When people hear the story of my marriage and divorce, they often remark on how healthy I seem. I’m not bitter toward my former husband- in fact, when I do think about him, I often consider the gifts he continues to offer the world. I make self deprecating jokes, I expound on the joys of being reintroduced to singleness.
But I will also correct my surprised audience because I’m really still just as messed up as everyone else. Maybe the willingness to forgive and be transparent about my faults is a sign of maturity I will own to, but it doesn’t mean I’ve leveled up.
What I mean to say is that when my former spouse was still my future ex husband, I was struggling under the weight of all kinds of neurosis. I got them the same way everyone does, in childhood. A difficult marriage may strengthen old triggers, but those triggers formed on the playground of youth, in the hallways of old houses with my feet sunk into orange shag carpeting….
Etched into my brain are lies about my identity and those are the phrases and ideas which led me toward marriage to a man who wasn’t right for me.
Either way, I’m no victim.
You know how we tend to remember insults better than compliments? We mistrust people who like us whole heartedly when they first meet us and we are drawn to people who edge away when they see us coming.
Maybe it’s just me. But those were the electric chairs I sentenced myself to in the past.
My point is, many tragedies that occur in our lives are really just echoes of earlier betrayals. The only person I can blame is myself and yet the older I get, the more I’m learning to forgive me. And I do forgive myself. I forgive me for believing I wasn’t worth love, for believing any shabby display of affection was better than the rejection I felt was inevitable.
Long ago I forgave my parents and my ex, and those two girls who followed me home from school once like verbal vultures, feeding off of my panic and fear. And now I forgive myself for letting them name me, for giving them the key to rooms in which they never wished to enter. I forgive myself for the thousands of insults I’ve spoken in my ear while fixing my makeup in the morning and while eating too much dinner at night.
I’ve decided to get really down and dirty honest here on my blog and I want to start with this as an open letter of apology to myself.
I repent of all the ways I’ve betrayed the life God has given, and I entrust those broken things to his hands.
I think this is a pretty good way to end a year and get ready for the next.
So cheers. And Happy New Year, my friends and fellow travelers.