I wrote recently about not being held hostage by dates of significance any longer. I’ll go one step further. I refuse to lose one more thing due to him and his disgusting behavior. All those songs I said I couldn’t listen to? Over it! Places we went? Things we did? Rewind and reframe! As a commenter on Chump Lady wrote a few years ago:
…early on, when I was still so fragile and still navigating the divorce process and it’s aftermath, we had a standing half-joke: “Re-Write” when we would do something fun or take a trip in a place that had once been “special” for X and I and/or our kids. We realized that we were writing a new ending, writing a new story for those triggers.
That’s where I want to be. That’s what I plan on doing. In the very beginning when the wounds were fresh I wasn’t sure what to get rid of what, what to stop liking, It felt like anything that had even the slightest relevance to him had to be excised from my life. One of my favorite cities? Could I still like that city? Singers and movies that he had turned me onto? Do I continue to be a fan or do I ditch them?
I know it seems strange to think I even had to worry about any of this because he so seldom spent time with us. Many of my memories involve my kids and other members of my family, but not him. Time spent at Yellowstone? He wasn’t around. That vacation up in Idaho? Nope, he didn’t come along. Gymnastics meets? Most of them were attended by me and me alone. Most of our marriage involved separate memories so this should be easy enough, right?
I’ll admit- the songs were hard ones to take back. So many songs that reminded me of him. Songs that we danced to at our wedding or his sister’s wedding. I Swear. Amazed. I loved those songs before they became significant parts of my history; I will love them again. Just Give Me a Reason by Pink. All of Me by John Legend. Those were the songs of the summer of ’13 and ’14. The first was the song I clung to, hoping that our marriage could be restored after I found out about Harley. The second was the song I thought described us once we had “reconciled” and were “better than ever”! Now though, they’re just songs.
No, that’s not even accurate. The mobster sent me the lyrics to “All of Me” recently, not knowing the history behind the song for me. He said that it reminded him of me. What’s even crazier is that I was driving not that long ago when that song came on. It made me think of him. I could listen to that song and not think of the lying, cheating, victim morphing poopy head I had married, but instead could envision this new life with this new guy. A guy who appreciates me. Who thinks I’m wonderful. Who offers to call the doctor’s office for me when I’m frustrated. Who buys me polar bears.
Days after I found out my husband was once again cheating on me, when he would leave every weekend to go spend those days with the whore, I could do little but watch TV and play Candy Crush. My brain couldn’t anything more challenging than that. I was watching “Baby Daddy” and it was the episode where Brad proposes to Bonnie. He assembled a flash mob and they all sang that song to her. I remember having to fast forward through it because I could not handle listening to it. Now, however, that song- All of Me- has been reclaimed by me. No more switching the radio station. No more avoiding it on iTunes.
Need more examples of things I’m taking back? He was a huge Elvis fan. I’ve seen most of his movies, had “Love Me Tender” as our first dance at our wedding, and visited Graceland at least six times. Here’s the thing. I liked Elvis even before I met the shit eating chimp. I wasn’t as obsessed with him as CF was, but I liked him. So Elvis stays. I’m not going to banish everything Elvis because of CF.
While visiting Graceland the first time I fell in love with Memphis. I love their barbecue, their fried dill pickles, their zoo, their humidity, the music, and Beale Street. Memphis is mine. I might have only fallen in love with the city because he was around to take me but I was the one who actually suggested we visit Graceland since CF was such a huge fan. He wanted to go to Gatlinburg and going to Memphis as well never crossed his mind. I love that city and I created many fantastic memories there. He doesn’t get to steal that away from me.
I cheered for his favorite college basketball team for years. I knew I was in trouble if they didn’t win early on when he threw my foot off of his lap when they lost a buzzer beater game. My mom said they always said a prayer that his team would win. My kids, or at least Rock Star, still like the team. I don’t have any hard feelings against them. However, I think it’s more fun rooting against them because I know how much he hates it when they lose. That one might be a toss up. I did put a curse on them in the early days, declaring that they would never win another national title. We’ll see how that plays out.
Sadly, there aren’t many other things I need to reclaim. Trips we took together? I think I can probably count on one hand the number of trips we took together: our honeymoon, Memphis/Gatlinburg, Disneyland, Moab, and the Grand Canyon/Four Corners. Yes, those are memories I made with him. They’re still mine.
Our honeymoon was a cruise. I had a fantastic time and would love to go again. He’s not taking that from me. Our next vacation was to Memphis and Gatlinburg. I would also love to take my kids to Memphis and let them see Graceland. I’d love to take them to Gatlinburg. Both of my brothers have gone with their families and they love it. Just because I went there once, many moons ago with CF shouldn’t mean it’s ruined forever more. Nope!
He almost ruined Moab for us. He pricked his hand on a cactus and that was the end of that. He went into panic attack mode. Silent mode. Oh my God, the sky is falling mode. Back at the hotel he suddenly decided he was dehydrated. Then needed me to hold him and stay beside him in the bed at the hotel room. That was fun times for the kids, let me tell you. The next morning on our way to breakfast he was still acting like he just couldn’t bear to be out in public. I finally lost it. “We’re going home!” I declared. I promptly called up the tour guide company and canceled our rafting trip and our HUM-V tour. If he couldn’t even make it out to breakfast he wasn’t going to be able to do any of that with us and I sure as hell wasn’t paying over $100 per night to sit in a damn hotel room with him while the kids looked on miserably. He ended up begging me to reconsider. I remember him looking at me in the restaurant and asking pitifully, “Are you going to leave me?” I should have taken the bait and said, “Hell yes! This is no way to live!” but I didn’t. I told him I wasn’t but that he wasn’t allowed on anymore family vacations with us. He ended up remaining behind in the hotel room while my niece and my kids and I all went white water rafting and did the HUM-V tour.
You know what? We had a blast! We didn’t let him stop us or ruin our vacation. So that “family” trip? That’s my memory with my kids. He did eventually go to one of the parks with us but that was the extent of his involvement.
He was on his best behavior when we went to Disneyland and then the Grand Canyon and Four Corners. He was in a good mood. He was fun to be around. He seemed like he had a genuinely good time. I don’t think he ever really had a problem. He just… I don’t know. Wanted attention? Hated seeing us happy? Didn’t ever want to leave his bedroom and felt this was a great way to achieve that? Hell, maybe he figured if he acted like a big enough douche we wouldn’t want him to come with us and we’d stop asking. Who knows? I don’t care anymore!
I say this because it is obvious he is perfectly capable of going on vacation and doing things when he wants to do them. I’m sure he and the whore have gone on many an excursion together. I would bet some serious money that he didn’t play this bullshit game with her when he went. It’s amazing how quickly having an affair can cure you of everything that ails you.
For the longest time seeing pools made me sad. I had finally got mine and it was abruptly taken away just like that. I spent more time waiting for it to be constructed than I actually got to use it. The thought of having another one made me sick to my stomach for a long time. Now? Hell yes I want another pool. And this one won’t be dependent upon that dipshit. I’m not going to let what he did to us kill my dream of one day having another pool.
So that’s it. Things I did and enjoyed with him, I’m going to continue to enjoy. Things I liked I’m going to continue to like. Songs I once loved I’m going to love again. He’s taken enough away. No more, Satan! No more.