I haven’t written much lately. My husband tends to feel like he’s letting himself down when he doesn’t write for a long time, but for me it’s kind of a relief. I have noticed that I tend to write when I’m sad. Or angry. Or when I just need to process things that I can’t wrap my mind around. If I’m not writing a lot, it’s a pretty good indication that I’m doing well. I’m happy. I’ve got stuff figured out. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule…
I had surgery at the end of August and I was pretty dependent on J for most of my daily needs for quite a while. (That was horrible, by the way. I had no idea that I valued my independence so much!). But once I was on my own two feet again (albeit with some pain), I was much better.
And now here I am again, which means I need to figure some stuff out. Counselor says I need to cultivate a relationship with myself. I need to learn to love myself. Forgive myself. I don’t know how to do that. She also recommends I do some kind of art, because it’s a way to be creative and explore myself without the analytical stuff that comes out when I write. I don’t know how to do that either.
But I am learning to sew. And I bought glitter. That’s a start, right?
But what about liking myself and forgiving myself? What do I like about myself?
I’m very smart.
I’m great at communication.
I’m the best (job title) that (company name) has ever had. Their words, not mine.
I have moments when I’m really fun to be around.
I can make some people laugh.
I think I see a beauty in the world that others often miss.
I’m generous and kind.
I’m a great baker.
I’m fiscally responsible.
I’m analytical (Yes, I like that about myself, but I certainly do have to keep myself in check in that regard.)
And what do I need to forgive myself for?
I’m not perfect.
I sometimes hurt the people I love.
I’m bad at keeping my home clean.
I’m not sure how to forgive God for His silence lately.
I’m not sure how to forgive God for allowing my mom to get sick.
I’m not beautiful.
I’m not as witty as I wish I was (…as I wish I were?)
I’m often lazy.
I frequently don’t do the things I “should” do.
Why does the bad stuff feel more potent than the good stuff? How can I choose to focus on the good things about myself, when they don’t feel as real or as important as the bad things?
J and I talked about she-who-must-not-be-named today. I asked him why it was so easy for him to talk to her… How he could so easily share the real parts of him that he is so reluctant to reveal to me and to other people in his life. Why was she different, I wanted to know. He’s told me multiple times that it’s not just me. “I have a hard time being authentic with everyone, Sophie, not just you.” Well, why was it different with her? How could he let it happen? And how can I know that it won’t happen again? In answer, he said that it’s easier to be authentic through the written word. Something about not being face-to-face with someone makes it easier for him to feel safe, so he feels freer to be authentic. As to my other questions, he didn’t have a good answer.
I feel like something is irreparably broken in us now. It’s not bad like it was right after her, but I also know that things will never be how they used to be. The broken part – the part that I worry will always be with us – is that I can’t look up to him with the same doe-eyed trust. Regardless of the forgiveness I have given him (and must continue to grant him on a daily basis), the betrayal happened. It will always be there between us. I will never be the same, and I expect that he’ll never be the same person to me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at him like he’s my hero, my protector, my champion, the one upon whom I can depend when everyone else fails… Not anymore. Back before the betrayal, it wasn’t a great marriage relationship, but regardless of what the world threw at us, we had each other. Now? Now I feel like I have to face the world alone. J may be there near me, but I can’t rely on him the same way as before. Now I have to learn to be my own hero. I wonder if that broken part can be healed. I think maybe not. …kind of like when someone you love dies… Life is never the same again, but you learn to live with a new normal. Maybe I just have to mourn the loss of that blind adoration and trust, and learn how to live in our new, fractured normal.
It feels a lot like when dad abandoned mom and me. I became a different person at that moment. For better or for worse, I’ll never be the same. Neither will he. I guess that’s how it is with J and me, too.