Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Choices, Consequences, Love and Loss



I am writing this post because of an assignment in the blogging class that I am taking, How To Build A Blog You Truly Love.  Last year in the class I wrote a post about the fear that I live with daily since I was raped.  (You can find it here.)  That was a hard share; I really dug deep to tell that story. 

For this post, I had two other story ideas before I landed on the one I am about to tell.  The first one, a good story that I will share in a later post, was easier to tell than the assignment required.  This story won out over my other option due to the timeliness of it.  This one is raw and fresh as recently as today.

If you are a regular reader here, you know that I share my life with a wonderful man who makes me very happy.  I would love to say that I've only made good decisions in my life, that my mister and I have been together for eons and ages and celebrate a wedding anniversary every year, but that is not the case.

(Art from Ripplespeak on Etsy, the shop of fellow
 classmate, blogger and friend Jennifer Richardson)

As a young woman, I married a man thirteen years my senior, with three children, after only dating him for a few months.  I thought that we were going to have the perfect life.  The reality of the situation is that we fought on our wedding night (we eloped), two days before Christmas.  But I took him to my grandmothers house, announced our marriage, and told my family that I was ecstatically happy.  He called me an" f-ing c word" the first month of our marriage, because I got my car stuck in our driveway during a snowstorm.  But I stayed with him.  A few months later, first one child and then another moved in with us.  And I stayed, because they needed me, and that felt good, and right.

I don't regret any of the time that I spent with those children; in fact I feel sometimes like they are the best part of me.  But I regret that I allowed myself to settle, to endure verbal abuse, and to be treated as less than, all in their presence.  I often wonder what it did to them; I am estranged from them now as well.  This is a situation that I understand and respect; they were forced to choose between our home and their mother's home all of the time during the years that I spent with their father.  (Not becasue of me; I advocated for family harmony; I lost.)  They chose our home because they needed the parenting I provided them, and I am proud of that.  They choose their mother again when they became independent, and have since been estranged from both their father and myself.  It was then that I found the courage to leave him.

That was eight years ago, and we are still locked in a battle of attorneys.  There was a meeting on Monday between my attorney, my "ex" and his attorney to exchange information, and it feels that we are inching closer to the finish line.  But it was a dark day for me, a day of living in the memories of my life with him, memories that are hard to shake.  Memories that haunt my dreams at night, dreams that turn to nightmares. 

There is a shame that accompanies living the wrong life, and it is hard to describe to anyone who has never experienced it.  I didn't want people outside our home to know that I had made a bad choice, so I pretended that everything was perfect.  I kept my clothes and personal items in the master bedroom, but slept in the guestroom.  I know now that it wasn't the right thing to do for the sake of the children, but at the time it made sense.  Their mother had shared with them all of the things that did not work with her marriage to their father, so they were not shocked to see us have many of the same issues.  I think that they were just happy to live in a home that revolved around them.  I wish now that I had tried harder for harmony with their mother, but at the time, at my age, it didn't seem possible.  Hindsight, right?  It haunts my dreams.

(Inspirational art by Liv Lane from her
Choosing Beauty Etsy Shop; it hangs in my home.}

There isn't a happy ending to this story, at least not yet.  My mister and I hope to get married this year, as we have every year since we've been together.  Maybe being together at all is our happy ending.  Maybe the rest of it is just the price to be paid for the choices made as a young woman.  Maybe it's the price I have to pay for having those beautiful children in my life for a time.  One thing I know for sure is that time will tell.  Time provides the answer to all of our questions.  Sometimes it's a brutal wait, but the answer eventually comes.  I just have to wait.

23 comments:

  1. This is beautifully written for such a difficult and painful subject. I may have to take this course and learn how to express myself better - it would have taken me ten pages to describe what you've put forth so poignantly here.
    I wish I had a solution, but as you've already said, all you can do is be patient. I hope though that this burden will be resolved, and the memory will become smaller and less painful over time.

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  2. Finding happiness with your mister is the happiest part of your story. Getting married will not be the ending but the continuation of everything you treasure now.
    Many of us made what turned out to be wrong choices but few can convey the situation with such clarity. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post.

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  3. Oh Anita. You are an amazing and beautiful soul.
    I love your resilience!
    And that instead of going stuck and bitter
    you've grown through the pain
    and embraced wisdom and compassion
    and found strength and wings.
    It's a beautiful story.
    And you're a deeply lovely woman:)
    love and bravo!
    -Jennifer

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  4. You are so brave. Not only for writing this post but for living for those kids. Even though you are estranged it sounds like you are in one another's hearts. much peace to you.

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  5. Thank you so much, ladies. Your comments have brought tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart.
    xoxo

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  6. Anita, I feel really moved by what you've shared here. Thank you for writing so honestly about your life. Em x

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  7. So brave, So beautiful! Sending you so much love, Thank you for sharing! Love & Grace, AnaLisa

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  8. Sometimes you do what you need to do to just get through the day. The important part is that you're not there anymore. That takes strength and courage, which you have a lot of... keep drawing on it Brave girl.

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  9. Anita! This is so beautiful and brave. You have not chosen the wrong life; you are writing a new, triumphant chapter. You could have stayed. You could have allowed the past to keep you from loving again. But look at you now, shining star! Wish I could give you a big hug through the screen.

    {And what a sweet surprise to see my art there - thank you!}

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  10. Anita! Beautifully written. I am sorry that you have had to go through these things that have been so horrible but I am so glad that you are now finding happiness! So blessed to come across your blog on BBTL.

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  11. What a moving post. You are so BRAVE! There may not be a happy ending yet, but it sounds so much happIER and more peaceful. Thank you for sharing, it must have been hard, but there are people out there that need to see that life does get better.

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  12. I'm with Liv. You learned and made brave new choices. There could not be anything wrong in loving those children. I wish you peace.

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  13. Everything we go through makes us who we are today. Wonderful post.

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  14. This is beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I know in this new chapter of your life you will be able to move through it with wisdom and grace because you have learned from your painful experiences. All the best to you!

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  15. Anita, you are such a strong and courageous woman. God and time have a way of healing. Wishing you and your mister only the best life has to offer. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless.

    Hugs,
    Susan

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  16. Thank you for sharing a bit of your soul in this post, Anita. It was incredibly authentic and real. You are a wise, strong woman. Keep doing what you are doing :)

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  17. You told a very difficult story beautifully. I hope you can release any guilt and enjoy the positive road ahead. Peace to you!

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  18. Anita, I'm so impressed by you and your resilience. This really helps me actually.

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  19. Anita,
    Thanks again for sharing. Shame is a tricky thing, its an emotion that can blind us to reality which generally is we are doing the best with what life throws at as. Hope to see wedding pics posted sometime soon

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  20. Beautifully written post, and how strong you are for all you've endured. You have such a wonderful outlook though. Take care.

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  21. These comments of support and friendship mean more to me than I can possibly express. My heart is full!

    xo, Anita

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  22. You sound very strong to me. I wish you could have closure but it sounds like you've a bit more of a wait. In the meantime, hugs and onward you go!

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  23. Anita ...

    I know that the "brave post' assignment was a while back, but I still hadn't gotten to read everyone's stuff. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this and let you know that you aren't alone in carrying such things in your history. Much of what you described sounds like my marriage-which I left in 2007, thank goodness. Thank you so much for posting about this, so bravely and honestly. You rock.

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Dear friends,
Thank you for taking the time to comment! ! I want this to be a space of free and open dialog, within the boundaries of respect and basic human kindness. Whether we are in agreement or not, all comments will be published so long as they meet that requirement.
xo, Anita