March 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
I turned 29 on Tuesday, the most worthless day of the week, and of course it was a gray, threatening rain kind-of day because you can’t win them all and sometimes adding another year to your life isn’t about celebration and sunshine but about growth and personal development.
I’ve had this feeling that something has been coming, something I didn’t know the answers to, but something nonetheless that my subconscious has been working overtime to sort out. I woke up on my birthday feeling melancholy and morose and not exactly sure what was eating me but definitely pained by something. 50-some facebook notifications of family, friends, and acquaintances wishing me the happiest of days and…nothing. Just leave me alone until I figure this out, you’re not making this better.
I really wanted to put the blame on my mom who had spent the better part of the last week throwing the most elaborate of too late temper tantrums over my brother’s life-changing move across the state that she decided at the last moment she wasn’t prepared to accept. I somehow ended up being punished for his life choices by the simple fact that I wasn’t taking her side. Really put a damper on things, I thought. And it didn’t matter that I didn’t want to see her on my birthday (boundaries, space, etc) when she asked if they could celebrate with me on Friday. What a slight. Surely, this was the cause of my birthday malaise.
But no, truthfully, everything with my mom was commonplace and expected. Nothing new, in other words. The glum was coming from somewhere bigger, something determined to surface and claim territory in the landscape of Things I Have Resolved.
I don’t really know what to say next except that I found myself in a movie theater, watching Silver Linings Playbook and fighting back tears. Oh, there it is. This man, so broken, has lost everything and as much as he’s trying to make things better, he’s standing in his own way and at times, making them worse. And then enters this woman into his life. At first you think that she is just there to help him, that she’s saving him and he needs her to better his life, but by the end, you realize, he was saving her, too. She needed him.
It was like watching an allegory of my life. Sometimes the symbolism was heavy-handed (infidelity, restraining orders, helping, saving), and other times, it was just an emotional parallel. But, my god, I was missing that end part this whole time.
Last week my therapist was asking me about unfinished business from our lives before the kids moved and we moved. I was describing the loneliness, the pain, the utter despondence that came as a result of rolling up my sleeves and helping my husband dig himself out of the hole he was stuck in, and she asked me if I resented him for it.
I mean, really, absolutely not. Do I resent him for needing help? For being the one to help him? No, not even a little. How could I? Do I resent him for benefitting from that help now and getting to chase his dreams while I work hard at a job I don’t really like in order to support him, me, his kids? Sure, but—wait what?
I guess that unspoken grudge was growing and festering and I had no idea.
I have a million reasons to let myself be resentful. Up until 6 o’clock on Tuesday, I still thought that I was the one doing all the saving and for as long as I held onto that idea, this notion has silently grown that I am owed something, maybe not something overtly from him, or maybe something definitely overtly from him, hell, maybe something karmic at the very least. Just, come on, I SAVED you. Why do you get to be the only one to reap all the benefits? When does it ever get to be about me??, screamed my selfish subconscious.
This movie though, THIS MOVIE. He saved me. I thought I was saving him, but he was saving me, too.
All the parts I like about myself, literally all my very best parts, would not exist had I not met my husband and gone through hell for and with him. I would have continued to be this lost, self-absorbed but well-meaning asshole with no purpose in life but to careen from one failure to another. There would have been nothing to force me to grow into the (let’s face it) incredible, strong, albeit bumbling, woman I am today.
Do I resent him, the life I have because of him? No.
He saved me.