I don’t know which direction this post is going today. My physical and mental resources feel completely depleted, and I sit here enveloped in this cloud of depression. If I didn’t know myself better I’d think I were ready to throw in the towel. I show all the signs of a woman trying to climb a mountain in a pair of high heels. Breaking nails as she clings desperately to one small ledge while straining to grab another; as the delicate soles of her shoes continually slip from beneath her. Refusing to give up and fail again, and determined to reach the top where the air is easier to breathe and she can see everything more clearly. All the while refusing to kick those heels off because she’s trying to keep some semblance of tact and femininity while attempting this climb. ((Sigh))
Yesterday was not a good day. I posted in the morning with angry tears in my eyes, then spent a good three hours doing research on my antiques so I have a ballpark figure to throw at possible buyers when I list them. Each item I took notes on filled me with a sadness I can’t even begin to describe. I know they are just material items and can be eventually replaced if I desire, but they became so much more to me. They represented a marriage. Each item went to decorate a home that housed the two of us. By having to let go of any of them in an attempt to save myself, to have any kind of a life at all, is like finally having to admit we failed and it’s over. I don’t know if a woman can go back to where she was before in a relationship after being pushed to that place. I’m almost positive I can’t.
Yes, I failed too. My biggest failure, and the one that laid the foundation for every ill that was to come, was that I failed to try and keep my own identity while I still had one. He respected and fell in love with the person that he met, the person that I was. It matters little that after we got together he began to mold me into someone that he thought he wanted, I should’ve been smart enough to know that this person was not one he would love and respect, if he’d ever felt that for the other. I was right. Who I am today is a clinging, frightened, dependent, sadly pathetic, rendition of my former self. Not even close enough to pull off a masquerade, and so obvious that people who know me blatantly call me on it. I just wanted to make him happy. I thought that’s what I was doing. I should’ve known better. When have men ever known what they really wanted?
I worked myself up into such a state yesterday that I went back to bed. I never bothered to shower, take off the pj’s I was wearing; not so much as even ran a brush through my hair. I climbed those stairs with the dogs at my heels, closed the blinds so I wouldn’t be reminded it was a sunny day and there were people out enjoying it, crawled back into the bed with my furry kids, and pulled the covers up. I just lay there for hours. I stared at the cracks in the plaster on our ceiling, looked around at the walls, and was reminded of the past six years my husband promised to fix this or that in each room, and never did. I look at all my clothes hanging in the closet that I never have the opportunity to wear; belts, bags, and boots that will never complete an outfit. There is no reason to put them on. I seldom leave the house, and it’s easier to run around in sweats, etc. When I do get the chance it’s never much more than the equivalent of running errands. It felt as if my life was hanging in a closet untouched.
My son came home from school, and I lay there. My husband came home from work, and I lay there still. No one asks why or appears to really care. There’s only apathy in this house from others where I’m concerned. I feel my husband slide into bed hours later and feel/hear him breathing in the darkness. I hear the alarm this morning and feel him slide back out. I wait until he’s safely out the door before stirring, get my son up for school, and return to bed. I begin to wonder if it’s easier to just stay there and ignore the problem/pain. I’m reminded of the wisdom of my old boss, and force myself finally out of it.
The owner of the biker bar where I used to work was a cranky, old, bastard, who resembled Santa Claus. He had a round belly, a snow-white beard, and rosy cheeks during the warm months from riding. He always wore riding boots, blue jeans, black t-shirts, a leather vest and biker cap. The only change you ever noticed in his attire was during the warm months these t-shirts were sleeveless. He was short, stout, never said what he didn’t mean, was courteous enough not to talk to you if he didn’t like you, but never went so far as to run off a sale if he didn’t. He was a Marine. Once you are…you always are. I learned that quickly. He was brutally honest, rough around the edges, never apologized for being an asshole, hard to understand, yet difficult for most not to like. He was the most ‘real’ man I’ve ever met. He comes with no surprises. I just loved him to pieces, and still do. I just hope someday I find a man with half the qualities that this one has.
This boss of mine was the easiest and most difficult I’ve ever had to work for. He was the only male employer I’ve ever had that didn’t flirt or hit on me (hell, I was doing well if I could even get a compliment on my job performance out of him), was generous when I needed a hand-up or hand-out, but also was a stickler about your job: If you called in you’d better be gushing blood, or tending to a broken limb. If you were late, you’d better have been in a car wreck on the way there. He was quick to point out if it happened again the day after would be a good day to look for a new job, and meant it. He showed no empathy, and little sympathy for anyone or anything. It just was the way it was, if you worked for him you knew it and had to deal with it. I never called in sick whether I was or not. If I was I went in and he sent me home. I never tried to lie to him or made excuses to get out of work. For me to call in the day that I did was unusual. I needed you to know that.
I knew I wasn’t going to try and lie, wasn’t sure how he was going to react, whether I was going to still have a job, but at that point really didn’t care. My fiancé, the man I thought was the love of my life, had recently moved out, I’d been trying to deal with it, and that morning found that I couldn’t. The thought of going in to work, of having to feign a smile and flirt all day sickened me. I picked up the phone and called my boss from my bed. He was already in the bar having coffee with his brother. I told him I wouldn’t be in and he would have to find someone to cover my shift that morning. I could hear the surprise in his gruff voice when he asked me if everything was alright…if I was sick…and I admitted that no, I wasn’t sick, but I wasn’t alright either. I just couldn’t get out of bed. I just wanted, probably needed to lie there and cry all damn day. I knew I wouldn’t do the bar any good if I tried to work, I told him. I remember hearing a long pause pass before he finally spoke, and wondered how bad I was going to get my ass chewed. What he said filled my eyes with tears.
“Okay. As I see it you have two options. You can lay in bed today, pull the covers up around you, and feel sorry for yourself. But you and I both know if you do, tomorrow it’ll be tougher to climb out of that bed, and the day after, and the day after that. That’s how it works. Or…I can get this bar cleaned for you and open the doors while you get your ass out of bed, take a long hot shower, and make yourself beautiful. You can come in, do your job, have a few beers, and spend some time with people that actually give a shit about you. It’s up to you. Either way the bar will be fine.” I’m nearly quoting the man word for word.
He didn’t wait for an answer from me. We said goodbye and ended the call. I lay there for about five more minutes, almost pissed off that he didn’t tell me what to do. I cried a little more. Then I thought of all the words of wisdom I’d gotten from him in all the many talks we’d had while sitting alone in the bar; the greatest to date that had been “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”. I made my sorry-ass get up, and got ready for work. When I walked through the door I was greeted with a rare, wide smile from him. That smile brought one to my face. I walked behind the bar, told him to get out of my way, that he was a great owner but a lousy bartender, then whispered as he passed me “You’re my hero. Thanks.” I was sad, but went on with my life anyway. That was nearly nine years ago.
I thought about my boss this morning as I lay there. I had dreamt about my ex last night, which made the memory that much clearer. This ex, whom I thought was the love of my life, and believed he felt the same about me. The same one in which the memory of loving him and being loved by him was so important and fragile to me that I carried it around for years like an egg in a velvet pouch. The one that I cried over thought I would die over, and was so hard to move on from; the same that proved to have never loved me at all with his lies and deceit. A beautiful man with a black heart. All those wasted years. I thought of him, the wise words from my boss, and of my husband and current situation. Nothing was different, though it appeared to be. Only the players had changed. Nothing was different, including the advice my boss had once given me, so I got up.
My heart is heavy; my mind and body weary. I don’t want to do the tasks that I know I have to, and am struggling with any and all excuses that are readily available to me. I consider Pandora Patty, and how she diligently keeps my head above water by never failing to remind me of who I really am. I consider again the advice my boss gave me, and realize having made it through that part of my life I should have no problem conquering this one as well. I’m a survivor. I am woman…hear me roar!