Sisterhood and Bravery

This week has been so different from how I’d planned it. After all, a week with no children and no work is a rare occurrence, so I was imagining between my plans and the plans with my lover, it would be a week of relaxation and bliss.

Instead, it’s been a week of processing and grieving. The silver lining is it was a week free from my usual responsibilities, so I was able to attend to my own emotional and physical needs.

That punched-in-the-stomach shock and grief has softened to an ache, although the anger is still strong. I’ve had time to look back over 15 months and place conversations and interactions into context and it makes me want to smash things. I’ve also realized that beneath all of that there is a thread of shame…how did I not see the truth? Why did I believe excuses and misdirection? How could he not love me? Was I not worthy of love? Did I not inspire love? The trigger effect of finding out the truth shook me. All the insecurities and fears I’ve struggled with for over a decade reared their ugly heads and I immediately called a therapist and made an appointment, because I had brief thoughts of “I can’t do this again. I can’t deal with this pain. I’m not strong enough.”

Fuck. That.

I CAN do this. I have to get through the heartbreak and anger and to the other side, but I refuse to let this leave me emotionally devastated and feeling like I did something wrong by falling in love with someone.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty I can take away from this. It’s the same basic message–trust my instincts. Don’t allow red flags to be explained away, rationalized or covered up. Speak my truth, even if it means giving up something I desire.

I’m brave and strong. It takes courage to love someone and not everyone is capable of it. I loved and I expressed that love, bravely and honestly. Instead of feeling shame that I loved someone and it didn’t work out (again), at least I took the risk of loving. I took the risk of being vulnerable. I opened myself up and I WILL NOT take on the guilt of his actions by thinking they somehow reflect on my worth. That’s on him.

I know he cared for me. I wish he hadn’t made the choices he did. But those are about him, not me. I will miss him like hell, no matter how angry I am, but one of the things that I believed about our relationship, that it was honest and open, wasn’t true. Trust is broken and trust was very much something that was required to make things work the way they did. This is the first time, ever, that a relationship has ended and I feel no compulsion to go back to him or try to make it work. Not because I don’t still love him. Not because I don’t think about him or miss him. But because the discovery crumbled the foundation and broke what was special.

And this week…thank god for the women in my life. My mother, who talked me through some of the pain and has continued to be there for me all week. My best friend, who listened to me stumble through the story, spilling out my sadness and rage without ever once saying “I told you so” and who made me laugh at the ludicrousness of the situation. My dear sister-in-law who said all the right things.  Other female friends who were angry along with me and muttered curses on aspects of his physical being that made me laugh through my tears. All of the women in my life who had my back and were a support to me this week as I struggled my way through the worst of it, who wrapped the mantle of sisterhood around me and helped to prop me up. They knew the things to say that none of the guys in my life–father, brother, friends–would know to say.

Thank you for being my sisters. Thank you for being part of my life.

Tonight my children come home and tomorrow I go back to work. This week of crying as I needed to and being able to take care of myself will allow me to put on a brave face and face life as I return to my normal schedule and responsibilities. I know in time this pain will continue to ease. I know eventually I’ll be able to forgive him and move on, hopefully finding someone new when I’m ready.

Because I’m brave enough and strong enough to be willing to love and risk and be vulnerable, even after heartbreak.

 

 

 

 

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