It was a year ago this week that my life changed. It was a year ago this week that I found the phone bill... something so deceptively simple, and yet containing so piercingly targeted a message that I can still feel the ghosts of the pain in my chest when my heart first comprehended the betrayal on those pages. But you know all about that by now... No need to rehash old news...
The past year has really opened my eyes to so many things in this world that I was so ignorant of... lies, truths, betrayals, trust... definitions of "self", "faith", "family", "friends", "strength", "pain", and... perhaps the hardest lesson of all... "patience" (which I'm still desperately trying to learn.)
People have said many things to me in the last year, and I've found nurturing support from those I once considered passive acquaintances, and heard harsh utterances from those I once considered supportive friends. I've been told that I'm "strong", which is fascinating to me, since strength is not something I've ever thought about. Life is something you're strapped into... I never felt as though I had much of a choice but to hang on when the road got rough. What are the alternatives, really?
But it hasn't all been bad... in fact, in a lot of ways, the experience has been strangely and surprisingly liberating. It's opened my eyes to new possibilities, and has been a fascinating, surreal, and painful crash-course education about something I thought I knew pretty well but ultimately did not: Myself. It's also been a year of leaning on and relying on friends in ways I never thought I could. I owe them my life, and I do not mean that lightly. Here are a few of them....
Who was on the other end of the line when I was reading that phone bill for the first time. I remember asking her to "please, tell me this is something else." I begged - pleaded - for her to tell me that I was mistaken, and simply jumping to jealous, irrational female conclusions.... until I realized that late Friday night in March '06 that I had caught someone I once trusted with my soul in a lie which would change me forever. SH was on the phone with me through those first waves of nausea and disbelief, and has been here with me with me every day since. I will never be able to express my gratitude adequately for what she gave me so generously and without hesitation. SH - I will remember that night forever... mostly because of your support.
SM, MM and all my little M's:
For putting up with my waffling, insecurities, indecisive moments, and irrational thought processes without judgement or criticism. For opening up their home and offering me a supportive, loving, distracting family that helped me through the long periods of depression and numbness. For the bottomless reservoir of therapy of hugs, kisses, unconditional love, patience, and... of course... brownies. I love you all more than you can possibly imagine.
Who picked my ass up off of the floor more times than he can imagine, even calling in reinforcements when necessary. Even through this time of life upheaval of his own, I don't know how he found the time to be my rock... but he did so unwaveringly and unquestioningly, holding my hand through some of my darkest, loneliest moments. You will always be my soul mate no matter where this universe takes us.
A surprising addition to the list, who taught me not to judge people's actions when you've never walked in their shoes. (And also told me not to lie... sorry 'bout that.) She took my falterings in stride, and gave me a perspective on living life that I had not expected. She is a perfect example of what a friend should be... and one I didn't realize that I had until this year redefined my life and those in it.
I know we don't talk any more, and you will probably never know that this posting exists at all. But in a lot of ways, I owe you so much... you were there, unexpectedly, at a surprisingly pivotal moment. So thank you for making me feel attractive again. Superficial, perhaps, but nonetheless a gift at a time when I was feeling quite unwanted and undesired. And though we'll probably never speak again, I wish you all the best.
For letting me beat the crap out of you when I desperately needed to vent some serious anger. But mostly, for being my new friend at a time when I was losing so many old ones. You adopted me into your family - literally - and for that I will always be grateful... and I'm sorry I kicked you in the head.
I think that I can fairly say - one year later - that the turn of events in the last year was for the best (all my unresolved feelings of failure aside.) I have lost the one thing that I took pride in: My ability to trust absolutely. But on second thought, perhaps this was a naivete that I needed to lose. Instead, perhaps I should say that I have gained the ability to appreciate trust when it is not taken advantage of.... something I don't think I was capable of doing one year ago. I never wanted this to happen (who does?), and wouldn't wish this fate on my worst enemy. But the future now has a shiny newness of potential that I'd forgotten was there... and life is full of possibilities that I had previously dismissed. I have learned more about myself (what I need... and what I deserve) than I thought possible... learning to forgive myself for mistakes, experiencing passion, hate, fear, and - finally, and most importantly - hope.
I have a lot to learn... I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to dating or relationships, and I'll ask preemptive forgiveness from those who will suffer from my inevitable fumbling, as well as those who already have. I feel like a child learning how to walk, and suddenly the everyday factors in life are looming obstacles that I will be bruised from before I adequately learn how to navigate them. My apologies in advance for those I bruise along the way. But the perspective is new, and the possibilities are stunning...
I found out that I had lost track of something important in my life - myself - and had repeated the "marriage is about compromise" mantra so many times that I'd compromised myself into a state of non-existence. Now I'm learning how to keep my spirit my own... and one day, perhaps share it with someone (if they are brave enough)... I think I'm finally able to say that I'm worth the effort...
It's been a strange year. In some ways it's passed faster than I could have imagined, and in some ways, it has lingered for what seemed like an eternity. I have no idea what's next... but I'm finally ready for the adventure, and I'm sure it will be amazing... Feel free to strap in and join me for the ride...
End note: I hesitate publishing this blog. It feels like I'm baring more than I should in a public forum... And it's one of those things that I feel could cross a line of personal exposure that could make some very uncomfortable, especially if you're just getting to know me. But because I owe so much gratitude to those in the posting, I'll risk baring my own soft underbelly... life is nothing without a bit of risk, even something as innocuous as a blog... and I've asked forgiveness for my blunderings already... perhaps this will be the first exercise of that request.