Sharing anything with the world these days is utterly terrifying. Everyone is highly opinionated and offended quickly. It’s a risk in this society being honest and I don’t give a fuck. I know I’ll be leaving a target on my back by choosing to move forward with a public journal but this is how I’M choosing to start my journey into clarity.
I got married to my husband in 2003. I had two children from a previous relationship and he had no children. We loved each other and said forever. We would have two children of our own over the next four years. But after the first two years something in me went terribly wrong. I haven’t had any real counseling since we got married so I can’t begin to speculate what went wrong. Even when I look back and try to remember what I was thinking or how I was feeling I realize that I felt nothing at all.
I developed a drug addiction eighteen months after our first child was born that lasted for a year. During that year my husband got hurt badly at work and would be home for the next three years. When he first got hurt an acquaintance introduced me to drugs. I liked the way I felt. I wasn’t tired or depressed. It felt good and I could keep up with my two toddlers. Then I wanted to duplicate that feeling and of course it turned into full-blown addiction.
I forced us into having to move out of our rent home and into another rent home. We had nothing and we were already living on worker’s comp. Worst time EVER to get addicted if there is such thing as a “proper” time. I found out in late summer I was pregnant with our second child and I quit using. But the drugs had changed me so much. I felt forgetful and desensitized and it took months for me to get back on track. By the time I did, we were welcoming a baby into the world. It seemed like he never really got over what I had done and I was consumed with guilt because of it.
I had pulled through the worst but over the next five years, I would occasionally spiral out of control. It’s like I quit using drugs but because I could FEEL his lack of forgiveness, I would act out in even more damaging ways. I drank heavily sometimes. I cheated sometimes, mostly just entertaining flirty behavior. I struggled to maintain. I was kind and loving to my children and they were kind and loving to me. I cooked and cleaned and kept up appearances as needed. Some evenings I would go out alone or with friends and not come home until the morning. Sometimes my husband would have to wake the kids up and get them on the school bus. That’s about the time I showed up. I was the worst human being on the planet and I didn’t know how to fix it.
In March of 2011 I had an affair. It was brief but it was brutal and almost tore us all apart. It was typical. He said things I wanted to hear and I had troubles at home. Recipe for disaster. My kids got out of school for summer break and I decided to go visit my best friend and her family for a couple of weeks with my kids. I needed to get away from my husband and the man I was seeing. I needed something. What I got was a car accident on the way. Me and my three youngest daughters made it out alive with few injuries. The car was totaled. We went onto visit my best friend anyway.
While I was there I still talked to the man I cheated with and my husband. I wasn’t getting anywhere. My kids started to realize what was happening without fully understanding the horrible adult details. They began to act out and I had hit my absolute rock bottom. My best friend tried to be there for me but you can’t help someone who won’t actually acknowledge their behavior. My husband drove in to see us and I realized at that moment what I wanted. I was tired of hurting others and myself. We talked it over and decided we had both made terrible mistakes over the years but that we loved each other enough to try to fix it. It wasn’t enough to want to stop hurting people, I needed to find a way to love him again make myself lovable TO him.
If I knew then what I know now, famous fucking last words. This was NEVER going to work. It’s like blowing up a ceramic plate with dynamite and trying to fit the broken pieces and dust back together. Some of the pieces never made it back. He lost all trust completely. I lost my sense of “self”. I didn’t even know who the hell I was anymore. But I decided to start with who I WANTED to be and go from there. My daily mantra became, “do a little better than the day before”. People always set unrealistic goals for themselves and when it doesn’t happen fast enough they give up and quit. I knew this would take time.
I spent the next four and half years until this very minute reinventing myself. I didn’t go out or drink for almost an entire year. I went to work and starting really contributing and functioning in my family. I was fully attentive to my husband and children. I wasn’t perfect but I was doing a little better than the day before. I slowly began to become the person I envisioned. But something was still missing. It IS still missing. I’ve come to realize that I’ve been trying with a person who will NEVER truly move forward. That is MY fault. I put all of those issues there and I can’t undo any of it. He said he could and I admire that. At the end of the day, truth is, he can’t.
He has made his fair share of mistakes. He’s been hateful and cruel and more so in the last four and a half years than ever. He’s short-tempered and verbally abusive with the kids to the point that they’re afraid of him sometimes. He’s ignored me and left me alone. He’s talked to other women but never physically cheated. I don’t want to muddy the waters by concentrating on his indiscretions but these things are important because they have impacted me more than I let on. I used to think I deserved to be treated badly because I was a piece of shit. And maybe at my worst I did deserve it. But why NOW? Why over the last several years when I’ve done my best to be the best version of myself? That is what I am facing today. This was the question that plagued me this morning.