I love the sound of rain as it pours down from the sky. The past few days have been soppy, sloshy, my-cute-hair-is-now-a-frizzball kind of days, but I love them anyway. There is something about the cleansing power of water. It washes over me and makes me feel new, refreshed and ready to face the next moment with grace and fortitude (even if I am still dripping). I have been listening to the rain and reflecting over the past year.
It has been one whole year. June 13, 2014 marked the day I sat on my couch, across from my ex, and told him I wanted him to leave. Facebook reminded me that on June 13, 2013, I was sitting at a bar in Las Vegas with my sister where my whole family and a good friend had joined me to celebrate the earning of my doctorate degree. I should have known then that there was a problem when I offered, without thinking, to share my room with my girlfriend instead of my husband. That should have been my first clue.
I will never forget the night I asked my ex to leave; it was a defining moment. One I knew that as I sat there and said the words, I made sure to look around the room and take it all in. I noticed how I put both hands on the couch by my sides, calmly looked him in the eye and said, “I want you to leave.” As shock–then anger–took hold, I just sat calmly and watched as if he was inside a TV and I was mindlessly holding the remote semi-uninterested in the background noise. But then, like all good TV shows do, they pull us in a bit. It was actually more like a commercial rather than a season-finale, but still I noticed him react. I watched as the raw emotion took over. He really had no idea. None at all. The woman who always supported, encouraged, and believed was saying words that were opposite of what he heard his entire marriage: “I can’t make you happy, and I don’t want to try anymore.” “You said you didn’t understand the purpose of marriage.” “We are just different.” “I don’t make threats.” The more calm I was, the more frantic he became.
He started spinning. Threats. Promises. Pleas. I looked around the room, focused on the minutia. The dust on the table, the picture tilted just slightly to the left, the newly remodeled kitchen that still smelled of fresh paint. I saw it all sitting perfectly still while his tornado of emotions began to swirl out of control. I knew my life was never going to be the same, and I was willing to step directly into my greatest fear: perceived personal failure. I was going to give back my academy award for best supporting actress.
It’s funny how it took me forty years to realize that the only happiness I can control is my own. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he was always unhappy, I just think that at some point his unhappiness became the focus of my happiness along with the perception of others’ perceptions of our marriage.
It was like a bad, overly complicated math problem.
Him + Not Happy (Avoiding (Him) – Confronting (Me)) / What Will People Think = Try Harder to Convince Everyone (Myself Included).
Instead it should have been:
Me + Him = Happy.
That’s all. Simple.
Simple like the rain. For me, it has finally stopped raining, and I am ready to go out and enjoy the sunshine.