Saturday, February 12, 2011

Performance Piece

I should have been an actor.

I’ve played the role. Happy housewife. Got that one down pat. I played that role so well that the one person who taught next to me for six years swore I was having a mid life crisis when I finally got the nerve to leave my marriage. Oscar anyone? I learned really early to disconnect. That’s my safety net. Hurt me, and I disconnect. Easy enough. Disconnected I can survive anything. I wonder if I believed that in a previous life? (Hey, who really knows, right?) Maybe I grew up on a stage.

So, my story? What is MY story? Do I actually have a story to tell? Something someone could actually learn something from? My life has been relatively easy. Grew up in a house, two parents, two kids. Dad was military. Traveled a bit. Did the overseas thing. Parents separated when I was a junior, divorced officially my freshman year of college. So did it affect me? Not much.

Or maybe I disconnected so it wouldn’t? I found myself a college graduate in a town that I’d gone to school in so I was relatively comfortable. I had a decent job, lived with good friends, and just enjoyed life. Met people here and there but nothing really connected. Had more than one or two dates that probably should have never been. But we learn and move on. Right? Another disconnect?

23 years old, 24, 25, 26……..working hard, teaching…… nothing happening on the romantic front. Had a friend from high school. We’d dated one summer. It was fun that summer, but yeah, it was a summer. We’d had fun. We spent a weekend Summer of 25 yrs but nothing clicked. Summer of 27 comes around and still nothing.

Getting a little nervous here. I thought to myself wow, am I not going to find anyone? I don’t want to play the single sex and the city girl. This college town definitely wasn’t New York.

So, I decided let’s call summer guy. I called, we hooked up, within a year we were married. It was a whirlwind courtship. That’s for sure. Looking back there were a lot of warning indicators. Why didn’t it bother me that he wouldn’t spend time with MY friends? Why didn’t it bother me that he’d disappear for a weekend? Why didn’t the temper bother me? I learned quickly what role I had to play to become that person to make him happy. After all, I’d get to be married, finally have my children that I wanted. Sad, I know.

Married life? Oh yeah, I played that role well. Happy housewife. Everyone believed it. Dinner every night, house reasonably clean (lol) crafts and creative ideas here and there. Did we have a torrid love affair? No, but we had a working relationship. I took care of the house and he did the work thing. Yeah, I had a job as well that I went to every day, but it was clear that his was the more important job since his job made three times as much as mine. We were comfortable. My paycheck was for me to use. I paid for the children’s purchases and here and there whims. I had it easy. I admit it. I knew I had it good. Maybe that’s why I stayed for so long? I could play the happy role in exchange for comfort?

But then, things started to change and I realized I’d made some major sacrifices. And the biggest thing I’d sacrificed was my happiness. It’s sad when you look forward to your spouse being away because then you can relax and not have to worry about whether or not the kids are too loud or dinner is ready on time or whether he’ll be irritated by something. I knew I had to do something.

It took me three years of really deciding if I could do it or not. I had one of those apartment locator books in my car for a quite a while. Finally, I started the process. Vocalized to a friend how I felt and that I wasn’t happy. Apparently I played the role so well that one of my best friends accused me of having a mid life crisis! Why would I want to leave a home with money, security, everything that reasonable person would ask for? I mean, he doesn’t hit you does he? She asked. Well, this just wasn’t me. This wasn’t love. I knew it. He knew it. We were at the point where it wasn’t even working as a roommate situation. Sad that I could have settled for that but even that wasn’t working. Yeah, it took me a long time to realize it but it just wasn’t me.

So, now, I’m doing me. The divorce is almost finalized and yeah it’s scary. Here I am, alone responsible for the welfare of myself and children who didn’t ask for this, but recognize that life is better. Yes, dad’s still in the picture and yes, they see him regularly. I get reminded regularly that they are HIS children. I wonder why he tells me that….none of this is about them. We all know they are his. And they will always be his. But, I’m not anymore. I’m me. I’m my own self.

And now I'm playing my hardest role. Me.

PS. Funny how things work. Get out of a marriage and randomly meet the true love of my life. Someone who inspires me, protects me, loves me unconditionally, brags of me, consumes my every thought……someone who still takes my breath away every time he kisses me. Yeah, this is what I have been waiting for the last 40 years. For the first time in my life I really feel like it’s me. No script, no make up, no costumes. I’m ready for my close up.

play YOUR role


sandi said...

And through this brave girl's story, I find the strength to fulfill my own destiny...

CK Photo said...

I am so proud that you are finally living your life!

Rahkyt said...

hmmmmmmmmmm. this is what love really means.