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I went to dinner with an “old friend” the other night.

We hadn’t seen each other in a couple years and there was lots of catching up to do, starting with she and her husband of 20+ years had divorced. I was and wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised that it was necessary but since they do not have children, I thought perhaps they would just live their separate lives together til “death do them part.”

When we saw each other more regularly, I saw a lot of similarities between her hubsand and mine and our marriages though hers was without the alcoholism and toxicity. But both of our husbands just went to work, came home, sat in front of the television, went to bed and got up to do it all again the next morning. She said the divorce was sad, just mostly sad and she feels a lot of guilt but she is happy now!

And dating a GREAT guy.

I told her about my situation though I “glossed over” the true ugliness of it. Not that I felt I had to hide it or protect anyone (me or my husband) but in the best way, the conversation was about us, what we wanted from life, what we needed, what wasn’t right. There was no need to go into any salacious details. She asked what my financial plan was and I had to admit I didn’t have the most sound one in place but she said,

“Well you’re one of the strongest women I know so I know you can do it.”

I hear that a lot.

That I’m a strong woman.

I don’t say that to brag.

Quite the opposite.

I say that because I don’t feel what other people graciously see.

I feel like a fraud, a liar, a fake.

I feel like someone who can astutely recognize what other people need to do and yet can’t do it herself.

I feel so defeated and broken by this marriage.

I picked my son up from a friend’s house last night.

A house that was a neat, comfortable home.

I thought about our house.

Projects half finished. Repairs waiting to be done. There is no doubt our house is the physical manifestation of the collective emotional energy of my family.

Everything, everyone just so broken.

It’s not as though I am without plans, intentions.

Hope even.

I wake up every morning hopeful.

And I go to bed every night defeated.

Again.

How do you dig yourself out of the quagmire that has become your life?

The irony (tragedy?) is I know everything I need to do.

I know I can no longer “blame” my husband or my marriage.

I know that life serves us all obstacles, injustices, tragedies and heartaches.

You’ve heard the saying, “Not my circus. Not my monkeys?”

Yes, but in life you still have to clean up the poop.

Because when someone else has parked their mental circus in the driveway of your life and their monkeys are wreaking havoc on you…

All you can do is grab a broom.

So why don’t I?