Half a Lifetime

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI promise, you and me, I will not be maudlin through this time of rediscovery.  I might now and then be some of the following:

  • Pissed right off
  • Sad
  • Scared to death
  • Okay, even a small bit maudlin

However, I promise, you and me, I will not allow this change in my circumstances to take over my blog or my life.  Perhaps this is not quite the truth, this change will indeed take over my life it is in fact my new normal and thus instead of being part of a twosome my life is different, I will join the millions of women over 50 who are living alone, by choice or otherwise.

Things you and I should know about me as I begin this journey toward my new normal.  Things that are incredibly difficult to admit.

I have truly been in a long-term partnered relationship or married my entire adult life.

When I read that statement, it sends shivers up my spine.  The sad truth is, I do not know how to be alone, I have always had someone in my life.  I have always been the ‘other half’.  Usually, I have been the half that takes care of things, cleans up messes and ultimately is left holding the bag.

How strange, how very strange.

Since I was fifteen (15) years old, I have not really been alone.  Not really been on my own to determine and decide my own fate without having to consider how my choices might affect others, some of those others have been spouses, while others have simply been those who claimed the title (Texas is funny like that).  In some cases and through my own choice, I remained legally bound to a man with whom I did not share a bed, did not enjoy congress yet continued to shared a roof; I did this so his children would be provided normalcy.  My ‘husbands’ and other partners, in a nutshell;

  1. Beat the hell out of me, nearly killed me more than once and destroyed my ego – 3 years.
  2. Saved me from myself but could not convince me to love him or me – 5 years.
  3. Simply was a stopgap measure to convince myself and others I could marry ‘normal’ – 3 years.
  4. An addict and more, who hid his crimes from everyone far too well, robbed me of money, time and much more; gave me my sons, so I can forgive him all the rest – 14 years
  5. Dearly Beloved, yes he is still this despite it all, the last sixteen (16) years I have given him everything there was in me to give.  I withheld what he told me to withhold, each time he said to me, “I don’t want anything from you”; I withheld a little more if myself.  I honestly thought he was the one I would grow old beside  – 16 years

That is forty-one (41) years of my life in those five (5) men; I am fifty-six (56) years old.  Those five men represent more than half of my life.  Since I was fifteen years old, I have been entangled.  I have usually met the next man before I am fully untangled from all the legal wrangling of the previous relationship; I haven’t stopped to think how vulnerable I might be.

Now to the rest of what I wanted to say about not being maudlin and wanting a new normal.  DB and I separated once before during our marriage in 2010.  That separation was for 6 months, it was hard and he was the one to leave that time also.  Though to hear him tell it he left because I asked him the following:

“If you are so unhappy, why are you still here?”

His answer was to leave.  That six months was hard, it was sad, it was miserable in truth; but, by the end I had gotten to happy, gotten to a new normal where I was starting to enjoy life and my independence.  I should have known when he wanted to come back while refusing marriage counseling and refusing to acknowledge the core issues between us, it was not going to get better.

I have a friend of thirty-five years who says at heart I am a romantic.  I suspect she is right.  I wanted desperately for his, “I love you”, to be the truth without strings.  It wasn’t, it never has been.  But I wanted it and I put my blinders firmly in place and reminded myself of the vows I took, when I flung the door open wide and let my husband back into the home and the marriage he so firmly rejected once already.

Victorious

My new tattoo, as of yesterday. Yes, Victorious and yes my high-heeled combat boots were the model!

I knew, even then while I held that door open there would be an end somewhere in the future.  I had tasted independence and gotten to happy and it felt light and wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, being loved is also wonderful, I want to be loved someday in the future before that happens though I want to try living for me for once in my life.

I have a few more choices to make before too very long.  Choices on where I live.  Choices on how and where I work.

These will wait for a few weeks at least.  For now, I will simply try sinking into the idea of the new normal and how to get through the day.

Yes, it hurts today.  Yes, it will likely hurt tomorrow.  It will not hurt forever though; I know this.  I suspect I will share some of this journey with those of you who want to ride along.  I promise you though I will not change course, I will continue to write about other things that interest me and hopefully you, I refuse to get to mawkish.

Comments

  1. You are a brave woman, Val, on so many levels. You reach out to us with this blog post and we reach back, because we love you, your pure heart, and your intelligent voice. Yes, you will get through this new chapter, and I look forward to watching you emerge strong and even more confident. xx

  2. Val, So saddened to read this today as I catch up with news… Life is throwing some strange curved balls to people during this time.. And my heart goes out to you as you embark upon yet another step in your journey.
    I know you are a survivor you have shown that throughout your past as you have overcome all that has been thrown your way.. But it still does not take away the pain of going through it…
    You said you know the pain will not last forever.. So true, easy to reflect having experienced so much pain through the past…
    I admire your Spirit , your strength and I know that inner being who has endured so much will put on her organising head once the dust is settled and pull back your shoulders now clothed in her new boots and she will whisper in your ear, and tell you ‘You are loved!…’ and in time you will look back as a new episode of adventure is about to unfold, and in time you will acknowledge that ALL was meant to be.. For each and everyone we meet and greet are there for purpose .. The difficult thing is as we are enduring they why’s and wherefores we can not see reasons . The bigger picture is always out of our reach…

    Val, dear Val, I hold your integrity and wisdom most high… And if I were to give you a Song as many have done here then it would be ” I Will Survive” ..
    Know you are loved and a Magnificent Being….. and know ALL will be and IS well in your world…
    Hugs Sue xoxox

  3. Window officially ajar …. alrighty then. Now sit back, poor a wine and enjoy …

  4. Ms. Val, remember the song “those boots were made for walking?” That’s what you need to do keep walking into a brighter future determined only by and for you!

  5. You have people who are cheering for you, Val, and you are strong! I have seen women become even stronger when alone and independent. And I have my own story. Victory will be yours to share with us!

    • I think it is possible I will get there, but right now? Right now the house just seems big, empty and lonely. Thanks, the cheer section? It helps it does. It is uplifting and it helps.

  6. Oh Valentine, I’m sorry for this difficult time in your life. But you’re bright and smart and funny and WILL emerge even better.

    I also think you’re smart not to make other huge changes about where to live, etc, while you’re still pretty vulnerable – same kind of retroactive lesson you mentioned about jumping into new relationships while in the midst of untangling from old.

    ps Great tattoo!

    • Thank you so much Peg, smart and funny, I hope so. Emerging better? Maybe wiser, I hope so. I couldn’t help but make one decision, it was a good one though scary as hell to make. I will write about that one soon. New relationships? No if I jump into one of these it will be four footed type.

      I love the new tat, it has a history which I will someday tell also. It really didn’t relate to the crumbling of my marriage it was just the right time to finally get it.

  7. Have a wicked Tuesday Val and don’t forget to call in tomorrow for some of my festive wickedness, hopefully I will find some decent jokes and cartoons to chuckle at but failing that I will add some eye candy for you girls, well there is usually a few naughty examples for the boys to drool over so why not some treats for you instead 😉 🙂 Well don’t count on it 🙂 lol

    Andro xxxx

  8. Sending you love, Val, as you embark on yet another life experience. All you need to promise us – that you be true to you. We will be along for the ride.

  9. You can do it, Val. You’re strong. You’ve got guts and know-how. Yes, it’s going to hurt for a while, but like you said, you started to feel better after the first time he left. You started to enjoy your new, independent life. Should he want to come back, I hope you’ll think twice this time. I will be here watching you grow in courage and fortitude. For I’ve been there, done that. I know how miserable I was but how, in time, I gained the strength I needed to face life on my own. On my own terms. Hugs to you, Val!

    • Oh Monica, I don’t feel strong right this very moment. I know my past proves otherwise but you know I didn’t want this to be a proving point. So many of us have been there and done that. I think I will just stand up and work it out, despite not have wanting this, having fought for a different outcome. I gladly accept all the hugs, thanks.

  10. Once you sort out details, time will move forward and so shall you, Val. You can do this. Time to think of YOU now, just you. 😉

  11. Joel Osteen Ministries
    Too many people go through life thinking somebody owes them something but God never promised that life would be fair. Just stay in faith and He will take what’s meant for your harm and use it to your advantage.

    I thought this was fitting given the circumstances. Stay strong my friend.

    • I appreciate the sentiment, though Joel is not a favorite of mine. I will walk this path as it is laid before me, just as I have walked others as they were laid before me. Thank you so much for your concern and the lifting up. I am grateful.

  12. I, too, faced singlehood after spending my entire adult life with my now-ex husband, who left me abruptly with a text message (after committing marital fraud). It was so hard teasing out the strings of him, figuring out where he ended and I began. It’s a strange feeling when your constant is gone. Unsettling. Disorienting. Scary as hell. However, as you will discover, it is also a time brimming with possibility. It’s wild, I remember the woman I was in my marriage. Yet I am no longer her. I can now see my worst fear in life as my biggest gift. I hope that you can reach that point someday too. Hugs:)

    • I suspect I will get there, someday. My fears right now though, they are pretty close to the surface and I am scrubbing at them trying to force them down. Each time I wake up in the middle of the night alone, I want to scream. I don’t but I want to.

      Thank you for your thoughts, they help. Truly they help.

  13. Like you, I’m very much a romantic, and at 47, I’ve never been alone. And, like you, I’ve had a couple of not-very-good relationships. And, like you, I want someone to love me. It’s a basic human need. Ultimately, we need to love ourselves enough to make wiser choices.

    Of course, I am also self-destructive … I want to be in love, then I do shit to mess it up. (Ok, I’ve gotten much better at that, but, back in the day, I was as scared of love as I was desperate to have it).

    I wish I could say something that would make the hurt go away faster … but, of course, hurt goes away at its own speed.

    But, as before, I’ll send big hugs, and, if wanted, I’m always willing to share my email if you want to talk, or just send rants … I listen well, and try not to say dumb things. 🙂

    • As I was reading this morning I found my head nodding. The self-destructive, I was that I learned not to be but I was absolutely that. You are so very right, we need to love ourselves enough. I am going to spend some time trying to get there, trying to do some exploration of self, pampering of self, caring for self. Maybe, someday in the future I will value myself enough to set very high standards.

      Hurt does have its own timeline. This one will not be sped down the road, it will I am guessing be rocky. I am okay with that. I am very grateful for your offer of e-mail. I think you can shoot me an e-mail from here, that would be lovely I suspect I will need a few of those.

      • You’ve followed my blog long enough to know that I’ve a thing for music. Perhaps because it can so often be comforting. And, for some reason, when I have a heavy heart, I need something that I can sing at the top of my lungs to let out the pain.
        As I’ve read your last two posts, I’m reminded of a song, “Sixteen Years” … the story in the song is a bit different than yours, but, there’s parts of it that seem, to me at least, like they might apply …. and, the end certainly demands that you turn the volume all the way up and sing just as loudly …”when you walk away/taking the morning from my day/ show me the pain/ that’s inside of you./ Time moves on/ and you’ll be gone/ and I’ll hold on to the finer things/ I need to keep me strong/ But one sweet day/ I’ll put them all away/ I hope you know that no one stays the same…

        Take a listen …

  14. I know that life really sucks right now and it will for a while, but victorious you are and will always be my sweet friend. It takes a special kind of person to keep in control while the feelings of hurt rush through every pulsing moment, a heart heavy with upset and disappointment, but through conquering those inner thoughts your strength will remain and amplify. You are a lovely woman Val.

    I am thinking about you my dear friend…

    Andro xxxx

    • Thank you so much Andro. I cannot begin to tell you and everyone how uplifted and supported I have felt over the past few days. You are right, it hurts monumentally. Sometimes I simply want to crawl into a corner and wail. I can’t afford the luxury of this self-indulgency, I don’t have this available to me so I will just march on in my high-heeled combat boots. Dammit.

      Val

  15. I can only say this …. Be strong, don’t challenge time, and have a few go-to people.

  16. Sometimes blogging is hard from the standpoint that we want to be honest as writers, and occasionally that honesty has strings attached. I’m a big believer in writing to heal, to move on, to express, and to remember. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. You will, without doubt, help others in doing so.

    • I hope I help others, it is one of the reasons I am so often so brutally open about my own life. It isn’t always pretty is it? I think though, in the openess is also the proof we can get up even from devastation. I keep reminding myself of this, but right this very minute dang it doesn’t feel all that great.

      I suspect it is why I don’t just write about the personal stuff, but try to keep things somewhat interesting and broad spectrum.

      Thank you for reading Stacie, it is appreciated.

  17. With you here, Val – I might not say much – but will be here with you.

    Peace,
    Eric

  18. Way to go! That’s the spirit 😉

  19. The thing I like about you is you are upfront about life. No veneer to peel off in order to see who you really are. What I see from this is a nice person who wants the best out of life but has been denied that by fate. But you don’t give up! You pick yourself up by your boot straps and soldier on. Good one you! Your skill in English expression is great too. You can hold your audience to the end of the blog.

    • The thing many people find uncomfortable about me is I haven’t mastered the art of political correctness and social niceties. I am glad Ian, you aren’t one of them. Fate isn’t always kind, then again sometimes we are just handed what we need; good, bad or indifferent because we have a mission to fulfill.

      I do not intend to give up or give in. It would be easy right now to crawl into a corner to lick my wounds. I don’t think I have time for that. I so appreciate the community here, it helps you know both the support and the feedback, it helps.

  20. Congratulations, my dearest friend. You are indeed victorious. And valiant. And resilient. And 100% genuine. The moment you begin to pour yourself into yourself, you will see your well fill with all the buckets those around you are more than happy to tote. I will have to buy a yoke because I want to carry mine two at the time.

    I love you.
    xxx

    • You have been the ear I have been pouring my dismay, hurt, confusion and fury into. I think I will spare your shoulders a yoke and just ask your patience as I beg your ready ear and wise counsel.

      I will get there with my friends standing nearby each time I want to leap.

      I love you also.

      XX

  21. Val –
    You will love it here…in the land of alone, and independent…for the first time ever. Read back a few years on my blog…and skip what I wrote…and read what you wrote to me. Your words of support, love and guiding advice was pivotal in getting to where I am today. I was lost. Alone. Hurt. Angry. Scared. And more words than I care to write here. I was swimming in black waters and you pulled me up to breathe dozens of time. It is scary learning to be alone. Until my divorce, I was never alone. Never. Always someone’s. And don’t get me wrong. I get lonely…and I find myself stepping backward to find peace in solitude and spiral down the slide of “not enough” to be “enough” for anyone to deeply love. I also, in this process, have FINALLY learned to appreciate myself. I’m still working on the whole love thing, but I have learned to find intrinsic value in who I am. And I’m not going to lie. It feels good. It feels good to be able to finally look at myself and see value…and know that I am enough to be loved. I have also learned a new independence I’ve never had. I just rented my first house all by myself. I picked it out. I qualified for it myself. I am in the process of buying my own first car (granted, it is used), but I am doing it ALONE. I finally am gaining the independence of choice and a tiny tiny tiny bit of financial freedom of having enough to pay for myself and my kids without having a bank balance of 0 at the end of the money. It has been a long, hard and scary ride. But, truly – you coached me through it and I am finally emerging into my own…in baby steps…but making it through. My hear breaks for you, only because I know how it feels to love deeply and want to be loved in return…with the intensity that you love with…and then not get it back. But, you will be OK. You will be better than OK. Listen to your own advice. Follow it. It is sage. It changed me. It changed my life.

    Sending love always….

    Forever

    • I saved you for last, because you made me cry. I am so grateful for this, I cannot begin to tell you. I suspect I will get to happy again. I suspect I will also stand on my two feet and be just fine with having no one at my side. For now, I don’t think it feels good; in fact it sucks and I hate it. But I suspect it will be fine some day in the future. It is simply charting that course to some day.

      Thank you my dear friend, thank you.

      • It's Ok not to like it. It's OK to feel whatever you want and to embrace those feelings. But, just like you always told me, – it will get better and you will be stronger and happier. I trusted you…and you didn't let me know. Just know you are loved and there is always an open door in CA for you whenever you need to escape.

        ❤ ❤

  22. paulessick says:

    Reblogged this on My Blog snuppy.

  23. If your life has shown you and us anything, Val, it is that you are a survivor. You will find your way to happy soon and on your own terms. You will be the stronger for it, my friend. And when you want to bitch, you’ve got my email. And from the looks of it, there will be a whole line up of folks willing to lend you an ear and a shoulder.

    • Thank you Elyse, from the bottom of my cracked heart thank you. I may have to send out group messages now and then saying only “Help Me, I have fallen and I can’t get up.”

      I know this right now pain will ease and I will be able to move forward. I know also there is a place I will find it and it will likely offer something grand. But righ this minute I am simply trying not to walk on all that broken glass.

      • That’s the best way forward. And better on your feet.

        But you know that if/when you fall:
        (1) you will be able to get up;
        (2) you will have help when you do need it; and
        (3) you won’t be falling for long.

  24. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    OMG. Yes, for sure, the Harley for sure! 🙂 Those boots, the tattoo, a jacket and a Harley (that sounds like the title of an article somewhere). I agree with Tom – put on those boots, crank the tunes, and have some damn fun!

  25. Go well, Val. Spoil and pamper yourself. Treat yourself, and love yourself. In the end, married or not, the only person who can make us feel truly loved is ourselves.
    So comfort the child in you who needs to know how loved and loveable and precious she is.
    The love of others is a bonus… and all your child wants is to feel loved, she’s not demanding you bend your needs to suit her. Love to you both…

    • My inner child is throwing a temper tantrum at this moment. I am not good with it, but I think I will need to allow for some hissy fits. For now though, I need to grab hold with both hands and learn to say ‘mine’.

      Mine, isn’t something I have said often over my lifetime. Perhaps it is time.

  26. Damn right! Yes, it will hurt, yes, there will be good days; your attitude, however, is spot on and healthy. Allow yourself to feel the gamut of emotions that comes with separation of any sort (grief, anger, elation perhaps, etc), but don’t reside there. Reside in your decision to be happy and reclaim your Joy! You are worthy, beyond indispensable, amazing…. Yes, YOU!

    Dem boots are made for walking. Walk on, woman! Many women have gone before you. You will survive. Heck, you’ll thrive.

    • I am glad you like the boots, I love them both on my arm and on my feet!

      I know, I know. I will survive. I will eventually even I suspect grow to find my footing in this strange new world I find myself in. I am going to give myself the freedom to feel what I feel. I am also going to give myself permission to own my feelings and my environment. Reach out when I need support, something I have never done in the past and be alone when I need that. It is past time I come into my own.

      Thank you so much for your wisdom, I am grateful.

  27. I think we are more alike than I would have thought… the worst part to me was knowing I was alone in the house and only myself to make decisions about – different than living mainly separately, but still taking care of… It took awhile to get used too, and still not sure I ever succeeded fully. I do think you are stronger than I am.

    • Different strengths I suspect my friend. We each feel our way through these things, find our comfort zones and live in them for a while until we can move to the next one. I am simply going to work from one to the next. I want the new normal to give me something I can say, “yes, I can live with this!” I need something that isn’t miserable, to make all the rest of it worth it.

  28. My hat is off to YOU!

  29. Hi Val,

    I am sorry for the pain you feel now, but I so admire your courage and the belief that the pain will pass. (Your tattoo says it all!)
    What I like best about this post is when you remember the six month break you and DB had earlier. You say, “I had tasted independence and gotten to happy and it felt light and wonderful.” You will get there again; I know you will!

    Thinking of you,

    Lisa

  30. Val, I think I enjoyed this more than anything else you have written. Don’t misunderstand. I am sorry for the sorrow you are feeling, but “Victory” often comes at a time in our lives when we decide certain things must change.

    I was so inspired by you attitude to live your life on your own terms. I have been at the place where I was doing and not doing so many things for someone else’s comfort that i forgot to give a damn about myself and the things i wanted.The tattoo is a beautiful start and I love the tattoo.

    in so many ways you are free. So go out right now and buy something expensive that you dont need, stop at the liquor store on the way home, crank the stereo, and invite all of your rowdy friends over. You have no rules and no one to please but yourself Val.

    HEY It is a great big world with cool things to see and kick-ass human beings to do them with. I cant wait to here about what new things your life will be. I love you Val, now go get happy 🙂

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  1. […] One of the women how acted as my life jacket over the last several years wrote a devastating post on her blog QBG Tilted Tiara. […]

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