I’m Moving Away...

from hurt, the past, memories and wanting to control everything.

My ego would like so badly to acquire retribution, but my heart and every breath I take is filled with the strength to forgive, to love, to pray. With this strength I finally, finally see myself as a worthy human being, a woman who is beautiful, kind, and generous. Flawed, yes, but aren't we all? Each of us has one or more areas in which we have growing to do. I'm no exception. My marriage did not work out for a reason. While I like to continue to think that my X was completely in the wrong (and yes, I do think that) I know I contributed to his state of being (or leaving). I could have been a better wife and life partner in so many ways, championing him, supporting him. I look back and see how I acted and wonder why, sometimes, he did not leave sooner. I had growing to do, and I can see I definitely struggled with expectations. I had many. And each time he failed to live up to one, I was not a happy camper.

Today I'm trying to accept rather than oppose any condition of my existence. This includes letting go, completely, of the outcome of this time in my life. It's difficult to watch him ride off into the sunset, to be with a woman he is attracted to and whom he chose over me. It's difficult to accept he is with a woman who is immature, who needs attention, who has a different set of morals than me especially when it comes to my son. I protect my son the best I can; I bring things up to his father, but regarding my X's choice to be with her, I have to let all that go. Everything she is to him is something I have lost. Sometimes I wish her comments do not cross my path on Facebook. I want to say to her, “Yup. He did that with me. Yup. He said that to me too. Yup, he did that with me. Girl, been there done that. Think you're special? You're not. Well, you're not the first, and there's nothing he's done with you he hasn't already done with me.” I had been imagining, and sometimes still do, my X happy in love while I struggle in matters of the heart. I imagine they don't fight, they have fun, they express love for each other, while I don't have that kind of relationship in my life. In actuality, I do have some of that in my life. In fact, I have better than I had with him. It's different and mature and good. I just can't see it when I am looking at my past and watching it slip away.

Those are my dark thoughts. Those are the ones that keep me in a depressed state. And so I work hard, spiritually, to overcome them. Not by prayer, but by practice. I practice acceptance. I am learning to see myself in a new way. I'm learning mindfulness, to cherish the present, not just with my son which I can do more easily, but with any person in my life. When I start to compare I get into deep trouble.

And this happens not only in my love relationships, but everywhere. It's true: I am hard on myself! Sheryl Sandberg writes in Lean In:

Like me, most of the women I know do a great job worrying that we don't measure up. We compare our efforts at work to those of our colleagues, usually men, who typically have far fewer responsibilities at home. Then we compare our efforts at home to those of mothers who dedicate themselves solely to their families.

Back when I worked at the agency, I knew that I could not work until 6-7pm like my manager. I knew that if he left his position, I might not be able to be promoted to it — even tho I had worked hard in my tenure as a designer to hold such a position — because I could not dedicate any time outside of the work week to accommodate his chosen schedule. It was true, he volunteered his time, yet I knew I would not do the same. Then at home, my house was a mess, my child was being raised partially by strangers which left me with strong feelings of guilt, and time to myself was limited. I couldn't read fiction because I didn't have time; I couldn't read industry articles to keep up with growing technology because there was not enough time; I couldn't look the way I wanted at work because I had no time to shower, put on makeup, plan a good outfit; I couldn't work the way I would have prior to becoming a mother; and I couldn't keep up with my responsibilities at home.

Now add to that aging. A bulging mid-section. A scar from my c-section that sexy unmentionables refuse to camouflage. Breasts that changed in appearance after having Oliver (and not just sagging, but an actual transformation in color and shape.) A lack of confidence to show off any part of my youth. I had cleavage. No one ever saw it, including my husband at the time. I was uncomfortable with my body and worked hard to cover it up.

Now... add to that a husband leaving without notice. And not long after his departure, he falls fast and furious for a woman exactly half my age. HOLY SHIT!

To say that I am moving away from hurt, the past, memories and wanting to control everything you must realize is no small feat. It's the second time in my life I have come face to face with powerlessness; the first was when I could not stop my X from drinking (many years later he admitted he had a problem and found a healthy way to quit, but it happened without any help from me).

Moving away is a culmination of efforts on my part to see the value that I hold. It's only in hindsight that I can look at a photograph of myself and notice my beauty. I'm learning, today, to look at a picture taken of me and see how pretty I am. Look, I'm no Cindy Crawford. I know that. But the way I'd beat myself up when I'd see a photo? I couldn't look at myself for more than a second, and then with disgust look away and wish I had been born different.

Not anymore. Well, I'm learning. That's all. Learning. I've let you see photos of me which may not be the most flattering. That's all part of the process. I'm trying to see what others see. My sweetheart tells me I'm beautiful. My friend Pamela tells me ALL THE TIME. I'm trying to believe them. I'm looking for it. And I see it. Mostly.

Sadly, there are a lot of women, many I know personally, who think this way. I don't want to beat myself up anymore. I'm done with that.

The best part of this change is I no longer think my X has a better partner than me. This is a huge shift for me! I think I am a better catch. I think I was the better choice. I wish he would see that some day, but I'm learning to give up wishing for that too.

I am learning so much lately. I'm beginning to practice mindfulness. I'm reading a lot of books which have helped to remind me that:

Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. (1)

Perfection is the enemy. (1)

Done is better than perfect.

Everything changes and ends. (2)

Things do not always go according to plan. (2)

Life is not always fair. (2)

Pain is part of life. (2)

People are not loving and loyal all of the time. (2)

Anything can happen to anyone. (2) (I really used to think I was exempt.)

Things renew.

There is a larger plan at work.

Nothing needs to get in the way of me acting with kindness.

Control is a way to run away from life as it is. (2)

I don't have control. I have the belief I have control, that is all.

I control because I am afraid of grief.

At the base of fear is a fear of not having control. (2)

Acceptance does not mean you have to like everything or that you have to take a passive attitude toward everything and abandon your principles and values. It does not mean you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things.... and therefor hopeless.... it simply means you have come around to a willingness to see things as they are. (3)


Here are the ways my trying to control has taken over my life:

I want to be different (beauty, size, shape of breast, etc)
I want Matt (or others) to be different.
I don't like waiting.
My house is not clean as I want it to be.
I cannot keep the weight off, or lose it as fast as I want.
I have habits that I do not like.
I can't (couldn't) get Matt to love me and stick around.
I was not successful at my job and that's why I was laid off (performance).

I've learned:

I'm cannot be in control at all times. The false belief that I can leads to anxiety.

I need to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.

Next is to deal with what happens and not let anything tear myself apart, including me! I no longer indulge in negative thoughts. I run my own business now and have more bounties available to me than I did working full-time at the agency! I get to do the things I've wanted to do at the agency and wasn't allowed to, and yet I only work half of the time! I get to spend the rest of that time with my child.

But somehow, I still can't get my house cleaned. ;)

Progress, not perfection.



(1) Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
(2) David Richo, The Five Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find When We Embrace Them.
(3) Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Full Catastrophe Living





Comments

  1. Yup, you ARE beautiful, and kind, and fun to be with, and creative, and honest, and generous, and intelligent, and caring. SOOOO glad you are finally starting to see a glimpse of these things in yourself!!

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  2. So proud of you!

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  3. This post is full of interesting insight. Sending thoughts and prayers that your new sweetheart is treating you better than the last one. You deserve it and also to be happ!.

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