May 17, 2016

The first day of my life

Well, here it is.

A year ago, my husband spent the day with his friends and his son, ran a few last minute errands. He rented a car, packed it full of his belongings, kissed our son goodnight, and tearfully said goodbye to me before he drove off into the night, heading back north to Chicago.

The poem I wrote that night:

I didn't cry that night, or the next morning. It took a while for me to feel anything other than relief, to be honest. I don't know if I've missed him at all since he's left - him specifically, that is, or if I have just missed company, adult conversation, and an extra set of hands to help with raising a child.

It's been a year, but it felt like a decade. I feel like I've aged a lot more than just a few hundred days. I feel more mature in a lot of ways, and I feel very strong - I've had so much thrown at me this year, I feel ready to handle nearly anything. But I also feel weak, and I feel afraid, and I feel very anxious about what happens now: the closure, and the resolutions to come.

I feel very different from the person I was five years ago, before I met him. It was such a brilliant time in my life - I was the healthiest I'd ever been, and my confidence was through the roof. I looked good, I felt great. I was on top of the world. And then I met Matthew, and I knew immediately he was wrong for me, but still, I felt drawn to him. I loved him so much, and that's the most painful part of looking back: seeing all that love, and finally realizing how one-sided it was. And now, the consequences: responsibilities, of course, but also - the anxieties and scars I'll need to explain to any future partners. I'm worried about letting anyone get close - if something wrong could hurt this much, imagine the recovery from something that felt right! And I worry that I'll never trust anyone again. He hurt me so much, I begged him to stop, I asked him why he would keep doing things after I told him how much pain it caused me. He never had answers, and the apologies were unbelievable since they weren't accompanied by plans to do things any differently.

I hope it'll be a lot easier to explain to someone when they're actually scars. Right now, even a year removed, it's still very much an open wound.

I've done a lot of processing lately on why I stayed with (and why I came back to) someone so completely wrong for me, and even though it doesn't change everything from the last five years, it's helping me get on a better path with a clearer vision for the future.

No more selling myself short.

No more settling.

I didn't make my weight loss goal of being at or under 299 by today. I held myself together while he was in town, then had a string of very difficult days in a row once he left - he got back to Chicago and started calling, demanding, arguing. Lots of stuff related to the impending divorce, and it triggered me. I'm down from where I was a year ago when he left, though, which is what matters most to me. That after a year on my own, even with a few very difficult months and a large regain, I managed to pull myself together, dust myself off, and get back on the path to my healthiest self.


Unknown said...

I know I've been very quiet lately (which is never a good sign), but I'm always lurking. And I am so very proud of you. You have come SO far this year...not even sure if you realize exactly how far that is in terms of your wholeness. But your 'voice' is sure, and that's always a good indicator with you. :) Congrats on your only gets better (and easier) from here. And don't worry too much about future relationships...take it from one who's been there. When the right one comes along, you'll know it. And there will be no hesitation on your part. {{{hugs}}} :)

Unknown said...

Hey there! Just sending hugs and support. I've been there.

Running Meg said...

You made it through the first year. You'll make it through the next and the next and the next. Because you are amazing!

Vickie said...

I had several thoughts as I read.

First I was aware how we (many of us) have the same relationship with many kinds of food as what you describe with your husband. Craving, going back for more, of what is self destructive for us. Same pattern.

I wondered if you have a therapist. I have had one for many years. I think most of us need one. Makes a huge difference in recognizing patterns and stopping them. For those if us with children, it is especially important.

And I was just listening to a woman who has been in the process of divorce for a year. She now simply says - please contact my lawyer - when her husband brings up any divorce/custody related topic. She has to talk to him about the kids regularly (schedules, pick up times, etc). But she does not get pulled into any other conversations with him. She does not get upset. She simply disengages. A gentle, kind - please contact my lawyer. She does not get drawn in by him. For her, this is helping her keep her sanity. And I have thought a lot about that - boundaries, not getting drawn in, gentle while protecting ourself, disengaging. It applies to a lot of things.

Vickie said...

I have written this many times. One should not date, in any way, until a full year after the final divorce papers are signed. So not a year after separation. A year after final divorce date. Minimum. This is really important.

And it is best, in my opinion, to keep dating and childen TOTALLY separate. As in they should not meet, at all.

And I think we absolutely do repeat patterns. We gravitate toward the familiar without realizing it. I think this usually relates back to our family of origin. We are often filling in a need for something missing from our family of origin, childhood. Or we gravitate toward something that was there, even if it was not good. We are a product of how we were raised, very often.

You have a huge advantage in having distance from your family and from your husband, I think. A real opportunity to sort things out and improve. When you are surrounded, sometimes it is very hard to see.

As I said, a therapist was the smartest thing I ever did.

It is very interesting, to me, now, to watch the patterns in my mother. Most of the patterns remain the same.

Vickie said...

I have been back reading the archives of Amy on Alpha Mom. She writes under the pen name of Amalah.

I wish she had been around when my kids were small. A lot of her topics are very helpful. Her comments also offer a lot of good information. (The breastfeeding information is a little off, but it still offers me an explanation of why mothers today are all about the pump, even if they are right there next to the baby. . .) She covers a wide variety of very interesting topics. Really helpful, as I said. I have been passing the link on to mothers with small children in blog land and in real life.

And I wanted to suggest that Amalah/Amy is the only one I read on Alpha mom. Some of the other parenting advice (other writers on that blog site) is actually very dysfunctional, in my opinion.

Maia said...

I've recently revisited your blog after a long absence (as I'm working hard back on my weight loss journey and I followed you before when I was losing so I wanted to be sure to do what worked before, hence the revisiting now.) I can't say I know exactly everything that you've experienced and what you will continue to feel and go through emotionally. I can only say that as having just helped my mother get through a very painful divorce that it is going to be tough for quite a while. But you will start to get better. And you will never be able to be who you were before the divorce, because you will be better. You are a fighter and you learn from your mistakes. You will take the lessons you learned from this and you will continue fighting.

You go this. Go you!

Amy said...

While I haven't been divorced before to the father of my child... I have been through an earth shattering break-up. It rattled me to my core and at the end of that relationship I was left with a person I no longer recognized. I worked really hard to find myself again, and I met my husband 15-16 months after my break-up. I was still certainly guarded, and wounded (some scars, some open). And he healed the remaining parts of me that I couldn't heal alone.

I truly believe one day you will meet that person that will regain your trust in relationships, because it will just work, and you'll trust because you just know deep in your soul that it is right and he wouldn't hurt you like that. You just have to believe you deserve that. I get that that is a very very hard thing to accept for yourself, especially when you still feel raw and broken. I worked really hard at that "I deserve this" mentality - give yourself the grace to deserve the life you see for yourself.

It's been a long year, but you've made SO much of it! So proud of you!!

Unknown said...

Wow, just wow. I am new to your blog. I found it in the list of top 50 bloggers that we are both on. Reading this post took me back to when I left my ex husband. I actually could feel what you described emotionally through the entire post. You are strong and even though your wounds are still open they will heal and they will scar and you will be able to look back with less pain and look forward with less anxiety and fear. Please feel free to check out my blog where I talk a lot about my experience as well (and weight loss of course)