Forgiveness (Part 4)

Friends, it’s been a long week.  I don’t know why, but I have had a hard time sleeping or staying asleep.  I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be wide-awake for almost an hour before I can get back to rest.  What is keeping me up at night?

I’ve tried meditation, stretching, writing in my journal… and nothing is helping.

So, I’ll share a little something off-topic.  Earlier this year, I had my very first mammogram.  The OBGYN warned me that, since it’s my first, they have to determine a “baseline” so they might have me come back for another follow-up.  And that’s what they did.  They called me back and I was prepared.  But as they did the second one, there was discharge and she immediately asked if I normally have discharge.  I thought it was normal!  Minutes after I left the imaging office, I got a call from the OBGYN stating they saw something and want to follow-up for a 3rd time!  I opted to wait 6 months because I rationalized it all in my head that “they’re just trying to get more of my money” “it’s nothing, I don’t feel anything unusual”.  Then COVID happened… and I totally forgot about it.  But a couple weeks ago, I noticed a mole started to develop on the same breast…and my skin started looking funny… among other weird things, so I called my OBGYN.  Friends, the first thing she said when she saw my breast was “oh that doesn’t look good”.  So, I have a appointment in a couple weeks for a 3rd mammogram/ultrasound and possible biopsy.

I am not well.

I want to cry, I want to scream.  I am very good at not sharing my feelings with others until I burst into larger-than-life emotion.  I just don’t know what to do.

Anyway, I wanted to try to finish my “series” on Forgiveness because I needed to finish what I started here, and move on.  The final question from my initial post was

“How do I forgive when I really don’t want to?”

So, COVID really puts things into perspective.  I haven’t been able to visit my parents during my usual summer vacation and probably won’t be able to see them in the fall.  But, I have been able to video-chat with them.  As we talk, I noticed my dad’s mind start to wander.  My dad was once very sharp, he is the smartest man I know.. my personal hero.  And I don’t get to spend his last years with him. Instead I have to video chat with him for minutes and then let him go.

During the last months of my marriage, I gave my then husband a list of reasons why I wanted to move back.  First, being I needed help because I was just diagnosed with Epilepsy.  Secondly, because my parents were getting older and I wanted to spend that time with them.  I asked if he could come with me.  Instead of supporting my decision (even just for a few years until my parents passed), he moved out and served me with divorce papers specifically stating that I couldn’t move out of the state.  In communication he said he liked his (new) job – which he lost or left shortly after.  He said I had several chances to move before I met him.

How would I have known I was going to be in the situation my epilepsy 10 years prior?

In my self-centered mid-twenties, how would I have known how much I’d yearn to spend my parents’ last days close to them?

So, every time I chat with my parents I feel that burning feeling within me…. my mind goes “I will NEVER forgive ______ for not being able to capture my parents’ last moments with them”.

And now, with the situation of my health, it makes my anger more relentless towards my ex.

So now…. how can I forgive someone when I don’t want to? Honestly…. I Do Not Want To.

Right now, my human nature does not want to forgive my ex because if I forgive him, in my mind it would give him a pass, a “good guy card”, for leaving me at the time I needed support the most, THEN (with the MSA) putting the restrictions on allowing my son to even live with me part-time if I chose to move closer to my parents. And if I left, I’d have to leave my son…

Right here, right now… I don’t have an answer.  I was on the right track in my last 2 posts…. but for the nature of this blog, I’m going to leave this here.  I don’t want to.

I’m not giving up on me, nor my journey to forgiveness… but today as it stands, I am not ready.  And, if any of you “divorcees” aren’t either, in my book that’s totally OK..

Forgiveness (Part 3)

Faith has always been a big part of my life.  My family is rooted in Catholicism.  However, my aunt would take me to Charismatic-Catholic conferences and introduced me to spirit-filled services… speaking in tongues.  Raising our hands in worship.  Experiences that were not regularly part of a traditional Mass.

At the age of 13, I met my high-school-sweetheart (well, almost since we were in middle school).  He introduced me to the Pentecostal church. At the time (mid-90’s), they were talking about Revival.  We would stay up late reading the bible and attend church almost every day.   Services were filled with words like “repent”, “sacrifice”, and “forgive”.

“YES!” I thought, I was ready to repent & sacrifice!  I brought all my tapes (yes, cassette tapes) to the alter.  I just knew that if I gave up secular music and media, I would be that much closer to God…. to fulfillment.  *Queue the dramatic effects* In fact, this started what I call my “5-year hiatus”.  Until now, there are songs, shows, and movies I’ve never heard of.  In my mind, I “sacrificed” through the age of boy-bands, Team Britney or Team Christina… and so much more.  But, during that time, I didn’t feel happy.  It’s been more than 20 years since…. in retrospect, I was more judgmental than ever.

Internally, I demanded others to follow suit.  And if they didn’t, I wanted no parts.  Obviously, that caused many broken bridges.  But, in my mind those who didn’t change were at fault… not me!  Never me!

These petty offerings placed at the alter 5 years prior brought me towards anger, resentment, and hatred towards those who did not do the same!  ….For goodness sake, it was just music!

CMB

Well, yeah maybe I shouldn’t have been listening to this LOL

After my “hiatus”, I took a good look at myself…..  it was VERY sobering… my first husband and I divorced and he moved back to our hometown (across the country).  I was left alone with 2 children… and everything was a whirlwind.  I blamed him so much for leaving us!  Not only did he leave me… he stopped communicating with the children.  All 3 of us were left traumatized..

So, here is my past post on forgiveness… in that post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote down, answering the first one here

But, my 2nd question was:

  • How do I know if it’s a person or circumstance (or even multiple people) I need to forgive?

In this scenario (my first divorce), I wasn’t looking for a “sorry.”  I was the one who initiated it, so I felt like I got what I deserved.  But, I was still angry.  I knew it wasn’t healthy to live with the anger… but how else could I feel?

As years passed, I couldn’t pin-point who I was angry at…. was it anyone at all?  Again, it was a chain of events set-off by my own choices… was it my circumstance?

So, I tucked that bit of anger in my back-pocket and carried it along with me from relationship to relationship….and over time, little hurts accumulated until my “pocket-sized anger” outgrew my pants!

Now, present-day…. different divorce, different scenario…. but, it’s FINALLY time to cleanse myself of the anger and pain that I most-likely initiated years-ago on my own!

Do I really need to look externally to forgive?  Not always.  I may be dealing with extreme hurt from my recent divorce.  But, it might have been our own set of misdealings (separate and together, before and/or during our marriage) that lead us to the separation.  Not just him… and not just me.

In this case, I need to forgive all of the above:

A person = me.

Multiple people = us.

Circumstances = the divorce.

 

 

Forgiveness (Part 2)

I have been doing a lot of self-work since my divorce.  It’s been almost 2 years and by now, you’d think I’d be over it, right?  At least that is what I expected of myself.  I’ve always considered myself strong & resilient….

 

Tattoo

My tattoo showing the word “Lakas” meaning Strength in Filipino (Tagalog).

You know the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?

I remember early after my divorce, I would sit in the dark, crying to God…. “I’m not that strong!” “You test the strong ones, I’m not the one!”  And I would lay there, weeping, pleading for the pain to stop….

Not only did my husband leave me.  He barred me from living close to the support I needed. (here is my past post when I was diagnosed with epilepsy and unable to drive). 

But, as I started to live with the pain and carry-on with the pain… the pain became my strength and my reason for many decisions.  Some terrible decisions, but also some great decisions (more on that later).

Now back to my previous post on forgiveness…. why am I even pushing myself through this process?  Well, a new man has come into my life.  He is incredible.  I don’t know where this relationship will go or how long it will last, but I am SO happy with him.  Currently, I feel like I still have a wall up…. and I’ve learned that wall was built by the pain and hurt of my divorce.

How do I let go of the pain?

This channel and video by Master Sri Akarshana was perfect for me about Letting Go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCcX2IDoIjU

I’ve watched videos, listened to podcasts, read books, prayed, meditated ….. anything and everything to find an answer…. and many sources point to “forgiveness”

In my previous post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote in my journal about forgiveness… the first one was: How do I forgive someone who is not sorry?

So, I took a week to think about this….. as a parent, when one brother got hurt by the other, I would sit down and go, “ok son, say you’re sorry”… the culprit would huff and puff then say “I’m sorry” under his breath…. then it would take twice as much effort for the hurt one to say “I forgive you”.  Sometimes I would have to sternly instruct my son, “say, ‘I forgive you’!”  Because I knew in my head that if you say out loud “I forgive you” the heart would somehow start that process…..  In that very real example, we already knew the “offender” may not have been sorry at all but was merely instructed to say “I’m sorry”…. so whether he said it or not wasn’t the point…. my goal as a parent, was to get the hurt son to forgive so he can move on (with or without his brother) and get back to having a good day.

Now, I am neither a boy nor a child.  I’m a 40-ish year-old woman with baggage, who is a Cancer.  And I’m a highly emotional being.

My ex-husband did say he was sorry…. “sorry it didn’t work out” (insert eye-roll here).  To me, that was not the sorry I needed.  I wanted him to say sorry for what he put me through.  Sorry that he took away the future I thought we would have together  ……OR, maybe the “sorry” I wanted was not really that… what my heart wanted was “I wanted us to work out” “I really did love you”…

And, let’s say, if he even did offer those words, what would it have lead to?  A conversation, an understanding, maybe my heart would open again, definitely the hurt would open… and the agonizing cycle would continue…

So, how do I forgive someone who is not sorry?  OR, better yet….. did not say the sorry that I wanted?

I feel like sorry isn’t what is needed anymore.  Like I said in my example as a parent, whether he said sorry or not is not the point…. I need to forgive so I can go on and live my life.  Maybe….. open my heart back up (carefully) so I can REALLY appreciate the amazing guy that WAS brought into my life.  Who’s birthday, by the way, is today 🙂

 

Forgiveness (Part 1)

Since the separation, I did a LOT of soul searching.

Let me step back a bit…. while we were married, I became pretty numb.  The hurt of miscommunication, feeling of defeat, feeling of worthlessness started to beat down on me to the point where I stopped feeling all together.  It got to the point where I couldn’t even cry when the inside of my face felt like it was going to explode with tears (has anyone else had that feeling?).    Something happened after he left…. every night I would sit in the dark, in silence.  Sometimes I would light a candle or play soft music.  But, I would just sit and wait till an emotion, any emotion, came out.  Sometimes it was anger – REALLY deep-rooted anger.  Sometimes it was sadness, fear, resentment, trauma…. But, it always started with hurt.  My entire presence hurt when we separated.

I’m sure anyone who has gone through a divorce, separation, or any loss can relate

I felt like my soul was dying.

Then shortly after he left, the week prior to Mother’s Day, I was served with divorce papers.

Once again, the numbness came.  I couldn’t allow myself to feel.  I needed to keep my guard up to get through it.  And as months passed, I kept myself going – not feeling – just existing.  (I’m not going to share the details now, but I also got pregnant. I made a decision I am completely responsible for – the day after our mediation).

I remained numb and had a few “fun” relationships.  But several months ago, I met someone incredible.  When I mean incredible, I mean perfect for me.  If there was anyone I could ask for, He. Is. It.  But, still part of me has kept a wall up.  I went into it ready for only a casual relationship. Everything is pointing to him being perfect, and I do care for him SO much… but what is blocking me from reciprocating the same feelings?

In reflection, it feels as if I am treating him the way my ex treated me.  And he really doesn’t deserve that..

Now, to the point of this blog entry….. while reading and studying on relationships, I have learned that in order to make way for something amazing, you have to let go.  And after much soul-searching I have learned that deep down inside, there is still a part of me that yearns for my ex-husband to love me.  But, the catcher is… It’s not him.  It’s because he didn’t love me, my heart feels like I’ll never be loved.  In order to make way for someone amazing, I need to let go of the pain or loss I felt with my ex-husband.

So, this is where forgiveness kicks in.  To let go of a certain source of pain, forgiveness is key.  A few days ago I wrote 3 things in my journal:

  • How do I forgive someone who is not sorry?
  • How do I know if it’s a person or circumstance (or even multiple people) I need to forgive?
  • How do I forgive when I really don’t want to?

So, that’s what I am working through now.  That last question was the truth…. how do I forgive when I don’t want to?  ……He hurt me to the core, doesn’t it feel good to walk around knowing I did everything I knew what was right to do and he was the one who hurt me?  Doesn’t it??  The answer is no.  Time to move on….

1 1/2 Years Post-Divorce

It’s been 1 1/2 years since my divorce.  2-3 years post separation.  We separated, reunited, then separated ending in divorce.

So, I know I started this blog during a troubling time dealing with TTC.  This blog was really a safe-place for me to express some of my deepest emotions with an intimate group of anonymous people.  However, I’ve made a few online friends along the way…

I took a break from blogging, changed my ID/website and disconnected.  So, I’m assuming a lot of followers have unfollowed.  And those who knew me as “1Suburbanchic” then, won’t be able to find me now.

I’m opening myself back up for the following reasons: (1) hopefully to be able to express myself freely with like-minded people (2) follow others with similar situations, and (3) start this new chapter in growth and move on.

 

I already knew my marriage was doomed from the beginning.  We didn’t build it on a strong foundation.  More along the lines of a promise that was ultimately not kept.

Not long after my beautiful babe was born, my best friend passed away.  A part of me died along with her.

I want to start by saying, I started out loving my ex-husband with my entire heart.  I gave everything I had into my marriage.  I had so much hope in our relationship.  It wasn’t perfect, neither of us were.  Our story was certainly not a fairy-tale.  But, I knew, just KNEW… if I put in the work and stayed focused we could accomplish anything ‘Til Death Do Us Part!  I would have never gotten into a marriage, prayed for a baby, taken on IVF for a man I didn’t love entirely.

Here are some things I LOVED about being married:

  • I had someone to share some important moments in my life.
  • I was “Mrs. ___” I felt extremely proud being “Mrs. ___”.
  • While I was frantic, his personality brought me down to a state of calmness.

Then some things fell apart:

  • I was alone in much of my struggles.
  • I started to realize he wasn’t proud of being a “Mr. ___”
  • I realized I was so focused on wanting him to love me that, along the way, I lost myself.

As time passed and truths were exposed, love turned into pain and then it all became numb.  I became sick with Lupus and Epilepsy.  The support I thought I could have in my husband was dwindling and I no longer had my best friend close by…. and my family was (is) across the country.

I actually got pregnant (on birth control) not long after my separation…. it was THE hardest decision of my life (if you’ve followed my previous post, you would know it was not my first).

Then I spent a year to myself.  So, here I am.  I plan to share my healing here… what I have done, what I am doing…. and grow from here..

Following this post, I want to start with forgiveness.

 

 

2am

It seems like every night at 2am, I get up for my nighttime wee (sorry TMI).  But what I choose to do after that determines the rest of my night, and possibly the next day.  I could go back to bed, close my eyes and go to sleep.  I could (usually) get up, grab a snack (usually something I couldn’t eat around my todder like Coca Crispies or chips)…. eat, scroll thru my phone, watch tv and 2 hours later, fall back asleep.  It’s 3:25am…. so, you can probably guess what I chose to do tonight.

Loyalty

Thoughts on loyalty….

I came to this realization not too long ago that helped me put relationships into perspective. This may or may not pertain to me, personally, but it’s something to think about. Think about the state of sports fans. Men I know who are die-hard fans of teams who’s players don’t even know them personally. But these men will not miss a game, rain or shine.. Or funeral. They wouldn’t miss one game. If someone (friend, acquaintance, family member)  talked negatively about their team these men are quick to respond.. Even fighting words, curse words.. They defend their team to the end.. That team could be the losing team. They’ll let you down game after game. Loss after loss. No matter what flaws that team has, these fans have so much faith in their team. In the next season, so much loyalty to a team who knows not even his name.

But when you think about this same fan, and look at his family.. Would he defend his wife as quickly as he does his team? With the same emphasis as he does for his team?  Get up and go, at a moments notice for his wife? When she fails or is lacking would he stay loyal as much as he does for his team? Would he embrace her background and honor her beliefs as much as he proudly displays his team colors and logos? Just thoughts…

This can go both ways. Loyalty is not complicated. But I believe it affects Love. I believe loyalty is the most important aspect of love. Others may have different values. But these are my thoughts..

To My 3 Year Old

As I look at you with your eyes as big as the stars

And your smile that makes all the clouds disappear

I want you to know how much I love you.. Now

Because as you grow older there will be days

When you cry when I say “no” to that candy bar

When you will stomp out of the room when I say “you need to study first”

When you hate me when I say “that’s not a safe decision” or “that person isn’t being a good friend”

Other people might want to take my place

And tell you they are more fun

And offer to say yes to everything you ask for

And maybe tell you not to listen to me

That will make me sad.

It will make me hurt, and frustrated.

But I want you to know – now – while you still love me… that I love you.

And I have, and will continue to do my very best for you, no matter what.

2nd Time Around

Like most of the other posts lately, I’ve been writing more for my own sanity… I’m sorry to anyone who comes across this and might judge me for these posts.  I also decide to keep them public, because they are pretty raw emotions I am going through.  Sometimes truth is harder to admit than holding it in.  And many times, someone can relate.  I have been the recipient of many transparent posts.  Feeling like I can relate to someone in this most intimate form, is a little freeing to me.  So, I hope this is for my readers.

Well, the past 3 months I have done a lot of crying.  I have had several health issues, setbacks, multiple hurdles, and multiple let-downs.  I was diagnosed with epilepsy, the lupus came back, the sjogrens started acting up.  Right away, they put me on medication…. 17 pills!  Going from 1 supplement a day to SEVENTEEN pills a day… why?  And the funny thing, they help.  But why?  Why does it take so much to relieve all my symptoms?

And something that I’ve taken for granted, being able to drive (essentially, freedom) was stripped from me.  And every time I start to feel like the seizures subside… that churning feeling in my head starts, something feels like it’s clawing at my neck, I lose power, I forget things.. and then my opportunity to drive is pushed back, yet another 6 months.  This is what I would call a “first world problem”  why would someone like me complain about this?? I mean there are so many people who have never driven, who don’t have cars.. depend on public transportation.  Why should I even complain?  How can I put this in words… when I raised my boys as a single-mother, I took great pride in being an independent woman.  I am strong. I am bold.  I can do what needs to be done for my boys.  I can make decisions.

But now, I am completely, sometimes entirely dependent on other people for the necessities:

Food? Well, there’s delivery services, which charge delivery fees and tips.

Commute to Work?  Well, I have to wake up my son who works a night shift and comes home at 2am, to get back up turn around and take me to work at 8am.

Shopping?  Shipping fees.

Ok… but then there’s my baby.  just a simple trip to the park or the Science Center.. how do we get there?  Well, there’s Uber right?  Nope.  Cause we would need the toddler car seat and when we get there, what do I do with that seat?  Do I carry it wherever we go?  There aren’t even strollers that allow you to attach a Convertible seat to the stroller!  Of course there are travel systems for infants… but what about toddlers?? ***vent over***

On top of that, my husband moved out.  We’re separated.  Another post for another day.  But, he’s moved on…. and there’s really no turning back there.

So, now I’m back to being a single mother… but this time, I’m no longer an independent woman.  I’m dependent… on everyone around me and it’s the most humbling status to be in.  I’m like a child, waiting to see who can take me out of the house today?  Sometimes I sit in this house All day… sometimes alone with my thoughts… dealing with my illnesses: epilepsy, lupus, and sjogrens… dependent on medicine, dependent on my grown children to drive me places.  trying to be strong for the little one who has no idea what mommy is going through.  I just keep thinking.. how much longer until it gets back to normal?  How much longer until I can breathe again?

It feels like I’m deteriorating.  I’m becoming a shell of the person I was.  I once heard that we have guardian angels.  I hear that when we put our faith in God, He will care for us.  But, where are they?? I feel completely alone.

 

Marriage

I always see posts about people marrying their best friend. “Happy Birthday to my BFF” or “Happy Anniversary to my Best friend” something I seethingly loathe out of jealousy and sometimes out of regret. I didn’t marry my best friend. I wish I could have. I wished he could have been. But he made it very clear from day 1 of our dating relationship that he already had a female best friend. We went to pre-marital counseling and I thought I made it clear that I would not compete.  Which he obliged. Then a year into our marriage, I found out he secretly created an email account just to stay in touch with her and called her from his office number. It’s now been years since the incident. I’m supposed to trust him, but I am not sure that feeling of self-doubt (am I ever good enough, did he just settle for me) will ever go away.  He did, however, give me one of the greatest gifts of all, my youngest son.. Whom is one of my 3 best friends.. The other 2 being my older sons. But, I don’t think he could ever give me what I yearn for.. That title, not wife, but Best Friend.