When it comes to you everyone waits for my reaction. It’s been 3 ½ years and they still wait for my reaction. If you’re around I get stares, if your name is mentioned everyone looks at me to make sure it’s ok that they keep talking.
I don’t know if people want me to fly into a fit of rage when I see you out, curse your name if they bring you up, or act in a way that’s going to give everyone something to talk about, I’m not sure.
But I hate it.
I hate it because that part of my life is over, that part of our lives is over, and I don’t hate you. That seems to be very hard for people to understand and it’s even harder for me to understand why people would rather see hatred than love.
I haven’t written in a few months, for a lot of reasons. I’ve been working on a particular post forever to explain why I’ve been MIA and it was going to be the post to get me right back into it. And then you went and got engaged.
Once again, people are waiting for my reaction.
This one last time I’ll give in, but this is the last time. Because this is where it ends.
To my/our friends- I could write paragraphs and say a million things to you, but I’ll just say this. I hope this is something you never experience. And after you read this, I hope you’ll finally understand.
So, to you, I figured I’d write you one last letter- because I know how much you always loved them (sarcasm).
When you broke up with me in college, after I went to that super sketchy psychic in Kent who told me we were going to get back together (I wrote about it, didn’t publish it, but it’s actually hysterical) I bought the world’s largest bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandel, because college, a pack of Marlboro Lights, also because college, and the Britney Spears cd, well, because Britney.
I laid in bed and I cried and I cried and I did all of the things that girls aren’t supposed to do when a guy breaks up with them. I repeatedly called you to make sure this was what you REALLY wanted and to try to convince you to get back together with me. I finally crawled out of bed a few days later on a Monday morning and didn’t feel bad about myself anymore, I finally felt good and I resolved to go out into the world and kick ass.
That afternoon you called me and told me you made a mistake and wanted to get back together.
I went to the bar to meet some friends, I opened Facebook and there it was right at the top of my newsfeed, a congratulations to you from one of our mutual friends.
I kind of laughed and looked at Roomie and told her you got engaged. She asked if I wanted to go home and I immediately said no. My guy friend looked at me and just kind of waited, again, the waiting.
They didn’t know if I was going to cry, get angry, or leave. So they did what friends do, after the awkward pause of me doing nothing they yelled SHOTS!
I told them I wanted shots but not because I needed to drown my sorrows, I swore I was good and I really was. But it made me nervous. I thought that I should be sad and I should cry but nothing was happening, I literally felt nothing. So I text my mom and I told her, and still nothing happened. I just shrugged my shoulders, put my phone away and went about my night not giving it another thought.
By Monday afternoon I sat at my desk and slid my hands up to my face and let my sleeves catch my tears as they fell, I couldn’t get them to stop and had to leave the office early. By the time I made it home I couldn’t breathe, I sat in my car waiting to calm down because some of the neighbors were walking into the building and I didn’t want them to see me. What was I going to say to them? Oh hey, I’m just crying because my ex-husband got engaged and I’m not sad, I’m not angry or jealous, I’m just having this complete breakdown because- I have no idea! They would look at me like I was nuts, I looked at myself like I was nuts.
I crawled into bed and cried, I cried the way I cried when my dad died, I cried the way I cried when we got divorced. I cried until Roomie forced me out of my bedroom to eat brownies because brownies make everything better.
I was supposed to pack because I was moving again. Instead I kicked some boxes around and rearranged some things and crawled right back into bed. I woke up at 3 crying, 4 crying, and by 5am the tears were stinging my cheeks because they were raw from having cried so much.
But I wasn’t sad. Ok, maybe I was sad, but not in the way that you would think.
I cried because it was finally a moment of clarity.
In a lot of ways these past 3 ½ years have been like my college (Major- Life, Minor- Awesome), I’m getting ready to graduate and everything that I wanted to make sense, FINALLY makes sense. You getting engaged was the last piece that made it all come together. It clicked and I knew I finally needed to forgive myself to get rid of all of the guilt, the anger, and the sadness. It was time for me to let go of all of it, because I realize that you and I are exactly who we’re supposed to be and where we’re supposed to be.
I think you thought this entire thing was easy for me. That I just shut off my feelings for you and moved on to start a whole new life without a care in the world. I think a lot of people thought that. Unfortunately, despite what people and social media may have suggested, I had a very difficult time.
It’s taken me YEARS to learn certain things. But what I immediately learned was that when two people split, there’s no sympathy for the person who does the leaving, and all the sympathy in the world for the person who gets left.
So, I was content to play the bad guy, I took the digs and the punches knowing everyone was putting me down to make you feel better. I don’t blame them, anyone would have done what they did. I didn’t fight back because I felt horrible, and if my being everyone’s punching bag made you feel better, than so be it. Did you want me to tell you it hurt? It did. But do you know what hurt more? That the people that were so quick to attack never asked how I felt. The scariest part about that was that I wouldn’t have been able to answer the question because I didn’t know how I felt.
I knew I needed to go, I knew I needed to leave you behind and there were so many feelings and emotions and things happening around me that I couldn’t make sense of any of it. Until now.
Here is my best explanation.
I was photoshopped.
Our entire life looked so perfect that a photographer wanted to come and capture it, but I screwed up the dates and missed picture day. So I photoshopped myself in and it looked SO GOOD that I fooled you and I even fooled myself into believing that I was in a place where I belonged.
From that moment in college that you wanted to get back together until the time we got divorced, my biggest mistake was that I always chose you instead of myself. (Hear me out.)
I never chose myself in the way I needed to. I relied on you way too much- if there was a battle, you’d fight it, if there was a bill, you’d pay it, if there was a decision, you’d make it. I had gotten so accustomed and comfortable with letting you do everything that I lacked the confidence and the skill to do it myself.
It was my lack of confidence that made me fear everything. I was afraid of being alone, traveling, disappointing people, my career, and the list goes on and on. But what I was most afraid of was not having you by my side to guide me through everything.
Maybe it was watching my dad die, maybe it was the kids that I taught, but I woke up one day and I had a new fear.
I feared continuing to live in a world in which I didn’t belong.
When I look back on our life together, I never have any feelings of anger or hatred toward you. It’s actually the opposite. The only feelings of anger and hatred I have, are toward myself. I despise the person I was when I was married to you. I wish I was the person I was now, but that’s just not how life works.
Whenever I look back I see the girl who made you climb that damn ladder to hang hooks so she could put up hanging baskets- those stupid ass baskets of flowers that you and I knew I’d neglect and kill within a matter of days.
I see the girl that would sit on the front porch and stare at the lack of action in our cul-de-sac wondering if this was always how slow life was going to be.
I see the girl who prayed her suburban life would never get so dull that she’d turn into the HOA lady that had nothing better to do than complain about the types of rocks people were using to line their gardens.
I see the girl who realized she had to stop letting the guy save the day and learn to become her own hero.
Unfortunately, that was a solo mission.
The day I left you swore you would change. But what I know now is that it wasn’t you that needed to change, it was me and leaving you was the only way that was ever going to happen.
You, my dear, were the hardest habit I’ve ever had to break.
It’s a funny thing about change, I don’t know why I ever feared it so much!
I see you out sometimes and you look different. Your hair is longer and you even look muscley, which means you’re slanging weights- you must be getting more serious about your golf game!
Do you remember all the times you asked me if I’d like it if you grew your hair out and I’d always tell you no? Well it actually looks good! I’m sad that I didn’t let you do more of what you wanted to do, however could you imagine if you actually did grow your hair out? You know we would have gotten into an argument because I would have said you were going through a crisis and were for sure cheating on me! Haha!
But I guess that worked both ways. You hated if I dyed my hair any color but blonde. After we got divorced I dyed my hair every color but blonde, it’s been red, and purple, and brown, and well- I buy really expensive shampoo now to fix my dry ends from having dyed it so many colors. You would have yelled at me and told me to find another way to deal with whatever crisis I was going through.
I know I’ve changed a lot and I know you have too. Sometimes I wonder if we met each other now and went on a date what we’d think about each other. Honestly, I think we’ve both changed too much to be compatible, but if people asked us to describe each other I think it would go a little something like this:
You’d describe me as a girl behind the wheel of a Lamborghini going 100 mph with a cheeseburger in one hand, a martini in the other, a broken navigation system and anyone’s guess as to who has control of the wheel.
I’d describe you as a man in a sedan cruising at a cool 70 mph with one hand on the wheel, another holding a glass of scotch and a GPS that’s programed to have the arrival time down to the second, including all stops in between.
I guess we’re still the same! But so very different.
I can’t believe how different I am now. When I was with you there always had to be a plan, I was always working on the next big thing and the ducks always had to be in a row. I have no plan now, I don’t know what the next big thing is and my ducks are all over this damn town. But you know what? I’m OK with it, it works for me, plus finding my ducks when I lose them is kind of like playing a fun little game of connect the dots.
For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that to become the person I needed to be I had to leave you behind. But I think you’re much happier now and so am I. I finally feel like I’m me and sometimes when I see you out it takes everything in me to not go up to you and tell you all the things that I like now that I didn’t like before, all the things that don’t scare me now that scared me before, all the ways that I act now that I never acted before.
Truthfully, instead of apologizing and telling you how sorry I am, I think what I’d much rather say is thank you. Thank you for taking care of me, thank you making me laugh, thank you for being patient, thank you for always letting me win, thank you for going to the club when you hated dancing, thank you for showing up every day to be my hero, thank you for believing in whatever CRAZY idea I came up with, and thank you for loving me the best way you knew how. Because there was a time that it was exactly what I wanted and it was perfect. I loved you the best way I knew how too, I hope you know that.
Thank you for this entire experience, because without you I wouldn’t be where I am now. I can’t imagine not being this person that I am now, and it was you that helped get me here. As backwards as that sounds.
I think the last lesson that I’ll take from you is that it is in fact possible to find someone to fall in love with again. I was starting to believe it was hopeless, but you’ve restored my faith.
If she’s important to you than she’s important to me because I know that you would NEVER settle on just anyone to marry. So I know she must be special and I am so happy for you!
You’re going to be an amazing husband- you were once, but this time you’ll be way more amazing and I’m actually kind of jealous she’s going to get to experience a different side of you I never got to experience, but we’re different people now, so I think it’s unfair for either of us to really compare.
We’ll see each other out, we might acknowledge each other, we usually do. We won’t talk, we won’t grab a beer and catch up like old friends. Our lives will remain separate, as they should. You’re different now, and so am I. Honestly, I’m happy remembering you, us, the way that we were and I want to keep it that way.
So I think this is the last piece of the saga that is divorce and this is where a new future for the both of us begins. You have a wedding to plan (better you than me, j/k, but not really) and a whole new adventure to begin! That’s awesome and really exciting! I moved to my new place, I’m happy with who I’ve become and I think it’s time for me to take everything I’ve learned and figure out what to do with it. I can’t just let it go to waste!
So here’s where our story ends and we get in our cars and ride off into the sunset. You’ll cruise along at a cool 70mph with one hand on the wheel and another holding a glass of scotch, your GPS telling you exactly where you need to go.
And me, I’m going offroading in a Lamborghini at 100mph with a cheeseburger in one hand, a martini in the other and a broken navigation system. Except this time I don’t need the navigation system, because for me, I’ve learned that life is better without the roadmap. I may make a few wrong turns (more like a million), run over some of my ducks that I lost (they’ll be fine, they’re mighty), but one thing is certain, I will always get to where I’m going and I’m going to kick a whole lot of ass along the way.
That night we divided up the house, we had a drink and you said no matter what happened between us you’d always love me and you’d always have my back.
No matter where our roads lead us, no matter how different our lives become and how far apart we are. I will always love you and I will always have your back.
Goodbye and good luck, and if you ever think me, just know that I’m good. xo