Monday, July 1, 2013

The Last Mr. Wrong

A little wounded and a bit disillusioned, I found myself back in Tennessee.  Throughout high school and the first year and a half of college, I knew the career path I would take.  I had dreamed of becoming a journalist for so many years and had never doubted that desire for a moment.  The last semester of school as a communications major took every ounce of desire for journalism right out of me.  I still can’t say for sure why.  I don’t know, even today, if the decision to change majors was a result of journalism not really being for me or the possibility that I managed to tie every negative experience those last two years to that dream.  I may never know with any real certainty.  All I do know for sure is something in me changed, and I didn’t have a clue how to get it back.  My writing had always been the one thing about me I was sure was worth something, and it felt as though it had slipped away.

It took me about six weeks back in Tennessee before finding employment.  I floundered those many weeks trying to determine what my next move would be and where I would find fulfilment again.  My writing had all but stopped, and that had always been my one go to outlet to work things out in my head.  I felt like a musician who could no longer play.  I was thrilled to be home around family and friends, but I was disappointed I had in my mind, well, failed.  It wasn’t as if I thought I wouldn’t finish college or that I would never write again.  I knew I would.  I just didn’t anticipate there would be so many bumps along the way.  College was supposed to be a little bit of work and a whole lot of fun, right?

Shortly after getting back to work and prepping for my re-entry into college, I ran into the next Mr. Wrong.  It was a fabulous ten or so months of dating, but he spooked when he realized he was in love.  Mr. Wrong got cold feet and was unwilling to remain settled down.  I am sure the fact he was a musician fueled the desire to be single once again, but it sure didn’t prevent him from leading me around by the nose for the next several months.  It was horrific, and not because he led me around by the nose, but because I let him.  Ugh.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I was the master of letting scoundrels rule the realm of my emotional well-being, and tying almost every ounce of self-worth I had to relationships that were doomed to fail.  It should have stopped there.  You would have thought the musician would have done me in for good and I would have had sense enough to throw in the towel on saving the broken ones.  No.  Not so.  I had one last stop on my broken road.  That stop ended at the altar.  Sheer brilliance on the part of my 22 year old self especially since I knew from the moment I said “I do” that I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

But there I was.  I was head over heels madly in love just a year and a half later with my second musician.  Unlike the last musician though, this one had a real day job and was going to school.  All the direction I seemed to be lacking, I thought I had found in this intellectual who drew me as his muse.  Dear Lord I had found the will to write again.  I had found a major in school.  I was working.  I had direction.  What on earth could possibly be wrong about this?  A lot if I had been honest with myself but I didn’t have the courage to be.  From that cold January day in 1996 until May of 2000, I wasted every ounce of energy on a love that would never last.  Any ounce of self-respect I had left at the point I met him was slowly stripped away over the course of that four years.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Funny how the thing you “never see coming” is the thing you knew would happen all along and were just secretly hoping wouldn’t happen or were just too cowardly to admit would happen.  And there I was.  We had fought yet again.  I was desperately trying to salvage what was left of my marriage and I knew I was fighting a losing a battle.  I asked him if he still loved me.  His silence spoke volumes and I left our home that night knowing deep inside everything would be different once I returned.  It was a typical Thursday night the night I learned with all certainty he’d been unfaithful.  If I had ever thought before I had reached the bottom of the abyss of my self-loathing, I learned that night I was wrong.  All I could focus my attention toward was what I had done to drive him away.  What did I lack mentally or physically to keep him faithful? Why wasn’t I enough?  Why couldn’t I make him happy?  Why couldn’t I make him stay?  What if I were prettier, thinner, smarter, better or anything else that could make him love me the way I loved him.  Undoubtedly we had our rough times, but we had so many good times, too.  Why wasn’t that enough?  Why wasn’t I enough?

It never occurred to me as I sat in my attorney’s office eight hours after learning of his repeated indiscretions that the only fault I had in any of this was saying I do in the first place.  It never occurred to me as I sat at the bank paying out our bills for the month before he could clean out the account that it wasn’t because I wasn’t enough.  It never occurred to me a few hours later as I collected boxes to pack his things that it wasn’t because I wasn’t a good wife.  It never occurred to me later that day as I told him I knew of his indiscretions and cringed with anger at his initial denials that it wasn’t because I didn’t have a lot to offer to the right man.  As I firmly laid out to him that afternoon exactly how things would go from there on out between us, I felt an undeniable strength that was holding me together when I knew deep down I could fly apart in an instant.  As I told him his other woman could from that moment forward become his only woman, he looked at me in disbelief.  I know he didn’t even recognize me.  Perhaps for a moment he even regretted his many indiscretions as I found the backbone I had misplaced years ago.  In those moments, I felt stronger and weaker than I ever had in my life, but I knew I had only one choice in the situation if ever there was to be a sliver of hope I could regain any self-respect.  I had to stand strong and firm.  And I did.  And I didn’t waiver.  And as I kicked him out of our house twelve hours after learning the sin he committed against me, I knew no matter how many times I looked back and lamented the good times, I was worth more than that.  In the absolute lowest moment of my life, I found the strength to pack boxes and label them; wrap his knick knacks in newspaper; and be the bigger person.  There was something so empowering about keeping my composure when he looked at me waiting for me to crumble.  I’m not sure it would have necessarily satisfied him if I did, but I would be damned before I let him know I felt like dying inside.  I had never felt the kind of power I felt the day after when I denied his pleadings to take him back.  I knew they were the hollow pleadings of a coward, but it still made me proud of myself for the first time in a long time because I wasn’t going to let him get the best of me.

How could I have let this mentally abusive arrogant philandering alcoholic have so much control over me up to that day?  Why did I ever think that was all I was worth?  I didn’t know the answer then and I still don’t know to this day why I ever thought it was okay.  All I know is that despite the many flaws I continue to possess to this day, I began to rebuild myself that day.  I began to understand to a small degree that his measure of me didn’t have to be my own.  Although I didn’t automatically rebound and undo all of the “damage” in one day, I did learn that day I would be okay without him and I could stand on my own two feet no matter how hard it would be.  Even more, I was determined there would be no next Mr. Wrong to tear me down again.


  1. I have to say that I can relate for a useless marraige of 6 1/2 years and together for 8. If I can only redo that part of my life. I want to say that I know where your coming from and how you feel. I felt like I was there as I was reading this heart broken touching story

  2. You are amazing. With what all you've gone through, and you're still going.

    You are my inspiration. On the days when I truly just feel like giving up, I just think about you and what all you've gone through just since I've known you, and I keep going.

    And not just weight loss stuff either.

  3. Hey guys! Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. This was definitely the hardest post to write so far, but I feel like it was definitely worth it in the end. Again, thanks for the support. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!