Every now and then I catch up with someone who hasn’t heard my back story of woe.
So I tell it to them.
There’s a little less vitriol every time.
Last night, I basically acted as apologist for my ex-husband the whole way through the tale.
There’s still a slender – white hot – rod of anger inside me about what happened, but basically I’m at the point where I realise what went wrong and why. And I know we both played our own parts in our relationship’s demise.
I will never get over the way my ex-husband chose to deal with the situation, but that’s his cross to bear (though I suspect his coping mechanism is to not think about it).
My companion last night was much more upset about my situation than me.
I’m on the upswing about it all.
I am so grateful to be happy. I’m not grateful to be starting all over again financially and keeping a household afloat alone, but I’m very, very smiley about the other stuff.
I catch people looking at me strangely in the street because I’m grinning so hard. I wonder if they think I’m loopy. I’m also slightly nervous they’ll turn violent after reading a news story last year about some bitter nutjob who attacked a woman for looking too happy.
But mainly I’m blissed out to be grinning so much.
I’d forgotten what happy felt like during the last few years of my marriage.
Quite. Literally. Forgotten.
I was very good at pretending to be high functioning and lively, but underneath I was struggling to keep myself afloat.
Now the only thing I struggle to do is keep my house clean and pay my credit card bill.
It’s not all laughter and roses. PMT is still a bit of a bitch.
My confidence is easily rattled.
But I’m no longer afraid of allowing myself to feel.
I was literally terrified of opening myself up to new experiences or excitement or joy.
I’d need a psychologist to explain what the hell that was all about, because I don’t really understand. I think it was some sort of desperate attempt to hold myself together when I was falling apart.
It’s lovely not to be struggling with that any more.
I really want anyone who IS feeling like that to know that you can overcome that horrible fist of misery in your chest.
I wrote waaaaay back in 2011:
Are you happy? Are you unhappy? Are you sure? How can you tell? I think there should be a pill that people take – just once, mid-life – that shows what true happiness feels like. I don’t mean blurry alcohol or drug induced euphoria, with its subsequent hangover and regrets. It would give people perspective. I reckon most people have forgotten how to recognise happiness/unhappiness. Popping a garden-variety happy pill would give clarity. Depressed people would understand they needed counselling/medication. Non-depressed people would recognise that their life is pretty damn good, all things considered. A few months ago, I described my emotional state to a friend as “approaching contentment, with occasional flashes of joy”. I thought that was as good as it got. Leaving work had set me adrift, it was a release but an unsettling one. As the weeks passed, I began to understand how deeply unhappy I was/had been, but I didn’t know how to fix it. How do you “get happy”? I tried counselling, cried a lot. I popped St John’s Wort, didn’t notice any difference. Time was the biggest healer. I finally started to relax. Well, as much as I’ll ever relax. I began to enjoy people again, instead of avoiding them. Am I happy now? Well, I’m happier than I was. That’s progress.
I want to give the woman who wrote that a hug. She was in a bad way. But she got a lot better. And so can you.
Song of the day: The Partridge Family “Come on get happy”