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The post I never wanted to write

This isn’t a humor blog but it’s not all that serious either. I usually try to write about what’s on my mind, but there’s one topic I never really wanted to touch upon. Not here. I haven’t really wanted to deal with it in my everyday life either. And that’s been a problem. It’s been an ongoing issue and it’s easier for me to not deal with it until I have to.

Well, now I have to.

I’ve hesitated to write about this, or even talk about it with anyone because I really don’t want to hear opinions. I don’t really want to hear the cold, hard truth. I don’t want anyone to tell me something I don’t want to hear. “I told you so” will make me hurl sharp objects.

When I met my husband we were at very different stages in our lives. I was just 26, getting my career started. I had a long-term relationship behind me and was pretty sure what I wanted in life and love. I don’t have kids. My husband is 15 years older than I am. He was just ending his second marriage (no, I had nothing to do with that), had three sons, and was a cop. There were so many reasons that we just shouldn’t have worked. But somehow we did.

And it’s been amazing.

When we realized it was serious we had some very honest, blunt conversations about our future. He made it clear that he was done having and raising children. He had made sure years ago that he wouldn’t have any more. I was fine with that. I was not at a point in my life where I thought I wanted kids. I was very much into my career and I loved the life we had created. When we weren’t with our families or his kids, we traveled. We had lots of friends that we went out with. I slept in. We did what we want when we wanted. And it was great.

Until it wasn’t.

I can’t tell you when it happened (I’m sure Bill can) or what brought it on, but not long after we got married, that biological clock you hear so much about? It’s not a joke. It’s real. It’s loud. It’s insistent. It’s a fucking loud-mouthed pestering bitch. It knocked me on my ass and made me deaf from the clanging. The alarms were paralyzing. I was absolutely floored. It caught me off guard.

Babies were everywhere. Babies were on my mind. I couldn’t think about anything but.

And that’s where the trouble began. I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling. I didn’t understand it. I had a great life. I have a husband who loves me with all of his being. He would do anything for me.

Except that one little thing.

I think at the beginning of this I made little off-hand comments about babies, kids. I went out of my way to show what I great mom I’d be. I made sure he knew what a great parent I thought he was.

And then I think I started to barter. If you do this for me…I’ll do all the work. I’ll be the best parent ever… (Not one of my proudest moments, honestly.)

He held firm. He reminded me that he was clear on this upfront. Yes, I know, but a lot of fat good that does me now. I thought I was clear on it too. Now what?

The first years of our marriage were not easy. Adjusting to being a step-parent was hard enough. But I started to feel bitter. I’m raising someone else’s kids. I’m good enough and strong enough and loving enough to do that, but I’m not good enough to have my own. Talk about a mind fuck. I love those kids though, and as far as I know, they never knew what a struggle that was for me.

At some point, midway through our marriage, I came to terms with everything. My middle stepson made us grandparents and I allowed myself the drive down to her birth in Orange County to feel sorry for myself. And that was it. She was born and that little girl was the best thing that had happened to me in a long time. I got the best of it—a little girl to spoil with none of the responsibility.

I was at peace with everything for a long time. But then my youngest stepson moved in and the shit really hit the fan. He and I always had a tough relationship. He was young when his parents split up but he was old enough to understand what was going on and it was very difficult on him. It’s hard enough when a divorce is amicable, but when it’s as ugly as that was, it’s hard not to walk away with battle scars. He had a hard time accepting me. I understand that completely, and I tried to roll with the punches. I tried to be calm in the face of “You’re not my mother. You can’t tell me shit.” And later, when he had graduated from high school and moved into our house, I tried to remain calm in the face of total disregard of us and total disrespect.

Finding out my stepson had a serious drug addiction didn’t help matters. I was pissed. I was in a rage. And by God everyone was going to hear about it. Stand by because there was going to be hell to pay. This? This is why I gave up children of my own? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. But where his parents were sort of in denial and then paralyzed by his addiction, I stepped in and did the research to found a place that he was comfortable going to get help. A year and a half later he’s still clean. He did all the work, and he’s a great kid (young man?) today. I’m proud of him.

When he left our house and calm and order was restored, I felt renewed. I felt like my marriage was renewed again.

But I guess I never really knocked all the walls down. The walls that I had built up over the years to protect everyone around me from the real rage that brewed inside. The walls that were constructed to protect myself from the sadness I felt. The sense of loss I experience over and over. It wasn’t just those big events that chipped away at the walls. It’s the smaller day-to-day things that caused the cracks and fissures. Little pieces of brick and mortar crumbling, keeping me in a constant state of unbalance. Whenever a friend got pregnant or had a baby I’d be happy on the outside but totally unhinged on the inside.

And, for the most part, I’ve kept this all to myself. If you looked close enough it was there. I may not have fessed up to it, even to my best friend (I rarely discuss the real reason for my anger), but it seeps through like sewage. It’s ugly and rank. I kept swallowing it, hoping it would cease. But that never happens, does it?

I hated to talk to Bill about it because although he’s sensitive to my feelings, he’s firm in his stance, and that’s not always what I wanted. I kept hoping he’d crumble, rethink it. Give in. Knowing that he wouldn’t has made me keep him at arm’s length. There are times we live like roommates.

Last week, this creeped up on me again. I’m sure it’s been there longer, brewing, bubbling, threatening to boil over. But I’ve gotten good over the years at preventing total and immediate eruption. I don’t really want to get into what set me off this time, but it was bad. It was ugly. I became unhinged. Unglued. Unbalanced. And I unleashed it all on the person I love the most. I was Hurricane Mo.

I heaped the most horrible anger on my husband. I wanted to hurt him like I felt he hurt me. I wanted to push him away. I wanted him to run from me because I was awful. And because I didn’t have the guts to run from him.

But I don’t want him to run from me. And I don’t want to leave him. When I married him I did so because he truly is the one person I can see myself with for the rest of my life. He is my best friend, my partner, my consigliere, my true love. I see so many people struggling to find that in this world. And I’m lucky enough to have it. I don’t want to throw that away. How do you scrub almost 10 years of marriage to a man who pulls you close when you’re flailing at him, a man who sees you drowning and throws you a life preserver?

I’m writing this because I need to start getting it out. I need to purge in order to start tearing down the walls. I’ve got to destroy this prison I’ve built for myself so I’m no longer isolated, lonely.

I’m not looking for pity. Or sympathy. I don’t want this to be about Bill or bashing him because ultimately I made a choice. I could have never imagined how it would impact my life, but truth be told, the good far outweighs the bad.

I just need somewhere to dump these feelings so I can get on with my life. So I can be happy, and give my husband the wife he deserves.

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6 Responses

  1. My gosh. I am so sorry you’re going through this.

    I think the fact that you are clearly smart and know where all of this is coming from is a very good sign. Some people never figure out where their anger is coming from, and those are the ones who are destroyed by it.

    I hope you find peace soon.

  2. You are brave to write this….sometimes throwing it out there helps. The clock is brutal, brutal, brutal….when mine went off it was deafening. I hope everything works out for you, not an easy state of affairs to deal with but you are looking at it from the right perspective. Stay strong, Mo…

  3. Oh sweetie. My heart breaks for you. I know you’ll work through this, I just hate knowing that you have to. Writing it down and getting it out that way could help though.

    Sending hugs!

  4. I also was very touched by this. I think your writing is very real. I admire your strength.

  5. Dear Mo – I don’t see this as you being unfair. I think you are entitled to your anger and I think you are entitled to have children if this is something you really want. It is not right that you should face the rest of your life with this huge, huge regret. They keep telling me marriage is about compromise and negotiation. This means nothing should be assumed to be written in stone on day one and never discussed again. That’s insane. People change, circumstances change. You were young and in a young place where kids weren’t important yet. It’s not either of your faults that neither of you understood that your feelings could change so dramatically. But of course you’re going to change and grow. Just think how different you are today. Once you made a choice to have Farrah Fawcett hair — you’re not bound to that for the rest of your life, so why do you feel bound to this choice forever? It’s very difficult that re-negotiation is so completely off the table. I don’t know what I would do in your situation. Ultimately, I guess it comes down to how important your happiness is to you both.

  6. Oh Mo… your love for your husband just shines here, even in all of the drama. I hope he can see it, and understand where you’re coming from. Getting it out there and getting over it – processing it, accepting it… it’s all on the right track and you’ve already gotten started.

    Purge. Do it. I did with “A Dividing Spirit” and it’s helped me come to terms with everything. I highly recommend it.

    And we’ll all be here with hugs.

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