Monday, November 21, 2016

the anniversary of everything

photo by: Jill Candland Photography
This week is the anniversary of everything: the marriage, the nightmares, the d-day, the weird paralysis, and the divorce.  Yes, the divorce. The end of an era.

When I look back, it's a no-brainer, I needed to leave. But, I also see the maze of bridges I wanted to cross, all the spaces in my heart I wanted to explore, all the waking up I wanted to do.

I remember the {POW} moment when my therapist said, "You know what to do." She said it with a certainty I couldn't grasp.

Deciding to leave a marriage feels like the most impossible decision. Kids, lives, mortgages...leaving means reshaping all of that. Staying felt like a betrayal of me and leaving felt like a betrayal of them.

So, I stayed. Uncertain. I became comfortable with limbo; the space between the space. I told myself that maybe I could live my whole life in limbo, neither being or not being, feeling more like an android and less like a woman. But, at least I'd be holding back the damage from my children. It felt like my back was up against the Hoover Dam, and if I moved, even an inch, the whole thing would come flooding out, drowning everything.

Six months later, I was having lunch with friends, some married and some divorced.  As the conversation and banter grew between marrieds and divorced I heard my heart say, "if there's any light in your marriage, find it."

As soon as I was alone, I called Mr. Scabs and explained that I finally felt an answer. After what felt like eons of limbo, I had a direction. I was going to put both feet in my marriage. I was going to toss everything in and surrender to the great {whatever}. I was going to jump over the waterfall and see who catches me. I knew God was somewhere in that equation but I was hoping Mr. Scabs was too.

For so long, I felt like I was backpedaling a canoe, avoiding the raging Niagara waterfall in front of me. It was time to pull in the oars and let the white-water carry me forward.

The edge was near. I took a deep breath and flew over the edge of the falls, with full trust.

We spent the summer together, almost like a summer fling. We held hands, planned futures, visited family, laughed, road tripped and even slept in the same bed. I breathed and trusted that the waterfall and God would tell me the truth. And It did.

Because one day I had that feeling. That familiar feeling that I was going blind to the lies around me. So, I woke up, and I asked him, and I observed and used all my new tools.

This time, the blow of discovering sex with random women barely brushed my shoulder. I didn't cry. I didn't feel gut-punched. I didn't feel sad. I wasn't even surprised. I just knew what I had to do. I had drawn a line in the sand and I had to honor myself.

I looked at Mr. Scabs and this is what came out of my mouth,

"When I said, 'no more women,' did you think I was joking? Because I wasn't."

It was this moment, that my back loosened its grip on the Hoover Dam, I stepped forward with intention and the stones of the dam began to crumble and the water began to heave. I didn't want to protect my kids from this any longer. I had made a decision. So, I reached out with the tightest grip on their little hands and I hugged and kissed them and told them they were conceived and born in love and that although this isn't what I wanted for them when their dad and I made a family, this is what we have. And even though it hurts, I'm solid and I am here with you. And with that, the water rushed around my legs and swept us away.

What I didn't know is that all those years of limbo, of maze bridges, and exploring the spaces in my heart grounded me. I had been prepared to 'be' with my children as the floods washed over them. I couldn't protect them, and I no longer wanted to. Instead, I wanted to breathe with them as their little bodies grieved, and cried, and yelled, "IT ISN'T FAIR!"

This post is a hard one, and I'm sorry it's so raw. These words have been sitting in me for over a year and it finally feels right to share them.


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