I feel like this statement applies to all different areas of my life at the moment.
Category Archives: Divorce
So it’s only Monday and already my work week is crazed. I work as a nanny, and yesterday (after working 7 hours at my 2nd job) I got home, sat on the couch, and 5 minutes later my phone rings. It’s my boss saying that his wife hurt her knee and they are headed to the hospital and can I come watch the kids? “Well, I’m herxing and I’ve already worked 7 hours today, but how can I say no to that?” So I jump in the car, and then get a call saying nevermind, she doesn’t want to sit in the ER, they will see a doctor tomorrow (today). As far as today goes, needless to say, work is frustrating when you care for children whose parents are home…so this week just needs to be over already.
But what I’ve been thinking about this afternoon is how awesome my boss has been all day. He took the day off work, cleaned the house, chauffeured his wife to the doctors office, is bringing her ice packs in bed and driving all over town to find her some crutches. All this from a guy who is really a great guy, but ascribes to the “women’s work” attitude and tends to come home from work, pour a drink and sit on the couch while his wife comes home from work, cooks dinner, cleans house, cares for kids, and then repeats every single day.
I’m sure that his change in attitude is simply a reaction to how unusual these circumstances are, and will probably disappear in a few days, but it makes me think…I want a husband who will do those things.
I’ve been sick every single day of my relationship with my soon-to-be-ex-husband, and never has he exhibited the kind of take charge, “it’s all going to be ok” attitude my boss is oozing today. If he helped at all, I had to instruct him in exactly what I needed and how I needed it. Also, due to circumstances outside of his control, he could not drive a car, leaving me to drive MYSELF to the hospital/doctors office on more than one occasion when I really should NOT have been driving. He also lacks, for some reason, the maturity to pick up a phone and make a phone call, or be responsible for any sort of life detail (paying a bill, making an appointment, sorting out an issue with the insurance company, making a decision on which cable company to contract with, the list goes on and on), even though he is 10 years older than I am.
I am so not the kind of girl who sits around waiting for her knight in shining armor to ride up on his white horse and whisk me off into the sunset…but I don’t think it’s too much to wish for a husband who can just handle things sometimes. The kind of husband who will recognize that I am hurting more than usual, and take care of me once in a while, because he cares. The kind of husband who will be my partner in life, not just one more thing I need to handle. The kind of husband that I can rely on.
Today was a really hard day…but that is totally the understatement of the year.
Today I filed for divorce. I did it. Almost 3 months after I told my husband I wanted a divorce, and almost 2 months after I moved out of the house, I finally did it.
I woke up this morning and said “I need to just DO it. Just rip the bandaid off and get it over with”. So I got dressed, drove the the courthouse, and sat in the car for a minute just attempting to breathe. As I walked inside I couldn’t help but notice the sadness, it was as if the walls themselves were sad, and all the people working there as well. I guess courthouses just are not generally happy places, but the criminal one I used to work in seemed much less sad than this, civil, one did. Luckily everyone was very nice, and as I handed them my paperwork and the exorbitant amount of money it costs to file for divorce, they instructed me to “have a seat on that bench and wait for your name to be called”. So I sat down, and glanced over at the only other person waiting there, a middle aged blonde woman who had her head tilted back leaning against the wall, and tears mixed with mascara streaming down her face. That was it, any composure I had left was gone, I put my head in my hands and sobbed; and together we sat on the bench of misery and cried until both of our names were called.
I have no words to explain what that feels like, other than death; like my soul was actively dying as I sat there. As I looked at that other woman it was like looking in a mirror, all of the pain, heartbreak and soul death in her face I knew was written all over mine as well; and I found myself wondering, who is she? What, no doubt horribly painful, circumstances landed her on this sad bench? How will she recover from this? How will I recover from this?
For the last several weeks I’ve been ok; I’ve been cheerful, and moving forward with my life. I thought, “hey, I’m ok, I’m moving forward, I’m going to survive this”. I even counseled a friend of mine who is going through a similar situation as if I was wizened by all of this, as if I had moved on and learned and grown from this; as if I had a few, not all, of the answers. And then I sat on that sad bench today with my head in my hands and realized “I’ve been fooling myself. I’m so NOT ok”.
“But if you make a vow, and making it systematically destroys you, it’s ok to break it. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a person who doesn’t want to be destroyed”
I found this lovely statement in a piece on Elephant Journal called “5 Things I Learned From My Good Marriage (and 2 I Learned From my Bad One)” by Erica Leibrandt…and it was exactly what I needed to hear.
One of the hardest things lately, now that I’ve sort of come to terms with the fact that the man I fell in love with is essentially gone, is accepting that because I chose to end my marriage I have not failed; I am not a bad person. And it doesn’t matter how many times I say that to myself, or how much I think I have accepted it, when it comes down to it I am worried that other people will think those things about me…so I realize that I really haven’t accepted anything.
I have been married for exactly 13 months today, and separated for 2…and it seems like a lifetime ago that both of those things happened.
I’ve heard women in support groups say things like “15 years of my life wasted!” Or “I can’t believe after 20 years it’s all gone!” And while I understand that that must be incredibly hard for them to experience, I am not down playing that, it’s also REALLY hard to chose to walk away after only 1 year. I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it in people’s eyes, the “you know marriage takes work right?” and the “what? Did you have your first big fight?” thoughts… how am I supposed to answer that? “Yes, I know it takes work, but…”? Tell them the truth about my reasons for doing this? It is very important to me that I not become that woman who spends her time after a break up doing everything she can to smear her ex’s character, I’m not that kind of person. Yet, the truth doesn’t look so good for him.
So instead I just assure people that I really do have good reasons, that I’m really not that immature, and remind myself that it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, just that I’m a person who doesn’t want to be destroyed…
I can’t tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now it’s like a steel knife in my windpipe
I can’t breath but I still fight while I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right
It’s like I’m in flight
High off a love, drunk from my hate
It’s like I’m huffing paint and I love it the more I suffer I suffocate
And right now I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me
She fucking hates me and I love it
Wait! Where are you going?
“I’m leaving you!”
No you ain’t. Come back we’re running right back
Here we go again
It’s so insane cause when it’s going good, it’s going great,
I’m superman with the wind at his back, she’s Lois Lane
But when it’s bad it’s awful
I feel so ashamed I snapped
Who’s that dude?
“I don’t even know his name”
I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again
I guess I don’t know my own strength
You ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe when you’re with ’em
You meet and neither one of you even know what hit ’em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
You, them chills you used to get ’em
Now you’re getting fucking sick of looking at ’em
You swore you’d never hit ’em
Never do nothing to hurt ’em
Now you’re in each other’s face spewing venom in your words when you spit them
You push, pull each other’s hair, scratch, claw, bit ’em
Throw ’em down, pin ’em
So lost in the moments when you’re in them
I’ts the rage that took over it controls you both
So they say you’re best to go your separate ways
Guess that they don’t know you
Cause today that was yesterday
Yesterday is over, it’s a different day
Sound like broken records playing over but you promised her
Next time you show restraint
You don’t get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess that’s why they call it window “pain”
Now I know we said things
Did things that we didn’t mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper’s just as bad as mine is
You’re the same as me
But when it comes to love you’re just as blinded
Baby, please come back
It wasn’t you, baby it was me
Maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems
Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is I love you too much to walk away though
Come inside, pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
Told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I’m pissed I’ll aim my fist at the drywall
Next time? There will be no next time!
I apologize even though I know it’s lies
I’m tired of the games I just want her back
I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to fucking leave again Im’a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
I’m just gonna
– Eminem Ft. Rihanna “Love The Way You Lie”
So I post the lyrics to this song tonight, even though they contain some words that may offend some people, because it is a topic that is very close to my heart. I have, however, left out the lyrics to the chorus because they bother me… they go like this…
“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, that’s alright because I like the way it hurts, just gonna stand there and hear me cry, that’s alright because I love the way you lie”.
While I love the song, and I was told once that Rihanna donated all income from it to domestic violence charities (not sure if this is true or not, but I’ll choose to think she’s that much of a good person)…the chorus not only lacks any insight into Rihanna’s side of the “relationship” it furthers the misconception that women stay in abusive relationships because they “like it”.
Anyway…some specific lyrics have stuck out to me recently and are the reason I have been replaying this song 12907342437x back to back…
“Come inside, pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
Told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball”
While my “husband” (wow I REALLY like quotation marks tonight, don’t I?) has never been physically abusive I feel like (reading between the lines of course) he has been saying this to me for weeks. It is like he is WILLING me to believe him that he has changed, and then becoming angry that I just don’t; like if he could force me to believe him he would. But those days are over…the days of believing what he says, or at least giving him the benefit of the doubt, are gone. It makes me sad that it has come to that, but it has.
Talking to a dear friend today who is in a place sadly very similar to where I was a month or two ago, and commiserating about an ex we both have in common who was emotionally and physically abusive, it made me think…how long am I going to allow myself to be treated this way? Yes, I finally drew a line in the sand and did something about it when he crossed said line, and I did the same thing with the ex I mentioned, but it took me many years in both cases before I got to that point. Why is it that I can sit here and say to you “I deserve better than that” but when it comes right down to demanding better I tend to roll over and play dead? And not only that, but I swore after I left my ex that I would never again allow myself to be made to feel the way I did…yet here I am, almost 6 years later.
I was feeling very contemplative this afternoon, and also began to ask myself…why do we as women in general allow ourselves to be treated this way? And why is it that men (and women too) think they can treat people so horribly? It is one thing to hear stories, and we all have stories, usually of a friend/sister/daughter/acquaintance, who went through domestic violence…but it is an entirely different thing to be faced with loving someone who honestly believes that they are better than you so you therefore exist to make them happy, and if you do not make them happy you are THEIRS to do with as they wish. Why do we as a collective allow ourselves to be treated this way?
I did an internship in college with the State Attorney’s Office, working alongside a domestic violence victim advocate. I LOVED it, and would take a job doing that in a heartbeat if I was offered one tomorrow. But one case sticks out in my mind, probably because it was the only one I saw go to trial, so it was a big deal. Anyway, the issue was essentially that the man had come home from work and was not pleased with the dinner his wife had provided. Literally. So his response to this was to punish her by throwing her against a wall and punching her in the ribs and face numerous times.
We are so much better than that. I know, I know, easier said than done…but it’s really not, if you think about it. It’s really just a matter of loving ourselves…something I think we could ALL use a little work on…
Pardon my ramblings tonight…it’s a brain-foggy sort of day…
When our lives revolve around someone, they don’t just stop revolving around them even if all that’s left is the grief and pain that comes with their memory.
This quote is from a wonderful piece of writing I read tonight about how relationships change us forever. It had me in tears because it was so beautiful and so exactly how I feel lately.
A visit to my therapist yesterday morning yielded more homework assignments…so here I go.
The big (scary!) task was to write HIM a letter; keeping in mind that he will probably never read it, but to write what I want him to know nonetheless.
I know you said you feel like I never loved you, and I understand why you feel that way, but I need you to know that that just isn’t true. I’ve loved you from the first minute I saw you, when you smiled that smile of yours at me…you know which one. The thing about the situation we are in is that it has nothing to do with my loving you, but it has everything to do with my loving myself.
I loved you every time I stood up to someone, and defended who you were and our love for each other. I loved you every time I sacrificed something for us; money, friends, time spent doing what I wanted to do in exchange for working to pay our bills, and more. But I was ok with all of that! I never held it against you, or resented you for what I had to sacrifice. However, when it became pieces of who I am that I was sacrificing, parts of what make me ME…that I wasn’t ok with.
I am strong, and strong-willed; I am smart and caring and funny; I am opinionated and firmly believe in my principles; I am beautiful from the inside out. But I’ve felt like i was losing that girl for a while now. Everything that I am has become somehow about you, and I miss me.
I told you many years ago, when we first met, that I was not ok with certain lifestyle choices I knew you liked to make. I warned you, I gave you an easy out, I said “Tell me now, I won’t be mad, but if you stay I have to be more important”…and of course you promised, I was so much more important you said, “it’s only weed” you claimed. I don’t know how to explain to you how betrayed I feel thinking about that, because it has become pretty obvious to me that I’m not more important. And I understand why, believe me I do, you have a disease…I get it. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. That doesn’t make me feel any less angry, or disrespected, or betrayed. In fact, that makes this all the harder…
It just makes the feelings I carry around because of this worse; the failure, the guilt, the “what if”s and “should I have?”s.
You told me recently that someday I’ll regret this, I’ll regret “throwing you away like trash”…well I need you to know that I already do. I regret that we got to this point, that we both made the choices we did. I regret how much this is hurting us both. But to regret something means “to think of with sorrow” or “a sense of loss”. Neither of those definitions mean I would take it back.
Do I wish I could go back in time and change things so we wouldn’t get to where we are? Absolutely. But this isn’t the movies, and they aren’t all my decisions to change.
I know that you think I’m to blame for this, you say you’ve changed and I’m the one doing this to us by not giving you another chance. Well I understand now why you feel that way. I understand that this is your normal; that you have never known any different family dynamic. But I have, and this can’t be my new family dynamic. It hurts too much.
It hurts me when you say I am not giving you a chance, because I have given you chances. It hurts me (and scares me) when you drink and become the tornado of fury that is you drunk (I know you don’t believe me, but it happens). It hurts me when you lie, and think you can do things behind my back; that feels like you think I’m too dumb to figure it out, and that hurts too. It hurts me when I feel like my feelings are so unimportant that you’d rather do what it is you want to do, and deal with me being angry later. It hurts me when you tell me I’m not really “that” sick. It hurt me when I was going through withdrawal, and knew it was because my pills had gone into your stomach, instead of mine where I needed them to be. And then it hurt me when you lied about it, and fed me half truths to get me off your back about it. It hurts me to realize that this isn’t the first time you’ve done something like this. It hurts me that you sat by and watched me go through withdrawal, knowing it was because of what you did, and said nothing. It hurt me every time I had to go to a social engagement alone, and make up some excuse for why you weren’t there. It hurts me to feel like people talk about that fact behind my back. It hurts me every time you left the house, because I knew you were going to buy beer, or weed, or maybe shoplift, and I had no idea if you would come home, or if I would get a call that you were in jail. It hurts me to feel like I was that unimportant to you, that you would take those risks, knowing the situation we were dealing with. It hurts me now, to come home to a house that is not a home anymore, it’s just an empty shell of the life we used to share. It hurts me to feel like I am an empty shell of that life too. I had so many plans for our life together, so many experiences I wanted to share with you, my best friend, that it hurts me to realize that all of that is gone now. It hurts me to feel that I have failed you, that I am giving up on you; and it hurts me that you feel that way too. It hurts me that because of this you will not be able to get the things you’ve been wanting and needing in your life for so long.
It just hurts, all of it. My soul hurts, and I’m not sure if or when it will stop. But this is what I need to do.
I truly hope you have changed, and that you will make yourself better because of this. I hope that you are happy again one day, and that your life becomes everything you want it to be.
I love you with all of my heart, and I will always love you…
Tonight I stopped at “home”…MY home; the apartment I am currently still paying for, but haven’t slept in for a while, and don’t plan to sleep in any time soon. The “home” that HE (the husband, ex, person-that-I-am-not-with-but-still-legally-married-to) is currently living in, and not paying for. Yeah, THAT “home”… (hence the quotes).
Anyways, I stopped there…I needed a few things, and kind of just wanted to check on the place. I wanted to see if he had actually done anything he was supposed to do (preparing to move out, mostly); and I wanted to make sure he was still feeding my cats, and not drinking or using, or trashing my house, etc.
When I got there, he wasn’t home…now, this is a GOOD thing, as I would really rather not see or deal with him right now. But it begs the question, where WAS he? I really don’t care…truly. But I do hope he was out arranging his life so that he can move out and I can have my apartment back…and I hope he wasn’t out obtaining or using drugs or alcohol. That’s all I care about…
For some reason though, walking into the empty apartment brought up a major rush of emotions. It’s my home, but it’s not my home. It’s like an empty shell of the life we shared together, sort of like how I feel…
All my things are there; my cats, my clothes, my makeup, photographs and pots and pans…yet i am not there, the essence of me is gone. It doesn’t feel like home…it doesn’t feel like I belong there anymore. All the photographs are still on the wall, from our wedding, and our entire life together…but it doesn’t feel like that’s me in the pictures. It feels like I’m looking at someone else’s life…an empty shell of someone else’s life…
So I cried, a good long cry. Because what else is one to do when one’s life isn’t their own?
One of the not-so-obvious things I’ve been struggling with lately because of this divorce is the lack of physical touch in my life now. I used to yell at him to stop pestering me with his incessant poking and squeezing and just generally annoying little touches, especially when I was having a painful day; so it didn’t occur to me until recently how much I am desiring physical touch in my life (and have been for a long time, because annoying poking doesn’t count!)
That, combined with the fact that the divorce is still a secret from everyone but those closest to me, leaves a very alienated and alone feeling.
A hug from a friend this morning who I know really cares helped, but it was fleeting…so I sit here wishing there was someone I could call and just say “come hold me please?”
The same good friend (unknowingly) reminded me of what used to be my mantra years ago when training in martial arts…”this too shall pass”…so I guess I will just remind myself of that instead.
This being alone, something I’ve never really done, has a learning curve…for real.
How am I spending my first sort-of “single” valentines day? Sitting on a stinky couch, in the back room of a shady biker bar, drinking Sprite and smoking a cigarette. At least there are plenty of interesting people to observe…
Not kidding, these just happened…right in front of my face…
And then there is the guy dressed in a cape, circulating around the room showing off his fangs and attempting to convince people to join him in his crusade to change the worlds opinion of vampires. Yes, vampires. “Vampires are the happiest people on earth”, he says, “because of course they can never frown, they would cut their lips on their fangs!” Naturally. Everyone knows that.
And of course the fortune teller that I have been listening to as she gives strange, very obviously absurd and made up, fortunes.
One year ago right now, I was laying in bed watching tv with my brand new husband (yes, actually WATCHING tv, you sicko).
Funny how only 365 days can change everything…