I hope this chapter excerpt helps explain my vagueness over what’s been happening in my life. Have a wonderful weekend! Yes, I know it’s Thursday, but I’m heading out of town.*
Make this a beautiful day! I know I will.
This Isn’t Happening to Me.
“I want a divorce,” he stated calmly. He delivered this news with as much emotion as one would conjure up to order a tuna sandwich.
I stared at him, thinking I must be hearing things. We were going through a difficult time, to be sure, but I never thought we would get divorced. I never believed he would actually leave, even as he had threatened to so many times over the ten years of our relationship.
We loved each other! We were happy together! We had a family! We were making plans for the future!
“This isn’t happening to me,” I thought to myself. “He doesn’t mean it, or maybe I’m dreaming. He’s not ‘that guy.’ He’s not just going to leave us. Take a deep breath, Robin. Remain calm.”
“Calm” is not something I excel at in highly-emotional situations. “Calm” is especially not something I excel at when I am the only highly-emotional person in the room and divorce is being proposed as casually as a round of golf or the purchase of a new microwave.
“You can’t be serious,” I cried. “Over this? You are leaving me over this?”
“Yes, but ‘this’ is not the only thing.”
As I sobbed like a shady divorce lawyer who had just been told she had to keep accurate time sheets, he blithely rattled off all of my shortcomings. He was methodical in his criticisms and extremely efficient.
He listed his complaints as if he were doing me a favor and hit me with all my biggest button-pushers:
- I don’t make enough money.
- His friends don’t like me.
- His co-workers don’t like me.
- His kids don’t like me.
- I am too emotional.
- I am too obsessed with the election and my horror over the monster that is Donald Trump.
- I embarrass him.
- I’m not funny and people only laugh when I try to be humorous because they feel they have to.
That last one really got me. See, “funny” is my thing.
Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Funny!
Everyone with any sort of a personality is known for something, and I am generally regarded as having a splendid sense of humor. Frankly, I am damn hilarious. I’m the life of the party and have a knack for coming up with clever and insightful insults at a moment’s notice.
I have mastered the art of the pun (for which crime I belong in the punitentiary for punishment – ha!). I once saw a group of children outside a daycare center running amok while their caretaker tried to corral them, and I spontaneously noted to my friend that we were witnessing a “coup de toddler.”
He knows I pride myself on my sense of humor and that it is the only thing about me of which I’m confident and proud. Well, that, and my ankles. They are pretty spectacular.
Here, you be the judge!
It was clear the list was years in the making and as I listened to his analysis of who I am (and am not) as a human being, I felt deeply wounded and ashamed. He was right about all of it, but the validity of his observations did little to lessen the sting of their impact.
Each criticism severed my connection to terra firma and made me feel more insecure, worthless, unloved, and unlovable than I had ever felt in my entire life, including the time I came in second-place in a city-wide karaoke contest.
Don’t judge me. It felt important at the time.
So what was the “this” that lead to this, in addition to the collection of critiques above?
I finally spoke my mind about the chasm I saw between our families, with him and his children on one side and my son and I on the other. This was familiar ground for us as a couple, but in ten years I had never voiced my feelings about that vast space to any of his kids, when his son and his son’s fiancee announced that my son, their stepbrother for 8 years, was not welcome at their rehearsal dinner. My husband told me then that I was “insane” to think Jake should have been included.
So for years I had remained silent. I had never challenged them on their peculiar attitudes towards me and my son. For years, I waited for my husband to find the strength and courage to stand up for his wife and stepchild. He never did, so I knew I’d have to speak up.
That day, I had. It wasn’t pretty. It did not go well, to say the least.
To be continued…
Would-be robbers: I have an excellent house sitter who will fuck you up if you try anything in my absence! Speaking of that, I won’t be able to moderate comments for the next few hours so if you are a new commenter, be patient!