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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The good girl

It’s been building for awhile. The tightening in my chest, the room feeling too small, the air too heavy to breathe. Some days, I feel like I just want to peel off my own skin and leave it behind, feeling as if I am trapped and constricted by it, just to be able to think or breathe. It all feels so tight, so restrictive and suffocating.

It makes me want to scream.

I’ve been able to hold it at bay the last few months, pushing it out of my mind to focus on what is important, and good, directly in front of me. I’ve struggled to get through some of these days, wanting to jump out of the car and run. Just run until I can’t any longer.

To where? I have no idea.

I’ve been doing my best to keep it all together, at least in public and around my boys. Pushing the ugliness of my reality to the back of my mind, only willing to look at the good things and put my energy into positive areas. I’m trying to be strong, like I promise everyone I am. Strong, like they all believe that I am.

I’m trying to put on a good face for my kids, not bad mouth their father, not be the lunatic that I know I can be. Nothing but love and “yes” as often as I can. Gone is the ranting mom, yelling about dirty laundry and messy rooms. It’s not nearly as important, or worthy of my energy, now. I know that this is just as difficult for them as it is for me. So many unanswered questions and so many things that will be changing, but when? The timeline keeps moving further and further away. False starts and false hopes.

The light at the end of the tunnel is only getting smaller.

I’m trying to be a good friend, a good mom/daughter/sister/soon to be exwife. I want to be the better person and to feel good about it, to know that I am doing my best. It’s a personality flaw, that I’ve been honing since I was a kid, sadly. I don’t want to be too much trouble, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, I don’t want to ask for more than I should want or need. I want you to like me, to love me. I’m a good girl.

But at what cost? Not just the monetary cost, but the personal cost, the mental cost. The toll that it takes on my emotional stability, on my kids mental health and self-esteem. Am I sacrificing all of us to be the “good girl”? Playing nice so I don’t make waves or draw too much negative attention. And in the end, will that even matter? That I played nice, that I wasn’t “difficult”, when we have to make do with less and possibly struggle for the years to come. Will it make a better life for us, the kids and I, to know that I was “cooperative” or just make it easier, cheaper and quicker for him?

I have come to the realization that it only benefits one person, and he doesn’t even live in our house anymore. He is living the life he has always wanted, and without apology, only demands of me to make it easier for him. He doesn’t want to accept the guilt, or the responsibility for tearing our lives apart and creating this chaos, because it “isn’t fair of productive”. Convenient, isn’t it?

Going along with the program, so as not to make anyone angry or disappointed, is exhausting and draining. I am tired of being last on the list, taken for granted, given unrealistic expectations. I am tired of apologizing for wanting to take care of myself and my children when it is inconvenient for others. I am just plain tired, a lot.

I am tired of being the “good girl”.