In my year of blogging, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about my journey as a divorced woman - - a journey of discovery….in discovering who I am and who I want to be. My mission is to be as transparent as I can appropriately be. Recently, I've discovered that there is one place where I have not been so transparent - - both in my blog and in my life. I have hidden a painful place so deep inside me that it doesn’t see the light of day. These forgotten fears/emotions/hurts are like weeds…..waiting dormant until the opportune moment (or in my case, typically the most inopportune moments).
Why bring up something that is past history?? Why dredge up old feelings?? Is it appropriate?? Is it helpful?? Will I look like a victim?? Well…..it’s time. As the old Randy Travis song says…..I’m digging up bones…..exhuming things that are better left alone. It’s time to let those things see the light of day. Left in the dark, they subtly color my feelings…..cast a hue on circumstances…distorting them ever so slightly….and then….my coping mechanisms kick in and I want to run and hide…..walk out….leave the room…..end a relationship……or better yet….hide in my anger….or in my harsh words.
My ex-husband’s affair with a close girlfriend shattered my world….it pierced the illusion I had that our marriage was good and was strong - an illusion I completely bought into. People would ask me, “How could you not know??” or simply state, “you must have known on some level.” Those words pierced my heart even deeper…..how could I have not known?? I am pretty perceptive……how did I not pick up on it?? How did I not see it?
In truth, the x and my friend were very good in their deception - - they lied, they manipulated, and they were careful….very careful. I felt like such a fool! I lost trust in my X, I lost trust in my friends, and most devastatingly, I lost trust in myself….in my gut.
Their affair caused me to feel:
Less of a woman - - I was not enough for him….emotionally….physically. My friend seemed to be all I wasn’t - creative….beautiful….tall…..model thin body… with an air of “please rescue me..” The hardest part was his explanation...... “Becky, it wasn’t about the sex…..I just liked her better….she is my best friend.” Ouch!! The sex I could attribute to a midlife crisis (a Porche would have been better)…..but the emotional connection screamed simultaneously….. “You aren’t enough” and “Becky, you are just too much!!”
Alone - my friends had to pick sides as we were all “one big happy family” and now they had four very unhappy people in a big mess. In one fell-swoop I lost my husband, my girlfriends, my position as a pastor’s wife, my support group…. People would call……. but sometimes I wondered if it was more for the latest gossip than to actually support me.
Angry - so.. so very angry - angry at God for allowing this to happen….angry at myself for allowing it to happen…..angry at my life…..angry at my house out in the country isolating me……just freaking angry! I wanted to build a big bonfire and burn every memory we had together!! Instead, I took apart my beautiful king sized four-poster Rice Bed,…put it in the basement…..threw away my sheets, pillowcases, and comforter…. and slept on the floor.
Afraid - what would happen next?? Would anyone want me again?? I felt like a chipped and broken tea pot on the clearance aisle at Home Goods….unwanted…..headed to the Island of Misfit Toys….lost in oblivion…… I was ashamed....ashamed of telling people that my husband had an affair.....ashamed of what it seemed to say about me as a woman...as a wife. Like Hester Pryne....I felt like I had a big A on my chest for all to see and for all to judge...and I didn't even commit the offense..
How would I support myself?? Where would I go?? What would I do?? My fear paralyzed me for a good year….I couldn’t function…I couldn’t think….all I could do was sit on the floor and cry. Nights were scary. I was used to having a man in the house. Living on a 650 acre farm….every noise….every creak terrified me….screamed to me that I had no one to protect me.
Lost…..so….so…so utterly lost…..and hopeless….feeling unattractive ….unloved. My ex was more worried about the “other woman” and what she was going through than with taking care of his wife whom he had promised to love and to cherish….. I had spent 16 years with him….does that not count for something?? Everything I had worked for…sacrificed for… my carefully built home was damaged. I had made the decision to stay home with my family for 11 years….to take care of them… to love them. Everything I knew was about being a wife and a mom and about running our small businesses…..Now what??
After about a year of being a victim….feeling powerless…..I decided to get up….put on my big girl boots….be strong…..and create my life the way I want it. I pushed all thoughts and fears into the recesses of my soul...never to see the light of day again. The problem is….. the issue can be…. that I never…ever want to go back there again! I don’t want to be in a position where I don’t know….can’t see….or just am not aware that the love is gone. I am like a sentry - on guard - searching out possible threats….creating scenarios in my head of danger…..and allowing beautiful things to be colored with shades of fear.
Those colors and hues affect my perception....my relationships....even the relationship I have with my children - - I am terrified that they will find me lacking just as my X did - - that their lives are forever changed. I know I am not the mom that I used to be...with family dinners...games...vacations...outings....and quite honestly, it makes me defensive....very, very defensive.
In 30 days, it will be 5 years since the discovery of my X’s affair and it is finally time to face the scary things…. to know them… to allow the hurt to come to light…..to be open and not hidden….and be a beautiful part of who I have become…not to wallow and get stuck…. but to acknowledge where I have come from and what I have gone through….. acknowledge it…. respect it…. And not be afraid of it.
So this is the year of Reclaiming. Reclaiming my hope.....reclaiming my life.... Restoring the things that were lost...that seemed forever gone. Last year was about finding out who I want to be - - this year is about remembering who I was.....and more importantly....remembering the beauty and not just the pain.
Becky Blogs at www.divorced-diva.blogspot.com
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