This is a two part post. Part 2 has a completely different name though. Watch for Holland tomorrow.
I was reading the comments over on Chump Lady the other day. Someone said she had been asked by a good friend, “When will you be normal again?”
That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? When will I be normal again? I don’t know. If by, “being normal” the person means “going back to how you used to be” I don’t think I will ever be normal.
My normal was being a wife and a mom. I was the one that was there for my kids 100% of the time. I drove them to practice, attended their games and meets, and chauffeured them and their friends around. When school was out I planned amazing adventures- water parks, hikes, amusement parks, vacations, museums. If school was out it meant I got to sleep in later, just like they did. I was able to spend the day with them. Oh sure, there were the times I carpooled with other moms, or asked a friend if she could grab my kid, but that wasn’t the norm. Now I’m the mom whose son has to sit in the office for an hour or more when the bus is running late because I can’t go pick him up. I rely on others because I can’t be there. I rely on my mom or my brother or my sister-in-law or my niece to pick my kids up from work and school, and to take them to doctor’s appointments and dentist appointments because I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be there because I work every day.
Add that to my list of things that is no longer normal. I didn’t have to work before. My time was my own. I had plenty of downtime to do things I wanted, to get together with friends, while my kids were in school. Then in the afternoons when they were back home I could devote my time to them. Now, I’m at work all day. When I get home if I spend time doing things I want to do I’m neglecting them. If I’m spending time with them I have no me time.
My normal was being able to shop for clothes for my kids without worrying about whether or not this was going to break the bank. I could buy them toys and gadgets and not think twice. I could buy expensive make-up at Christmas for my daughter. I could buy iPods and iPads and MacBook Pros. I could spend amazing amounts of money at Christmas, and I could afford to be generous with my mom and my nieces and nephews. Now those nieces and nephews will be outearning me shortly.
My normal was living in my own house, preferably a fairly large house. It didn’t matter how many pairs of shoes I left in the living room, or if I didn’t do the dishes right away, or how much shit I let pile up, because I was the one cleaning it all up anyway. All the furniture in my own house was furniture that I had picked out. All the decorations were decorations I had selected. I had a room of my own. I had space. I had all my stuff.
Now, if I were to move out I have to start all over. I have no plates or bowls. No silverware. No towels. I have pans and some baking sheets and cake pans. I have some glasses and some mugs and some kitchen utensils. I have a blender, a popcorn popper, an immersion blender, a waffle maker, a few crockpots, a Keurig, and a George Foreman grill. I’m pretty sure that’s the extent of my kitchen. I also have no furniture save for 4 bar stools, although I do have my magnolia painting and all the pictures of my kids.
I suppose I could see this as a grand adventure. “How exciting! I get to completely start all over! All new things. Hooray!” Instead I feel like I did when I moved into my first apartment- starting out for the very first time and dirt poor.
My normal was volunteering in PTA, knowing all of the teachers, and getting together with friends. Now my life is spent working. It’s not like I’m going to end up with some wonderful new career. I will always be poor. My daughter will graduate in four years and make triple what I make. I don’t see a path to riches where I am.
That’s another “normal” thing that I will never get back. I used to live an upper middle class lifestyle. Now, I don’t. I never will again unless I start playing the lottery and end up winning.
I think it’s very similar to someone who has lost a child. You never get over it. You never stop feeling like a piece of yourself is missing; you never stop feeling that loss. Your old, “normal” life is over forever; you now must go on living this new life, the one that no longer includes your beloved child. Normal doesn’t exist anymore.
There are a few positives to this new life. I don’t have to put up with an asshole any longer. I met the mobster. I’m closer to family, which can be a blessing and a curse. Remember, my normal is doing everything on my own. I lived most of the last twenty years away from my family.
Meanwhile, CF goes blissfully on his way. My life has been turned upside down and then hammered into the ground. He has everything he has ever wanted. This divorce was a goldmine for him. He has yet another high paying job. Between him and Harley his life style hasn’t decreased at all. Not one penny. In fact, together they make more than he did by himself when we were married. He lives in a house that looks like our old house. He’s got a new wife and new kids. He lives where he wants to live- back in his home state, close to his mommy, when she was alive, and his sister. He goes to not-his-kids’ sporting events. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he also attends parent-teacher conferences for them and coaches their damn sports teams. He goes on family vacations with them and out to celebrate birthdays. He doesn’t hole up in his bedroom all the time. He’s got dogs and cats. He’s blooming, like a rose. Divorce has been wonderful. A little expensive but wonderful nonetheless.
When will I be back to normal? Never. I wasted twenty years of my life on someone who never deserved me. I’ve been betrayed, lied to, humiliated, played for a fool, dumped for a whore cousin, financially raped, and drug through the mud. I’ve had someone try to destroy me and I have ended up losing everything. CF and Harley happily play house and embrace their new life together; they have everything they set out to get when they embarked on their affair. I, on the other hand, am left to continue trying to build this new life of mine out of the ashes of my old life. My normal is gone. My old life was destroyed and it will never be back to “normal”. I’m expected to forge ahead with a new life and call that my new normal. That is my only choice.
It sounds like a rather daunting task, doesn’t it? It has been, but all hope is not lost. You see, I believe the key is simply realizing that the old normal is gone, and to embrace all the newness.