Chapter 16, loren
I carry a tremendous amount guilt for giving people more chances than they deserve. I have always believed in the good in everyone, and that everyone deserves a second chance.
Why did I continue to give my husband chance after chance? For what? To prove he loved me? Why did I need that to be proven to me? That wasn’t fair to him. He didn’t love me after all, so why was I expecting him to, suddenly?
Over the years I have searched for answers to those questions, wondering why I made excuses and why I remained hopeful long after I should have. I took a giant step back and looked at the bigger picture; I searched within the underlying issue, if you will. From the time I was a little girl, my own father had a pattern of letting me down. My hopeful heart always giving him the benefit of the doubt. Almost 32 years later, I still find myself allowing excuses to surface to defend not only his actions, but the actions of every man in my life. My marriage was no exception. I gave a man a million chances, not for him but selfishly for myself. I was stubborn, wanting to always have things my way.
The boiling water that was my marriage, had officially overflowed. I fought for him to love me for the last time. His last chance had run out, and I had nothing left to give. There was such a thing as too many chances, and I had given them. When I should have and could have walked away with grace and dignity, I instead clung to my stubborn mindset that things were going to turn out MY way, or the highway.
I remember one night that will forever be ingrained in my mind. Dehydrated from the tears I had been crying all day, the volcano finally erupted.
John came home late, and the boys had been asleep for several hours. I met him at the door in a new night gown I had recently bought from Victoria’s Secret. This was my ‘Hail Mary’ at an attempt to save my marriage and make the man I called my husband, fall in love with me. I had purchased a beautiful night gown and a little black robe, just as I had seen April wearing. If he wanted the perfect woman, I would do everything I could think of to be her.
Alas, he noticed me! A questioning laughter came from him, “Wow. Since when do you care about what you look like going to bed? Looks nice.” I felt ever so slightly embarrassed but flattered that he noticed me. It ended there, and nothing more became of it. I felt rejected, and every insecurity I had about myself suddenly all rose up at once. I’m not beautiful. I am not quiet. My body is disgusting, and who I am as a person must be as well. If this man didn’t love me, surely no one would.
I remember following him around the house that night, pestering him in every way I could think of to notice me and converse with me like we had in earlier years as friends. Instead, he ignored me entirely - driving me to a level of frustration I had never been at before. His cold shoulder was the button he knew how to push best with me. His smirks and silence were the triggers that enraged me. Finally, I snapped!
I grabbed him by the collar of his cammie blouse and shoved him against the wall as hard as my 100-pound, depleted self possibly could. I screamed, “Stop hurting me!”
The look of disgust on his face said it all - I don’t love you, I don’t even like you. I opened the front door and ran straight through my front yard....my destination: unknown but in the direction of her front door.
I am not entirely sure what I had planned on doing, but I knew exactly what I wanted him to do...chase me. John, just chase me. Sweep me into your arms. Hold me. Something!
I looked back and saw his figure in our doorway. His only reaction was to quietly tell me to get back inside before I humiliated us both.
My hopes were shattered for the final time. There were no pieces left to pick up. There’s no other word that can accurately describe my heart that night. I needed a hero, a knight, and yet he was nowhere to be found.
My energy shifted from that point forward. I went from broken to enraged. The last day he spent over at our home, was my final straw. I had enough, and when he told me April would be coming over to gather his belongings to take them to him, I broke. How I had not ended up on an episode of Snapped or 20/20, is a miracle from God himself.
I’m sure most women can relate to having the urge to light their husband’s clothes on fire. Well, I’m not most women. I don’t stop at the urge; I follow through with the action.
If he thought his ‘mistress’ was going to come to our home and take his belongings, he had another thing coming. I threw everything he owned out on our front lawn that night, as April pulled into the driveway.
This next part, I blame the lighter manufacturer for because nothing engulfed into flames the way I dramatically expected it to.
So, plan B: I lit 13 cigarettes, one right after another, and strategically put them out on every uniform, pair of jeans, and dress boots I could. All the while, April was prying clothing items from my hands and gathering them up from the ground as quickly as she could. This scene did not include much yelling between her and I, mostly it was just me cursing the day my husband had been born and making sure she knew the level of insanity this man could bring me to. I think the point was made.
Once I deemed my tantrum complete, I stormed inside, locked the door and heard her drive off…with the last of my marriage.
That was it. My marriage was officially over, and I was now tagged with a Scarlet letter: L - for lunatic. I let out 7 years of imprisoned frustration and rage on the front lawn of my home that night. The damage had been done to my reputation, and there was no amount of justification that could ever reverse the crazy that people now saw when they looked at me. At least, that is how I perceived it. I felt just as crazy as people thought I was. Was there really any way to deter my mental breakdown? No, I don’t believe there was. In fact, I believe the Holy Spirit himself held my tongue and tied my hands on several occasions when the rage began to glaze over my eyes. Hurt and anger are a lethal combination, and this woman had her share for a lifetime.
While I had been living life on my side of the fence, I soon discovered that certain family members were all the while ‘playing both sides of the fence’ - pun intended.
Everyone seemed to think I had lost my mind...perhaps I had. Or, perhaps I was sane and could simply no longer make sense of the webs that had weaved all around my life. My floundering in the abyss offered an opening for the enemy to attack the weak. I went away to Texas for a small break from life…and motherhood. This was presented to me as an olive branch from my family, in order to help me clear my mind. Low and behold, the motives were that of the ulterior kind. Once again I was left humiliated, bewildered, and felt more alone than a single cactus in the Sahara Desert. It turns out, I was being painted as a mental lunatic by my own kin. Maybe I was. Maybe, I was a failure for the demise of my marriage. After all, it was now beyond repair, and it felt like it was all my fault.
I chased my husband away. I wasn’t enough to make him want to stay. I was a foolish and weak woman who had no right being a mother…since she could barely keep her marriage together when she had the chance.
As people slowly turned to John for answers, I thought to myself, “Why was everyone believing John?Why can’t anyone hear my cries for help? Why does my pain not matter but his is being praised?”
I’m sorry to say, I never received the answers to those questions. However, I gained something else - I gained perspective and a new pair of glasses. The kind of glasses that allow me to now see people’s true colors with the added ‘swipe left or right’ feature. It was time to do some clearing of energies that no longer served a positive space in my life. One thing I have learned throughout the storms, I am the only one in control of my life, my emotions, and my happiness. It took many storms to follow before I fully gained control of my tragedies and my peace…but when I did, I took my power back.
It’ll come as no surprise, that John and I did not speak for several months after my attempt to ‘sage’ him out of my life. In fact, a few weeks after later I waltzed into my newly hired attorney’s office ready as I ever was, and confidently told him, “This will be the easiest divorce case you’ll ever have.”
Little did I know, it would not be. Hell was about to rise up, and it came formatted in an email.