Juxtaposition

juxtaposition

A noun. A noun that is defined as “1) an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”

Two years ago today, I began to find out that my life was a juxtaposition. Two years ago today, I got an anonymous email from someone I consider a hero who began to pull the edges off the covering that would reveal that side-by-side to my life as I knew it there was another life.

Two years ago today, I began to have a glimpse of the (current) woman who had been placed together, side-by-side to my life and my marriage that I had no idea existed. A woman that HUSBAND used for comparison or contrast and she knew it but I didn’t.

I can remember that life before knowing, but the memory is fading. I can remember that my marriage wasn’t perfect, but that it was not bad either, and that I thought it was for the long run despite challenges and dark moments along the way – actually believing we had weathered the worst. I can remember that I thought there were lots of good things about HUSBAND – fabulous cook. Even keeled (okay, at that point he was completely detached and unemotional but I rationalized that it was even keeled). Hard worker. Always returns things in better condition than he found them. Adventurous and would always take care of the cars and cheer for the same college team that I did and was gracious to my family and friends. And we had 27 years of marriage history, four amazing children, a beautiful home, a life together. Yes, we were together for the long run and any yearnings my heart had I just stuffed away because obviously they were just the things of fairy tales and youth and dreams. We had life, together, and it was good.

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I can remember walking up that specific morning…my daughter was in town and she took me off to a barre class first thing in the morning – my first one…so that day already held special meaning for me, and is memorialized with an instagram post. Then a few simple hours later, I got another first when I read the email. I will never forget where I was standing or what I was wearing or what I was thinking when I handed HUSBAND the printed out copy of the absurd anonymous email from ‘Sid Breeze’ and he told me it was true. That split second, that instant began to reveal that my life was a juxtaposition and that there was someone close together that I knew nothing about.

These two years have been the journey of me extricating the two lives and looking at both of them with brutal honesty. Of dusting off memories and ideas and thoughts and understanding the comparison of what I thought and what also was. But there is also what he thought and what was. And I can see that our life together was a juxtaposition in itself…that we lived a life together, married, yet saw things differently and just assumed the other saw it the same. Our healing journey has required that we face these things individually, and then intentionally, together, write the story of our new marriage. The story in which there is no juxtaposition because we are one.

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A challenge in the process is the other juxtaposition. The one of the wife and the Other Woman, who off and on during my marriage, also lived side-by-side. The juxtaposition of the wife and the other woman. Living side-by-side but oh, so different in nature and method. That one is moving slowly…and in fits and spurts…and is a story for another post.

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Grateful

It is Friday.  I’m grateful. I’m not exactly sure why since I’m overloaded at work and have to meet someone tomorrow at 9 am to try to catch up. But I am, grateful. It is Friday.

HUSBAND just went to make me a cup of coffee. Coffee first thing in the morning, while it is still dark out and I’m sitting up in bed blogging…I am grateful.

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Beautiful blooms all around as I drive to work…in the trees…on the ground…in the bushes. I am grateful.

My darling little hoffice (in a renovated duplex, so much more than just an office) that I was moving into when DDay occurred…a respite from all things shitty…I am grateful.

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4 strong, beautiful children each forging their own distinct ways, making time to connect with me. I am so utterly grateful. Despite all that my screwed up marriage did to screw them up…they are whole, and full of life. Did I mention I was grateful?

God, breathing life into me so gently. Waiting for me to understand and patiently caring for me even when I denied Him, pushed Him away, called Him all kinds of profane names but He never did leave, or forsake me. I am grateful.

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The community of bloggers. I am grateful. A place I can vent or ruminate or dream or complain or wish or cry out or try on or reveal and I am heard. I am incredibly grateful.

The sisterhood (and brotherhood) of the betrayed. A group I have been part of for so long, but just recently discovered…amazing, strong, brave people who show every moment of every day that they have courage, compassion, insight and are supportive in our individual journeys. I AM GRATEFUL.

And the scars. Beginning now to heal over, still breaking open in new places but each time, purging the infection of pain and bringing the promise of new skin – soft, pure. I am grateful.

Scars

Faces…of Betrayal

Who is she, the betrayed? It never really mattered to me before. It was never more than a passing moment of surprise, or I’m not surprised. It used to be I thought maybe they’d brought it on themselves, or were the cause of the wandering because they were too demanding. Too controlling. Too harsh. Too weak. Too (fill in the blank). Or maybe there were not loving. Not supportive. Not fun. Not sexually willing. Not (fill in the blank).

HerFault

But it wasn’t me, or my kind.

It wasn’t women who were smart and engaged and read books and prayed and went to counseling and talked openly about relationship and were willing to try things in bed. Women who carried the load when other’s in the family couldn’t and always got the laundry done and made sure the family had matching clothes on Easter and Christmas Eve pajamas. Women who made time to talk to their husbands and cared how they looked and ran companies and volunteered with their husbands and invited people into their home for family Bible studies. Women who opened their home to long-term visitors from countries all over the world and invited elderly parents to move in and got comments from people over and over about how great their marriage was. Women who’d had the opportunity to consort with men during their marriage and yet would never have dreamed of doing so. Women who believed that love was not just a feeling, but a choice and a decision and were committed to it for the long haul.

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No, it wasn’t me, or my kind.

I remember reading stories online or hearing a snippet on tv about women whose husbands had been found to be living double lives and thinking – how dumb is SHE? How could that EVER HAPPEN…she must have ignored the signs. Because it couldn’t be me, or my kind. We would know, we would have seen, we would not have stood for that.

But it was me. I am the face of betrayal.

I look around at the faces of the women of betrayal that this scourge has opened my eyes to. I see lovely young faces. Old, wrinkled faces. I see dark skin and light skin and mulatto skin. I see women from all nations and all faiths. I see bone thin women and large women. I see stay-at-home-moms and working moms and business owners and non-profit leaders. I see women in the lines of local and state agencies, and women serving those women. I see me, and I am so incredibly humbled.

The faces of betrayal. They are all of us. And they are beautiful, oh so beautiful.

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The Important Becomes the Necessary.

We go along and live life. Seems like nearly everyone I know never has enough time to….to….we each can fill in that blank with the things we never have enough time to…as we juggle all that we have to do.

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Meanwhile, we spend our days doing the Necessary while wishing we could spend our days doing the Important. We do work and do carpool and do grocery shopping and do meals and do homework and do and do and do. We convince ourselves that tomorrow, TOMORROW, we will have a special conversation with our friend, or make the phone call to our family member, curl up – no agenda – with our child, read a book just to read a book, or set aside time to really work out touchy issues with our spouse rather than just gloss over them with unfinished sentences or frustrated actions.

Yet the darkness falls on the day and we finish up all those Necessary things and before we know it, another day has passed without demanding the space in our lives for the Important…but…tomorrow…

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Yet in One Moment, sometimes life changes that.

The One Moment when the phone rings and the voice on the other end is speaking words that you hear but don’t really understand yet you move into action as you grab your phone and your purse and your car keys and holler at those around you that your child has been in an accident and you’re leaving (work/home/church/friend/family member) right then and you’re not sure when you will be back, leaving WHATEVER Necessary behind undone for however long – hours. Days. Weeks.

The One Moment when the hospice nurse says the time is imminent for your beloved parent to die and suddenly there is nowhere and nothing else that can pry you away from the bedside even though the imminence turns into one day and a second day and a third day and a fourth day and Necessary somehow gets forgotten.

The One Moment when I found a letter from HUSBAND’s lover that revealed my life was not really my life and that there was a whole different life being lived alongside the life I thought I was living, right there, in my home, in my bed. The world stopped and suddenly I couldn’t even remember Necessary.

I stopped right then. Right there.

That One Moment, without me even seeing it or figuring it out or making plans, the Important became the Necessary. I have no idea how, but in that One Moment, taking care of me and my precious children and dealing with the shattered life and HUSBAND were all that mattered, and all that I saw or did. Those things that I would always get to tomorrow became the ONLY THING that I would get to today.

I had no idea prior to that One Moment that the next days and weeks and months of my life would be filled with counseling sessions and intensives and Marriage Weekends. I never imagined the days would include long sessions of holding children and sharing newfound truths and putting pieces together. I had no idea that the rest of my life would include support groups and daily readings and coaching sessions.

In One Moment, everything I knew about my life past and life future changed including how I measured Necessary and Important.

I would have told you no way. NO WAY did I have any interest, or even if I did, the TIME to make the Important the Necessary. Honestly, I wouldn’t even have been able to tell you some of the Important that WAS Important because I had so convinced myself that I could NOT pay attention to it so I buried it under the Necessary. But I did. I DID.

I like that the Important has become the Necessary, now. I like that the heart of those I love is more essential in my world than the dust bunnies in my living room. I like that the soul of my family is more prioritized than the meeting that I actually can skip since I realize there are other voices that can carry a message – sometimes better than I had perceived my message was to be. I like that HUSBAND and his spirit take precedence over being on another committee or heading up another project – even if it is a good political move for my business. And somehow, now that it has all switched around, the Necessary usually gets done anyway, although I could never see the way before. It’s a puzzle, but one I am okay not fully understanding.

For me, life determining the Important was really now the Necessary…it was shocking and painful and blindsiding…but perhaps it ultimately created a better path for the future I wanted.

Path