I found it! I finally found my strength. I searched for it high and low. I caught glimpses here and there. I even danced with it at times. But those fleeting moments were actually brief periods of anger masquerading as strength. I thought it was strength because I could stand in my rage, say and do hurtful things, and make myself believe that "FUCK YOU!" meant "I don't need you anymore."
Don't get me wrong: I am still angry. There's a fuck load to still feel angry about. I was cheated on, lied to and made a fool of… over and over and over again. That kind of anger, though, hits me hard and fast, and then quickly disappears once fear sets in. Which is probably why I allowed our saga to be dragged out for far too long. I was desperately afraid of losing what I thought we once had.
The thing is, I'm generally not a outwardly angry person. I'm sarcastic to a fault; I'm snarky, even, but rarely angry. Like many women (and many more perfectionists), I turn a lot of my anger within; I self-criticize, self-blame and then, generally, self-destruct.
'What could I have done better?'
'What did I do to make her run away?'
'What makes "The Other" more appealing than me?'
You see? Self-destructive thinking!
And then a night out with friends, followed by a chance encounter with more friends (whom I hadn't seen in months) changed everything. They picked me up and showed me that I have strength, that I am valuable and that there are wonderful people all around me, even when I least expect it. Isn't it crazy? You just never know who's going to have an impact on you or when until it hits you at that very moment. Their supportive words resonated with me for days. And thank the sweet baby jesus because there isn't enough Grey Goose and American Spirits in the world to get me through the downward spiral I was heading towards.
What I've finally found is not the "masquerading anger as strength" strength. Nope. What I think I've finally found is the strength that comes with clarity. The clarity that my ex is not the woman I thought she was. The clarity that my ex did not love me the way she claimed or the way that I deserved. And the clarity that the life and love that I thought we had never truly existed. Because it was false. Because she was false. Because it takes two people devoted to one another for a love like that to be real. And god knows that I'm no math genius, but even I can add together the sum of us without a calculator and it sure-as-fuck didn't add up to two. And it was at that moment that I realized:
I couldn't have done any better. My ex is the one who needed to be better.
I didn't run her away. She was too cowardly to stand and fight for the love she said she had for me.
"The Other" isn't better than me. What "The Other" has to offer my ex is the unstable life and questionable character flaws that she feels most comfortable living with.
So now what? Well, here's what I'm working on:
Living well is the best revenge. And I will have my revenge by living exceedingly well.
And here's what I realize time and time and time again:
Nurturing and fostering real friendships built on trust, honesty, vulnerability and the occasional cocktail will pay dividends when the shit hits the fan.
Now, getting back to that "hiatus"… Truth be told, my "hiatus" was due in part because I was keeping in a lot of these emotions and harboring a lot of secrets. But, as the saying goes, "you're only as sick as your secrets" and I know that my secrets were keeping me very, very sick. Well, I'm done with that now. I don't want to hurt anyone and I really want to respect the privacy of those around me. Therefore, I won't get into the gritty and unsavory details which would utterly destroy my ex and "The Other" (but I'll admit it's very tempting when I'm feeling rather ragey).
After months of self-destruction, self-pity and self-blame, I am proud to no longer call myself the safe harbor of shameful secrets. I'm back to writing on the blog (not that I took much of a "hiatus" to begin with), provided I have material to send out into the world wide webs. I'm working on a new iPhone playlist and am attaching the first song on the playlist for your enjoyment. And I'm so pleased that The Nugget is still on board as my contributing author, co-pilot, one of my best friends and constant source of creativity, inspiration and amusement (at least as long as she'll have me!). There's room in here for two fabulous girls, isn't there?