This time of year gets a little weird for me. I feel a smidge more divorced than usual. Thanksgiving weekend many Thanksgivings ago I clicked a button on our family laptop and the etiology of all the parts of my marriage that I couldn’t quite untangle became immediately clear.
It was a weight I couldn’t carry any longer, a preposterous fairytale I couldn’t just go along with any more, and I knew this was the fork in the road that would forever change our lives, regardless of the outcome.
I sat on our couch, numb. Then incredulous, followed by a new brand of angry with a dash of terrified. I eventually landed in a place best described as devastated, an all-encompassing suffocating kind of devastated.
I realized I’d neglected some big promises I had made myself along the way, and I defined myself to some degree by having stuck it out in my marriage when the sticking was in direct contrast to these basic concepts that any person should expect in any relationship. I also realized in that same instant that I’d allowed myself to get to a place where healthy and safe somehow entered the equation as optional.
Sitting on the couch that night, there wasn’t anyone to tell me the things I needed to hear. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite times of the year, but I didn’t feel like twinkle lights and egg nog. I felt abandoned and afraid and ashamed and angry and probably some more words that start with a.
That’s a hard reality to come to terms with, when it would be obvious to anyone else that getting the hell outta there was more of a duh than something to mull over for a while.
That night feels like a lifetime ago. That season resonates with me now more as a bad movie I had to watch over and over. I’m writing about this because a glance back to that time reminds me of who I was and wasn’t then, what matters and what doesn’t, and solidifies my direction as I live today and look forward to a tomorrow where I’m safe, can choose to be happy, and wake up every morning knowing the rules. As a fairly private person, the writing of this missive equates with mistakenly locking myself out of my house in my underwear. I’m putting it out there because my guess it that I’m not the only person who found herself tolerating behaviors to stay in a relationship that I’d never have deemed tolerable for anyone else.
The holidays are about hope and promise and starting over, so hope and promise and start over. If you’re sitting on your couch, devastated not only from the reality that things aren’t what they have seemed but also from the realization that you allowed yourself to stay in such a place, I want to say the things to you that I wish someone had said to me.
You are worth fighting for, even if you’re the only one fighting.
You will be OK. Maybe not today or tomorrow or in 5 months or in a year, but eventually, you’ll be OK.
You can do things you don’t know you’re capable of doing.
You deserve to be loved without having to endure the unimaginable.
I’m thankful for so many things in my world these days, but most of all I’m thankful that I live in freedom, hope, safety, and the knowledge that those things will never change. Happy Thanksgiving.
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