Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 407: Today, This Day...

Yesterday I had an interesting email from a friend of mine on Facebook.   I really only know this person via my sister and we've met just once, but she is one of those people with whom you feel instantly comfortable.

She reached out to me, asking why I'd gone back to A, which I'm sure she'd figured out because of posts and status updates on Facebook.

It's hard to answer a question like that in a private message on a social networking site.   I'd have much preferred to sit with her over a cup of coffee and fill her in on the events that led to my change of heart.

But, as I typed my long winded response to her, I knew I believed every word.   It has taken me a long time to get to where I am today and although it's been messy and nasty at times, I feel it's been worthwhile.

Here is what I told her:

We separated in October after about a year and a half of crap. I had the affair in spring 2009 and even though it ended, I would not stop having contact with the guy (emails, phone, rarely in person as he lives near Dallas). I just was NOT trying in my marriage and could only find fault in everything A (my husband) did. I was miserable and wanted change. I wanted excitement and to feel alive. I wanted to be with someone who acted like they wanted me and cherished me.

Well, first mistake was thinking that an asshole who would cheat on his wife is the one who could give me all those things I needed. He was confused just like the rest of us, but also not willing to commit to me, my kids, and a long distance relationship.

I was devastated, heartbroken. I'd already ruined my marriage for this person.  A, as you can imagine was 1000x more heartbroken and upset than me. I broke him. There was no trust, no understanding, nothing. It was just a shell of a relationship, so eventually we split up.

We lived apart (and technically still do) for several months with little to no contact. It was wonderful, but also lonely and sad. I honestly thought I had moved on from A and had moved on from affair guy (b/c he'd not left me any other choice).

I had several dates with a guy I met on who was a super nice,  good guy (but quite boring and HORRIBLE in the sack).    I just knew, also, besides all that, that he wasn't right for me anyway.   It never felt right, being with him.

I had a week long fling with that 28 year old that was hitting on me the night I first met you when you were in town, but truthfully, he was an idiot. I don't do stupid well at all. :)

Then March came around and two things happened. 

First of all, I drank too much one night and contacted affair guy. I knew he was in town for something and I started calling him and texting. It got all Fatal Attraction and he ended up calling me a stalker. When I emailed to apologize a few days later, he accepted my apology, but said again, in no uncertain terms MOVE ON. It was if I heard it for the very first time and it sunk in.   Finally, there was nothing more to ever say to him.  I suppose it was the beginning of me hitting rock bottom, as they say.

A few weeks later, I landed, with a thud, definitely in the pits of despair.   I found myself in a situation where I felt alone, scared, sad and broken beyond belief.   Crying uncontrollably, I knew there was only one person I could reach out to.    And that person was A.

I texted and called him at 4 a.m. so he could talk me thought my crisis, which he did.  In that moment, something clicked and  I just knew that I'd never been loved by anyone quite like him.

Meeting secretly in a Wal Mart parking lot to make out, sneaking calls and text in stolen moments, intense physical attraction ( which I definitely had with the affair guy), that is all fun and exciting, but it doesn't equal love. 

Love is taking a call at 4 a.m. from a distraught sobbing friend.  It's getting up in the middle of the night to change your baby's diaper, or bringing your wife water while she nurses your newborn.   It's telling her she looks beautiful when her gray roots are showing and she's sporting a huge zit on her face-and actually meaning it.  It's eating Chinese when what you were really craving is Mexican or listening to the 100th story about some band from the 80's that you could care less about.   It's all those things and so very much more.  All those things A has been doing in my life for the past 23 years.

I finally opened my eyes to the gifts I had in my life and I didn't want to lose them.

Are things perfect now? No.

Does he still annoy me and not give me the attention I crave? Yes, some of the time.

But I have learned so much about how to ask for what I want and need.

And I have learned so much about how to give, readily and happily, to someone else.

As I said, we aren't officially back "together". I have an apartment still (although I haven't been there all summer, which is crazy, stupid financially), but until he asks me to move back in for real, I am fine with this.

We don't talk about forever anymore. We talk about today. And for today, this day, we are good.

And we are.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 402; Blood Work

The doctor's office called with the results of my blood work.  Everything was fine.   How incredibly warped is it that I was slightly disappointed to hear that?  

Trust me, I'm not looking for something horrible or life threatening, but low iron counts or an under active thyroid, well, those were things I could have jumped on board with.

At least I would have had answers for why I feel so sluggish and exhausted all the time.

I recall, in the midst of the affair and it's aftermath, sort of wishing for the same thing.   I know that A wished that I could have been diagnosed with a personality disorder or something,  so that we could pin the blame for my erratic and unusual behavior on that.

In both cases, turns out, it's just me.

The same empathetic, caring, nurturing woman who cries at Hallmark commercials and dedicated her professional life to helping children is the same one who cheated on her husband and lied to the innocent faces of her friends and family.

The same healthy, vibrant,  body who birthed three boys naturally and has run a marathon and six half marathons can barely move these days without heaving and huffing and wanting to curl in bed for hours at a time.

There is no diagnosis or explanation for either that allows me to remove the spotlight from myself and my own actions.

But I'm not complaining.  I realize things won't always be this way.   Every day I try to do something to help myself physically.

I was diagnosed with vertigo and have my first appointment with a physical therapist on Monday.   Hopefully that will help improve my situation so I can move about again without fear of falling.

My knee is injured, but if one more week of therapy doesn't help then I will have minor surgery and move forward.

In many ways I miss the old me.   The nice one who enjoyed working out.   The happy one who liked to move her body.

In time, in time.  This I know.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 400; Recipe for Success

When I was growing up, it seemed my mom had a limited rotation of dinners that she cooked.   You could almost predict which night would be tuna casserole, although she was never quite that structured.   We ate spaghetti and meat sauce (she always mixed the noodles with the meat sauce despite my pleas to leave each separate like at the Italian restaurants), chicken fried steak, salmon croquettes, hamburgers, and tuna casserole.

This isn't a blog about my mom's cooking.  She was actually excellent in the kitchen and I'd bet my life we ate a more varied diet than the above, but the rotation cycle definitely stands out to me now that I'm a mom.

I do the same in my own kitchen on a bi weekly basis.   My staples are tacos, grilled fish, fajitas, sushi, and brinner (breakfast for dinner).   Of course that's not all we eat, but in a pinch, I'm usually good for any of the above.

It occurred to me tonight that life is like the dinner rotation cycle.  Or at least mine is.  There are certain constants that creep into my reality, no matter how many times I plan or try to deviate from them.

Much like the presence of ground beef somehow showcasing a weekly dinner or two, I regularly spend time during the week in a very severe state of self loathing.   Even though I like to try ground turkey or the more exotic grass fed buffalo meat, I always settle on lean beef more times than not.   I don't want to hate on  myself or feel disgusted when I look in the mirror, but inevitably, at least once a day, I give myself a negative self talk that somehow seems to stick.   It grows weary, but is so well known.

Likewise, despite wanting to branch out and try new, exciting, scintillating recipes, I still find myself concocting what I know in the kitchen.   Same goes for my thinking of S.   It is as if I move forward, like a jet taking off an airplane runway, but then air traffic control calls me back in for an emergency landing.  I'm a passenger held hostage fighting feelings of fear and annoyance all at once.

Lately, the S thinking has been getting me down.   I used to think I would die, truly wither up and cease to exist, if he weren't in my life.   Now such thoughts make me laugh and flush with embarrassment all at once.   And yet, the thoughts of never speaking to him again or never seeing him again still pierce my heart and make me choke back tears.

On an intellectual level, I truly understand how wrong he was for me and how I sacrificed more of myself than was ever humanly necessary for him.   But the emotional level still has some sort of hold that, at times, tightens her grip and threatens to choke me silently.

I have no one to talk to about this.

I would never tell A that lingering thoughts persist or have resurfaced.   He is amazing and, in my estimation, trying harder to make us work.   I have crushed him once, twice, there is no way I could live with myself if I crushed him again.

And anyway, S doesn't give a shit about me.  I refuse to make an ass of myself any longer for someone like him.

It doesn't mean the feelings are gone, it just means I act on them in completely different ways now.

Routines.  So ingrained we hardly think about them.   Familiar favorites are nice, homey, welcome.  I doubt I'll ever deviate from the tried and true.   But I will also try new things, in a sincere effort to break free from the once new but eventually mundane habits that never were and never will be healthy.

There's a recipe for success out there and I'm determined to find it.