Changing Him

From The Kay Way:

As I spend time with my younger female friends and hear of their relationships, it occurs to me that generation after generation we fall in love with who we think our mates could be rather than the real man who is standing in front of us. What a shame.

My comment: Very well said. In my case I married a man who said he was in love with me. I did change him. He had been agoraphobic but together we built a life where he was out at a job (which he still has and likes) we had our own apartment, I moved to the US so we could be married all legal and proper for the government. I wanted to be married too but it was not a romantic wedding for sure. After we married he kept changing. He began picking on me and alienating me. We had been friends a long time before he decided he was in love with me. When we divorced it was because he no longer wanted to be married, just over a year after the wedding. He is grateful to me for getting him out of his rut. However, I can’t say things turned out that well from my side of things. I moved back to Ontario with nothing and I felt like nothing too.

Sometimes in a comment on someone’s blog you make a post that gives you some new perspective. I like to save those.

My family still think our marriage could have been saved. I don’t. First, it does take two people to make a marriage work. Second, I never felt so alone as I did when I was living in that one bedroom apartment with him every day. I miss being married, doing things with someone and having fun. But, I’m glad to be out of that too. I felt dead inside when I came back to Ontario again. Everything I had felt happy about being married, working together with him on building our lives and all the pride I had in doing all those things was left in ashes.

It would be nice to say I did the phoenix thing and arose from those ashes. But, I have not. Over ten years later and I am still working on it. Time has helped. Distance, in time and space, has given me perspective.

I wouldn’t say I feel bitter or even angry any longer. I don’t think it’s a regret. Though all the good things are deep in the muck of all the unhappy things. It’s hard to remember them without looking through the glass with all the negative tinting the view.

I don’t do the blame thing very much. I made choices and put myself there. I made choices and took myself out of there too.

I’ve learned more about men from those days and the days after. I’m never going to be a dating diva. But, I do know there are far more important things in picking a man than the shape of his behind or a winning smile or even how well he talks about himself. Those are good things to have learned. It’s a shame learning takes so much time when our time is finite.

12 Things from Bev on Facebook

From Bev on Facebook: 12 Things (You Shouldn’t Really Tell People About Yourself).

1. What is your most obsessive thought?

So hard to pick just one. Seriously. I guess it would be the feeling of being oppressed and trapped by people and circumstances. I’ve often thought my life would be so much simpler if I could have a lobotomy and then just go along and do what everyone wants me to do without feeling I want to do anything my own way or have something of myself ever again.

2. Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?

Right where I am at this moment. Anything else is either a memory or hasn’t happened yet. I like to think of places I have been sometimes, wonderful things I have seen but my favourite place in the world is always right here and right now. From this moment in space and time everything is ahead of me and here I am right in the middle of the past and the future, in this moment, living it.

3. What’s the one thing your parents don’t understand about you?

I’m not as stupid as they think I am and yet I’m actually stupider in a way.

4. If you could relive a single day or moment, what would it be?

None, nothing. I don’t want to go back for anything. Though I would like eternal life so I don’t have to stop and leave the ride.

5. Under what circumstances have you been closest to death?

Three different times in my life when I came really close to suicide and madness. Once as a teenager, another time during my divorce and another time when things were very desperate and I was very trapped and alone.

6. What is the worst betrayal you have ever experienced?

I don’t know. I just don’t hang on to those things. There are people I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole but I don’t remember why, just that they’ve burned every bridge and won’t be getting any leeway from me.

7. What is the most meaningful “I love you” someone has said to you, or that you have said to someone else?

I don’t say it and when I do it is hard to push the words out. I can tell my nephew I love him cause I’ve been saying it since he was a little boy. I couldn’t tell my Dad I love you before he died and I’m not sure if I really even regret that. Either way it’s done. I don’t think I really believe it any more when someone says it to me. The words just don’t seem to mean anything to people and they mean too much to me. But, in family it is there and has been tested enough over time that the words don’t really need to be spoken. I know we love each other even if we hate each other for a short while.

8. What was the single most terrifying moment of your life?

Going through a divorce, very alone and being trapped by circumstances. Having a day when I realized how thin and flimsy it was to go from sane to madness and knowing I was there but for the leap. It was terrifying to know I could lose myself, the only thing I really ever had to count on.

9. If you have experienced a moment of sudden faith or loss of faith, what prompted it?

Having your best friend, husband and the man who said he loves you turn around and start mentally abusing you is a pretty nasty moment of having your faith crushed.

10. If you could take back one thing you have done, what would it be?

I’d take back eating all these Valentines chocolates I bought on sale today.

11. What is your greatest talent or accomplishment?

Art whether its photos, crochet embrodiery, sewing, ASCII art, drawing, writing or anything else I have tried, I am who I am because creating makes me feel I’m more than just who I am. I feel I have accomplished something, talent or no.

12. What is the most joyful moment you have experienced?

Thinking I was really in love and loved in return. I saw the whole world in brighter colours and everything looked so much better for awhile. I finally understood what romance and love were about.

Your One Day of Self Indulgence?

Win some M&M’s from A Quad Mom Named Suz Tell her about your day of indulgence. What would you do if you could do anything and everything in the world, your one day of self indulgence?

This is my day of indulgence:

My day would start with a handsome and charming chauffeur coming to my door very early in the morning. I’d direct him to several places where there are abandoned farmhouses in the area. I’d take all the photos I could, until I was too cold to do any more and the light was fading. In between there would be stops for coffee and a nice lunch somewhere in some little town. I’d have a book to read over lunch, or chat up the chauffeur if he could carry a conversation. At the end of the day, when it was too dark for photos I’d go to the big bookstore for a latte and a book shopping. Then the chauffeur drives me to a nice motel so I can have a hot shower with delicious smelling body soap and shampoo. I spend the night reading snuggled up in bed. The beach is there in the morning, so even though my day is over I can zip out for an early morning of beach combing and sandcastle building before I have to get back to the real world and regular scheduled life.

I would have added more to that if I had thought about it first. Like shopping at the Body Shop for the most luxurious scented shampoo and soap for my shower at the motel. I really like showering at night, when the house is quiet and no one else is awake. It’s so quiet and I feel at peace for at least awhile.

You can also try for the M&Ms at Michelle Woo‘s blog.

What makes you melt?

I wrote:

My nephew’s real laugh. He’s 13 now, the start of so many changes and so much growing up. Though I haven’t had children of my own he is like my own son. I’ve helped raise him through my sister’s divorce and my own. He is a lovely boy turning into a young man and his laughs don’t come so easily as they did when he was a little boy. They are a treasure now and I melt when I think of all that has been and all that is yet ahead of him. I’m so glad to be someone he counts on and so glad to still be someone who can make him laugh and feel better when things are not always so easy in his life.

The Leaning Trap and Assorted Babblings

It’s funny how we can all be such a mix of things. I strongly feel you should not kick anyone when they are down. I also feel it is very important to smile at people, for no reason. It is so much easier to be negative or discouraging or critical than it is to be positive, optimistic and supportive. Yet, one negative comment does more damage than one encouraging smile can ever fix.

Yet, for all that I don’t have total patience with people who don’t seem to want to help themselves. I feel bad about this, nice girl syndrome. But, in reality, it’s good to keep yourself from becoming a total doormat for the world. You can not help everyone and you should not try. If you can give someone a boost that is a great thing. But, if someone wants to begin leaning on you, walk away quickly. Do your best to be nice about it but you can not have another fully functional adult leaning on you. It just pushes you down and then… when you need some help you are all alone. That is the worst, most awful, deeply sad feeling. I have been there. I don’t want to experience it again. I guess that helps me be careful and take a hasty retreat rather than sinking to nice girl syndrome and making a doormat out of myself.

I used to be a very good doormat. I was politely limp and quietly sinking into oblivion. I didn’t like it there.

They used to say people in North America could not understand how Europeans had such attitude and joy for life. They said it was because North Americans had never experienced a war. We still have not, not really. A war has not been brought to our very doorstep. We aren’t afraid to walk to school or work or the shopping mall, looking up or around, wondering if someone is about to drop a bomb or start shooting everywhere. Maybe in some very urban areas, but not for most of us.

However, I think going through a divorce is like surviving and battling in a war, right on our doorstep. How much more personal and intimate can a battle be than between two people who have not only been intimate but partners in life?

My divorce changed me. For awhile I was stronger but I think I have lost some of that. I have a bitterness in me that was never there before. I don’t always like it but it does help. It gives me that warning bell when I am falling for someone’s story about how they need to lean on me. I’m less likely to be leanable. That’s a good thing cause I deeply do not want to be responsible for anything. I don’t want to be at fault for anything when something goes wrong. I’m at fault for enough without looking for more. I even feel I’m at fault when no one is actually blaming me and there is not even any way (realistically) that whatever happened is my fault. I’m just used to being blamed, being leaned on in one way or another.

A family is like a line of trees growing in a forest. When one parent is abusive I think it makes all the other trees grow stunted. The trees closest get more of the stuntedness. The little saplings farthest away get a blunted edge. I was the first sapling in the row, it was a sharp edge and it cut deep.

Anyway, I started thinking about this because I was told I should help someone when I did not want to help them. My bitterness radar went off. I know this person would like help and thinks they need it. I don’t believe it is the right thing, or the best thing, for me to do. I don’t want to be leaned on and this person could do the task if they just straightened their spine and walked without leaning.

Yet, I caved. When someone else told me there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t help this person… what’s wrong with me that I’ve become so critical and bitter? I say people should “just get over it” yet I haven’t gotten over much of my own stuff myself. Aren’t I being hypocritical? Maybe I am. But logic doesn’t always apply.

Besides, people who are overly analytical just drive me bonkers. Everything doesn’t have to have a reason. The facts don’t have to all line up nice and tidy. Sometimes you should just let the illogic rule you, let the wind take you and don’t be responsible for any damn thing you don’t have to take on.

Tell it to me Tuesday: Disremember

Tell it to me Tuesday from The Art of Getting By.

What are a list of things you wish you could disremember?

It sounds sappy but I don’t think there is anything I’d like to disremember. Even the most pain you experience gives you something in experience and knowledge. How can you really appreciate the good things if you don’t remember when things were really awful.

My worst was having my best friend tell me he “fell out of love” so I went through a divorce and came back home, to my own country again. Before that I had thought the immigration procedure was the deepest pit of hell I could have gone through.

Kicking Around the Dust Bunnies

There are several crafty related projects I could pull out and get back to work on, rescuing them from the dust bunnies who have been keeping them company since my divorce about 5 years ago. Kind of sad to admit it has been five years and doesn’t it seem that using the divorce as an excuse for anything should be limited to just one year, not five? Anyway, that’s how it is.

I’m going to take a photo of the Raggedy Ann in progress and see if that doesn’t inspire me to get back to work on her. She has a face, I think. I seem to remember doing the embroidery way back then. I did find my old sewing box and her and her pattern and such inside of it. Once upon a time I even had a really nice and simple pattern for a teddy bear. Not that I have any kids to give them too. My neices have more toys than they care for as it is. My nephew is 12 and probably would like anything I made for him but is likely too old for stuffed animals and far too boy for a dolly, even if Raggedy Ann and Andy are classics.

I guess I could sell them but that seems crass. I don’t know why. I guess it’s to do with appreciating finishing (if I finish it) one of the many projects I have started. I have so many things like this I no longer want to take on anything new or make any kind of promises to anyone. I would like a responsibility free life. But that isn’t practical and would be kind of boring and lonely too. So, plug on.