AND THE PATTERN CONTINUED
Remember, I am sharing this story to show how the power of our thoughts controls the direction of our lives. For my entire life, I had the false belief that I wasn’t worthy. This continued story is evidence that until I shed that belief, I will continue to make choices that only validate it.
I had been divorced for about a year when I started at a federal, well paying, Monday to Friday job, I looked great, had confidence in my future, and loved the important role I had being a single parent. I was free, certain I had my shit together and knew who I was. I’m laughing at myself as I type this!!
When I met my second husband, he showed me things I had never seen or experienced before. He was attracted to me, didn’t care that I had 2 young children, and introduced me to so many new things. He was kind, and that was huge for me. Looking back, I think the biggest appeal was the friendships I was creating with the people in his circle and the abundance of adventures I was having. We were always doing something, and the friendships were deep and meaningful.
All of our friends were happily married with children and they were a huge part of our lives. We traveled together, hung out on weekends with the kids, always got together on holidays, and helped each other whenever we could. I always felt somewhat uncomfortable with them though, out of place you could say. They were families and I was just his girlfriend with kids.
After 2 years of dating we bought a house in the country. We started talking about having a child together. He definitely wanted a child of his own, my first 2 children were getting older, and at 34 I wasn’t getting any younger. I reasoned that I did not believe in having a baby if we weren’t married because it would send the kids the wrong message. Looking back, I realize, without a doubt, getting married was important to me so that I would fit in with our circle of friends. How absolutely ridiculous that sounds now!! Being unmarried in a group of married people made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and that our relationship wasn’t legit! And there is the pattern again!!
He did agree (hesitantly) to marry me. I remember the conversation when we finally decided to tie the knot and plan on adding to the family. He was active in a weekend sport, so getting married would have to wait until after the competitive season. HMMMM…a red flag went off. Wasn’t marrying me and having a child important enough to him that he could miss ONE competition?!? Apparently not. I had made it very clear to him that if I wasn’t pregnant within 6 months of turning 35, having a child was off the table. Tick-Tock. One day while he was at work, I went through the competition schedule, found a weekend there were no events, called a minister and booked a date for our wedding. When he got home from work I shared the news with him. Two months later we were married on our front lawn. It was a lovely and fun wedding, but once again, I found myself standing in front of a minister thinking “nope, you should not be doing this Jacq”. Something small in the back of my mind knew I was doing it for the wrong reasons, but wouldn’t it feel so good to be a ‘normal family’???
He was a wonderful father to my first 2 children, adored his new son, he never hit me, and up until a few years into the marriage, never said mean things to me. It was about this time he took on a new endeavor and opened a ‘gym’ with a couple of his friends. I can’t say I was thrilled about it, but according to him it was his money and he could do with it what he wanted. He had a passion for this, so I supported him. Money had become a huge issue. To keep it short, he paid the mortgage and house repairs when needed. That is it. The rest was his play money and the gym was now his playground.
An even bigger issue and in the end a major part of our divorce, was the fact that he never chose me. He is a good human being and always willing to help other people, his mom most of all, and now there was the gym, and then his mom again, and then the gym, and then anyone else who needed something. We had one day a week when the 5 of us would sit down at the table for dinner together, Wednesdays. He would get home at 4:10, take his shoes off, wash up, sit at the table and his mom would call, without fail. If she lived out of town, or if something important needed to be conveyed, it would not have been an issue at all. The fact is, she had already spoken to him on his lunch break (which she did everyday) and she was just calling to talk. I had a conversation with him. Because of our busy life, could he have a chat with her and ask her not to call until after dinner, or let it go to voice mail and call her back when we were done? I was put in my place. This was his mom and he would drop everything to be there for her. Feckin’ hell. This hurt. After that conversation, it seems he took knowing how much it hurt me, that his mom would always come first, to a whole new level. I really wish I was exaggerating, but I am not. His mom suddenly became his top priority. The gym wasn’t any different. We stopped doing things on the weekends because the gym needed him. We only ate together as a family once a week because he had to be at the gym. Any date night we had was tied together with events dealing with gym. I am struggling to convey in a blog just how important everything else was to him ALL THE TIME. I didn’t want much. I didn’t need fancy dinners and tropical vacations. I wanted time. Once in a while pick me first. Once in a while pick the family over everyone else. I begged, FOR YEARS. I felt worthless, used, and that nothing I could do would ever be good enough to get the love and attention I deserved.
Slowly, I started pulling away. I was tired to my core. Tired of begging for love. Tired of doing so much to make his life comfortable and not being acknowledged for it. Tired of coming in last place. I didn’t leave the marriage yet, but at just over 4 years, I took my wedding ring off, telling him when he was ready to choose me I would put it back on again. It never saw the outside of my jewelry box again. THIS was my FOURTH BEGINNING OF FORWARD. I established a boundary.
I had a good friend from work that knew I had studied art decades ago. She saw I was depressed and suggested I try my hand at drawing Zen tangles as a form of meditation. I thought I’d give it a try and when I got home I grabbed a sheet of printer paper and a pen and started doodling. I got lost in it!!! 2 hours had passed in a blink of an eye. During that time I didn’t think about how unhappy I was. I was hooked. It was like a drug. I quickly moved away from abstract and into small ink pieces that were meaningful. I showed a few of them to friends at work and they could not believe how good they were. I was on fire and passionate about something for the first time in my life. A friend encouraged me to create an Instagram account to showcase my work. I remember how excited I was when sharing this information with my husband. He was standing at the end of the kitchen table overlooking my artwork and scattered pens. No smile. No happiness that I was excited. Just, “it’s not that good, she was just being nice, are you sure you want to put pictures up for other people to see?” I was not expecting that. I had always supported him in whatever he was doing and honestly thought that he would be excited for me. At the very least, if he wasn’t excited about it, I figured he would fake support!! I felt my excitement sink, but not diminish. Scared to death, I did a couple of shows, sold a decent amount and my confidence was soaring again. People liked my stuff!! In all honestly, the second show I did at a local yoga studio, catapulted me forward and helped me start to grow as a human. I was incredibly sad, but started to recognize that I had some worth and wanted to explore that new feeling!
I had started reading books on creating a happy life. Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron. Reading these continued to add to the fire that was starting to grow inside of me. I was growing. My mind was open to creating happiness in my life. I started reading about Buddhism (I am not a Buddhist) and it sat so comfortably with me. It made sense. It was what I needed to find at the exact moment I found it. I purchased some mala beads and a meditation pillow and vowed to create some calm in my life, even if for just a few minutes a day. I was starting to feel happy and shared this feeling with anyone I was with. I spoke of my art, the things I had been reading and was always respectful that not everyone would agree with me. Just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it works for someone else. I had read a line in…I think it was Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye. He said “the opposite of what you believe is also true”. I think that was the most powerful line I have ever read. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t feel that way.
Anyway…here I am being all happy and Zen, having a conversation with my husband about all these new things I was learning, when he blurts out, with the most disgusted face I have ever seen on a person “you’re a fuckin’ FREAK Jacq”. Well holy moly! I had no reply. I burst out into tears and he headed to his gym. Something was different about my tears though and I still don’t know what it was. What I can tell you is that when he walked out, I picked up my phone and googled the definition of ‘freak’. Once again, what I needed to see at the exact time I needed to see it showed up. I wish I could remember what site I read it on, but the first definition I came across defined ‘freak’ as “a person who does not conform to mainstream society/one who dances to the beat of their own drum” THAT WAS IT!!! This was me!! I had tried to be everyone else my whole life (more on that in a later blog) and reading that definition at that exact moment in my life, sent me on my FIFTH and biggest BEGINNING OF FORWARD!!
Something switched in my head that day. I wasn’t mad at him anymore. He got home later that night and I genuinely thanked him for calling me a FREAK. I was finally ready to embrace me and all my uniqueness and by thinking he was crushing my spirit, he actually helped me. That night I started sleeping in the spare room. I had hoped that by doing this he would miss me and realize how important and special I was. I honestly thought that this would change our relationship, that he would realize what an amazing wife I was and accept me for who I AM and who I was becoming.
Oh I was definitely LEAPING FORWARD at this point but wasn’t ready to stop looking for validation from outside of me yet. I could feel something inside of me stirring, I just didn’t know what it was.
Though I wasn’t aware of it then, I had once again chosen a situation, a person, a life, that made me feel the way I thought of myself. I did not believe I was worthy of love and acceptance for who I was. I believed that other people were better than me for whatever the reason. I chose to continue the pattern of thinking that if I just did this, that or the other thing, that my value would increase and I would be as good as other people. If I got married, had a baby and supported my husband in his adventures, then I would be accepted by him (he spoke so highly of the other wives). If I did these things I would be like all the other people that surrounded us and this would make me their equal. He was highly looked up to by his friends and family that I thought if I was his wife and not just his girlfriend, they might look at me that way too and I would be seen. I did kept the promise I made to myself after my first marriage. I did not allow any person to hit me or verbally abuse me again. In the end though, old habits die hard. I once again chose a person with whom I would have to constantly beg for love and respect. This had NOTHING to do with him, and EVERYTHING to do with me. It was MY journey and I chose to make him a part of it. I turned into a miserable bitch, unhappy, begging all the time, and he suffered too. I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made, but I am sorry that he ended up hurt because of my insecurities and the false beliefs I had of myself. It was never my intention to hurt him. This chapter of my life is deeper than I can share in a blog. It was the complete dismantling of me.
IT WAS ALSO THE MOST IMPORTANT PART TO REASSEMBLING MYSELF.
The next part of the adventure has been the most exciting!!!