Friday, May 27, 2016
If It's Worth Doing
I had a dream once.
I had a dream that I was married---and I felt whole again, as if marriage is the only thing that could fix ALL of the other problems in my life.
I had a dream that I co-parented well and that my kids never had to feel split between their parents.
I had a dream that I never got upset with my ex-husband and that forgiving him is something I'm NOT still working on.
But in reality, I'm not married and I don't always co-parent well and I often get upset with my ex-husband.
And I've been told on countless occasions by numerous different people that I need to forgive him and move on. In fact, over and over, I've convinced myself that I have fully forgiven him.
But I don't know if that's always true.
I can remember when my husband first left me and I begged and pleaded with my family and friends to love and support him, to talk positively about him so that this would all be easier.
And I remember when I got to a point where I begged and pleaded with them to stop liking him so much, to focus on supporting me and my kids so that this would all be easier.
'So that this would all be easier'
I guess I don't know what makes this all easier because it isn't easy. It's messy no matter what. And I'm still trying to figure out my relationships and boundaries and how to navigate a relationship with not only my ex-husband but also our shared relationships.
I get insecure about my divorce because of the little details, the memories from those first few traumatic months where I was literally just surviving day to day.
And I get triggered by the memories from my marriage, the memories where I look back and think, "I should've done something differently. I should've said more. I should've said less. I should've loved more. I should've cared less. I should've..." And I could go on and on with SO MANY things I should've done to change the circumstances of my life but I don't believe that actually would've changed anything.
I go through periods where I like my ex-husband and frankly, I go through periods where I don't like him.
And I'm not good at being an ex-wife. Oh my goodness, I'm not. In fact, I'm horrible at it. I am overly protective of my kids and I am not always patient and I let old memories dictate present situations.
I'm trying to work on it.
I am working on it.
But it's hard because I feel like if I can't step up to the plate as an ex-wife, maybe I wasn't a good enough wife. And when I start to think that, I have to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can. I'm trying to be a good person who sees others through Jesus' eyes and understands that we all act crappy sometimes and make mistakes.
But. It. Is. Still. Hard.
None of this is easy to explain. It isn't necessarily hard to talk about---I'm ok with admitting that I fail at being a co-parent or an ex-wife sometimes---it's just hard to explain in a way that dictates the things that I'm feeling.
The truth is that I still struggle with resenting my ex-husband for the choices that were made that got us where we are---and although I don't think about them often, I still find myself spiraling when I miss something in my children's lives because of the co-parenting situation we are in. I still get angry that I have to 'share' my children instead of us just being a family.
But that doesn't mean I don't love the life we are living.
My children are so blessed. I am so blessed.
We have SO MUCH.
We are thriving and for the most part, life is really happy. It's just that when it is hard, it is usually really hard.
But we are resilient.
I am resilient.
And someday, probably when I'm 80, I'm going to have this 'ex-wife' thing figured out.
But in the meantime, I am going to have to learn that it's ok to fail sometimes.
I can remember back to two years ago, almost exactly, and sitting in a new therapists office (which I was really unhappy about because I didn't want to have to start all over) and telling her how fighting my eating disorder wasn't worth it because every single day, I failed. At that point, it had been MONTHS without even ONE day of success.
And she said to me, "Suzanne, is it worth fighting your eating disorder? Is your life worth the fight?" And I replied, "Yes."
And she said, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly."
I kept that motto close to my heart as I struggled to pull myself out of the hole I had dug. When I'd fail, I'd give myself grace and remember that if it was worth doing, I wasn't going to give up just because I was fighting poorly.
I was still fighting. And that HAD to count for something.
So now that I'm here, in a completely different life than two years ago, fighting similar things but also some very different things, I have to remind myself that this fight is worth it---no matter how I fight it.
So maybe I suck as an ex-wife but it's worth it to me that I keep trying, that when I fail and I get angry or selfish, I take some time, pick myself back up, and try again the next time.
And goodness sakes, I am not the best at co-parenting. It's hard work! But when I fail, I am going to give myself grace and remember that I will have many opportunities to figure this thing out.
And maybe I go back and forth between forgiveness of the past and letting it trigger feelings inside of me in the present but that's ok because I am working on this every day of my life.
And this fight to understand others who have hurt me and feel compassion toward them? It's worth it. It will always be worth it.
And if it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.