Wrap Me in Your Arms and Take This Awfulness Away

I have two closets in my new bedroom; I was too excited about my new apartment and all its newness to take notice of the second closet until I moved in. The main closet is a bit larger, and then there is this small 26.5" wide closet with one rod to hang clothes on. I did a great job of getting rid of a large collection belongings, including dozens of clothes. I don't need the smaller closet to hang anything. Instead, I decided to have shelves installed for my lovely shoe collection.

Then I decided maybe I could do it myself. I remember how Bill built shelving for me. I also remember how he told me I could go to the local lumber yard and have the guys cut the wood for me. I wouldn't even need to do any cutting myself.

This morning after journaling, I made a to-do list. On it was to build my closet shelves. I measured and measured again. I counted my shoes, carefully making certain the shelving would accommodate my shrinking collection (about 15 winter shoes and boots).

I headed to the hardware/lumber yard with my list and measurements.

Bill is a carpenter. I made certain his truck was not in the lot before I pulled in. I pulled all the way to the back. As I pulled in next to the last car, there he was.


He was driving a brand new vehicle, a car, not a truck. A Subaru, something he had always wanted. I had no idea he had a new car. And I had pulled in right next to him. RIGHT NEXT TO HIM!

The blood drained from my face. He was walking to the back of his vehicle when I pulled in. He obviously saw me because my truck is recognizable. He shook his head. I could tell by the look on his face he was extremely disgusted. My heart stopped. A vat of shame poured over me and my body felt hot. I got out, did not look at him,  and walked the opporsite direction. I SHOULD HAVE LEFT AND IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, FOR THE SAKE OF MY OWN DIGNITY AND TO PROVE TO HIM (AND MYSELF) THAT I WAS BETTER OFF NOT SEEING HIM, I WOULD HAVE BACKED OUT AND LEFT.


Dumb, weak woman that I am (yes I'm THAT hard on myself) I kept on. I was greeted at the front of the store and I asked where I could order the lumber. I think a part of me wanted to see him. A part of me hoped he would talk to me, reconcile even. Not to get back together, but to let the past be behind us. I felt mixed emotions simultaneously. I was told to go to the back of the store by the glass doors; I could see him behind those doors. Panicky, heart racing, I moved my heavy legs in his direction. A part of me was relieved. I wanted to see him, talk to him. I am pathetic I think. Not proud one bit. I hate myself for being this way.

I went back there, and he did not acknowledge me. I kept my head down. We both waited in line, me next to him in the second line, just a step back. The lumber men were not especially kind, and my voice was weak. I ordered my wood shelving. I sounded meek and nervous, extremely insecure which is exactly how I felt. I thought he was still next to me, but then out of the corner of my eye I could see he had left. My heart sank again because the pathetic part of me wanted to talk to him.

I went back into the hardware part of the store and gathered the other items on my list.

I travelled back and forth from the lumber yard into the hardware store a few more times. I saw Bill was back in line, watching to see if I was still around. I took no pleasure in that. I knew he wanted me gone. This was his store, his stomping grounds. He had shopped here for years, and he had brought me into this store several times. He was the one who shared this resource with me. I should have known I would run into him here, and a part of me hoped I would. In fact, as I dressed for the trip to the lumber yard, I made certain I looked great just in case. There were two aspects of my preparation: wanting to see him, getting ready to see him, but not really believing I would run into him there.

And yet there we were together.

He was disgusted and angry. I could see it. And yet while I was wrapped in emotion, trying to maintain a sense of composure, he was frivolously chatting it up with the boys. He sounded like nothing in the world bothered him, he was just fine. Meanwhile my world was torn up in an instant, and even just that morning and the night before I had cried over him.

Finally at one point we crossed paths, alone outside. There was no one else around.

"I had no idea you were here Bill."

He continued to look down, nodded and loaded something into his new vehicle. I continued on, away from him.

I could barely stand, barely talk to the lumber and hardware men, my eyes well-up with tears. I fought hard to keep them contained. I had a few more things to do while I waited for my shelving, waited for the clerk to fix my drill, waited for someone to find me the sander I wanted. I needed glue, screws, sandpaper.

Finally I checked out and could see he had left.

In my car I texted my therapist. She was too busy to talk but she texted me many helpful words.

I sobbed in my car.

I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the street where no one was. I pulled over and cried hysterically, my head as far down as it would go. I could not get the pain to go away. Overwhelmed with emotion, I cried buckets of pain, buckets of his abusive anger, buckets of his rage. I didn't know if I would be able to stop. I was hysterical. It was 20 minutes before I could drive again. I was desperate. Who can I call? I needed immediate relief. How could I get relief? My sobs ached with a fierceness unlike any before. Wailing, I prayed to find some comfort. I prayed for Bill to drive by and comfort me. I prayed for him to stop being so angry at me. I prayed for God to stop this hurt I felt. I prayed to make it thru this moment.

I took it all on. I took on his anger, rage, his hatred for me. I took on his disgust. I beat myself up. I tried to think of my son and I hurt even more. I considered driving to my son's school just to hold him. I cannot ask Oliver for comfort. I prayed, begged, pleaded with God to take this away from me.

My therapist said to feel the pain and know it will pass. I was feeling it, intensely. It took a long while, but it passed enough for me to drive.

Heading home, I focused on the shelving. Doing something will make me feel better.

Inside I texted a few friends. I called Christi, the woman who knows all the details about this break up, all the stupid things I did (things I never admitted on this blog) and all the hurt and hysteria I experienced over this relationship ending. I could barely put two words together.

After talking with her, I cried more and knew that if I could just start on this project I would feel better. I heard Bill's critical eye about my carpentry skills (he was not critical of me, but of other people's work). I was able to get two shelves up. My measurements were accurate. The shelves are looking good so far. I need to run and get a better leveler. Somehow during the move mine went missing.

So here I sit. It just started down-pouring. I need to run out and get this tool, but this time I'll try a different store. Christi, my dear friend, suggested I don't go to the lumber yard I saw Bill at. And she said I prolly needed a plan if I were to run into him again. I most likely need to stop what I'm doing, turn around and leave. And def don't go to any store where I might run into him again. Not just because he will be angry, but because it sends me reeling.

Oh friends, what the eff is wrong with me? Why am I the last one to see he doesn't love me, maybe never did love me? Why am I still hanging on? How sick can I be? Please don't beat me up in the comments section for I am doing that enough to myself. I am just horribly hurt and keep thinking he will miss me, love me, forgive me. I need to forgive myself, I need to find the self-love, the self-esteem to say Fuck You to him. I just haven't found it yet; I want it. I want it badly but I have no flipping clue why I don't have it.

I am not a door mat in any other area of my life. No one and nothing can push me down. When it comes to Bill, I'm weak and pathetic. God help me.


  1. I don't think there is anything wrong with you. You had the normal and very painful reaction that someone with a real, loving, beating heart would have. Recovering from loss is a process, sometimes one that it very hard and it hurts, but more and more it will get better. I really like the idea of having a plan for if/when it happens again. I know in these moments it doesn't feel like the hurt will ever go away, but it will pass. You WILL be happy again. I applaud you for recognizing and sharing your feelings here. It's going to prove to be very healing over time. XO

    1. Cheri, thank you... You'd think I'd "know" I would be happy again as after my divorce I found happiness... that was a long drawn out process but I did have good times and laughter and fun with my son. The second time around it seems like the light of hope has left my dark tunnel. I do get a little worried that I might always be going thru this. Trusting the words of bloggers / commenters, and the words of my friends near me that I will be happy again. I do try not to worry so much about it, just trying to trust the process and be patient.

      Boy this really threw me for a spiral loop! Trying to shake it off me this (dark rainy) morning and get my arse out of bed!

  2. That sounds like an extremely unpleasant experience which you handled really well. You definitely took the high road, acted like a normal person when you saw him in the store (and he didn't act like a normal person); you were able to make a passing comment, you got your business done in the store, while feeling all that inside. I agree with Cheri - your reaction seems like a normal reaction to having to be reminded, when you were least expecting it, of all that pain. It doesn't seem to me like 'hanging on' but more like, boom, you suddenly had it all back in your face again.

    It would be good to have plan if it happens again, but I also say, dammit, the store doesn't belong to him.

    I am so, so, so impressed that you can build shelves.

    1. CHM, as always you know the right things to say, and just how to get a smile going on my face even in the midst of a hurricane. Oh what a storm yesterday was, and it's still "raining" today but not as hard.

      The shelves are haphazard, but they are level and they are getting my shoe collection organized. Pictures to follow. I have a couple more to put up today.

  3. Read both of today's posts but will comment here. I like both Cheri's and CHM's comments and feel the same. You will not be judged harshly, Andrea. You have my unconditional support and fervent hope for things to get better for you. They will ... in time. Oh, that elusive time. It will happen - slolwly. I'm amazed that you were able to go home and even begin to build those shelves. I see that as a good thing and real strength. You will rise above this and him. Wishing only the best for you as you still move through this. I think, collectively, we (your readers) do "wrap you in our arms" figuratively to try to comfort you from the hurt and pain. Hope you are able to get some sleep tonight.

    1. Thank you Elle. I do feel my readers' support... and your comments HELP immensely! :) It inspires me to write more (as you noticed hopefully... your comment the other day inspired me to write an update. Unfortunately, after publishing the update I fell down hard!)

  4. I am so sorry you ran into him, Andrea. That tiny desire to see him was normal, and now you know how it went. So it was productive in that sense. It sent a little anger through me that he shook his head and mumbled things when he saw you. Jackass. Make sure you let yourself see that that is a sign of weakness on his part. If he were in a good place, he would be able to be kind to you. He would have forgiveness toward you and hope that you were finding your way. He's not.

    AND, he treated you that way because he knew it would make you crumble. If he thought you were the kind of person who would see him do that, roll your eyes, and say "screw off, Bill" he wouldn't waste his time. He knew exactly what he was doing to you. It speaks to his character.

    You are making great strides and these experiences, as painful as they are, are necessary on your road to healing. I pray that this bad experience doesn't weigh you down. Pick yourself up, dust off, and build some kick-ass shelves.

    1. The Bill I used to date WOULD have found forgiveness toward me as you wrote. He always cooled off after we fought... ALWAYS forgave any behavior on my part and would apologize for his as well. This Bill is very different. I don't recognize him.

      YOU ARE RIGHT... he KNOWS how his anger affects me. Yet this time he has no clue HOW BADLY it has affected me. I feel beat up.

      Kelly, I read your comments and take them to heart every time. I think you are so insightful. I am grateful you champion me, and I'm grateful you shared that his behavior was a sign of weakness. I still take on his anger and his opinion of me. It takes days to shake that. I am trying to this morning.

      I just read an old post where I shared the lyrics to that old song, Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. I will share a photo of the shelves on the blog.

      THANK YOU!

    2. PS. That is the dynamic: he with anger, me with head down in shame. I hope to find the strength and dignity to change that dynamic between us if I ever see him again. Even if I don't...

  5. Andrea, I am one of the Anonymousers. I have been checking in, waiting for a post. You know what?
    I don't think we need to know your why's. Just tell us what happened. Just tell us how you feel. The people who read this don't judge. I have done some cray cray stuff too. It is weird what we do and why we do it. But the therapist will help you figure out the why. We just need to hear from you. And despite the little wooden setback, life goes on. Buy yourself a cinnamon dolce vanilla latte, and feel better. Because you are better. Better than how you were doing a month ago.
    People show up and help you, and comment, because you are worth it.


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