I don't write much about my previous life- aka my first marriage. That time of my life, basically most of my precious twenties, is a time I have blocked off for survival purposes. I read a lot of heartache on blogs and facebook posts and news stories and those often trigger memories of what I went through in a very unhappy marriage. I push back, repress, shake out of the forefront of my head so as not to remember, and if I don't remember, then it didn't happen. If it didn't happen then my twenties weren't lost on someone who didn't love me. They weren't wasted on trying to fix someone who didn't want fixed. They weren't thrown away like they were worthless. Though I choose to say that I gained the rest of my life when I left him, it's hard not to be sad that I can't get those years back. Though I lost that precious time, I gained wisdom, life lessons, and a certain peace that I don't think I would've had until much later in life. I'm grateful for that.
People often tell me that they are amazed at my kindness or my outlook, or my wisdom beyond my years. Without going into painful details of why I am like this, I smile and acknowledge these compliments, knowing that of course, I paid a price to get here. Though I will never relive those moments in my blog, I am ready to write about one particular day that changed so much for me. By writing about it, I hope to give something positive to someone else who might be going through something similar.
I'd like to add that honestly and truly, I have forgiven myself and my ex-husband for those years of misery. Myself first - for not calling off the wedding when I knew deep down I was settling for someone not worthy of me, and for thinking I could save someone whose definition of happy was very different from mine. I forgive him as well, for not stopping the cycle of abuse that he lived through as a child, for not being strong enough to find better ways to communicate his feelings, for all the times I found his wedding ring in his pocket, for destroying my self-esteem out of jealousy for my beautiful childhood/upbringing, and for making me think I wasn't lovable. Forgiving him was the greatest gift I ever gave myself....but that is a blog for another day. I will say this. You cannot expect God (and no, this is not a religious post or ploy, just a statement) or anyone else to forgive you, when you have not forgiven others. Forgiveness is tricky - and it is a two way street. You must learn to forgive - no matter what someone has done - even the 'unforgiveable' whatever your definition of that is - for your own sake - for your own healing - let it go. Resentment of any kind is like a cancer that spreads through you and takes your life, leaving nothing but a shell of emptiness and sorrow. Forgiveness, however, can be liberating, exhilarating, and even rewarding if you can learn to do it. I didn't say forget. I don't know that we ever truly forget the pain we've been through, but we make peace with the pain, and we learn from it. That's just me though.
Moving along with Baker Street.
I was in what would turn out to be the last painful year of this mistake of a marriage. I was a walking shell of a woman. Put together on the outside, though just barely, but empty and lost on the inside. Questions swirled constantly in my head, Why doesn't he love me? What is wrong with me? Why aren't I enough? Why is nothing good enough? I remember friends around me who didn't know me well always saying how lucky I was to have it "all" - a husband, a beautiful home, a healthy baby, a successful restaurant. I would smile and nod, thinking I must be doing a pretty good job of fooling people. But then there were my true friends who watched in fear, worry, horror as their vibrant, outgoing, funny childhood friend withered like a dying plant before their eyes. They knew. But the states between us kept a safe distance from my real pain, and the nightmare I was living.
One day, the three of us went to the mall, most likely to look for new things to falsely fill up our emptiness we felt with each other. Not even this perfect baby boy could fill the void in our marriage. Although for me, this little baby filled me up with a strength and courage I was never able to find before...and eventually would be the reason for me leaving. He was like the Miracle Grow on my wilting plant life. I was infused with hope and love and a desire for a life full of love and promise again. I was pushing the stroller through a store, my ex off wandering somewhere else, when something profound struck me.
It was the song Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty . I had heard the song a million times before, but that day it was like it was being sung for me, to me, about me. It was so eerie - so deliberate - so enlightening.
You used to think that it was so easyThat was me. All of my life everything was easy. My childhood, my friends, my family, my everything. I never knew pain. I never knew how incredibly lucky I was that my parents loved each other and did everything they could to provide a happy childhood for us. I spent my years cackling with friends, giggling at every turn, dreaming of an endless supply of opportunity for me, for my life - and yet here I was, living the nightmare instead of the dream.
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're tryin', you're tryin' now
Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
But you're cryin', you're cryin' now
And I kept saying - - maybe if, maybe when, maybe soon - I'll be happy. . . but I was crying. I was crying now.
So I thought to myself in the middle of that store as tears welled up in my eyes "just one more year and then I'll be happy?" No effing way. This song was shaking me telling me to wake up. And call it Divine Intervention - a fluke - a twist of fate - I woke the hell up.
And when you wake up it's a new mornin'And that was the beginning of my plan. I knew there was a better life for me. A better life for my little guy. And what the hell, a better life for my ex, too. He wasn't a bad guy - he deserved to be happy with someone who was right for him. I deserved and was worthy of someone to love me for me, and this baby was worthy of a happy childhood like I had. I didn't think he should pay the bill for our mistakes. Everyone has the right to be happy - and sometimes - just because they aren't the right one for you doesn't mean they aren't the right one for someone.
The sun is shining it's a new mornin'
And you're going, you're going home
It was painful for both of us when I left - but we pushed through it - knowing that we both deserved a better day. He is happy with someone that is right for him - and I am married to the love of my life as well. I look at each day that I have as a second chance that I will not blow. I will not waste. I will not look back.
Sometimes the universe sends us a little help in our darkest hours, you just have to be listening, looking, and open to the hints. What you do with them is up to you...we all wind our way down Baker Street at some point in our lives don't we?
Cheers and Love,