Hello? This is your life! Is anybody home?
Last summer, so many things happened that started an avalanche of wake-up calls that my life maybe wasn’t so peachy keen.
Event 1 – My sister-in-law left my brother. Admitted she had a boyfriend and wanted to go live with him. So she did – and still is.
Why is that a big deal? Marriages fall apart all the time. But not this one. I had always assumed they had the perfect life that I envied. They were so lovey-dovey to each other, lavished gifts on each other, went on several great family vacations with their 2 kids each year. Had a nice big house, where they often had parties and friends over. But it was all fake – according to her she had been in love with this other man forever. My brother never had any idea, and he was completely broken and shattered by her news. And at 6 ft 3, there were a LOT of pieces for us to help him pick up. I wrote facebook entries and poems about broken hearts daily for a while.
Event 2 – My ex-boyfriend from high school, the one that came back to find me and declare his love to find I had an engagement ring already, contacted me out of the blue after a decade of no communication whatsoever.
He saw my facebook comments and thought I was the one with a broken heart. He was worried about me. (And him being still single, I think hoping to rekindle an old flame) I of course still have some tender feelings for him, and it was great to re-connect and catch up. We never met, only a few facebook chats. It felt so great to have his attention, that I realized I didn’t have any. (What – you want to know how I feel??) And he says he wasn’t trying to hook up with me, but the timing is awful fishy, and besides, it makes me feel good to think otherwise. But wow how my heart would race waiting for him to respond, it was so exciting to feel wanted again. Wait – I didn’t know I didn’t feel wanted until I felt wanted – confused?
Event 3 – My oldest brother had a nervous breakdown and was sounding suicidal to me. I shared my concern with my mom, telling her I thought my brother sounded like me when I did it. She was Shocked! Apparently, my husband never told my family, or even a doctor, about my suicide attempts. I was so deep in depression, that I barely recall the year that I was asked to resign my teaching job for missing too many days, and then tried to take my life to erase the failure. Now I was shocked. I thought everyone knew all these years.
It started many many long talks with hubby about exactly what happened over the years.
Event 4 – Directly related to event 3, I confronted my husband in a way I never had before. I suddenly felt powerful. I wanted to know why he didn’t take care of me. I was deeply hurt. My view of him as my savior, and having to deal with my depression and emotional issues was toppled. He said he didn’t know what to do, so he didn’t do anything. Didn’t tell anyone, not a soul, just swept it under the rug.
I’m still not sure I have forgiven him for what appears to be callous indifference. I asked him why he didn’t take me to a hospital the day I took all those sleeping pills and washed it down with whiskey. He said he was so used to me “just laying around” or not coming to dinner that he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. He didn’t even know about my attempt until I told him the next day, when I woke up eventually – miraculously. How long had I been suffering at that level and he was ok with it?
Event 5 – Also directly related to event 3, I shared my experience of suicide attempts with my brother, and also finally told him details of how our dad abused me. He shared his own emotional abuse by my dad with me. We connected our souls that night and became allies and developed plans for supporting each other.
We shared our issues with trust, intimacy, friendships, perfectionism, anxiety.
Event 6 – I accepted a position as a board member for a non-profit group promoting fine arts in the area. We perform music/dance at local festivals, coordinate music/art/dance events, and generally support each other creatively.
I found out I am not shy. At all! I love to perform. I love to be in the spotlight. Everyone who knew me previously (husband, mother in law) was surprised, they had always known me as quiet and shy. Not my mom. She just encouraged me to get out there, she knew I still had spark in me. Everyone in this arts group knows me as funny, happy, joyous, and talented. Perhaps a bit cheeky too. The real me exploded out as soon as I gave me a chance.