April 13-17

Dear Diary,

I’m sorry for not keeping you in the loop. I’ve made a lot of dumb excuses for it. “It’s too late.” (As if there’s ever a time that’s inconvenient or unwelcome here. *eye roll*) “I’ll do it tomorrow.” (Except I don’t.) “I don’t know what to say.” (Literally anything. Just stating the facts is fine. I don’t know why I act like you need me to bleed my heart dry in front of you every time.) I’m sorry. You deserve more from me. You are a judgment free sounding board that does nothing but listen and help me process, and I appreciate you.

The hardest thing about this whole process was asking myself what I want. Actually, that’s inaccurate. The hardest part was being honest with myself about what I want. It’s easy to ask yourself what you want. It’s easy to list normal things about the future. Home, love, pets, whatever. The hardest part is admitting that things in your life aren’t working to those ends. I suspect this is partially due to the fact that being honest with yourself means admitting that what you are allowing in your life is what is making it less than ideal. This is not exclusive to abuse. This is just a part of life – asking yourself what is and isn’t contributing to your life positively and (hopefully) making changes to make your life better.

I have spoken to him. I have seen him. I gave him the remainder of his things that I could find. He alleges he’s seeing the pastor at the church he never goes to anymore in a counsellor and sponsor capacity. He says he’s sober. He pushed for another chance and accused me of being cruel for not being able to just say it’s fine and start over. He doesn’t remember throwing me down the stairs. I remember. My kids remember. He made the argument that I was abusive to him and that he was still willing to be with me as though that made us even in some way. Truthfully, he never presents it as though we are even. He always presents it as though I was always worse. As though I endured nothing to be with him while treating him as sub-human. It’s not even about keeping score. Who is better or worse. I wasn’t even worried about that. Yes, there is damage on both sides. People don’t have relationships of any kind without hurting each other some of the time. His response to our meeting and my lack of willingness to just jump back in by blocking me from contacting him. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting, but ultimately, I’m happier for it. I’m sure he’s already got another woman waiting in the wings to slide into my place. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this will change him. I’m certain it won’t change him for me. I’m certain it won’t be enough for him to do the work and come back to me. The woman he claims is the love of his life, his soul mate, his everything.

I haven’t told my family what happened. One of my brothers knows some of the details but not much. My parents know almost nothing. My mom knows we broke up. My dad probably still thinks we’re together. I’m not sure why I haven’t told them anything. I guess with my mom it’s because part of me doesn’t want to hear her mouth, and part of me doesn’t know what she’d do. That isn’t to say that I’m necessarily concerned for his safety, but he’s not worth the charge if she went after him. My dad and I just don’t talk for a myriad of reasons so it hasn’t really come up. In the interest of honesty, I think the main reason I don’t tell anyone anything is because I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to hear other opinions on how it got there, why I didn’t do something sooner, how long it went on, so on and so forth. I know a lot of people mean it to be supportive or ask questions to understand, but I’m already stuck with my own series of these thoughts. Someone else telling me what I already know isn’t going to make a difference except to make me feel worse about it.

I need to get my shit together. I need to figure out how I’m going to pay my bills. I need to figure out how we’re going to survive. This man has upended my entire life and cost me more than I could ever imagine. Weirdly, years ago, I had my cards and tea leaves read and was given this exact warning about this exact man. Clearly, I did not listen. Way to be a dumbass. The universe told me in black and white, and I thought I knew better. You don’t have to believe in these things to know what I mean about ignoring signs. (Actually, I left him and tried to pursue other things for which I was later punished by him because apparently I should have been living like a nun waiting for him in solitude. Oh, the joys of someone digging through your entire online past.) I gave this man many years of my life, and for it, I am no better off.

My mom ambushed me in my driveway yesterday. (By this, I mean she called me from the driveway and told me to get dressed so we could go do some stuff. This, as it turned out, meant shopping at an apothecary shop and some thrift stores.) My kids and I got clothes for Easter which is great. I don’t like the excessive amounts of candy situations, and my kids are some closet theiving bitches. Also, the thrift stores had a bunch of stuff for $1 so we were able to get a lot of things for not a lot of money. I love a good deal! However, it threw off my cleaning day so now I’m behind on that. It shouldn’t stress me out, but everything is stressing me out right now. It feels like the time I hydroplaned on a multilane highway and ended up in the median facing oncoming traffic. I was technically safe, but just barely and everything I did from the moment I stopped mattered more than the rest of the journey in total. It was terrifying to lose control of the car like that, but it was also in a way, empowering.

Empowerment isn’t always a grand gesture from the universe. It isn’t always an “a-ha” or “wake up” moment in a jarring way. Sometimes it is simply a quiet reminder that you can and will persevere. The hydroplaning example wasn’t a quiet reminder. It was jarring for sure. The universe, God, guiding forces, whatever you choose to call it/believe in, does not always scream in your face. We ignore the whispers like children ignore you politely asking them to don their shoes so you can leave the house on time for once without screaming your head off to get it done. We choose to believe we know better like teenagers in the thick of the “you don’t know me” phase. We ignore things. We let things slide. We make excuses for why it’s fine when it’s not. We condition ourselves to believe that the stress proves our strength instead of execising our strength to reduce our stress.

Diary, today I’m going to make a commitment to you. Every day I will make a real effort to do something that makes me personally feel empowered. I have always been better at taking care of other people than myself. I describe it as being good support staff, but I need to start supporting me. I need to take care of me. So this is our agreement, Diary. Hold me to it.

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