Friday, July 18, 2008


Some things I realized this past week. Some are liberating. Some make me cringe—except better to have the self-awareness and know so that I can be on guard against playing out those patterns in the future.

I wanted safe. I married my ex because he wasn't intimidating. Only there isn't much safe about someone who lets you drive on the freeway after midnight in a car where the tire was down to 12 pounds of pressure earlier in the day. Or who creates constant chaos. (Did I mention he also “forgot” to tell me about the broken pipe in the laundry room and I discovered it when my son did laundry and the floor flooded?)

I also tried to be the "easy" wife. No drama, no hassles, only a partner who would be of value. I didn't realize he'd value me less, not more because I did.

When I was married, there was a payoff in the chaos. People felt sorry for me and angry on my behalf. And I felt safer because if I didn't want to do something I could use the chaos as an excuse.

I want and need calm in my life. I no longer want chaos.

I can walk away from the house knowing I was wise not to try to keep it.

I know that even if I were the best mother in the world, there are things my son will gain by being in the group home that I could not have given him.

I know that had I gotten custody, my son would not get into a group home for several more years—if ever.

I was reminded how much happier I am where I am now than where I was living for so long.

I can watch my ex with his girlfriend and be happy they found each other. And know that I feel no regrets over choosing to walk away.

I only had a chance to contact one or two old friends. Even in these friendships, I could see patterns I am choosing not to repeat in new friendships here. They were what they had to be when I was married, but as I change, as I grow I can choose different friends and healthier friendships.

It is neither wise nor useful to see myself as having been a martyr. There were choices I could have made. I didn't make them because I was too afraid. Trying to be safe is sometimes the most dangerous thing we can do.

In the midst of all this, a friend died unexpectedly. She hadn't even been sick. I got back here in time for the funeral yesterday. It was a reminder to LIVE, really live—not just endure.

My daughter is coming over for lunch tomorrow. She wants to help me find a dog to adopt. I will cherish the time we spend together and be grateful for her presence here in town while she gets her PhD. And I will know that the best gift I can give her is to see that at any age one can make new choices, at any age one can change and grow, at any age one can create a healthier and happier life.

Here's hoping that each of you are creating the lives YOU want to have.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


keepers said...

very nice post April-O and we send you hugs also, just for being you

peace and blessings


Kahless said...

Oooh... did you adopt a dog? If so please post a piccie!

Enola said...

OOH a puppy? I want to see pictures!!!

April_optimist said...

Thank you, Keepers.

Kahless and Enola, No dog yet. I haven't seen the right one. Probably NOT a puppy--but rather a slightly older (housebroken!) one.