I have a personal/family blog that I started when I had my first child, mid -marriage. It honestly was just a way to keep up on what was happening in my life and record cute stuff my kid did. Over the years, I posted all the highlights, as well do on social media. Obviously, the heartaches I was experiencing with my husband or in reality weren’t being posted. Most of the time, I was doing my best to keep my head deep in the sand to the direction my family life and marriage was heading. On the outside of our walls, we really did have it all. We were the power couple. Let’s be honest, many other people wanted what I had, and looked at us in envy. I didn’t really want to burst their bubble, or maybe my own. In all honesty, I wanted to live the life that I was portraying. It was not hard to wish for that. We had the nice house, the beautiful little boy, with a baby on the way. We were a good looking couple. Drove nice cars. Had great friends and family. Always did fun things. Husband had a great job. What they didn’t see was the insecurities that came from my husband’s porn addiction, trying to recover from earlier affairs. Anxieties, insomnia, arguing about husband spending too much money. Fighting because I was constantly criticized whether it was about dinner, sex, parenting, etc.. Or crying because I felt like he talked down to me. I didn’t feel like I was an equal partner. Always wondered if he was talking to girls at work and possibly having another affair. Some of these problems were normal, and some weren’t. But I knew how to put everything aside and try to pretend I was okay, but he put on a show. After fighting, we would go out with friends and he would tell everyone what a great wife he had (after telling me how terrible I was). People didn’t see the silent treatments that would or could last several weeks. But we knew how to love our kids. That was a huge reason to keep us together. There was a lot of laughs and fun times, but it was because of how well I could wrap all the problems up in a box for another day.
Fast forward to the present, after going through a hard divorce and custody battle and getting on the recovery band wagon. I decided to update my old family blog and took off my ex husbands name and start updating it with our new adventures. For so long it was too hard to even think about going to that website. But I didn’t want to forget all the years of memories that were there. So today, I happened to go into the archives. Not on purpose but accidentally. The only way I can describe it is as if there was a room in the back of the house that you have lived in for years that you never went to because it was filled with all video tapes and photographs of your old life that brought you a lot of happiness and a lot of pain. Almost like you had boarded it up. Then for some reason you walked in the room after all these years. You walk in and immediately are filled emotion. Your heart racing and memories racing through your mind, good and bad. Seeing pictures of your kids and their childhood with two “happy and perfect” parents. Christmases, Halloweens, picnic dates, family vacations, kids first birthday’s, etc.. First thing I wanted to do was run back out of that room to the other space in the house that is safe and comfortable with the thoughts of today and forgetting about what could have been or what was. But instead I slowed myself down as I slowly clicked from post to post and just taking slow breaths. Appreciating each picture, each memory. I feel that I need to stay in there and not run. My eyes filled up with tears. Why does this have to hurt so much? Today my life is so different. I looked so pretty as a young mom, but I know the pain my heart felt and the inadequacies I experienced day to day. My kids were so small, why didn’t I enjoy them more? What if I didn’t leave, would things have gotten better? What if I never starting using, would he have treated me differently? What if he hadn’t worked with her, would he had that affair? What if I didn’t ask for a divorce, would we have found happiness like we had hoped for?
As I slowly “walked out of that room” and stop reading all the old posts, so I didn’t get stuck on the what if’s, I clicked on the “compose a new post” and started writing about where my kids and I are today. The things we have learned and the fun things we are doing. How grateful I am to be clean and enjoying my children. Typing about how authentic my life is today. No need to put on a show. No more wasting my energy on a man who is never happy with what I do or how I act. I might not look young like I did in those pictures, but I am wiser and my smile is real. Life has changed for me dramatically, but thank God that I can walk in and out of that back room that I have had blocked off for years, and I can come out of it still alive and looking forward to today and my future. Take down the boards of your back room, find the courage to accept what has happened and live in the present. Love yourself for where you have been, what you have learned, and who you have become.