June 25, 2005

An Anniversary - of sorts

My divorce was final 9 years ago today. Heh. 9 years - in some ways it feels like yesterday, but mostly it seems like another lifetime ago.

I was in Atlanta for a training class. The proceedings had drug out for 9 long, miserable months. The only silver lining in that time was the weekends he spent in jail. For pushing me down the stairs at the court house, in front of a sheriff and my lawyer. Yeah, that got him 6 weekends and me a free pass to move to Florida before the divorce was final. I knew the bastard couldn't control that temper.

I had a message on my cell phone from my lawyer when I got out of class that afternoon. It said that everything was finished. Done. A day early even. I sat there stunned. Believe it or not - I cried. I cried because of the waste of 11 years, I cried at the waste my life had been. I cried because I didn't get married to get divorced. I cried because I felt like I failed.

Then I got drunk. Oh yes I did. I spent my entire paycheck buying strangers drinks in a bar I had never been in before or since. But I wanted to drink, and I didnt want to drink alone. So - there you have it.

I still struggle with nightmares and "issues" - I probably always will. It's the baggage I drag through this life. I'm much better than I was 9 years ago - believe it or not. But I still flinch when a man raises his hand too fast. I still tense when someone I don't trust invades my personal space. But it's better. Really.

Probably the one thing I'm not over involves the very last thing that bastard ever said to me. The divorce was final, he was already married to his long time girl friend (last 3 years of our marriage) but he just couldn't leave it alone. Just before he threw me into Mama's front window he snarled - "you are ugly, fat and stupid. You will never amount to anything. You will die alone."

I close my eyes and see his face as he said it - those buggy eyes and the white baseball cap. The twisted lips spitting out those words.

Most of what he said is just so much hot air. Fat? F*CK YOU! I wasn't then, and (even as unhappy as I am with my body) I'm not now. I try very hard to take care of myself and keep in shape. Fat? Kiss my ass. Ugly? That's his opinion. I do the best that I can - I don't usually scare young children so I guess it's alright.

But the stupid part? Yeah - that is something I can latch onto. I had to take an IQ test for a job. They made me retake it - the results were too high, they thought. I retook it - guess what? I'm smart! That was the very call I made to my mom that night. I was crying. I finally had proof - I am NOT stupid. Something that small, that silly test, changed the way I saw myself. Gave me confidence. Gave me strength.

Never Amount to Anything? If I work really hard, focus just keep pushing - well, I did. I made it. And once I did - I walked away. I walked away for family. I walked away at my choice. I can truly say "been there, done that. I DESIGNED the damn t-shirt". Not amount to anything? It's all in the perspective - and I'm pretty damn happy with mine right now.

I'll die alone? No, no I won't.

Have you ever seen Under the Tuscan Sky? It's a chick flick - but I like it because they DON'T man bash....and I love the ending. She doesn't end up with Prince Charming. But....she has a home filled with love. She has friends, family. It's a realistic ending.

I kinda think of my life like that. I have everything I wanted - everything that counts. It's just not in the form I thought I wanted. Oh - I'm not quitting yet. Please don't take it that way. I've still got a lot of life to live yet. But if you take a snapshot of right now, this moment. It's good. It's very good.

So today as I drive over to Mama's house, I'll pass our old farm and his new one. The one he bought with a combination of the money he stole from me and the $20,000 I paid him to go away. I'll stand on the front porch at Mama's and peer through the window he threw me into. I'll swing on the swing that he broke (using me) in anger one evening. And I'll realize - these last nine years are the best in my life. They are MY YEARS.

And I'll celebrate.

It's MY Independence day.

Posted by Tammi at June 25, 2005 08:40 AM

That last paragraph....got me...I will think of you today, and guess what, you made me cry again.

I am glad you made it out of that mess, and guess what, maybe someone will read this post today and leave a bad situation.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at June 25, 2005 09:10 AM

What's funny, is through out your post, I hear Martina McBride's "Independence Day" in my head (you know I think in music) and then at the end, "It's my Independence Day".

So now that I'm done crying!! Those 11 years weren't a waste. He did some nasty things, but they made you the strong woman you are now..becasue you lived through it and got out of it!

Now, when you get a chance, we need to talk. I have a book that I just finished reading...an easy read, that did a lot to me this past week. You should read it. About a woman that survives in the Outback. You will love it, I promise!

Meanwhile, go celebrate the wonderful woman you are!

Posted by: Sissy at June 25, 2005 09:28 AM


Posted by: Harvey at June 25, 2005 10:09 AM

Wow! Those were fun Harv!

Posted by: Sissy at June 25, 2005 10:49 AM

Dammmmnnnn. Boy can I soooooooo relate to this. My ex was cut from the same cloth. Verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. When the divorce finalized I felt like I could breath again. I had been told every nasty, hateful and demeaning comment she could muster up.The problem is hers and hers alone. Married now to my best friend. A baby on the way. Friends around me and friends I've yet to meet in person...such as yourself. Her hateful and spiteful words ring hollow in now empty rooms. You're right. These are YOUR years. More importantly you now have the wisdom and insight to appreciate the years you have in front of you. Time with the ex was dark and miserable but it shows you how to better appretiate life in the sun.

Posted by: Koolaid at June 25, 2005 11:57 AM

Some people aren't worth the goddamn oxygen they consume. Any prick who treats a woman that way needs to to be beaten to death with a sledge hammer, starting at the feet.

Posted by: Graumagus at June 25, 2005 01:17 PM

Funny, but I honestly think that one reason why Koolaid and I were drawn to each other is because of our prior experiences. We *both* know what it's like to have to walk on eggshells around someone else.

Tammi, I have always maintained that words can be more hurtful than fists. Why? Because someone as wonderful as you are can still hear those words even after all of the wounds to your body are healed.

I pray that the wounds to your psyche are healed completely and that the ghosts of your past haunt HIM and not you. You're far too wonderful.

{{ hugs }}

Posted by: Margi at June 25, 2005 02:05 PM

Good for you. And you did it on your own -- your way. That takes an inner personal strength that many people just don't have. Happy independence day. **Raises glass in a toast**

Posted by: Richmond at June 25, 2005 02:06 PM

It's good to see that you didn't take his hurtful words to heart.

Because when people say things like that what they really mean is that is how they see themself. But they also know you enough to know that it will hurt you and make you unsure of yourself.

The best vengence is showing that person that there words not only didn't affect you but you showed them that you can make it on your own and didn't crumble into a heap of mess.

Posted by: Machelle at June 25, 2005 05:39 PM

I love this post. This post is full of hope and good conquering over evil.

They were not 11 wasted years. You saved 3 boys lives. But then it was time to move on and save your own... which you did.

May that SOB rot in hell. For eternity.

Posted by: Bou at June 25, 2005 09:33 PM