I Was Married Once

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My mom always says there are three sides to every story. My version, your version and the truth.

My dad told me a story once that when I was about five or six years old, my family was at Rosh Hashanah dinner at the home of close family friends. A young man, the nephew of my parents’ friends, about eighteen at the time, managed to melt my sweet innocent heart. He talked to me like a cool adult and he had what seemed like a suave persona, obviously leaving a lasting imprint on my memory. My dad said I turned to him and blurted out, “Daddy, You think he’ll wait for me?” 

Twenty years later, I married that man. And nine years after that, I divorced him.

This is my version of the truth. 

My dad, sadly, is no longer with us and therefore unable to vouch for this. Even if he was alive, still, his recounting of stories was always questionable. Either way, I wonder to what extent my dad played a role in negotiating my fate. Of course this seems ludicrous. How could my father possibly have foreseen the future? Not to mention the layers and layers of this complicated soul who I would one day call husband. But if my dad never met his Spanish teacher in high school, they wouldn’t have been lifelong friends. I wouldn’t have met her nephew, and I never would have married him. 

Maybe he’ll read this. Maybe he won’t. That’s not really the point. In many ways, releasing these thoughts, ideas, realities from my head is an emotional catharsis.

I’m not really sure what the general stages are to a breakup. I can see how it can be similar to grief. I know for sure I’m past the denial stage. It’s long over and he is not welcome in my life. I’ve definitely moved on from the sadness stage. I don’t cry about it anymore. Those days are long gone. I sometimes teeter in this uncomfortable state of setting myself free and moving on, yet often, still looking for answers. How could he do those things TO ME? We’ve know each other my whole life! For quite some time, I was firmly committed to the idea of never forgiving him, even hating him. I definitely went through the anger phase. Anger can be good in some ways. For me, it had a way of helping to self soothe by invalidating the person who made me feel worthless. Ultimately, this is a self-defeating defense mechanism that keeps me (you, us) in this described cyclical pattern of freedom, and desperation for answers. Truth is, hanging on to that shit will give you cancer. Dis-Ease. I mean that. We are not beyond making ourselves sick.

So, I decided to work on forgiveness. The concept of forgiveness can be a huge undertaking. Yet, the dictionary has a simple definition. 

“To give up or cease to feel resentment”

~ Merriam Webster

It always starts with Self. I was resentful towards myself for quite some time. I’ve worked hard to forgive myself for staying in that marriage for far too long, for allowing the verbal, mental and emotional abuse, (amongst other things) all the while, publicly preaching Yogic doctrines and feeling on some level like I was a fake because of the dual lives I was living. I had a solid case of Impostor Syndrome for a long time. I have forgiven myself for expecting the dissolution of my marriage to look a certain way. I have forgiven myself for being so hard on myself. It’s ok. This takes time young lady, sometimes lifetimes. Through this steady path of self-forgiveness,  I have been crystal clear with what I am willing to give up and compromise on in the future. 

It sounds so easy. But life, it presents a whole assortment of triggers. The Universe is constantly testing and re-testing me. Throwing me curve balls to keep me in check with my patterns; staying alert to my habits so I don’t become a prisoner to them. When I get triggered now, I pause and close my eyes and focus on something valuable I got out of that relationship; fantastic travel memories, hysterical inside jokes, weird nicknames, incredible lessons in business, a couple of mutual friends who I got custody of. I was not exempt from moments of joy in my marriage. I use these moments to help shift my anger, to minimize resentment, to welcome forgiveness, to open my heart completely.

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