At the beginning of almost every day’s morning pages this past week, I’ve written something along the lines of – I don’t want to be doing this, I’m tired, I’m busy. But once I got going, thoughts flowed onto the page in a torrent of words. Seemingly about nothing in particular, sometimes just lists. And yet…
Somehow, writing about whatever comes out of my morning brain is leading me towards an understanding, I think, of how I ended up divorced at the age of 65 and after almost forty years of marriage.
I loved him with such passion, truly I did. Maybe it was a flawed sort of love, all tied up with an unhappy childhood, self-esteem issues, but does that really matter? It was my love and it was real. I would have done just about anything for him and for his love in return.
We’d been married for almost ten years, had three children, when I learned of his many infidelities. So many lies, so many other women, some writing letters to him through his work address. And there I was, all tied up in family life, in being supportive, ironing his dress shirts every morning before he went to work! I had no idea. I never saw any lipstick on his collars.
It makes me angry now to think of it, but believe it or not, he blamed me! I was too busy with the kids, with renovating our house, didn’t wear tight leather skirts! I wasn’t fun anymore.
And so I tried hard to be whatever it was he was looking for outside our marriage. Of course, that didn’t work; he continued doing whatever (and whomever) he wanted, and I built a big wall around it all. In that regard, I was just as much at fault as he was.
I have been ashamed for so long now that I didn’t take the children, all under the age of six, and…and what? I had no money, no family nearby, no friends (we had moved across the country for his work).
The “tasks” in this week’s chapter of Julia’s book involved taking a look at the second six years of my life. Seems unrelated, doesn’t it? Yet I find I am getting a sense of who that person was/is who would stay in such a soul-eating situation – kids or no kids.
I’ve remembered the little girl I was – an awkward, shy little girl with a mother who just wasn’t equipped to deal with her. That little girl grew up trying to be someone different because that was the only way she would be loved. Right? Little wonder she entered into marriage the same way. Rejection meant she had to try harder.
Here’s what I learned this week through the morning pages and the tasks: I am not a failure because my marriage “failed.” I am developing an undertanding of who I am, have always been, and that person is valuable and lovable.
Seems like heavy stuff from a bunch of scribbling in an old notebook, but I think the power is in actually sitting down and taking the time, an hour at the most, every day, to really let the person inside come to the top, come onto the pages.
I’m going to continue with the next 10 weeks. It may seem tedious at times, maybe even a waste of time some days, but I owe this to myself. I owe it to that little girl buried deep inside.