Three days after PC dropped his bomb and left me, a dear friend drove me to my parents house to pick up my kids. The trip’s intentions were twofold, however, as my father had planned for a close friend–who just happened to be a lawyer–to meet with me to give me…advice? Direction? His opinion?
This man said many things during our hour or so long meeting. He’s a man who I have known since I was a child. He’s a father. He’s someone who’s been divorced, and he’s someone who lost the mother of his children. He has an incredibly wicked sense of sarcasm and an appreciation of nature and music that’s almost sacred. And, he’s a lawyer.
I will be honest, much of what he said went right over my head. Keep in mind, 4 days prior I was “happily” married with no clue that PC and Trollup were planning a future. At this point, I was simply heartbroken, shaken, and completely naïve to what my future was about to become. I remember rebuffing this man’s predictions with “no, he said he’d take care of me” and “we both want it to be amicable”.
But, there are a few things that stuck out. One, is that he said he hated, detested family law. That it was toxic, hideous, and polluted. That it brought out the absolute worst in people and made you feel like the entire world was shrouded in black hatred. I understand this now.
Second, he stated that I needed to keep my canvas blank. He’s a poetic speaker, this guy. His point was: PC’s canvas was already splattered with paint. Even at 4 days post dumping me, he had already done things and made choices that painted him in a bad light…and the best was yet to come. I was advised that when I wanted to kill him, when I wanted to post my hatred on social media, when I wanted to screw him over for his injustices–keep your canvas blank. Don’t do, or say, anything that can come back on you. Stay true to yourself, and your beliefs.
Again, this seemed like a vague statement that wouldn’t apply to me. After all, as horrible and sad and negative as this was, no one was yet harassing and verbally torturing me. PC hadn’t really unveiled the complete rainbow of his true colors (aka his psycho.) And at that point, I’m sure, I still loved him. I was angry…but I wasn’t going to have the urge to soil my canvas, so to speak.
Ah, so naïve.
I recently relayed this conversation to a friend, and in doing so, I was prompted to contact this man and thank him again for that day. He responded eloquently and thoughtfully, and he also reminded me of something else he said on that bleak day, nearly a year ago:
I believe I told you this would be a marathon, not a sprint.
Ah yes. Here we are, mere days from an entire year having passed since PC imploded everyone’s lives. A marathon, indeed, one in which I’m stuck at a water station, completely disheartened that I have no clue how much further I have to go, only that I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m demoralized at the thought of continuing on this journey for an undetermined amount of time.
Patience is not a virtue I was granted at birth. It’s not my nature. But over the past year, one thing has become painfully obvious. I cannot control much. I cannot make things happen when it revolves around other people taking action or behaving in a certain way. Patience is absolutely necessary to deal with a survive the judicial system. Maybe, in a way, patience is one of the things God wanted me to learn. While I know in my heart PC leaving me was a gift, likely from the divine, I also know that I am not to travel this journey without reaping other benefits.
Still. It’s easy to think those thoughts on a summer night, or tucked into bed drifting off to sleep, or while writing a blog. It’s not so easy to apply those principles: patience, marathon-ing, one day at a time, to one’s everyday life.
It’s not as easy to sit and try to budget a life on measly pennies when you used to live quite comfortably. It doesn’t matter that I have a house, I have home, and I’m rich in friends and family (I mean, it does, but go with me here.) I cannot help but feel bitter that I am broke as shit, that I can’t afford simple things that I once gave not a second thought to. I’m wearing boots with broken soles. I have no idea how I’m going to buy Christmas presents for my kids. Every purchase I make that isn’t necessary bring me anxiety. I feel guilty going and doing things with friends because everything costs motherfucking money.
And then I think: that’s not fair. PC and Trollup are vacationing and checking in to bar after bar, staying in hotels and buying new cars and renovating their kitchen. Meanwhile, I’m crying because all of my clothes have holes and pills and stains and I just can’t justify buying new ones. There doesn’t seem to be much I can do right now, today, to alleviate this situation.
PC continues to harass and torment me on an almost daily basis. I believe I used the word demoralizing before, but I’ll use it again. Its demoralizing. Not a single day goes by–usually–without some sort of drama. Whether a fight over bills, threats about custody, demands, arguments over things that should not be up for debate, even simple requests like sending the kids coats home with them (its nearly winter, for fuck’s sake!) It just…never ends.
I recently read a book called “Becoming Odyssa” – about a young woman who hikes the Appalachian Trail. The book is a coming of age story, as well as a narrative of learning to fend for oneself. This girl went on to become a famous hiker, author, and motivational speaker. The book was inspiring on several levels. One, because go Odyssa. Two, my connection and love of nature and hiking: I won’t kid anyone that I’m an avid hiker, but I do love being outside, in particular in the woods. And three…because she did something. She made something amazing come out of something scary and challenging.
How do I do that? I don’t know. I feel stunted right now. Like I’m at the brunt of the marathon, the middle part where you’re neither energetic from the start or inspired by the end being close. I’m in the thick of it. And sometimes, many times, I just want to curl up and go to sleep. Forget about PC. Forget about my very uncertain future. Forget about how sick and tired I am of being alone. Forget about my dire financial situation–that at 39 I literally have nothing. Forget about my worries about my children, and my fear that PC will fuck them up. I want to pull my head inside myself like a turtle and hibernate.
This is the point in the marathon where I don’t want to keep going. My energy is sapped. I have visions of crossing a finish line, medals, congratulations and rest and yet…that seems so, so far off. Perseverance is the name of the game and its just…evading me. Peace is evading me.
At this point, its hard to know what to do. Do I slow down? Do I stop worrying about the future and just worry about tomorrow? In effect, put one foot in front of the other and persevere that way? Or have I been doing that too long? Is now the time to buckle down and do extraordinary things to keep myself moving towards the goal?
The problem seems to be, I don’t know what the goal is. I will never be free of PC…even after the kids are grown. I can’t eliminate him from my life. So somehow, in this marathon, my goal needs to be something independent of him. My finish line needs to be mutually exclusive of my story with PC. I am just not sure how to cross it. And I am certain I am a long ways from knowing.