You know, sometimes it helps to get damn mad, so you can just get on with your life.
This whole marriage thing...I've been through a lot of phases. I've felt bad, guilty, sorry, sympathetic--I've had a lot of feelings that were all directed toward the soon-to-be ex. But I haven't gotten mad. I haven't gotten mad because I was the one who chose to leave, and I suppose I didn't feel it was my right to be angry.
Yesterday, for some reason, I got pissed off. And...it was probably the best thing for the both of us.
I won't even discuss the reason I got mad--as it happens, it was just some dumb, mundane, house-keeping sort of thing. When you are legally bound to someone and ending it, there are matters that need to be taken care of in order to divide the union--who-gets-what, who-makes-what-phone-calls and who-is-going-to-handle-which-minutiae. Boring to write about. Somewhere in the middle of the mundane I got angry--I guess I just got the feeling, once again, that it was all on me.
To be clear, I want to say that I didn't expect him to be "helpful" or go out of his way to make things easier on me--I probably wouldn't have, if I were him. But looking at a tangled financial mess and realizing that I had little to do with creating it, and realizing that cleaning it up was going to be entirely my job, really pissed me off. And hearing my husband talk about how the sky is falling in his world, while he remains blissfully oblivious to the fact that I was the one holding up that sky for 8 years, with no help from him, really, really pissed me off.
I totally failed at this marriage. I demanded nothing from him. I took care of things, and kept us out of the shit. I was sympathetic and encouraging, when I should have been more like a drill sergeant. I gave up a lot of things to support him when I should have just said "Fuck you".
Its pretty normal, at the end of a relationship, to look back on things, take stock, and either justify the end, or, re-think it over and over again and wallow in the sorrow of it. Until yesterday, I guess I really hadn't done either. I'm glad I finally justified it, to myself. Sure, you could say that its just something I'm doing to make myself feel better for having left--so what? It needed to be done. To admit that I was stupid and get pissed at myself for being stupid is the most important part of learning the lesson, and if you don't learn the lesson, you just go on repeating all of the same mistakes.
I wish I could say that I will never be stupid again. I know better. I'm sure that there will be plenty more mistakes in my future, and there will be other opportunities for me to smack myself on the forehead and think, "GAH! Why did I DO that?" And...most of those moments of "I'm such a fucking idiot" clarity will involve some man--I guarantee it. Work is easy. Parenting is tough, but do-able. NOTHING makes you stupid more than falling in love with someone. Nothing.
Its a choice we make, I guess--to go ahead and let ourselves be a little dumb--to let ourselves be human, not just some machine, plowing through life, racing for the finish line....because there is no prize for "winning" this race. The rewards you get are in the things you learn, and the joy you scoop up along the way.