Friday, June 30, 2006

Change of Heart.

Years ago, I married the love of my ripe-old-age-of-twenty five life. He stood before me, sobbing uncontrollably in front of a hundred or so of our friends and relatives. His love for me at the time was unwavering. He adored me. He loved me. I was his third wife.

I had been privy to all his faults and flaws prior to my tipsy nuptials. During our time as husband and wife, I was miserable but unable to let him go. I thought I knew what I wanted and tried to be a wife. Think, Martha Stewart meets the Jekyll and Hyde in female dossiers. I had no prior stable marriage model. My father was gone before I was seven and had his own bouts of infidelity. I was a young girl who married for love. Married without any knowledge of the work and commitment it takes to actually beat the odds of divorce. And I was blindsided because I loved him so very very much. Throw in the fact that we drank almost every night and you have a very volatile combination of emotions.

Soon after one hell of a wedding, my marriage began it's long demise. Infidelity. Abandonment. Lies. Love gone horribly wrong. And suddenly, I was an overweight, burned out advertising executive with a more serious drinking problem and baggage packed full of crap. All before my 27th birthday. When I came home and my husband was gone, I secretly wasn't surprised. However, I was crushed. My heart was broken because I had been abandoned by the one person I thought would keep me afloat in my faltering emotional life.

And the healing began at a snail's pace. I woke up. I got sober after fifteen years of drinking to excess. I began my writing career and soon became a published author. I was featured in Glamour, Marie Claire and had my art and writing splashed around the sobriety world. I returned slowly to the corporate world of advertising and rebuilt bridges that I had almost burned from scorned experience. And while I poured my heart onto my website about the trials and tribulations of my broken heart, I, again, secretly thought that the day would come that my betrothed and I would be reunited.

That day came about five years too late. Three weeks ago, I went to see him at his "home" with another woman and their child. His "home" sits upon the same sandy soil that I had spent my childhood with my father. My life was spent there, on a skydiving drop zone, with all the dysfunction and instability that you can only IMAGINE you'd want to live in. I had lived it in my youth and married it in my adult years. And here I was, five years removed from my ex and a world away from my childhood.

We embraced, we cried, we laughed. We walked the same steps that I had taken twenty five years prior. And during this time, I looked around the pictures and letters in his home that had remnants of where my life had once been. The people we knew and loved. The places we had been to. But it was different this time. I was no longer in the pictures. They were all part of a life that I no longer belonged to and I quickly saved myself and fled before the pain in my heart resurfaced. I was so proud of myself for letting go.

But, that admiration I felt for myself quickly turned to self deprecation. In the weeks leading, the promises got deeper.....All I would have to do was wait two years for him to take care of things in his present life and we could be married again in Big Sur, the place we had spent such a romantic time in our lives. In two years, he promised us a house, a new marriage and a family. In two years, we would have this reunion of spirits and live out the rest of our days together. And the letters, phone calls and subsequent meeting all pointed towards this life of complete bliss.

Yesterday, we sat in a park, not far from the ad agency I had returned to and the career that I had become so successful. Here he was, sitting in front of me telling me every single word and scenario that I had hoped and waited for over the last five years. Would I wait? Would I meet someone else? Wouldn't it be amazing to live the rest of my life with the man that I had held such a burning torch for all these years? My mind was spinning and it was no longer a dream, it was reality.

And reality always scares the hell out of me.

The sun began its long journey into dusk, I said goodbye to him and got on my train back to my real life two hours north of Manhattan. My dog, my love, my house, my friends. My life that no longer included him save the memories of our life together in a shoebox in my closet. The cobwebs had begun to emerge since the last time I had dragged out the box. I had someone else in my life that I had tried to love but was scared to death. I was moving on, slowly, unsteadily, but with half hearted conviction that I would be great and that the life I had chosen was the right path. My secret desires were no longer including him....but revealing where I wanted to be, who, when.

My heart aches. Not for him, but for myself. I have spent the last five years rebuilding my life. I have moved on with years of therapy, new men, new experiences. I have never found that love again, but I did find a great solace in knowing that I was living the life I should have. I was sober. I was in control. And I was becoming one hell of a woman.

And as I said goodbye, smiling and laughing and so happy to have had the hours I spent with him, I sat on my train looking at the river. And the tears started pouring from my eyes with relentless pain. How could I wait two years? How could he ask me to sacrifice two years of my life when he couldn't sacrifice one goddamn thing for me in the last ten years? How would I live with myself? How would I live blissfully happy after all the years of heartache I felt? Could I love him that much?

I cried. I cried. I cried some more. And suddenly it hit me like the storm on the river I was passing through. I had loved him so much. I had loved him more than anything, but I didn't love him more than myself. Now, I respect where I have been and where I am going. Now, I know what I deserve and need in my life. And I sat there in utter disbelief that I could be making such an observation. Had it suddenly clicked?

I was willing to take the emotional fall for the sake of this other woman and child. I would walk away silently and without consequence and hope to hell that he would patch up his life now, without me. I realized that I couldn't be the cause of someone else's heartache. I couldn't be personally responsible for this woman and child's loss. And I would not let the pain that was so familiar and detested creep into my heart again. It simply hurt too much and I had come too far in my life to revisit that emotional upheaval again.

Again, no matter how much I had loved him, I finally realized that I loved myself more. And in the technological age that we live, I sent him a text message saying just this and pressed send before I could falter.

And as I went up the river, towards my home, the storm began to pass.



Ahhhh Kim...a wonderful but sad story with a happy ending because YOU should love yourself more.
I see you,
PS: I am going to be in Manhattan tomorrow for the day.

recoveryroad said...

Kind of what JJ said.

Good to see you post again.

Take it easy.



Golightly said...

It is amazing how suddenly life looks different sometimes. I have related to so many of your posts and you have been quite inspiring to me. I recently had a simular epiphany and found a sweet release in letting myself love me more than him. And even loving the wife and child more than I loved him. Somethings are worth waiting on, and somethings...well somethings just aren't.

What beautiful freedom comes from loving ourselves.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent "story"