Sunday, January 31, 2010

Talk Thursday: Long Time Gone

Warning - self indulgent post ahead

The older you get, okay let me rephrase that; the older I get the more I think about the moments of my past. And yes there are a lot of regrets. I regret I wasn’t a better daughter. I regret I wasn’t a better mother. I regret I’m not Super Woman who can balance both family needs and job demands seamlessly. I’m not sure Super Woman exist; I based my vision of Super Mom on my mother. And while she was everything I aspired to be, she didn’t have a full time job outside the home. So I have endlessly battered my head against that brick wall of comparison and fallen short.

What I do not regret are my three husbands. Why? From each I have garnered invaluable lessons. From ex-husband one came the lesson that I am strong enough, that I can endure, that I can over come, that I am a survivor. Yes, you are going to argue that I also have a fine daughter from husband one, but puuuulllllleeeease remember I was pregnant when I got married. Ergo, the wedding didn’t have to happen for me to have a great kid. But then I’d have missed out on other things as well. Marriage to husband one has been a long time over, having divorced in 1978. Wow, how often do you get to say in your life, I remember thirty years ago.

From husband number two came several realizations. First you can make yourself into what a man wants, and it won’t be enough – or it wasn’t what he really wanted in the first place – joke’s on me. You can lie to yourself, work to make everything right, and it won’t be enough by a long shot – stupid me. You (okay, yes I – but I hate using the word I all the time) can give yourself over to a man and a marriage and it will blow up in your face – I’m sure idiot was marked on my forehead in invisible ink somewhere.

This isn’t to say I didn’t have my problems too. My family suffered from my PMS, and before you think I’m making this up -a few PMS facts (Google it.) I was diagnosed with PMS in the late ‘80s. This is what I learned. 75% of women on the face of this earth suffer PMS in one form or another – for up to three weeks a month, twelve months a year through out their child bearing years. It can be physical symptoms – bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, acne, weight gain, and let’s not forget cramps. And those are just a few of the physical symptoms. It can be psychological symptoms (this is where the fun comes in) as many as 50-60% of women with severe PMS have an underlying psychiatric disorder (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Or it can be both. Oh us lucky women.

Ten percent of the world’s women stricken with PMS are either suicidal or homicidal.

Aren’t we just lucky? Now consider the luck of my family. I usually just suffered the physical symptoms. But for about five years running my family suffered the psychological symptoms approximately once a year. In late August or early September just at the onset of ex-husband’s nine month hunting season. Nine months. I know, you think I exaggerate, but I was married to a bow hunter – September to May he was gone scouting, hunting, tracking – Long, long, time gone. I would explode. Go literally insane – screaming, rant, rail, everything short of my head spinning and me puking green Jello. Don’t believe me, ask Psam.

Now you might say, no wonder he went hunting nine months out of the year. I will fire back, that my PMS didn’t come into play until several years into this scenario, and totally disappeared with our divorce. Well, not true, it reoccurred with one short-term boyfriend’s incessant jealousy and idiotic acts of domination. My PMS ended with a good diet, exercise, and better men in my life.

While it took me decades to get over my divorce from ex-husband number two I learned I don’t need a man in my life. I will not be a doormat anymore. And more importantly I learned the extent that I went in my life to keep him around and that you can’t make a self-indulgent superficial person happy, whose not happy from within in the first place.

From Ducky I’ve learned I can be loved for being me. That my laughter is the best response, but I’m more than willing to yell back these days. That he really is my best friend and partner - That I am loved.

Years ago I had my numbers done. A long time student of astrology I knew a bit about myself (I don’t believe in horoscopes – I do like the power and insights of natal charts.) But I learned several new insights from my numbers. Maybe the most important was my life lessons. I need to conquer anger. While I’m only at the middle years of my life, I think I’m learning that lesson as well as the ones life is teaching me.

Isn’t it amazingly sad that it takes a lifetime to learn the most important lessons? While we are born with the tools to learn, we are not equipped with a roadmap to mental health, physical well being, and a divining rod to take us to the people who are right for us – friends, family, employers the first time. But if we weren’t learning our lessons the entire time why would we be here? Life is learning – when I quit learning please scatter my ashes to the wind at the water line of my Pacific.

In these years a long time gone, I have learned that I am amazingly blessed.



Sandra said...

You might not know this - in fact, I'm sure you don't - but when I first got married, I was of a mind that to not set out to be married forever and ever was awful and to fail at marriage was terrible. Through Psam, I'd known that you'd been married three times and I'd heard Psam talk about the men frequently. I often reflected on this in a curious way, wondering what I made of it. As I grew older (I can't believe I've known Psam long enough to have grown anything during that time...), I came to the realization that marriage doesn't have to be forever - it can just be for now. People can just be along for the ride to see where it takes them as long as the ride is enjoyable (or at least not TOO painful) for them.

This realization made me more flexible in my own marriage (and was probably one of the factors that saved it when it very nearly ended 2 years in) and made me stop stressing out about how I had to be with this person forever and that if I didn't, I was a failure.

Once I stopped worrying, I started enjoying and that reduced stress made me a far better wife and even more laid back.

So in a way - inadvertantly and certainly unintentionally - your three marriages helped me grow as a person and contributed to the salvaging of my once fractured marriage.

foundinidaho said...

Wow. Just wow. When I hear about others who've had a real life ('cause honey, let me tell you, I seem to hear in my family about either perfection or redneck hell), I feel better about the fact that I have a "past". Hopefully it's helped me learn for the future.

And I feel about Brad like you feel about Ducky. Luckily (fingers crossed) it didn't take more than twice. But it certainly could have, I got lucky.