I Define Myself

“Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.” ~ Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller
It was not an easy road.  There are still moments when I experience extreme anger when I think of his infidelity. It is not as frequent as it once was, but sometimes the thoughts lash out at me, and I feel the stinging pain in my chest all over again.
But I’m tired of crying.  I’m tired of blaming myself for what happened, and I’m tired of blaming him for his actions.  I’ve analyzed ad nauseam all the events leading up to last summer and his act(s) of betrayal. I’ve dissected and examined every possible angle as to why he did what he did, and if I were to listen to my friends and all the self-help books, I will just accept that everything happened as it should have, and that this is how things are meant to be.
Maybe.  Maybe not.
But all I know is that I cannot hold onto the pain and anger anymore.  Maybe I don’t agree with it, but I am learning to accept that things are just what they are, and that there is nothing I can do to change what happened.  I refuse to be defined as that girl — you know, the one whose fiancé cheated on her and got another woman pregnant.
So I am defining myself.  I am the strong woman who is moving onward and forward.  I am the one who still has a heart and a penchant for forgiveness.  I am the one who in the face of heartbreak can still muster enough sympathy for the same one who put a stake through her heart.
He has come to me, a broken man, seeking my assistance.  I being who I am, have been helping him wholeheartedly by caring for his three month old newborn.  The mother, the woman with whom he had an affair, had a personal family emergency, and he was unable to adjust his work schedule accordingly, leaving him in a bind with finding last minute suitable childcare options.
So who does he call?
He calls me, of course.  Old Ms. Reliable.  It’s a strange situation, I know.  I thought I would be devastated when I first laid eyes on the baby.  After all, the baby is a product of his infidelity.  But to my surprise, I found myself falling in love with the baby.  I look at the baby’s tiny hands, I hear the sweet baby sounds, I get a whiff of the sweet baby smell, and I am hopelessly in love.  G has also fallen in love.  Previously angry at the whole situation, she has been focusing her attention on being the older sister figure.  She insists on the baby sleeping in her room on those occasions when the baby has to sleep overnight.
I remember once hearing some old saying about how babies are miracles and how they can reconnect broken bridges.  I think it is a true saying.  In some strange way, being around the baby has been helping me to heal.  I feel stronger now and am coming to understand that my whole life and future does not revolve around him and what he did.  My life and future revolve around me, and the choices that I make for myself.  My choice is to forgive him.  And by forgiving him, I am allowing myself to move on to a better and brighter future.  

Shine, But Let Me Shine a Little Bit Brighter

“Have you ever seen the stars in the night? See them closely, they will tell you, how to be open, how to love and how to shine and twinkle without any differences and jealousy of other stars.” ~ Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday

I do not really use Facebook, but on occasion, I do log on just to get updates on my friends’ lives.  I saw today a picture of an old family friend, C.  She updated her profile photo with a picture of her, and presumably, her new boyfriend.
I was curious, so I clicked onto her new boyfriend’s profile, and I saw that he had also updated his profile and he had pictures of the two of them scattered all over his page.
I was instantly hit with a pang of jealousy as I scanned all the photos of their smiling faces, and the dozens of photos of them in various locations, looking happy, embracing and holding hands.
C’s father and my father were very good friends.  They worked in the same engineering firm many years ago, and she and I are about the same age.  We grew up together, and both of our parents were very happy that she and I got along.
And yes, we did get along, although I admit that I always felt a bit inferior to her.  She was taller, prettier, and she went to a better university than I did. Misfortune hit her family, however, when her father, twenty years ago now, became embroiled in gambling, and then tragically was diagnosed with fatal lung cancer.  
All my jealousy washed away when I saw how she and her family struggled from losing her father at such a young age.  Not many years later, she and her family would come back and help my family when we had to face losing my sister to cancer.
She and I were never the best of friends, but whenever tragedy would strike our families, we would join forces and pull one another out of the depths of despair.  It was one of the things that I always loved about C — no matter what stupid envious or jealous feelings either one of us had (mostly on my part, I am sure), we would always be there for each other’s families.
I went through my terrible marriage and divorce many years ago, and she went through hers just a few years ago.  So when I saw her updated profile photo today with her new boyfriend, I immediately thought of how quickly she rebounded back, and then naturally, I thought of how I have not
While she and her new love are headed towards planning a wedding, I am still coping with my last disastrous relationship.  While I am happy for her, I am left wondering why a happy relationship continues to elude me.  While she is creating happy memories with him, I am busy dodging questions from my daughter about why I can’t ever seem to hold down a man.  

In Her Eyes

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” ~ Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

G asked me recently, “Why do you get divorced so much?”
Her question caught me off guard.  I answered with another question.

“What do you mean?”
“Well,” she said.  “You are divorced from…” her voice trailed off.
We don’t like talking about him.  She may be biologically connected to him, but except for that one little fact, there is not much else that connects them.
“… And now you are divorced from…” her voice trailed off again.  Although GP and I never married, we were, for all intents and purposes, married in her eyes, as we were engaged and living together as a family.  
Our lives were turned upside down last summer with the news of his affair.  It was not easy news for me to take.  
It was not easy for her, either.  When he broke the news to her, she was angry.  She cried and yelled at him.  “How could you do this to mama?” she wailed.  Big, chunky tears streaked her face.
Although she is aware of the circumstances of what he did, there is a part of her that seems to blame me for the breakup, that perhaps I had a part in making him do what he did.
“All my friends in school have a dad.  But I have no dad.  Because you get divorced all the time.”

I really didn’t know how to answer her.  I felt like she stabbed me.  I don’t care so much about what others think of me.  But criticism from her – it hurts.

All I could say in response was that someday, when she is older, she will understand.  She didn’t seem convinced.

I walked away before she could see that I was struggling to keep my tears from flowing down my face.

Do We Spin Our Own Yarn?

“When it comes to life, we spin our own yarn, and where we end up is really, in fact, where we always intended to be.” ~ Julia Glass, Three Junes

I’m having a hard time understanding the concept of destiny, and the idea of being exactly “where we were meant to be.”  What does that even mean, exactly?  So, if a totally innocent girl who goes out dancing at a club one night ends up getting hacked and murdered by a man she met that night, that means that that was her destiny, and where she was that night and the awful things that happened to her, that is what was always intended for her?  So no matter what she chose for that night, no matter where she decided to go clubbing, no matter what, she was just meant to be hacked up and murdered that night?
I have a hard time believing that.  I believe that in some ways, we can control what happens to us. Maybe we don’t have full control, but I do believe that we do have some part in the chain of events that occur in our life.  Don’t we?  
I guess I am feeling this way because I am having some major regrets about some of the choices I have made in my life.  I cannot shake this feeling that I am living some alternate life, and that my real life, the one that I am supposed to live, is in some other, alternate reality, and that where I am now, is not where I am supposed to or even am intended to be.