June Blog Challenge #22: Time Travel

“The Doctor has come into your life and has given you a gift. You have been offered a do over. You are allowed to redo one moment of your life.

What moment would you do over? Why?”

I have thought long and hard about this because in reality, though there have been really bad decisions I have made in my life, there is little that I would do over. I have my husband, my children and my grandchildren in my life. Even the most horrible things that have happened to me and finding the strength to overcome them has made me who I am. And I am finally getting to the point where I may actually like who this person is now and how much stronger I hope to become.

The only thing that I can think of that I would change is a letter that I wrote and sent to my first ex-husband. He was my first real boyfriend, the first person to love me for who I was. Problems and all. I met him my senior year of high school. We worked at Burger Chef together. He was the nicest, sweetest person. He could make me laugh and smile. I loved his laugh and his smile. I loved the walks we would take on summer nights and the conversations we would have. He listened to my poetry and I listened to his. In all of my pain and trying to regain my sense of self I had forgotten about all of that. I had forgotten about the man who loved me and the man I had fallen in love with. Not sending this letter would not change anything except for the hurt I caused him. The person who loved me and wanted to stay with me no matter what until I tore him apart and threw him away because I hated and despised myself so much that I could not fathom, could not believe that anyone could love me as much as he said he loved me. I just couldn’t believe it.

I did terrible things during our marriage. Terrible and unforgivable as far as I was concerned. My problems with sexual addiction and depression were at their all time worst during that time. Memories and flash backs to the abuse, the rapes, molestations and incessant criticisms of my mother, father, grandmother, stepmother were replaying constantly in my head. “You are lucky he wants you.” “You have to marry him, you have to stay with him because no one will ever love you or want you.” “I have never been proud of you, you have done nothing to be proud of.” “You deserved everything that happened to you, you are a tramp.” All of this and more constantly playing in my head. I began to see his not sticking up for me against my family as a betrayal and proof that he agreed with everything they said.

How could he not agree with them with everything that was going on? That I was doing? How could anyone want me after all of that? I pushed and pushed until I pushed him right out the door. I was so sure I was destroying him, killing him by not making him leave. Being married to me would destroy him. I am not saying he was perfect. There were things that happened on his part that made the situation worse and reasons that I could not reconcile with him at a later point, but they were healthier reasons then why I initially left. But, the letter I wrote telling him that I never loved him; that he was a great guy and I thanked him for basically giving me the time of day and for marrying me in spite of everything, that letter was so wrong.

As I have gotten better and allowed myself to remember some parts of my past at that time I came to realize how much he had loved me. And that I had loved him. I realized that no matter what I thought I was doing and that I thought the letter might actually help him deal with his emotions it was the most selfish and hurtful thing I have ever done to someone. I had deluded myself into believing that I hadn’t loved him because it made it easier to deal with what I had done. How can you really love someone and do the things you did? I now know that you can love someone like that and because of mental illness and pain do horrible things. And because you love them it makes everything worse. To the point that you have to make yourself believe that you are worthless, unlovable and unable to love.

I was unable to love. I was so terrified of allowing someone inside of my heart fully that I could never allow it. Not for many years. Not until my third husband and with that marriage I learned that I could really love someone, have them tear my heart out and stomp all over it…Karma is a bitch you know….and I could survive. I learned that I can allow myself to love someone completely and it wouldn’t kill me; the husband I have now.

From what my daughter has said, her father had difficulty letting go of me emotionally and of course the current wife didn’t take too kindly to that. She was abusive to my daughter for years because of it. Supposedly things are much better between her father, her stepmother and her. I hope so. Though I don’t know if I can forgive either of them for what they did to her. What would I say to him now? What would I write in a letter?

Dear…

I want you to know how sorry I am. How much I want your forgiveness for what I did to you back then. For the terrible letter that I wrote to you saying that I never loved you. How could I have done that to you? You were the first man to ever treat me kindly and with respect. You loved me with all your heart. You once told me that the first time you thought you could love me was our first date and it was raining hard. Your car stalled because of a huge puddle and I had to get out and help you push it out of the road, wearing white pants no less. What girl does that? We laughed about it. As I have healed and allowed myself to think about the past and that horrible period of my life I have allowed myself to remember. Really remember emotions and feelings. I have talked with my husband about writing this letter and he knows that this letter is about healing and forgiveness, not about disrupting your life or wanting you back. 

There are different kinds of love. And I have a love for you as someone who gave of himself. Trusted and loved someone enough that you were willing to marry them and be with them no matter what. You were my friend first and that is the love I remember best. Summer walks, fireflies in fields of grass and trees. Poetry under the stars. Your playing guitar. You always did play well. Introducing me to Willie Nelson’s Stardust. You were and are a great person. You deserved then and deserve now the best. I just want you to know this; I did love you.

Love and blessings,

Pavanne

 

I can’t stay mad at you

This is over a week behind, but I wanted to answer this daily post in particular. Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget? I would like to think I am the kind of person who forgives and forgets. It can be difficult. I think the most difficult person to forgive has been my mother, followed by my father. I was able to be with each of them before they passed. With my father I was able to say “I love you” and mean it before he died. I could not think of anything to forgive him for at the time. I knew how hard it had been to live with my mother. Heck I lived with her and it almost did me in. But, after he died and I started reading some of his journals and things that he wrote I began to become extremely angry with him. I was angry because there was so much he had done to hurt my mother and his children. He was selfish, self-absorbed and hurtful. He knew he was hurting her and he just couldn’t stop himself. (At least that is what he said in his journals. He just loved to love women. And Mom didn’t do it for him.) Affair after affair. He always made it her fault. I remember that. Now I knew something different. It softened me considerably when it came to what I thought of my mother. However, there were things that happened in my childhood. Horrible things that were said and done that would ruin any child and it was mostly my mother that did it. How do you let go of it? How do you forgive your parents when it seems they had children just because it was expected and that we were more of an inconvenience at times than anything else?

I have come to the point in my life that I have to let it all go. I sat with my mother as she lay dying and forgave her and I meant it. She had a mental illness, she was married to a man who was emotionally and at times physically abusive. She was left alone to struggle and raise 4 children much of the time. It does not excuse the neglect, the often emotional and occasional physical abuse of her children, it just gives a reason for it. I feel that just because you understand why something happened, does not mean you can excuse it. But, you can forgive it based on the reasons that it happened. She did love all of us as much as she could with the condition that she had. She never killed us, never truly abandoned us and she tried to be better. And she did get better. Never perfect, but better.

So, can I forgive and forget? I can forgive. I have forgiven many people. Well there are two people that have been involved in my life at some point that I can say I will NEVER forgive and forget what they did without the help of God. On that note I suppose it is a continuing process, something I need to work on. It is better to forgive and let it go.

Hard days

Today was a hard day for me. I didn’t make my walk, though I have walked the dog a couple of times, but didn’t get out and do my usual routine. Just not feeling well. Unfortunately not taking my walk isn’t making me feel any better. Especially with the amount of food I ate last night at a banquet. I didn’t necessarily overeat, but I did eat more than I should have for my calorie allowance. But, with the issues I was having this morning it was better to err on the side of caution and not be far from a bathroom. I ended up going home to lie down at 930 am and not waking up again until 230 pm so, I guess I needed the sleep. However, I am now on the beat myself up bandwagon. It is difficult on days like this to feel that I accomplished anything. I am not very good at giving myself some slack as I feel or more like fear that this can lead to long periods of doing nothing.

On days like this I tend to play a recording of what someone once said to me. I had someone tell me once that my life was “full of excuses”. I told this person that excuses are for those that don’t want to do or won’t do anything about their situation. Reasons are for those that are trying to do something about the situation they are in and just failing miserably. I was in the last two years of the Navy. I was getting ready to retire and more and more of my duties were being taken over by other people and I was not allowed to be on any committees or anything out of the department really. This was a big blow to my ego as I had been used to being in charge of things and used to being involved in various activities. I was refusing to see the necessity of it as I was getting ready to retire and my replacement had to know the job. My health was getting worse as well as my psychological state. I was trying to get out of it and stop this downward spiral as I saw it and couldn’t. The medication I was on at the time didn’t help either. It was causing me to behave erratically and I didn’t put my foot down soon enough to stop taking it. 

It felt at times like I was in a tank of water trying to stay afloat and the water just kept getting higher and the walls were made of glass and I couldn’t get a grip on anything. I could tread water and that was exhausting. Changes in medications I was taking was not helping. I was losing everything I had worked for and the more I struggled against the changes coming in my life, the worse the feelings became and the more out of control my life was getting. It is in retrospect that I realize we were both right. What this person told me was enough of a kick in the pants to try and get a hold of my life and really look at what I was doing and not doing right. I still ended up nearly drowning in that tank of water. As I write this I just had this image of the water reaching the top of this huge glass tank. There is no top on it and the water just spilled over the top. I just spilled over the edge with the water and falling for what seemed miles onto the floor. Wet, soaking, exhausted, broken and changed. In some ways for the better. In others not so much. I am more in control of certain behaviors that were causing me problems. Not so much control in other areas like anger. I was fortunate to have gotten treatment and kept my sanity….I think. There are times I wonder. 

There is one thing I am learning though is to remember everything I have gone through and have more compassion for others going through the same things. I have great tolerance for those that are truly trying and failing. Even though they may fail, they still get up and keep trying. Rebuilding a life, a sense of self is a painful and difficult road. However, I don’t find much tolerance for those who are given opportunities for change and a better life and then waste them. They cheat themselves and others. It is difficult to say that and not sound like I am passing judgement. I am not. I just have seen that happen too often. And in this world of infinite unfairness, it has always been difficult to see people on the hard road who are trying and not getting help and others who know the system and take advantage of it get what they want. Taking from those who truly need it. Finding the balance of helping someone is difficult. Helping too much is a bad thing, but not helping enough is just as bad. 

All you can do is try and forgive yourself for the mistakes you make in earnest and move on. Or when you perceive that you have failed yourself or someone else in some way you need to get up, review what happened, plan to make changes and move on. To wallow in self-hate and depreciation does no one any good and keeps you and possibly others with you, just were you are, stuck. So, I will stop wallowing in guilt for not going on my walk this morning. I will get out later this evening or tomorrow and keep trying.