Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Boot to the ego

Girl has got some raw things to say today about self-esteem. As I read, I understood, and I wondered how many others of us can relate all too well. We come together online, read and write, comment and connect, and share all the way up to our comfort level.

It is relatively safe here. I don't have to worry about the pounds I'm still trying to lose. I don't have to comb my hair. No one expects me to have pulled that flat iron out or to have shaved my legs.

Best of all, no one has ever known me as the wife of my first husband.

Divorce was the second best thing I ever decided to do in my life. Marry Guy was the first, in case you were wondering. And if those two sentences were confusing back to back, Guy is my second husband. My last husband.

As I was saying, divorce was grand. I know I'm not supposed to say that. I'm supposed to be remorseful and full of regrets and sadness at the loss and whatever. As my former best friend told me accusingly one day during the separation, "You just aren't sad enough." That statement of course had nothing to do with me and everything to do with how lovely I made her feel when I was miserable.

I was so scared to tell my parents about the split. They are by the book Presbyterians and take marriage very seriously. What I didn't expect was that they took marriage so seriously that they thought mine was a disaster and had wanted it to either turn around or end for a long time. Daddy was rooting for the end of course. His words were, "I felt like you've been treading water with an anvil around your neck for years. Now you've cut the chains and you are free to swim." God bless Daddy.

Everything about the divorce was right. We should have never been married in the first place, but that is a whole different set of blog entries. I was drowning. I was drowning and dying and it was up to me to save myself. So I did.

What took the biggest blow during all of this though, was my self esteem.

You never know how very little you can think of yourself than when you tell the man you have been with for 13 years to get out - and he does.

He packs a bag. He leaves. He puts up no fight whatsoever. He offers nothing to change your mind. He simply goes.

You might be thinking, "Shut up, crybaby. You got what you wanted," and you would not be all that wrong. I did get what I wanted. I am a lucky lucky woman. I'm just saying that it would have been easier on the ego to think that it mattered that I tried for so very long. It would have been nice to know that the extra 4 years of living hell meant something.

Instead, I learned that I could have quit many years ago, and he wouldn't have cared.

The bonus was that since I did kick him to the curb, he became the victim, and I found myself defending my actions to even the closest of my friends instead of feeling support and validation. Now, a little over two years later, there aren't really any pre-divorce friends left. At least not the ones who were friends with both me and my ex. One. One strong, faithful, and open minded friend that cared enough to let go of the image of my ex as the victim and forgive whatever discomfort our split caused in her life.

So along with the realization that the ex didn't care if we were together or not (although he did miss the house and all the stuff), the people who I thought were my friends were actually just his friends. People I had known for over a decade stopped answering when I called. They didn't return emails or voicemails. They removed me from the Christmas card list. They trashed me and supported the victim's belief that I was just too pushy.

And I was pushy. I demanded that we pay our bills before the ex bought yet another broken piece of crap electronic music gear. I demanded that we have health insurance. I demanded that once he started taking pre-requisites for nursing school on my dime and my labor, that he would finish it.

And then one day I gave up.

I gave up a lot that day. What I'm just now understanding though, is how much of my self esteem I also gave up. Failing at marriage sucks. Failing at seeing through your commitments bites. But failing to see how very little people cared about you is the hardest.

While I don't wish for the attention and *ahem* dedication of Guy's ex there was certainly room for middle ground. I suppose though, if he had been the type of man to want to fight for our marriage, we wouldn't have had the problems we had in the first place.

And if I were the kind of person that didn't get hurt by judgements and feelings of worthlessness, I wouldn't be me. I also wouldn't still be thinking about it and wondering why I wasn't worth even a little struggle. Maybe he was just as tired as I was.