Hope

Sometimes even when everything is falling apart there’s small victories. Those victories must be celebrated and not minimized. It’s what pushes us forward and keeps us hopeful for the future no matter how dark it seems. in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

So many people ask me how I can continue to do the work I do. It’s heartbreaking, it’s depressing and it’s heavy. But the reason I do this is first of all, because it’s important, but because I refuse to give up hope that things can get better. And I’m not done hoping yet.

Change is one of the most constant things in the world. Things are always changing. The sun and moon change their positions. The seasons change. We change. These can be positive or negative changes, but what matters is how we react to the changes.

Keeping hope isn’t an easy thing. It never has or will be. When things are bad, it’s easy to give up or think it’s over. It’s easy to think death is a good way out of all of it. But death isn’t the end of pain, it’s the transference of pain to others.

Hope may be so small it might be overlooked. Sometimes it’s hard to see through the pain, but hope will always be there waiting to be seen with the knowledge that it’s coming.

And when it’s found, it’s something to be celebrated. One more day has passed, one more small victory, one more celebration can be had. Celebrate small victories. Rejoice and be hopeful for the next one! I know it’s out there, like a wave waiting to reach the shore. It’s coming. Be patient. Stay hopeful.

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Dealing with a Parasite

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My ex husband text me this morning. He told me his fiancee had died unexpectedly and all I could think about was why he’d text me.

First let me be clear, I haven’t spoken to my ex husband since our divorce was finalized in October in 2009 and even that communication was only about the divorce. We had ended things on relatively good terms but our interactions after our initial split created friction and destroyed any hope of our friendship continuing, including several interactions between his fiance and I where she told me I was keeping him as a backup and to stay away from her man. This resulted in me calling the police once she threatened me and blocking them both.

Second, he left me. This was his choice to be divorced. He moved out for the first time on April 2nd,2008 while I was at work. When I came home for my lunch break, he was gone. Eventually we gave it two more tries, but both resulted in him asking me to leave and that he wanted a divorce. The final breakup was October 24th, 2008 when I left Omaha and went to live with my parents in Iowa.

Needless to say this left me devastated since not only was my husband rejecting me, but I would have no legal rights to his two children. Losing him was terribly devastating, but losing his children destroyed me. For a long time I wasn’t even able to care for myself and I was so depressed that several times I attempted to take my own life but never managed to get it done. This breakup left me broken in ways I’m not sure I’ve fully healed.

But today he decided to text me. I know exactly what he wanted. He apologized and told me he understood what it was like for me when he left. He wanted me to comfort him and support him. He wanted to rekindle our bond over what He saw as a similar experience. He wanted me to be the person I had always been for him 10 years ago, even once we had broken up and it hurt so badly to do so, but I just couldn’t.

My first instinct was sympathy and in response I typed “OMG I’m so sorry!” but didn’t send it. Although I was sorry he was hurt and upset, how dare he compare the two, and I got angry. After an hour of thinking about it I erased what I had typed and wrote a carefully worded response.

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I didn’t want to intentionally be rude or hurt him further, but I don’t want him in my life in any capacity anymore. Every happy memory of him has been tainted with the despair of that loss. Every laugh is covered in the millions of tears I had cried for so long I didn’t know what happy felt like. There were no more feelings inside me for him but pity and anger at the fact that he thought he could just text me and pick up where we left off as friends. No.

It didn’t feel good to say what I said. Setting boundaries has never been one of my strong suits, let alone when someone I know is hurting, but it needed to be done. Part of me still wonders if what I had said hurt him worse or if I did the right thing, but it’s what needed to be done regardless of anything else.

Finally I felt a sense of closure and some of the power he’d taken from me was returned. I didn’t have to listen to him anymore unless it was my choice. I had set a boundary that he was no longer welcomed in my life. I didn’t need his friendship to be a good friend, it was ok for me to choose who I have in my life and that felt empowering and amazing. In the end, I’m stronger for being brave enough to say no.