Some thoughts as my ex-husband and I enter into new relationships.
This is hard. So very hard. I am having a harder time with this than I thought I would. As I see my ex give his new girlfriend the love and affection I begged him for, there are so many thoughts I am having. Was I not good enough for it? Was I not worth the fight? The effort? The journey?
Was I ever loved at all?
Yes. I was. But not in the way that I wanted. And not in the way he wanted either. This is why we failed. We were wrong for each other, but due to our desire to not look like failures, we stayed in a marriage that was wrong for us, and wrong for our daughter. We were teaching her that “love” meant sitting on the couch, not speaking, looking at our phones and spending time in separate rooms. We were showing her that love was not hugging or kissing, or holding hands in public, that love was boring and gray. Now we are showing her that love is going out for adventures and holding hands so tightly that sometimes it hurts. It means sitting in a different kind of silence; one that is full of satisfaction and contentedness.
She is seeing that it’s okay to leave if you aren’t happy. That her father and I, and herself in extension, are worth so much more than a mundane life. We all deserve the happiness we are pursuing.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned a very hard lesson. And to be honest, I’m surprised with myself about how long it has taken for me to learn this. For the most part, I’ve always thought that people were kind and trustworthy. Over the past year or so, I’ve become so much more in tune to how easy it is for people talk about the one individual who isn’t in the room. The topic of conversation so easily shifts from the weather to “So did you hear what she said? Oh. My. God.”
I’m amazed that I’ve gone for so long thinking that my secrets were safe with people. That even my NON-secrets were safe with people. But it’s not true. It’s human nature to belittle and destroy and degrade those who are not around you. Especially women. I’m not mad about this revelation. I’m only using it as an opportunity to add one more thin veneer to myself. I’ve often been accused of allowing people access to my heart and granting trust to those who don’t deserve it.
When I was younger, my mom once told me that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I asked her if that was a bad thing, and at the time, she told me “it can be, sometimes.” Now I know that such unequivocal transparency is a terrible way to live. That’s how people get hurt. That’s how I get hurt.
I finally saw Inside Out. And I say finally because I was so excited to see it, but I didn’t end up getting there until after opening day.
It really spoke to me as a bipolar person. It spoke to me as a person in general. I mean, excuse me, “Who’s the friend who loves to play? BING BONG!!!” Excuse me, I have to go sob for a while… BRB.
We teach our kids and subsequently our adults, that it’s only okay to be happy. We’re never allowed to show our fear or our pain and if we do, something’s wrong that must be immediately fixed. I’ve known for a long time that sometimes there is no fixing. There is only grieving and trying to heal, and sometimes, even though we have the best intentions, we fail and our sadness (or fear, disgust, anger, etc) overtake us. I’ve caught myself before telling Sophia to just smile and pretend to be happy because her crappy mood was bringing down everyone else. And man, what a shitty thing to say to a little kid. But we say it all the time. “If you’re going to be like that, you can do it in your room.” ” I just gave you X, why can’t you be grateful.” “Go hug your aunt, she loves you.” We are constantly forcing emotions on our kids that they just aren’t feeling. We’re teaching them SO young that in order to be successful people, they have to pretend to be these tiny little robotic entities that show just how great parents we are. And if they have any “negative” emotions, we are showing our frailty.
The thing that hurts me so much about this, is that the little girl in the movie had her parents to fall back on. Eventually, she fell into their loving arms and released her grief and despair and they accepted it and they were willing to work through her pain as a family. I know so many people who are unable to do that. Either because they feel as though they have no one to unburden themselves to, are because they are simply unable to reveal the fissures in themselves.