The realization that there was NOTHING I could have done to save my marriage. Even if I did every single solitary thing the counselors said, we would have failed anyway, in the end, as he would have figured out he was gay eventually. This feels like....relief. Justification. Almost "I told you so." You see, inside I knew I was trying like crazy to fix us, to fix me, and I knew he wasn't trying. Not as hard as I was. And he continued to blame me, label me a failure, and I bought in to that. His accusations fit my insecurities, and made me feel totally unworthy of love. But I need to own that I bought into that, because I did. But now I feel relief. It wasn't me.
Justification is the part of me that sees now that not only was it not me, but that adult voice inside of me that knew he really wasn't trying has been completely vindicated. And the war inside of me between my childish, unsure self and my calmer, much more knowing adult voice has just found its clear winner. After 45 years!
LISTEN, girl! Hear what you now know. Your adult intuition has known all along what your childish self refused to relent. He didn't try. He lied, again and again. And you weren't too stupid to figure it out, you were too scared to stand and say "No!" But you lost your marriage anyway, and as it turns out, it's a financial hardship, but that's all. Almost every part of you lives in more truth now, and that can never be anything but a blessing.
Why does it feel different? My voice is different, it fears no lie now, but demands truth. My eyes are different now. Mr. Hate is not some hero, some out-of-my-league prize to show off to my high school enemies and thus refute their dismissal of me. He is no more than a man, and a pretty poor example at that.
In this moment, warmed by the thin winter sun and feeling the first stirrings of real power and knowledge inside, know that there is NO FEAR. Safe and warm and grounded in the knowledge of truth, feel your strength. Seriously. Hold on to this feeling, and use it to go forth and be better than you ever thought you could. No. Wait. Turn that around. Go out and be exactly who you have always known you could be. It's all in there, and it always has been.
Why do I feel different? Because I see now that my childish self didn't believe in me, and I married someone who didn't believe in me either, and in all honesty, I used him. I hid from what I was afraid of anyway and I hid behind him and blamed him for blocking me.
He's not there now. What's blocking me now is me, and knowing that, not being willing to hide anymore, makes me feel different.
What else feels different? The idea of dating again feels different. I won't have to present like someone else's reject. It's not that I failed as a wife, it's that I wasn't a boy.
OH MY GOD. "Dr. Freud, paging Dr. Freud...." Did I just write that? Mystic crystal revelations flying today! My father didn't stick around because I wasn't a boy, and neither did my husband. Seriously?
But for the first time I can see that it's not so simple. They left because they needed something else. And really it has nothing to do with me, who I am and what I did or didn't do. It has to do with them. No judgement, just different needs. But how many years have I spent wearing a horse hair shirt, flogging myself for not being enough, not feeling wanted, or chosen? Being chosen isn't about the offering, it's about the chooser. Giving these men so much of my energy and emotion was my choice. Knowing that it was me all along makes me feel different.
I feel different because now I know I can parent how I want, spend money how I want, decorate how I want, LIVE how I want. I feel different because seeing how deceptive and just plain WRONG Mr. Hate was in his choices punches up how right so many of mine have been. But not in relation to his choices, that's not exactly what I mean. I mean that now, today, I am standing firmer in my choices and realizing that in a lot of ways I am very, very smart. Very smart. My intuition is quite sound, and I feel I have proven it.
How is it different? How can it not be? I see my life entire now. I did not fail at my marriage, I was deceived, and I chose to deceive, and I do not choose that anymore. Truth brings a clarity and with it a tidal swell of strength that I have sorely needed. At first I was upended, carpet pulled out from under me, terrified. TERRIFIED. Blind, thrashing, wounded.
Now I am stood upright, grounded, blinking in the sun. Not abandoned, but definitely "left alone" in the "stop getting in my way leave me alone and let me get on with it" left alone. Let go. Freed.
I feel different because I am free of the burden of his happiness, free from the shackles of his limitations and insecurities, and released from the ropes of my own making. Not only can I run the race set before me, but I will run it. With focus and with purpose.
Because I am different now.