In Search Of The Mad Hatter
I can’t tell you how many times my friends said to me, “When are you finally going to get mad at that sorry, no-good, so-and-so.?!” [expletives deleted].
Well, no matter how many times they asked me this, my response was always the same. I either had no response at all or I helplessly shrugged my shoulders.
I had no idea when or if I’d ever be able to get to the anger stage over my husband’s departure.
Let me assure you, it wasn’t because I was an unflappable saint. It was because I was ‘stuck in stupid’—and I had been since I married the man.
Vengeance Not Mine Saith The Jilted
Nope, I wasn’t looking to exact a pound of flesh from anyone. I simply was looking to locate and push the ‘OFF’ button to end my pain. I just wanted to stop hurting all the time.
For reasons that I (now) see were spiritual and related to my family-of-origin, I found myself paralyzed and totally unable to move on.
No matter how far I backed up … no matter how many running tries I made … no matter how many after-burners I switched on … I couldn’t get enough lift to propel myself over the fence that was blocking my path to freedom.
[That’s me in the picture above.] Put simply, I was stuck in stupid—up to my eyeballs.
Anger Where Art Thou?
A healthy dose of anger would have been a welcome relief. Anger gives us the juice to move forward. Anger motivates us into action. Anger gives us the energy do something about our situation.
In my case, any anger I was able to muster up, got redirected and used against myself.
I’d always considered myself to be a reasonably intelligent woman. I had no idea that any of this was coming. How could I have been so blindsided and so duped?
The All-Call To The Board Room
The Committee Inside My head was all-too-eager to answer my questions. Committee members in the front row were quick to point out how I’d [obviously!] been a textbook chump for the entire time that my husband and I had been married.
Committee members in the cheap seats were eager to remind me of how easy it was for him to condescendingly thumb his nose at me and not even feel obliged to provide a reason as to why he was leaving.
With friends in your head like that, who needs enemies? Oy vey!
Into The Abyss … And No, Not The Sci-Fi Movie From 1989
Before any of this happened, I would never have guessed that I formed such deep attachments, or that I could stay so offended for so long.
Having spent my childhood as a child shifted from pillar to post and forced to live with friends and relatives who made no bones about the fact that I wasn’t wanted, I thought I’d mastered the suck-it-up-and-drive-on maneuver decades before.
To survive, I became hyper-vigilant at an early age. I mastered the art of scanning my environment for threats and neutralizing them quickly. I found the gregarious people pleaser persona I developed as a protective shield to be rather effective.
Yet, no matter how cheerful and funny I appeared on the outside, on the inside I always saw myself standing on the outside in my own life. That was, until I found the love of my life.
This was a shameful secret I guarded like the gold at Fort Knox.
The Mortal Blow
My husband leaving me the way that he did (ghosting), compounded by the very public rejection/shunning of me afterward, shattered my flawed concept of love, belonging, and worthiness.
There had been an uncontested coup decades before—when I met him, fell madly in love, and handed over the keys to my identity without so much as a fight.
Put simply, I errantly defined my value/worth by the fact that I finally had my own husband and my own life and home after all those years. His abandonment offended me at a cellular level. I lost all will to live.
The object lesson here is that nothing good can come from deriving one’s self-esteem and sense of value from anything other than God and His love for us. But thankfully, we live, we learn—and if we’re lucky—we come out on the other side, stronger and wiser.
In Support Of Fair Trade
Okay, I have to stop here because Erma my humor imp is pitching a fit. She wants to know how everything I’ve written so far in this post could possibly be considered light and/or humorous?
Hmmm …. give me a second … thinking …. okay, okay! … Here’s something!
So the other woman might have gloated initially, thinking she ‘won’, right? Well, here’s the kicker: she’ now has ‘him”. And equally humorous is that ‘he’ now as ‘her’. Let’s see …. Two people who both dumped their spouses so they could enter into yet a new ‘committed’ relationship … To ‘have’? … ‘To hold’? … and ‘To trust?’ …
I’m slapping my knee right now. To quote Larry The Cable Guy says: “Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are”.
I rest my case.
Reframe Things & Laugh
The takeaway here is that you can look at just about anything from a new perspective if you try. If you’re lucky and, like me, you happen to be a tad bit creative—you might be able to mine a few chuckles out of even the darkest drama. Chuckles like seeing yourself like the poor cow above—stuck on the Stupid Fence.
My advice would be for y’all to go back to the closet. Check the pockets of all your old jackets and pants from that period of time. You just might find more than a few pieces of thread or a wad of lint hiding in there.
You might discover some really good humor. Or—as in my case—you just might discover what a fool believes.
What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be, is always better than nothing (when there’s nothing at all)
What a fool believes he sees …