Saturday, May 4, 2013

Me, Honestly: Day Four

5/1 - The past three months have been spent in a total funk and it’s time to come out. 
Last night I spent a few hours with an incredible, inspiring friend, who saw something in me worth fighting for.  I hate to say I didn’t think I was worth the trouble, but at that point, I didn’t.
So as I tweeted yesterday, I am spending the next seven days examining my core as a means to move forward.   I’m doing it question by question.
I wrote some stuff I might be okay to answer, then started over.  Then I thought about what I absolutely don’t want to discuss, and that’s what you’ll see below.  I humbly give you Me, Honestly.
Why did your marriage fail?

Some history:  I met him at a cafe where we both worked back in 2001.  We had a long, choppy off again/on again relationship but finally got married in May 2010.  Our daughter was born in May 2011 and by mid-2012 we were done for good.  I don't know if this summary sounds simple or complicated, but I can assure you it's the latter.
So why did it fail?  I think I know why, and what to do next.   So I’ve invited my ex-husband to view this piece.  I don’t expect him to comment, but he might.  Either way, this section of Me, Honestly is dedicated to him.  Please excuse the letter format - it's easier to talk directly to him.  Please note that none of what is written here was placed without his permission, and out of respect for him I've left off his name.

Hello, ____:
It’s strange that even though I know where this union is headed, I still don’t know what to call you sometimes. 
It’s true that you’ve done me wrong several times, and in ways that some may say were unforgivable.  But look where blaming has gotten us.  For whatever reasons I was angry with you, I allowed it to cloud my ability to respect you as a human and a man.  It’s easier to list all the things that made me upset.  That’s why I’ve done it so many times.  The bottom line is I promised to see you through, even if it wasn’t the easy thing to do, and I failed.  That failure was nobody’s fault but mine.
I’m not saying this because I want our marriage back.  I know we are better off apart.  But just because it’s ended doesn’t mean it’s done.  It can’t be until this happens. 
I apologize.
I apologize for not wanting to believe you loved me. You were offering genuine companionship and wanted nothing more than mine.  You, too, had every reason to shy away from caring about people—we had both grown up seeing things we shouldn’t have.  But you put that aside for me, and I should have either done the same or left you alone.  Moreover, I should have appreciated your effort and cherished it, rather than reject it time and again.
I apologize for not being more patient with you as we navigated adulthood.  With all the mistakes and flaws I had, you never lost sight of your love for me.  I constantly questioned mine for you, for the smallest of things, most of which were just growing pains.  It left us with no energy to overcome the real obstacles, and we crumbled each time one came at us.  Where I should have been holding your hand and walking with you, I let you stand alone.
I apologize for getting married before I was ready to be a wife.  I spoke a woman’s vows before God and then went home and continued to act like a little girl.  I was wrong to believe our having been together for so long constituted a need to get married.  What we should have done was evaluate why, after so many years, we still weren’t.  We’d have found that the relationship was not solid enough, and gone from there. 
Still, I will never regret our marriage, because through it, we had a beautiful little girl that was meant to be put on this earth.  She exemplifies the best of both of us; she amazes me every day.  I apologize for not thanking you for the chance to raise our daughter full-time.  It might not have lasted as long as we’d wanted, but you took two jobs while going to school.  You worked around the clock with little or no sleep, barely able to drag yourself up the stairs at night.  You’d run to kiss her before you even took your shoes off, because you knew it was the one chance you’d get to see her that day.  On nights where you just couldn’t make it in before her bedtime, you would just stick your head in her room and smile, happy even for that moment, never complaining at all. You gave me my time with her by sacrificing yours.  For that I will always be grateful.
I apologize for not giving you top priority in my life.  I own that I didn’t give our relationship the tender care it needed.  I owed you all of my effort, all of my trust—all of me—and instead I gave you what I thought I could spare.  You should have been #1 in my life, not #10 on my list.
Most importantly, I apologize for the fact that there were so many things I put you through, a hundred of these letters wouldn’t cover them all.  I had more chances than I deserved to do right by you and I blew almost all of them.  I realize that if each one were a penny, you wouldn’t have needed two jobs. 
I don’t just want to apologize for the past.  I want us to have incredible futures.  This won’t happen without us realizing our faults and learning to work through them.  We don’t have to change who we are, but we do have to change what, how and why we do things.  We also need to understand the value of what we had in each other.  If nothing else comes from this, I hope you walk away knowing you were, are, and always will be worth 100% of your woman’s effort.  Please don’t ever settle for less again. 
As my child’s father, and my friend, know that I love you.
Arissa