reaching forward and not let the past encase my heart in cement.

Just as I have chosen to perceive fear as a bully, I choose to look to the future with anticipation instead of trepidation. I am going to look back as a barometer for my progress, and that is all.

I am creating a wonderful me and I’m not apologizing for it!

 

 

On Your 42nd Birthday

Today, on your 42nd birthday, I did not wake up and sneak downstairs with the children to prepare you biscuits and gravy to bring you breakfast in bed. I did not lovingly wrap a thoughtful present and sign a pickle card with words of love and encouragement and inside jokes to make you laugh. I did not buy balloons. I did not help the kids pick out gifts. I did not hold your face and look into your eyes and tell you I love you. I did not wish you many, many more so that we could have a lifetime together. I will not go out to dinner with you and our children to celebrate the day you were born. I will not do any of these things ever again.

She will.

The man I knew at 22 and at 32 was infinitely more compassionate and honorable than you are. He was loyal. He was mature. He was selfless. Happy Birthday to him.

The man I knew at 22 and 32 would look at who you have chosen to become and pity you. Happy Birthday to him.

The man I knew at 22 and 32 would have never chosen to associate himself with what you are doing and would have opened our home to the victims and opened our wallet to help. Happy Birthday to him.

He would never, ever, have taken his eyes off his wife and children. Happy Birthday to him.

My birthday wish for YOU is that you remember who that man was. Even if it is a fleeting memory. And that you understand that he is who your children love. And he is who your wife misses. And he deserved good things.

From now on, August 15th is going to be just another date on the calendar for me. Another date for me to wake up and pour love on the children you left behind. Another date for me to reach out and make someone’s day brighter. Another date to reach for the stars and impact the world. Another e..date for me to mourn the passing of my husband and the birth of you. Another date to continue pushing forward and move on…without YOU.