It has been one year and four months since the night he didn’t want to come home and I texted “Then I think we should get a divorce”. I capped off the evening with a giant Xanax and a call to my mom explaining that my marriage was over for real this time. That night seems like forever ago. Surreal almost. I bet it’s like childbirth- an event so traumatic that our brains simply won’t allow us fully remember the pain, instead it’s broken into hazy memories punctuated with clear, brief, visceral emotional response.
But, for the first time in YEARS- I feel like me again!
Granted, I am back in my hometown, living in the house I grew up in, teaching for the district that I spent all my schooling in and dining at the hole-in-the wall Mexican places that were around 20 years ago- but I have grown. I am different. I am confident, independent and damn proud of my accomplishments. I am definitely not used to looking in the mirror and liking what I see. Typically, I am hypercritical. My arms are too flabby, my nose is too pronounced, my knees bend in a weird way and my C-section scars are too visible and puffy. I have never felt particularly comfortable in my own skin. But, I had to force myself to flip the script. I had to learn to love myself before I would ever begin to heal the real scars. I read books, listened to podcasts, reconnected with old friends, planned weekends away, splurged on massages, went shopping for art and began scouring Facebook for new LulaRoe prints. I became obsessed with bold colors and patterns in effort to beautify my new life.
It seems the more I do for myself, the easier it becomes and then I start wondering what the hell have I been doing for the past 10 years?? When did I get lost in the mix? When did I lose myself in the role of mother, wife and care-taker? When did I let life take over and spit me out with a vengeance? When the fuck did I decide that was the woman I wanted to be or how I wanted to define my life? I let “co-dependent caretaker with an alcoholic husband” become my moniker.
I have my life back. It sounds so.fucking.selfish. So selfish. I know. It has taken over a year to say sorrynotsorry. I do not give a damn.
I don’t live every day feeling less than anymore. I felt deeply ashamed that I couldn’t keep my husband happy. I felt ashamed that he cheated on me. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t a good enough wife or mother. I believed that I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, interesting enough, sexy enough or talented enough. I started truly believing that I would never be enough. I told myself that I was just lucky to have a handsome husband, a nice house and good children. I didn’t believe that I could have it all. I rationalized that since I had a fairly decent life on the outside, I needed to settle with constant anxiety and inadequacy on the inside. I began to resign to the fact that a big, deep, supportive, loyal love wasn’t in the cards for me. I didn’t believe I was cut out for that kind of love.
I deserve it all. We ALL deserve it ALL!
So now, 480-ish days later, I can say I have done pretty fucking well picking up the shattered pieces. I haven’t drank alcohol in 13 months. I lost 40 pounds…then gained back 8. I have doubled the gray hairs on my head with a new career that passionately fulfills me. I have cultivated a home filled with all my favorite people and things. I have remained calm and collected while negotiating a co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband. I have become financially independent.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would end up here. I was 6 weeks late moving into our house (due to a squatter situation that I will write about later), I am a first year teacher learning how to manage 150 pubescent 8th graders and I am working my hardest to keep my own kids happy, healthy and sane through a incredibly difficult transition, but I am here. I am standing on my own two feet, feeling the fear and doing it anyways.