I’m Still Here

It’s been two years since I’ve written, but I’m still here. I started writing about conventions, movies, and nerd stuff over at Catzilla OKC, but I do intend to still write here. A lot has happened in a short amount of time… divorce, death, and outsourcing. I was mourning the loss of my marriage, then a coworker died, and within days a dear friend killed himself. Not long after, the place I worked at for 10 years decided to shut down the center and outsource it. They were a good place to work for, excluding up to the end of it all.

After my last blog post, I had written this beautiful poetry about the timing of mourning… but I threw it away, I think. I remember just holding on to it, wanting to post it, but I just wasn’t ready yet. Then I had this urge to let it all go. I felt like the poem no longer mattered, because I was ready to move past the pain. Now, two years later, I bitterly regret that decision, because it was a beautiful representation of my pain and healing. I really would like to share it. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything I write memorized, as it comes out of me and lives in the paper (or medium) where I put the feelings. It’s like a transference. I could recreate something similar, but I don’t want to. It was written when the feeling needed to be expressed and if I tried to rewrite it now, it would be tainted with my current state of mind and thus wouldn’t be the same. Part of me hopes it’s in a drawer somewhere and I’ll find it again some day.

I do have a lot of lingering feelings, not to mention the many realizations, that I want to share. Things about divorce and just how stealthy depression can be and how many different kinds of sadness there is. I was in shock and this, mixed with depression, was different than anything I’d ever experienced before. After finding happiness again, I also realized the depression I’d been living. I was in an emotionally miserable marriage where I felt aggressively oppressed. I only realized the depression was there because it is missing now. I used to have these days when I felt so unsatisfied with life. At the same time, I thought that I had a happy marriage, wonderful husband, a great job where I was successful and could afford to do the things I loved, and yet I was struggling with his feeling that we blamed my anxiety for. I was battling feelings of thinking I was ungrateful for having these feelings.

That was backwards and oppressive thinking, not to mention a healthy dose of gaslighting from an emotionally damaged relationship. Anxiety didn’t cause this. Those things caused the anxiety. My feelings were often shutdown and manipulated. So, as I sat in my chair thinking about how I hadn’t felt that feeling that was so familiar for so long, I asked myself what changed? I’m divorced now. That’s a big difference.

I have freedoms and control I didn’t have before. It’s easy to see how a person can be blind in love. You love someone, but this feeling can be manufactured and manipulated. When you waver, your mind can be changed. When they are done with you, you can be crushed, because you believed in those emotions.

In a way, mourning helped me break free. When you lose a friend and you find yourself going down that familiar road… missing his laugh, missing the fun we had, thinking about the things you talked about, and thinking over and over again what you could have done different that might have saved him. Is it all that different from mourning a fifteen year long marriage?

I missed his… well, he didn’t really make me laugh much, nor did I seem to make him laugh. I did miss some of the fun we had together, but I wish we could have done more of what I wanted to do. We talked about things, but he was very forceful about his opinion being the right fact. I thought over and over again about what I could have done to save my marriage, but it was all about giving up and letting him have everything he wanted. How would that be a healthy relationship?

When you compare the two very different modes of thought, going down the same path of mourning, you start to realize that maybe one of these ends were for the greater good, and the world isn’t better without Clayton. I thought back on the things I was feeling. The ruthless dead-end feeling. The soul crushing anxiety of feeling like my life meant nothing and I was ungrateful to be unhappy. That feeling of ungratefulness prevented me from seeing the truth. At those times, I felt like all I did was sleep, eat, work, and sit alone on the couch. Anytime I tried to talk about the things making me unhappy, I was shutdown hard. I feared “starting” a huge argument and being screamed at and called names because my feelings were “wrong”… but they weren’t.

As I sit on the couch, watching tv…. having just slept, ate, and gone to work, I ask myself, why don’t I feel this way now? I said I wanted to go do something fun and my boyfriend was ready for it. We went and did something fun, we laughed, and enjoyed life. There was no fight or manipulation. No one spoiled my fun with aggressive apathy or misery so that we would leave early or that I’d never ask to do it again. There was no argument about not having money.

While I don’t make as much money as I did once, I seem to be able to afford to do the things that I love. No one is spending all my money without my consent, under the guise of being the right of a husband. No lies about not being able to afford something and then money mysteriously becoming available for something else entirely not of my choice. I’m not saying that my new boyfriend and I never have arguments over money, but it’s nothing in comparison to the misery and scandal of my ex’s avarice.

When I feel like something needs to be addressed, I don’t fear a cataclysmic repercussion for  just wanting to talk about a concern. We are fully capable of an adult conversation. While my boyfriend’s passive aggressiveness annoys me, he’s nothing like my ex. He doesn’t gaslight me or instill fear of opposition. He is respectful, patient, and genuinely kind to people (and me of course). Through out the last couple of years, I’ve been deprogramming myself. I’ve been trying to undo the negative behavior I’ve picked up, such as defensiveness and distrust. At the same time, I’ve adopted some new self-rules, such as I control my money. I’m working on becoming a better person.

A long time ago, I made the choice to become a better person, and I did. I took my ex-husband on that journey with me and I still believe he became better for it, but maybe not so much a better person. For example, he can hold down a steady job, and while that’s more responsible, he’s still a lying cheater, even with his new family, so not really a better person. It’s time for me to go on another journey, but this time without him weighing me down.

The day I really stopped loving him, was the day someone showed me messages that he had sent several girls saying how much he loved them and that they were the only one. It wasn’t simply what he said… it was that it had been less than a month and he was saying the same thing to these strangers as he was saying to me merely a month ago. You can’t just turn off feelings you have had for over a decade, like a light switch. For him, that meant he never truly loved me. For me, it meant readjusting my feelings and aiming them in the right direction. Focus on the truth and eventually break free.

I was disgusted and felt like he’d never loved me at all. Fifteen years of manufactured “love“. I started to shut him out and told others to stop coming to me about him. When he got accused of sexual harassment within a club we were in, I told them I didn’t want to hear about it and I didn’t want to be involved. The club respected my wishes and left me out of it. He was ultimately banned. I was already taking a step back from the club because I was trying to avoid my ex. I needed to break away so that my heart could recover, and it did.

However, I think I’ll always be affected by this experience, just as I will always miss Clayton. While I’ll always wish I could have done something to save his life, I’ll also always wish I had made a better choice not to waste my youth with my ex. Today, I’m happier. I moved on with another man. While my ex and I are still friends on facebook and talk very rarely, that is largely his fault. He was challenged to maintain his friendships with our mutual friends, but he decided to dump them for other friends. He wanted us to stay friends, but he didn’t put any effort in. I get it, he wants to start over with people who don’t know his manipulative tricks and lies. It just goes to show that he wants friends he can take advantage of, rather than putting in the hard work of becoming a better person and repairing the damage. His friendships are not unlike our marriage. He completely unfriended our bestfriend who we’ve known for almost as long as we were together. That really hurt our friend, but we don’t see a point in confronting him about it. He made his choice.

Still, we do wish the best for him. In our fifteen years, it wasn’t all bad. We had each others back against the world, despite all troubles within. We took that journey to better lives a decade ago. It’s why we haven’t completely blocked him from our lives. I recently lowered my defenses and stopped hiding my entire life from him, because I don’t feel the need to hide. He comments on facebook sometimes.

We do hope that he’s happy with his new family. It’s my hope, that the daughters the universe has chosen to give him, will be how he grows as a person. Maybe one day, he’ll see how his treatment of women is wrong. Maybe he’ll stop pretending to be socially conscious, and actually try.

I haven’t really talked about him or thought about him in many months (perhaps up to a year) until I started writing this update. I might write more about my realizations in divorce just for the sake of sharing my experience.

Maybe I’ll also find that poem to share. Lately, I’ve been considering a loss support group. If I’ve taken one scar from Clayton’s death, it’s a feeling of helplessness. Don’t confuse this with hopelessness. I am not hopeless. I am helpless. Helpless to truly save a life when it is determined to leave this plane of existence. If anything, I suppose I am not wanting to burden my friends with these lingering feelings. Support groups are meant for this sort of thing.

 

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