chey being

Seeing what's inside again.


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The Invitation

A continuation from A Book Is All It Took.

I could not believe that my pithy email had been read by a real live person and that they were reaching out to me!  I called the woman back who had left the message.  She simply said that the author would like to have me on his radio show that evening and I could talk about anything I wanted.  I remember her being very kind with a great warmth in her voice.  Of course, I agreed with barely suppressed excitement.  I know when I hung up that I took a few deep breaths to allow the reality of it to register and then I skipped around the room doing a long forgotten happy dance.  I had no idea what to expect but I was so unbelievably desperate for help that this chance, this opportunity, had me jumping out of my skin with hope.  Pure hope.

It was time for a change.  Something had to change.

I remember telling James and hearing his lack of enthusiasm.  We never really agreed on spiritual or religious beliefs and I am pretty sure he thought this author was a whack job.  James was a non-practicing-but-for-holidays Jew and I was a church-soured ex-Christian.  Although his reaction was not surprising, it did hurt.  I am not sure if he was afraid that I would be led to leave him or what.  This and the proceeding events were something we were to never really discuss.  I did find out years later that he had listened to me on the radio.  He never told me that and I wish I knew why.  I have often wondered if he felt responsible for my pain and suffering and if it was easier for him to ignore it.  I wanted him to be happy for me but thankfully my own enthusiasm was enough not to care what he thought.

I wanted to make my scheduled call in private and uninterrupted, so I made up some lie to get out of the house where I could then call from my car.  I did not tell my husband at this point as I did not want him to hear anything; I needed to speak freely and openly.  I arrived at my intended destination, a parking lot, and waited.  I was so nervous that I began to think this wasn’t really going to happen, that it was all a hoax of some sort.  When I finally made the call and it was busy, my fears deepened.  This had to happen was all I could think.  After the second or third try I made it through.

The author told me that he had two guests in his studio that would be joining us.  He then asked me what was on my mind and well, I just blurted it all out without any reservations or fear.  I said that I had been having a long-term affair…It was killing me…I hated living a lie…I was having unexplainable pain…I was in constant fear of being horribly sick.  I said them as if they were two separate issues.  1.  I don’t know how to leave my lover and 2. Somebody heal me because I’m going to kill myself!  In my mind, at this point, they were two separate issues.  Even though I knew the stress of the affair was taking a toll on me, it did not occur to me to address the issue causing the stress.  I only thought to deal with the symptoms.  In fact, my health issues were all I had mentioned in my email.  I honestly had a mental block with my relationships because I did not know what to do.  I was in some sick, twisted state of limbo.  I couldn’t leave James no matter how many times I tried and I couldn’t leave my husband, so I did nothing.  As hard as it is to believe, even to myself now, neither of my options were remotely fathomable to me at this time.

The author asked the guests to respond first.  My first thoughts were that I couldn’t believe how nice and understanding they all were.  Internally, I felt like such a low-life for admitting my affair that I suppose I expected to be shamed and judged in some way, but it was quite the opposite.  They truly only had love and compassion in their voices.   After a brief back and forth, one of the guests asked me to sit quietly and go within.  What?!?  I slowly began to freak out.  I could feel my heart rate skyrocketing.  I was so wound up with expectations that there was no way I was going to have some calm, zen-like internal moment with myself.  All I could think was that this was not helping me and that my big chance of getting any help was diminishing by the second.  She asked me how I was feeling after a few moments and I told her that I wasn’t feeling anything.  I think the author sensed the sheer panic arising in my voice.  He told me that I needed to deal with these issues before I gave myself a real disease.  He said he was having a week long retreat in the next month and asked if I would like to come; he wanted to speak with me further.  All I had to do was get myself there and he would take care of the rest.

Oh…my…God!

The author told me off air that he would have someone give me a phone number to call later that evening to make the arrangements.  I could not believe my good fortune.  I had gone from panic to elation in a matter of minutes.  We hung up and I sat in my car and cried.  I wept uncontrollably because I could not believe that someone cared enough about me to offer help like that.  I didn’t feel deserving.  I was the woman who walked around with the big scarlet letter on her chest.  I deserved to be stoned at the altar.  I deserved all the sideways glances.  I deserved the venom of judgement.  But not this night.  This night I was greeted with love and compassion.  I was offered a hand to bring me out of the darkness and I was ready.  I was ready for anything.

Up next:  The Retreat

You can find my story from the beginning under the category, My Conscious Journey To Divorce.

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A Book Is All It Took

Fear Becomes Me, Part Two, is where I last left my story of divorce.  If I had to name the darkest hour of my life, it would be where I am now in my story.  The fear of being sick ruled my mind, and thus my life on every level.  It was a miserable existence and if not for my children, I am not sure I would be alive today.  To know that I allowed something, unwarranted no less, to rule my life really pisses me off, to be honest.  It was a waste of time and precious life, but I know too that it was uncontrollable at the time.  It directed my life onto a different path and for that part I am grateful.  My regret is that I stayed in that black hole for so long.

Every morning and every night I woke up unable to sleep, my first thought was always of what was wrong with me.  I went through this methodical process of trying to make sense of every symptom I was feeling, what could be causing it all and what action I should take to make it all go away.  Hundreds of times a day I would go through this cycle of thought.  My OCD tendencies that I would call mild, seemed to have grabbed hold of this new predicament and relished it like water to the desert.  It was a gloomy existence that turned to thoughts of wishing desperately that death would take me and release me from my prison sentence.  Each time I was in my car alone, I would sink into a space somewhere between peace and surrender, wishing that I would crash and all my pain inside and out would be instantly gone.

I believe somewhere deep deep inside, my suppressed soul was desperately trying to reach me.  My mother had recommended a book to me (which I’ve decided to keep anonymous).  Like all bits of hope thrown my way, I bee-lined to the book store.  And there I was, in the middle of the night, sleepless as usual, reading this book with a now common determination and desperation to find a solution, an answer, a cure, anything.  I was in a grim state during those early morning hours, tears kept welling up and spilling over every few minutes.  I was working myself into another frenzy, a borderline state of panic.   For an unknown reason, I stopped reading and turned to the back of the book.  I read something about contacting the author at an email address.

By this time, I was communicating again with James.  He knew on some minor level my fears, but I kept much of it inside.  I knew, like my husband, mother, and father, he could only take so much of my gloom and doom ramblings.  I had begun to become a phony to everyone now in my life, putting on a happy face for James when I was slowing rotting inside.  So when I read this invitation of sorts, I jumped at the chance to pour out my soul.  I don’t remember much of what I wrote that night, except that I was at a point where I was begging for death.  While fleeting, draining my mind of its poisonous thoughts was cathartic, even though I had no expectations of being heard.

Months later, while still on my miserable, lying, cheating, racked with fear path, I had a missed call and a message on my cell phone.  It was a woman who worked for the author and she wanted to know if I would like to be on his radio show.  I almost fell over.

Up Next:  The Invitation

This post is the continuation of my story and journey to divorce.   You can find my story from the beginning under the category, My Conscious Journey to Divorce.

 

Image credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

 


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Fear Becomes Me, Part Two

[Here in my little not-so-private space, I have ever-so-slowly been sharing my story of divorce.  Part One left off with my husband’s discovery of my affair and my struggles with the stress of it all.]

I have spent a good amount of time on the St. Clair river.  Enormous freighters frequently pass through its deep blue water in a deceivingly effortless motion.  When the sun is shining on the wide river, the water is a transparent turquoise to rival any Caribbean sea.  The ships and boats that pass through create waves that bounce back and forth between the shores of the US and Canada.  They have nowhere to go thus creating huge waves in every direction with no rhyme or reason.  These menacing waves however, are no match for the giant metal barges.  At the front of the ships, the water swells to the big bullies in a continuous mound of crystal blue.  On most days, it can not win the fight.

This is how I felt back then, in a constant state of defense.  I was the water, feeling hopelessly pushed around with no control.  I was not deciding my fate, I was letting the situation rule my every move.

After years of secrets, there should have been some form of relief when my husband found out.  I’ve always heard that most people, deep down, want to be caught.  This seems ridiculous at first, but when thinking about the stress of it all, I can really begin to understand it.  However, there was no relief; the stress simply turned to, “How am I going to make this mess work?”  That is the only thought that crossed my mind.  I did not even think about divorce.  There was no love left, no anything left, but divorce did not cross my mind.  I had to continue to live a lie.  I had stopped the affair (for ever, I thought), but the mirage of being happy needed to continue.

So easily, I let my mind trick and suppress my soul.   I think sometimes that my very being had grown tired of me ignoring its warnings and just went into a deep dark corner where it waited in silence.

My mind continued to tell me that I could somehow make this work.  That I could somehow live a life with a man I did not want to be with.  It was around this time that the stress began take a toll on my body.   It began with numbness in my arms and legs,  then into the side of my face, followed by pins and needles in the hands and feet, and unexplainable pain in my arm.

One day early on, I was so afraid I was having a heart attack that I went to the ER.  The nurse there asked if MS ran in my family.  No, I said, but that simple little question set in motion 8 plus years of living in constant fear.  I was sent into full-out panic mode!  I went home and began reading all about MS on the internet.  Yeah, I know (now), BIG mistake!  I have to preface this story by saying that I am somewhat of a hypochondriac and this did not help my situation.

I began to breath fear.  I could not escape the worry that I may have some debilitating disease.  It consumed…every…thought. 

If I thought I was in hell before, this was a whole new kind of hell.  My life quickly became caught in a revolving door of doctors, specialists, herbalists, acupuncturists, psychics, you name it.  If I thought they could help me, I was going to try it.  The craziest part of all of this was that every test (and I had a lot of them), came back negative!  No one had any idea what was wrong with me.  Yet, I continued to search out new and better doctors.  I was happy with each negative test for about two minutes; they did nothing to suppress my fear because I still felt awful.  I would only think, “What if it just hasn’t shown up yet?”  It became my belief that somewhere, somehow, I was going to find the antidote to whatever the hell was wrong with me.

I had even succumbed to trying several anti-depressants.  Emphasis on the word, succombed, because I also have a fear of taking prescriptions.  I had so much anxiety about taking the drugs that it made me feel worse.  I also had so many side-effects to the drugs that were not working anyway, that I finally gave up.  I was going to have to suffer all on my own.

I was a tangled mess of desperation and fear.  I would have slaughtered a pig and painted myself with its blood if I thought it would heal me.

Sadly, actually pathetically, I never believed or thought that the massive amount of stress I was under had anything to do with my symptoms.  I never thought that my very life was becoming dependent on getting out of my current situation.

Up next:  A Book Is All It Took

This post is the continuation of my story and journey to divorce.   You can find my story from the beginning under the category, My Conscious Journey to Divorce.

 


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Fear Becomes Me, Part One

“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

So, there I was on a runaway train.  I contemplated often on how to get out of my situation.  The thought to leave my husband never really occurred to me and the thought of never talking to James again seemed an impossible task.  I think I was just waiting for something to happen.  I had no answer, no solution, so I waited.  For what, I did not know.

There is a feeling I get when I am deeply hurt.  It’s a feeling that goes straight to my heart and chest.  It is part pain and part the feeling of all my breath leaving me.  I can breath, but it doesn’t feel like it is giving me life.  It’s as if my soul has left me and my insides have caved in and will not allow air to enter.  This is also the same feeling I had almost everyday for years and years.  However, it was not brought on by being hurt, it was brought on by fear.  Fear of getting caught.  There were so many times when I would be on the phone or the computer and my husband would unexpectedly come home or come into the computer room.  There were so many times I had to plan to be away and lie about where I was going, wondering if my lies were being bought.  I hated the feeling with a passion but I DID NOT know how to stop it.  I could not break free of the mess I had created.  That is my only excuse.  I just physically and emotionally, could not let go of this person.

The affair and my feelings for James drew me farther and farther away from my husband.  He had become a friend to me and that was where I wanted the relationship to stay.  Of course, my husband wanted more and rightly so.   Over time, I could no longer be all the things a wife should be.  Apart from the stress of getting caught, there was the constant stress of my husband wanting to be intimate.  It truly pained me and I used every excuse in the book to avoid it.  This part of the story is hard to tell and so, I don’t really want to go any further than to make the point that I went to bed in fear every night.

These fears increased ten fold the day I was caught.  It was not my husband who suspected anything, but his parents.  They had me followed one day and video taped me leaving a hotel with James.  My husband confronted me at home after his parents had informed him of the situation.  To express how scared I was seems superfluous.  The only thing I was scared of was my husband leaving me and hurting my children.  James meant nothing to me in that moment.  I remember my husband being very calm.  He asked what I wanted to do.  I, of course, said that I did not want a divorce and that I would stop seeing this person.

My husband’s reaction my seem strange, but if I back up a bit, it will make more sense.  Around this time (and I can not remember if it was before, during or after I was caught), my husband began having an affair as well.   His cold-as-ice demeanor tipped me off immediately (a feeling I had felt once before).  I was petrified he was going to leave our family.  I could not be mad at him for it because I knew I had driven him away, and of course, I had committed the very same act.  This period in time compounded my stress and fear levels immensely.

To go way, way back, my husband was my high school sweetheart.  We dated on and off for seven years before getting married.  The first time he broke up with me, my world had ended.  I didn’t know anything else but him, he was my first love.  I’ll never forget what he said to me the day he left me.  I can only assume it was not horrible enough for him to dump me, so he told me that he didn’t love me and that he never had.  This was the same exact sentiment he told me once again, ten plus years into marriage, on the day I confronted him about his affair.  I don’t believe there are any two moments in my life that come remotely close to the pain I felt on these occasions.  I will never understand the purpose, true or not, of saying those words to anyone.

We both eventually decided to try and make it work.  He ended his affair and I attempted to, unsuccessfully.  Continuing my affair at this point, under heightened security, was the beginning of another journey.  There is only so much stress a body can take before it begins to break down…

Up next:  Fear Becomes Me, Part Two

This post is the continuation of my story and journey to divorce.  My last related post was A Secret Life.  You can find my story from the beginning under the category, My Conscious Journey to Divorce.

 

Photo credit:  www.nevadatree.com

 

 


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A word about the word, Conscious.

Google defines conscious as, aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; awake.

The word “conscious” has been in the media quite a bit recently since Gwyneth Paltrow (famous actress) announced her “Conscious Uncoupling.” Seven years ago, I began to write my thoughts about my path to divorce and titled it, My Conscious Journey to Divorce (which I also use in my blog). When I heard the phrase that Paltrow used to describe her separation, it made me very happy; I could really understand the meaning behind it. Then, much to my surprise, immediately following the announcement, Paltrow was ridiculed for how she came forth with her news. Now, I understand that she has a certain “goody two-shoes” reputation, and thus every move she makes is seen through this lens. However, I find it incredibly sad. Here is someone who is actually divorcing SMART! I believe her phrase tells the world that she and her husband are making a conscious effort to do right by everyone. They are not letting emotions run the terms of their separation. This decision should be praised, talked about in high regard, and emulated. How wonderful this is for the children! And no, you don’t have to be rich to emulate another person’s actions.

After my ex and I told our children we were divorcing, I lived at home for the six months it took for our divorce to finalize. It spoke volumes to our children. They were extremely frightened because they did not know what was going to happen, but their world did not immediately change. They were able to adjust to the idea without having to adjust to ten other things at the same time. They could see that their mom and dad could treat each other respectfully even though they were no longer going to be married. I believe this was instrumental in my children adjusting so well from my divorce. Was it easy? Of course not. But we were doing everything we could do make it as easy as possible for them. We made a conscious effort in separating to help our children through it. I also came to decide upon divorce in a conscious manner. That is so important. I will talk about this further as I continue my posts on my journey (see below).

I understand that everyone’s situation is unique and we all have a story. I simply want to create awareness. How conscious are you? Are you letting your emotions rule your life? As the word conscious is defined, are you awake?

In the beginning..

My Decent.

A secret life..

 


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Judging a book by its cover.

If you had seen me on the street 10 years ago, you may have thought, “What a perfect family.”  You may have described us as happy, loving, clean, and beautiful.  We had the perfect house, perfect beautiful children, we were all slim and healthy, we had money, we had it all.  You may have even been envious of my life.  If you thought all those things, you would have been right, but I would have to say to you, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Because underneath all that was a cheating wife.

I have recently laid out my story, or rather the beginning of my story and my affair.  It was very difficult.  As I have said, I am telling my story in hopes that it will help others who are in the same predicament or trying to move out of it.  There are many!  I have faced some harsh criticism over the years and more recently.  It will always sting, but I understand it.  I used to be the most judgmental person I know.  I had the perfect life.  I created something I wanted because I would accept no less.  I worked hard for it.  I made good decisions.  I judged others who were are unable to do the same.  I had harsh criticism for someone who complained about their life and where it was going.  “Fix it you fool,” or “Why did you do something so stupid in the first place.”  That was my attitude at a young age.  That was how I was treated growing up and in turn, how I treated others.  If my experience brought only the fact that I no longer feel that way, or treat others that way, then I am grateful for it.

I became one of “those” people.  Someone I would have scorned.  I was humbled.  I am humbled.  I grew up.  I learned that we all make mistakes and that even little ole ME, is NOT so perfect.  We all have our demons and our secrets.  I have looked down on people and I have felt shame for that.   I am no one to judge.  Not because I have made mistakes, but because it is not my job, nor my place.  I have had women who were on the other end come at me with hatred.  It is something that I have dealt with and will write about at the right time.  I respect those women.  I have been on the other end.  I know the pain, but that is not my story to tell.  I don’t ask for acceptance.  I don’t ask for forgiveness.  I don’t ask for respect, but do I ask that comments be respectful and thoughtful.  I am not anyone’s punching bag.

Here are the beginning posts of my journey thus far.  It is a beautiful, gut-wrenching journey and I have learned more than most do in a lifetime.  If it makes you feel something, learn something, heal something, change something, or even makes you cry, I am grateful.  Thanks for listening.

In the beginning..

My Decent.

A secret life.

 

 

 

 

 


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A secret life.

This post is a continuation of my story, the last related post being, My Decent.  My story is a cautionary tale in some sense.  I came through it a better person, thankfully, and that is why I have chosen to tell it.  I will be judged and that is OK.  I will be embarrassed and ashamed, but that is OK too.  I have to believe there is a greater good in sharing my experience.  My feelings at the time of my affair are difficult to express without romanticizing it to some extent and I struggle with that.  It makes me feel like I am justifying it and I am not.  There is a strange dichotomy going on.  I have no regrets because it made me who I am, but I certainly would do things differently knowing what I know now.

I have been putting off this part of the story for the above mentioned reasons, distracting myself with other “easier” topics. I was so insanely in love.  Now, I feel nothing.  That knowing makes me distrustful of my very own feelings.  Perhaps that is further proof to me that living in the moment is really all that matters.  Enough stalling, time to tell…

After James and I met online, our relationship progressed at a frenetic pace.  I found myself thinking of him every waking moment.  I even began to act differently, as if he was watching my every move.  My body felt more alive than I can ever remember.  Every sense became heightened.  Every move was thoughtful, as if in slow motion.  I felt I was vibrating on some higher frequency.  We came to use each others words and anything that made us feel connected.  We had seen only one picture of the other and it was enough to want to know more.

I can not recall how long it was before we decided to meet in person.  Or more like, he decided.  He was always pushing me for more and I let him.  The first time we met, I was a mess.  I do not ever remember being so nervous and panicked.  I wanted to run.  Talking about something and actually doing, are two very different things.  I suddenly felt nothing for this person that I had grown so attached to.  I could tell he was attracted to me, but the feeling was not mutual in the beginning.  I was uncomfortable and turned off in a way.  Sadly, I think what kept me from running through the airport and back to my car, was that I felt obligated.  I felt I owed him for coming so far to see me.

The first time we had sex was awful.  Really awful, actually.  We knew so much about each other mentally, but we knew nothing of each other physically.  I do not know what kept me around after that.  I had fallen in love with him in a way.  Our differences were exciting and we fed off them.  It was an escape.  I had lost myself somewhere and he picked me up and carried me off.  I stayed the course.  We learned, we adapted.  We came to be perfect lovers.  Each pushing the other.  Each learning from the other.  We became addicts eventually.  We had designed a complex life within a life, where we needed one another.

We did not see each other often due to distance, but we spoke on the phone for hours almost every day.  When one is forced to talk so much in a relationship, no topic is left unexplored.  I learned so much about myself and him.  We grew to deeply care for one another over the years.  I believe the reason our relationship lasted so long was because neither of us wanted to leave our families.  Our feelings were mutual on that subject, so there was never one person who was unhappy (enough) with the situation.

Our bond was intense.  I wanted to be buried with this person.  It pained me that we would not be.  I wiped this person’s runny nose with my finger, without thought.  I walked naked on a beach with this person…ME, the girl my mother always called a prude.  I gave this person every inch of me, willingly, openly, freely.  He gave me confidence.  He made me feel intelligent and beautiful.  He made me believe I could do anything.  No one in my entire life had ever praised me like he did.  It was something I deeply lacked during my childhood and I ate it up like ice cream on a stick.

I remember somewhere during this time watching the movie, Unfaithful.  That was me.  I only hoped it wouldn’t have the same ending.  Those movies ALWAYS having the same ending.  Why did I think mine would be so different? There is a scene in the movie where a friend is discouraging the thought of an affair to another because of her own experience.  She says remorsefully, “……someone finds out or someone falls in love and it ends disastrously.   They always end disastrously.”  It haunted me.  I am sure I knew deep down it was not going to end well, but I could not stop.  I was on a runaway train.  I felt if I jumped, I would surely die.

Up next:  Fear becomes me.