Plz Stop Calling Me – It’s Over

sad chefYou called me crying again last night. You’re sorry for all of this. Your relationships keep failing because you can’t get over me. You’re sick; you might go blind. You don’t want to die without seeing me one more time. You’re clean now. You miss your family. You miss me. Please let’s try one more time.

I find it absolutely nuts that when you and I first broke up, I would have given anything in this world to hear exactly those words. They wouldn’t have been true then either, but back then, I was taking what I could get. Now, they just make me sad.

Yes. I avoid your calls. It isn’t because the memories of all of this hurt me so much. Not entirely, anyways. No. I don’t take your calls because believe it or not, I don’t want to hurt you anymore. But you keep forgetting that what was done between us can never be undone. You can’t have the parts of our past back that were so happy because the ending changed us both. Put simply, those people don’t exist anymore.

You get mad because I bring up The Moment of Choice whenever you are able to finally get me on the phone. I don’t remind you out of some warped need for revenge. I remind you cheating-quote-quotesbecause you lose sight sometimes about why all of this is happening to you. We stood, you, me, and Tanya, in our living room, in the little house I had found and fixed up for us, and answered, once and for all, The Question. You had spent months lying to both of us, telling me how you were trying to fix this mess you’d created — telling her I was just a crazy bitch trying to break you two up. So we stood there, the three of us, and I told you, now. Now is when you will pick which path you’re going to head down. You didn’t even think much about it. I remember feeling sick, knowing you weren’t taking me seriously.You pointed to Tanya, and told me you were sorry. She was who you loved. And I told you, then that is the decision we both have to live with now. I walked out of our little house, left everything we’d spent 20 years collecting together, and drove away. It was at that moment, I began the long, hard struggle to cut our bonds to one another. You’d damaged them, but I needed them severed.

Nothing about that moment was light for me. I accepted then that what we had was gone now, relegated to the shadowy mist of memory. You and Tanya’s relationship ended rather quickly after that day, and you spent a few months trying desperately to recapture her interest. I know. I watched. You moved on to Helena, then to others. All the while, you would call me and tell me you wanted me back. And each time I told you, no. You chose a different path.

sad girlYour new girlfriends seem to find it necessary to contact me whenever you guys break up with each other, to put in a good word for you. I can’t begin to tell you how strange and bizarre I find these conversations. That’s just plain creepy. They tell me you will never be happy with anyone but me; they know because they’ve tried. Here’s a news flash — getting back together isn’t an option for you because that would require me being open to the idea, and I’m not.

Please make them stop doing that. I don’t want to hear from your girlfriends. It doesn’t help. I don’t believe it is true that our happiness rests solely on another person; not if we don’t want it to. I can’t take you back. You think things in your life will be fixed if you can just return back to the woman you left in the first place, but you’re wrong. And maybe it is rather selfish of me, but I am not willing to suffer a martyr-like existence in a relationship with you. I am sorry, but you had your chance. Actually, you had a year’s worth of them, and you didn’t choose me then. You only want me now because I think it has actually finally sunk in — I’m gone, and I’m never, ever coming back.

I want you to move on. I hope you find happiness and peace, but not enough to sacrifice mine for yours. You will either bounce back or you won’t. Either way, that’s on you.

Please don’t make me hurt you anymore. I really don’t enjoy it.

~ Bird

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Memories: Being Killed By Friendly Fire

Again...

Lately, I have been thinking about where I was this time last year. I had briefly let Chef move into the spare room of my house, and it was going about how you would expect…beyond horribly. Within a few weeks, I would get in my car and drive away for good. I left everything I owned except a few clothes and some trinkets of a rickety new life I’d tried to start that same year. I remember feeling different this time, though. I knew I wasn’t ever going to be coming back. Nothing on the surface had really changed for me, but somehow, my soul understood. This time was different. I had a tiny sliver of strength growing deep inside, because I had begun to find some relief from the most devastating part of this whole mess…my own mind.

Long-term marriages have infinitely more potential to completely destroy the people in them when they fall apart than any other kind of break up, no matter how Shakespearean. Decades of identities interwoven, children raised and gone, hardships overcome together, finances indistinct and no longerBandido Chef clearly claimed by either spouse, and the sheer numbers of memories, all weave together in a way guaranteed to let no one walk away unwounded or unchanged. The ripping of two souls once bonded together will always leave scars on both sides.

For me, the true hell was the memories.It was like being bombed repeatedly by your own country. I was being wounded by friendly fire.

What does one do with the billions of memories you’ve collected all those years together? In my case, each sparkly memory of happy times with the man I loved tormented me incessantly for a whole year after I left him. Day or night, awake or asleep, they would be right there to haunt me.

Memories that had once faded into rather shadowy collections of a life of happiness and contentment had suddenly become sharply in focus, so unexpectedly dangerous, and razor sharp in the realization that they would never mean what they once did to me ever again. Even the simplest of those sweet memories had instantly become a shard of broken glass, and my own mind cut my heart into ribbons for what had seemed an eternity.

Memories that had been stored and quite literally forgotten about for years would leap out at the most unexpected of moments, disfigured by his

Get it? Bird and Chef!!!
Get it? Bird and Chef!!!

betrayal, mocking in their insincerity, and more powerful than any knife or gun in their ability to wound me. It was a horrible place to be in my life. Memories of moments we had shared, deeply intimate and once supremely treasured, would instantly cruelly shift, and my mind would see Chef sharing that same moment with this new woman he was in love with now. I often feared I’d eventually lose my mind.

I had no refuge from all those supposedly benign, happy memories. There simply were too many, and I was tormented by their existence and Initial Set Up 12-8-2011 9-16-48 PMtheir ability to cast any other woman in my place without any interruption at all in Chef’s life. I hated each one of those cursed memories of loving my husband, but they were a part of me, connected to my children, part of my understandings about this life, and I often cried myself to sleep, begging God to make them stop. And even as I wept those prayers, the understanding of why He would never take them away from me despite the pain, would often bring me to the brink of pure despair.

I have often pondered about the role that time plays in the healing of wounds that cut so deep in the souls of people. What was it that time was able to work in my broken, sad heart that made those memories stop slicing me open? Why was time able to help me to stop crying for the beloved past? How did time change those angry, accusing memories back into soft clouds of a past now gone? And was it time that stopped allowing me cast Chef’s latest conquest into the scenes from my life?

Is time magical? I don’t think so. I think it is more of an ingredient. Time is necessary to create new memories. Time is needed to adjust to a new perspective. You simply must have time in order to have new conversations with new people. After the forest of memories burned down, time allowed new hopes to spring up, and time rained on some of my hopes, and they grew healthy and strong into trees of goals and accomplishments. Time allowed me to find faith in myself again, and to get to know who I was after all of this had changed me.

burning the bridgeLife takes time.

I realize now, over the last few years, I’ve made new memories. The kids and I can fondly recall our ghetto apartment, our crazy experience

Everyone Has A Story...
Everyone Has A Story…

renting a room in someone’s house, and other memories unique to our lives as they are now, separated from Chef’s life.

My life quietly gathered into it, new people, new conversations, new boundaries, new memories. I have new hopes growing where others died the day my marriage died. I have different expectations from my life, and I understand myself and others a little better having experienced this. There is a sense of durability that only time could have tested to me now, and the resilience can no longer be questioned. Time has proven I can survive, even when I don’t really want to.

My memories have stopped haunting me, mainly because my mind has so many new ones to focus on now. The trauma isn’t fresh anymore, and increasingly, I find there is nothing more to be gleaned from revisiting that sad wreckage of a marriage that was no greater or lesser than any others, and died in a sadly common way as well. Time has doggedly marched on, and with it, so have I.

Lately, I’ve been able to gently allow those once dangerous memories of love lost to gently take focus in my mind, not instantly slamming doors on them like I’ve been doing these last two years. Like the gentle exploration of a healing cut, I am quick to pull away from anything too painful. Yet, I find lately that some of the most devastating of memories now hold none of the destructive power they did a mere year ago. They’ve all begun to recede from the reality of my life now, no longer magically able to convince me of a life of perfection, but also no longer able to cut me to the quick with their existence.

for fire-blushTime has allowed my life to return to a balanced state. Hope is powerful to those who have known disappointment as well. Love is better for those who have experienced hate. Kindness means more to those who have experienced disregard. Trust has a new value to me, having seen it balanced against betrayal of the most intimate kind.  Life is about striking a balance, and time is an ingredient necessary.

I have had a few things happen lately that I eventually plan to write about, but I’m still trying to sort through what I really feel about them. I believe I am about to lay the last of my history with Chef aside, severing the last real ties I have with that relationship and the life I had with him forever. I have found it surprisingly hard to let this last vestige go, but I feel the time has finally come. No one can live peacefully with one foot planted firmly in the past. It is time to let it all go.

~ Bird