If I left…
If I stayed…
I don’t generally write poetry. I used to frequently when I was in my teens, but I lost patience for it along the spiderweb path of adulthood. Rarely ever do I write poetry for the sake of poetry. It is an art and I have other crafts to delve into, yet, when words fumble and tumble in the blender of my mind, sometimes poetry is the only thing that jumps out with even coming close to holding the ability to express the turmoil inside.
I’ve been away from my now ex-husband for over 4 years. I have many fond memories of my time married to him, but I also have many nightmares. There are times I sit and think, maybe it wasn’t that bad – and then there are others when I remember the minutes and hours I wished I could disappear. It was heaven and it was hell. It was joy and horror. So many opposites that don’t belong in any relationship much less a marriage. I recently had a coworker ask me what it was like being in that short of relationship. I hadn’t been asked that so specifically before and I am sure I rambled quite a bit. Some days were great, but on average, there were moments of great in days of angst. It was a roller-coaster, a runaway car, a roll of the dice, or shake of the magic 8 ball. I never knew what was going to happen next. What was his mood going to be like when he got home from work? What was he going to be like when he woke up? If he stormed out of the house because he got mad at me for not having it tidy (after I worked a 8-10hr day mind you often while he was unemployed), would he come back? Did I want him to?
I consoled myself by saying that maybe it was a communication issue. Maybe we just didn’t know how to talk to each other. Don’t bring up the fact that all we did was talk for 99% of our courtship prior to getting married. My doctor has suggested I seek therapy to work through the emotional and verbal abuse I experienced over the 15-16 years of marriage. I suppose it could help, but really for me, being able to write about it and get it down and out helps the most. As I’ve found with many writers, making the words come out of our fingers works way better and makes more sense than making the words come out our mouths. I know one of the things that I am still struggling against is several “lies” he’s told me. I know they are lies, yet when you hear something often enough they tend to stick around.
How do you heal from wounds that you can’t see yet can still feel? I like saying time, but not all wounds heal with just time. So I decided to write. Eventually I will probably write a story with him as a character…
I know I am not the only one who has gone through this, and I know that there are people out there going through this now – so, here are the lies that he told me.
-I am stupid.
-I can’t hold an intelligent conversation
-I wouldn’t make a good mother
-I can’t make decisions for myself
-I’m a horrible cook
-I am a horrible house keeper
-I am frumpy and unattractive
-I have no will power
-I am a horrible driver
-People don’t really like me, they fake it
I’m sure there are others, however, let me make my retorts to this. I have to have a truth to go with these lies.
-I have an AA and a BA, and a good solid amount of common sense. (he has an AA and has dropped out of at least two BA/BS programs)
-I hold conversations for a living. I’ve been doing that for over 18 years. I’m pretty sure I can hold an intelligent conversation.
-I have yet to meet another person who agrees with him. A mother is all I ever have wanted and he knew that.
-I made 99% of all the day to day decisions in our relationship when it came to the running of the house. I also seem to be doing pretty darn good at making choices for myself.
-If you looked at the weight we both gained, you could tell that I was a darn good cook!
-I will say that I am not a great house keeper, mainly because I stopped trying to keep house trying to get him to help and pitch in. I am working on being a better house keeper, but while things may be cluttery, overall the house is in good shape.
-Everyone has frumpy moments. I may not be the size 8 jeans I was when we met, but I am still super cute!
-I didn’t kill him. That took way more will power than words could ever express.
-All the friends we seem to have lost when we were together, are friends with me once again with him out of the picture… hm……
There were days I wondered if I left if he’d even notice. If I stopped breathing would he even care? I was never suicidal, but it still made me wonder. Sure my will power/self control is lacking in many areas, because that was what I turned to when I couldn’t turn to him. Shopping, cooking, eating… hiding in bed – they all became my escape from the life that I was living. It wasn’t the life I wanted. It wasn’t what he promised when we were engaged. He promised me love without end. I remember him telling me how our children would never doubt how much their father loved their mother. Our children – another thing he avoided having at all costs. I am glad that I don’t have to worry about them and having him in their life still, but at the same time – I just wanted to be a mother.
Towards the end I started accusing him of false advertising. Everything we did as a couple prior to getting married (movies, dancing, talking about my writing) suddenly were things he hated after we got married. To the point that he would walk out of movies, refuse to dance with me (even at a family wedding), and claim that being as I can’t hold an intelligent conversation with him, that I am a crappy writer as well. While the divorce was his idea, I was so ready to go with it that I honestly say it was a joint decision. Given how the relationship had evolved, or devolved, it could have been very ugly. I think it hurt the most that he cried when I took the cats (it was something we agreed on) but not when I left. It took me two years to realize and accept the fact that I was a victim of abuse. He never really laid a violent finger on me, so he has never thought he abused me at all. I have to learn to make peace and forgive someone who will most likely never understand that they did something that I need to forgive them for. That’s hard. It is much easier to forgive someone who is sorry for their actions. The man I thought I was marrying would have apologized. Too bad that man wasn’t around as much as I thought he would be.
It’s a never ending process it seems. A complete work in progress. If I saw him on the street, being me, I would probably still say hi. I’d ask on how his family is, even though I still keep in touch with his dad and step-mom. I won’t let me become someone who I am not, but at the same time, I am not who he thought I was, and I probably am not who he thinks I am. I am okay with that. I will treat him as I would any other person I know, but am not great friends with. I have to accept the fact that those 16 years of my life and the 4 following (yes, this year would have been our 20th anniversary wow!) are influential in the ways I cope with stress and anxiety. I am still figuring out who I am because the years I spent with him I certainly found out who I wasn’t and who I didn’t want to be. I think the only thing I would change if I had it to do over, would be to take my marble rolling pin and my measuring cups! I should have taken more stuff when I left, but I was so ready to be gone, I wanted out. I can always buy another marble rolling pin, but honestly, the wood one my grandma had works just fine. I have got new measuring cups. They aren’t as solid as the old ones, but they can still scoop brown sugar without bending. Anyone who is reading this and feels like it is similar to what they are going through, know you aren’t alone. You never have been. You’re not the crazy or toxic one. Get out when you can. Every situation is different, but you deserve better.