Thursday, January 14, 2016

The dark period

Last month my family came to visit for xmas and it was glorious.  When I really think about it, I can't put my finger on a single thing to complain about, which is pretty normal for me.  I like to remember the good stuff and forget anything terrible happened.  I got to see my nephews and niece, I got alone time, there was steak and crab legs, plus I deep cleaned my whole house. Clearly the best part was seeing my sister and her husband since they live across the country.  There has been one solitary comment that has been in the back of my mind since the visit and it was one that was made from my brother to the guy I've started dating.  It wasn't even said to me, so really, I don't even know what the actual comment is.  Just what the guy I'm dating remembered and mentioned offhandedly when I asked what they talked about.  And to clarify, I'm not upset or bothered, because if I was I would've just called my brother to talk about it like emotionally well adjusted adults do.  Apparently at some point in the conversation, he had referred to my single years as "the dark period".
It's funny to see an outsider's perspective on your life, isn't it?  Maybe there is a disconnect between how things look and how things are.  Certainly this blog only made things worse because I poured out my miserable, black heart here and hated the world and everyone in it.  It was pretty dark.  In fact, I think I referred to myself as hidden from the sun several times there.  Now I want to talk about something else in relation to that period now since it's on my mind.
Let me tell you what it was really like after the divorce from my daughter's father when I was single.  In the beginning, it was scary. I was alone in a house with a baby and I had nobody that I felt I could call to save me.  Was that true? No, it was not. If there was an emergency, I could've called my ex and he would've been there in 2 seconds to protect his daughter and make sure I was still alive, despite living with his new gf.  But I was scared.  And heartbroken.  I had lost my best friend.  The man who had promised to stand by my side forever was now standing next to someone else in a house that we had built to fill with our babies and driving a car that I had bought to say thank you for being such a wonderful partner for our anniversary.  But I did not stay like that for years until I was married again. Quite the contrary, I mark those years as some of the happiest and most free of my life thus far.
I learned how to make friends.  Good friends, and with women. I developed new hobbies, had brunch, traveled out of town to see friends, started reading again, decided I liked makeup and nail polish, and ate way too much dessert to even out all the effort I was putting in at the gym.  I was a mom and I was sexy. I called all of the shots.  I was on a path to be the best version of myself and do the right thing and it all seemed to pay off.  I became friends with my ex again and I am happy to say I am now very close to his fiance as well.  Honestly, they are family to me and I don't know what I would do without them in respect to both of my kids.  Why were these years perceived as so dark?  Because my health was failing and my husband left me?  Those are dark things.  But I was by far happier than I had ever been.
If I were to call anything the dark period, I would say it has been these recent years.  I have felt more sadness, betrayal, desperation, anxiety, and hopelessness in the last 2-3 years than I have ever experienced.  And this is with an army of people behind me to listen, buy clothes and food for my kids, literally give me money, and show up to hold my hand when I need it.  When I look at the happy vs sad times in my life, it has been the married/relationship years that have brought the most sadness and loneliness.  I was never lonely when I was single.  How could I be? I had so much to do, people to see, places to go. Life was a constant party and I was blissfully happy with my little girl.  I can only imagine (and pray) that once this current divorce is final that I will finally exhale and revert back to my happy, optimistic self instead of having anxiety every time my phone sounds that an email has been received.  It's like a joke.  Most days I believe I am meant to be alone to raise my kids in peace, even thought I do enjoy having a man go to the movies with me, make dinner, or snuggle when I'm cold.
I've always thought it was an impossible thing to find two human beings with very different brains and thoughts and try to smash them together into a relationship.  It produces more misery than good.  And my brain and heart have been broken after this last disaster.  I have found myself for the first time not believing in relationships anymore and thinking marriage is a joke.  Honestly, it makes me sad.  It is the darkest my mind has ever been.  Me not believe in the power of love? It's like I'm not me anymore!  Well, maybe I'm not. Maybe I finally grew up, wised up, or had the truth forcibly beat into me with 10k in attorney bills that continue to pour in.  I don't know.  I think people can love each other, I just don't think it counts for anything.  I've had men who love me hit me and cheat on me.  I've had them go after money and possessions with no regard for what is right or fair.  So what difference does love make if it doesn't protect you from the evils of the world?  I think people are lonely and they don't want to be by themselves.  I don't suffer from that problem.  I don't mind being alone, making the decisions, and doing what I want.  The world is too big with too many people in it to feel alone.  What makes me feel alone is having a person stand in front of me who doesn't know me, doesn't care about my feelings, and focuses on what they want first.  I don't treat people like that. But I have learned that people like me are few and far between.
I'm 35 now.  I've been around the block (and alter) more times than I'd like to admit.  I know that everyone has by my age. It makes dating so bleak and marriage even more so.  People hold the sins of their exes against you. They are set in their ways.  If they have been divorced, they understand it's an acceptable option when you are married.  It shouldn't be.  If you know you can survive without someone, it's really hard to pretend to need them and people want to feel needed.  It doesn't mean you don't appreciate them, but that never seems to be enough.  Men want your body, blood, and soul.  Sorry, but I can't give you that.  You don't get to own me or use me.  You can't take advantage of me and break me.  I have kids to raise, so they get all that good stuff.  Mom doesn't lose her mind, job, responsibilities, and common sense.  She makes dinner, does the dishes, and then shaves her legs and for sexy time before bed at a reasonable hour.  I don't call in sick to work because I need my job to pay the mortgage and your tantrum can wait.  Way back before...well, I would've called in sick to work to make sure my man was ok because our relationship came first above my job.  What a wonderful world that was. Good thing my job was still there after he left me with our baby, huh? Not one husband, but two.
Today is one of those days when I want to reread my blog and see where those dark years are.  When I look back with my fond memories, I don't see dark times in my single years.  I see them in my married ones and that makes me sad.  People ask me all the time if I'm ever going to get married again and it makes me so angry.  Why is every so fixated on that?  Do you want to see the 8 wedding dresses I've purchased?  How about pictures of me wearing countless promise and engagement rings.  I've had enough. Cake, pictures, dresses, diamonds, broken promises, lies, STDs, all of it.  And I don't want to feel this way.  The dark period is now and I pray for it to be gone every day. If I could snap my fingers and renew my faith in men and marriage, I would.  On January 1, I made a list of 10 things I was going to pray for this year for my life and people in it.  This was at the top of the list.  I don't want to get married to fix my life.  I'm not sure I will ever get married again.  I want the heaviness on my heart to be lifted.  I want to believe in love and happiness and honesty again in relationships instead of assuming the worst because "99% of men are that way". I want this dark period that has consumed my heart to be over.
You got it wrong, little brother. It was not when I was single.  The dark period is very much here and now.  If you didn't know that, then maybe I have been doing a better job of hiding it than I thought and that's ok.  Don't look back and wish those days had never happened.  Look at me now and wish these ones are gone.