“…I guess this is growing up…”

Listening to:  “Poems, Prayers, Promises” – John Denver “…And talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in. How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care. How long its been since yesterday, and what about tomorrow….”

…And now when I start to write I find myself wondering how to honor my desire to reach out to, and be a voice of encouragement for, those who are or have experienced domestic violence/abuse, who may read what I am writing, and may find something of it value in it.

It is 6 days to the date of the one year anniversary of when I moved to New Jersey, putting hundreds of miles between myself, and the life formerly known as mine. With the exception of the on-going legal stuff, nothing about that life seems real.  Or at least it for the most part doesn’t. I am very far removed from the feelings I had while living in that ridiculous hell, kind of being in labor with a child, or at least my experience of it. I have a distinct memory of how intense was the pain. I know it was painful, but I can’t FEEL that pain anymore, and that for me, is the key to moving forward.

For most of my life, I have been comfortable in my own skin, (well, except for body image issues which have always plagued me, and my loathing of my distinctly Roman nose) other than that, at some point in my life, I became pretty cool with me. Right up until, whenever it was, that I started to question everything about me, and how I am, how I treat people, what I look like, how I dress, speak, walk, think. And then decided I had nothing of value to offer the world, and that there was nothing beautiful left for me, to include nothing about me being beautiful. My own skin, then, became my prison, as did my life. And how  unfathomable to me now that I was broken down to that point. I’m obstinate as fuck, so I really don’t know how someone managed to get so far in my head… or why I’d stay in that ridiculous hell for so long. It took me a long time to realize how far-reaching were the effects of the ridiculous hell.

A little over a week ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. It exists in the realm of possibility that had I not been through the ridiculous hell, and the subsequent transformation to a person who is happier than I’ve ever been, that I might have approached that date, and that number, with some trepidation. Maybe I’d feel OLD, and the desire to hide that number from the world. Instead of that, to me it is just a number that doesn’t signify much, except for 51 times around the sun, and 51 years of experience as this person known as Michelle. And MAYBE, because of the ridiculous hell, and current happiness, I feel the most remarkable sense of freedom to be just exactly who, and how, I am. Where in the past I might have felt the need to justify or explain who I am, while being who I am, now my attitude is much more fuck it, I dig me, and if you don’t, that’s cool. I’m, just…. me. I don’t want to waste any more time in this life fighting with others in the hope that they’ll become OK with me, being me.

As turning 50 relates to the life that was formerly known as mine, beside being back to cool with who I am, one of the most profound changes for me, about me, is my appearance. I place very little value on my appearance, with the exception of how I personally feel about the way I look. I was taught a very valuable lesson long ago, that my looks may open doors for me, which I did not ask to have opened, but once they were, the “wowing” with my intellect, with the deeper parts of me, would be what led me to where I really wanted to be. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the changes. I had no idea that while I was going through the ridiculous hell, I looked about 100 years older than I now do. My posture changed, along with the way I carry myself. My smile became rare, and reluctant. My weight too, changed, thanks to the back injury, the medication for it, the months of immobility, and the years of being unable to work out, and for a long time, to even stand or walk for long stretches. Mostly though, it was my eyes that changed. My eyes which are green, sometimes light, sometimes dark, and other times are grey, except for when they lean more toward blue. The best way I can put it is, they lost their “light” as in, illumination. Rarely did they become wide with excitement, and wonder. Or soft, gentle, with the comfort of giving love in moments brought on by being able to deeply trust in the knowledge that I was safe to do so.

More than any of that, though, what having been through the ridiculous hell, and “growing up” have given me, is finally understanding what self-care means. To those I love, I will give everything I have, even when it may not seem that I am doing so to anyone on the outside. While that’s cool and all, I did, in the life formerly known as mine, even as I was fighting in words for myself, often forget about ensuring my needs were met. This of course increased 10 fold, as I imagine it does for everyone, due to the nature of the marriage formerly known as mine. Although I’ve no doubt he would say this isn’t true, because it is impossible to fulfill ALL the needs (which are really wants) of someone capable of breaking another emotionally, and being physically abusive, I was constantly chasing my own tail, in an effort to please him, placate him, meet his expectations. I accepted life in an abusive, passionless marriage, in which none of my mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical desires were met, FOR YEARS, with the hope that somehow doing, or not doing, something, would fix everything. Or at least fix something. Instead I became empty, and exhausted, hopeless and bitchy. Not to mention lonely.

While I do forever aspire to be a person who gives to those she loves, and I DO derive the most pleasure in life from giving, whether it be actual gifts, or just doing thoughtful, caring things, I also now know, I have to give to myself as well. I currently find myself in uncharted territory, and it would be VERY easy to lean too far to the meeting the needs of others, over my own. BUT, it would be equally easy to think of only what I need, and be inconsiderate, and quite honestly selfish. Having seen both sides of that coin, and finding both to be lacking in anything shiny, or happy, my chosen balance point is now more a “non-zero sum game.” Where I once may have held an inflexible boundary, albeit for what was meant to be my own good, I now place as much value on perspective, as I do on values.

I could stray now into deep-thoughts on the potentiality for situational ethics to be that about which I’m speaking, (which I am not) or further elaborate on what I am trying to say, without actually saying it. Instead of any of that, I think it is sufficient to be said that what I have learned at such a deep level, is that I can be loving, and giving, and do my sincere best to do no harm to others,  and still take care of myself. I was never much for black, and white thinking, but am even less so now. What I have often been though, is one who spins herself out, over-thinking things. I want always to be thoughtful, but I also want to not spend so much time thinking about things, that I miss out on living my life! 

I absolutely adore the idea of having a man in my life upon whom I dote, to whom I give caring, and pampering, and whose wants, needs, desires, I meet, and whose dreams, I help to see to fruition. But while also doing those things for myself! And accepting getting those same things in return! All while dancing around, singing, sometimes leaving a trail of glitter, and hopefully always, leaving a smile on a (beloved) face. I want always to give to my kids, and my grandson, and future grandchildren, but not to the detriment of myself. Same holds true for anyone with whom I cross paths. I don’t wish to ever again find myself empty, because I gave so much. Especially I don’t wish to ever again be giving, and be abused in return.

So for anyone who may be reading these words, who may need to read them, and who may find value in what they say, because I write of my experiences with you in mind, if it has not done, know that the pain WILL recede. It will fade to a memory, and it won’t hurt at all anymore. And when you finally find the strength to start giving caring again, because I get how it feels to think you’ll never have the energy to give a fuck about anyone or thing again, make sure your priority, in the most unselfish way possible, is you. Also, 5o is the new 30 so, there’s plenty of time to re-write the script, and the plot twists of your future, can be pretty amazing.

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Maybe because tonight, which is now actually last night, is (was) the new moon, and rooms, and people, were smudged, hearts, minds, and souls were opened to ask for wisdom, overtone chanting was listened to, to raise the vibration, and intentions were written, and then burned, I am moved to (told to) include in this writing, some additional words.

To him, I offer my thanks for finally giving me the push to get, and stay away. To her, that is now with him, I thank her for her actions, which further aided me in staying away. I’d say I wish that I’d done sooner, but, I wouldn’t be here now, and here is where I want to be so, I guess it’s all perfect. To him I also say, I forgive you. I have released all anger I had toward you, and her. Go with God, or whatever/whomever you want.

To anyone I may have hurt in the past, I sincerely ask your forgiveness. To anyone I may unintentionally hurt in the future, for your forgiveness I also ask. And to you, I also send love, and wishes for everything beautiful.

To the most amazing extra-terrestrial unicorn, with whom I have traveled the ages, (or with whom I am currently sharing life, in times which parallel the one we know currently as our reality), I give endless thanks for space-holding, given, and accepted, for always, always seeing me, hearing me, encouraging me, trusting me, and for the brilliant words, wisdom, laughter, tears, and moments of magick of all sorts, shared. You are remarkable. And I send love enough to span oceans, and time.

And to my daughters, the most beautiful, amazing creatures, for your forgiveness I also ask, for anything I have done, or not done, which may have hurt you, in any way. You are that of which I will always be the most proud. I am every single day amazed by your strength, your resilience, your intelligence, your humor, your kindness, your beauty in every sense of the word. It is my profound pleasure to watch you both, in your own ways, find your wings, and fly. I love you beyond measure. Never forget, you can do, and be, anything you wish!!!

 

Listening to: The sound of silence. Not Simon and Garfunkel. The literal sound, of silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…the hardest part of ending, is starting again…” (except not really)

Listening to: Emmylou Harris covering The Beatles “For No One” “…she wakes up, she makes up, she takes her time, and doesn’t feel she has to hurry, she no longer needs you…”

It’s weird to have “light at the end of the tunnel” thoughts, about the (much belated) end of a thing, which when it meant something, meant, everything. But tunnels there are, and light too. Light toward which I am running. Also, there are tears, that aren’t of sadness for endings… which I am trying to understand.  I’m sure it makes absolute sense that there are tears.

Is it possible to mourn the final death of something you don’t wish to have? Not even mourning memories of what had been hoped for, or the ideas of what had once been thought to be… (I’ve read that a hundred times and still don’t know if it makes sense). I see too clearly now just how much what I had for the majority of my marriage was nothing like what I ever wanted, to remember what it felt like when I thought it was something good.  Maybe the tears are for the (nearly) 12 years which I won’t call wasted, but I will call, not the best spent. But even that I say with hesitation… the smallest change to them would have meant I wouldn’t be here, and here is exactly where I want to be…

~ Traversing dark shadows in mental hallways of memories, in search of the moment(s) in time during which I was told stories comprised of lies, and deceit, written by the shaky hand of someone who made and re-made the choice to stay locked in their own unhappiness. Lies which I then chose to make my absolute truth. ~ (unfinished?)

100% stealing words right now, “…10 years ago. I knew so much more back then…”  Not supposing to know what the words meant to the person from whom they’ve been stolen, I know exactly what they mean to me. Because I was so certain then, about so much, 10 years ago.  There is no nostalgia here, there is only (morbid?) curiosity… Who was that girl, who thought she knew so much, but, as it turns out, had a lot wrong? That girl who then (let herself get) got beaten, so far down.

There is a reason that we (those who have experienced domestic violence/abuse) are told that no contact with our abuser is a must. Because I had purposeful contact, initiated by me, with mine, last week. Contact which, in spite of it’s purpose, speeding the fuck up the process of divorce,  and it’s hopefully favorable result, sucked. The me of a few months ago would have crumbled during, and after, such a call. I mean, I would have told him to fuck off, but it would have been while crying, and hurting, and afterward I’d retreat into solitude and depression.

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He said…

“You’re just doing this to harass me. You’re just a woman scorned, trying to get revenge. That’s the only reason you want any alimony.”

“You can’t PROVE that the injury to your back is from anything I did to you.”

“You’re psycho.” “You’re a nut job.” “You’re so dramatic.” “Shut the fuck up and let me talk.”

“I have a lot of stuff I’m sure you don’t want made public. I can show emails and texts (from your deepest, most dark, terrifying time, when you felt utter despair, and hopelessness) to the judge that will show that you’re unstable. It will speak to your character. The Judge will never award you anything if they find out about any of what you said.”

“What would your daughters, and your mom think, if they saw your emails, and texts, (from your deepest, most dark, terrifying time, when you felt utter despair, and hopelessness)? I should send everything to them, too.”

It was only after much thought that I made that phone call. The last time I spoke with him, a couple of months ago, which was purely accidental as he called with blocked number, the tone of the call, while still decidedly manipulative, was very different. Likely the billion ignored calls since that one, telling him he no longer has any control/affect, pissed him off, so there was no (feigned?) kindness. If I’d believed for a minute that speaking to him, irrespective of which him showed up, could in any way hurt me, I wouldn’t have done. I also spoke to my attorney before making the call.

There’s a lot of  grey area in my life now, and I think it’s better that way, than when I was so certain of so much, about which I was so wrong.

Things I know for sure are that in 9 days, I’ll be 50 years old, and am a little mind blown by that. I’m not freaked out by it. It just used to seem like 50 was olllldddd. But it is so, not! My littlest angel will be 28 on that same day. I remember my 28th birthday, down to the outfit I wore going out that night. And now I hear in my beloved Nonna’s voice, “Quando ci passa tempo.” which conversationally translated means, “how quickly time passes.”

Also I know that at the very latest, the divorce will be final April 7th. Much longer than I wish to wait, but, at least there is a definitive time frame.

In May I’ll be moving, somewhere. Maybe locally for a while longer. Maybe Arizona. As much as I’d love for it to be London, that’s too short a time frame to make an international move. My littlest angel, Ari, will be moving to Los Angeles, my heart aches at the thought of not living near her, but  it has long been her dream. If there is only one gift I can give to my girls, I wish it to be wings, and the courage to use them to not just fly, but to soar to their chosen highest heights. If I move away (or rather when, as it is inevitable) I’ll be far from my biggest angel, Lauren, and angel baby grandson, Gabriel, also heart wrenching. But if I don’t choose to fly, then soar, to my highest heights, for whatever that means, how can I hope that they will? And here was only every a stop over, on the way to, wherever.

Why am I even writing all of this? This isn’t writing about poor me, or anything like that. This is a written deep think, which I’ve been working on for days… I’m dancing around words… over-using ellipses as part of incomplete thoughts, or just holding back, something. And this has a purpose, this writing, so I can’t do that for me, for anyone who might be reading this, who might need the words, or find value in them. This which has now taken so many days, and should be as brilliant, and long, as War and Peace, and is neither!

What is it that’s trying to work itself out, which also feels it needs to be non-journal writing? Is it to type out those cruel words as some form of catharsis for myself, and to say “if your husband is saying anything like this to you, you are being emotionally abused, get the fuck out! Or to say, don’t take, or make, phone calls, until you KNOW you are strong enough? And only if you have to. And if your attorney says its OK. Also, don’t forget to use your wings, (which you do have) to not just fly, but soar…

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A thank you,  for threatening to use my lowest point in life, against me. A point to which I’d sank, because of the mental fucking so frequently given me, to the degree I didn’t know which way was up. With each threat, with each attempt at manipulation, and intimidation, with each name you call me, you remind me of who I have become, which is who I always was, and I RISE. I grow stronger. I become someone whose light shines so brightly, you can’t bear to look directly at me, because you’re too content your self-imposed darkness.

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Listening to: “We’re Still Fighting It”

“…you’ll try, and try, and one day you’ll fly away from me…”

“…and you’re, so much, like me, I’m sorry…”