On the Other Side

The name of this blog didn’t seem to fit. My husband and I have made a new start. And that seems to be the point.

This is a different marriage.

I still can’t wear my first wedding ring. The thought rather makes me ill. That marriage fell apart in a slow drawn out process. I saw it and refused to believe. I found reasons to stay, until there weren’t any. The incoming tide washed our castle away. As it crumbled we raised our kids and pretended it wasn’t happening with every lap of the tide.

When I started this blog, I had no idea where we were going.  I did know I couldn’t do it anymore. See house with chain link fence (I hate painting fences) the dogs, cats, grandchildren running in the yard. It looked close to perfect I suppose. Curb appeal with no real structure to support it.

Last Valentine’s Day all I wanted was to be away from my husband. The poor sot was making an effort, in all the wrong directions. Me? I had no idea what to say to him anymore. We spoke different languages. Venus and Mars. I wasn’t even allowing him to touch me beyond a hug. How very smashed I was.

This year? We’ve started work on a new marriage. We both seem to understand how fragile, and precious a marriage is. Rather like a newborn infant. Marriage takes constant attention, nurturing and above all mutual respect. Perhaps this time we won’t get so wrapped up in life we forget to take care of us. Really, take care of us.

This morning, on my way home from work, I was hoping I didn’t miss him. That he hadn’t left for work before I got home. I just wanted to see and hold him. So, very, different from last year.

I’m not smashed, not totally inflated yet, but not smashed. And god it feels so much better here than it was there. Here there is hope. Something I thought had abandoned me.  I’m so glad I gathered the nerve to walk out into the unknown. I didn’t know this is where I would be. I just knew I couldn’t be there anymore.

It’s good to be on this side.

I think a lot about coming here, and then I find a reason not to. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because I’m not skipping through the daisies all happily ever after. Or perhaps because I don’t like to dwell or whine. More than likely it’s a combination.

It’s been about a year since my life was blown to hell, not that it was good before…cuz it wasn’t. It all rather sucked and I was planning my escape. Nothing can prepare one to find out their spouse has been unfaithful. The manner of the betrayal isn’t nearly as painful as the betrayal itself.

My trust in my husband was complete. It sounds silly  now. How we enter into a contract with another person and give them everything in a basket, topped with an elaborate bow. In a mere mortal. A flesh and blood human with all the wonder and flaw that makes us so completely frustrating creatures. Starry-eyed and in love it never occurs how completely venerable we are.

Trust is hard won and so easily destroyed. At this point forgiveness isn’t at issue. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t forgiven him. The trust? Now that’s fragile, a paper thin sliver of glass. Full of promise and hope as easy to fracture as spun sugar. I wish I could say, it’s over, I’m good, we’re good, but I just can’t. And the up coming anniversary has me very shaken.

The world before; he would never do anything close to cheating on me.

The world after; it happened. The unthinkable happened, and my view of the world will never be the same.

How could it? Do I think he’ll repeat the behavior? No, I don’t. The wound is still there. Healing ever so slowly it stretches the limits of my patience to places I didn’t think they could go.  It isn’t about him anymore. It’s about healing me. And you know what? I suck at it.

I’m doing the best I know how and the going is so slow. I suppose I’m holding myself to some unachievable standard by comparing my situation to  other people I know. And that’s pretty damned stupid. One can never judge one’s insides by another’s outsides. We never really know what burdens those around us carry.

So, if you’re in a similar situation and you still hurt (not a constant stab or ache) a once in awhile, oh my God, I wish this would stop kind of hurt. I’m starting to think it’s normal. At least I hope so.

Most of the reason I’ve been conspicuously quiet the last few weeks is that our daughter got married mid-September. The weeks leading up to were wild, and the week or so after? I’ve been laying low recuperating and nursing a cold.

My daughter and husband very nearly drove me to drink. “Talk to your daughter.” “Talk to your dad.” were my stock responses. I swear the two of them couldn’t organize a sandwich without instruction. Me? I prolly could have pulled off the royal wedding given the proper time and resources. Back to point. This was my daughter’s wedding. Not mine. Not his. Hers.

He thought me silly for making her responsible for finding things out, oh like, the cost of this or that.

She thought I should play go between with the dad. Em, that would be a no go. Smile, they survived without me.

The only crisis of the day was not being able to find the ring bearer’s pants. We found the pants, but not his socks. A minor casualty in the grand scheme of things. He didn’t care about socks anyway.

Husband freaked a tiny bit when his boss called for the second time. Blank stare. Really? I told him to turn the phone off and let the man hang. It was our daughter’s wedding. Stupid manager guy knew that. No work crisis on wedding day. Husband didn’t argue. Huh?

He turned off the phone, put it in his pocket and we enjoyed the evening in peace. People you have no idea how monumental this is. He put work on hold. HUGE!  This is the same man who almost made me come home on a train, by myself, after my mother died, because he was stressing about what his boss would say, do..ack.   It is so remarkably wonderful, I can not begin to express.

It looks as if we’re getting closer to where we need to be. I gave him more closet space today.  Don’t look at me like that.

We’ve had separate rooms because of his snoring for years. He had his own closet, and I had my two. They weren’t both filled with my clothes. There are extras for the grandkids, and my work uniforms. I moved the uniforms to my office closet and moved the rest of my stuff over so we aren’t so squished. I don’t share personal space happily. grin

He gave me a hug for my efforts and remarked that he knew how difficult it was. Change, the good sort, is afoot.

More Myself

The last week or so, I’ve been feeling more myself again. I’m not as raw, or as uncertain about myself as I was earlier this year.

As a general rule, I don’t care what other people think of me. The fact that most people ‘never’ think of me once out of their face is rather comforting and true. My confidence got a good thrashing when the marriage fell to pieces. Starting a whole new career? Insecure, who me? Em, yeah. I don’t seem to know how to do one change at a time.

At work, while I’m by no means as experienced as most of the women there, I’m good at what we do. Competent even, so if they want to make a fuss over things I do or don’t do, that’s on them. I’m done trying to make them happy. It isn’t an achievable goal. It’s better to enjoy myself while I’m there and pass it off to the next crew. I do what I’m supposed to, so they can bite me, or feel superior which they seem to do very well. Le sigh, no more dayshift stress. Done, over, not happening anymore.

I went to see a friend tonight. I had a gut feeling, which are never good, so I paid her a visit. When I got home my husband asked how she was and the only answer I could give him was, ‘the same.’  She didn’t agree with the separation. She’s not over it and I’m over her martyr nonsense. If she’s looking for an apology it isn’t happening. I don’t know what the hell she wants. Again, I’m done. There is only so much one person can do.

When I mentioned how defeated, deflated I’d been she gave me an incredulous look.

Really? Oh that’s right, you have all the problems. Alrighty then, you keep doing what you’re doing and I’m moving on. Sorry to see you fall behind. Shrug, there is no hope for it. She’s where she is, which isn’t even in the same universe with me. It happens, and I’m moving on.

I’m slowly reclaiming my house after leaving it to the men for three months. Note to self, don’t leave the men alone. They won’t vacuum and the carpet will be a nightmare. Oh yeah. It’s as clean as I’m going to get it. Shake my head. The kitchen cabinets are scary too. One is never sure what will fall from where, or when. Yep, men and cabinets don’t mix so much. Mine don’t get the ‘nesting’ concept of putting things away. I tried to teach it and failed miserably.

Tomorrow I have some clutter to file, toss or put away. If I feel brave enough, I’ll tackle the plastic container cabinet, maybe. smile

Lingering Doubt

There are little things my husband does which drive me to distraction. Getting too uppity about events (mania anyone?) or when he allows himself a temper tantrum over anything. He’s listening to me when I put the brakes on what I will and won’t listen to. I mean honestly, how many times do I have to be apprised of the blister on your hand from the rake. Really?  It’s a friction burn. I’m fairly confident that, given where we live and the sanity conditions, he isn’t at risk for an infection of any note.

Red flags go up. He’s at it again. Maybe I made a mistake thinking this could work.  The moment passes and he’s holding me, keeping the world at bay and my heart sings. Stupid heart. grin

Disconnect notices? OMG! The man has only been paying the bills four months, and we’re creating financial drama. This is in line with his nature. Our daughter’s wedding is mere weeks away. Something this big couldn’t go down without a hitch. Where would be the story of martyrdom and how he swooped in at the last minute to save the day? Off course there will be months of recovery, but we’ll soldier on.

Blank Stare. Em, no. We are not doing this, now or ever again. If you missed the memo, I’m giving you notice right now. Knock it off, buddy.

Oh and let’s add the added element of the unknown. Will she leave? This is so old and raggedy. Want an adrenaline rush? Go ride roller coasters. I’m serious.

It’s bad enough that the person who claims to be my best friend has gone completely off the deep end, now you want to follow? God save me from this unnecessary, destructive, hurtful behavior.  Oh, but it gets better. Should I do what they think I will then it’s all about their pain.

Shake my head.  Chaos, Confusion, Disarray? Em, yeah, No.

At this stage of the game, it will be my way or the highway on these things. The bills will get paid and, gasp, on time. I will not listen to rants about what could happen or might happen. We will continue to work the solution versus the problem.  I have absolutely no interest in worrying about things for which I have no control. I’m not going to join you in looking for or creating worry so that I can feel out of control. Nope. There I go being unreasonable again.

Am I perfect? Screws mouth to the side, okay so I’ve been spending money I shouldn’t. Steps have been taken to remedy the situation. First, I don’t need to make sure I have everything I might possibly need for the next two years. He isn’t going to get upset at me, so it’s time to stop before it gets WAY out of hand and I’m the one crying for being a putz.

I had worked myself into a state of crisis which isn’t anymore. Nice deep breaths. In two, three, four. Out, two, three, four. It will be okay, no matter what. Find balance.

Do I still want to go shopping? Of course I do. I love shopping, the thing is, I don’t have to buy. Time to pull out the time-honored occupation of Window Shopping.  I might slip here and there, I’m human after all.

So we need to have a discussion about the bills, budget and the like before I’m throwing things in my car again. I don’t ever want to feel what I felt that day in March ever again. Happily Ever After takes work. Crap, smile.

There is a line in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”, about the physics of the journey.  The gist of it is that every part of a journey of faith is important. Every hurt, truth, ache and revelation is there for a purpose, and if one pays attention to them no journey is wasted. You may find the message a little different, that’s because we’re all different.

About two years ago, I threw my life to God. (It’s always been there, I just forgot I wasn’t in charge.) My only prayer; The knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out.  It’s not all that profound, but simple always is remembered when I’m in crisis. I say it when I’m panicked, scared, unsure, late, broken-hearted. Why is a stupid question in the middle of the storm. There is no solution in why something is happening. In that moment why doesn’t matter how is. How do I fix this? How do I get out of this? How will I heal? And ,what’s the next step?

My journey officially started when I found a job so that I could move away from my husband. There is an empowerment to having an income, even a spartan one, so long as I could make it month to month I was fine.

Next? I decided that the house and all of the stuff didn’t mean anything to me. This stuff had no way of taking care of me, and it all had memories I’d rather have forgotten at the time. When I left I was prepared to ask for  nothing in a divorce, except my personal items.  It’s where I was. I’m still there in respect to the stuff. It’s nice to have the stuff, but without the marriage it is of no use to me. My income only affords for a little bitty place. Safe and little bitty rocks!

My eating changed when I started to work, and through no effort on my part I started to lose weight. Cool!  Getting too small for my clothes was a novel experience. So was learning to nurture myself.  The mom takes care of everyone else, right? Well without a healthy mom everyone suffers. I’ve always had pampering rituals, long bubble baths, I learned to do acrylic nails (frugal is a good description for me.)

This last year I added pedicures and I didn’t just give them to myself, gasp, I let someone help.  Pedi/manicures are expensive so they are a treat, all the same it’s part of taking care of me. While I was on my own they were part of my calming ritual. Money was set aside for that particular use, for me.  Every two weeks I had my nails done and once a month my feet. As nurturing goes I found the practice very healing.

Now my hands and feet looked good and my clothes were falling off. Literally. I had no idea if I was going to lose more or not. Off to second-hand stores I went. There are very nice things to be found in those stores. Okay, so there’s lots of crap too. I’m willing to sort through the garbage to come out with a gem or two for .10 cents on the dollar  if I were to buy them new.  There’s no excuse for not feeling good in your clothes. None. I don’t care what size you are or your budget, a little effort goes a long way to feeling better about you. And this most certainly was about me.

It all became about me, it had to. I was too broken for anything else. One friend said I was too skinny. My husband didn’t notice. My daughter was proud of me. My son? Indifferent, as well he should be. smile

For years I’d drive by this building on my way to the Interstate with a sign, CNA classes starting (fill in the blank). It was curious to me that I kept noticing it even after driving by a thousand and one times.  I needed a job I could take care of myself with. Guess what? Certified Nursing Assistants make pretty good wages, not stellar. Good enough for just me.

Some research discovered a way to get the training for no cost. State registration, license, and testing fees were up to me to pay. Classes were no charge. I could afford that!

I got through classes, got hired by the facility which trained me and before I knew it I was working nights and on my own. Earlier posts will verify how terrified I was. Guess what? I can take of myself. I don’t have to worry about every little thing.  My journey brought my husband back into my life. Suddenly faced with the possibility of losing me brought him around in short order.

Grateful, doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about this on going process of reclaiming the marriage and me at the same time.

Major lessons?

I’m the only one who can properly care for me. And it’s nice when someone else helps.

Working has greater rewards than a living. I’ve discovered what I love, what a gift.

Do what I love, just for the love of it.  I’ve the energy for my passions again. Squishing my toes in the mud as I garden brings me joy.  Walking the dog brings me peace. Work gives me a sense of accomplishment. Bargain shopping feeds my ego and brings an impish grin to my face.

With or without him, I’m whole and worthy of a good life.

Find your happiness where and when you can.

There I am!

Sounds silly, but it’s the truth. I see me, and yet I’m not there yet.  Given my nocturnal work hours, I decided I’d have to do my gardening on my schedule. The neighbors think I’m loopy for sure. My husband has a flood light to work on cars. Take one very long extension cord add light and garden at night. The weeds are still winning the war. I’ve taken some decisive battles though, so I feel good about that.

Being interested in the yard at all is nice. The roses are blooming. They always remind me why I do what I do. Is huffing roses against the law? Grin

My basic, boiled down to the point of brass tacks problem? Lack of trust. Time takes time, as does new history on which new trust is built. It’s hard to invest without blindly trusting. The trust of our marriage was destroyed. Not torn, injured, dented, or scuffed; destroyed. If that weren’t enough the best friend I had here (we’ve lived all over hell’s half-acre) dropped me on my ass when I moved out. Double whammy. Clutching chest, grasping imagined jewel encrusted dagger where it’s lodged in my heart.

My prose was a bit purple that last bit? Okay, we’ll forego any further embellished drama, even though it is ever so much fun to write. Me in a mood? What?

Today I took our daughter to be fitted for her wedding dress. The wedding dress for the occasion I dreaded dealing with if her dad and I were still separated. I really didn’t want this to interfere with her magical day. One source of stress off of my plate.  How did the dress fit? Em, well, ah, it, she’s lost 20 lbs. We were able to trade the one we ordered for one in the store. Fist pump, YES! The fitting went well.   My baby!  She only belongs to him when I’m mad at her. smile

The road to recovery is a long one. Shorter than if we’d divorced, but still a grind. Things were so much simpler when we were young. The sting of love was shorter lived, no less painful, just shorter.

So, I’m glad to be home. Happy to give the neighbors something to talk about. Okay, thrilled with that one. My husband and I continue to work well together. Yip!

On the flip side I’ve got to speak with this friend. I’d rather ignore the entire situation. I really would. The panic in my chest says that’s not going to cut it, so I’ll find a way to suck it up and talk to her. Chances are good nothing will be resolved for us. For me? Once I tell her how I feel I can put it to bed. And this really, really needs to be put away.