New normal

Now that the dust is settling from the demolition of my marriage, and my former life, it is time to move on. Time to go forward and figure out our new normal, if there will ever be such a thing. I have to believe that there will be eventually, and almost miraculously, it will feel seamless when it does happen.

I am finally coming into my own too, learning who I am, and feeling more secure in knowing that things in my life are somewhat within my control. I pay the bills, take care of the house and kids, get the groceries, etc. Pretty much what I was doing while I was married, honestly. The only difference is that I don’t have to wonder what mood the evening will bring when I hear the garage door open and footsteps coming through the mudroom at the end of each day.

And for that, I am relieved. Relaxed. And thankful.

My anxiety has diminished quite a bit, along with feelings of depression – could be the cocktail of “helpers” I am ingesting, but I’m not going to argue with whatever helps at this point.

Therapy has been a life saver, too. My only regret is that I didn’t begin it sooner.

My nails look better – for the first time in I can’t even begin to remember how many years, they don’t look like little animals have been chewing on them. My cuticles are smooth, my nails are growing. I have started getting manicures! The first and last time I had one before this year was the week before my wedding.

Do that math!

I smile more, laugh out loud and generally walk around with a sense of optimism and quiet excitement. I’m not bored, and I’m not stressed. I am not yelling at my kids, surprisingly. Plus, I am open to new experiences and challenges, new friends and adventures. Bring it on!

Who is this person??

It’s amazing to realize just how unhappy you were, and for how long, when you finally experience happiness…just by being you. Just by enjoying a life made with your own decisions, big and small. Sometimes even the tiniest decisions bring a certain giddy happiness because you made that decision completely on your own.

Like, what kind of pizza will I order? That’s how stupid and ridiculous it can be because you just weren’t able to do that without considering someone else, and the possible fallout or disappointment that would come from making a wrong decision.

Pizza toppings.

And more than that, it’s also kind of sad, realizing that you’ve been this deeply unhappy for so long and really didn’t know it. It was just normal everyday life, wasn’t it?

How can anyone live a life – for years – that is not true to their core self, in the name of love, just because someone who claims to love you doesn’t want you to? Or that same person can’t accept that thing (could be your laugh, your sense of humor, the way you brush your teeth, the friends you make, anything) about you, so you’ve learned to stuff it down or ignore it to keep your relationship going, and just thought that was the way love works? You have to sacrifice for love, right? Even if what you’re sacrificing is who you really are, your true self? And you are really the only one sacrificing anything to keep it going. Instead, shouldn’t that be a reason to walk away, to say ‘no thanks’ and move on?

That’s when therapy would have helped I suppose.

I was told by a close friend that one day soon I will wake up in my own bed, in my own  bedroom of my very own house, and feel a sense of peace. Pure joy. Just knowing that I have finally made it to the other side and lived to tell the tale. And I will be happy.

I am getting there a little bit each day, closer to that epiphany. And so are my kids. Our house is beginning to feel like “home”, there are fewer dramas and challenges for us all. Normal is coming our way soon, I can feel it.

And with each day I am still blown away by the fact that we are still standing, together. If nothing else, it has made us a stronger family unit, and more appreciative of each other, on some level. And possibly made us each take a long look at what is really, truly important to make us happy – it’s not a big house on a private street, with all of the bells and whistles, that you have to tiptoe around and never quite feel like it belongs to you, or that you belong in it for that matter. You are never quite home, because at the end of the day it’s not yours to decide, none of it really. It’s all parlor tricks and mind games.

We are making decisions as a family now, for the most part. Considering each other, working together, to find a new balance. To find our new normal.

I’m not saying that it’s all rainbows and butterflies…but it’s damn close.

 

 

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Breathing

It was suggested to me, by my therapist, to journal my feelings when I am feeling upset/anxious/depressed. Write three pages, she said. Three? How about an entire book?

Also, practice “square breathing”. That’s where you take a deep breath in for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, release it for a count of four and hold that for a count of four. I guess you forget what’s upsetting you after awhile of counting to four repeatedly. If I practice these techniques, I may quiet the voice in my head that replays every negative experience of this holy grail of suffering, and possibly find release from the never ending ruminating that I tend to do.

But instead, I’ve decided that maybe I’ll just up the dose of my antidepressant and see where that takes me.

I’m already in therapy, talking about my feelings and how this all affects me and my kids. That’s enough of an exercise for me, for now, thank you very much.

I have days where life is finally turning the corner, the sun is brighter and the sky is bluer. Then, I have days that are dark and sad and feel so heavy that I can’t move. That’s the rollercoaster, I know. That’s “normal”, I get it. I just wish this ride was over and I could go to a new park, with better rides, and happy people that are nice to me.

Is that too much to ask?

I thought that I didn’t hate him. Turns out I was wrong. I hate him everyday.

I hate him for everything he’s become, for bullying me into going along with a fixed game that I am always on the losing team, for being so incredibly selfish and self involved.

Honestly, I don’t hate him as much for the things that he has said and done to me, I hate him for his total disregard and dismissal of his children. Of our children. That we, as a couple, made the choice to bring into the world.

I hate him for his complete dishonesty, the cowardly way he omits from the conversation what he does with his free time on the weekends. The weekends that he is only 45 minutes away from his kids. The weekends he flies in on his company’s dime for his  “commuting package”, only to spend six hours a week with our boys. (I wonder if they know just how “dedicated” he really is to his children? I wonder if they realize that he is whooping it up in the city, with expensive dinners and night clubbing, that keep him busy until Sundays at noon when he finally sees his boys?)

I hate him for his sickening performance of “how hard this is”, (“this” being not seeing his kids on a regular basis because he now lives in California) while he gets choked up and teary eyed in front of our lawyers and mediator, and anyone who asks or will listen, yet makes no effort towards his children.

He texts them once a week. Once. A. Week. And it’s the exact same text to each boy, “how’s it going son?” as if he’s forgotten their names.

This whole “midlife crisis” idea is absolutely fucking ridiculous. Be a fucking grown up!

And it’s not about our marriage being over, I think I accepted that pretty quickly. Almost with a sense of relief, to be truthful. It’s about his relationship with his children, or lack thereof, and the challenge it creates for me to try to shield them from his selfishness.

Honestly, it’s like watching the same film from my childhood replaying, but everyone has cooler stuff and better clothes. He’s become my father. And that makes me sick.

I have made it my mission in my life to protect my kids, to shield them from ugliness, like any good mother would. I don’t want to see them hurting, I don’t want to see them disappointed, or feeling unloved or unwanted. I want them to feel safe, and loved entirely.

I know that they feel it from me, that they know they are loved and are vitally important to me like the air that I breathe, but it will always be half as good. There will always be an empty space that he was supposed to fill, but won’t.

 

Whirling in my head

I sit still, paralyzed with fear and disbelief, and the burning gets stronger. The pit of my stomach, churning and roiling, I wish I could just throw up but I can’t. I wish I could start drinking and blur the world for just a little while, but I’m too responsible. My kids need a solid parent to be present in their lives right now, not a needy one.

It whirls around in my head. Every comment, every text, every email, every meeting.

I remember everything he’s said for the past eight months and it zips around inside of my head. I know that it shouldn’t, there is nothing that I can do to change any of it or make it go away. It’s out there and will remain so, so why am I ruminating? Obsessing? Some days it subsides, and my day opens up with sunshine and happy thoughts. I make plans, I look forward to the future, I laugh, and I remember who I am and who I used to be. I try to be that person again, to reclaim my true self, and live in the moment.

Then the other days happen and I am knocked down, dizzy and panting. Wanting to cry. Every minute of every day. I can’t focus, I can’t finish anything, I am paralyzed with fear over the future. I am sick of it all. And I am tired.

I just want to lay down, and stay there, until this is all over. I need to disappear.

Everyone tells me that it’s not me, I’m not the problem. It never was me. It’s him. He’s the jerk, he’s the thoughtless, heartless, selfish, sad case of a man. I am not the reason or the cause of any of this. It’s all him, and it’s always been there, I just chose to look past it, or ignore it.

I used to tell my friends and family that I know he’s an asshole. I really did. But, if I am ever in need of an advocate, someone to stand up for me and our kids, I am glad that he’s my asshole.

He’s the guy who gets shit done.

He’s the one people listen to, he’s the one that gets people moving in his demanded direction. But, I never thought I would be on the other side, on the receiving end of his tirade. I never imagined that he would lash out at me and work so hard to tear me down, and shift the earth beneath me. But he has, and he will.

He slowly strips away any and all safety that I thought I had, that I used to feel. He makes me question everything. I’ve lost trust, I’ve lost faith, that the process will deliver and it will all be okay in the end.

It will deliver, but it delivers for the noise maker, the screamer, the asshole.

It always does.