I’ll Do Me, You Do You.

I have so many emotions swimming around my being today.  I don’t really know where to start.  First, I guess…let’s summarize where I am.

I’m nearly 4 months distanced from the end of my previous relationship.  As I have written about, it was an abrupt and explosive ending…resulting in him going before a judge just this morning.  I haven’t seen him since, besides a chance sighting at the grocery store a few weeks back. And if he heeds what the courts have ordered, it’ll stay that way for a few more years.  It was an adjustment for the whole family.  I am still working on the guilt for exposing my children to another loss, and I am still processing everything…trying to take as many lessons with me so history does not repeat itself.  I am mildly comforted with the fact that I know I tried to always do the right thing.  I tried to be as understanding as I could of a troubled person.  Perfect? No.  But, I was not jealous, condescending or abusive at any time.  So, I actually mildly resent that someone close to the situation said that “it takes two” to me soon after.   It doesn’t take two to make an abusive and controlling relationship.  I tried to help and support as long as I could.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I would have walked at three months in, knowing what I know now.  So, the only truth in the “it takes two”…in this case, is that I stayed and allowed it to get worse.

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An odd thing, for me, happened a few days after he was removed.  As a typical procrastinator, it takes me sometime to get motivated to clean, purge…whatever.  Once I get going, I will be on a roll.  Getting going is the challenge.  So, I surprised myself by waking and walking into the kitchen and went straight for the trash bags.  I headed back to the bedroom and I started ridding the room of any and all of his belongings.  It was sad, but a freeing feeling came over me.  Almost relieved.  I knew I was never looking back unless I was looking for a lesson.  My healing was jumpstarted.

As the weeks and months have gone on, I have felt like I have claimed my life back.  It’s a struggle sometimes to keep up with everything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have done a lot of self help reading to try and fully understand where I have been.  I have done endless processing of all my past relationships and have been dissecting them, the partners I have had…and myself.  My goal has been to just stay single, for at least a year.   I was thinking maybe forever!  Not swearing off men, but I just knew that I would be a bit guarded and apprehensive to let someone in.  It’s not often that someone can come in and just connect with you in a way that makes you want more.  Trust me.  I dated for years doing the online thing.  Never. Ever. Again.

Well, that was my plan.  Anyone that knows me knows…my life doesn’t go as planned.

A Trivia Tuesday a few weeks back had me at the restaurant I work at meeting a few friends/co-workers for a fun night out.  The three of us were having a good time, and at some point through the night, the feelings shifted and the connection began.  Taking both of us by surprise.  This person I have known for six years or so and never was looked at romantically by me, and me him, was suddenly somebody I wanted to be near and to know everything about.  The two of closed the bar that night.  Since, we have seen each other countless times.  And we plan to countless more.

Cohabitating is obviously not even close to being on the table.  The kids are the priority and for the foreseeable future, keeping our family dynamic as is, is best for them.  We are just getting to know each other on a different level than we had before.  I still am left conflicted at times that it’s too soon.  Three months isn’t a whole lotta time for healing considering what I’ve gone through.  I am not shy about sharing that with him.  Or anything, for that matter.  I am digging the easygoing vibe that’s going on and I am in the driver’s seat to go as fast or slow as I need.  I am taking it one day at a time.  The easy going and one day at a time mentality, however, does not stop the fear from creeping in now and then.  Doesn’t stop me from being  hyper-focused at times that I might be missing a clue that would give away that this person is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  As the days go on, I am sure that will subside.  Or, I will see what I don’t want to and that will be that.

I know people pass judgement, they’ve told me, they think I shouldn’t be dating so soon or I should “date around” and not focus on just one guy.  First, they may be right about it being soon, but it’s up to me to decide and figure that out.  I have an open dialogue with my children and talked to them about everything.  They are still grieving past losses and they know I am, too…but at the end of the day I have their blessing to do what I think is right.  Second, I am a monogamous being by nature.  I can’t “date around”, it’s not how I am wired.

My head and heart can fall fast if the recipe is right.  I am trying to be careful, aware and methodical.  Sometimes I have little control of this.  But, what I do have control of is my actions.  So, that being said, I will take baby steps with eyes wide open and try to enjoy the ride…wherever that takes me.  I still welcome the view and advice from those around me.  But know that I would hate to pass on the chance at true happiness in a relationship because it’s not the right number of weeks or months after a break-up…and even more so based on what others outside of this home think.

I am doing my best to keep my healing going.  I really don’t think it’s ever going to be completely finished.  My goal is to just keep being me.  If someone comes along, as they have now, and is willing to allow my healing to continue, let me be me, and encourage me to grow and put my kids first…and give me butterflies by their mere presence at the same time?? I don’t want to pass it by.

I’ll do me, you do you.

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Learning to Breathe Again…

Breathing. taking air in and expelling it.  An involuntary action that sustains life.

Sometimes this process, in the figurative sense, gets suppressed. And it kills you on the inside.  For me, this time, it wasn’t until I felt I was breathing again, that I noticed I had been being suffocated for some time.

From an outsider’s point of view, my just under two year relationship seemed fairytale-like.  And it was in some form.  I was swept off my feet.  I was grieving and had no intention of sugar-coating that when it started.  I fully intended to keep my grieving process going…both with Matt passing 4 months before…and Mike 3 years prior.  He seemed to respect that and allowed me to weep, reminisce and pay tribute to them when I needed.  He anticipated every need I had…even before I recognized my own needs.

I was greeted, after work surprisingly in my car, with photos of my grandbaby that I had taken that he had printed and framed…because I mentioned when I took it that it was worthy of framing.  My hair dryer broke just before work one day and I found a brand new one in my vehicle after my shift.  It seemed every time I turned around, a want or need was fulfilled.  I can honestly say that it stayed that way until almost nearly the end…at some point he checked out the last few months and I felt myself starting to have needs that were unfulfilled and slowly started to stand on my own two feet.  I hadn’t had to do that in a while.

It happened so gradually and subtly that I did not notice…I no longer had to worry about things.  Rides for kids…trips to the grocery store……laundry…keeping the pool clean. You name it.  If I mentioned it, he made it his job to do it.  I found I had to be careful of thinking out loud of a want because it became a mission for him to fulfill it.

Sounds like a dream come true, right?  I thought so, too.

You feel what you focus on.

This came at a price, though.  There was an anger there.  Not all the time.  And there was no telling when it would surface.  The in-between times were fun, adventurous, romantic, sexy. Nothing is perfect, right?  No one is perfect.  He loses his temper sometimes.  He gets jealous.  He looks through my phone.  He spies on my facebook messenger…at communications long before him.  He hurt me.  Physically.  But I was assertive about these things…I addressed what I felt was wrong and forgave. I demanded resolutions.  Counseling, etc. I focused on the positive and let the shortcomings go.  I was strong, spoke my mind and carried on.  He was to fix what was broken.  And all along there was a plan of action to take care of that.

What I didn’t realize, until removing myself from the situation (at the demand of the local police…which is still in effect) was that I was being controlled by a person that never told me to “Do this” or “You cannot do that”.  I was controlled due to my empathy.  I could see reactions to certain situations.  Going out with friends, talking or texting on the phone…sometimes weren’t met with favorable behaviors.  So, I learned to act in ways that had more favorable outcomes.  Like staying home.  Which was not a punishment for me…I LOVE being home with my family, playing games and such.  It wasn’t a sacrifice to do this.  It’s not until now I realize how isolated I became.  I wasn’t even going to the grocery store anymore…I would start my list and he would insist on getting everything for me.  I could do something for me…nap if I wanted.

The first bit of anger scared me.  It was out of jealousy.  Of a dead person.  It confused me because the reason I opened him into my life was due to his understanding of this part of me.  Slowly, I was stifled of my openness with my grieving.  Pictures even eventually became a problem and I dealt with it the best way I could.  I have picked up where I was in that grieving process and am continuing my journey.

The next bit of anger scared me more…and left me bruised.  This was not my first rodeo with this type of behavior.  I explained I knew how these types of situations escalate.  It’s like building blocks.  Stacking one situation on top of another and it always gets a little more extreme each time.  This relationship was no exception.

I did not just lay down and take it. Well, in the heat of the moment…I did whatever I could to de-escalate the situation. But when heads were clear, I made it known it was unacceptable…demanding he get help…and now I see I tried to see what behaviors I contributed to and tried to not duplicate it.  Even innocent and unassuming actions.  I became hyper-aware of every step I took to not aggravate any situation.  Not fun.  Not easy.  I wasn’t breathing.

I became stifled.  I was walking on eggshells.  I was me and enjoying what I chose to focus on…my beautiful family and the positive sides of a dysfunctional romance.  But, I was left broken on many occasions…physically a few times.  I was left shattered, eventually.  And so remorseful that I subjected my children to another loss.

It’s hindsight that has me shaking my head that even though I was trying to be strong and fix problems when I saw them arise, that I still let the abuse and control continue.

I am beginning to breathe again.  I am no longer having to pull into the drive way not sure what mood I am about to encounter.  I am taking care of me and the children and not worrying about being scrutinized.  I am emerging from my home and meeting with friends and am communicating, innocently, with people I had cut-off, so to make life easier.  I am self reflecting as to how I let myself get to where I was…and how to never return.

I am breathing.  I am healing.  And every day it’s feeling better and better.

 

 

 

My Purpose

I have grown into believing that in every situation there is a lesson…and all that happens to us has a purpose.  Actually, if I think back…maybe I am just wired like that. I do distinctively recall a lot of eye rolling from my best friend through high school on when I would sputter “everything happens for a reason” whenever something adverse happened to her.  It drove her crazy!  Maybe it’s that those of us believing in this theory are just eternal optimists that are spinning each situation into having a silver lining to make ourselves feel better…but either way, it works for me that bad things don’t just happen for no reason at all.  I get to learn and evolve as I go.

Well, when someone you love dies it makes you question this theory.  Especially when it is someone who hasn’t lived a full life yet.  Someone who has children…and small ones at that.  Someone who was loved by all and fought as hard as he could and that made no difference.  He went through a hell of a year fighting and being sick for no difference in outcome than if he didn’t fight at all and just gave up.  He is gone.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  He had plans, WE had plans.

This isn’t an “Everything happens for a reason” situation here.  If that was said to me a month ago…you’d get far more than an eye roll!!  However, I am beginning to look at things a bit differently as time marches on and I get further into the healing process.

I am beginning to believe that we all weren’t meant to be on this earth for 90 or 100 years.  I believe we all have a purpose…some have many purposes. Babies right through to those living 100+ years. When we are taken…our purpose(s) were served.  I’m sure Matt, over his 38 years and especially in his last year, inspired, motivated, healed, loved and impacted many.  I can’t say that there was a reason for him dying, but I can certainly say there was a reason for him living.

So many said to me over the year I was with Matt that I was an angel sent to him and then even more so just after he passed.  It made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t with him to be a saint, out of pity or for whatever reason some people thought (it was nastily said to me by a certain someone after he passed that I liked the “show” of being with Matt!!  I say prayers for that person!!).  I actually fell in love with him and he helped me more than I could have ever imagined in my own grieving process at the time.  Odd that I am left in albeit another time of grief by the one who helped me heal!

I, now that I am moving through my stages of grief and through starting a new relationship, am actually embracing being told that I was his angel.  That was MY purpose for him.  It wasn’t a cruel twist of the universe…as I first felt when he died…to give me love, healing and hope and then snatch it away like a greedy crook.  I look back and know how many times alone we spent cracking each other up.  Rides to the hospital flew by and I swear people thought we were nuts at the laughing and goofing off in the waiting rooms when everyone there was in the midst of a dire situation.  I brought him smiles, laughter and love.  And he brought me the same.  He was my angel, too.  My tears of grief that would arrive in those alone times (especially in the car!) lessened and finally disappeared because of him. The pain in my chest that I held for so long that I didn’t even realize was there…was replaced by feelings of love from and for him.  The grief never goes away, but Matt helped me live happily with it there.  A purpose he had was to help heal me and show me I was able to love again.

It’s nearing five months since he’s been gone.  I am lucky enough, and unlucky enough, to have met someone new to care for so soon.  Grief and a new partner has it’s own set of challenges for both parties.  But I see when starting a relationship without a sickness…which is all I have really known in the past decade…I was missing out on so much…even though I didn’t realize it then.   I didn’t feel like it was lacking anything…it was perfect for what it was at the time.  We were fulfilling a purpose for each other.  Just as this new man in my life is in a role of helping me heal, he is serving a purpose.  I am not sure if this is his only purpose with me and we will part ways tomorrow or next month or next year…or never…or how I am helping him, but he is making me smile and drying my tears (like literally drying them…hence the “unlucky enough” said previously).

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I am now taking comfort in all the roles people past and present have played in my life.  I am embracing all the lessons, love and healing and trying to let that take precedence over what’s been lost and gone wrong.  Eye roll all you want.