Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

8-25-18 And the rings are OFF — August 25, 2018

8-25-18 And the rings are OFF

Last night the rings came off.

When you think you’ve been happy for most of your thirty-four years together, only to find that the husband that left you is calling himself “finally happy” it’s more of a slap in the face than if you’d been physically assaulted.  To me, this has all been like a death.  Worse than a death, really.  And it has me questioning everything.  All the times he said “I love you”… all the cards professing undying love and how we were soul mates… how could I have believed it all for so long and thought it was real?  It seemed real.  But then how can it change so quickly and be as if it never happened?  And how can I ever trust anyone again after a betrayal like this?

Nobody wants to get old, but I always thought getting old with your best friend would be fine.  All the shared stories, shared memories… it’s part of what makes you happy with someone and able to smile.  Facing the world together, I thought that meant you could conquer anything.  Knowing that there is one person that understands you and has your back is huge.  Apparently I was wrong.

So, as much as I thought that a few weeks ago was my “new normal”, last night truly marked my new normal.  Because now I see it really was all a lie and this is truly the end and the beginning.  The indentation on my finger will be a constant reminder of the death of a marriage and the end of life as I knew it.

So how do I move on from this?  Unlike one who is “finally happy” I am faced with the uncertainty of whether I will be able to stay in the home I love and whether I will be able to keep the animals I love.  I have already given up some of them, including my beloved chickens.  Who knew that giving up the chickens would be like a little death inside?  I don’t know what the future holds.  I know that this kind of stress is not good for anyone, so I need to try to get on with life.  At the moment that seems like a very tall order.



08-20-18 Despair — August 20, 2018

08-20-18 Despair

I remember watching an episode of “Everybody loves Raymond” where Deborah wanted to be alone to have a good cry. The premise was that this was a good thing… a release. I’ve heard others say they felt better after a good cry. To me, “good cry” is an oxymoron. I have never felt better after crying.

My current situation, as I have been told by a good friend, is a “process” and very much ongoing and changeable. Truer words were never spoken. I have days – sometimes several at a stretch – where I feel good about things. I can do this. I will end up better off when all is said and done.

Then there are the days when I burst into tears out of the blue and feel like my life is just such a mess and will never be normal again. The despair that hits me is like a big, dark cloud that covers me from head to toe and threatens to blot out all light and swallow me into the darkness. And back to the “good cry” – it doesn’t exist for me. The more I cry, the worse I feel. Not only does it put me into a horrible place emotionally, it physically drains me. I feel like I could just curl up in a ball and do nothing but wallow in self-pity. The puffy eyes and blotchy face and inability to breathe don’t exactly help matters.

How to escape the pit of helplessness? I will check my ever-present list of things to do and then busy myself. I got so much done last week when I was feeling like “I got this!” If I get anything done today it will be because “I DON’T got this!” But I can get something accomplished anyway, and hopefully take my mind away from the black fears that are blotting out the light. Maybe by the time I am done with the first task, the light will come flooding back and along with it the hope that things will work out. Not just the hope, but the certainty that things will work out and everything will be okay.

Then I will go out and look at the mountain and marvel at the world God made for us. I will see and hear the birds outside and smile at the beauty all around. And I will thank Him for all the good things, and ask Him to help me get through all this and to the other side.  And I will go find my dog, buried under the covers of my bed, blissfully happy and dreaming doggy dreams, and I will hug him and tell him I love him, just to see his tail wag and the look of joy on his face.  And I will be okay.


The New Normal — August 15, 2018

The New Normal

I just finished mowing the lawn.  I thought the saying was “third time’s the charm.”  Well this was the third time, and I was just as nervous and shaky as the first two times.  It’s a riding mower.  Isn’t that supposed to be easy?  So why do I get so scared on the hilly bits – and there are a lot of those – and why do I feel like I’ve run a marathon when I’m done?  Not that I’ve ever run a marathon or would run a marathon, but it’s how I imagine one would feel.  The irony that I’ve protected my skin from the sun for most of my sixty-two years only to be forced into the sun to mow the lawn is not lost on me.

This is the new normal.  It’s what happens when a marriage dies.  Thirty-four years together and I always thought that it was forever, till we were old – ok, older – and gray – ok, grayer.  A month ago I never imagined this.  And that is how quickly a new normal can come to be.

So now it’s mowing lawns and trying to remember what shuts off the water should something blow and getting used to being alone at night.  The last is the easiest, except for the quick terror when the dog looks at the window when it’s pitch black outside and growls and barks like he’s seen the devil out there.  Lots of outside lights and a gun erase that momentary panic fairly quickly, though.  Other than that, being alone is not so bad when you don’t mind your own company, and I don’t.  I’ve never been one to be bored either, and in fact could never understand how anyone could ever say they are bored.  I feel I have never had enough time, and still feel that way.  So many things to do that I already know I love, and even more to try.  The worst thing of this new normal is the fear of what the future holds.  Or more precisely, not knowing what the future holds.  Clearly that was an illusion all these years anyway, so what has really changed?

It would be easy to just curl up in a ball and give in to feelings of despair.  And there were times initially, when I was alone, that just a quick thought of what was happening would make me cry.  But you know, despair is overrated.  Fine to cry and carry on for brief spells when you just can’t do otherwise, but I think despair just makes you more miserable.  So I’ve been forcing myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone.  A visit to the senior center just to meet a few people and see what it was like.  Applying for a job (it’s been thirty-four years).  Using an ATM for the first time EVER.  A road trip to pick up a couple of birds.  I know – none of these are earth-shattering accomplishments, but every time I force myself to do something out of my comfort zone it is an accomplishment.  Setting small goals and actually doing them does wonders for your self-esteem and self-confidence.  I used to be fierce, oh so many years ago, and I want some of that back.  I need it back.  And I’m getting it back.

The biggest goal now is to try to stay here.  I am a homebody.  I love my home, my pets, my stuff.  I have lived here for almost thirty-three years, and I love this spot.  It’s peaceful, quiet, and beautiful.  Right now I don’t know if I will be able to stay or not, but I know I can make it through till spring, and after that I will reassess my options.  A lot can happen in the coming months.  Who knows what may come from this new normal of mine.

I was reminded this morning of an article I read once.  They did studies and found that when you are happy, a smile is automatic due to your brain.  I believe it was that the chemicals released by your brain when you are happy just trigger the smile.  Something like that.  The point of the article was that it also works the other way.  If you plaster a smile on your face – whether you are feeling it or not – that will tell your brain that you are happy.  If your brain thinks you’re happy, those same chemicals will be released and then you WILL be happy!  How perfect is that?  The old “fake it till you make it” has a real basis in science.  So I’m vowing to be more aware of my expression, and wear a smile as often as possible.  Besides, it’s a great fashion accessory and it’s cheap.  And it goes with everything.


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