As 2013 ends, it feels like I’m finally getting back to myself. A better, more improved, yet a lot more sensitive version of my Self.
There was so much I thought I knew at this same time last year. I had recently asked for a divorce, was dating, and just KNEW I was done and ready to move on. I had learned the lesson that integrity and authenticity mattered almost above all else, and that when we align with God’s vision for ourselves, beautiful possibilities open up. I had learned that you could be afraid of something and still walk through it.
There was so much I didn’t know. So very much.
I didn’t know that those first few weeks of being back in Texas, away from my daughter, would rip my heart out in ways unimaginable. I felt like the worst mother and incredibly selfish. My logical brain told me that I had made the right decision to allow my daughter to stay with what’s familiar. I knew I had to leave because there was no way that I could afford to live in the Northeast with just my income, and I knew the anger I felt about LA’s mother would only intensify being so close to her. Still, it hurt so badly, even worse than the ugly insults that were hurled in the last months of the separation.
I didn’t know I would get to the place where I missed my marriage. I thought that I had mourned it enough in the months leading up to the decision to leave it, and I thought there was no way I could ever have a soft spot for someone who said and did such ugly and vile things to me. But I missed her and my former life, especially when the hurt, angry parts were gone. I wondered if the lack of trust and intimacy could be fixed since we were in better places emotionally and were communicating better. It hurt so much to see her be the person that I needed her to be with other people. It hurt her to see me be that person. I wasn’t prepared at all.
I didn’t know that I would find love again, that deep, soul-knowing, patient in all the ways I don’t deserve kind of love. I definitely didn’t know that when I found it that I wouldn’t trust it. I didn’t expect to mistrust her words and actions. I had to constantly check my fears by measuring whether the actions and words were consistent with each other. Still, the fear of her leaving or something being thrown (an object or a word) or her possible indifference were/are constant fears. I didn’t know I would doubt whether I could be a good wife or girlfriend or mother would be a perpetual thought. I didn’t know that I could live with so much fear even in the midst of being certain that integrity must be way of life.
I didn’t know that I could find parts of myself that I really liked. I didn’t know how much I could learn.
I’ve learned that my daughter doesn’t love me any less and that FaceTime is a gift from God. I’ve learned that coparenting is possible (and much better than our previous married parenting) and requires an incredible will to quiet the ego. I’ve learned that I can love my ex in a different way— one that is based in reality, not a rosy colored version of it nor a monster-painted one. I’ve learned that someone can love me and all my complexities and odd needs. I’ve learned that I can love someone else and care about getting my rough edges right so that I can have a better “together” with someone. I’ve learned that I can value myself and honor my journey. I’ve learned that difficulties, pain, and set-backs don’t last always. I’ve learned that there will be valleys and peaks. I’ve learned that I can get through all of them.