Friday, November 18, 2016

I Do Regret One Thing

The feedback has been more than I could ask for. By what you all have been saying, friends, family and even strangers have reacted to my words. Some of my stories have made you giggle a little or blush just a bit. Other times you were slightly giddy that someone else knew how your awkward feelings felt. And then some of you told me that you cried. I know why those that know me cried. They were so close they saw the wreckage with their own two eyes. But the ones that I've never met, those tears mean that I did something right with the way I conveyed the emotions. I only hope to continue that and to never go about it disingenuously. 

Resonating in all of this brings me to my biggest regret in way of conveying emotions. It may be my only regret that I can pinpoint and get embarrassed about. In all of these months leading up to this moment; a moment where I feel good about who I am becoming and I feel strong in my singleness and I feel powerful in what I have to offer and I feel hopeful that one day this dream of an author's life will come to fruition, there's one moment of words that I fully regret. 

Let me take you back to that moment. 

***

We're back to February 5, 2016

Before he walked out the door without a glance back in our direction, he got into bed with me one more time. Thinking about sharing the blankets with him that night makes me nauseous and angry.

After the revelation that he wanted to leave. After the revelation that he drove home intoxicated. After the revelation that he had been looking up divorce behind my back for six months without so much as a peep of dissatisfaction. After the revelation that he'd been hiding alcohol and cigars in the car. After the revelation that he had been staying after work with college students instead of, at the very least, coming home to scoop up his baby girl in his arms, he told me, "We're fine." 

He coaxed me into the shower and gave me a hug before I got in. My tears were uncontrollable. I never thought that crying could physically hurt, but it can. It hurts even worse when those tears aren't wiped away but just looked at like a bother. He didn't even have the strength to finish a conversation or make a plan of action for our family that night. He was on the verge of passing out. I still have no idea what he drank before he came home. I know he kept screaming that he wanted more and I know how scared I was. 

But I listened to him. He told me we were going to be fine. I took a shower. I checked on Claire. And I climbed into bed next to him. I was uncomfortable though, especially when he came up behind me for another hug. He kissed me on the cheek and said, "Love you," like it was any other night of the week. He stayed next to me acting as though he was about to become the big spoon and I'd melt right into him. Instead I asked, "What are you doing?"

"What," he replied as though he was confused.

"You sure aren't acting like someone who wants a divorce," I snapped.

He could barely keep his eyes open. His breath still permeated the space between us with the stench of stale liquor. But we were going to be fine, because that's what he said. We'd wake up in the morning and we'd fix this. I was in denial.

The tears were still streaming down my face. I could barely catch my breath. My voice was catching too and every time I tried to speak all that I could muster up was a sad, guttural whine that I didn't recognize. He was snoring before I could calm myself down. Because that's what I realized that I always did. When I was upset or angry, whether at him or any other situation outside of our relationship, I comforted myself. I ended up making myself feel better.

And once I did calm down, I buried my head in my pillow. I thought maybe I could hide. I thought maybe this was just the worst nightmare I had ever experienced and I would wake up and be warmly welcomed with relief. I would be able to turn over in bed and tell him about all of those horrible feelings as I recalled the dream. But that never came true. My hardest trials were just beginning. 

Eventually I turned on my back, still trying to slow my breathing. I said out loud, "I would rather die than have you leave us." He never heard this. But I can still hear it loudly in my own ears. And it terrifies me. I regret saying it. I regret allowing him to make me feel that small. 

***

I don't want to have that type of weakness come over me ever again. I never want to regret my words. I also never want to regret my lack of words. I may say a lot. And that may annoy plenty but I'd rather let it all hang out, so to speak. I never want to be suppressed in my own thoughts ever again. I never want to be pushed to the point where I feel that hopeless. I never want to feel like I need to apologize for expecting to be heard. 

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