ONWARDS & UPWARDS
Not only did you write this post in less than an hour because I wasn’t able to manage a single word, but you did it because you love me. This may not be the best place or way to tell you how much I love and appreciate our friendship but it’s how I am doing it. Thank you for always being there for me.
I love you,
I still don’t feel qualified to explain what went wrong with my marriage.
I know – if not me, then whom? But really it was a combination of so many things which depended on stuff which varied, mixed into a crap-tonne of awful circumstances, awful emotional hangovers from two lives lived with blind eyes turned to some fundamentals…put ‘em together and whaddya got?
That said, there’s no “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” with divorce. Not in England, anyway, where the concept of ‘no fault’ hasn’t yet been established, leaving Husby and I (because we’re not there yet, so yes – still married on paper) in the unenviable position of needing one of us to come up with a reason to divorce the other. As if there were only one. Or any, because as much as we were both to blame, we also both weren’t.
It was never going to be an easy ride. We were both hesitant in our relationship; attempting to build a ‘we’ whilst the ‘I’s were still very much works in progress. There was the matter of his thoroughly banjaxed physical health (which deteriorated while we were together, finally ending in the diagnosis which left him with absolutely necessary treatment that rendered him infertile), and his mental health (which deteriorated alongside his physical health), and my mental health (which deteriorated alongside his physical and mental health), and the emotional quotient of our marriage, which dwindled past zero into the cold-and-angry zone, alongside the dwindling functionability of the both of us.
I got to carry the can in the end, because I was the one who asked for the divorce, so it fell to me to lay blame. He helped me fill out the paperwork, though, and it seemed as though we were finally back on the same team, though for a reason we would have found heart-breaking if we’d had any heart left in the emotional desert that was our partnership at that point. As it was, we were able to be functional. Heartless.
Though not too heartless. There were explanations. Reasons. It wasn’t that he’d just been a bastard to me. And anyway, I’d also been a heinous bitch to him. Neither of us had been able to support each other through two miscarriages (mine), two suicide attempts (his) and two near-misses (one each), and an eating disorder (mine again). It wasn’t his fault. And yet I had to find fault in order to release us from what had become a poisoned shackle, biting into our souls and causing deep and constant pain.
So we sent off the paperwork, he moved out, and I felt immediate relief.
The pressure was off, and I no longer had to try to be a good wife, when I knew I had failed badly. I no longer had to be supportive to a man who didn’t really seem to want my support, or find it helpful. I no longer had to share time with someone who I could no longer view without the unpleasant taste of love gone sour. I no longer had to bear repeated rejections, which had previously driven me to some incredibly dangerous brinks.
Under the care of friends, I began to thrive. I had already begun work on sorting out the eating disorder, but honestly, the most amazing thing for my self-image and sense of self-worth seemed to be that I was no longer being constantly reminded (through attitude or circumstance, or even analysis of my own behaviour and how reprehensible it was at times) that I wasn’t enough.
I hoped that I would never again have to hear the words “I love you, but not enough to want to be alive at the end of the day”. I would never again resort to cruelly using our shared grief against someone I used to love “I’m GLAD I’m not pregnant – I dread to think what kind of life our babies would have had, if they had lived”. I was ready to start over, just being me, and trying to improve where I could, to be the person I hoped I could mold myself into, over time. You know – someone worthwhile. Because I didn’t see that person in myself, and clearly he didn’t either.
We waited and waited to hear, and when we did, it was news that the thingamabob didn’t do the job, and our application had been turned down.
I let him know, because I immediately assumed blame – I must have been too kind. He laughed and texted back that I hadn’t been able to paint him as a villain because he wasn’t one.
And although he was a mixture, and could be kind (and often was, in the beginning), I remembered his sustained rejection of me. His callous attitude to my internal landscape. His wilful determination to be married on his own terms, which cast me in a role somewhere between ‘flatmate’ and ‘carer’. His obvious lack of desire to be involved in my world, or have me in his. His obvious lack of desire for me in any way, shape, or form. His final, trust-shattering imposition, incongruous against a background of apathy. His refusal to recognise any of it as wrong. And I broke.
Because it must have been me.
It must have been that I was every bit the over-bearing, undermining, repugnant, pugnacious, repulsive, snarky, cruel, ice-queen bitch he seemed to see me as. All the building up which had happened in the months since we’d split, came crashing down as the pain in my heart and my head grew to overwhelming proportions.
I’d already promised a friend I wouldn’t consider taking my own life again, but the pain was unbearable, so I drank all the drink and I took a bunch of heavy-duty pain pills, and I cut, because physical pain was a good distraction, and whilst my thoughts were at knife-point, they weren’t trying to convince me to keep going with the pills, and keep going with the pills, and keep going with the pills until I could sleep the pain away forever.
I scared my friends that night.
The person they loved reached out to them, pissed and off her face, explaining the cutting and the self-medication, crying and trying to explain through gasps of despair, that it was all her fault. And they could do nothing. Because I reached out to people who were far, far away, and couldn’t intervene. I still wanted the option.
Shame on me.
Salvation was around the corner though, in the form of new understanding that it was HIM who had filled the forms out, and that I had damaged myself, put myself through hell, and terrified my friends, all for nothing. Well. Not nothing. For him!
I suddenly realised, for maybe the first time in my life, that I was better than that. I had more to offer than to be brought low by someone else’s ineptitude. Particularly his. I had help to fix the application, I appealed, and am still awaiting the results.
But the change in my own heart has remained.
Because it’s a piece of paper, and because the marriage ended up so much a sham, and because it was probably just wrong from the offset. We both recognised early on that we shouldn’t have done it, but did anyway, because by the time you’re there, it seems like such a nightmare to back-track and undo all the doings, that you just carry on and hope for the best.
If your ship sets off a few degrees off course, it’s not so noticeable at the beginning, but keep chugging forwards and the distance from where you ‘should’ be, becomes more and more evident. Those few degrees don’t just magically correct themselves, especially when some of them are inalterable circumstances, not just the two of you being ornery.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and this perspective is hard-won when you’ve spent years with your head determinedly in the sand. I’ve been blessed with friends and family who are in strident support of me (even when they’ve had cause to challenge my behaviour), and who have steadfastly encouraged me to do my best to behave in ways which align with the person I’d like to be, rather than act out from hurt or anger.
I’ve forever been dedicated to living life in Silver Linings, and though my ability to do so has waxed and waned, I still assert that I am the product of my history, and every experience; each challenge; each high and low and boost and knock, has been necessary to get me to the person I am today.
That said, as much as the experiences, it’s been the attitudes and behaviours which I’ve developed through, and with, and the guidance and support I have received, which have most shaped me.
Because of the mixture of outside input and my own determination to move onwards and upwards, I’m on track to achieve my goal – that in spite of all the ‘whatever’s of life, at some point I will weigh and measure myself, and find I am enough.
But always, always stronger together with those who love me.