Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happiness is a Journey (stream of consciousness)

There are so many trite sayings about happiness.  But, things are overquoted for a reason: they usually ring true.

So many things have happened since I last wrote.  My Dad moved in.  The holidays.  Our first apart wedding anniversary.  Meeting the new girlfriend.  My first solo vacation ever.  Many milestones met.  So much growth.  I am not even sure where to begin.




There was a time when I wasn't sure I would ever be happy again.  That I was destined to be sad about the loss of my marriage and sad about the turn my life took.  I was not in control of my life within my marriage.  I was constantly trying to manage someone else's emotions.  Mine were neglected almost entirely until I felt numb.  Getting out of that relationship has not been easy, of course, but it has been the best thing for myself.

When my Dad moved in, things were rough for a bit.  My daughter was confused and somewhat angry that her Dad wasn't living with us.  She wouldn't listen to her Grandpa and was downright mean.  Thankfully, we have turned a corner.  She makes a point to say good morning and goodnight to him.  She plays with him and listens when he disciplines her.  It has been such a great help to me to have him there.

I decided to coach another sport and am coaching JV Basketball.  It takes up a lot of my time but the relationships that I am forming with these 15 girls are truly priceless to me.  I really enjoy being a mentor of sorts and getting to teach them and see them improve at a sport that I was never completely sure I like (spoiler alert: I actually DO!) is really fun.  I never would have done this before.  I would have been concerned about how it would have impacted my husband and his needs.  I never would have taken a stand to do something that I really love.  I am so glad that I am able to do that now.

I met his girlfriend.  The one that he met while we were still married.  Not only did I meet her, but I encouraged him to show her that he wanted to be with her.  I have COMPLETELY let go of the hurt.  I refuse to hang onto anger when I know that we are so much better off apart.  So, if he can be happy with someone else and she can be OK with the relationship that he and I will have for the rest of our lives then there is no reason for that to not happen.  She was lovely. She was pretty and friendly and it was obvious that my daughter really liked her.  Why should I do anything to wreck that?  More happiness in our family, which is what we still are, is not a problem!

Dating.  I haven't done much of it.  I have talked to some people here and there, but nothing much to write home about.  One thing I know for sure is that I am still much too willing to look past any and all negative in a situation and I still very much see the good.  While I think this is great on some level that I have come out of a long relationship that ended in infidelity and apathy with hope for happiness, it also shows that I have a long way to go until I will be able to be in a truly mutual relationship.  One where not only am I doing my best, but I am doing my best for someone who deserves it.  I am worthy even when I am a work in progress.

Overall, I recognize every day how broken my marriage had become.  How much I had truly lost myself.  How grateful I am that even though it hurt, I was able to find my way out.  Grateful that regardless of how our marriage ended, that I still care deeply for my former husband.  That he and I will remain friends and parents to our girl.  That we can do things like go on outings the three of us and actually laugh and have fun and act like friends.  Grateful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be the start of a very new chapter.  My Dad is moving here to live with me and help me with this transition.  We have lived 2000 miles away from one another for 5 years.  To say that I am excited is a little bit of an understatement.

My Dad is the type of Dad who would and does do anything for his daughters.  He worked a job that payed less but made him more available to us for much of my adolescence.  I don't ever remember him not being there if he said he would be.  He is steady and calm and honest and loving.  He is also fun and funny and adventurous.  When I told him that my ex and I were splitting, the very first thing that he said to me without any hesitation was "Do you want a live in cook and babysitter? I have nothing much going on here and could leave and come back to help you.".  I don't think that I will forget that for as long as I live.  Here I am, 30 years old, and my Dad is still willing to drop everything to make life a little easier for me.  That is the true definition of Father to me.

I can't wait for my daughter to get to know him better. Up until now, he has existed on a computer screen or in a week's long vacation.  Now, she will get to see him daily.  My ex has already talked to her about the things that he hopes my Dad will teach her (like how to play guitar, and basketball, and make gumbo).  I also know that he will be able to go along with whatever kind of relationship my ex and I decide to have.  Much of my strength and calm in this situation I learned from watching him.  He and my Mom split when I was 10, but remained friends and supportive.  At one point, my Dad not only worked for my step-father, but decided to buy a house with him so that they could all live together and help one another and keep our family together.  That is such a strong testament to the Man that he is and the reason that I want so badly for my ex and I to remain a family.  Even in the earlier days of my split from my ex, my Dad assured me that he would follow my lead however I needed him to.  However my ex and I chose to handle our relationship going forward, he would be fine with.

Beyond the fact that I get to see my Dad everyday, he has already made it clear that he will make himself available for me.  At night, when I start dating again or even just trying to meet new people, he is perfectly fine to stay home with my daughter and let me have some time to myself.  Since my ex and I have not figured out any kind of visitation schedule, this will be huge.  I haven't had much time to myself since I moved out and I am truly looking forward to it.  Beyond going out, I can stay in and hang with him! I won't have to face the occasional loneliness anymore.  He will be there to talk to.  My therapist has warned me not to let him take the place that my husband once filled emotionally, so I will be making sure I am mindful of that.

Wish us luck. No doubt it will be a big transition for all.  He hasn't had a three year old in his house since 2008.  It may take a little time to work out the kinks, but I am so grateful and so excited to have him here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Letting Go

Today I am choosing to let go. To stop trying to hold on to feelings and things that are not meant to be held on to. I want to be able to move on with my life and be truly happy. In order to accomplish that, I have to let go.

Today, I somewhat gave my blessing for my ex to continue to see "the other woman". Because he is in love with her. Even though this hurts me, I know I need to just let it go. What is the point of trying to hold something that is no longer yours to hold? Don't I want to find love with someone better suited for me? Of course. So, I can choose to deal with the emotions and feelings that come with him being with her and continue to be strong for myself and our daughter.

Then, once I have truly let go of it all, I know I will find happiness. And while I hope I find someone to share my happiness with, I know that I can be just fine on my own.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lonely

This week my ex told me that he hopes that I don't feel lonely.  And it got me thinking, is lonely really the worse thing to be?

I have been lonely before.  I am probably lonely sometimes now.  But, to me, I don't think that lonely is the worst thing I could be.  I would rather be lonely than be unappreciated.  I would rather wish I had someone to spend time with than have someone who doesn't want to spend time with me.  I would rather fill my time doing things I want to do than fill my time doing something to try to please someone else.  I would rather be alone and deal with someone else's drama.

Something great about loneliness and being alone is that it makes me really think about what I want and need in myself and someone else.  I do not want to feel lonely while I am with someone ever again.  It was the worst feeling in the world to be with the one that you love so deeply and still feel lonely.  I will never put myself in that situation again.  I don't want the person that I am with to ever feel that way again either.  I know that I did that to my ex.  Being lonely and alone is a thousand times better than being lonely and with someone.

There is also a big difference between missing a particular person in your life and being lonely.  I think that for me, it is that I miss my husband.  I miss the person that I spent 11 years of my life with.  I am lonely sometimes, but lonely for him.  For the life that I had.  Finding someone to make me temporarily not feel lonely will not fill this void for me.  It is something that I need to work on myself.  Something I need to work through to truly move on from and get over.  Then, when I am ready, I will find someone that will fill my loneliness truly.  But until then, being lonely is not the worst thing that I could be.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Strength

I realized something recently.  I am very strong.  I felt weak for SO LONG but I wasn't.  I was strong.

Loving someone who doesn't love you the same way is strength.  Treating people the way you want to be treated is strength.  Realizing your part in the direction your life is going is strength.  Choosing to move on and change is strength.  Holding your life together when you feel like falling apart is strength.

That's what people have been saying to me.  "I am in awe of your strength" or "You are stronger than me so you can handle this" or "You are handling yourself with such strength".  I am choosing to believe these people.  I know that I will make it through this time, the most difficult time in my life, on the other side.  I will be happy.  I will be OK.  And I will be myself throughout the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Love Anyway

I have learned throughout my marriage and especially the end of my marriage that I am different than a lot of people that I know.  That doesn't mean I am better or worse, but I seem to approach things differently than a lot of my friends.  I think this is in part due to my religious background as a teenager.  But, it also has to be just something within me.  Sometimes I wonder if this is a curse, because it sure seems to hurt me sometimes.

I can love unconditionally.  I see the good in people no matter what.  My ex was not a great husband to me.  He did many, many things that hurt me deeply.  Sometimes, he still does.  I hurt him, too of course.  The difference between he and I is that I forgive and love anyway.  He never could.  Even with everything that happened, and all that he did to me, I still love him and know that I always will.  He is a part of me.

My ex has struggled with depression for a long time.  Today is his birthday which even in the best of times was always a hard day for him.  He never quite felt enough love on his birthday for as long as I have known him.  It reminds him of mortality and that life is moving forward towards death whether he likes it or not.  So today on my lunch break, I talked to him.  I listened to him talk to me about girl problems, about how sorry he was for the things he had done to me, and how worried he is of being alone.  I reminded him that he matters, that he is loved by me and others, and that he is worthy of a happy life.

I told him what I have truly learned in the last couple of months.  You cannot let anyone but yourself control your happiness.  Other people will let you down.  We are human and it is in our nature.  You can forgive them and love them anyway.  You can forgive yourself and love yourself anyway.

In the last few months I could have taken many paths.  I could have been spiteful, and vengeful, and angry, and mean.  I wasn't.  I was hurt.  I said some things that I felt when I felt them.  But, under it all, I loved my ex anyway.  It made me happy to know that I was choosing what was best for me.  I read a quote once that said "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die".  This is true for me.  I believe in being the kind of person that I want to meet.  In being the good in the world.  Of showing people who may not otherwise feel it that they are loved unconditionally.  This makes my life much happier.


Monday, September 28, 2015

In My Next Relationship...

In my next relationship I will do things differently.  I will also do things the same.

It is crazy to think about how much you can want something to work out when it shouldn't.  My ex and I once loved each other deeply and without regret.  It was him over everything for me, and me over everything for him.  Somewhere along the line, that changed.  Having reflected on it all for a few months now, I can see that it wasn't anyone's fault.  The way our marriage came to a crashing stop was the result of his actions, but it had been broken long before that.

We met and began dating in a teenage whirlwind at 18 and 19.  We thought we knew it all and nothing would ever get between us.  But things did.  On more than one occasion.  The real world is hard.  Marriage is hard.  Parenthood is harder.  Good intentions and love are not all it takes to make a relationship a success.  And when too much has happened to truly forgive, there is no going back.

Moving forward will not be easy.  My ex is seeing someone new.  Someone who I think will be very well suited to him.  I have met her in the past.  She is beautiful and kind and they share a lot of the same interests.  They will be able to support one another in a way that I never could.  I want this for myself.  I want to find someone who will share interests with me.  Someone who will support my passions and hobbies and want to spend time with me.  Things that I had to force with my ex, I won't have to do with someone else.  But, getting there will not be simple.  Opening up again will not be as simple as I may want it to be.  Even though I am pretty quick to open up to someone, it might be in my best interest to be different this time around.  To guard myself a little more.

Honestly, I am really looking forward to finding the things that truly make me happy in a relationship.  The easy parts.  I had been in a relationship that was too hard for way too long.  I forget what it feels like to have the simple happiness that comes with being with someone new.  I had that with my ex once upon a time, but now I feel like I know some ways to keep that feeling alive...stay tuned :)