Good Enough

As any of you that have read this blog since the beginning (THANK YOU!) know, my divorce was rough.

You know the marriage was rougher.

Ward and June Cleaver we weren’t, that’s for damn sure.

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

I wasn’t spectacular to him. I’ll take responsibility for my share of blame in the collapse of our marriage. To be sure, he wasn’t spectacular to me. The only honest thing he did before he left with that other woman (I’m working hard at reining in my Bitter Bitch) was to admit that he had spent 16 years emotionally and mentally abusing me.

Yes, he admitted it. Shocking, no?

And, here we are, over two years since the separation and almost two years from the divorce and I’m still dealing with that crap.

hand tiedHow frustrating is that? I know that I can’t expect to be over it immediately. I know that I will feel the effects for years. But I have made so much progress in coming back to life that it is so defeating sometimes to know that I am still trying to untie myself from his definition of who I was.

It is so very hard to recover your self-esteem, your sense of self, when you spent 16 years with the person that you pledged to love and who pledged to love you, trying to do the best you could and it was never enough.

You were never smart enough.

You were never skinny enough.

You were never pretty enough.not good enough

You were never sexy enough.

You were never a good enough mother.

You were never a good enough housekeeper.

You were never…..

Nothing I ever did was good enough for him.

When the man that you have married tells you that you are subpar at every level on a daily basis, you don’t just get over that in a snap.

So, here we are, two years later, and I’ve met this guy. He’s pretty terrific. OK, he’s more than pretty terrific, but we’re not going to go into massive details. Let’s just say that he’s very sexy, very smart, extremely witty, a talented storyteller and so much more *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*.

He’ll tell me that I’m beautiful and sexy and smart. He does so with regularity and ease. You can tell that he means it, that he’s not lying to just get into my pants. I can tell he means it. Truly means these things that he says.

And I want to believe him. I do. I want to see what he sees. I want to feel that I’m beautiful, sexy and smart.

Sometimes, when we talk or when I’m with him, I feel it. I feel like I’m all of those things and more. I feel like Superwoman having a man as great as him think those things about me.

But, when our conversation is done, or I go home, or even sometimes when we are chatting, I wonder what it is that he sees.

I know he can’t be seeing the same woman I see. That woman isn’t smart, nor sexy, nor beautiful. She doesn’t have anything to offer to a great man like him. Why does he still talk to me?

For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t beautiful, sexy or smart. For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t enough. So, how can I be enough for this man who has everything in the world to offer a woman?

And therein, my friends, lies the issue.

I have to stop wondering what I should do to “be enough” for a man in my life and just be me. Be myself in all things.

Good enoughI have to stop trying to be anything for anyone and just be the person that I am.

I have to just be me.

I have to be that woman whose eyebrows are never plucked quite right, whose roots constantly need touching up, whose house is never clean enough, who feeds too many stray cats because she’s a sucker for them. I have to be that dorky lady who laughs too loudly at lousy puns, who thinks science jokes, Doctor Who and Cosmos are pretty awesome. I have to embrace my almost bottomless pit of trivia about nothing that anyone in the world cares about. I have to appreciate my love of all things J.D. Robb, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, and J.K. Rowling. I have to be political and care about what is going on in the world. I have to be all of those things.

Because all of those things make up the person I want to be.

If somewhere along the way I happen to be lucky enough to find someone who is willing to accept me with all of my quirks and my dorkiness and my lame jokes and my obscure passions, and also finds me sexy and beautiful and smart, then that will make me a pretty lucky lady.

It doesn’t mean that I will not ever have periods of self-doubt. Bouncing back from a bad relationship isn’t easy and it takes time.

But I have to stop wondering what he sees in me, why he likes to spend time with me, what the attraction is. Instead of questioning it, I need to just accept it.

It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter what.

All that matters is: He does.

That’s good enough for me.

No more back rubs…..ever.

So, if you have read this blog before (and, let’s face it, with only 4 posts so far it’s not hard to catch up) you know that my soon-to-be-ex-husband and I are on good terms.  We still live in the same house, sleep in the same bed and are keeping it nice for the kids and ourselves.  I mean, who has the energy to be mean to each other?

My husband had major back surgery about 3 years ago and sometimes it still hurts him.  He’ll strain it at work or playing softball or sometimes his muscles bunch because of stress.  I’ve continued to give him regular back massages because it just seems like the right thing to do.  Seems nice, you know?  Want to keep things all calm and happy.

Well, not anymore, baby.  In fact, if his back tied itself into a freaking Gordian knot the only thing I would do is pick up a sword and cleave it in half (that is a strangely satisfying visual).

Last night he was complaining about his back hurting.  I offered to give him a massage so that he could sleep.  He has a big inspection at work this week and the stress is causing some of his back pain.  Add to that that his mother* called last night and announced that she was coming to our house on Thursday, I can understand why his back is hurting.

*As a quick aside – his mother is horrible.  I don’t know that one blog post can cover everything.  Let me just say, for now, that when I heard she was coming down I wanted to grab the children and run.  To Oz.  Where Glenda could grant me wishes and give me a life lesson I wouldn’t soon forget.  Yeah, she’s that bad.

So he slept on the couch last night.  Whatever, he does it quite often.  Stays up really late and doesn’t want to wake me.  He wants sex and I don’t, so he sleeps on the couch.  We have sex and he’s wide awake, so he goes downstairs and sleeps on the couch.  Get the picture?

Now, before I get any further I want to say that I have not, not once, dug around in his phone.  Not once.  Not that I haven’t thought about it, not because I’m so respectful of his privacy, but because I don’t want to know.  I know that he has this girl in N.C. and I don’t want to know what they are talking about or read their disgustingly sweet texts to each other.  I just don’t want to know.  I don’t want to know when he’s talking to her, I don’t want to know when he’s texting her.  I have no desire to know.

But this morning, well, it just didn’t work out that way.

His phone was on the couch, his alarm going off.  His alarm is super annoying and I wasn’t going to go all the way back upstairs (and risk waking the kids) just so he could slide the bar over on the alarm to turn it off.  So I slid the bar.  The screen for the alarm goes away and, I swear I’m not lying, his text conversation with her is right there.  He hadn’t shut the app before he set the phone down.  He went downstairs last night and immediately texted her and then texted her first thing this morning.  Mostly sickeningly sweet crap (remember, I didn’t want to read that) but some sexting as well.

Back pain my ass.

I’m angry about it.  But I’m not hurt.  Remember, I’m already emotionally out of here.  But it seems so freaking disrespectful and rude to text her in my house, on my couch, while I’m upstairs.  (Plus, she’s older than me and that’s a bit of a balm. Oh, and she looks like her father was Mr. Ed.  Just my own personal, bitchy, observation.)

You know, maybe I’m not that mad about.  Maybe I just hate having it shoved in my face.  I mean, he made it clear that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  He made it very, very clear.  I even rephrased it back to him and he confirmed what I said.  So, I get it.  I just don’t want it thrust in my face at every turn that he wants to be with her, you know.

Not because it hurts, but because my pride just can’t take it.

Yeah, it boils down to pride.  Sixteen years of my life I have given him and the military.  Sixteen years of moving to Mississippi (crappy) and up here (way, way too close to his family) and Italy (alright, that one was pretty awesome).  I’ve only seen my parents four times in the past sixteen years because we could  never afford to go and see them.  Sixteen years that I put my wants and dreams and goals on the back burner.

So, yeah, it pricks the hell out of my pride.

On top of having to figure out how to build a whole new life for myself, I have to figure out how to rebuild my pride.

Some days I think that’s a lot worse than being forgotten.