What it was supposed to be, and what it is.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, right? Well my first post was written BEFORE I knew my marriage was over, when I thought we were going to make it work. It’s unfinished, unedited, and now serves as nothing more than a reminder of my failure… my too little too late… the worst day of my life… my lost Love. I hope one day I can look back on all this and think of it as a beginning, rather than the end.

Wife Life

I sat down to write a piece on “How I learned not to sweat the small stuff” and ended up with no direction. I thought about how this piece would fit into the book and what I liked, wanted it to feel and sound like…. And came up with nothing. Maybe before you can write about a lesson, I need to know why I’m teaching it? So why am I teaching it?

I’m a 34 year old, married professional who gave her 20’s and early 30’s to her career… and almost lost her partner in the process. You hear all too often “life got in the way”, and it sounds like a cop out, but it’s true.

When we first married my goal was to be the best Wife and Worker EVER! Type A, older child, over achiever, self-proclaimed super woman (who don’t need no man)… shiiiiiiittttttt. I had this in the bag! I was focused in every which direction, but things eventually spun out of control. As my positions got more demanding of my time and efforts, I had to pull that energy from somewhere.

I slowly but surely siphoned time from my personal life to give to my work life, hoping that at some point I could move it back. For anyone who works in business, you know how that worked out.  Yea… it didn’t. I was working 60+ hours a week, I was preparing to take in my elderly grandmother, we were moving into our dream house, and my life began a full death spiral.

I failed. I failed myself, my husband, and my marriage. My partner, the man with whom I pledged to Love, Honor, and Cherish above all others was at the bottom of my list… ALWAYS. All the reasons I was “the best wife ever” had disappeared, and all my husband was left with was my salary to keep him warm. Something he never wanted in the first place…

The D word, yup, that’s come up from time to time but was never a real threat until something worse happened. My husband fell out of Love with me. The words literally broke my world apart. How did this happen? How did I not notice that the man I had been in Love with for years fall out of Love with me and I not notice? How did we sleep in the same bed, have sex, joke around, and function without me realizing the Love was gone? How was I looking into those eyes and seeing Love that wasn’t there for a WHOLE YEAR!

You guessed it, life got in the way. I lost focus on the one thing that mattered most to me in the whole world. And for what?  Money? A title? Material possessions? I would have traded it all away, and went millions into debt for that Love back. I failed, plain and simple. When I stopped hiding behind “how busy I was” I realized just how badly I fucked up. How many times I put everything else first, and him last.  I needed a hard Reset button, a do over, another chance… but I already got my second chance before we even got married.

He was planning to leave, honestly he still has one foot out the door, and still isn’t in Love with me. He has love for me, and loves me, but it’s not the same anymore. Due to our “unique” situation (which I will get into later), I was granted a final “Hail Mary”. I wanted him to see that I was already making moves in the right direction. I wanted him to see my changes and see who I really was, not what I had allowed myself to become.

Back to the beginning again, so why am I writing this? Well, my husband and I have been through IT ALL. We have always wanted to write a book, but never had the time. Bitch I ain’t got nothing but time for what WE want to do. I want to finally use my skills for what I intended them for, to help others. To help my friends and family, and to have fun with my best friend. So I am writing this for you, for me, for my marriage, and for fun.

I am not sure if I will be writing the chapter on divorce alone, or all the chapters alone. I don’t know if my husband will ever fall back in Love with me, or leave me. I don’t know anything except this: I am in Love with him, and our marriage is worth it.  I have never been so unsure of anything in my whole life, especially when it is attached to the only constant. Yet here I am…

 

 

Sister

I wish I could peek in your mind and see what you hide

There are moments I see where the real you resides

My dearest half-sister we are so far away

not just in our age, also in how we behave

But there are actions of yours, opposite of mine

that lead me to think it’s finally time

For me to reach out and actually ask

about the awful things in our past

But your telling me no, and refusing my help

saying I need to leave you to yourself

So now that the past is affecting your present

you want me to be there, but I won’t consent

I too am broken, and need some healing

I just can’t be here when you aren’t listening

I’m afraid that what I’ve done is just too much

that you’ll never be open to my rules and such

But I want you to know, if ever that changes

that I will be here to listen to all of the rages

Not just to theirs, but to mine as well

even when I hurt and the tears start to swell

Should that day not come, and our bond break

I hope you know that it is never too late

I am still broken, but now I am ready

to be the support you need to be steady

What happened to us, is not our fault

we don’t have to pretend our heart is a vault

That the lies we’ve been telling are not the end

that we really are worthy of the love that we spend

You are a human with faults and trauma

who always seems to be starting the drama

but if you ever decide to give that up

To open the vault and let it erupt

I’m here to listen and honestly say

that I’m sorry our family treated you this way

That the shit in our past doesn’t negate

all the awesomeness we have innate

You’re strong and great, it’s time you know too

that Ashlee I am actually very proud of you

The fact we survived, is more than most

and I will never forget the hurt we host

This gift I give you is the wisdom of time

even if it came in this strange rhyme:

Don’t let your past define your future

You dear are stronger than our abuser

 

 

On the fence…

I had long since abandoned the will to help you or reach out and give advice

I had given it to you so often before and had it tossed aside

But here at the precipice of my own awakening to my trauma

I start to see it there in you

The hurt and anger that has twisted you, that empty box where your heart should be

You think you deserve to be abused, you think the way we were treated is right

I have told you before how I felt and a little of my shame

But I have yet to even admit out loud to anyone, what exactly happened to me

I can’t craft the words and push them past my lips

I want to reach out to you and tell you,

I want to apologize for not coming forward when we were younger

I tried to save you, but I was just too broken

I still can’t even save myself, how can I hope to help you

How can I reach across the divide and tell you you deserve better

In a way where you will truly hear it, when I don’t believe it myself

You are worthy of love, you are capable of change, you just need the right tools

If I find them, I will send them your way

For know just know I am sorry I couldn’t save you

I’m sorry I couldn’t reach you

I’m sorry the chaos of our childhood has broken us this way

Most of all I’m sorry that I will never be able to give back

What has been taken away from both of us

Daddy Dearest

To my Dearest Father,

Where were you? I needed you.

Your absence in my life has caused me more paid than I can even begin to explain. I  know I have said over and over again I didn’t need you, but that was never true. I was trained from birth to be strong, to be independent, to not show weakness. I had to create a brick wall around myself and my feelings. I became so strong I was made of stone. No one came in, nothing mattered. I could cut anyone out at any time and never let anyone know I needed them. Why? Because I don’t know how to need someone, I don’t know how to trust. I needed my father to show me what love from a man looked like, and without that I became hollow inside.

I was abused by my uncle for as long as I can recall. I developed an eating disorder at 9, and lied my way through middle school. I allowed a boyfriend to beat me. I allowed myself to be assaulted by an older male boss in high school. I was groomed by a much older man from when I was 15. I was drugged in college and almost assaulted. I have abused others because I thought that was “love”, and let loved ones abuse me thinking I deserved it. I am broken from what happened to me and having no one to talk to. I never had a male figure in my life I could trust and so I never learned that men were trustworthy. I self sabotaged my marriage and every relationship I had because “all men will leave you in the end”.

I became very good at wearing a mask of independence and strength. I had to learn to turn off my emotions, otherwise I would have crumbled. I had very strong female role models, but none to show me what love and trust really look like. I missed the bond that every girl craves, and by the time a semi-solid male figure showed up I was already well trained to not NEED a man… so I didn’t let him in either. I don’t blame you for what happened to me, nor do I blame my family. It’s MY story, it’s part of who I am… but it’s not who I am anymore. I have been working really hard in the last two years since taking over my Grandmother’s care and I want you to know.

I want you to know that it did hurt me to not have you. It hurt every time I thought you would show up, and didn’t. It hurt me to watch you blame my mom, my aunts, and everyone else but yourself that we didn’t have a relationship. You need to know at the end of the day, that was on you. You could have made it happen, you were my father. You knew where I lived, you knew my grandmother loved you, and you knew my mom worked. You could have come come for me… I wish you did. I wish you were at my wedding, I wish I could have have that moment. I didn’t need you to give me away, but I needed to know a father’s love before entering into a lifelong commitment. It hurt my heart that you didn’t even send a card or a note. You didn’t even acknowledge the biggest moment in my life. I didn’t need you there, but I wanted you there. I never said that to anyone because I thought it would make me look weak, and I was never that on the outside.

But I am on the inside, I’m still that little girl who didn’t get to have her daddy in her life. Father daughter dances make me crumble. I cry and I can’t stop it. Every wedding I go to reminds me that I’m still without that love. I hate that this makes me look weak, and I don’t want people to know but I have to get it out or I won’t heal… and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m growing now. Now that I am free from the chains that tie me to my abuse and my abusive thoughts I am becoming a woman… and I forgive myself and I forgive you. I know you did the best you could with what you had. That you were broken too and just child yourself then. I understand why, and while I wish it wasn’t true, it is.

I never showed you how grateful I was for the times you were there. For the car, for inviting me into your home, and giving me another extended family. I didn’t know how to react to it then, but I am thankful for it now. While neither of us can go back and fix the past, I need you to know that it hurt me. I need you to know what it did to me, and that I’m sorry I hurt you, and that I hope all can be forgiven, even if it will never be forgotten or fixed. I need to me able to move on with my life and I can’t without getting it out.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be close, I don’t know if my sisters will ever be friends of mine. It’s the situation and decisions you made in the beginning, but we both made in the end that brought us here. I hope you can take responsibility for your decisions, as I have for mine. I hope that knowing that frees you a little bit too. I love you dad, even if I’ll never really be able to show you the way you want to see it. And now I know you love me, even though you may never show me the way I want you to. You hurt me, but I can now see beauty in the darkness and pain. It made me who I am today, and while I’m still a work in progress I am proud of what I’ve done so far.

Love,

The Daughter (you left behind)

 

 

The late night call

He gets a text and says, I’ll be back in a bit, I have to make a call. Probably be back in about an hour…

Fine right? Nothing weird here… except Anxiety!

He’s down there talking to someone he doesn’t want me to know about, why can’t he tell me who it is? Why don’t you just ask? Because if he wanted me to know he would have told me who it was. Why doesn’t he want to tell me? Is it because it’s her? Because I’m fine with that, he knows that then why not tell me? Why go down stairs?

DAMN IT! I lose and while I am going to tough it out, and get through it my anxiety has written a beautiful short story about it.

It’s her, you’re telling her that you have to stop talking like this. Sneaking around is no good for either of you. That you guys are both married, and that you should love the one you’re with if you can’t be with the one you love. You talk of how it could be, how you guys love each other, and long for a different world. You talk dirty to each other and exchange pictures before clearing your histories and hopping into bed with your spouses.

Goodbye Letters

*Trigger Warning* I am safe, but these letters can invoke some sadness. Please be cautious if you are triggered by suicide.

To my Dearest Best Friend,

I moved away a long time ago, but this is the final time I message you. I will miss you, I hope that now your little family will keep you strong. My absence from your life will not be felt long, please love that little man more than anyone else in the world.

You were someone whom I could really trust, and I think the only person who never let me down. I will always remember the kindness and love you showed me. I treasure all that you did and am thankful I had someone in my life like you.

Sincerely,

Me

 

To my Mom,

I hope the money you put before all of us keeps you warm now that I am gone. You were not there for me like we needed, you let me fall, and treated me like a Parent rather than the child. I loved you so much, I thought we would be friends one day, but your actions during Grandma’s transition and passing showed me otherwise. I hope you wake up and realize before it’s too late for Ash and James… you need to step up and be a better mom.

Sincerely,

Angel Face

 

To my Siblings,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, I’m sorry I was such a bad sister. I tried to be mom and sister for you guys but it never really worked out the way I wanted it to. I love you both, and you were one of the only reasons I hung on as long as I did. I hope that this gives mom and Mike the wake up they need to be there for you like they should be.

Remember, you are stronger than I am. You can and will make it… just hang onto each other.  Stay in each other’s corner. Help each other.

Sincerely,

Me

 

To my Spouse,

I release you from your ties to my awfulness. You have stayed with me through the worst and while I wish I could say it was enough to make me stay. In the end it was this that made me walk away. I truly feel like nothing more than a burden to you. That you are staying with me out of pity, or just out of boredom. I feel like your heart has been elsewhere since Mike’s passing and I am too far gone to reach it.

Either all these things were true, or I am really that crazy… and we know the answer to that. So I’m doing you this favor. You’re sadness will be short and will bring a creative wave that will launch that career you want. Your friends will gather and help you through this time, and your true love will finally arrive.

I Loved you with everything I had, till the last breath of my body. I wish I was stronger, I wish I was the one, I wish that this pain was fixable… but none of that is true. I am too broken to be Loved the way I Love you. Thank you for everything.

Sincerely,

Chrysalis

 

 

The Anxiety Gremlin

All day pacing the halls of records, touching each instance of good with her uncertainty

Which memory shall I ruin today, she bellows down the caverns of my mind

Running her long razorlike nails against the title on each cover she stops for a moment

“Do I dare?” She questions under her breath as she pulls out the album out

No dust here, I come often to look at this but typically its in bad times

I draw on my experiences this day as they are true to my heart

They ground me, keep me sane

“Please don’t” the wind whispers and she opens the page…

 

8-25-18

Today I celebrate us, the messy conglomerate of experiences that is the Doodles.

The ass kicking, shit eating, ridiculousness that started with “Who’s your Doodle?”

The “yent he’s busy”, long distance, hot mess that come after.

The I Love you more, “Decembering”,  coupling that moved back to Jersey.

The Axis Lounge, drink spilling, show attending ride or die friends.

The heartbreaking, sneaky, asshole cheaters who acted all types of wrong.

The “Oh you do that too”, fat kids, in a cloud of weed smoke peeps trying to do better.

The shit, piss or get off the pot, House watching guys who needed a change.

The I Love you again, you’re my everything, engaged couple that took a huge chance.

The workaholic, hot summer, frazzled team who got married on that beach.

The SC living, Family rescuing, 4 legged parents who burned themselves out.

The certifiably crazy, the-rapies session having, self improvers who refused to give in.

The I love you still, Tribe starters, who are now true partners…

The Doodles.