You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.
I am so exhausted but this is one of those nights where I won’t sleep if I don’t write it out. So I’m sitting here in my pajamas with wet hair and a plate of nachos. Because nachos are the perfect comfort food – crunchy, salty, cheesy & easy to make. I’ll admit it – I’ve had a rough few days. A fact that pisses me off because it’s the beginning of a new year and this year JUST HAS TO be better than the last one (which won’t be hard to do). I know it will be. Like I said though, a rough couple of days.
It’s one thing to accept the fact that your selfish, manipulative husband has lied to you and cheated on you. You will probably even feel an immense sense of freedom when he announces (over the phone) that he’s filing for divorce. Sure, you’ll cry and go through the stages of grief on a regular basis, but you’ll know in your heart that this needs to end. This will further be confirmed when he shows up at your apartment five days later, sans wedding ring, and announces that TODAY is the day he is going to remove you from the joint bank account and the cell phone plan, and switch all of the utility bills to your name. Oh and don’t worry, he’s already opened up his own bank account and transferred money to it. Once you (barely) survive that day, you’ll spend a few weeks in various stages of denial (“I must be dreaming”) and panic (“Where the fuck am I going to live?!?!”). Once you’ve calmed down and received plenty of support from friends and loved ones, you’ll eventually figure things out and life will slowly start to sweeten. You’ll move to a kickass apartment, get a raise at work, and finally experience relief for the first time in a long time. You’ll read more books than you can count, drink a lot of cheap wine, and re-discover your love for hustling grown men at pool halls, dancing all night, and laughing throughout an entire day. You’ll spend nights journaling and having life-altering conversations with beloved friends. People will tell you – on an almost daily basis – that “you seem like you again” and your soul will agree with them. You will throw yourself into friendships and relationships with family and into rediscovering who you are and what you want to do. You’ll eventually get used to spending money on something you want – with money you’ve earned – and not instantly feel guilty. You’ll start to enjoy going out for drinks with responsible people, because for the first time in what feels like forever you don’t have to worry that you’ll end up carrying him out of the bar, covered in puke for the millionth time, or fighting over the car keys because he still thinks he can drive even though he can barely stand up. You’ll even almost forget what it feels like to be called a “fucking bitch” and cry yourself to sleep. You’ll get counseling and continue your beloved journey of putting the pieces of your life back together just the way you want them. You’ll celebrate with friends when you get the news that the state of California has finally finished taking its sweet-ass time and your divorce is finally official – just in time for the start of a new year.
And it’s another thing entirely when the VERY NEXT DAY, pictures of him and the “woman” he cheated on you with start showing up on social media. You’ll find that hidden “glutton for punishment” button in your subconscious and you’ll push it. When that happens, you’ll discover that he took her home at Christmas. It’ll be confirmed that yes they do work together and that means you’ve met her. It means she knew he was married. You’ll see pictures from UCLA football games and days at the beach. He’ll look startling sober in all of the pictures and you’ll start to think you got the worst version of him and she’ll get the best. You’ll forget the misery that was your married life and wonder what you ever did in a previous life to be deserving of such jackassery. You’ll wonder why he gets to look SO happy & you’ll be annoyed to all hell that he thinks he has gotten away with this big secret. You’ll cry and pout and scream and feel sorry for yourself and think “fuck you” in your head when everyone who loves you tries to put this into perspective. You’ll think FUCK PERSPECTIVE, I JUST DON’T WANT TO BE THE PERSON WHO MARRIED THE ASSHOLE GUY AND GETS LEFT FOR THE SECRETARY BECAUSE NOT ONLY IS THAT DEPRESSING IT’S NOT EVEN ORIGINAL – IT’S CLICHÉ AS FUCK. And you’ll dream up all the things you’ll say to her if you ever run into them (which will, of course, be at 9 pm on a Friday night at a grocery store when you are wearing your oldest pair of sweatpants because its laundry day and you just got out of the shower. You’ll actually be shopping because you are a planner and the ONLY good time to shop at Trader Joe’s is 9 pm on a Friday night, but they’ll be running in to grab a bottle of champagne for the super fantastic party they are on their way to). As awful as this scenario is, you’ll filter through your options should this actually occur:
1. Be calm and pretend like you don’t see them.
2. RUN AWAY.
3. Stare calmly into her soulless eyes and say something bitchy like “Nice to finally meet you. Tell me – do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you think about the fact that when you started dating him he was still married to me? I mean, that must just make you feel like a winner.”
At which point they will both be entirely uncomfortable and you’ll saunter away completely unfazed. (The actual statement will be negotiable up until the very last second, with other options being: “Hope you’re enjoying my sloppy seconds”, something that eludes to his poor love-making skills, or the most truthful “you can have him” or “you two deserve each other”.)
Being confronted with these pictures – the photographic proof of what you were only previously 98% sure of – will have you playing out this scenario a thousand times in your head, on a constant loop. Until you eventually realize that you would never really do or say any of those things because at the end of the day, 1) you are striving to be a better person than that, and 2) you are the real winner here. She can have the alcoholic cheater and he can continue to jump from relationship to relationship as to avoid: a) Any real growth; b) Any real pain; c) His own demons and insecurities; or (the correct answer) d) All of the above. You are left with all of the best things – freedom, real honest-to-goodness relationships with loving and kind people, and an opportunity for a much brighter future. You get to date – for the first time in “like, ever” – and be as picky as you want. You know that you won’t settle for anything less than what you deserve, and you’ll be in no rush to find it. You are constantly in awe of the quality of life you get to live now and you’ll remember to say Thank You often. You’ll go back to living this insanely wonderful life and enjoying your ridiculously rewarding job everyday. You’ll be a better friend and sister and daughter and someday a wife and a mother. You will get everything you’ve ever wanted and more than you’ve ever deserved.
And it will be EPIC.